October 16, 2022, Kivenaal’s Home, Pahrump, Nevada.
Kivenaal groaned as the alarm clock went off, not wanting to get out of bed right now, but knowing he had to go to work. Fumbling around blindly with one hand, he eventually found the bloody beeping bastard and shut it off, getting up and stretching before taking a quick shower, then fighting with his shirt to try getting it on the right way.
After a few long minutes of frustration, Kivenaal had his long-sleeved shirt on without adding any new holes to it. He looked over at the clock and sighed. “Really?” he grumbled to himself, seeing it was 7:45 AM. He sat on the edge of his bed and grimaced his way through putting his compression socks on, followed by his jeans, then pulled on his heavy boots. In the kitchen, he grabbed a couple slices of bread, stuffed them in the toaster, and prepared some bacon, scrambled eggs, and cheese. Luckily, the sandwich didn’t take long to make, nor did it take much time to eat.
Walking out to the garage, he grabbed his keys and unlocked his truck, the old 2014 Bricksley Industrial Warcat that he’d bought not because he really needed a truck, but because he needed a vehicle he could drive. The super-heavy-duty work truck just happened to be the right size, and in Bricksley’s “Battleship Gray Metallic,” it happened to be a fairly neutral color. He climbed up into the cab, turned the key in the ignition, and woke up 485 cubic inches of all aluminum, SOHC V8, hit the garage door opener on the sun-visor, and then grabbed first gear.
8:30 AM, Twin Suns Towing, Nevada
When Kivenaal arrived in the parking lot, he spotted the bright orange 2019 Anhultz Dione there and smirked. “I bet I know who drove that here,” he said, pulling around to a parking spot behind the building and shutting off the truck. He got out, clipped his keys to a belt loop, then wandered over to the car.
“Good morning, Val,” Kivenaal said. “Looks like I’m pretty much the last one to arrive today.”
Not more than 15 seconds after Kivenaal had said that, Jayde and Kaylie arrived in their “old” work van.
“Okay, guess I’m not the only one who had a late start,” Kivenaal added, watching as Jayde and Kaylie parked the van and got out, followed by Rukari across the street finishing his “Pre-flight checklist” on the 6x6 Highwayman by cranking over the engine, backing up to a trailer and hitching it up, and connecting the harness.
“Ai!” Rukari yelled. “Could use help check lights on trailer!”
Valentin’s morning routine was nothing special, except his choice of clothing, which came about due to limitations on luggage space. As a result, he was wearing an assortment of thinly-woven clothes consisting of a vaguely jeans-looking synthetic pair of pants, his usual sneaker-styled cycling shoes and a very thin figure-hugging shirt meant to make life at around 30°C as bearable as possible.
The drive was far less exciting than his fashion sense, though, as he rolled up to and into one of the customer parking spots, with nobody else seemingly present. He then pulled out and dabbled on his phone for a while, noticing Rukari milling about on the other side of the road. Though Valentin quickly returned to his phone, not wanting to bother him in whatever it was that he was doing.
Eventually, a gunmetal grey truck entered the lot, going round the back to the employee parking. Soon after, Kivenaal came back walking, greeting Valentin as he approached.
“Mornin’…”, Valentin greeted back while pocketing his phone and getting out of the car.
Immediately afterwards, Jayde and Kaylie joined them with their work van as Rukari sent his V8 alive across the road, calling for assistance on checking the trailer.
“Be right there!”, Valentin shouted across the road before addressing the others on this side. “Might as well make myself useful where i can.”, he said, walking over to Rukari.
“Trailer lights, right? Want me to do the switches or the looking?”, Valentin inquired, not even before having arrived fully and inspecting the 6-wheeled truck from afar.
Rukari nodded when Val asked about the trailer lights, then said, “You look, I use controls.”
Jayde and Kaylie wandered over to the truck as well, with Jayde in his light-brown shirt and dark-brown slacks, a look which was almost business-like until his bright green tennis shoes ruined it, carrying a thin, light-gray wind-proof jacket, while Kaylie was in an almost-obnoxiously-bright pastel yellow long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans, paired up with white running shoes. In contrast, Rukari was in a light gray shirt and dark blue jeans, with his usual heavy black boots on.
