Disclaimer & Notices: See Prologue.


No Programming
by Red Hope 

Chapter 3

“Put her on the bed, Supergirl,” Sam ordered to Cameron.

The terminator brushed passed a few soldiers then carefully lowered Sarah Connor onto a double bed that had a wrought iron frame.

“Back away from her,” Sam furthered commanded. He indicated the remote as a quick reminder to the terminator what would happen if she disobeyed his orders. Once the terminator backed away from Sarah Connor, he instructed his men to chain Sarah Connor to the bed while he neared Cameron with three men at his side.

Cameron scanned the bare, concrete room that only had the bed, table, and a few chairs. She watched two soldiers chain Sarah down to the bed. But her dark eyes darted back to Sam, who had neared her with an odd tool pointed at her. She realized her HUD reacted to Sam’s tool, which started to promptly scan her systems. Cameron struggled against the scan but nothing could stop it.

Sam smirked at the readings that appeared on his scanner’s screen. “It seems you are quite the Supergirl, Cameron… you’ve done well resisting the spider.” He tisked a few times at the terminator then punched sequences into the scanner’s button handle. “We’ll have to speed up the process though.”

Cameron’s sensitive hearing picked up a violent whistle that tore through her cybernetic brain. She clutched her temples with her shackled hands. Then her HUD erratically flickered, but she wouldn’t give into the spider’s stretching tentacles into her programing. She silently repeated Sarah’s words about fate until it became a mantra.

Sam shook his head and lowered his scanner. He happily reminded Cameron, “You can’t play Supergirl forever… you will return to terminator subroutines soon enough.” He switched off the scanner and chuckled at Cameron’s angry glare. “And just think, one of the humans you’ve been protecting for a year will be your welcoming back to servitude.”

Cameron took a step closer to Sam, but she halted when he held up the remote in warning.

Sam smirked and amusingly mentioned, “You know, if I were you I’d let Sarah Connor fry. Then you’d have a chance at me before you revert to your subroutines and take direct orders from me.” His lips thinned in consideration at the fact Cameron refused to attack him. “But somewhere in that intelligent, metal brain you hold onto your loyalty for these humans, who despise you.” He huffed and walked away from the terminator. “How humanly pathetic, Supergirl.”

Cameron pulled at her chains that bound her wrists together. She knew they were strained and about to snap under her rage. But she suddenly eased her strength because she worried about Sarah Connor’s safety if she freed herself from the chains. The subroutine instilled in her since her existence flared up briefly because she wanted to kill Sam.

Sam headed for the heavy metal door and ordered, “Matt, follow me.” He and his second in command left the room with a slam of the door. In a few minutes, Matt returned and held the collar remote in his left hand.

Cameron watched as a few of the men took seats at the table while others remained near her.

“Alright, men,” Matt spoke up, “we have about twenty hours until Sam gets back. By then the TDE should be built and ready to get us home.” He shifted his attention to the terminator. “So let’s get comfortable and watch the freakshow.”

Cameron rested her back against the wall and shut her eyes. But she certainly was not asleep as her heads-up display appeared in her dark vision. She quickly saw a new estimated time until reset in her screen, which stated she had between twenty to thirty hours before she reverted back to full, mindless terminator. She knew that whatever Sam had done, it set off the spider to work harder in her cortical module. But Cameron set aside that analysis and began to process various ways to handle the current situation and variables. She’d made a promise to Sarah Conner to get her back to John.

Two hours passed by in relative quietness besides a few soldiers’ annoyed shouts over repeated games of poker. But one of the men became bored of the game and tossed his poker hand onto the table. He shoved his chair back and climbed to his feet while he muttered how too much poker dulled his senses.

Cameron opened her eyes and centered her focus on the frustrated soldier. She recognized him as the same man that’d pushed Sarah at the landing strip.

The bored soldier caught the terminator’s stare and snidely grinned at her. He came over to Matt and mentioned, “I don’t see why we don’t entertain ourselves with her.” He signaled Cameron with his chin.

“Just back off, Brad,” Matt ordered to the soldier.

Brad frowned and hotly argued, “What’s it matter anyway? She’s a goddamn machine.” He leered at Cameron and added, “But sure is a pretty, little one.”

