Sarati Route Space Race
Part 2: Race to Ramdeem Prime
Last year's champion made the last checks of his instruments in his Gercan Star Shooter as he left the atmosphere of Jamsine IV. The journey ahead was going to be long, but not dull. The Stallion's confidence did not falter as he sat in the seat of a borrowed KBX-100 Space Cutter. He was familiar with the controls, and had practiced a few hours a week for the last two weeks. Xarz’ycus sat on a throne-like chair lined with blood-red cushioning and black bones and sharp teeth. The outside of his demonic space ship was also equally intimidating. Six-foot long fangs lined the sides of his ship, as two forward-pointing horns glowed with power. Above the horns, two cockpits, that glowed red with internal lighting, gave off an eerie impression of a pair of eyes. He sat in one of them.
Version 9 was shaking in his seat, feeling the forces of the liftoff. The acceleration forces would have glued any human or alien to their seat, but the cyborg could easily do a set of sit-ups under these conditions if he wanted to. Rose Leta felt at home in her old Space Cutter, modified for maneuverability, and focusing more power on offense than defense.
Kasious Koal piloted the Nukatal Saucer III along side Eric “Blue-Eye” Berka in his LSS Meredine Hope space ship. Only H’Ronka would have to try harder to keep in the race. He boarded his F’Nadgi Goh-ken, the same ship he used to leave his home planet and arrive in Gasherdel, joining the Ophidian League.
Each of the three leading racers tuned their frequencies to catch the replay and announcement of the first part of the race. Magnified in freeze-frame from three angles, The Stallion’s HoverSteed was clearly the winner. Followed by Xarz’ycus’ demonic chariot and then Captain “Sting” Ray’s Gercan cruiser.
Ray Raba was not happy to hear that, but he didn’t let it stop him. Pushing the throttle to max, he accelerated to full speed, slowly edging away from Stallion and the Prince.
Schaeffer Steelarm was celebrating inside--but outside he was focused. This Space Cutter didn’t offer as much an edge as his HoverSteed did in the first part of the race. He had to pull out all his stops to win this one.
Xarz’ycus showed no response as he steadied his ship and checked his power levels.
Version 9 started charging up his laser blasters, ready to wreak some havoc early on in the race. The former Tigbar Captain, Rose, also prepared some offense, but made sure to have some defense as well.
Eric Berka, master pilot, quickly passed Koal and caught up with Version 9 and Rose. H’Ronka also passed Kasious at a speed seemingly faster than that of Eric Berka. Kasious Koal started shifting power from his shields to his engine, trying to build up more speed.
As the racers were approaching an asteroid field, Version 9 opened fire to the leading three racers. A volley of purple lasers headed straight for the demonic space ship. The Prince tried to dodge, but could not maneuver and as a result he was hit. His shields absorbed the brunt of that attack, but his hull was damaged.
The Stallion was next. He managed to dodge one shot, then two, but was hit. Lucky for him, his shields absorbed all the damage.
“Sting” Ray had no trouble dodging the lasers as his Star Shooter spun and rolled like a nanite. He headed for the asteroid field and reduced his speed. Mobility would mean the difference between making it out of there in once piece and becoming a permanent historical landmark.
Hours had passed in the race. Rose Leta was now caught up with Version 9, The Stallion, and Prince of Gates, and was ready for anything they might throw at her. Her mobility would definitely help her out in the asteroid field.
Version 9 started to charge up his lasers again and looked at Rose. Suddenly, H’Ronka and his Cybicon ship passed the quartet in a blink of an eye. Would he slow down in the asteroid field or would his ship be as maneuverable as it is fast? News that Stefan Hartel was still in critical condition came in, but was ignored by the racers. They couldn’t be distracted. Eric “Blue-Eye” also passed the four. So did Kasious Koal. His strategy of diverting power to his engine worked.
The rest of the racers slowed down as they entered the field. In a blur of quick dodges and turns, Ray Raba kept his lead. Stallion and the Prince fell behind a bit. And Rose Leta’s ship handled really well. In a never-before-seen moment, H’Ronka, who started in last place was now a bit behind last year’s champ, “Sting” Ray Raba. His ship handled the asteroid field better than most of the other ships.
At this point, Version 9 started shooting blindly. His lasers flew out in all directions and some hit the asteroids, causing a chain reaction. Bits of asteroids ricocheted off his shots. The Stallion and Prince of Gates were unable to dodge everything and their ships were severely damaged. Rose Leta dodged most of the lasers and asteroids, but a couple hit her. Unfortunately, her shields were her weak spot. Her ship was damaged too, but not as severely. Version 9 also suffered some of his own wrath and was hit with a few asteroids. Whether he expected that or not was not clear. But he was competing aggressively.
Out of the asteroid field zoomed “Sting” Ray Raba and H’Ronka. Not too far behind was the Leonide Space Circuit Champ, “Blue-Eye” Berka and Kasious Koal. Their ships and skills had come in handy up to this point. Then Rose Leta dodging another volley of attacks from Version 9’s Battle Cruiser.
