"Um. Brainiac 5?"

If Brainiac 5 couldn't figure out what had gone wrong with his magnetics, Cosmic Boy had said, no one could. Maybe that was why it had taken Dyrk as long as it had to work up the nerve to actually ask the Coluan Legionnaire about it - the nagging, inescapable thought that if he can't help, then what? But hope, eventually, had to win out over fear.

Not that Brainiac 5 was paying Dyrk the slightest bit of attention.

He made another minute adjustment to the electronic apparatus in his hands, steadfastly ignoring both the small white monkey perched on his shoulder and the Braalian lingering near the entrance of the lad, hesitant to venture farther in lest he accidentally set something off. "Sorry if I'm interrupting something," said Dyrk, "but Cosmic Boy said you might be able to figure out what Mordru did to my powers..."

"Koko!" said the monkey. Brainiac 5 frowned at the gadget he was holding and made another adjustment.

"If you're busy," Dyrk ventured, "I can drop by later..."

Silence.

Dyrk was only just beginning to understand how little he cared for being ignored.

"Hey," he said, striding in across the lab. "I'm standing right here."

Abruptly, Brainiac 5 looked up, and Dyrk stopped short as he found himself on the receiving end of the full focus of the Coluan's attention. While he stood there, with a little voice in the back of his head wondering what sort of trouble he'd just marched himself into, Brainy aimed the product of his tinkering at Dyrk, scanning it steadily over him from head to foot and back up again.

It let out an electronic chirp. Brainiac 5 glanced down at it impassively, and then looked back up at Dyrk again.

"Strip."

The endless rounds of specialists and examinations he'd gone through on Braal had in no way prepared Dyrk to handle receiving that command, delivered curtly and almost boredly from a green-skinned Legionnaire. With a monkey on his shoulder. He could feel his eyes bugging out. "Not without dinner and flowers," he blurted before he could think better of it.

Things could only go downhill from there.