Part 1 [18/6/12]
And so, the final race ends. In the pits, the car is going through examination to see how much needs to be repaired. I'd collected my winnings, so it doesn't really matter how much it costs, so long as it doesn't cost mega amounts.
Dane needs a new car. That much is certain. But he can afford it. And depending on what he buys, he'll be able to get the money back easily.
All I can say is, it's going to be pretty interesting next year.
The Zincite Storm Cup is over for us. So, what do we do now?
Well for one, just drive around. There is an island that most racers own properties on, which is all about racing. Racetracks litter the area, and racers will also call others up for street races.
Two, away from the island are a load of other racing competitions, each taking place on numerous racetracks around the country. Either dirt or tarmac, maybe even a combination of both, racers can earm more money here than on the island. It's just more fun there.
Three, if you have a custom car pack, retune it to what you want and keep testing it out. Whether you want speed, acceleration, or other stats, you can keep getting it to the best you can.
Part 2 [25/6/12]
"That new engine of yours is a new model," one of Cobri's technicians says. "It should handle anything now. The car itself has been customised a bit to fit the fans required for the installation. You'll notice at the side there-" the tech points to the new fan ducts that are built just above and behind the front wheels. "This should mean the engine will never overheat. Just don't try it, because these things are expensive."
"How expensive?" Cobri asks.
"Almost blew the winnings," the tech says quietly.
"Well if it works... Thanks anyway."
Back at his own place on the race island, Cobri has a fairly small house but a large garage attached to it. Thankfully, Adam Dane doesn't have a house in this district and never comes to it, saying it is full of lowlife racers that won't help him win the next tournament.
The house has only three rooms on one level. Kitchen, bedroom, and lounge, all linked by one corridor which also leads to the garage. The garage is more impressive, with space to park two cars and room to spare for shelves of parts and computer analysis equipment.
"I'll just take this thing for a drive then." Cobri gets in his car and the garage grate opens. He drives out and turns left. A circular designed racetrack was located nearby, which is free to enter.
The perfect place to test new stats and a new engine.
Though it's called Racer's Island, regular traffic is encouraged to come along as well, and this is encouraged by the fact that special stores can be found only on the Racer's Island, as well as a museum of motors.
Reaching the track, Cobri passes through the gate after getting a pass which allows him access to the track for one race of ten laps. He will be the only one on, but since the track is circular and less than half a mile long, it won't take long to complete.
As the queue of cars waiting trickles down, the sun slowly sets. As soon as Cobri's turn comes up, he gets to the line, syncs track data on his car's computer, then sets off. Achieving sixty percent speed quickly, he watches the overheat dial. Nothing.
Accelerating to eighty percent speed, the tip moves just a tiny bit. Over the course of all ten laps, Cobri's car is at one hundred percent speed, and that overheat dial is nowhere near the red section.
"Great," Cobri says to himself as he slows down. "I'll do well at next years' Zincite. But for now, time to get some more money starting tomorrow."
Part 3 [11/7/12]
Returning to his house, Cobri settled in for night, sleeping easily. In the morning, the same tech who had met him yesterday appears as he leaves the house.
"What are we doing today then?" he asks.
"Same thing after all competitions," Cobri replies. "Earn our money back. Oh, and it doesn't matter that you almost blew the winnings on that new part. If it keeps working like it did yesterday, I'll win races with ease."
"Sure. Going anywhere nice first though?"
"Get some food. There's a great breakfast diner opened just at the end of this road. I'd like to try it."
"Sure. Me and the other techs will just give the car another looking at."
"Sure go ahead. Just don't mess with anything unless you contact me first."
Cobri then walks out, closing the door behind him, and turns left.Walking down the road, he eventually comes across a place that looks freshly built, with orange walls on the outside.
Walking through the door, he sees a TV over in a corner with what looked like an interview. On closer inspection, that someone turned out to be Adam Dane.
"Are you ordering anything?" a voice asks, bringing Cobri out of his daze.
"Oh. Um. Sure. One big breakfast."
"Take this and your food will be with you in fifteen minutes roughly." The clerk handed him a wooden stake with a number on it. Thanking the clerk, who Cobri only then realises was talking in a bored voice, he walks away and sits down at a table near the TV to watch the interview.