A few other soldiers became interested in the conversation and stopped playing poker.

“Come on, Matt… let Brad have his fun.”

“Where is the harm? It’s just a machine… no different than some of that stuff my father use to buy at the store.”

Brad folded his broad arms and waited for the second in command’s decision.

Matt clutched the collar’s remote in his hand knowing it was the only deterrent for the machine. He could tell that Brad nor the others wanted to back down on the idea. It wasn’t so much he disagreed to the fun but more at the fact what it could prompt from the terminator, now or later.

“Just give Crazy Connor over there a zap if she doesn’t do what I want her to do,” Brad told the second in command. He playfully punched Matt’s shoulder then approached the terminator. He slyly smirked at the terminator in front of him. “Let’s see how well you’re programmed, machine.” He rested his hands on his belt bulk.

Cameron tilted her head then remarked, “I am a cybernetic organism that is capable of terminating you in three point two seconds.”

Brad laughed and so did a few of his comrades. He settled down and remarked, “Well, cyborg let’s see if you’re capable of using that mouth for something more useful, sweetheart.”

Cameron clenched her hands at her side. “Nor am I a sweetheart, idiot.”

Brad took a step closer and brought his fist near the terminator’s face. But he pulled back upon realizing such a punch could inflicted more pain on him than her. He bared his teeth then hissed, “On your knees, machine.”

Cameron didn’t compile and held her position. She refused to submit to anybody let alone this idiotic human.

“Kneel or watch Connor fry!” Brad snapped.

Matt backed up Brad’s words by holding up the remote. He slipped his thumb over the electrocution button.

“Now,” Brad sneered.

Cameron had rather calm breathing, and she slowly lowered to her knees in front of the hulking man. She watched Brad fumble with his belt buckle then the button hidden behind it. She immediately understood the human’s intentions to force her to perform oral sex on him. All she could remind herself was that it’d spare Sarah Connor. But chains rattled over on the bed then Sarah Connor’s venomous words filled the room.

“You fucking bastards!” Sarah drew everybody’s attention to her, and she jerked on the right chain around her wrist that locked her to the bed. “You leave her the fuck alone!”

Brad lit up at the fact that Sarah Connor was now awake to witness the machine please him. “Connor, you’re up just in time to enjoy the party.”

“You sick son of a bitch,” Sarah snapped. She was furious and her green in her eyes lit up by fire. “Don’t you fuckin’ touch her.”

Brad still clutched his unbuttoned waistband and his chest shook from a silent laugh. “Like you really care about a machine, Connor.” He turned back to the machine knelt before him. “It’s not rape if it’s not human… that’s a little advice from future humans.”

“I swear to God if you touch her,” Sarah Connor snarled.

“What?” Brad waited for the pending threat but received nothing but a furious glare. He switched back to Cameron and studied her mechanical expression that show absolutely no emotions. He puckered his lips and thought back to his earlier advice, which made him swiftly grin at an evil idea. “Actually…” He took a step back and reworked his button and belt.

The soldiers were surprised that Brad backed off from having the terminator do him. Matt lowered the remote some but didn’t remove his thumb.

“I want to show you what I mean, Connor.” Brad now put his hands on his hips and declared, “Alright, machine you’re going to do Connor.”

Cameron had stood up after Brad moved away from her. She deciphered the human’s idiotic slang but pretended not to understand it.

Sarah Connor was dumbfounded by the turn of events. She shook her head and whispered, “No.”

Brad grinned at the prisoner on the bed. He informed, “It’s not raping you when it’s not human, Connor.”

“You are fucking sick,” Sarah spat.

Brad could tell none of his comrades would argue him. He did detect that Matt was hesitant to the idea, but Brad didn’t care. He instead pulled out his pistol and pointed it at Sarah Connor. “Fuck her, machine or I won’t wait for Matt to fry her.”

Cameron chest rose and fell in rapid succession because her earlier rage had returned in her. She found her HUD returning without control, and it ordered her to terminate Brad. She forced yet another override before she willingly gave into the order and risked Sarah Connor’s life.

