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    7 – Assegai Developments (South Africa)

    Team Principal:

    Rashika Oguchi ()

    Slogan:

    “Achieve your Destiny”

    Backstory:

    Founded in 2113, Assegai initially had no intentions of joining the AntiGravity racing leagues. It was an AG-Racing team true, but not for the circuits of the F5000. Assegai was one of four African teams alongside Taros Racing, Udutu-Uplift and Lion Competition in the Cross-Africa Sprint Cup run from 2110-2120. In its’ seven years of competition, Assegai won the crown five times in the run from Marrakech to Johannesburg and cemented its’ place among one of the top AG-competitors of the day. When the Sprint Cup was finally ended though, only Assegai had the resources to continue a team, and decided to approach the F5000 Race Commission about a possible entry.

    With such a pedigree about it, Assegai was permitted to run for two events in the 2121 season, in which it proved itself more than capable, with pilot Roland Ncita keeping pace with Piranha throughout the season. Though unable to keep up with AG-Systems, Auricom and Qirex, the royal-blue craft was forever seen ducking and weaving to get past the Piranha at its’ two events. With unanimous support from all except Piranha, the other teams welcomed Assegai into their ranks.

    When the F7200 league began then, unlike the newcomers Goteki and Icaras, Assegai was already welcome in the league and had made a fast ally in AG-Systems. The only team not pleased about the upstart however was the Brazilian squad that had been at the back of the pack for the entirety of the previous season. The red and yellow squad had forever been given the benefit of the doubt through the last few seasons, as they were a new team... but now with another new squad that was well prepared, they had someone to draw parallels to.

    Unsurprisingly, on the first race of the season, Assegai and Piranha ended up on the third row of the grid together, which became something of a regularity for the South Africans and Brazilians. Ncita and Vinicius Albeniz never became the sort of bitter rivals that Epprivov (Qirex) and Butler (Auricom) became, but there was always a tension in between the pair of them – more a determination to win than the hatred of the other. This became especially relevant after halfway through the 2128 season, when the two pilots started adding tribal markings to their craft every time they beat the other in qualifying. Not quite as brutal as kill markings, but definite challenge material none the less.

    However, the future did not stay rosy for Assegai. After the dismissal of Goteki 45 and Icaras in the fist fight that broke out after Assegai’s first ever podium position, this meant that if Piranha ever outclassed Assegai, the South Africans were in the back of the pack, scoring zero. With Piranha’s new drives they brought in during the 2142 season seeming to provide a lot of extra top speed, Assegai could only hope to hang on in the tight, technical sections. With the lack of results came the lack of sponsor money, and by 2149, Assegai was nearing bankruptancy. Assegai was planning on announcing a withdrawal from the league when a curious figure in a heavy overcoat and wearing thick black glasses paid a visit to Team Principal Dannie Maringa. That man was Aries Piermont, head of Piranha Advancements, who made Assegai an offer. He offered to buy Assegai and settle its’ debts, but in return, all Assegai plans and engineers would come to work for Piranha. Maringa was torn – he would be ruined if he didn’t take the offer, but to sell out to one’s worst enemy?

    Maringa accepted Piermont’s offer though, and was able to retire comfortably, allowing his children to attend a good school in Durban with a load off his mind. Assegai meanwhile suffered the shift to Brazil, all the chassis, tools and design documents being pored over by Piranha engineers. The African squad found itself involved in the planning after a difficult initial week though and they began to work on what Piermont called ‘the perfect race craft’.

    Having secured the services of Myima Tsarong to fly the ‘Swiftkiller’ ship, the hybrid of Piranha engine technology and Assegai handling capabilities absolutely dominated the newly formed F9000. Piranha soon became the ship to beat, and Maringa could smile whenever he watched the series from his penthouse, knowing that his technology had gone into those winning ships.

    The winning capabilities of the combined Piranha and Assegai craft continued throughout the F9000 up until its’ demise, when suddenly the team seemed to fracture. South African executives came in heavily to demand the return of Assegai’s equipment and plans, and providing the African staff with tickets back home from Brazil. The peace that had existed between the two halves of Piranha shattered and the Africans left en masse, taking with them all their notes, plans, and the ‘Lion’ chassis they’d used in F7200. All of these were put in storage, somewhat confusingly, while the team members were given recompensation fees and allowed to return to their families in safety from the riots sweeping Europe as a result of Overtel’s treachery.

    The Assegai name remained dormant for some time, nearly ten years in fact, until a flurry of activity came from Durban in late 2180. With the news of a new FX150 league being started, clamours for Assegai to return had come from the hardcore racing fans. As South Africa had now become the head of the United African Nations, there was no end of businessmen from sub-Saharan Africa willing to put money into the plan to see continental pride restored. And so it was that in 2181, Assegai flew once again, and in honour of its’ heritage, did a single run from Marrakech to Johannesburg with old hand Joes Peeters at the helm.

