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The Story of Cali, An enhanced blog of my time here
Cali
Calis Zards
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January 2086
With Christmas over, January meant the start of the new season - the race league. We watched and noted drivers, and started making quiet offers - we needed another 2 drivers. We also needed a lot of training - the trash truck and it's guns were far more than we were used to handling and it was going to take a little time. It was pretty intimidating for the other drivers when we first drove it into a combat, but they soon saw our lack of experience, and we were trying to be careful. Quite a few resignations followed before we were even slightly comfortable.
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Posted Oct 7, 2017, 11:55 pm Last edited Oct 7, 2017, 11:55 pm by Cali
Cali
Calis Zards
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February 2086
I looked forlornly over the trash truck."It's not exactly pristine any more". I sighed, as the realisation sunk in that the trash truck wasn't quite the lethal behemoth that it had been just half an hour previously, just before it had trundled into the arena.
Nova, who had been driving, and Oliver gunning, looked at each other sheepishly. "Sorry boss, we thought we could endure it, but when the other cars came out of nowhere, well..."
Herschel, our best mechanic, poked his head out of what used to be where the garbage went in.
"I can't fix the right cannon, it's scrap metal now. The left one will never quite be the same, it's a bit like Ronald with his one eye. It's only really half what ti used to be"
"Low blow", muttered Ronald from my left. Herschel grinned at him.
"Otherwise it look worse than it is. Sure it needs a lot of armour replaced, but the chassis and engine are pretty much fine".
I knew how rare car cannons were in the marketplace, and after having had a few to play with, I wasn't keen to go back to machine and gatling guns. And we needed those cannons to take us safely to Morgan.
"Looks like you pair", I said pointing at Nova and Oliver, "are going back to your Flail until you're a bit better at arena combat, and maybe you better look at every race and deathrace you can get into, we're going to need a good swag of money to put this old girl back to how she was, and you never know, if you can pay for it, you might even get to drive her again".
I put my hand on the twisted barrel of the dead cannon and looked up at Herschel. "Replace it with a heavy machine gun for now, I can't see us getting our hands on a cannon in a hurry, let alone 2 of them. And make sure you bring the keys right back to me, she's going to be kept out of unsafe hands for a while".
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Posted Oct 11, 2017, 2:47 am Last edited Oct 11, 2017, 2:47 am by Cali
Cali
Calis Zards
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March 2086
Once again I was looking forlornly over a battered vehicle, this time with Robert, a bit part ganger who had just been promoted to chief mechanic. We had just had it towed from the rally circuit, and it was not only highly damaged, but also quite blood splattered. It was a 2L Flash racer, our smallest car, and probably one of our favourites. It was at thre front of the workshop,
"You're the best mechanic I got, and I guess your first job is to clean Herschel's blood from the Flash. That rally circuit cross over has claimed plenty of lives over the years, and he's now just another statistic."
"The Flash is straightforward.", and Robert then looked at the trash truck next to it, "But that thing I might need some help on, it's a lot more complex and I never really worked on much like it".
As we were still pretty much on the street right at the front of the workshop, we weren't exactly in private, and from behind me, a tired and jaded looking man tapped me on the shoulder.
"Sorry to interrupt, the name's Harold and I might be able to help you a bit here. I'm not a bad mechanic, and I've got a few days to kill before my ride back to camp. Heard about you kids and that you have some secret mission, and as I'm getting close to the end of my time I"m always happy to pass along some tidbits where I can".
I didn't get a chance to reply as a youngster at that moment came rushing along the road "Pirate raid! If you got a car, get it to the gates!"
"Harold was it? Meet Robert...he's just become our chief mechanic and I'll leave you two to get acquanited. I'm going to do some civic duty and see if maybe one of those pirates has a car cannon I can loot, we're short one on the truck here, and I'm pretty keen on filling that gun slot. Have fun!"
I rushed off looking for Emma.
