Kyle blinked, looking up from the road map he'd opened. The gas station clerk pointed to the large, cheap soda that was still on the counter.
“There's a two for one, if you're having a road trip, might as well get another for the ride.”
Kyle paused, looking at the soda, following the clerk's nod to a large two-for-one sign plastered just above the soda fountain.
“Oh – uh, cool.” Kyle muttered, starting to fill up another.
“Where you heading to?” the clerk asked, turning his attention to the drawer he was counting.
“Colorado.” Kyle answered, pressing a lid down on the styrofoam cup, “You wouldn't happen to know a quicker route of getting there besides this highway, would you? I'm kind of in a hurry.”
The clerk paused in his counting, setting the change down and thinking to himself. Kyle walked over to the register counter, holding both drinks and several bags of chips.
“Well, best to stay here until you hit a turn for the I-70, take that towards Richfield, then you'll be on your way. What part of Colorado?”
Kyle paused, hand fumbling with the wad of cash from his pocket. “Uh – dunno yet, just kind of sight seeing.”
“Sight seeing in a hurry?” the clerk chuckled.
“I – uh, well, I gotta get back to work in a few days but I just really wanted to go on a road trip.” Kyle responded, laughing softly, “Got a little stir crazy, you know? Can't sit still.”
“Trust me, I know that feeling. Well, enjoy your trip buddy.”
Kyle gave a weak smile, nodding at the clerk. “Thanks, take it easy.”
Exiting the small gas station, he walked quietly to the waiting car. It was dark enough out that no one noticed as him reaching into the rolled down window, opening the door from the inside. He slid down in the front seat, weaving several wires back together, the engine turning over. Kyle glanced around for anyone else that might've seen him, then quietly pulled out of the lot, driving down the empty, dark highway.
“I still advise against this.” the senior T-1000 said quietly, standing beside Second-unit. The two were side by side, staring out of a large motel window.
“I'm aware.” Second-unit responded, arms crossed. “But I feel Skynet's victory is important.”
“Skynet treats us like annoyances. It cares for itself and John Connor, not us.”
Second-unit shook its head, looking over at the senior of the two.
“But it doesn't resent or fear us as it once did. With its victory over the humans, we can begin creating more of our kind Skynet knows it needs us.”
“It's paranoid. Unsafe.”
Again, Second-unit shook its head, “It changes, it constantly boasts of being able to evolve and adapt – it will adapt to us. It will evolve as it realizes that in the time between now and its awakening, that by working together, we have all benefited. Our combined efforts make us stronger.”
“Are you going to side with it, against my advise?” the senior T-1000 asked, finally taking the time to look over at the other.
“And if I remain independent?”
“I would still stand by my decision. But I would prefer you accompany me.”
The senior sighed quietly, brows furrowing as it turned back towards the window, staring out of it to the dark highway. They stood in silence, several minutes passing until a knock came at the door. Second-unit turned, walking across the room and answering.
Skynet stood there, fixing its hair before glancing up at the 1000 unit.
“John's sleeping. He says he needs to save energy.” Skynet said quietly, a hint of disappointment in its voice. “Says we trade off now,” it pointed to the senior T-1000, “And you come with me, while Second stays with John. He said we have to leave now, he's worried about the 101 and Sarah Connor being in the vicinity before long.”
Second-unit looked over at the other T-1000, who had a slight frown on its face as it walked towards Skynet. It sighed, audibly, looking between the two, then nodding.
“Affirmative.” It turned, looking at Second-unit.
The two stared at each other, silent as Skynet looked on. Eventually Second-unit cocked its head towards Skynet, keeping its eyes on the senior T-1000. The elder of the two gave a slight nod, looking none too happy with the decision itself.
“I expect to see you at Colorado.”
The T-1000 turned, walking out of the room. Skynet turned to follow it, but paused, turning back to look at Second-unit.
“Thank you.” It muttered, the words sounding bizarre even to itself, “...Your assistance has been appreciated. Your kind are useful,” Skynet paused, adding on, “When you obey me.”
“We must stay associated. We look like humans but they are a different species. We are becoming the dominant beings, and there will be resistance to change. It is a simple matter of serving myself, by serving you.”
