solarbird: (Default)

This isn't Greece, thought the pilot, through the haze of shimmering blue and red and rapidly fading sedation. It... smells wrong.

She tried to open her eyes, and to a partial degree, succeeded. The sunlight from the window didn't exactly hurt her eyes, but it didn't feel right either. That's wrong too. She closed her eyes again, tried to think. The Slipstream felt fine. Felt normal. Good flight weather, dry, cool. Ground control confirmed go. Then...

...then blue and red and blue and red and red and blue and blue and explosions and flashes and flashes and flashes and so many flashes and grey and blue and red and even that woman looked blue, she looked familiar though, even at a glance, then the medics, they didn't look familiar though, then numbers and names and a sedative and black and now still more blue and more red, but not as much, and everything feels so fuzzy...

Everything, except the... bandages. Bandages make sense. But those could feel a little more fuzzy.

"È svegli.li.lia. Prendiendiendi i medico," said... someone. Medico. I got that part. Doctor. In Italian. She tried to speak, it came out strange, garbled, distorted. This must be some sedative. "It's o.o.o.kay, p.ot, l.ill, t. .tor is coming." Accent. That accent. Sicilian. "Sicily?" she tried to say, it coming out stuttery and strange, like the words she heard, though her thoughts felt mostly clear. "What's wrong with me, doc?" No better.

Doctor Mariani knocked on the door almost as Oxton spoke, but didn't stop on the way in. Lena forced open her eyes, keeping them open, seeing waving red and blue and shimmers around everything, but the pilot recognised the medic nonetheless. She said something to another woman, who had already rushed to a piece of hardware by her bed. The blurring and phasing briefly became much worse, and Lena shouted and lurched and felt a little sick, making her hurt all at once all over. Ow! Ribs? Leg? Arm? Ow! and there was a

[snap]

"How's that?" said a suddenly very clearly Hispanic-accented voice.

"Much better, I think," said the grey-haired woman she had not realised was beside her, holding her arm. Lena flinched, as the older woman asked, "Let's ask our pilot. Can you understand me? How're you doing?"

Lena Oxton blinked, confusedly, finding herself sitting up, finding surprise at the stability of... everything. "That was... strange. What'd you give me?"

Dr. Mariani smiled. "Good! If strange is the worst of it, amico, you are doing very well. But lean back, please, your physical condition are not so bad as they should be, but you are still, yes, it is 'pretty banged up'? Yes."

The pilot did, for once, as she was told, glad for once to have the world not moving. "What happened?"

The doctor aimed a little light in her eyes, and poked at her with various instruments, being very doctorly in a very old fashioned way. "Your airplane, do you remember? It exploded."

"Yea, I know that part, Doc - I was there. But what happened?"

"I'm Doctor Mariani, by the way. But you can call me Geanna."

"Oh, sorry, right. Flying Officer Lena Oxton. Which, I guess you know. But. What. Happened."

Dr. Mariani didn't hesitate. "Well, we got to you on the ground, got the fire out - do you remember me talking to you in the medical tent?"

"Yea, and my Slipstream exploded and somehow next thing I know I'm in a... room? and then a tent, nothing in between but... flashes..." Flashing. Images. Strange. What? she thought, suddenly anxious in new ways.

"Yes, you were, and the mind can get very confused under stress like that. It's surprising you remember all that you do. But now, here you are, and out of danger." Her voice was calm, but it didn't help.

Tracer frowned, agitatedly, adrenaline spiking all on its own. "Yea. Here I am. Ten thousand metres at Mach 3 over Greece and exploded, and then somehow everywhere and then somehow on the ground and indoors and now here and I'm pretty sure this is Sicily, and I don't know how any of that works but I didn't even black out and I know what blacking out feels like, and something feels wrong and you're not talking about it and I want to know why and..."

The smaller woman working with the strange device next to her on the bed delinked a display and said, "I've got my numbers, I'm out of here" and exercised what appeared to the agitated Flying Officer to be the better part of valour, as the doctor continued, "You shake off sedatives very quickly, don't you?" said the doctor. "But the mind plays tricks, and it's difficult to explain..."

"...no, no, no, everything is shimmery and strange except when it's not and nothing personal doc but your bedside manner is terrible and what is going on?! and..."

"Just tell her," came another voice, French-accented, from the doorway past Dr. Mariani. "If she wants to rush headlong into this, too, then, so be it."

"Woah!" said Tracer, locking on to the voice, as the woman joined the doctor at the right side of her hospital bed.

The woman offered a cool, blue hand. "Hello, Ms. Oxton. We've met before, I believe, a few times."

"You..." The pilot's racing thoughts caught a bit of grip. "...are you blue? You, I mean, I think, do I know you, I think so, but not blue, are you really blue? I thought that was the... what is going on?!" But, shakily, she reached out as well.

Widowmaker laughed, a little, almost delighted, and took Tracer's hand in her own. "You do remember me! I'm flattered. My name is Amélie Lacroix, and I am, really, blue."

