Shitbox Rally 2024 - Journey to Holsia (Entries Closed)

Team Firulais

The Days Before the Driver's Meeting: Tumultuous Times

(In Collab with @Happyhungryhippo [The Rhino Squad])

Past Midnight of the 29th of March, SR Starting Point, Nevada, United States

If you remember, last time we hurd of the Firulais, they’d just arrived at camp at the starting point. When they arrived drifting in the Aurora, happy of being there, they soon realized they disturbed the peace that night. But they received nothing other than a warning, after which they made camp and fell asleep quickly… Except Ángel. He always had issues to sleep, and that night was no exception. However, this time it was more related to where he was sleeping, instead of his usual issues to sleep (a testament of just how nasty was the Aurora’s interior… And now imagine them having to do all of the Rally in it…). Nevertheless, he eventually fell asleep too.

Afternoon of the 29th of March.

Several hours later, Ángel went to apologize for the noise made the night before. While he was a little nervous throughout all of the conversation… I mean, of course he would be, he’s always getting in trouble, things would be settled… Other than that, and a few games of UNO (in one Ángel got like 30 cards, which made him pass from nervous to stressed) between the team, nothing else happened… Mainly because the truly tumultuous stuff was going to come the night of the next day…

Sunset-Night of the 30th of March.

For most of the other teams that had arrived at that point, it was a normal night. However, the Rhino Squad had a rather interesting night on the 29th… On the 30th, they expected the night to be calmer, until a small calamity struck the Firulais.

See, Ángel is… Well… A REALLY bad cook. Until that night, all food was being made by Andrés, but he was too busy playing Pokémon. Ana and Josué had gone out to explore the desert surrounding them for a bit and wouldn’t come until a while later. So Tomás and Ángel were the ones that were gonna make dinner that night… And it was all going pretty well… Until Ángel made WAY too much use of the Oil…

Rapidly, a small fire was starting, and quickly spreading. And here’s when the Rhino Squad comes in… Just as Thomas was trying to have a calm night at the camp, he saw the fire, and ran as he could to try and help to put it out.

Ángel (rather nervous, actually quite worried):“Aaaahh, Блин, Блин, Блин, Блин, Блин!”
(Блин [Blin] = Damn/Crap [in Russian])
Tomás:“Help !”
Thomas (not to confuse both Thomas/Tomás):“What has happened ?”
Ángel:“I-It has gone outta hand !”

For what seemed like an eternity, the Trio tried to put out the fire. If you’re asking for Andrés, well… By the time this happened, he was somewhere else at the camping field. They did manage to control the fire enough so it wouldn’t burn the tents down (imagine all of the Firulais having to sleep on that Aurora ! If Ángel suffers enough already in that car, then imagine 5 people…), just before Chantal would come in and put the fire out entirely with a water bucket.

Thomas:“A-at least it’s over…”
Ángel:sigh“T-Thank you ! I…”
Tomás:sigh“And there went dinner…”
Ángel (still a bit shaken up):“Y-Yeah… I overdid it with the oil, didn’t I?”

Angel let go of a silent chuckle, before Thomas offered to make dinner for the Firulais that night. Tomás at first was dubious (it was his first time in the Rally, same for all Firulais), but Ángel accepted almost immediately. Not because that way he got rid of the need to make dinner for the day, but because he was worried about another fire happening due to his dubious skills. Knowing that this small incident nearly got to burn one of the tents if Thomas and Chantal didn’t come over to help, he’s very thankful with the Rhino Squad. He even offered to give them the ingredients, so the Rhino Squad wouldn’t struggle with that later.

After around 45 minutes, some Spaghetti Aglio e Olio would be ready for dinner. By that point, Ana and Josué had come back, and Andrés came in shortly. To try and not cause panic, the members of both teams present at that time agreed to not mention the incident.

This was just one of the two incidents that night…

Night of the 30th of March.

After some casual talk, and a game of UNO, all was seemingly going well for both teams. Even Jan had come. But then… Came a revelation of something interesting… for the Rhino Squad at least.

Ángel’s mindreading capabilities would kick in at an unexpected time. In that moment, he read Chantal’s mind for a moment, and let’s just say that it wasn’t a pleasant experience. In fact, it was like if he kinda saw something nightmarish from his point of view. And given how, for him, reading someone’s mind by accident or unwillingly or unexpectedly gave him a lot of pain, it only made a bad situation worse. He fell to the ground, crying, wailing and twitching… And, for the Rhino Squad, it was for no apparent reason…

Thomas:“What happened to him now ?”
Chantal:“Is he OK ?”
Ángel:“Ой, Ой, Ой, Ой, Ой, Ой, Ой…!”
(Ой [Oy] = Ow)
Jan:“Is he alright ? What happened to him ?”
Tomás:“D-Don’t Worry, He’s OK… I think his Mindreading Capabilities Kicked in… Again…”

Thomas started laughing a bit, as he initially didn’t believe it. But then he looked at the faces of his daughter and Jan, and then again to Tomás and Ángel, who was just starting to get back on his feet.

Jan:“Mindreading ? Like, reading other’s minds ?”
Tomás:“Yes, he has those powers. He also has telepathy too ! But his mindreading capabilities are out of his control… He can do it willingly, but it can happen unwillingly too… And, well… When that happens, he suffers… It also happened to him during the flight to L.A., while he was sleeping… Could’ve given everyone a good freight if the team wasn’t there to calm him down…”
Chantal:“I see… Poor guy !"
Tomás:“Are you better, Ángel ?”
Ángel:“…enjap donume cuadio maco mer…”

…Ah. Right. Ángel spoke on a language unique of his predecessors, and the descendants also got to learn that language. He is no exception.

What he said can be roughly translated to: “I saw something really bad…”, probably he said it in that language due to the commotion. In any case, no one understood what he said there (the message “Did Not Translate” [quite literally], as Ángel himself liked to say when other people or he himself didn’t understand something).

After this last incident, the Rhino Squad stayed with them for a bit longer. Chantal and Jan tried to comfort Ángel as best as they could before going back to the main area at camp that night. They left with several thought in their minds… Thoughts which, luckily, Ángel’s mindreading didn’t got to read…

He almost didn’t got to sleep that night, in a mixture for both incidents, the Aurora’s interior, his own sleeping problems, and the anxiousness for the Driver’s Meeting the next day…


Shitbox Rally - Stage 0

Stage 0: Nevada (United States) to Menes (Holsia) via the Rift

Weather: 20°C, light fog, dry.

Like the previous two years, the infamous Rift Convoy starts out almost exactly the same way. Kivenaal opens up the wooden shed’s doors, borrowing power from Kasiya this time to open the Rift, before a single file line of cars drives in, and the doors are closed behind the last car. It’s 301 kilometers of slow-going convoy work, made slower by refueling on the way from fuel cans and a handful of breakdowns.

The first breakdown was a little bit spectacular when Cunning Stunts blew a head-gasket on their motorcycle, causing a huge blue cloud of smoke and the engine to run really rough. Despite it being a long and time-consuming process, the decision was made to spend the next 7 hours pulling the engine and changing the gasket.

Then there was Team Fuist, who got on the radio to say that they had to fix things because the battery wasn’t charging while they were waiting on Cunning Stunts to fix their bike. A bit of fumbling around with a replacement alternator led to the car being fine again after about an hour.

Machinas Con Passione joined the breakdown list when their shitbox decided that everyone around it needed a coolant shower while people were working on repairs, and it blew the radiator cap in glorious fashion. Between waiting for the engine to cool down from recreating Chernobyl, trying to find a team with enough water on hand to fill up the radiator, and then filling said radiator with a half-liter bottle, it took two hours for the car to be ready to run again.

Team Firulais also had a car that didn’t like idling, doing much the same as the MCP machine and taking two hours to fix, mostly spent waiting for Giacomo to get out of the way so they could get a coolant jug filled up by Jayde.

Straight Outta Saratos also had some small issues involving a screaming alternator belt. The fix was easy… Most of the hour spent was removing cargo from on top of the engine, and then putting it all back.

Even the hosts aren’t immune to breakdowns, with the experimental self-driving AI panicking and jamming the brakes hard on, refusing to move the bus because the GPS signal had been lost. Two hours of “brain surgery” with Malavera’s laptop manages to solve the problem… for now.

Then there were the strange cases of Team Ramjet and Transporttjäns Eriksson Aktiebolag Eslöv, both teams having faced little more than a tire that had aired down, but was able to be pumped back up again.

Luckily enough, all of the vehicles were fixed (or “fixed” in some cases), and the voyage continued.

As the exit is opened up, we roll out of the front of a small warehouse onto a pier, dodging the occasional bit of relatively heavy equipment used for cargo handling. Near the warehouse, a set of rails is barely visible in the cobblestone, made even harder to see thanks to the train that is currently sitting on it.

As the Rift gate closes, the warehouse door is opened again to reveal showering facilities and a well-stocked bathroom. A banner over the warehouse announces, in Holsian State Railways font, “Holsian State Railways welcomes the 2024 Shitbox Rally to Holsia.” A nearby clock reveals that it is 5 Sun, equivalent to Noon.

The train is quickly revealed to be our support unit - Onboard, there’s dining cars, cargo boxcars with tools inside, and several passenger coaches. We’re expected to set up camp where we can, just like the old days.

Those who choose to wander around the city will find it’s a relatively comfortably sized port city, roughly 335,000 people, longer than it is wide.

(Trying something new this year with the stage blurbs - Rather than writing everything out for each team, which can be really, really boring and repetitive when things don’t go wrong, I’m including major events in the main stage blurb. If your car isn’t mentioned, it’s because you didn’t have trouble.)

Spreadsheet is here:

(This spreadsheet will update before stages release. It will be linked in each post, but the link will remain the same.)



Previous post

Early in the morning of march the 30th, Janne and Andreas woke up in the tent at the first camp in Nevada, and as usual the morning routine was to look for Marie. It didn’t take long, though. She was snoring, having passed out hanging over the lower part of the tailgate of the Icarus. Andreas grabbed a pipe wrench from the toolbox, waking her up by “gently” whacking her ass with it.

“YAAAAAAAARGH! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?”, a loud scream was heard all over the camp.

"Nothing, I just had to check if this pipe wrench was sturdy enough to take this hit, and…

“Marie, where the fuck have you stolen that unicorn suit, and…just why?”, Janne asked with more than just a little grain of salt.

“Well, we can be sure about one thing, it is a sight terrible enough to traumatize kids under 25 looking at it for life”, Andreas sighed.

“Fuck, I don’t even remember, but I might have a clue”, Marie said, getting out of the unicorn suit, and walking towards the Primus, still dizzy and with a hangover from hell. When finally getting there, she threw the unicorn suit over the windshield, grabbed the wipers and with some mild violence she put them over the unicorn suit to keep it in place, before (with some struggle) walking back to the IP again. Coming back, she saw Andreas holding some of the empty beer bottles from the night before.

