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Part 1: The episode intro

 

It is a cold crisp dry fall morning in Britain. The sun has only just risen, illuminating Stonehenge, one of the enduring enigmas of our time. The ancient pale gray stones, stained black in parts, give off a sense of mystery and wonder. Surrounding Stonehenge is a freshly mowed field of brilliant green grass. No people are about. Top Gear's theme song can be heard playing, Dan ta dan ta da ta danta danta danta...

 

Jeremy Clarkson's voice announces the episode "Tonight on Top Gear, we determine the best road car for an inter-dimensional jaunt. Viewer discretion advised due to violence and extreme awesomeness. In this episode James goes Rambo (brief video image of James May with a British flag bandana firing a 50 caliber machine gun while screaming), Hammond has a parking mishap (brief video image of Richard Hammond dressed in military fatigues inspecting a horse cart that has been crushed beneath the back of a tank, thankfully the horse is not under the tank but is still attached to the cart. The horse is franticly kicking. Hammond can be briefly heard to say "Oh dear, sorry, sorry"). "And I briefly wield the might of a GOD" (brief video image of Clarkson driving a black convertible car (right hand drive), dressed as Thor the god of thunder, of all things. He is holding aloft Thor's hammer Mjolnir with his right hand, which is crackling with lightning, all the while screaming "POWER!").

 

We return to the image of a deserted Stonehenge. We can see Stonehenge on the right; there is a gravel path in the middle, and field of grass on the left. The camera slowly pans left showing a fence that protects Stonehenge.   Richard Hammond's voice is heard "I was the first to arrive". A green camouflage pattern tank drives into the video shot and bursts through the fence. Fence bits go everywhere; one fence pole is completely ripped out of the ground and can be seen bouncing off of one the Stonehenge monoliths which results in some stone breaking off. The grass is churned up and sent flying by the tank's treads as the tank does a couple of doughnuts around the grassy field, blackened diesel exhaust roaring into the air. The tank finally parks; facing the viewer, and turns off its engine.

 

A hatch opens on the tank's turret and Richard Hammond's upper half emerges. He is dressed in green military fatigues and is wearing a tanker's helmet, which makes him vaguely resemble his hamster nickname. He looks to his left and grimaces (the camera pans over to show a fence pole impaling a keep Britain bountifulsign; the sign has the image of somebody throwing garbage into a waste container. As the camera pans back to Richard a tank tread track is shown having crushed a garbage can flat).

 

"Sorry a'bot that, the boys over did it just a tad. Anyway, as you can see, for this trip I've brought the best the British army has to offer; the Challenger 2 main battle tank. Model FV4034 to be precise. 120-millimetre 55-calibre long gun,two 7.62 mm machine gun, multiple smoke grenade launchers. And a little extra treat (Hammond uses his left hand to slap the side of a rotatable armored rectangular box that is mounted on the top of the turret). Nine hyper-velocity laser guided missiles with adjustable kinetic warheads for frangible impact or armored penetration; perfect for both ground and air. Um (Richard grimaces and looks slightly embarrassed) not really sure what frangible means but I suppose we'll find out about that later".   Hammond now pulls himself onto the top of the turret, takes off his tanker helmet, and scampers down to the ground, almost falling off at one point. He starts to walk around the tank pointing out additional features (the camera follows him).

 

"The usual optional equipment, reactive armor (he points to thin rectangular plates attached to various parts of the tank) should upset any nasties. Try and take a bite of that and you'll be missing more then just a tooth. I've also selected the optional air conditioning package (points to a box attached to the back of the turret) perfect incase we encounter any dessert locals on our travels. And of course the full NBC warfare kit (Nuclear Biological Chemical). With my British army crew there's not much we can't handle. The 1200 horse power V12 is bit slow though with a road speed of only 40 miles per hour. Oh, and it's a diesel, something Clarkson will probably get to moaning about".

 

There is crushing sound off camera, the camera pans back to the fence where a green camouflaged 8 wheeled armored boxy vehicle, also with a turret, is rolling though the hole in the fence. James May's voice can be heard "I was the next to arrive". The vehicle drives up and parks next to Hammond's tank. A hatch opens on the turret and James May's head, with his usual spaniel hair style, emerges to stare down upon the tank. "Hammond, I'm a bit surprised" James's declares with his usual dry droll. "I'd have expected Clarkson to have brought that and to be going on about power or some such nonsense. Are you sure you're not over compensating for something"? May grabs hold of the hatch ring and climbed out onto the top of his vehicle. Unlike Hammond in his military garb, James was dressed in light brown outdoorsy camping/hiking gear.

 

"May, mate, what the heck is that" Richard replies back with a grin on his face.

 

"This, my good fellow, is a US Army Striker Brigade M1127 Reconnaissance vehicle. Say what you want about the Yanks, they tend to be properly good at blowing up things. It weights in at a nimble 20 tons compared to your girthy 70ish tons. Its eight wheels allow it to traverse almost any terrain, and it can continue to move with half of its wheels missing or shot off. Fully amphibious, it can swim as well as drive. It is also capable of over 60 miles per hour via its turbo diesel V10 capable of 350 horse power. She carries a combat team of six troopers plus a crew of two. I went with the 20 mm Gatling gun upgrade and (points to a box attached to the side of the turret) the dual TOW missile launcher, and the 50 cal machine gun (mounted on top of the turret). I should be able to outrun anything I can't blow up. Moreover, I have a fully equipped 6 man combat squad with all of their gear, more on that later in the show. She also has two firing slots per side so the combat team can return fire without leaving the vehicle, and one rear firing slot".

 

May climbs down from his perch and walked over to stand next to Hammond. "My God that suckers big" May declares looking at Hammond's tank, "What are you expecting, Godzilla"?

 

"Don't really know, thought it best be plan for the worst" rebuts Richard.

 

The usual Top Gear humorous critique of each other's vehicles commenced. After a few minutes they started talking about their missing colleague. "So what do you think Jezzas going to turn up with" Richard asked.

 

"I'd guess a tank, but if he had his druthers it would probably be a F15, Apache helicopter or an A-10 Warthog ; but they don't really drive on the road as it were" May replied.

 

Various vehicle selection ruminations commenced (M1 tank? Israeli tank? German tank? I know, a Range Rover, naa no fire POWER) until they were interrupted by a crackling sound of something light driving thought the gap in the fence. A black right hand drive convertible (the top was down) drove in and parked next to May's Recon vehicle. Two people were sitting in the car. One is Clarkson, the other is a unknown blond female.

 

Clarkson's bombastic and gravely voice is now heard to say "I was the last to arrive". Clarkson opens his car door, steps out the vehicle and proceeds to walk over to his fellow presenters. Jeremy is wearing walking boots, grey jeans, a light brown shirt, a dark brown jacket and a grey scarf. He immediately finds fault with their vehicle choices.

 

"I see my fellow presenters have been boringly predictable in their selections; and wrong I might add. Yes this is an inter-dimensional trip and one must be properly prepared but this" Jeremy waved his hand indicating the military vehicles, "This is excessive".

 

May quickly rebuts "Clarkson you fool, didn't you read the memo? You've brought the wrong vehicle. You won't last 10 minutes out there".

 

"Yes I read the memo, it clearly stated the best road car. Not best I want to invade another dimension and set myself up as a warlord vehicle. Not the best the world is ending and we need to fight over the last scone in England vehicle".

 

"Did you even bring a weapon" asks Hammond.

 

"Yes I brought a weapon, several in fact" replies Clarkson while looking condescendingly at the pair, "9mm Beretta hand gun, AK-47, and a grenade launcher. Proper prudence I should think. Hmm, don't think health and safety is going to be pleased with this episode. Painting everything orange probably won't help either".

 

Clarkson walks back to the convertible and starts to provide details about his vehicle choice, the camera pans around the car as Clarkson drones on.

 

"Unlike your overly paranoid selections I've brought the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante convertible, the carbon black edition. 6 liter V12 with 570 horse power. 0 to60 in just 3.6 seconds and a top speed over 200 MPH. Full leather and exquisite luxury. An elegant and appropriate vehicle to tour the multiverse I would say. Plus, unlike you two dullards, I've brought a pretty girl. Just the thing to look at when your eyes get tired of the exotic scenery".

 

The camera pans to the woman in the passenger seat. She's white, tallish with brilliant blond hair, long legs and stunning deep blue eyes. She's dressed in an elegant black evening gown and appears to be wearing a slender necklace with a cross. Clarkson ends his presentation by sitting on the hood of the car, with crossed arms, looking smug.

 

James and Richard walk away to where they had been standing and start a hushed conversation. In the background Clarkson goes to the passenger side door and opens it to allow his companion to exit (ahh always the gentleman).

 

"You know he's going die" Richard whispers.

 

"And badly" May replies "He doesn't stand a chance. The producers were quite specific as to the dangers".

 

"Hmm" Hammond mused, "The BBC has been quite cross with him lately, and just think about the ratings".

 

"The producers do have to approve of the vehicle choice before we show up so I think we should continue" concludes May, "Worst case, we all get a promotion and have to find a new presenter. I call dibs on interviewing a Star in a reasonably priced car".

 

Behind the plotting pair Clarkson and his blond companion can be seen walking up.

 

"So who's your ah... cohort Jeremy" Richard asked as the pair joined them.

 

"Navigator, I have it on good authority" Jeremy answered.

 

"Right..." Richard replied.

 

Clarkson continued "Yana, I'd like to introduce my fellow presenters James May and Richard Hammond. Please try not to let anything they say bother you". Yana politely shakes their hands, at this point a white lab coated man approached the group and gives May an envelope.

 

"And our first communiqué from the producers" May declares. He opens the envelope and reads the contents.

 

"In five minutes a mystic portal to Svartalfheim, the Norse dark faerie realm, will open. You are to drive through the portal and take the road you see before you to the inn of the gutted pig, roughly 20 miles down the road. You are to stay the night. The local fauna can be quite hostile, so are the locals. Note that there is essentially no law enforcement so defend yourselves as needed. Additional instructions will be provided in the morning. Please try to survive the drive intact".

 

With that the envelope and letter vanished in a brief burst of flame followed by some cursing from May as he shakes his slightly singed fingers.

 

Clarkson looked around vaguely puzzled and uttered his favorite line "How hard can it be"?

 

 

Part 2: Prep for the trip

 

"Well then, let's mount up" Clarkson declares. "Hammond you go first as your the biggest and the slowest, I'll go second and May can guard our rears". Clarkson paused for moment and reflected upon his statement, then shakes his head and utters " Can't believe I just stated that May is going to be guarding my rear".

 

The group breaks up as they all head to their vehicles. As in all episodes, small GoPro cameras, with sound recording, are mounded on their vehicles so the viewer can see what is happening.

 

Hammond climbs up onto his tank, puts his tanker helmet back on, and gets into the turret. He ends up with his upper torso being out of the turret. Hammond then straps on some body armor while he talks. "I see Jeremy has now started going after the interns. As I've said before, there is a certain type of girl who is attracted to celebrityism but Jeremy, tsk tsk so sad. Right, since I'm taking the lead I think we need to prime this little baby" Hammond says with a grin. He cocks the 30 cal machine gun and chambers a round.

 

"Ever third round is a tracer to aid in the gunner in seeing where the rounds going" Hammond briefs the viewers. "Start her up driver, Corporal Hein is our driver. Gunner, his name's Bill by the way, select an appropriate round. Ahh, he says that they've loaded a high explosive round". Hammond finishes the short briefing. The tank diesel roars to life.

 

May goes to the back of his recon vehicle, which has lowered the back access hatch. "As you can see I have a fully equipped combat squad in the back" May points to the men sitting in the vehicle, three on each side of the vehicle. May briefs the viewers on the squad while he straps on body armor and a helmet.

 

"Each of these fine chaps is equipped with body armor, the L85A2 assault rifle with optional grenade launcher and a 9mm pistol. We have two 5.56mm light machine gun in our kit, assorted grenades, and of coursed night vision goggles. We also have eight AT4 854mm light anti tank shoulder fired single shot launchers in addition to the two TOW missiles in the outside launch and the three spare TOW rounds. Plus an 81mm mortar with various rounds".

 

May is now fully combat dressed and climbs into the vehicle which then raises the back access hatch.  May's head now pops out the turret hatch and he continues the briefing, "And over 2000 rounds of 20mm armor piercing rounds, bit crowded in here". The recon vehicle's engine also now roars to life and then simmers down to a mild purr.

 

May continues, "A first viewers, apparently Top Gear now has a casting couch. I can just see it, Jeremy sitting behind his desk interviewing young ladies who want to get into broadcasting".

 

May now attempts to imitate Jerry by lowering his voice and having his face by assuming a bit of a gaping aspect "It's a great opportunity my dear. A Top Gear road trip is the perfect vehicle in which to demonstrate you're considerably talents and allows me show you my manhood, uhmm... I mean my manly valor". May stops trying to ape Jeremy and concludes, "We all know Jezza's a bit of knob, but now he's apparently thinking with it". May concludes while shaking his head from side to side, "So sad".

 

Clarkson and Yana return to the Aston Martin, Clarkson holds open the passenger side door for Yana to enter, shuts it and then goes to the driver's side and gets it. He starts to brief the viewers as he adjusts the rearview mirror.

 

"Now ordinarily I would have picked a vehicle more inline with my fellow presenters. This trip really is rather perilous, but as I was mulling over what vehicle to select I happened to mention the upcoming episode to an acquaintance of mine. Now as you know, we have one super powered individual per season in the Star in a reasonably priced car; this results in acquaintances, friendships, and contacts that, well... are somewhat different then the normal celebrity interactions. Anyhow the, shall not be named, acquaintance suggested that the challenge included the choice of companions and that the appropriate companion or companions could allow for a more normal vehicle selection. After some trepidation I was convinced. Yana, lovely as she is, is not just some ornamental bit of fluff".

 

The camera now shows Yana, the necklace that first looked like a cross can now be seen to actually be a small silver sword. "She is quite accomplished in a variety of skills, which I suspect we shall see in this episode. She accepted my invitation to join me on this trip because, well... I'll let Yana explain".

 

Yana gives a half smile, "I was rather bored. My teammates suggested a road trip, but the same acquaintance of Jeremy's, who happens to be a big Top Gear fan, recommended that he knew of just the right road trip for me. I watched a few episodes and found myself amused so I agreed. This is not the road trip my teammates were thinking of taking, but I suspect I'll enjoy this one a lot more. Should give me a chance to cut loose a bit".

 

"There you have it gentle viewers, ahh I see the portal has opened" Jeremy concludes the briefing.

 

A thirty foot oval hole in the fabric of space had opened. Instead of Stonehenge a dirt road could be seen leading off into the distance. The sky in the other realm appears to be a light green instead of earth's blue. Hammond can be heard to say, "Right, we're off"! The tank engine roars and the tank drives thought the portal, followed by the convertible and then the recon vehicle.

 

 

Chapter Text

Part 3: Hell drive

 

The tank emerges from the portal directly onto the road. The turret starts to swing back and forth as the terrain is examined. The road appears to be on an over grown grassy field with scattered oak like trees. The sky is a pale shade of green with a few scattered clouds. Interestingly, there is no sun in the sky which results in no shadows. The light appears to come from the sky itself (how odd). Off in the far distance a dense dark green forest can be seen. The road travels in that direction. The tank guns the engine and begins to drive down the road. After a few seconds the Aston Martin emerges from the portal and follows the tank. After a few more seconds the recon vehicle emerges and also follows after the other vehicles.

 

The road and the surroundings are slightly damp. The road is roughly one and a half times the width of the tank so passing will be difficult if the tank is uncooperative. The road is not muddy but not much dust is being kicked up. The road is in good shape, well it was in good shape before the tank starts creating two rather deep compressed tracks in the ground.

 

Clarkson finds himself driving over the now roughened road, diesel exhaust fills the air, small clumps of dirt are being flung into the air preventing him from following closely as he does not want the dirt bits falling on the car or getting in the passenger compartment. The tank accelerates to a blazing 35 MPH as Clarkson fumes.

 

"Didn't quite think this though" mutters Clarkson. He keys the mike to broadcast his utterances to the other two.

 

Clarkson radios "Hammond, is that as fast as you can go? I'm still in first gear."

 

Hammond radios "That's an affirmative. She's more of an endurance runner then a sprinter".

 

Clarkson radios "Mate, you tank is slowing then a constipated ox. Move over a bit and let me take the lead, I'm choking on diesel fumes back here".

 

Hammond looks at the camera with a slightly exasperated expression, "That didn't take long, Jeremy is already bored and has started to complain".

 

Hammond radios "OK, I'll angle over to the right a bit so you can pass on the left".

 

The tank edges over to the right and slows down to 15 MPH. The Aston Martin swings to the left and passes the tank. Richard grins and sounds the tank's horn just after the car passes the tank. A massive air horn blast shakes the air, sounding like an oncoming train.

 

The sound obvious startles Clarkson and the Aston Martin weaves from side to side. Clarkson can be seen to cringe and scream "AAAH" and Yana is heard swearing in Russian "Чтоэто, черт возьми!" 

 

Clarkson bellows into the radio "HAMMOND! By all that's holy, what the hell was that"?!

 

The scene splits, showing Hammond on one side and May one the other. May is laughing hysterically. Hammond continues to grin.

 

Hammond radios "Train air horn mate, one of the mods I've had done to the tank. I figure that it will help scare off some of the local baddies. What's wrong, did you navigator spill some nail polish"?

 

Yana looks quite cross, turns her head to look back at the tank and spits something in Russian "Так вы думаете, лак для ногтей смешно, а давайте посмотрим, как вам нравится ваш танк розовый".

 

Clarkson radios "Don't think she's happy with you mate. And apart from now being partially deaf I think you just discovered my own personal brown note. I fear I've soiled myself. Please don't do that again, please...".

 

Things settle down and the little convoy continues to drive, rather slowly, down the road. The road starts to veer to the left and the still distant forest can now be seen to be on the right hand side of the road. The scene shifts to Hammond who's upper torso still protruding from the turret hatch. Hammond pats the turret top.

 

Yea the old girls rather slow, but just the thing for fight. However the ride is a bit rough. There is a reason tankers wear this kind of headgear, you are forever bouncing your head off of something inside the tank due to the ride. And well... it's a tank so there's not a lot of soft spots. You'd think that something this big would have lots of room but there's not a lot of empty volume. It's mostly filled with guns, ammo and people. Jeremy tells me that the old Soviet Union actually only assigned tanks crewmen of my size; but coming from Jezza I think that might be a bit of an exaggeration". Authors note, in fact it was true. Starting with the T-55 soviet tank crews were restricted to a max height of 5'10.

 

"But the tracks should allow us to procedure across all but the steepest or muckiest conditions".  Hammond faced takes on a contemplative look. "I like it mucky, but not too mucky. Give the old girl something to roll around in".

 

The scene now shifts to James. James is scanning the terrain and occasionally looking behind the recon vehicle, he talks as he scans.

 

"Jeremy is basically confined to the road, while the both of us can go all terrain anytime we want. This allows us the ability to maneuver at speed while Jezza can really only drive on the road at speed. Go off-road and that car will likely break within a mile due to the lack of ground clearance".

 

A sharp road bump rocks him from side to aid and he ends up banging his helmet off the back of the 50 cal machine gun.

 

"Ouch, damn it. The ride is rough, the suspension is hard, which is surprising considering most American cars have ridiculously soft suspensions. Another complaint is the dimensions of the boot (that's trunk for you yanks), it's really quite small after you've jammed 6 blokes with full combat kit in it, roomy this thing is not".

 

The scene shifts back to Clarkson who starts talking to the camera while glancing at the road. "As expected, satnav doesn't work. Keeps thinking we're somewhere in Belgium. Allow me to demonstrate".

 

Jeremy reaches forward and turns on the satnav. The satnav display shows the city of Brussels. . A female voice begins saying "You are going in the wrong way, turn 180 degrees and drive back 10 mile, repeat you are going the wrong...". Jeremy turns off the satnav.

 

"I hope she doesn't know something I don't. The radios not much better. There is only one station and it appears to only have Stalin speeches from the 1950s". Jeremy turns on the radio, a Russian voiced can be heard" Вскоре капиталистические общества рухнет. К 1990 году весь мир будет советский ...". Yana translates, "Soon the capitalist societies will crumble. By 1990 the entire world will be soviet...".

 

Clarkson continues "Rubbish, ash bin of history with that lot. Enough of that, let's move on to a few brief facts".

 

"Top Gear is not only the most watched car show on earth, it also happens to be the most watched car show in the multiverse. Odin himself has been know to wear a I am the Stig eye patch from time to time and we all know that the Stig must be a god somewhere. I've been told that there is a world where this show is actually worshiped and the presenters are considered deities. I'm apparently some sort of bumbling Allfather, not quite all knowing or all powerful. Hammond is a warrior god (which explains the multitude of defeats they've endured), and May is their fertility symbol. It's unsurprising to find out that their birth rate is quite low. Just imagine that visage staring down upon you as you copulate. Definite mood killer that".

 

Clarkson frowns and looks slightly befuddled. "I suppose they don't get out much" he sadly concludes.

 

"Look here my misguided worshipers, your benevolent Allfather declares that henceforth Cameron Diaz shall be your fertility symbol, not Mr. May. Let it be written in your sacred scrolls and hence forth recommence fornication with renewed vigor so the land may repopulated".

 

Clarkson chuckles a few times and then continues, "I've also been told that there is a dimension where driving is considered a religious observance and blessings involve the use of high octane oil. Moreover, car ownership costs and expenses are a legitimate religious tax deduction. Hmm, need to investigate that local for my next holiday".

 

Yana suddenly interrupts "There's something up ahead, I believe its intentions are not friendly".

 

Ahead, a half mile or so, some creature is resting or lying upon the read.

 

Clarkson radios "Hammond. There is something on the road up ahead, I'm stopping for moment. Please drive around the car and avoid crushing me. Can your gunner make out what it is? He has the best optics".  

 

The little convoy slows to a stop as the tank maneuvers around the car. The tank come to a stop 20 feet in front of the car and off to the right of the road. Yana grabs a pair of binoculars from the passenger door's side compartment and stands up in the convertible to take a look.

 

Hammond radios "He says it looks like a dragon, a reddish dragon, we're loading an armor piercing round".  

 

James's recon vehicle leaves the road, on left, and drive up parallel to the tank's position and stops; also off the road.

 

May radios"Concur. I'm looking at it via the TOW missile launcher optics and it defiantly looks like what I'd imagine a dragon to be, wings and all. Looks like a small version of Tolkien's Smaug".

 

Yana jesters to Clarkson to give her the radio mike. Yana radios "Actually it's a young adult male drake, not a dragon. Dragons are intelligent and grow to be much larger. This is a red drake, roughly thirty five'ish feet long noise to tail. Their about as smart as a dog, red drakes do breath fire and can fly. Tough, but nothing like a dragon. This one has a collar so he's not wild. He's just laying on the road facing us. Very suspicious. I suspect his owner is using him either as a distraction or is sizing us up. Recommend something aggressive and lethal". Yana sits back down and hands the mike back to Clarkson.

 

Camera shot switches to Richard who looks nonplussed, he looks at the camera and states "Well, apparently not just a pretty face. Rather thought she'd start getting hysterical at this point. Maybe Jezza actually picked her for more then the obvious assets".

 

Camera shot switches back to Clarkson, Clarkson radios "Any idea chaps? Hammond you have that big gun and May, this might be a fine time to test the effectiveness of the TOW".

 

May radios "Mr. Clarkson, I see that your vehicle choice is already failing. I guess it's up to Hammond and I to pull your arse out of the fire. Hammond, you and I could just go off road and drive around the beast and leave Clarkson here to his fate".

 

Richard radios "Clarkson yes, but it don't feel manly to leave the lady. I think this is a good time to do some ordnance testing. Who wants to go first"?

 

May radios "Lets try the TOW first. If I miss then you hit it with a cannon round".

 

There is a high pitched whining sound as the twin TOW missile launcher folds down from its stowed position against the recon vehicle's turret. Both Clarkson and Yana cover their ears. May ducks into the turret and puts his right eye up against the TOW targeting range finder. May mutters "Locked on" then radios "Firing".

 

The TOW missile departs with a loud whoosh, trailing guidance wires. The missile briefly rises to twenty five feet in height before diving down to race down range, four feet off the road. The drake can be seen to stare and take great interest at the approaching missile. Just as the missile is about to impact the creature the drake leaps into the air while spreading his wings. This causes the missile to miss, passing beneath the drake.

 

May radios "Oh Cock, it jumped. Hammond it's flying towards us, shoot"!

 

The drake can be seen flying, roughly forty feet in altitude, towards the convoy. His mouth is open wide, displaying a large number of sharp pointy teeth. A faint red glow can be seen deep in the throat, promising impending fire. The tank's turret is tracking the drake. The gun fires with a rather colossal BOOM. The armor piercing round (an APFADS Armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot to be specific) flashes down range like some kind of laser bolt from Star Wars. The round hits the drake where the chest and neck meet and exits by the upper rear left leg barely impeded by the flesh (Yes a round designed to penetrate over 600mm of armor plate was a bit of over kill for a common drake; now a dragon on the other hand...).

 

The round continues down range and vanishes from sight (it lands over 4 miles away).   The drake tumbles through the air as it crashes to the ground at the side of the road that faces the forest. The throat's red glow fades away. The TOW missile can be seen to still be flying, it's enters the forest to the right of the road and a distant boom can be heard a few seconds later.

 

"Good shooting Bill" Richard shouts "Can't dodge that! I herby christen this tank Drake's Ban"!

 

The trio recommence their drive, May's recon vehicle now in the lead, followed by the Richard's tank and the Aston Martin in the rear. Clarkson starts bemoaning to the camera "Again in the rear eating Hammond's exhaust... Wait that not quite what I meant to say". Yana starts giggling at the inadvertent double entendre. May drives past the drake and then pulls off the road facing the forest. His head pops out of the turret, and he looks and the crumpled drake

 

May radios "Looks quite dead Hammond".

 

As the tank drives up we see Hammond's torso protruding from the tank turret, he is holding onto the 30 cal machine gun. Hammond glances at the camera, "We all know how this works in horror shows, the monster looks dead only to suddenly spring to life and eat one of the film cast. Let's see the beastie do that with a squished head". With a rather large squishy crackling sound the tank proceeds to drive over the drake's head, with the left track, and parks on it.

 

"That'll do" Hammond declares with satisfaction.

 

Clarkson drives up and parks the car on the road. Clarkson looks upon the now headless drake with some dissatisfaction, "Hammond, you squished it you bad person you. Now we can't have the head mounted in the Top Gear offices".

 

May injects from the top of his vehicle, "Seems a waste to just leave the carcasses, could we attach it to the rear of the tank"?

 

A few minutes past by, now we see that the tank has pulled forward and that chains have been wrapped around the drake's body and attached to the rear of the tank. The recon vehicle's rear ramp has been lowered and the assault team has taken up parameter guard duty. Everybody is pausing at whatever they are doing to take photos and selfies with their phones. The three presenters have all left their vehicles and are arguing on how to host the body up; after also taking a selfie with the now headless drake.

 

"It's got to weight several tons, there is no way we can host it using the tank barrel, it might bend" Hammond complains.

 

Clarkson thinks that a winch would do the trick while May argues that the gun barrel would not bend. Yana is still in the car and can be seen applying some lipstick.

 

The tank's gunner (Bill) yells down from that top of the tank that there is movement in the forest, which is roughly a quarter mile away. The camera angle shifts to show the forest in the distance. Large wolf like creatures can be seen emerging; there are riders on the wolves.  

 

May raises a pair of binoculars and declares with some disbelieve, "My God, their blue, they look like some kind of tall smerfs. Six foot smerfs armed with swords and spears. And they're riding evil looking giant wolves".

 

"Elves, blue means they're dark elves" Yana yells from the car!

 

"Run away" Clarkson bellows as he quotes Monty Python.

 

May and the assault team hurriedly re-enter the recon vehicle, whose rear ramp can be seen to start winching back up, while Hammond climbs back onto the tank. Clarkson runs to his convertible and quick gets in and starts the car.   The wolf riding elves start to charge full out.   The car's wheels spin as Clarkson rapidly drives away.

 

Clarkson radios "Looks like a full on fire fight chaps, I'll just get in the way and like get fragged while you blokes are shooting. I'll just scoot down the road a bit and shoot from there".

 

The recon vehicle's 22mm Gatling gun can be heard to start to spin in preparation of firing. The tank's main gun fires a high explosive round, a fraction of a second later a fountain of earth erupts as a wolf/rider pair is blow skyward. Then the 20mm fires. A giant zipping sound fills the air as the a 40 foot gout of flame spurts from the Gatling gun as the turret rotates back and forth spraying complete mayhem and death. Both tank and recon vehicle engines burst into life and the two vehicles take off after the now departed Clarkson; well the recon vehicle takes off, the tank kind of limbers in a hurried manner.

 

The recon vehicle is in front of the tank as they depart the scene at a blistering 45 MPH. The tank is dragging the now forgotten drake, which is bouncing all over the road. Grisly bits now start to fly off the drake due the abuse.

 

Hammond radios "I can see more emerging from the forest"!

 

The tank turret rotates to aim at the forest and the main gun coaxial 30 cal machine gun open up with short bursts. On the recon vehicle two rifle barrels poke out of side firing slots and also start firing short bursts. Both the recon vehicle and the tank fire off their externally mounted smoke grenades which quickly obscures all from sight.

 

Scene shift:

In the distance we see a low horizontal cloud of smoke. We hear Wagner's ride of the Valkyries playing while in slow motion the recon vehicle dramatically emerges from the smoke, followed by the tank. Both turrets are facing backwards towards the smoke. A few seconds later wolf riders, also in slow motion, emerge from the smoke. The tank continues to fire the co-axel 30 cal machine gun while the recon vehicle continues to fire the 20mm in very short bursts, which appear to basically shred any target that is hit. The drake is now mostly gone, only a rear leg is left to gruesomely bounce and flail behind the tank. One particularly vigorous bounce knocks a rider off of his wolf.

 

We now cut to James, in the recon vehicle's turret, who is busily firing the 20mm.

 

"I may not have quite thought this through" he states as he fires. "The 20mm is devastating, but God the ammo consumption. Every pull of the trigger is sending 40 rounds down range".

 

James starts pressing buttons on the firing console. "There, now each pull only fires four rounds. Keep in mind that one round is sufficient to turn your average engine block into smoking scrap. It pains me to admit this, but Jeremy may have something on his vehicle selection. Hammond and I are mostly just passengers who can shoot at things. The actual driving is being done by somebody else".

 

Meanwhile, several miles up the road, Clarkson and Yana have having difficulties of their own.

 

Aerial shot of Aston Martin speeding down the road, Yana's hair is flailing in the air flow. The shot pans out and behind the car we see four dark elves riding what appears to be large cheetahs. The cheetahs are rapidly converging on both sides of the car.

 

"Damnation, the road is too rough to go faster, the baddies are gaining" Clarkson vents with a look of concern. Clarkson holds onto the steering wheel with his left hand while drawing the Berretta 9mm with his right hand. Yana meanwhile has somehow managed to stand up and has turned around facing the oncoming protagonists. Her right foot is on the floor and her left foot is braced against the seat back while her back is up against the windshield. Her hair is whipping about and she has an expression of utter delight (which in hindsight really should have been a clue to the oncoming baddies that this was not a good idea). Surprisingly, silver armor now covers her right side while her left side is still in the elegant black gown. Also somewhat surprising, Yana is now holding a sword, which is aflame with silver fire, with both hands.

 

The riders converge from both sides. Clarkson, with his trademarked toothy grimace points the 9mm at his cheetah mounted protagonist. He fires his pistol repeatable while shouting, "Eat hollow points you socialist Brussels speed camera bastard"! (Apparently Jeremy was having some kind of EU flashback). Some of Jeremy's rounds actually hit the intended target (it's kind of hard to miss at five feet). Both the cheetah and rider go down hard, rather harder then intended as the rear wheel bounces over something squishy. Meanwhile Yana has already dispatched two riders; one is missing a hand and the other his head.

 

The one remaining rider comes up behind the convertible and leaps from his steed into the convertible's back seats. He and Yana engage in sword play for a few seconds before Clarkson fires three rounds over his shoulder, gun upside down; while at the same time Yana slices off his right shoulder. The baddie falls backwards and departs the vehicle; his presumed body can be seen tumbling in the road behind the convertible.

 

"That's the last of that" Clarkson concludes, "The Vanquish has an excellent rear view mirror, just the thing for dispatching baddies over you're shoulder".   Meanwhile Yana gets back into her seat; her sword and armor are now gone.

 

Clarkson radios "Chaps how goes? We've dispatched some high speed nastiss over here".

 

The scene switches back to show an overhead shot of the tank and recon vehicle. The vehicles are still driving on either side of the road and both turrets are still pointing to the rear; but the wolf riders have apparently given up. They can now be seen milling about over some fallen comrades. The tank takes this opportunity, rather unsporting, to fire a high explosive round into their midst. There is a brief flash and we see more bodies, and bits of bodies, being flung about.

 

Hammond radios "Just about done here you big coward. Thanks for all the help".

 

Clarkson radios "My plan was to drive down the road a mile or two and then snipe at the foe. I forgot to mention I've got the official British army sniper rifle in the boot, it's an Accuracy International L115A3 chambered for the .338 round. Longest proven sniper kill in history was done with that rifle. But... we got ambushed by elves riding giant pussies so we've been a bit distracted".

 

There is silence for a few seconds as the blokes try to digest a completely incorrect mental image. We see a split screen of May and Hammond looking quite confused.

 

May radios "Are you trying to tell us that you were attacked by elves riding giant naughty lady bits"?

 

Clarkson radios "No you deviant perverted swine, giant cats. Stop misconstruing my words".

 

Hammond radios, "Well I'm glad that's cleared up, rather disturbing image you painted there. No, we're clear now".

 

We now see recon vehicle and tank driving back onto the road, the recon vehicle in the lead. The drake's leg is still bouncing behind the tank looking quite tattered.

 

Clarkson radios "Well that's good news, I think I see the inn up head so I'll get the beer on and some nibbles ready".

 

Off in the distance we see a two story building on the right side of the road. There are some horses tided to a hitching post and some horse carts, each with one horse, parked in front of the building.

Chapter Text

Part 4: Inn of the disconnected pig parts

 

The inn looked quite rustic. A basic two story building with a barn out back. There was a hitching post in front, with two horses tied to it. The sign hanging over the main door shows a pig being gutted by a dark elf with a battle ax. We see the black convertible drive up to the inn and parks next to a horse cart. Scene switches to the car's interior.

 

Clarkson stares out the front windshield for a few moments. His left hand is on the steering wheel and his right hand is still holding the 9mm. He heaves a sigh of relieve, mumbles something about Teflon hollow points, puts the 9mm in his coat pocket and turns off the engine.

 

Clarkson looks at the camera and grumbles, "That's a bit more excitement then we usually have, apart from Argentinean yabbos that is. How are you doing Yana, I hope the difficulties did not distress you too much".

 

Yana waves her left hand dismissing Clarkson's concerns, her blue eyes bright with delight. "I'm fine, having a great time to be honest. Are all of your road trips this fun"?

 

Clarkson was not quite sure how to answer the question and was a bit taken back at Yana's obvious delight. Fun yes, but not fun like this. "Err no, this trip appears to be rather more adventurous then our regular road trips. Hank really was properly spot on in recommending you for this trip though".

 

"Yes, he loves your show, always talking about it. Even has the logo as one of his screen savers. Just never ask him about carburetors. Shards the man will not shut up about carburetors once he starts".

 

Clarkson hits a button on the dashboard and the convertible's metal roof starts to unfold fold from the trunk, "Yes, he and May went on for quite a bit in the green room when he was the star in the reasonably priced car. Kept talking about that Triumph TR3 he restored, lovely car that. I can sympathize with your annoyance about excessive fuel mixing talk, but I have to say that some in moderation it can be quite pleasant. Bit of show trivia, we had to fit a special seat for him in the car due to his size. Normal seat resulted in his knees being about level with his nose". With a solid sounding click the roof latched closed.

 

Scene now switches from inside the car to the outside. We see Illyana and Clarkson get out of the car and walk over to the inn's main entrance. The Inn entrance has swinging split western salon style door. As they walk up to the swinging door's we hear the chirp of a car alarm being activated.

 

Meanwhile May and Hammond had briefly stopped their vehicles to examine the dead cheetahs and dismembered dark elves.

 

May radios "The bullet wounds I understand, but this blokes missing his head, looks like it's been cut clean off".

 

Hammond radios "The heads over here. How did Jezza manage that? You'd need a sword or something to do this and I can't imagine Jezza swinging a sword".

 

May radios "He'd throw his back right out. Something off here, you don't think Yana did it"? May directs his driver to drive over to Hammond's tank.

 

Hammond radios "Naaa, I mean... well... I suppose she might have, but how, with what"?

 

Hammond stops radioing as May's recon vehicle pulls up. Hatches open on both vehicles and each presenter cautiously pokes their head out and looks around. Seeing that the local appears safe the two presenters pull themselves half way out of the hatch and commence to gossip like a couple of old hens.

 

"James, I've been meaning to ask, have you met Yana before"?

 

"No I haven't, have you"?

 

"Nope. Why is it always Jeremy? I mean we both get our share of inappropriate female groupies, but he gets the birds in droves and just look at him. And so bloody many of them are just, well incredible. Explain the female attraction to that misassembled orangutan with yellow smoker's teeth and a protruding belly".

 

May replied with a highly obscure and inappropriate comment, "I always thought it was his ability to spell the alphabet while humming".

 

Hammond feigned being shocked, "James you dirty dog you. What would your Mum say"?

 

"I wouldn't say it in front of my Mum, but seriously I'm as befuddled as you as the female attraction to Jezza".

 

"Do you think Yana and him are... you know, nudge nudge wink wink"?

 

"Naaa, there's something about her. I don't think she's your standard BBC host chasing tartlet. She knew what a drake was, even could identify its gender. I'm beginning to think Clarkson brought a ringer. Well, wait and see I guess".

 

May looks at the rear of Hammond's tank, "Hang on. Hammond didn't you have a drake attached to the rear of your tank".

 

Hammond turns and looks at the tank's rear. We see the dejected foot still attached by its chain to the tank. "Err, right. Forgot about that. Wonder where the rest of the beastie is"?

 

We leave the gossiping duo and return to the inn.

 

We see Clarkson and Yana enter the inn (the camera is inside the inn). The main room is rectangular and has a bar on the right side (if you are facing the door). Next to the bar is a stunted troll (imagine a warthog on two legs dressed as a hells angel, with tattoos, rather protruding tusks) wearing a vest and a hat. There is a centaur behind the bar and two scantily clad dark elf maidens (wenches by job title) serving the room. Cooking smells imply an unseen kitchen of some sort.

 

There are rough hewn tables and chairs scattered about the room, some that see two people, some four, and some can seat eight to ten people. There is a ruined jukebox off in the far corner. It looks like something has gnawed on it and a sword is sticking out the top, kind of like sword in the stone (whomever draws forth the sword shall have a hit single). There are several people/things scattered about the room and there is one group of nine dark elves, dressed rather like bikers, sitting around one of the larger tables.   The room goes silent when Clarkson and Yana enter.

 

Clarkson surveys the room "Right, make a good first impression" he mutters. "Yana do you want a beer" he whispers.

 

"No, some white wine would be nice thought" she replies while scanning the room.

 

Clarkson decided to take command, "Bartender" he bellows, "Three beers and a glass of white wine" while he and Yana sit down at a table large enough for five or six people. The centaur bartender grunts, swishes his tail, and starts to fill glasses from some barrels on the wall behind him. The group of biker like dark elves continue to stare at them while whispering amongst themselves.

 

"I've got a bad feeling about this" Clarkson whispers as he fingers the 9mm in his jacket packet. The bikerish elves now start to call out suggestions to Clarkson and Yana. The "suggestions" mostly involve involuntary horizontal dancing positions for Yana, how much does she cost, and just how long Clarkson would survive while undergoing vivisection (the consensus was less then 3 minutes).

 

"Excuse me for a minute" Yana whispers with some irritation, after one particularly graphic verbal depiction. She gets up from the table and walks over to the rowdies' table.

 

Clarkson watches her go over and then faces the camera "Not a bright move on their part. Normally I'd be defending the lady's honor, but in this case not only can the lady defend herself quite well but she might get offended if I were to attempt to intrude. And with Yana you really don't want to offend. Bad idea in general".

 

Continued nasty comments can be heard being uttered at Yana and Carson. Yana can be heard to say "If it's dancing you want then please don't let me hold you back. Dance". The lights on the ruined jukebox turn on and a song starts to play.

 

When I dance they call me Macarena And the boys they say que estoy buena They all want me, they can't have me So they all come and dance beside me Move with me, chant with me And if you're good I'll take you home with me

Hey Macarena!

...

...

 

The ruffians fall silent as they all stand up and begin dancing, of all things, the Macarena. They have a panicked look in their eyes as they apparently no longer have control over their limbs or their actions. One of the dark elves opens his mouth only to find himself lip syncing to the song. The centaur bartender looks up from filling the glasses, watches and just shakes his head as he returns to his filling. The audio picks up his grunted comment "Dumb asses, blind as well as stupid".

 

The troll bouncer starts to walk over. He's lightly swinging a mace with his right hand, while with his left he takes a monocle on a chain from his vest and places it over his left eye. He squints at the dancing elves and grunts something indecipherable. He brings up the mace while turning to Yana and squints at her as well. All of his motions freeze for a second and the monocle falls from his left eye. He lowers the mace and slowly backs away.

 

Yana glances at the troll and gives a sniff of dismissal, then walks back to the table and sits down.

 

Clarkson jokes while looking at the dancing elves with some confusion. "That was quick, I'd have thought there would be more mayhem involved, missing limbs or something".

 

"Oh, they said they just wanted to dance so I played a song. Apparently they were unable to get the jukebox working" Yana replies with a wicked grin "I think you'll find that this inn has a type of WiFi, so any song you select on your iphone will play on the jukebox".

 

"Really, well need to find some good Genesis song for Hammond then. He adores Genesis, you should ask him about it later".

 

The sound of a tank's diesel can now be heard to approach, the recon vehicle is far quieter (it is a recon vehicle after all).

 

We suddenly hear crashing sounds out front and Hammond can be heard shouting something. Clarkson and Yana get up to investigate while the ruffians continue to dance around the room.

 

Scene shifts to the front of the inn. Hammond is behind the tank having apparently tried to guide the driver in backing up the tank to park. Tried to guide in that now a cart is beneath the tank tracks and a frantic horse is futilely kicking the tank as it tries to get loose from the harness. A decrepit old dark elf is busy shouting abuse at Hammond while Hammond busily apologizes.

 

Oh dear, sorry, sorry. All my fault. Frightfully sorry bot this". Richard spies Clarkson and Illyana coming out the inn's front door. "Jeremy! Over here! What the hell do we do about damages?   I don't think they take insurance forms here".

 

Jeremy has a few snorting laughs as he surveyed the squabble. "Pay the umm... elf.   Try one of those coins the producers gave us".  

 

Richard dug out one of the coins from his pocket, a golden one, and offered to the elderly and very wrinkled elf. The elf looked befuddled for a few seconds before snatching the coin and hightailing it down the road (a wise choice as the cart and horse were only worth three silvers and a gold coin was worth 50 silvers).

 

"I think you over paid mate" Jeremy continued to chuckle.

 

"Hang on, what about the horse? I don't want a horse, already have a few and this one's an obvious nag".

 

"Bit late for that, perhaps somebody in the inn will buy it. Step lively James is here, I hope he's not actually driving that thing."

 

James's Recon vehicle pulls up and parks next to the tank (on the other side of the horse). The turret hatch opens and James's head pokes out to survey the situation. Before he can utter a pithy comment Hammond declares "Right O, well that's that. Beers awaiting. First rounds on me" and scampers back to the tank where his follow team mates are securing the vehicle for the night. James gives a squinty questioning look at Jeremy who simple shrugs and walks back to the Inn's entrance.

 

After everybody is done disembarking the now rather sizable group reenters the inn.

 

"Why are they all dancing" May asks.

 

"Just a bunch of metasexual blokes having a good time" replies Clarkson. Clarkson leans over and whispers "It's what they do here, don't mind it. And now..." Clarkson holds up his iPhone and hits a button. The song Invisible Touch by Genesis starts to play.

 

She don't like losing, to her it's still a game Though she'll mess up your life, you'll want her just the same, now I know She has a built in ability To take everything she sees

...

 

Richard starts to complain right on cue "Oh God, not Geneses. I hate Geneses".

 

The rest of the evening was filled with quiet discussions and drinking in moderation. No? Not buying that? Ok, a bit more truth in the telling then.

 

To hear Jerry describe the evening you would think gold flowed like water from his hands providing an endless supply of refreshments in a variety of intoxicating forms and delights. James distinctly remembers the gold part a bit differently, something about Jeremy trying to pay with a black American express card and getting into bit of a row with the centaur (No they don't take American express, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover, but for some odd reason they would accept Diners club which of course nobody had).

 

Turns out if you throw enough of the gold coins about everybody becomes quite friendly.

 

The two serving wenches had to be supplemented with an emergency brigade of backup wenches and to hear some of the stories you would imagine that the second oldest profession did a bang up business that night with the solders.

 

Details are a bit blurry so that's all you get. Make up more juicy bits if you want.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Part 5: Grim light of day two

 

We see Hammond, May, and Clarkson sitting around a small table in the inn, each with a cup of coffee; except for May who has a cup of tea. Various broken bits of tables and chairs are scattered across the floor. We can hear that the music is still playing from the juke box; currently House of the rising sun from the Animals. Several elves are passed on the floor in various stages of undress, but two elves are still stumbling about trying to dance. Yana is by the bar watching the dancers with some amusement, while eating with the crews from the other vehicles. Richard looks quite cross while May and Jeremy are trying their best to look innocent.

 

"Fine, both of you deny doing it" Richard states with some irritation. "What I really want to know is how did you do it? It looks so professionally done, not your usual inane cock about".

 

Scene now shifts to outside the inn. It is a foggy morning. The sky is obscured and visibility is only 300ish feet. We see the rustic two story inn with the three vehicles parked in front. The tank is now pink. Not just any pink, its neon nail polish glossy pink. Not some hurried lets slap some paint on it and run away job. Nooo, the camouflage green pattern has been meticulously replaced with pink while leaving all numbers and decals unaltered. The attention to detail is stunning, ever the underside of the tank is pink, as well as the tracks. The paint is also completely dry. The words Drakes Bane has been written on each side of the turret in gothic script in bright yellow paint.

 

In addition, a caricature of the tank and a drake has been painted each side of the hyper missile box. The caricature shows a deceased drake lying on the ground with its tongue hanging out of its mouth and little Xs over the eyes. The tank (imagine the tank turret as a head with a large nose, then add arms and legs to the tank body) is... well... Let's just say the tank is having its way with the drake, doing the nasty, abusing the dead, deploying heavy ordnance; scratching the itch, calling in an air strike... I think you get the picture.

