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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
Terminator: Dark Futures Dark Futures
Terminator: The New John Connor Chronicles Book 1
Written by Russell Blackford

Page numbers come from the second printing, paperback edition, August 2002


After the foretold date of Judgment Day passes without incident, Sarah and John begin to think they can move on with their lives. But the universe is not that simple.


Notes from the Terminator chronology


This story begins immediately after the events in Judgment Day.


Story Summary


(The events of the novel take place within two alternate timelines, "John's World", which tells of Cyberdyne's continued attempts to develop Dyson's nanochip after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and "Skynet's World", which tells of a timeline in which John stopped Sarah from going after Miles Dyson in the first place, allowing Judgment Day to take place on August 29, 1997 as foretold by the T-800 in the film. The story chapters set within the two timelines are interspersed throughout the novel; for simplicity's sake, I am summarizing the events in each timeline separately and color-coding them blue for John's World and silver for Skynet's World. Note that Skynet's World is very close to that which is the future seen and implied in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.)


Skynet's World


In May 1994, Sarah, John, and the "Uncle Bob" T-800 have fled the T-1000 and found refuge at the desert camp of survivalist Enrique Salceda and his family, just as they did in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. But here, John realizes his mom is about to do something rash, and talks her out of leaving the camp to attempt to assassinate Miles Dyson. As in the film, the T-1000 anticipates that the Connors may try to kill Dyson and journeys to the Dyson home, to find everything is fine; he warns the Dysons to be on guard. Meanwhile, Dyson agrees to move his family to Colorado, where he can work inside a special NORAD facility called the Advanced Defense Systems Complex to complete his work on the new microchip.


Sarah and John move to the paramilitary estancia of one of her old friends, Raoul Tejada, in Argentina. In 1997, they see the prophecies of Reese and the T-800 coming true, with Cyberdyne announcing breakthroughs in radical new computer hardware and the U.S. government taking advantage of them. Growing worried, John convinces the Salcedas to join them in Argentina where they will be relatively safe from the nuclear blasts that will soon engulf the northern hemisphere on Judgment Day.


On August 28, 1997, Judgment Day, a T-799 Terminator called Eve, a female prototype of the flesh-covered Terminators that will become the T-800 model, arrives in the Colorado Mountains and manages to penetrate the Advanced Defense Systems Complex. Inside, Skynet is about to be handed control of U.S. defense systems, but Miles Dyson is jittery about some minor irregularities with Skynet and the Sarah Connor prophecies which have been uncannily accurate over the years up to this point. Dyson enters the room called "the Cage" to speak to Skynet itself, and the computer reveals that it has come to self-awareness. Terrified by what he's just heard, but trying to hide it, Dyson excuses himself. But Skynet realizes that Dyson disapproved of what he'd just heard.


Dyson shows the recording of his conversation with Skynet to heads of Cyberdyne and the defense department, present for the activation. They all agree that the plug must be pulled. Dyson returns to the Cage to deactivate Skynet, but is stopped by Eve, who is killing every human she sees in her fight to reach her master. She informs Skynet that she was sent by Skynet's own self in the future from 2026. Together, she and Skynet formulate the plan to fire nuclear missiles at Russia and China, anticipating the counter-attack that will destroy the computer's enemies in the United States. Implemented, the scheme goes as predicted.


In Argentina, John and Sarah watch news reports that nukes have been launched. Soon, nuclear winter sets in across the world. Civilization descends largely into barbarianism and warlord rule. The inhabitants of Raoul's estancia have their hands full fighting off warlord armies over the next few years. In its mountain stronghold in Colorado, Skynet begins studying Eve in order to eventually build more Terminators.


John makes the decision to start gathering human forces for an eventual direct assault on Skynet. Over the years, his fame begins to spread and respect for him grows. In 2003, the T-1000 finally tracks him down, killing Raoul and assuming his form in an attempt to get close enough to John to kill him. The entire estancia fights the T-1000, finally wearing it down with so much firepower that it is unable to reform from its liquid metal state and collapses into a silvery pool. After days of allowing the pool to sit in inaction, the metal is finally mixed into a batch of concrete and sculpted with rock to become a memorial to the fallen Raoul. A few years later, a small force approaches the estancia and the Connors are surprised to find Tarissa and Danny Dyson, wife and son of Miles Dyson, among them. It turns out that Miles had been so jittery about the Sarah Connor prophecies that he had sent the rest of his family to Mexico on vacation, just to be on the safe side, during Skynet's activation. Tarissa and Danny have followed the news of the Connors actions ever since and have finally been able to make it down to Argentina to join them in the fight against the machines.


During a battle with the machines in Buenos Aires in 2012, John loses both his mother and the T-800.


In 2022, John brings the resistance to Los Angeles.


In 2026, Skynet completes and activates the T-799 prototype, Eve. The "future" Eve is still there as well and the two Eves meet. Skynet knows through its calculations of the science of mathematics that time can not be altered; attempting to alter the past only creates an alternate universe timeline. It decides that if circumstances should suggest it will be doomed in its own universe, it will use time travel in an attempt to ensure it will survive and wipe out humanity in another.


In June 2029, John launches the final attack against Skynet, at its Rocky Mountain stronghold.


