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Beta: Karla. Thank you for your patience.
Summary: Cameron and ‘her’ room.
Feedback: Yes, please.
Spoilers: For season 1, episode 8 “Vick’s Chip”.
Author’s Note: In the episode Cameron asks what Derek Reese had done in her room. No one ever answers the question. So I wondered what Cameron would think of this.
Disclaimer: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles are the property of Warner Bros. Television, C2 Pictures, FOX, Josh Friedman, Andy Vajna, Mario Kassar and James Middleton. No profit is intended in the writing of this story,
Cameron was in the front garden standing guard. It was 01:30 a.m. and the Terminator had just finished another patrol through the house and the backyard. Everything was quiet; Sarah slept, fitfully as always. John’s sleep was undisturbed and Derek Reese sleep was of no importance to the Terminator.
Cameron still felt the slight twinge where John had cut open her scalp to extract her CPU. But it would heal and in a few days there would be nothing left besides another scar.
Despite the fact that she was in surveillance mode, the Cyborg used only a part of her calculating capacity to process the sensor inputs. The rest of it she used to analyze the events of the last days. First, Derek Reese had been in her room and had found the CPU she had extracted from the T-888 that had been pursuing him. Then he had accused her of giving the position of the safe house to the T-888 and causing the death of his men. This all led to the discovery of the attempted takeover of the traffic control system and finally the extraction of her own CPU by John to sabotage said traffic control system. When John had asked her to let him take her CPU, Cameron had agreed without a second thought. It was necessary to carry out the mission and she knew she could trust John.
At first – after her re-programming in the future – the concept of trust was nothing but another weakness that could be used against the enemy. But over time John had shown her what trust means. And he had shown her that trust could form a connection between people that was stronger than anything else. When John had given a weapon to her for the first time, none of the human soldiers had pointed a gun at her. They had trusted John and because of that they had accepted John’s trust in her – at least as long John had been in the same room. Without him it had been different.
The Terminator knew that Sarah could be trusted as well as John. Derek Reese, however, was a completely different matter. Cameron had been running diagnostics continually, believing there must be some kind of program loop. Because every time she could multitask and set free a part of her processing capacity she found herself thinking about one fact; Derek Reese had been in her room searching through it. John is allowed to be in her room; Sarah is allowed to be in her room but not Derek Reese. And most disturbing was that she couldn’t do anything about it.
Sarah woke up startled. Her hand clutched around the handhold of the gun she kept under her pillow. Blinking she stared into the darkness of her room. She breathed steadily through her nose as the images of the nightmare slowly vanished. It was always the same, Terminators, fire, blood, death.
Slowly she let go of the weapon and swung her legs out of the bed. A shiver run through her body as her bare feet made contact with the cold floor. Brushing her sweaty hair back she stood up and left her bedroom. She stopped at the door to John’s room to listen and after a few seconds she heard him turning in the bed. Sarah padded down the corridor and down the stairs. In the kitchen she took a glass of water and gulped down the cold liquid. After a few moments she realized that something was different; Cameron was nowhere to be seen. Alarmed she looked out of the window and saw the Terminator standing by the swing. Sarah frowned at the sight; Cameron had one hand around one of the chains of the swing about shoulder high as if she had to steady herself. Putting the glass into the sink Sarah turned and left the kitchen; she opened the door and stepped into the garden.
Cameron had registered the movement in the house immediately and it had taken only seconds to gather enough sensor input to analyze which of the occupants was walking around, so it was no surprise to the Terminator that it was Sarah who came out. She didn’t turn around to address the human but Cameron stopped running the twelfth diagnostic of her program to split her attention between Sarah’s presence and surveillance duty.
“Everything alright?” Sarah asked.
“Yes.” Cameron had learned some time ago that John’s mother preferred short status reports.
She registered the brunette stepping beside her and crossing her arms. Cameron glanced at Sarah and saw that she wore nothing but pajama pants and a tank top. She wasn’t even wearing shoes. “You should go inside. It is cold,” the Terminator stated.
Sarah frowned at her companion. “Thank you, Tin Miss,” she snorted. It was the last thing she could tolerate right now; having a Terminator clucking over her. Not while the images of the nightmare were still in her mind.
Cameron didn’t answer but continued to stare into the night.
Sarah sighed. She knew she shouldn’t have snapped at the girl. At least after the events of the last few days she should give her some more leeway. “Are you alright?” she asked again.
Now Sarah knew that something was wrong. Even the Terminator was usually more communicative. “Just wondered;” she said. “It almost looks like you need support.” Sarah nodded at Cameron’s hand which was still clutched around the chain.
Quickly the Terminator let go of the swing. “It is nothing.”
Sarah sighed again. It seemed that Cameron wasn’t in the mood to talk. She turned and walked back to the house. “You should come in. The neighbors could get suspicious if you stand here the whole night.”
Cameron turned and followed the human into the house.
Cameron walked into the kitchen and positioned herself at the window. From this point she had most of the front garden and the street in her field of vision. Because of her sensor capacity she didn’t need to watch out of a window to register someone – or something – approaching. But she had learned that it put humans at ease if a guard in fact looked out of a window.
