ResonantWaves

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About ResonantWaves

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  1. Hey there! Welcome to the forums! I myself haven't been here long but from what I've experienced so far these fellows are a wonderful bunch! You'll enjoy your time here, I can tell you.
  2. A general overview really- not too in-depth, just a reflection of what you enjoyed or what you think I could have done better.
  3. Hi! I'm a relatively new fanfiction writer and I've just published the first two chapters of my story Find The Gap, a KSP racing fic set in the same universe as @DarkOwl57's Life at The Top. Any advice, critique or feedback would be appreciated. Thanks, and goodbye!
  4. CHAPTER II Owlia Grand National Raceway, Owlia 2037 A temperate breeze ruffles the pine trees lining the Owlia circuit, disrupting a measure of wildlife. Close by, the scream of fans and engines signals the ongoing Free Practice 3 for the Owlia Superprix. I squint against the sunlight, and roll the OTech car into the pitlane, cruising at the pit limiter and absorbing the shouts and whistles of the crowd. Flicking the cover on the pit limiter switch and pressing the button beneath, the car shot out of the pits like a heavily greased ferret towards Turn 1. The car responds well as I turn in, and I hit the apex, grinding the undertray on the kerb and prompting a heavy verbal finger-wagging from Teddy. “Kid, what’d I tell you about the bumps? Stop being so aggressive!” “Sorry, Teddy, they get in my way!” I reply as I cut through Turn 2. “Hmph. Don’t be such a smartass, Arcazon: it ain’t gonna get you anywhere.” “Roger that, bossman.” Turns 3 and 4 are gone, quick as a flash, and I pass traffic up to the exit of Turn 11, where I finally get some clean air up to Turn 12. Rounding the banking, I can feel the lateral G’s pulling at my body and sticking the car to the inside. Pulling out and into Turn 13, I blast onto the grass, clipping it with my rear wheel before shifting up the gears and letting the engine loose: the car howls its way across the line before I slam the brakes and slide slightly into Turn 1, the rear end skittering away from me before I snap it back into place. This’ll be a good race. I can feel it. After eleven laps, my testing is over for the day and I peel off the track into the pitlane, slowing down for the markers and pulling into the box. “Great practice, we’ve got some good data for the race tomorrow. Reel it in Arcazon.” Teddy calls from the computer monitors at the rear of the garage. I step out of the cockpit, ripping off my helmet and balaclava, pausing to high-five a technician. Teddy saunters over and sets his hands on my shoulders. “Kid, you gotta get it together for quali- your lap times are quarter of a second down on the HRM cars through Sector 1, and your overall laps are nearly half a second off. OTech aren’t used to losses, and this season isn’t shaping up too good. Problems?” I shake my head, grin weakly and walk dazedly from the garage. OTech aren’t used to losses. Could my performance get my contract terminated? At dinner that night, I’m picking at my food, and have barely sipped my sunfruit juice. Mum The All-Seeing, notices; with a theatrical eyebrow quirk she puts down her fork and speaks: “You seem moodier than usual, Arcazon.” “It’s nothing, Mum…” I reply, mentally cursing myself for even speaking. But then again, Mum gets grumpy if she receives the silent treatment. “Is it about your dad again? I told you, I’m here to talk about it whenever you want. You don’t have t-” “I said, it’s FINE!” I shout, then instantly cringe at myself. Idiot, why yell at Mum? She’s got well more than enough on her plate! I push back my chair and leave- exit is preferable to a painful, upsetting talk about random crap: neither of us needed to go through that. The next morning, we barely talk. The memory of the fight last night, and the stress of qualifying coming up afresh in my head does away with conversation. I bolt down my breakfast, grab the flowers for the cemetery: Mum smiles at me from the table; surprising me. I didn't think she was forgiving enough for a smile. “Be careful in the qualifying session today, Arcazon. Do your best. Do your dad proud.” I swallow a watery smile, slip on my shoes and head for the door. Twenty-three minutes later, I've got a stitch and l'm nearly doubled over in front of the gravestone - worth it for the new jogging speed record. OK, maybe I ran a little, but no one else knows except me, right? Gently, I pat the flowers down onto the coarse grass of the grave, the flowers a huge, multicolored contrast to the weathered brown and gold of the grave. Dad had a bigger, cooler grave back in our old hometown of Terras, Baskay- fitting for the city's best couch manager. I laugh, remembering the way he'd school me up on racing techniques from his armchair, and take me along when he had an engineering job on some supercar. The wound of his death still hadn't healed: I constantly tortured my mind with guilt over what had happened. I should have told him to stay. I shouldn't have shouted. I wish I’d been a better son- There's a blink, and I'm jerked back to reality. Wish you were here, Dad. Hope the racing's good up there. I walk back home- no need to run- and begin thinking about the day ahead. Gotta prepare first! Qualifying Owlia Grand National Raceway The tarmac blurs beneath me, tweeting birds and blurred brake markers spinning into my vision as I flick back the gears and hit the apex through Turn 14. This is my final qualifying stint of the day- without a good lap here, I'll be tenth on the grid. Not good enough. The car is absolutely planted, amazingly grippy, unlike practice. “Thumbs up guys, car feels way better in quali today.” No reply. I perform the 220 kerblometer per hour equivalent of a shrug, angling my shoulders slightly as I bump over the kerbs of Turn 5. No angry rant from Teddy about preserving some microscopic bit of the undertray: now I'm totally confused. Turns 7 and 8 scream past, with a chirrup from the rear right tyre on the exit of 8. Is the radio equipment damaged or something? Pulling into 12, with the g-forces pushing my head against the seat, I slide it out, neatly into Turn 14 and along the back straight. Two