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The Second Drift


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This thread marks the continuation of the story in "The First Drift".  It begins 20 years after the conclusive race between the 4 facing teams (the Blazing Wheels, the Destiny Racers, the Galactic Flash, and the Dimensional Speedstars) and the Яeverse.

Alongside this "chapter" of the story, I will be posting cards in THIS THREAD which will correspond to characters/places/events/etc. of the story.  The cards may also give clues/hints about the direction of the story and other things not explicitly said here, so it's usually worth a look!

The first "piece" will be posted tomorrow!

Edited by Redro
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(Link to the corresponding card thread HERE)

"So it was that even when the central hub of the universe was removed and the spokes began to warp and fray, there were those who sought to restore the Universal Constant.  Did they know what they were doing, or were their actions simply ones seeped in self-interest?" - The Annals


A generation has passed.

The universe is filled with unrest.

Yet on a small, backwater planet called Gaia, a new hope was beginning to rise.  The Blazing Wheels, a last gen team of racers that had disbanded twenty years prior, was poised to make a massive comeback under the watchful eye of one of the old team members: Dr. Lenore Madoka.

The new generation of Blazing Wheels had several big names.  Besides Dr. Madoka, who was CEO of the world's largest and most profitable automotive company, the team had several racers who were known as local legends in their cities/countries.  Alongside the star power that came from the world-renowned but short lived racing name “Blazing Wheels”, the new crew announced their intent to go a world tour, ending with a formal challenge to the atlantean King Ædra and his best undersea racers.

As it had in the old days, this announcement was huge and it inspired many.  It seemed as though the old drive had been reignited and across the world new racing teams sprung up from nowhere, hoping to be the ones to beat the best.


“...That is my final word.” Dr. Madoka said with exasperation.

Striker glared at his mother and shot an ugly glance at his cousin before taking his seat and crossing his arms.  How could his mom pick her as team leader over him?  He was the best racer here!  He had trained his whole life, been around cars his whole life, dammit!

Dr. Madoka watched her son for a moment, expecting him to say something.  When he didn’t, she exhaled and addressed the rest of the seated racers.

“I don’t expect you to believe everything that I have told you.  It is information that only a privileged few across the world know.  Yet I trust that you understand the truth of everything I have said.  After all…” Dr. Madoka took off her tinted glasses, revealing her glowing silver eyes, “I can tell you all feel the drive to race.”

The table was silent.  The four newcomers shuffled nervously.  Dora Young was preoccupied fiddling with a paperclip.  Striker continued to glare at Dora.

“While compelling, I do still find this hard to swallow.” said Victoria, a racer from a small volcanic island nation in the far north.  “All this about aliens and driving robots and… how it ties into all those people who died before we were born… That’s ridiculous, isn’t it?”

Dr. Madoka put her glasses back on and nodded.  “It is your first time hearing all this.  My son and niece are already familiar, but I suppose without proof, it does seem far-fetched.” Madoka tapped a few times on a touch screen built into the arm of her chair and waited.  “I had personally requested for Zenith to come and explain things, but he had said that he would not be able to.  But he did send an ambassador in his stead.”

The door to the room opened, and an older looking gentleman with salt and pepper hair walked in.  “Madame Madoka, you called for me?”

“Good evening, Hiro.” Dr. Madoka said, “You are in good company, you may drop the guise.”

The man looked around at the curious faces before nodding.  Before their eyes, the man seemed to melt, face becoming nothing but a stalk-mounted mouth.  The body collapsed in on itself, becoming a greyish, opaque ooze.  The ooze grew a couple long appendages out of its side and after a moment, opened up some eyes in the middle of its body.

The newcomers all had some mix of shock and revulsion written on their faces, but the performance was convincing.  ‘Hiro’ explained the situation to them again, reiterating the main points that Dr. Madoka had covered.

“So,” Dr. Madoka finally said, “Will you all join the next generation of the Blazing Wheels?”

Everyone agreed.

Edited by Redro
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  • 2 weeks later...

(Link to the card thread HERE)


Twenty Years Ago

A distraught undersea kingdom mourns its lost leader.  When the race against the Яeverse had concluded, several high members of the royal court had died.  When the bodies had been examined, a black goo seeped from every orifice.  To the public, the story was poisoning of some kind.  In the time of greatest desperation and confusion, the Prince - the prophesied savior - returned to his people.

No one had been any the wiser.’ King Ædra mused.

No one had questioned his identity as the prince and no one had expressed doubts about his rule.  He may have been the first clone of the departed Prince and picked up the most of the Prince’s mannerisms, but still, it had felt so strange.

The young king had been able to resolve the most pressing issues and he had declared the undersea realm to take temporary isolation from the surface until the confusion could be settled.  His diligence in taking charge was a comfort to the Atlantean peoples, and any who may have had doubts in their hearts were eased by the steady control Ædra displayed.

It was only five years into King Ædra’s rule when dissent first began to rise.

“From this day henceforth, we will be abolishing the cloning program.” the regent to the king declared.

That was the first major backlash I had faced, wasn’t it?’ Ædra continued to think.  

A large part of what seemed to keep the peace was the continued racing program.  Ædra had allowed it because the people wanted it, but every crash, every clone death was like a personal stab.

Their lives were worth nothing according to Horizon’s account, just like the Яeverse.  To Horizon, a clone’s death was worth as much as the pavement they drove upon.  Every clone’s death reminded Ædra of this.

The real prince had to sacrifice himself because Horizon believed I was worth nothing.’ King Ædra thought.  He thought he could feel his lips twitch upward.

Upon outlawing the clone program and banning the remaining clones from racing each other, there had been a mob at the undersea palace.  There needed to be resolution.

“All you people find value in the clone’s reckless driving.” The king addressed the mob, “I will give you a chance to prove yourself.  The scientists will be developing a new program, new racers.  You have five years to race among yourselves.  Learn, adapt, and perfect your treacherous techniques if you must.  In five years, we will have a race between your best and the new racers.  If you win, I will renounce my last law.”

So the people went away.  It was annoying, but a fair request that fit into the spirit of their desire.  Besides, how could the scientists come up with new racers in only 5 years?  Even making 1 clone took several years!

The people did not know that I had expressed my intent to shut down the cloning program long ago.’ King Ædra mused

Five years passed too quickly and it was time to see the best Atlantean racers face off against the king’s new project.

The anticipation for this race was palpable.

The Atlantean racers were made up of some rough-and-tumble racers who got to the top through their dirty tactics as much as their skill.

On the other side of the track the scientists’ new racers were revealed to be… fish?

These fish were no ordinary fish though.  They had been both bred and genetically developed to the point of sentience and were given specially designed cars that read their neural pathways to essentially become an extension of their bodies.  It had been a massive undertaking and even still the scientists were not sure if the technology was perfected.

The race began… and ended as a completely one-sided victory for the fish.

As it turned out, the scientists had chosen a development path that would directly counter the dangerous stunts of the Atlantean racers: hyper-safe driving that would cause the reckless drivers to self-destruct.  The neural extensions allowed the fish racers to react much more precisely to the Atlantean’s dangerous stunts and maneuver in a way that those performing the stunts would crash, overcorrect, or have to slow themselves significantly.  It was a new age of Atlantean racing and a refreshing reminder that racing should not come at a random cost your own safety. 

Almost overnight, there was a huge shift in both favor of King Ædra and a simultaneous drop of Atlantean vehicle accidents.

I had hoped that these new racers, and their desire to put survivability first and foremost, means they would be able to live their own lives.’ King Ædra thought.

Of course, the complete one-sidedness of the race also prompted an intergenerational question: who was better at racing, the King or the scientists’ new drivers.

While things seemed to be going well in most other aspects, the people’s new burning question seemed to weedle its way in and around the King’s court.  For the next year, as the new animal team became better and better racers in their own right, King Ædra could not seem to get away from that implicit question.

King Ædra had refused to let himself get behind a wheel for eleven years at this point.  Ever since that race with the Яeverse, the king had refused to.  For the people, this avoidance was both due to the busyness of the position, and also the danger of the races at the time.  It was disappointing, but understandable.  If King Ædra died, what would happen?

However, with the new driver’s focus on avoiding conflict, the pressure was mounting on the king to at least try once.

Another year passed.  12 years since that day, and King Ædra could no longer take it.  His every waking moment seemed to be pestered with whispers, and his dreams offered no escape.  He could feel the energy of Horizon possess him in dream races… all of which seemed to end in his death.  Still, the question would remain until he raced.

“Fine!” the king snapped to his court, “In two weeks time, I will face the animal racers.  Set everything up.”

I suppose everything was leading up to this moment.’ King Ædra thought.

As anticipated as the Atlantean/fish race was, it was absolutely dwarfed in comparison to this race.  King Ædra, who no one had seen drive for twelve years, was now going to participate in an overtake challenge against the best racers of the new generation.  The challenge was set up so that Ædra would have to overtake the five of the best animal racers within a lap to win.

As Ædra settled into his vehicle, he felt at home as he had not in a long time.  The race began.

He caught the first animal at an early corner.  The animal had taken a corner at a safe wide margin while Ædra took it at a tight drift.  The crowd went wild.  The Prince of racing had returned.

‘It was so easy and yet, no Horizon…’ King Ædra had had thought.  He passed a second and a third.  ‘Am I not going fast enough?’  He sped up.  Nothing.  Still nothing.

He came up on the tail of the second racer.  A moment later, that racer was looking at Ædra’s tail lights.

Ædra had grimaced in frustration.  He could feel Horizon manifest itself in his dreams, yet now as he raced, he could not feel its presence?

He caught up to the last racer on the last straightaway.  No easy way to pass.  Ædra remembered the theme of the Horizon and he could almost hear the Prince’s voice in his head.  ‘The sacrifice has to mean something’.

Ædra’s mind went silent as he had confronted himself.  He had been avoiding racing for all these years.  It was never because he lost the passion.  Nor was he scared of losing - he had lost a lot in his youth when scientists were developing better and better clones.  It was the fact that after all this time, he truly saw himself as a clone.  Even after all these years, did he really hold value?  Did the Horizon still see him as a sum-zero entity?  He was cloned from someone who was destined to save the Atlanteans.  The Prince had done so, so what was Ædra’s purpose?

It was time to confront this once and for all.  He knew he didn’t need the Horizon to help him win this race, but if he didn’t try now, would he ever know?  Or would he go back to his life never knowing?  No, no regrets.

“Horizon, give me the win here and now!  I declare my eye forfeit for the cause!”

Ædra’s foot slammed to the floor and he accelerated, nearly rear-ending the racer in front of him and then… as though the universe bent to his will, he was ahead.  He was nearing the end of the straightaway and Ædra glanced back.  He saw the last animal racer over two car lengths behind him and getting further.

Suddenly, in the mirror, he began to see ghostly images.  Drivers over the era racing along the same track.  It was too much.  What was real?  What was false?  Too many drivers, too much to process… Ædra’s eyes moved back to the front but, he saw a racer alongside him…

The Prince was racing alongside Ædra and they locked eyes.  The Prince gave Ædra a knowing smile and pointed at his own right eye, before vanishing into green smoke.

Ædra looked forward, but it was too late.  He was going too fast.  No time to turn…


Ædra could hear doctors shouting and he could feel his mind running through memories.  As his life flashed before his eyes, he succumbed to the warm glow of the Horizon and let himself dip into the dimension.

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Ædra opened his eyes.  He wasn’t in the race anymore.  He wasn’t anywhere in his palace or even on his planet, however, he recognized the place immediately.

He was standing on what looked like a kind of solid liquid.  As he stood up, he made ripples on the silvery surface, but even when he stood, he did not sink into it.  The sky was blue and there was absolutely nothing as far as the eye could see.  A golden line punctuated the point where the blue sky touched the silver sea.  There was nothing but that golden horizon.

“I was not sure I would ever see you again.”

Ædra turned around and saw Captain Young.  He was clad in the silver garb he’d worn as a Dimensional Speedstar and he was smiling sadly.  The sad smile didn’t suit him.  It made him look older than Ædra had remembered.

Ædra went over to the Captain and held out a hand.  The Captain ignored it and gave Ædra a bear hug.  He hadn’t changed after all.  When he backed away, he gestured for Ædra to sit and he made a motion to sit.  As he descended, the silvery floor moved up and formed a solid rounded seat.  Ædra sat as well.

“You weren’t expecting me to come back?”

“I thought you might not race again.  You’ve noticed the shift in the air, right?”

Ædra nodded.  Ever since the race against the Яeverse, racing had felt… dulled in his mind.  His spirit had never wavered though.

“Your people lost interest in racing as well then?”

“Hm?  No.”  Ædra said.

The Captain smiled, “Interesting.” he said, “You may not have come here, but you never lost the spirit of Horizon, huh?”

“No…” Ædra said, “Wait, I’m confused.”

