in reply to This fails mysteriously everytime... runs into trouble when universedAction=Start is sent in the query string

The script is doing case-dependent string comparisons. Since "start" ne "Start", the script will fall off the bottom.

Either send "start", or change   our $universedAction = $statusCGI->param("universedAction");
to   our $universedAction = lc($statusCGI->param("universedAction"));
and use $universedAction in your comparisions (instead of re-getting the parameter each time).