Disclaimer & Notices: See Prologue.

 


No Programming
by Red Hope

Chapter 1

John pushed through the doorway first and left the door open for Cameron, who was two steps behind him. He realized the house was quiet but headed to the kitchen on a hunt.

Cameron locked up the front door then heard John’s call for her. She widened her normally small gait and quickly arrived in the kitchen.

“She said she’d be back at two-thirty.” John held a handwritten note in his right hand and worriedly peered up at the terminator.

Cameron was clearly confused by her human-like squinched features and questioning eyes. She took the note that John handed to her and noticed Sarah’s distinct handwriting.

John didn’t wait for Cameron’s response and instead fished out his cell phone. He hastily pulled up his mother’s number then called her. He listened until the ringing that was cut off only after four rings and went to voicemail. He breathed heavily and attempted a second call that went directly to voicemail.

Cameron registered John’s rather distraught expression and asked, “You cannot reach her?”

“This isn’t like her.” John stole a glance at the note before looking at his cell phone again. He bowed his head and muttered, “If she said she’d be here at two-thirty then she’d be here.”

“Perhaps her mission with Derek had setbacks,” Cameron debated.

John snapped his head up at that suggestion. “That’s exactly what worries me.” He then instantly recalled the recent upgrade he’d made to his mother’s phone. Without explanation, he raced off and bounded up the steps to his bedroom.

Cameron was intrigued, returned the note to the table, and followed after her protege. She found him on his computer and rapidly punching in a web address into the Firefox web browser.

John was rushing to Google’s new Latitude website. “I setup that latitude software in mom’s cell phone. It should show us where she’s located.”

“Her cell phone’s location,” Cameron corrected.

John partially glowered at the terminator, but he focused on his task at hand. He was already signed into his Google account, which pulled up a small Google Latitude map. John skimmed through the sub-bar of contacts on his Google Latitude until he saw his mother’s. He clicked on her name and instantly the map exploded on his screen with his mother’s profile picture pinpointing her current location.

Cameron cocked her head to the side at seeing Sarah’s profile picture. She then read the town Sarah was located in then Google Latitude estimated time since the location was updated. “Ten minutes ago.”

John hastily copied the location on Google Latitude’s map then went to the regular Google Maps to obtain the directions from the house to the town.

Again, Cameron studied the screen and read the directions to Sarah’s general location. She memorized them just as she’d earlier retained an image of Sarah’s coordinates on Google Latitude’s map. “I will go find her.”

“Right behind you.” John had shut off his computer and started to rise, but a firm hand on his shoulder stayed him.

“You will remain here,” the terminator ordered.

John tilted his head back and slotted his eyes. “I don’t think so.”

“This is potentially dangerous.” Cameron kept John in place but her grip wasn’t harsh.

“Please,” John muttered, “as if my life isn’t.” He moved out of his protector’s hold and popped up onto his feet. He hastened out of the room but called, “Come on, Cameron.”

The terminator shook her head but followed John and joined him outside the pickup truck. “I will drive since I memorized her location.”

“All yours.” John tossed the keys over the truck hood to the terminator.

Cameron was rounding the truck, and she neatly caught them without even acknowledging that they were thrown to her. She jumped into the truck and revved the engine with clear experience. She put the beastly motor vehicle into drive and floored it with a slam to the gas pedal.

“Shit!” John exclaimed just after he’d buckled his seatbelt. He briefly covered his chest but sharply reminded, “We don’t need the cops chasing us.”

Cameron silently conceded and slowed her speed to a reasonable amount.

John decided to stay busy and lifted his hip up to give better access to his jean pocket. He extracted his cell phone and opened to the text messages. He sent a blank, page message to his mom’s cell phone just to see if it would be delivered. There was no luck, and he became more concerned.

Cameron had a stoic expression while being focused on her driving. She had both hands on the wheel and sat ramrod straight.

