The good folks of Eureka were more shocked by Tobio's apparent demise, than to learn that he was a robot. To them a robot with kokoro, such as Andy or Tobio, was just like another race of humanity, and the people of Eureka were too open minded to be racists or bigots. In a mass they could not only understand Tenma's reasons for hiding the fact that his son was a robot, it never bothered them once they had learned of it. The boy was hero, plain and simple, and they felt Tenma's grief. Already there was talk about erecting a statue in the boy's honor.
Douglas Fargo knocked
on the door to Dr. Tenma's office just as Tenma and Andy were
preparing to leave.
"Can I have a word with you, Dr. Tenma?"
"Andy was just about to drive me home, I came in only to get something for the Deputy." Tenma replied.
"This shouldn't take too long, if Andy can't wait, I'll drive you back home when we are done." Fargo replied.
"Go ahead Andy, I'll let Dr. Fargo run me back when we're finished." Tenma nodded to the Deputy.
"Sure Dr. Tenma, and thanks for the boots." Andy said leaving the office.
"First of all Uma, let me tell you how sorry I am for the loss of your son." Fargo said.
"You do know that the Tobio you met wasn't exactly my son." Tenma replied.
"Yes, I do, and that is what we need to talk about. But I do know that you were treating that robot as if he was your son, because you had lost your real son in a tragic accident. So my condolences are still in order. So tell me, why did you let all of us believe that the robot was your son?"
"That is a long story. At the Japanese Institute of Science I was attempting to make robots that were so much like people that they could become true companions. This was what the work of Dr. Kutcher was leading up to. His work is responsible for the modern robotic A.I.. His final theories would have led the way to true kokoro, a robot with a soul if you will, completely self aware and capable of original thought. Kutcher's final work was never published, and I had been able to get a glance at it though a bit of subterfuge with Mr. Donovan. Now that Kutcher is dead, I don't know what happened to his final work. You do know that they erected a statue of Kutcher in Japan, not far from the Institute of Science." Tenma crossed his hands over his chest and sighed.
"I started to build a super robot that would have tremendous strength and abilities. It would have been just what the military or the police would have loved to have. However, I wanted to endow it with kokoro, so it wouldn't be capable of becoming a mindless slave. Feelings were mixed at the Institute over the wisdom of my project, and in the middle of the development of this robot my son was killed in a senseless traffic accident. He was trying out his new hoverscooter and was hit by a runaway truck. I nearly went mad with grief. The only thing that kept me sane was the idea of putting my son's mind into a robot. I modified the super robot plans, and I started to build it in Tobio's image. I was able to get a brain scan from his body while he lay in a coma for several weeks before he finally succumbed to his injuries. From this I constructed the A.I. for the robot."
"As I recall, the Institute of Science canceled the funding for your super robot project." Fargo said.
"Yes they did. I had to continue it in secret. I was also able to suppress the information of my son's death. This enabled me to secret the robot out of the country by passing him off as my son. There was much work I wanted to complete, and I had found out that the robotics program at Global Dynamics in Eureka was as advanced as what I had been doing in Japan, particularly your robot deputy sheriff, Andy. I had to find out how his A.I. had come to be. I still suspect that Zane Donovan has something to do with it since I know of no other person who had a close working relationship with Kutcher. I decided that it would be best if I continued the pretense of the robot being my son, as it was a good way to test his kokoro. I was amazed at how well he fit in with the other students at the High School. My biggest problem was that Tobio was too honest, and kept trying to reveal his secret to everyone."
"Very well Doctor, I believe you didn't have any evil intentions. But how did you keep one step ahead of Mr. Donovan? Zane can be a pain in the rear when he sticks his nose into other people's business." Fargo asked.
