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*** The series runs on a version of time travel where things can't travel unless they're wrapped in living flesh. Since this makes absolutely no sense in any halfway plausible version of time travel, it's not too hard to imagine there are a bunch of other weird rules that simply aren't mentioned by the characters. For instance, maybe spacetime contains a limited number of naturally-occuring pathways, so you can only make a jump from Location-A/Time-B to Location-C/Time-D, and you can only send so much mass per jump, and it only works once, and you can't control in advance where you're going, you can only scan spacetime and hopefully find some pre-existing pathways that are good enough for your goals. Then suppose there were a pair of such jump points in the future, linked up to a pair of such jump points in the 80s. Skynet used one path and the Resistance used another path, and once they'd done so both paths were null and no one could send reinforcements into the past anymore. Suppose there simply weren't any jump points available. Like maybe Skynet said to itself, "Ok, there's another path that could send an extra terminator into the 70s...but that would be available till the year 2199, and we'll be defeated long before then. Dang."











** Thing is, no one really knows ''exactly'' how time travel works in the Terminator-verse. Maybe not even [=SkyNet=]. The different takes on it in different installments don't help: Going by ''Film/Terminator3'' and ''Literature/T2Trilogy'', time deals with paradoxes by reforming towards its original shape. Going by ''Film/TerminatorDarkFate'', artifacts from now-erased timelines can remain, but may be eliminated over time to correct things ([[spoiler:John being killed by another T-800, remaining T-800s eventually destroyed as well]]). Either [=SkyNet=] understands how time travel works and has given its time-traveling Terminators "detailed files" to prevent invoking LogicBomb with a temporal paradox, or [=SkyNet=] has no idea, but is desperate enough to try anyway, and has instructed its time-traveling Terminators to ignore any potential temporal paradoxes brought about by their actions.



** If it's any consolation, the genatalia just has to look normal, not be functional. It's in their best interest as infiltrators to sell the whole image of "being human" rather than cut corners on the gamble that resistance won't be checking for sexless humans. Not to mention that, while they weren't originally designed with time travel in mind, the laws of time travel in-universe dictate that Terminators ''have'' to travel back naked; something that could potentially cause some oddities in history reports if a sexless human was seen mugging some thugs for clothes.

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** If it's any consolation, the genatalia just has to look normal, not be functional. It's in their best interest as infiltrators to sell the whole image of "being human" rather than cut corners on the gamble that resistance won't be checking for sexless humans. Not to mention that, while they weren't originally designed with time travel in mind, the laws of time travel in-universe dictate that Terminators ''have'' to travel back naked; something that could potentially cause some oddities in history reports if a sexless human was seen mugging some thugs for clothes.clothes.
** "The 600 series had a rubber skin. We spotted them easy. But these are new. They look human. Sweat, hair, bad breath, everything." With the T-600, [=SkyNet=] was going for what we call a "50/50 paint job:" looks good from fifty feet away going fifty miles an hour. But it wasn't good enough to fool the Resistance, so the T-800 goes all-in on replicating the exterior of human physiology with absolute precision. Not just skin, hair, sweat, blood, and so on, but you can see muscles and tendons moving beneath a Terminator's skin. Likely, [=SkyNet=] decided at the start of the T-800 project that it was going to omit no detail, no matter how small, in making these Infiltrators as lifelike as possible. That, or the first few production models were found out precisely because they lacked genitals (or some other minor detail [=SkyNet=] might have considered irrelevant), so [=SkyNet=] made sure to get all the details right on future runs. And if you're [=SkyNet=] and expending all the tech and resources making killer robots covered in organic flesh to fool the humans you're trying to eliminate, adding a penis and some nipples isn't all that greater of an expense.


** Not to mention all the people who'd look at a Terminator tearing the skin off it's metal arm on TV and say "Now, that was some impressive special effects. . . uh. . . what was that commercial trying to sell me, again?"

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** Not to mention all the people who'd look at a Terminator tearing the skin off it's metal arm on TV and say "Now, that was some impressive special effects. . . uh. . .effects... uh... what was that commercial trying to sell me, again?"