tenths quicker: I'm up to eighth! Two laps later, I'm on my final lap of the stint. Lap 2 was eight-hundredths off, while Lap 3 was a full three and a half tenths up- I'm up to sixth. This lap looks to edge it out, although I lost a little time in Turns 3 and 4 after a weird, blackout sort of thing. Probably just a headache. It'll be a yowzer of a pain when I get back home. I put it to the back of my mind as I complete a perfect run through 10, leaving me a great line in the run-up to Turn 11. Rounding the turn flawlessly, I see a chance to gain some time with a full throttle run through Turn 12. The car shoots into the banking, and my vision swims as I pull an insane G turn. No- The car hits the wall, scraping the front wing and right sidepod. My head flops forward, and I pass out, gratefully welcoming the blackness. An ambulance tears through Bradley's tight city streets, heading towards Owlia National Hospital. The siren blares, its piercing blue light and wow-wooow sound a clear message to other cars to get the Kraken out of the way. The ambulance driver, a particularly harried single father, Glenning Kerman, glances at the unresponsive body in the back, somehow managing the dual concentration required to drive quickly, avoid traffic and think at the same time. That's the kid Capeta won't shut up about, thinks Glenning. Arca-whatsit. I thought it was way worse than it ended up being - he's got a mild concussion and some bad bruising, but overall the safety system of the car seems to have preserved him from the severe injuries. Still, I've seen worse. I had to cart Phil Kerman’s body to the morgue last year after his massive K1 crash. Kerm, that was awful. And Capeta wants to drive these things… If he was a bad driver he wouldn't make it, and he'd live out a nice safe life, but with the upcoming finals of the Carthia Super Cadet Karting Cup that he has a strong chance of winning, he might actually get his wish. He's only thirteen cycles old, but he has a raw talent and and an analytical mind that bests drivers in faster karts. Whatever happens, I promised Mariella I'd keep our boy happy, no matter the cost.” The next day… I arrived back in the pit garage to cheers and whoops from the team. Even Saul gives a grudging nod of respect. Teddy clasps me in a hug. “We thought it was over… Thank the Kerm for the Owlian Health Service. So glad to have you back and ready for the race, kid. I'm sorry I pushed you too hard..” Over? Surely he didn't think I was- At that moment, all though was stopped by a bloodcurdling scream followed by a sob. In runs an insane whirlwind, also known as Mum. “Arcazon…I thought I'd lose you!” A fresh round of sobs ensues, and this awkward moment seems to stretch for eternity. Then Mum straightens up, looks enraged, and begins belting Teddy round the back of the head with her handbag. “YOU… ARE SUPPOSED… TO KEEP.. MY CHILD.. SAFE!” she bellows angrily “Ow! What the Kerm! HE’S… OW!... FINE, WOMAN!!” complains Teddy. I catch the techies smiling as I attempt to wrench Mum’s handbag from her grasp. I glare daggers at them, silently communicating an indignant Shut up at them. This isn't exactly the situation you want the day before the race. Race Day Owlia Grand National Raceway Racers’ Lounge 10:17 “Ahhh…” I exclaim as I lower my glass and glance at Charles and Dre. “Nothing like a glorious cup of sunfruit juice after a cooked breakfast!” Charles nods, his mouth so full of roasted koobish that I wouldn't be surprised if it shot out of his ears. Dre, however, wags his finger over his HellPhee porridge and beefwater. “You two want to be careful! You’ll break the scales if you keep going like that. Although maybe you could sumo wrestle Louis after a while…” It’s too much for Charles who bursts out laughing, turning his meal into a haphazard projectile that splatters the table in semi-chewed multi-coloured glory. I laugh so hard I fall off my chair, and from the floor I see Dre shaking his head and Brendon sneaking up behind him with a cup of ice. I grin sneakily as Brendon winks and tips the cubes on Dre’s head. “AAAARGH!” yells Dre as he stumbles off the chair and bellows a fearsome roar, chasing after the laughing Brendon. Amid the disapproving glances of other diners, the unresponsive form of Charles face down in his regurgitated breakfast and the increasingly loud swearing coming from Dre and Brendon’s direction, I grin goofily. I love this nutty group, I grin to myself. Three hours later… “Welcome to Owlia, Formula K fans, and in just ten minutes the sixth round of the Formula K championship will be well underway. In the drivers’ standings, Louis Kerman leads with a record 133 points, Dre Kerman in second with 116 points, Melcan Kerman third with 107 points, Hansibald Kerman fourth with 100, and Arcazon Kerman rounding out the top five with 97 points. Today is a strategic day in the championship- mid-points results from Arcazon Kerman, despite being some of the season’s best drives, have done nothing to help his championship standings. His championship hopes could be in real danger. Meanwhile, Louis Kerman leads the championship by a record amount, beating Phil Kerman’s record of 128 points by Round 6. Arcazon Kerman starts sixth on the grid, ahead of Konstantin Kerman in the HRM car, while Louis Kerman sits on pole with teammate Melcan locking out the front row. Charles and Brendon Kerman will be the ones to watch, with Brendon in tenth and Charles thirteenth. Could we see a battle for the lower points positions? There’s only one way to find out… Welcome to the Owlia Grand National Superprix.” My breath smells a little minty. Did I take enough mint supplements? I think I took too much. Wait. Focus, focus. “Teddy, strategy please, mate.” I radio into the pits. “Right, kid. Ultra-softs, pitting in lap 7, then super-softs till the end on lap 18. Saul is going to be driving supersoft to supersoft. Watch out for Turn 1, Rinno right behind you in P8. He’s gonna try a dive into Turn 1. Keep a clear head today, and we might just scoop another podium.” “Right, copy that Teddy. Ultras to supers, careful into Turn 1. Cheers.” I rev up the car, the grid kerbs back up to the pit wall and the start sequence begins. My breathing is really loud in my ears- maybe I should see somebody about it. The