 

We now return to the inn. Clarkson is attempting to make small talk, "I have to say it looks quite good, even the necrophilia depiction is in character with the name".

 

"Oh sod off" Richard rebuts, "That tank was a massive beefy bruiser, now it's a big beefy screaming bender of a bruiser wearing a pink tutu and marching in the gay parade. It's flaming pink! It looks like one of my daughter's Barbie accessories. Any moment now Ken, that emasculated piece of plastic, is going to pop his head out of the driver's hatch and ask Barbie where she want to go shopping today. Or the bloody teletubbies are going to crew it with that obnoxious purple dinosaur while all singing I love you, you love me. And if you make a homophobic comment they'll fire a HEAT round up your arse. It's just wrong mate, wrong. Now, I'd ordinarily suspect Jerry but this is just too much effort. Which leaves you James" Richard's eyes narrow, "This has your attention to detail written all over it".

 

At this point another exhausted elf, dressed in a white lab coat, stumblely dances up to the table and drops off a golden envelope. Clarkson hurriedly opens the envelope and declares "Our first challenge".

 

Clarkson reads the sheet of paper, "Traveling though some dimensions are fraught with danger. Experienced travelers help safeguard themselves by excluding a certain vim, a sense of danger, an aura of don't mess with me. You will now do the following test to determine how much vim you, your vehicular choice, and companions exclude. You will drive to a field one mile from here and each setup a defensive position. Each of you will face a group of ten dark elves, two trolls, one ogre and one dark elf leader. You will get two points for each creature that runs away, 1 point for each creature that decides not to attack, and 2 points off for each creature that attacks. You will lose .01 points for every round of ammo fired".

 

The trio look at each other with trepidation.

Chapter Text

Part 6: First challenge

 

Some time later the camera looks over a green field of damp un-mowed grass roughly 7 inches tall. A magical shimmering force field hides the assault party while each group sets up. Clarkson and May are standing well off to the side on a small knoll with a scoreboard, several plastic chairs, and a folding table.

 

Voice of Hammond "I went first".

 

Apparently Richard's setup was rather simple. He basically drove the bright neon pink tank onto the field and parked it. The engine can be heard idling. The upper torso of Hammond can be seen, with a flack jacket and helmet on, emerging from the tank's turret. He is manning the 30 cal machine gun.

 

"All right chaps, load a HESH round (High Explosive Squash Head). That should deal with the ogre if he attacks. Gunner then pick your targets and round type, likely those oversized shotgun rounds are the best choice (think of a shotgun round scaled up to 120 mm, filled with half inch mini balls, ouch!). Driver await my command if we have to move, rev the engine a bit for some drama. Alright start the test".

 

The magic field vanishes, 100 yards ahead of the tank the dark elf centric based assault group stands revealed and gazes at the tank. All are dressed in armor. The trolls, and especial the ogre, look rather like humanoid tanks themselves. There is a line in front of the group. The elvish commander looks concerned upon seeing tank. Smoke starts to bellow from the back of the tank as the driver revs the engine thereby rocking the tank, the exhaust's low rumbling sound can be felt as well as heard. Even painted pink the tank exudes a sense of barely restrained mayhem.

 

The voice of Clarkson starts to give a play by play "The elves look concerned, probably think it's some form of exotic drake. Here's some words of advice for anyone who might be thinking of messing with a Challenger 2. Don't".

 

The elvish commander gestures to the ogre who starts to run to the group's right side in an attempt to outflank the tank. "Oh, looks like he's sending in the ogre as a diversion and likely as a test. Classic baddie technique to send in the dumb one first, test the waters as it were".

 

The tank gun starts to track the ogre as the ogre moves. The ogre suddenly cuts left and crosses the line which prompts the tank to fire. There was a flash of light and then, well, no more ogre. Large chunks of flesh rain down upon the field like meat hail. The tank gun turns back to the elvish group and centers upon the elvish commander who looks disgusted with the whole situation. The group stands there for a minute and then a horn sounds to signify that the test was done.

 

Hammond, as always, was gracious in victory. He can be seen cheering on top of the tank and shooting "Loser" at the departing foe.

 

Clarkson sums up Richard's test "That's 13 points for Hammond, minus 2 for the ogre, and minus 0.01 for the tank round. Doesn't seem quite fair, one 120 mm round is just minus 0.01 points. Oh well such is the grading system, it's your turn May, do us proud".

 

Scene now switches to May standing on the ground next to the recon vehicle. "Well gentle viewers, as you can tell we certainly lack the raw firepower of Hammond's over endowed brawer. We've chosen to dig in and setup a fire position. Right-O chaps let's get cracking".

 

Several long and tedious hours later:

 

Clarkson is asleep and snoring in one of the plastic chairs, next to the fold out table. Five empty red bull cans litter the ground around him. A cell phone is on the table next to him; May's voice can be heard saying "To the left, bit more, bit more, there that's it. Just twelve more and we're done".

 

Richard is sitting in the driver's seat of the Aston Martin looking over the controls and secretly envying Clarkson's vehicle choice while wondering if it was possible to make a convertible tank. Hmm all girl tank crew? Naa his wife would kill him.

 

Yana is currently wearing a tanker's helmet (looks quiet fetching with the black evening gown). Her torso is half way out of the commander's hatch on the tank and Gunner Bill is showing her how to operate the 30 Cal machine gun.

 

"Done"! May's cry of engineering triumph awakens Clarkson who groggily produces yet another red bull can and drains it in one go. "About bloody time, took less time to create the Maginot line" Clarkson mumbles while getting up.

 

"Humph, I see that James has created the great wall of May".

 

We behold May's creation. He and his team have dug two fox holes and a connecting trench. The spoil being used to fill an apparently endless supply of sand bags that have been placed in front of the fox holes and the trench. A light machine gun has been set up in each fox hole; with one solder. Five solders are in the trench, and May is protruding from the recon vehicle's turret. Everybody looks quite dirty and sweaty.

 

May turns to the camera, "Well that took a bit more time then planned. Well any job worth doing is worth doing well". May takes a British flag bandana from his pocket and starts to tie it around his forehead like some kind of Japanese Banzai warrior.

 

"As you can see we have two machine gun nests, 5 rifle men, the 50 Cal that is on top of the vehicle" May pats the M2 50 Cal machine gun and cocks it (known to those in the know as the infamous Mau Duce) "And a secrete surprise that I hope we don't have to use".

 

Richard wanders up to Clarkson, "Is captain slow turned civil engineer finally ready"?

 

"Yes, quiet the impressive little fort he's built".

 

"Ready chaps?!" May shouts.

 

"Ready!" his combat team replies.

 

"Commence the test" May declares with complete confidence.

 

Again the magic field vanishes, 100 yards ahead of the impromptu fortress another dark elf centric based assault group stands revealed and gazes at the target. The elvish commander stares across the distance at May and they lock eyes. It's a test of wills, Vim against Vim. Several tense seconds pass until the dark elf commander barks one word and his assault group surges over the line.

 

"Oh Cock" May utters in dismay and starts to fire the Mau Duce. We see May gripping the firing handles and screaming (all in slow motion) as empty cartages are ejected from the gun and shock waves travel up May's arms. Both machine gun nests open fire as well as two rifle men in the trenches.

 

Three of the elves go down. The two trolls and the ogre lower their shields; thereby deflecting the bullets, and continue forward. The seven remaining elves, and their commander continue to sprint and dodge forward, the commander is somehow projecting a magical shield that is protecting him.

 

Clarkson gives the play by play, "And their off! May's vim was apparently insufficient to discourage attack.   Three are down, three are down! But the rest continue the charge. Damn those trolls look invulnerable. Just look how the tracer rounds are bouncing off those shields. The Mau Duce is capable of penetrating 1/2 inch of armor so you can just imagine how thick and heavy those shields must be".

 

"ROCKETS!" Screams May.

 

Three riflemen in the trenches raise their AT4 854mm light anti tank launchers to their shoulders, aim and fire. Three streaks of flame and smoke go downrange and impact three shields. Both trolls are blown apart, but the ogre actually survives relativity intact; apart from a rather large hole in his shield. Two more elves go down.

 

"And the trolls are toast!" shouts Hammond.

 

Clarkson continues, "Down and out I'd say. That blasted ogre is going to be trouble though. Incredible that he's still standing, let alone able to fight. Look! He's grabbed the bottom half of one of the trolls and shoved it into the hole in his shield. Quick thinking but I don't think even a troll's ass can deflect firepower of that magnitude ".

 

"AGAIN!" Screams May.

 

Again three streaks of flame and smoke go downrange all aimed at the ogre while the 50 Cal and one of the light machine guns also focus on the ogre. Clarkson's analysis proves correct. A troll's ass is unable to prevent that kind of penetration. But only two of the rockets detonate.

 

"Misfire!" screams Clarkson. "We have a misfire! The ogre is down, missing that right arm has got to hurt. The failed round is... well lodged in an indelicate place I see".

 

Hammond added a comment as well "Ouch, not proper that".

 

We see a close up of the troll's ass, or what little remains of it. The rocket is logged in it like a demonic proctological probe gone bad, smoke and flames still venting from the rear of the rocket.

 

The five remaining elves and their commander have just about reached the trenches when May screams his last command.

 

"CLAYMORES"!

 

"With a horrific thunder the nine claymore mines detonate at point blank range. Over 3600 steel balls fan out like a shrapnel cloud from hell.   And with that the battle was over. Very over.

 

Clarkson is left speechless for a few seconds. "Impressive" he finally mutters. "Most impressive. Richard, remind me to never piss off Mr. May when he has that kind of ordnance in his possession".

 

Richard looks at the smoking field of carnage. The one armed ogre can be seen to get to his feet and run away. "Right. Definite agreement. Umm, what's the score"?

 

"Hmm" Clarkson tries to do the math, "That's minus 28 for the attack, but the ogre did run away in the end so lets call it minus 27".

 

"I can live with that" agrees Richard while nodding his head.

 

"Now ammo. I have no idea how many rounds they just fired, but at minus 0.01 per round let's call it... minus two hundred and fifty".

 

"Most fair, most fair" Richard sagely agrees again.

 

Yana wanders over from where she was flirting with the tank crew (yes slightly out of character for those who know her but keep in mind that she is on vacation) and surveys the ruin. "Damn, they had all the fun".

 

Richard and Clarkson exchange glances of mild concern over her statement.

 

Much much later:

 

Hammond and May are now standing well off to the side with the scoreboard. Jeremy's convertible, the top is down, can be seen driving onto the field with Yana. The field has been cleaned up so May's mess is no longer present. May and Hammond are discussing the situation.

 

"I don't see how he's still alive, much less so confident" Hammond complains. "So his car is fast, that certainly helped yesterday when he left us in the lurch, but how can he possible think he's getting out of this"?

 

"Something not right, he's too confident" hypothesizes May as he glares. "Yes he's pompous, bombastic, practices poor hygiene and is ignorant to a fault. But... he's not blindly stupid. He knows something we don't".

 

"Oh ick!" Hammond suddenly cries.

 

"What" May asked looking around in some panic.

 

"Sorry mate" Hammond apologizes "Stepped in some ogre bits, yuck".

 

"What the hell? He's driving half way to the curtain" May declared with disbelief.

 

Voice of Clarkson "And then it was our turn to taunt death".

 

Indeed, Clarkson has driven to within 50 yards of the curtain before he parks the Aston Martin. He steps out of the car, puts on a dark green British hunting hat with a rakish tilt, draws his 9mm Beretta and strikes up a sideways James Bond poise while leaning against the driver's side of the car. Yana likewise gets out of the car, still wearing yesterday's black gown (freshly laundered somehow). For some reason she has no problem walking on soggy grassy ground while wearing high heels. She ends up poised sideways on the bonnet of the car (that's the hood for you Yanks) with a confident come hither look aimed at the curtain. Even at this distance you can tell that her eyes are blue. Clarkson issues a confident single word command to start the test.

 

"Begin".

 

The curtain vanishes. The assault group could be seen quickly scanning the field. They at first appear to not quite believe that the car in front of them is the real target so they continue to scan the field looking for the true target. After a few seconds they start to laugh and point at the two humans. The elvish commander grins and raised his right hand to order the group forward but then appears puzzled and slowly lowers his hand. He makes some gestures in the air that end with the spreading of finger and thumb (i.e. like how you zoom in on an image on your cell phone). The blue elf's skin suddenly goes pale, while at the same time Yana can be seen gesturing with her index finger for them to come closer, she no longer has a come hither look but instead has something more... predatory. The elf spreads both arms wide which somehow appears to gift his companions with whatever he is seeing. As one they all turn180 degrees and flee.

 

"That's not possible" May declares. "Their running away! He must have bribed them or something".  

 

Clarkson looks insufferably smug as he and Yana get back in the car and drive over to where Richard and May are standing.

 

"I think that's 28 points and the win for me" he declares as he gets out of the car.

 

"You utterly cheating bastard" May fumes with a look of contempt, "I almost got butchered out there and you just stroll about like it's a big joke. Just how the hell did you accomplish that"?

 

One word May, just one word" Clarkson answered. "Commitment. Look at this car, look at this young woman. This was not about manly valor in battle, it was about commitment. Fail to measure up to the car and her standards and there would be hell to pay, believe me I know. Your average monster baddie is dreadfully afraid of commitment, rather like a 12 year old boy at his first dance. They just didn't have the stones for it" Jeremy concludes while tidying up his hair, "It's all about the vim as it were".

 

"Bollocks" May fires back.

 

Clarkson continues in a lecturing tone while waving his special pointing finger about.

 

"Hammond looked like some kind of dragon on the field projecting menace and violence. For all we know pink is the color of aggression here. Yana and I dared attack thereby defeating them with our extreme vim. You and yours dug in waiting to be assaulted, positively inviting attack. Mind you I heartily approve of your use of rockets and claymores. Beautiful and vivid bit of destruction that was. As you know I maintain most problems can always be solved with high explosives and by Jove you demonstrated that quite well".

 

May pulled out his own special wagging finger and was about to start on a fourteen point detailed diatribe when a man in a white lab coat walked up and gave him an envelope. May opens the envelope, briefly reads it, hands it to Hammond and storms off.

 

Clarkson sighs and utters "Well, I see Mays a bit put out. Hammond what do the producers say"?

 

"In 10 minutes a portal to Alfheim, the Realm of the light elves, will open. You are to take the road shown and enjoy what is left of the day. Additional instructions will be had at the inn of the silver lily. Alfheim is a light and peaceful place so try not to set it on fire or otherwise be a nuisance. But be carefully, even light places have their dangers.

 

Chapter Text

Part 7: Waiting for the road into the realms of light

 

May stomped off to his vehicle (his chaps were milling around the back hatch and started to load up). He looked at the camera as he walks around his vehicle inspecting its condition.

 

"I'm sorry gentile viewers but this was a complete cock-up. Hammond and I honestly competed in this farce of a challenge, which I might add almost resulted in death of me and mine; only to have Clarkson literally just walk away with it for no discernable reason".

 

May kicks one of the tires in frustration and now starts to hop about having hurt his foot (These tires are meant to take hostile fire, they are very solid).

 

"Blast it! Now I've gone and stubbed my toe"!

 

We leave May to his bitter ruminations. Hammond and his chaps are in the process of climbing back into the tank where as Clarkson and Illyana are already sitting in the Vanquish Volante (the top is still down).

 

Clarkson begins to go over some of the Aston Martin's details as they wait.Author's note, Clarkson's review of the Volante here is in part taken from his article Drives on water and raises Lazarus in 4.1 seconds.

 

"So what does 215ish thousands pounds get you? Well not as much as you might think. The boot is rather small, to be honest almost non existent, after the roof folds away; fine for holding a few biscuit tins but that's about it. As I've said before the suspension is bone-hard, a common failing of many super cars. May has a theory about that, too much tuning for race tracks and not enough thought as to the actual age of who can afford such toys; and I have to say I agree".

 

"Then", he has the camera pan behind him by adjusting the Go-Pro and pushes a button that has the roof fold up.

 

"The roof has seemingly been designed specifically to make everything behind your head invisible. At an oblique junction the only way you can pull out safely is by having a deep and fervent belief in God. I mean just look at it, or to be precise, look at the inability to look. Nothing but roof and pillar and just a little tiny bit of view". Clarkson now hits the button again the roof folds back down.

 

"Although it’s largely made from carbon fiber, it’s a heavy car, and it gets all bolshie and uninterested when you push it hard. The tires won't last very well either on a track. After three laps they lose their bite and you end up with 300 yards of dreary understeer. And the gearbox, a smooth-changing automatic, doesn’t much like to be hurried. Taking this car on a track? It’s as wrong as playing rugby in a dinner jacket".

 

"For this car they used black leather on the insides which at least is not a garish color choice, but black on black makes everything just a smidgen hard to see. Black seats. Black dash. Black dials. Black body. Black roof. Black carpets. Black trim. Black evening gown. It's like living in a black hole. Still, it does not prevent the discerning car reviewer from noticing that the interior of this supposedly brand-new car is a bit old-fashioned".

 

"Which, of course, it is. Aston is a small company with limited resources. It simply doesn’t have the £500m you need to design a new air-conditioning system, or £200m for a new instrument binnacle. So it keeps having to fit the same stuff it used in the previous car. The sat nav is new(ish), and while it’s better than the original setup, the screen does look a bit like the sort of drawing that proud parents put on a fridge door".

 

"Aston's German competitors simply have deeper pockets for all kinds things. I swear Mercedes has an entire group devoted to just small knobs. The group is called the Abteilung für kleine Automobilknöpfe department".

 

"And I think that’s enough now. I could give you a thousand reasons for not buying this car. I could tell you that a Ferrari 458 Italia is better, and that this isn’t even the best Aston. The Vantage S holds that crown. But I’m afraid there’s no getting round the fact that I love it. And the main reason I love it is: you love it even more".

 

Most super cars upset the anti car nutters and greenies. You're wrecking the planet. The poor polar bears are going to starve or drown. And then there is the class envy that makes ruffians out of supposedly good people so that they key your car. But this car. Well, it makes everyone happy. Everybody loves an Aston. Especially the ladies. Yana would you agree"?

 

Yana just smiled at the camera and stretched out in the seat in her tight form revealing black evening gown. The BBC would later receive several complaints over that stretch (To the BBC. Sirs, I see we have resorted to vulgar displays of raw sexuality to boast your ratings. When will the BBC realize that people want honest reviews of cars they can afford and stop all this foolish dashing about. Back in my day we...). On the other hand Aston Martin attributed at least 25 car sales to that one scene (I want the car that the hot blond liked) and desperately tried to contact Yana to do some car modeling (she wasn't interested).

 

So that's why I chose it for this trip. So who cares if it’s expensive, or not as fast as it should be? Who cares that the instruments are now a bit old fashioned and that you can’t see out of the back if the roof is up? Why worry about fuel consumption or how the gearbox works or why there’s understeer? This is a car that makes people like you and that's not bad".

 

"Ahh I see that once again a portal has opened". Jerry grabbed the microphone.

 

Jeremy radios "I'll go first this time. Recommend that May go second and Hammond go third. That way the road ruination created by his giant pink girthy bender will be behind us rather than under our wheels".

 

Another large oval hole in the fabric of space had opened. The sky in the other realm appears to be a light pink. Clarkson turns on the engine and drives off into the oval with a bit of wheel spin. May followed (again his torso was protruding from the turret) and followed by Hammond (who's torso was alto protruding from the turret of his tank).

 

 

Part 8: Alfheim

 

They all emerge onto a well maintained road, wide and smooth with gradual curves. The landscape is a kind of gentle rolling hills with various glades of woods scattered about separated by unkempt meadows of grass and wildflowers. The sky was a soft blueish pink intermixed with streaky white clouds.

 

Hammond radios "Well this is different. Nicer then the other place. Less swampy for one".

 

May radios "Humidly is down as well. Quite nice in fact. Recommend we copy Clarkson, apart from being a right cheating bastard, and open up the tops".

 

Clarkson rolls his eyes at the camera at May's statement. 'Suppose he's going to be in a snit the rest of the day. Hopefully he's over it by morning. Should be better then Argentina though. If I had a pound for every time he went on and on about his back, his ribs, the pain; well I'd be able to buy this car with it".

 

Hammond agrees and we see the driver's hatch and the gun loader's hatch open on the tank. The tank driver's head can now be seen protruding from the front of the tank and the torso of the gun loader is projecting out his hatch. On May's vehicle four hatches open in the back and four of the six combat squad's torsos also now protrude.

 

Hammond radios "This is much nicer. Rather like Yorkshire with some dales in the distance".

 

May radios "Hopefully safer".

 

"It's not". Yana was leaning a bit out the left side of the car with her head in the slipstream; her eyes closed and hair a twirl in the breeze.

 

"What was that Yana?" Clarkson asked.

 

"It's not safer" Yana spoke softly eyes still closed, enjoying the breeze. "It's nicer on the surface, but the threats can be more subtle. Svartalfheim is more... obvious in its dangers; more blatant in its intentions. Alfheim is... pleasant. But while the dangers, the ills it can cause, may sometimes be more accidental then deliberate the results are still the same".

 

Hammond radios "Looks quite undeveloped here, but the roads good".

 

Clarkson radios "Well, we're looking for the inn of the silver lily. I hope they have a sign or something. Keep your eyes peeled, just because it looks nice doesn't make it safe. Oh and Hammond...".

 

Hammond radios "What".

 

Clarkson radios "Still in first gear".

 

Hammond looks at the camera and apes Jeremy "Still in first gear. Well sorry mate a tanks a bit slow".

 

Clarkson radios "Hammond...".

 

Hammond radios "Now what".

 

Clarkson is grinning. Clarkson radios "It appears that you've found a companion to that other car you have. I believe you named it Oliver. Bit of an odd couple the two of them will make. Oliver and the Drake, sounds like a show you could do".

 

Hammond again looks at the camera and dramatically sighs.

 

Clarkson is now busy laughing. Up ahead there is an odd road sign. It is a large grey rock slab with strange and unreadable red writing. He asks Yana a question.

 

"Yana can read what that sign says"?

 

Yana opens her eyes and pulls her head back into the car. She squints at the rapidly approaching sign.

 

"Unicorn Fields".

 

"Hmm, a town by chance"?

 

"No. Caution sign".

 

Clarkson radios "Gent's be on the lookout for... well unicorns or some such".

 

May radios "And you know this how"?

 

Clarkson radios "Sign we just passed. Apparently Yana reads...". Clarkson takes his thumb off of the push to talk transmit button on the mike.

 

"Yana, what language was that"?

 

"Low elvish".

 

Clarkson radios "Hungarian".

 

May looks slightly confused. "That doesn't look like any signs I've ever seen in Hungry before".

 

As the little convoy continues down the road they find that they were at apparently on the top of some kind of mesa. They stop at the edge of the mesa. They find the road is leading down the side of the mesa into a valley of glades and meadows with scattered ponds and large streams. The read goes down into the valley but does not climb out of the valley into the hills on the far side.

 

The view is... impressive. The pinkish blue sky is scattered light white and golden clouds and three moons are just starting to creep over the horizon. The green of the glades is a deep and vibrant emerald green. Clarkson gets on the radio.

 

Clarkson radios "Now that's impressive gents".

 

May radios "I must say I have to agree. Absolutely splendid".

 

Hammond radios "Concur as well. That's just... well vibrant is a word I'd use".

 

Clarkson pulls out his iPhone and starts to fumble with it. "Need a song for this" he mumbles "Ahh here we go".

 

The little convoy resumes its journey to the song What a wonderful world by Louis Armstrong.

 

I see trees of green, red roses too.

I see them bloom, for me and you.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world. 

 

I see skies of blue, And clouds of white.

The bright blessed day, The dark sacred night.

And I think to myself, What a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow, So pretty in the sky.

...

...

 

As the convoy descends from the top of the mesa Clarkson steals a glance at Yana. She alone doesn't appear very entranced with the view, instead she's staring at the car stereo with a slightly perplexed expression as if trying to make out some hidden meanings in the song.

 

"What an odd girl" Clarkson thinks as he recollects how they met.

 

Reflection Yana part A

 

Clarkson was on the phone bemoaning his ongoing bitter divorce, continual BBC interference with Top Gear, Brussels, and just what vehicle/team he was going to pick for the upcoming inter-dimensional road trip. Hank was, as always, being a good listener. When Jeremy was in an emotional mood and had his druthers up it was best to let him vent for awhile. Finally Jeremy asked Hank a question.

 

"So Hank, what do you thinks is better for the trip? A 155mm self propelled howitzer with an SAS commando team or an Israeli tank with a SAS commando team"?

 

"Um neither"Hank replied."Both sound, well kind of boring. You're Jeremy Clarkson, you should be doing something outrageous". Hank was trying to boaster Clarkson's self image as Jeremy had been quite down in the dumps when he had called Hank.

 

"Like what"?

 

"I don't know, you're the writing genius. Throw a curve ball and show up in something massively inappropriate".

 

"You mean in an actual car"?

 

"Why not".

 

"Because I'll die. The instructions were quite clear. While the Ex, and some BBC executives, would heartedly approve I'm a bit down on the idea".

 

"Hmm" Hank murmured. "Yes and no. The instructions were quite specific as to the dangers but I think you're not thinking outside the box as in how to address the risks".

 

"In what way".

 

"You're focusing on a traditional crew makeup with means military. Why not get somebody... well powered to go with you. Then you could go in a Range Rover or something".

 

"Well, why not a sports car if it's flights of fancy now".

 

"Now that would be outrageous. Definite Clarkson moment that".

 

Hank could hear the gears turning over in Clarkson's brain.

 

"Hmm, that could work. But who to pick? Captain Britons right out. He's always hogging the camera, drinks like a fish, and is frankly a total boor. I've already got two annoying blokes on the show, don't need a third".

 

"Hmm" a glimmer of an idea was emerging in Hanks head (which if you knew Hank was usually a bad idea). "It's inter-dimensional into mythical and magical realms. I would say take a female magical entity with dimensional knowledge".

 

Clarkson's tone was sarcastic "Right. I'll just pop down to BBC central casting and order one up. Or do you by chance just happen to have one sitting around that I can borrow"?

 

Hank glanced over to the other side of his lab where Illyana was sitting in a medical examination chair for her weekly medial tests and one of her three times a week physiological counseling sessions.

 

"Umm. I'll give you a call in a few hours".

 

 

Reflection Yana part B

 

"Well this should at least be interesting"Clarkson thought to himself as he waited for Hank to arrive for lunch. He was sitting at a table for four at Hem's, a small restaurant in Westminster close by Parliament. Small and rather exclusive (read expensive and snobby).

 

Clarkson was a bit early but Hank arrived right on time. You'd think an almost 7 foot tall blue furred man wearing a suit and glasses would get at least a double look from the wait staff but not at Hem's. Hank was escorted to Jeremy's table and the two embraced like the friends they were.

 

"Good to see you Hank. I thought you were in the States when I called yesterday"?

 

"I was. I had my... acquaintance bring me over here to meet with you".

 

"Bring? As in poof you're in London"?

 

"Well more flash then poof but yes".

 

The waiter brought two menus and two drinks, Jeremy had already ordered the drinks. A pint of dark bitter for Hank, and a pint of nutty brown ale for himself.

 

"So Hank, you really think this young lady of yours is up for a trip like this"?

 

Hank inspected the menu (Roast Venison, triple portion was his selection, with young potatoes; and an order of mussels in a light white wine sauce with garlic). "Yes. We've got more... well physically violent types but I think she's a much better pick. You do remember Wolverine right"?

 

"The Canadian bloke who drank everybody under the table? What a night that was, the bleary parts I can remember that is. How on earth did we end up at the top of Big Ben"? Clarkson picked the roast grouse from the menu.

 

"She understands where you're going, knows the lay of the land, and can take care of herself and you".

 

"Are you sure? My ass is on the line and I've become quite attached to it. Say, when did you start eating mussels? I thought you hated most shellfish"?

 

"I do, the mussels are for her".

 

"Well where is she"?

 

Suddenly there was a very attractive young blond woman sitting at the left hand of Clarkson in what had been one of the two unoccupied chairs at the table. She was wearing a simple white blouse/shirt and a pair of elegant jeans. Luckily Clarkson had just put down his drink or he would have spilled it everywhere.

 

"Yaaaaaa"! Clarkson mildly bellowed in surprise. "What the blazes"?!

 

Hank rolled his eyes. "Jeremy Clarkson I'd like to introduce you to...".

 

Illyana finished the sentence "Yana".

 

Hank glared at Yana. "I apologize. She's recently picked up the rather annoying hobby of trying to startle people. Especially the ninjas".

 

Yana smiled. Clarkson noticed that it was a rather nice smile but it really didn't reach the eyes. "They're always such fun to startle. They're so used to being the sneekie that they forget they can be snuck up upon".

 

Clarkson was somewhat at a loss for words (something that Hammond would have paid to see). "Isn't that... well dangerous"?

 

Yana replied "They mostly shout at me or run away".

 

Clarkson was intrigued. "And the ones that don't".

 

Yana smiled that smile again. "Well, those I get to have some fun with".

 

Clarkson was intrigued. Very intrigued.

 

Back to our top gear story in progress

 

Clarkson's Yana reflections were interrupted by a shout from May over the radio.

 

May radios "Over there to the right, by that pond. Those look like Unicorns".

 

 

Chapter Text

Part 9: Road hazards in the realms of light

 

Clarkson looked to his right as he slows down. They were currently driving through an area of small ponds and fields of lush grass and small bushes, some of which had little white flowers, others blue or red berries.

 

Over by a small pond were three foal sized miniature horses, each with an ivory horn. They appeared to only be about waist high (i.e. the size of really big goats). Two were sitting down by the pond and one was standing and watching them from behind a bush (its head was hanging over the bush and the body was behind the bush).

 

These were not your traditional white Unicorns, instead their coat was more of a shinny silvery white. They each had a little tuff of white hair beneath their chins. They were small but magnificent.

 

Clarkson radios "Hmm, Hammond sized I see".

 

Hammond radios "Just had to say that did you. Must be young ones".

 

May radios "Can't be young ones. They have a horn. Don't think the momma would be very happy with a horn during birth".

 

Hammond radios "Umm, maybe the horn is flexible"?

 

Clarkson stops his car and the others stop as well behind him.

 

May radios "Maybe they're just small or the horn grows after their born".

 

Hammond radios "Something's not right. I always envisioned Unicorns as bigger, more horse like . You know, like in those Harry Potter films".

 

Clarkson radios "Hammond that's pretend, this is the real world".

 

Hammond looks at the camera with an ironic expression.

 

May radios "Hmm, You'd have thought all the noise from the tank would has spooked them or something".

 

Hammond radios "Hang on one, I'll have the driver turn off the engine".

 

May does the same. Blissful silence returns to the little glade.

 

There is a small grove of trees behind the pond, another Unicorn comes slowly walking out of the woods. It is the same size as the others, however its face is matted with blood.

 

Hammond radios "Look, there's another one and I think its hurt".

 

Yana stands up in the car and squints to take a closer look. Then she sits back down and extracts some book from the glove box. She starts to examine the contents, switching from page to page.

 

Clarkson radios "Must have been attacked. Hammond you know about horses. Your wife has a few on that farm of yours".

 

The bloody Unicorn is now standing by the two that are sitting. They start to lick the blood off its face.

 

Hammond radios "I ring the vet for that. Might May go over and have a look"?  

 

May radios "Why me".

 

Clarkson radios "Well... it's like this James. Richards and I have both been with the female persuasion so we don't qualify as virgins. Were as you... well I think those other activities don't really count".

 

Hammond is now snickering.

 

May radios with scorn "Ha ha ha you utter prat. You know bloody damn well that I have know the pleasures of woman, both past and current".

 

Hammond radios "Umm, as fun as it is to poke James... ahhh". He looks at the camera "Can't believe I just said that".

 

Now Clarkson has the giggles and May just looks cross.

 

Hammond radios "What I mean to say is that the hurt Unicorn, the one with all the blood, looks remarkable unhurt".

 

We look again at the hurt Unicorn, there are only a few specs of blood left on its face and it looks uninjured.  Yana points to a page in the book and gives it to Clarkson. He puts on his reading glasses and gives it a quick scan.

 

May radios "Might their salvia have healing properties? I read somewhere once that Unicorn horn cancels out poisons".

 

Hammond radios "To quote the big orangutan, I think that was Harry Potter as well".

 

Clarkson radios "Ummm... Gents I think we might have a slight problem here. I think these are not traditional Unicorns".

 

May radios "So what are they? Sleek and graceful goats"?

 

Clarkson radios "No, they are, I believe, Unicornis minima carnivorous or small carnivorous Unicorns".

 

The two sitting Unicorns get up and all four Unicorns start walking towards the vehicles.

 

Hammond Radios "And you know this how".

 

Clarkson radios "It's in the guide book".

 

May radios "What guide book"?

 

The Unicorns have now halved the distance. The solders on May's vehicles pop back down into their troop transport area and close their hatches. The tank driver closes his hatch and the tank loader retreats into the tank and closes his hatch as well.

 

Clarkson radios "The idiot's guide to the nine realms. Has a whole chapter on each realm".

 

Hammond radios "And where did you get that"?

 

Clarkson radios "I'll explain later, but for now I think we should be elsewhere".

 

One of the Unicorns locks eyes with Yana. They both stare at each other for a few seconds, then the Unicorn apparently decides that the tank looks like easier prey and the heads off towards the tank leading the other Unicorns.

 

May and Hammond retreat inside their respective vehicles. The tank and recon vehicles engines rumble to life causing the ears to lie back on the Unicorns heads.

 

Hammond radios "Why are they bothering me? Clarkson is over there out in the open and he's all nice and tasty. Well marbled and easy pickings".

 

Clarkson radios "I said it before. Vim".

 

With that the little convoy resumes motion. The Unicorns are trotting next to the tank looking like they were searching for weak spot.

 

May radios "Relax Richard, you're in a tank. What can they do"?

 

Well... it turn out quite a bit. Unicorn horn is tough, very tough. One Unicorn trotting on the left side of the tank lunges to its right and stabs the side of the tank. Instead of the horn bouncing off it penetrates the side of the tank like butter leaving a nice little hole. The horn penetrated the driver's compartment but did no harm other then scaring the crap out of him (definite brown trouser moment).

 

May radios "Bloody hell, sucker just stabbed the tank".

 

Hammond radios in a panicky voice "And put a hole in it! Almost got the driver. Shoot. Shoot the bloody things. We can't depress our guns enough"!

 

May remotely swivels the 50 cal machine gun and opens fire. He misses but this appears to startle the Unicorns and two of them back off. One stops and stares at May's vehicles while one leaps onto the tank and stabs downward but only impales one of the reactive armor plates which gets stuck on the horn. The Unicorn starts shaking its head trying to dislodge the plate but it's stuck fast. The Unicorn jumps off the tank and continues to shake its head.

 

May primes the 30mm Gatling gun as he traverses the turret. The Unicorn staring at May's vehicle start to charge at the vehicle, horn lowered. May fires the 30mm and... well no more Unicorn. Gone. Poof. Vaporized. He's dead Jim.

 

The Unicorn with the reactive armor plate finally shakes the plate free and then pounces on it with both front (oh did I mention very very sharp) hooves. Turns out to be a bad idea as the impact triggers the reactive armor's shaped charge. The detonation throws the remaining half of a Unicorn into the air (tumbling in slow motion) will the rest turned into red mist.

 

The other two Unicorns assess the sudden reversal of fortune and then like any good pack hunter decide that the prey is not worth the price. They quickly run off.

 

The little convoy speeds off. Yana glances behind the car at the departing Unicorns. "As I said. Alfheim has its dangers as well its attractions".

 

Reflection Yana part C

 

"Ok, she can handle guns" Clarkson thought to himself. Clarkson had taken Yana to the gun range he frequented when he was in London (private range, he was a member). Clarkson had demonstrated the 9mm Berretta and the AK-47. Then he had handed the weapons over to Yana.

 

Yana had examined the firearms and then proceeded to demonstrate a high level of proficiency. She had a proper pistol shooting stance (Gun control means using both hands folks) and had switched the AK-47 to three round auto. She had blasted away at the various targets with an almost disinterested expression. She was a good shot.

 

Clarkson found himself getting... well slightly aroused, and embarrassed about getting aroused.

 

After finishing up with the auto shotgun Yana had given Clarkson an apprising look. "Scott likes everybody to be... versatile. Next test please".

 

Ok she can shoot, but can she kill? Where they were going was very dangerous. How would she handle herself if the situation turned nasty?

 

A very short time later:

 

"Check that box, she can kill" Clarkson thought as he examined the pile of demon bodies. "Um double check it and underline it in red ink. Hmm, red BOLD ink. She does magic and travels through dimensions. And she's a looker. Bloody marvelous. If I was thirty year younger I'd...". He gave it some extra thought "likely be wetting myself about now".

 

Clarkson asked the next question on the check sheet. "Yana, do you like sports cars"?

 

 

Part 10: Let's get the hell out of here

 

The little convoy drove as fast as the tank would go as they traversed the gently winding road. The road followed the little valley instead of climbing the hills on either side. The tank traversed its turrets as the gunner scanned for hostiles while both May and Hammond were once again protruding from the tops of their turrets scanning the surroundings as well.

 

Everybody looked concerned and on edge, everybody except Yana who had her head back into the slip stream and was enjoying the wind in her hair.

 

After a few miles (with Clarkson occasionally radioing scathing comments about the speed, or lack there of, of Hammonds tank and Hammond making comments about what an easy target a certain car made) a small wall was seen, there was a gap where the road went through the wall. There was a another sign by the wall in the same written language that nobody other then Yana could read.

 

May radios (as they drive through the gap in the wall) "What does the sign say"?

 

Clarkson looks to his left to Yana with a questioning look? Yana answers and Clarkson radios the answer.

 

Clarkson radios "Thank you for visiting. If you can read this then you didn't feed the Unicorns".

 

Hammond radios "Ha, Ha, Ha. So not funny. Beginning to not like it here".

 

Unnoticed, there is a small sign on the other side of the wall that faces those traversing the wall from the other direction. Endangered Unicorn preserve. Enter at your own risk. Poachers will be punished.

 

The little convoy continues but now the landscape becomes more developed. Little plots of land under cultivations. Groves of nut and fruit trees, small rows of grapes and other berries yielding plants. Occasionally an elf could be seen working in the fields, although working would be implying effort and they appeared to be mostly just casually picking stuff (elves have a green thumb, everything just grows the way they want).

 

Small odd birds could be seen fluttering about the trees and bushes. They looked... well they fluttered to fast to really get a good look but one would swear that they looked humanish with big wings.

 

The sense of urgency slowly receded and Clarkson's mind began to wander, recollecting another road trip he had recently taken.

 

 

Reflection Yana part D

 

"I'm... restless and in need of new social interactions; or so Hank thinks. He believes that meeting new people that lack any preconceived notions about me would be good. Plus your trip sounds fun". Yana had just answered Jeremy's question as to why she was interested in the trip.

 

The two were driving in a Jaguar convertible sports car in the Scottish highlands. This was more of a test as to how Yana liked driving about and if Clarkson would find her tolerable (he found her to be quite tolerable).

 

Jeremy had learned various things about Yana. She liked to dance, made her forget about things for a while was how she put it; what things she did not say. She also disliked crowds and amusement parks, apparently rollercoasters and rides did not exist where she grew up. Really disliked rollercoasters. She had apparently barfed all over some fellow named Roberto the first and only time she went on one; which apparently she believed he deserved as it was his idea in the first place.

 

Yana was a also a good if not quite sympathetic listener, she was not very inclined to talk about herself, but instead was content to mostly listen to Jeremy rattle on about various topics. This ended up being very good for Jeremy as he was currently in a rather unpleasant personal situation with his problems with the BBC and the ongoing divorce and needed somebody to talk to. Interestingly, and refreshing as well, she showed no interest in celebrityism or what it was like to be famous.

 

The three days they had been driving about had been nothing short of fantastic. They had started in London and had made record time on the roads to Scotland. The best road days Jeremy could recall. Never a traffic jam, the lights always appeared to want to be green, nor a police car in sight. And for some funny reason all of the speed monitoring cameras was non functional. Bloody marvelous.

 

On the third day Clarkson has suddenly realized he had not seen a Peugeoton the road the entire time. Proof he thought about his belief that Peugeot drivers were the cause of most road problems. Proof! Now if he could just convince parliament to round up all Peugeot drivers than Brittan would be safe.

 

"And the likely impending mayhem, if the producers are to be believed, does not concern you"?

 

"Been there, did that, didn't even get the tee-shirt; although I suppose it would be in poor taste to actually have that tee-shirt".

 

Sometimes Clarkson had no idea what she was talking about.

 

"I must say these three days have been quite fun Yana. Not a paparazzi in sight".

 

"Yessss..." Yana had that grin again, the one that did not reach the eyes. "I like my privacy as well. Never did like vermin".

 

Jeremy had been concerned about the paparazzi and the likely headlines, he could just see them now (Jeremy robs the cradle in divorce spat) (Clarkson hooks up with Russian blond bimbo younger than his daughter) (Clarkson sex romp in Scotland). However Yana had assured him that there would be no media coverage. Jeremy had given Hank a sarcastic look but Hank had assured Jeremy that Yana could deliver on her word.

 

Did she ever.

 

It started out in London, for some strange reason bus and trucks apparently could no longer see cars driven by paparazzi. Nothing too damaging but they were swept off the roads as if they were flies being shooed away. Also their cameras no longer worked right; memory cards would malfunction, other cars would get in the way blocking a shot. One photographer actually had a bird land inside of his telephoto lens's sun hood and crap in it after first blocking the shot.

 

News of Jeremy's drive with a young blond had at first spread thought out the paparazzi community and gossip news organizations like wildfire. Get us actual proof was the direction. Photos! The results were disappointing to say the least. Driving around (nothing). Eating in a café (nothing). Checking into a hotel each night, yes they had separate rooms, (nothing). Interview people they interacted with (nothing, ?Who? was the common response? Never heard of him).

 

One enterprising fellow had setup a photo blind on one of the Scottish roads that Jeremy loved to drive on. He was all set to get the shot when... well let's have him and his editor describe it. We see a gossip news editor in his office, behind his desk sitting in a chair, talking on his cell phone with the fellow. The phone is up against his left ear.

 

"Right, so you mean to tell me that just as you were about to take the shot a dog comes up and knocks over your tripod. What's that"?

 

You can hear mumbled words from the other end of the phone call.

"Oh not a dog but a bloody big wolf. Right, a wolf. You do know they've been extinct in England for centuries".

 

More mumbled words.

 

"I don't give a two shits about your excuses I want you to...".

 

Suddenly the editor felt hot moist breath on his neck and heard a growl. He froze and slowly tilted his head to the left and looked over his shoulder. A Fing big wolf was sitting behind him and growling, sucker must have been over three feet high at the shoulder. The wolf opened his jaws and carefully grasped the cell phone from the editor's frozen left hand, then the wolf ate the phone (he noisily chewed it first before swallowing).

 

The editor promptly wet himself closed his eyes and waited to die. Nothing happened. He cracked open one eye, the wolf was gone. He felt a vibration in his right pocked as his backup phone rang. It was the photographer he had been talking to, he was trying to explain that the wolf had then pissed all over the camera and had walked off with the camera bag.

 

"Never mind. Assignment cancelled. Really cancelled. I'll fire you if you try to take another photo of Clarkson".

 

He hung up the phone and then tried to figure out what to do about the wet chair and his pants.

 

We return to the Clarkson/Yana Scotland drive:

 

"So what happened to them"?

 

"There're alive and unhurt, well mostly unhurt, the really persistent ones are getting personal attention from some of my critters. Other then that I think they're reconsidering their choice of targets".

 

Jeremy chuckled remembering one incident he has seen. "God. I pity that taxi. They're never going to get the smell out".

 

Yana found that paparazzi were almost as fun as ninjas.

 

 

Chapter Text

Part 11: Barbies gone wild

 

With a loud whack a pixie hit the windshield startling Clarkson out of his recollections about Yana. The body was flung over the windshield and ended up landing spread eagled upon Clarkson’s face. The pixie's head was buried in Clarkson’s receding hairline, her (yes it was a her) prominent breasts were pressed into his forehead above his bushy eye brows and her as… well her tush was at the end of his nose. Her very naked tush.

 

“Bloody hell” Clarkson bellowed as he swerved all over the road. “I think I just killed Tinkerbelle”!

 

“Pixies are tougher then they look” Yana mildly commented. “Here, let me get her off your face and take a look”.

 

Yana gently plucked the naked red haired pixie from Clarkson’s face, leaving a spot of blood on Jeremy’s forehead. The pixie’s body lay lifeless in Yana’s hands, her face rather bloody.

 

“I knew it, she’s dead", Clarkson muttered. “Bollocks, now what”?

 

“She’s not dead, just stunned. Takes more than that to kill a pixie. They look soft but just try to cut one and you’ll find their skins tough as old leather. Their bones are mostly cartilage and very flexible”.

 

Yana brought the pixie closer to her eyes for better examination. “Her clan tattoos indicate that she's a member of the fern flame clan, and she is currently unwed. She’s a redhead so she’s going to be extra pissed when she wakes up. Do you have any sugar or alcohol we might offer her as an apology”?

 

“Umm, I have a flack in the backpack in the back seat”.

 

Yana commenced rummaging in the back seat with her right arm while holding the pixie with her left hand. “Found it. What’s in it?”

 

“40 year old Dalmore, single malt scotch”.

 

“Should suffice”.

 

The pixie began to cough and the wings began to flutter with a hum like a bumble bee.

“There there little one” Yana crooned.

 

The pixie opened her eyes and looked up from Yana’s left hand to Yana’s face. She sat up and began to complain in an unknown language. Yana translated.

 

“She’s very pissed. Thinks that you are a very bad driver. Going way too fast and putting up a transparent shield was mean. She had no idea it was there until she hit it face first”.

 

The pixie starts to rub her bloody nose. Yana waved the flask and spoke in the same language. The pixie answered.

 

“Says that it will take more than a minor bribe to make her happy; but she does claim the flask as the start of recompense. Says that it had better be good”.

 

“Oh it’s good alright” Clarkson muttered. “Please offer my most sincere apologies. I’m frightfully sorry”.

 

Yana unscrewed the little cup from the top of the flask and filled the cup with the flask’s golden contents. The pixie took the massively oversize cup (imagine a six inch Barbie doll with a shot glass) and took a sip. She looked up at Yana and spoke what appeared to be happy words.

 

“She likes it. Thinks it tastes like bottled mornings”.

 

“Um” Clarkson uttered with some concern, “should she be drinking so much? For me or you that’s like drinking three gallon or more, rather lethal amount that”.

 

“She’s a pixie, little folk. She’ll be ok, but a bit stoned”.

 

The pixie uttered some more happy words while pointing at Clarkson.

 

“She thinks you're cute. Reminds her of a grumpy old stone giant”.

 

With the bumble bee like hum the pixie took to the air and landed on Clarkson’s left shoulder, while cradling the glass with her left arm. She proceeded to sit down while holding onto Clarkson’s ear with her right hand.

 

“Oww, that pinches” Clarkson complained. The Pixie pointed ahead and again uttered more happy sounding words.

