solarbird: (Lecturing)

A fandom friend wanted Of Gods and Monsters as an epub, but the way we've been posting it to AO3 makes that difficult to do through their built-in epub generator's functionality. (Each update comes out a separate epub.)

So I've fixed that, at least for the Arc of Creation.

Of Gods and Monsters: The Arc of Creation
(complete epub edition)

I've never built an epub before, so let me know if you download it and find something broken.

solarbird: (Lecturing)

I've got a history of people saying variations on, "I didn't want to start this story because it looked too scary/dark, but omg I'm glad I finally did and wish I had a long time ago" and that's... kind of frustrating?

So in response, I've put together a meta collection of summaries for my various stories, including collaborative works with bzarcher. For the longer (and scarier-looking/darker) pieces, the entries start about progressions of tone and theme, and then beccome more spoilery as they go, so people can stop at whatever comfort level they feel is best, and hopefully have an easier time deciding whether to read or not.

I'd've done this a while ago, but there's no built-in functionality in AO3 to do that which does not also put spoilers in the way of people who aren't worried. And so eventually I decided this - and appropriately-placed links in story summaries - would do the job well enough.

This link goes to the table of contents, which is spoiler-free. Once you go to the individual description pages, though - spoilers, ahoy!

solarbird: (tracer)

I've written a lot in the last year and a half, so here's a compilation post!

The Fear of Spiders continuity starts with on overcoming the fear of spiders, includes the short story series The Web of Time, and the sequel novel, Old Soldiers, still in progress.

The Gods and Monsters continuity starts with The Armourer and the Living Weapon (it diverges after chapter 25; it'll make sense if you read it), and continues with The Arc of Creation and The Arc of Ascension, still in progress.

The It's Not Easy To Explain, She Said series is a collection of short stories around a defecting Widowmaker. It's the lightest of my work.

The Manic Pixie Murder Machine series starts with what I thought was a one-off story, "I Could Murder A Chippie," but ended up continuing with "advice received while on a treadmill," and the in-progress work, And Just Like That, She Was Down.

"The Deadly Neurotoxin Homebrew Club" is a one-off Overwatch/Portal crack crossover.

I've also contributed to bzarcher's The Wizard Triumphant with Requiem, and to his Crypted AU with "Good For What Ails Ya."

There! Hopefully that's all of it. I DON'T EVEN KNOW ANYMORE. XD

solarbird: (Lecturing)
I am copying and pasting this post - with permission - because the original post was locked, and they requested that I share it in this format. I know OP personally, and have for some time.

Read all of it - and particularly note the instructions in the last paragraph. My long history of doing that has saved me, several times.



This is going to be a rather personal post from me, but given the number of people I've seen on Facebook expressing extreme anxiety regarding Brett Kavanaugh and his supporters and apologists, I think it's necessary as many of you have been raised in environments that were completely alien to mine.

This post isn't really intended to provide comfort or solutions. It's simply intended to explain how things really are given that I'm a former extreme right-wing conservative. I was raised by an individual who was not once, but twice, clinically diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which is exactly what afflicts Donald Trump (and presumably quite a few of his most ardent supporters). And her partner was basically a sycophant who mirrors many of Trump's enablers.

I've seen many posts where people ask if Trump and his supporters really enjoy the suffering of others. The simple answer is yes. But it goes deeper than that. Trump supporters enjoy your outrage. They feed off your outrage and it gives them energy and strength to reach for even greater extremes. When you ask Trump supporters how they can support such evil, heinous policies, they delight in your assumption of their inherent goodness. They're openly laughing at you when you do this. Simply put, they're emotional vampires, and trying to relate to these individuals on the same level as decent human beings is completely playing into their hands. They don't respect this kind of interaction. They think less of you for it. And they regard you as potential prey, even if they don't see an immediate opportunity to victimize you. I know how upsetting and bleak this may sound to someone reading this right now but as I noted above, I'm not making this post to comfort you. I'm posting this to simply tell you how it is, as I was one of these kinds of people a very long time ago. My entire career has been based on telling people how things are, and often they don't like the messenger, regardless of their belief system.

Having lived and survived in an environment dominated by NPD individuals in both personal and professional settings, there are several takeaways I would advise you to keep in mind. First, make it very clear to an NPD that you're not going to play on their level. They'll say things to upset you. Their way of interacting with you, their way of manipulating you, is totally dependent on that. Don't be emotional with them. Make it clear that you know that they're liars, that they're cheats. Be calm and stay in control as you tell them that. And add that because that they lack empathy, you regard them as inanimate objects. I invite you to use that very term with them, because I have. And more often than not, they laughed and immediately disengaged with me and sought another victim. Or they would lose control of the situation when they realized I was onto them.

Secondly, if the opportunity arises, make sure that these NPD individuals experience immediate, measurable consequences as a direct result of their attempt to victimize you. Make clear to their sycophants and apologists that you won't forget where they stood in the situation and that you won't ever forget. I personally engaged in this kind of, for lack of a better term, warfare over a period of decades with members of my own family, as well as my political opponents in my state. So be prepared for a very long battle. Many of these individuals think they can wait you out. Make sure you include this in your calculus. When you reengage with them, be punctual, avoid hesitation.