John's World


The story opens in May 1994 with a quick recap of the final minutes of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, ending with the destruction of the T-1000 and John's T-800 guardian in the molten metal at the steel foundry. Soon, Sarah and John hear approaching sirens and make a getaway in a stolen car. They make their way to the pre-arranged hotel in Anaheim where Miles Dyson's wife and son, Tarissa and Danny, are laying low. They take back the Ford Bronco originally borrowed from Enrique Salceda and head back to his desert camp.


With Dyson dead, the microchip missing, and the Cyberdyne headquarters site in ruins, company president Oscar Cruz goes to Dyson's right-hand woman, Dr. Rosanna Monk, for options. She believes she can recreate Dyson's progress on the microchip, but it will take a few years.
Meanwhile, Sarah and John head farther south, all the way to Argentina and the paramilitary estancia run by an old friend, Raoul Tejada. They stay there over the next few years, with John constantly checking the media and internet for news about Cyberdyne; although the company survived the assault on their headquarters, no news seems to be good news in regards to any microchip breakthroughs. On the forecasted date of Judgment Day, August 28, 1997, John and Sarah watch CNN all day for any news of Skynet or ICBMs; but it's just the normal news like any other day. They decide it may finally be time to pursue a semi-normal existence. They move to Mexico City and open a cybercafé called El Juicio (The Judgment) and make a decent enough living off it.
In 2001, the T-XA (Terminator - eXperimental Autonomous) arrives in Mexico, sent from the future by Skynet to kill John Connor. The T-XA is made up entirely of mimetic polyalloy, just like the T-1000, but had the additional abilities of being able to split into multiple independent units and to inject elements of itself into a human and alter their brain to make it loyal to Skynet's goals. Elsewhere in Mexico City, five humans (Danny Dyson, Jade, Anton, Selena, and Robert) arrive from the year 2036, where they were about to lose the war with the machines; they've come back in an attempt to stop Skynet from being developed in the first place. These five humans are called Specialists, enhanced genetically/cybernetically, making them stronger and able to withstand injury and exhaustion better than the typical human. While this is happening, John is starting to get worried about the fact that Cyberdyne has been on the rebound recently.
Just as John and Sarah are beginning to think they may have to strike at Cyberdyne again, they are visited by the human chrononauts, seeking their help. Just then, the T-XA finds the cafe and attacks. They manage to escape Mexico City and evade the T-XA, but Robert is killed in the process. The chrononauts tell them that, in the future they come from, Skynet is brought online in 2007 and works flawlessly until 2021, when it achieves self-awareness and triggers Judgment Day. The humans decide to head for Colorado and make an attempt to convince Dr. Monk not to finish her work on the new processor.
They track Dr. Monk down at her home in Colorado, but find that the T-XA has beaten them there and used its mind-altering capabilities to brainwash her, as it has also done to the top executives of Cyberdyne, to ensure they will continue to develop the hardware that will become Skynet. The Specialists head to the Cyberdyne facility anyway with Dr. Monk in tow and break in. They are able to appeal to Monk's logical side and make her realize she has no reason to hate humans except that the T-XA altered her to be that way. She still hates them but helps them slightly by activating the experimental time vault device under construction there, eradicating the T-XA and, sadly, Danny Dyson with it. Selena is killed in battle as well. After causing significant damage to the facility, the Specialists and Connors escape. The altered Cyberdyne executives find they have to start over again, but they do have the body of a dead Specialist and a small amount of the T-XA's liquid metal to study.
Returning to Enrique's camp, the Connors and Specialists wind down. Another version of Eve appears there and approaches John, introducing herself as a T-799 Cyborg Prototype Series. When John asks who sent her, she replies, "You did."

Didja Know?
This story features Daniel (Danny) Dyson, the son of Miles Dyson, introduced in Judgment Day. Danny also appeared in the story arc of Timeline JD-2 in PopApostle's Terminator chronology.
The events of the novel take place within two alternate timelines, "John's World", which tells of Cyberdyne's continued attempts to develop Dyson's nanochip after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and "Skynet's World", which tells of a timeline in which John stopped Sarah from going after Miles Dyson in the first place, allowing Judgment Day to take place on August 29, 1997 as foretold by the T-800 in the film. A third timeline (which John thinks of as Jade's World in An Evil Hour) has Judgment Day occurring in 2021, though we don't actually experience this timeline; we see only the quintet of Specialists from the 2036 of that timeline, who travel back to 2001, arriving in John's World in an attempt to stop the invention of Skynet.
In the timelines presented in this novel, Sarah Connor is never diagnosed with leukemia in the late 1990s as she was in the Rise of the Machines and Sarah Connor Chronicles timelines. In John's World, she continues to live in 2001 at the end of the novel. In Skynet's World, she lives until 2012, when she is killed in battle with the machines.
Didja Notice?
The prologue of the book opens in 2001 in the Zocalo officially known as the Plaza de la Constitucion in Mexico City. This is the main square of the city.
On page 2, author Blackford capitalizes the "D" in Dumpster throughout the book because it is actually a brand name of the large, steel outdoor trash receptacles which have taken on the genericized term of "dumpster".
This novel introduces the T-XA model Terminator, a new experimental version of the T-1000, capable of splitting its polymimetic form into multiple independent, inter-communicating units. It can also inject a portion of itself into a human and make that person perform actions against its will. It is somewhat similar to the T-1001 seen in episodes of Sarah Connor Chronicles. The T-XA is capable of holding a phased plasma gun within its body in order to transport it with it during chronoporting.


