LAP 44
Black Shadow's Dream

As Zoda made his approach on the East Bank, Haruka Misaki was waiting inside for her chance to strike. The moment his truck ploughed through the entrance, she stepped out and raised her gun at him, but instead found...

"I was wrong. You're a devil. I will defeat you."

Her clothes change to that of Miss Killer, and she screams. Awaking from her sleep pod panicking and sweaty, she stumbles out of it to question her own reflection. "Who... are you?"

With Black Shadow reinstated as the leader of Dark Million, Zoda must warn him: Miss Killer was Ryu Suzaku's girlfriend 150 years ago, and her old memories have returned! Black Shadow laughs in response to his declaration - Miss Killer is Miss Killer. She was never another woman, nor have her memories ever been tampered with. He sees right through Zoda's attempted dissent and leaves; he's the one who should watch his back.

Miss Killer makes her exit through the crowd, feeling every eye watching her as Zoda vows to knock her down a peg sooner or later. She makes her way to the hangar to find The Skull watching her; Zoda gave him orders to watch her every move. She boards the Moon Shadow and zooms past him...

... and makes her way to Mute City's lakeside park, stopping at the railings to reflect on the turmoil she's inflicted on Ryu against her will. That night, she sneaks into Ryu's apartment to find he still has important possessions in his dresser...

... including the diary, an old photo, and the proposal ring he never got to give her. She tries it on, remembering how much she had wanted it all those years ago, and a tear rolls down her cheek. No time for romantics, however, as the lights turn on!

She ducks behind a pillar as Ryu, Lucy and Jack make their way inside, carrying a heap of groceries for Ryu's first homemade meal in centuries. The group discuss the Miss Killer situation, relieved to know there's no way she could possibly be Haruka; Ryu admits he was a fool to believe it. Miss Killer is shocked and drops the ring box, prompting Ryu to investigate the noise...

... finding his dresser open, the diary sitting on its top and the ring box lying on the floor... empty! He tidies them away, keeping it quiet from the others as the Moon Shadow drives away outside.
Zoda grumbles about his spat with Black Shadow earlier, believing the boss knows more than he's letting on. Bio Rex presents him an invitation from the F-Zero committee - a duel between him and Ryu! After some consideration he accepts, hoping to use it as an opportunity to steal the Dragon Bird's Reactor Might. With two, he might have what it takes to defeat Black Shadow!

The same invitation reaches the Platoon; the committee's representative is Deathborn, an ominous individual they know literally nothing about. The duel is taking place in Don Genie's palace, which the committee are said to have bought off him. The group agree that it's probably a trap, but Ryu is up to the challenge: he wants to settle things with Zoda once and for all.

The race attracts a huge crowd - the rivalry between Ryu and Zoda is bound to be a big money maker for the F-Zero committee - as the two racers approach the starting line. Zoda chuckles; he can already feel the presence of Ryu's Reactor Might.

The two kick things off with a furious brawl. Even Miss Killer and Black Shadow watch the race from their throne room, and the mastermind reveals he was responisble for the invitation. This is just one step towards his "glorious dream," and he takes her to another room to explain.

Inside a massive chamber lies a similarly large, glowing machine, a part of an experiment relating to the Reactor Mights. The race wages on as Ryu boosts to evade Zoda, but his nemesis follows suit and continues to ram him.

Black Shadow deems now a good time to start the experiment, and urges Miss Killer to set it into motion... but refuses to tell her what will happen. She hesitates, but her master forces her hand and reminds her who she is: this is Miss Killer, and that is her order. The machine sparks into life, cogs pumping and electricity fizzling between conduits...

... and the entire chamber begins rumbling. The racers' two Reactor Mights begin to glow, emanating waves of power visible even from outside their chassis. The Platoon are quick to notice and Clank runs a quick investigation - their Reactor Mights are overloading!

Their machines won't be able to handle the pressure if it doesn't stop! Jody orders Ryu to abandon the race, but his machine has a life of its own and refuses to brake, the two racers continuing down the track. Jody offers to chase him down herself, but no ordinary machine could ever keep up with the Reactor Might; all they can do now is warn the committee and begin evacuations.

The hulls of the Dragon Bird and Death Anchor can barely contain the energy, and the palace begins to crumble from the intense energy, bursts of electricity shooting through the track walls. The very ground beneath them begins to tear apart...

... and Mr. Zero declares now a good time to cancel the race, encouraging folks to get out of there. Ships evacuate the palace in droves, but the radiant energy bursting from its walls even manages to knock a few out of the air. Miss Killer is shocked at the carnage, but Black Shadow couldn't be more chuffed; Zoda makes for a good guinea pig.

Zoda channels his energy to burst right out of the palace, angry to have been used in such a way. Ryu, meanwhile, is still trying to survive the crumbling race track and tame his wild machine, but he eventually finds itself plunging down into the darkness below...

Fortunately, the Galaxy Runner is there just in time to grab him and pull him out, escaping as the Palace combusts in an explosion of energy behind them. Black Shadow watches the wreckage from afar, thrilled at the destructive power the Reactor Mights are truly capable of. Miss Killer feels immense shame having been a part of this...

... while Berserker watches the two from afar, hidden in the shadows.

Ryu is patched up aboard the spaceship as their monitors pick up the two villains near the wreckage. They realise he was responsible for this whole affair, and ponder if he has a relation to the F-Zero committee. Ryu fears if Miss Killer really is Haruka, then they'll be using her to get under his skin; Jody comforts him by saying, "we can only try to conquer the painful memories."

Returning to Mute City that night, Ryu finds Miss Killer looking over the bridge. He steps out to ask her what she's up to, when she digs into her pocket and retrieves Haruka's ring. That clinches it! She must be Haruka!

She denies the notion. Her name is Miss Killer. She returns it to him, claiming the ring didn't fit her finger, and drives off, leaving Ryu to cope with another trinket of his past.

Burt's F-Zero Classroom: Lots of questions about Burt!
Why does Burt have a scar on his face? He said it before and he'll say it again: it's a secret!
What does Burt like in a woman? Black hair.
What is Burt's favourite pet? Rabbits!
What are Burt's measurements? Well, his puppet's are B15cm, W15cm and H15cm. It stands 40cm tall and weighs 70g.