"Yes, that crash was frightening," Dane was saying. "And it was all Da Miners fault. But it doesn't matter anyway. Thanks to him, I'm getting a new car. This one has a custom interface, but I so like how my other one was configured, I put this to the same settings. I'm an unbeatable force, and next Zincite I will beat him for good and wipe him off the racing table for good."
Cobri looks ashen faced.
"Your food, sir," a server says.
Cobri doesn't respond.
"Hmp." The server then places the food on the table and takes the stake away with a loud noise to pull Cobri out of his thoughts.
"Um yes." He shakes his head. "How much do I owe you?"
Part 4 [17/7/12]
Back at his house, Cobri relates what he heard on the TV to his technicians.
"What have you got to worry about?" one asks. "You've got the engine overheat fixed, and there is no way he could possibly beat you."
"I just hope you're right about that," Cobri says. "Anyway, I'm off for a race at the Tookey Arena, if you want to come along."
"Sure, give us ten minutes and we'll have the van ready."
Within ten minutes, both Cobri in his car and the techs in the van were traveling to the Tookey Arena. Only the racing cars were configured in the main way, meaning that vans and other cars were configured in the old way with more sophisticated parts.
The drive was an hour long, but the team eventually get to the racetrack, where they paid quite a bit for entry and was told that the full circuit was the track which would be raced on this day.
Some tracks, like this one, had more than one route around it, usually consisting a main, a short, and a long route. Each day, one of these routes would be open for racing on, and depending on which route it was, a different entry fee and payout price would be set.
"Okay, so I'll just need your cars code to link to our tracking server," the race attendant says. Cobri hands the code to the race attendant, who then sends it to the commentators box. "Now then, you are in the next group on podium and pit number eight."
"Thanks," Cobri says, then drives to the waiting area, his techs following behind him.
Tuning into the racetrack's cameras, he could see what was going on, for as long as the code stayed in the tracks' system. That would be from now until his race ended. The views available were the map tracking screen the racers of the track would see on their screens, a positioning screen which showed where the racers were and their lap times, as well as numerous other views which were camera positions dotted around the track which showed live images of their view.
Cobri looks out of the front window as soon as the race was finished. Three cars forward of where he was, he saw the one person he didn't want to be facing.
None other than Adam Dane.
Part 5 [25/7/12]
Cobri gets out his car and runs to the van with his techs.
"Three cars in front," he gabbles, "is Adam Dane. Why does he have to be here? I don't want to face him!"
"Hey, he can't do nothing here," one of the techs says. "And I'd suspect he'd want to wait until the Zincite to humiliate you. You know. On the cameras?"
"Yes. Cobri says, down-heartened.
"Hey cheer up. The drivers look like they're pulling onto the track."
"Great," Cobri whispers as he trudges back to his car.
As he gets in, straps himself into the seat, and starts the engine, the cars in front of him start to roll forward.
And then they stop again. Leaning out of his window, Cobri sees that only two cars have gone through. The others wait near a barrier. From his point of view, it looked like the course officials were having an argument with what looked like a team of techs.
Cobri shuts down his engine, unstraps himself while closing the window, and gets out again. He then walks back to the van holding his team of techs.
"Any news?" he asks of them.
"Not as of yet," one says. "Though the turret-cam can see what appears to be smoke coming from the rear end of the pit lane."
"Oh. That's bad."
"Yes. And what will happen to our money we paid?"
"Wait. It looks like someone is moving between the cars," another tech says.
That tech was right. One of the course officials was moving between the cars, talking to the people inside after calling the techs over. After about ten minutes, the course official reaches Cobri and his crew.
"Ah, you're already together. Good. After that last race finished, the last car to come in crashed into the car in front and span out. As such, most of the pit station is out of order. The racing will continue, but only in groups of four."
Cobri couldn't hide his relief as the official walks past to the next racer.
Part 6 [1/8/12]
"And so you get your wish," one of the techs state. "Just stay out of sight from Dane, eh?"
"Sure," Cobri says, and walks back to his car.
The next four racers pull into their respective pit lane, and two minutes later, all four cars start an honour lap before pulling into the starting grid respective of their position in the pit.
The race then starts, and Cobri watches from the tracking screen as Adam Dane quickly overtakes his competition to get an early lead. That lead increases lap after lap, until, on lap ten, he has almost caught up to the other three racers again.
