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The Great Automation Run | Chapter 16 and final results!


#500

Team Angus - Chapter Twelve

Team Bio
Team Angus - Chapter 11
GAR - Chapter 12

Upon entering Italy we were surprised at the lack of a police presence. Our run to Milan was uneventful; the Erin was nowhere to be seen and Ben decided to back off to save fuel. When we arrived at Milan Ben chose to stick to the speed limits and keep a low profile so as not to draw any unwanted attention, either from the police or the Mafia. As we drove through the streets it became clear that there was no police to be seen anywhere; none on foot, cycling or parked outside restaurants etc.

V: “This doesn’t feel right. Where are the cops? This car stands out like dog’s balls and there’s no way the Italian police haven’t got our descriptions by now… We leave this city via the back streets or else we’ll not be leaving at all”.

Ben and I agreed with this assessment so Valerie proceeded to guide us via the backstreets. Milan was a picturesque city and it’s back-roads had been in place since before cars so the roads were tight, twisty and harsh on suspension. This is why our old foes, the Chevallier, were able to surprise us!

S: “Watch out Ben, that truck’s reversing out of that driveway!”

B: “I see it … What the hell!!!”

The Chevallier pulls alongside, panel-work scraping ours, then hauls ass for the rapidly narrowing gap between the truck and the buildings.

B: “Bastards are running us into the truck!!!”

V: " Want me to shoot them?"

S: " No!!! We’ll get disqualified if we purposefully assault another team! We gotta play this above-board! Gun it Ben!"

B: “I’m trying, I’m giving it all she’s got!!!”

However, luck wasn’t on our side. We’d been caught flat-footed and the Chev managed to pull ahead (because we backed off!!!) and we scraped past the truck behind them, in hot pursuit. But we were unable to get close enough for another chance to pass the Chev, so we exited Milan a place down and nothing but a few scrapes and bruises to show for our efforts, not to mention we still saw no sign of the police…

The highway towards Switzerland was a quiet one; not much traffic and no competitors within easy reach. When we reached the Swiss border we lined up behind the Chev, hoping to get the jump on them when the border opened. All of a sudden, everything happened at once! A siren went off somewhere and the guards ran inside their little bunker, a number of Swiss police cars appeared and the Lime green Bonham rammed the gate, closely followed by the rest of us.
The police cars gave chase and were soon mixed up amongst the racers, but they seemed to be trying to reach the front of the pack. Once we hit the Swiss highways the original police cars lost momentum and fell back but they were more than remedied by the ones that appeared from the on-ramps.

Then the cops opened fire.

The highway was converted into a warzone with broken and shot-up police cars littering the street. The police were clearly targeting the leaders as we were left unmolested by a number of latecomer cops racing to join the action. Then we came upon the roadblock just as a semi trailer smashed through the assembled police cars; cars and people pushed out of the way, creating the opening we needed. Ben expertly threaded the Bushranger through the gap and we were home free!!!

As we sped onwards to, and around, Stuttgart. We couldn’t help but think what madness has this race got in store for us next!?!?

TO BE CONTINUED


#501

Team Marx

Lenin: Holy… That was intense.

Marx: Indeed so, if it weren’t for that semi truck we would b shot to death.

Lenin: and you really know what they’d do with us given it’s 1995

Marx: I couldn’t even imagine where they’d begin.

Lenin: At least the other armed teams are being careful not to shoot at us.

Marx: we really should have brought a gun… oh Goooooooood…

GOD: if you think i’m giving you a gun forget about it.

Marx: really…

GOD: Really.

Marx: well you’re the one torturing us with this race, so at least make sure we don’t get killed before the end of it.

GOD: If anything, i’ll kill you guys myself before any of their bullets will.

Lenin: I’m not sure if that’s relieving or threatening.

GOD: well figure it out.

Marx: throws middle finger up to the sky


#502

As Walter continued his relentless journey towards Athens, he realized that his lightly modified Guardsman would have trouble keeping up on the wide-open freeways outside Milan, but he persevered. At least this was an easy stretch of road, but the Alpine passes in Switzerland were anything but. Fortunately, his car was drivable enough to make it out of this section unscathed. However, the increased police presence was more of a hazard this time.

