Author's notes: I make no claims of ownership of either Top Gear or Nanoha, this is done purely as a tribute, amusement, and to get this idea out of my head so my muse will stop harping on it and help me with my other projects. :P Also, as this fic is describing a television show, writing it in script form rather than prose seemed appropriate.
Top Gear: Mid-Childa Special
Intro: Jessica by the Allman brothers
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): On tonight's programme!
(Int – a sparely fitted bathroom, primarily finished in gunmetal gray. Richard Hammond is bracing himself over a toilet bowl, looking quite green and moaning)
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): Richard tries some ethnic cuisine!
(Int – the inside of a car, moving quite quickly given how the scenery outside the window is blurring by. James May looks quite relaxed at the steering wheel – both hands behind his head as he whistles along with the opening theme)
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): James drives using only the power of his mind!
(Ext – a street corner, evening. The Boys are standing together next to a car, Jeremy at the head of the group. A policewoman is berating him.)
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): And I cause an interplanetary incident!
Policewoman: Do you have any idea how much trouble you three are in?
(Int – the studio. The Camera pans down from over the Invincible Toyota, over the clapping crowd, and ending at the stage, where The Boys are standing.)
Jeremy Clarkson: Hello, and welcome! Now, on tonight's programme, we address something that's likely to become a problem on the roads of Britain in the near future.
James May: Yes. Now, as you might remember, last year, some unpleasant blokes popped up and told us they wanted this planet for themselves. Then they ran into some other strangers, who liked us more, and the whole thing went wrong for them.
Richard Hammond: But before they could leave, they left a lot of their kit here, where labs around the world have been turning it over and poking it with spanners to work out what makes it go. There's lots of talk about interesting things they can do with it to improve life for everyone on Earth and make clean energy and such.
Jeremy Clarkson: But that, of course, isn't important. What is important, is that several car companies – Toyota, Mitsubishi, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and Ford among them – have said that they want to bring this (Jeremy makes finger quotes)'magic' stuff to cars. This concerns us, because you know our standing on cars that don't run on Petrol-
James May(disgustedly): They're rubbish. (Audience laughs)
Jeremy Clarkson: Well yes.
Richard Hammond: So, in the face of this unnerving development, we did a lot of thinking, and we decided that the best thing we could do was to find some place where they already have magic cars, and see if they're any good.
Jeremy Clarkson: And with that in mind, we booked ourselves a nice, quick, little trip. To another planet.
Richard Hammond(VO): Our first stop was the Time-Space Administration Bureau Embassy in Tokyo.
(Montage of various shots of Tokyo, showing the Memorial Gardens at the Imperial Palace, a half-destroyed section of the old public transit system, the new Light Rail, and various shots of skyline, traffic, and walking people.)
Richard Hammond(VO): We'd been here before, but not since the Battle, and it was impressive to see how well they were recovering. Our travel schedule was tight, however, so we wouldn't be able to see much of it.
(Shots of The Boys walking into the TSAB Embassy and shaking hands with some staff.)
James May(VO): Our transport would be aboard a TSAB Navy Frigate called the Pauline, but it wouldn't be ready to sail, as it were, until tomorrow.
(Ext – low Earth orbit, the TSAB Frigate Pauline coming into view, flying lazily past the International Space Station, running lights flashing in sequence.)
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): Naturally, since we would be departing on a great journey to another world entirely, we spent the time resting and preparing.
(Int- a Kareoke bar in Tokyo. Richard and James are seated at a table. Richard is sitting awkwardly and nursing a beer. James is sitting seiza and munching some Sushi. To their right stands Jeremy, clearly drunk, standing with a Salaryman and singing.)
Jeremy Clarkson and Salaryman(drunk, off key, and not quite in sync): We all live in a yellow submarine...
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): All too soon, we were roused and teleported up to the ship, where we were greeted by our Captain.
(Int – aft section of Pauline's main bridge. Captain Stevens shakes hands with each of The Boys in turn, then gestures forward. The camera pans to the bow – dominated by the main viewscreen and an image of Earth from space. Zoom in on The Boys)
Jeremy Clarkson(amazed, quiet): S'trewth.
James May(quiet): You know, the proper, Top Gear thing at this point would be to give a brief glance at the amazing sight, then turn away with some offhand comment about 'so where's our bunks' or somesuch. But I just can't bring myself to do that. This is genuinely amazing.(Turns to Captain Stevens) I envy you lot.
Richard Hammond: Me too. That is quite a sight.
(Ext – Pauline in interdimensional flight, surrounded by a riot of colour – the camera appears to be attached to the aft, pointing forward along the hull)
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): As we settled into our bunks, the trip began. Pauline is a fast ship, and so the trip from Earth to Mid-Childa would only take about a day and a half. James and I were looking forward to seeing the place, and there were going to be more than a few sights to see just on the trip.
(Int – Main bridge. Richard and Jeremy are standing near the center, watching the view of space. James is leaning over one of the consoles, talking with the young woman working it.)
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): Just watching space go by from the bridge was beautiful, even if Captain Slow seemed more interested in pestering the crew.
(Int – Ship's gym. Two Marines are sparring at the center of the room as The Boys watch, magic flaring and flashing.)
Richard Hammond(VO): It was also rather interesting to watch what these people think of as a physical fitness routine.
Jeremy Clarkson: I'd not survive this every day.
Richard Hammond: I dunno, it looks fun.
(All three take a quick step back as a stray blast hits the floor near them)
James May: Are you entirely sure this is safe to watch?
(Int – Ship's mess. The Boys are seated at a large, round table. James and Jeremy both have loaded trays, sporting a variety of odd looking foods. Richard is looking at some of their dishes uneasily, clutching a mug of coffee.)
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): And of course, there was the best part of traveling on this show: taunting Richard Hammond with weird local foods.
James May: You know, I'm impressed. I'd been expecting everything here to be cramped, and for the meals to be not but 'take it or leave it.' But this is quite well appointed, and plenty of variety.
Jeremy Clarkson(Nodding): They do like to take care of their sailors. If I didn't know better, I'd guess this was a restaurant and not a ship. (Takes a bite of what looks like a stuffed pasta) And a right good restaurant at that. (Glances at Richard) Sure you don't want any?
Richard Hammond(Very quickly):I'm fine, thanks.
