Author's notes: Not betaed. This has been resting on my HD for a while, decided to post it on a whim.
Three months later
Timothy ‘Tim’ Drake entered Operations Room for the first time, a mix of awe and nervousness cycling through him. The room was mostly silent, the array of computers still almost entirely turned off, they wouldn’t be fully operational for at least another week. In the back he could see the man who would be responsible for the GCCCD talking with someone.
Captain Robert Magliano came from an old family of cops, one who wasn’t Irish and had to fight most of the time against people who would use their Italian origins as a smear against them. Tim knew enough about the man’s story to know that he was, apparently, clean as a whistle, and the same records told him that the tall man with salt and pepper hair and wire rimmed glasses was a closet hacker, one who liked computers ‘for fun’.
He chuckled inwardly, and kept looking around. Well, the tech they had available was impressive, and he knew that Wayne Foundation had paid for most of it. It made sense, since he knew who Bruce Wayne really was
, and not what he appeared to be.
His slight daydreaming made him stumble upon something, and only after righting himself is that he noticed he had stumbled on a pair of legs stretching out from under one of the bays.
“Hey, watch out,” a feminine voice echoed, the owner of said legs.
“Sorry, sorry,” he replied, reddening. Tim crouched to look at her better, and was surprised by a pair of beautiful eyes, surrounded by elfin looks and a slight pout that vanished and was substituted by a deep blush, almost the same as his.
The situation stretched for a few moments, neither speaking until Tim’s voice did a weak comeback.
“Er…em…sorry about that,” he said, offering his hand for her to climb out of the small space.
“Thank you,” the young woman said sheepishly, cleaning her hands in her pants. Not that they were dirty, because the place was spotless, but the action served to calm her.
“I’m Tim. Tim Drake,” he said, still holding her hand.
“Redbird. I know you,” she said with a smile. “We chatted a few times in the past. MojoedLockpicker, or Dawn Summers, whatever you like.”
“You’re Mojoed? That’s cool. You’re very, very good,” he said, finally letting go of her hand. “You’re going to work with us?”
“Thanks, and not exactly. I’m WayneTech’s liaison with the CCD. During the next month or so, I’ll stay here to help the startup process, but my boss is Mr. Wayne,” she said, sitting at the chair of the console she was fixing, and starting the OS. She typed a few commands, Tim keeping his silence while she nodded to herself. “Okay, done,” she said, and shut down the OS again.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, curious.
“Someone did a crappy crimp on the network cable, it was going in and out of the network at odd intervals. That’s one problem away, of a rather large list,” she said, pulling a PDA from her pocket, scanning down a list and adding a tick to one of the items.
“Can I help out with something?” he asked, wanting to feel useful, and why not, wanting a bit more of the young woman’s company.
“Well, I could use an extra hand. You have your clearance levels already?”
“Yep,” he said, showing her his passcard/ID badge.
“Good. Let’s see what I can shove…give to you,” she said with a smirk.
“Sure, shove away,” he replied with another smile, and in a few minutes he was busy working around the Operations Room, glad to be of service.
Dawn parked her company car on the spot reserved to her at the apartment building she now lived in, two floors down from Xander. She walked out, grabbing her backpack with her laptop and a few papers, and climbed on the elevator. Her cell phone rang out, and she pulled it, checking the ID.
“Hey, Xand,” she said with a smile.
“Hey, Dawn. Wanna have dinner with us? Diana cooked one of her home recipes, and she forgets that not all of us are slayers or superheroes,” he said, and she almost could see the smile on his face.
“Food for ten people?”
She laughed. “Sure, just give me a few to take a shower, I’ll be right up.”
Dawn entered her apartment, the one of two in the floor, still chuckling slightly. She wondered what Mom would say if she knew her real daughter liked to cook for her husband and friends, an action which would surely look like slavery to the still sometimes backwards society of Amazons. Speaking of Hippolyta, she should give her a call sometime, to say how things were going with her.
It had been a nice thing to connect back with someone on a parental level, someone she could trust implicitly. Buffy had done a decent job, but she couldn’t relate to her sister in the same way she did with her mother, and that pained both of them. Lyta had, while not taking over the spot of Joyce, filled a hole they both needed filled in the worst way.
She shed her work clothes in the way to the large bathroom, vowing to pick up the trail of discarded clothes after her relaxing shower. The CCD wasn’t a pile of trouble, far from it, but she put a great effort to make everything work perfectly for them. Fifteen minutes later she was out of the shower, dressed in comfortable clothes and brushing her long hair.
