Good Evening, Brentwood Academy!

Good Evening, Brentwood Academy!

Synopsis:  Ted Kord is attending the annual fundraising Gala at Brentwood Academy, the same school that expelled him.  He announces the creation of a scholarship fund while fending off additional questions from reporter Vicki Vale, but not before entertaining Gala attendees with a performance.

— Same evening Booster Gold Arrived but earlier –

Exactly why was I in Gotham.  I know that was on the mind of everyone.  Especially after the outburst on the airplane.  I will admit I got a bit emotional, but it couldn’t be helped. I had a friend in need, but regardless after that business was straightened out I arranged to meet with Dick for dinner in a few days as there was some business that I needed to handle before I could get to the personal side of the trip even though there was a bit of business that was mixed there.

There was a lot of work to be done to see this project move forward and I had to balance how certain items would be handled. I would have been in Gotham sooner, but I had to make a step in Detroit to allay any fears that anyone might have about my recent meetings on the coast.  The last thing I wanted was for them to feel that their jobs were in jeopardy.  In reality they have big things coming their way and with a stop in Ann Arbor and Detroit they knew exactly what direction they were headed in.

I was in Gotham to see a few old friends, make some new ones and revisit some of my old stomping grounds.  Brentwood was probably the last place anyone thought I would grace my present with after I was summarily dismissed from its hallowed halls after the incidents that saw me removed from the student population. I often find myself coming back to series of events that led to my expulsion I guess it could not be avoided.   I did destroy a lab while researching sonoluminescence and cold fusion.  Though I argued that there was no real danger, the fact that I amplified the effect of sonoluminescence to the extent that it was able to destroy the school’s property was enough to warrant expulsion, a donation to from my father, and involvement of the authorities.

I remember what the record said as they were speaking.  Menace . It was at that time that Dan came into my life and decided to take me under his wing encouraging my studies and experiences while showing me more of the world that I thought I would ever learn.   There was always something to learn when Dan was involved, and he knew so many people, interesting people, dangerous people at that, but that was then and this is now.

Now, I am back at Brentwood at one of the annual charity event.  It does a lot for the school.  Its when they hit up their donors, private and corporate to try and increase their founding to ensure that it maintains its distinction as one of the top educational institutions in the world.  True if you graduate with high marks from Brentwood you can write your ticket to any college of your choice.  I had the dubious distinction of it holding me back to an extend until I came in for personal interviews.   MIT and Oxford there I went.

It was explained that I was simply bored with the work that I was doing in the classroom and I was better at practical application, mot entirely true, not entirely false.  MIT was intrigued and Oxford, well, they had to wait until I was ready.   Things took off when I took over KORD Industries and I began to make strides in nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.   Making a few convenient apps in college helped a lot.   This changed the direction of KORD for the better increasing our value as we began to put our fingers into various pots, and now I was ready to make the next leap which is why I was in Gotham, but right now it was time for me to pay it forward as Dan would say.

However, unlike my former mentor I didn’t spend time globe trotting around the world well, not like he did.  Dan taught me patience and determination.   Archaeology is not for the impatient.  They were very useful lessons, but I was being honored at the fundraising gala despite the fact that I did not technical graduate from Brentwood, but it didn’t stop me from recognizing the fact that the school could benefit from fresh, unorthodox minds.

What did that mean?  It was time to flex some of that Ted Kord muscle.

“Mister Kord, come on.  You have to give me something for the Gazette, to print.”  The woman looked at him as he spun her around dipping her as they continued to dance to the song that was being played by the band which was a bit unorthodox as I had slipped the band master five hundred dollars to play a few select tunes.

“Ted, Vicki. I told you.  Please call me, Ted.” I dipped her again before started that infamous Ted Kord dancing.  Which would scare most, but Vicki Vale was determined to get some confirmations.

“First, California, then a quick stop to Detroit and now Gotham.  Something’s going on.  My sources tell me….” Before Vale could finish the statement, I spun her out as the band started the beginning to David Bowie’s Modern Love.

“What’s that?” Pulling her back to me I grin slipping away to continue dancing.

“My sources said that you met with several government officials while in California.  I’ve also heard that you have had several survey teams in Iowa, Washington and Arizona. It sounds like that you are looking for another production facility.  At least those are the rumors. Confirm or deny.”

Currently I was doing a few side step touches that looked more like aerobic exercises than dance movements at the moment, but they kept time with the music.  “Neither.” I will neither confirm or deny.  I could do no comment, but that rarely stopped Vale.

“Ted…”  She sounded a little exasperated. “I also heard.” She moved close this time. “That you met with Carol Ferris.” Oh, those sources.   “Joint venture perhaps now that you’ve come back from space?” I keep moving before moonwalking towards Vicki.

