Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Numbers' New Year's Newsletter: A 2019 Too Far

[Other years' letters: 2011 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014 / 2015 / 2016 / 2017 / 2018 / 2019 / 2020 / 2021 ]

It is said that "Enough is never enough," that "The more you have, the more you want," and that "The more pure and innocent something is, the more satisfying it is to corrupt it."  Allow me to be the first to tell you, dear friends, that all of these statements are, in fact, the truth.

As you are no doubt aware from my previous years' Newsletters (linked above for your convenience), the past near-decade (zounds; has it truly been that long?) has been a tumultuous one.  My meteoric rise to riches by building an empire out of selling matches to schoolchildren met an asteroidal fall.  It crashed and burned.

But not before I had accumulated enough resources to develop power armour and mechs and defended my homeworld on countless occasions.  My good deeds were not unpunished, as my team of mech warriors and I were lost, on several occasions, through both time and space (plus there was what dimensional episode; details in previous Newsletters).

Such was our predicament following the destruction of the prisoner towing vessel/spacefaring fitness club Brostromo.  My surviving teammates and I found ourselves marooned once more on a planet with some kind of driving-based economy.  It was not a city of handouts, but a city of drifts.  Alas, we had no time to seduce the local drifting waifus -- we had Headquarters to establish.

We set up shop in an old derelict firehouse, sourced an old Cadillac, and soon, we were setting records and winning pinks all over town.  It wasn't long before our Ten-Second Cars appeared on magazine covers, then DVD covers.  Sponsors, and funds, rolled in.  But enough is never enough.

We had the tools and we had the talent.  But if we were going to get enough bank to make it home again, we'd need some plans.  We decided, in secret, to conduct daring, high-stakes, vehicular-themed heists of varying degrees of spectacular, each time selecting our mark from a list of the biggest villains on the planet.

Another saying I keep in mind is "Disregard wenches; acquire currency," and soon enough, Wealth Acquisition lead to Wealth Redistribution, funding the revolutionaries so they might take back their planet.  For a world without a level head needs a disciplined trigger finger.

A breakthrough came when one of my most trusted advisors and dearest friends, a former Admiral who'd earned the codename "Killthunder," unearthed intel that might let him live up to his name.  The biggest criminal on the planet happened to have bought the weather.  The madman's wealth was matched only by his lunacy, and he planned to annihilate some flavour of perceived threat by unleashing an electric storm upon the city.

Rather than heist enough money to build a quantum-space-capable starship, we could harness the power of the storm to simply power a quantum drive mounted to a ground vehicle, allowing us to temporarily rip and tear spacetime itself just long enough for us to drift into a slipgate.  We could "ride the lightning," if you will, to get us back home.  And, as a bonus, if we timed it right, we could parry the lightning, sending the excess electrical energy back into the villain's system, overloading it catastrophically in an explosion he could not survive.

We could save this planet, and return to our own.  If it worked.

It was time to build a Ten-Lightsecond Car.  Having sourced the necessary quantum drive off an internet auction site, we got to work building our car, while tracking the storm.  We needed time to finish the build.  One missing piece, one overlooked detail, and it'd be game over, man.

As our head mechanic slammed the hood shut, we saw the stormclouds gathering in the distance.  Time was running out.  We loaded the vehicle with as much as we could take, moulded PE4 to the already-overtaxed load-bearing members of our firehouse headquarters, and jumped into the ride.  It would appear to the locals that our headquarters was destroyed in the weaponized electrical storm, which would leave the neighbourhood looking like a demilitarized zone, and we would be considered among the casualties.  When in doubt, fake your death -- a perfect escape plan from any predicament or responsibility.

Our driver put his foot down and headed for what intel suggested would be prime targets: the university district, the library, the medical research institutes...  We were not wrong.  The clouds gathered over the university and thunder cracked the sky.  Only we had banked on the library being the first target, since it was closest to the villain's primary hideout, the golf course.

Furiously, our driver shifted through a dozen gears but we still were not going fast enough.  He hit the NOS button, but nothing happened.  A loose connection somewhere?  With only moments to spare, I sprung into the Stunt Position, grabbed onto the beefy bullbars, resting my feet on the sweet chin spoiler, and saw what was the matter: the setup was still in "nitrous purge" mode for those sweet style points.

Quickly solving the matter, I grapple hooked my way back into the car as the driver used some ornate staircase as a ramp.  We rocketed through the air, flames shooting out the back of our car, as the lightning struck us.  Our car's systems grabbed what power it needed for the quantum leap and shot the rest right back towards the villain.  We'll never know if our parrying the lightning connected or whiffed because we jumped right into the slipgate.

And now we're here.  Only we don't know where "here" is.  We crash-landed in some kind of barn.  Or comms are down.  Navigation is down.  We don't know where we are, but we have an idea WHEN we are.


If our calculations were correct (and barring any quantum space turbulence), we should be home.  So where the hell are we?  No one knows for sure, but I intend to find out.

I have just been informed that we have to leave the car behind.  We will salvage what we can, using its precious scrap metal to build exosuits, and head out on foot.

This will not be my final transmission.

- Numbers, Mercenary Philanthropist
Ten-Lightsecond Car Barn Crash Site
January 2019

[Other years' letters: 2011 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014 / 2015 / 2016 / 2017 / 2018 / 2019 / 2020 / 2021 ]

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