Stories From a Distant Galaxy Volume 21
The Ooari Race
I stand still as my pit crew suits me up. Racing suits are heavy, uncomfortable, and a little tight on the ass, but none of the matters in zero G. I just need to endure while I’m in the crew bay.
I’ve been training all year for this race. Training has been a little rough, but my crew boss knows how to get things done. Currently, I’m holding 4 Ooari Race Cups under my belt after racing for 13 years.
I have several other trophies from smaller races, but the Ooari Race is the biggest speeder race in the galaxy. People from all over the Outer Rim fly many light-years to the Ooari Block System just to see us race.
It’s weird to see my face along with the faces of the other racers on banners hanging from starships around the planet. I should be used to it, but it still kind of ogles me. As I soak in my thoughts, my crew lowers a very bulky helmet over my head.
The helmet is orange and red with 7 tubes sticking out of it, a thin tinted visor, and an extremely spacious oxygen mask over the front of the helmet. My crew helps me walk to my ship, because the suit is too heavy for me to walk on my own.
My suit comes equipped with a food tube, a water tube, and a tube for me to shit and piss. We’re up there for 24 hours straight, so it’s a necessity. As we approach my ship, I smile at the beautiful sight. My ship was custom built by the starship company, Veckora.
Usually starship companies can’t build a speeder for shit, but Veckora really upped their game with my speeder. It’s called the Veckora Falling Star 43.9. The 43.9 is because my speeder can make a one light-year pulse jump in 43.9 seconds, which is unheard of in the racing industry.
Starship companies are damn good at making light drives and pulse jumpers. My ship is in the shape of a thin yet sharp arrow, with orange and red racing stripes running down the middle. As a miniature crane lifts me into the cockpit, my crew boss smiles and waves at me.
With my bulky gloves, I wave back as I am lowered into my seat. Upon sitting down, I hook up all the tubes and wires to plug-ins on my ship, strap on all my harnesses, and clip my suit straps to the seat.
Slowly, the window dome is lowered down and bolted in. My name is Yeferi Sev, and I am a blue-skinned Trigiaite speeder ship-racing pilot with red colored eyes, and short yellow hair. My looks don’t matter when my racing helmet masks me though.
The Ooari track is simple, yet long and exhausting. First, we take 5 laps around the Ooari Block planet. After that, we pulse jump to the system’s largest gas giant and take 7 laps around that.
Then, we pulse jump to the system’s Oort cloud, which is in the furthest reaches of the solar system. Once there, we must race around a stretch of asteroids and space dust. You’d be surprised to hear that a decent amount of people park their ships out there just to watch us race that part; probably because that’s where most of the crashes happen.
Last year, I watch a guy slam his ship into an asteroid after trying to take a sharp maneuver for the camera teams out there. Stupid fucking idiot’s dead now. Hope it was worth it. Finally, we pulse jump back to the Block and start the process all over again for 24 hours.
Once the timer’s up, the first person to complete a full lap after is the winner. It’s more than just going fast and winning. You have to precisely navigate the ship, keep your eye on your fuel and thruster condition, and don’t burn your thrusters too hot. Many new racers burn their thrusters out within the first 10 laps because they want to show off their fast speeders.
The green light in my crew ship blinks, and I slowly depart my speeder from the ship. My crew waves and smiles as I depart. My radio buzzes and I turn it on. “Yeferi, do you copy?” Calls out Lefegi, my crew boss and also my brother. I tap the radio button on my helmet.
“I copy. You ready?” Lefegi chuckles over the radio. “After all that training, I sure hope so. Remember; just go easy on the thrusters. It’s okay if they gap you at the start. They’ll be eating smoke when you pulse jump. Oh hey, I left you a little treat in your med injector on your suit. Use it wisely.”
As the zero G’s relax my body, I reach my fingers to a small compartment on my arm with a tube hooked to it. Upon opening it, I catch sight of crushed blue powder sitting in the med injector hold. “Fighters Frost? If I get caught with this, I’ll be on probation for 5 years.” I bicker as I fly my ship to the starting line.
Lefegi scoffs. “That’s why it must be gone by the end of the race. Don’t worry; it’ll help for sure. Fighter pilots always use this shit. If it works for them, it’ll work for you.” I shrug my shoulders and seal up the compartment. Upon flying my ship to the starting line, I look around at the 30 other racers and the massive crowd.
93 million spectators have parked their ships all around the race-space, and 7 billion people are watching the race on TV and listening on the transmissions from all over the galaxy. The Ooari race is one of the biggest sports events in the galaxy.
The biggest event is the Outer Rim Slam, which is a fighting event where two people fight to death. Hell, the winner of that match takes home 850 million AC. The winner of the Ooari Race takes home 50 mil. As we await the countdown, several ship fly around us with massive cameras, taking photos and broadcasting live.
