solarbird: (widow)

This chapter is worksafe, but somewhat violent. [AO3 link]


"Well, that's the funny thing, Ana," the assassin told the enraged woman in front of her. "We have you? But we don't actually want you."

Most of the two parties had spread out, in the woods and brush, in separate sectors, looking for any sign of Morrison. Venom had weighed the odds carefully, decided this would be giving Laticia her chance, and stayed back at the house, with Angela, to interrogate their prisoner.

The oldest sniper spat, glaring at the young woman who had once been a test pilot, then the so-called "Hero of London," and a Talon sniper, and then... "So who have they made out of you today, pilot? Is there even a 'you' in there, anymore?"

Lena frowned, and growled a little. "Look, Captain, would you bloody get off it? You can't be as crazy as Jack - though I have to admit, that mail you sent makes me think you've come pretty close."

"That mail I sent...?"

"To Ree. Pretty nasty, I have t'say. But at least it got her off th' pot."

"Ah." Ana wondered, for a moment, what that last sentence meant, before carrying on. "So. You intercepted it, then? Or did she hand it to your controller, there?"

Amari glared over at Angela, in her Devil field kit. One of Lucifer's abilities is to heal, she thought. I will grant that it is clever. "I presume you're doing the same thing to my daughter that you've done to whoever this poor woman used to be, and to Amélie, before that."

Angela's face passed through a series of expressions, from confusion, to brief amusement, to anger, as she realised her mother-in-law was serious.

"You think... that I..."

Ana grimaced. "The suit is fitting. How long have you had it? Since you founded Talon? Was the angel always a joke at our expense?"

"Wow," Venom said, laughing, "you are gone." Then she frowned. "But this isn't my interrogation, Cap - or hers. It's yours."

She hunched down in front of the chair holding the senior Amari. "We know what you saw, thanks to that mail, and we've wiped the video off your rifle. But we're not stupid, and neither are you. You've got a backup, somewhere."

She didn't mention that a copy had already been sent off, to be edited, just so. The first fake version would appear on an Overwatch conspiracy theory site in two hours, from a regular on the board generally believed to be living somewhere in the Philippines, though some suspected they were really in Curaçao. Both groups, naturally, were wrong.

The former Strike Commander's former XO merely glared, and did not deign to reply.

"All we want to know is where the backups are. We're not unreasonable people, luv. You can be whatever kind of crazy old conspiracy nutter you want - we just want that video. Convince us all the copies are gone, and we'll let you walk away."

"So generous of you," she spat. "Give you the one piece of evidence I have that you care about - the one piece of power I have over you - and if I don't, you will... what? Kill me? You will kill me once you have it."

"Rather not, t'be honest. Kill you, I mean."

"I find that difficult to believe. Aren't you Talon's greatest assassin?"

"Flatterer. But that's my wife." She smirked. "Honestly, mate, it's all the same to me. You're part of the same rot who broke the original Overwatch. You're the ones who got my friends killed - who got Reinhardt killed" - Venom noticed as Ana blanched, a little, at that - "and who left me out to die in the Slipstream."

"So you... remember that much."

"Balls! 'Course I do. Why wouldn't I? I remember all of it. 'S far as I'm concerned, we'd be better off without any of you hanging around, still trying t'find ways to screw things up."

"Then why don't you just kill me? Afraid I have some sort of deadman's switch on the video?"

Venom nodded. "It's a possibility. But mostly, that's not it. Mostly, I just don't want to make Fareeha sad."

"What?"

"Straight up," the assassin replied. "That's the real reason."

"...why do you care?"

"Because she's bloody great, that's why."

Lena stood up, walked over, and opened the fridge, finally finding that sangría señorial she'd been wanting for two days, and grinned, opening it, taking a sip.

"Must be from her pop. 'Cause it sure as hell didn't come from you."

-----

They'd sedated Ana and put her in the small hut's only bedroom, safely away from prying eyes, when she wouldn't talk.

"So, Angela," Amélie asked. "What happened?"

Angela looked at her little projector, all systems functioning perfectly - or so its diagnostics claimed.

"I do not know. It should be working. It should have kept him from being able to ghost, it should have locked the nanites of his swarm into their state, and..."

The two women looked at each other, realising, both, at the same time.

"...he ghosted first," Amélie said, eyes wide.

"...of course! He can't come back," Angela said, astonished. "He's, he's, he must be locked in that form? Is it possible? Yes. It could be. He, he... could be still ghosted, now. Just... moreso. More, more, dispersed, and possibly even still dispersing. There are failsafes, but..."

"Can he survive that?"

"I have no idea how he survives any of it! I certainly have no idea for how long."

"And if we turn this off..."

"...he could pop back right in front of us. Or, if he moves out of range, he could fall back together on his own. At any time."

"How far is that range?"

"Perhaps... 450 metres. 500 at the very most."

The spider picked up her rifle. "Let's get everyone warned."

"Yes," the Devil said, wholly in agreement. "Let's."

-----

"We have to presume," the Widowmaker said, "that he could be here, right now. This very moment. Presumably aware of us, presumably able to control his position, as he appears able, when normally ghosted - we have no way of knowing."

The Talon team had kept the cabin, Ana still bound and sedated in the bedroom; Overwatch, the southeastern ridge, out of sight, but along the easiest escape route.

"When we deactivate the field generator, he could appear in the middle of either team, or nowhere visible at all - or not even appear. He may even not have survived this; Teufel says she cannot know, but given everything else, that we must assume he did, and that he could attempt to absorb anyone nearby as soon as he attempts to materalise, before the field can be re-established. We must all be ready to attack on sight."

She let that sink in, for a moment.

"Is everyone in position?"

Sombra nodded, her scanners set and machine gun out; Angela nodded, her staff at the ready, hand on the field generator's control pad; Venom nodded, pistols and bomb readied, watching the perimeter. On the ridge, Laticia nodded, once, and last of all, Gabriel responded, "We're ready to go."

Angela swallowed, and tested her resolve, and found it... firm enough.

"Deactivating field," she said, "in five... four... three... two..."

"...one."

solarbird: (Default)

This story...

...is back on a schedule.

I have a complete draft. All the missing pieces finally fell into my head this past weekend, and filled in all the gaps, and I wrote them, and boy are my arms tired. No, really, I'm taking anti-inflammatories today. But it's fine, because 30 chapters of 30 written, this work is complete pending revision on my side, and we are back on a publishing schedule.

I'm really surprised by this too, and really, really pleased.


Chapter 26: highly experimental work

or, "damn chupacabras getting into everything"

This chapter is worksafe, but somewhat violent. [AO3 link]


"I don't get their whole dynamic," Sombra said, watching the site through one of the multiband cameras she'd left behind, hidden. "Not from what you've told me. She's apparently been trying to kill him since that old Overwatch HQ blew up, and now they're best buds again, all at once?"

Gabriel managed a tiny bit of a laugh, over comms. He worried that this was not enough distance - the fiction of separation became awfully small, this close to a shared target. But, well, here we are. "She's always been a bit ruthless."

"That's pretty damn ruthless, amigo. And that's coming from me. I have done some shit."

"She has!" Lena agreed.

Laticia sat, with Gabe, listening to the voices - disguised on her and Gabe's end, not maybe not enough. She... the way she talks... who did you used to be, chica?

"It's an asset," Reyes said, "in the military. At least, to a point. You do what has to be done to accomplish the mission."

"I guess I'm not very military, then," the hacker replied.

"You're right, though," Gabe continued. "She has to have some sort of plan here. Any guesses what it might be, team?"

"Maybe.. she's going to ground? And trying to talk Jack into going along?" Angela hoped, on the far side, as Widowmaker shook her head, dismissing the notion.

