Pedal On The Right
By Blackjack [Blackjack's Shadowrun Page:] [] [@BlackjackSRx]

Posted: 1999-08-02

The following is a pair of excerpts from the book "Pedal On The Right: The Last Days Of Mercer McKay".  Well known as one of the first true riggers, Pedal On The Right contains text from audio notes collected after Mercer was killed during a run in Atzlan.  Copyright 2060 SimonEl Press, Memphis, Tennessee, CAS.

Every rigger worth his mileage has been in a brutal accident at some point in his life.  And if he hasn't, well, it's quite obvious that he's not on the road enough.  The bottom line is: no matter how good you are, no matter how fast your ware is, and no matter how blitz you went with the vehicular modifications, you're gonna crash.  And when you travel at the speeds and in the environment that riggers tend to envelope themselves, that crash is going to hurt.

When I first started out I tended to put as much work into personal safety devices as I did into making my Audi Streetdemon the fastest, most maneuverable machine in the city.  Roll bars, ejection seats, air bags, impact foam you name it, I had it.  It wasn't that I didn't have confidence in the vehicle's operation, or my abilities as a driver.  I just knew that shit happened, and there was nothing you could do about it.  So my plan was to make sure that after the shit happened, I would still be in one piece.  Of course, in the back of my mind I knew that death was always a possibility.  I never held any illusions otherwise.  But there's something to be said about installing stuff just to make yourself feel better.  And my safety gear gave me the comfort I needed to stay focused on driving, and not on dying.

For years I had run a stint between Denver and Seattle, mainly smuggling light electronic contraband along with the occasional weapon or drug.  I never put much thought into getting caught by the cops.  Even with their high tech gear and training, they still end up being rather predictable and usually a simple Digital-CB holler will give you enough warning of their presence.  The real problem was, and still is, the raiders who would scope the Denver scene for tidbits of info that might clue them in on an upcoming shipment.   I worry less about the cops picking up my movements than I do some slob who tuned in to a word while guzzling beers at the Down N' Out.

Many years back, my shipment schedule got leaked to Fats Maroon, a bloated mess of a dwarf who hauled his ass around in an 18 wheeler filled with drones.  I was coming down the Rockies when a roto-drone launched itself out of the woods and attempted to take me down.  It was joined a short while later by five brothers and a remote operated Wasp, a typical "Fats Fleet".  As they closed in, it became increasingly apparent that even my Audi was going to have serious difficulty outrunning this mess.  My load wasn't especially valuable, so I decided to use my "Jump N' Run" trick, in which I set the autopilot to rocket the car at maximum down the road while I ejected and tried to hunt down the drone control vehicle.  It usually resulted in the loss of my vehicle, but the pleasure of finding the asshole controlling the drones usually made up for it.

I set the autopilot and waited until I entered a heavily wooded area.  Holding my breath, I slid open the roof panel and pulled the eject cord, rocketing a whopping 5 centimeters into the air before the ejection jets blew a hole in the bottom of my car.  I'm not 100% sure what happened next, but when it was all over and done it took Fats nearly an hour to dislodge me from the resulting wreck.  Fats turned out to be a pretty nice guy, although he still took my stuff.

In any case, I managed to end up in the worst wreck of my life because I ejected in an attempt to not be in the worst wreck of my life.  I'm not too sure of the point of this story, except that you might want to check out your floor boards before you go ejecting.

It would be nice to know just what the hell kind of ammo that Aguilar was firing at me.  Usually when I get hit, I'm curious as to who pulled the trigger.  But I could tell from the way that chopper flew that a heavy duty autopilot was at the wheel.  I don't give a shit about who turned the damn thing on.  I just want to know what the hell hit me.  Because I have a funny feeling I'm going to die from whatever it was.

I'm still cruising.  For now.  I did manage to ice the chopper.  Lucky shot from a tube I had hidden in the roof of my Mercury.  But it probably would have been better in the end if I had just let the thing finish me off.  Doesn't much matter now.

Two of my independent steering units just went out on the right side, which makes sense because the right half of my body just went numb.  I'm not too sure if I'm numb because something on the vehicle broke, or if the vehicle is broken because part of my body no longer works.  Funny how you lose track after a while.  First time you jack in, you still feel like you're driving the car.  Later, it feels like the car is driving you.  Eventually you just know that you're driving.

No.  That isn't right.  You're not driving.  Nor is the vehicle.  You have to extract the word "driving" and look at it all by itself.  When you're part of a vehicle for so long or when it's part of you the lines blur so much that you can't tell the two apart.  It's as if a new being is created, a mysterious hybrid that you'd expect to find in some obscure chapter of a book about paranormal critters.

A tree just got clipped and I can no longer see.  I can no longer feel either.  The last landmark I saw was the Rio Grande, which means I somehow made it to the border.  At least I'll die on home soil.

I'm tempted to set the autopilot, but I don't want to die alone.

EDITOR'S NOTE: These were the last words recorded by Mercer McKay.  This recording, as well as the others transcribed in this book, were found by police who had staked out his house in Atlanta, Georgia.  Mercer and his vehicle arrived at approximately 2:45 AM, June 22, 2059, fifteen hours after his final recording.  The engine was cold to the touch, as was Mercer McKay.