mother knows best
"My Dearest Fareeha..."
The day her daughter was born was the single greatest day of Ana Amari’s life. Fareeha Amari was a darling bundle of joy that brought a smile to Ana’s face every day. It almost felt unreal, the first time she held her in her arms, but the instant she looked upon her newborn child’s face, she was wrapped around her tiny fingers. Fareeha was everything to her, and she would do anything to protect her child. Anything.
Coming from a long line of decorated soldiers, Ana enlisted in the Egyptian military long before her daughter was even a thought in her head. She needed to protect her home, her people, the ones who mattered the most. What better way than to follow her family’s legacy? When Fareeha was born, that need to protect others only grew exponentially.
"Every mother hopes for a better life for her daughter. I was willing to fight and die for it."
As the world was torn apart by robotic forces, Ana’s own homeland had been hit hard. Egypt’s resources were depleting quickly, and security forces were unable to hold back the threat. Thus, elite snipers such as Ana were brought in. More than ever, she needed to protect her people. Most importantly, she needed to protect her daughter. She needed to protect her home, to make sure that Fareeha would grow up in a beautiful environment not torn to bits by war. She had to look after those who mattered most to her.
For her need to protect others, she was selected to join the Overwatch strike team. Alongside a select few other members, she fought to protect not only her country, but the world. Together, they beat back the machines threatening the world. The nations of the world saw value in keeping Overwatch together, so instead of being a small strike team, it grew into a peacekeeping organization, one determined to make the world a good place again. For her efforts, she was made second-in-command to one Jack Morrison.
"I taught you that there is nothing more important than protecting the ones you love."
Unfortunately, being part of Overwatch meant that she would have less time to spend with her beloved Fareeha. Often, she would have to remind herself that the very reason she was still a part of Overwatch was to keep her daughter safe, even if it meant she wouldn’t be with her as often.
"You grew up surrounded by heroes. They filled your head with stories of adventure and dreams of glory."
Her daughter grew up around some of Overwatch's most influential members. Heroes with larger-than-life stories, glad to tell her plenty of wild and whimsical tales. Listening to them, anyone would want to become an agent. But there was more to being part of Overwatch than simply being just a “hero.” Being in Overwatch meant risking your life, dedicating yourself to protecting the innocent, and most importantly, it meant making some impossible decisions.
Ana’s sniper rifle was covered in tally marks, symbolizing every single person she had killed. Some people were impressed by them, but to her, they were a reminder of all the wrong she had done. She could remember each one clearly. She knew they had families, people who cared about them. Every person she killed was just that: a person. She took so many lives away, and how could she ever forgive herself for that? What if she took a parent away? Someone who wanted to return home to an expectant child who was eagerly waiting for their guardian to finally come home. Someone who wanted to wrap their precious angel around their arms and tell them that everything was okay. Someone who had to resort to desperate measures in order to make sure their family was taken care of.
Some days, just the thought of how many families she tore apart made Ana sick to her stomach. She would think of her own Fareeha, and how heartbroken she would be if her daughter happened to be someone else’s target. Sometimes, she would even think of how horrified her own daughter would be to learn that her mother was killed in action.
"One day, you wanted to join them... but it was not the life I wanted for you."
Ana wanted the best for her daughter. She never wanted her to be a part of Overwatch. She wouldn’t be able to live with herself if she knew that Fareeha struggled with the same guilt she had harbored for so many years. Even though it broke her heart to tell her daughter that she shouldn’t follow her dreams, she always made it clear that she didn’t want Fareeha to join Overwatch.
Still, despite regretting some things she had done with them, the Overwatch team was like family to her. Younger members took to calling her “Mama Bear” and looked up to her. Her commander looked to her for guidance. She was surrounded by those who depended on her.
No, they weren’t like family; they were family.
Ana was still looking out for them even when her hair turned silver and her daughter was no longer a child. It was an understatement to say that she was weary by then. She had no idea how many more lives she could take, how many more missions she could stomach. Dedicating so much of her life to a single cause had worn her out severely.
And then it all came to an end.
"I never told you of the weight I carried from all those I killed to keep everyone safe. But I always did what was asked of me. Until one day, I could not take the life I needed to."
It was supposed to be a simple rescue mission. Her team would get in, get out, and she was supposed to be looking out for them from the shadows, eliminating any threatening targets. It all went wrong. So horribly wrong. There was another sniper taking out her men - her family - and she wasn’t quick enough to take this sniper down before they had done some serious damage. Once she had this sniper in her sights, she took aim and... hesitated.
She knew the other sniper. She was family. She was Agent Lacroix’s widow, Amelie. Ana had treated her as if she was her own flesh and blood. But something about her changed. Even so, Ana could not bring herself to fire upon someone she once called her friend.
While Ana hesitated, Amelie Lacroix did not.
"I hesitated, and everything changed. The people who I was supposed to protect died, and I was left behind, gravely wounded. The world believed that I was dead. I thought perhaps that was for the best."
The other sniper had taken a shot through Ana’s scope, shattering it into pieces. The resulting shrapnel dug deep into her eye, damaging it profusely. Her screams of agony fell upon deaf ears. Everyone believed that she was dead, and she decided to keep it that way. In her own way, it was how she said goodbye to those who mattered to her.
"I've lost so much of my life. I've said goodbye to so many friends. I've buried the ones closest to me."
Ana stayed in hiding while she recovered. To her, there was no reason to keep fighting. She just wanted to give up. If you asked her, it was best to leave everything behind and be forgotten.
"But for all that I have lost, I know that there are still people who need to be protected. So I cannot stop fighting. Not yet. Not while there are still people waiting for me. One day, I hope you'll understand."
She stayed in some rundown hospital for quite some time, but the more she stayed there, the more she realized she needed to do something. Innocents were still being harmed out in the world, and Ana couldn't stand idle as they suffered. There were people out there who needed a protector, someone willing to help them. Missing an eye and a team, Ana decided that neither of those things were going to stop her from bringing justice.
After all, heroes never die.
"Your mother, Ana"