Wait, what? Is there some license plate regulation I have missed?
I haven’t put any plate regulations in place.
“Ensign Ford* reporting for duty!”
Senior Researcher Arthur McMillan looked up from the archaic four-wheeled vehicle he was preparing in one of the workshop rooms of Galactic Quantum Xenoanthropology Institute space station. A few days ago he had received the briefing from Director T’Mir about the opportunity to conduct a polyxenoanthropology study on Aetheriians (and possibly others) in Quantum Reality (QR) C388-47 by taking part in a ‘car rally’ which would start on Sol III.
“Mr. Ford”, Arthur started. “You are here on secondment from a Union starship - was it the Wilbur? - and while you are here, you are a scientist, not an officer.”
“Yes, sir”, Ford replied automatically. “And it was the Orville.”
“Right - and don’t call me Sir”, McMillan continued. “Arthur is fine. Doing so will be part of our legend anyway when we join as a team taking part in the rally in order to conduct our covert studies on the other participants.”
Ensign Ford nodded.
“What should I call you?”
“Ford is fine, S…” Ford just managed to suppress the ‘Sir’ to conclude his line. “What is this?” He pointed to the dark brown four-wheeled vehicle McMillan has been working on, together with a few technicians who were scurrying about in the background.
“That… is going to be our means to participate in the rally. As you probably know, it is a well-known quantum constant for humans across all QR to be extremely fond of combustion engine-powered four-wheel vehicles once they leave the steam age, and the humans we are going to observe - and pose as - are no different.”
“And why this one?”, Ford inquired.
McMillan was slightly puzzled. “Judging from its characteristics and the announcement of the route the rally takes - as far as we could observe remotely from our QR into theirs - it should be quite suitable for the task at hand. It still works according to principles of their time, but of course we added several hidden features to aid with our study. None of these should affect its performance or be obvious though for anyone looking at or even into it. After all, we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves, do we?”
“I have just started reading up on humans and their combustion-engine vehicles - or cars - and wouldn’t this one stand out? Are the cars not uniform to a certain extent - different models made by different companies, and be dependent on the QR we are looking at?” Ford seemed to try to remember the correct words.
“Yes”, McMillan replied. “But there is another little known quantum constant about humans and their cars. Regardless of the QR, there is always one company that produces simple, rugged and low-cost vehicles such as this one. I think the particular colloquial name for them in QR -47 at the time which we will be going to is ‘shitboxes’.” He spoke it as ‘QR Dash-47’, common slang among dimensional xenoanthropologists. The full name of the quantum reality they were talking about was C388-47, but all they were assigned to research was the C388 series of QRs anyway.
McMillan was briefly taken aback by the unusual slang word, but continued: “That company name is Mara and this here is one of their products, called the Kanyon. Across different QR they may hail from different areas or countries, and the particulars of each model may vary somewhat according to the circumstances in each QR, but otherwise their car models have largely the same names and also a remarkably uniform appearance across QRs, especially given how different the various QRs can be where humans live if and once they go past the steam age stage of development.”
A team of technicians preparing the team’s 1995 Mara Kanyon 2.3 GLX in a workshop aboard the Galactic Quantum Xenoanthropology Institute space station
“That is… almost infinitely improbable”, Ford stated, now firmly in his scientist mind instead of his officer’s mind. “But then again, this is also true for cockroaches, yes?”
“Correct. Sometimes they even outlive the humans**. And yes, the whole thing is quite peculiar, isn’t it?” McMillan conceded. “And we don’t quite know yet why this is the case, but it has come in handy at times. I personally have actually used this one here before in a study on humans in QR -50 where Mara is located in a country named Archana - a country that does not even exist on Sol III on QR -47 where we are going. But despite that, this Kanyon should be a not unfamiliar sight for those on Sol III in QR -47.” He paused. “Can you drive such a… thing, by the way?”
“Yes”, Ford replied. “I have started taking simulator lessons. Driving and also mechanic.”
“Good. Even for combustion engine vehicles, Maras are pretty simple mechanically and this one certainly is. By the way, our research mission briefing is tomorrow at 0900, if I am not mistaken. Then I will go over everything with the whole team. Until then, keep practicing in the simulator.”