James May(Grinning): It's a week's round trip, mate. You're gonna have to try the local food eventually.
Richard Hammond: We'll see about that, won't we?
Jeremy Clarkson: Oh come on, Hammond, you'll be fine. Here, try some of this.(He proffers a fork full of meat and veg)
Richard Hammond: Quite all right. Appreciate the offer.
Jeremy Clarkson: Oh come off it! What's wrong with this?
Richard Hammond: It's blue!
(James cracks up laughing. Fade out)
Richard Hammond(VO): Unfortunately, hunger got the best of me that night. I asked the chef for something very bland. Which apparently means something different on Mid-Childa, because what he gave me was an undercooked, tangy thing that, well...
(Int – guest quarters head – Richard is leaning over the toilet, moaning. At the door, Jeremy and James are laughing.)
Richard Hammond(annoyed): You know, this isn't actually funny, lads.
Jeremy Clarkson(shaking his head): No, it really is. We're not even out here for a day, and you've got your head down in a space bog.
Richard Hammond: Oh shut up.
James May: Technically, it's a 'head,' not a bog. We're on a ship.
Richard Hammond: Oh shut up.
Jeremy Clarkson: Does the TSAB even have that tradition?
Richard Hammond: Would you two bugger off and let me die in peace?
(Ext – Mid-Childa Navy Annex. The Boys are in the foreground, looking up at the very alien sky, focusing on the multiple other planets visible overhead.)
Jeremy Clarkson: You know, all these amazing sights are just going to ruin our reputations as heartless car nuts.
Richard Hammond: We'll have to find something to complain about soon.(James nods)
(Montage – Mid-Childan traffic, assorted pedestrians, and a few shots of the planets overhead)
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): We split up and hit the dealerships to pick our cars. From there, we'd head to a local speedway to start seeing how they are. But there was a small problem.
(Int – Car dealership. Jeremy is reading the info sheet for a low-slung, sleek, gloss black car, looking very confused.)
Jeremy Clarkson: Now, we've been loaned translators to get around the language problem – which is strange enough. Looking at this page, it looks like it's both in utterly bizarre moon language and the Queen's English. But I suspect that it's not the translation that's confusing me. What's a 'High Capacity Thaumatic Accumulator with a Nine Kilothaum per hour capacity?' Or an A. R. Arconverter Type Five? It's all just gibberish. I imagine this is how people in Ethiopia think of what we say when we talk about regular cars.
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): I had to fall back at this point on talking to the salesman. But I was comforted by the thought that Richard and James would be having the same problems I was.
(Int – Another car dealership. Richard is standing between a pair of sporty looking red cars, looking just as confused as Clarkson)
James May(VO): Unlike the other two idiots, I actually read some literature about magic-based technology before we left, and some more on the trip over. The crew had been patient with my questions as well, so I actually had some idea of what I was looking for.
(Ext – a third car dealership. James is talking animatedly with a salesman as they walk past lines of cars in an outdoor lot.)
James May: So, I'm looking for something that can maintain at least six kilothaums per hour at speed.
Car Salesman: We have a few options for that.
(Montage – more Mid-Childan traffic, glimpses of The Boys in new cars – Clarkson in a low slung, gloss black two-door, Hammond in a bright red car with lines vaguely similar to a Corvette, and James in a sporty looking blue car with a large spoiler.
(Int – Jeremy's car. It's right hand drive, with a busy instrument panel and a stick shift.)
Jeremy Clarkson: I talked to the nice salesman and got him to show me the fastest car he had. That's this: a Kalron Industries 4400. Not sure of the horespower; they measure engine output another way; but it feels quite good, even if it doesn't make that great a noise. Fairly nippy, with 'sport' suspension and what feels like excellent handling. If I'm remembering the numbers right, this spedo maxes out at about two-hundred sixty kilometers per hour. We might get a chance to hit that later, because the highways on this planet are like the Autobahns. (A pause, as he glances down at the gear lever, then quite deliberately makes a shift.) The only problem I've got with it so far is that the gear pattern is all wrong.
(Int – Richard's car. Right hand drive, an even busier instrument panel than Clarkson's including a large screen with a number of dials and buttons under it. Unlike Clarkson's, it appears to be an automatic, and it has bucket seats with four point harnesses. The radio is playing something bubbly and popish)
Richard Hammond: I've got a Luan Sata SE. It's an automatic, because it seemed a poor idea to learn an entirely new gear pattern while driving around a new planet. It's nimble, quick, and very responsive. And it can do this. (Pokes a button under the display screen.)
(Ext – the street Richard is driving along, Richard's car. As we watch, it's red paintjob changes to a bright, electric blue.)
(Int – Richard's car. Richard is grinning at the camera, and pokes a button next to the last one)
(Ext – the street. The blue car changes to a dark British Racing Green)
(Int – Richard's car. He's smiling even brighter.)
Richard Hammond: It's got four presets, and two buttons you can assign another colour for through the main screen. It can also do satnav, phones, and an appointment book. Supposedly, you can also change the settings on how it decides when to shift, and the traction control, but I'd need a bit more time to work out how it's all supposed to go before I mess with that.
(Int – James' car. It's spacious, nicely appointed, and like Hammond's car, an automatic. The instrument panel seems very sparse.)
James May: As you might imagine, I've done this properly. This is a Hanara Sankt Klar 2100. Hanara is one of Mid-Childa's oldest car companies, and it holds several current safety records. This model has the best crash-test safety ratings of any production car on Mid-Childa's roads today, as well as state of the art traction controls. It's also one of the more power efficient designs among its contemporaries, and given the way magic cars appeal to the Green nuts back home, I felt that a valid thing to look for. And finally, it's got an auto-drive system for highway use on long drives. I'll be trying that out later. (He reaches for the instrument panel, and suddenly instead of being blank, glowing Mid-Childan writing appears just above it. James runs a finger specifically under one line, then nods. When he removes his hand, the display writing vanishes) Even with all the stop-start of city driving, it's power efficiency appears to be a constant. And this instrument panel is quite clever.
