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Fauna's notes:
On the eve of November 19, 2007, I had a bizarre dream. It was centred in the Astro Boy world, the event being that Ochanimizu and Tenma were building a robot mother for Astro and Uran (for Astro's birthday) and they would let the three live on their own. Unfortunately, Mother robot looked a bit like Tenma's deceased wife, and the fact that he was supposed to take care of Mother robot overnight so Astro wouldn't see it...
Someone's putting LSD in my food.
I'm not sure which series this was set in...I saw Denkou & Yuko, Mother Robot looked like Astro's manga mother, Astro looked like he did in the 80's anime, Tenma looked like he did in the 60's manga, and Uran looked like she did in 2003. I made up no details in the following story. What you read is what I saw.
 
P.S.: The Michiru I mention is an amalgamate of two of Tezuka's best female characters, Sapphire and Michi. I made up Michiru after wondering who Tobio's mother was. It didn't seem right to make a fan character for Osamu Tezuka, who has so many independant characters already.
"So, what do you claim to be planning?"
" I was thinking I'd build them a robotic mother. That way, Astro could be like a human child, like he wants."
Tenma hunched over, staring down at the blueprints on the table. "I think it's a bizarre idea, professor. I mean, how do you think Astro's going to react?"
Ochanimizu waved his hand towards the window of the R&D. "He's told me many times that he's wanted to be like a human boy. I thought giving him a parental robot would complete his wish."
"Well, still, I--"
"I'll let you design her face!" Ochanimizu grinned.
Tenma sat up. "All right, then."
 
In the R&D room, Ochanimizu lifted the corner of a sheet off a glass pod. Within it lay the muted form of a woman, silent and immobile. Tenma stared at her, his thoughts drifting back to something he locked away long ago. The robot's round face, her tall, thin form...She looked like Michiru.
What? No. She had been gone for years; he had no right to bring her back up now. He woke from his thoughts when Ochanimizu tapped him on the shoulder.
"Tenma? Well, what do you think?"
"What? Oh." Tenma glanced from Ochanimizu to the glass pod. "I'd say...green irises, and black hair about ye long." He held his hand up to his neck, designating the length. He tried to avoid letting the robot look like Michiru.
Ochanimizu wrote something down on a notepad. "Good, good. Her eyes and scalp may be finished by this evening." Ochanimizu pocketed the notepad and looked at his companion worriedly. "Although, there is one thing I'll have to trust you with..."
"Oh, what is it now?"
"I need to hide this robot for about one evening. The storage room isn't available for one more day, Yuko nor I have enough room in our own houses to store her..."
"You're implying that I should look after the robot."
"W-well, yes, Tenma."
He looked away with a mix of disgust and weariness. "How can I? You, like anyone else, trust me no more than a criminal like Skunk Kusai or Lamp."
There was silence.
"Well, we'll need someone to take care of her, otherwise she'll be found by--"
No sooner had Ochanimizu begun to talk, the doors flung open. Astro, Uran, Ken'ichi and Denkou ran and flew into the room, each of them yelling at the other.
Uran stopped running immediately. "Oh, sorry doctor! Did we interrupt again?"
"Sorry about that, guys," Ken'ichi added.
Denkou twirled over to the covered pod, his cape billowing around his stout body. "Hey, what's under that sheet?"
"STOP! NO!" Both men yelled in reflex. Denkou paused, then backed away.
Astro tilted his head to the side. "Professor? Tenma? What's going on?"
Ochanimizu laughed nervously and begun to herd the children out of the room. "Oh, nothing, nothing! Just a good thinking session..."
Ken'ichi squirmed as the other children were pushed against him. "I don't understand, why would--"
"Yes, yes..." Once the children were in the hall, Ochanimizu shut and leaned against the door. "See, Tenma, that's what I'm worried about. Astro can get into any area of the Ministry except the storage rooms."
"I understand." He nodded towards the pod. "When do I pick up the robot?"
"As soon as we finish her face and clothes, I'll call you over."
"All right then, professor..." Without a further word, Tenma turned and left the ministry.
 
