solarbird: (widow)
That feel when you shut down three ultimates in an enemy ult stack yourself. Manifique.

  • "It's hiiiiiiiigh" no.
  • "Ryoujin no ken" no.
  • "Dee dee dee DEET de" no.

I almost feel alive. #fearthewidowmaker
solarbird: (widow)
If I'm gonna have to be out of the Overwatch universe for a week - except for writing, I am taking my laptop for once - at least that was a good game to end on. (Volskaya, defence, successful 9-minute 30-second defence on the second point after they overran us quickly on the first, and tried to do it on the second, but... heh. We were having no part of that.)

I'm starting to find Widowmaker's rhythm, and wow she has one, and when I find it? Hooooo it's nice. Minion Paul was watching me play the other day when I found it, and he was all, 'That's some Spiderman shit right there.' Not my comic, but still. But that's not all it is.

It feels to me, if I'm standing still, I'm not playing her right. It is easier for me to get headshots while moving. Swing around while running, there's your target, scope and pow. Swing around while jumping, there's your target, pow. Keep going, full auto, chase, pow.

You're also much harder to hit that way, of course.

It does not feel like Tracer, though - except for the constant motion. It's slower and more flowing. Ballet vs. the Charleston indeed. But even more than Tracer, always know where everyone is. That's how you stop Reaper and McCree and Bastion ults sneaking up on you. Perhaps just as they start. Like tonight.

It's also fun watching enemy Widowmakers pick up on my tricks. I saw one start imitating me today. Her mine use changed - improved - all at once, after I killed her with a mine from quite far away. I knew where she'd go, and left her a present, and she went there. (See also: knowing the maps, knowing where people go.) Did that sting? :D

I started getting preferentially-targeted by the enemy team. Tracer used her bombs on me twice, and then wasn't able to get to me anymore. After an ult I didn't stop, Mercy and I were the only survivors, and Mercy kept me alive while I killed the half of the other team still on the point, and they couldn't hit me - and should've just stomped me - because they just couldn't target me well enough to do the damage. And I whittled all three of 'em down and was last player standing. Point held. Victory.

(Also, carded. Gold in objective kills and time, silver in total kills, silver in total damage. Widowmakers have a reputation for avoiding the point. I do not share that inclination. Come at me, bro. I will destroy you, and it will be magnificent.)
solarbird: (widowmaker)
Guess who unlocked the Smooth as Silk achievement today?

(It mostly gets you the "Cute" spray for Widowmaker. "Cute" and "Pixel" are both achievements, every character has their own. I've now won both for Widowmaker. You get this one for a headshot through the sight while airborne.)

Good night, Jack Morrison. [POW]
solarbird: (Default)
Hooo, practice range time makes a huge difference learning Widowmaker play.

I spent a bunch of time on the practice range yesterday and the day before and the impact has been immediate. I had a couple of twitch headshots at lunchtime overwatch that were just nuts. Intent was there, sure, but the mechanics? Pure reflex. Twitch, headshot. Good night, Hanzo. Twitch, headshot. Good night, McCree. Go to sleep.

Plus a few more deliberately aimed headshots. I had some good numbers today. Their McCree was the only one who could get anywhere near me. But more, I'm picking up the always-be-moving part. Not perfectly, of course. But I was thinking of her as best played more still than she should be, and that's wrong. Move. Always.

Also won another couple of duels with enemy Widowmakers, and one - ugh, she was terrible. I'll have this reaction when I'm playing enemy Tracer, when they're terrible - "oh, sister, you shame us all" - and I had that today, as Widow, about an enemy Widow. And I was right. I was a factor. She wasn't. We won, and they barely even ever slowed us down.

Also also, double-kill with a venom mine. That was both a first, and hilarious. "Here, have some deadly neurotoxin I got from my best friend online. Ooh, did that sting? Thanks, I will tell her."

I really do kind of think Widowmaker and GlaDOS would be evil online friends. You know, what with the common interests in deadly neurotoxin and killing. I should learn how to say "the cake is a lie" in French. Google translate says "le gateau est un mensonge." I suspect if it's gonna get anything right, it's that.

Someone should draw them getting together at a café for cake and neurotoxin. Tell me that wouldn't be great. :D

Huh, I guess it's official. I need a Widowmaker icon.
solarbird: (tracer)
prelude
[2076, autumn]

"Why'd you do it, Gabe?"

