Title: Strangely Literal
Rating: FR-18, in case of language.
Crossover: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Pairing (if any): Xander/Cameron
Disclaimer: Buffy season 2, T:SCC season 1.
Summary: Prior to finding John Connor, Cameron is sent to learn appropriate social responses for the timeframe. Among other things.
Warning (if any): Show level violence, slightly harsher language possible, excessively literal robots.
Author's notes(if any): A bit heavy on the terminator exposition in this chapter, but it feels necessary. Hopefully it comes across as a semi-believable interpretation of a terminator's tracking process and that you enjoy.
Challenge #: 2010 August Fic-A-Day, general.
Word Count: 1771-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
If a human-killing cyborg turned bodyguard could be satisfied with an initial infiltration, Cameron had just as much claim to that sensation as any living being. She had properly set herself up as a student and had successfully begun what John would amusingly term 'friendly relations' with several of the students. Cameron processed this for a moment before deciding that she was successful up to this point. She had met a friendly boy, Xander, who displayed signs of attraction to her, and had an in-depth discussion of the current state of technological development with the boy's best friend. Cameron had been careful only to match the level of advancement that she was familiar with to that of Willow Rosenberg. Her infiltration subroutines cautioned against volunteering any information that might cause a disruption of the mission.
Once classes had adjourned for the day, Cameron went to her newly appropriated home to attend to the homework that the instructional staff had mandated. Cameron's homework took an hour, mostly because the assigned homework had to be hand written. She created an alert in her memory to obtain a computer system of this time period, but not to hook it up to the ever-developing internet. She knew that sometimes terminators went bad, and she did not want to provide easy avenues of development for Skynet, should base programming or a mishap cause her original programming to override the adjustments that John Connor had performed.
After her homework was done, Cameron calculated that she had approximately five hours before humans would no longer deem a visitor at the door appropriate. She would have to waste that time until it became four-point-five hours. Cameron needed to produce an image based on the last known visual confirmation she'd had for the renegade terminator unit. A brief trip to a pay-per-use computer vending service, which she learned was properly called a 'cyber cafe', gave her the utensils to recreate the renegade unit's dermal facial features in a utility known as 'paint'. She generated a printout and departed, already having a search logarithm generating a pattern of investigation in her memory.
She began her search pattern in the only way she could at this point in time. Cameron would march up to the doorstep of each house on her list and wait for the occupants to answer. She showed them the image of her target and asked if they'd ever seen the man. She made sure to generate a story that told of this man's sudden disappearance and look appropriately forlorn. That information, she got from humans in the future that had lost a loved one.
By the time her self-imposed time limit had expired, there were no leads on locating the terminator she was attempting to acquire as a target. Because she had no further information to work with by that point, she determined that she would have to resume the search after the conclusion of the next school day. Though John had urged haste in locating the rogue unit, she could do nothing more without subverting the infiltration protocols she'd been instructed to adhere to.
However, Cameron could no longer detect that pattern of satisfaction that she'd experienced earlier in the day. The purpose of her creation and reprogramming had gone unfulfilled. Cameron elected to stand watch in the domicile she'd procured and allowed the opportunity for her dermal layer to dry. It generated analogs of sweat and oil and she needed for them to dry so she could wash them off and appear to be refreshed in the eyes of the students at Sunnydale high. The most efficient way for her to do this was by picking the central point of the house, tuning her sensors to their most sensitive and shed the layers of clothing she'd acquired prior to enrollment in the school.-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
Cameron's second day of class was uneventful for the duration of the morning courses. She once again attended the computer courses and was greeted enthusiastically by her new human acquaintances, Xander, Willow and Buffy. There was little time for idle conversation, and the instructor quickly assigned them their tasks for the allotted time frame.
When computer classes had concluded, Cameron went into the school's nutritional center and obtained the barest minimum food that she could pretend to eat and not cause undue concern from figures of authority. Her programming included conditions such as bulimia and other eating disorders so she could avoid being required to endure a visit with a physician.
As she was leaving the cafeteria for her next required course, she spotted her new 'friends' speaking with an unknown man, who she could only see from behind.. Xander was asserting himself by announcing that they would accompany the man on an outing to indulge a pasttime known as 'miniature golf'. Cameron noted that Buffy looked distinctly uncomfortable.
Once she realized that the group had noticed her, Cameron diverted processing speed to make her expression as pleasant as possible. Xander was speaking, so she made a note not to interrupt until he'd finished.
"We can do 'that thing' anytime. I'm tired of doing 'that thing'. We're on," Xander proclaimed. Cameron didn't bother trying to determine the context. It was at that point that Xander noticed Cameron's presence. He reached out to squeeze Cameron's arm. "Cameron! My cohort in awkwardness! We've got a miniature golf gathering a-brewin' this saturday. Care to hop on the bandwagon?"
