That’s why my car is basically stock.
I’d definitely say my car is extremely subtle and unnoticeable…
…Mainly because I have the same amount of light energy on board as a small sun and you can’t notice anything if you’re blind!
We’re in a lightly-modified former rental car. We’re about as low-key as it gets. Well… Except for the fact that we’re totally going to neutral-drop the car when the flag gets waved.
Team Run N Gun
A week before the race starts…
It had been a fortnight since our first contact with the FSB. Ben and I were offloading a shipment of M4 Carbines in Guajara-Mirim when we saw a big black Ardent A150 with four well armed Slavic looking guys inside. It was parked down an alley facing a street we’d planned to use to leave the site of the gun deal. After the local militia guys paid us and headed out I let Ben know what the militia leader had warned me about…
S: “Hey Ben! We all ready to go?”
B: “Yeah, no more crates, lots more money and a free souvenir!” brandishes a M79 grenade launcher and belt
S: “Sweet! I’ve got some bad news though… Ricky saw something we may have to deal with, pronto”
B: “Fuck! It’s the FSB.”
S: “Maybe, maybe not… Let’s check 'em out and see”
After I grabbed my trusty Uzi and Ben scooped up his AK-M to add to his arsenal of weapons, we tactically made our way to the alley where the goon squad was parked…
S: “Let me scope 'em out first. No point killing local Law or DEA agents since they aren’t after us.”
B: “Just do it, this shit has ambush written all over it!”
I pulled out a 6x rifle scope from my belt pouch and looked over the car and occupants as well as I could…
S: “Looking, looking… They’re armed with AK-74S carbines… They’re wearing Soviet era kit… Wait! someone’s coming!”
We made ourselves as minimalist as possible as a figure, flanked by two armed guards, came over to the window of the Ardent and gestured to the men inside… I was still scoping them out so when the central figure glanced towards our end of the alley, I was transfixed! The figure was Valerie!!! Clearly older but still impossibly beautiful, her bored glance swiftly transformed to shock… Ben had stood up and was firing the M79!
The Ardent and it’s crew never stood a chance; the 40MM HE shell landed just behind the cab, in the tray bed. The explosion was deafening and blinding. I was thoroughly disorientated and was lucky that Ben had the wits to keep his head about him. Ben dragged us clear of the killzone and we ran/stumbled back to the shed where our SUV was parked and made a swift getaway, back to Bolivia…
We had further run-ins with the FSB kill teams and we had to shut down our arms smuggling work indefinitely. I got in contact with a DEA agent who agreed to extradite us to the US in return for our smuggling information. He’d entered us into the GAR: Bolivia as cover to flee the country and it was he who dropped another bombshell on our heads…
S: “Frank!!! Long time no call! Wassup buddy? Everything OK?”
F: “Potentially bad news, I’m afraid… There’s a member of the race who could be family! Team… Old but Gold, Name’s Richard Smith by the way… A rich industrialist from the UK. File says that he’s related on your mother’s side but it could still be an elaborate ruse.”
S: “Shit… I’ve heard of Ol’ Richie Rich. Bastard’s a tight-ass who won’t share his wealth with anyone, unless they give him something first… shudder I’ll be careful and thanks for the heads up!”
F: “No problem, your boys evidence will see some really big fish being taken down, finally, so stay safe and we’ll make sure you both get new identities and can live out the rest of your days in peace…”
S: “Thanks Frank, see ya in Arica!”
25th August, 2018 at 19:46PM, Local time…
We arrived at the start line without any incident. Ben and I settled down to wait and scope out the competition. Time passed. We were then approached by members of the race organisation and given a crate. Inside was a chainsaw (Chinese, most likely), a machete (I took that since Ben already had one), Bandaids and antiseptic (added to the first aid kit), Viagra and condoms (stashed in the glovebox).
We’d also done our own packing; a couple weeks worth of MRE’s ensuring we won’t starve to death, spare tyres and our packed tent on the roof, spare fuel, oil and water inside the rear cabin and a pair of Glock 17’s (Ben and I openly wear these; Ben’s on his RH outer thigh and mine is in a shoulder holster). We’re also carrying extraneous camping gear like a stove, cookwear and utensils, plus extra clothing and treasured personal items, since we’re never coming back…
TO BE CONTINUED
Aston's Orc Krew: Opening Pandora's... Toilet?
idiotic moronicintrepid trio is awaiting further instructions at the meeting point. Jack is standing in front of the car, arms crossed like he’s trying to be some badass actor from Hollywood. Sly is sitting to the side, playing his Nintendo DS. While it’s hard to make out the game he’s playing, the console is bellowing out some sick tunes. And Hugh?