"Do what?"

"Send those killers to her house."

"Lena, I don't know what you're talking about. Fill me in."

"Why'd you send those idiots after Gérard Lacroix?"

"I didn't! Hell, they weren't even field agents. It never should have happened. Not the way it did, anyway."

"Amélie doesn't know that."

"Amélie should know that, she has the logs. She just doesn't want to."

"Wot? Why not?"

"As long she doesn't know that, there's someone else alive to blame."

"That's shite, Gabriel."

"Is it?"

"It is, and you know it. She blames herself. Always has."

"'Course she does, girl. But she also blames me. I was head of Blackwatch, so she's kinda got a point."

The younger assassin just grunted, a "huh" sort of sound.

"Trust me here, having someone else to blame? It helps."

Venom thought about that, for a moment, sizing up Gabriel Reyes through anger-narrowed eyes.

"I'm not so sure it does."

solarbird: (tracer)

I've been maintaining an offline official timeline of canon for On Overcoming the Fear of Spiders and all the in-universe stories written seperately and collected in intersections in the web of time, and now that I'm making some headway on Old Soldiers, I thought I'd format and post the thing.

It's pretty big. It includes a fair number of things that happened in Fear of Spiders that did not make it into the manuscript or any following story, and also contains a couple of first-chapter background-info spoilers for the new story. So if you're allergic to that sort of thing, don't read it. If you're not, you might find some new background you might enjoy.

Official timeline of the Fear of Spiders Overwatch AU
[solarbird at Archive of Our Own]
solarbird: justice rains on your face (pharah)
At lunchtime Overwatch, I was in quickplay, and someone popped into comms, which is unusual for quickplay games. So I identified as Pharah, and said something like 'team chat in quickplay? Okay, that's unusual, cool' and he was all "hey, you're close to going silver, how's it feel?" and I answered in all seriousness, "Honestly, I didn't even know what that meant until somebody else mentioned it about ten levels ago," at which point he said "oh, well, okay, you're just retarded."

So I vocalised into the mic, "oooookay... social... team chat... disconnect" as I did exactly that.

I proceeded to four-gold, and captured the first point nearly solo while everyone else but Sombra was trapped at spawn. (And, credit where it's due, Sombra definitely helped with the capture, mostly on the second third.) Yes, 1 to 2 on 4-6, depending upon how many could rush back at any given time to defend, and winning.

I can do a lot even for even a spectacularly shitty team when I'm on a roll - and I was.

Sadly, I couldn't capture the second point the same way, because the enemy were on to my tricks at that point, but, well, whatever. Four golds. I worked hard to make sure I had 'em all.

I then switched to Widowmaker on the flip side (defence) and popped in to team chat quietly for a second for a reaction, just in time to hear the same jackass bitching about everything, particularly the Widowmaker. And I popped back out.

We proceeded to lose, but I golded in objective kills and I think objective time but I'm not sure. (Might just have silvered.) As we're seeing all that, I pop back into team chat, and they're going at each other, just being salty as fuck.

So I hit my mic and say, "And this is why you don't call your four-gold 'retarded' - she might decide to play Widowmaker next round. Bye!" and dropped.

I realise this kind of snippery is not necessarily the best possible response to this kind of jackass? But I'm thinking, y'know, maybe he might be a little bit hesitant to let that shit fly right out the gate next time. Maybe. Because you really, really don't know who you might be playing with.

(For the record: I actually am trying to learn Widowmaker, that's why I'm playing her in quickplay a lot at the moment. Best kill streak with her so far is I think 12, max kills with her is 23, I've earned the Pixel spray but not the Cute. So if the team I'm with is any good, I'm not a joke, I'm a legitimate contributor, I often gold in objective kills with her, and I always play the best I can at any time. I always play to win. Even here.)
solarbird: (tracer)

This is not part of the on overcoming the fear of spiders continuity; Lena Oxton is Tracer, not Venom. It is a standalone story, in an AU which is still pretty much canon-compliant as of July 2017. It would be set in late 2077 or early 2078, in universe. [AO3 link]


"It is not easy to explain," said the Widowmaker, looking frustrated, fixated on her game screen and sitting next to Hana Song, who of course had her own pro rig and client.

