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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
Terminator: Times of Trouble Times of Trouble
Terminator: The New John Connor Chronicles Book 3
Written by Russell Blackford

Page numbers come from the first printing, paperback edition, September 2003


John Connor fights to save all the known timelines from the threat of Skynet.


Notes from the Terminator chronology


This book takes place immediately after the events of An Evil Hour.


Story Summary


After the fall of Skynet in Skynet's World in 2029, human warlords rise up again and battles between human groups resume, just as it had been after Judgment Day and before John Connor united them in resistance to the machines; some resistance cells had held back supplies and munitions for the eventuality of Skynet's defeat, to turn against their own fellow humans in a grab for power. The Tejada estancia is about to fall to a combined force of two warlord armies and is desperately begging for help from General Connor's North American forces. Unfortunately, Connor does not have the manpower and time to rescue them. What he does have, however, are Terminators: T-800s and T-799s. After General Connor makes an agreement with other resistance leaders that all Terminators and Skynet technology will be destroyed within one year, Cecilia Tejada is sent to the estancia in Argentina via the space-displacement teleportation capabilities of the time vault in Colorado, along with three T-799s and three T-800s. The group makes relatively short work of the warlord armies in the region. Meanwhile, in Virginia, the Specialist Anton is killed in an operation to destroy a nest of aerial HKs in the post-Skynet clean-up efforts.


Over the weeks, Danny Dyson and Jade are able to reprogram the two frozen T-1000s brought back from Europe after the end of An Evil Hour. General Connor agrees to let Jade's team take several T-799 and T-800s and both T-1000s to her own timeline (Jade's World) to stop Skynet there in 2036. He has become convinced by the others that any version of Skynet existing in other timelines could be a threat to humanity in all others. Young John, Sarah, and a few resistance members of Skynet's World accompany Jade and the Terminators to her timeline. Arriving at a prearranged point in the Amazon, the squad rendezvous with local resistance. A series of battles against Skynet's machines prove the worth of all the reprogrammed Terminators, particularly the two T-1000s.


Soon, South and North American resistance leaders coordinate to attack Skynet in its Colorado mountain headquarters. Skynet puts up a ferocious fight with its machines, but the mountain is eventually compromised by human forces and their reprogrammed Terminators. In this reality, Skynet does not have backup equipment to which it can transfer its consciousness to escape (as it did in An Evil Hour). Instead, Skynet uploads a simplified version of itself into a T-XA and attempts to escape via the time vault. But a group of troops led by John and Jade sabotage the effort, and the T-XA's molecules are scattered across infinity in its attempt to escape. The rest of the human resistance destroys the main Skynet computer as well.


John has fallen in love with Jade and wishes he and she could stay together somehow, but she must remain in her timeline to help build a new world with her father and he must return to his own timeline to ensure Cyberdyne, or any other attempt to revive Skynet, is kept down. Sarah and John return to John's World in 2004, two years after they'd left (to give the search for them in that world time to die down). The time vault places them just outside the Salceda compound, where they are welcomed. 


Didja Notice?


In the acknowledgments of the books, the author thanks Jenny Blackford. This is, of course, his wife, a writer of poetry.


Also in the acknowledgments, Blackford thanks members of the Extropians list, an online email group about Extropianism, the philosophy of using science and technology to improve the human condition, eventually leading to what is essentially immortality. The character of Jade in the three novels of The New John Connor Chronicles is an example of Extropianism reaching its goal.


Page 1 reveals that the nuclear response by the nations targeted by Skynet on Judgment Day exceeded even its computed expectations.


Page 4 reiterates that, in Jade's World, Judgment Day occurred on June 18, 2021.


Page 13 reveals that munitions are running low for remaining machines in Skynet's World in 2029. With Skynet destroyed and its munitions factories largely decimated, the machines only have what munitions are left in their current stock to fight the humans.


On page 16, Angelo Suarez's dog is stated to be named Kukulcan. The name comes from the Mayan feathered serpent god and the likely precursor to the more well-known Aztec god Quetzalcoatl.


