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Valkyrie Drive - Chapter 4 - Meet the Family

Hornet Park is a race track with a lot of character often used by race clubs to keep the Vega team's funds ticking over, it plays that role along with keeping the team's cars in shape, the scale of the operation was vast making the normally unflappable Mariko nervous.
"Okay Mariko, here's how it works, you'll be sharing your apartment floor with three other girls, there's more than one team stationed here, the top floor penthouse is for Melanie along with Marsha, Miko and Meline. I'm bottom floor with Mariposa, Melissa and Marine. You'll be with Misao, Mikoto and Maria on the middle floor" Mia explaining the whole setup.
"I'm noticing a pattern here" Mariko wondered.
"I assure you we hired you for your driving not because of your name, but I get why you'd think that" Mia threw Mariko her key.
"Get yourself settled, you got a medical in an hour and uniform fitting in two hours"
Mariko entered the apartment and was immediately greeted with Mikoto who tried to hide.
"I thought I recognised that name, Mikoto explain why your sister never told me you were part of this?"
Mikoto is Nashu's younger sister.
"Nashu was as surprised as you that Melly scouted you, it worked out, you got stability now" Mikoto surprisingly upbeat.
Mariko looked at the other two girls, one girl with twin braids and a beret cooking, that's Misao, and a girl in thick glasses with tied up hair, that's Maria.
"I know you're a pretty decent driver Mikoto, how do the other two match up?" Mariko keen to know what she's up against.
"Well, Misao is a former Lamborghini test driver while Maria is a former pro driver, Maria is the best driver in the group by far"
Mariko had doubts about them but took Mikoto's word on it.
"So for this uniform fitting, it's not those tight things, Mel and Mia were wearing is it?" Mikoto just rolled her eyes around before answering.
"That's our operative uniform but you have two more uniforms so to speak, I won't spoil the third one but the second uniform is this" Mikoto played some footage from a recent race, on the footage were the cast of ladies clad in tight Race Queen dresses, the footage stole the colour from Mariko as she suddenly felt faint.
"I am not playing as a Race Queen" Mariko very anti feminine.
"Don't really have a choice, we need day jobs to keep the place running and Race Queen work is the most discreet, on the plus side, you get a free makeover"
Mariko was unconvinced by Mikoto's enthusiasm, she dreads to think what the third uniform is.
"Haven't even wore a skirt since grade school"

Valkyrie Drive - Chapter 3 - Welcome to Vega

Mariko was dumb struck staring at the tightly body suited Melanie, her figure was incredible, she couldn't believe this was the same woman from last night.
"Ummm, I need an explanation right now and some coffee" after the initial shock ends, Melanie was able to explain.
"I belong to an organisation known simply as Vega, our job is to take down all forms of criminal activity too advanced for the regular Police, each team in Vega operates with three members, two field operatives and a support, what I'm offering is for you to join me as my partner for field operations, honestly I'm surprised you weren't discovered earlier by us, your driving is amazing and I'm impressed of your awareness, even I didn't know we were being followed"
Mariko clearly sleep depraved was trying to process everything.
"Sounds like something out of a film, I'm sure it sounds fun but it doesn't change my situation, I'm about to be evicted and I doubt you could pay me enough to keep me going" Naturally Mariko seeing it as too good to be true.
"About that, here is your pay for the henchman last night" Mariko takes the cheque and spits out her coffee in shock.
"We were able to capture five of Darius' men and recover the body of a sixth man, it's 1K for every capture on the low tier list, higher tier criminals earn more with Darius alone having a bounty of 1.5 Million, if you agree to join, we'll move you into Vega's apartment block overlooking our private race track Hornet Park and we can upgrade your car so you can use it in your field work"
Mariko looking between Melanie and the cheque a few times. "I'm in, for the job security, the home security and getting to drive Scarlet Flare again"
A big smile erupted from Melanie's face as she snaps her fingers, which was followed up by the arrival of several trucks and transporters as they got to work moving out Mariko.
"Melly, is this Red Meteor?" Mia got out of one of the transporters.
"Yep, this is our support Mia Konig" Mia looking over Mariko as she was being introduced.
"Well if you're as good at fighting as you are delivering pizzas you should fit in fine" Mia set to work retrieving the car. Within an hour, Mariko had left behind an increasingly rough life of not knowing when your next meal is, to a life of security and luxury, her life was about to begin.