"No," Gabriel nodded his head, from his side of the canyon, unseen. "She's always had contingency plans." He snorted. "You should've seen her this one time in Italy - little part of Venice called Rialto. We were holed up in this restaurant, waiting for extraction, with damn near every omnic trooper in the world coming down on us us..."

Is that the same Rialto that Jesse's talked about? the hacker desperately wanted to know, but would not ask. "What'd she do?"

"Noticed the kitchen was propane and turned the entire building into a giant shaped charge, aimed right at the primary force. Saved us all."

He paused, letting the moment sit.

"She wasn't always like this. Neither of them were. It's been a while but... we were friends, once. Real friends."

"You're really hoping you can talk her down, aren't you?"

"Of course," he admitted. "If I can. Jack..."

"Nope," Venom said, flatly.

"I know that, Venom," Gabriel said. "I get it. As I said, Jack, by contrast, is a clear and present danger, and... we're going along with doing it your way. It's not my first time in the field."

"Y'know," the hacker said, "If we can't get her to cough up all the copies of the video..."

Attention in both vehicles turned to Sombra's voice. "Go on," Amélie urged.

"What if we just... hold her for a while. Get the best copy from her we can, and start dumping altered versions on conspiracy theory sites."

"You know some good ones?" Laticia asked, poking.

"I know all the good ones," Sombra shot back, and Laticia smiled, a suspicion supported.

Sombra hopped up, out of her seat in the back of the transport, and started pacing back and forth in the low-ceilinged space, thinking about the video, her footsteps audible on the link. "The videos, though, right? It's not that she has 'em, it's that they're real. So we make 'em fake. Bad. Like, really bad. And some of 'em good. Maybe the first one. Make one of 'em what actually happened, but with Tracer edited out first and then edited back in, with, maybe, slightly fucked up lighting, and some paste effects you don't notice until you get in close. Looks real, at first, but then doesn't, when checked. Underlay somebody else under Tracer, then put Tracer back on top, leaving a little fringe."

"Dirty the water," Gabe muttered, thinking.

"Yeah, amigo, exactly, right? No, better. Change the question. Get them going, 'this isn't really Tracer, so who is it really - and who's behind it?'"

"Oh," Gabe said, a smile in his voice. "I like that."

"Then maybe some meme versions, right? Making fun of the original. Have Tracer turn into an omnic, or into that gamer from Korea, or Bowser, or," she laughed, "or a chibi version of your friend, Winston. Something like that."

Lena laughed and laughed and laughed. "Seriously?"

"Absolutely!" Sombra said, getting excited by her own idea. "By the time the real one comes out - if it ever does - our fake version of the real one will have been out so long that nobody will give it a second glance! It's just another refinement, you know?"

"I knew there was a reason I kept you around," the Widowmaker said, a small grin across her face.

"Old-style psyop, straight up. Active measures, they used to call it, back before the Omnic Crisis," Gabriel mused, calculating, trying to weigh against his own confirmation bias, wanting so much for it to be enough. "...it could work."

"We should check in with, uh," Venom said, not finishing the sentence. "You know. See what they think. Get their buy-off, 'cause we'd need them to, you know."

Amélie hummed her agreement. "I think I agree. Yes. Venom, that will be for you."

Lena groaned a little at the thought of having to call Overwatch, but couldn't deny her wife was correct. "Mind you," she said, carrying on, "we need t'get them apart before we can do anything." The younger assassin looked back to her drawings of the layout. "Got t'get an original of that video."

"Peel Ana off from Jack. Yeah." Gabriel acknowledged the point. "Tricky, though. If you wound him, and the doc's suppressor field isn't effective - no offense, Teufel -"

"None taken," the Swiss German said, waving off his worry of insult. "It is still highly experimental work."

"...he might... absorb her."

"Or, he may do something more conventional, but still particularly rash," Widowmaker added. "Or she might. It is difficult to tell."

"Gabe and I found a bunch of proximity alarms," Delgado reminded the teams. "Most of 'em were dead, like the ones you found. Maybe we trip one, maybe he comes out by himself, or she does, to check it."

"And either way, then we grab 'er, that what you're saying?" Venom asked. "And the other party goes after whoever doesn't come out."

"Seemed like worth a try," Laticia said, a little defensively. "I mean, she's a sniper..."

"It's not a bad thought, luv. I like it." She grinned to herself. "And, depending on how th' dice roll, we might both get a shot."

-----

"I heard it," Jack grumbled from the couch, resting after working out. He really needed to get to those outer alarms. He knew local wildlife had tripped half of them - that every alert had just been one more false positive - but the situation had become more serious, now. "Probably another chupacabra. Every time one of those alarms gets triggered it's some damn animal or another."

"Perhaps," Ana said, frowning, dismayed a little at his casualness. "But I will check."

"No," the soldier said, rousing himself out of his torpor, feeling more out of joint than ever. Usually, workouts helped, but not as much today. "No. You cover me, while I go out." He shook himself out, trying to rally himself, physically. It worked, to a degree. "And... when I ghost... don't freak."

That much, at least, is wise, she thought, as she picked up her rifle, got into position, and nodded.

In the trees surrounding the small cabin, Venom sat, watching. "He's comin' out," she said, with a predatory grin, "and he's alone. Checking the door..."

"They are rightly suspicious," Widowmaker added. "Ana is..." She activated her helmet. "She is covering him, from inside. Do not underestimate her, even now."

"I've seen her shoot," Laticia chimed in. "I won't."

"Shit," Gabe said, "he's ghosted." They'd let the field generator untriggered, not wanting to tip Jack off, Angela and Venom both suspecting he could feel its effects. "Teufel, hit the trap!"

"Activated," Angela replied. "Is he..."

"Fuck!" Lacitica said. "Where'd he go? I saw him, I saw his cloud, then.... where the hell did he..."

"I do not have him in my sights," Widowmaker growled, frustrated. "How? How could he...?"

"I'm goin' in," Venom spat, through clenched teeth. "He's somewhere, but he's not here. We get Ana, maybe he comes back for her."

"Go. I have her in my sights - let us make sure she knows."

The single shot smashed the window, the bullet deflected as she'd anticipated, missing the Egyptian sniper. As the older woman spun to track back the shot and respond with one of her own, Venom teleported behind her, and with one blow, knocked her to the ground, dazed but not out. Ana's hand dove into her cloak for her knockout pistol, and the Talon assassin grabbed it as she did, the two wrestling, briefly, before the gun fired, once, into the wall, and a second time, into the Egyptian woman's shoulder.

"Sorry, mum," Lena said smirking, as the older woman's consciousness faded. "Not this time."

-----

Jack Morrison floated, sightless, enraged, a diffuse mass, spreading, uncontrolled.

He'd felt himself scatter, when the trap triggered. He'd felt himself fly apart, the thinnest mist, held together for now, barely, buffeted by the breeze - how, he didn't know.

But he could hear. Vibrations in the air also vibrated what was left of him, and somehow, whatever network held him together, that still - barely - let him still think, also let him understand sound. He heard the Widowmaker's shot; he heard the glass shatter; he heard the sound of Venom teleporting, he heard a scuffle, he heard two shots, and he heard Ana fall, unknowing what it all meant.

And then, as he drifted away, he heard Venom's shout.

"Y'STILL OUT THERE, Y'MONSTROUS FUCK? WE'VE GOT 'ER, NOW."

"YOU WANT 'ER BACK?"

"COME GET HER!"

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
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: (tracer)
The renegade Jack Morrison has bolted, with Ana Amari, to a hidey-hole he thinks no one knows about. Laticia Delgado thinks he's wrong - but wants something in return for her knowledge.

