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> [FANFIC] The Challenge
Chase42
  Posted: Oct 31 2008, 11:59 PM


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hi thar, long time lurker, first-time fanfic poster. This story is basically supposed to be a serial about an outrageously high-stakes touge tournament in California. I'm looking at an ensemble of characters and teams, and it may not seem obvious at first, but it will eventually tie back into iD. This section is a bit shorter than the future ones, but I just wanted to get it established so I can gauge people's reactions. Also, the first few characters are club racers (SCCA), but future teams will vary more.




Part I



John Hunt watched like an eagle from the bleachers along the main straight of Thunderhill Raceway. The man was past the age that most, except for perhaps Mario Andretti and Scott Pruett, would consider his prime. He was wiry and lean, measuring six foot five, a height topped with a tuft of wildly-unkempt brown hair that appeared to be a perpetual case of helmet hair.

He was educated in math and engineering, and had a mind that came with the education, yet he was brash and rough in person, and raced along the same lines. He had been a club racer since he was a teenager, but rarely drove competitively since he opened his shop. Like the careers that he had prepared for, and avoided, he had evolved past a technician and into a manager. It seemed like he was fated to manage people, and it was something he had a gift for. Under that persona of brutal honesty and harsh criticism, there resided a certain talent for understanding people. It was this talent that not only let him see into his employees' issues, but that also allowed him to predict his vehicular opponents' next moves.

In a little under a month, John would return to Thunderhill to race at night, like he had many times before. Now, as he watched critically, the one of the shop's resident drivers wound his car through the esses of the track. The 25-Hour car, which John had built up himself, was an early FD, painted half black, the other half white, with the division straight down the centerline of the car. It was a spiritual successor to the first 25-Hour rotary he had built 10 years before, a black and white FB.

The FD had yet to see a race, though many weekends like this had been spent setting the car up and working out the bugs in anticipation for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. But the 25-Hour would not be the FD's first race.

“You heard about the Challenge?” Cliff, the shop's head mechanic, stood in front of John, looking up at him from several rows down on the bleacher. He was a young man, wiry and unkempt like John, and a graduate of technical school. His mechanic's jumpsuit was rarely free of grease, and he rarely removed his safety glasses. Except for moments like this.

“Yeah. I guess you did too?” John rubbed the side of his nose as the FD disappeared from view but not from earshot. “I suppose it's no use hiding it from you anymore. I'm going to run the FD in it.”

“I knew something was up when I saw the soft spring rates you wanted me to run.” Cliff paused, looked over his shoulder as the FD turned onto the main straight again. The turbocharged 20B ran slowly up to its redline in second, backfired, caught third gear, and began to rev up again. “Why are you doing it? I never pegged you for a street racer, John.”

“The shop is going down, Cliff. I need the money to keep us up.” John took another long, eagle-eyed glance at the FD. “But we still need a downhill car.”





Grey Stephenson was an old man by racing standards. At age 60, he did not have the physical stamina of his opponents, who were sometimes a third his age. He had effectively retired from vintage racing 5 years before, but somehow he found himself asking questions of his son.

“So this isn't a drag race?” Grey plopped down on his shop stool in front of the drill press.

“No, dad, it's a mountain race. Basically, you have a hillclimb, like those rallies you used to go to. And you have a downhill event like they do in Japan.” Gary Stephenson was his father's son: mechanic, club racer, and a fan of all-American Ford muscle. While club racing had been merely a hobby for Grey, it had turned into a lucrative career for Gary, the winner of several SCCA and NASA championships. But the family-owned racing shop had been on hiatus after Gary rolled his winning fox body Mustang at Laguna Seca 6 months before. Gary, saved only by his father's hefty roll cage, had an “awakening” that had shocked him out of racing. That appeared to be over.

“But, it's a street race?”

“Well, yeah, basically. The Challenge is technically illegal.”

Grey paused. He couldn't actually believe his son was trying to talk him into a street race. “Why the hell are you doing this again? And why do you need me?”

“Well, the rules say that, to be eligible for the prize, you have to run two cars, one downhill and one up.”

“I'm not helping you Gary. This is the craziest thing I've ever heard.”

“They get away with it in Japan where--”

“I don't care what they get away with, it's unsafe.”