When he crosses the line, Cobri sighs. He knew it would be too good to be true that Dane would lose racing confidence after the Zincite incident, but he hadn't lost a single dust particle of his racing skill. And from the way the car handled, Cobri could tell it was the same or near enough stats as before that drove it.
After a quick awards ceremony once all the racers had pulled back into the pits, each of them claim the money they won, and exit the pit and racetrack on another road.
The cars in front of Cobri then roll into action. Cobri starts his engine and moves forward. His pit lane would be number four, so he would effectively be starting last. But his quick acceleration would get him to the front easily.
Once his crew had parked the van inside the pit lane and brought the tools out of it, they wished Cobri good luck. Cobri then sets off on the honour lap of the track.
On multi-route tracks, it was necessary to block off other access routes so drivers wouldn't get lost. These other routes were blocked off by red barriers which were wheeled to and from position and could be easily ejected from the trolleys that brought them into position.
Cobri checks the route as he drives it, and assesses the other racers' vehicles as they drive the honour lap. All of them, he notes, were blue in colour, with varying shades. In a flash of anything happening, that could make it hard to identify them. But he didn't let that worry him, since with any luck he wouldn't need to identify them closer.
Reaching the fourth grid, Cobri slows to a complete stop, then looks up at the overhang where the starting lights counted down until the race would begin.
They flashed green, and all cars accelerated. The race had began.
Part 7 [7/8/12]
Again, this race follows the ten lap rule of all other races. But at least this track isn't long. After pulling away from the others fairly quick on the fourty-five degree right turn, a short straight followed, then a ninety-degree turn right, almost immediately followed by a smooth fourty-five degree left turn. After the straight that follows, a section like a key follows. So after a hard fourty-five degree right turn, an even harder one hundred-eighty degree right turn follows, then slips into a hard ninety degree left turn. After a soft right fourty-five degree turn, there is a short straight which then turns into a jagged ninety degree left turn. Almost immediately, there is a light one hundred-eighty right turn which then leads to the finish.
The second turn follows the first, and Cobri keeps his speed at fifty percent, then to eighty percent as he gets into the third. Out onto the straight, he keeps his speed at one hundred percent. The other racers stared falling behind, but then one quickly gains speed.
However, bad brakes and grip means that racer crashes coming up to the forth corner. Cobri coolly slips past and makes the fifth corner as the other two reach the forth. The crashed racer slowly moves off, but with a stuttering engine. It then dies as it reaches the second to last corner. The emergency crews quickly dispatch to collect the car. The other racers are fast approaching on their second lap, with Cobri still in the lead.
The other two racers, knowing that neither can get first and neither will fall down to last position, strive to get second. Each overtakes the other in a dance, falling back and quickly accelerating, moving around each other with grace.
By lap five, Cobri is almost twenty seconds away from the other two racers, having suffered a bit of grip loss on one of the corners, but with his upgraded brakes, he was able to stop in time and avoid a massive crash like the other racer. Before that, he had a thirty second gain on the others.
On the last lap, Cobri was gaining on the other racers, who were still on their ninth lap. Blasting across the finish, Cobri then overtakes the two others as they start on their tenth lap. Not being able to slow down, in case the other racers crashed into him, Cobri had to keep at it until he reached the pits. He then tried to slow down.
His brakes served him well. But not well enough to avoid hitting the same pits that the other did.
Part 8 [12/8/12]
"Why did you have to do that?" one of the race officials says. "You serious race types don't know what a brake is?"
"I thought I could slow down," Cobri gasps.
Getting out, he inspects his car, but finds nothing wrong with it. Driving it back to his own pit, he gets a cheer from his crew.
"Nice win and even better finish," one of them says, pointing to the back two pits.
"Well, I hopefully won't be crashing like that any time soon. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to the more serious stuff."
"You've at least got to stay a month to reclaim your Zincite winnings."
"Well... I suppose," Cobri admits with a sigh.
The other two racers had pulled back into the pits, and had exited their cars. Cobri walks over to where the course official was standing.
"Okay. So the winners are in. In first, and winning two hundred percent of his winnings, Cobri Da'mine."
The other three cheered, though unenthusiastically, as Cobri walks forward to get his prize money.
