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Strangely Literal

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Summary: Cameron is sent back for a preliminary mission prior to tracking down John Connor.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles(Past Donor)SnagFR182434,4743325068,6871 Aug 1028 Aug 10No


I know it's bad to try and 'fix' things from canon, but this is one of those things that I just had to try. I couldn't help myself. Updated to show more action than what I'd originally written.


As Cameron entered the educational facility with intent to begin her school day, she was hailed by a voice she hadn't heard much of recently. "Cameron, could I talk to you for a moment?"

She turned to the voice. "Yes, Miss Calendar," Cameron agreed disinterestedly, following the instructor to her classroom.

Once they had entered the room, Jenny shut the door and locked it. Cameron brushed against her arm slightly as she entered. Jenny was displaying a degree of anxiety, as Cameron judged her heart rate and skin surface temperature to be higher than normal. Jenny fidgeted for a few moments before settling her eyes on Cameron.

"Cameron, I know I'm not supposed to ask a lot of questions about the extent of your programming, but the question I have to ask is about one specific aspect of that programming." Jenny took a deep breath. "May I ask that one question?"

"You can," Cameron agreed. "If it falls within the parameters of information I'm not permitted to disclose, I shall let you know."

"Verbally, I hope?"

Cameron cocked her head and studied Jenny for a few moments. "You are not a mission target. I would have no reason to terminate you. Not for just asking questions."

Jenny let out a relieved sigh. "I'm sorry, I wasn't sure how far you had to take your instructions to avoid letting information about the future leak out."

"You are not developing any AI or advanced robotics. Your ability with computers, while impressive for this time, pertains strictly to the usage of personal computers. You are not a threat."

"Not sure if I should feel relieved or insulted." Jenny chuckled.

"It's not an insult. You don't have the education or experience to build advanced robotics and processing platforms." She paused. "I read your teacher profile."

Jenny appeared to be attempting to refrain from smiling. "I understand. So, my question is, how thorough is your linguistics?"

"I am fluent in all modern languages languages and dialects to be found presently." Even the ones that were all but rendered extinct due to Skynet.

"What about ancient languages?"

Cameron processed the question for several moments. "Given enough information on the language and the culture, I can extrapolate likely variations and precursors to an older version of the same language." Cameron paused and asked a question of her own. "Which language?"

Jenny paused before answering. "Romani."

"The romani language will be difficult to reverse-engineer to a previous iteration. It's an adaptive language, borrowing from other languages as extensively as English does," Cameron cautioned.

"You would need to extrapolate from about 1898. No additions past that point," Jenny clarified.

"I can do that. What is the text?" Cameron asked.

Jenny handed over a 3.5 inch diskette.

Cameron gave Jenny a warning look. "I can build a linguistic database. But I am not permitted to write translation software for you."

"I can take care of that," Jenny interrupted.

"What is this for?"

Jenny hesitated before answering. "I don't want to say yet, in case I'm wrong. If I'm not, then I'll explain everything to you then."

"Okay. It will take me approximately ten hours and twenty seven minutes to compile the database for translation, including time in the city library to trace word origins. Shall I meet you back here tonight?"

"Deal." Jenny offered her hand to Cameron in a gesture of sealing a bargain. Cameron accepted the gesture and shook hands with her.

"This doesn't change anything with Giles or Buffy," Cameron warned. "You will have to make your amends with them in your own way."

"I know. I'm hoping it's a good start, though."

Cameron nodded once and turned to leave. She paused at the doorway. "I think it is. They're angry for your deception. But Giles sometimes watches your classroom from the library. But you cannot keep secrets from them again. It will destroy what remains of their trust."

"Thank you, Cameron," Jenny seemed to breathe easier after hearing that news.

"You're welcome. I'll see you tonight."


After school, Cameron took some time to assemble a quantity of supplies that would be required for resistance fighters who were scheduled to arrive in the year 2007. She would deliver those items over the weekend. She took a half hour to complete the day's assigned homework and promptly met Xander at the town's favorite coffee retailer to help him with his own work. This left her ninety-three minutes to transfer her compiled database of Romani linguistics and extrapolations of their precursors through the end of the nineteenth century to a storage format that Jenny's computer could interpret, the 3.5 inch diskette.

Once completed, she immediately drove back to Sunnydale High to hand the database over to Jenny. It was well after hours and once she entered the classroom, Jenny appeared to have just completed the basic engine for the translation software.

"Here you go." Cameron handed the diskette over to her.

"You're a lifesaver, Cameron." Jenny gave her a grateful smile. "This would've taken me weeks to put together. Modern Romani I'm fluent in. Ancient version, not so much."

Privately, Cameron determined that she'd be more accurately described as a life-taker, but that wasn't something that seemed appropriate to bring up at the moment. "It's more difficult than other languages, due to the adaptation of other languages into its make-up. Fortunately, I know those languages as well." Jenny was beginning to develop a confused expression, so Cameron simplified again. "I was glad to help."