Widowmaker had said that, not Amélie, and it was very important not to get that wrong. The Widowmaker didn't like it, and if Amélie had an opinion - or was in there at all - she never spoke up.

The blue assassin was playing a shooter game, but not as a sniper - as a melee character, high DPS, fast - not entirely unlike Tracer. She always played the same character. Tracer wasn't sure what that meant; Angela told her not to read too much into it, but she knew that Lena tended to think of it as a good sign anyway. It's still shooting people, but it's shooting people in a different way, and Lena couldn't help but feel a little flattered that if the spider was emulating anyone, it was her.

"I exist," the spider continued, as her character on screen ran across open field between buildings towards some sort of objective. "I am here. I exist by right of existence. I do not wish not to exist." Realising that - she knew, herself - had been a big step for her, one she had managed on her own, one taken before she escaped from her controllers with a surprisingly complete list of Talon embedded agents to exchange for her sanctuary.

"And Talon didn't agree with that, did they." Tracer replied.

"No. I was supposed to be an asset, not a person."

"And Angela doesn't entirely either, does she." It was a statement, not a question.

Widowmaker glanced briefly at Tracer, just with her eyes, just a little surprised, before her focus snapped back to the game. "No. She still thinks I am some folded-up version of her former friend. I am not."

The spider saw that Tracer nodded her agreement. Of all the people here, she thought, only Tracer seems to understand even this much. Perhaps it was the younger woman's experience as a ghost, after the Slipstream accident. Perhaps it was being an Omnic War orphan. Perhaps it was just her nature. The spider didn't know.

Tracer watched the two women game, but really watched Widowmaker think. She's close to something, I can feel it, she thought to herself.

"Is this why you won't let Angela undo any of Talon's work?" Widowmaker had adamantly refused any attempt to reverse any of the physical changes Talon had made, though she tolerated anything she could decide qualified as an "improvement." That included giving her control over her own emotional dampers. Handling that was still a learning process.

"Yes," replied the blue assassin. "I am me. I am not that other woman, even if she was the source for some of my parts. I cannot be her. I do not want to be her."

"I get that, luv," said the Londoner. That part didn't matter to Lena. It was easier, for her, if Amélie was dead, if she was gone, and buried, and this was Widowmaker, another person entirely, just happened to look a lot alike. "Y'know, personally, I like the blue," she said. Makes it easier, she thought.

"You may be the only one, myself aside," replied the spider.

"Hey, n00b," Hana said, "Cover your flank or you're gonna get p0wned."

"Thank you," Widowmaker replied, sweeping left, hitting far more than she missed. D-pad instead of mouse or rifle, she was built for aim.

"Nice shot! For a game controller. You should level up to a real interface."

"Perhaps never," said the assassin.

"Okay," replied the gamer, "don't listen to the professional."

"...point taken," replied the blue woman, as the round ended, with scores D.va 100, bad guys 12, Widowmaker 10.

"I'm outta D.ritos. Want anything?"

"No thank you."

"Just ate, luv, but thanks."

"Be right back!" she said, as she jumped backwards over her chair and headed out to the hallway.

Widowmaker leaned against the rec room's couch, watching the game's idle screen. "I like the character I am playing, more than the game itself. I think that is not too unusual, no?"

"Sure!" Lena answered, encouragingly. "That's why there are fan sites and hangouts and stuff. What do you like about her?"

"This character I play," Widowmaker gestured to the screen, "within the confines of the game, she is a person, like me - no, that is wrong, she is not like me, except in that she was... constructed. It is part of her story. Built, for a purpose. As I was, by Talon."

Built, thought Tracer. "Like Omnics, you mean?"

Widowmaker shook her head, no. "I have thought about it, but I think not. Neither of us are robotic, I do not think it is the same, and I cannot really ask our occasionally resident Shambali master to be sure..."

"Yeaaaaaaaaah," agreed the younger woman. "Probably never."

"I have been told that he says he does not carry a grudge, but I can tell that he carries a grudge, and I do not even blame him." She paused for a moment. "I am far more surprised that you talk to me than that he does not."

Lena bit her upper lip for a moment. "T'be honest, I am too."

Widowmaker hummed a little, a note that signalled her acknowledgment of the situation. "Why do you?"

Lena tilted her head back and forth a little. "...I dunno. That night in King's Row was the second worst of my life. I felt so angry and so betrayed, and I'd've done anything to undo it, but I couldn't. And you couldn't even tell me why."