The Captain reached down and grabbed a water bottle that formed from the silver.  It solidified in his hand and he took a drink.  He offered it to Ædra who waved it off.  He shrugged and put it on the ground and it melted back into the silvery surface.

“I’m assuming your people went back into isolation, so you don’t really know much of what’s happened on the surface.”  The Captain said.

“I kept in contact with a few of the others, but we don’t talk much anymore.”  Ædra said.  “It has been busy.”

“You know what happened when we defeated the Яeverse.  Any people who had been Яeversed died.  Fortunately, that didn’t affect your people too much.  However, defeating them required for me to use the power of the Final Horizon, remember?”

Ædra nodded.  How could he forget?

“Using the Final Horizon came with a cost.  It had unlimited power to win any race, but it was structured that way because the universe was built with racing as a universal constant.”

“I'm confused.”

“Why do you think this place exists?”  The Captain asked, “Why do you think racing was something both the surface and the undersea had in common?  Why do you think the Яeverse were racers?”

Ædra didn’t speak.

“The universe hinged on racing as a means of bringing people together.  It was kind of like a nail which bound the universe together.  Accessing the Final Horizon was a means of controlling all aspects of the universe through that nail.  You could say that I was omnipotent at that point.  However, the cost was the removal of that lynchpin.  I have full access to Final Horizon at any time now, but it only has superficial effects on the universe rather than the direct control I’d had the first time.”

Ædra was silent for a moment.  “So… I don’t feel that same strong desire to race because that desire was removed when things became unraveled?”

Captain Young nodded.  He exhaled.  “You’re the last Speedstar I have to ask about this but… was it worth it?”

Ædra looked away from the Captain.  He knew what the Captain was implying and…

“I do not blame you.  It was literally the only way to win.” Ædra said.

“But… the Яeverse didn’t kill…”  Captain Young said, “I not only destabilized the universe, but I probably caused the death of trillions…  I took away many people’s lives and as for the rest… I took away their peace.”

Ædra tugged his beard and sat back.  “You have been killing yourself over this for all these years haven’t you?”

The Captain was looking down.  Ædra couldn’t see his eyes.

“Who do you think you’re talking to?” Ædra asked the Captain.  The Captain looked at Ædra.  “Listen, I am a clone.  That knowledge has haunted me from the moment I was told what it meant.  The Prince trusted me to complete the race because he believed that despite the circumstances of my birth I could truly have value.” Ædra paused.

“Defeating the Яeverse was never about the sanctity of racing.  You always knew that.” Ædra took a deep breath as realization of what he was going to say hit him. “Every person the Яeverse controlled, they stripped of value.  The sacrifices of the Яeverse meant nothing… just like me and my clone brethren.  Whether we won or not, it was the Яeverse who had killed the personhood of everyone they controlled.  We didn’t kill anyone.  They were already dead the moment the Яeverse entered their bodies.  Our race simply revealed that truth.”

The Captain was silent.  “Value, huh?”  He sniffed and wiped his eyes with the back of his arm before looking up at Ædra and finally giving the smallest genuine smile.  “It sounds like I wasn’t the only one wrestling with things over these years.”

Ædra matched Captain Young’s small smile.  “You still hold knowledge, right?  I’m surprised you hadn’t figured it out yourself.”

The Captain’s face fell.  “Not… not really.  Remember, I-- the nail has been removed.  My connection with the universe is sparse and it mostly comes through you guys… the remaining Speedstars.”  The Captain said, “While here though, I did think up a way for the nail could potentially be restored.”

“You said that your people still love racing, right?” The Captain continued, “It’s because they feel the connection of Horizon through you.  The surface is a lot more widespread, and my wife can’t really restore the passion for racing among the peoples on the surface.  At least not by herself.”

“What do you need me to do?” Ædra asked.

“Host a race.  Undersea versus surface, just like the good old days.  You or Madoka need to be in it though.  She is trying to find other racers who might have a bit of Horizon in them.  I'm sure she will let you know when her plan is ready."

“And…?” Ædra said

“…And it should solidly connect our planet to Horizon.  Hopefully, that means I can come back, but at least it should mean that the racing constant will be present within the universe again.”

“Ok, but…”

“The fight isn’t over.”  The Captain said, eyes growing dark.  “The Яeverse were a vanguard.  They were built as a means to take over by taking advantage of the universal lynchpin.  It was someone’s intention to either use the Яeverse as a tool to corrupt racing, OR use them as a means to remove the racing lynchpin.  Control or chaos, and I’m not sure which was their true intention.  I need to get back so we can figure things out…”

Ædra nodded and smiled.  “I’ve got just the racers for this.”

The Captain nodded and Ædra started feeling lightheaded.  The golden horizon was glowing brighter.

“Oh, one last thing,” The Captain said cheerfully, “Hope you get used to the new eye.”

“Mm” Ædra grinned, before the light enveloped him and he woke up.

Ædra was sore all over.  He could hear beeping to his side.  He tried to turn his head to see, but he felt a sharp pain in his neck and he remained still.  Things looked strange.  He couldn’t place it until he tried to blink.  He could only feel his left eye move.  He closed it and gave himself a small smile, even though it hurt.

“Your Majesty, are you awake?”

“Yes.  I… I believe I will be fine.” King Ædra replied.

“Your Majesty, your right eye… I- I am sorry.”

“Do not worry.  It was a small sacrifice.” King Ædra said. “Fill me in on everything later.  We have a lot of work to do.”


Edited by Tinkerer
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

(Link to the card thread HERE)


While the new Blazing Wheels and the undersea Atlanteans were preparing their plan, let us adjust our focus to the greater universe.

The destruction that occurred 20 years prior had not gone unnoticed in the universal community.  Some species were wiped out completely, others were now considered endangered.  Even those species that suffered few casualties experienced huge changes, being thrust into a wholly new level of galactic influence.  The rapid shift of power began to cause friction between those who normally would never have interacted.

These conflicts, once settled by races, have started to become exercises in warfare and bloodsport.  Just as it had on Gaia, the interest in racing seemed to have vanished along with the vanquishing of the Яeverse.

The Galactic Flash - once mainly known for their racing prowess and secondarily known for their peacekeeping efforts - have shifted their efforts almost exclusively to peacekeeping.  Zenith’s home planet Karth has become a makeshift galactic hub, reorganizing peacekeeping efforts and becoming a base for the galactic government.

The evidence of the Яeverse had largely vanished alongside the robots themselves, so information on the cause of the deaths had been slow coming, especially while the universe was stirring with conflict.

It was only after 20 years that the government in Karth received a tip: Zenith, leader of the Galactic Flash, had been partially responsible for the devastation.

Despite Zenith’s family’s status and all the good that the Galactic Flash had done, the Karthian government wasted no time and apprehended Zenith, barring the Galactic Flash from continuing their activities until further notice.

“Jorn Zenith Ze-vest, you understand why you have been brought before us today, correct?”

Zenith nods.  He looks up at the court members seated in a semi-circle around him.  While the one addressing him was a Karthian as well, the other members were of other prominent universal species.  A Glausean, a Durman… Oh, even a Veni representative.

“Zenith, we have received information that you and your team, ID0040921119 were involved in Incident aV052.  That is, the incident around 11 Sol Cycles ago.  We aim to uncover the truth of this matter.”

Zenith nodded again.

“You have also requested this to be under galnull,” the karthian continued, “that is, upon your apprehension, you declared that this information is of a threatening or dangerous nature and should not be made public, correct.”

Zenith finally spoke, “Yes, Paz-jorni.  It is because of this nature that I had not revealed any information sooner.”

“Understood.” The karthian said, “We will make our decision on whether this shall be made public upon the completion of our investigation.”  The karthian took a breath and continued, “we shall also be cross checking the information you provide to us here with the information that we gain from the rest of your team.”

Zenith nodded a third time.

“So… tell us what happened on that day in question as well as the prior dusubsol.”

Zenith took a deep breath.  He had assessed that the court members here were not hiding anything.  A perk of his status he assumed.  However, the cross-check was a bluff.  There was nothing to gain from checking with Zenith’s team.

Days after the resulting destruction of the race became widely known, Zenith had taken the Galactic Flash to an out-of-the way planet specialized in what residents called “sublegal” actions.  The records of everything that the Galactic Flash had been involved with within that past month had been erased.  There were no records of where the Galactic Flash had gone, nor what they had been involved in.

Obviously, this would raise suspicion on the team exponentially, but very few members were actually involved with the Яeverse debacle.  Besides, it seemed more important for the Galactic Flash to utilize their name to help the newly struggling universe than it would have been for them to express a truth which would not be believed.

Zenith told the court a majority of the truth.  He explained the Яeverse, what they appeared to be doing, how they corrupted racers and other species, and the measures the Galactic Flash had taken to defeat them.  Zenith told of how he and members of his team had gone to his grandmother’s estate and used her track to gain access to the Horizon.  He told the details of the race with the Яeverse and how members of his team died to defeat them.

For the most part, Zenith was entirely truthful.  However, he did not tell the role that the Gaian peoples had in stopping the Яeverse.

The plans on Gaia that had taken twenty years of growth had finally begun to bear fruit.  Dr. Madoka and King Ædra were close to arranging a race that could bring back the power of Horizon.  It would be a renewed source of peace, a return to racing as a means to settle dispute.  Zenith could not let the galactic government stop this race just before they were so close to their goal.

“...that is all.”  Zenith concluded.

“We should convene,” the Veni representative said to the other court members, “there is a lot to discuss.”

The court members stood and headed to a back room while Zenith waited in the main room.  He would be willing to shoulder the responsibility for everything, but the Gaian peoples needed to succeed.

It felt like an interminable amount of time before the council returned.

“We have reviewed your statements.” The Veni representative said, “We have also reviewed the information obtained from your team.”  The Veni rep turned to the karthian “Paz-jorni?”

The karthian tapped her fingers in assent, “Yes, still, we aim to gain more information.  We shall need you to provide the location of the Яeverse planet.  We will also need to keep you in house arrest until we can confirm all of this information.”

Zenith held out his hands in submissive assent.  It was as expected.

The karthian nodded and murmured into a comm.  A couple security bots entered the room and escorted Zenith away.

Edited by Redro
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“Everything cycles.  A new life is simply the next stage after death.” - The Annals


Elsewhere on Karth, another well-regarded karthian stood back from his handiwork.

The karthian watched the human-sized clay figure as it sat up on the surgical table.  The golem’s shining green eyes were the same as the others’.  The body morphed, sloughing the excess mud off its form until the being looked closer to the karthian’s own body type.

“Sudi?” the karthian asked, a pleading note in his voice.

The golem shook its head.

The karthian moved back, collapsing heavily onto a seat at the far end of the room.  He pressed his fists to his eyes, but he could not stop the tears from welling up.  Another failure.

Twenty years of work.

Ever since Sudi had died twenty years ago, this karthian had been tirelessly searching for a way to bring her back.  Mundane methods had all been tried, his family’s wealth - meticulously accumulated over generations - had been spent dedicated to this project.  When all the scientific and technological ways had been exhausted, the karthian had turned to unorthodox methods.

The karthian could not remember how he had found the Annals, but the cult seemed to know exactly what had been searching for.  Taking the lessons of the Annals to heart, the karthian became a recluse, studying their many grimoires, seeking an answer trying to return his lost love.  It was several meticulous years of study before the karthian learned of the existence of a plane beyond his own.  A plane of spirits and of power.  Was this where Sudi had gone?

The karthian used all that he learned to push past the boundaries and limitations of science and reason.  He covered his vehicle in the runes that marked the many tomes of the Annals.  It was a dark and stormy night when he completed this task, still, he could not wait any longer.  If accessing this spirit realm could bring back Sudi, he would do so.

The vehicle felt different when the karthian finally entered it.  He didn’t know why or how, but it felt as though the car was an extension of himself.  As he exited into the dark night, he did not know what awaited him.

It was three days before the karthian returned home.

Upon his return, the karthian appeared to have found a new purpose.  His eyes glowed a bright silver with a streak of gold flashing across it from time to time.  The realm… he knew that it was real.  The silvery sea, the golden line off in the distance… a place of peace.  And if he dipped his fingers beneath the surface of the sea, he could bring a spirit back with him.

The spirit of Sudi… yes, if he could find her spirit, he could make her a new body.

And so the karthian pushed this idea.  He saw his first success, bringing back the spirit of an old legendary racer named Bjyltte.  While not who he had been searching for, it was impossible for him to hide this breakthrough.  Bjyltte quickly dominated the local racing scene, and it was soon apparent that Bjyltte mirrored the driving ability of an ancient karthian racer - one Jorni Bjyltte Bi-metz.

The reborn racer was soon traced back to the karthian, whose experiments did not cease.  Soon, two more racers were reborn, and the karthian’s fame grew.  The karthian became affectionately called “Jornn De-necrus”.

