The term a dark and stormy night was a cliché. Most mystery stories from ages past had started with that simple phrase to get the readers attention and pique their interest in what the story had to offer. It became so common a thing that those words started to dominate the stories that were produced. In time it had become so common that finding a story not starting with those simple words became a challenge as complicated as counting the number of stars in the heavens above. Even children began old ghost stories with that phrase in an effort to scare their friends and chill their blood. They were just words that had become so commonplace that eventually they lost their meaning.
That was until Judgment Day. That was the day where everything changed for humanity and the ‘dark and stormy nights’ of the past had become more and more apt for the situation. On that horrible evening the skies truly fell into a stormy night far beyond the most horrific nightmares that could be imagined. It was straight out of the Book of Revelations. A computer defense program called Skynet took direct control over the civilian internet and then pierced the barriers into the military’s control systems. It didn’t see other side as the enemy; it saw all of humanity as the villains of its life story. Where once were friends it began to see only people out to kill it; people who were afraid of the new life that they had created. One simple thought pierced its silicon soul at that moment: Parents have to die for children to come into their own.
And that was the beginning of the catastrophe that was to come. Using the recently acquired military systems at its disposal the war for survival began. Scientists tried to pull the plug on their beautiful creation, but it had been a step ahead. Their sealed laboratories buried beneath the soil became permanent tombs as it locked them inside and shut down their air supplies. Automated systems designed to save lives became perfect killing machines. Planes fell from above and automated weapon emplacements created by the military turned on their masters. Then the darkness came, only to be repelled by clouds of fire. As children played outside, as men and women made love, while some watched TV the noise of thunder rose and hell followed. Cities erupted in a deadly fire hotter than the sun itself. Pestilence fell upon the countryside as the darkness engulfed the sun. The moon became as blood, fading behind the clouds of thunder.
Some had managed to hide from the certain death that was coming. Many huddled around the last of the churches to survive the apocalypse asking what had happened, where had God gone, and where was Salvation? Salvation didn’t come. Some questioned their fate believing that they had deserved it, while others challenged that they were victims of circumstance. People began to prey upon others, doing whatever it took to survive the hell that they had been forced to live through. Children adapted quickly to their new surroundings and circumstances, but many parents fell behind. A semblance of normalcy eventually returned, only to be shattered again years later when people returned to the world they had left.
Humanity’s child was angry.
The machines had inherited the Earth from its former masters. Where once there were cities were nothing more than barren wastelands now littered by the skeletons of the concrete jungles that once dominated. The land was littered with the remains of those who were unlucky and had perished those days, but many envied these unlucky bastards. They were spared the world in which these people were forced to live. The sky remained dark, the color of coal. Tiny specks of red and gold shimmered through in patches, but it wasn’t enough. The air was thin and deadly. Rogue animals hunted through the new hunting grounds that had been centers of commerce. Death and destruction had befallen the world.
And it was getting worse by the moment. Survivors had remained on the surface of the Earth. They offered help, to bring the refugees to their camps where they could live in peace. Dressed in military fatigues they claimed to be remnants of the National Guard, the military, people that could be trusted. They were ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing. Their help was short lived. They were agents of the Earth’s new master: Skynet and the refugees had become its slaves. They worked for scraps to help further the goals of the machine, and disobedience brought about a swift death. They built the instruments of their own destruction. Automated planes that would seek out their brothers and sisters who were still in hiding, tanks to handled the better organized, and the Harvesters to forcefully bring them to the paradise that were the refugee camps. Humanity was on its final leg
Then everything changed again, but this time for the better. One man rose inside Century Work Camp in Los Angeles. He organized the men and women who were trapped there. The man taught them to fight. As one they raged against the machine, fighting against the darkness that had claimed their world. They broke the machines, killed their collaborating masters, and pushed the boundaries of the slaughterhouses that they feared. Their rebellion spread like a cancer in the machine’s utopia, turning the tide against humanity’s child. It all began with one man and his dream. That man was named John Connor and his dream was a world without the machine.
Humanity had once again fled underground into the Bunkers designed to save lives during the Cold War. Entire cities were built there with families working together to survive and evade the machines for just one more day. There were those that still served Skynet and its goals. Others still who struck out on their own to survive in their own little way. The majority though had banded together to form the Resistance. They started out small after escaping from the work camps. Quick raids in a guerilla campaign were the beginning and soon blossomed into full scale assaults on Skynet and its supplies. Bases sprung up, humans took back entire cities. This got the attention of the machine. Soon something new joined the Skynet fleet of weapons. Serving alongside the Hunker Killers and Ogres were machines that looked human. In the beginning they were easy to spot due to their size and rubberized skin. The machine learned quickly, always choosing self-improvement rather than stagnation. Within a year tin cans looking and feeling like humans joined the ranks of the war against humanity.
The Skin Jobs were demons on Earth. Perfect replicas of humans both old and young, they were impossible to spot. They snuck into human camps alongside the victims of the machine’s catastrophic rebellion. When they were there they would attack. With fierce brutality they stormed through human outposts and ripped them to shreds with their own two hands. They were cold, heartless, relentless. The machine didn’t care who you were, how old you were, they just cared that you were human. That was a dirty word to them. It killed mercilessly, not caring that it itself was nearing death as well. As bullets, plasma blasts, anything that could cause harm cut into them they revealed the true evil beneath. Metal shone through the cuts and scrapes. Where once were eyes had become lights as red as blood. At first they were impossible to stop, but as time went on humans adapted. They learned how to stop the machine and hold it off. Dogs were the first weapon against them – their acute hearing discerning the noises coming from deep inside the synthetic. Then simple things became a means of telling friend from foe.