24 March 2009

Racing Spy #2

December 109, ISGC Season 4
Between Races 4 and 5

It had been weeks since my racing interceptor had been scanned at a training session, by a friend. Only problem was, this friend was the owner of a rival team, had scanned me and another rival unawares while on a friendly flight.

To be perfectly fair, we fully expect competitors to scan us, especially before or after the race if we are stupid enough to loiter around station, or racing at Waypoint 1 before the lead goes all meep-meep on the rest. But scanning us would mean one of them would have to sacrifice 'race fitting' for 'spy fitting,' which hurts their race. Tradeoffs.

After the incident, Kay was angry and hurt; she would not talk to Kendar in friendly terms ever again -I thought it a bit too much but, then again, there was history between the two and maybe that's why it hurt her so. I was bouncing between indignation and indifference; what bothered me the most was the laughable punishment he had earned from his team. And Ken? He already felt miserable.

So I was totally not planning to get back at him anymore.

Well, maybe I wanted to, but was not planning. There is a difference.

Some time after the incident and while he was still suspended, we were chatting and Ken was lamenting how he was such a bad racer -yes, he was always sort of in the back of the pack- that it would take a miracle for him to ever win anything. "A miracle," was the word he used. I do not really remember, maybe it was something in the way he said it, maybe I thought he just needed a nudge, or the way he looked downtrodden in my comms... then I had this crazy feeling...

How often do you get a chance to grant a wish? To perform a miracle for someone?

Without thinking twice, I contracted him my dearest championship-winning racing frigate, A Wing and a Prayer. My ISK 150 million full-poly-rigged crown jewel.

My pony.

Oh, I was not flying her anyway.

Okay, if this does not sound exactly like 'revenge,' it is because it isn't. The idea behind was so Sisters-of-Eve-ish -smother him under a ton of syrupy sweetness- that he would feel even worse about the spying incident, then wake up one day and decide he would become all the racer he could be. I wanted him to feel better, myself to be impressed and everyone to be happy. A recipe for mending broken friendships. It felt right, weird but right.

Ken accepted the contract and, as soon as he saw what it was, his eyes widened and my contract list started blinking: he wanted to return it right away.

I then realized what a big burden it must have been on him.

Oh, so that's why it had felt weird.

Look, an Executioner may be many things, none of these remotely related to the word "resilient." As beautiful as she is, the poor thing is like made out of glass, you need all your senses not just to race but to stay alive -and I should know, having raced an entire Season 3 looking over my shoulder. My head was telling me that I would not see my ship ever again - the odds of him surviving a single race with her were, ahem, a bit on the low side. I was letting go of something very close to my heart, maybe forever. He knew that.

I had a knot in my throat as I asked Ken again to please, please take her and race like he really meant it. Naturally, I asked him to promise me -promise me!- to fly the entire season on that frigate.

"I know everything is going to be alright. Just bring her back safely, will you?"

Can you see where this was going, don't you? I had done a miracle. And then I had put an evil curse on it.

What can I say? I am just that well-balanced.

He hesitated. On one hand I was sort of expecting him to promise me the impossible and race to win. I really wanted to see him try. On the other hand, this was going to be interesting... five races remained and I wondered on which one he would go off as a shower of sparks. Would he still go ahead, knowing the odds? Which promise would he keep... would he be careful? Or would he be daring? I was secretly hoping for daring.

And then he promised.

Either way, my part was done. Ken would now carry out his: whatever happened, whether he wanted or not, he risked betraying this incredible act of kindness, either by not racing or by losing my ship. Unless he raced to win.

Maybe someone would have to make sure that the ship was lost.

We were even. Almost.


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