Street Tales


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1. A Rough Start

 

It was a cold, piercing breeze, 11:30PM, a loud engine screams across the track.
Hairpin right, then medium left.

The roaring VTEC engine of the NSX-R and the howl of the winds collided as the car flew sideways along the tarmac. Smoke covered the scene as tires screeched along the line. The stench of burning rubber filled the air and stained the leaves that brushed past.

Traction loss - 65, hard left... ERROR.

In an instant, the NSX-R spun out in the middle of the track, and it didnt take long until dead silence. It stood staring right at the apex of the curve, motionless.

"Failed... again." said the driver. He took off his helmet, which seemed to have some sort of apparatus inside. He shook his head around, ploughing through his hair with his fingertips.
"Argh... my head hurts... This was a stupid idea..." he said, talking through a comm device in the helmet.

"The system is very faulty. You must be feeling the after-effects of the druggings right now. I don't know what happened to KYOKO, but she fucked up when you started to feel relief after the corners. Did you realise the feeling you get when you've completed a sharp turn within the ideal line? When you get mood changes during your driving, its a sign that the drugs are wearing off, or maybe the system has experienced some lag. We need to reconfigure it a bit more." said a broad, male voice through the comm device.

"Screw this program. I dont need a driver's assist." said the NSX-R driver.
"Well, some people do. You're the only one capable of testing the KYOKO prototype." said the voice.
"As long as its not used for the mountain pass..." replied the NSX-R driver.
"You're just tired. You need some rest."
"No... True skill wont come from a machine helping you. Besides, this is Zui Hou R..."
"Maybe so, but this can surely speed up the process, for the slow-learners and inexperienced drivers..."
"No taking short cuts, I'm not using KYOKO to win my battles..."
"So be it." the voice concluded.

The next day was slow and miserable, but not so quiet. Fu Huo was sitting on the bar stool, munching out on his lunch at Koda's. He sat there silently, as usual. Spoke to nobody, as usual. Flicking through pages of car magazines, as usual. He was a quiet man, never liked small talk, and always to the point. Has a habit of getting things over with as soon as possible with little delay. He wore a pair of black pants, an expensive office shirt, expensive shoes and his leather jacket hung on the seat. He had a medium build, and his hair was a bit long, has a combover and is layered. Fu Huo was a 19 year old who pretty much had nothing to lose.
His image, though clothed in class, looked as if he was half asleep.

Away from the bar stools, were the pool tables, and square tables for multipurpose use. Koda's was basically a cafeteria and pool hall, but people basically go there for anything. The place stenched in cigarette smoke, among other things. The place littered with gangster wannabes and try-hard drug dealers who dont know their shit. Most of them were around 15-17 yr old naive kids who think highly of themselves when they are around a pack of friends.

Not too far from where Fu was sitting, were a bunch of teenagers who made their little quiet judgements about him, alongside the talk about street racing and rice boys and 'fully sick' cars. The arrogant one, who was near-choking on his smoke (obviously did it for the look), frequently acted like he knew what he was talking about.

"Haha, man, when my dad gets me a WRX STi, I'll kill y'all with my 100-Shot NOS." he bragged.
"Really? You're dad's getting you a rex? You lucky SOB." said one of his suck-up followers.

Fu sat there silently, grinning to himself as he overheard their silly conversation.
Moments later, another customer arrived at Koda's.
A young woman, must've only hit her 20's, stepped into Koda's and took a quick look around. She wore a neat black blouse, a grey office shirt, and an open sweater. She was pretty, with dark hair with blonde tips, hair only touching her shoulders. She came in, and looked directly at the guy sitting on one of the barstools...

"Hey hun..." said the arrogant guy who was bragging about cars earlier on.
"...me?" said the young woman.
"What's your name?"
"Uh... Minako... and you?"
"Do you have a boyfriend...?"

Mina rolled her eyes, and tried to restrain the laughter...
"How old are you?"
"I'm 15, babe, and you?"
"I'm 20, so listen, if you stand too close to me like that, people might think I'm your mother."

Fu Huo, quietly listening in the background, grinned to himself once again.
Another guy, came up to Minako, who seemed like the other kid's brother.
"Hey babe, I'm 20 too. Can I have your number?" he said to her.
"Um... I'm sorry, would you please leave me alone?" she kindly asked.
"Oh what's with you? Cocky whore! You think you're so hot that you're too good for us, pfft. Oh, sorry, you probably have 8 other boyfriends waiting to sleep with you, dont ya? Geez, step back, its the royal bicycle." the guy started to diss her, as he couldnt hack being rejected so quickly infront of his mates.

