[Original Fiction] Racer 666: Shutokou Wars (Old story revived and rewritten)

Oct. 5, 2015, 2:25 a.m.
Now, before I go onto the main part of the thread, I'd like for the moderators to lock the older threads that have the same title as I once again have remade this story, now without the NFS Underground inspiration of the ricing part, and what not. The links below are the older threads that should not be necro'd.

Link 1: http://www.nfscars.net/forum/offtopic-discussion/18095-racer-666-original-story.html
Link 2: http://www.nfscars.net/forum/offtopic-discussion/20473-original-fiction-racer-666-shutokou-wars.html

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All right, it has been close to six years since I last dropped by to nfscars forums, and after much of my life's chaos settled with, my writer's block appeared to be fading away. This pretty much brought my attention back to this series that I had initially drafted back in 2006. Yes. Nine years ago. That long. In 2009, there was a brief overhaul to the plot, in attempt to make it look more relevant for a story than a fun exercise and poking fun at ricers and their fart cans. Writer's block kicked in then, and was in effect till about a month ago.

Also, I have been a member to nfscars forum since 2005, where back then, I joined in for NFS Porsche Unleashed, Underground, and Underground 2. Looking back now, damn do I behave like a little douche at times. But nevertheless, one should not harp the past, but instead look ahead into the future. I'm glad to be back in nfscars, eager for the new Need For Speed game on the PC coming in 2016, as well as bringing this story back to life. Those who were with me back then for the writing I did then, I do apologise for disappearing altogether. All right, time to post up the Prologue, and the 1st chapter. 2nd and 3rd chapters are already done, but will come in soon enough in a timely manner.

And finally, my pen name has changed drastically from Outlaw02, to Outlaw02Extreme. Now though, it's Erich Sturmburg.

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Racer 666: Shutokou Wars Overhaul
By: Erich Sturmburg


Every fracture and crease on the road tell a story,
Be it a crash, the line of victory, or even a new beginning,
But few stories show of those being revived after a long disappearance,
Especially when one used to be the terror of the Shutokou…


Prologue


1999, the year where most racers on the Shutokou witnessed the most menacing vehicle ever to exist. It had yet to be defeated, and everyone that raced against him would result in a crash, be it minor, or fatal. Little knew about the driver behind the wheel, let alone the power the machine produced. However, spotting such a vehicle was easy. Recently produced, it was tuned and modified by Tommykaira, and further upgraded by the owner as well. 450hp was the power it initially had after being tuned from the said company, but over 800hp might be speculated with the modifications done by the unknown driver.

Many that had raced against him would have the same comment. No matter how far or near they are, the menacing scream and howling whine of twin turbochargers produced from its engine caused demoralising effects. Many nicknamed it the 'Japanese Stuka', while others refer it as the 'Berserker', considering its wild driving nature it had. However, as far as images go, the machine was no special, customised vehicle at all. Peeling away its hellish nature stood a docile, tamed Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec R34. A machine renowned for its swift handling despite its size, with the modifications, it had transformed to a blood red Tommykaira RS R34, then to the beastly monster it had become.

Visual upgrades were striking; cursive writings on both sides of the doors that spelled out 'Tommykaira R' that was supported by four tyres with stock, six-spoke gold-orange rims. Its stock rear wing had been replaced with an all carbonfibre box spoiler mounted in a GT1 car fashion while the front bumper was replaced with Tommykaira's make, having a more pronounced look and a front splitter, assisting with downforce for grip. Its last encounter was by far the most rumoured among the car enthusiasts, tuners and racers alike. The damned machine went against the Shutokou's number 1, who owned a black, VG30DETT powered Nissan Fairlady S30Z. Being referred to as the Fallen Angel, it launched the duel from ShinKanjou Clockwise with a third party racer in a silver, A60 Toyota Celica. No one knew how the race went, but the result ended with the Fairlady in a total wreck, instantly killing the driver just a few kilometres into Wangan Outbound.

The Tommykaira R ceased its dominating presence ever since. No one knew where it had disappeared off to, nor the exact location of where it was stored. However, it was sure that its disappearance spawned several impostors claiming to be the owner of the Tommykaira. It was the sure sign of the demise of racing in the Shutokou, and it was the low point of the highway scene.

Seven years passed ever since the last encounter of the Tommykaira R. Most of the racers in the Shutokou had moved on, upgrading their vehicles to greater levels, and fighting for the title as the 'Dominator of Shutokou', last held by the Fairlady S30Z, which had been wrecked and rumoured to be revived by a little known owner. No matter, that was a start for a particular person, who had only a year's experience in the highway. As a novice, he had fared well with his white, 300hp Honda Prelude Type-S, even better on wet conditions. He had not known anything about the Tommykaira R, but it would be time soon when he come to know about it…

Especially when his father bought a dormitory, and assigned him to manage it, not realising a garage within the compound that had never been opened for years.

This hence begins a new story, and possibly the revival,
Of a machine that should not have existed,
Be it from a new driver, be it a new setup,
The untamed power under its hood shall scream again.


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The tale of a man, of leading an ordinary life,
With several others in the dormitory,
But when night falls, and the urge heightens,
All present in the building lusts for the same need; speed.


