Return to Horizon: The Retrieval


Posted Jul 18, 2016, 2:00 am
Part 1: Godspeed

Clutch in. Downshift. Clutch out. Gas.

Focused as he was, a narrow eyed Santiago Santiago ripped the steering wheel of the dark blue Mercenary, "Godspeed". The tail kicked out and the car crested the hilly dune it was just climbing. He slid down the dune diagonally, snapping the butt of the car back in line as he upshifted.

The hill ahead had a bit of a drop- perfect for catching air. He gunned it, a grin cracking his otherwise silently zoned-in face. Godspeed's 3 Litre Rotary screeched a mighty wail as the car ate wind- and flew, she did.

But something was wrong. The front of the car began to sag mid-air and eventually the nose was pointing straight at the floor. Mercenaries can't be turtled- it takes a legend, Santiago thought to himself. He'd heard it over and over again, and here he was, prime position for proving (or disproving, even) that notion. The nose ate dirt and the car flipped right onto its roof, stuck, wheels still spinning. Santiago waited a few minutes for that Mercenary Magic to shine through, but none other than the roar of a squad of muscles broke the silence.


Santiago crawled out of the overturned legend- partially amused and baffled, partially panicked. He began rocking the car over, finding that Godspeed was a lot lighter than she looked. A armor, thank Returacan. The vehicle eventually met terra firma topside once more and Santiago didn't spare a moment climbing in, catching a glimpse of the two muscles bearing right down on him. Godspeed started up and he put it into gear, ripping the steering wheel again and gunning it towards the Gateway entrance.


A dusty, sandy blue Mercenary pulled into Rizon Oni's garage lockup and Santiago throttled that 3 Litre Rotary in announcement. The other members- Penelope Borkowski, Ashlee Brown, Catherine Silva and none other than Tammy "Stone" Mason- looked up from under and around the beaten hearse they worked at. Tammy chimed in first.

"Son of the laughing god himself, I thought I'd meet Komachi before I saw that old barge again." She noted the worn side and top armor as Santiago Santiago stepped out of the car and spoke again. "Are you a driver or a glorified target? Seems like you drive like the latter."

Santiago grinned. So this was the legend, the oldest serving Oni around. "Uh huh. For a gunner, you have a lot of holes in you... especially that one you keep talking out of."

Everyone got a chuckle out of that, but the Stone Mason only grinned.

"If you want to put your muscles where your mouth is, I'll gladly put some holes in you to match."

Posted Jul 18, 2016, 3:07 am
Part 2: Ghost Galleon

John Smith cruised down the cracked and severed road leading to Gateway. No angry pirates, no charging muscle cars. A trade convoy kicked up dust a few hundred meters behind him.

The red, grey and black Mercenary "Ghost Galleon" took the dunes like a dream. She ran gently, the venerable 3.2 Litre engine only purred the whole trek between Somerset and Gateway. John eased it through the gates of Gateway, daintily trotting along in the direction of the Rizon Oni lockup. The garage doors raised and he pulled in, easing the gentle beast into the lockup next to a more weathered looking mercenary in dark blue. The Godspeed and the Ghost Galleon, alliterative birds of a feather, reunited once more.

Santiago Santiago sat on a stool and looked on, cooling pack held to his forehead as John Smith stepped out of the car. Penelope Borkowski, legs dangling out from beneath the azure Mercenary, called out. "Aye! The Galleon's here!"

The other 3 strolled in to greet the Galleon and its deliverer. Catherine Silva and Tammy "Stone" Mason took a moment to view the two Mercenaries side by side. Tammy, again, chimed in first, addressing John.

"Well damn. What, did the Somerset crew try to do a zombie assault blindfolded? I've only been hearing about new recruits, no old faces." She studied John, looking at him up and down as he responded.

"Wasteland is brutal. Water's wet, Morgan is cold, the Flash is a garbage chassis and Firelight is the product of Cegorach and Casshern's taco nights. You should know."

"So they're all gone? Laura Trujillo, Candy Petty, James Glennon?"

"They're with Komachi in Sonoma now, with the rest of the best of us."

