Rideback: Fire and Water
To the Stage of Light
It's race day once again and Rin and shouko have practiced their routine to perfection. Shouko, Haruki and Dota are all in their pit stall while Rin and Tamayo are just returning from the preliminary qualifying race.
"First and second. Just like last year." said Haruki.
Rin removed her helmet and said "Yeah, but by a larger gap this year. You were great out there Tamayo."
Tamayo removed her helmet and said "It's probably just because I've been spending my time practicing for the race while you and Shouko have been practicing for your exhibition."
"Yeah, that could be it." said Rin.
"I sure hope she bought that. Can't let her know I've been going all out since she came so close to beating me last year. I know I can't stop some one with her talent from passing me so I'll just have to make sure she can't catch me." thought Tamayo.
Commentator A: "Okay everybody we're moments away from the start of this years All-Japan Rideback Championship and all the riders are on there starting positions and the first four positions are filled by, no surprise, the same four as last year! Rideback Princess Tamayo Kataoka in the first position followed by her teammate the Legendary Rideback Girl Rin Ogata and behind them, of course, the Cobra Brothers! So we've got every reason to expect this race to be every bit as exciting as last years!"
Commentator B: "And did you notice Kataoka beat her own record in the prelims. I bet the competition between those two has driven them both to practice hard in this past year. This could be even better than last years race."
Commentator A: "Yeah and on top of that. I understand Ogata has a little treat for us after the race folks so don't be in a rush to leave when it's all over!"
Commentator B: "And there's the start and Kataoka rockets off the starting line taking a big lead right off the bat."
"Wow, she really did get off to a good start." said Rin just before the two Cobra brothers try slamming into her.
Rin was forced to hit the breaks to avoid the attack allowing the Cobra brothers to collide with each other and Rin quickly recovered her lost momentum by using Balon's robotic arms to grab the rear wheel of each of the Cobra brother's ridebacks and flung herself forward while at the same time finishing the job of throwing them in the dirt.
Commentator A: "Ouch! That had to hurt! You know if those Cobra brothers aren't careful they'll soon be known as the Never-learn brothers!"
Rin gunned the throttle knowing she had her work cut out for her. "I've got to catch up to Tamayo." and just then she had a flash back to her first race and remembered blowing Balon's engine. "Maybe it's a better idea to just make sure I stay ahead of the third place rider and hope that maybe lapped traffic slows Tamayo down at some point."
Commentator A: "We're about half way through the race now and Kataoka has a commanding lead! She's sure not holding anything back this year!"
Commentator B: "Yeah, It looks like she's sure feeling the pressure Ogata put on her with that photo finish last year."
"I am the water. Just flow through the traffic. I just hope there's no pile up like last year." said Tamayo.
"Uhm, Haruki? Are you feeling okay? You're not looking too good." said Dota.
"I just realized she's pushing the RB-Z pretty hard. About as hard as Rin was pushing Balon a couple years ago and if she blows the engine who do ya think she's gonna blame." said Haruki quaking in his boots.
"Oh wow. Well, I'll make sure we get some flowers for your grave." said Dota jokingly.
"Oh gee thanks I feel much better." said Haruki sarcastically.
Commentator A: "We're on the final lap and it looks like Kataoka has this thing in the bag! Ogata's still in second place but almost half a lap between her and kataoka! There's no way she can catch up in time!"
Commentator B: "Wait a minute. I'm not liking the look of that smoke coming from Kataoka's exhaust."
pft.. putt... pfft... Tamayo's eyes widened in terror as she realized what that sound meant. She had just blown her engine. "NO! DAMN IT! NO!" Not even Tamayo was sure if she was chastising herself or the RB-Z but with out power all she could do was coast off the road to get out of the way of other riders that might not see her in time to avoid hitting her. Having such a commanding lead she had come to a complete stop and stood there for several seconds until she finally saw Rin come around the bend and watch her cruise almost casually by to an easy victory. "Well, there she goes. Looks like this one's yours ballerina."
Commentator A: "Oh my god! I never saw that coming. Boy I'd sure hate to be Kataoka's mechanic today!"
Commentator B: "Yeah and Ogata grabs an easy victory. The way she seemed content to let Kataoka have such a huge lead you'd almost think she knew this was going to happen."
Commentator A: "Now remember! Don't go anywhere folks! From what I understand The Legendary Rideback Girl just has to go switch ridebacks and she'll be right back out to put on some kind of show for us!"
Commentator B: "Wow, Looks like the stands are already starting to empty out. I guess they want to beat the traffic."
Back in their pit stall Rin pulls up on Balon and jumps off in a hurry to make the switch. "Is Fuego ready?"
"Yup, She's right there next to Agua. Both fueled up and ready to go." said Dota.
"Oh My God! Rin! You won!" exclaimed an over excited Shouko as she ran up and wrapped Rin up in a big hug and started planting kisses all over her face. "I knew you could do it. I love you, I love you, I love you."
