A Eureka Moment In Time

Chapter 8

Zachery Smith felt the wad of brand new hundred dollar bills in his pocket. It was easy money, all he had to do was to contaminate the last batch of the starting fuel for the reactor. He wasn't too sure where the money actually came from, probably from BP or OPEC, it really didn't matter. He had met his contact on the outskirts of town along the road leading into Eureka earlier that morning, probably exactly where Jack Carter had his car problem years ago. He had received a strange text message on his personal cell phone about a week ago, and had agreed to the meeting. The man he met, was of average height, wore dark glasses that fit under his overhanging brow, and sported a mustache. The guy pulled a portable Fort Knox out of his pocket, peeled off about an inch and a half worth of bills and handed it to Zach.
"You'll get the other half when we hear about it on the news," he was told.

Smith waited till Putzburger left the building before he carefully modified the breeder reactor's parameters. If he left it running overnight and came in early to reset things back to normal there would be just enough imbalance in the starting fuel so it wouldn't be noticed, until they started to bring the reactor up to full power. Then it would slowly start to enter an uncontrollable runaway reaction and destroy itself. The resulting accident would set back the project a few years and give the oil barons a little more time to live off their reserves.


Kevin Blake was showing off his research rocket in class. It was a good five feet tall, and at least six inches wide at the base.
"I'm going to launch this from over at the Eureka proving grounds after school today." He explained to the class. "I expect to reach at least 60,000 feet, and hopefully double that. It all depends on just how efficient my motor design is. Henry Deacon has been helping me with the final assembly."

"Wow!" Tobio replied. That really looks good. "I'd sure like to watch you launch it."

Robert VanAllen, Physics teacher and rocket scientist, entered the class room and called for the students to take their seats.

"That's a nice rocket you have there Mr. Blake. Would you mind leaving it in the back of the room with the reset of the research projects? I don't appreciate any competition with my lecture." he said.

The class found their seats and VanAllen began the lesson.

"Today we will be discussing the various forms of fission reactors suitable for electric power generation. Later this week we will hopefully get to see Eureka's experimental power station starting up their new Thorium breeder reactor. This is a new design power plant that I've been told will produce electrical power more efficiently and inexpensively than anything to date. If all goes well, Dr. Alan Putzburger will demonstrate the plant to us in a few days."


Zane Donovan was almost finished with his final inspection of the reactor. I was almost ready to be fueled and buttoned up for its first test. Zane expected that Dr. Putzburger would soon make his final inspection, so he decided to check up on the progress in the refinement of the starting fuel. Zane used his computer terminal to open a video call to the Nuclear Engineering section.

"Hello Zane!" Zachery Smith got real close to the web cam so that Zane could see the fillings in his front teeth clearly.

"Yuck! Zack, back off will you! I can almost smell your bad breath!" Zane said.

"Sorry! I know why you're calling, Putzburger just left here himself. The final processing is being completed now. You should have your first batch of starting fuel by late tomorrow." Smith answered.

"That's good, because we are ready to start loading the Thorium fuel right now." Zane replied. "Thanks to your good work over there, we will be right on schedule."

"I can't wait to here how it goes!" Zachery cackled.


Deputy Andy sat in the Sheriff's office with his feet up on the desk. He was reading a catalog from the CHIEFsupply Law enforcement supply company. Jack Carter walked in and found his deputy with his nose buried in the catalog.
"You look relaxed there, Andy. So did Dr. Tenma find you fit for another 50,000 miles or so?"

"Very funny Jack. Yeah, he said I was in good shape. He gave me a special treatment, he said he'd installed a self repairing systems mod or something. I've never felt so fine tuned before." Andy smiled.

"Well that's good. I'd hate to have my deputy falling apart at a critical moment there."

Jack looked through his schedule on the computer.
"Seems I have a meeting over at Dr. Fargo's office in an hour. Think I'll head over there early." Jack said walking out of the building. He walked over to his Jeep, only to find the front left tire was flat.
"Rat's!" Jack mumbled out loud.

Andy poked his head out of the door and saw Jack standing over the Jeep.
"Hey Jack, let me give you a hand with that!"

"Sure, Thanks Andy!" Jack replied.

Carter opened the back of the Jeep and got out the tool kit. He lifted the floor panel and unbolted the clamp holding the spare tire. Then he lifted the wheel out of the back of the Jeep, and placed it on the ground. As he turned to walk toward the front of the Jeep, he saw Andy pull the hub cap off the flat tire using only his fingers. Andy then paused as if he were about to come back for the lug wrench, but instead unscrewed the five nuts by twisting them off with his left hand.

