Another Speed Racer Fanfic by "Freddo"
Chapter One "Speed's Homecoming"
First…we have to deal with the usual copyrights and credits...etc….
Speed Racer is (c) 2007 by Speed Racer Enterprises… I don't own this property...Freddo
Second: This is a sequel to Attack and Counterattack, but, this time, we are solely in Speed's universe; have fun!…Freddo
I. COMING HOME UNDER A SHADOW
Friday, October 22, 1971
The United States
Los Angeles International Airport
Incoming Overseas Terminal
1315 Hours (Local Time)
"What's wrong with Speed?" asked the former Trixie Shimura as she sat on a bench in the LAX Incoming Terminal. Trixie was known as the "former" Trixie Shimura since on September 13, 1969, she had become Trixie Racer at the end of the 1969 racing season, where he had again repeated as World Champion. She still remembered the wedding; it had been attended by all of their friends and colleagues in the racing world.
"I don't know," said Sparky. "His plane must be late?"
"I checked with some people," said Racer X. "They said that all of the American Airlines flights are stacked up. It's just a busy time here at LAX, Trixie."
"Rex," whispered Pops Racer after he made sure there was no one around; he knew Racer X's true identity now, but he knew it was important not to blow his cover. "Were you in Vietnam?"
"I was, in the early 1960's; I was one of the first advisers that President Kennedy sent there; it was not long after…you know…"
Pops knew what he meant. He knew that Rex was not referring to the time he had run away; that had been in the late 1950's. Pops knew that Rex was referring to his initial recruitment as a secret agent. Pops had learned early on not to ask too many questions about Rex's secret work as Agent Nine. He knew that some of it…certainly wasn't pleasant.
My time in Vietnam wasn't good, or pleasant. Speed, I hope yours was better. But even the fact that you had to go there was a mistake, thought Rex. They never handled this right from the beginning; trying to keep a war secret is impossible. I know. Even with some of the things I did, and some of the Viet Cong I assassinated, it was impossible to stop Ho Chi Minh on the cheap. Or on the QT. They should have just announced there would be a major land war in Asia from Day One, and not…run things like they did…
"Speed, please, please come land soon," said Trixie. "I want to see you land…"
Trixie had enjoyed a wonderful three weeks with Speed; before, that is, his draft notice had arrived. Trixie remembered that some of their friends in the racing world had advised Speed to seek a deferment from the draft, so that he could return to racing again and compete for his unprecedented fourth World Championship in a row. However, a long talk one night with his father and Rex (who had revealed his true identity to the family at last at the wedding) had convinced Speed to accept his obligation to his country. The next day, as Trixie prayed for him and said goodbye, Gregory "Speed" Racer became Private Gregory Racer of the United States Army and shipped off to Basic Training in Fort Dix, New Jersey.
Trixie remembered from Speed's letters that boot camp had been very hard for him. The drill sergeants were aware of his identity as World Champion Racer, and he was given a hellish time in boot camp by the DI's even though he had made squad leader. Trixie, Sparky, Spritle, and Speed's parents had been present at his graduation a few weeks later, and were pleased to see that Speed had made Private First Class. However, Speed hadn't gotten his training preference, which was to serve in the Armor Branch, driving a tank or armored personnel carrier. Instead, he had been assigned to infantry training at Fort Bragg, where he had done well even though his heart wasn't in it.
Then, in early 1970, he had enjoyed two weeks' worth of leave at home before the call came to report back to duty. As expected, and as feared by all, on February 23, 1970, Speed again bade Trixie farewell as he boarded a plane that would take him to the one place on Earth not many American boys wanted to go; Vietnam.
As his plane began its final approach, Sergeant Gregory Racer sat back in his dark green US Army "Class A" dress uniform, thinking of everything that had happened to him in the past.
Vietnam, he thought. It was the strangest place I had ever seen in my life…and I never want to go back there…never again, not even for a race.
Once Speed had entered "in-country" at Da Nang, he entered a weird, strange world where everything was turned upside down. Oddly enough, the jungle itself didn't bother Speed all that much; he had been in worse places in some of the adventures he had been in back in his on-hold professional racing career. It was the caliber of men he had to serve with that bothered him.
Many of them, Speed thought, were fools, maniacs, or idiots. However, some of the men in Speed's squad, granted, were decent, upstanding men like himself, even though within a few days, formal names were dropped in favor of nicknames. His nickname, naturally, was "Speed" or sometimes just "Racer". There had been decent men he had served with, like Sarge Fixer, the platoon XO (everyone had forgotten his real name; it was something like Ficskowski, so "Fixer" had done as the Sarge's name), a big man from Appalachia they just called "J.R.", "Bruce" (as in "Bruce Lee", because Specialist Ken Matsunaga somewhat resembled Bruce Lee), a big African-American medic named Bry Hairston, and their platoon leader, Lieutenant David Forrester.