This chapter is worksafe. [AO3 link]

"He's gone?"

Laticia Delgado frowned as Gabe nodded.

"Surprised?"

"A little. I... it's..." She scratched at her head, concentration clear on her face. "He always acted like he was going to be... like he wanted to make us into something. I didn't think he'd just ... bolt, like that."

"He was always good at building a team," the former Blackwatch commander agreed. "Maybe he hoped to build one with you?"

"Maybe," she granted. "He..." She looked down, to her left. "He had a way of making you feel like... he was in charge, sure, but that he cared. That he'd take care of you." She looked back up. "But he was never one of us, you know? He..." She grunted, frustrated. "He always stood back, a bit. I thought it was just being a commander, yeh?"

"Some of it's exactly that," he confirmed. "You have to keep some distance."

"I know, but..." She stopped, and shook her head, clearly conflicted. "I kind of... liked him. But he... but then..."

"But then, Araceli."

"Yeah," she muttered. "Then that."

"Not having second thoughts, are you?" The old soldier gave her a sympathetic look. "You don't have to be there. Our friends can take care of this. They have," he chuckled, a bit grimly, "...experience."

She shook her head. "No. I'm just..." She set her expression and hunched her neck a little. "I guess I'm glad he's run. I mean, he's... away from my gang now. He's away from my friends. We can take him down and it's..." She stood up, suddenly, pacing. "They're good. They've, we've got ourselves out of all kinds of scrapes. And they can take care of themselves, believe me. But..."

She thought of Araceli's face melting, dissolving, into the monster that was Jack Morrison.

"...not against somebody like this. With them out of the picture... I know they aren't gonna get hurt now, you know? I might, but they..." A scowl crossed her face, and she stopped pacing. "This is out of their league."

Gabriel Reyes gave her a considering look. "Yeah," he said. "It is."

"It's out of my league, too. Isn't it."

"A week ago, I'd've said yes," he granted. "Now... honestly, I'm not so sure." He leaned back on the bench, with more than half a grin. "I like the way you think, kid, you know that?"

Laticia Delgado snorted. "I'm not a kid."

He raised an eyebrow - "When you're as old as I am, everybody's a kid" - and checked his watch. "They're gonna call us, soon. Brainstorm, try to figure out where he might've gone. I'm supposed to keep some distance between you and them, but I could push back if you want in on this."

She looked back and forth, a little, as she thought.

"Yeah," she said. "Push back. I might have some ideas."

-----


"Amélie?"

Widowmaker turned to the doctor, and gave her a little bit of a smile, perhaps a little bit more than she meant to, or thought she would, particularly given that not the slightest bit of it was anything less than entirely genuine. "Yes, Angela?"

"Do you have a moment?"

"For you?" The assassin gestured to another seat in the small room she and Lena had taken up as a remote office. "Of course."

"Thank you," Angela replied, as she closed the door behind her and sat down.

"Have you and Sombra had any breakthroughs in determining how to find and destroy that unfortunate video of the Captain's?"

"A little," the Swiss woman replied. "Now that I've given her better images of Ana, she's able to search more effectively for any sightings. But..."

She frowned.

"Have you considered how we got here?"

"I consider everything," the assassin answered, a you-know-better smirk on her lips.

"Of course. And I know that - if you're right - this has become important, now. But..."

"But... it didn't have to be?"

Angela hesitated, and then frowned her agreement, looking down, looking up, nodding at nothing in particular. "If... if Gabriel hadn't brought in that photo, if Lena had... just left Jack alone... none of this... none of this had to happen, did it?"

The spider smirked, but there was fondness in it. "If everything was completely different, then everything would be completely different, I think you are asking, no?"

"No," Angela replied, sharply, reconsidering it even as she did. "But... fine. Perhaps. But it's still true. Jack could've still been dead, as far as the world knew. Ana, as well. Eventually, he would've actually died - what he is would not prevent that, I don't think. Honestly, I am astounded he is still alive. The mice and rats did not last very long, but... well. He is human, and I cannot be sure of everything, regardless."

"I see," Amélie said. How... interesting, she thought. Perhaps that would solve our problem, eventually. But he'll last long enough, despite that.

Angela plowed ahead, heedless of Amélie's thoughts. "Instead, the Overwatch project is endangered almost as soon as it's been reborn. Jack has almost killed Lena in view of Ana, who almost certainly recorded both that and her revival, and might expose Talon and Overwatch both, and has... what she said to Fareeha, it is unforgivable, and..."

"And Lena is entirely willing to kill both of them, and eager to kill one, and you don't like thinking of her as being... like that. Like me."

"I..." The doctor sighed, and closed her eyes. "I... do not. I do not deny what she is - what you are. And I've never denied that I have also been a soldier, of sorts."

"It is not the same," the assassin stated, knowing it was not.

"It isn't. I like to... play one, with Fareeha. I joke about the Swiss military, and how we are all trained - and we are - but... now, we are here, and almost ready to move, and..."

"I understand, I think." Améliie gave her a thoughtful look, and leaned back, a bit, in her chair. "I can't tell you if he would never have begun to matter, eventually, even had none of this had happened. But..." She allowed herself a little bit of a laugh. "How many people would Jack have... absorbed... keeping himself alive, until he died? How many would he kill, or would Ana kill, trying to kill him?"

"We can't know."

"Similarly, we cannot know this. We cannot know how it would've gone, had Gabriel, and Lena, done nothing."

The doctor frowned. It seemed valid to her, but...

"And most of all, as far as I'm concerned - had none of this happened, would Fareeha have accepted your gift? Would I have received mine?"

Mercy shuddered, and closed her eyes. "...I know."

Ah, the spider smiled. There it is. She stood up from her small desk, walked around it, and knelt beside her friend, and, once, a little more. "Angela?"

The doctor looked up, eyes open, again.

"You do not need to feel guilty that you have benefited from this."

"But I do. I'm... all this has..." Angela shuddered again. She was so happy about everything Amélie mentioned, but the reasons, the why it had happened... it hurt. "It all hinges on killing - on assassinating - someone, Amélie. Someone who... used to be a friend, even if he has become something else. It's not what I am. But... Lena, and... you..."

"It depends upon assassinating someone - stopping someone, permanently - who has killed hundreds. Many, many people would consider it no less than overdue justice. You seemed to agree with that, back in... back at our previous stop."

"I did. I thought. As... as far as it goes. As long as we can spare Ana. But even if it's just him, I can't look away from what I'm doing. I won't."

"Knowing what Jack is, can you live with there being only one way, really, to stop him? Can you not live, after all, with that? Does benefitting from it make it so much worse?"

"It's hard. Everything I've ever done has been about stopping death, not about... dealing it."

"I know. But you will save lives, by helping us end his."

"That's different than... perhaps it is hypocritical of me," the doctor granted, "but it is different to helping do it."

"And yet, you were a field medic for Overwatch."

"And not for Blackwatch. Ever. That was why."

I see, Amélie thought. So she did draw that line, before. At least, insofar as she knew.

She reached over, and took Angela's hands in her own. "I wish," she said, after a moment's hesitation, "I wish... our world was more... compatible, with your ideals. I wish the lines could always be so clean. That my art, and Lena's art, were not so necessary."

Angela managed a sad little smile. Somehow, she thought, that helps. "Thank you. So do I."

"It is nothing. Talon is... pragmatic, in our own way. Gérard and I were even more so, which is why I know he would've understood what I did." She sighed. "This is the world we have, and we do what we think we must, for the best. But that doesn't mean I can't admit... sometimes, I wish, perhaps... that it wasn't."

"Even though... it is."

Amélie nodded, resolutely. "Even though it is."

"I've missed you," the angel said, looking into those golden eyes.

