A Eureka Moment In Time

Chapter 21 and Epiogue

Dr. Tenma closed Andy's access panels and left him hooked up to the power supply to recharge.
"I had to deactivate most of the advanced systems that the nanites had created during their upgrade of him. The radiation did too much damage to his circuits. Andy's body wasn't built with the kind of RAD hardened shielding that I had developed for Atom. I've replaced his damaged circuits with spares from GD's warehouse. Andy will survive, but he'll be mostly back to his old self when he awakes."

"You mean he won't be able to fly, and bench press locomotives anymore?" Jack Carter asked.

"Exactly. He will keep his new youthful appearance, but little else. Still, he will be able to function as your Deputy, just as he always did before I came along." Dr. Tenma sighed. "I guess this was one experiment of mine that ended in a failure."

"Now I wouldn't say that." Henry Deacon said, patting Uma on the shoulder. "It was a fine idea, and it actually did come in handy for a while."

"Listen, I've got to get back to the sheriff's office and do some paperwork. Jo, is already there and she's expecting me. I also have a feeling that you'd better come along, Dr. Tenma." Carter said.

"It will be a few hours before Andy wakes up." Tenma sighed, and he followed the Sheriff outside.


When Carter and Tenma arrived back at the police station Jo was seated at Carter's computer terminal filling out some reports. But the first thing that they noticed was Atom sitting in one of the two cells.

"He arrived back here about a half an hour ago and insisted that I lock him up. He signed a confession and left it with me." Lupo said, handing a single typed page to Carter.

Jack walked up the jail cell and looked at Atom. He quickly skimmed though the single page, tore it it half, crumbled it up, and tossed it into a trash can.

"That confession of your is worthless Atom. You didn't murder anyone." Jack said.

"Damn you Sheriff, I killed a human being!" Atom yelled at him.

"Only after he had killed you!" Carter yelled back. "If you were a flesh and blood human kid, you'd be dead now! Dr. Lamp was guilty of TWO murders here, he shot and killed Zachary Smith, and he put you into a fucking car crusher. I'd hardly call him a human being, Atom. We did find Lamp's Luger at the junk yard by the way, it had his prints on it and a shot had been fired from it recently."

Carter unlocked Atom's cell and swung the door open. Atom tried to grab at the door to close it again, but Tenma stepped in the way and entered the cell.

"Tobio" Tenma sighed. "I knew this day would come. The conflict between your robot AI, and your human kokoro. I created you with a higher moral sense than any human because I also gave you such tremendous powers that you would have to keep under control. I guess you will have to deal with what happened, but you will have to use your intelligence to realize that there is a greater good that you need to serve. It is sometimes necessary to sacrifice one to save the many. I already know that you would place the needs and lives of humans above your own. I also know that in the future, you may need to let an innocent person die in order to save others. It's a balancing act. Something that being human is all about. Can you understand me, Tobio?"

Atom looked into Uma's eyes and his own started to tear. Tenma reached out to Tobio with open arms and Atom returned the gesture. The two of them hugged each other for a good few minutes. Dr. Tenma then walked out of the cell and Atom followed him.

"Can we go home now father?" Tobio asked.

"Yes, but we have a stop to make first. A friend needs our help."

Atom took his father in his arms and they flew back to the research building at GD where Andy was lying asleep. As Uma and Atom approached the deputy, Andy's eyes winked open and he saw his friends.

"Hi Atom. Hello Dr. Tenma. I guess I survived my hero bit." Andy said.

"Almost." Tenma said. "You're back to being just plain old Andy again."

"Sorry Andy. I guess you'll have to leave the super stuff to me." Atom added.

"That's OK. I was always happy just being Carter's deputy."

Epilogue

Several weeks later … Ethan Edison's circular airfoil demonstration went wrong. The UFO shaped aircraft was out of control and was heading straight for Dr. Fargo's office window in the GD administration building. Zooming after it, Tobio's school clothes shredded as he intercepted the runaway and diverted it into the wooded area. A few minutes later, Tobio walked back to school in tattered fuel soaked rags with a huge smile on his face. He'd done it again!

The end


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