Tammy shook her head with a sigh. "They were the best of us, indeed. We'll drink to 'em later."

Everyone took a moment of silence for the best the Horizon had to offer before Santiago Santiago chimed in. "Well John, try not to make jokes about holes while we're here," he tossed a glance to the other 4 as he paused, "it seems everyone else is bleeding from theirs."

Tammy chuckled. "It's alright, kiddo, I understand you're mad because you got your bolts handed to you on a chrome platter by a geriatric one-eyed gunner with a leg and a half."

Santiago rolled his eyes with a grin, shaking his head.

Posted Jul 18, 2016, 4:57 am
Part 3: Vengeful Flames

The final of the triumvirate, Rhett Surface scanned the hilly dunes from across the dashboard of a fiery black Phoenix, the "Vengeful Flames". Her 4 Litre engine grumbled softly as the suspension coped with the uneven tarmac. Clouds of dust and sand kicked up ahead and the grumbling of the Flames began to harmonize atonally with two more mechanical heartbeats.

Pirates, and they're not far either. They began to slow down and turned around in unison. Time to go.

He dropped a couple of gears and floored it, ripping the wheel to the right and gunning it towards some ruins. The mighty 4 Litre roared to life, singing the battlecry of the Vengeful Flames. Ain't a single gang in the northern triangle that could take this beauty, and I plan to keep it that way, Rhett thought to himself.

He and the Flames stormed through the ruins, Rhett scanning the buildings for a gap to slip through- and slip, he did. He swung the back out one way and threw it the other into a scandi flick, ripping up the handbrake for a moment as he dropped a gear. In one fluid movement he counter-steered, let the handbrake go and gunned it, kicking up smoke around the corner of a building with the tail hanging out before he snapped the back in line with the front wheels. The tires touched sand once more and he tore through the dunes, catching air across some decent sized dunes.

He continued in the direction of some pretty steep and rocky hills, knowing there to be yet another gap he could duck into to put space between he and his pursuers. With the same finesse that he used between the buildings, he threw the car into the fold between the hills, maneuvering and riding through the divot before emerging on the other side, kicking up dust and catching air.

"Hell yeah!" Rhett bellowed and the Flames roared in kind. No wonder why the rest of the gang insisted on keeping the basic Phoenix in the lockup instead of trashing her- this car is something else.

The rest of the ride couldn't be smoother. Once the Flames met the cracked concrete again, she flew all the way home with the steady hands of Rhett. He maneuvered the Flames through the Gates and slowed down, cruising in the direction of the Rizon Oni lockup.


The garage door opened once more and Rhett cruised the Phoenix on in, right next to the Godspeed and the slightly less poorly looking Hearse. The other 6 were sitting in and around all of the cars having heard the mighty 4 Litre barrel into the truckstop- having literally heard the Flames coming, they only sat around and waited for it to show up.

Rhett climbed out of the unkillable Phoenix and took a seat on the hood, greeting and gesturing to Santiago Santiago and John Smith. Before they could be a word in, he spoke.

"Tell ya what, the Godspeed and the Galleon are great but nothing beats this little heap right here." He tapped the hood of the car affectionately with a smile. Santiago chimed in next.

"Sure, that dinky little half-a-muscle car could totally smoke a mechanical deity," he nodded at the Godspeed, "and it's younger brother," he nodded at the Galleon and then smirked. "Those neo's are bad for you, you know."

John nodded in agreement, adding onto it. "You do understand that the Godspeed died and came back to life once, right? The Galleon has seen enough of a beating to be on the same boat, and both still do runs from here to Somerset and back. You can't beat that with a secondhand scrap-heap entry level muscle."

Tammy shook her head and grinned through the entire display. "The Flames has been killed, killed and killed again, and yet," she turned her attention to Rhett, "here it is, and it, too, is doing those same runs."

The other two tilted their heads- Catherine, Penelope and Ashlee all nodded in agreement. Rhett made sort of a flustered, embarrassed gesture, and Ashlee completed the sentiment.

"Kid knows his stuff. That car is no joke. Come, let's go for a beer and call it a night. Us old fogeys can edjumacate your young minds with our stories, our own slices of Sonoma to behold."