"I've missed you," her friend replied, those eyes soft, and warm.

"Let's not let it happen again, shall we?"

The blue assassin smiled a most un-spiderlike smile. "Never."

-----


"So you think you might know where he's gone, then?"

Lena looked at the young gangster sitting next to Gabe, across the display, her own image and voice disguised via software. Amélie sat across from her, at the same table, at her own display, her voice and image similarly distorted; Angela and Sombra watched, out of camera view, across the room.

"Not exactly. But he's got someplace down south." Laticia leaned forward, her image and her voice not disguised at all. "He never said where, but it's somewhere people won't go, and won't be found, at least, not easily."

"People stay away on their own?"

"I think so. And he can't be spotted from above."

Sounds about right, the junior assassin thought. "Well, it's a start. I don't suppose you have any more specific ideas..."

"'Course I do. But I want some promises."

The younger assassin smiled. "Fair enough. What?"

"I want in."

Lena blinked, surprised, face quizzical. "Wot? You want in with us? We're not recruiting, luv."

"No," the gangster dismissed, "I want in on taking him down. I want to be there. I want a shot."

Oh, Lena thought, unhappy at the suggestion. "Nope. That's for me. I've owed him for more, and for longer."

"You owe him for more? What do you know about it? He was on my side, and killed my last family."

Venom growled, now angry. "Yeh, well, he killed my..." she started, before biting her lip, stopping herself. No. She looked up at Amélie, across the table, who'd tilted her head just a little bit, her hands under her chin, giving her one of those looks, and Lena understood, Professionalism, she thought, and nodded. Control.

"You aren't us, and you aren't going to be - so you have to stay with Gabriel. Got that?"

Laticia nodded, knowing that few people who saw Talon agents in the field ever lived to tell about it. "Got it."

"But if your information checks out... then... if you get a shot... we won't stop you from taking it."

"If we're both there, I want to fire first."

Then I'll have t'make sure that doesn't happen, Venom thought. He's mine. But aloud, she said, "Then you can fire first. Deal?"

Lena watched as Gabe leaned in, and spoke, quietly, off microphone, with the Los Muertos gangster. She tracked Laticia's eyes as they flicked nervously from Gabriel, back to the camera and screen with Lena's distorted image, and back, and eventually, she nodded.

"Deal," she said, a little reluctantly. "Okay." She straightened a bit in her chair. "Here's what I know."

-----


"What," Venom asked, eyes alight, "is that?!"

Angela snorted, adjusting the 'horns' on her headset, securing them down into place. "You don't like it?"

"Gordon Bennett, there's a tail. There's a tail!" The assassin turned, calling down the hallway. "Amé, Sombra, c'mere - you have got to see this!"

Amélie arrived first. "What is the matter, aren't you..." She blinked, seeing, and smiled. "That... is a delight."

Sombra trailed in, behind her, and beamed. "Ah, la ángel - a demon? Or..."

"A devil, if you are to be particular about it," the Swiss doctor said, thinking, and if I am to be honest about it, as well. "A surprising amount of this is my basic kit, with the camouflage modes reprogrammed."

"I adore it," Lena said, finally finding her voice again. "Didn't think y'had it in you, luv!"

"I did," Widowmaker said, a knowing smile on her face.

"I could hardly go into this with my Overwatch colours, now could I? I can at least pretend someone has..." - she whirled her staff around, careful not to scrape it against the ceiling or floor - "stolen, or perhaps reverse-engineered, my technologies. It's far from a perfect solution, but..."

"I think it's pretty great, luv. And absolutely, I get it."

"You know, conjita, I have a lot of makeup, including temporary hair dye... want me to make the eyebrows match the rest?"

"Would you?"

"We have time, rápida?"

"Can you do it in ten minutes?"

"I can make her into a completely different person in ten minutes."

If only, Angela thought.

"Brilliant!" Venom chirped. "We'll finish loading up, and meet you outside!"

Angela almost nodded, but stopped, as Olivia grabbed her chin. "No, no, none of that. Let me work!" The hacker grinned. "Trust me. You're going to look amazing."
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 s11,2: Vesuvius, Alight

solarbird and bzarcher

Angela helps Lena and Fareeha put up a comms tower, and Lena learns something Fareeha wishes she hadn't.

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: (tracer)

Of Gods and Monsters
Edda 8: Quicksilver-Eyed Moira
solarbird and bzarcher

And then, one day, one simple suggestion changed everything.


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)

Of Gods and Monsters
Fragment s4,2: January 1st, 2078
solarbird and bzarcher

The Weapons and their friends are hanging out together late on New Year's Eve and into New Year's Day, waiting for the ball to drop in New York, when Sombra starts asking a lot of very carefully considered questions.


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: justice rains on your face (pharah)

Of Gods and Monsters
Fragment e6,2: Mid-November, 2077
solarbird and bzarcher

Moira O'Deorain kept a lot of data secret, and separate, even from her wife, Angela Ziegler - and has no idea why, anymore, really. So she stops.


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)

Of Gods and Monsters
Saga 3/Edda 6: Sombra, the Self-Made
solarbirdy and bzarcher

Satya Vaswani offered Sombra a chance to become a member of their elite - a 'Goddess,' alongside her. Widowmaker has promised that there is a place for her within Talon. But Sombra won't accept any offer blindly. Not without knowing exactly what is going on first.

This work is three chapters long, but all three have been posted at the same time.


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: (widow)

Of Gods and Monsters
Edda 5: Rose-Gold Efi
solarbirdy and bzarcher

Even as Talon makes plans for its new world, Angela Ziegler has come to Numbani to demonstrate new medical diagnostic techniques - and to speak with the Oladele family. Efi Oladele - latest winner of an Adawe Foundation Genius Grant - is a candidate for a groundbreaking medical treatment.

But will her parents agree? And why, far from public view, has the Widowmaker taken an interest in the young genius?


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)

Of Gods and Monsters
Fragment e4,2: Mid-July, 2077
solarbirdy and bzarcher

Talon board member Angela Ziegler is in Numbani, preparing for an event where she will show a new technology, and, hopefully, meet a certain young and brilliant woman. Fareeha and Moira have remained at home, in Oasis, and - for the first time - are sharing a bed without her there.


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)

Of Gods and Monsters
Edda 3: Platinum-eyed Satya
solarbirdy and bzarcher

A new and better world needs a new and better architect to help design it, and Moira and Angela - and Tracer - know precisely who that should be. To Oilliphéist's disappointment, this acquisition doesn't involve violence - because at least this once, Talon has a much more enticing alternative to offer.


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)

Of Gods and Monsters
Edda 2: Opal-Eyed Pharah
by solarbird 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.

Talon is ready to reshape the world as they - as she - sees fit, and with Angela Ziegler newly at her side, no one can stand in their way...

...except, perhaps, themselves. For Angela has discovered a recently filed piece of paperwork and is enraged - and determined to undo it, no matter the cost.

Because this is a co-written work, I'm not reposting the text here. You'll have to read it on AO3.


This is the first edda in a side-step/alternate-ending sequel to The Armourer and the Living Weapon, but you do not need to have read Living Weapon to read it. We are treating it as a standalone work.

The overarcing story will be told in a series of separate eddas, sagas, texts, fragments, and cantos, each of which will serve a specific purpose. To follow it in order, you'll need to subscribe to the series, not any individual work.

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."

solarbird: (tracer)

This chapter contains a scene some readers may find disturbing.

All text in «chevron quotes» translated from the Arabic. All text in "double quotes" translated from the Spanish. All thoughts in italic translated from the native language of the thinker.

