INVENTF  8' Inventor's Daughter: nanobots

Michaela was sitting in her classroom one day when the army
captain walked in the door. Michaela recognized him, so she
packed up her books and things into her backpack and she
squeezed the "X" charm on her bracelet. Then the lens in her
left eye showed the message "All systems GO."

Her teacher said, "Michaela, you need to go with these men."

"I know." replied Michaela as she hurried out the door with this

"I'm wearing my earrings," Michaela asked the captain, "Why
didn't you just call me on the radio?"

The captain replied as he handed her a book, "I needed to give
you this for your next assignment."

"So, what is my next assignment?" asked Michaela as she opened
the book and began paging through it.

The captain replied, "Enemy agents have stolen the plans for
your camera charm. If they can build a working camera charm,
enemy agents could do bad things and we couldn't stop them. We
need you to go to their laboratory and destroy their copy of the
plans and electronics they're using to copy our camera."

Michaela replied, "I understand my assignment. But what good is
this book to me? It's written in a foreign language. I don't
understand any of it!"

The captain replied, "The book is just a disguise for the

"The what?!" asked Michaela.

The captain explained, "The letters written on the pages of the
book are not really letters. They're really thousands of teeny
tiny robots called nanobots that arrange themselves to look like

With that he rubbed his finger across one of the open pages of
the book and the letters under his finger disappeared. When he
lifted his finger, there was a pile of what looked like powder.
Then, the captain commanded, "Camouflage."

Immediately the teeny tiny specs of powder began to crawl back
across the page to their original positions. When they stopped,
they looked like the letters again.

"Wow!" exclaimed Michaela, "Those are all robots?"

"Yes," replied the captain, "They will help you get into the
laboratory where the enemy agents are building the camera charm.
But if you're caught with the book, the enemy agents won't know
that your holding thousands of nanobots. Your father has already
aimed your camera at the enemy's laboratory. You'd better get

Michaela commanded, "Satellite view". The red "X" was already
aimed at the enemy laboratory 7000 miles away. So, she commanded
"Take me there."

Immediately after Michaela landed on the roof of the laboratory
she aimed the "X" at the roof and commanded, "See through that."

"Something's wrong, Captain!" exclaimed Michaela. "I can't see
through the roof."

The captain replied, "That's why we sent the nanobots with you.
The enemy agents now know that you can see through things with
your camera. So, they covered the inside of the laboratory with
a heavy metal that the camera can't see through."

"So how can I get in there?" asked Michaela.

The captain explained, "You'll notice that only the laboratory
is lined with metal. But you should be able to look through the
roof into the hallways and bathrooms."

"Yes." replied Michaela, "I can see the hallway in front of the
laboratory door."

"Be careful," said the captain, "There are alarms and television
cameras in all the hallways."

She aimed the "X" at the corner of the hallway right under the
television camera and commanded, "Take me there."

When she reappeared in the hallway, she looked up at the
television camera to be sure it couldn't see her.

"I'm in. What now?" she whispered.

The captain replied, "Turn the book to page 167, then hold the
book against the wall. The command is DISABLE CAMERA."

When Michaela did so, all of the nanobots on page 167 crawled
off the page, up the wall, through a crack in the camera case.

"There's smoke rising from the camera!" exclaimed Michaela.

"That's good!" explained the captain, "That means the camera has
been disabled. But that means the guards downstairs will be
coming up in about a minute to see why the camera went off. So
you have to hurry. Turn the book to page 176 and hold the book
against the laboratory door. The command is "UNLOCK DOOR".

When Michaela did so, all of the nanobots on pages 176 and 177
crawled off the pages and onto the door. Half of them crawled
into the alarm box and burned up the alarm. Half of them crawled
into the door lock and unlocked the door. Within a half minute,
Michaela was inside the laboratory and closed the door behind
her. She heard the guard outside banging his flashlight against
the television camera and swearing loudly in a foreign language.
Then, he walked away.

It was afternoon back home. But here in the foreign country it
was the middle of the night. Noone was working in the

"I'm in. What now?" she whispered.

The captain replied, "Turn the book to page 187, then lay the
book on the floor. The command is FIND CAMERA."

When Michaela did so, all the nanobots from pages 186 and 187
crawled off the pages and spread out all over the laboratory at
high speed looking for anything having to do with the
see-through camera that Michaela's dad built.

Less than a minute later, a red light began blinking on top of a
computer screen. Michaela went over to investigate. The blinking
was coming from ten nanobots who had stacked themselves on one
another and flashed their tiny diodes at once.

Michaela looked at the computer screen. She'd seen this picture
before. This was the drawing she saw on the work table in her
dad's workshop.

"Found something." exclaimed Michaela in a whisper, "The enemy
agents have daddy's plans for the see-through camera on their
computer. What do you want me to do?"

The captain replied, "The command is DESTROY COMPUTER."

Immediately after Michaela gave the command, she saw smoke
rising from the screen, the keyboard, the computer, the disk
drives and the printer.

Then Michaela saw another blinking light, then another, then
another, all over the laboratory. The nanobots had found small
electrical circuits and wires hooked up to meters.

When Michaela reported the findings to the captain, he told her
how to destroy those too. One by one, Michaela gave the command
to destroy the circuits. Then....

"Wait a minute," replied Michaela, "There's one thing here that
doesn't look like anything daddy's ever worked on. Maybe the
enemy agents have a new invention for the camera."

"Good eye!" replied the captain, "Put it into your backpack and
bring it home. It might be useful."

When the enemy agents went to the lab the next day all of the
drawings of the see-through camera had been destroy, all of the
circuits, all of the improvements... all destroyed. They could
no longer use the camera to attack America.

But when Michaela's dad had a chance to look at the new
improvements that Michaela brought back with her, he found that
the enemy's see-through camera would have been able to see
through the heavy metal his own camera couldn't see through.
Within a couple of days, his camera could do the same.

When Michaela went back to school, her classmates asked what she
did for the army yesterday, all she could tell them is, "It's
top secret."

Tommy shouted, "She didn't do nothing! She's a fake."

Michaela aimed the red "X" in her left eye at Tommy's books and
whispered, "Push that". The books in Tommy's arms flew across
the room.

"How did you do that?!" he asked.

"Oh," Michaela replied, "I didn't do anything. I'm a fake."

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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