- "So you're telling me the future you left wasn't divided into two camps? One loyal to the Director and the other believing that decisions should be made by people, not a machine?"
- — Ellis
The Faction is an insurgency movement whose goal is to topple the Director and return decision-making power to humanity by any means necessary.
The core Traveler team come from a version of the future where the Faction does not exist, and thus they are initially unfamiliar with the threat they pose. Ellis and Grace reveal in the first season finale that the Faction originated in Shelter 41 – a bunker that collapsed due to design flaws in one version of the future, but survived in the other.
The alteration to the timeline was caused by Vincent Ingram (Traveler 001). His decision to abduct, interrogate, and murder the Traveler teams who were pursuing him somehow lead to the survival of Shelter 41.
For further information, see Travelers List.
- Traveler 001 (future leader; a.k.a. Vincent Ingram, Dr. Perrow, Jeff Conniker, and Ilsa)
- Jones (Traveler 0029)
- Luca Shun (Traveler 2587)
- Walt Forbes (allegedly Traveler 4112)
- Jenny (allegedly Traveler 4514)
- Kyle (Traveler 5532)
The Faction intends to topple the Director and break its despotic control over human society and time travel. They believe humanity, and not a machine, should make the decisions affecting its own survival. After deflecting asteroid Helios-615 failed to affect the future, Faction members decided to take the past into their own hands.
After Grace Day rebooted the Director, the Faction gained the ability to send messages through time. They sent a texts to Carly and Boyd ordering the execution of Grant MacLaren. Ultimately they seized power over the Director and forced it to shut down - but not before sending as many Travelers back in time as possible. The quantum frame device was used to store their minds until candidates were found.
Deceiving the Travelers
- "The Faction has our own plan. Overpopulation is the single greatest threat to the 21st century. The Director wasn't capable of seeing the natural solution."
- — Jenny
MacLaren and his team unknowingly continued to receive messages from the Faction, believing them to be from the Director. The Faction ordered the core team not to apprehend Vincent Ingram, while ordering Ingram to stand down as well.
The deception continued when the Faction began to direct missions in the Director's stead. They ordered the Travelers to assassinate Congressman Bishop during a speech against Bill 939, while simultaneously ensuring the successful bombing of a research lab. When the historical record changed and the bomber Abigail Paris chose not to go through with the attack, they killed her via messenger. The lab was bombed later in the day.
The Faction later ordered Traveler teams around the world to prevent the spread of a flu strain that historically killed 70,000 people. Unbeknownst to the teams, they were actually spreading an entirely new virus, synthesized in the future and transcribed in the past by Philip Pearson. The Faction engineered the virus with a 40% infection rate and a ten-day incubation period. Their intention was to kill 30% of the human population - over two billion people - in order to prevent overpopulation in the future.
Their plan ultimately failed when the core team planted an emergency backup power supply, hidden by an encrypted beacon, at the site where the Director would eventually be built. This was able to power the Director for three seconds - long enough for it to regain control and send the cure to the 21st century.
The Faction continued to used the quantum frame device to replenish their ranks in the past until Jones, a Faction-aligned programmer, was caught trying to kidnap Marcy Warton. Jones was overwritten and the frame, which was in his possession, was destroyed. The Director waived Protocol 3 for host bodies inhabited by members of the Faction; those captured were instantly executed by overwrite.
Four months prior to the second season finale, the Faction released a computer virus that compromised an Austrian computer cloud network called Relicus Maxicloud. The system went down for 47 minutes, and 21st century authorities were unable to find the culprits.
During 21C they attempted to assassinate Anna Hamilton, the future 53rd President of the United States, for unspecified reasons - Hall claims they are "working off old information." They had secured access to a space-time attenuator, preventing the Director from seeing them. Trevor Holden destroyed this device and every Faction member present was overwritten or killed by messenger.
Without contact from the future and diminishing financial resources, the remaining Faction members struggled to continue their presence in the 21st century. They resolved to defy their leader's orders in the name of saving the organization. A member of the Faction followed Dr. Perrow (then a host of Traveler 001) by car and sent him a string of texts saying: "We know how you are. We know when you're from. We mean you no harm. We need your help. Pull over, we don't want anyone to get hurt." When Perrow did not do so, the driver rammed his car. Faction agents abducted Perrow from the hospital. When he awoke, now severely injured and clinging to life, two Faction agents named Dawn and Michelle explained who he truly was:
- Dawn: "You weren't supposed to find out for years. In the future you come from, Shelter 41 collapsed. Thousands died. But the future we come from is different."
- Dr. Perrow: "I know all of this."
- Dawn: "Because you questioned Traveler teams who were pursuing you. What a Traveler would never tell you is that the citizens of Shelter 41 became the center of a movement. A place where human life and decision-making was valued over the artificial intelligence that controlled every aspect of our lives. The Director. It considered our movement nothing more than a subversive "faction" within what it considered a harmonious whole. The faction became a rebellion. A rebellion that became a war... led by you, sir."
- — Dawn's explanation[src]
Dawn further explained that the future version of 001 had forbade any contact with his past self but now they needed his resources and leadership. Soon Perrow's private security forces stormed the compound, killing Michelle and wounding several other Faction members. Perrow ended the violence by ordering his men to stand down and took his place as leader of the Faction, past and future.
Shortly prior to the beginning of Version Two, Grant MacLaren prevented Traveler 001 from ever being sent to the past. Since 001's actions in the 21st century effected the Faction in the future, it is unclear whether the Faction even exists in this new timeline. This question, along with the ultimate outcome in the battle for control of the future, is never resolved by the conclusion of the series.