Valkyrie Drive - Chapter 2 - The Darius

Among the underworld of Nitro City exists a street racing gang led by egotistical billionaire Darius who made his fortune on the festival scenes amassing a car collection the size of Manhattan; his status gives him the belief that he should own everything in the world including the fair Countess Melanie as a trophy wife.
"Ah, what a beautiful night, my fair princess is on her way to the ball, as her prince, I shall whisk her away; now then gentleman, have you found her limo?" Following the limo were a number of black cars, Mariko could sense she was being followed and immediately took a detour.
"Mariko where are we going? This isn't the route to the country club" Melanie confused with the change in direction.
"We're taking a detour, strap your belt on, I'm going to speed up" breaking the speed limiter, Mariko drove away fast to lose the cars throwing them off the trail.
"Master Darius, the driver is on to us, we've lost sight of the limo" Darius curious of the situation.
"Clever princess, but it hardly changes anything, we'll arrive at the country club separate, your job gentleman is to decommission the limo and it's driver, the princess will leave with me and our job will be done, now off you go, I must prepare"
At the Country Club despite the detour, Mariko had arrived on time and Melanie made her way into the ball.
"So far so good, best put the limiter back on, can't let the boss find out that I took it out" but while working on the limo, Mariko was approached by Darius' men.
"Sigh, you know it's not a great idea to fight someone who always has a spanner on hand, so why were you following my limo?" Mariko looking pretty pissed at the situation.
"Were not interested in you, were getting the princess for the Darius" the grunt was interrupted by a sudden burst of laughing.
"The Darius! That's such a lame name, what is he, some wolfman from a nature documentry? The Darius sends his pack to tear apart a helpless young maiden" Mariko pulling a nature commentary voice which triggers the grunts to attack, while defending with a spanner her chauffeur hat falls off leading the grunts to recognise her.
"No way, it's the Red Meteor!"
Back at the ball, after a few hours of dancing and talk amongst her associates, Melanie was ready to go home when Darius approached her.
"Wonderful night tonight princess" Darius held out a rose but Melanie wasn't impressed.
"I'm a Countess, not a princess, you think money would teach you the difference, my associates were tiring and I'm waiting for my limo, so would you kindly leave?" Melanie hiding her frustration well.
"I don't think you'll be seeing your limo anytime soon, now princess, I don't expect you to ruin such a lovely dress walking back, so please allow me to offer my limo, I insist" Darius trying not to crack.
"You sure about that?" Lifting up her phone, loud tyre screeches can be heard approaching "get ready to sit down"
Melanie started to lean back as if pretending to sit as a drifting limo scoops her up into the back, the limo frantically driving off kicking up stones in Darius face.
"What the hell are you doing? All you had to do was take out the driver!" In a rage, Darius punches his lead henchman.
"But Darius, the princess hired Red Meteor as her driver, we didn't stand a chance" Darius out of rage kills his henchman with a gun.
"Consider yourself fired, I'll get what I want, I always do, I'm The Darius!"
Back at Melanie's mansion, Mariko had safely delivered her home.
"Your reputation precedes you Mariko, such fine driving skills" Melanie speaking with politeness and grace.
"I'm not Red Meteor anymore, I'm just a homeless girl now, no way I'm keeping this job with the limo all trashed, just have to live in the rally car for a while until I can find a buyer and maybe move into a shanty shack somewhere. Well time to get fired, you're one of the good ones, I'll remember you" Mariko drove off a little sad, as expected she did lose her job as a chauffeur and returned to her apartment but as she turned on the lights she was shocked to find Melanie in front of her in a bodysuit and jacket petting her cat Hoshi which made her jump.
"Pardon the intrusion but I'd like to make an offer. Red Meteor will you be my partner?"