(Ext – a speedway. A small crowd can be seen scattered around the stands. The Boys all pull up next to a trailer in the pits. Richard's car is still British Racing Green; Jeremy's is noticeably larger than the others. The Boys give each other's cars appreciative looks and a few offhand comments as the camera zooms in on them)
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): Traditionally at this point, we'd start telling each other about how they've done it wrong, but here today, the only one of us who actually knows what he's talking about with these things is Captain Slow, and I wasn't about to give him an opening to show off how much he knows and start boring us to death with fiddly mechanical bits.
James May: Of course, now that we'd acquired our local cars, we needed to see who'd managed to pick the best one. To that end, we'd made our way here: the Mid-Childa Saint's Speedway. And to even out the tests, all the cars would be driven by the same driver.
Jeremy Clarkson: That we had. Some say that seven of her fingers are wands, and that all her eyes are made of solid orichalcum. All we know is, she's not The Stig, but she is The Stig's Magical Girl Cousin!
(Camera pans to the Trailer. The Trailer door opens and out steps Stig-Chan. The white suit and helmet are familiar, but the person in it is clearly female, and very, very short. Even including the very top of her helmet, she's roughly four inches shorter than Richard Hammond. An elaborate jade green braid falls from beneath her helmet to mid-back. She walks up to The Boys, arms crossed.)
Jeremy Clarkson(visibly trying not to laugh): She looked taller in the picture.
Richard Hammond(grinning): I dunno, mate. I think she's just the right size.
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): First up, Miss Stig took a lap in James' car.
(Ext – Sankt Kaiser Speedway. Stig-Chan gets into the Hanara and takes a brief moment to adjust the seat. CUT TO the starting line. The Hanara takes off with minimal wheelspin, accelerating smoothly. Various shots of the car going around the lap, including a particularly wicked chicane after the second corner. CUT TO The Boys standing at the race boss' station.)
Richard Hammond: It seems to be staying under control quite nicely. For a car that fast, it's quite well behaved.
James May: I made sure to do this properly. The Sankt Klar has award winning handling, and I specifically got them to tune the traction control and put on grippier tires.
Jeremy Clarkson: You would, too. Of course, it's an automatic, which means that the whole thing is sadly incapable of actually getting its full performance potential since it's been crippled.
(More shots of the Hanara zipping around the track, cornering smoothly despite being at quite high speeds. The spoiler adjusts itself automatically to keep traction constant)
James May(VO): I wasn't too worried about that, honestly. The speedway portion of the challenge was only the first part of the test; the only part where the added weight and mechanical caution of an automatic gearbox would harm performance more than our unfamiliarity with Mid-Childan gear patterns. I was looking forward to seeing Clarkson break his manual gearbox later on, by being his usual stupid 'more power' self.
(The Hanara crosses the line, we cut back to Jeremy hitting the stopwatch.)
Richard Hammond: Well, come on then.
Jeremy Clarkson: It did it in one minute and thirty two point six seconds.
Richard Hammond: Not bad, given the length of the track. Still, a bit meaningless until Stig-Chan's shown us what the others can do.
(Ext – the starting line. Stig-Chan pulls up in Hammond's Luan, which abruptly changes colour from British Racing Green to a bright, cotton-candy pink. CUT TO the race box. James and Jeremy are laughing as Richard looks embarrassed)
Jeremy Clarkson: That would be a pink car.
Richard Hammond(Annoyed): It changes to other colours too, you goit. And the important thing is, it changes colour, not the specific colour she picked.
(CUT TO the Luan as it takes off from the starting line, accelerating slightly quicker than the Hanara did. The cornering is different; the car keeping a bit more speed as Stig-Chan drifts the car through several of the sharper corners. CUT TO The Boys.)
Richard Hammond: You see! That's the mark of a good performance car – designed to be able to drift properly.
James May: No, that's the mark of badly designed traction control.
(CUT TO the Luan as it races along, its sleek pinkness following a slightly tighter racing line than the Hanara did. We see it cross the line and cut back to The Boys.)
Jeremy Clarkson: One minute, twenty eight point two. Not bad at all, but it's destined to be beaten by my 4400.
(Ext – the speedway. Stig-Chan walks up to the Kalron, opens the driver's door, and promptly vanishes as it closes. After a moment, her helmet can be seen rising halfway into shot as she adjusts the seat as high as it will go. CUT TO the starting line. We can still just barely see the white helmet within the black car. The Kalron takes off the line, with noticeably more wheelspin than the other two cars had. CUT TO The Boys)
James May: Rather a lot of wheel spin, isn't there?
Jeremy Clarkson: Just shows that car's power.
(The Kalron shows its power in the straights – accelerating more smoothly than either automatic, and markedly faster as well, but it brakes going into most of the corners, only drifting a few of them, and coming out of others with the rear end slipping a bit. CUT TO The Boys)
Richard Hammond: It's behaving very badly, isn't it?
Jeremy Clarkson: Just a bit spirited. Look at that acceleration!
James May: Look at her braking for every single corner. Rather more than she did with ours.
Jeremy Clarkson: She's just taking advantage of both the powerful engine and the powerful brakes.
(More of the big black car roaring around the track, Stig-Chan only barely visible at any given moment, but she does not appear to let the fact that she can apparently barely see over the dashboard slow her down, taking an aggressive line and accelerating hard, finally blasting across the line. CUT TO The Boys)
Richard Hammond: Well, how did it do?
Jeremy Clarkson(starring at the stopwatch in irritation): That can't be right. I think she was so fast, it broke the stopwatch.
James May(Grinning): How did it do?
Jeremy Clarkson(quietly) One minute twenty nine. (Richard starts laughing) We'll have to come back to this shortly. For now, back to the studio.
(Int – Top Gear studio, centering on James and Richard, standing before the Cool Wall)
James May: Now, much as we'd like to, we can't actually bring our three cars to the studio – as is our normal wont, because of the Bureau's import/export laws.
Richard Hammond: And the fact that all three were loaners.
James May: That to.
Richard Hammond: But yes, it's a shame we couldn't bring them here, because they were quite beautiful cars.
James May: Yours was quite a fetching pink.(Audience laughs)
Richard Hammond(ignoring him): If nothing else, it would be nice to put them next to some more normal, petrol driven sports cars to compare the designs and look and generally have a laugh as our Stig does his thing with them on the track. However, that was not to be.
(Camera pans to the stage, where Jeremy sits in his usual chair)
Jeremy Clarkson: For now, the News.
