Author: David C. Nutt
The robot fabricators went haywire and had to be powered down and the minutes not working were counted in billions of dollars. To make matters worse, when they powered up again, all the software patches did was cause the once haywire fabricators to up their craziness and they started throwing tons of raw materials around like so many match sticks. Already, four workers were hospitalized, and the robot fabricators showed no sign of slowdown. The factory, trillions of dollars’ worth of high tech lazily spinning at the LaGrange point- robotics, data systems, and more lines of code than stars in the three visible galaxies combined, shuddered into a state of catatonia and powered down again. What little human oversight was left, shrugged their shoulders, and stood idle.
Sylvia Jensen, Bridie Hmong, Dax Jefferies and the rest of the upper management wunderkinds gathered in the mission room. Already the chaos, incriminations, and hissy fits were flying.
Sylvia tapped her stainless steel water bottle. “People, people quiet it down!” A hush came over the room. Immediately, a rep from accounting seized the floor. “Unless we get up and running soon, we’ll be one hundred thousand units behind!
Alf Sweet, shop steward spun to face the accounting rep. “At what cost to my crews? None of my boys and girls are going set one foot on that floor unless you upstairs geniuses prove to my satisfaction the fabricators aren’t going to hurt anymore of my people.”
Bridie whipped her head around “Why do think we’re here Alf, hmm?”
Dax rolled out a code sheet and tapped it once, then again to stop the scroll at his highlights. “I’m pretty sure I fixed the problem for now. However, it may cause a cascade failure in the long run once the overrun buffer is full.”
Bridie sighed “Great solution Dax… if you want to make the whole Gaia damned system crash.” Immediately the room exploded into shouts and profanities. Sylvia shouted them all back to their place and an unearthly calm filled the room. As if on cue, Big Mike, the oldest and most experienced worker on the floor came into the room. In a day and age where the median age on any kind of La Grange factory was twenty something, Big Mike ruined the average by being well into his 60s.
Out of desperation, Sylvia spun her chair around. “Got a solution for us by any chance Mike?” Big Mike walked further into the room and over to the table. He craned his neck and tilted his head to look at the code sheet. Dax and Bridie turned it so Mike could read it. His eyes moved over the sheet. He looked up. “What time is it?” he said to no one in particular.
“1655” came the answer from the nameless accounting rep.
Mike walked over to the emergency panel and opened the glass door. Without ceremony he hit the imposing RESET ONLY panic button and walked out of the room.
“Genius!” Bridie exclaimed.
“Agreed.” Said Dax. “It’ll reboot and if it’s a program glitch the auto-coders will catch it.”
With sighs and smiles they all exited the room.
Sylvia ran to catch up to Big Mike. She grabbed his sleeve. “Mike, how did you know to do a power re-set? How do you know it will work when the line comes up?”
Big Mike stopped and turned to Sylvia. “I didn’t and I don’t.” Big Mike pointed to the clock. “1700. Shift change. Not our problem anymore.”
And the wisdom of the universe opened itself up to Sylvia, and she smiled.