 

“She likes the ride. Finds the breeze in her hair fun and she doesn't have to fly to travel. Looks like you've made a friend”.

 

“Well, most girls love a convertible, guess it’s true for pixies as well”.

 

The pixie began to call out as they drove and soon over a dozen naked female pixies were in the car drinking and cavorting about. One was sitting on the rear view mirror looking forward, her head over the top of the wind screen. Several were on Clarkson’s shoulders. One was lying down on Yana’s head. Two were pretending to help steer by holding onto the steering wheel while flying.

 

Clarkson was slightly uncomfortable with all this miniaturized nakedness. Felt a bit… well pervy. Like he was a young boy doing inappropriate things with his sister's dolls.

 

“Hmm. Yana I can’t but notice that they don’t not appear to be threatened by your presence; unlike the folks back in Svarta... um phlegm?. Half of whom positively wetted themselves in your presence”.

 

“I’ve toned down my aura or… well the vim that I’m currently projecting as it were. It made more sense in Svartalfheim to emphasize myself but this a lighter, nicer place so I’m reigning it in”.

 

“What? So you were amplifying your aura or whatever back in Svarta... back there”?

 

“No. Just didn’t hide it very much. Here I’m concealing most of it. Pretending to be less then I am. No need to upset the locals unnecessarily”.

 

Meanwhile James May is busy examining the convertible up ahead with a pair of binoculars. He was wondering why humming birds were flying around Clarkson's car and apparently sitting on his shoulder. He starts to sputter in indignation.

 

“What the blazes? Clarkson is covered, covered in fairies. Naked female fairies”. He gets on the radio.

 

May radios “Clarkson! What the blazes is going on over there”?

 

Clarkson radios “What’s the problem May”?

 

May radios “You appear to be covered in miniature naked females with wings. That’s going a bit far even for you”.

 

Hammond radios “What naked females”?

 

Clarkson radios “Not my fault they find me so attractive. Story of my life”.

 

“Yana, could you ask the… well girls if some of them might want to go checkout the other chaps”?

 

Yana proceeded to again speak in the unknown language, she has a questioning tone. All the pixies answer back with a bit of a yell and all say the same word; what they said is unknown but the tone was rather definitive.

 

“They say no. They like the open air, being trapped in a enclosed moving metal box is not their idea of fun”.

 

Hammond radios “Again what naked females”?

 

Clarkson radios “Sorry chaps, they don’t like what you’re driving. They prefer a convertible”.

 

Hammond radios “May, do you mean to tell me that Clarkson is covered in naked females”?

 

May radios “Miniature naked females, but yes. Right bastard”.

 

Hammond radios “How miniature”?

 

May radios “Barbie sized".

 

Hammond looks at the camera, “Well that’s all right then. Bound to be a bit frustrating for the old goat”.

 

Hammond radios “Lucky dog, hands off the barbies you old perv. Remember you're on camera”.

 

Clarkson radios “Sorry to keep harping on the obvious but the convertible is simple a better car. I’ll see if I can scrounge up some female goblins to keep you company. More in keeping with your vehicle selection I presume”.

 

Clarkson chuckled while May and Hammond sputtered their displeasures over the radio. He returned to trying focus on the road, but the view of the pixies tush, in and on, the rear view mirror (ha ha, rear view mirror, get it?) was quite distracting.

 

Yana part E

 

Clarkson was again at Hem's eating with Hank.  Hank was finding Illyana's transport abilities very useful for popping in and out of London.

 

"So I take it she's a go" Hank inquired?

 

"Yes, a definite yes. Heck if only for what she did to the paparazzi; quite liked that. But she's a bit odd".

 

"In what way?" Hank slurred around a mouthful of roast lamb (an entire crown rack of lamb was on the table being devoured by the two, Hank would end up eating seventy percent of the rack and even chew on a few of the bones). Hank's ears twitched forward (Hank was horrible at poker; his ears were always his tell).

 

"Odd hesitancies from time to time. Like she's forgotten how something is done or said. Plus, her outlook is rather stark on many issues, almost like she can only see some things in black and white, no shades of grey at all. She reminds me slightly of Hammond when we were doing Top Gear Live in South Africa. He was like that from time to time. This was... oh eleven months or so after his brain injury and sometimes you could just see that he understood your words but not the meaning. But now that we're on the topic I've got a last question for you".

 

"What?" Hank replied as another lamb chop began its journey to the gullet of the beast.

 

Jeremy was blunt and to the point. "What happened to her"?

 

Hank had a slightly guilty look "What do you mean"?

 

"Hank don't give me that. I work at the Beeb. I've got knives after me every day of the week at work from the executives. I know when somebody's acting. I know crazy. I know eccentric. Something is off with her. What gives"?

 

Hank gave a rueful smile. "Should have known you'd see past her act".

 

"Is it an act"?

 

Hank sighed. "Somewhat, she likes to have people keep their distance. But I fear a great deal of it is real. She got hurt bad, really bad and we think it went on for a long time. Physical, mental, and spiritual. Plus I believe she had some kind of nervous breakdown shortly after she rejoined us".

 

"You think she had a breakdown? Hank you're a doctor; shouldn't you be a bit more then certain about such things"?

 

"It's that ability she has to teleport. It's not just space she moves through, it's time as well. If I'm right then she had a meltdown and then spent a few years putting herself back together and then showed up again after only a few days passed in our timeline".

 

"And you think a road trip will help"?

 

"Yes I do. She's stable. Very stable. Scary stable if you ask me. Everybody who knows her gets wigged out by her. She needs some new faces and..." Hank gives Jeremy an examining glance, "For some odd reason you don't appear to find her very scary which makes you somewhat unique".

 

"Hank she's an attractive young woman with unusual and useful abilities and a mean sense of humor which I found to be quite enjoyable. Quite a lot to like there".

 

Hank gave Jeremy a piercing look. "You didn't"?

 

Jeremy looked reserved and dignified. "Hank, a gentlemen remains a gentleman and does not gossip about what he does or does not do with his female acquaintances".

 

Now Hank has a sly look, "You did"!

 

Jeremy looked slightly flustered. "None of your damn business Hank".

 

Hank sits back in his chair and quaffs his whisky drink. "What did you do? Feed her that line about being the tallest man in television at the BBC and how you got that nickname in the locker room"?

 

"No blast it. Got into a bar fight if you must know".

 

Hank look confused "Bar fight"?

 

BEGIN REFLECTION

 

"This is not going well" Clarkson thought as he felt his consciousness fading.The four, or was it five, thugies had Clarkson down on the floor and were beginning to stomp him. His manly valor had gotten him in trouble, big trouble.

 

Then a voice had... well whispered out of the growing darkness. "Self selecting prey. My favorite". There had been a flash and the kicking had ended.Two hands gently rolled him over onto his back (he had been curled up trying to protect himself from the stomping). He opened his eyes to find Yana looking down upon him with a look of concern and some other expressions upon her face that he could not quite discern.

 

"That was really really foolish of you Jeremy" she rebuked.

 

"Must defend a ladies honor" Clarkson tried to chuckle but ended up choking a bit and spit out some blood (broken ribs, punctured lung).

 

"No that really was foolish. You should know by now that I have my ways of... dealing with irritants".

 

Clarkson attempted a reply but could only lay there and moan. There was a flash and Clarkson found himself in his hotel room on his bed.

 

"Wait here, I'll acquire some aid" was Yana's brief statement before she vanished again in a flash.

 

"Yes. Wait. Good idea. I'll have to refrain from my plans on playing a bit of rugby" Clarkson groaned to himself.

 

Another flash and Yana was back. She put a rock the size of her fist on his chest.

 

"Umm, I think I need hospital, not a rock".

 

"Quiet you" Yana replied as she closed her eyes.

 

A coolness flowed out of the rock and into his body. The pain flowed away and he swore he could feel ribs move. He closed his eyes and then opened them after a time, the rock was gone and Yana had her hands on his chest where the rock had been. She looked... well invigorated.

 

"That was harder then it looks" was her comment as she smiled at him. For the first time the smile reached her eyes.

 

"Err, how did you do that"?

 

"Ladies owned me a favor" was her cryptic comment. "Now I own them a favor. And chocolate. Lot and lots of good chocolate. Do that again and I'll save myself the trouble and kill you myself".

 

Yana uttered a giggle. "That rock was really not meant for mortals. Had to absorbed the excess energy or you'd have gone up like a torch. Hmm, likely going to be some side affects for you. How do you feel"?

 

"Err, good, really good". He has now rather embarrassed to find that a rather personal and private bit of himself was also feeling quite good.

 

"Hmm, you'll likely find that you have surplus of energy for the next few days and..." she glanced south of the border, "Be feeling rather randy. I'll need to make sure that you don't suddenly have delusions of grander and start bellowing about crushing all of you like the insects you are".

 

Jeremy noticed that Yana looked a bit flushed, and some strands of her hair were hovering a bit over her head. Clarkson hazarded a guess that he was not the only one feeling some side affects. "Um Yana, are you feeling ok"?

 

"Yes, feeling quite good in fact. As I said that rock is really meant for a godling and not a mortal like you. I went a bit overboard once I realized how badly hurt you were. They had steel toed boots so you had ruptured internal organs and a punctured lung".

 

Jeremy was being to get a bit uncomfortable. Yana's hands were still on his chest and they were beginning to lightly massage him. "Err, how did you discover this"?

 

"One of my critters chipped a tooth".

 

This was fun but Jeremy really needed to act his age. "Yana, while I greatly appreciate the attention, I'm old enough to be..."

 

"Hush" she commanded, "Or I'll crush you like the insect you are".

 

"Urr" Clarkson said. Hadn't she mentioned something about such behavior?

 

"I'm joking silly" Yana replied as she climbed into the bed and straddled him. "Well..." She had an odd expression, "Slightly joking. I'm not sure now. Anyway be quiet and attend to matters at hand ".

 

Clarkson shut his gob, well stopped talking with it at least.

 

A lot of surplus energy was expended that night by both parties.

 

END REFLECTION

 

"Last night of the test road trip. We ended up in this really remote town and the pub had some thuggies come in. Started making rude remarks about Yana. Almost broke my damn fist punching one. Not a bright idea on my part; I was in the process of getting a right proper kicking when... well they were gone. Yana apparently had been surprised by my interference and had actually hesitated before acting. She thought it was sweet though, apparently nobody defends her reputation other then her brother. Well... she helped me to my room as I was well and truly thrashed".

 

Jeremy took a sip of his Scotch and water, then continued. "Turned out she knew somebody who owed her a favor and got some healing enchantment so that's why I look my prime and proper self. Anyway, Yana apparently liked what she saw and decided to... well the rest is private Hank".

 

Hank gave Jeremy an exasperated growl, "Jeremy when I said try her out I didn't mean try her out".

 

Jeremy waved his hands in front of his body as he verbally defended himself. "I didn't. I did not seduce her. She did not seduce me. She frankly decided to take advantage of me. A common failing for most woman I must add. There's just something about the Clarkson mystique that drives them mad".

 

Hank sarcastically replied "And the tallest man in BBC Television"?

 

Clarkson chuckled a few times. "Impressed her I must say. After that she started calling me by my first name".

 

Hank now had an apprising look as he peered at Jeremy. "My stars and garters. Enjoy the road trip".

 

 

Chapter Text

Part 12: Inn of the silver lily

 

The pixie party drive went on for another thirty minutes before the pixies decided that it was time to depart.

 

By now the three moons were high in the sky and the road was now running alongside a little stream (the moons were in a low orbit so actually you got moon rise eight times a day).

 

The pixies all gave Clarkson a goodbye kiss. This involved each pixie flying up and giving the end of his nose a big smooch, which also resulted in them resting their breasts against his upper lip (remember the pixies are naked). Some went out of their way to rub themselves against Clarkson while they gave him a smooch. Clarkson both enjoyed the attention, yet again also felt like he was doing pervy things with his sister's Barbie dolls.

 

After each pixie gave Clarkson his kiss they joined the other pixies sitting on the dashboard facing Clarkson and Yana. The last one to smooch was the red headed pixie who had hit the windshield. She... lingered on the kiss, and once done flew to sit on the rear view mirror facing Clarkson. She then spoke and Yana translated.

 

"I am Morning Mist of the Fern Flame Clan. Daughter of Glittering Mist, leader of the Fern Flame Clan. I proclaim you a personal friend. Will you offer friendship to the Clan as well"?

 

Clarkson looked at Yana. "Um, what does that mean to be a friend of the Clan"?

 

"They will come to your aid if so asked, but you will also have to come to their aid if asked. Think treaty and a great honor. Also be careful. It is an oath of honor and you will be held to it".

 

"Should I"?

 

"I cannot answer for you".

 

"Would you"?

 

"Yes, but I am not you. I have... different goals".

 

"Well... tell her yes. I accept and would be honored".

 

Yana translated and all of the pixies cheered and fanned their wings making a bumble bee sound. Then, one by one, each flew straight up into the air and then fully extended their wings into the airflow, rather like a parachute, and vanished with the rapid deceleration due to air resistance.

 

The last to leave was Morning Mist. She smiled and said, in accented English this time. "I like you grumpy giant". With that she also sprang into the air and flew away.

 

"Hmm" Illyana gave Clarkson a slightly smirking appraising look. "I think we're seeing some side effects of the Odin stone. You appear to have... enhanced attractiveness to magical female entities, or maybe females in general. Although I suppose if one swings in the other direction the male counterparts would also find you... attractive as well".

 

Clarkson thought upon her words.

 

"Nice but, um not so nice as well. You should see the fan mail I get from some blokes. Lord, not to mention the fan fiction stories. I googled myself once and found a rather large amount of... um well stories of sexual practices that I don't engage in. My word, some of the stuff on a site called archiveofourown.org has me and the two blokes behind us shagging each other and the STIG all day long".

 

Illyana got a good chuckle out of that and the drive continued.

 

The stream that the road had been following lead into a vast field of white lilies. Although the white was much more like the unicorn's white, very silvery. The pleasant scent of the flowers perfumed the late day air. The sun was setting and the imagery was like... like the gentle rolling hill of Tuscany without the heat or dust all overlaid with a silver shimmer.

 

A side road on the left was seen with just a large wooden sign containing a portrait of one of the flowers and several lines of text in different languages; one of which spelled out Silver Lily in English.

 

Clarkson radios "I think this is it chaps. Turning left".

 

May radios "I see, and now can smell how the inn likely got it's name".

 

The road lead up to a large circular enclosed court yard. The walls were a pale light blue the architecture was very flowing, not angular at all. The look was somewhat Mediterranean Greek. The walls had just the right touch of rustic to look old without looking badly maintained.

 

The three vehicles pulled in and parked, the tank rather diminishing the mood of peaceful isolation with its rattling and diesel grumbling but perfection quickly returned once the tank was silent.

 

As everybody climbed out of their vehicles, other then Clarkson and Yana who just opened their doors and got out, several elvish maidens approached. Each was clothed in a flowing gown, each gown the same silver white as the lilies in the field. They each had a silver tray which held a clear crystal decanter of what appeared to be ice water and several plain silver drinking goblets.

 

"Welcome to the Silver Lily" they said... well more like sang. "Please partake of refreshments after your long journey".

 

Hammond pulled off his tanker helmet, took a goblet and filled it with the contents of a pitcher. "This is more like it" he said as he grinned and took a big swig.

 

"Urrr" Hammond uttered as he partially choked. He coughed a few time and then whispered with a hoarsened voice "Goes down like water but has a kick like a mule". The other military crewmen quickly filled their drinking vessels (Bill, the tank gunner, slyly filled a canteen when nobody was watching).

 

"It's Salina, brewed from the very stream the runs by the inn and in part from the lilies in the field" the maidens said or sang, different people heard it one way or the other. "Now come inside, your rooms and baths await".

 

The group followed the maidens through an archway into an open plaza who's roof was only the limbs of the trees that grew in the small plaza. Tables and reclining benches were scattered about.   One marble table was heaped with fresh fruit, breads, and cheeses. How did it look? Well if you've seen Lord of the Rings then it looked a bit like a small scale Rivendell; if you haven't seen LOTR then it looked like a six star resort (yes 6 stars) done up as a nature setting.

 

To the right of the plaza the stream turned into a small waterfall and fell in to a small ravine. To the left of the plaza a wandering path followed the ravine where little paths branched off to one room villas. A small crowd of elvish men and maids appeared and lead the people of to their villa, and retrieved the baggage as well.

 

The tank crew of four got two villas. The six man combat team and driver shared three villas, one was extra large for the third person. Clarkson, May, and Hammond each got a villa.

 

Hammond and May exchanged sly glances as they noticed that Yana went with Clarkson to his villa. "I win the bet" May whispered. "First rounds on you".

 

Roughly two hours later everybody is back in the plaza bathed, groomed, and relaxing about. Richard, James, and Jeremy are sharing one table and arguing about the merits of Jaguar vs. Aston Martin. The other crew members, and Yana, are all over at a big table chattering and drinking. Well... they were chattering, Yana was just listening to the ebb and flow of the crowd.

 

Richard stretched and changed the topic of conversation. "Jezza you mentioned something about a guide book"?

 

"Err, yes" Clarkson replied. "Noticed it when we left the prior inn".

 

"If you don't mind I'd like to have a look at it".

 

"Me too" chimed May. "Be nice to have some idea of what we might face".

 

"It's in the car" Clarkson replied as he started to get up to retrieve the book.

 

At that moment two elves walked up to their table. One was one of the young elvish men who had taken their luggage, but now he was wearing a white lab coat and looking embarrassed. The second elf was an older male and was dressed in finery that looked like it came from the 17th centaury French court, think three musketeer style garb, all in a royal blue with silver embroidery and a huge hat with a massive white feather and you've got the look. The embarrassed elf lad offered a golden envelope.

 

Jeremy took the envelope, extracted a sheet of parchment, put on his reading glasses, and silently read it. He the put down the parchment and looked worried.

 

"Bad news lads. We've been summoned to a ball".

 

Jeremy the picked back up the parchment and read the contents aloud.

 

"The local Elf Lord, the Lady Felinda, has heard of your journey and has decided that you (Clarkson, Hammond, May) are to attend tonight's ball at one of her manors. You are to appear in one hour, transport will be provided. Appropriate clothing has also been provided for each of you. This was not planned by the Producers. This is not one of the usual cock about events that happen on Top Gear road trips. Be on your best non Top Gear behavior".

 

"Oh dear" Hammond moaned. "I hate formal balls".

 

Now several of the inn's female elves approach each pushing a wheeled manikin that held a costume. The manikins are wheeled next to each recipient. Clarkson's manikin holds a brilliant silk burgundy three musketeers uniform like garb with white frills. May's is lavender, and Hammond's is a golden yellow, and I do mean golden as in the metal. There is a matching walking stick as well, with the knob being a silver gear changer, with each gear number spelled out in small colored gem stones, each color matching the a specific outfit.

 

"Oh come on" May complains. "I'll look like a poof wearing that".

 

"At least you won't look like a gilded canary" Clarkson comments upon Hammonds garb.

 

The older male elf now offers an envelope to Clarkson. He takes it with some trepidation, opens it and reads the contents.

 

"The invitation is also extended to your traveling companion Yana. She is also to appear".

 

A fourth manikin is wheeled in. The garb is different, no longer a French period pierce, male or female. The garb is only a burgundy bikini bottom, a burgundy corset, burgundy boots that are thigh high; and a burgundy silk leash.

 

Yana wanders over, with a cold expression on her face, and confronts the older elf.

 

"By the abyss, hell no".

 

The older elf is disdainful and snotty as only a minor functionary can be.

 

"My Lady commands it".

 

"I'll come, but not wearing... that. What do you think I am? Some Hellfire club queen wantabe? Emma may like to bounce around on display for others but I dress as I choose".

 

The older elf sneeringly replied. "You have no choice".

 

Yana fixes a glare upon the elf that that could freeze hell. The elf gets very nervous.

 

"I said no, and state such again and I'll feed you that costume. Although it's so small it won't make much of a meal, except for the boots".

 

The elf opens his mouth but then thinks better of it. He had noticed that Illyana now had a knife in her right hand that was not there a moment ago, plus... plus there was something about her she was scaring the crap out of him.

 

"It is on you then if my Lady is displeased".

 

"Fine", Illyana smiles that smile that does not reach the eyes. "I look forward to... discussing it with her".

 

Clarkson was relieved, but May and Hammond, plus the military crews, were disappointed that Yana wasn't going to be wearing that little bit of burgundy nothing.

 

Chapter Text

Part 13: The Ball Part 1

 

Thirty minutes later we find our complaining and sniping trio once again in the Silver Lilly's open air plaza. Darkness has fallen and the plaza is now illuminated by candles and lanterns. Our trio are all dressed in their assigned finery. Jeremy and James are pretending to sword fight with their walking sticks while Richard is complaining about the look of his getup.

 

"I feel like a gilded fool" Richard whined while fiddling with his buttons.

 

Clarkson opined just as he got past James's guard and poked him in the ribs.

 

"Well not to be helped. We're truly stuck. Ah-ah and so is James! Be thankful you're not dressed as James here. Shall we start calling you Liberace now James? You really do look very poncey. As I recall Liberace also played the piano and likely would love what you're wearing. Perhaps they acquired your costume from his closet"?

 

"Ha ha you insufferable clot" James replied while rubbing his ribs.

 

Clarkson now turned his attentions to Richard. "I think you actually look quite good Hammond. Like a little miniature French sun king. All you need to do to make the impression complete is start hitting the underlings with your stick and yelling at them with an outrageous accent".

 

Hammond proceeded to start yelling at Clarkson while James watched and snickered.

 

Bickering aside, the three middle aged men actually looked rather good in the getup. Not dashing, but the look was good. Somehow having the three Top Gear presenters dressed up as the three musketeers worked.

 

Yana was over by one of the trees watching the squabble. She was wearing a tight deep blue evening gown with a plunging neckline with an exposed back. In addition, the gown has a slit up the side that shows a lot of leg. The dress showed her figure quite well. She was also wearing a pair of black dress shoes with two inch heels.

 

At this point one of the Silver Lilly male staff members came in from the front and announced that the carriage had arrived. With a sigh from all three presenters, the trio, plus Yana, walked out front.

 

The carriage was a gold and silver gilded construct that would have looked right at home in seventieth century France; apart from being pulled by two large, and I do mean large, dogs; six foot at the shoulder. One dog was white haired, the other was black haired. There were two attendants with the carriage. One was driving and the other was currently holding the door open.

 

Clarkson briefly stuck his head inside the carriage and declared. "Looks a bit small for four. Yana and I shall take the Aston".

 

This of course resulted in some dismay from the two attendants, but their protests were ignored as Clarkson and Yana got into the car. After closing the doors Clarkson turns to the camera.

 

"We really could all have fit, but then we'd be on our own. Instead, the chaps and I have placed some... well extra ordnance in the boot. Insurance as it were".

 

Richard and May got into a bit of a "After you. No after you. No I must insist, after you" bicker before Richard gave up and got in first. With that the little two vehicle convoy set off. The carriage in front and the Aston Martin following. The carriage could move surprisingly fast, roughly forty miles an hour (much to the verbal complaints from Richard and James on the ride quality). "Feels like the suspension is made of leather and bone. Ahhh my back"! It was as rather bumpy ride.

 

It was quite dark by now. The three moons were waning in the west, only a quarter of the sky above the horizon.

 

The journey took roughly twenty five minutes. At one point they drove though a dense grove of trees, only to emerge into a vast circular clearing in which a well lit two story stone manor was to be found, again looking quite French. Guards were patrolling the clearing, each with two dogs; the dogs in this case looking like sleek normal sized greyhounds.

 

There was a large pond off to one side of the manor. The pond was decorated with little glowing paper constructs (like a circular lamp shade). The colors were blue, red, green, yellow, and orange. The contrast with the dark waters and the little bobbing glowing bulbs were lovely.

 

In addition the same paper globs were also floating around the clearing, helping to give the scene a very unearthly look.

 

Clarkson slowed down and commented. "Stunning! Now that's a sight. Yana have you ever seen something like this before"?

 

The beauty of the landscape appeared lost on Yana, but she did have a comment.

 

"Yes. I've just realized I've been to this locality before. Well... before is not quite the correct way of saying it. I was here in a potential future that is now likely no more. Funny, it was nighttime as well, although the situation was not as pleasant as now. The forest and manor was burning and a battle was raging. I had come to ask a favor of Odi... Well safer to say a favor of a god who tends to know many things that he does not share. He did not like me much, or my kind in general; and spent a completely unnecessary quantity of time telling me that. To summarize a rather... interesting discussion we reached an accommodation of sorts".

 

"Oh..." Clarkson stated, He was not sure what else to say.

 

Yan continued. "I can see why they built the manor here. This is an intersection of three Lay lines; which means it is a place where magic is plentiful and strong".

 

Various carriages are parked in front of the manor, and some vintage MG cars as well. A fantastic black and red NB Magnette Airline coupé. Two MG WAs, which are sporting saloon (4 doors), one silver and one green. A black MG L-type sports car, and a MG T-type done in brilliant Lavender (Liberace would have loved it).

 

The carriage stopped by the main entrance to let Richard and James out while Clarkson looked for a parking space.

 

Clarkson parked the Aston Martin next to an elegant carriage that was drawn by a single gryphon (creature with the head, talons, and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion). Two sharply dressed attendants open both his and Yana's doors. Clarkson steps out of the car while the other attendant holds out his hand to help Yana out.

 

May and Hammond were waiting by the main entrance. As Clarkson and Yana approached Clarkson remembered to set the car alarm. He hits the arm button on the key fob and the car lights flashed twice and the car made that car alarm chirping sound.

 

All the dogs in the clearing froze and turned as one and growled at the car, the hair standing up on the back of their necks. The dogs closest to the car slowly backed away. The gryphon also now looks very concerned and is trying to edge away from the car.

 

"Well that's odd" Hammond comments as he observes the dogs and gryphon's behaviors.

 

"I guess they've never seen a car security system before" Yana commented as they all walk though the manor's main entrance on the way to the ball room. May briefly wondered about Yana's choice of words ?seen?. Shouldn't that have been heard? Hmm she must be referring to the head lights he decided after further reflection.

 

They walked through wide hallways before coming to the doorway to the ball room. Guests stood before the doorway and then entered as you were announced.

 

It was one of those kinds of balls. The one's you see in period piece films. The guests enter via an opening, in this case a grand doorway that opens onto an elegant staircase that descends into a vast subterranean ballroom floor. The doorman (doorelf in this case) announcing the guests as they arrived, thereby allowing the already present guests to know who the latest arrival was, and as they were above the floor, to be seen as well.

 

For the ball all three Top Gear announcers had been awarded honorary titles.

 

May passed through the doorway first.

 

"Lord May, bringer of passion to a minor people and tinkerer of automotive obscure".

 

May enters looking dashing and descends down the stairway. He is immediately surrounded by several individuals, including one fellow who had the head of a goat instead of a normal elf head (wearing a tuxedo I might add). They started asking James about antique British sports cars (they were restoring an old Triumph, yes you meet petrol heads in the oldest places. The cars out front were theirs).

 

Hammond passed through the doorway next.

 

"Lord Hammond, master of the beast of iron and runner of great lengths"

 

Hammond enters looking mildly panicked (he hated big formal events, always felt out of sorts). He was quickly surrounded by several busty and scantily clad female elves (now he felt extra unconformable).

 

Clarkson and Yana passed through the doorway next. Yana hesitated but for the slightest moment as if she had run into some kind of obstacle. There was a cracking sound, like stone cracking. She continued but now the doorway had little cracks in the corners (the kind you get in a material when you force something through an opening that is too small for it).

 

"Lord Clarkson, presenter of things automotive and the tallest man in BBC television, and... " there was but the slightest delay "Yana, the Dar...." the doorman's voice trailed off upon receiving a sharp glance from Yana. The doorman tried again "Magnu....." again a sharp glance, finally a lame "Traveling companion to Clarkson and the two".

 

The two sweep in and down the staircase.

 

At the far end of the ballroom is a raised platform with two silver chairs.   One is occupied by a female elf (the residing elf lord, Lady Felinda) the other is empty. It would have been occupied by her consort if she had one. Felinda gets to her feet and walks over to meet the two, who have paused at the bottom of the staircase to observe the crowd.

 

It is an interesting mix of... well elves , some gnomes (hanging out by one of the bars), animal based creatures (a lion based man was busy extolling the benefits of an all meat diet to a disbelieving cow headed woman) and lots of dancing. The music was violin based Vivaldi being played by unseen musicians.

 

"Lord Clarkson" Lady Felinda greeted him with a slight bow of her head. "Would you like to dance"?

 

Lady Felinda was a middle aged elf woman, which meant she was several thousand years old. She was about a foot smaller then Clarkson. She was dressed in a graceful, and tight, white gown that generously showed her cleavage.

 

Clarkson glanced at Yana "Umm" as he tried to come up with a way to explain that a gentlemen always dances first with the lady he's brought. Rather more difficult to explain when you are at the host's house and they are noble. It was almost as if Lady Felinda did not consider Yana present or even a lady.

 

Yana cut short Clarkson's slightly panicked attempts by answering for him and defusing the situation. "I believe Lord Clarkson would love to". Yana smiled at the both of them and then started wandering across the dance floor over to one of the bars (she was off to get a small glass of white wine).

 

Lady Felinda eyed Yana as she left. It was not a look of a woman assessing her competition. No... It was a look of... of somebody who was looking at your new car and taking in the details. The look of somebody assessing a possession, not a person.

 

She turned back to Clarkson and held out her hand, which he took and they began to dance. The dance was one of those formal period piece dances you see in old films about European nobility. Needless to say the other dances gave the two of them a large amount of space, not for any concern over Clarkson, but Lady Felinda could get... annoyed easily over such things.

 

A little unknown factoid was that Clarkson was a rather skilled formal ballroom dancer. This in part from his mother who loved formal dancing, and the selection of now ex spouses who also loved formal dancing. All and all Clarkson was not a big fan, but doing what the spouse loves is very important to a relationship.

 

They talked as they danced. Lady Felinda started the conversation.

 

"I'm surprised that you did not dress her in the garb I provided. I would have thought that you would have wanted to emphasize your dominance over one such as her".

 

"Ummm..." Clarkson eloquently mumbled, then replied. "I have to say the view would have looked... nice but Yana was not exactly keen on the idea".

 

"And you let her have a say in such things? My my, such kindness to one's..." Clarkson holds her hand up high and she twirls. "Servants".

 

"You are misinformed my Lady (Clarkson knew that you never told a noble that they were wrong) Yana is not my servant but my companion on this trip".

 

"Companion. A... polite word for it I suppose".

 

Clarkson had the feeling that two different conversations were going on. There was the one where he answered and the one where she was completely interpreting his responses into different meanings. Well, think of it as a BBC board meeting was his internal comment to himself.

 

"What oaths is she bound by? Don't worry, I have no thought of trying to bind her myself. She... wouldn't fit in well here and would cause all kinds of trouble".

 

"Bound"? Was Clarkson's question.He had a brief recollection of a few days ago of Yana and silk scarves being used to tie her down while he... oh not that kind of bind. Never mind.

 

"She is unbound" was his strong declarative. "She is with me by choice and not by oath".

 

Lady Felinda actually stopped dancing for a moment and stared at Clarkson as if he was mad.

 

"Unbound? A tone of disbelief. "She is unbound? An unbound dem...". A pause as she collected herself. "She travels willing with you unbound"?

 

"Yes. She rather fancied the idea of a road trip".

 

Again an apprising look from Lady Felinda, first at Yana who was over by the bar sipping a glass of wine and watching Hammond and his developing... difficulties. And then at Clarkson.

 

"You are stronger then you try to appear Lord Clarkson. But your potency is reveled to the knowing by playing such games. You are a strong one, I can feel it. But I suppose it amuses you to hide it". Again Clarkson was rather sure they were not on the same wavelength.

 

Meanwhile, things were getting rather heated between the five elvish lasses and Hammond. Heated in that they were all over him and he was diligently fending off their advances.

 

"Ladies please I'm a happily married man. Leave off you. No touching! That belongs to Mrs. Hammond only"!

 

Hammond was dismayed to find that his declaratives not only had no effect, but were not apparently even noticed as the girls chattered amongst themselves while they... well let's just say groped him.

 

"Let's take him to the Blue room".

"No, the Red room, more appropriate".

"I've already sent for extra wine".

"Oh this will be such fun. He looks just like one of those grownup boy band members".

"I hope all of him is grown up".

"It is dearest, it is"!

"Such nice white teeth".

"I can't wait to unwrap him, he looks so delicious and fit".

 

Things were looking dire for our hamster when he was boldly rescued by... well nobody boldly rescued him (May was to later reflect that he wished cocker spaniel hair style was the in thing with elvish lasses) . Yana did wander over behind Hammond and offer a mild objection.

 

"Ladies, I believe this one is already spoken for by another who is absent".

 

As one the elvish lasses glared at Yana. One hissed a dismissal. "Off with you or we'll play with you as well and won't be as nice".

 

Hammond heard but could not see Yana's reply. It was out of character for her. Scared, meek, and pleading. He somehow got a mental image of Yana with large tearful eyes.

 

"Oh no, please don't harm me. Do you promise that you'll only attempt such things if I continue to interfere"?

 

The girls looked each other in the eye, while having their arms, and other... body parts, draped around Hammond preventing his departure.  

 

"We do" all five replied.

 

Yana's voice changed. Now it was... gloating, a bit harsh and gleeful. "Works for me. I accept".

 

Hammond swore he heard a chime ring out a single note. The elvish ladies hesitated in confusion as Yana continued.

 

"Release him dears, you have far more worrisome things to contend with now. Tsk tsk, one should be more carful about oaths in such places of power".

 

One of the more brazen of the lasses started to rebuke Yana with words of scorn.

 

"You've had you're chance mortal cow. Now we shall...". Her words trailed off as Hammond noticed their eyes widening in surprise over something he could not see behind him. As if one they let him go and started to back away in a panic.

 

"See you later Flecka, Dorina, Blossom, Florish, and Catlin" Yana chuckled evilly. "Don't worry, I'll catch up later. Run all you want, your paths all now lead to the... Red room I believe it was? How... appropriate".

 

The girls now turned and fled, much to Hammond's relief. He turned to thank Yana. Funny from this angle he could have sworn her incisures were extra long for just a second, and she was smiling a smile that really wasn't very nice.

 

"Thank you Yana. What set them off, not that I'm complaining".

 

"I know a few... tricks for the likes of them. Are you hungry Mr. Hammond"?

 

"Famished".

 

"Then let's go see what is on the refreshment tables".

 

As they walked over to the tables Hammond could swear that everybody was getting out of their way as fast as they could.

 

Lady Felinda had observed the little spat while Clarkson and she danced. Clarkson had had his backed turned to Yana when the elf maidens had gotten panicked so he did not see what had happened.

 

"Oh dear, she's already binding some of my guests to her. Well... they are rather witless trollops. Time for them to learn that oaths should not be taken lightly. But please Lord Clarkson, if you would after this dance, kindly request that your... traveling companion refrain from such activity while in my house".

 

The dance continued and now Clarkson could see that Hammond and Yana were walking over to the far wall where there were some tables laden with food.

 

"Consider it done my Lady" he declared with no idea what she was on about.

Chapter Text

Part 14: The Ball Part 2. Where Yana has a brief conversation

 

Richard observed the refreshment table's contents with dismay. Richard was a rather fussy eater and did not like to try new food things. "Does anything here not have... well bits in it"? Was his rather forlorn lament.  

 

Yana smiled in mild amusement upon seeing Hammond's dismay. He had quite liked the pub grub back in Svartalfheim; but she now realized that he had not know what he was eating. The breaded and deep fried chicken tenders had been tenderized and marinated amphibian tongues. The chicken wings had been from... well the vestal wings were not from a chicken. And the spicy blue cheese dip had not come from a cow, but instead the fermented secretions from a kind of spider. The fish and chips had been authentic though, but the bacon sandwiches had not come from any kind of pig Hammond would recognize.

 

"The candied flower pedals are very nice Mr. Hammond" was Yana's reply. She took one from a silver bowl and nibbled on it. The flower pedal looked like a feather from a bird of paradise. Orange with yellow stripes. It smelled of vanilla and tasted wonderful.

 

"Thanks but no. Don't much like sweets. Oh and Yana please me Richard. Being addressed as Mr. Hammond always makes me feel old and like I'm supposed to start acting respectable or something".  

 

"Ok... Richard. So the candied pedals are out. Mushrooms stuffed with herbs"?

 

"Got bits in it".

 

"The dip"?

 

"More bits, plus it has veggies. Don't like veggies".

 

"The roast loin smells delicious".

 

"It does, but what kind of beastie did it come from"?

 

Yana read the little place card and then decided that Richard really didn't want to know. Ditto with the source of the cheeses.

 

"Hmm, there appears to be some of these...". Yana reached behind a tray piled high with odd looking green fruit and pulled out a small bowl filled with Crisp packages (Crisps are what the British call potato chips).

 

"Yea! Bless you Yana. And I see my favorite Crisps as well. Bacon, onion, and cheddar".

 

Richard grabbed a package, then after a brief moment of thought, grabbed two more and stuff them into his jacket pockets.   He opened the original package and proceeded to munch with contentment At which point May arrived with his new found conversational partners; his suddenly nervous looking conversational partners who apparently did not like being in such close proximity to Yana.

 

"Richard, there you are. I'd like to introduce the antique car club of Lickanshire. They own the cars out front and would love to have few words with you about carburetors".

 

Yana smiled and shooed Richard away. "Have fun boys. But count me out. Carburetors are so not my thing". She gave a stern look at the goat headed individual as the group walked away. "Play nice or..." the comment was left unfinished but goatie got the message.

 

Yana picked up her wine glass and had another sip while she looked over the crowd and nibbled some cheese from a lactating mammal that Richard oh so would not want to eat the cheese of.   Clarkson was still dancing with Lady Felinda. As she continued to scan the crowd she saw him again, making his way towards her. Shards she's hoped to avoid him. She's seen him staring at her as she had walked down the staircase with Clarkson.

 

A tall albino pale individual walked up to Yana. He had long white hair and red eyes. He was dressed all in black leather armor and had a six foot two handed black sword strapped to his back.

 

"Chaos Lord, we meet again" was his greeting to her.

 

Yana sighed. "Elric, I've told you before, I'm not one of your Lords of Chaos. I hadn't even met any of them before that little... trip of yours".

 

Elric had a sneer on his face as he dipped a piece of bread into the artichoke dip.

 

"What was that odd saying you had my lady? If it waddles and quacks then it must be duck"?

 

"You got it wrong again. It goes like this. If it looks like a duck, waddles like duck, quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck".

 

"Exactly Lord of Chaos".

 

"There is no reasoning with you when you're in one of your moods. I don't see Moonglum about. Is... he here"?

 

"No my Lady of the Limbo Hells. Your... dalliance partner is not on this journey of mine".

 

Yana sipped more wine. "Elric get over yourself. I know you're used to getting the girl as it were on your little adventures but I simply didn't and don't like you. I... liked Moonglum. It's as simple as that. I see you still insist upon keeping that sword of yours. You know it's going to be the death of you someday".

 

The black sword moaned upon being addressed, as if her presence disturbed the fell blade.

 

"Hush Stormbringer" Elric spoke as he stroked the hilt of the hell blade. "The sword likes you not my lady. It drew no substance from you so it fears that what it cannot slay".

 

"Yet another reason why I so don't like you. I made a list of the reasons one night with Moonglum. A very long list" Yana sniffed. "Have you tried the flower pedals yet? They're very good".

 

"Yes, I find them... pleasing. They reminded me of the sweets of Melniboné, although partaking of such delights often lead to brief episodes of madness back in the dreaming city".

 

"Why are you here Elric"?

 

"I dueled with a minor sorcerer from Pan Tang. He was of no match but a demon he summoned pulled me across the multiverse as it sought to escape my blade. I slew it but found myself to now be in these strange realms. I seek a way back to my own world and the continuance of my dark doom ridden fate".

 

Yana gave a sigh and a little shake of her head. "I'll never understand how pickup lines like those ever work. But, I have to say, the Goth chicks would love you. Right up to the moment you said something. You, oh dark and gloomy, are the ultimate party pooper".

 

Illyana suddenly lookup up at the ceiling. Lady Felinda did the same.

 

"Elric I think you're going to get the chance to have some fun. Oh, and afterwards go to the Red room. I think some... appropriate companions will be waiting for you".

 

There was a muffled boom and the floor shook.

 

Chapter Text

Part 12a: Our three heroes engage in an altercation

 

Our automotive trio ran up the ballroom steps and then quickly reached the front entrance. They found one of the doors torn from its hinges due to the smashed MG black and red NB Magnette Airline coupé that had apparently been thrown at it.

 

“Ahhhh”! Proclaimed James with obvious pain upon seeing the now wrecked classic car. “There are only seventeen of those still in existence”!

 

“I think the number is sixteen now May”. Replied Jeremy with equal dismay. “Bloody hell, must be the work of Euro centric car hating greenies. I've always said that someday they would rise up and assault good God fearing drivers everywhere. Now if I was in charge I’d…”.

 

Richard took a glance outside through the broken door, and then interrupted Jeremy’s ongoing diatribe about environmentalists, Brussels, and the EU in general. “Or it could be that bloody big rampaging dragon and all the goblin blokes”.

 

Now Jeremy and James joined Richard in peering outside as well.

 

Jeremy grudgingly admitted that Richard had a good point. “Yes… Richard that… may be more likely”.

 

The scene was lit by various burning fires, some of which were additional wrenched MG cars that were vigorously burning, and there were also various trees fully engulfed in flames. A black dragon was rampaging over by the pond fighting various magical creatures (including the gryphon that had formally been pulling a carriage and the two giant dogs that had pulled James's and Richard's carriage).

 

There were scattered bands of what looked like goblins fighting the elves and the guard dogs that had earlier been seen. Off towards the far left, the albino gentleman (from the prior chapter) could be seen fighting a band of goblins with a large two handed black sword while screaming "Blood and souls! Blood and souls for my lord Arioch"!

 

"Who's the Goth drama queen"? Asked James while pointing at Eric with his walking stick.

 

Jeremy answered. "Some bloke Yana was speaking with downstairs. Don't get too close, I think he's a menace with that sword of his. Just as likely to kill an ally as the foe".

 

"Competition"? Snickered Richard.

 

Clarkson looked sideways at Richard. "Nooo. If Yana was into such things I suspect she'd be hanging out with Alice Cooper or some other such trash".

 

Jeremy still thought that there was a good chance that the dragon was an EU sympathizer though; but he felt that it would look silly to state that without additional proof.

 

Well chaps, I think this calls for a bit of ordnance don’t you”? Remarked James.

 

“Yes, I must agree”. Replied Richard. “And some professional backup as well”. Richard reached into his pocket and did something.

 

“How long do you think it will take for them to arrive”? Mused Jeremy. “Knew I should have been allowed to bring an Apache attack helicopter or an F-15E. Love the F-15E”!

 

“Be a bit is my guess as we did drive for a bit” responded James.

 

“Right… so it’s up to us to help defend hearth and home then”. Nobly proclaimed Jeremy as he took a heroic poise.

 

“And our arses”. Quipped Richard.

 

Jeremy looked a bit less noble now. “Yes, mustn’t forget our arses”.

 

“Rather hard as I think it’s the biggest thing on you”. Quipped James while looking smug.

 

“Feeling uncomfortable now” stated Richard taking a step away from James.

 

“Stop looking at my arse James”. Rebutted Jeremy. (ha ha, get it? Rebutted?)

 

Jeremy continued. "The BBC diversity working group has repeatedly spoken to you about appropriate and inappropriate touching in the workplace as well as implied sexual harassment micro aggressions James".

 

James responded with some aggravation. "They have not you sod. Stop making references that I'm a bender as I don't find it amusing in any way".

 

Before the spat could developed any further, an explosion lit up the night sky as the dragon gave forth a blast of fire which prompted Richard to break up the developing quarrel before the special pointing fingers could make an appearance. "Not now! Focus on the rampaging dragon! Argue later"!

 

Jeremy had a sudden look of panic. "Oh my God, the Aston"! From this location the Aston could not bee seen due to the angle of the building

 

With that the three who drive ran from the building to where the Aston had been parked.

 

It was still intact but all the carriages all around it were smashed.

 

"Thank God! That after market car alarm really did the trick"! Commented Jeremy as he fumbled in his pockets for the key fob.

 

Richard pointed at the dragon. "Checkout the big purple bloke fighting the dragon"!

 

"Hmmm"? Both James and Jeremy stated as they turned to see what Richard was yammering about. As they did this Jeremy hit the boot unlock button and the car lights flashed twice to indicate that the alarm was disabled.

 

"Where Hamster? I see nothing but an irate menace of a dragon". Asked Jeremy. James also looked in vain for what Richard had seen.

 

"He... it was right there on the neck of the dragon pulling an ear off". The dragon in question was now missing an ear but no figure could be seen.

 

Jeremy pulled a Berretta 9mm pistol from his coat pocket. "No matter, likely got eaten or something. Here Richard, use the 9mm to cover us while James and I gear up".

 

Richard looked puzzled but assumed a proper two handed shooting stance with the pistol.

 

The camera angle shifts, we are now in the trunk looking up at James and Jeremy gazing into the boot. The light is a bit golden. James looks a bit like a mad scientist and Jeremy looks like a boy in a candy store as they gazed upon the treasures within.

 

"Hurry up, we have incoming"! Shouted Richard as he spies a group of goblins approaching.

 

What to pick... what to pick.

 

"Dibs on the rocket launcher". Stated James with a gleam in his eye.

 

And then they both started as Yana makes a sudden appearance in scene behind them. "Dibs on the sniper rifle" was her comment as she reached between them and snagged the Accuracy International L115A3 .338 sniper rifle and a small camouflaged back pack.

 

"Where the bloody hell did you come from"? Asked James with some irritation. She'd scared the heck out of him sneaking up like that.

 

Yana responds as she chambered a round and snaps the safety off. "I was helping Elric get into the fray. We took a shortcut as it were. Then I... came over here to check on you. I'll be on the roof using channel 5 as we all agreed upon".

 

She put on a headset that she pulled from the boot and then put on the backpack. With that she took off running back towards the main entrance while holding the rifle in her hands.

 

With that the camera angle switches back to the general scene and we see Jeremy and May watch her back as she runs towards the main entrance

 

"Not just a pretty face" is James's comment as he watches Yana run off in her tight blue dress. "And how she can run that fast wearing high heels is extraordinary".

 

"No... much more then just a pretty face" is Jeremy's comment as he also observes her depart. It's possible, just possible, that he's staring at her very athletic ass highlighted by that very tight dress.

 

"Focus"! Shouts Richard. Who then promptly started shooting at the approaching goblins causing them to take cover.

 

 

Part 12b: Our heroes deploy some ordnance

 

With that our dynamic duo reach into the boot. Jeremy pulls out another three small backpacks, then two L85A2 assault rifles, and finally a AK-47 (Jeremy's preferred rifle for general mayhem). He also retrieves and put on a headset for himself and two other headsets for the others. He quickly passes one backpack to Richard and one of the L85A2 rifles as well.

