Friday, September 14, 2012

Duel #2 Teaser


(Voiceover) We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this breaking news story...

(Background) We're live in three... two...

(Feed picks up in mid-conversation) What are you, the fuckin' Men In Black?

Nossir, we're with the network, we-

And what, the network has it's own goon squad?

Nossir, it's just, they need you, and-

I'm still in my goddamn pajamas!

Yessir, but-

And you just dragged me into a helicopter!

Yessir, but-

God only knows what my neighbors are thinking, some government strike force lands at my house at 4 AM!

Yessir, but-

What the fuck is this about?

(Background) We're live, Chuck!  As in, LIVE...

What, you mean there's no fu...  no Go...  no censors right now?  Shit, they're gonna fine my ass to Texas...

(Background) Pull it together Chuck -- you're still in Texas.  We're splicing in Craig from Chopper Two in five... four...

But what's this about?!?

(Crackling of static) Chuck, are you with me?

Craig, I'm with you, but where are we?

So you know the duel last night?

The what?  The...  You mean, Yoder and Gorman and all?

You got it.  It's like this -- Bowman and Reiss were a little pissed it didn't make them look so good...  They came up with this stunt to pick up a little publicity and see if they can't turn their image around...  It's nuts, really, a flash duel on the highway right at the start of rush hour, but those poor bastards weren't going to get any sponsors otherwise....

(Background) We're LIVE Craig!

(Sound of hand muffling the pickup) Shit!  Why didn't you tell me?!?

(Snickers) Caught you with your pants down too, huh, buddy?  So, um, Bowman and Reiss?

(Audio clears) Uh, right, Chuck.  They're just driving the wrecks from the duel...

But you couldn't have fit a housecat in the space left under Reiss' roof!

Yeah, apparently his crew, um, cut it off.

Cut off the roof?!?

Nice-looking convertible now.  Anyway, you can still see the scorch marks on Bowman's, but I guess the fire crew got to it before the guns went up, 'cause he's still tooling around in it.

Well, they get an 'A' for guts...  And it's just the two of them?

No, they put this whole plan on the 'Net and got like 4,000 volunteers.  Somehow they narrowed it down to two more cars so there's one coming in each direction.

Each direction?

Yeah, it's the cloverleaf where I-10 hits 410, just outside San Antonio.  So there are four ways in, but get this -- they enter against traffic!


Well it's not closed off or anything -- not too many people commuting at that hour, but it's not empty, either!

Commuters?!?  You can't be serious!

Well, you lose points for killing a bystander...  (Defensively)  Hey, it wasn't our idea, we're just filming...

(Scoffs)  I'll just bet...

(Background)  CHUCK!!!   Cut it, guys, commercial in five...

Stay with us, folks, and after these, uh, valuable messages, we'll run down the scoring for this event...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Division 10 in the Double Drum

Recorded live from Waco, Texas and televised in near-real time with valuable messages from our sponsors.  Here's today's cast for the viewer's convenience:
Commentators: Craig and Chuck
Drivers and Cars: Bowman Blue
Gorman Green
Reiss Red
Yoder Yellow

Well Chuck, it's been an exciting evening of stunts and racing, but now we're turning to the big event.

That's right, Craig, though you could really call it the 'little event'.

Why's that?

Normally you'd see tonight's drivers in a Division 20, maybe 25 car, a two-man crew, packed behind a block of armor, twenty gadgets, some component armor, and a few dischargers for good measure.  Heck, Yoder's the only one who wouldn't be the gunner!

Not tonight, though?

Right on, Craig.  Tonight it's stripped-down, Division 10, just man and machine.  While they're all experienced drivers, none of them have that big reputation, that big sponsorship.  Tonight they'll get their chance to break out.

Why don't we close off a drum, then, have a nice close-in melee?