Despite everything, Walter was enjoying the breathtaking alpine vistas, but no sooner had he taken in the view than he heard reports of gunfire at a roadblock. Apparently it was the result of police action against street racers… but he was so far back that he was not as much of a threat as the front-runners. By the time he encountered another roadblock, he was relieved to find it in pieces, penetrated by those in front of him. He soon made it to Stuttgart - but even though he had been driving for several thousand kilometers, there was still a long way to go…

And so, filled with renewed resolve, he pressed on along the Autobahn, knowing that his superiors were following his every move.


#503

Cindy turned out to be right as she sped off following the strange truck driver ramming them past border security. “2nd save by a mysterious stranger thus far. Maybe this race isn’t as hidden as I thought. Especially if that damn helicopter keeps finding us…” The 3.3 roared as she downshifted to pass a mess of stunned cops.

Over the scanner, she could hear chatter about alerting border agents across the EU. “I knew it. And I don’t know how many more times we’re gonna get lucky like that.” She hits the next button on the radio as she chugs her 4th cup of coffee that day.


#504

Otis slowed down as he came into Milan, the exhaust popping loudly. People were already lining the streets by the time he got there due to the racket from the mix of exotic, tuned, and even pure race bred cars that were ahead of him they new something was up. Jake was sniffing the air, even Otis could smell the food being cooked in the fancy looking restaurants. People were staring, some with disgust, others with confusion. The truck didn’t sound like the typical American loping hot rodded V8, it sounded almost Italian super-car with its V12, but definitely didn’t look the part.

Otis has the windows down, left arm in the window smiling with his old hat on, Jake with his front paws on the window cill twisting his head around stiffing in different directions as they went through the city center. At a stop light an amused bystander offers Jake a bite of food which he gladly takes.

Things were too quiet, even when they passed the police station all the police did was look with expressions of WTF.

At the Swiss border things returned to normal with police cars trying futily to chase down cars that were significantly faster than them. Then the tone changed, the police were targeting the leaders with guns, busted tire parts were all over the road, the ones he ran over slammed into the undercarriage of the truck almost inaudible over the engine.

Otis approached what used to be a roadblock, something big had gone through smashed police cars littered the roadway. Otis tried to swerve through the chaos, but was moving too fast hand had to hit the brakes. The back end slid out forcing and unintended 180, Otis tried to grab a lever to put it into 4hi and have the front pull him out of the skid, it wasn’t there, they had removed those parts in order to lighten the truck. The hole in front got closed up by a mix of racers and police scrambling about. The way behind was still clear so he threw it in reverse, once clear he spun the truck back around and worked on getting back to the main track.

The police scanner crackled to life, Otis not knowing the language was only able to pick out the words Brussels and Euro-order, whatever they were saying didn’t sound good.


#505

(I’ll try to bump the publishing pace like this so that I don’t lose momentum and I can finish this challenge soon. If everything goes according to what I expect, we’re this episode and another one away from Greece. I’ve finally automatized the spreadsheet 100%, so there’s that as well.)

Chapter 13: Contrast.


Outside Stuttgart, Germany, 21:52. 8th of October 1995. 3050km to Athens.
The google maps route can be seen here.

The darkness of the night was being projected over the Autobahn, in contrast with the humble light the streetlamps gave to at least give the drivers a sense of safety. The drivers had just escaped from the police, so their plan changed until things cooled down: they would avoid any major city. Fortunately, traffic was finally dissappearing from the highways due to the day coming to a close, but sixteen hours of racing were starting to pay a heavy toll on the racers.


(Musical suggestion by @ramthecowy!)

Special rule: fatigue 1. An extra drivability roll will be done. If you don’t pass it, the driver will have a close call which will make you lose time.

The Cannonero was quickly losing terrain to the Bonham and the Evo; it wouldn’t be long until both cars passed it, taking the first and second place. However, now that the Bonham was in fighting range, the Evo drafted past it, taking the lead effectively, taking advantage of some swaying the lime green wagon had done, presumably due to fatigue. Meanwhile, the Dolphine was claiming its place back from the Blood Eagle, drafting past it as well.

The Autobahn, despite the fatigue and low visibility due to the hour, was the perfect place for the drivers to squeeze the maximum potential from their cars, while not raising any eyebrows as there was no speed limit there. Everything would be fine until the Polish border and as long as they didn’t enter any cities.

