Team Outta Time
The tires screeched as Jake wrenched the wheel, trying to haul the Bricksley pickup around the fast corners, the truck struggling for both grip and speed as Jake tried to make up time, or what he thought was lost time, from previous stages. Despite his flat-out approach, and despite seeing the Puttzalong 51 Inglese in front of him for most of this stage, the Bricksley just couldn’t go fast enough to make the pass without losing all of that speed the instant they found a corner. Jake, as a result, was getting frustrated and took his anger out on the gas pedal, stomping it into the firewall every chance he got, the 3.1 liter boxer four giving muted roars and muffled growls like some distant caged beast.
Try as he might, Cody couldn’t get Jake to back off, even though he’d tried reminding him that they didn’t need to make up lost time, had no need to pass the faster race car, and that they were in a pickup truck, not a racing car. Despite this, Cody did still try to do his part as navigator, and he was still pleased when the Bricksley roared across the line merely 25 seconds behind the race-built Puttzalong.
“Well, Jake, you sure know how to drive a slow car fast.” Cody said, before they parked the now-slightly-overheating Bricksley Chieftain and waited for their results. One of the officials handed him the papers, and Jake took them from Cody to read them, as Cody still couldn’t deal with the Fruinian text on the pages.
“Fifth overall in stage 3. Completely, again, on our time-to-cost ratio. Gets us another 20 points on the board. We were in 16th place crossing the line, and I knew if we had one last good straight stretch, we would have passed the Puttzalong.” Jake said.
“So, how’s our overall, for the race?” Cody asked grimly, feeling worried.
“Well, in our class we were… Hold on, this can’t possibly be right. Gimme the results from the other two stages.” Cody quickly rifled through the glovebox, then handed Jake the other results pages. “24 in stage 1… 20 in stage 2… And 20 in stage 3. 64 points. We won the damn thing by being cheap and also not slow.” Jake said.
“So, what do you mean?” Cody asked.
“What I mean is we won our stage, Cody! Guess I’ve had plenty of experience with front-wheel-drive in my time, so once I figured out the gearbox, and the nervous handling, well… Experience can’t be beaten.” Jake said.
The two of them shook hands with the other drivers in their class, then took their place on the podium for the picture. They smiled as they headed back to America on the boat, along with their prize-winning Bricksley Chieftain. #13 on the door, first in its class, and 13th overall.
Somewhere in California, Just off of the Dock.
As the two of them got off the boat with their truck, they were stopped by a rather annoyed old man, leaning on his cane. “Bet the two of you think this is funny, don’t you?” he said, glaring at them. “Yeah, I know both of you. Stole a truck from the father of one of my employees, left a funny letter blaming the Martians. Did you think I wouldn’t find out?”
Jake went to start the truck, only for the old man to say, “You turn that key, I turn you over to the police. Simple as that. No trip back home, you get to sit and waste 10 years or more of your lives in a Nevada State jail cell. Or, you leave that truck here, get in my car, and we have ourselves a nice chat in my office.” Jake looked to Cody, who shrugged and shoved open the door of the truck.
When Jake went to ask what he was doing, Cody said, “Look, you do what you wanna do, but I’m not going to jail. He’s offering to not call the cops, so I’m willing to listen to him.”
Jake sighed, then shoved the door open on the truck as well, before looking over the car the old man drove up. “1951 Sinistra Emperor, in Piano Black. Expensive, but a nice car, if a little unruly in the turns.” Jake said. He then noticed the license plate. “SIN 1”
“Holy shit, you’re Luke Sinistra!” Jake said.
“Guess the years did change me a bit, then, if you can’t recognize me from now and then.” Luke said, closing the door on his car and starting the big straight six. “And now you know why Luke Light was trying to tell you to drop the subject. Yes, we are the same, before you ask. Now, if it were purely up to me, you’d be staying here in 1952 as your punishment for messing around with the time machine, but… Luke wants the two of you back. So, my job, as much as I don’t want to be bothered with it, is to send the two of you back to 2018, 15 minutes after your departure. Know that I’ll also be making a phone call 5 minutes after you left from 2018, so Luke will have enough time to make it there, problems and all, for you to be found before you get any bright ideas.”
