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The Lord of the Wheels

A short story by Christophe “Krys TOFF” VAN HOUTTE, 20-23 April 2004.

Thanks for free inspiration to J.R.R. TOLKIEN and members of DISTINCTIVE SOFTWARE in 1990-1991.

  • “Daddy, daddy, tell me again the story of Stunts racers.”

  • “Oh, you know it. I told it to you many many times…”

  • “Daddyyyyyyyy, please, I wanna hear it again and again and again !”

  • “All right, here we go…”

Once upon a time, a loooong time ago, the infinite space was empty.

One day, a good God came and said : “Let there be Light”. And there was Light.

Then, his evil brother said : “Let there be Dark”. And the evil shadow started to spread.

Things went along for many centuries, Light fighting Dark all around the Universe…

But one day, an event that may change all the order of the Universe appeared : a band of Young Gods that called themselves “Distinctive Software” came from out of nowhere, and made a planet. A small new planet. Their leader was called Kevin Pickell, and he decided to call this planet “Stunts”.

  • “That’s our planet, isn’t it daddy ?”

  • “Yes, it is.”

The Elder Gods of Light and Dark were intrigued. They wonder what these new Gods may have created. So they went to see this planet closely.

When they arrived, they were shocked ! A racing planet ! With different cars and possibility to create as many different tracks as they want ! Elder Gods of Light

But this planet wasn’t empty. A few races of living beings have emerged on it before Elder Gods came.

  • “Yes, yes, I know them, one of them is us, right daddy ?”

  • “Be patient, I’ll tell.”

The first ones to appear were tall beautiful beings that called themselves Elves. They were lead by a Queen called Helen “Arwen” Wheels, mistress of indy power gear. She chose the name Wheel as her name after winning the Elfish racing contest and became the Elf Queen. Elves lived in peace with Nature, that’s why they never race too much and often wreck their cars.

But other races where quite different.

  • “Of course, we are not Elves.”

  • “That’s right boy, let me continue.”

Second ones to appear were small, leaved under the ground, and called themselves Dwarves. Their goal was to create tunnel roads on Stunts planet, but they always failed at it because Young Gods never wanted it to be done. All Dwarves managed to do was pipe roads, and they were satisfied with that.

They also have the particularity to all have a beard, men and women, except their King, Otto “Gimli” Partz that had only a moustache in order to be easily recognized as the Dwarf King.

Dwarves were not very friend with Elves. They thought them arrogant. But they respected them because Dwarves didn’t knew anything to the Magical power of the Elves : the famous power gear of indy car was unknown to them, and they were unable to drive with manual gears.

The third living beings were Human people. Foolish human people. Always wanting to race a lot, for no special reason. If some of them may be able to reach the level of the Elves, most of them are just good enough to beat Dwarves. They are the most active racers in the Stunts planet, so they soon became the first prey of Elder Gods. Too easily corrupted, many of them joined the forces of Darkness, lead by Skid “Sauron” Vicious, an evil crazy man, that escaped no treachery to win a race.

But some resisted and became silent and powerful Racing Wizards. Joe “Gandalf” Stallin was one of them. He was often represented with a long beard and long hair, but it was when he was listening heavy metal music. Then converted to classic music, he cut his beard and his hair. But that also made him weaker, because the quiet classic music made him race slowly…

The last kind of living beings that appeared were Hobbits. In communion with Nature, like Elves, they are quite different than them as they never wanted to race and never used any Magic. As small as Dwarves, but with smaller head, they had the particularity to have very big feet.

Forces of Elder Gods tried to convert those beings to their cause and, quickly, the fight between Light and Dark too place on this planet also, like on any other planet in the Universe.

  • “Wow, it was scary times, wasn’t it daddy ?”

  • “True my son, very true.”

The Young Gods were not powerful enough to avoid the Elder Gods influence on their own planet, and so they sailed away and let the Stunts planet to the Elder Gods.

But, before they leave, they spread powerful items on the Stunts planet : the Wheels of Power.

Five of them were made, four to race better than anyone, and one to rule them all : The One Wheel.

Young Gods gave one of the Wheels to each race master of each kind of being : Helen for the Elves, Otto for the Dwarves, Joe for Humans, and to a young Hobbit called Bernie “Frodo” Rubber. None of them knew which Wheel of Power he had : one of the 4 racing Wheels, or The famous One Wheel…

Persuaded that the Young Gods kept for them The precious One Wheel, Skid “Sauron” Vicious organised an powerful expedition on the Young Gods fortress. Many of the evil racers died, and filled again the forces of evil as Undead racers, and, in the end, Skid had victory and managed to get the Wheel.