The Kanata took advantage of the Borhs as it took the interior during one of the turns, forcing the latter to take a wider line. With that, the Outlaw took the place, leaving the Bohrs behind. Meanwhile, the T25 was back at it, threatening the Kiito with its size, forcing the sports car to leave it pass them.

But as the minutes went on, it became clearer and clearer that they were running out of Autobahn. Soon they would have to cross the Polish border, and who knew what was waiting for them at the other side. In the meantime, the Tsukuba passed the Scagliatti after a few attempts from the later to block the white car, but failing after a dummy overtake. The Visios tried to overtake the Guardsman, failing to do so.

The Evo was the one to smash through the border as they reached it this time. Without thinking twice, all of the cars quickly followed the hole in the barrier, with the alarms going off. This was about to get hairy. The Chevalier climbed a few places before it started threatening the Barracuda GT, which was having none of it, blocking all the attempts from the police car.

The drivers of the Montauk then noticed that an helicopter was following the group as they passed Katowice. Its emblems were not distinguishable as the darkness camouflaged the vessel, but soon…the highway started getting flooded by police cars with their lights on, in sizeable numbers.

The Interval now started dancing around them, trying to stop the racers at any price. The drivers understood that this time, the police meant business. All of the racers rushed towards Krakow. They would soon be out of Poland and into East Europe, but…would they survive to escape the country?

To be continued.


Times spreadsheet:



#506

Marcus kept his foot in it, the XR-3 blaring out a pounding beat as the tri-cylinder terror tried to shake the car apart. The tape recorder was locked safely away in the center console, not that it would’ve mattered much, it was far too loud in there to use it at that time. The violent vibrations vigorously shook the carton of beer in the back, and soon after, there were exploding beer bottles and a river of foam and liquid running all over the interior of the car.

“Fuck you!” he yelled, glaring in the rear view mirror. “That was good German beer!” He could see an ancient shitbox behind him, the Communitasia with Soviet Russia’s finest racing engine, and decided to hurl the contents of the beer case out the window in hopes of causing some chaos.

Marcus fired the roaring menace through the hole in the barrier at the border, the engine barking and clapping, spitting fire out of the up-turned rear exhausts.


#507

Team Angus - Chapter Thirteen

Team Bio
Team Angus - Chapter 12
GAR - Chapter 13

It was just past Stuttgart when we lost contact with the Chevallier; we hit the Autobahn and the big sedan just pulled away! No matter how much Ben floored the accelerator we just couldn’t keep up. The poor aero of the Bushranger combined with the weight of our extra gear meant that our vmax was insufficient to keep up with, let alone pass anyone…

The rest of Germany was uneventful; empty roads and encroaching darkness were the only constants as we hurtled towards the Polish border. When Valerie realised we were headed into Poland she became visibly uncomfortable, like she’d eaten undercooked chicken.

V: “Merde!!! I didn’t realise we were headed into Poland; there’s people there I’d rather not have to deal with”

S: ‘becomes attentive’ “Same people who supplied you with those weapons?”

V: “Not really, but their bosses would contract out my services every once in a while…”

B: “What the fuck does that mean!?!?”

V: “It means that if we get caught by the Polish authorities we could find ourselves in a lot of hot water!”

S: “Great, just great! … New plan: Don’t get caught!”

V: “Agreed”

B: ‘sighs then yawns’ “Agreed!”

As we came to the Polish border Valerie went to hide her carbine when it became obviously clear that no-one would be stopping at this border crossing either.

B: “What’s with this race and border crossings anyway? We’re gonna be in so much trouble when we reach Greece”

S: “At least our next movie will be a smash hit! Geddit, smash? Hahahaha…”

V: “That was lamer than a man with no leg! Your pun license is now hearby revoked!”

B: “Oooh snap!!!”

S: “Sticks and stones may break my bones… You guys are just jealous that’s all”

Suddenly, after passing into Poland, Sooty hissed; trouble was nearby! The highway then immediately lit up with flashing lights and sirens, there were cop cars everywhere!!!

B: ‘PIT’s a cop car ahead’ “No way bozo, I’m not slowing down for anyone!”

V: “These are State police; they’ll torture us then kill us!!! ‘shoots tyres of cop car next to us’ pull no punches or else we’re done for!”

