He snapped awake, jolting up and breathing heavily. Looking around, Kyle slowly let out a long breath and lowered himself back to the cement. John had struggled enough to support himself up off of the ground, looking over at him. A hint of concern was on his face, his body swaying towards the magnetic rings, a powerful tug at his arms and chest quickly reminding him to stay put.
“What...?” Kyle breathed, eyes darting back and forth. He coughed a few times, throat dry.
“You were having a nightmare.” John whispered, “You're even having them here?”
Kyle nodded, taking off his jacket and laying it over himself. “Nightmares, flashbacks, the whole combo package. I'm trying to get used to the world not being what I grew up in but, it's hard. It still feels a little bit like a dream, seeing the world like this.”
“Back in the war we had to just fight through it all, but now we're in a world where the wars aren't even on the same continent. Kyle if you take me up on my offer, you aren't going to have to suffer like this-”
“And what?” Kyle snapped right back, “Become a fucking soulless machine like you? You can't even help it. No matter what you want, at the end of the day, you're Skynet's slave. I would rather deal with flashbacks every night than be what you are, and just let the world die.”
Kyle stood up, gathering his jacket, glaring at John with contempt. “Christ I'm even sitting here talking to you like you're still my friend.”
“I am your friend.”
“Who would sooner see me dead than let anything happen to a computer that wants to wipe out mankind! Fuck it, John, no matter how much you like me, you're going to have to come to terms with what you are too. You're a killer, Skynet's killer, and you can't keep trying to get back what we had.” Kyle paused, staring down at his jacket, refusing to look over at the other, “Neither can I. Not right now.”
He finally turned, looking over at John, who had somehow gotten the motivation to stand up straight, bent forward slightly as he tried to walk over the first magnetic ring. Kyle stepped back in surprise, staring at John in fear and a hint of revulsion.
“John, stop it.” Kyle whispered, gaining constitution in his voice as he repeated himself, “Stop it! You're just going to hurt yourself!”
“You're making yourself suffer, Kyle – I brought you up to know better.” John hissed, forcing his leg to step up and over the first magnetic ring, foot slamming back down on the ground like a ton of bricks. “I want you to survive, but if you don't break yourself free of the loop we're trapped in, there is no way you can live. You or my mother.”
John stopped, standing over the middle ring, the skin and outer flesh of his legs being dragged down to the magnet. He held both hands out towards Kyle, expression pleading.
“Please, Kyle. If you keep avoiding this – this one way out, you're going to die – I don't want that to happen.”
Kyle looked away, grimacing. He walked over to the power box and pulled off the cover, turning several knobs clockwise.
“Kyle – don't!” John cried out, knees buckling as the magnetic field hummed louder. He tried to take another step, but the field was too powerful, drawing his left leg directly down on the middle ring. The metal surface of the ring sliced clean through his leg, disrupting the nanites beyond their ability to regenerate. His ankle and foot were severed from the rest of his leg, losing their shape and being pulled against the ring's surface. John fell forward, landing in the space between the second and third ring, head barely missing the edge of the outermost magnet. He looked up, fighting with the overbearing pull to try and lift his head. Scanning the room, he realized Kyle was gone. John stared at the door, clenching his fists and grimacing, resigning to lay back on the ground without any further attempt to stand.
Kyle ascended the cement stairs quickly, reaching the heavy door and throwing it open. He reached the gravel road and let out a long winded sigh, closing his eyes and letting a few seconds pass.
Crossing his arms, Kyle stared ahead at the dense forest that surrounded him on all sides. Seeing the calm, silent trees brought him a bit of comfort. He had tried to hide part of himself from Sarah; the part that had never seen the nature that had been lost before he was even born. He couldn't put his finger on it, but part of him deep down warned him that it would push her away. Despite that, he knew that after all they had been through, just the idea that she would laugh or mock him for just how little he'd seen of the world was outlandish. Still, the doubt remained, sitting in the back of his mind, striking him whenever he as at his weakest.