“Relax, dad. They block the roads off. And after the wild fires up there, all the roads are closed anyway.”

Grey stared at his son. He couldn't believe he had actually thought of him as mature at one point. “So what, they race for pinks or something?”

“No, ten million dollars.”

Grey paused again. He adjusted his round glasses and glanced nervously at Gary. Then to the wreck of a Mustang behind him. After staring at the heap, its metal skin bent around the roll cage that he had welded together, he glanced back at Gary.

He picked up the socket wrench next to him and passed it to Gary. “This thing won't build itself.” Gary looked struck. Grey knew he looked the same.

This post has been edited by Chase42 on Nov 2 2008, 02:46 AM
.M.
Posted: Nov 9 2008, 08:03 PM


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was lookin forward to moar. guess not :/
Meteor
Posted: Nov 11 2008, 06:01 PM


Were you expecting something else?
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This interests me.

You're quite good at one of the more important aspects of writing: characterization, as shown in your description of John Hunt, where you described his appearance, his behavior, a little of his history, a talent of his, and how his life seemed to go. The other characters were described well too.

Then there's the simple way you dropped in the fact that he'd later be at a race. There, everything's set. And as the chapter goes on, the setting is given just enough emphasis for the reader to know its importance.

You also know exactly how to describe the movements of a car.
Example:
QUOTE
The turbocharged 20B ran slowly up to its redline in second, backfired, caught third gear, and began to rev up again.

Simple, but with enough detail to let you know what's going on. It feels fast enough for a background occurence, and I'm looking forward to seeing how you write a plot-important battle.

Your inclusion of past events has no problem fitting into the chapter, and lets the reader know what happened. The word "awakening" was used well for a touch of flavour that also allowed you to write a simpler sentence that gets the point across.

You're also good at writing character interactions, such as the conversation between Gary and his father, and the way Grey felt about some of the things he heard.

The ending makes it clear that the story is starting.


In short: MOAR PLZ!

This post has been edited by Meteor on Mar 3 2009, 04:57 AM
.M.
Posted: Nov 12 2008, 06:54 PM


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heh im not as in depth on the details but thats what caught my eye.
Chase42
  Posted: Nov 13 2008, 03:20 AM


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do not fret, moar is to come. I'm just rather caught up in schoolwork to finish some of the raw stuff I have. Stay tuned

thanks for the praise, too. I'll refer back here if I loose some motivation.
.M.
Posted: Nov 13 2008, 05:25 AM


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yea, meteor is good at that tongue.gif
Chase42
  Posted: Nov 17 2008, 02:22 AM


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next in the serial!



Officer Phil Briar sat breathless in his police cruiser, which straddled the double-yellow line of the two-lane road. He was spun out in a blind corner, but something in his chest made him not care about on coming cars. How could this happen? How could he loose a suspect here?



Mitch Carson saw the Ford Crown Vic before it had stopped at the intersection perpendicular to Big Basin. He was utterly aware of the officer's thought process before Briar was. He gave the brakes a little tap. He knew the top brake light was out, but didn't quite give a damn. At least, not at the base of Highway 9.

“Cop!” shouted Mitch's passenger about five seconds after he had pulled out behind the Mazda hatchback. “You see this guy, right?” Leon Hunt was dim, at best, but Mitch kept him around when he had a car project going. His high school GPA was a lowly 2.0, but damn, the kid could tune just about anything on four wheels with a “Made in Japan” stamp on its firewall. He was a young one, barely 16, but far more talented with a socket wrench and a TIG welder than anyone he had met from a trade college. A prodigy, with a future in racing, no doubt, if only he would brush up on his studying.

Let's give him something to study. Mitch downshifted the 323 GTX into second gear, the blow-off valve sighing as his right foot blipped out a rev-match. Clutch out, drivetrain all locked up, Mitch slammed his right foot to the floor. The engine hesitated for a split second before the boost came on like a tidal wave. All four tires chirped under the extreme torque.

Mitch waited with his heart in his throat for the sound of a half-shaft snapping or gears stripping. To his surprise, he heard nothing but boost and wheelspin.

