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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
Terminator: From the Ashes Terminator
From the Ashes
Written by Timothy Zahn

(Page numbers come from the paperback first edition March 2009.)


John Connor assembles his team for a daring raid against Skynet and draws the attention of the higher echelons of the resistance.


Read the complete story summary at the Terminator Wiki


Notes from the Terminator chronology


This story takes place during the future war in 2018, shortly before the events of Salvation. Although no year is stated in the novel, Kyle is said to be 16 years old, making it 2018 if his birth date of 2002 as calculated from actor Michael Biehn's age of 27 is accurate for the character as well in the 2029 depicted in The Terminator.


Didja Notice?


The prologue of the book takes place on Judgment Day. If the Salvation timeline is sticking with the Judgment Day date established in Rise of the Machines, that makes it July 25, 2004.


The falling of several Judgment Day nukes is witnessed by the Eleventh Marine Expeditionary Unit of the U.S. Marine Corps on a drug interdiction exercise in the Baja desert. "Baja" is a reference to the state of Baja California in Mexico.


On page 7, Orozco resents being referred to as a gringo by his Mexican Army counterparts. The term refers to any English-speaking foreigner in Mexico.


On pages 8 and 9, Orozco's Marine unit speculates on which cities have just been nuked over the horizon, including San Diego, Mexicali, and Twentynine Palms. Then a second nuclear mushroom cloud is seen in the direction that may indicate the city of Hermosillo. These are all real cities in either the U.S. or Mexico.


On page 9, one of the Mexican Army men exclaims, "Oh, Dios mio!" This is Spanish for, "Oh, my God!"


Page 12 reintroduces Kate Brewster, now Connor, John Connor's wife. She was first seen in Rise of the Machines (or in "Heralds of the Rise" if one counts the 2032 time-travel-related events in that future).


On page 13, John remarks on Skynet's radar towers in Riverside and Pasadena having been taken down by resistance forces, with only the (San Juan) Capistrano tower remaining in the Southern California area.


On page 14, John and Kate discuss recent resistance losses, including soldiers lost when Jericho's team took out the Thousand Oaks tower. In deleted scenes from Salvation, Jericho was Barnes' brother, who is killed during a raid on the Skynet VLA. In Barnes' previous appearance in Faith, no mention is made of his having a brother. However, Barnes was not a member of the resistance until the end of Faith, so it's possible his brother had actually joined it first.


Gifts being hard to come by in the post-Judgment Day world, Kate gives John a late Christmas gift of a CD of the Use Your Illusion II album by Guns N' Roses. This was an actual 1991 album by the hard rock band Guns N' Roses. John was listening to the song "You Could Be Mine" from the album while working on his motorcycle at his foster parents' house in Judgment Day.


On page 16, John mentions Macy's department stores.


On page 17, John jokes to Kate that his mother's typical Christmas presents were Browning semi-autos or C4 detonators. He then re-jokes that they were actually Fourth of July presents. C4 is a type of plastic explosive, Composition C-4. "Fourth of July" is a reference to the U.S. Independence Day holiday, when the original English colonies pronounced the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain (though gifts are not traditionally exchanged on this holiday).


The character of Tunney seen in this novel was also in the script of Salvation, but his scenes were cut.


Kate tells John she swapped for the CD with one of Olsen's men last month. "Olsen" is probably a reference to General Olsen, who appears in Salvation and is killed during a raid on the Skynet VLA.


Kate remarks on having found bandage packs at the treatment room of the Orange County Zoo.


John remarks to Kate that music and Italian food are what he misses most from the pre-Judgment Day world.


On page 20, John grabs up a Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun. This is a real world military rifle.


Page 20 reintroduces Barnes, who joined John's resistance cell in Faith.


On page 21, Barnes carries a 9mm Steyr in his holster.


Page 23 reintroduces Blair, previously seen in Machinima and Faith.


The resistance cells have a number of fallback bases to evacuate to in the event their current base is discovered by Skynet.


Page 29 reveals that Blair carries a .44 caliber Desert Eagle in her holster, a real world weapon.