Fu called out in a calm, deep voice,
"She's not that hot."
"Who the hell are you?" said the guy.
"Dont worry, forget it."
"Are you saying I'm into ugly chicks?"
"I didn't say that. But now that you mention it..."

Minako butted in,
"H-Hey! What...!"
"You're wasting your time." said Fu. "And dont put words into my mouth." he said to the other guy.

"Quit being smart, fool. I started talkin to her first." he replied.
"Haha... like I said, you're wasting your time with her." Fu returned.
"Would you stay outta this, fool!" the guy killed his cigarette, and pulled out his knife.

"Are you really gonna do that far just to impress someone like her?" Fu said nonchalantly.
"Ey man, I think its time you be quiet." the guy naively held the knife infront of Fu, attempting to intimidate him.

"Aren't you going to call your cousins?" said Fu.
"Oh, you damn right I would, fool, so you betta watch your back."
"Hmm... how many of em are in here?"

Outta nowhere, Fu ripped out a pistol from out his sleeve.
"You better hope you call more than 15 people to come bash me, coz I got 15 rounds of shut the hell up ready for ya."

The expression on the guy's face drastically changed.
"Oh shit, I'm so sorry man, I swear man, sorry, put it away bro, and you can have her too."

"Stop it, idiots!" demanded Minako. She grabbed Fu by the arm and gently dragged him outside Koda's.

"What do you think you're doing?" she yelled at him.
"Me?"
"You always get yourself into fights like that..."
"Hmm... funny, it always seems to be about you. And you're saying I'm getting myself into them? Hmph..."
"Oh, whatever, I'm over it. But I'm not impressed."
"Since when was I trying to impress you?"

Fu lashed off, and walked around the corner to his car. He got fed up and lost his patience. It was not like him. Fu Huo was usually a humble, often charismatic young man, yet Minako was one of the rare people who make him lose his cool at times. 
Little to his attention, Minako followed him.
"What now?" he asked. Why does she still keep following me?
"...Maya's taken the GC8, she'll be using it for the rest of the day..." Minako replied.
Fu sarcasticly sighed.

"Okay, get in."
They got in Fu's Lancer (Evolution V GSR). It was black, with 5 spoke Enkei rims. The foglights light up as red, and along with neons of the same colour. Fu Huo's Lancer came complete with a top of the range sound system, to appeal to him and his social tastes.

With quite some patience left, Fu began to drive Minako home...

"So how've you been?" asked Minako
"You mean, 'since then'?" Fu replied softly.
"Yeah..."
"Nothing special. Just the usual... How 'bout you?"
"I see... uh, well pretty much the same... I've been trying not to think a lot."

Minako stared out the window, watching the scenery fly past her to the soothing sound of Fu's Lancer.

"I... was hoping it wouldnt have come to this." Fu suddenly brought up.
"I see. I'll... get over it some day. By the way, how's the racing projects?"
"It's doing fine. Slowly, but surely, we'll complete our goals one by one... though I'm not even sure how I'll manage by myself."

Minako's apartment was along the top of the mountain pass, a moderately steep uphill section with mild turns and wide straight-aways on the first section, then the occasional hairpin curves along the way up. This road was known as Route D1. Many underground street racers hold fierce competitions there. Home to Route D1 mountain pass were Dreadnaught Racing, and Team Notorious Angel. Also, many beginners come to practice on this route, as the majority of the roads are wide.

As they entered the route, Fu began to put on a little bit more throttle to it.
"I hope you don't mind."
"Its okay, I'm used to it." said Minako

Rrrrrr... psshh...
It was around the afternoon, the sun was about to set, though there were hardly any sign of traffic ahead, but Fu kept himself on 'safe mode'.
Vrrrrrt... psshh...
"I'm gonna push it a little."

After the few sets of straightaways, Fu downshifted to 3rd gear, and flew about 75-80kph sideways through the hard left.
Pssh...
Minako changed Fu's fast-paced music to a slower, dramaticly soothing J-Pop music. For some reason, she didnt seem to notice Fu's speed through the corners. It was like normal driving speeds for her.

"Hey Fu... remember the time when we use to go karting every Sunday with my sister...?" said Minako.
"Hmm... yeah, that was quite a while back..."
"Heh, yeah... you used to love it. We always were stuck overtaking each other and struggled just to catch up to Maya."
"Its different now."
"I guess."