Strategy, my friend.  Tonight the only scoring is for kills -- 2.5 points for a mobility kill, 2.5 points for a firepower kill, 5 points for a full kill.  Still, we don't want a bunch of ram plates and bumper triggers, just a big fistfight.  There's no brains in that.  Instead, each man went back to the drawing board, and brought in his own design.  They brought a vehicle that plays to their strengths.

After the break, let's have a look at those cars...
The Double Drum arena
Welcome back to the Double Drum, in Waco, Texas.  Tonight we're featuring four up-and-coming duellists, Bowman, Gorman, Reiss, and Yoder.  Craig, walk me through the vehicle each man brought to the event.

We'll start with Bowman.  He likes to let the other drivers soften up a target, and then drill it for the kill.  Tonight he's packing a Vulcan with High-Density ammo, and a Minedropper to keep the rest off his back.  In order to squeeze all that into a subcompact frame, he went gas, and threw in a turbocharger so he can get to where the action is.
Bowman (Dr 0 Gn 1) -- Subcompact, Extra-Heavy chassis, Heavy suspension, Blueprinted 50 cid engine w/Turbocharger, 3-gal Economy Tank, 4 Heavy-Duty tires, Driver w/BA, Vulcan Machine Gun Front w/10 shots High-Density, Minedropper Back, Plastic Armor: F31, L25, R25, B20, T4, U8, 2 4-pt Wheelguards Back, 2 4-pt Wheelhubs Front, Acceleration 5 (+5 w/Turbo), Top Speed 60, HC 4, 2760 lbs., $9979
Doesn't look like he had the budget for a Fire Extinguisher tonight, though.

That's Division 10, Chuck.  Enough dough to build up your attack, but not enough to protect all your flanks as well.  We'll see if Bowman pays for it.

Gorman now, he's known to to be an aggressive Duellist when he's in the driver's seat.

He plays to the crowd, Chuck, sure -- and the crowd isn't here for a race tonight.  Care to guess what weapon he built his car around?  Anti-Tank Gun, straight up.
Gorman (Dr 0 Gn 1) -- Compact, Heavy chassis, Heavy suspension, Medium power plant, High-Torque Motors, Improved Fire Extinguisher, 4 Puncture-Resistant Radial tires, Driver w/SWC, Anti-Tank Gun Front w/8 shots APFSDS, Plastic Armor: F32, L26, R26, B23, T5, U10, 2 Fake Wheelguards Back, 2 Fake Wheelhubs Front, Acceleration 5 (+5 w/HTMs), Top Speed 92.5, HC 4, 4046 lbs., $9994
But this actually looks like a more balanced vehicle, Craig.

You're right, he's got the fire extinguisher, high-torque motors, and beefier PR radial tires.  But there are compromises.  Between you and me, that tire protection is worth about as much as my dinner plate, and though he's toting APFSDS ammo, it's not a full load.  Plus, it's the only weapon he's got!  Gorman's going to need to make every shot count.

Reiss, now, he's got a defensive weapon.

Reiss and Gorman are dead opposites.  Gorman's out to rack up some kills, while Reiss tends to be more of a vulture.  He tries to stay out of the early action, and pick up the pieces afterward.

Is that going to work for him tonight, Craig?

He's got the hardware he needs -- we'll see if he has the skill.  This car has twin Rocket Launchers up front -- quite a bang if he can hit with them -- and a Spear 1000 Minedropper to keep people like Gorman off his back.  And that minedropper is stuffed with Tire Damage eXperts, as we call them in the business.  No one in Division 10 has enough tire to run over two of those.
Reiss (Dr 0 Gn 1) -- Mid-sized, Standard chassis, Heavy suspension, Medium power plant w/PC, Improved Fire Extinguisher, 4 Heavy-Duty tires, Driver, 2 Linked Rocket Launchers Front each w/10 shots Armor-Piercing, Spear 1000 Minedropper Back w/5 shots TDX, Link (2x Rocket Launcher Front, Spear 1000 Minedropper Back), Plastic Armor: F28, L21, R21, B19, T5, U10, 2 4-pt Wheelguards Back, 2 4-pt Wheelhubs Front, Acceleration 5, Top Speed 90, HC 3, 4406 lbs., $9824
He only has 5 mines on board, though, that's the down side of the Spear 1000.