After this is all over, these individuals will try to reengage you again. They'll pretend that none of this had transpired. They'll gaslight you and try to convince you that you don't remember history as it actually happened. Save the receipts. I personally know of several individuals who I used to regard as friends who have already taken to scrubbing their social media histories so that no one will ever know that they enthusiastically supported Donald Trump and the darkest, most evil of his dehumanizing policies. Take screen shots. Save them for posterity. And when the time is right, make sure they know that you haven't forgotten and be clear that you will ensure others also will never forget. Always remember, this is to the grave. So be strong. Be resolute. You will be surprised over time how many new friends you will make along the way.
solarbird: (widow)

So my co-author in Of Gods and Monsters, bzarcher, has a crypid AU which started with the novel Candyfloss and Lace, and it's pretty fun. Recently, I saw an article in Smithsonian about medicinal cannibalism in Europe, and, well... this happened. Don't worry, it's fluff. And all horribly, horribly true, at the same time. You're welcome. ^_^

Overwatch Cryptid AU
Good For What Ails Ya

solarbird and bzarcher

Amélie Lacroix has a lot to learn about being a vampire, but fortunately her girlfriend always has a few ideas about how to help. Maybe a few stories about the good old days is just what she needs...

solarbird: (tracer)

it’s not quite another bloody novelette for sunday night - it’s close, but a little short - but if you add in the fragments, this next little bit of the story is over 10,000 words by itself

what is even happening

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 s8,1: The MEKA and the Omnic

solarbird and bzarcher

Hana Song, a.k.a. D.va, has struggled to accept her new life after defeating the East China Sea omnium. But as she wanders the markets of Oasis she finds some pleasant surprises - and perhaps a new friend.

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)
Chapters 2 ("the far too many we have lost) and 3 ("that which may yet be found") of Requiem have been posted; the story is now complete.

http://archiveofourown.org/works/13801161/chapters/31730745
solarbird: (widow)
And that was 2017. For the most part, the less said, the better, let's be honest.

I did hardly anything musical. The band has been on hiatus. I've done a lot of politics, because hey, guess what, it's fight for personal survival time again. Isn't that just fucking awesome.

But while I haven't been able to make the music happen, I have been writing. Not blog posts - as is clear from the blogroll this year - but fiction, instead. Kind of crazy amounts, for that matter - just over 130,000 words since April, a good... I don't know, five times my previous total fiction writing history? And I actually got published once, back when.

And it's all Overwatch-inspired fiction. I've never written fanfic before, but I am now, and it's a torrent, and a lot of it - more than I'll ever talk about - is deeply personal in different ways. Confusingly - to me at least - I've been told by several readers that they aren't Overwatch fans, and don't really know anything about the lore, but it works for them despite that. So that's neat.

(I've also had a few people say variations on "for the love of god file off the serial numbers and sell this," but I'm like, "Why?")

Regardless, this seems as good a place and time to make a checkpoint tally. I also just put up a new short story - one that's part of a series - that's basically my New Year's Eve story. So here are my works from 2017:

Novellas and novels:
  • on overcoming the fear of spiders, a complete 35,000 word novella, kind of an origin story for Amélie "Widowmaker" Lacroix and Lena "Venom" Oxton, professional political assassins, and, over time, lovers. The story's neither grim nor dark, but it is deeply political. Start here. After all - I did.
  • Old Soldiers, the sequel novel, still in progress. It'll be a short novel when completed, and isn't one yet, but I'm pretty confident it'll break past the novella size limit before we're done. This is also a very political novel, but entirely through allegory. Lots of generational politics here - a couple of my characters are direct stand-ins for reality-orthogonal Boomer political insanity, but it's nowhere near as simple as that.
  • The Armourer and the Living Weapon, still in progress, about 33,000 words at the moment. This one's about getting everything you ever wanted, and how that might work out for you. It's also about making choices that may be necessary but may not go where you'd hope - or even survive. Read the tags. No, seriously, read the tags. This will either be a very long novella or a short novel.
  • And Just Like That, She Was Down. 13,000 words, it'll probably be another novella, but it's also the third in a series of stories collectively called the manic pixie murder machine. I thought the first chapter was a standalone short story, but then my characters had other ideas and it wasn't. A novella about identity and the ethics of power, underneath everything, I think.

Short works and collections thereof:
  • It's Not Easy To Explain, She Said, seven short stories, all quite short - the longest is 1900 words. These are mostly about how an artificially-created personality thinks. It's also about how people around them might think, particularly in relation to her, particularly when trying to have a relationship with her. The most recent addition, "'That seemed to go well,' she said, making the effort" is my new year's story. This series will never go dark.
  • the web of time, a series of short stories set in the on overcoming the fear of spiders universe, containing - amongst other things - a couple of continuations of events started in the founding novella. (In one case, we follow a couple of American agents outside of a room, to hear their conversation; in another case, we have a short story which is basically Chapter 26.5 of fear of spiders, but which I moved to standalone for various reasons. It's still canon, though.)
  • the manic pixie murder machine - two short stories that set up the novella And Just Like That, She Was Down, and the novella itself.
  • "the deadly neurotoxin homebrew club," a silly short story wherein GLaDOS from Portal chats up Widowmaker from Overwatch about their mutual interest in deadly neurotoxin and parallel problems with teleporting annoyances.

I have no idea what 2018 will hold, musically - but the only way out is through. Let's hope we get lucky.

And that's where I've been. How's about you?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (widow)

Sure, I needed another AU, why not?

Someone had to be the template for Widowmaker, and that someone is an armourer, materials engineer, and former field sniper, all for Talon, named Emily Gardner. The ginger loves her work, just as her blue counterpart does, and together they make one of the more formidable weapons in Talon's arsenal.

But good things can't last forever, can they?

CW: this is... gonna be pretty fucked up. [AO3 link]


"Ten standard sets of combination rounds, please."

Widowmaker stood at the equipment requisition window, order chit laid neatly in front of her. It was not necessary - she wasn't to be refused any request for compatible ammunition. But she went through the motions, regardless, as she did for most things.

Emily leaned out the door from her workroom - "I'll handle this, Jax." She rose from her workbench, shooing the ordinance clerk off off to his filing. "Hey, Blue," the armourer said, warmly, leaning forward onto the counter. "How're you doing?"

"Very well, thank you," the sniper said. Of all the rank and file, only Emily Gardner ever asked. But then - she was the only one who didn't fear her. The only one not of the medical staff who had been involved in her creation. The one who built the metal and composite extension of herself - the Widow's Kiss.

"And your counterpart?"

