Friday, January 23, 2009

Time out of Place - Chapter 15

Chapter 15

The telephone rang and Sarah Connor woke up from her sleep and picked up the bedside phone.

"An hour to get ready, Sarah."

"Thank you, Alfred," she looked at the clock which was nearing midnight, and then put the phone back into its cradle. She went from her bed and to the shower, deciding she needed that and would put her hair into a ponytail. It felt strange dressing in the things she had been shown: vests of body armor with plates in them, some side pieces to protect her arms, then the two holsters, one a large crossdraw across her chest and the other riding on her left thigh. With the light, but sturdy boots to go with the black pants and shirt, she started to go into the motions to click everything into place, put the extra magazines where she could get them, and then pack the small bag of other items that included a squeeze bottle of water, some donuts wrapped in paper napkins...the cases of IR and LI goggles, went into the bag while she fitted the earpiece on and kept the other earplugs in a small container in the bag. It wasn't a purse. It didn't have a wallet, change purse, or hold any cosmetics. Instead it had loops for the magazines, a pocket laser scope to fit onto either gun if she wanted that, bandages, surgical tape, antibiotic sprays, some thing quick folding splints, a tourniquet...

She inhaled slowly, deeply. She walked over to her purse and took out her wallet and slid out a picture of Ginger and Matt from it. She worked the picture in her hand under the body armor to the small breast pocket in the shirt underneath, over her heart.

She wasn't doing this for herself, alone.

She would make sure that they had not died in vain.

The future was no longer 2029, nor 1997, nor the one she had planned for herself.

The future was here, now, this night and early morning and she didn't know if she would live or die.

But any son she had would never have, would not fight in her place like the one in that other time. That other place. John Connor had meant to save her. Now she would make sure that future never came to be and save him from its horror by not allowing it to come about.

She would make sure of that.

And so would everyone else with her.

It was their future, the future of humanity, they would save.

* * *

The rain had stopped and for that Mr. Smith was grateful. So it was only a damp, chilly night and even the wind had died down to something less than a breeze. He slid out the collapsible binoculars and looked down to the Lyon Building and saw a van and a Trans Am parked close to it. Easily he could identify the people he knew and, by the process of elimination, the young red haired woman must be Vivian Rose and the older gentleman Sgt. Frank Rock. They were talking and then waving to Vivian as she went back to the Trans Am and pulled out and headed back to Wayne Tower. Sgt. Rock, Kyle, Loren, and Martin were talking, as was Lucius. He saw Sarah Connor get out in her black outfit of light body armor and strapped on pistols and magazines. When everyone had gotten out the van drove off and the driver went away.

Satisfied that everyone was doing their jobs, Mr. Smith got about to doing his. He took the high powered scope that Father Casull had brought him and watched the scant traffic going across the bridges from the North Island to the South. The lower bridges were those of street connectors, while the higher, newer one was part of the interstate feeder that went into Gotham City proper.

"This is Lucius on five, can you hear me Mr. Smith?" he heard from his earpiece. He switched on the small microphone on his jacket lapel.

"This is Mr. Smith, Mr. Fox. I do read you, and saw you all arrive a few minutes ago. Currently no sign of the Z-28 1977 Camaro in black. Father Jordan had one of his parishioners describe one to me, and I am familiar with the overall make," he said.

He had affixed the scope so that it could easily traverse the bridges, but also used his binoculars for them so he could switch between them, quickly.

"Keep me appraised, Mr. Smith. This frequency also goes to Wayne Tower which has a line of sight to you. They are listening but will only come on air if addressed."

"Good! I know I am the relay for you, also," he said looking at the repeater he had installed on the railing near where the scope was affixed.

"Thank you, Mr. Smith, that is operational. Keep me informed, I am monitoring your frequency, but now going to the common one for operations here," Lucius said.

"My pleasure, Mr. Fox. Smith, out."

He switched the microphone off and huddled in the two sleeping bags the had brought up and activated one of the small chemical warming pouches. It was rare to see much traffic outside of the Hotel and Theater districts, and the lower bridges were on lights, so any stray traffic between the two districts was confined to those periods when the lights allowed. By Vivian's estimates the Terminator, by going North and avoiding the snarl of roads between Gotham City and New York City, would add twenty minutes to a half-hour to its arrival time.

