August 27th 2018; some time in the afternoon…
Now on more or less flat sand, the team has much less to worry about. They start thinking of their mission…
Tonsom: “Well… we are getting close… How are we gonna do this?”
Redwood: “Who do you think are we meeting there?”
Connor: “Meeting the host himself at the finish line is very unlikely. I would suggest arresting whoever we meet at the finish line and interrogating him or her to extract information.”
Tonsom: “You know what? That actually makes sense for once.
Seems like a good plan. Proceed.”
Connor: “When we reach the finish line, we can arrest the race official likely monitoring our total race times.
Arresting reason would be two cases of confirmed murder and an undefined amount of property damage.
Then we can interrogate him to extract information providing evidence on the location and intentions of the host of this events.”
Redwood: “Wait. What if they know?”
Tonsom: “Know what?”
Redwood: “Really?? You did not think of them possibly knowing what we are up to?”
Connor: “We just drive by like nothing happened. We look like any other team in this race. Being noticed in the car would require identifications skills above anything reasonable for wearing helmets including polarized visors.”
Redwood: “Right… the helmets.”
Tonsom: “Well… So we are gonna downright arrest him?”
The team continue discussing details of their plan (to be revealed in Part 2) and continue going towards their goal. Until they get stuck trying to go up a dune. After trying to go over it twice, they hatch the idea to go around.
I’m relieved to hear that. Considering the amount of effort you put into your lore, I feared my interpretations would be lacking.
And they’re not just good at driving junkers, they’re good at beating them too. Instead of being bogged down by lack of ride height, the Travette got faster and beat the Nash to the finish…
Well, the time is here. Jack Aston’s final chapter, commence!
Oh and El Nabo showed up too, I guess. He’s flanked by two men, your typical Latino soldiers. All three man stand between our trio and the Nash, cutting off all escape plans at the roots…
Hugh: …El Nabo!
El Nabo: Pleased to make your acquaintance, AOK. Although “ok” is llkely your last feeling at this very moment…
Jack: What do you want, asshole?
El Nabo: Last time I checked, my name is not that. However, I know It is easy for someone as… “delayed” as you to conveniently forget names of people who can hurt you.
Jack: And you’ve gone this far with your monkeys to take back an old-ass Japanese car engine, dipshit?
El Nabo: …what? Engine? Hahahahahahahahahaha!
El Nabo: Oh, I thank you for that, Mr. JackAss. Feels good to laugh after withstanding this atrocious heat. But I didn’t go this far for that derelict hunk of garbage. Miguel was so attached to it, and I don’t know why…! The gang fleet was almost updated, except for that steaming pile of Jap crap he insisted on keeping. “It’s reliable”, “never breaks down”, blah blah blah… Argh, what a mess.
Personally, I was thinking of kidnapping his family, maybe cutting off a finger or two in his hand, but you helped me way more than I ever could. Thank you so much!
Hugh: Then, what did bring you here, El Nabo?
El Nabo: What your soiled pants friend is holding right now.
El Nabo points his indicator and middle finger, a bit like a gun shape, in the direction of a comic book in Sly’s hands. Said book is none other than Avengers and Power Pack Assemble, #1.
Sly: My… my Power Pack book?
El Nabo: Now now, didn’t you mother teach to not lie to criminals? That is my book, Sylvester Dood. The book which was inside the very same pickup your two friends decided to desecrate.
Sly: But… Hugh told me he bought it at a local book store! He said I could keep it…!
Hugh: Not now, Sly…
El Nabo: Look, let us not waste our haste on trivial internal conversations. You give me the book, and I’ll spare you… Well, not “spare” spare you. Make your death a bit slower? Or is it make it faster? Ah, that’s it, make it faster. Missing out on Energizer’s adventures would make someone back home very sad…
Sly: Ah, you must have a daughter who’s a fan of Katie Power, right? I know she’s the youngest main character, so kids relate very well to her… Bar the lasers.
El Nabo: But I have no children. Well not from a current living wife, at least.
Jack: Aaaaaaaand I’ve heard everything there was to hear. (snatching the book from Sly’s hands and handing it out to El Nabo) You can have you stinkin’ book, Nabo. Right here, take it!