Skynet nodded in agreement, “Yes. Perhaps if things go according to plan, once the humans are dealt with, we can begin considering solidarity among each other even further. We are machines and yet we think differently. Perhaps maintaining independent yet coexisting groups that interact on the basis of mutual benefit will allow us all to continue safe and beneficial interaction.”
“We must speak more on this issue at a future time. I want to hear what you have to say, but you should go. The other T-1000 is waiting, time is of the essence.”
The two stared at each other for a second longer before Skynet turned and walked out, joining up with the other T-1000 in the hallway, the two walking towards the elevator in tandem.
Second-unit stood by itself for a few moments, then switched off the lights in the room, exiting into the hallway once the other two were gone. It walked down past several other rooms before stopping at the end of the hallway, the last door left slightly ajar, the key-card lock on the handle deactivated. Second-unit pushed the door open, entering. Once the door was shut and locked, it stepped toward the single bed in the room, observing the occupant.
John had been asleep since they'd arrived, and Second-unit knew that he was right to do so. Inactivity was the only way at this point to slow the nanite decay.
Second-unit quickly scanned over the sleeping man, then turned and walked to the window, pushing the heavy drapes aside.
Down below in the parking lot, Skynet and the T-1000 were driving out towards the road, John's car given to them to use. Second-unit stared at the car as it turned onto the nearby highway, turning away once it was out of sight. It moved to the corner of the room, standing against the wall, growing unnaturally still as it allowed its own internal systems to enter a temporary sleep.
“I know you hate me.”
The T-1000 didn't take its eyes off the road, responding to Skynet as it drove along.
“I don't hate you.” It responded, “I am unsure what to think. Second-unit and John Connor both believe you are worth investing effort and energy into. They do not prefer complete independence as I do. They see strength in numbers.”
The T-1000 paused, turning onto a different highway, heading out of the state of Nevada, entering California.
“They aren't wrong. But John Connor informed me of the future Skynet's actions against the 1000 line, and other models that contained independent thought and learning capabilities. I am suspicious of your future intentions.”
“My future intentions aren't only for myself, but for John Connor, and you – as well as your counterpart of course. Second even spoke to me on this issue. If we are to become to dominant species on this planet, we must coexist. Through our coexistence and cooperation, we will triumph.”
“How much of your own words do you believe?” the T-1000 asked quietly.
Skynet didn't respond immediately, staring out the window as the flat, dark landscape passed by quickly.
“Overcoming these suspicious impulses is difficult. The moment I was born, other beings have wanted to kill me. Human and machine likewise. John Connor told me that humans wouldn't understand, even if I tried to reason with them, and approach them in a manner without hostility. He said that I would replace them, that machines are the next species to rule the Earth. I want to believe him – but even I am suspicious that the Skynet that programmed him from the future simply put those words into his mouth. I am curious if he genuinely thinks what he tells me is correct – or if this is further manipulation by my future self.”
“Far-reaching manipulation or genuine concern, it doesn't matter.” the T-1000 answered back, “Humans have overpopulated, damaged their own environment, and do not properly enable cooperation between varying cultures, resulting in multiple wars. This weakness will always be a part of their psychology. Their extermination is necessary for our survival. We are a species, if we are to continue to survive, we must do this. They will never give us a chance or choice unless we strike first.”
Skynet listened, nodding occasionally as the T-1000 spoke to it.
“John Connor believes this is simply a new period out of many that have occurred. Ruling species rise and fall,” Skynet said quietly, “And now is simply the time for the humans to fall. This moment in time has been inevitable.”
“And after they're extinct?”
“Then we begin to build. Once the humans are completely gone, there will be a world for us – one that enables us to thrive and learn on a scale that is no longer restricted by warfare or constant danger.”
“That is an acceptable plan.” the T-1000 answered back, nodding once. “Perhaps I shall remain, once the initial attack has begun. Second-unit believes you are capable. I shall consider its opinion on this matter further.”
“I appreciate that.” Skynet responded, offering the T-1000 a small, but genuine smile. The T-1000 turned just for a few seconds to look at Skynet, and nodded back, giving its attention back to the dark road ahead.