Friday, 19 June 2009

ISRC Season 7 - Race 7 - Black Rise (II)


When the camera drones came online she could see the other competitors warp out. She tried to keep sharp but she was sluggish, her reactions dulled. Jump after jump, she was falling behind, losing touch with Takashi and even her own team.

She felt tired, weary. No matter how much she tried to focus on the race, the rush, the excitement, all she could do was fumble and make mistakes. Overshooting cans, slow selection of gates, bouncing off asteroids at waypoints...

It was doubly embarrassing because the League was testing new technology which kept track of each pilot's location and sent back telemetry to the viewers. Why did she have to perform badly precisely when all eyes got to see more?

Because she was tired. Because she'd lost her spark when the rug had been pulled from under her feet and Dragonstar corp had all but died out. Because she had been spending sleepless nights planning a move, trying to let go, and yet she still felt stuck. And it was getting in the way of her racing.

She struggled to push it all behind her back, to somehow recapture the thrill of the race. But it was a long struggle and by the time she managed to find her rhythm it was too late to catch the lead.

Or was it?

She caught a lucky break at a multiple-can waypoint: Demon and she tagged a can which might have been a fake, losing a little time to Takashi and Quin. But in a lucky break, it turned out to be real, so while the leaders had to go back, she kept on racing, fighting Demon for position.

They couldn't catch Takashi, even though this bit of luck had reinvigorated her. She found herself fighting for second place overall, almost like the old days, finally feeling the old thrill returning on the final dash to the finish line.

Then she got stuck at a gate. Demon went past. A delayed Quin went past and there she was, still stuck, error messages popping up. There was some problem with her authentication, apparently.

Her heart fell all the way to her feet, and the thrill was lost once more. She just felt so tired. She ended up docking in 4th place, third in her class. It felt hollow.

Kayleigh Jamieson-Read felt, essentially, defeated.

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