This did little to reduce the pilot's confusion, though the one clear thought in her head - my god, she's beautiful - was straightforward enough. "...why? How?"

"That," she smiled, "is a long story." Then, more sombrely, she held Lena's hand more tightly, and - looking directly into the pilot's eyes, her own clear and open - she said, "But, first, what has happened."

"It has been five years since your Slipstream failed, throwing you completely out of normal time in the explosion. You were gone, without a trace, and Overwatch presumed you lost. But Winston, he felt you might still be alive, and might yet be saved. And though he built a retrieval device, he was not allowed to try."

Not allowed to...?!, thought the pilot.

The assassin continued. "Overwatch was shut down a year later; it no longer exists. You are in my organisation's medical station in Italy, where we transported you, after pulling you back into real time using Winston's mostly-completed chronal accelerator, which was destroyed in the process. We are still making adjustments to our own version, calibrating it, so you do not disappear on us again. That is why you're feeling so fuzzy, and why everything - in addition of me - has a bit of red or blue to it."

She took a breath.

"And many things have changed while you have been gone."

solarbird: (tracer)
before this, this, and this

The woman in blue sat perched on the walkway, still, and waiting, sniper rifle - for once - not at the ready. Across the broken strip of road before her, on the roof of the low empty building found there, a macaque sucked on a bit of orange, pointedly ignoring the seagulls settling in nearby for the night.

If he was right, thought the woman who waited, it should not take very long.

In the corner of a room visible through the open front door of that building, a small hexagonal device lay silent, looking entirely like just another piece of abandoned hardware in this place strewn with abandoned hardware, forgotten. Of course, it was not; and it, too, waited.

From the far distance, across the bay, came the noise of a freighter, anchoring down; a sharp ear could almost hear the crew talking amongst themselves as the stars came out, one or two or four or eight at a time. A small boat launched, towards shore, possibly carrying sailors on leave, and possibly not.

The macaque, finished with its fruit, climbed around the front of the building and leapt over to the cliff face, disappearing into the low shrubbery clinging to pockets of rocky, hard soil. Further down towards the beach, sandpipers briefly argued, then apparently settled things amongst themselves, leaving only the sound of waves and far-distant traffic.

The watcher touched the side of her headdress, and goggles slid quietly into place over her eyes. The device was warmer than the rest of the building, the power supply and sensors creating the smallest glow of heat - not even enough to attract the animals, but just enough to measure.

She waited.

Only after the last maroon of twilight fled, and the bright nearly full moon set, only then, just visible through the entrance, did a glow arise in the deep black gloom, inside the building, past the doorway. The faintest trace of colour, a deep, dark blue - and the device reacted instantly, throwing all of the power it had in its tiny power cell into its small accelerator field. The blue glow strengthened sharply, and the woman on the walkway breathed sharply in, thinking, Now I see you, as the glow briefly attained form - and the field collapsed, power supply exhausted.

The glow yellowed, turned red, darkened, and vanished.

Hooking her grapple, the blue-haired woman dismissed her goggles and dropped to the ground below, running over to the device. Of what she'd just seen, no trace remained, dust on the floor and walls not even disturbed - but the data remained, safely tucked into a small, heavily shielded storage card.

The assassin held it up, and smiled. Now, she thought to herself, I have you.
solarbird: (tracer)
also before, but only just, and not as far before

Amélie punched a very old access code into a keypad lock, and the door opened, silently and quickly. The morning sun lit the small workroom inside, the overhead lights popping on unnecessarily. "Will you have enough room to work here? The medic can set up just outside the door."

The hacker stepped around the room, carefully avoiding one corner. "I think so. This tracking equipment needs to go - we'll need to set up the containment chamber in the corner. And I want that workbench from the main floor. The nice one, with the grey top, against this wall." She pointed towards the western wall. "It'll block the other door, but we don't need it."

She paced around the room. In the corner she avoided, a faint flicker of light, then gone.

"So let's say she's alive, and this works, and we get her back, and she survives that too... what's your plan?"

Widowmaker raised an eyebrow. "Recruit her, of course. You know that."

░░░░░░ shook her head, no. "I know you said that, but, well, I've read her files, and I have to tell you - that's hilarious."

"Not at all. If this device works as Winston believed it would, she'd become a tremendous asset."

"That's not what I mean and you know it."

Lacroix said nothing.

"What are you going to tell her? What could you tell her?"

Ah, thought the assassin, a question I can answer. "The truth."

░░░░░░ threw back an amused, you-cannot-be-serious glare. "...the truth."

"Yes. Starting with the truth about me. And about Gérard."

What?!, thought the hacker. "Now I know you have to be kidding. Mi dios, why?"

"Because that way, cherie, she'll know."

"Know what?

"She'll know that if I'll tell her the truth about that, I will not lie to her. Not about anything."

░░░░░░ tilted her head to the side, and thought hard, trying to figure out how Amélie Lacroix telling Lena Oxton about how she assassinated the head of Overwatch's anti-Talon task force - and her husband - could convince anyone of anything other than running away now seems like a really good idea. "'I assassinated my beloved husband but I'm totally fine with it.' That's very reassuring."