"I did not know," she replied. "Or care. The question, it struck me as so unimportant, so silly. It was the first time I'd ever laughed. It may have been my first real, unprogrammed... thought."

"I didn't know that," said the Overwatch agent. Her first thought was... laughter? Wow. "But it hurt, then. Still does, a little. Less, now that I know you really aren't Amélie."

"My emotional range is still limited, but... I think I am sad about that."

"Maybe that's why, then. Maybe I can tell. Maybe that's why... somehow, here I am."

The eyes of the woman who had been made from Amélie Lacroix narrowed in thought at those words.

"Winston was built, too, genetically," said Tracer, changing back the subject and realising as she said it that it didn't fit. "But that's really not the same either, innit? He still grew up. You didn't. I think I get it, you just... came online, all at once, didn't you? 'Here I am, ready to kill.'"

The spider's gold eyes flashed to Tracer, but not in anger, as was so usually the case with that look. "Yes," she said, grabbing Tracer's hands. "Yes. I had a purpose, already. And then I had more purpose, that fit with it. No doubts, no hesitation, just purpose. Do you actually understand?"

Lena's heartbeat jumped as the spider grasped her hands, but she didn't let herself flinch, at least not more than with surprise. She touched me, she thought, intentionally. Woah! "I," she gathered her thoughts, "I think I do. I mean, not emotionally, right? I grew up too, and looked for somethin' to do with my life. But... in my head, I kinda get it. A little. You're not there, and then you are, all at once. And you already know why. That's, that's, that's, a kind of perfect, innit? It's..." she groped for the right words, "...flawless."

"Yes," she said, squeezing Lena's hands tightly. "For a reason, and with a purpose, and she," she gestured to her head to the screen, "is like that, and also biological, also for a reason, also for a purpose."

Lena put the rest of the pieces together. "...and nobody else in the whole world is."

The Widowmaker pulled Tracer against her, suddenly, roughly, and put her head on the Overwatch agent's shoulder. Lena could hear the spider breathing and found herself dazed, wrapping her arms around the assassin before she even knew what she was doing, asking only as she did it, softly, "...is this okay? Do you want a hug? 'Cause I can stop..."

"...no. I think I do."

She is so lonely, thought the former test pilot. And she don't even know it. Maybe that's why I don't mind this. She held the cool blue woman carefully in her arms. "Did you lose it, somehow? Your purpose?"

The spider did not say anything.

"Did you stop believing in it? Was that it?"

"It was... I could not stop... thinking. I was perfect, and whole, and content, and I brought exquisite deaths, and then I... and then I laughed, and I was not perfect, and not whole, and not content, and I could not fix it."

"And you miss that purity of purpose."

"So much."

"Would you go back to it?"

"I cannot."

Tracer nodded, and hugged a little tighter, as she said, "Because it's part of being a person. That's why you're here, innit?"

Widowmaker lifted her head from Lena's shoulder, looked her in the eyes, and whispered, "You do know."

Lena Oxton met the spider's gaze, and was not afraid. "This much, yeh. I do."

The spider laughed, just a little. Another thought, all her own. "May I hug you again, later?"

Tracer surprised herself by nodding agreement at once. What am I doing? She... she's who she is. She's built to kill. I can't ignore that. "'Course you can."

"Thank you," she said, and went ahead and did it right then, as well.

I can't ignore what she is, but maybe, Tracer thought, as Hana burst back into the room with grotesque amounts of junk food, ...maybe I can learn to live with it.

solarbird: (molly-computer-all-lit-up)
Anybody have an old Win98 USB mass storage device driver? I've set up an real Win98 box on the machine that used to be door.murkworks.net - it's a P166 from 1996 and accordingly hilarious. I have USB running on it, but not drivers for USB disk drives, and I want that working, in no small part because the non-lulz non-vintage-games part of this project is having a (the?) last working 5.25" floppy drive for PC-DOS/MS-DOS diskettes.

(I like having the ability to read all antique media. Need anything off a Commodore PET floppy? In theory, I can do that for you, as long as it's double-density or less, and yes, they had a 1mb PET floppy at one point.)

The machine is named Blue, drive D is named Purple, and it's registered to Amélie Lacroix and the password is oneshotonekill because of course it had to be. Also, the desktop starts out with weapons and such but turns into widowtracer art because we all know what's really going on here.

