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*[[The Discharge]]
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Revision as of 09:26, November 12, 2006


System Failure Hieroglyphics


System Failure Computer Screen


System Failure recorded on the Pearl's Log printout

System failure is an event that occurs in the Swan station a few seconds after the Countdown Timer reaches zero. Once the Hieroglyphs are all displayed, the electromagnetic force near the concrete wall in the Hatch begins to build rapidly, pulling any and all magnetic metallic objects inward from increasingly great distances. (Non-ferromagnetic metals, such as copper, aluminum and brass are not visibly affected; this is why Desmond's key was not affected by the force.) The words system failure repeatedly scroll across the screen of the Computer and a corresponding printout of the event is produced at the Pearl. The speakers also repeat "System Failure".

If the Computer is intact, there remains time to enter the numbers and prevent further damage.

At least two system failures are known with certainty to have occurred:

  1. On September 22, 2004 at 4:16 (dated by the log printout), also the day of The Crash, a.k.a. Day 1. Desmond believes that he caused the crash of Flight 815 when his absence from the Hatch led to a brief system failure.
  2. On November 26, 2004, when Locke decides not to Push the Button. After Locke causes the Day 66 system failure, Desmond attempts to rectify the situation by using the fail safe. This in turn is followed by The Discharge.


  • The Incident was also a system failure.
  • The Incident predated the system of pushing the Button, and thus created the need for that system.
  • Desmond's system failure may not have coincided with the crash, since only the log printout links the two events.
    • This is seemingly confirmed in Seasons 3 episode 1 A Tale Of Two Cities when The Others are first scared by a quake, assuming that's the system failure, then come out to see the plane crash
  • A system failure explains the extensive damage to other stations. For example, there may have been a time before the losties arrived that there was no fail safe. The electromagnetic anomaly grew out of control, and began to wreak havoc on the other stations. The Pearl had part of its roof ripped out, The Arrow seems too dusty and dirty to recognize, and The Staff has lights hanging from wires. No matter how strong a magnetic attraction is, the source object can not be damaged directly, explaining why The Swan was still fully operational. DHARMA may have decided that the damage done was beyond repair, and abandoned all projects other than The Swan, where they installed the fail safe and regularly initiated supply drops, to keep another accident from happening.
  • This is the actual event monitored by the men at the listening station. As the discharge has only happened once but the system failure has occurred two times and the men at the listening station saw the "anomaly" twice.
  • Another vehicle will crash/has crashed due to the system failure in Live Together, Die Alone.

See also

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