Read Terminator Salvation: The Official Movie Novelization Online

Authors: Alan Dean Foster

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Terminator Salvation: The Official Movie Novelization

BOOK: Terminator Salvation: The Official Movie Novelization
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TERMINATOR
SALVATION

THE OFFICIAL
MOVIE NOVELIZATION

ALAN DEAN FOSTER

Based on the motion picture written by

JOHN BRANCATO & MICHAEL FERRIS

TITAN BOOKS

Terminator Salvation: The Official Movie Novelization

ISBN: 9781848569300

Published by

Titan Books

A division of

Titan Publishing Group Ltd

144 Southwark St

London

SE1 0UP

First edition April 2009

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

Terminator Salvation: The Official Movie Novelization is a work of fiction. Names, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Terminator Salvation™ & © 2009 T Asset Acquisition Company, LLC.

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No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.

Printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Group UK Ltd.

For Brian Thomsen, who would have approved.
But who left much too soon.
In appreciation and friendship.

The future is not set.
I’ve been told I said that once.
Many years from now.
It was a warning.
That I was going to hell.
But if I fought hard enough,
I could escape.
I believed it for a lifetime.

—John Connor

Also available from
Titan Books:

TERMINATOR
SALVATION

From The Ashes
The Official Movie Prequel

By Timothy Zahn

CHAPTER ONE

Longview State Correctional Facility was no better or worse, no more architecturally attractive or depressing, than any other maximum security prison in the state of Texas, which meant that on the inmates’ gauge of such wretched establishments it fell somewhere between dismal and butt-ugly.

Its residents, both short- and long-term, tended to be as hard and unforgiving as the land atop which their current place of residence had been raised. Few blue-collar criminals dared raise hand or head among the growling populace, whose professional pursuits tended to involve cracking heads as opposed to persuading them.

Or to put it another way, Longview was home to far more head-crackers than crackheads.

Among the former could be accounted a certain highly antisocial specimen named Marcus Wright. Regrettably, for much of his life Wright had been in the wrong. At the moment, he was sitting on a cot in a small piece of concrete hell staring at the wall opposite. The vision of flecking stone and cement had nothing particular to recommend it, but it beat gazing at any of the three men standing nearby. Two wore uniforms, the third did not.

No
, he corrected himself. That wasn’t quite true. All three wore uniforms. It was depressing for Wright to look at them because two stood on the other side of the welded iron bars that confined him in his current cage and the third could exit at any time. Society preferred to call his present, and increasingly transitory, home a “cell.” Wright knew better. Both were four-letter words.

Two of the free individuals were guards. Armed and holding metal shackles, they kept a wary eye on the proceedings taking place on the other side of the bars. Their posture and expressions reflected the preoccupations of hard men who are fully conscious of the fact that any relaxation in the carrying-out of their daily routine could result in pain, injury, or death. They hadn’t acquired their current positions within Longview because those of neurosurgeon and rocket scientist were unavailable.

It wasn’t that they were ignorant: just that in their chosen line of work muscle and physical agility were more critical to continued survival than the mental kind. Not that this usually mattered. With few exceptions, their cranial capacity normally exceeded that of those they were expected to dominate.

Normally.

The third member of the triumvirate standing just inside the cell door defined himself through his words, though having attended to many present and former residents of the prison he too had inevitably been toughened by the experience. Over the years his recitation of the traditional biblical standards had devolved into a monotone tinged more by a lingering, bastard hope than actual expectation.

While the priest’s optimism in the face of the brutality human beings could render unto one another had never been entirely quashed, it had been repeatedly squeezed and pummeled by a demoralizing range of harsh realism until it bore little resemblance to what one could expect to hear asserted on The Outside.

His faith was punch-drunk.

“Yea,” he intoned mechanically, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”

Stupid
, Marcus Wright thought.
Stupid and redundant. Why would I be afraid of myself?
Wasn’t he evil incarnate? Hadn’t that asshole of a judge told him so, and hadn’t he had it confirmed by a smarmy, quivering public? If that was their verdict on him, then it had to be true, didn’t it? He’d long ago lost any desire to dispute society’s judgment. That much he had in common with the concrete wall at which he was presently staring. Both of them were solid, impenetrable, blank-faced, and mute. If the wall could accept its fate in silence, so could he.

