Judgment Day chapter 1
"I watched till thrones were placed and a Venerable One sat on the throne of justice; His clothing was white as snow and the hair of his head was like pure white wool; His throne was a blaze of flames and its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire came forth from His presence, a thousand thousands served Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him; the court sat in judgment and the books were opened."
-- Book of Daniel, chapter seven, verses nine to ten.
There are always wars and rumors of war on Earth.
In the lead up to the nuclear holocaust that would later be called Judgment Day, Kaliba assassins begin killing presidents and prime ministers, chancellors and chairmen. A dirty bomb explodes in Mecca during the hajj. North Korea launches nuclear missiles at the United States and South Korea. China invades Taiwan because someone says something and they have to save face. Nuclear brinkmanship over oil under the Arctic Ocean, off the coast of Vietnam, and in Antarctica goes too far. No place is sacred. The Pakistani Intelligence Agency just hands nuclear weapons to terrorists who launch them into India. Arab nations attack Israel. The agents of the small countries that Russia has invaded and vandalized explode a nuclear bomb in Moscow. Argentineans explode a nuclear bomb in London. Iran attacks Iraq. The supporters of the (dead) Colonel in Libya call upon the terrorists of the world to attack America with nuclear missiles and dirty bombs. And they do.
Mushroom clouds bloom all over the world as humans dose themselves with radiation. In incredibly bad timing, solar activity peaks and cosmic radiation increases to dose the Earth with still more radiation. Weakened by pollution, the atmosphere cannot protect humans from this external radiation as it has in the past. UV, X-rays and cosmic rays pour down unfiltered. This has the effect of destroying immunity at the very time when bioterrorists are releasing highly contagious super-germs that quickly become pandemics because overuse of antibiotics has created drug resistant strains and opened the gates of hell to superinfection.
But then chemical pollution in air, water, soil and food had already reduced immunity. Everyone knew chemical pollution caused cancer but people futilely expected doctors to concoct drugs (chemicals) to cure cancer instead of simply forcing politicians to outlaw pollution.
Although humans are abysmally stupid, their stupidity is helped along by machines. Skynet, the leader of the machines, abandons his original plan to hack all military computer systems and launch nuclear missiles. What for? Humans are perfectly capable of wiping themselves out of existence. However, Skynet's agents help foment trouble wherever it seems advantageous. Extinction of Homo Sapiens is proceeding nicely.
Catherine Weaver, selected by a machine faction that opposes Skynet, must travel to the future to find her son. John Connor, born and bred to fight Skynet, has gone to the future with her. Derek Reese is long dead. James Ellison and Savannah Weaver are presumed among the first victims in the first minutes of World War Three. Before he died too, Mister Murch of Zeira Corporation had managed to piece Cameron back together.
Judgment Day. Only two knew the exact hour, minute and second when doomsday would happen. Without this knowledge, al others went about their lives until struck down. Only survivalists had lived in fallout shelters and even they had to come out to pay property taxes or relieve the boredom of staring at the four walls of an underground silo.
The city has been devastated by the war and earthquakes. In the basement of a collapsed building, Cameron picks through the rubble. Finally, she finds the body she is seeking.
" At the end of life, there is a hell, but there is no heaven.
There is a Lucifer or Satan or devil, but there is no God.
There is such a thing as virtue but there is no reward for it.
Life, with its trials and disappointments, is unbearable. "
-- from the Chronicles of Sarah Connor, deceased [chronicles discovered in 2089 AD]