Kyle slowly sat down on the gravel, staring up at the light that poured down through the leaves. It would be another day until Sarah and Pops were back. He could go a full day without going back into the room, he figured. His mind began to wander, temper simmering down until the nasty taste of regret began to form in the pit of his stomach.
Kyle stood up, mumbling to himself and turning around, only to stop short, staring at the door. He had left it open, and it was now most certainly shut.
Kyle ran to the door, turning the handle and attempting to open it. The deadbolt had been shut, and there was no opening it, no matter how hard he pulled. He began to curse over and over, pacing back and forth before slamming his shoulder into it several times. None of the attempts worked, leaving Kyle locked out.
The T-1000 looked at the door from inside of the compound, listening to Kyle's swearing and vain attempts at getting in. The scene cause the smallest tug at the corner of its lips, sharp eyes narrowing before it turned and walked down the steps to the large central room.
It didn't pause in its steps, simply turning to glance at the rows of guns and rocket launchers. Observing the items with brief glances for just a few seconds, it turned its attention back to what lay ahead of it. It paused at the door, sensing the powerful magnetic field, and turned around, glancing at the nearby gun rack. The 1000 approached an M-16, taking it in one hand, finding the proper ammunition in the other. Loading the gun as it walked back to the door, it paused, processor working to calculate its following actions, then kicked the door open.
Turning both left and right, as soon as it entered through the doorway, the T-1000 began to slide across the floor, pulled towards the rings. It spotted the cables and power box, swiveling to the left even as its boots slid across the cement, edging ever closer to the outer ring. Quickly firing a barrage, the power box lit up in a shower of sparks before the lights flickered off. The T-1000 instantly stopped being pulled towards the rings, the magnetic hum that had filled the room going completely silent.
The T-1000 glared at the box, then down at the rings. It stepped over two of them, coming to stand beside John, who was fumbling numbly to try and find a way to stand. He winced, looking up at the T-1000, which had knelt down beside him.
“Took you long enough.” he grunted, looking back at his severed leg, finally able to pull it off of the ring. Slowly the limb began to rebuild itself, large swaths of gray running down to build the bones of his foot, muscles following right behind.
“Tracking your cell phone and monitoring Skynet simultaneously proved to be detrimental to the scheduled actions I had originally planned.” the T-1000 explained, wrapping one arm around John's torso, helping him stand. John took two steps before falling forward again, groaning in frustration.
“Your structure has significantly destabilized. How long will this last?”
John paused, glancing down, nanomachines running billions of their individual, tiny diagnostics before returning their findings to the unified mind.
“...Three, four hours maybe.”
“Can you run?”
“Don't have much of a choice on that one.”
The T-1000 knelt down to help him up again, leading him across and settling him against the door frame. It went over to the racks of guns, gathering as many magazines as it could, sticking them under its belt.
“Hey-” John said, starting to stand up a bit straighter, pointing to a large rifle. “That Barrett, give me that.” he ordered.
The T-1000 glanced over at the enormous sniper rifle, placing a hand on it for a moment, then beginning to disassemble it with expert precision. It placed the rifle in its case, along with the hand-length .50 rounds that went with it. Shutting the case, the T-1000 handed it over to John, who began to walk towards the door. He paused, taking a nearby pistol and several magazines for it, changing his clothing to his old resistance attire. The newly formed pouches and straps enabled him to stock up more ammunition and weapons, clipping more magazines to his belt. Another gun caught his eye, and he whistled softly to the T-1000, drawing its attention as he tossed the sub-machine gun to it.
After taking a Remington, loading it full of shells and stuffing more in the cargo pocket of his pants, John finally drew himself away from the gun rack. He hauled the Barrett case in one hand, his shotgun in the other, and made his way up the cement steps with somewhat wobbling knees and ankles.
