Stormy Encounter

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Dry desert air blew through Vince’s hair and evaporated the sweat on his forehead at once. Despite the shadow of the partially intact canopy of the abandoned rest stop the relentless morning sun warmed up the remote region quickly.
The blistering heat of the day didn’t worry him, at least not more than usual. It was the rusty red cloud of the sand storm racing towards him that did.
When he parked his road train the evening before there had only been a prediction of strong winds, this morning he woke up with a storm warning.
The storm which could topple his truck and trailers seemed to be on a straight course and he hoped it would stay that way as he walked back to his truck on the area of barren hard ground that used to be a parking lot. He climbed up the steps of the extra long cabin of his truck and took one more look around the open space. Humming in dissatisfaction at the need to park the truck straight across the road to line it up with the direction of the storm, he sat down behind the wheel and started the engine. The lot was more than long enough to accommodate the nearly seventy metres of his truck with the four fifteen metre trailers but neither side was wide enough.
Hoping no one was stupid enough to drive through the storm he steered towards the far side of the lot, then turned to cross the road and halted the combination when it stood in a straight line with the back of the last trailer facing the storm.
The wind had already increased a lot as he secured his side mirrors against the doors and looked away from the wind to prevent stinging dust getting into his eyes. This was all he could do on such short notice but it wasn’t the first time he had to endure these violent storms. Relieved to roll up and close the window and shut out the dirt and wind, he slumped back into his driver seat and switched through the side and rear camera views of the trailers and left it on the side view of the last trailer so he could watch the storm approach and dissipate in the end.
Despite the fifty-eight tyres gripping the ground with the nearly maximum load of a hundred and sixty-five tonnes on the twenty-nine axles, the whole rig shook at the powerful gusts of the storm slamming against it. Vince was glad he had gotten the opportunity to turn the trailers, otherwise they would have surely toppled from the force.
The cloud of dust left no other sight than lighter and darker streams of brown outside. The camera view was no different but because Vince wasn’t in the mood to read he watched it anyway, thinking it had something hypnotic together with the howl of the wind.
After some time Vince saw lighter spots appearing in the camera view of the last trailer and expected the storm would end soon. The view became slowly clear enough for him to see several metres in the distance and he checked every camera view to see if there was any damage. The worst seemed tyres almost buried in sand but it didn’t worry him, his four axle all wheel drive truck could easily pull the trailers out of a little sand.
A muffled bang and sudden shudder from the truck startled him. Quickly he switched views to see what had struck the combination and where. The camera on the second trailer showed a blurry wreck of a car against the rear axles. He peered as something moved and the driver door of the car opened. A figure in dark clothes leaned out, tried to take a step, and stumbled onto the ground.
‘Shit!’ Vince grumbled. He couldn’t leave whoever it was that was stupid enough to drive through the storm lying there to get buried under the sand. Waiting for the storm to end would take too long.
He went into the back of the cabin, pulled safety goggles out of a toolbox, tied a hand towel around his face, and opened the emergency hatch at the rear. The wind pulled at the towel but he could breath without inhaling much dust. He climbed through the hatch and peered out from the space between the cabin rear and the front of the first trailer. He needed to hold on to something to steady himself against gusts of wind but it was possible to move hunched over towards the car.
The distance was more than enough to make him pant when he reached the figure in a dark suit lying next to the car. He was glad to see the face lay away from the wind and hadn’t been covered in sand yet, and sat down to pull up the upper body.
A moan and the hair blowing clear from the face revealed a young woman. He wondered what could have driven her to travel through this storm while he put another pair of goggles on her head and tied another towel around her face when he noticed the briefcase she clutched in her hand.
She coughed and barely blinked her eyes as she looked up at him. ‘…case…can’t let them…safe…’

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World bits

More background on the worlds of Daily Life With Furry Girls series and the Huskies stories.

Government

As shown by the current state of affairs in a certain world, democracy doesn’t work when many voters are easily influenced to make a bad decision.
A new form of controlled government was demanded after another collapse of global economy and happiness. Some of the requirements are to protect it from fraud, corruption, self-enrichment, while still letting the people have their say.

A benevolent dictatorship has many advantages as long as the leader makes informed decisions to benefit the people. For them it doesn’t matter who rules, as long as they’re not taken advantage of. So instead of electing a head of state by the population, the alternative is letting them submit and elect issues that concern them.

Issues are brought forward by the people on an online petition site secured by personal login and a simple, clean design. Each person of an adult age can create a petition and confirm it after the display of similar older and current petitions. Petitions can be up-voted once by each person and there are no down-votes.
Each petition will be checked on content and redirected to the ministry or ministries it relates to. Top petitions get a priority but all petitions will be processed.

Each ministry is run by experts in the field with a public work history. The head of each ministry is assigned on a rotating basis from the top members but has no specific privileges apart from acting on behalf of the ministry.
The processing of each petition is made public and the outcome has to be accompanied with lists of pros and cons. The public has one month to challenge the outcome, after which it is either signed into law without repeal for three years (unless affected by natural disaster), or it will be re-evaluated by a third party team.

