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Chapter 5 - A Promise
Early in the morning, John Connor stepped back into the room carrying what appeared to be a some kind of box. He made his way over to the terminator and set the plastic case on the table next to her. He hadn’t gotten much sleep last night.
“All right, Tin Miss, what I’m gonna do is pull your CPU and see what’s going on in there. If everything goes according to plan, you’ll be protecting me and everyone else in this dump within a few days.”
It seemed to be fairly routine for John. He opened the case and revealed a computer screen and diagnostic equipment; apparently the tools he needed for reprogramming terminators.
“And what if it doesn’t?” the machine asked.
“Go according to plan.”
John paused. “Is there a reason it shouldn’t?”
The machine was well aware that it’s CPU and software were far more advanced than any other terminators, save for the liquid metal experiments. Skynet knew John had been reprogramming terminators, and as a result, she had safeties built in.
Rewriting or even modifying her existing operational parameters would be next to impossible. Her CPU and software were reengineered from the ground up to prevent outside tampering. She very much doubted that even John Connor would be able to reprogram her.
“Well, I guess we’ll see. Metal-wise you seem pretty similar. Hardened hyper-alloy combat chassis…hydraulic actuation…armored head to toe…nuclear power cell…” John paused as he looked at her face.
“Still you’re right…something about you is different.”
The machine verbally guided John’s hands as he cut the skin around her skull. Eventually after he cut a half-circle, he pulled back the skin and viewed the CPU port cover.
“All right. So far, so good.” he muttered.
He took an air-ratchet and removed the two bolts holding the cover down. Taking some pliers, he then removed the port cover with a pop. The machine’s CPU was now exposed. Warning’s flashed in her vision. The terminator began to feel fearful again. She felt too vulnerable.
“What are you going to do if you can’t reprogram me?” she asked.
“I don’t know…” he replied, staring in the CPU chamber. His answer did nothing to comfort her but he seemed to notice.
He looked back into her eyes. “You’re not going anywhere. I just need to see where you stand. That’s all.”
The machine relaxed a little. His words seemed to carry great weight. Maybe that explained his popularity among the other humans. She nodded. John placed the pliers on her CPU and pulled outwards. Blackness, again, took the terminator.
Minutes later, she awoke to the concerned face of John Connor. He expression didn’t look encouraging.
“How’d you do it?”
“Override your own programming. How’d you do it?”
The machine didn’t know how to explain. She wasn’t totally sure how she did it.
“What did you see?” she asked.
“For the most part, pretty normal stuff- Your CPU is locked down pretty tight, so I wasn’t able change anything but I saw you mission parameters…”
John was racing. He seemed excited but at the same time disturbed.
“I didn’t think it was possible…I thought it was a myth. A terminator overriding it’s own mission parameters…and not only that, you also severed your wireless link to Skynet.”
“You said you wanted me to protect you. This is the only way.”
John looked like he took in too much information. He rubbed his eyes and sat back in his chair.
“I can’t have a terminator with standard Skynet parameters walking around a base, especially with me in it.”
“You won’t be able to reprogram me. Skynet knows. Skynet built me with you in mind.”
John contemplated what the machine said. It was getting more difficult to reprogram them. Even with all his experience, it still took around a 24 hours to reprogram a T-800. Triple eights took three times longer because of their more advanced chips and security protocols. John knew that eventually Skynet would get wise.
He leaned further back in his chair and folded his arms across his chest. “So, how can I have you protecting me?”
“You have to trust me.” the machine replied.
John half-smiled at the memory of Uncle Bob saying the same thing. He felt like it was two or three lifetimes ago. He missed the simpler times.
“And what if you try to kill me?”
“If I wanted to kill you, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
John went deep into his thoughts again. The machine used this time to study him. His eyes darted left and right; as if he were listening to two different people. The terminator hoped he believed her. Humans were not known for their trusting nature.
“I don’t understand.”
“Promise me you won’t harm me or any other man, woman or child of the resistance. Promise me you’ll protect myself and everyone I hold dear. Promise me you will do everything in your power to do what I ask of you.”
The machine considered the weight of his words. She intended only to protect him. It would not be easy to guarantee the safety of everyone around him. However, it didn’t seem like he was interested in negotiating.
John sighed. “You know what I like about you terminators?”
The machine shook her head.
“I know what your thinking,” he replied, motioning to her CPU cover. “I know what’s going on in there, and when you say something, I know it’s true.”
John got up and typed a number into a keypad on the wall. An alarm beeped twice and the machines restraints opened with a metallic click. The terminator was free. She sat up and looked at the man who just freed her. She managed a weak smile.
“I’m not ready.” she said.
“What?” John asked; his hand unconsciously moving towards the lockdown button.
“I’m not ready to be your protector. I still need work.”
“I need you to remove Allison’s memories.” she replied with a slightly distressed face.
“Why? Isn’t that the only reason you overrode your objectives?”
“No. I did that myself. Her memories are the reason I failed my last mission.”
He shrugged. “That’s kinda why I’d wanna keep ‘em.”
“I won’t be able to adequately protect you unless I’m at full operational capacity. I think it would be wise to remove them.”
John sighed and rubbed his eyes again. “Is that the only reason?”
“No. I don’t like having her memories. They’re not mine. I shouldn’t have them.” the machine said. She looked like she was on the verge of tears.
“You really think it’s a wise decision?”
The machine looked at him. “I do.”
“All right. Lay down.”
Within five minutes John had her skin pulled back and was ready to pull her CPU again. The machine was fairly certain that John would be able to remove her memories. Her memory was stored similarly to the T-888s.
“How far back do you want to remember?” he asked.
“I don’t want to remember Allison at all. I only want to remember back to yesterday, at 2:35A.M. That was when my mission started.”
“Okay. See you in a few.” John said, and with that the machine shut down.
Once again, the machine woke up to John’s face. “Do you feel any different?”
The machine thought for a moment. Everything was clearer. Her mind worked faster and her overridden parameters remained. She still remembered briefly being “human” but it seemed distant.
“I couldn’t quite delete the memories. Your data was locked down way too hard. Instead, I made it so you can’t access them anymore. They’re still there, but you won’t be able to get to them.”
She nodded. “Now what?”
John smiled. “Now, we name you.”
The machine thought this might happen. For some reason, humans liked to name everything around them; from their guns to their dogs. It seemed fitting, since it would help her develop her own identity, outside of Skynet.
“What did you have in mind?”
“I don’t know. I never named a female terminator before…”
The machine couldn’t think of any suggestions. She glanced at the T-888 in the corner of the room. “What’s he called?”
John looked over at the machine. “Him? That’s Fred. He needs a new CPU.”
John continued to think. His scarred face lit up when inspiration struck him. “How ‘bout ‘Cameron’?”
The machine thought about it. She liked the name; it must have carried some significance with John.
“And what about a last name?” she asked.
“I hadn’t thought of that. We usually only give them first names.”
He looked around the room and picked up a screw driver. He knocked it on the table that the machine sat upon.
“How about Phillips?” he said with a smile. “You are metal after all.”
“Cameron Phillips.” the machine whispered to herself.
“That’s good.” she said beginning to smile. “That’s perfect.”
John Connor took her hand and helped her off the table. “Then it’s settled. Cameron Phillips, welcome to the resistance.”
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