Whatever someone payed towards the entry fee, the total would be added up of all those who were entering. It was then worked out by how many were in the race. With four racers, each would get twenty-five percent less than the other did. The winnings were then doubled. So if you had come third in a race of four, and the entry fee was 500 leons, all that would be added together to make 2000. After first had got the full 2000, and second had got 1500, third would get 1000, and then that would be doubled, giving 2000 leons.
After the others had received their cash prize, the official then told them they were free to return whenever they felt like it. Then he dismissed them and bade them farewell.
Cobri's team headed back to his house, where the lot then sat planning the races for the next month. It was simple enough to be looking at all the racetracks on the island, how much the entry fee was, and how much they could get back from the race, then put the lot into a spreadsheet to see what the accumulative total would be. The figure made the whole group smile.
They would surely have enough for the Zincite, and a little extra for something else.
Part 9 [17/8/12]
Over the course of the month, much traveling between racetracks was done. The plan was mostly working, except for some other problems with other racetracks, and some cancellations in races.
Money was not returned.
On one such occasion, an argument had started between a racer and course official, with the racer demanding his money back. The course official had stated that they needed all the money they could to repair the damage.
And the damage on this track was severe. Some of the road had been pulled up where something had hit it at speed and not stopped. From where he had stood, Cobri could see smoke, though he couldn't gauge what it was from. And this time, the whole of the pit lane had been destroyed.
There was also rumours of a new mysterious racer making the rounds, and that most of these had been in some way related to him. Nothing on the news was ever fully revealed about him though.
And so it was, one month after the Zincite that Cobri had been a part of, they were still short of a few hundred leons. It was, therefore, the perfect time for another meeting to see what was going to happen.
Cobri suggested going to the mianland, but there were bigger stakes for the races, and more charged competition. The techs disagreed, saying that more money was needed before this happened.
But most of the racetracks had closed fully for some kind of repair work, and those that were open wouldn't allow Zincite competitors to enter. News was spreading fast that those who entered the Zincite were reckless, and most who were open didn't want to close for repair work.
It was then that the decision was made that Cobri and crew would go back to the mainland. At least there, racetracks would be more lenient to let Zincite competitiors enter. This would have been the best course, but the risk factor still lay hanging around the crew as they headed to the mainland house.
And after all, there was still that mysterious racer that had caused the closure of racetracks to Zincite competitiors lurking somewhere.
Part 10 [22/8/12]
On the mainland, Cobri still had yet to meet Adam Dane in any of the races he competed in. Over the course of eleven months, Cobri had indeed won back his winnings from the race, plus the extra needed to enter the next Zincite Storm Cup. There had been some setbacks. Once he had almost lost all of the winnings on a major race. He had a feeling that he had come into contact with that expert racer from the racer island. Having tried to stop him overtaking, Cobri went wide and over to the other side, but the mysterious racer blocked him, causing Cobri to slow and reduce power to stop spinning out. That had cost him second. He had come fifth out of six.
But other times he won with lots of time left between him and the other racers, and got big money from it.
"Well, we've done it," one of the techs says. "We have the entry forms for the Zincite all complete and the payment delivered."
A cheer rises up from the crowd. Cobri raises his glass. It was only water. "To another successful year!"
The others chorus him.
"To finally winning a Zincite Storm Cup!"
Another cheer. Another chorus.
The celebration starts up. Tomorrow they would be heading out to the Zincite Base as it was called, to start the new Zincite Storm Cup. From then, it would be serious business, and no more wild celebrations until after the final race.
The Gamma Circuit.
The timetables and positions were sent to each racers pod where they would be staying for the duration of the cup. Since it was a race park, and all the vehicles of racers needed places to stay during the cup, what space wasn't taken up by the racetracks was dedicated to parking and small homes for each racer. Each of the three pods was arranged on a rota, so that each would race on one track, then wait until the race was finished before swapping to the next. On the next day, they would race on the final of the three tracks. Then came the Gamma Circuit.
Starting in the afternoon of the second day, the competitiors with the lowest amount of points from the three other races would race. Then following on from that, on the next day, the second lot would follow. Then the main victors for the final race.
This was the new rules of the Zincite Storm Cup, and all racers received them upon arriving.