“Computer, any messages?”
“Three messages. Buffy Summers, Bruce Wayne, Mom,” the mechanical voice replied, the last name surprising the young woman.
“Dial Mom,” she said with a smile, not bothering with the message. It took a few moments for the call to go through, and another few for someone to answer it.
“#Hope I’m doing this right,#” a voice muttered in ancient Greek over the line.
“#You are. May I speak with Queen Hippolyta, please?#” she said with a slight chuckle.
“#And who must I say is calling?#” the voice replied evenly.
“#Her daughter, Dawn,#” the brunette replied, still unsure about her adoptive relationship. She could almost see the woman on the other side stiffening in military fashion.
“#Princess Dawn! One moment, please, I shall fetch Her Majesty, she’ll be glad to hear from you,#” the woman said, and she could hear some movement in the background. A couple minutes later, Hippolyta’s voice came through.
“#Dawn! It is so good to hear from you. How are things with you?# the woman said, her voice bringing an enormous sense of peace and happiness to Dawn’s spirit.
“#Things are ok, Mom. I’m still working on that project I mentioned last time, so life has been a little hectic around here, for me at least.#”
They talked for another fifteen minutes, sharing a bit of their lives with one another, deepening their bond. They disconnected, and Dawn felt a little lighter afterwards. It was so good to have a mother again, even one she hasn’t been born of. Well, if she thought right about it, she hasn’t been born of Joyce either, but the memories should count for something, shouldn’t they?
Smiling still, she looked to the ceiling again, an odd habit, perhaps because of all the Star Trek she had seen with Xander while growing up. “Computer, play Bruce Wayne’s message.”
“Dawn, could you call me as soon as you arrive? I’d like to talk to you about something,”
the unmistakable voice of her boss echoed over the room she was in.
“Computer, dial Bruce Wayne.”
A couple rings, and the line was picked. “Wayne Manor.”
“Alfred, it’s Dawn. Is Mr. Wayne in?”
“I’m afraid not, Ms. Summers, he had to leave on urgent business,” the English butler replied. Dawn looked to the outside, night had fallen already.
“Ah, I see. Well, could you tell him I’ve called?”
“I’ll be sure to pass the message down, miss.”
“Thank you, Alfred. Have a good night.”
“You too, Ms. Summers.”
The British man disconnected.
Buffy’s message was nothing more than she telling she would spend the night at Jason’s, to call her cell phone if she needed anything. That was no surprise, Buffy spent more time at her boyfriend’s home than her own. She was glad about it, even taking into account who…what Jason was. She finished brushing her hair and walked out of the apartment, locking it behind her. Dawn figured with the amount of security they had, of every kind conceivable, a simple lock wouldn’t be much of a stopper to anyone who successfully invaded the building, but the action was ingrained.
She entered the elevator, and spoke out loud. “Voice identification, penthouse access. Dawn Summers.”
The elevator started climbing the very short distance to the penthouse, and her thoughts drifted to earlier on, to Tim. He reminded her slightly of a younger Xander, when she first met him all those years ago, even taking into account the cuteness factor. She blushed again, shaking her head. She was a woman now, she had no need for childish crushes.
An adult one was more to her age bracket anyway.
She smirked, and the elevator door opened to the front door of the biggest apartment of the entire building. She walked on in, the door opening on its own.
“Dawnie, we’re at the kitchen,” Xander’s voice echoed through the living room.
Walking with sure steps, she entered the kitchen, where she found Xander giving the final touches on a salad dish and Diana picking something up at the oven. The smell was something on the heavenly side of fabulous.
“If this tastes as good as it smells, I’m going to kidnap you somehow and turn you into my slave cook,” Dawn said, eliciting a laugh from Diana.
They traded quick hugs and kisses, and sat at the kitchen table itself. When among friends, Xander and Diana weren’t prone to showing off, they preferred to keep things very casual. Dawn found this fantastic, she felt so much more at ease eating there than at the dining room’s table, which could sit twenty people with room enough to spare.
The trio spoke and ate, sharing their week. Diana told them about her last mission for the League, while Xander told them about the new building Wayne Construction was going to erect in Metropolis. Dawn finally spoke of her day and the developments on the CCD, and she was finally talking about her phone call to Hippolyta when her cell phone beeped, indicating a text message had arrived.
She pulled it out and opened the message. On it, a single word, Delphos.
