== Prologue ==
"What a soothingly quiet night for a walk... I hate it..." echoed a dark voice.
2203 AD—it was the century of division between the Information and Space Exploration Age. Civilization had passed through the time of automobiles working on rubber wheels, the time of water based navies, and the seemingly endless days where humanity roamed one planet together. Now came the day of hovercraft, spaceships, and colonial planets—some of which had already become self-sustaining in the new age. Yet, despite these great advancements, many things from the olden day remain. The internet remains the dominant source for knowledge, humanity still adheres to the classic system of stop signs and intersections, even politicians continue to debate the same issues argued by their great ancestors.
The heart of the new age, respectively, comes from the economically and technologically booming metropolis of Mute City, formerly known as Tokyo. Since the 21st century, the population of this legendary metropolis has increased six times the size; no longer was this the stronghold of the Japanese culture—multiculturalism had turned it into a true work of art. In Mute City, one could find Japanese onsens, a Spanish cantina, American supermarkets, German Oktoberfest celebrations in September, and many more culturally unique places of interest. Mute City welcomed all people with opened arms, and most people were well pleased with their new lives. This is true, however, only for those of whom successfully start a life in what is called the Upper City.
Lower, middle, and upper class citizens all shared the Upper City together. This part of the metropolis was well populated and always busy, but a heavenly place to be. With so many people of varying interests roaming the Upper City, finding a job or love interest was beyond easy. Those who found themselves without Federation credits—the currency of most planets—Mute City would likely become the opposite of a dream, for it would without a doubt become a true nightmare.
While the Upper City boomed with happiness, opportunities, and luxuries, there was the Lower City. Homeless citizens of Mute City lived under awful living standards, no thanks to the Galactic Space Federation. In the distant past, homeless beggars had often been made the victims of harassment, beatings, and even under severe but fairly common situations—death. With millions of roaming citizens on the Upper City streets, the homeless were bound to be attacked by at least one of these millions. To fix this solution, the Federation issued what they believed at the time to be a fair fix. By law, homeless citizens were instructed to migrate west into the less elevated section of Mute City. Within twenty years, over 50,000 of these unfortunates would find themselves forced into a ghetto-like part of Mute City, where the Upper City skyscrapers would refuse to share the sunlight.
Chief commander Jody Summer, the selected heir to the Galactic Space Federation's top command, arrived in Mute City too late to create a well thought out fix. By the time she had arrived in the Federation HQ—the tallest building in Mute City at a height of about 2,000 feet—the total unemployed and homeless count in the Lower City had increased to an alarming total of about 7,000,000 people. Over time, these numbers continued to grow in great numbers; this finally left Jody with the decision to issue a red alert for the Lower City. All employed and housed citizens of the Lower City were urged to leave this part of the metropolis and find new homes, preferably in the Upper City. This was ultimately the best call to make, as within months since making the call, unrest and civil disorder gained dominance throughout the Lower City.
Federation officers were often dispatched to try and coax the escalating situation, but soon found that the millions of homeless people had begun to spread corruption. Murder, thieving, rape, vandalism, racism; all things broke loose throughout the Lower City in the millions. The final stab came with the introduction of Michael Chain into the Lower City, a famous racer but most importantly, the notorious leader of the Bloody Chain—the universe's greatest gang. With the Bloody Chain roaming the Lower City with assault rifles, rocket launchers, and combat capable racing machines, the Lower City had officially become a zone known for danger. In present day, the Bloody Chain finds itself with a soviet themed rival gang going by the name Red Star. These two gangs have entered a very destructive gang war, and unfortunately, all homeless beings of the Lower City are destined to run into either gang eventually.
In the end, the Lower City was a wasteland to the common man and woman, now only serving as a battlefield for two gangs and an internment camp for the creditless citizens. With both gangs heavily outnumbering the Mute City police force, there is nothing left to do for the Lower City. For now, those of whom find themselves trapped within the Lower City were doomed to lay witness to violence, destruction, and gang oppression. There were, however, three people within this dark part of Mute City with bright destinies. One person had a dream, another was searching for a dream, and the other was finding sick pleasure out of the anarchic Lower City.
As the moon shines brightly over the dark part of Mute City, one man calmly moved from rooftop to rooftop in search of action. Attired in a black trench coat, red scarf, black boots, black electronic visor, and a fedora; a tall Man of Darkness walked along the edge of every rooftop. Within his grasp was a very long barreled rifle—a type of high powered unscoped sniper rifle designed for armor penetration. One might expect a man of such appearance to be a great criminal, and to an extent, they would be right. When in a situation as bad as the Lower City gang war, even the most unorthodox, twisted, and generally demented of people could still act as a hero to many.
