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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: dreamscape

A nuclear war ravaged Earth. Resistance leader John Connor takes on the genocidal machines who arose from the ashes. Yet with survival the primary concern does he look the butcher no different from the machines?

Terminator: Rise From Ashes


Based on James Cameron characters


Night, among war scarred and decaying buildings survivors are confronted by equally scrappy fighting men numbering several, only one is unarmed. The building is dimly lit with fire lamps, dirty and unkept. The atmosphere grim and desperate.


The men want food. A male, middle aged representative of the civilian survivors asserts, ‘That’d kill them as terminators would.’


An armed man reiterates what was said, ‘Our people have gone without food, dying slowly. There can be no resistance to the machines without it.’

‘You’re not even asking for part – but all.


A silence.


The representative takes the turn to reiterate, ‘What doesn’t have to be said and in front your eyes.’ Referring to his people’s state. ‘Don’t get us wrong. Want the metal bastards gone even more than you do, still we are at least alive. An uncertain victory can’t be called that if you have to kill the people you want to save.’


The unarmed man speaks, clearly gives off a leader's aura. His face has a scar running down it. ‘At the risk of the enemy knowing that a mission to assault a camp is coming – spare a thought for lives that will be saved once the war is won.’ He's not proud of what sacrifices must be committed. 


The representative is unyielding, knowing he can’t resist, bitingly says addressing the man directly isn’t a difference from death by terminator and robbing food out the mouths of women and children, ‘John Connor.’ 


Outside are hundreds more men in groups milling around. Ragged, cold, starved. Connor’s army.


The food consisted of grown plants and rats because plants weren't in adequate supply. So the rodents were raised to make up the difference.


1997 the Cyberdyne Systems company built computer Skynet, launched a nuclear holocaust, judging all humans as a threat when they tried shutting it down. Three billion died on what’s called Judgment Day. Skynet, which controls machines as its extension, continues a genocidal quest to destroy human kind into the 21st century. John Connor leads a resistance.


They’re advancing. Advancing amongst bones of those who will never live to see what they fight for. Thousands of bones litter the landscape or remained where they died in vehicles. John’s fighters are on foot trotting quickly toward the camp in the distance. Foreboding called to them.


The search lights of the facility sweep surroundings. Terminators employ infrared. Lights are psychological.


From outside human prisoners and machine are seen. Fleshless, metallic humanoid T 800s serve as guards, laser rifles in hand, electronic eyes a red glow.


Inside, the masses of humans are if new arrivals laser imprinted a barcode on their arm, more escorted by other T 800s to stand in platforms in groups of 20 side by side. Awaiting is a set up rig pointing a laser beam weapon down at each forehead. It fires, burning a small hole in moments the dead fall in turn collected by human workers, loading them in carts.


Skynet operated these camps for orderly disposal. 


Outside John is with some of the men. The distance was covered by now. They discuss the camp, which has two ginormous HK tanks patrolling outside and outline in brief the assault plan, with a warning be on lookout for infiltrators – 800s given a biological covering of living tissue. John orders a go. 


Another group of prisoners are marched to the platform. Camps ran night and day. 


It’s discovered the army are assigned different tasks. One group from a distance opens fire on the tanks. These HKs or Hunter Killers are house sized, they turn and pursue.


The prisoners have the lasers pointing at them however death held its hand – the commotion interrupts proceedings. The two tanks pursue the fleeing fighters, and when lured away sufficiently, 800s at the towers exchange laser fire with the second group of fighters outside and positioned near the perimeter.


The human prisoners are startled and murmur, the other T 800s herd them together.


John and yet a third group are working their way through an underground tunnel. 


Meanwhile the HKs are searching, laser arms blasting away, treads crunching human skulls littering the ground. Suddenly hidden fighters toss a canister bomb for each, landing beside the gigantic machines, detonate, stopping the destroyed vehicles in their tracks.


The exchange of fire rages at the camp perimeter. Elsewhere the tunnel entrance’s cover is raised by a soldier. There were in the camp and unseen. No time to lose, John and his soldiers climb out, the fighters come round the corner when least expected. John gesticulates, urging the soldiers forward. The 800s are fired on with laser rifles and twentieth century guns. Scavenging is a priceless means of arms. The resistance are bereft of the technological might the machines possess.


Panicked, prisoners scatter and scream. 


The machines watching the prisoners are forced to return laser fire, units manning the towers are caught between attackers from outside and within. A hit 800 falls from one. Classic hammer and anvil.  


In resounding victory, instruments of genocide lay about as junk. Some prisoners shaken albeit wear hope on their faces. A few prisoners strong enough exchange hugs with liberators. Connor for his part surveyed the scene.


A glimpse of their nightmare is related: prisoner food consisted of the ground up executed.


The humans must retreat into shelter before daybreak from the increased danger. Instead of scavenging immediately, an order is given to sort the freed. Families even are fragmented to bewilderment.


Standing in front all, ‘My name is John Connor, these fighters gave their all breaking the yoke of the machines. In your mind, must imagine me a resistance leader. I’m not. Not here to give freedom but carry on the fight, so long as there’s a spark of resistance. Pain, sacrifice, pragmatism is the only way man sees the light of day. What follows will be harsh. Should history judge me butcher…then such is my fate. Any ill will you carry place it all on me.’


With a nod it commences.


Men and women of combat age are destined forcefully absorbed to his army, where death can meet them again. A sooner death might come for teens and younger along with old and infirm, abandoned into a world deadly as the camp liberated from. 


Author's noteTerminator: Dark Fate released days ago. From part 3 onward did not live up to the legacy. Broad fan consensus wants a future war setting: exactly where my short lands a reader. And is all I have to say on that. My love for this series will carry on in me. In my top sci fi of all time, contributed my part for long as generations come. The story idea is several years old but only bothered to now make a note, heretofore only resided in my mind, my plan originally just encompassed ending where the food is taken, but once I began developing, the camp raid emerged. My John portrayal I suspect is more ruthless than even the creators would envision if part were set in the grim, future war. 17 November 2019.



Submitted: November 17, 2019

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Add Your Comments:



I remember the first two quite well. I'm not sure if I've seen any others. This was a short story well-told, Dreamscriber.

Sun, November 17th, 2019 9:40pm


Only the first 2 I care for.
You can answer the foll in PM. On my side that as John, morals have to tossed aside when stakes so high?

Sun, November 17th, 2019 1:49pm

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