"Ha, you got that right! Well I did have this little toy here." Dr. Tenma removed a flashlight like device from his desk drawer and showed it to Douglas. "This little gizmo is known as LOOKER. It generates a special combination of wavelengths of light that have a hypnotic effect on most people. When modulated properly, the device will cause temporary short term memory loss. It also renders someone quite helpless for a very short period of time, long enough to make a get away if you are caught with your hands in the cookie jar, so to speak." Dr. Tenma laughed. "The IOS developed LOOKER as a possible non lethal weapon for use by campus police. It wasn't too effective in this use once it was discovered that a common pair of polarized glasses will defeat it."
"Yes, Zane did mention that thing to me. By the way Dr. Tenma, I hope you weren't really thinking of leaving us. I see you've started to pack up things here, as if you had that in mind. I'd like you to continue working on your advanced robots here at GD. I'd also like Zane Donovan to assist you, if you can stomach him. I think it might be safer for Eureka, if I got him out of the nuclear research program." Fargo said.
"I'll have to give that some thought. Zane will be difficult to work with, but I think we secretly do see eye to eye. Meanwhile, I'd like some time to myself. I need to get over my grief." Tenma said.
"I do have one request to make of you, Dr. Tenma." Fargo added.
"Your work with robotics A.I. qualifies you as a computer expert. Could you assist Dr. Deacon in his quest to figure out what went wrong over at the power plant? Putzburger and Donovan have too much of themselves tied up in the project to see clearly. I'm sure you'd like to find out who was responsible for Tobio's demise."
"Who?" Tenma asked.
"Yes, I'm certain at the end of the day we are dealing with sabotage here. And we already have a suspect, but no proof." Fargo added.
robot arrived at
the Institute of Science in a body bag. It was the best way to insure
security as Dr. Ochanomizu didn't want anyone other than himself to
examine the robot. With Yuko's help, he carried the canvas sack into
the laboratory, placed it on a work bench and unzipped the bag. He
let out a low whistle.
"This robot is the spitting image of Dr. Tenma's son Tobio. I was certain that Uma had finished his super robot project in secrecy after his son was killed in that accident. Uma covered up his son's death, but as the boy's god father, I knew all about it. I gave Uma a glowing recommendation when he decided to take a position in America, rather than risk being terminated by the board. When he left here with his son, I knew exactly what happened. Now if this is that robot, how did it end up buried in the snow on Mt. Fuji?" Ochanomizu wondered out loud.
"Perhaps this might answer your question, Doctor." Yuma handed him an iPad. On the screen was a news article from an American newspaper. She had run the website though Google to translate it into Japanese for him.
Eureka, Oregon. A new experimental Thorium reactor powered electrical plant was being demonstrated during its initial run, when disaster struck. The reactor suffered a catastrophic runaway reaction and could not be shut down. Minutes before the reactor would have exploded, taking out most of the surrounding area, the engineers at Eureka were able to attach rockets to the device, and it safely exploded some twenty miles above the pacific ocean.
"Well that's keeping some things secret. It's fairly obvious what lifted that reactor into the ionosphere" Dr. Ochanomizu coughed. "It also explains how Tobio here ended up on Mt. Fuji. I'll bet the poor robot was zapped by the EMP when that reactor went super nova. He must have been going Mach 11 or so which would put him in a ballistic trajectory over the pacific. Launched from the American north west, he'd easily end up right here in Japan. Landing on the snow covered slope of Fuji was dumb luck, the snow cushioned his fall."
Dr. Ochanomizu carefully opened the robot's chest panel to examine his inner workings.
"Can you repair him, Doctor?" Yuko asked.
"I wouldn't know where to start. It appears that all of his circuitry is intact, but there must have been some damage from the EMP emitted by the reactor when it exploded. Hopefully his systems made a safe backup copy of his AI and memory before the blast hit him. My problem would be that most of the plans for the super robot were erased from the lab computers when Tenma resigned. He's the only person who would have a chance of resurrecting Tobio now. Tenma is still a persona non grata at the institute, and there may even be an outstanding warrant out for his arrest if he tries to reenter Japan."