1st Stage
New Beginning


An eerie silence dominated the C1 ShinKanjou Inner Loop. Rain had recently ceased, leaving wet surfaces on the tarmac. Deep growls from the passing clouds reverberated through the tunnel portions of the route, somehow attracting racers parked by the side of the road. They had not dared race at such wet conditions, especially when the tyres they had equipped only perform well on dry surfaces. However, little did they know of a race going on, as two vehicles sped past the parked car in a blur. In the lead was a maroon, tuned Toyota Camry, complete with a bodykit to provide needed downforce when cornering. Lacking the rear spoiler, the front wheel drive Toyota turned into the left turn of the S-corner on the inside with such ease, while a stock looking, white Honda Prelude Type-S followed suit, though on the outside lane. The right turn was next, and position between the two cars had switched. Shifting down to 2nd, the Honda floored the throttle, as the front wheels spun violently, desperately to grasp a grip of the road. Considering its position on the inside lane, the white coupe catapulted towards the outside of mid-corner before traction registered on the tyres, along with its 4-wheel steering to assist in the turning, successfully overtaking the maroon sedan.

The Toyota, observing the reckless overtaking move, acted swiftly to regain the lead. Feathering on the throttle while in mid-range 3rd gear, the sedan slipped into the inside lane once again, though at a slightly lower speed than the wild Honda. The only chance for the Camry to overtake was the short straight, before having to brake again for a blind S-turn through the tunnel. Only the outer portions of the road in the tunnel were soaked wet compared to the sightly drier surface closer to the inside. The maroon sedan went full tilt on the throttle. Front wheels spun violent as its tyres managed to find traction. Still in 3rd, the Toyota aimed for the inside lane of the right hander- the faint grumble from a tuned H22 engine was heard. The Honda, instead of backing away in the corner, fired through the outside lane with such ferocity. Brake lights from both cars lit up , readying for the wide left turn.

The Prelude released its brakes seconds earlier than the Camry, and feathered on the throttle, taking the inside lane till mid-corner. The sedan followed suit on the outside- the Honda had its accelerator floored, causing another surge of wheelspin. Knowing the nature of a front wheel drive car, the coupe slipped from the inside, to the outside lane, effectively stopping any chances for the Toyota to overtake. The Honda remained flooring the throttle, which posed his rival much danger, especially in such wet weather. Brake lights lit up again on the Camry. It was just too risky continuing the race, let alone against one that was too wild in such road conditions. The white coupe emerged victorious, and continued down the C1 ShinKanjou Inner Loop before filtering off the highway. He had his fun for the night, and he needed to work the next morning.

As the driver parked the Honda Prelude in the parking lot of the three-storey building, in which his father had bought it under his name and converted to a dormitory, he emerged from the coupe, while letting out a heavy sigh of relief. He thought that the wet conditions would have caused him to crash, but thanks to the rallying-based suspension setup, he was able to steer clear of any possible crashes. Brown eyes glanced at the front wheels of the said vehicle. A frown formed on his mouth before commenting.

“I need to get new front tyres. They’re getting balder than a balding man’s scalp. It's just that bad,” he uttered under his breath, examining the condition of the tyres. “I might as well try Yokohama ones this time round instead of Pirelli variants.”

He then placed his right hand on the side of the bonnet, realising another problem. It felt abnormally hot. That had him open it and checked for any problems. Sure, the low pressure turbocharger had little to do with straining the engine, but he had installed a sport-spec intercooler just in case. Nothing seemed to be of a problem, but he decided on a simple oil change. After all, he had been taking care of his 300hp Honda Prelude for the past two years, and nothing wrong had occurred. Even when it came to his unusual handling of the coupe came from the different tyre air pressures between the front and back. The rear had slightly lower air pressure compared to the front, in hope of inducing slight oversteer. But judging from the recent race, it seemed to have the opposite result.

“Must be the weather condition somehow,” he thought. “But in any case, I best be in the dormitory for now. It's already 3am, and I'm getting cold. I'll do the oil change tomorrow.”

As he paced his way for the dormitory, brown eyes noticed activity in the living room. That made him wonder, considering how late it was. Brushing his black hair whose length covers the nape, he let out a sigh, before he took a glance at his attire. It was of a simple white Polo T-shirt, off-grey jeans, and typical dark shaded sport shoes. But with the chilly weather going on for the past few days, he donned on a dark green windbreaker. Of a fit build, he stood at a height of 1.75 metres; a usual image in his opinion. As the 24 year old entered through the main door, as he expected, he witnessed some two of the several people living in the dormitory drunk in the living room with 3 bottles of vodka on the coffee table, of which one was empty. A sigh left his mouth, catching the duo's attention, who were slouching on the brown, leather sofa.

“Ay! Minoru! Took ya a while to come back. We went ahead and look, we're all pissed drunk like buggers!” went one of the two; a male brunet who seemed to have more grey hair than his usual brown crown before resuming after a hiccup. “Wanna join in?”

“He only had two cups of the vodka, two cups! And look what made him into,” said the other, a female blonde, whose hair was obviously dyed. “I'm still half sober with 5 cups of the darn liquor. Minoru Hasegawa, join in!”

“Me, having work tomorrow? I don't think so. You two numbnuts continue on, Ryou, Aikawa. Being car mechanic is already tiring enough,” replied the sober individual. “Anyway, where's Kagura? She went off to bed?”

“She hasn't,” the blonde replied. “She's still out with her black R32 GTR. Apparently someone was stalking her and she's going to settle it tonight no matter what. And bah, your job, tiring? How would you look at mine, an engineer for a tuner company?”

“Typical situation for a person to be targeted, since she's an excellent driver in the C1 Loop region. Makes me wonder why she isn't the leader of that location,” said Minoru, rubbing his chin.

“Beats me,” the woman replied before taking another sip of the vodka, maroon eyes taking a beeline for the brunet’s face. “Maybe she doesn't want to be one in the first place. You do know her favourite line, right? 'It's only for fun' would be her response if we ask the same question.”

