Longer Author's Note for Comic Vine
I knew I couldn't leave the "Garcia and Barbara as cross-dimensional cyber friends," alone. And I'm not crazy about Barbara's re-imagining.
I posted this originally on fanfiction.net to reach to out avid fans of the TV show Criminal Minds whose curiosity about the comic may have grown after seeing The Dark Knight Rises. It is honestly the perfect place to write a crossover addressing what happened in Aurora, Colorado as the FBI is has been call down to help assess the situation which is something the characters featured in the TV show about profilers might have done in an episode. Barbara Gordon is also a great character to provide some perspective. I really hope this reads as tasteful, respectful, sensitive to all those affected by what happened in Aurora Colorado.
I do not own any DC characters or Criminal Minds.
Rated T for references to violence.
I am one of many comic fans who felt extremely sad and shocked by what happened in Aurora Colorado. This is just my way of writing out some of my frustrations and I hope it gives some readers support.
SPOILERS ahead for The Dark Knight Rise though you don't have to know much about either the movie or the TV show to enjoy the story.
I literally copied and pasted the first two sections from "When Hackers Say Good-bye." It will save new readers some time. I knew I wasn't ready to let go of the Oracle-Garcia interaction idea. Readers of the first story keep in mind: Flashpoint hasn't happened yet in this universe. I'll explain within the story. It is long, but it was also too short to divide up properly.
One last thing: I'm not very familiar with net-speak, so even though some of it supposed to like a chat transcript won't be accurate.
Look for an endnote.
Dedicated To the Victims of the Aurora Movie Theater Shooting
When Hackers Comfort Each Other
Sometimes members of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit wonder how technical analyst Penelope Garcia is able to track down information so quickly. How she is able to hack into networks without being noticed and finding the key piece of data that leads the team to finding the UnSub just in time to save someone.
The same can be said of Barbara Gordon. Confined to a wheelchair, she is one of Batman's most trusted allies. She is a master strategist and is able to get her best associates to the right locations. Even with all her informational prowess, her friends and fellow heroes still wonder what other resources she might have that she refuses to talk about.
The answer crosses the barriers of reality. These are two women who live and breathe computer code. Sometimes they go digging into the deepest depths of the cyber information universe. And somewhere along the way they found each other.
At first they were just two cyber hackers working late at night in their own timelines. They were both looking for random pieces of information that might help with their own "side jobs" that had little to with their regular responsibilities. They became aware they both had pieces of the same puzzle and decided to share and were able to find the answer. As a result they decided to keep in touch by communicating in this pocket of cyber space to discuss data puzzles that no one else seemed to understand.
Over time they became comfortable enough to share more information about their identities to one another. "Baby Girl Hacker" and "Oracle" began to trust each other enough to share information relating to problems that involved less "net speak" and more physical world terms. It didn't take long for two genius hackers to come to the same conclusion: They were both from alternate realities.
Garcia was the one who figured it out first. In her version, "Oracle" was the code name for Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl and now information coordinator for a team of mostly female vigilantes known as the Birds of Prey. In her reality this was a comic book series. Garcia was over the moon once Barbara confirmed that her suspicions were correct. But Garcia was also smart enough to keep this to herself. Who would honestly believe she could communicate to a comic book character?
It took Barbara a little longer to figure out where Garcia was from. Barbara didn't watch as much TV and it was until Dinah, The Black Canary "borrowed" one of her screens to watch a show featuring a woman wearing cutesy colorful jewelry surrounded by computer screens. It was an FBI drama about a team of profilers who tracked criminals with the help of a tech analyst based in Quantico. Barbara cursed herself for not figuring it out sooner. She decided to keep this information to herself also. She hated the idea of people learning that she sometimes sought help from a government of any universe.
Neither tried to think much about the fact that lived and worked in universes where they were considered fictional characters. They both reasoned that the world of computer codes and cyber navigation wasn't confined to one single dimension. The fact was that they were smartest tech analysts in their worlds and when they worked together, they helped people.
O (Oracle): Baby Girl Hacker! Wake up! If I wanted someone to decrypt the code this slow I would have just gone to Proxy.
Garcia blinked she was shocked to see Barbara had opened a chat window. There was just so much on her mind lately. She quickly typed a response.
BGH (BabyGirlHacker): I'm sorry. Things have been a little crazy. What's the next line?
Garcia could almost see Barbara's eyes roll when her response came.
O: What else is new? The next line is a C++ double variation with a Fibonacci binary infusion.
Garcia tried to her best to decode it but she couldn't focus. She had been tempted to ignore Barbara's request for help. She just hated to think too much about the world where Barbara was typing from. Then a new response came.
O: I give up. Tell me what's going on.
O: Wait a minute. Didn't that new Batman movie come out? Let me guess, my dad did get killed. Was I right about the Batman Inc. connection? If the Nolan guy did kill Batman, I'm okay with it given what you've said about quality of his work. It's only a movie Garcia. It would be classified as 'based off a true story' if it premiered in my world.
