D.Va has seen a lot of things in her time as a mech operator - tragedy, stupidity, bravery, strategy, desperation, to name a few - but she will readily admit it’s the first time she’s seen anything like this.
She and her squad are deployed in Hanamura, Japan. There have been reports of Overwatch activities around the area, which is slightly odd given the Shimada clan’s foothold here - in fact, Hanzo Shimada himself had been spotted here just days earlier, coming and leaving before anyone could do much more than report his presence. Though Hanzo has no ties to either the clan or Overwatch, at least as far as South Korean intelligence knows, the two are likely not coincidental, which brings her to her current situation.
She pops the bubble of her gum as she props her chin on her hand, observing the man in front of her; though she can’t see his face because of his visor, she’d peg him to be middle-aged, if not older, and he stands in a way that screams I’m dangerous and I know it. Even from the safety of her mech, Hana can’t help the twinge of nervousness in her gut - the rest of the MEKA squad is spread out about the city, so if she gets into a conflict, she’ll be on her own for at least thirty seconds.
But, in all honesty, she’s more surprised than worried, because what she’s seeing now is recklessness - sheer recklessness for one’s life. In her limited experience of fighting omnics, she has definitely never seen this kind of brazen behavior before.
“You know,” she says conversationally, “You have a million U.S.-dollar bounty on your head.”
Soldier: 76 merely grunts, hefting his plasma rifle. He hasn’t pointed it at her yet, but she keeps her thumb on the trigger of her mech’s defense matrix.
“I am also livestreaming this, so there is a good possibility millions of people know where you are,” she adds. It’s a bluff, but not one that can be disproved.
That gets his attention, and his head turns so he can presumably look at her. His back is still to her, but she knows better than to shoot; the bounty had said he had to be alive, and, to be honest, she’s curious. She knows he’s been striking at former Overwatch stations to steal tech and information, so it’s not surprising that he’s here. The recent reestablishment of Overwatch, and the rumors that Overwatch agents are likely nearby, would no doubt get the man’s attention.
“Turn it off,” he says at last. His voice is a low rumble.
“Tell me why you are here first,” Hana shoots back, watching his every move. She’s been doing this long enough to know when and where to strike, and so far, 76 hasn’t shown any indication that he plans to attack her.
“It would be easier to kill you,” he says as soon as she thinks this, but she still gets the sense he won’t do anything more than threaten her.
As it stands, though, her curiosity trumps her caution, and so she reaches up and goes through the motions of turning off a livestream, pressing the necessary buttons to presumably shut off her cameras. “There,” she says. “Now will you tell me?”
“You already know,” he answers.
“I will make my question more precise,” she says, resisting the urge to sigh. He knows what she meant, she can tell. “Why steal Overwatch tech? What is your interest in the organization?”
“That’s two questions.”
“I am so glad you are able to count,” she retorts, and she lets a smirk curl her lip when he huffs on a laugh. “Answer, please.”
“Why should I?”
“I am curious. Why not humor a young pretty girl asking about your life?”
“Mm-hm. You’re D.Va. You’d be more interested in your Starcraft aliens than an old man like me.” She frowns at that but doesn’t interrupt as 76 swings his rifle over his shoulder, finally pivoting on his heels to face her. The motion is practiced, professional; like every report says, this man knows what he was doing, despite his age. “I’m curious, too. Wanna check it out. That’s all.”
“Then why steal Overwatch tech?”
“Gotta start an investigation somewhere,” he replies. If she could see his eyebrows, she’s sure he would be quirking one. “And they have the best weapons.”
“Really?” Hana would be lying if she said she hadn’t been looking for ways to upgrade her mech’s short-range guns.
“Were they not a terrorist organization, though? Why be curious?”
“Isn’t that why you’re here?” 76 says. “Sent out to check out the Overwatch rumors?”
“No,” she says, lying quickly and easily.
“Uh-huh.” It sounds like he’s smiling; he totally doesn’t buy it, which is hilarious since she’d lied to his face before without any problems. “Overwatch was never a terrorist organization, you know. They were peacekeepers.”
“I do remember that from my history textbook, but that goes against every military report I have ever read,” Hana says, furrowing her brow.
“Can’t ever predict who’s gonna tell the story,” 76 answers, and, well, he’s not wrong. “Look a little closer next time.”
“Can I not just ask you?” she says. “You seem to know a lot, despite being ‘curious’ about Overwatch’s revival.”
“Since you were livestreaming earlier, I don’t think I can stay to chat.”