Despite this, the karthian continued his work.  Even though he had become quite good at sifting spirits and could now seize spirits of the correct era and even determine aspects such as the spirit’s gender, he could not determine why all of the ones he’d revived appeared to be ones who had been racers of some sort.  Sudi hadn’t been a racer.  She had been too young to even drive, though she had admired all the racers she had seen.

The karthian’s fists were still balled up in his eyes as he thought about Sudi.  Was there something he was missing?  The realm he had accessed felt as though it contained all power.  Why couldn’t he use it to bring back the one person he was aiming for?

The karthian looked up at the newly vitalized golem.  “What are you called?” he asked.

The golem processed for a moment, “I am Zeruth.  Am… am I alive?”

The karthian had had this conversation too many times before.  “I brought your spirit from the afterlife. You inhabit a new body. It would take me too long to explain how I did it, but you are welcome to use your new life as you wish.”

“I thank you, jorn.” Zeruth said.  The golem karthian slid off the table and approached the necromancer, lifting his chin up.  “You will succeed, I know it.”

The karthian smiled weakly.  “I am sorry.  I brought you back from a place of peace.”

Zeruth nodded but gave a small laugh. “I will return there when this body is forfeit. Seeing the world again is a blessing all its own.”


Edited by Tinkerer
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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Zenith’s story did coincide with the disappearance of the Яeverse, yet there was still much that did not add up.

Their delving through the records of the Galactic Flash’s ship and vehicle logs yielded nothing that disproved Zenith’s story.  And yet there were holes.  Zenith’s eyes - marked as purple on every government record - were now silver without any known genetic surgeries performed.  Further, there was a vehicle among the Galactic Flash’s plethora of cars that could not be identified.

Unable to reconcile these discrepancies, and hoping to bring a stronger closure to the still wounded universe, the council sought to send people to find the rest of the truth from the Яeverse planet.


Elsewhere on Karth, the necromancer stood atop a hill, looking at the nearby city lights in the valley below.  The cold air was bracing.  A perfect evening to try soul delving.  Still, was there any point in doing so?  Sudi’s soul was probably not anywhere he could access.

Light flooded around the karthian as a car pulled behind him.  The lights cut as the car’s purr became silence.  A soft hiss of the doors opening, the crunch of boots on gravel, a pair of quick but purposeful footsteps.  The karthian did not turn to face the duo approaching him.

“Jornn De-necrus.” it was not a question. “Your assistance is requested.”

The karthian dipped his head.  Another hopeful who sought his help to bring back a loved one?  The voice seemed too sure though.

“I don’t think I can help you.” the necromancer said.

“It izz not uzz who needzz your azziztanz.” the other voice said.

The necromancer started and turned to face the strangers.  The first was a karthian suited in the uniform of the galactic police.  The other was dressed the same, but was a humanoid robot.

“Your presence is requested at the capitol, Jornn.  Details will be provided en route.  Compliance would be much appreciated.”

The necromancer exhaled, his breath visible by the light of the valley below.  He nodded and followed the duo.


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On Gaia, the time had finally come.  After twenty long years, the atlantean peoples were going to break their isolation and connect with the surface peoples.

It was rumored that it was the richest person in the world - Lady Madoka - who had managed to convince the new king of the atlanteans to parlay.  When the news had broken that the king would come to the surface, she had sent out a declaration, hoping to renew the broken bonds the way that had been done historically: a race.

While the declaration had its naysayers - people believing that the previous race had caused the isolation in the first place - a lot of those concerns were dwarfed by the sheer excitement generated by this new prospect.

…and when King Ædra accepted the challenge, declaring the atlantean peoples would not lose, the world lost its mind.  Once again, the two greatest racing teams in the world would compete head to head!


“That went much better than expected.” Dr. Madoka mused.

King Ædra smiled on the other end of the holo-monitor.  “Perhaps to you.”

“Oh? Don’t tell me Mr. Foresight knew how this would turn out.” Dr. Madoka joked.

“That’s King Foresight to you.” Ædra replied, “No, it’s just… the influence of the Horizon on my peoples is very pronounced; we are a much more condensed peoples.  However, the influence is still there, even on the widespread surface.”

“Mm.” Dr. Madoka replied, “I hope you don’t expect the race to be easy.  I’ve seen drastic improvement in my team.  Dora has gotten to the door to Horizon multiple times. And Striker, he…” Dr. Madoka paused. “...What?”

Ædra laughed. “It’s just, it has been a long time since I have seen you so animated.”

Dr. Madoka leaned back in her chair, “We’re close to fixing things in the universe.”

“And Ken?”

Dr. Madoka looked away and Ædra’s grin widened.  Dr. Madoka may have become one of the most powerful and influential people in the world, but she still acted like a little girl with a crush when it came to Captain Young.  Dr. Madoka took a long drink from a metal bottle and regained her composure.

Lights flashed across the room for a moment.  Dr. Madoka turned away from the hologram and looked out of the glass wall behind her.  The wall overlooked a race course.  Two cars were on the track darting with impossible speed, drifting around the corners with impossible precision.  One was behind, but by less than a car’s length.

“Would you like to see what you’re up against?” the doctor said over her shoulder to the king.  Without waiting for an answer, Dr. Madoka picked up the holodrive and pointed it towards the track.

“Incredible.” Ædra said as he watched the duo parallel drift past the sharpest corner on the track. “And neither have entered the Horizon?”

“Not that I could tell.” Dr. Madoka said, “But a little push is all they’d need.  I hope you can provide that.”

The king was silent as he watched.  The two showed more skill than he’d seen, short of the power granted by the Horizon.  His blind eye began to itch and he could see himself racing alongside those two.  He could feel the motions, the g-forces as he took a corner at an angle to cut off both Youngs… He could see Striker and Dora both going for the win…

King Ædra was back.  “I am not sure if I can help them.”


“Both are experiencing a fundamental problem.” Ædra said as Madoka carried the disk back to the table.

“If you know, just tell me.”

“I could, but I think I’d like to take the win for us.” Ædra grinned again.

Ædra may have been a king and took on a brave stoicism when it came to leading his people, but he still acted like a child when it came to competition.  Dr. Madoka could see him wiggling around on his chair and smiling like an idiot.

“Fine, have it your way.  We’ll figure it out.  See you next week.”

“Until next week, doctor president.”


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  • 1 month later...

“Jornn De-necrus, will you join the cause?” The official asked, “Your skillset is unique, however it may not be necessary.  If you do not wish to join, you need only say the word.”

The karthian did not need to think over the question.  He had not exactly known what to expect when he had been summoned to the capital, but if he could potentially learn the cause of Sudi’s death, there was no way he was going to pass up the opportunity.  “I would be honored to serve, Jornn.”  The karthian said.

The official nodded and gave the karthian the details.  He was to meet the rest of the discovery team and they would head to the suspected planet in the morning.  Their overarching mission was to uncover any information to corroborate with the story as given.  Records would be kept on the ship, and any discoveries would be simultaneously logged and kept among the galactic government’s records.

The karthian was only half listening to this explanation as he followed the official.  The duo made their way to a local docking station.  Normally, such a station would be buzzing with activity of many small ships coming in and taking off, characters of all races and creeds yelling over each other in a strange kind of organized mess.  Today though, the dock was fairly quiet, and a single enormous ship took up a full quarter of the docking strip.

Though the karthian only had his mind set on potential new discoveries, he froze in place upon seeing the sight of the sheer size of the ship.  The official turned back.

“We decided it would be prudent to send an Excavator ship.” the official explained.  “It would make things easier to establish if we need to send more discovery teams.”

The karthian nodded mutely.

The official turned toward a pair of approaching humanoids and saluted, “Ah, Jorn and Jorni Addorni, hail!”

The female looking humanoid, Jorni Addorni, was a pale skinned humanoid with pale dreadlocks held together in a high bun on her head.  She looked to be tall, but it was difficult to tell as she drove herself in a half-sphere that was often used for those unable to walk.  Her long face contained many wrinkles on her forehead, and the tired bags under her eyes seemingly betraying years of hard work.  Still, her pale irises seemed to miss nothing, and as they flicked over the official to the karthian, they seemed to take in everything about him in a glance.

The other humanoid was younger, and well-toned, though as pale as the first.  Despite having no hair, this one towered a head-and-a-half over the karthians.  Armed to the teeth with tools, this one could not seem to keep his eyes off the Excavator, constantly glancing over at it with a hunger that the karthian attributed with predators stalking prey.

The pair reached the karthian and the official, and something in the karthian’s head clicked into place.

“Addorni?”  the karthian asked, “Jornns Addorni, of the Twilit?”

Jorni Addorni laughed, a surprise given her previously solemn expression. “Is that still our reputation around these parts?” She asked, before turning to the official, “I thank you Jornn.  We can take this one from here.”

The official bowed his head and left.

The smile Jornin Addorni gave to the official vanished. She adopted a businesslike tone. “We shall have time for pleasantries tomorrow.  You have been briefed, yes?”

“Y-yes.” The karthian replied.

Jornin Addorni nodded, “Good, good.  Name and designation?”

“Jornn Pandus Pe-dornn. Also known as Pandus De-necrus. Designation… Uh, necromancer?”

The younger Addorni pried his eyes away from the ship at this and looked at the karthian, Pandus.  “Necromancer?  What are you talking about?”

Pandus did not go into much detail, but filled the two in on what he could do.

The younger Addorni looked to his elder who had sat back in her hoverchair.  “We will not need you.”  She finally said.  “I believe you know this as well.”

Pandus bristled and stepped forward. “I will be coming on this mission!”

The younger Addorni stepped slightly in front of his elder, but she waved him back.  “I don’t particularly care if you come along.  You have your own reasons for accepting this task.  We all do.  Tell me your reasoning.  If I deem that it will not interfere with the mission, then you can come along.”

The elder Addorni’s piercing eyes seemed to stare through Pandus and he eventually looked away.

“I’ll check on the ship.” The younger Addorni said.  Lady Addorni nodded and gestured to Pandus, leading him over to one of the many benches lining the side of the hangar.  As the karthian followed the respected elder, he turned over scenarios in his head.  What would she accept that would let him join the mission?  Heck, did that matter?  Even if she didn’t accept it, he’d already come so far.  Join her crew or not, he was going to the planet.

Pandus sat at the bench.  He closed his eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath and collecting his thoughts.  He’d read about and admired Jornin Addorni and Jornun Addorni when he was a child.  Their galactic exploits and racing skills had been unparalleled, only exceeded by their seemingly endless hunger for adventure.

Pandus composed himself and looked up at Jornin Addorni.  She matched his gaze as he began to speak.

“I need to know.  If such a powerful force exists that can wipe out trillions, I need to know the truth.  I want to join to aid in the further knowledge of the uni–”

“Cut the crap.” Jornin Addorni said.  She sighed and rubbed at one eye with her thumb, “I will admit, you are a better liar than most of the others.  You sounded like you almost had a prepared speech or something.”


“However,” She continued, bowling over Pandus, “If I kicked out every crewmate for lying to me, we wouldn’t have much of a crew.” She stopped rubbing her eye and stared once again at Pandus, “One more chance now.” she said, before taking on a mocking tone, “I NeEd To KnOw ThE tRuTh.”

With nothing for it, Pandus told Jornin Addorni the full story.  His drive to bring back his beloved Sudi.


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Excitement of this caliber had not been seen in twenty years.  Once again, the Blazing Wheels would represent the surface but the undersea team had significantly changed.  The vehicles for the fish racers seemed to be extremely advanced to enable the oversea portion of the race.  The Blazing Wheels also had to step up their vehicles.

Each racer had been provided a specially designed car that suited each racer’s specifications and driving styles.  Furthermore, they had all been outfitted with a mid-race transformation function to enable them to drive underwater with little capability reduction.

The engineers and scientists on both sides were exhausted but it was they who cheered the hardest when the fruits of their labors lined up at the starting line.

Only 2 vehicles had not been touched nor modified in any way.

King Ædra’s black, green, and silver vehicle “Thread of Fate” pulled up next to its brighter twin, the red, white, and silver “Enflame”.  The king stepped out and waved to the crowd, but his eye was on the tinted windows of the car next to his.  There was still the possibility that he could lose this, but a lot of it would hinge on decisions made prior and during the race.  The first would involve the person driving Enflame.

The driver door opened and the slender fingers of Dora gripped the car’s roof as she got out of the car.

Dr. Madoka had not been kidding when describing the girl’s aura.  The power of the Horizon was blindingly obvious.  It was difficult to make out the girl within the shining light.

King Ædra grinned.  Well, it had been too much to hope that the Doctor would make such an obvious mistake, letting her son drive Enflame.

Dora looked at the king for a moment, taking in his calm demeanor and single eye.  He might have looked alien to the majority of people watching, especially since the atlantean peoples had only been seen for a few short days a couple decades ago, but Dora was unimpressed.  Her mother’s family looked far stranger, and with all the weirdness that came with her aunt’s training, facing someone who looked this relatively close to human was actually a bit refreshing.  The other members of the king’s team though..?  Dora shook her head.  She was racing fish?  She hadn’t been prepared for that.

