- Genre: Comedy, Friendship, Fluff, Angst
- Word Count: 2,731
- Pairing: First Person x ???
- World: Acceleracers
We were all preparing our cars for the next realm. The Maniacs had their own little corner while the Teku had their own across the room. It was best that the two groups remained separated for obvious reasons, but even with the distance… well, let’s just say that sound travels.
Teku music started blaring through the drome, causing Porkchop to hit his head on the hood of his car. I flinched at the sound – that had to hurt. He growled in annoyance and started heading over, getting Mark’s attention who, of course, had to join in.
With a groan of annoyance, I quickly followed suit.
“Scrap that noise, stinku!” Porkchop ordered. I internally cringed at the insult.
The shortest of the Teku didn’t pay him any mind. In fact, he was so into the music that he pushed a button on his bracelet and his own car started rocking with music so loud that the piles of tires behind it began to shake. A couple even fell and hit the ground. He didn’t seem to care though and started dancing to the beat.
Both Mark and Porkchop covered their ears as if the sound physically hurt them. I mean, sure it’s a bit loud, but I’m not gonna lie – I was actually enjoying the beat.
Not that I’d ever admit that out loud. Nope, not in a million years.
The female – her name is Karma, I learned – reached into the car and turned the music off. It was replaced instantly by the screeching of the alarm.
Another realm was opening up.
Porkchop fell to the ground and I burst out laughing, earning a half-glare half ‘you’re crazy’ look from Mark.
“The next racing realm is opening,” Tezla announced.
I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, we kinda figured that much.”
Mark smirked at me as headed to his car.
I rushed back to my own beautiful Night Hawk which was parked right next to Taro’s Riveted. I sent him a look, silently asking if he was okay to race. He nodded his head and started the car. I decided to stay close to him, using his injuries as an excuse even though I would probably follow him anyway.
We took off, heading for the track. This was my first time driving through the track and I was feeling a bit nervous about it, but the excitement was too high for me to focus on anything else.
“You have one hour.” Came Tezla’s voice through the radio.
My grip on the steering wheel tightened as I pushed farther down on the accelerator. I stuck close behind Taro with Mark behind me and both Porkchop and Monkey driving in the same car behind him.
“You don’t even have to stop, Porkchop. Just slow down and I’ll jump!” Monkey’s begging came through the radio.
He only laughed in response. “I love this job! Yee he haw!”
I tried to contain my laughter at the pair. They were always hilarious when they got together.
“PORKCHOP!!” Monkey cried.
I hit the portal and that familiar flash of light filled my vision. When it disappeared, I found myself soaring through a jungle of huge trees and vines. All I could see was green and brown!
We landed safely on the track and took off. The second thing I noticed about this track is the lack of traction. It felt… slippery.
The track led us in a circle around a large tree, slowly descending down towards the ground. Every few seconds there would be a different track connected to the one we’re currently on. I wondered if we were actually going the right way.
“Hey, which track are we supposed to take?” Tork’s gruff voice came over the radio. I silently thanked our leader for asking what was on my mind.
“They may all lead to the end,” Tezla answered.
“The last time, they led to nowhere.” Gig’s voice was low and barely audible. Tork didn’t catch it, but I certainly did.
“I didn’t copy that. Say again?” Tork responded.
The air was silent for a moment before Tezla finally came through. “This is Dr. Tezla. We think you should split up.”
“Let’s move some metal, Maniacs!” Tork grunted.
Hearing that line gave me confidence but I still chose to stick close to Taro.
The farther we drove, the louder the sounds of this place became. Screeches and hollers of monsters I couldn’t even imagine.
I glanced into the side mirror. “We caught a drone, Taro!”
No matter what, I would not let that bastard pass me. I stayed focused, my eyes shifting from the mirror to the road and back again. I swear, I only looked away for a second, and when I looked forward I saw this huge… thing on top of Taro’s car. “Is that… a mosquito?”
The creature rammed its stinger into the roof of his car several times before stopping. I could only guess that Taro had grabbed it and was preventing it from breaking free. Next thing I know, the bug is sent flying as we drive under a thick piece of tree trunk hanging low over the track. Our cars barely made the clearance, so that thing didn’t stand a chance.
I scoffed when he threw the stinger out the window, glancing in the mirror. Crap, I had forgotten about the drone behind us. “Time for some payback, buddy.”
