solarbird: (tracer)

Ana plans ahead, Sombra thinks maybe Lena has been overestimating Morrison the whole time, and Laticia Delgado knows who to talk to, particularly around here.

This chapter is worksafe. [AO3 link]


"She's saying the old dude is back," Sombra reported, listening in on Laticia's conversation with the older woman running the little store by the side of the road, near the nature preserve. "The creepy gringo who scares off the kids."

Amélie and Lena could hear everything being said over their headsets, and understood it all. But Angela appreciated the translation.

"Does he have a friend with him this time?"

"Sssh, she's asking."

More Spanish, and Sombra grinned. "Yep. He brought 'er along. We've got 'em."

"El es un problema," said the shopkeep. He's a problem.

"Nos desharemos de ellos por ti, Simona," Laticia replied. We'll get rid of him for you. "Gracias por hacérmelo saber. Lo aprecio." Thanks for filling me in. I appreciate it.

"Oye, también nos estás haciendo un favor. Gracias." Hey, you're also doing us a favour. Thank you.

"No es nada," the younger woman said, with a grin, bringing her candy to the counter. It's nothing.

"Nos vemos más tarde," Simona replied, ringing up the small purchase. Don't be a stranger.

"Could you follow the conversation?" Gabriel asked, over comms, as Latica paid for her saladitos and a couple of bottles of sangría señorial, before making her way out of the little shop, into the sun.

"Yes, Gabriel - thank you," the Widowmaker responded. "Her signal is loud and clear."

"We'll still have to pin him down, but now we know where to look." Lena chewed her lip a little. "He'll have the place boobytrapped to hell and back, won't he?"

"Hell yeah he will. He's pretty good at that, too. I used to be better, but he's still in practice."

"You'll run us through his library of tricks?"

"It's nothing you wouldn't know, but sure."

Laticia's voice broke in, now over comms as well, back in the second stolen - 'borrowed,' Reyes insisted - transport. The door closed, making a noise under her voice. "Hey, did you all get that?"

"We did," Sombra replied. "Thanks."

"I bet he's holed up in one of the old counsellor's cabins." The sound of one bottle cap popping, and a second. In the background, Reyes thanked her for the drink. "He's not gonna be in the ranger house, it's too close to a road. But I'd bet good money he's in one of the cabins."

"What?" Angela broke in, surprised. "Counsellor... cabins?"

"This is a park," Laticia laughed. "I thought I explained that. There were older kids from school who worked here in the summer, before things went to hell."

Angela could hear a rustle as the gangster settled in, buckling her seatbelt.

"How do you think I knew to ask Simona? Nosy old woman knows everything. She's trying to get it going again, wants him gone."

"...I like you, amiga," Sombra said, not keeping her grin out of her voice, looking for older maps of rather different sorts, online.

"Not sure how much I want to be liked by a Talon agent," Laticia quipped, "but I'll take the compliment."

Sombra just laughed, as she forwarded around an old camper's map of the extensive park and nature reserve, with all 14 cabins clearly marked. "Venom, I know you keep saying we have to be ahead of this guy, but... I have to tell you... he looks to me like an easy mark."

"I know," Lena agreed, nodding. "But he just keeps..."

She growled a little, frustrated, wishing she had a soda.

"...slipping out of traps. He's way too good at getting away. Don't underestimate him."

"I guess so, la rapidita, but..."

The hacker shrugged, her hands a little in the air, not seeing it, and Lena shook her head and wondered, not for the first time, if they'd been - no, if she'd been...

"...I think maybe you've been overestimating him this whole time."

"He's a legend," Lena insisted, defensively.

"Oooooooor... consider... maybe these days... he's just a myth."

-----

Ana watched, silently, as Jack napped, unsettled, writhing, on the large couch. Occasionally, wisps of grey smoke, foglike, would trail off of his body, and she shuddered when it did.

How much control does he really have? she wondered, again, and not just about his physical form.

Jack had become... erratic, over the years, it seemed. In public, or on mission, or when planning an action, the old man could pull himself back together pretty well. But on his downtime...

If I hadn't known him before, she thought, I probably wouldn't've realised how far he's gone. He's still quite the charmer, and he can put on a good show when he needs to, but...

He'd started rambling, earlier, the previous evening, a little drunk, first about how they would take apart the conspiracy at the UN, and how once they could just show everything, how they'd be hailed again as heroes, and that struck her as unrealistic enough, but then, as the night wore on, he went on about Spain, and about a girlfriend he'd had once, while in the Spanish army.

He'd never been in the Spanish army. Ana knew this. And he'd most certainly never had a girlfriend. Jack could do many things, but pretend to be straight - or even bi - wasn't one of them. When she asked about it, he looked confused, and said he had no idea what she was talking about, and she said she must've misheard, because they both knew that was impossible, and they laughed about it. On the outside, at least.

