In Terminator 2, John Connor and the company

attack the Cyberdyne Systems research department, and destroy all the things that could lead to creation of Skynet.

After that we see T-1000 coming to the place and learning what they've done. Why does he keep pursuing John, if

the system that sent him is destroyed?

It's just not logical. The T-1000 has quite an advanced intelligence. Let's imagine that a killer got an order from a client to kill someone. But before the killer executed the order, he suddenly learnt that

his client is dead, perhaps shot or the victim of a heart attack.

What is the point of killing someone after that? Just keep the money you got and don't do anything — that seems pretty reasonable.

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    I think the idea that the T-1000 was capable of human thought processes is flawed; advanced intelligence it may have, but it's still a machine with a single goal: kill John Connor. None of the motivations and concerns that would lead a human to make the "take the money and do nothing" decision apply. Nov 12, 2013 at 11:54
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    @AnthonyGrist You don't even need to argue that its programming made it less than human; its behavior also makes sense if its programming was advanced enough to give it human motivations. If it thought that John Conner had successfully stopped skynet from ever occurring; killing him to get revenge on the person who effectively killed every single member of his "family" is an entirely plausible human reaction. Nov 12, 2013 at 16:04
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    Unless there was a parameter in his mission which said "Kill John Connor ... unless you don't think there is much point" he would have continued in his mission. He is able to use initiative etc. but is constrained by his orders. Arnie was unable to self terminate even though he knew he need to so he invented a workaround, he was programmed to follow John's orders so he stood on one leg for no reason other than he had been told too, he helped rescue Sarah even though he thought it was a bad idea etc.
    – Stefan
    Nov 12, 2013 at 16:57
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    Remember that Skynet became self-aware. This is technology far above anything we have. It could be that the T-1000 had sufficient knowledge to reconstuct or reproduce that which was destroyed by John and co and since the T-1000 was part of Skynet, I see nothing illogical about it seeking to preserve and even reconsruct and increase Skynet's population of robots. However, for some reason I do find the idea that machines programmed by humans could become self-aware and act like this utterly preposterous, as I do time travel. Nov 12, 2013 at 17:11
  • Lets not also forget that the reason the T-1000 went to the Dyson's (and then on to Cyberdyne) was because it had the same information that the T-101/800 had regarding the future history of Skynet, and that it anticipated that John & co would make an attempt to stop it. I.e. it's only reason for being there is "there's a 12% chance that John will be there". No advanced thinking, just a probability engine
    – Robotnik
    Nov 12, 2013 at 22:27

6 Answers 6


Simply put, Skynet wasn't destroyed it was only delayed (cue Rise of the Machines).

Additionally, as Anthony Grist commented, you're probably attributing too much human thought to the T-1000. It was an advanced machine, but still only a machine. It was programmed to kill John Connor, so that was what it worked towards.

It is also probable that the T-1000 didn't know the origins of Skynet. There wasn't any reason for Skynet to program it with that knowledge, as that information wouldn't have had any bearing on it's mission. So John and crew blowing up Cyberdyne would have been a curiosity to the T-1000, but hardly a concern.

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    It is also probable that the T-1000 didn't know the origins of Skynet. ~> In fact, T-1000 didn't know the origin of Skynet..
    – user931
    Nov 13, 2013 at 10:06
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    @SachinShekhar What are you sourcing that definitive knowledge on?
    – Xantec
    Nov 14, 2013 at 1:18
  • @Xantec - not sure about Sachin, but I source it on T3. May 5, 2014 at 1:18
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    "It is also probable that the T-1000 didn't know the origins of Skynet." Really? That is contradicted by the T-800's remark: "The T-1000 has the same files that I do. It knows what I know." The T-800 knows all about Miles Dyson and the origins of Skynet, as it explains to John and Sarah. At the very least, the T-1000 knows where Dyson lives and why he is important, because it turns up at Dyson's house after the others have left. Jul 30, 2014 at 8:57
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    @RoyalCanadianBandit Perhaps. It is impossible for us to know what information the resistance loaded into the T800 or what changes they made to its programming. The resistance may have gave the T-800 information on Skynet and Dyson, and then to be safe they may have simply told the T-800 that any information it had the T-1000 also had, whether they knew it did or not.
    – Xantec
    Sep 18, 2014 at 17:38

You're missing an important detail - Judgement Day hadn't been averted yet. Cyberdine's advances came about because of a T-800's presence (albeit in a dilapidated state). At the time when the building and it's contents were destroyed/stolen, there were still a vast number of Cyberdine scientists and researchers alive (who had quite a bit of familiarity with the tech). They also likely had offsite backups of the data they had collected, as well as blueprints, patents, and prototypes.

