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The Last Will and Testament of Gérard Lacroix

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Marseilles

January, 2077

 

Widowmaker moved quickly through the morning press, her hat pulled low over her face. If anyone thought anything of the pallor of her skin, or the blue cast of her lips, they said nothing or moved on. She didn’t need to wear the coat or the hat or the gloves, but it was a glaring morning -- the shadows were crawling and she needed to keep a low profile for this mission.

She bought breakfast from a touristy vendor on a street corner. She ordered it with lemon and sugar. She had no intention of eating it, but rather observed from the corner of her eye the silhouette of a pedestrian twenty feet behind her. A pedestrian who had made the odd choice to stop across the street the moment she had...

Widowmaker took her pastry, moved to the next avenue, took a sharp turn down a side street, sank her hook into an awning three storeys up and left her coat -- and the pastry -- hooked on an iron gate behind her. It flapped in the wind, like a tourist loitering.

She took off across the roofs in a run. The springs in her augmented boots pumped full tilt. Her pursuers would only be fooled for a second. Timing was everything in this business, and she didn’t have long. She could smell the sea, see the bright silver line of it over the edge of the rooftops. She dropped off the edge of one building, grappled to the next, and swung her way around the corner. A row of boutique hotels rose up as sharp as knives. She pulled herself up along one of their blasting signs, crouched carefully in the dark behind it, and tapped her visor.

“Show me,” she whispered, clicking her tongue as the interface flooded her vision.

Her sights obliged. It was nine a.m. in the tourist off season, but the docks were always busy. A line of ships waited in port: a luxurious ocean liner, expecting wealthy guests. A man and woman leading a family of four. A row of omnic hotel associates receiving their pre-boarding virus checks. A hurried a young woman with dark hair and a ridiculous purple jacket, carrying bundle under her arm. She had folded it up and shoved on top of her duffle, but she could not quite hide that it was an extra coat she’d fished it out of some alley...

“No, no, no,” whispered Widowmaker, with some relish. Her pursuers thought they had a read on her. They thought she didn’t know. Thought they could cut her off before she reached the ship. Thought she hadn’t identified who was following her. But Widowmaker knew something about patience. Snipers staked their careers on patience. Widowmaker unslung her gear.

Something shifted in the shadows behind her, a soft but persistent hiss. This was Widowmaker’s only warning. She swung around, and her visor caught something else: the barrel of a gun, behind her, six inches away, leveled at her head.



The blast tore off the corner of the hotel’s sign. Widowmaker flew clear of it. She’d managed to catch her hook on the adjacent building. It didn’t buy her much time. A blast took out the balustrade she’d hooked it to. Widowmaker felt the wire go slack under her weight, and she fell. It was a fifteen foot drop. She managed to let herself go slack, let the springs in her heels take most of the fall, but she could feel an angry pop in her knee as she went down. Not an ideal landing. What’s worse, she’d landed among a screaming tour group. No vanishing into this crowd. Widowmaker considered her med pack and her venom grenade.

She went for the grenade first. The purple cloud filled the street corner, sending the crowd -- and hopefully her pursuer -- crashing to the ground and coughing. Widowmaker lurched her way around the corner, popping the med pack as she went. The pain in her leg didn’t vanish, but it could at least take enough of her weight to allow for a run.

She reevaluated her position. Docks were behind her. She was at a disadvantage in the streets, but easier to pick out on the roofs. She could play around, send her pursuers on a wild chase across half the city, but her ship left on the hour, and she wasn’t sure she could afford to miss it. Not now. Not when she’d already wasted so much time just--

The harbor. She’d pretend to die in the harbor. She’d let them get a close shot. She’d collapse into the water, and she’d crawl up the underside of the ship.

Ugh, unhygienic. But it would have to do.

She turned up another narrow road, squeezed through the fence of a courtyard, and had just committed fully to this course of action when a harsh breath of smoke flowed past her feet. The courtyard filled with the scent of burning hair. The smoke reformed ahead of her in an ugly mess of smoke, charred flesh, leather, and metal. A black silhouette appeared with its back turned to her, its arms crossed. It stood framed under the archway of the opposite gate. She could count the vertebrae of the exosuit.

Finally ,” she huffed, with a breathlessness she hadn’t actually heard in her voice in years. “It is about time! Come with me. I need cover. We must get to the docks.”

The silhouette cocked its hooded head to one side, as if to say: Yes, and…?

“It’s Sombra,” said Widowmaker. “That wretched girl has made her move at last. Our database has been compromised. We must evacuate immediately. The future of Talon--”

“SOMBRA TOLD ME EVERYTHING,” said the silhouette, arms unfolding, and when he turned with this gun cocked it was aimed between her eyes.

“BUT NICE TRY,” hissed Reaper, “AMÉLIE LACROIX.”


London

December, 2076

 

Security was tight around the Meridian, but it was no matter. Widowmaker rolled a venom mine under the foot of a passing guard on the roof. He went down in choking silence. A swift kick to the back of the head sent the second sprawling. The third ended up strung from the rooftops.

