Surprise! Guess what has a Chapter 2. And a Chapter 3, already a complete first draft. I did not know about any of this until the most words I have ever written in a single day (I think) came pouring out of my brain yesterday.
[Two months later. Watchpoint Gibraltar.]
With a tooth-shatteringly loud screech, the outer wall of the medical bay peeled away and fell towards the ocean, just as Dr. Ziegler's nurse assistants finished prepping the Widowmaker's first treatment.
"Sorry, luv," Tracer shouted, appearing in the void, one pistol aimed straight at the doctor, as the ringing, clanging metal fell, its sounds fading in the distance. "Can't let y'do that. We made a promise. Back off."
"Lena," said Angela, half-deafened, clinging to her composure, thinking, this shouldn't be happening, but backing away carefully towards her staff. "You lost this argument. I know how you feel about what's going on, but it's better than a death sentence. Do not do this."
"Can't not. I keep my promises, you know that." She fired a shot over the doctor's shoulder. "And stop moving towards your staff. Can't have that, either. What's she on?"
"A twilight sleep sedative, voluntary muscle paralysis, and saline I.V., that's all. We wanted her partially responsive and were about to administer the first dose of treatment. Lena, you do not know what you're doing, this is not a..."
"Stow it. I know she didn't consent and I know this ain't right." Tracer glanced at the closer nurse assistant. "Pull her off the drip. Right now." The assistant looked nervously at Dr. Ziegler, and Tracer decided to make it less optional by shooting the saline unit with her other pistol. "I said now, luv," and the nurse moved to work.
"She can't consent," said the combat medic. "She will murder you in your sleep, and that's if you are very, very lucky."
Kestrel swooped in, a wary eye still attentive to the skies outside. "What's the hold up? We don't have time for chats."
"I have this under control, can you get her up off the table?"
Kestrel waved her gravity blade at the nurse assistant - Odion, she thought - who moved away quite rapidly. Stepping forward, she snapped her fingers in front of Widowmaker's half-closed eyes, and saw those eyes track her fingers, just a little - somebody was in there. "Widowmaker, I'm Kestrel, I sure hope you remember me, we're getting you out of here, just like we said we would, back in London." She pulled the blue woman off the scanning bed, and onto her back. "Let's go, while we still can."
"Emily," warned the doctor, as the flying agent carried the Talon assassin towards the light transport hovering outside, "reconsider. You can't come back from this."
The flying agent paused at the gap, and nodded grimly in return, watching as Tracer backed slowly towards her, one pistol still aimed at the doctor, the other at the two assistants. "Neither can you."
Buggery hell, this isn't how I wanted this to go, thought Lena. "Sorry, doc. Just how it has to be, I guess."
The flyer's loading door closed in front of her as she stepped onto the main deck. She could see Angela diving for the alarms before it sealed, and teleported to the pilot's seat as Kestrel got Widowmaker into the crash couch. "CLEAR!" the flying agent shouted, bracing herself for evac - and Tracer lit the engines up bright.
She struggled with half-aware half-memories of being in a... medical unit? And being prepped for something. And voices, some unfamiliar, some... not.
"We've lost the last of 'em," she heard Tracer say. Tracer, who had not been in Egypt, who had not been at Gibraltar... or had she been, at the end? "I'm gonna keep us in the soup, but it should be smooth enough 'till we change ships at Iwik."
Change ships? Iwik? Why would they need to...
"I'm going to check on Widowmaker." Another voice, the flying one, Kestrel, who had also been missing when she'd been taken, taken again, this time, by Overwatch, no doubt to be remade yet again, if not just killed, but whose voice she knew...
"Widowmaker, can you hear me?" The assassin heard the voice, but could not see its source - keeping some distance, perhaps. She let herself smirk, internally. Even sedated, she invoked fear. Good. "You're safe, and you're unchanged. We kept our promise. We broke you out before Ziegler could do anything. You're safe."
What?! The assassin's eyes popped open, all the way open, all at once acutely aware of her situation, before her mind snapped back to promises made some weeks ago in London, promises she did not want to believe, but couldn't quite not. Then Kestrel's face appeared over her, and she was talking, saying, "Hi. We've kept our word. Do you remember being captured in Egypt? We got you out of the Watchpoint. You're safe. Well, as safe as any of us are, now - we're all in real trouble, but since when's that new?"
The words confused her, memory of promises or not. Is it a... no, it makes no sense, this cannot be a trap, they already have me, why would they... She did her best to move, but her arms, so heavy, why...
"Oh," Kestrel breathed, "you're definitely awake now, aren't you? Probably a little panicky, too. I'm sorry, it's the muscle relaxant. They had you pretty well sedated before we reached you, but that's all, as far as we know - they were still prepping the first course of reconditioning meds when I ripped the medbay's walls open."
Widowmaker's eyes locked on Kestrel's, and she shivered, an involuntary action, and the flying agent saw it, and reached to touch, to comfort - but thought better of it. "I... wish I knew whether you found touch comforting."
I wish I did too, thought the spider, a little dismayed by her own reactions as they span round and round in her head. You... kept... your... you... kept your... you kept your... you...
