Cannonball Run 2007: Europe
Chapter 7: On The Way Back
A couple of hours after the Cannonballers reached Nurburg Castle, they left for the ferry back to England. While Tony was navigating the nighttime drive...
"Finally." said Caesar.
"It's done?" asked Tony.
"Finito." said Caesar.
"Alright." said Tony. "So, what do we need to do now?"
"First, I need a moment alone with your car." said Caesar. "Preferably, Malcolm's car needs to be there too."
"You're not gonna have them mate, are you?" asked Tony.
"No." laughed Caesar. "Although that would be cool. Anyways, after that, we just need to get Malcolm to pass through Constable Leeds' jurisdiction and the rest is up to him."
"Good ol' Leeds." said Tony.
Patrick had passed the border crossing and entered France. As he drove under a bridge, Rob yelled "Wait, stop!"
Patrick came to a stop and asked "What's wrong?"
"You were about to pass by a picture perfect skateboarding location." said Rob.
"Oh, thanks for the warning." said Patrick.
Rob, Patrick, and Andy jumped out of the van with their skateboards. Patrick and Andy saw what Rob had noticed: the supports for the bridge rested on pedestals with perfectly slanted sides. Rob ran up one side and set down his board. Patrick and Andy joined him while Robin trained her video camera on them.
"Andy, by your estimate, how much time do we have to kill?" asked Rob.
"Who gives a damn?" asked Andy.
"Best answer I've heard all race." said Patrick. He promptly launched himself down the pedestal and up the one on the other side. One hand plant later, he was sailing down the other side.
Andy was next to launch. After he cruised down the side, he raced up the other side and did a 720 degree spin in midair. He then rolled down the pedestal and returned to the starting position.
Rob followed him with Patrick joining him. The two of them ran down one pedestal and up the other. Both did a 180 degree spin in midair with Patrick flying over Rob.
Andy gave it another go when Rob and Patrick returned to the start. When he went up the opposite pedestal, he grabbed his board and removed his feet from it. He placed them back on just before making contact with the pedestal again.
"Go for it." said Patrick. Rob then launched himself down the pedestal and raced up the other one. He performed a rail slide and rolled back down.
"Car!" yelled Bison.
As he started to cross the road, he looked and saw a dark grey PGO Cevannes racing towards him. He quickly jumped and flew over the roadster before landing on his board again.
"Well, that was close." he said.
"Wasn't that guy in the race?" asked Bison.
"Yeah, I guess the boarding session is over." said Patrick.
"Back to the van, boys." said Rob.
"Hey, did you get that?" asked Andy.
"Oh yeah." said Robin as they got back into the van. "I'd like to take another look at those two in the roadster."
The rest of the trip to the ferry was pretty much uneventful. The Lindstroms arrived first, again because of their navigation system. However, they again arrived several hours before the next ferry was to leave.
They were still in the middle of a game of Gran Turismo 4 when Heidi and Gretchen showed up. Several other drivers made it to the ferry landing in the hours before sunrise. The ferry finally opened to receive passengers around 8.
The Cannonballers drove onto the ferry. Within minutes, the racers had punched their time cards and exited their cars. Many of them made their way to the main deck.
"Time to go to work." said Caesar as he climbed out of Tony's 350Z.
Within fifteen minutes, the ferry had set sail. The racers had gathered in the lounge to mingle.
"So, where's your friend?" asked Heidi.
"He had a special project to work on." said Tony. "Let's just say that if this goes as planned, all my problems will be fixed."
"What problems are those?" asked Salvatore.
"Problems involving a hotheaded Brit with a personal grudge against you, Sal." said Tony.
"Then both of our problems will be fixed." said Guiseppe.
Across the room...
"There's no telling how much more we could've done." said Rob.
"If you ask me, that's what it was all about." said Patrick.
"You guys ready for the last dash?" asked Marie.
"Oh, absolutely." said Pierre.
"May we have your attention please?" asked the female race official.
The Cannonballers turned to her and the Welsh race official.
"Thank you." she said. "At this moment, Mr. Livingston is on his way to the finish line. He will be there to greet the winning driver and their team. We've tallied up your times so far. It would appear that only five teams are in contention for winner of the race. No one else is close."
"And without further ado, those five teams are as follows." said the Welshman. "The first team is...clear the dance floor. Salvatore Moretti and Guiseppe Venicci."
Salvatore and Guiseppe cheered.
"Heidi Kerner and Gretchen Steinberg." said the woman.
Heidi and Gretchen squealed with delight.
"Pierre Massarde and his team." said the Welshman.
Pierre laughed while Guillaume and Monique smiled at him.
"Per and Marie Lindstrom." said the woman.
Marie clapped her hands once while Per gave a thumbs-up.