S: “Stay down Sooty, you don’t want to get shot…”

Sy: “Meow”

As we headed for Krakow, Ben weaving through patrol cars and Valerie shooting at the ones that get too close, we hoped that we’d find sanctuary further East; we weren’t wanted everywhere, right? RIGHT!?!?

Soon, perhaps too soon, we were going to find out!

TO BE CONTINUED


#508

Cath and Julia’s Slightly Illegal Grand Tour of Europe - Part 6!

Two middle aged women, a boot full of booze and an Erin Scarlet!

Original Post - Previous Post


“Macadamias or Cashews?” asked Cath, facing towards Julia who sat comfortably behind the wheel of the Scarlet.

“Cashews, darling” Julia replied, “they’re supposed to be great for menopause symptoms”.

“Really? Where’d you read that?” Cath replied, opening the bag and snagging a few for herself.

“GoodHousekeeping” replied Julia.

“Oh, no surprises there” said Cath. Those two trusted that magazine like it was their bible.

On the Autobahn, the Scarlet felt comfortable, but not at home. It was great driving quickly, but it was clear that it wasn’t made to cruise. It needed some more difficult and more complex roads once in a while, just for good measure. After all, that was what the car was built to tackle in the first place.

Alas, they were in short supply for some time yet. Not that there was anything wrong with cruising along at a hairswidth below the car’s 150 mph top speed…


#509

team Marx

Lenin: we seem to be losing places.

Marx: indeed.

Lenin: and not much else seems to happen.

Marx: indeed.

Lenin:…

Marx:…

Lenin:…

Marx: throws middle finger to sky

GOD: what was that for?

Marx: no particular reason.


#510

On a stretch of derestricted Autobahn, Walter was once again able to exploit the Guardsman’s straight-line performance. However, it was rather limited compared to many of the other cars which entered this race, although being lighter than stock certainly helped. Still, even though the sun had long since set, Walter was relishing the opportunity to feel like Michael Schumacher charging hard along the long straights of the Hockenheimring. Given that there was no possibility of police intervention, Walter easily maintained a steady speed of over 150 mph for extended periods of time.

Shortly after entering Poland, he got a rude awakening from a police chopper. He knew that it was trying to coordinate the ground units that were approaching the pack of racers. This seemed like a chance to utilize his defensive driving skills and make an escape. But would it work? For now, evading the cops would override his priority of getting a good finish.


#512

Chapter 14: Outrun.


Outside Krakow, Poland, 02:59. 9th of October 1995. 1982km to Athens.
The google maps route can be seen here.

The racers started turning soutbound, in an attempt to avoid the police that was still following them. Their target: getting to Greece before the police could catch them.


(Musical suggestion by @Mikonp7!)

(Special rule: b routes. If the police focuses too much on one driver (doesn’t pass a drivability check) they will have to find a b route, losing some time in the process.)

The Bonham was too focused on avoiding the police to be able to try and close the stretch between it and the Evo. If that wasn’t enough, the roads were becoming twistier and twistier, with the driver having to not only keep their car under control but also their awareness of the police. This eventually overwhelmed the driver, and as soon as the group reached Gronków, the Bonham detoured through Lesnica. The green lime wagon managed to get rid of the police and rejoined the group after the border with Slovakia was crossed. The drivers of the Evo and the Bonham switched places, with the Bonham, however, only 5 seconds in front of the Evo, which wasn’t giving up yet.

With the police still following the group, they found why the roads were becoming twistier and twistier: they were going directly towards the Národný park montains. The group entered a mountain pass, where the Maesima overtook the Bohrs during one of the hairpins. There, the Guardsman also took advantage of the twisty environment to overtake the Visios and the Perenne as well.

The police units were starting to show uncapable of keeping up, some of them dropping out of the pursuit; not before forcing the Friala to detour, though, as they reached Brezno. The roads became less and less twisty gradually, allowing the 219+13 to stretch its legs and get behind the Fatalita, starting a exotic car duel. In the meantime, the Chevallier drafted behind the Barracuda, getting up to speed and overtaking it, but not before some paint sharing again. The racers smashed through the border with Hungary, the border officials informed too late that the racers were going southbound.

The racers avoided Budapest, from which more police cars joined the pursuit. The chaos was starting to break out between the different police cars, some of them crashing into each other. This allowed the racers to have some margin to breath, but the pursuit was far from over.