“...for thou art beside me.”

The priest droned on.
Why couldn’t the man just shut up
? Wright wondered silently to himself. Why would he, why would anyone, spend one minute longer in the bowels of this gray cesspool of decomposing humanity than they had to?

“Thy rod and thy staff comfort me.”

Now that was a homily Wright felt he could get behind.
Give me a rod and a staff
, he thought with grim humor,
and then you better get out of my way. Give me a chance...

One thing about hard polished floors and solid enclosed corridors: they make for excellent acoustics. This can be unpleasant when someone is screaming incessantly, an activity not uncommon at Longview. The construction can also magnify ordinary footsteps, and this was the sound that caused Wright to give a cursory glance in the direction of the outside.

An instant later his full attention had shifted from the immovable wall to an approaching waist. His suddenly alert eyes proceeded to rove silently over everything both above and below that gently bobbing dividing line.

The guards looked, too. Visitants like Dr. Serena Kogan were rare in Longview. Her title was not what interested them, though Wright’s reaction was more conflicted than they would have suspected. Long used to such blatant testosterone-fueled stares, Kogan ignored them.

Still in her thirties, she was unconventionally beautiful. Part of this was due to the nature of her work, which gave her an aspect of perfection that was partly the result of intense concentration. Uncharacteristically, desperation announced itself in the slight gauntness of her face and the tightness of her lips. It detracted from her beauty only slightly.

Halting outside his cell, she looked in and met Wright’s gaze without flinching. The ensuing silence between them spoke, if not volumes, at least a word or two. He looked up at the priest.

“Leave.” Emerging from the prisoner’s mouth, it was plainly a command and not a request.

His State-supported visitor gestured hesitantly with the Bible he held.

“I’m not finished, son.”

Wright’s gaze shifted from wall to uninvited confessor. His stare was, arguably, more unyielding than the concrete. It was not necessary for him to respond—verbally.

As pragmatic as he was well-meaning, the priest got the message. As the heavy metal door was pulled back he did not even glance in the direction of the new arrival. He was lost in his own thoughts, which were not as comforting as he would have liked.

One of the guards managed to raise his gaze from the rest of Serena Kogan to her face long enough to give her a warning nod.

If you need us, me and my buddy are right here,
his expression said, while the look on his colleague’s face added,
Don’t do anything to need us.

As the cell door slid shut behind her, awkwardness substituted for a casual greeting. Disinterested at the best of times in casual chatter, Wright regarded her wordlessly. The silence between them threatened to grow as wide as the gap between their respective social positions.

“How are you?” she finally murmured.

In the troglodytic confines of the cell the query was at least as funny as the paramount punchline of a highly paid stand-up comedian.

“Ask me again in an hour,” Wright replied coldly.

With the silence but not the unease broken, her attention wandered to the cell’s small desk. It boasted little in the way of accoutrements save for a single tome:
Beyond Good and Evil.
Not exactly light reading, but she was pleased to see it.

“You got the book I sent.”

Wright wasn’t one to comment on the obvious. For all he mouthed in response he might have read the volume through, or he might have used the pages for toilet paper. His expression gave no clue. And they were both running out of options.

“I thought I’d try one last time.” In the dim light of the cell her pale skin gleamed like the sun he could no longer see. “Beg, really.”

No smile, no frown. Same monotone, same unreadable expression.

“You should’ve stayed in San Francisco,” he muttered. “Situations reversed, I would have.”

She stared at him a moment longer, then moved deliberately over to the desk. From the slim case she carried she removed a sheaf of neatly bound papers, set them on the battered, scored surface, and added a pen. Per entrance regulations, the pen had a soft tip. Her voice strengthened.

“By signing this consent form you’d be donating your body to a noble cause. You’d have a second chance, with your last act, to do something for humanity. It’s an opportunity that’s not offered to everyone in your position.”

He looked up at her.

“You know what I did. I’m not looking for a second chance.”

