Author's Note: This is an older story of mine from years ago, but it (along with a lot of what I've written) disappeared from here due to forgotten passwords on old accounts and the like. So for those who haven't ever read it, I hope you enjoy!
I am Brains.
That's all I know. I don't know my real name...the name that was given to me at birth. I don't even know exactly where or when I was born. There was nothing there to identify me. I was only a baby when they found me among the debris of shattered houses and shattered lives. No one knew who I was. No one ever came forward to claim me. Nobody missed me. No one called after me. I was alone. Completely and utterly alone.
I was placed into an orphanage. They were not unkind. But I was different. To them, I was strange. I didn't look like the other kids. I didn't think like them. I didn't talk like them. And I was talking almost before I could walk. I was walking almost before I could crawl. Crawling almost before I could sit up. Sitting up before I could hold up my head. Or so they tell me.
I've always been bright. I was born that way. I didn't know why. For the longest time, I didn't know why. Not until the day Jeff Tracy approached me with an idea the likes of which I'd never before heard. He was kind, but he intimidated me. I'd never met a man so in control, so sure of what he wanted, so insistent that he could make such an impossible dream come true. And there he was, asking me to help him. Asking me to be the man who would design and build the most incredible machines in human history.
How could I refuse? I knew what could happen to me. The world is full of evil, full of hateful, spiteful men, some of whom would stop at nothing to become rich or control the world. I already had a glimpse into that world and it made me sick. I knew what those men wanted when they approached me. They wanted me to invent things that could be used for hurting others. They wanted to use my genius for terrible, terrible things. Monetary gain seemed to be the least of their desires. I tremble even now when I think of what might have happened to me if Jeff Tracy had not come along.
Growing up in the orphanage was okay, but as an outcast, I never really participated in everyday life. Instead of jumping rope or playing ball, I was reading college textbooks when most kids my age were barely able to say the alphabet. I hungered for knowledge, I wanted it all, whatever I could get my hands on. And I retained everything I read. I astounded my teachers and I think I frightened everyone else. I was an outcast, not by my own hand, but by circumstance.
I have remained that outcast to this day. I don't fit in anywhere I go, and have no desire to. It doesn't bother me; it's just that my head is somewhere nobody else's is. Unlike some geniuses, I can connect with others, I can interact. But I find that I prefer the solitude of my laboratory or rooms to the company of large numbers of people. Even the Tracys, as much as I love them, can be too much at times. Just in sheer numbers!
But I'm getting ahead of myself. I know that I was found in the state of Michigan. However, I've never been able to discover whether or not my parents lived there or whether they were just passing through. I also don't truly know whether they're alive or dead. Or if I have siblings. I don't know anything about my history. Sometimes that bothers me.
Luckily I've had fairly good health and haven't found myself in desperate need of a family medical history. I must admit to having had terrible eyesight growing up. I wore the most horrendous horn-rimmed glasses you've ever seen. Yet another thing for the kids to tease me about. But as a young adult I had corrective laser surgery performed, and haven't worn those awful glasses a day since. Thank God for that!
I remember the day I met the Professor. He taught Physics at Cambridge University in England. I'd been sent to a special science program for gifted children in Grand Rapids, Michigan, not too far from the orphanage where I'd lived since infancy. The Professor was visiting colleagues who decided to bring him around and show him the new SSG chapter they'd started. SSG is an anagram for Scientific Study for the Gifted. That was where I sat at my lab bench, along with eleven others, working on an experiment.
However, I was bored with the simplicity of what they had us working on, so I decided to start mixing chemicals of my own accord, trying to test some of my own theories. I was so absorbed in my work that I didn't realize I was being watched. The Professor had noticed the various chemical combinations I was using and was intrigued. Unbeknownst to me, he watched me in every facet of the four-week program every day thereafter. By the time our last day arrived, he later told me he'd made a decision. He wanted to adopt me.
It was a happy time for me. I was able to leave the orphanage that had been my home for twelve years. The Professor was extremely intelligent. In him, I had found a kindred mind, someone I could relate to and discuss things with, someone who shared my love of science and could, for the most part, understand me. He indulged my every scientific whim and put me in touch with some of the most brilliant minds in the world. I thrived under his care, and will always be grateful to him for eight years of safety, protection and encouragement.
When I was approximately 18 years of age, I gave a lecture on Patgora's Theory of Absolute Zero at the University of Cincinnati. I wasn't fond of public speaking, but most of the scientific community disagreed with Patgora, whereas a few others and I found truth in what he proposed. I was a nervous wreck standing in front of all those scientists, but I think I persuaded a few of them to at least keep an open mind. That evening was the first time I met the man we now call the Hood.
It was a terrifying experience for me. With no effort at all, it seemed, he was able to put me under some sort of spell. He wanted to enslave me so I could invent things for him to sell and use for his own personal gain. If it hadn't been for someone on campus shooting off a firecracker, he might have succeeded. I managed to get away from him and hid in the theater the whole night. I cried a lot that night, something I don't often do. I realized that the Professor had been right about me. I could very well be in danger for the rest of my life because of my genius. I was never so frightened as I was that night, but I had no idea how to protect myself from men such as the Hood.
I pretty much stayed underground for the next two years. I continued living with the professor, rarely leaving the house. He was getting on in years, so I wound up spending quite a bit of time caring for him. I figured it was the least I could do to repay his kindness.