** That's the problem with the franchise post-''T2'' in a nutshell. ''The Terminator'' works when you realize time travel is a Hail Mary play by [=SkyNet=] to do ''something'' to prevent its defeat. ''T2'' works under the premise the [=SkyNet=] sent two back for redundancy. ''T3'' is where things start to break down, but you can rationalize it as being in a "mopping up" phase of the war, with TheRemnant of [=SkyNet=] trying to delay the inevitable. The more expanded the universe becomes, the father beyond "their defense grid was smashed, ''we'd won''" it gets, the harder it is to buy the reason behind this given TerminatorTwosome plot. Even the otherwise-exceptional ''Literature/T2Trilogy'' contains the NecessaryWeasel that, somehow, [=SkyNet=] in the future, post-defense-grid-smash, realizes that the circumstances leading to its creation have changed, its very existence in the past is imperiled, and it has to send an Infiltrator back in time to ensure its own creation. Notably, this is perhaps the only time in the franchise [=SkyNet=] pulls off time travel without the Resistance figuring it out and responding in kind. In short, it's why the franchise had rough times since ''T2''. . . the premise for recycling the formula gets weaker and weaker each time, and moving the story into the actual Future War has been too risky (and after ''Film/TerminatorSalvation'', not a risk studios would be eager to greenlight again).

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** That's the problem with the franchise post-''T2'' in a nutshell. ''The Terminator'' works when you realize time travel is a Hail Mary play by [=SkyNet=] to do ''something'' to prevent its defeat. ''T2'' works under the premise the [=SkyNet=] sent two back for redundancy. ''T3'' is where things start to break down, but you can rationalize it as being in a "mopping up" phase of the war, with TheRemnant of [=SkyNet=] trying to delay the inevitable. The more expanded the universe becomes, the father beyond "their defense grid was smashed, ''we'd won''" it gets, the harder it is to buy the reason behind this given TerminatorTwosome plot. Even the otherwise-exceptional ''Literature/T2Trilogy'' contains the NecessaryWeasel that, somehow, [=SkyNet=] in the future, post-defense-grid-smash, realizes that the circumstances leading to its creation have changed, its very existence in the past is imperiled, and it has to send an Infiltrator back in time to ensure its own creation. Notably, this is perhaps the only time in the franchise [=SkyNet=] pulls off time travel without the Resistance figuring it out and responding in kind. In short, it's why the franchise had rough times since ''T2''. . .''T2''... the premise for recycling the formula gets weaker and weaker each time, and moving the story into the actual Future War has been too risky (and after ''Film/TerminatorSalvation'', not a risk studios would be eager to greenlight again).



** Except that doesn't really work. By the time the T-X arrived, Judgement Day had happened several years prior originally. What's more likely is that ''Terminator'' and ''T2'' are in one timeline, and ''Terminator 3'' is in another. In the first timeline, [=SkyNet=] sent two Terminators back at the same time in its last gasps before final defeat, as a last-ditch effort to preserve its existence. They both failed. Now, in the original timeline, ''T2'' didn't play out quite the same way for whatever reason. . . Sarah smashed the T-800's chip in the deleted scene, Sarah actually killed Dyson (but left all his research to be continued by others), Sarah was getting better treatment and less meds at Pescadero so wasn't as violently fixated on destroying [=SkyNet=], whatever, so Judgement Day happens as scheduled. Then, in the second timeline as the result of ''T2'', Judgement Day is delayed. The war is very different. . . more advanced technology means [=SkyNet=] has a leg up at the beginning, but nuclear disarmament treaties also mean humanity suffered fewer casualties. Now, after the Resistance smashes [=SkyNet=]'s defense grid, [=SkyNet=] is still able to act and resist. It sends the first two as it did before, but now, as the war grows more desperate for it, it steps up its Terminator research and development to counter the Resistance making extensive use of captured and reprogrammed Terminators, resulting in the T-X, "an anti-Terminator Terminator." [=SkyNet=] sends one of these back in time later, trying to do whatever damage it can to the Resistance in the future and maybe buy itself some more time, sway odds in its favor. Essentially, T-X was the first shot of the "Temporal Guerilla War" that was the focus of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