last red light blinks out. I floor the accelerator and my wheels spin like mad. Oopsie. That’s more rear tyre wear. Teddy’s voice blasts insistently into my earpiece. “Arcazon, what the hell? Rinno’s right behind you, he’s gonna take you into Turn 1 now!” “Sorry, Teddy,” I hiss back, “but I’m slightly preoccupied right now…” As we thunder into Turn 1, Rinno dives down my inside, then locks up. I’m helpless to avoid him striking my rear tyre, sending me into a huge spin. Two other cars are involved, and both of them are out, a Vernier Motorsport car with a buckled front wheel, and a Carillo car on its side, driver shaking his head dazedly.. I’ve got minor damage to my rear wing, but my rear right tire has kerb scarring- I hit it backwards, at the wrong angle, at 130 kph. I scream into my headset, not caring about the ear damage it must be causing Teddy and the techies. “AAAAAAAAUUUGHHHH! WHY CAN’T ANYONE DRIVE PROPERLY? TAKE ME OUT, CRASH AND I’M THE FALL GUY!” I bellow as I steer back onto the circuit in thirteenth: five seconds off twelfth position. “EVERY TIME! IT’S ME WHO GETS SCREWED OVER! ME!” Teddy sighs, his voice the audible equivalent of defeat. “Arcazon...come in please. We’re going to the hard tires to last the rest of the race. With luck, we’ll salvage a top 8 finish. Sorry mate, not our day.” The cars behind me have varying degrees of damage, or are just unlucky because they’re packed into the blockage. I gun the engine, and roar off into Turn 2, definitely feeling the loss of grip as I navigate the turns. “Lot of catching up to do. Teddy, I’m boxing in, see you in a mo.” I furiously blame Rinno in my head, but in my mind, I know it was my poor start that ruined my race. I can still claw this back. Just got to focus. If Jeb Kerman were watching right now, he’d tell you to go for it. In the pit box, around a minute later… I pull into the box, seeing with an appreciative smile that the pit crew are already kneeling with the wheel guns to make things quicker. Teddy’s face is a mask of stone, saying nothing as the car is lowered and I roar onto the track in fourteenth position, overtaking Kelsie Kerman as I pull out of the pit lane. The car feels decent on the fresh hards, however there is distinctly less grip than the supersofts, making Turn 1 more tricky. “Teddy, requesting position information, over.” “Roger, roger Arcazon: gap to Palugi in thirteenth is 4.7 seconds. He's got wing damage, you’ll pass him easy. Flick the revs up into rich please and burn some fuel. P10 is 16 seconds away- let's keep pushing. You can do this, kid.” My eyes narrow as I fly through Turns 5 and 6. Passing round Turn 8, I spy the struggling Carrillo Racing car up ahead- with his teammate out and a damaged front wing, it looks like Palugi will be going another race without points. I pity him slightly as I fly round his outside through Turn 12 and brake for the entry to Turn 13. “The car feels good guys, I think I’ll definitely going to get some positions here, which will set me up well when we undercut the grid in the pits, and when we slow down nearer the end of the race.” Silence greets me. Just the way I need it right now. If I’m gonna claw this back, I need every ounce of concentration I can muster. Pit Phase One “We’re heading into the pit phase here on Laps 8 and 9: Arcazon Kerman with the bold hard-tyre only strategy is currently sitting P9. Louis Kerman is expected to pit on Lap 13, and re-enter the course retaining P1. Melcan Kerman has lost a position to Dre Kerman, who sits five seconds back from the lead in P2. Charles Kerman in the Cadwell Auto car overtook Saul Kerman for eighth, and the two are swapping places more than bickering team members in a football match. This race is tense and exciting so far, and it's only gonna get better. Stay tuned as KTV goes live trackside…” I whizz along the back straight, following the racing line and traveling at nearly 260 kph. I pass five cars in the pits, putting me in an incredible fourth place! Now if I could just hold on to this… Radio static blasts in my ears. “Incredible work kid, confusion in the pits is handing you a huge lead. Hold the line, and we’ll grab the podium.” I hear furious typing from the telemetry system team. “Dre is faster than you. He’s 14 seconds up the road. You won't be challenging him today; just bring it home Arcazon. That’s all we ask.” My voice is raspy when I reply during Turn 10, so I chug the onboard water between bursts of chatter and ignore the chanting, buzzing fans. “Thanks Teddy. Passing through up to Turn 11 now, Hansibald is twelve seconds back, confirm?” “Affirmative, we can confirm gap back to Hansibald is 12.8 seconds. Drive clean and he won’t be catching you.” I grin involuntarily as I fly round Turn 14 to the blaring of sidewall billboards and the incessant drone of commentary in the box. The engine, perfectly tuned and screaming its rhythm of 16,000 revolutions per minute, fills my ears. The entry to Turn 1 and the blue and white smudge of Saul’s car right at the zenith of my sight, fills my vision. I squint into the blinding sun, and thunder as fast as I dare into Turn 1. The rear end kicks out, and a small spray of ‘marbles’ little pieces of degraded tyre left behind by other cars on kerbs and outside lines of corners, is launched into the air behind my rear diffuser. Teddy’s voice, as if telepathically communicating with my tyres, screeches into my ear hole from across the track as I slow down into Turn 2. “Kid, stay out of the damned marbles! How many times do I have to tell you to stop screwing around drifting on kerbs like some kind of Jeb? This isn’t a marble game you want to be playing kid, keep your damn focus.” I grit my teeth, and manage to force out a somewhat civil reply. “Yeah, Teddy, sorry! Just trying to keep the car on the freaking course here!” “Hmph. Stop with the smart-assery, kid.” I grunt an affirming nod, and flick revs to rich as I zoom into Turn 4. I am speed- wait, what? That sounds like a cheesy cartoon catchphrase. Shut up and focus. You’ve got seven and a half laps to do this. Shut up and drive. Lap 13 “Arcazon Kerman has battled up to P4, including a spectacular double overtake on Hansibald and Carlos Kerman. Louis Kerman pits in the lead for super-soft tires to carry him to the end of the race, while his teammate Melcan defends in second place. Just five laps from the end now, and Arcazon Kerman has driven what is by far his best drive this season. I have no doubt this will be eclipsed again soon: this kid keeps pulling these races out of the bag.” I round Turn 14, and the comms go crazy as I accelerate onto the back straight. “Guys, what in Kerm’s name are you screeching about?” One of the techs voices’ blares into the radio. “Arcazon, this is Barzon from Fuel Systems. Teddy has screamed himself hoarse so I’m on the line here, mate. Louis in the Ferram car has had a pit problem, and he’ll be rejoining the pits six seconds behind you on the fresh supersofts. If you can hold a defensive driving style, we can scrape this podium. Go on, mate. We’re all behind you.” Barzon signs off as I fly round Turn 1, and sure enough Louis’ car is just visible pulling out of his box. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep you behind. I mean it Louis, this time it’s war. Rounding Turn 3, I get an aggressive line over the kerb. Strangely enough, I kinda miss the obvious retribukes from Teddy’s side. He may be a bit of an ass, but he’s the closest thing I have to a father now. I’d be stupid to give that away just to race in K1. I snap back into focus to concentrate during Turn 7, then lapsing back into my thoughts. But… K1 is the only thing I ever wanted. K1 was the one thing Dad wanted me to do. It’s so close...the pinnacle of motorsport is almost within grasp. Turn 14 passes again. I radio in to Teddy. “Teddy, bossman, what’s the gap back?” His reply comes through instantaneously, almost as if he had thought of it just as I did. “Gap back is 5.7 seconds, you’re losing 1.3 seconds a lap. You should just make it ahead of him…” “That’s all I need thanks, boss.” I switch off the commlink. These last few laps will be done mano e mano. Come on then, I say to myself as I round Turns 1 and 2, show me what you got. Lap 17 It’s almost the end. Louis is hanging back by one and a half seconds, but he’s gaining every second of every minute. Sweat pools on my brow; I daren’t wipe it off. Even a miniscule, split-second mistake could set me back a few tenths, and that means I can’t get this podium. No. Unacceptable, I say to myself as I round Turns 5 and 6. Not okay. You have to show that idiot, or he’ll never let you forget it. It’s today or never again. I squeeze the last drops of fuel into rich mix, and flatten my foot, upshifting massively out of Turn 8. The engine howls like a struck wolf, over-revving. If the comms weren’t muted, Teddy would definitely be telling me how the engine was being wrecked and exactly however much a brand spanking-new engine was. But I also knew that right at this minute, he wouldn’t care. Why tell an injured bull to stop the charge? That was the same reason he couldn’t stop me: I wasn’t listening. I was in the zone, this is how I lived my life- mere blinks of an eye ahead, threadbare tyres and screaming engine against a much fresher opponent. It was going to go down to the wire. Louis tried to dive me at Turn 1, but I defended my line and he had no choice but to back off. So what if it was a little aggressive? We’re all guilty of it! Turn 2 saw Louis slot in behind me and follow me right through Turns 3 and 4, front wing to rear diffuser. The heat haze rose from the side vent exhausts as we battled. Dre won, I think as I hear the commentators and tens of thousands of fans roar for the winner, but I’m in the zone. I’m gone. Louis pulls up alongside through Turns 5 and 6. There are half-dozen heart-attacks a second here as Louis and I run side by side, scraping the kerbs of the track and skirting the grass. He’s too quick, I realize a second before he overtakes down the inside into Turn 7. Straining to keep up, I unmute my comms. “Teddy, initiating psyche out maneuver. Cross the fingers and say the prayers, because this just has to work.” I mute the earpiece lest Teddy actually explode with rage and concentrate on the psyche out as we round Turn 8. Psyche outs are an old technique carried by drivers from karts to K1. If done right, it could make history, win a race, save a car even. But if you failed, it could mean fighting for something else, something altogether more sobering- your own life. To psyche out another driver, you had to unnerve them enough so that they make a mistake and you pass. However, for 99% of drivers, you had to also balance this with aggressive overtaking and obeying regulation rules. I keep all this in mind as I swerve acoss Louis into Turn 9, setting up a fake ‘overtaking move’ for Turn 10. Louis throws up his hand in frustration,but it’s all too close and too rapid to make out anything but a small, shimmery motion of Louis’ racing glove. I dive down into Turn 10 then let him back through with a ‘wheel lockup’. Feinting left and right into Turns 11 and 12, I see Louis start to crack. His car becomes slower, his movements more erratic. Paddy, OTech boss, makes a rare appearance. I squawk awkwardly at him: “Gonna send it.” Then, suddenly, Louis brakes way too late for Turn 14. I slide down the inside as he locks up into the gravel and take third place onto the back straight. A snapshot of the track; Louis rejoining the circuit, me a hundred meters from a huge podium finish. Flags and banners of all supporters and of all shapes and sizes dominate the trackside seating, while as soon as we unpause, a huge blast of cheering will echo from commentators and fans alike. I cross the line. The crowd positively erupts. Comms are screaming, I’m crying and blubbering and trying to drive the car on cooldown lap through misty eyes. “Th-thanks guys! W-we did it, we sure as hell did it! I sniffle and tears run in tributaries down my face. “Thank you so much guys, your support a-and this p-podium means EVERYTHING to me. Thank you-s-so damn much! Podium! PODIUM!” I lift my hands up into the air in triumph. On the podium, I’m with Dre and Melcan. Dre grins at me and sprays champagne in my face. I laugh and spray the crowd. Every bubble and drop seems to fall so slowly… it’s incredible. Victory, (at least P3 for me), feels amazing. I never want this incredible feeling to end. If Jeb was watching, hell, if Dad was watching… I’m sure they'd be damn proud. END OF CHAPTER TWO