Haruki and Dota both looked at each other with bulging eye's and dropped jaws.
"Thanks. I love you too but we gotta get out there before too many people leave."
"Oh right. Sorry. Let's go." said Shouko as she jumped on Agua.
Just after Rin and Shouko left the pit stall a flatbed truck pulled up with Tamayo and her RB-Z.
"Oh crap" said Haruki as he hid under the folding table their laptops were set up on.
"Relax. You're safe. I've got no one but myself to blame for this." said Tamayo.
"So you're not gonna kill me?" said Haruki peaking out from under the table.
"Of course not and for Christ's sake grow a pair already. It's hard to respect a guy that hides under tables."
"Hey Tamayo, Did you know that Rin and Shouko are... well..." said Dota.
"Yeah of course I knew. Hell, I knew before they did. You guys just now find out?" said Tamayo.
"Uh, well, yeah." said Haruki.
"You guys always were a bit on the clueless side." said Tamayo.
Rin and Shouko hastily got in position on the track wanting to get started before to many spectators left the stands.
Rin looked over at Shouko and asked "You ready for this?"
Shouko just nodded in response.
Rin then looked up at the commentators in their booth overlooking the track and gave a nod to signal them to start the music and as the music started the ridebacks began to dance.
A random spectator in the stands pulled out his cell phone and dialed. "Dude! Where'd you go? ... You're already heading to your car?... Get back in here! You don't want to miss this! Look!" said the spectator who then used his phone to send a short avi with no audio to his friend.
Commentator A: "Wow, I never would have believed moves like that were possible on ridebacks."
Commentator B: "Yeah and look, It looks like the stands are filling back up."
Now in college Kenji is still more interested in ridebacks than studying especially now knowing what his own sister is capable of and again trying to sneak peaks at the race coverage without the professor noticing.
"Something you want to share with the rest of us Mr. Ogata?"
"Yes there is as a matter of fact and thank you for asking." said Kenji proudly as he went to the front of the class and held up the screen on his cell phone for all to see. "See this everybody? The one on the red rideback? That's my sister!"
The professor adjusted his glasses looking at the screen for a better look and said "Can you put that on the big screen over here so we can all see?" asked the professor motioning to a big flatscreen that was generally just used for educational videos.
"Sure." said Kenji who quickly complied with a few key presses.
In a random bar in the city there are a few retired patrons watching news on the ceiling mounted TVs when some guy runs in off the street and says, "Are you watching it?"
"Watching what?" asked the bartender.
Looking at the TV the guy said "Quick change the channel! Put the rideback race on!"
"Isn't that over by now?" said the bartender.
"Just put it on quick! You're missing something you really don't want to be missing."
The bartender finally complied and suddenly one red rideback and one blue one were dancing across the screen to a fairly popular classic rock tune.
"Oh wow." said the bartender.
"Told ya." said the guy.
Thanks to cell phones everywhere spreading the word quickly TVs all over the city where tuning into to this dance.
They were nearing the end of their performance and it was just about time for their big finish, a move that Rin had worked out that, because of their ability to change their center of gravity and the strength of their robotic arms, could only be done on ride backs. They were to each face each other from a distance and each perform a grand jeté passing each other at the height of the jump but using the robotic arms they would each grab the robotic hand of the others rideback causing them to spin in mid air and after one half turn let go sending each of them back in the direction they came from. This was by far the most difficult maneuver to practice as the timing of their release had to be perfect.
Okay, Here we go. thought Rin as she charged towards Shouko.
We can do this Agua. Lets go. thought Shouko as she charged towards Rin.
They each leapt into the air and went into spread legs form to both to simulate the split involved and also to bring the center of gravity closer to the robotic arms and as soon as their robotic hands clasped in mid flight time seemed to slow down a Rin was engulfed in a bright light.
"There it is again. That light." she thought looking at Shouko's smiling face in the center of it. "I wonder if she can see it too."
"Oh wow, Where's this light coming from? Is this the light I've heard Rin talk about?" thought Shouko looking at Rin's smiling face in the center of this bright white light.
Their release was perfect and they both went back to standing form for their landings and both ridebacks skidded to a stop right where they started and bowed.
The crowed roared to life with applause louder than they'd ever cheered for the race it's self.
Commentator A: "I know this is a bad thing for a commentator to say but I'm actually speachless."
Commentator B: "I hear ya. I'm suppose to be a professional commentator and I have no idea how to describe that. I can't think of words to do justice to what we've just witnessed."
Back in their pit stall Tamyao, Haruki and Dota are all standing awe struck with the mouths gaping when Tamayo finally managed to utter one word "Wow."
"Exactly." said Haruki.
"Couldn'a said it better myself." said Dota.
Sitting in the officials booth Okakura said "Well I'll be... I never woulda believed it if I hadn't seen it myself."
Rin looked over to find Shouko's smiling face looking back at her and thought "Of course. It's so obvious now. Shouko's been the source of my light all along. And it's with her...only with her... that I can live my life complete."