The Boy Who Lay Broken at the Bottom of the Chicane

Today is starting with a bit of fuzziness, because I was out until two AM last night, and there was a vodka martini–shaken, not stirred–there as well.  So here it is, ten ’till eight, and I’m just getting into my post.  Oh, any my computer is being a pain in the butt as well, taking forever to come up.  This, too, also happens.

All of my racing scenes are finished, and they ended the way I expected them to end–with pain.  Though up to the point where everything get painful it was a good race.

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Just like at Sunrise Bends, Kerry had caught up to Emma at Polar Turn, but as he tried to take the inside, she threw another block, forcing him to break and slow. While he wasn’t upset, he was getting a bit peeved that he wasn’t doing that to her, and she was taking every advantage of him—

She pulled away fact, accelerating down the straight leading to Northwest Passage. This straight was only three hundred and fifty meters, but it was a fast three-fifty that led right into the Northwest Pass, the last turn before heading into the two point two kilometer curving straight known as West End, the fastest part of the course, and the one section that Kerry had already taken at high speed.

Emma cut into the inside of Northwest Passage, holding good speed. Kerry was right behind her now, only about four meters back, taking the turn a little wider because he wanted to set up his exit and come out on a different line than Emma. He saw her line and had it figured out: she was taking the turn tight and would line up on the west side of the course. Kerry wanted to set up on the east side, so he’d have plenty of room to pass—before Sunset Boulevard, he hoped.

He knew what he had to do if he was going to get around Emma. It was just a matter of flying smart and not letting her action get to him. Because he’d realized what she was doing with her blocks: she was trying to rattle him. She was trying to get him upset—and when you’re upset, you’re going to make mistakes. Kerry wasn’t about to make a mistake. By they time they were in Sunset Boulevard, she’d follow him.

Emma was really turning on the speed, however. She zoomed out of Northwest Passage and was into the wide expanse of West End in a matter of seconds. Kerry pushed his broom forward, the air speed indicator a blur as he chased her down. The lines were set just as he expected, and while he knew he’d have a little farther to fly to be able to pass her, he also had more room to move, but being on the outside of the gently curving course, he saw further than Emma—which meant he’d catch his marks well before her.

I'd like to point out that there's another grave near Sunset Boulevard.  Nothing says, "Hey, kid, lets not forget your mortality," like putting graves near a race course.

I’d like to point out that there’s another grave near Sunset Boulevard. Nothing says, “Hey, kid, lets not forget your mortality,” like putting graves near a race course.  Though I do believe the graves were there long before the courses . . .

I did a check on the amount of time they’d be in West End going as fast as I know they’re going, and it’s not a lot of time–which means there’s a lot of quick thinking going on while they both zip alone.  I used to do a lot of computer racing–so much so that I had a good steering wheel with force feedback and a six-speed in-line shifter that I ended up breaking because I did way too much racing–and I used to be like Kerry:  I was always thinking as I raced, looking for my marks, checking the cars around me, thinking about how I was gonna set someone up for a pass.

Kerry is doing that as well, thinking about what’s ahead.  And he’s picked up what Emma is doing to him is–in the words of a racer who once won a race by “accidentally” getting into the back bumper of the guy in first place and spinning him out with about two-thirds of a lap to go in the race–“rattle his cage” a bit.  And both times she did so, it worked.  However . . .

 

He was only a few meters behind Emma when he saw the course curving to the left. They were entering Sunset Boulevard, and this is where Kerry expected to make his move. He waited to see if Emma would set up on the outside of the curve, or if she’d diamond the turn. She reminded hard against the outside line, just as he’d expected. Kerry took the middle of the corner, keeping his speed as he felt the g-forces picking up as he prepared to pass Emma on the inside.

He saw the upward flick of her head as she saw him coming. When he was three meters from her processor she cut hard to her left, throwing a block as she cut the turn in a hard diamond. Kerry didn’t slow this time, however. He went up and over to her right, setting up on the outside of the curve, maintaining nearly all his speed while she lost a few kilometers an hour due to her quick cut-over move. He glanced over his shoulder before shouting into the comm. “You seem to lack three dimensional thinking, Selene.” He returned his focus to the track, fighting to stay on course as he navigated the turn.

 

Sorry about that, Emma, but you can go over in this race, too.  Maybe she wasn’t paying attention to the races that day.

Let’s just take this to the end, so we can see how this ends in pain–

 

Kerry wasn’t taking any chances. He slipped to the middle of the course, read to cut left or right if Emma tried to pass. It wouldn’t be possible for her to go over or under him as he’d done seconds before, but then they weren’t officially racing, and maybe she wouldn’t care if she cut through one of the holographic rectangles, not if it meant getting around him—

“Selene; Starbuck. Stop NOW.”

The moment Kerry heard Professor Salomon shouting in the comms he pulled back on the shaft of his broom as hard as possible and struggled to bring the PAV to a stop. The broom turned sideways as he pulled back harder with his left hand than his right, but he managed a controlled, sliding stop.

Emma, on the other hand, wasn’t as quick. He saw the panicked look on her face as she realized she wasn’t going to stop in time and that she’d spear Kerry. She pulled hard to her right, sliding her broom at him, slowing considerably but not stopping . . .

Kerry screamed as the shaft of her broom hit the outside of his left knee; a second later Emma fell into him and pushed him over. They both tumbled several meters down part of the rocky incline that made up Double Dip. The second he hit the ground Kerry felt a searing pain in his right leg; something was broken, but he didn’t know what. Emma fell half on top of him, half on top of rock; she screamed as she rolled away from him. He finally came to his own stop when the right side of his head smacked a small rock, leaving him with an agonizing headache.

He lay on his back looking up at Professor Salomon hovering maybe five meters overhead. Even though he was slightly dazed, Kerry recognized Annie flying in from behind and sliding up next to the professor, looking none too pleased. He took a deep breath, wondering what was coming next while watching professor tap the side of her helmet—

The professor spoke matter of factly. “Coraline, I need a pick up.” She stared at the fallen racers while Annie glared at Kerry. “I’ve got two down in Double Dip . . .”

 

And thus I get my somewhat Swedish title for my post today (though the original title of The Girl with the Dragon TattooMän som hatar kvinnor–actually translates as Men Who Hate Women, but I won’t quite go there), because Kerry’s a bit busted up, and we see the beginning of an injury that’s going to plague him for, believe it or not, at least three more novels if these stories ever get that far.  And, it goes without saying, Annie’s a bit upset.  There’s a scene I’m considering adding, but I have decided upon that scene yet.  If I do, it explains a little about–well, you’ll see, because it would come after the next scene, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

After all, there’s a lot of writing to go.