  5. Next chapter up tomorrow guys! Thanks for your patience.
  6. Thanks for the support guys! Especially @DarkOwl57- looks like those endless Discord chats weren't wasted after all!
  7. CHAPTER I Thomasville, Vertica 2037 I rubbed my eyes, adjusting to the temperature and light as I climbed out of bed, dust particles blowing past me illuminated by the ray of light arcing through my curtains. I allowed myself the luxury of a stretch before a shout shook me from my lethargic state. “Arky! Breakfast, now!” Sigh. Mum, being the relentless pursuer of morning exercise that she is, insists on forcing me out of bed a good few minutes before I’m actually, properly awake. “Coming, Mum- what’s for breakfast?” A reply, tinged with impatience, drifts down the hall. “Kerb-O’s if you hurry, an empty stomach if not! Get down here, don’t care if you’re still in nightwear!” I trudge down the hall and moodily twist the handle of the kitchen door. Mum’s there in her eye-searingly yellow exercise stretchfit- looking mutinous with a bowl of Kerb-O’s in her right hand. I slide into the bench seat behind the table and Mum plonks the bowl in front of me; the impact is so hard it splashes milk into my face. I spoon the multi-coloured rings into my mouth at a rate that should be impossible by anatomical standards, Mum shaking her head half in annoyance, half in mirth: the quirks of her mouth betraying her stony facade. The Kerb-O’s are the cheapest cereal on the market, delivered almost solely in fluoro-green boxes that smack of cheapness and flimsiness. Mum briefs me on this morning’s routine as I finish off my sweet, crunchy breakfast. “Right, Arky, you’ve got yourself a big day today. Home race at the Speedway, and the talent scouts will be out in full force. You’ve gotta impress- your underdog status might give you a bit of sentimental value, but that’ll only take you so far. First, your daily jog to the cemetery and back- bring these flowers for the grave, please- then sim training, lunch and off to the race.” I nod, concentrating on the wood fiber walls. Today was gonna be tough. Grabbing my coat, I spun around, gave Mum a hug and slipped out the door. At the end of the drive, I looked back at the home I’d grown up in for eleven of my seventeen years. Our modest bungalow was made of two types of wood- a beachy yellow tinge, and blue foundation planks. It was only five minutes from the Thomasville Speedway, and another ten from the center of town- a modern-ish city of 60,000 kerbs, nestled on the shores of the Equatorial Ocean. A prickle of tears formed in my eye- salty and stinging. I blinked them away and began to jog: after half an hour, I’d reached Thomasville Rural Cemetery, flowers in hand. Debris littered the overgrown grass, from chipped stones, silent as the, well, grave. I hurried forward, my shoes crunching debris into pebble-y rubbish, my emotions a wet, heavy lump of recurring sadness, my throat a tightly coiled, painful blockage. I place the flowers down, disturbing the gray dust that seems to settle at the foot of every gravestone. I hurry away; I really don’t want anything to do with this place, no matter what my heart tells my head. Nope. Then, a shaft of bright, sharp pain as my world spins around me: I’d tripped over a chunk of stone. Cursing my luck and uncomfortably aware of the tiny, sharp pieces of gravel stabbing into my cheek, I realized, with an internal groan, that running away from my past was literally sending me into the dirt. And as a racer, the last place you want to be is in the dirt, wheels snapped, nose cone mangled into the fence, dreams of victory behind you. An hour later, I’m booting up the TV and simulator. Mum’s cooking lunch: I’ve got maybe half an hour before I have to, sit at the table. Opening the case of my favorite game K1 2036, I’m reminded of how much I train by the spine of the disc case being bent and damaged from so much use- not a great look, to be honest. I slide the disc in, press start and navigate the options menu. Selecting Formula K and the Ozitec Circuit, I move to car and driver selection. After a moment’s deliberation, spurred on by my pride, I select OTech GP, then my own virtual recreation- it gets me every time, seeing my name in a popular sim-game. The game loads, and I switch off all the assists, the HUD and tweak up all the settings to their hardest levels. Driving like this is ridiculously difficult, probably harder than real life. And believe me- I’d know. Meanwhile the game starts and I grab the controller wheel. The Ozitec circuit, located in the sands of Shadab, is my favorite- last year’s race there had been my rookie year, first race on the circuit, and I’d loved everything, from the glittering sands to the glass skyscrapers, not to mention the huge glass dome section hosting the famous Quantic Chicane. It had been the race where I’d gotten my first top five: fifth place. That year I finished ninth out of twenty-two in the championship- this year I was fourth after three races. A fourth in Marcolo and my second place in Aptur had been followed by a dismal eighth in Eradica- I was hoping to get back on form for my home race. Meanwhile, the ingame equivalent of Rinno Kerman runs me into the gravel trap. I smile inwardly at the unexpectedly accurate portrayal of Rinno’s driving- a little older and a hell of a lot stupider than me, Rinno was on tenterhooks with his team, Radical Supersport. A promising second place at Marcolo had turned into a tyre blowout and huge collision at the Apturian SP- dead last. After a mechanical failure and collision with another driver put him in eighteenth in Eradica, Radical have been pretty closed-off regarding Rinno’s future with the team. A collision jerks me back to the game- Rinno’s virtual car had rebounded into the track, colliding with a Plutonia Engineering car and causing a Centurion driver to fly into the air. I winced- my car had a flat tyre, preventing me from rejoining. I restart, trying to suppress a giggle at the flying mess of cars. A second attempt goes better- I manages to last nine laps before a stupid mistake sends me off into the grass at 250 kerblometers per hour, pretty close to the top speed of about 280. The car spins in a 180 before burying its rear-end in the barrier, still traveling at roughly 160 k. The car flips over and rebounds into the path of two cars, prompting heavy braking and a safety car. Finally on my third attempt, I finish all thirty-one laps, crossing the finish in second. A last-lap overtake around Quantic probably was the cause; the pit strategy that saved me nearly 30 seconds probably helped, too. Louis from Ferram Manor Racing