    The Dutchman proved himself again as soon as the first FX150 league, taking Assegai’s first pole position, win and fastest lap in the very first race, eventually converting it into Assegai’s first world championship. The Assegai Pilot Academy in Durban was soon swamped with applications and the African squad had no end of reasons to be smiling... that was until they started to discover just how weak their shields were.

    Ironically, Assegai had been one of the teams to call for the reintroduction of weapons to the racing, and now they were being taken down on a regular basis, especially with second pilot Torogu Ukantu’s very aggressive racing style. Assegai slipped from first to fourth by the next season and suddenly the money and student dedication wavered a notch. With the arrival of Triakis in FX200, there was yet another reason to run scared, but fortunately Assegai had recovered enough to see off FEISAR and the newly joined Qirex for fourth in the championship.

    When FX300 rolled around though, Assegai got a nasty surprise seeing a rather familiar red and yellow ship on the grid alongside them. The sparring matches between Piranha and Assegai became legendary, with Piranha bringing up the fact that Assegai had needed Piranha to become successful, and Assegai retorting with the fact that Piranha had stolen their handling systems, and therefore all of Piranha’s wins were by right, Assegai’s.

    With a new purpose behind it, Assegai charged on to spar with their old rival, finishing a respectable fifth in the championship (disregarding the tie between Qirex and Auricom for fourth), putting to shame Piranha, FEISAR, Van-Uber, Goteki 45 and Icaras. That said, despite a few excellent performances at Sol 2, results in the FX350 and 400 series have been average at best, the heavy use of weapons hurting the light African craft despite a tie up with Triakis for shield technology.

    Allies: AG-Systems, Triakis
    Rival: Mirage
    Arch-Rivals: Piranha

    Searching AntiGravity Racing Archives for Subject ‘Piranha and Assegai’
    68 Matches Found.
    Opening Selected File...

    ...so, yeah, I think we look good for the Phantom races. We’ve done a lot of preparation, the baby is running smooth and I think we’ve got a nice trick with our shield tech. I’m looking forward to them. Ah, Madre y Dios, where is my spanner... *subject vanishes under her bike for several minutes, cursing in Spanish until she emerges* I need to keep this on a spring cord from now on. Oh right, ah, next question please.

    ...Assegai? Oh, the blue team! The one the engineers all yell at... oh, don’t get me started on them. Assegai? No, I’ve no problems with them. It’s another team to race, another three pilots to challenge. What’s not to like, especially when they’re being so damn polite all the time? And the way that Kenyan guy wanders in with a lion cub in his arms – that is just so cool.

    Ah, it’s a problem with the Engineers. They can’t let go of an old rivalry to try and make friends. You talk to me, or Morgan, or Esteban and we’ve no worries with any pilots in light blue and bronze. We’ve got our own tussles with pilots to worry about keeping up appearances trying to fight a good opponent. Those wars were fifty years ago, can’t we all just move on? We’ve more deserving opponents to try for; Auricom, FEISAR and -expletive- Icaras to name a few. Next question please.

    -Pilot L. Silvaris of Piranha Advancements, Private Interview with ‘Float Nation’ Magazine 2203, Barcelona


    Ship Details:
    The ‘Leopard’ craft is a step in a new direction for Assegai – after their ship lost out to Harimau despite having near identical stats, the team have worked hard to keep the aerodynamics as sleek as possible, resulting in what could almost be a quadruple-hulled craft, sharper and sleeker than the old ‘Panther’ series with a higher thruster output to get off the line faster (though it still has some way to go to get to the raw force output of Goteki 45).

    The alliance with Triakis shows even more this season with a greatly increased shield output, and indeed both team’s shield colours are identical this year. Assegai and Triakis have both rubbished claims of a tie up, although one internal memo picked up by a journalist snooping around Triakis’ Adelaide HQ read:
    See if we can get Ass. to consider amalgamation if Vicky is a flop. If anything else, don’t let those AGS bastards get them first. That Leopard is a beauty.

    Lead Pilot – Joest Peeters ()

    Anything that you can do with an AG-craft, Joest Peeters has done. He began his career as an acrobatics pilot at air shows, using ramps, rolls and ledges to pull of some astounding tricks for viewers at the Schiphol Air Show every six months. It was during one of these events that someone in the crowd was knocked in the stomach by a piece of shrapnel from a fellow pilot’s wing that had hit the ground. The man was bleeding and it would take too long to get him through the crowds to the ambulances. Joest opened up the second cockpit on his ship and allowed the man’s family to put him inside the craft. Within ten minutes, the man was in the Emergency ward of Amsterdam hospital, and his life was saved.