The T-1000 jogged after him, catching up easily. It shoved John's cell phone into his back pocket, earning a surprised look then a grunt of appreciation. and pointing to the door silently. John pressed his ear to the small gap in the door to listen for any sign of Kyle still trying to get in. He could hear the occasional shift of clothing and feet against gravel, and he gave a pointed look to the T-1000. The terminator simply stared back at him, expression empty save for the smallest crease along its brow.
“Allowing him to live is a mistake.”
“Skynet isn't in any direct danger.”
“Suddenly you're so fond of it?”
“Oh,” John remarked, grinning back at it, “So have I been voted off the island yet?”
“I do not understand that comparison. It spoke relentlessly of its concern and agitation due to your absence. I would prefer you consoled it before I have to find ways of providing emotional comfort myself.”
John paused, looking at the door, then back at the T-1000.
“Don't shoot Kyle.”
His request was met with a bored stare, and John just glared back in response, turning afterwards and leaning back. He lifted a leg up, one good kick sending the door flying open, deadbolt broken in half.
Kyle shouted in surprise, turning around, eyes widening. The T-1000 aimed the sub machine-gun at him, causing the man to raise his hands up out of pure impulse.
“You try to stop us Kyle and he really will shoot you, and I can't reason too much with him.” John said, motioning for the T-1000 to go on ahead. It glanced at John, then slowly lowered the gun, giving a cold glare to Kyle, then beginning to jog ahead, down the gravel path.
John watched the T-1000 go, then looked back at Kyle, keeping his shotgun lowered, no weapon drawn towards the other. Kyle had a sneer plastered across his face, as well as flushed cheeks, a clear sign of his embarrassment.
“Don't try and chase after me, Kyle. Wait here for Sarah and her 101, do whatever you want, but don't come after me.”
“Turn around and walk back inside.”
“Follow my orders!” John barked, his sudden shout causing Kyle to flinch.
Kyle blinked quickly, looking down and away. He kept his hands raised as he walked back towards the door of the bunker, glancing back for a moment as he passed through the doorway. Turning back around, John was already well and gone, just a flash of his black clothing visible through the thick trees that surrounded the bunker. Kyle stared at the spot he had been in, lowering his arms, bringing a hand up to run through his hair, sighing heavily.
“Where did you get this car?”
John examined the expensive looking black sports car, glancing back at the T-1000 for an answer as it loaded the guns into the trunk.
“From the dealership. The alarm system was easily deactivated.” It shut the trunk, looking over at John. “I varied my appearance in the case of any security cameras. I am aware of your paranoia.”
“Well placed paranoia, but I'm glad you're picking it up. Can you drive? I need to answer these.” John said, holding his cell phone in his other hand. The T-1000 nodded, sliding into the driver's seat. It brandished the keys from its pocket, turning the ignition on, engine turning over and revving. John paused from scrolling through his phone, leaning back in the passenger's seat as he looked over at the T-1000.
“You like this car?” he asked, chuckling.
“It's a nice car.”
The T-1000 shifted into gear, slamming on the gas, the black car tearing down the gravel road. It was another hour until they were out of the woods, on to an empty freeway, heading south. John had switched on the radio, letting it play quietly in the background as he rested the side of his head against the window, staring at the passing landscape.
“Who was trying to contact you?” The T-1000 asked, checking the rear view mirror.
“Danny. The man is worried sick, says he's going to come over to my apartment if I don't call him back in another two days.”
“Did you respond?”
“Yeah – sent him a text. Told him I was in the hospital, told him nothing fatal, lots of tests, lots of sleep, sorry to worry him.”
“Your sentimentality is pointless, and possibly detrimental. If Skynet survives and enacts its plans, the majority of the human race including Danny Dyson will be killed.”
John didn't answer, ignoring the T-1000's questioning glance. He just crossed his arms, getting comfortable in the seat, closing his eyes as he relaxed in the silence.