A Eureka Moment In Time

Chapter 16

Andy returned to the sheriff's office to find Jack Carter inside. The Sheriff was on the phone and hung up the handset just as his deputy entered.
"You've been a busy robot Andy Cobalt! I was just on the line with the railroad emergency people and the National Transportation Safety Agency" Carter smiled.

"All in a day's work" Andy laughed.

Jack looked carefully at his deputy. His uniform was burned and torn, as well as covered with soot. There was something else as well; he looked younger somehow, maybe a bit leaner and his hair was different. His uniform looked a bit big on him too.

"You know Andy, if I didn't know you were a robot I'd have to swear that you've lost some weight!" Jack said.

Andy tugged at his uniform with a look of surprise on his face.
"Yeah, it does seem a bit baggy on me. Maybe because it got torn"

Andy went to the back room to change into a fresh uniform. He returned a few minutes later, wearing clean clothing which didn't fit him in the same manor.
"I guess I'm going to have to have these taken in by the tailor." he laughed. Andy turned to look in the mirror and ran his hands though his hair. It seemed to have grown longer in places and shorter in others, almost as if it were trying to style itself.
"That's weird." he said.

Tobio ran down main street toward Cafe Diem. He entered the eatery and grabbed a counter stool.

"What will it be young man?" Vincent asked.

"Pizza with ice cream!" he cried.

"One slice of Pizza à la mode coming up!" Vincent said as he turned his head away from the boy to face palm to himself. "What strange tastes our youth has!" have he thought.

Andy sat at a table a few feet from the counter. He looked at Tobio and felt a connection. Of course, the two of them had been cross wired together for a few days while his systems had provided the energy and stabilization for the boy's to repair itself. It went deeper than that though, the same nanites that had repaired the boy had also changed his own DNA, and turned him into a more advanced super robot. Andy now had the abilities that Tobio was originally built with, abilities that the boy now either had lost, or were being suppressed by his memory loss. The two of them were almost brothers now, and Andy felt a responsibility to look after Tobio.

Vincent wandered over to where the deputy was sitting.
"Planning on ordering anything?" he asked.

Andy heard himself say "I'll have what the boy ordered" and he wondered why he said it.

Vincent gave him a cross eyed look and a groan.

Andy moved to the counter and sat next to Tobio as Vincent pulled a reheated slice of pizza out of the oven, dumped a scoop of ice cream on top of it, and served it to the deputy.

"How's it going Tobio?" he asked

"Oh Hi Andy." Tobio said between bites. "I didn't know you liked pizza with ice cream."

Andy tasted the concoction slowly and smiled. "Actually, until this moment, I didn't either."

"I heard how you saved the town after that train wreck. That was super! I wish I could fly like you! Of course you're a robot, though that's not that that's a bad thing." Tobio babbled. He finished his last bit of pizza and hopped off the stool.
"Got to get back home. My dad's waiting for me!" Tobio ran out of the Cafe and down the street. He didn't notice that he was keeping up with the automobile traffic on main street which was moving at a good 25 mph.

The computers in the Nuclear Engineer facility had been given a clean bill of health by Bill Greenblatt. With the virus gone, Dr. Putzburger and Dr. Deacon started the cleanup of breeder reactor. Alan Putzburger wanted to rebuild his power plant reactor as soon as possible. He was working on the design to prevent the runaway breeder cycle that had been induced by Zachary Smith's computer takeover. The breeder reactor would have to be taken apart, cleaned up, and refueled before they could attempt to generate new starting fuel for another Thorium reactor.

The experimental power plant had also been cleaned up. The huge hole that Atom had blasted in the roof was gone, in fact so was the entire roof. The liquid metal coolant had eaten into the floor of the reactor room. Two feet of new concrete floor had been poured in the building, raising the reactor room floor by that much. The roof would need to be raised by three feet and the walls of the building had been doubled in thickness. A temporary roof sat on new beams, and a permanent repair would be made after the rebuilt reactor was lowered by heli-crane into the building.

Zane Donovan and Dr. Tenma actually got along quite well. They both had a huge admiration for Dr. Kutcher, and Tenma enjoyed hearing Donovan talk about his former mentor. Zane realized that Tenma wasn't that much different from himself. Deep down they were both egotistical bastards who had to be the top dog in whatever they did. It was hard for Zane to admit this about himself, but it felt good to know his own faults and become a better person. After what he'd been through with his son, Tenma was probably feeling the same thing, Zane believed.