Posted Jul 18, 2016, 11:07 pm
Part 4: Embarking

Tammy "Stone" Mason belched and hiccuped. Santiago Santiago took a swig of his cup and leaned back, his ears sorting out the jovial conversation about Evan's towns before him from the dull roar of chatter that filled the tavern.

"Gateway, this town right here. Best tracks, best beer, gas prices aren't bad, town mechanic actually knows his nuts from his bolts. Prove me wrong," John Smith declared proudly.

"You need to put your tongue back on, if you think this solar waste is any better than a bucket full of pee and motor oil," Ashlee Brown fired back, continuing on. "Can we agree, at least, that Elmsfield has the best tracks? The lake circuit's fast, the hilly circuit's smooth and fun, the rally circuit's tight and technical- Can't be beat. Sonoma's own image." Penelope Borkowski nodded, Catherine Silva and Tammy "Stone" Mason grunted in agreement.

"I'd give an arm and a leg to take the Godspeed through all the best tracks in Evan. That's about as close as anyone would get to Haruko and Taurus at the same time." Rhett Surface admitted, awestruck.

"You just can't keep your socket wrench out of that heap's tailpipe." Santiago cut in, wryly. That got a snort out of most of them, until Rhett replied.

"At least I don't drive like a mutant squirrel on zerk. Do you need to upend every single car you drive?" The snorting turned into full-on laughter, even some cat-calls. Santiago bowed his head and grinned, finally shaking his head. Tammy chimed in.

"Man, I've been an Oni since the beginning. Those cars have more history than I have scar tissue." The others turned their attention to her, listening curiously.

"Story time?" Rhett looked like a child admiring some old survivalist, Catherine didn't look too dissimilar. Tammy grinned, taking a final swig of her beer and leaned back.

"Where to start... Godspeed. Just a Merc, a trade runner, we brought it in with all of a few dings and some dust. Very mint, so one of us decided to turn it into a racecar. Stripped all the armor, threw on that shiny plate you see now, tossed in a 3.2 Litre and rolled with it. Alma Young championed it first, hooned it to and fro and in and around the Northern Triangle. And it was quick, took the dunes and the corners like nothing."

She took a moment to cough a few times as the other 6 listened intently. "So we started to get what we thought was clever- we made another. The Ghost Galleon, similar deal, trade runner looted mint, and we tossed it at Elmsfield. Laura Trujillo championed that one. Alma Young died a warrior's death by then and Douglas Young took the reigns of the Godspeed. He really made it run, pass after pass between Somerset, Elms and this rathole. You wouldn't see those two for more than an hour at a time. When he passed on, ("To sonoma he went," added Catherine) the Godspeed continued to thrive. A few more came to pass, and we finally got the brilliant idea of tossing a 3 Litre Rotary in it. One step closer to a chariot worthy of Taurus... and then those silly boys at Anomaly kinda blew it up."

That managed to cast some annoyed, even disgusted looks across the faces of the other 6. Santiago started to speak, but Rhett beat him to the punch. "I don't know how they could do that to such a car. Disgusting cowards."

Tammy smiled, raising her hand to resume speaking. "They're a good group. We gave them a lick of the Horizon and they returned it in full. They allowed two of our own to get to Sonoma unapologetically. If anything, we shouldn't have ran a weaponless car in a deathrace, or deathrally, as it were. Anomaly lives like warriors, not unlike we do. Can't hate them for that."

She took a moment to cough once more. "Rest is history, Silva and I have finally returned from hell and are greeted by the azure wind once more, alongside the spectral vessel and," she cast a glance to Rhett- "last but not least, the Vengeful Flames."

Rhett's grin turned into a open-mouth smile at that name, and before anyone else could get a word in, he spoke. "Seeing as that's the oldest car in our fleet, and you're the oldest Oni under the Horizon, you should definitely give us the full page on the Flames."

Tammy nodded. "And I was just about to do just that." She drank from her cup and leaned forwards.

"Let me tell you about those lovable crazy nuts from Renshai..."