"And finally," said the Welshman "the team headed by Patrick Bannon and Rob Falcon."
"Yeah!" yelled Rob and Patrick. They high-fived each other.
"Everyone else, look for a miracle." said the woman.
Malcolm walked over to Tony and said "Well, it looks like neither of us is in the running."
"Hey, we both know why you're in this race." said Tony.
"Where's your friend?" asked Ian.
Tony thought about his answer. "You'll find out." he said.
"How about now?" asked Malcolm. He walked towards the stairs to the vehicle level.
"What's the deal, Gates?" asked Tony. "Nervous?"
"About what?" asked Malcolm.
"Yeah, I know guys like you." said Tony. "Afraid someone has an upper hand on you. Seeking to get ahead through any means necessary, even those less than legal."
"Are you accusing me of something?" asked Malcolm.
"Oh, you picked up on it." said Tony.
"You want to mess with me?" asked Malcolm as he raised his fists. "Alright, let's go. Let's see what you're made of."
"Oh, resorting to fisticuffs, huh?" asked Tony as he started to back away. "Can't we settle this on the blacktop like real men?"
"You know what?" asked Malcolm. "I believe we shall. The ferry should dock in a couple of hours. We'll see who the man is."
A couple of hours later, Guillaume looked out the window and saw land approaching. He walked over to Tony. "We're about to port." he said. "Time to put your money where your mouth is."
"I gotcha." said Tony.
"What is Malcolm's problem anyway?" asked Heidi.
"He's just on the outs with the Formula One regulating commitee." said Salvatore. "He was caught up in a gambling scandal and I reported him. Apparently, he wants to kill me as if that will get him back into F-One."
Malcolm walked over to them. "Well, are you ready to get your arse handed to you?" he asked Tony.
"I'm ready to dance." said Tony. "As for getting one's ass handed to him, we'll see. I think you'll find I'm not just some stupid yankee."
"Really?" said Malcolm. "As I recall, you couldn't even outrun me on the motorway."
"That's because of an innocent motorist getting in the way." said Tony. "An innocent motorist who got sent to the hospital due to an accident you caused when you cut off that truck."
"Well, that was rather unfortunate." said Malcolm. "But that's what happens when you bring innocents into your battle."
"Like the innocent racers you endangered with your little quest for revenge?" asked Tony. "How many Cannonballers have gotten in your way so far? Are they the reason why your target is barely freaked out with maybe an hour left?"
The other Cannonballers let out an "Ooh!"
"Try not to take this personally." said Malcolm. He then took a swing at Tony. Unfortunately, Tony ducked and Malcolm ended up hitting Per as he was walking by with a cup of water. As soon as the water spilled across Per's jacket, Malcolm knew he was in trouble. "Shite." he said.
"I think I'm gonna like this part." said Andy as Robin raised her camera.
Per pounded his hand with his fist.
"Now now, I'm sure we can talk about this, man to man." said Malcolm.
"It's not going to do you any good." said Marie. "He doesn't speak English."
Per grabbed Malcolm by the collar. "Can we relax?" said Malcolm. "Uh...Ikea Abba Saab smorgasbord?"
Per threw Malcolm against the wall. He then nailed him with a spin kick. A couple of punches followed.
Malcolm dropped to the floor and tried to crawl away. Per grabbed his leg and pulled him back. He then picked him up and threw him against the wall again.
Per then grabbed Malcolm by the throat and lifted him off his feet. "(If it was your goal to piss off everyone in this race, you succeeded.)" said Per. "(I think everyone's going to want me to do this.)"
It was then that the Welshman walked up to them and said "Excuse me, gents. The ferry is docking. We're off." He then repeated his news in Swedish.
Upon hearing the news, Per dropped Malcolm and walked for the stairs. The other Cannonballers followed.
"Bloody wanker." said Malcolm as he picked himself up.
The Cannonballers ran to their cars as the ramp lowered. "I'm getting a sense of deja vu!" yelled Rob.
Heidi and Gretchen jumped into their Porsche and fastened their seat belts.
The Lindstroms got into their Volvo and Marie booted up her computer.
Salvatore and Guiseppe slid into their Ferrari and Salvatore brought the V-12 to life.
Pierre, Guillaume, and Monique got into their Peugeot and Guillaume started making security checks.
Ron and his team got into the Transit van. Robin changed her tape while Patrick got the van started.
Malcolm and Ian climbed into the TVR. Malcolm wiped the blood from his nose.
Tony dropped himself into the driver's seat of his 350Z. Caesar was waiting for him.
"Well?" asked Tony.
"It's done." said Caesar. "The rest is up to you."
As soon as the ramp was down, the cars had raced down it. Once upon the British highway, the cars fought for position.