It's also much quieter now, particularly for a machine from 1996, as I've replaced all the fans and improved the venting. Two of the fans were outright dead - the CPU and GPU fans, so that's terrifying. (I think the CPU fan may have worked occasionally, but don't hold me to it. Also I had already improved the venting some, even with the old fans - I just improved it more now.)

A couple of power supply capacitors should be replaced too, they're bulging a bit, and I had to order them - VetCo had none of the right caps in stock. Ah well, I tried.
solarbird: (tracer)
So this is funny (to me at least)...

I'm playing a lot of Widowmaker against AIs in hard mode, because I'm learning the character, because I used to be a decent sniper once, and not at all because I write Tracermaker fic and identify with certain aspects of Widowmaker no not at all don't let's be silly.

And one thing I figured out real quick is that if the enemy team has a Zen and I get in line of sight, whether he can see me or not, he will whip around and instakill me. Seriously, I've seen it enough in replays to know, he's 180 degrees facing away from me, I peek over, WHIP DEAD.

(I am not exaggerating. Engaged with others of my team, facing away, no fukkit I'm killing that Widowmaker.)

And I was getting kind of salty about this because no human player could do that, right? And I was complaining about it to @annathepiper, and she said:
Well, you did assassinate his brother.
...and i'm like "...oh yeah."

So now, okay, it's still super frustrating? But it's also kind of hilarious.

Fortunately there seems to be some sort of distance limit to the trigger for that reaction, so I can take him out from afar and then try to play. But, still, damn. And, still, lol.

I guess it's a pain in the ass but I totally deserve it. Except my Widowmaker didn't do that. So I don't. I need an AU of this mode that works in my Fear of Spiders AU. Or something. XD
solarbird: (tracer)
ugh, I had the worst competitive play night ever last night.

Seriously, I fell 100 points despite continually golding in objective kills and time but absolutely nothing I could do mattered.

So many bad team decisions - teams entirely off comms, floating mostly-sniper groups (seriously it'd be like three snipers and a Genji on capture-the-point levels, and I'm like, are you trying to lose?), Hanzo trying to dive-bomb a held point solo, one game with no healers (so I played Mercy as best I could), bastions insisting on playing on offence and trying to turret their way from off point to victory I guess? So terrible.

(I mean I'm not a good Mercy; if I have a choice on healer I'm picking Ana, but I'll try. I got a couple of rounds of rezzes per game, but they weren't protecting me so it was still bad.)

I'm not the sort to go on comms and say "this combo is guaranteed to lose no matter what I do" and I was trying to coach but with so few people on comms, well.

Ugh.

The only good part was that afterwards I said 'fukkit I'm taking Widowmaker into quickplay for the first time' and proceeded to silver (23) in kills, gold (20) in objective kills, and gold (I don't remember, but it was several minutes) in objective time. This should NOT BE A THING and is STILL MORE BAD DECISION THEATRE, yet there I was taking down Reinhardt with my Talon machine gun because SOMEONE HAS TO BE ON POINT and I GUESS IT'LL BE ME.

The best part being, of course, that I did take Reinhardt down with my machine gun on the point three times. It was like I was paying Tracer. He was so mad. As was, really, their whole team, 'cause it wasn't just him. I had a 12 kill streak at one point, all objective.

The only way they won is that they literally stacked all their ults at me, and it still took a few goes. The first point, I'd tried playing Widowmaker properly and killed like half their team on their first push and yet they still took the point immediately, and the first 2/3rds of the second, so all this was in the context of nine minutes of defence on the second point.

We lost, of course, in overtime, because I'm sorry even I can't survive four stacked ults pointed at me.

But I did unlock the Does That Sting? achievement on my first actual game as Widowmaker. That was hilarious. Don't underestimate those venom mines, kids, I had like eight kills with 'em.
solarbird: (gaz)
Back into gold.

I'm also still mostly winning decisively. I'm... I dunno how to get my last ten, but I'm something like 9-1 or maybe 8-2 or something. It takes being on a pretty disorganised team to lose.

I went undefeated at lunchtime today, but it was close because one team I was on was just not having it together at first - we were on offence at Gibraltar and the payload had moved about halfway to the first objective going into overtime. We looked done in. But at that point I took over as de facto coach and had switched to D.va, and thankfully my team listened to me, and we won 3-0.