John glanced once at the terminator and developed a thin smirk. He considered how at times Cameron acted rather human but at other moments was very automaton. He decided, awhile ago, that Cameron was the single contradiction among the terminator race, and he favored it, greatly. He thought back to years ago when he met the first terminator, T-800, and how impacted John was then. Now, he and his mother had formed a team with another terminator, who swore to protect him at all costs. Since the first union, John had already developed a soft spot for Cameron, unlike his mother.

Cameron stole a glance at her protege and inquired, “A penny for your thoughts?”

John grinned at the human idiom that Cameron spoke to him. Slowly his grin slipped though, and he honestly confessed, “I was thinking about the T-800.”

Cameron considered his reply with a tilt of her head. She kept her eyes on the road though. “You were fond of him.”

John detected it was a statement of fact rather than a question. “Yes.” He remained quiet for a beat but explained, “I think it was the relationship I formed with him that will change everything in the future.”

Cameron was noticeably intrigued by John’s words. “Elaborate.”

“Think about it this way…” John shifted some so he could face Cameron better and speak to her. “If you look at my mother, she first encountered a terminator on bad terms… really bad terms.” He sadly sighed but continued his explanation. “And hell, she can blame her time in the mental institute thanks to the first terminator. But me…” He lifted his hand to his chest.

Cameron looked once at John then back at the road.

“My first encounter was with the T-800, who was trying to save me from the T-1000.”

Cameron processed this perspective and summarized, “Therefore you can see good and evil in terminators… but Sarah cannot see this.”

“Exactly,” John agreed. He adjusted comfortably back in his chair. “Whether my mom can ever accept that good can come from terminators, I’m not totally sure.”

“An old dog can learn new tricks.”

John blinked then chuckled at the terminator’s second idiom for today. He murmured, “Maybe.”

Cameron switched the conversation and announced, “We are almost there.”

“Let’s see if we can spot Derek’s truck.” John became more focused on the task at hand. He was scanning their surroundings as they rolled through the streets of the large town. “There were railroad tracks near mom’s location.”

Cameron silently agreed, and she quickly pulled up her HUD in her vision. She extracted the picture she took from John’s screen that showed the Google Latitude’s location for Sarah Connor. She zoomed in on the map to retrieve the street names and associated it with her current location. “We are relatively close to her location.”

“By the way,” John sheepishly mentioned, “Google’s Latitude location isn’t an exact science… it may be off anywhere from a thousand meters to like five thousand meters.” He caught Cameron’s irritated look.

“That is highly inefficient,” the terminator complained.

John couldn’t stop his eyes from rolling but decided against being a smartass. He was growing more concerned for his mother. “There’s the railroad straight ahead.”

“Indeed,” Cameron murmured. She made a sharp right down a street once the truck rolled over the tracks. She glanced at the street names and concluded they were most likely headed in the right direction.

“Up there!” John pointed and sat up all at once. “It’s Derek’s truck.”

“I’ve already spotted it, Captain Obvious,” Cameron remarked.

John realized what the terminator said to him, and he sharply glared at his protector. “Captain Obvious?”

Cameron showed a faint grin but factually explained, “It is a joke, John.” She pulled the truck up behind Derek’s on the side street and put it into park. “You have unnecessarily stated the obvious.”

John unbuckled his belt then tossed open the door. “Unbelievable,” he huffed and hopped out of the truck.

Cameron concluded the explanation was satisfactory enough yet not quite sure what John did not believe. She let it go since they had more pressing matters. She had the truck off and climbed out but not without retrieving two Glock 17’s. She briskly walked around the front of the truck and met John by the meter machine.

John spotted the guns and scrambled to shield any passerby’s view of them. “Hide them,” he hissed at her.

The terminator looked down at her black wifebeater, tight jeans, and workboots. “Where do you purpose I hide them?”

