Put yourself into this situation: Killer cyborgs are after you, but you are able to survive them. You decide that the best plan for you and your allies is to prevent the creation of those cyborgs. What would be the best way: just wing it, or become an organized force? I say they need to get organized…but how?
Sarah Connor – You have to give the lady her due. Since finding out that she was giving birth to the savior of mankind (at least against the machines), she’s managed to find ways to teach him and to keep them both alive. No small feat when killer robots from the future are dogging you.
But—and we’re talking major “booty” here—Sarah has a lot of weaknesses, not the least of which is that she can’t seem to bring herself to directly kill a human when it’s necessary for the mission. While this is laudable in most sane circumstances, the fact of the matter is that she’s in the middle of a war with an enemy that is not only willing to kill when necessary, but doesn’t hesitate to do so.
Even if we are willing to grant Sarah the moral high ground, the most glaring debit in her leadership ledger is the simple fact that she doesn’t generally make good decisions where the mission is concerned. Too often she will improvise a mission, because of her morality, when it actually increases the likelihood that she or John will be killed.
John Connor – Young, but better trained in fighting than is generally acknowledged. Has not definitively proven that he can kill when needed, but does have one incident that shows that he can do so in extreme circumstances.
While possessing a temper when engaged in a “normal” life, when he is on mission he has demonstrated a habit of making effective choices…even if they are risky. What he doesn’t not yet know about tactics and strategy he makes up for with guile.
Unfortunately, he is easily lied to, and this guillibility is a definite liability. Also, as with Sarah, he has trouble pushing a life-or-death situation to a degree that might be warranted.
Lastly, being a teenaged boy, he’s a walking hormone factory. It makes him pliable in the presence of a pretty face, cyborg or human.
Derek Reese – An experienced fighter from the future who is in future-John Connor’s sphere, in not his inner circle. While he managed to work his way up to being an officer, he’s not a high-ranking one, and thus his strategic knowledge of the larger battle is suspect.
Reese also has a decided anti-robot mindset, which when combined with his somewhat fatalistic black-and-white view about the war he’s in the middle of, doesn’t give him the mindset to be able to see the entire chess board.
Still…he does understand very well how to defeat the sorts of machines Skynet throws against humans…even with the weapons available in the the early 21st century.
Cameron Phillips – By all accounts, she was in John Connor’s inner circle by 2027 and perhaps beyond. She was trusted with the security of the chronoportation device, and has proven herself to be unrelenting when it comes to the termination of robots or humans.
Her personal weakness is a lack of historical details as well as significant holes/insight into human psychology. Also, given some trauma, she has demonstrated some occasional system “instability”.
For the mission, her weakness is a lack of forthrightness concerning the mission and her directives/motivations. While she demonstrates a remarkable reliability in staying on-mission, and a clarity of thought that can retain focus, this lack of disclosure as to her true mission ensures a continuing suspicion and a certain lack of trust.
Who Should Be Leader?
I think this is a no-brainer. John Connor needs to be the leader. He’s possibly lost eight years of maturation due to the time jump forward, so he needs to make his mistakes now, when the consequences are more easily dealt with. Also, among the humans, his errors have tended to be less bad (but not by a lot).
I feel the weakness of the other three prevent them from having independent responsibilities in terms of placement within the chain of command. I’d say that the three together should have veto power over John.
While Cameron is someone future-John listens to, unless she confides in John, there is no way that she should resume that station. I think John would be wise to let Cameron have her say about situtations for she has been right more often than any of the humans.
Derek needs to be situated as a military instructor—teaching John the practical aspects of fighting the machines.
Sarah is, basically, the heart of the unit. She’d die for John. She and Kyle were the first. John will never find anyone more loyal. As with Cameron, he needs to seriously consider Sarah’s point of view of things. Just because her choices might endanger a mission doesn’t mean that from a humane standpoint they aren’t the correct decisions. She strong in exactly this area where Cameron is weakest.
In the end, though, it has to be about John Connor. While it would be lovely for him to do some wild-oats sowing, the fact is that he doesn’t have the time…not if they intend to thwart Skynet.
With the braintrust in place, allies should be groomed for their roles. Some will not survive Judgment Day, but they will lay the foundation for those that do. If those known to survive Judgment Day (such as Martin Bedell and Lauren Fields) are recruited early and are made ready to be of use quickly, instead of when the humans are on the endangered list, perhaps the war could be made shorter.