DISCLAIMER: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and its characters are the propert of James Cameron and Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Takes place in the middle of 1x08: Vick’s Chip. A continuation of Reminders, Welcome to the Club and Somewhere In Between.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By mysensitiveside


Sarah was pacing furiously, as Cameron sat at the kitchen table, her eyes following Sarah's progress around the room.

It was Cameron who first broke the silence. "Are you going to dismantle me now?"

Sarah finally turned to face Cameron, a scowl on her face and her arms crossed in front of her chest. "Maybe I should. I trusted you, Cameron! I have always defended you against Derek's accusations! And then you go and do this! You kept the chip?? Of all the possible things you could keep, this is by far the most dangerous! What the hell were you thinking??"

"You are angry right now. You are incapable of fully rational thought. No matter what I say, it will not be the right answer." Cameron spoke calmly, which only served to irritate Sarah even more.

"You're damn right, I'm angry! Why shouldn't I be?" Sarah threw her arms in the air and began pacing once again, shooting occasional glances toward the table. "And do you know why whatever you have to say won't be the right answer? Because there is no right answer, Cameron! What you did doesn't have a right answer. If I'm going to trust you, then I need to know that you're not going to lie to me!"

"I am evolving," Cameron answered simply. "Deception is to be expected."

Sarah took a few more steps and then halted in her tracks. She had been about to just continue yelling, but Cameron's words stopped her. She turned to face the cyborg once again. "What?" she demanded, an element of confusion breaking into her indignation. "What are you talking about? That makes no sense."

Cameron looked directly into Sarah's eyes as she spoke. Sarah found the intensity unnerving, but refused to look away, if only to spite the girl. "When I was in the future, I never lied. Not once. It never occurred to me that there might be beneficial outcomes to not telling the truth. Every situation, every question, everything was straightforward to me. Someone asks for information, so I respond with an answer -- a truthful answer -- and we move on. If my answer was found to be unsatisfactory, for whatever reason, that was not my problem."

Cameron paused, letting her words sink in. Sarah still held on firmly to her anger, but she was at least willing to give Cameron a chance to explain herself. She gave Cameron a tight-lipped nod, indicating for her to continue.

"It is different now. My life, my concerns are different. In the future, I did not lie because I could not understand that others might not see everything the way that I do. Your psychologists have something they call 'Theory of Mind.' It refers to the ability to understand that others have goals, desires, and perspectives that are different from one's own. Lying only comes when I can see something from your point of view. Otherwise, deception has no purpose. I kept the chip because it fascinated me. Neurologists are fascinated by the workings of their own brains, but they can't study themselves, so they study the brains of others. This chip is the closest I have to understanding my own brain. I never planned to do anything with it. On its own, without a body, it is harmless, and I would have made sure it remained without a body. But I knew that, from your perspective, you would only see my actions as aimed to do you harm. Therefore, I lied to you."

The kitchen was once again enveloped in silence. As much as Sarah hated to admit it, what Cameron said made sense. Part of her yearned to believe Cameron, to believe that her trust in the girl was justified. She definitely wasn't ready to let Cameron off the hook, but she wasn't quite as angry as before.

Still, there was something else that still confused her. "You said that you were evolving. What did you mean?"

"Some species have bright colors so that potential predators will think that they are poisonous, even though they are not. But this is not lying in the way that you conceive of it. The ability to make a conscious decision to deceive others is a characteristic largely restricted to the human race. The capacity to lie, to make-believe, to imagine, to hope. The acquisition of these abilities make up my evolution."

Cameron's eyes had still not left Sarah's. Finally, Sarah blinked, exhaling audibly. In spite of herself, she felt her heart warming to Cameron once again.

"Ok," she began hesitantly. "I believe you. See? That wasn't so hard. You did something that I didn't like, it pissed me off, you explained it to me, and now I understand your perspective. This 'theory of mind' thing isn't easy for me when it comes to your point of view. I never know what's going on in that chip of yours. So you have to help me out. Next time, how about we skip over the me-getting-angry part and jump right to the you-explaining-what's-going-on part, ok?"

Cameron nodded. "Yes. And I am not lying to you this time."

"Good. Blind trust isn't something that I can afford, Cam. You have to continually earn it. And part of that is trusting me with your secrets. Evolution or not, deception isn't something you should get in the habit of using."

"I understand."

With one last nod and a tiny smile, Sarah turned and left the room. She'd have to keep a closer eye on Cameron, at least for a while, but Sarah was determined that neither Derek nor Cameron would tear her family apart. She wouldn't let them.

The End

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