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There's some combination alternate dimensions and alternate timelines out there. Referred to as "Terminator Scenarios". They're basically timelines where A.I. and robots have taken over everything. There's a few of them where Humans won and are rebuilding. Some went luddite. Others where they are currently at war. Yet more where the robots won.
There's concern that the alternate timelines where the machines won may try to expand over here. They don't have time travel or interdimensional tech that we know of, but it's something that probably needs to have an eye kept on. There's a branch of them that exterminated all life on Earth and then just stopped. Power is still being generated, but they're not moving or anything.
This alternate dimension/timeline has been contained. The computer system with the A.I. isn't actually all that sophisticated. It was easily reprogrammed. The dimension now exists as a tourist attraction with actors and they get to play "Terminator Apocalypse". All the equipment and infrastructure is already built and the machines rebuild themselves on their own so you can destroy them.
The robots actually looked a lot like the Terminators from the movie with the skull faces, glowing red eyes and everything, but there were some slight differences. Not many though, and if you were to look at one the first thing you would think was "hey, that's a Terminator". When people from that timeline see the movies in the present day they tend to say they kind of look like cheap rip offs from back home.
Estimated at well over 1000 lbs. or more. Could be 1500+ to a ton with all the equipment. They'd be dressed in all kinds of tactical gear and whatnot. Probably about 7 feet tall. They don't measure them, they just kill them. They're basically walking tanks, and they referred to them as such.
There weren't any fancy infiltrator cyborgs though. The most advanced they got was like the T-600s with the rubber skin. It was just enough to make you think it was a Human so it could get closer and be more accurate with its fire.
There were flying "Hunter-Killer" type craft. They had two movable cylindrical "jet" engines on the side, but looked a bit different overall. They didn't look like they were large enough to carry enough fuel for what they were capable of. They would deploy from a larger craft they just called the "Mothership".
The A.I.'s bases could be seen from a distance. You could see what looked like spires that would come up with an almost diamond shape at the top. There were towers visible from far away. They'd still have the lights for planes on them and they're not sure why. BIG satellite dishes, usually a few. There would be a big building at the center. It was rectangular and looked like a gloss black monolith. Almost like obsidian.
They'd be surrounded by regular looking chain link fence with razor wire on them. You could see "motherships" coming in and out. There were what looks like cargo carrier craft. No wings or visible cockpit. It would carry a huge rectangular box.
There were robot drone "tanks". Looked kind of like a cross between an APC and a F-117 Nighthawk with weapons on top. It had hard straight edges with angles. No paint or camouflage, just bare metal. They had 6 wheeled and tank treaded ones. They were kind of cool looking, but growing up in that environment, you learn to hate them.
There were fast little drone dune buggies. They were wheeled and were also equipped with anti-gravity. They're not sure why. Also armed with conventional guns, and an automated turret on top. There was little scout craft they called "Eye in the Sky". Maybe 2 feet across and "spherical". Kind of looked like ED-E from Fallout. No visible wings or jets. There were also these type of small swarm drones that were a little bigger than a dragonfly that had plastic explosive charges on them. No wings on them either. They'd just try to get as near as possible then detonate.
The Human Resistance used lasers and plasma rifles. They were pretty hefty, about 20-25 lbs. They used a "power pack" like a battery kind of like a magazine. The maintenance consisted mostly of keeping connections clean. There was two "points", positive and negative, that connects to the gun.
The lasers were a sustained beam and ate up more juice, but could cut the robots apart. There was a technique to use them and you had to get good with them so you don't waste power. It was like wielding a super long light saber. The plasma rifles were for the less trained soldiers which were easier to use and fired more like a big "projectile".
They still used conventional arms. They used something like a Barrett .50 caliber, but they didn't call it a Barrett. It looked pretty much the same though. They used depleted uranium, but not often because it took at lot of resources to manufacture. They were used more as a backup.
There were drone helicopters too. Looked like Hueys and Apaches that were retrofitted. The A.I. had been going through old blueprints. There were jets too. Probably just spy planes, because they were always at high altitude and never attacked the ground. The Human Resistance didn't fly much. They pretty much knew better because whenever they tried they just got shot down.
Some of the propulsion seems nonsensical though. The helicopters had the spinning blades, and the jets would leave the long contrails. Yet the dune buggies, "eye scouts", and little explosive drones seemed to have anti gravity.