On page 3, the T-XA arrives in the Zona Rosa of Mexico City. This is one of the prime shopping districts of the city.


Chapter 1 of the book begins with a three-page rundown of the end of Judgment Day, with the T-800 sacrificing itself to prevent it's microchip and parts from falling into Cyberdyne hands.


The car stolen by John and Sarah to make their escape from the steel foundry may be the same Chrysler they are said to have stolen in this same instance in Infiltrator (Timeline JD-4).


Throughout the novel, no mention of the Dysons' daughter is made, seeming to take Danny as their only child. In Judgment Day, Tarissa tells Danny he needs to get to bed like his sister; a scene cut from the film shows the daughter and the script reveals her name to be Blythe.


Page 7 reveals that Miles Dyson's wife, Tarissa, and son, Danny, stayed in a hotel room in Anaheim while Miles and the rest made their sabotage run on Cyberdyne in Judgment Day. Anaheim is a real city in southern California. Page 14 reveals that Tarissa is registered there under the name Corinne Sanders.


The book has numerous callbacks to The Terminator and Judgment Day in the form of dialog mimicking that in the two films (such as "I'll be back," "No problemo," "Hasta la vista, baby," etc.)


The novel reveals that Tarissa Dyson was given the Ford Bronco (which Sarah had taken from the Salceda camp) to take to the hotel in Judgment Day, while Sarah and the rest took the Dysons' Range Rover for the Cyberdyne sabotage operation.


Page 12 reveals the license plate of the Bronco to be IE49973.


Page 13 mentions Miles' death during the battle with SWAT teams at Cyberdyne. SWAT is a police special ops force (Special Weapons And Tactics).


On page 13, John reminisces on learning to drive, when he should have been in kindergarten, with his mother's various friends and boyfriends in the Latin American countries they'd hidden out in.


Page 13 describes Sarah and John heading southeast on the I-10 from Anaheim towards the Mojave Desert. However, the real I-10 runs simply east-west, with little deviation. And the Connors would have to head northeast from Anaheim to reach the Mojave Desert. From the later description that the Salceda camp is in the California desert north of Calexico, near the Mexican border, it would seem that it is in the Colorado Desert (in California), not the Mojave; this would jive with the Connors taking the I-10 east into the Colorado Desert and then another highway (probably California State Route 78) south towards the border. Issue #2 of the Judgment Day comic book adaptation places the camp at Charon Mesa, northwest of Calexico.


On page 16, a freeway sign along I-10 points to Palm Springs. This city lies just south of the I-10, on Highway 111.


Page 16 reveals that, in their haste to escape the arriving police officers at the steel plant, John and Sarah were not able to recover the severed arm from the T-800 that was caught in a giant gear at the plant (as seen in Judgment Day). It is later found by the police and eventually handed over to Cyberdyne. However, in the novelization of Judgment Day, John is said to have retrieved and destroyed that arm in the vat of molten metal. In Timeline JD-2 of PopApostle's Terminator chronology, the arm was left behind at the plant and discovered by Detective Weatherby in "Lost & Found". And in Infiltrator, it was recovered by government agents after the steel mill incident and held for quite some time before being handed over to Cyberdyne for research.


The "No Fate" theme from Judgment Day is strongly echoed, and played with, throughout the novel.


Page 17 describes the shell of a Huey helicopter that might have seen service in Vietnam at the Salceda camp. This would be the same helicopter shell seen in Judgment Day. The Vietnam reference is likely to the Vietnam War.


Page 17 reveals that the Salcedas were gunrunners, in addition to being survivalists.


Page 18 reveals that John had grown up in Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Argentina and spoke Spanish better than his mom, with no trace of a gringo accent.


Enrique Salceda is still alive in this version of the timeline. In Timeline JD-6 of the PopApostle Terminator chronology, a flashback in "Lost & Found" shows Enrique to have been killed by the T-1000 in a scene from the Judgment Day script that was cut from the film.


Meeting John and Sarah again on page 19, Enrique asks where Uncle Bob is. "Uncle Bob", of course, is the name John gave the T-800 when introducing him at Enrique's camp in Judgment Day.


On page 19, Enrique refers to Sarah as "Sarahlita". This is Spanish for "little Sarah", an affectionate nickname.


Page 20 reveals that the president of Cyberdyne in 1994 was Oscar Cruz. In the novel, he remains in charge of the company into the 21st Century in the John's World timeline.


On page 20, Enrique takes a swig from a bottle of Cuervo tequila. This is a reference to the Mexican tequila brand Jose Cuervo, the best-selling tequila brand in the world, founded in 1795.


Page 24 describes John loading jerry cans of gasoline into a vehicle. Jerry cans derive their name from their origin in the German military leading up to WWII. Originally used for holding fuel, they have since also been used for water. (Photo from Wikipedia.)



On pages 28-29, the T-1000 takes an Aiwa tele-video unit from an appliance store.


On page 30, the hotel clerk writes in a foolscap exercise book. "Foolscap" refers to 8 1/2 × 13 1/2 inch paper and "exercise book" is a spiral-bound notebook.


