A/N: This is a response to two prompts:
from LiveJournal: wtf27 prompt 023: Out of Time (think out of place)
NaNoWriYe prompts club week 2 prompt: universe exploration.
Barbara Gordon (Batgirl, Oracle) and Dinah Lance (Black Canary II) deal with technical difficulties in space. AU. Crack. Light femslash. I consider it complete as-is, but might write a sequel/chapter two if people want it. Rated T for language and adult themes.
Birds of Prey IN SPACE!
"I'm going out to check how the repairs are going," said Dinah into the intercom, putting on her helmet.
Barbara sighed. "You don't have to do that anymore. We got the repair bot for a reason, you know."
Dinah laughed, adjusting her gloves. "Yeah, I know. But I prefer a hands-on approach. Besides, it keeps me busy."
"Luddite," said Barbara, but she didn't sound angry.
"Hey, someone's got to make sure the dirty work gets done right, right? I mean, we can't depend too utterly on computers. What if they fail?"
"They won't. I built them myself."
"But if they did."
"Then we'd be screwed." She laughed.
"I'm going out now," announced Dinah, pushing a red button to open the airlock.
Abruptly, all the lights on the ship went dark.
"Shit." said Barbara. There was no answer. She had no way of knowing whether Dinah was still safe inside the ship.
Everything was down -- the computers, the radio, life support, everything. There should have been a backup power cell - it should only have been a momentary blip, quickly followed by a series of warning lights coming on across the console in front of her. Her computers, usually loyal, should have been urging her to fix the problem. Instead, silence and darkness. On a planet they would have called it a blackout, and no one would have been concerned. But on a ship it was a much more serious problem. They would freeze or run out of air, and Barbara didn't want to think about which would happen first. She could picture the symptoms - gradually losing sensation, lightheadedness, seizures, eventually unconsciousness, with death not far behind. She pulled out a flashlight, fumbling with it to turn it on, and got on her knees to inspect the computer.
Dinah pounded on the button that opened the airlock. She'd been trapped inside when the computer failed. All the air had already been sucked out, but she could neither exit the ship nor return to the main cabin. She slumped down to the floor, knowing she'd need to conserve her air if she was going to make it out alive, and checked her suit's oxygen gauge - needlessly, because it could go a few more hours. She stared at the ceiling, what little she could see in the light from her helmet , and sighed.
Barbara pulled the front panel off of the computer, and peered around inside with her flashlight. Aside from its bright yellow light, the room was completely dark, and the shadows wavered as she swept the light across the various components of the computer. Fine, fine no problems here. She checked from the other side, removing the second panel with care. With an "a-ha!" she sat up a little, only to bang her head on the computer frame. But she had seen what she needed to see - a component that had joggled loose and caused a short. Ducking her head, she crawled out, and went in search of a soldering iron and spare parts. Then she remembered that she would need to turn off the main power to the computer. She reached behind the computer, flipped the switch, and dropped her flashlight.
"Crap," she said, as it rolled out of reach, uselessly illuminating a bolt in the wall.
Dinah unhooked a wrench from her belt, and located the emergency control for the airlock door. She fitted the wrench to it, turning. It stuck. She twisted with all her might. What if she couldn't get it open?
She pushed harder. The door opened a bit, and she heard a hiss as air returned to the airlock. Her muscles burned, and she had to stop a couple of times to breathe and let herself recover, then gave the thing a final twist, opening the door just far enough to get through.
"I'll have to remember to oil that later," she said to herself. It wasn't the first time she'd thought of it, but something else always seemed more urgent. She pulled off her helmet and stepped into the corridor which led to the control room, hardly needing the helmet light to guide her through what had become her home.
Barbara was still reaching futily for the flashlight when a light came up behind her, dancing across the room with its carrier's steps. She turned around. It was Dinah, holding her helmet, with the light still on, under one arm. She smiled and gave her partner a tight hug. Then she went back to her work, glad for more light, and for Dinah's calm presence.
A few minutes later, Barbara took a deep breath, then flipped the power switch once again. The lights came on, and she sighed.
Almost immediately, however, the red light over the computer console started flashing, and a siren went off. Barbara switched off the siren while Dinah held her ears.
PROXIMITY ALERT, said the computer in a calm female voice.
An image of a large rock illuminated by the ship's lights appeared on the screen, along with a diagram depicting the rock's location in relation to the ship.
"Shit," said Barbara and grabbed the controls, igniting the engines in a blast that pushed them in the opposite direction. Dinah almost fell down, in spite of her magnetized boots, due to the sudden movement of the ship. But soon enough the danger was past, and they were looking at an image of a ship with the emblem of a madly grinning man emblazoned on the side. It was some distance away, but the computer had picked it out automatically.
"JUST like the Joker to watch while we get pulverized by an asteroid."
"That was close," gasped Dinah, collapsing into the co-pilot's seat. "You think he had a role in this? It seems too convenient. For him, I mean."
"You're right. I designed this ship so it could handle the kind of beating you and Helena give it."
"Fail safes and backups of backups, if I know you."
"Right." her smile grew grim. "And besides, I found this." She held up one of the fried computer components, and turned it over so Dinah could see the Joker grin engraved in the metal, still visible under the burn marks.
"What're we waiting for?" asked Dinah. "Let's bring in this sucker." She reached for the controls.
"Somehow I don't think-" Barbara was interrupted by an explosion on the side of the ship - one of the Joker's weapons, a garish yellow compound that ate into the side of the ship. "that's a good idea. Besides, we still have more repairs to do."
"Bu-" There was another explosion, splattering quick-hardening pink gunk across the weapons array. A camera surveyed the damage. "Ugh. That's going to take a long time to clean."
"I think this is one of those times," said Barbara, "Where you fight another day. Besides," she added, drawing her partner towards her as the Joker's ship sped away, "I programmed the computer to send a probe after that ship, and broadcast its location on all police bands, if we ran into it again. Even if they make it past the cops, they won't get past us that easily."
Dinah nuzzled Barbara's hair. "I love it when you have a backup plan." She met her partner's eyes and eased in for a kiss, savoring their connection in that moment, the softness of Barbara's skin, the luxury of it all.
Barbara grinned at her. "Didn't you have repairs to check in on?"
"I have more important things to do. Besides, life is short." She stood up, wrapping her arm around her partner's lower back. Going in for a second kiss, her haste got the better of her and their teeth clicked together. Laughing, they headed back to their quarters together.