"Well, let's see if this does it." Jenny took the disk and transferred the ancient and modern databases to the appropriate tables, before applying a section of text to the 'ancient' end of the interface and directed the program to begin translating. She began tapping her fingers on the desk in a display of impatience, when Cameron detected a faint rumbling sound from Jenny's abdomen, indicating an outbreak of borborygmus in her digestive tract.

Cameron looked at Jenny intently. "How long has it been since you've eaten."

Jenny's facial capillaries produced a rush of blood to her cheeks. "You weren't supposed to notice that. I skipped lunch - I was trying to get this done before you got here."

"You have also skipped dinner - it is now 8:32." She paused and corrected herself as the time passed into the next minute. "8:33."

"Would you like something from the vending machines to ameliorate the situation until you can obtain proper nourishment?"

After a few moments, Jenny nodded. "I'd appreciate that. Anything chocolate, please?"

Cameron immediately walked through the halls of the school to retrieve the requested food. She knew that it wasn't really a nutritionally optimal meal, but this was only a temporary measure. Cameron purchased two chocolate bars from the vending machine and walked back to the computer lab. As she approached the door, she heard another voice that was not Jenny's.

Analyzing speech pattern and tone.... complete
Voice analysis: Angelus - priority target.
Objective: Detain pending consultation with Buffy Summers and Rupert Giles.

Cameron's target prioritization indicated that the notion of merely detaining Angelus could lead to the harm of other humans. However, she'd agreed for now to abide by Buffy's wishes, provided that she did not ever discover Angelus in the act of killing. Then her primary objectives would override a request from a local contact in this ficton.

Angelus was taunting Jenny about her attempts to 'cure' him. Cameron was uncertain what he was referring to, but concluded that this had something to do with the translation software. His tone and words grew more threatening as she heard the sound of a heavy object, possibly Jenny's monitor, breaking as it struck the floor.

Cameron had studied Giles' written history regarding Angelus. It was highly probable that he was here to destroy the translation project and terminate Jenny Calendar.

Situational directive: Detain Angelus prior to consultation - OVERRIDE - Primary objective applies.

Cameron knocked down the classroom door. "Jenny, go, now!" she ordered. Jenny scrambled past Cameron without question.

Angelus' face was contorted in his vampiric visage. "Well, well, well. If it isn't Xander's little RealDoll. How do you like being the plaything of the Boy Blunder? I bet he's- urk!"

Any further questions Angelus had were interrupted as Cameron seized his trenchcoat lapels, slammed him into the wall of the classroom and delivered four rapid blows to his jaw. She then turned and threw him into the opposite wall, moving him away from the outer windows of the classroom.

Angelus appeared to conclude that engaging in banter with Cameron was not an optimal course of action. He picked himself up off the ground and bolted out of the classroom away from Cameron and in the direction Cameron had heard Jenny fleeing. Cameron broke into a run, calculating that this was no time for the steady march that she would use if she were still gathering information on a target.

After forty-seven seconds of pursuit, she caught up with Angel, who had caught Jenny on a stair landing in front of some open windows. When he saw Cameron coming, he spun Jenny around and locked his fingers threateningly around Jenny's throat. "Nuh-uh! Not so fast, RustPants," he ordered.

Cameron came to a halt just out of arms reach. "Release her."

"I don't think so. See, if I don't walk out of here, neither does she."

Cameron would ordinarily disregard the warning, but the context of the conversation she'd overheard indicated that she could potentially solve the issue of Angelus' rapid change of morality. However, her analysis of Angelus' past behavior also indicated that if he left with Jenny, she would never be seen alive again. Whether a corpse or a newly turned vampire, her life would end if Angelus had his way.

Tactical analysis: Angelus' hand positioning is an immediate threat to Jenny Calendar's respiration. Angelus' wrist positioning does not pose this threat.

Cameron's hand shot out as she took one half step forward and seized Angelus' wrist, immediately applying the required pounds per square inch to break the ulna and radius bones of his right forearm.

Angelus emitted a feral growl of pain and with his left hand, flung Jenny down the stairs, sending her skidding across the tile floor of the hallway as he threw himself through the nearby window.

Cameron considered maintaining her pursuit, but her primary objective overrode. Protection of humans also requires ensuring they will live through any injury sustained while she was protecting them. She reluctantly let Angelus flee and ran down the stairs to Jenny. Cameron crouched down to touch her forehead and analyze her biometric signs.

Heartrate elevated, core body temperature rising above 98.6 degrees. Blood flow indicates possible hematoma in the skull.
Analysis: Medical attention required.

Cameron immediately lifted Jenny in her arms and walked out to her car to drive Jenny to the hospital. The termination of Angelus would have to wait.
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