“AND WITH JUST TWO LAPS TO GO!!”
The announcer nearly screamed, trying to let himself be heard, if only barely. Thousands of spectators were roaring in their seats, half of them for the race, the other for the explosions and death that came with it. In the year 2189, everything was a spectator spot.
"Just three more miles, you understand?" A voice said calmly through the headset. "There is a piece of debris in the middle of the road exactly a quarter of a mile from here. You race down to it, avoid it at the last second and hopefully take out one of them." The driver said nothing, eyes fixed at his surroundings. He had already reached the point of shutting down everything around him, not hearing the explosions, screams and roaring engines. He rammed his vehicle to the left, avoiding the burned out wreck that was embedded in the ground there, seconds later an explosion could be heard, followed by the sounds of screaming and pieces of metal falling to the ground, no doubt mixed with flesh and bones. A burst of flame erupted from the exhaust of the Skyliner as its driver gave it everything he had. He could hear the vehicle protesting, metal shaking and vibrating. “Come on bitch! Roar for me!” He yelled out as he blasted towards the finish line. He could almost feel the breath of the other drivers in his neck, only providing more fuel for his insane end-sprint. There was a natural limiter on these bikes, one his mechanic had removed for him; crazy bitch. He knew the thing was nearly ready to explode when he crossed the finish line, immediately letting the throttle go.
He rode the protesting vehicle to the side, skidding to a halt, ignoring the leaking fuel lines that had been penetrated by live rounds or debris. The minute he removed the helmet from his face and threw it up in the ear, he heard the thunderous boom of feet stamping on seats, shouting and hands clapping, even some gunfire to celebrate. The driver, Lance, beamed as he held up his arm, enjoying the applause he got. Although it was only the second race of the season, he had done well this day. His vehicle was still intact –at least in his eyes- and he had not received any life threatening bullet wounds or stabbing injuries. This year’s charity-race was especially brutal, yet the prize money was mouth-watering. He heard tires grinding to a halt behind him, signalling the arrival of his teammate. Seconds later a punch landed on his shoulder; in this world a compliment for a job well done. He enjoyed the scene a little more before he glanced at his right, seeing his teammate meet up with their mechanic, if one could call an unstable element something like that.
The mechanic was a fucking piece of work, 50% insane, the other prodigy child. The things this mechanic could do with an engine was unreal, if not illegal in sixteen city states; simply too good to be fired from the team, yet also too unstable to be left alone without any supervision for more than a minute. Their mechanic had once quoted that an engine wasn’t complete until the sheer roaring sounds could get the entire crowd off. His fellow driver was similar to himself, adrenaline junky, troubled childhood and a fixation to go faster and faster. They only had one rule, don’t fuck with each other while driving, the other side was ok. Rumours were circulating that there would soon be another addition to the rooster; another driver.
Lance groaned as he was led towards one of the side rooms, his vehicle and helmet taken care off by his mechanic. He was led into the room and was instantly engulfed in flashing lights and cameras bleeping on. What came next was the only downside to his job, besides death, dismemberment, shrapnel imbedded in flesh and burn wounds. He spoke the words he had been trained to say, all written down by his sponsors. Larger companies now ruled where nations had been ruling before. The financial problems in the beginning of this age where fucking enormous, one crisis after another. Finally nations collapsed underneath their own depths and corporations rose up from their ashes, carving out their own little territories. Without those countries, ethics and laws changed as well, slowl as that might have been. Now sponsorship, blood races, cage fights to the death, and others, all was now permitted. Lance couldn’t give an ass; he wasn’t hired to be a historian nor a philosopher.
He signed a picture of himself, a picture of his rookie debut. Back then he simply had a self-bought engine and an old rpg, coupled with a whole lot of balls, recklessness, and lacking the sense to know what was good for him. Three races later and he had a sponsorship going for him, recruited in a good team and even dental plans. That had been three years ago. He signed the picture, did his required smile for the camera and then join up with his handler, hearing words being ushered before being pushed inside a room.
“Well you are certainly right, Bob.”
The announcer said, glancing at the projection on the screen. A few circles were on the grid, representing drivers and their vehicles. More than once one of the circles suddenly vanished or split into numerous smaller circles. “This year’s charity event is going to be spectacular, indeed. Lance Savage currently sits fifth in the Blood Sprint Series standings, a shy 51 points behind Briad Kerselowsk, and he boasts an impressive record at New Port Speedway, tallying seven wins, 31 top 10 finishes and an average finish of 7.1.”