Dave had a rather interesting, thoughtful face, Speed had remembered. It was finely featured, with a hint of Japanese ancestry in it. Dave had dark eyes, a fine nose, and wore wire-rimmed granny glasses, and what could be seen of his short hair was sandy or honey blonde. And, in the hell of Vietnam, he had been possessed of a fine, gentle sense of humor.
Sometimes…sometimes, Lieutenant Forrester reminded Speed of someone else; but someone he was sure he had never met.
Okay, I have never met this girl, thought Speed. Except….except where, in my dreams? But those dreams…they're so weird…
The strange dreams, Speed had remembered, had started in 1970. The first dream had come when they had been up for close to seventy-two hours on a forced march.
They had been forced to follow a suspected group of Viet Cong in a part of South Vietnam that was perilously close to the DMZ. The villages, if one could call them villages, were little hamlets deep in the jungle that had been heavily infiltrated by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese sympathizers of all sorts.
When approaching one of these small villages, a village known as Da Lanq, Speed and his platoon got into a long, protracted firefight with the enemy. In that firefight, Speed remembered, some members of their platoon had killed everyone there who had been alive, men, women, and children in the village. Lieutenant Forrester would not have to penalize them afterwards, though, since, in some sort of justice, those men who had led the massacre of the children had been killed by the Viet Cong in a rough justice.
The battle had taken about three hours. When it was over with, Speed was finally able to go to sleep. While he slept, he had a dream about something very strange regarding Trixie…
In the dream, Speed remembered that he saw Trixie. Trixie's pajamas were torn, and her feet were bleeding as an evil-looking man with a beard used Snake Oiler to drive her through a hot jungle like an animal. She had been tied up with a vine, and Snake was leading her along by the end of the vine, like a dog on a leash.
She missed Speed more than ever, and she was horribly depressed; particularly since she could see the El Tigre Pyramid looming in the distance, just across the rushing river.
"Don't worry, we're not far," said the evil man (whom, Speed somehow knew, was named the Master) as he walked along with a machete in one hand and his damnable TCE gun in the other hand. Trixie wasn't sure where he had hidden the sphere, but she could feel its presence on his person, even though she was about nine feet away from him.
The hypnotized form of Snake wasn't letting her get any closer to the Master than that. Trixie knew that the R'Khells were enemies, but she was still sickened at the cold manner in which the Master had killed them. She even felt pity for Karnaz himself. She wondered vaguely if Karnaz had been really evil deep down; or if he had just been forced to follow orders like any soldier.
Her train of thought was derailed when she saw six practically naked men leaping out of the rain forest before them. They had spears, and she couldn't understand their tribal language, but she guessed that they were trying to bar the way to the group.
I wish they were on our side, she thought in a gloomy fashion. Of course, I know the last bunch of them tried to kill us; well, I'm sure they did. Spears and blowgun darts must mean they aren't friendly.
Trixie shivered as she remembered what she had seen. She had seen the corpses of Brazilian Army troops, corpses of what she guessed were members of another tribe (who had worn loincloths), and corpses of these men, men who wore only feathers on their heads and rude cords and a small bit of grass around their waists; men who had painted their faces to resemble skulls. These were men who, as she had seen in a most nauseating manner, enjoyed eating human flesh. She guessed that…because she had seen one of them bending over a dead Brazilian soldier, and…
Then, Speed woke up. He was still on the plane. And it hit him…
I was dreaming that same weird dream…all over again, he thought. The Master? Who is he? Who was he? What happened to us? To Trixie and I? Did this really happen to us, or is this some nightmare that Trixie and I are having? I know she was having the dreams, too, since she wrote to me and let me know she was having them. I wish I knew. I wish…she could tell me…
Speed snapped his head up just as the stewardess said, "Please fasten your seatbelts and lock your seats in the upright position. We will be landing in Los Angeles in about ten minutes."
Speed followed through with the stewardess' orders as he forced himself to respond.
"Well?" said Pops Racer a few minutes later at the gate.
"I don't see him yet," said Sparky as they watched people (and other soldiers) coming off the plane.
"I hope he's all right," Trixie said as she scanned the crowds for him.
Not far away, a group of hippies also noticed the soldiers coming off the plane. A few of them grinned evilly and came near the gate with their peace-sign posters, beginning to chant, "Ho, Ho, Hey, Hey, how many kids did you kill today? Ho, Ho, Hey, Hey, How Many kids did you kill today?"
