mac os not set yet

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24" iMac mid 2007 6GB RAM 1TB HD
When starting I up get the message, "Your computer restarted because of a problem..." with the same in several languages below this.
The computer then flashes, in monochrome, like at the root level (approximately something like this):
"panic CPU (1caller) process 1 s/bin launch failed
Debugger called:C panic return
Backtrace CPU Frame address
(there are a lot of alpha numeric codes (?), about a dozen or so)
BSD process name corresponding to current init
Boot args: rp-file base system.dmg
Mac os version:
Not yet set"
There is more info, all is hard to retrieve since this only stays on the screen for a second or two.
This all goes into a loop with the system trying to boot again.
A big problem is the keyboard and mouse are not recognized so I cannot go to Recovery mode, Safe mode or any other mode.
I do have a bootable USB drive, will that work or have I totally lost the drive?
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