Chapter 1: His Thoughts
Reaper never planned on staying with Talon.
There wasn’t much he could do to stop them from picking up pieces of his genes from here and there, and putting him back together like humpty dumpty. But they were so persuasive at Talon.
They were good people, people like him they had said. They were willing to do whatever it took to achieve their goals of world peace. To prevent a second omnic crisis. To prevent riots against omnic rights. To help their partner Vishkar to set order in the world. To save people like him that the world had left behind. To offer a sympathetic ear to those who nobody else would listen. To offer advice and guidance to anyone who would just ask. To encourage obedience and loyalty.
They never stood against Overwatch, they assured him. They merely had conflicting ways of reaching their sometimes conflicting goals. They saw the reasons behind him forming Blackwatch. He had told them, at least, he thinks he told them, why he started the subdivision. They had agreed with him. Later, they revealed they had even helped him. Gave him advice, intel, even extra agents when he needed it. They were so sad, they said, when Overwatch exposed Blackwatch. When Morrison turned against his best friend to get the public eye off of him.
Everyone had turned against him. First it was Reinhardt, forced into retirement. He hadn’t even fought against the order, he had simply been led away like a dog. Then it was Angela, who had refused to let the tech she developed to create new weapons. He had tried to convince her, saying that the only good war was a quick one. She moved her lab away from the Swiss headquarters after that. Then Torbjorn, who stuck around just long enough to see Ana buried and then left. Winston was next, refusing to share his incomplete shield design with Blackwatch’s technicians. That tech would have saved so many lives. Then it was Genji, gone without even a thanks after the Shimada clan had fallen.
Jack had insisted he didn’t know anything about the data leak, but Talon told him the truth. Everything that had been released to the public was simply Morrison’s fault. He was the only one that could get through the security protocols, besides Reaper. His own best friend had turned on him to get the public off his back. On top of that, when things got bad, Jack had insisted on shutting Blackwatch down. That’s what originally started their fights, before Talon had even told him the truth.
He easily lived with his job, with constantly staying in his best friend’s shadow. He was jealous, on occasion, but who wouldn’t be? His friend still needed him, took his advice, took him out for drinks with the rest of the original strike team when they had the days off. But then, after Ana’s death, after the data leak, things had changed. It had started with “Maybe Blackwatch should be downsized, and be given less dangerous missions” and it evolved into “Blackwatch should be shut down.” He remembers asking Jack one night about what position that’d put him in.
“Maybe… Maybe you should distance yourself from Overwatch.” A pause while Jack avoids his eyesight. “Not permanently, of course. Just until we get this all sorted out.”
He knew when he wasn’t wanted. He never accepted it, and the fights got worse. And then Gerard was killed in a freak car accident, the Slipstream disappeared, and McCree left one night and never came back. Jack didn’t give a damn about any of it.
He had nothing left to lose that day. He had been angry and reckless, and the fighting between the two was bad. It got physical, and public, and then others joined in and there was shooting. What had started about a petty argument about a search and rescue team had changed into a war.
But he still didn’t know who blew up the base. He doesn’t care. Talon has him now.
He hates Overwatch, the thought of the organization makes his dead skin crawl.
He hates what they’ve taken from him. What they’ve taken from so many.
A hand on his shoulder brings him to alertness. A sliver of light leaks through the cracks of the transport, illuminating the soldiers standing at attention. It lands on their helmets, but he still can’t see their eyes. Reaper turns abruptly as he shrugs off the hand on his shoulder to see Slipstream standing in the shadows. She’s dressed for a stealth mission, her red accelerator giving off just a small glow from underneath the rest of her dark outfit. She leans back, smiling. It doesn’t reach her eyes.
Chapter 2: Slipstream
Talon infiltrates a Vishkar building.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The building would seem eerily lit to any employee that had, on the off chance, decided to stay past hours any normal people worked at. The cleaning omnics had been sent away as well. The local Vishkar branch’s headquarters was truly deserted.
White and blue tiles glowed in the moonlight, accenting the spartan look of the hallway. Slipstream slunk along the opposite walls, moving quietly through the shadows. She could see her goal near the end of the hallway. Slipstream edged forward smoothly, then pressed an ear to both of the wooden doors shrouded in darkness. Empty inside, of course. A quick tap on her wristband and the small all clear light bounced off to the rest of the infiltration team.
Talon grunts in dark combat helmets entered behind her, lumbering to the doors. Slipstream stepped backwards as the squad leader pushed past her. He ignored the door marked ‘Conference Room’ and instead bent in front of the security scanner for the ‘Authorized Personnel Only’ door. After a few long moments of silently fidgeting, a quiet beep sounded out. Slipstream pushed the door open, barely taking a moment to flick the acknowledge light on her communicator before stepping into the elevator shaft. The door shut behind her and she was alone.