    The doctors and ambulance pilots were greatly appreciative of the man’s skill, and offered him a job that few had chosen to take over the previous years – that of the rescue pilot for the F9000 league.

    With the emergence of Tigron as a ramming force and G-Tech securing unnaturally high numbers of destructive weapons, a lot of the grid was suffering major injuries, and there had already been a crippling elimination for Zala Wolff at Alca Vexus, where the ambulance pilots took too long to navigate the rain to save her from her crushed Xios ship. Joes took up the job of chief pilot, and the number of casualties began to fall. In his tenure from 2162 to the end of the F9000 league in 2170, he saved the lives of numerous pilots, including Daniel Johnson, Natasha Belmondo, Pascale Rouser and Myima Tsarong, the latter from the Temtesh Bay mine crash in ’67 which claimed the lives of seven other pilots. Peeters has always said of the event that he wished he could have saved more.

    When the league fell, Peeters returned to The Netherlands as a commercial ambulance pilot, although he took the time out to return to his beloved stunt flying as well from time to time. When the call came up for a professional pilot for the returned Assegai team, Peeters was first on the South Africans’ call list. His smooth flying along with then-teammate Torogu Ukantu netted him a World Championship, but of late he has been more cautious with the flying about of weapons. Assegai have retained him for the FX500 season, but he admits it will be his last before he returns to medical pilot role. In his own words:

    “With more and more weapons flying about, it’s only a matter of time before someone starts getting hurt again. I won’t allow another Temtesh Bay. I won’t.”

    Second Pilot – Nyoko Kassan ()

    The replacement for Ukantu when he moved to Auricom, Nyoko Kassan is something of an enigma for his team. He appears to be at once the perfect pilot for Assegai and one of the biggest liabilities the team has. Nyoko is a cunning pilot and is not against abusing shortcuts as much as he can to shave off a few seconds, using the light Assegai craft to its’ advantages best he can to get ahead of the competition, even going so far sometimes to use the heavy Triakis and Auricom ships as shields from weapons by hiding behind them when a missile or rocket streaks down the track towards him.

    However, Nyoko does not seem to have the burning passion for racing that Assegai would like to see from its’ pilots. Instead, it appears the young Kenyan sees AG-racing as nothing more than a hobby, a curio rather than a way of life. A lot of experts believe that if he dedicated himself more to Assegai, he could be a world class pilot, but he struggles to remain so focussed. His main love in life appears mostly to be his ‘wild friends’ as he puts it.

    Son of a zoo keeper in Nairobi, his father paid for his son to go to Assegai for tutoring partly after several reports of bad bullying at the local schools, and partly because Odeira Kassan was a long-time Assegai fan, and wanted to see it return to star status. Nyoko did not disappoint his father with his times and grades, but whenever he went back home he always leapt right back into the animal pens to say ‘hello’ to the lions, hyenas, leopards and crocodiles rather than discuss racing lines with his father.

    A number of pilots have visited Kassan’s zoo over the previous years, intrigued by the way that Nyoko himself now runs it (having allowed his father to retire on his race money), especially Harimau executives, who have been deep in talks with Nyoko over the possibility of his lion pride being introduced to some of their tigers in the hope of populating the wild with ligers or tigons.

    The worry is obvious across Assegai officials’ faces whenever Nyoko breaks away from the subject of racing in press conferences eagerly to talk about the latest crocodile hatchings, or wandering down to the Harimau garage to talk with Sekhar Sahib, probably his best friend on the grid. But when Kassan is in his element, Assegai breathes a sigh of relief that their favoured son is still with them.

    Third Pilot – Malatya Radovan ()

    A relatively recent addition to the Assegai family, the Malagasy female replaces Rabat Infriti after the Chad national was caught flying a Mirage in private practice in Dubai. Assegai’s test pilot of only two years, Malatya has done most of her work on the new ‘Leopard’ craft rather than the older FX350-400 ‘Panther’ ship as a development pilot, but she is suffering from the same fears that plague Lauren Taylor of Triakis. Both female pilots are in their first season having never raced in anger, to two male pilots that seem to have other matters than the best interests of the team at heart.

    Radovan and Taylor have often been seen together in the paddock during test sessions, trading flying advice for the most part, but unlike her two teammates, Radovan is almost religiously in attendance for the pilot briefings and engineering discussions. Ironically, out of all the Assegai team, the rookie may be one of the best placed for the season, especially as her Time Trials have been extremely good – the woman from Madagascar keeping a lot of importance on consistency in a race.

    Reports from the sleazier tabloids of a deeper relationship between Malatya and Lauren have been rubbished by both pilots, as well as anyone asked at Triakis or Assegai.
    Last edited by MetaKraken; 24th January 2015 at 07:37 PM.

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