Adrian unlocked the door to the garage by keying in his passcode into the door console. The door slowly began grinding open and draw upwards. Impatient, Adrian ducked underneath the door into the garage. With his eyes closed so that he wouldn’t kill his vision, he leaned over with practiced ease to the shop terminal and turned off the alarm system and keyed on the lights and air filtration and acclimatization systems. The system beeped in acknowledgement, and informed Adrian of the multiple messages that had been left over the past few days, and summarily ignored. Most of them were from his mother, reminding him to eat or wanting to talk about the latest gossip.
The lights flickered on one by one and the soft hum of electricity and glow of mass-produced glow bulbs filled the garage, revealing a Lhosan Industries Swoop Racer. The Lhosan Industries Swoop Racer was the fastest mass-produced speeder bike around. At a max speed of 850 km/h and the turning radius of a garbage scow, driving one took equally heavy doses of skill, reflexes, courage, and luck to pilot. Swoop racing itself was dangerous, expensive, and limited to nobles or their sponsored pilot. Each racer had their own mechanic, assigned the difficult task of maintaining the bikes or the inevitable body repair. His client, Aihara Atsutane, one of the young nobles of Akai-Kyojin, commissioned him to make the speeder even faster than its already ludicrously fast speed.Adrian didn’t know the noble, he had only met the man once, but his sister’s friend passed along the job. His sister Kira was a club-hopping, vacuous waste of space that couldn’t rub two brain cells together to start a fire, but was somehow always able to get Adrian in trouble when he least expected it. Her friend, Biree Jastra’nel, seemed nice, but Adrian always felt like there was a subtle conversation going on in a language he couldn’t understand, as if they were manipulating him every time they were in a room together. He usually trusted his sister as far as he could throw her, but he needed the cash, and the noble was paying well on top of the part expenses.
Adrian began the day by cleaning his tools and inspecting them for wear. Satisfied that nothing was wrong, he laid a towel on the creeper next to the swoop and laid down on it. He then picked up the plasma torch and multi-tool and slid underneath.
Several hours and several silently missed calls passed as he finished removing the brakes from the swoop. It was a common modification to the Swoop Racer. By removing the brakes, the weight of the swoop decreased dramatically, and by slightly overclocking the repulsorlift pulse frequence and some slight body work on the front, it was possible to increase the speed of the Swoop to over 1000 km/h. Assuming that you had enough of a stretch to slow down, it was possible to use the steering flaps to stop the racer, but steering flaps were nothing compared to actual brakes when it came to actually stopping.
He had just finished rewiring the brake system into commands for the navicomputer to engage the flaps when a very irate young nagai noble walked into his shop. Adrian recognized the man as the owner of the speeder. Aihara appeared pale and sweaty as if from exertion. Behind him was a bothan noble on a speeder bike who seemed to be having fun at his friend’s expense, but as soon as he saw Adrian, he turned serious and threatening. “Where have you been?” the first noble yelled when he caught sight of Adrian.
“What?” asked Adrian, confused. “I’ve been here all day, working.”
“I must have called you twelve times!,” Aihara shouted exasperatedly. “I’m supposed to be in a race in fifteen minutes, and I don’t have my racer back yet. You said that it would be done today.”
“But..” Adrian began, but was interrupted by the noble.
“No excuses! I’ll be paying you good creds to get this done, and if it isn’t done soon, I’ll begin docking late fees from what I owe you,” Aihara yelled as he pulled out his credit chip and began waving it threateningly in Adrian’s face.
“I’ve…” Adrian began again, but was once again interrupted.
“What’s taking you so long? I thought you were just making it go faster?” Aihara asked rhetorically before turning to his partner, not paying attention to Adrian. “I never should have listened to Biree, Ralk. I’ve got a race to win tonight. Why did she even recommend this guy?”
“I’ve just finished,” Adrian said, annoyed. He then walked over to the bench, grabbed a small gadget that was lying there, and pushed a button. The Swoop purred to life, the engine humming smoothly at a higher pitch than when it had first came into the shop. He pushed another button, and the swoop began doing a quick self test, going through each of the systems. From where Aihara was standing, he could easily see that the lift output capability from the repulsorlift engine was a up by a quarter.
Aihara was taken aback momentarily before he gleefully snatched the device out of Adrian’s hands and then tossed the credit chip at Adrian. “Good. Let’s go, Ralk,” he said as he jumped on the speeder and put it into gear.
Ralk sneered at Adrian before starting his own speeder and turned to the nagai, “If you hurry, you can talk to Janasen before the race. She’s been eyeing you, Aihara. If you win today, you’re sure to get in her pants.”
As the negai began to pull out of the garage, Adrian shouted, “Hey! I need to tell you…”
“Yeah, yeah. Call and leave me a message,” Aihara shouted. “I’ll get to it later! I’ve got a race to win!” He then gunned the engine, speeding past his friend with a whoop of exultation. The bothan sped off a moment later, leaving Adrian choking on the dust that the two speeders left behind.
After he finished coughing, Adrian heard an extremely loud explosion that sounded like it detonated a kilometer away, as if someone going extremely fast had crashed into a building. “…you don’t have any brakes,” he said, more to himself than anyone else.