“Off the record,” he started.  “I did meet with Carol Ferris, but if you do me a solid and sit on this for a few more days.  I will give you something quotable…like really good.” I promise.  “Also a answer to that piece that came out from Cat Grant today.”  I could see the wheels turning.

“About Wayne.”

Nodding I pointed at her at with my fingers while doing a dance move that had me scooting backwards.

“Yay or nay. We’re still off the record here.  I can deny up and down and any information you’ve been getting will dry up like the Sahara.  Song’s almost over too.  Come on Miss Vale. “

“Alright, Kord. What do you have?”

I couldn’t help the smirk that played on my lips. “Though I am here on personal business, there is some business I need to take care of that involves a potential venture with Wayne Enterprises. However, nothing is set in stone. I cannot say what the venture involves, but it will do a lot to help move the country forward technologically.  It’s all quite exciting, the prospects.”  I gave her a brow waggle.

“Also quote. Begin quote.  Cat Grant’s attack on Timothy Wayne was misdirected and does nothing to help her separate herself from the tabloid past that she desperately wants to escape.  Her view is slanted and to call the work he wants to do in Coast City as a means of a vanity project to make his mark upon the world is short sighted. As is her remarks regarding wiping away the past of the city and his father.”

Vale looked at me.  “She wrote the only thing that was missing from the burnt ruins of Coast City was W.   It was quite a vicious attack.  Whether it’s a T, J, D, W or whatever letter there.  I think the fact that he is taking an interest in seeing the city rebuild says a lot.  Perhaps it is a way to help move past his personal loss, but it is not erasing the fact that Wayne name carries a lot of weight. Bad business decisions str not in their blood, and they are known for their philanthropic work across the world.  This is not an attention grab. In fact, it is continuing the family tradition. Providing opportunities and realizing potential while others simply sit on the sidelines and think and meet about it.  End quote.”  Vale tipped her head to the side.

“Off the record.  My family tragedy was fodder for the journalist, but she took a few steps too far. So…”  Smiling I walked off the dance floor with her as the song came to a close.

“Oh…bonus.”   I whispered in her ear. There were rumors about a scholarship fund which was true, but there was something else that was being done also. “Get your camera going.”

Walking over towards the students that entertained the guests with dance and musical performance I smiled nodding towards them as it was time to make my announcement regarding Brentwood, but it had to be done a certain way.  At least one that was inline with who I was.  Yes, school was about learning and recognizing and realizing potential among other things, but it was also about having fun.

So, when the band stopped playing music and the students moved in their place with their own instruments, the parents, donors and other guests thought it was another school sanctioned performance.  Not quite.   Especially not with me walking up to the microphone.

The bow tie was gone, and the top button of my shirt was undone.

“GOOD EVENING, BRENTWOOD ACADEMY!  I’m happy to be back here among some of my favorite teachers in the world. I’m grateful for the invitation, but before we get to the announcements I wanted to show my appreciation for everything that Brentwood Academy has given me.  It is more than an education, it’s an experience and it’s true the friends that you make at Brentwood you make for life.”

My arm fell across my chest placed on top of my heart.

“Unfortunately, my best friend, Richard Garyson could not attend this year’s gala, but I speak for both of us when I say that without Brentwood we would have never met, and your lives would not have been as rich and full as it has been.”  Total truth.

“Without Dick’s encouragement and constant support I would have never been able to realize one of my dreams of going into space. He taught me to believe in myself even if it felt like the entire world was against me.  He also taught me the value of determination and perseverance.” Among other things, but we didn’t need to get into that.

“Dick taught me that it’s okay to be yourself.  The teachers provided the discipline and the instruction, and desire for excellence, but they also appreciated my quirks.  My eccentricities.  They celebrate them within reason of course. Though my time at Brentwood was short, it proved to be the most impactful. Which is why I’m so excited to be here again among old friends and new.” The excite me was clear.  I couldn’t help myself.

“All of my friends may not be present, but I know they are with me no matter where I go, so it’s to them, especially Dick Grayson that I dedicate this performance.  Funny story.  We were supposed to perform this at the school talent show as a band, but  an opportunity presented itself and I was allowed to study under one of the greatest minds in the world.  Dick told me to go for it. It’s taking me some time to get to the stage, but here.  This one is for you, Dick and every student at Brentwood, past, present and future.”

The band was ready, but also so where the dancers that were on either side of us in the area arranged for them, two girls and three boys from the current student body dressed in something that looked vaguely familiar and from the 80s.

“Without further ado may I present The Outsiders performing “We Are Not Alone” by Karla Devito.”  After the count-off from drummer with her drum sticks the music started and some members of the audience glanced at one another, though they probably did not want to admit that they knew the song. It was starting to click from the music and the way the dancers were dressed.

Hello I’m from Chicago. John Hughes is a legend. Andrew, Bender and Brian were to my right and to my left were Allison and Clare.  Welcome to our Breakfast Club. It was Vale that threw her fist up and laughing when she realized what was happening.