I pushed down on the accelerator, gaining speed before slamming on the breaks. The drone didn’t have enough time to react and hit the back of my car full force, sending it flying through the air. It collided with one of the mosquitos and exploded.
The strap had pulled tight over my bruised chest but I was too happy to care much. My first drone kill. Who wouldn’t be happy?
I switched gears and took off after Taro. The track gradually became more covered in moss and our traction was rapidly declining, making it that much more difficult. I had confidence in myself and my team, though. A little slip and slide was not enough to stop the Metal Maniacs!
Along the way, we managed to meet up with Vert and, surprise surprise, another drone. Vert was doing a good job of blocking him when his car started to glow. He disappeared only to reappear in the front of the line.
I scowled, “What a cheater!”
Taro rammed into him. “Not this time.”
In a flash, I saw Taro slam on the breaks as his car, attached to the drone’s car, started to flip across the track. Seeing it brought back flashes from the previous realm and I slammed on breaks to avoid hitting him. Vert had to use his jump jets to fly over us – if he hadn’t, he probably would have hit me, sending me straight into Taro and that would have been a mess.
I pulled up beside Taro once his car stopped flipping. “Oi, you okay?”
He was rubbing his head and growling in annoyance. I took that as a yes.
The drone took off after Vert like what had just happened was nothing.
We managed to catch up, only to run straight into a giant monster. Add that to the fact that these damn vines seemed to have a mind of their own, along with the dozen or so other radio-active creatures trying to kill us, and you have one hell of a party.
“Stay in the groove, Porkchop!” Monkey’s voice came over the radio. I could only assume they were being chased down by the vines the same as the rest of us. A few minutes later, he came through again, calmer this time. “You did not stay in the groove, Porkchop.”
Porkchop mimicked him and I started smiling despite the evil vines trying to mess me up. Leave it to that pair to bring comic relief even in the face of doom by swamp.
“Nolo, Tork – ” Lani’s voice came through this time. Hearing those two names in the same line? I knew it wouldn’t be good. “ – you have to draft together. It’s the only way to get more speed.”
I scoffed. Is this woman nuts? She knows about the rivalry between the two. Does she honestly think that’ll work? Maybe she’s just cruising for some punishment.
“Yeah,” Tork laughed. “You can stay behind me, Nolo, where you Teku trash belong.”
Yup, called it. Man, I should have placed a bet with Porkchop!
“Nolo, what are you doing?!” Lani cried.
“Watch me!” Nolo replied.
Honestly, she really should have expected this. Why did she sound so surprised?
I grunted, barely dodging one of the vines as it shot forward. I could feel my tires slipping over the moss as my speed stayed rooted in the same spot. The vines are getting closer, damn it!
The monster in the center was friggin’ huge and he sounded pissed as he roared at the passing cars. I could see Vert and Porkchop high up in the sky, completely caught in the web of vines. I tried to think of a way to free them, but my mind was blank.
I placed my hand over the blade next to my seat. Would it even be strong enough to cut through such thick vines? Especially ones that were alive?
“Wylde, stay in the middle of the track!” Monkey called.
“Scrap it, Monkey!”
“It’s true! It’s stickier, it’s got better traction!”
“Nobody tells Wylde what to do!”
That damn ego! Why can’t he just listen for once?!
I cried out as my car jerked and my tires left the track. Vines wrapped around my car tightly, hoisting me high into the air. Damn it, I let myself get distracted! With a growl, I grabbed my blade and rolled the window down. Almost immediately, a vine shot through the opening. I grabbed it with one hand and stabbed the blade clean through.
The monster howled as the severed vine fell into my lap.
“Jeez, this is like bad tentacle porn, man!” I scowled at the vines trapping my car.
“That’s gross!” Monkey replied, giving me a look. He and Porkchop were a few feet in front of me, the latter biting into a vine that had entered the car. The passenger side door was gone, leaving Monkey completely exposed.
I don’t know what to do. Crap, what do I do?!
“What’s going on?! What’s happening?!” Lani cried. I wanted to tell her to shut her trap, but I didn’t know where Taro stood and pissing him off is never a smart move, so I decided to keep my mouth shut.
“They… didn’t make it, Lani,” Vert answered, only to cry a few seconds later.
“Vert!” I cried his name. I could see his car way ahead of me, along with the drone on the hood. I felt so helpless – a feeling I told myself I would never let myself feel again. I cried out again, this time in anger, and stuck the top half of my body out the window, brandishing my blade with both hands and ramming it into one of the larger vines wrapped around my car. The tip barely pierced it – it was just too thick.
