Silence. Blissful silence.
For once, Lena takes a moment to herself to find her center. Her breaths are laboured, quivering in time with her frantic heartbeat. She draws her knees to her chest, wrapping her arms around them, and focuses on the droll buzzing of electricity coursing through her all but empty, ‘recently acquired’ Raider Frigate, looking out the windows of the ship’s command centre as she drifts among the stars.
It wasn’t that she wanted to steal the spaceship - and from herself, no less. If it were up to her, she’d still be on Metropolis, settling into her newly established roots in National City. But when hitmen are chasing you down and trying kill you no matter how fond of living you are, well… Let’s just say grand theft auto hardly seems a pressing concern.
Instead, she finds herself on the run from the insanity and madness that is her family. For a while, her adopted mother had simply ignored her - which was honestly a step up from being constantly criticized and dealt backhanded compliments. As for Lex, he had made do with begging her to ‘see the truth’ and tried to protect her in his own way. Granted, it was slightly extreme with the constant bodyguard detail and micromanaging of her life from afar, but after promising to learn how to defend herself and hold her own in a fight by instructors of his choosing, he relented a bit and redirected most of his efforts back to Superman. And now, it seems, neither can be bothered by such civility and reason anymore.
Once upon a time, Lex was her saving grace and Lionel had been her inspiration. Where Lex was nurturing and supportive, Lionel gave her direction and purpose. Both had been a source of reprieve from the terror she faced at the hands of Lillian and childhood bullies. Through them, she persevered. Endured. While growing up a Luthor was painful and harsh, her brother and father made it easier.
But now? Now Lex is unhinged and rotting in prison, Lillian delusional and scheming to break Lex free, and Lionel is dead. Though Lionel had enough insight on his son and wife to leave his entire legacy to Lena, Lena has never felt more alone.
She slowly releases another shaky breath, ignoring the drops of tears that burn down her cheeks and allows herself to sink into the captain’s chair, bones creaking as she unfurls her limbs from their curled position and into a relaxed state. Lena knows that this will last only for a fleeting moment, but after the day she’s had, she craves it with exhausted desperation. Her eyes flutter shut… I just need to get to Gotham, and should be good. For now...sleep. Only for a fe-
The sudden impact tosses Lena to the floor, head pounding no thanks to banging her head on the console on the way down. Her left hand reaches for her head, her other for the edge of the main panel to push herself up. Groaning, she stands, the soreness from her earlier escape painfully evident.
“Dammit, what the hell was that?!”
Lena jumps like cat touching water, shrieking at the sound of the voice. “Who the fuck is there?” is her reply to the voice, reaching for the holstered blaster around her thigh. First it was getting chased by hitmen, then it was stealing her own damn ship, and now a crash and discovering that the ship isn’t as empty as it should… I swear to g-
“ Excuse you, I believe that’s my line! But right now, you can stop reaching for your blaster. I need you in the hangar bay; self-repair isn't exactly in my repertoire as of yet.” The voice echoes and a thought strikes Lena. Not another stowaway.
“An AI? I thought that all ships were only allowed VI’s in fear of -”
“Yes, yes, I’m pretty illegal and it’s apparent you’re some sort of genius grease monkey with terrible priorities, but I need you to focus. We have more important things to worry about. Hangar bay. Now. Preferably before we find ourselves spaced. Go.”
The voice snaps Lena out of her reverie. She turns to the door behind her and upon leaving the room, she reaches down and snags the tool belt she tossed on the floor when she first stole aboard to flee the planet.
As she hurries through the corridors and down several ladder chutes of the impressively-sized frigate, she asks the AI, “what exactly hit us?”
“Not sure,” is the AI’s response. Lena could almost see the dismissive shrug implied in the AI’s voice. That’s comforting… “The crash just so happened to take out the main power to the bay and my scanners. All I know is that there is a hull breach that needs to be and patched up and the fire control needs to be fixed so I can put out the fire. There should be a maintenance locker with oxygen masks and mag-tethers to the left of the door.”
Lena hops down one last set of rungs and follows the hall to the bay door. She opens the locker, slipping an oxygen mask on and the mag-tether pack onto her back. She turns the mask and the pack on, linking them to the holo-tool around her left forearm. She tethers herself to the wall at her right and steels herself as she opens the doors to the cargo bay.
The first thing she sees is smoke and fire leaning ever so slightly to the right. Immediately, Lena shimmies her way along the wall with cautious haste until she reaches the breach. By some miracle, the hole was surprisingly small - small enough that almost the entire area was covered up by - Dammit, is that part of a fighter ship’s wing?! Stars, I’m not sure if this is lucky or unlucky, Lena curses mentally, but she knows she doesn’t have much choice other than to use the fighter’s scraps piled here. She gets to work with the tools at her disposal. In hardly any time at all, she welds the wing to the hull for the time being and quickly covers the head-sized hole that the wing didn’t cover with other scrap from the trashed fighter, then re-establishes the AI’s connection to the bay. The fire control system starts up, dousing the fire in the bay while Lena finishes any other quick fixes she can for the time being. With a sigh of relief, she wipes her her brow. She continues to inspect her handiwork, in case she missed anything. When she’s satisfied, Lena sits down, leaning back on her arms and catches her breath.
“Hey, Luthor. I now have eyes back in the bay. Good work,” the AI states.
“Thanks, I guess? How do you know my name?”
“Oh. Right. I’ll answer that when you’re in the captain’s quarters, later. Leia, by the way.”
“I, uh...nice to meet you, Leia?” Lena asks more than she states.
“Could’ve fooled me…” The ship - Leia - grumbles. Lena rolls her eyes. “Anyways, hate to take you from your work, but we’re not alone.”
“My scanners are sensing two signs of biological life: yours and another behind you amidst the trashed fighter. The thing that hit us wasn't a thing. It was a person and they’re still alive.”
Lena turns and sees the trashed fighter ship in a crumpled heap where the fire was. She choked down on a sob threatening to escape her throat in mourning of the scrapped pile of metal. A beautiful ship just...gone, she laments. Upon further inspection, she can make out the peculiar color of red that most certainly didn’t belong to the fighter and immediately hops back up to her feet. “How?! Stars, they should be dead, ” she ponders as she creeps up to the debris, “if not from the impact, then from being in space… Are they made of steel?”
“If you take her to the Med Bay up a floor and to the end of the corridor, I can run a full diagnostic on her. Elevator is to the left, just outside past the door.”
Lena uses the mag-tether to assist in moving the bigger chunks of scrap out of the way before she crouches down next to the person. She shuts off her mask, pulling it from her face, so that it dangles from her neck before shrugging off the mag-tether from her shoulders, a low clunk echoing the spacious walls of the bay when it hits the ground. Carefully, Lena pulls the cape back a little, a small gasp escaping her lips as she takes in the sight before her: a young woman around her own age with blonde hair tossed around her head and a scar marring what would otherwise be flawless skin - though Lena certainly argue that. “Not a single scratch on her,” she breathes in disbelief, before taking in the state of her apparel. “Well, except for that,” she amends.
Lena pulls the rest of the cloth back, trying to gently turning the woman over in the process. It takes a tremendous amount of effort, Lena cursing, “she’s fucking heavy,” under her breath as she succeeds. She goes to inspect the rest of the woman’s body for any signs of superficial injury, only to jerk and stumble backwards in fear. Lena gapes at the front of the woman’s garb - that damning crest upon her chest. A crest that matches the very one Superman sports on his own uniform.