The unusual nature of Aikawa drinking that much alcohol had the brunet stealing glances at her. Though only at an age of 22, and at a height of 1.58 metres, she is actually far more experienced than Minoru. Her long, dyed blonde hair ended just past her busts and tied in a twin-tail manner. Her petite figure did little to prove her age; she would always be mistaken for a senior high school student, no matter what she wore. At the moment, she sports a dark blue sleeveless turtleneck shirt, and brown denim shorts while donning on a faded blue denim jacket, just hanging by the elbows to keep her arms warm, and footwear of a simple designed gray sports shoes. Driving an old, black, 1970 Nissan Fairlady S30Z powered with a modern VG30DETT engine, the lightweight coupe produced an excessive 700hp. Such power in an old machine would need a lot of reinforcements done on the chassis, which she had did, including a race-spec rollcage to reduce the possible instances of the body warping slightly that could cause loss of control. She had been familiarised with older cars, especially since when her first car happened to be a silver, 1969 Nissan Skyline GTR sedan, and crashed it little more than five times when she did high speed runs in a closed circuit. The old sedan is still around the compound, but Aikawa had yet to pay more attention to it ever since she purchased the wrecked S30Z back then. However, that was not the biggest issue for her; it would be pronouncing her family name that would rile her. Having 'Takashizawa' for her family name sounded impressive, but constant stumbling from her fellow colleagues only annoyed the blonde.

Ryou Shima, on the other hand, was almost the opposite of Aikawa. Standing at a height of 1.78metres, he is of a giant compared to the petite woman. Sporting a mixture of short grey and brown hair, it was combed in a swept back look while faint stubbles can be seen on his face, giving the 28 year old a middle-aged image. No matter, he did not seem to mind about that fact. Being a happy-go-lucky person, only little knows about his actual background, especially when his clothing consisted of typical salaryman attire without the coat and a blue tie hanging loose. That rather built man is actually the son of a multi-millionaire of a law firm, but no matter how Aikawa and Minoru see his situation being a drunkard, they find it impossible, let alone the fact that he is currently a manager of a company specialising in hydraulic/pneumatic systems. At least, they would expect such a person to be more responsible with his manners, not like-.

“Whadd'ya two doin' starin' like a bunch of dorks? Drink up! I'll get the brandy to mix with the vodka,” he remarked in a slurred manner while his black eyes dulled slightly, though pronunciation remained amusingly clear.

“Makes me wonder if he’s really that strong driver in that huge, white, Toyota Chaser Tourer V,” commented Minoru. “After all, that huge machine of a beast packs an excess of 800hp. Heck, almost everyone in this dormitory have cars more powerful than mine.”

“Take out the ‘almost’ part. Everyone has a car more powerful then yours,” Aikawa stated the truth. “No matter, you will progress as you get a car that can go as fast. Not the Honda Prelude, of course.”

“And here I thought I was looking forward to purchase a used 2000 Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 I saw at the used cars sale. Happened to be sold 2 days before I got a chance to buy it,” said the brunet as he sulked. “I’ll just stay put with my Prelude then.”

The blonde's eyes narrowed, somehow a little annoyed by that fact, “You seemed to be rushing into things. Even if you get the R34, you'll need to adjust yourself with the increase of speed and acceleration that machine has compared to your lightly tuned Honda. Front wheel drive uses a different kind of driving style, so does a rear wheel drive one.”

“I thought it's a four-wheel drive, the R34?”

“Part-time four wheel drive,” Ryou barged in into the conversation. “It's mostly rear wheel drive. The only time it goes to four wheel drive is when the rear of the GT-R starts to slip. It may be a form of saviour when you lose control, but it isn't foolproof. You will still lose control and crash if you're too reckless with it.”

Silence ensued. Both Aikawa and Minoru were stumped that that rich son had it almost bang on with the theory. Brown eyes glanced at the small cup of vodka in the petite woman's hand. The blonde took notice of it, but thought little of the situation- he grasped it, and downed the whole content.

“Another cup of vodka!” the Honda driver remarked.

“That's my cup!” the lass countered, aiming a fist at Minoru. “Geez!”

“It's mine now! You already have two on your chest,” he countered before slumping on the couch. “I'll just apply leave for tomorrow's work. I still have 12 days of work leave anyway.”

Embarrassed by the response from the brunet, it only had Aikawa pouncing over him and launched a small wrestling stint, while Ryou drank away, witnessing the brawl.

“Both of you are acting like children,” he thought, taking another sip of the liquor.

… … …


C1 Outer Loop

Though the roads have dried up slightly, there were still damp patches here and there, posing more trouble. Slipping onto wet and dry surfaces would only induce loss, and gaining of traction ever so suddenly. Not so for two cars as they belted past a slow moving truck on the inside lane of a wide right turn. In the lead was the unmistakable black Nissan Skyline GTR R32 with a modest looking aftermarket front splitter while chasing behind just inches away was a yellow Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V GSR with a bigger rear box spoiler. Crimson eyes took a glance at the rear view mirror, locating the position of her rival.

“Still hogging the rear. When is he going to do his assault?” she uttered under her breath as she geared up to 4th prematurely while in mid-corner. “He's been at it since the beginning of the duel at ShinKanjou Counter-Clockwise route.”

Kagura Ishida is the full name of the annoyed woman. She had been stalked by this particular Mitsubishi for the past two weeks, and had yet to find the stalker's motive. It was only recently that she decided to take action about the matter by racing one on one against him. However, as far she knew, it seemed to be a waste of her time.

