Year of the Black Rainbow: Hello, and welcome to the third volume of the fan fiction Pain & Heaven. This volume is a slight departure from the previous two volumes in this one, none of the main characters from anything previous but Kenji appear much, if at all (unless they have died.) This volume follows the path of two men and their attempts to reconcile the demons of their past by forging a new chapter for themselves in their lives while also dealing with the mysterious organization known as Wind Stars, which ,for reasons unknown, wants to see them both fail. If you haven't kept up to date, you need to know a few things. ~John van Druten, the greatest driver of the age, and maybe of all time, is dead. His wife, Emily, and daughter, Yune, are still living, keeping their memories alive. ~Han Tzu has taken the power that shattered in the wake of John's death and made it into his own. He is basically the ruler of all things racing that aren't controlled by the FIA, such as Formula One. ~Kenji Yamamoto has vowed to avenge John's death, but he is beginning to find that the Veracity organization, headed by Han, is his biggest visible opponent. His biggest invisible opposition is the Wind Stars organization, dedicated rulers of the racing underworld. ::: Prologue: The first words that came to my mind when I heard about my old friend being dead were... He gave me my... Camaro. The strength of his memory and the car itself gave me the courage... to chronicle his footsteps as one of his few close friends. I wasn't going to write a book about his failures and faults, like so many others had already done. The only way to accurately write about him... was to figure out the path he had taken. Which meant... Becoming a racer again. Not like before, with a deathtrap of a old car. No, this time... I would get the skills I needed... to show John that I had been a true friend. Yet... I had lost contact with him for five years, and I only knew of his fate through the local news station. A pity that I had to rely on that. I also gleaned many facts about John that I had never known before. He left behind a wife and child and he had sworn to me that he would never marry. Funny how it goes on like that life is a fickle bastard that loves to throw you curveballs with unerring repetition. I am... Rick Robledo. I am... the one true friend John had left before he became famous. I am... ready... to show the love I had for my friend... ::: Chapter One: Time (Once Again) Location: Trial Mountain, Dapplering, Wyoming, USA. Date: 5/10/11 #And now, will the silver Camaro please commence your run... Whoosh. The thrum of the V8 engine's growl was like the sound of angels to me... but I'm sure that most people would think I'm a fanboy of Harley-Davidson bikes. Wrong. Those are loud, obnoxious noiseboxes that piss me off to no end. This engine, though... is the sound of angels. I remember a little of the past here. I wrecked my old Z29 Camaro here. That wreck cost me three years of my life I'll never get back all spent in rehab. I gained a dour outlook after I realized what I had wasted. I bounced around until I realized that I had had this still sitting at John's cousin Rex's shop. Poor man. Died of a heart attack last year. A lot of people attended his funeral almost as many as were at John's. The great men of the Druten line are dead. And there's the turn that did it all. What... a pitiful existence I lead. After completing my lap count for the day I headed home. Not like I set a record, or there is any reason to stick around. When will I ever begin my dream again? Never is the most distinct possibility. ::: The former Druten Eifel complex. I sat... staring at the cordoned-off remains of the place where my family perished... all because of the hate for the greatest driver the world has ever known. Life... doesn't seem fair anymore. To anyone. And here... is where my life came to a shattered halt. Amid the wreckage sits my one-time love, the white Subaru STI I owned. The one that John had bought for me. How much I miss him... and my family. ::: Is Requiem still in a coma? Yes. He still doesn't respond to outside stimuli. And we don't want to have to resort to the method we used for you, Sage. It took a lot of work to bring me back... that much I know. The people who did all the work, they're in the Dictator's employ. So... you're saying that if we want to make Requiem well again, we need to overthrow him. No, Rose. You of all people know the risk of genetics, gene splicing, stimuli from genes, and bio-genesis. You're a scientist with a taste for racing, but... speaking from personal experience at the hands of the KGB's deep science division... It won't work. There's always a trigger that returns people to this world... from wherever they go. You've given me much to think about, Sage. I'll keep you updated. Midnight Rose out. Disgruntled about how I had to rethink my past, I gave the pipe a long drag. The world... doesn't realize... who's really controlling things. I don't believe in magic, or the guiding hand of fate, but... As I know it, the world will become a battleground. All sides looking for the one thing that all people are driven to... domination over others. As it is in the racing world, so it shall be in the whole world. I got into the Honda and began the trek back to the Installation. Fin Chapter One Couple notes: The Mourning Sage and the Midnight Rose are part of the Wind Stars organization - these are the only two members whose identity will be revealed in the next chapter. The full number of members is in this volume; they will remain unidentified for the foreseeable future. The Midnight Rose is NOT Emily, though. Hope you will enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it.