Mr. Smith used his binoculars to scan the surrounding areas and saw that something was... different.... he looked at the Wharf and south sound and even a quick shift to look to the river side to the north west and then the Hotel district. Even at this early hour of the night there should still be party goers wending their way home or seeking a final bit of revelry. Where were they? And where were those that would service those needs?

Seeing cars on the bridges he scanned them, and thought about what was going on.

"Its like people know something wicked this way comes..." he whispered to himself.

The ribbon of light that was the elevated interconnector let him see all the way to its mid-north components where it then was lost behind tall buildings. The two South Island to mainland bridges showed very little traffic, and he had an even better view of those than the interconnector.

Mr. Smith could only think of one thing that might do this and for that, between waves of cars, he scanned the tall downtown office building roofs, although spotting anything in the dark, misty tops of those buildings was impossible he soon realized. Was the Batman, even now, looking at him while he looked for the Batman? He smiled and then shivered, as he didn't know what to think of this Dark Knight of Gotham City. He had heard a single police report of a burglary thwarted in mid-south earlier this evening while listening to the radio, quietly, in the apartment of one of Father Jordan's friends.

Still, if he was watching over the mid-south there were only a few vantage points that offered such visibility...

Mr. Smith realized that he was, really, only on the walkway around the lower part of the water tower, and that the eaves of the roof of the tower would shield him from direct downpour, but also made it so anyone up there, on the roof, could not be seen by him. And it was, actually, quite dark up here.

Shaking he looked back at the ribbon of highway and saw a black vehicle on it. A car. He twisted slightly on the lens ring and brought it into better resolution. It had the telltale split bumper and the colors of the license plate was not that of New York or surrounding States. He hesitated a moment as it got to the bridge, as fuzzy dice swinging inside almost made him decide against it. But as they swung out of the way he saw the dark visage inside, a bulky man with dark sunglasses on.

"It's crossing the Interconnector bridge..." he spoke into the microphone as he keyed it.

"Got that, Mr. Smith," said Lucius.

"It is taking the second turn-off, heading into the Hotel District area."

"It is?"

"Yes it has just navigated the off-ramp and I am going to lose it amongst the buildings there. I will keep a watch out on the surface streets I can see."

"Thank you, Mr. Smith. The others are getting into final position, now."

He scanned along the surface roads and watched out directly up and down Crown and Back Avenues, and along 16th and 17th Street. He had some visibility elsewhere, but these were the main arteries that would allow anyone to get to the Lyon Building, just a few blocks away. It also had a sewer connection to the Underworld in the Brandon Way alley. Looking directly down Crown Avenue he thought he caught a glimpse of a black car through his binoculars, but just that as it went through an intersection in the Hotel District. He rushed to see if it appeared on the Back Avenue intersection. It didn't.

"Possible sighting in the Hotel District crossing of Crown Avenue, but did not appear on the Back Avenue crossing."

He scanned the other roads and saw no cars that were the Z28 and no figures that were large. For long minutes he scanned, soon growing on ten minutes. Then on Crown Avenue he saw it.

"It is on foot from the Hotel District on Crown Avenue. Just passing 21st Street. Not a fast pace, but deliberate. I would guess it will be at the Lyon Building in ten to fifteen minutes."

"Passing that on, thank you, Mr. Smith. We are ready."

* * *

It had made good time in avoiding the unresolved area of highways on the map and took the Gotham City connection that headed to the southwest. Once on the North Gotham Island he kept to the highway and crossed over to the South Island and noted the exit for the Hotel District and took it. Crown and Back Streets went the length of the Island from the Hotel District, and as it came in view of those roads it examined the buildings near them. This was near the end of the district and it could only see a Best Western Hotel with underground parking and the Gotham Hills Motel with raised brick fence topped with razor wire.

If it had to leave to head to Los Angeles, street level parking was preferable to underground and it turned left to pull into the semi-circle of entrance road that had two fenced off areas for parking beyond it. It parked the car on the outer part of the entrance and walked into the motel. Inside the building was older, the carpet worn from its once deep pile and the walls yellowed from an original sunny color to beige. There was older furniture in the room that was large, oversized and well worn. The infiltration routine noted these things and judged that the attire it wore was consistent with the observed condition of the motel.

It approached the old oak desk that held the front office staff. A younger man with blond hair, in a dark red suit looked up from his desk work and smiled.

"How may I help you, sir?"

"I need a room for two nights with secure parking for my car."