You're right, he'll have to place them wisely if he plans to win any points with 'em.  But this car is the real deal -- fire extinguisher, tire protection, decent armor.  The only weak points are that it's the slowest one in the field, and those RL's sure don't shoot like a Vulcan.

Tell me about Yoder, the last man in the field.

Yoder's a driver, and a gambler.  Some nights, he's on fire.  But tonight?  Tonight he might be playing with fire instead.

Why's that, Craig?

The only weapon on this car is a Flamethrower.  Now he's hooked up the best targeting computer money can buy, so he's not gonna miss with that sucker.  But he gambled on flammable designs, and Bowman's the only one without a Fire Extinguisher.  That FT might not have much luck with the others, and what are the odds that Yoder can find Bowman in time?  If he has to work his way down the line, it might not be the duel he was hoping for.  He's going to need to pull something out of his hat, and what he's got to work with is the best driver behind the wheel of the most maneuverable car in the field.
Yoder (Dr 1 Gn 0) -- Subcompact, Extra-Heavy chassis, Heavy suspension, 50 cid engine w/Tubular Headers and Turbocharger, 3-gal Racing Tank, 4 Heavy-Duty Radial tires, Driver w/HRSWC, Flamethrower Front, Spoiler, Sloped Plastic Armor: F30, L27, R27, B23, T4, U7, 2 4-pt Wheelguards Back, 2 4-pt Wheelhubs Front, Acceleration 5 (+5 w/Turbo), Top Speed 60, HC 5 (6 @60mph), 2729 lbs., $9988

Four men, four strategies, four cars.  After the break, we'll go to the floor and narrow it down to one.
Reiss' vehicle design
Chuck, during that important message, we talked a bit about the arena.

That's right, Craig, they've drawn gates, and there are two men starting in each drum.

Some nights, the drums are sealed off until there's a victor in each drum.  Not tonight, though.

It comes back to strategy, like I said earlier.  With two men sealed in a drum, you go for the knockout punch, and hope you can handle whatever's left on the other side.  Leave the drums open, though, and you can make a run for it if you don't care to mix it up straight off.

I hear you, but why are the corridors open too?  You know how we love it when they have to drive through a mess of flaming explosives between the drums.

It's Division 10, Craig.  Nobody's bringing Plasticore Tires and Heavy-Duty Shocks.  I won't be at all surprised to see some TDX goodness between the drums, but with the corridors open, there are at least some tactical options if you want to avoid that mess.  Remember, these guys want to break out, and to do that, to catch the eye of the big scouts, you need to show your brains as well as your balls.

(Laughs)  Not sure we can say that on the air, Chuck.

Well then, let's look at the draw.  Both sides picked adjacent gates.  In the East, Gorman and Bowman -- no mystery how that one's going to start.

Bowman going hell-bent for the open air, and Gorman putting a nice fat APFSDS stop sign in his way.

Right on, Bowman's going to have to eat one, any way you slice it.  Maybe two.  Or maybe he'll get lucky, use that speed to his advantage, we'll have to see.

In the West drum, Reiss and Yoder.  Yoder's going to tag him with the flamethrower, Reiss is going to shrug it off.  Maybe Reiss brings those rockets to bear, maybe he takes a pass and meanders over to Gorman and Bowman.

After the break, each driver will have five seconds to get up to speed, and then we'll see if we called it right.

(As audio fades toward commercial:)  $20 says Gorman nails 'em...
The drivers emerging from their gates
And now, folks, let's have ourselves a duel!

They all stepped on it coming up to the gates.  Gorman's the quickest with no turbo lag, hitting 60 MPH as he leaves the gate, but Yoder and Bowman are right up there at 55.