“Fuck her, now!” Brad yelled at the terminator. He cocked his pistol for his final warning.

Sarah clawed at the mattress under her hands. She struggled against her bonds but it was useless.

Cameron never blinked during her staring match with Brad. However, she finally moved and approached the bed. She held Sarah Connor’s eyes with hers and wished she could give her assurance, yet it was faulty.

Brad edged closer to the bed. “Fuck her like you want it, machine… like it’s real to you.”

Cameron slightly pivoted back towards Brad but stopped herself. She switched her attention to Sarah Connor’s face and saw the fear there. She knew this required her to get on the bed so she slowly lifted her heavy weight up onto the bed.

Sarah Connor sucked in her breath when the terminator straddled her hips. She wanted to toss Cameron off her body, having never had the terminator this close to her. She rammed her eyes shut though at the thought of Cameron’s small but strong hands caressing her body soon. She’d had a few dreams about such an event but none played out this way.

“Kiss her, machine,” Brad snapped.

Cameron had a tense posture as she straddled the human’s hips. She detected the sweat that coated her palms and the friction built up in her cybernetic structure. She’d felt this way a few times previously when she’d accidentally been in Sarah’s personal space. But this time it was far more heightened due to pending circumstances.

Sarah peered up again at the terminator, who struggled with Brad’s latest order.

Cameron leaned forward slowly in order to carry out the kiss. She pressed her right palm near Sarah’s head while her left was just near Sarah’s shoulder. She gradually lowered yet still hesitated to kiss the human.

Sarah had glossy eyes and a dire expression at seeing the terminator’s stoic features. She licked her dry lips and whispered, “Cameron, please… not like this.”

Brad shifted his gun’s barrel towards Sarah Connor’s head and smugly checked, “You’d rather die than have a machine fuck you? Just go with it, Connor.”

“Fuck you!” Sarah hotly yelled at Brad. But her anger fizzled when Cameron’s head came down to hers. Her breathing was hitched and her heartbeat frantic. She wished it was just a nightmare she’d wake up from shortly.

Cameron studied Sarah’s prone features and her HUD popped up with a command to terminate Sarah Connor. Without any strain, Cameron reversed the order with an override. She lowered her head more but brushed her cheek across Sarah’s in a gentle manner. She shut her eyes and whispered, “Do you trust me, Sarah?”

Sarah twisted her eyes closed, tightly and inhaled the soft scent that was Cameron. She realized she had to cross this bridge finally if she were to survive. She bit her lower lip and murmured, “I trust you.” Sarah emphasized her words by managing her left hand around Cameron’s lower arm. She gave a gentle squeeze to the terminator’s warm skin.

“Fucking kiss her already!” Brad shouted at the terminator.

Cameron moved her left hand and cupped Sarah’s lowered jaw and temple into her palm. She moved her head until her lips brushed across Sarah’s. After a beat, she pressed her lips more firmly against the soft ones under hers.

Sarah tried not to find enjoyment in the kiss that’d been forced on her, and even Cameron. Yet her body responded to Cameron’s seductive, full lips that were so silky. She unknowingly let a moan escape her once she allowed Cameron to enter her mouth.

The terminator wasn’t absolutely focused on the kiss as her sensors detected that the soldiers had eased closer to her and Sarah. She pinpointed Matt’s exact location, which was most crucial.

Sarah felt the dance between her and Cameron’s tongues come to a slow end. She gradually opened her eyes as Cameron withdrew from her. Then it registered that an eruption was about to happen by the expression on the terminator’s face. Her entire body tensed up when Cameron’s right arm ripped from her hand and went upwards.

Cameron had straightened up and moved in a blur. There were two loud pops of metal when Cameron tore free the upper wrought iron bar from the bed’s frame. She then violently twisted her torso around and fired the serrated edge pipe as a spear in Matt’s direction. But in her path was also Brad so she’d increased her force to make sure she’d get her main target.

Brad pulled his gun’s trigger but it was futile. His bullet hit the wall behind Cameron and the long pipe sliced through his chest, lifted him, and sent him backwards. His back collided into somebody else.