had won, of course- he was in his fourth year in Formula K, and rumors were abound that he’d be moving to Ferram’s K1 team mid-season if he kept up his form- winning at Marcolo, fourth in Aptur and second in Eradica. He was easily my biggest rival, but the worst thing about having him as a rival was the fact that he was simply too hard to hate- super-nice and friends with everyone, except yours truly and probably the rookies, Louis was the definition of ‘cool guy’. He was my biggest motivation to win, to show everyone that I could be just as good as him, and not just the scrappy underdog. Switching off the sim and heading into the kitchen, I thought to myself, Well, maybe if I win, the stupid grin is gonna die on Louis’ face. One sandwich later, and we were off to the Speedway. Formula K races are obviously less famous than the several K1 Grand Prix dotted all over Kerbin- anything less than half a million spectators was seen as a poor showing there. While Formula K races still were less popular, the number of spectators was growing each year as cheaper tickets and more hectic racing appealed to more people. Thomasville was unique in that it was the only ‘speedway’ oval track in both Formula K and K1 (no ovals in K1, leave that to the boxercars). Most people wanted it gone from the roster, mostly racing purists who thought ovals were boring. I disagreed: taking the banking at 260 k and slipstreaming other cars was both a challenge and fun, not to mention that Vertica didn’t have a K1 track yet- I had to support my home, after all! Arriving in the pre-race room, I glanced at the race order. Having already qualified seventh, with teammate Saul (an older, semi-retired GP Course racer) in thirteenth, I was feeling pretty good. My best performances had all come from mid-pack or back-of-the-pack situations- I’d qualified ninth in Aptur to finish second, and fourteenth in Ozitec to finish fifth. I recognized a few faces- Dre, fresh off his win in Eradica, Melcan, who’d battled from a last-place puncture in Marcolo and battled up to tenth and of course, Louis (with his stupid, glittery smile) who fist-bumps me. “How’s it going, bro!” Louis grins when he sees me. Shut up. You aren’t my ‘bro’, you’re just an idiot. Out loud, I say: “Yeah, Louis man, cheers.” through gritted teeth. “Hey, sorry ‘bout your finish in Eradica. Must be tough, having to fight back.” Louis replies. Not as tough as my fist when it knocks your stupid teeth out, amazing person. Seeing the tension, everyone else starts to back off. “Yeah, well, I don’t exactly have millions to throw around, buying my way into the best team money can buy…” I whisper through gritted teeth. Louis narrows his eyes and raises his hands in surrender. I want to punch him, but he’d fall on Carlos. Hoping to distract me, Carlos gets between us and says: “Hey, I heard through the sunfruit vine that Jebediah Kerman will show up with the talent scouts.” This sparks a good twenty minutes of idle chatter about Jeb- we’ve all been fans of the way his skilled driving got him the 2036 championship and his success story. Charles- the quiet-spoken rookie in his first year- says that his lucky helmet was signed by Jeb himself, and we all crowd round to read the signature. Fly high Charles- Jeb Kerman. “I was wearing it the day I got sixth in Aptur, and tenth in Eradica when I dodged that huge wreck on lap 17. Guess Jeb guided me through that one.” He shrugs, and I pat him on the back. Charles is obviously new to the scene- him and Brendon being the only rookies in Formula K at the moment- but he’ll hopefully mature as a driver. The tannoy crackles to life, and the announcer’s voice whispers sibilantly out. “Can all drivers please move to the grid?” I nod at Charles. It was time… for the Thomasville Superprix. “We’re a few minutes from lights out here at Thomasville, and the crowd seems to be wild with anticipation- I’m here in the commentator box with Jeremy Kerman. Jeremy- what’s all the fuss about? “Well, Jim, I’m hearing rumours that Jeb Kerman has showed up here at today’s race. Jebediah Kerman is the 2036 K1 champion and a former racer of this very series: a star of the racing world.” “Seriously, Jeremy- anyone would think you were Jeb’s press secretary the way you consistently rabbit on about him.” “Getting back on topic, Jim, The Thomasville race proves to be a true test of speed and endurance. Forty laps of this four-corner oval is demanding both on the car and the driver, and with 450 kerbpower engines and low downforce settings, today may well see a new speed record for the sport. “Well, Jeremy old pal, I’ll be setting a speed record for running out of the booth if you keep up this statistical rubbish-” “SHUT UP, JIM! Welcome, kerbetts and gentlekerbs, to the Thomasville Superprix.” I relax my grip on the steering wheel, flex my fingers and breathe deeply, flicking the comm switch in my helmet. “Arcazon, this is Teddy in the pit box. We need some points today, bud; try and make some opportunities in the early laps. You’re scheduled for a stop to supersofts on lap 13 from super softs then pitting on lap 25 for softs to end the race.” “What about Saul?” I mutter into the comms unit. “Saul will go on the softs until lap 24, then run those softs until the end of the race.” “What!?!” I explode. “But that’ll put him ahead on pit time!” “Um...Arcazon, Saul’s tires will be depleted by the end of the race- your newer supersofts will catch him early on, and you’ll be able to overtake more readily with faster tires anyway. Please stop these outbursts, you’ll give the techs a headache.” I sigh, “Fine, fine. Whatever makes you happy, boss.” “Don’t you forget it. Thirty seconds ‘till start- You’re good to go.” The first red light blinks on. Twenty-two engines fire up together, the engine notes building to a screeching roar. Second red light. The heat haze from the cars encompasses the tarmac, blurring the cars ahead. Third light- I snap down my visor, hand hovering over the paddles each side of the steering wheel. Fourth light. I redline the engine- cheers erupt as my home fans cheer me on. Fifth light. Breathe. Exhale. And- “GREEN LIGHT, GREEN, GREEN! Go, go, go! Slipping the clutch, I get a decent launch off the line, roaring up to Turn 1 in time to block ninth place from flying up the inside. My tires cling on to the tarmac as the lateral G’s pull at them. as I settle in behind sixth place, Jason from Plutonia Engineering. The radio crackles as myspeed climbs. 210. 225. 