(James and Richard walk up and take their seats)
James May: We've actually got some interesting stuff tonight. You might remember, a few months ago Shelby SuperCars took the world record for Fastest Production Car away from Bugatti, and Bugatti took it back with the Veyron Super Sport.
Jeremy Clarkson: And you very briefly held the record as the Fastest Man in the World. Not for long, thank god, (Audience laughs) Because seriously, Fastest Man in the World: Captain Slow!(Shakes head)
James May(looking very patient): Yes, yes. Anyway, we all thought that record wouldn't be broken any time soon. But Porsche has declared that they plan to take that record for themselves, with their own souped up supercar: The Carerra GT SE. (He points to the monitor, which flips up a picture of an extremely sleek, low slung car in Porsche red. It's lines are familiar, but slightly distinct from the Carerra GT. Notably, the engine compartment is closer to flush with the roof of the cabin, and the rear spoiler is larger. Jeremy and Richard make appreciative noises)
Richard Hammond: Have they said anything about it, or is it all just teasing and pictures?
James May: They haven't said much, but they've announced that the power plant is a fourteen cylinder rotary engine producing roughly 1300 brake-horsepower.
Jeremy Clarkson(disbelieving): 1300 horsepower? That's more than double the Carerra's existing power plant.
Richard Hammond(grinning eagerly): It should be interesting.
Jeremy Clarkson: S'trewth. Want one. Want one very badly. I don't suppose they've said how many they're planning on making?
James May: Not yet. Probably not many, and they'll not be cheap.
Jeremy Clarkson(nodding): Still. (Brightly) Good news! The Dacia Dancer is coming to the UK!
Richard Hammond(greatly enthused): Amazing! (normal voice) Anyway. Moving on... Well, there's really not much more news that we can really get into.
Jeremy Clarkson: The BBC doesn't want us to start commentating on the way our Conservative overlords are faffing everything up right now.(Audience laughs) So I think we'd best get back to the film.
(Ext – Mid-Childa Saint's Speedway pits. All three of The Boy's cars are lined up where Stig-Chan left them. Stig-Chan is standing in the back of shot, giving one of the camera a seemingly curious look. The Boys stand before their cars.)
Jeremy Clarkson: Well, that was very silly and pointless. Clearly that lap test showed us nothing.
Richard Hammond(grinning): I disagree. It showed us that you're wrong.
Jeremy Clarkson(muttering): Stupid salesman. I told him I wanted his fastest, not something Captain Slow almost beat.
James May: Well, perhaps if you'd mentioned you wanted to drive something other than a quarter mile...
(A Man in a Labcoat walks up to the three, and proffers a large manilla envelope. James takes it.)
James May: Thanks, mate. (Opens envelope)
Richard Hammond: That our next challenge?
James May(nodding): "Now that your cars have been track tested, it's time to see how they do with regular driving. To that end, you must now drive from the Speedway to the Gyardo Open Market and pick up a week's groceries, then drive them to an apartment complex at the south end of city." It's got a map. The Market's almost the other end of the city from here, and the apartments aren't much closer.
(The three look over the map.)
Jeremy Clarkson: So, drive across town, hit the shops, then home? How hard can it be?
Richard Hammond(Annoyed): Don't say that!
(The Boys get into their cars, Richard quickly changing his back to British Racing Green. Jeremy has to adjust the seat quite far down and back before he can actually get in. They pull out, Jeremy almost stalling his car once changing gears.)
(Int – Richard's car. He's looking remarkably sensible, keeping an eye on the road, glancing occasionally at his screen – which appears to have a navigation function and showing him the route to the Market – as he drives through the city)
Richard Hammond: I'll be honest with you, I'm not looking totally forward to this. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the most ambitious man when it comes to foreign cuisine. If they send us out to get local food, we'll probably be eating it next. And given how well the last bit I tried stayed down, I'm not exactly hopeful. Add to that, the traffic here is rather heavy. Reminds me of London at rush hour.
(Int – James' car. He too is looking sensible as he navigates. A small hologram map floats over his dashboard, with little notes in Mid-Childan script pointing things out.)
James May: The more I drive this car, the more I like it. Nimble and responsive handling, and this – well, it's not actually a satnav, because it doesn't uplink to a satellite, but it has the same sort of function, and it's brilliant. And, I know this because I looked at a Kalron 4400 in my shopping, Jeremy's car doesn't have one. (grins) 'Twill be nice to twit him about being late for a change. And that's assuming he doesn't manage to blow up his manual gearbox with its alien gear pattern.
(Int – Jeremy's car. He looks very concerned, watching for roadsigns and trying to read them as he goes by.)
Jeremy Clarkson: I may have made a tiny little error while shopping for a car. I should have got a satnav. Didn't think of that at the time, really should have. I've got directions,(He lifts a printout into frame, glancing at it and then back to the road) but even with a translator, actually reading the signs as I go is problematic. (As he goes through an intersection, his head whips to one side.) (says something that gets bleeped out) And that was the turn I wanted to make. Right. Well. And it also doesn't help that May and Hammond both sped off and left me behind. (Still looking around the road, he signals to turn off) Just have to backtrack a little, two rights should get me back to the road I missed... (There is a sound of grinding gears as he tries to shift without looking) (says something else that gets bleeped out) Right, right, remember the pattern...
(Montage of The Boys driving across town, and a few of the sights as they go along. As well, a few shots of Mages flying overhead, one of whom waves to the camera and does a barrel roll to show off.)
Richard Hammond(VO): Remarkably, the drive went rather well. Not only did my car's satnav show me the first route, if I missed a turn it'd suggest alternates immediately. It even had an option for a 'scenic route,' though I didn't take it up on that. And while the traffic had been heavy, it didn't get all stopped up as much as I'm used to. It was still only mid-afternoon when we got to the Market. Well, when two of us got there.
(Ext – a parking lot. James and Richard are there, standing in front of their cars amid several others of various makes and models. Behind them, the Gyardo Open Market can be seen – sort of a cross between a farmer's market and a giant rummage sale. On the far side of the marketplace – which appears to be just a section of parking lot taken over for the day – is a building with the sort of aesthetic that says 'mall.')
Richard Hammond: I have to say, this feels really weird, me standing here with you at a destination, with no sign of Jeremy at all.
James May: I quite like it. It's nice and quiet without Jezza around being all shouty.