Garcia bit her lip to stop herself from crying. It was too much. People were killed watching what she knew had some basis in reality in another world.
O: Penelope please, I care about you in a strange way even though you exist in another world. My operatives are becoming suspicious about why I am so interested in this creepy-strange show about profilers you're in. Tell me what's going on and maybe I can help.
BGH: I am not sure you want to hear this.
O: I want to hear this before my operatives call in with their status reports.
Garcia knew she couldn't describe it properly without getting too emotional.
BGH: Barbara do you think you can open a link from a news article. I don't think I can write it out properly.
O: You can try. We've sent larger things through this cyber pocket.
With some trepidation, Garcia sent an article describing what happened at a midnight showing of the newest Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado. Garcia waited, terrified to read Barbara's reaction. Her answer was not what she expected.
O: Garcia, you attended a midnight showing of the movie in D.C right?
BGH: Yes, but what does that have to do with anything?
O: Everything. The movie is about two and a half hours long, so the film ended around 2:30 a.m. You are more two hours ahead of Colorado, so you were able to enjoy the film in its entirety and then some time afterwards before learning about the shootings in Colorado correct?
BGH: That sounds about right. Where are you going with this?
O: Describe what you felt when you were watching the movie. I'm guessing you went with members of your team. That nerdy Reid guy, Morgan, maybe Emily Prentiss if she's still in town, and how's your relationship with that semi ex-boyfriend of yours?
BGH: Don't ask.
O: Okay fine. Tell me about the movie. Did the genius try to point out the different filming locations used?
Garcia had given up. She decided to play along.
BGH: We managed to collectively shush him for good after the second the over-head view.
O: I was going to guess three. Tell me about Cat Woman. Is she irritating or completely different from the comics?
BGH: Intriguing actually. It was hard to guess what her motives were at times. Oh, and she totally kicked Batman's butt a few times!
O: That sounds like a decent interpretation of Selina. Bruce and I have different opinions about her though.
BGH: You'd hate what happened to their relationship in the end though.
O: Then I don't want to hear it. Tell me about the plot. Does my Dad get to be a hero?
BGH: Several times.
O: That's nice. I've lost count of how many times he has been the target of the creeps in Gotham. So did you like it more than this Avengers movie? I've heard whispers about this other universe where super-heroes are common.
BGH: It's hard to compare them really. The Avengers is fun, but the Dark Knight Rises is just epic. When I think of scenes from the Avengers I want to laugh, but when I think about Batman, I get so lost in the scenes I realize I had been holding my breath the whole time.
O: I can't remember the last time I went out to see a movie without worrying about some of catastrophe and deciding which team members to deploy. It sounds like fun. What did you do afterwards?
BGH: We went to one of those all-night diner places and ordered breakfast. Emily and I discussed where we could find Cat Woman's heels while Morgan tried to explain to Reid the Adam West reference in the movie.
O: Hold on a sec, is that the guy who starred in that terrible live action show you were telling me about? I thought Nolan was serious about steering away from that campy stuff!
Garcia couldn't help but laugh.
BGH: I promise it worked in the movie! It doesn't come off as silly. It's more of homage to the show that created interest in the comics.
O: I have hard time believing that. But I'll take your for it.
Garcia suddenly realized how happy she felt. Slowly the sadness of the reality of the situation set in again.
BGH: Barbara what was the point of all that? It doesn't change the fact that 12 people are dead because they went to see a movie about the man who inspired you to become a superhero.
There was another long pause.
O: Garcia you try to find the people who killed and abuse people in vicious ways beyond imagination. In your world, what my associates including Batman and I do for a living brings joy. Some of it is creepy and some of is inspiring. It is a form of exciting escapism you can't let ANYONE take that away from you!
Garcia had trouble figuring how to respond.
BGH: How do I stop that from happening? People are saying the character Batman's legacy has been ruined. People think he is a monster already.
O: I can't count how many times I have heard that before.
BGH: But this is the real world for me! How are you able to act so, what's the word? Nonchalant about all of this?
O: You have no idea what I'm feeling, but that's not important. Right now I need to be here as your friend. Batman is fiction in your world. Fiction according to you, which has been around for more than sixty years. What happened in Aurora is truly a tragedy and their deaths need to be mourned. Their names will live on in many forms. That said Batman also needs to live on. He is a symbol of hope in both your world and mine in different ways. I doubt any single person can truly stop that from happening.
Garcia always knew Barbara Gordon was wise beyond her years no matter what her current age was in the comics. She always believed that Barbara was smarter than Batman and was one of greatest superheroes in the DC Universe (though she personally dreamed of having the powers of Superman).
BGH: How did you become so wise?
O: I learned a lot of it from you and your team.
Another shocking answer.