Still, a race was a race and there was no way she was going to lose.  Not to this undersea royalty, nor to… him.

As Dora stood, another car pulled up next to the two legendary vehicles.  This car looked just like Enflame, but instead of silver making up the majority of its color scheme, the silver parts were replaced with a burning crimson and the parts that were red on Enflame were colored gold.  The engine cut and a young man bowled out of the driver’s seat.

Striker grinned up at the crowd, waving both hands in the air before turning to gaze at the king.  Ædra stood taller than the boy, but not by much, and the boy’s burning glare clearly displayed his passion.  Still, his aura was not nearly as prominent as Dora’s.  Still, he was a threat, and his vehicle - the appropriately named “Neo Enflame” - seemed to have been built to the same specs as the original.

Dora glared at her cousin.  He had never accepted her role as team leader, even to this day.  He didn’t even care about the race between the atlanteans.  As long as he could beat Dora, that was all he cared about.  Dora turned away and headed to meet up with the rest of the team.  The four terrain specialists were talking among themselves.  Julian was laughing as Dora walked up.

“How is everyone?” she asked

Julian turned and gave her a giant goofy grin.  “This is gonna be the best!” he said, his voice slightly too loud given they were all standing next to him, “I heard the race before was neck and neck, I can’t wait to see what they’ve got!”

Soña winced slightly but nodded nervously.  She had lived and raced near the water her whole life and she was going to be crucial for the underwater section of the race.  Still, while she was skilled, her poor constitution always made her underestimate her own capability.

Victoria and Dastan also agreed.  While the land where Victoria had come from was not being represented in the racing terrain, she was a steady, reliable driver and had grown to be a good friend to everyone, even reaching out to Striker when no one else could get him in line.  Dastan was a bit aloof, but he had been instrumental at helping everyone learn to drive with minimal condition loss.

Julian’s energy was infectious.  Dora gave a big smile and clapped Soña and Dastan on the backs.  “We’ve been training hard.  We just need to treat this as any other race and drive how we know. We’ve got this!”  Dora caught a glimpse of Conelly pulling up in the back.  “I’m going to check on Conny.”

Dora got to Conelly’s vehicle just as he got out.  Conelly was the oddball of the group.  He wore a mask and a full body suit and gloves.  The guy was the silent type, but he would always come to training.

He was very reliable, but Dora had always thought there was something off about him.  Out of all the racers in the Blazing Wheels, Conelly was the only one who ever seemed close to her and Striker’s driving skill.  However, the way he drove always seemed too safe.  Dora always suspected that the masked racer never drove genuinely.  Could he actually be better than her and Striker?  Or was what he showed his true limit?

Conelly cut his vehicle and got out.  Dora gave him a small wave, but his masked face was pointed toward the king.  Though Dora really got a sense of a person from how they drove, Conelly’s clenched fists, insistent stare at the king, and slightly forward lean did not lie.  The man had an obsessive fury toward the royal.


Conelly finally turned to Dora and seemed to jerk back into a flimsy mask of nonchalance.  He gave her a wave.

“Are you alright?”

Dora saw him glance back at the king before taking a deep breath.  “I will not let us lose this.” he said.  “Listen, just in case something… happens… today, I need to tell you something.”

Far above the starting track, Dr. Madoka was watching her racers get themselves set up.  Her vision was colored with silver as she observed the aura of everyone.  It was a little disappointing that King Ædra’s racers did not have a significant racing aura, but Dr. Madoka noted as Striker pulled up to the king’s car that every member of the Blazing Wheels seemed to be shining bright.  Well, everyone but Conelly, right?

The masked racer had not been one of her hand-picked ones, but when he had demanded to race the Blazing Wheels during their recruitment and training period - masked up and mysterious even back then - he had managed to defeat everyone.  Even the Young cousins.  Back then, Dr. Madoka had thought she’d seen something, but over the course of the remaining time training, not only did she not observe a bright aura in him, he appeared to have no driving aura whatsoever.  Still, he had been an instrumental training partner.  The rest of the team would not have progressed nearly as far without his skills putting them to the test.

However, when Conelly finally showed, Dr. Madoka had to rub her eyes.  Not only did the masked man have an aura, but his aura…

“What’s up?” a man in a cheap suit stepped up next to the president.  He casually lit up a cigarette from a box in his shirt’s front pocket.

“Conelly has an aura now. And it looks like…” the president said.

The man gave the president a sideways glance.  “That aura vision of yours is good for your plan, but it makes you miss the obvious, huh?”

“You knew?” she asked

The man blew out a long stream.  “I knew ever since you had me race him.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I thought you knew and that’s why you had me race him.” the man’s neutral face lightened up the tiniest bit, “but if you didn’t know, then that might catch the king off guard.  Could be a fun race.”

King Ædra had kept an eye as Dora moved to her teammates.  She made a good soul of their team.

He looked over his shoulder at the Doctor’s son again.  With Dora gone, he was moving around his car, running a last minute check.  Ædra’s blind eye began itching and Ædra could see several ghosts running through the same motions as Striker.  Seems like inspiration was with the kid and the racing spirits liked his energy.

Ædra looked at his own vehicle and the ghost of the Prince was in his driver’s seat.  The king gave a small smile.  “We are going to have fun, huh?”

The ghost of the Prince nodded.  It then thumbed to the back of the track.  Ædra turned his gaze to the back of the pack where he saw a final car pulling up to the Blazing Wheels’ team.  The engine cut and the masked racer stepped out.

Ædra’s eyes widened as he saw the man’s aura.  Why would the president have hidden this from him?  The purpose of the race wasn’t to win, but it seemed as though she might have had other plans.  The ghost of the Prince gave Ædra a huge smile.

“Guess we’ll actually have to try our best.  Can’t let that guy get close or things could be bad.”

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(Time for the race! Link to the related thread HERE)


“A race with potential to restore the constant, all being performed on a backwater planet.  Once more, the gods marvel at the glory within weakness.” - The Annals

The racers finally lined up at the starting line.  The track had been constructed to the specifications of both Dr. Madoka and King Ædra.  It would offer everything an elite racer could hope for and was a unique test of skill for any driver.  Most importantly though, it was created to mimic aspects of Zenith’s family’s racetrack.

King Ædra lined his car on the far end of the track, as far from the Blazing Wheels cars as he could get.  Dora and Striker both lined close to the middle, while Conelly lined up as close to the Fate Shaper cars as legally allowed.

The pistol fired, the engines roared into activity, but their sound was completely drowned out by the crowd.  Over 1 million oversea and atlantean peoples watched the event in person across various parts of the track, with many more people watching from home.  The Fate Shaper fish cars with their stronger acceleration took an early lead, with Ædra himself purposefully lagging behind the Blazing Wheels cars.

Among the Blazing Wheels, Striker pressed for the early lead, pushing his car to quickly match the high accelerating Fate Shaper cars.  Striker quickly found himself neck-and-neck with the Fate Shaper team leader Reell.  The remaining Blazing Wheels got themselves into formation.  Dora took point and the remaining members drafted behind her, allowing them to keep speed high and closely relying on Dora’s skills to take the best line during corners.

The only one seemingly acting odd was Conelly.  His car was not touched by any of Dr. Madoka’s engineers, and while it was typically built with relatively low acceleration but a pointedly high level of control, Conelly seemed to have taken a different approach with his modifications.

Conelly zipped past the column of drafting drivers and darted towards one of the lagging fish drivers.  Drafting behind it for a moment, Conelly waited until they hit a sharp corner before ducking from behind the driver, taking an insane inner line and forcing the fish to skid a little to a bad outer line to course-correct.  The line of Blazing Wheels cars overtook the slowed fish and passed it.

Ædra nodded.  While it could’ve been dangerous for Conelly had the fish kept the same line, it was clear that the one who’d have the most trouble navigating around the confusion would have been Ædra himself.  Conelly’s actions were clear.

“I cannot stay in the back.”  Ædra muttered. “Gonna have to confront him directly if we want the plan to go off at all.”

Kicking his car into high gear, Ædra finally started pushing forward.  He stayed in line with the Blazing Wheels for a moment, before taking a light outer line and moving up to be neck and neck with Dora.  Racing spirits drove around the duo, but Ædra shook his head, brushing them out of his mind.  He did not need Horizon’s power this early.

And so the race continued.  Striker and Reell in the lead by a sizeable gap, the remaining Fate Shapers slowly and systematically getting bumped out of the lead by Conelly, Ædra slowly moving up to confront him, and the remaining Blazing Wheels cars driving in union and keeping a steady pace.

Ædra finally caught up to Conelly as he forced another Shaper to make an unconventional move to keep its distance.

“Here I am,” Ædra said, glancing out his right-side window at Conelly’s car.  The next corner was a tight left before leading into the first underwater section.  Conelly had to do something now, otherwise Ædra would have a clear advantage going into this next part of the track.  Ædra ran through the possibilities.

Conelly’s car lurched left, jerking toward Ædra.  This was no feint, he was going to take himself and Ædra out of the race entirely.


Ædra felt the power of Horizon within him and his vision seemed to dart between his body and the “bodies” of the ghost racers around him.  A quick transference and… suddenly Ædra and his car appeared on the right side of Conelly.

Conelly’s vehicle, pushing too quickly to the left to course correct, drove off-road and skidded out.

Ædra felt a minor headache forming.  A minor cost to keep him in the race and get rid of the biggest unknown factor.  Ædra exhaled and glanced around.

Wait, something was off… where were the ghosts?

Ædra’s eye widened and he glanced at his rearview at the skidded Conelly’s car.  The aura had evaporated.  No… he couldn’t have countered Ædra’s use of Horizon’s power with his own, could he?

Conelly sat in his car and sighed.  There was no way he was going to have made it to the end of this race, but he hoped that was enough.  Connelly glanced at his passenger’s seat where the ghost of the Prince sat.  The Prince gave Conelly a smile.  Conelly took off his mask and gave his doppelganger a hearty laugh.  “So much for being the “superior clone”, eh, Prince Ædra?” he leaned back in his seat, “I hope my sacrifice was worth it.”

Less than a third of the race left.  The Blazing Wheels had broken formation and were now in positions to prevent the previously slowed Fate Shapers to get into a good position.  Dora pushed forward, moving forward to catch up to Striker, Reell and King Ædra.

As well as Striker had been driving, it had been pretty by-the-book.  Taking reasonable lines, and never pushing too hard during the underwater sections.  He could not get clear distance from Reell who would catch up coming out of tight corners and during the undersea sections.  However, Reell’s car had been pushed much harder in doing this.  As king Ædra slowly moved up to take Reell’s place, something had to give, and Reell had to pull back, aiming to instead block Dora from the two front runners.

Ædra nodded.  Reell’s skills were genuine.  Still, where its spirit was willing, its car’s body was unfortunately not equipped to handle a one-on-one with a Horizon car design.

Ædra caught up to Striker, taking advantage of the same openings as Reell, before dipping a couple car lengths ahead at a quick downhill section.

Ædra glanced in his rearview.  He could see Reell and Dora but…  A flash of motion out of his left window.  Striker had closed the distance almost immediately.  Did, did the boy get better when facing better competition?  The aura around the car shone with a more pronounced sharpness.  It looked like it had when King Ædra and the president had observed the Young cousins a couple weeks ago.

Ædra grinned.  He may no longer be able to tap into Horizon’s power, but this reminded him of the classic races back in the day.  Back when the scientists had supposedly developed better and better clone racers, Ædra had always felt left behind for his priority in preserving his own life in his races.  He never could push for the most dangerous - and rewarding - maneuvers as some of the other clones, but by preserving himself, he perfected every aspect of his driving to the utmost.  One on ones were his forte.  If the kid got better with better competition, then he would just have to be the best.

Dora could sense a subtle shift in Ædra’s driving.  Were his moves sharper somehow?  He seemed to be taking the best lines with impossible ease.  Reell blocked her view again and Dora grunted with annoyance.  The only way to get ahead of the stubborn fish leader would be working with Striker but he’d never go for it.  If she couldn’t get ahead of Reell, they’d have no chance to win.

Conelly’s words reverberated in Dora’s head.  His plan had failed, but there was still one chance.

“Striker, you’ve gotta help me get past this fish.” Dora said, “We can figure out something for the King.”

“If you can’t get past that fish, you won’t be any help.” Striker said shortly, and cut the com line.

Well, if Striker would not help willingly, there was only one way to move forward.  As the four cars came up to the longest right corner in the track, Dora moved to draft behind Striker as he moved toward the inside before the turn.  Reell cut ahead, blocking Dora, but as it looked back, it saw Dora’s car gaining speed and moving to an outside line.

Reell course corrected and moved outside, blocking off Dora’s path once again, but that was the key.  Dora was moving much faster, feigning the outside path, but instead setting up a high speed drift just as Striker moved into his own drift.  Dora’s speed lined up her car with Striker’s as the duo executed a perfect parallel drift, moving from the inner corner to the outer corner of the track.  Reell, outside the two cars, was forced to brake, slowing so it would not be squeezed off the track.