"We have that available, and the secure parking is courtesy of the Motel. Rooms are $55 a night plus taxes."

"One room, two nights, secure parking."

"Yes sir!"

The young man rang that up on a cash register.

"That will be $117.70, sir. Will that be credit card, traveler's check, cash..."

It took out its wallet and put down a hundred dollar bill and a twenty on top of it.

The young man smiled.

"Here are the room and car identification cards I need you to fill out, while I finish up with the reciept."

It quickly placed information into the places of the card, giving random house numbers and phone numbers it had taken in while on the road as it had purged the telephone book information from Los Angeles in Indianapolis.

The young man put down a key and a plastic card with a strip on it.

"Thank you, Mister..." he looked at the information, "Derdnuh? Dirdenah? The key is to Room 15, the pass card is for the parking area on the left outside your room, and if you need anything else, please let us know as we have many good contacts who can supply us with many items. Check out time is noon, and if you need to go before then, just leave the key and pass on the bed. The gate opens automatically for those leaving."

The Terminator took up its change, the key and the plastic pass for the parking area.

"Thank you," it said as it turned and walked to its car and started it up. Soon it was at the entrance to the parking area and slid its pass into the metal box on a stalk, and the gate opened and the tire shredding strips recessed into the ground. It drove into the parking area and found its room near the back and parked the car. It parked there, took out its duffel and locked the car. Inside the room it gave its weapons a final inspection, placing the 1911 Colt .45 in a shoulder holster and then affixing the Uzi under its jacket so that it could be swung down and out for easy use and still be hidden save for the straps to it. It put an extra magazine for the Colt in the flap for it in the holster. It taped two extra magazines to the Uzi before it was stowed under the jacket. The shotgun and M-1 Garand were pre-prepared, with extra magazines for the Garand and reloads for the shotgun. Both were loaded and it put the duffel over them on the bed. It walked to the door and shut out the lights. It hung the 'Do Not Disturb' sign on its door as it left and ensured that it was locked. It used its pass at the pedestrian stile on the outside of the gate that led to the street.

It set a measured pace as it turned onto Crown Avenue. The rain and wind had finished here and much trash had been cleaned off the streets to the gutters. Very few people were out in the night after the storm.

It was moving down the right hand or north side sidewalk and passed the intersection of Arsenal. As it approached 12th Street it was in front of the Lyon Building, and noted that it was a large building between 12th and 13th Streets and half the length between Crown and Back Avenues. Two alley ways subdivided the larger block. While the front door was apparently made of wood, it was set into a brick facing. There was a listing of names and apartments and buttons to press to get attention for being 'buzzed in'. It looked at the door frame by the handle and gently hit the frame which caused some wood work to crack. It lifted the woodwork and slid a finger to the internal hold for the door catch and pressed it out of the way and opened the door. It pressed the catch back into place and the wood over it and let the door shut behind it.

Sarah Connor was in room 307 and it walked the first floor to examine the layout of the building and determined that her apartment was facing to the building adjacent to the Lyon on Crown Avenue and overlooking the alleyway. As it had preferred an external final approach in Los Angeles, it did that here and opened the door and left the building. In the alley it could see one figure huddled at the other end in a cardboard box. That figure had not noticed it from inside the box. It lept up to grab the railing of the fire escape and swung itself up onto the fire escape without needing to bring the lower ladder down. Apartment 307 would face onto the fire escape. At the third floor it examined the window leading into the living room area. It was mid-room with the only head signature in the area it judged to be the bedroom on its left.

Examining the window frame it saw that the wood was older than on the front door and it grabbed the lower sill and lifted it until it felt the old nails give, and then pushed it down, removed the nails and slid the board out. It then repeated this with the two uprights and removed the lower window quietly and placed it inside on the floor and stepped into the apartment. It shifted to light intensification and noted many magazines, letters and other items that were all addressed to Sarah Connor at this address.

The deep carpet was over very firm flooring and it carefully moved towards the bedroom. It walked to the bedroom avoiding furniture and heard a slight shifting from the bedroom from someone shifting on the bed. It stopped in mid stride for a second and then moved on as no more sounds were heard. It had the Colt out in its right hand and needed to do two things before it would Terminate Sarah Connor.

First was open the door. Second was turn on the light to ensure the woman here was the same in the photograph seen in Los Angeles.

