Effectiveness and Nail Polish (John Connor)

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Effectiveness and Nail Polish (John Connor)
Date of Cutscene: 12 June 2014
Location: Connor Residence, Los Angeles
Synopsis: Cameron is an enigma. John Cameron isn't sure what to make of her attempts to 'just make conversation' or many of her other quirks.
Cast of Characters: John Connor (Dropped)

It's a strange thing to sift through a Terminator's CPU chip, looking for clues. You have to keep the chip on just enough power to sift through its databanks without waking up the main programming - it is like glimpsing dreams. This one, the one that the women in its memories is lovingly calling Vick, is odd. All these memories of the woman, Barbara, someone who had no idea that her husband had been replaced with a cybernetic killing machine, who thinks that the man she loved was just injured in a car accident, something she uses to explain his odd behavior.

John watches the fragmented memories, again and again. Barbara was dead now. 'He gained her trust,' Sarah had said, 'Made her think he was human. Then killed her.'

All because of the thing she was working on. "Finish it," Vick says in his monotone, again and again. "Finish it."

John closes his laptop, figuring that he won't get anything more from it. The ARTIE program is important to Skynet, that much is clear. Important enough that a Terminator was sent back to protect its chief project manager. He turns toward his bed and jumps, startled.

Cameron is sitting there, staring at him. She looks away, towards her hands, as if she's aware that she's been caught out.

John takes a breath and is suddenly aware of the sharp smell of acetane. "You scared the hell outta me. How long've you been sitting there?"

"A little while," Cameron replies, not looking up at him. John frowns. It's a normal response from Cameron - logical, factual, but almost rather evasive.

"It was effective," Cameron adds, "What he did. When he touched her lips."

"...effective?"

"I could see that she liked that."

The room is silent. John turns back to look at the killing machine on his bed and asks, confused, "What are you doing?"

Cameron looks down at her right hand and then extends it out towards John, nails up. Her fingernails are bright pink, painted with perfect, machine precision.

"No..." John crosses his arms and folds himself over the top of his desk, feeling awkward. "When you say things like that. What're you doing?"

"Just making conversation."

"Since when do you just make conversation?"

"I don't know. It just seems like something I should do."

"Well, was having Morris impersonate me with Cromartie also something you thought you should do, no matter what happened to him?"

Cameron answers without hesitation. "Yes. Cromartie won't go back there. I wouldn't."

"The only way that I'm reassured by that," John begins, slowly, "Is if I remember that in the core of your chip you're just like him."

Something which is hard to keep in mind when she's sitting on his bed, in a dress, painting her nails.

"You cannot tell mom about that. Promise me."

But before Cameron can respond, there's the sound of heels on the wooden floorboards. "Hey," Sarah says. "Do I smell nail polish?"

Cameron looks at her, holds up her right hand, slowly waggles her fingers as if to indicate that she's been painting her nails. Sarah, seeming unimpressed, crosses her arms. The fact that Cameron had kept Vick's chip, hadn't told anyone about it, had soured their already cold relationship.

"What're you guys talking about?"

Cameron moves off the bed and replies, "Just making conversation." As she moves past Sarah, she turns her head back to look at John - and winks at him.