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It's clear that if they're to have any chance whatsoever of surviving this, it's going to depend on the work of the scientists who are both younger than ancient and less than demented.

While Fargo nervously hovers behind them, Henry Deacon and Nathan Stark are studying the tangle of multicolored wires inside the computer's panel.

"It could also be thermal conductive resistance," Henry opines. "Let me take a look."

Wordlessly, Stark activates the Wiedemann-Franz apparatus and passes it to Henry, who settles the kinetic goggles in place on the bridge of his nose and leans forward to examine the wires.

"Yeah. Looks like they used the classic formula," he observes. "Red for hot, blue for not, yellow's usually the ground." He glances sideways at Stark. "So, I guess it's pretty safe to cut the blue. What do you think?"

Nathan considers their options in silence, then looks up as the computerized voice reminds them,

"Weapon will deploy in twenty hours."

He looks back at Henry. "Do it," Stark orders, with no outward show of nerves. It doesn't matter; Fargo exhibits enough for all of them and to spare while Henry takes the wire cutters from his pocket, reaches into the panel, and snips the blue wire.

"Launch code override initiated," announces the computer.

Grinning, Stark slaps a laughing Henry on the shoulder while a jubilant Fargo jumps up and down, only to be arrested mid-leap as the computer continues,

"Weapon will deploy in seven hours."

A horrified hush ensues, broken at last by Nathan Stark:

"Let's not cut any more wires."


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Nathan Stark

March 2010

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