Chapter 1: Up And Back


"Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the opening ceremony of the 2051 IGPX season! I'm Benjamin Bright and without further ado, lets meet our six contestants!" Benjamin Bright's voice was considered a staple of mech racing. He had been commentating for the sport for nearly twenty years but he still managed to scream obvious statements to millions of people better than anyone else. Amy Stapleton of team Satomi sighed, she had no idea what was so invigorating about his voice, to her it was just obnoxious.

"First off, they finished fifth last year, but this pack of wolves have barely even showed their teeth! All the way from Switzerland, put your hands together for team Edgeraid!" Amy heard a faint hiss and glanced down to the adorable calico in her arms. If Luca had his way, Edgeraid would be at the bottom of his litter box.

"In fourth place last year, the team who puts the term 'age before beauty' to shame, a round of applause for team Sledge Maaaamaaaaaaa!" Amy locked eyes with Sledge's forward briefly, a look that mixed worry and pity in her eyes. River had left team Satomi to join Sledge Mama two seasons ago, but somehow, River had gotten more connected to Satomi than he ever could be when he raced for them.

"Placing in third last season, their playing has taken a definite drop in quality, but they're back to regain the title once again, please welcome team Veeeelshtiiiiiine!" The girl's face was straight. She had no quarrel with Satomi's German rivals personally, but with respect to her team, she held her applause.

"In second place last year, despite their… questionable techniques, they're back with a clean slate, team Whiiiiite Snooooow!" Amy's leg tingled and she scowled. White Snow's forward had taken the lower half of her mech clean off in the middle of a race the previous season. The attack was so fast that the safety protocols hadn't taken effect, and Amy's brain had created the sensation that her legs had actually been ripped off. It hurt like hell.

"Now these veterans are hot stuff, but the rookies are where true greatness seems to have been in recent years. So replacing team Skylark, hailing from the streets of Russia, straight from the IG-2, team Singularity!" Amy glanced over; it was always good to study new competition.

"At forward, Seth Andrews!" The midfielder studied him. Obviously Italian, large build for a forward, pretty tall as well, a little more than six feet. His blonde bangs swept across his face in an almost graceful formation, concealing a scar that Amy could only identify as a wound from a head on collision in a mech. It wasn't exactly a pretty sight. He was dressed in a black suit with a white shirt under it. Bland, but it looked good on him,

"On defense, Kyra D'Ruc!" Amy felt a pang of jealousy as she surveyed the girl. She was gorgeous. Her auburn hair flowed in a shining wave down past her radiant green eyes. Her flawless skin seemed to shine as the light reflected off her. Amy tried not to look down, she really did, but she failed to resist. Her dress was skin tight and showed off her curves so well the even the great Benjamin Bright couldn't stop staring.

The announcer pulled himself out of his trance and moved on to the final member of the rookie team. "And finally, playing midfield for team Singularity, Harrier Kelik!" This one was different. His jet-black hair was jelled back to keep it out of his eyes. He was taller than the forward, with a slightly bigger build, but seemed more laid back than everyone else there. He was also younger, maybe around 19, with an innocent face that was somehow filled with knowledge.

Amy smiled, they were nothing special. They'd be gone by next season. She turned back to the announcer as he screamed into his microphone, "And finally, returning champions, teeeaaam Saaaatoooomiiii! Amy and her teammates, Takeshi Jin and Liz Ricarro forced their faces into fake smiles and waved at the crowd. Amy glanced at her teammates, their smiles were contrived but there was still some happiness in them. The midfielder's eyes quickly bounced down to her teammate's hands, interlocked together. She smiled, good for them.

The first match, Satomi verses Velshtien. A blowout. Takeshi placed first, Amy in second, and Liz in third. Only one of the Velshtien mechs made it across the finish line, and only momentum got it there.

Amy sighed as she slowly walked in to the briefing room, she hadn't taken a single hit that race, they were getting better. She remembered the first time they went up against the Germans. Satomi got the crap beaten out of them. Then put back in, then torn out again.

"Okay, your next match is against Team…" Andre checked the pamphlet he had in his lap. "Singularity. Sorry, I can never get that name right." Amy smirked; Andre had a way with words, a bad one. "They're rookies, but just like every other rookie we've ever met, they're really freaking good." Luca meowed, his overconfidence really showed, even when he couldn't talk.

"Look at this footage from their last race." Singularity was in the lead, their dark-purple mechs trailing about fifteen meters in front of the White Snow trio. The black-purple mechs glowed the same color as their paint job and a purple spot appeared on the track right behind each of them. The shining white of the Snow mechs passed over the spots and the slowly rose off the track. The pilots of Satomi stared at the screen so intensely, it seemed there were holes being burned in it.

The purple glow surrounding White Snow's mechs pulled them each about twice their height into the air, then pulsed, sending a purple shockwave out from around the purple glow and slamming the team to the ground. Andre paused the video in the middle of a frame in which White Snow's forward, Zanak, got his mech's head ripped off by the impact, then turned back to the team, their eyes wide. "Gravity mine. Manipulates the electromagnetic energy generated from your mech. It's like having a giant magnet lift you into the air, then switch polarities and smack you right back down, kills your mech's power, and hurts like hell."

Liz blinked, "Is that even legal?" Takeshi snickered, "We seem to ask that question an awful lot don't we?" Andre interrupted them, "Funny story about that. That technique is technically used defensively, it's not used to do any damage to the opponents software, and it is beatable, so if you get into the grit of it, yes, it's legal." Amy flipped through the playbook, "You sure it's beatable? I don't see anything that we could use to counter that."