“From what I know, you are way too cheap to buy this brand of beer, Marie. Where the fuck did you get those?” he said, in a tone that made it way too appearant that he already was getting tired of Marie.

“Oh, I just found them in a box that fell from a plane and…”

“You’re just like some stupid kid sometimes, Marie!”, Andreas said with a sigh. “Who do you think would ever believe in those lies?”

"Stupid kid? I am not the stupid kid. Chanty is the stupid kid. I bet she still plays with Barbies, and…

“Chanty? Who the fuck is Chanty? Ahhhh, sigh, I don’t care.”, Andreas said. “Just stop stealing everything you can drink from the other teams, OK?”

“If you keep behaving like this, I guess we will be suspended from the Shitbox Rally before it even has started.”, Janne continued. “Just…don’t!”

“OK, if you say so…”, Marie said just to disappear into what seemed like nowhere again. About half an hour later, she appeared with a beer can that neither Janne or Andreas could recognize.

“Exactly what did I tell you half an hour ago, Marie?”, Andreas said, while Janne was under the dashboard of the Icarus, finishing the last of the wiring harness.

“Do you think I remember what you told me in…like the 19th century?”, Marie answered, without even the slightest trace of sarcasm.

“Oh well, I guess the wiring is done now, let’s see if everything works”, Janne said. Everything did, but the engine seemed rather gutless.

“What the fuck is it now, you fucking piece of shit car?”, Janne said in an annoyed tone.

“It is probably a rat in one of the sidepipes”, Marie said.

“A RAT IN ONE OF THE SIDEPIPES?”, Janne answered. “Yeah, I guess you are the master mechanic here, do you have anything else to say that is helpful?”, he continued.

“Yes, that I can see the tail poking out here”, Marie said, pulling out the rat from the sidepipe, and the 6L engine in the Icarus now running like a champ again. Marie walked away to the Primus again, putting the sooty dead rat on the unicorn suit, as a little prank meant for Chanty.

“OK, what are you laughing at now, Marie?”, Janne asked when she came back.

Oh, nothing…




and the drama goes on

teams mentioned, in order of appearance: Shift Happens by @Madrias , Hillbilly Rollers by @Knugcab , Team Firulais by @Angelustyle

30th of march, 9AM

Jan woke suddenly up very uncomfortably. That noise made him upset. It was Chanty, sobbing as if she broke at least a leg. It sounded so awful that Jan jumped out to see how bad it is, and he found his girlfriend crying, holding a rat.

Baby, what the fuck?


Thomas, with a serious hangover, crawled to the entrance of the tent.

Oh, so I cook Ratatouille for us, then?


Thomas, visibly disgusted, took the rat.

Nah, it smells like exhaust gases, it seems it was stuck in the exhaust for some reason. It wasn´t killed on purpose. Where did you find that? Ewwww. Disgusting.

Chanty was overwhelmed by another load of tears.

Gollum put it on my unicorn suit! It´s ruined. AND I F*CKING LOVED IT! WHY DID YOU ALLOW HER TO TAKE IT?

Oh, Chantal, I will get that cleaned, don´t worry. But please turn down your voice, I have headache from another universe!

Thomas crawled back in the tent, while Jan had to comfort his girlfriend for at least another hour - then Jan woke Thomas up because the driver briefing was starting.

Chanty still wasn´t able to hold back tears, and thought that another meal would maybe help, approaching the giant Kiva to get more of the, what she thought they were, onion rings.

But now she found out what it really was, so her mood was completely destroyed.

Chanty sneaked out early, as in the cooling box was still butter. She took it and put it in the HVAC system of the IP - now it wasn´t noticeable, but at these temperatures, the butter would soon rot and cause the Hillbilly Rollers severe discomfort soon enough, and they would have to remove the whole dashboard to fix this.

Thomas prepared some food, as Chanty begged for it as a dog for treats, and Thomas himself is a Nilfert too, so he wasn´t too bothered by cooking as early as possible. But Thomas had a serious problem: The beer was almos empty.

Thomas searched the whole trunk for beer, and salvaged six remaining bottles from the chaos, and aligned them behind the car. But he was distracted by Chanty begging for more and more food, and a grumpy Thomas threw a snickers with such a force at her, hitting her in the eye, that another tear flood followed.

Now Thomas wanted to charge the Battery of the Primus by driving it for a few minutes around the camping site, but totally forgot about the beers, reversing over them and destroying the rare resource.
It can´t be determinded who threw the worse tantrum, Thomas swearing really bad in saxonian dialect or Marie swearing in swedish hillbilly dialect, now realizing that their theft beer source is gone…

Thomas went on a desperate walk across the camping site to buy beer from another team, but since they all experienced what happens if Thomas gets drunk, nobody sold him, but Chanty helped him out by rolling a bit her beautiful large blue eyes at other teams, getting him four beer - enough for the day, as Thomas wanted to reduce his drinking habits to a more sane level anyway.

Thomas became a firefighter then.

While Thomas sacrificed his shirt to extinguish the flames, Chanty came with a bucket of water, almost making the fat/oil fire an inferno, but Thomas stopped her in the last second by pushing her away. Luckily, the water then extinguished some burning grass that Thomas didn´t notice.
After being pushed quite rough to the ground, Chanty fell on her already injured knee (yes, the Hillbilly Rollers tent was mean to her) and being yelled at by Thomas if she was out of her mind didn´t help. In fact, Angel offered her a tissue she accepted, and her crying improved after a regretful Thomas gave her a hug, apologizing for his harsh reaction and calmly explaining to Chanty why he had to stop her.

But after the incident with the mindreader Angel, Thomas was quite nervous. Chantal was standing at the campfire, not having spoken a word for almost an hour, and Thomas approached her.

Are you fine?


You don´t look like that. And that incident worries me. Jan is the only sane of us three, and reading my mind reminds only vaccum, cars, food and beer. So it must have been you who scared him. Chanty, please, if you are not well, you can…


I won´t force you. But if there is something, both Jan and me are there for you.

After Chanty has killed another pack of cigarettes and had none left, she went into the tent, cuddling with Jan. Thomas was exhausted and sound asleep.

Marie saw her chance, sneaking to the Primus and draining the wiper washer fluid from the Primus Legacy - Alcohol is alcohol, after all, and she drained it into one of Thomas anti-hangover water bottles, drinking them with a disgusted face and some shivering, but after a large gulp, her stomach felt a bit better.

March 31, morning

The next day, the teams set off to Holsia. As driving to the corridor was an easy job with the comfortable Legacy, just activating cruise control at low speed, Jan was placed in the driver seat, with Thomas as passenger, while Chanty cuddled in the back seat with her Rudolph plush elk - until another hunger attack took place.

Is there some kind of restaurant on the way?

Baby, that´s a hyperspace rift and we are driving in a convoy! Isn´t that self-explanatory?

But I am huuuuuuungryyyyyyyyyy!!!

Chanty couldn´t wait any longer, took a bottle of ketchup from the rear seats and drank it. Thomas and Jan look at each other, and decide it would be better not to talk about it and to pretend it never happened.

After some hours of rather boring drive, the Primus arrived at Holsia. After reaching the checkpoint, the team went to the nearest town to fill up with food and… well, beer, after Thomas changed the currencies. But he annoyed his two young members by just walking off to check out all the old-fashioned cars.

Chanty felt very uncomfortable, and after an endless thought process, she figured out why, having a panic attack that stressed Jan a lot.


Eh, Baby, did you read the instructions for the rallye?

It… was so much text…

Holsia is somehow that what earth was in the 1930s, believe me, it´s fine and we are at the right place at the right time. Come on, let´s get some food, too. I see Thomas over there with sausages.

But that is not where the drama ends. Chanty found out that her phone is useless, having no signal and of course no internet. Chantal Jolina Nilfert without social media? THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE!

When the Hillbilly rollers were not present at their vehicle. Chanty just stole the Kalix Wodka Janne tried to hide from Marie, the Huvudvärk Wodka.
It was absolutely disgusting, but Chanty was broke and of course forgot to take Money with her, and Jan wouldnt buy her hard alcohol, as he thinks it´s not good for her mental condition. On her way back, she sneaked into the tent and got a bottle of beer from her father´s backpack. Thomas was again nowhere to be seen, propably still checking out Holsian cars as if he was a little boy seeing a car for the first time.

When Jan found Chanty smoking and with an almost empty bottle, he wasn´t amused.

Where did you get THAT? REALLY? And that cigarette smells weird… CHAAAAANTY?

RELAX! In Germany it will be legalized tomorrow anyway.

IN CASE YOU DID NOT NOTICE: THIS IS NOT GERMANY! What if that is forbidden here? We could end up in prison!

Naaaaaaaaaah. Relaaaaaaaaax. Take a bit of the joint, here! You need it mooooore than meeee…

Oh dear, someone needs to tell Thomas that he needs to be fit for driving tomorrow…


The end of the evening after Stage 0

teams included (in order of appearance): Team Firulais by @Angelustyle and Hillbilly Rollers by @Knugcab

Jan, as he has a no-drug-attitude, quickly passed the joint back to Chanty.

“It´s late, and since you will definitely not drive a car tomorrow, and Thomas is maybe stuck at some place getting drunk, I need to be fit for tomorrow in case Thomas isn´t. Please, don´t freak out too much. I guess you won´t give me company in the tent and prefer to get drunk even more instead?”

Chanty rolled her blue bambi eyes and answered in strong dialect with a slightly annoyed voice.

“Orrr du Rendnorr, dis kann doch ne wahr sein? Dein Ernste?"
Come on, you pensioner! You can´t be serious!”

“I am not a pensioner, I am just the only of us showing responsibility!”

Jan. mumbling some annoyed words about his girlfriend´s disastrous mental stability, went to sleep alone, of course he asked himself if he could leave Chantal alone, but in the end, she was a very faithful character he could trust, and if she was in trouble, she could wake him up anytime.

Chanty, now under the influence of two substances at once, finally found the courage to speak to Angel again. After the mindreading incident, she blamed herself for letting Angel feel miserable, and truly hated herself for it, but now she was dizzy and carefree enough to finally apologize. After grabbing one of her plush toys, a Rhino she bought for the rallye as company for her plush elk Rudolph, she stepped up with it to the team Firulais, looking for Angel.

"What are you doing with that childish plush toy? Aren´t you grown out of this?,

said a young, but harsh female voice. Chanty turned around, almost dropped the rhino from being scared, and all her confidence was about to get lost. Before she could say anything, the other girl continued.

“Don´t be scared by everything! I am Ana, I was a bit harsh, wasn´t I? What was your name again?”