Richard Hammond: True. Still. Usually it's me and him waiting for you.
James May: I suppose. Are you ready to dive into getting groceries?
Richard Hammond: Not exactly looking forward to it. Or eating them.
James May: That's not the right attitude, you need to keep your strength up.
James May(VO): Truth to tell, I wasn't terribly enthused about this either. While I don't have Hammond's total fear of non-English cuisine, I'm hardly a good cook. None of us are. And while my Sankt Klar is a great little sports car, it's still a little sports car. For all Mid-Childan car design differs from Earthly car design, their sports cars have many similarities. For one, they're not designed to actually carry anything. We'd have trouble hauling a decent quantity of meat and veg. And of course, we needed to do our shopping before the whole place closed down, which meant that Jeremy had to arrive soon.
(Montage of traffic shots and the cars)
(fade out – caption "Not terribly soon")
(Ext – the same parking lot, now early evening. Jeremy pulls up with the window down.)
Richard Hammond: Jeremy! We were beginning to worry.
Jeremy Clarkson: (word bleeped out) the city planners, the street layout is just pants.
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): Now that I'd finally managed to wind my way through the capital's ridiculous roads, it was time to go shopping. So we set out, and cued the music.
(Montage with the usual 'Busy Top Gear' music as the boys explore the marketplace, emphasis on assorted oddly shaped and coloured fruits, vegetables, meats and the like, as well as assorted knicknacks. James and Jeremy are enthused; Richard grows more and more miserable as he fails to find anything that looks familiar or safe. Finally, each laden with several bags, they make their way back to the cars)
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): In many ways, despite not having a satnav, I'd be best off of the three of us for the next bit, as we headed to the apartments that were our next destination. My 4400's interior was quite spacious for what was, in the end, a sports car. Hammond and May, on the other hand, would be rather cramped.
(Series of shots inside each of the presenter's cars, showing them and their groceries. Richard's passenger seat and footwell are very full with several sacks of what look like bread, assorted veg, and some meats. James's passenger side is likewise full, and he has a mix of raw produce and several prepackaged meals. Jeremy's passenger seat sports only a few bottles of spirits, the rest fitting in the footwell.)
Jeremy Clarkson: I felt that I'd be remiss in this trip if I didn't put the local alcohol to the test, as well as the food. Fortunately, there were several different blokes at the Market with various kinds of home brew. Should make the evening interesting. (A brief pause.) I also hope that knowing I've got beer along will keep those two from rushing off and leaving me to the mercy of my hastily-scrawled directions.
Richard Hammond(VO): James and I decided to show Jeremy some mercy as we crossed town. Night was coming on, and the traffic had slowed down some, which made things easier, but even with satnav, the prospect of navigating an alien city in the dark didn't really appeal. Things were going well, but we were in a bit of a hurry.
(Montage of the boys crossing town in the falling night – lots of city lights, both what look like regular neon signs, and free-floating holograms advertising stores and bars. Some shots of The Boys pointing interesting bits out – then hard cut to Jeremy as a black and white painted car pulls alongside and fires up both traditional police car red-and-blues, and warning holos over the roof)
Jeremy Clarkson: Bloody hell, I think I'd best pull over.
(Ext – Mid-Childan city streets. The Boys are pulled over and standing together, looking very worried, Jeremy at the head of the group. A policewoman walks up, bearing a clipboard.)
Policewoman(Strictly): So, I assume you know why I just pulled you over.
Jeremy Clarkson: Actually, officer, we don't.
Policewoman(Angry): Don't lie to me, big fella! You were in clear violation of three seperate City Traffic Ordinances. Do you have any idea how much trouble you three are in?
Jeremy Clarkson(hands up in an attempt to be placating): Honestly, no. We, uh, we're from out of town; don't know all the local traffic details yet, it's our first day driving here. Can you tell me what we were doing wrong, so we don't do it again?
Policewoman(Resigned and irritated): Out of towners? Claiming that you just 'don't know' the traffic laws? Keep digging. But I'll humor you. I need to read you the charges anyway.
James May(VO as the Policewoman starts explaining to Clarkson): As Jeremy tried and failed to charm the policewoman, the thought occurred that we probably should have taken more than five minutes to brush up on the local traffic laws.
Jeremy Clarkson(Indignant): I was hardly doing that at all!
Int: the Studio, next to the Indestructible Toyota. James and Richard centered.
Richard Hammond: Such a cliffhanger! Do we ever escape from the gulags of Mid Childa? (Audience laughs)
James May: No idea. (Looks directly at the camera) That's to keep you lot from turning over to Heartbeat. (Audience laughs again)
(Camera pans to the center stage, and Jeremy)
Jeremy Clarkson: We'll find out our fate at the hands of Mid Childan justice shortly. For now, it's time to put a star in our reasonably priced car. (Applause) Our guest tonight is quite topical: He's a mage, one who spent most of his adult life in the TSAB, and he was born here in the UK. Ladies and Gentlemen: former Admiral Gil Graham! (Applause)
(Gil Graham, a gray haired, bearded older man in a nicely tailored suit, walks through the crowd. Mounting the stage, he and Jeremy shake hands, and then he takes a seat.)
Jeremy Clarkson: Welcome to the show, Admiral.
Gil Graham(making a waving off gesture and looking embarrassed): Please, just Gil. That part of my life is over, and there's no point in clinging to old glories. And it's my pleasure to be here.
Jeremy Clarkson: Gil it is, then. Well. I suppose I'll start with the basics: How did you get involved with the TSAB in the first place?
Gil Graham: Honestly? By accident. (laughs) I came across a stranger in trouble, and helped him out. Then some thing attacked him, and between us, we took it out, and his superiors picked us up. He worked for the Bureau as a clerk, doing some record checks on Earth. They saw that I had the potential to make a strong mage and recruited me.
Jeremy Clarkson: Quite a thing. You were in their service for what, fifty years?
Gil Graham: About that, yes. Some good times, some bad.
Jeremy Clarkson: And ten years ago, you decided to step down? Any particular reason?
Gil Graham(Shrugging): Well, it seemed like I'd done my bit. The Bureau was changing; and there were a great many promising young officers on the way up. I felt it best to... get out of their way, as it were. So I retired and came home.