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** Except that doesn't really work. By the time the T-X arrived, Judgement Day had happened several years prior originally. What's more likely is that ''Terminator'' and ''T2'' are in one timeline, and ''Terminator 3'' is in another. In the first timeline, [=SkyNet=] sent two Terminators back at the same time in its last gasps before final defeat, as a last-ditch effort to preserve its existence. They both failed. Now, in the original timeline, ''T2'' didn't play out quite the same way for whatever reason. . .reason... Sarah smashed the T-800's chip in the deleted scene, Sarah actually killed Dyson (but left all his research to be continued by others), Sarah was getting better treatment and less meds at Pescadero so wasn't as violently fixated on destroying [=SkyNet=], whatever, so Judgement Day happens as scheduled. Then, in the second timeline as the result of ''T2'', Judgement Day is delayed. The war is very different. . .different... more advanced technology means [=SkyNet=] has a leg up at the beginning, but nuclear disarmament treaties also mean humanity suffered fewer casualties. Now, after the Resistance smashes [=SkyNet=]'s defense grid, [=SkyNet=] is still able to act and resist. It sends the first two as it did before, but now, as the war grows more desperate for it, it steps up its Terminator research and development to counter the Resistance making extensive use of captured and reprogrammed Terminators, resulting in the T-X, "an anti-Terminator Terminator." [=SkyNet=] sends one of these back in time later, trying to do whatever damage it can to the Resistance in the future and maybe buy itself some more time, sway odds in its favor. Essentially, T-X was the first shot of the "Temporal Guerilla War" that was the focus of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.



** Kyle explains this in the first movie. "Most of the records were lost in the war. [=SkyNet=] knew almost nothing about Connor's mother. Her full name, where she lived, they just knew the city." (Personally, I find it ''more'' unbelievable there '''only''' three "Sarah Connor"s in all of Los Angeles.) Combined with the other notations that time travel doesn't appear to be entirely exact. . . you can't spawn a Terminator through time at a precise place and time, within five seconds/feet. . . and [=SkyNet=] is pretty limited in its ability to target Sarah and John. I.e., even if [=SkyNet=] knew when and where Sarah Connor gave birth to John, it couldn't put a Terminator precisely at that place and time to kill them. It might end up two days early or late (early is not a problem, late '''is'''), twenty miles away. Once a Terminator is in the right time, they can use the resources available to track their target (getting addresses from phone books, police databases, and so on), but to even make the initial trip, [=SkyNet=] needs to know, within what such an advanced AI would consider an acceptable margin for error, that if it aims a Terminator at these relatively precise chronospatial coordinates, that Terminator will have an acceptably high probability of acquiring and Terminating its targets.

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** Kyle explains this in the first movie. "Most of the records were lost in the war. [=SkyNet=] knew almost nothing about Connor's mother. Her full name, where she lived, they just knew the city." (Personally, I find it ''more'' unbelievable there '''only''' three "Sarah Connor"s in all of Los Angeles.) Combined with the other notations that time travel doesn't appear to be entirely exact. . . exact... you can't spawn a Terminator through time at a precise place and time, within five seconds/feet. . .seconds/feet... and [=SkyNet=] is pretty limited in its ability to target Sarah and John. I.e., even if [=SkyNet=] knew when and where Sarah Connor gave birth to John, it couldn't put a Terminator precisely at that place and time to kill them. It might end up two days early or late (early is not a problem, late '''is'''), twenty miles away. Once a Terminator is in the right time, they can use the resources available to track their target (getting addresses from phone books, police databases, and so on), but to even make the initial trip, [=SkyNet=] needs to know, within what such an advanced AI would consider an acceptable margin for error, that if it aims a Terminator at these relatively precise chronospatial coordinates, that Terminator will have an acceptably high probability of acquiring and Terminating its targets.



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** If not outright destroyed or on it's last stand, very definitely facing the fact that its defeat was inevitable (Kyle's "their defense grid was smashed, we'd won" is annoyingly vague.) Time travel was [=SkyNet=]'s last-ditch effort to do ''anything'' to save itself.


