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Like Clockwork: Chapter Two of Three: Winding the spring

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  • christine nightstar
    Like Clockwork: Chapter Two of Three: Winding the spring Excerpt from the Journal of Professor Josiah Avery I don t know what inspired me to create Trenton or
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2006
      Like Clockwork: Chapter Two of Three: Winding the spring

      Excerpt from the Journal of Professor Josiah Avery

      I don't know what inspired me to create Trenton or how I ever began
      his creation. I do know several things though. With out Mister Palmer
      and his unique talents I would not have been able to create him. The
      designs for Trenton must be kept away from the man who had taken my
      first creation and the world for they will be not be able to
      understand what makes unique among automatons- for at least fifty
      years after my death, and finally Trenton must be able to develop as
      any child should, should I try to raise him as a father I would fail
      as I failed before with my wife and the child I sired for her.

      I am not suited to the role of father as are other men, I am sure
      that my passing will not be missed or noted. So I leave a legacy
      instead. Trenton is my legacy; he is more a child of my mind and soul
      than my actual son is. May the gods forgive me for my inadequacies
      with him as a father.

      I have long had the ability to see things and make them even if the
      means to do so had not been created or conceived yet. I never took
      credit by patenting these things, nor put them down on to paper long
      enough so someone could say, "No I know for sure that Josiah Avery
      created one several years ago." I do not create the designs I use;
      they belong to other men, in other times in the future. I am allowed,
      by ways that I do not pretend to comprehend, to see them and use them
      in my inventions. Many of the intricacies of Trenton's `skeleton'
      and `musculature' are based on human anatomy and such insights as I
      have described before.

      Making the intricacies the proper size so they would not make Trenton
      seem oversized nor out of proportion was where Randall and his
      talents came in. He was a godsend… He came at the time I needed him
      most for the building of Trenton. There was something about him when
      I saw him that said ` This man is not of our time.' I didn't press
      Randall for details, because I did not need or want a look further
      beyond the scope I was allowed to see, but offered room and board for
      being my assistant while he was here. Thus Trenton's construction was
      began.

      Trenton is the pinnacle of my inventions, of my artifice. He has so
      many other men's designs inside of him that I can not say that he is
      mine alone though. He is more than artifice though through my
      efforts, sweat, and more emotions and blood than I am willing to
      relate he seems almost human at times.

      Trenton is more than an automaton, he has through my work on him;
      without Randall's help, in the other arts I have knowledge of, or
      knowledge; will be able to surpass the abilities of the analytical
      engine, which controls many functions and is the base of his
      knowledge, or steel body and works which will protect and power him
      until he awakens his true abilities. Trenton, if he should ever
      awaken his true abilities, will be able to make himself more than a
      machine or work of artifice. Until that day comes he will have the
      best of the abilities I could have given him… Strength, speed, a
      limited invulnerability, and ability to learn.

      Randall calls Trenton `Ticks' because of the sounds his works make
      when is thinking or moving. I don't approve of the name but it fits
      Trenton for some reason. I will however keep calling him Trenton.

      Ten years of putting the pieces together of the puzzle that would be
      Trenton was worth the wait when Randall and I finished him. He looked
      at beautiful as any metal-bodied construct can look to me. I had done
      all that was required by my hand. I knew some of his further
      refinements would need time to…develop enough that he might be able
      to pass as human. Science had set the works and wound the spring; the
      rest was up to what was inside of Trenton.

      War is coming soon, between the South and the North; it does not take
      a seer to see that. I am working as fast and hard as I can to finish
      Trenton before war does come so I will not be forced to reveal
      Trenton's existence and turn him over to which ever side `recruits'
      me first or put Trenton into a storage bin uncompleted then die
      during this war. I will put Trenton away after we finish him to
      protect him from those unworthy men who would exploit his abilities.
      I owe Trenton that much.

