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Aces High 11: White Knuckle Tight.

Mandroid May 19th, 2014 462 Never
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  1. =Aces High 11=
  2.        
  3. >Apalcalacia was a temperate city.
  4. >Located outside Equestria’s official boarders at the southern tip of the the Tramplevanian Alps where the land met the water, it had –just- the right mix of mountain cold and waterfront humidity to make it feel like icicles were forming in your nostrils when you took a deep breath.
  5. >So perfect weather to be bracing wind chill in, obviously.
  6. >The event coordinators need to have their heads examined. At least they were able to get you heat trapping flight suits.
  7. >You pull your suit off your lower back and let it slap back, re-adjusting to a more comfortable position.
  8. “Fancy, I think my suit’s too small.”
  9. >Fancypants doesn’t turn to face you as he draws notes on the whiteboard with the race’s route on it. “Every suit was custom made to your measurements, Anonymous. Unless you’ve put on weight since the last time we did that, it should fit perfectly.”
  10. >Smart ass…
  11. “I also think the paint might be still wet on these…”
  12. >You’d caught some yellow on your hands.
  13. >Fancypants sets his marker down and turns around. “Yes, these were a bit of a rush job. Please, sit.”
  14. >You and the rest of the team sit down, you’ve got Soarin’ and Spitfire on your flanks.
  15. >”Good morning team, I hope you all slept well on the way over here.” Fancy starts with a smile.
  16. >”We slept like foals.” Spitfire says. She winks to Fancy afterwards. “I checked.”
  17. >”Creeeeeepy…” Fire Streak teases.
  18. >Fancy chuckles and waves a hoof. “Well, voyeurism aside, let’s go over today’s race…”
  19.  
  20. >”We’re all ears, Fancy.” Soarin’ says.
  21. >Fancypants levitates up a photo. In the photo are six young-ish looking, you could never tell with them, dragonlings, all posing to look tough. “This is our opponent, The Desolators.”
  22. “How grandiose…”
  23. >”Indeed. They say they hail from the uncharted north, near the landmass closest to the Hooviet Union. They caught the eye of a recruiter up there and…well, he brought them down here.”
  24. >”But why did they even –come-?” Misty asks. “As far as I remember, dragons value their privacy highly.”
  25. >Spitfire chimes in. “Those kids? It’s the three G’s. Glory, then gold, then girls. Dragons’re competitive by nature, I’m amazed it’s taken this long to see a few of ‘em in the league.”
  26. >”Spitfire is correct.” Fancy says.
  27. “Right…what’s the plan then, Fancy?”
  28. >Fancypants levitates a pointer up and highlights the starting position and starts tracing it along the generally simple path, no big worries save a few dead end turns. “The race is a three lap race through the mountains and outer-lying cave systems. Each tag team will have their times added together and averaged and the best time wins.” Fancy shoot Spitfire a look. “So stay together.”
  29. >Spitfire rubs the back of her head while Fancy continues. “You’ll be allowed one pit-stop for either refuel or rehydration where the clock will be stopped each, but after that they’ll keep the clocks running, so use it wisely.”
  30. “Anything else, boss?”
  31. >Fancypant’s face goes grim. “Yes…dragons are a violent and competitive race and the watcher balloons won’t be able to see you everywhere. Don’t expect them to play entirely fair when pry eyes are blocked.”
  32. >Greeeeeaaaat…
  33.  
  34. >A quick huddle for luck and you’re out the door into the stadium.
  35. >”AND HERE THEY ARE, YOUR WONDERBOLTS!” the announcer screams.
  36. >You engage press mode and wave to the gathered crowd. The stadium was built especially for this race tour and was packed full of spectators.
  37. >”It’s like the Equestria Games out here…” Fleetfoot says.
  38. >”Easy Fleets, just be cool.” Spitfire responds.
  39. >You wave and cheer and throw a few winks to some of the mares in the audience.
  40. >The dragons in the center of the field were doing the same, but with far more gusto. They’d single out spectators to high five and egg entire sections on for more, they were eating this praise up.
  41. “Looks like you were right about these kids, Spits.” you say.
  42. >”Go around the world as much as I have Anny, and you learn a few things.”
  43. >The teams take their positions at the starting line as the announcer tells the six lap, one pit-stop rule to the audience.
  44. >Next to your team, The Desolators scoff and jeer. “Check it out, man. The ponies got a pink monkey to help them.”
  45. >The other one snickers. “So lame…”
  46. “Hey.”
  47. >They both look over to you over the backs of the others.
  48. “When you two are done sucking on my exhaust trails, tell your mom’s if they can mail me back my clothes. I think I left them on the floors of their caves.”
  49. >Next to you, Soarin winces in mock pain at the burn. The dragons however, gnash their teeth.
  50. >”Why I oughta-“
  51. >The countdown clock chimes on with a “Ding!” and signals the last ten seconds before the race starts.
  52. >A hush of anticipation falls over the stadium.
  53. >”On your marks…” the announcer says.
  54.  
  55. -Music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azCq5qQodU8 -
  56. >Your muscles tense as the light counts down.
  57. >In a flash, it turns green.