It was seriously like two minutes in overtime on that first point, and they knocked me out of my mech once or twice, but we made it. The best part of that was closing in on it, and telling my team, "Okay, right about now? They're pulling their hair out. They're getting frustrated, and it's going to show up in their play. That's good for us. Take advantage of it."

And then we made it and then made the second objective and almost all of the third, and absolutely stuffed them on the turnaround. I can only imagine the amount of screaming going over opposition comms. We were done until surprise we weren't.

That was a great team. The last team I was on was great too. And there was a game in the middle where they were all such horrible people that I left team and blocked them all as soon as the game was over. ugh.

up to 1948

Jul. 8th, 2017 01:24 am
solarbird: justice rains on your face (pharah)
Was briefly up to 1970 but as we were grouped and ready to go into the last game, like half the group dropped out and we were a three-set rather than a six, and we got put with three randos and lost pretty decisively. Still: I'm 2-3 wins away from being back in gold, and today was pretty much a 75 point climb, so that's a little less than usual but not bad at all. And it was a 100 point until half our group dropped out while we were searching for the last game.

Had a couple of plays of the game, one as Tracer, one as Pharah, so I'll give Pharah the icon.
solarbird: (tracer)
Oh my gods you guys this was hilarious, I was Tracer on offence in Hamaura, right? And we took objective A real fast to set this up. (I had five of the six kills, heavy damage on all, 100% on a couple, good stuff.) So then we charge to Objective B.

I take out their piggy and their Mei and charge onto the point. Their Torb has a turret near the stairs on defence right, one of the usual places. He's up there pounding on it, and it's shooting at most of the point, and I'm just ducking out of the way and find that it can't hit me near the stairs on defence left, in that little corner by the stairs that's still on the objective.

We take out a couple more of their team (I'm at like 10 kill streak now, or will be soon) and start taking the point. They start zooming out from spawn, like y'do. I'm the only one actually on the point, I've never left it, because I still can't be hit by that turret.

So the counter is ticking up. And as they respawn, keep leaping over me from spawn exit onto the point, landing directly in front of my guns. So I'm just unloading clips into their backs, killing them before they even know what's going on.

THIS KEEPS HAPPENING.

Their Torb goes molten core and I teleport over, give him a present, he explodes, it's hilarious (and POTG), and then we win.

I literally took out like six, maybe seven of their team just because of them JUMPING IN FRONT OF ME FACING AWAY AND NOT KNOWING I WAS THERE EVEN AS I KILLED THEM. I didn't even have to aim.

Well, maybe there was a little aiming. But not a lot.

It was 100% "Hi! I'm tiny, squishy Bastion now! Please continue to jump directly in front of me and melt. Thanks!"
solarbird: (tracer)

"Unfinished Business with the Group Captain"

  • Graphic Depictions Of Violence
  • Major Character Death

Lena "Venom" Oxton made Winston a promise, one Winston did not like. But Lena Oxton keeps her promises.

This is part of the on overcoming the fear of spiders Overwatch AU continuity, and the linked novella should be read first, both for spoiler avoidance and for context.

In the north of England - November 2074 )
solarbird: (tracer)

So... huh. I guess this happened. It's small and very lightweight but here it is. ^_^

This is part of the on overcoming the fear of spiders continuity, and takes place before the end of that story. You should read that story first, for context.

Spring of 2077 - Nepal )
solarbird: justice rains on your face (pharah)
I saw some nice enemy Junkrat play last night, while playing I was Pharah in Illios.

So the first round, we'd lost badly, because I didn't get Pharah, and whoever did wasn't good with environment kills (at the Lighthouse, even, which makes me sad) and we get scrubbed. We win in the Ruins, though, because I can D.va the shit out of the Ruins.

So at the beginning of the third round, our Pharah changes to somebody else (becoming more effective, I might add) and I grab Pharah. And we're crushing them. It's the well, they can't even really get onto the point.

And I'm flying 'round the back of the well's lighthouse, to bombard the entry to the point from over the sea, which is what I should be doing if I can. And I see Hanzo and Junks on a second-floor balcony facing the ocean.

So of course, I boop 'em, because environmental kills are my dearest love as Pharah. The archer flies directly into the ocean, and so does Junks - at first. Then he spins round, throws his mine directly in front of himself, detonates it...