At a height of 1.65metres, she possessed long, wavy silver hair that ends at her busts while her pale skin shade figure would often be referred as slender while her eyes were of crimson. However, being endowed with rather… biggish D-cup size, it was more of a nuisance than an advantage to her. With an occupation of a florist, Kagura is often seen in a simple white t-shirt and various dark shades of cotton shorts. Her footwear had always been the same pair of Weinbrenner's brown, rugged boots ever since the first day she stepped into the dormitory. Having such footwear was not actually a preference, she just happens to love wearing such boots. She does have another 2 pairs of the same boots, just of different makes; one being Caterpillar, and another, Dr. Martens.

Kagura was familiar with the C1 Loop portion of the Shutokou, but never able to master the corners. Each time she attacks a corner, it would often result in various results. Her 650hp R32 came from the first production batch of the GT-R in 1989. And compare it to the later models of the Skyline GT-R, hers felt more raw, unsophisticated unlike the ones where it was refined. No matter, that did not stop her from building the coupe that mirrors to a familiar version of the R32 that used to dominate races in Australia.

“You think you can beat me, but with my R32 built almost similar to the setup used in the Bathurst races of 1991 and 1992. It took me more than a year of research and testing various setups on Suzuka Circuit, while small modifications were done on the car itself to suit them. As far as I know, I have been told by an avid circuit racer that my Skyline has a body so rigid that at one point, it cornered with the front inside wheel slightly airborne, and not losing traction. I never believed the claim. The R32 is rather heavy to begin with, even after the weight shedding,” thought the albino as she hit 5th gear around 280kmh. “All I just need now is to get a little more pep to the torque in mid-range revs. The twin-turbo still kicks in rather abruptly. I better change the setup in the ECU later on.”

An S-corner was due next, with an Isuzu pick up truck in the way on the outer lane. A faint 'tch' of annoyance left her mouth as she slipped into the inside lane beforehand, which unfortunately allowed the Mitsubishi to act. The yellow sports sedan surged forward, with its heavily modified straight-4 turbocharged engine screaming at high revs. For a 2000cc engine to even surge forward in order to attempt overtaking, let alone successfully doing so amused Kagura. Never once she had seen a Lancer Evolution of any model been able to pull off such a feat. This was her first. Fifty metres before the left turn of the S-corner, and brake lights lit up on both cars. While the black coupe was able to slow down much more efficiently, the Mitsubishi was not. It took it almost twice the duration to slow down, and in fact at it till around mid corner of the turn, just barely evading the said pick up truck. The albino was not amazed by that. She had a feeling that the driver did not upgrade the brakes of the Lancer Evolution V.

“For a car that fast, having stock brakes would only spawn more trouble, especially when you lose control. I had upgraded the brake rotors and calipers in order to slow down more quickly, though sacrificing the stock wheels as they would not fit anymore with the new brakes,” thought the lass, gearing down to 3rd, allowing the revs to rise into the effective range of the twin-turbocharger.

Crimson eyes glanced at the Mitsubishi, before noticing the coming right corner. Kagura knew that heading into the inside lane of that corner would mean instant victory for her once she passes the Shiba Park filter lane- the yellow sedan reacted first. Just as it had stopped braking, it slipped into the inside lane, though the rear was sliding a little, possibly due to the weight shifting to the front all the time. The albino decided on a hasty move. Still in 3rd gear, she feathered on the throttle as her Nissan hit the right corner on the outside lane. Her eyes stole glances at the position of the Mitsubishi. She was catching up till around mid-corner where the sedan somewhat floored the accelerator. Tyres squealed as the car began to slip into the lane where Kagura was. A smirk formed on her face. She saw the opening of the flawed move. She made her assault.

Ever so instantly, the lass swerved her coupe into the inside lane while applying throttle at 1/3 strength. However, the instant she saw the clear when the Lancer hit the outside lane, Kagura floored the throttle. The sudden surge of acceleration was so vicious, it had her body firmly sitting to the red and black Recaro bucket seat while she geared up prematurely. She would not want to have an engine blow if she revs it too hard on the redline. The black Skyline GTR launched itself away from the S-corner, leaving the slipping Lancer in its dust. A quick left corner was next, which the albino dealt it with a sweeping 'out-in-out' fashion. Her eyes glanced at the rear view mirror, just in case if the stalker had the intention of coming back. Nothing, not even a hint of its existence. A smile formed on the lass' face.

“Silly stalker. Only one mistake was enough for me to take you down, unlike other racers where I would take more effort into winning, especially against Minoru. For a 300hp Honda Prelude, he managed to pull off reckless moves that had me think twice about overtaking him. He knows more about his car's erratic behaviour than anyone else in the Shutokou. That's… his only strength, and by far one of the more powerful abilities, though at a cost of balding the front tyres faster than a passing comet, and always on the verge of crashing into virtually anything through corners, even a pea on the emergency lane,” she uttered under her breath, in which all that were true about the male brunet.

As she activated the turning indicator to the left, Kagura exited the Shutokou via Iikura filter lane. She knew she was well known in the C1 Loop, and would not want to face more races for the night. Work for the albino starts at 10am, and now, it was already almost 4am.

“Mind as well head back for now. Monday blues again for everyone in the dormitory I guess,” she thought.

While life has been normal for the bunch,
Only time will tell when the abandoned garage is found,
With the keys to the place just footsteps away in the living room,
The person who founds it first be the owner of the beast.