John couldn’t determine if Cameron was literally asking or being sarcastic. He ignored it and jerked the guns out of the terminator’s hands. He instead hid them under his teeshirt at his jeans’ waistband. He adjusted the teeshirt to make sure they were well hidden then sighed in relief.

“Sufficient enough,” Cameron concluded. She brushed past him and purposely strolled down the sidewalk.

John dramatically sighed but hastened after his protector. He slowed at her side and wondered what she was doing because she seemed to scan their surroundings. It then occurred to him that most likely Cameron was scanning for his mom’s presence.

“Any luck?”

Cameron developed a displeased look in response. She broke away from John’s side and ordered, “This way.” She cut through an opening between two brick buildings and neared the worn train tracks. She stopped at the first track and propped her right boot on the track.

John followed Cameron’s line of sight to the rundown warehouse that once relied on the railroads to send and receive shipments. It now appeared to be abandoned from what John could tell.

“I’m detecting life signs in the building,” Cameron coolly remarked. “I must get closer to determine if it is Sarah or not.” She made her choice and crossed the tracks in haste.

John hurried after the terminator and breathed heavily while a thin sheen of sweat coated his palms. He wiped them dry on his pant legs and edged closer to Cameron, who stood tall in front of the old, rickety warehouse.

Cameron detected several lifeforms inside of the warehouse, and she could faintly hear voices but couldn’t make out any words. She tilted her head backwards and studied the bumpy roof. “I’ve detected Sarah and Derek inside, but they are most likely being held captive.”

John dropped his head and whispered, “Great. Now what?”

The terminator twisted her head to John and simply replied, “A distraction is in order.” Without warning, she grabbed a Glock and pointed it at the warehouse. She absently shot once at the warehouse’s wood plank wall.

“What are you doing?” John bellowed.

“You are the distraction,” Cameron informed. She then yanked free the second gun then raced for the warehouse as mens’ cries rang out.

John was dumbfounded between Cameron’s sudden move then by her incredible jump onto the warehouse’s roof. He then stiffened upon seeing three men with rifles coming for him. “Oh god.” He finally unfroze and made a futile attempt to escape them.

Cameron knelt down and out of sight, but she carefully watched the men chase John. She had her guns perfectly aligned with two of John’s pursuers in case they harmed him.

The closest man to John was extremely fast and jumped for John once in reach. He slammed into the teen, who collided solidly with the railroad track.

John lost the air from his chest and nearly went unconscious from the sharp, sudden pain through his front body. He silently cursed Cameron too.

The three men collected the struggling boy and hauled him back to the warehouse. They repeatedly questioned John what he was doing near the warehouse and who fired the shot. John ignored the questions, hollered, and fought against them in attempt to be a good distraction.

Cameron waited until she heard them enter the warehouse then she focused on her mission. She was already in position and set down her right gun. She then grabbed a board that was slightly curled back.

John Connor had been drug into the warehouse and was greeted by six other men, who visually assessed him.

One man, presumably the leader, stretched out his hand and grabbed John by the jaw. “I’m Sam,” he politely introduced despite his painful grip. “What you doing here, boy?”

John leveled his glare on the large man. “I was just checking out the local area.”

Sam narrowed his eyes at the obvious lie. He sharpened the pain to John’s face. “With a gun in hand huh?” He tilted his head. “Where’s his gun?” His eye flickered to the lackeys, who captured John.

“He won’t tell us.”

Sam returned his icy eyes to the teen. “Where is it?”

“I tossed it,” John quickly replied.

Sam couldn’t be sure whether it was a lie or not. He then looked at his comrades. “Did you see anybody else with him?”

“Nobody.”

“Hmmm.” Sam bit his lower lip but decided, “Lock him up with the other two… we’ll figure out what to do with them later.” He jerked his hand free but shoved the teen backwards to his comrades.

John struggled against his captors but it was useless because they dragged him to the back of the warehouse. He spotted his mother and uncle locked up in a holding cell that was uncharacteristically modern compared to the rest of the building. He noted the guard by the jail, who held a hefty carbine.