How many people have you stolen from without knowing, she wondered. And how many pieces of them are you still carrying around with you?

She pulled up the tactical plan they'd worked on, for California, glanced over it again - it was a stretch, to put it mildly, but sound enough - and then back up at Morrison.

Perhaps I should work on a second plan, as well. For afterwards.

She put the tablet down, and sunk deep into thought.

If I am going to finish this, after all... I should really finish it. He may be the lesser monster, but he is, still, a monster. And monsters must be slain, even if they are useful. To a point. For now.

A part of her wanted to grieve at how far they'd both fallen, but she did not let it. Grief, too, would have to wait for after.

-----

"I have him," Widowmaker subvocalised over comms. "Through the west window, off of a mirror. But I have no shot."

She frowned.

"I also recognise the glass. It is not original. It will not stop my bullets, but it will change their course - I should not target through it."

Lena nodded, and smiled. "Good," she replied. "I want 'im."

"Not in the daylight, ma chérie. Not unless you also want a firefight."

"Kinda do," she said, spotting another trap. "But... yeh. I'm still findin' his little surprises."

She crawled over to the tripwire, following it, carefully, found the bullet trigger, and the little pack of explosives it would ignite, when fired. She pulled the cartridge carefully from the rig, and the explosives, but left the rest set up, not obviously molested. Across, on the far side of the ravine, Gabriel and Laticia were doing much the same, up and down the hill. They'd found multiple areas with proximity alarms, but the cordon... well. Once, it had probably been comprehensive. Now, not so much, and they'd make their move before either Ana or Jack could try to fix it.

"Mexican police are gonna spend weeks in here trying t'clean all this out," she muttered, pocketing the cartridge. "Listen to me - he's got me sympathising with the bloody filth." She suppressed a snort at herself. "Another thing he's bodged up, the absolute rotter."

Widowmaker continued to watch, through the scope, off the mirror, as Morrison slept, writhing a bit, wisps of smoke floating around him. We should not assume he is done with surprises - but where is Ana? She has not left him, I do not think.

She shifted her sight, looking for reflections, and spotted a metal pitcher, and through it, reflected in it, distorted, thinned, the other target, the target they still hoped not to take, apparently still, apparently also at rest, and the sniper smiled.

"Ana confirmed," she subvocalised again, over comms. "Sombra, if you could place the beacon within range?"

"Already there," the hacker replied, a smirk clear in her voice. "I planted it as soon as you called Spooky."

So close to ending this, she thought, a little excited by the prospect of the kill, even if - most likely - she would not be the one to get to make it.

She adjusted her scope, and looked again.

I see you, she thought.

Do you see me?

solarbird: (widow)

Alliances, it has been said, are at their weakest on the brink of defeat, and on the brink of victory. After defeating the China Sea omnium, the gods of Oasis offered their help to Russia, to defeat their own Siberian threat, and Russia accepted that offer - but made additional secret plans of their own.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Conflict
Edda 14b: What Would You Have Us Do?

solarbird and bzarcher

As the details of what happened in Russia begin to spread, the Gods must make a decision. Will they be vengeful? Or will they offer Katya Volskaya as chance to stop the war before it begins?

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Conflict is a continuance of The Arc of Ascension, The Arc of Creation, and The Armourer and the Living Weapon. It will be told in a series of eddas, sagas, interludes, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. To follow the story as it appears, please subscribe to the series.
solarbird: (tracer)

Alliances, it has been said, are at their weakest on the brink of defeat, and on the brink of victory. After defeating the China Sea omnium, the gods of Oasis offered their help to Russia, to defeat their own Siberian threat, and Russia accepted that offer - but made additional secret plans of their own.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Conflict
Fragment e14,1: Memories of Ice and Snow

solarbird and bzarcher

Mei-Ling Zhou became a goddess to fight for the people under her protection. But now she must decide if fighting is always what would be best.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Conflict is a continuance of The Arc of Ascension, The Arc of Creation, and The Armourer and the Living Weapon. It will be told in a series of eddas, sagas, interludes, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. To follow the story as it appears, please subscribe to the series.
solarbird: (tracer)

Alliances, it has been said, are at their weakest on the brink of defeat, and on the brink of victory. After defeating the China Sea omnium, the gods of Oasis offered their help to Russia, to defeat their own Siberian threat, and Russia accepted that offer - but made additional secret plans of their own.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Conflict
Edda 14: Echos of the Hammer of God

solarbird and bzarcher

Russia, in striking the omnium and the Oasis agents and advisers on site, has shattered the alliance. Oasis will retaliate - of that much, everyone is sure. But no one, least of all Russia and Overwatch, are as yet sure how.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Conflict is a continuance of The Arc of Ascension, The Arc of Creation, and The Armourer and the Living Weapon. It will be told in a series of eddas, sagas, interludes, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. To follow the story as it appears, please subscribe to the series.
solarbird: (Default)

