1.1.2

“We have exactly 9 days until the AGPX Invitationals. That’s 9 days to make it into the top 1000!” Max slammed her fist on the table in front of her to emphasize her point.

This wasn’t news to her teammates – they’d all been tracking the leaderboards for a good month now, but she liked the idea of a team captain giving a pep-talk before things got serious.

“Great speech,” said Ji-Hye, applauding sarcastically, “riveting.”

Her partner, Jean, who was leaned up against a wall quietly nodded. He had a dark complexion and sported a checkered knitted cap.

“If we really want to do it this year,” stated Pace, “we’ve got to maintain a 20:1 win-loss ratio.” He was wearing his helmet and jumpsuit despite being off the track.

“Which means we get, what, one loss? Two tops?”

“Sounds about right,” Max chimed in. “This is big. I’ll skip class if I have to.”

“It won’t be a problem for me to change my schedule around,” said Ji. “And rumor has it, Jean doesn’t sleep. And Pace… he literally doesn’t sleep, so…”

“Damn that’s gotta be convenient,” Max thought aloud.

Pace’s visor angled slightly away from his teammates. “I’ll trade THAT any day to not be treated like a third-class citizen. I still have to nod off on occasion.”

“Yeah,” responded Ji with a smirk, “an hour every two weeks has to be tough. You gotta admit Pace, living in this space does have its perks.”

“It sure does,” he responded coldly, proceeding toward the door. “I’m gonna go run the practice course. Catch you guys later.”

“Pace,” shouted Max, “wait-” but she was cut off by the slam of a door, which was followed by a vacuum of silence.