Study Guide

Snow Crash Chapter 12

By Neal Stephenson

Chapter 12

  • Perspective shift: Our narrator, Ng Security Industries Semi-Autonomous Guard Unit #A-367, lives in a Metaverse house where steaks grow on trees and Frisbees fly all day.
  • #A-367 is a dog that has been turned into a mechanical guard machine; he tunes into the other dogs' barks around him, and his mission is to guard the yard. He can tell when bad people or good people come and go.
  • Two nice people enter the yard, followed by some bad people who have guns. Guns are very bad. #A-367 barks a warning to the other dogs and launches himself out of his doghouse.
  • Shift back to Y.T.: She sees a flash and hears a noise, and suddenly the jeeks are collapsing unarmed.
  • She's heard of Rat Things. They run on all fours, and can disarm or kill anyone or anything; the jeeks retreat outside the gate, minus their weapons.
  • Y.T. suggests that she and Hiro partner up, and though he agrees, he says he'll have to think about how the details will work.
  • She turns to leave, when she feels something thunk against her ribs. It's a grenade—crap.
  • But there's no explosion, just a whir of motion, and a Rat Thing takes the brunt of it.
  • Y.T. and Hiro examine the Rat Thing (which we assume is Unit #A-367), and see that it has a long coiled tail, and animal parts fused with mechanical parts. Y.T. realizes that it needs to stay in motion to stay cool, so now that it's been immobilized by the bomb, it's overheating and will die.
  • Seeing it bleed moves Y.T. to compassion, and she drags the Rat Thing back into its kennel, where cold steam blasts over it.
  • Shift to #A-367's perspective: He is hurt and so he howls. The nice girl helped him. Now the vets are coming to make him feel better.
  • Back to Y.T.: Hiro agrees to their partnership. They'll split whatever intel they find 50/50. Before she poons a car and departs, Y.T. recommend that Hiro check out a band called Vitaly Chernobyl and the Meltdowns; they're totally going to be the next big thing.
  • Quick stop before Y.T. gets home: She removes a panel from a bathroom in a particular McDonald's and puts back on her ordinary girl clothes, stashing her Kourier uniform there for the night.
  • She comes home and finds her mom still working. Her mom works for the Feds, who demand loyalty and an iron-clad work ethic; as usual, her mom looks and feels tired. Y.T. grabs a beer and runs herself a bath.