Alliances, it has been said, are at their weakest on the brink of defeat, and on the brink of victory. After defeating the China Sea omnium, the gods of Oasis offered their help to Russia, to defeat their own Siberian threat, and Russia accepted that offer - but made additional secret plans of their own.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Conflict
Interlude 2: Moments in Time and Space

solarbird and bzarcher

These are moments, nine of them, across space, and time.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Conflict is a continuance of The Arc of Ascension, The Arc of Creation, and The Armourer and the Living Weapon. It will be told in a series of eddas, sagas, interludes, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. To follow the story as it appears, please subscribe to the series.
solarbird: (tracer)

The new gods have risen, ready, at last, to grapple with a world of heroes. Moira O'Deorain herself has been reborn, now made one of the creations her previous self meant to rule, and she works with her wife - the goddess Mercy - and their ensemble of new deities to remake the world, to improve it... for everyone.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension
Fragment e13,5: you're right about that

solarbird and bzarcher

A vignette - Mei-Ling, and Lena; Mei-Ling, and Hanzo; Mei-Ling, and Snowball, and Jack Morrison, before, and after, becoming a goddesses of Oasis.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension is a continuance of Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Creation, a side-step sequel to The Armourer and the Living Weapon. It will be told in a series of eddas, sagas, interludes, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. To follow it as it appears, please subscribe to the series.

solarbird: (tracer)

The new gods have risen, ready, at last, to grapple with a world of heroes. Moira O'Deorain herself has been reborn, now made one of the creations her previous self meant to rule, and she works with her wife - the goddess Mercy - and their ensemble of new deities to remake the world, to improve it... for everyone.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension
Fragment s9,3: they all do, all the time

solarbird and bzarcher

After spending time at the new Ecopoint, Jack Morrison finally thinks he understands just how dangerous the new 'Gods' truly are. But can he make others understand before it's too late?

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension is a continuance of Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Creation, a side-step sequel to The Armourer and the Living Weapon. It will be told in a series of eddas, sagas, interludes, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. To follow it as it appears, please subscribe to the series.

solarbird: (Default)

The new gods have risen, ready, at last, to grapple with a world of heroes. Moira O'Deorain herself has been reborn, now made one of the creations her previous self meant to rule, and she works with her wife - the goddess Mercy - and their ensemble of new deities to remake the world, to improve it... for everyone.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension
Fragment s9,2: “I thought that was a joke.”

solarbird and bzarcher

As the new Ecopoint comes online, Angela Ziegler finds herself making a couple of unexpected discoveries.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension is a continuance of Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Creation, a side-step sequel to The Armourer and the Living Weapon. It will be told in a series of eddas, sagas, interludes, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. To follow it as it appears, please subscribe to the series.

solarbird: (tracer)

The new gods have risen, ready, at last, to grapple with a world of heroes. Moira O'Deorain herself has been reborn, now made one of the creations her previous self meant to rule, and she works with her wife - the goddess Mercy - and their ensemble of new deities to remake the world, to improve it... for everyone.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension
Saga 9: an unexpected break in the weather

solarbird and bzarcher

It's Mei-Ling Zhou's turn to receive an offer from the Gods in Oasis. But what will happen...

...if she says no?

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension is a continuance of Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Creation, a side-step sequel to The Armourer and the Living Weapon. It will be told in a series of eddas, sagas, interludes, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. To follow it as it appears, please subscribe to the series.

solarbird: (tracer)

The new gods have risen, ready, at last, to grapple with a world of heroes. Moira O'Deorain herself has been reborn, now made one of the creations her previous self meant to rule, and she works with her wife - the goddess Mercy - and their ensemble of new deities to remake the world, to improve it... for everyone.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension
Saga 8: The Odyssey (a novella, in three parts)

solarbird and bzarcher

Hana Song has been a gamer, a soldier, a hero, and an icon, and now she's become a Goddess, all for one goal: to defeat the Giant Omnic, and bring peace to Korea.

But what will D.Va do, if and when her war is over? And in the end... who is Hana Song?

