The Stellar Interstellar Racing Championship

This particular shorty is actually one that I believe is my longest. I kept it under 4,000 words. So, it is still considered to be the length of a short story. I thought I’d go ahead and present this to you since it had been a long (very long) while since writing a new shorty. 

I just finished a rough draft my new manuscript I’m calling Chronicles of Human Being: Being, Human. I am currently working to edit out errors, add the details, eliminate unnecessary details, and polish the work into a final draft acceptable for publishing. It is a Science Fiction genre like the works of the Ender’s Game Series and the space faring type with ray guns (I said ray guns!), aliens (yay! aliens!), and space fighters. Here is a brief outline of the manuscript:

I have been raised by an alien since birth –I call her Mom. I consider myself one of them even though I am reminded I’m human whenever people say my name. I am Human Being.

Earth is no longer the same planet it once was. It has been devastated by an alien invasion then saved by another species. Thanks to them, our technology has had some serious breakthroughs allowing humans to travel the universe, and I, among others, have been chosen to be the first to visit my family’s homeworld. Yes!

The governments of the two worlds are taken over by a military force before my trip even starts, and my best friend and I are forced to join the IF to train in space and become the most elite force in the galaxy. Who me? Oh, damn.

As I train, I discover love and the meaning of family created from friendship. Soon, our government  becomes cruel and unjust as they hide a secret so shocking that it will change the way humans view themselves throughout the galaxy –How the hell..? To hide their secret, they target my family, my friends, me, and the entire ship –Let the revolution begin!

CHRONICLES OF HUMAN BEING: BEING, HUMAN  is full of believable technological possibilities, the mystery of space travel, life, love, family, friendship, laughter, whit, and ass-holery the likes of which most people ever think, but never speak aloud. It is the first of its series, and the second is currently being drafted for future reader anticipation.

For now though, here’s my shorty I wish to share with you.

The Stellar Interstellar Racing Championship

The Stellar Interstellar Racing Championship or The SIRC started as a shady way for the Earth, and Mars mob bosses make money. They hired bookies to hire their racers and bet on them in races throughout the solar system. The bookies soon saw this as a chance to make their fortunes and gathered around to create The IRC as they hired their drivers of their own to bet on and rake in their winnings from the mob bosses that participated. Soon, it became an interstellar phenomenon. It became a more significant success thanks to the fans that came together to watch their favorite space racers go at it around the space tracks.

Behind the scenes though, the bookies were still in charge and raking in the planetary bucks. They called themselves the Bookies Society or BI for short. The governed racing as well as betting, and they were ruthless. If anyone was found guilty of squelching on a bet, the BI would brand them with an 8-Ball tattooed on their forehead and take everything they had ever accumulated. Soon, nobody squelched.

Jerry Tramber stood under his star racer and stared at the open panel where wires hung in a jumbled mess. Every wire looked as if it had sliced, reconnected, spliced again, then cross-connected with other cables. How Drew was able to keep up with that rat’s nest was beyond him. He spoke over the loud stellar rock music blaring from his transceiver, “Look, Drew! I don’t know what I’m looking for. So, why don’t you come over here and figure out how to get a little more boost from the maneuvering thrusters.”

“I thought you said you knew what ye-ye-ye-ye,” Clang! “you were doing?”

An AI in a rust-bucket of a robotic skeleton of various replacement parts, nuts, and bolts stepped up to the panel and looked at it. He shook his rusty head at Jerry, mumbling, then reached up and connected two loose wires within the nest of wiring. He closed the hatch. Drew turned to look at Jerry, and his core memory servos began skipping and whirring repeatedly. A spark leaped from Drew’s head, and his eyes flashed in the rhythm of his faulty cranial servos. He knocked the side of his noggin with the heel of his palm. Clang! Everything returned to normal.

Jerry asked him, “When are you going to get that hiccup looked at?”

Drew retorted in a tinny, male voice, “I don’t know. When do you plan on paying me?”

Jerry became a little angry, “Well, I don’t know. When do plan on helping me win a race?”

Drew gave it back, “Well, I don’t know. When do you plan on getting a decent star racer for me to work on and co-pilot so we can win a race?”

Jerry snorted at him as he breathed heavily into Drew’s face. He threw his plyers to the floor, “Just fix my damn racer.”