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Posted Oct 13, 2017, 10:38 pm
Cali
Calis Zards
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We were at the Somerset gates, Emma driving our Buzzer and I had the guns. We'd decided that machine guns just weren't damaging enough and installed rocket lauchers, plus a grenade launcher for good measure. There were only three vehicles for the defence - HeadWar who we had heard of a lot before, he was quite the local legend in racing and deathracing. And the other was a guy who simply called himself The Goat Starer. They also both had buzzers, so while we were down on numbers, we had a lot of firepower. As we were about to take off to see what was incoming, the back door flipped open and Robert fell into the back seat. The whole buzzer rocked - Robert was not a small guy.
"What are you doing here?", I asked, somewhat sharply. Robert was meant to be in the workshop seeing what our new buddy Harold could do.
"Harold said he had to talk to some friends, and he would meet us at Dexters'when we had seen off the pirates. He said he might be able to get a present for us as well".
There wasn't really a lot of time to ask anything further, HeadWar and Goat were starting off and I didn't want to be left behind. HeadWar leant out his window and yelled across "Beware - there's some bugs near the walls - looks like Nexus has been eating dinner in his car - when his bib gets full he leaves crumbs all along his trail and that always draws them out". He laughed uproariously and put his foot down, his car growling menacingly and spraying sand out behind. I looked at Emma, we both shrugged in total confusion and followed hard behind.
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Posted Oct 15, 2017, 1:28 am Last edited Oct 15, 2017, 7:52 am by Cali
Cali
Calis Zards
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As the buzzer was a bit battered from the raid and Em had decided she was too tired, Ronald and I convinced Nova to take us to Dexters' in her Flail. We parked it out front and wandered in, and found Harold at an empty table, with an emtpy glass. Good timing I thought, and headed off to get a round of drinks. A cold beer certainly went down well after the events of the morning.
Harold seemed quite keen to hear about the town defence, and I was more than happy to expand on how it happened - everyone likes to talk about their exploits.
"I was at the rally circuit a few days ago, and I saw your old mechanic Hershel get his lights turned out. What struck me at the time what that the crowd seemed genuinely disappointed that it had happened to a Griffindor. Most of those crowds are a pretty tastless bunch and just want to see blood and gore. Sort of piqued my interest in you. See - I done a lot in my time. And my time is coming around, if you know what I mean. I done a lot of bad, and thought little of it, and yet as I get older, I see how much good is needed to make this sad world a better place. And so the bad now is gone and I try to do good, and not just for me. I try to do good for others. And since you seemed to be a gang people liked, I did me some askin' around. Only bad words are from those who are jealous cos you beat them in a race, or shot at them in a combat. Most said you were good guys, and not only that, but you were kitting up for some crusade that was going to do something for the people here."
I narrowed my eyes at that comment. Our mission was meant to be a close secret, but seems that somebody had loose lips.
Harold went on. "I got me more than I need, and I'm too old to be the one to use it to help people, and so I figure if someone else can use it, then it would be like me doing it as well, if you know what I mean."
Dexter came up to our table and waved a piece of paper at me. "Cali! Some shifty dude just handed me this and told me to give it to me. Then he scarpered, quick smart. Didn't like the look of him one bit. Dunno why he couldn't hand it over himself, but it takes all types."
It was a just a piece of paper, but I noticed it was very fine paper. The sort of paper that nobody makes any more, it's just too expensive in this world of limited resources. I handed it to Ronald, and it went around the table and ended up with Harold. "Careful if you take a bite of something bigger than you can handle. It might just bite back", he read out. "You know what it means?"
"I have no idea...", I started, and Nova's Flail blew. The blast from the exploding car shattered all the front windows of Dexters' and anyone sitting close to them was knocked flat, glass flying like shrapnel through the room. Lucky we were at the back, and were merely buffeted by hot wind.
"My Flail...", started Nova.
"F&^k your Flail Nova, there's people hurt!", I snarled at her, and started running to where the cries of pain were coming from.
Later, as we were helping the last of the wounded get bandaged and comfortable, Harold came up to me. He'd also ung around to do what he could after the blast. "You got the right stuff in you, if you know what I mean. You need help, you're always welcome at my camp. And well, I got a spare car cannon in the truck. You need one, I got one. Assholes who do this sort of thing need to know they can't get away with it"
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Posted Oct 17, 2017, 6:27 am
Cali
Calis Zards
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June 2086
We needed to rebuild, and so we had focussed on the deathrace league and other one off events to get the cash reserves back up. Saved up enough to replace Nova's Flail with a Landrunner, and she was quite happy. She wouldn't be using it for a while as her gunner Oliver was still bedridden after catching a stray bullet or two while out scouting.