“Yes, S…” Ford managed to close his mouth just in time again.
To be continued…
* Bonus points for whoever gets this in-joke
** A Stellaris in-joke
Nah, I didn’t see any either so the “wrong license plate” thing confused me a bit…
Oh, I know I’m going to pay for this one, but as it’s after midnight on the 4th of March here, entries are now officially open!
And yes, I’m opening entries right before planning on heading off to get some rest, but I can handle the incoming chaos. I think.
Vehicle - 2000 Claussient 25 1.5EFI Break
The Claussient 25 is the D-segment sedan offering from French automaker Claussient back when it was launched in 1977. It was proved popular back when it was launched and even until production ceased in 1987 in France is still widely known as the one of the peaks of the brand with the use of new tech and a advanced design.
And not just that. In some developing markets the car was sold right until 2000. Of course, the vehicle is severely outdated in 2000 with its OHV engine (despite being fuel injected since 1995), poor safety features and an archaic design by that point, but because of its dependability and ruggedness it was known as “The Queen of the Roads” in poor countries like Monbassa.
Note: Maria would be 37 and Lucia would be 35 in this year and age.
Love the concept!
Okay, I’m awake, and for now, I’m all caught up.
@BannedByAndroid I’m really liking the concept of the two girls from a different time, deposited in Nevada 16 years in the future. A lot of good opportunities here.
@AndiD Glad to see that there will be a Mara in the Shitbox Rally. Also, interesting bit of lore. By that method, it makes sense that Storm Automotive never really left the Kee engine, and Sinistra had issues where in some universes, they could fit massive engines for L-FWD, but in others, they couldn’t. They’re just in different universes.
@Executive Another good entry to the challenge. It’s going to be interesting to see how a hatchback performs in this run, that’s for sure.
Is it ok to be 500 dollars overbudget?
@interior No, unacceptable.
I very much enjoy various teams coming up as competition to my team of Chicota, Pi, Loojoe, CV Co and Climentol to definitelly not accept any ban that might prevent said teams to participate
Like, thats tiny difference, im pretty sure you could cut it down.
Agreed. IIRC my truck was barely over 20k, so you can definitely hit that budget haha.
Prologue. Part 0- We need a car.
Right, you may already know who we are at this point.
The car we will be taking today is the 1996 Schnell XL53 V8. The very car that the rich kid would bully you about because his (or her) parents owned an higher trim V12 version which costed 6x more with some differences. Oh and that model had a car phone as standard. On which with the V8… You pay $1400 for the car phone. Cheapest and better option was an house phone anyway. Other than the disadvantage of being unable to call from inside your car with a fancy phone, oh well it’d be obsolete years later. (30,000 for the V8, 45,400 for the V12.)
After some time scoring the online marketplaces for a car that was dependable, they stumble upon the XL53 V8
John: “So now we’ve hit jackpot?” John replies to Matt looking at the car’s listing on the computer
Matt: “Very much so, stop laughing and giggling, i can hear you, No it’s not the V12 model that barely anybody bought. It’s the better model. V8.”
John: I remember everyone at a highschool parking lot either owning one with daddy’s money, or the far more premium version.
Backstory: Ex-taxi car
Before it was sold to us, it used to be an fleet car back in the day in the Las Vegas area. You know, the same place where everyone put their gambling addiction to their misery in casinos. Then eventually look at the rabbithole they dug. But yeah thats far from the story. The company used to do research on vehicles and electronics, but then the company declared bankruptcy in 2014 and the owner just recently liquidated the entire fleet on auction. Surely the car looks like a mess after research. But most experiments on the car did not involve harming the structural integrity of the cars.
The Schnell XL53 lore
The XL-series was introduced in 1996 mostly as a business venture if luxury cars could work for the brand. The Pillarless hardtops were available on higher trim models, same with a canvas top. These were mostly prime sellers for the brand in the US, into which it was originally about to be rejected from sale in America due to disappointing sales of the LS32 sports car. But US operations said otherwise and approved of the project being sold in the US.
There’s not many differences alongside the V12 trims and V8s. Magnesium Monoblocks were an option. V12 car has Hydropneumatic suspension as standard.