“Chantal. But my friends call me Chanty”,

she replied, still a bit shy.

“All right, Chantal. Yes, I recognize you from playing Uno. What are you doing here this late?”

“Is Angel still awake?”

“He will be if you continue this loud, damn!”

“I heard my name?”

asked a curious Angel, politely greeting Chanty who started feeling visibly nervous and uncomfortable.

“Oh, I am sorry that it still scares you, I really can´t control this, but I won´t harm you.”

“No, it is me who has to apologize. It is all my fault.”,

answered Chanty, in broken and hardly understandable English, as she can´t really speak other languages. In all her excitement, she continued in terrible east german slang, worse than Thomas did ever speak.

“Eh, I can´t quite understand you.”

“Orr! Warum konntsch ooch inne Schule ne ufbassn! Äh… wadde ma… isch hobs glei…een Moment… ah, jetze. Eh… I want to give you this as apology because I have hurt you.”

“Oh, wow, Chanty, that´s cute! And it reminds me of you and your team in a wonderful way!”

“Thanks… I think it might be supportive to you when you have such an attack again.”

Angel stood there with eyes - well, one eye, as he has only one, with the right one being artificial - wide open, admiring the plush toy, and Chanty timidly approached for a hug, that she recieved, breaking loose another flood of tears. Ana sighed.

“Not this again, I can´t stand that drama queen. Don´t get held up for too long, Angel, we need your skills tomorrow.”

“Sure, Ana, but please don´t be so harsh to her. Chanty, have I done something wrong?”

“No, it´s just that happiness is also something difficult for me…”

“I can see that from what I noticed. You are way too kind to have such a stressed mind.”

“Könnwa bidde nich darübor rädn? Bidde?”

Angel didn´t understand what exactly she said in this awful dialect, but he understood that Chanty really didn´t want to talk about what Angel saw in her mind.

“It´s fine. Thanks again for the beautiful rhino, I wish you a good night, and you can come over here anytime you want.”

The scenery was watched by Marie, still furious that her team needs to rip half of the car apart - again. Although Janne and Andreas have no clue how butter went into the car´s vents, Marie was sure that Chanty played a revenge game. As Jan was already sleeping, Thomas nowhere to be seen and Chanty again annoying other people, she sneaked into the tent of her opponents and stole Rudolph.

“Ah, there you are, you little toy!”

Her evil laughter almost woke up Jan, so she rushed off the tent as fast as she could, with the grace of a defective bulldozer.

Thomas, on the other hand, enjoyed some time alone, and after checking Holsias cars and landscape, wanted nothing but some (but not too many) peaceful beers alone. All these people, all that running, talking, hectic, that was alright for an evening, but not many days in a row. In fact, he could understand Jan´s wish to stay in the tent reading books, but as Thomas is everything but an introvert and an overall restless person, staying in the tent was the last thing to do for him. When he saw Chantal staggering totally drunk across the camp, he decided to watch the happenings from a safe distance, as she is totally the person to get in trouble. But seeing how his daughter acted towards Angel made him proud. With a smile, he took the last sip from his beer, smiling.

“Ah, thats how I raised her. And her mother, when I was getting milk… Now she has finally arrived here, great. It´s time to rest now.”

As Marie runs back to her team’s tent, Ángel calmly walks through the camp, thinking calmly about more or less everyhting, as he is an overthinker as Chanty, but what differs him from her is that he has enough braincells to do so substantially.
They both bump head-on into each other, and, as Marie continues her dash to her tent, Ángel, startled, gets up again and continues his walk, thinking about what may be happening between the two teams.


Machinas Con Passione’s Shitbox Adventures Part 3 - Episode 3: Journey to Menes.
(Featuring @Knugcab and @MrdjaNikolen )
Ah, the rift.

Fewer places of dystopian comfort exist, places where you can find yourself immersed in what is simultaneously the most soothing and terrifying series of images, twisting and warping to reveal candescent streams of light, dark, and shapes impossible to understand to the human eye constantly shifting into forms both recognizable and not.

The only person who actually tried to put any effort to take the scene in was Maria, however, as Loris and Luci were to preocupied being scared shitless at the fact that they had just driven into a portal with no idea of what to expect other than the “trust me bro, everything will be ok” Giacomo gave before promptly screaming at the top of his lungs (which had surely been heard by more than just his fellow teammates) the second they drove into the portal, driving Loris and Luci into the stupid parade that was now making its way to Holsia via the rift.

Maria tried to understand what the Lynwoods were saying, she really did, but whether it was just a result of their Scouse affliction or their adrenaline spike causing them to be incomprehensible it was hard to get really immersed before some random English blubbering put Maria out of her attempt at relaxing.




Were the highlights of the conversation.

As for Giacomo, he had already fainted, pen and paper in hand (nobody on the team is entirely sure as to what exactly he was drawing) and was currently snoring almost as loudly as the Lynwoods were screaming when a cloud of smoke ahead signaled a problem that would put the caravan to a halt.

Pulling over, the MCP team would split up for a bit, and seeing some familiar faces nearby, Maria and the now awakened Giacomo would make their way over to the Hillbilly Rollers, winners of the first Shitbox Rally, and break the ice with Giacomo apparently fidgeting in his bookbag for something. Wait, he had a bookbag?

Maria would be the first to break contact. Her most vivid image of the first rally was that pink Freeway Star, a van that could burn its way into the mind of even a blind man. Wanting to catch up for a bit given the time they had to burn, she approached the trio and introduced herself, partially curious to see if they would remember her given her complete change in appearance since their last meeting. “Hillbilly Rollers. Remember us? Well, I’m sure you remember Giacomo, I mean, how could you not, but it has been a while. How’s everything?”

Giacomo, meanwhile would fish around in his book bag and revealed that he’d brought an olive branch for the team, a formerly ice-cold bottle of Birra Moretti that he had neglected to put on ice, so it had admittedly gotten a bit warm, but it should still do the job. “Did you run out of pink paint?” Was all he could ask.

Pink paint?", Andreas said. “Yeah, dodged that bullet but for some reason this POS all of a sudden stinks of old butter!”

“I bet it is Chanty’s fault!”, Marie said.

“Who the fuck is that Chanty you’re talking about all the time?”, Andreas asked. “Is it your imaginary friend?”

“No fucking way I would call her a friend…”, Marie grumbled.

Maria massaged her brow, being reminded of Giacomo’s incessant need to eat in the car. “Oh Christ, tell me about it.” She then noticed the Birra, as Giacomo was struggling to get the lid off, it was all she could do to sigh. “I get the feeling this Chanty would get on well with Giacomo.”

Giacomo looked up, having cut his thumb on the lid in his attempt to open the Moretti. “What? What’s wrong with imaginary friends?” Maria was very close to chewing out Giacomo for being halfway through his lifespan and still believing in imaginary friends, but upon seeing his expression of geniune concern, backed off, for now. “Nothing. It’s perfectly normal.” She said before taking the beer, cleaning it off and offered it to the Rollers. “Here, uh… don’t drink it until we get to camp. Maybe you guys have a cooler in that rolling discotheque of yours.”

Marie was looking at the beer, almost drooling. “Ohhh, that looks interes…”

“YOU HEARD WHAT SHE SAID!”, Andreas told Marie, while Janne got out of the car, opened the tailgate and pointed to the minibar inside. “A bit awkward to get to”, he laughed, “but go ahead and put it in there!”, at least it could be fun to see someone struggling with it. “Proper 70s”, he said. “A show winner in 1979!”.

Standing at a hulking 5 foot 0 (152.4 cm for the non americans), jumping up into the Icarus’ rear was quite the ask from Maria, seeing as how the bed was nearly as tall as she was (give or take a bit of exaggeration). “Yeah. Real marvel of engineering.”

“Anyway”, Janne said while Maria was trying to get to the minibar in the back of the Icarus, “What is happening here? Seems like we’re standing still more than we are moving. At least the Icarus is still running like a champ.”

“I must admit that I was sleeping until now, so I have no idea!” Giacomo declared a bit too excitedly. “I’m sure some team has failed to account the rigorous trial of the rift, a journey that I have planned every mile of! Machinas Con Passione would NEVER enter a car that explodes before the rally even starts!” He declared.

As the two talked, Maria found the task of lifting herself to the admittedly suave interior of the Icarus to be a giant pain in the ass that involved lots of jumping, multiple failed attempts to lift her waist over the bed and, eventually, a running start that ended in her toppling over, shouting “PORCA PUTTANA!” and many other swears that I dare not replicate in this post. Upon hearing Giacomo’s utter baldfaced lie she turned to him with an expression of pure shock. “Did you forget the TWO fuel stops we made? WE caused more of a holdup than anyone else the first time!”

Janne tried to hold his laughter back. “Yeah…”, he said and managed to not burst out into laughter. “…yeah, I know how you only bring quality vehicles to this.”

“Yes!” Giacomo said, getting overly excited for a moment… “This will be the year! I will have the shitbox crown!” Maria, seeing that this was very close to sending Janne over the edge, decided to save Giacomo the shame by forcefully turning him around and pushing him towards the Arnoux. “Yes. Yes. This is the year. Let’s go before you embarrass us any further, I think I see Loris going after your crisps.” This was enough to get Giacomo sprinting towards the Lynwood and out of earshot of the two. Maria, slowly going red faced in her own attempt to keep herself from laughing, decided to follow him as she waved the Rollers goodbye.

After getting underway, the team managed to make it all of 5 minutes before a light hiss began to emit from the radiator, silencing the team as a slow horror crept up in the car as they realized that something, somewhere, had broken and broken terribly.

It took all of 30 seconds for their horrors to be realized when the radiator cap burst from the engine, piercing the hood and windshield, bouncing around the cockpit and causing a chorus of terrified screams and panicked movement for a moment before the rogue radiator cap eventually slowed its momentum, landing neatly in the lap of Loris.

Simultaneously, the radiator was spewing its contents quite literally everywhere, and while the MCP team were scrambling inside of the cockpit the car delivered a nice coat of coolant to any team unfortunate enough to be nearby.

The first team on the scene is team Mravolinski-Chitco, and their first-hand account of their encounter with the phenomenon that is MCP is described, in full detail, below.

Meanwhile MCP team is approached by Pi and Bong. They decided to have argument while arriving

-I really dont think this is smart idea.

-Its fine

-Lets be real: if they dont freak out at sight of someone armored from head to toe and some sort of human centaur, i dont know what to say

-We will try to appear friendly and our looks will be ignored…for most part

As the duo had reached MCP quartet of chaos, they decided to now talk to first person they encounter

-We are from team Chitco. Armored dude is Bong and im Pi. I believe i had likely met some of you and…i think we might be able to help.

