solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird

[on overcoming the fear of spiders: the thirty-second and final instalment]

[March, 2077]

"So it's settled, then?" asked Amélie.

"Yes. We will host an embassy, in Moillebeau, not very far from the Palais des Nations. He will have a small embassy support staff, which will do much of the actual diplomacy with the UN. And, as it is technically Lunar soil, what he does in that facility is up to Lunar authorities, not Swiss," Angela replied.

The spider nodded, approvingly. "I understand you'd assumed success - construction is already underway?"

"It is in fact mostly complete. We have even provided for a replacement Silver-class computational cluster; he'll be bringing Athena down with him."

[June, 2077]

They didn't really have a flag, the ape colony on the moon, so they hoisted a blue banner with some of the ambassador's favourite pictographs, arranged in a grid. The dedication ceremony was brief, and formal, in that Swiss way, but pleasant, with a small, deeply curious crowd of upper-level UN functionaries and Swiss dignitaries. The ambassadorial meet-and-greet would come later, at the Palais des Nations - the original UN building in Geneva - itself.

Once the humans had left, the Lunar gorillas set about scanning the building for listening devices, and preparing it for all the usual sorts of embassy duties, all of which were new to the Lunar ape government, and all of which they had researched heavily before agreeing to this experiment. The Omnic ambassador stopped by personally to suggest a particularly poignant meeting of minds, a sort of summit of the AIs, metal to enhanced biological, different, but not in all ways, and similar, in many.

A week later, the Lunar delegation attended their first official ceremony, welcoming them as official observers to the United Nations. It was only the second such ceremony to be headline news in over a century.

Another week passed, and Ambassador Winston sat at his desk, looking out to the mountains. It's not that different a view, really, he thought to himself, more colourful, I suppose. Getting up, he loped through the doors, onto the terrace, into the sun, and looked up at the deep blue sky. But it's certainly nice to be able to go outside again.

He took a long, deep breath of the alpine air, and sneezed. Oh good, pollen season, he remembered. I'd forgotten about that. I'll have to get some antihistamines. He wiped his nose with a tissue, cleaned his glasses carefully with their special cloth, and looked again across the lake to the mountains, before saying, "Hello, Lena."

Venom, leaning against the wall behind him, around the corner out of sight, laughed. "And here I thought I'd surprise you." She stepped forward, smiling, and stood next to her friend, arms wide open. "C'mere, y'big lug."

"It's been a long time," said Winston, turning to face her. "I'm still so glad to see you."

"Still so glad to see you too, luv." The two hugged, gently, together for the first time since the day of the accident, back in 2068.

"Is Amélie with you?" he asked, not unkindly.

"Waiting for an all-clear from me," she replied. "In case, well, you know."

"It's all right," the ambassador said. "She can..."

The sound of a chain grapple from their left, and then "Hello, Winston," said Amélie, landing on the terrace, wearing an outfit strangely close to street clothes, with a large shopping bag. She could've been been a jogger, or an acrobat, if they carried grappling hooks and poison mines. Lena hopped over, stretched up, and kissed her, lightly, on the cheek, in welcome.

"No rifle?" Winston asked, genuinely surprised.

"I am never defenceless. But no. Not here, not for this."

"A gesture of... trust?" he dared.

"Yes," she agreed.

"I appreciate it."

"Thank you."

The trio walked back in to Winston's office, through doors in a wall of thick glass, curved, flat rather than bevelled, but still strong. Another curved wall of glass, the back walls, inside, looked over a large work area, with storage units, scientific equipment, doors on either side to balconies left and right - to more conventional embassy offices, rather than barracks or flight decks. In one corner, an old-style landing capsule hung suspended from the ceiling, and on the opposite, hung a tire, lower, from a long rope.

"It was nice of the Swiss authorities to bring these back from Gibraltar," he said, quietly. "Athena, our guests have arrived."

The office and workroom brightened. A computer's voice came from one of the consoles. "Good afternoon, Lena Oxton and Amélie Lacroix. Welcome to the Lunar Embassy," she said, "...and only that, for the moment."

The three of them walked through the Ambassador's office, into the larger workroom, and down the stairs to the lower level. Winston loped over to that one particular console, and hesitated. "I can't say I'm entirely ready for this," he said, softly. "There's a lot of nostalgia out there, but..."

"I know," said Venom, the Talon assassin. "it won't be easy."

"What if it goes wrong again?" he asked, not for the first time. "It stated out as a dream the first time, too."

Widowmaker nodded, agreeing. "The problem, I think, was always in the founding - as a military of sorts, it could never not have a black ops wing. The beginning was, perhaps, the end."

Lena agreed, nodding. "And this time, it don't have to, does it? We'll take care of that. Overwatch won't be what it was, it'll be something different. Better."

"Smaller, certainly, more focused - structurally, much like Talon," said Amélie. "And, outside this embassy, just as illegal." She allowed herself a small smug smile, the thought amusing her greatly.

"Illegal, but still better. No black ops, no military. Just..." Lena waved her hands around, "just heroes."

"I wish I could have you with us," Winston said, "for real."

"You do have me for real!"

"For real," he emphasised.

Venom sighed. "Sorry, luv. This is my life, for better or worse." She winked at her beloved blue spider. "Well, for better, far as I'm concerned."

The spider smiled again, softly this time, and Lena swore she could almost see her blush.

"But I'll be here when I can."

"A link," Widowmaker suggested, amicably, "between the necessary, and the aspirant."

Winston thought about that, while Lena said, "Talking of, I'd better change. Hey, Winston, check me out!" She pressed a set of points on her grappling hook's holster, and suddenly, the violets and black changed to tangerine and yellows and whites, the word "tracer" running vertically along one leg. Looking down, she laughed at herself, as Amélie threw her an old-fashioned RAF flight jacket pulled from her shopping bag, to wear atop it all.

"So bright!" she exclaimed, throwing on the flight jacket. "It's not me anymore, if it ever really was." She spun her pistols 'round her fingers, then holstered them. "But I'm ready to play the part when called."

Winston smiled, a genuine full smile, the kind he hadn't directed at Lena Oxton in far too long. "You look good in it," he said, happily.

"The world can always use a few more heroes," Lena Oxton said, twirling in place. "Even if they're just part time. For what it's worth, I believe in that. I really do." She leaned her head against her partner's shoulder. "And I know, I've said it, over and over again, but we're all here now, so I'm sayin' it again."

She turned to stand in front of her lover, took her hands in her own, looked deep into the spider's eyes, and as soberly as she'd ever said anything, repeated, "This is a disguise. I'm not turning into someone else. Don't be afraid, 'cause it's still me. I love you. I belong with you. I'm staying with you. For good."

Amélie smiled, and brought her lover against her body, running her fingers through her partner's hair. "You do not have to reassure me, ma chérie, we have already exchanged our vows. I know." She leaned back again, hands on her partner's shoulders, and looked her over. "I do have to say, I agree with Winston - for such ludicrous colours, you do wear them well." She stepped away from Winston and Lena, out of camera range. "Go," she said, warmly. "Do what is needed."

Venom... or, for the moment, Tracer... smiled broadly, nodded, and turned to Winston again. "Are you ready?"

"As ready as I'll ever be."

Winston pressed his thumb against the left authorisation pad. Lena "Tracer" Oxton of Overwatch pressed hers against the right. In response, Athena brought up a large virtual display panel showing a globe with highlighted location markers, and said, "Authorisation received. Confirm issuance of Overwatch recall code?"

The two heroes looked at each other, nodded agreement, and, in unison, said "Confirmed."

September 2017

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