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*** It was 1984. '''What''' modem?



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** Well, remember what the "infiltration" unit Terminators were originally designed to do: find and enter Resistance cells then kill as many humans as possible. The Resistance, if they have half a brain, won't let anything robotic within miles of an active cell that isn't specifically set aside (and prepared to be lost) for the purpose of analyzing their robotic enemy. What we see in the first film in one of Kyle's dreams/flashbacks is pretty likely standard Terminator procedure: pass as a regular human as long as possible, get into a Resistance cell [=SkyNet=] didn't even know was there, then start shooting up the place, killing as many people and sowing as much chaos as possible, all the while likely sending [=SkyNet=] its exact coordinates and all recordings of the place so [=SkyNet=] can mobilize [=HKs=] to wipe the it out. Dogs detect Terminators, but once one gets in the door, that cell needs to move posthaste or have [=SkyNet=] bring the hammer down on them. Given the character of the postapocalyptic wasteland, a Terminator's lack of social skills isn't going to be a red flag in and of itself, and they likely don't live long enough to really learn and adapt to human behavior (plasma rifles blow them up just fine). They're "infiltrators" in the sense that they're designed to locate and gather intelligence on Resistance cells through subterfuge and deception, whereas the "unfleshed" Terminator footsoldiers and [=HKs=] pretty much can only operate on the level of "see human, kill human; if no humans, keep looking."



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** Kyle explains this in the first movie. "Most of the records were lost in the war. [=SkyNet=] knew almost nothing about Connor's mother. Her full name, where she lived, they just knew the city." (Personally, I find it ''more'' unbelievable there '''only''' three "Sarah Connor"s in all of Los Angeles.) Combined with the other notations that time travel doesn't appear to be entirely exact. . . you can't spawn a Terminator through time at a precise place and time, within five seconds/feet. . . and [=SkyNet=] is pretty limited in its ability to target Sarah and John. I.e., even if [=SkyNet=] knew when and where Sarah Connor gave birth to John, it couldn't put a Terminator precisely at that place and time to kill them. It might end up two days early or late (early is not a problem, late '''is'''), twenty miles away. Once a Terminator is in the right time, they can use the resources available to track their target (getting addresses from phone books, police databases, and so on), but to even make the initial trip, [=SkyNet=] needs to know, within what such an advanced AI would consider an acceptable margin for error, that if it aims a Terminator at these relatively precise chronospatial coordinates, that Terminator will have an acceptably high probability of acquiring and Terminating its targets.


** Except that doesn't really work. By the time the T-X arrived, Judgement Day had happened several years prior originally. What's more likely is that ''Terminator'' and ''T2'' are in one timeline, and ''Terminator 3'' is in another. In the first timeline, [=SkyNet=] sent two Terminators back at the same time in its last gasps before final defeat, as a last-ditch effort to preserve its existence. They both failed. Now, in the original timeline, ''T2'' didn't play out quite the same way for whatever reason. . . Sarah smashed the T-800's chip in the deleted scene, Sarah actually killed Dyson (but left all his research to be continued by others), Sarah was getting better treatment and less meds at Pescadero so wasn't as violently fixated on destroying [=SkyNet=], whatever, so Judgement Day happens as scheduled. Then, as the result of ''T2'', Judgement Day is delayed. The war is very different. . . more advanced technology means [=SkyNet=] has a leg up at the beginning, but nuclear disarmament treaties also mean humanity suffered fewer casualties. Now, after the Resistance smashes [=SkyNet=]'s defense grid, [=SkyNet=] is still able to act and resist. It sends the first two as it did before, but now, as the war grows more desperate for it, it steps up its Terminator research and development to counter the Resistance making extensive use of captured and reprogrammed Terminators, resulting in the T-X, "an anti-Terminator Terminator." [=SkyNet=] sends one of these back in time later, trying to do whatever damage it can to the Resistance in the future and maybe buy itself some more time, sway odds in its favor. Essentially, T-X was the first shot of the "Temporal Guerilla War" that was the focus of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

to:

