Zane Donovan knocked on Dr. Fargo's office door and entered without waiting for Douglas to reply.
"Hello Zane, why don't you just barge in?" Fargo asked, after the factly.
"Why did you hire that weasel, Tenma? The guy stinks like week old fish." Zane blurted out.
"Coming from you Zane, that's quite brash. Tenma is one of Japan's foremost experts on Artificial Intelligence. He's had great success with the development of robotic assistants that are now widely used in that country for the care of the elderly and infirmed. On what basis can you insult him like that?" Fargo demanded.
"Did you ever hear of a Dr. Kutcher? He was the real inspirational thinker in the development of the kind of AI that you are giving Tenma credit for. I should know all about that, I was working with Kutcher when he was here, before you became head of G.D. It took me a long time to recover the memory of the incident, but when we had that AI convention here years ago, Tenma used a L.O.O.K.E.R. on me and stole a flash drive containing all of Kutcher's research that I had downloaded from his private files. That flash drive was going to be put in the storage vault at Kutcher's request."
"Do you have proof of that?" Fargo asked.
"You damn well know I don't. Tenma covered up his tracks very well. I've got more on him that I can't yet prove. He covered up the death of his son. The guy might have even murdered his own kid for all I know. Just a few months ago when you sent me over to the Japan IOS to look at a small computer problem they had, I did some spying on Tenma. I hacked into the Takondanobaba police department computer and found a fatal accident report involving a Tobio Tenma. I also found a coroner's report and a death certificate on the same individual. The later two documents have disappeared from their respective files. I also looked at Tenma's research papers and at some of the AI software he was developing at the IOS. Large sections of those are very similar to Kutcher's work. But all of this evidence only exists here," Zane said pointing to his head.
"Without proof, I can do nothing Zane. All you have are suspicions." Fargo replied.
"Officially maybe. I was in Tenma's lab when he finished the super robot project that was the crux of his conflict with the IOS board of governors. They canceled the project on Tenma, and pulled all of the funding; but Tenma went on with it anyway for months afterward. When I was there he finished the robot and activated it. I saw that robot, and it was the spitting image of his son! I don't know if he had the boy killed to cover up the robot project, or if he changed the scope of that project after his son died by accident. In any case, by covering up his son's death, he was able to sneak out of Japan with that robot!" Zane explained.
"You are forgetting that Dr. Blake examined the boy before he was admitted to the Tesla School, Tobio Tenma is no robot." Fargo said.
"Are you REALLY sure, Fargo? Tenma has that L.O.O.K.E.R. gizmo. I bet he hypnotized Dr. Blake into thinking she examined the boy and into filling out the medical report. That's how he stole Kutcher's files from me. The one drawback to that L.O.O.K.E.R. ray, is that the memory erasure effects are not permanent. It takes a while, sometimes years, but you DO eventually remember what was blocked by the ray. I might be able to find a way to accelerate the reversal of the ray's effect and we can get Dr. Blake to confirm my suspicions. Meanwhile, I'm going to try and get some proof on my own that Tobio isn't Tenma's flesh and blood son." Zane answered.
Tesla School, Outdoor Athletic Field
Today was Tobio's first Physical Education class. His father had made sure he was prepared, and he had got the boy the required gym uniform; a pair of cotton shorts, a tee shirt in the school colors, a pair of canvas athletic shoes and heavy cotton socks.
The class lined up on the field and their instructor started things going with some in-place exercises.
Edward Brown, was the PE instructor. He actually had been a gunnery
Sergeant in the marines, and the students sometimes addressed him as
"Sarge". He addressed the class as soon as they had lined
"OK, as usual we will start off with push ups. Let's see how many you guys can do eh? Who's going to be the last one to give up?"
The class dropped to the ground and started the exercise.
Mitch Fargo, was one of the more athletic students. He was on the swim team and the football team, and excelled in any sport he put his mind to. He was also a top student and would have his pick of college when he graduated. Mitch always was the last to stop with the push up competition. Mitch was a distant relative to Dr. Douglas Fargo, he was the son of the director's second cousin who worked in the printing plant for the town's only newspaper. It was a fully automated printer that could generate high quality typesets under computer control. His father, Mark Fargo ran the print shop all by himself, most of the equipment was his design, though Henry Deacon had done the actual construction.
One by one the students arms gave out, and they lay down on their stomachs, or sat down and watched their fellow students keep going. Finally, there were only two of them left, Mitch and Tobio. Mitch was on the ground behind Tobio, and he kept an eye on his competition as he mentally counted down his own repetitions. The two boys had reached 200 push ups each and neither showed any signs of slowing. Mitch's arm muscles were starting to burn, but he wouldn't let a kid less than half his weight show him up. Tobio just kept on going, like a machine.
Zane Donovan stood outside the fence, watching. He had been recording the push up competition between the two boys on his Blackberry's video camera. This was getting interesting.
Finally Mitch Fargo could go no more. His mind was willing, but his flesh failed him. He fell to the ground, panting. Tobio just kept on going, not even winded. He was waiting for the instructor to tell him it was OK to stop!
Sarge called out to Tobio. "Hey you! New kid. You can stop now!"
Tobio got up and stood at attention facing the instructor.
"What's your name kid?" He asked.
"I'm Tobio Tenma. I started school here yesterday.