Jeremy Clarkson: Well, fair enough. Now, rumor has it you do some work for the British government nowadays – can you tell us anything about that?
Gil Graham: Sorry, but no. Classified and such.
Jeremy Clarkson: Not even a hint?
Gil Graham: Well... I could tell you... but then I'd have to kill you. You know how it is.
Jeremy Clarkson: Oh, they all say that...(Audience laughs) Right. Car history. Now, before you joined up, were you already a driver?
Gil Graham: Not at the time. I had my eye on an Aston-Martin DB1, but it wasn't to be. I didn't learn to drive until after I'd been in the Service several years, so I learned on Mid-Childan roads and traffic laws.(Pauses, grins) You might have asked me about some of that before heading off, really. I might have kept you from the terrible gaols. (Audience laughs)
Jeremy Clarkson: Fair enough, I suppose. Though even if your car history here is brief, it's quality. Says here you've got a Rolls Royce? (Audience makes appreciative noises)
Gil Graham(grinning): I had an excellent retirement package. (Audience laughs)
Jeremy Clarkson: All right then. To the lap. How did you like the Cee'd?
Gil Graham: Not the sort of car I'd choose for myself, but certainly not a bad one. Quite responsive. The Stig was quite a good teacher, I'd like to think his instruction will come in handy in the future.
Jeremy Clarkson: You shouldn't take everything he says as gospel, though. He's a racing driver, and you know what they say about them. (Audience laughs) Now, let's see the lap!
(The Lap is fairly straightforward, with Gil keeping the Cee'd in control quite well for most of it – though he skids a little in one of the turns, he's able to recover – and keeping up a stoic, calm demeanor through most of it – swearing without losing the stoic face when he skids. Clarkson keeps up his usual running commentary. As the tape of the lap ends, Clarkson turns towards Gil)
Jeremy Clarkson(holding up the usual strip of card): I've got the time here. How do you think you did?
Gil Graham: I'd like to think at least in the top third of the times... but that skid. I don't think I quite managed it.
Jeremy Clarkson: I was a bit impressed there, you just sort of kept on and didn't get all shouty.
Gil Graham(grinning): I was wearing my Admiral face. Hard one to break.(Audience laughs)
Jeremy Clarkson: Well then, mister stoic Admiral. You did it in one minute... forty... (pauses as if waiting for Gil to lean forward in anticipation) You're doing the Admiral thing again, aren't you?
Gil Graham(indeed wearing his 'Admiral face' again): Calm, collected. Don't let them see you sweat.
Jeremy Clarkson: Well that's no fun. One minute... forty... five point three!(Audience begins to applaud) Not bad at all, and you made your top third.(stands and places the time on the board, just below the Eleventh Doctor)
Gil Graham(grinning widely now, looking a bit relieved): Barely. Still, I made it. That was great fun.
Jeremy Clarkson(shaking Gil's hand): Well, it was a pleasure to have you. Ladies and Gentlemen – Gil Graham!(Applause)
(CUT TO James May, standing next to the Indestructible Toyota.)
James May: Now then, when last we saw, the three of us were on the verge of arrest, being made ever more likely by Jezza's arguing with the policewoman-
Jeremy Clarkson(shouting from out of shot): It wasn't my fault!(Audience laughs)
James May: Now, it's time to check back, and see if we ever escaped the clutches of Mid-Childan justice.
(Ext – Mid-Childan streetcorner, early evening. The Boys are still standing by their cars. Clarkson is continuing to argue with the Policewoman.)
Policewoman: Look, I don't care who you are or how famous you're supposed to be, the rules of the road are the rules of the road! They apply to everyone! And frankly, they exist for a reason. People driving the way you were cause danger to other drivers, and pedestrians, and that's not acceptable.
Jeremy Clarkson(Visibly restraining himself): Officer, if you'll just give me a chance I think we can sort all this out.
Policewoman(giving Clarkson a measuring look): ...Fine. Come with me.(She walks to her police cruiser, Clarkson following.
Richard Hammond: What do y' suppose he's going to do?
James May: Not sure. Even Jezza... (does a double take) God in Heaven!
(Camera pans towards the cruiser. Both doors on one side are open, blocking most of the view, but Clarkson is crouched next to the car, and the Policewoman is leaning against it, facing his way and blushing. All detail is obscured by the open doors.)
Richard Hammond(disbelieving): There is no way he's doing what I think he's doing. He can't be.
James May: I think he is... (The two share a distinctly uncomfortable look. After a long moment, Clarkson stands, says something to the Policewoman, who blushes harder, and walks back to the others.)
Jeremy Clarkson: What?
James May: Jezza, is this something we ought to tell your wife about?
Jeremy Clarkson: What? I just paid the fines.
Richard Hammond(incredulous): Like that? (shakes his head) Oh, your wife is going to love hearing this.
Jeremy Clarkson: I don't know what you're talking about. Let's just drive. And remember what she said about the traffic regs.
Jeremy Clarkson(VO): I've no idea what they thought I was up to, and frankly I didn't want to know. It's like they've forgotten that the BBC gave us cheques for emergency expenses. I wasn't sure what I thought about this city. The traffic laws were just dripping with nanny-state silliness, and they actually get stricter after sunset, which is why we were suddenly breaking them. Daft bit of business, that. Still, we made it to the apartments, and from there it was just a block to the hotel we were actually staying the night in
(Montage of The Boys driving across town, now using their indicators and signal lights significantly more, and no longer speeding. After a bit, they pull up to an apartment building, get out, get back in, and drive the last block to a small hotel.)
(Ext – a hotel balcony, overlooking the outskirts of the city, with a view of two of the planets overhead looking like nothing so much as blue-green full moons. Jeremy and James are standing, both eating something meaty out of tin plates, a small table with a bottle of green stuff and two shotglasses behind them. Richard is in a deck chair, picking at something crackerlike.)
Jeremy Clarkson: This is about as close to full dark as it gets here, isn't it? With those, well, planets up there, every night'd be like full moon.
James May: It's quite a sight. I could like this place.
Jeremy Clarkson(Pouring himself a shot of the green stuff and tossing it back): Not me. Too much nanny-state nonsense.
Richard Hammond: And nicely distractable policewomen. Seriously, Jeremy.
Jeremy Clarkson(defensively): It kept us from getting locked up, didn't it? I'm amazed you're eating. What are they, imported crisps?