Drew stood silently watching Jerry huff away to stew in his anger alone. Drew’s body began to whir as he moved about under the racer. Drew has faithfully served Jerry since Jerry entered his very first race over twenty-five years ago. Drew still remembers how well he and Jerry got along from the moment he was activated. His bookie representative gave Drew to him as a gift. Back then, Jerry was a top model AI Robotic. Now, most of his fellow model AIs were scrap. Just like Jerry, he was overdue for retirement.

Drew replayed the day he became active and met Jerry for the first time. Jerry was elated to meet him. Drew was immediately Jerry’s new best friend and AI co-pilot. Only AI-Bots were aloud to be co-pilots. In case anything went wrong, the AIs were programmed to respond to protect the racer from dying in space. They went everywhere together. Jerry and Drew were inseparable. They were happy.

Then, the most outrageous thing happened. A few years ago, Jerry’s bookie, Vito “The Meteor” Mars, hired a younger and fresher space racer in secret, and bet against Jerry. He quietly paid Jerry’s crew to sabotage his racer so that the new kid would win against him. During the race, Jerry’s racer blew a booster rocket. Drew was forced to shut the racer down and engage the emergency barrier around Jerry. The race was over by the time Drew was able to nurse their racer across the finish line. Jerry lost everything. His bookie disgraced him publicly for not having the decency to finish the race himself even though it was entirely impossible to do so and continue breathing. He took Jerry’s team and Jerry’s earnings. As a token for his years of loyalty to Vito, he was allowed to keep Drew and the broken racer. Jerry and Drew had been working on that racer in hopes of revenge ever since.

Now Drew believed it all to be hopeless. The racer was old and falling apart, and now he was old and falling apart. Jerry couldn’t afford to upgrade Drew with new parts because all of his money went towards the racer and a bet on today’s race. Drew turned the racer around to begin the process of getting ready to head to the starting line. First, he had to stop his hiccup. Clang!

Jerry and Drew flew to the starting line in their jalopy space racer. It still carried the original paint scheme though a bit faded and scratched. Jerry “Booster” Trambler was painted in broad, bright colors across the side of the racer. It looked like a smaller, modified late-twentieth-century space shuttle. It had three turbocharged rocket boosters on the back to get him from Earth to Mars and back in just under three hours. The course was outlined with special buoys from beginning to end. If you went too far outside those buoys from the sides or too high or too low the racer was automatically disqualified. The most dangerous part of the course was, of course, the meteor belt between Earth and Mars. Every racer had to prove themselves by picking their way through without crashing into a meteor because, even then, not even an AI-Bot would survive to save them.    

Jerry looked at his dilapidated friend and smiled, “You ready to make Vito pay up?”

Drew responded, “I’m r-r-r-r-r,” Clang! “ready.”

Jerry’s face paled for a moment. Jerry said to him, “We gotta get you fixed, pal.”

Drew said to him, “You think?”

They climbed in and opened their bay doors aboard the racer’s space station that orbited around Earth. They were all greeted by space drones flashing pictures and connecting through their radio equipment, hoping for an interview. A bunch of drones spun around and surrounded Jerry’s racer in disbelief that he made a return to racing. He was hailed as a former racing champion and then frowned upon for his last disgraceful outing. Jerry cursed them and switched them off.

He said to Drew, “Okay, you maintain systems and be ready to hit those boosters the moment we go green.”

Drew responded in annoyance, “I r-r-r-r-r-r,” Clang! “remember how this works.”

Jerry looked at him and shook his head, “Right. Well, be ready.”

Jerry pulled his racer in line with the others. A large craft flew above and in front of the starting line. A set of flashing buoys was released and floated above the over thirty racers. Jerry focused as those buoys lit up red. Numbers, “3. 2. 1.” The flashed green “Go!” And they were off.

Jerry took a surprising early lead. Drew sat and monitored from his seat as the marker buoys flashed by. They were moving now! Jerry began to feel the pressure of his speed weigh on him. He came to the first turn. His racer efficiently managed the corner as Jerry continued to increase his thrust. He glanced down at his rear-view camera and saw a few racers collide into a fiery explosion. Jerry laughed as he began to feel the excitement he’d been missing. They came up to the bottleneck markers that were to force the racers to fall into racing lines.

