May. 20th, 2017

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"There's always a degree of uncertainty with low-resolution scans like these, of course, but it appears to interface throughout her motor cortex, not just on surface, and to be tied into reflex reaction points here," he illustrated, "here, here, and here."

"And its function?" asked the woman at the head of the conference table.

"I'm quite afraid we're not sure." the neural interface specialist replied. "It's heavily shielded. I'm not even as confident as I'd like about what I'm showing you, but it's the best we have - you're looking at composite of data from Heathrow, an assortment of scanners hidden inside CCTV, outer-ring military security, and so on. The consulate data, sadly, was unusable."

The head of the table prompted, "But it's not any type of web."

"Oh!" said the specialist. "Definitely not. We wouldn't have even these shots were it a web. Her brain would look like a big, smooth egg."

Brigadier Shukla turned to her attache. "Have we ever encountered a Talon agent without a web?"

The second lieutenant brought up the small list of scanned Talon agents. "Not that we know of, ma'am. Certainly not in the years they've been known active - no exceptions in that record."

The operations agent at the table jumped in. "They could be anticipating our analysis. Can't we bring her in, do a deep probe?"

"Sadly, no," said the specialist, shifting the primary display. "This may not be a web, but it goes quite deep, and either this is defocused, or it's surprisingly diffuse. Anything strong enough to get past the shielding wouldn't be safe for the subject."

"Damn," spat the Brigadier.

"But," he continued, "I really don't think it's Talon. They know what we have, they wouldn't let a full agent out like this. Of that much, I'm confident."

"We can't rule out her being some kind of delayed-target human bomb. of course."

"No. But explosives say the payload would be poor - there's just not enough mass, even with exotic deliverables. We think it's unlikely."

"All right, let's leave out Talon for now. Omnium?"

The Omnic specialist in the room just laughed, and then sobered immediately. "Sorry, ma'am. No, ma'am. It's not Omnic. I'd bet my life on it."

"You might well do," the Brig replied, sternly.

The specialist nodded, but held her ground. "I would walk up to this carrying known vulnerabilities and not worry. It's not Omnic."

"If I might jump in, get it out of the way," said the corporate entities analyst, "It's not Vishkar either. They don't need hardware."

"Thank you, specialist," nodded the Brig. "So. Foreign powers aside, who's that leave?"

"...aliens?" said the young, short-brown-haired agent near the end of the table, one of the Americans. "Or not aliens, strictly, but beings from other worlds, possibly multidimensionally accessed worlds," he continued, excitedly. "It's been theorised for years, and the Winston files make it clear he considered dimensional travel a distinct possibility - it's how he found the time distortion that..."

"Thank you, agent," said the Brigadier, firmly.

"It's either that or somehow Winston did it himself, from the moon," he interjected.

"Or," said his eternally-exasperated partner, "it's a foreign government."

He turned to the other American. "Come on, why would a foreign government go to these lengths for..."

"Thank you, agents," the Brigadier repeated, more firmly. For once, the Americans took the hint.

She turned back to the presenter. "So, in the opinion of your department, she is most likely not a Talon agent."

The presenter nodded. "In our opinion, it's very unlikely. This just doesn't look like their work. If nothing else, it's too flashy." He changed screens. "See all these extensions around her torso, and down her legs? They glow. Talon wouldn't do that."

"There is one other possibility," said a data analyst, flipping through pages of data. "This new actor, Sombra. I'm not sure why, but it reminds me a little of her work."

"Go on," said the Brig.

"She'd have to have a lot of help - we mostly know about her software, and she doesn't do bioware. At least, not as far as we know, ma'am. But," they looked at the display with intense concentration, "something about it just reminds me of her code."

The intergroup specialist jumped in. "She's too new on the scene for that degree of cooperation with any of our known actors. It takes time to build up those sorts of connections. She hasn't had it."

"So," said the Brigadier, "we're most likely dealing with either a foreign power - which MI6 thinks unlikely - or, god help us," - given the source, she continued with great reluctance - "Winston. Somehow. From the moon."

"Or inter-dimensional beings," said the more annoying American, from the back.

"Thank you, agent - your suggestions have been noted."

-----

"So, Brigadier - what do we do with our little problem?" asked the Group Captain, back in the Brig's office.

"If she'd been in my Forces, I'd bring her in and disassemble her," said the older woman, quietly. "I don't care what the specialists think, I can't rule out the Omnium completely. We're one major incident away from another Omnic war, and I won't have it start on my watch."

"Yes, ma'am. But the air group won't have it. We all protect our own."

The Brig nodded, understanding. Loyalty made commands work. "So, option B. Watch her, let her roam. Don't get too close... just see what she does. It only took a week for the Widowmaker to activate, so." Speculating, she continued, "Or, perhaps she's a slow burn. Perhaps we have some time."

"That's our opinion as well, ma'am," said the G/C.

"I can't believe the consulate cleared her to fly into Heathrow. Who knows what she is now? If it's even her."

"Personal decision of the ambassador, I'm afraid," said the group captain. "Apparently, she has quite a winning personality. Hardly our fault."

"Small consolation had she taken five thousand people down with her."

"It won't happen again, ma'am. She's been listed."

"She keeps trying to come to us," the Brigadier mused.

"Indeed," the G/C replied. "You know, we could just let her."

"Let her waltz right in to some high-value target? I think not. No, keep her off, keep up surveillance, and run every piece of data we collect through deepest analysis. Let's see what we can wiggle out."

"So far, she's mostly just been trying to get undeclared dead through the military. Hardly high-value."

The Brig frowned. "No. Not even if she goes through civilian channels. No recognition, no help, nothing. Block her at every point." The Brig fiddled with her glasses, cleaning the lenses with a small, lintless cloth. "If she's alive, the Overwatch investigation is alive, and we simply can't have that fiasco re-opened."

An old photo of her flight crew awarding Lena Oxton the callsign "Tracer" spun slowly in the air.

"Assuming she's not carrying a payload, she'll need some sort of status eventually," the G/C insisted.

The older woman frowned. "Eventually. But not now. Not until we have some idea what she is - if she has to be disassembled, I don't want to do that to a legal Briton. Until we know more..." She shook her head, contemplating her options. "Official recognition is just too great a risk."

June 2017

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