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Typically when replacing someone in the past, the Terminator will terminate the human and then assume their identity.
When targeting a contemporary individual in the Future War, replacement can also be accomplished in conjunction with an abduction, affording Skynet access to the original subject in order to refine the infiltration protocols of its assigned Terminator. In this case, termination usually follows the end of the subject's usefulness, which may not be until after successful accomplishment of the infiltration, or in the event of a compromise of the mission.
Replacement is achieved in one of several ways:
- A living tissue Terminator model run is built in the future and then a unit is assigned locally or sent back to the past to replace a specific human.
- A living tissue Terminator finds a way to replace a compromised infiltration sheath in the present, and needs to assume the identity of a comparable physical match.
- A mimetic polyalloy Terminator like the Series 1000 or Series T-X Terminator uses their liquid metal technology to change their voice and appearance to match a specific human.
The Terminator: Hunters and Killers
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
- Replacement is long term, which is different from impersonation, which is short term. (e.g. when the T-1000 impersonated Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day).
- The replacement strategy has been largely used only in The Terminator: Hunters and Killers and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
- While a specific individual may be targeted for termination and replacement, it is usually impractical to only produce a single representative unit because of Skynet's mass-production facilities. Multiples are created using the infiltration sheath model intended for the replacement and are stored for later use or fielded across a wider geographic or temporal area than a risk of compromise would occur in.
- Often, people that knew the human that has been replaced express confusion or concern over the behavior of the Terminator replacement. Examples include coworkers of the Greenway Terminator and of Catherine Weaver, as well as Vick's spouse Barbara.
- In the comics, Skynet used the TS-300 infiltrator series to create a number of one-off copies of real human beings with ceramic endoskeletons. The technology also used "Stealth Infiltrator Personality" (S.I.P.) software to transfer memories and personalities from captive humans, allowing for full replacement.
| Infiltration Outer Sheath|