Rose Leta had enough and started to fire on Version 9. The two of them dropped out of the race and got into a dogfight.
Prince of Gates and The Stallion were now officially out of the race due to massive damage sustained. The Gercan Captain maintained the lead as he had done for the entire second part of the race. H’Ronka showed some promise though as he was still in second place. Kasious Koal was in third place but didn’t know how long he could keep it with the LSS Meredine Hope behind him. He started to divert power from his shields again.
Suddenly, another craft joined the racers. Not responding to any frequencies, he was declared a potential pirate. Racers were not allowed to open fire on potential pirates until the pirates showed any signs of aggression. This is because sometimes individuals who were not selected to race would join the racers in a show of support--or just to show off. Either way, they were off limits until they were a threat.
Meanwhile, back by the asteroid field, Rose Waznu and Version 9 were still at it. Version 9 sustained a lot of damage but did not stop attacking. He diverted power from his weapons to his shields and then tried to ram Rose. However, Rose was too quick and dodged his attack.
Out from the side came a few laser shots at the pair. Rogue pirates. Rose dodged a few of their attacks and then left. Version 9 was now a sitting duck as the pirates disabled his weapon systems and locked his ship.
The mysterious craft continued to follow the lead four racers. The Meredine Hope passed the Nukatal Saucer III, and H’Ronka was still behind Ray Raba. Suddenly, Kasious opened fire on Berka, who was unable to doge the unexpected attack. His shields absorbed some of the damage. The attack was quite impressive, since Kasious diverted all the power from his shields to his weapon systems.
Now another mysterious ship joined the group. Meanwhile, back by the asteroid fields, Version 9’s ship was being boarded. But the pirates bit off more than they could chew as Version 9 gutted the first, and grappled the second pulling him closer to him. The cyborg took the pirate as hostage and commandeered his ship.
The two unidentified craft started to escort “Blue-Eye” Berka. He tried to lose them, but they would not give in. Meanwhile, Kasious passed Berka and attained 3rd place.
Now the racers approached the special anomaly known as Shandra’s Pocket. A lot of ships fly around the anomaly, but a few are forced (usually due to deadlines for deliveries or plain ignorance) to go through. Most of the ships that fly through report problems ranging from minor instrumental failure to reports of distorted reality, monster attacks, and even time discontinuity.
H’Ronka and Ray Raba both entered the anomaly together. Kasious entered next and then Berka and his two pursuers.
Communication was lost between the racers and everyone else.
Some time later, Rose entered the anomaly and then Version 9 piloting the pirate craft.
A few hours later, Version 9 emerged first, even though he was the last one in. He reported that he was in the anomaly for a few seconds.
Then Rose came out. She said she experienced no strange happenings except that Version 9 faded out of her view. The two of them continued their dogfight as they raced to the finish line a few hours away.
Kasious Koal was the next to emerge. His ship was severely damaged. He reported he went through an electrical field.
Suddenly, H’Ronka and Ray Raba flew past Koal and continued on their race. They reported that their ships didn’t respond to their controls and they had to glide out of the anomaly.
Rose and Version 9 continued their duel until finally Rose defeated Nine in his “borrowed” vehicle. She was now in the lead, but H’Ronka and the Gercan Captain were now close behind. Kasious Koal dropped from the race due to massive damage sustained during the race.
The race was coming close to an end and both H’Ronka and Ray passed Rose. Rose fired two last shots to try to eliminate her opponents, however they missed. Her ship was damaged anyway, but she still continued.
It was now down to H’Ronka and the captain. The Gercan made the first move and fired a shot at H’Ronka, letting the alien know that “Sting” Ray was about to get tough. H’Ronka dodged the attack and kept going. He was now distancing himself from Ray. Ray fired more shots now, his only chance to stop H’Ronka from winning. Each shot was dodged, but H’Ronka was running out of fuel. He would not be able to dodge the attacks for much longer and have enough fuel to land. So he charged up his weapon and fired back.
Suddenly, a malfunction caused an explosion in his weapon chamber. He lost all offensive capability. This was good for the Gercan as he fired more rounds toward H’Ronka. H’Ronka dodged more shots and let a few hit him. Making those maneuvers would deplete his fuel faster than just getting hit and trying to ride it through.
“Sting” Ray Raba scored a few more hits until finally H’Ronka started to slow down. He did it. The alien’s lack of fuel and damage to the ship forced him to yield to his opponent.
Eventually Ray Raba entered the atmosphere of Ramdeem Prime and won the race. H’Ronka came in second and Rose came in third.
Kasious Koal, Version 9, The Stallion, and Prince of Gates were collected and brought home safely. However, Eric Berka and the LSS Meredine Hope never made it out of the anomaly. The two mysterious ships that followed him in there were also not heard form.