It'll only be a moment before Yoder's spoiler kicks in, Chuck.  Meantime, Reiss will have to use the maneuverability that his lower speed allows.

Surprise, surprise, in the Eastern drum, Bowman's making a run for it around the top.  Oof, Gorman tagged him!  He felt that one!  And left a nice chunk of his left side armor on the arena floor.

But he left a mine behind him for good measure, so Gorman's not going to be following Bowman straight around for a follow-up shot.

In the Western drum, Reiss turns toward his opponent rather than let him fall in behind.  He drops a mine, too, trying to force Yoder to drive in front of his guns, but it looks like Yoder's not buying.

Yoder tags Reiss with the flamethrower, and that fire catches hold quicker than I would have thought, but the fire extinguisher puts it right out.  Gonna have to do better than that, Yoder.

And look at that!  Reiss turns aggressively to bring the guns to bear.  Didn't see that one coming, Craig!

All right, let's see what kind of footwork you guys have got!
End of turn 1
Yoder taps the brakes and swerves to get one more shot in before they pass, and it looks like Reiss will oblige.  Reiss would love to drop another mine right now, but when Yoder set it off it would take out both cars, so he'll have to pass.

Yowzah, they both fire!  Looks like Reiss took another flamethrower on the back wheelguard, but his rockets go wide -- too hard to nail a fast-moving target, even at a range of "You didn't brush your teeth today, did you?"

Craig, they very nearly collided!  Yoder manages to avoid the mine, coming out of it.  Now they'll circle around and maybe we'll see this foursome come together.

Meanwhile, Chuck, in the Eastern drum, Bowman's painting Gorman into a corner with those mines.  I've got to think he's going to eat another ATG shell, but then we'll see whether Gorman's underbody can stand up to some punishment.

Gorman lines up his shot, committing to facing the mines, but whoops!, the shell goes wide.  He might have one more chance before braving the minefield.
End of turn 2
Now Bowman taps the brakes -- just to tighten up any gaps between the mines.  Gorman's content to overtake for the moment.

On the West side, Yoder steps on it again, though it'll take a sec for his turbo to kick in.  He must want that spoiler to help him around the turns.  And Reiss is still chugging away -- these other guys make him look like the turtle out there.

Whoa, Chuck, Gorman fires!

And it goes wide again!  Bowman must have an angel guarding his back!

Now does Gorman slam on the brakes and try for one more shot?  Or will he duck through the mines and find another victim?

He's sucking it up Craig, turning sharply to minimize his angle across the line, and hoping to tiptoe through the mines...

BOOM!  Plan A didn't work out so good for him...  But miraculously, he maintains control through the turns and explosion.

Left a nice piece of his car behind him, though, didn't he?

One thing's for sure, if he hits another mine, it's game over.

I think he had the same thought -- he presses his luck and straightens out even more to stick to the gap he's already cleared.  I can feel the scouts perking up -- that's some real skill behind the wheel.

And Bowman must have thought his mines would carry the day -- he just felt those victory points slip right through his fingers!

Fair's fair, though -- by all rights he could have two more APFSDS holes in his back end.

So both men live to fight another foe, and after the break we'll see who comes around next.
End of turn 3
Welcome back.  As we pick up the action, Craig, everyone's headed back toward the middle of the arena.

Gorman's going to catch his breath and pick his next target.  He'll have a chance to make for Reiss either way.

And Reiss knows it -- if he heads through the corridor, he could block it with mines, but he'd come out right in the sights of that ATG.

Wow, Chuck, bold move!  Reiss takes a sharp turn away from the corridor and lays a mine in the middle of nowhere -- he must be trying to steer Gorman in front of his rockets.  Will it work?

Gorman still has a moment to decide.  Meanwhile at the top of the drum, Bowman drops his second-to-last mine to make the top corridor a little more interesting.

As they close, Yoder passes up a head-on shot at Bowman, maybe waiting for a point-blank shot.

