A Eureka Moment In Time

Chapter 14

Doctor Tenma opened Atom's chest panels and hooked the boy robot up to the laboratory instruments. A few moments later, Dr. Deacon arrived, he had left his home immediately after receiving the text message from Dr. Fargo. Henry observed the computer readouts and watched Uma probing inside of the robot's body. So far there were no signs of any activity within any of his systems.

Deputy Andy had tried to lie down to rest and recharge himself, but he kept feeling something itching inside of him, and it was getting worse. He felt like something was calling, no pulling him; and he had to answer the call. He left the police station and got in the Jeep parked out front. He wasn't sure where he had to go, and he started driving on autopilot. He parked the Jeep in front of the main research facility at Global Dynamics and entered the building. Andy found himself in the back of Tenma's robotics laboratory. A small crowd of people were standing around a well lit workbench where Tobio's lifeless body lay. Andy moved closer and stood next to Dr. Fargo.

Several hours passed as Tenma ran different tests, and went through various restart procedures. Dr. Ochanomizu and Dr. Deacon both assisted Dr. Tenma during some of his attempts to bring Tobio back, but so far nothing positive had happened. Finally Uma Tenma admitted the worst.

"It seems like Atom's main power control systems were fried by the electromagnetic pulse. We don't have the special parts here to replace the damaged components and I can't repair them either. I used some very advanced systems to enable me to put so much energy and power into such a small package. It might take me a year to rebuild the system from scratch."

Dr. Deacon looked at Andy, remembering his examination of the deputy, and rubbed his chin in thought.
"You could repair the damaged parts at the molecular level" He suggested.

"Yes, my nanites!" Tenma exclaimed. "The nano robotic machines could do the job, if Atom were even slightly powered up. It's a catch-22 problem, I can't power him up because his critical systems are too damaged, and the nanites can't repair those systems without some available power."

Andy turned to Dr. Tenma.
"What about a transfusion?" He asked.

"Out of the mouths of babes!" Tenma exclaimed.
"Deputy, would you please undress and lay down on the table next to Tobio?"

"Sure, no problem" Andy replied.

Dr. Tenma opened Andy's access panels and lowered a video microscope into his body. On the overhead monitor he could see Andy's systems greatly magnified. He zoomed in on Andy's power regulator and increased the magnification.
"The nanites have modified Andy's power regulator system to be more like Atom's. In fact, they are now mostly compatible. I could hook Andy's power regulator in parallel with Tobio's and use Andy to power him up. Then we give him an injection of nanites, and we wait."

"Gentlemen, I could use some assistance!" Tenma asked.

Andy lay down next to Tobio's still form. Tenma instructed Dr. Ochanomizu how to construct the required cables from the available raw wire in the laboratory store room. He and Dr. Blake started out to accomplish that task. Uma worked on disconnecting parts of Atom's system so he could access the required connections. Yuko downloaded several 3D model files to a flash drive and handed the storage device to Dr. Fargo, who ran off to operate the CNC milling machine in an adjacent laboratory, to create a high power junction block from a solid hunk of copper.

Finally all of the required equipment was ready.
"Andy, you understand that this procedure could be dangerous to you. We could overload your systems and possibly burn something out. I don't think the worst case scenario would be fatal to you, but I could leave you in a coma like state for weeks." Dr. Tenma said.

"Hey doc, I already told you I wished I could have done what your son did. This is my way of repaying him for his self sacrifice." Andy replied.

"OK then, let's get started." Tenma said.

First they attached the cables and clamps to Atom's power couplings. Then they joined him to Andy by attaching the other end of the cables to matching points inside of the Deputy's body. Between the two of them the cables joined inside of a switched junction box where Dr. Tenma could control the moment when the transfusion would start. Uma used a syringe to remove some of the nanites from Andy's body, these nano machines had already been self programmed to work on Andy's systems, and they would get right to work inside of Atom as soon as they felt some power flow. Tenma injected the nanites into the EMP damaged components inside of the his son's body. He then threw the transfer switches to the on position, one switch at a time.

The computer monitors registered a twinge of current flowing in Tobio's body. The nanites began to congregate in the damaged areas of his systems. Andy drifted into a semiconscious, dream like state.

"Now all we can do is wait. We should see some signs that it's working within a few hours, but if it does work it could take days for him to recover." Tenma sighed.

The word spread though out Eureka. The entire town now knew that their hero had returned, and was lying in the robotics laboratory fighting for his life. Almost all work at GD ground to a halt as everyone waited for news from the main research building. Dr. Tenma, Dr. Oschanomizu, Dr. Deacon, and Zane Donovan took turns sitting at the instruments monitoring Tobio's progress. In the end however, none of them wanted to leave the laboratory, and their meals were brought in. They lived on coffee, Jolt Cola, and Red Bull. Several cots were also brought into the laboratory so they could take a catnap when they really needed to.

After twenty four hours, Dr. Tenma made the announcement that he had not yet seen any improvement. The nanites seemed to be moving from one area to another, but they hadn't yet started to make any major modifications to the damaged areas. No one had given up hope yet. Tenma injected some freshly made nanites into Atom's systems, hoping that between the 'veterans' and the 'tyros' some order would come out of the chaos.

The monitor readout that everyone had their attention riveted to, was the dual bar graph that showed the power flow into Tobio's body from Andy's regulator, vs the power flow being generated totally within the boy's own system. So far the second indicator, located on the left hand side of the screen, read absolute zero, while the first on the right had side, indicated a very conservative value. It had now been 36 hours with no change in these readings. Doctor Tenma adjusted the couplings so that Andy's body would be asked to provide double the power flow. Maybe the nanites were simply starving and needed some more nourishment to perform their task?

