Before departing to the campgrounds.
The Storm Automotive garage was a whirlwind of activity two days before the event. Luke yelled items off the list in desperation as panic started to set in. Meanwhile, Scott, Amy, and Linda were having a screaming match over who packed the blankets on top of the motor oil and didn't check that the bottles were all closed first.
"Someone, stop screaming at each other, and go get the damn transmission fluid already! I shouldn't be the only one packing the fuckin' car!" Luke yelled, losing his temper. "We've got less than 48 hours, we'll have to cannonball through the damn night to get there on time, and you three are wasting air screaming at each other instead of fixing the problem."
Amy Storm was the first one to leave the shouting match, unloaded the soiled blankets and the burst motor oil bottle, then made some room for their industrial-sized container of automatic transmission fluid. "You know, Luke, this wouldn't be necessary if you'd have just pulled the transmission and swapped it."
"And defeat the spirit of the challenge, Amy? Buy a junker, patch it up, and drive the hell out of it. It never said 'replace all the broken bits' before 'drive the hell out of it.' So that's why the old Sinistra has the automatic with the leaky valve body. The devil you know, after all..." Luke said.
"... Is at least one you can be prepared for." Amy finished. "At least the trunk's big enough for our stuff. Hey, Assholes, how about doing your share of the work!" she yelled to Scott and Linda.
"Fine. I'll pack the food." Scott said.
"No more fuckin' beans, Scott. Seriously. We're going to be on the road for quite some time, and the last thing any of us need is you and your atomic ass-blasts."
"As if you and your perfume is any better, Linda. I'll leave the beans out of the food if you leave the little spray bottle here."
The hours flew by as the Raceworks Division finished packing the old Sinistra Savage, painted "Team Twin-Snail" on the trunk lid, and prepared for the long drive to start with.
"All aboard the Snail-Boat!" Luke said, getting into the driver's seat. Linda and Scott took the back seats, and Amy took shotgun.
The drive to the campgrounds.
"God damn. Someone's just failed their fucking emissions test!" Amy said, gagging as she rolled down the window. Luke rolled his down out of courtesy, as Linda looked like she was about to vomit.
"The least you could've done, Scott, is warn us first." Linda said, before spraying the perfume in the back seat in a vain attempt to reduce the smell. This, however, had the unintended effect of making everything smell worse.
"We're in a convertible, drop the top." Scott said, trying to grab the perfume from Linda before he got another faceful of it.
"It sticks." Luke said.
"I don't care."
"Fine, Scott, but you will when or if it starts raining." Luke said, pulling off to the side of the road and hitting the switch for the top. It whirred quietly as the folding rag-top disappeared behind the rear seats, with just an ominous clunk being the only sign something was wrong with it. "And while we're stopped, time to check and replace the fluids."
"Yeah, and mind oiling that screaming bearing?" Linda said. "It's driving me up the wall."
"Two choices, Linda: Live with the noise, or I cut the power steering lines and we go without."
"Not like I'm driving."
"You might have to at some point."
At the campgrounds.
"Ouch time!" Luke called, as he lobbed the car up over a parking divider in the parking lot, drove through the campsite following exactly none of the paths, and parked off to the side, looking at the chaos he'd caused with their oil-burning Snail-Boat and the huge cloud of blue smoke following them.
"Really? We're not even in the challenge yet, and you're already trying to kill us, Luke?" Linda said.
"Says the one who fucking hosed the back seat in perfume so that all I could smell up here was shit and roses." Amy snapped, giving a little glare at both Linda and Scott. "And you, one more exhaust leak like that on this trip, and you'll be walking. I don't care if Luke says you've got off-road experience, that was worse than walking into the Engineer's Bathroom."
"Like I can control my farts, Amy." Scott said.
"Put your gassy-ass to good work and help set up some tents, Scott." Luke said, tossing a bundle on the ground as he went for the transmission fluid and a bottle of motor oil.
"Oh, fine, make fun of me because I had a gas attack." Scott mumbled, only for Luke to respond with, "We do have a spare catalytic converter in here, if your gas attacks are going to be frequent and noxious. I'll gladly fit it."
"No thanks, Luke." Scott said.
Linda hopped out of the car, grabbed some supplies, and promptly got a little fire going for the team to cook over. Which is around the same time that the three living members of the team realized no one really knew how to cook on a campfire. Sure, Scott knew how to wrap things up in tin-foil and snuggle it up to the engine for warmth, but they'd get thrown out of the campsite if he started revving the smoke-machine to get that big cast-iron block warm. Amy and Linda knew a little of cooking, though Amy preferred letting her boyfriend, a chef in a notable restaurant, do the cooking for her.
Which is precisely when Luke unpacked his bag of supplies and brought out several pans. "You guys thought you were doomed to cold food, weren't you? No, I don't need to eat, but I've been looking forward to trying a few recipes I've committed to memory."
"So that's why you had a bag labeled 'Food' in the car. Pots and pans for cooking." Amy said.
"Yeah, along with my usual stuff. Some spare parts for fixing the car, hydraulic fluid and clamps in case I blow a line, the little things. Spare chassis air filter in case someone tries polluting the air again."
"I said I'm sorry already. What more do you want?" Scott said.
"Well, for starters, no more of that in the car without warning. Because I can't have the rest of the team complaining and wanting to throw you overboard. I am the captain of this ship, and I will not tolerate mutiny." Luke said.
It didn't take long for Luke to make a quick meal, and shortly after, the team retreated to their resting areas. Scott was in his own tent, Amy and Linda were sharing a rather large one, and Luke settled back into the driver's seat of the Sinistra. It wasn't that he distrusted the other teams, more that he had no need for sleep, and preferred keeping watch. He checked the screen on his arm, a completely un-necessary thing to do, but he preferred to do so when configuring it. He set the display to just show the time, date, and his current system stats.
Shortly after, Luke switched off his wifi, internal GPS, cellular radio, and satellite internet connection, going as off-the-grid as he could to keep in the spirit of the challenge. He then placed the little compass he'd brought with on the dashboard, right above the gauges.
"Now the true challenge begins." he said quietly to himself, watching the other teams.