“Okay Yeferi, the countdown is beginning. I’m on the other end and will report your ship’s vitals, stellar conditions, and help you with coordinating the race. Good luck, man.” Calls out my brother. “We’re taking this home.” I reply with confidence.
As I pull a lever to initiate my primary racing thrusters, I feel my ship rattle and shake. That’s from my thrusters and the other ships starting up. The thrusters emit small waves of gravity, so when 30 ships are in close proximity, the empty space becomes a little shaky. The countdown appears on a small display screen in my control board.
3…2…1… GO! Within a flash, bright red flames and blue gas shoots from the back of all the ships, and we take off. Upon launching forward, the G force pins me to my seat as I breathe a certain way to push blood to my brain. My ship shakes so hard, my ass becomes a little numb as I zoom around the planet.
I look to the side of me out the window to see an array of huge fireworks exploding in the air. The lights from all the cameras on the sidelines flash and glisten off of all the racing ships. I look ahead only to see several ships pass me. “Lefegi, I don’t like this. I’ve been passed 4 times! Can I crank up the thrusters?” I ask as more speeders pass me.
“No! Easy on the thrusters! I told you, we’ll pass them in the pulse jump. You’re already running hot, so don’t push it.” Replies Lefegi. While I take it easy on the thrusters, I see another racer trying to pass me. If I can’t utilize speed, I can outmaneuver him and keep him from passing.
Quickly, I jolt the ship in front of him, and he quickly pulls back to avoid hitting me. “VEEEEEEW” I can hear my thrusters purring like a cat, as I fly around the beautiful planet. After an hour, I finish with the 5 laps and prevented anyone from passing me.
I’m currently in 14th place, but that’s about to change. “You’re close to the pulse jumping point. Initiate the liquid cooling for your thrusters now. We don’t want to risk blowing the pulse jumpers mid jump.” Sternly orders Lefegi.
Quickly, I hit a small button and a plume of white, icy gas embeds my engine bay, cooling my thrusters, pulse jumpers, and all components of my engine. I approach the jumping point and notice the ships in front of me pulse jumping. Quickly, I set the navigation to the gas giant and initiate the pulse jump sequence.
“Setting jumpers now. How are we looking?” I ask over the radio. “Good to go. You’re thruster are a little cooked, so flood your coolant chambers. Once you come out, spray the bay and gun the secondary thrusters while the primaries cool off.” Instructs Lefegi with urgency.
As the sequence starts up, I flood the coolant chambers and ready up the ship. Here I go. Within a touch of a button, my ship blinks away. While in the jump, I breathe a specific way to force blood to my brain, so the crushing G-force doesn’t knock me out.
Usually pulse jumps don’t hurt as much as light jumps, but I’m racing with some serious equipment. In fact, my pulse jumpers are more powerful than most consumer light-drives. The only con is that I only have a distance of 2.5 light-years per jump.
My ship doesn’t come with a light-drive because it’s a racing ship. I’m not a grand tour space racer; those guys travel on average 300 light-years a race. I can’t even imagine how brutal those light-drives are. As the G’s crush my skull and slam me against my seat, I suddenly emerge from the blurry void.
The stars reappear in my vision, and the sight of the colossal red and orange gas giant fills my window. Ah, red and orange, my lucky colors. Maybe that’s why I’ve won 4 of these races. I’m considered one of the greatest speeder ship racing pilots in the galaxy, maybe it’s because the galaxy works in my favor.
With no time to lose, I cool my pulse drives and fire on my secondary thrusters. My ship jolts forward and I fly around the majestic, monumental, red and orange swirly gaseous planet. “Yeferi! Holy shit, you went from 14th place to 4th! I told you; you have the greatest pulse jumpers in the Rim. Just stay easy on your thrusters. Your primaries are almost cooled, your secondary’s are toasty, and your pulse jumpers should be cooled by the next jump. Keep on it, and don’t let anyone pass you. Don’t try too hard to pass whoever is in front unless you see the opportunity that won’t break the ship. Remember, if you really need it, use the little gift in your med injector.” Announces Lefegi with excitement radiating from his words.
I follow his instructions and continue racing carefully. All around the space-way are herds of civilian ships watching and spectating. Billions of fans are watching me race from TV’s and radios, while millions fly from the far reaches of our galaxy just to see me do what I love.
When I was a child, I used to steal scrap parts from junkyards to build little cars and bicycles. As a teenager, I stole a transport ship and flew it around my home planet. I was locked in juvie for 3 months for that one. High school never let me back and I was forced to drop out.
As a young adult, I stole ships with my brother to make ends meet after our parents kicked us out. Then we were caught and spent a year in jail. After that, we took part in underground ship racing and that’s when I found out I was meant for the racing life.
My brother and I teamed up and within 5 years, we went professional. After being sponsored by Veckora, we were eligible for the Ooari Race with a damn good ship. We struggled hard, hustled to get by, and never stopped racing. Hell, I can say it paid off.
