(3018-01-05) The Heat is On
Summary: Zee races in a qualifying heat to enter the MSTRA circuit race at the Epime Track in Salian City; she squares off against Axe (played by: Andy)
Date: Jan 5, 3018
zee 

And there he is, Axe Anderson. The trident patch of Team Orpheus on the sleeve of his racing suit. Unzipped with white shirt on display. Its a few days before a qualifying race, a local race to start the season on the Epime Track and part of a qualifying circuit to get into the larger MSTRA race on Titan within the month. The pro's don't need to qualify, but up-and-comers like the Axe are here to assure their positions amongst the giants of the sport. Jason is his given name, but after a habit of bumping on the track for position, he's taken to the nickname Axe.
His crew is in a box near Team Titans but he's not there. His blue MagneBike is, ready for his qualifier. He's off near the garages. With some fellow in a suit, they are talking quietly near a corner. It would seem fine, maybe some business in town inviting him to come and help promote, who knows, an exchange of favors and allowances, nothing atypical. But that shifty look from the Axe occasionally may seem odd. That is assuming anyone is looking at the duo near the shadows on the backside of pit row here. Most assume its normal business and ignore. Axe nods his head eventually, they two part on very quiet words and he leaves the corner of that garage to slowly meander towards his teams box where his bike is waiting. No rush, its not his time to be on the track yet, so now, he can make more of an appearance. Almost like he's hoping for some interview or fan service, arrogance restored.

*

- Zee rolls her Perception (3D+0) for a total of 7 (Wild Die: 3), perhaps enough for a Easy task.

*

"Right there, see?" Zee is more hands on with her bike and she's right there all up close and personal in the garages while they fine tune it. "That could make the difference in winning and losing." Well, maybe, but she was adamant about it. "Just the barest turn, the slightest adjustment." Bossy much? She reaches for the red cloth that serves as a hand rag and wipes her hands on it before tucking it back into a back pocket where it dangles. She looks confident and slightly cocky when she straightens. It's then she catches the duo and the hints of subterfuge. Eyes follow his movements with a slight sneer to her lips and when he heads back she follows, falling into step beside him after a moment. "Never known you to go slummin' Axe. Thought you let your talent speak for itself." <English>

*

Axe is a stocky man, not too tall, but thicker. Hair may not be dark, but it has that look the way he uses some product to sweep it back over his head. A stylized mustache over his lips and some anchor looking chin patch beneath, as if he were some suave duelist a few milennia ago and only being short some rapier or something. He gives a half smirky grin to some fans and a wave, even if the fans didn't come to see him, and then heads towards the voice that called. "Not gonna start Zee," he still has that itchy smile, like its not quite real but it looks genuine upon a glance, slight glimpse of cared for teeth and all. "It will speak for itself, still have to qualify here. You got a time close to my run so you could see how its done, make you ready for the next qualifier?" Smug a little, he comes near to look at her and her bike, bike just as important all things considered. <English>

*

Zee steps protectively in front of her bike, the bike that has yet to be taken to the area where the qualifiers will take place. Instead of lingering there in the garage area near it with his beady eyes all over it, she starts leading him further along, towards where his bike is maybe. His acknowledgement of the fans brings her gaze to settle there and she nods a greeting to them, playing the game that is required of her. "Oh I'm qualifying this time," her look isn't so smug, because she's on the level, but she does exude confidence. "You sound pretty sure of yourself, Axe." <English>

*

As she steps away from her garage, Axe turns with her. A little wave again, for the required part, but his conversation stays more personal. Nothing 'projected' towards any other ears, but confidence still there. "Its more a definite thing. Which is good for you, you can get a good look at the proper angle on me rear drag foil to help you for your next race." He chuckles even. The banter is part of the trade too, he probably enjoys it. "Maybe you'll squeeze in, top 4 slots join the race next week on the pro circuit right?" Saying she might not even be first or second, but could still make it. Keeping his stance as better, but acknowledging she's almost as good even. Verbal jockying. "Quiet night for you last night, deciding to get some rest before the race?" <English>

*

Yeah about that.. why had Zee opted to go home instead of join the ongoing party whenever it was race weekend? She didn't question it, didn't want any answers. "At least I'm not hungover." I mean there's medicine for that, concoctions, but she was on her own steam and looked alarmingly sober, for her. "I'm not only going to qualify and turn a few heads doing it, I'm going to win." Again that confidence, a brush of a smile over her features that lasts all of only a moment before she gives him another look over. "I'll be partying after I win though, you bet your ass on that." <English>

*

A slight grin and sidelong look at her, then he chuckles, "You got a point. That slight edge of a headache, its what awakens the senses out there." He gives a chin thrust towards the track for emphases of where he means. "You know I'll take that bet Zee, the ass part is for giving you a jostle out there as I take that win from you. Who's your crew favoring then?" Inside meaning, the place the team will go to celebrate, like dual sponsodring witout actual exchange of allowances. "Just in case there is spill over at Lounge NeoDread, where we'll be partying later." Not meant as a plug, but maybe rehearsed a little so if he does win, he's got the name of that club on the tip of his tongue. <English>

