Title: Respect
Author: Houie (houster_gold)
Recipient: Prop (notpoetry)
Featured character: Brainiac 5
Summary: The smart ones never get any respect.

E-mail: houstergold@gmail.com
LJ name: (houster_gold)

Rating: PG (genfic)
Spoilers: That the LoSH exists, that a certain 21st century character was a member for a period of time.

Respect, a Legion Tale

Almost precisely to the day, one Galactic Month ago (which is slightly longer than a standard Earth month) Brainiac 5 woke up in his quarters on the Legion World satellite and announced to himself and whatever non-organic life-forms were around, "I think I've got it!"

"It" was, of course, the secret to running the Legion World satellite with negative energy consumption. Brainy had always considered the cost of supporting a corps the size of a small army to be the downfall of the Legion.

Well, the biggest one. He could think of about 279 other Legion downfalls, if you asked him to.

He leapt from his bed, pulled on his robe, and slid his feet into his fuzzy white slippers. He ran a hand through his hair, just twice. Genius had a magnetic repulsion with dignity. One could, therefore, only exhibit one of these traits at any given time.

He grabbed the first person outside of his quarters, as he ran into him. "I think I've got it!"

It was Ferro. He gave Brainy the strangest look a metal face would permit and walked away very quickly.

~~~~~~~

Brainiac 5 wouldn't fare any better for the rest of the week, either. In fact, he only got to fully explain his great idea once, and that was to Ultra Boy. When he asked Ultra Boy what he thought about it, even if he never really cared, Ultra Boy asked him to repeat himself, because he wasn't really paying attention the first time.

Brainy stormed away in annoyance.

~~~~~~~

Two Galactic Weeks ago, after revising his idea, reciting it to his omnicom, summarily deleting it as worthless and revising and reciting again, he was almost sure that he now had it distilled to its simplest wording, its least sophisticated terminology.

He showed the omnicom file to Superboy. Superboy, for his worth, agreed with Brainy. He also seemed more interested in getting an omnicom for himself. He realized perhaps not all verification was worthwhile verification.

Brainiac 5 was developing a twitch in the muscle at the corner of his left eye.

~~~~~~~

At some point, about a Galactic Week ago, he finally decided he was going to make a decisive move concerning his Great Idea. He got himself ready, stared into the mirror and told his own reflection firmly exactly what he planned on telling Cosmic Boy and Kid Quantum in a few minutes.

He marched through the Legion World passageways with intent. Staff members and cadets parted around him like the Red Sea. He was a Coluan on a mission.

When he reached the deck, Cosmic Boy rounded on him.

"Did you want something?"

"Cosmic Boy, I...have an idea. Concerning the efficiency of the Legion World satellite and its energy consumption levels...you see, I've been thinking lately about the fashion in which we, as a group--"

"That's great, Brainy!" Cos smiled at him. In spiteful retrospect, he would have considered it vapid. "Link me to it and I'll look it over when I get a chance. And hey, while you're here?"

The muscle stopped twitching and seized utterly.

"Yes?"

Cosmic Boy handed him a rather heavy, picked-over looking contraption. "Can you fix this for us? It's part of the Bouncing Boy's nav. system. It's been acting up. Chuck looked at it, but couldn't really figure out the problem."

Brainy dumped the mauled machinery on the table and, turning on his heels, said "Make Gear do it."

Kid Quantum raised her eyebrow as Brainy left.

"What crawled up his butt and died?"

Today Brainy woke up and-- presently-- decided that if the rest of the Legionnaires weren't going to give his vast and impressive mental processes the proper respect they deserved, then he would just reserve them for much more worthwhile things, like himself and the mysteries of the universe, such as, "why does toasted wheat-free bread substitute always land nondairy condiment-substitute side down?" or "I know what an egg is, but what the sprock's a chicken?"

Maybe he would take up golf. He once heard that it used to be the popular choice of brilliant, retired Earthmen in ancient times.

Actually, Brainiac 5 hadn't started it today-- he started it about four days ago. It was just ready to be tested today, which he was very pleased with. He'd never built a hard-light hologram machine before. Brainy was working on that hard-light hologram machine in every spare moment he had for those four days, which is somewhere between 53 moments and "a lot more than you'd think".

The machine was small, circular and pockmarked with little indentations, like a tiny, chrome-smooth deathstar. It shined happily up at Brainy, if you believe in that sort of thing. He grabbed it up and hefted it off of the rolling table it was sitting on and placed it in the corner of the room. It seemed too obvious to him upon looking it, so he picked it back up, moved it back onto the rolling table-- this time the second row-- and wheeled the whole tray into another corner next to the door. He draped a white sheet over this and stood back.

"Oh, wait," Brainy muttered and turned the tiny machine on. He dropped the sheet back over it as it whirred quietly and then settled into the barely detectable thrum of highly technical objects doing the job they were made for.

He turned around and walked right into Brainiac 5.

The hard-light hologram glared at him momentarily, before realizing it was, in fact, a hard-light hologram.

He spun the hologram around appraisingly. "That's wonderful craftsmanship, if I do say so myself." Which he did.

"It must be," said the hologram, and tugged its arm away.

"Shush, listen," Brainy eyed the door nervously while he spoke.

"This had better be important."

"I said be quiet. Now, I need you to go down and meet with Cosmic Boy and Kid Quantum. Invisible Kid should be here any moment to pick you up."

"You mean to pick you up?"

"No. Yes. Just do what I'm telling you, I know it goes against your nature but that's because when I wrote your A.I. program--"

"You made sure it did?"

"Yes, precisely."

Somebody knocked momentarily on the door, and then invited himself into Brainy's lab. It was Invisible Kid.

The hologram shoved Brainy down behind the lab table. "Yes?"

"Oof," said real Brainy. Invisible Kid looked momentarily confused.

"Yes?" repeated the hologram, "Did you want something?"

"There's nobody else in here?"

"Do I often work with an audience?"

"No, but..."

"Then maybe you need to better manage your night cycle time, Invisible Kid."

Invisible Kid humored him, and then ushered him away for the mandatory tech briefing.

Brainiac 5 smirked at the world at large, and decided to better familiarize himself with the world of fine literature with his new free-time.

~~~~~~~

Four Galactic weeks passed. Brainiac 5 was intensely enjoying this new situation, and the hologram, as far as he could tell, was working flawlessly.

He crawled out of bed and patted himself firmly on the back.

He peered outside of his door, and seeing no one but some help robots, bolted his way to his lab. There was really no need to put on anything but his robe and slippers, if he wouldn't actually be going out in public himself. The dirty throngs would only see his pristine hard-light hologram. He'd weighed the pros and cons for at least seven hours yesterday. There was really nothing better to do.

He leaned over to lift the white sheet over the rolling table, and turn on the hologram, when somebody cleared their throat behind him. He whirled on the intruder.

"Oh, for the love of...put the force-field away, Brainy. It's just me, not an invading army."

Brainy eyed him warily anyway.

Invisible Kid rolled his eyes.

"I know what you're doing in here."

"So you were sifting through my things, then? How noble of you, Invisible Kid."

"No, I'm just not completely braindead."

Brainy considered this, and agreed.

"So, what do you seem to think you're going to do about the situation, then, Invisible Kid?"

"Oh, grife, how should I know? I really just wanted to see the look on your face when you realized you weren't being as sneaky and discreet as you thought you were."

Brainiac 5 eyed the pile of extra electronica sticking out of the cubbyholes lining the upper walls.

"Lyle Norg," Brainy muttered in a deathly serious tone, "Have you ever heard of golf?"