Loris, who had already gotten to work screaming swears into the engine bay, was stopped mid “FU-” by the arrival of Pi and Bong. Having been raised with some level of manners (read: British) and not wanting to shout at complete strangers who, despite very clearly not being of this world and maybe even being an affront the to crown itself were still very kind in offering to help Loris who, in all honesty, was completely hopeless without it.

“Right, ah, I’m happy to take the help mate, these muppets here…” he gestures towards said muppets, which include his own flesh and blood. “Not exactly keen on fixing a car they’ve never touched before.”

Bong had looked in the direction of engine bay, acknowledging thats area where problem is located

-Her charisma is not going to solve that engine problem you have…whatever it is.

Whatever the fuck that might be, we are wrong people to help.

-They were smart enough to bring mechanic. We will just do what he says would be needed to repair the car

With that, Pi was noting Loris and his efforts of sort to fix the thing.

It was a relatively simple job to patch up in the short term, and Loris was nothing if not simple, so the job was completed without much of a headache while Giacomo excitedly got out of the Arnoux upon recognizing the duo, happy to see his fellow “Shitbox Veterans” (not sure if this will catch on, but Giacomo is seemingly keen on making it into a thing) and began bombarding them with questions of how life has been, if they really think they can beat Giacomo and if they were ready to taste defeat at the hands of the Mighty MCP. It seems he took it as a chance to blow up his ego.

Bong had decided to satisfy the curiosity of Giacomo.

-Life seems to be very fine so far. As you see…she now looks tad bit more presentable and it was i that did most of the work

He was obviously gesturing towards Pi

That he was, the work that went into fixing Pi over time had made it so that Loris had to double take to notice that there was anything out of the ordinary with her. That was, until Luci, who had also gotten out of the car to stretch her legs, pointed out the obvious fact that Pi’s legs were in fact split at 90 degree angles, and that she had 4. The decision for which of those bits of information was more upsetting to Loris can be left up to you, dear reader.

Alas, conversation between Pi and Bong broke the brief silence.

-Ofc noone compares to my perfect daughter Jakasxandra…

-I doubt it


Bickering continued for some time before Pi cut it down

-Well…we dont like to lose, but are aware that our vehicle likely isnt recipe for victory either. Due to fact its pretty much the same one we entered in original rally, you can easily confirm so yourself.

Now does that guarantee that you will beat us? Hard to tell as im not as much into cars as…his daughter.

-I told you my daughter is perfect.

Pi glared at Bong

-Ignore the daddy. Wouldnt be surprized if Nevadan sun fried his brain


-If we dare to say that we have chance against you, its likely through you breaking down more often than us. Our vehicle is big enough to carry lot of stuff including his ego but weighs noticeable amount and, from what i gathered, doesnt have much power.

Bong glared at Pi as it was he that was being called out

Giacomo was all too familiar with the Kontir Cunningham, one of the cars on the grid that managed to double as a live-in house while performing it’s duties as a motor vehicle, and it was one that proved impossible to kill, as one of a handful of cars that managed to keep coming back year after year. Giacomo wished he could say the same about the Aerodynamic Wedge Shaped Beast but… The less said about the current state of the dustbuster the better.

Either way, Giacomo had his sketchpad in hand, and began capturing the scene of Loris and Luci bickering over how to fix the radiator, as Maria had now gotten out of the car herself to try and corral the twins into fixing the damn car.

Between the five of them, someone was eventually able to figure out the correct amount of tape needed to keep the radiator in a functional state for long enough to make it to camp, and after fetching some water, the car was returned to the land of the living after a few hard kicks from Loris, and travel through the Rift could continue.

Before heading out, though, Giacomo would offer Pi and Bong his drawing. “Take this as a memoir of when you helped the great Machinas Con Passione win the rally! You’re sure to be the first ones I mention in my victory speech!” …. Had anyone told him it wasn’t a competition yet?

Drawing was taken and the duo was on their way back.

The car was, at this point, functional, and with the engine roaring (sputtering) to life the signal was given for the caravan to continue, and bar a few incidents (including one where Giacomo, shocker, annoys a fellow member of the rally) the rest of the trip to Menes would go on without a hitch.


After an eventful run through the rift, the MCP squad is finally able to settle down after a full stage’s worth of travel, and having settled down after arriving at noon, they unpacked the trunk, looking to get camp set up early to avoid the pain in the ass of having to fend off whatever variety of insects may come out at night, and quickly found that Giacomo… had neglected to pack a tent. With that, the MCP squad would have to source one from the local town, and whatever supplies would be needed to keep a quartet of barely functional morons alive for the night. Luckily, Giacomo did at least have things of material value, so even if the currency wasn’t exactly one to one, the team for once made sure not to inconvenience the locals while they stayed in Menes.

Other than that, the rest of the downtime for the day was spent working on a long term fix to the car and annoying anyone unfortunate enough to get close during said repairs. I twas about the time that Loris accidentally tore a hole in their radiator while trying to fix it that the reality of their situation slowly sunk in. This was going to be a long rally.



Team Firulais

The Driver’s Meeting, and Stage 0: “To finish first, first you have to finish”

(Mentioning @SurrealCereal [Machinas con Passione], @Happyhungryhippo [The Rhino Squad] and @Knugcab [The Hillbilly Rollers])

(Note, mentioning Machinas con Passione, yet it didn’t mean the Firulais interacted with them [because they didn’t…])

Morning of March 31st, SR Starting Point, Nevada, United States

Ángel had a rather uncomfortable night after him not being able to sleep properly, again, between a mixture of factors, plus his mindreading instability that made him almost alert everybody on the night before the driver’s meeting.

But, despite what you may think, the Firulais didn’t have a comfortable night either… At least, for a reason. The incident had left them thinking when would the next mindreading incident would happen. One thing was for certain though: they were all present and ready to rally.

The Driver’s Meeting

Initially, Ana was thinking about doing her usual mischief, but, Andrés, in a brisk decision to maintain order, avoided her to do so. The Firulais were still at the back of everything, behind everyone. That added to the fact they were so little (tallest member on the Team was Josué with 178cm), meant they went pretty much unnoticed. Perhaps they wanted to, as they didn’t want Ángel to get nervous, or to have another mindreading incident which would perhaps put them in trouble.

Nevertheless, after the meeting, they prepared to get on the Raft that would take them to Holsia. Josué was driving for this stage.

He just seemed happy to drive the car. After all, all the drive to Nevada had been performed by Ángel, except for a small portion of the trip done by Andrés.

And so their trip began.

???, Road to Menes, Holsia, Aetherii.

Josué:“It truly was a slow trip thru the Convoy, wasn’t it ?”
Andrés:“Ye… But, it was quite beautiful. Besides, we are finally in… uhh… What’s this planet called–”
Ana:“It looks a lot more… Drab, than I was imagining.”
(“I guess you were hoping for more… but the important thing is that we are here.”)
Ana:“明らかに、私はもっと待っていました。 あと、宇宙人じゃないですか?”
(“Obviously I was waiting for more. Also, aren’t you an alien?”)
Ángel:“人型の子孫の子孫。 必ずしも宇宙人というわけではありません。”
(“Descendant of a Humanoid Descendant. Not necessarily an alien.”)

That was some of the conversation the young quintet was making up. Ana and Ángel knew how to speak Japanese, so, they understood each other in said language. Tomás was busy looking at the landscape, Ana was STILL looking for her credit card (Ángel later would give it back in the most discreet way possible, as he didn’t want to face Ana’s wrath), Josué was busy driving, Andrés was playing Pokémon, as always, and Ángel was thinking as they drove by… He remembers seeing some landscape similar to this in his dreams. He rarely dreams when he sleeps. And most of the time, it was either a nightmare or an endless white or black void. But there was the rare occasion in which he dreamt up about something else… And those were the dreams he usually liked to keep.

He decided to sleep, as he hadn’t had a very good rest the night before. But, not long after, the Team would experience it’s first breakdown, several miles after passing Machinas Con Passione… Who, unbeknownst to them, were suffering the same issues the Firulais would encounter later…

(Or, well, more like, 2 and ¼ Aetheriian Hours)…

The Team began hearing rather strange noises from the engine. Besides, another worry began to show…

Josué:“Do I smell burning ?”
Andrés:“Indeed, it does smell like burning.”
Tomás:“Well, it’s time for… Oh, wait. Ángel is asleep.”
Ana:“We’ll sure as hell need his skills…”
Josué:“Oh, shit ! Look at that Temp Gauge ! It’s right in the red…”

Well, at least they now knew the dashboard worked for the most part, but, thanks to that, their worries were confirmed. They stopped at one side of the road, as Steam started to pour out. They were worried (they had to attempt to finish this rally, that was their objective… and this was not going up to plan). Just as they stopped, Ángel woke up, and Ana immediately sent him off to fix the car as Josué opened the bonnet…

Suddenly, they hurd a bang, before seeing how Ángel let a short scream before him being douced in Coolant… They later saw they radiator cap falling right on the roof of the car. They waited a bit, until the car would cool down just enough for them to make some work on the cooling system. Now you’d might think Ángel would fix it himself… Instead, he decided to have the Team fix it without him…

Ángel:“I’m trusting on you…”
Josué:“Wait, you’re not going to…?”
Ángel:“Nuh-Uh. It’s a fix that’s easy enough for you to fix.”
Ana:“How do we do it ?”

Ángel facepalmed at Ana’s reply to him, before giving a really, REALLY short explanation. They spent almost an hour waiting for the engine to cool, and then another half hour (both in Earth Time… Roughly 1h 10m in Aetherii), to refill the radiator. And from there, they were going to start again, until…

The Car would refuse to start. This time Ángel had to intervene, and it turned out, several fuses on the car had gone bust, for a reason or another. Nevermind, Ángel got it fixed in a Jiffy (finding the problem and fixing it took him a good half hour though, so, maybe not so much of a Jiffy), and soon they were back under way.

At least the breakdown allowed Ángel to find somewhere suitable to hide Ana’s Credit Card… One of the Sun Visors ! Ana often checked herself in the Mirror of one, and he thought it would be a perfect place to avoid Ana’s wrath…

???, Menes, Holsia.

At last, they arrived. They weren’t exactly the fastest, due to their breakdowns, but, at least they weren’t the worst amongst those affected.

Later that night, both Ángel and Ana would get a bit of a surprise, as Chantal, from the rhino squad, went to apologize to Ángel about the “Mindreading Incident”… and despite Ángel later getting ran over by Marie at camp, he got a much better night sleep that night.

(For the Drawings, I initially planned 6, but I’ve had a lack of time to draw… So I only posted here the only 2 I actually finished.)

(Collabs are open [as always]!)


Shitbox Rally - Stage 1

Stage 1: Menes to Unmar

Weather: High teens, constant moderate rain, light winds.