Quietly it opened the door as its right hand sought to push up the light switch.

Its vision shifted to the figure in bed, its light intensification giving a good rendition of the woman.

She had a large bore weapon pointed at it and fired.

This overloaded its light intensification system and it failed over to infrared while it reset. The Terminator heard a number of reports from pistol fire in its right hand. It had not brought that hand out to shoot, there was a short in that system and it sent a signal to momentarily cut it off and resequence the connections. The Colt .45 dropped to the ground. The internal systems now fed the information into its main programming system. The first was estimated chance of successful mission completion.

It had dropped from 100% to 87.35%.

It shifted its right leg back to offer less of a target to Sarah Connor and was taking the Uzi from under its jacket. The damage report came in.

Structural damage to its shoulderblade, full penetration which had taken out that battery reserve and severed main control connections running around and through the shoulderblade.

Shorts to the arm had caused misfunction of motors there.

Dislocation of multiple internal struts to the shoulderblade.

Damage to infiltration substrates had caused a report overload and that system was resetting.

The last of the cloud had cooled down while it received this data and it had heard noise of Sarah getting off the bed to its left. It had grasped the Uzi and was now moving that out and forward and would begin triggering a fast fire sequence for it when its line of fire would intersect the bottom most portion of the bed and then 'walk the fire' over Sarah Connor.

Hot smoke cooled and the outlines of the bed and Sarah Connor came into focus. She was partially concealed behind the bed.

The big bore pistol was aimed at it and fired.

It had been better prepared and had even gotten the Uzi to a position to start firing.

Like the light intensification, the infrared momentarily overloaded and its aim was spoiled by a frame level power fault. The power flashed back on throughout its frame structure, but its previous shift of weight caused it to step backwards with its right leg and the fast trigger program had not re-initialized waiting for feedback from the last round that had been fired. The structural analysis system now fed its upper level programs information.

Chance of mission success 53.13%

Structural damage through mid-level left ribs completed to upper level right ribs in the back, taking out more of the battery system.

Power supply couplings had been hit by a pressure wave causing momentary power loss.

Power housing was secure with minor exterior damage.

Substrate reporting systems resetting.

Right arm function still unavailable and rerouting was being tested.

Coordination tests between main processing area and secondary were secure, but sub-routing to upper limbs was impaired and feedback to left arm was discontinuous.

It was sending multiple decision pathways to analyze damage and assess options. It needed upper limb function for many forms of attack.

The door to its right, in the main living room flew open and a black figure in the doorway was firing a weapon that it identified as an M1928 Thompson Submachinegun. That would do no damage to it in undamaged areas. The Terminator was backlit by the window not serviced by the fire escape. The first rounds hit its lower right thigh and started working up.

Structural damage was being taken.

Something had gotten into the power feed near the knee and shorted it. Other rounds were giving less penetration, but were being 'walked' up its side. Its right knee was now locked into position.

It could not determine what was doing the damage and saw lots of items in the air that were small, hot and light in mass density.

Chance of mission success 50%. 43.5%. 37.6%.

The rounds marched up its thigh and one hit it in the pelvis of its hip.

For humans this is a complex structural element that is very hard for machining to improve upon. Glass cast metal offered some solutions along with elements of carbon steel fiber composites. Interior cross-bracing offered some benefits, like high hardness, but required that load be actively distributed via purely mechanical and non-motor driven systems. Terminators, like humans, had a marvel of structural load bearing by the elements in their pelvis but faced the limitation that when the body flexed, the pelvis has a very tiny amount of 'give' to it to distribute mechanical strain. Thicker material does not take the strain well, and metals are notoriously difficult at distributing strain across a solid block. Thus the interior is hollowed out, and the outer portion made denser and thinned. Form following the human frame and function meant a lot of trade-offs in the design of a Terminator. This one allowed for a secondary processor system to be put into the pelvis to serve as an immediate interface to the rest of the body structure and for some of the high level analytical ability of the unit involved.

A needle of depleted uranium put a tiny hole in the outside of the skin, the metal frame and then heated and burned its way into the interior of the pelvis structure, which would be inside the bone of a normal human. The right side pelvis sub-processing area immediately suffered a fault and other circuits closed it off from the programs and frame of the Terminator.

Chance of mission success 28.3%. 17.2%.

It had heard Sarah Connor cry out at some point when it fired its Uzi, but the corner of its vision registered her out of any line of its current left hand position, further back towards the wall on that side of the bed and using the bed to brace her pistol.