Sarah Connor rose to her feet upon seeing her son tossed against the bars. She couldn’t speak, like Derek, due to the gag in her mouth. She also had her hands wire tied behind her back.

Derek briefly struggled against the wire tie that locked his hands behind his back.

The guard freed a loose, hefty wire tie from his belt.

“Don’t bother with it… he won’t be a problem.”

The guard momentarily debated it but reattached the tie to his belt. Then he quickly unlocked the jail’s door, pulled it open, and kept his eyes on the two captives already locked in it.

“Get in!” The lackey pushed John into the cell then stepped back as the guard locked them up tight. “Sam will let you know what we’re doing with them.” He then left with his comrades.

The guard resumed his position and adjusted the assault rifle diagonally to his body.

John softly sighed then shyly smiled at his mother. He murmured, “Surprise.”

Sarah Connor instantly narrowed her eyes, which spoke dangerous volumes.

John glanced at Derek, who was just as perturbed by the change of events. He came over to his mother and carefully removed her gag but prayed it wasn’t his next mistake.

Sarah hastily spit out the gag’s disgusted taste into her hand then wiped it clean on her pants. She then grabbed her son by the shoulders and jerked him closer. She hotly whispered, “What are you doing here?”

“I came to save you,” John plainly informed.

Sarah groaned then snapped, “And who is going to save you?”

“Cameron, of course.” Or at least John was praying that was the case since the terminator ditched him to the crazy men.

Sarah felt some relief at knowing the terminator was here too. “Where is she?”

“I’m not sure,” John confessed.

Derek Reese made a muffled noise that brought John and Sara’s attention to him. He merely nodded towards the hidden shadow tucked behind woodcrates.

John suspected it was the terminator, but he glanced at the guard and noticed his dangerous rifle that may even slow down Cameron. He recalled his role as Cameron’s distraction so he approached the cell’s bars. “Hey,” he called to the nearby guard.

Sarah quietly hissed, “John.”

The guard left his post to the right of cell and neared the cell. However, he remained several steps from the bar. “What is it?” He had a cold expression and a five o’clock shadow on his face.

“Those wire ties really suck.” John tossed his head back at his mother. “She’s already broke free from them.”

The guard grew wide-eye and rushed to the cell to inspect whether it was true or not.

John tensed but carefully wait for the right moment. He suddenly lunged forward, wrapped his hands around the rifle’s barrel, and jerked it into the bars. He effectively slammed the guard into the bars.

“Damn! Let go, boy!” The guard was much stronger and kept control of the rifle with a single hand. He raised his right and made a large fist.

“John!” Sarah hollered at her son. She desperately strained against her binds, and blood oozed over her wrist.

Derek fought against his restraints too. The desperation was clear on his face, but he watched in horror as the guard’s fist came for its mark.

John clenched his teeth at the pending pain aimed for his face. He refused to release the rifle though. Just as he turned his head to the side to avoid any impact, he witnessed a flash movement behind the guard.

The guard cried out at the pain when his fist hit something solid that reminded him of steel. Before he could recover, his feet were swept out from under him, and his back slammed into the concrete floor. He dizzily peered up into a young woman’s face, who coolly regarded him then a hard punch to his face sent him unconscious.

John groaned and dropped his forehead against the chilled bar. The cold was welcoming against his sweaty brow, but he focused on Cameron’s fast hands searching the guard. He lifted his eyes when he heard the men’s frantic calls to check the prisoners.

“Cameron, you better hurry!” John straightened up and yanked on the lock door.

The terminator finally found a pocket knife that she hoped would be on the guard. She set one Glock down by the guard then hastened to the jail. “Step back.” She mentally calculated she had thirty seconds to free the humans before the enemy was upon them.

John backed away from the bars and went to Derek and freed him of the gag.