The scream of a steam whistle wakes the camp as the train departs to carry the GECA onward. Everyone else packs up tents, eats a quickly-prepared breakfast, then gets into their cars and heads onward.

Menes is immediately a challenge with tight, narrow roads, especially for larger vehicles. Then once everyone’s past the city, we’re still in for a hard time with mostly cobblestone roads, the occasional patch of crude asphalt in between, and some really nasty corners.

The larger vehicles have to make a significant detour to avoid getting jammed up in one of the meaner corners, a tight hairpin with a large rock in the center that looks like it was designed to rip cars apart for fun.

It turns out that Machinas Con Passione are the first to discover that rock, bursting a tire and spending a little bit of time on the side of the road to change it. They’re back on their way soon, however, and seeming in high spirits - the car’s doing “great!”

Team Fuist has to stop to deal with a mild overheating issue - a slightly misaligned alternator chewed up the belt and has led to it breaking. Some shims and a new belt, along with letting the engine cool down for an hour results in the car continuing onward with no further issues.

Upon arrival at Unmar, it’s immediately obvious that this is barely more than a village. Dedicated social butterflies might take up a challenge of trying to meet all 420 people in the village. We get to make camp near the large sawmill, clearly the major source of employment for the people of Unmar, where we also have access to a primitive set of outdoor toilets and a place to set up tents.

In town, if you’re looking for food, you may want to check out the local bakery, or the fruit market stalls, or one of the small shops that can sell ingredients needed to make a meal, in the event that you don’t like what’s on offer from the Support Train.

Speaking of the train, it is parked on sidings near the village station, leaving the tracks near the sawmill clear.

Spreadsheet is here:



Later that day, Marie’s laughter had transformed into a somewhat worse mood, but on the other hand, both Janne and Andreas were pretty used to her mood swings.

“STUUUUUUUUUUUUPIIIIIIID GEEEEEEEEEERMANS!!!”, she was screaming, so it probably was heard by everyone in camp.

“Marie, what is it now?”, Janne asked, while you could watch every hair on his head turn slightly more grey.


“So what? Their problem!”, Andreas answered.

“You wanted to steal it, right?”, Janne said with a sigh.

“What would they even need all that beer for?”, Marie asked. “They wouldn’t have noticed if I had taken some!”

“No”, Andreas replied, “But when you have stolen 20 of them and emptied every bottle, they would at least notice it on you!”

“Bah, I will find out a way!”, Marie said. And neither Janne nor Andreas did doubt it when she came back to the tent that night, stinking of washer fluid. Easiest, though, was to not say anything.

The morning after, it was time to enter the rift, but our friends did notice that there were some…unusual problems with the IP.

“It stinks of butter”, Andreas said.

“For fucks sake!”, Janne said. “Marie, did you have some weird drunken idea to rust proof the exhaust manifold with butter or something?”

“Yuk”, Marie said. I am as innocent as ever."

“That’s exactly what worried us!”, Andreas said, while the car was boarding the rift.

Even though lots of other teams seemed to struggle, the IP purred like a cat through the rift, and there was a short but friendly visit from Team MCP.

While driving out of the Rift, Marie kept blabbering about Chanty while Andreas said that he didn’t want to hear anything more about Marie’s imaginary friend.

“Well, I will seek revenge anyway!”, Marie said.

After bumping into Ángel, Marie excused herself, took Rudolf and went back to the IP. Looking through Janne’s toolbox for hose clamps, she found a new use for Rudolph. Being some kind of grille mascot.



Team Chitco
Part 0b: Stage 0

Nevada involved some limited interaction with Kaylie from SH which is approved by @Madrias
Rift will be partially marked by going Straight Outta Saratos, for what you shall partially blame @shibusu mixed with some MCP chaos (SurrealCereal).
In case of latter, collab is in his post and this will just feature link to that in appropriate place. This also explains why he isnt tagged.
Holsia will again involve Shift Happens


-Oh hello there
-I knew you lot would come eventually. As expected, you were slow.
-Where is your car?
-Somewhere. In this general space for sure. Will not give off more info than that.
-I wanna know.

Some pause followed

-Just so you know…you arent listed as member of our team this year. We might be able to smuggle you but i highly doubt hosts would take kindly on that.
-Im not sure how would that be possible. I would need to ask someone to take care of my car…or bring it along
-Sad…still want to know.
-I wanna ask her something.


-Your car does have that?
-In case our own Kontir happens to be in bad condition after event, could you realistically push us?

Amanda chuckles

-Very much so
-We are returning on 24th April for your information.
-Will keep in touch, then.

Amanda and team would continue to exist and would mostly follow camp shenanigans
Most interesting one was ghettoblasting of Marie The Unicorn and some older dude that donned hippo costume (Thomas).
Amanda had thought about pretending to mow these two ungraceful beings down, but decided that their grace indicates too much alcohol for that to go well
Others were amused by whole event.
There were some more arrivals after them as well

Drivers Meeting was attended by everyone including one person that would not actually participate.

-Why are you here?
-Because i dont have anything better to do.
-Fair. Now you can meet Kaylie.

This was rather obvious as that SH member approached the group.

-Her. I recall she was mentioned as someone you dont want to piss off. Lets say i have every reason to believe that left arm packs quite a punch.
-One is enough

Andrea decided to explain the situation

-This bitch had also decided to join us on this meeting. She is called Amanda and, as you might figure out, also an asshole we had in team last year.
-That is Andrea. She is one you need to give two rings. Im not participating this year but just attending drivers meeting because its guaranteed to not be boring

Indeed this one isnt gonna dissapoint either

-I dont understand why is Kiva going towards hangars.

Amanda decides to explain. As she had memorised the mail and knows how Malavera sounds she decided to combine the two therefore reciting relevant part of email in Mals voice:

Do NOT think that because the event starts on April 1, 2024 that you can show up on April 1 - You will have missed tech inspection and will not be going. Likewise, do not disrupt my driver’s meeting at 1000 (10 AM local time) on April 1, 2024, or I will make you run laps around the hangars until you throw up.

-I still dont understand why Kiva is at fault…he did nothing wrong.
-That whole interaction still disrupted the meeting
-I still dont agree.
-Your problem.

Four-armed Valraadi soon finished his punishment

Amanda had decided to go over to security officers that would be guarding the gate leading to the premises.
Her intention was to announce her leave from said premises: deemed necessary due to fact she is likely gonna attempt to do so at some speed
After noting they will likely be able to recognise when she starts moving, this was concluded and Amanda returned back to greet others as they go into Rift.

Andrea wondered about something, but testing that out in Holsia sounded as better idea.
Either way, team had prepared for the journey.
Andrea had the honor of honking.


Amanda had looked as cars and buses and trucks had piled up to go through Rift.
Kontir had gotten in said group sufficiently early so teams potentially getting later into Rift could have seen Amanda going towards somewhere…and would soon hear exactly where she is.
Tires under rear end of that Bricksley were exposed to usual torture by accelerating on dirt until going at like 43.5 mph (70 kmph) when she switched to tarmac.
There was lot of honking, engine noise and probably some tire torture until she passed the gate leading to Twin Suns Aerodrome.
Due to fact she anounced her intentions this went perfectly to plan: gate had closed behind her…and will likely not be passed by any Chitco member until event is done.


Now we concentrate on group in Kontir. While they certainly heard blaring of horn mixed with engine and tire sounds, they couldnt pinpoint that to specific car as they were too deep into Rift to do so.

-Hopefully Amanda will behave.
-She didnt exactly caused any problems so far, i believe in her.
-Is this that famous Rift?
-Yes. Also yes, if you havent seen Natalia so far, you aint seeing her until end of event and beyond.
-All i needed to hear.

Collective sigh on what was certainly expected reaction

-There are still too many members of host team you can annoy so please do not annoy them
-Will have that in mind.
-That will be appreciated, dad

Jakasxandra thought a little then asked

-Andrea, i had just realised we dont exactly have some proper mechanic in team.
-We will be fine…i had thought about that.
-Am i involved in this thought?
-I have feeling i will hate it.
-Nah you will be fine…might even enjoy doing so.

Bong was still doubtful but chose not to voice his concerns too much.
Ofc this likely wouldnt be Rift journey in shitboxes if no breakdowns had happened

-Why are they laying on the brakes? They are literally first in line.
-They have AI onboard.
-I believe they are testing it out on this event.
-They have lot of smart AIs…this wouldnt happen to those

Jakasxandra decided to join on convo

-That AI they have is home-made. Mal said as such in one of the chats.
-Thats stupid if im being honest
-Nah it isnt. They decided to challenge their knowledge and skills and…this is challenge for sure.
-But now rest of us shall wait for them to sort it all out.

Example being crazy girl on motorbike and some people reporting their battery wasnt charging while waiting for crazy girl to sort her bike out.

-That crazy girl doesnt count
-Iirc that would be Lana. Sure she is tad bit crazy with idea of duking it out on bike, but that isnt the worst she could do. That bike does seem to be able to relatively decently do long-distance route.
Also, Lana is not one to complain about some discomfort

There would, however, be some teams where this quartet would be able to somewhat help.

-Bong, would you be willing to move your ass and help those people with their luggage?
-What are you seeing in me, one that is particularly adept at hauling luggage?
-I see someone who is decently strong and has two perfectly functionable legs.

She was showing that team she refered to regarding luggage help has just two people, one of which is Jace we all know and love and other is other dude.

-Still not interested.
-He is joining me to help this other team if possible, then.
-Wouldnt they be weirded out by your…appearance?
-We know each other. I remember they had some weird doctor of sorts two years ago.
-That doesnt mean said doctor is still there. For all you know, team might be entirely different.
-I recognise one person for sure and im not sure about second.
-There are four of them.
-It will be fine.

Some basic preparations were given

-So me and Jakasxandra go to help Jace and you two go to help that bunch?
-I guess?
-Lets go.

After locking the Kontir, two groups went their separate ways.
As Andrea noticed this might be good opportunity for meeting Jace, she and Jakasxandra had went to help him and his friend with luggage.

-Hello Jace. Do you need any help with that luggage? We are from team Chitco: im Andrea and this is Jakasxandra

Jace looked back at the two, while he placed a couple assorted items on the surface of the rift.
“I suppose I could use some help, yeah. Stuff ain’t moving itself. If you want maybe you could move those boxes for me that would be great.”
After speaking he returned to moving some briefcases.

  • I guess you are looking for toolbox or something in here?
    she and Andrea carefully move boxes as instructed.
  • This is rather quirky looking hatchback. What engine is in it?

Andrea remembered something and got to…little bit of trolling idea

  • I recall him talking about it in TND and its also described as being REALLY weird. If you dont believe me, ask them to pop the bonnet up so you can take a look.