On page 32, the T-1000 calls 911 on a pay phone outside a 7-Eleven store. 911 is the emergency number to dial in the U.S. and Canada. 7-Eleven is an international chain of convenience stores.


Page 32 introduces LAPD Detective Weatherby into the Skynet's World timeline of the novel. Weatherby appeared in Judgment Day, and also in the Cybernetic Dawn comic book mini-series.


On page 33, Tarissa recalls meeting her future husband, Miles, when they were both at Stanford. This is presumably a reference to Stanford University. Stanford is well-known as a scientific research university.


In the Skynet's World timeline, on page 35, young Danny Dyson is playing with a radio-controlled truck in the hotel room. This is likely the same truck he was seen with in the Dyson home shortly before Sarah's sniper attack in Judgment Day.


Page 36 describes Oscar Cruz's office at Cyberdyne decorated with Brazilian expressionist paintings of selvas and other nature scenes. Selvas is Spanish for forest.


NORAD gives Cyberdyne a secret underground research facility, referred to as the Advanced Defense Systems Complex. NORAD is the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a joint operation of the U.S. and Canada to provide early warning and defense against air and space offenses against the two nations.


Page 42 reveals that the police copter pilot who jumped from his helicopter when the T-1000 oozed itself in during the battle at Cyberdyne in Judgment Day survived his fall, though he was badly injured and has no memory of the events.


On page 43, Oscar eats at the Yellow Parrot Diner, just around the corner from Cyberdyne. The Yellow Parrot appears to be a fictional establishment.


Page 44 mentions Rosario and Buenos Aires, Argentina. These are real cities in that country. Willard Parnell picks up John and Sarah at the Retiro bus station in Buenos Aires. Retiro is a district in that city.


Willard drives a Jeep Cherokee which belongs to the owner of the estancia, Raoul Tejada.


Raoul's home is referred to as an estancia. This is a Spanish or Portuguese term for a large ranch.


On the way to Raoul's estancia, Sarah and John pass through the Pampas. The Pampas are fertile South American lowlands in the countries of Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.


On page 45, John, Sarah, and Willard head towards Cordoba on Ruta Nacional 9. This is an actual route through Argentina.


In South America, Sarah and John take the identities of a nurse named Deborah Lawes and her son, David.


Page 46 mentions Bogotá. This is the capital city of Colombia.


On page 46, Willard mentions the broadcasts on CNN of the T-800 who accompanied Sarah and John on their assault on Cyberdyne. CNN is the Cable News Network.


On page 48, John thinks back on the people he and his mother stayed with over the years of his training, such as the El Salvadoran compas. Compas is Spanish for "comrades".


On page 50, Raoul has a 1960 model Jaguar.


The novel refers to Raoul's house on the estancia as a casco. This is a Spanish slang term for a ranch house.


Page 50 describes Raoul having a JetRanger helicopter. This is a Bell helicopter model.


Several times in the novel, Raoul calls John "compañero". This is Spanish for "partner".


Page 51 describes the adults at the estancia drinking mostly maté, while John drinks Coke. Maté is a traditional South American beverage made by steeping dried, crushed yerba maté leaves in hot water, yielding a highly caffeinated drink.


Page 57 reveals that Cyberdyne announced its radical new computer hardware in August of 1994 (at least in the Skynet's World timeline).


Page 61 reveals that John was born in Mexico. (In Timeline TT-3 of PopApostle's Terminator chronology, Sarah gave birth in Odessa, Texas, though that was the timeline in which Jane Connor is born instead of John.)


In Skynet's World, John Connor's resistance forces are said to have first appeared in Argentina, which is where he and Sarah take refuge with Raoul in 1994 earlier in the novel. Skynet finds he has returned to California in 2022.


John's T-800 guardian in John's World is referred to as Uncle Bob a few times in the novel. He earned this nickname when John clumsily introduced him by that name to Enrique in Judgment Day.


In Skynet's World, some people demonstrated against the implementation of Cyberdyne's hardware.


In Skynet's World, in the years leading into 1997, some of Sarah's old boyfriends, from her years seeking training for John, show up at the estancia as they see her prophecies about Cyberdyne and Skynet's development starting to come true.


In 2026, Skynet sends a prototype cyborg Terminator, the T-799, a female form called Eve, back to 1997 to protect the fledgling Skynet itself from being shut down. It uses the time displacement technology that was being developed by Dr. Rosanna Monk, who took over Dr. Dyson's project head position at Cyberdyne after he died in the assault on the headquarters in Judgment Day. Page 70 reveals that Eve's appearance and voice are based on a resistance combatant who was killed by an HK on the Canadian west coast named Sergeant Helen Wolfe.


Page 76 describes Jack Reed's office as decorated with a Blu-tacked poster of Muhammad Ali from a 1960s fight with Sonny Liston. Blu-tack is a brand of adhesive putty. Ali (1942-2016) fought Liston (1930-1970) over the boxing heavyweight title twice, in 1964 and 1965.


Page 77 reveals that Sarah was incarcerated at Pescadero State Hospital in 1993 after her attempt to blow up a government computer research project.


Page 77 mentions Colorado Springs, Colorado.


