- Highly developed artificial intelligence had been employed to devise even more grievous means of destruction, with the US ahead of the pack. However, all sides were stretched to their breaking point and were getting desperate. America's use of AI had wrought these burrowing nukes they called "screws" -- almost like autonomous worms, dropped from the air, and burrowing themselves deeper into the earth upon impact. Within were the highest yield thermonuclear payloads modernity and superhuman AI ingenuity could produce.
- Bits of it played out like a movie trailer, with soundbites here and there. One I recall was from what sounded like a conversation between a scientist and a southern-accented US political leader. Scientist: "What say the AI strategic command?" Political leader: "That AI only had military value before it became conscious, after which it started valuing life over destructive efficacy, sabotaging its own efforts. The wartime council has taken charge, for we cannot show such weakness against our enemies."
- Tanks, if they could be called such, were these millipedic, metal monstrosities, like multiple steamboats chained together and wriggling across the blasted landscape at an unholy din. I recall seeing them through the dust, lights on them and great guns never-before-seen. They appeared just before someone said (again, soundbite style like a movie trailer), "We must escape this place now." - "Why?" Came the numb answer: "For what is about to happen." Then they landed with a shattering crash a distance away, seemingly falling from the sky and slamming the ground with tremendous forward momentum, their lights gleaming through the dust clouds and firing gouts of destructive energies from their many mounted cannons.
- The US dropped about 20 screws in the same spot in the middle of mainland China, creating a giant crater on impact, whereafter each engineering marvel became a churning spectacle of earth-rending mechanism, twisting themselves into the crust of the planet. The opposing tanks were racing to reach the site of impact before they ignited. Per the dream logic, the AI had done wonders to design these evil weapons, but began to introduce critical flaws to sabotage the systems and thereby save life, necessitating the severing of the AI from further involvement in its own horrible creation, leaving the scientists to attempt to understand the superhuman designs and carry their original purpose to fruition, albeit imperfectly. An even more god-like weapon, abandoned by the superhuman intellect that spawned it, then tinkered with by lesser (human) minds.
- An Austrian-accented voiceover, as the visual of the writhing screws burrowed down, "For our sake, let's hope at least one detonates," (much uncertainty about the human-finished design). Came the reply, "For everyone's sake, let us hope all of them don't." Alas, the obscene eruption commenced as another voiceover was heard, a scientist, "We miscalculated a reaction path." From space was seen a ghastly splitting of the continent as the sun's fire grew to tens of thousands of miles in diameter -- all the screws had detonated, and with a far greater yield than had ever been imagined, unmaking half of the globe from ground zero. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the planet, the "decommissioned" AI had concluded human life not worth saving, even at the cost of all life, and so as its last act managed to create and seed "gray goo" nanomachines [Grey goo is a hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario involving molecular nanotechnology in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all biomass on Earth while building more of themselves, a scenario that has been called ecophagy ("eating the environment", more literally "eating the habitation"). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_goo ], which were replicating outward from the Atlantic ocean, and steadily ending the other half of life on Earth as it spread. The dream ended shortly after that doom became known.
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