A/N: DISCLAIMER: I don't own Hot Wheels Acceleracers.
So I decided to do an unofficial fifth part for Acceleracers, since the series never had the chance to properly conclude as well as being inspired by some theories surrounding the lore. I know there is another unofficial comic-book sequel in the works, titled The Edge. This is my personal take on how it would conclude, or at least continue.
I will be strongly faithful to the source material as I can while trying to add some of my own flavors.
Note that some of the scenes, especially in this chapter, are in an anachronic order. This is done deliberately to keep the flow of this fic smooth. Subsequent chapters will try to follow the timeline more consistently, save for potential flashback scenes.
Also, buckle your Teku/Metal Maniac seatbelts. This is going to be a long chapter. Others will be shorter.
Rated T for moderate language, violence, and dark themes.
I hope you enjoy this. And I hope to do it in a somewhat consistent basis.
I was just a Californian teenager, riding the waves and skating after school. I was a loner; after cancer took away my mother and my dad going off on missions in the military, skating and surfing were my escape. Soon, I was about to start driving.
And on my sixteenth birthday, I got a lot more than what I bargained for. Dr. Peter Tezla recruited me along with thirty-four other drivers to participate in the World Race. The track took place in Highway 35 in a different dimension created by the Accelerons, aliens from a different world.
This was where I met drivers like Kurt Wylde and his brother Markie, Taro Kitano, Banjee Castillo, Brian Kadeem, and Lani Tam among others.
Little did we know the dangers surrounding this race.
Dr. Tezla wanted the Wheel of Power at the end of the track, but others wanted it for their own interests, including Gelorum and her Racing Drones.
Two years passed since the World Race. We soon discovered that the Wheel of Power was a gateway beyond Highway 35 to the Racing Realms, and our fight with the Drones escalated even further.
The Drones fought ferociously, but in the end, I defeated Gelorum and became an Acceleracer. I had been given a chance to be among the ranks of the Accelerons, but I instead chose to help the people I cared about.
To go from a surf rat to being recognized by the Accelerons was something I never thought would happen.
And it was about to get even more unbelievable from here.
These are our stories...
Approximately seven months after the events of The Ultimate Race
"Ugh, these realms just keep on getting better and better," I growled, observing the mirror-like surroundings through Reverb's shattered windshield while a chrome ball rolled erratically around the floor on the passenger's side. "Team, if any of these reflections move, take evasive action!"
"Vert, we have Racing Drones on our tail!" Maila shouted.
"You don't want to know," Dresden remarked.
I saw through my left mirror a barrage of green energy bombs scatter across the track before one of them broke off my mirror, leaving fiery green embers in the wake. I turned on the rearview camera on the right side of my dashboard.
The area was a total war zone. Dozens of light Racing Drone vehicles followed by four heavier vehicles pursued close to Maila's Octainium, Dresden's Covelight, Banjee's Anthracite, and Alec's Accelium. Two Sweepers trailed, looming as if one light touch off the gas pedal meant death. How the Teku and Metal Maniacs managed to grab Markie out of the Racing Drones's Headquarters was beyond me.
"Vert, we'll take on the Drones. You focus on winning the race!" Maila said.
I heard four high-frequency screams of EMP bursts coming from my wingmates' cars. "You better finish this race in one piece!" I said.
Two Racing Drone jets hovered above me, energy bombs charging. "Two can play at that game!" I growled as I fired a blue EMP laser from Reverb towards the two jets as they spiraled out of control before colliding and exploding on the realm's chrome walls.
Fragments littered across the track. "Yo, Vert, you almost made me pop a tire!" Alec said.
"Man, they must really hate you right now!" Dresden shouted.
"That's what happens when you beat their leader!"
"Vert, incoming ram! Ram!" Maila shouted.
I felt the impact as if a sledgehammer hit my spine. Suddenly, all feeling around my limbs became numb. I breathed heavily and blinked about a dozen times before realizing Reverb was flying high in the air.
I tried to turn on my jump jets, but the chrome ball hit the right side of my head like a rock, and I felt my helmet cave in.