At about this point, Jakasxandra had noticed few stickers on rear bumper…but more importantly the grille below said stickers

  • Nice try… Who would this guy happen to be?
  • Probably his boyfriend.

She had now directed attention to said other guy

  • Assuming im right there…Jace had mentioned the struggles you two went together. I hope you two had managed to fully settle in this other country after leaving the military?
  • I assumed that we came here to help them, not to just casually chat…there will be plenty of opportunity to do so in camp
  • I was kinda aiming to do both, Jakasxandra.

Kirann tried to scramble together the few English words he knew, with questionable results.
“Ava- Yes. We… is good? Have ho-”
Jace heard the struggle and interjected, while he continued to unload increasingly smaller items out of the boot.
“We’re good. We have a house now, garage, I even have a plane. Doing decently, as far as second-world standards go. That other guy’s called Kirann Atal-Mir. You can call him Kat, he’ll understand. Kat, saran uni meri?” [Did you want to say anything else, Kirann?]
“N’avar.” [No.]
Jace, boot now empty, began to unclip the parcel shelf to reveal the mighty 1.5-litre engine underneath.

-That might be a little bit of problem…i really hope you dont need to translate everything we say in native to him because his English is not great.
-Judging by his “We…is good” i think its just the matter of him not used to speak English. Understanding wouldnt be a problem.

Not that the girls would know that much about engine repair, but still looked at mighty boxer

-Your approach in making cars surely is weird combination of stuff. I can name some small (and rather modern) 4-door hatchback made on earth that also has engine in the rear. They are running much smaller turbo engines with just three cylinders…
-To cut Jakasxandra and her lengthy talk, we are used to hatches having boxers and ones running rear engines but they dont really do both at the same time. As neither of us is really a mechanic, we will just stand by for when cargo needs to be put back into car.

Jace, now having slumped over the rear bumper to access the engine, looked back to the two girls and nodded to them.
“Thanks for the help. We’ll do the rest ourselves. Not much to talk about as of now, it’s just the belt…”
He went back to looking at the engine, and shouted to Kirann to start the engine.

-Glad we could be of help and glad we were able to chat a little.
-See you in camp

They left back to Kontir

Bong and Pi went to help MCP which is covered here:
Shitbox Rally 2024 - Journey to Holsia (Entries Closed) - #86 by SurrealCereal


Quartet is managing to get to other side of Rift without troubles of their own.

-Im staying by car, as i plan to test something.
-Ok. Im going to exchange some money with hosts.
-And im going to spend said money. Although someone else also needs to keep me company as i cant load up my own back by myself.
-I guess both of us could go along…providing Andrea is fine with being left alone. Also not bad idea to go all three to exchange due to fact Bong may not be too likable.
-Natalia isnt here.
-True. Still…

With that, trio went to Shift Happens.

-You shall probably nudge them up and suggest that they stop messing around, turn that fucking AI whatever off and keep it such until end of event.
-One, no. We are going there only to exchange money. They may not be the kind of people to rip someone off for reasons of disagreement, but they may inadvertently do so under emotions.
Two, THEY chose to burden themself with training the thing for the WHOLE event. Rest of us will endure that only through Rifts. If really needed they can step in and override the fucker.
-Besides you dont need to get more of them on your bad side.

After some thought he decided this is very much true
Also they arrived and Jakasxandra spoke

-In case you heard us on the way here…which turns sternly toward Bong wouldnt be surprising due to their good hearing turns back toward them we will apologise for behaviour.
We had arrived here so we can exchange the money we brought into currency that works in Holsia.

Upon money being presented, SH Exchange Officer is called and waited for.
After said member of SH is indeed caught up to speed on how much needs to be exchanged, exchange was done

-While we are at it, is it known what had caused that sudden braking maneuver you did in Rift? I dont think i saw anything that would have jumped in front of it so its certainly not fault of sensors.

Jayde nods as Bong and Jakasxandra walk up and ask about a currency exchange.

“Oh, we heard. I’d be really tempted to give him an interesting day, if it wasn’t that the bunch of us are so close together that his bad day would be affecting all of us,” Jayde replies.

With a bit of effort and some double-checking with Nova, Jayde counts out an equivalent amount of money and hands it back.

Malavera, upon hearing the inquiry regarding the sudden braking maneuver, and that it couldn’t be the fault of the sensors, calls down to the pair.

“Little bastard panicked when we lost the GPS signal. Takaraya and I are busy patching the code to not rely on GPS data and instead rely on the cameras and sensors to know where it is.”

-Global Positioning System; it works based on satelites that orbit Earth. The vehicle was receiving signal from these satelites and, due to them mapping out entire Earth, would be able to know exactly where it is. This gave this project massive benefits in some way: AI would be able to know that there will be downhills/uphills/sharp turns etc. and prepare accordingly providing they would play around with handling that data.

Bong was very confused

-Their mistake was that seems AI would rely on that GPS connection, which could have been predicted to happen as we are arriving in world where such systems arent established.
As nice as it is to know all this in theory, i cant exactly be of much help in getting it to work.

Bong decided to ask

-So after they rely on cameras and sensors that sudden stop would be solved?
-Well its not like that would be only problem they might have. Im sure they will encounter some other issue that would arise by it being in unfamiliar scenario. As long as noone and nobody gets damaged or hurt, thats fine

She had also decided to ask some questions

I guess you may also be able to implement speed limits from GPS data into code? Because i think that might be another reason why you went with that: fact that road is clear doesnt mean you can drive at 60 mph in case said road is in town, for example.
Also what kinda sensors are used?

Takaraya spoke up this time.

“Road width and traffic speed will be used to keep the bus around the right road speed. We haven’t yet been able to teach it how to read a Holsian road sign, but it should be able to slow down and avoid crashing. As for sensors… GPS, ultrasonic distance sensors around the whole vehicle, some up on the roof to detect if we’re too tall to fit under an obstruction, there’s the cameras so the bus can “see,” and then it’s hooked into the whole rest of the bus. Engine RPM, wheel speed sensors, steering wheel angle sensors. In theory, it could drive this bus without a problem.”

-In theory
-Well they do need to kill any and all bugs that might be present in code. Thanks for explanation and hope you will have nice stay at this camp

After that they went back to Kontir in order to see if Andrea would need anything before they get to town.

-I had succeded but im yet to be sure what to make out of that. Will need to think tad bit more about it.
-So…would you need something from the town?
-No im afraid not. If you manage to find something yourself, feel free to buy it.
-Like what?
-I dunno surprise me. Soil, something plant-based or something animal-based would do…hopefully raw. Im still gonna experiment with what i can so cant really help you.

Trio went to the town then.
There was interest in certain 4-legged member of said trio.

-What is THAT mom?
-Just a pers…ok wait…WHAT?!?

Trio chuckled

-You put us into this mess
-Im just a child
-You were a mistake
-I can probably relate

Glance at who said that

-Of course, such a creature is not normal and can only be branded as mistake.
-Not really…i was intended to just do one singular thing and thats to transport some person from one place to other. Someone had looked at me and decided: “She seems like she aint gonna care that im effectively gonna put all of her needs and wants below person i actually care about.”
Jokes on her, person she cared about also decided that im her best friend.
Being ugly and stupid sometimes isnt such a bad thing.

Local looked at Pi with newfound confusion

-Would require lot of explanation that you arent really interested in.
-I guess
-Is there any store that would sell soil, raw fish or raw meat?
-Why would that interest you?
-One member of our group decided that she might need that kinda thing.
-We are actually kinda wondering that ourselves as no further explanation was given.
-You are all weird
-Not hostile however
-How you became…like that?

Pi was not sure how to answer to this kid

-Uhhhhhh…that started with big battle…
-…im afraid that story might not be appropriate for children.
-Wait, really?
-Is it scary?
-Well you probably heard that she was about to mention big battle. Those usually happen to be very violent. That isnt even the worst part.
-What is the worst part?
-Pi is cobbled together from two human bodies.

Child giggles

-They called her Pee
-Its written Pee - eye but how we are used to pronounce it is…well…that.
-Why she has that name?
-Its short and therefore easy to remember. We took inspiration from something from math.
-I gather you are not the fan?
-Im aware it can be complicated and, unless your interests call for it, its unlikely to be much fun. But you will figure it out and…math does happen to appear in normal life quite often.
Example or two
You get in shop because your mom told you to buy some stuff. She gave you list and money to do so. You notice something you would like to get for yourself but…would you have enough money to do so on top of what NEEDS to be bought? You may need to deploy math for that.
You have choice to buy one big something or several smaller somethings: could be bottle of water or juice, chocolates of different size or something else that usually gets eaten, drank or otherwise consumed. One bigger package requires more money to be bought than one smaller package but in a way it can be cheaper.
If you need to buy 2 kg of food, you have option of getting 2 packs weighing 1 kg each, 4 packs weighing 500 grams or 8 weighing 250 grams. In this scenario, despite 1 kg pack being most expensive, it likely turns out that going with two of these is most cost-efficient way to go about it compared to other options
-To get 500 grams you can get one pack that weighs that much or two packs weighing 250 grams. These 250 gram packs would more often than not cost more than half the price of bigger one: likely due to need for more packaging compared to it…which too requires math.
But to be sure you would need to check prices and do the math.
Im 25 years old where i from and had enough practice to be able to roughly calculate this kinda stuff.
You will surely be able to do so yourself as well with more practice.
-Yeah…we really do need to get going tho.

The group had found couple of people selling fish and as they assumed Andrea is not really interested in quality of it they decided to get bad stuff out of the market and onto Pi.
Besides that, there would be need for some more supplies which will also be mostly applied on top of Pi.

Bong and Jakasxandra are going towards the camp after the shopping spree in town, roughly walking besides each other and by “roughly” i mean there is like 3 meters of distance between the two.
Roughly in middle between them was moving bundle of various stuff that likely would involve raw fish by smell.
Bundle also happens to have entire Holsia on top of it, with some slight changes in geography: as it stands tallest mountain in Holsia would likely be fish head visibly coming from below.

-Are you ok under there?

Bundle grunts in response, somewhat moving the FishHead mountain along

-I had seen better days. Likely will be SORE next day.
-Sorry not sorry.

And with that the bundle with legs had picked up a pace other two couldnt follow, but they attempted to do so anyway judging by sound of stuff.
One local that wasnt really of clearest mind had suddenly witnessed strange bundle going towards him and, since he was scared of this new monster, had took run of his own that ended up with him finding watering place intended for someones horse.