This book reveals that after the defeat of Skynet in 2029 (as seen in An Evil Hour), some resistance groups formed their own militias run by a warlord again and battles between humans resumed as it had been after Judgment Day and before John Connor united them in resistance to the machines; they had held back supplies and munitions for the eventuality of Skynet's defeat, to turn against their own fellow humans. One of the armies faced by the members of the Tejada estancia is the Rising Army of Liberation, which also menaced them before the machines reached South America decades earlier in An Evil Hour.


One of the military vehicles used by the Rising Army of Liberation against the estancia is an Abrams tank. This is a reference to the M1 Abrams tank which has been in use by the U.S. military since 1980.


Page 25 reinforces the concept that there are some other animals besides dogs that are easily able to distinguish a Terminator from a human. This was first seen in the form of Ruggles' pet monkey, Peanut, in "One Shot".


This book reveals that Gabriela Tejada has been left in command of the resistance of North and South America while General Connor was in Europe for the past six weeks.


General Connor and his crew return to North America from Europe on a Hercules transport. This is a reference to a C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft, designed in 1954 and still in use by the U.S. military today.


On page 34, the North American resistance at Skynet's former base in Colorado is using a Vietnam-era radio to stay in communication. The "Vietnam-era" reference is likely to the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War from 1962-1973.


On page 47, young John is looking out a window at the aft of the Hercules transport, near the Bofors cannons. Bofors is a Swedish weapons manufacturer.


Page 72 reveals that John's and Sarah's favorite weapon is the simple 12-gauge shotgun. Here, John is also carrying a Sig Saur (sic) 9mm pistol. John also plays with a Sig Sauer 9mm in the novelization of Judgment Day. SIG Sauer is a German manufacturer of firearms.


Page 73 reveals that dogs are apparently not bothered by a "frozen" T-1000 (the one brought back from Europe by General Connor after it froze up upon the destruction of Skynet in Spain in An Evil Hour).


On page 73, the Hercules touches down at an airstrip that had once been part of La Guardia Airport.


Page 74 describes a resistance member manning a 40mm MK19 aboard a Humvee. The MK19 is a belt-fed automatic grenade launcher, developed for the U.S. military in 1968 and still in use today.


In Jade's World of 2036, the human resistance has what is referred to as an "experimental technopolis" in Vila Nova do Sul, Brazil. Vila Nova do Sul is an actual city in Brazil, though in our time it's more-or-less an average one!


Page 106 reveals that Miho Tagatoshi received her nickname of "Jade" for her love of jade jewelry ever since she was a child. She'd had to leave her favorite piece of such jewelry, inscribed with Taoist symbols, behind with her father when she'd travelled back in time to 2001 with the other Specialists (in Dark Futures) since nothing inorganic could make the trip. Taoism is an eastern philosophy and religion that emphasizes living in harmony with nature and the way of the world or universe.


Page 107 reveals that, in Jade's World, Skynet has a type of combat machine referred to as Juggernauts, in addition to aerial HKs and endoskeletons. On page 138, Jade describes the Juggernauts as being similar to the land HKs seen in Skynet's World (and the Terminator movies).


Page 109 reveals that a combination of his father's occupation and the stories told by Sarah and John Connor, led young Danny Dyson to be fascinated with concepts of time travel and artificial intelligence as he grew up.


Page 110 reveals that Howard Bellow, introduced in An Evil Hour, was killed by the machines at some point during the events in that novel.


Cecilia chooses three T-800s and three T-799s to accompany her on her mission to free the Tejada estancia from the Rising Army of Liberation. The T-800s are the 101 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) models seen in the movies and the T-799s are the Eve model introduced in Dark Futures.


On page 123, the arrival of Cecilia and the Terminators near the estancia via space-time disruption causes the vehicles of the Rising Army to temporarily be rendered inoperative, suggesting an electromagnetic pulse (EMP).


Page 125 describes a Minigun mounted on a Humvee as firing 7.62 mm rounds at the Terminators. This is an accurate representation of the caliber of Minigun rounds.


Page 126 describes the Abrams tank as having a 125mm turret. As far as I have been able to find, none of the Abrams tank models have had a 125mm turret.


On page 141, young John realizes that Skynet must be stopped in every world, i.e. every timeline, to prevent it from sending Terminators to other timelines, including his own, to bring about the extinction of humanity.


