Team Effort

In Which Eekay Visits the Other End of the Pack.
by Electric Keet

I recovered better than I had the first few times, but it was already too late. The thick jungle had grown under the ribbon and warped it in places. Ira and Falda seemed to know the lay of it like their own beds, and Bell hadn’t suffered too badly for the bumps, but Lady and I struggled just to keep ahead of the other stragglers.

“Oi, cat! Watch your left!”

At the deer’s warning, I drifted further right. Ahead of me, Aceron Reime – one of Element’s heavies, a malamute I wasn’t accustomed to seeing the rear end of – yelped as he nearly bottomed out on the wrinkle. I slid away just in time to feel only the slightest jostle.

Aceron swore under his breath, then glanced over to Lady and I. “Well, well. Lovely as always, Lady… and Eekay, so nice of you to visit this end of the pack!”

I sneered back. “Spare me th’ charisma, mate.”

“Aww, don’t be like that,” he grinned with Lunar-blue eyes. “You’re too pretty to be so cruel.”

Lady let out a harsh laugh. “Y’really don’t know zim, then.” She took a rough bump and bounced her elbow-pad off of the ribbon. When she dropped back I thought for a moment she’d lost control completely, but her voice came from behind me a couple seconds later. “K’r’roc Venusian weeds!”

Yaz’s voice came over the comm. “Falda, careful; final turn coming up and a crash hazard from Theta on eight. Bell, I think you’re clear for a boost if you stay in four.”

Lady coughed, “Wrong! Bell, get to two first or you’ll be chewing ribbon.”

I growled, “I can manouevre that way and boost—”

“Don’t bother, not worth the risk.” Yaz sounded so blasted dispassionate about it, but he was right. If I tried for a boost and hit a snag in the track, I’d probably end up in the tank again. Suck this one up, I thought. Indignity… but there’ll be a chance to make up for it on Luna.

The others had already finished, but sonic scrubbers take longer to clean thick fur, so I was still in the middle of it when our fearless leader made his appearance in the locker room. “Listen up, team,” he said. “That was an ugly ribbon out there, but you did great, all of you. Nice work.”

I snorted. “Shinin’ beacon o’ top show, I was.”

“We’ll get to that in a bit. Relax. Ira, you were like magic out there. I don’t recall the last time I saw a two second lead like that.”

The raccoon paused between painting white bars on zir forehead. “Thank you. You might say I had the local advantage.”

Yaz nodded slowly. “I’ve been wondering about that, but I’ll ask later. As for Falda, I think that insane little practice you did paid off, yeah?”

The wolfess pulled a blue shirt from her locker and started to wriggle into it. “Maybe, but I will be honest about it. I feel more lucky than anything, and that luck started to run out at the end.”

Bell continued stretching. “I saw the whole thing, and that was definitely more than luck, eh? Whatever you did, you gotta teach the rest of us.” Falda only smiled in response.

“Agreed. You still managed to hold a good position.” The wolverine nodded. “And Bell, nice gain at the end. That really helped us out. That and your intimidation of a couple of those mooncats.”

The lynx rolled his eyes. “I hit a bump and veered over in front of them by accident. Can’t take credit, chief.”

“Gah, don’t call me that. Lady, good work remembering the track better than I did. Bonus points. Eekay, no points for memorisation but nice job on maintaining a solid grouping at the end. That teamwork meant the difference between playing catch-up and coming out on top.”

I switched off the scrubber and stalked toward my locker. “Right. Ol’ Eekay done ’em an orbit. Cookie me.”

Lady didn’t even look up from tying the fly of her pants. “Translation: Prince Eekay hasn’t been bottom half of a race since zie first saw a ribbon, and zie hasn’t had zir nap, bottle, or reality check yet today.”

I sneered at her. “Dip you in flour, luv, bake me a punk biscuit—”

She made a dismissive motion. “Beat yer head ’til sawdust comes out—”

“Ship y’ t’ Saturn limb-tied with a prezzie bow—”

“Jet an’ vape you mid-flight with the rest of the trash—”

Yaz shouted, “Girls, girls! You’re both pretty. Save the taunts for the Martians, okay?” Before we could turn on him, he changed the subject. “Next stop is Luna, and that means Theta Silver’s territory. We’re going in with a slim lead, but if we play it right we can expand on that….”

  1. Lady Aesc’s avatar

    The little verbal battles that Eekay and I have from time to time? Those are how we say to each other that we really care.

    Of course, they’re also how I remind zim that zie is not, in fact, the best thing since electric lights. Egotistical pain in the….


    1. Eekay’s avatar

      I am, in fact, the best thing since electrons. That’s right, all you lovelies, I rank higher than subatomic particles for sheer awe-inspiring brilliance.

      I’ll bet you thought I didn’t even know what an electron was!


      1. Lady Aesc’s avatar

        Hairball, I’m amazed that you can even read.


      2. Channing’s avatar

        Love the cat-fight at the end, so to speak. ;)


        1. Yaz Lenslight’s avatar

          Easy for you to say. You don’t have to manage them!

          All right, I secretly enjoy it a little. A little friendly rivalry can be healthy. I just hope it doesn’t get out of hand.


        2. Viqsi’s avatar

          Enh. I figure ego is fine so long as it doesn’t get out of hand, or set the team back. (see: Mercury) ;)