“He’s not.”  Someone said in the audience next to her.

“It’s Ted Kord. Of course, he is.”

”Things look clear in black and white, the living color tends to dye our sight like dynamite.  Just imagine my surprise when I looked into your eyes saw your disguise.“  With a spin and me grabbing the mic stand and leaning forward I couldn’t help it.

“If we dare expose our heart, just to feel the purest parts that’s when the sensations start to grooooww. We are not alone, find out when your cover’s blow, there’ll be somebody there to break your fall. We are not alone, ‘cause when you cut down to the bone, we’re really not so different after all.  Af-ter alone, we not alone.”

Yep, I’m belting it out with not a bad voice so says me and the band is pretty on point and the dancers well they complete the picture, and I can see people getting into it.  This was one of my favorite parts of the movie, and right now we need some injection into the gala.  With a press of a button the lights start to flash and what was just another boring standard Brentwood Academy gala turned into a Ted Kord production as I cracked out the dance moves while still singing and of course the guitar solo.

By the time the performance was done there was some cheering and I know the board of governors weren’t sure what to do.  The headmaster would smooth it over. With everyone’s favorite, “It’s Ted bleeping Kord.”

When the performance came to a close there were some applause, some more energetic than others.  There were some snickers mostly from everyone involved, because it was fun. I also told them that they would get a pass, because I can be quite convincing at times.  Also, given my history there is always something interesting around the corner.

Getting a glass of water, I take a few sips before passing it to the waiter who was so gracious to offer to me.

“That definitely brought back memories, but the song has pretty straightforward lyrics.  We are not alone.  That is the core thing that I took away from Brentwood.  I was not alone.  Dick was not alone.  No one at the school was not alone.  We were a unit, a community.  We could depend on another.  We surprised one another.  We encouraged one another.  We challenged each other and everyone deserves to have that in their lives and before anyone starts thinking I’m saying doing something radical like throwing the doors open to all the children of Gotham or around the world, I know it’s not possible, but there was something about this song and the movie it’s associated with that represented the best of Brentwood.”

Clearing my throat I held onto the mic slipping off the small makeshift stage walking over to where the dancers were.  “A brain, an athlete, a criminal, a basket case, and a princess.  Those were the roles that people were assigned not by the movie, but by the principal, by society. It’s all that they saw, it’s all that people cared to see, but they saw through that, they fought through it see one they were different, but also no so different all. It was their differences that made them unique.  It made them strong and together they could be powerful.”  I smile.

“I think I know what I fall, but it changes from day to day, moment to moment, but here at Brentwood I learned that I wasn’t alone.  That there were people who would catch me. That would support me.  I was a little unconventional. I was a bit unorthodox, but someone saw something in me that was worth taking a chance on and I think we all need to take more chances and that’s what the Gardner-Kord Scholarship is about.  It’s about finding those individuals that have the potential, that have the talent, but may not have the means or opportunity to share in what Brentwood has to offer. It’s not about finding the diamond in the rough all the time. Sometimes it’s about finding that lump of coal and realizing the potential of what it could be if given a chance.”

Walking back to the front of the lab I stood before them looking around. “So, how does this happen.  Well, sometimes the scholarships will be awarded by me personally when I’m made aware of individuals that I think would be a good fit, but the majority of individuals will be found through the Thomas Kord Innovation Labs. The Innovation labs will be partner with the local public school systems in five cities to encourage STEM education. Students who participate in them will complete projects and compete in competitions. Those individuals who are the blue ribbon winners for their labs shall be awarded  a scholarship to attend Brentwood Academy here in Gotham.  Tuition, room, board and fees will be handled by the scholarship.”

This is how I wanted to give back to the opportunities that had been provided to me.  “The innovation labs will be a partnership with Kord Inc and several of it’s partners. Who those partners are will be announced later, but I can tell you that STAR Labs is one and Hamilton Labs is another.” I shared.  “I know the news that everyone is waiting for and wanting to know where are the Innovation Labs going to be.   “Gotham will be one of the hubs.  Chicago is another of course.  Detroit is the third.  The fourth will be in Central City.  The fifth, the fifth will be announced in the coming days.”  I promise.

“I will be working with individuals in each of the identified cities to identify the innovation labs and how they will work with the local school systems. Though the labs will be accessible by all grades only grades 8 through 10 will be able to complete for the scholarships.  Outside of those grade levels special consideration be given, but they will not be able to compete.”  There would be some additional information provided, but I wanted to make sure that this was understood.  Additionally, I did say that I may make selections myself, but that would be outside of the five individuals that competed in the scholarship competition.

