9.57
9.1

It was a dark and stormy night, and all was pin-drop quiet as I sat, non-alcoholic beverage in hand, in front of my trusty word processor. What could I possibly write? My brain was flooded with thoughts and ideas, when suddenly the idea came to me through the bed-side window. Literally. I stared at this stray idea, curious as to where it would lead me. I decided to embrace it, since nothing else had worked for me. I climbed out of my window, navigated down my file tree, and at the root I found what the idea was leading me toward: a musty, dank copy of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. Forgotten by time, buried in a dense foliage, I brushed off the years that it had been neglected and, having not much else to do, decided to give it a spin.

The first experience was rough, to say the least. It installed without a hitch, and the storm had grown quiet and still. Yet ever ominous clouds continued to build outside. I rushed a patch job on my window, and hoped it would last. Any other outside activity might take me away from the matter at hand, and I didn't have time to wait. The game itself needed some work as well, the passage of time did not do it any favors. I had to reach out, there was no internal support for what was happening. I needed a friend. I remembered about a guy I've known for a while now, from grade school. Webster, it seemed, was the right man for the job. With an extensive library full of information, all it took was a quick search and I found what I needed. After that, he went out for a smoke. I thought nothing of it, as I didn't need him any more for the task at hand.

Now, I needed to brush off my own cobwebs. After a quick jaunt through some screens, I got to what I wanted. I couldn't simply foray into the shady world of street racing though. I had to change my identity. I had a guy for that too. Manuel, probably the most popular guy I know, helped me get a new identity. It was quick and painless, and I was ready to begin my expedition. I bid him farewell, and I didn't know if I would ever see him again. It was time. Time to start my career as a threat to society, an intimidating, cop-hating, no-holds-barred street racer. I hopped in my trusty BMW M3, and took off in the direction of new opportunities, for money and fame. The road led me to Rockport city, an area renowned for its street racing.

When I arrived, I started looking for the first race I could. I didn't have time to wait. I pulled up to the line. My heart began to pound enthusiastically. I was no longer in control. The car was me. I was the car. I revved my engine, waiting for the right moment. I hit my golden RPM range as the race started. We got off to a great start, we launched ahead of the competition from the outset. I hit second gear. I was now going 120 km/h, approaching third gear. I rounded a corner, and, remembering my fundamentals, loosed a burst of nitrous oxide. I flipped the switch, and immediately the chemical poured into my injection system. My pistons were rescinding. A short spray was jettisoned into the chambers. I could feel the pistons begin to compress the nitrous. The chambers reached maximum compression, and then the sparks flew. All in the blink of an eye. I was floored by a sudden roar of acceleration. Soon I was approaching 200 km/h. Now 230 km/h. There goes 250. I had taken a sizable lead through the straight, but now we were diverted off regular roads. I tore through a public park, other racers still in tow, and after another short romp through the streets, I could see the finish. Loosing more nitrous, I got to the line first. I had won.

But there was more to face, and the future looked bleak. The storm was starting to build in intensity. I had nothing else to do, nowhere else to turn, so I entered another race. It went faster than the first. It seemed like there was no competition for me. I handily won, and the next race after that. Apparently, this caught the attention of the Blacklist. The Blacklist are the pinnacle of excellence in street racing. Aspiring racers desire to be included in their ranks, and the police want nothing more than to destroy the organization. I had reached the bottom rung, I was entered in a race against the fifteenth and lowest member.

I had nothing to worry about, his pretty-boy Ford Mustang had nothing on my M3. Coming to the line, a jail-bate dame walked up and asked for the pink slip to my ride. I felt my stomach turn as I handed it over. This M3 is part of me. I told myself that I have to win, I can't lose. We got started. Our tires spun with fury, smoke enveloped my cabin and the spectators. I got the drop on him right from the launch. He was crafty though, and soon he had used a burst of nitrous to gain the lead. I reciprocated the action, but it was too late, he had the lead. Now I had to play catch-up. We tore through the streets, trading blows and positions. We had just come into the industrial park of the city, and I had a great lead.