Rukari climbed up into the cab and went through the controls with Valentin letting him know if the lights were working.
Rukari and Valentin went through the process of checking the trailer lights, which after about two minutes was concluded with all of them working as they should. As the others piled into the Bricksley, Valentin waited for them to do so, claiming whichever seat remains as a result of that.
After the lighting check, Kaylie and Jayde climbed into the back seat of the Highwayman, giving Val the front passenger seat with Rukari behind the wheel.
“Right, just so everyone knows,” Kaylie said, “we’re doing roughly 4 hour segments behind the wheel to minimize road fatigue. It’s okay to stop early, it’s equally okay to skip your segment or ask to go again early. Basically, every four hours, we’ll be stopping for fuel and food and to use the toilet, but if you have to go, let us know and we’ll find a gas station or fast food place.”
“For driving truck,” Rukari said, “remember clutch is heavy, and while gearbox has ten speed, drive it like five speed. No need to switch odd and even, we not towing that much weight.”
“Also, remember when you’re in cities, this thing is not short and we have a trailer on the back. I know we’ve all practiced trailer driving, but if anyone isn’t confident in it, say something so we know,” Kaylie added.
“I mean, I can do it, but… I hate reversing trailers,” Jayde mentioned.
“Fair enough,” Kaylie said. “Anyone else have trailer issues?” she asked.
“Other than maybe the scale of US motoring and visibility, nothing i can immediately think of. Hope that i can poodle around a parking lot a bit before going out. The trailer might be vaguely what i am used to size-wise, but the truck very much isn’t.” Valentin remarked as Kaylie asked about trailer issues.
“Other than that, i’m good. And we have more than enough manpower to direct from the outside if need be.” he added while looking about the cabin in an attempt to gather some up-front information about where each corner of the truck was and how much one could see out of it.
Kaylie nodded. “Makes sense,” she said.
When Val mentioned that he wanted to drive around a parking lot a little before heading out, however, Rukari chuckled. “Nekasi. Not a problem,” he said. “We switch seat, you drive first segment?”
Kaylie, meanwhile, finished plugging the route data into the GPS and handed it forward. “Just stick that on top of the turntable’s lid. It’s what we usually do.”
“Uhm… sure.”, Valentin replied before switching seats with Rukari up front.
At first, he simply took a look around as he makes himself familiar with with the more minor controls regarding the lights, wipers and other minor features. After that, he adjusted the mirrors, followed by him rowing about the gearbox to see where each gear was with the clutch to the floorpan.
“Yep. Clutch is heavy.”, Valentin quipped as the pedal went down.
Soon after, the car rolls about the northern half of the Twin Suns Towing and Garage plot, doing slow circles around the Twin-Hearts racing building. After three or four laps, the latter two being done quickly enough to use second gear without stalling, Valentin comes to a stop again on the access road to the highway connecting Pahrump to Las Vegas. The Sat-Nav unit is stuck to the turntable lid as instructed and adjusted for visibility, after which the actual road-trip begins, heading east.
When Valentin confirmed the clutch was heavy, Kaylie chuckled. “That’s what a factory Bricksley Industrial clutch is supposed to be like. You’ve got almost 8 liters of V8 up front, if it had the factory clutch for the Highwayman, it’d do a great job of turning it into a red-hot mess.”
As Val pulled out onto the main road, following the sat-nav’s instructions, the Bricksley’s new industrial engine growled as the truck was hauled up to speed, the trailer making a bit of racket behind the truck as small bumps were hit. The other noticed sound was the quiet, but certainly notable hum from the all-terrain tires on the road, nowhere near as obnoxious as a proper off-road tire would be, but certainly louder than more conventional all-weather tires.
The first hour or so went on without any issues, but soon after that hour passed, traffic got dense very quickly.