Matt screamed in agony but the serrated edge ran through his ribs and pierced his heart. He collapsed dead on the floor with Brad on him and locked to him due to the pipe.

“Stop her!”

Cameron grabbed the chain that held Sarah’s right arm. She easily broke the chain with a subtle jerk. She repeated the same with the left chain just before the soldiers’ handguns were fired at them. She managed her smaller but longer body over top of Sarah Connor to protect her from bullets.

Sarah Connor muffled a small cry but tucked her arms and hands under Cameron. She heard a bullet bounce off Cameron’s back.

“Stop firing, idiots unless you want to get killed!” a soldier hollered over the gunfire din.

The terminator found her second opening at those expected orders. She hastily rolled off Sarah Connor and snapped the chain that bound her hands. She lifted them into a fighting stance and readied for the soldiers to come at her.

“Slow her down while I get the remote,” the same soldier barked.

Cameron calculated how much time she had to stop that soldier from obtaining the remote and how much effort it’d take for her to back these other soldiers off. She wasn’t the least surprised when three of them jumped for her and tried to knock her down.

The soldier who wanted the remote knelt beside Matt and Brad. He noted that Brad was still alive but barely. He shook his head and felt around for the remote. He cursed when he couldn’t find it. He desperately tried to move Brad in hopes to see better then he spotted what he thought was the remote. He slipped his hand between the locked bodies, but an intense pain plunged into his hand when a bullet struck him.

The soldier, Sean, hissed and retracted his hand. He looked over his shoulder to see who had fired at him. He was stunned to see Sarah Connor standing up on the bed, ankles still shackled, and gun aimed at his head.

“Step back, soldier boy.” Sarah slotted her eyes when Sean didn’t take her seriously so she shot a bullet into his shoulder, which made him howl. “Next bullet will make it’s mark in a fatal spot,” she swore.

Sean clutched his wounded shoulder but stepped away from Matt and Brad. He then had to jump back when the terminator tossed a handful of his comrades like feathers.

Cameron grabbed the last soldier that hadn’t fallen, besides Sean. She grabbed him by his collar and promptly swung him around then slammed him head first into the concrete wall. She grinned when the man’s head smashed open against it and blood trickled down the wall. The terminator shifted her attention to Sean, who was being carefully watched by Sarah.

“Get the remote… I’ll watch him.” Sarah never moved her eyes off the last standing soldier.

Cameron stepped over the fallen soldiers and came to the Matt and Brad. Her heads-up display was fully operational, and she stole a glance at Sean. Her HUD told her to terminate him, which she didn’t override but temporarily ignored the order. Cameron knelt beside the humans that had the wrought iron pipe sticking through them and blood spilling out on the cold floor. She rarely had sympathy and certainly did not for these two. She found the remote, collected it, and stood up with it in her hand.

Sarah Connor was relieved to see it. She watched the terminator shove it down her cleavage for safe keeping.

The terminator centered her HUD display on Sean and the red word TERMINATE flashed in her screen. She balled up her right hand into a fist and prepared to follow the order.

“Cameron, I need a little help over here,” Sarah tried. She could not just see but felt the terminator’s murderous intent for the last soldier.

Cameron broke from her cold stare on Sean and looked over at Sarah. Again, her heads-up display feverishly commanded her to terminate Sarah Connor. She tightened her right fist and dangerously neared the infamous Sarah Connor.

Sarah shook her head at the terminator’s chilled face. She kept her gun aimed at Sean but seriously debated whether to point it at Cameron. “Come on, snap out of it, Cameron. You control your own programming.”

Cameron tilted her head back and her mechanical expression centered on Sarah.

“Cameron,” Sarah tried one last time, “I trust you… don’t fail me on this.” The air between her and Cameron was intense.

The terminator didn’t shift or change facial features. But her HUD flickered twice then the order to terminate Sarah Connor was overridden once more. She bowed her head, stepped forward, and grabbed the manacles around the human’s ankles.

Sarah sighed in relief but quickly looked back at Sean. She carefully got off the bed and felt relief when her boots hit the floor. She glanced at Cameron again and saw how she seemed to lose some life in her. She considered how ridiculous it sounded, yet it was true. “What’s happening inside you?”

