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Fuel Season 3: Episode 24 – Plain And Simple

"The Flamboyant Phenomenon attempts to break out by targeting the absent Penny and the F-X Queen."
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Author's Notes

"Festival of the Fall will see all the Formula-X monarchs face off for the F-X Crown in a 4-way race."

21st of March – Season 3

Plain Jane was watching a video interview on the Formulary, paying special attention to the speaker's intention and how much traffic the video was garnering on the social network rather than what he was saying.

"The face paint? Well after last week, people — particularly racers in the Relay Division — began calling me a two-faced bastard so I thought I’d wear the face. You can call this look the new me. The truth is, I’ve had enough of the rich, the powerful, and the beautiful controlling the show. From now on, I’m choosing my own path.”

Plain Jane smiled as she realized that Dime's plan was brilliant. He was making an impact by calling out Thawn and Savana: arguably the most talked about stars of the series at the moment. But how could she make a similar impact? Plain Jane scrolled through the Formulary when she stumbled upon the answer: a question from the fandom as to who was the biggest breakout star of the Women's Dynasty between Penny Potgieter and Queen Stevie? Plain Jane smiled, now knowing exactly what she was going to do.

She clicked on Penny's profile and scrolled to her latest post on her wall: a video: "The face of the Dynasty. That's what they call me. Well, this face was supposed to go under the knife just a few days ago but I decided against it. I guess, I don't know, I feel that this face of mine, scarred as it is, doesn't belong to me." The post went on to explain that Penny believed that when someone becomes a celebrity, their decisions don't just belong to them because they can affect anyone. However, she did go on to say that she had to do some soul-searching to see if she still had the drive for this.

Plain Jane couldn't help but feel a bit inspired and insulted by Penny. On one hand, despite being promised that the surgery would remove up to 80% of the scarring, she was going to keep the scars because she'd become an inspiration. On the other hand, she was now thinking about quitting. Well, Plain Jane couldn't have that. And now she knew how she was going to make her mark... by pressing on that inspiration and be the one to get Penny back on the racetrack.

Plain Jane went to her own profile and instead of posting a video on her wall, she switched to the live story function and began recording herself. "I have a message for the 'Face of the Women's Dynasty'. Penny Potgieter. You say that you're trying to see if you have the drive to do this? Well, I happen to have the answer for you: a challenge.

"If you're done feeling sorry for yourself, then I challenge you to show up to the next episode of Monday Night Fuel and come face to face with me." As Plain Jane had expected, the live comments started streaming in, mostly negative with the floating emojis flying up the screen being angry and shocked faces. But Plain Jane wasn't concerned with the reactions of the fandom. They were just a means to an end. In fact, there was only one person that she wanted to react to this. And she needed to see that reaction in person...

LATER AT THE FUEL CONFERENCE CENTRE

Aside from the contract signing for the pay-per-view feature race, the press conference for the event had also become a tradition in Formula-X and was designed to give the local press an opportunity to pick the minds of the PPV headliners. This time, however, Plain Jane saw this as an opportunity to get into the head of one of her opponents.

 As her, Teresa Koek, Doris Koek, and F-X Queen, Darcy Stevens sat on the stage behind a table, Plain Jane waited patiently for her opportunity to get the Queen's attention; for one of these reporters to ask the right question, which someone finally did.

"Plain Jane, this one is for you. I saw online, on the Formulary, that you said some words to Penny Potgieter. My question is: why are you antagonizing someone who's just been injured?"

Plain Jane resisted the urge to smile. "Equality. I'm an equal-opportunity competitor. I don't discriminate with who I pick a fight with."

"That, or you prefer to pick a fight you know won't happen," said Queen Stevie, unknowingly walking right into Plain Jane's trap.

"On the contrary, the point of what I did is dependent on this fight happening. Did you not hear what I said? I want her to come back. I want to be face to face with her."

Queen Stevie simply rolled her eyes. "Whatever. Look, you do you. All I'm saying, my two cents if you will, is that you should pick on–"

"–someone my own size? What, like you?"

The Queen finally seemed to catch on to Plain Jane's plan and laughed. "Oh, I see. Nah, I'm not gonna face you tonight, Jane."

"Why? Could it be because you're scared?"

"Oh please," said Stevie, not taking the comment seriously. "I've been Queen for almost six months and faced far superior competition than you. I'm not afraid of you."

"Oh, I wasn't talking about me, Your Highness. I think that you're afraid that our race wouldn't live up to the recent feature races of this show. I think, that you don't think you're afraid that you'll headline this show and people will only be able to talk about the Millionaire Affair."

"You can stop talking any time now, Jane."

"If you want me to shut up, then shut me up," she said pointing, "out there on the racetrack." This still didn't get a rise out of the Queen, so Plain Jane stood up. "And the name is Plain Jane to you, Darcy."

That did the trick because Stevie was up now. "Jane, you can take it down a notch because this isn't going to work because you see, I know your game. I know what you're about. You're into all the drama around here. You actually want the storylines and the sports opera. Well, I'm not giving you what you want."