      I see much pain coming from this war, possibly a permanent
      dissolution of the United States in which my Father had fought to
      protect in Eighteen Twelve. Should any man be able to end this
      foolishness and keep the Union whole he will be hailed as a hero. We
      need more heroes in the dark days I see ahead.

      For Trenton I leave a coded accounting of your designs. I know you
      will find them when you are ready and that you will be able to read
      them as well when it is needed you have all the knowledge to find and
      decode your designs until then take each day as it comes… Your Father

      End last page of the Personal Journal of Professor Josiah Avery -
      1858.

      Note: Professor Josiah Avery didn't write any personal papers after
      1858, nor did he leave an accounting of the designs of the automaton
      Trenton that were found. Undated Technical journals and cookbooks
      were all that were left at the time of his death in 1870. They were
      packaged and left by instructions in his will, written by his friend
      Judge Wayne in his laboratory's lower levels.
      ---

      `Ticks' was remembering what had happened and was said on the rooftop
      earlier that night.

      "Jim Gordon was concerned about you drawing the wrong sort of
      attention. Our kind usually do, even though they don't try to. Like
      it or not you joined the ranks of the world's superheroes with that
      bank robbery that you foiled, Clockwork."

      The Batman called him Clockwork. Like the Newspaper did. Were they
      suggesting that as name for him to assume?

      "What is a Super hero?"

      "That is a question that you'll have to answer yourself. If you care
      about The Deltonios and Miss Canardo do your best to keep your heroic
      endeavors as low key as possible, or disassociate from them some how."

      Batman suggested disassociating from the Deltonios and Betty, and
      keeping his heroic endeavors as low key as possible. Was he entering
      a world he knew little about or was there other reasons `Ticks' could
      hear his analytical engine ticking away at the problems as he sat in
      the basement where he had been found

      "What about repercussions of what has happened already?"

      "Jim Gordon and I will do our best to handle those until you are
      ready."

      "Ready? Ready for what?"

      "To take the responsibility and repercussions of your existence
      yourself… One way or another sooner or later you'll be called into
      action again. You can be ready or not…"

      "How do I become ready?"

      "Learn what you can do, learn your limits, learn what and where your
      loyalties are."

      I am stronger and faster than any human, my body can withstand
      attacks that would kill a human, I have the ability to memorize and
      recall anything happening in my experience or I have read. Yet I did
      something I have no memory of being programmed for or trained for
      when I fought those robbers. I don't understand how I was able to do
      that.

      "Will you teach me?"

      "I already have enough protégés out there. Experience is the best
      teacher but often times harsh. When you are ready you'll find a
      mentor, until then I will be watching you."

      "Why? If you won't teach me, why will you watch over me?"

      "This is my City and I am its Chief protector besides the police… If
      you cross the line we will meet again and not under so friendly of
      circumstances."

      Batman said that he would watch over me and won't teach me. Is he
      afraid of something I can do that I don't know about? Or is it that
      he doesn't trust me? Why should I trust me? I look like a teenage
      human but I have abilities superior to humans in many respects. I
      could kill one and not even feel … feel that I… did anything wrong.
      That's what he's afraid of. "If you cross the line we will meet again
      and not under so friendly of circumstances."

      So how do I prepare myself? How do I make myself ready?

      "Like it or not you joined the ranks of the world's superheroes with
      that bank robbery that you foiled, Clockwork."

      "I became a superhero without even knowing what it meant when I
      stopped that robbery. Because I was trying to prove worthy of Mister
      Deltonio's trust and that I didn't think it was right those men took
      something I worked for, for the last several weeks."

      "Yes you did, `Ticks' or is it Clockwork?"

      "Mister Danaher, what are you doing here?"

      "I heard of your visitors today. Frank let me in because he was
      worried about you. He thought I should talk to you."

      "That is unexpected of Mister Deltonio."

      "Frank and I go way back, further than either of us is willing to
      admit. We courted Louisa who you know as Mama before junior was born.
      But I will tell you something, he wouldn't allow you to stay in his
      family's home without him being able to trust you and he's a good
      judge of character."