*

"I don't need a headache to sharpen my edge or awaken my senses." A sly look is cast his way just to leave him wondering what it is she does use. "Careful out there," she indicates the track much like he did, that chin thrust, "I'm not afraid to jostle back. You've just never been near me before when it comes to the dangerous curves." Herself sporting her own dangerous curves beneath those clothes of hers. "Never heard of Lounge NeoDread," but maybe she really had. "Is that where the losers hang to get drunk?" She names a sportier, trendier place. "I'll be celebrating at Club Utopia." Her steps continue and she looks towards his bike. "So, what guarantees do you have to win? What concessions made?" <English>

*

His place is probably less sportier, but more dancier, a certain counter culture in the beat and rhythym maybe. He returns the sly look with a grin. "Well, you're speaking my language now girl." He goes for the boy/girl thing there, or age thing, girl makes her younger and thus less experienced, even if they're near the same age and experience with MangeTrack. Curves, danger, all that, he doesn't mind inneundo at all, and ends with a chuckle about losers. "Something like that, if you lose you can come there." At least some consession there, the if you lose part. "No concessions, all skill." Which may seem counter to that meeting earlier with the suited man, or maybe that was other business in general."
As they talk, the holo projection over the garages of the qualifying heats goes up. It looks like the pod of 6 racers in the next heat includes both Zee and Axe. He hasn't seen the heat list just yet. <English>

*

While they talk, her bike is transported over towards the track and though Zee watches it only a moment, it's long enough to cast a discerning look over it before giving a satisfied nod. The joshing back and forth between her and Axe will finally be settled and she realizes it as she notices the list for the heat. A nudge to him as she remains in step beside, and she indicates the heat and both of their names on it. "I win, you buy me a drink. Or several, by buying me a bottle. You win the heat, I'll do the same." No mention of them sharing it together or anything. <English>

*

A look up with the nudge, his own bike following to its position for this head on the track. A nod from Axe, "Sounds like a wager, I can't resist free drinks you know." Though by calling it a wager, he acknowledges either could win. He reaches hands to starp zipping up more proper in his suit, standing straighter to head for final inspection, get helmet on, all the safety precautions. "Good luck Zee." He offers that more quietly as a parting gesture, joshing aside, it was a serious sport no matter what part they played. <English>

*

"Me too. Free drinks are what I live for." Zee realizes almost alarmingly how true that was and it sobers her even more. "Good luck, Axe." She tells him back, but gets herself prepared, suit zipped, going through inspection and coming through the other side. "I need to get a life," she murmurs to herself, her mind still lingering on the drinking realization. "I really need to win this race." <English>

*

Both riders retire to get ready and don't meet again, so to speak, until they are on the track in their MagneTrack Bikes. Axe is sealed into his blue machine, the casing fully closed and inside his dark helmet vizer reflects the myriad of lights and displays that are right before him. Checking his thrust levels and the magnelocks on his wheels, he eyes up ahead. The first part of the track races out past the Casino, beforing climing up nearly veritical a little to head out over the terrain of Titan, a slight spectacle in the city to display the race more than challenge the racers. The section is intended to let the races jostle for position at least.

*

Her own is a neon green and her outfit matches it, black and green, and Zee is ready for the heat. Sealed into her machine she speaks over her comm, checking off the safety regulations one at a time, confirming and reconfirming. At their demand, not hers. Then she's holding on, hand on the thruster and she's prepared to give it all she has, eyes narrowed, focused completely, waiting for the 'go' before she'll do exactly that.

*

- Zee rolls her Vehicle Operation:MagneTrack Bikes (6D+0) for a total of 27 (Wild Die: 3), perhaps enough for a Heroic task.

*

- Andy rolls 5D6 (17) + 1 for a total of 18.

*

A the bikes take off, its clear the up and comers Zee and Axe are the better riders. As he focuses on his displays and the track, the city blurs past him at amazing speeds. Not even thinking he'll need to jostle, he sticks to a line he picks out and remains unaware of Zee's prowess. Until she is ahead of him. He dials in to try and gain more thrust as he turns his bike to follow her line, hopeing to catch up and give her a bump before trying to pass. Which is all well and good, but at this rate, he first has to catch up to her.
The next portion of track turns upsidedown in a twist and goes over a channel of Kraken Mare, the methane lake outside of city limits. A few sparks from the track ignite small bursts that flare towards the track but disperse due to lack of fuel (oxygen in the atmosphere) outside of the city itself. He'll try to catch her in this section.

*

Out the gate, Zee has the power behind her and the skill to utilize it. Taking off, she guides and gains, passing some without bumping, not that she avoids it, just wasn't necessary. She recognizes the colors of the bike behind her and works to stay in the lead and not get jostled. It was only the heat after all, nothing worth losing her bike over. Knowing the track well enough she realizes where he'll try and take her, to bump her, get her crooked and take over, and so she zooms as quickly through the twist, approaching the pulse flare part of the journey.

