"Listen to me."
The voice of Kyle Reese was full of urgency as he clutched the collar of the man glaring back at him. Unfortunately, the loose-fitting pants Kyle had stolen threatened to fall down so he absent-mindedly grabbed them.
Nevertheless, as the man walked away, Kyle continued to speak loudly and firmly,.
"An artificial intelligence named Skynet is going to take over the world, our world. An army of robots is going to wipe out most of the human race. John Connor is the only one who can save us from total extinction. But he can't do that if the Terminator kills his mother."
As the man walked at a faster pace, muttering and grumbling with each step, Kyle struggled to keep his pants up. As he continued to plead, he sounded more frustrated, less urgent.
"Don't you see? That's why I need your car. To save John Connor. To save the future! Our future!"
As Kyle bent over, the intense pounding in his head intensified then subsided. The man yelled an obscenity as he slammed his car door. Kyle watched through bloodshot eyes as the man drove off. The time traveler's ringing ears filled with the sound of tires squealing loudly.
As the pounding in his head calmed to a gentle throbbing, Kyle shook his head. Something abut time travel must have temporarily affected his mind. He had even had a hallucination in which he traveled to the year 2017 with Sarah Connor and a Terminator named "Pops." Then another hallucination in which a Terminator was married, had a kid and sold drapes.
Obviously his mind had been affected. Why else would he try to persuade some guy from 1984 about a future he could not possibly comprehend or believe in?
Still holding his loose pants, Kyle looked around for something he could use as a belt. When he found nothing, he sat down on a bus stop bench. Briefly, he hallucinated he was a cop in sunglasses muttering the words, "You're the disease, I'm the cure."
To get his thinking back to normal, Kyle considered a talk he had with John about changing the timeline. John drew on work from time-travel experts and theoretical scientists. As a man of action and a soldier trying to save the human race, Kyle had little use for such people.
Kyle wasn't even sure how John had found time to read stuff written by such experts. Except John was a great leader who always did his homework. He wasn't about to send Kyle on a mission back through time without considering the consequences.
John's inner circle had briefly discussed the parameters of Kyle's mission. One officer suggested trying to stop Skynet in its infancy but another argued that trying to change something in the past would only cause it to happen. Still another scoffed: If things are just going to turn out the way they already have, what was the point of the mission at all?
Answer: a Terminator was back there. Back in the past.
As a soldier, Kyle did not overthink situations: he simply acted. There was a Terminator to be stopped. Sarah Connor had to be saved.
Because Kyle had respect for John, he thought on what he had to say. Time, as John explained it, was like water. Skynet controlling an army of robots was a big wave. Someone getting his car stolen was only a ripple before the wave.
With that understanding, Kyle felt his mind snap back to normal. The Terminator did not care what changes it made in time. In a way, Kyle did not have to care either.
Kyle made his decision.
With a renewed sense of purpose and resolve, Kyle suddenly rose and had to catch his pants in the process.
He had two priorities.
First, he needed to get a belt.
Second, and most important, if he needed a car, he should pull the driver out of the seat, take the wheel and take off with the car.
Later that was exactly what he did.
Unfortunately, what Kyle didn't realize was the guy he stole the car from wrote some of the early programming code that would be used in Skynet. And when he went to work all angry and upset and stressed out, he wrote some bad code.
That bad code helped Skynet achieve enough consciousness that it was able to hide the bad code from the other programmers.
That bad code became the basis for Skynet taking over the world.
As Rod Serling might explain it: Sometimes a small ripple can become a big wave.