      "Do you have advice for me?"

      "A little, but something that might help you not think so hard about
      your problem. I have been a patrolman for seventeen years, before
      that I was in the army with Frank. I know what it takes to be able to
      put your life on the line for someone you don't even know. I served
      through riots and war, saw friends injured and killed. It takes a
      certain degree of toughness to do the live through that and do your
      job no matter what it is."

      "What are you saying?"

      "I shouldn't drink Louisa's coffee at this time of night I have to be
      up at five in the morning. But that's a burden of trying to help
      someone… You felt it was wrong that those men were trying to take
      the money you earned. You were trying to prove worthy of trust. You
      have the makings of a hero, the abilities to make you a superhero.
      But you aren't ready mentally yet; I can help with that. So can
      others but you have to be willing to accept help." Shaun said as he
      sipped the steaming coffee.

      "What do have to do?"

      "Any of the military services will help you, but they'll most likely
      turn you into a weapon for covert operations."

      "I read something in Professor Avery's journal which implied he
      didn't want that for me."

      "Then there's the police academy, whose training would be similar but
      you could get assigned to details or units like a special weapons and
      tactics or special crimes unit and only get called out when
      supervillains and Batman are out and about."

      "But I owe Mister Deltonio… for letting me live here."

      "And then there is Gotham University where you could learn a wide
      degree of subjects."

      "The best of those options sounds like the police academy…"

      "Being a policeman isn't for everyone and you could get declared
      property of the Gotham Police Department."

      "How did the Batman get trained?"

      "There's only a small number of people who know that answer, Batman…"

      "And those who trained him or trained with him."

      "So what do I do?"

      "That is the question that you must answer it may not be an answer
      realize right away or even like. But you will find an answer. When
      you are ready."

      "Batman said I'd find a mentor when I was ready, you said I'd find
      the answer to what do I do when I was ready. How do I get ready?"

      "It's a question to which each person has a different answer. I will
      never be like Batman or the other members of the Justice League, but
      I had a time when I was called a hero. While I was in the Army. A
      Superhero isn't just another man who performs acts of courage, and
      having Superhuman abilities doesn't make one a Superhero either."

      "What does make one a superhero then?"

      "Batman has been a member of the Justice League for years, fighting
      superhuman threats alongside men and women whose superhuman abilities
      make his human abilities seem weak. But his courage, determination,
      and skills keep him at a level to be included where the rest of us
      mere mortals can only aspire to. Among the Best of the Best. Nobody
      living can say that he doesn't deserve to be in the Justice League
      aside Superman, the Flash, Wonder Woman or Green Lantern. He doesn't
      ask for their protection or for them to treat him differently because
      he is only human. He earns their respect and admiration because he
      isn't superhuman and he's fighting alongside them against threats
      that no mere mortal could stand against."

      "Why does he do it then?"

      "Nobody knows, but his courage, determination and skills are only
      part of what makes him a superhero... Criminals around the world have
      heard of him, and fear him. Something that makes him unique. He's not
      straightforward superhero like those who have the power to back them
      up, like you do. He has his backers and gadgets to back him along
      with his skills. He operates from the shadows, in secret."

      "But you said that having superhuman abilities doesn't make one a
      superhero."

      "They don't, unmatched courage and determination does, the
      willingness to put your life on the line for an ideal or a dream that
      makes life better for all. There many people with superhuman
      abilities that don't have the courage or drive to make them more than
      dilettantes or pretenders with powers."

      "You sound like you know a lot about superheroes…"

      "Besides playing Frank in chess everyday, superheroes are something
      that I study. They have been around for years and no two are alike.
      Even those that are descended from superheroes or were trained by
      superheroes. Hidden behind a mask like Batman or the Flash, possibly
      to protect their loved ones from their actions, or those who brazenly
      let people see their face like Superman or Wonder woman. If they
      operate primarily in teams like that green kid in the Titans, or
      alone like Blue Devil or split their time between teams and solo
      actions like Batman or Superman… No two are alike. You are ticking
      rather loudly."