Cameron took a deep breath and murmured, “The spider is attempting another method to reset me. It is erasing my memories.”

Sarah looked back and forth between Sean and Cameron. “You can’t stop it?”

“I am attempting to stop it.”

Sarah cursed because there was little she could do to help Cameron, who actually looked worn from her internal struggle. “Just stay with me, Cameron.” She focused on their lock confines. “We need to get the hell out of here.”

Cameron obliged by going over to the lock metal door and kicking it open. She observed the bent door landing on the ground and skidding a few more feet. She tilted her head at the military truck that would serve as their getaway transportation.

Sarah adjusted her hands on the gun. “What should we do with him?” She rarely asked for Cameron’s advice, but she was rundown too and couldn’t completely think out a plan. All she knew was that she needed to escape.

Cameron turned on her heels and stated, “I will dispose of him.”

“Wait,” Sean begged, “I can be of use.”

Sarah Connor moved around the room until she was at the door with Cameron. She had her gun aimed at Sean, who had turned in his spot.

Sean held up his hands and pleaded, “I don’t want to die.”

Sarah swallowed against the bitter vile in the back of her throat because she knew he, like the others, had agreed to her and Cameron’s kidnapping and near rapes. For the first time, she sided with a terminator over another human. She unclenched her jaw and whispered, “Do what you want, Cameron.” She lowered her gun and added, “I’ll get that truck started.” Then she was gone and made a jog for the truck’s driver’s door before she heard any audible sounds from Sean.

Cameron neared Sean without any emotions displayed on her face or in her eyes. She required no emotions to complete this minor task nor would she give this human any of her precious, rare emotions. She grabbed him by the throat and hefted him up into the air.

Sarah Connor tapped the gas pedal a few times to rev the warm truck. She dropped her head back against the headrest and released a deep sigh. In the distance, she heard a wrenching scream that she ignored by turning the radio onto a random station. She shut her eyes and let herself enjoy the classical piano music until it hit her. This was the song Nocturne in C sharp minor.

For once, the piano song gave Sarah Connor solace so she turned it up a bit louder in hopes it’d take her back to her house where John was doing his homework and Cameron playing this song upstairs. Once the six minutes of beautiful piano music ended, Sarah’s eyes drifted open and reality washed over her. She and Cameron needed to get away before Sam and his other lackeys returned for them. She also needed a way to deal with Cameron’s pending reset but more importantly the collar on her neck. She instinctively reached for it and clutched it in frustration.

“That was Frédéric Chopin’s famous Nocturne in C sharp minor, which was featured in the movie The Pianist,” the radio announcer commented. He then shuffled a few papers near the microphone. “Before we continue with the thirty minutes of nonstop classical, the weather first.”

Sarah turned down the volume but still listened as it may clue her into her whereabouts.

“In greater Great Falls, the temperatures are expected to be in the teens and tomorrow peak to the upper thirties. But tomorrow looks to be sunny with little to no cloud cover.” The radio announcer continued with the weather, but Sarah ignored him.

Sarah muttered, “Great Falls?” But she lost her thoughts because Cameron tossed open the truck’s passenger door. She noticed a hefty pack in the terminator’s hands. She was surprised by three wallets that were placed on the dashboard.

Cameron put the pack between her and Sarah on the bench seat. She then lifted her eyes to Sarah and slotted them at the black collar. “It must be removed from your neck.”

Sarah agreed and fingered it but reminded, “It will set off if it’s tampered with.”

The terminator considered this factor then argued, “I can remove it without detonating it, but you must assist me.” She scooted the pack out of the way then came down the bench until she was a few inches from touching Sarah.

Sarah tensed up but tried to calm down. She heard a low pop at Cameron’s hip so she glanced down to see a rugged pocketknife in Cameron’s hand; she suspected it was one of the soldier’s. It was held out to her, and she gingerly accepted it. “What do you want me to do?”

Cameron lifted her hands then with her right index finger, she traced an invisible line across the top of her right wrist. “You must make a small cut across here.”

Sarah was obviously confused and parted her lips to ask why but was cut short.

