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Shadows of Stars

Chapter Text

“Looks clear, love.”

“Copy that.  Heat scan is negative,” Winston’s voice buzzed through her earpiece.

“And what of Talon’s agents that do not emit heat signatures?”

Tracer smirked from her position on the roof; Angela had someone particular in mind.

The gorilla sighed, “Unfortunately, we don’t have much of a choice.”

“Relax, Mum,” Tracer teased with glee into her wrist communicator, “Winston secures the payload, you grab some supplies, we nip to the pub to celebrate.”

Winston’s promptly serious response hinted at the look that must have been on Angela’s face.  “We’ll rendezvous in the courtyard and escort the payload to the hanger.”

“Roger that.  Eyes in the sky, ready!”

“Let’s go.”

The three figures in the distance disappeared through a door.  Adjusting her goggles, Tracer scanned the main entrance of the facility again, squinting and inspecting the shadows that covered the large grounds. It was a cloudy, windy night; the woman flipped the collar of her leather jacket to better cover her neck against the chill.  Luckily the rain hadn’t followed her from London.  Instead, her hair just decided to keep blowing in front of her eyes.

She trusted Winston and knew he was beyond smart, but even she thought he was a bit loony for wanting to return to the Gibraltar Watchpoint, especially after Talon’s attack on the base. The scientist had quickly locked down and evacuated the facility, and while Talon agents likely hadn’t simply moved in, returning was dangerous.

Tracer glanced towards the higher levels in the back of the base that housed the launch pad.  His plan seemed straightforward.  Winston would locate the droid he had been working on before the Recall, programmed to make repairs to the Overwatch satellite station.  Genji would escort Angela to gather as many medical supplies as possible.  They would meet in the middle and ensure the robot caught a flight to space.

Overwatch’s resources and funding were dangerously low.  If the automated droid wasn’t successfully launched in order to get the station back online, the organization's global communication, already on the verge of crashing, would surely fail.  They already lacked infrastructure and a rigid leadership hierarchy.  Talon really didn’t need to do much work to beat them at this point.

Angela’s voice through her earpiece interrupted her thoughts,  “We have what we need.  Winston?”

The young woman on the roof leapt to a walkway that bridged two of the upper-level sectors.  The light gusts whistled in the night, making it difficult to hear anything besides the creaking of the old buildings.

“The payload is secured.”

Another sweeping glance towards the entrance and exterior walls.  “Still no movement out here.”

“Exiting the Research wing.”

“We’re leaving Medical. One minute to rendezvous.”

Wicked. Tracer blinked, pushing off the wall of an opposing building, launching to catch one of the higher ledges. She expertly swung up to the top.

“Maybe I should check out what’s in my locker while we’re--”

“We’ve got company!”

She immediately bolted across the roof, dashing towards the rear of the base.

“Where?”

Gunshots greeted her over their comm-link before Genji’s stoic voice answered, “Six hostiles, West corridor.”

Tracer willed herself forward at intense speed, the accelerator on her chest whirring with each burst.  She blinked across a massive gap to one of the main hallways, imagining the interior of the building she had once roamed. The West corridor leading from Medical to the courtyard had been a frequent path on her visits to Angela.  Maybe she could enter through the second floor barracks and travel down—no wait. The West corridor was always filled with light. There was a glass skylight.

Once she spotted her entry point, she propelled herself upwards, then sent her herself plummeting down at lightning speed, shattering the glass of the skylight, descending into the chaotic sounds of gunfire amongst the falling crystal fragments.

Dramatic landing, success.

“The cavalry’s he—oof!” her bubbly, signature war cry was interrupted by something heavy smashing into her torso, sending her flying onto her back.  She heard heels click on the floor before a foot pinned her down.

She was staring down the barrel of a familiar gun.

Salut,” purred her assailant.  Tracer smirked at the beautiful woman that stood above her.

“We’ve got to stop meeting like this, love.”

She winked playfully before sending herself backwards in time, recalling the past few precious seconds, returning to her descent into the hallway midair. This time, her weapons were drawn and she was emptying her clips before she landed.

