CHAPTER 2

The racer known only as Cyan paused at the entrance to the track. She took a deep breath and tried to stop her shaking. It has been so long... Cyan carefully rolled onto the track, her wheels shaking so bad she almost wiped out. Cyan accelerated gently, careful not to go too fast too soon. She took the turn easily, and slowly began to relax as she felt the air rush soothingly by her face. Once again she felt the joy of racing. She straightened out to the turn and came up on a jump. She started to take it automatically, letting habit take over. Suddenly her muscles tensed with unrestrained panic. She couldn't do this! She braked at the last minute, and the easy jump that she had taken so many times before seemed suddenly as wide as a racetrack itself. I can do this. I have to do this. Cyan tried again, but was unable to follow through with the jump. Maybe if I start at the bottom again, and work my way up...just like I did when I first started racing... Cyan turned and rolled off the track.

Ava circled the Macropolis track. One advantage to living in the city of Kinetica, she decided, was the free access to any race (except the Seasons, of course) at Macropolis. It being her home track, she knew the thing backwards and forwards (though her helmet hated it when she went backwards, and eventually Ava grew tired of it constantly repeating wrong way and turned around), and had Gabriel not banned her from trying, she probably would know it upside down, too.

Ava pulled in behind some of the other local racers and revved her engine. All around her, racers were in various states of anticipation. Some were calm as an Old Earth lake on a summer day, others were as jittery as mice, jumping at the smallest noise. Then it came. The Macropolis loudspeaker, sadly outdated, for all the money Kinetica had been bringing in lately, came to life with a sharp squeeeeeal. Three...two...one...go! And they were off.

Ava pulled easily ahead of the other racers, taking the jumps as though she had been born doing them. Expertly, she avoided the anti-grav cars (no track could afford to be placed in a people-free environment) and within seconds Ava was in first place.

Due to the lightness of her Suit, she had to watch herself on turns. Her Suit didn't have the top speed that her sister's did, and it wasn't made to muscle other racers off the track like the tanks were, but it had been custom built for her back in the illegal days of racing and had been as light as possible while still allowing a maximum of protection. So if she didn't have the top speed of Xia or the grip of Argos, it didn't matter to her. This was her Suit, and both she and it had been through the E-Fire together. They could survive a little Macropolis race!

Ava fairly flew around the track, finishing an easy first, and eight whole seconds in front of the second-place winner. She didn't really need the practice, she mused as she rolled off the track to collect her prize. She only participated in the races because she had nothing else to do. Besides, her mom refused to fund her travels to another track, and Ava didn't have the finances to send herself. So until her mom changed her mind about the Seasons, Ava was stuck doing the free Citizen Practice Races (with the occasional Single Race thrown in when enough visiting Racers stopped over) at Macropolis.

Someday, she promised herself as she rolled back to the starting area. Someday I'll have my chance. Someday I'll make it to the top. I'll be the best Racer ever, after Siba Castron, of course. Someday...

Thanks to my reviewers - I finally managed to get this into its own category, so yay for me. Review and tell me what you think - sorry the chapters are so short.