The Serbian border was the next to be crossed. The racers were still pursued by the police cars that still had some fuel range to keep up, while others were outran or started to run out of gas. Little cars were still in pursuit by the time the racers crossed the Danube. Those who had a police scanner picked this up:

Policeman: “We lost them. We’re retreating.”

Other policeman: “Last known direction?”

Policeman: “Southbound. Either towards Macedonia or Bulgaria.”

Other policeman: “We’ll inform the borders. This is getting outta hand.”

The racers chose to go through Bulgaria. Some more police cars rejoined the pursuit at the border, but they were unable to chase the racers. Only the Bushranger and the Barracuda were forced to change their route; the last stretch before Greece was mostly twisty, where the Dolphine managed to extend its advantage in front of the Fatalita and the 219.

The last few minutes of Bulgaria felt tense to all of the racers. They didn’t know what would wait for them at Greece, only that Athens was roughly 700km away at that point. Consumed by the fatigue, but kept aware by the threat of the police ambushing them, some of the drivers cracked an energy drink open, while others lit a cigarette up whenever they found a stretch safe enough to do so.

Then the Greek border became visible in the horizon.

To be continued.


Times spreadsheet:



#513

Team Angus - Chapter Fourteen

Team Bio
Team Angus - Chapter 13
GAR - Chapter 14

Poland proved to be a bust; too many cops and too much chaos. Upon reaching Krakow we turned south so we could try and lose the police in Hungary instead. Unfortunately all that was achieved was a smashed border post and two different flavours of police cars mixing together the same way Coke and Mentos mints do…

There was nothing for us to do but run for Hungary’s southern border, shared with Serbia, and hope that the police gave up the chase. They didn’t, of course, only stopping the chase when they ran out of fuel! Serbia was almost as bad for us, we were able to reach the border with Bulgaria unscathed, but a last minute road-block on the Serbian side of the border saw us having to take the long way via a ‘B’ road, losing us precious time.

As we approached the border to Greece, Ben and I shared a significant look; the end of the race was at hand. We needed that money and we needed it bad. What difficulties would Greece reveal and was there any hope of our team actually winning this thing, or would we be selling the Bushranger to be able to get home…

TO BE CONTINUED


#514

In Poland, the police presence was much heavier than it had been at any previous point in the race. But as Walter saw the mountains of the national park come into view, he saw an opportunity to evade the cops on the increasingly twisty roads. He did just that, and promptly overtook the Visios and Perenne in the process. However, the high-speed sections that followed exposed the Guardsman’s relative lack of straight-line pace, although it still held its own with ease. As Walter drove on through the night and across several borders, his adrenaline was pumping, partially negating the fatigue that had been bothering him lately.

By the time he got to Bulgaria, the situation was as tense as it had ever been. Walter decided to up the stakes by pushing harder through the night. The strategy paid dividends; he did not have to take a detour en route to the Greek border. Meanwhile, the racers ahead of him fought over the top placings as if there was no tomorrow.

The race had gone well for him so far. No, he hadn’t managed to work his way very far up the field, but given the presence of several highly tuned machines, the lack of progress was basically a given. Even so, anything could happen in the last few hundred miles, and to fail to finish now would be a huge disappointment. So Walter decided not to take too many unnecessary risks on the rest of the route, and concentrate on reaching the finish line.


#515

Jorma was awakened from his slumber when Teuvo shook him and yelled: “Jorma, I need you!” “Wha-? Is something wrong?” Jorma answered while still being half asleep. “I need you to spot traffic and cops, especially from our rear flanks! I need to concentrate on the road ahead!”

The men made an excellent team. While Jorma spotted the cars and read them like pace notes, Teuvo could concentrate fully on the driving. However, soon enough they felt a harsh bump from the rear which sent them into a spin. Teuvo was able to recover and keep driving straight but he noticed how the car was veering to the right and felt less powerful. “Goddamnit, someone shunted us! That bastard… Something broke, I can feel it. We need to stop.”

By the side of the road, Jorma immediately noticed what was wrong: their rear-right wheel was pointing to the left. Jorma quickly took the wheel off, saw bent suspension work and cursed heavily. “We need spares… We need to keep driving and hope to God that the next service station has the parts we need.”