"Well, Tobio Tenma, that was very impressive. You must be a robot or something." Sarge joked.
I am a ro..." Tobio started to say, but Zane interrupted by
yelling through the fence at the instructor.
"What do you want Zane?" Ed Brown walked toward the fence towards Zane Donovan. To say that there was a little bad blood between Donovan and Brown would have been putting it lightly. Zane had been a real prankster as a kid, and his reputation as a draft dodger didn't sit well with the ex marine.
"Listen Ed. There's something fishy going on with Tenma's kid. I'm doing my own investigation on his old man. I think the guy is up to something."
"Zane you're crazy. The kid is in great shape, he just did over 250 sit ups nonstop and wasn't even winded, but to me he looks just a normal kid. I don't need you hanging around here acting like some kind of pervert. Play detective at G.D. if you want, but keep away from my students or you'll have ME to deal with!"
Global Dynamics, Military Aeronautics Division
Ethan Edison was Global Dynamics aeronautics design expert. For the past few years he had been working on perfecting an electric propulsion system for miniature drone aircraft that would be both powerful and silent. Recently Henry Deacon was working on an ion plasma rocket engine that had showed some promise for other purposes. Ethan had started work on an air breathing version of Henry's rocket, in other words and electric jet engine. Edison was now ready to test his latest prototype drone aircraft. It had a unique computer system that combined a sophisticated auto pilot with a programmable navigation computer and a rudimentary AI controller. Once programmed with the mission parameters, his drone would be able to adapt to changes and self adjust its programming to complete the mission. At least, that's what he hoped his design would be able to do.
Ethan had been working hard on getting the drone ready for its first test flight. Global Dynamics had its scaled down air force base for prototype drone aircraft, and a testing range complete with mock targets. The facility was located several miles away from town on the other side of a small wooded area beyond the Tesla school athletics field. It was common enough for the test aircraft to be seen by Tesla students, but the aircraft had never got close enough to be any danger to the school or the town. Everyone in Eureka was used to seeing top secret aircraft being tested, and everyone in town also had top secret clearances. Such was life in "Geeksville USA".
At the moment Edison was getting ready to test the latest prototype at the G.D. proving range. He had mock targets set up in the range, and the drone was fitted with low power versions of the prototype laser weapons systems. They would make for some spectacular fireworks, but shouldn't cause any real damage. The main idea of the test was to verify that the navigation and control systems functioned and that the AI systems could adapt to some mock anti-aircraft fire.
Dr. Tenma's office
It was late in the afternoon. Tenma had been reviewing the data for all recent AI and robotic projects that Global Dynamics had been involved in over the past five years. The two most recent projects that he had studied in the greatest details were S.A.R.R.A.H. and Andy.
Douglas Fargo appeared in the doorway. He knocked and cleared his throat.
"Please come in Dr. Fargo," Tenma replied without looking up.
Fargo entered the office.
"I've been talking to Zane Donovan." Fargo began.
Fargo could get to the next sentence Tenma cut him off.
"Why am I not surprised? Don't tell me you believe the lies that he has been telling you about me."
"There seems to be a difference of opinion about who stole what from Dr. Kutcher. Zane has accused you of making off with Kutcher's work and basing your discoveries on his. I already know that you have accused Zane of trying to do the same. However Zane has a very good explanation of why he had access to Kutcher's work. Zane was Kutcher's assistant. He was cataloging and storing the man's work. Kutcher didn't trust computer networks, though Zane did make use of ours in storing the man's research. Kutcher insisted that all file transfers be done with physical media." Fargo explained.
"I will admit that I might have over reacted to catching Zane with the man's data. I admired Kutcher, and I also admit that I wanted to know more about what he was trying to do. After I caught Zane with the flash drive that he accused me of stealing, I did quickly look over some of the files out of curiosity. However, I didn't make any copies, and I threw that flash drive in the fire. I did not steal Kutcher's research. I will admit that being exposed to a few of his ideas might have altered my direction of thinking somewhat, however." Tenma admitted.
"Very well Doctor. I'll chalk this one up as a draw between the two of you. Not having the exact text of Kutcher's work, I can't comment on your possible plagiarism of his research. And since Zane doesn't have any copies of it as well, at least none that I am aware of, he can't prove anything either. However Zane has made a more serious accusation against you. He claims that you covered up the death of your son, and possibly even had the boy killed." Fargo replied.
"What! Now that is insane, Dr. Fargo. You've seen Tobio yourself."
"Zane would have me believe that Tobio is the robot that you were trying to complete at the Institute of Science, over the objection of their board of governors. He thinks that you were hiding your son's demise, so you could sneak the completed robot out of the country as your son."
"Do you believe that? Your own Dr. Blake examined my son and found him to be a perfectly healthy child." Tenma said.
"Yes, I know that. Zane can be a bit crazy at times, Dr. Tenma. I'm sorry I had to confront you with this, but look at the position I'm being put into."
"Yes, I suppose you're right. Your job does have it's disadvantages."
"Good afternoon then, Dr. Tenma. I think the best thing would be to try and keep you and Zane as far apart as possible." Fargo left the office. He figured he'd have to chew Zane out the next time he saw him. After speaking to Tenma, he was sure that Zane had gone off the deep end this time in his tilting at windmills.