The assassin placed that extension of herself onto the counter.

"Ooooh, yes," Gardner said, pulling out the special silk cloth she used when handling the rifle. "How is she?"

"As beautiful, and deadly, as always."

"Lovely." Emily purred. "I'm looking forward to the overhaul next month."

"As am I," replied the assassin, with a small, special smile.

"I've got something new. Wait here." The armourer ducked back from the counter, and jogged over to the racks, pulling the requested ten sets - then back to a cabinet by her workbench, where she pulled another two.

"Here're your standard rounds," she said, placing them into a neat pile. "Thumb?" She held up a padd, and the assassin confirmed receipt. "And here..." - she placed two other, unmarked boxes, beside the first - "...is something special."

Widowmaker looked at the other boxes, with interest. "So... what are these?"

"Experimental. Take a look." She pulled one box open - standard set configuration for Widowmaker's rifle - and the second box - standard set configuration for her own.

The sniper smirked. "I take it you would like to go out to the range?"

"Yeh," said the weapon's creator, "but that's just part of it. Check the casings."

Widowmaker picked up one of the rounds, freeing it from its holder. It felt fast. She blinked. "...what is this?"

"Hard light. Vishkar-type technology, made very, very small, and very, very hard."

"Incroyable," she breathed. She rolled the round in her palm. Her standard rounds - really, there was very little "standard" about them, not in a real sense, they were all made for her. But this... she could almost feel the kill just holding it. It excited her. "How did you get this?"

Gardner grinned, wickedly. "Little side project of my own. I'm not just an armourer, after all - I'm a materials engineer." She picked the round out of the Widowmaker's palm, rolling it around with her fingertip a little bit, first. "How 'bout it, Blue? You're not on base that often, we don't get many chances - is it a date?"

Widowmaker looked at the hand-built rounds, and felt... warm. "You designed these, all on your own. Just for me."

"I most certainly did," she smiled. "And a set for myself, so we can try them together. If they work out - I can make more." She boxed the two special sets of rounds back up. "My duty shift ends at 16-hundred. I've scheduled two distance lanes. You in?"

The living weapon's golden eyes glittered. "Of course."

-----

"Now," said the armourer, "they are, as you've already guessed, faster. That's the first difference."

The assassin purred, and leaned against the ginger. "How much faster?"

"Muzzle velocity, 1100m/s. About ten percent faster than you're used to.

"Faster than the Finnish arctic rounds. Ooh la la."

Emily leaned up, and nuzzled into the Widowmaker's ear. "But better - they chamber faster. We could adjust the mechanism speed up nearly twenty percent."

"I like you."

"I know. And you haven't even seen the best part."

"Oh?"

"As much as I hate to say 'hands to yourself,' love - let me show you."

Emily brought up the most lifelike target dummy - the one used to show splatter effects - and brought up her own rifle. The testbed for the Widow's Kiss, it was largely similar, but different in small details - including the faster chamber rate, but she didn't see the need to rub that into her beautiful weapon's face.

She fired a single combination shot, into the dummy's head. It did not so much explode, as vaporise. Her breath caught at the beauty of it, and she fired another into the target's chest, and it exploded, target marker flying red everywhere. She shivered at the sight, thrilled - as she knew her counterpart would be, and she looked back over her shoulder, to her left, just in time to see Widowmaker already back against her.

"Give," she demanded. "Now."

"I knew you'd like them."

The blue woman took her cartridges, discarded her current set, and loaded the new rounds. Even without the increased chamber rate, she could feel them moving like ice through her rifle, cold, and fast. She fired three times, instantly feeling alive, reducing the target both to precisely tailored vapour. "...manifique..." she whispered, visibly moved. "We have to get these on live targets."

"I know." Emily put her arms around her blue perfection, resting her head upon the back of her neck. "It's - strictly speaking, it's a distortion, not an explosion, but it has the same effect, and you have none of the downsides of explosive rounds."

"That is a large number of words to use to say devastating."

"Devastating rounds" - she blew gently against the back of Widowmaker's neck - "for a devastating weapon."

"So few, though - shall we make good use of them?"

"Yes," the armourer purred. "Let's."

-----

Emily nuzzled Widowmaker's bare shoulder as they lay together, exhausted, but oh, so deeply satisfied. "I wish I could be out there with you."

Widowmaker raked her fingernails along her lover's breasts, watching her shudder from the roughness of her touch. "They refused, again?"

"Of course." The Englishwoman sighed, after catching her breath again. "I knew they would. I am 'too valuable where and as I am.'"

"The process... would change you. It certainly changed me."

The armourer laughed. "It would change me less - after all, I was part of the template."

"The best part of the template," said the assassin. "But they fear losing your engineering skills?"

"Yeh. I just... oh, love, I miss it. I miss being a field sniper. And knowing how much better I could be, than I was, as you are..." Her hands formed into tight fists, raised to her mouth. "I want it, so much."

Widowmaker took the hands, and opened them, and soothed her lover's brow. "I know. I know. Be calm. I know. Remember - you create me. You are part of every kill I make."

"I know," sighed the ginger. "I just wish we could be together. We would be utterly unstoppable."

"I wonder, sometimes, if more than anything else," murmured the assassin, "that is why they do not allow it."

Emily smirked. It made sense. But she also knew that of all the places in the world she could be, Talon was the best. Talon let her do so much, do so many amazing things, gave her access to so many resources - and paid her well, atop everything else. And she loved it, she truly did. And then, she was able to help create her...

She shook her head. "I have so much. You call that Overwatch girl foolish, but I think I'm the foolish one. I should be happy. And I am."

"But it is not the same."

"No. But it's awfully, awfully good, more than I thought I would ever have, and... it's the best I'll get." She shifted around, resting her head on that strong shoulder. "Kill for me, and I will be satisfied."

Windowmaker laughed, a soft, rolling sound. "I already do. I always, always kill for both of us, ma cherie."