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension is a continuance of Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Creation, a side-step sequel to The Armourer and the Living Weapon. It will be told in a series of eddas, sagas, interludes, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. To follow it as it appears, please subscribe to the series.

solarbird: (tracer)

The new gods have risen, ready, at last, to grapple with a world of heroes. Moira O'Deorain herself has been reborn, now made one of the creations her previous self meant to rule, and she works with her wife - the goddess Mercy - and their ensemble of new deities to remake the world, to improve it... for everyone.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension
Text s7,2: ::READOUT

solarbird and bzarcher

** interception is fragmentary **
** transcription is incomplete **

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension is a continuance of Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Creation, a side-step sequel to The Armourer and the Living Weapon. It will be told in a series of eddas, sagas, interludes, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. To follow it as it appears, please subscribe to the series.

solarbird: (Default)

The new gods have risen, ready, at last, to grapple with a world of heroes. Moira O'Deorain herself has been reborn, now made one of the creations her previous self meant to rule, and she works with her wife - the goddess Mercy - and their ensemble of new deities to remake the world, to improve it... for everyone.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension
Saga 7: Dancing Around the Table

solarbird and bzarcher

Korea hangs on the precipice of destruction, waiting for the next attack of the Giant Omnics created by the omnium in the China Sea. MEKA Lieutenant Hana Song, formerly of the reborn Overwatch, stands as one of their best and brightest hopes for a future free of fear. But when an old friend comes with an unbelievable offer, she has to ask herself how far she is willing to go, and who she is willing to trust.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension is a continuance of Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Creation, a side-step sequel to The Armourer and the Living Weapon. It will be told in a series of eddas, sagas, interludes, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. To follow it as it appears, please subscribe to the series.

solarbird: (Default)

The new gods have risen, ready, at last, to grapple with a world of heroes. Moira O'Deorain herself has been reborn, now made one of the creations her previous self meant to rule, and she works with her wife - the goddess Mercy - and their ensemble of new deities to remake the world, to improve it... for everyone.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension
Saga 6: A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall

solarbird and bzarcher

As Talon - or, now, really, Oasis - rebuilds itself from within, Overwatch, too, works to pick up its pieces, as winter ends, and summer approaches.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension is a continuance of Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Creation, a side-step sequel to The Armourer and the Living Weapon. It will be told in a series of eddas, sagas, interludes, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. To follow it as it appears, please subscribe to the series.

solarbird: (tracer)

The new gods have risen, ready, at last, to grapple with a world of heroes. Moira O'Deorain herself has been reborn, now made one of the creations her previous self meant to rule, and she works with her wife - the goddess Mercy - and their ensemble of new deities to remake the world, to improve it... for everyone.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension
Fragment i1,1: Power Play

solarbird and bzarcher

The gods of Oasis have launched their Concordat, offering promises of advanced medical technology, miracle treatments, sharing their advancements with the world. But as the remnants of Overwatch gather their allies to observe the proceedings, they are convinced these “gifts” must come at a hefty price.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Ascension is a continuance of Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Creation, a side-step sequel to The Armourer and the Living Weapon. It will be told in a series of eddas, sagas, interludes, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. To follow it as it appears, please subscribe to the series.

solarbird: (tracer)

Of Gods and Monsters
Saga 2: Brother, Have You Heard?
solarbirdy and bzarcher

Moira O’Deorain has won. Her rivals within Talon destroyed, her trio of loyal Weapons - the Changed and copper-eyed Tracer, the silver-eyed Oilliphéist, and golden-eyed Widowmaker - at her command, to remake the world.

The remnants of Overwatch, licking their wounds and mourning their lost friends, now seek to regroup, trying to figure out how to fight back in a war no one else realises is being fought - and what comes next in a world that may already be changing beneath their feet.


Of Gods and Monsters is a side-step/alternate-ending sequel to The Armourer and the Living Weapon, told in a series of eddas, sagas, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. Eddas and Sagas appear late Sunday/early Monday, fragments, texts, and standalone cantos appear Thursday and/or Friday. To follow the story as a whole, please subscribe to the series.

Because this is a co-authored work, I'm only posting links here.

solarbird: (tracer)

Yep, still working on Old Soldiers. It's really difficult to switch gears between the Oilliphéist and Venom/Fear of Spiders universes, it really is, but it's happening.

This chapter is worksafe. [AO3 link]


[All dialogue in «angle quotes» is translated from the Spanish. Amélie's thoughts are translated from the French.]

Amélie awoke, early. She often woke before Lena, regardless of where they were, but she didn't mind that. Usually, when it happened ahead of the alarm, she'd doze, and wait, so they could rise together. But sometimes, it there was time, she'd slip out, sneak over to the kitchen, make coffee and tea and get out cheeses and creams and preserves and the morning's good bread, delivered, and the scents would reach over, across, to their bedroom, and awaken her partner, and she'd stumble out, eyes still half-closed, usually remembering to put on a shirt, following the delicious smell of breakfast, and she'd say, "y'know what this needs? Bangers!" and she'd grab the sausages she'd bought a day or two before out of the refrigerator and get to work, and everything would be wonderful.

This was neither of those sorts of day.

The spider plucked at her web. What is it? she thought. It is... something. What?

She didn't really care all that very much about this mission. Morrison had been someone her husband knew, the person to whom Gabriel Reyes reported. They'd met, no doubt, at some function or other. But his time for shaking the world had passed, taking care of him - justice, of a sort, their way - was important to Lena, and so, she was willing to put Talon behind it. And finding herself thinking about that, she let her mind trace that strand further, further down, lower, into thinner, lesser strands - but strands nonetheless.