One of the monsters roared and I looked up to see something akin to a mutated yeti grabbing the drone from Vert’s car. He roared again, holding the drone in one of his large hands while grabbing the other end with his foot and ripping the drone into two pieces. I breathed a sigh of relief but it was short lived as a huge mosquito flew up to my car, screeching as it zeroed in for an attack.
I struggled to get my blade free from the vine. Despite barely going in, it was now stuck and wouldn’t budge. I growled, using every last bit of my strength to yank it free. The force sent me flying back into the car, missing the stinger of the mosquito by a mere few inches.
Tires squealed below and I saw Nolo fly by, followed closely by two drones. I found myself silently cheering him on… he’s our last hope!
“No! Listen to me!” Lani cried. “You have to wait for another car to draft with! You can’t make it on your own, Nolo!”
I’ve had enough of this bitch. “No, you listen! Your pessimistic ass ain’t helping, you know! There is no other car for him to draft with and we’re all about to be eaten alive by these damn things!”
“I’ll make it!” Nolo announced. “If I stay in the groove.”
I bit my lip. It seems he’s figured out the trick to getting more traction. He’s pretty good… you know, for a Teku.
“I can see the end!” He cried.
“Come on, Nolo…” I whispered to myself, closing my eyes and clutching the dragon pendant that hung from my neck.
The monster let out a pained roar as Nolo soared through the portal. A bright green light shot out, flying through the sky like an invisible order to the monsters of the realm. The giant worms suddenly lost interest, the mosquitos flew away, and the vines finally started to loosen their grip. One by one, cars fell from the sky onto the track.
I grunted on impact, losing my grip on the blade. It slid across my forearm before hitting the floor. It wasn’t a deep cut, but it still stung.
The monster roared again, almost as if it were in pain, and it turned completely black. Its eyes, once a bright yellow, were now pitch black and it finally stopped moving. I breathed a sigh of relief, falling back against my seat.
The sound of metal hitting the track was followed by the bass of Teku music. I glanced in the mirror as the shortest Teku came driving up. Where the hell was he this entire time??
“Ugh, stupid stereo on wheels,” Porkchop complained.
We all started our cars, minus Vert who had to catch a lift with the ‘stereo on wheels’, and headed towards the portal. Only a few minutes after we all made it through, the portal closed.
God, that realm sucked.
“Tork!” Nolo yelled out of nowhere. “This hasn’t changed anything.”
I facepalmed. Seriously? We just escaped certain death by mutated swamp monsters and he’s already picking a fight?
“I’m still taking you down!” He finished.
“You wanna take on someone, how ’bout you take on me?” And now Mark was in it, great.
Tork held his arm up to stop Mark. “Tame it, Wylde.” He turned to Nolo. “Anytime you’re ready, Nolo. Anytime.”
The air was tense but it was quickly broken by laughter. The only laughter capable of cutting through such tension.
“Kadeem?” Vert questioned.
“You recognize the voice in the recording.” Dr. Tezla approached the group. “Kadeem didn’t drive for revenge. He drove because he knew Gelorum had to be stopped. We have work to do before the next realm opens.”
Tork and Nolo started each other down for a few more seconds before Tork turned away. “Come on, Maniacs. Let’s go move some metal.”
Everyone got into their cars and took off toward their respective corners. Everyone except for Vert, who didn’t have a car, and myself.
I didn’t want to admit it out loud since Maniacs aren’t really the touchy-feely kinda people, but I felt guilty about Kadeem. Very guilty.
I approached Vert, patting his arm to get his attention. “You okay?”
He offered me a smile, but it was obviously forced. “Yeah, you?” His eyes shot down to my bloody arm. “You’re bleeding!”
I glanced down, the sting was long forgotten in the midst of the swirling emotions of relief, anger, and guilt. Overall, I wasn’t feeling any pain. I just felt… exhausted. I shrugged it off, examining my arm lazily. “I’ve had worse.”
“We need to get it wrapped up.”
“It’s fine, Vert, really. It’s not that deep.”
He shook his head and grinned. “It wasn’t a request.”
I raised a brow in surprise and allowed him to take me to the infirmary. It was mostly quiet on the way there, which I was thankful for. At the same time, the silence weighed down on me because I knew what he was thinking about.
Why do I feel like I should apologize to him?
Because deep down I know… I could have saved Kadeem.
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