Other things didn't make sense either. Like the T-600s had the skull faces. Not all of them had skin either and were just bundled in the clothing. The weird thing about them though was they had movable jaws and some kind of voice box or speaker, but they hadn't been talking to anyone. They would just get to a certain distance and start firing.
Weapons were lasers, plasma, and railguns. There were conventional weapons too. "T-600" types carried the heavy stuff like Gatling guns and the Railguns. From a distance, they definitely pass as Human, but as they get closer you can tell something's off. They're heavier than a man for sure. You can see the dust, rocks, and debris, getting kicked up with each step and as they get closer you can feel the vibrations.
Training for the Human residents of this timeline was super harsh. Hard punishments for screw ups. If you ever dropped your weapon, may god have mercy on your soul. Some of them describe the modern U.S. Army training as soft, and Marines as getting close. They were like elite Special forces equivalent, and that was standard for everyone. They pushed them all hard without concern for long term damage to their bodies since they probably wouldn't live that long anyway.
Some physical training literally went all day from the time you woke up until you went to bed without any breaks except to eat and that's if you were lucky. At times they would give them something calorie dense for non stop training days, but for others it was regular rations just to push them harder. Sometimes they even went without.
The structure was like strict military with codes of conduct and everything. There was a strong sense of "us vs them" mentality. Nobody would attack each other, because if they did, everybody would come down on them. Being drawn and quartered or lynched was a real possibility. There were fights and arguments though, but everyone was surprisingly respectful towards one another considering their circumstances. Probably due to having a common enemy.
The Human side had all the same weapons and equipment, but they used explosives too. They had night vision and FLIR scopes, but nicer and more miniaturized. The goggles were computerized with Augmented Reality display and night vision as well. BDUs and tactical gear was mostly the same. Clothing was still manufactured, but they tried to reuse as much as they could to save resources.
That includes removing gear and clothing from their dead and reusing it if it wasn't too damaged and repairing what they could. They had to leave a lot of bodies behind, unfortunately. It just didn't make sense taking the time to bury them and make themselves vulnerable doing it.
They would honor every single person who died back home though, and would engrave their full name, date of birth and date of death on the "Wall of Honor". They had this way of thinking that it was a good thing to have died in battle than of some kind of disease. They also beloved that it doesn't matter who you are, what you look like, where you're from, or how you do things, but if you get results, that's what counts.
They had burst transmissions and long range radio broadcasts for communication. They used a type of rolling encryption for them for each broadcast. They had to keep changing it because the A.I. would keep cracking it. This was supplemented by talking in code and using one time pad ciphers.
You couldn't go outside much because it was like there was an Active Denial System everywhere. You couldn't go around corners or hide from it. They're not sure where it was coming from. They had guessed it was satellites, but you could get under the cover of something and it would still get you. Feeling it was like being out in a hot day that was way over 100 degrees. It was just completely intense and uncomfortable. It was usually already hot outside and it just made it worse. You don't ever get used to it.
When going outside they had to cover up completely from head to toe. They had these ballistic goggles like the military has, but bigger looking like ski goggles. Even then you could still feel it, but it lessened the impact significantly.
Taking your mask off just to get a drink of water was a pain, but you were so dehydrated from sweating so much you just had to. It sucked being outside, everyone was just miserable. And that was on top of everything else going on.
The A.I. also had a "Defense Grid" of satellites so you couldn't launch your own satellites or even leave the planet if you wanted to. And that's if you even got anything up to begin with, most things were shot down. They still had telescopes though.
Day and night was normal, but the weather didn't change much. Some of them don't remember it EVER raining. Let alone snow. It got cloudy very seldom and that was about it. That was on the North American continent. Russia and parts of Europe would get snow, but only in the northern territories.
There was just a "hot" and "colder" season. The hot season felt like being out in the desert all the time, and it was especially miserable being covered up. You had to drink water often and it was a pain in the ass every time.
The north pole and Antarctica were all melted as far as they knew, yet the sea levels were also at about 75% of what they should be. They didn't find any revealing new mysteries down in Antarctica though, because they weren't really looking. There was no archaeology going on. Everyone was too focused on survival. Every last bit of resources were put towards the war effort. That doesn't mean there isn't anything down there though.
The California coast was greatly expanded comparatively. Looking at maps now, it almost feels claustrophobic like the water is closing in on you. They found something interesting there on the southern coast though. Some caves, caverns, and tunnels leading to a facility that had been built before the war. They found some nuclear submarines that they were able to use.