It wasn't so easy to stay under the radar though. With the Flail explosion we had become a popular topic of conversation, and it had become common knowledge that we were on some form of quest. It's amazing how a little knowledge can spawn so many theories. I've heard people say that we've developed a flying car, and that we've invented pulse weapons that blow cars apart and the Flail was a failed trial.
We had decided to let the deathrace league finish, and by then we would be ready to venture out and see if we could find out some more about this hostile group and if the phoenix in the desert held any more clues.
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Posted Oct 20, 2017, 5:44 am Last edited Oct 20, 2017, 5:46 am by Cali
Cali
Calis Zards
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August 2086
Ronald came bounding in, a huge smile across his battered features.
"News is all good today, fellow gangers. All good and to be honest, somewhat exciting".
I stretched and waiting for him to go on. Staying up the radar, while safer than some of our other exploits, was frankly a little boring and I presonally was sick of it. It wasn't so bad for Em as she and Merope pored over the schematics, notes and maps to try and work out what we were up against, and Ronald who was out recruiting allies for when the time came to go out and start pushing some buttons to see what happens. All I had to do was the occasional race or deathrace.
"Well to start with, crongats to you and Em, who have finished 4th in the Somerset Deathrace league, and will bring home a nice bunch of prizemoney and the adoration of the league fans. But that was sort fo expected, and actually not the best news of the day. I have received word from Jos that Daniel and James are not only still alive in Firelight, but have been become famous and reknowned gladiators, and won their freedom!"
"The last piece of the puzzle falls into place. Are they coming back?"
"Jos offered them a lift out of there, but they will wait for the Firelight rallies next week and then see if they can hitch a ride - they don't have a car down there to just drive back in".
"So we have the prizemoney to outfit another car and a pair of famous gladiators to drive it. Do we have enough friends to spring a surprise on the nasties?"
"Don't you worry about that old chap. When the time comes, we'll have more than enough firepower".
That time, I thought, was getting very near. I didn't think I would be waiting aroudn Somerset for much longer at all.

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Posted Oct 28, 2017, 11:32 pm
Cali
Calis Zards
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September 2086
I was awoken by a huge explosion, that rattled the windows and caused all the neighbourhood stray dogs to break out in howls of surprise. It seemed to come from outside town, but in this world that could mean anything, so I threw on some clothes and went outside to the workshop. It was deserted, which was unusual, just the usual collection of cars...but the trash truck was gone. A shiver of unease went through me and I headed inside for my sun protection gear. Five minutes later I was outside and headed for the walls over which I could see a pall of smoke rising from something in the wastelands.
The crackle of machine guns soon halted me and I took shelter in a doorway as a Gand Gerbill semi-trailer skidded through the gates and took up position across the road, shooting back through the gates. The crash from the wall, which shuddered violently, showed that the attacker had come to a sudden stop. A few moments later, another Grand Gerbill car sauntered into the gates and parked next to the trailer. Engine roaring, a car with the Snow Snipes logo flew into the town and was prompty cut down in a hail of fire, skidding sideways into the water tower and coming to a halt on one side. The trailer driver would down his window and held up one finger. Clearly there was still one Snow Snipe alive outside the walls. The car headed out, and I took the opportunity to dash across to the trailer and poked my head up and inside the window.
"Cali!", the driver exclaimed, "You weren't in the trash truck? Ronald said...oh ####, man, I'm sorry..."
"So the fireball was my gang trash truck?". I asked, knowing full well that it was. "Do you know who was in it, and are they likely to still be alive out there?"
"No man, that thing went up like a call girls dress when you drop a fifty on them. I thought you were in it, if not there was someone who looked a lot like you. And well man, maybe there was just someone who looked a lot like Ronald and Nova..but no, I talked to Ronald on the way out."
He patted my shoulder in a comradely fashion. "Sorry man, but he's gone. Everyone in there is gone, plus any cars that were within 20 metres. Massive, man. Absolutely massive."

