Monday, 9 March 2009
The entire press conference after the race had been somewhat of a blur. Moreso than the race, actually. Maybe she was simply getting old and these all looked the same nowadays. The diminutive jin-mei now could finally go around more or less anonymously in the more select gathering afterward with just pod racers, some jet-set guests and the organisers.
She nibbled on a cookie despite the fact she really wasn't hungry. She could never really eat just after getting off a pod, and to add to that she still had too much adrenaline from the race coursing through her veins.
The first race was done. She felt rusty, she felt clumsy; she'd been overtaken not just by tech-ones but also by Quin's assault frigate. That was always a blow on her ego, only somewhat lessened by the fact the ship was piloted by such a close friend.
But she kept grinning when she was too distracted to school her face into a more polite smile. They had done the impossible as a team: they'd got the entirety of Scuderia Dragonstar in at the finish line before the legendary speed of Takashi Kurosawa. All of them! Even Arcmako, the rookie. Even Quin in a Jaguar. It was such an incredible feat of team work that it still had her somewhat stunned.
A big part of that had been Nakatre. A missing waypoint at a turnaround on the track had brought Nakatre from last of the Scuderia to being in a very important first place and able to pull the rest of the team up into recovering from the extra jumps they'd had to do, compared to most other racers out there. And the civire had held on to that place until the very end, when Demon had finally gone past her.
She watched as Nakatre came in from somewhere and swept the room with her eyes, no doubt looking for Kayleigh herself. The jin-mei made no move, just gazing at her wife across the room, a little smile playing with her lips. I am so proud of you, Nakatre, so happy you're racing again.. At this point those keen blue eyes had picked her from the crowd and she'd started walking toward Kayleigh. I love you so much.
For the first time in many, many months, they left the post-race party together to share the journey back home.