Cameron had put her gun and knife into her back pockets then grappled two bars in her hands. She increased her grip until the bars crumbled like a can in her hand. She dug her boots’ grips into the concrete and tilted her head at the sounds of the men coming for them.

“Do it!” Sarah yelled at the terminator. She couldn’t understand what the terminator was waiting for to free them.

Cameron made a human-like sound of strain as she easily ripped the cell door free from the jail. She swiftly spun around but used her right foot to pivot her body and control her momentum. Cameron accurately flung the heavy, metal door at the running opponents.

The jail door spun through the air for countless feet before it collided into the nine men. It nearly decapitated the first man then crushed three others into heap on the ground.

“Get them!” Sam ordered his men.

Cameron twisted her torso around and tossed the pocketknife to John. “Free them and get out of here.” She neared the unconscious guard, picked up the M4 carbine, and stepped over his body. She lifted the carbine and aimed at her opponents.

“She’s got the fucking rifle!” Several men ducked behind crates and away from the terminator’s line of sight just before bullets rained on them. But two unfortunates were shot dead in the first round.

Cameron paused and glanced at the carbine’s side where she found the firing selector. She flipped the switch then took aim again at the crates that hid the humans. She rapidly gave off three-round bursts at an alarming rate, and the bullets chewed up the crates.

Sarah Connor and Derek were now free from their binds. Sarah knelt by the guard and scooped up the Glock sitting by the guard. She tossed the gun to Derek then she looked up at Cameron’s ridged back. Her breath hitched once she realized how mechanically Cameron dealt with the threat before them as if it were perfectly normal. Sarah shook her head to gain focus again. She yanked two magazines free from the guard’s side then hastened to come up behind the terminator.

Cameron detected Sarah Connor’s presence directly behind her. But she didn’t stop her continuous fire on the men, who were trying to remain safe behind the crates.

Sarah swallowed down her apprehension and forced her body into Cameron’s personal space. She carefully trade the Glock with the carbine’s two magazines because she knew Cameron was almost finished with the current magazine.

“You must leave,” Cameron coolly ordered over her shoulder.

“These men are dangerous,” Sarah called over the gunfire.

Cameron tilted her head and swept her aim to the right when two men tried to take shots at her. “I am more dangerous.”

Sarah Connor shivered at the terminator’s calm statement that reminded her that Cameron was a killing machine. She backed away from Cameron before the magazine was drained and the men would undoubtedly have opportunity to return fire. She raced over to her son and Derek.

“Let’s move!” Derek commanded. He waved his gun to the back, away from the dangerous gunfire.

“We can’t leave Cameron,” John yelled.

“Go!” Sarah shoved her son after Derek. For the first time, she was concerned for Cameron despite she’d seen the terminator easily eliminate T-800’s in the past. She stole one last glance back at Cameron, who just finished the magazine.

Derek Reese slammed his full body into a weakened plank, which broke under his power. He kicked it further out of the way and was greeted by the afternoon sun. “John, come on.” He forcefully grabbed his nephew’s wrist and yanked him through.

John followed his uncle out of the warehouse and slipped through the opening. He turned around and spotted his mother still watching Cameron.

The terminator had knelt down just before the men returned fire on her. She was hunched forward with the carbine in her left hand while she struggled to obtain another magazine from her right back pocket. She was assaulted by bullets all over her body but none could stop her. She pulled the release for the empty clip, which fell to the concrete floor and bounced once.

“Mom!” John hollered.

Sarah Connor shoved her internal struggle away and made her choice. She turned back to her son and Derek and quickly followed after them. She slipped between the planks just as her right ear filled with the renewed bullet rings from the M4 carbine. Somewhere in her, it was the most secure sound she’d heard in awhile.

“The truck is this way.” Derek started to move towards the tracks, but he saw John’s hesitation.

“We just can’t leave her in there,” John sharply vented to his mother.