“Well, people, dinner will have to be cut short,” she said, pocketing the device again, and standing up.
“I still think he has to time his nights a bit better,” Xander said, standing as well. “People do need to eat and sleep.”
“I don’t believe he does, love,” Diana pointed out. “Want some company down there?”
“Nah, it’s cool,” she said, walking to the kitchen’s door.
“I’m taking some dessert down later,” the one-eyed man said.
“That would be of the good. Some coffee too?”
Dawn left the couple alone, and walked to the main library. She walked to the front of one of the big shelves and stepped on a pre-determined spot. “Knowledge is my blessing.”
The shelf moved back, as if entering the wall behind, then it split in two. Behind the opening now stood a door that wouldn’t look out of place on a bank’s vault. A sensor locked into Dawn’s face, and in a second was scanning the girl’s cornea. Once the system accepted her identification, the steel door opened. Dawn stepped in, and the door closed behind her. Once it was tightly shut, a series of lights turned on, illuminating the small room. She walked into the elevator that would take her down, placing her palm at the scanner shaped like a bat.
The scanner triggered the elevator’s access, and another moment later she was descending in almost freefall to a place she and Bruce had rebaptized as Delphos. The door at the bottom opened automatically, and she walked out onto the heavily remodeled satellite Batcave. Instead of all the gadgets Batman used to have there, the place now looked like… no, it was, a geek’s wet dream.
The core of one of the most advanced computer systems on the planet was, surprisingly, not produced by WayneTech. It was an array of four of Kord Industries’ quantum processors, working in tandem, being controlled by their own very complex OS, albeit heavily modified by Dawn to fit her needs, and Batman’s. To a corner, locked behind an almost-everything-but-boys-from-Krypton-and-Amazon-sisters-proof vault, four rows of hard disk drive arrays gave her more storage space than NASA’s. Three keyboards, five monitors and a holographic tank, plus some other things still off-the-market (and in a case or two off-planet or off-dimension) completed the ensemble.
Dawn sat on the custom-made chair, and pressed her palm to the biometric scanner put above the main keyboard. The admin lock screen disappeared the next moment, while she adjusted her wireless headset.
“This is Oracle, logging in from Delphos. It’s a nice night, skies are clear and the police band is busy,” she said, taking a brief look to the monitor window that was in the rightmost monitor, the app she had developed to scan for word matches working furiously against more than a few thousand simultaneous calls to and from the various police departments close to her. So far, nothing had been caught that deserved much attention from her, the indicator was still a greenish yellow color.
“Harundi V. Bahrundi. I need all the info you have on him,
” came a voice on her ear a moment later.
“Why would you need info on a Peter Sellers character?” she asked rhetorically, but the search was already running, while her mind correlated info based on Batman’s simple query. “I’m checking Arkham, since Sellers was a known comedian. The Joker’s still there, I have a tap on his security cam, and I can see his pasty face doing something with a playin-oh…ew,” she replied, quickly cutting the feed. “He’s there, no doubt about it, no siree. Moving on…no known criminals use the name as an alias,” she said, reading the results from her query. “That’s basically it, rest of my hits is about the movie.”
“What’s the movie about?”
Batman asked, and she could hear the sounds of the Batmobile on the background.
“You need to get a life” she sighed, while her hands traveled over the keyboard. “It’s a Peter Sellers movie, a comedy, he plays an Indian actor who’s working in Hollywood. No Indian nationals of importance came into Gotham in the last 48 hours, and certainly no actors. He’s a disaster, he completely blows the shoot he’s a part of, and the director gives a call to the studio owner, begging him to take him out of the movie, and out of Hollywood, if possible. No movies being filmed in Gotham right now. The owner accidentally writes his name in a guest list, and Harundi gets invited by mistake to this big party he’s banking. Humm, five parties worth mentioning in Gotham happening now, Bruce Wayne’s been invited to all of them. Guess you’ll be making an appearance after all. What’s this all about, anyway?”
“Someone sent an email to the Police Department signed as Harundi V. Barhrundi, it said ‘see who’s laughing now?’”
“This doesn’t sound much like a threat to me, but I’m tracking the email now. Gordon got one…all the captains from the force got the same…ok, this is starting to sound less like a prank… I’m back tracing the sender…ok, give me some time, this guy’s good, he covered his tracks pretty well. I’ll call when I have something.”
Batman, as usual, didn’t bother to say anything else, he simply disconnected the line.
“You’re welcome, Bats,” she muttered to no one.