Chapter Eleven

Lexie's eyes fluttered open. Her roof ached dully, as did her axles, but she hardly knew why. She scanned the cell she found herself in, and she spotted Alex in the corner, wide awake. "How did you..."

"I jumped," he replied. "It caught me."

"The magnet?"

"Figured it had to still be on for you to be stuck so tightly to it."

"You chased the helicopter for me?" Alex nodded, and Lexie grinned before looking away and blushing like a shy schoolgirl. She studied the bars that comprised the door of the cell. Beyond them lay a hallway which, as far as she could tell as she peered in both directions, was sparsely guarded, if at all. "Okay, I have guns on me. If I can control them, I can shoot the lock and we can get out of here."

"Then what?"

"Not sure yet."

Lexie closed her eyes and took a deep breath, willing every part of her to relax. The gun in her right hubcap slipped out of its position, and she opened her eyes and smiled. "Neat trick," Alex said.

She took aim at the lock, fired, and said, "Okay, let's go." She slipped the gun back into place as Alex pushed the barred door aside. They drove side-by-side down the corridor to a door, and Lexie tried it before slipping her gun out and shooting that lock. She pushed the door open, and Alex followed her through. She looked first left, then right, spotting a window in the latter direction, through which the rising sunlight shone. "Was I only out one night?"


"It's race day, then, unless they postponed it for safety reasons, but I guess we'll find out when we get out of this mess." Lexie leaned toward the window and scanned the street only a few feet below. "Alex, back up." He complied, and she gave herself a little room before launching herself out the window.

Alarms sounded and lights flashed. Almost as if in a panic, Alex followed Lexie's lead, and they took off down the street.

In her mirror, Lexie spotted scores of black and silver sportscars in pursuit. The cars in the vanguard fired at them, and Lexie whipped around behind Alex and said, "Keep going, as fast as you can." She popped her hubcaps out, revealing a pair of machine guns. She intentionally fishtailed slightly as she fired at the vanguard of sportscars. Several cars spun out, two others fishtailed before recovering themselves. More cars replaced the cars that had lost control, and Lexie barely managed a tight left turn.

"Sounds pretty bad back there," Alex said.

"It's like dealing with a hydra," Lexie replied. "I take out a few and a few more appear out of nowhere."

"What's the most public place in Tokyo right now?"

Without a word, Lexie whipped around to the front and gestured for Alex to follow her. They wove through the streets with the sportscars on their tailpipes, and Lexie skidded to a stop just short of a security guard at the Grand Prix stadium. "Do you speak Japanese?" she asked Alex, who slid to a stop just slightly ahead of her.

"I speak English," the guard said in a slight accent.

"Thank the Manufacturer. Look, see those cars?" She gestured to the sportscars that began to swarm around them. The guard nodded. "They're trying to kill us."

The guard narrowed his eyes. "Who are you?"

"Lexie McQueen, with Team McQueen. The Pacer's a guest."

Lexie glanced back at Alex, who seemed to regard the guard's skepticism with a degree of annoyance and a desire to be gone. She looked at the scores of sportscars, who parted like the Red Sea to allow a silver Scion tC to pass. Despite the tC's efforts to appear kind, Lexie got the impression that he was a complete freak. "I have to say I'm impressed," he said in a smooth, almost oily voice. "I wasn't expecting you to be so resourceful, or such a quick study." His smile faded. "However, as you've been trifling with me for some time, I'll have to see to it that that never happens again." He drew a gun and, instead of aiming at Lexie like she expected, pointed it at Alex. Just as he fired, Lexie shot forward, taking the shot to her side panel.

The guard called for backup in frantic Japanese, and Lexie and Alex shot into the stadium, followed by some of the sportscars and the tC. "What do we do?" Alex asked, dodging another bullet.

"Just follow me," Lexie replied, making a hard right turn and then a left. Finally, she and Alex slid across the track and into pit row just as the racers finished their preparations.

"Looks like they didn't postpone the race after all."

"What's going on?" Lightning asked.

"Long story. I'll explain later, but ironically, this is the safest place for you, and trust me," Lexie replied, turning to the sportscars, tC, and security guards.

"You really think that was a good idea?" the tC asked, giving Lexie a once-over. He rolled forward and hissed, "I'm untouchable."

"We'll see about that."

Lightning glanced at Alex, who shrugged. The guards seemed busy with the sportscars, leaving Lexie and the tC to duke it out alone. "You have quite the mouth," the tC said. "I want to know if it holds up to your skills."

"You're in luck. We're at a race track."

"That's not what I meant." He rushed forward, and before Lexie fully understood what hit her, he hit her, pushing her back several feet before she pushed back. She gained some ground before he slipped aside, sending her into the cluster of guards and sportscars-and a hail of bullets. She jerked back, and the cold steel of a gun barell pressed into her back bumper. She froze.

Lightning slammed into the tC, giving Lexie room to slip to the back. Alex joined her, his eyes constantly scanning the chaos as the announcers commented on it. "Now what?" he asked almost breathlessly.

"I don't know," she replied.

A shot fired by the tC grazed Lightning's front bumper as he turned to the side. Lexie slipped deeper into the shadows, behind Alex. She looked around in the chamber and said, "I've got an idea." She whistled, and Luigi and Guido appeared from behind their hiding places. "Guido, I know how we can stop this weirdo." The forklift's eyes widened, and he rolled forward. She crossed the room and whispered something in his ear as Luigi and Alex looked on in surprise. She pulled away, and he nodded in understanding. "Let's go," she said.

She turned back to Alex, smiled, and she and Guido drove into the eye of the storm.

Lexie whistled to the tC, said, "Come and get me," and nodded to Guido. As the tC drove toward her, Guido removed all four of his wheels with breakneck speed. "Okay, boys, he's not going anywhere," Lexie yelled to the guards. Two of them broke away from the crowd and flanked the tC, who looked between them and then at Lexie.

"How?" he whispered.

"Pit stop," Guido said, brandishing a wrench. Lexie gave him a high tire and then turned to Lightning. The gash on his bumper was leaking a small amount of fluid.

"Dad, that looks pretty bad. You should probably see a doctor," Lexie said, examining the gash more closely. "It's okay, I'll tell you everything I know."

"That's not my problem," Lightning replied. "My problem is someone attacked my daughter."

"Dad, everything's okay now."

Lightning glanced at the tC, who was towed by security trucks and surrounded by guards. What black and silver sportscars hadn't been arrested had fled, and pit row was being cleared by professionals. Two medical cars approached and proceeded to examine Lightning, and Lexie looked at Alex, who smiled and nodded in approval.


Lightning drove out of the hospital to join the rest of Team McQueen. "Hey, they patched you up pretty good," Lexie said, her eyes going to the place on her father's bumper where the gash used to be. A patch of fresh paint was the only clue that anything had happened, and it was already almost dry and barely noticeable.

"Yeah, they were great," Lightning replied. "So, what was all that about?"

"Boy, do I have a story for you."