Now Bowman turns toward the action below, with Yoder falling in behind!

Yoder tries but can't make the shot; still, he'll have at least one more chance...

Now everyone's closing on the same spot.  Gorman may need some more moves to squeeze between Bowman and Reiss, but his gun might clear a path for him.

Meanwhile Bowman has to be worried about that flamethrower on his tail, we'll see if he can shake Yoder off.  Why didn't he go for the jousting pass and get out of the way?

Maybe he's hoping to bring that VMG to bear on Gorman's mangled tires; we'll see if it pays off.
End of turn 4
Now Yoder tries to fall in behind Bowman, but he can't quite do it -- he has to worry eating that last set of mines without enough room to maneuver around them.  He can't get it just right, but he's still moving toward a better shot.

It's decision time for Bowman -- let Yoder have the shot and clear his own VMG for action, or chase Yoder off?  He knows he has no defense against the flamethrower, so he drops the last mines and hopes to get out of the way before Yoder can dodge them and come back around.

Meanwhile Gorman cruises in toward Reiss, and WOW he doesn't wait!  He nails Reiss from distance with the ATG, knocking off a good-sized chunk of armor.  When you get hit by that sucker, you know it!

Reiss was turning to angle his trail of TDX mines, and that shell just knocked his back corner 5 more feet!

It's getting to be do or die time on the floor -- Gorman's taken a huge chunk out of Reiss but not yet scored the kill.

Reiss is laying a trail of mines that Gorman can't get through, but his control over his own vehicle is pretty tenuous...

And now Bowman's closing in -- can he punch through what's left of Reiss' side and steal the kill?

(Sucks in breath) Craig, Gorman's turning to seal the deal -- he's going to ram right through that damaged side before Bowman can trigger the VMG.

Bowman's coming up fast, and...

(Sounds of multiple crashes, explosions -- and a pregnant pause)

Sweet Jesus, what just happened?

Chuck, I couldn't see it all myself -- we're going to have to replay that in super-slow-motion!
Turn 5, middle of phase 3

Alright, Reiss has been tagged, Gorman's turned to ram.  If Gorman hits that side, Reiss is pasta sauce and he knows it.
Reiss loses control...

Reiss cranks the wheel to take it on his undamaged rear, even if it means he T-bones the wall.  But it was too much, Chuck, and his wheels are...

He's rolling, Craig!  He's gonna pancake into the wall!

But look, he never took the minedropper off automatic, and his last set sprays out, right into Gorman's nose.

Gorman's got nowhere left to go!  Reiss is already done.  If he goes left he takes mines.  Right, and he gets a head-on with Bowman at 120 MPH.
Close encounters

Gorman tries to thread the needle, Chuck!  He's going to pray those mines don't go off, and count on Bowman to dodge the mess.

Bowman tries, but not too hard.  They knock sides at a combined 120 MPH, and Bowman's lighter car skids along Gorman's side.  It's not a lot of damage, but...
Chaos ensues...

But it's just enough to knock them both off-balance.  Gorman fishtails one way, Bowman the other.  You can barely make out the mines under him there, until-


(Awed) Until six tires detonate as one.

Like popcorn, Chuck...  Division 10 TDX popcorn.

And to top it off, Yoder comes around and tags Bowman with the flamethrower, and Bowman's back keeps right on sliding out from under him.

Holy Shizmet, Chuck, Reiss just bailed from his car before it hit the wall!  That guy's got a cat's reflexes!

Good thing, too, as his car just rolled onto the side and the wall crumpled his roof like a tin can.

Not much left of his plant, either -- I think I can smell the battery acid from here.
Two cars down...

So here's what we've got left -- Reiss plastered against the wall, a tire-less Gorman skidding to a stop on his underbody (but with his gun still facing the arena).

Bowman's going to try to clear those mines with only three tires remaining, and Yoder's hiding in his own smoke cloud but coming up fast on Bowman.