 

While this was going on James has retrieve a AT4 854mm light anti tank shoulder fired single shot launcher. He then also dons a headset but leaves his rifle by the car while he started prepping the rocket launcher.

 

Jeremy unleashes a full auto 30 round blast from the AK-47, which emptied his clip in about three seconds, causing all the approaching goblins to take cover again. This break allowed Richard to pocket the Berretta and grab the rifle after first stuffing his coat pickets with magazines from his backpack.

 

Richard now started firing semi auto (three shot bursts) while Jeremy now commenced stuffing his packets full of magazines from his backpack.

 

All this noise attacked the attention of the dragon which eyed them, issued an ear splitting scream of a challenge, and then started to trot in their direction; incidentally stepping on a goblin that did not get out of the way fast enough.

 

"Any time James"! Shouted Clarkson who now started to also fire in three round bursts at the dragon.

 

"This takes time to setup properly"! Shouts back James. "Now... step five pull out the firing tube... there... Now step six fold down the sighting array... Got it. Step seven locate your target using the sighting array...".

 

James looked up and saw the dragon bearing down on them. The bullets appeared to just be bouncing off the beast.

 

"Oh crumb"! Was James's panicky statement as he aligned the rocket launcher.

 

Meanwhile a goblin was sneaking up behind James. The goblin raised his battle axe to...

 

The rocket swooshed out of the launch tube and impacted the chest of the dragon, while at the same time the exhaust from the back of the rocket launcher blasted the goblin and sent him tumbling ten feet across the ground and incinerated him as well (Hint, it's a really bad to stand behind a rocket launcher).

 

"Right Oh" cried James as the dragon staggered and died, its heart disintegrated from the rocket's shape charge. He then picked up his rifle, aimed, and fired its built in one round grenade launcher at a cluster of soon to be dead goblins that were all pointing at the dead dragon. Then he too stuffed his jacket full of magazines and put on a headset as Richard likewise put on his headset.

 

Just in time as they heard Yana.

 

Yana radios: "On the roof. I see a large mass of goblins at the edge of the woods. Recommend you fall back to the main entrance".

 

Jeremy radios: "Roger that".

 

"Time to hightail it chaps! Back to the entrance"! Shouts Jeremy as they all put on their backpacks.

 

With that they run back to the entrance, with Jeremy in the rear. He paused for a second to hit the lock and alarm button on his key fob. The Aston lights flashed twice and then all was briefly still.

 

A pack of goblins cautiously approached the Aston but once they found our boys gone they breathed a sigh of relief. Then a mace armed goblin decided to smash up the car. He raised the mace high to smash it down on the boot lid. Then, just has he started to swing the mace down, a large purple arm appeared out of nowhere, attached to a very large torso.

 

"Boss babe be upset if you damage her ride" A deep voice grumbled with an evil tone. "S'ym can't allow that. S'ym has job to do".

 

The goblins didn't last very long, and the Aston was still untouched.

 

A large purple creature crack its knuckles. "S'ym always likes traveling and killing interesting people".

 

 

Part 12c: Roofies of the wrong kind

 

The roof was one of those flat castle roofs with a stone wall at the edge, perfect for somebody to hide behind. Yana put the backpack down by the edge of the roof and quickly deployed the sniper riffle's muzzle legs and scanned the surroundings with the scope. She radioed the boys her advice on falling back, then she commenced scanning for targets.

 

There... a dark elf who looked like he was giving orders.

 

CRACK went the rifle, Yana had not put on the silencer because speed matters when you're shooting over long distances.

 

Splat went the elf, chest shot.

 

Yana cycled the bolt chambering another round. As she scanned for more high value targets she could be heard to mutter.

 

"They never let me use the gun... always somebody else... told them I was a good shot... but no... Sam or Berto always hogged the rifle... well not this time boys... this time I get to play punisher... ahh bingo... he looks important".

 

CRACK went the rifle again and another high racking officer goblin type went down missing a head.

 

Yana was referring to a video game she played in her youth for those who want to know.

 

Then Yana reached into the backpack and pulled out of the special tungsten armor piercing rounds housed in a red magazine. She replaced the current magazine with the red magazine and chambered a round. She'd noticed that Elric was having issues with an eleven foot tall armor plated golem. She aimed and...

...

...

 

Elric was in a bit of a predicament as the golem was a created soulless creature. Kind of like a magical robot, so his sword had no affect upon it other then to chip at the hardened clay that it was made of, and scratch the armor.

 

The golem was waving a massive mace about, just missing Elric each time. Elric was trying to come up with a spell to defeat the golem, he had just settled on the idea of trying to summon a demon to inhabit the golem, when the golem's head exploded just as Elric heard a CRACK.

 

The golem stood there with a body language of confusion as the head was the location of the main sensing organs. Then a second explosion took out where the heart would be, followed shortly by the destruction of a hip. The golem stumbled and then fell down.

 

Elric spied the erstwhile Lord of Chaos on the roof pointing some kind of long wand. She waved at him and then pointed to where the main entrance was. He hesitantly waved back.

 

"Fell is the magic of her worlds". Was his comment before he resumed a fighting retreat back towards the main entrance.

 

A few additional CRACKs could he heard as he made his way.

Chapter Text

Part 13a: A defense is made

 

The boys found an improvised barricade by the time they got back to the main entrance, made from debris from smashed carts, part of the main door, car parts, some chairs, and other rubble. Guards and various guests were there armed with spears, sword, and crossbow. Our boys joined the perimeter and took up firing positions.

 

"Don't look now but that poncey mentalist Alice Cooper wantabee is making his way towards us" muttered Clarkson as he gestured with the barrel of his AK-47.

 

Of course that prompted both May and Richard to look. Elric was making a fighting retreat with the few surviving elves guards and dogs.

 

Richard radios: "Any word Yana"?

 

Yana radios: "Negative. No contact as of yet".

 

She was up the highest so radio frequency line of sight was best for her.

 

All three then began to provided covering fire for the retreating elves and dogs. Richard made a comment as the boys fired.

 

"Reminds me of that time in Syria, that drive from Iraq to Israel when we found baby Stig in the manger at the end of the episode. You know, when we bumped into that nest of Al Qaeda nuts while we were...".

 

"Hush Richard that's...". Jeremy proceeded to wink a few times.

 

Richard wasn't quite sure what to make about Jeremy's sudden facial tick, then his expression changed to one of enlightenment.

 

"Opps, my bad. The SAS did say to keep quite about that part of our mission".

 

"Richard"! Hissed May. "You'll blow the cover story"!

 

Richard got his act together. "Again Opps. Ummm... What was I thinking? Must have mumbled a bit of nonsense there. Sorry to be confused there chaps".

 

"Yes... quite all right Hammond. We all get confused at times". Stated Jeremy with a sagely expression as he fired a burst that took down a charging goblin.

 

May stage whispered. "I'll remind post production to edit this bit out".

 

Side note to Top Gear fans, you really don't think that all those foreign road trips were just about cars now do you? So... convenient for other nefarious activities as well. I could go on about Richard being a demolition expert, after all he did have the blast lab in his house’s sub basement. Or I could provide details about May’s top of the line hacking skills (nicknamed the Cracker), or even Clarkson’s nickname as the Hammer of Death due to his proclivities for slaughter but… some things are best keep private because… well you don’t have a need to know. Well, back to the story.

 

The retreating band of elves, plus Elric joined the defense perimeter resulting in Clarkson and Elric now looking each other eye to eye.

 

"You are the ones who travels with her". Stated Elric as he looked the three over. "I see you also wield similar armaments. Fell wizards you all must be".

 

"Um... yea. Fell indeed". Spoke May with some slight hesitation.

 

Yana radios: "Phoo. They finally figured out how to cast some kind of bullet blocking shield".

 

Clarkson radios: "Fall back then Yana".

 

Elric looks confused to see Clarkson speaking into his strange and very dull necklace. "You speak to the Chaos Lord even now? I beheard her voice but moments ago".

 

"No I’m talking to Yana". Was Clarkson's reply to Elric. "We're using radios".

 

Elric was impressed. He needed get some of these so called radios. He wondered just what kind of blood powered the enchantments.

 

May eyed the gathering horde that was apparently now safe from bullets, after firing a few shots to see if the shield also was working at ground level (it was).

 

May radios: "Yana, does the bullet shield have a roof"?

 

Yana radios: "Unknown. Give it a try".

 

May clicks off the safety on his rifle's single shot grenade launcher. Aims it high, and fires. The round leaves with a thump and travels high on a very steep parabolic arch. Elric eyes the shot with interest.

 

No roof... the round lands upon a small group of goblins just as Richard fires his round on an arc as well.

 

May radios: "Jolly good that"!

 

Meanwhile Clarkson was busy placing the claymores, that they had in their backpacks, within the barricade rubble. Facing outwards of course, don't want to repeat that snafu that happened in Syria. Oh the SAS never lets them forget that, it was just fortuitous that… umm… opps… again no need for you to know (wink wink).

 

By the time he was done the foe had managed to now erect a roof magical shield as well so the last grenade from Richard just detonated at the top of its arc.

 

Yana radios: "Drakes Bane, ETA ten minutes".

 

"Their charging!" was Richard's panicky cry. A horde of goblin with scattered Dark Elves was approaching at a fast jog.

 

"Fall back within the building!" shouted Clarkson.

 

"Why"?! Screamed Elric as everybody fled into the building. "Better to meet our fate here. Let them feel our blades as we send their souls to the seven hells"!

 

Clarkson held up a remote claymore trigger as he backed into the building. "Because mate you really don't want to be standing here in about twelve seconds"!

 

Elric did not understand, but figured that it was more of this strange magic. He retreated within as well.

 

Clarkson triggered the claymores just after the goblins began to swarm over the barricade.

 

It was... nasty. The claymores were now on the other side of the bullet blocking enchantment. The few stunned survivors were quickly mowed down by Elric's sword and the boy’s bullets.

 

The resulting chaos delayed the next change, that and the brilliantly white flare that May tossed out the door; everybody outside was convinced it was some type of magic and a few minutes were wasted trying to figure out just what it was.

 

Then Yana radioed: "Bane and company are..."!

 

The explosions and sustained full on automatic machine gun fire from outside drowned out anything she was saying. That and the banshee scream of a 20mm Gatling gun on full sustained auto fire.

 

The assault had come in on the right flank and the first round from the tank’s 120mm main gun had taken out the group of wizards casting the blocking spell. While the traversing spray of machine gun bullets and 20mm cannon rounds mowed down everything they hit.

 

The deployed infantry with their rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, and mortar added more fury to the slaughter and carnage.

 

The crowd within the manor slowly emerged from the doorway, trying not to slip on the goblin blood and goblin bits. The trio then added their own volume of fire while Yana resumed firing from the rooftop, chuckling to herself while making a very obscure comment.

 

"Dupree would have loved this, just her kind of fun. Total madboy moment".

 

She aimed, fired, and whispered “Bang” as she shot down a dark elf officer. Her comment apparently causing her to slightly giggle in remembrance of something.

 

What was left of the attackers broke ranks and fled.

 

Afterwards…

 

Richard made an observation as he surveyed the surroundings. The black sky was lit by various burning fires and for some reason the dragon corpse was also burning. Bodies and bits of bodies were everywhere.

 

“Everything’s on fire… again I might add. Why does that always seem to happen with us”?

 

“Karma” was Clarkson’s smug comment.

 

“Theirs or ours”? Was May’s questioning response as he attempted to clean off his shoes.

 

Clarkson was slightly scandalized. “Theirs obviously May. They were baddie… likely voted green in the last election or something. Well… justice has been served”.

 

Richard and James just looked at Clarkson with slightly annoyed expressions.

 

Clarkson smugly concluded. “Yet a gain another problem solved with the proper use of high explosives”.

 

Elric was impressed. Very impressed.

 

 

Part 13b: Aftermath

 

Elric was wandering amongst the debris and corpses of the battle. He casually turned over a dark elf corpse with his right foot so as to examine the dead elf's features. Once again he noticed how the features of both the light and now these dark elves resembled his own people, so... Melniboné. Others wandered the field of battle as well, either looting the dead or searching for surviving light elves.

 

"Ah Stormbringer" he murmured to his dark blade. "Yet again I am confronted with echoes. I sometimes obsess with the thought that all has happened before and will again".

 

The blade emitted a soft sensual groan of contentment over the slaughter.

 

"I would have thought that Arioch would have at least given some sign, even if only to utter the usual excuses as to his inability or unwillingness to intervene".

 

A tall, well formed light elf, the only one who was within earshot, turned and spoke to Elric. He was dressed as a dandy in the finest of white silks with yellow accents. There was a dagger in his left hand and his right hand held... held trophies that he had been slicing off of the fallen. He smiled evilly and an oily sweet voice was heard.

 

"Sweet sweet Elric, most beloved of all my slaves. Yes I heard your pleas and came as soon as I could, though it cost me dear even with the slaughter that you dedicated to me. You are so far from your place in the spheres… But what do I find? You consorting with forces of Law and once again attempting a dalliance with her, the exile from Chaos".

 

Elric abased himself. "My lord Arioch".

 

"Ahh Elric how I love you. Yet sometimes I fear that you are not... loyal to the Lords of Chaos even after all that we have done for you and your people throughout the long millenniums".

 

"I serve Chaos my Lord. You know this to be true".

 

"I hope so my pet, I hope. But what about her"?

 

"She is no creature of Law my Lord, but she does speak words that trouble me".

 

"And that is why you should avoid her my sweet. After all... remember what her words led to last time".

 

"I do my lord. It gladdens me that you have been able to regrow what she took from you".

 

An evil scowl from Arioch as he rubbed his left shoulder. "Carful Elric. Gods do not like being reminded of... of setbacks and difficulties and squabbles".

 

An ironic smile from Elric. "I misspoke my Lord".

 

Arioch gave forth a divine smile, almost dazzling in its brilliance. "Ahhh, such is my favor for you Elric that I shall overlook your impertinence this time. But have a care... she is not welcome in our presence now or in the future. Here, take this token of my love. Evoke it and you shall be returned to where you belong. To where you need to be".

 

Arioch offered an eyeball trophy, freshly cut from one of the fallen, after first tossing another eyeball into his mouth. "Ahh, sweet death..." was his sigh as he chewed.

 

Elric took the grisly offering and secured it within a pouch. "With thanks my Lord".

 

Arioch suddenly looked concerned. "But now I must depart, other powers and principalities have noticed my presence and I am far from my rightful place. Deport soon sweet Elric... there is much for you to do".

 

With that the elf body jerked, blood blossomed upon it, and a slain light elf fell at Elric's feet.

 

 

Part 13c: Departure

 

Later...

 

Elric was wandering over to the group consisting of Clarkson, May, Richard, and Yana as they prepared to depart. They were by the untouched Aston having said their formal goodbye’s to the Elf Lord (the party was now cancelled).

 

“Good lord there are a lot of bodies here”. Had been Richard's comment upon seeing the dead scattered about the car.

 

“I wonder where the heads are”? Was May’s puzzled question as he looked upon the bodies. No bullet wounds that he could see, or any sword cuts. It looked like some monster had gone berserk and dismembered them by hand.

 

Richard turned and asked Yana a question. “Where did you learn to shoot Yana”? He was trying to change the subject as the sight of all that blood was very off putting, and yet… not a drop was on the car.

 

“School in New York State. They believed in… a broad education”. Was her reply. Meanwhile Jeremy had spotted a slight addition on the rear of Richard’s tank.

 

“Hammond, was it really necessary to add a spoiler”?

 

The tank and the assault vehicle were idling nearby, Richard and May were going to return in their respective vehicles while Clarkson was going to drive back in the Aston with Yana.

 

Richard replied with a grin. “Makes you think about it”. May just shook his head at the absurdity a sixty plus ton tank needing a spoiler.

 

James was still convinced that the return trip was unsafe. "Don't you think it's safer in the tank or the assault vehicle Jeremy"?

 

Jeremy glanced at Yana. "Nope... feel perfectly safe". Was his reply. "Vim and all that". Which made James scowl slightly.

 

Elric finally wandered up holding a half empty wine bottle that he was waving about. To say he was in his cups would be quite the understatement. He loudly proclaimed.

 

"Come Yana, let us celebrate the death of the foe! We shall drink the maddening wines of Melniboné and make wild crazed love throughout the night"!

 

Yana was not impressed. No... not impressed at all as she replied. "No. Really no. Truly and honestly hell no Elric. Go to the Red room. I think you'll find a more... appropriate and appreciative audience".

 

"Told you" whispered a smug Clarkson to Richard. Hmm, now if he could just get Yana to give him a private viewing of her in that bit of burgundy nothing that the Elves had brought...

Chapter Text

Part 14a: The morning after (at the Inn of the Silver Lily)

 

The three who bicker were seated around a table having their breakfast. The crews from the tank and the personnel carrier were off at another table and Yana was nowhere in sight. Jeremy was busy admiring his croissants and expounding upon them.

 

“This is by far the finest croissants I have ever eaten. If the French ever found out about these then there would either be mass immigration or war”. Jeremy then consumed half of a croissant in one giant bite. He continued after chewing. “Total war could result”.

 

Richard was a bit sassy in his response. “Which they would then lose. These light elves may look fluffy in the loafers but they know how to fight. I hate to break it to you Jeremy but you could do with a few less croissants”.

 

Jeremy grumbled a response. “Quiet hamster… go eat yogurt or something”.

 

May of course was quick to defend the honor of France as he paused in dining upon his quiche. “All the elves would have to do is throw these croissants at them and they’d fold instantly”. He then spoke in a bad French accent. “Oh la la dis croissant, it is… wonderful. I feel so… weak”. Ok, a rather poor defense as defenses go, kind of like the Maginot line and the Germans in WW2.

 

Richard then inquired as to the location of Yana and Jeremy informed them that she was sleeping in.

 

“All tired out”? Ribbed Richard with a slight locker room kind of smirk.

 

“That would be me mate”. Confessed Jeremy with a sad mournful look that fooled nobody.

 

“I wonder how she’d have looked in that red bit of nothing they tried to have her wear” mused Richard.

 

“She looked bloody fantastic, that’s how she looks” Jeremy absentmindedly stated as he buttered another croissant and reflected upon how she had appeared as he had left for breakfast.

 

BEGIN REFLECTION

 

Yana had been sprawled face down on the bed wearing just the burgundy bikini bottom. He had slightly awakened her by asking about breakfast and she had mumbled something about killing everything if a certain somebody kept trying to wake her up.

 

Clarkson had wisely taken the hint and left Yana to her slumbers. He’d briefly showered, and taken off the burgundy silk leash that was around his throat (opps, he’d forgotten all about that) was his embarrassed self reflection upon seeing his image in the mirror.

 

He needed to remember to bring her some breakfast was his thought as he left the bungalow to join the other two for breakfast.

 

END REFLECTION

 

Richard and James both looked at Jeremy who finally noticed there inquiring expression as he chewed.

 

“What”?

 

Richard and James now had slightly sarcastic expressions which apparently resulted in Jeremy looking embarrassed. He finally confessed.

 

“They left the getup in our room after we departed. We found it when we got back and Yana… gave me a private… showing as it were”.

 

“Unwrapping more likely”. Replied James with a smirk of his own. Was she wearing the leash”?

 

“No, umm… she wasn’t”. Was Clarkson’s mumbled reply.

 

Both James and Richard’s eyebrows rose in surprise. But, before they could launch an underhanded verbal snarky attack, a male elf wearing a white coat strode up the table holding a golden envelope.

 

“Not again”. Groaned James upon seeing the envelope in the elf’s hand.

 

The elf handed the envelope to Richard who sighed in resignation and opened it. He quickly scanned it and as he did this his expression morphed to one of delight.

 

“Well blokes”. Richard begin. “Looks like we get two days off and a munitions re-provisioning as well”.

 

Richard passed the note to James who quickly scanned it. “Oh, that’s quite nice”. Was his contented statement as he then in turn passed the note to Clarkson. May had been quite concerned about the depletion of his ammo (he was almost out).

 

Clarkson put on his reading glasses and proceeded to read the commutative out loud.

 

“The Producers have decided to grant you two days to clean and maintain your vehicles due to the unplanned combat demonstration last night. Plus the local constabulary is very pleased with your deeds and wish that your efforts in their defense not leave you in want. Therefore a complete restock of your munitions will take place this afternoon. Upon the morning of the third day you will receive your next challenge”.

 

Clarkson looked at his mates. “Well, that beats a poke in the eye. I suppose the Aston does need a bit of polish. I distinctly remember a scruff on the boot, and the tank is a quarter empty”.

 

The discussion then briefly degenerated into somewhat disgruntled diatribes about a certain curly haired buffoon who wouldn’t know what part of a hammer to even use. After a few wanker and ninny statements the boys simmered down.

 

“Fess up Jeremy” said Richard. “She’s MI5 isn’t she? Or is it MI6? I can never keep the two straight”.

 

“Nope”. Replied Clarkson with his patented poker face, which mean he looked guilty about something.

 

“Foreign service? DI? JIC? Can’t be SAS, lacks the shoulders for it. Don’t tell me she’s CIA”? Prompted May.

 

“Nope, nope, nope, nope, and…. nope”. Replied Clarkson while pouring himself a coffee refill.

 

“Well who is she then”? Asked Richard.

 

“Ask her, maybe she’ll answer”. Was his reply as he drained the cup.

 

With that the breakfast to go order was brought to his table on a tray, which Clarkson then took back to the bungalow.

 

“Who the blazes takes whipped cream with their tea”? Was May’s puzzled question upon seeing the contents of the tray.

 

Richard, being a more worldly man then May, mumbled. “I don’t think it’s for the tea”.

 

“Then what’s it for”?

 

Richard just gave May a look who finally got it and declared “Oh… that scoundrel”.

 

 

Part 14b: Maintenance and refreshments

 

Later that day…

 

A rather greasy May and Richard had paused in their labors over their respective vehicles. They had been working with their teams to perform routine maintenance, refuel, clean the armaments, and to load the newly provided munitions.

 

Hot and hard work, even more so for the tank. Clarkson had made some rather rude comments as to the swabbing out of the 120mm gun barrel, while he was under a nice shady umbrella, while he cleaned his 9mm Berretta and AK-47. Although Clarkson maintained that you didn’t really ever need to clean an AK-47, just rinsing it off with a hose and spatter some oil on it sufficed for most situations.

 

James and May were taking a break and dining upon a truly lovely lunch while watching Jeremy clean a few spots off the Aston with a silk handkerchief, and complaining about the effort involved in doing so.

 

“How the bloody hell is that car so clean”? Had been May’s disgruntled comment.

 

“Bet he has those pixie girls secretly cleaning it”. Was Hammond’s observation.

 

Just then Yana had wandered by, not wearing that bit of burgundy nothing that the boys were still hoping she’d show up in but instead a casual shirt and jeans; she was holding a now clean sniper rifle. Richard invited her to sit with them and she did so. A elf servant suddenly showed up with a cup of tea for Yana (ahh good service) and a tray of cookies.

 

May then asked her a question that both he and Richard had been wondering about. “Yana, just how did you end up on this trip with Jeremy”?

 

Yana replied after tasting her tea. “Hank, one of my therapists, suggested that this road trip of yours would be a good opportunity to get away from it all and relax”.

 

The boys looked at each other with some slight confusion. They only knew of one Hank.

 

Richard replied. “Hank? You don’t mean, big hairy blue Hank? The sometimes X-Men bloke? The one who’s always mucking about with carburetors with May”?

 

“Yes”.

 

Now May chimed in. “He’s one of your therapists”?

 

“Yes”.

 

Richard snorted a disgusted tone. “Apparently he got this trip wrong”.

 

“How so”? Asked Yana as she snagged a cookie.

 

May explained. “Well… relaxing is not how I’d describe this trip. Endless mayhem and significant threat to life and limb would be a more correct description”.

 

Yana shook her head in disagreement as she replied. “I disagree, I’ve been having a great time, best in ages to be honest”.

 

Richard was rather disbelieving. “Really… all the… um… death and mayhem doesn’t… bother you”?

 

Yana had a questioning and puzzled look as she responded. “No, part of the fun. Why would it”?

 

“Ahhhh…”. The two of them didn’t quite know what to say in response to that. They wanted to ask what the therapy was for, but that would be very improper and impolite.

 

Then before they could come up with additional questions a male elf walked up leading a black horse. Yana rose, put the rifle over her shoulder as the elf handed Yana the reins. She then mounted the horse.

 

“I’ll be back in a few hours”. Was her farewell as she then rode off.

 

Clarkson wandered over as the boys watched her ride off, looked like she was going in the direction that they had gone last night.

 

“Get any answers chaps”? Was his inquiry as he sat down, all this spot rubbing was positively exhausting he mused as he proceeded to wipe the sweat from his brow using the still very clean silk handkerchief.

 

May glared at Clarkson. “No, we quite forgot to ask additional questions once she told us Hank was her therapist and that she’s finding this trip to be positively delightful”.

 

“Good riding form”. Commented Richard.  He owned a farm and his wife had a few horses that she liked to ride.

 

“Yes I’m sure”. Replied May. “Looks like she knows how to grip a stallion with her legs and ride him. Firmly planted in the saddle. Hope she doesn’t ride him too hard, but she does look like she knows how to ride a bloke long and hard”.

 

Clarkson glanced at May. “May that sounds crude, and you sound very annoyed about something”.

 

May replied. “Some of us are treating this trip quite a bit more seriously then you”.

 

Clarkson glanced at the now distant Yana. “I assure you May I’m treating the trip with the utmost care”.

 

May was having none of that. “What’s next? Chroming your AK-47? Might you put a big pair of fuzzy dice on the dashboard? Oh, why not create Clarkson’s version of a girl’s gone wild video as you already apparently have the girl for it”.

 

“That’s uncouth of you May”. Was Clarkson’s now huffy response as he stood up and went in search of a beer.

 

 

Part 14d: Theories are bantered about

 

A few hours later…

 

All the day work on May’s and Richard’s vehicles were done, tomorrow they would relaxe. Jeremy had offered to help bang on things with a hammer, but his kind offer been declined most impolitely.

 

“Bugger off you hammer obsessed clod” had been the nicest of the things said.

 

The boys had cleaned up from all the dirt and grease and were now relaxing in the outdoors plaza. Currently May and Richard were lounging at a table having a few brews, Clarkson had complained about his back and was busy having an massage by a very petite elf maiden (who incidentally reduced Jeremy to the consistency of jelly).

 

“So just who is she”? May rhetorically asked, Yana had still not returned.

 

“I’ve got an idea about that”. Answered Richard after a sip.

 

“Funny that, I’ve got a theory as well”. Replied May. “You go first”.

 

“Black Widow from the Avengers”. Was Richard’s statement. “Obvious really”.

 

“Really? Please, if you would, explain such reasoning”. Was the rather disbelieving response from May.

 

Richard used his fingers as he laid out his rational.

 

“One, she knows Hank and Hank has been an Avenger off and on for years”.

“Two, she has a Russian ascent”.

“Three, she’s female”.

“Four, her use of guns”.

“Five, her associating with Jeremy, obviously alcohol is involved”.

“Six… um… I forgot what six was”.

 

“Pollok”. Was May’s response to these less then insightful facts. “I’ll give you one and two, and yes she’s female, glad you noticed, and I agree that alcohol must be involved, but there is no way she’s the Black Widow”.

 

“Why”.

 

“Yana’s butt isn’t not big enough. Black Widow is much more… curvaceous. Plus I think Widow’s a double E in the cleavage department. Yana’s ass, nice as it is, is smaller then Widow’s. Ditto for her tatters. Widow’s a red head, Yana’s blond. Even worse Widow’s like thirty, thirty five or even older while Yana’s obviously only twenty or twenty two at the most. Widow’s bodywork is sagging a bit while Yana’s still perky and firm”. Author’s note. This is the source of the actual anger Widow had towards Illyana in Avengers vs. X-Men. This little scene was in the DVD supplemental and Hawkeye made the mistake of showing it to Black Widow.

 

Richard defended his assertion. “Could be a wig, and maybe Widow wears… falsies”.

 

May just gave a disbelieving sneer at the weak defense.

 

“Ok mate, who do you think she is then”. Replied a defensive Hammond.

 

“Not a who but a what… she’s a Valkyrie”. Answered a smug May.

 

“A what”? Was Richards questioning response.

 

“It’s a Norse mythology thing. The chooser’s of the slain. They take the worthy to Valhalla, which is the Norse heaven or something, when they die”.

 

May laid out his reasons.

 

“One, she’s blond so that fits in on the whole Aryan Norse thing”.

“Two, she apparently likes strife and battle”.

“Three, we’re pretty sure she’s been using a sword”.

“Four, mythical creatures are sometimes apprehensive of her”.

“Five she knows how to ride a horse”.

 

Richard digested this assertion for a bit. It did make more sense then Black Widow he had to admit. But after some thought he found some holes.

 

“How does Hank fit in”?

 

“Frank’s an entrepreneurial kind of bloke, likely branching out in his therapy practice, and as an Avenger he must have met her via Thor”.

 

Ok, that kind of made sense. But then Richard found a major problem.

 

“So these Valkyrie birds pick only the worthy? You do realize James that you’ve just stated that Jeremy is worthy”.

 

“Ummmm….” was May’s response. Bullocks, Richard had a good point. A really good point.

 

Richard chuckled at one of May’s statements. “Thor, that brings back memories. Remember when the producers had both Thor and Loki on the star in a reasonably priced car segment a few years back”?

 

May rolls his eyes in remembered horror. “Egad man, do I ever. Three million pounds worth of damage by the time they got done throwing things at each other and wrecking the studio, and the track”.

 

Richard continued. “Thor got so upset at Loki posting a better lap time then he did. Accused his brother of cheating and all which was so unfair. Thor could barely even fit in the car and ripped the stick shift out of the floor at one point as he was so upset at the car’s performance”.

 

May joined in. “Loved that quote of his… My goats can go faster”!

 

Richard laughed. “Yea, fans loved that. I have to say that Loki is a very good driver, fast on the shifts and quick on the turns. He at least paid attention to the STIG, unlike Thor who kept hollering (Quit thy blathering mortal nave!)”.

 

May continued. “Helped that Loki didn’t drink a barrel of ale beforehand. I think Thor even had a tankard with him as he drove”.

 

“Yea, Health and Safety was quite besides themselves, especially after Thor ran over one camera and rolled the car twice. I don’t know what upset him more, posting the worst lap time ever or that Loki posted the best time”.

 

They both continued to chuckle at the recollection. Just then Yana returned and walked past the two of them on her the way to her bungalow. After her departure Richard sighed.

 

“Ok… not very Widowish”.

 

May sighed as well “Valkyrie makes sense but… Jeremy just doesn’t. Maybe she’s some kind of Bizarro Valkyrie, or just one of those woman who always picks wrong”. Mused May. “Finding the most unworthy as it were”.

 

Richard thought it over. “That might work. Hmm… might Jeremy have gotten a female villain instead? He does tend to attract them from time to time”.

 

Part 14e: The following morning…

 

It was breakfast again and again Yana was not present. And May was very vexed with the Clarkson.

 

“How did you do it you shaved ape”?! Demanded James.

 

“For the last time May, I didn’t do it”. Replied Clarkson with some heat himself.

 

“Well don’t look at me”. Injected Richard before May shifted his attack to him. “I had nothing to do with it and know nothing about it”.

 

“Well the elves didn’t do it! In fact it should be impossible! As hard as it is to professionally paint a tank pink, actually chroming an assault vehicle is several orders of magnitude harder”!

 

CUT TO OUTSIDE

 

May’s assault vehicle has been chromed a shiny silver. The body, the guns, even the wheels, are all shiny silver. And yet wherever there had been a decal or a warning label was untouched and still present. It was like something had changed the paint and rubber surfaces to bright shinny chrome.

 

And it now had a name, in blazing red letter, The Silver Slayer!

 

RETURN TO BREAKFAST

 

“Beats pink and doing the nasty with a dead drake”. Was Richards less then helpful comment, which just set May to fuming again.

 

“So much for camouflage, it’s only noticeable from oh… ten miles if the sun or moon is up”.

 

The assault vehicle’s crew actually thought it looked cool. Really cool.

 

 

Part 14f: Nightly shenanigans

 

It is long into the night and far from morning. May and Richard, the not quite dynamic duo, are outside by Clarkson's Aston (the car's steel roof is up). They are being filmed via several night vision camera men; everything is either in shades of green or black due to the night vision. The camera shows May and Richard on the right side of the car.

 

May whispers "Ahh gentle viewers, Top Gear's original orangutan is either asleep or distracted by the obviously female charms of Yana. Richard and I have decided to do unto him what he has certainly somehow managed to have done unto us".

 

Richard whispers "We don't know how he altered our vehicles, but now it's time for a little payback. I've got three bumper stickers (Richard holds up the stickers to the camera while reading the phrase), Elves are overgrown fairies, If you can read this then you're NOT a troll, and My other car is a broom".

 

May chuckles and whispers "The third one's for Yana, Richard and I have unresolved suspicions about her. I've also got some rather nasty Limburger cheese to place on the engine block", May holds up a hefty block of the pungent cheese.

 

Hammond takes a sniff, grimaces and proclaims "Gads that's bad mate".

 

May continues, "We also have two gallon of an appalling lime green paint, so let's get crackin".

 

The plotters go to the back of the car to apply the bumper stickers. Just as they are about to apply the first sticker the car running and tail lights blink and a deep voice fills the air "Please step away from the vehicle".

 

"Oh God" Richard whispers, "He's got one of those talking car alarms. What an utter prat".

 

"What's next? Threats?" jokes May.

 

"Yes" replies the voice.

 

A large smiling creature slowly materializes next to May and Richard. He, or It, is a biped, over 8 foot tall, has a short mono horn protruding from (his?) forehead (gee I thought demons had two horns), a rather long and thick tail, and a quite toothsome mouth that has a lit cigar. The creature has on a pair of black gym shorts and a small black open chest vest.

 

The creature takes the cigar from His/Its mouth and say "Boss babe commands protect car. Don't harm traveling companions or crew. S'ym finds the word harm to be flexible in interpretation. S'ym gives one warning, then S'ym finds way to obey instructions that you will find disagreeable".

 

"Urp" May eloquently replies as S'ym takes the block of Limburger from his hands and consumes it in one bite.

 

"Bit weak, needs more bite" S'ym states as he eats the lit cigar as well.

 

"Thankyouverymuchwewillbegoingnow" Richard hurriedly replies as he grabs May and they hightail it back to the inn.

Chapter Text

Part 15a: Minor Revelations

 

James was not pleased. “You curly haired ninny reckless buffoon, and utter twat of a bastard”!

 

It was morning of the third day. Clarkson had gotten up earlier then was his general want in answer so some unknown prompting. He was on an isolated patio that gave a splendid viewing of breaking dawn. He had enjoyed the brilliant sunrise while sipping his morning coffee (Mmmm, very good, need to buy a few unground bags of this lot). Birds had greeted the rising sun with an impromptu concert of bird song while Clarkson had watched a unicorn grazing on some distant rose bushes (unicorns love roses and this was one of the non meat eating variety, the common Unicorn).

 

He was on his third cup when both James and Richard had arrived and accosted him at his table.

 

“What now James”? Clarkson inquired with a minor scowl. “You’re interrupting the dawn”.

 

James was in a mood. “You’re tampering with the forces of hell again aren’t you”!

 

“And you know what happened the last time you did that you balding ox”! Injected Richard with exasperation.

 

Jeremy defended himself against the baseless charges. “Volkswagen’s diesel problems were in no way my fault. I merely suggested to the CO, at that luncheon we attended, that it would be easier to meet EU emission standards if he simply lied. I in no way was responsible for the man’s actual actions. It was a joke”.

 

“That’s not what we’re on about”! Complained James while waving his special pointing finger about and looking quite red in the face.

 

“Labor losing the election”?

 

“No”!

 

“Saab going bust”?

 

“No”!

 

“Peugeot producing yet another horrible car”?

 

“No”!

 

“I had nothing to do with that problem in Russia, I was just there for a conference”.

 

“No, and don’t give me that malarkey, that was your fault”!

 

“That annoying little man, the now ex mayor of London”?

 

“No”! “And I hope you got rid of that voodoo doll you made of him” Richard added.

 

Which momentarily distracted James. “I don’t’ know, I rather liked that”.

 

“Well then what? I can’t keep track of everything that might annoy the both of you, the list would be endless. What are you upset about now”?

 

“You installed a demon as a car alarm! We almost got killed because of that bloody thing”!

 

Jeremy dismissed their accusation with a wave of his hand and took another sip of coffee. “I did no such thing, you’re delusional”.

 

“So you claim that the Austin doesn’t have a demon car alarm”?!

 

“Oh, no. That’s correct. After market alarm like I said a few days ago, but I didn’t install it, she did”. Clarkson pointed to Yana who was approaching dressed in jeans and a casual shirt, the tip of the burgundy leash was peeking out of her left back pocket.

 

“Oh” said the two.

 

Richard whispered to James. “I retract my Black Widow guess”.

James whispered back. “I don’t think Valkyrie is quite the thing as well”.

 

Yana gave a pleasant “Good Morning” to all, and then made an inquiry. “Am I intruding? If so I can leave, don’t want to interfere with the show”. She turned to go.

 

“No Yana, could you say for a moment” replied James. “Care for some coffee”?

 

“No, quite the yuck on coffee, is there any tea”?

 

And with that request a male elf appeared almost as if by magic with a silver tray containing two tea cups and a silver urn of fresh tea. The elf put the tray on the table, poured two cups and departed.

 

Yana took a cup of tea and took a sip and sighed slightly in delight (it really is good tea).

 

Richard and James exchanged glances, shouting at Jeremy was one thing, but bellowing at a young lady was quite another.

 

Richard went first. “Yana… um… did you turn my tank pink”?

 

“Yes”. Was her unconcerned answer as she took another sip.

 

“I take it you then chromed my assault vehicle as well”. James stated.

 

“That would be another yes”. Yana replied.

 

“Did Jeremy put you up to it”? They both asked.

 

“No, some of the episodes that Hank showed me had all of you playing pranks on each other while on road trips. I thought I’d give it a try after Mr. Hammond sounded that train horn he has mounted on the tank. I was quite startled and decided to… reciprocate. Ditto for Mr. May’s vehicle”.

 

“And the demon in the boot”? Asked May.

 

“Servant, he’s rather grumpy about the whole thing”.

 

“Servant? What are you? Some kind of witch”?

 

“I am not a witch, Jeremy I’ll take my leave as I think you all wish some private time”.

 

With that Yana got up with her tea cup and walked off, as she did this she took out the leash and started swinging it about in a tight circle.

 

Jeremy’s eyes got a bit big and he decided to then take his leave.

 

“Where are you going now”? Complained May as Clarkson took his leave.

 

“Got something to take care of, see you lot in a bit”.

 

At this point an elf in a white lab coat appeared holding a gold envelope. He offered it to Jeremy but he was having none of that.

 

“If you attempt to give that to me then I shall be forced to make you eat it. Come back after breakfast”. And with that Jeremy hurried off after Yana leaving a rather confused looking elf behind him as Clarkson mumbled to himself in irritation about…. “Insects in need of a good squashing. Why I aught…”.

 

“Where’s he off to in such a hurry”. Complained May with some vexation.

 

Richard, being far more worldly, opined. “Birds and the bees kind of thing. I think he’s after some honey”.

 

Which briefly confused James. “Clarkson detests honey”.

 

“Not that kind of honey dear chap”.

 

“Ohh…”

 

 

Part 15b: Dissuasions amongst the two

 

“Well blast it”. Fumed May as he sat down at Clarkson’s former table and sipped from the untouched tea cup.

 

“Think the big fellow would get rather annoyed if I blew up his honey source”. Hammond dryly commented as he sat down as well.

 

As if by magic an elf appeared holding a coffee pot with a jar of fresh cream and a pot of sugar. He placed the tray down and quickly departed.

 

“By God the service is good here”. Sighed Hammond upon pouring a cup of coffee.

 

Hammond inquired of May. “All kidding aside, have you puzzled out any useful intel on her”? Hammond was now serious and his usual screen persona had… vanished.

 

May was equally… different in his persona, like he’d taken off a jacket or something. “No. MI-7 has nothing. Nothing! It’s as if she doesn’t exist. She’s an associate of Hank’s so there’s a good chance she may be a Mutant or something but there is no record at all”!

 

Hammond sipped his coffee as he mused, he already had five pounds of unground beans hidden in the tank as a gift to his wife, she loved good coffee. “Or something. Might she be vampire”?

 

James dismissed the idea while pouring himself another cup of tea, he had three pounds of this establishment’s loose leaf tea hidden in his assault vehicle. “Yesterday’s sunbathing rather put paid to that idea. I suppose she could be a day walker but… those are quite rare and she doesn’t fit the profile”.

 

Richard chuckled in remembrance. “Yes… she quite distracted the boys, they kept hoping she’d turn over while forgetting to retie that little bit of nothing called a bikini. Hmmm, that brings back memories. Remember when we blew up that lair of vamps? Make it look like a Top Gear stunt? Even put that Toyota truck on the roof of the building when we blew it up”.

 

James looked a bit pleased as well. “Which was rather excessive of you, usually Jeremy is the one with the excessive solutions. You actually got rebuked over that bit. Gratuitous use of explosives and all that”.

 

“Why should he get all the fun? Bugger MI-7, bunch of killjoys. Anyway… villain then? The female ones do seem to flock to Jeremy every time and having a demon as a servant is rather… telling. Aught to change his cover name from Hammer to the man with the golden tongue, I swear the bloke could charm the panties off a mannequin”.

 

“When he’s not shooting something”. Commented May. “You know… it’s funny. They chase after him, not the other way around”.

 

Hammond threw out a few ideas. “Drugs? Magic? Brainwashing? Oh God, I hope it’s not brainwashing again. Remember what happened last time brainwashing was involved”.

 

“Black STIG swam with the fishes. I know…”.

 

Hammond pondered out loud. “Don’t know, apart from the… MI-7 feel, she just… feels like a bird on a road trip having fun. Like… like a repressed teenager for once free from family pressure and oversight. Just cutting loose and knocking about”.

 

“I know… but rather concerning as to her idea of a fun time”. Replied May. “But one who obviously can shoot, has a sword hidden somewhere, rather intimidates folks who don’t look like they intimidate easily, and has a pet demon. Obviously magic is involved… hate it when magic is involved”.

 

“Might she be from around these parts”?

 

“Would make sense...”.

 

“It’d help if you could contact Hank. Some hacker you are”!

 

“Keep getting all lines are busy regardless of when I ring him and the email just… vanish. I’d bet my tea to your coffee that she’s the cause”.

 

“Oh… so you noticed that little bit of pilfering”.

 

“Yep”.

 

There was a slight pause in the conversation as they both admired what was left of the dawn. Then Richard posed a question.

 

“You don’t suppose she might be… MI-7 as well”?

 

“If she is she’d keep her head down. We’ve been there for ages and I’ve never heard any talk of one such as her”.

 

“Yea… wild guess. Give it no mind”.

 

May then opined. “Rather nice to see Jeremy actually… happy for a change. The last several months have been quite rough”.

 

Richard sighed. “BBC giving him that final warning, wife gone and that very nasty divorce. Yea… nasty. Still thinking about that secret offer from the BBC”?

 

“About the two of us taking over Top Gear with some to be determined replacement for Jeremy”?

 

“Yea… that”.

 

“Bugger that. Not in the backstabbing business on my mates”.

 

“Agree… second that. So… the freelance path”?

 

“Affirmative, if it comes to that”.

 

Thru was another lull in the conversation. Hmmm, Richard thought to himself. Magic… Wonder if she could help with the little problem me and the Miss’s are having. Suppose I could ask her after the trip.

 

“Well, time to get back into character”. Concluded James as he stood.

 

“Righo you yob” replied James.

 

 

Part 15c: Challenge involving three

 

Jeremy hummed to himself as he put a bit more blueberry conserve on his croissant. Ah, what a fine day it was.

 

“He hasn’t listened to a word we’ve yelled at him”. Fumed May.

 

The three were eating breakfast and Jeremy was in considerable good cheer.

 

“Have. Just paying it no mind”. Replied Jeremy. “Just little tiny mice squeaks, or hamster squeaks I suppose”.

 

“You’re insufferable”. Complained May yet again.

 

“At least he’s not insatiable”. Mumbled Richard. “Or we’d never get on with the trip”.

 

“Are you ever going to tell us who she is”? Demanded May.

 

“Nope, not my secrets to share”. Replied Jeremy as he refilled his coffee cup. “I’m sure if you were to actually ask her politely she’d tell you”.

 

James attempted to reason with Jeremy. “If she’s not a witch then what is she? That was a bloody demon! We’re not safe”!

 

Jeremy disagreed. “Perfectly safe… what did the creature say”?

 

Richard replied while paraphrasing. “The boss babe said not to harm the traveling companions or crew”.

 

Jeremy concluded as only Jeremy could. “There you go. Perfectly safe”.

 

May just glowered and gave up. No sense trying to make Jeremy understand the obvious complete lack of rational logic in his statements, time to change the topic.

 

“Who are that lot”? May said as he pointed his thumb over his shoulder.

 

Jeremy frowned. “Never seen them before, have you Hammond”?

 

“Nope, odd group of fellows”.

 

A few tables over three men were sitting. One was a rather dandy blond fellow dressed in green, the second was a grim Mongolian looking fellow, and the third… well the third was an enormously fat man who looked to be eight plus feet tall with a massive red beard and a steel hat. Before them was an enormous feast of a breakfast, well the remains of an enormous feast.

 

The blond fellow was currently pointing out that the Lion of Asgard should really refrain from eating quite so much.

 

Why one could almost say the banter between the three resembled our own automotive trio. But currently the banter only involved the fat man and the blond. The grim fellow as just scowling and drinking yet another cup of coffee (black coffee no sugar), copious quantities of coffee.

 

Yana at this point put in an appearance but stopped to stare at the odd trio. Who likewise ceased their conversation and stared back at her. It was an odd standoff, one might almost think that a fight was about to break out as Yana right hand kept clenching and then unclenching, almost as if she was grasp at something. But then Yana gave a sniff of disproval and walked over to were the tank and assault crew members were dining, who promptly welcomed her with a few friendly catcalls.

 

The other trio exchanged looks of some sudden… concern.

 

Hmm, thought May. A clue. They know her or of her or know something about her.

 

“Dear god that man is fat”. Whispered Jeremy. “He must be five or six hundred pounds or even more”.

 

“More…”. Whispered May back. “He ate an entire suckling piglet with breakfast. Called it a bit of bacon and sausage”.

 

“Not to mention the fifteen egg Frittata he ordered for the table”. Whispered Richard back. “Plus the three loaves of bread, and the block of cheese ad butter”.

 

James helpfully pointed out that. “He did have a bowl of prunes”.

 

“One must wonder at his cholesterol”. Mused Jeremy back.

 

With that declaration an elf in a while lab coat approached and presented a gold envelope to May whom then opened it and read the parchment contained within. He looked rather annoyed at what he had read.

 

“Well”? Asked both Richard and Jeremy.

 

“We’re going to a fair, and we’re to take that lot with us. An Asgardian fair”.