Rounds from the second shooter were now going into flesh substrate and being walked up its mid-torso.

Chance of mission success 1.3%

Emergency routines kicked in from the Terminator's programming.

The Mission was Primary.

This was a trap and had 0% chance of its mission succeeding here.

It pistoned with its left leg hard, thrusting full power for that module into the motor at maximum rated load and it flipped up and over in the air across the living room. As it was going through the air it noted that the second shooter's aim was following it a full half-second behind its motion. It pulled its left leg in and used it to absorb the shock of landing and immediately retriggered it forward and through the window. Its timing had not been good and three rounds from the second shooter took it across the spine and a number of power faults now roiled its system. Minimal function for gross motor control was returning to the left arm.

The left pelvis CPU area had been fully informed and programmed in mid-air in the apartment. When it registered the shock of landing on the escape, general body position above it and lack of lateral or forward motion it pistoned forward and to the right out into the alleyway.

Upper processors were now temporarily out of full contact with the lower processor.

The left pelvis CPU noted another round, similar to that of Sarah Connor's had just gone through its right pelvis. All returns to that CPU system, which had been rerouting now went dead to zero feedback.

That shot while it was going off the fire escape had put a very slow spin on the Terminator and it recognized heat sources from positions at the roof of each building at each end of the alley, and across the street. From the farther shooter it registered a sudden flare and then felt a round skim over its face on the right hand side and go through its collar area and out the ruined shoulderblade are. As it turned in mid-air and fell it saw the individual in the box was armed with what appeared to be an M1A1 and was had just racked it back and forward. He was bringing the shoulder stock to his shoulder and sighting in down the alley where the Terminator would end its trajectory.

Nothing in the laws of physics would allow it to change that landing point, particularly with its lower processing units at low comms. It could, however change its rate of spin. It estimated the damage capability of the Uzi and let it go, the shoulder strap keeping it with it as it fell. The spin slowed as its arm was fully outstretched and as it started to land the first of the deadly rounds were being fired. Those went across its lower belly area and were inconsequential, this was not a veteran shooter as the one upstairs had been.

Although its arm motors were in no way a match for its leg motors, it did allow the Terminator to adjust its fall while a basic timing sequence was put to the left pelvic processor. Landing on hand and knee and taking more punishment along its right from the alley shooter, it pushed both, to maximum while it shifted its weight from right to left to push it in the cross-alley heading towards 11th Street. The initial shift of weight put some spin on the Terminator's push off and it noted that both the cross-fire snipers had put rounds on where it was that would have pierced the upper and lower back and intersected at its power unit. One-tenth of one second slower and its mission would have been terminated.

The alley shooter had continued with rounds, often wild but had successfully cooked off much of the outer flesh in the abdomen, which contained repair and sustainment fluids. The Terminator brought its left arm and leg in as it turned, allowing it to turn a bit faster, but it could not pull its lower back out of the way. Again the inexperience of the shooter meant that only a single round penetrated into its spinal area, which suddenly eroded the circuits for communications between pelvis and head CPU units that had nearly been restored. The Terminator shifted to low frequency sound conduction on its frame to communicate between CPUs. This was slow, but had high bandwidth, which it needed for proper assessment of its structure. Its initial aim had been behind a dumpster due to its ability to offer some scant cover, and for the manhole cover that was next to it.

Its limited mobility would not be so great a problem in a sewer and would even odds against any that would follow it. The alley shooter was firing, still, as it came down and rolled behind the dumpster. It had been counting rounds, and a 30 round magazine would only have 6 left and those were spraying by it. That bare second when the fire stopped allowed it to open the manhole cover, and slip down into the opening, onto the ladder and pull the cover back over just as the fire started up again with a new magazine. If the alley shooter had a hundred round drum like second one in the apartment, that would have been the end for the Terminator. Quickly it rolled away in the damp sewer water towards what would be Crown Avenue. There its light intensification system found that bare light from above showed it an intersecting storm sewer which it decided to take towards the inland side, leading back to the hotel district. It saw a grate that opened into the floor of the sewer and it had almost no light to intensify below it. Going to infrared it noticed warmer air from below and steam pipes in walls, that gave off a heat differential to the surroundings. It opened the grate enough to slide through and fell fifteen feet to the lower sewer next to large pillar with a ladder set into it.

