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Slipstream 2 or The Secret Life of Lena Oxton

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People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint—it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.

—Some guy

Lena Oxton sat belly up on her couch in her dingy flammable London flat nomming handsfree on a powdered bonbon as she listlessly flipped through television stations in a state of utter despondency. She was dressed in what she referred to as "throw clothes" in the sense of "throwing at life": yellow yoga pants which had long ago lost their elasticity and a grey Calvin Klein sports bra featuring a fashionable wine stain. Her attention span, which once served her well enough to succeed with almost honors at the Royal Airforce College Cranwell, had collapsed after years of misuse and neglect. It was especially afflicted since Emily left her. Now it could barely be held to the television.

The titles to Mary Queen of Bots, the omnic soap opera, scrolled.

"Daft."

She changed the channel.

"Tonight on BBC One, a man with a 19 inch penis left disabled—"*

"Daft." She changed the channel as she mumbled, "just cut the bloody thing off."

A snarling man in armor in the midst of waxing poetic on the English at the heights of Scottish eloquence appeared on her tele: "You coonting, English cuntcicle maed outta... coont! Ye killed me coontrymen ya hoity toity coont-filled bag a coo—"

Lena muttered something about being too gay for period war dramas before switching again.

Suddenly, Lena's flat was filled with the sound of kodo drums as sensationalist World War II footage flashed before her eyes.

"Tonight on Secret Nazi Weapons: omnics." An egregiously mustachioed reporter held up a blurry piece of paper with an equally egregious eyebrow raise in what Lena supposed was a dimly lit German bunker. "Feast your eyes on this." The camera zoomed on some conspicuously blurry blueprints. "The deranged scribblings of a coke addled Hitlerite scientist frothing at the mouth with fascist evilry like a rabid bull in heat headlong an unpregnant sow? Or a prophetic warning to humanity of the existential threat to come? We look at evidence that the Nazis, yes, THE Nazis, may have foreseen the Omnic Crisis-"

"Too daft," Tracer noted with a bewildered head-shake.

She flicked the channel to a scene of two beautiful women holding each other about to lock lips in a passionate kiss. Her attention was piqued. She sat up slightly. Lena recognized the actresses, both had generated significant media attention from coming out as openly gay.

"You know, I've always thought of you as more than a friend..." said the first woman with a head tilt and a coy smile.

"I know..." replied the second, seeming to unburden her longing with a breath of relief.

"I never knew it would take everything that happened to us... between us... for me to say this..."

Tracer's eyes widened. Kiss, kiss, kiss, bloody kiss, she thought.

"Oi, say it!" she shouted at the TV as the sexual tension broiled, "say it and kiss!"

"I... you should be with Brad. I've been jealous and it'll be hard for me but you deserve him."

"Aww, bloody 'ell!" Tracer cursed, throwing her bonbon at her TV screen, "that's rubbish!"

In 2070, in a strange quirk of political correctness, television stations started casting queer performers to play straight roles as a demonstration of their acting prowess. Lena, of course, thought it was homophobic and an annoying casting trend that continually left her with blue balls.

She switched the station.

"Reports from the Home Office indicate that Talon cyber terrorism is Britain's greatest threat. Extensive provisions were unfurled tonight after parliament met in a closed session following a cyber attack which derailed a train on HS3 leaving 15 people dead and dozens more injured..."

"Oi, bloody hackers, as if the Home Office peaking at my emails wasn't enough..."

At that moment, the buzzer to her second rate flat sounded in obnoxious monotone. Lena intentionally hesitated to see if they would go away but the buzzing became more impatient. Finally, she reluctantly arose when the buzzing reached a fever pitch of annoyance. She brushed the bonbon crumbs off her body and made her way to the door.

"Oh no, why now?" Lena mumbled.

As she hauled herself over to meet her irritating visitor, she realized she was in no condition to interact with other human beings. Her apartment was 90 degrees, she hadn't showered in days and smelt of sweat and BO, she'd been lying around getting drunk off white wine and living off of protein shakes; during the day she intermittently watched TV, played video games and masturbated in a perpetual state of boredom and self-loathing on her couch only ever leaving to replenish her groceries at Lidl's in her pajamas.