They take in the car to the garage where it gets some supplementary parts to aid in the adventure from Nevada to Crugandr. Oh and they go back, so reliabillity is a must to them, so it was a wiser decision to not buy the V12. Emissions of both cars is about as equivalent as a pack of a certain amount of cigarettes, but who cares. 12 hours of copious work.
4WD system from an old beaten up 4X4.
CB Radio from a Taxi
Steel Wheels (plus tires)
ABS Delete, Back in the day nobody had ABS before it went mainstream.
The car it became.
We’ve modified it quite a bit, we also have a bit of essentials to help our car.
That DIY roof rack is awesome!
Agreed. A real piece of “We made it solid and sturdy so nothing breaks” engineering.
Part 0.1 - another piece of the prologue puzzle
JANNE: So, what did your invite in the mailbox say?
ANDREAS: Well, it’s from the strange cat people we met in the Kronograd or bust rally in 2016…they are hosting another shitbox run…and…
MARIE: Fuck, not anoth…
J: YES WE’RE GOING!
Immediately the van was rolled into the garage to get some modifications to better cope with the offroading conditions that was going to be present in the shitbox rally.
A: So, how do you lift a vehicle like this?
J: Easy. Just some raiding of the IP parts box. Front suspension is more or less a copy of 4WD Terrex, Rugger or Rexetta, so coil springs from one of them will work very well…
A: But they are leaf sprung in the back, right?
J: Wrong, you’re thinking about the larger Highway star van now, the Freeway star was always coil sprung in the rear.
A: Yeah, always mixing them up. So, the solution then?
J: Rear axle is similar to Brigadier or Rexetta, so coils from either one will lift it. I somehow feel like the Freeway Star AWD was just hodge-podged together from random IP parts. Luckily, I have lots of garbage pile bargains from work…
Some work with the spring compressor later, and the van had a higher, more offroad friendly stance.
A: Do you think that this will need any further modifications?
J: Not much, actually. The good thing is that it will fit about everything we need in case of a breakdown in the cargo compartment, I think that some lighting will be good, so we will slap on some LED light bars and call it a day, and a grille guard and better skidtray probably won’t hurt either. Roof racks and stuff, I actually doubt it, carrying more stuff with us will just weigh down the van, it already has good A/T tyres, nah, I think we keep this kind of stock.
M: But…white? Come on.
A: Yeah, flat black or something would be cool.
J: Yes, and the boss will probably not be happy if it still has the stickers from the dealership on it when participating in something like this. Yeah, Marie, we trust your artistic talent here.
The day after, they find Marie in front of the van in the garage, close to being passed out.
A: Marie, what the fuck are you doing?
J: YOU PAINTED THE VAN FUCKING BUBBLEGUM PINK?
A: WHY DID YOU PAINT THE VAN BUBBLEGUM PINK?
J: Marie, are you dead or something?
M:…hyyyyuuurrrrggghhh… yes… …hyyyyuuurrrrggghhh…
A: Good, then I can empty the last ones of your beerca…
M: GET YOUR GODDAMNED…hyyyyuuurrrrggghhh…HANDS OFF MY…hyyyyuuurrrrggghhh…BEEercans…hyyyyuuurrrrggghhh…
J: Seriously, what were you thinking here?
M: Uuunghhh…where is the freight train that ran me over… uhhh… Well, why the fuck is the van pink…I thought that it was flat black…
A: Seriously, how drunk do you have to be if you can’t spot the difference between pink and flat black?
J: Yes, I AM PRETTY DAMN SURE THAT HYYYYUUURRRRGGHHH IS THE RIGHT ANSWER IN THAT CASE! (sigh…)
A: Well, no time to fix this, it will have to do…
Not exactly a beauty, but probably the Hillbilly Rollers van will at least be seen during the 2022 shitbox rally…
TO BE CONTINUED…
I can’t stop laughing, and that is downright glorious! Yeah, they’ll be noticed.
I share sentiment of Madrias in regards of reaction.
I did expected that artist would make it considerably more colorful, but yes, im hardly going to complain about one of likely most memorable entries vehicle-wise
If it’s reliable. it may last you a lifetime, long after the challenge.