Back at the living room in the dormitory, Aikawa and Minoru were still pulling off the wrestling stint, and drenched wet by their sweat. Ryou had knocked himself out when he mixed the vodka with brandy, looking like a pile of white blob on the couch with black and white swirls for eyes. While the duo were busy dueling to find out the victor, unfortunately, the urge of sneezing kicked in for both of them, and did so the instant they had it- They sneezed at the same time, and they felt a weird, warm sensation splattering on each other's faces…

“Eww! You sneezed onto my face, disgusting!” the blonde exclaimed, and had the attempt to hurl a right fist at the man lying on the sofa. “What kind of sneezing 'powerhouse' are you?”

“Ugh! Gah! Disgusting! You sneezed into my mouth! You're more horrible than me, woman!” the 'powerhouse' countered, grabbing a tissue on the coffee table to spit it out from his mouth. “You made me taste the ultimate agony of defeat!”
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Below are the faces of the characters, created by an outdated software that's no longer available called facemaker.

Minoru Hasegawa
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Aikawa Takashizawa
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Ryou Shima
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Kagura Ishida
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Oct. 5, 2015, 11:10 p.m.
The power of the Honda Prelude; limited by its drivetrain,
Yet mastering the machine; was akin to taming a stubborn horse,
But when rivalry came in a form of a Mitsubishi Galant VR-4,
Then the cries of the tyres; its wails of agony.

But the mystery of unfamiliar keys within the vicinity…
Its scream, ever similar to moans of delight…
That devilishly menacing aura…
It shall envelop the Shutokou once more…


2nd Stage
A Death, A Rebirth
Part 1


An audible yawn left Minoru's mouth as he groggily made his way out of his simplistic bedroom. Though his work ended at 4pm, he took about five hours' worth of sleep the instant he reached home at 5pm with his Honda as a mode of transport. Brown eyes glanced at the living room on the first floor; it was prim and proper, with no traces of alcohol in sight.

“Why did I go to work in the end? Damn hangover almost made me feel 20 years older,” he thought, rubbing the back of his scalp. “I wonder what's on the newspaper today.”

Pacing down a flight of stairs made of lacquered oak, he finally took notice of some of the eye catching features of the dormitory his father had bought. Dominating the place were double coated white paint walls that had been recently painted by him just a month ago. Lighting were replaced from old light bulbs to fluorescent ones. The flooring were the original oakwood that was lacquered, and polished to keep its shine intact. Furniture-wise, they were brought over from the previous owner, only for the ones in the living room, where Minoru replaced those with deep brown leather sofa and couch to fit with the colour of the floor. Curtains of light brown shade were used to contrast the dark coloured flooring and bright walls while ventilation came from ceiling mounted fans and several air conditioning units, although most of the time, only the fans were used. A stack of newspapers lay spread on the coffee table, obviously a sign that Aikawa had went through them. A sigh left his mouth. He could not be bothered to talk to that blonde about her bad habit leaving any kind of paper articles strewn all over the place. However, that petite lass somehow knows the location of the paper whenever she was in need of the said document. That feature of hers amused the brunet.

“I guess each person has their habits,” he uttered under his breath, before noticing the albino walking past the living room, heading for the kitchen with a towel around her neck. “How's the shop doing, Kagura?”

“A sudden surge of orders just came in today, and it's due this Thursday. Apparently some rich groom decided to have a rather grand wedding in a garden instead of a church, and wants only white bouquets and flower arrangements. Only catch is this, he prefers to see more orchids than any other flowers,” the busty woman implied, turning to look at the brunet not realising her white cotton tank top was wet after the shower she had.

“Well, good luck with that,” Minoru replied, trying not to notice the woman's prominent… assets within his view. “So, the stalker?”

“Dealt with. Easy as pie,”

“That's a good thing to hear, considering that stalker being at it for 2 weeks straight,” said the brunet, sitting on the couch while grabbing the nearest newspaper within his grasp. “But I have a feeling that he might return to bug you again, Kagura. So try to be careful for now.”

“If he dares to annoy me of course,” the albino answered with a hint of annoyance. “Anyway, Aikawa's out on the Shutokou, as she claims to be, and Ryou's on overtime work. He applied work leave tomorrow apparently.”

“On leave?” said the 'powerhouse', a bit amused while flipping to the car section of the newspaper. “I assume he plans to tune his Chaser again.”

“Most probably. He already bought a 2JZ-GTE engine on standby if the 1JZ-GTE decided to blow up one day. Darn back up engine now produces around 920hp itself upon testing. Fitted onto the Chaser, it might drop quite considerably,” Kagura replied in a rather amused manner, grabbing a milk carton from the fridge. “He even has plans for a double wishbone suspension setup all-round. The Chaser is already a nimble one for a huge car in the current setup, why for twitchy handling?”

Minoru remained silent for a bit, reading an article that caught his attention. A hint of annoyance left his mouth, somewhat finding it impossible.

“Tommykaira R-S? Not seen from the Shutokou for almost 7 years? Looks like the media is at it again for the past 3 years so far. And all of the recent sightings seemed to be hoaxes, or just replicas with noticeable differences from the real Tommykaira R-S. Is that car on the Shutokou really that powerful?” the brunet remarked in a rather irritated tone.

“It's a combination actually. The car is one hell of a dominator, but the driver behind the wheel has skills comparable to God's. Sure, that driver has its flaws here and there, but his driving is far more superior than anyone currently active on the highway. Imagine rushing through C1 Loop in such a car with considerable traffic. It managed to pull off such a feat,” the woman replied, taking a sip of the milk straight from the carton.

“What makes you think so?”

“I've seen it. Back in 1999, while I only had a lightly tuned, 280hp white Nissan Skyline GTS-4 R32 then. It appeared before me on the C1 Inner Loop. I did not have a second of chance to catch up. All it did was speed through the filter lane to C1 ShinKanjou and it was gone from my sight. I assumed he had installed a front splitter and rear diffuser to further enhance the handling. Till now, it still amuses me on how it was able to speed off me that quickly.”

