In Verse Proportion; Chapter 58, Brown 214

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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 58:  Brown 214
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Kondor 191

Derek was fairly certain that the kill switch had shut down the computer.  He found no trace of power anywhere near what he took to be the central processor.  Somewhere, he thought, there are probably some small batteries maintaining some kind of memory function, but I’m not finding them.

This gave him a conundrum.  On the one hand, it would make sense that restoring power would cause the robot to reboot and connect with the main computer for updates and new orders.  After all, it presumably could not know whether it had been off for minutes or millennia, and thus would need to have at least a status update.  But then, Derek couldn’t know whether somewhere inside the machine was an internal clock and a bit of bubble memory, which would retain information without a power supply so the machine would know what it was doing before shutdown.  It was hazardous to guess whether he could reactivate the machine safely.

The alternative was to connect his computer to the robot.  This also had hazards.  For one thing, he could not reprogram the robot’s systems without supplying power to them, and that would mean either reactivating the robot or tracing the complicated power supply circuits to separate the processor power from the motor control.  Yet if his first guess was right, that the robot would download upgrades from the main computer when it was rebooted, his computer would interfere with that, and it might go very badly.  A berserk robot would probably be more trouble than one intent on a mission, and if the two aspects got together, he or Vashti could wind up very seriously injured.

He thought about it.

“Vash,” he said, “I think I need to show you something.”


“Yeah, come here.”  He showed how the cover over the button slid open and closed, and where the button was.  “This is apparently a push-push button.  You push it in and it locks in place and powers up the system; you push it again, and it releases the button so it can pop out and deactivate everything.  I’m going to start the system.  I’m hoping that I’ve guessed right and it’s going to correct its programming, but if I’m wrong it will probably resume chasing us.  In fact, just so you know what it feels like, maybe you should press the button.  Just slide open the door, push the button in, and pull your hand out of the way.  O.K.”

Vashti nodded.  “Now?”

Derek quickly secured the plate over the processor and packed up his equipment.


Next chapter:  Chapter 59:  Slade 187
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #440:  Changing Worlds.  Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.  It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.

As to the old stories that have long been here:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Garden of Versers

Versers Versus Versers

Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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