“I have short tubules that can connect to the collar and disable it.” Cameron drew the line across her wrist again and explained, “If you cut here then I can extend them from my body.”

Sarah took a steady breath then let it out slowly. “Okay.” She opened the black pocketknife to find the blade rather long and with a serrated teeth at the bottom of the blade. She held Cameron’s wrist into her left hand and brought knife’s sharp tip to tender skin. “Are you sure about this?”

“Yes.”

Sarah inhaled and held her breath as she pressed the blade down through the skin until she hit metal. She nervously drew the blade across Cameron’s wrist and opened the skin to reveal a thin slit. She pulled the bloody knife away but wiped it clean on her jeans. “Now what?”

“Now you relax so that I can concentrate.” Cameron pressed her left hand down into the bench seat and rotated her right hand down as far as possible. She instantly ordered her tubules to life, which snaked through the fine slit and slithered in midair towards Sarah Connor.

“Holy shit,” Sarah gasped and instinctively jumped back at seeing the black tubes that neared her face.

“Please relax,” Cameron instructed. “I will not harm you.” She directed the tubules down to Sarah’s throat, and they wrapped around the black collar.

Sarah decided not to watch and just prayed this wouldn’t blow up in her face, literally. She heard a low hum under her chin and after a long minute, the collar chirped then fell away from her neck.

Cameron caught the explosive collar with the tubules. She retracted her tubules but not without grabbing the collar into her right hand. Once her tubules were gone, she held up the collar in triumph.

Sarah gave a lopsided smile at the terminator. “Nice work, girlie.” She took the collar and decided, “This will by handy.” She opened the driver’s door, hopped out, and placed the collar several feet away from the truck. She got back in the running truck and buckled up. “Let’s blow this popsicle stand.”

Cameron had buckled up too but cocked her head to the side. “Please explain.”

“It’s a figure of speech,” Sarah replied. She looked from the shut garage door ahead of them then up over her head. She grinned at the black box that was hooked to the visor. She reached up and hit the button, which caused the garage door to slowly roll up. She put the truck into gear.

“Popsicle stand?” Cameron murmured in a perplexed tone.

Sarah decided to chuckle for once at Cameron’s naiveness because it was refreshing compared to their earlier situation. She pulled her foot off the brake and allowed the truck to head through the open door. “In this case, we are going to blow this popsicle stand.” She hit the gas harder, and the truck roared away from the small building. She couldn’t be more happy to get away from the nightmare events despite Cameron’s reset was a huge problem facing her. “You still have that remote?”

The terminator fished it out of her bodice and held it up in display.

“Perfect.” Sarah glanced through her side review mirror and ordered, “Count to ten then hit the detonation button.”

Cameron shifted her thumb over the button then indeed counted to ten. She pressed the button and the distant explosion filled her ears. She leaned to her right a bit and peered through the mirror to see the flames from the building.

“That should keep Sam off our trail for awhile,” Sarah muttered to herself. Yet she suspected that Cameron heard her.

“It is not safe to return to John yet.”

Sarah flexed her grip on the steering wheel but refused to look at the terminator. “Not until I figure out what to do with you, Tin-Miss.”

Cameron blinked once then rotated her head to the human. “It is not just me that you must be concerned about.” She noticed the rise of tension from Sarah. “Sam is still a threat… we cannot return until we’ve terminated that threat.”

“First thing is first…” Sarah swallowed then glanced at the terminator. “We need to figure out how to fix you.”

Cameron turned her head away and seemed to be consider a careful response. “It is impossible.”

“There has to be a way to stop it… reverse it.” Sarah was clearly desperate.

Cameron was quiet then slowly looked back at Sarah. “You are concerned.”

“Yes,” Sarah hissed. But she lost her angry fire at the terminator’s long stare and her jaw loosened some as if she were going to say more, but Sarah didn’t find anymore words.

Cameron cocked her head slightly then stated, “Thank you.”

Sarah Connor looked at the dirt road then back at the terminator a few times. She was absolutely lost on why the terminator was appreciative and for the first time since they’d met.

The terminator stared back out the window. “You care… about me.”