“There are details that are still being worked out and decisions that will need to be made and as additional information is available the public relations team at KORD will arrange the appropriate press conferences, but I wanted you all to be the first to know. Now If I’m right Ms. Vale and her other colleagues probably have a dozen questions or more and I should provide a few more details, but please enjoy and have a good time and remember, we are not alone. “

Back to the Grind

Back to the Grind

I know it’s not the longest time that someone has spent in space, but three months is a long time. Ninety days.  The International Space Station became my home.  It also made me remember the conversation that I had with my father and uncle, several years ago about putting a stronger focus on aerospace technology.  There were a few projects that Kord Omniversal Research and Development Incoporated, KORD Inc. for short, dabbled in aerospace technology, but with space shuttles heading towards end of life and a focus on smaller capsules there was something being lost there, at least I thought it was..

Shuttles and such craft had multiple purposes and they could continue to fill the void. It was about efficient use of fuel, but also the craft.  He understood all too well the problems about materials required to construct the vehicle, and fuel needed to escape the Earth’s gravity.  One of the problems was the booster rockets which today other firms were bringing back downs safely.  However, something could be said for using shuttles, but there were other things that could be done. Smaller craft that used smaller amounts of fuel that could be maneuvered by a smaller crew or remotely.

That is one of the advantages they could bring to the field of aerospace if allowed.  Of course, my uncle continued to stand in my way always pointing to my age.  I wasn’t the same youth that caused an accident, okay explosion, that led to me being expelled from boarding school and cost my father a pretty penny.  Uncle Jarvis again tried to send me to military school espousing how it would bring discipline and order to my life.  It would teach me how to follow rules and how to be obedient.  That was Uncle Jarvis’ favorite.  Obedience.  That’s what he wanted from me.  It’s not that I was mouthy, I just objected a lot.   A lot.   It was something he couldn’t tolerate.  In his eyes children were meant to be seen not heard and he could barely tolerate looking at me.

Either way I was able to salvage what he did by influencing my father.  When the time came and I had a bigger say in how KORD was ran, I made sure the groundwork was laid for us to compete in various areas including aerospace.

It was something that I had been working on for years. Short range module that could be directly towards where we needed to go.  Efficient fuel consumption when needed. It’s not something that would take you to the moon and back, but it could attack the ISS with no problems.  Charge itself using solar panels and the fuel it used was limited.   Several of the models could be brought and then attach to the station. They could eventually be brought back down when they would reach end of life.

I still didn’t abandon the idea of a modified shuttle that could perform more advanced tasks, but that was a start. It was those modules that lead to the nanotech that I developed that lead to the insect drones.  It was that that got me notice that made people turn their heads, because of their sophistication, but it’s not what got me up into space.  They didn’t people an R&D guy in space on that alone.  I went to space to upgrade the detection system.

What detection system?  The Parallax Detection System.  I wasn’t into military applications of the technology I developed though anything can be co-opted.  However, I did want to do what I could to address early warning systems.  I did work with Tsunami detection.  Not the first time that I did work with sonics, but this was an entirely different thing. I studied to get a better understanding, but after everything that went down in Coast City there was a possibility that he could return.

Detecting him was not a problem, but long range detection proved to be problematic.  It began a puzzle to solve one that involved a lot of man hours but eventually I presented to Departments of Defense and Extranormal Affairs and I found myself being listed as a mission specialist.  The detection system would focus on the currently space telescopes and other satellites that had been launched in subsequent years.   Of course, making those kind of changes required me, Ted Kord, to head up into space.

There were also the tests that were going to be made. Attempting to place some satellites in orbit around Mars and Jupiter.  Doing what they could to expand the range of real time detection.  It was possible we just needed to work at it.  My piece was done the moment I launched into space, that was three months ago and now that I’m back there’s more work to be done

Which was a little frustrating given the fact that I was still being monitored to make sure my health was in order.  This also meant that I had a lot of time on my hands which could be a good or bad thing depending on who you asked.  I was already checking in at Kord.  I was in charge now, but I was already focused on our next big project.   Coast City revitalization.  It was an opportunity.  One that had already been signaled by the new bold move that Wayne enterprises was taking by beginning construction there.

I had an idea.  I’ve been told that I dream big sometimes too big, but anything was possible.  However, one of the projects that KORD has been involved in is autonomous vehicles.  It was a natural step from drones.  Drones could be programmed so it wouldn’t be difficult to work with vehicles and despite the tragedy that had befallen Coast City it was a chance to rebuild and design a city that would be conducive to such technology.

There was also the idea deploying cleaner energy forms of energy.  There were ideas firing off in my head left and right.  Autonomous vehicles was something that I wanted to bring to Metropolis it was the City of Tomorrow, but it would be interesting to expand this to Coast City.  One city that had an established network of roads, but Coasts could be redesign.

What did this mean.  I had phone calls to make and work to do.   There were other projects to focus on also, but I needed a clean bill of health before I could focus on that so right now I had to look at what was next for KORD.