Derek neared the mother and son then snapped, “She’s a machine, John… she was made for this. Nobody is going to cry if she’s lost.”

John shot a dark glare at his uncle, but he rarely argued back because he understood Derek’s old hatred. He turned back to his mother in desperate plea, “She needs are our help, mom.”

Sarah clenched her freehand and lifted her eyes to Derek.

“No,” Derek cut off before Sarah could say it. “You’re not doing it.”

“Get John to the truck and out of here if we’re not there in ten.” Sarah back stepped a few paces then spun around to face the warehouse.

John became frantic once he realized his idea blew up the wrong way. “Mom, no!” He was about to chase for her, yet Derek snared him and pulled him backwards. “Derek, she’s going to get kill.” He struggled against his uncle.

Derek held back his venomous words about how that wouldn’t happen if John hadn’t pleaded with his mother to save the terminator. He knew it wouldn’t help the situation so he focused on getting John to the truck.

Sarah Connor stood beside the opening Derek had made in the warehouse. She carefully listened but heard no gunfire, which made her suspicious as well as concerned. She inhaled deeply then made herself pass between the worn planks into the darkened warehouse. She concluded that most likely the overhead lights were shot out by either Cameron or the men.

Silently, Sarah made her way back to the torn jail and noted the unconscious guard still slumped on the ground. She then focused on the blood splotch where she last saw Cameron firing rounds off. There was too much blood for it to be Cameron’s. Sarah raised her Glock vertically and edged closer to the crate’s corner. But the sudden prickle at her neck made her look up to the top of the stack crates.

Sarah spun around and pointed her gun at the leader, Sam. She gave off a shot, but the bullet ricocheted of the wood box and missed its mark. She was too late to recover because Sam jumped off the box and tackled her to the ground. Sarah rolled on the floor with him until she found herself locked under him.

Sam scooped up the gun that Sarah had lost, and he pointed it at her face. “Get up,” he barked. He backed off and climbed to his feet but kept the gun aimed at her. “You’re not her but you’ll do.”

Sarah faced him and tried not to betray herself by giving off any indications she’d attack him.

“Turn around,” Sam snapped.

Sarah lifted her hands up, palm out, and tried to show she’d given up. Yet she mentally worked out her next move to win ground.

Sam’s eyes flickered to the girl, who appeared from behind the crates on the other side of the warehouse. He panicked and desperately jerked his captive into his body with her back into his front. He pressed the Glock’s barrel against Sarah Connor’s temple.

Cameron hadn’t realized it was Sarah Connor until her life signs registered in her system. She gripped the M4 tighter now that Sarah compromised the situation. “Do not harm her.”

“Miss Connor is perfectly safe as long as you cooperate,” Sam informed the terminator.

Sarah tensed because he knew her real name.

Cameron eyes slowly went to slits, and she debated her next move. She didn’t have time to think about how or why Sam knew Sarah’s real name.

“Now look, Supergirl,” Sam taunted to Cameron, “I know you’re a fast thinker and fighter. But before you make a calculated decision, keep in mind while you were shelling off bullets at my men, I was busy calling for help. In about two minutes this warehouse will be filled with over twenty-four men… heavily loaded, might I add.”

Sarah Connor didn’t like the turn of events nor the direction it was headed now. She debated whether it was a mistake for her to return.

“Now,” Sam casually continued, “if you will toss that rifle to the ground but far enough from your reach.” He then flashed an evil smile. “Please.”

Cameron had a thin coat of sweat over her body, which made her glow in the limited light. She was marred by bullet entry wounds, but she was at full capacity to fight. She thought of her essential mission, which was to protect John Connor, and she knew he was safe. However, as Cameron shifted her eyes to Sarah Connor, she came to grips that her mission was far more than just John Connor. After relaxing her clenched jaw, she tossed the M4 halfway between her and Sarah Connor.

