Log:Angry Rush 1: Undercity
The roar of unnecessary engine revving. The shouting of drunken hooligans. The electronic music with the bass turned up as high as the systems will allow.
These are the telltale signs that there's about to be a swoop race. Fortunately, there aren't that many people around to hear these noises, aside from those who came here for that very purpose. The main benefit of hosting a race in the Undercity is that nobody really cares that much about what goes on down here in the decaying sub-level infrastructure of the Smuggler's Moon.
Haphazardly-placed lights have been strung across abandoned roads, anchored to the walls of abandoned tunnels, and set lazily atop conveniently-placed rubble. It's enough to roughly define the track that makes up today's course, though calling it a 'track' would be extremely generous.
A small group of spectators have set up camp at the point that makes up both the Start and Finish lines. Booze and adulterants of all sorts are being passed around freely, while some of Nar Shaddaa's ne'er-do-wells and hoodlums show off the modifications made to their swoop bikes and landspeeders. Most of these have various types of music blasting from them, but some of the tricked-out rides only have blindness-inducing light displays in the tacky fashion of the unwashed poor.
Welcome to the Undercity.
A very attractive (if you're into that sort of thing) young woman in a revealing top stands in front of, and just off to the side of, the line of swoop racers. Her froglike Pa'lowick features seem to make her very popular with the assembled drunks, if their ogling and jeering are any indication.
The lineup of bikers include a Bith named Mandl, a Human named Pilha Aino, a Dug named Frexl, a Houk named Phlugmo, and an Unnamed Rodian Racer.
As the bikers make their final checks, the Flag Girl blows kisses at the crowd, and the Advozse PA Announcer warms up his vocal instrument with a cup of Rum and Fizz.
“Hey… uh… what’s up? You guys… uh… you guys ready to see a race?”
The crowd cheers mostly in the affirmative, albeit with the occasional ‘You suck!’ sprinkled in for good measure.
The Dug mercenary known to a few as Frexl is a man of simple dreams. He wants a nice pension, dental care, and a comprehensive vision plan. But he already has all those things, courtesy of his trade union. A trade union whose logo is emblazoned on both sides of his swoop bike. A Mobquet Flare-S with a generous coating of rust, the only thing new about it is the hastily-stenciled logo on each side.
As he pulls a pair of swooper goggles down over his eyes, Frexl gives the Pa’lowick woman a leering smile, and makes a motion of catching her blown kiss with one of his weird little handfeet. He then makes an exaggerated motion of stuffing the weird little handfoot down his pants, as if saving the kiss for later. This makes the Pa’lowick woman both roll her eyes and giggle.
Mandl, not above borrowing or impulse-buying something that meets their standards, has elected not to drive anything too... expensive to repair... which may be their irrepressible Bith practicality. Arriving with an additional suitcase of goods set into the fastidious care of a waiting 'droid, they measure their competition silently and nod to themselves. "May we all survive this day!"
Ko Hentota. Several times in the past it has been home, but today it is simply a racemeet. Pilha rides in on her battered Mobquet Overracer. The Pa'lowick waves coo-ee at her and Pilha nods her helmet vaguely in response. She idles the swoop and hops off to to a few final checks before glancing over the competition. "Say that everyday," she grunts at Mandl as she climbs back on her swoop and waits for the race to begin.
The Flag Girl slowly raises the flag, and the small crowd suddenly gets much more quiet. Aside from the obnoxious electronic music and the occasional shout of 'Whoo!'
As she drops the flag, the idly-revving engines suddenly roar to life, as the swoop racers rush forward so fast they're practically just blurs.
Of course, 'blurs' are about all that a lot of the onlookers can see anyway?
Up ahead, the course's first obstacle can be seen: A hastily-reinforced ramp that allows our heroic racers to jump right over a long-abandoned sewage pipe. A long-abandoned sewage pipe that has mostly rusted away, leaving gaping holes big enough for an unfortunate swooper to fall right into, bike and all!
And it stinks, too.
Pulling back on the throttle, Frexl takes off so fast that ALL of his brownish teeth are exposed as the wind pulls his camelesque lips apart and spreads them across his face! Unfortunately, he also loses a very large wad of chewing t'bacc in the process, which streams behind him like a brown comet trail. But one made of saliva and t'bacc, not whatever comet trails are usually made of.
Comet dust, probably.
But despite his dramatic takeoff, Frexl doesn't pick up enough speed to clear the ramp. However, he picks up too much speed to course correct. So he pretty much misses the ramp entirely, and drives right off the ledge and into the open sewer pipe. Instead of crashing, he does an entire three hundred and sixty degree roll, once, twice, and then thrice around the inside of the pipe, getting dunked in Ancient Sewage with each roll before getting spat out through one of the mercifully-large rusted out holes in the pipe!