Aidan's family mechanic shop (JDM Specialists Ireland)
February 10th, 2022
Local time: 4:20 PM
Weather: Sunny and Clear
Owen (Calculator) was ecstatic that Aidan let him drive the Magistrate all the way back to Dublin. There was no way he’d let Owen drive his car that distance and besides, Owen said he wanted to drive it and this was the best way to let him do that.
Karl and Pavel were waiting for them as they arrived. Pavel was unfazed and simply watched the car pull in while Karl watched in awe.
“Interesting choice friends. I’ve never seen a touring estate as big as this one.”
“You’ve got Owen to thank for it.” Aidan said climbing out of his car. “The Magistrate Vanguard 4x4 I think its called?”
Owen nodded. “Yeah.”
“Anyway, we’ve gotta modify it. The car already came with the roof rack, and the offroad mods but we still need some more things to make it useable.”
Aidan then turned around to his team.
“Right, Listen to me gentlemen. We’ve got until the first to modify this car and get it to America. Doc, I need you to go and get the food for the journey, preferably tinned fruits, frozen meat, anything non perishable will do. Pavel, You are to find a 10 gallon fuel tank and figure out a way to get us to the United States. Owen, you and me will straighten out all the issues with this thing and then you’ll help me modify it. Max, I need you to go and get us a camp stove, fuel for it and any sort of other camping equipment you can find. Now, does anyone have any questions?”
No one made any moves to ask questions.
“Are we good then?” he asked.
“Good, lets go!”
Through out the week, lots of progress was made. Pavel had found a 10 gallon fuel tank and left it at the shop for Owen and Aidan to install. Max had gone on a shopping spree and not only bought a camp stove and fuel, but also bought a bunch of kerosene canisters and a couple five gallon water jugs. Karl had not gone to buy food, stating that it would be unnecessary to buy so much this early. So, he decided to help out in the shop.
February 20th, 2022 (10 Days Remain)
Local time: 5:50 PM
After nearly two weeks of tinkering, they finally managed to tune the engine to run on DX-1*. The team also managed to get the secondary fuel system running and got the car running properly without a single shortcoming. They hadn’t packed up the supplies yet as the rally was still 8 days away, so they just put all of it in Aidan’s office and left it. The weapons Pavel “bought” had arrived and had also been stored in the office.
Eventually, the time came to take the Magistrate on it’s first drive. So, the team met at the shop again to take the Magistrate on its first test drive. Karl had brought Gunther along since this was such a momentous occasion. Karl (Doc), Pavel, Max (Bushwhacker), Aidan (Commando), Owen (Calculator) and Gunther were all ready to go.
“This is a proud moment for us.” said Max “I think it’s the first time we’ve done something together.”
“Yep. But we can’t celebrate just yet, we’ve still got to see if it runs first.”
Pavel came back from his bathroom trip.
“Pavel is excited, even if American cars do not fill him with confidence.”
After kicking away the lift arms, Aidan and the crew got in the car. Owen nestled himself in the passenger seat while Max and Karl sat in the back seat and Pavel since he’s absolutely massive decided not to sit in the center rear seat and chose to sit in the cargo area with Gunther. Aidan glanced around the cabin and once satisfied with everyone’s positions he turned around and put the key in the ignition.
“Right. Everybody ready?”
“Just get on with it.” Owen said, annoyed.
A twist of the key brought the electrics online, and then Aidan pushed the key further and then the starter motor began cranking. Not more than a second later, the engine turned over with a triumphant roar. It was hard not to rev the engine but it was not wise to do so to avoid risking damaging it.
Grabbing the steering column shift mount, Aidan shifted it into reverse and began to back it out of the bay. So far nothing had gone wrong, but there was suspense like no other in the cabin. Everyone was just waiting for something to go wrong. When they backed out into the street everyone stayed silent. And when they got to the end of the street, still nothing. But it wasn’t until they made it to the next intersection when they began cheering with Gunther joining, who had to resort to howling. They passed around fist bumps and high fives around the cabin, proud of themselves and each other.
So there you go, Team Oil Crisis is now officially ready for the 2022 Shitbox Rally. Now they just have to find a way to get to America. *DX-1 is a 84 octane fuel used in Fox Corportation low power generators.
TO BE CONTINUED