Chapter Text

Part 16a: The challenge

 

May read aloud. “The commuting suitability of your vehicle choices will now be tested. You shall convey three people to an Asgardian county fair being held today. There your vehicles shall be entered into a series of competitions to judge their worth. The far table holds the famed Warriors Three whom you will be conveying. Fendra the dashing. Hogun the grim. And Volstagg the lion of Asgard. They shall decide amongst themselves which of your vehicles shall be their conveyance. And they shall judge their worth upon the end of the journey to the fair. Further communications shall be presented once you arrive”.

 

“I can’t take the fat one”. Whispered a panicky Jeremy. “Not possible. The car would break in half, the undercarriage would give way. The seats would buckle…”.

 

“Up to them to decide”. Replied Richard while grinning. “I suppose he could always ride on the top of the tank, but I imagine he’ll want something more… comfortable”.

 

May chimed in. “Looks like a convertible kind of bloke to me”.

 

Jeremy glared at the two. “Bugger the lot of you, wait until they get an eye full of Hamster’s girly man tank”.

 

“Oh… that”. Replied Hammond with much less enthusiasm as he recalled the current paint scheme of the tank. “That’s… going to look odd isn’t it”?

 

 

Part 16b: Choices are made

 

Everybody was packed up and ready to go, all that remained was for the warrior three to select their vehicles of choice.

 

“Zounds this petite Midguard chariot is attractively shaped”. Declared Volstagg to Fendra. The two were debating the merits of the various vehicles and their worthiness.

 

Fendra laughed in mirth and slapped Volstagg upon the back. “I’m not sure that it can withstand the enormousity of you, but who am I to deny the Lion of Asgard his mount? I will go with the silver one as I think Hogun has found his choice, oddly colored though it be”.

 

Hogun was busily eyeing the brute of a pink tank, he thought it quite menacing apart from its very peculiar coloration and the necrophilia act depicting the dead drake. This conveyance would suffice for him, but he needed to keep his eyes upon the occupants as they were apparently of odd persuasion and likely habits. But if need be he could always use his mighty mace on them… um… perhaps a different way of describing his manly weapon would be more… um… handling his rod… powerful instrument… monster instrument of death… no that would never do… never mind the mace, just his usual glower and a threatening demeanor should suffice. Not need to point out his huge weapon and how well he handled it. That just sounded… gay in this context.

 

Meanwhile…

 

Jeremy was rubbing his face with both hands. But of course the fat man liked the convertible, his run of luck was bound to end eventually but this… The car’s shocks were going to be ruined, if the frame didn’t bend and break.

 

“I don’t think the trip insurance covers this”. Mumbled Jeremy to James. “He’s just so… so…”.

 

“Big”. Replied Richard. “Face it Jeremy, your car’s going to break in half”.

 

“I do so hope his belly doesn’t abut the back of your head while your drive”. Was James’s not so helpful comment. “Recommend you don’t brake hard”.

 

“Well, time to face the lard… the music I suppose” was Jeremy’s resigned moan.

 

With that they each walked to their vehicles and greeted their guest as it were. Illyana was already in the passenger seat and ignoring everybody, she seemed… slightly put out about something.

 

 

Part 16c: One the road again…

 

“Zounds friend Carson, this conveyance of yours is most fine”. Enthused Volstagg. He was sitting on the back of the car with his vast legs tucked in the small seats that existed behind the driver and passenger seats. “The leather is as soft as a touch of a dear woman, the engine but a purr of suppressed might, the interior most fine, but I must sadly profess that the ride is harsh”.

 

As if to punctuate Volstagg’s comment the car jarringly rocked as it ran over a small rock which elicited a groan from Jeremy “Oh my back”!

 

“A fine car as you Midgardians call it”. Finished Volstagg as he patted the side of the vehicle. “Apart from the ride which is a soft as a slab of stone being repeatable slammed into one’s backside by a frost giant”.

 

Another rock and another groan from Jeremy as the car was jarred again. “A most angry and determined giant. And I fear the boot is quite small as well”.

 

Jeremy was not accepting the critique. “Of course the ride is rough, the suspension is bloody well bottomed out! This is a sports car, not a lorry”.

 

The Aston was in front, followed by the James in the assault vehicle carrying Fendra who’s head was poking out of one of the trooper hatches, along with all the other troopers who also had their hatches open and enjoying the ride. Hammond’s tank was in the rear, with Hogun protruding from the commander’s hatch with his hands on the 30’cal machine gun (he unknowingly had a grin on his face, as if a small child in a candy store).

 

May could be heard lecturing Fendra “… not 50 cal, it's .50 cal, the decimal point is important people…”!

 

“Yes I understand now friend May. How fortuitous I am to have you illuminate me in such things”. Declared Fendra with false enthusiasm while feverishly hoping that May would change the subject. Was it too late to switch to the pink monstrosity? This was an even worse conversation then the one about things called carburetors.

 

They were still driving upon the pleasant roads of Alfheim awaiting the dimensional portal that would take them to Asgard.

 

May Radios: “So what kind of fair are we going to”?

 

Clarkson raised the microphone to respond only to find it plucked from his hand by Volstagg.

 

Volstagg radios: “For a passage of time, those of Asgard dwelt in the Midwest of the nation of America. During our stay we learned of this thing called a county fair. And barbeque, mustn’t forget barbeque, so… tasty. But I veer off topic. We found we liked this thing called a county fair. Strange fried food, competitions, feats of strength, rides of thrill, and cakes from the funnel… mmm… fried cakes…”.

 

Richard Radios: “So we’re going to your version of a rural U.S. county fair”?

 

Volstagg radios: “Yes”.

 

James radios: “Dear God… Hammond’s fantasy is now reality”.

 

Richard Radios: “Hope there’s a tractor pull”.

 

Jeremy re-seized the microphone from Volstagg and radios: “Bloody hell, and I thought American culture was bad, but now we unsurprisingly find that it has corrupted yet another nation with yet more fatty fried food”.

 

Volstagg bellowed in laughter. “What mirth you sprout friend Clarkson! Tell me, have you ever had this thing they call a deep fried battered Twinkie? Utter delight! I had three dozen at the last fair I attended! But I hear that a new treat awaits us this day, deep fried bacon”!

 

With that a portal opened and the three vehicles vanished into another dimension.

 

Chapter Text

Part 17a: Utopia, some time hence

 

Illyana had long since returned from her therapeutic road trip (she said she’d had a great time). Shortly after Illyana’s return, her plans for the destructions of the Elder Gods and the regaining of her soul had come to fruition; and her subsequent imprisonment in the X-Brig strapped into a bomb jacket (few things bluntly state profound distrust more then a bomb jacket).

 

Then Schism had struck Utopia and the mutants had split into two groups, one led by Scott and Emma, the other led by Logan at the newly founded Jean Grey School on the east coast.

 

During this time, the BBC had fired Clarkson and both Hammond and May had declined to renew their contracts in solidarity with Clarkson. The last remaining episodes of Top Gear had aired and all was done… Then, there was the surprise announcement by the BBC that the hereto unknown Interdimensional Top Gear special would air that Friday night (Part one of apparently two episodes). World wide distribution at the same time in each country.

 

Few mutants were Top Gear Fans, Dani being but a minor fan, but Hank McCoy (The Beast) was a major fanboy. He had apparently viewed an advanced copy and had taken measures to inform Scott/Emma that they should watch. They had watched the broadcast that night in their living room while they relaxed on a couch; the relaxing had ended quite quickly (right about the time Illyana had used her sword to start cutting down the pursuing dark elves all the while looking like she was having a great time).

 

They were appalled.

Massively appalled.

A potential PR nightmare if the word got out that she was an X-Men.

 

“Hank swore that the trip was just a simple road trip!” Raved Scott. “Low Profile! It was supposed to be just a simple road trip! Nobody said anything about a TV show! My God, it’s a total fiasco and a slaughter!”

 

“At least nobody knows she’s an X-Men or a Mutant.” Grumbled Emma. “Thank God for small favors. One does wonder why we continue to place any trust in statements from Hank as to the possible effects or wisdom of his choices. His track record of late has quite poor.”

 

Scott was on a role. “And that was just part one of two! One! ONE! One shudders at what must have happened in part two!”

 

“And we must wait for an entire week for it to air.” Pointed out Emma with frustration. Yes Scott’s concerns were valid but… she did have to admit that the show had been very entertaining in a let’s blow things up kind of way (not that Emma would ever admit to find that entertaining).

 

“Just how popular is this damn show?” Inquired Scott as he continued in his venting.

 

Just then Emma’s cell phone beeped a few times and she grabbed it from the end table to check her texts.

 

“It’s from Hank. Apparently the show just hit its all-time high on the Nelson rating in both this country and worldwide. And the number of streaming views broke the internet in Sweden, Bolivia, and Greenland. The AP is reporting that North Korea’s Dear Leader apparently now has a crush on her. Hank loved it by the way and still feels that it was a good opportunity for her to meet new people.”

 

“And kill them!” Rebutted Scott.

 

“Hank points out in his text that you would say that. And that she only killed some, not all, and that he’s hacked part two from the BBC and will stream it to us if we wish.”

 

Scott rubbed his eyes with his right hand. “And why would we want to do that? And why would he want to do a favor all of a sudden?”

 

“He texts that it’s even more… extreme then part one. And I think he hopes you’ll have a stroke or something.”

 

“Wait a second… The bastard must have known and he didn’t tell us!”

 

“No need to shout Snookums, I’m right here and Hank is three thousand miles away and can’t hear you no matter how loudly you shout. And he also text’d to tell you once you figured out that he knew to ask you ‘How does it feel to be stabbed in the back? Bet it’s not as bad as being left in a jail cell dieing from disease and torture. Or as bad as running a convert killing squad.’ Oh, and apparently a yes as to your next question about did Logan know.”

 

“That son of a bitch!”

 

Emma typed a few characters on her phone. “I told him yes, best to be informed I suppose.”

 

“Ahhhhh!”

 

Emma put down her phone and picked up the TV remote control and hit the menu button to bring up the streaming setting. She commented as she did this. “I don’t know what appalls me more. That Hank enjoys this kind of show, or her appalling taste in men. I mean… Clarkson? Really?”

 

Scott did what he had to do, which was open another bottle of wine, sit back and try to avoid having a stroke as they watched part two.

 

 

Part 17b: Empty Top Gear Studio

 

The show opens. Clarkson, May, and Richard are standing on the Top Gear stage in the Top Gear studio. The usual couch, table and chair are gone. There is no studio audience. There are no props in the background, just a dark and empty hanger. All three are dressed in their usual casual attire. May speaks first.

 

“Hello gentle viewers. We were all rather surprised when the BBC asked… well begged us to introduce part two of our interdimensional road trip film.”

 Hammond now speaks. “With Clarkson being let go and the two of us having departed as well.” 

May resumes. “But… apparently the BBC wished us to present this final Top Gear film, turns out that there was some rather specific contractual wording that required us to give it not only our blessing, but our active participation for it to air, and apparently some rather appalling contractual consequences if we did not.” 

Hammond now looks thoughtful. “Almost like somebody had gone back in time and rewrote the contract, how… strange. Well I suppose it’s for the best.” 

Back to May. “Now you may be wondering why the big orangutan is silent, the BBC wished that he not speak but then…” 

Clarkson now speaks. “I said no and then they caved, almost like somebody had a sword at their throat or… something. So… I actually do now have a chance to say goodbye, to you, our fans. And to apologize for my inexcusable behavior that cut both the season short and harmed that which I, and we, love so very much.” 

Back to May. “During the editing we humorously called part two ‘And everything’s on fire… again.’ but that did rather understate things.” 

Clarkson. “I preferred the title ‘And then everything exploded’ But that was just the beginning, then things got really interesting.” 

Hammond adds. “So this is for you. The ones who made this all possible.” 

Clarkson finishes.The Fans of Top Gear!”  

 

Part 17c: Somewhere… (Not Asgard)

 A barely blue sky, more like slightly greenish with touches of orange. 

And hot. Desert hot and dry, like, a hundred and ten degrees Fahrenheit hot, with a slight breeze and the scent of dust and slight tang of sulfur. There are two suns in the sky, one a dark orange and the other a whiteish yellow. 

Rather sandy as well. Hard pack sand/ruble with a few dunes and rocky ridges with scattered rocks. No real roads are in sight, just some smooth ruts in the hard pack. There are only a few bushes are scattered about, with some dried out grasses, plus one dead tree, barkless and bleached whitish grey. And slowly swinging from an iron chain attached to a tree branch, is a skeleton clothed only in a tattered white lab smock. The bones look old and weathered, and the form, while bipedal, does not look quite human, the bony ridges and horns on the skull are one indication, the claws on the ends of the fingers and toes are another. One bony hand is clutching a gold envelope. 

The place looks kind of like the Australian outback from a remake of Mad Max. Nothing is happening, just the slight hot breeze and the occasional squeaking from the chain as the skeleton slowly rocks back and forth. 

There is flicker of lightning, just like the terminator films, then a white portal opens and our commuting trio emerge. First the Aston with Clarkson suddenly cussing up a blue streak at the change from pleasant road to dirt and rocks. He violently swerves around the tree and ends up coming to a halt about fifty feet from it in a dustily slide with a loudly bellowed “ZOUNDS!” from Volstagg. 

Then James’s gleaming silver assault vehicle materializes and quickly swerves around the tree (the eight tires are made for this kind of thing) and comes to a halt alongside the Aston. Fendra had a surprised expression, and yet was grateful that May had finally ceased to converse as May was looking quite concerned as he silently examined the surroundings. 

Lastly comes the pink brute of a tank, and while it tries to turn, it basically mows down the tree resulting in the skeleton landing on the roof the turret while simultaneously getting pulverized by Hogan smashing at it with his mace as he was still protruding from the commander’s hatch (much to the annoyance of Hammond as Hogan was in his seat). The tank came to a jarring stop just past the tree. Hogan quickly climbed out and stood upon the tank roof while smashing upon the skeleton a few more times just to be safe. Meanwhile Hammond’s head poked out of the hatch like a hamster emerging from a hole to see what all the commotion was about. 

Hammond commented. “I thought Asgard was less… dusty.” Hammond spied the gold envelope still being clutched by a now severed skeleton hand. He grabbed the other end of the envelope and shook it to fling away the hand. 

“This is not Asgard.” Grumbled Hogan. 

“This is Muspelheim!” Shouts Volstagg in some alarm. At both the thought of Muspelheim and the thought that he might miss the food at the fair. 

“What the blazes is Muspelheim?” Asks Clarkson as he looks about. 

“It’s where fire was supposedly born. A kind of hell, but not one that people went to.” Answers Yana as she opens the door and gets out of the car. Her statement earns her a dark and suspicious look from Volstagg and the other Warrior’s three. 

Hammond shouts as everybody starts to disembark and look about. “Letter from the Producers!”  

 

Part 17d: So you thought it was going to be that easy?

 May had his driver backup the assault vehicle and ended up parked next to the tank. Meanwhile Clarkson popped the trunk and retrieved his AK-45 while Volstagg extradited himself from the car. Clarkson, Yana, and Volstagg then made their way over to Hammond’s tank. 

Hammond opened the envelop and read the contents aloud. “No proper commuting test of interdimensional vehicles would be complete without at least one prolonged insanely improbable violent chase scene. Your vehicles are not simple for driving about but must serve multiple purposes…” 

So I suppose we should have brought mini vans then or estate cars?” Groused Clarkson. “Some of us have style.” 

I know a man with a chariot pulled by goats that can fly. Most effective.” Whispers Volstagg while edging away from Yana. 

"Shush, I’m reading.” Hushed Richard, he then resumed reading aloud. “Your challenge it to both find and pass between the Cheeks, twin hills that look very much like the backside of a giant extra curvaceous Kardashian, and then pass through the defense barricade concealed deep within the crevasse. Beware of roaming bands of demons and monsters and of course the defenders of the Cheeks who prevent all access.” 

The boys looked stunned.

The Warriors three looked appalled.

Yana looked unimpressed and mildly bored as she glanced about. 

Clarkson tried to sum it up. “Apparently we are to penetrate…” 

Fendra finished. “The ass of hell.” 

Clarkson looked outraged and infuriated. “Just who the hell wrote this? Some fourteen year old boy?” 

May injected with an un-amused tone. “Lately the BBC has been on a hiring binge of the young. I suppose they would find something like this to be funny in that juvenile locker-room kind of way.” 

Hammond snorted in disgust. “Ha Ha… so we’re supposed to assault the arsehole of hell. How infantile.” 

Not just any arsehole.” Solemnly intoned Volstagg, who then stopped and had to suppress laughter at the way these mortals had described it. It almost worked, only a few giggles escaped his lips. “The biggest arsehole in all of hell guarded by those who proclaim most earnestly ‘None shall pass!’ 

Which now elicited snorts of amusement from all the man and even a bit of a grin from Yana, ahhh how wording can make such a difference. 

Clarkson theatrically signed. “I never thought these words would emerge from my lips. I suppose it’s time to give hell a good rogering as it were. Hopefully we have a sufficient supply of high explosive lubricant for the deed. Prudence demands that we should now gear up. Hammond you still have the drone don’t you?” 

Hammond gestures to one of the turret side storage bins. “Yes, tucked a way in the boot as it were.” 

Send it up if you would be so kind.” States May as he turns to go back to the assault vehicle which is busily lowering its ramp. “And see if you can spy this giant Kardashian monolith.” 

Hammond mumbles to himself as he unpacks the hover drone. “If it really is Kardashian grade then it should be easy to find… hell it should be viewable from orbit.” 

While Hammond preps the hover drone one of the solders hands May a helmet and a bullet proof vest to don. As he dresses Fendra walks up and casually asks a question of May. 

"Good Sir, I cannot but notice the metal your vehicle is now coated with. Pray tell, has Midguard now been blessed with such supplies that you can use it for such a purpose?”  

May looks puzzled. “What? The chroming of the APC?” 

“Ahhh, silver though it looks, that is not chrome my good friend. That is Mirhril. My, how resistant your vehicle must be to all types of harm, both physical and magical.”  Fendra sees Volstagg gesturing and he takes his leave to go privately converse with Volstagg and Hogan. The three commence having a whispered discussion with much hand waving by Volstagg. 

Meanwhile Hammond has the drone ready, but first also donned his tactical appeal, while Jeremy returns from wearing his as well (from the trunk). All the while Yana has been just hanging about doing nothing other the glancing about and briefly talking with one of the solders.  

“Yana you should wearing more tactical apparel” Suggests Hammond. “Something with more protection.” 

“I suppose.” Was her reply. She gave a little shiver and a white line traversed across her from left to right. The casual jeans and casual shirt was replaced by a full body clinging spandex suit. The costume was bluish black with a giant stylized yellow X that went from the shoulders and down the legs. Equipped with yellow gauntlets and yellow boots as well. Plus a little X over her upper left breast. 

“Ummm…” Hammond replied. “I was suggesting something more bullet resistant.” 

"It is.” Was her reply. She then walked back to the Aston to retrieve a gun from the trunk.

The three watch her walk away (or are they watching her ass? That spandex getup is quite tight and form fitting.) 

“Told you.” Whispered May to Hammond. 

“Bullocks, you told me nothing.” Whispered back Hammond. 

“Clarkson!” Then bellowed May in irritation as it was obviously that Clarkson had to be cheating in some way by bringing Yana. 

Yes May, what are you on about now?” Replied an irritated Clarkson as he stopped watching Yana’s… posterior. 

“She’s… powered!” 

Yes… very observant of you. And she’s a she if you hadn’t noticed that as well.” 

“That’s… that’s… that’s…” May sputtered as he grasped for something to yell about. 

“Bloody brilliant.” Finished Hammond. “Wish I’d thought of that. But what team is she from?” 

“Can’t be the Avengers, missing an A.” Mused the now contemplative May. 

Plus the whole lack of an X in Avengers”. Pointed out Hammond. 

“Guardians of the Galaxy? That has an X in it.” Stated May. 

“Don’t think to.” Observes Clarkson. 

“Inhumans?” Asked Hammond. 

“Nooo…” Replied Clarkson. “Plus they tend to be very snobby and extra self righteous and make the most disagreeable traveling companions as they drone on and one about their innate superiority; and no X in sight.” 

“She can’t be Shield, whole lack of an X again.” Pointed out May. 

“Ditto for Hydra and AIM, don’t think she’s from the Gun Nuns, might she be part of the Fantastic Four? That has an X in it.” Asks Hammond. 

“No it doesn’t you silly man, there is no X in Fantastic or Four!” Yells Clarkson.

“Alpha flight?” 

“No.” 

“Shi’ar Imperial Guard?” 

Nope. Here’s a hint lads, that X thing.”  

May points out. “Can’t be a Kingsman, their all snooty and dress extra posh.” 

"Nope. Xxxxxxxx.   Think Xxxxxxxxxxxxx Memmmmmm”  

“MI-7?”  

“Noooooo.” 

“Well I’m done… can’t think of any other team that has an X in their name”. Stated Hammond. 

“Likewise I’m afraid.” Answers May. “All out as it were.” 

Clarkson turns to the camera. “And that’s why I’m the brains of the operation.” 

Clarkson turned back and faced his companions. “It’s like this chaps, she’s an X-Man.”  

“What?” Replied a shocked Hammond. “An ex man?!... You mean she’s… well… a he I suppose… do you mean he was a he but now he is a she?” 

May chimes in equally puzzled. “You mean she’s one of those blokes who clip their manly bits off?” 

“NO!” Responded Clarkson. “You imbeciles! She’s very much a she and she’s a member of the group called the X-Men!” 

“Which one?” inquired May who still looked confused. “She doesn’t have white hair so one supposes she’s not Storm.” 

Hammond whispers. “Not to mention that little melatonin deficiency James, do try and pay attention.” 

May dryly responds “Well… yes, her complexion is noticeably different. If I May…” 

Hammond injects. “You most certainly are.” 

Which earns him a glare from May. “Yes I believe I am… as I was saying, I’d like to return to the whole ex man thing and Clarkson’s apparent change in preferences.” 

“Bhaa! Hopeless the lot of you”. Exclaimed Clarkson who then storms off in a huff. He walked over to the trunk and angrily acquired a few more clips for his AK-47. 

Richard and May watched him stomp off and once he was out of earshot Hammond chuckles. “Well that was fun.” 

“Quite… serves him right.” Replied a grinning May. 

Questions to his masculinity always get him going.” 

May observed. “Ex man. Like we’re that dense. Speak of, that getup of hers is quite attractive. Rather tight in all the right places.” 

"Bit distracting though.”

 May had a bit of an epiphany. “Egads, imagine the affects if she was Psylocke in that tight skimpy purple bit of nothing that she likes to flaunt about in. Bet the ratings would go up if she was prancing about.” 

“That assumes the camera man remembers to film.” Sighed Hammond. “Psylocke does tend to distract the male eye.” 

May looks thoughtful as he responds. “Did you know that there is a dedicated U-Tube channel that only has images showing her ass? Not to mention the ones that focus on the ginormous boobage.” 

"And you know this how?” Inquires Hammond with a very sarcastic expression. 

“Um…time for you to fly the drone I think.” Replied May with a slightly panicky expression.

Chapter Text

Part 18a: Trouble in what is most certainly not paradise

 Hammond tsk’s at May. “You’ve been obsessed with Psylocke ever since she was the star in the reasonably priced car. And surfing the internet for porn is against BBC policy, even if you are calling it research.” 

May defended himself. “She was wearing that tight purple leotard that looks like somebody painted it on. The woman was positively on display; and there was a great deal to display. Which I might add you wouldn’t stop going on and on about in the green room when she wasn’t there; something about her children never starving and that she could feed an orphanage.” 

“Um... that was Clarkson...” Richard decided to change the subject before May accidentally said anything worse that would get him in trouble with his wife. “Ok, time to launch the drone.” 

There was now a twenty seven inch TV monitor set up next to the assault vehicle (on a small folding table) with a wire leading to the drone control package (contained in a small suitcase). The control package monitor displaying both the facing forward image from the drone (so the pilot could orientate) and a high definition camera that could rotate 360 degrees that was being displayed on the twenty seven inch monitor. Hammond handed the HD camera control (rather like a video game controller) to May and fired up the drone. 

The drone, painted white, had four helicopter like blades and the HD camera contained in a rotate-able pod beneath it (which was painted to resemble the STIG’s helmet). The blades twirled with a hum and the drone rose into to the air while Hammond declared “STIGy cam is online!” A declaration that prompted Clarkson to wander back over. 

The drone rose and the image cleared the local dunes and the HD monitor showed a mountain range in the distance. 

That doesn’t look like a derriere.” Was Clarkson’s comment at what was on the monitor. 

No… more like a shattered spine… or several spines.” Mused May. 

Clarkson began to give directions. “Try panning right May… No, to the right! May there are only two directions to rotate in, how hard is it for you to determine right from left? It’s a joy stick for crying out loud.” 

Clarkson’s comments of course vexed May. “Quiet you half witted orangutan, I’m trying to concentrate.” 

The view continues to pan left, while this happens Yana walks over. Clarkson points out “That looks like a possible path out of the dunes. Richard could you fly of in that direction to examine its viability.” 

Richard pushes a few buttons and swings the drone in that direction. “Why? Just because you’re driving a car that won’t make it two hundred feet in this terrain?” 

Richard, I’d dearly love to see you or May attempt to drive your vehicles up one of these loose and sandy dunes, I’m willing to bet that…”  

May interrupts. “Hold on… that looks like a right proper pair of Kardashian cheeks!” 

Clarkson agreed as his eye brows rose. “Bloody big ones at that.” 

Hammond quips. “Any resemblance to Psylocke by chance James? Hate to think all those hours of research gone to waste.” 

May did his patented (You are a bothersome prat) scowl. “Hardy har har. No, this one is even more… fulsome.” 

Clarkson sagely observed. “Definitely viewable from orbit.” 

At which the Warriors Three ambled over with stern expressions, but momentary paused to likewise examine express appreciation at the rather majestic stony ass thus revealed. Then they continued with the task at hand with Volstagg as the spokesman. They scowled at Yana and requested a moment of privacy with the Top Gear Trio. 

Yana gave them a scowl back as she stated “Going to be one of those kind of talks.”   She pulled an IPod from somewhere, put in the ear buds, and walked off with a sniff of distain while mumbling something about “Typical Ass-gardian arrogance.” 

"Tis Asgardian, not Ass-gardian!” Harrumphed Volstagg which elicited a “you pronounce it your way, I’ll pronounce it my way” response from her. Yana walked over to the Aston’s trunk, retrieved a pair of binoculars and the sniper rifle, then proceeded to climb to the top of a dune; with remarkable ease as noticed by Hammond. All had watched her walk off. Some to make sure she departed, others because of that tight spandex costume that really showed off her… (ok, they all watched). 

“Where on earth did she pull that IPod from.” Mused May. “That spandexy thing has no pockets.” 

It’s a knack she has.” Whispered Clarkson. 

The Warriors Three at last pulled their eyes from the sight of Yana’s spandex backside and returned to the topic at hand. 

This is unacceptable!” Huffed Volstagg. “The agreement with your… producers made no mention of such travels! Nor such a traveling companion!” 

Clarkson commented that “Yes May has appalling tasted in shirt and spaniel hair, but I fail to see how that is an issue.” 

Hammond whispered. “I think they mean Yana.” 

Volstagg agreed. “Yes, the infernal one you call Yana!” 

Hammond and May looked at each other with expressions of surprise.

Hammond commented. “Infernal?”

Whereas May remarked. “You mean as in burning? Hellish?” 

Yes the demonic wench’s presence is most foul and egregious!” 

A comment that elicited a different kind of response from the Top Gear Trio then the Warrior’s Three expected. 

“Nix on saying wench. BBC policy is most firm on the use of the word.” Commented May. 

Use of the word wench will only be allowed in humorous context in relation to medieval situations and bar scenes.” Echoed Hammond. 

“Any other use of the word will be subject to BBC disciplinary action pending proper review by the BBC Celebration of Diversity in Culture and Language Committee.” Quoted Clarkson from the BBC handbook (So you want to say something naughty on the air. The do’s and don’t of BBC Policy, edition 97). The BBC committee in question was currently having a bit of a nervous breakdown due to Top Gear, the boys kept finding ways of saying things that actually obeyed the handbook, which was in part the cause of releasing roughly ten updates a year. 

I quite like the word fornicatress myself.” Commented Clarkson. “Not yet in the handbook.” 

Not to mention skirt, siren, hottie, hired girl, bird, bombshell, courtesan, hen, and of course member of parliament.” Continued Hammond. 

There is always the fallback upon she-devil, currently permitted but frowned upon if in context of denigrating a strong woman.” Added May. 

And then all three said in unison. “But wrench is right out as of edition forty five, Top Gear Season ten, episode four.” Followed by a snide comment from Clarkson to Hammond. “Rather liked that, two members resigned after that episode, something about menace to social norms I recall.” 

A rather flummoxed Volstagg started over. “The… She-devil you call Yana must depart! She is a demon!” 

A statement which again caused raise eyebrows from Hammond and May. 

Is she?” Whispered Hammond? 

Clarkson attempted to not answer. “One doesn’t like to kiss and tell about such things.” 

A smirk from May and a whispered. “Real wildcat in bed then?” 

Clarkson scowled and did not dignify the question with an answer, but did discreetly nod to the two of them. 

Hammond sighed and passed a five pound note to May as he’d won the bet. 

Their antics earned them a growl from Hogan and exasperation from the other two Warriors Three. “We fail to find humor in the situation.” 

Now it was Clarkson’s turn to look stern. “All kidding aside, you’ve apparently had prior dealings with Yana? Care to elaborate?” 

She has been to the golden realms twice before. The first was some years ago when she and her companions were brought against their will to Asgard.” 

Sounds like a kidnapping.” Was Hammonds cold statement as all humor was leached from his voice. 

Umm… tis was, but of no fault of any wholesome Asgardian. Twas the work of the Enchantress. A villainous wenc… um… courtesan? Who sought to use them most… um… in her nefarious plots… um....Loki abused… um… she was tortured… um…” Volstagg had to concede that his condemnations were falling a bit flat. 

“How old was she?” Asked May, his tone likewise serious. 

“Between the years of sixteen and seventeen by your counting… um…” 

Really…” Spoke Clarkson with that tone of voice that just so announced him being the father of a daughter. That daddy tone that spoke of shotguns and unfortunate road accidents to abusive boyfriends. 

Volstagg relaunch his complaints. “She returned years hence in great distress. She had been greatly harmed and sought healing from the All Father himself. Her nature and the harm done unto her greatly offended the All Father and he drove her forth with his scorn and… um” Nope, not sounding good. Time to fall back on the last argument. “She’s a demon and all this must be some plot of hers seeking vengeance!” 

Clarkson rebutted. “She’s our traveling companion and has been most agreeable.” 

May and Hammond felt that she had been a bit more agreeable to Clarkson, but her pranks had been in the tradition of Top Gear, her contributions to the fighting had been of great worth, and they had to admit that she had helped pull Jeremy out of his funk. Plus Hank had apparently vouched for her. Now the demon thing as a bit disconcerting, but not the worst they’d encountered in their travels. 

Later, when asked why the statement had not alarmed them, Hammond had replied. “Well… she was easy on the eyes, didn’t try to hog the camera, and didn’t act like a prima donna”  

May answered. “Plus she thought our jokes were funny and liked tea. Not your usual villainous behavior.” 

Much hand waving and finger pointing commenced on both side. The final conclusion from the Warriors Three being that it was either Yana or them. 

Clarkson summarized. “Then we are agreed.” His two companions nodded. “It’s Yana, off with the lot of you.” 

Fine!” Bellowed Volstagg. The Warriors Three stepped back. “Heimdall, we are leaving! Bring forth the Birfost so we may depart these witless knaves!”

 Heimdall was the supposedly all seeing and all hearing guardian of Asgard who stands at the base of the Birfrost (Rainbow Bridge). He also sometimes functions as a taxi service by directing the Rainbow Bridge to appear so Asgardians can travel the various dimensions. 

The warriors three stood expectant while Clarkson waved at Yana and yelled for her to come back down. He yelled that that the Ass-gardians were going to leave on a Rainbow Bridge (which earned him a glare that he ignored). Yana ceased her scanning of the horizon and slid down the dune (which the camera man loved as he filmed it in slow motion). 

She walked past the Warriors Three who continued to wait for their bridge, a bridge that had so far not appeared. Volstage made a comment as she walked past. “I see they are under your thrall, particularly the tall and mouthy one.” 

She paused and replied. “Incorrect.” 

“Bhaaa, we can smell the magic on him.”  

She thought it over for a second and then replied. “That’s the remains of the Odin stone.” 

“And how does a mortal come by such a thing.” Asked a disbelieving Fendra. 

“I gave it to him. He was… in need of healing.” 

“And from whom did you steal it from.” Grumbled Hogan. 

Which earned him a frown, an angry frown. “I did not steal it. How… typical of your ilk to assume such. The Ladies gave it to me when I asked for help, so much for the renowned generosity and hospitality of Ass-gardia and the poorly named all father.” 

A reply that stunned the Warriors Three. “The… Ladies? You don’t mean the Norm witches?” 

Yes… we have tea ever other Tuesday.”

With that Yana walked away and went over to the drone monitor where Hammond was busy using the drone to map a route out of the sand dunes. “Ok, turn left at the rock that looks like a vomiting T-Rex, then right at the pile of bones with the giant horned skull on top, then go straight until you see…” 

Meanwhile the Warriors Three exchanged surprised and stunned glances. An Odin stone, the involvement of the ladies, the ladies granting a favor, and her supposed tea parties with them? 

Volstagg reminded them that “The All-Father warned us against her when she came to his throne asking for aid. Asking for healing of her distress.”

 Hogan replied. “A healing that the All-Father said would be a calamity, that better she crawl off and die then continue to bother her betters for things she would not receive and did not deserve.” 

“Harsh words that he never explained, other then to say that her nature would soon cause her to destroy herself.” Observed Fendra. 

That was some time ago… and that is no longer the same woman who came begging to the doors of Asgard.” Was Volstagg’s reply. 

Yet still no rainbow bridge… Volstagg muttered a few “Heimdalls…! We’re waiting…” while impatiently tapping his left foot. 

Where was Haimdall? At the county fair of course, eating the dog of corn and consuming mass quantities of ale. He mostly only had eyes for the plentiful bosomy goodness of the serving wenches (note the proper BBC context!). But he had observed the departure of the Warriors Three from Alfheim, as asked, and then a portal had brought them to the fair grounds atop their chosen transports. All was well and Haimdall resumed his feasting and drinking and observing the flesh as it were. 

So… how was this possible? 

Two words… just two. 

Time Travel. 

They were no longer in the same chronological continuum. 

Which meant that the Rainbow Bridge was not coming. 

And the Warriors Three had abandoned their rides while in hell, stranding them in a most inhospitable locality with those whom they had been most offensive with.

Chapter Text

Part 19a: Chit chat

 Richard and May began to do a more general recon with the drone in an attempt to map some routes out of the dunes and in the direction of the… um… cravasous mountains. While at the same time Clarkson attempted to ineffectually connect a small printer that one of the crewmen handed him, there was some muttering about how a good hammer was needed to force the connection, which prompted an argument with May once Clarkson produced said hammer. 

You can’t fix every problem with a hammer you ninny!” Was May’s angry retort as he seized the hammer from Clarkson just as he was about to start whacking at the connection. 

I can and I have.” Rebutted Clarkson. “Give it here now, just needs a good tap or two.” 

“You’re attempting to plug a USB cable into a nine prong serial port! The USB connection is on the other side of the drone controller!” 

Rubbish. You just need to force it a bit. Give it back May!” 

“No! You’ll just end up breaking it like you always do you curly haired buffoon!”

  “When have I broken something!?”  

Just a cold stare from May. “Ok… there was that one time… or was it… three… that I may… just may have been a tad hasty in the application of force but that…” 

I said No!  

Jeremy tried his sad face but May was unrelenting in his denial. May then fiddled with the cable resulting in… “There. It’s plugged in and the test print works fine.” 

More shouting seemed inevitable, but Richard suddenly pointed out something interesting on the computer monitor that attracted the eyes of our auto trio “That’s rather cleavagely.” 

Clarkson looked and then blinked at the screen a few times while May’s eyebrows rose in appreciation at what they behold. 

“By Jove Hammond, What an… interesting bit of desert debris.” Grumbled Clarkson as they looked down upon a broken and rather odd statue, think Medusa with three very large and prominent breasts. Very prominent. 

“I suppose three is better then two.” Was May’s sly comment. 

“Marked it. I suppose it might serve as a waypoint.” Chuckled Hammond. 

The trio got back to plotting possible exit paths, argument forgotten for now. 

Meanwhile… 

Yana had observed the little fracas with some humor. She was currently in the background hanging out with some of May’s solders (from the assault vehicle) discussing hand gun preferences (she favored Berretta 9mm stainless steel but was being tempted by the 40 cal arguments). She both mused upon and was rather and puzzled why the Top Gear Trio had not evicted her. Jeremy she kind of understood as he had known what she was (Hank had made that clear to Jeremy as well as other activities) but May and Hammond’s preference of her over the Warriors Three puzzled her. 

Her thoughts were mostly along the lines of “Odd to be judged on who I am rather then what I am. So… rare. And so… similar to the Bennets… Must be something about Brits.” 

The Warriors Three were likewise engaged in conversation with each other. 

Volstagg was discussing his thoughts about Yana. “…It was a growing sense of unease. Of malice. The longer we drove the more I felt it. Bitter hate and evil. It just seeped up from the very body of the conveyance itself.” 

Hogan pointed out… “There is the matter of Heimdall and his lack of response. Obviously he is being blocked and it does not take much effort to identify the likely cause.” 

"At a stroke Asgard is deprived of its greatest warriors. This may be a precursor to an attack upon the golden realm.” Fretted Volstagg, who then produced from within one of his voluminous pockets a smoked turkey leg upon which he began to nibble upon. 

Fendra suggested that…“We could strike upon the demonic wench, but this would result in conflict with all of them.” 

"Yes…” Mused Hogan as he absentmindedly stroked his mace. “They must all be under her sway.” 

“So what can be done to free them from the vile enchantment?” Mused Fendra. “If Thor was here he would bind her and force her to free them.” 

We are not Thor.” Was Hogan grim reply. “But I see not why we could not do likewise.” 

“Let us not be hasty.” Was Volstagg’s quick reply as he pointed at Yana with the drum stick. “She is on level with the Enchantress and that is no trivial thing.” 

Fendra pointed out that…“Odd though, we only sense magic about the fuzzy haired one. I sensed no taint upon the others.” 

It may be too subtle to detect.” Replied Hogan. 

But not to subtle for the loud mouthed one?” Rebutted Fendra. 

“She did speak of the Ladies…” Muttered Volstagg. “And an Odin stone.” 

“She could be lying…” Hypothesized Hogan. 

“Yes… but doth thou know of any who lie about the Ladies?” Inquired Fendra.

 Blank looks amongst the three, then Fendra continued. “I thought not.” 

“One does not lie about the Ladies.” Commented Volstagg.

“But that would mean that…” “That she spoke the truth.” Grumbled Hogan. “At least in regards to the Ladies.” 

In all of Ass-gard… I mean Asgard, none had ever raised a falsehood invoking the Ladies. None. Oh some had tried, but the fates that befell those who had ensured that none in recent memory had been so foolish, or suicidal.

 Volstagg summed it up. “One wonders as to the need for the healing that would require an Odin stone, likely some deed of hers that went amiss. Be that as it may, it does not explain our current locality or the inability of Heimdall to respond. We must lower ourselves and converse with her. Agreed?” 

They all agreed. Volstagg drew himself up and spoke with utmost authority. “Darkchild! We would have words with you.” 

 

Part 19b: Eating crow and other rare delicacies

 As the word Darkchilde was uttered, everybody and everything surrounding the Warriors Three appeared to grow grey as all the color leached out, even Yana; and all external sounds became distorted and faint.   Everything appeared to be covered with a gray filter, other then the Warriors Three that is. And nobody paid them any mind as to the shouted requests from Volstagg and Hogan. 

“Darkchilde!”  

“We dain to speak to you Darkchilde!”  

"Pay attention to us demonic wench!”  

“What infernal game is this!? We would have words with you!”  

“Speak, damn it!”  

“Doth nobody hear our words!?”  

And many more… all without response. It was Fendra who hit upon a correct approach. 

“My brothers, did she not go by another name? One spoken by these fellows? Might she respond to such?” And because Fendra was rather successful with many a woman, he offered a touch of belated advice. “And I have found the fairer sex to be more approachable when one does not… bellow at them, or make… insulting demands.” 

Verily did the words of Fendra ring true in the ears of his fellows. Volstagg reformulated his request. \

"Yana, we wish to converse.” 

Color flowed back into Yana, she turned her head and spoke as she appraised them. 

“Yes? What can this lowly demonic wench possible do for such grand and glorious godlings?” 

All three men internally grimaced. They all did know of such womanly tones and words. Suffice it to say they were in trouble big time and now knew of it. Hopefully she was not going to go into detail. 

That hope was in vain, silly men. 

“Time for more insults? After all, one so enjoys being called infernal, but I suppose I should be content at such light fare, although I distinctly recall demonic wench was one of the tamer things you bellowed about me. So adore being called a fornicatress, she-devil, whore from the infernal realms, and I recall hearing the dunes echo with even more comments upon my supposed character. Reminds me of all the fun times I’ve had with folks, Rahne in particular. At least no references to me as a demonic twat, rather swore to kill the next person who calls me that as I missed out on the opportunity with the last idiot.” 

Volstagg was of a mind to point out that the use of fornicatress and she-devil had come from Clarkson, but then thought of his wife and realized that per the rules of woman kind, any comment from the man in such an argument simply demonstrates he is in the wrong. The other two also realized that some silence was really the best defense at this point. 

Cold distain dripped from her voice. “Ass-gardians are all alike, almost as if your all father wished for only like minded company. Forever drinking, fighting, or fornicating. And Thor is so the example, if he is not hitting something, or in his cups, he is hitting upon something. One can not but wonder if his dream death would be to lie in bed with a woman pleasuring him, while he downed a cup of mead with one hand whilst striking some foe with his hammer.” 

The Warriors Three looked slightly uneasily at each other. That actually had been a not infrequently discussed death worthy of a hero (at least when Thor was greatly in his cups). Fendra also distinctly recalled more then a few Bard tales that ended just like that.

 Yana ended her brief diatribe, and included an obscure reference to her plans. “So not sorry to disappoint you, in living that is. This Pinocchio wanted to be real, to be healed! But the concerns of… lesser creatures was of no concern to such as your all father. I left, I survived, I returned. So, what can this lowly demonic whore do for such gallant and chivalrous godling of blessed Ass-guard?”

 Keep it simple, that’s what Volstagg told himself. The woman is upset, and has demonstrated in the past that upset is not a good thing with her. He asked a simple question. 

“Are you interfering with Heimdall in any way?” 

“And why would you believe any answers from a lying demonic whore?”  

She had a point. After all demons lie, right? 

“Will you tell the truth?” Asked Fendra. Which prompted Hogan to snort; which earned him a glare not only from Valstagg and Fendra, but one from Yana as well. 

Yana sniffed. “I rarely lie, not worth the bother.” 

“But how can weknow you speak the truth?” Injected Hogan. 

Yana’s reply was not quite reassuring. “You’re not worth the bother to lie to. Ass-guard, and you, are nothing to me. Nothing good every happened to me involving Ass-guard, the less I have to deal you and your ilk, the better.” 

“You could swear upon the Ladies.” Suggested Volstagg.

 Yana looked upon them with a neutral expression, then replied. “A game of questions then, you three shall owe me an answer in kind. You ask a question and I shall answer truthfully to the best of my knowledge, if I answer at all, so I swear by the friendship I have with the Ladies. So in kind shall you answer my question with no deceit.” 

“Agreed.” Said the Warriors three. 

"But you must promptly ask your question.” Replied Volstagg. 

“Agreed.” Said she in reply. 

They had dogged a potential arrow, thought Volstagg. She could have reserved her question or questions for some future encounter and they would have been sworn to answer. Um… they are now sworn to answer upon the Ladies, the very instruments of fate, and by their own word and thought. 

This might not have been the brightest of ideas.  

 

Part 19c: Put to the question

 “Are you interfering with Heimdall in any way?” Was the first, and repeated, question from Volstagg. 

“No.” Was her simple answer. “I am in no way impeding Heimdall from seeing you or in sending the rainbow bridge to you. No action or deed of mine has caused this issue for you.”

An answer that both concerned them as to what then was the issue, and served notice that perhaps they needed to ask better questions. 

Her turn. “What did the all father say about me after I was cast forth from Asgard for daring to ask for aid? For healing?” 

And why you should be very careful about swearing upon the Ladies to answer questions to a hell lord was now manifest. 

“This was your intent all along!” Accused Valstagg. 

“I could claim that as yet another question, but I won’t.” Replied Yana with a frown. “The answer to that is no. As I said, Ass-guard does not concern me. This is just a road trip, an unexpectedly very fun road trip; must remember to thank Hank. Your presence here is not by my design nor plan. None of this is. You demanded answers and so I, a lowly demonic whore provides them. But I might as well ask a few questions for the sake of simple curiosity.” 

Fendra sighed to himself, and then took the initiative to attempt a more friendly exchange. “Yana, I offer sincere apologies for the prior insults that we uttered. They were crass and crude and were not gentlemanly. We were dismayed at our locality and jumped to incorrect assumptions and language.” 

Yana coldly looked at Volstagg and Hogan.

Volstagg likewise sighed to himself and spoke. “Likewise fair lady. I shall refrain from issuing such insults.” 

Hogan was not as apologetic. “And now we apologize to demons? What next? Fetching drinks for ice giants? Painting the toenails of the Enchantress? I for one shall speak as I wish to whom I wish.” 

Oddly his outburst did not apparently offend her. Yana replied with an expression of boredom. “Say what you mean as you meant it. False words of curtsy are not worth the breath used. But you still owe me an answer.” 

In that they did. After a brief huddle it fell upon Volstagg to answer. “The All Father felt that you would… that you would destroy yourself. A broken insane demon destined for not but self destruction. You were of no worth and that one does not treat a mad dog, one should instead put it down.” The final words were almost dragged from his lips, as if he had no choice in the telling. “That… you were not worth his bother or his mercy. Demons… deserved what they got.” 

No sign that his words hurt or outraged her. She simply waited patiently for the next question. A question that they wisely huddled upon before asking as each question did impose an obligation upon them. 

Hogan asked. “Why is Heimdall blocked from aiding or seeing us?” 

A better question then the first, Yana explained after concentrating for a few seconds. “We have moved in time. We are… one day before the time we left. Heimdall is not so much blocked as has no need to look, and realms such as this have discouragements that hinder even the gaze of Heimdall; and your attempts to contact. And no, I did not move us in time.” 

Well, that explained that. All the three needed to do was survive a day or so in Muspelheim before Heimdall might start searching for them. Of course much time might expire before Heimdall sought for them in Muspelheim a single day might stretch into… many days, or… or even longer. 