On page 183, John remarks on the people close to his mother who were killed by a Terminator, including her mother, her roommate, and Kyle. All of these deaths occurred in The Terminator.


On page 194, John reflects that he was 9 years old when he, Sarah, Miles Dyson, and the T-800 raided Cyberdyne in 1994, in Judgment Day. There is a fair amount of discrepancy in the evidence as to what year the story of Judgment Day takes place. John's police record in that film states he was born on 2/28/85 and that he is ten years old, making the year of the story 1995. But the Judgment Day novelization states it is 1992. And remarks by the T-800 in the film suggest it is 1994 (he says he was sent back from 35 years in the future, which we know was 2029, so his year of arrival would be 1994; he also states that Cyberdyne becomes the nation's largest supplier of military computer systems "in three years" and that Skynet goes online in 1997, again making the year 1994 in Judgment Day.) 1994 seems to make the most sense, so 9 years old for John at the time would also be correct, though both the character and actor Edward Furlong seem much older (Furlong was actually about 16 when he shot the film!).


On page 207, the resistance members speculate on whether there are only the three timelines seen in this story arc (The New John Connor Chronicles) or more. They seem to work on the assumption that these three are the only ones existing so far. Of course, our PopApostle studies show many other timelines among all the licensed stories of the Terminator universe.


In Jade's World, with John Connor having been killed in 2007 on a raid against Cyberdyne with Sarah, the leader of the North American resistance is Ramsey Devaux.


Page 216 reveals that the Skynet of Jade's World had considered sending a Terminator back in time to kill Ramsey Devaux or Hiro Tagatoshi when they were children to prevent their rising to leadership positions in the future human resistance. Obviously, this is similar to what Skynet did in the Skynet's World timeline with its attempts to kill first Sarah Connor in 1984 and then her son, John, in 1994, in The Terminator and Judgment Day, respectively.


John's crew and the group of reprogrammed Terminators arrive in Jade's World in the Amazon basin of Brazil. This is a 2,100,000 square mile basin in South America which drains its water-flows into the Amazon River. Skynet's major communications and supply node in South America is said to be located in the basin, 300 miles north of the Guiana Highlands of Venezuela.


In Skynet's World of 2029, General Connor is described as the nearest thing there'd ever been to a World President.


The resistance members who now hold Skynet's former base in Colorado refer to the large pod that holds a T-1000 as a "supercoffin".


Page 226 refers to the enormous processing power of the supercoffin as being like a bunch of Cray supercomputers. Cray is a maker of supercomputers in the U.S.


On page 228, John recalls what he's heard about Juanita's previous experience with a T-1000 at the Tejada estancia. This occurred in Dark Futures.


The resistance fights a battle with the combined warlord armies of the Rising Army of Liberation and the Sons of Earth in Asunción, Paraguay. Asunción is the capital city of that South American country. The Paraguay River is described as running through the city, which is true. This is the first mention of the Sons of Earth army.


Page 228 locates the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil. This is true.


On page 236, Cecilia carries a squad automatic weapon (SAW). SAWs are one-person automatic rifles, usually with a bi-pod attachment for ground fire, and designed to hold more ammunition and handle more continuous fire than typical handheld weapons.


Page 237 reveals that, in Sarah's nightmares, Terminators are still her enemies, not the useful tools she has been able to work with in battle along with her human allies.


Young John and many of the others, have taken to calling the older General Connor, "Big John". On page 246, young John reflects on how Enrique used to call him Big John as a kid. We first saw this in Judgment Day


On page 249, the silvery, nondescript humanoid form of the T-1000 is compared to an Academy Award Oscar statuette. The Oscar is the golden, Art Deco style statuette of a knight holding a sword given to winners of the Academy Awards, recognizing greatness in the motion picture industry.
T-1000 Oscar statuette
Oscar statuette (©A.M.P.A.S.)


The resistance develops a method to program the two T-1000s in their possession with the ability to read and take over or reprogram other Skynet machines, such as the Juggernauts, aerial HKs, and even weapons when they ooze their substance into the machine's systems. This is similar to what the T-X is able to do in Rise of the Machines.