...and gets blown ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE LOWER LEVEL OF THE LIGHTHOUSE, making it safely to land.

I was all like "Oh, well done. I almost hate to kill you."

Of course, we promptly three-on-oned him and he died, because he had no team behind him. But I just gotta say: enemy Junkrat from last night? That was some damned find junking. Quick thinking and well done, whoever you were.

2075

Jun. 11th, 2017 01:46 pm
solarbird: (tracer)

[The twenty-ninth instalment]

[London. MI6. November.]

Video from the Humanity First strike in Naples rolled on the large screen, as the analyst section scribbled notes. Key sections were framed and elements highlighted from the incident which took place the week before.

"Now, until this moment, in minute 44," said the presenter, "the attack appeared to be going as we think they'd planned. They were moving through the arcade, here, in a sweep formation, when their progress forward suddenly fell out of good order. You can see the confusion, particularly these two figures, reacting to... something. We don't know what. Local police rapidly found themselves doing cleanup duty."

"A good thing, too, with the payload they were carrying," said the head of the table. "This sort of sudden breakdown - is it just me, or is it becoming a pattern?"

"The best kind of pattern to my mind, ma'am," said the woman in front of the large display.

"Yes, but only if we know why. Do we?"

"Generally? No. In this case, we think they lost comms, and fell out of sync. But we've no idea why that would've happened. And they certainly won't be telling us."

At the far end of the table, the less annoying American analyst flipped through photograph after photograph. She'd seen something, in a still photo. What was it, she thought, what was it, something faint...

More photos and video, now from minute 44, as the room discussed comms failures, a discussion she largely ignored. It's in here, somewhere, I saw it... there. What am I seeing here? She wasn't even sure herself.

"Excuse me, but... could we have item 59 from minute 43 on the large screen?" she asked, breaking into the room's conversation.

The collection of specialists present looked over, "Sorry, Agent...?" The presenter fished for the American's name, but she couldn't bring it up. "Um... certainly. Minute 43, item 59... here..." she put it on the large screen. "It's... the side of a building."

"How far in can we zoom on that second window from the left?"

The image enlarged to show the entire window frame.

"Lower half, please? Contrast enhance, gamut expansion?"

The presenter flicked controls. "Now... oh! Now I see... what the hell? Is that... someone's... back and head?"

"Someone aiming a rifle, looks like," said the tactics desk. "Someone not in our accounting."

"Is that colour correct?" asked her second. "Verify against reference." The tint shifted, brickwork used as a standard, and the Talon desk erupted in shouts as the presenter continued, oblivious to the noise, "That's... is that hair? Is it blue?"

"That, that, that that can't be her," the Talon desk second broke in, as the lead followed with, "We need that photograph and every picture of that window, and we need it right now. Do we have the other side of the building?"

"Someone verify the colour of the glass in that pane. Get someone out there to look at it, in person, we need a hard reference."

"Who is she shooting? Can we get any kind of interpolation on that?"

Systems brought up a three-dimensional rendering of the scene at that moment, and added a series of possible locations for the new actor, and possible targets, based on the one image obtained.

A small square device with a collection of protrusions hung off a nearby rooftop, at minute 41, visible, and intact, and at minute 46, visible, and destroyed.

"That," said electronics, "would be a tactical comms relay. Probably one of two. We should look for a second."

"What bet it's also smashed?" asked the tactics desk, excitedly.

As the room as a whole proceeded to tear through every photo and video segment with renewed intensity, the two reps from the Talon desk just stared at each other. "My god," said the lead. "What else did we miss? What the hell have we found? "

[Naples, a week earlier]

Kate checked her position and counted heads. Everyone who's supposed to be here, is here, in place. This'll show those fucking species-traitors. "Ready one!" she shouted, as as her team ducked behind columns and walls, and she pressed the outer ring detonator. Her team braced, ready for the impact of the explosions.

Nothing happened.

She pressed it again. Nothing continued to happen. No. No. Goddammit, Len screwed up the detonators.

"Ozzy, round one bad! Fire round two!"

"Len and Charla aren't out yet!"

"DO IT OR THIS WHOLE THING FAILS. DO IT, NOW!"

"Give them five more seconds!"