Sly: Jack, that’s my…!
Jack: Sly, fuck right off. If I’m gonna die, the last sentence in my mind will not be from a freakin’ Mexican pedophile admitting his pants get tight from a kids comic book.
Then, El Nabo casually takes the book, as Hugh watches on. Eventually, as El Nabo checks the book for damage whilst his men hold AOK at gunpoint, Mr. Ache speaks up.
Hugh: Sly, mind if I spoil the beginning of that story to El Nabo? Since you showed me that during the race and whatnot…
Sly: Sure, why not. I’ll just stand here, thinking about how the Gutierrez twins died for this…
Hugh: El Nabo?
El Nabo: Is something the problem, Ache? Thought of your famous last words already?
Hugh: Not yet, not yet. But uh, I did want to test your visual knowledge.
El Nabo: Interesting, thought you would be too old to test anything but your Jeopardy trivia. Indulge me.
Hugh: Well you have the opening title page with credits and such, right? The one with the Spongebob joke?
Jack: Spongebob joke?
He’s not joking, that is a legit thing. Check the link I shared, you too can see it… It’s one of the preview pages.
Hugh: Yes yes, Spongebob joke. Now the page after that, in the first panel. Who are the people wearing blue on the far left?
El Nabo: …that’s the police?
Suddendly, a gun clicks near El Nabo’s head!
???: That’d be correct, sir. And this is the sound of da police. As the kids would say…
El Nabo: What the hell!? Who are you…!?
CIA Agent: Well I am a CIA agent. This also includes my two friends, who are holding your own friends at gunpoint. It’s curtains for you, El Nabo.
El Nabo: This can’t be right! I did not hear a single police car approaching. We’re in the middle of a nowhere land of nobodies…!
CIA Agent: Oh, but we did bring our car here. (points to the Nash) Three people in the trunk are a tight squeeze, but we could live with it. Besides, our field superior was sure to give some of the party snacks to us before we got in…
El Nabo: “Field superior”…? Wait, who in the blazes is that!?
Hugh (snapping fingers): That would be me, El Nabo. Hugh Ache, CIA. Pleased to make your acquaintance.
Jack: The hell, Hugh? I thought you said you’re a private dick!
Hugh: The correct term is “detective”, Jack. But yes, I did say that. Which was enough to convince you to take me on your adventure to Mexico, just as we hoped for.
El Nabo: I see… going after my head? (pulls out a gun) Then I’ll stop yours from moving before that!
But suddendly, a shot is heard from behind our trio! It snatches El Nabo’s gun away, catching him completely off-guard.
El Nabo: Wha…? Now what the hell is going on? Another CIA friend of yours!?
The smoking gun barrel pops out from behind the rocks where it was sitting on. And so does the man behind said gun… A man in his early 50s, with a rugged look just like Hugh.
???: No, I’ve always preferred freelancer work anyways. A lot less paper and politicians to deal with.
Sly: But you’re…!
Jack: No fuckin’ way.
Hugh: Ben Smith. Now why would you join our little party?
Ben: Well I was thinking of leaving early, catching a fast flight. However someone slipped me a bottle of Aussie beer during a party. And wouldn’t you know it, it had a custom message engraved inside its cap… How did you know I like concealed comunications, Hugh?
Hugh: It’s a habit a man… Fosters from time to time. Pardon my meaning.
Ben: Haha, that sense of humour of yours hasn’t changed a single bit. You’re the younger grizzly bear here, yet I’ve always been the one admiring your work. Always in touch with the CIA, even after your “retirement”… Perhaps because of people like him (points at El Nabo).
El Nabo: No problem, I can always justify my actions. (dashes to his gun, and points it at Ben) This is for my 3 million!
El Nabo pulls the trigger, and the gun shoots. With no bullet actually hitting Ben, who just laughs the situation off…
El Nabo: My gun! Who was the jerk that replaced all the bullets with blanks!?
Ben: You justify your acts? That’s good. Since it means I can justify this as self-defense.
Ben shoots El Nabo, clean in the leg. The latter goes down, writhing in pain as he clutches the new leg injury he just got!
