Barbara pushed the microphone boom away from her face. Another mission in the bag with the Birds and the Bats safely back at their respective caves and nests, her job was done for another night.

All that was left to do was watch the backup subroutines start.

She put her face into her hands and rubbed away the impassive mask she wore while on duty. Oracle could feel no emotion. The job demanded that she set emotion aside and act strategically.

In the early hours of every quiet morning she felt the distance of the world. She was never quite sure, at first, what to do with herself. She did not dare let her thoughts stray to the completed mission. Her hours weren't such that she could pick up the phone and invite a colleague out for a drink to unwind.

The systems of the Delphi Archive were connected to everything. Anything with a wireline or wireless connection from the most simple gaming console to the most advanced supercomputer were accessible to its formidable attack protocols. Within the clocktower, a person could have a window on nearly the entire world at once with the aid of closed-circuit monitoring equipment.

She thought of those she worked with. Dinah went home to Ollie after a mission was completed. Tim would end a night like this by returning to his parents' house.

Even Bruce had Alfred to come home to.

But from here in her high perch, it was very easy for Barbara to feel apart from the business of the world.

She turned off the redundant link and left the room in darkness.