Andre crossed his hands in front of his face, "You don't need any fancy plays to beat this one. Like Velshtien's Induraga Mano, it only works once, so avoid it, and you're good." Liz raised an eyebrow, "Yeah, that's all fine and dandy, but how do we avoid it?" "Stay in the lead." The entire team blinked. "Stay in the lead. The mines can only be deployed behind the mechs, so as long as they're not in front of you, you're good." Takashi smiled, "That shouldn't be too hard." Andre nodded and Amy and Liz locked eyes with the same thought in their minds; "This is a really bad idea."

"Here we are folks, the match we've all been waiting for! The grand champions two years running; team Satomi versus the rapidly advancing Russians; team Singularity! This is sure to be a match for the ages!" Luca's cybernetic voice echoed through Amy's mech, "Is he ever going to shut up?" Amy smiled, "Be easy on him, it's his job." Liz snorted over the mic, from the midfielder's end, it sounded like a bomb going off. "You two are so funny sometimes."

"10! 9! 8!"

Takeshi's voice vibrated over the mic, "You guys ready?"

"7! 6! 5!"

Amy nodded and Liz smirked, "Don't die sweetie."

"4! 3! 2!"

Amy raised an eyebrow. "Sweatie?"

"Don't Judge me."

"1! And they're off!"

The six mechs rocketed out of the starting gate and quickly found their formations. Satomi pulled ahead, sticking to the traditional rotating triangle. Singularity followed close behind, their formation identical.

There was a click on Amy's speaker, Singularity's mics were open, and Satomi could hear every word they said.

Their forward, Seth, spoke, "So, you guys are the champions? This is awkward… After this race, Takeshi, could I have you're autograph? The defender chimed in, "You are such an idiot." Seth spoke again, "You know what Kyra? Kiss my ass." Harrier, the midfielder, chuckled, but said nothing. Takeshi smirked, although no one could see, "Tell you what, you win, you get my signature." Luca piped in again, "Takeshi, don't motivate the enemy!" "Shut up hairball!"

"The race has been calm so far, but the second lap has just started, and here we go people! Singularity is making their move!" The violet mechs crept up behind Satomi and picked their opponents, Amy felt a tap on her shoulder and turned just in time to see the hulking fist of a defender mech. Luca's reflexes saved her and the mech pulled away just in time. Kyra's voice boomed in the mic, "Nice dodge kitty." Amy pouted; even her voice was ridiculously attractive.

She briefly glanced around to see Liz engaged with the unusually quiet midfielder, and Takeshi dueling with his new biggest fan, then turned and threw a punch at her assailant. Kyra dodged and turned the momentum into a roundhouse kick, which Amy ducked under. She pulled into an uppercut that connected with Kyra's headpiece The mech flew into the air and Amy leaped after it, putting a spin on her jump. The defender was unable to counter the attack while in mid-air, and took the full brunt of Amy's spinning assault. The midfielder slammed her to the ground and slid on top of her all the way through revolution tunnel.

Any took pleasure in the grunts that emitted from her opponent and skated on the defender a little bit longer than necessary, just to be safe. Kyra made her way to her feet and growled, "You little bitch! I'll kill you for that!" Singularity's defender started glowing and Amy heard a gasp from the other end of the radio. "Kyra! What the hell do you think you're doing?" It was Seth, and he sounded a little too worried. "I'm winning this thing Seth! Don't try and stop me!"

Harrier, the abnormally silent midfielder finally broke his silence, "Kyra, if you blow one of those at that range, the blast could…" He was interrupted by the explosion created by the defender's gravity mine impacting Amy's chest. Six mechs were sent flying and Amy squeezed her eyes shut. Luca shouted to her telepathically, "Amy! Gyrostabilizers are down, aerodynamics at 22%, were going to fall off the…" She opened her eyes… "…Edge."

It was the last thing the midfielder wanted to see, a 30,000-foot drop to a city street. She shut her eyes again. She supposed she had a good life. Two IGPX championships and all, people would certainly miss her, and…" Amy felt an arm around her and opened her eyes; she saw the headpiece of a mech just briefly before it flung her straight back up on to the track. "Takeshi! What are you…?" "Amy! Are you okay?" Takeshi's voice squawked over her microphone. "Takeshi? But you…" She turned her attention to Benjamin.

"I CANNOT BELIEVE MY EYES FOLKS! THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE! Satomi's Amy Stapleton has been knocked off the track, but WHAT IS THIS? A mech has just leapt off the track after her! And he's got her! He's thrown her back on to the track! THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE! A mech from team Singularity has just leapt of the track to save a Satomi pilot! You saw it folks! Midfielder Harrier Kelik of team Singularity possibly just saved Amy Stapleton's life! But what has become of him?"

Amy's face was still stuck in the same suprised position it was hours ago when she was thrown off the track. She was alive. Saved by a pilot from another team. And for the first time in IGPX history, every mech on both teams was disabled, resulting in a draw. She wasn't sure if her mind could take any more surprises.

"What do I say Luca? 'Thanks for saving my life' just doesn't seem to cut it." The calico stared at her and meowed. "You're no help sometimes you know that?" She stepped into the hospital room and spotted Singularity's midfielder sitting on his bed reading a book. He closed it as she entered. "Ummm… You're Harrier right?" The boy nodded. "Well. I just wanted to say… Thanks… If you hadn't done that, I probably wouldn't be here. Harrier smirked, "If I hadn't done it, I wouldn't be here either." Amy couldn't help but smile. This guy had a sense of humor. "I brought these for you…" The girl pulled a bouquet of roses out from behind her back. He took them and smiled, "Thanks, they're… really nice." Amy shuffled her feet awkwardly. "Ok well… I guess I'll see you later?" The boy nodded and Amy turned to the door. "Ok then… bye." "Bye"

She walked out of the room and Luca meowed. Amy glared at him and shouted, "I do not!"

I can haz reviewz plz?

-By: GrademonX