*

- Zee rolls her Vehicle Operation:MagneTrack Bikes (6D+0) for a total of 23 (Wild Die: 4), perhaps enough for a Very Difficult task.

*

- Andy rolls 5D6 (20) + 1 for a total of 21.

*

As he starts his gain on Zee, a rider on a green bike from some outlying city on Titan edges up. Axe is torn in that moment, his thrusters hot as he flips upside down with the track. He can win, she's found a line though, through the flares. Axe uses that moment to skirt right along the magnetic surface and bump the green rider. The rider skids a little into a flame which slows them down, but not off the track at all. This leaves Axe on her tail. Not much gain, she may have moved up just a little more in that jostle Axe attempted. But better to take out someone behind to focus on the lead now. His hands tighten over the controls of his bike as they head further out of the city.
The next part has some cork screws and loops less hazard and more dizying test. But on the track, sense of direction if felt in the G's rather than the thought of being sideways and upside down. Axe remains focused on the bike in front of him and the lines of the track itself.

*

Maybe he thinks he's getting Zee there, because her own bike is neon green and black. As it is, Zee is safely ensconced in her own little world racing through the flares and doing it after the twists and turns of the upside down. He's behind her again though but she has the track memorized. Having studied it, repeatedly, and restuddied it, determined to know every twist and turn and screw of it. Focused on the track instead of him, she's ahead of him and wants to stay that way so she hits a little harder on the thrusters, despite the dangers.

*

- Zee rolls her Vehicle Operation:MagneTrack Bikes (6D+0) for a total of 25 (Wild Die: 11), perhaps enough for a Very Difficult task.

*

- Andy rolls 5D6 (16) + 1 for a total of 17.

*

Maybe he shouldn't of went to the party. Few he feels are at his skill level, even if his ego is big and he likes to boost. Wasn't expecting someone of her calibre this race. Doesn't stop him from trying. There's a moment coming out of the track over the methane lake where he's confident a boost will catch up , even if leaving a harrowing corkscrew turn in the follow. He feels he makes some ground, but coming out of those turns he shimmies a little anticipating a turn in the opposite direction. While others might not notice the slight shimmy, his misread costs him that potential gain, further solidifying Zee's lead in this qualifying heat. A hand of his punches at the side of his canopy, something for the fans to agree with if they wanted him to catch up but down solely for his own angst in the moment.
The final sections of track involve a return to the city, upside down track through the casino again, as the track then loops down into the ground to come back at the finish line where it all began.

*

Maybe it wasn't his mistakes at all that cost him the potential gain. Maybe it's her own skills that gain it for her. Zee doesn't stop to wonder or ponder it, instead she cruises through the casino at full speed and along the loop to the ground where she'll throttle full on through the finish line before taking one more entire lap for the cool down and the victory. Or at least a victory over Axe. A communication with her crew lets her know she had qualified at least. For now. There were more heats to be run.

*

- Zee rolls her Vehicle Operation:MagneTrack Bikes (6D+0) for a total of 31 (Wild Die: 10), perhaps enough for a Heroic task.

*

- Andy rolls 5D6 (12) + 1 for a total of 13.

*

Its under his skin, but he focuses, and maybe coming into the last sections of the long track, he realizes its not just him but she's that good. Not quite resigned to that, he's upset with himself more than he would admit otherwise. He chases into the city and over the Casino, but doesn't make any ground and rather loses it. Perhaps lost in thought, about what he'll say to fans and media about losing now, not that he wants to resign, but the thoughts eat at him as she demonstrates her high level of skill and performance. Even he must admit she's good, even if only to himself as he tails further and further behind her to the finish line.

*

After reaching the finish line and after the cool down lap, Zee slowly pulls to a stop. Safety first, she awaits the go ahead before lifting the visor by voice command alone, and straightens up from inside the ride. A hand is lifted and the smattering of applause ensures she has a fan or three out there at least, but there was still work to do. "Number three lifter sounded a little sticky." Maybe not but she's a perfectionist. She was ready for the race, that was a fact, she was prepared completely. Turning towards the signature blue bike, she awaits his departure from it. <English>

*

He comes in as she comments on the thruster even, to a stop that is and is slowing lefting his canopy. His own crew there, he grunts, "Handling stuck, what sort of oil you pumping into the hydralics," and a few more things that need to be changed. Though the bike was probably in good condition to begin with. He turns, upset in his eyes, "Good run Zee," he admits, "I owe you, Utopia it is. I'll do a few rounds at Dread and meet up with you there." She won, fair and square, he knows it, his eyes express that to her. He'll move towards media to clear that up on his way off the track. Same things, bike performance being an issue, but start of the year, Team Orpheus has time to get that fixed, though would of been good to open the season on the hometrack with a win in the qualyfing heats. <English>

*

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