Valkyrie Drive - Chapter 1 - Legend of the Red Meteor

There is a legend of a pizza delivery girl driving a red rally car through the night time streets of Nitro City known only as the Red Meteor, until one night, the meteor vanished making the streets quiet again.
Some say she crashed and died on the freeway, others say that she skipped town to escape the mafia but in reality.
"Gasoline is too expensive for a pizza gig and this thing drinks faster than my uncle on Thanksgiving and I'm this close to being evicted" a scruffy girl fresh out of bed trying to get ready for work on the phone to her best friend, her name is Mariko.
"You know Luigi misses you, you're the only driver in history who is so quick that the pizza's are hotter than when they came out the oven" her friend pointed out.
"Nashu this is my last chance, this limo gig has to pay me today or goodbye apartment and hello sleeping in car, no offence but I'm not sleeping amongst your body pillows again" Mariko frantically throwing her uniform on.
"No dissing my smexy bishounen; why even go for driving jobs? You caused a pregnant woman to give birth in an Ambulance, you gave a business man a cardiac arrest in a taxi, you managed to break a hundred parcels in a courier van and finally you traumatised an entire school bus of children" Nashu listing an extensive list of her misfortunes.
"The mother was fine, that business guy was a total ass, I was given no equipment to tie down the parcels and some of those kids actually want me to come back as a bus driver; look I just have to drive like a normal person, I'm already on two strikes following the prom incident which was never my fault. I have to make sure this pickup succeeds" Mariko finally ready to go.
"So which lucky person gets to meet the Red Meteor today?" Nashu sarcastically asked.
"Some Countess going to a fancy ball, she asked for a female driver so the boss reluctantly let me take it, Nashu you still there?" Mariko wondered why it went quiet.
"Interesting, I got to go, my fans are calling me to stream" Nashu hung up.
"That's funny, she never streams that early, never mind, I got to pump it up, don't wanna be late" an explosion of engine and Mariko was off to the limo depot; as expected, her boss chewed her out and laid it on thick with the whole, don't screw up or you're fired, needless to say, Mariko had to comply with the stuffy driving laws and carefully piloted the long car to it's destination early evening arriving at a huge mansion to pick up the Countess.
As the doors opened, Mariko was expecting an old lady with maybe a dog stuffed into a handbag, she was dead wrong, out stepped a girl no different to her in age wearing a shiny silver ball gown, with opera gloves and gorgeous silky red hair with a face gleaming a radiant smile.
"I was expecting a Countess not Cinderella" Mariko gawking which made the well dressed woman giggle.
"That's kind of you, but I am the Countess Melanie Labat of Montpellier, may I ask your name?" Melanie's rich accent leaving Mariko nervous.
"Mariko Kataoka, umm, we should probably get going" Mariko stumbled to the doors to let Melanie in and then setoff out of the estate. While in the limo, Melanie makes a phone call.
"What's up Melly? You got that posh party tonight, why call me?"
"I have an interesting chauffeur tonight Mia, what do you know about the Red Meteor?" A few stumbles of surprise catch Mia off guard.
"All I know is that whenever you order Luigis, you pray to the pizza gods she's your delivery driver, sadly she gave up because of the ridiculous gas prices, you aren't seriously thinking about hiring her as your partner are you?" Mia not sure of Melanie's suggestion.
"One of the best drivers in Nitro City, let's find out" while Melanie begins her test on Mariko, Mariko herself was nervously driving to the destination.

Life Signs of Activity

I didn't ever expect to come back to this world but here I am, rising like a Phoenix from the ashes to write again, I spent a long time away for mostly personal reasons but I want to give this one last shot using what I learned from trying to survive the pandemic and just in time for OC October.
Wish me luck.