Time travel and its potential for effecting changes on reality is a fundamental cornerstone of the Terminator Universe and the ongoing battle for supremacy between Skynet and the human-led Resistance. By undertaking missions back and eventually even forwards in time, both sides have caused an unending series of Predestination paradox events, stable time loops, Divergent Timelines, and Alternate futures.
By making use of time displacement equipment agents are deployed on missions designed to either ensure, alter, or eradicate the status quo as perceived by the participants at the time. However, the equipment is limited to organic objects, such as humans. Clothes and weapons don't count.
Time travel rules
- All travelers must be covered in organic material. This means that any clothes or weapons the traveler is carrying will be destroyed.
- The destination date must be a whole number of years before or after the current time. ("Self Made Man")
- It is possible to transmit radio signals back through time to specific computers at specific dates. ("Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle")
Skynet Time Traveling Missions
- Skynet sent the T-X back in time to terminate key lieutenants of the Resistance.
- An unknown Series 888 Terminator was sent back to 2002 on an unknown mission that resulted in its destruction in a plane crash.
- The Series 888 Vick Chamberlain was deployed to protect Barbara Chamberlain, a key Skynet infrastructure contributor.
- Skynet deploys a Series 888 to terminate Cadet Captain Martin Bedell, a key resistance fighter responsible for the escape of John Connor from a prisoner transport convoy en route to the Century Work Camp.
- Skynet possibly deployed Rosie, a red-headed female Terminator of unknown series and model, to gain access to the offices of notable psychologist, Dr. Sherman. The true purpose of this mission is unrevealed.
- Skynet deployed a Terminator, another dedicated human replacement model, targeting James Ellison for termination and replacement as a potential threat to Skynet.
- Charles Fischer was sent back to the year 2007 to install permanent Skynet back doors with "unbreakable" Skynet future-tech machine code into numerous defense grid computer systems by using his younger self's access.
- Skynet deployed Myron Stark to terminate Governor Mark Wyman during a New Year's Eve Keynote Speech in 2010, however the unit ended up in a 1920's speakeasy instead.
- Skynet sends back an I-950 Infiltrator known as Serena Burns to ensure the creation of Skynet and to target John and Sarah Connor.
- The Amazon is sent back simultaneously with the events of The Terminator and ends up targeting "The other Sarah Connor" in San Francisco.
- Skynet sends back a Series 800 Terminator to target John and Sarah Connor in New York.
- Skynet deploys I825.M, C890.L, C850.D, and HC875.S to counter the temporal incursion by Mary Randall and her team in 1984. They must protect the genesis of Skynet by safeguarding key individuals in the Cyberdyne Systems hierarchy and be prepared to terminate Sarah Connor as a secondary objective.
- Eventually Z000.M, and finally the Machine are deployed as a reinforcement to C890.L's counteroffensive.
- In 2029 Skynet sends back another female Series 800 Terminator to target Sarah Connor, but damage to the TDE causes an arrival in New York in 2004.
- Still in 2029, Skynet utilizes the TDE to insert a Series 1xxx Terminator ahead of incoming ground forces to target Vanessa Vasko.
- Still in 2033, Skynet sends the T-Infinity to kill Tara Connor. Later, Skynet dispatch the Dire Wolf to destroy T-Infinity in case it has been captured by the Resistance.
- Skynet sends a computer core containing its core programming into the past, shortly before its ultimate defeat at the hands of John Connor's rebellion. The computer core (known as the Meta-Node) arrives at Cyberdyne Systems headquarters, and proceeds to take over the building and begin manufacturing an army of Terminators.
Resistance Time Traveling Missions
John Connor, and a few other Resistance leaders became aware of time displacement equipment that Skynet had developed. This technology fell into the hands of the Resistance. They kept this information very secret. Known missions include:
- Connor himself sent Kyle Reese to 1984.
- Connor sent a reprogrammed T-800 back in time to protect a younger version of himself.
- Kyle's brother Derek Reese was sent from the future by John to help the resistance in 2007. Because of the revelations of "Billy Wisher", he co-opted the mission in order to assassinate Andy Goode. After arriving in 2007, the four-man team, which consisted of Sayles, Timms, Sumner, and Derek) set up a safe house where they stashed stolen money and diamonds and began surveiling possible Skynet progenitors. They were later attacked by a T-888 after it detected them tracking its wife Barbara Chamberlain, a key Skynet contributor. Derek managed to escape but with his entire team killed, he resumed stalking Andy Goode and eventually killed him. The effects of this paradox-inducing event have yet to be revealed.
