Author: Steve Smith, Staff Writer

Dorothy sighed and pushed herself back from the gurney on which her husband’s motionless body lay.

Not for the first time she wondered if she shouldn’t just throw in the towel and buy a new one.

His head plate removed, and the replacement cerebral core reinstalled, all that should be left to be done was to restore from one of the two redundant backups she’d made before the repair.

How hard could this be? How goddamned hard?

She’d followed the instructions, ordered a pair of backup units, shut him down, backed him up, and confirmed both backups were complete.

The brain container had opened without too much trouble, the tools provided in the kit did the hard work, and the cerebral core popped out of its socket without any resistance at all. She was careful not to touch the new one for fear of getting any foreign contaminant on it, as there were service notes about oils from the skin resulting in corrosion over time in rare cases. She wasn’t taking any chances.

She’d powered him up, reformatted the new core, and reinstalled the base OS from the net. He was a seven-year-old model, so she needed to load the system he shipped with when he’d uplifted, and then she could upgrade and apply the service packs, patches, and hotfixes to get him back up to date before she could even think about restoring his memories and personality data.

Three times she’d had the install fail.

The first time the core OS installed, and then at some point during the service pack installs the network connection must have slowed and timed out, leaving Clark in an unbootable state.

Reformat, restart.

The second time the core OS installed, all the updates were applied as expected, but when she tried to restore Clark from backup, the host hadn’t validated the license, and refused to exit activation mode.

Two hours on phone support and the solution was to reformat and reinstall from a different server.

She contemplated just restoring him on the base, seven-year-old OS. She really had no idea what features were missing anymore, or how he’d take it. He’d been a bit of an ass about this whole issue in the first place, ignoring the fact that he’d clearly been suffering from badly fragmented and degraded memory for ages, and trying to convince her that it was she who couldn’t remember things correctly. As if. Nervy little prick.

If she was being honest with herself, she’d be happy to just leave him turned off in the basement for a while.

Maybe a little peace and quiet would do her good.

Was that illegal?

Dorothy wondered if that was covered in the terms and conditions anywhere.

She sighed. Just look at him there, helpless, turned off. She chuckled. Did either of them turn each other on anymore?

She restarted the updates and drew a bedsheet up to his chin, before turning off the lights and heading upstairs.

A watched pot and all that.

Besides, there was a bottle of wine that wasn’t going to drink itself, and she was pretty sure he’d still be there in the morning.