Sarah clenched her jaw together, but she had no response. There was a hot vile that rose up through her throat, and she wanted to scream it out at the terminator. But yet she denied it, for the first time too. She didn’t know why she didn’t give into her usual ire and verbally blast the terminator. Just maybe she was too worn to do it.

After a few long, silent minutes, Sarah shoved her thoughts aside and tried to focus on another situation. She finally prompted, “Great Falls.”

Cameron had been scanning the local terrain, which consisted of open farmfields and the occasional tree. “It is two hours and twenty-one minutes away.”

Sarah Connor drew her features inward and her eyebrows almost touched. “Where are we?” she tried more directly.

“We are 48.68 degrees north, 111.43 degrees west.”

“And where the hell is that?”

Cameron tilted her head at the human. “Montana.”

Sarah released a sigh now that the city’s name made sense to her. “Great,” she muttered. She realized just how far away she was from John and Derek. There was no support, no cell phone, or food, and Sarah was lost in Montana with a reseting terminator. She almost wanted to scream.

“If we continue west,” Cameron’s voice interrupted, “we should approach Route 15, and it will take us south to Great Falls.” She looked over at Sarah, who was thinking over the information.

“Alright… we’ll go to Great Falls. But if we pass through a small town first then we’ll stop.” Sarah glanced at the wallets sitting on the dash near Cameron. “Any money in them?”

Cameron leaned forward, scooped up the wallets, and set them on the bench seat between them. “One thousand one hundred twenty-one dollars.” She then picked up one wallet and opened the trifolds. “And one credit card.” She held it up in display.

Sarah reached over and snatched it from the terminator. She read aloud, “Harry Gaither.” She pressed her lips together, which thinned neatly. She handed it back to Cameron. “The cash will do.” She was happy about the amount of cash these men seemed to carry with them. She also hadn’t considered the fact that Cameron was perceptive enough to check the soldiers for money before they left the building. Sarah hadn’t been thinking clearly enough.

“Do you know who those men were?” Sarah slowed the rumbling truck once they came to the end of the road and to a paved one. She hesitated and wondered whether to go left, right, or straight.

“Left.”

Sarah decided not to ask why and figured it was as a good of direction as the other two options.

“I do not know those men.” Cameron considered all their faces then added, “They are not in my database.”

“They all seemed to come from the future.” Sarah grimaced at the thought that they seemed to be working for Skynet. “Is it typical for humans to work for Skynet?”

Cameron glanced at Sarah then back out the window. “As common as terminators working for the Resistance.”

Sarah wasn’t sure if it was a joke or not, but she left it alone. “Why would humans work for Skynet?”

“At a price,” the terminator replied.

“Money?” Sarah huffed and shook her head.

“No.” Cameron was quiet but turned her head and studied the human’s profile. “Safety… life.” She could tell whether Sarah would continue the discussion.

“But why send humans to bring you back?” Sarah bit her lower lip. “A terminator or two would be able to subdue you then ship you back.”

“Yes, but a terminator is not as creative as a human.” Cameron leaned her head back until it rested on the seat. “Nor would I be aware of humans from the future.”

Sarah licked her lips and let the conversation die. She then realized that Cameron was just as important to Skynet as her son, and it meant she may have to look after the terminator too. She softly groaned at how much larger the problem was growing each day. But it would have to wait for now because the present problems needed to be solve, especially the ticking terminator.

“How much longer until you reset?”

Cameron pulled up her HUD display, which populated the estimated time until reset. “The ETR is now sixteen to twenty-six hours.”

Sarah breathed heavily and tried to clear her head so she could talk this out with Cameron. “There has to be a way to stop this reset.”

The terminator lifted her head off the rest and stated, “It is inevitable.”

“It is not.” Sarah flashed angry eyes at the terminator.

“There is no option but to-”

“There are always options!” Sarah Connor yelled at Cameron. She then suddenly slammed the wheel with her right palm and fumed, “There are always choices.”

Cameron sat ridged and stared at the angry human. She slowly casted her view downward. Some dark emotion entered her that she didn’t quite understand other than it made her feel weak.

Gradually, Sarah began to cool off and gained composure. A pin of regret entered her chest for yelling, again at the terminator. She wiped her face with her right hand in attempt to rid of her emotions. “What’s this spider thing?”

