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PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Feb 17 2017, 09:01 AM
Gotta go fast! Wait... that's not right. Cheers, love, the cavalry's here!
Lena suffers from a condition known as “chronal dissociation”, meaning that she has detached from the time stream and runs the risk of disappearing from it altogether. However, she has a device -a chronal accelerator- that keeps her anchored to the present so long as it’s charged and she’s within its vicinity. The device also allows her to control her own time, enabling her speed it up such that she can move from one place to another in an instant, slow it down, or even reverse it, allowing her to move back in time and negate any harm done to her in the past few seconds.
She’s also equipped with a pair of pulse pistols, which are powered by her chronal accelerator and fire compressed bullets of energy at a rapid rate, as well as a pulse bomb, a timed explosive which can stick to virtually any surface and detonate with enough force to destroy most forms or armor or defense. Additionally, she’s an ace pilot, competent CQC fighter, and above average shot with most forms of pistols and rifles. Also, she's got this neat accent that makes somehow makes her sound perkier and more intelligent.
Nothing makes you quite as acutely, painfully, aware of the fragile nature of existence as the moment when you are almost completely wiped from it.
It's intended to be a simple mission -her first as an agent of Overwatch. Simply put, she was to take their new experimental jet out for a test run. Called the Slipstream, the flier had been designed with a built-in teleportation matrix, just in case the pilot needed to be somewhere in a pinch. All the scientists in charge have assured her that there was probably nothing to worry about, that such a test run was only to check the performance of it while inside the jet; that they've tested it in the lab multiple times without incident. She is only marginally interested in their reassurances... Truth be told, she's too happy to be anxious. At age 18 she's already made a name for herself in the RAF and been recruited into her dream job: a pilot for Overwatch. On top of the world and nothing but nothing could bring her down. And really, some of the world's best had worked on it, including Winston, with whom she'd made fast friends. What was the worst that could happen?
The matrix malfunctions halfway through the mission. All she remembers is the panicked beeping of the plane's alarm systems, HQ's hurried attempts to troubleshoot why the plane was beeping, and a brief wondering if this is how she died, and then she blinks.
Imagine waking up from a coma you had no idea you were in: people have changed, subtly, but have changed nonetheless; things, major events have happened without your knowledge; nothing's quite like how you remember it. It's not quite dissimilar to what she felt when she blinked. One minute she's in the sky, the next she's somehow embedded in the ground, almost as if she's passed out and crashed the plane. She's suitably disoriented, and had absolutely no idea where she was or how long she'd been unconscious -after all, that's the only way she'd ever crash a damn plane. Even stranger, she can’t seem to... touch anything. Whenever she tries to swipe at something, to grab it or touch it or feel it, she passes through it. As if it doesn’t exist; as if she doesn’t exist.
By the time Overwatch comes to pick her up she is on the ground, and very, very close to a nervous breakdown. The time between their arrival and her return to HQ is a blur, but a few choice pieces of information stuck with her. Turns out what had been a blink of an eye for her had been months to the rest of the world. She’d been presumed dead, and the Slipstream project shut down. Missions, birthdays… quality time with her friends, all gone. Yet to her it seems like no time had passed. Disorienting doesn’t even begin to describe it.
They put her in a room where they could observe and contain her while they work on a solution. “Chronal Dissociation” they call her condition. Means that she’s become “unstuck” in time, disappearing for hours, even days on end. To put it simply, imagine watching an episode of a television show that was recorded all faulty, so it inexplicably jumps forward and you can't go back to it. Now imagine that, except it's your life. It’s an odd existence, but she doesn’t complain. Because for all the pain and fear she feels, she knows how much stress they’re under, and she knows what people expect from Lena Oxton. So she hides it behind smiles, joking with those who care to listen to make sure no one realizes how close she is to losing her sanity. Because how can one stay centered while in a state where there’s no control?
She fades –blinks- out inconsistently, frequently unable to hold a solid form. As far as they’re concerned, she’s nothing more than a ghost. Sometimes she can tell when she’s blinked, in hindsight, when she wakes up; those times –the times when she can tell she’s had a dream about her past- are welcome rarities, respites to a time back when she felt like she had any control in her life.
She doesn’t know how long it is until they do, but eventually scientists begin to confirm her worst fears: that she’s a lost cause. That nothing can be done to fix her, to help her live a normal life once again. She’ll never fly –never help another person- again. Her life is over. She holds back the tears, just as she’s done since she was brought back, because she knows it’d break their hearts. Instead she simply forces her 1000-watt smile and thanks them anyway.
But there’s someone who doesn’t take no for an answer: Winston, her best friend. He works tirelessly on a solution, even after the most stalwart braniac has left the project for good. He’s sweet, she thinks, to try and do the impossible for her –but, on the other hand, she’d do the exact same for him.
When he figures it out, it’s nothing short of a miracle. She listens with bated breath as he explains it to her in the simplest way he can: with this harness she’ll be anchored to the present. No longer will she be a ghost, destined to spend the rest of her life bouncing forward in time until lord knows what happens. Now she can touch, feel, do.
The second the harness is on her and activated she buries herself in Winston’s fur and lets out every single bit of emotion she’s suppressed. She wails into his shoulder, thanking him through gasps every chance she can. He’s a perfect friend, patting her on the back and reassuring that it was nothing. Except that it isn't; he's given her life back -a life even she had thought she lost.
They tell her they have no use for her in the flight program. They tell her her harness is an obstruction, and would make getting into the cockpit too difficult to make it worth it. She suspects that isn't true; she's one of the best -if not the best- pilot they've got, and Overwatch's budget seems to be almost limitless. They could design planes that were compatible with her harness easily and afford to build them just as easily. No, she suspects, they're guilty about what happened to her. Or maybe they think the accident will have made her hesitant to get back in the cockpit? Maybe they're right, but it doesn't feel that way to her.
Regardless of the reason, though, she is a pilot without a job, and she's lost.
So she pleads with Jack to give her something, anything to do. Something to allow her to stay in the organization to which she held so dear. He was hesitant; she was military, yes, but combat wasn’t her strongest suit. Winston, however, advocated for her, even going so far as to craft weapons powered by the same source of her harness. The Pulse Pistols, as he’d called them, fire compressed rounds of energy at a rapid rate without depleting too much of her energy. It's an… arduous process, but eventually Jack acquiesces to their combined
And from that day she continued on as Tracer, Agent of Overwatch, determined to make a difference in spite of her problems and make the world a better place, and her life would never be the same again.
2 LONG 4 U
Taken after the “Reflections” comic, Overwatch having been recalled months ago
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Feb 17 2017, 01:44 PM
acceptedwelcome to gossamer
@LENA OXTON Strider, your Tracer app is amazing! I love the way you described chronal dissociation, and how lost Tracer felt, like a ghost. I could feel the pain she was hiding behind that smile and, I'm going to be honest, when I got to the part about Winston giving her back a life she thought she'd lost, I teared up a little bit. Your understanding of Tracer is brilliant, and I can't wait to see what she does in the multiverse!