Widowmaker disappeared from her peripheral, likely diving to a side hallway for cover.  Tracer lurched forward in a blur, slamming her pistol into an enemy’s skull before zooming again to punch a Talon member heading for Angela.  When he did not instantly crumble to the ground, the young woman rewound, darting back, only to immediately push forward again.  Her speed the second time sent the opposing soldier flying.

“Deja vu, yeah?”

A quick glance towards Genji told her he was doing more than fine; three bodies lay at his feet.  However, more figures appeared to be charging down the hallway towards them.

“You two go check on Winston.  I’ve got this lot,” Tracer called over her shoulder while firing at the new arrivals.

“Are you—”

“Take the South hall. Go!’

Angela responded with a firm nod, and Genji immediately followed her as they turned down the corridor at full speed.

Turning back to face her foes, Tracer immediately ducked with a shout; a grappling hook narrowly avoided her head and buried itself in the wall behind her.

“So cheeky!”

The young woman bolted away with a laugh as Widowmaker propelled herself towards her victim, a sweeping kick just missing its intended target.  Her pursuer quickly kicked off the wall and flipped to a new position, sending a wave of gunfire.  Tracer giggled as she blinked in and out of sight.

“You haven’t gone soft on me, have you?”

The assault of bullets halted, and Widowmaker grew still.  Tracer thought the manner in which she rested her weapon her shoulder was almost elegant and posh, if not for the fact it had been just firing at her.  The visor lifted to reveal a pair glittering, golden eyes.  

A smirk danced on her lips as she replied, “Perhaps, though I do not think they have.”

Tracer snapped out of her trance and looked around at the circle of men that now surrounded her with their guns aimed at her head.  Oh, right, those guys.

“Getting a bit crowded. Next time, let’s do just us, yeah?  More intimate,” Tracer quipped with an eyebrow wiggle, “Cheers!”

Then she dropped her pulse bomb right in the middle of the group and blinked away in a flash.

Tracer heard the small explosion a mere second later, but her speed had already carried her well beyond the blast range.  The hallway shivered as she zipped down towards the courtyard.

She’ll be fine.

She burst through the door, guns blazing, easily spotting Angela’s white uniform in the dark night. Winston desperately defended a levitating platform that appeared to be carrying a body.  It looked as if they had managed to navigate the droid halfway across the courtyard to the building that housed the launch pad before a group of Talons had joined the party.  Their ink black uniforms were just a shade darker than the night that surrounded them, and this is where she aimed. This dark shadow moved closer and closer to the figures protecting the payload.

Suddenly, a massive dragon of glowing green valiantly charged through the mob that surrounded her friends and burned across the courtyard, subsequently slamming straight into the giant generators that powered the entire facility.  Sparks and flames erupted from the electrical equipment, quickly engulfing the nearest section of buildings while chunks of rubble began to descend upon the courtyard.

Talon’s agents were no longer the main problem.

“Get out! Pull back!” Tracer jumped the field to the group, shooting down a pursuer that had avoided the explosion.  She turned back to the three Overwatch agents, waving them away with her hand.

“I’ll cover ya, go!”

“The payload--”

“I’m the only one that can get it there, just move!” she screamed as a wall of the main compound collapsed.  She rushed to the levitating platform and began pushing the droid towards the launch pad.

The medic of the group paused before issuing a firm nod.

“Be safe!” Angela cried and began moving to the buildings not yet burning.  Genji followed.

“It will activate when it reaches the shuttle,” Winston shouted over the burning chaos before charging away with the others, “Just get out of there in time!”

They could reach the North exit of the base before the fire reached that side of the building.  She was the only one fast enough to get the job done and pull out before the whole watchpoint went up in flames.  The door she needed to reach across the courtyard wasn’t far, even if she was pushing a metal robot the size of a grown adult.  The light of her accelerator was dimming with overuse, and the levitating platform was surprisingly still heavy to push.

A door, a corridor, the transport wing. That was it. She could totally do this.

Digging her heels into the ground, Tracer grunted as she pushed against the transporter, and it slowly began to move.  She focused her speed and what energy she had left into her legs.  She sped up what time she could with what power she could still muster. The empty, metallic face of the droid reflected the light of the flames that were beginning to surround her.  Sweat began coating her face from the heat of the fire.

Come on, be a hero.