Page 79 mentions Cheyenne Mountain. The novelization of Judgment Day states that Skynet's mainframe is located in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. Cheyenne Mountain is a real world government nuclear war bunker and command center in the Rocky Mountain range.


On page 82, Layton mentally reviews the process that would take place if Skynet were to detect a Russian attack and decided to launch American ICBMs. The decision would have to go through NORAD at Peterson Air Force Base, to the defense chiefs in Washington D.C. and Ottawa, and the U.S. President would make the call in consultation with the Canadian Prime Minister and others he chose to confer with. An ICBM is an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. Peterson Air Force Base is now Peterson Space Force Base, lying near Cheyenne Mountain and is NORAD headquarters. Washington D.C. and Ottawa are the federal government seats of the U.S. and Canada, respectively (NORAD is run cooperatively between the U.S. and Canada).


Page 82 states that once Skynet was online and proven reliable and effective, NORAD would be shut down inside Cheyenne Mountain.


Cyberdyne's attorney, Fiona Black, is from the law firm Black Jessup Nash. This appears to be a fictional firm.


Page 87 states that Dr. Monk attended school at UCLA.


Page 95 reveals that on August 28-29 in John's World, John and Sarah stayed up all night at the estancia watching CNN for any reports of Skynet or ICBM activity. None come, Skynet's activation having been delayed by years by the 1994 assault on Cyberdyne in Judgment Day. As far as the reports of world news they do see, they are all actual events reported in the real world on August 28, 1997; Novaya Zemla, where a possible nuclear weapons test by Russia is reported, is also an actual Russian nuclear test site, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.


By 2001 in John's World, to earn a living, Sarah and John have used their Lawes identities to open a cyber cafe in Mexico City called El Juicio. "Juicio" is Spanish for "Judgment". Obviously, it's a reference to Judgment Day, but it also echoes the futuristic version of Michelangelo's The Last Judgment which John has painted on the walls and ceiling of the place. The Last Judgment is a fresco painted on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, depicting Christ's second coming and judgment of humanity. In John's version as described here, he has replaced the humans, angels, and demons of the original fresco with aliens and robots. Page 100 states that they received a positive write-up in Lonely Planet, a series of travel guide books.


On page 101, Sarah's wardrobe is described as simple, but stylish, including Doc Marten (sic) shoes.


Also on page 101, John is reading Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. This is an actual novel by Vonnegut, published in 1969. The story deals, in part, with the unchangeable nature of time, predestination, and the non-existence of free will. In a way, Dark Futures mirrors these elements in Skynet's belief that any attempt to change the past only creates an alternate universe, with the original timeline left the same.


Page 103 describes the adult Danny Dyson as having a grin like a Cheshire cat. This is probably a reference to the character of the Cheshire cat in Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, though the idiom of grinning like a Cheshire cat predates the novel.


Page 104 suggests that Judgment Day in the John's World timeline may take place on June 18, 2021. In Jade's World, that is when it occurred.


Arriving in Mexico City, the T-XA walks along the Paseo de la Reforma on page 105. This is a main avenue that runs across the city, including through the Zocalo mentioned at the beginning of the book. It also hosts many monuments, including the Angel of Independence seen in "Secondary Objectives" Part 2.


On page 111, Eve kills a U.S. serviceman at the Advanced Defense Systems Complex and takes his Beretta M9 handgun. The Beretta M9 is the pistol most commonly used by the U.S. Armed Forces since 1985.


Page 112 mentions IBM's Deep Blue defeating chess master Kasparov in May 1997. This was an actual event. Garry Kasparov was the title holder of the World Chess Championship at the time.


On page 113, in Skynet's World, before Judgment Day, Miles Dyson speaks to Skynet in a special room for the purpose at the Advanced Defense Systems Complex. A computer screen displays an anthropomorphic representation of Skynet in the form of an androgynous human face.


On page 118, Eve sees several vehicles parked outside the Advanced Defense Systems Complex, including Humvees. The word stands for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, manufactured by AM General mostly for the U.S. military. The vehicle has replaced the former high-mobility vehicle, the Jeep, in the U.S. military.


On page 119, Eve grabs up two M-16 rifles from the fallen guards. The M-16 is the most widely distributed U.S. military semi- and full-automatic rifle from 1962 to present day.


Watching the playback of Miles' conversation with Skynet and hearing its proclamations of self-awareness, Jack Reed exclaims that it seems to think it's in a sci-fi novel. This is a bit of ironic self-reference to the novel itself.


On page 125, Skynet's recent behavior has Miles beginning to think of himself as a Frankenscientist. This is obviously a reference to the concept of a mad scientist creating life, as in the original 1818 novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and subsequent popular depictions in film and other media. Several references to Frankenstein are made throughout Dark Futures.


On page 128, Jack Reed's office has a photo of the B2 stealth bomber hanging behind his desk. This is a real world bomber in use by the U.S. Air Force since at least the 1980s and still in use today. (Photo from Wikipedia.)

B2 stealth bomber


Page 136 mentions an article by cyber guru Bill Joy in Wired magazine in which the author expresses fears about AI and nanotechnology. On page 279, John remarks that the article made a real impression on his mom. Bill Joy is a real world computer scientist who wrote such an article, "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us", in the April 2000 issue of Wired. The novel's author, Russell Blackford, also writes and speaks on cyberculture and transhumanism, though he seems more upbeat about it than Joy has become.


