Enex is frantically waving at you from the other end of the canyon. “Enex, what’s going on?” you ask, but you only hear static in your earpiece. Communications must be down. Then you see Enex falling over. “Enex!” you yell, as you see the robot’s track lights blink off. You start running down the slope, hoping to get there in time.

The more complex the technology, the more can go wrong. A short circuit, an overheated resistor, a puncture in an oxygen tank, or buggy code can throw a spanner in the works of the best-planned mission.

Does it matter whose fault it is? Can you fix it? What are the consequences of the malfunction? How much trouble are you in?

What stories do you know where the inciting incident was a technical malfunction?

What kind of technical malfunction could happen on your planet?