Song: Sabotage by The Beastie Boys
*** This is from the Copilots universe, for anyone who might recognize or understand what that means... ****
"Follow my lead!" screams through the communicator, piercing through Kyuuja's eardrums and making him wince.
"I would if you didn't shatter my ear drums!" Kyuuja shouts back, a vindictive edge to his voice as he hears his voice crackle through the communicators. They all know better than to shout through the ear pieces. It was part of basic training, but one that Rokko never abided by. Of course, Rokko didn't have the formal training that all of the other soldiers did.
Cocky rookie punk, grumbles Kyuuja to himself, shifting his small speeder into gear as he glances through the front visu-shield at the other pods lined up at the start.
It's not his first race (necessarily), but it is his first race with Rokko. He's not intimated, the other pilot's experience barely equal to his when it comes to piloting out in the silence.
It can't compare much to piloting in here, in the drag tracks that compose most of the back bays of the station. Here, the artificial gravity does half the work with the pods, grounding them and making it easier to manipulate the small military grade service shuttles. They're not allowed weaponized pods here, where civilians can easy gain access and potentially compromise the systems. Kyuuja isn't worried, and if Rokko thinks his off protocol behavior intimates him, he's got another thing coming.
"I'm just saying, stick with me if you want to stay in the race," Rokko laughs too loudly, his voice cutting through Kyuuja's patience and ear drums yet again. "Unless you're ready to just forefit on our bet right here and now."
Kyuuja grits his teeth, fingers tightening on the gear shifts and steering console. "You don't get to win that easy," he growls, voice low and calculated through the communicator. Beside him, he can ear the faint growl of the competitors revving their engines, the thermal whirring and spinning sound intensifying to a high pitched tone that rattles through the steel and carbon fiber hulls of the shuttle. Intimidation tactics. The corners of Kyuuja's mouth draw upward into a smirk.
Over the start line, a hoverdrone displays numbers counting down from ten.
"I knew I could count on you not to give up without a fight," Rokko laughs.
"Who said it was a fight?"
Rokko laughs again, the pods on all sides gunning their engines in a growling rumble of electronic parts spinning at deafening frequencies. The compartment Kyuuja is in begins to vibrate as he builds the momentum in his own engines, eyes trained on the numbers as they slowly descend, waiting for the release and the start of the race.
"It's always a fight with you, Rookie." Kyuuja keeps his voice low, level, and steady. Breathe in and out, pulse slow and calm. Control is the key to winning a battle.
"That's because you love it so much," Rokko chuckles, a soft purr to his voice that sets Kyuuja's teeth on edge.
The split second between the turn of the signal and the release of the breaks feels like a punch to the chest, and Kyuuja feels his jaw lock as the force of accelleration slams into his body, his pod shot forward as he jerks it into the frey. It makes his hard to breathe, knuckles white and teeth grit with the force of staying in control of his pod as he controls a vehicle that is just on the edge of being out of control around a swarm of pods in the same situation. His blood begins to burn as, through the roar of the engines and the pods around him, the sound of Rokko's boistrous laugh bombards his senses.
"Would you shut up? Kyuuja shouts just as Rokko whoops loudly, overpowering his snarl.
A resounding chuckle greets him over the communicator right as the group hits a sharp turn and Kyuuja sees four pods of competitors all trying to sneak into the lead, one of them a familiar bright pink shuttle pod that he knows far too well by now. "Why don't you make me?" Rokko goads. A second later, the pink pod, Rokko's pod, slings out into far space, almost off the track completely, taking six of the pods with him. Eyes wide, Kyuuja tears his focus away from the pile up before gunning his pod into top gear, flinging himself around the corner and to the head of the pack.
For a brief moment, he thinks he's in the lead, that he's won, left Rokko and his stupid cocky tone behind him on the drag track, then a low laugh crackles over the communicator, and his heart sinks.
The sensor on the pod dash blinks that something is obstructing his right venilation stream, and Kyuuja grits his teeth against a furious growl as he pulls up the visual. Sitting directly in his slip stream, letting his pod absorb all of the impact and leeching off of his propulsion, sits Rokko in his fucking pink pod.
"Did you miss me?" Rokko purs, his tone slick through the communicator.
"Get off my ass," Kyuuja snarls, jerking the console to try to shake his roommate and the menace of his existence from the last few weeks.
"Save that one for later," Rokko barks out with a laugh, and Kyuuja bellows angrily as the bastard slams into him, throwing him off coarse and directly into the barrier zone of the drag course. The system goes haywire for a moment, the shaking of the pod as it absorbs most of the impact rattling through Kyuuja regardless, making him feel as if his very bones are being shaken apart and torn into a billion pieces inside of him. It only lasts a moment before his pods automated systems kick in and the shuttle recalibrates, orienting itself just outside of the barrier zone towards the drag track.
"Galma!!" Kyuuja swears, slamming balled up fists against his knees, his blood burning hot through his veins as he watches Rokko zip past him, too far ahead and towards the final sprint zone to ever hope catching up. The obnoxiously pink pod zig zags a little, as if taunting him, as it speeds towards the finish, clearly destined to finish first as the other pods drag at least seven Lags behind.
Breathe in Kyuuja tells himself, trying to calm himself down as his pulse pounds against his skull, fogging his vision. Breathe in and out. Control.
"Better luck next time, Kyuu," Rokko taunts through the communicator.
The pod breaks through the final barrier, shattering the net of sensors that begin to scream, triggering the crowds in the elevated spectator rooms above them to do the same. Kyuuja can hear them through his ear piece, the excited screams and cheers from all of the enamoured spectators and onlookers up in the stands, the mechanics and pilots and engineers who lap this shit up like it's their life. It makes his stomach churn, writhing into knots and his teeth ache as he grinds them together.
"Kiougjo," Kyuuja spits angrily, ripping off his earpiece. Even as he casts it to the floor of his pod, the consol emitting a soft beep indicating his own disqualification from the race, he can hear Rokko's laughter from the small speaker, taunting and delerious with mirth.
Cocky bastard. Kyuuja grimaces, looking back at the race course and sitting back as his pods automated systems begin to propell him back to shuttle dock. Cocky Galma. On the visual screen, Kyuuja watches as Rokko exists his pod, arms raised in triumph and a shit eating grin on his stupid face.
"Next time," Kyuuja says lowly through grit teeth. "I'll be sure to kick your cocky ass."