Pssh... The sun's glow shined on the Evo's black paint, as it breezed through the mountain like a bright star.
Minako stared at the window again, thinking to herself...
I probably wont get this moment again in a long time... Why can't I say anything?

She looked at Fu, but said nothing. He was too busy watching the road.
As you get faster... you're slowly pulling further and further away. Where will I be, when you're at the peak of your so called 'racing dream'? Would I still have to worry all these nights, hoping you'd come back safely as you challenge yourself at the stakes of rolling down the throats of the steep mountains...?

"What's wrong, Mina?"
"Nothing... I'm fine."

Vrrrt... psshh...
125kph, the Evo climbed through the next hard right, its foglights only an inch away from the apex, slid through the curve smoothly, through the 4-Wheel drift.
The Evo exited at around 105kph, though in no time at all, it was able to pick up speed.
Through the corner of Minako's eye, she could see a figure of another car up ahead, through the distance. There was a set of hairpin curves up next, and at the rate Fu was going, he might not be able to slow down in time to expect the incoming traffic that Minako detected.

"Fu..."
"Yeah...?"
"There's... um..."
"What?"

The Lancer slid through the next hairpin, at around 80kph, while in an instant, an oncoming car was in sight.
It seemed too late, but Fu quickly reacted gripped the wheel and tried not to panic. He slowed down, but the other car didnt.
The met for only about half a second, the other car drifted straight past Fu's Lancer, while he swayed back on the right lane in little hope to avoid collision.
The other car slid sideways through the other hairpin that Fu just passed, and disappeared...

"VR-4 Turbo... That's...!" Fu grunted to himself.
"Oh my God... be careful...!" Minako called out.
"Sorry."

From then on, Fu drove up at a much slower pace, and stayed on the right lane, obeying the rules.

"What's with that car anyway?" asked Minako.

The car cruised along the D1 downhill, not slowing down even after meeting with the Evo V. The 3000GT VR-4 Turbo glided through the turns, and flew through the straightaways like a space shuttle. Its body streamed in dark burgundy, purple neons shined along the tarmac.

"Fu... I see you're instincts on the road aren't as good when you're riding with a woman." said Kumiko.

D1's downhill was no more of a challenge to her than a walk in the park.
Her high-grip tyres wasted no time in the corners, she gained speed on the mild turning section. Kumiko wasn't even using her car's full limit.
Her sandals restrained her from those hardcore pedal techniques and wasnt bringing herself to execute her real techniques.

Kumiko was like wildfire. It was almost as if she never slows down, only getting faster. And yet it was like she was only cruising. This truly amazing wonder of the street racing world, armed with a 4WD VR-4, known to the galleries as the 'Neon Serpent of D1'. She was a beautiful and warm individual, but longs for a game that has long passed since. Kumiko loved speed as much as her hundred pairs of shoes. Her dark brown hair blew through the wind coming through her windows, as she tore the downhill like a divine serpent.

"Damn!" Kumiko grunted.

Up ahead, was a trailing cop car, and a booze bus at the end of the downhill. It was much to Kumiko's surprise, they hardly set anything like that at such a location.
But Kumi didn't hesitate. The cop car was going in the opposite direction anyway. Must've been left behind by Fu. Kumi laughed as it came her way.
She knew that she was going at nearly unparalleled speed, and yet she did not hesitate or slowed down.

"10-4, I have spotted speeding Mitsubishi GTO traveling at around more than 150kph on Route D1, requesting a barricade unit along the checkpoint, over." radioed the cop.

But he had absolutely no time to turn around to catch Kumiko, who instantly shot past the booze bus and topped it off with a drift into the horizon, and disappeared.
Kumiko's phone rang. She didnt have her handsfree carset on however.
She picked up, started driving with one hand, decreased speed.

"Fukada here." she answered "Battle tonight? Route C4? Who against who? I see. I'm there. I'll bring my apprentice with me too. Laters."

Back at Koda's, the little gang were somewhat stinging about the little scene that had just took place, several moments ago.

"Who the hell was that?" said the 20 year old male, who tried to pick up Minako earlier on.

"I dunno, but he's the owner of that black Lancer that's always here." said Maya, the owner and cheif waitress of Koda's. She knew all about Fu, and basically every other customer that steps into her cafe. Though she denies almost everything she sees and turns a blind eye using tall glasses, cutlery and the kitchen sink.

