Deadlock




"Bzzz! Bzzz!" The alarm went off, and Susan Calvin rolled over. It was 6:30 in the morning, and RoboTimer™ had done its job admirably, waking her up to the second of the time that it had been factory-programmed. Unfortunately, it hadn’t been set to the correct date, and when it announced "Saturday, December 14th! Good morning!" in a load cheery tone, she groaned out load with the realization that it was Saturday, and after that affair with the hyperdrive motor, she wanted to sleep in, since it she had just come back to earth.
"I hate this stupid robot!" she yelled out loud, then suddenly closed her mouth. For Susan Calvin had just remembered that her pact with the satans, as she thought of them, known to the robotics world as the team of Powell and Donovan. She stretched, rolled out of bed, and went downstairs, wrapping a robe around her as she went, to get some coffee. "Well, since I’m already up, I might as well take a look at the rest of those Rasssjemani-Quazaric-Smith Equations and see why they were causing all those robots to go psycho," she thought. "Good thing that U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men hushed up that little incident, I’d be out of a job if the whole world, the xenophobic and primally-fearful lot of them, knew about that!" As she got out and buttered her toast, she mulled the day ahead of her in her mind. Weekends were never truly weekends for Susan Calvin, as she was forced to work for most of the weekend, with her only respite being Sunday, which she was allowed to come in an hour late for. However, she usually found herself working late into the night on Sundays, out of an artificially induced guilt that she knew was not real, but could do nothing to correct.
After being driven to work (working for the company that produced every MechTaxi™ in existence did have some perks after all), greeting the doorman, and going up to her office, Susan Calvin was ready to look at those equations! She only needed a small period of time to warm up, and the wakeup-breakfast-come to work routine sufficed.
Almost as soon as she had sat down to work, the Founder of U.S. Robots came in and said, "I need to speak with you, Calvin. There’s been more reports in across the nation of those psycho robots, all of them with positronic brains built using the Rasssjemani-Quazaric-Smith Equations. We will be ruined, and drawn and quartered by the masses if we don’t start hushing this up again and fix that problem!"
Susan smiled at him, with an evil glint in her eye. "Junk the equations. They are obviously unstable. Why do you bother me with this? I am not even a full-time mathematician! Have completely new equations written up, not those kludges that the robots have been running on since the late nineties almost!"
The Founder laughed, his white beard and flowing locks shaking slowly as his chest vibrated. "That is possibly the first joke I have heard you crack in the thirty years we have been at this company that I founded!" He paused. "It is a joke, right?" he whispered. When Susan shook her head, he simply stared at her, astonished, with a growing look of perplexity spreading across his face.
"You do understand what would be entailed in the creation of an entirely new set of robotic codes, right? The hackneyed name of the last ones show by their complexity that it took a group of seven hundred men an entire year to build the codes! They are the building blocks of everything that we now know of the various fields of Robotics! You, yourself, would become useless, wit all your knowledge outdated! Rasssjemani, Quazaric, and Smith were only the principal authors of the code, all of them geniuses! There are not even three geniuses in the field of robotics alive today!" He paused for breath after this long exposition, and Susan Calvin stepped in with some comments of her own.
"Calm yourself, man! I was just offering a suggestion! I have been making the same type of suggestions such as those for the last thirty years!"
"If you had made suggestions such as that all the time, you would