540/Clash of the Egos

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Clash of the Egos
Date of Scene: 05 September 2014
Location: Njorun Station - Ring of Philosophy
Synopsis: A race fueled by rival egos has an ignominious end.
Thanks to: Special mention to Ziggy Grover, who volunteered to commentate and did a fantastic job of it!
Cast of Characters: Blurr, Ziggy Grover, 543

Michael Knight (543) has posed:
The Ring is in rare form today, expanded past its apparent exterior appearance. People from all over the multiverse have gathered in the bleachers of the ampitheater, which today has become a racetrack rather than an arena. Movable barriers have been set up in the center of the ampitheater to facilitate this, with a goodly amount clever failsafes placed between them--anything which can slow down either of the two contestants today would have to be pretty spiffy! This makeshift median also has the effect of turning the circle into more of an oval, the length of one lap being just over two miles.

Vendors make the rounds with all manner of junk food from hot dogs to popcorn to delicacies which appear to still be alive, all shouting over one another for the chance to foist their likely overpriced wares on unwitting or uncaring spectators. Pit teams see to the every need of the contestants before the race starts. Michael Knight looks unusually professional in his racing jumpsuit, and unlikely as it is that anything could ever contain that sublime perm, he does in fact carry a helmet in hand. "You ready, buddy?" he asks his mechanical companion. The energy in the air is almost palpable as a wheeled-in loudspeaker begins cranking out anthem rock.

"I was manufactured ready, Michael."

Knight chuckles, puts his helmet on, and gets climbs into KITT. The two of them take their position at the starting line, waiting with bated breath (at least, on Michael's part) for the arrival of Blurr.

Blurr has posed:
    Ah, the spectators, the vendors with their overpriced souvenirs and other propaganda, the shouting fans, everything--it was almost just like Ibex all over again. Almost...

    Not quite, because at least at Ibex, Blurr had some -real- competition. But since the human-designed AI insisted upon testing his mettle against an alien sensation, the former racer has decided to indulge him. Seriously KITT would have to pull something really, really, tricky in order to win this one. There's a chance he will...so maybe this'll be 'sort of' an interesting race.

    Blurr pulls up to the starting line, taking in the crowds. "Wow, you really advertised this well, didn't you? Excited to show off how great a loser you are, huh?" he says with a chuckle.

Ziggy Grover has posed:
Tapping the announcer microphone, Ziggy Grover is settling into the role of trying play by play on a race. That there was a bit of loud static screeching noise? Totally Ziggy's fault, for being a klutz.

Grabbing the mike, Ziggy ahems. "Hello out there, Unionites, and to whoever else may be listening in! It's a beautiful day out here at the Ring. I'm Ziggy Grover, and today we're bringing you, sponsored by Knight Industries and Velocitron, the finest in racing... an exhibition race between two of the Union's Finest!"

A camera shifts to the Dramatic Picture of Michael Knight walking to KITT... "In black, driven by Michael Knight, of the very prestigious Knight Industries... K.I.T.T!"

Cut to a blue carr. "And in sky blue, hailing from Cybertron... the Autobot, BLURR!"

"It's a clear day here at the Ring. For the millions..." Switching voice tones: "And millions!" ... "of viewers out there, we welcome you all! The rules for this race is simple... three laps, and no... contact?"

Pause, as Ziggy looks over to someone. "Why is there no contact? ... oh. I guess we wouldn't want -accidents-... Okay. ANYWAY... the cars are lining up at the line..."

Michael Knight (543) has posed:
KITT scoffs. "Talk is cheap, Blurr." Without any help from Michael's foot, the car's turbine engine... well, revs. His red eye scans his surroundings, warbling softly as it sweeps from side to side. "I came here to race."

Michael shakes his head. "You sure you want me in here, KITT? Every little bit counts."

"You have been putting away those Whataburgers lately... but I'm confident it won't make a difference."

"Gee, thanks."

