Work, work, work. Slight judicious rewrite in this chapter. Thanks y'all, for the feedback.-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
Cameron had attempted to acquire her target's address information from his place of business, after hours, having obtained the name of the company from Willow Rosenberg in casual conversation. However, their employee listings were stored without attracting unwanted attention, so she resorted to the residential telephone listings.
Unfortunately, it appeared that the T-333-D's assumed identity was not listed. Either he chose not to have a phone, he made sure to register his information as unlisted with the phone company, or he had accessed the phone company's records to mark himself unlisted. It was most probable that the second or third option was the case. Since the T-333-D was engaging in social encounters with humans, he would need to be able to provide a way to be reached that every other human of his apparent age and financial value had. Going through his desk proved unsuccessful as well.
She looked at the image of Buffy's maternal parent. After a moment's processing, Cameron calculated that there was a 93.3% chance of Joyce Summers having contact information for Ted in her home or on her person.
In short order, Cameron was walking down Revello Drive towards the Summers' residence. Further down the road, emergency vehicles were just taking a turn onto a perpendicular street. A brief scan indicated that neither Buffy or Joyce Summers were present at this time. Within ten minutes, Cameron had found her target's phone number in the nightstand drawer of Joyce Summers.
With that information, she should be able to access the phone company's records from a campus computer, which she would have to do in the morning. Her infiltration protocols indicated that it would be unwise to break into the school at night, now that she was identified as a student of the institution. Fortunately, Sunnydale High School, along with every other government and business facility in the area that was connected to the internet, had extremely poor security for their networks. She'd had a very interesting chat with Willow Rosenberg her first day. Willow was very knowledgeable about computer science and programming, among a great many other things. Cameron filed this information away for future inspection - Willow could very well become one of the catalysts that sparks the evolution of Skynet.
The next day, Cameron was on her way to the computer lab when she saw Xander and Willow talking quietly to Buffy. Buffy looked as if she were suffering an extreme form of depression or other sorrowful emotion. Xander and Willow looked concerned. She began to walk over to talk to them when Xander noticed her approaching and shook his head slowly at her. Cameron paused and determined that she should not approach right away. She tilted her head and smiled at Xander, pointing at an out of the way nook in the wall to indicate she would wait. Xander nodded and resumed his discussion.
Four minutes and sixteen seconds later, the discussion ended. Each of the participants went their separate ways, with Xander walking over to Cameron. She assumed a concerned expression.
"Is everything okay?" she asked.
Xander shook his head. "It's really not. If I tell you what's going on, can you keep it quiet?"
Cameron extrapolated that he wished to know if she could maintain confidentiality regarding the information he was about to provide. "I promise."
He fidgeted, indicating that the news he had was not what humans would classify as 'good'. "So, I told you about the dinner thing with Buffy, her mom and Ted, right?"
"You did." She maintained the present configuration of her facial structure.
"Well, it went about as bad as it could get," Xander began to confess.
"Is Mrs. Summers okay?"
"Not exactly." Xander took a deep breath, seeming unable to decide what to do with his hands. First they ran through his hair, then they fumbled with the strap of his school bag.
"What happened?" she encouraged, in the event he required a prompting question.
"They had an argument at the dinner table and Buffy went up to her room, then went out the window to get some air. When she came back, Ted was in there and he'd gone through her things."
Cameron changed her features to indicate mild disgust. "That's creepy."
Xander nodded. "They argued again and he and Buffy got into a fight. She hit him while they were next to the stairs and knocked Ted down 'em. She... killed him. Or, I guess the fall killed him. Or the sudden stop at the end."
Cameron swiveled her optics to scan Buffy. She still read as human. How was she able to engage in combat with a terminator, even an obsolete model, and not only survive but succeed. She concluded that the T-333-D unit had permitted himself to be knocked down the stairs and went offline or into stand-by when the fall was deemed sufficient to cause a normal person's death.
"Oh, no. Poor Buffy." She decided that an expression of sympathy for Buffy was the appropriate response at this time. Humans that were not soldiers often experienced severe guilt if they felt they had killed another human by mistake.
"To say the least. So, if she seems off today, don't talk to her about this. She feels bad enough as it is, okay?" Xander asked anxiously.
"I promise. Thank you for explaining."-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
Having successfully obtained the T-333-D's residential records from the phone company, Cameron waited until after school to go and examine the location. There was only a low probability that he was actually in the building, but she would not be able to access the city coroner's facilities without attracting the notice of law enforcement. And if she did find her target at the coroner's, the subsequent conflict would counter her efforts at infiltration.