The man stopped before the edge of a building and gazed down toward a street, and at that moment, revealed two glowing white pumpkin shaped eyes over the electronic visor. He silently studied a single alley where the vague image of many homeless individuals were made.
"How oddly peaceful it is..." he commented aloud.
Without further word, the man continued moving along the rooftops in search of eventful occurrences.
Meanwhile, not far from the location of this man resided a very low income vendor and his shop. Located inside of a three room sized structure was a shop of various items—almost all of which were severely lacking in quality and value. The man running the shop was living only a slightly more prosperous life than all the other inhabitants of the Lower City.
This man sat in the shop with an old magazine up to his face, as doing something simple as reading old newspapers was one of few sources for entertainment in the Lower City. His eyes veered left to right in search of job openings, but both eyes were momentarily sent up toward the door. The sound of quick moving footsteps could be heard, and given the time of night, this could almost certainly mean trouble.
Fearful and alert, the owner got up and dropped the newspaper. It was at that moment the door had been opened with great speed and force, and thus entered a young woman. The store owner backed into his own counter with closed teeth of initial fear, but soon let out a grunt and tilted his head. It took him seconds to tell that this panting woman was of no danger to him. Nevertheless, she was an interesting figure in terms of appearance.
Clothed in a gray turtleneck t-shirt, purple shorts, two jackboots, and a sickly green beanie; this was a fairly uncommon attire for both citizens of the Upper and Lower City alike. For bodily features, the woman had moderately long blonde hair and four bangs going down her face. Mere seconds into entering the building, she had opened her eyes—revealing two 'Mysterian Blue' colored eyes.
The store owner continued releasing small grunts of awe, now more so intrigued by the uniqueness of this person than of her intentions. Despite the time and randomness of the visit, the unique appearance and fair beauty of this person all correlated to one ultimate presumption: That she had money.
He jumped behind the counter and faced her with a grin, the woman surprised him by forcing both her hands down on the counter with moon sized eyes.
"Do you have it!? Do you still have it!?" she asked frantically in a heavy English accent.
The woman clamped her hands together in faith and nodded constantly, "Oh, yes! I overheard someone saying at the bar that this place acquired a-"
She had been suddenly cut off by the man's loud grunt, "Wait, do you mean-" he turned and gazed at a cardboard box, then looked back at her. "Might you be here for the-"
"The 'Modenna-2' engine, is it true? Do you own one?"
Both eyebrows of the man raised high, "Indeed, I do."
The young woman beamed and fell halfway forward over the desk, "Is it really for a Modenna-2? Are you certain?"
He nodded, "Yes, the engine is built for a Modenna sports car."
It was finally at this moment that the man sniff the air, and it was beyond surprising to him to find that the woman did in fact have an odor. Closer examination of the person revealed a bit of a greasy look, thus indicating that the woman lacked good hygiene. This was enough for the man to raise the question of her living status.
"Are you... from around here?" he asked.
While digging into her pocket for money, the woman responded positively, "Yes, I take refuge in a nearby abandoned warehouse."
This question seemed to have shot a hole into her heart, in which she quickly tried to heal through optimistic thinking, "Yes, unfortunately. But I'll be okay, soon!"
The next thing the man knew, a mass amount of credits had been placed over the counter. He gasped loudly and looked back up at the poor woman. She exhaled loudly and revealed a cute smile.
"This is all the money I have, will this cover the expense?"
A continued moment of shock occurred within the man. The woman in front of him was offering every last credit she owned merely to obtain an expensive engine for an expensive sports car he knew she didn't own. There was impatience found in the woman's Mysterian Blue eyes, yet reluctance and praise.
Though the man so desperately needed money, he couldn't help but feel awful taking this money from a homeless woman—especially one who seemed for the most part to be friendly. He looked away and gently pushed the money back toward her.
"I- I can't sell you this, it wouldn't be a wise purchase on your part..."
A violent shock went through the woman's body, "What? No! Please, sell me the engine!"
"I was hoping for someone down in the Upper City to maybe come buy this. You know, someone a bit more financially stable..."
The woman bit down on her lip intensely and pushed the money forward, "Please, I'll never find this opportunity again! This is the beginning to my dream right here, you can't deny an innocent girl her dream!"
He looked back into her eyes and raised an eyebrow, "Dream? What do you need this for, anyway? Do you own a sports car?"
