A/N- I know that I didn't put any notes in the first chapter, so I figured I'd start by saying a few things-

First of all, I have five original characters and machines. This means that five of the characters from F-Zero GX will not be racing. Black Shadow is an obvious one, but I leave you to speculate who else will be knocked off until I put a "replacement" in.

However, by "Original Machine" I don't simply mean that they are machines I have made in game. These are scratch built, 100% original machines. This means that I will be drawing up the machines and posting links to their designs as I go on.

Secondly, I'm using the courses from GX. However, the locations of these courses (That is, where, say, Mute City is) will be well-defined. I may eventually put up my world-building notes to make referencing this easier.

Third of all- I'll be describing unique control setups for each pilot. The funny thing I've noticed about F-Zero is, despite the classification as a "Formula" style, every machine is very different, unlike Formula One (Or F-MAX, as I described it). So, as they are different already, I also figure that some pilots use a setup befitting them or their background. For example, the White Cat has a flight stick and thrust control, apt for the fighter pilot that Jody Summers is.

That's about all I can think of to throw in. Read on and enjoy!

They hit the first corner.

Joe floored the accelerator, feeling the two-liter rotary bite at the transmission as the twin turbochargers spooled up. A high-pitched whine formed a completely wonderful dichotomy with the roar of the engine. Schädel wasn't too far behind. The Gemballa-modified engine screamed as he took position directly behind the RX-7. His face remained set, unmoving. He didn't care about what he was going to do; just that Joe was going to pay for daring to get in his way. That prize was his. It had been the entire race. He hadn't done twenty qualifying laps to settle for second place, and he wasn't about to let things stay as they were.

The two entered a tight hairpin. Schädel started braking early, but Joe waited a while longer, braking hard and forcing oversteer. Schädel hadn't quite expected this, but it made sense- the road had a low grip potential, being covered with a thin layer of ice in sections, so controlling the oversteer in a drift actually made more sense than a grip run. Schädel shook his head as he pulled his emergency brake, deciding to drift himself. He needed to be careful, though, as the Porsche's engine position at the back of the car made it incredibly susceptible to spinning out.

Spinning out… He grinned. Perfect. And even if people know we raced tonight… no one will ever know it was intentional. They left the corner's apex, accelerating down the straight. Hesitating like that in the corner cost him about a good ten meters, but no matter- He would catch up. He kept right behind Joe, his thumb resting just above his boost controller. One push of that button would increase boost pressure, allowing him to pass with ease. He grinned and pressed it. It was cold enough that the increase in heat wouldn't be that big of a problem. "Besides, I don't need to pass." he thought darkly to himself.

Joe shifted up from fourth into fifth gear, hearing a BANG emit from his exhaust. It wasn't too far to the Lakeside Chicane, regarded by many as the hardest turn on this circuit. A nasty crash against the guard barrier left it weakened, however, so Joe moved to the outside, ready to force oversteer and move to the inside of the corner.

At least, he would have.

Schädel jammed his boost controller, moving behind Joe and tapping his rear bumper as he began his drift. The disturbance immediately caused a spin-out. Joe tried to regain control, to no avail. The RX-7 instantly crashed into the barrier, sending him careening into the freezing lake. And with no one around, there would be no rescue. Just waiting as he froze to death. Joe didn't have much time to think about that, though. He blacked out before he hit the water…

…And woke up with a start. He looked around, startled. He was in a sterile white room that smelled of antiseptic. A hospital? Did Schädel check me in…? There was a window at the far side of the room. He moved to get out of the bed, feeling stiff. Maybe it had something to do with his accident. He walked over to the window, only to find a cityscape about as alien to his eyes as the icy planet he had been on just a short time ago. "…What the hell? Where the hell am I?"

"Mute City General Hospital." A voice behind him said. Joe turned to see a man with light brown hair enter, wearing a yellow jumpsuit under a white labcoat. "You know, you're lucky to be alive. What with being frozen." He gave a slight grin, suggesting a friendly demeanor.

"Mute City?" Joe looked the Doctor apparent in the eye. "I've never heard of it." The doctor chuckled. "I'm not too surprised. You have been frozen for over two hundred years, after all."

Joe stopped dead in his tracks. Part of him wanted to scream "Bullshit!" another part thought that this could all be a joke. He fell against the wall in a stupor, shock taking over his system. The Doctor's eyes widened as he hit a button on the wall, just as Joe threw up. A small robot came into the room, scooping up the vomit, then spraying a floor cleaner onto the ground, scrubbing it with a small brush. It then exited the room, just as quickly as it had entered.

Joe sat on the floor, using the wall as support. He looked up at the doctor. "What the hell… What have you done to me…?" He said the words hoarsely. He felt empty, and torn up inside, like someone had torn up his innards and then cauterized them back together all wrong. He felt like there were no words capable of describing exactly how lost he felt, all of a sudden. Doctor Stuart sat in a chair in the room, his face serious. "…I'm sorry. I'll have to explain what has happened. I know it's hard for you, but just hear me out." He got up and held a hand out to Joe.

Joe looked into Stuart's eyes. Being the only person he knew at this point, he wasn't quite sure if he should trust him. He finally held a hand out, deciding to watch as events panned out. Stuart pulled him up, and Joe sat on the side of his bed, as Stuart retook his seat.

"I'll be frank with you. I'm not quite sure how you're still alive." He looked down. "But I can say for certain that there are going to be some major… adjustments." He frowned, looking over Joe's fallen, broken face. He sighed and got up from the chair, walked over to the wall and opened a small closet. "We've provided you with a set of clothes, considering the clothes you were wearing were rendered useless. Get dressed and walk with me a while... That is, assuming you don't want to walk around in that paper gown." He turned and walked out.