After the Professor passed away, I found he'd left me everything he had: patents, money, the house, you name it. But I needed more than that. I needed somewhere I could flourish, someplace I could really let my brain go. I therefore became a consultant for Tracy Engineering. It was located in a huge industrial complex owned by Tracy Corporation, the parent for all of Jeff Tracy's different companies. I felt safe there, safe for the first time since my run-in with The Hood. Security was tight, and the scientists on staff welcomed me with open arms.
One day, several months after I began working for TE, the scientists were all a-twitter because the founder and owner, Jeff Tracy, was paying a visit that day. I had read up on him, but didn't know much other than he was once an astronaut and had gone to the Moon at the turn of the century to jumpstart the Moon Colonization effort. I also knew his wife Lucille had died as the result of complications from the birth of their last child. Mr. Tracy had five sons, all of whom had outstanding individual accomplishments.
I recall I was working on a new type of metal, testing its properties and how to make it stronger, when Jeff Tracy decided to do a walk-through of my laboratory. I didn't even know he was there until he spoke. I turned to find a rather striking man, his face worn and rugged, and with a posture that told you exactly who was in charge at all times. I was immediately intimidated and stammered like a fool.
He asked me what I was working on. I explained it to him, and he seemed impressed. He then asked what other projects I was on, and we spent about thirty minutes going over them. Then he checked his chronometer and said he had to attend a board meeting, so he would be on his way. He shook my hand, told me he was impressed with my ideas and futuristic ways of thinking, and left.
After that encounter, I couldn't stop thinking about Jeff Tracy. He was an imposing figure, to say the least, but very intriguing. For a man his age to be so open to new things instead of sticking to the tried-and-true was uplifting. I knew I was in a good place with Tracy Engineering. Little did I know what the future would bring.
The very next year found me in Paris, France. I'd all but given up my short association with Tracy Engineering, as even their open minds ended up being too constrictive for what I wanted to do. However, I still worked with them in a freelance sort of way. But in an effort to gain support for my latest ideas, I was scheduled to give a lecture in Paris. My hope was that I would gain enough investors to begin working independently on my inventions and become autonomous at last.
After the lecture I stood in the middle of the room speaking to several potential investors. My spirits were somewhat high, as they seemed quite interested, but I couldn't be sure. As the crowd began to flow away, I heard someone approach me from behind. I was suddenly quite frightened. That's how it had happened back in Cincinnati when the Hood had come after me. I whirled around and, to my great relief, found Jeff Tracy standing behind me.
Mr. Tracy took me to his limousine and began weaving a fantastic tale...a dream he was going to make come true. A dream that would save lives and help people the world 'round. And he wanted my help.
As he spoke, I realized this is what I'd been looking for. Not only carte blanche to create any kind of inventions I wanted, but ones that would help save peoples' lives instead of being used to hurt them. Being under Jeff Tracy's wing would also provide me with protection from those forces that would use my mind for less-than-desirable purposes. I readily agreed to take on the position of Chief Engineer for International Rescue, but on one condition: that nothing I invented could ever be used in war-type machinery or to hurt anyone. He smiled and gave me his word.
And so my association with International Rescue began. Those first few months were hard. I worked 'round the clock and slowly began meeting the other members of the Tracy clan. They were a rowdy bunch, a typical family of jocks, I thought. Scott was in the Air Force, the best they had. He was very much like Mr. Tracy, in his mannerisms and the way he carried himself. It was obvious he was the eldest.
Virgil was into machines, so he and I hit it off right away. We spent many hours together designing not only Thunderbird 2, but also many of the rescue vehicles themselves. John was quiet and somewhat offish, a bit of a loner, it seemed. I understood where he was coming from in that regard. A sort of friendly bantering relationship formed between he and I that carries on to this day. We have an unspoken understanding that we're both isolationists, although for very different reasons.
The first conversation I ever had with Gordon Tracy was when he came to ask me about the properties of certain liquids. I had no idea what he was up to at the time I was answering his questions, but discovered he'd used what he got from me to play a rather funny practical joke on Scott. Scott was less-than-amused, to say the least. Gordon never told anyone where he got the information from, but I gained a new respect for him that day. His pranks were nothing if not ingenious, and he's never tried to play one on me. I think he and I have formed a mutual respect for one another, and that keeps me safe from his games.
Alan and I get along famously. I've helped him design many a racecar, and we even take some of them to race together at Bonneville Flats. Alan actually has a genius I.Q. and has the ability to make intuitive leaps that others cannot. I think he likes interacting with me because he can let that intelligence come through without sounding like a know-it-all, which his brothers have sometimes called him in the past.
I must admit I don't know much about Kyrano. He's very quiet and polite, but I've never really spoken to him at great length. His daughter Tin-Tin, is very bright and a great asset to both International Rescue and me. For a while there, I kind of had a crush on her, but not anymore. Besides, it's so easy to see how taken she and Alan are with each other, and I certainly wouldn't get in the way of that!
The boys' grandmother, Ruth Tracy, is something else. She's part Scottish, and boy, can you tell! That lady is a real spitfire when she wants to be! She is also very kind to me, but again, we've never really talked all that much, so I don't know her too awfully well. More often than not, I'm secluded in my laboratory or making the rounds of all our equipment doing testing, modifications and regular maintenance. It sure keeps me busy! But I wouldn't have it any other way.
Perhaps one of these days I'll discover who I am. Perhaps I'll be able to put a name to myself, even just a last one. But for right now, I am content to be International Rescue's engineer, and an extended family member to the Tracys. Who am I? I may never know. But to Jeff, Scott, Virgil, John, Gordon, Alan, Kyrano, Ruth and Tin-Tin, I am who I am.
I am Brains.