  58. >”GO!” the announcer shouts.
  59. >And you do, you and the other racers leap off your starting positions to the roar of the crowd like bullets coming out of a gun.
  60. >You clench your fists and throw your arms back, accelerating with the pack and watching for the openings to present themselves.
  61. >Right…there!
  62. >One of the dragons at the front of the pack was going high.
  63. “Spitfire! Low ball on the right!”
  64. >You arc your body down and to the right and dip altitude until you’re practically skimming the ground.
  65. >”Nice eye, Anny!” Spitfire shouts, joining you in your descent.
  66. >You gradually pull closer to the boy, riding his slipstream while avoiding the gusts of wind from his wings. If you can get a bit closer, you-
  67. >Another wing, an orange feathered one, flaps in your peripheral vision.
  68. “Gah!”
  69. >Your reprise in turn almost causes Spitfire to spin out and worse, alerts the dragon. He looks down at you, then up at the press balloon watching the race, then scoffs and rolls out of your path.
  70. >Shit, there went that.
  71. >”Pull it back together, Anny! We still got this!” Spitfire shouts while pulling away from you.
  72. >Good going Anonymous.
  73. >”In there Anny, let’s go!”
  74. >The pack of you rounds the bend sharp and then rockets down the track to the next bend in the opposite direction. First leg of the race was twists and turns until you reached-
  75. >The dragon directly in front of you rounded the corner and went splat against a pillared outcropping of rocks from the side of the canyon wall.
  76. >Until you reached Pigsticker Pass.
  77. >”Break, Anny!”
  78. >You and Spitfire break formation and weave through the rocky outcroppings. Grunts of pain and swears of frustration behind you indicate that the trap caught a few of your opponents.
  79. “Looks like that race in Zebrica came in handy after all!” you shout, the two of you pulling ahead.
  80.  
  81. >You dance through the rocks and close in on the dragon in the lead as he clears the obstacle. The boy looks back on you as he enters into the section of the valley with those rocky outcroppings reaching over the lip and casting everything below them into shadow.
  82. >As well as blocking the view of the balloons.
  83. >The dragon whistles and pulls ahead just as someone roars behind you. Another dragon, a purple one, flies up and starts clawing at your underside.
  84. >You bring your arms up to cover your face instinctively.
  85. “Gah-! Wha- Little fucker!”
  86. >You feel yourself slowing down trying to fend him off until you both get bapped by a yellow wing.
  87. >”Back off, squirt!” Spitfire shouts.
  88. >The dragon shakes his head, stunned, and gives you just enough time to kick him in the jaw to send him spiraling back.
  89. >As you recover, two more dragons speed ahead of you.
  90. “Dammit!”
  91. >”Let’s kick it into high gear, Annie!” Spitfire shouts, rocketing after them.
  92.  
  93. >The remainder of the first lap took you through two more locals, a cave full of fruit bats and a currently dormant geyser field.
  94. >Through both paths, the young dragons remained far ahead of you.
  95. >Spitfire grits her teeth ahead of you and begins reeling the teens in, you clench your fists and do your best to keep up with her.
  96. >The dragons cross the starting line in quick succession, you and Spitfire right behind them.
  97. >You risk a look back to glance at your times on the scoreboard. Whatever it said, all you saw was “Not fast enough”.
  98. “Spits! Go low in the canyon! We’ll dodge the rocks and let them deal with the big ones!”
  99. >Spitfire gestures the affirmative with her hoof and cuts around the bend. The dragons ahead of you are already weaving through the rocks as you and Spitfire rapidly drop altitude.
  100. >At the bottom of the canyon there were less rocky outcroppings, but space was tight. Right at home for a pair of stunt fliers.
  101. >Your gamble pays off, you and Spitfire have to slow down less to avoid collisions than the dragons and you escape the forest of rocks within spitting distance of them.
  102. >”Ha! We got ‘em now!” Spitfire exclaims as the five of you shoot into the fruitbat cave.
  103. >Confectionary bats stream out of the deeper portions of the cave in droves, necessitating some quick maneuvering.
  104.  
  105. >The lead red dragon signaled for one of his wingmen to fly off. The young dragon arced out of his path and shot back towards you, grabbing and snapping off a stalactite on his way as a makeshift club.
  106. >”Shit!”
  107. “Split on my mark and get ahead of me!”
  108. >The dragon comes closer and closer, raising his weapon high to strike as more bats fly out.
  109. “Now!” you shout once he’s a few feet away.
  110. >Spitfire pulls to the side hard and gets out of the way while you curve and bend your body to direct yourself how you want.
  111. >You arc your nose over the incoming dragon like a dolphin leaping out of the water. The dragon swings and hits empty air as fruitbats swarm around him.
  112. >You rotate yourself around and lift your legs to your chest, you’d only ever done this trick once.
  113. >The dragon looks at you in surprise as you clench your fists, fingers in, and send a massive gout of exhaust flame and heat towards him.
  114. >You rocket forward as the drake tries to pat the fire on him out, the fruitbats around him now avoiding their unfortunately singed brethren and the spinning ball of fire in their midst.