Since that moment, peace was over for everyone on the Stunts planet.

  • “Oh, nooooo. This Skid guy frightened me !”

  • “Don’t worry, this is just an old story.”

  • “I know, but I fear what could have happened for all of us dad…”

  • “We could have never been there, boy, not you, not me.”

Skid went to the Dwarves country first, and defied the Dwarf King, Otto, in a race.

Skid and Otto both replaced one of their wheels by their own Wheel of Power and engaged the race.

Otto had an advantage : it was his track, but he quickly realised that even with his Wheel of Power, he can’t beat Skid that raced with manual gears. Skid won easily.

That’s how Skid enlisted the Dwarves in his racing army and got his second Wheel.

Then, Skid went to Human Racing Wizards country.

Saruman, their King, let his champion, Joe “Gandalf” Stallin, race for him. But in truth, Saruman envied the power of Skid and wanted to join his ranks. So, he disconnected the turbo power gear of Joe’s indy car.

  • “That wasn’t good, this Saruman was a bad guy !”

  • “Won’t you let me finish my story without comments ?”

  • “Okay, daddy…”

Slowered by his new music spirit and by the betrayal of his King, Joe shouted “You shall not pass” and put his indy just before Skid one in order to crash his car with skid’s car !

All spectators stayed silent for one long second, waiting for the crash…

But the crash was avoided by Skid, that made a small power gear weird jump over Joe’s car !

Then, Skid finished the race easily, and Joe stayed there, in the middle of the track, surrounded by shame and despair.

So, Skid won again and got his third Wheel.

  • “This Skid was unstoppable.”

  • “Almost, yes. But Elves were aware of him and ready to give him a hard fight.”

  • “I know they will lose too.”

  • “Yes, that’s true, but listen how it happened.”

Decided to put all the advantages on his side before racing against the Elves, Skid travelled in order to reach Hobbits country.

But the Elves, alerted by Dwarves and Human defeat, decided to stop him before in order to protect the small Hobbits. They encountered in a deep forest, close to the Shire, Hobbits’ country.

Their fight was hard, Helen raced better than she ever raced before, enpowered by her Wheel, but it wasn’t enough to beat evil Skid that had already 3 power Wheels on his car.

In the end, realising she had lost, Helen cried her lost freedom and crashed her car on a building just before the finish line…

Forces of Darkness had now 4 Wheels. How weak and race beginner Hobbits could stop them and avoid the entire Stunts planet to fall to Skid’s will ? How could a racer that never raced before could match a skilled racer like Skid ? How could one power Wheel beat 4 power Wheels ?

Stunts planet was doomed…

  • “But there was one last hope, wasn’t there dad ?”

  • “There is always hope, son. Let me tell you the end.”

In the meantime, unaware of all this, Hobbits played in their country. And Bernie “Frodo” Rubber felt in love with a young Hobbit girl called Cherry chassis and lived happy in the Shire, the Hobbits’ country. But he felt in his heart that his fate was sealed.

He wasn’t surprised when forces of Darkness entered in the Shire.

Skid approached and told him that he defies him. Bernie could not refused.

But there was no track in the Shire. One had to be built for the race.

Skid chose a lost island, Skull Island, named like that because it looks like a dead man skull for the track to be placed becaused he knew this place was considered haunted by Hobbits.

  • “Will we go to Skull island one day daddy ?”

  • “No, my son. This place has never been haunted, but now it’s a Sacred place that never has to be .”

Then, Hobbits started to make their track. But, as they never raced, they didn’t knew how to make a good track for indy car, they only knew LM0002 car, and only a very little few… So they did a small slow track.

Skid was furious when he saw the track, and he ordered his forces to make a real power gear indy track !

That’s how 2 tracks were made on Skull island.

The morning after, the race was ready to begin.

  • “That’s my favorite part of the story, the final race !”

  • “Then, listen it without comments…”

Bernie felt sad and wondered where to put power Wheel. Then, his beloved Cherry came close to him, kissed him, and told him : “Don’t fear, follow your instinct, and keep Faith. Don’t forget that one Wheel is supposed to rule them all. Maybe it’s yours.”

Bernie looked at her, kissed her, and decided not to replace one of the wheels of his LM0002 car by his power Wheel. Instead, he put his power Wheel inside his car, and replaced his driving wheel instead.