It was the fallout of her breakup with Emily. She'd been an utter wreck ever since. The strain Lena's secret missions for the reformed Overwatch put on her relationship with Emily finally culminated in Lena confessing she was still an Overwatch agent and, accordingly, their breakup. Emily, who during the course of their relationship had become a reader of the anti-Overwatch tabloid Insight, thought Overwatch was an utterly satanic organization.

These days, Jack Morrison and his emergency calls were her only source of purpose and the closest thing she had to a job.

"Chop chop!" came a muffled imperious voice from the other side of the door as Lena approached.

"Yeah yeah, calm your tits, I'm coming..."

Was it the landlord's son come to collect? Those persistent Shambali missionaries? Someone to finally fix her bloody heat? Maybe a plumber to finally get rid of the sewage smell coming from her sink?

She opened the door to see a blonde side-burned and mustachioed man with a bony face which, to Tracer and her queer working class sensibilities, screamed "nob." He wore a highly decorated military uniform and stood erect in a manner that was exhaustingly military in composure. His demeanor, however, was one of a man who had never been on the receiving side of orders. He bristled at the sight of the former pilot.

"Leftenant Oxton! That's poor reaction time for the fastest woman on Earth!" he roared, "and this is no manner in which an RAF officer should look!" Tracer blinked as old neural pathways were charted. Some innate "I'm going to get chewed out" mode of behavior she picked up in the military kicked in. She immediately stood up straight, fixed her eyes forward and saluted.

The officious man took to pacing side to side in front of her as he clutched his riding crop under his left shoulder and lectured her on the importance of hygiene and the intricacies of its relationship to pride. Slowly, Tracer's attention faded as she struggled to keep her gaze centered forward. Her eyes began to track the gentlemen back and forth in his short parade across her doorwell. With horror she realized he was Air Chief Marshal Sir Bertram Peach, Chief of the Defense Staff. This man was the most senior uniformed military adviser and the man with the second highest level authority in all the British armed forces besides the Defense Secretary and the Prime Minister. What the cock was he doing here? Why was he filling her ears with inane drivel?

"Are you listening, Oxton?!" the brash senior officer roared, riding out the syllables in 'ing' for effect,

Lena shook her head and resumed staring forward. "Yes sir!"

Annoyed hubbub came from down the hall at the raucous shouting from the unwanted and uncalled-for military discipline.

"Good," replied the ranking airmen with a smarmy head wobble. He added a smirk for good measure before he lowered his volume and took a secretive tone. "We have an issue of the utmost importance to discuss, your eyes only. It is a matter of national security. Do you understand Leftenant?"

"Yes sir!"

"Shh shh," the Air Chief hushed, "no need for that now, this is secret. Secret, yes?"

"Yes sir!" Lena shouted causing the Air Chief to flinch with an irritated frown. Lena caught herself then lowered her voice and sort of whisper-shouted, "yes sir!" as she shifted her eyes suspiciously to indicate she understood.

"Good," he replied, "at ease Leftenant..."

The two stared at each other in awkward silence as a little black boy at his mother's feet muttered "mommy, why is that man shouting?" behind him. His mother picked him up and assured her son that the man was yelling because he was a git then closed the door to her flat with a slam. The senior officer, the Pinaforesque model of a modern Major General, meanwhile, rocked forward on his toes as he looked askance at the dingy hallway. He didn't much like being around the "lower classes." Poor Lena stood stupidly as if her brain had fused an important gasket. Military discipline dictated that she should wait for whatever he had to say next which from experience was usually to piss off.

Finally, the senior officer cleared his throat to interrupt the silence. "Um, you'll have to invite me in," he noted.

"Oh right!" Lena noted, the returned light in her eyes indicating she'd regained sentience, "how rude of me!"


* This was an actual news report I saw in The Sun