-That creature must have came from deepest burdens of hell

Regarding the “creature” it arrived in camp with noticeable advantage to Jakasxandra and Bong

-I think i was stung by something, my legs are close to failing and i think i scared someone shitless
-Not surprised

After some pause other two had joined, Jakasxandra being faster of the two

-Holy shit she is FAST.
-She would be able to technically keep up with Renata Evo Chitco. You two would not even be able to eat her dust due to both being too slow.
-But she is loaded
-Yeah…that somewhat matters…where did you found this tarp.
-Thats map of Holsia, intended to go on wall. Someone decided they are dissatisfied with its state so they threw it away…
-This reminds me of something from some book “Orlovi rano lete”
-Same…thats why i seized the opportunity
-Map might be useful to us…despite the holes and other signs of wear and tear.

Branko Ćopić had written the book in question and rough translation of name is “Eagles are flying early”.
Some kids had became incredibly dissatisfied with their new teacher and decided to gather in some specific place instead of going to school out of protest. One of them had tools that might be useful in making it happen and other had donkey at his disposal.
Needless to say is that bringing said tools using that donkey was immense inspiration for this…and book had fair bit more such moments, including the final chase when hideout was discovered and people decided to act on it.
Book also happens to be placed in roughly the same time period as Holsia is estimated to be in, point further driven by these kids helping out soldiers in tackling WW2 becoming soldiers themselves along the way.
Hideout has found new usage as well

With that, group had decided to enjoy rest of night.


Stage 1

teams included (in order of appearance): Hillbilly Rollers by @Knugcab and Team Firulais by @Angelustyle

Early in the morning, Marie sneaked to the Rhino tent and the Primus in front of it. She looked at the sticker in disgust.


She grabbed into her pocket, got two other stickers and slammed them onto the car.

“Sadly I couldnt steal barbie stickers from the other teams, but that will do the job.”

The morning for the Rhinos started an hour later with a noise Jan and Thomas were sadly very familiar with. Chanty crying at the entrance of the tent.

“What is it this time, damn?”,

complained Thomas.


Thomas and Jan looked in panic at each other. Rudolph gone? That´s a disaster. Not because they would miss the elk, but it being a disaster for Chanty means it´s inevitably also a disaster for them as well.

“I am sure you put him in the car, drunk as you were, because you were afraid to forget him with a hangover”,

replied Jan, in an attempt to calm her down.

“We need to distract her before she starts searching in the car”,

said Thomas, not without fear in his voice.

“Oh, I have a great idea how we can give her something else to make her mad enough she stops missing Rudy that much”.

Jan smiled, told Thomas the plan and both agreed with a handshake.

A few minutes later, Thomas showed up in Chantys favourite pink unicorn t-shirt.


“I think it looks great with me, don´t you think?”

Jan giggled like a drunk chicken. Tomás from the Firulais, not to confuse with Thomas, was dragged towards the rhino tent, since for him, something sounding like fun seems worth checking out.

"Oh well, your T-shirt is a bit tight, yes, I can´t inhale that much, but my smoker lung can´t anyway. I am surprised it does fit, considering I am 1,93m and you are 1,61,

laughed Thomas, with a slightly evil tone.

“What does that mean?”,

asked Chanty, really having no clue. Tomás didnt notice that he was about to do a mistake, when he explained to her.

“It means, if he is much taller than you, that you must be quite chubby”,

poking her gently in the side. Tomás regretted instantly, as he noticed that Chantys braincell now understood, and with a cracking voice, she protested, and the next tear flood was already on the way.


Thomas and Jan facepalmed perfectly syncronized, with a slightly annoyed Jan telling Tomás to fix this now, as he caused it. Tomás immediately asked his much elder counterpart with a similar name to pretend being on a catwalk, and the senior moving like a model with that pink unicorn t-shirt made Tomás laugh so intensively, that Chanty couldn´t resist being amused by that embarrassing sight as well.

“NOW GIVE IT BACK! I need to get a shower, and I want to wear it today.”

“JAN! HELP ME OUT OF IT! I am afraid I would rip it apart, if I nave to put it off alone…”

The team drove off without any inconvenience. Thomas was driving, as he had his drinking habits under control the evening before, and Jan was navigating from the passenger seat, while Chanty tried to cure her hangover in the backseat, also missing her elk.

Dad! Not your 80s mixtape again! I am already feeling miserable enough. What´s the newest you have?

Early 2000s, but that´s a CD, but this luxury stereo has both. Let me change then…

Chanty suddenly really started to feel the third song and tried to sing along without knowing the text, which made Jan wonder.

"Eh, I thought you don´t like such music. This song is old.



Thomas gave his daughter a high five and almost died from laughter.

“Jan, are you sure this is the correct road?”

“It should be, Thomas, how about finally using your wipers so that we can see what´s in front of us?”

“The visibility is fine, but if you want… Huh? Why is there no more fluid? Wait, I`ll pull over and check.”

While Jan checked the map carefully and made sure they use the correct route, Thomas found a hole drilled into the washer fluid reservoir.

“ORSCHWERBLEEDE, WHO THE FUCK WOULD DO THIS? I mean, a proper sabotage would be puncturing the tire… I really can´t see why someone would to this. Der hat doch nimmor alle Laddn am Dsaun!”
(It was Marie, getting ANY alcohol available, as included in an earlier part)

With an acceptable they arrived safe and without a fault at the finish line for that stage, establishing themselves in the middle of the competition, and both Thomas and Chanty couldn´t explain why this old and complex machine could run so reliable after 250.000 kilometer and then sitting for seven years.

Thomas grabbed a few beers and made his usual camp “control walk”, checking out all teams´activity, while Chanty and Jan could cuddle unbothered in the tent. When he walked past the Hillbilly Rollers, Thomas didn´t believe his eyes: There was Rudolph, attatched to the grille of the IP. Thomas stepped towards the team.


Janne, not even having really arrived, looked at Marie.

“Don´t tell me it is from that Chanty and she is not imaginary?!”

“Of course it is.”


“Janne, relax, I even attatched in a way this stinky toy isn´t damaged. They should be grateful that it now smells like a hot engine and no longer after that terrible girly perfume!”

“Now give it back before that angry senior punches Andreas. Marie… eh, Marie?”

Marie already stepped up to Thomas.


“She did… what?”,

laughed Thomas, not hiding at all that he was proud of Chanty.

A furious Marie grabbed a knife and held it against Rudolphs throat, ready to slice it.

“So, grandpa. How about a trade?”, asked Marie, pointing at Thomas beers, as from the sixpack were still two unopened left.

“Do you know how expensive beer is here? DAMN!”

“You prefer telling your little innocent brat that Rudolph died a horrible death?”

Thomas sighed, pushed the two beers with his foot towards Marie, who did the same with Rudolph.
Half an hour later, Chanty and Rudolph had a very emotional reunification, but after some minutes of pure joy, she realized that Thomas can´t just have found it “in the trunk” - it smelled a bit like the Huvudvärk Wodka - but Chanty clearly knew she spilled nothing of that onto Rudolph before she saw him for the last time. So Marie must have stolen it.

Chanty grabbed a coke and some Mentos, walked towards the IP and waited for a moment when all three had left the vehicle, which happened after 20 minutes, when Janne, Andreas and Marie agreed to look for firewood.

Chanty mixed the Coke and Mentos, quickly closed the bottle again and stored it in the minibar before quickly getting away from the IP before someone could see her, and an extremely confident and amused Chanty walked back to Jan and Thomas, of course not telling what she had done in the meantime, but the two could tell from Chantys unusually good mood, that she clearly did something she shouldn´t have done.

After an hour of successful search, the Hillbilly Rollers had found enough suitable firewood, and Marie, already having consumed the two beer from Thomas, opened the minibar to get something to drink, took the Coke, and opened it…




Prepared to leave for the first part of the rally, Janne noticed something weird attached to the grille.

“MARIE! IS THIS YOUR WORK?”, he said in an angry tone, pointing at the grille.

“Yes! You don’t like it?”, she asked.

“I don’t like that you have ruined a whole bunch of freaking expensive stainless hose clamps!”, Janne answered.

“Where did you steal this plush elk?”, Andreas asked, even more annoyed than Janne.

“I did not steal it, I found it in a trash container!”, Marie said.

“M-hm… A parfume factory’s trash container then.”, Andreas said with a sigh.

To the tones of Eddie Meduza, the team left the first campground and the slightly slippery, narrow gravel roads did remind them of their home a bit, so did the weather.

After a while they passed the Primus, that seemed to have some struggle with keeping its windshield clean.

“Seems like they are out of washer fluid”, Janne said. “Should we stop and give them some?”

“No.”, was Marie’s answer. “They have a hole in their reservoir anyway!”

“So, how do you know that?”, Andreas asked.

“Uhm…ehm…I heard on TV that Primus washer fluid reservoirs are always broken!”, Marie lied, while the rest of the team started to understand where the weird smell of washer fluid came from.

All in all, the trip went rather well, even if the wide BF Goodrich Radial T/A:s sometimes made the IP go all over the road like a horny snake. What was less pleasant, though, was the smell of butter reaching the passenger compartment once again.

“Yuk!”, Andreas said. And I can’t turn off the heater because then the windshield will be fogged. How pleasant."

“Blame Chanty!”, Marie said.

“I have told you 1000 times we don’t care about your imaginary friend!”, Andreas answered.

After a not too dramatic ride, the team arrived at camp.

Continue here…


Team Firulais

Stage 1: Ana's Payback, and more mindreading incidents

(Mentioning: @Happyhungryhippo [The Rhino Squad], and @MrdjaNikolen [Team Chitco])

???, Menes, Holsia

Ángel had, for once, the night of his life. On comfort, that is. He was happy to finally be able to sleep comfortably, Mainly Thanks to Chantal’s gift, even in the Aurora’s disastrous interior, which was starting to get clobbered by Ángel’s Clothes.

However, one person who wasn’t having much fun… was Ana.

She’d found her credit card, at last. But, despite Ángel’s attempt, he wouldn’t go unnoticed. I mean, who would hide it in such an obvious place as the Sun visor… Only someone as analytical as Ángel would do such thing ! And, seriously, even his attempts of sabotaging other teams, if he does any, are evidently made by him. Probably because they aren’t as harmful… For example, “decorating” cars, removing non-essential parts (after all, Ángel, while sometimes evil-ish, didn’t want to make someone else’s car into a death trap), or causing turmoil for another team (say, waking them up with his frying pan, the only cooking device apart from the basics that HE can control). Up to this point, however, he didn’t feel like doing any mischief… But Ana did… And what better way to do mischief than in your own team as an act of payback ?

So, Ana, making hay about the fact the Firulais brought a bunch of Electronic Devices, connected an Alarm Clock to the Aurora’s Radio… And put it on full volume. As Ángel was sleeping so comfortably that night, he didn’t even notice until the clock hit 4:30 AM (The Clock wasn’t configured for Aetheriian Time [for reasons which are quite self-explanatory], so, it was around the very early morning of the day)… Whatever music was playing out of there made the entire car shake as Ángel got a well-deserved dish of payback… Ana would say. For Ángel, it was actually fair… Although, he did suffer much more than her, after all, she is the most wealthy member in the team, and Ángel is arguably the least in that aspect, despite having 2 cars as we speak.