And she was very surprised to discover that for some reason she did not know, some reason she didn't understand, something had changed.

Jack Morrison, left to his own devices, was going to do something very bad indeed. And it had to be stopped, before anyone else even knew it could happen.

"How did you know?" she whispered, shifting up, and looking at her wife, sprawled across the bed, arms akimbo, hair even moreso. "How did you know before I did?"

Lena stirred just as the alarm rang the chimes of Big Ben. She blinked, groggily, looked up at her wife, and smiled. "G'morffin'," she managed, flopping over onto Amélie's legs.

The assassin smiled back at her partner, but there was a firmness to it. "Get up," she said, firmly, sliding out from underneath. "Something has happened. I must find out what. Suddenly, I think, this mission may be... important."

-----

Amélie pulled her helmet off, frustrated, frowning. Nothing, she thought. Nothing of interest, at least. No new news items, at least, nothing that affected this situation. No outbreaks of violence, of disease, no disappearances, no interesting thefts, not even any strange new conspiracy rumours reaching high enough to matter, not even to her...

Perhaps Sombra has had more luck, she thought, climbing out of her lotus position and off the bed. Or perhaps we can make it not matter. She pulled on the rest of her field kit, and walked into the safehouse's living room, where Sombra sat, intently, poking at virtual keyboards and screens, Lena and Angela keeping each other company, occasionally watching.

"Anything?"

"Nothing, araña - sorry." Sombra turned around, facing the spider. "If he's done something, it's too quiet even to make my ears. And I don't miss much."

"Gabe's almost here, though. I was about to talk to my old friend again, too. See what he thought about our little video."

"Good," Amélie nodded. "I'll make some coffee. Anyone else?"

Lena waved her off, holding up her mug of tea. Angela smiled, though, and said, "I would. I always liked your coffee."

"Sadly, this is not the best version," the assassin smiled back, fondly, "...but I will do what I can with what I have."

I've missed her more than I realised, she thought, as she walked into the kitchen, glancing over the cluster of information monitors Sombra had set up for her, but seeing nothing new. She pulled the pitcher of water and coarse coffee grounds from the small refrigerator, pulled out a filter, and drained the cold brew into a second pitcher, giving it a taste.

Much better, she thought, pouring two glasses half-full, adding milk, some sugar, and ice, and tasted. Yes. The beans are good. It is just a shame the water is so hard. Still, it will do.

She walked out in time to hear Sombra speaking in increasingly agitated Spanish with her friend in Los Muertos.

«What do you mean, he left?» she said, confused.

«He left! This morning! We'd watched your video and were trying to figure out how to get rid of him without getting ourselves all killed by whatever the hell that was, and he walked in and says he has an outside job, needs to take a couple of weeks to work on it.»

«Well... did he say anything about where he was going?»

«We weren't about to ask, we were just glad he was gone. We're gonna pick up and relocate before he comes back. You're gonna tell your friends in Talon about that, right?»

«Of course I am - and you're welcome.» She thought for a moment. I think he's telling the truth, but we'll have to check... «Did he say anything about where he was going?»

«No - just that he had to get training for some special mission. He wouldn't tell us what, or when, or where - he just made some joke about the animal at the heart of the animal? Which I kind of think probably worked better in English.»

Lena largely kept up, listening as the Spanish went by, and looked confused for just a moment before her eyes went wide, and she whispered, "No!" She looked up at Amélie, who looked confused by the metaphor.

"The animal - the beast. The beast at the heart of the beast," she whispered, as Sombra joked with her friend, trying to weasel out possible training locations without actually sounding like she wanted the data. "I think that means us, and I think... I think the beast means Winston."

Angela's eyes went wide as Amélie tested the idea and nodded, eyes half-closed to slits. It fits, she thought. "It is possible. We must send a warning."

"Embassy security's pretty good. I'm pretty sure he's safe as long as he stays in Geneva," Lena said, nodding, as Sombra told them to shut up, can't they tell she's talking to her friends? And the junior assassin waved everyone into the kitchen.

"I knew we should've just capped him from th' start," she said, closing the kitchen door behind her. "Could've avoided all this."

"I did not take this seriously enough," her wife acknowledged, adding another cube of ice to her coffee, and motioning to Angela if she wanted another herself.

The doctor frowned, not at the ice, but at the entire situation. "I do not speak Spanish, and did not catch enough of your English - what is going on?"

"Jack's bugged out, luv. He's headed off somewhere - don't know where, Sombra's workin' on that - t'get ready for some mission, and I think that mission is Winston."

"Winston?!" the doctor exclaimed. "Why? That makes no sense."