A few service lights and the subtle red glow of her accelerator were the only source of light in the chamber. Dramatic shadows were cast over the cables and the bars bolted into the wall. Slipstream stood on a small concrete lip behind the door, taking in her surroundings. A floor below her was the elevator, resting on the ground for the night. Above her on the opposite wall were the many doors to the floors above her.
The elevator shaft was good for climbing. With the help of the cables Slipstream clambered up the walls. Halfway to her goal she stopped for a brief moment to rest. She checked her communicator.
The other squads were efficient in their search of the lower offices. Their signals, however, indicated that they hadn’t found any important information yet. At least, nothing Talon already knows. She thought. Reaper and his squad were guarding the perimeter to the building. It’s an oddly quiet night for a Vishkar office. Slipstream quickly grew bored with wondering. A quick notification updated the rest of the Talon forces on her status, then she began to climb again.
Half an hour later, Slipstream had reached the last door in the elevator shaft. She edged her way to the opposite wall and inspected the entrance. The clean, white doors were made of hard-light, like almost everything in a Vishkar establishment. There was barely a thin line where the two doors had slid shut. Even if she had been able to get a grip on the doors, Slipstream wasn’t strong enough to pry them open. Sending off another notification, she waited. A few minutes later and a talon hacker slid the door open for her. She slipped into the hallway and listened to the hiss of the doors as they slid shut behind her.
The “top” floor of the Vishkar branch headquarters was just as impressive as the rest of the building. Huge glass windows let in the light from the full moon, and Slipstream took a second to glance at the rest of the city during night. She had learned during her briefing that the Vishkar office had been built on top of an old correctional treatment facility that had lost funding during the omnic crisis. Looking down, she could see the wide, rolling hills of the National Congressional Cemetery. The cemetery was ancient, a historical landmark that had been located in that plot of land since 1807. It was surrounded by Vishkar construction projects, a rich hard light neighborhood without anybody living in it yet. Behind everything she could catch glimpses of the black water of the Potomac.
Slipstream moved on. She had the layout of the floor memorized all ready, and it didn’t take long for her to move through it. Finally, she came to the end of a plain hallway. There was only one door at the end of it marked “Authorized Employees Only - High Security Area”. Her heart beat a little bit faster, the accelerator on her chest pulsed in time. She sent a notification ping to the rest of the force, letting them know that she was almost done. Now came the tricky part.
Get in, get out. Do what you were told to do and do it well. Slipstream inhaled once, then opened the unlocked door. As soon as she stepped in, she heard the whirring of the turrets, and then a slight beep as they locked onto her. She wasted no time in lunging up the concrete steps. Slipstream blinked around the corner and up the steps, listening as the turrets behind her attempted to lock on and fire. Bright, scorching, blue lasers lit up the hallway for brief seconds before she blinked out of them. She jumped up the last two steps and then burst through the door on the other end of the staircase. She shut it behind her and watched as the turrets in the ceiling went back to their silence.
So this is it. Unlike the rest of the building, this room was filled to the brim with tangled wires connected to various pieces of machinery. Slipstream pulled out the second device she had been given before the infiltration started from her pocket. It was a crude-looking thing, much like an old thumb drive with viscous spikes on the end. She approached the nearest server and jammed it into the metal. It made an awful noise as it tore into the metal. In a few moments, a light on the side of the machine blinked on. After a few moments, the light on the side blinked once. With a sharp tug, Slipstream pulled it out of the server. I wonder how these things work. She rubbed her thumb over the end, feeling the sharp prong with her finger. The cool metal fascinated her for a brief moment before she shoved it back into her pocket. She blinked back through the hallway covered by Vishkar turrets and soon was back in the elevator shaft. Slipstream’s descent was much quicker than her trip up to the top floor.
The night air was cool on her face as Slipstream paced outside the Vishkar building, the dull red glow on her chest illuminating the shadows in front of her. Several talon squads, including Reaper, were also cautiously patrolling the perimeter. Above her, the night sky was a hazy orange from the rest of the city’s lights. All was eerily quiet.
She inhaled deeply, feeling the air move around her as she walked. Her first real mission had gone well, and she couldn’t help the deeply satisfied feeling that took root inside of herself. This isn’t you, a small section in the back of her mind whispered. No choice. Besides, they’re Vishkar. Slipstream shook her head slightly. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Reaper approaching her.
“It’s time to go. The last squad has finished up inside.” His voice was a low growl in the night, barely a whisper. There was a pause, then he set a gloved hand on her shoulder. “Good work.”
Even through her clothes, she could feel the strange weight of his hand on her shoulder. The tiniest movement came from it, the movement of his skin degrading and repairing itself under his leather gloves, aided by thousands of microbots. Slipstream shrugged his hand off and headed for the ship.
(Don't ask me about the setting for this chapter, I've only been to DC once to visit a cousin and it was a long time ago!)