Many, many hours pass by as I fly lap after lap. My engine’s hot and I had to refuel 7 times, which bumped me back. A few hours ago, one ship crashed in the Oort cloud, but luckily the pilot ejected and was rescued. I’m tired; my bones feel like their made of dust, and the sweat is causing my skin to flare up.
As I take another lap around the Ooari Block planet, a buzzer goes off on my display. “Yeferi! That was the 24-hour mark. Your in 7th place and need to play catch up. It’s the last full lap, so after you pulse jump to the gas giant, burn both thrusters for the first circle around the planet, then when you pulse jump to the Oort cloud, outmaneuver the others, gun both thrusters if you see a clearing in the asteroids, and try to get into 3rd place by the time you jump back. We’ll be able to beat them in the jump. Let’s go!” Yells Lefegi with extreme concentration.
Holding great haste, I shoot my ship around the planet and further cool my engine. As I soar around the beautiful planet, the shining, colorful lights from the big cites, flashing from the ships, and twinkling from the stars glistens off of my ship and presents me with a beautiful image.
After the laps around the Ooari Block Planet, I prepare my ship for the pulse jump. I sneak up from behind one of the other racers and prepare to jump. What I’m about to do is a dirty move, but I’m an ex-underground ship racer, so it’s nothing to me.
Before he’s able to jump, I pull up next to him. The pilot turns his head toward me and flips me off. I have a feeling he knows what I’m about to do. Within a flash, I hit the button and pulse jump right next to him. The gravity waves from my jumpers rattle his ship and scramble his NAV system.
Because of this, he’s going to have to wait for a reboot, which could take 5 minutes. After being crushed half to death by G-force for a fraction of a second, I emerge from the pulse jump feeling absolutely sick to my stomach from the pain.
“You still have that underground racer in you, brother! That was some dirty shit! Not only that, but you covered that jump in 0.6 seconds! The transmissions are saying that you just broke a record! Yeferi, that’s 2 billion miles in 0.6 seconds! That’s what I’m talking about!” Yells my very excited brother.
I would be as excited as him, but my body is crumbling from exhaustion. I’ve been stressfully racing a speeder ship for 24 hours straight. “Save the celebration for after I take a nap. Let’s take home this cup now.” I mumble as I struggle to use my strength to fly the ship.
Quickly, I cool off my pulse drives because they’re almost melting from the jump. With not time to lose, I feel my second wind and crank on both thrusters. Zoom, zoom, and zoom! I weave through the other speeder ships, as I gracefully fly around the gas giant.
During my time around the gas giant, I cleared 4 speeders, putting me in third place. As my next jump approaches, I flip on the sequence and hit the button. BOOM! Another second zooms by as the G’s crush my body once again. Upon emerging into the rocky Oort cloud, alarms blare throughout my ship.
“Dammit! Your pulse drives are overheating! Shoot off the coolant and flip off the secondary thrusters. Use the asteroids to your advantage and play with the other ships. Confuse them; make them slip up.” Informs my brother as the numbing alarms pound my ears like a Corvalie man in a strip club.
As I try to cool off the engine once again, I notice the other two ships maneuvering around the asteroids. They’re struggling and slipping up. This is my chance. With rage fueling my ambition, I power both thrusters and gun it toward them. “What are you doing? Your engines are hot! Take it easy and play it smart.” Orders Lefegi.
I weave around the rocks and catch up to the other two ships. “I just needed a boost. Don’t worry, I got this.” I utter over the radio. Luckily, I’m on their tail, but they seem to have the upper hand at every twist and turn. I know what I need to do.
Slowly, I hit a small red button on the arm of my suit. I hear a small mechanism clicking. Without warning, a tube is stuffed into my nose from under my helmet and quickly shoots two hits of Fighters Frost into my nasal cavity. Suddenly, time slows down and I feel nothing by rage, euphoria, and power flow through my blood.
I crank on both thrusters and blast the ship through the rocks. “Hey! Take it easy! What are you doing?” Yells my brother as I violently slip the ship around the dusty asteroids. While my thoughts are screaming and my blood is turning to molten metal, I turn off the radio and focus on flying. I’m right on their tail; I’m so close! I feel amazing! I feel like a racing god!
All of the pain in my body has disappeared, as the drugs kiss my brain. I can see why fighter pilots use this shit. Every alarm in my ship is blaring in my ear and the engine bay is shooting smoke. I fly directly next to the other two ships, as we weave through the asteroids of the Oort cloud.
They both look at me and gesture toward the back of my ship where smoke is pouring like sewage from a storm drain, but I don’t care. The only emotion I feel is the lust for victory. A small explosion is heard from my engine bay and I see a fire in the reflection of the other speeder ship’s window.
