Hi, everybody! This story might be a little convoluted if you don't know either the continuum of Astro Boy or the continuum of Tetsujin 28, but hopefully this story works out okay. I'd like to point out that I had to change some aspects of the Tetsujin storyline to get it to work in the modern age, given how it originally takes place in 1955…but either way, please enjoy this!
"Astro, this is amazing! I love this place!"
Uran and Astro Boy walked through the glittering streets of Tokyo, Uran carrying a plastic bag filled with figures and keychains. After assuring that his little sister was happy, Astro glanced down at himself, checking that his white and red suit was still clean. The two had returned from a robot museum opening gala, and Uran had ended the gala by retreating to a cluster of toy stores.
"They seem to be very nostalgic here," Astro said, noting the lack of aerocar tunnels in the air. "Everybody drives on the ground in this district."
"Where do we go now, Astro? Doctor said he'd pick us up…"
"That's right…" Astro stopped walking, and Uran did as well. Astro put a hand to his chin, thinking…Ochanomizu had told them he was called to a small, independent lab, and would trace the children's locations when it was time to go back to Metro City. "Well, I don't know. He said he'll meet up with us."
"Let's look in the bookstore for now!" Uran rushed into an adjacent bookstore, Astro following with an amused shrug. Inside the shop, the walls were lined with posters, and the two tried to focus on finding something to look at. Uran scanned through a rack of girl's manga while Astro headed towards the mechanical manuals.
"Astro, do you know if we have any more—"
The overhead lights in the store suddenly begun to flicker, catching the attention of everyone in the store. Suddenly one of the overhead lights hissed and exploded, sending everyone inside the shop into a panic. A schoolgirl in the cookbook section sent her arms protectively over her head and shrieked.
A large businessman in a suit ran to the front window, cupped his hands to the glass and shouted, "It's happening all over the street!"
Uran ran to the window as well; the shops and neon signs along the road were jittering frantically on and off as well.
The businessman waved his arm towards the door. "Everybody get out of the store!"
Astro grabbed Uran's wrist and pulled her into the street, the crowd flooding out behind them. He picked Uran up and flew out of the shopping district.
"What do you think is going on?" Uran asked softly, clutching her shopping bag of toys.
Astro didn't respond, more focused on trying to sense what was distorting the area's energy flow. Something near the outskirts of the city was consuming vast amounts of electricity. The two were soon cruising over a field of long grass.
"There's a lot of power being drained into this area," Astro replied after a moment. They came across a small factory labelled 'Shikishima Heavy Industries' on the front wall. Astro landed on the roof set Uran down on her feet.
"Let's look around." Astro crept towards a sunroof, whispering. "I think there's something suspicious going on in this factory!"
Uran, hugging the shopping bag, noticed a trapdoor in the roof and headed to it. She knelt down and put her ear to the door. A myriad of faint voices echoed up from far below her.
"…I think he's…"
"…Hold on…let me shut down the…"
"…I hear some…doctor, I…"
The voices stopped. She tried to concentrate harder and hear if they were whispering, but there came nothing.
"Uran," Astro waved at her from the window. "Look at this."
Beside her, the trapdoor swung open, and she shrieked on reflex. A boy with thick black bangs and a school uniform suit was staring at both of them in confusion.
"Doctor!" The boy called out behind him. "There's two children on the roof!"
Uran looked down the trapdoor, discovering a staircase leading to an enormous testing room, at least forty feet down, while two older men – she recognized one of them as Ochanomizu – came to look up at the ceiling. Nervously, she crept back. Astro joined her at her side.
"Uran?" Ochanomizu exclaimed. "Astro, as well? Come in, you two! You should see this!"
A tall, bespectacled man in a brown suit looked up from a control panel. "Shotaro, please invite them down."
The boy – obviously named Shotaro now – took Uran's hand and lead her through the trapdoor. Astro climbed in effortlessly, and gestured to himself. "Hi, my name is Astro. This is my sister Uran."
"I'm Shotaro Kaneda," the boy replied. "How do you like Tokyo?"
"It's great!" Uran held up the shopping bag. "They don't have this stuff in Metro City!"
Shotaro led them down the stairs, focused in thought. "Metro City…wait, you're Astro Boy, right?"
Shotaro put his ear to Astro's chest, waiting for the sound of mechanics. Astro's engine whirred out of nervousness, and Shotaro jolted back.
"You really are a robot!" He turned to Uran. "Are you also…"
"I am!" Uran squeaked.
Shotaro looked almost horrified. "But…you two are so humanlike…"
"Never mind him," The suited man called out. "Shotaro hasn't met a lot of advanced robots."
"Children, this is Dr. Shikishima," Ochanomizu added quickly. "He called me in to tell me about the discovery of this robot, Tetsujin 28."
The children went to the banister, looking down to find an enormous black robot strapped into a mould on a lower level. The robot's dark appearance was only livened up by two stripes around its torso and a long, pointed nose.
"This is what was taking in so much power, right?" Astro asked.
"Tetsujin's a relic from the last arms race, so his battery is a little outrageous," said Shikishima. "Shotaro's father built him just over nine years ago."
Uran looked displeased. "They should've made him ten feet shorter, at least…"
"Well, we're going to test out his powers as soon as the energy registers in his system, and then we'll work towards replacing his inside mechanics. Saturday night, there's going to be a public meeting where we show him off."
"I…I think I remember a Tetsujin being mentioned at the robot gala," Astro replied with his hand on his head. "It was pretty brief, though."
The control panel let out an approving musical ping.
"Okay, he's been recharged." Shikishima glanced at Ochanomizu. "Should I…"
"If he works, I'd suggest you replace his battery with something more efficient, and transfer the existing energy into the new one."
"All right." Shikishima looked over his shoulder, calling out, "Ginrei, please take the children to a secure room."
"Just a moment," called out a young woman's voice.
"Doctor, I want to watch this!" Shotaro stepped forward. "This is my father's work, and—"
"I'd rather you were safe and off to the side," was the doctor's hurried reply. "I don't know whether Tetsujin will be hostile or not."
A tall woman with long, wavy green hair in a ponytail and a white, delicate-looking china dress walked into the room, leading the three out of the testing room and towards the hallway.
"It's good to meet you two! My name's Ginrei…" She brushed a lock of thick hair out of her face. "I'm a special agent from the government, but I do assist with the lab here. Shotaro, what are their names?"
"Give me a moment, Ms. Ginrei," Shotaro retorted, yet softly. Astro could tell he was extremely disappointed.
Uran looked at the row of grand windows lining the room. Very faintly, a tall man in a bright pink trench coat and fedora was standing in the field outside, watching them go by. Uran's optical sensors quickly zoomed into his face, discovering his hair to be in some sort of absurd pompadour.
"Weird…" Uran looked up at Ginrei. "There's a man in all-pink standing outside."
The four looked back, finding the field empty.
"Uran, are you sure?" Astro asked, concerned.
Uran ran to the window. "Yes! I'm sure he's just hiding now!"
"I'll call security as soon as we get to the saferoom." Ginrei nodded at her, then led the group back to the hall. Uran stared after the window in annoyance.
Shotaro turned to her, asking, "Did you say pink? What about his hair?"
"It was poofy and black." Uran held her hand before her forehead, indicating the size. "It's pretty much impossible to do."
"Strange," Shotaro muttered, his face concerned. "I know Chief Otsuka is looking for a man like that…"
Ginrei looked nervous.