[DVFP] Delivering to Lether (C 2.2)

Well, as you knew, the United Front is around, but the space between Depot and Truk Stop is patrolled and guarded by The Fat Man's little army. They have three jeeps zipping up and down the dirt separating the jewel of DVFP and the biggest town.

You pull around to the entrance like normal, there's a small line so you burn off a little Megahol waiting. Mostly merchants right now, making a break for the road while UF is concentrating on the autoduel tonight.Do you have A/C still, by the way?

When you bring the car inside Truk Stop, Lether comes out to meet you. He's covered in grime, and looks tired.


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    "Hey Stazie," Lether says as he comes over to open your car door. He wipes his hand on his pants like he'll shake yours, but there's a moment where maybe he wouldn't mind a hug. He glances into the car, "Everything green?"
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    I'd like to see him try to open my door withou my nevermind. But I hit the unlock and let him. I step out and it looks like he's having a hard time of it...

    Hell I give him a hug, like a bro hug kinda thing though. Not the leads to a night in the sack kind.

    "Hey Lether, yeah... things got a little ugly gettin' outta the Irons, and June's... moved to the Depot.... high rent. Tracked her down for you, no trouble."

    I get his package out of the car, the slightly mussed up boxes of borax soap and the care package from June. But I can't help but wonder what's got him looking down.

    "You green here? Hornets buzzin' round gotta have you stressing?" But his face says maybe it's something else. Well. I've given him the opening to talk about it.
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    "Sorry you had to go to all the trouble," Lether says as he reaches into his apron. He pulls out a candy bar, one from outside, your favorite. What is it? "Here. Take it. Been saving it for the right time. Now's as good as any." He offers a weak smile.
    When you ask about hornets, he glances around like he's checking if you're out of earshot. "Keep it shady, but Fat Man's thinking about drying out the UF. They're encroaching too far, moving too hard. I hear he might turn off the pump for a bit."
  • edited December 2016
    "Whoa are you kiddin' me?" I take the colorful Jolly Rancher cherry stix candy, "Thanks! Lether, you know how to make a wayward courier feel at home." I actually smile and let my guard down for a second. Takes some discipline to slip the thing in my pocket, unopened.

    I love these things. And best of all they handle the heat pretty well... which is good cause although my A/C works just fine, it eats too much power against the desert heat and I almost never run it. More of a luxury.

    He gives me that news, I whistle, "Fat man's asking for trouble... UF's not going to sit down and take that are they? And... Fat's got Ziggy holed up outside'a the Irons taking shots at uh... at wayward couriers trying to slip by... Fat's not lookin' ready for a fight to me... hell I'd like to see UF taken down a peg or two. Not sure Fat's got the flex to pull that off."
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    "Sorry you had to go to all the trouble for June's stuff," he holds up the jar, smiling at it, "What's up with the borax? They're powdering it now?"
    You run down the UF vs. Fat Man chances and he seems to agree, "Fat Man has the numbers, the biggest army in the DVFP. But the Fippers watch close, and he doesn't have the guns or machines the UF has. It would be ugly no matter who won."
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    He's right about that, I nod in agreement... little look on my face though as he mentions the state of the borax.

    "It uh... got a little bumpy gettin' past Ziggy's crew... one casualty..." I gesture at that box, "it ain't good huh?"

    I reach back into my pocket and offer him the Jolly Rancher back, "I don't deserve a bonus... not this time."

    Man that hurts.... but he's right... even though he didn't actually complain. It feels like I messed up the job and that's not me.
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    Lether puts his hand on yours when you try to hand the candy back, "Keep it. I only traded it for you anyways. I can make the powder work fine." He looks at you for a long moment, glances around again.
    This he says a bit louder, "Hey... you never finished filling up your aux tanks. You should, ah, refill while you're here."
  • edited December 2016
    Lether's in a generous mood. Surprised, a bit. Not unhappy about it.

    "Yeah... let's get that done," I need to get back to the depot, but not in that much of a hurry. "Just let's get me outta here before UF tightens up... hey... and guess what? I'm gonna pinch-drive for Skorpions in Poles & flags tomorrow."

    Can't help but smile. I'm actually looking forward to this.
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    That surprises him a bit. "I thought you were out of that game. Really? Poles and flags... haven't seen a match in forever! Wish I could get the time away to come watch." He whistles at some workers who move over to your car, barking orders, "Refill primary and aux tanks one and two. Mind the sequence. Good mix. No shortings."
  • edited December 2016
    I find myself wondering if anyone might be watching the match... must be more interesting stuff going on somewhere. Right?

    "Thanks, Lether, give you a ride out if you wanna be there," I shrug like, 'why not?' but I expect he's probably busy busy here. Would be nice to have a fan up there.

    "Thanks for the fill, I'm gonna get a bite and then head out."
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    Sadly, he shakes his head, "There won't be much to do when we go dry," he says quietly. "But I can't up and leave. UF wants techs anyways. I'm stuck here... for a while. You fight hard and ride true, Stazie. I'm pulling for you, from afar."