Something dawned on Plain Jane and she smiled, her expression changing to someone who was enlightened. "Oh, I see. I think I know what's going on here. You said just now that you've been Queen six months, right? That makes you the longest reigning King or Queen in Formula-X history. Yet, despite your lengthy reign, you don't have an arch enemy. You have a rogue's gallery, sure. But you don't have that one guy that you can't get rid of; the one that made it personal. So allow me to do you the favour."

Absolutely no one saw the slap coming. In fact, no one had even noticed how close the two of them had gotten. As Plain Jane was dragged away, she continued taunting the Queen, telling her "let them suspend me; prove me right. Run away from this fight."

LATER THAT NIGHT

While Plain Jane hadn't expected things to go this route, her mind game had worked as not only did Queen Stevie convince Moodswing not to suspend her for physical contact, but he'd also sanctioned a race between them as the feature race of the night. This news excited Plain Jane.

However, when she got to the paddock, she was met with a lot of judgey eyes. One pair of them met hers and approached. "Jane, what the hell?"

"Hi Touch, how are you? How was your day? That's how a normal person greets their significant other."

"Aha. Significant others also tell each other what they plan on doing before they get to work, especially when it impacts the other person's day."

Plain Jane looked at her boyfriend. "How is me getting my way into the main event impacting your day?"

"Well for starters, we had a race against JVZ and Teresa."

"Why?" This was an honest question. Plain Jane didn't know what the two of them had to do with the Koek family drama. She'd heard it had gotten so bad that Doris was teaming with Brenda to face Mandla later in the night.

Touch gave Plain Jane a face. "To build towards my race with Jay Vee Zed?" Touch saw that Plain Jane was lost and his eyes widened. "Because he challenged me last week?"

"For a pay-per-view race?" said Plain Jane, nonchalantly. "I didn't even know he qualified to be in those."

Touch rolled his eyes. "And what's with this business with Penny? Why are you antagonizing the poor woman."

"Maybe it's because you called her hot on your show two weeks ago."

"That again. I thought we settled this when you forced me to win a race to keep dating you."

"Yeah, well, maybe my jealousy runs deep."

"Or just your love for storylines. So Moodswing didn't put you in one, does it mean you have to manufacture a storyline for yourself?"

Plain Jane hated that Touch knew her that well. "Maybe, I'm just trying to get Penny back in the game. Has that ever occurred to you? That this might be exactly what she needs right now, rather than sycophants."

"Perhaps what she needs is a spell," said Dime who had half his face covered in face paint. While Plain Jane welcomed the company of someone who wasn't judging her, Touch was repellent.

"Argh Dime, what the hell do you want and what are you taking about?"

"To answer your first question, I'm here to speak to Jane. To answer your second question: I'm talking about the rumor that Blackcat and Fiona are cooking up something called a dissolution of tension spell that's supposed to make me less aggressive about my issues with the relay division."

"Of course they are," said Touch, rolling his eyes.

"So?" said Plain Jane. "What does that have to do with anything?"

"Well, since everyone hates you as much as they do me, I thought I'd offer for you to join my cause." He looked at Touch. "Who knows, maybe we could team up and make something of this pathetic division."

Plain Jane was about to answer when Touch got in his face. "That's not going to happen, Dime. She's already got a partner so why don't you buzz off and look for someone else to die on that mountain with you."

As Dime left, Plain Jane looked at Touch, surprised and a little turned on by Touch right now. "Wow. And here I thought you hated me a little just now."

"No, I don't hate you, just what you did. Rest assured, I'm still into you."

Plain Jane pulled him in so that she could whisper into his ear. "Then maybe later tonight, you could really be into me, huh?"

Plain Jane got off on his eyes widening in excitement this time. She sent him off with that sexy thought while she prepared herself for her face-off with arguably the greatest racer in the series.

LAP 7 OF 15 LAP RACE

Plain Jane was sweating bullets inside her helmet as the race was halfway through and she had yet to take first position even once. In fact, she was 12 seconds behind. But she didn't let that get to her. In fact, she allowed that to motivate her.

She thought of Penny and what it would be like to be her first opponent when she finally came back. She could just imagine it: Plain Jane, Duchess of Drag vs. three-time former Duchess of Drag, Penny Potgieter. That's when it hits her. This should have been my strategy all along, she thought.

Starting with Lap 8, Plain Jane began focusing all her efforts on going as fast as humanly possible on the straights, even tapping her power boost where she could. And slowly but surely, she began shaving time off of Queen Stevie's lead. By the time they were in the final third, she was sure the Queen could see her in her rearviews. And whether it was because of this or some otherworldly forces, Stevie began making mistakes.

She was slowing down way too much at the corners which allowed Plain Jane to catch up. This continued for the next three laps before Plain Jane finally passed her in Lap 14 and continued with her strategy to lead the fifteenth and final lap before converting it into a victory!

Plain Jane had done it! She'd defeated the best racer in the series in the biggest upset victory, perhaps of the season if not the season! Now all she had to do was carry this momentum into Festival of the Fall and capture the Formula-X Crown.

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