Return to Afterburn Chapter One


Author: Robotguru and Rei
Rating: Knowing the two of us, soon to be NC-17.
Feedback: Please leave feedback on the Afterburn thread on the Kitten Board.
Disclaimer: All BtVS characters belong to the usual people; tracks, teams mentioned, and SINN (Sports Interactive News Network) belong to Akklaim, producers of Xtreme G Racing and XGRA for the PS2.

The garage doors opened as Willow, Tara and Alicia headed for the Team Vixen lockup. Willow walked straight to her bike and put opened the hatch, she then placed her hand on the middle of the screen. A bar of purple light moved underneath Willow's hand, this soon stopped and the bike did a self diagnostics as a cool female voice welcomed her. "Systems online, good Morning Willow."

Alicia looked across at Tara, "As you can guess, different teams configure their bikes in different ways, they don't want any other teams to find out any advancements they have made. All XGRA bikes require a hand scan for the rider, this matches fingerprints, hand span and DNA. Only when a bike is online can changes be made to the bike or specifications viewed." Alicia shows Tara another purple bike, "This one is for you," Alicia takes Tara through setting up her bike after using her own hand print, as a team boss, she has the right to access any Vixen bike.

Willow sits on her bike and presses a button to close the hatch around her, Alicia tells Tara to do likewise. As the hatch closes, Tara can see that a screen rises up as the hatch seals. The screen shows what she can see in front of her and a few other things. Willow's voice comes out of the speakers in Tara's bike. "This is a little different to the bikes that you are used to, so I'm gonna take you through it. First the comms, you can switch your comm to two frequencies, one that all riders share and a separate one that only the teammates and bosses can contact each other on. I am currently talking to you on the all access channel. If I press the radio button," there is a click on the comm, "Now only you can hear me."

"Got it."

"From here, you can also make changes to your bike, you can change the downforce from the wings, the ride height and the power of the airbrakes, you can only do this before a race, not during. You can also call up track maps and telemetry. Now look at the screen. On the top left, there is a counter showing your position and how many bikes are left in the race, top right and you have the lap your on."

Tara sees these things, "W-what about the b-blank square in the top middle?"

"That is your secondary weapon status, you advance through weapons by picking up portals, these are green spheres, you press the second trigger once to select a weapon and then once more to fire it. On the right of the screen is a straight line, this shows all the riders and the distance they have covered on their current lap, bottom right, you have your speed, current lap time and previous lap time. The bottom is something you never want to see in use, this space is used to warn you that your shields are low. The arc on the bottom right is your shield energy, bottom left is your weapon energy, these regenerate over time."

"W-what are these s-secondary weapons?"

"On the sub sonic bikes, you have Vampyr, Mines, Accelerator, Invincibility and Full Ammo. When we ride the sonic bikes later in the season, we also get Rapier, Full Shield, Double Hit, Overlord and Deathstrike. Any more questions?"


"One more thing, different teams have different primary weapons, ours are the Vulcan Cannons, these fire uranium tipped bullets."

Alicia's voice comes over both speakers, "Thank you for that Willow, you ladies are free to socialise at the bar, just don't get into any trouble. The team seedings take place this evening so you'll want your uniforms."

Willow and Tara pop their hatches and climb out of their bikes, Willow looks across at her new teammate, while she had kept away from company since Amy's death, she wasn't about to leave her partner alone at first. "Come on Tara, let's see who's hanging around."

Willow and Tara wear casual clothing as they enter the bar, there is a hubbub of noise around the room as riders and fans mingle. Security guards stand near the doors in case anything goes wrong.

Sat at a table, Buffy sees Willow and Tara and waves them over to sit with her and a few companions, Tara sits down as Willow heads to the bar. "Hey Tara."


"Just been shown your new bike eh? You're in safe hands with Willow, there's a reason that Amy was so good and that's cos she is, not that that means I aint gonna kick her ass next week."