Joe shook his head, pressing a hand to his forehead. The more he thought about it, the more it seemed feasible… and yet, it was so far-fetched. He walked over and pulled on boxers, loose pants, socks, shoes and a shirt. It seemed as if style had changed a little- The shirt was barely loose enough to fit him. "I'm buying stuff that's a bit looser when I'm done here…" he thought to himself. He walked around in the shoes a bit, feeling the traction with the ground. They were brand new, and yet he didn't get the impression that they needed breaking in.

Joe shook his head, flopping down onto the hospital bed. "No! This is all wrong! There's no way in hell I'm in the future!" He covered his face with his hands, unsure of what to think. "Everyone I knew assumed I was dead… and are now dead…" He sighed. He knew he'd have to start over, but it was now in a world alien and scary to his mind. Not to mention that he now had to deal with the facts. All his friends were irrevocably dead. There was no going back. He wasn't going to cry, but he felt a sense of ill repair and sorrow. He sighed, longing for someone to listen to so he could forget everything for a while, standing up and opening the door to his room.

He walked out to find Doctor Stuart talking to what looked like a green humanoid turtle. Stuart handed the turtle the same clipboard-like device he had seen earlier, and the Alien pulled out a stylus, apparently signing a release form.

"Pico, I know that the life of the Mercenary is what you do, but if you keep getting shot at like this, you won't be able to race."

The alien snorted. "Would it be any different from the F-Zero committee threatening to ban me after the accident? As you know, it's my life." He pointed at Stuart. "Gunfights are a side-effect." He got up and walked out. "The payment's already been wired to the hospital's account. See you later, Stuart." He brushed past Joe on his way out.

The doctor shook his head. "I can never understand him." He looked at Joe. "As for you, I have a lot to talk to you about." He began to walk, motioning Joe to come with hm.

"Did that… guy bother you much?" Joe looked over at Stuart, a puzzled expression etched into his face. He was far more confused now than he had been before. Alien life was something else that needed getting used to, but it was another reminder that he was in a completely different place now.

Stuart chuckled, shaking his head. "Not really. He's a regular here, so I'm used to it by now." He pulled out the stylus again; checking several things off a list that he brought up on what Joe realized was a digital readout of a patient's vital signs. "It's part of what comes to him, I suppose."

Joe suddenly stopped, remembering what Pico had said. "Wait…" He stared blankly at the Doctor for a moment. "…I don't have any money or insurance…"

Stuart chuckled. "You have the Galactic Federation to thank for your treatment. They covered the whole thing." He paused. "As I understand, they are very interested in the idea of cryogenic sleep. The fact that you came out of the freeze with no problems means that their scientists may yet have a shot at figuring out a way to make the process work without the… intense conditions."

Joe's face fell. There It was again. And this had been paid by the government? That'll be just great for my ego when press starts hounding me for a news story.

Stuart put a hand on Joe's shoulder, looking concerned. "You okay?"

Joe sat on a waiting bench. "I'd say so…" He looked up,staring at the ceiling. "I'm alone, Doc. Everyone I've ever known is dead now. All my friends, my family… They're gone." He pounded his head against the wall lightly.

Stuart sat down next to him. "I've obviously never gone through what you are, but I can sympathize." He stared up at the ceiling as well. "It's a hard transition, I know. But you've got to make it through."

Joe sat forward. "I know… but still. It's hard."

A notice pinged on Stuart's board, and he opened it. "It looks like someone wants to talk to you. There's a cab outside waiting for you."

Joe looked to the door and saw the yellow vehicle waiting for him. "I guess one thing didn't change." He looked back at Stuart. "Sorry about dumping that on you… I…"

"Don't worry about it. You just went through severe trauma. It's understandable." He smiled. "You'd better get going. I'm sure you don't want to hold up whoever's waiting for you."

Joe nodded, walking out the door. "Why the hell don't I have my iPod?" he asked himself.

Nick kicked the old jukebox in the corner of the garage. "Eighth time today. Looks like I need to redo the wiring… again." Sure, he had a speaker system that was able to play music files installed, but it just didn't have the same effect on him as the old Jukebox did. He smiled as a familiar, warm guitar melody hit his ears, sighing happily as he got back to work on the Ford Fiesta in front of him. The calibration of the G-Diffuser was off in a bad way, and, although fixing it was relatively easy, actually disassembling the control unit was time-consuming. He pressed a series of Buttons on a wrist-mounted device, calling over a trio of Robots that he had built himself. He felt he worked better alone, but he needed extra hands, so rather than hire some help, he simply built whatever help he needed.

"A, B, I need you two to get to work on the wiring for the Chevvy." Two of the robots nodded, and silently went about their work. "C, give me a hand with this. I need to replace the control unit's distribution motivator." The third robot nodded, kneeling down and getting to work. Designing the robots to have humanoid attributes didn't seem practical, but Nick had purposely built them this way, as they were capable of performing many different tasks. There were some things, though, that Nick had to do himself, with his own two hands.

He finally fixed the G-Diffuser, pausing to look over at a pile of twisted metal in the corner. He stood up, walking towards what remained of a heavily modified Chevrolet Chevelle. He ran his hands over the burnt chassis, feeling the rusted areas on his fingertips. He wasn't quite sure why he'd bought back his scrapped machine, but the Blazing Drake sat there in his garage, rusting away, never to be raced again.