Richard Hammond: No, they're a local bready thing. Taste a bit like rice cakes, actually. They're not half bad, just a bit dry.
James May: You ought to try the wine, it's fantastic.
Richard Hammond: Absolutely! That's just what we need most before our next challenge: a nasty hangover and gastric distress from some weird alien wine.
Jeremy Clarkson(brightly): So I should pour you some?
Richard Hammond: No, you goit.
James May(VO): The next day dawned bright and early, and despite Hammond's doomsaying, the hangover wasn't all that bad. Ready to go, we met at our cars.
(Ext – parking lot, morning. The Boys are standing around their cars. Richard has clearly been playing with the colour scheme buttons, as his now has white racing stripes along with the B.R.G. scheme.)
Jeremy Clarkson: So, what d'you reckon the next challenge will be?
Richard Hammond: Well, we've done the speedway bit, and the 'driving practicality' bit, so next is probably going to be long-distance driving.
James May: Or perhaps mountains.
(A Man in a Labcoat walks up and hands Jeremy an envelope)
Jeremy Clarkson(opening envelope): Well, this'll solve the mystery. Let's see... "You've shown that magic cars can be practical for day to day city driving, now you need to test if they work on the highways. Thus, your final destination is the Korola Hot Springs Resort, five hundred kilometers to the east." It's got a map too, looks like once we're clear of the capitol we can go the whole distance on highways. James, the brochure did say there's no speed limits on those?
James May: Correct. Should be interesting.
Richard Hammond(VO): We set off for the resort in good spirits. After the scare with the policewoman last night, we'd taken some time to review the traffic laws as best we could, and even James was looking forward to hitting the unrestricted highways. We took care on the way to the edge of town, but after that...
(Montage of the boys crossing the city, still paying attention to signals and not-speeding as carefully as they did at the end of last night. Finally, they get onto a major highway and all three cars pull alongside)
(Int – Jeremy's car)
Jeremy Clarkson: Right. We're on the highway, no speed limits, and there's minimal traffic this morning. Time for the Kalron to redeem itself.
(Ext – helicopter shot of The Boys as the Kalron 4400 surges forward, accelerating rapidly)
(Int – Richard's car, he's watching Jeremy accelerate away)
Richard Hammond: Oh, no you don't.
(Int – James' car. We can see Richard's car accelerate out of frame. James shakes his head.)
James May: Idiots. We're testing how practical these magic cars are for long journeys, not how fast they are. And on that note, I intend to employ one of the novel features of my Sankt Klar: an autodrive feature. It's sort of a cruise control turned up to eleven that works with sensors placed around the car, and the navigational program, and while it's illegal to use within city limits, out here, it lets you do this...
(James brings up the console display, pokes at a few holographic buttons, then takes both hands off the wheel and leans back, whistling relaxedly.)
(Ext – helicopter shot of James' car as it smoothly changes lanes to overtake and pass a truck. Then the camera pans up the road to Jeremy and Richard as they accelerate and weave around slower traffic, the smaller green car doing a fine job of keeping up with the black one, though Jeremy consistently starts pulling away when they hit a clear stretch.)
(Int – Jeremy's car.)
Jeremy Clarkson: The one advantage to my hellish time yesterday is that all that stop-start city driving nonsense helped me nail down that damn gear pattern. And these roads are great – spacious, level, not too many curves, and moderate traffic. I'm letting this thing play. (Passes a car.) James and I did the math last night; the magic thingy under the bonnet there produces about six-hundred and forty horsepower. And the really clever bit, is that it's got essentially unlimited range. I've figured out which dial is the fuel gauge equivalent – it's more like an ammeter, really, shows the thaums in versus thaums out per minute – and even at this speed, doing over a hundred fifty KPH, it's still coming in faster than it's going out. I'm not totally sure what thaums are, but more is better, so that's right good.
(Int – Richard's car.)
Richard Hammond: I like this car. It's quick, it's responsive, it's got a brilliantly designed interior, and it just gets better when you give it the room to stretch its legs. Of the three, it's got the least horsepower at roughly four-hundred fifty, but it's also the lightest by a big margin. This is a car made for the autobahn. (pause) Well, you know what I mean.
(Montage of The Boys driving along the highway as it rolls through the countryside. Several fields it passes appear to be given over to orchards, vineyards, and other agriculture. Intercut are shots of The Boys in their cars, enjoying themselves as they drive along)
James May(VO): After the trials of yesterday, this was actually a very refreshing and pleasant surprise. The highway was in excellent repair, the traffic reasonably light, and the weather perfect for a trip. Our cars performed beautifully and the scenery was very impressive. After a few hours, we reached the foothills, and the idiots got even less sensible.
(Ext – on the highway, just in front of Hammond's car as it pulls up alongside Jeremy. As the road begins to weave in the foothills and mountains, Hammond takes the lead and opens it further.)
(Int – Clarkson's car.)
Jeremy Clarkson: (censored). Getting past him again's going to be tricky. We already know this car doesn't corner as well as his at speed.
Richard Hammond(over radio): The view's much better up here, Jeremy. Enjoying yours?
Jeremy Clarkson(irritated, grabbing the radio): There's still a patch of pink on the back of your car, Hamster. And it's blocking all the nice things I was looking at.(Puts the radio down) Now, to catch him up.
(Int – James's car)
James May: Idiots.
Music cue: Born to be wild by Steppenwolf.
(Montage: Jeremy and Richard trying to race each-other through the mountains. Part way through, they pass a white car that decides to play, too, getting into the now three-way jockeying for position.)
(Int: Jeremy's car, music still playing)
Jeremy Clarkson(into radio): Who's this?
Richard Hammond(from radio): No idea, mate, but she's good.
(Back to the helicopter shots, following the three cars as they jockey along the road. Occasional shots of Jeremy and Richard as they start getting really into the race. A few glimpses of the driver of the white car – a young lady with green hair and black sunglasses. As the race goes on, it becomes clear that the Kalron's reaching the limits of its handling, the rear end starting to slip a bit, and the car falling back.)
(Int – Jeremy's car)
Jeremy Clarkson(looking a little scared): (censored), that was a little too close.
Richard Hammond(on the radio, concerned): You still with us, Jeremy?