Hugh: No, they’re here. …yeah, all are accounted for. They’re checking out the competition. The car? A Proletariat Alpaca. No, it’s not blue, even I had to do a double take. …what do mean it should be blue? Look, either you forward this to them, or we’ll have a drug war in our hands! And his blood in mine!
Jack: Yo Hugh, calm down. Your pacemaker is probably running on coal, it’s getting too hot.
Hugh: Sorry, mother tends to worry too much. (turns to earpiece) We’ll discuss this later, over. (turns to Jack) So, what is catching your attention so much?
J: Them (points at Operation BIRD). From what Sly told me, their car wasn’t supposed to be that Mimas. Can a team just change their car on the fly like that?
H: Darn it, it’s Tonsom. We at Lang… er, some friends of mine call that guy “Walking Dead Man Switch”. Every step he takes, he explodes. Impossible to work with, impossible to fight against. Just be lucky you’re on his neutral ground, kid.
J: It ain’t him that’s pissing me off, though. (looks at Redwood, who glanced at the team for a brief period and looked away almost immediately) That guy isn’t taking us seriously. I wonder how two fists will help his situation?
H: Calm down, Rocky. I’ll ask Tonsom if that’s how educates his children back home…
But suddenly, a grey muscle car speeds onto the scene, sideways! And it narrowly avoids flattening Hugh’s feet! Hugh follows the car to a stop with head movement, looking mostly unimpressed. Out of the car come two Latin youngsters. One of them, a girl, looks at Hugh and puts a sideways hand in front of her face, as if she’s apologizing. Then as quickly as they arrived, the duo moves on to seeing the other cars and drivers.
And despite being the furthest away from the situation, Sly fell on his backside from the shock. Thank god his big hand comes with big grip to protect handheld consoles!
Sly: (stares at the newest arrival) Ah, crap.
S: Ana and Alejandro Gutierrez… The Shitbox Brothers!
J: I’m sorry, the what?
H: Do they always drive like that, Sly?
S: (slowly getting up) Unfortunately for us, yes. And judging by their entrance, they’re the missing team.
J: Great, so it’s another group of wackos coming straight out of Comic Con. So much for a proper last-second rival…
S: That’s because you don’t know what I do. My shop sponsored a 24-hour endurance event for clunkers, and they were there with a broken down Caliban Thunder. They had several crashes, the other drivers hated them, and their car left bits of wood all over the track. And yeah, their car had replacement wood panels. Wanna know where they finished?
H: Dead last?
S: Try third.
(Jack and Hugh’s eyes get as wide as dinner plates)
J: If you were one of my female fans, I’d say you are trying to fuck with me.
S: Believe what you want, Jack. But these guys are the real deal. They turned literal turds into success stories. They’re as legit as they come.
H: Their car looks pretty legit too. First of, it’s a muscle car, so it’s bound to be packin’ a V8. And while ride height is similar to Operation BIRD, I’m sure it’s equipped with an offroad setup like them too.
J: Ok, ok, so they aren’t just losers who think the ‘80s were life heaven. What you’re sayin’ basically is that while they’re not the organizers, they might as well be a damm elite team with their seal of approval.
S: No shit, and no pun intended. I know your eyes are on Operation BIRD because of their last-minute change to a wagon, but if your eyes can only see one team in front of them, make it this one.
H: Otherwise our chances will go straight to the crapper.
Jack and Slyvester stare at Hugh unamused, and go back to their previous positions without answering or looking at Hugh.
H: What…? Did I get something wrong?
To Be Continued!
Here’s hoping the Shitbox intro wasn’t too terrible, @Mr.Computah! I was eagerly awaiting their arrival to shape this part to what it is… And yes, I don’t like my chances much like Sly right about now, haha.
I’m running further and further behind with my lore. But this GAR2 comes very timely, as a minor character from my GAR story gets his own spinoff!
Team Finish Or Die Trying
Delta is a company that specialises in budget to mid-range fleet vehicles and people carriers in sedan and van form. They’re nothing spectacular, but they always get the job done. The 1998 Delta Rugged is their most off-road ready vehicle, powered by a 2.3L i4 with low-range turbo (this one has had a couple of parts upgrades and an ECU reflash so it’s got as much go as it does grunt). It has AWD and manual locking diffs and a low range gear. The rack with light bar, the bullbar and the fog-lights are optional. In this case, it is carrying a team of two, hence this is the 2 seater variant with the long cargo bay, which, incidentally, is perfect for carrying supplies and will easily fit two adult sleeping bags at full stretch.