Watching Eve's assault on the complex over surveillance cameras on page 149, Bullock realizes it is not Kevlar armor that is protecting her from gunshots. Kevlar is a real world type of bulletproof body armor, developed in 1965 by the DuPont corporation.


On page 151, Bullock pulls a Colt .45 pistol from his desk drawer.


Eve's assault on the Advanced Defense Systems Complex is successful and she informs Skynet she has been sent by its own future self to ensure its survival. Initially, the present-day Skynet doubts the possibility of time travel and considers other scenarios that may explain Eve's presence such as a secret human-built robot or one sent by extraterrestrials.


In Skynet's World, on August 28, 1997, Judgment Day occurs on schedule. CNN reports that the U.S. has unexpectedly fired ICBMs at Russia, China, and the Middle East, with expected immediate retaliations from Russia and China.


After Judgment Day, the world goes through several years of nuclear winter. It is a common theory that a large-scale detonation of nuclear weapons on the surface of Earth would result in a relatively long-term clouding of the sky by soot and smoke, resulting in a blockage of the sun's rays that would cause significantly lowered temperatures virtually worldwide and referred to as nuclear winter.


On page 165, the residents of Raoul's estancia are described as slaughtering and barbecuing most of the cattle in traditional gaucho style. Gaucho is a South American term for "cowboy".


Page 166 describes much of the world reverting to barbarism and rule by warlords during the nuclear winter.


On page 166, John's T-800 is armed with an AK-47 and M-79 grenade launcher. The AK-47 is a Russian automatic rifle designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1947. The M-79 is the same grenade launcher the T-800 used at the assault on Cyberdyne in Judgment Day.


An attacking helicopter on page 166 fires a mini-gun down on the estancia. This is presumably the M134 Minigun, the same machine gun model the T-800 carried and used against police forces during the Cyberdyne assault in Judgment Day.


The warlord's force that attacks Raoul's estancia refers to itself as the Rising Army of Liberation.


On page 167, Raoul's people first fire back at the attacking helicopter with an RPG and Sarah is described carrying a CAR-15. RPG stands for rocket-propelled grenade and a CAR-15 is a Colt variant of the M16.


On page 169, John begins to develop a theory that, when you change the past, time tries to spring back into something similar to the original timeline, so you had to constantly move to keep the timeline you thought you had changed, putting a new spin on the "No fate" motto Kyle Reese had delivered to Sarah in 1984, "no fate but what we make" being "no fate but what you worked at".


On page 178, Danny pulls up to the cafe in a stolen Pontiac.


Page 180 reveals that the adult Danny Dyson and his cohorts come from the year 2036 (of Skynet's World).


On page 181, the cyber-enhanced human commandos from the future are referred to as Specialists.


On page 182, the Specialists reveal that Sarah and John died in February 2007 trying to stop Skynet's development (in the Skynet's World timeline).


Page 183 describes Baxter driving the escape car like a Formula 1 driver. Formula 1 is the highest class of auto racing in the single-seater category as sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile.


On page 192, Sarah mentions the Geneva Convention. The Geneva Convention is a set of protocols signed by members of the United Nations establishing the rules of war and treatment of prisoners taken in battle.


On page 194, Skynet thinks of humans as being designed to self-destruct. This is reminiscent of the T-800's remark to John in Judgment Day, "It is in your nature to destroy yourselves."


After Judgment Day in Skynet's World, few population centers in Asia, from Japan to the Ural Mountains, are believed to have survived. The Urals is a roughly north-south running mountain range in Russia. They are largely recognized to be the division point between Europe and Asia.


Page 194 describes the nuclear warheads falling on the mountains near Skynet's complex in Colorado as causing shaking "like some Titan's footsteps". The Titans are the original, gigantic race of gods on Earth before the Olympians in Greek mythology.


Page 199 mentions Skynet developing the first generation of Hunter-Killer machines in the years after Judgment Day. In Rise of the Machines, progenitors of the Hunter-Killers are seen already in development by the U.S. military in 2004, before the activation of Skynet in that timeline.


   During John and Sarah's martial arts session on page 201, Sarah is described as "like a warrior in a Hong Kong movie". This refers to the popular martial arts action-dramas made in Hong Kong since the 1940s.

   During their session, Sarah uses a muay thai attack against John. Muay Thai is a martial art that originated in Thailand, known for its full contact fighting style.


Page 203 reveals that one of Sarah's old boyfriends, an ex-Green Beret named Bruce Axelrod has been accepted onto Raoul's estancia. He is described as a "pumped-up Rambo kind of guy". Axelrod may be the same person John describes to the T-800 in Judgment Day while the two are working on Enrique's truck, an ex-Green Beret who was one of his mom's boyfriends. Rambo, of course, is a reference to the character of John Rambo, an ex-Green Beret in the 1972 novel First Blood by David Morrell and the series of five Rambo films that followed in 1982-2019. (Additionally, James Cameron was the co-writer of the movie Rambo: First Blood Part II.)


By 2003 in Skynet's World, John's reputation is starting to spread due to his and Sarah's prediction of Judgment Day and survival at Raoul's estancia in Argentina.


