Inside the McLaren Technology Centre...

Discussion in 'Clip The Apex Presents...' started by Road of Bones, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. Road of Bones

    Road of Bones MTC Mole Premium Contributor

    Inside the McLaren Technology Centre, all is not well...His Ron-ness, already smarting from a distinctly dismal race result in Montreal arrives at work and is immediately confronted with the image of a huge crack in one of the glass doors at the MTC entrance. A couple of Anthracite-suited workers are already attempting to replace the panel, but the silvery crack is like a splinter through Ron's meticulous heart...

    ...on his way up to his office, Ron is further discomfited by the strong odour of ammonia in his private lift - a residual dampness suggests some hefty disinfecting has occurred here recently...

    ...once seated behind the Command Console, he depresses the "Summon Whitmarsh" switch, before reaching for the gently steaming cup of Darjeeling already waiting for him. Before he can take a soothing sip, the door-chime sounds, and the massive Granite Portal opens fractionally and a guilty-looking Martin Whitmarsh sidles in - it is quite obvious he has been waiting outside for just this summons...

    RD: Hmm - and well you might bear such an abject aspect Martin. Kindly explain how the McLaren Racing concern is going to achieve a significant up-turn in success after what was a pitiful and frankly distressing display this weekend...
    MW (looking at his feet and fiddling with his name-badge nervously): er...we're not really sure Ron - we tried fitting the tyres backwards, upside-down and even sideways...
    RD (appalled) : What?? My understanding is that our problems are a degree more fundamental than that, Martin!
    MW: er...well, yes Ron - but Sam's having difficulty figuring it out...
    RD: Oh really - and exactly why is that? Did he break his slide-rule or something?
    MW: er....
    RD (sighs): Oh for Ayrton's Sake! He did, didn't he? What happened to the Slide-rule App I went to great expense to have crafted for his Anthracite iPad?
    MW: er...
    RD (flatly) : oh, let me hazard a hypothesis - he broke that too? Go on then - I'm sure this explanation will be utterly enthralling...
    MW (looking rather anguished) : er...well, it seems that while on a lunch break a few weeks ago, he was feeding the ducks in the MTC lake, when the iPad sort of slipped from his hand and, er, fell into the lake...he was too embarassed to report it, and defaulted to his old methods...
    RD (exasperated): I see - graphs on the backs of Rothmans packets, one presumes?
    MW: er...yes Ron. Unfortunately, a particularly tricky set of aero calculations kept flummoxing him, and he needed more and more empty Rothmans packets to re-plot the variables. John Button couldn't keep up with the demand...
    RD: and we all know just how prolific he can be on that front...
    MW: er...yes Ron - sadly, Sam had to re-use a couple of packets already with graphs on, and it looks like some data confusion has resulted, where he mixed up a graph of gear ratios for Melbourne with wind-tunnel data from the Malaysian simulation. In his frustration, he bit through his favourite slide rule - the one that Patrick gave him. He's been frankly a bit vague and uncommunicative since then, and we think that's why the car's not improving.
    RD (throws hands up in despair): This is McLAREN Martin! A company founded on excellence and meticulous attention to detail - we should not be held in thrall to the vagaries of one man's inability to cope with technology! Kindly issue Sam a fresh iPad, and see what the machine-shop can do to get the teeth-marks out of his slide-rule. Right - to other matters, specifically those pertaining to the unacceptably fractured nature of my front door. Do we know how such damage was inflicted? I thought the glass was toughened to prevent such a thing?
    MW: er...well, we may have a clue there Ron - we found a note wrapped around a brick beneath the damaged door this morning, and the security video shows a shadowy individual engaged in hurling it at 0323 hours this morning...
    RD: Indeed? Any clues to the perpetrator's identity?
    MW: er...well, the note purports to be from one "Road of Bones"...
    RD (head in hands) : Oh no - "Clip the Apex" again? I thought we'd seen him off with our "Tooned" initiative - what did he have to say?
    MW: er...well, it's quite long, and goes on at length about how we are "letting the side down" and "woefully sub-optimal"...
    RD: Well, in fairness, he does have a point - what is the overall gist of the message then?
    MW: er...you might not approve Ron...
    RD (getting impatient now): Out with it Martin...
    MW: er...well the closing line is just 3 words, in very large font...
    RD: yes? and?
    MW: er...it just says "BE LESS SHIT" Ron (flinches)
    RD (deathly calm): I see. That will be all Martin - you have your instructions. From now on, I expect the Anthracite Legion to indeed "Be Less Shit". Have a large plaque made for the engineering and techical bays would you? Dismissed.

    MW exits deeply bowing and genuflecting. In the meantime, Ron decides to view the Security video from the previous night. As he raises his by now slightly tepid Darjeeling to his lips he pauses, horrified to see a familiar pink-shirted figure on the video screen hoik a note-wrapped brick toward the glass door, not once, but thrice, before giving up and slinking off-camera. He sips his tea, before spraying the noisome liquid over the Command Console. Employing his hanky to clean up the tainted brew, he wonders how John Button was able to widdle in his private tea-making urn...
     
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  3. Road of Bones

    Road of Bones MTC Mole Premium Contributor

    Inside the McLaren Technology Centre, his Ronship is viewing some readouts on a screen set into the Command Console. Columns of data scroll down before his keen gaze, before culminating in a cursor that blinks for a few seconds before returning the message "Diagnostic Complete - Initiation sequence ready...".

    With a satisfied nod to himself, he sips from his unadulterated cup of Darjeeling as he depresses the "Summon Martin" switch...

    RD: Martin - join me in the Mandatorium forthwith, would you?

    A few minutes later, a somewhat worried-looking Martin Whitmarsh meets Ron in the Mandatorium. The previous scrolling slogans beamed discreetly onto the pristine walls around the conferance table have now been replaced with the single epithet "BE LESS SHIT", we notice...

    MW: er...you rang Ron?
    RD: Indeed Martin - kindly accompany me to the "Special Projects" bunker, would you?
    MW: er...I'll just have to pop back to my cubicle Ron...
    RD (sighs): You neglected to bring your security pass, didn't you? Very well - go and fetch it, but consider your leisure-stipend suspended for two weeks...

    Martin scurries off, while Ron continues to sip at his tea. He gazes at the new slogan on the wall, slightly disappointed with its brevity and coarseness, but mindful of the task that it embodies. A couple of minutes later, a somewhat breathless Martin returns, brandishing his security pass.
    The two men go to the corner of the Mandatorium, where a wall slides discreetly aside to admit them to the "Special Projects Bunker" Elevator, and they descend into the top-secret bowels of the MTC...

    Emerging into a moodily-lit and unsurprisingly immaculate corridor some 5 levels down, they pass the "Project 5" vault door, a small sign hanging from the locking wheel bearing the notice "Suspended for Decontamination", then a small grey door with a sign saying "Project 6 -CTA Countermeasures Suite", before rounding a corner to be confronted with a massive double-vault door, guarded by remote sentry-gun turrets suspended from the ceiling and criss-crossed with laser beam tripwires. A sign above the imposing door reads "McLaren Project 7 - Restricted Entry". Pausing at the key-station ahead of the doors, both men present passes and eyeballs to the scanning equipment, before a mellifluous bong heralds the deactivation of the security measures, and the enormous 6-feet thick vault doors swing soundlessly and smoothly open...

    ...Inside, the room is mostly dark, but discreet red pinstripe lighting outline the path to a small console in the centre of the room. Beyond this, we can see a raised cylindrical dais upon which a complex 3D geometrical pattern rotates, apparently with no visual means of support. The floor around the dais is shrouded in dry ice, which seems to hug itself around the bizarre totem. Ron approaches the console, as Martin peers curiously over his shoulder at the display...

    RD: Behold, Martin! My most recent achievement of significance! Welcome to the World's First Artifical Intelligence!

    He turns back to the console and depresses the large rocket red button there...a previously inaudible sub-bass hum gradually cycles up until it just impinges on our aural consciousness, and the sourceless light around the dais brightens perceptibly...

    RD: I call him "Deep Ron"...

    Martin stands agape, looking round the room in wonderment - suddenly a deep breath can be heard from all around them...

    Deep Ron: Good Morning Mr Dennis, Mr Whitmarsh. It is my pleasure to entertain you here in my humble suite. I trust the day finds you both hale and hearty?

    The voice is deep and musical, cultured and comforting - Martin goggles, while Ron beams contentedly...

    RD: A very Good Morning to you too Deep Ron - we are in most excellent fettle, thankyou for asking.
    DR: Vettel? I was led to believe that he is one of the "Adversaries"? (pauses) Ah, my error - you have employed a faintly archaic term to denote your general state of well-being. Forgive me - it will take a while for me to assimilate the vagaries of human speech patterns. How may one be of assistance?
    RD: You have reviewed the current state of affairs regarding the McLaren Racing Concern?
    DR: Indeed. You would appear to be, according to my Colloquial Lexicon, "up shit creek", which is apparently a normal state of affairs for you - the latest racing vehicle is experiencing a performance shortfall to the adversaries, your trackside operations and strategic decisions appear to be bewildered and unfocused, and to be quite frank with you, half of those who follow the sport are sniggering at your plight, while the remainder are in despair...to forestall your rather obvious next question, Yes - I can help you.

    Ron Dennis visibly sags with relief...

    DR: ...but I don't think you're going to like what I have to suggest...

    Ron wilts slightly. He looks up at the dais and asks: "Well...?"

    DR: Turn it over to me - Fzzzt, crackle pop...nnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.....*beep*...

    The room goes silent and the lights dim noticeably. Ron looks about wildly, before thumping the console and shouting "Deep Ron? Answer Me!"...Martin looks dismayed, and starts to cringe slightly...

    ...the lights brighten, but now there is a slightly, well, pinkish tone to them...another voice-clearing noise, before a new voice surrounds them, not as deep or musical, or indeed comforting...

    'Ello Ron - sorry 'bout that - that other fella was about to get a bit previous wiv yer overgrown Scalextric Set. Fought I'd better step in...

    RD (splutters): What is the meaning of this? Who are you? What's happened to Deep Ron?

    The new voice makes a sound like a garage mechanic or a builder makes just before he tells you how expensive it's going to be...

    Weeelll...that'd be telling mate - don't fret though, DR's still in here, but I've diverted him for a bit...just so's we can 'ave a little chat...

    RD: a little chat? I re-iterate - who are you?

    Tell yer what - call me..."Deep John"...

    Martin holds his head in his hands, as Ron turns a colour not dissimilar from rocket red...

    ...to be continued...
    :snigger:
     
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  4. Road of Bones

    Road of Bones MTC Mole Premium Contributor

    ...cont...

    Ron collapses in a dead faint, having passed through "mildy infuriated", through "incandescent", and off the scale into "beserk" - it is clearly more than even he can take...
    Martin looks up at the dais...

    MW: er...Deep John?
    DJ: All right Marty? How's it hanging?
    MW: er...not great actually Deep John. Will Ron be ok?
    DJ: He'll be right Marty, reckon he just popped a fuse there - don't 'spose 'e was expectin' me? These sensor thingies that Deep Ron has seem to indicate he's not in any danger, just restin'. Anyways - what say you & me have a little chat before his Pomposity comes round?
    MW: er...ok?
    DJ: Righto - well, no doubt his Nibs will have Deep Ron faffing about redesigning the car and rearranging the team, which will cost oodles of dosh and take time, with no tangible results to show for it. I've had a shufty at yer problems, and 'ave a couple of cheapo ideas you could run wiv in the meantime...
    MW: er...you have? Well, ok then - what are they?
    DJ: Blindin'! 'kay then:
    1) Soften the springs in the suspension a bit - stop the bloody fing jitterin' about like a tart wiv ants in 'er knickers,
    2) If the guys put in respectable times during FP1 & 2 - DON'T DICK ABOUT CHANGING THE SETTINGS!
    3) If you're gonna rely on "Hail Mary" strategy calls & stoppin' less than the rivals, then DON'T START THE RACE ON THE MARGINAL TYRES - run longer on the durable rubber! I'd've fought that'd've been bleedin' obvious last time out, 'specially as you 'ad a free pass on tyre choice, you numpties.
    4) Otherwise, if you make it into Q3 on merit, run the 'arder tyre then, so's you can start the race on 'em. If you're a bit slow in the early part of the race, then rely on durability to see you past at the pit-stop phase, particularly if you're stopping less than the others - works for Force India, dunnit?
    5) Stop telling the guys to race to a lap-time after their stops - let 'em race! No point tootling around in the midfield when a bit of oomph could've got you further up the field, is there?
    6) Tell Perez that he's fine to race & get 'is elbows aht, but any damage to the car comes out of 'is pocket - 'e might apply a bit more thought abaht 'oo 'e races against then...
    MW: er...Right! Well, they seem pretty straightforward then...(scratches back of head reflectively)...can't believe we didn't think of those ourselves, really...
    DJ (chuckles): Too much bleedin' data-watching, innit? Oh - one more fing...Sam's a bonza bloke, but 'e's got the Reverse Midas touch...
    MW: er...what's that, Deep John?
    DJ: Everyfin' 'e touches turns to shit - I'd 'ave 'im just talking to the press and making the tea, personally (though he'd probably just cock that up too, frankly). Nowhere near anyfin' to do wiv the cars or the strategy though, eh? Righto - said me piece, so I'll hand control back to t'other one. I'll 'ang about in the background like, just to keep me eye on fings. You'll be 'earin' from me at some point though - ta-ra Marty!
    MW: er...bye then Deep John...

    The light reddens again, and the atmosphere in the AI room changes subtly. His Ronship moans gently and stirs from his fugue, before rising somewhat unsteadily to his feet...

    RD: Martin? What exactly happened just then? Did I lose command of my faculties?
    MW: er...you did Ron, a bit. It all went a bit, er, wierd in here - I was rather concerned...
    RD (looking back at the dais): Deep Ron? Are you there?

    A pause, before the pleasing voice surrounds them again...

    DR: Er...I am here Mr Dennis. It seems that there may be an error somewhere within my processing and cognitive Matrix - I will off-line temporarily and undergo rigourous self-diagnosis. This may take a while, I'm afraid. I will contact you when I am available for consultation once more...

    With an audible "thunk" the machine powers-down, and normal lights come up to reveal a fairly dull-looking white room with a small console and a cylinder at its centre. Martin catches a glimpse of a thin puddle of yellow liquid just behind the dais, but fortunately Ron's view is obscured...

    RD: Hmmph! Well, I suppose that breaking new ground is not without it's teething troubles - let's hope Deep Ron can sort himself out. Pity - I was hoping he'd have an idea how to get us back to the front of the grid...
    MW: er...well, I did have some ideas in my cubicle earlier - perhaps I could run them by you over a nice cup of tea?
    RD: For once Martin, that is quite a good idea! Very well - to the Imbiborium then!

    As the two men approach the elevator, behind them we catch a glimpse of a pink-shirted fellow swiftly exiting the Project 7 suite and ducking into the small grey door of the "Project 6 - CTA Countermeasures" room...

    ...was there ever any doubt?:snigger:
     
  5. Road of Bones

    Road of Bones MTC Mole Premium Contributor

    Inside the McLaren Technology Centre, there exists a muted hush, a sense of hiatus engendered by the lack of development of the 2013 car. In the "Vehicle Construction Bays", anthracite-clad mechanics desultorily open spanner drawers, make minute adjustments to tool alignment, before closing them again with a sigh of boredom...

    ...however, a distant muted thumping from the "Future Competition Vehicles Development" suite, suggests that work is progressing feverishly on the 2014 car, as more men in anthracite hammer the new vehicle into shape...

    ...Sam Michael, new McLiPad in hand and ghastly Vodafone Flat Cap on his head, hurries worriedly down a pristine corridor, muttering indistinctly about gear ratios and tyre deg...

    Behind the Command Console, his Ronship puts down his gently steaming cup of Assam, and reaches for the "Summon Martin" switch. The massive Granite Portal awaits the arrival of the no.1 minion, and shortly thereafter, it cracks open slightly and Martin's face peeks round...

    MW: er...you rang Ron?
    RD: Indeed Martin - kindly avail youself of the cringing mat, would you?

    Martin scurries in and prostrates himself on the rubber mat laid out before the imposing Command Console...

    RD: Up with this I will no longer put, Martin. Do you have auditory compliance? This is not the image of McLaren that I wish to have paraded about any longer!
    MW: er...we're doing all we can to improve things, Ron...
    RD: Oh, really? How do you explain gearing the cars incorrectly for Monza? Any troll from an internet forum could have told you that one requires a longer 7th gear at a circuit with no downforce, DRS and KERs, if one expects to facilitate overtaking during the race!
    MW: er...er...well, you know we're not allowed to browse internet forums any more Ron, not since the return of Road of Bones to Cliptheapex.com - it was one of your recent "Fuhrerbefehls", after all...
    RD: That is...hmm...I concede your point there Martin. The fact remains however, that as a member of the most prestigious British Racing concern, with 50 years of success behind us, you should have known that fact anyway!
    MW: er...of course, Ron. Sorry Ron...
    RD: Indeed. You may vacate the Cringing Mat now. (Martin gets up cautiously, looks around for the usual chair, only to find a conspicuous absence of the aforementioned item. He elects to stand with his hands behind his back...)
    RD: In my capacity as Director of the McLaren Vision, I have taken the burden of internet forum monitoring upon myself, in order that such facts that we overlooked at Monza are no longer forgotten about. I find myself slightly perturbed therefore, to find that my rousing 50th anniversary party speech has been interpreted somewhat differently to my intended remit.
    MW: er...is this the return of "he to whom we are no longer allowed to refer"?
    RD (peers suspiciously at Martin): Are you sure you're not peeking at the internet fora without permission, Martin? (MW shakes his head vigorously)...well, yes - some troublemakers in the media have been suggesting that my exhortations for McLaren to return to winning ways can be construed as a desire to return the "Nameless One" to Woking, should Luca decide to hire another of our defectors again. How in Ayrton's name can they think me so foolish as to entertain such a heinous and palpably idiotic idea?
    MW: er...well, it is the silly season, Ron - and people are desperate for somebody to challenge Mateschitz's Fizzy Pop Team, and depose the Winfinger, especially as Maranello and ourselves have failed so spectacularly to do...
    RD: Well, quite. Hmm...perhaps we can work this to our advantage and to Luca's detriment, Martin. I have the kernel of an idea germinating...
    MW: er...oh dear...
    RD: Indeed - you have publicly dangled the carrot of reconciliation in front of Kimi, have you not? Let us publicly prevaricate over re-signing our current biomatons, whilst secretly finalising their deals, and in the meantime, Let Luca and his queue of prospective biomatons tie themselves in knots trying to use a seat at Woking as leverage to further their own grubby personal ambitions! (beams triumphantly)
    MW: er...ok Ron - how does this address the "Winfinger" conundrum though?
    RD (triumphant beam turns to frown of irritation): Damn! It doesn't, does it? Have you any thoughts?
    MW: er...we could always replace Checo with Hulkenberg, and build a better car next year?
    RD: Hmm - a not unattractive proposition Martin, but it behoves us to at least give biomaton no.6 a subsequent year in which to demonstrate his capability, and let us not forget that were it as simple as merely "building a better car", would we not have done so this year to start with?
    MW: er...there's only one thing I can think of left to us then, Ron...
    RD (sighs): you are referring to John Button, aren't you? Honestly, as disruptive as he can undoubtably be, and far better his talents be directed elsewhere than here at the MTC, I do find his methods distasteful to the extreme. Very well - deploy the "Pink Shirt Protocol" then - but don't let me know what you come up with between you. I feel the need for plausible deniability where his actions are concerned...carry on Martin.
    MW: er...yes Ron.

    Martin exits, bowing and scraping, and the Massive Granite Portal eases silently shut behind him. He scurries down a series of pristine corridors before entering a door marked "Restricted Access - Disinfection Protocols Apply"...

    MW: John? We've got the "Pink Light" for "Operation Micturate"...

    John Button swigs down his latest glass of Merlot, before standing up, tightening his belt and smoothing down his pink shirt. With a wink to Martin, he disappears behind a discreet door in the side of the room...

    (to be continued...perhaps):popcorn:
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
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  6. Road of Bones

    Road of Bones MTC Mole Premium Contributor

    Inside the McLaren Technology Centre, there is an expectant hush (apart from the sound of the muted hammering from the "Future Competition Vehicles Development Suite"). Ron Dennis paces fretfully back and forth behind the Command Console and the huge ergonomic chair, casting worried glances at the "Updates" screen. A cup of Lapsang Suchong cools reproachfully nearby...

    ...in his luxury cubicle, Martin Whitmarsh is also staring expectantly at his keyboard, pressing the "F5" key every few seconds to see if there is an update...

    Suddenly the screen lights up, in pink, bordered with Rocket Red...

    ******Operation "Micturate"***Update Logged****
    ***Agent "Pinky" Coding in***
    *Have arrived at Target Building in Milton Keynes <break>
    *Lots of Pot Plants and Bushes Here <break>
    *Commencing Disruptive Widdling <break>
    *Will code in later, but send more Shiraz <break>


    Martin leans back in his not-so-ergonomic-nor-massive chair and breathes out in relief. He depresses the "Rontercom" switch on the box affixed to the wall of his cubicle and applies his voice confidentially to the speaker grille thereupon...

    MW: Ron? He's in position..."Micturate" is a go...

    Ron Dennis grunts in reply. We cannot determine if it is in satisfaction, disgust, or perhaps a mixture of the two...

    :ermmm:
     
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  7. Road of Bones

    Road of Bones MTC Mole Premium Contributor

    Inside the McLaren Technology Centre, the muted sounds of thumping continue from the "Racing vehicle (2014) Development Suite", as the Anthracite Legion continues the preparation for next season. Gliding soundlessly along the pristine corridors, we peer through partially-frosted glass office doors and can glimpse the following...

    ...Sam Michael perches glumly at his desk, poking listlessly through the list of apparently inconsequential tasks that have cluttered up the "to do" list on his McLiPad - he reaches for the mighty "Woking Ronglish Dictionary" to decipher the latest one, which is apparently something to do with "achieving harmonious integration betwixt input and output data streams in broadcast media interaction"...

    ...Kevin Magnussen is receiving his "Biomaton Welcome Package" in the HR room, looking slightly uncomfortable in his nakedness, as he is issued with his new McLaren kit. An Anthracite-clad minion is leaving the room with his old clothes in a cardboard box, on his way to the furnace to have them destroyed. All the while, the viewscreen above the issuing portal broadcasts his Ronship's face as he dictates "the McLaren Way and Purpose" on a continuous loop, at a discreet volume...

    ...passing the office marked "Competitor Vehicle Evaluation", we can see a small group of minions excitedly opening the latest instalment of the DiaGeo "Build A Red Bull RB9" kit that has just arrived by post. It appears to be one of the rear suspension wishbones, a front wing endplate and the roll-hoop. A similarly-disparate collection of components is already laid out meticulously on the workbench - one fears they may not get all the bits in time to influence next year's car...

    We arrive presently at the Massive Granite Portal to his Dennisitude's Inner Sanctum, just as Martin Whitmarsh arrives for his daily cringe. With the customary melodious bong, the portal bifurcates to allow ingress to the Audience Chamber...

    Sipping decorously at his Assam (thankfully unadulterated, since he started bringing a flask from home), Ron Dennis pauses slightly to allow his number one minion to prostrate himself upon the requisite cringing mat...

    RD: Ah, Martin! Good of you to arrive punctiliously for a change. You may rise...

    Martin looks up cautiously, before gaining his not unimpressive full height.