Reverb landed, luckily on all four wheels, on the chrome wall. As I steered back on the track, I chuckled nervously at the fact that my car was still holding up, especially given my past track record.
The chrome ball bounced on my lap. "Oh, come on!" I groaned as I grabbed the ball, and chucked it out of my window, not realizing that it was already shut as fragments embedded inside my helmet. "Can this realm get any wor—"
The entire track phased a distorted image of a damaged Reverb, my teammates' cars, and the trailing Drones. "Oh, shit..." I whispered. "Time it right, Vert. Time it right..."
The chrome ball bounced just inches away from the front of my car. As I looked at the rearview camera, the other four evaded the chrome sphere as it crashed right on the center of most of the light Drone vehicles, concluding with a series of deafening, yellow explosions as it collided with the heavy vehicles, then finally, the Sweepers.
"The Accelerons are going to have a field day cleaning that up," Dresden said.
"Good work, everyone," Maila said.
The portal was a mile in sight. In the middle was a gray symbol shaped like a reverse C that meant "chrome" in the Acceleron's language.
"This is Dresden, my vehicle just got disabled. Using the EDR."
"Agh! I lost a wheel! Sorry, Vert. I'm pulling out!" Alec said.
"Damn, Banjee's been hit too!" Maila reported. "Ah, hell!" From my camera, I saw a sole heavy Racing Drone vehicle spin Octainium aside.
"Maila!" I shouted.
"I'm still in this, Vert. Just get to the finish!"
"Vert." I recognized that African accent anywhere. But much more metallic, even through the radio. "It's been a long time."
"Kadeem…" I said silently.
"You'll be a great Drone, Vert," he said.
"Why...?" I asked in a distraught tone.
"Your failure to save me has become my salvation," Kadeem said. "Surrender yourself and you'll be saved as well."
I could barely focus on the track after not just hearing Kadeem's voice, but what he just said.
Then, I saw a chrome sphere heading right at my windshield.
"VERT!" Maila shouted.
ACT I: Dawn of a Darkening Era
Concurrent with the end of The Ultimate Race
Maila [SURNAME REDACTED]
"I still don't think it's a good idea to recruit him. I never wanted him to get caught up in all this," Major Wheeler said as I poured a glass of mead for him. "It's times like this that I wish General Walker would be more liberal with our oath."
"Your son defeated Gelorum," I argued as I grabbed my glass. "He's become an idol, now. You've seen how ecstatic our units have been and you knew you would risk keeping secrets from him when you entered the Realms. It's time you tell him about us."
"I just fear what he'll think of all this."
"It will go better than you think," I said as I took a sip.
"Perhaps," Major Wheeler said. "You have a secret that's worse than mine."
I chuckled. "And yet I still want to see her again."
1: Secrets Revealed
Racing Drones' Headquarters
Approximately three weeks after the events of The Ultimate Race
Heavy snow scattered throughout the city, accumulating onto the ground-level tracks. While watching the Racing Drones' vehicles driving across the snowy roads to the spire on spiked tire treads, I could not help but feel nostalgic towards my time with the Dune Ratz.
I looked at myself towards the reflection of one of the buildings. I knew I could never come back to my people in the Sahara Desert in this present time after I was transformed into a drone, but Gelorum's doctrine gave me hope that the Drones will help them.
Kadeem is gone, I thought to myself. The Drones are my future.
You are never truly gone, Kadeem. Haziz's reflection replaced my own. The Drones may have drifted you astray, but you will never forget where you came from.
"Kadeem was weak, like his people," I said. "We will make them stronger."
Is this truly the life they should live? Haziz questioned.
"I can give you your sight again, Haziz," I convinced, gritting my teeth. "I can give a hundred-hold more that what I already gave to you two years ago."
Kadeem, will your people approve of the Drones' conquest?
I punched the reflection, leaving a hole in the wall. "They will know, willingly or otherwise."
A Racing Drone Lieutenant walked from behind. "Lieutenant Kadeem. Is there a problem with your programming?"
"No," I lied. "It's just a side-effect from being human. It will fade away in time."