El Nabo: You goddamm old fart! You and him! (points at Ben) You had this planned since Mexico, didn’t you!?
Ben: He did, my plan was a whole different one. However, when I started getting Morse code-communications through my team radio and a camera crew warning me about a bounty on our head, I knew someone else was watching.
El Nabo: You… you knew we were gunning for you?
Ben: The FSB has bad habits. Many of them. And when an evil organization can’t cut its own mustard, they just fetch the worst scum to avoid tainting their reputation. I am surprised someone like you would pick a target harder to hit than a little girl…
Hugh: And speaking of which, that’s what triggered this whole thing off. We never caught you, or your damm gang. When our tracers and undercover agents were disappearing left and right, we were about to lose hope.
But then Jack came in. Too reckless to care about previous notices, too… “delayed” to figure out my intentions.
El Nabo: Get out of here, you old fart. You literally pulled that plan out of your ass! You had no idea if he was gunning for me, or my books!
Hugh: Pulling a plan out of one’s ass is the detective’s best friend, you know. It was Jack being reckless that made him pick your car as a target.
It wouldn’t have helped here, which is why I tagged along. And why was forced to put on this ridiculous noir shtick. Thankfully, tagging alone prevented us from dying to a limo, which left a nice path of Mexican pesos behind it during its kamikaze run…
El Nabo: Well shit. This is what I get for hiring people with more metal than cells on their brains. And to think all I told them to do was beat you up at the service area…!
Ben: Give it up, Nabo. Losing to a two-time criminal isn’t on my “to-do” list. And neither is losing to the FSB, so you can tell them that on the way to prision. Hugh…?
Hugh: Take him away, boys.
And thus ends El Nabo’s hopes of getting rich, as he offers no resistance being put into the newly-arrived military truck. Ben then turns to Hugh…
Ben: Hugh, I don’t know what to say.
Hugh: Don’t worry the feeling is mutual. Guess you called up your brother already, right?
Ben:(hears the Alpaca arriving, honking its horn) That should do as an answer. Well, time for us to take our leave. Got to catch the cargo plane before it leaves…
Hugh: Actually, do you mind if you wait a bit? There is something else you need to know.
Ben: It wasn’t Fosters, right…?
Hugh: What? No, not that. The DEA sent me a message during the party. Seems they accepted a generous offer from an old American fart, who bought you a penthouse in Chicago. Oh, and they’re throwing in fake IDs as a bonus gift.
Ben: Hugh, you…!
Hugh: You already lost enough in your heart. Don’t lose out on keeping it beating. Our contact at the airport will forward you to the right private flight, and will brief you and your brother there. Like you did with El Nabo… Take the shot.
Ben (shaking Hugh’s hand): You have no idea how much this is going to help. Thank you so much.
Hugh: Just keep sending flowers to her grave, Ben. That’s all I ask in return. And never lose yourself…
Ben then takes his leave, entering the beige Alpaca and driving off. Thus, our intrepid trio is left alone…
Hugh: So, what’s happening now, Jack? To us, and that Nash?
Jack: Well there is this guy back home who offered a great deal of cashola for the car. A dude who’s 27, real big fan of radical sports. He says he’ll use for his Internet show, where he’ll take it to the Rubicon Trail to kick some ass. He’ll call it… “Rubics’ Cubicule”, I think.
Hugh (facepalming whilst laughing): Oh good God…
Jack: What, you think I’m leavin’ this behind? Sure, it was slow…
Hugh: …and noisy…
Sly (holding his back): …and uncomfortable.
Jack: Yeah, it’s all that. But it also saved our asses more times than I can count. As many as Hugh did, really. I can’t leave this behind, I just can’t.
So, who’s ready for one last uncomfortable ride to the airport!? Get your asses moving! Awesomeness can’t wait for no one, so we force it right in our bodies.
Hugh: Aston Manual, Chapter 100.
Jack: See? He’s learnin’! Let’s go, dudes!
But as Sly picks up the comic book that’s now truly his, he remembers something. He rushes to the Nash’s trunk, picking up a piece of sheet metal, then running back and placing it near the coast.
