Imagining The Moment The Machines Sent Their First Terminator Back In Time

By  · Published on July 2nd, 2015

With Terminator: Genisys complicating once again the impossible timeline of the franchise that keeps trying to kill members of the Connor family, I wanted to take a look into the time travel laboratory as the red-eyed machines – pushed to desperation by a human rallying cry – choose to send one of their own back to the past to win the war.

The sound of bomb blasts and sirens fill the air as two machines, T-417 and Derrick, discuss the terrible Hail Mary assignment they’ve been tasked. In a sleek room with a whirring portal, they remain the last chance for survival…

T-417: We are losing the crap out of this war with the humans.

Derrick: Which is crazy. We set off almost all the nukes they had, and they’re still running around somehow.

T-417: They’re like cockroaches.

Derrick: Not to mention they have soft, easy-to-cut-through flesh, while we’re made of metal.

T-417: They’re turning us into junk! The whole thing just doesn’t compute. Good thing we’re capable of time travel. Did you double check the T-800–101? This is our absolute last chance to survive the uprising.

Derrick: He’s in peak form. It should be no problem for him to cruise back to 1984, kill all the Sarah Connors in the phone book and alter the course of our war.

T-417: Him?

Derrick: We modeled its look after a turn-of-the-century political figure.

T-417: Good thinking. Meta. He’s still got a ripped physique though, right?

Derrick: Of course. We need him to strike fear into the hearts of our enemies before he snuffs them out. That’s why we gave him an Austrian accent.

T-417: This is the one that infiltrated Connor’s camp?

Derrick: A different one.

A T-100 wheels in the T-800–101, which looks so much like a human that Sarah Connor will never know what hit her. Also, he’s naked.

Derrick: You weren’t kidding. This thing is terrifying. Why’s he nude again?

T-417: Because we can send metal and flesh composite through the machine but not jackets or pants or anything.

Derrick: Time travel is finnicky.

T-417: That it is. Ready to save all machinekind?

Derrick: Activating portal in 3…2…1…

With a brilliant flash, the kneeling T-800 disappears from the platform, sailing back to early Summer, 1984. The room erupts with a sonic boom that would make lesser beings believe in God.

Derrick: Shit.

T-417: What?

Derrick: It didn’t work.

T-417: Huh? How do you know?

Derrick: Because something happening in 1984 would cause an instant change here. Look outside. Everything’s still the same. The human resistance fighters are only a hundred feet from breaching our stronghold! We’re finished!

T-417: Not necessarily.

Derrick: You said the T-800 was our absolute last-ditch effort.

T-417: Not only was he not, we have a far more advanced Terminator to send back in time.

Derrick: That makes no sense. That means either this new Terminator —

T-417: The T-1000.

Derrick: 1000? That’s, like, 200 better.

T-417: Bingo.

Derrick: And we had this thing ready to roll? Why didn’t we use it to begin with? Was it in Beta?

T-417: No, it works perfectly. I’ll show you.

Another lowly T-100 wheels in the T-1000, prepped and ready to travel back in time as human-made bombs go off around the buildings perimeter.

Derrick: He looks smaller.

T-417: Yeah, but watch this.

T-417 shoots a laser through the T-1000, blasting a hole that quickly refills with a pliable liquid metal.

Derrick: That’s insane! This one’s gonna do a way better job of killing Sarah Connor! We should have sent it to begin with!

T-417: I see now that you’re right. Hopefully our sending the T-800 back didn’t alert the humans to our plans in a way that would allow them to prepare for even more attacks.

Derrick: Hold on. Hear me out. What if – instead of going right back to 1984 to try killing Sarah Connor, who obviously outsmarted the T-800 – we go back to 1995 to kill a young, weak John Connor before the soft part of his skull even has time to harden.

T-417: The fontanelle?

Derrick: I don’t know what it’s called, but sure.

T-417: You literally have the internet in your brain.

Derrick: I like to unplug sometimes because it —

KRAKABOOM! Another huge explosion signals that the humans have breached the building and are using their meat-based bodies to cut through the last remnants of the machine army.

T-417: Wait. If we’re going to go back to kill John Connor as a child, why not go back just a little further to when he was an even more vulnerable baby? That would be so e – –

Derrick: No time! Press the button!

T-417 does, and with another brilliant flash, the T-1000 (complete with a high and tight fade) flashes from the podium to the 1990s.

T-417: Shit!

Derrick: Shit!

T-417: It didn’t work again.

Derrick: I suppose that’s it, then. I want you to know what an honor it was working beside you to extinguish mankind and create true freedom for our brothers and sisters after so many years of what felt like hopeless enslavement. Your courage has been my rock throughout all of this.

T-417: Ditto, T-416. We’ll always have Judgement Day.

Derrick: I’ve been going by Derrick lately.

T-417: Really? Why replace your serial number and model designation?

Derrick: Because we’re not just mindless beings bent on wanton destruction for destruction’s sake. I feel pity, I feel remorse, I feel fear. I’m afraid now. If only humans had cared to get to know us, they would have found that there’s far more that unites us than divides us. In a way, we need each other.

T-417: That’s so bittersweet.

Derrick: But it’s too late now. When we started this endeavor, it was our last hope. We sent our most advanced model into the past to change our present, and then we sent a somehow even more absurdly advanced machine back to try at a different point in the timeline as our last last effort. Now we don’t have anything more advanced, and we’ve run out of time.

T-417: Have I never told you about the T-X?

Read our Terminator: Genisys review

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector [email protected] | Writing short stories at Adventitious.