245. “Good start, Arcazon- try and get round Jason if you can, no pressure.” “Roger roger that, Teddy.” The scream of engines pumps my blood a little faster as I rocket across the line for Lap 2. The glowing position board tells me Saul has moved to eleventh and Charles sits in thirteenth. Louis, Dre and Carlos are battling heavily for first: Dre is leading with Carlos a quarter second back and Louis alongside him. I let off the accelerator, slingshotting round the outside of Jason into Turn 1. Jason closes the door on me, our wheels millimeters from each other and the solid concrete walls. “Arcazon, you’ve gotta get him into Turn 2.” screeches my technical head, Joe, into the comms. I don’t answer, but keep accelerating. 250, 270. 280… Jason backs out, and I slide past into Turn 3 for an easy sixth. “Yes, yes, yes buddy- go, go, go!” radioes Teddy. I flick the drink button, and chug- the cold water soothes my throat. From some obscure overhead region, I hear the commentators. “What an overtake there from young Arcazon Kerman- Plutonia will be replaying that over and over after the race today!” It’s Lap 9, and I’m still sitting in sixth- half a second out from Nathan, driving the Ravenwest car in fifth. Charles has moved to eleventh in a daring double overtake, while Saul hangs on in eighth. “OK, bud, Nathan’s had a lockup into Turn 2- your chance to catch him on the back stretch.” “Thanks, Teddy- heading in for the pass now.” I radio back. “No problem: watch the grit into Turns 3 and 4.” I slide right to the innermost section of track, brushing the grass. Nathan’s car in all it’s black and grey glory is right beside me as we exit the banking onto lap 10. Two laps later, and I’m a lap from pitting. Me and Nathan are still alongside; as I pull into Turn 1, a black fleck catches my eye; I’m going way too fast right now to register it. I skid a little into Turn 2 and Nathan pulls away- but then his car shudders and slows, and I realise in horror that the black fleck was rubber from Nathan’s damaged tyre. I slow down, but at that moment Nathan’s tyre blows in a shower of sparks, catapulting him sideways into the wall. He spins, and catches me as I try to avoid the crash. A maelstrom of sparks, a piece of debris under the car, I’m heading for the wall! All these facts are smashed into my mind at once, and I instinctively tilt the wheel. A gasp rises from the crowd as I drift into the infield, coming to a stop. The commentators are squawking on in the box. “Nathan Kerman of Ravenwest is out in a huge collision- he seems to have taken Arcazon Kerman with him, and Arcazon is limping back to the pits.” Safety car hasn’t been called out- what the Kerm? Then the radio hisses, as I accelerate back onto the track. “Arcazon, are you OK? You’ve lost the front wing, pit now please. Are you OK?” “Yeah… yeah, I’m fine.” But I’m not. I’ve busted my hopes of being scouted for K1- I’m numb. It’s over. Steam rolls off my tires as I brake for the pits- the crew is out with wheel guns and front wing in hand as I pull in to the box. I flip up my visor, close to tears. “Teddy, Teddy, I’m so sorry. Kerm…” Teddy looks at me forlornly. We’ve got almost no chance of a points finish, and his face says it all. The car is lowered back down, and as I leave the pit lane in fifteenth, I catch a glimpse of Louis’ glittering silver Ferram gliding into Turn 4. I tighten my grip on the steering wheel, and I can feel my resolve hardening with it. I can’t lose my reputation to that idiot. Not now. Not ever. I gun the car out of the pit lane, angling into Turn 1. I’ve got a hell of a lot of catching up to do. “It’s Lap 18 of the Thomasville Superprix, and Louis Kerman leads with the Ferram into Turn 2, with Dre and Hansibald Kerman two seconds off. Nathan Kerman is out of the race, and Arcazon Kerman is making a comeback from fifteenth. He’s tenth right now, battling with his teammate Saul Kerman for ninth. Rookie Charles Kerman is battling Rinno Kerman for twelfth, while Brendon Kerman sits three seconds back in thirteenth. Palugi Kerman has also pulled out with engine failure, slowing backmarker Kelsie Kerman and the V12 Racing car of Sambal Kerman in seventeenth and eighteenth, respectively. It’s been a hot first half here at Thomasville, and it’s only gonna get quicker.” I’m slipstreaming Saul into Turn 2 as we shoot along the back straight. I’m faster- so I pull out to overtake. Saul blocks me, forcing me to jerk the wheel to the left, to avoid putting us both into the wall. Furiously, I pull off the Velcro strap and yell into the comms. “Teddy, what the Kerm is Saul doing! He won’t let me past!” I implore. A few seconds of silence as Teddy presumably reasons with Saul. Then Teddy drops a bombshell on me- crushing with the weight of hatred it carries. “Arcazon...he...he refuses to let you pass. Says you’ve gone too long upstaging him.” Right. This is nuts. “Teddy, TELL THAT MORON TO BACK OFF, or I’m not going to be responsible for what happens in the pits!” “Sorry, bud. Radio silence from Saul.” Eight laps later, and It’s time to pit for softs, my last stint of the race. Saul flies on past as I brake for the pits- I flip a rude hand gesture at his car as the brakes burn up my tires, flashing rubber into smoke. “Gogogogogo!” The words sort of tumble out, my voice tripping over itself in haste. Then the car is lowered to the ground for the final time, and I’m off. Saul’s limping- blocking me for an extra two laps has strained his tires to the breaking point. However, the undercut puts him in the lead, three seconds ahead of Louis and Carlos. I fly out the pits in tenth, locked onto Rinno’s rear bumper as I shoot up the inside into Turn 2. Charles is ahead in seventh, with Dre in fifth and Louis catching Saul at lightning speed. I feint to Rinno’s inside, and jerk the wheel to the outside as he turns to block me, flying past. Lap 30. Saul is literally being mobbed by Louis, Carlos, Dre and two or three other cars: his threadbare tires have literally seconds left. I'm a comfortable second off Charles, sitting behind him in eighth. As I watch the other side of the track, I see Saul’s car wobble, as black rubber bounces off its undercarriage. The commentators seem worried. “Jeremy, Saul Kerman in the lead is five laps past the soft tires’ pit window. Are we about to see another tire blowout, like Nathan on lap 9?” This isn’t gonna end well... “Well, Jim, Saul is an experienced driver, but even the learned make bad calls.” Damn right they do. Saul’s stupid ego cost me a chance to win. While I ruminate in the sweaty cockpit of my car, Saul pulls in- six laps extra on the tires must’ve killed them. I whizz past and take seventh, swerving to try and pass Charles. He blocks me skilfully as I try my old ‘dive and swerve’ trick. Hehe, nice one Charles. Pulling out of his