T2 - 01 - The New John Connor Chronicles - Dark Futures

BOOK: T2 - 01 - The New John Connor Chronicles - Dark Futures
9.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub




Book 1:













AUGUST, 2001


A fat, smug-looking dog foraged in the dim light, checking through the back alleys near the
: the Plaza de la
. Out the back of a restaurant that fronted the huge public square, it found a trashcan full of scraps and bones. It nuzzled the lid off, and started to feast. Then it sensed something, something dangerous, in the alley, as papers, discarded cans, and dust began to move of their own accord. The dog backed away, with a low warning snarl, its tail low and nervously flicking from side to side. The fur along its back prickled up, like the devil's nightmare of a bad hair day.

Flashes of blue electricity disrupted the darkness, raising dust and rubbish in a sudden upward spiral, like a miniature tornado. Trashcans shook and rattled, as if someone had stuck big electric motors inside them, then suddenly flicked the switch. The dog cowered and whined, as the lid it had nuzzled off flew away in the dark, and a geyser of trash spurted from the can, then rained back to earth. Bones, broken crockery and glassware, empty cans and bottles, vegetable peelings, discarded fruit, and leftover pieces of meat danced about the alley. Something hit a window two stories up, breaking it, and a light came on. There was shouting in Spanish. A metal Dumpster rocked from side to side on the paving stones.

The dog ran from the alley, as blue lightning snapped and crackled all round it.

Then, as abruptly as they began, the atmospheric effects ceased, and five human forms appeared in the air, falling quickly to the hard stone pavement, bodies twisting in pain. Some of them gave little strangled cries. They were naked In the faint glow of a distant streetlight, and the lit-up window overhead, their skin varied in color from ivory white to black.

Close by came the sound of a police siren just for a few seconds.

Miho Tagatoshi-always known as Jade—found her feet while the rest of the Specialists were still doubled up in pain, or leaning for support against the brick buildings. She shook her head quickly, then stretched her neck in every direction, groaning with the agony she felt, but letting it wash out of her like water. Having dealt with the pain, she looked round dispassionately. They needed clothes and weapons.

Jade looked about twenty. Her black hair fell raggedly around her shoulders. Her oval face was almost perfect, but something about her lips and eyes was always solemn. Jade was something beyond human, something fast and strong, hard to kill or even hurt. She gave a sad smile. "Time displacement successful."

The black man, Daniel Dyson, took command. He was clean-shaven, with short, curly hair that fitted his scalp like a helmet. "Give the rest of us a minute, Jade."

"Very well."

She waited for the others to recover. They were less deeply morphed than Jade, closer to the human norm, yet engineered by experts. They were well placed to complete their mission.


Elsewhere in the huge, densely populated city, more blue lightning played, like a crown of writhing hair, above a four-story building in the
Rosa. What emerged on the building's roof looked human, but quite extraordinary. It was a naked, shaven-headed man, over eight feet tall, with hands the size of shovels.

The giant T-XA Terminator looked round quickly, alert as a bird, getting its bearings. It was alone on the building's roof, looking northeast at the city's lights.
Mexico City
was a teeming nest of humans such as the experimental, autonomous Terminator had never seen in its own time. It had geometric skyscrapers as stark as razor slashes, and endless high-density sprawl: row after row, mile after mile, of medium-rise glass, steel, brick, stone, and concrete. All of it built for humans, many millions of them. Whichever direction it looked, the city lights showed more of the same.

It was repulsive.

Time to act quickly. The T-XA
, losing the characteristics of any specific human. It became smooth, sexless, abstract. Clawing the fingers of one powerful hand, it reached inside its massive chest, which parted viscously. Its arm sank in nearly to the elbow.

The T-XA felt no pain from its time displacement. Its carefully tuned, multiply redundant nanoware had ridden the space-time displacement field better than living flesh.

It withdrew the arm, a phased-plasma laser rifle now gripped in its big boulder of a fist: a black metal weapon almost three feet long, with no stock attached. The rifle looked like an oversized, elongated handgun, and that's how the Terminator gripped it. If other small arms were honeybees, this device would have been an angry, deadly

Now the T-XA’s mass adjusted inwards, filling the cavity left by its weapon, and the Terminator scaled town just slightly-yet was still fully eight feet tall. It resumed it's original appearance of a giant, naked man.

Termination of humans was its purpose. Pointing the laser rifle ahead, it commenced a course of action.




MAY 1994


Their running battle with the shapeshifting T-1000 Terminator had brought them to a steel mill, its crew working
the night shift.

The workers ran for their lives when a tanker truck jackknifed and turned on its side—sliding, in a screeching agony of rent metal, right into the mill, where it cracked open like a huge, elongated egg, and spilled its dangerous freight: thousands of gallons of liquid nitrogen. The nitrogen sizzled into vapor when it touched the air, surrounding the T-1000 as it tried to struggle clear of the wreck. The shapeshifting, liquid-metal Terminator literally froze up. Stubbornly, it tried to walk, but soon, it was totally immobile, like a sculpture of painted glass.

The T-800 raised its .45 caliber pistol. "
la vista, baby," it said-then fired once. The T-1000 exploded.

