Disclaimer: I don't own IGPX or any related characters, technology, etc. They belong to Production I.G. and maybe a few other people.
In the year 2051, the world's most popular motor sport is the Immortal Grand Prix. Two teams of three pilots, sixty miles of track, speeds upwards of 350 miles per hour.
In the pro league, the IG-1, the world's most elite teams compete for the ultimate prize: to win the IGPX. For Takashi and team Satomi, this is a dream worth fighting for.
This is the future of sport. This is the IGPX.
Previously on IGPX. Team Satomi managed a come-from-behind victory against White Snow. Even against the massive snow man, they pulled together as a team. Now, it's time for the next season to begin. Can Satomi achieve another victory against team Velshtein?
The mechs sped of down the track. Satomi pulled back and Velshtein took a small lead. Each team formed a slowly spinning triangle formation as they gained speed. "I am so syched about this race," Takashi said. "It's been too long since I got in this thing."
"If you're this excited, imagine how Cunningham feels," Liz responded.
The rest of the team, including its newest member, stood in their control room. All of the monitors were lit up with camera shots or data feeds. Mark, the head mechanic, was watching the mechs closely. "Takashi, decrease right leg air pressure by two percent." The readings changed slightly. "Good." He checked over the others and sat back satisfied. "It looks like our improvements are going to do nicely."
"Well let's hope we don't have to blow them on the first race," Andre said. He was watching their formation carefully.
"There coming into the final stretch of the first lap," Benjamin screamed into this mic high up in the Big Eye. "It's just about time to get the 2051 season under way. Who will come out on top? I wish I knew, folks. Here comes the Battle Round."
The mechs screamed across the line doing 360. "Let's go." Takashi hit his mech's boosters and he accelerated right up behind Cunningham.
Cunningham spun at the last moment to block Takashi's attack. "You're going to have to do better than that."
"Cunningham, watch out."
Takashi suddenly jumped out of the way and Liz's mech came screaming in. Cunningham couldn't react in time and he took a full punch to the head. His mech sprawled on the ground and fell behind. It would take him at least half the lap to catch back up.
Team Satomi went into their one-on-one match ups. Liz pummeled Dew, but he kept blocking. Finally they went into a sumo stance, trying to push each other down. "You're going down," Liz screamed. Her mech's shoulders popped. She spun her mech's body over itself, her stationary arms holding Dew in place. The legs caught Dew between the legs and sent him into the air. Liz went into a spin and caught him with a backhand on his way down. Dew's mech went tumbling, but Cunningham was able to catch him and help him up.
Amy and Luca were having a nice fight against Jan. "Uh oh," Luca said sadly. "Something's wrong with our air pressure system."
"What do you mean?" Mark asked from his skeleton cockpit.
"There must have been a loose valve. Our air system is losing power."
"Try to keep in there, Amy," Andre said into his mic. "When we get the skeleton out we'll patch that up. Hey, Hotshot, get in there and give the girl a hand."
"Gladly." Takashi pushed into the fight. He threw several punches, forcing Jan to go on the defensive.
"I'm gonna need some help here!" Jan screamed. But his teammates were way too far off to help.
"Allow me." Liz came up behind Jan and wrapped her arms around Jan's shoulders. He was completely locked in a full nelson.
"Thanks." Takashi and Amy started taking turns pounding Jan's mech, sending sparks flying. After a few moments of using him like a punching bag, Amy and Takashi came up with two powerful uppercuts. Liz let him go just before impact and Jan flew back. Cunningham and Dew caught him and they set back up into formation.
"What they hell just happened?" Dew screamed.
"Their teamwork has gotten much better," Cunningham said calmly. "I honestly don't know if we can take 'em."
"Don't talk like that," Hamgra called down. "You're better than these punks. They're just using the right cards. Now you need to do the same."
"I'm going to need a pit first." Cunningham looked over at Jan's mech. He was right. The thing was wobbling like crazy. The paint was completely obliterated and there were many dents in the metal frame.
Yellow lights lit up along the track and everyone slowed their speeds to 300. "I don't believe it," Ben yelled. "Satomi has forced their opponents into calling for a caution only a minute into the second lap. Excellent teamwork. But both skeletons are coming onto the track. Their may be something wrong with one of Satomi's mechs as well."
Amy's mech was lifted off its feet and laid onto the skeleton. Mark did several quick scans. "You're right. The air pressure is almost gone." A robotic arm popped off the right arm and another fell down into its place. "You're all patched up. Good luck out there."
"Thanks," Amy called back as her mech fell back onto the track. In one motion it stood from its speed mode and began to accelerate again.
Just as she did, all the teams crossed the starting line. "Final lap, guys." Andre began a mental run of their playbook and pulled out one he thought would work. "We're going to do this nice and simple. Use a Hail Mary to get rid of Cunningham for good, then drop into speed mode and blast through to the finish. Amy and Liz, you keep Jan and Dew behind while Takashi gets as far ahead as possible."
"Roger," they all answered.
All the mechs were back on the track and they were waiting for the go. "The caution is about to drop." The yellow band lit blue. "And they're off."
All the Satomi mechs hit their breaks and spun around to face Velshtein. "What are you doing now, Takashi?" Cunningham asked to himself.
Liz and Amy pushed Dew and Jan aside and Takashi came blasting right into Cunningham. They immediately went to trading blows. Cunningham blocked most of them. Then his mech stopped. "What?" He looked to the side. Liz and Amy were holding his arms.
"Here I come, Cunningham!" Takashi let off an enormous barrage of attacks.
As he was taking hits, Cunningham noticed one of his data feeds. Most of the hits were around the shoulders. "No…"
"You're finished." Takashi jumped into a low front flip and brought his leg over. The back of it smashed Cunningham's head with a drop kick. The frame, worn out, broke. The body fell onto the track as the arms got ripped off by the ladies' mechs.
Liz and Amy dropped the arms and turned toward the other two, who were standing in sheer shock at what they had just seen. "Who's next?" Liz asked mockingly.
"Oh, shit!" Dew and Jan both dropped into speed mode, but too late. Takashi had dropped down seconds earlier and went blasting by. Liz and Amy slowly came up moments later and fell in in front of Dew and Jan, blocking them from accelerating to Takashi.
"Incredible!" Ben was on his feet, mic held inches from his mouth. "That was one of the best displays of teamwork I've ever seen! What a job by team Satomi!" Takashi's mech flew across the finish line. "And team Satomi takes all three places for 27 points. Dew and Jan are next for 5 points and Cunningham is laying on the field for nothing. What a way to open the season!"
"Yes, we did it!" Takashi screamed as he dropped out of his mech. The mechanics team was their patting his back. Liz and Amy ran up to him. Takashi instantly grabbed up Liz and kissed her deeply for several seconds.
Benjamin Bright and a ton of reporters were arrived, cameras flashing like crazy. "So, team Satomi," Ben started, "How's it feel to win the season's first race?"
"It feels great!" Amy said.
"We're gonna take it all the way again!"
Ben brought the mic back. "You know, it's been said that you are one of the most successful rookie teams in IG-1 history. But this year's rookies look just as promising. How do you intend to do against them in your next race?"
"They're going down," Takashi said, giving the camera a thumb up. "That's all we can say right now."
"Well, you saw it here folks," Ben said as he turned to the camera. "Keep watching as two year champion team Satomi continues to build their new empire."
"Great job, everyone." Miss Satomi held up her glass as she gave her team a toast. "This is going to be a great season."
"Team Velshtein is probably quaking after that defeat," Andre said. "I wouldn't be surprised if losing to you is going to demoralize them for the next several races. But we need to start planning for our next race. Get rested and I'll see you here tomorrow morning."
Everyone started to file out. Takashi stayed behind and grabbed Liz's arm as she was walking out. "Hey, girl." Takashi planted another kiss on her. "You want to hit the café?"
"Sure." Takashi took her arm and they started walking down the hall.
Amy, Luca, and Jesse watched them go. "Wow," Jesse said. "They've been going out quite a lot since last season. I wonder how much longer it's going to take."
"Oh, we'll see." Amy let out a laugh as she turned and walked away.
Jesse watched her go. "I wonder what she meant by that."
Takashi and Liz left the building and took a shortcut through the park. It was a few hours before sundown, and the angle of the sun made the flowers seem to glow. The pair walked hand-in-hand. Until someone happened to figure out whom they were. So instead, they sprinted hand-in-hand until they found a place to hide and the crowd of fans passed by. They both laughed. It was kind of a pain, but neither of them got tired of such events.
A while later, the two sat across from each other at the outdoor café. Both had a hot dog with the works in front of them. But now all they were doing was talking. "You know," Liz said. "I don't think I've ever been with anyone else this long."
"Me neither." Takashi picked up his dog and took a bite.
"This just feels right, doesn't it?"
"Yeah." Takashi felt the box in his pocket shift slightly. It had been on his mind all afternoon. He reached a hand inside his pocket and grabbed it lightly. "Liz, there's something I want to tell you."
He started to pull it out. "I…"
A voice screamed out from nowhere, and Takashi stopped. What was that?
"What is it Takashi?" Liz's voice pulled him back. He shook his head. He hand dropped the little box back into the bottom of his pocket.
"I'm sorry. There's something I forgot to do." Takashi stood up and dropped a few bills on the table. "I'll see you tomorrow."
He walked off.
Takashi flopped onto his bed. His mind was racing. Not of the race he had just accomplished, or even the next race for that matter. He was thinking of what had happened only hours before. He had stopped. But why? He couldn't even remember. It was there, in his hands, wasted. Slowly, with these thoughts in his head, he drifted to sleep.
Several feet away, on the dresser, sat a small, open red box. Inside, a diamond ring sent sparkles across the ceiling.
To Be Continued…