A Replacement Vessel
David glanced around nervously, he was surrounded on all sides by an impenetrable darkness, not a speck of light pierced through the foggy veil. “What the fuck…” He spoke, exasperated, the last thing he remembered was passing out after noticing his arm had been crushed under a pile of debris. He glanced down at his left arm, his flesh seemed to stop just below the elbow, evidently he had lost his arm, much like The Boss. His breathing became shallow as his eyes continued down his arm, a twisted mess of black metal swarmed below his elbow, their forms contorting into a makeshift arm. He hesitated for a moment, gently probing the mass with his right hand, the swarm parting at his touch, allowing his hand to pass through unharmed.
“Do not fear, we mean you no harm.” A rough voice spoke, seeming to project from every direction at once. “Quite the opposite, in fact.” The voice’s tone shifted as the swarm of metal departed from David’s arm, forming a large cloud before him. A long figure emerged as the cloud dispersed, David immediately recognized it as Gabriel Reyes, or rather his persona, Reaper. The cloaked figure stood imposingly, stopping a few feet from David, his expressionless mask peering deep into his soul.
“What do you want?” David’s voice trembled, he had heard the stories of what Reaper did to his victims, though he prayed he’d never experience it first hand. Reaper seemed to shimmer as he examined David, flashes of the same metallic swarm that covered David could barely be made out in the darkened arena.
“We seek to come to an agreement, we will merge together for survival.”
“Much like this vessel, you have succumbed to your wounds. We have entered your body, repairing the damage done to your systems.” The voice trailed off as Reaper reached towards his mask. The matte white skull dispersed into a cloud of black smoke, replaced by the haunting visage of Gabriel Reyes. His skin was pale, his eyes sunken deep into his skull, despite the movements of Reaper, his body appeared very much dead. “This vessel has served us well, though it’s usefulness is at an end. We seek to grant you the same gift, convergence between our minds.”
David paused, carefully eyeing the contorted form. “Why did he agree to this, what did he get in return?” He had never learned the reasons behind Reyes’ defection, though his curiosity never truly faded away.
“There is no choice. Without our assistance, you will die, but we will find another vessel if you are unwilling. Our strength is undeniable, the world trembles at mere mentions of our name, we offer you that same strength.” Reaper dispersed into a cloud, amalgamating behind David. He rapidly spun around, expecting to find the pale visage of Reyes, but a familiar face stared back at him. The Boss’ pale blue eye pierced David’s soul, the shrapnel from his forehead shimmering with the same frequency that Reaper once had. “We offer you revenge. You will kill for us, and we will assist you. His life will be yours, but only if you accept our gift.” David stared bewildered at the phantom that stood before him, a perfect replica of the man who had mentored him, who had betrayed him. His form dispersed again, reappearing ten yards away, creating a massive robotic frame. “You will be able to stop what he has planned, to save the ones you love.” The frame shimmered for a moment, remaining in place as another cloud appeared at its base, a perfect replica of Tracer emerged from within. David felt his heart drop as his eyes locked with hers, there truly was no choice offered to him, accept, or die. “What is your answer?” The voice echoed around the room, dispersing the robotic frame, the apparition of Tracer slowly walking towards David.
David felt a massive lump in his throat, ever fiber of his being screamed at him to reject the offer, to fade away like so many others had before him. “I accept.” He whispered, tears falling from his eyes as Tracer’s phantom smiled at him, mimicking her mannerisms perfectly.
“We will return when this vessel has failed us. A small trace of us has been left within you, a safety measure in case you attempt to run.” The blackness began to close in around David, the phantom’s visage slowly dispersing along with it. “We will return.” Blackness was all that remained as David began to fall through the air, screaming in vain as he hurtled towards some unseen ground.
David screamed as he threw his body forward, panting heavily as his sweat-covered body panned the room. He recognized the room he was in, it was the medical bay back at Gibraltar. The curtain around his bed parted, Mercy appeared before him, her angelic presence a welcome reprieve from the nightmare he had lived through. “It’s okay, I’m here.” Her soft voice spoke, placing a hand on his shoulder, gently leaning him back against the mattress.
“What happened?” David asked between ragged breaths, his green eyes staring into the distance. Mercy sighed as she walked towards the foot of the bed, her shoulders slumping for an instant before he bedside manner took over.
“We managed to find you shortly after the mission ended, Lena was adamant that we didn’t leave you behind.” David smiled, that sounded just like her, stubborn as ever. Mercy let out a long sigh, her shoulders tensing up for a moment. “We couldn’t save your arm, I’m afraid, but a prosthetic is already being fashioned.
and Winston are hard at work as we speak.” She paused, letting out another quick sigh. “There’s something else. Somehow, a pierce of shrapnel embedded itself into skull, stopping just after it pierced your cerebral cortex. We cannot remove it, otherwise it would risk causing a brain hemorrhage, I’m sorry.”
“Show me.” David spoke, prompting Mercy to nod as she retrieved a small mirror, holding it in front of him. The shrapnel had impaled itself within the right side of his forehead, eerily similar to the wounds of his old mentor. His eyes flashed for a moment, noticing a faint shimmer on the black metal that protruded from his head. Was that really just a nightmare?
“With some therapy, you should get used to your prosthetic rather quickly. And thankfully the shrapnel wasn’t too large, so it won’t impact performance in the field.” David nodded, smiling as she placed the mirror on the beside table. Recovery wouldn’t be immediate, but he was hardly bedridden.
“You ready, luv?” Lena called from the hallway, prompting a chuckle from David as he styled his hair in the bathroom mirror. His right arm nimbly styled his hair into a sweep towards the right of his head, the small shrapnel from his forehead had become less obtrusive as he became acquainted to it. His left arm was placed on the bathroom counter, he had leaned early on that using a metallic prosthetic to style hair was just asking for strands to get caught within it. The matte gray arm had been fashioned by Torbjörn, with schematics provided by Winston. Overwatch had been quite generous in the replacement, allowing room for modifications to be implemented later down the road. He stared at himself in the mirror for a moment, noticing the same faint shimmer he had seen the first day he awoke. “Luv?” Lena called again, closer this time.
David shook himself back to reality, turning to join his better half. “Coming!” He shouted, making his way down the hall. Lena stood in her usual jacket, a pair of jeans and canvas sneakers completed her ensemble. This would be their first date outside of Gibraltar since his accident, a welcome break from the usual hustle and bustle of life on the Overwatch base. David wrapped his left arm around her, she had been adamant about how much she liked the replacement, repeatedly mentioning how stylish it looked. He glanced down at Lena, a beaming smile painted on her face. “Ready?” David asked, opening the door from their shared quarters. Lena nodded, leaning in towards him, the couple chuckling as they shut the door behind them.