I wasn't overly worried about losing the trash truck, it had been bad luck from the start. One successful combat, one bad one, and now the first time it left the walls it was gone. But to lose Ronald, who had been with us from the start, that hurt. We also lost Nova and Robert, plus our gang nurse and a friend of hers who supposedly did look a lot like me. One more we got right to the point of positive action, and then had to pull our heads in and rebuild.
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Posted Oct 31, 2017, 4:14 am
Cali
Calis Zards
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"What are we going to do, Em?"
It was late at night, and we had just seen the last of the visitors from the wake party head out into the night. I was a little drunk, Em was a little drunk, but we were both wide awake and unable to sleep.
"We do this thing". Ems's voice was quietly determined.
"You're still with me?"
"Of course. Always have been, always will be".
"But we're now down our battelship, and a good number of our decent drivers and gunners"
"We wait a few days, and we'll have Daniel and James back from Firelight. The Circuit rallies finish in a week and we're due $300,000 prizemoney. We replace the truck, outfit a new car, and head off. We're being pulled down deliberately, someone is trying to stop us building up. So, if they are worried about us, we must be a threat already. Let's get on with it then".
"But Ronald knew all the guys who would be helping"
"And they will still help. They all knew it was the gang they were helping, not Ronald"
I looked up from my drink. There was a light in Em's eyes, a steely light that said that she was not about to veer from the path I had set us on.
"OK then. Let's go catch up on Ronald's buddies and see who is going to help, and then work out what sort of car we need"

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Posted Nov 3, 2017, 9:45 pm
Cali
Calis Zards
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October 2086
I used to read a lot of books written before the apocalypse, before the solar events that reduced our world to the sorry state that it's in. Today, was one of those evenings when in days past, you would invite over some close friends and enjoy a few drinks and a 'pictionary', whatever that was. We were doing that that, but instead of pictionary we were having a planning meeting: myself, Em, Tom and Oliver. The four remaining core members.
"So", I started, "The gang. We've got Daniel and James coming back from Firelight with Joskney. That gives us 11. And with 5 scout spec cars, I think that's our capacity for now. Of the 5 cars, the buzzers are fine, but we need to look at the loadouts on the Landrunner, the Flail and the Windsor. To do that - we need some money. And since we aren't going to see Daniel and James for another month, we've got that month to improve. I know it's dangerous, but we're going to do some serious combat practice in the arenas. We need to be much better when shooting happens".
"We know we're being followed, and we know almost everytime we venture out beyond the walls we get attacked by a strangely familiar set of enemies. I don't want to be followed south. So we know the plan - we set up an ambush. Tom - you've taken the liaison role - have we got enough friends who will spring the trap?"
"I think so - there is at least half a dozen, with mulitple cars. Easily enough to kill off what we've seen attack us so far".
And so we waited on the convoy from Firelight with our last 2 gangers, and went out into the areanas of Somerset. And we learned to shoot straighter, and how to drive when being shot at. And I was forced to learn first aid when Em took shrapnel to the head - luckily her hair would cover the scars.
We took the prizemoney and added weapons to the cars. A spike dropper for the Flail. Car rifles for ranged combat. Upgrading the machine guns. And we planned for the real part of the quest to being in December.
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Posted Nov 15, 2017, 9:26 pm
Cali
Calis Zards
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November 2086
With the return of Daniel and James from Firelight, we had arranged a surprise event at the tavern. Bootrag and Nexus were arguing over whether a heavy gatling gun was better than a heavy machine gun. Fluid, Taco and Chien were playing darts, Jolly was dealing a hand to Shawn, Canner and a girl who went by the odd name of ''Inbetween'. Our gangers were scattered around the room, they had instructions to quietly ask who was in for our little ambush. Drinks were on the house - or rather being paid for by us - Dexter was never one to give away anything for free. Joskney drove up in his dusty and battered Stormer, and out stepped an equally battered trio.
It was an interesting reunion. The gang had changed so much while they had been gladiators that they had never even met some of the newer guys. And really, they had been away longer than than had been gang members. But, it was a last chance for us to really let our hair down before the serious work begun, and considering the chances were that some of us would be dead before our quest was done, it was the least that I could do for them.
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Posted Nov 23, 2017, 1:43 am
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