“Wise decision,” Sam taunted. He tilted his head a bit and carefully regarded the girl. “They told me there was little that could stop you short of a bomb or plasma gun. But I think I’ve found something much better…” He lowered his eyes to Sarah Connor and caressed his gaze over her upper body. “You’re one but greatest weakness.”

Cameron held onto her silence because she concluded she may inadvertently give him more information than he already had on her. Besides, she was rapidly picking up data about him as he continued to speak.

“Who are you?” Sarah growled at him.

Sam chuckled at the feisty woman’s demand. He curiously studied her profile and replied, “I’m merely an arms dealer… like you say, Miss Connor.”

Sarah briefly antagonized her captive, but he stilled her movements with a sharp press of the Glock’s barrel. “You’re more than a goddamn arms dealer.” She twisted her around and hissed, “You’re trying to build Time Displacement Equipment.”

Sam gave an innocent expression despite the glint to his dark eyes. “A time machine? Really, Miss Connor that’s the most absurd thing ever… it could get you put into a mental rehab.” He paused and revealed a wicked grin. “Again.”

Cameron was filing away data about Sam for later study. He knew far too much about her and Sarah Connor. But the noise at the warehouse’s main doors caught her attention. She detected several humans marching into the warehouse and by their steps, they were indeed well armed.

“It’s about goddamn time.” Sam was clearly annoyed that it took his men this long to arrive, but it would do no good to discuss it now. He instead signaled Cameron. “Be careful with her and just surround her, for now.”

The men were dressed in normal attire except for bullet proof vests and rifles in their hands; they were clearly soldiers. They fanned out then circled the girl that seemed little threat to untrained eye. The soldiers aimed their guns at Cameron and kept a careful watch of her.

“Matt, did you bring that collar?”

One soldier broke from the circle and approached Sam and his captive. “Yes, sir.”

“Perfect.” Sam adjusted his hold on Sarah by wrapping his left around around her waist. He locked her against his body. He lowered his head closer to her ear and whispered, “This won’t hurt a bit.”

Matt had reached to his back after slinging his rifle across his shoulder. He brought his hands forward with a black band, but he pushed and held a button on the side. After three seconds, he pulled his thumb away and the band opened wide.

“Put it on her while I hold her still,” Sam ordered.

Sarah Connor grounded her teeth as Matt approached her with the black, thick band and raised it up at her. She gave a cry once Matt was in range, and she kicked him in the stomach.

Matt doubled over and back peddled twice. He nearly dropped the band but clutched it in his right while he covered his stomach.

Cameron fisted her hands and took one step but stopped at the resounding click of guns. She glared at the soldiers around her then looked back at Sarah.

“You want this the hard way then.” Sam wasn’t pleased by Sarah Connor’s resistance to the band so he slugged her on the temple with the gun.

Sarah collapsed to the ground and hot blood trickled down her face. She was about to get up but the hard kick to her stomach kept her down. She rolled onto her stomach then put her hands under her. Sarah lifted her aching body a few inches only to be hammered by two more kicks, and she tumbled back down.

“No!” Cameron yelled. She took another step but a bullet was fired at her feet. She clenched her hands tighter and bared her teeth at the soldiers.

Sam knelt down beside the fallen woman and nailed his elbow hard into her back to finally sedate her. He then waved for Matt to come back. “I believe she’ll cooperate now.”

Matt knelt beside his leader and brought the black band around Sarah Connor’s neck. He pulled the ends together until they met then locked shut. He heard the small chime that the collar was now activated and online.

“The remote, Matt?” Sam held out his hand.

Matt obliged and gave the small black remote to Sam. He then grabbed the fallen woman and hauled her to her feet.

Sam stood up and coldly smiled at Sarah’s woozy features. “Follow me, Miss Connor.”

But Matt had to drag the injured woman behind his leader until they came to a stop within the circle. He then released prisoner and freed his rifle.