"Showing off a bit, aren't we Deputy?" Jack asked. "You usually use the lug wrench."

"Yeah, you're right. My hands suddenly felt a bit stronger than usual and I just found out I could do it without using any tools. Weird." Andy replied.

Jack rolled the new wheel over to his Deputy. Andy then surprised both of them by lifting the corner of the Jeep up with his right hand from under the top of the fender. While holding the vehicle off the ground he removed the damaged wheel with his left hand, and then pushing it aside, he grabbed the replacement wheel and slapped it in place. Andy then lowered the Jeep to the ground and twisted the five lug nuts into place.

Carter was about to remove the Jack from the back of the Jeep when he saw what his Deputy had just done.
"Now you are really showing off. Feeling your Wheaties there?" Jack asked.

"That was weird. I just lifted the Jeep with one hand and held it up like it weighed nothing. I know I'm much stronger than most men, being a robot and all, but I suddenly felt like I had twice my normal strength. I must have been out of tune for a long time and that Dr. Tenma really did a good job adjusting me." Andy guessed.

"I don't know. Maybe we should have Henry check you out. He's pretty familiar with your systems too." Carter suggested.


Tobio met his father in his office after school let out. He had ran most of the way because he wanted to go see Kevin launch his rocket.
"Dad, can we drive over to the proving grounds? Kevin Blake is going to launch his research rocket in about a half an hour."

Tenma sighed as he looked at his watch. "Why don't you run over there without me, son. I need to finish up on some paper work. If I can, I'll grab one of the electric cars to meet you there."

"OK!" Tobio yelled as he ran out of the office. As Tobio ran out of the rear exit to the Global Dynamics research building he looked around to see if he could spot the class on their way to the proving grounds where the miniature research rocket launch pad was. The small wooded area where the drone aircraft had crashed a few days ago lay between the proving grounds and the Tesla school and the students would normally walk around it. Tobio had left the school in the other direction to reach his father's office, and he was now taking the third leg of the triangle to reach the launch site. In the distance he now saw Keven just starting to set up the rocket. Tobio knew he could get the faster, but his father had warned him against using his abilities in public so he continued to run toward his friends.
"Hey Kevin!" Tobio yelled. "Wait for me!"

Nobody heard him, and the students had already moved further away from the launch pad. Kevin had already started the countdown.
"Rats!" Tobio thought as he circled around to get far enough away from the launch pad, just in case.

The rocket sat on the launch pad in the middle of the grounds between Tobio and the students, who had taken up a safe position inside of the control shed.
"Well I have a good view of the rocket from here, even if I'm not by my friends." Tobio thought.

Kevin's rocket rose off the pad slowly. It veered towards the direction of the school, gaining altitude. It's flight so far seemed perfect.

Inside of the control shed Kevin was tracking the rocket. His research missile was sending back a radio transmission that gave it's altitude, location, speed, and vital engine parameters. It all looked good on his end as well.

Suddenly, something in the vehicle failed. The rocket lost power for a moment and the nose dropped toward the ground. The engine regained power and the rocket started heading toward the ground. It looked like it was going to smash down on the roof of the Tesla school. Kevin tried to shut down the engines from his remote control, but the rocket didn't respond to his commands. It disappeared from sight over the wooded area.

Out of sight of his friends, Tobio saw the rocket turn downward. It was plunging under power toward the school.
"Oh no, not again!" he sighed leaping into the air.
An explosion echoed from the wooded area, and a small mushroom cloud rose above the trees.
Tobio walked out of the woods. His face was covered with soot, and his clothes were burned. He smelled of rocket fuel.

Kevin had tracked the rocket until he lost the signal.
"I think it went down into the wooded area." He told his friends.

The students walked toward the woods only to find Tobio standing there.
"What happened to you?" Kevin Blake asked Tobio.

"Your rocket ran into me!" he sighed. Tobio held the remains of the vehicles upper stage in his hands and gave them to Kevin. "Here's what's left of it."

The boys walked back toward the control shed to collect their things. As they got there a small electric car pulled up and Dr. Tenma stepped out. He took one look at Tobio, and his face turned white.

"Tobio, what happened to you? Come here, let me take you home!"

"Sorry Dad." Tobio sighed as they drove off. "I guess I did it again."



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