[AO3 link]


[Geneva — 2070]

The blue-helmeted Spanish soldier stepped around another piece of debris - a large chunk of glass, heavy, thick, still attached to a piece of wall, and partly buried into rocky ground. Probably fell from pretty far up, she thought, looking around it.

Infirmary, she read, knowing at least that much English. Ironic.

She pulled on it, and it tilted a little to one side in response - not buried deep, not much larger than it looks. Recording its location, she continued on, following the fall pattern of the outer tower's shell. Most of the complex had fallen inward, not outward, the result of the implosion device used to bring it down and end the Overwatch resistance - but some parts had flown out, and away.

She made her way to the next large chunk of debris. ¡Cáspita! she thought, that's a big one! Large enough to have been a small room, or even two, flattened, collapsed in on itself, it lay strewn across several square metres of mountainside, the trail left behind by its impact clear in the landscape.

I wonder if it's more of the infirmary? She logged its location as she walked towards it, skirting its outer perimeter. Something... huh. Something's... hot? Is that steam? What is that?

As the mist flowed towards her, she did not have time to draw, much less fire, not that it would've made any difference, not that she'd even have considered it - it's not as though anyone can shoot the fog. And indeed, it wouldn't've made any difference at all. All she had time to do was recoil in horror and fear as her hands, first, then her arms, and then the rest of her, melted away.

Several minutes later, Jack Morrison awoke, and shook his head, violently, confused, feeling deeply out of joint, trying to place himself. What the hell... how did I get out? He looked down at himself, in UN blues. Or into this uniform?

Must've blacked out, he thought, and looked around, evaluating the situation. The battle was over, the complex in ruins, UN forces above, up the mountain, where Overwatch HQ had once been. We've lost. God damm you, we've lost. He looked the other way, down, towards the lowlands. I guess... it's time to live to fight another day, he thought, and followed the water down, running, running, running away.

-----

"Morrison."

"Amari."

«It's been a long time,» the sniper said, changing to Arabic.

«Not that long,» the mercenary retorted, looking up from his chair in the small outdoor restaurant on the outskirts of Tampico. «You were just shooting at me a few months ago. Nice replacement eye, by the way.»

«Thank you,» the former captain said, archly. «By all rights, I ought to be shooting at you now. But... I have been astonished to discover that you seem to be the lesser of monsters, so, here I am.»

The soldier took a drink from his tall glass of ice water, followed by a sip from his whiskey, before pointing to the opposite chair. «Well, if you're here - want to take a seat? Or are you going to stand there and glare at me like some sort of angry owl?»

Ana shrugged, pulled out the chair, turned it around, and sat, facing the table. «You'll forgive me, I'm sure. I'm just finding it more difficult than I expected to look at the man who got Reinhardt so meaninglessly killed though anything other than a rifle scope.»

Morrison winced. «He was a good man. Loyal, to the end - unlike a lot of people I could mention. I miss him.»

«I do, too.» She glared. «Obviously.»

«You're not being fair, though. It wasn't me.» He picked up his whiskey and took another sip. «It was Talon. I know you'll never believe that, but...»

«I have cause to change my mind, on that. Or at least, to reconsider. You gave the orders, but... you may, after all, have had reason to give them.»

Morrison put down his shot glass and stared at his former executive officer. «You... what?»

«I told you, in my message - I had new information.»

He nodded. «You said you had information about Talon. Information I'd want to see, that'd I'd pay anything to get.»

«Yes. It regards Overwatch, as well.»

«And? What's the price?»

She snorted. «I've never been in this for money, Jack.»

He nodded. «I know. None of us were.»

«At least there's that.» She flagged the waiter, walking by, and asked - in Spanish - if he could bring her a strawberry soda. He returned with a can and a tall glass of ice, a few moments later.

"I'll get it," Morrison said, also in Spanish. "Just add it to my bill."

Ana's head tilted, just a little. "Your Spanish is much better than your Arabic. You'd pass for a Madrileños."

Morrison just snorted. "I've had a lot more cause for practice."

"I suppose so."

«But... you were about to say?»

Ana took a long drink of her soda, put it back down, took a deep breath to fortify her resolve, and dove in. «The person calling herself Lena Oxton - whoever or whatever she really might be - is a Talon agent. She is, specifically, the Talon assassin known as Venom. She is also the supposedly-freelance sniper Mockingbird, and the so-called Hero of London, Tracer.»

The former strike commander slammed his hands on the top of the table. «I knew it! I knew it wasn't her.» This is what I've been waiting for, he thought. Vindication. At last. «She was probably the sniper who shot my tactical visor in New Mexico... but can you prove it?»

«I'm not even finished with what I know.»

«Please!» He leaned forward. «Go on!»

«She appears to change who she is, becoming different people to suit a task - I have video of this, of her changing from Tracer to Mockingbird. She can be any of them, and possibly even more people - I do not know.»

«Of course... I never thought of that. That explains so much. She can't be the only one. Maybe they're all shapeshifters.»

«I... don't know that, either.» She closed her eyes, pain across her face. «But I do know... that my daughter's wife is her handler, and she is the one who controls the changes. Or, at least, she is one person who can.»

«Your...» He thought about it. «Angela?! Angela Ziegler was the mole?»

The old soldier dipped her head, once. «It appears likely. In the video I have, she changes Tracer into Mockingbird, using that 'healing staff' of hers. Clearly, it does more than we ever imagined.»

«So.» He took another sip of his whiskey, imagination running with this new information, galloping along unhindered. «Reyes, Ziegler, and Oxton, all Talon, all guiding the new "Overwatch," all under the nose of the Swiss and the UN. Or with their cooperation.» He let out a long, slow breath. «You're right,» he agreed, «I would pay anything to have this.»

«I believe it's clear now that the entire Overwatch revival effort is a Talon project - for what purpose, I do not know.»

«And... if Angela's involved...» He dreaded the answer to the question he was about to pose. «...Fareeha's involved, too?»

Ana's eyes closed, her face scrunched into a knot of pain. «I... I fear so. God, Jack, I stayed away too long, chasing after you... I should've been there, I could've kept her from that witch... I contacted her, when I contacted you, begging her, telling her what I knew, telling her, leave Overwatch, leave Angela, while she still could... if she still could...»

His mouth set into a firm line. «She didn't?»

She shook her head. «No. I... I have to presume she... can't. Or doesn't want to, given her messages back to me. I have to presume... that she isn't who she was. That she...»

«Ana, I'm...»

«...I fear my daughter is gone, Jack.»

Her mask broke, and all at once, she dissolved, in sobs, and Jack Morrison took her in his arms, comforting her as best he could in his own gruff way. «Ana, I am so, so sorry.»

She cried for a moment, then, as quickly as she broke, she forced herself back together, sniffled heavily, coughed, and sat back up. «My apologies, Jack. That was... unprofessional.»

«No,» he disagreed. «It was natural. I've never had a daughter to lose, but... she was kind of all of ours... we all cared for her, very much.»

«And you... you're... not exactly who you were, either. Don't lie. I know.»

He looked into his whiskey, did not take another sip, and looked back up. «I've done some awful things, Ana. Things I didn't even know I was doing. They - they made me a monster, too. During the attack, I stumbled into Angela's lab, thought I was patching myself up...»

Her eyes widened. «So, that's how...»

«I can't be sure, but - I think so.»

She shuddered. «Even back then, she was... with them. Working on such unspeakable things. And we never knew.»

He nodded. «Is that why you've been after me all these years?»

«No - not originally. I thought you were a monster, but... only metaphorically. I thought I was avenging Reinhardt. But then I saw what you could do, and... put pieces together, and had another reason.»

«I can control it now. It, it took a while, but... I can control it.»

«And you didn't even know, until,» she shook her head, «when?»