On page 26, Barnes picks up a Galil assault rifle. The Galil series of small Israeli assault weapons were designed by Yisrael Galil and Yaacov Lior in the late 1960s.


On page 31, the fighter plane hangar for John's cell is said to be located at an old air and space museum. There are a number of such museums in the Los Angeles area.


Page 31 mentions the Piper Cub airplane. The Piper Cub variants are all small, lightweight general aviation aircraft manufactured by Piper Aircraft.


Blair and Yoshi pilot A-10 Warthog attack jets, previously seen in Machinima and later in Salvation. The planes are armed with Sidewinder air-to-air missiles under the wings and a GAU-8 Avenger Gatling gun under the nose; these are the actual weapons usually found on a Warthog. On page 35, Blair can feel the vibration of the twin GE turbofans behind her; there are, in fact, two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans mounted behind and above the wings. The planes' nickname is sometimes shortened to Hog, as Blair does a time or two in the novel.


Page 35 describes the door of the aircraft hangar as being reinforced with pieces of superhard alloy scavenged from HKs and T-4 tanks. A T-4 tank is presumably an early Terminator tank made by Skynet (the aerial drones seen in at the CRS compound in Rise of the Machines have been referred to as a T-4 aerial). There was also a Romanian tank called the T-4 used by the Germans during WWII, but it seems unlikely the human resistance here had access to them for scavenging!


Yoshi's and Blair's callsigns are revealed to be Jinkrat and Hickabick, respectively. Yoshi's callsign is not explained, though to jink is to maneuver violently to avoid a threat, possibly explaining his callsign. Blair tells Wince that hers is the acronym HKBK for Hunter-Killer Butt Kicker. She goes on to say that it's in honor of a fellow pilot who was killed by HKs about a month before she joined Connor's unit whose callsign was Hikak, Hunter-Killer Ass Kicker.


On page 37, Blair and Yoshi, in their Warthogs, refer to Wince and Inji as "penguins". This may be some kind of military slang for ground-based (flightless) personnel.


On page 40, Yoshi reports from his Warthog to Blair, "I'm at Geth Pete," and Blair knows this is a reference to Gethsemane Peter and the quote, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak," i.e. Yoshi is out of ammo. The quote "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" was spoken by Jesus to Peter in the garden of Gethsemane when he was fearful of his coming fate of crucifixion the next day (from the Book of Matthew in the Bible).


Page 40 describes Yoshi making a Light Brigade charge at the HKs that are targeting Blair's Warthog. This is a reference to Alfred, Lord Tennyson's epic 1854 poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade", about the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War in 1854.


On pages 41-42, Blair performs an Immelmann turn in her Warthog during the battle with the aerial HKs. There are two types of Immelmann turn, in this case the historical combat maneuver in use since WWI is used by Blair, not the modern aerobatic maneuver. The Immelmann is named for its inventor, Max Immelmann, a German WWI pilot.


Orozco, Reese, and Star live among a civilian community in a building they call Moldering Lost Ashes. Page 79 reveals that the place's real name before Judgment Day was the Moldavia Los Angeles, a complex of luxury condos. This appears to be a fictitious building.


On page 47, Orozco carries an M16A2 rifle and a Beretta.


On page 48, Orozco sees Blair's plane fly overhead, chased by HKs and muses the pilot is probably heading for the San Gabriel Mountains to try to lose the enemy aerials in the hills and valleys. The San Gabriel Mountains are located in northern Los Angeles and western San Bernardino counties.


Orozco reflects on the Marines use of Harriers and Cobras for its close-air support. Harriers are jump-jets capable of vertical/short take-off and landing, while Cobras are attack helicopters.


On page 49, Orozco reflects that L.A. had been relatively lucky during the Judgment Day nuclear bombings, as the closest nuke was targeted at Camp Pendleton Marine Base south of the city. Camp Pendleton is about 72 miles south of the city. The site is sometimes referred to as NukeZero by the resistance members in the Southern California region.


Page 49 reveals that the human survivors often eat rats and roaches. On page 69, Reese and Star eat leftover coyote.


