Sud-Suds Speeder (Short Story)
Here's a short story I decided to write, I'd like to try and do a few self-contained stories of one-off characters just to try and build the world a little bit, without the confinement of extended serial content.
Wazzy was talking with the most beautiful woman he'd ever spoken to, she was a Doshan and her purple-tinted eyes were fixed solely on him. Her undivided attention filled him with the kind of love that he had only read about or seen in those old holo-vid recordings. He was concentrating so much on not spoiling the moment they were having by saying something stupid, that he ended up just staying silent. Her lips were glossy and as she moved to speak, an unyielding screech could only be heard - her face contorted and he tried desperately to shake off the horrific noise; the sound only got louder still as she opened her mouth and he begged her to stop. He wanted nothing more than to be back in the picturesque meeting from before. The moment was gone, the calmness, the stillness, the love he felt in that instant, it had all disappeared. Leaving him with nothing more than a feeling of dread and shock.
He opened his eyes; the room was dull. The light of the late afternoon was fading into dusk and his communicator continued to ring. He was momentarily paralyzed by the shock of being back in reality. It was only a dream. If he spoke the words, disappointment is all he would hear. He looked lazily at the communicator that relentlessly rang; it complained like a barman telling the dregs of the pub to finish their drinks and head home. Finding the strength to raise his arm, he slowly let his hand hover over the communicator before ripping it off the table beside his bed.
"Hello!" He shouted as he answered it, not looking at who was on the other end. "Wazzy. Are you only awake now?" The voice on the other end asked; it was his friend, Sud-Sud. "I was having the most amazing dream," Wazzy responded, through a crackling throat; he let out a few coughs to dislodge the gunk from the night before, as he sat up in his bed. "Oh yeah? What about?"
What about? Wazzy had to ask himself that same question. There was a vague recollection of a Doshan, but, the details of her face faded; it was as if the harder he tried to chase the memory, the faster it ran out of reach. "Some Doshan, I think." He couldn't be sure at this stage.
"That's great and all, you want me to put in a word for you down in Limbo? I hear they got some Doshans working as Dollies down there." Wazzy rubbed his eyes and was slow to respond, the idea spun around his mind for a moment as he swung his legs off the bed, now sitting on the side of it he hunched over while he let out a yawn. He could feel the muscles in his shoulders and chest contract as he did; the relief he felt at that moment truly woke him up. "No thanks. It's not the same when you have to pay for it." He replied as he got off the bed and onto his feet. "Why because there's no love? What's love anyway? A chemical reaction? Just take some joy beforehand, you'll get all the love you need."
"What's this about? Did you contact me just to arrange a bit of in and out or what?" "No, do you not remember what day it is? Stimulators playing tonight!" Wazzy could feel his own eyes widen at the prospect of the gig, Stimulator, the one-man party who seemed to bring out the worst in people. "Oh, yeah! I forgot about that!" Wazzy's eyes darted around his small room in search of clothes. "Get yourself together and I'll drop over. I'm going to pick up some of the others along the way." "Right! Yeah, I'll get ready now. See you in a bit." He said quickly as he ended the session. Tossing the communicator on his bed as he finished, to focus solely on what to wear. None of it was really clean, not that it mattered much to him. He wasn't prepared to let some stale clothes get in the way of a good night.
Before he knew it, the distinct death rattle of Sud-Suds speeder could be heard growing closer; the engine sounded like it was going to give out, but, it never let them down before. He bought it off some High Flyer about a year prior and after a day or so, the noise started. Wazzy had suggested bringing it back to tell them about it, but he declined. "No, we had a deal, he told me about it and said it's fine." Was the response he gave. The look in his eyes said that he was actually too afraid to hassle a High Flyer, not that Wazzy could really blame him; he wouldn't want to have any arguments with them either. Stepping outside his quarters he looked down over the railing into the dockyard below. It was mostly empty, other than a few old heaps that had been sitting in place longer than he'd been living there and in the centre of the empty and overgrown yard was Sud-Subs speeder; he was sitting in the seat with his arms outstretched. "Come on!" He shouted up over a choir of laughs from a few of the others. Wazzy started running and made it to the staircase in record time, dodging a few bits of debris and rubbish as he pounded each step on the way down. The steel walkway was slick with water from the rain the night before, so he had to keep control of his footing, not wanting to slip and break himself up before the party.