And then, things got even worse.

As the day progressed at Menes, every single member of Team Firulais went on to do some last things on what could be their last visit at a major city in their entire trip. Tomás went to have some fun with the Nilpferds, Ana went to grab some drinks to drink later, Josué was busy in the bathroom, and Andrés, for once, wasn’t playing Pokémon. He would allow Ángel to “catch up”, so they could have a combat later in the Rally, so Andrés was making breakfast.

Ángel also went to have some fun with other teams, this time, with the Chitcos. He’d already hurd of them before, and so, he was going to try and be social… Which, was harder than you might think. With Ángel not being able to sleep more than, say, 5 hours that night, he was a bit tired. But the fact that he’d drive thru the first stage made his mood a bit higher.

Also, sadly, that ONE NIGHT of 5 hours (earth time) of sleep may be Ángel’s best night of sleep in the entire rally. Life just doesn’t give him a break.

And boy, today, it was going to be, unbeknownst to anyone, even him, his second Mindreading Incident. But, first, let’s put ourselves in context. As said before, Ángel was going to talk with the Chitcos…

“H-How do I even introduce myself… What am I going to do…?”
He thought. And decided to make a friendly approach… Which ended up seeming more like an awkward-scary approach… But, c’mon, it’s Ángel, what did you expect…?

Ángel:“H-Huh… H-Haro…”
Pi:“Did this guy just literally say ‘Hello’ in a Japanese-y way ?”
Andrea:“I mean, he looks Japanese.”
Ángel:“That’s because I kinda am. Anyway… I haven’t really introduced meself properly. Name’s Ángel, from Team Firulais…”

A wave of silence surrounded Ángel.

Ángel:“The one with the blue Aurora ?”

Again, silence…

Ángel:“OK, OK, the one team with the guy who reads minds ?”
Jakasxandra:“Ooh, that one. I remember hearing some rumors of someone wailing the day before we reached Nevada… And it was from THAT team.”
Bong:“Yeah… Who could have been ? He must be a weakass…”

Ángel pointed at himself with his finger.

Bong:“It was you ?”
Ángel:“The one-eyed, Russian-Japanese guy, who got punched in the gut the day before the trip, and nearly started a camp fire, literally…? Yes.”
Bong:“We never met someone like this… Show us your mystical powers !”
Said Bong, with excitement, as he’d never seen anything like that…
Ángel:“I-I… I can’t exactly do it…”
Pi:“What do you mean by that you can’t ? That’s laaaaame!”
Ángel:“I know, I’d love to show you but—”

It was at this point where Ángel’s Mindreading powers kick in… Reading Andrea’s mind… And, while definitely not as agonizing as the incident at Nevada, the guy suffered… His wailing and twitching made everyone around, even civilians, to look at him in such a way… Some were even alerted, and certain civilians were… Scared. They thought he was going to… Who knows, collapse and transform into some sort of legendary deity whose only purpose was wrecking havoc… Luckily for them, none of that was happening. It was just Ángel having his usual Mindreading side effects…

But, unfortunately for Ángel, this time around, none of his teammates were there to help him… He stopped after about 10 minutes (earth time), and got calm down after another 10 earth minutes… However, things were far from over for him…

Shortly after this first incident at Holsia, he’d have his second, reading accidentally the mind of one local civilian as he bought some bread in his way back to the car… This time, he caught so much the eye, he actually got stopped by the police… Luckily, he managed to get away, after a lot of chatter of course, but now Holsia had their eyes looking at him constantly…

When he arrived at his team’s place… The reception was cold… Except for Tomás, who was still laughing at what he’d seen earlier at the Nilpferds’ Tent.

Josué:“May you explain ?”
“What now…?”, thought Ángel, thinking he was going to have his THIRD INCIDENT OF THE DAY…

And while that didn’t happen… He’d still end up suffering.

Josué:“First, why did we overheat the day before this, and WHY were you sleeping during the breakdown ?”
Ángel:“Don’t I have the right to rest ? Specially after some really shaky days… And the Overheating problem… I mean, it could happen to anyone. I’ve Hurd another team also had the same issue.”
Josué:“OK, fine, but, then, why did you left us to repair it ourselves ?”
Ángel:“It was easy enough to fix ! Also, I did replace the fuses, so, I at least did SOMETHING !”
Ana:“Oh, yeah, and, about doing things… You know who woke you up ? Ángel, you sneaky little Communist Bastard !”
Ángel:“Hey, calm down…”(whispering) “And the Soviet Union doesn’t even exist anymore…”
Ana:“I’m not done yet, Ángel, you’ll see ! You shall suffer for as long as we are together !”
Josué:“…and Lastly, WHY did you call the attention of the police ?”
Ángel:“Isn’t Ana the one who usually does that…?”
Josué:“I don’t care ! You’ve got us in trouble now !”
Ángel:“Hey, it was actually only ME the one who got in trouble…”
Josué:“What would happen if they arrest you, and then we have a breakdown which only YOU could fix, huh ?”
Ángel:“Look, First, Calm down, and Second… Remember my mindreading incident at Nevada ? Remember I can’t control it… And if I attempt to, I suffer even more than I usually do when I don’t. Imagine if you were resisting against something… Say, a storm. And then you loose strength periodically… Until you can’t anymore… And the storm destroys you…”
Andrés:“That’s actually a quite metaphorical way to say it… In other words, if you attempt to control it, it may come even worse…”
Ángel (via Telepathy to the entire team):“Well… Yeh… Besides, being… Different, from most, is quite weird here… I don’t know if they know about the Yumeisotitanian Race…”
Andrés:“The… What ?”
Ángel:sigh“L-Let’s stop discussing, and focus. We were going off the conversation… The fact is, though, I… I’m sorry…”

Ángel apologized for the inconveniences, but, was still pretty nervous… After all, this was a really shaky morning…

However, the drive to Unmar would rise his spirits.

???, Menes-Unmar Road, Holsia.

Unlike Stage 0, the car handled brilliantly with the tight roads. Asphalt and Cobblestone wasn’t exactly Ángel’s home turf though… But given it was wet, it felt like it (his “home turf” is Snow and Ice).

And apart from a little in-car discusion, the team was chilling out. Tomás was reading some Manga he’d brought, Ana was occasionally kicking in Ángel’s seat, and Josué was keeping an eye on Ángel, who, same as Andrés, was listening to some old Soviet song… Ángel had brought a few cassettes, all containing some music… Although he had also brought 2 blank cassettes… Along with a recorder, he’d use them as a “log”.

???, Unmar, Holsia.

Upon arrival on Unmar, reactions were mixed. Ana was a city girl, so she as sure as hell wouldn’t like this town… The opposite could be said of Ángel. He was born and lived in a small town in the Kuril Islands for quite some time (only moving occasionally to Nemuro [Small City in Hokkaidō, Japan] and to Vladivostok [where he lives at the moment]).

And Unmar gave him quite the small town vibes, so, he was actually a bit happy of being outside of the city… However, after the incidents at Menes, he, despite being in some way a Social Butterfly, he wouldn’t attempt to approach any of the locals… And, for his sake, that was actually an understandable decision…

And as always…

Also, my drawings… I admit, they are from not the best quality… But at least I’m trying…


Team Highway Hooligans

Stage 1

“Yee haw!”

Cody yells as they leave the first camp in a flurry of wheel spin and tire smoke, mostly thanks to Jake forgetting that the parking brake was still set.

Knowing that there was a rock coming up, and more importantly, it was on the inside of a corner that put their gas tank at risk, Jake takes the detour to avoid it, then weaves their front-wheel-drive car-van-truck-thing through the twisting, winding roads. The cobblestone roads cause the old plastics to rattle and squeak, and makes talking almost impossible. The patches of rough asphalt are a welcome reprieve, the suspension able to handle those bumps a lot better.

They breeze into camp a little after 3-and-39 Sun, where they quickly set up some tents… And then Cody decides to be that guy who turns the Ishu’s stereo up to blast some rock music.

“Well, at least when someone inevitably eggs our car,” Jake says, cracking open a can of chili and heating it on a small portable stove, “the rain should wash most of it off.”

Trevor chuckles and assembles a sandwich from a fresh-baked loaf of bread, some locally produced cheese, and some cooked chicken. “You worry too much, Jake. What I’m worried about is the fat slob over there,” Trevor says, pointing to Marie from Hillbilly Rollers, “breaking into our truck box and stealing our beer. Have you seen the prices of that shit around here? I did the math, it’s like $12 a bottle. Glad I stuffed 4 36-can cases of Coors Light in there, behind the jugs of oil and coolant, and under some blankets.”

“Good point,” Jake quips. “I swear, I saw her drinking window washer fluid the other day.”

“She ain’t right in the head, Jake,” Trevor adds in agreement.


Team Shift Happens

Stage 1

Kivenaal sighs. “We really need to leave the AI on for the whole trip?”

“It’s good training data for it. Where else are we going to be able to train an AI to drive a bus with a trailer to drive on tight, winding roads?” Malavera responds with a smirk.

Jayde shrugs. “I’m kinda with Kiva on this one. We’re going to be slow as it is, and then we have to deal with our digital gremlin. Or do I need to remind everyone about it brake-checking people when it went into the Rift?”

“That was a fluke. We forgot to take that out of the code,” Takaraya admits. “Besides, we’re on the road and the AI seems to be fine.”

“You’re not the one watching the screen of debug spew, Tak. It’s not confidence inspiring to see how often it barfs up “AI Panic” with some sort of message soon after,” Kivenaal grumbles.

Camp, however, was an easier matter for the Shift Happens crew. Simply toss down Jayde’s magic tent, pin it with tent stakes to the ground so it looks supported, and enjoy all the creature comforts of home, like climate control, electricity, a working refrigerator and stove, and separate bedrooms for everyone if they needed it.

“Downside of not having Rukari with us,” Kaylie admits, “is that we’re missing out on a lot of good camp stews.”

“Mani and Sariya seem to have that covered,” Kayden replies, motioning to the two of them in the kitchen, making something vaguely similar to spaghetti, but with Sariya’s homemade spicy sauce. For Jayde, Mani had a garlic-and-herb enhanced tomato sauce with much, much lower heat.

“Yeah, but even I can make pasta,” Kasiya counters.

“I think most of us are going to miss Rukari’s almost-infinite capacity for brewing alcohol,” Jayde adds. “We’ve got enough beer for everyone to have one bottle, and then we fight over the last one.”

“Any idea what we can trade, or who we trade with?” Lauren inquires.

“Fresh-cooked food for beer,” Sariya replies. “Seriously - Hunger will loosen some pockets.”