“Hmph, an unbeatable car, eh?” thought the brunet before placing the newspaper on the coffee table, while his right hand dug into his black Bermudas for the car keys; he then turned his attention to the albino once again. “I'll go on ahead to the public bath for once, and then I'll go straight to the Shutokou.”

“All right, I'll have an early night then,” said Kagura, dumping the empty milk carton into the rubbish bin. “That's the 3rd carton I've finished today. Go figure.”

… … …


Minoru swore under his breath as he left the public bath. Of all places, this particular one was a unisex bath, and apparently, he got a boner from the sight he witnessed. Haste kicked in as he got into his Honda. He would not want anyone to notice him covering his crotch with his left hand outside the coupe. The feeling was already awkward to begin with. Sitting on the driver's Recaro bucket seat, the 'powerhouse' let out a sigh or relief. Never once he would actually be stealing glances at beautiful women in the public bath, let alone oblivious to his presence.

“For a moment, I thought I was in Heaven,” he uttered under his breath as he inserted the car key into the keyhole, and turned it, igniting the engine. “But I'll cast that aside for now. Time to hit the highway then. How about a cruise down ShinKanjou Counter Clockwise, then to the rest area near the Rainbow Bridge? A short run but…sounds feasible enough. I need to think about what project car to get in order to be on the same level as the others. All I could think of with my budget at the moment are the 1992 Toyota Mark II, 1988 Toyota Cresta, 1990 Honda NSX, and a 1992 Mitsubishi GTO MR. Sure, they're rather good choices in my budget, but once I buy them, I have no more income to upgrade on them until around 3 months later. I still have to consider on paying the bills, taxes, and fuel to my salary. That R34 was a steal back then. It only had missing bumpers and side skirts.”

The thought of the lucky buyer before Minoru infuriated him. He had spent almost four months of non-stop overtime work to get enough money to purchase it, only to realise it had been bought days ago. He hit the top portion of the steering wheel, though not as hard to produce such an audible sound. Still in neutral, the powerhouse depressed the gas pedal slightly, allowing the revs to rise up to 5000rpm. The soothing sound of the faint mechanical whine was music to his ears. Sure, it had the sound of a normally aspirated engine, even though he had it turbocharged. But then again, Minoru was after for balance instead for full power in the Prelude.

“I may have maxed out the Honda’s capability on going fast, yet not compromising handling. Anymore than this amount of power, I’ll probably understeer more than I could handle. It’s already unstable as of now,” he thought as Minoru shifted the gear knob into 1st, then releasing the handbrake.

A heavy sigh left his mouth as he depresses the gas pedal. Brown eyes stole glances at other parked vehicles in the area. Nothing seemed to be of interest as he made a beeline for the Shutokou. Other than a neighbouring yellow Ferrari Dino 246 GT, cars around the area where he lived were nothing more than usual commuting, boring lumps of metal. Heck, it was even surprising when almost all of the tuned and unique ones flocked to his dormitory.

“It’s still hard to believe that our residence in this particular neighourhood is the only one that has more ‘unique’ vehicles. It’s just that amusing,” he thought as the indicating right light lit up on his coupe. “Oh well, time to put that aside. Hitting the Shutokou somehow calms my mind, even just cruising at higher speeds. The sense of adrenaline rush simply rids of the pressure and stress of work. I can never get tired of this sensation of the feeling going away.”

It did not take Minoru long for him to reach the said highway as he enters it via Hakozaki junction, now on a filter lane converging to the main road. It was then he noticed something unusual. Even though it had only been around midnight, Minoru would have expected moderate traffic of drivers returning home from overtime work. It was a Thursday as well, and all he noticed was a rather empty expressway. Eerily empty to be exact. A chill ran down his spine, somewhat signaling the brunet to cancel his cruising stint for the night, and head back for the dormitory. Gearing up to 3rd pre-maturely, he applied half-throttle on the accelerator, allowing the revs to rise gradually, as well as the speed. The Honda had no problems reaching 130kmh ever so quickly before having to slow down for a decline, moderate left turn. Tyres squealed at its minimum as the white coupe cleared the bend on the outside lane, though it had reminded Minoru to fasten his 2-point seatbelt. He had not done so beforehand, having too much thoughts running through his mind had failed him to notice on one of the safety aspects when racing on the Shutokou. Absent-mindedly buckling up the seatbelt, he released the throttle, allowing the Honda to slow down considerably.

“Just what made me stop putting on my seatbelt anyway?” thought the powerhouse with a sigh, then turning his attention to the road ahead. “Then again, this is already beginning to be a lonely drive.”

Gearing down to 2nd, Minoru gunned for it as he went full tilt on the throttle. The straight 4 engine under the hood turned from an audible purr to a coarse, hollow growl, complimented with a faint whine from the low pressure turbocharger. The speedometer showed 90kmh before he shifted up into 3rd. Revs dropped considerably to around 5500rpm as brown eyes spot a wide right corner ahead. Considering that there was no traffic at all, he decided to make full advantage of it; lane changing to the outside lane, brown eyes glanced at the rear view mirror. He felt something was approaching, but it did not seem to worry him at all. At 110kmh, Minoru entered the corner on the outside, before slipping to the inside, approaching mid-apex while feathering the throttle. A left hander was next just after the exit of the bend he was in. Still feathering on the gas pedal and at a reduced speed of 100kmh, the brunet steered the coupe to the inside lane of the following turn- he turned his attention to the rear view mirror again. He swore something was coming towards his direction. Haste kicked in for Minoru as he exited the left hander on the outside lane. Flooring the accelerator while the Honda Prelude had hit the straightaway, the brunet once again stole glances at the rear view mirror. At that instant in between the two bends, he had taken notice of a dark coloured visage. He geared up to 4th prematurely. The powerhouse had to prepare for a wide S-corner-. He held his breath. A pair of headlights appeared on his rear view mirror.

