[All comments in «angle quotes» translated from the Spanish]
"Mockingbird, got a moment?"
Mockingbird looked up from where she'd been watching Angela tend to Mei and Fareeha on the troop carrier's medical bunks. Still deep in the web, she replied, almost without inflection, "Yes, Strike Leader?"
Gabriel caught the tone and knew what it meant, took a deep breath and decided to take the careful route. "I need to apologise to you formally, Mockingbird, and I want to do it in front of everyone. Tracer, are you still on comms?"
Mockingbird tilted her head, and touched her microphone. In the same flat voice, she said, "Gabriel, Tracer here. Monitoring."
Not even really trying to keep up the illusion, he thought. Damn, she's hella mad. He cleared his throat. "I'm sorry. I should've stepped in against Ana's ... I don't even know what that was ... sooner. Immediately, even."
"She's not under my command, so I can't reprimand her, but I could have stopped it. That's part of my responsibility - to defend my team - and I didn't do it, and I apologise."
"I will not let it happen again."
Lena let herself lift a little of her controls, and shook just a little, taking in a quick breath, quicker than her current physiology needed. A hint of inflection returned to her voice. "...I appreciate that, Strike Leader."
"I hope you will forgive me."
Mockingbird nodded, slowly, and lifted a little more of the web up.
"Tracer, Gabriel - you got all that?" Reyes said, towards his microphone.
"Gabriel, Tracer - roger that," Oxton said, towards hers, in a voice a little more like Tracer's.
"I screwed up, Tracer. I... god, I thought she was dead in the rubble, like everyone else. Seeing her again after all these years... I wasn't ready. And if I'm going to play this role, I need to be at least a little ready for anything. So - I apologise to you, too."
Lena lifted another layer of the web, and a little bit of a smile crept out. "Roger that." She blew out her breath. "Guess none of us were expecting..." She shook her head, and felt a little better, a little less like demonstrating what it meant to be a murder machine, and a little more like a proper Talon assassin. "What d'ya think happened to her? "
Gabe shook his head, slowly, glad to see a little more of Venom in those gold eyes, and just a little surprised by that feeling. "I really, really don't know. Ana never used to be so..."
Fareeha stirred herself from her medical bunk. "...Ana?" she said, "...who...?"
Angela gently intervened to help her wife. "Awake already?" She checked Mei - still out. "Be careful, I've got you in good shape but I'll need to do more when we are back at the embassy."
"No." The rocketeer struggled upwards. "I heard a voice, and it sounded like... and you said... Ana."
Gabriel, Lena, Winston, and Angela all glanced at each other nervously, and the assassin spoke first. "She's gonna have t'find out. I'd want to."
"Tell me," demanded the flying agent, an intent look on her face. "Tell me what I'm afraid I already know."
Angela's face went a little grim, and a little paler even than usual, but she nodded her agreement. Taking her wife's hand, she looked into her eyes and said, "I will tell you everything, but we will start with the beginning." She braced herself. "Your mother... she is alive."
Morrison looked over the wreckage. Half the cargo destroyed, five fighters injured, one critical, one dead, only one transport running, and now, apparently, this so-called Overwatch - Talon, really, of course - on his tail.
But that isn't what bothered him, or rather, he thought, that's not what bothered him most. He looked down at the dirt, at the wreckage of his tactical visor, and at the one he'd just taken off, the one tied into the neural network inside his head - and back at the one in pieces on the ground.
This... doesn't make any sense, he thought, picking up the wrecked visor. He replaced the one he'd been wearing, and put it through its self-test - it came up fully functional, targeting at one hundred percent, which was pretty damned strange in and of itself, given that it hadn't tested above 85% in three years.
«Did anybody get any pictures of the ambush?» he called out to his surviving team members. «Anybody here armed with a camera, not just guns?»
Leticia pulled hard on something inside a panel, and a second transport roared, glowed, and floated back into operation. «Ha! Damn, I'm good. Sorry, Spooky, you say something?»
«Nice work. Did anybody get video of the attack? Pictures? Anything?»
«Not me, I was getting the shield generator going. Arturo, you got anything?»
Arturo shook his head. «Nothin', sorry. The best shot I got was getting a pistol load into that rocketeer.»
Leticia smiled, grimly. «Nice job. Anybody else?» she called out, but got no positive responses. «Sorry, Jack.»
«Worth a try,» Morrison replied, brusquely.
«That sniper - not the same one, were they?»
«Well spotted. No. Different gun, different MO. God damn, I wish I had some photos.»
«You check the dashcams? Maybe they caught something.»
The dashcams. Of course. They won't have erased themselves yet. What the hell is wrong with me? thought the former Strike Leader, as he half-barked half of a laugh. «Good call.»
The first hadn't recorded anything but the road ahead, and he found the second smashed against a rock next to the road, pieces of windshield scattered around it. Crawling into the wreckage of the last transport - the one beyond repair - he found the third camera's lens had been smashed. But the user interface responded, and he pulled down what video there was into his padd to watch it while the rest of the team moved the surviving cargo to the two functional transports.
Two-side flank attack, he thought, watching the video. Heavy fire from the northeast, sniper and... single infantry on the southwest, maybe. The camera hadn't caught any of the attackers, but had plenty of their work. He watched himself, too, as he came out of the passenger side of the lead transport, face bloodied from the sniper's missed - or was it missed? - shot, the one that wrecked his visor, and blinked as he saw his own face blur, almost mistlike, in the image, then focus again, unbloodied, visor intact.
He replayed the video. It did not change. He played it again. What... what am I looking at here? he thought, touching his tactical visor.
«Any luck?» called Leticia. «We're about ready to move. Bring it with you!»
«No need,» he called back, quietly crushing the camera's control screen, before dropping it on the wreckage of the front seat. «It got trashed early on in the crossfire - nothing worth keeping. Let's head out!»
Ana watched the "so-called Overwatch" strike force lift off, and, once they were out of range, shuddered quietly. What Talon must've done to that poor girl... She shook her head, sad at the thought. And now they're working together? Rayes, that's one thing, black ops do what they must, but how Winston can go along with it... maybe Jack really isn't so...
She stopped herself, mid-thought, remembering her daughter fighting alongside the Talon agent, and considered again. No, she concluded, it can't be all true - not if Fareeha is involved. She's a good girl, she would never go along. Perhaps... perhaps their sniper broke away from Talon. It has happened before.
The eldest sniper packed away the inactive beacon, her rifle, and her dart pistol, crisply snapping the case shut, satisfied for now. And even if Jack's not completely wrong, he's still become a monster. And monsters must be destroyed.
She headed down the hill, towards her camouflaged flyer.
All of them.