On page 251, Sarah and John discuss that trying to hack into Skynet itself is too obvious and that Skynet is probably already prepared for anyone who tries. John remarks that Skynet has probably watched Independence Day some time. This, of course, is a reference to the 1996 science-fiction film Independence Day, in which the alien motherships invading Earth were defeated by the humans by using some of the aliens' own technology to hack into the main computer of one of the ships and introducing a specially-designed virus.


On page 266, the resistance of Jade's World has aerial vehicles called skimmers of their own design, armed with phase-plasma mini-cannons.


On page 269, John says, "Capicse?" This is Italian for "Understand?"


On page 306, John's crew of resistance members from Skynet's World, newly arrived in Jade's World, receive hypospray injections of nanobots to improve their bodies abilities to heal and withstand exhaustion. The real world does not yet have devices called hyposprays, though a somewhat similar device called a jet injector does exist. The word "hypospray" was probably borrowed from Star Trek, though its first known use was in a 1947 episode of the radio series The Shadow.


On page 331, a group of resistance Terminators in battle confer with each other by human language speeded up ten times, making it indecipherable by human ears. I guess these Terminators don't possess the wireless communications ability with each other possessed by the ones in the various Dark Horse Terminator mini-series comic books, beginning with "Tempest" Part 1.


On page 339, in his force's battle against Skynet in Colorado, Devaux remembers the words of Mustafa Kemal, whom he regards as one of the greatest commanders of the previous (20th) century, "I am not giving you an order to attack, I am ordering you to die!" Mustafa Kemal was a Turkish officer in the Ottoman army during WWI; he later went on to become the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey.


On page 347, the Specialists of Jade's World are described as piloting their skimmers like Formula 1 drivers. The Formula-1 comparison was also used to describe the automobile driving of Specialist Robert Baxter in John's World in Dark Futures.


In Jade's World, as Skynet realizes its defense of its own mountain fortress against the humans has failed, it also realizes it could have developed hardware elsewhere, such as on another continent, to which it could have transferred its consciousness for just such a contingency. Recall, this is what Skynet did in An Evil Hour, uploading a copy of itself to a specially-designed computer system in Spain. Instead, Skynet here uploads a more simplified version of itself to a T-XA and attempts to escape through the time vault. (Notice that the term "download" is used when it should be "upload" instead; in computer jargon, files are uploaded from the source, downloaded onto a host.)


As Skynet's attempt to escape in the time vault inside a T-XA is thwarted by the humans, Hiro and Merrillee detect the displacement attempt on their sensors in Vila Nova do Sul and will soon learn the T-XA's molecules have been scattered across infinity. This is the same fate that befell the T-XA in 2001 in Dark Futures.


One last mention of Frankenstein occurs on page 367, a popular reference throughout the New John Connor Chronicles trilogy.


On page 374, Franco pulls on a pair of Nike running shoes.


On page 375, the Salcedas drive into the desert in a Ford Bronco to meet the returning Sarah and John. Possibly, this is the same Bronco used by Sarah to reach the Dyson home in Judgment Day and which was returned to the Salceda compound shortly after in Dark Futures, though that was in 1994 and it is now 2004 at this point of the story.


As Sarah asks him what's been happening in the world in the past couple years, at the end of the novel, Enrique reflects that he has not seen the Connors since August 2001 before saying, "Everything's happened. Goddamn terrorists, politicians...war. You won't believe it all." He is probably largely speaking of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 which brought down New York's World Trade Center and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that resulted. 


Unanswered Questions


Did the resistance destroy all the Terminators and other Skynet technology in Skynet's World and Jade's World, as promised, after defeating Skynet for good? The destruction of the surviving ones is never shown.


Do John and Sarah still have the healing nanobots in their bodies, obtained in Jade's World, after returning to their own timeline?


Will John ever somehow meet Jade, with whom he'd fallen in love, across timelines? Now that's he's back in his own world, will he develop a relationship with Juanita Salceda as had occurred for the John Connor of Skynet's World?


Will Oscar Cruz and the other still free executives of Cyberdyne continue their attempts to build Skynet considering their brains are still rewired from contact with the T-XA (Dark Futures and An Evil Hour)?


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