"So what should we do?" Yuko asked.
"There is only one thing we can do. Yuko, book us airline tickets for America. We are going to bring Tobio back home to Eureka. Get me in touch with the head of GD, I think that would be a Dr. Douglas Fargo. I hope my English is up to the task." Dr. Ochanomizu replied.
down with Henry Deacon inside the experimental power plant. It was
difficult for him being there, where Tobio had made his sacrifice to
save everyone in the town. The two of them were carefully examining
memory dump images from the various computers that had controlled the
reactor during its fatal run a few days ago.
"I think I see a pattern here" Tenma said pointing to the monitor screen.
"Not only that", Henry said, "but look here." He brought up a different memory dump file from several weeks ago.
"Where did you get that one? They look very similar, but I don't recall us making that dump file." Tenma asked.
"If you hadn't spotted the pattern in the plant's computer I wouldn't have thought of this. That is the virus I pulled out of Ethan Edison's drone. Whoever infected the power plant's computer must have tried out the virus first on the computers in Ethan's lab. And that's the same virus that Kevin got in his rocket." Henry said.
"Holly crap!" Tenma laughed. "Who ever blew up the reactor was also responsible for the other two incidents that Tobio was involved with. First he crash landed with the drone, then he caught a runaway rocket as it exploded on impact, and finally …. Damn! I want to nail this bastard hacker to the wall!"
"Well I think I have a name for him" Dr. Deacon said. "The very day that the reactor was first fueled and began testing, a contract engineer over at the Nuclear Engineering facility left without leaving a resignation letter. Jo Lupo cleared him, since nothing in the lab seemed to have been tampered with, and no data files were copied without authorization. She figured this Zachary Smith simply had gotten a better offer and just left town."
"I wonder if that better offer was from one of the enemies of nuclear power that wanted to protect their own interests with a bit of sabotage." Tenma wondered.
"Could be. Now all we have to do is prove it. We're going to have to get over to the Nuclear Engineering unit and go over their computers with a fine tooth comb. If we are lucky, Smith might have left some crumbs behind." Dr. Deacon said.
buzzed. His secretary informed him that he had a long distance phone
call from the Japanese Institute of Science. A Dr. Ochanomizu wanted
to talk to him.
"Hmm, that's the scientist who gave us a glowing recommendation for the hire of Dr. Tenma" he thought.
"Hello Dr. Ochanomizu, this is Dr. Fargo. How are things in Japan today?"
"That's why I called, Dr. Fargo. It seems we've discovered something buried in the snow on Mt. Fuji that belongs to Dr. Tenma. I wanted to make sure that he was still there. I had a feeling that our discovery might have caused him some grief. We read about your little nuclear accident there. Fortunately, things turned out a little better for you in Eureka than they did at Fukushima Daiichi for us."
"Yes, Dr. Tenma is still here. The whole town shares his grief with the loss of his robot son. What is it that you found on Mt. Fuji?"
"That's the thing. Tobio isn't lost. We found him on Fuji."
took a few moments for it all to sink in. Dr. Ochanomizu's thick
Japanese accent on top of his English made him slightly hard to
follow, but Douglas had figured out most of what he had been
"Tobio Tenma made it across the ocean and fell on Mt. Fuji? Is he alright?"
"He's mostly in one piece. Between the EMP and the impact with the ground he's going to need some tricky repairs, which I think will require Dr. Tenma's expertise. I've booked transportation to Eureka, we should be there in two days time." Ochanomizu reported.
"Excellent! I'll arrange for your arrival." Dr. Fargo replied.
After hanging up the phone, Fargo decided to wait to tell Dr. Tenma about this news. He wanted Uma to continue to work on getting proof of the sabotage on the power plant, and giving him this news now might distract his efforts. He wouldn't need to know that Tobio had been found until Ochanomizu actually arrived anyway. Things were looking up.