"I love you, so much."

"I know."

solarbird: (widow)

Widowmaker brought herself in from the cold, one day, exchanging a list of Talon agents for sanctuary, and at first couldn't or wouldn't say why. Her first breakthrough in explaining herself came in a talk with Lena Oxton, who then helped her break through Angela Ziegler's insistence that Widowmaker was not really a person, and that Amélie Lacroix could yet be recovered. But despite that truth, sometimes, some of Amélie's last memories - mostly but not always tightly compartmentalised away - trouble the spider, and this is one of those times.

This is the sixth in a series of stories set in the It is Not Easy to Explain, She Said continuity, a timeline largely compliant with known canon as of July 2017 (pre-Doomfist/Masquerade), which is when I wrote and posted the first story. It is not part of the on overcoming the fear of spiders AU.

This story follows "It's not easy to explain, said Lena Oxton" in chronological sequence. [AO3 link]


"Do you remember what it was like?"

Lena held Widowmaker's hand, gently, as they sat together, otherwise alone, mid-afternoon, in the smaller canteen at Gibraltar. She drank tea, cream, two sugars. Her counterpart drank obscenely hot coffee, unsweetened, strong, and dark.

For the most part, Amélie's memories stayed safely in their place, out of Widowmaker's way, but there were a few, occasionally, at the border between her birth and the previous woman's death, that picked at her, at times. Dr. Ziegler suggested that was because of the emotions around them - emotions could, perhaps, last long enough, even if the thoughts themselves didn't, to become Widowmaker's emotions as well.

"A little," said the former Talon assassin, after some delay. "Not very much, thankfully. I do not think she was making new memories very well, by then. But there are some."

Lena shuddered a little. "I can't even imagine it."

Widowmaker shook her head. "For her, it was not even the fear of it happening. It was..." She pondered a moment. "It is not easy to explain."

"I can't imagine it would be."

"She would feel, and think, one way, one thing, and then, she would find herself thinking another way, a different thing, a thing like I would think, sometimes, but she would be thinking it, and not me. And sometimes it would be something neither of us would think, but something they very much wanted her to think. And she would believe what she thought, and what she felt, but she would know, she would remember, moments before, thinking very differently about the same thing."

"And she'd fight it," assumed Tracer, "and that would hurt."

"No - but yes? Both would feel like it was her. There was nothing for her to fight. But the difference in the two... that, she found horrifying."

Lena let out a long breathy hoo sound, and took another sip of her tea, before continuing. "So they were making her think... their thoughts, then."

"My thoughts, at least, at times." She leaned her elbows against the table. "Or, to be more correct, the kind of thoughts they wanted me to think. About... how lovely, how beautiful, how perfect it would be when they put her back, and she killed Gérard. And she would believe it, because she could already feel it." The assassin smiled. "As I do, when I kill."

Tracer shuddered. She knew, she knew that the assassin enjoyed her kills - that for a long time, it had been all she lived for. But making Amélie feel that, and Amélie knowing they made her feel that... "Was it you, then? When they did it?" she asked, hoping for an unlikely yes.

The blue assassin laughed, a sound that still made Lena's heart ring every time it happened, no matter the context. "No. I could hardly have imitated Amélie so well for so long. I'd've been discovered, almost immediately. No - it was still her." She took a sip of her coffee. It had cooled a bit, but remained hot enough for her tastes. "That's why it took her two weeks to strike."

"So in the end..." the teleporter said, voice distant in her own ears, "Amélie killed Gérard. And enjoyed it."

Widowmaker nodded. "In a way. They were never above to achieve everything they wanted with her, but they were able to recondition her enough to kill - at least, for a time. And so, she assassinated Gérard, but being torn between the grief and the guilt and the ecstasy..." She shook her head. "That all but shattered her. When she returned, as programmed, they took her apart completely. And built me."

"But you feel some of her... emotions, from then? Her conflict?"

"I do," she said, a tinge of sadness in her voice. She put down her cup. "It was the only death about which I felt conflicted, until Mondatta, and the fight with you."

Lena put a third sugar in her tea. She needed something sweet right then. "D'ya ever wonder," she said, as she refilled her cup from the teapot, "if they'd done a better job sealing her off, if you might not've started to, y'know, think on your own?"

"Internal conflict as the source of self-awareness? Dr. Ziegler has suggested that idea as well." She shrugged. "I do not know. But let's say it's true - in which case, Talon did me yet another favour. They..." she picked her cup back up, sipped at the coffee, and put it back down, "left me open, on accident, to you." And she smiled again, just a little, at the side of her mouth.

The Overwatch teleporter let out her breath, and her eyes softened just a bit, as she looked into those metallic eyes. "Aw, luv. That's..."

"May I kiss you?"

Lena blinked, putting down her tea. "...you... care about..." She shook her head, just a little. "...things like that?"

"I don't know." The spider shrugged again, this time with something artificial in the nonchalance. "But I am finding I... may. At least, with you. Shall we find out?"

Lena wasn't sure what she expected. Would she be cold? Would she feel wrong, would she feel like some dead - and then no, she did not, she was not, she was none of those things, she was cool, yes, but not cold, cool like the first breezes of autumn, like the first hints of snow off the mountains, not chilling, but invigorating, and Lena returned the kiss, almost involuntarily, herself warm, no, hot, like summer sun, like the last day at a Spanish beach before the turning of the weather, and Widowmaker was just as surprised, finding herself melting just a little bit more, and she gasped, pulling away, panting, looking down at her coffee, thinking, How can she be so warm?, before looking back up at the one who had reached past her eyes of molten gold, and finding she had no words then at all.

"Blimey, luv..." managed Lena, after a moment. "You're... only the second woman ever to make me feel like that with a kiss."

"For me, you," breathed Widowmaker, eyes wide, "...are the first."