The main driver is one Edward Cox, who briefly appeared in the first GAR as the aspiring British motor journo who had a massive crush on my GAR protagonist, Anna. Having never recovered from her rejection and subsequent transcendence into the realms of legend, he embarked on a quest to elevate himself, immersing himself in the shadowy realm of underground and extreme racing. At first he alighted in the US to cover the exploding street racing scene, and travelled through Japan, then Europe, Africa, and so on and so forth. He took a particular interest in the races that went through the most harsh, unforgiving places, such as the Paris-Dakar. His tireless work was spurred on by his personal demons and desire to chase Anna’s greatness as she trailblazed through the race world to establish herself as a professional sports car racer, eventually founding a driver development program with an emphasis on increasing female participation. As his beard grew, so too did his anonymous legend. But this GAR2 is the holy grail for him: the highest stakes, the most danger, and not to mention the original hosts whom he tried to track down to no avail ever since 1995. He may be 46 years old now, but his life stopped at 23. He is ready to put it all on the line, so he might start living again.
His partner is his cameraman and assistant, Manuel Guttiérez, whom he met while covering the Baja 1000 some years ago. Manuel shares Edward’s passion, aided by a permanent wanderlust and desire to escape the aftermath of the vicious cycle of drug cartel violence in his home state of Michoacán. A veteran survivalist and jack-of-all-trades, his skillset complements Edward’s own, and years of adventuring and worming out of sticky situations has resulted in a solid friendship. He’s particularly looking forward to seeing just how dangerous the Death Road really is, and feels that if he were to perish there it would be a more fitting death than the one suffered by his former Mayor at the hands of gangsters.
GAR 2: Episode 1 - Welcome to the jungle
Somewhere in the Amazon Rainforest, near Riberalta, Bolivia, 20:42PM. 25th August 2018.
25-08-18 - 22pm
The rainforest has been kind us. I must congratulate Leo on the driving, both the dangerous trails through the dense forestation, as well as wading through the main river of the area.
Kenny was mostly sleeping next to me actually, that comfortable our Merkur turned out to be. He had to get out a few times helping removing branches and bamboo but that was it.
At least until we reached that horrid river. It took us 3 attempts to pass it, and we lost huge amounts of time doing so. It is frustrating, as our Merkur is slow, but I thought reliable both technically as well as in trusting it to take obstacles well.
I have heard of other teams getting hurt - though not seriously - in small incidents. We were spared that, gratefully. The Outlander apparently is out of the race. I should be happy, but I feel for Richard and Susan. We talked to them at dinner. They seemed like pleasant people, even though I do not know what exactly their relation is. As Leo - untypically for his optimism - mentioned: if this can happen to the Tobotar, it can also happen to our Merkur.
More in line with how I know him was when the more modern SUV of that crazy Fin Makitalo tried to pass us. Our Merkur is not a small car, but Leo made it even wider. I shouted hard enough to wake up Kenny.
We are not winning, but we reached the camp. Most important: we are enjoying. I hope that may last.
A beer to you.
Team ‘Southend Or Bust’
The race begins.
“Why Prince?” inqruied Seb, sitting in the passenger seat with the maps in hand. James, having volunteered to drive first, decided he was choosing the music.
“I dunno, I’m on a bit of a kick at the moment” he said, ragging the massive wheel of the Estate Roamer to avoid some dense foliage.
“Fuck me mate, does that mean you’re finally over Oasis?” chimed in Martin sitting in the back,
James paused and looked straight into the rear view mirror. “Never” he said, with conviction.
“Ah good, just checking” said Martin.
“Won’t be long before he’s wearing heels and purple coats” joked Seb.
“Hey, there is nothing wrong with that all” snapped James, catching the Spaniard by surprised.
Seb turned to look at him with a questioning expression. “I wasn’t suggesting that” he said, slowly.
“Do I sense some insecurities mister Hurley?” said Martin, sarcastically, being jostled about as the Roamer negotiated some rough terrain.
“No but…” James began, sounding oddly defensive, being brutally interupted by a green SUV flew past. It was ABOPCO’s HPC Rallye STV.
“Christ that’s ugly” muttered Martin.
“Yeah but it’s not slow is it” said James, having gone all serious. He forced the gearbox into sport mode and blasted off in pursuit. Seb swore in Spanish, grabbing onto the door handle, as the Roamer blitzed across the jungle floor.
“James, easy does it!” exclaimed Martin, the worry in his voice being tangible.
“It’s 3 million quid mate, we are fucking getting it” fired back James, having caught up to the other car. It was clear that it had the advantage in terms of speed on this jungle track. The Estate Roamer was more a car for negotiating tough inclines with care and not at 70 mph, unlike the Dakar support car it was being challenged by.