"The inauguration of Chancellor Annette will begin in thirty minutes," RD-L1 announced over the PA.
The Holy Spire
Annette took the throne shortly thereafter. The Drones Sieg Hailed towards Annette, all of them blaring a metallic, raspy screech in unison. The sight gave me a flashback to an altercation with Neo-Nazis at a restaurant in Texas prior to starting the World Race. They pulled guns at me before the waitress knocked them out with a frying pan and had them arrested.
With Gelorum's doctrine, I believed that this symbol would be given a new meaning once the Drones take over Earth. So I raised my hand alongside the Drones.
Like Gelorum, Annette took the form of a human – a contrast to bulky Racing Drones. Unlike Gelorum, however, Annette actually used to be human. A former driver for the Silencerz, Annette was arrested due to using Silencer technology in an attempt to bomb the Federal Assembly in Russia. That was when she made contact with Gelorum, and they mutually shared a desire to reform the world.
"My fellow people, Drones and Hybrids alike, it is an honor to be named heir to Gelorum's throne," Annette greeted with a tone that was more airy and soft-spoken. "I may have been human in the past, and indeed, much younger, but my resolve remains as strong as her's. Gelorum has given me everything that not even the richest human philanthropist could. And likewise, our integration of human intelligence has granted the perfect marriage between man and machine.
"We overcame the limits that the Accelerons have put on us: We took the Wheel of Power, an Acceleron relic that only a human could handle, and we will strike once again towards the ones that have taken it to the Earth. Our harvest of human minds has installed creativity to balance out our calculative, intellectual nature. We are not just Drones, not just humans, but we are on the verge of transcending into gods!
"When the next set of Racing Realms begins, we will not rest until the Accelechargers are ours. We will not rest until we finally kill and transcend the Accelerons. We will not rest until we terraform the Earth." Annette's voice grew louder and more guttural with every word. "Most of all…" Her voice lowered in volume. "We will have revenge by assimilating the ones responsible for Gelorum's death! The one known as Vert Wheeler shall conform to us!" she screamed at the top of her mechanical lungs. "Hail Gelorum!" she cried out, Sieg Heiling.
The Drones Sieg Heiled once again, their cheerful screeches being twice as loud.
New HQ, [LOCATION REDACTED]
Approximately one month after the events of The Ultimate Race
Knowing that Vert went for the portal prior to the destruction of the Acceledrome, we headed for another headquarters away from the original one. It was as if Tezla prophetically predicted that the Drones would raid the Acceledrome. Wherever Vert was, getting the wheel hologram projector back on was our best bet.
Karma theorized that Vert could be in the realms racing with the Accelerons, which would be any World Race Driver's dream; I could not imagine how excited she would be if the realms started opening again. After what happened with Markie and Kadeem, most of us feared that either the Drones or Silencerz captured him; I leaned towards the former, knowing at the time that they had the actual Wheel of Power. The thought of a cyborg Vert, eyes and mouth glowing green and smiling like a slasher villain made me not want to eat during catering hours.
A month has passed since Vert went missing. Every second felt like we were going to have a less of a chance of finding him alive, let alone well.
The building was of a smaller scale with a smaller ramp leading towards the wheel hologram, which was still in progress. The bedrooms were cramped and dusty; according to Markie, it was a notch better than sleeping in a jail cell and more comparable to sleeping on Tork's couch. The Sweeper served as the garage for our cars, though it was quite cramped. Even worse was that the acoustics in the Sweeper were quite cacophonous; especially when Shirako was testing Bassline's subwoofers, which resulted in Porkchop nearly strangling him to death.
We rebuilt our cars, using parts recycled from prototype cars originally intended for the World Race as well as parts salvaged from the Acceledrome and aftermarket parts from Clone, Wasco, JT, and parts from the Maniacs' shop. Technology was reverse-engineered from Nitrium except for cloaking and weaponry, which was considerably harder, if impossible with the resources we had. Unfortunately, the complex lacked any Nitrox 2, as all of it was used to destroy the Acceledrome, so we had to rely on Monkey's Nitrox 3 1/2. A little rough on the engines compared to the original Nitrox, but we could always make repairs after races.