It stopped and listened for pursuers.

There were none.

Full motor function had been restored to the left arm. It shifted to the ladder and pulled itself up to look around and then leaned against the pillar as it pulled its Uzi to its hand.

Chance of mission success had moved up to 5.7%.

Looking down at its right side, the Terminator saw that much function had been lost to its exterior infiltration package. The multiple, high levels of damage that had taken was still not registering as the rest of its systems were trying to get functional responses from the right pelvis, right leg and right arm. It saw fragments of its right pelvis in a large wound on its front, that second shot it had taken there had done that, and it shut down all attempts to revive that CPU. It was...

Then its frame power shorted out.

This was a 'hard' crash to system restart.

The system was not restarting.

Skynet had done many things to Terminators, including removing much of their self-repair capability, beyond that needed for infiltration or some gross and large scale repairs. It did not want Terminators shunting circuits to avoid Skynet programming, and so it had removed those from this Terminator sent on a one-way mission to the past. Those would not have helped this Terminator in any event as it was a shard of its own skeleton that had become wedged into the main power feed and the slow insulation fail had shorted it out. Skynet had removed large sections of base programming which it utilized for its own objective schema and decision matrix. This Terminator had purged all but the small section necessary for its current mission and had left the rest of the matrix blank in order to utilize it for processing space.

Programming of power units was a vital concern to the humans who created Terminators at Cyber Dyne. If that one, single module still worked it must have access to all the possible repair routines to bring back function to the unit. To prevent the deciphering of that code and those instructions, the designers had placed a compression and encryption algorithm into the code blocks. Not only was it triply redundant, but utilized some of the first holographic storage system that had been available. Those were primitive, but offered private quantum encryption within Terminators and those who held the keys to that code on the outside. Skynet had never found those keys as they were never recorded on a digital system. It had vaporized the bank vault that held them on Judgment Day and all three of the designers on the team were necessary to make it work. One was left alive after Judgment Day. His records had been in another bank vault it had vaporized. And since it was held in a theoretically small storage area, Skynet had decided that it was not worth going further to do anything to it, and it did not have the technical resources immediately after Judgment Day to change the manufacturing or coding of the software. It had added a higher level shutdown code so that at certain damage levels field units would properly shut down and the power code would not be triggered.

It was just a self-repair routine, after all.

That routine now started a sophisticated job of loading and unloading analysis units and seeking out the secondary power circuits which had also been disrupted. That came back null as the shock the power container had received needed a minor push to reseat the connections. There was a positive junction fault on the main power connection.

Then a litany of alternate and tertiary and sub-power systems started to run through the analysis system, examining each to find any response in test after test after test.

It did get a response: from the infiltration interface, that was requesting low levels of power to assess damage. It was in no way the Terminator main CPU system. But it did function and power could get to it, so its connection was established, and a number of blocks of programming were put into storage from the CPU and new ones taken out to examine infiltration power routing. These 'nerves' were a highly developed molecular thin film sustained by a biological process for transmitting information from low power sensor leads. The power unit found multiple areas of damage, but three that were major: the chest, right shoulderblade and right pelvis. Finding the maximum power that could be fed through those sensors that crossed those areas, the power unit started to do so and see if anything would respond.

It did get responses: from the right arm sensors, right leg sensors and from a lower pelvis section of the CPU housing that had been broken. With that last now being available the power CPU now started to shift code to that CPU which, even broken, it had capability to examine incoming feeds. While it did that the power system started an inventory of batteries. The lower right leg and the lower set in the right arm were available, but a Terminator couldn't run for more than a minute on those, which would be the time necessary to reboot the system. The partial right pelvis CPU started to draw power from the lower right leg, which it still had a feed from and sensor feeds from those held two undamaged ones that went to the center of the spine and to the left pelvis CPU. As the right pelvis CPU was just acting as a secondary processing area to the power unit, the decision of the power unit was to examine the feeds from the left pelvis CPU and not restart it. The cross junctions started to get low amounts of power through them and a number of damaged units in the spine started to report back. As they had last been configured to get sensor and power feeds to the main CPU, the power unit co-opted them and fed power from the battery systems to them.

They recognized all the proper encryption codes by the emergency routine and shifted over to accept more load and processing capability from it. This was the jackpot for the power processing system as it now got to all the main crossfeeds and junctions that went to the upper CPU unit, which held all the visual and positioning sensors! It had won the lottery of trying to get any function at all into a dead Terminator.