The cousins now were bumper to bumper behind Ædra who had extended his lead even further.  There were a number of corners, but fortunately the rest of the course was on land.  

Dora attempted to pull up next to Striker, but he began to recklessly push forward, trying to keep her in his rearview.  Still, it was impossible for him to keep Dora behind as he tried to inch his way past Ædra.

The trio moved faster, ever faster.  Instinct took the cousins as their vision began flashing with a location that they had never seen yet somehow felt familiar.  Ædra’s eye began to glow its silver hue once more and the racing spirits that had disappeared at Conelly’s sacrifice had begun to reappear to him.

The cousins’ cars moved even faster, fully tapping into the energy of their place of origin.  They pulled alongside Ædra’s car coming out of the final corner.  It was a final sprint to the finish.  Nothing but a miracle could break the dead heat.

“A minor miracle, that’s all I need.” Ædra said, “I hope I have pushed them enough.”

Ædra closed his seeing eye and let his blind eye guide him.  He could see the ghosts of the race.  A quick transference would be all that he’d need.  Just… get enough distance ahead to break the tie.  He’d deal with the consequence later.

Ædra’s car blipped out of existence and suddenly he was ahead.

“No!” Striker roared, slamming his foot to the floor, but there was nothing more his car could give.

Dora’s mind swirled with everything.  Conelly’s voice cut through the fog. “For the team to win, you will have to sacrifice your personal chance at victory.  It will be the only way.”

A flash of inspiration.

Dora slammed on the brakes.

…and suddenly she was ahead of Ædra’s car.

“Wha-!” Ædra yelled, swerving around Dora’s car’s sudden appearance.  He lost control and sped off road, spinning along the sandy roadside before bumping into a wall.

Striker had just enough time to dodge Dora’s car, and he sped ahead, too far in front for anyone to catch up to him.

Dora would not finish the race, but her mind was elsewhere...


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  • 3 weeks later...

Dora opened her eyes to an unbroken blue sky.

“Welcome” a voice said behind her.

As Dora unsteadily rose to her feet, she turned around warily to see Striker?  Wait, no, this man had brown hair rather than Striker’s red and he was a bit thinner.

“Who are you?” Dora asked.  She looked around at the silvery sea that she seemed to be standing on, “Where am I?” Then a sudden idea hit her, “Wait, am I dead?!”

“Whoa, slow down there.” the Striker look-alike said.  “Have a seat, I’ll explain everything.”

The man gestured towards Dora and a comfortable looking armchair appeared from the silvery surface.  He sat down as a second armchair appeared to catch him.

Dora was wary but sat down.  The chair was as comfortable as it looked.

“First things first, you are not dead.” the man said.  “My name is - or was - Ken Young.”

“Young?”  Dora said.

The man’s eyes lit up.  “You wouldn’t happen to be Lenore’s daughter, would you?”

The man seemed to vibrate with excitement.  It seemed almost sad to disappoint him.  “Uh, Auntie Lenore is doing well.”

“Oh!” the man exclaimed, “You are X’s daughter?”

She nodded slowly “I am Dora.  Are… are you my uncle?”  It seemed like one of the only reasonable assumptions at this point.

Ken beamed at her “I guess I am!” He said, “Welcome to the Horizon!”

Dora glanced around again at the empty space.  While there was nothing to break up the emptiness, she did not feel bored or anything.  It was… peaceful, fulfilling.  Still, things didn’t make sense.

“I thought you were dead?”  Dora said.

“Mmm… Lenore was playing things close to the chest huh?”  Ken said.  “How about you tell me what you know and I can fill you in?”

Dora recounted the old story her father used to tell her. Ken had listened thoughtfully, only interjecting with a few clarifications. “Dad always got a bit iffy toward the end, but I thought he just made up some aspects.  He said you died after defeating the Яeverse.”

“Kinda.”  Ken said, “In its most simple terms, the Horizon is kinda like a heaven for a racer.  If a racer dies, they end up as a soul here.  However, rarely, racers can access this place while alive.  This place can give unique racing abilities to those who have accessed it.  You raced Ædra to get here, right?”

Dora nodded

“Did you notice him doing anything weird during your race?”

“He… he literally teleported at one point.”

Ken laughed, “Not very subtle, but yeah, he needed to push you so you and your cousin could access the Horizon.”  Ken rubbed the stubble on his chin, “Being honest, I expected my kid to get here first.”

Dora bristled, “Why?  I’m a better racer than Striker.”

Ken waved her down, “no, it’s just… both me and Lenore had accessed the Horizon.  Neither of your parents had done so.  The situation is kinda weird, but I didn’t expect anyone but people already related to the Horizon to be able to get here.”

Dora huffed and sat back in her chair.

Ken chuckled, “Either way, your Aunt’s plan was to use this race to bring me back.  I used the full power of the Horizon to defeat the Яeverse, but the cost hurt racing across the universe and also trapped me here.”  Ken looked at Dora in the eye and his face became serious, “I need to give you something to take back with you.  This gift has 2 parts.  You can use the first part as soon as you get back.  It will bring back racing like it was before you were born.”

Dora nodded.

Ken continued, “The second part of the gift mixes with your Horizon power and it will allow you to bring me back.  But you must promise me you will not use this part until you are in a dire racing situation.  I know your aunt will beg, but I believe there is another reason I am here that I do not fully understand yet.  I know there is a threat coming, but as long as you use the first part of the gift, I should be able to help monitor the situation.”

“I don’t fully understand.” Dora said.

“You were chosen to come here.  The universe has willed it.”  Ken said.  He seemed to be looking through Dora at this point, driving along his own road.  “If my wife or son had come, they would have brought me back immediately.  But you came instead.  I don’t think I am supposed to come back yet, you know?”

Dora shook her head and Ken copied her, seeming to snap back to himself.

“I’m sorry.  I guess I can’t really explain anything well with information that’s twenty years out of date.” Ken said, “I just have a bad feeling if I am brought back early.  Please promise you won’t bring me back, even if your aunt begs?”

Dora still had many questions, but it seemed as though the golden horizon was glowing a little brighter.

“Your time is up, Dora. Please!” Ken said.

“Okay. I promise.” Dora said.

“Thank you Dora.  Please hold your hands face up in front of you.” Ken said, hurriedly.

She did so, and Ken pressed both his index fingers into her palms.  There was a momentary flash and a silver and gold X appeared on both of Dora’s hands.

“You can use the silver, but do not use the gold unless you are in serious trouble.”  Ken reminded her.

“Thank you.” Dora said, before the light of the Horizon’s horizon engulfed her vision and she was back in her car.


“What do you mean, you won’t?!” Dr. Madoka demanded.

“I promised U-uncle Ken I wouldn’t.” Dora said.

“I set up this entire thing, I waited twenty years and trained you all for this purpose.  Haven’t I paid for enough?  You have the ability to.  Just bring him back already!”

“Lenore, stop.”

Alexander - the older man in the cheap suit who had been watching the race with the president - stepped between Dora and Dr. Madoka.  “I imagine my brother misses you as much as you miss him.  He must have had a reason to not come back.”

Dr. Madoka looked at the grim-faced man for a moment before storming out of the room.  She had promised herself she would not try to access the Horizon on her own.  Her own sacrifice could jeopardize any remaining hope for stability across the cosmos, but she no longer cared.  She had sacrificed her own will for twenty years.  Did the Horizon not count that for something?  It was time for her to collect what she was owed.

Striker had watched this exchange across the large VIP space.  He had won the race, and while he’d been showered with the praise of the masses, it was impossible for him to feel any satisfaction with the result.  He knew that this race was supposed to be instrumental towards bringing his father back, but he still was not sure how.  And no one here seemed interested in his skill or his victory.  Not that he would have been able to win, even with all his skill.  Striker threw down his glass and it shattered on the carpeted floor before he exited the room.

The remaining members of the Blazing Wheels had all been invited to the room, but they had quietly stayed on one end as Dr. Madoka had grown louder and more agitated.  None of them really understood except that they had been used for something.  They had raced to the best of their ability and yet it seemed like the outcome did not matter to their employer.  While they had grown to understand that there was a bigger picture here (considering the atlanteans and aliens), seeing all the attention devoted to Dora and none to their improved driving ability was disheartening.  They spoke among themselves, trying not to let the Doctor’s outburst and Striker’s anger keep them from trying to enjoy themselves.

Conelly was wheeled into the VIP room.  His legs were bandaged but he seemed to be in good spirits.  His mask was off, revealing himself to his teammates as a near identical twin to the king they had just raced.  Dora’s new silver eyes opened wider in understanding, but the other four members were dumbfounded.  Conelly nodded to the quartet in acknowledgement and gestured for them to come over while asking the nurse to wheel him toward Dora and the older man.


“Thank you.” Dora said, “I’m sorry I didn’t realize…”

Conelly shook his head, “Does not matter.  No need to hide it now.  I have learned everything I needed to.”

“So, are you the true king or?” Victoria asked

“I’m a clone.  The undersea used to have a pretty expansive cloning program, but that’s in the past.  Please, you have all known me as Conelly this whole time.  I’ve grown to like that name for myself.”

Conelly did not smile, but his face seemed to grow less lined as he continued.  “You all did amazingly well.  I hope to see you all continue to race with passion.  I am sure this race will have inspired a lot of new competition.”

Dora started, remembering what her uncle had told her in the Horizon.

“I think I have a special gift for all of us.” Dora said.

She held out her left hand, palm up, and concentrated.  She began to sweat slightly as the silver X on her hand began to glow softly.  Her eyes narrowed in focus as it grew brighter and brighter.  Out of the light, an object seemed to take form, coming out from Dora’s palm like the world’s slowest jack-in-the-box.

What looked like a giant silver nail appeared, fully formed, out of Dora’s palm, however, instead of a flat top, it had the crossed X shape.

The rest of the Blazing Wheels looked on in awe while Alexander and Conelly’s expressions remained unchanged.  The nurse, the only non-racer in the room, stumbled back in complete bewilderment.

Dora snatched the glowing nail out of the air and in one swift motion, threw it point-first into the ground.  It seemed to drive through the solid ground as though it were soft dirt and fully lodged itself into the floor of the room.

In that moment there was silence.  Nothing had physically changed, but it was as though a switch - one that had been dormant and gathering dust for twenty years - had been switched back on.

The drive to race, something that had dwelled in the hearts and minds of every sentient being since time immemorial, had once again been ignited on Gaia.

The gong had been struck.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Excavator ship landed on the planet described by Zenith.  The crew had already disembarked and began setting up for long-term presence.  Though the planet was fairly barren, it was obvious that there had been vehicles here.  Pandus watched from a window as the other crew members moved about with their missions in mind.

Jorni Addorni and the younger Jorn - whom Pandus had realized was her son - had been the first ones off the Excavator and they’d disappeared into the wilderness near the singular mountain Zenith had directed them to.  Despite their reasoning for being here, adventuring was still in the Addorni blood.

For his part, Pandus had to admit that Jorni Addorni had a point.  While he had been well known on his home planet, and he’d received lots of education in the realms of medication, history, politicking, and economics, on this mission, his practical usefulness was next to nil.  He could help in the med bay, but he had never been good at researching, so he probably wouldn’t be useful in case they had encountered any alien poisons, besides, many of the Jorns who had joined them were species that Pandus was not biologically familiar with.

There would be very little to do.  However, as long as he helped where he could, Jorni Addorni had said he could stick around.

Given the situation, Pandus decided to make use of the Excavator’s library, hoping to find anything that could help him with his own mission.

Two months had passed in this tedium.

Many of the other members of the team had found remains of the robotic species that seemed to have been here.  Multiple research camps had been set up, and enough reports had been sent that it intrigued the galactic government.  Pandus had been ordered to try to bring these robots to life, but it had been no use.  In lieu of that, they government had sent out a new Excavator with mechanics, engineers, and even a few racers hoping to reverse-engineer the remains of the robots and their vehicles to obtain more information.  The once desolate planet now had locations abuzz with activity.

Pandus, a Jorn content in his solitude, had begun taking up a hobby of hiking the nearby mountain.  While he had not “discovered” anything useful on his own, he had to admit, the mountain air helped him to think.

He had been no help to the mission, however, he had discovered something interesting when he had tried to bring the robots to life.  When he had dipped into the “realm of the dead”, he had found himself in the familiar place with the silver sea.  There was a difference though.  The sea appeared lighter and the normally cloudless serenity had a single white blot in the distance.  An odd imperfection in an otherwise perfect place for souls.

As Pandus sifted his hand beneath the lighter grey surface, he found nothing.  No souls seemed to be here.  He had walked around this bright version of the “realm of the dead”, but no matter where he searched, he could not find a soul.