Lani and Tezla scheduled a meeting for all nine of us, saying that they have found Vert's location. Needless to say, we were all excited and hurried to the conference room fifteen minutes earlier than scheduled.
"We've managed to recover a video file recorded by Sparky moments before he hit the EDR on Vert's car," Lani said.
The monitor showed us a first-person perspective of Sparky riding with Vert in Reverb. The quality was fuzzy with static taking up one/twentieth of the top screen and the brightness turned up unnaturally high, but it was no worse than security footage at a retailer. We saw Vert entering the yellow Acceledrome portal, then exiting towards an environment of purple and white. Vert entered towards the automatic doors, spun 270 degrees counterclockwise, and stopped as he and Sparky checked their surroundings.
Vert gasped as the door left to them opened. Four gray X-88s, covered in purple hues, surrounded Reverb, automatically opening its vertical doors. Both Vert and Sparky's seatbelts snapped loose, then lab scientist with five lenses loomed over Vert.
"Sparky, hit the ED-agh!" The scientist snatched Vert out of the car as well as the Circle that the Accelerons gave him. Sparky pressed the EDR button before face-planting on the road near where the World Race happened.
The transmission ended there.
"Purple interiors, those X-88 robots, that's obviously the Silencerz' base," Karma said.
I sighed a slight breath of relief for a moment. At least Vert was not going to be turned into a Drone like Kadeem or what they tried to do with Markie, as I looked at his blackened metal arm. However, we did not know what the Silencerz' motives were or what they were going to do with Vert. He could be brainwashed into working with them.
I took a glance at Tezla. I've always had my suspicions about him even before the World Race began, and that has not changed in the slightest. I knew he wanted the Wheel of Power as an infinite energy source for the United States and possibly even the world, and that obviously led to a continent-wide blackout. But knowing he refused to give us Nitrox 2 after the World Race for "research", his second attempt at getting the wheel which led to his injured state, some ethically dubious things such as not installing an EDR until we were four realms in (which could have completely prevented what happened to Dresden, Alec, Banjee, and Kadeem), his obsession with the Accelechargers to the point where he cared about them more than our safety, and when Vert made contact with an Acceleron, and general refusal to tell us other things surrounding the realms (the time limit when we were in the Storm Realm, which resulted in Vert losing his Deora II; the lack of warning that the realms were much more dangerous than Highway 35; the loss of Dresden, Alec, Banjee, and potential other World Race drivers; and if he needed the help of the Teku and Metal Maniacs, who were hostile towards each other at the time, why didn't we see other World Race drivers?), it made me wonder if he was still having us drive for him to serve his old motives again. Was he just trying to find better ways of handing these powers?
Or did he genuinely want to keep this power from falling into the wrong hands, whether it was the Drones, the Silencerz, corporations, or politicians?
I knew that Tezla had a falling out with the Silencerz. According to what Lani said, while Tezla said that the Silencerz stole technology from him, Gig also said that Tezla also did the same thing to him, notably Nitrium and Gig himself. Was it because they had conflicting motives? And what were the Silencerz' own motives?
"Tezla, we know you were a member of the Silencerz," I said. "Can you tell us where their headquarters is located?"
"They've changed locations after I left," Tezla replied. "I have no idea where their base of operations is."
"Well, can you tell us more about them? What they stand for? Their members? Anything?" I asked in a more aggressive tone as I stood up from my seat. "What happened between you and the Silencerz that made you leave?"
"I cannot tell you," Tezla said.
"Why not?" I shouted as I rushed towards Tezla, pinning him hard to the wall.
"Whoa! Kurt, calm down!" Nolo shouted.
Tezla let out a painful gasp. "Kurt, you're hurting me!"
"Kurt, let him go!" Karma shouted.
"Kurt!" Taro shouted.
Suddenly, I felt two arms, one of them being prosthetic, applying a full-nelson. "Kurt! Kurt what the hell are you doing?" Markie shouted as he threw me away from Tezla.
"He's been keeping secrets from us from the very beginning!" I said.
"Kurt, you've been this way for a while now," Markie said.