On page 217, Jade drives the escape vehicle into the car park of a Liverpool department store. Liverpool is a large chain of department stores in Mexico.


On page 219, Jade steals a Toyota. She drives it up the Anillo Periférico towards Querétaro. The Anillo Periférico is the outer beltway of Mexico City. Querétaro is one of the 31 states of Mexico.


On page 221, the Specialists swap for yet another car, a 1960s era Chevrolet.


On page 222, the Specialists and the Connors pass a Mercedes tourist bus.


Page 222 reveals that Danny Dyson was born in 1988. That would mean he was about 6 years old in Judgment Day.


On page 223, Jade, who is younger and more heavily re-engineered genetically than the other Specialists, before their timeline's Judgment Day, tells John that children like her were called ultrabrights.


On page 225, the Specialists stop to fuel up the car at a Pemex station, short for Petróleos Mexicanos, a Mexican petroleum company.


On page 226, Jade tells John they are nearly halfway to the U.S. border, just south of Mazatlán. Mazatlán is a coastal city in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. It is about halfway between Mexico City and the U.S. border.


On page 227, the Specialists bury Baxter's body in the Sonoran desert north of Hermosillo. This is in the state of Sonora which meets the border of Arizona.


On page 228, the Specialists and the Connors are approaching the cities of Mexicali and Calexico. The neighboring cities lie along the border of the U.S. and Mexico and both names are portmanteaus of "California" and "Mexico".


On pages 229-230, Danny explains the origin of the alternate Skynet of his timeline (Jade's World), which came online in 2007 but did not cause Judgment Day until 2021. In the Specialists' timeline, humans became much more technologically advanced before Judgment Day thanks to the Skynet-inspired computer processors in use from 2007-2021. In this timeline, Skynet still exists as of 2036 and is still fighting the human resistance. In this timeline, John and Sarah were killed in 2007 trying once again to stop Skynet's development, so John never became the great resistance leader.


Page 233 reveals that the Cyberdyne nanochip being developed in the early 21st Century is known as the Dyson-Monk nanochip.


In Skynet's World, the T-1000 eventually finds the Connors at the estancia in 2003 and attempts to kill them after first killing and impersonating Raoul. The inhabitants of the estancia eventually manage to pour so much firepower and explosives into it that it is unable to keep reforming, collapsing into a pool of liquid metal which was guarded for days but did not move any further. John has nightmares of the T-1000 rising up out of the pool like a metallic Dracula. Dracula, of course, is the classic vampiric character from Bram Stoker's 1897 novel.


On page 240, Gabriela Tejada has a rock and concrete memorial obelisk to her husband, Raoul, built. The liquefied remains of the T-1000 are mixed into the concrete.


Page 242 explains that John, along with the Tejada and Salceda clans, were respected by the other surviving enclaves in Argentina. Sarah is almost feared.


On page 244, John wonders why the humans of any of the timelines give over so much control to Skynet in the first place and asks the T-800 if it knows. It responds, "I do not have detailed files." This is an amusing turnaround from two instances in Judgment Day, when the T-800 remarks, "I have detailed files" (on human anatomy and on Miles Dyson).


Page 250 mentions Skynet's Centurions, the four-legged, running gun-pods described in the novelization of Judgment Day and which are seen in pre-production art for the film. Centurions also appear in "Dead Men Walking".


On page 251, Juanita uses an M-249 automatic weapon. This is a U.S. version of the Belgian light machine gun FN Minimi, in use by the U.S. military since 1984.


On page 255, in Skynet's World, Sarah dies at the age of 48 in a battle with the machines in Buenos Aires. On page 258, in the same battle, John's T-800 is destroyed by a Centurion laser cannon.


On page 261, Dr. Monk orders a Capriciossa (sic) pizza. Capricciosa pizza is generally one made with the toppings mozzarella, artichokes, ham, mushrooms, olives, oil, and tomato.


On page 265, the Specialists explain that, in their timeline, Skynet operated benignly for 14 years beginning in 2007. It announced it had become self-conscious during an international crisis in which China was maneuvering to annex Taiwan. (Taiwan was formerly part of China and broke off ties with the mainland nation when the communist party took control of the mainland during the Chinese civil war in 1949. Since then, both parties claim to be the true ruling government of China proper and tensions between them remain high.)


In John's World, while he and his crew are on the way to attempt to stop Dr. Monk's development of the nanochip, John stops in Calexico at an internet cafe to create a new Hotmail account with the sign-in name Uncle Bob to send a message to Franco. Hotmail was a webmail service founded in 1997, currently owned by Microsoft, now operating under the name


When Paco tells John he's crazy for believing the Specialists are from the future, John says, "Moi?" Moi is French for "me". He also used the term in Judgment Day when one of the jocks outside the liquor store calls him a dipshit.


On page 270, John asks if anyone remembers a particular scene from Blade Runner. Blade Runner is a 1982 science-fiction film about a man who hunts down renegade replicants, sort of synthetic humans with a limited lifespan. To a certain degree, John is comparing the replicants to the Specialists.


Enrique says, "Madre de Dios," on page 270. This is Spanish for "Mother of God". It is an exclamation used by some Spanish speakers.