Heidi quickly took the lead. Salvatore was right behind her.
Seeing his chance, Malcolm made his way through the pack to get to Salvatore.
Tony noticed this and activated his nitrous system. He then pressed the switch on the steering wheel and shot towards the front of the group. He quickly caught up with Malcolm and cut in front of him.
"You're going down, mate." said Malcolm.
Malcolm tried to swerve around him, but Tony managed to cut him off everytime.
"Kaw-kaw, kaw-kaw." chanted Tony.
Salvatore looked in his rearview and saw this. He pushed his accelerator to the floor and overtook Heidi.
"Move it, you stupid yank!" yelled Ian.
"They're really mad now!" reported Caesar.
"Very sharp, my man." said Tony. "Let's see just how mad."
The road forked ahead of them. While the Cannonballers went one way, Tony went another. Sure enough, Malcolm followed him.
"Okay, he's officially lost sight of his original goal." said Caesar.
Tony raced down a road with Malcolm in hot pursuit. He tore around a turn. Malcolm kept with him.
"This guy has been a thorn in my side for too long." said Malcolm.
Tony came to a small town and raced down the main street.
"Do it now." said Caesar.
Tony cut a turn down a side street and spun out. Malcolm simply drove by.
"Did you see that?" asked Ian.
"Still alive, but I'll take it." said Malcolm.
Suddenly, a pair of police Land Rovers pulled out of a side street and blocked the street. Malcolm let out a grunt and hit the brakes, stopping short of a collision. Two police Vauxhalls pulled out behind the TVR and cut off its escape route. Several armed police officers surrounded the car.
Leeds and Porter climbed out from behind one of the Land Rovers and took at look at their prey.
"Oh, bugger." said Leeds. "Lads, does that look like a Zed-Car to you?"
"Hold on a tick." said Porter as he took out his pad.
Porter showed it to Leeds. Leeds looked at the pad, then at the car. "Arrest these men!" he ordered.
Some of the officers ran up to the car and pulled out Malcolm and Ian, threw them on the hood, and cuffed them.
"I don't understand." said Porter. "The beacon was supposed to be on the Zed-Car."
"Hold on." said Leeds. He took the tracker for the beacon and pointed it at the TVR. He got a positive reading. He then walked over to the car and looked into the wheelwell. He took out the key to the beacon, stuck it into the wheelwell, and then took out the beacon.
"How did he do that?" asked Porter.
Leeds looked up the street. He saw Tony's 350Z pull out of the side street. He also thought he saw Tony wink at him.
"Strange one." said Leeds.
Sometime later, the other Cannonballers raced towards Surrey Castle. Per had taken the lead due to his sister's work with the GPS navigation system.
"(How much further is it?)" asked Per.
"(Not far.)" said Marie. "(Maybe another ten kilometers.)"
"(Good to hear.)" said Per.
A loud roar was heard as Heidi's Porsche came up behind him.
"(There's our friends from Sweden.)" said Gretchen.
"(Let's hope they stay friends after this.)" said Heidi.
Another roar was heard as Salvatore's Ferrari came racing along.
"(We're almost to the castle.)" said Guiseppe.
"(Wonderful.)" said Salvatore. "(We can rest when we get there.)"
They tore through a T-intersection where Pierre was turning. He managed to join them.
"(Victory is at hand!)" cheered Pierre. "(Time to keep it going!)"
"(Is he always this brash?)" asked Monique.
"(More than you think.)" said Guillaume.
The cars zipped past a tractor-trailer which revealed the Transit van.
"We are still in contention." said Patrick.
"Good." said Rob. "I'd like to score a victory right now."
"This is going to be a good shot." said Robin.
"I was hoping you'd think so." said Andy.
"Here we are!" cheered Bison.
The cars sped into the grounds of Surrey Castle. Per managed to maintain the lead. Pierre had managed to come alongside him. Heidi and Salvatore hung behind them while Patrick held a somewhat distant rear.
"(We're going to get it!)" squealed Marie.
"(Go! Go! Go!)" chanted Guillaume.
"(Victory is...)" said Pierre before a silver MG pulled into the entryway coming the other way. He and Per slammed on their brakes.
Heidi and Salvatore followed suit and brought their cars to a halt. The MG's driver was too confused to move. She hadn't realized she was going the wrong way.
"How are we going to get through that?" asked Rob.
"I've got a plan." said Andy as he picked up his skateboard. He went for the handle for the side door and pulled it open.
Patrick kept accelerating for the traffic jam as Pierre tried to climb over the MG.
"Here we go!" yelled Andy as he launched himself out of the van. He then planted his feet on the skateboard and landed it on the back of the Porsche.
He then ramped off the back of the car and cleared the trunk of the Volvo before landing on the roof and then did a rail slide across the MG's windshield.
