jetamors: Yoruichi is really hot (Default)
Jetamors ([personal profile] jetamors) wrote2010-11-09 10:26 pm
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Nanowrimo Day 9


He stayed low as he zipped back over the water and into the river bed that would lead to the finish line. Amethyst was right behind him the entire way, just waiting for him to screw up. Every twist and turn in the river was a new challenge. Kid continued to push the skiff, faster and faster, but not so fast that it would lose control during the turns. And then he was going into that last, hair-raising twist. The finish line was just a few dozen meters away...

Up in the stands, Tatiana had kept her wits about her. The Bastard's box had several rows of seats, even though she and Tatiana were sitting in the very last row. When Kid made his play for first place, she held herself ready. And when he took the lead, she vaulted up out of her seat and into the rows in front of her.

The Bastard's security had started pulling their guns already. Laser bolts flashed around her as she jumped over rows of seats, until she reached the frontmost ones and crouched down. Ahead of her, the bolts that missed tore through the window that had shown the race in such magnificent detail. It shattered, with pieces falling all around her as she landed in front of it and threw herself behind the front row of seats.

"Stop it! You idiots!" she could hear the Bastard snap. "She can't earn me any money if she's dead!"

Up above, she could hear small clicking sounds, as the guards set their guns to the setting that would paralyze her, instead of killing her.

"Now, you two fan down the sides, and the rest of you cover them. She's probably got a trick or two up her sleeve."

Tatiana only had one trick at the moment, and it wasn't one that she could use at the moment. But below her, audible now that the window was blown out, the crowd was roaring in a way that suggested that something was happening. Whether it was Kid coming across the finish line, or someone else overtaking him--that was something she would have to trust to fate.

The security was coming down the steps; they'd be there in a second. She didn't have any time left. Tatiana scrambled up, and jumped onto the sill of the window, crunching against broken glass and electrochemical components.

The Race was very far below; she looked for Tambanokano, and saw the small yellow skiff, just seconds away from crossing the finish line.

"Kid!" she shouted, even though she knew there was no way he could truly kill her. "KID!"

"What are you waiting for?! Shoot her!" the Bastard shouted.

A bolt caught Tatiana in the shoulder; she could already feel the numbing effect spreading. Without another moment of hesitation, she used the last of her strength, and jumped.

Below, Kid's world had narrowed down to the finish line. He was only seconds away... it was almost in the bag... and he crossed it, in first place.

The crowd erupted, but he could barely hear them. Already he was scanning the boxes at the top, to see if Tatiana was in position. Most of them were impervious to his vision--but in one, he could see a figure briefly framed.

She fell.

Before he could even consciously think about it, he was straining upward, trying to catch her. She was falling so quickly, and he was so slow. He forced Tambanokano to even faster speeds, not thinking about the people in the crowd, whose heads he barely cleared. And then he was there, just as she was about to fall into the stands. She landed half on his back and half on the back of the skiff; it jerked up a moment in surprise. There was something wrong with the way she lay, as if she couldn't move herself.

Her voice was as urgent as ever, though. "Kid, we have to go! Right now! Remember the plan!"

He didn't think he could speak, but he managed a nod. They'd plotted the route from here to the mechanic. It wasn't far, and he knew which direction to go in. The skiff rose higher, and then shot off toward the horizon.

"Hey, are you okay?" Kid asked. He started to turn, but the skiff turned with him, so he wasn't able to check on her.

"Yeah, more or less," Tatiana said. "I'm not about to fall off or anything. But they hit me with a stun ray. I don't know how long these things last." Her voice had a slight edge of hysteria.

"It'll be okay," Kid said. "We'll be at the mechanics in ten minutes, and I'll carry you onto Hold Steady if I have to."

Fortunately for both of them, by the time they reached the mechanics' hangar, the effects of the bolt were starting to taper off. Tatiana still didn't have much control over her limbs, but she was able to slide off of Tambanokano without embarrassing herself, and limp over to a chair where she and Kid could talk with the accountant.

"And so the final amount, considering what you've paid already, plus storage fees--"

"Storage fees?" Tatiana said.

"Yes, this isn't a charity, you know. At any rate, this is the final amount." She showed them a number. Tatiana winced.

"We don't have quite that much, do we?" Kid whispered to Tatiana. She shrugged him off.