Yana presented her next question. “Why was a reborn Loki so much more… acceptable then I?” 

An interesting question. Asgardian’s were rather notorious for accepting even the most foulest of their brethren. And yet the answer in this case was obvious. Thor had vouched for the young Loki, and… and the whole demon thing involving her. 

Fendra answered. “You are what you are. Long has the golden realm fought those such as you. And your prior residence was one of… bloodshed and pain. The All Father was much dismayed to learn of it when he returned. He dislikes the lesser realms and such as you in particular.” 

Yana was not quite accepting. “Yes… Ass-gardians are most accepting of their own, regardless of the harm they do to others. Conflict and strife does describe you all quite well.” 

And now the three pondered if they should, or needed, to ask more queries of her. They had trapped themselves in a game of questions and each question put them into a debt that could yield a most unfortunate query into the secretes of Asgard as the Warriors three were privy to many concealed things. And this Yana was making them uncomfortable (something she was good at). But they decided that now they could use the oath to ask questions that the All Father would want answered. 

Are you an enemy of Asgard? A foe? Do you plot or wish our downfall?” Asked Volstagg, which was kind of three questions, but they were all about the same thing. 

"You ask for Odin so I shall answer for him, but you may not understand my answer in full as it is for his and not your ears. I am neither friend nor foe of the realms golden. The path that the all father wished me to walk has already produced its fruit, and bitter he thought it and regretted his choice. But that future is gone and the realms golden have no part in my plans going forth, for good or ill.”  

Her next question was to the point, and since they had asked a question of three parts, so did she. “Did any voice protest at the all father’s decision? Did any offer council against his choice? Was any voice raised in my behalf?” 

BEGIN FLASHBACK 

"She has left the city All Father”. Spoke Heimdall. 

The All Father (Odin) was cloistered with Heimdall and some of his closest advisers, as well as his son Thor. 

Teleported I assume.” Answered Odin. 

“No my liege. She walked. And then shook the dust from her feet at the city gates. Only then did she vanish.” The biblical reference was of course not noticed. 

“Good riddance either way. The threat she represents to… well.. everything cannot be overstated.”  

“In what way All Father?” Asked Volstagg. “She appears quite… harmed. Is what she seeks not within your means of granting?” 

Simple demonic trickery would be my guess.” Voiced Hogan, giving his opinion. The harm is false, but a guise. Since when do demons desire a soul?” 

Odin corrected Hogan. “Nay my good friend. To me only was she fully revealed, as I demanded. It… She was earnest about her harm and her mad hope. But power such that she wields is best destroyed for the good of all. She is unbalanced and damaged. And the stain of her evil runs deep. She will flounder and fail, such is the best for all. She is a fire that is destined to burn itself out, to reach out to aid it is to be caught in the blaze.” 

Heimdall pointed out that… “If she is such a threat then should she not instead be confined, or destroyed?” 

Odin replied. “Ordinarily yes, but… confining one such as her is folly if she does not in fact permit it. And destroying her… that would be… difficult in that Limbo itself does not permit such a thing to its ruler. She must either be overthrown as its queen, or end herself. And I have little doubt that her path is one of self ending.” 

Odin took a long swallow of ale, then continued. “I dislike such powers in the hands of any, but especially in debase creatures from the lower realms. Tis a shame in some ways, her human form is quite the comely wench.” 

Later… 

The child Loki (he was not at the private meeting) was to comment to Thor and Volstagg (over ale and cider, and yea Loki was the one with the cider) that… “Better to have encourage and rewarded the behavior one wishes for. But then, what do I know of being spat upon and treated with disdain? It continues to astonish me that those who plant weeds are surprised at the crop. But then again, father so has a way with people.” 

“Her very evil almost stained the stones upon which she stood Loki.” Corrected Thor. “That is no human child, demon is she.” 

Loki gave advice that Asgard would have well listened to. “And yet she wishes for a soul. Wishes to not be as she is. Nurture over nature brother. She is denied the one, do not cry in shock that she turns to the other. Hardly demonic to wish a soul I must point out, one should encourage such pursuits in those who lack one. Father thinks only of Asgard in this, as often is his wont.” 

“Then her true self is but revealed if that is the path she takes.” Was Thor’s opinion. 

“If one is always refused then taking the only path left should hardly be a surprise. That was a mistake brother. That and telling her that if she but desired to do good that she should end herself as fast a possible, and if not then take her demonic whore self elsewhere. That was crude of father. Yet… deep are sometimes the machinations of Odin, such words cannot but encourage her to take certain paths… perhaps that was his intent. A brier patch moment to put her upon the path that father secretly desired?”  

It was… but not from Odin. Subtle can be the Endless. 

END FLASHBACK 

The answer was simple. “Not but for one. Loki thought that more should have been done for you.” 

One more question was asked of her. Again something Odin would wish to know. 

“What is it you desire?” 

Her answer was clear to those who could understand. “The same as before. I wish to be what I was.” 

Yana tired of this game and used her next question to prompt its ending. “Are you going to sit here asking me questions all day? If so then I really must think of some disconcerting questions about Ass-guard defenses or some dark and supposed secret that I do not yet know, although I care but little for secrets that Ass-guard thinks hidden.” 

Volstagg responded after a brief huddle with the others. “No, this game of questions has come to an end.” 

Yana replied as she turned to go. “Inform Odin the next time you meet him that I dislike being called a wench, comely or otherwise; and the greater insults are not contusive as well. I have names, henceforth I ask that they be used.” 

A statement that answered an unasked question. One that showed that privacy of counsel might not be as private as Odin would wish against an “immature time witch of a whore, fit only to suffer and die” as he had called her absent her presence. Harsh words, and Odin was later to wonder at the severity of those words. It was almost as if he was forcing her onto a specific path; yet that was a path not of his choosing. 

Yana returned to where the crewmen were chatting and the grayness vanished. The crewmen acted as if Yana had been there all along. 

Well now what brothers?” Inquired Volstagg as he tossed the denuded turkey bone over his back. “What should our course of action be?” 

“She is a demon and cannot be trusted.” Was Hogan’s opinion. “We should strike out into the burning desert wasteland and find our own way.” 

Without food or water dear friend?” Inquired Fendra. “When ease of transportation is but at our feet?” 

I don’t apologize to demons. Nor do I care to ride with them.” Grunted Hogan. 

“I have never head of a demon in possession of an Odin stone, nor one who used such… might for such a mundane purpose.” Pointed out Fendra. “It calls into question our beliefs as to her character. I am reluctantly forced to muse that perhaps we may have been hastily in prior judgments of her.” 

“We know not how the one called Clarkson came to be injured.” Growled Hogan. “Causing the healing of one you have harmed is not quite a noble deed.” 

“Tis unknown at this time.” Commented Fendra. 

“And yet how better to kept track of her?” Spoke Volstagg. “The All Father would wish firsthand knowledge of her actions and deeds, regardless of her words. One who is not an enemy of the realms golden can still cause it harm.” 

Words that were both reasonable and wise, but lay in the belly like cold gruel. In the end they agreed that continuing with the automotive trio was for the best. 

Fendra summed it up. “None answer our calls and thus it falls to us to observe her for the sake of Asgard.”  

 

Part 19d: Discovered

 The mapping of a way out of the dune field was done so Hammond started to do a more general recon while May continue to fiddle with the HD camera. 

“What’s that blobby bit on the screen James? Looks like it has… tires” Asked Clarkson, pointing at a distant object on the monitor. 

“Don’t know, and it does look like tires.” Replied James. “Richard, can you get the drone closer?” 

The drone began to approach while James fiddled with the zoom controls. They became alarmed at what was shown. The blobby thing resolved to be a stationary monster dump truck that strip mines use, the ones that can haul almost two hundred tons of rock at a time (Caterpillar model 789 to be precise, the tires are twelve feet high). The vehicle had been altered from its original purpose. Thick battered armor platting covered the vehicle, along with skulls and flaming torches. The paint schema was no longer yellow, instead it was grungy dingy desert tan. And, the dump truck had an enormous spooler attached as well. Some rather enormous creatures, wearing bulky armor, were walking around the vehicle, Clarkson noted that they were as tall as the tires (ogres in fact). 

Surrounding the behemoth of a vehicle were various other smaller vehicles, all looking like hotrods from a Mad Max Remake. 

May expressed his concerns. “Bloody hell…” 

Clarkson did not think much of such trash. “Cars like that are usually owned by the sort of person who look at their sister and thinks, mmmmm.” 

Post apocalyptic white trash.” Sniffed Hammond. “Do like the spoiler though… Hold on, James what’s that?” 

May zoomed in a bit more after hitting the digital zoom, only to see a pixilated image of an individual holding something on their shoulder. There was a flash of light and then a boom in the sky as the drone was blown out of the sky from a shoulder launched rocket. The HD camera showed a spinning picture as the ground grew close and then the screen went black. 

May of course expressed his dismay in typical May fashion with a… “Oh cock!” 

Clarkson repeated one of his axioms in life as looked right into the camera. “Speed never killed anything. Suddenly becoming stationary, that’s what gets you every time.” 

Hammond pointed out that. “We need to move now! Before they cut us off from the… um… Cheeks of hell… the buttnecks of death… the bottomless crevasse of pain…. the gash of…” 

“Enough with the crude jokes Hammond.” Corrected Clarkson. “This is a family show… apart from the wanton mayhem that is.” 

May added his two pennies with a rather exasperated statement that hypothesized just how difficult it would be to pass a tank though the enflamed hemorrhoidal gates of hell. 

Clarkson was quite dismayed at the mental image. “Thank you for that most unpleasant of thoughts May.” 

Everybody suddenly got active. The drivers of the tank and assault vehicle started their vehicles with a throaty grumble while Clarkson fished for his keys. Everybody was about to break for their vehicles when Volstagg (the Warriors Three has wandered over) inquired, in a much less haughty voice then his prior venting. 

As we appear to be stranded… might we continue our prior transportation arrangements?”  

"That depends…” Replied May. 

“You were most adamant as to the unacceptable traveling arrangements…” Added Hammond. 

“Arrangements that have not changed…” Finished Clarkson. 

“I have no issues with their presence.” Commented Yana as she walked past. 

A statement that earned her a few quick stares. Then… “If Yana has no issues then I suppose we don’t?” Asked Clarkson of the group. 

Guess the kettles back on then.” Answered Hammond with a shrug.

"But that means… the fat one… the car will break in two!” Clarkson protested at the sudden realization. “At least make him ride upon the tank!” 

Much to Jeremy’s dismay, the prior driving allotments stood. With a heavy sigh Jeremy welcomed back Volstagg with a question. “Do you know how to use this?” He asked as he presented the sniper rifle to Volstagg. 

“Yea verily.” He replied as he cambered a round after first ripping off the trigger guard so his large finger could fit on the trigger. “Though this small rifle will be but a tap upon my shoulder, as if a small child had thrown an apple or a bird had landed upon me.”

 With that Volstagg climbed into the back of the car to the accompaniment of groans from not only the car, but from Jeremy as he witnessed the back tires sink into the sand. 

Fendra choose to ride atop the assault vehicle whereas May’s men at arms were protruding from their various hatches (graceful are the feet of Fendra stand upon such a steed). Likewise did Hogan as he stood up the pink brute tank and menacingly waved his manly weapon about (his mace that is). Hammond and May both protruded from their vehicle’s respective turrets. 

The tank and the assault vehicle gave forth smoky bellows while the Aston’s engine just gave forth a grumble of a purr of satisfaction. The tank went first, then the Aston spun the rear times for a few second, creating a fountain of sand, before gaining traction (much to Hammonds’ and May’s surprise) and following the tank at a distance of eighty feet or so. Last was the assault vehicle.

 May radios. “I call cheating! There is no way the Aston should be able to proceed!” 

Clarkson radios. “Pick better next time May. Just call it Magik and deal with it.” 

Hammond radios. “If your car starts flying I shall be forced to shoot you down!” 

May radios. “Here here! That would serve the cheating pratt!” 

Then… “Time for an appropriate sound track.” Announced Clarkson as he hit a button on his IPod. The song Take me home country road (lyrics by John Deven) but sung by Shelsey Jarvis, poured forth from the car speakers. Author’s note, I slightly changed the lyrics (added one word and changed one word). 

Why this song? Well… Clarkson really wanted to get the out of hell out of hell as it were, but in a nice way. Shelsey Jarvis sang a light and sweet rendition of the song, yet somewhat flavored with the sense of longing. 

Almost heaven, West Virginia

Blue Ridge Mountains

Shenandoah River ,

Life is old there

Older than the trees

Younger than the mountains

Blowin' like the breeze  

 

[Chorus]

Country roads, take me home

To the place I once belonged

West Virginia , mountain momma

Take me home, country roads

All my memories gathered 'round her

Miner's lady, stranger to blue water

Dark and dusty, painted on the sky

Misty taste of moonshine

Teardrops in my eye  

 

[Chorus]

I hear her voice

In the mornin' hour she calls me

The radio reminds me of my home far away

And drivin' down the road I get a feelin'

 

 

Yana had at first just listened as she cambered a round in her 9mm, clicked the safety on, then briefly, very briefly, there was a different look in her eyes, as if she but for a moment reflected on pleasant memories of… ?home? and a sudden trickle of feelings. 

Of escaping Limbo and meeting her brother after seven years had passed for her and but an instant for him. Embraces and love from him, even though she was so changed. 

Pillow fight with Kitty while the little dragon Lockheed dive bombed them (little stinker). 

Lazy summer day playing a baseball game with the X-Man, Logan hitting a high flyer that Rogue then caught. 

Movie night in the living room, with the New Mutants, the smell and taste of hot buttered popcorn and pizza. 

Danger room practice session, giggling about shoving an apple into Bobby’s mouth as he was currently wrapped up in chains. Silly silly boy.

On running in the savanna of the cradle, sweet exertion and the pleasure of the hunt, with, Cat by her… 

cat… 

Cat?… 

Cat!…

 CAT…! 

Sudden crash as all memories and feelings flee, shutdown in an internal snarl of pain at what she is, what she has lost. At what was NOT allowed. 

"Jeremy… could you play a different song.” Had been her quiet request. “I disliked this one, bad… it reminds of things I do not wish to recall.” 

Jeremy fumbled with his IPod one handed as he steered with the other, then gave up and gave it to her. “You pick Yana.” 

She did and light country changed to heavy metal. It was Highway to Hell by AC/DC. Yea… rather appropriate one supposes. Jeremy sighed to himself as this was exactly the song he had been trying not to play, likely it foretold much unwanted excitement to come. 

S peed limit

Nobody's gonna slow me down

Like a wheel

Gonna spin it

Nobody's gonna mess me around

Hey, Satan

Payin' my dues

Playin' in a rockin' band

Hey, mamma

Look at me

I'm on the way to the promised land  

 

I'm on the highway to hell

Highway to hell


I'm on the highway to hell

Highway to hell

 

 

Yana of course started trashing her head up and down, hair a flinging about, as if dancing in a mosh pit. Surprisingly Volstagg did as well (few knew of this secret fetish of his, and his enjoyment of dressing up as a KISS band member for KISS concerts). 

The little convoy sped off at a blinding twenty five miles per hour into the depressions between the dunes. Speedy it wasn’t. 

At least for now.

Chapter Text

Part 20a: Grunts and other discussions

 

Meanwhile a few minutes prior.

 

Grunt…

 

Grunt grunt…

 

Grunnnnttttt…

 

Such is the eloquent statements of bored ogres.

 

Another ogre then grunted what was apparently an insulting type of grunt (it’s all in the emphases of the grunt). This resulted in two grunting ogres engaging in fisticuffs, which at one point involved a small goblin that had ventured too close to the fracas, as one ogre seized the goblin and proceeded to beat the other ogre over the head with the rapidly disintegrating body of the screaming goblin. The bludgeoning ogre then looked with dismay upon the now headless goblin corpse, which caused the other ogre to laugh; this laughter prompted the assaulting ogre to likewise laugh and the fight was over for now.

 

General Kgggknik, demon name, grumbled to himself in a horrendous German accent. “Da troops, das getting restless.”

 

General Kgggknik (a self proclaimed promotion from his prior self proclaimed rank of Major), was a big demon who had a major Nazi clothing theme going on; he was in a Nazi SS uniform but had one of those spiky helmets on with the SS death head symbol on it, and he had a monocle that he squinted through.

 

His mixed mercenary company (ogres, goblins, demons, a few zombies attached to catapults in the back of trucks to be flung upon folks), had been hired to ambush and kill some humans.

 

Very very late humans, as in over two days late.

 

And bored troops are unhappy troops.

 

“Vun more day… then dat is it!” Spoke Kgggknik to his driver and to his machine gunner (both goblins by the name of Nik and Kik); they had all been watching the ogres fight. They were likewise dressed as Nazi SS solders.

 

Kik (the gunner) took a long pull on his beer (Coors if you want to know… it is a hell after all). “Odd job sir, if you don’t mind my saying.”

 

“Pays good.” Rebutted Nik (the driver), the two would never publicly agree about anything.

 

Kik stuck to his theme. “But odd. Wonder why the white guy wants dem dead?”

 

Nik of course had to disagree. “Who cares why he wants them… what’s dat?” He points in the air to a remote speck that is flying closer (the drone).

 

Kgggknik raises a pair of binoculars and examines the approaching dot and bellowed at what he observed. Drone! Kell it Kik!” As he then started to bellow orders at the others.

 

Now that was an order Kik loved to hear. He ran back to the general’s vehicle, which was a dune bugy with a throne on the back and a machinegun in the front passenger seat, and drew forth a shoulder launched anti-aircraft missile. He aimed, got tone lock-on, and launched.

 

BOOM! Scratch one drone.

 

Meanwhile the General was rallying the troops. “Das Here! Mount up!”

 

Grunts and roars and the assembled motley band of mercenaries gave forth their various war cries and broke into a run towards their vehicles whereas the ogres climbed onto two converted mining truck turned armored assault vehicles.

 

The horde, which was it’s name by the way, was composed of the two assault dump trucks, many dune buggy like vehicles, various flat bed trucks as well as pickup trucks, some supply lories being left behind guarded by some goblins, and what looks to be a pimped out Russian T-72 tank (the chrome rims was the least of the abominations done to it). Many of the vehicles had machine guns attached, as well as tattered armor, old blood, spikes with decaying heads, large flaming mufflers, and other such attunements. It was like some Hollywood set designer had been given task to the following description (I want Mad Max merged with some Lord of the Rings Orcs and Sauron stuff, black and red paint, spikes with heads and guns. Oh, and put some spikes on the guns as well to give them a medieval look).

 

The vehicle engines started with grumbles, roars, and flaming discharges depending on the type of engine, and on whatever extras had been added.

 

The general yelled a brief speech as the vehicles began to move.

 

“Kell dem! Kell the humans! Kill da godlings! Kel dem ALL! But most of all… Kell the trio of humans known as Top Gear!”

 

Funny, no mention was made of any female who might be with the group.

 

 

Part 20b: Prelude to “And then it went a bit off”

 

Once again Clarkson was driving behind Hammond and his tank. Diesel exhaust and sandy spray was once again his lot… well at least the diesel fumes and smoke, for some reason the sand, dust, and bits of rock just kept missing the Aston; but left May tying a bandana around his face to cut down on the dust (his upper torso was protruding from the turret hatch); a dusty problem that those in the Aston were not experiencing, unbeknownst to him.

 

The little convoy was driving down one of the little canyons, and the Aston was having no issues at all driving over terrain that cars like the Aston should be incapable of traversing, much to the continuing annoyance of May.

 

As they drove, Fendra, who was standing behind the assault vehicles turret with the footing assurance that only a godling or an elf can have, made an inquiry of James.

 

“When, if I might inquire, did the fair damsel join your expedition?”

 

May replied after a dusty cough. “When we first started, she arrived with Clarkson. We all had a choice as to traveling companions and that Prat apparently choose better. Apparently she’s a friend of a friend of ours so she comes well recommended.”

 

Fendra put it delicately. “Even though she is… well… not quite human.”

 

“You mean a demon!” Shouts one of the solders behind Fendra. They each have their hatch open and are facing outward with their rifles. “Shit dude, that describes half of our planet.”

 

Fendra turns and inquiries as to their meaning.

 

Another solder opines while scanning the landscape. “She’s a woman ain’t she?”

 

A third solder adds his input. “Capricious, crazy, think of a man and removed accountability and rational thought.”

 

Then all the solders gave for their opinions. “Evil, just plain evil. Never admit that they’re wrong. Stab you in the back in a second. And it’s always your fault. Make your life hell if you forget some arbitrary anniversary date. Get mad at ya, but refuse to say why they’re upset. Simple fact my friend, all woman are demons. Can’t live with them half the time, but can’t live without them.”

 

Fendra tried to correct their impression. “I believe a more literal interpretation of the word was meant my friends.”

 

Which the solders rejected. “Bugger that. She looks fantastic in a bikini, not to mention what she’s wearing now. Did you see her ass, like… wow! And not afraid to get her hands dirty. All women are demons, just some of them are more obvious about it.”

 

Comments that just left a somewhat flummoxed Fendra.

 

A more terse discussion had also taken place on Hammond’s tank, with a similar conclusion (she’s hot!). Which also left Hogan puzzled (he was likewise riding on top of the tank). Demons do not tend to invoke such… responses.

 

Meanwhile…

 

Volstagg observed the tenseness of Yana. Some people can communicate that you are in the doghouse just by how they sit. And Yana was communicating very distinctly. Volstagg gleamed from her posture that:

 

She disliked him.

She disliked all of the Warrior’s Three.

She was offended by them.

And Clarkson was in the clear, you could also read from Clarkson’s body language that he somehow knew that and wanted that pleasant state of affairs to continue. Clarkson was rather pleased that for once there was a pissed off woman in his car and he was not the man responsible for the female annoyances (a not uncommon issue for Clarkson).

 

Volstagg attempted some light dialog as the convoy turned right at the medusa statue with massive cleavage.   “So Yana… I never asked… Zounds that is a massive display of breasts! And three at that!”

 

Ok, not the best way to open a conversation with a woman. Volstagg began again. “How didst thou join this party? Did the mysterious producers hire you?”

 

“No.”

 

“I take it you have sojourned with these knaves the entirety of their journey?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“What was your favorite part if I might inquire?”

 

“Killing.”

 

“Oh… um… any hoped for plans?”

 

“Killing more things… godlings one hopes.” Which resulted in a muffled grunt of a chuckle from Clarkson.

 

Ok… the conversation was not going well. Volstagg tried again.

 

“We did offer apologies for our prior words.”

 

Yana was not having any of that. “Such words… mean nothing if they cost nothing.”

 

Yep… definite dog house. And that sense of evil and the desire for blood and pain was growing again. This time Volstagg made a comment upon the air of evil that he felt.

 

“It does not help that you exclude such malice and ill intentions.”

 

Which only prompted a dismissal from Yana. “Pffffff”.

 

Clarkson clarified for Volstagg. “Mate, I think you’re sensing the car alarm.”

 

“The what?!”

 

“Car alarm… the thing that makes noise to annoy the neighbors when a juvenile delinquent is stealing or breaking into your car. But in this case the car alarm is a purple demon that murders you, and I think eats the body as well; rather tidy, wonder if there is a market for such devices, but… likely some EU regulation against it. All in all I have to say I approve of the chap.”

 

“So… the sense of evil is not… from Yana?”

 

A question that did not merit a reply, only a kind of growl from Yana as Jeremy turned right again.

 

At that point the canyon walls fell away and the Ass of Hell could be seen in the distance, in all its Kardashian glory.

 

Hammond radios as the tank veers to the right: “I am stunned by its shear size.”

 

Clarkson radios as the Aston takes the center: “Almost as big as an actual Kardashian derriere.”

 

Volstagg bellows. “Zounds! The twin peaks yonder represent a goal worth climbing in one’s youth and impaling it most vigorously with one’s… flag.”

 

May radios as the assault vehicle takes the left. “CLARKSON! How the blazes are you not covered in dust!”

 

Ahead, and off to the far right, there is a dust trail of the before mentions demon forces as they drove to intercept and block our intrepid band.

 

 

Part 20c: And then it went a bit off (why does that always happen?)

 

May looks through a pair of binoculars at the distance foe. Then radios: “What’s demonic for oh cock?”

 

Yana briefly takes the mike from Jeremy and radios: “In Cthuvian it’s ‘Oh umkhwenkwe’.” As she stands in the car and likewise examines the trail of dust off to the right.

 

May radios: “Oh umkhwenkwe!”

 

Clarkson radios: “We need to go faster! Hammond! Speed it up you lollygagging rodent!”

 

Hammond radios: “Do you ever stop complaining!? We’re already doing forty five miles per hour! Well… time for another one of the little enhancements I made. Hein, hit the nitro!”

 

Clarkson and May both mutter “Nitro?” While Yana shrugs her shoulders as Volstagg gives her a questioning glance?

 

The pink tank shudders and gives out a roar of power as a massive blast of flaming exhaust vents out the rear of the tank. Apparently the tank’s horsepower has just increased from 1200 horsepower to over 2400+. Way over 2400+.

 

Hammond had an expression of utter glee as the tank goes from forty five MPH to over ninety plus, while leaving a massive rooster tail of sand and flaming black smoke in its wake. He leaves May and Clarkson in his smoky dust as he radios…

 

“POOOOOWWWWWWEEEEERRRRRR!”

 

Yana looks like she’s forgotten to be upset with the Ass-gardians as she’s suddenly grinning. Clarkson and May’s vehicles quickly catch up with the exhilarated Hammond.

 

May radios: “Hammond, you mad fool! Did you actually install a nitrous oxide system on the tank?!”

 

Hammond is grinning like a maniac as he radios: “HA HA HA HA! POWER!”

 

Clarkson radios. “I think that’s an affirmative May. Hammond that’s brilliant! My hat would be off to you if I was wearing one! The spoiler at the back makes sense now, but stop stealing my line!”

 

May radios: “Brilliant? It’s taking years off of that engine’s life! Not to mention the other automotive components!”

 

Hammond radios yet again: “POWER!”

 

Technical side note for those who don’t know what it means to equip your vehicle with nitrous oxide. When you heat nitrous oxide to about 570 degrees F (~300 C), it splits into oxygen and nitrogen. So the injection of nitrous oxide into an engine means that more oxygen is available for combustion. Because you have more oxygen, you can also inject more fuel, allowing the same engine to produce more power. A great deal more power in this case. And of course all the power, heat, and pressure greatly increases the stresses on the engine and all other automotive components.

 

Clarkson turns to the camera and states. “Hammond’s tank is now likely the fastest tank in history. It’s very fast and very, very loud. I suppose that in the corners it will get its tail out more readily than George Michael.” A statement that actually makes Yana giggle (George Michael wrote an angry letter of complaint upon the airing of the episode but nobody cared).

 

Clarkson continues. “Little known fact. Ferdinand Porsche designed not only the original Volkswagen Beetle, but also created designs for heavy tanks such as the Tiger and Tiger II. Hammond has now married heavy tank construction with America dragsters. Either utter brilliant, or he will shortly explode. Either way, most entertaining to observe. Oh, and if he explodes, and you wish to be a presenter on Top Gear, please write the BBC and send in a demo tape.”

 

Mean… General Kgggknik shouts in delight at the sudden increase in speed of the prey, and the rather dramatic tank exhaust. “Loks like ve have a real chase boys! Light dit up!”

 

The demon horde vehicles likewise start bellowing even more flaming exhaust as they increase their speed as well. But the sudden burst of speed by Top Gear means that they will have to come from behind instead of intercepting from the side.

 

“Ve need toons!” The General bellows, then he radios. “GZkkKickStbn, make our guests sing!”

 

One of the vehicles in the demonic convoy is a flat bed truck with the cab mounted in reverse, looked like D===. The transmission is likewise reversed. On the flat bed is a rock and roll band, drums and all, with massive speakers mounted on the top of the truck cab and a sandbagged machine gun nest at the front. The band members are chained to the truck bed and appear to be rather old in that they look like they’re in their sixties.

 

“SING!” Commands a voice from the cab over a small bullhorn. The band members begin to play the song Rock you Like a Hurricane 2000. A Scorpions song, but in this case it is the actual Scorpions band (they’ve kind of been kidnapped and would later fire their booking manager after this little escapade).

 

The Mad Max like horde cuts in behind our fleeing heroes. We cut to an over head drone shot of the speeding Top Gear vehicles, they pass beneath us, then we see the approaching horde of twisted and demented vehicles as the song thunders forth:

 

It's early morning

The sun comes out

Last night was shaking

And pretty loud

My cat is purring

And scratches my skin

So what is wrong

With another sin!

 

The bitch is hungry

She needs to tell

So give her inches

And feed her well

More days to come

New places to go

I've got to leave

It's time for a show!

 

Here I am, rock you like a hurricane!

Here I am, rock you like a hurricane!

 

My body is burning

It starts to shout

Desire is coming

It breaks out loud

Lust is in cages

Till storm breaks loose

Just have to make it

With someone I choose

 

The night is calling

I have to go

The wolf is hungry

He runs the show

He's licking his lips

He's ready to win

On the hunt tonight

For love at first sting!

 

Here I am, rock you like a hurricane Baby

 

Then a guitar solo blazes across the desert.

 

 

Part 20d: Rock you like a hurricane

 

The song, and the sound of the actual voices, appear to stun all the Top Gear presenters while Yana turns around in her seat and looks at the approaching foe with some puzzlement.

 

Richard groans and then radios: “Why can’t it be Genesis? Then it would be so easy… just a high explosive round right up their backsides. That’s all I want… nothing else. Is that too much to ask for!?”

 

Clarkson radios: “Yes Hamster… your distain for Genesis is well known.”

 

May radios: “But this is the bloody Scorpions! I loved that band in my youth, even though my Mum hated them.”

 

Hammond radios: “We all loved that band, and all of our Mums hated them.”

 

Clarkson radios: “Then it’s decided.”

 

May radios: “Three ways split?”

 

Richard radios: “I’ll take the right.”

 

May radios: “I’ll take the left.”

 

Clarkson radios: “Then it’s right up the backside for the Aston! Top Gear International Rescue is in action once again!”

 

Both the tank and the assault vehicle fire off smoke grenades in dramatic slow motion. They loft high, trailing white smoke, and then land behind the fleeing trio and the resulting smoke cloud hides them from their pursuers. The pink tank peals off slightly to the right as the silver assault vehicle turns slightly to the left. Both have trails of dust behind them.

 

May radios: “My God Hammond, I’ve never seen a tank drift before!”

 

The Aston continues forwards as it takes some time for the others to turn. Then Clarkson looks into the camera and the toggles the mike: “Let’s do this!”

 

He swerves the steering wheel and the car goes into a dusty slide, vanishing into the cloud of dust that the slide has raised, while Volstagg is holding onto his hat and bellowing “ZOUNDS!” Yana has a grin of enjoyment on her face that is just unnerving to see.

 

Behind them, the pursing horde’s leader, the one sitting in on the throne on the back of his dune buggy, scowls as he observes the smoke cloud, then he grins. He continues to speak in a guttural German sounding accent “Dais is fleeing, dais panic!”

 

He then sees the vanished vehicles emerge from the clouds of smoke dust, but now they are driving towards their pursuers instead of fleeing. “Vat? Are dais crazy?”

 

Hogun is standing atop the pink tank grasping a radio anemia in his left hand while holding onto his mightily mace in his right hand, there is a look of grim determination in his eyes. Fendra is likewise atop the silver assault vehicle, sword in hand, laughing in mirth at the sudden reversal. Volstagg remains seated, but now he wields the Accuracy International L115A sniper rifle. Yana is standing in her seat and again she is wielding a sword that burns with a silver fire, she is also now covered in silver armor, and her expression is one of fiendish delight.

 

The general is amused and roars out his mirth. “Dais can’t harm us! Our magical shields block der arms!”

 

The tank fires a round and… one of the demonic vehicles vanishes in an explosion of fire as the wheels fly out of the burning cloud of debris.

 

“VOTS DIS?” Screams the demon general as he observes the unexpected destruction.

 

Begin Brief Video Flashback from one days ago

 

We see Yana inside the tank turret as gunner Bill is giving Yana a tour, Bill explains… “So this is the main gain Yana.”

 

She looks suitably impressed at the back end of a 120mm cannon. She looks though the gun sight, helps load a round, then helps unload it. Plays with the machine guns, and the other armaments. She looks like she’s having fun, and of course the tour allows her to touch everything in the tank.

 

Likewise the same for the assault vehicle later in the day.

 

End Brief Video Flashback

 

The General whips out a pair of binoculars and focuses on the car, and he sees Yana with the burning sword. For some reason he suddenly loses the German accent. “By the hells below, I know that sword, that’s…” He then notices that Volstagg’s gun barrel is aimed right at him, just in time to see a burst of flame erupt from the gun as he bemoans “Oh umkhwenkwe!”

 

There is a wet sound as the back of his head explodes and he tumbles off the side of his vehicle, much to the panic of his driver and machine gunner.

 

Then the assault vehicle also opens fires with the 20mm Gatling with a blazing tongue of fire. The rounds quickly shred two additional vehicles as their gas tanks explode as well.

 

Clarkson radios: “Queue the music!”

 

Which somehow prompts the chained and imprisoned Scorpions to launch into a new song (even though they obviously can’t possible hear Clarkson… can they?). They launch into Big City Nights while tracer rounds erupt from the machine gun nest at the front of their vehicle.

 

When the daylight is falling down into the night

And the sharks try to cut a big piece out of life

It feels alright to go out to catch an outrageous thrill

But it's more like spinning wheels of fortune

Which never stand still

 

Big city, big city nights!     (explosions all round)

You keep me burning

Big city, big city nights!     (more explosions with big fireballs)

 

When the sunlight is rising up in my eyes

And the long night has left me back at somebody's side

It feels alright for a long sweet minute like hours before

But it's more like looking out for something

I can't find anymore

 

Big city, big city nights!   (exploding car in the background)

You keep me burning    

Big city, big city nights

Always yearning

 

 

Part 20e: Fun Yana style

 

Pandemonium erupts as all the vehicles start swerving every which way as the Top Gear vehicles dive into their ranks. Dust, smoke, tracer rounds, flames and explosions fill the air. The tank fires a round at the giant armored dump truck only to have it bounce off do to the extremely thick armor.

 

Clarkson drives past the band’s backwards flatbed and Yana leaps from the car to do a tumbling roll onto the truck’s bed, she eviscerates the two machine gunners the process. She then hacks apart the chains that bind the Scorpion’s band members while slaying some additional guards (and dousing the band members in blood).

 

Hogan likewise leaps high into the air from the tank as it blasts past an Ogre assault dump truck. He lands in the armored dump box (no roof) amidst the ogres (much mayhem commences).

 

After another blazing burst of 20mm fire that just shreds a pickup trunk, then the assault vehicle pulls up next to the converted flat bed trunk holding the Scorpions. Several solders leap onto the truck. One demon leaps from the truck cab onto the assault vehicle only to be swatted off by Fendra with a swing of his sword, who then likewise leaps upon the truck. A brief struggle takes place before the solders succeed in taking over the cab and ejecting all of the remaining occupants.

 

A giant crossbow bolt, fired from a second ogre assault vehicle, clangs off the tank’s turret, leaving a dent, a long scratch, and rips off a small search light.

 

Richard radios: “Bastards just keyed my vehicle! Time to try out the hypervelocity frangible missile thingies.”

 

Richard pulls out some kind of odd handgun shaped aiming device from the tank’s interior, a cable at the base of the device leads back into the tank. He points the device at the second ogre dump truck and a steady tone is now heard (locked on). The missile box rotates and aims on the ogres.

 

May radios: “Richard, do you even know what the word frangible means? Or what Hypervelocity implies?”

 

Richard radios: “Don’t know, don’t care. Eat this Oggie!”

 

Four missiles ripple fire one after another, not with a whoosh but with a sonic boom and a streak of light that almost looks like some kind of Star Wars blaster bolt. The side of the armored mining dump truck bursts like an overripe melon hit with a steel baseball bat in a massive explosion of steel and ogre bits. The force knocks the vehicle right onto its side, where it proceeds to tumble as the fuel then goes up in a smoky burning explosion.

 

The battle rages on…

 

Hogan takes control of the other ogre assault vehicle, and belatedly discovers that all the ogre are female (the other ogre assault vehicle had the, now dead, males). To his horror they later decide that he’s cute in a grumpy baby kind of way.

 

A round bounces off of the armored assault vehicle, leaving a large dent. A round that would have shredded the vehicle if not for its Yana provided silver armor. The assault vehicle fires off a TOW missile in retaliation and the single tank that the mercenary have is now burning.

 

Clarkson keeps making his squinty face as he drives the car like a maniac whilst Volstagg continues to aim and fire the sniper rifle, one shot takes out a goblin that is about to stab Yana from behind. At one point Clarkson is even with a Toyota truck filled with goblins. Clarkson empties his Barrette 9mm pistol into the driver, causing the truck to wobble and then overturn, but not before a goblin leaps onto the truck of the Aston, only to have Volstagg seize the goblin and hurl him into the windscreen of an oncoming

dune buggy that then promptly crashes.

 

Several fleeing vehicles drive over a cliff that had not been noticed before and promptly explode in mid air (just like they always do in Hollywood films, you’d think Detroit would fix this obvious safety flaw).

 

Hammond’s tank tailgates a slower dune buggy, and then crushes it while firing the main gun at yet again another target.

 

Clarkson swerving while giving a driving review. “… But is it good on the battlefield? Sadly the answer is no. While the Aston is a wonderful vehicle for everyday driving, and event the impassioned race, it comes up lacking in a sustained fire fight…” He drives up to a truck and tosses in a hand grenade. “However it is an excellent platform for throwing grenades.”

 

Snippet of Yana in the machine gun nest firing the machine gun like a madwoman.

 

Clarkson firing an AK-47 one handed, which is promptly wrenched out of his hands by the recoil and tumbles into the desert.

 

Hammond’s tank drives up behind a military five ton truck that has a tarp on a frame covering the truck bed. In the truck are a large number of goblin grunts. The tank thrusts in the end of the man gun into the tarp covered back and fires an anti personnel round (round packed with mini balls, think of it as a shot gun round for pterodactyls).

 

A fleeing truck being pursued by the silver assault vehicle, a goblin is on the radio screaming… “He’s on me tight! I can’t shake him!” Then we cut to May where we find him calmly lecturing about the merits of the .50 cal machine gun vs. .30 cal “… It’s all about kinetic equations, mass times velocity squared. And with the Ma Duce you get the benefits of both as you have a high speed heavy projectile as I shall now demonstrate. Notice how the rounds rip apart yonder truck, and since every third round is a tracer we get the added bonus of igniting the ruptured system…”

 

Fires blazing…

Smoke bellowing…

Explosions…

Tracer rounds every which way…

 

In the end, we have the surrendered Ogre females, and a landscape of burning wreckage.

 

All and all… a fun bit of trouble according to Yana.

 

 

Part 20f: Cut two weeks later in a London Pub

 

Clarkson, May, and Hammond are in a small Pub. Yana is there as well with Hank (the big blue beastie X-Man fellow). Clarkson is just now recounting the battle.

 

“And that’s when I called in the B-52 strike!”

 

May scoffs over his beer. “You did no such thing.”

 

While Hammond points out that. “We didn’t have any B-52s Jeremy.”

 

Clarkson gestures with his pint glass. “Baaaah, we did in Afghanistan, accuracy in story retelling is the mark of the small minded Hammond.”

 

May replies… “But it didn’t happened that way Jeremy.” Which earns him a frustrated look from Clarkson, then he starts again.

 

“Ok… so I lined up the A-10’s 30mm cannon and let loose with a mighty blast of death and destruction from above. Say what you want about American car’s, they really know their tuff when it comes to instruments of death.”

 

Again Hammond pointed out that. “And again a big no on the A-10. You had a 9mm Berretta Jeremy, and an AK-47 that you stupidly dropped out of the car when you tried to shoot it one handed like the idiot you are.”

 

“Which you promptly drove over with that pink tank of yours!”

 

“That was an accident! We were a bit busy at the time.”

 

May snidely comments that… “Sounding a bit phallic there. An A-10 pilot straddles the gun so… are you saying that your cannon is only 30mm? And that you let loose with a… might load?”

 

A joke that resulted in Hank guffing and spilling his beer, some beer even came out his nose while a fake outraged Jeremy starts gesturing as to just how big his cannon really was.

 

Hank wipes the beery snot from his face and asks. “So… how did you end up assaulting the gates of hell?”

 

Hammond answers after a long swig of beer. “You mean the arse of hell. We used the surviving armored dump truck.”

 

At this point Clarkson shows Hank a photo that is on Clarkson’s cell phone. Hank looks horrified while May points out… “Yana made a comment that rather inspired Hammond to name the beastie.”

 

May then shares the name, but you can’t hear it. Hank collapses in a total laughing fit while Clarkson comments… “I suspect we shall soon see a new version of the BBC ‘So you want to say something naughty on the telly’, version 98 I believe. I suppose Caterpillar may be raising a complaint or two.”

 

May helpful points out… “We strapped some JATOs to it.” Which causes Hank to laugh ever louder while begging for mercy.

 

It was a good post adventure get-together. Hank was pleased to find Illyana, or Yana in this case, more sociable; but, as one of her therapists, was rather concerned about the context of her social interaction.

 

What was the picture that Jeremy showed, and what was the name? Stay tuned and find out on the next chapter of Top Gear X!

Chapter Text

Part 21a: Post apocalyptic blues

 

We see the desert landscape littered with scattered burning vehicles, as we pan across one of the vehicles flares up as a gas can ruptures in a dramatic burst of fire resulting in some metal fragments being flung into the air.

 

Then we switch to an aerial shot from above as we glide over the battle field, we see that the Top Gear vehicles are now parked by the flat bed truck that the Scorpion’s had been chained to. The band is now standing next to the truck with the presenters.

 

The ogresses are standing off to the side with Hogan standing guard while he ominously fondles his mightily mace… um… not his… um… you know, his weapon, not his… um… Moving right along.

 

The camera switches back to panning around the landscape as we hear the voice of Jeremy Clarkson narrating a voice over. “The dry dusty landscape burned with the vehicles of the fallen. Yes, we were triumphant but… what now? Trapped in this burning wasteland we…”

 

Klaus Meine (vocalist for the band) interrupts Clarkson’s voice over and the camera returns to our heroes. “What now is that you send us home! We want out of this hell hole!”

 

The three Top Gear announcers look at each other with questioning glances. Clarkson glances at Yana, who again in that spandex body suit instead of the silver armor, but she looks uninterested in the plight of the band so Clarkson made no mention as to her ability to teleport (an ability as yet unbeknownst to the other two presenters.)

 

May replies with an apologetic shrug. “We don’t know how.”

 

“What do you mean you don’t know how? How the hell did you get here then?” Asks a belligerent Rudolf Schenker (rhythm guitar player). Keep in mind that the band members are sunburned, covered in dried blood from those Yana slew (for some reason Yana didn’t have any blood on her), and they had been chained up for several days while forced to play upon demand.

 

“We’re on an interdimensional road trip but we don’t control the portals mate, and dial down the attitude.” Counters Hammond as he then inquires. “How in the blazes did you lot end up here?”

 

Matthias Jabs (lead guitar) answers. “A booking gig that went massively wrong, our agent is so fired when we get back.”

 

Francis Buchholz (bass guitar) moans at the injustice of it all. “Damn it. I thought this nightmare was over and it was going to be time for schnitzel, brots, brews, and broad.” Not necessarily in that order one must add.

 

“Instead we’re still stuck here.” Grumbled Herman Rarebell (drums). He the hopefully asked. “Do you at least have any beer?”

 

Clarkson’s regretful no triggers another round of loud complaining from the band. Call it a prolonged bout of vocal distress about everything in general. The presenters just look at each other then slowly back away from the complaining rock and roll Prima Donnas while Yana just observers the rocker meltdown with what is obvious amusement.

 

Clarkson whispers to May and Hammond as they retreated. “Ungrateful lot.”

 

May is somewhat sympathetic to their plight. “Give them a few minutes to calm down. Likely more then a bit of PTS. After all, most celebrities are not accustomed to such hardships. Remember how most panic upon seeing our green room back at the studio. Say… we are off to a county fair and such events have such cuisine, apart from the schnitzel that is, perhaps the chaps could find a gig there.”

 

Hammond whispers. “And they are German, and you know who Germans get.”

 

Clarkson replies back. “One bad sausage and it’s time to invade France again. Um… What’s wrong with the green room? It has M&Ms and we clean it at least once a year, or so I think.”

 

Hammond chuckles and reminds his follows about the time one guest found a box of the STIGs underwear behind the couch, still unopened as the STIG went commando.

 

Our now chuckling trio leave the band and wander over to Hammond’s parked, but still running, pink monstrosity of a tank (the tank crew was on guard duty as it were, likewise May’s assault vehicle crew).

 

May and Hammond climb onto the back of the tank (Clarkson just stood below and shouted questions). They open the engine access panels after first unbolting and folding away spoiler. We now behold the diesel engine, modified with a nitro injection system that Hammond helpfully points out, looking quite pristine, undamaged, and rumbling like a happy cat (a very big cat one would say).

 

“How the blazes is this thing even still running?” Mused May. “It should have melted after what you just got done doing to it.”

 

Hammond points out that the engine was… “Purring like a kitten.” Although privately he was also amazed.

 

May remained focused. “Yes Hammond, I can see and hear that but… it shouldn’t be. The engine seals should have blown, the block should have cracked, the cooling system should have vaporized, the transmission should have disintegrated, and exhaust system should have melted. But everything looks jolly good, which makes no sense. How fast did you end up going?”

 

A shrug from Richard. “Don’t really know, the speedometer rather maxed out.”

 

May pulls out an oil dipstick from the diesel engine. “And the oil not only does not need topping off, it looks brand new?”

 

May’s statement likewise puzzles Hammond. “That is… a bit odd. I’ll have the boys go over her workings in a bit.”

 

They close up the tank’s engine compartment, jump down (well Richard jumps down, May climbs down) and the trio wander over to May’s silver assault vehicle and inspect the dent that the other tank’s round had left. All three look puzzled.

 

“You should be dead James.” States Clarkson with no humor at all.

 

“That’s a solid hit May.” Adds Hammond. “Armor piercing round. Should have opened your vehicle up like a can opener. That silver armor saved you and yours.”

 

May likewise agrees. ”Think the chaps and I owe Yana a thank you. Any suggestions Jeremy?”

 

Jeremy had a ready answer. “Chocolate, the good stuff, dark and expense. And no milk chocolate, she’s quite yuck on milk chocolate and coffee.”

 

The trio are still puzzling over the dent when Fendra and Volstagg coming towards them (they had been interrogating the prisoners with Hogan). Fendra proclaims while pointing off in the left direction. “The prisoners say that there are some supply vehicles about ten miles that way.”

 

A quick confab concludes that May will drive off with his troops, along with Fendra and Hogan, to examine and retrieve the vehicles while Richard and his tank will stand guard over the ogresses. The band members complaining can still be heard, but now they have moved on to bitching about the lack of cell phone service and French driving habits.

 

Richard muses to Clarkson while May drives off. “Still thinking of getting a band for the studio?”