«Someone - Mockingbird, I think - shot off my tactical visor, last year, on a convoy run. Then I had another one, suddenly, somehow, and the old one was on the ground, broken. There was dashcam footage, and then... I spent a few months shooting myself to watch what happened. Learning to control it.»

«That's... grotesque.»

«Desperate times, Ana. Desperate times and desperate measures.»

Ana looked into her former CO's eyes, thinking, for longer than he was comfortable, but she didn't care. He wasn't so wrong, about the owl-like stares. After several moments, she nodded, curtly, once. «So. Now, I have the pieces I have been missing, and you have the pieces you have been missing. What can we do with what we've both made?»

Morrison gave his executive officer half a smile - he knew he'd passed a test, even if he didn't quite know what kind. «I know this - the governments are corrupt. They're all in Talon hands, or, at best, Talon-infiltrated. So we have to take the fight straight to the heart of the beast.»

«That's a tall order, Jack.»

«It is. But I've been building Los Muertos into a real fighting force - I wasn't even entirely sure why, it just felt like I needed to do it.» He took a long drink of his water. «Guess I've finally figured out why.»

Captain Amari nodded. «My message to Fareeha - or...» barely suppressed pain flashed across her face, «...whatever she is now - will have tipped them off. If we're going to act, it will have to be soon.»

«All the more reason not to waste any more time here.»

«No,» she said. «Jack... it's been a long while. We should... if we're going to be working together again, we should take a little time. Catch up.»

The strike commander smiled a very old smile. «Hardly feels like any time at all, to me. Feels good to talk again, too - despite everything. It's almost like picking back up where we left off.»

«I guess we haven't changed as much as we like to think, have we, Jack?»

«Guess not. You still like corn cakes?»

«I do.»

«They make good ones here.» He let himself relax, just a little. «Let's... just have brunch. Catch up, like you said. For a little while.»

She nodded, and then looked over to the waiter who had brought her soda before. "Excuse me?" she called, in Spanish, bringing the young man back over. "I think we're finally ready to order."

solarbird: (tracer)

I didn't realise I hadn't posted a new chapter since mid-December! Sorry for the late.

This chapter is worksafe. [AO3 link]


«Look, friend, all I'm trying to tell you is that big trouble is coming, and it's aimed straight at your guy. Cut him loose.»

Sombra made a little frustrated noise as Flores didn't answer immediately. He'd been fighting her on Morrison since she first contacted him about it. «Look, Olivia, this isn't...»

«Don't call me that.»

«Sombra, this isn't - you aren't with us anymore. We all know it.»

«But I'm still your friend, friend. Or aren't I?»

He sighed. «No, no, you are... I just... he really, really knows what he's doing. Militarily. We're so much more effective now, we've thrown the Maras completely out of the whole state. The police are starting to think of us as maybe not even so bad.»

«And when he turns on you, like he turned on Laticia and Araceli?»

A moment, and then another moment, silence, over comms. «He didn't... look, we don't know what happened to Araceli...»

«I do. I told you. I've seen it.»

«That - it makes no sense. It's impossible.»

«You want the video? I can see about that.»

«And Laticia, she's turned state's evidence, sold us out to Overwatch! Why shouldn't he...»

«Is that what he says? He's a liar. Well, he was a liar before. Look, have I ever lied to you?»

«Yes!»

«About anything important.»

«...no.»

«And I'm not lying to you now. You heard what Talon did to that Mara cell in El Salvador, right? Do you want that? Because that's what you're going to get.»

She could almost hear him thinking.

«...can you get me that video?»

«I think so. Want to clear it with my source, first. Very delicate, you know? Don't want to alienate them.»

«Sure, sure. Let me know.»

«I will. Sombra out.»

The hacker leaned back in her chair. "Well, how 'bout it? I figure we let him sweat for a day or two, then hand it over."

Lena smiled. "Sounds good. I don't want t' have to tear through Los Muertos to get to that bastard. They're just kids, mostly, and none of this is their fault." She fuzzled Sombra's hair.

"Quit it, rapido! This hair takes time!"

"Make me!" Lena giggled, and, of course, made it worse, as she and the hacker got into a hair-messing competition that the teleporter could only win.

Angela looked on, mildly astonished, from the couch across the room where she sat, surrounded by notebooks. Yesterday's meeting of the minds had run late into the night, followed by a massive exchange of documents in the morning, after breakfast and some more personal catching up with Amélie.

She looked around, again, a little overwhelmed. She'd handed over a data chip, and had not imagined getting stacks of paper to read, in exchange. Dr. Marani wasn't so much old-fashioned in her record-keeping, as prehistoric. It looks like so much more, when it's all physically in front of you, she thought. But it painted a crystalline picture, nonetheless.

A burst of laughter caught her attention, and she looked up. Lena's so relaxed, here, she thought, contemplating what she was seeing. And arguing against killing, rather than reminding us she's an assassin over and over. She gazed intently at the roughhousing Talon agents. It's because... she's just Lena here, isn't she? Not Tracer. Just ... herself, and she doesn't have to insist on anything to remember that. She shook her head, and went back to reading lab reports.

"Agh, you win, stop it!"

"Yeah!" The assassin punched the air. "Venom wins again!"

Sombra got out a hairbrush and began working her hair back into place. "You know, it'd go a long way if he heard it from Laticia himself."

"What, get her sprung, you mean?"

"Something like that. It'd carry a lot of weight."

"Hmf," said the assassin. "Somethin' to consider." She glanced over at the Overwatch doctor. "If we have to. Don't quite want t'be asking favours at the moment. Not 'till we've got everything else sorted out."

"What's Overwatch gonna do with her? They aren't police or courts or anything. They have to hand her over to somebody, eventually - why not us?"

"What would happen to her afterwards?" Angela asked, suddenly.

Lena shrugged. "...let her go, I guess? Back to Los Muertos?"

"With what she'd know, by then? How could that work?" She leaned forward, intently. "You could never let her go. Not with her knowing what she would about Talon, combined with what she does about Overwatch. She'd be a threat." She leaned back, and shook her head. "I cannot risk that."

The assassin frowned. "We wouldn't, but... I get your point, I guess."

"What if we kept her at arm's reach?" suggested the hacker. "Your friend, Gabriel."

Venom grimaced. "He's not really..."

"Fiiiiine, your colleague, whatever. When we decamp to Mexico, he goes too, brings her. We co-ordinate at a distance, he lets her go back to the gang when the job's done."

"That's not bad, luv. Whatcha think, doc?"

Doc, she thought. Well. That's an improvement. "I think... Overwatch could go along with that. Obviously, it is not my final decision, but... I think so."

"It'd help. But... y'seem to have got used to the idea we're gonna finish off Morrison awfully quick."

The doctor leaned forward, face in her hands, elbows on the glass table in front of the couch. "He's my fault," she said, resigned. "At least... partly. And I saw - well, I did not quite see it, but I saw the results when you were tried to bring him in alive." Her hands closed to loosely-held fists, forehead pressed against them, carrying the weight of her head, of her thoughts. "If he is willing to do that to you, or worse, to Mei-Ling... then he is no longer the man I once admired."

"Makes it easier, then?"

"I have always been a field medic, and then a doctor, first. But I have also always been a soldier. Just like him. Just like Fareeha. Just like you. But even with that, I am not on a mission to kill him." She lifted her head, and looked Venom in the eyes. "I am here to do my best to save my mother-in-law. If helping you kill him does that... so be it."

"Wow, this got somber," interjected the hacker. "Where's the fun in that?"

The assassin snickered as Angela frowned, and she swatted at her friend's head. "Right, then! It's late. Go flirt with your girlfriend - didn't you say you'd call her tonight?"

"Ah, she's used to it," Sombra said, nonchalantly - but also packed up her physical kit in one quick swipe.