A few tense moments pass as Ziggy commentates, Michael slipping his helmet on and flipping the visor down, then fastening it. His gloved hands grip KITT's steering wheel tightly as he waits for the go-ahead. As if on cue, a hovering light appears over both racers, in plain view of both. Red... yellow, yellow, yellow... GREEN.

Blurr has posed:
    "Mike has a point, KITT." Blurr replies. "I mean you're already at a disadvantage, given the fact that you were built by humans, and you have to deal with a lot more friction than I do." You can just hear the grin in his voice.

    Aaand the light turns green. The Cybertronian zooms off down the first stretch of track, not quite hitting top speed just yet--he'll be saving that for when he needs it most. Will KITT be far behind?

Ziggy Grover has posed:
"For those of you who've just tuned in," Ziggy continues, "the course is a complicated one." A computer graphics overlay pops up, outlining the course. "It derives a great deal from... uh, Motorball." One can almost sense Ziggy mouthing Motorball? at someone, before looking at the course. "We're looking at a course where one wrong turns results into a fall into ditches lined with lead spikes. It's made all the more complicated by a loop-the-loop, concrete walls at turns, and... wow. Don't they have any -safety- protocols...? Oh, they do...? Just don't crash...? No wonder you have no-contact rules. And they have to have enough speed to take the loop-the-loop -after- those turns... are you KIDDING ME? That's what, a deathrace?!"

A moment's pause. "Ahem. The robot's racing the flag, and they're off! Blurr takes the turn like a champ, while KITT seems to be feeling his way through the course. Hopefully they're prepared for this! But first, a word from our sponsors, and then we're back to the deathrace..."

Happy upbeat music plays, as little fighting robots zips around shooting at each other with flashy beams, in cute little maid outfits or summer dresses. Little pink hearts fly everywhere. "GENKI SHINKI AVAILABLE NOW! At Tokyo City Shopping Center, or your closest Shinki Shop!"

"And now back to your deathrace... oh, I'm told not to call it that. To your... racing exhibtion..." Ziggy responds. "KITT IS...!"

Michael Knight (543) has posed:
KITT is taking a cautious approach only so long as it's necessary. Initially, he's right on Blurr's tail, an admirable feat considering both the Cybertronian's advanced construction and the Trans-Am's considerable weight--carbon fiber isn't really a thing in Michael's world. The car's turbine engine is performing in tip-top shape, easily audible to audience members as he goes by.

The no-contact rule is... tested as the black T-top gets uncomfortably close to Blurr. The loop-de-loop looms menacingly in the distance, and this part of the track is too narrow for both of them to race side-by-side. Flirting with the wall and coming close enough to touch particularly brave (or foolish) specators, KITT activates his Two-Wheel Ski Drive which, appropriately enough, propels him onto two wheels, narrowing his frame as he overtakes Blurr. The cybertronian guessed there would be tricks, and he was right. But will those tricks be enough to win?

Blurr has posed:
    Blurr watches behind himself as KITT speeds up, lifting onto two wheels. Heh, not bad. But nothing he hadn't already expected. "Nice trick," he taunts. "But seriously is that all you've got?!" He speeds up a bit, but not enough to pull completely ahead. Whether that's intentional or not is anyone's guess.

    "Quite the track they've got here, huh? Not too late to give up, you know, if you think you can't handle it!" Lead spikes? Loops? Sharp turns and concrete walls? No safety protocols? A walk in the Helex Gardens for Cybertron's finest.

Ziggy Grover has posed:
"And KITT is taking advantage of the slipstream created in Blurr's wake...! That might be enough to build up speed... but is he going to be able to pass Blurr in... oooo! Wait, KITT just pulled up onto two wheels and is humming along like... wow, Michael Knight is pulling out from his bag of tricks, as they're skimming the walls on the course! What else has KITT got up its sleeve? Blurr seems unfazed... perhaps not all that surprising considering that he was undefeated in races on his native Cybertron. Hence the name "Blurr" I guess. Talk about a name that actually -fits-..."