Mandl has raced both Dugs and Humans before. Rodians too, presumably, but consider them well-versed in the nuances of their opponents' biologies and cultures? 'Planning and skill' cannot entirely overcome 'gravity and neglect,' but their extremely rough _stomach-churning lurch_ of a landing does not see their smoking, sparking, paintfleck-shedding vehicle disintegrate entirely. WE PRESS ON, CEASELESSLY, SPATTERED IN TABACC.
Not for the first time, Pilha is glad she's wearing the armour. Reminding herself to have 'words' with the Dug and his habits when this is over, she guns her engines and the Overracer heads off with a whine of repulsorlifts. She's too slow for the jump, and manages to halt before she falls in the pipe. She brings the bike to a halt... better go round.
After the racers have cleared the first challenge, it's clear that Mandl has a significant lead over the next racer. The spectators cheer at the display of skillful swooping, but their cheers are not even remotely audible to the racers over the roars and whines of their various engines.
At the speeds the racers are going, there's no time for any self-congratulating or feelings of accomplishment, for the next obstacle is already swiftly coming up into view: It appears to be an abandoned junkyard, full of ancient vehicles that haven't quite surrendered completely to rust. Between the vehicles, the garbage, and the abandoned campsites and dwellings, there are plenty of hazards here that could easily cause a swooper to wipe out or crash, leaving nothing behind but a grease fire and a puddle of organic matter and despair!
Mandl's lead may be "significant," but few races call on a driver to leave their swoop bodily mid-maneuver! With a number of risky twists of an (admittedly... robust for a species whose reputation for endurance is that of wet spaghetti) form, Dr. B'rot's muscles strain and bulge! Up! Around! Through! Krif-krif-krif! They clip an entire tent, nebulously-fit machine belching oily black smoke as it attempts to inhale a tarp!
The junkyard races up on Pilha. She kills the speed with a whine of running down repulors, losing ground to the other racers. Still, she skilfully avoids a pile of trash, dodges around a hobo's campsite (said hobo, standing and waving his fists and cursing the racer as she does so) and bounces the swoop over a flickering campfire.
Wailing almost as loud as the engine of his Mobquet Flare-S, Frexl looks like something from a horror movie as he is spat out of the rusted opening in the massive sewer pipe. He rockets upward before landing somewhere close to the track, more through luck than skill, as if that weren't obvious.
Fortunately, the swoop is pulling him forward fast enough for some of the ancient fecal matter (and who knows what else) to begin streaming off of him. But he'll never go fast enough to outrun the shame.
Here's hoping the rest of it dries by the end of the race.
As he rockets toward the Junkyard Obstacle Course, Frexl manages to not smash his swoop against every single obstacle, but he hits quite a lot of them. It's enough to keep him in the race, but waaaay toward the back.
Our Heroic Racers have reached the section of the course that the drunken spectators can no longer see. It's less well-lit in this area, though that doesn't seem to bother the rats who make up the bulk of the population in this part of the Undercity. Some of them even look up from the garbage they're feasting on to watch as the swoops roar by!
Now that the racers have picked through the Junkyard Obstacle Course, Mandl is still in a commanding lead! But it's getting progressively darker, and completely out of the view of all of the sentients who would care.
Surely nobody would use this opportunity to CHEAT would they?
Sure enough, the course becomes almost pitch black as the racers go around the next turn, with only a blinking light off in the distance to give them any indication of which way they're supposed to be headed!
Turns out, someone DID decide to take advantage of the dark in order to cheat! And this nefarious ne'er-do-well left a bunch of garbage on the track, where only a sharp eye would be able to spot it in time!
As his swoop enters the dark section of the track known as The Hutt's Butthole, Frexl leans forward and peers deeply into the dark in order to avoid the many traps that are likely lurking there.
But he completely misses it, with his eyes that is. Because he completely DOESN'T miss it with his bike!
He plows right through a bunch of bags of garbage, stacked up higher than his swoop, and hits so hard he nearly lets go of his handlebars.
Fortunately, the garbage helps wipe off some of the poo.
Unfortunately, he's probably got a concussion. And he's covered in garbage. And his swoop is making some really funny noises.
Pitch black. Even with the low light pickups in her armour, Pilha doesn't see the mound of rubbish. She's gunning the swoop toward the beacon when she rides full into the garbage. The swoop comes to an abrupt stop, Pilha, unfortunately, does not. She sails over the handlebars, over the garbage and is lucky enough to roll/slide a few metres to break her roll. She lies there a few minutes, winded then groans and begins to pick herself up and limp back to her swoop, purring away as it hovers embedded in garbage.
Mandl's eye has been through enough swoop-races, legal or otherwise, to weather some rando dumping his plastic sack of refuse a-- little close-- to the sanctioned track, whether on Tatooine, Dantooine or Raceooine, only one of which is made-up. Speeding through the darkened alleys of the planet Raceooine, the half-digested tent flapping madly through their exhaust manifold, the various wrappers and receipts and nappies are barely noted. Perhaps the tent acts as a shield.