    Anything else here after you gas up?
  • Nope. Think we're done here. Gas up, get a bite, say hi to the garage crew and gtfo!
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    You get some food, some freeze-dried stuff, things the fippers hand to newbies but end up on the Bordertown black market. Nutritious stuff. The garage crew all look nervous, a little jumpy, but none of them will say a word about why. You head out during the scorch, with the sun high overhead.

    Once you get back to Depot, where are you headed?
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    That makes me a bit nervous too, but it must just be the lingering threat posed by the UF presence. The threat of open conflict. It shouldn't cost lives of the 'stoppers... but it could. Keep your fight out on the sand, people... if you absolutely must.

    Once I return to the Depot, unless something catches my eye I drive right back to the arena and find team Skorpion. It's going to have to pay off to take some time getting re-acquainted, and meeting any new people.

    I wonder who my riders are gonna be. I wonder if ace still gets out there.
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    After checking in at the Depot gate, you drive your car slowly through the emptied "streets" and into the arena to find the trainees are gone. It's the scorch now, most folks are gone. But Ace is here with her car, a souped up El Camino. She greets you with a wave and hops out of her car, as do a couple guys.
    "Hey Stazie, welcome back. This here's your rider. His name's Roark. Say hello, Roark."

    "Hey, you're Cinch. I've heard of you." Roark says, then he hitches up and adds, "Hello."
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    Empty streets are a treat. Actually. Feels dreamy-weird and I like to watch the heat-illusions dance in the distance as I drive. In the height of the scorch I allow myself a touch of AC from time to time... little blast on the face for a few minutes and full aux tanks. Won't hurt me... but I don't keep it going like... the whole time.

    Most people retreat, wisely, indoors at this time, but I'm often out there... safest time to travel if your vehicle can manage it.

    "Ace, like the new rig," I give it a walk around and check it out as Roark approaches, I can't help size up the vehicle in my mind even as Roark introduces himself. Looks maneuverable, but the bed's low the the ground, the rider will be a little more vulnerable in that position... but also should make it easier to hit the poles.

    "Roark, nice to meet'cha," I walk right over and offer the man a handshake. Little physical contact is good for teamwork. And I can check out his grip, which is.... uh... important.

    "You been ridin' long, Roark?"
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    He shakes your hand, a firm grip, you feel calluses in the right places. His eyes are shifty and alert. "Been at it for a couple years now, on and off. Used to raid further up north, lost my taste for it, so I came down to Depot with Tannis. She was my driver. Good one, maybe a little crazy. I lost her in match with some Ratcatchers. Been looking for work since, then Ace found me at the Pit. I'm... still a little drunk. Apologies."

    Ace shakes her head at that, but seems happy with your assessment of her ride.
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    Little shake of the head, "nothin' to apologize for long as you don't show it in the game." Hope not. "Sorry to hear about your driver. Hope I can live up to her."

    Driver got taken out in a match? That's harsh.

    "Hey Ace, can we take'er out? Get a feel?"
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    Ace chuckles, "Be my guest, Stazie. You want me to set up some barriers and a few flags?" She starts hustling over to the gear that's propped up against a barrel.

    "I can ride with you now. I'm good to go." Roark says this like he wants to prove himself, but with enough edge that you feel like he means it.

    How are you playing this out, Cinch?
  • edited December 2016
    Why of all people is Ace using my given name? I just smile and head to the El Camino, run a hand along the edge of the roof as I walk past to the door.

    "Let's make it real, Ace, set 'em up and we'll take 'em down!" I stop at the door and beckon Roark over. "Ride shotgun, show me where you like the line 'fore we get in the game."

    I gesture at the passenger door with a tip of the head. Let's show him some respect. Hear how he likes it done.
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    Ace gets the rest of the Skorpions, a half dozen of them who were laying about watching from the shade, drinking water, up and they set up the field. It's a compass point array, and Ace gets in her El Camino with her rider, Joe's Girl. You ferried Joe's Girl somewhere once. Was she going to somewhere or running from somewhere? What did you like most about that drive?
    Roark hops in your car as soon as you open a door, looks around, "Cook me this is nice. I'll climb out the side and sit." He waits for you to lower the window, then climbs out to sit with his knees about face level to you, hands on the roof of the car.

    What do you do?
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    Roark makes me smile in the inside complimenting the car. I wonder if it's the newest car in the prison? Probably.

    But let's hope Roark has some skills. It's hard doing this from a passenger window, easier from the bed of the game truck. This'll be a challenge... got to keep him on the correct side, take a little speed off cause he's not going to be able to shift his body as much to make the grab... yeah. This is expert mode.

    Surprised to see Joe's Girl as I slip into the driver's seat, haven't seen her for a year and I'm kind of shocked to see her back here at the Depot. Last time I saw her she asked for a ride out of town... literally just asked for a drop-off wherever I was going... and she didn't have much stuff to her name. Whatever she was running from must be taken care of... wonder if someone's had a 'talkin-to' since she returned.