Tara gives a half smile, a dark haired woman speaks up, "You gonna introduce us or what Buffy?"

"Oh yeah, how rude of me, this here is my teammate, Faith, trust me, no one is as crazy as this gal."

Faith mock bows, "I'll take that as a compliment coming from the head honcho of the insane institution."

"That you founded darlin', anyway, those guys across the table are from Team Palus, last years runners up."

Willow hears this as she comes back to the table, drinks in hand, "Dunno how, Jonathon and Andrew get half their moves from watching Starwars movies, man those are old."

Jonathon speaks up, "Don't diss the classics Rosenberg, you may end up with our bombs up your ass. Besides... the speeders were cool and... stuff."

Andrew nudges Jonathon, "Dude, you just told them what weapons we're using this year."

Jonathon and Andrew bicker as a girl looking similar to Buffy but younger joins the table, "Hey Buffy."

"Hey sis, meet Tara," the girl smiles at Tara and sketches a wave, "This is my younger, sister, I might add that she's never beat me."

The girl pouts, "Well Team Manta are upgrading this year so the Summers on everyone's lips is gonna be Dawn... wait... that sounded dirty."

Willow shakes her head, "You're crazy Dawn, anyway, where's Harris."

Willow was talking about Dawn's teammate, Xander, "He couldn't keep up, old git."

Buffy nudged her sister, "Respect your elders missy."

A young male comes running in and sees this little party so he comes to sit down. "Hey guys! You heard the news?" He receives shrugs from the rest of the table, "There's gonna be two new teams announced tonight, rumour has it that they're faster than the Starcom guys!"

Buffy smirks, "Well I'm slower than the Starcom guys and I beat them quite a few times, speed isn't everything you know."

A shadow falls across the table, "So a team claims to be able to beat Starcom huh?" Angelus stood above the group, not deeming to sit down, "That'll be the day," Angelus gives Willow a cold stare, "I'll see you on the track bitch, you might wanna watch over your little girlfriend till then cos no one will save her when she is in my sights." Angelus turns to leave.

Willow bristles but Xander's hand falls across her shoulder, "Easy Will, save it for the track."

Willow stood up anyway but had calmed down, "Come on Tara, time we got ready."

Willow and Tara say their goodbyes as they leave.

"So what are these seedings anyway?"

Willow looks across at Tara, "They're sortuva handicap system, the best teams start at the back. More time to make up but there is the advantage of less people shooting at you." Willow and Tara take their seats as a speaker stands at a podium.

"Welcome XGRA riders, I am pleased to see you old hands back and to see a couple of new faces, this should be the biggest XGRA season yet. Now for the seedings. Seeded number one and starting at positions 15 and 16, Team Starcom. Team Starcom has the current XGRA Global Champion, Angelus and a new face in Warren. Seeded number two and starting in positions 13 and 14, a new team this year, Team Templar Racing. Team Templar Racing consist of Spike and Cordelia Chase."

The room looks around to see two figures clad in red and white.

"Seeded number three and starting at positions 11 and 12, Team Palus consisting of Jonathon and Andrew. Seeded number 4 and starting at position 9 and 10, Team Vixen consisting of Willow Rosenberg and her new partner, Tara Maclay."

Everyone looks at Tara, Warren glares daggers at her, a look she returns.

"Seeded number five and at positions 7 and 8, Team Terranova consisting of Buffy Summers and Faith. Seeded number six and starting at positions 5 and 6, a new team, Team Scarecrow consisting of Glory and Anyanka. Seeded number seven and starting at positions 3 and 4, Team Manta consisting of Dawn Summers and Xander Harris, last, but by no means least, seeded number 8 and starting at positions 1 and 2, Team Talon consisting of Darla and Drusila."

Darla and Drusila look a little bummed at being seeded at eight but it was to be expected considering they finished last in last years competition.

"Thank you for coming tonight and good luck this season. The first race is a week today at the Santarem Reactor circuit in Brazil."

Continue to Afterburn Chapter Three

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