Jerry saw a familiar racer coming alongside him. “Blaster” Bing Hines, the kid that stole his career. Vito had invested a lot of money in Blaster because it showed through the modernized racer that shined brightly. They stared at each other a moment. Blaster’s co-pilot was a newer cleaner model that resembled a human. “I bet he isn’t as tough as Drew.” He thought to himself as the two racers came closer together. Jerry fought to keep his racer between the buoys. Blaster was trying hard to force him out of the race.

Drew reminded him, “If we go too much farther, we’ll be disqualified!”

Jerry grumbled his response. He yanked the controls around, and he flipped over and fell into the other side of Blaster just as tried to push Jerry out again. Jerry filled in the space Blaster was trying to take back, forcing him to slow down and fall in behind Jerry. Jerry saw the next turn and prepared for the forces he was about ready to endure. Jerry was always known to push himself and his racer to the limits.

Drew readied himself to push a button and said, “Turning thrusters to the maximum in thr-thr-thr-thr,” Clang! “One!” He pushed it, and the thrusters pushed their racer into a hard turn.

The racer turned onto its side to maintain the turn within the buoys. Jerry looked behind him and saw many racers try the same approach and fail. Blaster flew up behind him as they leveled out and Jerry slammed the booster controls to the maximum for their straightaway leading to the asteroid belt. In the meantime, he said to Drew, “Don’t do that again!”

Drew commented, “As if I was doing that on purpose.” Drew screamed, “Look out!”

Jerry jerked the racer into a solid barrel roll as he broke to the left to avoid a renegade, century-old satellite that roamed the solar system and wandered into their path. When they recovered, Jerry looked around in fright hoping he was still in this race. When the disqualification lights didn’t flash at him, he breathed. The little maneuver caused Jerry to lose his lead to Blaster and inevitably another two racers that were following closely behind him.

Jerry complained, “I hate being fourth!”

Drew said, “Better than dead last, or not finishing at all.”

Jerry looked at him as if Drew had some nerve to say something like that. Drew shrugged and said, “Okay, prepare for more thrust.”

Jerry said to him, “With a proper countdown this time.”

Drew didn’t say anything back in response. He only counted, “Three. Two. One. Thrust!”

They were thrown back as all three booster rockets blasted their racer ahead eventually catching and passing the two behind Blaster, then pulling alongside him. Jerry looked at them and waved. Blaster began pointing and saying something that Jerry never heard. He never turned on his communicator radio during a race. He couldn’t stand the couch drivers telling him how to fly a racer. Jerry pointed forward to get Blaster to pay attention. They had arrived at the most critical point of the race — the asteroid belt.

The first in the way was a tumbling asteroid the size of a transport ship  ̶  and the shape of one! I slowly crossed into the lane of racing before they could get there. There was only one way around, “C’mon Drew! Time it!”

Drew looked at him and said, “You’re not considering me to do this? R-r-r-r-r,” Clang! “We’re gonna die.”

Jerry received a visual on the screen that showed him the flight path to use. Then it predicted the safest route on his approach. Jerry pushed the throttle to speed up. The way readjusted. A warning light came up, telling him that his path was closing. Jerry pushed for it. The asteroid’s tumble was also turning. If he didn’t get there now, the gap was going to close and bash his racer to bits. He saw Blaster suddenly slow. Chicken! Jerry kept going. “Prepare to roll!”

Drew screamed, “Roll? Roll where? All over the asteroid belt? That’s what we’re gonna do!”

Jerry cursed and reached over. He pulled a throttle in front of Drew and yanked it to the right. The racer flipped onto its side, and Jerry pushed the accelerator harder. Drew took control of the throttle and said to Jerry, “No touching m-m-m-m-m,” Clang! “my controls!”

The racer rolled in beside the asteroid. The top came tumbling down to crush them. Jerry pushed the throttle and continued the roll as he threw the control downward following the tumble. They were almost too low as Jerry kept his eyes on the buoy, asteroid, and his path. They cleared it! Barely.

Drew looked back and saw that another racer tried to follow them through, but their timing was poor, and they slammed into the massive wall of rock right when the gap closed. Then Blaster flew into the belt as soon as his path cleared.  If Drew had a heart, it would be slamming his chest apart right now. That was too close.

Jerry continued to dodge and weave through the asteroids. He saw an opening was just about to take it when another racer shot by them. The racer was just about through the opening when another, smaller asteroid quickly flew into the opening and crashed into the racer. The racer never had a chance. It exploded on impact. Jerry screamed in surprise as he was forced to slow down quickly and let the rogue asteroid flyby.