 

Clarkson was most definitive in his reply. “Not if they’re going to complain like that lot. If I want more complaining I’d just listen to the conference calls from the BBC execs complaining about us instead of hitting mute.”

 

Richard nods his head in agreement. “Getting rather annoying.”

 

May drives off with the assault vehicle, and short time later the assault vehicle returns escorting a small convoy of trucks; May’s soldiers can be seen driving the trucks. As the trucks park May cries out. “Hammond! You have to see this!”

 

May hurriedly exits the assault vehicle and jogs over to the back of one lorry and flips back the tarp while Clarkson and Richard wander over. A grinning May now assumes a Ta-Da kind of pose as he points to the contents of the Lorry. Both Richard’s and Clarkson’s eyes grow big as the contents are reveled.

 

The truck bay is filled with RATOs (Also known as JATOs). What is a RATO/JATO you ask? Well… RATO means Rocket Assisted Take Off and JATO means Jet Assisted Take Off. The truck bay was completely filled with solid propellant rockets (absent their travel cases so… rather a bomb on wheels).

 

Now, you might ask, just how powerful are RATOs (or JATOs as we will call them from now on)? Well, the U.S. Air force straps eight to the body of a C-130 cargo plan to assist in take offs from a small field. And of course Myth Busters had strapped one to the roof of a car to test an urban legend and the car did reach three hundred miles per hour before it disintegrated (take a look on youtube if you want). Quite impressive one would say. So, how many are there?

 

“Bloody hell.” Whispers Richard. “It’s been ages since I’ve played with JATOs. There must be a hundred of the buggers.”

 

“Is there any beer!” Yells one of the band members off screen.

 

May yells back. “Only something called Coors. At least it’s cold but I’m no sure I’d call it a proper beer. And a load of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat).”

 

Meanwhile Hogan, Fendra, and Volstagg quietly converse as to what Hogan and Fendra had encountered.

 

Volstagg relays that. “The ogresses have done nothing since your departure other then obey any commands given. The wen… Yana spoke to them and they became quite agreeable after that conversation.”

 

Fendra whispers. “There was a pack of wolf like demon animals trailing us as we came back, but they broke off about a mile back and fled.”

 

“Likely our numbers spooked them off, or the ogresses.” Concluded Volstagg. “No creatures have intruded here.”

 

Hogan disagreed. “It was a sizeable pack, and we wasted no ammo upon them as James the May went on upon length as to how they had significantly depleted their stocks. No… I think they sensed something…”

 

All three look at Yana who is sitting on the band trailer truck bed just listening to the ongoing band complaints. It is Fendra who speaks what all three are thinking.

 

“Something worthy of avoiding.”

 

 

Part 21b: Recollections of Kardashian endeavors

 

An hour later we see a roaring fire with folks sitting in around of said fire (not sure why there was a fire as things are hot after all, but it did look great in the shots). Some scattered wooden debris had been salvaged and assembled into a roaring bonfire. Jeremy had assisted in starting the fire with a bit of petrol… ok a great deal of petrol which had resulted in James’s use of a CO2 fire extinguisher upon Clarkson’s flaming pants.

 

“Fire! I’m on fire! Do something James! Fire!”

 

James had been quite cross as he extinguished Clarkson’s pants. “You utter imbecile!”

 

But all was now quiescent as the merry band of travelers consumed MREs and drank deep of the Coors.

 

“This is not beer.” Complained Matthias Jabs (lead guitar). “This is cold water with color and stale hops.”

 

“Then why do you keep drinking it?” Inquires May as he watched Matthias open another can of Coors (a rather large pile of empty cans were already behind the band members).

 

Matthias just shrugged as he drank.

 

“I think our liberated band members are de-stressing as it were.” Observed Clarkson taking a drink of his own beer, then making a face at what he has tasted.

 

Volstagg was not impressed with the MREs. “These things… MREs… I shall recommend to Odin that he acquire a vast lot so as to sicken any besieging enemy as we hurl them from our walls.”

 

Fendra’s made an inquiry as to the number of MREs Volstagg had consumed, no reply was made to the inquiry other then a loud beery burp of dismissal (Volstagg had quite liked MRE Menu 8, Brisket with Au Gratin Potatoes). Grim Hogan was silent as he drank another of these things called Coors (he liked them and was later to lay in a large supply).

 

“So chaps.” Asked Hammond of the Warriors Three. “You all appear to know of the Cheeks? Care to pass on any details?”

 

The Warrior’s Three exchanged long glances, then mightily Volstagg rose to his feet and recited like the skilled orator he was. He gave forth a brief soliloquy upon the history of the gates that lay at the heart of the crevasse of the cheeks of hell. He spoke with his back to the fire which gave him a somewhat noble silhouette , apart from the vast gut that is.

 

“Long have the barricades frustrated all who would gain entry. Many have tried, all have failed. None know of their making, or what lies behind the tightly sealed gates as any attempt to fly above or burrow beneath is for naught as one simply arrives once again before them. It was Odin, the All Father, who first chanced upon the gates during one of his ventures in this foul and blighted land.”

 

“Perhaps it was meant to be a jest from the now departed Surtur, once lord of this realm. A deliberate prank to tempt the All Father’s wandering eye, for does not the mighty booty mountains capture the male gaze most strongly? Such a construct simply cannot be an accident of geological origins.”

 

“So caught was the All Father, and he stood before the sealed gate of dark temptation and demanded entry therein. Silence was but the reply. Then did Odin labor and strive to gain entry. Long did Odin trust his spear, the mighty shaft called Gungnir, upon the sealed gates, only to be denied at every thrust and turn. Seven days and seven nights did Odin strive, but for naught as he was denied the satisfaction. Rebuffed, spurned was he.”

 

“In frustrated ire did the All Father then blow long and hard upon his might horn and summoned the host of Asgard to aid in his endeavors. Arrive they did, via the rainbow bridge, and thus laid siege to the tightly sealed gates at the heart of the Kardashian monolith. Long did the host of Asgard strive. Enormous were the battering rams that broke upon the gates, defeated by the strength that held the cheeks unsullied. Vast siege engines attempted entry, but in the end they lay exhausted and wilted upon the ground. Defeated by the strength that holds the gates tight against any intrusion.”

 

“Thor, the God of Thunder, dist hammer for a day and a night upon those distant portals. Hammer in vain he did with his mighty hammer, Mjoinir is its name, with sweat dripping from his mighty form as again and again and again he pounded with the might of thunder itself, but the gates held fast and denied entry.”

 

“It is said that Loki attempted to gain entry with trickery, beguile, false promises and other such enticements, only to be likewise repulsed. Even hero’s from other realms have confronted the cheeks and failed. The one called the Hulk pitted his inhuman strength against the resolve of the gates and failed to smash his way in. Such has been all who tried to gain entry for it appears that none shall pass.”

 

Volstagg sagely concluded with a bit a drama as he pointed at the distant mountains. “Those cheeks open for nobody!”

 

Stunned silence for a few moments. Then Hammond whispers to May. “That’s… the gayest thing I’ve ever heard.” Then a bit more loudly. “Do you chaps always talk that way?”

 

All the Asgardian exchanged puzzled expressions, the Volstagg replied. “What way?”

 

Yana stage whispered to Clarkson. “Like I told you, Ass-gardians.”

 

“Well…” Clarkson stated while edging away. “That was most… illuminating. On a variety of levels.”

 

“Quite.” Agreed May. Then in a whisper to Richard and Clarkson. “I for one am not going to share a tent with any of them. Ever.”

 

Clarkson nodded in agreement. “Most wise May… most wise.”

 

 

Part 21c: Let’s get cracking

 

Later, after the meal has settled, our automotive trio gathered to decide as to what to do. In the background the band members are passed out having gored and drunk themselves into a stupor.

 

“Right…” Says Clarkson. He unfolds a sheet of paper upon a table and draws a crude dump truck approximation with a pencil. “I say we take the surviving truck and attach a ram to it. Richard, check to see if we can use the axels from the other ruined dump truck…” He draws a long battering ram attached to the front of the truck.

 

May takes the pencil from Clarkson and draws a boxy thing on the end of the dump truck. “All that weight in the nose will require a counterweight.”

 

Now Hammond takes the pencil and scribbles as well. “We can attach the JATOs in the truck bed by welding a massive plate of armor, salvage some of nitro fuel systems from the scraped vehicles, put any salvaged explosives and fuel in the back of the truck bed, and put some really tall exhausts on it like they have on those America eighteen wheelers!”

 

Clarkson takes back the pencil. “And… I think we require some additional penetration assistance. Hammond, we could mount some of your hyper velocity missiles at the tip and fire them just before impact.”

 

May opines enthusiastically. “A sort of high explosive lubricant as it were. I’m quite keen on the idea.”

 

Clarkson now scribbles a protecting hood on the ram to protect the missiles. “Weaponized Asstroglide I suppose. We can use some of the junk armor plate from the other dump truck to protect the missiles before firing. We’ll need an opening to fire the missiles just before impact, right at the tip I suppose.”

 

They all appear quite pleased with the rough design as Clarkson declares. “Brilliant… Let’s get cracking… After all, how hard can it be?”

 

Everybody assembles as the sound track to a Bridge over the river Kwai begins to play and we hear a marching song of drums and whistling as various vignettes of the chaps assembling their construct are shown.

 

Female ogres rolling some axels along the ground and accidentally rolling over Volstagg who looks very irritated at being squished (godlings are quite resilient).

 

Sparks flying as acetylene cutting torches cut slices of armor from the ruined dump truck.

 

The female ogres holding the axels into place while May and Hammond arc weld; and I might add showing a disturbing quantity of ogre cleavage.

 

Clarkson pounding on the dashboard of the working dump truck with a hammer.

 

Yana painting sponsorship decals on the two doors of the dump truck, Penisten Oils on the left hand side door, and Larse’s Biscuits on the right hand side door.

 

Clarkson now arguing with May over having pounded on the dashboard with a hammer.

 

The band members finding another stash of beer and passing out again.

 

Hammond fiddling with the dump truck’s diesel engine as he attaches nitro injectors.

 

May and Clarkson fighting over the before mentioned hammer.

 

Solders removing hyper velocity rockets from the tank’s launcher box.

 

Welding two massive custom spoilers to the top of the dump truck bed.

 

Clarkson shouting at May to give the hammer back as May storms off with said hammer.

 

May welding heavy bits of scrap to the back the dump truck.

 

Yana painting mystic runes on the battering ram shaft, runes that fade away as she paints them. Meanwhile, the warrior’s three are crouched behind some debris observing her. They duck down and converse, then observe again only to find her gone, then they hear Yana clear her throat behind them as they start like guilty children.

 

Clarkson slyly retrieving the emergency backup hammer from the Aston’s glove box.

 

May cleaning a now repaired dashboard with little brushes.

 

The stacking and attacking of the JATOs to the back of the truck. May grabs the backup hammer and chases Clarkson about.

 

The piling of a massive amount of salvage ammo in the back of the truck bed.

 

The attaching of the armored hood to the battering ram and the mounting of the missiles behind the hood.

 

 

Part 21d: Rest from thy labors

 

The creation of the vehicle was done, and everybody was taking a well deserved break. Our automotive trio were relaxing around a small fire, Richard and May are each eating a MRE and drinking Coors while Clarkson is dining upon an enormous sandwich and drinking several cans of Red Bull (He claims that sandwich and the Red Bull were in the boot of the Aston but… the boys were getting suspicious as in (Just how big is that boot and just where did Yana get that glass of hot tea?).

 

“So chaps.” Asks Clarkson. “If you had to do it over again, would you change your vehicle choice?”

 

Love the Challenger.” States Richard after a grimace from the Coors. “But… not the most comfortable of rides. I might… just might… have selected a different vehicle if I’d thought of a powered companion or two.”

 

“Such?” Asked May.

 

“Oh… say a Ripsaw EV2.” Answers Richard.

 

Clarkson pauses on his feasting. “The luxury tank? Don’t those run… oh three hundred thousand before option?”

 

“Yep…” Grins Hammond. “A true sports tank. What would you have sprung for May?”

 

“The Bat Mobile, the one with six wheels and the tires that are six feet tall.”

 

Clarkson is dismissive. “That’s a movie prop, it’s not real May.”

 

May is rather annoyed at Clarkson’s comment. “Coming from the man who brought a sports car. Any regrets as to that choice?”

 

“None whatsoever. Wonderful response to the throttle, tight in the curves, goes like hell when you give her the go, and just a pleasure to ride in all situations.”

 

A smirk from May. “Are you describing the car, or her?”

 

Just a grin back from Jeremy.

 

 

Part 21e: Later…

 

The three Top Gear hosts are looking at their creation, which is parked several hundred feet behind them. They all look uneasy and uncertain as to what they have created.

 

We see the sideways view and can instantly understand their unease. Imagine a giant Caterpillar dump trunk, now armor plate it, attach a giant battering ram to the front of it, a battering ram that has a rather large armored hood on the end to protect the hypervelocity missiles taken from Hammond’s tank. In addition the counterweight looks rather like a large… sack.

 

Hammond has his guilty I’ve done something wrong face on. “Um… it’s rather… well…”

 

Clarkson gets right to the point. “Bloody hell, it looks like a giant lady pleasure device on wheels, the kind you might buy at that odd adult novelty store that James frequents. For haven’s sake James, why did you make the counterweigh look like a scrotum!”

 

James was defensive as to his labors. “I didn’t you Pillock. That is a properly distributed counterweight, it’s just that this angle makes it look like a...”

 

Hammond finishes while rubbing his face in despair. “A giant pair of bollocks.”

 

May refuses to admit defeat. “It’s just the angle!”

 

Clarkson tries a bit of reason as he gestures with his arms and hands. “May… Just look at it! There’s no mistaking what it resembles! I mean… that’s big enough for the Jolly Green Giant’s wife. And one supposes that the vibration from diesel will just add to the effect so… very jolly indeed.”

 

“Which is why so many women motorcycle driver love a good rumbley Harley.” Observes Hammond.

 

An observation that appears to confuse May. “Why?”

 

Hammond provides some enlightenment. “It’s the vibration and the lady bits are rather… well… in contact.”

 

James looks somewhat surprised. “Oh… That... makes sense.”

 

Clarkson is about to resume the argument when Hammond interrupts. “Hang on Jeremy, I think May has a good point. If we just present the vehicle from the front, and have the proper angle, then the… lady pleasure… device… shape is not so obvious.”

 

Clarkson is doubtful. “Really?”

 

May is in agreement. “Let’s give it a go.”

 

The trio walk out of shot and as they go we hear Clarkson mutter. “So going to get complains from Caterpillar about this…”

 

Scene shift…

 

Now the Top Gear presenters are standing in front of the converted dump truck. The angle only shows the top part of the battering ram so that it doesn’t look so… phallic. The presenters have their arms crossed with pride as Jeremy states… “Behold the mighty… mighty…” The mood breaks as Clarkson asks. “What the blazes do we call it?”

 

Slightly confused looks from the other two. The three hem and haw for a bit trying to come up with a name, then Yana intrudes on the scene and comments as she walks by. “Mighty weapons of power tend to have either ominous names, or names that describe their purpose.” She departs the scene as she walks in the direction of the dump truck.

 

The three look at each other, then Hammond comes up with a name, and in it turns out the name.

 

“Arse Breaker?”

 

Clarkson starts to disagree. “Hammond that’s…” He thinks upon it for a second. Brilliant!”

 

May is less then enthused as he slightly sneers his disagreement. “It’s juvenile.”

 

The three start to bicker and in the distance we see Yana besides the truck. She’s shouting at somebody who is in the driving cab that’s perched at the top of the truck. What is now our right hand side door opens and revels that the sponsor, Peniston Oils, has been unfortunately painted in such a way that the open door is now showing just the word Penis to the viewers as the presenters continue to argue. The left side door opens as well and now we see the sponsor Larse’s Biscuits has a side view mirror blocking most of the letters, resulting in just the letters arse being seen.

 

The presenters stop their bickering as they apparently hear the cameraman say something, they then glance back at the dump truck and see what the doors spell out.

 

“Well that’s unfortunate.” Grumbles Clarkson. “Once again, we’re ambitious but rubbish.”

 

While May has his squinty irritated face on as he proclaims. “Oh cock.”

 

Hammond once again looks embarrassed. “Thank you James, that sums it up quite well. In the future you might want to pick a less descriptive expletive for occasions like this.”

 

The stand around looking uncomfortable again, then Clarkson asks. “Umm… Who’s going to drive it?”

 

A question that promptly has all three presenters suggesting somebody else other then themselves.

 

“I would think May, he is into that kind of thing after all.” Suggests Clarkson.

 

“Stop suggesting I’m gay!” Rebuts James. “As the biggest prat in the creation I would think that Clarkson is the obvious choice to drive a giant yellow lady pleaser up the ass of hell.”

 

“Don’t look at me mate!” Is Hammonds contribution to the learned debate. “Anyone who drives that beastie is dead upon impact.”

 

An observation that brings pause to Clarkson. He thinks for a moment and then… “Right, I have just the thing.” As he hits the Aston’s alarm button on the key fob.

 

Later, a company would produced an unauthorized vision of the vehicle, a personal sized version. The advertising would encourage woman to find their own top gear (resulting in lawsuits from the Caterpillar corporation and the BBC).

 

 

Part 21f: It’s not the STIG, instead it’s the STIG’s purple demonic cousin!

 

Standing before the giant yellow mobile… um… arse assault vehicle (RPD or Rocket Propelled Dildo was one nick name) was an over 8 foot tall purple demon with a short mono horn protruding from his forehead. The creature has a rather long and thick tail. The creature is wearing some black gym shorts and a small black open chest vest. And he is wearing a white race helmet with a hole drilled in it for a thick cigar and for the horn on the forehead to protrude. Yeah, it’s S’ym back from Chapter 14.

 

Clarkson point out that. “Behold, it’s not the STIG, instead it is the STIG’g purple demonic cousin!”

 

From beneath the helmet we hear S’ym complain. “S’ym is not pleased. S’ym thinks this is bad idea.”

 

Hammond tries a little coaching. “Don’t be a big baby about this. You’ll be fine. Just before the big yellow lady pleaser of death hits the arse of hell we’ll turn off the car alarm and whisk you away.”

 

May is equally helpful. “You’ll be hero mate. Having done what all those godlings were unable to do. Just think of the bragging rights as it is you who takes the brown cherry.”

 

“S’ym… does not know how to drive stick.”

 

May points out that… “Not to worry my good sir, it’s an automatic!”

 

Smoke coils out from beneath the helmet as S’ym takes a long puff and then slowly exhales in a prolonged sigh, then he climbs up to the ladder to the drivers cab and settles into the drivers seat (barely fitting within the cab).

 

Behind the dump truck of doom (another nickname), and off to either side, the three top gear vehicles are ready to move out, likewise the band vehicle with the band once again on the truck bed and ready to play. Off in the distance, the ogresses are departing having fulfilled their oaths (running for the hills would be a good description).

 

The truck starts with a flaming bellow as the exhaust shafts thunder forth smoke and flame into the sky.

 

Yana is dressed in her silver armor again, no sword yet, as Clarkson comes over and gets into the driver’s seat. Volstagg is again seated upon the trunk holding the sniper rifle.

 

“Ready?” Asks Clarkson.

 

Volstagg is resigned. “If one must.”

 

Yana has an eager tone in her voice. “Hell yeah.”

 

Clarkson radios: “This should be more fun then the entire French air force crashing into a fireworks factory.”

 

May radios: “Or a complete disaster.”

 

Hammond radios: “How is Jeremy’s description not a complete disaster?”

 

Clarkson radios: “We’re not French.”

 

 

Part 21g: Visions in the desert

 

The convoy of assy demolition was approaching the cheeks.

 

Clarkson radios: “Is that… why yes it is! That’s a Morris Marinas in the distance!”

 

May is likewise observing the distant object his binoculars, then he radios: “By golly tis is! And it looks like it’s in mint condition.”

 

Richard radios: “Meaning it’s in need of some repair.”

 

What is a Morris Marinas you ask? The Morris Marina is an automobile that was manufactured by Austin-Morris division of British Leyland from 1971 until 1980. The Marina ranks among the worst cars ever built. It was a popular car in Britain (closed market) until reliable imports from Japan and the Continent spelled its demise. James May has formally stated, for the record, that at least one Marina should be preserved as a warning to future generations.

 

Top Gear has vilified the Morris Marina; a running gag throughout the series involved dropping a piano on a Marina every time the car is featured. This abuse generated angry reactions by Morris Marina lovers, dubbed "Morris Extremists" whose letters would be read out and mocked in the subsequent episodes. One of which actually read as such: (Clarkson and his cronies should be hung, drawn and quartered or is that to good for them? It’s idiots like Clarkson that are slowly removing the British automotive heritage. He doesn't deserve to be called British. To vandalize such a car is as if one were to buy a great work of art and burn it.”

 

May radios: “So much blather mail we receive in defense of such a horrendous car.”

 

Richard radios: “So we burnt the first one we had on the show. If the Morris Marina Owners club had bothered to not sound off on that then we’d never would have keep poking at them.”

 

Ahhh, the philosophy of Top Gear in action. In essence, if nitwits are annoyed then the solution is to annoy them some more. A simple but effective plot device.

 

Clarkson radios: “It’s not our fault that pianos keep falling on them. Blame that helicopter removal company, the one called Careless Air. Really… we’re the real victims here.”

 

Richard radios: “Well, now we can redeem ourselves in the eyes of the Morris Marina… oh… dear. That’s going to upset them.”

 

May radios: “So much for that idea. They’ll be coming after us with pitchforks for that.”

 

Clarkson radios: “It’s not our fault! We are innocent in this horrendous… horrendous… well public service to be honest. We shall not rest until all are dealt with thusly.”

 

Yeah, you guessed it. The Caterpillar dump truck drove right over it. Crushing it flat.

 

May radios: “Interesting factoid. The door handles were also utilized in the Austin Allegro, Range Rover, Triumph TR7, and the first series of the Land Rover Discovery. They were also used by some models of the Reliant Scimitar, and by more then a few Lotus cars. The indicator switchgear, also used on the Triumph Stag, eventually became part of the Lamborghini Diablo.”

 

Richard radios: “That’s just wrong… to think a part of the Morris is in a Lambo! That’s like… like…“

 

Clarkson radios: “Finding out that the rear end of the jogger you are admiring is not of gender you thought.”

 

Our little convoy drives on, entering the deep dark crevasse of the cheeks, but Yana glances behind at the now distant crushed and forlorn Morris.

 

A brief scene switch. We see a lizard emerging out from the sand and looks upon the wreckage, it glances up at a unseen flash of light, and then franticly burrows back into the sand as a piano crashes upon the Morris wreckage.

 

Yana turns back, a wicked grin on her face. Very wicked.

 

 

Part 21h: Just another quiet night at the ass end of hell

 

Two fire demons are slouched atop the gates of hell. They’ve been here a long time, all the guards have. Condemned to defend until the prophesy is fulfilled. Why a prophesy you ask? Well, such things always have some mysterious prophesy that nobody understands until it’s too late.

 

There comes distant rumbling sound up the canyon. One fire demon comments.

 

“Sounds like another assault. Third this month.”

 

“Hope it’s not the ass-gardians again, they always make a mess.” Grouses the other fire demon.

 

“Yeah, but its fun to watch.” Replies the other.

 

Then some music begins to play and the demons stand up straight, as if the music is somehow important.

 

The Scorpions start to play their song Dynamite. Play it most loudly.

 

Kick your ass to heaven

With rock'n roll tonight

I'll make this night a special one

Make you feel alright

Shoot my heat into your body

Give ya all my size

I'm gonna beat the beat tonight

It's time to break the ice

 

Dynamite!

Dynamite!

Dynamite!

Dynamite!

 

Then… a kaleidoscope of imagines.

 

The yellow dildo of death (another nickname from one of the solders) come round a bend. Flames are shooting from the exhausts of the Jolly Green Rocker (yet another nick name).

 

Cut to the interior, S’ym has just shoved in a new unlit cigar into the hole in the helmet. He flicks his two fingers and the cigar lights. He then grips the reinforce steering wheel (plastic has been replace by a steel wheel) with both hands and lines up the ram upon the distant gates.

 

Cut to the speedometer, currently reading seventy miles per hour (MPH).

 

Cut to S’ym flicking a switch on the dashboard (the one labeled JATOs!).

 

Cut to flames and smoke shooting a hundred feet behind the dump truck as the first third of the JATOs fire (in slow motion), causing the dump truck to accelerates like… well like it was a car that had a rocket tied to its ass.

 

The music continues, even louder, as the rest of the convoy comes into view (they are keeping well back).

 

Hit the top together

Get ya with my spell

I'm gonna make my shot tonight

Take you down to hell

Eat my meat until you're breathless

Twirl your hips around

I'm gonna break you in tonight

I'll get you off the ground

 

The first demon utters a long “Oh umkhwenkwe!” While then other demon shrieks “FIRE!” and then mutters. “This… just might do it.”

 

Trebuchets behind the wall lob flaming spheres of fire (in slow motion) onto the landscape before the gate.

 

Cut to the speedometer, now reading 100 MPH.

 

S’yms hands grip the while ever tighter and starts to bend the metal.

 

Cut to the burning cigar, the ash growing rapidly as if it were a fuse burning down.

 

Cut to the speedometer, now reading 150 MPH.

 

A fireball scores a direct hit upon the armored cab and engulfs the now flaming vehicle, a cloth banner that was tied to the top of trucks rim burns away.

 

Cut to the speedometer, now reading 200 MPH.

 

Cut to the cigar, more then half is now ash.

 

May radios: “Chaps I think I did a math error on the number of JATOs we needed. I think we over did it by… a great deal.”

 

Cut to the speedometer, now reading 250 MPH.

 

More music as the Conveyance of Assy Doom (yeah, another nickname) draws nigh upon the gates.

 

Get it now or never

Let's get it really tight

We'll make this night a special one

Make us feel alright

Put my heat into your body

Give ya all my size

We gonna beat the beat tonight

Come on let's break the ice!

 

The remaining two thirds of the JATOs now trigger and it looks like a horizontal space shuttle launch (if the space shuttle was a caterpillar truck shaped vibrator that is).

 

Cut to the speedometer, now reading 350 MPH.

 

Cut to the tires, we see that they are in flames and beginning to disintegrate.

 

Cut to the top of the truck as we see the rear spooler rip off, causing the dump truck to now do a slight wheelie.

 

Cut to the speedometer, now reading 450 MPH.

 

Close up on the cigar, the burning circle of red races down the cigar.

 

Cut to the speedometer, it has now caught fire and we are no longer able to see what it reads.

 

Cut to the demons on the wall, viewing the oncoming burning vehicle (in glorious slow motion). We see is the name of the vehicle as the flames part. A name stenciled large and bold on the dump truck’s rim (stenciled by Yana) that had been hidden by the now burn cloth banner.

 

Arse Breaker!

 

Side angle shot (in slow motion), we see the tip of the very phallic battering ram less then fifty feet from the gates. There is a burning white light as the hyper velocity missiles fire, impacting the gates like a burning streak of white splashy light.

 

Then…

 

With a thundering crash, the Caterpillar slams into the gates of hell just as Jeremy turns off the car alarm and S’ym flickers away leaving just the helmet. There is gigantic fireball and a massive impact as the walls shudder and gates vanish in the flames and smoke.

 

A fireball that grows larger and larger.

 

Bits of truck rain down.

 

Torn tires go flying.

 

The JATOs that did not explode got rocketing off in all directions like a demented fireworks display.

 

The smoke slowly clears and we behold that… that… the gates of hell have fallen, ripped open and forced to succumb, to yield, to give way, to the take the massive plunging penetrating force of the… um… and what was left of the RAP (Rocket ASSisted Penetrator, yet another nickname) fireballed (ha ha) into the compound.

 

And incidentally blew up everything inside.

 

The gates, in their failing, covered a plaque nailed to the inside of the left gate

 

Unbreached shall these gates be.

Until the granting of the prophesy.

Mistrals of mirth and fornication must.

Herald the ending of the obstinacy.

 

A mighty beast it will be.

Loud, long, and thundering with bellows of fire.

Dressed in yellow with skirts of flame.

At the last, the Caterpillar’s horn will thrust forth.

As the gates surrender their chastity.

To the bellowing might of gear’s top form.

Chapter Text

 

Part 22a: Aftermath

 

Our intrepid automotive trio is carefully picking their way across a shattered and stark volcanic like landscape round. Likewise, off in the distance, the Assguardian trio are poking about the landscape.

 

We zoom in on Clarkson as he discards a broken bit of metal that he had picked up.

 

“Really James, how hard is it to multiply two numbers together?”

 

“The zero button must have gotten stuck on the calculator.” Groused James. “Resulting in a division, not a multiplication, that was incorrect, resulting in excessive quantity of ordance.”

 

Hammond gestured at the devastated landscape. “Quite excessive I’d say. Can’t say we blew it to hell this time, being that we’re already there.”

 

“Perhaps we blew it into some adjourning hell.” Mused Clarkson while trying to look thoughtful and insightful. “Or maybe that was our plan all along…”

 

James figurative threw some cold water on that idea. “It wasn’t, it’s a right proper cockup.”

 

A comment that made the other two crack up in laugher, which at first just makes James scowl at them, but then he likewise cracks a grin. “Could have worded that a bit better, all things considered as we did drive one right thought the gates as it were.”

 

“Construction women of the world shall mourn its passing.” Was Clarkson’s sly reply once he finished chuckling. “The world will not see its like again.”

 

A statement later clarified in the lawsuit by Caterpillar as being that they would not build such a construct again. Which was somewhat harsh once you consider the merchandising sales (90% of the net profit) that Caterpillar appropriated on the resulting adult toys.

 

“This is going to take forever to pick over the rubble.” Complained Hammond. “I mean… there’s nothing left. Whatever was stored here, or imprisoned, is just so much ash and blown apart bits now.”

 

“Did any of you see anything?” Asks May. The other two just shake their heads no.”

 

“Only seared retinas.” Was Clarkson’s reply. “Yana did giggle about something, whereas all the fat one did was fall off the back of the Aston. And the band is drunk yet again so not much quality input from that location.”

 

Hammond just shook his head. “For a beer they profess to hate they certainly consume it with enthusiasm.”

 

“Consumed.” Groused May. “That was the last of the lot.”

 

“Well… there has to be something out here.” Complains Clarkson as he begins to walk again. The other two hung back for a moment for a quick private conversation.

 

“Richard…” Began May. “Have you found this trip to be… odd?”

 

“As in rather murderous?” Was Richard’s quick answer. “The producers are known to confound us and put us in harms way for a laugh, but this… I’m rather amazed that we’re still alive. It’s like each challenge keeps getting more lethal.”

 

“Exactly… my thoughts as well.” Mused May. “We both know the BBC wants to kill Clarkson, but I always thought it was more figurative then literal. And since when did we get included in the burn order?”

 

“Perhaps the BBC wants a clean slate to start over with? Might they consider us irredeemably contaminated?” Was Hammonds reply while his eyes narrowed in irritation. “I’m going to be rather cross if that’s the case. Blast lab cross if I’m honest.”

 

Hammond then gave a chuckle as they began trudging after Clarkson. “It did make one hell of a boom.”

 

“Best ever.” Agreed May. “Top Gear and Blast Master Hammond at his finest.” They quickly caught up with Clarkson who was looking forlorn.

 

“This just won’t do.” Announced Clarkson. “It’s boring. As we speak viewers are about to turn the dial and tune in a show about knitting or darts or veterinarians with their arms up the backsides of cows.”

 

“Might we show something that ended up on the cutting room floor while we continue the search for whatever the blazes we’re searching for?” Asks Hammond.

 

“Exactly!” Declares Clarkson while looking resolutely into the camera. “Roll the film!”

 

He holds the look while May asks, off screen. “What if there isn’t one?”

 

Clarkson look of stern resolution breaks as he turns to speak to May. “There’s always something.”

 

“But what if there’s not?”

 

“We’ll make something up.” Is Clarkson’s exasperated reply.

 

“Like what?” Inquire both Hammond and May.

  

Part 22b: Belated Carriage Review

 

Back in chapter 10, Richard and May went to the Elfish Ball in a carriage pulled by two massive dogs.   We now see that carriage riding down a road with the Aston Martin following. Apparently a review of the carriage had been filmed but did not make it into the first episode. The carriage ride looks rough as it rocks both horizontally and vertically

 

The scene switches and we see Richard and May seated in the gilded carriage. Remember that they are dressed in their ball finery, Hammond in the golden robes whilst May is wearing a lovely shade of lavender. Their hats are on the seats besides them along with their walking sticks. The two are bracing themselves as the carriage rocks back and forth.

 

Hammond begins. “Carriages were once the height of both transportation speed and comfort.”

 

May continues. “Something to ride in instead of upon. Secured from the weather, the revolting masses, and the ability to bring more then a saddlebags worth of kit.” He retrieves large camber pot from under the bench. “And the means of relief while still moving. Which gives the added bonus of providing something to chuck out the window at the lower classes.”

 

We return to Hammond. “It’s dignified, showing your place in society. And the horse power was plain for all to see, although more of a doggie power index in this case. And I have to point out that all the period piece films show just how smooth the ride is.”

 

A jarring bump sends the hats into the air while May and Hammond both grimace as to the impact. May picks up the dialog with a proper denunciation.

 

Utter rubbish! Yet another example of cinemagraphic liberties being taken. Of course the ride is shown as smooth, it’s a film. If the characters are being jarred and thrown about then the director gets sacked.”

 

Another bump and Hammond’s hat now bounces off of May’s head and the (thankfully) empty chamber pot breaks as Hammond speaks.

 

“The road conditions are the biggest contributor to ride comfort.”

 

“But the details of the carriage play an important role as well.” Continues May. He knocks on the side of the carriage wall. “Solid construction, as our heads and backs can attest to, likewise the suspension and wheels. Which not only destroys ride comfort but causes the carriage to lose traction at any speed over a leisurely jaunt in the park.”

 

They hang on for dear life as the carriage goes around a bend at high speed. Hammond replies with a high pitched voice of suppressed panic.

 

“This particular model is rated at a supercharged two dog power due to the size of the overgrown canine engine units. But the lack of traction, as mentioned by my esteemed colleague, means that most of that power is only available in the straights, not in the curves. And the handling is under steer all the way.”

 

May is now thrown to the other side as the carriage takes a sharp turn in the other direction. “The dashboard is non-existent, the brakes involve actual bricks, the entertainment system is frankly a do it yourself affair, and your basic model doesn't even come with a steering wheel, just some annoying reins that the doggy propulsion units may or may not obey.”

 

Hammond observes that. “And the supercharged engines are very hungry. Supposedly, according to EU testing, you get five miles to the dog food packet but we suspect liberties were taken on those tests because it looks more like thirty five packets to the mile.”

 

May looks a bit smarmy. “And the EU emissions standards are blatantly violated. Both in hydrocarbon emissions as well as residual particulate solids. And don’t get me started on the drool.”

 

The carriage suddenly slows to a stop.   May glances out a door window as to why then states. “Unlike horses that can go on the go, your canine power unit must come to halt to unburden himself. Rather like most electric cars one supposes, although the recharge rate is faster. In this situation, dog number one is taking the opportunity to mark some territory while dog number two is squatting on the road depositing a sizable and very unpleasant road hazard.”

 

The carriage once more lurches into motion. Hammond now starts to look a bit queasy. “And then there is the motion sickness. Rather like a boat on choppy water.”

 

May sums it up. “This was cutting edge, oh, hundreds years plus years ago. Thank God we’ve moved on.”

 

Hammond looks very queasy now. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

 

Camera cuts back to May as we hear sounds of retching. “I’d rather drive a car, any car, then ride in this.”

 

Cut back to our heroes in the rubble of the cheeks.

 

 

Part 22c: Now what…

 

Off in the distance, Volstagg was waving what looked like a golden envelope and shouting about something. Shouting that attracted Clarkson’s attention. “I think the fat one found something.”

 

“Looks like a producer envelope.” Sighs May. “I was hoping for something useful.”

 

The two trios make their way back to the vehicles, which were all parked just past the gate. Yana, and the rest of the solders, are still there looking a bit bored whereas the band is passed out on the truck bed.

 

“We found this clutched in a skeleton hand.” States Fendra as he hands the crispy and partially burnt envelope to May.

 

Clarkson is looking rather irritated (his back was hurting, it was dry, his lips where chapped, and this was all getting to be a bother). “Well, go on then May. Let’s what the next impossible challenge is to be.”

 

“Preferably driving to a good pub.” Comments Hammond.

 

May opens the envelope, extracts a partial burnt parchment page, and reads aloud.

 

“Congratulations on your noteworthy achievement as you are the first pass within the hereto unsoiled cheeks. You are now to return to your vehicles, where then you will be transported to yet another of the nine realms where you will endeavor to overcome….”

 

“Overcome what?” Inquires Hammond.

 

“That’s it, the rest is burnt away.” Replied May with a snort of disgust.

 

“Bloody hell.” Is Clarkson’s outburst. “I for one am quite done with these homicidally themed challenges. Why can’t we just end up at the fair?”

 

“Because we’re stuck here at the mercy of the producers.” Answers back May. In the background we see the band is staggering to their feet.

 

“Are these producers… gods?” Asks Volstagg.

 

“They bloody well act like it.” Answers Clarkson. “All BBC execs are gods, just ask them.”

 

A few minutes later all are back in the vehicles. The band is tuning their instruments and complaining about the lack of beer (there is much eye rolling behind them and comments about the size of their bladders, i.e. hollow left legs and such).

 

Clarkson radios: “So where have we been?”

 

Hammond radios: “Svartalfheim.”

 

May radios: “Alfheim and Muspelheim.”

 

Clarkson radios: “We’re supposed to end up in Assguard.” Which earns him dirty looks from the Warriors Three. “That leaves… Five realms assuming the next one isn’t Assguard.”

 

Hammond radios: “Five more to go? This is a two part episode, not an entire season.”

 

May radios: “Perhaps we can convince the producers to just send us to the worst possible challenge before we are supposed to end up at the fair so we can get on with it.”

 

Clarkson radios: “Here here, let’s get this done with, after all… how hard can it be?”

 

Hammond radios: “Likewise…. Hold on, I just found another envelope.” There are some rustling sounds, then Hammond radios again. It says AGREED you fools. Interesting chaps, the hand writing looks different…”

 

There is a flash of light and then…

 

 

Part 22c: The worse part of Hel was…

 

Hel. (And no, Hel is not a typo). Hel is the Norse kingdom of the dead, where most of the deceased go. Also home of the dishonorable dead even if they were great warriors. Ruled by the Goddess Hela. How to sum up Hel in just a few short words?

 

Cold.

Dreary.

Dead.

And being Norse Hel, a dry location (as in alcohol) unless you’re Hela.

 

Not a fun place. Voted worst vacation spot in the nine realms ten years in a row (mostly due to that lack of alcohol thing).

 

Our automotive convoy is parked at the exit of Hel, a stone bridge over a bottomless crevasse (and no it does not look assy, we are now past most of the ass jokes folks). A bridge guarded by the Fenris Wolf, a wolf over twenty feet tall, chained to the bridge, and ravenously hungry (gods being an important part of his diet).

 

All was dir!

 

The Warrior’s Three spring into battle only to be thrown back stunned and now senseless upon the ground.

 

A depleted uranium round fired by the tank was but a tasty tidbit (a rather extreme scooby snack as it were).

 

Likewise a Tow Missile from the APC only scorched some fur.

 

The wolf prepared to lunge for the kill only to stop as if startled. Stopped as Clarkson distinctly heard Yana murmur.

 

“Who’s a bad doggie?”

 

A whine from the wolf.

 

“Who’s a bad doggie?”

 

Another whine and the ears went back as if guilty.

 

“Who’s the baddest doggie of them all?”

 

The Fenris wolf proceeded to lay down, shrink down to just a pony sized dog and whined again as if he was begging. Yana exited the car and walked over to the wolf and proceeded to give him a good scratch behind his ears while she somehow produced a massive dog biscuit which he enthusiast commenced chewing upon.

 

“You’re the baldest doggie of them all.”

 

The Warrior’s Three finally staggered to the feet to find a blissed out Fenris wolf getting a good belly rub from Yana. A condition that only raised their suspicions of her. Then Hela herself materialized before they had a chance to make any new denouncements.

 

“Who Dares Violate My! … Oh… It’s…”

 

“Greeting Great Hela.” Began Yana as she resumed scratching behind Fanris’s ears. “Our intrusion is not of our own making, but of another’s. Yet atonement is rightfully your due.”

 

Yana’s standing with the Warrior’s Three proceeded to sink even lower due to her apparent familiarity with Hela.

 

Hela for her part was in a bit of a bind. She knew of Yana, all Hell Lords knew of each other, but intruding on another’s realm uninvited was usually an act of war. But Yana’s words were placating and… There was the matter of tea at the Ladies next week (Hela had actually managed an invite for the very first time and didn’t want to mess up the party).

 

It was Clarkson who then proposed a possible solution. “Perhaps milady, if we located those miscreants who sent us here and brought them to your attention?” Clarkson was of course thinking of some BBC executives whom he had concluded must be behind these murderous attempts upon his, and his co-hosts, lives.

 

May and Richard exchanged a glances that communicated to each other that (yeah, sod the bastards). One Top Gear motto was due unto others because they deserve it.

 

Agreements were reached, with one additional condition from Hela. None could remember what had occurred here (apart from Yana that is). So…

 

 

Part 22c: Hel do over

 

Our automotive convoy stands at the exit of Hel, a bridge. Supposedly guarded by the Fenris Wolf, a wolf over twenty feet tall, chained to the bridge, and ravenously hungry (gods being an important part of his diet). A wolf who was apparently on break, having left a sign that read (Be back in 10 minutes) while showing a figure of a dog on a toilet reading a newspaper.

 

The Warrior’s Three were befuddled as to this situation, but were in agreement that a hasty departure was an idea of great merit.

 

Over the bridge they drove and… arrived at the Assguardian fair (as pronounced by Yana to yet more glares from the Warrior’s Three).

Chapter Text

Part 23a: The fair (part 1)

 

Our group of intrepid automotive heroes, Yana, the Warriors Three, and the band Scorpions, drank in the sights before them. After days in the burning wastelands of Muspelheim, our desiccated and sunburned group, apart from Yana as she not only looked well hydrated, she somehow looked freshly showered as well, found the fair to resemble a minor heaven.

 

The smells of fresh roasting food, packs of giggling children, the crying of merchants as to the quality of their wares, flicking fairies that darted amongst the crowd, tents with flags a flutter in the wind, swords and axes strapped to most people, many of the women are dressed very tightly and scantily, all manor of races and creatures, and the roar of what sounded like monsters and engines in the distance.

 

Which brings up the question… just what is an Asgardian fair? Rather a galosh mix at this point in time as Asgard had dwelt for a time in the American Midwest and the cultural exchange had been very much a two way flow (a mix that annoyed Odin as he was quite the Asgardian cultural purest). A recipe description might be:

 

Three parts Asgard (Food, shopping, ale, mead, fighting, dancing, singing).

Four parts Midwest county fair (Lots of fried food, rides, overpriced junk, beer).

One part NASCAR (Asgardians like fast cars and big overdone machinery, plus beer).

Two parts Oktoberfest (Beer… lots and lots of beer, and food, and more beer).

Two part worlds fair (Elves, Dwarves, some Trolls, aliens, slumming gods, humans).

A dash of Burning Man (Oh look, a burning man! Mama I want a burning man!).

And yes… even more beer.

 

The traditionalist were not happy at the changes. “Who needs five thousand different types of beer!” Was one common denouncement. Most would agree that five thousand was excessive and unnecessary… but one had to first weed out the inferior brews, which takes time, a great deal of time; an argument that converted more then a few of the traditionalists. The actual quest silenced the remainder, either by agreement or by over indulgence.

 

In short, there was something for everybody. Bring the kids! Come for the fun and food, stay for the fighting! And more people were conceived then killed so a plus all around!

 

The dirty, burnt, and thirsty Warriors Three scanned about and quickly noticed Heimdall, in an adjacent beer tent. He noticed them as well and waved at them with a right hand that was holding a corn dog of epic proportions. His other arm was around the waist of a friendly and very bosomy serving wench. Did the all seeing Heimdall notice their scruffy appearance?

 

That was a big no, he was mostly focused upon the before mentioned serving wrench as he took yet another mighty bite of his dog.

 

An observational failing that was quickly addressed as the Warriors Three stormed over and expressed this displeasure upon Heimdall’s person. At one point Volstagg and Heimdall ended up dueling with corn dogs (yes the corn dogs were that big) while Fendral and Hugan ceased the physical dialog and instead enjoyed a beer while Fendral continued the fight . A fight that was filled with dialog about the Muspelheim and the taking of the Cheeks; a tale that astonished the crowd that gathered to observe this odd form of humorous combat. The battle finally ended with the delivery of a favorite fair food of Volstagg, a deep fried suckling pig wrapped in bacon and stuffed with a mix of sausage, onions, mushrooms, and then deep fried again with a beer batter crust.

 

But the tale of the fall of the cheeks was spreading through the fair at the speed of gossip (which is considerably faster then the speed of light as Einstein himself once commented upon).

 

Meanwhile, the others had left the Warriors Three to their antics as they found a shady spot in an adjacent refreshment tent and ordered some roast beast (not quire sure what the critter was but it was dang good barbeque) and beers. One table had the traveling companions, plus Yana, another the band, still complaining about cell phone coverage, and the other much smaller table had the three Top Gear Presenters. Quickly the dry dust and ash was washed from their throats but not their personage.

 

“Gods I need a shower.” Complained Clarkson as he looked upon his stained clothing. A complaint that was agreed upon by the other two.

 

“My unmentionables are completely unmentionable.” Groused James.

 

“And new cloths.” Agreed Hammond. “Eau de la toilette is much less appealing on present company, Yana exempted as she’s somehow still completely fresh.”

 

“With any luck the producers should have a RV or two here.” Hypothesized James as to the production logistics of filming.

 

And having spoken of the producers, a man in a white lab coat approached with an envelope. An envelope that none of the three took. Hammond summed the general feeling.

 

“Suggest you come back in a few hours, unless you’re particularly keen on eating that envelope.”

 

He wasn’t so… a few hours of time out then. Time for everybody to finish having a good meal. Wash up. Relax. That was the plan.

 

Some Asgardian warriors, jealous of the recounted fall of the cheeks, had other ideas. Clarkson was just lifting his third beer to his lips when he, and his companions, were confronted by three large and deadly looking warriors.

 

“So this…. is what takes to take the cheeks?” Sneered the leader of the little group as he looked down upon Clarkson.

 

“Correct in one.” Was Clarkson’s reply as he also tossed in an insult free of charge. “One supposes that steroid use shrinks not only the glands but the brains as well.” He was tired, his back hurt, grubby, and very thirsty, and thus not in the mood for banter with strangers.

 

May whispered to Richard. “Dear God, Jezza is trying to get himself killed.”

 

Richard whispered back as he signaled for more beer. “Then the tabs on him.”