"Come on, get in, hurry." The flurry of impatient encouragement came from Sud-Sud as he let out a wave of his hand, asking for more speed. He's definitely already on it. Wazzy thought by the look of him, the brownish amber stains around his lips made it clear that he had been inhaling some Haze. "Here. Want some Haze? Here, look, take it. Tonight is going to be amazing!" Sud-Sud said quickly, bordering between panic and excitement as he reached for the locker by his control board. He took out a Haze pack and through one back to Wazzy which he caught, assuming that Sud-Sud noticed him staring at the Haze stain. "I thought you'd never ask," Wazzy said as he fumbled with the small inhaler. He watched the brown liquid swirl around the stained glass housing and put the opening up to his mouth. He shot the top and the metallic-tasting mist sprayed his lips as he tried his hardest to inhale as much as he could manage. Instantly, his eyes were open and he was truly awake, the engines revved and he felt like he was attached to the speeder.
The sun was setting but the lights of the buildings were all coming on. Flying down the centre of the tower blocks was like going through a portal. Red, green, blue, purple, each one seemed to be a different colour. The speed they were going made it hard to distinguish between the old grey concrete, steel and glass blocks, painted with the colour of the neon glow. It was like flying through the centre of a blur; as if each light was directing them forward through a bright tunnel of hue. Shoulder to shoulder with Germs and Turan-den. "Raise the G-shield!" Wazzy shouted, but, Sud-Sud just turned and smiled. He turned back to face forward shaking his head and all Germs could do was laugh and stare at the colours flashing past them. "Stimulator!" He shouted as he tried to sit up, leaning into the wind. But, Germs wasn't strong enough to stand out of his seat for too long.
Wazzy looked to the side as he noticed some movement, it was another speeder; similar in design to their own, yet it seemed in better condition. They came up close to the side of their own speeder and the flyer of the other one was staring and throwing gestures at Sud-Sud, who stared back. He darted his head back and forth, maintaining eye contact with them while keeping an eye ahead. "They want to race!" Germs shouted. Sud-Sud in response started to rev his engine louder than it already was. Wazzy looked at the flyer of the other speeder and he reached down for something, his hand returned holding a Haze bottle and he took the entire thing in one unquenching blast of mist. Wazzy looked at his own and there was enough for one more good dose. Raising it to his face discreetly he took in another foul-tasting hit of the mist, this time, he experienced the full effect of the Haze. Time almost slowed down; he felt hyper-aware of everything around him, and anything he concentrated on was given an insane amount of undivided attention. He was in the heat of a clarity trip.
The vibration of the engines rattled him and he could feel his insides rock in sync with the speeder. Wazzy inspected the Haze bottle he was holding and then released his grip and watched the bottle fly away, he then imagined someone on the street getting hit by it. He brushed that thought off and focused on his hand and could see every pour in his skin shake in vivid detail. One spare hair on his arm came loose and he watched it violently blow away in the wind.
"More! More!" Sud-Sud waved toward his locker. Trying to lean, then looking back at the others. It was right in front of Wazzy, but, there was panelling in the way of reaching it. Pulling himself forward was tough as the G-force pinned him back in his seat. "Pull up the G-shield!" He shouted to Sud-Sud, who didn't respond. "I can't! I can't reach!" He shouted once more. His mouth filled with the wind as he tried to get the words out unbroken.
Smacking at the console in front of him, Sud-Sud was getting visibly more frustrated. The other speeder weaved back and forth towards them, growing closer each time before retreating away. The other speeder slowly started to crawl forward, almost out of reach of their own. Wazzy grabbed the panel, wrenching himself forward with all the strength he could muster and Sud-Sud, started to rev once more, igniting his boosters. Noticeably faster now as Sud-Sud tried to maintain the speed of the others. Wazzy's fingers brushed off the locker, but, it was just barely out of reach. "Come on! Come on! You can do it!" A tirade of jeers and laughter from the other speeder could barely be heard, Wazzy didn't bother to look at them though. He was too hyper-focused on the locker just out of reach.
Sud-Sud waved an impatient hand at Wazzy, telling him to stop trying. While he reached over himself to unlock the locker. Wazzy looked up to see a cargo hauler scoot out from between two buildings and in their way. "Sud!..." Wazzy managed to shout as he let go of the panel and was jolted back into his seat, and grabbed by Germs, who held him tighter than he'd ever been held before. Sud-Sud maintained control of the speeder and swerved to avoid a collision and the other speeder swerved to detour as well, nearly hitting it.
Wazzy could feel the speeder slow down as he turned to look at the hauler that almost killed them. There was a bank to the left, coming inches to the buildings flanking them and Sud-Sud seemed to panic and jump as he maintained control. The rear of the speeder clipped one of the buildings and a wash of sparks and glass drenched them. The bang was louder than anything he'd heard before and it seemed like all the power in the speeder disappeared.
They descended much too quickly and Sud-Sud's panicked movement told Wazzy that it was all over. The ground grew closer and closer. Approaching faster as they reached the bottom.