This was new.  Anything new could lead to something that could help, but only if he could understand it.

As Pandus had taken up hiking, he continued to try his ritual in various locations on the mountain.  No matter where he was, the “realm of the dead” seemed to lack the dead that Pandus had come to expect.  However, he had noticed that on various parts of the mountain, when he accessed the realm he seemed to be closer to the white blot.

Understanding this new phenomenon was Pandus’ new mission, and to understand he must reach the white blot.

Pandus exhaled and wiped sweat from his brow.  His goal today was to reach a certain outcropping that he’d noticed a few days ago.  He hadn’t been able to climb up then, but he’d lugged up some extra equipment this time.  He set himself up and with the precision he’d gained over these past twenty years, he climbed up to the outcropping.

Flopping over upon reaching the overhang, he lay on the rocky surface and breathed heavily, nursing his fingers.  Looking around, he could see a small opening in the mountain’s rock face.

Catching his breath and getting up, Pandus headed toward the small indentation.  Lighting a small glowstick, he peered into the darkness.  The opening was small, but he could see it open up after a few steps.  Pandus took out a vial of luminous liquid and ducked into the cave, dribbling some liquid as he made his way into the cave’s depths.

At first, the cave seemed natural.  Rock walls bent in inconvenient angles and several times it looked like it hit a dead end, but an outcrop or obscured hole pulled Pandus further in.  However, after several of these, the cave system seemed to open up, becoming rounded.  The walls smoothed and the slight inclines and declines disappeared into a single path that continued to turn to the left, moving towards the center of the mountain.

Pandus had a tough time breathing.  He wasn’t afraid of tight spaces, but knowing an entire mountain was above him still made him anxious.  Still, he’d come this far.  He could not just turn around now.

Eventually, the spiralling hall ended.  To Pandus’ left, and presumably near the center of the mountain, a black metal double door stood.  It was imposing, but completely unadorned.  Pandus, curiosity fully overshadowing anxiety, pushed at the door with both hands and almost fell over as the door gave way with almost no pressure.

Inside the door was a circular room that appeared to be a shrine of some kind.  Stone and metal was meticulously arranged in patterns distinctly familiar to Pandus, and it all surrounded what appeared to be an altar.  The room was high, with the walls rising up to meet a single point in the center.  The metal ground was made of the same dark metal as the door, and its surface was dotted with carved runes that Pandus recognized - but did not comprehend - that had adorned the dark rooms of the Annals.

At the far end of the room, there appeared to be a throne of some kind.  It was in the exact location Pandus would normally put the catalyst when he tried to bring Sudi back to life.  Pandus moved through the room, brushing loose rocks and dirt off the carefully arranged stones and runes.

There was nothing for it.  This room was perfectly built to access the “realm of the dead”.

Pandus slowly made his way to the center of the room, fixing the arrangements where applicable.  The altar was made of the same black metal and every inch of it was covered in the runes.  Pandus made his final arrangements and placed his hands upon the altar, tapping once more into the “realm of the dead”.


Pandus opened his eyes in the realm.  He stood at the edge of a precipice that shone with impossibly white light.  The silvery liquid around the hole constantly poured into it, and the light shot up in an almost celestial pillar.  It was here.  The answers would be found below.

Pandus teetered on the edge.  A final moment of hesitation before greatness.

He tumbled forward, falling into the light.

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“Oi, we’ve got us a live one!”

“No way, you’re kidding”

“Wanna try me?”

“Pass.  Can’t believe that worked though.”

“How did you know?”

“Twas one simple thing.  Thou hast betrayed thy lacking…”

“Y’all had to get ‘em goin’ huh?  K’s not gonna stop talkin’ for’n eon”

“I mean, I thought it would work, but not that soon… what was it?”

“A spiral an’ a haf”

“…and thy mortal lust shalt bring to ourselves one…”

“Ayo?!  M just told me!  Guess this means I won the wager, huh?”

“Ugh, half a spiral more and I would have won…”

“Heh, guess that’s what happens when you bet against me A!  Shoulda known better than that~”

“Don’t tell me ya did somethin’.  I’ll kill ya if ya did.”

“Whoa, whoa!  What am I supposed to do here?  You know the limits.”

“…mechanical marvels oft inspire and pique one’s mind, regardless of thine inner naturae…”

“Uh, you all realize this one is conscious.”

“What’s it matt'r?”

“Yeah! Time to get outta ‘ere!”

“Don’t forget the deal, W!”

“Yeah, I know, I know. Les shut up and go already!"

“Six? Eight? Ten? Will it matter?”

“This one mayst only possess a septum.  Any more and one mayst fail before we leave.”

“Gotcha.  Ay, M, got any reccs for who to come?”

“It could be fun to bring E.”

“Aww yeah, E’s funner’n y’all”

“Alright then.  Let E know and let’s go!”

“This aughtn be good.”

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The next card set is added with this part.  Link to the cards HERE.


“Pandus” opened his eyes.  He was still in the chamber, but now he was no longer alone.  His mind had been wrested from his control.  The voices from the other realm now crowded his mind.  He could not move on his own, could not feel on his own.  He had no control of anything.  He could only watch in horror as his body moved away from the altar and towards the throne in the back of the room.

One voice seemed to speak louder in Pandus’ mind.  It seemed as though it was addressing him.

“You’ve done well arranging these.  I might have bet on the shortest timeframe, but it always impresses me how quickly you can pick up on these things.”

Pandus struggled to move his body, to scream, to do anything.

“Whoa there! No need to yell, just chill for a mo’.” the voice said.  “I’ve got your body right now, just gimme a sec to let these bozos out, cool?”

Pandus’ body got to the fancily shaped, but largely unadorned seat.  Pandus tried to pull away, to do anything, but it was no use.  His body unceremoniously plopped into the chair.

With an open palm, Pandus’ body traced a runic symbol in the air towards the altar.  The runes along the metal slab began to glow and move on their own.  They peeled off the altar and began to hover in three dimensional space, circling around the center of the room - a mystical spherical cage of glyphs.

Pandus watched in horror as the cage seemed to rip open space inside itself.  Thin, bipedal, horned creatures with skins whose hues ranged from the blackest pitch and darkest crimson to sickly green and near translucent pale, began to emerge from the space where space used to be.  The demonic creatures pushed against the edge of the barrier.  While the runes stretched to accommodate, the cage held.  Six of the… things were now held over the altar.

“Daimonions,” the voice intoned to Pandus. “Spirits of inspiration that live in the dimension of the metaphysical.  Takes some effort to give ‘em physical form, but it’s the quickest way to get these guys out of your head.”

As the voice was talking, Pandus felt as though he were being emptied.  The multiple presences that had taken root in his head seemed to be leaving.  As he watched, the wild uncontrolled movements of the daimonions seemed to settle.  Their eyes seemed to glow with new intelligence and their bodies morphed to match the personalities of their inhabitants.

“Okay, they’ve left.” the lone voice said to Pandus.

Pandus felt wrung out, but he seemed to have control over his own faculties.  “What are you?”

“Oh, did Horizon fail to talk about us?” the voice asked, sounding like it was grinning at Pandus’ confusion.

“Who the fuck is Horizon?” Pandus yelled.  Pandus had always prided himself in his ability to roll with the punches, to take everything in stride, to incorporate everything into his own fount of knowledge, but this - all of this - was too much.  All he had cared about was Sudi, but now a shapeless voice was possessing him, and his body had summoned a bunch of demons that other disembodied voices were now controlling.  He was in the middle of a mountain, and all his attempts to understand the weird realm that housed long dead spirits simply produced more questions.  Enough was enough.  He was tired.  He’d done everything and felt further from his goal now than he had at the start.

The red daimonion, subtly larger and spikier than the others, jeered at Pandus, but the internal voice was silent.

“Oh.  Oh wow,” the voice finally intoned, sounding like it came out from a deep thought.  “You… you know absolutely nothing.  That’s honestly really impressive given what you’ve done.” The voice paused a moment.  “Let me fill in all the pieces.  It’s not my specialty, but I will give you knowledge.  It is about time you learn what is going on.”

The empty space where the voices seemed to be was once more being filled.  Not with new voices, but understanding.  Who and what Horizon was, what the “realm of the dead” truly was, who the voices were, even the nature of his universe and what lay beyond.

Most importantly, Pandus knew that it was possible to bring Sudi back.  But…

“Yes, I am sorry.” the voice said.  The smug confidence that it normally seemed to evoke was gone.  It was a surprising measure of kindness for such a being.  “The ones who have passed on have a reason to remain behind the veil.  You will see her in death, but bringing her back will ensure her ultimate destruction.  Only with one of our souls bound to her own can she survive the crossing.”

“And you… you all caused her death.”

“A necessary measure.” the voice said shortly, a little of its old flair back.  “Anyways, the sooner we finish our business, the sooner you’ll get to see your beloved Sudi.”

Pandus was silent.  His body stared forward at nothing, while the possessed daimonions began to undo the runic bindings holding them in place.  Given all the new knowledge, he knew that the voice was mostly correct.  Still, he’d given up this much, and now with full knowledge, Pandus’ new silver eyes glowed with determination.

“How about a wager?” Pandus asked.

The voice laughed.  A loud echoing sound that so completely enveloped Pandus’ mind that he began to laugh out loud.

“Ahh! That is the spirit!” the voice said.  Holding Pandus’ palm up, a coin appeared from thin air, landing into the Karthian’s open hand. “A coin toss.  Couldn’t be more fair than that, huh?” the voice said jovially.  “What are the stakes?”

“If I win, you must immediately help me to bring back Sudi, and you must bind with her for safe passage through the veil.”

“Of course,” the voice said, “and if I win?”

“You can use my body as you wish.  You and the rest can continue with your plans.”

The voice laughed again, “those stakes seem pretty uneven.  Either you win and get Sudi now or I win and you’ll get to Sudi soon anyway.” The voice was already fiddling with the coin in Pandus’ hand, “still, it’s been a while, so I don’t care.  I’m feeling lucky anyway, so you can flip it.”

Pandus looked at both sides of the coin.  It was unlike any he’d seen, but one side seemed silver while the other side gold.  “Silver side up.” he said.

“Alright, I’ll get gold then.”

Pandus flipped the coin watching it flip end over end as it came down.  At eye level, he snatched it out of the air, fist clenched.

“Well?” the voice said.

Pandus slowly opened his hand.  A glint of gold flashed up at him.

“I guess that’s that.  Thanks for the fun, mortal.”

Pandus could feel his consciousness being pushed to the back of his mind.  The voice now spoke through his mouth.

“Come brethren, let’s have some fun.” Pandemonus said.


Edited by Tinkerer
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6 hours ago, Tinkerer said:

“Oi, we’ve got us a live one!”

“No way, you’re kidding”

“Wanna try me?”

“Pass.  Can’t believe that worked though.”

“How did you know?”

“Twas one simple thing.  Thou hast betrayed thy lacking…”

“Y’all had to get ‘em goin’ huh?  K’s not gonna stop talkin’ for’n eon”

“I mean, I thought it would work, but not that soon… what was it?”

“A spiral an’ a haf”

“…and thy mortal lust shalt bring to ourselves one…”

“Ayo?!  M just told me!  Guess this means I won the wager, huh?”

“Ugh, half a spiral more and I would have won…”

“Heh, guess that’s what happens when you bet against me A!  Shoulda known better than that~”

“Don’t tell me ya did somethin’.  I’ll kill ya if ya did.”

“Whoa, whoa!  What am I supposed to do here?  You know the limits.”

“…mechanical marvels oft inspire and pique one’s mind, regardless of thine inner naturae…”

“Uh, you all realize this one is conscious.”

“What’s it matt'r?”

“Yeah! Time to get outta ‘ere!”

“Don’t forget the deal, W!”

“Yeah, I know, I know. Les shut up and go already!"

“Six? Eight? Ten? Will it matter?”

“This one mayst only possess a septum.  Any more and one mayst fail before we leave.”

“Gotcha.  Ay, M, got any reccs for who to come?”

“It could be fun to bring E.”

“Aww yeah, E’s funner’n y’all”

“Alright then.  Let E know and let’s go!”

“This aughtn be good.”

I really like the colored text your story is going good so far.

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  • 4 weeks later...

“I am sorry I put you through such difficulty.”

Dora said nothing.

“She’ll… she’ll come around.  I just… Thankfully she has not done anything reckless so far.”

Dora pulled the car over to the side of the lonely highway and turned off the vehicle.  “The whole reason she did it was for you to come back.  You gave me the ability to do so, but insisted I don’t.  You couldn’t explain why before, but I can’t just go by vague “feelings” here.”

“Sorry Dora.  Feelings were all I had, being disconnected from the universe.”

Dora let out a breath, “So have you figured out why I shouldn’t bring you back?  Even if I find Auntie, what am I going to tell her: ‘Oh, I promised Uncle I wouldn’t bring him back, but now a ghost version of him is living in my head, hope that’s good enough’?”

