~Chapter one: Sam's stalker~
Sam could hear the intruder. She sat up in her bed, alert faster than her blurry vision was allowing. Rubbing her eyes, she slid out of bed silently, listening for more information on the intruder's whereabouts. How did they even get in? She had countermeasures to prevent this. Sam would definitely make them pay. The trespasser quickly drew closer and in the dark Sam tensed, one hit should be all she needed. The green plasma swirled in her hand, the heat and light radiating into the room. Sam waited until the assailant was nearly upon her before she flicked the single fleck of plasma. There was a slight sizzling sound.
"Sam: one. Mosquitos: nil." Now that the sleepy fog had left her vision she could take a look at the clock. Five in the morning, just her luck. Sam sat on the end of her bed; there'd be no way she'd get back to sleep now. It was still dark out, only the street lights were lit; apparently Sam was the only one unlucky enough to be awake. The danger had been averted so Sam saw no need to be stealthy any longer, she flicked on lights and staggered into the kitchen yawning. First order of business: to cure her dry throat. She whipped out a cup from the overhead cupboards, as she filled the cup with tap water she surveyed her kitchen. Clean, as always. Why wouldn't it be? She hardly cooked, there were still burn marks on the ceiling from the last time she tried. It was an open kitchen, spacious like the rest of her apartment. She drank the water eagerly, smiling at the feeling of cold water in an empty stomach, which reminded her of her next task; food. Sam swung on the pantry doors as she thought about what she could eat. Toast was boring. Cereal was boring. Porridge? Hell no. Sam sighed, why was this such a task? Toast would have to do, she pulled out two slices of bread and headed to the toaster before she remembered. Her toaster had exploded the previous month and she hadn't been bothered fixing it, exploded was a bit of a hyperbole, but there had been smoke and sparks.
"Untoasted toast it is then." Sam exhaled and sat down with her vegemite untoasted toast. She sat there unthinkingly as she chewed her food; her mind was elsewhere, probably with her Neon Stream in the garage on the ground floor. It was pretty battered from yesterday; she forgot to check the power levels before leaving the city. It didn't matter though; it just gave her an excuse to upgrade it, the board needed to be a bit lighter around corners. Sam had long-since finished her bread, no one was fooled it had never been untoasted toast; she'd been sitting there for at least ten minutes thinking about the marketing possibilities for untoasted toast. She stood and chucked her plate into the sink, cringing at the sound of it chipping, time for a new plate-set anyway. Sam sorted through her wardrobe.
"Today, I'm going to wear pink." She laughed at her own wit as she sifted through layers of every colour but that rosy shade. Sam pulled her fingers through her hair quickly after getting dressed, and she was ready to see the world. Or more accurately, she was ready to see her 'baby' in the garage, that board was a masterpiece if she had to say so herself. The door to her apartment clicked and she pocketed her pass card. Sam walked by the elevator and got to the stair well, today she'd beat her time, today she'd get to the bottom of 13 floors of stairs in less than a minute. Make that less than two. She pulled out her phone, being the fabulous little gadget that it was; it could function as a stopwatch. With a click she was off, jumping down the first few steps and trying to gain speed as she came up to the corner. She smacked her palms into the wall to prevent hitting it before she slid down another line of stairs. Today she was going to try something new, now that she'd gained enough speed she flipped herself up onto the bannister and laughed as she struggled to maintain balance on the thin rail. She came to yet another corner, but she didn't take this one on the bannister, she let herself fly off and she ran against the wall. Sam tried this a few more times, each attempt more fluid than the last until she reached the ground floor. She checked the stopwatch. 6 minutes fifty, not exactly a world record but better than most days. There was still a lot to do before she could finish it in a minute. Would it count as cheating if she just used her Neon Stream? Though that could be troublesome if other people were using the stairwell. The door to the garage opened to a sight Sam would never tire of seeing, her mechanical equipment, her board and all of her works in progress. Her favourite project at the moment was the Spectral Stryker, a lean green motorcycle made for speed, functionality and, not to mention, look totally awesome. She ran her hand along the glossy body of the bike, it wasn't finished yet but she could almost feel the power of the bike, she couldn't wait to hear it rev for the first time. Sam checked her phone, it was six o clock, she still had an hour of free time before she went to hang out with Kumi. She could either spend that time fixing her Neon Stream or working on the Spectral Stryker, pangs of indecision wracked her head. She looked back and forth between the two beautiful machines. For now, she'd have to settle with the Neon Stream, she could hardly race it in its condition. Sam set a box of spare parts on the bench and got to work, tightening and adjusting the components, and thinking about how to improve the board's performance. Streamlining would be harder than she had first thought; she had already removed every unnecessary part and function so she needed to think of a way to make the body material lighter, without making it less durable. Maybe it could do with a little less durability. Or maybe she could learn to take corners earlier. Sam sighed, she didn't know how to go about improving it, and usually she did. Must be a bad day. She stood, turning the board off and tucking it in on the shelf snugly, Sam paid to keep the garage private but that didn't mean she wasn't wary of others. The street lights outside had finally been turned off as the sun rose higher in the orange-pink sky, she'd have to head off soon if she wanted to make it to Kumi's in time. She turned to leave the garage-
"Why do they call the mouth a 'gob'?"