Shuffling paper, Ziggy continues, "Blurr's fueled by Energon. KITT by... *shuffles paper* turbine fuel and anything else its fuel synthesizers can use, and a constant stream of oxygen. Talk about going -green-. Ooo, look out, the road's narrowing... someone's going to have to give way!"

Michael Knight (543) has posed:
"Not remotely," comes the car's reply. Once, KITT was installed into a government supercomputer. That capacity for calculation shows, as he attempts to play mindgames with the cybertronian in the narrow spot, using minute changes in his pathfinding algorithms to create false openings. Of course, the alien might be fast enough to take advantage of that and zoom ahead just before the turn.

The Trans-Am takes the turn in an unusually aggressive way, enough for the back end to come perilously close to the lead spikes--Michael's preeetty sure they won't do much, but... "KITT, I think you might be taking this a bit too seriously. You wanna ease up a bit?"

A light on the dashboard reads AUTOMATIC OVERRIDE, the steering wheel staunchly refusing to give way to Michael's commands. Essentially a passenger in a car going who-knows-how-many miles an hour, Michael sighs as the AI skillfully drifts, nearly sideways at the apex of the turn. "I can't leave this to chance," the AI replies tersely. Coldly. Yeah, he might just be getting TOO into the competitive spirit.

Blurr has posed:
    Blurr laughs. "Okay! Well, don't tell me I didn't warn you!" The track narrows, and it appears that someone will have to give way. But not if you're Blurr, and not if this particular section of the track had that massive concrete wall around the turn. He moves up onto the wall, literally driving sideways around KITT. The Autobot isn't -all- speed, he's got some tricks of his own, as well!

Ziggy Grover has posed:
That KITT was driving on autopilot was difficult to notice, as Ziggy comments, "And Michael Knight is taking that turn nearly perpendicular to the road nearly 300 kilometers an hour, and taking it to Blurr, but the Autobot is laughing it off... ohhh, either KITT literally drove Blurr up the wall, or he's got stickums on those tires of his! Blurr takes the turn up onto the wall, as the loop comes up, which means they're both going to have to get back on the road...! Hopefully Knight's ready for this, because one wrong move and he's going off the road...! And KITT cost -eleven million to build-... from... 1982 dollars or some such thing." Pause, as Ziggy shuffles papers. "Michael Knight's been quite a driver... he's a Cancer, he enjoys long walks on the beach, and... wait, why do I have his dating profile?"

Michael Knight (543) has posed:
Michael Knight ... blinks. Why /does/ Ziggy have his dating profile? Huh.

Coming out of the turn, KITT notes Blurr's persistence with annoyance. So, he's got some tricks, too. That's fine. His fault for trying to pidgeonhole the Cybertronian. His behavior becomes markedly more aggressive once they reach the loop-de-loop, trying to pass Blurr any (legal) way he can, his engine alternating between roaring and falling silent, his position on the track proper changing constantly as he attempts a variety of different approaches. Eventually, he's upside down, and indeed, going fast enough to handle the loop-de-loop.

Michael isn't quite so easy-going. "Jeez, KITT!" Even as he and Blurr make their gravity-defying way up and down the harrowing course, the car's movements betray a desire to /win./

Blurr has posed:
    Blurr zooms up the loop, easily having gained enough momentum to keep him on track. He even chats on the broadband about toast as he heads up toward the top, which he knows nothing about and thus sparked a bit of a conversation about it. And then, he does something just to show off. Yes, he'd said he wouldn't use transformation against KITT, but KITT could use any of his tricks so it was only fair for Blurr to do the same, right? Besides, it's not as if he needed it to win. It was more to amaze the audience than anything else...

    It looks for a moment as if he's purposefully driven off of the loop at the very top, but instead he transforms for just a second and grabs the edge of the track, swinging upward onto the other side of it, where he uses his legs and rear boosters to launch himself off of the outer wall of the loop and into the air, where he again flips back to hover speeder mode and lands on the track just beyond the loop! Will KITT be able to top that?