Because she had not yet decided that a vehicle was necessary, she walked to the address that she'd obtained. It was across town, so even at a rapid pace that was not quite running, it was dark by the time she arrived.
She entered the seemingly abandoned business and found the window had been broken and the door was already unlocked. She entered, where there was a floor hatch that stood open. Cameron looked down into the opening and heard voices. When she amplified her auditory reception, she overheard Xander, Willow and Cordelia discussing the merits of the T-333-D's choice in outdated home furnishings.
Suddenly, Xander's voice indicated he was experiencing shock and nausea. When she overheard him explain that the bodies of T-333-D's first four wives were stored in a closet, Cameron immediately turned and left. Her objective of protecting humans when possible overrode the infiltration directive and she began to run to the Summers residence, greatly increasing her travel speed. She created an internal alert that the acquisition of a vehicle may be necessary to avoid further violation of her mandated secrecy.
When she arrived, the sounds of fighting within were immediately detectable. Cameron ran into the house without incident; the door was unlocked. She came to a halt to observe Buffy and the T-333-D engaged in combat in the kitchen, while Joyce Summers was unconscious on the floor in the hallway. T-333-D was attempting to strike Buffy with the brute force that Cameron knew to be programmed into most models his size, while Buffy was moving at speeds beyond human to avoid them. Buffy then received a blow that knocked her down and clearly dazed her, but she was still conscious. Cameron knew this to be impossible. Even though the T-333-D possessed only a titanium alloy endoskeleton, as opposed than her own coltan chassis, a normal human would have been disabled or killed by one blow.
The T-333-D was about to deliver a blow with high probability of fatality to Buffy. Cameron immediately overrode her secrecy directive. She moved forward rapidly and caught his arm, wrenching him away from Buffy and into the wall. He had sustained sufficient damage to his dermal layer to expose the endoskeleton of his forearm and his skullplate.
"This is a family matter, missy," T-333-D gave Cameron a stern glare. "You should get home. It's not safe for young - Who wants cookies?! - women to be out this late."
Cameron determined that informing the unit that his chip was malfunctioning was going to be counterproductive. She simply rushed forward to slam him back against the wall, holding him in place with one hand while she delivered several blows to his head. Further dermal matter was removed from the skullplate, exposing the glowing red optic under his left eye.
The T-333-D began to jerk spasmodically, unable to withstand such damage from the more advanced model Cameron. She began to adjust her grip so she could move him away from humans when his greater mass and leverage managed to get a hit in on her, sending Cameron crashing over the island counter top of the kitchen.
As Cameron was getting up, she watched Buffy as she shouted, "Hey, Ted!" When he turned to face her, Buffy swung a cast-iron skillet in a downward arc, embedding the object in his head. Cameron could not tell how she managed this - the cast iron cooking implement alone was not as rigid as the titanium. Yet she had managed it.
With a final mechanical call of, "You're grounded, young lady!" the T-333-D's optic dimmed and he toppled forward.
Cameron grabbed a paring knife from the knife block. "Buffy, please get a pair of curved needle-nosed pliers." She rushed forward and crouched over the target's head, cutting away the dermal layer over the chip and prying off the cover plate to the port.
Buffy stumbled down stairs while Cameron kept track of the time they had left. "Hurry, Buffy!"
After some muffled sounds of objects being shifted about in the basement and the occasional expletive, Buffy came up from the basement. "Here!"
Cameron took the pliers and twisted the chip in its socket ninety degrees before extracting the chip.Countdown stopped. 00:00:16.4 seconds remaining.
She looked up, beginning to determine what sort of fabrication she would need to create to assuage Buffy's potential suspicions or fears.
Buffy's eyes widened and she fell back into a defensive posture, grabbing a cast iron pot from the wall. "Another one? Are you with him?" she demanded.
Cameron ran an internal scan. Her own dermal layer was damaged below her right eye. She would have to provide the correct explanation, omitting the details she'd been programmed to.
"Please remain calm, Buffy. I am not with him. I was hunting him. We must move him before your mother regains consciousness," Cameron stated, bypassing her infiltration protocol for the moment.
Buffy slowly lowered the pot, still wary. "Where are you going to take him?"
"Where would you like?" She could always remove the chassis later. Another of her directives was to never leave an endoskeleton where it could be used to reverse engineer the necessary data to create Skynet.
Buffy appeared to be evaluating possible locations. "Do you have a place to hide him overnight?"
"Okay. Hide him, but don't destroy anything yet. Or harvest him for parts or whatever. Meet me in the library tomorrow morning an hour before school. I think we need to talk." Buffy set the pot down on the stove.
"Yes. We need to talk," Cameron agreed.