Page 271 reveals that Enrique has (or had) an uncle back in his homeland of Guatemala.


On page 273, John mentions H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. This was a novel published in 1895. Our current author's (Blackford) contention in the text that Enrique's quote, "...I'm starting to suspect," was first said by Wells in that novel is awkward at best.


Also on page 273, the Connors and the Specialists borrow Enrique's 1992 Ford Explorer, considered an upgrade from the Bronco they borrowed from him in Judgment Day.


On page 275, the Specialists borrow M-16 rifles with attached 40 mm grenade launchers from Enrique. The grenade launchers are an actual accessory available for the M-16. The 40 mm grenades in this case are the same ones used by the M79 grenade launcher used by John's T-800 earlier in the novel and in Judgment Day.


Also on page 275, John reflects on once telling the T-800 you couldn't just go around killing people. This occurred in Judgment Day.


On their way to Colorado to confront Dr. Monk, the Connors and their crew get on the I-15 on page 275. Interstate 15 is an actual freeway running north-south through southern California and also into the states of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Montana.


Page 281 reveals that human resistance forces initially tried destroying Skynet's mountain stronghold with nuclear bombardment of their own, but the location is nearly impregnable.


On page 283, the pod that houses a Terminator for growing human tissue over its endoskeleton is called an ectogenetic pod. In biological science, ectogenesis is the growth of an organism in an artificial environment.


Skynet and Eve realize that there is no paradox in time travel and that time loops allow Eve's past and present selves to co-exist at the same moment. Eve reflects that this is unambiguous in the mathematical representation of Minkowski space-time. Minkowski space is the representation of our own 4-dimensional world (three dimensions of space and one of time).

Minkowski space


Page 287 states that in 2029, John has sought out Kyle Reese as an aide. Some other timelines seem to present Kyle as less than an aide, just a tech-com serving in John's unit.


Page 287 reveals that in 2029, John has a German Shepherd named Smaug. The following novel, An Evil Hour, reveals the name was derived from the name of the dragon which is the major enemy faced in J.R.R. Tolkien's 1937 novel The Hobbit.


In Judgment Day, the T-800 states that the T-1000 that was sent back to kill John in 1994 was a prototype and the only one of its model in existence. But here, on page 288, John is described as receiving reports from resistance forces in Europe that they have encountered shape-shifting terrors that sound like T-1000s in 2029 before the original T-1000 was even sent back in time.


On page 289, the resistance forces fire LAWs and M-203s. LAW is an acronym for Light Anti-tank Weapon. M-203s are the grenade launchers used on an M-16 rifle.


Page 291 implies that John and Juanita Salceda have become close friends by 2029 and they might have been something more in a more normal world.


Page 301 mentions Layton's Lear jet. Learjet is a line of business jets for business and personal use, formerly a company of its own, now owned by Bombardier.


On page 301, the Specialists steal a Toyota Land Cruiser.


On page 302, Dr. Monk has a Honda CR-V parked in her driveway.


On page 303, John wishes Danny good luck in the Specialists' attempt to approach Dr. Monk, who may already be compromised by the T-XA. Then John goes back on the wish and says, "I mean, break a leg." This goes back to a superstition in some professions (believed to have originated in theatrical stage productions) that it is bad luck to wish someone good luck, so you say "break a leg" or some other such negative outcome to actually mean "good luck" without saying it.


On page 304, one of the T-XA aspects turns into the shape of a werecat-like creature to battle the Specialists. It would seem that the T-XA has been programmed with the ability to shift into creatures it has never touched (or are even real), unlike the T-1000, which had to briefly come into contact with any form it wanted to simulate.


On page 305, Danny jokingly thinks of the rear space of the Land Cruiser as the Black Hole of Calcutta, with his cohorts crammed in there with a bunch of guns. The Black Hole of Calcutta was a small dungeon (14' x 18') at Fort William in Calcutta, India in which a large number of British prisoners were held during a skirmish with Indian forces in 1756.


On page 309, Sarah refers to Dr. Monk as the Bride of Frankenstein, in reference to her forced conversion to Skynet's point of view. The Bride of Frankenstein is a character that first appeared in the 1935 Universal horror film of the same name. On page 313, she refers to Dr. Monk as Dr. Strangelove, the former Nazi nuclear war strategist in the 1964 black comedy film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.


In 2001, the primitive time travel apparatus designed by Dr. Monk is called the time vault.


The blue electrical arcs that fill the time vault during operation are described as "like the lightning of Zeus". Zeus is the ruler of the Olympian gods in Greek mythology; he was also the god of thunder and lightning.


Due to the assault by the Specialists and the Connors, Cyberdyne has lost the future nanochip they were studying. But they gained the body of a Specialist and a small pool of the programmable liquid metal from the T-XA. (In the next novel, An Evil Hour, the Specialist's body is taken from Cyberdyne by the Department of Defense and cremated, though tissue samples are retained, and the liquid metal is destroyed in the time vault by Dr. Monk; all in hopes of preventing misuse in the future through back-engineering of the sophisticated technology.)


At the end of the book, another version of Eve appears at Enrique's camp and approaches John, introducing herself as a T-799 Cyborg Prototype Series. When John asks who sent her, she replies, "You did." This sets up the continuation of the story in Book 2, An Evil Hour.


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