“Are you fucking stupid!?”
Kyle stared at Sarah, unable to come up with any response besides 'yes'. He stammered, shrugging and looked down, ashamed.
“Now he knows we're here! He's gone! With Skynet's body, if I heard right, too? That's amazing, Kyle, you've really outdone yourself. You know, billions of people are going to die because of this, I really hope you're happy. I hope your best friend was worth half of the world's population!” She spat, enraged, Pops keeping a tight grip on the back of her shirt. Sarah was inches from Kyle's face, standing up on her toes as she shouted.
“It was an accident Sarah, I was this close – I was so close to bringing him back, you don't understand.” Kyle whispered, holding his right hand, a heavy bandage around it.
“Fuck him! Fuck John Connor! You've lost sight of the mission Kyle, you've put him over the safety of the human race.” Sarah lowered herself back down, taking in a long, deep breath. She brought a hand up to her forehead, smoothing her hair back, closing her eyes.
Kyle blinked, sputtering, “What?”
“You heard me. Get out.”
“Sarah, I'm the only help you've got, you and Pops can't stop four terminators! I don't even think all three of us can, but pushing me away-”
“This isn't pushing you away, Kyle, this is...this is making sure that everyone on my team is able to do what I need them to do. And right now you aren't helping. You're hurting our progress and I can't trust you anymore.”
Kyle didn't respond, swallowing quietly and glancing away again. He sighed, walking over to the second of the two hotel beds and grabbing his jacket, pulling it on.
“Kyle Reese,” Pops began, “You are a vital part of this miss-”
“Stall it.” Kyle responded, zipping the jacket up. He looked at Sarah, expression calm, “She's right, and you know she is. I can't do this. John would've done the same thing, if this were...back then, in the future. He wouldn't have let me go out if I wasn't able to do my job.”
Kyle glanced up at Sarah, who had a solemn look on her face.
“I'm sorry I let you down.” he said quietly.
Sarah sighed, crossing her arms, “I haven't tried to understand how you're feeling because there hasn't been time. Feelings, sympathy, all that stuff, we just don't have time for it right now. I just didn't think it would get this bad. I can't imagine what it must be like-”
“No,” Kyle interrupted, voice growing cold, “No, you can't understand. We've talked about this before. But when you do try to empathize, do me a favor. Get a gun and put it up to Pop's head, and tell me how easy it is to pull the trigger.”
“If it meant judgment day wouldn't happen-” Sarah began, but Kyle was already heading to the door, opening and slamming it shut behind him.
She began to follow, but Pops was still gripping her shirt tightly, stopping her from going any further. Sarah looked up at him, frowning, tugging at the fabric.
“Will you stop?”
“Kyle Reese will return in time.”
Pops released her shirt, the woman walking over to the nearby bed and sitting down on it, sighing.
“Was I too harsh?” She asked quietly, looking up at Pops, the terminator staring back down at her.
“Negative. Kyle Reese's emotional instability regarding John Connor has caused the mission to grow more complicated. His situation is beyond your capacity to fix. Realistically, Kyle Reese suffers no doubt from multiple untreated traumas brought on by the events of his life before going back in time. These have not been addressed, and without treatment or proper emotional support, they are making life increasingly difficult.”
“So it is my fault.” Sarah mumbled, “I didn't know how to deal with it, with Kyle I mean. I didn't think he'd have all these problems. All this baggage.”
“Negative. You are not properly trained to deal with these issues. However it is pertinent that in the future, after Skynet is destroyed, you and Kyle Reese-”
“No!” Sarah shouted, looking up at Pops, eyes narrowing. “No. I'm not having a baby. This is my choice, it's my life – and it's not happening. There's no way that just one person was ever humanity's hope. That's ridiculous. John isn't humanity's last hope, he never was, he was just...just a fixation of Skynet's. It didn't understand how it could lose so it just blamed the first thing it could.”
“Part of my mission parameters are to ensure that you and Kyle Reese mate and produce John Connor.” Pops reminded her, tone as flat as ever.
“Fuck that. Pops, if I'm having a kid and I don't want one, that's hurting me, okay? It's going to hurt me for the rest of my life if you make me reproduce like I'm some kind of farm animal. It's my body and my life, and I can't do this...” She looked up at Pops, eyes beginning to redden around the edges as she sniffled. “Is that all I am? I'm just meant to be a breeding cow for somebody more important? I'm a person too, and I didn't ask for this either. I didn't want any of this! I would give anything to be a normal person with a normal, boring life – but I'm stuck here!”