“Wh-what?” he thought. “Normally I would be at ease and challenge the driver if I find him a strong competitor…”

Tapping on the brakes while entering the S-bend, the brunet could not help but take notice of the coming vehicle that seemed to be charging without any hint of stopping. It was only then he heard the engine, and an audible one at that. Little words could explain such a rampaging scream from the oncoming car that it had Minoru slowing down in his Honda- brown eyes widened the instant it came into full view from the mirror. Sure, he could made out that the car that was heading in his direction was a late nineties Mitsubishi, but how that machine reacted through the corners had Minoru-.

“What the-.”

… … …


“I’m home,” Aikawa announced her return from work, though she had already expected no response, judging by the time she had returned. “Guess everyone except Minoru is back. His Honda isn’t at the parking lot. To think my overtime lasted longer than I expected.”

Slumping onto the couch, she let out a heavy sigh, obviously relieved that tonight was the last day of overtime work for the week. Sure, that would mean surplus income for the blonde, but the fact that she had done four days straight of overtime work had taken a toll on her fatigue. She tilted her head to the left, glancing at the clock on the wall. 1.30am. Letting out a brief grunt, Aikawa shook her head.

“Too early. Could have done another hour of overtime,” she thought, before standing up, and letting out a stretch, followed by a yawn. “But then again, an extra hour of sleep won't hurt for once.”

Maroon eyes glanced to where the main television is in the living room. It was on, but on mute. It might be a ratty, old, projector television, and was from the previous owner of the building, but it still works like a charm. Pacing her way towards the massive contraption, she lifted her right arm, patting the top. She knew the remote was on it, but her height left her no choice but to guess where it was last placed. She felt her way till the middle portion of the television, where there was a depression; part of the model's design. A faint clink. Not a remote controller. But…keys? Whose? Feeling her way for the key ring, she tugged it down to her hands, revealing two keys. Covered in dust, and a layer of oxide. A master, and a back up. The master key has the words 'GT-R' on it, while the back up simply has the word 'Nissan' on it.

“A Skyline GT-R? Did Kagura make a spare?” thought the Twin-tails, looking rather puzzled before tossing it onto the newspaper pile on the coffee table. “I'll ask her when she wakes up, if I remember. Come to think it, has Minoru changed his tyres? He did grumble about it before we headed out to work in our cars.”

… … …


Heavy; the word Minoru was looking for as the incoming car from behind emerged from his rear view mirror. The air, tense, hot, even though he had his air-conditioning on full blast. A silver Mitsubishi Galant EC5A. He could not make out if it was a VR-4 model, or a modified base model, the VR-G. The front between the two models look similar at first glance. Headlights from the Galant high-beamed at the Prelude a few times. A challenge. Minoru could opt out from the battle by simply not responding, or being his usual self, accepting the challenge by flooring the throttle. He took a deep breath, held it in for a few seconds. The Prelude entered the S-turn on the outside lane, a left. The Galant was still behind him, anticipating a response. Middle of the S-turn. Minoru let it out. Gearing down to 2nd, he floored the throttle. Front wheels squealed violently as the needle on the speedometer rose from 70kmh to 110kmh. A moderate right turn, three lanes, no sign of traffic. Perfect. Even with the understeer, he would be able to exit the corner on the farthest lane. He steered hard to the right upon entry of the right bend. Into 3rd gear. 150kmh. Understeer kicked in, as the front tyres valiantly attempt to turn the coupe-the Galant hit the middle lane, and was next to Minoru.

“Holy shi-,” were the words he let out before releasing the throttle, allowing the speed to drop, preventing the Prelude from understeering out of lane; 140kmh.

The silver sports sedan overtook him with ease before doing a gear change. A blast of flames spat out from the exhaust pipes before another surge of speed propelled the Galant ahead, exiting the corner on the same lane. Brown eyes widened in amazement at the agility of the bulky sedan. 150kmh, the Honda exited the corner on the inside lane, with minimal tyre squeal. Now it was his chance to pick up speed to catch up with the Mitsubishi. 4th gear, 170kmh. The H22 engine under the hood screamed on the higher revs, somehow kicking in Minoru's adrenaline. Steering the coupe behind the sedan, he allowed the car to slipstream. 195kmh. Traffic in a form of a van, on the left most lane. But he knew for a brief moment of the highway, the left most lane would split to two. A total of four lanes. But at that speed, Minoru would need a split second to enter the 2nd lane; soon it would be split to two lanes each. Two towards Yokohane Outbound, another into C1 Outer Loop. 200kmh. He caught up with the Galant, barely tailgating it. Both blast past the van. He made his move. Turning the wheel to the left, the Honda eased its way into the splitting left lane-.

“Shit!” his thought screamed, counter steering, throwing his Prelude into the right lane instead. “Damn kei cars. Two of them hogging the lanes!”

Then it dawned on him. He was on the right most lane. The route to C1 Outer Loop. He had to make do with it. Brake lights lit up on both cars, slowing down for the sharp right turn into the C1 Loop. 3rd gear, 2nd gear. 120kmh, inner lane. Minoru feathered on the throttle as he turned the wheel. The Mitsubishi did the same, but just barely ahead of him on the outside. 130kmh, and a hard steer. It was then it dawned on Minoru. He had forgotten all about it. The front tyres.

