"You all right, kid?"
I didn't think so. After all, it's not every day you wander into a city, beat a 9FF GT9R, and then get approached by a green and red hedgehog who owns and races an Edo Competition Enzo XX. Frankly, it felt a little unusual, but then again I spent 18 years of my life in isolation, and I just spent time practicing under Fox's guidance, so it shouldn't have been so odd. I just tried to speak up, "Yeah, so sorry about that, the Edo Enzo's a bit of a shocker. My name's Chris, pleasure to meet you." "Nice to meet you too, Chris. But how did you know my car was an Edo Enzo?" "Truth be told, it was the FXX spoiler that gave it away. The car's obviously not a stock Enzo, and it's too aggressive to be a Novitec Rosso Enzo, but it's nowhere near as insane as the Gemballa MIG-U1. It still looks like an Enzo, the way it should be. The fact that it's almost an FXX doesn't hurt either. But the pricetag does, how the hell can you afford it?" "I'm a businessman of sorts. Never mind that, just hear me out. I've been looking to make a car, the ultimate car, and I could use some help with it. How'd you like to help?"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down. Let me get this straight. You own an Edo Enzo XX, and now you're asking me, someone you don't know, to help you make 'the ultimate car'? Maybe you should take a step back and listen to yourself for a second." "I know what I'm asking you. It's obvious that you've got talent with cars, and I could use that. It's not like you won't be compensated for your time, I am willing to pay for your services." Mr. X's deal was very tempting, and of course I'm always happy to help. There's just one problem though. "Well, it sounds excellent, but I don't have any way to put together a car. I have no garage, no parts, nothing but the clothes I'm wearing and the car I'm driving." "That won't be a problem, I'm willing to give you anything you need while you make the car." Sounding better. "Well, if you want something ultimate, I'd need access to a garage, special parts, possibly a research and development team. Can you really give me all of that?" "Yes I can. So, do we have a deal?" "Almost. If I'm gonna make an ultimate ride, it's gotta be one of a kind, tailor-made to its owner. That means I'm gonna need your input on the project, as well as some background information. You don't have to agree to this if it's a sore topic, I'm just looking to do the best I can. So, what do you say?" When I brought up the last thing, I could see it on his face, it probably wasn't gonna be something he would want to talk about. Just as well, I was making a car, not a biography. Still, I wanted to see if I could go all-out. After all, he'd just offered me a chance to make a car, a place to make it, anything I might need, and even a decent paycheck once the job was done! Fact of the matter was, I needed cash bad, and he was offering it to me. After a while, he finally said, "I'll tell you what I can. How about you meet me at my office tomorrow, we can finish our discussion there", and handed me a card with the address on it. "All right, looking forward to it. I'll see you tomorrow then. Have a good night." We then both got in our cars and took off into the night, a possibly busy day lying ahead of us.
The next day, I hopped out of bed and drove to the address on the card that Mr. X had given me. Turned out to be a nice office. I knocked on the door, and heard a voice, "Who is it?" I answered back, "It's Chris. Can I come in?" "Ahh, yes. Come on in." I opened the door and stepped inside Mr. X's office, which actually turned out to be nicely furnished. I sat down in a chair, hoping to find out about this "ultimate car" project. Eventually I spoke up, "So, can you explain this car project to me?" "Sure. Basically, I want to make the ultimate sports car, something capable of very high speeds, and can still handle it when things get rough. Something unique, never seen before." "Hmm, I think I can do that, but I need access to a lot of things to make it happen. Most of the car's gonna have to be one-off. In fact, the whole car might have to be one-off, not based on any production car." "Sounds excellent, can you really pull it off?" "Well it might take time, but I can promise you a complete car as long as I can get the stuff I need, and I never break a promise." Mr. X seemed kinda happy hearing me say that. Pretty good, he seems to have confidence in me! "All right, what do you need?" "Well, I'd need an engine builder on standby, more than likely they'd have to fabricate an entirely new engine around specs I give them. I'd also need somebody who can handle making the body panels, interior, lights and such. Finally, I need a suspension specialist ready to work with me. The last one is crucial, no two people drive alike. Speaking of which, I'll need to know more about you and your driving style." Something about that last sentence bothered Mr. X. He tried to keep the same face, but I could see it in his eyes, he had gone through plenty. "I can probably describe my driving style, but that's about it. I'd rather not talk about my past." Figures. I didn't want to make him talk about it too much, but I'd need it if I wanted to make the car. So I tried to make him more comfortable. "I won't make you talk about anything you don't want to. But ultimate is subjective, tailor-made to a person like a fine suit. If it makes you feel better, I swear that anything you do tell me will be strictly confidential." His look changed, I think that's what he wanted to hear. Fact was, I was just being honest there. Honesty works for me. Finally, Mr. X spoke up, saying, "Why don't we discuss this over coffee?"