- A Resistance member known as "The Engineer" was sent back to at least 1963 to found a bank to hide the components of an isotope-fueled weapon and a time-displacement transporter built within its vault for the future use of resistance fighters. Both end up being used by Sarah Connor, John Connor, and Cameron in 1999.
- Someone, presumably John Connor himself send back a Terminator, known as Cameron Phillips, to protect Sarah and himself in year 1999.
- Wells, a mortally wounded, Resistance fighter was sent back to warn the Connors about Greenway and the Seranno Point nuclear power plant. Sometime before he burst into the new safe house on a surprised Sarah, he also entered the basement leaving a bloody trail to a wall where a large number of names, locations, and dates were scrawled in his own blood, giving the Connor cell a roster of targets requiring protection or elimination.
- Jesse Flores, a Resistance fighter and romantic acquaintance of Derek Reese is sent back to 2007 by the same "Bubble-tech" (Cullie's brother) that sent back Derek and his cell. She claims her use of the TDE was unsanctioned and may in fact be AWOL. However she is conducting some form of covert surveillance on young John Connor and Derek.
- Connor himself sent Kyle Reese to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor, immediately followed by a reprogrammed T-800 back in time to protect a younger version of himself.
- Ellis Ruggles was sent back to 1955 to watch over Sarah Connor in case another Terminator arrives. He smuggled components for a limited use anti-Terminator weapon known as a fazer in his own body. He spent the intervening decades between his arrival and the events of The Terminator as a soldier and a cop, giving his life to save "The other Sarah Connor" in San Francisco.
- Corporal Graves was sent to 1965 as backup for Ellis Ruggles, however he arrived from the future on a freeway in Los Angeles and was hit and killed five seconds later.
- Colonel Mary Randall and her team assaulted a TDE facility to return to 1984. She and the surviving four members of her team sought to eliminate Skynet by killing key individuals in the Cyberdyne Systems hierarchy and provide additional protection for Sarah Connor.
- Captain Emmer and his overwatch squad followed Colonel Randall into the TDE facility when they were unable to observe the destruction of the site. Assuming her mission was compromised, he assumed her mission and was successful in ensuring the TDE was destroyed as they departed. Upon arrival in 1984, they also targeted key individuals in the Cyberdyne Systems hierarchy for elimination in a bid to prevent the creation of Skynet.
Appearances of Temporal Events
- The Terminator (Time displacement sphere only)
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Time displacement sphere only)
- Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Time displacement sphere only)
- Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
- The Terminator: Dawn of Fate
- The Terminator: Tempest
- The Terminator: Secondary Objectives
- The Terminator: Endgame
- T2: Infiltrator
- T2: The Future War
- T2 3-D: Battle Across Time
- Terminator 3: The Redemption
- Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle
- Terminator: Genisys
Kyle Reese: "The future is not set. There is no fate but what we make."
Sarah Connor: "There is no fate but what we make for ourselves."
Core memory also records that I became self-aware years before the date to which I transported the I-950. There is a set of records in which I arose without transtemporal Interference from Cyberdyne's original research; another in which the second Cyberdyne facility produced me after Sarah Connor destroyed the first; a third has now arisen in which she destroyed both facilities...Temporal travel has introduced an element of fundamental uncertainty to the very fabric of existence. Different world lines, different sequences of events, coexist in my records-and therefore presumably in reality, in a state of quantum superimposition. Yet the timeline loops cannot remain closed. The snake cannot devour its tail forever. At some point only one set of timelines will remain.
Yet the course of events contains favorable elements. My best efforts to destroy the Connors have failed, despite stochastic calculation indicating a very high probability of success. I can only assume that the space-time continuum itself is 'attempting' to force events back to the original timeline, one in which I was created, succeeded in destroying the human civilization, and then defeated in my attempts to eliminate the surviving humans by John Connor's Resistance army. It seems there is a certain elasticity to history; time travel can bend the fabric, but it seeks to spring back.
There is no fate save that we make.