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      Driven

      Written by: Susanne Beck and TNovan

      Disclaimers: Nothing really to disclaim. These characters and the story surrounding them are owned by the authors and may not be reproduced without their express written consent. There are bits of naughty language scattered here and there, as well as several tasteful, yet graphic, scenes of love between two consenting human beings of the same gender. Those offended by any of the above are welcomed to click the little red “X” at the top of their viewscreen and shut themselves of this story forever.

      For those of you who are intrigued, we invite you to read further.

      This story is complete (though it took over three years to write) and will be posted in four large parts over the succeeding days. We hope that you will enjoy.

      This story is dedicated to all the fans on the swordnquil message list. Without your constant and heartfelt requests for more, this novel might never have been finished. You all rock to the nth degree. Thank you. And to MaryD, the Pallas Dylan “The Goddess” Lambert of the Xenaverse Website world. Thanks!!

      DRIVEN

      Richard Mac MacKenzie liked to think of himself as a lucky man. And so he would tell you, if ever you were unfortunate enough to be pinned in the corner with him at a cocktail party.

      And if there had ever been a sub-species of the genus Homo Sapiens, he might even have been correct in his assessment. Born to a poor, but loving family in the steel town of Gary, Indiana, Mac had one thing that made him stand out from the rest of the steelworkers? sons he called friends.

      The genes of a six foot six inch father ran through his veins, awaiting adolescence?s beckoning call.

      Though topping out at an inch shorter than his father?s not inconsiderable height, Richard parlayed his genetic gift into a ?full ride? scholarship to Indiana University, where he took his lumps, both literal and figurative. Drafted in the later rounds by his hometown team, the Indiana Pacers, he had himself a decent NBA career, in longevity, if nothing else. The classic story of small town boy makes good.

      Where others would have been content to rest on their laurels after their playing days were over, lending their names to fast food restaurants or strings of car dealerships, and telling their glory stories in local watering holes for an Old Milwaukee, Mac knew that sometimes lucky men made their own fortune.

      So he took his years of basketball experience, combined it with his IU business degree, and jumped in on the sub-basement level of a business venture that had the mark of three-day old road kill writ large all over it.

      And that venture was known, to the few who cared, as the Women?s Basketball League, though its initials were more often translated to form such witticisms as the ?What Basketball? League? or the ?Wobbling Boobs League? to mention two of the more repeatable ones.

      To say what the WBL was on its last legs when Mac climbed aboard would have been a bit of an understatement. Caught between the rock of dyke drama, the hard place of ?Family Values?, and the black hole of fan ennui, the Women?s Basketball League was an elderly matron with one foot in the grave, and the other on a banana peel.

      But, as Mac was quick to tell everyone within hearing distance, lucky men jumped head first into shit heaps and came up smelling like roses.

      Mac?s particular shit heap bore the title ?General Manager of the WBL Louisiana Lightning.?

      His rose was Pallas Dylan Lambert. Also known as ?the Goddess?, a play on both her name and on her skills.

      A basketball phenom since her elementary school days, Dylan graduated from UCLA holding over one hundred school records, as well as national collegiate records in several scoring categories. If, upon graduation, she wasn?t the best woman?s basketball player ever, she was certainly far ahead of whomever was in second place.

      The fact that she was drop-dead gorgeous didn?t hurt matters either. Six feet, three inches of wiry muscle and feminine curves, topped by a halo of jet black hair and eyes so blue they glowed, she had the face that launched a thousand dreams, many of them wet.

      Ordinarily, Mac and the Lightning would never have had a shot at the only player worth drafting, but a lucky man is a man with foresight, and Mac had shown just such prescience the year before by trading two of his better forwards to the worst team in the league in return for a journeyman player he didn?t need, and a number one draft pick he did.

      A quick trip to the podium on draft day, and the woman who would come to be known to the world as Ms. Michael Jordan was his.

      Dylan didn?t disappoint. She was every bit the player advertised, and then some. With a strong work ethic, astounding beauty, and phenomenal skills on the court, she elevated women?s basketball to a level never before dreamed of, let alone seen.

      And soon, people began to take notice. Talk spread, in small circles at first, that maybe the WBL wasn?t quite as dead as it seemed. Dylan?s name began popping up in casual conversation almost as fast as her face popped up on the covers of all sorts of magazines, from torrid tabloids, to sporting journals, to such bastions of feminine fare as McCall?s, Mademoiselle, and Redbook.

      As fans began to return to the arena in droves to see this new wunderkind, the endorsement deals began to roll in. Not only from the traditional standbys such as cosmetic and feminine protection companies, supporters of women?s sports for years, but real endorsements, from the famous makers of athletic apparel and sporting goods long known for their unsubtle wooing of whatever male athlete was hot at the moment.

      Dylan took it all in stride, carrying the league on her broad shoulders and vaulting them all up through the glass ceiling and into the stratosphere of popularity, money, and celebrity.

      A lucky man knows, however, that into every life a little rain must fall.

      Mac?s storm cloud burst upon him in all its glory during the summer Olympics. The American Women?s Basketball Team had the gold medal won before they even left their own shores, and win it they did, but at a cost almost too high for any of them to pay.

      The gold medal game was between the USA and Russia, a match up reminiscent of the famous men?s games back before the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. As games went, it was a laugher, with the USA leading by almost forty points before the first half had even run out of minutes.

      By all rights and common good sense, Dylan should have been warming the bench by the time the forth quarter rolled around. Fifty points was a lead even a group of vertically challenged pre-schoolers wouldn?t have problems holding onto. Especially with only four minutes left.

      But America wanted to see her Goddess in action, and with just a minute and a half to go, disaster struck, as if from Mount Olympus itself. The Russians, who weren?t taking kindly to being used as cannon fodder, assembled quickly downcourt, and Dylan found herself pinned between two monoliths with murder in their eyes just as she?d gone up for one of her infamous jams.

      When the dust cleared, the monoliths were out cold, and Pallas Dylan Lambert?s playing career was over.

      When she woke up from surgery that pinned her broken femur, and repaired her ruptured Achilles tendon and shredded ACL, she was told that she might never walk again, and certainly not without a limp.

      She proved them wrong, using the same focus and intensity of purpose she?d always employed to get what she wanted. Long before even the experts thought it was possible, she was not only walking without a limp, she was also running, and juking, and jumping, making it clear to one and all that she would be back as good as ever.

      And that might have been true, had not her custom-made knee brace chosen to fail during what should have been a routine warm-up. Her still healing joint gave out, dumping her to the ground as her newly repaired and suddenly overstressed ligaments went the way of her brace and tore themselves to shreds once again.

      The corrective surgery was simple enough, but when it was over, Dylan was left with one message.

      Do it again, and you could lose your leg.

      The owners of the Lightning, a consortium of old money gents from the deep south, panicked. Their team had held the championship

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