A Eureka Moment In Time

Chapter 13

Yuko spent about an hour on line and on the phone, making reservations for their transportation to Eureka. The closest city with a major airport to Eureka was Portland, from there it would be about a three hour ride by car. She was able to book them first class round trip tickets for a direct flight from Tokyo to Portland, with the return leg dates left open. The problem had been rental ground transportation, due to Ochanomizu's instructions. Firstly, she had to arrange for cargo space for the robot. Then there was the matter of the rental vehicle they would drive from Portland to Eureka. The Hertz rental agency at the Portland airport assured her that they could arrange for any kind of vehicle needs, but the agent on the phone was taken back by her request.

"You want to rent a what!?"

"You heard me." Yuko said. "We need to rent a hearse. We will be bringing back the body of a colleague's son from Japan. The casket will be checked as luggage and we desire to transport it personally."

It took the Hertz agency in Portland a few hours to find an available vehicle, and they called Yuko back direct with the confirmation.

"Well, that's taken care of" she sighed as Dr. Ochanomizu came up to her desk.

"It was the only way I could think of to get Tobio on the plane without all sorts of red tape. Government officials will usually just let a funeral transportation go through with little more than a rubber stamp. It will be a bit weird though, driving in the thing." Ochanomizu said.


Henry Deacon and Dr. Tenma went over the computers in the Nuclear Engineering laboratory with a fine tooth comb. William Greenblatt, the Global Dynamics IT geek, was assisting them.

"I've found some evidence of deleted files on the hard drive of this system." William said. "It appears that the disk sectors haven't yet been reallocated by the file system, so with a bit of painstaking work on my part, I think we can reconstruct the missing data."

"You mean you can rebuild the directory tree by hand?" Henry asked.

"Yes, it's possible. I've already recovered the user ID for the missing files, and they belonged to Zachary Smith, or someone using his login name and password. You know for a virus hacker the guy wasn't that bright. He's left enough bread crumbs in this system for a good security engineer to find with only half a brain."


Dr. Ochanomizu and Yuko left the JAL gate in the Portland airport and found their way to the baggage claim area. Their luggage didn't take very long to flop down the conveyor belt, but they had to wait quite a while before the heavier freight was removed from the airplane to be claimed. Yuko phoned Hertz and requested them to bring their vehicle around to the terminal, rather than having them seek transportation to the rental agency. It was worth the extra fee, considering that they needed the vehicle to pick up their last bit of checked 'luggage'.

Amazingly the Hertz agency had the hearse pulled round in front of the terminal at the same instant that the casket was wheeled into the baggage claim area. Then there was some paperwork to be filled out and the pine box was loaded into the back of the vehicle along with their suitcases. Yuko's being fluent in several languages helped matters, what English Dr. Ochanomizu spoke was mostly 'geek'.

Yuko handled the driving while Ochanomizu tried to manage reading a map. They had brought along a portable GPS, and Yuko's cell phone had a good map application as well. A good portion of the trip to Eureka was on Interstate I5, which was a well marked road. However they eventually had to turn off the major road, and take a number of winding two lane black tops, leading into the town that wasn't on any public map. Yuko had been given a latitude and longitude by Dr. Fargo to enter into the GPS, it was the only way to find their destination.


William Greenblatt had a shit eating grin on his face.
"There you go folks, I did it!" he bragged. "Not only the binary that he uploaded to Egan Edison's laboratory and the power plant, but the source code as well! That egotistic asshole even signed his name on the source code. Can you imagine someone writing a virus and putting a header comment with his name on it?"

Dr. Deacon pulled out his Blackberry phone and sent a priority text to Jo Lupo. "We have positive proof that Zachary Smith is our power plant hacker. He also spiked the reactor fuel supply."

"Knowing Jo, as soon as she gets this, she's going to contact some of her friends over at the FBI and the NSA, probably the HSA as well. I wouldn't want to be in Zachary Smith's shoes" Henry smiled.


It was getting dark and Dr. Ochanomizu was getting a bit nervous. Yuko was a good driver, but the road was full of sharp turns. There were thick woods on either side of the road that hid what lay ahead of each bend in the pavement. Yuko suddenly slammed on the brakes just in time to avoid a collision with a massive bull moose that decided to cross in front of them, without looking out for oncoming traffic. Due to their short stop, the casket slid forward and slammed into back of Ochanomizu's seat. The majestic animal stood there with his breath steaming out of his nostrils several feet above their heads. Finally he slowly walked off into the forest without so much as a glance back at them. Yuko put the vehicle back in gear and continued following the GPS map, now driving about 15 mph slower than she had been before.


Dr. Tenma sat in his office with his head supported by his hands, his elbows resting on the surface of the desk. The saboteur who had been responsible for Tobio's misfortunes had been identified with enough proof to have him arrested. Motive still had yet to be found, but there was little doubt that it would be. It was getting late, but Uma had no desire to return home to the empty house. He looked around the office at the boxes he had started to pack, and had not yet decided to empty. He didn't know what he wanted to do. Maybe he should buy some farmland and grow horseradishes or something.

The sound of the telephone on his desk ringing brought him out of his self pity.

"Hello, Tenma here." he answered.

"Tenma, this is Dr. Fargo. I'm glad to find you still here in the building. You have a visitor waiting for you down in the main lobby."

"Sure, Dr. Fargo. I'll meet you down there." Tenma hung up the phone. Who would show up at to see him this late hour?

As Tenma approached the reception area in the lobby he could see two familiar faces in the company of Dr. Fargo.

"Hello, Uma. We've come a long way to see you." Dr. Ochanomizu smiled. "You do remember my assistant, Yuko, don't you?"

"Yes, my old friend. So you've come to comfort me in my time of grief?"

"Actually that isn't exactly why we came." Yuko said.

It was only then that Dr. Tenma noticed the casket that had been wheeled in on a laboratory cart.
"What is that?" he said with a quake in his voice.

Tenma walked over to the box and Ochanomizu slowly lifted the lid. Uma's eyes widened as he stared into the coffin. "Tobio?"

"He was found buried in the snow on Fuji by a survey team several days ago. I realized right away what, I mean who, he was. I couldn't do anything for him, and this was the only way we could sneak him out of the country to you." Dr. Ochanomizu replied.

"I knew about this a day or so ago, Dr. Tenma." Fargo said. "You were making good progress with Dr. Deacon in identifying the cause of the reactor accident, so I decided not to bother you. I hope you can forgive me."

If Tenma was angry at this revelation, he didn't show it.
"Come, lets get Tobio over to my laboratory at once. If there is any chance of repairing him, I want to start immediately."

Dr. Fargo reached for his Blackberry and started to type out a text message to Dr. Deacon. Next to Dr. Tenma, and probably Dr. Ochanomizu, Henry was the second most qualified robotics expert at GD. His assistance might be required.

Uma reached into the casket and lifted his robot son out. He held Tobio against his body, as he would a sleeping child. His eyes became moist with tears of joy, and he silently prayed that he could work a miracle.


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