 

The content of his insult was not fully comprehended, but the intent was. One beefy left hand grasped Clarkson by his shirt and lifted him into the air. “You talking to me Midgardian?”

 

Now ordinarily one would bid a hasty retreat from such a confrontation.   But Clarkson was vastly annoyed at being interrupted in his beer and thus commented to May and Hammond while ignoring his attacker.

 

“And apparently steroid uses causes deafness as well.”

 

“What?” Was the confused Asgardian response.

 

“See… quite deaf. Apparently shrinks all manner of body parts. Ear drums, the plums, and I hypothesize the gentleman’s sausage. I doubt this fellow has the equipment to service even a rabbit.”

 

A statement that earned him a fist in the gut, dropping him to his knees. Causing May and Hammond to stand up whilst the Asgardian crowd looked on.

 

“That’s where a Midgardian deserves to be, on his knees before his betters.” Growled the leader.

 

“Hope you’re not planning on dancing you Assgardian insect.” Mumbled Clarkson as he quickly drew forth his 9mm Berretta, pressed the muzzle to the top of the thuggee’s right sided boot, and fired a round.

 

The shot momentarily froze everybody, apart from May and Hammond. Thuggee number two found a particularly large knife pressed threateningly into his privates by Hammond whereas Thuggee number three had a muzzle of a 40 cal handgun aimed between his eyes by May.

 

The sound of the crowd cut off as Clarkson regained his footing with a look of rage, and somewhat glowing eyes, that May and Hammond could not see due to their angle, but the Thuggeesvcould. The only sound was from Yana as she nosily draining the last of her drink via a straw (somehow she had a Pina Colada in a hollowed out pineapple in an establishment that served only beer or hard liquor).

 

Then cheers erupted, even from the thuggee three. Thuggee number one, the leader, embraced Clarkson with a full body hug of fellowship. “Now that’s the kind of altitude that one would expect from those who took the Cheeks! Let me buy you a beer!”

 

The glow vanished from Clarkson’s eyes as he found himself, and his mates, festooned with offers of beers and food. Celebrations all round, apart from Yana who suddenly looked concerned about something.

 

 

Part 23b: The fair (part 2)

 

After an hour or so of feasting and drinking, our Trio, and associative cast, retired to the before mentioned production support RVs (May was most correct as to their presence) to indulge in the four S’s, shit, shower, shave, and sleep; although May joked that Clarkson looked particularly refreshed afterwards so an extra S may, just may, have been involved with Yana.

 

May and Clarkson were dressed in their usual casual attire, whereas Hammond emerged from his RV dressed in American country motif, accented with light brown cowboy boots and a pale white cowboy hat. Of in the distance the Warrior Three can be seen, likewise cleaned up.

 

Clarkson whispered to May upon seeing Hammond. “Reverting to type I see.”

 

May slyly whispered back. “You know how he gets around fairs.”

 

Clarkson nodded in agreement. “The hick is strong in this one. Although considering the crowd, he could just be trying to blend in.”

 

May glanced around at the milling Asgardian crowd, the well armed crowed, and wondered aloud. “Shouldn’t he then be waving around some long and pointy phallic substitute about?”

 

Richard walked up to the chattering pair. “I can hear the both of you…” But before he could voice any complaints the prior man in a white lab coat once again approached with an envelope that was taken by Hammond who opened it and read it aloud.

 

“It is now time for those whom you ferried to the fair to weigh in on the suitability of your automotive choice for dimensional travel.”

 

“Then I must be the winner.” Says Clarkson with a sagely tone.

 

“In what possible way?” Replied May with irritated exasperation.

 

Clarkson just does a two handed gesture in the direction of the Warrior’s three, causing Hammond to roll his eyes and comment. “He’s making a fat joke.”

 

“Did I not convey the most weighty of passengers

 

May corrected Clarkson. “That’s not what the Producers mean.”

 

“Bahhh, I’m sure the Aston will once again emerge triumphant.”

 

So….

 

We sift scenes and now we see the three vehicles, having been washed, upon a stage. The menacing pink tank with the necrophiliac depiction of a Drake being abused. The Silver assault vehicle, and the black Aston Martin Vanquish. Clarkson is sitting in the Aston Martin and the upper half of Hammond and May can be seen emerging from their respective turrets. The Warriors three are upon the stage, dressed in their finery and a crowd of drinking Asgardians has assembled hear the verdict.

 

“Oh lion of Asgard.” Began Fandral as he addressed Volstagg while pointing at the Aston. “What sayeth thee as to the caliber of yon ride?”

 

Volstagg drew himself up to his full height and spoke thus to all. “Appalling.”

 

Clarkson looked crestfallen upon that announcement as Volstagg continued. “The handling was marginal, the interior most constricting, and a disturbing lack of cup holders for these in the rear. And the ride, the least said the better. Its lethality is nonexistent and the transport capacity almost non existent. And I fear my backside may never recover from the atrocities afflicted upon it. I give it a misery two out of one hundred. Travel not the dimensional realms with it. What say you Fandral as to the merits of your conveyance?”

 

Fendral beamed his trademark grin at the crowd. “It sufficed. The ride was pleasing but the interior most cramped when fully loaded. As such I found it better to ride upon the top. The lethality was most pleasing, likewise the speed and maneuverability. And the use of Mithril to cover the surfaces makes it most survivable. But… the banal chatter of James the May made most of the conveyance experience a nightmare when he spoke, and he spoke so very much about things most trite. I give it a forty two out of a hundred. I would give a higher score, but only if James the May were to take a vow of silence.”

 

May was pleased that he ranked higher then Clarkson, but was not pleased as to the review upon his travel dialog. Why, he had verbally explored, in depth, the merits of diesel vs. petrol, carburetors, the merits of turbo charging, and the delight of a good curry. He’d even provided up some small pamphlets with illustrations as to how carburetors functioned and a menu of his favorite curry to go establishment.

 

Now Fendral and Volstagg turned to Hogun. Who of course just glowered at everybody a bit before finally speaking. “Bulky. Usually slow, but goes like stabbed rat when the magical oxide is feed to it. In possession of dragon slaying grade weaponry. Cramped so I likewise rode upon it. The coloration is disturbing but the intentions of the crew is well drawn upon the armored box so fall not to them upon the battlefield as a most ignoble stabbing waits you even after your death.”

 

Clarkson and May both start laughing as Hammond loudly exclaims “What!”

 

Hogun continued as he swung his mace about. “Their personal armament is lacking when compared to my own mighty weapon, which they were favorable impressed with as they gazed upon its size. Often they expressed the desire to touch it, which I permitted a few times to the satisfaction of all. I give it eighty out of 100. The interior was most cramped so I often found that one was tightly pressed against the other occupants…”

 

Hogun trailed off… it was sounding gay again. Why did it always sound gay?

 

May actually fell through his hatch ring into the assault vehicle such was his laughter, while Clarkson looked like he was going to have a heart attack. Hammond was quite vocal in his disagreement.

 

“Weapon, we wanted to examine the mace, not his… personal weapon!”

 

Yana, who was off stage with the rest of the solders, just shrugged as she stated. “Assgardians…”

 

After an uncomfortable silence, apart from the laughter of Clarkson and May, Volstagg changed the subject.

 

“Harrumph… let us leave the topic of weapon fondling and inappropriate defiling of dead and return to the topic at hand. Hogun, would you keep your assigned conveyance or pick one of ours?”

 

“Keep.” Was Hogun’s response.

 

“And you Volstagg.” Inquired Fendral.

 

“Abandon.” Was his response. “I would have originally picked the odd pink beast, but finding that it is crewed with those of questionable moral character, I would instead go with your conveyance Fendral.”

 

“Even with the unending verbal deluge of dreary mundanity?”

 

“I am a married man with a vast horde sprung from my most fruitful of loins. As such I have learned the ability to not hear.”

 

Many in the crowd nodded their heads in agreement, at least until their significant other noticed; at which the nodding promptly ceased.

 

“And you?” Inquired Hogun of Fendral.

 

“The small and nimble car. I think that the vehicle would be more amenable to one of my form.”

 

And with that the Warrior’s three departed, to the rousing cheers of the crowd. Clarkson finally stopped laughing as May re-emerged from the turret, rubbing his head as he’d banged it when he’d fallen down. May asked a question as he started to climb out of the turret.

 

“So who’s the overall winner?”

 

A scowling Hammond commented from the top of his tank. “I don’t think the competition is over yet.” As he pointed to yet another lab coat individual approaching holding yet another envelope.

 

“You take it Hammond.” States a tired Clarkson, then a bit of an insult. “Or did you already?”

 

“Sounded like he got his hands around it at least.” Replies May, a reference to what Hogun had said. “Always knew you were into big personal weapons.”

 

Hammond, after climbing down from the tank. somewhat angrily took the envelop. He opened it and first read it to himself. Then, after breaking into a huge grin, he read the contents aloud with glee.

 

“Apparently all three of you are tied with the same score. Therefore the tie breaker shall be a race between the three of you, and some additional alternative dimensional traveling vehicles. The refining purity of motor sport will be used to determine the most appropriate vehicle for dimensional travel. You race in one hour.”

 

May was appalled. “In what system of mathematics can this possibly be a tie?”

 

Clarkson was equally dismayed. “Blazes, not one of Hammonds races. He’s in a bloody tank.”

 

“I’m sure I’ll make every attempt not to flatten you.” Replied a grinning Hammond, while meaning just the reverse.

 

Chapter Text

Part 24a: Pre Race

 

We see an announcer’s desk with a brown suited man sitting behind the desk. We can see down below there is an oval race track that also has an S turn on one end. “Good evening BBC viewers, Johnny Gomez here reporting on the first Asgardian Invitational Automotive Race (AIAR, pronounced Arrhhh, rather like a pirate)”. I’m here with my partner Nick Diamond who is currently down on the track with Mills Lane. Few viewers know that Mills moonlights on the NASCAR circuit as a referee as well as the boxing ring. This is a multi faceted race as the legendry Top Gear Tag team competes not only against themselves, but against others as well. Over to you Nick.”

 

The screen splits in two, the left side has Johnny, whereas the right side now shows the race start line where we find Nick announcing, behind him is the pink tank being inspected by Mills. “Thank you Johnny, one moment fired by MTV and left to die in the unemployment line, and the next plucked across the miltiverse to a paying gig with the BBC. Today, instead of the usual Celebrity Death Match, we bring you the first annual Asgard Invitational Fair Motor Sport Race with a stunning plethora of different vehicles.”

 

“That’s right Nick, first up is the Jeremy ‘The Hammer’ Clarkson.” We see Jeremy sitting in the Aston with Yana at his side. Both are wearing antique racing goggles, Jeremy looks silly, Yana looked extra sexy. “Equipped with only an Aston Martin, Jeremy ‘The Hammer’ is a definite automotive underdog in this race.”

 

“That’s right Johnny, you would think the speed of the Aston would make it a favorite, but the possibility of live fire reduces the Aston just a high speed target if it gets ahead of the pack. And the frailty of commercial automotive chasses against military hardware is a losing tussle in any situation I can imagine.”

 

Nick now has some photos of Clarkson being displayed behind him holding some firearms. “Under gunned as well with just a 9mm Beretta and an AK-47. Although there are rumors of grenades. But don’t count out The Hammer, Clarkson is a determined competitor and a notorious cheater when the chips are on the line.”

 

We now see a photo of Yana behind Johnny as he comments. “Clarkson may have a secret weapon. The mysterious Yana.”

 

Nick looks a bit confused. “Nothing mysterious about her Johnny, She’s an X-Men from Utopia. Teleporter, sorceress, and Hell Lord ruler of Limbo, likely fated to bring a life ending apocalypse to our mortal realm. Given name Illyana Rasputin and goes by the name Magik. Equipped with her magics, soul sword, and an unending horde of demons, she ranks very high on the lethality index.”

 

We now see a video reply window over Nick’s shoulder that shows a burning Yana holding a burning sword to Mills Lane’s throat after he had ruled that she was just a passenger and not allowed to be in a the race.

 

Mills promptly overrules his own ruling. “I’ll allow it!”

 

Johnny looks a bit frustrated. “Mysterious Nick… Mysterious… Check your notes.”

 

Nick pulls a three by five card from his suit pocket, checks something, and looks apologetic. “My mistake Johnny… The mysterious and unknown Yana.” The end of the video plays out behind Nick as Yana gives Miles an Avengers drool, X-Men rule tee-shirt (which he promptly puts on after a look from her.)

 

The camera now sifts to a shot of James May behind Nick as Nick continues to the next racer. “Next is James May with his silver America assault vehicle. It has been a strange journey for James May, once but a simple choir boy turned music major. But the allure of the opportunity to being an automotive journalist, BBC announcer and a spy proved too much for the young lad has he was recruited into MI-7 by Clarkson himself after May had hacked his way into not only the Pentagon but the infamous Hydra as well. That recruitment completed the team known as Top Gear. Automotive maniacs by day, deadly secret agents by night in service to her Majesty’s government.”

 

Now Jonny looks horrified. “NICK! READ YOUR DAMN CARDS BEFORE YOU SPEAK!”

 

“What’s that Johnny?” Nick shuffles his cards and finds May’s, he reads it and again looks crestfallen. “Sorry folks, had the wrong card. James May realized his childhood dream of being a BBC personality and constantly talking about car and carburetors.”

 

Johnny comments while giving Nick time to recover. “The silver assault vehicle is an artful compromise of speed, maneuverability, and lethality. Equipped to kill anything faster then itself, and able to run away from anything heavier armed then it. The addition of the six man assault squad has interesting implications as well as May just might deploy them upon the track after the race starts.

 

“Call them cheer leaders with fire power Johnny.”

 

Now we see Richard posted in front of his pink tank as Johnny leads in. “I’ve never seen a pink tank with a spoiler before Nick.”

 

“It’s a first for me as well Johnny. Plus there are rumors of a nitrous oxide system under the hood as it were so that spoiler may be for more then just show.” Nick consults a card before continuing. ‘But having a tank is in keeping with a BBC announcer Richard ‘the hamster’ Hammond who supposedly has a secret blast lab beneath his house where he records the show children’s show Blast Lab. The tank is the second highest ranking for this race. The upgraded engine means its fast, and that combined with its armament and armor means that almost nothing can really stand up to it.” In the background we see Hammond with a model of his tank, also painted pink, repeatedly squishing a model of an Aston Martin while menacing laughing.

 

Johnny now starts with the additional racers. “But they are not just racing each other, they’re eracing an additional host of competitors. First up is Hercules. Showing the flag for the mighty Olympians.”

 

We see the massive form of Hercules standing next to Nick. He’s huge, he’s oiled, he’s dressed in his usual garb (Google Hercules Avengers for those who don’t know what he looks like).

 

“Welcome to AIAR Hercules.”

 

A statement that makes the part time Avenger laugh with great mirth. “Of course our Asgardian cousins just had to fumble the name. AIAR! What a silly name.” Then as he scans the crowd. “But considering those in attendance… best to have something that is easy to pronounce… Ahhh, the travails a prince of heaven must endure when venturing forth to his more rural cousins.”

 

Nick asks as to his humor and obvious disdain. “Why then did you choose to participate if you find the race a burden?”

 

“Olympus must represent! Such is the endless competition between the cosmopolitan Olympians and our more rural… nay… hillbillyish brethren. How else are they to better themselves if their betters do not show them the way? Sometimes it’s like living next door to a family of alcoholics, we wave and smile nicely and hope they don’t come over.”

 

Nick looks rather unimpressed by the answer. “Of course… so what will you be driving?”

 

Hercules now looks a bit less boisterous. “The invite was most sudden, and we Olympians have no real need for these things you call automobiles. I had thought to use a chariot but was told that the quota was all full for such entries… so… in the hour of my need, my friend, the good Spiderman, offered up his own automotive conveyance.”

 

“You’re racing with a Prius?”

 

“Nay my good sir, such a jester you are. No… he gave me the keys to a most special vehicle.” And now we see being pushed into view behind Hercules, the mighty Spidermobile!

 

What does the Spidermobile look like? Think seventies Barbie dune buggy with a roll bar and really fat tires. Now paint it blue and red with a big spider man face on each wheel.

 

Nick looks appalled. “That… you’re racing that?”

 

“Yes… I am assured it is quite fast. And that it can do whatever a spider can.”

 

Nick grasped for something to say. “I would have thought you would have brought Pegasus or something.”

 

A comment that perturbed Hercules as his tone changed from friendly banter to one of annoyance. “Mangy uncooperative beast. Dislikes most gods, prefers mortals most of the time. Father suggested him but the foul tempered beast would have none of it.” Then Hercules perked up and resumed his friendly tone. “Ours is the original of course. The Asgardians, lacking creativity in most areas that do not involve drinking, shamelessly copied him for all the Valkyries to ride. But then again, those who are worthy do find the presence of the Wrenches of Battle to be most satisfying, as I can personally attest.

 

With that Hercules walks over, picks up the car, and walks off towards the start line.

 

Johnny looks horrified. “That… will make for an interesting race.”

 

Nick replies. “So Hercules has thrown down the gauntlet. Such is always the competition between the godly realms of Asgard and Olympus. The two realms couldn’t be more different. Think Ale vs. wine.”

 

Now Johnny makes a comparison as well. “Red meat vs. stuffed grapes.”

 

Nick rebuts. “Olive oil vs. butter.”

 

Johnny volleys it back. “Win tasting vs. keggers.”

 

Nick then drives it out of the park. “Busty wrenches vs. naked oiled young men wrestling on the mats.”

 

Johnny now fakes being horrified at the comparison. “Keep it PG Nick, PG. Up next is the Valkyrie rowing team captained by Lion of Asgard himself, mightily Volstagg.”

 

Volstagg now walks up to Nick and behind them a video shows a small long boat, floating a foot off the ground, being rowed by Valkyries (facing towards the rear where Volstagg is holding onto a rudder pole with on hand and a tall flagon of ale in another). The woman are rowing as hard as they can while Volstagg drinks mightily upon his ale before shouting at the rowers. The scantily clad and sweating rowers, firm breasts thrust towards the sky as they completed each stroke.

 

“Put your backs into to!”

 

“Harder!”

 

“You’re not gripping the shaft correctly! Give it a hard grip and full strokes. Maloney! You’re short stroking it! That’s it… long hard pulls. Harder girls… Harder!

 

The video ends and Nick asks a question. “Why a boat? This is a car race.”

 

A strong laugh from Volstagg along with a strong slap on Nick’s back. “Asgardian long boats are good for water, land, air, and even space!”

 

“And the all female crew?”

 

“Giving back to the community. Yes Valkyries are fierce upon the field of battle, but they are sorely lacking in boating skills. I have taken it upon myself to correctly this sad deficiency.” Then a nudge. “And the view is nothing to complain about, really works up a manly appetite if you catch my meaning.”

 

In the distance we now see Hercules starting to do muscle poses, showing is very impressive body. A performance that attracts the attention of a small group of Asgardian woman. Asgardian Valkyries, Valstagg’s Valkyries to be specific. Who appear to find Hercules very appealing and worthy.

 

Nick concludes the brief interview. “Best of luck. Next Hugan the Grim.”

 

We now see, behind Johnny, Hogan mounted upon a black eight legged horse, who rather then speak just rides off. “Hogan the Grim, an interviewer’s nightmare due to his mono symbol responses, the tendency to publicly fondle his mace, and the smell of stale fermented yak milk. He will be riding the mightily Sleipnir as a stand in for All Father Odin as he refuses to sully himself with this race.”

 

Nick adds his two cents. “A common situation for most monarchs. Any loss casts diminishment upon the throne. Such competitions tend to only have the high and mighty involved, and are very private affairs, if they exist at all.”

 

“Oh they exist Nick, they exist.  Next, late arrival is a mysterious black armored figure riding a hydra.”

 

We now see a dragon like lizard with eight heads, the body is about thirty feet long. Upon the creature is a black armored figure, which open its armor face guard to show a scowling dark elf.

 

“Very ominous Johnny, I smell a grudge. I fear that this race could turn violent.”

 

Johnny now announces the last contender. “The last racer is not the STIG but instead his Asgardian Cousin!”

 

We now see a tall and large man standing next to Nick. He fully enclosed in white racing leathers. He, and yes it is a he, has on a white racing helmet with little wings, white racing gloves, and white racing tennis shoes. Also he has a war hammer strapped to his side and a large red cape. He has is arms crossed in that STIG distain showing way.

 

Nick starts the interview. “So… Thor, when did you start dressing as a STIG?”

 

Just silence from Thor… I mean the STIG.

 

Nick tries again. “Any truth to the rumors that stairs confuse you Thor… I mean STIG?”

 

Again nothing. Johnny tries a question. “Some say that if you caught fire you would burn for a thousand days, any comments?”

 

The STIG just walks off as Nick comments. “Thor is… I mean the STIG is in character tonight.”

 

Johnny is equally impressed. “Never let it be said that the Mightily Thor can’t act. But we never did find out what the Asgardian STIG is driving.”

 

Now we see a photo of a chariot being drawn by two massive horse sized goats as Nick comments. “A chariot drawn by Teeth-barer and Teeth-Grinder, otherwise known as Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr. A chariot that can fly and two goats that are beyond nasty.”

 

Johnny finishes up the intros. “Looks like it’s going to be a good race.”

 

 

Part 24b: Pre race moments

 

In the packed and cheering stands we see Elric of Melnibon (from a few chapters back) wearing a black Metallica tee-shirt, his great sword slung over his shoulder, eating a giant corn dog in one hand and a big gulp of cherry coke in the other. He has the elfin maidens with him, all dressed short shorts and tight bikini tops. He looks with interest upon the race track and thinks what a splendid race of strange creatures is in the offering. He concludes that obviously this is some strange offshoot of Chaos.

 

“Ready Yana?” Asks Clarkson, looking rather silly with the old racing goggles.

 

Just toothy grin that is almost a snarl from Yana, signaling her anticipation. Then a bumble bee buzz of wings from the back seat as the pixie Morning Mist rose from the back seat well, accompanied by a fifteen or so fellow pixie maidens. “Ready Grumpy Giant.” Was her playful statement as she landed on his left shoulder.

 

“Um.” Was Clarkson reply as he glanced to his left to see miniature pixie bosom an inch from his left eye, causing all the pixies to giggle.

 

Meanwhile May was again fuming to see Clarkson covered yet again in naked females.

 

“What is it about him that the female of the species keeps obsessing ovre him!”

 

Hammond states to the camera (he’d obviously been talking about something). “… And a strict no contact rule is to be enforced, none of our usual cock about.”

 

A that moment, the hydra, which is to the left of Hammonds’s tank, lashes out with one of its heads as it smashes into one of the reactive armor panels. It bites and tears at the panel, causing the inevitable detonation blowing the head off of the hydra, leaving a neck spraying blood before growing two new heads.

 

“FOUL! DELIBERATE FOUL” Complains Richard to the Mills Lane who looks over the incident, only to declare. “I’ll allow it!”

 

“Or not…” Grouses Hammond, then shouts down into the turret as he cocks the machine gun. “Load a high explosive round.”

 

Then, suddenly, an orange vested member of the shooting crew intrudes upon the scene. He is screaming and obviously upset.

 

“That’s IT! I can’t take it any more! This is a blatant violation of every single possible Heath and Safety rule in existence! This is a farce! Total Farce!”

 

He ends up in front of Thor’s… I mean the STIG’s goats, screaming his outrage. And this… this is worst of the lot. Goat are the most damaging creature to the world Eco System! And the SMELL! Dear God! The stench of these creatures! Not to mention their vile gaseous emissions that have to be destroying the ice caps!   I’m closing down this production right now! BY THE POWEER INVESTED IN ME AS THE OFFICIAL BBC HEALTH AND SAFETY OFFICER, THIS FILMING OF TOP GEAR IS CANC…”

 

That’s when Teeth-Grinder bit his head off, or was it Teeth-barer, after all, most goats look alike. Regardless of which goat bit first, the other goat likewise chomped as well, not wanting to miss a tidbit. And of course the hydra wanted in on the action as well. It was over quick, a few bites and the Health and Safety officer was gone, all that was left was just a bloody smear, a torn orange safety vest, and a comment from Clarkson.

 

“Bollocks, and the BBC is going to have ours over that…”

 

In the center of the rack is a raised platform for a band to play, and that band? The Scorpions of course. They begin the play the song LoveDrive as the race gets ready.

 

music rocks me down the motorway

My whore's got wings we're taking off

And I can't stop this flight of speed today

 

It's a lovedrive on wheels of fire

A lovedrive just one desire love

You drive me crazy babe

 

It's a lovedrive on wheels of fire

A lovedrive just one desire love

You drive me crazy babe

 

The city lights of London town

Are far away my hand is on her wing (on her wing)

I stop the car and she gets down

I'd like to show why Scorpions got a sting

 

It's a lovedrive on wheels of fire

A lovedrive just one desire love

Sweet love, you drive me crazy babe

 

It's a lovedrive on wheels of fire

A lovedrive just one desire love

Sweet love, you drive me crazy babe

 

 

Finally Miles Lane raises the starting flag, holds it high, and then releases with a mighty “Let’s get it on!”

 

 

Part 24c: Meanwhile, outside the race track…

 

A gravely voice speaks. “No… this just won’t do. Just what does it take to kill the trio?”

 

“What do you propose my lord?” States an armored dark elf. “Darlik rides the beast in the race.”

 

“Things… have not gone as anticipated.” Is the reply. “We need some… road hazards.”

 

The scene outside the racing track is deserted as all the attendees are in the racing stand. We see a painted sigh proclaiming a petting zoo. Within the petting zoo are miniature goat size unicorns, as well as other creatures.

 

A white racing gloved hand reaches out, unlatches the gate to the enclosure, and swings it wide. A first the animals just stare at the open gate, then one unicorn ambles though, followed by an ever rising number of critters. One unicorn pauses by the figure with the white racing glove as the figure starts a villainous monologue.

 

“I will have my vengeance! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA... AHHHHHH!” The maniacal laugh is cut short as the unicorn bites off one of the fingers and runs off with the treat.

 

“SON OF BITCH!” Storms the mysterious figure as we hear the roar of the crowd as the race starts.

Chapter Text

Here is what the track looks like. The race track, with an S turn, the = and / and \ characters denote the track. And of course some font’s have different sizes (sigh… well I hope this conveys the track). Ten lap race. > denotes the direction of the race.

 

xxxx/================================== ===xxx

xxx/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx\xx

xx/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx/xx

x/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx/=================/xx

/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx\==========\xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

\===S>================== ===F======/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

The starting lineup:

 

Thor (Stig) - T

James May – M

Darlik (Dark Elf) - E

Richard Hammond - R

Hercules – H

Clarkson/Yana - C

Hugan the Grim - G

Volstagg - V

 

T R E M H C G F (Thor is innermost, V is outermost on the start line)

 

I do hope my writing conveys the race.

 

Part 25a: Ready… Set… GO!

 

All the participants were lined up at the starting line idling their engines, the ones that had engines that is (The goats were also idling in a way in that they were farting). Those with engines were revving them from time to time (and sadly so were the goats). Clarkson has just finished putting his car in track mode and had turned on the launch control feature so as to get the fastest possible start.

 

Hercules, who barely fit in the Spidermobile, was adjacent to the left side of the Aston Martin. He looked at Yana, then pointed two fingers at his eyes, then pointed one finger at her (e.g. I’m watching you).

 

Yana stuck her tongue out while pulling down her left eyelid with her left hand while flipping him off with her right hand (e.g. FU and the steroids you rode in on). Which of course earned her an angry glare from Hercules.

 

May radios: “I see a bit of tension over by Yana and Herc.”

 

Richard radios: “Better than the stink eye the elf bloke keeps giving me.”

 

May radios: “That ones going to be trouble.”

 

Richard Radios: “How is oded de la goat? I’m getting a whiff of it here but you must be getting the full experience.”

 

May radios: “My eyes are watering mate, the stench is unbelievable, totally overpowers the smell of diesel. I don’t know what those critters have been eating, apart from Health and Safety that is, but whatever it is, Thor should stop feeding it to them.”

 

Richard radios: “Stig… you mean Asgardian Stig.”

 

May radios: “Oh cock, I mean Stig.”

 

Clarkson radios: “Any bets as to who crashes first?”

 

May radios. “That would be Hercules, I don’t recall him ever actually driving a vehicle.”

 

Clarkson radios: “I’m going for the boat full of Celine Dions. The visuals would be most excellent, preferably in slow motion with a great many closeup shots involving heaving bosoms.”

 

Richard radios: “The elf looks like he’s itching for a fight so my moneys on him. Call the bet a fiver?”

 

Clarkson radios: “Fiver it is.”

 

Richard and May both radio: “AND NO CHEATING!”

 

A statement that makes Clarkson look mournfully at the camera for a few seconds, that his fellow presenters could doubt him was just so hurtful.

 

Mills Lane raised the starting flag on high, all the engines revved as reigns, steering wheels, or oars were gripped tightly, then the flag slashed down with a shouted “Let’s get it on!”

 

The screech of tires!

 

The grunts of oars being pulled (and Volstagg shouting at the rowers to put their backs into it)!

 

Bellowing smoke as Clarkson does a smoky burnout!

 

The roar of the tank and the armored personal carrier’s diesel engines!

 

A screech of rage from all of the hydra heads!

 

Thundering hooves!

 

The cries from the crowd!

 

THE RACE WAS ON!

 

 

Part 25b: Ready… Set… GO!

 

Johnny Gomez and Nick Diamond are now both in the announcer’s booth.

 

“And their off!” States Johnny. “Tho… Asgardian Stig takes an early lead, closely followed by Clarkson. In the center of the pack is May’s Silver Slayer, Hugan the Grim upon the Sleipnir, and the Valkyrie rowing team as they jockey for position, following up is Hammond in apply names Drakes Bane, with the Hydra making a very slow start.”

 

“A suspiciously slow start Jonny.” Replies Nick. “And correct me if I’m wrong, but drawing and holding a sword is not necessary for the race?”

 

“No Nick, it’s not. I suspect ill intent. And so apparently does Richard Hammond as the tank turret is turning to point to the rear, which is a definite driving hazard for the taller entries. But where is the Mightily Hercules?”

 

“He’s still at the starting line Johnny. Let’s switch to roving reporter Cold Stone Steve Austin for details.”

 

=================T

=================C

=============M

============V

=============G

=========R

=====E

H

 

The camera angle changes and now we are on the track. We see that Hercules is not happy with the Spidermobile. “Move you blasted Donkey!” Mightily did he thrust his foot upon the accelerator and most loudly did the engine howl in response; but no movement at all. Steve Austin (the wrestler and sometimes guest reporter on Celebrity Death match) walks up and asks a question.

 

“Problems Herc?”

 

“Confounded contraption just makes noise rather then moving!”

 

Steve peers into the car, then replies. “You do know this is a manual transmission?”

 

Hercules glares at Steve Austin. “But of course!”

 

Steve then just waits because… well Hercules says he knows what a manual transmission is. Then Hercules grits is teeth and inquires. “But… I might be remise in my understanding.”

 

He was… Steve quickly explained that you stepped on the clutch, selected the gear that you wanted, and then released the clutch while stepping back on the gas.

 

“But a trifling detail that slipped my mind. So many important godly things to remember.” Replied Hercules after the brief description. “Thank you good sir.” With that Hercules slammed it into gear and took off… in reverse.

 

Steve winced as Hercules bellows a most emphatic “ZOUNDS!” from off screen. “Back to you Nick.”

 

Johnny is facing the viewers while Nick is looking appalled at something off camera. “Thank you Steve for that development. There has been some important developments while Steve was bringing you the Hercules story.”

 

Nick then faces the camera. “Two words viewers… Turning radius.”

 

We now see video footage of the chariot being driven by Asgardian Stig going through the lower part of the S turn, and taking it wide. Whereas the Aston Martin downshifts and takes the turn tight, getting in front of the chariot. Nick then continues.

 

“The goats appear to have better acceleration, but the Austin is tighter in the corners. This may be a knife fight all the way to the finish line.”

 

Johnny then adds. “I don’t actually see any actual brakes on the chariot, I hope we’re not looking at Fred Flintstone braking methods.”

 

“I don’t think Thor knows how to break Johnny.” Chuckles Nick.

 

“Stig Nick, Thor is dressed as the Stig.” Corrects Johnny who then looks irritated at his own mistake, he then returns to the topic of the race.

 

“The first two vehicles were able to navigate the first turn well, as well as the Silver Slayer, which cornered quite well, likewise Hugan the Grim upon his eight legged steed. But…” We see a video of the boat trying to take the sharp turn and…

 

Nick takes up the presentation. “The combination of the sharp turn combined with… a that heavy stern ballast, meant the boat portside oars (that’s on the left for you land lubbers) scrapped the ground while the boat likewise did a smoky drift in the turn, which slowed it down causing…” We now see Hammond’s tank barreling through, crushing and breaking half of the portside oars. “A most unfortunate side swiping.”

 

Volstagg can be seen shaking his fist at the departing tank, then the hydra likewise passes the boat.

 

We now see the chariot passing the Aston Martin on the long straight away as Johnny comments. “And that’s a yes on the goat advantage in the straights. I predict the two will be trading positions all thought this race. Looks like we have a definite knife fight viewers.”

 

Johnny then comments. “Speaking of knife fights…” We zoom in on the tank just as it is in the third turn of the S, we see the pursing hydra rider cast some kind of flaming fireball spell that bounces off of the turret.

 

We cut to the video feed from the tank and see that Richard does not look happy as he states to the camera. “Right… Sod him.” Richard opens fire with the thirty cal machine gun and we see rounds bounding off of some circular blocking spell, then the cannon fires a high explosive round and the hydra is obscured by flames as the round detonates on the same shield spell.

 

We cut to Clarkson who winces at the sound of the main gun firing and the resulting explosion. He glances over his shoulder, then comments. “I see Richard didn’t even get past one lap before he’s started to shoot at things. But I suppose that is how one who lives in Wales would behave.”

 

Clarkson was focused upon the road as they bank into the long curve and edged ahead of the chariot, then a violent swerve of the wheel to avoid the backwards driving Hercules (who is cursing up a blue streak as he franticly tries to figure out why he is going backwards).

 

BLOODY FOOL! He’s going the wrong way!” Shouts Clarkson in anger. Then he starts mumbling about how that reminded him about a certain taxi ride he once endured on vacation on the Greek island of Santorini and how obviously nothing has changed for thousands of years involving Greek driving habits.

 

Yana then speaks and points to the upcoming smaller straightaway. “Jeremy, there are obstacles on the track.”

 

Jeremy squints and then proclaims. “By Jove, goats? Oh no, not goats! Uni...” As a very surprised miniature unicorn rebounds off of the Aston’s radiator grill and goes tumbling off screen. Likewise another unicorn is squashed by the chariot’s wheels into bloody road kill.

 

The car and chariot continue on, leaving the rest of shocked unicorn flock exchanging glances and reaching a conclusion.

 

This means war!

 

 

Part 25c: Road hazards and live fire (this is not a drill!)

 

================T (1 lap)

================C (1 lap)

============M

====V

=============G

========R

======E

H (-1 lap)

 

Does a warning flag go up due to the sudden animal hazards on the track? NO! Just Mills Lane running to and climbing a very high viewing chair (being chased by a carnivorous unicorn) while shouting. “I’ll allow it!”

 

The light went off in Hercules’s head as a swerving, and swearing, James May avoided the reverse driving Spidermobile, likewise Hugan as his horse leaped over the wayward Hercules. With a simple swerve of the wheel the Spidermobile now was traveling in the correct direction… but backwards as the vehicle was still in reverse. Okay… the light was rather dim.

 

Volstagg’s boat was finally getting into the long straightaway, with the stern occasionally hitting the road surface, each impact scrapping off a bit more wood as well as messing up the road surface. The Valkyries who are lacking oars have drawn forth swords or are holding spears, and they look very upset.

 

The pink tank was just now power sliding through the long turn that exited from the long straight away, with a somewhat scorched hydra and elf rider still in pursuit.

 

Jonny resumes narrating. “Clarkson and Th… Asgardian Stig are battling it out in the S turn.” We see the Aston tuck down in the first turn, cutting in on the Chariot, only to then suddenly brake and fall back a bit as the chariot’s left goat lunges for the car; causing the chariot to wobble a bit.

 

“Right…’ Snarls Clarkson as he then floors it to come up on the right hand side of the chariot as they come to the second turn. Now the right side goat lunges at the car, only to be confronted by Yana, standing in her seat, wielding a blazing sword as she sliced off a bit of goat hair; causing the goat to jerk away, causing the chariot to briefly slow and … Clarkson takes the lead through the rest of the S turn.

 

Asgardian Stig is stoic, saying nothing, just shakes the reigns as the goats attempt to run even faster.

 

Yana turns, still standing, and holds up just her thumb and index finger denoting a small distance at the Asgardian Stig and the goats. Now… the normal interpretation is the phrase ‘missed it by that much’. That gesture in Asgard, used after a combat or physical encounter, is derogatory. When used by a female to a male, it also had an unfortunate sexual insult as to the male’s sexual fortitude and groin’itude as it were. And when said person also issues a soft “Baaa”, goats find it equally insulting. But of course the lady in question could not possible have known that… right?

 

Thor’s… I mean Asgardian Stig’s left hand gripped tightly the reigns, while his right hand reached down and gripped the hilt of his war hammer and held it aloft, while the two goats gave forth a bleat of complete outrage at the insult to their horn size!

 

Meanwhile… Hercules has reached the starting line and has slowed down to just a running pace, so as to converse with a fleeting Steve Austin.

 

“Friend Steve! My good fellow… might you be of assistance?”

 

“Bit busy at the moment Herc!” Pants Steve as he dodges back and forth, trying to outmaneuver a unicorn who was in pursuit. FYI, Hercules and Steve Austin were casual friends, they had met during a World Wide Wrestling event where Hercules had been a guest of honor.

 

“Perhaps my vehicle may provide some temporary shelter?”

 

Not a bad idea as Steve leaped into the Spidermobile and franticly showed Hercules just what first gear was. With a massive jolt Hercules slammed into first gear while flipping the steering so the Spidermobile now pointed in the correct direction. With a roar of power they were off! With three small unicorns in pursuit.

 

Steve’s right hand, while he was looking backwards in a panic, accidently slapped a big red web button causing some webbing to shoot forth from the back of the vehicle, immobilizing the pursuing unicorns (the vehicle’s motto was it does whatever a spider can)

 

Brilliant!

 

Or not, as May’s Silver Slayer demonstrated its name by turning the immobilized unicorns into road kill paste. And yes dear readers, many a letter was written by PETA due to the massive bloodshed of this and the prior episode (and no, the hosts paid it no mind other then Clarkson’s comment that he thought PETA stood for the society of People Eating Tasty Animals which of course just generated more angry letters.)

 

Hugan then rode through the unicorn carnage as he swung his mighty mace, smashing aside yet another unicorn, the unicorn had leapt at his throat. The few surviving unicorns were now rethinking the whole ‘this is war’ thing when Hammond’s tank plowed though them as it hit the nitro injection as it exited the turn, followed closely by the hydra.

 

A bit too closely as the hydra did not see the bloody carnage in time to avoid sliding in the blood, causing the hydra to spin about a few times before flipping over and unseating the dark elf who went tumbling down the track. The, now fewer, remaining unicorns converged upon the hydra and a savage fight commenced (the unicorns had decided the hydra was the main threat).

 

As had Hammond so you can guess what happened next, Hammond of course stopped the tank and rushed to the aid of the Hydra. No? Might he have rushed to the aid of the thrown dark elf? No. Well you’re right…

 

A high explosive round arrived from the tank and since the elf was no longer casting a protection spell… the hydra was slain as the explosion kind of blew it in half, and killing the attacking unicorns. Just to be sure he continued to track the no longer moving hydra with the turret while spraying that part of the track with sustained 30’ cal machine gun fire (one can never be too sure).

 

Hammond radios with immense satisfaction: “And that’s that!”

 

The S turn was a bit of a problem with the tank running at such speeds, meaning the S was navigated by simply cutting across the S right onto the long straightaway. A maneuver that allowed the tank to start to catch up. A most definite cheat, but Mills Lane was distracted by the unicorn carnage.

 

Meanwhile…

 

Clarkson and Asgardian Stig race past the Valkyries’ long boat, Asgardian Stig on the left side (port) while Clarkson took the right (Starboard). As the Aston Martin passed, several spears were thrown at the car, which Yana cut down with her sword.

 

An attack that rather annoyed Clarkson as he complained. “I didn’t smash up their boat or put the massive ballast in their rear.”

 

Yana said nothing in reply, but she did give another obscene gesture in the direction of the Valkyries, which they did see, and enraged them even more. First the fat buffoon of a captain, then the tank smashing the oars, and now crude gestures from a demon! Enough was enough, this means war!

 

The chariot and the car raced down the long straight away, the goats, being faster, edged back up to the car. The car was on the outside with the chariot on the inside, as they approached the opening to the curve the chariot edged to the right in an attempt to force the car off the track. Was it the goats or was it Asgardian Stig? The instigator did not matter as Clarkson tapped the breaks, down shifted, and tucked behind the chariot to then pass on the left and roar into the curve, once again in the lead!

 

Then the racing duo crossed the start line with both vehicles swerving to avoid the rather large road hazard of a dead hydra and various unicorn carcasses. A bloody spray was lofted into the air by the wheels (shown in typical Top Gear slow motion close-ups) as a disorientated dark elf stood up only to be struck by an underhanded swing of Thor’s (I mean Asgard Stig’s) war hammer (rather like polo hitting a ball), flinging the dark elf into the cheering stands.

 

An act that prompted Clarkson to comment “I suppose one should be shouting something dramatic at this point!”

 

He then gave a toothy grimace and radioed: “THIS IS SPARTA!”

 

May Radios: “No it’s not you clod!”

 

 

Part 25d: Inconceivable!

 

=================T (2 lap)

=================C (2 lap)

=============M (1 lap)

=======V

=============G (1 lap)

==========R(1 lap)

======E (1 lap and out, he’s dead Jim)

===H (sad… just so sad)

 

May and Hugan likewise passed the long boat on either side, with May ducking down as several spears likewise bounced off of the Silver Slayer’s Mithril armor and Hugan swiping a spear out of the air with his mighty mace (which somewhat annoyed him but by this point the Valkyries were attacking anything that came close). Hugan’s horse then leaps over the dead hydra while May’s vehicle just drove threw the strewn about unicorn carcasses.

 

May radios: “Hammond! You idiot! You’ve made a complete mess of the track!”

 

Hammond did not reply as he was preoccupied as the tank encountered the long boat in the turn. The Valkyries likewise threw a few more spears at the tank, triggering one of the reactive armor panels to detonate, causing Hammond to duck his head down into the turret. Now if the tank turret had been pointing straight ahead this would not have been an issue, but since it was still tracking the location of the expired hydra, and the tank was passing the long boat on the outside… Well… with a splintering crunch the tank gun shaft dismasted the long boat as it passed.

 

Did the tank then maneuver to avoid the hydra carcass?

 

Of course not.

 

The tank did briefly go airborne as the hydra body did rather provide a bit of a ramp (again filmed in slow motion) before hitting the ground and speeding off leaving a very crushed and pulped hydra in its wake.

 

Meanwhile…

 

A monitor is showing the track just as the tank round kills the hydra. Two white leather gloved hands, with one hand missing a finger and a rag tied on the wound, are clenched in outrage as a gravely voice bemoans what has occurred.

 

Dead?! How can this be? What does it take to kill these three imbeciles? How is this even possible?”

 

Then we see the dark elf get flung into the stands due to the strike from Thor’s hammer.

 

“And now Darlik is slain?! And the unicorns were worthless?”

 

Another dark elf walks into view. “He may be just stunned my lord.”

 

The hands clenched into fists. “Send in your forces.”

 

“Which ones?”

 

“All of them!” Screams the unseen figure.

 

A look of fear on the dark elf’s face as he backup up. “As you command.”

 

The unseen figure kicks a chair across the room as the two Celebrity Death Match commentators now appear on the monitor.

 

 

Part 25e: Danger zone…

 

An earnest Nick Diamond reports. “And what an exciting race it has been so far sports fans!”

 

“That’s right Nick.” Replies Johnny. “As expected the race has quickly degenerated into almost a complete free-for-all. I’m somewhat surprised the forces of hell itself haven’t joined in.”

 

Nick looks resigned. “Give it time Johnny, give it time… Let’s cut to Mills Lane…”

 

The scene switches to the top of the very high viewing chair that Mills Lane had retreated to. Below we see the last surviving unicorn attempting to clamber up the steps while Mills is fending it off with a broom while screaming for help! Then the scene switches back to the two announcers.

 

Nick comments. “We’ll check back with Mills when he’s less indisposed.”

 

Then Johnny asks a question. “Is Stone Cold Steve Austin allowed to join team Hercules?”

 

“I think anything goes right now Johnny. Anything goes…” Answers Nick. Then Nick and Johnny look puzzled about something they see off camera as Johnny asks “What’s that on the track?”

 

Back to the track…

 

=================T (3 lap)

=================C (3 lap)

=============M (3 lap)

======V (1 lap)

=============G (3 lap)

==========R(3 lap)

=======H (Whose counting anymore, we know he’s not going to win)

 

We cut back to Clarkson and Thor (Stig! I mean Asgardian Stig!), a song is blasting forth from the Aston’s speakers, it’s Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins (from the film Top Gun). Yana is still standing in the car and appears to be somewhat dancing to the music while holding that burning sword of hers. The Aston is still battling with the Asgardian Stig for the lead, current it is the Aston by a nose (and I do mean a nose as one of the goats has a very bloody noise due to being smacked by Yana’s sword and is missing its chin beard). They are currently in the big turn.

 

Revvin' up your engine

Listen to her howlin' roar

Metal under tension

Beggin' you to touch and go

 

Highway to the danger zone

Ride into the danger zone

Headin' into twilight

Spreadin' out her wings tonight

She got you jumpin' off the track

And shovin' into overdrive

 

Highway to the danger zone

I'll take you

Ridin' into the danger zone

 

You'll never say hello to you

Until you get it on the red line overload

You'll never know what you can do

Until you get it up as high as you can go

 

Out along the edges

Always where I burn to be

The further on the edge

The hotter the intensity

 

Clarkson looks somewhat embarrassed as he intensely drives. “Yes viewers, this song would not be my choice, rather juvenile. But Yana got to pick the song and it was either this or something beyond atrocious from Duran Duran. Apparently Yana is sadly a fan, I assume some leftover adolescent boy band obsessions.”

 

Yana, still standing, now started to sing the words “View to a kill…” from a Duran Duran song.

 

Clarkson looked steely determined as he gripped the steering wheel while commenting. “As I said… appalling.”

 

Yana was not receptive. “Pfff.” Then continued singing. “A chance to find the phoenix for the flame… a chance to die, but we can dance into the fire...”

 

Then she paused and looked at something ahead on the track. “Ohhh… that looks like fun…” As she then braced herself with the sword at ready with a look of violent anticipation.

 

Clarkson, on the other hand, looked very alarmed as Yana’s definition of fun was always of concern.

 

The last of the song played, almost like a foretelling…

 

Gonna take you right into the danger zone

Highway to the danger zone

Right into the danger zone!