The trip back to Nevada was the most uncomfortable drive Cody and Jake had ever had, not because of the car, but thinking on what Luke Light might do to them for this little stunt, while Luke Sinistra spoke about how badly they could have screwed up history.
“Lucky for the two of you, by the way, that I figured out what happened. Had a bit of advance knowledge, yes, but someone had to stop Bricksley from entering in that competition. Otherwise, well, you would have screwed things up. But, kinda hard to show up to the docks with your race-car when someone’s locked you in your own trunk and tossed the keys in with you. Probably for the better, the Bricksley Knight they were going to enter was only good for a 7th place overall. Means for them, they’ve got a market to jump into, which means they quit trying to nibble at our markets. Good thing, too, because their engines started big and got bigger with time.” Luke said, glaring into the rear view mirror.
Nevada, Sinistra Motors HQ, Warehouse 2, Sublevel 12.
They’d walked past rows upon rows of engines before stepping into the elevator at the back, where Luke Sinistra opened a flap in the elevator control panel and stuck his cane into the socket, using it to turn a secret switch. “We’re going about a quarter mile below ground, where my time machine is. Only reason I built this was because I knew from my old memories that you two did this at some point, around the 1950’s. Otherwise, you’d be stuck here. Now, as I said, I’d much rather let the two of you grow old in a time you know nothing about, but coming from 2018, and with knowledge from then, that’s too much of a risk to take, which is why Luke Light wants the two of you back.” Luke Sinistra said.
The doors on the elevator opened, and the first thing that hit Cody and Jake was the raw heat in the room. “Why’s it so hot in here?” Jake asked.
“I built this shortly after I arrived and had a working car company. What you’re feeling is the heat dissipation of several thousand vacuum tubes, and a severe lack of air conditioning. I will be glad when I can shut this whole mess down and turn it into a project room. Yes, next time you go time-exploring, there won’t be a safety net. You’re lucky I had a safety net in place, or you’d get to enjoy the 1950’s.” Luke replied. He walked to the control panel and started flipping switches, occasionally looking up to the display of Nixie tubes to confirm his inputs.
“7 26 2018 0315”
“There. This one can only send you to an appropriate traveling pad, so you’ll show up in Luke’s traveling room. June 26, 2018, at 3:15 AM. Goodbye, and I hope you enjoy your race once you arrive.” Luke said, before pushing the button.
“Luke, Wait! That’s July…” Jake started to yell, though him and Cody rapidly vanished and reappeared 30 days and 15 minutes later, several thousand miles away.
“Oh, I know, but lessons must be taught.” Luke said, flipping the switches to off, then finally starting to power down the machinery. He headed back up the elevator and back to his office, giving a light smile to his employees, seeming in a much cheerier mood than usual.
July 26, 2018, Storm Automotive Basement, Sub-Level 5, 3:15 AM.
“… you idiot!” Jake finished yelling, before staggering and falling on the floor, with Cody landing not too far behind, both seeming rather dizzy.
“Yeah, they call it traveling sickness.” Luke said, standing in the doorway. “You think you two were the first? No, I built this from plans. Traveling back in time, rarely ever a problem. Go forward in time, it makes you ill. Lucky for the two of you, I got two phone calls, one five minutes after you left, telling me you’d be 30 days late, and the other 10 minutes ago. Jake, your mother knows now about my time machine, she’s understandably upset with me, but she’s more upset with you. Cody, I covered with your work as best as I could, but after 3 days, you’ve been fired. Lucky for you, I was hiring. How are you at selling cars, because that’s your job now.” Luke said.
“Not my fault he sent us forward a month late.” Cody said.
“No, he called me 5 minutes after you two disappeared from here and said he flipped three switches instead of two. Binary 7 instead of binary 6. An honest mistake.” Luke replied. “It’s why I covered for both of you, least as much as I could manage. Bills were paid, and as far as any of your friends were concerned, you were working a lot of overtime. However, there’s something the two of you are going to do for me, and that’s going to be that you’re staying in the main building only, and to ensure this, everyone here has employee key-cards. The two of you will only have authorization for floors 1 and up, no more basement clearance. And if either of you end up below those floors, I’ll know, and you’ll have something far more unpleasant to deal with than angry parents and friends wondering where the hell you went.”
August 1, 2018
To Be Continued…