Like Clockwork: Chapter Two of Three: Winding the spring
- 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
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 -
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 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
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
"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
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
"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
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
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
"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
Betty came over after ringing out Alfred Pennyworth, but didn't say a
"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
"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
"And about the Clockwork Hero that stopped our bank robbery?" Number
"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
"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
`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
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
"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
"I don't think that could happen, after what happened with the Metal
"Who are they?"
"Robots like yourself, fought against the United Nations for their
"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
"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?