On page 50, Orozco reflects on how he's always thought the name "Judgment Day" as applied to the day of destruction wreaked by Skynet was stupid because there was no true judgment to it; Skynet wants all humanity eradicated.


This book introduces Kyle's young companion, the 9-year old mute child Star, who goes on to appear in Sand in the Gears and Salvation.


Page 51 reveals that Kyle is 16 at this point in time.


Since Star cannot speak, she and Kyle have come up with their own version of sign language to communicate with each other.


Page 56 mentions a resistance member named Simmons. This could possibly be the same Simmons who appeared in "Dead Men Walking".


On page 61, Blair speculates that she could get into Skynet's new staging area and take out the warehouse if she could get a hold of a Maverick. She is referring to an AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missile, often used by the A-10 Warthog.


On page 67, John and Kate silently reflect on the foretellings of John leading humanity to victory over Skynet, but also dying at Skynet's hand. In Rise of the Machines, the protector T-850 revealed that it had successfully assassinated John in 2032 before being reprogrammed and sent back to ensure his safety in 2004 by Kate.


On page 76, Wadleigh sarcastically asks Kyle if someone has opened a Hertz Rent-A-Burro in Los Angeles for the street gangs to use. This is a reference to the Hertz car rental company.


On page 77, Orozco informs Wadleigh that "scramble" refers to deployment of aircraft, while activation of ground forces is either "turn to" or "lock and load". This is essentially true in military parlance.


Also on page 77, Orozco asks Kyle for the ETA of the approaching group of people. ETA, of course, stands for Estimated Time of Arrival.


The Moldering Lost Ashes enclave receives a visit from a group of traders sent by Chuck Randall at Keeper's Point. It's not explained what or where Keeper's Point is. Another character named Randall, resistance leader Colonel Mary Randall, appeared in Tempest.


On page 80, Nguyen explains that Chuck Randall lost his right leg below the knee to some new Skynet contraption with lots of big teeth in the rivers. This sounds similar to the Terminator sharks seen in "Time to Kill" Part 1 (in the altered Rise of the Machines timeline, ROTM-5).


On page 81, Nguyen tells Orozco he was told by Chuck Randall to ask for Auntie Em, which turns out to be a private joke nickname assigned to Orozco's M-16 by Orozco and Randall. The name comes from the character of Auntie Em (Emily Ann Brown) in the Oz books by L. Frank Baum.


On page 89, John seems to believe that after wiping out humans, animals and plants will be next on Skynet's hit list, particularly in that plants exhale oxygen, which oxidizes metal.


Page 91 states that the Moldering Lost Ashes enclave has agricultural hydroponic setups put together by individuals named Morris and Clementi. Maybe Morris is the friend of John Connor by that name seen (in an another timeline) in a few episodes of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.


On page 93, Orozco tells Kyle to go check out the Colt from the weapons locker. "Colt" is a reference to firearms made by Colt's Manufacturing Company.


On page 94, Orozco informs Kyle that a man named Ellis, a member of the Moldering Lost Ashes enclave, took a few things and disappeared. Possibly, this Ellis could be Ellis Ruggles, who is later a staunch resistance member who is sent back to 1955 to protect Sarah Connor in the years of her life before the T-800 arrives in 1984 to attempt to kill her (in The Terminator), as depicted in "One Shot".


On page 109, Wince mentions Army MREs. MRE stands for Meal, Ready to Eat, issued to U.S. military service members since 1981.


Page 111 has Blair reflecting on the fact that John's unit has no ground vehicles and no gasoline. In Faith, John and his team do use some vehicles, but it's possible these belonged to a larger group he and Blair belonged to at the time, as it does seem that John is only in charge of this excursion and not the home base as a whole. John may have been assigned his own unit and base to command some time after the events of Faith, which takes place in 2016, two years earlier. Additionally, page 295 implies that John's group is not a full-time unit of the resistance until their success at capturing the Skynet staging area here, but had been on probationary status in the past.


On page 117, Orozco pulls out a Remington 700 sniper rifle with a Leupold VX-1 scope. This is a real world sniper rifle and scope.