Cameron paused while she cycled through potential responses. At the same time, she examined the man that was turning around to see who Xander was talking to.Analyzing...
Core thermal output - ambient temperature.
Matching with previous vampiric encounter... no match.
Matching endoskeletal structure points...
T-333-D - Match. Target acquired.
Terminate - Override - unable to terminate in the presence of human observers.
"I'm sorry," Cameron adjusted her facial structure into a smile. "I don't believe we've met."
"My name's Ted, little lady. And if you're a friend of these kids, then I guess you're a friend of mine!" Ted gave her a broad smile. "What do you say? Care to join us this weekend?"
Cameron made sure her pleasant expression did not fade. "Yes. I've never tried miniature golf before."
"Great!" Ted rattled off the time and place to her and said his farewells to Xander, Willow and Buffy before departing. Buffy glared at Xander before heading away to her next class.
Cameron changed her expression from pleasant to confused. "She doesn't seem happy about doing this," she noted to Xander.
Xander shook his head. "Eh. It's no big. Her mom's starting to date again, and she's freakin' out about it, that's all."
A few moments of processing outlined the possibilities of the rogue infiltration unit attempting to establish romantic relations with Buffy's mother. Insufficient data. Cameron did not know enough information to project the goals of the terminator.
"If she's uncomfortable, maybe there's a reason," Cameron offered. She was establishing a contrary hypothesis. She adjusted her features to display concern for disagreeing, as if afraid that this disagreement would begin an argument.
Xander paused at that. "Okay, maybe. But this guy's the first date her mom's had since her parents divorced. That's probably all it is," he offered. Cameron determined his answer was based on insufficient data.
"Has Buffy mentioned anything?"
He shook his head. "Well... no. But she's definitely been uptight ever since she caught Ted and Mrs. Summers a-smoochin' in the kitchen."
Cameron accessed her child psychology files. Separation anxiety and resentment. She allowed that this was possible, but John had always told her that human instinct was not always to be ignored.
"Well, let's see what happens. Maybe she'll change her mind." Cameron gave Xander a look calculated to divert his attention. She should not appear to be too interested. "Walk me to fifth period?"-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
In the interval from the conversation to the appointment to play miniature golf, Cameron attempted to triangulate the rogue terminator's position, but was never able to adequately maintain line of sight on him to follow. Clearly, his infiltration subroutines were still functioning.
Though it struck her as inefficient, Cameron had no choice but to wait for the appointed date in question. She spent some of that time researching miniature golf. It was similar to the game of the same name, except only putters were used, and an increasingly unlikely array of obstacles were in the path of the player and the cup.
On the appointed day, Cameron met her new friends, Buffy's mother, and the T-333-D model at the entrance to the miniature golf course. Ted provided nourishment for the humans and Cameron indulged to minimum satisfactory requirements as determined by humans.Analyzing...
Various spiced animal byproducts
Dematorin - Warning: not a substance required for human nutrition. Tranquilizing agent.
Cameron could not prevent the others from consuming the food; they had already done so, all except Buffy. Cameron made sure to 'accidentally' bump against each of them to gauge the impact of the chemical. It was beginning to inhibit their inclination to question events.
Her analysis of miniature golf determined that the game was based on geometry. She adjusted her shots to avoid being able to direct the ball into the cup in one hit. Cameron had already stated she's never played - logic dictated that she should not have a good score in the game.
Halfway through the course and the T-333-D had not attempted to conduct any terminations. Buffy had just struck her ball with excessive force and it had gone off to the left of the current hole.
After Buffy disappeared to go and try and hit her ball, Cameron amplified her audio reception and began to cycle through the varied light and heat spectrums to keep watch. She overheard a sudden shift in the T-333-D's infiltration protocols - if he was focusing on Joyce Summers, why was he threatening to do non-lethal damage to Buffy?
This only confirmed the unit's theorized malfunction. His chip was damaged. Cameron could now begin her search, and would do so by following him from the golf course. Her plans were forced to be adjusted when she was interrupted by Xander.
"Hey," he offered, tugging on her shirt sleeve. "If you're not ready to go home yet, we could hang out for a while. Get something to drink, maybe play some video games in the arcade?" His tone indicated that he harbored hope for her to say yes.
Cameron's gaze flicked to the T-333-D, but her infiltration protocols were still the primary background process. She gave Xander a small smile. "I'd like that."
She would have to continue the pursuit of the rogue unit afterward.-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
Note: Dematorin did not show up on any database that I know as a tranquilizer, so its inclusion in this chapter is for story purposes only.