That lead, like my heart, quickly evaporated. My transmission locked up. My M3 could no longer race. We sputtered to a stop, and as if to cruelly smash me into the dirt, the finish was nigh on 150 meters from where I stopped. There was nothing I could do, I lost. My car, my reputation, everything, it was all gone. I had nowhere to turn. The police took me, and that was the last time I thought that I would race. Then that woman showed up. She posted my bail, and took me to the local car lot. She told me that I can't give up, and I wanted to believe her. So I bought a new ride, hoping to get back into the game. I took the best looking of the meager selection.

Now with no money and a slow, factory car, I was expected to get on my feet and start winning races again. And I did. They came easily. After a short while, I was back into Blacklist racing. I entered my first Blacklist event since that fateful day, and two races later I was on the Blacklist, with new cars, parts, and other assorted goodies at my disposal. I had money. I had style and power. I had wenches. Life couldn't be better, and I was almost content to sit back and do nothing. But I am not a man of contentedness. I am a man of action, and I could not forgive and forget what happened to me.

Before I got back to grinding through the ranks, I decided to take a tour of my new locale. There isn't much liveliness to the area, everything is very brown and grey. It doesn't bother me, but it isn't anything near a tropical jungle either. Most of the building material used to construct everything in the city was very low quality. It held up great, but it was ugly to look at. I had no care for it though, I was a racer, not an art connoisseur. What the city lacked in color and attractiveness, it made up for in the vibrancy of its sounds. It seemed like everything was specially constructed to amplify the beauty and majesty of the sounds made by high performance racing vehicles. The radio station was fairly lackluster though, it only played a few songs. Disappointing as it was, the radio is fairly easy to turn off.

Not wanting to stand on any other further ceremonies, I got back to the grind. I felt like I was in a Hollywood movie, with action and babes all over the place. I felt like Godzilla was going to pop up any minute. My story, and the story of my plight and redemption, felt like a Steven Spielberg script, and it felt good. The races began to blur, and soon I was climbing the Blacklist faster than an F-14.

Money. It came to me like a magnet. After my first few forays into the Blacklist ranks, I felt as if I would never run out. Even with the bevy of parts I could choose from at the local mechanic, there was no end to the cash flow. The great variety of cars to choose from at the dealership was great for me though, I always loved collecting, tuning, and styling my vehicles. There were a great many options at my disposal, and I made sure to use them. Over time, the abilities of my cars were greatly enhanced. They began to steer better, run harder, and trounce the competition.

My encounters with the police grew ever more dangerous though. Soon, I wasn't accosted by just run-of-the-mill, donut eating, mace carrying, mall cops. I had to contend with real officers. As good as they were though, they couldn't measure up to my prowess, and it disappointed me that I couldn't get a real challenge from them. I didn't pay them much heed, and over time they became a mere annoyance rather than a serious threat. The higher end officers from the state police brought real heat though, but it isn't easy attracting their attention at the lower levels of the Blacklist fiefdom. The same applied to the racers I encountered. Blacklist members aside, the regular guys I got grouped with weren't much of a challenge. Sure they kept up and offered resistance, but they also frequently shot themselves in the foot, so to speak. It didn't matter much, it just served to make it easier for me to recover my M3.

After the tide of races began to subside, I found myself on the precipice. My goal was within reach. It was simply there, before me. All my hard work, epitomized in this one instant. It was time, there was no more delay to be had. I felt ready to destroy the bastard who took what was mine. After accruing all the necessary prerequisites to take him on, I quickly obliged him. Before me stood the daunting task of overcoming the best ride in the city, in a formidable array of events designed to test my abilities. I won the first few by the very slimmest of margins, one in the hundredths of seconds. I could no longer wait, there was only one event left. I was in control, and it was time for me to reclaim what was mine. And I did. I felt a feeling beyond words, regaining what was lost. Even now that there were none left to challenge, I still had a great many races that I could participate in.

After weeks and months of racing, training, and customizing, I had reached the pinnacle of my experience in Rockport. It left me hungry for more, how could I be satiated with just one run through? There wasn't much else to do though, so I decided to retire from my career. After leaving, my file was shuffled back into the catacombs, not to be seen again. Thus ended my time in Rockport. It was an amazing time, rife with rich sounds and the best racing I've ever participated in. I only wish that one day I can return to Rockport, with a fresh, new challenge to take on. Despite its faults, Rockport will always be the hallmark of my racing days.