The racers miraculously avoided dying horribly in the pitch black area of the course known as The Hutt's Butthole. They're on the last half of the course now, and about to turn one last corner into the view of our Very Drunk Swoop Race Fans!
But predictably, there's yet another spanner in the works, as it turns out the blinking light off in the distance wasn't really an actual light. Instead, it appears to be a bunch of smallish fires permanently burning on the surface of an especially treacherous undercity garbage patch! The decomposing organic matter has reacted perfectly with all of the fuel and noxious chemicals to create a permanent burning hazard, which certainly won't get better with all of these swoop drivers racing over it!
With garbage all over them, both the Houk named Phlugmo and the Rodian named The Unnamed Rodian Racer are bringing up the rear, with all sorts of things leaking out of Phlugmo's bike. The Unnamed Rodian Racer seems to think he's still got a shot in the race though, judging by how determinedly he holds his handlebars, and how resolutely he leans forward into the pain and fast-oncoming ignominy.
And also the fire. The horrible, horrible trash fire.
Somebody really ought to clean the Undercity up, right?
Mandl's dodging-while-on-a-bike is, again, untested. Untrained. They *try,* as their reflexes allow, but some by-blow of burning garbage is perhaps inevitable. White-knuckling... everything, ever... with their white knuckles, perhaps they should blue-knuckle more things. Twelve knuckles see them take a few fast food-wrappers across the face at 500kph, but that's merely the cost of business HERE ON RACEOOINE.
Pilha, having pulled her swoop out of the trash can only limp toward the firey trash pile. And even then, the steering's a bit wonky so it's no surprise that she hits the firey trash pile as well but manages to stay on. It's really not her race. "Should stick to slicing," she mutters as she hauls the swoop around the trash.
Narrowly avoiding a FLAMING DEATH, Frexl just barely manages to keep control of his bike. Not enough to gain any sort of ground, as he's still hopelessly behind, but at least enough to... did we already say the thing about the FLAMING DEATH?
His swoop is shaking violently, almost enough to throw its rider as it sputters forward with who knows what leaking out of it. There also seem to be things leaking out of Frexl, but that just might be the garbage or the excrement, or maybe some brain fluid.
He is, for the record, still single. Just playing the field, you know? Why rush into a relationship?
Phlugmo's swoop explodes in a shower of flaming death and molten metal! The Unnamed Rodian just has enough time to trumpet out a jubilant victory cry through his gas funnel of a snout before he realizes that he, too has been hit. But not in the bike meats, no, in the RODIAN MEATS!
As his organs pour out behind him, he loses consciousness, and his swoop bike swerves off of the course just as he clears the turn, heading out in to the vacant lot that some of the spectators have also been using as a toilet!
That's two fatal crashes in the space of a few seconds, which causes roughly half of the spectators to cheer, and the other half to gasp in shock and horror.
But it's okay though, because there are still enough racers left over to finish!
As Frexl's bike slows, and then stops, he realizes that his bike took a few shots in the crossfire.
There he sits, a few hundred meters from the finish line, on a smoking ruin.
BLASTERS?! "Oh for frak's sake," Pilha curses as she ducks as red bolts fly all around. It's Nar Shaddaa. Of course there's blasters. The slicer guides her swoop away, losing more ground to the rest of the racers... that are alive. The swoop limps over the finish line, Pilha climbs stiffly off her bike and pulls her helmet off. Surveying the wreck of the race, the dead and the living, she snorts to herself. "Dang."
Mandl, disdaining any laurel they may be offered, instead asks: "Does anyone require medical attention or bike repair?" The contents of the suitcase go to Frexl, past the finish-line, and they offer Pilha: "... would you like a donation to a charity of your choosing?"
"And the winner is... MAAAAAAAAANDL!"
The Advozse Announcer announces to the crowd, who cheer at the announcement. Yes, there are cheers, curses, and the shattering of glass beer bottles. Fortunately, there aren't any more blaster shots so far, but it's probably only a matter of time, what with this being a Poor People Race.
The Smokin' Hot Pa'lowick Girl runs up to Mandl, flanked by an Askajian and Shistavanen woman, all in similarly skimpy outfits! They seem intent on drowning them in a sea of saggy flesh and unwashed hair, which some people would probably pay extra for so what are you complaining about?
They also seem disappointed when the offer is declined. There was a trophy after all.
The trophy is produced, which is a sizeable glass jar that appears to be full of... baking flour?
No, no it's definitely full of spice. Quite a lot of spice. More than a single person should really take over the course of a week.
Not quite enough for a month though, unless you don't like spice.
Mandl does take the... memento, although reluctantly. "It will look quite smart next to 'trophies not stuffed with illegal drugs.' I assume."