Skid laughed when he saw the car chosen by Bernie : it was, of course, the LM0002. “This will be even, easier this way” he said. “Ok, Halfing little boy, I allow you to drive the short part of the track your people made, and I promise you not to use shortcuts.” And then he laughed again and again.

  • “Never believe a Human promise !”

  • “Don’t say that, son. Skid was an evil man, but all Humans are not like him.”

Finally, the race that represent the last hope of all Stunts planet began.

Skid quickly started with his indy, took his part of the track and reached power gear easily. Bernie, took the Hobbits short way with his LM0002. All Hobbits kept silence. It was the first time one of them drove a car, and this driving is the last chance of freedom and peace for the entire Stunts planet !

Skid was driving fast, but his track was long. Bernie, helped with the power Wheel as driving device, was surprisingly good at driving his LM0002 car.

  • “Yes, yes, Bernie will win !”

  • “Stay calm, let me finish.”

Overconfident, Skid decided not to take any shortcut except jumps over elements, and followed the road with serenity. But as time passes by, it appeared that the finish will be very close between them. People of Light, Elves, Human Wizards, Dwarves and Hobbits started to find back hope.

But Skid realised what was happening, and decided to forget his promise and use shortcuts. But, stuck in a pipe, he had to wait the end of it before cutting in the grass to the finish line. Skid became more and more furious and had to wait for the pipe to end ! And he finally reached the end of the pipe with anger. He immediately cut to the left on the grass to finish the race before Bernie. “I can’t be beaten by a beginner Halfing, I can’t, I CAN’T !” he shouted.

The final part of this race will always be remembered. With his shortcut, Skid was approaching the finish line very quickly. Bernie, pushed by the shouts of all his people, decided to do a shortcut also. He cut the loop to the left and…

  • “And…? Come on daddy, tell it, tell it !”

  • “You really want to hear it once again boy ?”

  • “YES !”

Bernie’s car was flying slowly in the air, Skid’s car was approaching at 245 mph, ,everyone took his breathe and waited. Seconds seemed minutes, minutes seemed hours. Time was passing slower than ever… And, finally, Bernie crossed the finish line just before Skid !!!

  • “I knew it, I knew it !!! That’s crazy !”

The funny part was that Bernie ripped the finish line banner when he crossed the line, and this banner felt down right on the head of Skid ! Skid didn’t saw where he was going, and he ended on the water.

  • “Greaaaaat ! That was really funny. I imagine Skid going back to the island all wet and it makes me laugh even more !”

Skid’s car was wrecked, and the 4 Power Wheels that were on it disappeared in the deep of the sea with his car. Skid was no more a menace for anyone, and all people his army disband and went back to their original state : good people were good again, undead were dead again.

Light has won, Dark has lost. War was over. For the first time of all planets in the entire Universe, victory of Light was total.

Skid “Sauron” Vicious was punished but the Dark God, and he is now burning until the end of Times in the flames of Hell. Light God left and he let the young Gods come back. They are here, right in the blue sky, taking care for us.

Bernie was acclaimed by everyone, but his only care was for his beloved Cherry. All people of the planet was there, free of Dark influence, and they elected immediately Bernie “Frodo” Rubber as King of the Stunts planet.

  • “Cool.”

The first decision of Bernie was to let everyone free. He didn’t wanted to be King. But he made all people, Elves, Dwarves, Humans and Hobbits, promise to now race only for pleasure, not for any war or something evil. Everyone promised. Bernie also made everyone promise to never go again on Skull island, and to never seek for the 4 Wheels of Power that are under the sea.

The Elves were proud to see so much wisdom from such a small and young being. Now, all beings of the Stunts planet live in peace and race only for the pleasure of it.

  • “And that’s the end of the story, did you like it ?”

  • “Yes, as always, but…”

  • “But what ?”

  • “You never told me dad, what happened to the fifth Wheel, the one Bernie had ?”

  • “It’s still here, in our museum. No one else ever used it.”

  • “We were all lucky that Bernie had The One Wheel.”

  • “There was no One Wheel. Each one of the five Wheels of Power could have been The One Wheel. You know, the Young Gods said that one wheel will rule them all, and Cherry reminded it to Bernie. Bernie understood at this moment that it means that one wheel was supposed to be used as a driving wheel. That’s why he drove so good, that’s why he won.”

  • “Oh, right. Bernie was a real great guy. I am proud we are members of his family, dad.”

  • “Yes, and he still is. Your grandfather will always be great little guy. Sleep well now my son, have nice dreams…”

Submitted by Krys TOFF on 2004-04-23.