"'The beast at the heart of the beast' is what he told Los Muertos, yah? Given what we know about his obsessions, I'm pretty sure we're the beast. Which means the beast at the heart of it is Widowmaker..."

"Let him try," she sneered.

Venom giggled, briefly, before getting serious again, "...or Winston, if y'want the 'joke' t'make any sense, right?"

Angela sipped at her coffee - quite good, still - and thought. "Ana thinks," the temporary Talon field medic said, "...that she knows 'everyone' you are. Given what she said in person, we can assume that means Talon. She also said that I'm involved. Which means she thinks I am involved with Talon..."

"Not wrong, now. Ironic, innit?"

"Quiet, I'm thinking..." she said, not wanting to think about that too closely, "...and if Ana thinks that, then... what? She thinks I am your... contact? Your superior?"

"...her creator, perhaps? Perhaps also mine." Amélie sipped her coffee, still thinking, as the other two women looked at her, surprised, and she shrugged. "That ludicrous set of documents from the investigation - if Overwatch and Blackwatch actually believed the official story about my 'abduction' and 'conditioning' to be who I am..."

"You're thinkin' that all came from her?" asked Lena, half a smile on her face.

"No. But if she went to Jack, after sending that letter to Fareeha..."

"...it could've come from him," Venom nodded. "Yeh. He signed off on both reports..."

"And he's latched onto Winston, because, because..." The doctor stood up very straight, very tall. "Because of your accelerator! Of course! It couldn't just be me, because I am a medical doctor, not a physicist - it would have to be Winston!"

"It almost makes sense," the Widowmaker said, "in an oddly... detached-from-reality sort of way."

"We need to get Gabe in on this," Lena said, shaking her head. "He knew Jack best, before. And that Los Muertos fighter, Delgado. She might know something. She said he talks in his sleep."

"It means bringing her in on this side of the fence," Angela frowned. "Please do not do that."

"He can talk t'her, we can talk t'him. He should still be an hour out of customs, we should try t'raise him. I'll do it."

The door opened, and Sombra walked in, her expression a combination of bemusement and outright disbelief. "You guys aren't going to believe what I think is going on."

"Yeah?" Venom grinned, happy to have an even better reason to kill Jack Morrison. "Wait'll you hear our version. But g'wan, luv - you first."

-----

"How...?"

Ana Amari looked around the pocket valley not too far outside Jalpan De Serra, a hidden spot deep in the nature reserve. Under a canopy of forest, a small, single-storey house sat in good order. But the interesting parts were around it - the cleared, low-level training camp hidden from overhead view, boxed off in most directions by steep slopes and cliffs.

"Pretty sure it was originally cleared during the war," Morrison replied. "Local resistance against the Omnics. Deep cover. Well hidden. People stay away - bad memories, I guess." He chuckled, a little. "I try to encourage that."

He pointed with his rifle over towards a particularly green patch. "Latrines used to be over there, I think. Found a bunch of old tent stakes, too. Probably didn't want anything too permanent, so they'd just tent up and go."

"Either that, or it was a campground," she smirked. "So this is where you go to hide."

"Hide, or think, or train, Ana. Different things, but it's a good place for all three." He gestured towards the house. "C'mon inside. It's comfortable - I've got a combination of solar and geothermal, and there's an uplink towards the top of the cliff. I figure we'll want to get to San Jose a week before Winston arrives, and until then, we should just lay low, and plan."

I don't like it, Ana thought. It is too steep, and the cliffs are too close. "A hidey-hole is also a trap, Jack. You know that."

"Nobody else in the world knows I know about this place, Ana. Not anymore. If there's any safe place in the Western hemisphere..." He opened the door, and threw his knapsack onto the couch against the far wall of the small living room. "...this is it."

solarbird: (Default)

Of Gods and Monsters
Fragment s1,1: Early March, 2077
solarbird and bzarcher

Overwatch now know that Fareeha Amari has been taken, as well - apparently by her wife, Angela, presumably to be remade. The ease with which it was accomplished - a mere three Weapons routing three hundred Helix Security trainees and instructors - has prompted a change in strategy. And as the last Overwatch presence at Watchpoint Gibraltar is finally wound down, Jack "Soldier 76" Morrison sends a warning - and some key video - to two trusted confidants.


Of Gods and Monsters is a side-step/alternate-ending sequel to The Armourer and the Living Weapon, told in a series of eddas, sagas, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. Eddas and Sagas appear late Sunday/early Monday, fragments, texts, and standalone cantos appear Thursday and/or Friday. To follow the story as a whole, please subscribe to the series.

Because this is a co-authored work, I'm only posting links here.

solarbird: (Default)

Of Gods and Monsters
Saga 1: Winter Kills
solarbird and bzarcher

Overwatch - and Fareeha Amari - have discovered that the missing Angela Ziegler is alive, but not necessarily well, not necessarily herself, at least, not the herself they knew, and Fareeha Amari will take whatever steps are necessary to get her back. But what she and Overwatch both do not know is...