Still, I feel no fear! The other pilots I’m racing are waving their arms around, trying to warn me of the fire, but fear is nonexistent when I’m this fucking high. I look over at the other pilot and wave at him like a child. He flails his arms as the fire from my engine bay grows.
Out of nowhere, the ship next to me violently smashes into an asteroid and explodes. Without hesitation, I react quickly and maneuver my ship to the side, but I smack my speeder into the other racer next to me, and take out his steering jets. He spins out of control and smacks into my thrusters, causing my ship to spin and twirl in the floating rock filled area of space.
The G-force is so intense, not even the drugs can numb the crushing pain of my skull caving in. Using all of the strength in my body, I reach my arm forward to pull the ejection lever. My ship spins faster and the G’s are unbearable. I scream like someone being burned alive and my bones are melting from pain. I feel my fingers touch the lever, then BOOM! I shoot out of the cockpit and freely fly around in the rocky Oort cloud.
The last thing I see before I pass out is my ship slamming into an asteroid and bursting into flames. Slowly, everything turns black and peaceful. I see myself flying through the mystic cosmos. The stars are as small as bugs, and the galaxies hug my body.
As I sail through the milky void, I notice an extremely beautiful woman dancing in the stellar wonderland. She is gesturing me to come forward, but I am stuck in space. I desperately try to reach her, but my efforts are wasted. Soon, she fades into the nothing, never to be seen again.
Within a flash, I hear three claps, and everything bursts into white light. Slowly, I open my eyes to see myself in a hospital bed. I’m wearing a full body cast, a neck brace, and bandages all around my head. I can’t feel my body at all. Oh, I think I fucked up. I think I’m paralyzed! Oh no! Oh god!
I notice a nurse running out into the hallway. I’m too sedated to call out though. After a minute, I see my crew boss brother Lefegi run in and bury his head next to my neck. “Fuck you, man. I thought I lost you! I thought you were done for! You asshole; I love you. Goddamn, don’t pull that shit again!” He yells as he hugs me while tears fall from his eyes.
“Am, am I paralyzed? What happened?” I confusingly ask. Lefegi scoffs. You’re not paralyzed, jackass. They have you on heavy sedatives. You broke almost every bone in your body. In fact, nobody’s supposed to survive that kind of G force. You’ve been in a coma for a month. The transmissions were going crazy about the race! Two pilots died during your crash.” Explains my brother. I sigh while trying to turn my head.
“Are we in trouble?” I ask. Lefegi gulps and sighs. “Yeah, man. They found the Fighters Frost in your blood test. With that and the two deaths, we’re banned from the league. Luckily, we don’t have to pay any fines. Thank God for racing insurance. Hey, it’s my fault. I gave you the drugs, it’s on me.” Apologetically replies Lefegi.
I drop a tear from my eye. “It’s okay man. Listen, we can start back up. I know some guys we used to run underground races with. We’ll start small, but we can build back up. There’s still the Taleki Grand Cup Race. Hell, we could get into land-speeder racing, too. After I heal, we’ll be good to go.” My brother pats my face.
“Yeferi, no. You can’t race again. I almost lost you! Listen, we’re rich. We’re sitting on all that money from our sponsors and the previous races we won. This is a wake up call, Yeferi. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m the only one that came to see you. We’re getting older, brother. Don’t you want a family; don’t you want kids? We have the money to settle down. It’s only a matter of time before racing kills you, and I can’t let that happen. Think about it.” Urges Lefegi, as he wipes a tear from his eye.
I don’t respond as I tread water in his words. Maybe he’s right. Racing will kill me, but I want to die doing what I love. For the next 10 months, I sit and recover in the hospital, while still thinking about what to do with my life. After I got out, I was in a wheelchair for 3 years.
During this time, my brother would help me for the most part, but sometimes he was busy. As I carried out with my days, struggling to carry on without the use of my legs, I met a girl. She was a green-skinned Ludenarian woman with bright yellow eyes, long black hair, and a body that could make a man’s brain melt.
I met her when I was at the store and fell out of my wheelchair trying to grab a bag of chips. I didn’t want any help, but she was as stubborn as I was, so she helped me. We became quite close, then starting dating. After a few years, I was out of my wheelchair and back on my feet.
We went on many adventures all around the galaxy. We mostly liked hiking on exotic worlds or watching the northern lights glow from a gas giant. We eventually got married, had four kids and purchased 3 houses and 8 cabins.
With my vast amount of funds, I opened up a school that taught underprivileged kids how to fly ships. We provided lessons, pilot license tests, and even offered letters of recommendation for young adults looking for a job in piloting.
Every week we’d see my brother who also built a lovely family, and we’d bring them all together for cookouts and family gatherings. I guess you could say my life turned out perfect. In a way, I caught up with that woman dancing in the stars.
I will never forget the day of the Ooari Race.