** Except that doesn't really work. By the time the T-X arrived, Judgement Day had happened several years prior originally. What's more likely is that ''Terminator'' and ''T2'' are in one timeline, and ''Terminator 3'' is in another. In the first timeline, [=SkyNet=] sent two Terminators back at the same time in its last gasps before final defeat, as a last-ditch effort to preserve its existence. They both failed. Now, in the original timeline, ''T2'' didn't play out quite the same way for whatever reason. . . Sarah smashed the T-800's chip in the deleted scene, Sarah actually killed Dyson (but left all his research to be continued by others), Sarah was getting better treatment and less meds at Pescadero so wasn't as violently fixated on destroying [=SkyNet=], whatever, so Judgement Day happens as scheduled. Then, in the second timeline as the result of ''T2'', Judgement Day is delayed. The war is very different. . . more advanced technology means [=SkyNet=] has a leg up at the beginning, but nuclear disarmament treaties also mean humanity suffered fewer casualties. Now, after the Resistance smashes [=SkyNet=]'s defense grid, [=SkyNet=] is still able to act and resist. It sends the first two as it did before, but now, as the war grows more desperate for it, it steps up its Terminator research and development to counter the Resistance making extensive use of captured and reprogrammed Terminators, resulting in the T-X, "an anti-Terminator Terminator." [=SkyNet=] sends one of these back in time later, trying to do whatever damage it can to the Resistance in the future and maybe buy itself some more time, sway odds in its favor. Essentially, T-X was the first shot of the "Temporal Guerilla War" that was the focus of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.



to:

** Except that doesn't really work. By the time the T-X arrived, Judgement Day had happened several years prior originally. What's more likely is that ''Terminator'' and ''T2'' are in one timeline, and ''Terminator 3'' is in another. In the first timeline, [=SkyNet=] sent two Terminators back at the same time in its last gasps before final defeat, as a last-ditch effort to preserve its existence. They both failed. Now, in the original timeline, ''T2'' didn't play out quite the same way for whatever reason. . . Sarah smashed the T-800's chip in the deleted scene, Sarah actually killed Dyson (but left all his research to be continued by others), Sarah was getting better treatment and less meds at Pescadero so wasn't as violently fixated on destroying [=SkyNet=], whatever, so Judgement Day happens as scheduled. Then, as the result of ''T2'', Judgement Day is delayed. The war is very different. . . more advanced technology means [=SkyNet=] has a leg up at the beginning, but nuclear disarmament treaties also mean humanity suffered fewer casualties. Now, after the Resistance smashes [=SkyNet=]'s defense grid, [=SkyNet=] is still able to act and resist. It sends the first two as it did before, but now, as the war grows more desperate for it, it steps up its Terminator research and development to counter the Resistance making extensive use of captured and reprogrammed Terminators, resulting in the T-X, "an anti-Terminator Terminator." [=SkyNet=] sends one of these back in time later, trying to do whatever damage it can to the Resistance in the future and maybe buy itself some more time, sway odds in its favor. Essentially, T-X was the first shot of the "Temporal Guerilla War" that was the focus of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.



to:

** That's the problem with the franchise post-''T2'' in a nutshell. ''The Terminator'' works when you realize time travel is a Hail Mary play by [=SkyNet=] to do ''something'' to prevent its defeat. ''T2'' works under the premise the [=SkyNet=] sent two back for redundancy. ''T3'' is where things start to break down, but you can rationalize it as being in a "mopping up" phase of the war, with TheRemnant of [=SkyNet=] trying to delay the inevitable. The more expanded the universe becomes, the father beyond "their defense grid was smashed, ''we'd won''" it gets, the harder it is to buy the reason behind this given TerminatorTwosome plot. Even the otherwise-exceptional ''Literature/T2Trilogy'' contains the NecessaryWeasel that, somehow, [=SkyNet=] in the future, post-defense-grid-smash, realizes that the circumstances leading to its creation have changed, its very existence in the past is imperiled, and it has to send an Infiltrator back in time to ensure its own creation. Notably, this is perhaps the only time in the franchise [=SkyNet=] pulls off time travel without the Resistance figuring it out and responding in kind. In short, it's why the franchise had rough times since ''T2''. . . the premise for recycling the formula gets weaker and weaker each time, and moving the story into the actual Future War has been too risky (and after ''Film/TerminatorSalvation'', not a risk studios would be eager to greenlight again).