Ah, how they tried, though! Four more guards were loitered on the next roof over. It would have been so frustrating to place a shot with them there, so Widowmaker simply had to grapple to the next building to take them out. None of them saw her make the jump. They went down even more quickly.

So much for the world’s finest security. Widowmaker couldn’t quite summon a smile as she threw the last body down. It had been easy. It was almost always so very easy.

She anchored her wires and levered herself over the edge of the building. She let the warmth of her visor guide her scan of the perimeter. The mission was simple. The crowd gathered on the steps of the Meridian. There were some environmental issues, but at her angle it was a clear line from her vantage point to the podium.

The omnic held his arms in a gesture of peace. The crowd was already practically in tears. Down below, a woman clutched at her omnic lover’s hands, her eyes red with tears as the speaker began…

It meant nothing to Widowmaker.

The speakers nine sensors flashed once, and the crowd quieted.

“Humans. Machines. We are all one within the Iris.”

Nine sensors. Core processor would be right behind them. Widowmaker readied rifle. Her sensors aligning at the center of the gathered lenses in the omnic’s faceplate.

The machine was so frail, it would only take one shot…

“I see the future: Humans and Omnics standing together united by compassion, our common hopes, and dreams.”

The omnic’s lenses flickered. A subtle motion. One most humans would have missed, would have mistaken the cooling vents for the eyes. But Widowmaker knew it well -- an omnic shifting their field of vision. The omnic was no longer looking at the crowd.

He looked up at her, framed through the hovering red mark of her sights.

“These were the words my brother shared with you,” said Tekhartha Zenyatta. “Brave words, and true, but I fear the future he saw is no longer one we have the luxury to wait for.”

He lifted his hand. Despite the distance, despite the shadows, despite the visor, she had to distinct sense he was looking directly into her eyes...

“Now we must make it,” said Zenyatta.

Widowmaker pulled the trigger. The shot flew. So did one of the omnic’s mala.

Widowmaker’s shot crashed through the glass door of the hotel. A miss.

Zenyatta’s strafed her right ear. It sounded like bells, and her dead husband’s laughter.

Widowmaker unhooked from the wall. She threw another wire, meaning to pull herself around the corner and away, but the orb pinged off the wall behind her and followed her. The hovering orb circled around her ear, and she heard it again: Bells, damnable bells, and a voice high and rich:

“Ah, Amélie, my little cabbage…”

And another voice, deeper and more mercilessly robotic:

“There is disquiet in your heart.”

Widowmaker stumbled and fell into the blackness of King’s Row’s winding alleyways.

A direct hit.


In the first revolution, Amélie saw a dead man. Her husband, to be exact, standing at the stage door clutching a bouquet in his mechanical hands--

How rude! She would not allow this memory to be seen so readily.

 

So, in the second revolution, she saw the sharp crack of Tekhartha Mondatta’s head, as he fell crumpled prettily into the arms of his helpless security detail. How perfect a shot. How difficult an angle. How sad that silly girl had been. How warm Widowmaker felt, knowing her mission had been a--

 

In the third revolution, she was a young girl in an apartment that had no back wall. The bastions had torn it out some time ago. A woman in a blue uniform stood in the pitted door. A police officer, or a soldier -- Amélie was too young to know the difference. Anyway, the woman wore a long coat and carried a semi-automatic over her shoulders. She looked down at Amélie, at this skinny, angry little girl kicking at her legs, and asked, as she grabbed her by her easily breakable wrist:

“...Where are your parents?”

Amélie showed her the pile of stone in the old rose gard

No. She had not thought about this in years.

 

So, in the fourth revolution, she was in the orphanage. A row of children in their pretty pink and yellow beds. The matron came in, all warmth and smiles. She set a mechanical doll up in the playground, and told all the little girls to take a gun out of the playpen. It would be time to practice fighting omnics. For omnics would always, always turn on their

 

In the fifth revolution, she was in a wedding dr

No.

 

In the fifth revolution, she drank tea by the window in Gérard’s apartm

No.

 

In the fifth revolution, Gérard lay in the hotel room in Marseilles, and he was quite dead. Amélie fished his memory core out from behind his broken face plate. She did not linger on the scuffs her lipstick had left in the still shiny chrome. She found the drive behind the sensor close to his left vent. She unhooked it, wiped the oil off of it with a handkerchief, and slipped it into her boot. Then she took the USB drive he’d kept in his right breast pocket, stuck it in her earring, and dropped that behind the nightstand. It had bothered him that this information would never get to where it would go, his one small, silly regret

Regret. Regret. What do YOU know of REGRET?

 

In the sixth revolution, she stood before a man in a striped suit, who smiled like a toy in a carnival, with cold, plastic eyes, though he was human in all terrible ways. He accepted the memory core, and her apologies for her lateness. Liao. The overseeing director of Overwatch.

And the chairman of Talon.

“Damn, Amélie,” he said. “Well, you sure lived up to your codename! Consider your debts paid. Let’s check out this toy you brought us, eh? He was so good at figuring out our little puzzles. Oh no, we wouldn’t destroy it. It’s much too valuable for that…”



In the seventh revolution, she threw herself through a broken skylight, followed swiftly by a man in black. She landed among wreckage, barely back on her feet before he lifted her by her shoulder, his gun leveled at her jaw.