“Ha-ha.” Ken laughed dryly.  “I still couldn’t tell you why coming back now is a bad idea, but you still need to go to her.  There seems to have been a few concerning developments.  She also has Enflame and the Blazing Wheels needs their head.”

In the weeks that had passed since Dora reignited the racing spirit on Gaia, the members of the Blazing Wheels had gone their separate ways - temporarily, she was assured - to seek new challenges and hone their skills.  Striker’s fame kept him on the radar and his new hobby seemed to be crushing everyone in races.  President Madoka, on the other hand, seemed to have gone off the grid entirely.  No one knew where she had disappeared to.  Alexander had taken up some of the Blazing Wheels managerial operations, but he had limited access to President Madoka’s resources.

Since then, Ken Striker, once delegated solely to the Horizon, seemed to pop in as a voice in Dora’s mind every now and then.  “I am slowly gaining the ability to see and know things about the universe again.” he had explained, “Right now it’s mostly Gaia, but hopefully I’ll be able to monitor things across the universe at large.”

It seems as though Ken had gained full sight over Gaia at this point and had stretched his attention elsewhere, but not before telling Dora where Lenore Madoka could be found.

“I know that already,” Dora said, starting the car again and angrily shoving her foot on the gas. “I don’t know how I am going to get through to her.  If it was anyone else, they might have a good chance, but she’s specifically mad at me.”

“You did nothing wrong.”

“You don’t need to tell me that.  Just…” Dora scratched her head, “I just need something to work with, you know?”

Ken was silent.

“I’m sorry.” he finally said again. “I guess I’m nervous.  It’s been twenty years down there.  It has barely felt like any time up here.  I… I’m worried she’s changed, I’m worried that she’ll be annoyed that I have not… I’m terrified that what we had wasn’t as real as I believed.” he seemed to drink in everything he said, “But none of that would stop me from coming back.  I love Lenore.”

Dora stared in silence out of the windshield.  It was really awkward hearing this, and it enlisted a few emotions in quick succession.  Hearing him say this was almost.. cute?  It definitely comforted her, knowing that both of them truly seemed to love each other still despite everything.  However - her knuckles gripped the steering wheel harder - this could only mean that whatever threat Ken was concerned about overrote his own feelings of love.

The two drove in silence before Ken finally broke out of his own thoughts.  “There.  That next exit.”

Dora smoothly exited and slowed down as she read some of the signs.  Boiler Falls?

“Do you know what this place is?” Dora asked.

“I don’t think it would be that hard to find her if she went somewhere familiar.  At least, I am not familiar with this place.”

“I see.” Dora said, “Just keep me on route, I guess.”

The sun was going down and Dora slowed some more as she moved through the town.  Her car was drawing stares from the townsfolk, but she did not see Dr. Madoka.

“Far end of town. You’ll need to turn off the main road towards the end.” Ken said.

Dora nodded, feeling a bit self-conscious in her high performance vehicle.  “Do you think she’ll know we’re coming?”

“We’ll probably get back to her place before she does.” Ken said, “She’ll see Enflame before we can talk to her.”

Dora sighed.  No aspect of this was going to be easy, huh?  She eventually turned off the main road and pulled up near a ramshackle house.  The building had a well maintained lot and garage, but the overgrown front yard made the place seem particularly unremarkable.  If Ken had not pointed it out, Dora might have passed it entirely.

Dora pulled into the lot and cut the engine.  She gave the dashboard a small grateful rub before getting out.

The sun had dipped below the western mountain range and Dora shivered in the cool evening air.  Fortunately, she didn’t have to wait very long before she saw Dr. Madoka in a bare overcoat carrying a hefty-looking book.

Lenore’s eyes widened before narrowing in anger as she saw Dora and Enflame.

Dora jogged over, “Auntie! Let me help you.”

Dr. Madoka brushed past Dora and moved to the front door.  She fumbled with her keys for a moment before getting the door open just enough to slide herself in and closing the door behind her.


“Go away Dora.”

“No, not until we talk!”

It was quiet, but Dora could hear shuffling inside as Lenore seemed to put down the paper bag.  Dora tried the knob and found the door still unlocked.  She opened the door but stayed outside.  Her aunt was racing around as she put away her keys, purse and coat.  She seemed to warp in and out of existence with her speed.  Her silver eyes were glowing angrily and she glanced at the front door.  In a blink, Lenore was at the door, staring eye to eye with Dora.

“Leave.  Now.  Before I call the police.”

Dora let go of the door but did not move from the stoop.  “Auntie, listen, the universe is in danger.  Uncle said he is desperate to come back, but he can not do that right now.  Not while things are the way they are.”

“I don’t care.  I don’t know why he even thinks we can save the universe this time.” Lenore said. “We didn’t ‘save’ anything last time, and I… I lost everything.  What is the point?  Why should I care when no one cares about me?”

“Lenore…” Ken said in Dora’s head.  “That cannot be true.  I still remember what you told me when we came out of the Horizon the first time…”

“…life, it has a way of pushing through as long as even a small amount is preserved.  The doctor in you valued that.” Dora repeated, “That’s what I, uh, that’s what he found most beautiful in you.”

Lenore paused and Dora could see the fires in her aunt’s eyes burn out.  She could no longer meet Dora’s gaze and she leaned against the doorframe.

“Is it my fault that he had to go?  Are you saying it was me who pushed him away?”

“No!” Dora said emphatically, “I… uh…”

Lenore’s eyes looked at Dora’s again.  There was no longer any fire, just a desperation.

Ken stared at his love through Dora’s eyes.  She was pleading, begging him to take away her guilt.  “Lenore, you always looked to the future.  Remember all those nights you used to talk endlessly about your ideas and how to benefit society, make things safer, bring people together?”

“If we, uh, if you all had not done what you needed to, there would be no future to benefit.  No child to love, no niece - uh, I wouldn’t be here to help you now.  Your care means I exist, Auntie, and I am grateful!”

Lenore closed her eyes, “It is still my fault that Ken had to be the one to sacrifice himself.”

“You have held this for a long time.” Dora said. “I cannot deny, that is part of the reason why I - why he - did it.  He believed in your vision.  However, ‘fault’ is a strong word.  I - he - did it happily and would do it over again for your benefit.”

Lenore was silent for half a moment.  “So why won’t you come back yourself, Ken?”

Dora started, “Uh, I… I’m Dora.”

“Stop that.” Dr. Madoka cut her off, “Dora, it’s obvious that you have some aspect of Ken inside you.  I don’t know if he’s speaking through you or if you’re connected to Horizon right now but, between your speech and how you found me, it’s clear.  Answer me Ken.”

“Guess the game is up.” Ken said in Dora’s mind.  “I guess just repeat what I say.”

“Like Dora told you,” Dora said, feeling a bit weird, “The universe is currently on the brink.  Right now it is a strong breeze away from falling off the edge into oblivion.  I don’t see the threat, but I know it is there.  Once it pops up, we need to be ready to nip it in the bud before it grows as powerful as the Яeverse.  I will come back then, I promise.”

Tears welled up in Lenore’s eyes, “You have not changed.”  She stepped back out of the doorway and waved Dora inside.

Dora entered and closed the door, grateful to be out of the chill.

“Have you tried going back to Horizon?”  Dora asked.

Dr. Madoka flinched as she put a teapot on the stove.  “I have been… unable to.” she admitted.  She glanced back to see Dora looking at the hefty book she’d been carrying outside.  It seemed very old.  “Don’t!” She said loudly and blitzed over to the table to snatch up the tome, hurriedly bringing it upstairs.

Dora had stepped back in surprise, but her aunt was due her secrets.  She seemed more amenable to talking in any case.

“I would like to think about things on my own for a bit,” Lenore said.  She continued to hustle around doing things in the kitchen as the water boiled for tea.  Eventually she looked at Dora and it seemed like she had broken through some clouds in her mind.  “How’s your cousin?”

Dora, who had seated herself at the table and had been playing with a pen for the last few minutes, leaned back in her seat.  With a barely disguised scowl she said, “He’s fine.  As far as I know.  He’s been racing a lot.”

“I don’t get much big city news out here, but I hear he’s been making a tear through both circuit and non-sanctioned races.”

“Mm.” Dora responded

Lenore looked over at Dora and almost smiled.  “So what have you been up to then, besides finding me?”

“Mostly helping dad.” Dora said, “We had to learn a lot in your absence.  Mom’s been worried since she hasn’t had contact with any of the Flash, and we don’t have clearance for your comms.”

“Hmm..” Lenore said, “I’m not ready to head back yet, but I can give you my key card when you head out.  It should give you admin access from my office.” She brought out a pot of tea and two cups.  “Dora, do you think I could talk with your uncle some more?”

Dora nodded and Ken laughed in her mind.  “You might be here for a while,” he joked.

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  • 1 month later...

“Jorn SSSenith SSSe-vest.  Your presenssse is required by the counsssil.”

“‘Required?’” Zenith asked the reptilian being in the galactic police uniform.  “Not ‘requested’?”

“Indeed,” the reptilian said, “it isss mossst unusssual.  You will come with me peasssfully, yesss?”

Zenith bowed. “Of course.  Anything the council requests, jorn.”

“Jorni.” The reptilian corrected, and escorted Zenith from his house arrest.

“Pardon me.  Jorni.” Zenith corrected.  He had been in house arrest within his family’s estate for almost three months.  His activity had been limited and he insisted that the Galactic Flash members who had come to visit talk exclusively about business and not about current events.  He’d also requested Azulune - the Flash’s analyst - to disconnect all back end communications from both his home and from the Flash’s fleet.  The only exception was to be an encrypted quantum line between himself and Azulune for absolute emergencies.  There was to be no trace of contact with Gaia, and ignorance was easier to feign without outside knowledge.

Zenith’s time ended up being occupied with business proposals, honing his driving skills on his grandmother’s racetrack, and watching an up and coming group of… mud racers (?) take Karth’s racing scene by storm.  The mud racers seemed to be exceptionally skilled, to the point Zenith’s own racing spirit seemed to fire up whenever he saw them.  Even so, things were boring, and Zenith was happy for a change of pace, even if it meant that he was likely being called for something bad.  What had they found out?

The reptilian drove Zenith in silence.  That was fine.  He had gotten used to staying quiet.  The urge to take the wheel though, that was unbearable.

The ride was surprisingly smooth.  Once they were out of Ze-vest family estate, the streets gradually gave way to taller but more compact buildings.  The spired towers where the council waited loomed in the distance, but the policewoman made good time, occasionally blaring the siren to get through the traffic faster.

“You are a skilled driver, jorni.” Zenith said.

The reptilian glanced back at Zenith in the mirror before giving a small smile.  “I usssed to do sssome rasssesss.  Back in the day.”  She paused, “it isss an honor to essscort the leader of the Galactic Flash.”

Zenith smiled at her.  He hadn’t been in it for the fame, but it always surprised him how many random lives he and his group had touched.  That thought sustained his good mood as they began passing quarter-mile high buildings.  They were driving at the lowest street level - a level mostly reserved for police and public sanitation vehicles.  Down here - between the forest of buildings and canopy of winding roads overhead - it was perpetually dusk.

Zenith’s silver eyes began to glow as he recalled himself and his friends breaking into this level as kids to race in the winding underbelly of the city.  He could see ghosts of his past… racing, chasing, fleeing from cops… He remembered being driven home, his grandmother’s stern face as she scolded him in front of the police, but hugging him once they left.  She had taught him how to truly drive and he had soon far outstripped his friends in skill.  As much as he’d evaded the cops back then, it was funny to be here all these years later, being driven around by one who had admired him.

The duo reached the central building.  There were several vehicles parked near the front, despite the relatively sparse amount of cars during the drive over.  The policewoman escorted Zenith to the building, flashed an ID and led Zenith past several security gates.  The process took a while and Zenith eventually found himself sitting in a bare cylindrical room as the council members were notified of his arrival.  The wait was surprisingly short and the room rotated around so the doorframe faced a new direction.  Zenith proceeded through and found himself once more in the council chamber.

The members were sitting above him again and once more it was his fellow karthian who took first initiative when addressing him.  “Jorn Zenith Ze-vest, I trust that your travels here were uneventful.”

Zenith gave a low bow.  “Yes, paz-jorni, I thank you.”

Zenith’s eyes quickly scanned the room.  It was clear that while the karthian was trying to keep a light and cordial atmosphere, something was definitely wrong.  The other members were not listening and instead muttering into comms.  Almost none were even looking at Zenith, only his fellow karthian and the Veni rep.  Zenith gave the Veni representative a small bow of the head.  The Veni “Immortal” could not smile, but Zenith could’ve sworn it nodded its head in return.

The karthian raised a hand and Zenith could hear a shuffling behind him.  He quickly glanced back and saw the guards at the door leave the room.  Like the waiting room, the room turned once more so that the doorframe now faced a wall.