Further, there still existed a T-800 AND a more advanced model in the timeline. The T-1000 knew that his mission to kill Jon Connor would succeed only over the T-800's deactivated body. That body could then be used to further advance the creation of Skynet (the T-1000 would leave more than a broken chip and part of an arm). It's also possible the T-1000 would submit himself to the military for research.

Finally, it is entirely possible that the T-1000 simply didn't care about the future of Skynet, as has been pointed out by other answers.


The graphic novel "Secondary Objectives" covered this well.

The primary objective was killing John Connor. But they also had a secondary objective to ensure the creation of Skynet.


Pretty much every aspect of your premise is flawed. While a contract killer might take the money and run, he might also fulfill the contract -- a matter of professional reputation. And if you consider its "client" to be the goal of machine intelligence supremacy and not an entity called skynet, then its client is not necessarily dead. John Connor's is a known foe that is capable and entirely inimical to those goals. Most likely the T-1000 is lacking in self-motivation and so does not examine /why/ it should or should not kill John Connor, but uses its intelligence to figure out how to best do so. No matter how you figure it, I don't see that there is any compelling reason to leave John Connor alone -- perhaps tactical and/or strategic reasons exist, but such reasons would depend upon things we don't know. There is no obvious "walk away now" that we are made aware of. If the T-1000 was an uploaded personality, so that its motivation was entirely human, it might have well still attempted to kill him.


In the Terminator world, alternate futures are possible. As an example, consider Sarah Connor's quote at the end of Terminator 2: Judgement Day:

August 29, 1997, came and went. Nothing much happened. Michael Jackson turned 40. There was no Judgment Day. People went to work as they always do. Laughed, complained, watched TV, made love. I wanted to run to through the street yelling to grab them all and say, "Every day from this day on is a gift. Use it well." Instead, I got drunk. That was 30 years ago. But the dark future which never came still exists for me. And it always will, like the traces of a dream. John fights the way differently than it was foretold. Here, on the battlefield of the Senate his weapons are common sense and hope.

So, just as a second Terminator could be sent back because:

even though in the first film, the Terminator was destroyed, yet enough of it was intact so that the Cyberdyne project could continue

presumably the T-1000 reasoned that its components could be used to continue Cyberdyne, but then in a different timeline (and with different scientists).

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    I don't think that T-1000 had a deep knowledge about timelines. I don't think that Skynet itself had a deep knowledge about different timelines. Otherwise it would pick up a smarter strategy from the start. Nov 12, 2013 at 11:25
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    [from Extended Special Edition ending] - Is that considered canon? Nov 12, 2013 at 21:18
  • @SPIRiT_1984 What would be smarter than protecting and aiding your own creation while attempting to eliminate your most important opponents with the best tech you have available, all while keeping humanity unaware of Judgement Day? Oct 8, 2014 at 10:10

Comparing him to a contract killer is wrong. He's not thinking, "well now I'm not gonna get paid! To hell with this!" He's still a machine, and has that mindset - his orders (we can safely assume) were to kill John Connor, not kill John Connor as long as Cyberdyne Systems is still in business and Skynet is still "in the future". He is more like a soldier who has been given an order - he will continue to follow that order until it's completed or he has been ordered otherwise.

Or even moreso, a computer program that is running doesn't stop if the person who executed it keels over and dies of a heart-attack.

Why would Skynet program him with that level of decision making capability?

Even if he was capable of it, BTW, he would most likely still continue with his mission because he can't say for certain that Skynet and the war have been prevented (he still can't see into the future).

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