"You complete reprobate - go call her. Now. She hates it when you're late."

"Don't have to tell me twice. And don't disturb me, we'll probably be verrrry naughty."

"Out!" Lena picked a cushion off one of the chairs and threw it at the Mexican woman as she fled, missing, Angela suspected intentionally.

"So... Lena - may I still call you that? Or is it Venom all the time, here?"

"This is my home, doc. You're at my house. If it's not Lena here, where is it?"

"I think you know what I mean."

Tracer managed a half of a smile. "Yeh. I guess I do." She sighed, retrieved the cushion she'd thrown, put it back on the chair where it belonged, and flumped down on it. "Honestly, I wish you wanted to be here. I'm not in love with you, but... bloody hell, doc. Of all the old crew, you were the one I wanted back. You were... you were the one I trusted. Maybe it was London, maybe it was... I dunno why. I just did."

"I have already made my apologies..."

"I know. I'm not lookin' for another one. I'm just..." She waved her hands around. "I want that trust back."

"But that's not why I'm here."

"No," she admitted, "I guess not."

"So then, Lena - why am I here?"

Lena smirked at the Overwatch doctor. "Helpin' us kill Morrison's not enough?"

"All you need is my field suppression device. I could've handed that to you in Geneva." She didn't pretend it would be any less involvement that way, not to herself - but it didn't require a trip to any secret bases. Or, apparently, homes.

"Fair enough. But with us, you've handy, if things go wrong. And, like you said, maybe y'can help us not have to kill someone else."

"Ana, again."

"Yeh. We take down Morrison, we get any video she might have of that little mistake of yours... she gets to live."

"How would I do that?"

"No idea. That's somethin' for you to figure out with Sombra."

"Lena," she said, leaning forward. "I appreciate that you're trying. But..."

"Again," the assassin stressed. "Trying, again. I hope you get that, luv, 'cause like you just said, last time tryin' it this way got me a hole in my back big enough for Zarya to put her fists through."

"But you would not be trying if you did not have some other reason to bring me here. She'd just be on your kill list. We both know it." She scowled. "Why am I really here? Not my reasons. Yours. You want trust back, between us? Tell me this."

Lena looked around, tapped the surface of the table with one finger, got up, and closed the door.

"All right, then," she said. "Didn't want t'get to this 'till later, but fine." She sat back down. "Remember how you said I didn't look any different, first time y'saw me, back in London?"

The doctor nodded. "You still don't, not really. It's only been a few years, after all - for you."

"Yeh - it's still explainable that way, for me. So far, anyway."

"What is?"

Lena gave Angela a long, thoughtful look. She's not this good a liar, she decided. Not with stuff like this. "Y'really don't know."

"Lena..." the doctor said, confusedly. "Would you please just tell me?"

The Talon assassin bit her lower lip, nodded, and took a deep breath, before continuing. "You're not the only one not gettin' any older, luv."

Dr. Ziegler started, leaning forward. "You're not... Dr. Mariani hasn't talked about work anything like this. If not her, then how...?"

"That's the trick, innit?" She sighed. "We don't know. Somethin' to do with the slipstream, we're pretty sure, but ... no idea what."

"...and Amélie is, isn't she."

"Yep. Nothin' you'd notice yet, particularly not on her - we're both hard to kill, and awfully durable. But... she is."

"I see."

"That time I asked you about Fareeha? Hoped you'd win that argument?"

"You knew, already? About yourself?"

"Sure did."

"That's what you want out of me, really, then, isn't it."

"Yeh," she nodded. "I..." Fear - real fear - flashed across her face. "I... sometimes, when I rewind, I..." She swallowed, hard. "I see things. Other places. Other us. Dunno if it's real, not for sure, but sometimes, sometimes... I see myself... at her grave. It's a hundred years from now, and she's long gone, and I'm still... me. As I am now."

She shuddered, and sniffed a little. Lena reached over, pulling a tissue from her pocket, offering it to her.

"I couldn't take that, doc," she said, taking the tissue. "I won't lose her. I won't. Not to that. Not to anything."

Dr. Ziegler nodded, eyes soft. "That... is something I understand. Fully."

"I still hope y'get it sorted with Fareeha. I like her."

For the second time since arriving at the small Talon base, Angela Ziegler smiled a genuine, broad, reflexive smile. "Then... I have some good news for you."

Lena blinked, and sat up straighter, eyes wide. "She..."

"Yes. Finally."

"And it's worked?"

"As far as I can tell, everything is perfect. Her scars started fading within hours. Not so much that she can see it, yet, but..."

Lena Oxton breathed heavily and deeply. "So ... there's hope. It's not just you anymore."

"No."

"If you can do this for us... t'hell with all of it, luv. I'd forgive you anything. Forever."

"Possibly, literally."

Lena laughed, her old laugh, the kind of laugh that cut straight through to Angela's heart, and the doctor, too, laughed, in kind, so relieved. "I am sorry for what I did, but really, I am not sorry at all," she said, huffing halfway to giggles. "I know what you must have been going through, now, and honesty, it all makes so much more sense..."

"It's been workin' on me, luv, not gonna lie," Lena said, shaking her head, eyes wet, but with a smile. "Maybe... maybe it's made me a little too extra, can't say..."

"Does Amélie know?"

"'Course she does. We don't keep secrets."

"Well. That explains all this," she said, pointing to the stacks of lab notebooks and research notes. "You were so angry that you thought I'd figured you out, then I get here only to have all this thrown at me..."

"In trade. The doc - our doc - has been wanting a colleague for a while."

"Certainly, but still - the dichotomy... well. It is now explained." She shook her head. "My approach will not even have to change. Just the specifics."

"Still killin' Morrison, you know that."

"Don't spoil the moment."

"We don't lie, luv. Not internally. It's somethin' Talon's got over Overwatch."

"...really?"

"Really. It's not just me an Amélie. We are what we are, we don't pretend we're anything else. Secrets, sometimes, sure, y'gotta keep 'em. But not lies."

The doctor let out a little bit of a laugh, a heh sound, almost appreciative. "No wonder you're so... thin, at the upper levels. Well. I suppose there is something to be said for Talon, after all."

"Big step up from the old Overwatch."

"All too true."

"I'll take that as a compliment!" Lena snarked, cheekily.

"You should," the doctor agreed. "You really, really should."

"Oh god, Ange..." She leaned forward, like the doctor had, head in her hands, eyes and smile visible through it. "You'll really do this. You really will."

"If I can."

"Thank you. Oh... I..." She leaned forward, and took Angela's hands, tightly, in her own. "Thank you."

solarbird: (tracer)

This chapter is worksafe. [AO3 link]


Angela Ziegler looked over the boxed-up contents of her laboratory, everything safely put away, new access codes on the doors and cases. The last round of prepared auto-aid kits - capable of handling most of the sorts of injuries an Overwatch agent was likely to encounter in the field - were neatly stacked on the cart outside her office, ready for transport up the elevator and across to the Lunar embassy.

She picked up her bag and backpack, and grasped the cart's handle, making her way to the elevator, then up, to the courtyard, where Fareeha and Winston waited for her, at the line marking the boundary between Swiss and Lunar territories.

"One last time, Angela," the scientist said, "Are you sure about this?"

The doctor nodded, firmly. "I care about this project as much as you do, Winston. We are needed, and... we need her. If this is what is necessary to repair the damage I caused, so be it."

"Then... thank you. And good luck." The ambassador took the cart from his friend, and wheeled it aside, well into Lunar territory.

"You look very much like you need a hug. I know I do," Fareeha said.

"Yes, I do. But - think of it as just another mission. We have been apart before."

"Not like this."