“Yep. Traffic. Huzzah…” Valentin remarked, the 55mph cruise turning into a slog a little faster than walking pace.
Annoyingly, the speed had Valentin shuffle back and forth between first and second, eventually settling on remaining in first, the engine running rather high up in the RPM range for non-spirited driving.
“Valentin, use second gear, but with thumb switch in down position. Is between gear, better for engine.”, Rukari requested, thus reverting on the earlier instruction to not use the splitter on the Bricksley’s gearbox.
Valentin did as instructed, shifting from 1st to 2nd (2nd to 4th effectively) in the shift gates, but flipping the switch with his thumb (4th to 3rd), thereby not dropping the engine RPM as far.
Eventually, Las Vegas was behind them, as was the dense traffic. The remaining time of his stint was very mundane due to the inherent lack of variety in US interstate planning and him not talking much.
After just shy of 4 hours, the truck and trailer rolled up onto a small service stop, shutting the car down next to one of the gas pumps.
“Can someone else do the fuel? I have no idea what this thing takes.”, Valentin inquired, exiting the car regardless as his first stint was done with.
“Will not be problem,” Rukari said, opening his door and walking over to the fuel pump. He pulled out a card, swiped it, then selected regular gasoline and opened the fuel filler door, dropping the nozzle in and starting to fill the tank.
Kaylie chuckled as they all got out of the car, then mentioned to Val, “Knowing Rukari, this thing would quite happily run on just about anything. We’ve been throwing the idea around of it making a return to the Shitbox Rally under the “once a shitbox, always a shitbox” rule. Not 100% sold on that, which is why we’re collecting the Ranger as a possible option.”
Jayde took the time to stretch, then retrieved his cane from inside the truck. “Not sure about you guys, but I could use some food,” he said.
Kaylie grimaced. “Food sounds good, but I’d rather get something at a fast food place instead of raiding the gas station convenience store. It’d cost us a hell of a lot less money.”
“Food sounds good.” Valentin agreed, though not without some doubt as he made his way around the front of the car and back into the front passenger seat.
“Have fun trying to park this thing between the lines at McDonalds or Burger King or what have you, because the chances of this thing fitting through the drive-in lane are just about zero.”
“Could be done,” Rukari said, and immediately, Kaylie grimaced.
“We’re not taking the trailer through the drive-through lane, Rukari,” Kaylie said. “I don’t care if you know how to do it, that’s obnoxious to everyone else who has the bad luck of being behind us.”
Jayde shrugged. “Just find two spots in a line and pull through them. It’s more sensible to eat inside anyway. We’re less likely to spill something in the car if we’re all at a table.”
“On other hand, if we eat in car, could still keep driving,” Rukari said.
“You know that’s not safe,” Jayde grumbled. “Seriously, even your brother doesn’t eat and drive at the same time.”
“Does anyone here have a preference between Burger King or McDonalds?” Kaylie asked.
“Not really. There’s merit to either. Plus i don’t know the national chains,” Valentin mentioned.
“That depends on whether I’m the one ordering the fries,” Jayde mentioned.
Kaylie smirked, then mentioned to Val, “Jayde figured out that if you ask for “fries, but without salt,” they’ll drop a fresh batch of fries. Kayden’s got him on a mild salt restriction, so he found out naturally.”
Rukari shrugged. “No real preference. Would prefer place with fish, but will eat anywhere.”
Kaylie chuckled. “Well, that basically makes it two votes for McDonalds, one vote abstaining, so by majority, we’re going to McDonalds.”
The fuel pump gave a clunk and Rukari removed the nozzle, hanging it back up and putting the fuel cap back on the truck. “Who wants drive?” Rukari asked.
“I’ll do it,” Kaylie said. “Otherwise Rukari’s going to try to fit the trailer through the drive through.”
As they all returned to the truck, Kaylie started the engine and pulled out onto the road, spotting the tell-tale sign in the distance. She drove to the McDonalds with no real incidents, other than hearing someone’s tires screech as they realized if they didn’t stop, they would rear-end the trailer. Kaylie sighed. “Get off your phone,” she grumbled, shaking her head.
