1965-08-29 - Racing with Portals
Summary: It's a race! With portals?
Related: None
Theme Song: None
johnny-storm mike-matthews 

It's a race, and not just any race. It's a race of a bunch of new experimental cars of the future designed and being exhibitioned at the World's Faire. The course, however, is further upstate and is a cross-country affair, with the roads having been blocked off specifically for the event. Johnny had, of course, been asked to participate. Proceeds would be going to a number of programs and organizations throughout the city, charity stuff, good causes, that sort of thing. The other drivers were all top of their game as well, and it would prove to be an interesting race.

Johnny's car is black, with streaks of red, orange, yellow and white; it is of course as suped up as he can get it, but not so much that it would be cheating. There's no Reed tech in there. Nothing he can't make himself from spare parts or in a lab. He's dressed in jeans, a white t-shirt and a black leather jacket, and for the moment he's doing a final check over the engine, tugging at plugs, belts, screws, making sure everything is just right. That gets him a little greasy, but that's what the towel tucked into his back pocket is for.

There are a number of other cars and drivers not far away. Each one has a bit of room to themselves so that they can make their final preparations, and the entire area is abuzz with people. There are journalists snapping photos and getting statements. There are muckety mucks getting a tour by PR people to see the cars and the drivers before the race. There are messengers and crew running about bringing things from one area to another, parts, messages, whatever needs running — there are runners running.

Mike had come to see Johnny race, but he, like most of the other regular audience, was in the bleachers at the finish line, settled in a bit early with a drink and a snack and a programme with information abou tall the various cars and drivers, the sponsors, and a whole lot of advertising.

"And here we have the infamous Johnny Storm," a dark-haired woman in a light spring dress and carrying a clipboard says to a group of five or six people around her. "Johnny, tell us a little about this car you'll be driving today." She flashes him a winning smile and a few flash bulbs go off as pictures are taken.

Johnny turns with a wicked grin to work the cameras, knowing his angles, showing the shine of his teeth. "This, hon, Firehawk, my baby. I have been tuning her for months but haven't let anyone see a bit of her… until today." He gestures to a certain spot ono the engine itself, "The fuel injection system is entirely custom designed by me. I can't give away the secret yet— I might get a patent instead of Reed for once— but its efficiency should be off the chart. You'll hear her purr."

The small crowd oohs and ahs as Johnny talks about Firehawk. A few try to get in a little closer for a better look and are shooed back by the event staff. Fascinated, they try to get a better view of the car, and of course, Johnny himself. They ask several more questions about the car while Johnny plays to the cameras. There won't be a bad shot in the bunch when all is said and done. The little PR group hovers for a time, like flies buzzing. There are a couple of men toward the back who take a number of pictures, but don't write anything down — perhaps just photographers.

But eventually everyone moves on and the time to move out onto the track approaches.

Johnny lifts a hand to wave at his departing fans, then rolls his shoulders and looks out to the seats; once he finds Mike he grins and waves, but of course, he could be grinning and waving to the whole crowd. He then heads to the seat. He slips in, tossing his helmet into the side seat and not bothering with it. The key is turned and the engine comes to life smoothly, with a loud, deep rumble. Setting the car forward, he revs Firehawk and drives her off to his position on the track.

Mike gives a wave in return. Sure, Johnny could be waving to the whole crowd but, he certainly fully believes that it's for him and wouldn't think otherwise.

The other cars pull up to the starting line, each one taking up its position until the line is full and all of the cars are ready to go. Then it's just a matter of the countdown and lights flash, flags wave, and the race begins.

It's a winding course that leads through the hills of upstate New York, roads that curve and double back on themselves, with several long straightaways that give way to hairpin curves.

In the stands, the crowd waits, listening over the radio to the reports of how the race is progressing and what order the cars are in.

The car might be souped up, but its in the winding and twisting roads that Johnny is the greatest asset to this race. He keeps to the tightest curves, and doesn't lose an inch. He's also aggressive on the road, making it his. Of course this has him paying attention very close to everything around him— but only on the road. Much beyond that and anything behind and he's out of touch.

And then, as Johnny is coming around one of the turns, one of the cars next to him suddenly just *pff* disappears. A portal of some sort opens up right in front of it and the car vanishes through it, the hole closing behind it. There's some chaos on the road as the other drivers behind notice it happen. Those ahead might not, and continue to focus on their own progress, not even seeing that one of their competitors had just vanished.

"Shit!" Johnny doesn't swerve at all, though that's thanks to pure skill. He does tense a little bit though, and slows a few miles as he looks around, checks his mirrors behind for once, and looks for other signs of… carnappings? That isn't usual at all! Not having equipment to evaluate space anomalies in this car, he curses the lack of the connection for calling home to call in Reed.

Over the radio at the next checkpoint, the crowd begins to learn that one of the cars seems to have disappeared from the race. Police are dispatched to go out onto the road and see if it swerved off the road. Of course, without all the instant communication, the drivers in the cars aren't in constant contact. So they can't tell anyone what happened any more than Johnny can reach out for Reed to come check out what's going on.

Still, the race continues as the other cars keep on going. Suddenly, a portal opens up ahead of Johnny and the missing car appears once more, right in front of him *pfft*, though fortunately matching speed enough so that he doesn't immediately rear-end it.

There's a tense moment, and Johnny slows down just enough to make 'not immediately' be a time he can react to easily, and then turns to the side and speeds up, to try to match speeds and come up alongside the car and look in. Ideally not to find a zombie driver, but he's ready for it.

As Johnny pulls up alongside the disappearing/reappearing car, he is able to look inside and behind the wheel there is a driver, or at least there appears to be a driver, as whoever is behind the wheel has a full helmet on, a jumpsuit, and gloves, with no part of their actual body visible. The visor turns in Johnny's direction — aware of him looking in, and he can see himself reflected back in it. Then the car speeds up and takes off, trying to leave him behind.

There will be none of that. Johnny shifts the car into a higher gear, and the Firehawk races off after the other. He forgets the race and enters into an entirely different kind of race, this one more akin to a hunt: he's no longer sure who is in that car, victim or villain, but getting to the answers of these questions are all that matter to him at the moment.

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