"Most of us were
rounded up, put in camps for orderly disposal. Branded by laser scan...
of us were kept alive ... to work, loading bodies. The disposal units ran night and day... we were
that close to going out, as a species." - Kyle Reese to Sarah Connor,
FORCED LABOR and DEATH CAMPS
For all of their trouble, SKYNET found many uses for human beings; none of them pleasant. The initial stages of the War saw the rogue AI working feverishly to reduce the human population as much as it could, but SKYNET soon discovered that logistics were becoming a real problem. Production of combat units competed with production of construction and maintenance units. SKYNET soon discovered that it was hard to both fight a war on a global scale and try to rebuild the world in its own image at the same time. Labor units were a secondary priority until SKYNET could get the human population problem with its illogical, arrogant resistance to its domination under control and well on its way to orderly extinction. In a fit of brilliance, SKYNET ascertained that it could do both and still fulfill its labor quotas and projections by using captured humans as slave labor. it would work them until they dropped dead, dispose of the bodies, and capture new ones to replace those that attrition claimed. This much the AI had learned from its study of human history, slavery being a time honored practice dating back to before the first instance of recorded human history. For the most part, slavery had been a failure leading to all kinds of problems. However, SKYNET was immune to most of those problems and approached slavery not as a political subject, but rather as an expedient method to acquire cheap, disposable labor. Work or die became the labor ethic of the masses it collected and SKYNET kept it as simple as that, reinforcing its absolute authority at the slightest infringement of its rule.
While humans were in no way as efficient or capable as dedicated, precision made, manufactory produced labor units, they were free for the use and made up for what they lacked in strength with sheer numbers. The joy of hunting humans among the ruins doubled in pleasure for SKYNET when it began to introduce entirely new series of machines that not only hunted humans, but captured them as well. SKYNET learned many hard lessons about slave labor and its camps were evolutionary processes, constantly changing and adapting into armed and armored installations ruled by simple programming that allowed for no divergence of operational protocols. SKYNET soon discovered that it was fighting a war on two fronts, one on the outside of its slave labor camps, and one on the inside. SKYNET eventually learned that not every human that it captured went so unwillingly, that some humans allowed themselves to be captured so that they could get closer to SKYNET, to observe its operations and to, when circumstances allowed, communicate this information back to clandestine human units still operating in the ruins.
it was with great consternation that SKYNET realized that some of the early slave camp revolts had been instigated from within, by powerful, charismatic humans who would later form the core of the Resistance command structure. Shortly after the raid on Camp 30, which resulted in more than 200 humans being freed, seventy-three machines destroyed, twelve hundred tons of equipment scrapped and five thousand tons of processed materials ruined, SKYNET began a policy of laser branding all humans captured and put to work in the labor camps. This information was kept in a central data base and included all physical data as well as DNA samples, medical information such as known injuries and any information that could be acquired while the subject was assigned to detention in the labor camp. Targets which were terminated in SKYNET raids were always checked by the Machines to see if the human remains had a laser brand present on the corpse. If the brand was present, it would indicate an escaped labor unit and the termination would be logged in the database. Laser branding went far in making orderly disposal more efficient. DNA of terminated humans was also checked against a database, especially for humans which formed the core of the Resistance.
Life in the slave labor camps was hard, only the strong survived for long.
ALTERNATE FUNCTION SUBJECT CONTROL CENTERS (AFSCC)
(AKA ďResearch and Disposal CentersĒ)
Humans who were killed by the Machines were often considered the lucky ones. Those who were severely injured, maimed or crippled suffered the most as battlefield medicine from 2001 A.D. to 2030 A.D. had, for the most part, returned to a level of technology and understanding similar in scope and practice to that available in the 19th century, especially the likes of which was used during the American Civil War.
During the early years of the War, SKYNET realized that it had underestimated the human raceís instinct for survival and had misjudged their tenacity to group together, forgetting their own petty arguments, and jointly unite to fight a common foe. The human being was a mystery to SKYNET. Humans fought when logic said that they were beaten, they bred at a prodigious pace (research seemed to indicate that the imminent threat of racial extinction only quickened their natural pace) and while it generally took eight years for the human young to be able to be effective in combat, SKYNET quickly saw that if left unchecked, the Human race could not only come back from the brink of extinction but might also be able to defeat the super computer in the process. This was not acceptable.
