I met Atomic Thommy in a NYC diner on an exceptionally hot day in July of 2347 A.D. I was the only customer in the restaurant, probably because the air conditioning was malfunctioning, and also because the diner was on transport level (street level), which is underground and hidden from the pastoral walkways that weave amidst the stratoscrapers that tower into the clear blue sky. Anyone with any sense that day was at Union Square Beach to escape the tropical summer heat or enjoying a gondola tour of the Financial District canals. But I cannot help but to dig deep into a culture and experience that gritty underside that always seems to remain constant throughout the ages.
The heat was also probably why one of the server bots was a bit off and kept accelerating only to run into one table after another. Atomic Thommy was the only person on staff and he was trying to corral the wayward bot into the kitchen where he was probably going to have to beat it with a frying pan to get it under some kind of control. Sure enough, shortly after following the bot into the kitchen I heard the not too unexpected “CLANG!” followed by another “CLANG!” and then SILENCE…
I jumped on hearing the third “CLANG!”, and relaxed a bit as he emerged from the kitchen with my sandwich and selzer.
I am not sure if I was drawn to him because of his name tag, which simply said “Atomic” or the unnecessary violence that he employed to put down the server bot. Whatever the reason, I am certain that it was when he told me that he was writing a script about several college students who went back in time to save the world that compelled me to offer to take him on a trip to a time and place of his choosing.
Atomic Thommy was born in Tycho City on the Moon and was currently living in Hoboken, New Jersey. In the mid-24th century, the excitement of Lunar tourism had long faded and Lunar society was further culturally depressed after jobs again and again had moved off-world first to Mars, then to the Jovian moons, and more recently to the nearby star systems. Not many people born on the Moon are able to break through those social barriers and make it back to Earth. Now that I know him better, in Atomic Thommy’s case, I attributed his successful return to greener pastures (even New Jersey is better than the Moon) to his personal vision, his drive and resourcefulness.
I was surprised to find that Atomic Thommy made extra money on the side by lounge singing. He led a band called Atomic Thommy and the Radioactive Busboys, which consisted of himself and three droids (the busboys), he regularly rented from his neighbors, who play drums, sax and violin. I was later even more surprised to come to experience that it was in fact because of Atomic Thommy and his musical connections that the Roman Emperor Hadrian was compelled to build his wall in 122 A.D. But that is another story altogether, and for now I will leave it at that.
In years that passed, Atomic Thommy became my trusted companion as well as playing the role of my security officer—not really because he was trained in security or anything like that, but because of his fortitude, his tendency to react to tense situations with violence, and he time travels well.