Jeremy Clarkson(into the radio, falsely bright): Just fine, no problems at all. (off the radio) Bloody hell.
(Back to helicopter shots. Though Jeremy is still trying, he's steadily loosing pace as the road gets twistier and the traffic starts to pick up, leaving a two car race between Richard and the Mysterious Woman. The two trade the lead back and forth a few times, at one point going around a truck in the center lane to either side. After a particularly twisty bit ends with the two cars almost even beside each other, the road opens into a fairly long straight stretch, and the white car abruptly floors it, accelerating away.)
(Int – Richard's car)
Richard Hammond(watching the white car vanish around the next bend, having opened a massive lead): I think I'm in love.
Music ends, fade out.
James May(VO): Despite the other two idiot's best efforts, we soon enough arrived at our destination.
(Ext – the resort parking lot. There's an ornate hotelish building in the near-background, and behind it a mountain vista, including several bits of mountain venting steam. The Boys pull into the lot in sequence, park, and get out as the camera zooms in.)
Richard Hammond: Well, we made it.
James May: I won't say it was worth coming to another planet for, but this is certainly quite the place. (the others nod)
Jeremy Clarkson: And I'd say we've gathered some excellent information about magic cars.
Richard Hammond: That we did. It's not every trip we succeed at something.
(Int – the studio, over the Indestructible Toyota. The crowd is applauding as the camera zooms in on the stage.)
Jeremy Clarkson: And there you have it, everyone – we've nothing to worry about as far as magic cars are concerned, because they're just like the cars we have now.
James May: Yes, we've gathered some excellent data, and all it took was immense risk of crashing death and in two cases possible marriage trouble. We've learned that it is possible to make a good, green car: you just have to be on another planet to make it.
Jeremy Clarkson: I'm almost disappointed, really.. I mean, those magic cars were quite excellent, and there's not much to complain about other than that bloody gear pattern. I almost feel bad about this, because it's Top Gear tradition to bash on Green cars, and in this case I just can't. If it'd been legal to import it, I'dve bought that 4400 with my own money.
James May: Well, it's worth remembering that the sports cars we were driving were examples of a highly refined craft – the Mid-Childans have been making magic-powered cars at least as long as we've been making petrol ones, so they've worked out all the bugs and come up with their own distinct style. And I'll admit the styling is different, but still quite nice.
Richard Hammond: So... what's that all mean for us?
James May: That when Earth car companies start making magic cars, they'll be just like the early electrics, or faff like the Gee-Whiz. We'll have plenty to complain about with them.
Jeremy Clarkson: Excellent point! I think James is right, everyone: Earth magic cars will be better, because they'll be terrible.(Audience laughs) And on that bombshell, goodnight!
(fade out – closing titles and theme)
The idea for this was bouncing around my head since about halfway through Journey, where one of the first ideas I had for an ending was to timeskip a bit after the Battle of Tokyo and have the Nerima Wrecking Crew and the Senshi watching Top Gear review 'the first Magic powered car made on Earth: The Mitsubishi Magus' because Ami had been involved in reverse-engineering the magitech for the engine. With Jeremy Clarkson doing the review and having been told ahead of time 'to make no occult references for reasons of taste'.
Anyone familiar with Top Gear should know about how that would have worked out in this version of the scene.
I kicked the idea around for a while as I struggled with Journey, and eventually decided that timeskipping and trying to establish stuff like Ranma starting his own dojo and such in the middle of a bunch of people who aren't car fans giving Clarkson the MST3K treatment wouldn't work. I kicked it around a bit more and threw a ref into Odyssey for fun.
I've been a Top Gear fan for a few years now, and it, alongside Mythbusters, is my favorite show on TV today. The idea of mucking around with a Top Gear fic had been kicking around my head for a while. The little ref in Odyssey put the idea of Stig-Chan in my head as well, and I did more than a little random brainstorming on long boring night shifts while I tried to work on ideas for Odyssey and, later, my other projects that I'd been trying to work on.
But my muse is a fickle bitch. I'd been trying to get somewhere with some original fiction, as well as chewing on a proper sequel to Odyssey, and more ideas for this story kept popping into my head. I wrote this to get the plot bunnies out of my goddam head so I could get back to something I was actually trying to work on.
Doing it in script format felt appropriate, given that I was basically transcribing a fake episode of a TV show.
Hopefully you guys have been amused by this. I'll get back to the real sequel now, honest.
Yes, Gil Graham is lying by omission about why he resigned. Under the circumstances, it's quite understandable. And I'm not quite sure exactly how old he is or just when he got inducted into the Bureau – 'about fifty years ago' is a bit vague- so I did a little guessing when deciding what his early car wants would be. If someone does have hard data on that, I'll be happy to get it, and will correct if necessary(IE, if he was no longer on Earth when the DB1 came out. Or if he was earthside long enough to see the DB2 or 3, etc)
Mid Childan seems to be a sort of engrish, so it probably shouldn't be quite so hard for Jeremy to read the road signs and such – but there's also the fact that they favour a flashy, fancy, cursive font that's not the easiest thing in the world to read. Factor in a bit of culture shock, and the fact that the boys are sorta playing up their TV personas for the show, and you get Jeremy lost.
No, I didn't forget that the Pauline bought it in the Battle over Seyruun (strayed too close to a Victory-class Star Destroyer, for those curious) Chronologically speaking, this story is set about a year before that battle.
And the groceries they didn't eat bounced once and landed with the Mid-Childan equivalent of the Food Bank.
Episode production details: Unlike normal Top Gear episodes, this wasn't a full BBC production. The show had such a great deal of popularity on Mid-Childa that one of the local networks decided they wanted to get The Boys to come to their world. They supplied the camera chopper for the highway sequence, as well as some of the drivers(and most of the equipment) for the camera vans. The whole special was treated almost as a stealth pilot for a Mid-Childan version of Top Gear(production of which temporarily stalled out while they tried to find a group of three co-hosts with adequate chemistry and gravitas to not compare badly to The Boys. They succeeded eventually, and some day I'll have to write up a sequel to this where Top Gear UK and Top Gear Mid-Childa go head to head a'la the Top Gear/D-Motor crossover special in the real world) Stig-Chan was a volunteer, a professional racer and fan of the show who wrangled her appearance on the special into being the TGMC's Stig.