Andy now reported on a regular basis to the robotics lab for examination. Tenma kept careful watch on the changes that the nanites were still making to the robot's body. There were both internal systems changes, and external appearance modifications happening. Andy was slimming down in weight as his internal superstructure was modified. His facial appearance was morphing as well. Uma could almost swear there was now a family resemblance between Andy and Tobio if you looked hard enough. It was almost like they were half brothers, sharing the same father with different mothers.

Sgt Brown carried a large canvas bag out to the field for the afternoon PE class. He dumped the contents of the bag on the ground, spilling out several softballs, bats, and gloves. Brown then appointed two of the students as team captains and told them to take turns picking members of their class to form two teams for a softball game.

Tobio didn't expect what happened next. All at once a small fight broke out as both captains wanted to pick him first for their team. A quick rock paper scissors session solved the problem. That had never happened to Tobio on the playgrounds in Japan. He had always been a shrimp of a child, and was always the last one picked for any game. Even here in Eureka, he was the shortest member of his class. Were his schoolmates just being nice to him for moral support, probably by the the instruction of their elders? Or did they really like him? Why was he so special?

Tobio's team got to bat first. Kevin Blake led off with a single, and the next two batters drew walks. Tobio had been put into the cleanup position of the batting order, something that he didn't understand either. They should have put him up last. He took his position at the plate and held the bat nervously. Someone had handed him the largest and heaviest bat which he felt sure was a mistake. He surprised himself when he picked it up, he was able to handle it just fine. Tobio let the first pitch go by him as he lined up the strike box in his mind. The second pitch was outside the box, and he stopped his swing just in time to avoid breaking his wrists and being charged with a second strike. His eyes followed the third pitch as it rolled out of the pitcher's hand toward the plate. Something clicked in his brain and his arms moved with precision to meet the ball with the fat end of the bat. He put his shoulder into the swing and felt the sting of the impact in his hands as the ball met the bat. Tobio heard his teammates yelling at the top of their lungs for him to run. He dropped the bat and took off down the first base line. The ball flew a good 500 feet before hitting the ground for a grand slam home run! Tobio triumphantly watched his teammates round the bases ahead of him. He finally crossed home plate where Kevin Blake gave him a high five on both hands.

Tobio was put into the shortstop position on the field. Again, he wondered why he had been given one of the most demanding positions in the game. He didn't want to let his teammates down, but he didn't feel up to the challenge. At the bottom of the first inning the score was 4-0 and Tobio's team quickly had pitcher problems, with the first three batters drawing walks. The next batter hit a sizzling grounder between second and third base. Tobio had started out on the wrong side of diamond and had to break into a quick run to intercept the ball before it could get by into the outfield. He surprised himself with his speed as he ran inward, and toward second base to grab the ball. He didn't hold onto it very long, as he fired a rifle like shot toward the first baseman, who relayed it back to second base where Tobio had already ran back to grab the ball before the runner could even reach the bag. He tagged the man out, and fired the ball home like a cannon, where Kevin was catching. Kevin's hands stung as the ball blasted into his glove, but he managed to get it out of the mitt, and tag the runner coming home out. Triple play! As Tobio came running in toward the dugout, Kevin met him with another two handed high five.

The game ended a bit less lopsided than it started with Tobio's team winning by 3 runs. Still, he had turned out to be the hero of the game, something that had never happened to him before.

"Dad?" Tobio called to his father.

"Yes, Tobio?" Tenma asked.

"I think something weird is going on with me. When we lived in Japan, I couldn't do anything right. All the other kids called me names because I was so small. Well here, everyone is so nice to me, even though I'm still a shrimp." Tobio said.

"Eureka is a special town, Tobio. Everyone here is smart, and we all work for a place that employees only very bright people. Smart people are above teasing their fellow human beings. We know we have to work together. That's all." Uma replied.

"There's something else though." Tobio quizzed. "I seem to be better at things now than before my accident. I'm not as weak and clumsy. I'm actually GOOD at baseball! How could that happen?"

"Well, you had a very long rest while your body rebuilt itself during your recuperation. I guess you've just got a good start on the right footing, so to speak. Why don't you just enjoy yourself and not question your good fortune?"

"I guess so." Tobio smiled. "I do have so many new good friends! I like it much better here than back in Japan!" Tobio leaped up and grabbed his father around his neck. Tenma returned the hug and the two of them felt the moment of warmth and love for each other.

The resume of one Dr. Acetylene Lamp landed on Douglas Fargo's desk. It had already been rubber stamped by Jo Lupo, who failed to come up with any security problems on the individual. Dr. Putzburger was looking for a replacement for his contract assistant, and there was an open Rec that needed to be filled. Douglas read through the resume and decided that he'd pass it on to Alan Putzburger for his take on it. As far as he was concerned the guy was qualified for the position. If he fit in with the man in charge, they'd hire him.

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