Ziggy Grover has posed:
"And KITT takes the loop like a champion, and crowded Blurr nearly off the road... wait! Blurr has just transformed, grabbed the edge of the track, and managed to keep himself -on track-. Folks, he's back in car mode, and zooming off once again! Blurr, the undisputed champion of Cybertron! He's been seen in the company of Arcee, and... who's Arcee anyway?" A photo of Arcee and Blurr walking, two big blue robots somewhere in... "Huh. I guess that explains why Blurr's so good with curves... anyway, they're about to complete the first lap, and Blurr's in the lead... um, I've just got notice that they're discussing whether Blurr can transform or not. Is he disqualified? Be right back with you after these messages from our sponsor..."

Tiny little shinkis race around in little RC cars, with a tune that sounds suspiciously like little happy merry crashing sounds. "Super GENKI CARTS. Prevent reckless wanton wars, trainer shinki racer cars available today! At your finest Genki Shinki shops! Race your shinki today!"

"And the verdict is... verbal communications are not binding. Apparently Blurr only communicated it verbally, but because they're not in the rules, they're fair game! And KITT has a deeper hole to dig out of! Ooo, watch out for the ditch!"

Michael Knight (543) has posed:
That Blurr has decided to start a conversation about burnt bread only adds insult to the injury of being overtaken. KITT continues down the track, and rather than navigate around the spike pit on the straight, he /leaps/ over it, the telltale whoosh-whoosh of his rockets carrying him almost entirely over the strip. He touches down with a loud wham, rear wheels tearing up the track for purchase.

Thankful for his helmet, Michael yet cautions his companion. "Taking a lot of risks here..."

"It was a weighted decision based on probability and available data."

"I'm glad I met you /after/ my stint in Vegas."

Despite the overlong leap, once both cars finish the first lap, Blurr still has a clear advantage. This... has an effect on KITT, to be certain--it doesn't take a microprocessor to know when your opponent is clearly toying with you. "You're not the only one here who can transform, Blurr." Up to this point, it's been a fairly 'easygoing' 300 KPH--just over 186 miles an hour, in other words. The KITT gloves are off now as the Trans-Am appears to hunker down midway through the second lap. Its nose extends and lowers the car's frame. The rear light panels slide away to reveal several microthrusters. Last, but certainly not least, a spoiler rises slowly from the rear.

"KITT, I'm all for going faster, but we haven't tested--"

The display on the speedometer rockets upwards, and the car shoots forwards like a bat out of hell.

Blurr has posed:
    Indeed, Blurr is toying with KITT, and that's going to be the Trans Am's only golden opportunity to win this thing. Because the Cybertronian is so sure that the AI is far from good competition that he isn't exactly serious, unlike KITT right now.

    At the present moment, the Autobot maneuvers expertly around the ditch and presses on, finishing the first lap strong. As KITT goes into turbo mode, Blurr pushes harder as well, his speed coming close to that of sound itself. Hopefully there aren't too many fragile structures around...

Ziggy Grover has posed:
While they're speeding up, Ziggy is standing up at his desk, now. "And KITT just took off like a shot, after opening up its rear panel! Thrusters are firing out of its backside like Dillon after a five-alarm taco meal! ... wait, Dillon's listening to this, is he?"

There's the sound of a communicator beeping.

"Yeah he is. Uh, be right back with you after these messages from our sponsors...!"

'Do you find yourself covered in dust after you race? Are you finding it frustrating to sit down in your nice clean pit-stop covered in road grit and the smoke of your opponents' engines? You need Shinklets, the dust cover for your racing machine.'

"And back! Um, Dillon would like me to inform you that he's a better car driver than any of these posers, that there is no dating profile on him, and that the fire you are about to see is the sparks from the noogies I'm getting when he finds me. Uh... while I find a place to hide out, Blurr's cranking up the speed and I have no idea how the ring is going to hold up at the speed these people are going at...!"