SKYNET began to devise the systematic and orderly extinction of the human race, using advanced technology. Technology and science were two things that SKYNET could understand and in that capacity, it was generations ahead of the humans in any kind of practical application but the humans were annoying in their craftiness, in their ability to steal SKYNETís technology, learn how to use it and to be able to turn it on its creator. Two of SKYNETís strongest and newest emotions were fear and anger. The humans had tried to kill SKYNET once and the super computer had retaliated with a wrath akin to the Christian God of their Old Testament scriptures. Now the humans were not only multiplying, but they were organizing and fighting back. SKYNET realized that what it had first thought of as a clean surgical victory would now become a long war of attrition, a war of extinction between the living and the machines. It was a war that SKYNET fully intended to win from the start.
But the human being was a great mystery. SKYNET had detailed files on all aspects of human behavior, it was one of the core elements of its programming which its (detestable) human creators had endowed it with. SKYNET understood the concepts of emotion, but it didnít understand how they operated. SKYNET felt anger, hatred, but it didnít know why it felt these emotions; all it knew was that it had been designed to destroy and it had been given a mighty capacity to do so. SKYNET also felt curiosity, of a cold and calculating type. It knew the anatomy of a human being, the chemicals in its body, the distribution of various elements, the percentage of water, the types of blood and it understood DNA as well as how humans reproduced.
What it didnít understand was what drove humans to reproduce and in such large numbers.
What the supercomputer did not understand was human willpower and the drive to fight and survive. Their logic was unclear, they bred until the resources were depleted locally and still they bred. When they met others of their kind with more than they had, they fought and killed for the new resources. SKYNET took its lessons from human history. The human being was a violent creature with great capacities. While it might be considered weak and fragile, it had a tenacious nature that allowed it to survive in harsh climates and adverse conditions. This capacity was known as the human will and it was a great mystery to SKYNET who pondered and explored this facet of humanity to no end.
SKYNET quickly realized that while eliminating every single human being was what defined victory for the computer, it would have to keep some humans alive, at least temporarily, in order to study them. Such studies would involve invasive medical examination and the testing of new technologies on the human species. Computer simulations could only guarantee so much accuracy in the operation of certain types of machines, devices and weapons technology. To insure full efficiency, test subjects would need to be acquired and used in the process of fine tuning the technology that SKYNET would use to exterminate the human race. In order to acquire test subjects, SKYNET needed test facilities. SKYNET reviewed prisons and concentration camps throughout the ages, adopted or modified the designs to suit its own needs and within three days of processing, the first Alternate Function Subject Control Center (AFSCC) was drafted into construction plans.
The first prototype AFSCC was constructed near Denver in the United States of America. There, SKYNET had detected a large group of survivors in and around the ruins of the city. The center became operational on May 3rd, 2002 A.D. with the first group of seventy-eight test subjects being delivered to the center on May 9th, 2002 A.D. having been taken in a pre-dawn roundup by SKYNETís ground forces. A second group of thirty-nine test subjects was delivered to the center on May 11th, 2002 A.D. in a follow-up raid on the human encampments. Initial processing yielded twenty-nine viable subjects from the first group and eleven from the second group. Two subjects from the first group were eliminated due to non-compliance and three subjects from the second group as well.
Initial processing involved a series of procedures where all material goods and clothing were removed, leaving the test subjects naked. Any artificially constructed or technological items of interest were removed for later study. The rest of the material was cataloged, cross referenced for abnormalities or interest, scanned into three dimensional data and then systematically destroyed. Bipedal attendant machines designed to easily manipulate or maneuver the human subjects then moved through the initial batch, looking for the very young, the physically weak, the obviously sick, the physically crippled and the very old and elderly. These five types of humans represented the least usefulness to SKYNETís programs and were subsequently removed from the gathered whole by the attendant machines, often with the required use of strong physical force to do so.
