Survival

Chapter 2

John narrowed his eyes at the computer screen, frowning. He leaned back in his chair, staring at the radio equipment that was displayed. With a sigh he plugged a tablet into the computer, placing his hand against the screen of the tablet. A display came up, showing several bank accounts under his name, all filled with generous amounts of money. One of those lines began to dwindle after a few seconds, chopped down a couple thousand dollars.

On the computer, the check-out screen flickered several times, then displayed that the purchase had been successful. John stood up, shutting the laptop and turning away to walk through his apartment. It was a humble place, up high in an older building backed by a narrow alleyway, with a busy street along the front end. A television was mounted to the wall, with a futon a few feet back from it. Otherwise it was devoid of furnishings. The kitchen and bathroom were covered in a thick layer of dust from top to bottom, the blinds permanently shut. The only other furnishing was the desk he had been seated at, with a laptop, tablet, and two computer towers all organized neatly. Wires and cords were bundled together, and a standing fan was kept running on the equipment constantly.

John paused at the door, his hand on the knob. Looking down, gray particles began to rise and ripple over his body – changing the casual jeans and shirt into a more conservative sweater vest and khakis. He left afterwards, locking the door behind him and making his way to the city streets below.


“That's fine!” he called out, both hands on the steering wheel. The windows were firmly raised and no one else heard him, but he shouted all the same as he watched the car in front of him begin inching its way into his lane, preventing him from making it through the yellow light. Suffering through the tedium of 21st century America was the second worst part of this entire experience. The first part had been being ripped apart cell by cell in the magnetic chamber.

John sighed, looking out his window. Several more turns and another bridge later would be the Cyberdyne campus. Cranes and construction equipment littered the drained false lake that had once stood before the shining, silvery buildings. He forcefully shifted his car into park when the intersection began to grow more and more blocked by traffic.

“That's fine...” he sighed, leaning back in the driver's seat and waiting.

A half hour and every red light later, John Connor rolled into an employee parking space, attaching the blue Cyberdyne tag up on to his rear view mirror and getting out.

“You know, you really don't have to keep showing up. How many times are you gonna try to do shit we don't pay you to do?”

John turned, smiling immediately as Danny approached him, the young man's silvery car parked a few spaces from John's.

“Come on Danny...” he laughed, shrugging. “I just want to help. This was just...” he turned, looking at the buildings currently undergoing repair. “...Such a m-”

“Clusterfuck.”

“Oh – I was going to say 'mess' but that's even better.”

Danny chuckled, taking his phone out to check it after the device shook twice. He placed it back in his pocket, giving John his attention again.

“Listen, this has been a rough couple of months for everybody. Our stocks haven't been so low since...”

“1989.”

Danny grimaced, shaking his head. “God...but, yeah it's been...fuck, it's been something. John, having you be here to help has been absolutely amazing. I'm pretty sure my dad is going to build a church to you or something. You're a great friend, man.”

John smiled, walking over and patting Danny on the shoulder. “We're gonna get through this. And when all of this is rebuilt, it's going to be twice what it used to be. I promise you Danny, I'm not going to let Cyberdyne sink. Besides,” he shrugged, grinning. “It's gotten us a hell of a lot of press. People couldn't wait for Genisys to come online, and when we come out with something bigger the hype is going to be incredible.”

“You're right, you're right. Shit, John. I was just..” Danny sighed, dropping his arms to his side. “This meant so much to me, I really thought I was doing something good. I mean – why would somebody do this? Who even knew about it?”

“You never know who people are friends with. Somebody could have said something, then that somebody says it to someone else – then before you know it, some nut job gets wind of it and thinks the world is going to end, Y2K or something like that...”

Danny laughed, looking at John. “Y2K? God, how old are you man? You're lucky you're friends with me so I can keep you young, shit.”

The two laughed, beginning to walk towards a the campus. John glanced over at a truck that rolled through the parking lot, carrying a full load of old computers and equipment that had been damaged in the blast.

“They're still digging stuff out?” he asked, turning to look at Danny.

“Nah, the crews have been sorting through all of the damaged tech since it was excavated, they're just sending what couldn't be saved to the recycling plant now.”

“So there was equipment that was saved?”

“Just barely. Besides Genisys, the bulk of our code work on the military stuff was held in our San Diego labs, but everything else is going to be built from the ground up. I need you here for that John, we can't take the time to do this all over again without you.”

“I'll be here, Danny. From the first step to the last.” John reassured him, the two stopping at the edge of the sidewalk where the drained false lake had once began.

“I wanted to talk to you about the holy grail.” Danny said, crossing his arms and looking at the construction going on below.

“Danny,” John said quietly, turning to face him. “Listen. In five or six years, when Cyberdyne is back on its feet and we're...sipping champagne on our double decker yachts or whatever insanely rich people do, then I'll ask if you want to start over.”

Danny sighed, nodding. “Thanks for understanding. And this isn't a hiatus John, it's just a delay. I wanted it to work just as much as you did, and it was just...fuck, it was so close. We were so close.”

John frowned at the drop in Danny's mood, and leaned over, nudging him with his elbow.

“Hey. What do we want?”

The hint of a smile came to Danny's face. “Time travel.”

“And when do we want it?”

“It's irrelevant!”


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