"Waah!" Sam yelled, which may have been an incomprehensible form of 'who are you and what are you doing here?' The thing which had startled her was staring at her with wide inquisitive eyes, probably trying to translate the last statement. The girl blinked, still waiting for an answer or an explanation of Sam's actions. Sam was still frozen in a combat ready pose, hands raised and ready to fire plasma. How did she get in? The door was locked. Sam straightened and scanned the garage; no visible holes anywhere. "How did you…" Sam gesticulated, still confused at the girl's sudden appearance. "Are you some kind of monkey? Or something?" The girl harrumphed at Sam's question, her long ponytail flicking.
"I am not a monkey. I am a possum." She pouted, very matter of factly. Sam was still trying to figure out how in the world the little trespasser had made it in. However more there were things more important than that; like how to get her to leave.
"Where are your parents?" Sam asked but the little girl had begun exploring the garage, looking in boxes and opening draws. "Hey, stop that! Put that down!" She moved along after the girl picking up what was dropped and replacing things that had been moved. Then the girl noticed the Spectral Srtyker. "No." Sam warned. "don't even- I'm warning you- just-" But the little girl paid no attention and climbed up on top of the automobile, eyes widening at all of the buttons that could be clicked. Sam had had enough. She stormed over to the bike and lifted the girl off by the scruff of her red jacket. She plonked her on the ground and looked her straight in the eyes.
"I don't have time for an eight year old-"
"Whatever. I don't have time for you to be breaking into my garage and destroying my things. I'm going to ask you again; where are your parents?" No response, Sam was starting to get a bit annoyed. She tried again. "Why are you here?" The little girl's face brightened at this question, a smile blossomed from nowhere. The energy bounded into the girl faster than Sam could fire up some plasma.
"I saw you, the other day at the tracks, when you were racing. You were so cool!" Her eyes were practically sparkling. "Then they told me you built your own Extreme Gear, that you've won heaps of races and everything. You were just so amazing especially when you took the corner-" She breathed in as though the excitement was just too much for her to handle. "Teach me how to be awesome! Pleaaaasssseeee?"
"I'm sorry; I have somewhere to be…right now…" Sam began walking to the door, the girl followed her the whole way, skipping to keep up and making begging signs. Sam thought the girl would give up once they'd gone through the lobby doors, instead the girl fell to the ground and flung her arms around Sam's feet. People were beginning to look.
"Pleeeeaaaaassseee?" She looked up at Sam, big blue eyes glittering and bottom lip quivering.
"I don't even know your name!" Sam whispered, trying to avoid the gazes of people passing by.
"Violet! But you can call me Vi!"
"Okay, just stand up."
"Sure thing, Sam!" Vi stood and looked at her expectantly.
"What is it you want exactly?" Sam rubbed her temples, feeling a headache developing.
"I want you to teach me how to use Extreme gear and how to fix it and how to be cool and…and.." She looked as though her list could continue for a long time. Sam sighed.
"I'll think about it."
"Yay!" Vi started doing a little disco dance with her hands.
"That doesn't mean yes!"