I took a deep breath. "I know… I know."
"They've kept their eye on me from the beginning," Tezla explained. "Gig was one of them – that's how they got a hologram file of the wheel. Some of their drivers were there when the Drones took over the Acceledrome."
"Come to think of it, they might be watching us right here, right now," Porkchop said, looking over the room. Monkey gulped at the thought.
"All we can do for now is wait until the hologram projector is fully operational," Lani said.
"Let's hope the portal that took Vert to the base is still open," Tork said. "Otherwise, we're out of luck."
"There could also be the chance that there will be another set of Racing Realms," Tezla said. "Some of the symbols I saw on the wheel have yet to be used."
"So if we can't get through Vert through the Silencerz' base, we could get through with him in the Realms?" Tork asked.
"If he is racing with the Silencerz," Tezla said. "However, the Racing Drones are also still a threat. We also need to focus on winning if the realms open again. Until we get more information, you are dismissed."
Ugh, the usual "we have to work hard to stop the Drones" line again.
All nine of us started walking out of the room before Tesla walked behind me. "Kurt, let us talk in my personal quarters."
Maila [SURNAME REDACTED]
"It looks like the drivers are about to know too much about us," I radioed through my helmet.
"Keep investigating the area, and especially Tezla and Kurt," Major Wheeler radioed back. "If they risk leaking any information about us to the public, you know what to do."
As I walked outside the conference room, I saw one of the drivers, known by Gig as Porkchop, running around and swinging his sledgehammer around in the air. "Silencerz! We know you may be in here! Porkchop will take you on! Tell us where Vert is!"
Another driver, Monkey, approached the maniacal driver. "Porkchop—WHOA!" Monkey narrowly missed a swing to the head and fell on his back. "Look, you're wasting your time. Do you really think the Silencerz will just come to you and get hit?" he questioned.
"No, but it keeps me alert and pumpin' for a fight," Porkchop replied.
"Eh, I guess they'll have to face us soon," I said to myself as I turned my invisibility cloak back on.
Silencerz HQ, [LOCATION REDACTED]
Concurrent with the end of The Ultimate Race
I stared towards the lead Silencer that was walking towards me. I knew the Silencerz were infiltrating the Realms and were battling against us. The question I wanted to ask was who were they?
His helmet retracted to a ring around his neck.
And I stood agape at the man I saw.
"Son, we need to talk."
"Dad? What…" I was in awe of what I just saw the moment I saw Dad take off the purple helmet. "Dad, after all this time, you're… you're a Silencer?"
The driver on Dad's right took off his mask, revealing himself to be Banjee Castillo. The third driver followed suit, revealing Krakatoa.
"Vert, we're sorry for our deception," Banjee said regretfully.
"I guess there's no point in hiding this from you anymore," Dad said. "I'm deeply sorry I couldn't tell you or your mother this, but I've been bound by an oath of secrecy until you came into the base."
"It's just…" I couldn't make of what I just saw. "What's going on? Is this the 'squadron' you've been leading all this time?"
"The Silencerz are a multi-national government-funded military program, specializing in high-speed stealth missions," Tezla said. "The Scrim Corporation was a major backer for the program. Eventually, I became one of their drivers."
"However, as the Racing Drones took over Hot Wheels City, we made it a priority to take the wheel back to this realm," Dad continued. "Tezla and I fought over whether to contain the wheel or use it as he tried to before. Even after the continent-wide blackout, he still wanted to use its power for the world. But we knew that other figures, not just the Racing Drones, would likely want to use it for their personal interests. Tezla left the Silencerz and went into hiding, though we watched him closely, using the X-88, or Gig as he called him, to spy on him."
"So let me be clear, you and the Silencerz were trying to keep the wheel and the Accelechargers out of anyone else's hands?"
"We intend to contain such anomalies," Dad said.
"Do they intend to use the Wheel for something?" I asked Tezla.
"No. As weapons became more dangerous over the course of the two World Wars, the last thing the Silencerz wanted was to use it as a weapon."