"YOU SLEAZEBAGS!" yelled Pops. "Cut that out! These men deserve a better welcome home than that!"
As some reporters came over, upon noticing the Racers, the hippies yelled more loudly than ever as Speed came out of the jetway, blinking with shock as he noticed his family surrounding him (and Trixie grabbing him in a long hug), along with the TV lights of the press, the yells of the reporters, and the chants of the dirty, long-haired and sandal-clad hippie protestors.
"Speed…I love you!" yelled Trixie.
He was able to kiss her, but then had to deal with with a reporter who had gotten past Pops yelling, "Mister Racer! Are you going to return to professional racing?"
"I haven't made a decision yet!" he snapped.
"How were you affected by Vietnam?" yelled another reporter.
"NO COMMENT!" yelled Speed.
"Hey man?" yelled a drugged-out looking female hippie with a flower who got through to Speed and Trixie. "Take this flower? You kill any babies, ya capitalist pig running dog?"
"SHOVE THAT FLOWER UP YOUR BUTT, JANE FONDA!" yelled Trixie as she shoved the hippie aside roughly. The hippie girl then spat on both of them, and Trixie responded by slapping the girl hard across the face.
Speed was ready to lash out with his fists against the male hippies (one of whom was actually carrying a North Vietnamese flag) until some policemen lashed out with their nightsticks against the hippies, clearing a path for Speed and his family to leave the arrival lounge so that Speed could clear Customs.
What a reception, thought Speed. I have to fight them over there, and when I get home, their sympathizers are over here. This is ridiculous!
II. PLANS IN THE MOUNTAINS
Saturday, October 23, 1971
The Principality of Hohergarten
(Black Rock Castle)
0951 Hours (Local Time)
The Principality of Hohergarten was a small, forbidding nation loacted high amongst the Alps at the edge of the Bodensee somewhere between West Germany and Austria.
Like nearby Liechtenstein, it was a sovereign nation of its own. However, like Kapetopek, it had diplomatic relations with very few other nations.
It had been ruled for generations by the Von Euhler family from their hereditary castle of Schwarzes Felsenschloß high on a peak of the Alps. The Von Euhlers, who were recognized as nobility by the few nations that had relations with their evil little nation, had an evil name throughout Europe and they were feared by the few farmers and civilians who had the misfortune of being ruled by the Baron Von Euhler and his cruel officials.
At this hour of the morning, as it rained and lightning and thunder resounded amongst the Alpine peaks, a black BMW was being driven past a barricade manned by guardsmen of the Hohergarten Militia (whom, as the main passenger of the car noticed with favor, were clad in field grey uniforms with coal-scuttle helmets) up towards the main gates of the castle.
At the castle gates, an old man in a black suit with a walking stick emerged from the BMW as his driver held the door open for him. The old man cackled as he came up to the castle gates, to meet a tall man in a black military uniform….a tall man whose face looked like a skull-like grimace…a man who would look that way forever.
At the threshold of the gates, the old man stopped, came to attention, and snapped his right arm up in an ominous salute. "Heil Hitler," he snapped.
"Heil Hitler," snapped the tall man with acid in his voice. Then, the man who was known to his nation as the Baron Heinrich Von Euhler but was known to the world at large as Captain Terror said, "It is good to see you again, Herr Doktor Tubingen. However, is not your Fuhrer long dead?"
"I come here to discuss the Fuhrer," said Dr. Tubingen with an evil smile.
"I know he is dead," said Captain Terror. "He committed suicide in April 1945, did he not?"
"My son Snake, also known as Hans, is not sure, but, then again, he has been a drooling idiot in various degrees ever since that last race he was in," said Captain Terror as his Nazi-clad guards shut the castle gates behind them as the two men came together into a large, ominous drawing room hung with dark tapestries. "If your latest scheme to resurrect the Reich would work, it had better be of some profit to me," said Captain Terror. "I would, of course, wager that the Deutsches Reich cannot be resurrected any more than our Fuhrer can, even though Father was allied with him in the war."
"We found some technology," said Dr. Tubingen. "It requires more money, and more research time. Can you raise me a few million more marks?"
"What will the tecnology do for you?" said Terror.
"Fulfill our wildest dreams," said Dr. Tubingen with an evil laugh. "And perhaps we can build you a real arsenal, my Baron. An arsenal with which you can make the nations who hold you in contempt tremble yet again."
"How do you propose I raise this money? Tax the peasants again?" laughed Terror. "My nation does not have many peasants to tax, even though I do enjoy killing them, ja."
"Can you not hold another Alpine Race? Challenge those arrogant racers to meet again? Charge a high entry fee?"