When Barnes and his group arrive at Moldering Lost Ashes and attempt to raise new recruits there for the resistance, a 13- or 14-year old boy named Zac Steiner seems to know virtually nothing about the world he lives in, asking Barnes, "What's Skynet?" and not seeming to be familiar with the fact that the flying and walking robots out in the city are called Terminators and that they kill people! The boy soon agrees to join Barnes' group as a recruit. Maybe the Skynet name is not well-known outside military circles, but how could even a child (of any age of understanding) not be familiar with the actions of Terminators in this world?


On page 136, Barnes pulls a Bowie knife from under his clothing. A Bowie knife is a fighting knife, popularly used by American pioneer Jim Bowie (1796-1836).


Page 140 describes the crowd at Moldering Lost Ashes parting like the Red Sea for Kate. Obviously, this is an allusion to the mystical parting of the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites in the Biblical Book of Exodus.


On page 143, Tunney explains that T-600s have electromagnetic cores built into their joint to help reassemble themselves if arms or legs are blown off the main body. This is demonstrated by a downed Terminator on pages 176-177.


On page 167, Nguyen and Vuong speak to each other in a language Kyle doesn't understand. Since both "Nguyen" and "Vuong" are names of Vietnamese origin, the two men are probably speaking Vietnamese.


One of the street gangs in L.A. near Moldering Lost Ashes is called the Death's Head Gang. The kid who seems to be the gang leader is called Rats.


On page 183, Orozco tells Grimaldi that Skynet tends to send in scavengers after a battle to collect the human bodies. He doesn't know why. Presumably, it has to do with Skynet's experiments with cloning human tissue to make its eventual T-800 series of Terminators.


On page 191, Grimaldi uses his most pompous corporate CEO voice on Orozco. CEO stands for Chief Executive Officer.


On page 192, Wadleigh wields a Smith & Wesson 9mm.


On page 194, Reverend Sibanda tells Orozco he'll help him lead their people to the Promised Land. This is a reference to the Biblical Promised Land (in the region of Israel), promised to the descendants of Jacob by God.


Also on page 194, the Death's Head gang uses napalm firebombs against an assault force of T-600s. Napalm is a fuel used in an incendiary device.


Kyle starts referring to the T-600 who chased him and Star into Death's Head territory, as Fido. In "Revolution" Part 3, Tara Connor refers to Skynet's Dire Wolf as Fido as well.


Page 240 hints that Kate is pregnant. Her pregnancy is obvious in Salvation, though it is not mentioned in the film, only in its novelization.


Page 243 refers to John using the code word "Tonto" to tell Blair to scout the area in her A-10, and goes on to explain the reference to Tonto and the Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger is a fictional masked Texas Ranger of the American old west and Tonto his Native American partner who have become American icons.


On page 251, Kate radios Blair for a sitrep. "Sitrep" is military shorthand for "situation report".


On page 253, Blair refers to the last HK in the Moldering Lost Ashes battle as "Curly". I'm not sure the meaning of this. Possibly, it's a reference to Curly Howard of the Three Stooges.


On page 258, Orozco tells Bauman they're not going to have a Little Bighorn at the battle of Lost Ashes. This is a reference to the infamous Battle of the Little Bighorn of the Great Sioux War of 1876, in which Brevet Major General George Custer and his regiment of the U.S. Cavalry were soundly defeated by the allied forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indian tribes in what is also referred to as Custer's Last Stand.


On page 283, Blair realizes John is singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" in order to obfuscate his orders to her from Skynet, as he sings only parts of the lyrics. "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is an American Spiritual song going back to at least 1862.


The commander of the resistance's Squadron Five of Apache combat helicopters goes by the callsign Snarkster. The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an attack helicopter in use by the U.S. military and its allies since 1983 and is still in production.


On page 294, General Olsen emerges from a Black Hawk troop carrier. This is a reference to the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter.


On page 302, Orozco tells Kate, "Vaya con Dios, Ms. Connor." Vaya con Dios is Spanish for "Go with God."


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