“It’s true you know,” she said. “Everything.”

He glared at her from the shadows of his hood. At that time, he was very much alive.

“Isn’t that pretty,” he said. “Is that what you told Gérard before you plugged him in the head?”

It took everything not to her roll her eyes.

“Aah, the brash American,” she sighed, “and he said you were so desperate for the truth! Believe me or don’t. I don’t much care, but know this, Gabriel Reyes--”

She stabbed him in the wrist with one of her grenades and kicked herself free.

 “--I would have gladly died for my husband, but I have no interest in dying to you.”

 

In the eighth revolution, she wore a wedding dress. The lace itched at her shoulders, but she could barely bring herself to care. Everything felt so warm, so strange. A woman in blue squeezed her hand and pointed, laughing. As Amélie saw Gerard in his ridiculous shiny suit, she didn’t know whether to laugh or

 

Widowmaker lay in the alley, crumpled like a puppet with its strings cut. Sirens screamed in the distance. It had started to rain, a cold, icy rain, but she could barely feel it. She saw the puddle forming in the cobblestones by her head. She saw, also, the sandaled feet of the omnic, standing uncaringly in that puddle.

The mala returned, gently, to its bearer’s hand, then, after a second, to its place around his neck.   The omnic folded his arms behind his back, and looked down at her.

“Such a sad life,” he said. “You have suffered greatly for the whims of others, haven’t you?”

“You have some nerve,” she gasped, “to say that to me.”

She pulled herself haltingly, into a sitting position against the wall. Behind the omnic, she could make out his security detail crouched behind him -- a combat omnic, with a weapon readied. Its vents steamed.

“You do not have my pity,” said Zenyatta. “Pain offers instruction in of itself. What you did to my brother was the greatest pain I ever felt in my existence. It has taught me much.”

“Ah,” said Widowmaker. “So, it is revenge you wanted. Would you like me to suffer, as I have made you suffer? Oh, do try. I might almost feel something.”

The omnic’s sensors flickered in confusion.

“What could I take from you that you have not already lost?”

Widowmaker looked away.

“There was nothing the orb showed me that was not already within your heart,” said Zenyatta, softly, mercilessly. “You have offered me nothing you have not offered yourself tenfold. I will not give you my anger, or my pity, but you have my sympathy. He seemed like a wonderful person.”

“You know nothing,” said Widowmaker, ignoring the tremor in her voice, “you know nothing about him…”

“That is correct,” said Zenyatta, “I have only your word to go by.”

Widowmaker snarled. Her foot splashed uselessly in the puddles around her.

“How DARE you--” said Widowmaker. “I will not play your game, omnic! As though you know ANYTHING. As though you know ANYTHING at all--”

Lights flashed from the main road. They would not be just the three of them for much longer. She tried to move, tried to find some kind of weapon -- the security omnic’s visor flashed an alarmed green, but Zenyatta made a gesture, and they stilled. Zenyatta knelt, reaching, with great care, for Widowmaker’s forehead -- and the visor, with its eight red lenses. She flinched away. Zenyatta didn’t press, his hand hovering in the empty air instead.

“They did not take your mind, but his.”

“I won’t tell you anything.”

“That is your choice,” said Zenyatta, “and I will respect it. This path to enlightenment is yours, not mine.”

“Ugh, enough. Just kill me,” snapped Widowmaker, “or turn me over to your authorities. Whichever you have in mind.”

“Hm.” The omnic touched his chin. A second mala rolled into his hand. He spun it between his index finger and thumb. “Neither.”

“Eh?”

“You have kept many secrets in your life,” said Zenyatta, holding the orb out to her. “allow me share one with you.”

He did. Not with words, not with some wordless, spiritual revelation, but rather with a data-file, uploaded from the orb. Widowmaker brought down her visor and processed the information. The text scrolled across her screen, then it glowed and vanished, as the file deleted itself upon completion.

When she was done, her cheeks were wet -- but they’d been wet all along. It was raining, after all.

“You are a fool to show me this,” she whispered, bracing her arm against the wall. “I am your enemy. I have always been your enemy.”

“You have taken something very beautiful from this world,” said Zenyatta, with no inflection. “I would like to see if you could bring something back into it.”

The sirens were closer now. Widowmaker glanced out past the omnic’s arm. The security omnic was still watching her, still crouched in obeisance -- a crouch that could unfold into a strike in an instant. Still, she could see it didn’t sit in perfect stillness. Its visor followed her. Its sides slowly expanded and contracted.

Ah.

‘It’ needed to breathe.

“Sparrow,” whispered Widowmaker.

Genji Shimada’s head jerked in recognition.

“Your brother works for us,” sang Widowmaker, and threw her venom mine at his feet. It broke in a waft of smoke, and the ninja threw up his arm, but he began to cough. The omnic turned to attend him, and in that moment Widowmaker grappled up the nearest building -- and escaped into the screaming night.