"I hope it don't make you feel like killin' someone," Lena half-laughed, half-serious, half-joking, a lot nervous and a little afraid, and if that made more than a whole, so be it. "Chiefly, me."

"Never." Widowmaker reached across the table, grabbing Lena's hands with both of her own. "Do you understand? Never. I could not."

She pulled Lena forward, close, quickly, knocking the teacup across the table, shattering it on the floor, and the smaller woman gasped, startled, but did not flee.

"I do not know why, and I do not know how, but..." The spider kissed the teleporter, again, the meeting short but intense, "...I have found someone I could never kill."

Hooooooo, thought a part of the teleporter, unexpected emotions swirling around her mind, throwing her into responding before she even knew she was doing it. This is not gonna be easy to explain, to... to anybody.

solarbird: (widow)

[I can't believe I'm saying "Canon in the 'It is not easy to explain, she said'" Overwatch AU, but, well, this is the fourth story in this set, so, I guess it's an actual second AU now. AO3 link.]

[It is helpful to know that Widowmaker (in canon, and here) has a tattoo on her arm which incorporates the French word for "nightmare."]


It is not easy to imagine, thought the Widowmaker, propped up a little on pillows but between her two lovers, Lena, Tracer, sprawled along her right side, hands and arms jumbled about everywhere, like always, and Emily, Kestrel, on her left, arranged so neatly, even in sleep, even halfway through the night, even after turning over a few times, always tucked back in like the little hawk, her namesake in battle. Not even when it is real and in front of me.

She took one of her long, slow, deep breaths, and felt her heart beating, even more slowly than usual, so calm, so quiet, so at rest.

Were Gérard and Amélie like this? she wondered. It seemed impossible. Not just because that was only two, and this was three, and therefore obviously so much better, and not just because they were human, baseline human, with childhoods, and growing up, and stumbling about blindly until they figured how to make a life - though that last part, she finally understood, at least, a little - but because this, this perfection, it, too, seemed so impossible, so to conceive of it happening twice? Ludicrous. Foolish girl, she smiled to herself, it could not have been so... this.

It had taken some time to come up with a bed that the three of them could share. Widowmaker's low body temperature meant she needed similarly lower temperatures for real comfort, particularly in sleep, and both her lovers were so very warm. It'd been Angela's idea, a mattress made of medical thermal control columns, temperature regulated, sensing who lay where, and adjusting, automatically.

The doctor had got a paper out of it - modified to discuss burn victims and others with particularly sensitive skin - and had done fairly well from the patent rights. But Widowmaker didn't care about that. Widowmaker cared that she could sleep with her lovers whenever she wanted to, and whenever they wanted her to, and it would just work.

She breathed in the scent of her brown-haired love, the teleporter, nuzzling down a little into that silly, tossed hair. Unimaginably wonderful. She shifted just a little, carefully, and did the same of her red-haired love, the flying officer, and the scent was so very different and yet so much the same. So wonderful.

And softly, so softly, her breath caught, and water pooled in her eyes, and she sniffed, not wanting to, but she still did, and she tried to stop herself, to stop the tears, but that just made her laugh, just a little, and trying to stop that, too, made more of all it it happen.

Emily awoke, blinking, but lay still except to look up towards the sniffling. "Sweet? What... are you crying?"

"No," whispered Widowmaker. "Yes."

"Oh, love, what's wrong?"

"Nothing. Go back to sleep." She laughed a little more, shaking again, and from Lena came a little "mmf?" and she blinked those big brown eyes that Widowmaker could see so clearly even in the low light.

"You too. Go back to sleep."

"Wuzzit?" said Lena, awake enough now to attempt words, but still, at least half asleep.

"But what's wrong?"

"Nothing," sniffed Widowmaker. "Nothing. Nothing." She leaned over and kissed the half-asleep Lena on top of her head. "Everything is wonderful," and then did the same for Emily.

"Why're you crying?" asked Lena.

"I am... so happy," said the blue assassin, half-sobbing, smiling, confused, but not caring. "I..."

She stopped, and her eyes opened wide.

"I found it," she whispered.

"What?" asked Emily, reaching up to run her fingers through Widowmaker's hair.

"Yeah, love - what?" asked Lena, reaching up to do the same from the other side. Her hand met Emily's, and she smiled, as their fingers intertwined.

"Perfection." She brought her two lovers tightly against her, laughing, crying, all at the same time, the emotions, they are too much she thought, gasping, but that is also perfect. "This perfection."

Lena blinked. "You mean... like before? At the beginning, when you were made? But... here, now? ... with us?"

Widowmaker nodded, not being able to put it into better words. "Everything is so beautiful."

"Oh my god."

Emily chuckled. "You're beautiful too, you know that, right?"

"Love, no, she means it. Losing this is why she left Talon."

"Yes," whispered the spider.

Oh. Emily hadn't been there when the assassin had told the story, but she remembered it, and how it affected Lena. "And now you've got it back?" she asked.

"Yes," nodded the Widowmaker. "It is... different. But better." She sniffled. "Everything is so beautiful."

"Is any part of this bad?" asked Emily, a little worried, a little unsure, a little amazed. The assassin's body always carried tension, tension she could feel in her muscles, feel almost in her skin. And she did not feel it. It was... gone.

"No," breathed the Widowmaker. "Oh no, oh, oh no. It is wonderful. I am so happy."

"You sure?" asked Lena.

"Yes."

"Completely sure?" asked Emily.

"Yes."

"Good," said Lena, as the three snuggled back in together, and the three of them slowly drifted back to sleep.

What would my makers think of me now? wondered the spider, as she slid back towards her dreams, laughing, to herself, just a little. And then when she did sleep, she slept smiling, finding her dreams new, and happy, and not unlike her life now, found, new, and happy.

She would need to change her tattoo. No more nightmares. None. At least, not, for now.

solarbird: (tracer)

[All dialogue in chevron quotes is translated from the Spanish]
AO3 link

Jack Morrison shook his head, tried to clear it up. Mornings were hard - a lot harder than they used to be, and he didn't know why. He just knew he didn't like it. He'd always been a morning person, even back in the Army.