A president is assigned on a yearly basis by rotation from each ministry and is also without specific privileges apart from signing on behalf of the nation.

Finance

Inequality is caused by the greed of the few who hoard as much as they can. To prevent this from happening rules have been set in place to put a cap on dead wealth.
Dead wealth are funds not actively used for expenses.

Every year the maximum age of 99% of the population is calculated and each person born in that year is at that time allowed to have 1 million per year of remaining calculated age for total wealth when they reach adulthood.
If they grow older than the calculated age they will receive a state pension with a maximum of 1 million a year up to a maximum of 1 million of total wealth.
Excessive wealth above the age limit will be transferred to the state, which will use it for public projects.

Companies are limited to a maximum of 10 years covering running costs of the previous year. Extra funds for projects can be set aside for 5 year terms after approval by the state. After that period remaining funds count towards the company total.
An excess of failed projects can lead to future denial of new project budget approvals.
As with personal wealth, anything above the limit will go to the state.

The state itself is also subject to a cap of 15 years of running costs. Excess funds are used for public projects.

Law

The law is based on the principle of anything is allowed as long as it doesn’t harm anything.

Correcting bad behaviour is at the core of treatment of criminals, but if they keep repeating they will be indefinitely incarcerated.
Extreme crimes like murder, rape, etcetera are automatic indefinite incarceration.

Persons abusing the justice system will be fined, incarcerated, or barred from filing complaints for a period of time.

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LEGO cars 8860 8865 8880

My first experience with the big Technic LEGO sets was the car chassis 8860 that I received as a kid with Sinterklaas. To be given the largest and most complicated set at the time was fantastic. I don’t know how long I took but I started building it right away and finished it the day after.
And later on I used the parts to build and test many more things of course.

I hadn’t thought much about LEGO when I grew older until the Test Car 8865 hit the shelves. Such a cool car and so many improvements, I couldn’t resist buying it.
It was also the last Technic set that I bought.

The Super Car 8880 was new to me when I was offered a box of mostly Technic LEGO. I hadn’t known of it and it looked interesting so I accepted it along with most parts of another 8865 and 8860. I wasn’t sure if the 8880 was complete until I recently began rebuilding the interesting models that I owned like the Giant Truck 5571.
I built this one of the large cars first to see if it was complete, then the 8865, and the 8860 last including a body.

The cars

I had seen photos before on how each car compared in size but you only get a good feel for it when you actually see them for real.
Judging from the seat sizes the 8860 and 8865 would be about the same size in real life while the 8880 would have been a bit bigger.

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Car chassis 8860

It’s no wonder LEGO chose this one as a special model at the 40th anniversary of the Technic series, which could be built with downloaded instructions and three sets that were released in 2017. Although there is a previous car chassis to the 8860, the 853, the 8860 was such a big step forward in improvements and technical realism it made it an iconic classic.
I never owned the 853 myself but I would like to have one to complete my collection.

It was fun to build the 8860 again and I had in mind to see if I could create a body for it, I hadn’t expected to do it right away and finish it the same evening.
The design is based on the styles of cars from that time (which I like best) and mostly done with Alfa Romeo in mind.
To keep in line with the Technic parts of the time I didn’t use the black pins and the body is therefore less rigid at the windshield.
The front chassis and grey box are extended by two studs to bring it more in balance with the back, especially after I added the rear bumper.

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A criticism about the chassis was the torsion it exhibited, it being only one beam high for the most part. Since I needed a strong connection for the body in front of the dashboard anyway I extended the double beam construction at the rear to the front axle.
The chassis is now as stiff as the other two cars.

I thought I didn’t have a rubber band for the fan on top of the boxer engine and modified it so I could use the small chain.

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Added a litte bit of detail to the extended dashboard and used three 8 teeth cogs to place the steering wheel at the correct position.
I haven’t found a good way to add side mirrors to the car in a fitting style (preferably on the bonnet) but will keep it in mind.

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Test car 8865

Modifications to this car are mostly adding a bit of panneling to bring out the body more, and bits and pieces to the interior and side mirrors to hint at the 8880, like how I used the tiny 1 2 3 tiles on the gearbox of the 8860 to hint at the 8865.

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Super car 8880

The only modifications I did on this car were adding a few details to bring the yellow highlights out more and adding a bit of panneling around the wheels.

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I looked at the later cars and trucks but I have no interest in buying those. The studless construction pieces make them look like a cross between these cars and real models with only ugly results. The body should be either imagined, or completely smooth without bulges, dents, and holes everywhere. It looks more like a Transformer than a model car.
The Arocs 8×4 tipper truck might be fun to build but since LEGO never made a proportionally correct tyre it looks off, not to mention the dents in the cabin sides.
And of course it being a modern Mercedes. If only it would have been a DAF 3600 or at least the round cabin from the 80s.

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