"So," she asked, "What's your name, anyway? I still don't know."
A particularly strong bit of blueshift, and she let out an involuntary gasp of fear.
"That... wasn't funny."
The hacker replied, "I'm not trying to be funny, don't bother me while I'm doing math in my head. Bad things could happen, you know?" as her eyes darted between six screens.
Finally, the world settled back down; ░░░░░░ scowled at the monitors, and disconnected the hard links to Tracer's chronal accelerator. "I don't like to say it, but I'm sure now. We're going to have to build another."
Lena laughed nervously, looking at the device holding her in sync with time. It never had looked entirely finished. "You mean, this one's really not quite right, then?"
The hacker looked down at the floor, to the left, to a scorch mark left from another calibration attempt - one Oxton didn't remember, and one ░░░░░░ was in no mood to tell her about. "This one, you see..." She looked back to the pilot. "You were never supposed to have it. Nobody really was. It was a test device. You were supposed to have the one Winston built, he built it for you. I built this to learn how Winston's worked, and, hey, I'm glad we had it when we needed it, but... it's not my best work."
Tracer shifted in place. "You mean it's unstable."
░░░░░░ winced a little. "Unstable is a very unpleasant way of saying it. It's not getting any worse!" At least, not quickly, she added, to herself. "It just will not get any better, and I can't fix it. I'll have to build a new one. It'll be better, I swear - but you will have to trust us maybe a liiiittle bit more."
"Then let's get started already. Build it and slap it on me, what's the holdup?" the pilot nervously joked.
"It'll have to be part of your body."
"...oh." She blinked, and thought about what that meant. "So there's really no... putting the old me back together, then."
"No. But if it means anything, I think Winston knew that, too. His acelerator was supposed to be implanted. I've learned a lot in the last couple of weeks, and now that I really understand it, it's kind of obvious. You would've had a glowing ring in your chest, like that superhero of the old movies" - she gestured at her chest, making a circle - "What was he called?"
"Dunno - never cared much for superheroes, honestly. Not unless they had airplanes. Or spaceships."
"Eh, it doesn't matter. I'm all over it. I already have a design worked out, it'll be verrrry elegant. A lot more controllable." And all but unhackable, she thought to herself. Amélie insisted. The "on pain of death" part went unstated, but understood.
Tracer huffed. "Already worked it all out amongst yourselves, then. Could've told me."
"I think I just did."
"I think if you're going to be building something that's gonna be part of my body, I have a right to know who you are."
░░░░░░ gave the pilot a long, hard look, and thought about it for a moment. Always the truth, she said. Fine. "My name doesn't matter, because after I'm done here, this girl be disappearing forever anyway."
"What?" said Tracer, blinking. "Why?"
"Because, you see, I've been noticed, by the wrong people. In my line of work... that's always, always a fatal error."
Shocked, Lena could only get out, "...I'm so sorry."
"What? No, no, no, don't be so melodramatic! I'm not going to let myself be killed, I'm far too smart for that. I'll still be out there, just, not like me, now. Improved. This version of me needs an upgrade anyway." The hacker reached out her hand as holographics appeared in the air, and the room went dark save for her own screens, casting a shadow in purple against the wall.
She leaned forward, and quietly said, with broad grin, "En el nuevo año, busque una nueva Sombra."
"Oooh, scary! Like a bit of drama, then?"
"If you think that's dramatic, you're going to love my new hair." She brought the lights back up, and folded away the PADDs.
Lena chuckled. "At least you can do something with yours. Mine just grows like this." She ran her hand through her hair. "Can't do a thing with it. Not that anything fancy would survive a flight helmet anyway."
"Huh," said the hacker. "You've tried letting it grow, of course?"
Tracer nodded. "Yeh, when I was a kid. I looked like Goku, from Dragonball."
"I'm so sorry."
"I'm so bored. You look finished, can I go back to the gym yet? I need to stretch. I get all stiff if I sit around too long."
"Sure, I'm finished here." She hoisted a small bag of gear over her shoulder. "But you need to decide."
"Decide about what?" asked the pilot.
"...the new chronal accelerator? The embedded one? We just talked about it?"
"Oh. I already did. I wasn't joking, really. I mean..." - Lena jumped off the bed, and blueblurred almost into the floor, until the accelerator stabilised again. "...what choice have I got?"