The wide Falken Azenis gripped the smooth pavement suddenly and thrust the hatchback forward with a sudden burst of acceleration. Mitch, stunned by the pull, ran out of tach and hit the rev-limiter. The exhaust crackled with backfire and a confused anti-lag system. Upshift into third.



Briar listened as the Mazda's tortured tires slipped on the asphalt. He's gonna run you. Briar was up for the chase. This was the longest straight until the second third of the uphill, where the slope became steeper. His V8 Police Interceptor could keep up with the hatch until then, but after that second straight, things were less certain. Briar also floored his accelerator as the pair of cars swooped into the second sweeper on the uphill, a third-gear left hander against the hill. Then a hump, and down into the long third sweeper. The turbo four-banger and the Ford V8 roared and tires dementedly squeeled and snarled as the chase wound through a series of tight esses set against a hill wall. Out onto the wide First Bridge, and up the hill. After the First Bridge, the smooth pavement become bumpy. It is not a brutal surface, as the pavement is still grippy and smooth, but the road undulates in a mild washboard pattern. The Crown Vic soaked up the washboard easily, but the tenser hatchback vibrated. Another small hill and into the tighter corner.


Mitch heel-and-toed into second, the misfiring system crackling behind him as he braked into the tight corner. Resort, the locals called it, because of the retreat and lodge just beyond the curve. The left-hander was tight, but not quite oversquare, and was followed up by a slight left bend after 30 yards. The 323 settled into the tight corner, then squatted as Mitch squeezed the throttle down. He tracked out, coming within two inches of the guardrail. Leon stared down at the gray blur, cross eyed. The following bend, Mitch kept his foot buried as he cut across the double yellow; he needn't waste time apexing on such a corner. The resort blurred by Leon's side, and the double yellow opened up into a turn lane for a side road to the left. To the right, the uphill kinked tightly onto a narrow bridge, the Second Bridge. Another light bend followed the kink, and the road swooped upwards through another ess and then onto Stonewall, the long uphill straight. Mitch almost had it.


Briar watched as the AWD hatchback three-wheeled onto the bridge. Just as the right-rear tire hit the concrete bridge-top, the officer could hear the air being sucked into the car's engine. And suddenly, the gap between the cars was two car-lengths more. I am not losing this guy. Briar knew how to drive better than any road racer kiddie. He had two sprint car championships under his belt. He had been oval racing since his childhood. He knew his Crown Vic, and he knew he could nail the hatchback against the next guardrail. He had one last chance: the ess before the long straight, he might be able to out handle the Japanese car. Just like on dirt: preload the tires, turn in, and 4-wheel-drift into his line.

Here it comes.



Mitch watched in his rear-view mirror as the police car, lights and siren blazing, locked its front brakes on the washboard surface. The front tires turned right to match the turn, but the car continued straight. The brakes released, and the car's weight went to the outside as the front wheels came into grip. The police cruiser snapped around and spun out on the curve, smoke obscuring its shape for a moment. Mitch didn't blink as he turned into the left-hander and disappeared.


Brian inhaled.
First time I've done that in awhile. Then again, it was the first time Briar had tried to race anyone in awhile, too. He had been outrun, in power and in skill, by some kid in a sleeper. How? Why was he here in the first place? What did he have to hide by running?

This post has been edited by Chase42 on Nov 19 2008, 02:14 AM
Meteor
Posted: Nov 19 2008, 12:15 AM


Were you expecting something else?
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QUOTE
Officer Phil Briar sat breathless in his police cruiser, which straddled the double-yellow line of the two-lane road. He was spun out in a blind corner, but something in his chest made him not care about on coming cars. How could this happen? How could he loose a suspect here?

Officer Phil Briar sat breathless in his police cruiser, which straddled the double-yellow line of the two-lane road. He was spun out in a blind corner, but something in his chest made him not care about on coming cars. How could this happen? How could he loose a suspect here?

I'm not sure if you intended to repeat the first paragraph, but it's better to removed the copy placed below it. And it's "lose", not "loose".

And there's a formatting error too.
QUOTE
Briar listened as the Mazda's tortured tires slipped on the asphalt. He's gonna run you. Briar was up for the chase. This was the longest straight until the second third of the uphill


The chase scene was good though.

Anyway, I'll be looking forward to the update.