Drew began hiccupping in fright. Clang!

Jerry pushed hard on the throttle. The racer’s three boosters fired, and they were out safely. The two of them sounded relieved to see wide-opened space. Now all they had to do was predict the orbit of the Martian moon, Phobos, to manage their slingshot around Mars back to Earth. Jerry watched the monitoring systems and Drew kept his eye on Phobos as they rapidly approached. Two more racers fought them for the position. Drew screamed, “Slow down to one-third speed for three seconds then hit it as hard as you can in… Three. Two. One. Now!” The pressure of their sudden decrease in speed yanked them forward. Thank goodness for harnesses! “Three. Two. One. Now!”

Jerry slammed the accelerator, and the raced for Mars. Blaster blew by them again. Jerry screamed, “I’m fourth! Again!”

Drew stated, “Not for long. Look!”

One racer was caught by Phobos. It crashed into the surface. The other racer flew so far out, and it was disqualified quickly. Blaster began circling Mars to make the slingshot maneuver. Jerry promptly gained on him. The G-forces became horrendous. Jerry’s body was pressed hard into his seat. He flipped a switch that allowed Drew to take over the moment he blacked out, which he did.

Jerry came back around just in time to watch his racer level out as another disappeared behind them. He shook his head to clear the fog and grabbed the controls, “What happened?”

Drew stated, “You were out for eight point six seconds.”

Jerry laughed, “Yes! Still got it!”

Drew stated, “I thought those newer AIs were supposed to be better. I outflew him without a single hitch.”

Jerry pushed the accelerator and the boosters careened them towards the asteroid belt for the return trip. He patted Drew’s shoulder, “Like I keep telling you, Drew. Experience. Not tech. You did a fantastic job.”

Drew looked at him and said, “Don’t go watching the replay. You might become a little squeamish if you saw what I had to do back there.”

Jerry chuckled, “You and I wouldn’t be the best if I didn’t, Drew.”

Drew said, “Thank you.” He hiccupped. Clang!

Jerry asked, “Okay. Predict my path, Drew! Which is it gonna be? North? South? East? Or West?”

Jerry watched ahead as the buoys were becoming visible ahead. It was where they had to enter the asteroid belt from any given path. Each path looked frightening. Small asteroids zipped through the racing paths of some, and more significant asteroids filled some of the routes behind them. They were quickly approaching, and Drew had to decide now!

He screamed, “South!”

Jerry shot for the lower path.

Drew screamed, “No! East! Now! Go East!”

Jerry grunted and became flustered as he yanked hard to correct their path. It was close! They almost flew beyond the buoy as Jerry righted himself without overcorrecting. They drifted an inch away from being disqualified. Jerry gave Drew an incredulous look.

He was about to ask what happened when Drew pointed ahead, “Round that asteroid and go maximum! Whatever you do, don’t stop!”

Jerry concentrated on the giant asteroid tumbling into their path. Blaster and several others chose to go low. One chose high and regretted that decision almost immediately. The asteroid rolled toward them. Jerry saw his chance. The asteroid’s other side had flattened out, creating a brief opening allowing a full race opening for him to go through. He followed Drews advice without hesitation and punched it wide open. The forces flattened him into the seat. He laughed when he saw why Drew was so insistent on this path. There were no rocks to contend! The belt opened up straight to the other side!

They cleared the belt instantly. Jerry was laughing as his rear monitors show Blaster and everyone else slowing and dodging as they tried to find a clear path beyond the asteroid belt. He saw several racers go out with an explosion. They came upon a hard turn. Jerry quickly disengaged the boosters and hit his thrusters to spin through the hairpin that was followed up by another, and he remained in control of the racer. One more like that, then it was a straight shot for Earth and max thrust. That was when all racers had to rely on their racers ability to maintain maximum thrust or lose by floating across the finish dead in the water.

Drew screamed, “Here he comes!”

Blaster caught up. They were nearing the hairpin turns. Jerry pushed the throttle and prepared to counter with the thrusters. Jerry was suddenly broken from concentration when his racer was suddenly slammed to side, “Hey! That sunova..! He’s cheating!”

Drew yelled, “Here he comes again!”

