"Medusa Bug" is the fourth episode of Season 1 of ReBoot, and the fourth episode overall. It originally aired on October 8, 1994 on YTV and ABC.
DVD Log Line
Hexadecimal tricks Megabyte into releasing an unstoppable viral bug that turns every sprite in Mainframe into concrete [sic]. Bob alone is immune and must find a way to turn things back. —ReBoot: The Definitive Mainframe Edition
Enzo, with difficulty, persuades Dot to leave the Diner to take a break from work. Bob is waiting for them outside in his temperamental car. When Dot goes back inside to continue working, Bob and Enzo physically drag her away and drive off with her.
Megabyte's limousine crosses the Gilded Gate Bridge from Lost Angles to where Hack and Slash are waiting for him. Megabyte presents a box containing the Medusa, "Hexadecimal's ultimate weapon," which she has been developing in secret. Hexadecimal comes after him and demands he return it. When he refuses, she sends a swarm of nulls toward him, but Hack and Slash break out a section of the bridge, sending the nulls falling into the energy sea. Megabyte leaves his troops to fight Hex and returns to Silicon Tor.
Later, Lieutenant Chauncy reports that the battle ended when Hex got bored and left. Megabyte monologues to himself for a while before opening the box and discovering that the Medusa is a "viral bug" which begins to turn him to stone. He is unable to find a cure. Hex vidwindows him and reveals that she deliberately baited him into stealing it. Megabyte turns completely to stone, and the effect spreads to his throne, the room, and the rest of Silicon Tor. Hex calls the bug unstoppable and says it will infect all of Mainframe.
Meanwhile, Dot is sunbathing next to a busy boulevard in Baudway (still within sight of the Diner) while Bob tends to his car’s engine trouble. Enzo notices Frisket coming toward them, with something strange following the dog. It is the spreading effect of the Medusa Bug. Enzo calls out to Frisket, but the dog is surrounded and turned to stone. Dot restrains Enzo, reminding him that the best way to save Frisket is to get help. They get Bob's car running just as the bug is about to overtake them, and the trio fly off to the Principal Office.
Phong explains that the Medusa will "spread to anything it touches," but that Bob’s Guardian format may make him immune to the effects of the bug. Phong also warns that the things affected by the bug will eventually decay, low-energy objects first, but eventually high-energy things (such as sprites) as well. Phong orders Dot to evacuate everyone from Mainframe to the Principal Office.
Bob asks Phong for a variety of powerful tools to help him fight the bug. Phong reminds Bob that Mainframe doesn’t have as advanced technology as the Supercomputer. He gives Bob a "primitive" Viral Erase Command, which Bob boosts with an add-on.
As Mainframers file into the Principal Office, Bob takes off to deploy the command in Kits. At first the command appears to work, much to Hexadecimal’s dismay. However, the bug proves stronger and the sector quickly returns to stone. Bob returns to the others with the bad news, and the Principal Office is put on lockdown.
The citizens of Mainframe pass the time in a hastily constructed refugee town inside. Bob, Dot, Phong, and Enzo monitor the Medusa's progress. Eventually it reaches the Principal Office, and the building and all its inhabitants are petrified, leaving Lost Angles the only part of Mainframe unaffected. However, Phong's suspicions turn out to be correct, and Bob is indeed immune, breaking free of a surface layer of stone.
Hexadecimal has collected a number of victims in her lair, calling them her "garden" and levitating them so they don't touch their surroundings. Scuzzy turns out to have been petrified as well. Bob arrives, swinging in on a Glitch-line and kicking Hex's throne in an attempt to knock her into Scuzzy, but she stops herself just in time. Hex prepares a fireball, but Bob throws a petrified Guardian bear at her, which she also stops. She leaps at Bob, who pulls himself out of the way with Glitch, but she appears to remove his line and attempt to telekinetically throttle him. Bob tries complimenting her on how she's changed Mainframe, at which she releases him. He points out how peaceful and predictable she has made things, causing her to regret her actions and immediately undo all the Medusa's effects.
In Floating Point Park, Frisket, Enzo, Dot, and Bob are finally having their picnic. Unfortunately, their relaxation is interrupted by the arrival of a Game.
Alternate Ending/The Trias Effect
On ABC, the episode was aired with a different ending, wherein instead of the Game's arrival, the trees in the park start turning to stone again. This paved (heh heh) the way for a series of short clips to fill the hiatus until the next episode.
- The beginning of the title sequence plays as far as "this place: Mainframe," whereupon Mainframe once more turns to stone except for G-Prime (and apparently Lost Angles, although it's not visible in this shot). Megabyte reveals that he has created his own Medusa bug.
- Bob goes to Hexadecimal for help. She declines, and proposes Bob stay with her, which he refuses.
- (clip missing) Bob vidwindows Phong, who tells him to find the Trias Effect before succumbing to the bug.
- Bob recaps the situation before creating a portal to the Supercomputer.
- Bob portals back while Megabyte is monologuing and activates the Trias Effect, restoring the system.
- The idea of a "viral bug" is a bit of a contradiction: a virus is a piece of software deliberately programmed to spread (usually, though not always, with malicious intent), while a bug is a coding error that causes a program to malfunction or behave in unintended ways. While a virus can of course have a bug, they are not the same thing, and something created deliberately is not usually considered a bug. In other words, the Medusa is not a bug, it's a feature.
- Megabyte: "Computer, identify virus." Waaaaait a nano...
- Phong says that "high-energy" things take longer to decay than "low-energy," but the Principal Office shield, which is nothing but energy, disintegrates immediately.
- Medusa was a gorgon in Greek mythology, the sight of whom would turn one to stone.
- The title is presented as "Medusa Bug" on the title card but "The Medusa Bug" in the Shout!Factory collection.
- Glitch commands:
- analyzing the approaching bug (no command)
- line (no command)
- One of Dot's vidwindows in the opening scene displays the following headlines (as far as can be determined at DVD resolution; guesses in brackets), followed by articles in binary:
- CALVIN SPLINE FILLS HIS SHORTS: PROFITS WELL EXCEED EXPECTATIONS
- LOG OUT FACILITIES B___
- SPONTANEOUS DEGAUSSING, MORE THAN [MYTH?]
- "ZERO NO HERO!" [ONE?] WIDOW DECLARES
- [PROFITS?] FOR LITTLE ONES!
- There's a binome in the jukebox. Why is there a binome in the jukebox? Get out of there this instant!
- Jenny Trias was the Head of Children's Programming at ABC.