It was February 10th in the 31st Centaury and Superman was trying to explain the concept of Valentines Day to the rest of the Legion. Well, when he had started he was just asking Brainiac Five, aka Brainy, how the holiday was celebrated in the future but the youngest Legionnaire hadnt even known of the holidays existence.
As Superman tried to explain, it caught the attention of Saturn Girl, who in turn asked Superman to start over. Lighting Lad was next to join in and when he didnt understand he asked what the hell are you talking about? forcing Superman to begin his explanation over again.
By the time Phantom Girl and Timber Wolf arrived and Superman had to start over two more times, Brainy called a meeting in the main conference room so there would be no further interruptions. Just as Superman was explaining the difference between giving chocolates to friends or someone you cared about in a different way, the alarm signifying trouble went off.
What is it? asked Superman, his voice cracking from overuse.
One of the cities historical clock towers is falling apart. Theyre scared of rubble falling down while they attempt to repair it. The Science Police is requesting some back up to
basically catch things if they fall, replied Brainy, typing at the computer.
Well, Superman is best qualified to play catch with giant falling stuff- began Bouncing Boy.
Stuff? questioned Lighting Lad.
I dont know whats all in ancient clocks, protested Bouncing Boy. Brainy can go if they need help with repairs and Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl and I should go incase we need to get people to safety from below. Anyone else who wants to go can go as long as we have at least three people here, and that doesnt mean Triplicate Girl by herself.
Its an old clock. What could possibly happen? asked Lighting Lad.
If you paid attention to historical texts, youd know that, said Brainy.
Lighting Lad shrugged and poked Brainy in the forehead, smirking.
If I read all those historical texts of yours my head would explode.
Brainy pushed Lighting Lads hand to the side and glared at him.
Your head would do no such thing. Such an idea is ridiculous.
Save the bickering for later guys. The repairs start soon and we should be there when they do, commented Bouncing Boy.
As the assigned Legionnaires headed for the exit, Brainy turned his attention to Superman.
So what was the significance of bringing up this Valentines Day anyway?
Oh- well, ah-nothing! Just curious.
An hour into repairs the Legion still had nothing to do, which would be a good thing if it wasnt so boring. On the sidewalk Bouncing Boy was reading comic books while Phantom Girl and Saturn Girl attempted to understand what Superman had told them earlier. Meanwhile Superman sat on a ledge between the ground and where the repairs were taking place and Brainy had been inside the entire time.
How are things out here? asked Brainy poking out his head, with his stretched out neck, from the small doorway to Supermans left.
I think Bouncing Boy is drooling in his sleep again, said Superman, peering down at the others.
Brainy glanced in the same direction for a moment before retracting his neck. Soon after he walked out of the doorway and sat down next to Superman on the edge.
You probably shouldnt tell him about that.
Superman chuckled and smiled at Brainy.
So what brings you out here?
I believe that my presence is annoying the repairmen. Something about the Science Police not believing that they can do their job and that Im a know-it-all, explained Brainy.
Faking a cough to cover up a second round of laughter, Superman glanced away from the green skinned boy.
How much longer do you think its going to take?
Another two hours if they insist on using the improper tools, said Brainy.
Im sure Bouncing Boy would let you go home since theyre ignoring your advice, commented Superman.
That would require waking him, besides I much rather stay here with you, stated Brainy.
Not sure on how to respond, Superman gazed forward at the oddly shaped buildings and skyscrapers that made the clock tower look like a wishing well among mountains.
You said earlier that on Valentines Day you could give chocolates to friends and those you care more about then just friends, said Brainy.
Thats right, said Superman.
So it wouldnt be odd if I gave chocolates to you? asked Brainy.
In what way? What way? What way? Supermans brain demanded he ask, but all he could do was stare at Brainy.
Of course that would require giving chocolates to some of the other members as well. I wouldnt mind giving any to Saturn Girl or Bouncing Boy but I dont think it would be possible to give any Lighting Lad without him over reacting. Then again hed probably over react even more if I didnt give him any, theorized Brainy, no longer looking at Superman.
He is just talking as friends, right? Superman questioned, watching Brainy analyze the proposed situation. He was starting to have difficulty figuring out if his heart was beating faster or slower.
It might be easier just to give you chocolates and not tell the others or just forget the holiday all together, said Brainy.
But why just me? Superman wanted to asked but his mouth wouldnt even open to attempt it.
I should probably wake up Bouncing Boy before Phantom Girl calls Lighting Lad. Last time Bouncing Boy fell asleep on duty Lighting Lad drew crude things all over his face in permanent marker, said Brainy. He stretched out his legs to the ground and kept his hands on the ledge as he lowered himself to keep himself balanced.
As Brainys hands left the ledge to join the rest of him, Superman wondered why his mouth had abandoned him. Even though Brainy was well out of ear shot he still couldnt ask the questions beating against his brain like a marching band. But he was just beginning to learn how easily Brainy could leave him speechless and confused, without even talking about Level 12 intelligence stuff.
Standing to stretch his own legs and back, Superman was about to raise his arms above his head when two of the clocks giant gears came flying out of the clocks face and skimmed the top of his head on their way down. Frozen in mid movement he wondered if he saw what he thought he saw and cursed as he looked downwards.
Look out below, shouted Superman, throwing himself downwards after the gigantic death sentences for anyone who ended up beneath them.
Where everything had been so still moments before had sprung into movement. Saturn Girl and Phantom Girl were rushing civilians to safety while Bouncing Boy had managed to bounce the smaller of the two gears further into the air to give Superman more time to deal with the bigger one.