Michael Knight (543) has posed:
The experimental prototype overtakes the alien speedster, its every movement the result of minute calculations. The wind rushes over KITT's sleek form, pushing him further against the ground. His grip is phenomenal, his handling suffering only so much as his thousandfold plots and predictions allow. His tires squeal as he takes the turn before the loop-de-loop, Warning lights flare up on the dashboard, and the microthrusters begin to leak traces of ominous blue-grey smoke.

Blurr has posed:
    Surprisingly, KITT seems to actually pass Blurr up and remain ahead for a bit there. Is the speedster allowing it? Again, it's anybody's guess. But when the third lap comes around, and that loop comes up for the final time, he pulls another trick, perhaps one that KITT won't be able to outdo. This time, as the Trans Am is approaching the loop, Blurr comes up about a car length behind him and activates his alt-form weaponry, blasting not at KITT himself but at the looped section of track, sending it crashing into the spike-lined pits below. Hey, the only rules were three laps no contact, right? He hasn't crashed into KITT, so it's fair game, isn't it? Now there's simply a track leading upward into nothing but air right in front of KITT instead of an upward loop. Can KITT adapt fast enough?

Ziggy Grover has posed:
"And KITT roars to the lead after that nitro-assisted... ooohhh! Blurr just blasted the loop ahead!" Ziggy exclaims, watching the track fall away. "Blurr's certainly pushing the limits on gamemanship! And KITT'S coming up -fast-... cover your eyes and hold on to your hats, people, things are about to get dangerous!"

Michael Knight (543) has posed:
"KITT, I know you can see these warning lights. You've gotta slow down!"

"No. I can beat him!" As the two argue, the broken section of track gets closer and closer.

"You're gonna burn yourself out if you keep pushing! I'm taking control." Michael keys in the manual override code.

"Michael, no!"

The missing track is upon the both of them, and Michael has only enough time to mouth a silent swear before jamming his thumb into the TURBO BOOST button. The Trans-Am flips off of the track sideways, airborne and out of control, before landing with a thud and a shower of sparks. The car was easily doing three hundred miles an hour, so stopping is not so simple a matter as simply applying the brakes. Careening towards the spectators, Michael tries to veer away. No dice. "Your steering circuits are shot!"

"The flashing button, NOW!"

Emergency Brake Apparatus? PUNCH. Michael hits the button and panels promptly flip up at various points on the car, using its own wind resistance against it to slow it down just so that it merely /slams/ against the barrier, rather than obliterating it. Michael sits, quietly, simultaneously relieved, upset, and ashamed.

Blurr has posed:
    Blurr watches KITT crash and burn with satisfaction, thinking of course that he could easily make the jump himself. He -almost- does..but that little bit of track on the other side that he was depending on to make it across ends up being a bit weaker than he had thought. So instead of holding up as he drops onto it, the section of track crumbles under his weight, sending him careening into the spiky pits below. "Slag it!" The lead doesn't do all that much to his armor; the fall injuring his pride more than anything else.

Ziggy Grover has posed:
"And... KITT hits the wall...! But Blurr wipes out, and is sent down to... oooo, lucky, his armor's tough enough. But it must be like sitting on a cactus down there! Uh... what's the word...?" Ziggy pauses... and then announces, "It's a double disqualification! And the... are those mechanic shinkis? Folks, don't go away, we've got final words from our sponsors..."

Michael Knight (543) has posed:
"Dammit, KITT!" Michael's fists hit the steering wheel.

"If you hadn't commandeered me--"

"I would have had to take you home in a Glad bag."

"My emergency brakes--"

"Could've burned out. What would you have done if they did? Devon said you're programmed to preserve human life. You sure do have a funny way of doing that, huh?"

Silence from the Trans-Am.

"You... ugh." Knight practically rips his helmet off and throws it into the passenger seat. That done, he opens the door and slams it, sidestepping the Shinki mechanic and the Knight Industries pit team accompanying her.

KITT watches him go, red eye warbling slowly.

Blurr has posed:
    Blurr drags himself out of the spike-lined pit, grumbling and pouting. Of course according to him, he would have won anyway. It was just a stroke of bad luck that he fell!