She hesitated, then picked up the pen and papers. Her slender hands were shaking, and not because of his nearness. Having corresponded with her, he knew at least part of the reason why.

“’Course, I’m not the only one with a death sentence, am I? Life’s funny that way. You think by signing those papers I’m going to help cure your cancer, Dr. Kogan?”

She stiffened slightly.

“We’re all going to die, Marcus. Sooner or later, everyone dies, every thing dies. People, plants, planets, stars—everything. In the scheme of things my life, your life, none of them matter. We’re here for a minute or two; we eat, laugh, and screw around, and then we’re gone.”

She snapped her fingers.

“Like that. I’m not worried about myself. I’m worried about the future of the human race.”

He appeared to ponder her response, then nodded slowly.

“Like I should care about the future of the human race. Like anyone should. It produced me, didn’t it?” He went silent for another moment, then declared, “Tell you what I’ll do. I’ll
sell
it to you. My body.” He looked down at himself and the disgust in his voice was unmistakable. “This...”

It wasn’t the final reply she had expected.

“’Sell’ it? For what?”

He looked up at her again, meeting her gaze evenly. A glint of life had appeared amid the emptiness in his eyes. Or maybe it was just the angle of the overhead lights.

“A kiss.”

Her lower jaw dropped slightly and she gaped at him.

“Are you trying to be funny?”

He shrugged diffidently.

“I’m not funny even when I try.” Extending one arm, he indicated his surroundings. “Not much to joke about here. Well?” His other hand tapped his chest. “You want the merchandise or not?”

“You’re kidding, aren’t you?”

“Last guy thought I was kidding didn’t have a chance to revise his opinion.”

She swallowed. Her gut was riven with inoperable tumors. She had something to gain and absolutely nothing to lose. When you’re dying, it’s amazing how swiftly abstract notions like self-respect and dignity are reduced to useless platitudes. She set the pen and papers back on the desk, then turned back to him and nodded. Her arms dropped to her sides. She looked like a woman facing a firing squad.

For the first time since the priest had come and gone, Wright rose from the cot. Standing, he looked a lot taller, a lot bigger. The emotional as well as physical threat he represented extended out in all directions from his powerful frame. Just being in his vicinity was disturbing.

Outside the cell, the two veteran guards saw what was happening and immediately moved closer to the door. One gripped the handle in anticipation. But they had been told not to interfere unless it became absolutely necessary.

Wright moved closer to her. She held her ground. Slowly, taking his time, he leaned toward her. Over her. Before the guards could get inside he could reach up and snap her neck like a desiccated broomstick, and they both knew it.

Bending down, he kissed her.

His hands rose to hold the sides of her face as he held the contact. There was not a shred of sexual attraction, of romance, of tenderness, in the kiss. It was ugly and violating and psychologically—if not physically—brutal. While it continued her eyes were shut tight, and not with pleasure.

He held it for a long time.

Alternately repulsed and bemused, the guards looked on but made no move to intervene. Already they were imagining how they were going to tell the story to their cohorts. Later, over hot coffee and sweet pastries.

***

The unwieldy clinch continued until Wright had had enough. Maybe he simply grew bored. Or maybe he had sufficiently demonstrated what he could do if he wanted to. Letting go of her he stepped back, studying her face. Looking through her. When he finally spoke, his tone was atypically thoughtful.

“So that’s what death tastes like.”

Though she tried, her expression did not kill him. In any case, that was the State’s responsibility.

Stepping past her, he picked the pen up off the desk. Without so much as a glance at the pages of extensive legalese, he signed where indicated. He could have misspelled his name, could have signed “George Washington,” could have done any number of things to render the process legally invalid. Instead, he wrote “Marcus Wright” in clear, legible letters. A deal was a deal, and he felt he had gotten his money’s worth.

Putting down the pen he turned to the corridor and turned his hands palm upwards, showing them to the guards. The one whose grip had never left the door handle now pulled the metal barrier wide while his partner hefted the leg shackles he was carrying. No explanation was necessary.

BOOK: Terminator Salvation: The Official Movie Novelization
7.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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