AN: Hey all. Just thought I'd contribute something to a near-non existant fanfic base. I've always been a huge fan of WipEout, but have always longed for some sort of ongoing narrative to the game. Y'know, what goes on outside the track, and the people behind the craft. This is my attempt at something like that. And hopefully you'll get a kick out of it. Enjoy!

WipEout DAWN

A Ship named Daisy

VINETA-K

FLASH

UNLIMITED QUALIFIER

LAP 10 of 10

First place.

FIRST PLACE!

This was the only thing looping over and over in Milli Norfairs' mind as she gunned the thruster through the checkpoint to the final lap of the race. Her craft, a teal-green FEISAR lookalike that was almost twice the size, was horribly damaged. Black scorch marks were burned into the left hull as purple sparks fizzled out and crackled angrily, like the ship itself was protesting having to continue on. The cockpit too was scarred with a large spiderweb crack on the front, obscuring most of the pilot's view. But despite the damage, the hulking craft powered forward with reckless abandon, now at the front of the pack, just hitting the first archway that curved inwards further to the finish line.

I can do it. I can do it. There's no one in front of me. Just breathe, relax. Daisy's fine. She's had worse than this. Come on, Milli, just win this thing. Win it. Finally WIN it!

It had happened about a minute and a half ago. As the laps for the race gradually ticked down, so did the patience and chivalry of the remaining participants. What had previously been clean passes and smooth cornering had given way to aggressive bow-charges and borderline-kamikaze cut-off turns. Weapons acquired were unleashed before the various AI voices of the crafts could utter the name. Racers would clash and jockey for position in the choking narrow turns. At lap 9 the carnage had reached its peak, seeing the racers cut down from 8 to just 3. This was when the Lhotus-Akkan craft piloted by the young Milli Norfair took first place. As the desperation had grown, the five leading racers had taken the first hairpin turn fresh into lap 9 at top speed...

...all at once. With the two at the back firing off a volley of six rockets at point-blank range right into the backs of the leading crafts.

What resulted was nothing short of disastrous.

The two leading craft took the full brunt of the salvo; the rockets piercing their already-depleted shields and shattering against their hulls, blasting their AG reactors apart in a searing azure explosion and sending the charred, mangled remains flipping end-over-end off the edge of the track.

The attackers had gotten too close--too personal. Neither had even half a second to manouver away as their crafts were engulfed by the twin explosions; ripping away their armor and throwing both completely off balance. As the two lost all power and plowed nose-first into the floor, kicking up a screeching fountain of sparks, the final victim blasted out of the flames behind them. The pilots' eyes bulged as his own craft smashed into the others, cleaning all three right off the track in a macabre tangle of flames and shrapnel. Well behind the destruction, the Lhotus-Akkan, previously in 6th place, shot by the burning wreckage, creating a swirling vortex of smoke and fire behind it.

Inside the cockpit, Milli's eyes went wide when the position counter at the top-left of her HUD quickly switched from 6 to 1. Taking a lightning-quick glance at the ladder, an elated smile crossed her features.

It read:

LHOTUS-AKKAN: 1

BERKUT UNITED: 2

SATTAHRI: 3

HEIAN IND: DNF

IOLANTHE: DNF

KLF 14: DNF

CISCA FOUNDATION: DNF

5-0 FIFTY: DNF

"Unbelievable! The top 5 just bought it on turn number 4! You're in first place, Mil!" An ecstatic voice blared in Milli's helmet, that of her Chief Operator and best friend, Yuno Maeda. "It's the last lap too!"

Milli tried to reply, but her voice just caught in her throat. Her hands were trembling, her heart beating a thousand times a minute. Why? Why when it mattered most!

The Lhotus-Akkan veered slightly, taking a right-turn too sharply and scraping up against the wall briefly.

"No!" Milli yelled in frustration, her own voice helping her refocus. With a rough pull of the control stick she righted her craft and gunned the thruster once more, now only two left-hand turns away from the finish line.

"Woah, Mil! Slow it down a bit! The AGR's redlining! It must've been from that firestorm you pushed through! Shields are offline too!" Yuno peppered the good news one after the other.

Milli couldn't respond. Yuno's voice seemed droned and distant, like she was speaking underwater.

"You got three whole seconds on the Berkut! You've got to ease of the thrust and pump the coolant into Unit 4! Mil! Hey, Mil!"

Ease...off the thrust...unit 4...what?

Her vision blurred. The steady roar of her engine dulled in her ears, replaced by the panicked beating of her heart pounding in her eardrums. A shrill whine cut into her consciousness, making her head spin.

"Mil! Hard right! HARD RIGHT!"

She heard it, but her hands wouldn't move. They were glued to the control stick, numb, feeling like they didn't belong to her at all.

Then, a flash of dark purple engulfed the rear-end of her craft, violently lurching it upwards off the track. Milli felt her entire being shaken mercilessly in the tiny cockpit as her craft flipped crazily through the air. The towering glass buildings of Vineta K becoming an indistinguishable blur in her eyes.

There was a moment of silence. Milli thought she heard her name yelled out a few times, but nothing was registering anymore.

Finally, with a wrenching impact that shook her to the core, the Lhotus-Akkan smashed onto the track, regaining traction for a second before colliding with the wall that curved around the final turn of the race.

Something clicked in Milli's head, and without a further thought she engaged both air-brakes with all her strength, fighting grimly to keep her craft on the track.

The Lhotus-Akkan ricoteched off another wall, shaking terribly, its four rear thrusters skewed apart with a purple aura-like residue emanting from them like a vengeful ghost.

At last, the craft came to a halt, bumping harmlessly against the left wall of the straight.

She could see it; the finish line. No more than a tantilising two-hundred metres away. Almost on complete reflex, she hit the thrusters again, making her craft jump forward a little before crawling along at a pathetic pace, the control hud blaring out several overlapping errors and warnings.

As Milli's craft sputtered forward painfully, she felt her heart plummet when the two remaining racers Berkut United and Sattahri easily overtook her and powered over the finish line as the crowded stands erupted in jubilant cheers. A huge Vidboard on a building opposite the stands came to life, displaying the words: WINNER! BERKUT UNITED.

Milli slumped in her seat, groaning sadly. Nobody in the crowd seemed to take notice as the battered teal-green craft limped pathetically over the finish line and went silent.

She blew it. She completely botched what could've been her first win; a win that would've easily qualified her team for the Unlimited League.

"Mil? Are you Ok?" Yuno's voice crackled in Milli's helmet. "You did it. You won 3rd place!"

Her voice took on a more encouraging tone. Milli felt a little better, after all, there was still one more race left in the qualifiers.

"Thanks, Yuno." Milli finally answered, earning a relieved sigh from the other end of the line.

"Hey, I'm bringing the recovery crew in now. Just sit tight."

Milli gave a curt 'hm' in response. As her racing heart finally started to slow, she glanced over at the Vidboard displaying Berkut United's logo. Pulling her helmet off and resting it on her lap, Milli Norfair scratched her light-brown hair tied in a simple ponytail, her eyes of the same colour fixed irritatedly the Vidboard, before she heaved a sigh and hung her head in dejection; uttering a single word.

"Crap."