James managed to get neck and neck, both cars being driven dangerously at that point. “Who’s even in there?” said Seb, trying to get a look inside. Just then, the jungle disappeared around them; Seb turned to look forwards and nearly soiled his pants.
“FUUUUU” shouted James, slamming on the brakes. They’d reached a river very unexpectedly. The HPC had the main track, and thus cleared it with ease. But James was not risking flooding this already risky choice of car.
“For gods sake Seb, you need to be looking out for this shit on the map!” shouted Martin.
“Well it doesn’t help when we have Sir Drive Angry in the seat does it” retorted Seb.
“Hey, I am trying to get us off to a good start” fired back James.
The argument continued. It was a stressful start to the race.
Team Two Idiots
“Why can’t I drive?” asks Scott out of nowhere, not a surprise with how idiotic and annoying he is.
“Probably because you have been in 36 crashes within the last 3 years…” says John in a sarcastic tone.
“I would win in any race.” “No you wouldn’t, idiot”
A few minutes of bickering later
“We reached a river… shit.” states John
“Just take it slow.” says Scott
John takes it slow into the murky river, and manages to get stuck.
“I told you I am better.” says Scott
“Shut the fuck up, you have never off-roaded before.” John replies
“Why don’t YOU get out of the car and help it get out.”
Scott gets out of the truck, and his pants soak with filth and dirt from previous river crossers.
Scott pushes the truck backwards as hard as he can, with his strength, John is able to reverse out of the river…
“Finally, you did something useful…” says John with a hint of sarcasm
A few minutes of thinking later
“Maybe we should just gun it through!” says Scott
“Might as well…”
John goes full throttle, and immediately splashes into the river and continues inching through it… the truck doesn’t get stuck and they manage to cross the river, for the rest of the way to the site, they are blasting classic rock tunes and driving slowly through the forest. They eventually arrive at the site…
A few painful minutes later
“This tent is fucking shit, it doesn’t go up.” says Scott
“That is what happens when you buy things from Walmart.” says John
They eventually get the shitty tent up and start telling ghost stories…
“Fuck, it’s going already!” Jake yelled to Cody, and the two of them made a mad dash for the Vheego Travette. A frantic couple minutes passed as the two-liter inline 3 strained to start, but the instant it lit up, Jake had it banging on the rev limiter. “Come on, start building boost.” Jake said, watching the boost gauge while Cody slammed the lever into Lock for their rear differential. The instant the boost gauge climbed into the green, Jake dropped the car from Neutral into Drive and sprayed mud everywhere behind them, the 100-horsepower ex-rental car accelerating violently into the forest.
Being farther back than expected had advantages early on, as other teams had cleared paths through the jungle, and all Jake had to do was keep out of the ruts. Cody cackled as their turbo inline 3 shrieked and rumbled through the jungle, their car bouncing through trails and over chopped branches.
At the halfway point, however, Jake and Cody came to a complete stop, looking at the river in front of them. Cody nodded, then said, “Right. Time for the condoms. You get the computers, I’ll get the gas tank.” The two of them worked quickly, Jake disconnecting wires, pulling the cable looms up out of their usual hiding spots, and sticking the ECU and TCU to the dashboard, now wrapped in protective latex. Cody, on the other hand, was busy with making sure no water could get into their gas tank, and also dismounted the lower half of the air-box, so that it wouldn’t suck water into the intake.
“Let’s take it easy here. No point in drowning the car.” Cody said, getting back in. Jake nodded and started the Travette again, pulling the transmission down into Low and crawling in. Again, being a bit slow was an advantage, as they could see which paths were safer to cross with their relatively-low-riding rental car. The engine howled, three cylinders banging away at 4,000 RPM as the rear tires scrabbled for grip in the water, propelling them along as water sloshed through the interior.
“Come on, little shitbox. You can do it.” Jake said, feeling the steering wheel getting slushy as water intruded upon the power steering control module, though the car kept going. Once they crawled out of the river, however, Jake slammed the stick back into Drive and floored it, their turbo triple singing as they rushed to catch up with the others.
This rushing is exactly what caused them to ‘encounter’ the Shitbox Brothers and their Saetta, with Jake coming around a blind bit of dirt-trail, seeing the stuck vehicle, and slamming on the brakes. They slid into the back of the Saetta with enough force to knock one of the two over, and caused Jake’s foot to slip off of the brake pedal and hit the firewall.
Jake, as a result, rolled down the window, leaned out, and yelled, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing, parking here!? You’re lucky that didn’t set off the fucking airbag or I’d make a god-damn convertible out of that shit pile!”