The other announcer, Dave, nodded when he said that, awarding the camera with one of his dazzling white teeth smiles. “Let us hear what Lance had to say concerning his rising up the ranks.”
The two men announcing team gave another flash of their trademark fake smiles and the screen changed, showing a young male with short hair, all of it matted to his forehead from all the sweat, blood and grime. His eyes gazed at the camera before he glanced at the man interviewing him. “Lance, you simply dominated on one of your best track this weekend at New Port. What are your team’s expectations for the remaining two races this month?”
A small orb of light was moving towards the tired youth, the device capturing every inch of his skin and every tremor his voice would produce. When he spoke he spoke in a very irritated way, irritation held at bay by something. “We as a team are looking forward to District seven which last year had been a good track for us, as well as Homestead; Very solid races and tracks for us.”
He simply stared as he left it at that, not bothering to talk about his winnings or his position. “Well, no doubt you have few glamorous words you wish to tell the audience, all those millions of fans and enemies out there. Right Lance? …. Lance?”
The man glanced around the room and could barely register the door closing.
The media would package it up as ‘mysterious’ the young man being so driven that he barely had enough time to sit down and say more than a few words. The fans ate it all up, thankfully. The truth was much different. He had simply been herded into the room by his handler, explaining to him that there was a man who wanted to ask him a question. All true, save for the fact that the man was broadcasting it live across the globe. He used one of those fancy words again… glamoorus? It irritated him that he did not know the word. He simply made a mental note to search it up later while he went to back to his crew crew. The second he left the ‘nice’ and ‘clean’ building the media used he was faced with the cold hard truth of reality.
In the year 2189 there was no cleanness, no bright and shiny world that held love and order. Chaos, death and pain ruled here. The old world, as some liked to call it, had perished. Nations and empires had destroyed itself, finally collapsing underneath its own weight. Large corporations were the only thing that managed to stay alive, if only barely. They warped themselves into large scale superpowers, drinking in lands that now held no government. Lance and his crew worked for such a company, Elite enterprise, representing them in this year’s blood race. A high stakes, winner takes all competition that had little to no rules. Last year he and his crew had gotten to sixth place, an impressive standing seeing as there were over two hundred teams. He did not know what the company he drove for did, not bothering to check either. They could slaughter humans and feed them to children and he’d still drive for them either way. In a world like this you simply did what you needed to do, his childhood proving that.
He moved towards their ‘garage’ a hulking beast of a truck. The sides were completely military grade steel, layered with plates of hardened carbon plating, making it impenetrable by small and medium weaponry. The tires were coated on the sides, had thicker profiles and had shield plates on the sides. The thing was a tank on wheels, housing several living compartments and enough room to spare for their vehicles. It could expand its compartments when it was stationary, allowing more room for storage and walking. The thing was old, ‘old world’ design. It was sturdy and had been used for military missions, never once being able to stop, besides rockets or other heavy duty stuff. It might not be pretty, yet it was a good bandit deterrent. It also had two automatic turrets for any would be fan who tried to get closer than was allowed.
He entered the stationary truck and placed his helmet on the nearest stool he could find.
He forced his tired frame into the softest seat he could find. It wasn’t strange to find Lance sleeping in a racing seat, usually legs dangling out of the side while he caught some rest. Beds were a thing he never had gotten used to, no matter how clean and fluffy they were. His crew accepted this fact, no questions asked. They were a ragtag group of individuals, each a savant in their own way. In the old world each of them would have been diagnosed with some psychotic problem or social disorder. Yet here, they called it ‘unique’ personality. He enjoyed hanging around with these fuck ups, knowing he could be himself here. He pulled the zipper downwards, only stopping when it was just below his navel. He closed his eyes as he began to think. What was that word again, Glorderum?
In the background he could hear curse words being freely offered by the team’s technician.
This person could be considered this age’s Beethoven, swapping violins with terabytes and pianos with software. Everyone called the technician by some funny nickname, seeing as technician was too long a word and the work that done by this individual was equal to a god dammed wizard when it came to tinkering and fine tuning. If you coupled their techie with their mechanic, you birthed one of the greatest race monsters ever, if not one prone to explosions or reactor meltdowns. He glanced left and noticed the screen displaying the summary of the race and the interviews that were being held.