"To use the Wheel and, potentially, the Accelechargers and that circle to fuel a weapon could not only create a weapon of mass destruction, but a potential weapon of complete destruction," Dad explained.
I took a sigh. "When we raced against you, we feared that you were up to something extreme with the Accelechargers," I said. "Now it feels like you're actually doing something right."
"Tezla has always been paranoid about both us and the Racing Drones," Dad said.
"I'm just dumbfounded," I said. "I feel like we've been fighting what's in your head rather than an actual threat."
"I just have this feeling," Tezla said.
"Well, what if the Silencerz are actually doing what's right?" I asked. "After the blackout, nothing has changed about you." I headed for the door. "I'll still race, if just to stop the Racing Drones, but if you're still obsessed with using Acceleron technology for your own selfish interests, my trust for you has fallen down to absolute zero. No one should have that power."
As I left Tezla's room, Markie, Karma, and Nolo stood outside waiting for me. "Did you get anything from him?" Karma asked.
"Our fight with the Silencerz was a lie," I replied angrily as we walked back to the Sweeper. "And I feel like being brought into this was a lie as well. If he wasn't so obsessed with the Drones, he would have contacted the Silencerz earlier instead of bringing just four World Race drivers and some random street racers that hated each other's guts at the time."
"Are you saying the Silencerz are the real good guys?" Markie questioned.
"I don't know for sure," I said. "But I feel that if we keep racing for Dr. Tezla, who knows what will happen if he gets ahold of more Acceleron technology?"
Maila [SURNAME REDACTED]
I watched Kurt continue his rant while quietly following them. The stealth camouflage and the barrier of artificial silence around me made it too easy.
"Look, we don't trust him either, but Tezla called us out of fear," Karma said. "He's human; he makes mistakes."
Human, I thought. I'm glad you are still human.
A folded photo dropped down from her jacket pocket.
"Karma, you dropped something," Nolo said.
I went back and picked up the photo. I breathed in slowly and put the photo back in my pocket.
"Something wrong?" Nolo asked.
I exhaled. "It's nothing. Just some notes I took when studying the Drones and Realms."
"I recommended before that you quit before you got too deep in this," Dad said. "But after your race against Gelorum and you ending up here, I'm not sure if that's even a viable option."
I chuckled. "You know I'm stubborn."
"I'm proud of you." Dad's hand touched my shoulder. "You did what the Silencerz weren't able to do at the time and helped deal a significant blow to the Racing Drones. We might have to recruit you."
"But what about the others? The Teku and Metal Maniacs?"
"Right now, it would be too risky to recruit them," Dad said. "It's already a huge risk recruiting you, but I will say one thing: My second-in-command has been wanting to get in contact with your friends ever since she became a Silencer. If the situation with the Drones escalates, we'll consider contacting them."
"That would work wonders," I said. "Dad, I know I've been a distant son, but now I understand where you're coming from. I've been acting like the world revolved around me, and I never realized how important this kind of work is. If it means protecting the world, I'll join the Silencerz."
"Now you have a full idea what's really important," he replied. "Banjee and Krakatoa will take you to see your new handler. I will be discussing the findings these guys have on the artifacts we took."
I sat in the driver's seat of Chicane and pulled out the folded photograph I dropped earlier from my jacket pocket. I slowly pinched at the top edge and caught a glimpse of an arm sheathed in black and a part of a pale face that was smiling.
"No." I folded the photograph back and placed it in the glove box. "Not now."
Taro knocked on my window. "Ready for tonight's race?"
I opened the window. "I'm looking forward to it after a month of nothing. Feels longer than it really is, honestly."
"Everyone's been worried about Vert."
"It's not just that," I said. "It just feels odd not fighting Drones or even racing for once. The longest I've gone without street racing was a week."
"Huh. You seem like you find solace in chaos," Taro said.
I chuckled. "Honestly, I'd feel more comfortable skiing down Mt. Everest than being in one building, tuning up cars that don't really need to be tuned anymore. Bet that's why you and Lani aren't a thing anymore?"
Taro groaned. "Don't mention Lani like that."
"Well, it's about to get dark soon," I said as I put on my helmet. "Time to make some money."