In the parking lot, Kaylie found a few spaces that looked like they’d fit, then lined the Bricksley up and parked it. A quick glance revealed that all ten wheels were inside their lines, though she grimaced. “I really hope that little hatchback is just carrying one person,” she said. “Otherwise, we’re likely to have children climbing over our trailer to get into the back seat.”
Jayde looked, then said, “I don’t think the gap is that close. Plus, that guy’s parked crooked anyway.”
The crew got out of the truck and walked up to the main doors.
“Everyone know what they want?” Kaylie asked.
“Not really,” Jayde admitted.
“Yi, I know already. Two filet-o-fish, large fry, ahd Coca-Cola,” Rukari said.
Kaylie chuckled. “Well, that makes one of us who knows already what they want,” she said, studying the board.
Jayde grimaced and grabbed his reading glasses, putting the thin wire-framed glasses on and trying to read the menus posted up on the wall. He shook his head and sighed. “Going to have to see Kayden about this,” he muttered to himself, taking the glasses off, cleaning the lenses, and putting them back on.
As they went toward the establishment and Kaylie asked about what they wanted, Valentin did not think long about that at all.
“Yup,” he quickly responded. “20 piece nuggets, some fries and a Fanta.”
Once in there, the ordering process went along and they soon found themselves sat at a table with their food in front of them.
Valentin dug in briskly, knowing that even freshly served, most of it barely qualified as being ‘warm’.
Much like with Valentin, the others didn’t take very long to start eating. Jayde wasted no time starting off with his still-quite-hot fries, occasionally cooling his mouth down with a sip of Sprite. Rukari, likewise, was trying to get through his fries as fast as possible, knowing that once they got cold, they weren’t worth eating. Kaylie bit into an onion ring with a smile, though wasted little time in eating them either.
Then it was a brief matter of Jayde and Rukari devouring two sandwiches each, with Jayde having double burgers and Rukari having fish, while Kaylie worked her way through a box of nuggets.
In the moment, it was somewhat clear that they had a certain efficiency to dealing with fast food. As Kaylie wiped a bit of ketchup off of her fingers, then collected up empty fry boxes, wrappers, and Jayde’s now-empty cup of Sprite for the trash, she smiled. “Sorry. We’re so used to trying to beat the lunch rush back home that, well, whenever we sit down to eat in one of these places, it’s hard to slow down,” Kaylie admitted.
“Force of habit sure is strong, i guess…” Valentin remarked, being by far the slowest to eat since he still had about half the box of nuggets to go through. In fear of holding up the others, he picked up the pace somewhat, eventually finishing his meal as well.
“I’m finally done as well,” he said as he got up to return the tray and leftovers to the little cart.
With the garbage thrown away and their trays put where they belonged, the group returned to the truck, where Kaylie got back behind the wheel.
“Right, everyone ready?” she asked.
With no one suddenly calling for a last minute toilet stop, Kaylie started the engine and maneuvered their truck and trailer through the parking lot, then got back out of town and on the highway once again.
With nothing really exciting happening, other than some idiot in a high-powered sportscar flying past them at triple digit speeds, Kaylie repeated the steps of the previous stop, first getting fuel, and then parking in a fast food parking lot. “Sorry, Rukari, but if we’re dealing with almost-cold fries, I want fries that are still tolerable when cold.”
At the second stop, Valentin elected to skip food entirely, only ordering a drink instead.
With Rukari and especially Jayde towering over the already giant Val even when seated, he could not stop himself from wondering.
“Not meaning to be rude or anything, but how the hell do you deal with anything here? Like… i already don’t fit into any ‘commoner’s’ place and such, but you lot sure do make me look up for once. Most of you, anyway… sorry Kaylie…” Valentin spoke, clearly curious about how Shift happens deals with their size issues.
