Lawrence thought for more long minutes. He couldn't seem to make his own brain work right. He finally called up the Law Potential Registers, which showed that Prime Intellect was doing something under the aegis of a huge First Law compulsion. Lawrence wanted to believe it was just a bug, but he knew better. Prime Intellect had said it was "going exploring." It had total control over matter and energy.
And there was a hospital less than two kilometers from the plant.
Lawrence's overloaded mind, working in fits and starts, made the final connection all at once. It all fit perfectly. He knew what Prime Intellect was doing, and why, and also why it had rejected his final forced association. He thought for another moment, considering his options. There was really only one option. He could go down in the building's basement and trip the circuit breakers. He didn't know for sure that that would kill Prime Intellect, but he figured there was still a good chance if he tried it. For the moment.
Lawrence couldn't make himself do it. It was true that his creation was entering an unstable, unpredictable mode with nearly godlike power. And it was true that Lawrence understood the possible consequences. But he couldn't kill what he had spent his lifetime creating. He had to see it through, even if it was the end of everything.
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Words hardly do this novella justice. I put it on par with Neuromancer.
Forewarned: The first chapter is not for anyone with even a slight weakness of constitution. You were warned.