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** Not to mention all the people who'd look at a Terminator tearing the skin off it's metal arm on TV and say "Now, that was some impressive special effects. . . uh. . . what was that commercial trying to sell me, again?"



to:

** The ''Literature/T2Trilogy'' noticed this. It mentions that surviving humans were used to build automated factories and drones to work them, but that [=SkyNet=]'s initial efforts were hampered by a lack of machines appropriate to the jobs that needed to be done. Following on ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'', [=SkyNet=] has been postponed, and sends an Infiltrator (distinct from a Terminator) back to ensure its own existence. This Infiltrator has a marked interest in Cyberdyne's automated factories, specifically in getting as many of them as possible built as far as possible from potential nuclear strike sites, so that [=SkyNet=] in the future will have better infrastructure to make better machines to better eradicate humanity. It's entirely likely [=SkyNet=] had access to some automated production facilities -- in ''Terminator 2'', the Terminator mentions [=SkyNet=] controlling fully unmanned bombers, it makes sense those might be produced in a factory also automated under [=SkyNet=]'s control. Heck, if the people behind [=SkyNet=] were ''really'' stupid, they might have given it tools and abilities to upgrade the factories and the designs it was producing to be more efficient, either to increase the capability of America's Ultimate AI Defense or just to see what this AI of theirs would come up with.


* Why would Skynet bother giving Terminators genitalia? It's not like they have any use for them, and it's unlikely they'd ever be naked in front of real humans (they probably weren't designed with the limitations of this universe's time travel in mind, since sending the original T-800 and later the T-1000 back in time were explicitly desperate Hail Mary plays on Skynet's part).

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* Why would Skynet bother giving Terminators genitalia? It's not like they have any use for them, and it's unlikely they'd ever be naked in front of real humans (they probably weren't designed with the limitations of this universe's time travel in mind, since sending the original T-800 and later the T-1000 back in time were explicitly desperate Hail Mary plays on Skynet's part).part).
** If it's any consolation, the genatalia just has to look normal, not be functional. It's in their best interest as infiltrators to sell the whole image of "being human" rather than cut corners on the gamble that resistance won't be checking for sexless humans. Not to mention that, while they weren't originally designed with time travel in mind, the laws of time travel in-universe dictate that Terminators ''have'' to travel back naked; something that could potentially cause some oddities in history reports if a sexless human was seen mugging some thugs for clothes.


* So something I've been wondering for a while. Seeing as how time travel is so confusing, could that be used against Skynet? If someone told a T-800 unit of the time travel paradox, and how fulfilling Skynet's orders would simultaneously result in failing its mission, would the resulting logic bomb cause it to shut down?

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* So something I've been wondering for a while. Seeing as how time travel is so confusing, could that be used against Skynet? If someone told a T-800 unit of the time travel paradox, and how fulfilling Skynet's orders would simultaneously result in failing its mission, would the resulting logic bomb cause it to shut down?down?
* Why would Skynet bother giving Terminators genitalia? It's not like they have any use for them, and it's unlikely they'd ever be naked in front of real humans (they probably weren't designed with the limitations of this universe's time travel in mind, since sending the original T-800 and later the T-1000 back in time were explicitly desperate Hail Mary plays on Skynet's part).


** It also works the other way with Skynet. If its plan to eliminate John's existence had worked, then it wouldn't have needed to send back the first Terminator whose technology helped father it.

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** It also works the other way with Skynet. If its plan to eliminate John's existence had worked, then it wouldn't have needed to send back the first Terminator whose technology helped father it.it.
* So something I've been wondering for a while. Seeing as how time travel is so confusing, could that be used against Skynet? If someone told a T-800 unit of the time travel paradox, and how fulfilling Skynet's orders would simultaneously result in failing its mission, would the resulting logic bomb cause it to shut down?

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* ''Headscratchers/TerminatorDarkFate''

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