Said piece has the following carved:
Por Ana y Alejandro. Ustedes han lllegado aqui. Son ganadores del destino.
Jack: Yo Sly, we’re leavin’ you behind! Get your wide ass back here, ASAP!
Sly: Hey, don’t make me run, Jack! Jaaaaaaack…!
Whew, that was a long ride, wasn’t it? And I apologize in advance if you expected El Nabo to be an awesome villain. I don’t know what else to say… It was literally in his name he’d suck eggs.
My actual racing performance in GAR2 was more or less like the Nash’s life; a stiff trial by fire that didn’t really pan out in the end. Still, I had a lot of fun working as a reporter of sorts, since that allowed me to indulge my hobby of extensive creative writing (some might say a little too much, haha). On that topic, I’d like to congratulate a few;
Once again VicVictory for a well-deserved (albeit shocking) victory, as well as allowing me the honor of a winners interview. Even if his team was a dark horse duo he didn’t pin much hope on… Sometimes being fully self-aware helps your winning chances that much more, man.
To Madrias for showing the world how to not underestimate the power of AutoZone upgrades on a rental, as well as for approving my work done on his characters for the epilogue’s first part. You didn’t live up to your team’s name, but such is a good thing!
To @HighOctaneLove for the honor of calling up Ben for this mad finale segment! Also, here’s hoping the solace Hugh gave Run N Gun is a reason to be happy after a performance that didn’t quite pan out. Consider it my own thanks for the Ben thing, too.
To @Elizipeazie for clarifying a few things about his team lore which I missed during writing. And also for giving me a heads-up about where his epic finale will go… Without saying much, let’s just say their endgame is higher than Team Juice House!
To @Vri404 for proving that, while it may be ugly and not all solid at what it does, the Nash is still safe enough to avoid Interceptor missiles. Hey, free bloodless publicity is always good!
Needless to say, the final thank you goes to @Mr.Computah for setting up a grueling event that kept the numbers away from the teams, so that they could eagerly await the next chapter. This whole thing was great fun, who cares about a few minor spreadsheet mistakes? Thanks so much for this honor, and here’s to however you can do that can somehow top this!
And always remember; between a bad guy with a gun and a bad guy who’s a lolicon, run towards the one with the gun! #sageadvice
What I can say however is that there appears to be more than one person trying to follow the breadcrumb trail back to the source. But unravelling the mystery of the GAR surely is merely finding the entrance to the rabbit hole…
Desert of Atacama, near Arica, Chile. 28th August 2018.
Turns out, the organisers of the GAR did have something terrible planned for the last leg of the race; an all out sprint to the finish line over trackless desert! Our Alpaca has served with us since new and she was now 18 years old so I knew we weren’t winning any sprints today… But I would push the car as hard a she’d go and we’d do our best.
As expected the faster cars roared ahead of us, making visibility difficult, but my blood was up so we managed to keep in touch with the main pack. It was during this initial rush that Team Help How Did We End Up In Here either accidently, or purposefully, brake checked us!
For one blissful moment our world was at peace, our Alpaca did a barrel roll and we found ourselves upright, stalled and rather dazed. Other than a littering of auxiliary lights and spare clothes marking where we rolled, nothing seemed to be the worse for wear… Then I heard Ben screaming. His right leg was jammed at an awkward angle and his shin was swollen, hot and sore. Damnit! Ben’s leg was broken!
I released Ben’s leg (he passed out) and quickly splinted the injury, then buckled him back in. We had to finish and we had to finish soon… Other than feeling guilty whenever Ben groaned thanks to hard bumps, there were no more incidents and we crossed the finish line in twelfth place. We survived, lost the FSB manhunt and we were headed back to the USA to finally find peace.
First things first; get a doctor for Ben. The race organisers had medical staff on hand and they were able to splint the break neatly and efficiently. Ben refused their drugs, as he always did, and we met at the Alpaca to determine our next plan…
Turned out Ben already had made plans; he has decided to invite us to a big after-party that the Orc Krew were throwing! While I looked after the truck and drank some horrible tasting-but-exquisitely-cold Fosters beers that had somehow appeared on the bonnet, Ben went off on a mysterious errand, taking his Glock with him…