"Do you think that is wise, Dr. Tenma?" Henry asked. "You could damage Andy's systems by asking them to provide that much power."

"The nanites have increased Andy's power handling abilities, and they are still at work inside of him. He should be fine even if I double the power demand a second time." Tenma said.

The deathwatch continued. It had now been four whole days since they had connected the two androids together. Dr. Ochanomizu lifted his tired eyes up one more time to glance at the bargraph display. The left hand side which indicated Tobio's internally generated power flickered. Dr. O. walked closer to the screen and touched the magnification button to get a better view. There was no doubt. It read 0.05%. While that was a very tiny amount, it was the first time it had read above zero since they had started the procedure. It was working! It was finally working!

"Uma! LOOK!" he cried out pointing at the bargraph display.

Dr. Tenma's eyes were red from lack of sleep. He had a dull headache from lack of food. However the rush of adrenaline triggered by the sight of the indicator cleared his head in a flash.
"Tobio! You're coming back to me!" He cried out.

Yuko, Henry, Douglas and Zane looked up and saw the bargraph. It had risen in mere moments to 0.15%. A resounding cheer rose in the laboratory Hands slapped each other, and everyone exchanged hugs with one another. The indicator soon reached 0.5% and it was now visibly climbing. The nanites were finally doing their job.

Somehow the premature news leaked. The patrons inside Cafe Diem heard the news and the somber mood turned cheerful. Vincent downed an Irish Coffee in celebration, and had to make enough for the rest of the crowd. He was soon too busy making refills for everyone else to have anymore for himself. Sheriff Carter realized that he would soon have a very happy, but very drunk crowd on his hands.

Within a few hours the left hand bargraph had reached 15%. Atom's internal power supply was now on line, and was delivering enough energy by itself to maintain the current level of nanite activity. Dr. Tenma carefully disconnected Andy and removed the transfusion cables from Atom. Tobio was now on his own. The internal power meter was at 25% and steadily rising.

Andy opened his eyes and slowly tested his legs. He was able to stand, though he did feel a bit dizzy. The deputy walked slowly toward the group of scientists standing near the operating table.
"How's the kid doing?" Andy asked.

"We're past the first crucial point." Dr. Tenma said. "Unless something unexpected happens, his internal systems will self repair in another 24 hours or so. The big question then will be how much of his memory and AI remain intact."

Dr. Ochanomizu placed his hand on Tenma's shoulder.
"Uma, just when did you develop those nanites?"

"I'd like to know that too." Dr. Fargo added.

"I brought the prototypes of these with me from Japan. I had started work on the concept at the IOS while I was designing the super robot prototype. The nanites can self replicate themselves if they are fed the required raw materials. Like wise, they can repair systems into which they are introduced, if they have the available elements. The liquid that the nanites are suspended in contains silicon, titanium, and other materials from which robot systems are built. Hence they can effect repairs. I first tried them out on Andy a few weeks ago as an experiment." Tenma explained.

Early the next morning Tobio's indicators had reached 90%. He was still in a coma like state, but his autonomic nervous system functions were now normally active.

"It won't be long before he regains consciousness." Tenma said. "Then we'll know how much of his AI and memory is intact. I'd like for him to wake up in a normal environment, can we set up a mock hospital room, with a suitable bed and instruments?" Tenma reached into his pocket and withdrew his house keys. "Also, can someone run over to my place and retrieve some of Tobio's clothes? His pajamas are in the lower drawer of his dresser."

"I'll go." Zane volunteered. He took the keys from Uma and headed out to his car.

Tobio was wheeled over to the medical research area of GD. Dr. Allison Blake finished setting up a recovery room just as the cart with Tobio was pushed into the room. Zane entered carrying a pile of clothing.
"Did Tobio really like these?" he asked holding up a pair of "fluffy footy PJ's with a pull over hood that sported ears on top.

"Yes, those were his favorites" Dr. Tenma said.

Uma carefully dressed his son in the pajamas and pulled the blanket over his body. He fluffed up the pillow and carefully lifted Tobio's head and laid it down on it. The modified medical instruments reported his vital signs. The computer equivalent of an EEG readout was showing increasing brain activity. Tobio was now out of the coma and in a dream state. His body started to twitch as his senses came on line. He was now aware of his surroundings, though not in a fully awakened state. His body was now trying to find a comfortable position on the bed, something we all do in our sleep.

"Everyone, please leave the room now. Let's not confuse him when he wakes up. I want to be alone with him." Tenma requested.

Dr. Tenma sat next to the head of the bed. Tobio continued to fidget, and his mouth opened in a yawn. Finally he opened his eyes. Tobio appeared to be trying to figure out where he was, and how he got there. His eyes met Uma's and he smiled.

"Tobio?" Uma spoke softly.

"Dad?" the boy answered. "Where am I? What happened?"

"What is the last thing you remember son?" Tenma asked.

Tobio stared at his father and contemplated the question. Slowly a fog seemed to lift and and he was able to again speak.
"I … I was riding my hoverscooter. I had gone to get you a father's day present and I took my new hoverscooter into town to go to the store. I was on my way back and …. out of the corner of my eye, I think I saw a truck and it all went dark. I guess I was in an accident. I'm sorry dad. I didn't mean to worry you. And I guess I lost your present."

Dr. Tenma's eyes teared up and he gave Tobio a hug.
"It's OK son. Everything is going to be OK. Why don't you rest a little. I'll be right back." Tenma said.

Uma walked out of the room toward his worried colleagues. From the look on his face they all knew something was not quite right.

"Tobio doesn't remember." He said. "He doesn't know where he is now, he doesn't know what or who he is. The last thing that he remembers is the fatal accident that killed him. All of his memories as a robot are gone. He thinks he IS the original Tobio."

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