"Not quite, I just really need this, okay?"
A line of awkwardness had been drawn between the two. The vendor couldn't find the morality within to take all of this money from a homeless woman, yet, he would have a hard time getting over the fact that he had denied the woman her 'dream'. All in all, for a homeless person to offer their entire balance for one item, surely, she couldn't be in the wrong with her desires.
With a sigh, the man handed her the large boxed engine. She grabbed onto it firmly with a nervously happy smile. Despite the deal having been made, the man still expressed his concern for the exchange with a heavy sigh.
"Is owning this engine at least going to help you financially?"
"Hopefully," she answered.
Without further word on that matter, the woman turned around and walked off. Surprisingly, though, she did not go out the door. Without permission she had placed the box down on a table and quickly took out the engine, her next action left the man stunned.
"W- what are you doing?"
The woman had pulled a metal fragment out of her pocket. The engine had turned on as she quickly stuck the fragment into the center. Engines of the 23rd century had been designed to be run on pure energy, rather than gasoline. Most engines of this day could be tested by sticking metal into a certain compartment, though doing so elsewhere could possibly result in a backfire shock—very lethal to mankind.
After several seconds, the woman took the fragment out and nodded. She then proceeded to bend over and open up a thin metal panel, the store owner watched in awe as she began to fiddle around with various gauges, buttons, and settings. Most notably, she had begun to twist a component on the back of the engine.
Seeing the woman manually configure the very expensive engine was beyond frightening to the store owner, and so he finally put his foot down.
"Hey, girl, stop!" The woman raised her head and looked back at the now frantic man. "I know what you're trying to do, and I beg of you to stop before you break it!"
There was a moment to register the request, but she ultimately shook her head, "I mustn't give up, I need to try."
"Look, kid, rumor has it that not even Captain Falcon supercharged his own engine. There are professional mechanics out there that do this stuff. I- I just- I know you're going to end up breaking that thing and I can't give a refund for when you do! For God's sake, I couldn't live with myself if I end up taking all your money and send you off with nothing!"
She nodded with two saddened eyes, "I need to try... this is my last hope..."
The fact of the matter came to be that it was too late. Regardless of whether or not she break the engine, she had already modified it, and thus took away from the value. Buying the engine back from the woman would be impossible at this point. Naturally, she took the warning that the man gave her with great care. Supercharging an engine was said to be very difficult, and at times, very dangerous.
With one final twist the woman closed the panel, breathed in, and approached the engine's compartment with the metal fragment once more. She grit her teeth with a sweat building up over her forehead; the store owner squinted and covered his ears, fearful of what would happen. After swallowing, the metal fragment was gently pushed into the engine. An interesting result came from this action.
Both adults widened their eyes and gasped as the engine immediately roared and vibrated greatly. The loud roar soon began to mimic a similar sound to that of a common lawnmower. The woman beamed intensely and removed the fragment, thus powering the engine down again.
The store owner had shot himself up to his feet in great amazement, "Holy..!"
With great optimism, the woman packed the engine back into the cardboard box and brought it up to her chest. The store owner, now biting his finger in amazement, reached toward the woman and raised both his brows.
"Wow, I mean, wow! Y- you just supercharged an engine in no more than a minute!" He swallowed and bit his lip intensely, "Hey, how about you sell me back the engine, and we'll sell it for even more money." The woman raised both her eyebrows, intrigued by the offer. "We can use that money to buy more high quality engines, and you keep supercharging them. I mean, holy crap, do you realize we could be rich within a month or two!?"
"An interesting offer, but it's like you said, supercharging is a risky operation. I just got lucky is all."
The man fell back into his chair and grasped his forehead, "Wow... that is quite some talent you have there. You must be a master mechanic..."
"No, not at all..." She walked to the door, then looked back at the man one last time. "Just a girl who knows a thing or two about F-Zero engines. That's all."
With a supercharged engine now within her hands, the woman proceeded down the sidewalks of the Lower City. She lived a few blocks away and would need to carry the heavy engine back safely. No one knew but the store owner, but within this box was an engine worth many credits—enough to get someone out of the Lower City.
As the woman continued walking down the dark streets of the city, the tall Man of Darkness stood above a rooftop watching. This woman was walking through the Lower City streets around midnight; unprotected, defenseless, well clothed, and of great beauty. This man needn't contemplate whether the girl was brave or stupid—but he was intrigued, nonetheless.
Instantly, a smirk formed on the man's face while watching the woman walk.
"...and who might this young maiden be?"
To be continued!