BIKESTERS

CHASE AT CHINA LAKE

Written by Fred Vosk and Lewis Pratt
Storyboard Illustrations by Lewis Pratt

Copyright © 1995 Fred E. Vosk
All rights reserved.

CHINA LAKE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Terry and Nitro like to call it China Lake International Airport because nothing's there, just a very long landing strip. The nearest town in one direction is over 35 miles away, and it's only a gas station and store. In the other direction is the Military Testing Center, thousands of square miles of restricted area where nobody goes. Nitro pulls the truck up at the spot where they always camp along the edge of the runway.

It's a nice day. It's always a nice day here. They crank out the big awning on the side of the trailer for shade. Celeste has already set up housekeeping in the hospitality suite in the front of the trailer while the guys are bunking in the large living quarters area behind the cab of the trunk. They have hardly even set up camp and Nitro and TK are already back in the trailer, building and fitting pieces of the H²O-S system to SuperBike.

For the next few days, the four of them work on putting together the new setup on the race bike, taking time to explore the area around them, have a few barbecues, and watch the sun set over the high desert. TK has his computer set up, and with the modem hooked into the small satellite dish on the roof of the truck he is once again totally in contact with the world and all that information. "You can't get enough information," says TK. Nitro just snorts, "Computer kids. "

Less then a week has gone by since they arrived at China Lake and SuperBike with the H²O-S system installed is ready for a test. Nitro is nervously checking fittings and lines to make sure that nothing's loose: "Can't be too careful." TK is fiddling with the small onboard computer that monitors the bike's mechanical functions and watches over the H²O-S system. All they have to do when the engine is running or after a race is plug the bike's data accumulator into TK's computer and they will have a complete read out. This tells them how everything is working and detects any flaws, or adjustments that are needed.

Near the cab of the truck, Celeste leans against her dirt bike and absent mindedly sips from a water bottle.

There's not much for her to do at the moment and she's feeling a little left out. For the better part of a year she's known that TK would benefit from male companionship and role models, but now that she sees him totally caught up in this project with Nitro and Terry she wonders what her role in his life should be right now. However, she knows she couldn't find better guys for him to hang out with.

"MAN FROM MARS"

Just then, Terry comes out of the side door of the trailer. He looks over, sees Celeste looking a little blue, and smiles and waves to her. Celeste has to laugh. Terry has his silver driving suit on and is holding his helmet, standing on the edge of the runway with nothing but the endless desert behind him. He looks like an astronaut-on Mars!

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