"Hmm... do you think he races?" said the guy.
"Who knows? Does his car make him look like he does?"
"Well I've never lost to Lancers before."
"Really? And what car do you have?"
"I got a rexie, baby!"
"What kind of 'rexie' is it?"
"Uh... STi."
"Really? And what WRX STi is it?"
"Um... the old one... the 98 model..."
"Hmm... okaaaay." Maya rolled her eyes. "Well if you're gonna race that guy's Lancer, I guess you wouldn't have too much trouble since... well you've never lost to a Lancer now have you?"

"Yeh, man, every lil shit ct with their VR-X's and GLi's, you name it." boasted the guy. "I'm Ohjay the Lancer Killer!"
"Nice one, 'Lancer Killer'! I hope you dont lose to that guy's Evolution Five." Maya sarcastically cheered for him.

"Evo-wha...?"
"Oh, what does it matter? It's just a Lancer isn't it?"
"I guess so. Well, next time you see him, tell tha guy that 'Ohjay the Lancer Killer' is lookin' for his ass! Laters!"

Nearing the top of Route D1 uphill, Fu started to cruise at a casual speed. 
"I'm jus' gonna stop by the pharmacy, ok. Won't take long." said Fu.
"Its ok. How come though? What do you need?" asked Minako.
"Just some pain killers... I get bad migranes lately..."

The black Evo V double-parked its ass near the pharmacy, as Fu was attempting to make a quick stop. Minako was watching him the whole time along the way and started thinking to herself again, lost in thought, daydreaming.
A few moments later, a sudden maniac realised the scene and rushed to Fu's Lancer. The keys were still in the ignition. With Minako staring at Fu, it was too late for her to notice.

"Huh...? What the hell?" she turned around and saw the maniac.
Before she knew it, the fool was about to drive off, as Fu lashed out of the pharmacy doors and quickly jumped on to his car, gripping the rear spoiler and tried to climb on as his car was quickly trying to speed away.

"Stop it!" Minako demanded to the carjacker.
"Oh shit, what the hell are you doing here, stupid bitch! Get out the car!" he replied.
"What? How stupid of you not to notice me sitting here! Idiot! Pull over now!"
"Shut up, I guess I'll just take you with me!"

The maniac swerved the car violently, and shook Fu around on top of the car, hitting his head on the spoiler. His legs were on the car's roof, and lower back rested on the rear window.
Minako kept bickering with the guy, afraid to hit him as doing so might cause the guy to lose control.

Fu struggled to pick himself back up and get in postion on top of the roof. The car swerved again. The rolled to the side, with his shoulder thumping to the side. Fu grunted in pain. The car was going about 20-30kph. Fu struggled to get around, he clipped his fingers on to the outer window frame, and motioned his body around the car's rooftop, in a spider-like position, while grabbing hold barely gripping the outer frames.

"Shit!" he complained. What the hell is Mina doing?

The car was gaining speed. Wind blew in Fu's eyes, which distorted him a lot.
His left shoulder is really owning him at the moment. Not to mention his head.
He let go with his left arm, as it lost grip of Minako's window.

Another idea struck Fu's head.

The maniac driver noticed Fu's hands on the frames. He tried to clobber em, while swerving the car intentionally to shake him off.

"What a dick." the guy called out. "Just get over it! I stole your car and your bitch!"

Fu tried to ignore the pain on his shoulder, and reached deeply for his semi-automatic. But he could not get his other hand to take hold of it as it was holding on. If he released, then both hands would be free and would send him hurling down the asphalt. 
Fu's left hand held his pistol. With much struggle, he reached a bit further, and tossed his handgun through the left window.

"Take it!" he called out to Minako.
But the maniac noticed the pistol fall through the window.
He clumsily took a hand off the wheel and started to wrestle Minako for the gun.
The car started to swerve uncontrollably, as the two were hitting each other trying to get an aim.
In an instant, Minako reached for the cigarette lighter. The car jerked around as Fu struggled to hang on. She grabbed the lighter and used it to stall the guy, and took the gun from him.

"Stop the car already!" she demanded, aiming the gun to his head.

The guy attempted to gain control of the car. The Lancer spun out, and flung Fu onto the road, but landed briefly on one foot, but lost balance and fell over on his shoulder. He grunted in much pain.

"Get out of the car, damnit!" Minako pressed the gun's nose onto the guy's head.

"Okay, okay!" the guy moaned as he quickly bolted out of Fu's car and ran like a coward.

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