O: Well Rossi's book inspired J.J. to join the BAU. Reid and Morgan both decided to join because of what happened when in their childhood to some extent. And YOU Penelope decided to use your incredible hacking skills for the greater good by working from within the system. Fiction has a way of teaching us lessons that cannot be stopped by the outcry of criticism.
Garcia couldn't believe how much better she was feeling.
BGH: Barbara I can't thank you enough! You have no idea how that makes me feel.
O: That's great Garcia. I have one other word of advice that I'd like you to take very seriously.
BGH: Name it.
O: Do everything in you can to make sure the shooter's name is forgotten. Not through hacking. Simply omit his name whenever you discuss what happened. I don't think I need to tell you that these kinds of killers want to be remembered more than anything. His name will be in headlines in the new cycles for the next few weeks and maybe months if there is a trial, but his name is best forgotten in the world the stories where Batman brings joy to people.
BGH: You have my word that I'll do everything I can.
O: Well time is up for me. I have to check on some of my agents. We'll have to find another time to deal with this infuriating puzzle.
Garcia was trying to type an apology but Barbara had already posted another message.
O: Don't worry about it Garcia. It's probably good that you told me as your team must be wondering what has been eating at you more than usual. Later Baby Girl Hacker.
Barbara then signed off.
"Hey Baby Girl I think that's the first time I've seen without your shoulder hunched over in the last few days."
Garcia swiveled around to see her real-life superhero Derek Morgan smiling at her.
"Oh but my knight, my shoulders still ache! They long for the powerful strength of your hands and to relieve their pain."
Morgan laughed a little and his voice rang through her body with ecstasy. "Garcia your persuasion skills never cease to amaze me," he said as he began to rub her shoulders.
"It is a gift," she said.
As he continued to rub her shoulders he asked: "Would you care to explain this sudden change in mood?"
Garcia smiled. "Let's just say I realized have friends who know how to make me feel better in ways I never imagined."
"Is there room in the budget for new boots?" Dinah asked as returned from her latest mission missing a heel.
Barbara was adding the last reports into the central computer from the night missions. "You need to stop wearing those spike heels. They're impractical for running across roof tops."
"But you did at one time."
Barbara glared at her. Garcia's message about her sending good-bye message was still bothering her. She kept wanting to tell her about how she had become regained the use of her legs but was somehow a younger character and Barbara refused hear more. Barbara sensed that things might be changing and she preferred to live in this reality to the fullest while it lasted.
"I wore kitten heels," she responded quietly.
Dinah Black Canary took the cue to back off. Helena, Huntress appeared next with leaves stuck in her hair. "Babs, can you please take me off Poison Ivy patrol? It takes hours to wash the pollen spore stuff out of my hair.
"I'll think about it," she replied.
Zinda appeared next in her usual aviator uniform that been slightly modified to resemble a wet suit. Her face was flush with excitement. "I do love chasing drug-smugglers on the jet-ski. The idiots really don't know how to take a flying punch."
Dinah and Helena looked at each other. "I want her mission," they said in unison to Barbara.
"I'll take it under advisement," Barbara said distractedly as she wheeled away from her computer banks.
Her three operatives looked at her with confusion. Dinah decided to take the lead.
"Babs are you okay?"
"I've been better," she said in the same tone as she went into the kitchen. She opened the fridge and suddenly squealed with delight. "Alfred you're a saint," she muttered as she pulled out the casserole dish.
"Hey," she said brightly, "who'd like some chicken a la king right now? I know everyone is tired but I don't think I can sleep right after nearly going cross-eyed from staring at rows of numbers all night. I never saw the entire season finale of Criminal Minds. Do you guys feel up for watching it with me?"
"You had me at chicken," Dinah replied.
"I'm willing to share the wine I got while on the trip home," Zinda said as she pulled the bottles out of her coat.
"As long as you let me heat the thing properly," Helena said and took the dish out of her hands.
Barbara went into the living room and began to set up the flat screen. Dinah watched her closely. "Is there special reason for wanting to watch this show tonight? Especially since you never watched anything but news programs up until several months ago."
Barbara brushed the comment off. "Sometimes a little escapism can do the mind a world of good."
As the screen pulled down from the ceiling she caught a glimpse of the Bat Signal. Her Dad didn't really need to use it to contact him these days. But it was symbol. A symbol of hope for the people who feared that they were truly alone in world filled fear and despair.
I know it is wish-washy on so many levels. My characterization of Barbara Gordon is probably off in a few places as I haven't read a pre New 52 comic recently. Some it may come off as personal commentary more than anything. But nonetheless, I hope you enjoyed it.
I'd also like to mention that I have not abandoned the story I have been working on for the past few weeks. I simply ran out steam and will return to it soon. The earlier magic story is on hold for the foreseeable future.
One last thing: I love reviews. I can't get enough of them (except maybe flames). My only request is that you keep the name of the shooter out of your reviews. His name needs to be forgotten in the world of comics as quickly as possible. He doesn't deserve to be recognized in anything connected to the comics he tried to ruin by using it as the setting for his murdering rampage.