We wound up driving to a pleasant little coffee shop on the outskirts of the city. He was in an Enzo again, but this time a black one with white stripes instead of last night's Edo Enzo XX. And of course, I was driving Star, tailing him to the shop. When we got there, it was quite nice. Beautiful vista and all, it was an impressive sight. We stepped out of the car and sat down in a table out front. I tried to start the conversation myself, since I was the one who needed to talk to him. "This is a very pretty place. To be honest though, I'm not much of a coffee drinker." "That's all right, you don't need to order anything. Now, what exactly do you want to know?" "Whatever you feel comfortable telling me should cover the bases." "All right, I'll do what I can. I started racing when I was fairly young, and I was able to build up a reputation fairly quickly. I was known for being a fast driver, and I had a habit of drifting. Eventually my racing gave way to a business organization. But it wasn't long before my organization started doing things that I'm not proud of." Not proud of? Not good. "Sounds like you've changed since then." "Yeah. I've got a wife and 6 kids now, and the business has become a defense corporation." "That's pretty impressive, Mr. X. Is there anything more you can tell me, that you're OK with, of course?" I didn't need too much from him, I was able to get more from than his words. "Hmm, well I'm adept with certain weapons and skills, but I'd rather not go into that right now." That past of his is getting darker. "Fine with me. Any friends, enemies, stuff like that?" "I don't really have any friends, and I've got a lot of people out there who hate me." "Damn, that sucks. I know what it's like to not have friends, the only one I might have had probably hates my guts." "How'd that happen?" "That's a story for another day. In the meantime, all I need now is a phone number to get in contact with you in case I need something else, and a garage to get started." "Done. Call this number if you need anything for the car, and if you need to talk to me, just ask." He handed me a slip of paper with the number on it, as well as an address. "What's with the address?" "I've arranged a place for you to work, a small garage tucked away outside the city. There's also a small complex attached to it, so you have a place to stay." A place to stay? Mr. X gave me a place to stay? That left me nearly in shock, it'd be nice to not need to pay for that hotel room for the next month or so. "Wow, thank you very much! That's very generous of you, and I promise that I'll do the best that I can!" I saw a light smile on Mr. X's face after I said that, to which he responded, "Sounds good, looking forward to it." "All right then! Well, I'm gonna go check out this address then. See ya later!"
About a half-hour drive later, I found the address. A nice little garage with an apartment or something attached to it. The apartment was very nicely kept, and the garage was spacious and modern, the perfect place to build a car. I went to the bedroom and laid down, trying to relax for the first time after my forced departure. But while half my mind was out cold, the other half went straight to work. Mr. X wanted a truly special car, and after what he must have been through, he was gonna get it. Eventually, I looked through my old sketchbooks, and found the perfect design. I re-drew it, measured the dimensions and such, and had the body done pretty quickly. The next day was spent coming up with an engine blueprints suitable for a fast driver. I was able to come up with the blueprints for a nice V10 with staged turbos, and a narrow-angle engine block to keep the engine thin, and allow the front wheels to turn at sharper angles. Once all was said and done, I e-mailed the info to a research and development firm that Mr. X had referred me to. Still, I couldn't do much without more info on his driving style, and it would have to come from a third party. So I dialed the number he gave me, and asked for any videos or data on his races, particularly if there was a recurring driver, a rival of sorts. Once I saw the video footage, I found what I was looking for. My mission was clear now. If I was gonna get the car's handling dynamics done properly, I was gonna have to talk with Mr. X's rival and get the information from her. So a few days later, I set out to meet her, a girl named Angel. She seemed to be nice in the video footage, hopefully that'd be enough.