Cody rolled his window down, then said, “No, I don’t fucking care that you got your off-roader stuck. We’re in a fucking former rental car, we’ve made it this far, now move your asses! You’re blocking the fuckin’ road.”
As the windows went back up, Jake looked over to Cody and said, “Your turn to drive. I slid in the seat and kicked the firewall pretty hard in that crash. I’d keep driving, but it’s my right foot, so it’s your turn.”
The two of them shuffled about in the seats until Cody was driving, with Jake sitting in the rear bench, rubbing a slightly swollen ankle.
As soon as they got around the stuck Saetta, they heard an equally terrifying crash between some little vehicle and the limo full of Mad-Max-level maniacs. They heard a roaring chainsaw and yelling, so Cody punched it, their tri-cylinder terror roaring away from the chaos.
In the campsite, Cody set up a tent, then got out some of their prepared supplies and wrapped Jake’s ankle. He checked their phone and gave a grim smile. “Stage 1, 2 Casualties.” Cody said. “Looks like we’re a couple cars lighter. Then again, one of 'em turned theirs into a submarine and the other imitated a group-B rally car with a little tumble.”
“I’m surprised there’s only two casualties. I know we’re not exactly the meanest folk here, but even we gave serious thought to, well, ruining another team’s chances.” Jake said. “Seriously, if the air-bags had gone off, I would’ve chainsawed the roof off of their car.”
… yeah, I totally can’t interpret what that spreadsheet means as to what has actually happened…
Team BEASTLY CMV
The team has just arrived at the campsite
Ricky: Couldn’t you have gone a little faster you asshole?
Bobby: Couldn’t you have built a better car you asshole?
Ricky: This thing has 4 wheel drive, locking diffs, and the widest tires in Texas! This is your fault!
Bobby: How about you shut up and be thankful we’re here? At least we didn’t sink in the river! Or roll!
Ricky: And who do you have to thank for that?
Bobby: Shut up prick.
Ricky: That’s what I thought.
Team Run N Gun
25th August, 2018
20:12PM, local time
Finally the go signal was given and we were finally started on our final South American adventure. Most of the other racers roared off into the bushes, heedless of the terrain, but I chose to follow one of the larger competitors trails at a much more careful pace. The jungle was treacherous and many a traveller had lost their lives to hubris… And the wildlife!
We made slow but solid time following the trail, our lights blazing a cone of comprehension into the oppressive unknown. The Alpaca chugged along smoothly and willingly and I hoped we’d reach the campsite incident free. However, judging from the curses on the CB radio, not every team were having such an easy time of it as we were.
When we reached the river I looked for a safe place to cross. After a couple of false positives, where the bank steepened dramatically and even a decent sized SUV would sink without a trace, I was able to locate a suitable point to ford the river. We crossed over uneventfully with the only excitement being provided by a tree branch, held back by a previous teams passage, coming loose and swiping Ben across the bicep, leaving a small but irritating scratch.
The campsite was nearly full when we arrived, so we set up camp, had our dinner and settled in for the night. While we were eating Ben found out that two teams had failed to make camp. Even worse, one of those who didn’t make it was Team Old but Gold… Looks like we weren’t having that family reunion after all!
TO BE CONTINUED
I will work on improving the readability of the sheet for stage 2. Right now it’s a mess
I think I’m 5th. Maybe.
Check the bottom sheet. I’ll organize a simplified one and the full one for transparency in different pages of the document next time around though
Lol, so third last. Hmm, will have to adapt my diary entry earlier significantly then. Totally misinterpreted that last night.
Team Canon Fodder
Devin steered the Keystone down the muddy path to the river, and gunned it.
“Yeah, let’s do this ****” exclaimed Ollie.
Devin whooped gleefully as he plowed their vehicle at full throttle into the river. The joy was short lived, as they came to a rest just over a car length from shore.
“What the?” Devin growled. He gunned it, the Keystone’s V6 howling, splashing mud behind them.
“Why aren’t we going?”
“I don’t know, dude! We’re stuck!”
“This beast? With the 4-wheel drive system? How?”
Devin paused a second. Silently, he pushed in the clutch and moved the drive selector from 2H to 4L.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me, you f…”
“Don’t say it,” Devin cut off his companion. “I’m gonna fix it.”
They backed out of the river in low gear, getting halfway back up the hill before going forward again. This time, the R3200 waded its way slowly but surely the entire way across.
“Yeah. Thanks, dumbass,” Ollie said as he punched his friend in the leg.
OOC: Yay, not last, broken down, or dead!