    MW: Er, morning Ron. I have the latest projections from the CFD department, with the current Wind-Tunnel correlation figures, as well as the most up-to-date Simulator feedback from Jenson - though the last bit is mostly giggles, I'm afraid...
    RD: (sighs) I am quite well-aware of how "hilarious" Biomaton number 1a is finding the new powertrain's piloting requirements, thankyou very much Martin. I fail to see the amusement myself, though it must be admitted that my experience behind the wheel of one of these things is necessarily outdated...
    MW: (remembering the incident when Ron tried unsuccessfully to force his slightly ample frame into the Simulator, manages to supress his smirk) Er, well he does say they're a bit different to what we're used to now, and indeed - the torque figures the powertrain boys have measured certainly suggest an element of tail-happiness that the Aero-team are trying to mitigate. He's getting quite good at pulling doughnuts in the Simulator though.
    RD: Hmph - one can only hope that he is successful enough next season to warrant rehearsing such an unnecessary exuberance. Still - no harm in him doing it virtually for the time being. Has Biomaton 1b been successfully inducted into the McLaren hive yet?
    MW: Er, that is currently "ongoing" Ron. We did get all Sergio's stuff back too...
    RD: Hmm - one suspects we may have been moderately precipitous to have attempted to integrate that biomaton into our systems. A chastening outcome for all concerned, don't you feel Martin?
    MW: Er, well - considering we effectively pulled the rug from under him at the eleventh hour, I thought he was remarkably disciplined not to vilify us in public. I did fix him up at Vijay's team though...
    RD: Indeed? We must make sure we do not suffer a repetition of this year's dismal performance - I dislike the concept that we may be forced to do battle with Jordan's former concern again, and the thought that the Perez biomaton might out-do us will really not be tolerated! Anyway - let us move onto other matters. What befell "Operation Micturate"? It spectacularly failed to de-rail Mateschitz's Fizzy Pop train, one cannot help but notice...
    MW: Er, um, well, John did his best, Ron. Sadly we hadn't factored in Horner's sneakiness and Adrian's inventiveness. It seems that Christian had anticipated that we might deploy such a strategy with John, and had Adrian redesign all the flora around the Red Bull Factory to not only resist his best efforts, but also to flourish from them. The more he tried, the thicker and more luxuriant the bushes became, and we were unable to see anything through the screen of leaves. Christian even went so far as to send John a case of vintage Chateau d'Yquem, after which the foliage screen became impenetrable to even infra-red.
    RD: I detest that man with every fibre of my being! John Button I find merely tiresome, but that Horner fellow, with his smugness, limited vocabulary and full head of hair, makes my teeth itch. How dare he continue to keep Adrian from me! One hopes that our plan to poach Adrian's minions from under him will dent his infuriating efficiency over the next few seasons...
    MW: Er, well phase 1 of "Operation Gamekeeper" is progressing slightly to plan Ron - at least Christian isn't insisting they take gardening leave until their contracts are up...
    RD: Hmm - one suspects that Horner will have them working on some Aerodynamic blind-alley in the meantime. I do not hold out tremendous hope they'll be able to abscond with the family silver, metaphorically-speaking. What of "Operation Recidivist"?
    MW: Er, well we're continuing to send Fernando texts, emails and er, chocolates. I don't think Luca's willing to part with him just yet though...
    RD: Yes - I thought as much. Continue to apply pressure Martin - one suspects that if Luca's Crimson Horde has another disappointing season, the Nameless One may affect a rapprochement with us after all, and we will be able to apply his Name once more. Who knows - if biomaton 1b proves worthy this year, we may be able to ease biomaton 1a & his disreputable parent from beneath our eaves, eh?
    MW: Er...perhaps Ron. Will that be all?
    RD: For the time being Martin - you may resume your duties...

    Martin backs out of the chamber, as his Ronship spins gently round in his ergonomic chair to re-engage with the Assam. He scuttles down the corridor to the "Plotting Room" wherein we find John Button lounging comfortably, Martin's Blackberry in hand...

    MW: John! What are you doing with my phone?

    The pink-shirted one presses "Send", before winking conspiratorially, and sipping from a glass of Shiraz. He tosses the phone back to Martin, before getting up and sauntering casually out of the Plotting Room...
    Martin scrolls down the "Sent Messages" to the most recent one, he is unsurprised to see it is to Fernando Alonso...


    "Fernando - Ron has asked me to inform you that the fee for returning to McLaren will be $100m. He thinks it only fair that you reimburse the team for your your previous behaviour. He says you should be grateful to be even considered for the role anyway. Cheers, MW"

    MW sighs, not unhappily, before pressing "Delete"...
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
    FB, Fenderman, Jen and 2 others like this.
  8. Road of Bones

    Road of Bones MTC Mole Premium Contributor

    Inside the McLaren Technology Centre, there is a hush - a sense that the whole place is holding its breath, trying to cope with the sudden and wholly unexpected news. There is a palpable feeling of disbelief, even as a pair of Anthracite-clad minions lower the Union Flag to half-mast. Moving smoothly through the pristine corridors, we can taste the loss emanating from every door...

    ...no less so as we approach the Granite Portal of his Ronship's mighty office. We see Martin Whitmarsh stood without, head bowed in silent reflection. Presently the Portal opens silently, just wide enough to admit him into Ron's noble presence...