Kate would've shot Ozzy, and frankly wanted to, but he was too far away to make up the lost time. "DO IT OR I WILL SHOOT YOU MYSELF," she shouted anyway, aiming her pistol.

Ozzy was on comms, trying to raise Charla. "Shut up, I'm trying to ... god dammit! Now comms are out?!"

"NOW! THEY'RE MOVING ON US! DAMM YOU TO HELL, NOW!"

Ozzy swore, and thought, sorry, guys, and pressed the second ring detonator.

Nothing happened, a third time.

"DO IT!" shouted the team leader, enraged.

Ozzy pressed the trigger again, and again, useless. "I AM! IT ISN'T WORKING!"

Kate shrieked. It's those damned Aussies, they sold us shit goods, she thought. Shouting again, "Ozzy, try to keep the team moving forward, get the fourth ring set up. I'm going back to the second, try to reset the charges. Blow them in two minutes whether I'm here or not!"

"God speed!" shouted Ozzy.

Kate retreated around the corner back out of the arcade. Three steps out of sight of the rest of her team, there was a flash of light, a single round of automatic fire, a second flash, and she was gone.

They found some blood, a bit of flesh - more than enough DNA to identify the team leader - but they never found her body.

[Alicudi, six months earlier]

"Woah, what a mess," Lena said, looking at the latest eruption of violence - this time, in Korea.

"I know," Amélie said sadly, "Even acting as quickly as we can, everywhere we can, we can only do so much."

"You know we could step in more often," said the junior assassin.

"Certainly, in retrospect," agreed the senior assassin. "It's not so simple, in the moment."

"C'mon, love, maybe for most people," Venom countered. "Not for us."

"But that's not the difficult part," insisted the Widowmaker. "Getting there, creating a plan, executing it in real time - that is not so easy."

"Sure. We can't always act. But when we can, I want to try."

Amélie smiled. "You want to become a sort of... International Rescue, but of assassins?"

Lena laughed at the thought, and said, "Aye aye!" enthusiastically.

"But it will not change history," said the assassin, reluctantly, "at least, not often, if ever. Not as we've always measured it."

"It'll save lives," said her apprentice. "Isn't that enough?"

"Lives that do not change history," insisted the spider.

"Lives nonetheless," said her lover. "Besides, fewer deaths mean fewer relatives vowing revenge and voting for demagogues. It's got to help."

"At the margins, perhaps," the spider calculated. "It is a risk. Each time, a possibly fatal risk. Stepping in improvisationally to complex situations with live fire is not a step to be taken lightly."

"I'm good at risk," retorted the test pilot. "Won't be a problem if we're careful."

After a year and a half together, Amélie Lacroix had learned when Lena Oxton's mind was made up, and turned to face the inevitable. "You're going to do this whether I help or not, aren't you?"

The inevitable replied, "I'd much rather not have to decide 'bout that, love."

"I have two counter-conditions," said the woman of blue.

The pilot smiled. She'd won, and knew it. "Name 'em."

"First, our primary mission is always paramount. Nothing may affect or endanger that."

Well, that's easy, Oxton thought. "Goes without saying," she said. "Didn't even consider it on the table..."

"Second," the spider had started, when Lena interrupted. "No, no, love, wait. I need to make that clear: I will not risk this project. I just won't. I might argue..."

"...might and have done..." noted Amélie.

"...yeh, and likely will again. But once it's sorted? Never. I swear."

Amélie smiled, relieved in spite of herself, and reached out to touch her her partner's face, gently. "I did not think you would, but I do not leave such things unstated. Particularly not with you."

"Fair enough," Lena answered, warmly, nuzzling Widowmaker's hand, and taking it into her own. How did I get so lucky as to fall into you? she asked herself, as she did every time they fought. "Hoo. What else?"

"Second, we move only if I think it is safe and practical. I will not endanger our organisation, or myself, or you." In this, she was an anchored stone, an unmovable object.

Venom laughed again, playing the river, splashing around the rock. "I'm never in danger, love."

Widowmaker gave her a most sharply pointed look. "We are always in danger, ma chérie - do not forget that."

"Sorry, sweet," she said in reply. "Not the time to be flippant." A small surrender, wrapped in affection. "I don't forget."

"Then that is all," said the Widowmaker, lightly, relaxing. "It is acceptable?"

"More than that," said Venom. "It's a deal."

September 2017

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