It was only Brainy who was standing perfectly still, staring upwards as if he didnt understand what he was seeing.
Move Brainy. Move, Superman urged the young genius but was again unable to say anything, for all his effort was being used to keep the bigger gear in the air. His grip on it was slipping and he didnt have enough space between him and the ground to adjust without letting go.
The second gear began to fall back down, pasting a struggling Superman and heading straight towards the unmoving Legionnaire.
B-BRAINY, shouted Superman, nearly falling out of the air as the gear continued to fall. He nearly dropped the gear he was holding when the smaller gear devastated the once solid concrete.
Please be fine. Please be fine. Please be fine, Superman begged as he felt himself lower to the ground, staring straight into the old metal of the gear that could no longer show his reflection. When he landed he slowly leaned the gear against the clock tower before swinging around.
An unconscious looking Brainy was being supported by Phantom Girl, whom had probably been the one to get him away from the smaller gears path.
The street hadnt been so lucky. The fallen gear had cut directly into the ground, burying itself about halfway into its surface. For several miles all around it the concrete had cracked, mounted upwards and made two holes, that if they were connected would have been big enough for a small lake. It was amazing none of the buildings had been damaged, besides a few cracks around the entry way of the clock tower.
So what had just happened? asked Phantom Girl, shifting Brainys weight on her side. She looked relieved when Superman came and took him from her.
Im sensing just as much confusion from the repairmen. They dont seem to know what happened either, said Saturn Girl.
I meant with Brainy. He just froze up and then collapsed when I touched him, said Phantom Girl.
It was a gear. It triggered some sort of response from Brainy. I didnt have time to figure it out though, said Saturn Girl.
Well its not like this is anything new. Hell be fine when he wakes up, said Bouncing Boy.
This has happened before? asked Superman.
Saturn Girl and Phantom Girl looked at each other for a moment. Both of them then turned their worried expressions to Bouncing Boy. It took a moment, but their leader gave them a silent nod.
Brainy sometimes gets flashes of old memories from his original ancestor, said Phantom Girl hesitantly.
Any memory that was strongly connected to the original ancestor can be triggered in Brainy and theyre so powerful that it basically overloads his entire system, Saturn Girl tried to explain. It has only happened twice before that we know of, but he never wants to talk about it afterwards.
So hell be fine? asked Superman.
He may acted oddly around gears for a couple of days but hes always been fine before, commented Bouncing Boy.
The Legionnaires were dismissed by the site soon after since no more construction could be done until they got the gear out of the street. Bouncing Boy told the others that he heard the Science Police complaining about how bad rerouting traffic in that area was going to be for a couple of weeks.
Brainy was laid down in his room and the others left beside Superman. Saturn Girl returned a few minutes later with a coffee pot of hot chocolate and a couple of mugs.
Hell never admit it, but Brainy really does like coco, said Saturn Girl, filling two of the mugs with some of the rich silky substance for her and Superman to drink while they waited.
How long do you think it will be before he wakes up? asked Superman, remembering how painfully slow time had moved when they were reloading Brainy with his backup disk after the whole fear factory mess. He still thinks the percentage of files downloaded went down whenever he turned his back on the evil computer.
The last two times only took about a couple of hours each, though nothing had been happening that had put Brainy in danger during those times, said Saturn Girl.
What triggered the first two? asked Superman.
The second time it happened was during Halloween. Brainy and I were getting candy for Bouncing Boys horror movie marathon when he suddenly just fell over. When he woke up he said it had been the costume of an twenty-first centaury hero, but wouldnt tell me which one, said Saturn Girl. No one knows what caused the first one and he has never hinted about it, but it was during his first week with the Legion.
So you still have Halloween, but not Valentines Day? asked Superman.
Saturn Girl shrugged.
It may still be celebrated, but you have to remember that most of us come from different planets and cultures.
It suddenly occurred to Superman that he could ask Saturn Girl about what Brainy had said earlier, about giving him chocolates. She was probably the only one who wouldnt laugh at his bafflement or tease them later about it.
As Superman wondered how he should phrase his question, Brainy sprung up from his bed and started to look frantically around himself as if he didnt recognize anything.
Brainy Saturn Girl started slowly, as she stood and put down her mug. She began to move towards her but stopped when Brainy turned to look at her.
Brainy only looked at Saturn Girl a moment and Superman a moment longer and muttered something under his breath. He then ran from the room as quickly as he had woken up, continuing to mutter something under his breath.
Superman and Saturn Girl followed him, but did not try to catch up with him.
Is this normal? asked Superman.
Saturn Girl shrugged hopelessly.
Staring ahead of them after their friend, Superman used his super hearing so he could hear what Brainy was muttering; Gear, gear, gear, gear, gear, gear...
The word repeated itself constantly from Brainys lips as he approached the main computer and began to type on the console before he even sat down.
As Superman and Saturn Girl came up from behind Brainy, he had found what he was looking for. He turned to them but pointed at the image on the screen.
Gear, stated Brainy.
Superman and Saturn Girl looked up at the image of a young man in his late teens. He was dressed in a suit of mostly light green with dark blue on the sides that had a zipper down the chest and a silver metallic belt around the waist. There were two grey bands just above his elbows and his shoes looked metallic. He also had on a helmet that covered his entire head, mostly dark blue with a light green transparent looking plastic that covered his entire face. For some reason the plastic was darker from where it started at the forehead to around the nose.
The description said he was a hero from Dakota in the twenty-first centaury. One that had a vast intelligence and used his inventions to fight crime with his partner Static, a hero that used electricity. His name was Gear.
Superman looked down at Brainy but he had fallen back asleep in his chair, tears running down his face.