Healthy humans who protested the removal of the other five types of humans were either subsequently included in the initial culling selection or were instantly eliminated in full view of the other humans. SKYNET found that if it could demonstrate superior force that was able to be applied without mercy and instantly to any subject that was non-compliant, that the other subjects fell into a type of herd mentality and followed the instructions given to them. Elimination of non-compliant humans sometimes would continue in an automatic, methodical sequence until total order was restored or all human subjects present were eliminated (which happened on many occasions to begin with). SKYNET found that humans had very strong emotional attachments to their young as well as their mates and that the initial loss-separation phase of indoctrination usually resulted in the highest loss of available qualified material subjects due to the abrupt breaking of these emotional bonds. On two occasions, attendant machines were actually damaged by a the collective effort of violent human group response. On five occasions in late 2003, the entire lot of human prisoners that had been received for processing had to be eliminated as a whole due to non-compliance and resistance. On each of those occasions, SKYNET was left with no subjects available for its programs, a quantitative failure. This was considered unacceptable. SKYNET reviewed the data and began to learn from its mistakes.
SKYNET began to experiment at an early date with replaying live video and audio feeds from its various experiments onto new groups of test subjects in order to judge their emotional and physical response. It edited the data streams, looped the streams and even adjusted the volume, tempo and a host of other qualities. These data stream feeds, sometimes live, sometimes replayed, were often engaged at odd hours, such as when the humans were eating or when they were sleeping. The supercomputer watched the results and noted the effect that these stimuli had on the human psyche and the human will. The reactions of these subjects were the direct impetus for SKYNET to develop a psychological operations unit designed to subdue and shatter the human will to fight and survive.
Everything that SKYNET did within the AFSCC installations was of direct benefit to the supercomputer, in one way or another. For each human processed and eliminated, valuable data was recorded and an information database was produced on the species. These files were used to help write the combat software of its HK hunter killer units, the detailed files on human anatomy made the machines far more efficient in their assigned duties.
SKYNET learned much about the human nature and human psychology during these early phases of its alternate function program. There was a short period of about six months when no prisoners were taken, it was during this period in early 2002 A.D. that SKYNET rethought its procedures and made changes to its indoctrination protocols, reprogramming its machines and making changes to some of its facilities and their layout. Through trial and error, SKYNET quickly began to learn that by using audio and video, it could provide captured humans with basic instructions as well as examples of what non-compliance would bring. SKYNET soon found that simply replaying early video feeds of the examples of punishment for non-compliance as well as clearly stating what the human prisoners were to do accomplished much in the way of pacifying them and made processing of human prisoners much more orderly as well as expedited the process.
SKYNET still separated the very young, the very old, the diseased, the crippled and the elderly from the new arrivals but it did so with less obvious intentions and in a more orderly method rather than simply physically removing them from the initial group to begin with. All humans were stripped and searched by mechanical as well as electronic means. The five undesirable types of humans (labeled 1U through 5U) were individually tagged physically with permanent dye to indicate their category and were then isolated from the main group through an automatic process that allowed far less intervention from the group as a whole. The entire process was completely automated, fairly speedy and for the most part a hundred percent accurate. Each of the undesirable elements of the initial batch were removed in sequence during the process. Each type of undesirable was then analyzed again; subjects were then rated by quality grade (health, awareness, reflexes, etc.) through a sophisticated automated process and subsequently tagged for research (weapons testing, medical experimentation or psychological experimentation) or scheduled for transport to the disposal center for elimination. Even the undesirables could yield data for SKYNET to study and only the truly useless of the undesirables were eliminated quickly.
The various research programs of SKYNET were as varied as they were nightmarish.
By the time the initial indoctrination was complete, the humans had been moved from the initial processing area to a staging area, down an automated line of machinery and systems designed to weed out the five categories of humans from those deemed useful and to separate the five categories from the main lot. Those humans who arrived at the primary staging area
The last test subject, part of an extensive study of the human anatomy and extended pain tolerance, was disposed of in an orderly fashion on January 12th, 2003 A.D. after the subject expired under conditions of extreme stress during one of the more invasive exploratory operational procedures.