“If you want to talk about it…” Sarah offered. She didn’t even know why she did it. Compared to the Terminator’s regular behavior, she seemed almost depressed. And Sarah knew for sure that she didn’t want a depressed killing machine in her house. If Cameron had something that could be compared to human feelings only in the slightest way, she had several reasons to be depressed. After Derek had discovered Vick’s chip in Cameron’s room, he had accused her of being a traitor and Sarah and John had become suspicious of her too. In the end as it had been revealed that Cameron hadn’t sold them out but no one had bothered to apologize to the girl. To a human they would have, Sarah was sure, but not to a Terminator. Maybe Cameron’s ability to analyze and mimic human behavior and feelings in such an almost perfect way had made her susceptible to depression?
When Cameron didn’t answer, Sarah turned to go back to bed, even knowing that she wouldn’t get anymore sleep.
Still looking out of the window Cameron processed Sarah’s behavior of the last five minutes. It was the first time she showed any interest in her besides her abilities during a mission - something a human would call ‘personal interest’. Only in the future, in the resistance camp John had done the same. “I never possessed anything.”
Sarah stopped dead in her tracks and turned around. “Huh?” In a million years, she wouldn’t have expected that.
Cameron continued to look out of the window as she spoke. “In the future, after my re-programming, everything I had like clothes, weapons and anything else, had been provided to me from the resistance. I possessed nothing. The humans always had some little items left over from their life before Judgment Day – even John. I had to ask for everything and sometimes the humans made a spectacle of letting me ask. One day John came to me. He said that every person should possess something they can call their very own. And then he gave me a gift. It was a stone – not one of these broken and burned bricks that lay everywhere, but a pebble. It was white with dark sprinkles; three centimeters in diameter. Someone had craved a face into it with a laser cutter. John called it a ‘Smiley’. The stone was completely useless but it was the only thing I ever could call ‘mine’. I couldn’t take it with me so I gave it back to John just before I stepped into the time generator.”
Sarah had listened, shocked. It never had occurred to her that Cameron could be seen as a person. And that John – the future John – would be able to do so.
“Here it is almost the same,” the Terminator continued. “Almost everything I have I’ve received from you. But at least here I have something I never had before; a room of my own. I don’t mind if John or you come into my room. You both are allowed to do so, but not Derek Reese. I don’t want him in my room but I can’t do anything about it because if I threaten to kill him or hurt him, you and John wouldn’t allow it. Derek is family. I’m not. It is unsettling that he can walk in and search for evidence that I will betray you anytime he wants.”
Sarah had listened but she couldn’t believe what she just had heard. She never thought Cameron could have such… ‘Feelings’. It was the only word she could think off. “How do you know about Derek?” she asked instead.
“John will tell me.” Cameron replied simply.
“It seems you and John will be very close in the future;” Sarah stated finding the thought disturbing in some way.
Cameron looked at the older woman for a moment. “Yes, but not ‘that’ close.”
Sarah blinked in surprised, this was another new piece of information. She had never thought about ‘that’ part of infiltration duty.
“If Derek Reese were to hear of this conversation,” Cameron continued, “he will assume that I gave this speech only to lure you into trusting me even more so that my final betrayal will be so much worse.” Cameron said and remained silent.
Sarah didn’t know what to say. It was the longest speech she had ever heard from the Terminator. The tone of sarcasm and fatalism in Cameron’s last statement about Derek was nothing but disturbing to Sarah. Either the Terminator was doing its job of infiltrating or Cameron was hurting because of the way she’d been treated. She hadn’t spent much time with the first Terminator that had been sent back to protect them so she had never seen a real person in the T-800 until he vanished into the melted steel. The thumbs-up gesture he had given resurfaced in Sarah’s mind. Had it been a malfunction or had it been a conscious gesture? Was it possible that Terminators could be more than machines? Could it be possible that they can become people? John seemed to believe it – the future John. So could she trust her future son’s decision?
Slowly Sarah stepped behind Cameron and squeezed her shoulder. She couldn’t bring herself to apologize to her but… “It was a mistake keeping the chip without informing me. The next time just tell me, okay?”
Cameron had registered the human's approach. The touch on her shoulder had surprised her, normally Sarah would only touch her to shove her against a wall or spin her around to yell at her. She heard the woman’s words and nodded. It wasn’t exactly an order, but she decided to obey to it, this way possible future disagreements could be prevented.
“I’ll talk to Derek about snooping around in your room. I tell him that from now on you don’t keep secrets from me and if he has a problem with that he has to deal with me,” Sarah continued.
Again the Terminator only nodded.
Sarah let go of Cameron’s shoulder and turned to leave the kitchen.
At her softly spoken name she spun around to look at the Terminator. It was a surprise to hear Cameron use her name like that. “Yes?”
Cameron turned her head and looked at the brunette. “Thank you.”
Now Sarah nodded and smiled briefly, then she left.
Cameron turned her attention completely back to surveillance modus. The disturbing program loop was gone.
In her room Sarah snuggled under the covers. Maybe she could get a few more hours of sleep before the morning and the next crisis.
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