March 05, 2014

Chekhov's Vial

"Chekhov's Gun" refers to a dictum from great author Anton Chekhov that if you write a scene with a gun hanging on the wall, that before your story is over someone better use that gun for something. Otherwise you shouldn't have put it in.

In one of the Freefall strips about 4 years ago, Sam stole a vial from EU and gave it to Florence. "It's a factory reset. You sniff it and it erases any direct orders your evil Human Overlords may have given you."

Ever since then I keep expecting it to get used. I'm sure it will be. But when? and for what?

I think now we're coming to that point. Florence has just learned a lot of things she shouldn't know, and eventually someone is going to give her a direct order not to reveal any of it to anyone. They may give her a lot of other orders which end up messing her up. She's going to use that vial to cancel them.

It's possible that Dr. Bowman will tell her something about the bolt-on brain design that is dangerous and not widely known, and that's what she'll be ordered to suppress. And after the override she'll tell the robots.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Entertainment at 12:01 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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1 Dr. Bowman designed Florence, and presumably the reset vial as well.  Based on what we know about him, how likely is it that the only thing the vial does is erase any current direct orders?

Posted by: Siergen at March 05, 2014 02:55 PM (c2+vA)

2 If it did anything else, we'd already know. She's already smelled it once.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 05, 2014 05:00 PM (+rSRq)


Here it was.

She was unconscious at the time, but if it had any long term effects I think we'd know.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 05, 2014 05:06 PM (+rSRq)


Hmmmm... the robots don't have senses of smell.

I wonder if there's a sound which has the same effect on them?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 05, 2014 05:07 PM (+rSRq)

5 This strip could be viewed as something she shouldn't have been able to do, and that earlier reset may also have

Posted by: David at March 05, 2014 05:38 PM (da+4f)


David, she's been operating under direct orders from the Mayor's Assistant. His order was "Do whatever you think is necessary to save the robots."

Technically he's the second-highest ranked human on the planet, so his orders carry great weight. And that's such a wide-open order that it justifies nearly anything, up to and including deliberately disabling her safeguards.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 05, 2014 05:48 PM (+rSRq)

7 I suspect that vial wiped her "Second" law, and she's been acting like it's still there solely out of habit since.

Posted by: Brett Bellmore at March 06, 2014 02:53 AM (HGNzm)

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