Leonis,1:1,2:2 - Lightning Rod - Part III

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The next morning, Parker, Don, and Jerry arrived at the chariot track in Jerry's sleek, brown and blue transport truck. The machine matched the paint scheme on Lightning Rod. As they drove up to the structure, Parker noted the outside of the race track looked similar to the Coliseum in Rome back home, only larger and definitely more high tech.

Jerry glanced over at his two passengers. "I have to check in."

Parker and Don nodded.

As the transport vehicle neared a security gate, it was greeted by a pair of rather official looking gentlemen in coveralls. One of them smiled, checked Jerry's credentials, and happily waved the vehicle on. Jerry drove through the bustling grounds that surrounded the track, navigating  between and around other chariots, racing crews, and news media vans. Finally, the trio arrived at a large riveted door running vertically up the side of the race track. It rumbled open, exposing a ramp that led down into a parking garage below the massive structure. Jerry removed his foot from the brakes and directed the transport in through the opening.

"Everyone out!" Jerry said, jumping from the cab of the truck.

Inside the underground garage, more men arrived and helped the trio push Lightning Rod out of the rear of the transport vehicle's "Knight Rider-style" trailer filled with computers, tool boxes, and testing devices. The collection of men guided the shiny vehicle across the room and into a stall.

Parker flinched as four yellow and black hydraulic arms rose from the floor with a squeal and wrapped themselves around the chariot. They carefully lifted it skyward, pausing as a door opened in the bottom of what Parker assumed was the elevated track. "Cool."

"Why do you keep sayin' that? It's damn hot up in here," Don said flatly.

"It's just a saying where I come from."

Don nodded in understanding. "Ah, makes sense. It does get cold up there, don't it?"

Parker noticed a man a few years older than Jerry emerge from the throngs of people and approach them with purpose. The tall individual sported a large white smile partially hidden beneath a thick dark mustache and black cowboy hat.

"Well, I'll be! As I live and breathe, if it ain't Jerry and Don...Team Lightning Rod! And it appears you have someone new with you, too," he said, dipping the front of his hat at Parker with a pair of fingers.

"Oh, it's you...Roger," Don said with a snarl. "You here to sabotage us again this year?"

"Tsk, tsk...still blamin' me for your shoddy engine work, Don?" Roger said with a nasty grin. He looked down and picked a piece of lint from his black coveralls covered in advertising sponsor patches. "...you two are just second place losers just like your daddies you know that? Only a couple wins locally in how many years?"

"That's enough, Roger!" Jerry snapped. "I almost had you last year and you know it. We all know you're over here jus' trying to throw us off our game. Well, I can tell you what happened then is not going to happen this time, so, why don't you just slink back under that rock you slithered out from?"

Roger laughed. "You're gettin' testy in your old age, my friend...still, that's fine. I'll leave as you wish, but we ain't done by a long shot. There's still tonight."

Jerry nodded in agreement. "That's right...there's tonight. Thoth will decide our fates."

Roger pulled on the brim of his hat once more, winked at Parker, and then walked away, waving at another nearby chariot team across the room.

"That guy's worse than a politician," Parker said.

"Yeah, he's king of the assholes," Don agreed under his breath.

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