The arrival home was, and would continue to be, depressing. He had gotten out of jail and was offered his old house. Tenma privately wished he hadn't accepted. The front door and windows seemed to form a face, as remarked by Tobio long ago.
 "Father, look! The house has a face!"
 "Really? How does it look?"
 "It doesn't look very happy..."
How right the boy would be. The front room was dark, with fading photographs reflecting the light of the streetlamps outside. Tenma remembered that a fraction of the upper floor had to be replaced after one of Lamp's robots smashed the place in search of Astro.  He let the memory leave him as he entered the house, went up the stairs and into the bedroom. He sat at his desk. What was there to do? He had only now adjusted to living completely alone, but what could he now with a female robot moving in for the evening? He put his head down and gazed out the window at the smoke-grey sky.
 
The ring of the telephone tore through the hushed air.
"Son of a--!" Tenma woke up with a jolt. He fumbled frantically for the reciever and put it to his ear. "WHAT?! WHO IS THIS?"
Ochanimizu sputtered at the other end. "S-sorry, Tenma. I know it's late, but I've finished the robot..."
"Oh. Sorry." He stood up and paced the room. "I suppose I should get her right now?"
"As soon as you can, I - NO, Astro, you can NOT come in! Go back to sle--" The phone was dropped on the other end. Tenma decided he may as well go to the Ministry.
 
"Here she is!" Ochanimizu opened the door of the R&D room, and the two men entered. At a desk sat the completed female robot. She looked up, her emerald eyes studying the visitor. "She's ready to leave, Tenma." The robot got up and walked towards the two. Ochanimizu set his hand on her shoulder as his face turned to solemnity. "Just remember, Mother here has an alarm that she can set off any time she's being attacked. I warn you, please don't hurt her."
"You'd accuse me of harming a woman, regardless of her being a robot?" Tenma asked, out of confusion.
Talking to this man is like fighting a war, Ochanimizu thought to himself.
"Don't worry, professor," Tenma said, sensing the awkwardness. "I'll take care of her as if she were a human."
 
She could speak, but hardly did during the drive home. Tenma repeatedly looked over, checking if she were mad or afraid, but he couldn't tell. Finally, he stopped the car and let her out.
"Okay, this is your home for the night..." He had an overwhelming urge to call her 'Michiru'. He ignored it.

"All right," She said in a quiet, calm voice. She entered the house, looking around confusedly.
He set his hand on her arm. "Are you okay?" She felt softer than other robots. Through cloth, she almost felt human.
"Yes," she replied. "Where's the Overnight Containment Pod?"
The Pod was a thick, translucent container that robots would be locked in to recharge overnight. Of course, a domestic robot could survive on an outlet.
"Oh, I don't have one of those yet." He took her hand and hurriedly led her up the stairs. "There's an outlet upstairs!"
However, the only room with a convienient outlet happened to be the master bedroom.
"Er, you can stay here tonight," He said, waving his hand towards the bed. "Just lie here, and you can connect to the plug by the nightstand."
She glanced back and forth between the bed and Tenma. "But where could you sleep?"
He felt his stomach tighten. "Oh, well, there's a spare cot in my lab downstairs."
"Really? Doctor, I could just stay there."
"Nonsense! You're a guest." He calmed down and tried to smile. "You'll be safe here. I promise."
She smiled. "Thank you, doctor."
He felt himself fluster. She reminded him of Michiru so much. "I, I'll be downstairs if you need any help." He escaped from the room and headed to the lab.

Self-confined in the lab, Tenma forced himself to work on blueprints. The distraction was successful, but not for long. Finally, fatigue set in and he stopped drawing. He looked up at the wall clock. It was 11:28. He headed up the basement stairs. It couldn't hurt to check on the robot.
He leaned in though the half-closed bedroom door. She lay on her back, her head looking away from the door and her arm bent at her side. A plate on her arm had been slid open, an emergency electrical plug protruding and connecting to the outlet. He sat down at her side and studied her for a minute. Her synthetic, short black hair framed her round face as her red and black dress bordered her body. Something seemed to overwhelm him. He paused, breathed once, then leaned over and kissed her on the mouth.
Her eyes opened slowly. She tried to speak. "Doctor?!"
Horrified, he sat up and covered his mouth. "I, I...erm...I'm sorry..."
She sat up. "Is something wrong, doctor?"
"It...it's nothing." He looked away. "...Oh, I give up. Listen, I want you to do something."
"...what is--" No sooner had she begun to speak, he pulled her close. His face was nuzzled into the area composed of her left shoulder and breast.
"For one night, please, pretend to be my wife. Pretend your name is Michiru. You remind me so much of her."
She stayed silent, her head still tipped back in shock. "I...I could try."
"All right, good." He slowly lowered her back down on the bed and lay next to her. "At any time, if you want to stop, just say..." He begun to kiss up her neck, heading for her mouth. Once he reached her lips, he wrapped his arms around her. She felt so soft, at first touch one could forget she was a robot.
After a second, her arms begun to move. He felt her hands silking their way up his back, one stopping at the back of his head. Her mouth moved slightly.
"Oh, doctor..."
No," he tried to say between each lip contact. "Call me Nagamiya--" She pulled him closer, silencing him.
The couple rolled over, with each movement forgetting that it was all supposed to be a game.