Sarah Connor slowly lifted her face and revealed the blood streak down her right side. She locked her fuzzy green eyes on the terminator.

Cameron took another stop but Sam’s warning made her stop.

“I would not.” Sam now held up the remote that was in his right palm, it was framed by his hand. “Do you like her new, pretty collar, Cameron?” He was smug and full of arrogance because he knew he had the terminator in his hands too. “Let me demonstrate what it can do if you decide not to cooperate with me.” He pushed the top button.

Sarah Connor let out a ferocious howl when hot electricity surged through her entire body. She collapsed to her knees and clawed at the collar. But as fast as it started, it was also over, and she dropped her head forward. She fought against the blackout that wanted to overcome her.

“Neat little toy huh?” Sam lifted his smile from Sarah to Cameron. “And this second button here…” He indicated it merely by resting his thumb on it. “This has more permanent consequences, in her case. The collar will detonate in thirty seconds and destroy anything within a hundred foot radius, roughly.” He now lowered his hand with the remote and informed, “And if the collar is improperly removed then it automatically detonates without a countdown.”

Cameron was breathing heavily but not from being worn down. She was angry and wanted nothing more than to kill these men. She briefly envisioned her hand around Sam’s throat while her other hand ripping his guts out slowly. She could almost taste the satisfaction in his screams.

“Now,” Sam happily continued, “are we in an accord, ladies?”

Sarah Connor swimming vision started to settle and directly on Cameron’s face. She couldn’t move her upper body well because many parts were still numb after the electric shock.

Cameron swallowed hard but in her best monotone, replied, “I understand.”

Sam gave a quick smile to the terminator then seriously looked down at Sarah. “Miss Connor, your response? And if you can’t speak… a simple nod will suffice.”

Sarah continued to stare at the terminator. She felt all the control out of her hands and in the hands of this sicko. She knew her only hope now was the terminator saving them.

Cameron lowered her eyes and held Sarah’s gaze. She had been taught to read human emotions and for the first time, she saw fear held in Sarah Connor. Cameron clenched her hands tighter and accidentally broke the skin in her palm with her nails. She hoped that Sarah Connor would just trust her.

“Miss Connor, are we doing this the hard way too?” Sam lifted the remote some and his thumb went to the top button. Yet he paused at hearing the woman’s slurred voice.

“Yesss.”

Sam dropped his head to the side and studied the kneeling woman’s profile. “Yes, you agree to cooperate with me?”

Sarah struggled to move her mouth despite the numbness. “Yesss,” she painfully repeated.

“Excellent!” Sam was gleeful and turned to Matt at his side. “Take them away but be sure to bind Miss Connor’s hands.”

Matt shifted but hesitated and checked, “What of her?” He pointed his rifle at Cameron.

“She will have to be chained later, but I think for now she’ll do as we say.” Sam turned his head to Cameron. “She doesn’t want to endanger Miss Connor’s life.” He stepped back from Sarah Connor, who was being ruffly bound by Matt. “Let’s load up the trucks.”

Sarah Connor had her hands wire tied again but in front of her this time. She lifted her head and darkly glared at Matt, who hadn’t forgotten her earlier kick at his stomach.

Matt growled and made a fast decision. He slammed his rifle’s buttstock into her head and knocked her unconscious. “Easier to transport.”

Sam peered over his shoulder to see Miss Connor a slumped heap on the cold concrete. He lifted his head to Cameron, and he just shrugged at her. He continued his calm stroll to the warehouse’s main doors.

Sarah was on her side, facing the terminator, and her eyes had rolled back into her head. She didn’t move except for the steady rise and fall of her chest. Her hands were held out and fingers stretched out towards Cameron in a silent gesture for help.

Cameron fought to keep her expression masked as she stared at the injured human at her feet. She lifted her eyes until they locked on Matt, and it took all her self-control to restrain her programmed tendency to terminate a threat. She had to strive for patience and a cool head until it was the right time.

To be continued.