"We've just got away from pursuit craft, and we're heading towards a little nature reserve in Mauritania, where we'll be swapping ships."
"...ah..." Widowmaker managed, and she remained locked on Kestrel, Kestrel, who she barely knew, Kestrel, who'd kept her word, Kestrel, who had... saved... her...
"You're tearing up a bit, can you blink for... oh, good, there y'go. Can you follow my fingers with your eyes?" Widowmaker looked at the Kestrel's fingertips and watched them trace a rectangle, slowly, around her field of vision. They were strong hands, solid, a little square, chunky, much like the rest of the hawk. Strong, and unexpectedly beautiful. Well, I suppose I know who is more butch in their arrangement, she thought, and a "heh" popped out, to as much her surprise as Kestrel's.
"She just laugh?" she heard Tracer say from outside her field of vision. "Hey, luv, you just laugh a little?"
"I think she did, yeah."
"Well, tell her after this, we're headed towards... oh, bugger..."
"It's official. Bulletin just went out. We're listed."
"Surprised it took this long. Can they shut down the transport?"
"Nah, I changed the codes and blew the interlock, we'll be fine."
Widowmaker grimaced. Intentionally. And it worked. She tried moving her mouth, and managed, focus back on Kestrel's face, "...liffsted?"
Kestrel sighed, and sat, next to Widow's bunk, leaning close. "Word's gone out. Our personal IFF codes have been invalidated. Overwatch may be illegal, but we had a few privileges within it to revoke... we're now 'foe', not 'friend'."
"Ah." said the blue assassin. Slowly, carefully, she looked into Kestrel's eyes, and whispered, "Je... regrette."
"Don't," replied the hawk. "If Overwatch is gonna start doing things like this, I can't be a part of it anymore anyway."
"And just so y'know," called Tracer, "Talon put a termination order out on your head once Overwatch got y'to Gibraltar. No goin' back there, either."
"Friend of yours let us know. We'll be seein' her in a bit."
Tracer laughed. "Yeah, she said you called her that."
The spider tested her arms. A little movement at the shoulder, not much yet. But fingers - yes, those, those were free. She tapped at the bed, experimentally, and saw Kestrel smile when she noticed, bright like cloudbreak. "It is, then..." managed the spider, "...us, against the world?" She tried her wrists. Yes. Wrists. More quickly, now. Almost to the elbow.
Us, Kestrel thought. Already? "Sounds like."
A louder heh, and the spider found she could move her head. "Then... a challenge. Good." She gave Kestrel a fierce look; it excited the flying agent in ways she did not expect, as did the spider unexpectedly - if weakly - taking her hand in her own. "We will destroy them both, cherie," the assassin said, with utter conviction. "We cannot lose."
"So you told her nothing about the enhanced receptivity effects?" asked the hirsute scientist sitting opposite and to her right, snacking on his favourite peanut butter, with oatmeal cookies and lactose-free milk. Hoisting girders about - that was heavy labour. He deserved a treat.
"Of course not," said the doctor, sipping her coffee. "But I didn't lie, we hadn't undone anything Talon did - and it really was a sedative, just one that leaves patients a little more..." she waved one hand back and forth, "...open to ideas, while under its influence. It would've helped with our treatments of her, helped her return to who she really was."
"Nicely played," said Jack Morrison, nursing a judicious amount of Tennessee bourbon. "Hope this doesn't come back to bite us on the ass any more than it already has."
Dr. Ziegler smiled warmly at her old friend, sitting opposite and to her left. "I'd suspected Lena might do something she'd come to regret. I'd hoped she wouldn't, or if she did, I'd hoped I could talk her down. But if push came to shove... she might as well have that thin chance." She shuddered. "I think she has made a grave mistake. I do not think that... construct... is a person or can be reformed, and I wasn't lying about being killed in her sleep, either."
"You did what you could," said the soldier. He put down his glass and rubbed at his eyes. "She's always been impulsive, but this is another level. If they come at us... we'll have to assume the worst. They might as well be Talon." He put the drink down, and rubbed his eyes.
"That will not be difficult," smirked Angela. "I am quite angry, both about being held at gunpoint, and at losing my best chance to recover Amélie. And Kestrel," the doctor snorted, "she made a strongly negative impression on Gina and Odion. Gossip will insure everyone knows."
"I know their hearts are in the right place," Winston insisted. "Particularly Lena's. I think they're both being extremely foolish - but do not doubt their hearts."
"Just their judgements. And maybe their sanity," said the soldier.
The three sat quietly, for some moments, letting what happened today finally settle in as the sun went down. Morrison, thinking maybe they should've just handed the Widowmaker over to legal authorities; Winston, wishing he'd found a middle way, something to keep everyone happy, while knowing no such path existed; and Ziegler, angry, but still afraid for the two women who had, to her mind, made such a terrible mistake.
"To absent friends," Winston lifted his glass of water. "May they not become present enemies."
"I'll drink to that," said Morrison, raising the last of his bourbon.
Angela lifted her coffee cup, touching it against her friends' drinks. "To absent friends," she echoed. May they not be dead come morning.