Luckily, the next service station was close and happened to stock the parts that the men needed. Jorma was able to quickly change the bent parts to new ones while Teuvo filled up the car and bought some goods. “I got us some of these energy drinks. I hear they’re all the rage.”

The men were able to race through the rest of the stint without too many complications. Soon they realized that the race was starting to be at its last legs. “We’ll be crossing the border to Greece soon. Ahh, I’ve been waiting for this”, Teuvo told, seemingly relaxed. “The land of Socrates, Souvlaki, and Ouzo. Trust me, I’m not going to leave as soon as the race ends. I’m going to stay here for… Well, at least a month.” Jorma didn’t answer, as he was pondering what he would do. With silence inside the car, Teuvo pushed the gas pedal to the floor and the car rode into the sunrise.


#516

Otis was grinning ear to ear, Jake was barking hysterically as they finally passed the Thunderbolt gaining back a position they had swapped many times. Unfortunately the pass was short lived when one of the locals not seeing the rapidly approaching truck in the distance pulled out on to the road. Otis slammed on the brakes and tried to steer around the car but clipped it solidly enough to rip the front plastic of the other car completely off along with part of its grill. The car was knocked off the road and into a ditch where the driver and passengers cussed Otis in a language he didn’t understand, or hear for that matter. A short distance later Otis was forced to pull over to fix the front bumper, fender and flat tire. Not only did the Thunderbolt pass, but so did the Conquista.


#517

For Marcus, it was loosely restrained chaos as he floored the neon-green XR-3 down the highway, dodging traffic, cop cars, border patrol, and debris from the other cars. He held a cigarette in his left hand, also gripping the wheel with that hand as he ripped through the gears, the loud snarling engine propelling the lightweight little shit-nugget down the road.

As they burst through Bulgaria, Marcus hurled a bottle out of the window at a police car, then flicked his cigarette as well, setting the car on fire. “Stay off my ass.” he grumbled, roaring toward the Greek border in the fiberglass sedan.


#518

Being from a RHS drive country, this type of stuff always confuses me momentarily.


#519

Chapter 15: Land of philosophes.


Near the Greek border, Bulgaria, 9:44. 9th of October 1995. 618km to Athens.
The google maps route can be seen here.

The Bonham was getting ready to smash into the Greek border when the driver realized all of the lines through the border were full of cars. Having to brake, the lime green wagon stopped behind another car that was going through the inspection at the moment. As soon as the previous car left, one of the border agents stopped in front of the car while the other moved towards the driver side window, swiftly unsheathing their gun and pointing it at the driver. The border agent then gestured the driver to lower the window.

“Alright, you little shit…you guys have 15 minutes until we set the alarm off. You better drive quick. You know the drill, Athens.” - Said the border agent. The barrier was raised and the cars let through.


(Musical suggestion by @titleguy1!)

The cars floored it as soon as they exited the border, finally into the hilly landscapes of northern Greece. Inside the twisty but fast highways, the Evo was the first car to make a move and overtake the Bonhan after a long draft.

The quickest route would be through the coast. As they blitzed past the downhill towards Salonica, the Dolphine claimed its place back from the Blood Eagle yet again. Traffic was starting to fill the highways again, proving to be a challenge for the racers to avoid once again, combined with the fatigue most of them were feeling by now. As soon as the racers got past Salonica, the long straight allowed the Bushranger to overtake the Scarlet.

The temperature was rising as the racers drove next to the sea, allowing them to grip the road a little better. However, the tyres were more than broken in by this time, and worn as well. Some close calls took place, as the Redneck Express lost traction for a second before recovering control; not before allowing the Kiito to overtake them, though. The roads swiftly became wider, allowing the Friala to overtake the 333 GT3 by sheer brute force. The road was progressively getting twistier, but that situation wouldn’t last forever. However, the Scagliati took advantage of this stretch to overtake the XR-3.

The coast went by swiftly, and soon the racers found themselves next to Glifa. The Comet GT-R overtook the Conquista there, after a clever move. Soon, the Evo and the Bonham were fighting it out next to Anthili. The drivers of the Bushranger checked in their map. That was the last waypoint before Athens. They were now roughly…200 kilometres away from Athens.

To be continued…or perhaps finished? :smirk:


Times spreadsheet:



#520

so… the Evo and the Chaucer are separated by 3 seconds.

This will be :popcorn: