Title: Shifting Gears
Disclaimer: Don't own D.E.B.S, Pink Thunder or any of the characters used from the movie, they are all the creations of Angela Robinson. This disclaimer applies to all chapters in this story.
Comment: This is an AU fic that popped up suddenly and I threw the idea at a pal of mine that eventually led to a collaboration of chaos. The idea derived from watching the latest Fast and Furious movie where we said that Jordana didn't get nearly as much screen/car driving time, so we decided to create a DEBS fic with a little racing aspect, Lucy in fast cars and on a motorcycle...what's not to love? This IS a canon pairing for all of you Lucy/Amy shippers, we wouldn't have it any other way... with a little drama of course. Reviews are greatly appreciated so tell us what you like and even what you don't like. Hope you enjoy!!!
Max waited impatiently as she listened to the computerized countdown on the loud speaker...ten seconds...she looked to her left, an orange and white Toyota Supra decked out with a winged spoiler and a set of Roat 18 inch rims...eight seconds... To her right, a yellow and green Mazda RX-7, it had similar customizations to the Supra...could these fuckers be a little more original, she thought as she revved the engine, with each push on the gas pedal her tires spun, causing an acrid smoke to billow from behind the car as the rubber burned onto the pavement...six seconds...
Beyond that, a white Subaru WRX, a Subaru, she scoffed, completed the four-car lineup. Could this get any easier? There was nothing that particularly stood out on the WRX. She remembered the douche-bag driver boasting that he kept his shit white, plain, and simple, so he would look like a ghost as he left everyone else behind ...four seconds... She looked at the passenger seat, her wingman, winggirl in this case, sat with her face intent on the monitor in front of her, watching as the first checkpoint of the race was downloaded into the computer. She typed a few key strokes and looked over to Max and gave her a little nod letting her know that she had a set course mapped and was ready to make the slightest adjustment at any given second...two seconds...one second...Go!
Almost before the countdown was done Max popped the clutch and punched the gas making the '67 Shelby that she commanded shoot off the starting line, back-end grounded and front-end briefly airborne. Laying down a patch of rubber she quickly left the spectators and other racers behind, at least for the moment. Her cars' powerful engine provided her with just enough breathing room for her to feel a little more at ease with the situation. There was simply to much riding on this, too many variables involved, and far to many things that could go wrong.
Like most races, the objective of this race was simple. Get from the starting line to the finish line faster than anybody else. What made this objective more difficult to obtain was that the racers did not know exactly where the finish line was going to be. Instead of being given a complete route they were fed checkpoints one at a time, only getting a new point when the current objective had been reached. Due to the ever-changing nature of the route, every driver rode with a navigator to help them quickly adjust to the course changes.
"Where are we headed Amy?" Max asked as she downshifted and swerved to the right to avoid rear-ending a slow moving motorist. A loud angry honking and the screech of brakes being slammed was barely heard as Max continued to rocket down the roadway. Luckily it was after 3 a.m. so the roads were relatively deserted making this race a little easier then it would have been if the start time had been earlier in the evening.
"We need to get to the cross road Ocean Park and Second. Take a right on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, 20 yards. We stay on Abbot for another quarter mile, turn right on Main Street and keep straight for another quarter mile then you want to hang a right onto Ocean Park Avenue where we will run into the first checkpoint, " glancing in the side mirror Amy made a note of their competition, "The Subaru is about 100 yards out followed by the Supra and then the RX, at least I think that's the RX it's a little far back to make out clearly...they don't appear to be gaining." In addition to plotting the quickest course from checkpoint to checkpoint Amy was also tasked with making sure Max knew their relative standing in the race, enabling her to make any adjustments in speed without having to take her eyes off the road. While every second counted in a race it was just plain poor strategy to go balls out all the way from start to finish.
Weaving in and out of the light traffic Max quickly came upon the first turn that Amy had indicated they needed to take. She braked slightly before the arc of the turn and downshifted into third to give the wheels some extra traction as she accelerated around the corner to hit the next street. A slight squeal of rubber on asphalt was heard as the powerful muscle car pulled through another turn with ease. As she passed through the apex of the turn she shifted the car into fourth and once again started to pour on the speed as she passed through the first checkpoint.
Amy shot a quick glance into the side mirror, "Subaru 60 yards and closing. Position of the other two remains the same. Ok, the next checkpoint is up! Left turn in one half mile and keep straight onto Pico Boulevard for another half mile, then take a left on Route 1 and merge onto the freeway." Looking over at Max Amy couldn't help but shake her head at the slight smirk on the driver's face. She absolutely loves this. I think she would do this everyday if she could instead of the once a week we actually get to. Looking back at the small laptop in front of her Amy quickly scanned the map that was displayed, confirming what she already knew; she had already plotted the most efficient path. Unfortunately Amy was already developing quite a reputation on the street-racing scene for her ability to calculate the quickest route almost as soon as a checkpoint was presented to her. As a result they were usually dogged from start to finish by the other racers, who hoped to hang close enough to them so that they could overtake them in the final stretch. So far those hopes had proven to be in vain.
Max was well aware of the other racers' habit of trying to ride her bumper to an easy win and she was less then pleased with this new development as it had resulted in a few very close calls in recent races. Keeping their unwanted tag-a-longs in mind, she took the next sharp right at the last possible second. Not wanting to alert the others to her intention, she bypassed the brake pedal in favor of a rapid downshift and a quick spin of the wheel. She felt the back end of the car start to slide as the tires skipped across the pavement. Quickly recovering from the brief skid, Max cranked the wheel to the right to avoid another near accident as she hit the Santa Monica Freeway. Don't these damn idiots have anywhere better to be at 3 am, in the morning?
Amy pushed herself upright, having lost her balance a bit after the rather abrupt corner. A quick glance over her shoulder caused a small smile to grace her lips, "Nice move Max. That Subaru was following a bit to closely and wasn't quite able to make that turn. Assuming he can figure out the best route from this point he should be behind us at the checkpoint. The Supra and RX are still with us, 50 yards and closing. We are going to be on the freeway for a little while so those tuners are probably going to be able to close the gap." Already anticipating the better top end speed of the smaller lighter imports Max had shifted into the highest gear she had and pressed the gas pedal all the way to the floor.
The freeway stretched out before them, only sparsely dotted with other cars, leaving Max plenty of room to plan her lane changes and weave the Shelby in and out of the early morning traffic. With a high pitch whine the Mazda RX-7, followed closely by the Supra, went screaming past. The only sign that Max gave that she noticed her sudden loss of first place was a tightening of her hands on the steering wheel and a slight clenching of her jaw.
"I sure as hell hope you have a plan Bradshaw. Regardless of where the next checkpoint is you know, or at least you should by now, that in an open drag race those tuners have an advantage over us. No matter how much these dipshits like to dog us you know that they won't be able to pass up an opportunity like this."
"Trust me Max I know what I'm doing. I wanted them to get out ahead of us. If we can execute this next checkpoint according to plan it should put these two pretty much out of the running, then all we have to worry about is the WRX. Since he missed the turn onto the freeway he will have had to use surface streets and that should give us an advantage at the checkpoint."
"Well I am so thrilled to hear that you know what you are doing," Max replied in a falsely sweet voice. "But perhaps you could let me in on what exactly your 'plan' is since I am the one actually driving!"
"Well," Amy began nervously "it's simple really. You just need to stay on the freeway until we go under the Cloverfield Boulevard cross street. Overshoot the cross street by a few hundred yards and then reverse direction and take the exit onto Cloverfield. See simple." Amy finished her statement in a hurried rush, a clear signal that she was nervous about something. And if Amy was nervous it meant that she was leaving out some crucial bit of information.
Max sat in stony silence for a few seconds before responding. "Wait a minute. How the hell am I supposed to reverse direction? Unless you have missed it, there is a four-foot high cement wall separating the eastbound and westbound lanes. Now I may be good Bradshaw but even I haven't figured out how to get this car to FLY!!"
"You don't have to make the car fly Max," Amy hurried to explain. She knew from previous experience that if she didn't calm Max down immediately it could turn heated very quickly. Max had a bit of a temper. "There is going to be a small gap shortly after we pass the overpass, all you have to do is drive through it - hang a hard left and exit onto Cloverfield. See simple!" Amy tried to infuse a level of confidence that she didn't quite feel into the statement.
"Just how small is small?" Max asked, she had a feeling she wasn't going to like this.
"It's going to be a little tight."
"Do you remember that race we had in Riverside?"
"Remember it?" Max asked in rising disbelief. "Amy we barely survived that race, it was blind luck that we made it!" The race was not one of Max's fonder memories and she would just as soon never have it brought up again. While racing through the streets of Riverside they had been forced to shoot between two semis doing around 80 m.p.h. In and of itself not to bad, but what had made the move one of pure insanity was that it had been performed on a nearly blind curve and the trucks had been driving in opposite directions. Max had just barely made it and she still swore that her car brushed against one of the trucks.
"Well it's going to be a little bit tighter than that." Amy let the comment drop and after a brief disbelieving silence Max let loose a tirade of barely discernible mutterings. Amy was able to make out a few crazy blonde...death wish...better hope we don't survive...ass kicking before she thought that perhaps it was better if she stopped trying to figure out Max's dire threats and focused a bit on the upcoming course change.
"Come on Max pull it together it's only another quarter mile before we need to make this turn. It's going to take all of your formidable skill behind the wheel." Amy tired to interject as much positive feeling into the command as she could, along with a small dose of ego stroking to help with damage control.
With one last lethal glare in Amy's direction Max got back to the task at hand. "Fine. Just tell me when I need to turn. Let's just hope that none of the other drivers see it and do the same thing otherwise this little gamble of yours will have been in vain."
Max tried not to be too concerned when Amy immediately answered in a fervent tone "Oh don't worry, none of the other drivers would even think of trying to make this turn, honestly I don't think it would even occur to them. The gap is kinda small." Max rolled that around in her mind for a moment. If the guys that were driving the zippy little tuners thought that gap would be impassable she didn't want to dwell too much on how she was going to get her much wider classic American muscle car through the same space.
"Max, as you approach the overpass I need you going at 80 m.p.h. As soon as I say the word, turn the car perpendicular to the center divider and floor it, the gap we are shooting for is about 120 feet after we emerge from under the overpass. Once we are on the other side it should be a straight shot to the exit. After that, merge almost immediately onto 26th Street on the right. The third checkpoint is at the intersection of 26th and Santa Monica." Amy's voice was all business and she was once again consulting the screen in front of her. Max knew that ever since she and Amy had started on the racing circuit Amy had made every attempt to memorize the streets in and around L.A. she just hoped it was enough in this case as this was starting to look like quite a precision move. Glancing down at her speedometer she confirmed to Amy that she was on mark and waiting for her cue.
Eyes straight ahead she saw the RX and the Supra pulling away down the straight stretch of the freeway as she let her car lose some of its speed. She kept her left hand tight on the wheel, arm loose, and her right gripped the gearshift ready to either downshift or engage the e-brake at a moments notice. Passing under the Cloverfield overpass she readied herself to spring into action.
"Now!" Almost as soon as Amy gave the go ahead Max sprang into action, yanking the emergency brake and down shifting to give her car the extra traction that she needed. A quick 180-degree turn of the wheel sent the car into a sideways skid and Max could now see the divider passing by in front of them as the cars previous forward momentum continued to carry them down the freeway. Just as she was about to conclude that Amy had finally lost her fool mind she glanced quickly to the right and saw the gap that she was aiming for.
With one last muttered "crazy ass-ed blonde" Max threw the car into third and stomped the gas. The car resisted the sudden change in direction but the Shelby's powerful motor finally overcame the previous trajectory and with a reluctant lurch shot forward towards the gap. Narrow did not even begin to describe the opening that she was shooting for and she was having serious doubts that her car was going to be able to transverse the space.
Amy grimaced as the car shot through the narrow gap; she could hear the harsh screech of metal and paint meeting concrete. Oh shit Max is gonna be so pissed. A quick glance at Max's flexing jaw and tight knuckles let Amy know that she would be hearing more about this later. If Max was fanatical about one thing, besides her gun of course, it was her precious '67 Shelby. Leaving two giant gashes down the side would not be well received at all.
As soon as the car was free of the constrictive gap Max was able to navigate the turn to take them off the freeway easily and they soon found themselves on the deserted Cloverfield Blvd. Amy started to speak and give Max her next turn but a sudden death glare from Max quickly shut her up and she collapsed back into her seat. Merging onto 26th Street Max began picking up speed eager to get to the next checkpoint. If this race followed the previous pattern this should be the last checkpoint before the finish line was revealed. For a change Max was more then ready to be done with this and head home.
Seeing the target intersection a few hundred yards away Max let up on the gas knowing that she was going to have to make a sudden turn but at this point not knowing in which direction it would be. As soon as she passed over the crosswalk that covered 26th Street she heard Amy shout out the next direction. " Hard left! Finish line is 2 miles straight ahead. Looks like they are taking us straight down Santa Monica to the cross street with Ocean."
Years of working together and endless hours of practice allowed Max to react with lightening fast reflexes almost before Amy had finished speaking, making it seem as though she had known the destination all along. Pulling the car effortlessly through the turn Max straightened the wheel and started down the final stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard. "Do we have any friends on this final leg or are we flying solo?"
Amy quickly looked behind her, knowing Max would have been able to see any cars that might have managed to get out ahead of them, however slim the chances of that might be. "All clear, no sign of the Supra or the RX. With the exit they would have to take to get off the freeway they should be well out of this race. I don't see any sign of the…" Amy was suddenly cut off as the white WRX that she thought they had lost at the turn onto the freeway went shooting past them heading towards the last checkpoint.
"Shit!" Amy yelled as she followed the progress of the car and watched it perform a tight u-turn at the intersection of Santa Monica and 26th. "They made the turn and are heading toward the finish line. They are a few hundred yards out but the WRX has some pretty good acceleration and top speed, when you factor in any NOZ they might have on board this is going to come down to the wire."
Max let out what Amy could only be described as a snarl. While Max was all for modifying her car to perform at peak efficiency one thing that she was not a fan of was having to use boosters to win a race. She preferred to rely on her driving skills and her cars powerful engine and superb handling. The car was outfitted with nitrous oxide but she really hated to use it. In this case she was going to have no choice however as it was going to be a close call even with it.
Going into the final half mile of the race Max could see the cars and spectators lining the sides of the road around the finish line. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the white WRX blast past her with so much speed she knew he must have already engaged his nitrous. To early junior, Amy told me you had a bit of a problem with premature ignition. Entering the final quarter mile Max could see that the Subaru had lost the acceleration boost from the nitrous oxide and knew that it was now or never.
As soon as she pressed the button to engage the tanks, Max felt herself flattened into her seat. As much as she hated to have to use what she viewed as a bit of cheat she couldn't deny that she loved the rush from the incredible speed it afforded. With time and space running low, she kept a close eye on the WRX that she was slowly gaining on, with their NOZ already expended she knew that they wouldn't be able to put on another sudden burst of speed. The only question was if she had calculated the point that she needed to engage correctly or if she had waited to long.
Max dashed across the finish line with mere seconds and inches to spare; with a satisfied grin on her face she brought the car to a halt. She looked over to Amy who shared an equally satisfied grin, "Cutting it a little close there weren't you?" Cheering spectators and fellow drivers immediately surrounded the two girls as they exited the vehicle, giving them congratulatory pats on the back and high-fives.
The scene on Santa Monica was that of a big block party. You had guys and girls showing off their rides, some had their hoods up bragging about the newest performance part they'd added. Most had their trunks up showing off the size of their subwoofers and trying to make it louder than the person next to them. There were motorcycle racers showing off the latest tricks with their street bikes and Import girls danced all around trying to provoke as much attention as possible.
"You know I like a challenge," she said slamming the door shut and looking over to the driver of the WRX, who at the moment was giving her a death glare. "Yeah whatever, you got lucky," he told her.
"Luck? Muscle beats Import every time dipshit," Max told him.
"Yeah well, you need to put a little more effort into doing your job than you do in your races soldier," the guy responded back in a smug tone.
"Bobby will you stop being such a sore loser and just go away," Amy spoke up seeing the anger and disbelief creeping up on Max's face, which she knew wouldn't end well if she allowed them to continue. He looked over at Amy and gave her a quick wink before walking away.
"Can you believe him? How or why the hell you dated him is beyond me, he's an ass...what were you thinking? " Max asked Amy still seething and shooting daggers with her eyes at Bobby's retreating form.
"I don't know, a moment of insanity perhaps," Amy quipped as she looked over to a group of girls walking their way. She motioned her head for Max to look in the direction. Each girl sported a track jacket, some were pink and some were black, but the style of each was the same. They all had an emblem on the right side above the breast that was a silhouette of a group of girls and on the left side in the same spot it was what Amy could only figure was a codename.
The girl in front was carrying a briefcase that Max and Amy knew held the prize money that they had won. Given that they had seen several surveillance shots of the girls and particularly the one carrying the briefcase they knew what group the emblem signified. In fact they knew exactly who was coming their way, but this was the first time that they had seen the girl with this group at any of the races let alone gracing them with their winnings.
Amy took in the appearance of who she knew was the acting leader of the group, a petite girl with brown hair and of Asian origin who held a cigarette in her left hand and with the codename "Diabolique" on her pink jacket. She stopped mere inches from Amy and Max with the girls who had been walking with her flanking her on both sides, took a pull from her cigarette and threw it on the ground. "Congratulations," she told them as she handed the briefcase to Max. "It got kinda close there in the end, I was hoping you wouldn't let a Subaru show you up."
"No one shows me up," Max boasted as she looked in the direction of the driver of the WRX who at that point had decided to soothe his ego and surround himself with some of the import girls that were around. Amy rolled her eyes at her cocky friends words, "Us," she chimed in.
"Yeah, that's what I meant." Max said looking to her with a brief nod and looking back to the Asian girl.
"I'm Dominique," the girl said extending her hand to Max, which she took in her own and shook it and introduced herself. She then extended it to Amy which she also shook and made her introduction. "And this is my crew," she motioned with her head. They looked around at the group of girls who didn't say anything some of them just gave a slight nod in acknowledgment. "You're an impressive pair, I must say I've heard a lot about the two of you."
Scud looked out from the skybox with a pair of binoculars at the exchange between the girls, being second in command and the loyal henchman that he was to the Reynolds Crime Syndicate, he was also big brother to Dominique. In that overprotective way of older brothers, he always kept an eye on her especially now considering there was about to be a change in the ranks. He knew that Max and Amy were potentially being recruited by Dom to replace her and her driver in the crew as runners for the syndicate. He was a familiar face at the races and it was his job to know about all of the drivers and their navigators that were in the races.
The Reynolds syndicate was a major player in the racing scene, they organized and fronted the cash for most of the races and at times looked for new talent to join the ranks of the organization as runners. Only a select few of the drivers had knowledge of exactly what they were carrying when they went out, but everyone knew that the Reynolds were the top dogs in Los Angeles, they owned the city. Anyone who knew them knew that whatever it was they did for them was likely to be illegal. They never cared though, the pay was good and the association was even better.
He picked up his cell phone and pressed a button as he looked down on the street through his binoculars.
Dominique felt the vibrating in her jacket and excused herself from the conversation that she was still having with Max and Amy. She walked a few feet away and took the phone out of her jacket, "Hey."
"We need to get going, she's arriving in a few hours," she heard Scud say from the other end and she instinctively looked to the skybox. " We're on our way", she told him and hung up the phone. She walked back over to the crew who had now engaged in conversation with Max and Amy, being that they all were either a driver or a navigator, cars was the topic. Max had lifted the hood of her car and a few of the girls in the crew as well as some of the spectators were talking torque verses horsepower.
"Ok girls," Dominique started, getting the attention of the crew, "we gotta ride out." They all gathered around her again like they had when they first arrived. "We'll see you two around," she told Max and Amy and they all walked to their respective vehicles.
They watched as Dominique got in a pink Honda S2000, it had a picture of an anime girl on both sides with white designs in the front and back of the picture as well as on the hood, a very well thought out custom paint job.
"You think all her shit is pink?" Max turned to Amy trying to mask a smile and putting on her serious face, seeing as it would take away from her coolness to see her actually cracking her version of a joke.
Amy looked at Max and laughed, "Well I'm sure she'd be more than happy to let you check up on that Max."
With an incredulously look on her face Max turned to Amy, "You know that's not how I roll Bradshaw! And I meant because of the car and the jacket, besides, I'll leave that vegan, cat lover shit to you...it does make you suspect."
"Well, the group is named PINK THUNDER," Amy said with emphasis, "but hopefully we'll get the chance to find out," Amy laughed at Max's lame attempt at being funny also ignoring her comment, "I guess we should get going, we're gonna have a long day tomorrow."
"You're right, let's get the hell out of here." Max said as she closed the hood of her car and walked over to the driver side; opening the door she threw the briefcase in the back. With one last look at the marred paint and steel on the side of her car, she shot Amy another glare just before they both got in and closed the doors.
"Max I just wanted to..."
"Save it Bradshaw." With slight squeal of her tires Max shifted the car into first and sped away from the crowd and cars that were lining the street.