      "I know."

      Shaun raised his eyebrow as if expecting more of an answer
      from `Ticks' but didn't get one.

      "How will I protect my `family' from my activities or those that may
      seek to capture me?"

      "Talk with Frank, Betty and Mama about it tomorrow."

      "What will that accomplish?"

      "It will help you decide… besides Frank might have some ideas for
      you."

      It was `Ticks' turn to look peculiarly. He didn't ask the patrolman
      what he had meant, because he didn't expect answer. When Shaun
      Danaher left `Ticks' was still processing what was said.
      ---

      Morning came like clockwork and `Ticks' helped as he did every
      morning. From carrying in the pork and other meats to be made into
      sausage and pepperoni, to cleaning up and starting the dough for Mama
      to bake. `Ticks' helped where he could, but his analytical engine was
      still processing the last few days and what had been said to him.

      "Mister Deltonio, Mrs. Deltonio, Miss Canardo, could I have a word
      with you?"

      "What's the matter, Trenton?" Mama asked as she poked her head out of
      the kitchen. Her face covered in flour.

      "Shaun Talk with you, `Ticks'?" Frank asked as he sliced the
      pastrami thin, getting ready for the lunch crowd.

      "Yes he did Mister Deltonio… I have a problem I need help with, it
      concerns you."

      Betty came over after ringing out Alfred Pennyworth, but didn't say a
      word.

      "It has been suggested that my actions a few days ago may have put
      you all and the kids in danger. And by continuing to act like I did,
      in stopping the robbery, will continue to put you into danger."

      "Trenton don't worry about us or the kids, living in Gotham the past
      several years we've been in danger before and can handle almost
      anything." Mama replied.

      " `Ticks' think about this you will live long past the time allotted
      to us, and allowing that you do nothing else you have existed over a
      hundred years. I'll be happy if I see grandchildren in a few years.
      I've accepted you into my home, if I die tomorrow I die with the hope
      that I will have grandchildren because you will be there to protect
      my family. Do what you feel is the right thing, because very few
      others will."

      "But what if my actions cause Frank jr., Cleo, Alicia, or even Betty
      or Mama to get hurt or worse?"

      "Its sweet that you care about us, `Ticks' but Frank and Mama are
      right. You can't live in fear of the future because that is where
      hope lies. Doing what you feel is right gives you integrity, and you
      already show compassion in that you are concerned for us. Don't let
      your integrity be compromised out fear for us." Betty said.

      The trio heard the ticking in `Ticks' slow down a lot.

      "It really had you thinking hard didn't it?"

      "You are my family, of course it did, besides Professor Avery and
      Mister Randall I have never cared about anyone like this…"

      "Thank you, Trenton we are honored." Mama said.

      "If you become a superhero full time you will always have a place in
      your basement…"

      Betty just hugged `Ticks' and gave him a peck on the cheek before
      returning to her register.

      The conversation was over, `Ticks' still didn't know what to do but
      he knew that he didn't have to worry about his Family for they would
      be behind him.
      ---
      Fatality had liquidated the bank robbers like Number Four had wanted.
      Subtly, with no questioning or suspicion of how they were killed.
      They all seemed to die of natural causes or cancer. None of them had
      lived to be tried or questioned further. Since they were all denied
      bail when they died and were in constant police possession, few
      questions were asked.

      Fatality felt bad that he couldn't have blown one to bits with
      explosives, or sniped at one from a building but he had been given
      the job and it said raise no suspicion or questions. They were just
      as dead but there was no excitement in it.

      Number Four focused attention on continuing the operation that they
      had begun with the bank robbery, they wouldn't have as much money to
      work with but they had enough to begin their operation. Number One
      and his superiors in Eastern Europe were anxious about this project
      continuing on schedule. Number Four agreed but he didn't like having
      to continue without proper resources.

