DateJune 9, 2004

A storm just moved in here, and the accompanying winds are pretty fierce. There are leaves blowing around outside the window. On the twelfth floor.

It’s not online, unfortunately, but trust me when I say that the front page of USA Today has the sub-head

U.S. Olympic hopefuls face drug accusations

Battle looms to compete

which, I… I don’t know, might just be the best ambiguous headline ever.

Geraldine kicked her ride into gear and rumbled out of the gate, into the Istodrome and its ambient thunder. The others were already circling the floor: Dallas Gator and his two-treadle rig, Jingo Smith on her lean ShuttleMatic, and Sam Scarwood’s weird upside-down contraption. Geraldine shook her head. Unless he got with the times and added a double back-beam, he wasn’t going anywhere.

The announcer’s boom brought her back to the arena. “Your final contestant… the Tartan Trampler… Geraldiiiiine O’Maaallleeey!

Geraldine grinned, checked her trigger action, and shot off a salutatory flare from her Battle Loom’s smokestack. The crowd went wild.

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