If he can hit Bowman again, the fire's going to be the end of this one.

After the break, we'll see if Bowman has anything left up his sleeve.
End of turn 5
Looks like Bowman has one trick left, Craig.  He jams on the brakes and forces Yoder to make a decision.

Yoder backs off a bit too, and takes the shot -- he got'em!  Unless Bowman's got some crazy luck he's going to catch fire.

Hold on, Bowman loses it!  He's skidding right toward those mines and wow, that was another tire letting go!

Two tires down, his front end plows into the ground, just in time to set off the mines...  It's for sure he won't be going anywhere now.
Last shot...

It's not over yet, Craig -- Yoder still has to clear the mess.  We know he's the driver out of the bunch, but he's got mines on one side and wrecks on the other...  He yanks the wheel hard to try to avoid the mines-

And it looks like he's saved it, Chuck.  Now he's just going to head out into the other drum and-

WOW!  He lost it, Craig!  The tiniest bend toward the door and he's spinning out!

Oof, his back end just hit the wall hard!  And is that...  Yep he's lost a tire too, though he can still limp around on the other three.

Bowman just lit up -- no Fire Extinguisher, so his night is over.

Now Yoder just needs to stagger over to Gorman's wreck and...

No, that's it, Gorman's surrendered.  He might be able to put out a fire, but Yoder's got -- I'm counting the smoke clouds here -- six shots left.  He could just melt all the armor he can and then ram through the rest -- no sense in taking that beating just to prove a point.
Final positions (end of turn 6)
(Deep breath)  So, Craig, while the referee tabulates the scores, did that play out like you expected?

(Ruefully) Can't say that it did. The first half maybe -- we knew Gorman and Yoder would go for the first shots, and they did.  But how it all ended in that cluster[bleep] in the Western drum -- I mean, wow!

Gorman played it aggressive like we figured, right up to that gutsy move to seal it with a ram.  But how did Reiss and Bowman get caught up in it?

That's the big question.  Now when you look at that soup of rubber on the floor, you've got to figure Reiss and Bowman's mines did more damage than even Gorman's ATG. But they should have stayed out, maybe let Gorman and Yoder mix it up...

Easy to say from here, Craig!  Bowman made a mistake not blowing past Yoder it's true.  But Reiss just wasn't maneuverable enough -- Gorman was going to pound him whichever way he went.

If he had been faster he could have cruised through the corridor and pulled out to drop some mines ahead of Gorman, instead of needing to basically U-turn.

Don't forget he had a solid shot at Yoder early on, but just couldn't get those rockets on target.

Gorman's chances weren't that much better, Chuck, but he still connected twice...  If he had ever strung two hits together it would have been game over.

Can you imagine linked ATGs in Division 10?

(Laughs) So how about Yoder?  I'm guessing he gets kills on Bowman and Gorman, that may put him on top.

Certainly gets some cred for last man standing.  Can't believe he blew it at the end with that spinout, but any one you walk away from...

What a break that Bowman stumbled out in front of him!

You can thank his crew chief for that one, Craig -- someone saw Bowman in the corridor and told Yoder to hug the wall.  When Bowman popped out, Yoder was waiting.

Could a different car design have changed this duel?

Well sure -- any of these guys would have given their left arm for a turret.  I bet Bowman doesn't forget the extinguisher next time -- or a link so he can fire the VMG when he's going to drop a mine anyway.  And if anyone had tires enough to roll through the mines, that sure would have been interesting.

All right, folks, you saw it here on Channel 2045!  And now... here are the official scores:

First place, Full kill on Bowman, Firepower kill on Gorman: YODER
Second place, Full kill on Reiss: GORMAN
Third place, Mobility kill on Gorman: REISS

Remember the PC rule, folks -- the ref figured Gorman killed Reiss because Reiss was dodging Gorman's ram when he lost control.  So Yoder on top, Gorman in second.

I think that's right, I think the best men came out on top today.

Now we'll see if the scouts agree....