He did a quick set of forty pushups, quietly, twenty each arm, try to get the ol' blood moving, and it helped. He still felt out of joint, but these days, he always felt a little out of joint. Had ever since the bombing, back in '70. But everybody would feel a little out of joint after that. He didn't even remember how he got out of the complex, but he got out alive - and that's what mattered.

«Morning,» he growled to the small Los Muertos stakeout team in the front room of the small apartment. Araceli waved and Leticia nodded, her combat helmet tipping in his direction as he started some coffee.

«I just made that pot you threw out, gringo», Leticia grunted back at him. «Why you always wasting my good coffee?»

Morrison snorted. «Because I make actual coffee, the kind you drink, not eat.»

«You make tinted water.» She shook her head, but with a little smile. «Americans.»

«Yeah, yeah,» he groused, amicably.

Araceli patted Leticia's shoulder. «Now that the white ghost is awake, I'm taking my turn.»

Leticia nodded. «Get some rest.»

The steamer finished its work, and Morrison drew a cup of the brew. Not bad. Leticia wasn't wrong about it being good coffee. «I'll buy you some more beans later, make up for it. Anything new on our friends outside?»

«Nah, it's all nice and quiet.»

Morrison settled in for the first half of his stakeout shift. He didn't really like working with Los Muertos, but with his history, well, he took what he could get. And Leticia - she had chops. He could respect that. Araceli's just another street rat, no discipline, but Leticia - he could turn her into a proper soldier, if he had time.

«Oh, hey,» she said, «Get out your padd, there's been another show with your old band.»

«What?» growled the former strike commander.

«Something in Vietman? Maybe in China, I forget. There's pictures this time.»

Morrison almost snarled. «Goddamned Lena Oxton and her so-called Overwatch, what the hell does she think she's doing, pretending to run my organisation...» He found a video taken live on the scene, saving a freighter and crew from a large pirate gang operating around the edges of the south China sea, one armed with a strange new weapon that froze everything it touched. They just want that freeze ray back, they don't give a damn about those sailors...

He watched the video, as the self-proclaimed Overwatch jumped in, with good power, if not in the best of order. Oxton wasn't there, he noted, and the resulting mess lived down to the worst of everything he expected out of a band of wannabe heroes with no god damned sense of discipline. Overwhelming power saved it from being a fiasco, but the sloppiness enraged the soldier, in his mind disgracing the name of Overwatch and everything I built...

«Huh?» said Leticia, startled, looking to her right. «Hey, spooky, where'd you go?»

«I'm right here,» he said from her left, where he just barely stopped himself from punching a hole into the wall.

«Fuck, you can be creepy quiet sometimes, you know that?»

«Part of the training.» He sat back down where he should've been, and shook his head. Discipline, soldier, he thought to himself. One mission at a time.

Leticia sulked at the building down the street. How long can it take to prep a shipment of stolen processors, anyway? Hurry the fuck up and move out so we can steal them back from you, she thought. «We've been here three days! I wish these idiots would get going.»

«Me, too» said Jack Morrison, settling down for another day of hurrying up to wait. «Me, too.»

-----

The sniper round flashed by Jack Morrison's ear, nipping flesh, as he ran zig-zag through the warehouse district. God damn that woman, he thought as blood ran down the side of his face, and he spun around, launching a grenade towards the perch he knew she had to have. His reward was another round by his other ear - but it wasn't a good shot. He'd knocked her down, and that confirmed it.

The shipment had been real. The security had been expected. The sniper waiting for them, though - that had been a surprise.

Sprinting to the left and down an alley, the old soldier charged forward and found Leticia, in a zig-zag run from the other direction. «Spooky?!» she shouted, surprised. «You're still alive!? I thought they got you back in the...»

«No time,» he grunted, wiping the blood from his face with a rag from his pocket. «Join up with me. Where's Ara?»

The street fighter looked confused. «I thought she went with you.»

«Didn't see her.»

«Huh... She must've headed north,» Leticia decided. «Taking the long way home. For us, there's a sewer access two blocks ahead my way, if we can make it.»

Morrison spun around. I really could make her a soldier, he thought, and said, «I shook the sniper out of her nest, we have a window. Let's go.»

They ran, dodging between gates and down tiny side paths. Morrison thought he heard a ricochet, but he couldn't be sure, not completely, not until they could see the access down the end of a narrow walkway, when he looked back just in time to see the glint off a scope. «Get down!» he shouted, and dove behind a skip.

Leticia dove beside him, rolling, aikido-like, to his side, as a bullet ricocheted, grazing her arm. «Jesus! Who the hell is shooting at us? The Maras don't have anybody this good!»

«I'm not sure, but I've got a pretty solid guess. How long will it take to get that door open?» Another round, bounced by the shooter off a wall, whizzed behind them. Given a smoother surface to bounce off of, it would've hit.

«No time at all, I broke the lock when we first got here.»

«Smart. I've made her, and she wants me, you're just collateral damage. I'll lay down suppressing fire, you go for the door. Get it open, get inside, then aim where I was aiming, and I'll dive for it.»

The Los Muertos fighter nodded, and bolted, as Jack sent a flurry of bullets towards the sniper. In a single long, jagged sprint, she reached the access door and threw it open, diving inside, then spun around from the shelter and threw a full clip towards the same spot Jack had sprayed with bullets. A moment later, he was beside her, slamming the door shut as a bullet made a large, angry dent directly in front of her eyes.

«Keep your head down,» he said, smirking, «or lose it.»

«Hooooooooooo...» Leticia breathed out, slowly. «How?»

«There's only one sniper in the world that good,» said the soldier. He bolted the door from the inside and broke the mechanism, wedging it in place, as Leticia motioned down one of the access tunnels.