"Hmm…fifty outside drivers, at one million dollars per driver, that would produce fifty million dollars for your cause, whatever it is. Combine them with a field of Six from my Car Acrobatic Team, a field that will win this time, and you have a nice scheme. All right. I trust your madness. We have a bargain."
Captain Terror and Doctor Tubingen shook hands as a bolt of lightning went off outside.
Saturday, October 29, 1971
The Los Angeles Area
Speed Racer's Residence
0951 Hours (Local Time)
Gregory "Speed" Racer awoke in his bed with his wife Trixie running a playful finger over his chest.
"Did you make up your mind yet?" she sang.
"About what?" he said as he rubbed sleep out of his eyes. "I had such a weird dream."
"We'll discuss it later."
"Speed, did you make up your mind about your career yet?"
"A few months ago, before what I saw and tried to stop at Da Lanq, I was thinking of Officers' Candidate School…do you know that?"
"Now, I'm not so sure. Except for you and Go Team, I'm really another veteran back from Vietnam who's not sure what he wants to do yet. I think returning to professional racing would probably do me some good, but…"
"You haven't been down to the garage yet," said Trixie with a whisper.
"I'll want to go, soon…" said Speed.
"Right now, I'm a little more interested in my wife," said Speed as he took Trixie into his arms and slipped her nightdress off…
Later that morning, after the Racers made love, showered together, and dressed and ate breakfast, Speed put his bandana back around his neck (for the first time in many years) and walked down to the garage of their house hand-in-hand with Trixie.
In the garage sat three cars, side-by-side. One was Speed's new black Pops Motors sports coupe; the second was Trixie's yellow Mercedes, and the third lay preserved under a car cover.
"You have her covered up and all," said Speed.
"It's like she's been waiting for you," said Trixie.
Speed removed the cover from the third car with a slow flourish, revealing a car that had been waiting for him since the 1969 racing season…the Mach Five.
Speed got into the familiar cockpit with Trixie as she handed him the keys.
"She won't start," said Speed. "She's been in storage for two years."
"Try me," said Trixie.
Speed turned the key, and the Mach Five started up again, just like he had never left her behind.
"Let's go for a drive," said Trixie.
Speed nodded, and off they went.
When they arrived back home at their split-level house, Speed checked the mail. He found an envelope addressed to him in ornate Germanic lettering, but in English.
"What's this?" he said. "I'm getting fan letters from Transylvania, Trixie?"
"Oh?" she said. "Open it."
Speed looked over the letter again. There was no return address.
When he opened it, he unfolded a parchment letter that looked very familiar. It read:
TO: GREGORY "SPEED" RACER
GREETINGS AND SALUTATIONS FROM THE PRINCIPALITY OF HOHERGARTEN
WE REMEMBER OUR PAST RACE TOGETHER IN THE ALPINE RACE OF 1967 AND WE AGAIN GREET YOU AND INVITE YOU TO RACE AGAIN.
WE SHALL BE HOLDING A NEW ALPINE RACE, TO BEGIN IN GERMANY, PASS THROUGH SWITZERLAND, TO END IN HOHERGARTEN. I INVITE YOU TO COMPETE THEREIN WITH THE GREATEST RACERS IN THE WORLD AND TO AGAIN TAKE UP OUR HISTORIC RIVALRY IN A FRIENDLY FASHION ON NOVEMBER 15, 1971 AT THE VERY END OF THE RACING SEASON. I HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE. THE PARTICULARS ARE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS NOTICE. I PRAY YOU ARE MAN ENOUGH TO RACE WITH US AGAIN, FRIEND.
YOURS, CAPTAIN TERROR AND THE CAR ACROBATIC TEAM.
"Captain Terror?" read Trixie as she looked over the letter. "And he wants a million dollars to join the race?"
"The purse is ten million," said Speed. "Go Team can raise that kind of money; Pops said they did very well for the past two seasons with Janine Trotter racing in my place."
"Speed….it's dangerous…I'd like you to go back…but not to this kind of race…not against HIM. Don't you have your Army Reserve meeting then, too?"
"I'll meet with the Reserves again at the end of November, when I'm scheduled to report for my first Reserve drill. Besides, Trixie, he has challenged me," said Speed. "I have to accept."
Trixie looked into Speed's eyes and saw he had already made up his mind. Then, she just held him and cried.
"Speed…" she said in a broken voice as he hugged her.
Speed has taken up Captain Terror's mad challenge.
What will happen during this race?
Will Captain Terror's mad plot to help the evil Dr. Tubingen work?
Who will win the race?
Stay tuned for Chapter Two: "Back to the Alps"