IR sensors came on as well as the position sensors and the remains of the right pelvic CPU analyzed those with its minimal code capability. The left arm was locked around the rung of a ladder. The head was canted at an angle looking down over the body of the Terminator. The self-repair sub-routines now started to kick into high gear drawing on more battery power to get a full damage report. The main and worse damage was the one that seemed to matter the least to overall function: the left to right shot through its chest. There were two ways to get to the damage that mattered: either through the exit hole of that shot or the one above it from the back that had destroyed the remains of the right shoulderblade. From the immediate viewing angle it could not see what the exact damage was as there was still too much of the damage in the way.

The fastest and best route to full main power was to take the shard that must be in the power connection out, so the right arm moved at the elbow and wrist shifting the hand to the exit hole and then did its best to press its fingers in. Now all other sensor reports were shelved and the sensors denied power as only those of touch mattered. The fingers slid into the hole and found the sharp shard near the end of the housing that must be the problem.

And the system suffered a frame power fault.

This time power jolted through the Terminator frame and then off again.

Finding the code to make a motor move a preset amount based on inertia, the power processor fed that into the wrist motors.

The main power junction fed power into the Terminator.

Parts of the main CPU became active and found that the entire frame and structure with all sensors had been co-opted by another computer system. This one had all proper encryption communication to identify it as a Cyber Dyne repair code system. The Terminator understood what this code was for: ensuring that the Terminator systems were properly repaired in the field. It shifted its higher routines into a static state and hibernated them, thus allowing the repair code to do its work.

Now that the self-repair system had full power it migrated its full code into the Terminator CPU system. Its first and most major concentration was reseating the power unit into its secondary connection sockets. Those fingers on the right arm shifted deeper into the hole that marked the exit of the cross chest penetrating round. Sensor feedback reported that a second round from the collarbone area had struck the power unit, dislodged it and actually cracked the outer casing, and then deflected out the area where the shoulderblade had been. The self-repair system could not get direct assessment of the state of the casing beyond that done by touch. It did, of course, have an inner casing that protected power systems and processors, but the outer one was used for gross mechanical safety of the power system. Energy weapons systems tended to flow around and over the outer casing and not penetrate it. This had been a physical penetration round of the sort engineers in the early 1990's knew about.

The power self-repair system informed the Terminator that it needed to fully reseat the power unit and that this might bring system faults through it. The self-repair system left code markers to call it back up in that instance if it lost contact during that time and the Terminator was able to come up first. Those were inserted into the hibernating code.

Fingers squeezed slightly and a series of minor power faults went through the main junction. That was to be expected due to the first damage it had addressed, but this allowed the repair code to start shunting power to other feeds and avoid the damaged ones in the junction. There was almost no give in the outer housing, so the fracture was probably hairline in nature or possibly a radiating web from point of impact. That would cause pieces to come away under pressure and that didn't happen. Using the pre-programming for motors, the power unit put in a minimal pull and shift to the right wrist.

The general frame fault that followed was Terminator-wide as a large power surge actually shunted into the frame, itself, as exposed contacts had been the actual source of the damage to the power unit.

Once the fault passed with the contacts vaporizing, the housing locked into place and both primary and secondary power connections were reseated and solid in the frame again.

The Terminator came on-line.

It now had all the necessary information on damage to its entire system, from gross physical damage, to power system damage to communication damage. Further the self-repair sub-routines noted vast parts of Terminator programming missing and put the source down to external tampering with the unit. Much of the base operating code and decision matrix had been marked as damaged, and those working sections marked as tampered.

This Terminator had always known it had not been utilizing the full code base of Cyber Dyne and that Skynet had developed its own replacement code system for all upper level processing areas. The self-repair code had marked all of that, save for some very basic internal comms and control, as corrupted, tampered, damaged or in need of urgent replacement.

On the physical side the Terminator had restored function to its right arm and leg, but there was mechanical strain that was missing from them. Neither right arm nor right leg could take much in the way of mechanical load or strain. Doing so would cause loss of those limbs. They were marked for 'expedient field repair' by the repair code and in need of full factory replacement.

Save that there were no factories left to make replacement parts for Terminators as they had not been invented yet.