...Angela feels exactly the same way.


Of Gods and Monsters is a side-step/alternate-ending sequel to The Armourer and the Living Weapon, told in a series of eddas, sagas, fragments, texts, and cantos, all of which serve their individual purposes. Eddas and Sagas appear late Sunday/early Monday, fragments, texts, and standalone cantos appear Thursday and/or Friday. To follow the story as a whole, please subscribe to the series.

Because this is a co-authored work, I'm only posting links here.

solarbird: (tracer)

Hey, look what I haven't forgot! (Tho' it did take a while because I kind of wished I hadn't had Morrison say something in a previous chapter... it took me forever to figure out what it meant and how to make it work without a retcon.)

This chapter is worksafe. [AO3 link]


[All text in «angle quotes» translated from the Spanish.]

Laticia Delgado strapped herself in to one of the Orca's passenger chairs as Gabriel sat beside her, not strapping himself in. She looked at him, confused, and he smiled. «It's a soft launch. Strap in if you want, but it's going to be a long ride and I'm not sitting here the whole time.»

«Oh,» she said, pulling on the shoulder belts. «Don't you always strap in for takeoffs and landings?»

«On civilian flights, sure.» He shrugged. «You know what, it's never a bad idea.» And he strapped himself in, too. "Athena, we're ready whenever you are."

"Thank you, Strike Commander. Departing."

«How long a ride is this?»

«Don't want to attract attention, so we're flying commercial speeds along a standard route. It'll be a good 14 hours.»

«Huh,» she said, disappointed. «I thought Overwatch would have something, I dunno, more... sciencey?»

«We could get there in under an hour if we went suborbital. But Jesus Mary and Joseph, those Sparrowhawk flights are noisy and uncomfortable. And expensive. And they attract a lot of attention. But mostly... ever pulled four Gs before?»

«Pulled four... oh!» She sat up, excited by the idea. «No. Is it fun?»

Gabe grinned at the Los Muertos street fighter, surprised. «Honestly...? Yeah. It's kind of fun. But if you aren't trained up, it'll knock you unconscious, and I don't want to have to deal with an unconscious passenger if we end up going through customs.»

«Too bad,» she said, slumping back down a little. «Probably never get another chance at something like that.»

«You know it'd probably knock you out and you'd still want to try it?»

«Yeah!» she boasted. «Not many people get to do anything like that, Angelino. I'd do it in a heartbeat!»

Reyes snorted, a little, in friendly way, and as the Orca reached cruising altitude. I keep underestimating you, he thought. I wonder if... and he shook his head, and took off his seat belts. «Well, we have fourteen hours, and I brought some games, and some movies. Also, snacks, and breakfast, for later. What'd you like first?»

-----

"All packed up?" Venom grinned at the doctor, the field medic, Angela Ziegler, all fences mended as far as she was concerned, her beloved spider having received her first supply of nanobots the day before yesterday, laying the foundation for more. Unlike Fareeha, it was in a more professional setting, and unlike anyone else, it was being staged, insuring compatibility with her unique physiology.

"Yes, I am quite ready" the doctor said. "I did, after all, pack lightly."

"Anything fragile nice and sorted away?"

"Yes, I followed your instructions carefully."

"Been to the W.C.?"

"Just now."

"Great. Let's get this thing moving, then!"

Lacroix and a second woman greeted them at the door at the top of the stairs, transport ready, outside. Ziegler stood expectantly, looking at the person she presumed to be the pilot.

"You... want something?" van Vliet said, confused.

"I... presumed I would be blindfolded," the doctor replied.

Clara shrugged, and glanced over to Amélie. "Is this another one of your..."

"No, Clara, she is not," she said, with a slight smug smile. "And a blindfold seems unnecessary." She opened the door to the path, and to the small transport, almost invisible except for the pad lights, black body lost against the 4am sky.

Onboard, van Vliet stowed Dr. Ziegler's luggage and then went to the flight deck, as Widowmaker handed out fake passports. "These are already stamped with dates of entry. Sombra will add them to Mexican border control's systems once we're safely down. But show them to no one, if you can avoid it."

"Course not, luv," Lena said, smirking at "Linda Oxford"'s information, memorising it, quickly.

"I know you know," her wife replied. "But..."

"...what kind of name is 'Angelica Steenbakker'? Why have you saddled me with that monstrosity? It is terrible! And the picture is worse."

"It is a photograph that will, I hope, remind you not to use it," the blue assassin said, and her wife laughed.

"Everyone ready?" Clara called from the front cabin, as Tracer put on her headphones, motioning to Angela to do the same.

Angela smirked back at her. "It is hardly the first time I have been in a military transport, and you know it."