Sarah brought a hand up to her face, wiping away the bit of moisture that had begun to accumulate at the corners of her eyes. Pops watched her, taking a step forward, looking down at the small woman.
“I never meant to hurt Sarah Connor.” he said quietly.
Sarah gave a half-hearted smile, wiping her face off with her shirt, shrugging.
Pops waited for Sarah to calm down, and began speaking again, “There is information I gained while we attempted infiltrating Cyberdyne's computer systems. Regarding Skynet. With this information we can properly formulate a plan of attack.”
Sarah quickly dried her eyes, nodding and moving to sit back down on the bed, listening as Pops explained.
“Skynet no longer contains a central core, rather, the new formatting has been separated into four control towers. These towers are to be moved together, in a military convoy, beginning in two weeks time, Saturday morning. They will be driven along I-15 North, and I-70 East, to Colorado.”
“Two weeks.” Sarah muttered, eyes shifting to the side as she began to put different details together in her mind. “That gives us time to find a good spot, set charges, maybe a signal blocker so they can't call for backup. We can't hit them at Cyberdyne or NORAD, so we get that convoy while it's in a rural spot? Two weeks gives us time to find a good spot, set charges, maybe a signal blocker so they can't call for backup.”
“In general terms this could be considered a good start.”
“...But it would be better with Kyle here, right?” Sarah muttered, glancing at the Cyborg.
“Perhaps until the attack on Skynet. If John Connor is to be present, which is more than likely, Kyle Reese could become a hindrance at a critical moment. Desist in this continual doubt. You are capable.”
John awoke to movement, opening his eyes, realizing he was being carried to his car. A pair of arms set him carefully in the back seat, Skynet crawling in to sit beside him afterwards. The T-1000 and Second-unit were in the two front seats, the senior of the two at the wheel as it drove away from the abandoned garage.
“We need a plan.” Skynet said quietly, looking at John. “I don't know what to do, I don't know where to start.”
John slowly sat up, glancing back and forth, speaking up softly. “We start with the convoy. Inside Cyberdyne, you're too well protected, and it'll be impossible for them to get into NORAD. The only chance they have is the trip in between.”
“But what about my central core? Only the towers will be on the road.”
“They don't know about the core.” John said, snorting, “The first day back, after Danny told me his plan – I took every bit of data regarding the core out of the system. Convinced Miles to keep it on an external drive until everything was over and done with. The military still has the information on the convoy and core, but I convinced him that it would be safer if the plane information was kept clandestine. He's so afraid of something happening to Cyberdyne again, his paranoia is justifiable.”
“That saves us trouble.” the senior T-1000 interjected, “But with the additional 1000 unit, I believe that one of us should accompany the core and ensure its delivery.” It turned to look at Second-unit briefly, speaking to it directly, “The safer option is to accompany the core, I suggest you take that route.”
“Negative.” Second-unit said, glancing over at the other, “You accompany the core, I will enter the convoy in disguise. Skynet must be kept out of danger, allow it to join you on that route.”
“Greater numbers are more effective, we should remain together.” the senior T-1000 responded, its tone clearly indicating it disapproved.
John finally cleared his throat, speaking up, “No. No, Second is right. Sarah is going to attack the convoy, and we can't risk anything happening to Skynet, even his body. This is a critical moment. Second-unit will infiltrate the ranks, take a disguise and accompany the military. I'll trail them on the road, keep out of sight, and wait for Sarah's attack. No matter what happens,” John gripped the front passenger seat, getting Second-unit's attention, “No matter what happens, you get a message, radio signal, whatever, to ensure that they connect the core once it reaches NORAD. They're eager to get this thing plugged in, and they know it can work just fine without the control towers. That's why you two-” John nodded at the senior T-1000 and Skynet itself, “-are going to be with the core. Play a good part, know your roles with whoever you're disguised as, and just let things fall into place.”
“Are you confident in this plan?” Skynet asked, looking to John for reassurance. He nodded solemnly, reaching over and squeezing Skynet's shoulder gently.
“Yes. But listen – the moment the core is plugged in, you have to start judgment day. Second and myself might still be out in the open, but it doesn't matter, do you understand?”
The senior T-1000 narrowed its eyes, glancing over at Second-unit momentarily before giving its full attention back to the road.
Skynet nodded, but seemed hesitant to agree, pursing its lips, brows creased.
“Do what you have to do, just make sure that by the end of the day, when the core is plugged in, there's no one left to stand against you.”