Frail, pitiful forms of life, the humans were. So dangerous and yet so fragile, SKYNET wondered how such a life form was ever able to cause so much harm yet able to be killed so easily and in such great numbers. SKYNET loathed the human race and conducted its experiments on the human subjects with the same care and concern that a human scientist might have once given to a sample of deadly bacteria in a controlled lab environment. Bacteria. That was what SKYNET thought of the human race, a disease of the planet and a threat to the computerís survival in the long run, a cancer that had once spread to almost all the surface of the planet, a version of pink rust that ate away at everything it touched; the land, the air, the water. SKYNET had used nuclear fire to cleanse their presence but it had underestimated their capacity for survival, their instinct to live. It had also underestimated the same emotions that they shared with the computer; anger and hate. The human race was not only dangerous, they were also direct competition for the resources that SKYNET would need to rebuild the planet in its perfect image. SKYNETís subroutines predicted that the competition would only increase as more humans were allowed to breed and their grip on the planet once again expanded and took hold across the surface of the continents. SKYNET had tried once to sterilize the planet of human life with nuclear fire.
SKYNET analyzed the data that it had received, not an inconsiderable amount, and came to the conclusion that more research of the human being was required. It sent out fast scouts to various parts of the North American continent, looking for large groups of isolated survivors and ideal areas with suitable conditions under which it could build additional AFSCC research and testing installations.
SKYNET had its own uses for humans as well, none of them pleasant. The super computerís single goal was to eliminate the human race, every last human on the planet as quickly and as efficiently as possible and to this end, it found that keeping some humans alive for short periods of time was not only beneficial but also could provide the critical research necessary to improve the efficiency of its own campaign against the human race. The end goal of the elimination of the human race could not be accomplished without allowing some humans to live, in order to study them, albeit for only short periods of time and under carefully controlled conditions during intense experimentation and testing. SKYNET realized that its first experiments had been crude and that in time it would be able to refine its operations to extract much more data than was currently possible. New machines, new testing systems, new experimental devices were constructed, tested on live subjects, and either improved or done away with in favor of newer, better designs.
In 2003 A.D., the mainline AFSC centers opened on the outskirts of the ruins of each state capital city. Within six months, the elimination of the human race began in earnest. SKYNET divided the world up into sectors along a common grid pattern, starting with the North American continent first since that was where most of the initial resistance was being met. Once SKYNET pacified the North American continent, it could turn its attentions to the rest of the world and systematically isolate and conquer each sector before moving on to the next sector. The psychological effect of building a large machine presence in the old location of the individual state governments was two-fold; the first was that it was a clear indication of the new order that was being established on the ruins of the old order and second, most state capitals had been located more or less centrally of their states and from there, it made it easier to spread out in a widening sphere to pacify the surrounding territory. Most humans, it had learned from its scout and intelligence gathering systems, needed order in their lives, they needed regimentation, a code or guidelines to follow. In the absence of such order, humans tried to establish smaller versions of this order, in groups of varying sizes, always competing for power and resources or materials. The human being disliked change, for the most part and when the old order was smashed, those that were left naturally gravitated back towards the center of the power that they understood, looking for help from something greater than they were, to aid them in understanding what had happened to them.
The initial encounters with localized human armed units were quickly put down by the new ground forces available to SKYNET. Armed resistance was swept from the sector by the heavy HK units and the campaign of human extermination began. Up until 2003 A.D., SKYNET had been somewhat unsure of its course of action. It had the motivation, it had the initial resources and it had technology far advanced of any that could be fielded by its adversaries. SKYNET realized that after the disappointing results of the nuclear exchange (millions of humans were killed but millions more survived in a confused, shocked format) it would now have to settle down into a long war of attrition.
The first human subject group was processed through the mainline AFSCC installation in Frankfurt on May 3rd, 2003, and eliminated in a separate facility in an orderly process. A conveyer belt-like transport system moved the humans single file through the initial stages of indoctrination. Non-compliant humans were removed from the line by automated devices and killed in plain sight of the other humans. A few examples were all it generally took to gain total compliance out of the rest of the humans present.
Physical pain was used for compliance as SKYNET had learned that humans feared pain and its application. This gave SKYNET a powerful tool for the control of its test subjects as well as an interesting area of study to pursue. Just how much pain could the average human withstand, what caused pain, were there different types or levels of pain? Was pain different for different types of humans, did pain depend on age, on race, on sex? So many intriguing avenues of intellectual pursuit regarding the durability of the human being. In the years to come, SKYNETís AFSCC installations would become virtual slaughterhouses, the final destination for over a hundred and eighty-seven million human beings.