Duelling on a Budget
by Don Jacques
HTML conversion by Michael P. Owen, April 2000
ADQ field reporters have plenty of opportunities to see divisional
events. This is how we are able to write detailed duelling interviews.
However, it has come to the attention of this reporter that relatively
few stories have been written about Division 5 duellists. Recently I had
the pleasure to correct that through an interview with Fred "The Undead"
Acheson, a Division 5 duellist currently living in New Omaha. This interview
took place just after Fred won the Nebraska Div. 5 state championship.
ADQ: How did you get your start in autoduelling?
Fred: Two years ago I graduated from UNNO with a degree in architectural
engineering and no money in my pockets. The student loans people were expecting
repayment soon, and I was unable to find a job in any of the big architect
firms in town. I decided to enter amateur night to raise a quick thousand
to pay off my first loan installment (there were 20 in all). Not only did
I survive, but I made a few thousand more by salvaging
my kills. After that I started as a "nickel" duellist and my loans were paid off in less than a year. I enjoyed my duelling so much that when I did find a job I took it part-time only. The rest is history.
ADQ: How many kills have you made? Which one do you remember the most?
Fred: As of now I have collected 18 license plates and only had to abandon
my vehicle three times. The one kiIl I considered to be the most memorable
happened two months ago. I fought against a Shrimp that was carrying a
passenger shooting grenades. My tires bought it, but not before I rammed
him, sending him into the wall. I got out and ran over to the Shrimp, trying
to convince the crew to surrender. When they shot back, I lobbed a flechette
grenade through their breached armor into the crew compartment. I was still
able to salvage the engine intact.
ADQ: Sounds ghoulish. Do all nickel duellists salvage their kills?
Fred: Yes. The prize money is not so hot, and any extra money will help.
You get into the habit of it when you lose a car every time you fight.
ADQ: What are some misconceptions of Division 5 duelling?
Fred: First of all, the majority of duelling spectators thii the only
difference between amateur night and Division 5 is the names. Well, you
certainly don't see pro-Division 5 duellists fighting in Killer Karts!
Division 5 cars are carefully constructed and tested, just like any other
car. Second, duellist casualties are virtually the same, if not lower,
than in other divisions. This is because a fleeing duellist can easily
re-enter the division, while those in higher divisions tend to tough it
out to the bitter end. Third, nickel duellist form tight circles of friends
and are less likely to kill each other. Often they pay for hospital costs
and even cloning if one dies. You don't see that in megamedia arenas. Finally,
those duellists who survive become just as competent and skilled as those
in higher divisions. Division 5 is not the "graveyard of punks and wimps."
ADQ: On the basis of what you said, how are tactics handled?
Fred: Two things dictate that: armor and tires. Armor is relatively
thin, about one-half or two-thirds at most when compared to an equivalent
large car. Three solid shots can punch right through. Mines are deadly
because little armor is placed on the bottom. Tires tend to cluster to
the heavy-duty and puncture-resistant variety. Three grenades will destroy
one, on the average. Wheelguards are uncommon for Division 5 cars but will
definitely extend your life. Anti-vehicular ammo and VLAWs are good weapons
at point-blank range and for delivering the finishing blow. Keep your distance,
wait for your opponent to waste his grenades, and then circle in. Fire
pistols with A/V ammo and folding stocks. His armor should be weak enough
on all sides so one good shot can go inside.
ADQ: What do you consider to be the best cars in Division 5?
Fred: To be honest, a car with sloped armor and component armor for
the driver. My new car is a custom made compact built right here in New
Omaha by a college friend of mine. An agent from Linden Motors saw my car
in action and stated that his company would like to buy the rights to it.
If my friend and I agree, I can quit my architect job for good. Oh, I've
gotten off the subject of the best cars. Here are the best ones as I see
them: The Hokie Special (nasty ramplate); the Gladiator, Needle and Firecracker
(tire killers, the three of them); and the Shrimp, by virtue of its passenger
who can be armed with grenade launchers.
ADQ: I see the officials are about to award the trophies. Correct me if I'm wrong, Fred, but is that a tin can with wheels on top of the first place trophy?
Fred: Sure is. That's a friendly joke among nickel duellists.
ADQ: Congratulations, Fred, and thanks for taking time out for this interview.
Fred: My pleasure.
Fred's car is a custom built compact called the "Penny Pincher" and its stats are listed below.
Penny Pincher -- Compact, light chassis, imp. suspension, medium powerplant, 4 HD tires, driver, MML front, junk dropper rear, 10 points of component armor for driver. Single weapon computer, 2 point defense grenades (one left, one right), Armor (sloped): F9, R7, L7, B7, Tl, U2. Accel. 10, HC 2; 2,798 lbs., $4,312.