solarbird: (tracer)
Nobody expected a fireball. Or screaming, or the containment chamber suddenly exploding. But it all happened nonetheless when flame, fragments of metal, silicates, plastics, and the distinct tang of burning jet fuel showered the interior of the small building.

And then a small woman in a flight suit collapsed onto the scorched floor. "Get it on her!" shouted the hacker, retrieving the second chronal accelerator from the bench behind her, throwing it towards Amélie, already there, who slapped it onto the body just as it began to shift to red.

The figure solidified, the flight suit suddenly Overwatch blue and grey and a bit too much red, but with blood.

Mon dieu, elle est en vie! thought the assassin, as she and the medic, Taviano, pulled the young pilot - and freshly-minted accelerator - from the smoking remnants of had been a containment chamber, onto a stretcher. "What happened?!" she shouted, as the medic ripped away the shredded flight shield and threw on an oxygen mask.

░░░░░░ grabbed a fire extinguisher, swearing, spraying down equipment, "I dunno, but get her out of here, I'll take care of this little problem."

The assassin, medic, and pilot were already out the door, moving towards the emergency aid unit set up the previous night. "Vitals are good," the medic told Dr. Mariani, who nodded, "Keep an eye on lung function and blood oxygenation levels, let's get her on the table" - she grabbed the stretcher - "tre, due, uno, hup!"

It didn't take three people to lift the small woman, but three were involved nonetheless. "Thank you, Amélie - now let us do our jobs." The assassin nodded once, and backed away. "Let's get this flight suit off - can you hear me, pilot?"

Tracer's eyes snapped open, and she looked around wildly. The doctor looked at Taviano - "Sedativo pronto?" - "Sì." Buona, she thought. "Pilot, the slipstream you were flying exploded, but we have you on the ground now. I'm Doctor Mariani, I'm a field medic. Do you understand?"

The pilot's eyes locked on the doctor's, and she nodded, blinking.

"We're going to give you a little sedative while we check you out, and then we're going to transfer you to a medical unit. Do you know your name?"

Through the mask, a garbled, strained, but understandable response: "Lena. Lena Oxton."

"How many fingers am I holding up?" She held up three, and Tracer's answer was correct. Occhi non dilatati? Non c'è concussione? The mediscanner verified - no concussion. Che era un buon casco.

"You're very lucky pilot, Lena. Here comes the sedative."

Inside the building, ░░░░░░ put out the last of the fires, mostly caused by flaming debris from the chamber. Now, what the hell was that about? Everything was fine until the fire attacked... Flames doused, she opened the second door behind the bench to clear the remaining stink of jet fuel.

"Oh." she said aloud, getting it all at once, as Amélie marched back into the building. "Nique ta mère, what went wrong?"

░░░░░░ laughed, filled with the delight of success, and the assassin glared evilly. "This is not a good time to be laughing."

"Nothing happened! Well, nothing we shouldn't have expected, anyway." She swept debris off her chair and plopped down with what was left of Winston's original device, poking at it and flipping between screens of data in the air. "It was perfección! We all just forgot something very obvious."

Lacroix narrowed her eyes, smelling the jet fuel again. "...the slipstream exploded."

░░░░░░ nodded, grinning. "...when the field generator failed, sending her out of time, along with the explosion in progress around her."

"C’est le bazar."

"Hey, you're just lucky you hired me. Someone not as good might've brought back the whole thing, and then we'd all be in that tent."

She gestured. "But, don't keep me in suspense - how is she?"

Amélie Lacroix exhaled, slowly. "Alive."
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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