"It's just Lena, liebchen. She's not so frightening as all that."

"But it's not just her. It's all of Talon, and you are going into the heart of it."

"I know. But I should not be gone for so very long." The two embraced, kissing both fiercely and tenderly, before Angela broke away and stepped back to the Swiss side of the line. "They want no one else in the courtyard, so..."

"Come back to me," said the rocketeer, as she stepped back, into the Lunar Embassy's entryway.

"I will."

The courtyard now clear, the doctor pulled a violet hexagonal device from her bag, and placed it on the ground in front of her. "The beacon comes in two parts. I don't know why, but I know they will respond quickly," she said quietly, knowing her wife could still hear her nonetheless. Then, from a small, round, metal box, she extracted a smaller, round, black device, clicked its power cell into place, and depressed the top button until it beeped, twice. "That's all there is to it." She looked up, looking for a ship. "See you when I see..."

And then she vanished.

-----

"I was not expecting that," said Winston, from inside the building. "But we have the promised proof of life." He threw the image up on the wall of the conference room - Mercy, in a small, featureless cabin, holding up a padd with the latest news headlines as of half an hour before. Mei-Ling let out a big breath. "Thank goodness!"

Gabriel almost let himself laugh a bit. "Talon has a top-level software and hardware hacker - I don't know her real name, but she's head of the Sombra collective, the one behind that hacking spree last year. That teleporter trick has to be her work."

Hana flipped the image showing Angela's disappearance onto her personal padd, examining it curiously, as Winston said, "An extraordinarily powerful tool, regardless."

"I wasn't worried," said Fareeha. "Not any more than I already had been. If Talon had wanted to kill her for what she did, they'd've already done it." Or, she thought, at least, tried. "They wouldn't hide behind special effects."

Winston shook his head, no. "I wouldn't've cooperated - ever - if I was afraid of anything like that. Widowmaker is very strange, in some ways, but she is also very rational." And still Amélie, he thought, but could not say. "There are confidences I'm keeping, but it comes down to one thing: they trusted us, and we blew it, and now we have to trust them."

Fareeha nodded in agreement. "Exactly."

"So what are you worried about, Ree?" asked Gabriel.

The rocketeer's expression grew sober. "I worry about... what Angela might decide she needs to do."

-----

Doctor Ziegler felt herself being led off the small transport ship. She'd been blindfolded since the photograph, but felt now the heat of what she suspected was a Mediterranean sun. "Are we there?" she asked the pilot, a woman she did not know by sight, and who did not identify herself.

"Yes," she heard the unnamed woman reply, the one who had blindfolded her, the one with the Talon patch on her shoulder. "The way forward is flat. Follow my lead and the direction of my voice, please."

The doctor stepped carefully along a hard-surfaced walkway. It sounded like concrete, but could've been stone, or anything like it, really. She heard the sounds of seagulls, nearby, and sandpipers, in the distance. "When may I remove the blindfold?" she asked, nervously, when she suddenly felt the sun fall away from her skin with a last pair of steps, and she stopped, at a half-height metal gate. Behind her, she heard a door close.

"Now," said the pilot. "Here, I'll do it," and she removed the cloth.

After the blindfold, even the inside seemed bright, bright like midday. Behind her, a grey metal door sat framed in a small concrete entry leading back, presumably, to the aircraft. Directly before her, the gate, unlocked. And ahead, a stairwell down.

"Don't worry," said the pilot, "it's quite safe. Please proceed."

Through concealed camera feeds, Venom and Widowmaker watched Dr. Ziegler walk down the cement stairs. Everything was being recorded, of course. Perhaps they couldn't entirely trust Angela Ziegler on her word alone, but having just a bit of leverage changed the situation entirely. And if proof of active cooperation with a globally-notorious terrorist organisation didn't count as leverage, well - what would?

"I'm surprised she went along with this, honestly," the teleporter said. "But I'm glad she did."

"I am, as well," said the spider. "But I am... less surprised than you, given what I remember, and all you've said. I do not think she is as much of a rationalist as she likes to believe."

"Wot," she said, a small smile quirking up on one side. "You sayin' she's doin' all this just 'cause she's fallen for me?"

"No," her wife replied, "but... that is part of it. She has strong emotions."

"She's married! And - the doc? Strong emotions? You serious?"

"The first," smirked the spider, "I do not think has to matter so much. And the second... I suspected, even in the old days, but is it not obvious now? Everything she's done screams it. Particularly at the end - she didn't even try to triage you, she just swept in like a goddess and rebuilt your body." Her smirk relaxed into a smile, almost sympathetic. "As one who controls her own passions tightly, I recognise it in another. It is part of why I am not so angry at her... poor decision-making."

"F'real?"

"Oh, yes. Seeing her again, even if in video - it is enough to confirm it. She may hide it from you, and from her current friends - but not from me."

Venom shook her head, and grinned a little. "Y'know... knowin' that... I almost wish it was returned."

"I have always found her quite attractive. And I suspect she is an absolute beast in bed."

"Oh, now, don't you start."

Widowmaker laughed. "Do not worry, cherie, we were only friends - if close ones. And... one time, perhaps a little bit more. I think I will remind her of it." She squeezed her wife's hand. "But it was not serious. I have already fallen, I have no need to fall again."

"I wouldn't mind tho'. As long as y'always came home."

Amélie leaned over and kissed Lena. "J'adore."

"Aw," said the junior assassin, blushing just a little. "I love you too."

-----

Dr. Ziegler walked ahead of the Talon agent, down the well-lit stairwell, once her eyes adjusted to the light. A storey down, and then an elevator with an access pad and locks, and then a hallway, empty of people, at the end of which stood two metal doors, the left of which lead to a comfortably-appointed room, with a set of wooden french doors on the far wall, a couch, a large, round, wooden table, a set of chairs, and an older, Sicilian woman, accompanied by a younger man with a broad, pleasant smile.

"Doctor Ziegler!" said the grey-haired woman, motioning to a chair, as the pilot disappeared quietly back out to the hallway. "It is an honour. Please, sit down. Would you like anything to drink?"

"Some water would be lovely," said the Swiss woman, as she sat. The older woman nodded to her companion, who scooted over for a bottle of water, and two cups of hot tea, from the sidebar.

"I am Dr. Geanna Mariani, and this is my nurse assistant, Taviano Bonsignore. And it is a pleasure, finally, to meet you."

"I suspect I am familiar with your work?"

"More than you should be, I think? But yes."

"Not actually so, but what I know of it is miraculous," Dr. Ziegler said, sincerely. "You have been described to me as a fan of mine - I am, I think, an admirer of yours. But... amongst other tasks, I have a data delivery to make. Will anyone else be attending?"

"Ah, I'm flattered. Thank you. Yes, and they should be here any moment," she said, as the second set of doors opened, and Venom and Widowmaker - both in full Talon field gear - stepped out. "Ah, there you are!"

"Venom," said the Overwatch doctor, nodding, carefully neutral, getting a small but polite smile in return. "Widowmaker," she said, nodding again, a little wary despite herself.

The senior assassin smiled. "It has been a long time, Doctor Ziegler, has it not? Perhaps too long." She reached out her hand to the Swiss woman, who offered her own only to find her fingers brought to cool, blue kips, and gently kissed. "But there is no need to be so formal. Surely, Angela, you have not forgotten Tripoli."

She remembers, thought the doctor, relief cascading through her. It is you. It was always you, the whole time. I knew it. "Of course I haven't," she whispered, smiling, and kissing that cool blue hand, in turn. "It truly is wonderful to see you again in person... Amélie."

April 2019

S M T W T F S
 123456
7 8910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930    

Most Popular Tags

Syndicate

RSS Atom