15 March 2009

Racing Backwards

March 111, ISRC Season 7 Race 1
Molden Heath

A good race, on so many levels. The track had a couple of surprises and was very, very confusing at times but our team had such a brilliant start of the season.

I could not decide what to race until the very last moment. Interceptor or Assault Frigate? Fast or Slow? Old or New? Safe? Fun? When I did, I picked my new Jaguar, la FĂ©line Fatale. That was the first surprise. And then...

00:16 - The World Upside Down

"One jump here" came in Searaph's calm voice.

We were all in a long jump trail -what, seven jumps or so?,- approaching waypoint four. We had listened over team comms as Nakatre made a nasty mistake fumbling the checkpoint a couple of waypoints before and then was almost last in her frigate. I was barely ahead of her, racing an assault frigate for the very first time. I wondered if switching classes had been a nasty mistake too...

Other than that, everyone was falling into familiar habits. Takashi in front. Kay catching up from a slow start, right there with Searaph and demon his usual insolent self, challenging the interceptors on a Firetail.

Then the world turned upside down.

"I think I miswarped, no can here." That was Searaph's voice.


More racers piling on the waypoint... only there was no waypoint. "It's seven, belt two," "Aww, no can here" "Report it, ah, report it right now to KillJoy!" confusion in the comms.

The waypoint was reported and ISRC called waypoint five, Skarkon. Turn back and give me fifty jumps, racer, on the double!

Suddendly, being still halfway became being already halfway.

So we were all in a long jump trail -what, seven jumps or so?,- going backwards and approaching waypoint five. We had listened over team comms to Nakatre's glee as she was the first to get there in her frigate. I was just behind her in my AF, grinning inside.

Other than that, everyone was having a hard time. Takashi one of the last but catching up fast, Kay and Searaph barely ahead and trying to keep him at bay. Only demon was being his usual uppity self, somehow quickly moving from first place frigates (moving forward) to first place frigates (going backwards).

Really, ah, fired up.

00:44 - That was EVIL!

Waypoint 9 was special. Evil. KillJoy is proving to be every bit a sadist about track design as Gyra was, and then some.

I think... one thing is putting waypoints in places you can get shot at and you come out feeling shaky. Cleverly setting waypoints together so you misread the instructions inside, is another -you come out feeling stupid. That hurts.

It turns out that 9, 10 and 11 were all together at an Ice Field 1. 10 was very obviously a decoy and everyone was confused thinking it was an error... The setup was such that people assumed, but did not read the waypoints... and what they missed along the way was that the real 10 was in the same object, Asteroid Belt 1. He helped us make a mistake. Very clever, KillJoy, very clever...

Let's do that again :)

00:51 - Knock on Goo

By waypoint 13, my only AF rival Zeke was on League chat already congratulating me on my victory -quite a gentleman during and after the race. Although I was far ahead I was not sure not to have dropped any of the bookmarks myself; I needed to put 5 minutes between us to protect me from penalty time and I was not sure I would manage.

In the meantime, I knocked on goo.

Sure enough, the track was so confusing that penalties rained afterward. Our team mates got so many of them but so did almost everyone else -it almost did not change the results.

Zeke did not get a penalty. He came in 4:40 behind me.

I did not get a penalty either.

As I mentioned before, we won every class of the race, what an amazing start to our season :)

00:58 - Join the Gate-Set

ISD reporters have this cool frigate, it's called a Polaris, have you ever seen one up close? They are quite bigger than the usual friggy, they do look cruiser-sized to me... but then again I imagine they must be packed with all sorts of electronics and recording stuff and, who knows, writing staff and watercoolers and anything a reporter may need to cover a story in deep space.

Point is, it is a cool-looking ship. Rumour has it, it is a very special thing to fly as well, can pull a few tricks that no one of us can and has some insane stats. Well, ISD had two of those at the finish line waiting for us. Apparently they were having their very own Rookies & Vets, with veteran race reporter ISD Zachary Zain showing ISD Ashtoth Varlon around the racing scene.

Come to think of it, I have not seen any of these new 'Sleeper' ships everyone is talking about. Now, I think I will and maybe in bunches. But a week ago, I got to see two Polaris frigates flying together.

How cool is that?

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