«If she follows us down here, I have a lot of surprises ready. Keep your hand on the left wall, it's important.»

Morrison shook his head, no. «She wouldn't risk a tunnel. Night vision's not so good since I took one of her eyes.»

«Wait, you know her?» Leticia asked, as she led the way through the foul air.

«We're old friends,» came the soldier's voice from the darkening gloom.

«Some friend,» replied the fighter in the darkness, «trying to kill you.»

A snort from the soldier. «She's been trying to kill me for six years. At this point, I think it's her way of flirting with me.»

«You are messed up, Spooky, you know that?»

«You have no idea.»

-----

The MS-13 grunt poked at the body with her rifle. Los Muertos, she thought, from the arm tattoos. I wonder who? She rolled the corpse over, careful to avoid the blood.

"¡No mames!" she exclaimed. A section of the body - the left side of the head and neck, and part of the shoulder - was simply gone, cut cleanly away, as if sliced neatly off a wax sculpture of a woman.

One of the other guards - Samuel - came over to check the corpse. "¿Qué pedo?"

«Hey, Sam,» asked the grunt. «What kind of gun does this?»

solarbird: (tracer)

Widowmaker brought herself in from the cold, one day, exchanging a list of Talon agents for sanctuary, and at first couldn't or wouldn't say why. Her first breakthrough in explaining herself came in a talk with Lena Oxton. Of all people, why her? Tracer tries to figure it out, talking about it with her wife, Emily, over breakfast.

This is not part of the On Overcoming the Fear of Spiders AU. It is... apparently the follow up to a standalone story in a timeline much closer to current known canon as of July 2017, but not including the Doomfist comic. It follows "It is not easy to explain, said the Widowmaker," and I think Emily might get one, too. No, that's a lie; I've already started writing it. Or rather, it's already writing itself. FINE THEN.


"It's not easy to explain," said Lena Oxton, and chewed a bit on her lower lip. "I don't even know what I'm trying to explain."

Emily Oxton - she'd taken Lena's name, something terribly old-fashioned, but she still had biological family, and Lena didn't - gripped her wife's hand at the little two-person table in their small London kitchen. "I don't know why," she said. "You care about her. You care about everybody."

"Heh," the teleporter snorted. "Not everybody."

"Just about everybody," said the aeronautics engineer, booping her wife on the nose. "Don't deny it."

Lena looked down at the remnants of her breakfast, picked up her fork, and smiled a little. "I guess I'll own up to that, but..."

"But it's her," said Emily. "The assassin. The one you couldn't stop. The murderer of Mondata."

"Yeah." Lena scowled, and scooped up the last of the beans with the last of the toast, and threw it into her mouth. She swallowed, and continued, "Why... why her? I thought... how can I forgive her that? Why would I forgive her that?" She stared down at her plate. "It's all complicated, and I'm not a complicated person, love. I don't get it and I don't like it."

Emily played around a bit with her bread, mopping up the runny egg yolk with the blackened toast, and smiled. "Why? Seriously?"

Lena tilted her head, as Emily downed the last of her egg, and swallowed, before continuing. "Because something happened to her that she had absolutely no control over and didn't ask for and didn't want, and it changed her even more than the Slipstream changed you. That's why."

Tracer dropped her fork.

"I thought it was obvious," giggled Emily. "Come on, sweet, is that really so hard?"

The Overwatch agent's gape turned into a look of adoration, and she laughed, softly, a couple of times, and had she had just a touch more self-awareness, she'd've recognised it as almost exactly the laugh which had been the Widowmaker's first real thought, but that wasn't the sort of person she was, so she didn't. She leaned forward, putting her forehead against her wife's. "How do you do that?"

"Oh," snorted the redhead, "like you're hard to read?"

Lena closed her eyes. "C'mon, love, I'm not that transparent."

"You are and you know it."

Lena leaned back, and waved her own objections away. "All right, all right..."

Emily refilled both their teacups. "But that's not what's eating at you." She put the pot back down. "It's the other bit."

Lena added sugar and cream, and stirred the mix together. Lena always took sugar and cream. Emily took neither. "Yeah. I... dunno. I dunno if I can deal with it."

"Which?" asked Emily, before taking a quick sip of her second cup. "Help her figure this out - or deal with her at all?"

"T'be honest, a bit a both. I hate her. Or... I did. But I don't. I..." Lena threw up her hands in exasperation, then rested her head on her palms.

"But you don't, now, do you." It was a statement.

"No," agreed Lena, sounding a little ashamed. "And I feel... like I should feel bad about that."

"Do you?"

"A little. I feel like I'm betraying Mondatta's memory. Like I, I, I've just decided I'm fine with all that? But I'm not. Even Zenyatta's not, no matter what he says, and he's a bloody Shambali monk."

"And meanwhile, you can't turn away."

"I can't. I ... I don't even want to. What's wrong with me?"

Emily reached over and took her partner's hands in her own. "Not a single, solitary thing. You're you, and this is the most you thing I can imagine." She stood a little and leaned forward and kissed her wife, gently, on the lips. "You'll help anybody if they want it. I think it's wonderful."

Lena closed her eyes and smiled through the kissing, and after they were done, said, "I love you, you know."

"I got the idea 'bout when we got married." Emily kissed her again, and booped her nose a second time.

Tracer flopped back on her chair dramatically, arms splayed as if knocked back, grinning for a moment. Then her serious expression returned as she leaned forward again. "But what can I do? Why'd she open up to me? I'm not a doc, or even a therapist - I'm a pilot. It's not like I'm some kind of expert."

Emily tipped back into her chair, in turn, and took another sip of her tea. "She's got experts already, though. Maybe what she wants is... I think I was going to say sympathy, but maybe it's not sympathy. The way she latched onto that character in that video game - maybe it's empathy. Maybe... maybe she's learning empathy again."