“Damn it, I haven't had them changed,” he muttered under his breath, witnessing his coupe understeer, inching towards the outer lane. “Come on, just hold on for this battle. Just one more run.”

He knew the risks of running on balding tyres. At worse case scenario, the tyres would burst, causing either loss of traction, or even if he would be able to get it under control, catastrophic understeer by running on the rims. Both cars were nearing the exit of the bend, marking the start of the C1 Outer Loop run. The Prelude's front bumper was mere millimetres from contact to the Galant's rear right fender. Turning the steering wheel further on the Honda would only cause further loss of traction, and possibly unnecessary wheelspin. Minoru reduced the pressure on the gas pedal. He had to let the Galant ahead, no matter. Any further would cause a collision. 115kmh. The sports sedan propelled out of the corner in record speed, leaving Minoru in the dust. A gearshift from it let out a burst of flames from the exhaust pipes, taunting the brunet. 110kmh, the Prelude was out of the bend, right smack in between two lanes. He gunned it. 130kmh, into 3rd. 5500rpm. The low pressure turbocharger spooled up nicely, providing power to the 2200cc engine. 150kmh. 160kmh. The Galant was still increasing his lead. Minoru knew this would be a losing battle judging by how agile, and quick for a heft of a sedan that Mitsubishi is. But the brunet, being himself, could not admit defeat. There must be a way to overtake his rival. 175kmh. 4th gear. The whine of the turbo somehow calmed his nerves. An S-turn was next; a left, followed by a wide right. The right bend was of his concern. Understeering at that spot would only have him exit the C1 Loop route through the filter lane. The Shiba Park exit. 210kmh, 8000rpm. On the left lane, the Honda sped past a road hogging Toyota before switching lanes. Now, traffic is nothing more than a nuisance to him, let alone his tyres thinning out.

“Please, let not be traffic when I enter the bend. That Galant's already entering it,” his thought raced, fumbling his gear change to 5th. “God damn it. Concentrate.”

Just a few metres away from the entry of the bend, the brunet steered the white coupe. The front tyres complied, just. The car veered into the inside as it charged into the easy left turn. A blue Pajero Mini, the same lane as he is. Though the mini-SUV is still some distance away, Minoru knew that by the time he get there, that nuisance would be going through the tricky right bend. Turning through that left corner resulted in minor speed loss. 200kmh. It did not matter. The next obstacle was next. With haste, he steered the wheel towards the vacant lane. That Galant breezed through the corner, as if it were a straight line. Annoyance got the better of him. Entering the bend on the outside, he steered, sharply. Bad news. He was still going forwards. Front tyres screamed for dear life, trying to get any form of traction to turn. This forced the brunet to release the throttle. The Pajero Mini was getting closer. Down to 4th, 180kmh. Traction slowly came in. The Honda barely entered the inner lane at 165kmh. That was not enough for Minoru to floor the throttle just yet. 160kmh. His coupe slipped past the slow mini SUV that soon blared its horn at him. Minoru held his breath, and floored the gad pedal. Into 5th prematurely. The next two bends were nothing of his concern; a wide right, then a wider left. Going full throttle is not going to be a problem. Traffic is. He caught a glimpse of it. Not the Galant that had just disappeared on the right bend. A silver truck, outer lane. 220kmh, the front tyres were starting to feel unstable. The steering wheel began to rattle, though faint. He ignored it. If he were to go full tilt, there is a chance for him to catch up. On the inside lane, 240kmh, right corner. Dealt with without incident, overtaking the truck. 250kmh. The Prelude was reaching its top speed; 260kmh. The left turn was ever so faint, Minoru did not even notice it when he maneuvered through it. But the next corner is of a major concern, past the Ichino Bridge exit lies a slightly banked, wide right turn. Tail lights from the Galant was in Minoru's sights again.

“That bulky thing is seriously more of Kagura's caliber,” he thought, starting to realise the situation. “But the R34… Damn it, I could have kept up in a way with that!”

The brunet released the throttle, allowing to slow down. 200kmh, he began feathering the throttle, entering the wide turn on the inside, gingerly trying to coax the squealing tyres to grip the asphalt. Mid-apex, it understeered. Minoru lightened the pressure on the pedal. 190kmh, the coupe was already dragging its way onto the outer lane. 175kmh, down to 4th. The tyres were officially no longer fit to even be used for daily usage. The rubber might have thinned out to a point where it is just merely a time bomb. Brown eyes widened. He knew that this race was a lost cause, and yet…

“I'm not done yet,” he uttered under his breath.

Right at the exit of the bend, he floored it, again. It appeared that the Galant, too, was taking the previous corner carefully. Minoru was gaining on him, just. Into 5th, 220kmh. Next was an incline straight, and after it lies a right bend. With a filter lane on the left. Iikura exit. The silver Mitsubishi took the challenge gingerly, braking rather hard once on the top of the incline, attacking the following corner on the outside lane. That gave Minoru a chance to reduce the gap between them, and slipped the Honda onto the inside. 235kmh, he hit the incline. His left leg, ready on the brakes.

“Just a bit more,” he thought, as his coupe was just reaching the crest. “Now!”

The brunet slammed on the brakes, then geared down to 4th, and turned the wheel. Panic kicked in. It was not the understeer that threw him off. It was the fact that the Galant was still navigating through the bend, and at the rate Minoru was understeering, he was on course of an imminent crash.

“Holy shi-”

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