Widowmaker checked everyone, sat down, strapped in, and pulled her helmet's microphone into place. "Passengers and payload secure. You may launch."

"How long a flight is this going to" the doctor said, as the transport shot forward, then up, pulling just under 4Gs.

Oh my, she thought, feeling a bit fuzzy around the edges. It's been a while since I've been on one of these... I'd forgot how... She felt her brain start to fuzz, jut a little, before her nanites intercepted the problem, solving it. She turned her head, as best she could, looking over to Widowmaker, placidly sitting down the row from her, unperturbed, as if between stops on the metro.

"Amélie, do you feel all right?" she asked, with a bit of effort. "Are you feeling any unanticipated effects?"

"I am built for this," she replied. "But I admit... it does feel easier than usual."

"I'm good - thanks for askin'!" Venom interjected, between them, and Widowmaker reached over, and bopped her forehead with one fingernail. "Ow! Careful, love, four Gs!"

"Were I not careful, you would not be conscious, ma petite agace."

"That's funny, normally y'don't like me quiet," she said, leaning over a bit, as if to bite her wife's shoulder.

"Clara," Angela asked, over comms, in German, "are they always like this on missions together?"

"Yes," van Vliet replied, also in German. "You had better get used to it now. They will not stop."

The doctor chortled. "Thank you. I will try."

"It took me months."

"I understand completely."

-----

"It's the only thing left that makes any sense," Morrison said. "It has to be him."

Ana thought her way through the timeline again. It could work... but it requires a lot of very large leaps.

"Who else could've brought in exotic matter? It had to have come from the moon." He gestured with his hands, one by his face, open, the other, in front of his chest, a fist. "You can't generate it on Earth, not safely, not in any quantity, or more countries would've done it by now. He caused the Slipstream failure, to create her, and he brought her back from it, him and Ziegler, when he was ready. He used them both to get back down planetside. This time, of course, with diplomatic immunity - and, no doubt, more exotic matter."

He shook his head, a grim smirk on his face. "If it wasn't so diabolical, it'd be genius."

"He and Angela stayed in contact, doing joint research, while he was exiled, didn't they?" She flipped through parts of her own research, confirming. "And if Angela is Venom's controller," she said, "and his primary contact on Earth, while he was in exile..." She thought, harder. "I remember Lena - the real Lena - as a good woman. She would never have done this willingly. So ... Ziegler took control of Lena... how? Using the same technologies she developed in making Widowmaker?"

"No doubt. Lacroix was probably the testbed."

"And that initial meeting in London was probably some sort of... check, to see that her control systems were still functioning."

"Exactly. See how it all fits together?"

"Loosely, at best," she said. "It's just possible, given what we know. But we'd never be able to prove it."

"I agree. Not without a confession. But I think - I think if he was out of the way, no longer directing everything, Ziegler might be pressured enough spill the beans. And once she broke, we could get it all out in sun. Blow the whole thing wide open. Maybe - maybe - even make her put your daughter back together, if it's still possible."

Ana's anger flared, and she tamped it back down. "If there is any chance for that, we must take it."

"Of course. The question is - how? We'll never be ready to launch an assault on Geneva - no matter how much I train up Los Muertos, they're still a regional gang. Even if I picked a few of the best - if Delgado hadn't been captured - a commando assault would be suicidal."

"If we see her again, we'd probably better assume she's being... controlled the same way."

The soldier's face fell. Damn. She's right. That's one more debt to be repaid. "Maybe. I have no idea how long the process takes."

Ana thought on the news briefing she'd read that morning, eyes darting up. "Jack... Winston's going to be in Northern California next month."

"What?"

"You should pay more attention to the news," she chided, pulling the article up on her padd. "'Lunar Ambassador Winston to visit Stanford.' He's getting an honourary physics doctorate. If we could somehow get ahold of his travel plans, and better yet, his security arrangements..."

Morrison grinned, fiercely. "Then we'd have a shot at the literal heart of the," he chuckled, "of the literal beast. Great catch, Ana. Let's see if we can reel it in."

-----

"That did not take long at all," Angela said, rising from her seat, almost six hours earlier, by the clock, than she'd left the Mediterranean Sea. "Gabriel will not make Tampico for at least another twelve hours."

"Life's easier when y'don't have t'give a fuck about customs," Lena said, grinning. "This direction's easier - makes leavin' so late worthwhile. Goin' back's not so much fun." She stretched, and yawned.

"Indeed," the Widowmaker agreed, as van Vliet opened the hatch just in time to see Sombra came walking up from the little Tamaulipas safehouse to meet their flyer.

"Hola, amigas!" she called, waving. "'Bout time you got here."

Widowmaker waved back, and checked the time on her grapple. "It is just after 10pm, locally. We have melatonin tablets inside; I suggest that we all use them to get a good night's sleep. We should all be well rested before we begin."

February 2019

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