Tracer hunched down, thought about it hard, and slowly bobbed her head. "That kinda fits, yeah. She's like that game character in one way, who's like me in other ways, and I'm kinda like her... in... life-altering trauma?"

"So, show her empathy, then. Show her she's not alone."

"But she is. I wasn't built, not like her. Nobody else was, 'sfar as we know."

"Maybe not, but - she's latched on to you. Maybe it's the shared trauma. Maybe you're the closest she's got."

"It doesn't seem like much."

"When all you've had is nothing," Emily said, smiling wanly, "...a little can feel like a hell of a lot."

Tracer just hehed.

"She likes you. And you like her, too."

Tracer's frustration came out in her tone, if not her words. "...I guess I do." She put her hands over her head. "I'm a fool."

"I'm fine with that, you know." Emily smiled, taking Tracer's hands off of her head. "Who's the bigger fool, the fool or the fool who marries her?"

Lena laughed, weakly. "Oh god, love, what've I got myself into?"

"As long as it stops you from being in her literal sights? I don't care. I'll take it."

"Woah, what?"

"I'm not selfish, not really, but I'm selfish enough to want you alive more than anything else in the world. If this means there's one less assassin after you, I'm for it." She squeezed her wife's hands tight. "And I don't feel bad about it at all."

Emily leaned back in her chair. "She can even move in here if it'll help stop that."

Tracer laughed, this time, not weakly at all. "Like that'll happen."

Emily giggled. "I know, right?"

The two leaned over and kissed again. "I feel better," said Lena. "Thanks, love."

"Good, 'cause I have to get to work." She got up and grabbed her purse and bag. "See you tonight?"

"Can't wait."

solarbird: (tracer)
prelude
[2076, autumn]

"Why'd you do it, Gabe?"

"Do what?"

"Send those killers to her house."

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

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

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

"Amélie doesn't know that."

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

"Wot? Why not?"

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

"That's shite, Gabriel."

"Is it?"

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

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

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

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

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

"I'm not so sure it does."

solarbird: (tracer)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Perhaps never," said the assassin.

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

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

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

"No thank you."

"Just ate, luv, but thanks."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The spider did not say anything.

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

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

"And you miss that purity of purpose."

"So much."

"Would you go back to it?"

"I cannot."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

solarbird: (pingsearch)
I finally wrote up the design document for Coexistence Alpha. (Link goes directly to an .rtf.) Does this read coherently to people?
solarbird: (Lecturing)
I think it's an appropriate time to remind any actual conservatives out there that the last thing to make Marxism really popular - I mean, actually, legitimately popular - in the US? Fascism.

I mean it. Seriously. Actual fascism - and all it entails - managed to turn a rampaging monster like Stalin into our pal "Uncle Joe." That ... that took a lot.

So when you're thinking about exactly how hard should you hold onto your reflexive alliance with white supremacists and neofascists like Bannon and Milo, think about that history. Think about it real hard.

Because right now, you've got a whole generation of people who have grown up being told that online death and rape threats and doxxing, and systematic harassment, is just something they should deal with. Conservatives have been saying all that is just Free Speech, and embracing the abuse organisers and agreeing that the solution is that women should "just log off." They don't even bother addressing people of colour.

Like you can fucking log off. That's saying, "stop being in society." That's "hide thyself in a nunnery." That's "give in," that's "go die," that's "accept being absolutely without value to us." It's the opposite of an answer - it's support for the abusers.

Meanwhile, at the same time, and in response to this same situation, the so-called "liberal" side of things has been giving fuck and all of a response, with occasional dishwatery tsk-tsk statements and a lot of hand-writing about violating the rights of people who are literally trying to organise ethnic cleansing.

On the other hand, the Marxists were out way in front, talking about this in the context of economic politics, racial politics, and how fascism is the natural end-state of late-stage capitalism. Who is on the ground fighting the fascists? The antifa (anti-fascist) movement, which while not by any means universally Marxist, is generally very left.

When Richard Spencer - who has personally published articles supporting genocide - got oh-so-deservedly punched in the face on camera, who cheered? Everybody who has been targeted - almost all the women and a decent number of men of an entire generation, a lot of women of all generations, and a decent number of other men besides.

And, of these political factions, which said "about FUCKING time DO MORE OF THAT" and who, by contrast, lectured about how you have to have polite and respectful discussion with people who are literally planning your mass murder?

Conservatives, and mainstream liberals, you want a roadmap to actual popular Marxism? Guess what: you don't need a fucking roadmap. You've already built the road.
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
Upright Republicans - ones to whom any of the supposed small-government principles ever mattered at all, or, for that matter, one to whom any of the claimed GOP principles ever mattered at all - need to understand that the GOP is no longer their party.

And if they want to take their party back, they need to cause the GOP to lose in 2016. There are times, no matter how much you don't like it, that you need to lose an election to win the future, and when you do that, you need to do it in a clear and visible way.

Fortunately, there is a clear and visible way to do that, and the way to do that in 2016 is to vote for Gary Johnson. Gary gets 5%, and it will be an extremely clear message: you can't win without us.

Because right now, at this moment, the GOP is an unrestrained horde of overt racism, anti-semitism, misogyny, and absolutism, it is a party of chaos and strong-man leadership, the opposite of law, the inverse of order. A GOP victory in this condition would be a tremendous loss for all the principles of small and hands-off government. Both parties will be mass rule, and the one least historically aligned against that will have won with that as their standard, and will not turn away for decades, if ever.

The GOP must lose this election, and it must be clear why.

Gary Johnson won't win; the Libertarian party is a joke. I say that as someone who has voted big-L more than not. A lot of people will say, therefore, that you are "throwing away your vote."

That's horseshit. This election, if you're on the small-government side, it's the only way not to throw away your vote, and it's the only shot at not losing the GOP to the mob.

The GOP must lose 2016. Badly. And it must be clear why. Responsible, upright Republicans must vote Gary Johnson in 2016. He won't win - but you will.

February 2019

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