The spine area was a mess of internal damage, re-routed comms and power, suffering multiple penetrations and even some fractures. Two mid-level and one lower vertabrae had their safety pins activated by the repair code to locked them together with surrounding spinal units to stop further damage due to flexing.

Internal assessment code identified the two primary power junctions as having suffered damage and both were operating at reduced capacity but, together, allowed full power across the Terminator frame. The power unit outer housing was damaged, but now locked in place by the junction housings. The Terminator realized that the power unit had been free floating inside its frame, previously, and only held in place by surrounding infiltration substrate and fractured power feeds from the man junction.

Aural sensors reported non-animal sound from the upper storm sewer.

The full time it had spent locked in place on the ladder had been nearly five minutes. Carefully it moved the right arm down to clear the penetration around its right pelvis. It saw the damaged CPU structure there and examined the damage. Entire structural elements along the back of the pelvis were missing. It swung itself around, in front of the ladder by pivoting on its left arm and leg and slowed its stop when its right side shifted to the opposite side, so that it faced out from the pillar. Leaning it was able to now free its left arm from bracing it, and gathered the Uzi in under its badly damaged jacket and secured it through penetration holes. Then it removed the strap on the Uzi and put that round the neck of the Terminator. Examination of the nearest ladder steps revealed one that was structurally sound and it moved its left hand up to pull out the retaining bolts on the far and near side. Holding the ladder step it looked down at its damage and bent the step and its support plates and carefully fit that into its frame in the severely damaged back pelvis region. It forced a mechanical fit to the inner part and then pressed the outer part to a forced fit that destroyed the remains of the CPU there. Using the Uzi strap it then cinched that around its waist, cross-wise, to press the entire arrangement together.

The leg would have very limited function but would sustain a fraction of the frame mass just long enough for an abbreviated step.

It needed factory replacement.

After that it slid the battered and torn jacket from its right arm and then tied the jacket arm across to go around and over the Uzi to hold it into place. Realizing a good arrangement, the Terminator followed this with the left side, crossing the jacket arm around and over the right wrist which was now pinned to the right hip and then secured that jacket arm. Its right arm was now immobilized, but could exert positive pressure on the internal bracing.

The sounds of steps were getting louder, overhead and the Terminator now moved and limped off, examining the IR input from its surroundings. It retained the general direction of the Hotel District, but realized any pursuers would also know it was headed there. It moved, instead, in the seaward direction hoping to throw off pursuit, knowing that it was still dripping and leaking fluids from the holes that were too large to repair in its infiltration package.

Just a little over a block away it heard the grating over where it was lift up and a small light had shone down behind it.

IR sensors reported a major cold spot ahead and it started to take the form of an open building.

Colder air was flowing up from that major opening.

It walked to it.

As it approached it could barely make out the swirling of cool and warm air that went over chiseled stone to form letters.

'Gotham Subway Station - Bank Ave.'

It had remembered reading that Gotham had a subway system, but that it had gone under in the late 1920's or early 1930's. The Terminator had taken that to be 'figurative language'. Apparently sections of Gotham City had been built over, or 'gone under' in a real way. As subways went through hills, over or around obstacles, and needed a good grade and drainage, the Terminator determined that this was the best way for it to go and backtrack towards the Hotel District and towards the heart of Gotham City. Going to the sea meant surface exposure, this route limited that, and the non-use of these tunnels indicated no one used them for any purpose. It would be difficult to track now that the worst of its dripping had stopped. It slid on its left side down the smooth course that had held the escalator and then got up on the platform below. There was very bare IR differences here, but it could make out the outlines of the tunnels, and that the ones behind it were cooler heading to the sea and those in front warmer.

It chose the left tunnel relative to it, so its right side could be braced against the tunnel wall if it needed that.

The tracks appeared unused.

Its chance of mission success had climbed to 6.3% and stabilized.

Now it must get the M-1 and shotgun from its motel room and complete the mission. That would boost its chance of mission success.

It could take very little damage as it was, and even normal confrontations would be lethal to it.

Sarah Connor had known it was coming.

Others were helping Sarah Connor.

They were armed, capable and had effectively done the impossible and made the mission for the Terminator into a death trap. It had escaped by perseverance and one relatively unskilled shooter. There was no question in its mind that this would not be the case on a second confrontation. There was even the possibility that continued motion would damage it to the point of crawling and needing to put repairs at a higher priority.

This had become a difficult mission to fulfill.

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