"How about this? We'll give you claim to the first prize plus rookie bonus from the Race. This is the guy who just won it, y'know? And for the rest, we'll add in the winning skiff."

"Tambanokano?" Kid said.

"Well, we can't take it with us."

Kid sighed, but nodded in acquiescence.

The accountant was obviously doing the math in her head, and it was coming out favorably. "All right. Computer, you've witnessed this contract, right?"

"Correct," a voice said.

"Sheesh, does everyone have one of those but me?" Tatiana whispered to Kid.

"We do have one now, remember?" he replied. Tatiana laughed.

"Okay, then, our business here is done. You can open the roof for us right away."

Tatiana felt tiny pins and needles feelings in her fingers, indicating that she was regaining fine motor control. "Hey, Kid, pull out my pad for me, would you?"

"Yeah, sure. Shouldn't we get aboard Hold Steady, though?"

"Yeah, yeah. I just want to do something while we go. Put it in my hands, would you? Thanks."

They walked toward Hold Steady as quickly as Tatiana could manage. Her legs were still a little shaky, though, plus she was concentrating more on tapping at her pad. Kid noticed a disturbance toward the far end of the hangar, at one of the entrances.

"Hey, Tatiana," he said, shaking her shoulder. "I think they might be here."

Tatiana didn't say anything, but she took a deep breath, and started to walk more quickly. She was still doing whatever-it-was on her pad.

The disturbance at the end of the hangar was growing louder and angrier. There was a sudden light flash, like an indoor thunderbolt; someone had fired a weapon.

"Tatiana, seriously, we have to go," Kid said urgently. He took her elbow and half-dragged her along; she acquiesced, but all of her attention was still on her pad.

Finally, they reached Hold Steady. Kid dragged Tatiana right inside, and then ran for the bridge. "I'm going to start it up!" he yelled back at her. "You go close the door."

The people who'd been at the edge of the hangar had apparently gotten around the mechanics. Several of them were running down the long hangar, in the direction of Hold Steady. Above them, the roof of the hangar started to open.

On the bridge, Kid was running through safety checks and warm-up procedures as quickly as he could. The floor of the bridge vibrated for a few brief moments, and then the dampers kicked in. Lights started coming up all along the control panels and displays.

"Can you take it from here, Hold Steady?" he asked.

"I can elevate the craft to a height of one hundred meters when the roof is fully retracted," Hold Steady said. "However, I will require a pilot for any more complex maneuver."

"Okay, fine fine fine." He slapped a few last buttons, typed in one more command, and then ran down the passageway to the door outside. Tatiana was still standing there, and the door was still open.

"What are you doing?" he said. "We need to close this thing up and go!"

In reply, Tatiana showed him her pad. It showed her current account, which at the moment was displaying so many digits that Kid could hardly process that it was money.

"I told everyone I bet with that I'd need the winnings right after the race. I still had to lean on a few of them, though."

The people running outside had almost reached the ship. Kid could see the Bastard in the lead, gun drawn, flanked by her security personnel. They were still out of firing range, though not out of voice range.

"You're not getting away from me!" the Bastard screamed. "This isn't over yet!"

Tatiana smiled. "No, Bastard, I think it is over. See, I'm paying off all of my debt to you, right... now." She pressed a button on the screen of her tab; the numbers quickly slid down to almost nothing.

The Bastard physically recoiled for a moment. But then she aimed her gun at them, and started firing.

"Close the door! Close the door!" Kid said.

"Yes, Pilot," Hold Steady said, and the door to the ship obediently slid shut.

"How long until we can lift off?"

"The roof has paused in its retraction," Hold Steady said. "Clearance on either side is approximately 5 cm, which is too narrow for me."

"I'll get you out, then," Kid said.

It was a difficult liftoff, but Kid was the best pilot in all of Garvey, at the moment. Hold Steady scraped slightly against one side of the roof, but otherwise emerged unscathed.

"Okay, let's go!" Tatiana said. "We've gotta get off this planet!"

"But where are we going to go?" Kid asked. "The only place we can reach is Hurston Station."

"Then we'll go to Hurston Station! C'mon, c'mon!"

From space, Garvey was mostly covered in grey clouds, with the occasional glimpse of blue or green.

"Hard to believe we were just down there," Kid remarked. They had some time before Hold Steady computed the best course to Hurston Station.

"Yeah, I guess so," Tatiana said. "Still, it feels great to finally get off that rock!"

And with that, they were gone.