    What did I like most about that drive? She's an amazing kisser... not that it... uh... means anything. You know. Just a thing that happened.

    I roll out onto the course, slow at first. I'm not going to show off too much here, keep it at about 60% and just let it flow.
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    Ace hops in her El Camino along with Joe's Girl, and they kick up some dust while riding up to run alongside you. No bumping or anything, just simulated jockeying for position.
    Roark leans out real far, holding onto the side mirror and clenching his calves, hooking his feet so he can sit out, then lean back, almost parallel to the ground. It's showing off, sure, but that's some real flexibility and he's got a good grasp of how to move around.

    Why don't you Act Under Fire here to pull off the first few passes?
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    I admire his stance, the guy's got guts at least, putting the body at risk out there. I'll give him my best. (Was there any doubt of that?)

    Acting under fire:
    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 3, 6. Total: 11)
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    You zip in front of Ace, kicking dust and dirt up and speeding along the track. Your car handles this track like a dream, and in only a couple turns, Roark's grabbed his first flag, then his second. It's impressive, you can feel it, see it in the reactions from the Skorpions watching, cheering and yelling your name excitedly.

    After maybe fifteen minutes of riding around, you see a dozen gangers enter the arena from the main corridor. They're UFers, but you don't see Mimi. How can you tell it's them, even at a glance?
  • edited December 2016
    That's them all right. I can see the colorful union jack logo stand out from across the arena. Mimi has it on her helmet, others on a jacket, patches wherever or even tattooed across their face. Not sure how they arrived on that for a coat of arms... but at least you know who you're dealing with.

    This feels good. I can tell I'm in a groove here... it feels familiar, which surprises me after so many months. Like just the right slip under the tires lets me make these turns just so. I slap Roark excitely on the thigh as he makes the second grab.

    "Whoo! We got this, Roark!" I shout so he can hear even out the window. Find Ace and give her a thumbs up. Just like the good old days, only better!
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    Roark slaps the top of the car excitedly, yelling your name (Cinch, not Stazie). The UFers are not impressed. They start jeering, "Fipper car! Fipper car!"

    Ace wheels the El Camino around and comes to a stop between you and them. You notice that some people are filtering into the arena, hearing all the commotion and interested in whatever's going on.

    Ignoring the UFers, Ace calls over, "Great job, you two! You haven't lost a step! Come on, let's get a move on, yeah? No need to start a fight early."

    What do you do?
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    I idle and listen, Ace is my team captain as long as I'm in this event.

    "Let's call it a day then," I say to Roark, reach over and pull on his belt (or whatever) to pull him into the seat. Do my best to ignore the chanting outside.

    "Fipper," I mutter, that the best they can come up with? Ancient history.

    I follow Ace and her car off the arena floor.
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    Ace is driving the El Camino over to the garage to stow her ride.
    Roark sits in the passenger seat, sweaty, still smelling of the alcohol coming out of his pores. "What brought you back into autodueling? I followed you on and off. You were off the circuit. Ba was terrified to race you." He looks around the car, not meeting your eyes, always moving his head around. "Oh. Ba was my driver."

    You pull into the garage, and Ace is already settling up for both cars. Joe's Girl has gotten out of the El Camino, and she comes around to lean against the little tailgate, looking at you.

    What do you do?
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    I roll slow after Ace, let the UF folks take a good look as I leave the field.

    I answer Roark after a long breath, he stinks of drink which doesn't bother me so much except when you need to be on point. Don't show up like this for the match.

    "Sorry about your driver, man... as for me, you know the team was movin' up to live fire... not my thing." It really is as simple as that. "Getting busted up, getting killed happens in sports... but to me it ain't sport if it's the point of the whole deal. That's... somethin' else."

    There's a little bit of regret in my voice, wondering what mighta been... but I'm glad I didn't have to play that game.

    Once I power down and run my fingertips along the locking rail next to the wheel, I step out and see Joe's girl there.

    "Hey Girl," I say, not unhappy to see her. "Glad to see you back."
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    This is Joe's Girl:
    Her hands are stuffed in her pockets. She gives you a nod, which breaks into a smirky little grin. "Comes around, goes around. You look good." She nods to Roark, but then she's looking at you again. "Car's still a sweet ride." She glances over at Ace, "No offense, Ace."

    "None taken." Ace says without taking offense. "I've got garage covered for today. And don't forget, good jingle when we win." She looks at Joe's Girl for a moment, then laughs, "You two stay safe. I've got to check on a package back at Fall On."
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    Feels awkward for a moment, but I'm not having any of that. I walk up to Joe's Girl and give her a brief hug with one arm around the neck and shoulders, foreheads touch. Then offer the other arm to Roark.

    "Come on, first one's on me," let's do a little team bonding. Leading them to the nearest watering hole.

    And not letting Roark get drunk again.
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    End Scene
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