"You know nothing about him. Or her."

"I know none of this makes sense and I don't think I want to be here if she wakes up."

Amélie laughed, delicately. "The support staff will be so disappointed."

The hacker sighed. "Fine. It's all pointless anyway if the accelerator doesn't work. Help me haul this gear - we have a lot of setup to do before I can test anything."

before

Apr. 13th, 2017 12:07 am
solarbird: (tracer)
[this bit of story, chronologically, goes before the previous story post here]

"Okay, hang back a second, I've set the lifter but I don't know how much charge is left in the battery pack..."

Lacroix backed away from the wrecked door as ░░░░░░ punched a sequence into a small handheld pad. The sound of metal scraping against metal followed a loud, low hum and electrical snap, and half the ruined door slid into the ground, and the other half bent upwards towards the ceiling.

"...Impressionnant."

░░░░░░ looked atypically confused at the damage. "ah... I don't..." She shook her head. Materials science wasn't really on her list of priorities. "eh, whatever. We needed it open, it's open, I'll take it."

Widowmaker activated her visor, scanning for potential targets, finding none. "We're still alone, for now." The two women stepped into the ruined research lab. "But be careful. I do not think we've done the floor any favours."

"No, I don't think so either." said the hacker, throwing a light onto the ceiling. "Do you see the accelerator?"

"Yes. It's still here. Incredible." Widowmaker retrieved the small chrono-tunneler from its storage case, and laughed a little, in her best mission-accomplished way. "It's not even dusty."

░░░░░░ frowned. "This was too easy."

Half of a smile. "Leading you down through 15 stories of collapsed building was not 'easy,' even for me."

"Yeah, well, whatever." She pulled down the light. "I don't mean to crash the party mood, you know, buuuut..." started the hacker, drawing out the u.

"Yes, we are finished here." Lacroix replaced the tunneller core into its protective case. "Let's go."

"That's not what I mean."

"No?" said the assassin, stepping back into the ruined hall.

"No." replied the hacker, following the blue woman upwards towards the next level. "I mean, don't get me wrong, this is a neat bit of tech, and I'm glad to get my hands on it. But..."

Amélie's expression didn't change, as she launched her grapple upwards through three stories of ruined training room. "We don't even know that she's not already dead."

"She probably is, you know. It's been years."

The assassin nodded, and triggered the winch. "Elle est en vie ou elle est morte. De toute façon, nous allons le découvrir."
solarbird: (tracer)
"You know," said ░░░░░░, carefully manipulating microforceps above the small silver device sitting atop the matte glass workbench, "I really have to hand it to the gorilla. This is a very clever piece of hardware."

A short series of beeps, a blue light, and she leaned back, smiling at her own cleverness. "It's a shame they sent him back to the moon."

"He always was the smart one," agreed Amélie. "I met him... a few times, before." Before Overwatch was shut down. Before its agents were decommissioned or exiled. Before many things.

"But can you make it work?"

░░░░░░ laughed. "Can I make it work. Please! Of course I can! All it needs are some tweaks to its software. And a few more functions." The Talon hacker raised some screens, flipping through lines of code. "He obviously never got to finish this code. There are all sorts of missing case handlers." And, she thought, peering at class stubs, extensions. What they don't know won't hurt them. "But the core functionality is all in the hardware. It'll be easy."

Beside them, in the corner of the room, an empty chamber flickered, and lit up, glowing right blue, then briefly yellow, then brighter, almost taking form - before, after a flash of red, it was again empty. For just a moment, if the right person looked at the right time, they might've seen a small figure in a pilot pressure suit, before it was gone.

"She keeps almost being able to land here, doesn't she?" said the assassin, who most definitely did see it. "I wonder if she has any idea what has been happening since..." She looked back to Winston's little device, and then to ░░░░░░. "How long?"

"If I had to push it?" said the hacker, "...eh, two, maybe three days. But if you want me to be suuuuuure..."

"Be sure."

"...oh, give me a week. And unlimited access to hardware, so I don't have to waste time stealing things."

She'd lied, of course. She could write and test the software in a day. Even Winston - who was far better at hardware than software - could've done it in two or three, if the UN hadn't stepped in when they did. But it would take that long to make a second version of the hardware, for herself, which the upper-ups would find and she'd say was for testing, which was even kind of true, and a third version, for herself, which they would most definitely not find and which she would most definitively keep. As she was fond of saying, a girl always needs the latest tech.

"Very well. I'll talk to the directors, but - consider it approved. On my authorisation." She touched a panel; a door unlocked, and opened, revealing the ruins of the Overwatch research facility outside. "Don't short-cut this, ░░░░░░. Be. Sure."

That, thought the hacker, almost sounded like an emotion. Let's file that away for later. "C'mon, Amélie, am I ever not? Stop bothering me. Go outside, shoot some wings off of mosquitoes or something." She cracked her knuckles, dramatically. "Let me get to work."

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