Those who have come back say life is just so much easier here. They can actually walk around without being covered up. It feels a little off and they sometimes feel vulnerable, but they get used to it. It's strange how people focus on such seemingly nonsensical and petty things instead of survival. But they way they see it, a slow news day is a good news day. They'd trade pettiness and tedium for fighting for their lives any day of the week.
The worldwide population was consolidated, with bases all over the world and smaller outposts scattered everywhere. There were no countries or borders anymore, just territories of Human and A.I. Vastly simplified and changing by the day. The Great Lakes were gone. The Mississippi River was gone. Lake Tahoe was also no more.
Everyone spoke English. They needed a common tongue and felt like it was the best choice. Culture had stagnated. There was emphasis on focus on survival. They still used modern English without any added slang because everyone was too busy with the war effort to mess with it.
The bulk of their food came from genetically modified algae that was grown underground. It was altered to add as much nutrition as possible. They grew fruits and vegetables and raised animals underground too, but they consumed a lot of resources so they didn't grow and raise many. Just enough to supplement the algae basically and add some variety. Turkeys, chickens, pigs, goats, tomatoes, apples, and oranges. Potatoes were easy to grow. They'd catch and eat rats a lot. Mice too if they could find them, but they're too fast.
They got their water by tapping into aquifers. There was an incident of the machines intentionally poisoning them. They would drill down into them and dump their manufacturing waste down there to try and kill them. If they weren't able to pack up and move everything, they would start transporting water from other areas. It happened towards the end of the war, and they put a stop to that.
Not much life left on the surface. There was still foliage and a few animals, but it was like all the birds and everything high tailed it. There were still crickets though. The Machines tried biological warfare, but it didn't do much for some reason. The Human side had just felt like they caught the flu. It was definitely weaponized though because they analyzed it. Not an abnormal amount of people died, however. It may have just been because they're hardy.
There's a lot of refugees from the "Terminator Timeline". Estimated at around 50,000. Not an exact number, that was the figure given from the "talk" going around. Many are amnesic sleepers, voluntarily so to help with their PTSD. Many aren't. Probably about half and half.
They had the whole internet archive from the past and would sift through it. There was a lot of boredom and downtime, plus the kids needed something to do while the adults were out fighting. Training started pretty much as soon as you could walk, but kids wouldn't be on the frontline or anything. They started them out playing a lot of chess from a young age. They'd look at a lot of the old news stories for entertainment. The music would keep them going too. They'd look at old movies like Red Dawn and the strategies they saw helped them win the war.
Selective breeding was practiced to make better soldiers. They were going for intelligence, eyesight, and athletic ability. Not much focus on health because people generally didn't live very long. Most of the sick and frail died out in the beginning anyway. It stared with automated nuke launches from silos. Submarines too, and most people didn't see that coming.
Many didn't want to have children in this kind of environment, but it was a matter of survival. It broke a lot of hearts doing this because there was a good chance they would die. It would cause problems at times and parents sometimes didn't want to get too attached to their children.
They would get pulled aside and talked to though because everyone needed to try and keep as good of a well being as possible. They could win the war tomorrow for all they knew and didn't need a bunch of screwed up people rebuilding civilization. They would all help out with raising each other's kids though to help ease the pressure.
All bases were underground. Cold, grey and sterile. All steel reinforced concrete and metal. EMP Shielded. Computers everywhere. They still had keyboards and mice, but they also had 3-D holographic displays for planning military maneuvers and for entertainment. They had their own A.I. Specific name is classified. Surprisingly clean for what was going on. There was a lot of downtime so cleaning got done. There were no cats and dogs or anything. Probably why rodent pests were common.
Non-lethal weaponry was used for enforcement of the law inside. They used "Sick Sticks" just like Minority Report. They weren't used much because if you did get it, you'd pretty much learn your lesson. It was like the worst hangover you could imagine. Dry heaves and everything for at least a half hour with a lingering sickness for the rest of the day. You'd have to get one used on you first before you could use them on others.
When they were fighting it didn't feel like killing people, just inanimate objects. There was still a lot of PTSD though. However, most of the trauma came from loved ones that they lost while fighting. A lot of them would avoid forming attachments with people for this reason.
The Terminator movies were already ingrained in the culture and collective unconscious, so even if the refugees from that timeline talked about it, nobody would believe them. They had arrived back around 2005. 3 waves, 50k total. They came back to prevent that future from happening.