But even that was not the end. When its fragments warmed through on the floor of the steel mill, the T-1000 still managed to reform, even as they ran to escape it. Or tried to run, with their injuries and bruises. John Connor wondered how it worked. There had to be a limit to the redundancy of its artificial intelligence, a size too small for a fragment to retain its programming.
But they hadn't found it so far. The T-1000 came after them.

In the end, the T-800 fired a grenade right into its body. It exploded, and the T-1000 splashed out into a bizarre free-form shape, its programming still straining reform

it, even as it fell backwards into a huge vat of molten steel.
And that, finally was too much.
In the pool of steel, the killing machine struggled to free itself, morphing into numerous shapes, but ultimately melting down.
Then it was gone altogether, its high-tech liquid-metal alloy dispersing through the steel in the vat.

"I need a vacation," the T-800 said.
It was now a terrible sight.
Its left arm had been torn off, fighting the T-1000 after they arrived at the mill. Much of its outer organic structure had been shot away.

John looked down into the molten metal.
There was no sign left of the T-1000.
"Is it dead?"


They threw in the arm and hand of the first T-800 from 1984-the one that had tried to kill his mother, Sarah, before he'd even been conceived. John had taken it from the Cyberdyne building. Then he tossed in the chip from its head.

"It's finally over," Sarah said.

"No." The T-800 touched a finger to the side of its head. "There is another chip. It must be destroyed also."

John immediately realized what it meant. But the T-800 had become his friend. In interacting with humans, it had begun to seem human itself. John had already taught it so much. After all that, it couldn't be simply melted down like scrap, like a worn-out machine, just in case the wrong people got hold of it. "No!" he said.

"I'm sorry, John," the T-800 said.

"No, no, no! It'll be okay. Stay with us!"

"I have to go away, John."

Sarah was agreeing silently. As had happened so often in his life, John felt the adults ganging up on him. Surely this couldn't be necessary. He tried ordering the Terminator not to destroy itself, but Sarah overrode him. She lowered the Terminator into the molten steel, using a motorized chain. Soon it was gone.

All over.


Yet the nightmare was never over.

John heard police and ambulance sirens, then shouts. Sarah froze at the sounds, looking about warily, like a hunted animal. They had to get out of here. Though the T-1000 Terminator was destroyed, they were still wanted by the police. If the cops caught them, Sarah would be sent back to the
for the Criminally Insane. John himself might be placed in some kind of detention. His foster parents were dead, killed by the T-1000, and no one else would want to take him in. Not now.

Despite their bruises and injuries, they had to escape fast, steal a car, get to Tarissa Dyson's hotel in
— and away.

The mill was now deserted. John helped Sarah hobble down a metal plate staircase to the concrete floor. One of her thighs was covered in blood where a bullet had penetrated. The strength was going out of her.

"You go ahead, John," she said. Her long, honey-colored hair fanned wildly round her head and shoulders in the dim light. Her face was marked by grime, and by tears of relief, pain, and hope. "Get back to Enrique's compound.
can trust the
had accomplished her mission. Now, with John safe, she scarcely cared about herself.

"No!" John said. “Come on. We've got to make it."

He half-dragged her through the mill, with its glowing fires. They penetrated deeper into its recesses, searching desperately for a way out in the labyrinth of pipes, ladders, conveyor belts, heavy machinery and metal support beams. Glancing over his shoulder, John saw the glow of flashlights sweeping from side to side at the entrance. There were more raised voices and shouts.

"Come on,
Mom," he said in an urgent whisper. "Please."

"All right," she said. "Just stop for a minute, John. Just one minute."

"Okay," he said doubtfully. "One minute," she said again, holding up her hand. "Let me get my breath." She was panting with the effort. She'd fought like a hero, as she'd trained herself to do for so many years, since the first Terminator attacked her. "Come here." She gave a pained smile, then drew him close to her body, holding him tight, as if she'd never let go. "Whatever happens, John, we won. Even if no one ever believes us, even if they hate us and lock us away, and never understand what they owe us, we've stopped Judgment Day."

He hugged her round the waist as the emotion welled up through him. "I know," he said, tears in his eyes. "But now we've got to think about our own future."

"Come on, then. We can make it."

He flashed a crooked smile. "Hey, soldier, now you're talking my language."

As they staggered, half crouched in shadow, over the hard concrete, the noises and lights came closer. Sarah tripped on a piece of sinter, keeping her footing, but grunting with the pain. Though she tried to muffle the sound, their pursuers must have heard, for someone called out, "You there!" Then running steps, people conferring urgently, and the torch beam playing close by.

As the light swept past, they huddled into a dark corner,
behind a staircase, then moved quickly, spotting an illuminated sign that pointed to a fire door. John scurried for it, trying to be quiet He turned the handle carefully, not wanting to make a sound-and pushed. He made it outside to an alleyway, with a dark
to the left, lit by a pair of streetlights. One of them flickered erratically. There was a scatter of vehicles, left behind when the mill was

He held the fire door open, and Sarah followed him. Still trying to move like mice, they eased the door shut and pushed a trash Dumpster against it. Leaning against the Dumpster, John picked out a 1970s Honda sedan, slightly worn looking but not too battered.

BOOK: T2 - 01 - The New John Connor Chronicles - Dark Futures
9.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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