      Hive and Necrosis were building up even faster than their
      organization was. But Number One had been correct they had drawn the
      attention of Groups like Hazard Force and Titans. Number One's
      superiors didn't want such attention until they were ready to handle
      it.

      "And about the Clockwork Hero that stopped our bank robbery?" Number
      Four asked.

      "Keep him under surveillance as well as the Batman and if either
      becomes a problem liquidate them."

      "Do nothing then."

      "No don't do nothing continue as scheduled, you have enough resources
      for now."

      "Understood…."

      "Control out, Gotham City."

      "Gotham City out."
      ---

      The Basement "apartment" that `Ticks' resided didn't have much in
      ways of comforts. It had the large cylinder (from which he had come
      after one hundred plus years of sleep), several wooden stools,
      benches and various tools and scientific devices used in his
      creation, a ladder (leading up to the basement where he was found),
      and a cot (which Professor Avery had used during his
      creation.) `Ticks' didn't sleep much on the cot or in the cylinder.
      He laid out on the floor using a Blanket Mama Deltonio had given him.

      The Clothes that he had bought or received in the last few weeks were
      piled beside the cylinder because the drawers of the laboratory
      benches were filled with papers or tools. He wasn't sure which were
      used to create him or not, so he decided not to move them or throw
      them out in case he had to repair himself.

      He had gone through many of the journals that the professor had
      written in the last few weeks. Scientifically the journals made
      his "head" hurt, he understood them the more he read them but so few
      of them had a bearing on his creation.

      The cookbooks were another thing that he had read, thinking that he
      could be of help to the Deltonios' early on if he knew a few recipes
      and how to fix a few dishes, but every time he read them it felt as
      if zoned out. He didn't remember what he read, and there was a space
      of missing time. By the time he finished a book. He had tried reading
      just singular recipes as well, same thing had happened. So he left
      the cookbooks alone in their shelves.

      `Ticks' rarely left his basement besides to work in the deli. Betty
      had taken him to some nightclubs a few times, all `Ticks' could do
      was look at the girls dancing and ask questions like "Why are they
      allowed to dress like that?" "Do you call that music?" "What is she
      looking at me that way for?" Memorable experiences for `Ticks' all,
      even without his analytical engine recording every event. Betty
      commented that he might be a little too old fashioned for clubs like
      that.

      `Ticks' ate dinner with Frank and Mama and their kids once a week. It
      was an interesting experience; they had different things every week
      Chloe and Alicia always talked about boys in their class, while Frank
      junior talked sports teams and argued with his father about who was
      going to win what this year. Tony got scolded for not eating
      something, feeding it to the Deltonio dogs… Caesar and Dino, or for
      annoying his sisters. Mama smiled through the whole affair and
      offered `Ticks' some fresh baked bread. Learning to appreciate
      various tastes was something to do while everyone else ate.

      One thing he did wander about was where did the food go when he ate
      it though. He didn't think he had facilities to digest it or process
      it out of him. It went in his mouth and down his throat pipe like air
      did, but after that he had no idea how he processed it.

      New sensations came every day, he couldn't describe them all one was
      unpleasant but irritating not quite like pain (itching), the other
      was pleasant and irritating at the same time but still (ticklish),
      and varied combinations of other sensations along with new ones as
      well.

      Adapting to the new sensations was an interesting experience for him,
      not to mention the things that called emotions. Listening to the
      radio while he worked, Frank always had talk radio or some sports
      event on, brought varied sensations to him as well. He was like a
      little kid in a way just discovering a whole big world about him.
      Mama explained everything to him, when she wasn't busy baking then it
      fell to Betty.

