A View of the Ribbon

A VIEW OF THE RIBBON:
A Special Presentation of the Complete Sports Media Network.
by Electric Keet

A cartoony cheetah with a disproportionate head ran across the screen, leaving the CSMN logo spinning in its speed lines while a generic epic sports theme bellowed. On its way back in the other direction, the word “racing” appeared beneath. A starry wipe revealed two sportscasters from the chest up with a complex ticker bar underlining them.

A confident, practised voice came from the cougar wearing clothing five years too young for her. “Welcome to CSMN Racing! I’m Tessa Green.”

To her right sat an approximately human-looking robot with a head of burnished turquoise metal. “And I’m Kappa-317,” he said. “We’re here at the Ryndenko Memorial Raceway on Tvashtar Mensa, Io, for the second half of the final Kinetikos race for the Jovian League that we’ll see this season. There’ve been some shake-ups and break-ups in the first half of this race, bodyracing fans.”

Tessa nodded obligingly. “That’s right, Kappa. We saw quite the spectacle three days ago when long-time Six Below racer Eekay tried to edge around Element’s Elian ’Sphinx’ Gamma and caught ribbon instead.” While she continued talking, the projection cut to a close and crystal-clear replay of the accident in slow motion. “You can see there just how Eekay glanced off the lip of the ribbon – knocked zirself unconscious – then followed the curve. That’s some mess.”

The robot piped up. “It certainly is, Tessa. The medical report mentions a significant amount of trauma to zir left side, which means zie’s spending this race and a few unhappy days in a regeneration tank. Sphinx, who jumped the spark and had the lead on Eekay, got away without so much as a scratch, so it’s unclear whether they actually collided or if the cat simply lost control.”

The picture cut back to Tessa. “It’s quite a blow to Eekay right now, considering that zie’s no longer the star-child of the team.” A still image of an orange-tinted raccoon appeared next to her. “Iromouairu, the mysterious new bodyracer from Venus, went on to take first place for Six Below, practically guaranteeing that they’ll be invited to the Thirteen Ribbons.” The photo faded. “In addition, Aceron Reime took second place, meaning unless Element takes fifth or sixth place today, they’ll sum enough victory points this season to also gain an invitation to the Thirteen Ribbons. If both teams accept, we can be certain of one heated rivalry through the whole system.”

Kappa nodded slightly. “Absolutely. Now, the most fascinating development today is that Eekay’s position for this race is being filled by none other than former Six Below bodyracer Yaz Lenslight.” An older photo of Yaz floated next to the robot. “Bodyracing fans may remember his retirement a year and a half ago after a severe accident which took his arm and, we thought, his will to touch wheel to ribbon. Apparently the accident sparked a desire for revenge, and he’s rolling with them again, at least for today’s race.”

When the wolverine’s picture phased out, Tessa added, “For the disbelievers, let’s go to the pit and take a look.” The scene changed to a small covered area where five racers in purple-and-teal racing outfits listened impatiently to an agitated green ferret in a business suit. “Now, correct me if I’m wrong, Kappa, but isn’t Lenslight wearing the same uniform as the two women in the team?”

“That’s correct, Tessa.” A generated info-panel slid in from the side to show Yaz’s career record. “It’s a strange turn. He’s been somewhat reclusive since his retirement, and he’s eluded every attempt to interview him before the race, so we can only wonder what’s happened to him in the meantime and what’s going on in his head right now as he gets ready to race for the first time in three seasons. The real question is, can he fill snow-leopard-sized boots out on the ribbon?”

The cougar shrugged. “We’ll see what happens. Considering that he’s the reason Zeno’s End found themselves disqualified from that season, they just might decide to give him some trouble out there today. We’re also looking at the teams Starkadr, Fusion Zero, and Ekeldo. They’re seriously hoping to shake things up more, especially with the tension between the Avawax twins and Billy ’Neutron’ Nwosu. Anything can happen.”

Kappa tilted his head a moment as though listening to a signal. “And… it looks like we’re just now hearing the three-minute signal, so we’re about to see what happens. We’ll be right back on CSMN to see just what will ignite today in this powderkeg at Ryndenko.”

Both sportscasters smiled vapidly just before a star-wipe revealed the CSMN logo again along with those of Quanta Cola and Kukini Sportswear.