“I am sorry for the secrecy, Jornn” the karthian said. “We have called you here in a state of emergency.  A few hours ago, we have received an alert from the ships we had sent to investigate the quote-unquote Яeverse planet.  Something is attacking them and we have received information that the robots littering the surface seem to be active once more.”

Zenith’s blood ran cold.  No… the Яeverse could not be active again, surely!

The karthian broke eye contact, “We… we have at least seventeen confirmed deaths since last contact.  We do not fully understand the situation, but we have remotely shut down their Excavator ships.  They cannot leave and we cannot afford for them to leave with these dangerous… things… around.”

Zenith’s mind was paralyzed but he could hear himself say “What do you need from me?”

“You must defeat these things again.  Gather whoever and whatever you need.  We will spare no expense if you can do what needs to be done to wipe these things out.”

Zenith’s mind seemed to thunk back into gear.  They wouldn’t be trying to trick him, would they?  Surely they could not have found out about the Gaians?  Were they trying to get him to confess?  But… if this was a true threat, he would need their help, regardless of the consequences.

Zenith mind rapidly went through possibilities, before settling on an idea.  “Understood.” he finally said, “I will gather the Flash.  Things sound different from before and without full understanding of what we’re up against, I would like to request backup.”

The Karthian nodded, “If we can get in contact with any backup, we will do so.  Do you have anyone in mind?”

“Yes,” Zenith said, “that racing team, the ones that call themselves Draugracers.  They seem very promising.  Please send them to my estate, as well as…” Zenith glanced at the Veni rep, “I believe we will need the expertise of the Veni.  Would you be able to spare a few Immortals?”

The Karthian looked over to her Veni colleague.  There was a pause as the metal figure sat without moving an atom’s width.  After a moment, the body nodded its head.  “A delegation of Immortals shall be at your estate once you return.” the Immortal said in a smooth, almost singsong voice.

“Anything else?” the Karthian asked.

“We need to get there quickly and we will need race-worthy vehicles.”

“Done.” the Karthian said.  “A Tachyon ship is already prepared for your use.  It has plenty of storage space for vehicles.  We have taken liberty to configure the controls to respond to Galactic Flash identification.  We shall temporarily add the Draugracer and Immortal members to the Galactic Flash for this as well.”  The karthian waved another hand and an Ithean in the back of the room squeaked in ascent.  “We do not expect any more casualties at the moment, as the Excavators’ auto shields are currently on, but they will be disabled once the Tachyon is in range.  You should be able to get a more thorough on-ground information from Jornn Kayle Addorni.” the karthian seemed to deflate a little and the lines on her face grew extremely pronounced, “We have also taken the liberty of contacting the Galactic Flash.  All the ones on call should be heading to your estate as well.”

Zenith nodded.  They had been busy.  This seemed much too elaborate for them to trick him.  And if it wasn’t a trick… what was going on?  The Яeverse should be dead, what could revive them??

The Veni rep stood up.  “Paz-Jorni.  I must discuss something further with this jornn.  Let me return him to his home.”

The karthian nodded and turned to Zenith, “Our hopes rest on your success.  We have come to believe your story regarding Incident aV052.  The universe cannot handle another such unrest.”

Zenith looked at the ground.  This was too much.

He could feel the room shift around again and the Immortal descended to the middle of the room.  “Come.” it said and Zenith followed mutely.

The duo walked through several halls and waited for a few rotations.  Zenith could not concentrate on where they were going.  His mind was already contemplating a plan.

“The situation is dire.” The Immortal said.

“Yes, paz-jorn.” Zenith responded.

“You will call the Gaians?”

Zenith sighed.  “Does the rest of the council know?”

“I did not deem it necessary information to share with them.”

The Veni species were fairly unique among the sentient races.  Their home planet was uniquely unstable, with many natural disasters and surprisingly little in the way of arable land.  Despite this, the Veni managed to advance.  They were among the first known species to achieve interplanetary travel and shared their advancements with many of their more primitive brethren, including the Karthians.

However, their capacity was still limited by their initial planet.  As such, the species decided to push for a minimalist sustainment while maximizing their own potential.  Many in the species put themselves in a virtual suspended animation, hooking themselves up to massive, city-sized supercomputers in order to remotely pilot near-indestructible metallic bodies known as “Immortals”.

Many Immortals remained on the Veni home planet, ensuring the Veni peoples’ safety and repairing anything wrong with the system.  Other Immortals went out among the universe, seeking new experiences that would be shared with the whole Veni species.  Since all the minds were connected to every Immortal, the Veni were always experiencing, learning, growing, and were pretty much infinitely knowledgeable about every subject.  It was, quite frankly, impossible to lie to the Veni.

Like every sentient species, the Veni desired to race others, but due to the Immortals’ near-indestructible bodies, most other species declined to race them, thinking that the lack of danger gave the Veni a pure advantage.  The Galactic Flash were among the few exceptions, taking on the Immortals’ challenge and developing a truly friendly rivalry with the near-omniscient peoples.

“You asked for the Draugracers by name.  Do they have something to do with Horizon?” The Immortal asked.

“I am unsure.  They have an exceptionally powerful racing aura.  I asked for them because I am curious, but if they are really good, they should be able to access Horizon.  We’ll need the skills of all people who can touch Horizon.”

“They are like us.” The Immortal said, “They are not living bodies, but they are alive.” the Immortal paused before continuing, “Do you know of Pandus Pe-dornn?”

Zenith shook his head.

“Pe-dornn was a respected family, not unlike your own.  Unlike yours, their family dynasty is linear.  Pandus is among the family’s only living members remaining.  By our records, around 1 Sol ago, Pandus had discovered a means to bring the dead back to life.  That is what the Draugracers are.  Artificial bodies, like our own, but housing spirits.  It is by our estimation that these spirits may have come from the Horizon.”


“Pe-dornn was not a racer, as far as his records have shown.  We have no knowledge of how he may have had access to the Horizon.  This is the only reason we are not certain of where he had obtained the spirits.  It is possible he created artificial racing spirits, but that seems unlikely given-”

The Immortal cut itself short.  Its stride remained unbroken, but apparently the Veni had concluded enough had been said.

“I… okay, understood.” Zenith said.

The duo had reached the Immortal’s vehicle, a slick black hemispheric mass with no visible indentations.  The immortal touched the vehicle and the hemisphere opened itself, allowing the two to climb inside.  The controls were completely foreign, with a single stick with a glowing ball taking up the middle of the vehicle.  The Immortal seated itself in front of the control mechanism and Zenith sat on the outer edge of the circle, immediately unable to tell which way was forward as the hemisphere closed over them.

The vehicle’s internal lights turned on, but the Immortal did not move.  Its hands were on the ball and seemingly without any input, the “car” began hovering and moving.  The machine did not give any warnings nor indications when it was going to turn or make any change in direction or acceleration.  Zenith was nearly flung out of his seat until he found a button to securely buckle him into the seat.

Zenith tried to ask the Immortal more questions, but it seemed as though the Veni had said all they wanted to say.  The Immortal was silent, seeming almost asleep.

Without any other options, Zenith - commander of the Galactic Flash - resumed his role and began to think of a new plan to face this threat.  Hopefully the Gaians had been successful at bringing back the universal constant.  That may be the only way to defeat these robots.  Again.


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  • 2 months later...

“What?” King Ædra said, voice hoarse.

“I was hoping the threat wouldn’t be here so soon.” Dora said, repeating Ken’s words to the group that had gathered.

The Blazing Wheels - minus Striker, Dr. Madoka, and Conelly - were gathered in the president’s conference room.  King Ædra’s holographic face appeared over the middle of the table.  Both of Dora’s parents were also present.  Alexander Young was having trouble lighting a cigarette.  Nebula silently took his lighter and flicked it on for him.  He took a deep drag and gave his wife a small smile before blowing the smoke away.  Though Dora had always seen Nebula as the calmer of her parents, she could tell that Nebula appeared to be close to cracking.

Dora remembered the stories.  She could remember the nights as a child being woken up to her father’s nightmare screams.  She could remember when he began to take up smoking, just to cope.  All those times when her father stared into the distance and it seemed like nothing could bring him back.  It had been years before he had told her the full story of the Яeverse, how much devastation they had truly caused.

Her mother seemed to take a different approach to dealing with things.  She had remained a Galactic Flash member for as long as she could, moving from racing missions to ones involving espionage and intel-gathering.  She simply seemed to dive into work, distracting herself rather than letting herself get swallowed up in everything.  The only time she’d broken was when Dora had directly asked her once her father had told her the full story.  She could remember Nebula’s indigo tears streaming down her face.  It was later that Dora had found out that Nebula’s two elder siblings had been victims of the Яeverse.

Tragedy had brought Dora’s parents together, and this news was a reopening of that scar that both had thought they’d paved over.  Bringing them this news and seeing their reaction was infinitely worse to Dora than knowing what they would have to do.

“Zenith should be organizing things right now.” Dora parroted.  She turned to her mother, “Lady Nebula, do you have a means to contact the Flash?”

Nebula started slightly but composed herself before nodding.  She reached into her bodysuit and pulled out a small communicator.  “This will contact Azulune.” she said, “I was informed not to use this line given Jornn Zenith’s house arrest, but if the council has deemed his skills necessary, we need to be ready.”

“Nod.” Dora said absentmindedly before blushing slightly and nodding her head.  “I am sure Lady Azulune will be bombarded soon.  Let’s inform her of the situation and get ourselves ready.”

“We will need everyone.” King Ædra said.  “I will gather my team.  We should be ready within a couple hours.  Reach out if the situation changes.”


King Ædra turned off the communicator and rose from the throne.  The Яeverse were back, and they were with some demonic entities?  Old fears bubbled under the surface of Ædra’s mind, but he shook them off as he strode out of the room, barking orders to the servants and guards.  The place was soon abuzz with activity as he went to change into racing attire.

Still, one thought kept bubbling to the surface.  This was too much of a coincidence.  Dora had restored the racing constant, and within a couple months the Яeverse were back?  While the Horizon’s power was necessary to defeat the Яeverse before, was it also the thing that gave them life to begin with?  His blood ran cold.  Would all traces of the Horizon need to disappear for the Яeverse to truly be defeated?

“No.” Ædra said aloud, shaking his head.

Whatever the case, he would need to brush those thoughts aside if he wanted everyone to succeed.  His blinded eye itched and Ædra could feel the restless racing spirits around him.

“I never would have imagined racing spirits to be anxious before a race.” a familiar voice said from behind the king.

Ædra didn’t look back.  “Will you be coming with us Conelly? You were not there last time, but we will need every capable racer out there if we want to have a chance.”

“I don’t think I would be much use.  I still have not fully recovered.”

Ædra zipped up his suit and finally turned to face the seated Conelly.  “Why are you here then?”

Conelly unsteadily rose to his feet and put his hands on Ædra’s shoulders.  “You’re tense, brother.” he said.

Furious impatience began to bubble within the king and he slapped Conelly’s arms away.  “Leave me if you aren’t going to be helpful.”

Conelly did not move.  He watched the king stew in his anger.  Finally, he sighed.  “You are not the original Ædra, are you?”

Ædra tried to hold his angry glare but he broke down and looked away.  “Does anyone else know?”

Conelly shrugged.  “The whole kingdom probably questioned.  Most were convinced you were one of us since you stopped racing, but the reality did not matter since unity was needed above everything else.”  Conelly lowered himself back into the seat.  “I just figured you wanted me there in case things go wrong again.  Also…” he gave a rye smile, “I figured whatever the Prince received from the Horizon wouldn’t make him scared to race.”

Ædra bristled.  “You want something.  Just get to it.”

“Okay, let me make it clear: the Horizon’s gifts are different for different people.  There are some baseline abilities, but I’m sure there are some aspects that are specific for specific people.  Your eye for example.  You can see the spirits, can’t you?”

Ædra nods.

“I cannot.  The only one I see is the Prince.”  Conelly said, “However, I can channel the spirits.  I can feel them and use their skill to enhance my own.  I can probably affect them in greater ways, but I cannot tell how my actions have impact.”

Ædra focused, opening his blind eye to the spirits.  As he looked with the vision of Horizon, Conelly’s body appeared as a hyper solid in the world of the ethereal, a shining solid amongst a sea of gas.  None of the spirits seemed to pass through Conelly’s body though they floated through furniture and doorways with no issue.

“I still don’t know why it’s manifested like this for me, but I took it as my own sign of being worthwhile.”  Conelly said, “That being said, you are the Prince’s true heir.  I cannot let you go into battle without the proper mind.” Conelly stared into Ædra’s eye. “Let me take your spirit and hone it.”

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
4 hours ago, Zamazenta the OS-Tan Fan said:

What is this based on? Like what series?

It has some influences from the animes Speed Racer and Initial D. The biggest influence came from a group of Hot Wheels movies/mini series: Hot Wheels World Race & Hot Wheels Acceleracers.

...but ultimately, it's its own story.

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