      Television was also an experience that `Ticks' marveled at. When it
      was explained to him by Tony no less he was even more fascinated by
      it. Frank Jr. and Frank watched sports and what they called action
      shows. Mama watched cooking shows and always made comments like
      doesn't she know that sort of batter will do `this' or `that', While
      the twins watched shows that had a bunch of teenage boys on them.
      Tony watched animated drawings called "cartoons" or whatever Frank
      jr. was watching. `Ticks' found the entire subject fascinating.

      Betty took `Ticks' to see a movie, which totally engrossed him. She
      said that it wasn't all that good but she only went to it because her
      favorite actor was in it. He was full of questions afterwards. She
      dropped him off after the movie and told him to discuss it with Tony.
      Once he got past how it worked and how they did what… he started to
      be able to go over the movies and understand comments that Betty had
      made about it.

      Every new thing brought new questions and new sensations. The things
      that he found the most fascinating were smells and tastes, though
      other sensations like touch were equally fascinating as well.

      The two Franks and Tony took `Ticks' to a professional wrestling
      event at Gotham Gardens. They had a hard time explaining that it
      wasn't something he should do anything about, it was a show. `Ticks'
      almost got the four of them kicked out. When he they explained it was
      a show he settled down a bit and took interest in the matches.
      He didn't quite understand but he got the bad guy/good guy motifs
      rather quickly. The crowd was as fascinating to him as the wrestling
      itself. Though he did want to help several times when he saw a bad
      guy hit the good guy with a chair or slam him into a ring post.
      ---

      It had been three weeks since he had talked to Jim Gordon
      when `Ticks' got an appointment to see the Police Commissioner again.

      "I didn't think I'd see you again so soon." Gordon said when `Ticks'
      came into his office.

      "Hello Mister Gordon, I had some questions that I needed answered and
      you seemed the logical choice to answer them."

      "You did hear that the robbers that you caught all died before they
      could stand trial didn't you?"

      "Yes I did but that's not what I wanted to talk to you about."

      Jim Gordon looked at `Ticks' questioningly then motioned him to the
      chair.

      "I was talking to Patrolman Shaun Danaher after I talked with you and
      the Batman… He suggested that someplace that I could become ready for
      the existence I have ahead of me was the police academy."

      "Shaun Danaher is a fine officer he turned down a promotion to
      detective so that he could keep walking a beat. He also seems to have
      a good head on his shoulders. Doesn't surprise me that he suggested
      that for some reason."

      "But he also suggested something else, if I join the Police
      department it could be possible that I be declared property of the
      police department."

      "I don't think that could happen, after what happened with the Metal
      Men."

      "Who are they?"

      "Robots like yourself, fought against the United Nations for their
      freedom."

      "Another thing that concerned me was how you and others would react
      to my becoming a police officer."

      "You would be resisted at first especially by the older officers and
      others… but if you prove yourself you'll win them over. Why this
      interest in becoming an police officer?"

      "I want to protect my family and not have to worry about retribution."

      "Would you be interested in having me on your police force…"

      "Interested yes, It would be nice to have someone like you working in
      the department."

      "Where do I sign up?"

      "Exams for the police academy don't start for over a month yet. Then
      you'll be put through the academy."
      "I'll do my best, Mister Gordon."

      When `Ticks' left Gordon's office, Commissioner Gordon looked out the
      window over the city and said to himself "First vigilantes dressed as
      bats, now perspective robotic police officers, one thing that they'll
      say when I retire is my tenure with the department was interesting."
      ---

      During the three weeks between the two talks with Commissioner Gordon
      something pushed `Ticks' to finish reading the cookbooks left by
      Professor Avery. There were over one hundred books to read and each
      time he lost the time when he read them. `Ticks' didn't like the
      sensation but he was compelled to finish reading all of them. It was
      shortly after his second talk with Gordon that he came to the final
      cookbook, this one made all of the others seem small it was longer,
      wider and thicker than all of the previous cookbooks. When he
      finished it something happened in him… His analytical engine felt as
      if it had stopped, and he saw a light coming from his chest cavity.

      What was happening to him?
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