… “Dammit! Isn’t the computer supposed to warn us when the drive core begins fizzing?” “Yes — it is supposed to — but it didn’t, that power drop-out we had must have short-circuited something and bypassed the initial alert,” he said scanning the computer screen.“So just tell the computer to shut-off the drive!”
“WARNING!! the drive core will implode in 5 minutes. 5 minutes”, the computer announced
The specialist slung his head low and thought “another stupid suggestion.” He held his tongue, “I can’t … the drive computer thinks nothing’s wrong — so when I tell it to do an emergency shutdown because the core is about to crunch it just ignores me”. “What do you mean, what about the warning”“That’s the ship’s computer …” “So … tell it to do the shutdown and bring us out of warp” The other man’s lips pursed, “Can’t do it … the command hardware between our computer and the drive computer was destroyed by that meteorite” His eyes furiously scanning the screen. “Then how can you tell the drive’s computer to do an emergency shutdown?” “My god!! Don’t you know anything about this ship and how it works?” His restraint gave out. “No, that’s why I hired you … remember? … that’s your job!” he said mockingly. “So shut-up and let me do it! There that is it.” pointing a finger at the screen, he moved to another terminal. “What? … what’s it?” staring at the display blankly “ … talk to me.” “Tell me what you are doing.” “OK! Just shut-up and listen! The meteorite hit the command hardware, that allows us to control the drive unit, and smashed it.” he thought rapidly into the computer, “So when the core began to fizz the ships sensors picked it up but there was no way to tell the drives’ computer that the core is about to crunch and no way to tell it to shutdown.” “I understand all that, but …” an icy look stopped him. “So when the fizzing started the drive was ‘deaf’, and all that we have left in the one way telemetry link that tells us the level of fizzing in the core.” “Yeah, Yeah.” “I reconfigured the telemetry link so we can talk to the drive, but because it registers no fizzing when I tell it to shutdown it ignores me.” “Great …” the man said in disgust, “that means we’re dead — you tell the drive to shutdown but it doesn’t think there’s any problem … what a hell of a way to die — from a computer glitch …” the man’s voice trailed off. “We’re not going to die” the technician said. “We’re not?” “Nope …”, shaking his head “I figured out a way around it, just tell the drive what’s going on.” “I thought you tried that already?” “No, I mean feed it the info that told our computer that the core was fizzing and the drive should trip — but there is one little problem.” “What?” “Our computer didn’t record the exact telemetry necessary to trip-out the drive.” “So?” “I’m making it.” “Huh?” “A computer simulation of a drive core going super critical.” “Will that work?” He looked over at the man, “Better hope it does!” “So how long will it take you to make up the simulation?” “Done … it’s already running and feeding the data to the drive computer. Now all we have to do is wait for the drive computer to acknowledge the simulation and trip-out.” “How long will that take?” “A minute.”
“WARNING: drive core will implode in 50 seconds. 50 seconds”
“Oh, great!”“Wait for it.” Both men moved to the front of the bridge and cast their eyes out through the huge port-hole onto the stars. The pattern of dots changing by the second as the ship moved through space at apparent speeds of 4,000 times that of light. The men were silent only the computer counted.
“WARNING: 30 seconds to dive-core crunch. 30 seconds.”
“20 … 10 … 9 … 8 … 7 … 6 … 5 … a long pause.”
The patterns of stars blurred and stopped shifting and the computer announced, “The drive has tripped … now sequencing emergency drive shutdown procedures. Drive core crunch averted, all FTL motion has ceased.”