About a minute later, his coat had been taken off and discarded on the floor. He was still convinced she was human. Her soft flesh held close, her engine whirring from beneath her chest...
Her engine?
Something settled in his mind. He paused in horror and stopped kissing. He pulled away, staring in horror at the feminine form next to him.
She was still a robot, no matter who she looked like.
She seemed to sense his horror. "Nagamiya? What's wrong?"
He sat up, nervously fumbling for his coat. "I, I've got to get you to the lab."
"But why--"
"JUST GET UP!" She did as ordered. He grabbed her hand and huriedly led her down the hall and down the stairs. It was obvious she would tell Ochanimizu or Astro about what she and Tenma had been doing, and he knew what he had to do now.
Erase her memories.
Of course, it hadn't completely worked for Astro, but he'd have to try erasing again.
Once in the basement lab, he picked her up and set her in a containment pod. He sighed and looked at her for a second.
"Please, Nagamiya! What are you doi--"
"Don't call me that anymore," he said solemnly, turning to a computer. "Now, just relax. I've got to do something that will protect us both."
"Please don't kill me, doctor."
He turned back to her. "I won't. Trust me." He closed the lid on the pod and she relaxed. The computer displayed her main files and memory. Entering the memory, he selected the cache of the time between when she was recharging and when Tenma pulled her into the lab. He pressed the delete button, hoping that he as well would not remember what the two had done. He turned off the computer and opened the pod. She sat up slowly, confused and frightened.
"Hello, Mother robot," he said, masking his worry. "Are you all right now?"
"But, what happened to me?" She set her eyes on him, desperately searching for an answer.
"Oh, I just finished your system check," He lied as she slowly climbed out of the containment pod. "Everything is in order. If you go upstairs to the main bedroom, you can recharge. You're going to be all right..."

The next morning, Ochanimizu and his assistant Yuko visited the house.
"Professor, I don't know..." Yuko gawked at the man beside her. "How could you honestly let HIM watch the robot?"
"I'm inclined to give Tenma a second chance," Ochanimizu said, hoping to get away from the topic. Yuko was not convinced, so she trotted over to the front door and knocked loudly.
"Doctor! I know you're in there! We'd like to pick her up now!" The door opened soon after. Tenma stood there, appearing somewhat tired.
"Yes, yes. I'm here," he said, visibly irritated, to the young woman before him. "I'll get her now." He turned to the staircase behind him. "Mother robot, it's time to go!"
"Okay, doctor!" Mother ambled down the stairs and to the door.
Ochanimizu took Mother's arm and studied it. "Amazing! Not even a scratch!"
Tenma smirked. "Did you ever have any doubt in me, Ochanimizu?"
There was silence.
Yuko tapped her foot. "Well, everyone's here and I'd like to go. Say goodbye, Mother."
As she stepped out the door, she turned back to Tenma. "Goodbye, Nagamiya."
"WHAT?!" The three humans stared at her.
"I said, goodbye, doctor." She headed to the car, Ochanimizu and Yuko following. Tenma sighed and slammed the front door shut.

So, yeah, kidlets. On December 4th I had another strange dream where I was reading some comic strip of Astro Boy. The only two I remember were:
Mother Robot and her manga husband (this portly male robot) were clothed only in white sheets, waiting in a doctor's room for Black Jack. Turned out Tenma was doing "the examination" (they said it, not me). Also, Doc had grey hair, and in the second comic, got over Astro and adopted Tima from Metropolis. ("Your name is Tobia!" "No it's not." "It is NOW.")
 This isn't the first time a dream has produced something like this - my webcomic Feather & Fur, my big-headed character May Ray, and three pictures all came out of my sleep. What will I come up with next? Stay tuned...

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