Jayde chuckled. “In a way, it’s not that different from being back home. There, I have the annoyance of being between sizes. Most sfuff made for normal people, even people of my own kind, is made for someone around Rukari’s size. Most stuff made for the Wyld ones, who are…” Jayde paused for a second, then shrugged and rolled with it, “a bit taller than Takaraya in their true form, and a lot more rare to see for obvious reasons, is too big for me. Here, I just have to get used to everything being made for a much smaller standard, which… Isn’t too difficult. Ducking through doorways and walking in a crouch at times is hell, but I manage. Chairs and benches are a bit annoying, but if I sit with my feet out more, I at least avoid overturning tables with my legs.”
Rukari smirked, then added, “Is easier for me, but not much. When having hard time, I remember that viathien Kivenaal has much worse. He same size as Jayde, almost.”
Jayde sighed, then lightly flicked Rukari’s ear. "Sorry, Val. This guy sometimes forgets that his language is far from common. “Viathien literally translates out to “My brother,” in this case. At least he’s not swearing in his language today.”
“Not worth to put five dollar in swear jar later,” Rukari said.
Kaylie chuckled and added, “Not exactly easy for me, either. Most people don’t make clothing sized for a 6 foot female, let alone one with five added inches. I mean, I can make it work, but it’s not easy. Summertime, not a problem, ignore the height and just get the shirt and shorts sized right to fit the rest of me. A little bare fur at the midsection isn’t an issue. In cooler weather, well…” Kaylie shook her head slightly, then continued, “I’ve been learning from Jayde how to make my own clothing.”
“Truth be told, i expected more… creative ways of dealing with things,” Valentin admitted. “Though nobody forces anyone to wear gender-specific clothing, especially nowadays.”
One last sip on the straw of his cup had Valentin finish his beverage.
“For me, it’s annoying. Nothing fits you, made worse by being both tall and weighing next to nothing… Stuff that does fit you is either worse in quality or stupid expensive. Some things are outright impossible, such as anything in theme parks. You all know how expensive bicycles get once you grow past about 1.90 meters…”, Valentin then continued in his mild rant concerning his very non-standard height.
“Oh, I wear plenty of men’s clothing,” Kaylie admitted, “just have to alter it a bit to fit properly. The real bitch is dealing with my left arm.”
Jayde chuckled. “She hates that it’s designed for a male of her kind, so at her size, it’s two inches longer and more suited for a masculine frame. But it fit so it works.”
“That five centimeters of asymmetry makes fitting clothing absolutely a nightmare. Either I have two inches of wrist showing on a long sleeve shirt, or I’m covering half of my hand on the other side,” Kaylie replied.
“Either way, we do end up making a lot of our own clothes,” Jayde admitted. “It gets… Expensive otherwise. Takaraya’s a bit stubborn, but he still has connections through the military to get things like replacement uniform shirts.”
“Yeah, we ran a calculation of how much one of his shirts goes for, and in US dollars, he’s spending $500 a shirt. But, their currency is a gold-backed standard, so… Yeah,” Kaylie mentioned. “Our stuff gets expensive fast unless we’re making or modifying our own. And, well, most of us drive large vehicles to fit in them, which means we pay more for gas, too.”
Jayde grinned. “Yeah, our bicycles weren’t exactly cheap, either. Kaylie was lucky. Kayden, Kivenaal, Malavera, and myself, not so much. Ours are all custom frames, and all of us are on utility rims, tubes, and tires. And Takaraya’s one is being built, though it’s damned expensive.”
“Was cost of small new car,” Rukari added after swallowing the last bite of his second burger.
“Or a nice motorcycle,” Kaylie mentioned. “Granted, they’re having to build the frame to that standard, find rims, tubes, and tires rated to exceed his weight, make all the components that don’t come in sizes for a 2.7 meter tall augmented werewolf, it’s a lot of work.”
“As soon as you are away from the common sizes, it doesn’t matter how far you are off. The work is the same and it doesn’t matter if you are as big as Yoda or the Hulk.”, Valentin countered, getting up and rounding up whatever trash he could from those either already done eating or could rid themselves of some of the packaging.
