Disclaimer: Justice League Unlimited and all associated themes and characters are property of Bruce Timm and his band of brilliant cohorts. I make no claim on them and write this purely for my own entertainment and that of others. No currency changes hands. Also, Star Trek: Voyager is property of Gene Roddenberry and Paramount.
Notes: I wrote this basing it in part on the Star Trek: Voyager episode Coda, so those who have seen it should recognize some of the concepts in this story. I would also like to thank The-Lady-Isis, who agreed to beta this story and came up with some really amazing ideas to make this story better. If you haven't read any of her stories, I heartily urge you to do so. They're fabulous. A link to her profile can be found under the Favorite Authors tab in my own profile.
**Additional Note:** If my writing a story based on the Voyager episode I mention above offends you, please, don't bother reading the story. I've had that note up since I first started posting the story, and yet I have already gotten slammed twice for writing the story the way I have. I have no desire to be flamed for not doing something that I actually did. Plus, I'd like to note that neither reviewer wrote a signed review, so I cannot reply to them. Honestly people, if something bothers you, write a signed review so I can reply and we can have a civilized discussion. Thank you.
Batman: Shouldn't you also ask them where the hell they've been if they haven't read her stories?
Diana: Some things shouldn't be said aloud.
AQ: I was being polite, now on with the show!
Diana of Themyscira kept her eyes strictly ahead as she piloted a Javelin through the earthen skies. Her lips, however, kept twitching upward into a smile.
"Stop that," her companion snapped, though with little heat in his voice.
Now she did grin. "Oh, stop sulking about it, Bruce. You should be flattered. Audrey was only teasing you."
Bruce Wayne, known more notoriously as the Batman of Gotham City, grunted and looked out the window. Were he almost any other man, Diana thought he would have slumped down in the copilot's chair and folded his arms across his chest defensively.
The two of them were returning from a visit to Kasnia at the request of Queen Audrey to take part in the fifth anniversary of her ascension to the throne. Batman had been reluctant to go, was always disinclined to put himself in the public eye any more than necessary, but Diana had convinced him to go, if for nothing more than the continued good relations between Kasnia and the Justice League.
Of course, Diana may have flirted a little with him as part of her pitch, but just how much that played a part in his acceptance, if any, was known to Bruce alone.
The celebrations were scheduled to last a week, an amount of time neither Batman nor Wonder Woman could afford to take away from their respective duties, but they had agreed to attend the final two days. The short period of downtime was something of a relief for Diana. Since Darkseid's invasion, the League had been quite busy with missions both on and off-world.
Their time in Kasnia, however brief, was long enough for Audrey to give them her undivided attention. Diana was able to meet her friend's latest…companion, one Nicodemus Omasin. Fortunately, thanks to Bruce's digging beforehand for any unpleasant information about the man, Diana found him to be a kind, pleasant person who was surprisingly the exact opposite of the spirited and vivacious Audrey. Audrey had hinted that she was serious about the quiet and thoughtful Nicodemus, and Diana wished her friend the best. The girl had matured a great deal since they had first met in Paris, but had still retained much of her wild, fun-loving personality. If happiness for Audrey lay in a life with Nicodemus, then Diana believed that Audrey should follow her instincts.
Nonetheless, even if Audrey was devoted to her current lover, it had not stopped her from taking many opportunities to tease the silent hero who often stood a few feet behind Diana, a perpetual scowl on his masked face. The last incident before Diana and Bruce had departed from Kasnia included a piece of fruit in Audrey's manicured hand and a few choice words in Kasnian that Diana did not understand, but wanted dearly to know, if the faint blush on the uncovered part of Bruce's face was anything to go by. Still, lack of understanding had not kept her from gaining amusement from seeing Bruce so flustered.
A flash of light out of the corner of her eye caught Diana's attention. Glancing to her left briefly, she commented, "Looks like a storm's brewing."
Bruce tapped a few of the controls. After a few seconds, he said, "International weather stations are reporting a tropical storm off the coast of Florida and Georgia. We should change course to avoid it."
Diana nodded and began to change their flight path. Once they were flying steady toward their destination – Metropolis – again, she asked, "Audrey's teasing aside, you did have some fun, didn't you?"
He paused for several seconds before admitting grudgingly, "I've been to worse parties."
High praise, coming from him, she thought with a small grin. Diana opened her mouth to reply when another flash lit up the sky. This one, however, also hit the Javelin, rocking the aircraft. Her restraints kept her from being tossed about the cockpit like a limp doll, but her head was jerked about violently, wrenching her neck. Diana pushed the pain aside, however, and struggled to focus on keeping the Javelin on-course for the mainland of the United States as well as addressing the shrill alarms coming from the console.
"We've lost main power," she shouted. "Switch to auxiliary."
"The transfer protocols aren't responding," Bruce responded as his fingers flew over the console. "Neither are the emergency back-ups!"
Diana clenched her teeth. "We're losing altitude," she forced out as she fought to keep the Javelin from plowing into the ocean nose first.
"There's land about a mile ahead," Bruce told her, "can you keep her in the air that long?"
"It'll be close, but I think so." Her fingers clenched the steering mechanism tightly, and her arm muscles trembled with the effort of keeping the aircraft steady. The Javelin was shaking apart around them and Diana was certain she detected the acrid smell of smoke in the air. A trickle of sweat was slipping down her brow, but she dared not move to wipe it away.
The coastline was fast approaching. Come on, she thought desperately, just a little further…
They made it, in the end, but only barely. Their dropping in altitude sent them screaming into the treetops. Just when they hit, Diana was thrown forward and she could hear the restraints ripping. Another flash and then all went black.
The crash knocked Bruce senseless for several minutes. When he came to, he quickly took stock of his body. He was sore as hell, but nothing felt broken. Opening his eyes, he looked immediately ahead and saw nothing but leaves and tree limbs outside the shattered cockpit window.
Wait a minute… Where was the pilot's seat? For that matter, where was the pilot?
Bruce reacted immediately. Pulling himself loose from his battered restraints, he shuffled forward, looking for the missing seat and its occupant. The shattered glass all around him was the first and most obvious clue. Ignoring the sinking feeling in his gut, Bruce crawled forward over the console and broken glass covering it. He didn't have far to go to see it.
The pilot's seat was stuck in a web of branches. Diana was slumped forward, dangling there limply and held back from falling only by the frayed restraints. There was no movement indicating that she was conscious.
Shit. Bruce likely would need the first-aid kit, but it was further back into the Javelin and he had no idea how much longer the restraints would hold Diana in place. Still, the kit would do no good if Diana fell to her death. He'd get her down to the ground and then climb back up for the necessary equipment.
Fighting through the jagged remains of the cockpit window, Bruce carefully climbed into the tree branches toward Diana. Her hair hung about her face like a curtain. He pushed his hand through it and ran his fingers over her neck, habitually checking for a pulse.
Blinking, Bruce checked again. Still nothing.
"Diana?" He leaned forward close to her face, trying to get a feel of the air passing between her parted lips. Nothing there either.
No… oh no…
Moving rapidly, Bruce released the restraints and gathered the Amazon into his arms. He quickly jumped through the branches toward the ground. Not even bothering to get away from standing directly beneath the Javelin, he laid Diana down and felt again for a pulse and breathing. Yet again, nothing.
Bruce could feel himself going through the motions of CPR, the chest compressions, the mouth-to-mouth. He kept checking, but still nothing changed. Diana remained still and unresponsive.
Diana's heart had stopped, and it wasn't starting up again.