The resulting crash rocked him hard enough that they almost missed the first hairpin. Jerry swept himself in to take the middle of the turn and floated to the inside of the next. Blaster had to slow down or be pushed out of bounds. Instead, he chose to keep his position and rammed into the side of Jerry. He caught the rear of Jerry’s racer. Jerry pushed the rear thrusters hard before he spun out of control. He fish-tailed his racer around the final turn. He straightened out and pushed the boosters as hard as they could go. This was now a straight race for the finish.

Another racer came upon them and tried to squeeze his way up the middle of them. Blaster knocked the racer on its wingtip causing it to barrel roll up and out of the race. Then he came at Jerry. Jerry rolled up and over him. Blaster almost flew too far to the side. Jerry rolled in onto his other side. Blaster tried again with a lift to keep Jerry from making that maneuver twice. This time Jerry rolled under and back to the other side. The bottom of the two racers were mere inches apart as they flew by each other. The finish line was quickly approaching.

Warning lights and sirens blared from Jerry’s panels. Drew said to him, “We’re overheating! I don’t think we’re gonna make it!” Jerry’s response was to push throttle beyond its maximum thrust. Drew said to him, “Didn’t you just hear me?”

Jerry screamed to him over the sounds of the wailing sirens warning him they might go to hell in a fiery explosion caused by the thrusters overloading, “When I give the signal, slap the lower rear thrusters as hard as you can!”

He responded, “That would cause us to shoot down!”

Jerry shook his head, screaming, “Just do what I say!”

Blaster looked as if his racer was in the same predicament. If they didn’t shut down soon, they too were going to explode. Flames and sparks leaped from the outer hull of the booster engines.

Jerry waited for it patiently, and Blaster gave him his opportunity, “Now!”

Drew pushed hard on the lower rear thrusters, and they roared to life. Drew was gasped in astonishment as their racer flipped up onto its nose but didn’t shoot downward. Jerry cut the maximum boosters and allowed their momentum, and the rear thrusters carry them toward the finish line as Blaster floated beneath them.

Unfortunately, it was not enough. Blaster shot right by them just in the knick of time. Jerry sunk into his seat and let out a breath of defeat. Drew shut themselves down and allowed them to float in space to wallow in their loss. They tried so hard and lost. He said to Jerry, “I’m sorry, Jerry.”

Jerry responded, “I’m sorry too, pal.”

They sat there and watched the other racers finish. Drew asked, “Where are the fireworks?”

Jerry looked around the space station that commanded the race. Drew was right. There weren’t any fireworks announcing the end of the race. The outer jumbotron suddenly started flashing, “Please wait!”

Jerry didn’t know what to make of it.

A replay of the finish appeared. They all watched as Blaster tried to ram them. Their racer’s boosters shut down as the lower thrusters forced them nose down and they drifted across the finish line just as Blaster beat them. Then another view showed one of the buoy’s vantage point. This time the view showed the two of them coming at the buoy. Blaster shot sideways. Jerry went nose down. The video froze. The view zoomed in for a close-up. It showed Jerry and Drew face-down in the cockpit. Then a circle appeared around something to the side of their racer. It was Blaster’s wing! The view flashed red signaling he had floated out of bounds just before correcting himself to pass them. Blaster was disqualified! Jerry and Drew won!

There was a massive display of fireworks and flashing lights as the jumbotron lit up with, “Winner! Jerry “Booster” Tramber!”

Drew screamed, “We won!”

He hiccupped in excitement and Jerry reached over and knocked Drew’s noggin. Clang! Jerry cheered and hugged Drew. Drew pushed the thruster throttles and controlled them towards the Winner’s Circle.

Jerry calmed down, and Drew asked, “So what will we do with the forty million purse?”

Jerry said to him, “I thought we could get you overhauled, pal, then buy one of those satellite mansions over the rings of Saturn. You know the one with those kinds of porch and pool bubbles to enjoy the view from. Maybe find a woman to settle down with. Then retire quietly.”

Drew commented to him, “A woman? Why would you ever want one of those creatures? We can get a cat. At least they’re domesticated.”

Jerry laughed and threw his arm around Drew’s shoulders as they entered the Winner’s Circle to a hail of flashbulbs, “Drew. Don’t ever let a woman hear you say that.”

I know, it’s my longest yet. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. As always, please comment below and do as this website explains:

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3 Comments

  1. Love, love, loved this!!! This is an awesome website for short stories! Liam Quail always comes through with another awesome read!! Looking forward to much, much more!!! Definitely recommend!

    Liked by 1 person

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