She sighed with relief once she made it back to the interior of the base.  It was eerily quiet when she entered the building in contrast to the chaos outside.  The hallway seemed so incredibly long with the droid in her possession.  The air grew warmer with each second, and she knew she was running out of time.  She pushed onwards.

Be a hero.

She managed to push the gurney far enough to have a visual on the entrance to the transport wing.   A few yards away, she blinked to the door, desperately typing the passcode Winston had provided during their briefing the day before to enter the hanger. If only she could rewind that far…

Once the door opened, when she turned around to dash back to the gurney and make the final push, a figure hovering over the droid made her heart plummet.  The man’s helmet and visor covered his entire face except for his mouth, but his posture shook with deep, failing breaths. Deep, bloody gashes cut through his black uniform, and Tracer knew those originated from Genji’s blade. The gruesome burn marks on exposed flesh, however, could have come from anywhere within the hellish base.

The Talon agent held up a grenade.

“No!”

An evil snicker flashed across his face.

“Cheers, bitch.”

The explosion sent her flying backwards, slamming her arm against the wall of the corridor, and debris began pouring into the narrow passage.  Rolling to her side, she coughed profusely against the dust that filled the air.

Then all was still again.

“Oh, no, no, no,” she murmured, staring dumbfounded at the spectacle before her, trying to sit up.  She was sealed in the passage.  The droid was destroyed.  She had failed.  The operation had failed.  Overwatch couldn’t take another failure.

She struggled to her feet, trying to ignore a shooting pain in her left arm. Turning around, she saw the door she had opened moments before.  There was only one way to go now.

She quickly keyed her commands on the master control panel at the front of the transport wing to open the blast doors that would allow her to exit the base before the fires reached this side of the compound.  They slid open, revealing the open night air, and with just a blink, she would be out.

But then she looked up and saw the shuttle, and the pilot swore it spoke to her.

Be a hero.

She knew what she had to do.

Something collapsed in the distance, and the foundation shook.  Tracer jogged to the ship, opened the entrance hatch, and climbed aboard.  It was an older model but a fair size.  It smelled like home.

Reaching the cockpit, she turned on the engines and flipped on the fuel switch.  Signs of life began to breathe into the ship as it awoke from a heavy sleep.  Visuals and diagnostics started proudly popping up on the display screens, and she began initiating the pre-programed launch sequence while she took her seat.

Her earpiece buzzed with Winston’s voice, “Come in, Tracer.”

“All right?” she asked, checking the hydraulics and electrical readings. She winced from bending her injured arm to speak into the communicator on her wrist.

“We made it out, heading towards the safe house. What’s your location?”

“In the rocket.”

The gorilla made a noise of surprise before he asked, “Did the droid's automated protocol not engage to get inside the cockpit?”

“Droid's toast, mate,” Tracer sighed, clicking her seat belt into place, “We need those systems online.”

They only had one shot at this.

“We abandoned that satellite station years ago, who knows what repairs it might need to operate,” Winston bellowed over the comm-link, the desperation apparent in his voice, “Have you even ever flown that kind of aircraft?”

“I can fly anything,” the woman laughed, even though it sounded hollow, “The base has gone critical; the only way out is up.”

“Tracer, you can’t, there’s only enough fuel for--”

“It’s just a hop and a skip, Whinny, I’ll be back for dinner,” she stated softly.  She knew it was a lie.

A pause. Everything was quiet except for the growing hum of the engines, and the steady vibration reached Tracer’s bones.

“Lena.” It was Angela’s voice that broke the silence.

The young woman took a deep breath, trying not to let her voice crack with tears she was holding back.

“See you later, Mum.”

A brief moment followed before the other responded, “Heroes never die.”

The view of the open night sky, still hazy with clouds, beckoned the pilot forward.

“Tracer, over and out.”  She removed the earpiece; soon the distance would be too great to keep the connection.

She hit the throttle, and the engines roared to brilliant life under her control.  They had liftoff, and the Overwatch agent began her ascent to the sky.

When the auto-pilot took over, she leaned back and closed her eyes.  Her right hand gingerly massaged at the pain in her left arm, assessing the damage.  At least this part she had managed to get right.

She really shouldn’t have been surprised at that exact moment to find the end of a rifle once again pressed against her head.

“Silly girl.”

Amber eyes gleamed at captured prey.