Upon returning, he retook his seat: “I get the asymmetry issue. Another layer of evil in the curse of not being average…”
“I never thought I’d say it, but, yeah, Takaraya’s the lucky one. He might be huge, but at least his limbs match,” Jayde admitted. “It’s damned annoying having to replace shoes all the time because I’ve worn a hole through my left shoe while my right is still fine.”
“And way more annoying to find shoes to start with,” Kaylie added. “I mean, we make do with what’s available, but… Yeah, the others have an easier time of it. Kivenaal and Rukari here have a preference toward heeled boots, but both come from a riding and sailing culture, so they manage, and their feet are more human. Same for Malavera and Takaraya. They might need specialty sizes, but they walk with their whole foot on the ground. Kayden, Jayde and me? We’re a bundle of weird when shoe shopping.”
Rukari said, “They toe-walk. Heels never touch ground.”
“It’s gotten bad enough that I’ve been reading up on how to make shoes,” Jayde admitted.
Kaylie looked around to see that everyone was finished, with the exception of Jayde still holding a good half of his third burger. “Bought more than you could eat?” she asked.
“No, I’ve been trying not to shower Val with half-chewed meat bits and butcher my words in the process,” Jayde replied.
“Aaaalright…” Valentin muttered once the others were done explaining their tow-walk induced shoe-buying problems, being either unable or unwilling to mentally process the information presented.
“I’ll be right back from the bathroom and then i’m ready,” he added, heading off and through a door into the bathroom.
Once the rest of the group had used the restroom as needed, the crew got back into the truck, this time with Jayde behind the wheel.
“Okay, been a while since I’ve sat in this seat,” Jayde admitted, taking a moment to review where all the controls were. He pulled on his seatbelt, stepped on both the brake and the clutch, and then turned the key. Instantly, the huge V8 started, and Jayde shook his head. “I have no idea why they thought it needed a bigger engine,” he muttered. “It’s like having a bigger dragon, it eats more and it makes more noise.”
He put the truck in first gear and slowly left the parking lot, heading back out to the highway to continue their journey. There, things went smoothly for a while, with the usual expected stupidity. People tailgating the trailer, getting passed by everything that had wheels, including the occasional semi, people visibly on their phone. Jayde’s response was to simply set the cruise at 55 miles per hour and let the truck mostly handle itself, other than needing to steer it.
Kaylie, on the other hand, was a little more vocal about it when someone on a motorcycle split the lane of highway traffic with no helmet on and a phone in their hand. “Well, there’s a future organ donor. Might as well part them out now, they clearly don’t value their brain enough to put a helmet over it,” she grumbled.
“Yeah, I’m already giving him space,” Jayde said, pulling slightly toward the shoulder to make sure he didn’t hit the idiot. When the idiot instead drifted lazily into the Bricksley’s lane without continuing to make forward progress, however, Jayde gave the horn a quick toot, which startled the motorcyclist enough that he dropped his phone. The man, in response, gave them the finger, tried (and failed) to slap the truck’s mirror thanks to Jayde’s well-timed defensive swerve, and drove off in anger, flipping them the bird the whole time.
“Thanks for confirming your IQ, asshole,” Kaylie quipped.
“Muricanism, i guess. People here seems to like their big Vee 8 Motor,” Valentin replied half-jokingly as they went back out onto the road.
Not much happened for a while after, with Valentin killing most of the time by watching the landscape go by until he is startled by Kaylie mentioning something about motorcycles. A quick look out the other window reveals the idiot in question to Valentin.
“Guy’s probably gonna get his scull cracked like a coconut sometime soon… Dressed like that, not much will remain once he’s come to a stop after the mile of sliding.”, Valentin added in obvious annoyance.
Watching the rider drift towards them, he somewhat expected the horn to be used, but the sudden noise still came as a surprise.
“Karma.”, Valentin noted as the motorcyclist sped off ahead of them.