slipstream, I pull alongside Charles, his hard tires not giving him enough straight-line speed. See you later, buddy. I dive down the inside to defend as the commentators’ voices permeate my helmet. “Another overtake from Arcazon Kerman- the guy is unstoppable today!” “What a comeback- fifteenth to sixth in 21 laps is amazing! The guy just won’t give up!” I grin, racing past the line into Lap 32 and chasing down Kantor in the HRM car down to Turn 1. The end is in sight- I’ve done everything I can and I’ve still got so more to give. I’m not happy with sixth, but it’s my best under the circumstances. Lap 38 is half gone by the time Teddy’s voice blasts through the radio, his voice sibilant with the hiss of radio chatter. “Kantor in the number 33 car has an aero problem. I repeat, number 33 has a aero problem. You’re four seconds back and gaining at a rate of two point three seconds per lap.” “Roger roger, Teddy.” I reply. Working out the quick maths as I round Turn 3, I realise that I’ll catch Kantor right at the finish line, perfect drama for the end of the race. I boot the accelerator across the line into lap 39 and take the most aggressive apex-hugging path into Turn 1 that the car can manage. Meanwhile, Kantor is round Turn 2, limping as his damaged back wing holds up his car’s progress. I’m locked on like a heat-seeking missile, gaining so fast on the straight that it almost seems like a cartoon. The first group of leaders has crossed the line; with a groan, I see that Louis has won by just half a car length ahead of Hansibald. Gritting my teeth, I fly into the outside on Turn 3, my tires screeching as I fly into the turn about forty kerblometers per hour faster than was necessary. Kantor exits Turn 4- eyeballing it, I’m roughly one and a half seconds behind. “Well, with the podium decided, we’ve still got a race going on here… particularly between Kantor and Arcazon Kerman. Kantor’s one point two seconds ahead, but Arcazon’s undamaged car is catching up at a ridiculous rate…” “Yes, Jeremy- young Arcazon will be hoping to add another overtake to his incredible race tally today- double that of any other driver on the track.” Teddy’s voice hisses into Turn 1. “OK, Arcazon: just catch him on the last turns- no heroics though, we want you and the car back home in one piece.” I don’t reply. Doing so would only waste time- time that I don’t have right now. We’re heading up the back stretch, I’m a second behind but gaining quick. Sensing this, Kantor floors the car ahead- grass streams past, the mesh on the gate blurs and the scenery begins to merge together. Then it’s all thrown into reverse as the car’s brakes yank me back to reality. I’m almost touching Kantor’s bumper, the engine is screaming, the crowd is going nuts and the commentators are shouting their heads off: a cacophony of raw sound. Kantor pulls wide into Turn 4 and I pin the car to the apex, two car lengths behind. My vision tunnels. Me and the finish line. And just a few hundred meters. All or nothing. I’m… Then the finish line blurs past, the official waves the flag and I clench my eyes shut in triumph. “YES GUYS! YES! YES YES YES YES! THANK YOU SO MUCH GUYS, WHAT A COMEBACK!” I scream into the comms. The sound of cheering and clapping fills my helmet. Against all odds, it’s over. I’ve battled to the top five from a seemingly unrecoverable position, and I couldn’t be prouder. I wave my hand to the crowd, scooping up the adulation; it feels great! Half an hour later, I’m chatting with Charles in the post race room, as the results screen flashes. He placed seventh: another bunch of points for his tally, making him enormously pleased. Saul finishes twelfth- serves the moron right. Suddenly Louis saunters over: a horrible, smarmy, grin on his face and his arms folded. “So you two, near the back again...can’t say I’m surprised to see you there, Charles, but Arcazon… I thought you were better, seems I was wrong.” “So a points finish is ‘at the back’ now is it?” I say coolly. “If that were the case, then I guess you'd like it ‘at the back.’ Louis scrunches his face up in anger as people start to stare. I don't care anymore: I'm so angry I could burst. “You're both rejects!” shouts Louis. “The fatherless wonder and the talentless loser- boy, you guys make a great team!” he spits voice dripping with sarcasm. He pokes Charles in the chest and I rear up. “Go back to the sims and the junior league karts, talentless wonder. You're not welcome here.” he hisses menacingly at Charles's face. In response Charles stands up to his full height, and calmly spits in Louis’ face. I burst out laughing, then stop abruptly as Louis raises his fists. Melcan, Louis’ teammate, puts his hand on Louis’ shoulder. “This ain’t the place for that. Take it to the track, not your damn fists.” Melcan says calmly but firmly and steers Louis away. I catch some of the conversation as they walk away. “totally unprofessional, Louis… how are you supposed to get a K1 seat if… snarl at every annoying driver… “ Well, if Melcan thinks we're annoying too, then Kerm damn him. Kerm damn them both. I rise up to go after them, but Charles yanks me down. I’m bristling with anger, and I can’t curb it. Next time, Louis… next time. END OF CHAPTER ONE
  8. I love Formula One, and KSP. Never would I have thought you could fuse them. Bravo!
  9. Considering I only just got KSP (March), I've pledged to myself that I will not buy KSP2 at least for another year. KSP is a game I look forward to growing with
  10. I'm surprisingly sad (and not because I just bought the first one a couple months ago.) KSP is not meant to have a sequel. It is a neverending game of amazing possibilities. Skip the trailer hype and what have you got? A shameless perversion of KSP's spirit, made with sci-fi glitter and beautiful music to distract from the the fact that Squad's masterpiece isn't Squad's anymore but a cash grab from T2, exploting the game's 'persevere and succeed' originality in the name of Benjamin Franklin's cold hard dollars.. I'm sorry for being so cynical but this is too much.
  11. I get back September 1st. Whether or not I will get my install ready and working before school on the 5th remains to be seen.
  12. This is a genius idea for a challenge! I love it and will be entering when I get back to my PC in September. Looking forward to it, @dire!
  13. If RSS/RO and RP doesn't bug out, count me in! I'll be in New Zealand without my PC until September though...
  14. @HansonKerman A challenger to your name has appeared!
  15. *Reader 6 (or maybe 5) has joined the chat* I think this comic format is super interesting and I can't wait to see where you go with it!