Patrick had brought the van to a halt and his teammates were watching Andy's stunt.
"Uh oh." said Rob.
Andy landed his board on the roadway and skated to the finish line. Kenneth was waiting for him.
Andy stopped at the time clock. "Well, what did you think about that?" he asked.
"That was quite simply the most amazing finish ever in the Cannonball." said Kenneth. "A minor mishap with a clever and exciting solution. Very good job, my good man."
"Thank you, sir." said Andy.
"Now, just punch the clock and we can declare you the winner." said Kenneth.
Andy quickly started to search himself for the time card. He got worried when he couldn't find it.
"Andy!" yelled Rob. Andy looked to see Rob still had the time card in the van.
"Knew it was too good to be true." said Andy.
Pierre then ran up to punch the clock.
Tony and Caesar raced for the finish.
"Care to explain how you did it?" asked Tony.
"You don't want me to bore you." said Caesar.
"Try me." said Tony.
"Okay, here's what I did." said Caesar. "When I was at the Pompidou Center, I checked out a display of magnets. They let me play with them a bit and I discovered that if you place two like-poled magnets on opposite sides of a piece of metal, it weakens the hold both have on that metal."
"So, that's why you needed those electromagnet designs from home." said Tony.
"Yeah, but this one was a little bigger than the one I needed to make in high school." said Caesar. "After I managed to make one strong enough to counter the magnet on the tracking device, I simply stuck it to the side of your fender and easily popped the device off. The tricky part was getting it to Malcolm's TVR without getting it stuck to another car."
"Sucker never knew what hit him." said Tony. "You really pulled my bacon out of the fire this time. What do I owe you?"
"Your undying friendship." said Caesar.
Tony thought about it. "I can live with that." he said.
Tony pulled into the grounds for Surrey Castle.
Tony and Caesar walked right into the post-race party. The others greeted them with a cheer.
"So, who won?" asked Tony.
Several people pointed to Pierre.
"Good for him." said Caesar.
"'Ey, Tony!" said Salvatore as he walked over. "I didn't see Malcolm show up."
Tony made a thumbs-up and turned it down. "Cops got him." he said. "He's not going to hurt you now."
"Really?" asked Salvatore.
"They got him." said Caesar.
"Oh, we can breath easier now!" sighed Guiseppe.
"(So, how did you like your first Cannonball?)" asked Heidi.
"(Very well.)" said Gretchen. "(Same time next year?)"
"Ja, ja." said Heidi. "(I think we'll take one of those new Audis.)"
"(Sounds wonderful.)" said Gretchen. "(But you have to let me pick the outfits.)"
"(Must I?)" asked Heidi.
Per and Marie walked over to Andy and Bison.
"Here comes our competition." said Bison.
Per held out his hand and said "It was nice racing against you." in perfect English, surprising the two skateboarders.
He then walked away to another racer. "(How was that?)" he asked.
"(Perfect.)" said Marie.
Tony and Caesar were talking with another racer when Constable Leeds and Porter walked in. "Ah, Mr. Basilotta." said Leeds.
"Constable Leeds, what brings you here?" asked Tony.
"I thought you'd like to know that Malcolm Gates has plead guilty to charges of reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident." said Leeds. "You'll also be glad to know that the drivers of the Rover and the lorry are expected to make a full recovery."
"Yeah, that is good news." said Caesar.
"How did you know to find us here?" asked Tony.
"Well, the beacon said you were here a few days ago after our meeting." said Leeds. "Now, we heard rumors of an illegal road race starting off from here and finishing here tonight. We decided to act on these rumors and here you are."
"Now, that's detective work." said Caesar.
"By the way, is there any chance to catch someone in the act?" asked Leeds.
"Doubt it." said Tony.
Leeds shrugged and said "Pity."
"So, how do you like how we do it in Europe?" asked Patrick.
"Not bad." said Rob. "I think I'll come back next year."
"Andy and I will start working on a vehicle immediately." said Patrick.
"Hey, can I get a shot with the American lad?" asked Robin.
"Of course, of course." said Patrick as he took out his camera.
"You're not obsessing over Patrick now, are you?" asked Rob.
"No, of course not." said Robin. "All this time, I've seen he's an ordinary guy."
"Good to hear." said Rob.
"You, on the other hand..." said Robin.
Patrick took the picture and captured the look of shock on Rob's face for eternity.
AN:So, there you go. How did you like it?
I am working on some things for Cannonball Run 2008 right now. This will return to the established continuity with the American Cannonballers, but there will be a twist as well.
Also, I'd like to point out that some of the characters from this fic will show up in a future Cannonball Run story. Do you like the sound of that?
Thank you very much.