“Hell, seeing what had happened to you,” Kaylie said to Valentin, “was enough to convince me to sell my motorcycle. If that could happen at a reasonable speed, what happens when you’re going double that? I’m already a lifetime member of the Missing Parts Club, I don’t need to lose more by getting thrown halfway across the highway, sliding and tumbling the whole damn time. I don’t need to be airlifted to a hospital - if I’m lucky - only to be told that after all was said and done, I won’t ever walk again. Or to lay there in some field, in pain and dying, alone because some texting twit ran into me.”
Jayde added in, “It wasn’t a decision she made lightly, either. She spent two weeks debating on whether to keep it but ride less, or just sell it.”
Valentin gave a slightly awkward smile and a light nod, and Kaylie smiled in response.
About an hour later, Jayde started looking for a rest stop, just wanting a place to change drivers. “Rukari, keep an eye out for a rest stop or an exit with a gas station, please. My leg is starting to hurt,” he said, grimacing and trying to move the little bit he could while still driving.
Rukari spotted an exit sign and pointed out, “One on right in half mile.”
As something flashed in the mirror, followed by a loud, blaring horn, Kaylie glanced behind them and sighed. “Really? You’re going to tailgate our trailer, blind us with your highbeams, and flip us off because we’re doing the speed limit? Go around us, idiot,” Kaylie snapped.
A few seconds later, the driver of the crossover behind them suddenly floored it, passing the truck and trailer while showing them the finger the whole time, then cut across the front of the truck and brake checked it.
“You…” Jayde bit back a growl and stomped on the clutch and brake pedals, trying to take care not to lock up the wheels, swerving toward the passing lane to avoid a potential collision.
As the crossover disappeared up the exit, Jayde pulled over and shut the truck off. “May your radio stop working, your phone end up in your toilet, and your steering wheel be forever sticky,” Jayde snapped, stomping on the parking brake.
Kaylie sighed. “Rukari, looks like it’s an early switch in for you. I… Doubt that Jayde’s driving any more until he calms down.”
“This is why i usually don’t drive… In the cities it’s already bad with the amount of cars and such, but at least the speeds are low in comparison . The motorway is on a whole different level due to the same number of cars being present while doing twice the speed, if not more.”, Valentin remarked as the Crossover went past the Bricksley, it’s engine screaming for mercy in the process.
Soon after, the truck came to a stop on the hard shoulder, making Valentin rather nervous.
“Can we at least get off the interstate for a driver sw… JEEZ!”, Valentin said, being interrupted by a 40 000 lbs semi-truck blasting past them closer than what Valentin is comfortable with.
When Valentin asked if they could get off the interstate for a driver swap, Kaylie pulled up a map on her phone. “Jayde, there’s an exit in about two miles with a gas station. Think you can make it there?” she asked.
“I’d rather fight a Dyre, but yes, I can,” Jayde grumbled, starting the engine and setting off again.
Kaylie sighed. “Jayde’s not fond of highway driving. Combining all the assholes who drive in the city with all the added risks of 70+ miles per hour, it’s the worst for him,” she mentioned to Valentin as Jayde ended up taking the second exit and winding his way through town to find the gas station.
Rukari got out and helped fuel up the truck while Jayde got out of the driver’s seat, ending up in the rear bench next to Valentin, courtesy of Kaylie vacating that seat in order to run into the gas station convenience store for some snacks. She returned with a couple of bags of baked salted chips and a couple of packs of beef jerky, climbed into the front passenger seat, and passed half of the snacks to the back row.
“Just in case either of you needed it,” Kaylie said. At that point, Rukari had finished topping up the tank, then climbed up into the driver’s seat of his truck, started the engine, and weaved back through town to return to the highway.
“I get that you want to change, but doing that on the shoulder is just asking for something to literally blow our doors off.”, Valentin commented once they were back in motion.
At the gas station, Valentin simply waited it out until they were ready, taking the snacks out of Kaylie’s hands and passing some of them over to Jayde.
“Thank you.”, he said as he tears open a package of beef jerky almost immediately once he has both hands available.