Worldbuilding Prompt #676 - Ice Racers

in Worldbuilding3 months ago

This post was inspired by a prompt in the Worldbuilding Community - Worldbuilding Prompt #676 - Ice

Enjoy !

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"The 3-V never said it would be this cold !"

"Shush, they're about to come into view. You'll forget the cold when you see them, it's so much better live !"

Phetya and Dria stood right up to the rail with the rest of the crowd, wrapped up against the bitter cold, looking across the deep frozen lake. Overhead, the white sun of Gargas III cast it's pale light through the haze, illuminating the scene but giving little warmth.

The lake surface was smooth as a mirror; it had frozen in perfect conditions for the sport. No wind had raised a ripple, and only a light dusting of fluffy snow blew across it's glass-like surface to mostly hide the blue depths underneath.

They called it Lake Deepwater. It would have been a fjord, but a landslip in the distant past had closed it off from the Bergsee and cold fresh water from glacial rivers had turned it from salt water into fresh. The end result was a thirty mile long, narrow stretch of fresh water protected by mountains along it's length. Perfect for ice yacht racing.

And there they were !

Two specks coming into view in the far distance, snow white sails catching every bit of the seaward wind that blew down the lake's valley. They were approaching fast, very fast.

The commentator was standing on a platform next to a bank of 3-V cameras, waffling something about the conditions being right to see records broken.

It was possible to start seeing detail; the yacht on the left had a mainsail and jib setup with both pinned to the mast. The one on the right had a free-flying jib. The slender lightweight hulls of both ran on spring-loaded mono-skis, throwing up great plumes of snow and ice spray that trailed behind them like a cloud, slow to settle in the world's low gravity.

The crowd cheered them on, people waving betting slips and willing their favourite to take the lead. But the two yachts were neck and neck, running beside each other less then twenty feet apart.

The crews could be seen now, specks on the distant but nearing decks. They were straining at their winches, trying to get every last bit of speed from their boats, leaning to shift the hulls into an optimum angle.

Phetya and Dria were right opposite the finish line. The yachts were less than half a mile away now, and no-one could tell which was in the lead. They'd forgotten about the sub-zero temperatures, jumping up and down with excitement with the rest of the spectators.

Three hundred yards....

Two hundred yards....

The two yachts were still matching each other, closing on the finish line, travelling at incredible speed.

Then the left hand yacht veered slightly. It was almost imperceptible. Just a slight tilt of the top of it's mast.

But it was enough. It stole a tiny amount of wind from the second yacht, slowing it very slightly. The second yacht fought for pace, but it was too late.

The yachts roared past the finish line, showering the spectators with ice crystals and snow. The bow of the left hand yacht was almost a foot in the lead. The grinning faces of the crew, visible beneath goggles and protective gear said it all.

Dria jumped up and down with excitement, waving her betting slip. "We won ! We won !"

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What a thrill. Is there more to this story? What happened before the race and then after the race?

Thank you ! This one is a bit of a standalone piece so far. But like most of the sci-fi I write it fits into the setting I've got. I kind of like writing stories like this, which give snapshots of how the ordinary people live on the many different Imperial worlds. It helps me to remember what people are fighting for when I write the more dramatic space-opera tales of the war against the Slavers and Einheriar.