  115. >”Haha! Nice one, Anny!” Spitfire shouts as you gain on her.
  116. “It was a trick Soarin’ thought up.” You say.
  117. >”Come on, two more to go!” Spitfire says before beating her wings and going ahead.
  118. >You enter into the geyser field and notice the puddles rippling as the ground shakes.
  119. “Oh hell, that can’t be good…”
  120. >”Eyes up Anny! Deal with that later! We’re gaining on ‘em!”
  121. >You weren’t entirely sure, but you zipped after Spitfire anyway.
  122.  
  123. >You and Spitfire try to gain on the drakes, but they reach the lap finish line ahead of you.
  124. >The two of them land at their tented area and begin throwing back gems by the fistful.
  125. >Damn…this –could- be your chance but with how they’ve been flying…
  126. “Spits! Pit stop! Let’s go!”
  127. >Spitfire looks back to you with gritted teeth. “Are you nuts!? Now’s our chance!”
  128. “Spits just listen to me! We gotta land and talk! Now!”
  129. >Spitfire groans and peels off towards your pit area, you follow.
  130. >”It appears both teams leaders are taking their one allotted time out.” The announcer says.
  131. >Once you get on the ground, you wave your pack techs over to start refueling you.
  132. >Spitfire trots over, using the time to shake her wings out. “What’s up, Anonymous? What’s so important that we had to stop the race?”
  133. >You kneel down to her level and talk bluntly.
  134. “You and me need to do our team dynamic thing. Now.”
  135. >Spitfire cocks an eyebrow. “Aint this not the most opportune time to be experimenting?”
  136. “It’s either that or we lose the race, Spitfire. Our times aren’t good enough to beat theirs unless we pull off some miracle.”
  137. >Spitfire bits her lip and looks up at the scoreboard. Behind her, the dragon team takes off again.
  138. >”Crap, I hate it when you eggheads are right.”
  139. >Your techs pat your shoulder. “All good, sir!” You ignore them.
  140. “We need to do this now. You take lead and I’ll follow, we’ll try a slipstream okay?”
  141. >Spitfire nods. “Let’s hit it!”
  142.  
  143. >You and Spitfire run down the track and shoot off into the air. You organize yourself so that you’re right behind her, riding through the air that she breaks a her powerful wings carry her forward.
  144. >”How do you wanna play this!?” she shouts back.
  145. “Get me close! I got a plan!”
  146. >The two of you zip through the rock outcroppings and through the fruitbat cave with little trouble.
  147. >Although you –did- smell roasted fruit on the way.
  148. >Once you clear the cave, your worst fears are realized. The geyser fields are erupting.
  149. >White hot bursts of steam and water shoot up dozens of feet into the air right in your flightpath.
  150. >Enough to cook you in this fancy suit if you weren’t careful.
  151. >”I see them! They’re about a third of the way through the field!”
  152. “Get us close!”
  153. >Spitfire grits her teeth and squints her eyes as she picks up the pace.
  154. >She hazards a glance down. “We got rumbling, Anny! Follow my instructions if you don’t wanna get cooked!”
  155. “On your six!”
  156. >Spitfire continues forward for a bit befor-“RIGHT!” Spitfire rolls to the right, leaving you a fraction of a second to roll with her and keep your slipstream.
  157. >”LEFT!”
  158. >You both roll left.
  159. >”Sideways!”
  160. >Whu-You have a split second to react as Spitfire flies on her side and slips between two jets of water that shoot up. She rights herself. “This is your opening, Anny! I don’t have it in me with this turn up ahead!”
  161. >You nod. “On your left!”
  162.  
  163. >You ride the slipstream Spitfire’s been making for just a bit longer before you gun your engines and pull ahead.
  164. >The dragons ahead of you soar side by side as the watch out for any geysers.
  165. “HEY!”
  166. >Their ears both perk up.
  167. “Snot nosed kids!”
  168. >The two of them look back at you and scowl and you swear your hands are bleeding with how hard you’re pushing it. How can dragons be so –fast-?
  169. “You know only one of you can win, right?”
  170. >The two’s eyes go wide and they look at each other blinking.
  171. >Come on you two idiots, you can’t keep this up forever.
  172. >”…I’m winning!” one says, shooting forward.
  173. >”Like hell you are!” the other shouts, grabbing the firsts tail and yanking back.
  174. >Bullseye!
  175. >You race under the two drakes as they squabble in the air and fall behind, Spitfire shoots past them as well from behind a geyser.
  176. >”Ha! Nice going, Anny!”
  177. “Pick it up before they catch on!”
  178. >Spitfire pulls ahead of you as you enter into the final straightaway to the finish line.
  179. >”And crossing the finish line in first and second place is the all-star duo of the Wonderbolts, Spitfire and Anonymous! Their times together almost guarantee a much needed win for this team.”
  180. >You both cross the finish line to the roar of the crowd and the equally loud roar of Fancypants ringing in a win. Your times go up on the board and get averaged out.
  181. “Hah…nice.” You say landing and skidding to a stop.
  182. >Spitfire lands next to you panting, you’re out of breath yourself. “Hah…hah…”
  183. “See…? Toldja it’d work…”
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