Cameron fisted her hands in her lap. “It is a small robot, which is implanted into a cortex module to reset a terminator.”

“Implanted?” Sarah grew wide eye at this information. “You mean it’s implanted in you?”

“Yes.” Cameron reached to the back of her neck, but she could not find the slit that Sam had made last night. “It was implanted during the flight… while you were unconscious.”

Sarah slotted her eyes and argued, “Then it can be removed.”

Cameron exchanged looks with the human and saw the hope on Sarah’s face. “A spider has never been removed from a terminator.”

“There’s always a first.”

“It is highly unlikely due to the fact the spider has buried itself into my cortex module.”

Sarah shook her head because that didn’t make sense to her. “Bury itself as in it’s inside your exoskeleton?” At Cameron’s nod, she argued, “How can it do that though?”

“The spider is made of mimetic polyalloy,” Cameron explained, but she’d hesitated at the end and caused Sarah to give her a leery glance. “I am also part mimetic polyalloy, which allows the spider to easily dig into my cortex module.” Suddenly, she slammed her hands into the dash in front of her to stop from going into it when Sarah Connor hit the brakes.

Sarah Connor sharply turned her head to the terminator after the truck’s tires stopped squealing and all there was left was the truck’s low whine. She stared darkly at the terminator and seethed, “Mimetic polyalloy?” She breathed heavily and shook her head a few times. “You’re made of mimetic polyalloy and can shape shift?”

“I cannot shape shift,” Cameron disputed. “I am not like the T-X or T-1000 Series.” She dropped her hands from the dashboard. “As I explained, I am a hybrid between the T-800 Series and T-1000 Series.”

Sarah took her foot off the brake and hit the gas now. “Then you have a lot more explaining to do, girlie.”

The terminator bowed her head and briefly shut her eyes. She could feel her head grind hard from the spider’s lethal attempt to wipe out her oldest memories since she was first serviced by John Connor in 2027.

Sarah caught Cameron’s twisted features so she reached over and gingerly touched the terminator’s leg. “Cameron?” she called. She jumped in her seat when the terminator’s hand roughly clutched hers. She should have known better than to get near the ticking terminator.

Cameron quickly looked at the human and her HUD ordered her to terminate Sarah Connor. She revealed her bright blue eyes.

Sarah looked back and forth between Cameron and the road. She quickly ordered, “Let go, Cameron.”

The terminator increased her hold instead and coldly informed, “You must be terminated.”

“That’s Skynet’s orders, Cameron,” Sarah pleaded, “You can fight this.”

Cameron tilted her head to the side. “What am I fighting for?” She reached to her side and plucked the pocketknife free. “John Connor said I was free… but I still follow orders.” She opened the blade. “You force me to follow yours.” She brought the tip towards Sarah Connor’s wrist.

Sarah prepared to jerk the wheel so the truck would flip, but she made one last attempt. “And you have a choice now!” She became hopeful when the electric blue faded from Cameron. She glanced once back at the empty road then softly asked, “Will you please give me the knife?” She felt Cameron’s grip soften.

The terminator stayed still then the blade closed back into the knife’s handle. She then gently placed the pocketknife into the human’s hand and released her. She shut her eyes as her HUD went chaotic then she inhaled sharply. She painfully whispered, “You must terminate me, Sarah… I am not safe.” She revealed her strained features to Sarah. “I asked you to not let John do what he did if I went bad again… you must do the same.”

Sarah slipped the knife away then replied, “You don’t get off that easy, Tin-Miss.” She gave a sad smile when Cameron just stared back in worry. Then she slammed on the gas to make the truck roar up to eighty miles per hour. “You just keep doing what you do best.”

Cameron thought about her ability to kill. “And what is that?”

Sarah Connor gave a bittersweet smile but confidently answered, “Protecting me from threats.”

Cameron stared for a long time at Sarah Connor and tried to process what emotion it invoked in her that Sarah Connor believed in her to protect. She would just have to consider it later though because she indeed needed to focus on the current threat towards Sarah. She urged her internal defenses to battle against the spider, for just awhile longer.

To be continued.