“I was lying about that. I am only allowed to livestream during skirmishes.”
76 is silent for a while. Hana watches him; being unable to read his face, she instead eyes his body movements. Even then, it’s hard to tell, given how still and poised he holds himself, every muscle ready to coil and move at a moment’s notice.
“You seem very interested in this,” he says at last. “Beyond what a regular soldier should be.”
Hana lets a beat pass. Two. Three.
“Overwatch used to be full of heroes,” she says. “The best of the best on the whole planet. I am the best Starcraft player in the world. I would enjoy the competition. I play to win.”
“Fighting’s not the same as video games.”
“You would be surprised. Why do you think only pro-gamers drive our mechs?”
76 tilts his head, conceding the point. “So when you said you were curious, you meant you wanted to find these people and, what, challenge them to a duel?”
“How medieval! No. I would rather crush them than duel them.”
Another silence. Hana gets the sense that 76 either thinks very quickly and is processing a lot all at once, or he thinks very, very slowly. She’s hoping it’s the former, that he’s just considering his options - though she can’t begin to guess at what options he has. She is the one in the mech, after all.
“How much do you like your country, D.Va?”
A peculiar question. She mentally debates about giving him an honest answer and decides there’s no harm in it. “It’s my home,” Hana says. “I’d rather not see it destroyed. It is why I suited up in the first place.”
“Overwatch’s aim is to prevent destruction and war from happening.” 76 is staring directly at her, or at least his visor is aimed in her direction. “I lied earlier. I wasn’t curious about them; I was going to try to find their headquarters. See who’s leading the pack.”
That takes her by surprise. She’d’ve thought he was against them, what with all the semi-terrorist acts he’s committed over the past few years. She doesn’t say anything, though, and instead waits for him to continue.
“If I think they’re serving the higher purpose I hope they are,” 76 says, and then he shrugs, languid somehow, still a ripple of muscle and strength, “Maybe I’ll join them.”
A higher purpose? Justice, maybe. She can’t begin to guess at his motives, but he hasn’t even pointed his gun at her once during this entire conversation, despite being on opposite sides of a - well, could she even call it a conflict? He seemed genuinely invested in their conversation so far, and she doesn’t think he’s lying. But one thing still bothers her.
“Why tell me this?” she asks.
“Thought you might want to come with.”
Mee-cheen-nom. As if she’d ever want to - “If I leave, I desert,” she says, which isn’t a no.
“Well aware of that,” 76 says, amused. “Offer’s still on the table. Get to face those best of the best in battle or whatever, ‘cause I’m gonna find them eventually and the South Korean military isn’t even close.”
… She could swing this with her superiors. Couldn’t she? Make it so she doesn’t get in trouble when she goes back home, at least? Maybe slip them some reports, or give them Overwatch’s location when they get there, or - there has to be something, because she is far too tempted to say no.
“You can’t have any contact with home after this,” 76 says, watching her. Watching her facial expressions. Hana kicks herself inwardly for that. “I need to trust you not to turn me in. But I think I can - everything I’ve heard about D.Va says she never backs down from a challenge.”
Her gut roils uneasily as she looks down at the ground, a good two meters away. This would mean turning her back on everything she’s ever known, leaving behind everyone she’s ever loved. She wouldn’t be able to stream without setting up protections to keep her untraceable, she certainly couldn’t ever bring up a game of Starcraft, she might have to fight against her own people. But.
(This means escape, in some ways. Escape from her role, even if only briefly. And if not briefly, then - anything would be better than this, wouldn't it?)
“Hana,” she says, hands returning to the controls of her mech. “D.Va is my streamer name. My name is Hana.”
“Hana,” 76 echoes, and he finally relaxes. It’s an odd thing to see; she’d known he’d been ready for action, but now his shoulders slump a little and the rifle is swung back into its holster, quick as you please. “Do me a favor and get rid of anything you can use to get in contact with your squad.”
This is easier said than done, but Hana - well, she may have some experience in disabling her systems so no one knows what she’s doing. (Look, that ice cream shop looked very appealing, and no one had to know she’d left her mech for a few minutes.) Once they are down, 76 gestures for her to follow him with a jerk of his head, and she grins ferociously as she does so. Her mech’s stomping makes 76’s silent steps pointless, but she doesn’t think he minds.
She’s going to go against some of the best people the entire world had to offer, and she’s got a well of information about Overwatch beside her. And if she doesn’t like it - she can always make a break for it.
“Game on,” she mutters, and 76 lets out a rumble of a laugh.