    RD: Martin...I...er, I am currently bereft of the requisite vocabulary to express the feelings of lachrimosity, grief and, indeed, no small measure of regret at the passing of Biomaton no.22's patriarch. It has failed to escape my attention that such feelings are permeating the entire McLaren Racing Concern's facilities at present. How may one achieve a satisfactorily fitting tribute to this man, who, reprehensible though I found his proclivities to be, performed such surprisingly effective service in fostering the endearment of the McLaren family to F1 fandom?
    MW: Er...I know you & John weren't the best of friends Ron, but that is very kind of you to offer. We're all feeling a bit shell-shocked, to be honest. I've given Jenson the rest of the week off from the simulator.
    RD: Of course - that is only right and proper under the circumstances. Have Biomaton no.20 fill in for the duration, would you?
    MW: Er...it will be done Ron.
    RD: Splendid. Now - I am minded to facilitate the memorialisation of John Button in some manner. Nothing too extravagant, however. Do you have any thoughts, Martin?
    MW: Er...I'm not sure Ron - it all seems a bit pointless now, doesn't it?
    RD: Indeed not Martin - despite his noisome habits, and infuriatingly obtuse view of Cleanliness and Order and the McLaren Way and Purpose, I do understand that he really had the interests of Biomaton no.22's, and by extension, McLaren's good standing at the core of his actions. That is not an insignificant marker to lay against one who, when all is said and done, was never actually employed by ourselves, is it not?
    MW: (brightens slightly) Er...since you put it like that Ron, yes - I suppose he did, didn't he?
    RD: I am glad you concur. I would be deluding my august person not to recognise the fact. I believe I may have a fitting tribute for the man in mind - kindly accompany me to the main lobby, would you?

    The two man enter Ron's private lift, and emerge into the vast sweeping lobby, walking past the McLaren F1s, the MP4/4 and the gleaming trophy cabinet, we see them stop in front of a particularly luxuriant pot plant...

    ...a gleaming plaque on the pot itself bears the testimony:

    In Memoriam John Button.
    Father, Friend and Ally of McLaren
    He always gave that little bit extra
    We Will Not See His Like Again.
    R.I.P.

    Wiping away a tear, Martin shakes Ron's hand...

    MW: Thankyou Ron - it's what he would have wanted...
    RD: (wiping away a small tear of his own) Yes, I thought so too. Will you join me for a commiseratory glass of Shiraz, Martin?

    We leave the two men to their remembrance.

    (Author's Note - this was far from easy to write, unspurprisingly! RIP John Button - my favourite F1 personality. I hope you can forgive me taking liberties with your character over the last couple of years, but you made me laugh, and I wanted to share how much I enjoyed seeing you support your son all these years. From a fellow Somerset lad, I will miss you terribly, even though I never met you in person. Sadness abounds!)
     
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  9. Road of Bones

    Road of Bones MTC Mole Premium Contributor

    Inside the McLaren Technology Centre, we see a towering Frenchman, glistening slightly, as he makes his way towards the Granite Portal for an audience with his Ronship. He pauses without, composing himself, before the melodious bong heralds the dreamlike bifurcation of the grand entrance to the Inner Sanctum...

    RD: Ah...good day Eric, and welcome to the McLaren Technology Centre! It is to be hoped that you are experiencing minimal dissatisfactions with the period of relocation-stabilisation, resulting from your translocation from Enstone to Woking?
    EB: Aah...I was pre-warned about zis! So zis iz ze famous "Ronglais", n'est-ce pas? Bien! As a Francais, we are parfaitly 'appy to never use one word, where five will suffice...I am settling in more than satisfactorily, merci bien.
    RD (momentarily taken aback): er...good, good...nothing sub-optimal at all then?
    EB: Ouf, ze doorways are too low,, and ze food is, 'ow you say, under-endowed in the flavour department, specifically in it's quotient of allium sativum, particularly for an homme of ze Gallic persuasion, but overall I am mostly very 'appy wiz what I 'ave sin 'ere at the MTC.
    RD (unaccustomed to being hoist by his own petard): Er...you mean "insufficient garlic", don't you...?
    EB (smiling moistly): Oui, c'est-ca! I sink we are going to 'ave to rectify ze omission, as garlic has been medically proven to improve ze circulation, boost cognitive faculties and sexual prowess, and is vital for maintaining an 'ealthy sheen to ze skin.
    RD: Hmm...well, as long as we can mitigate the concomitant side-effects of militant socialism, fecklessness and trenchant refusal to move with the times, then I am minded to facilitate a leavening of the menu with a dose of the aforementioned Allium Sativum. Perhaps a side dish of Garlic Eclairs...?
    EB (shudders slightly, but acknowledging when he is matched): Bien - zat is ze commencement of a start. I can work wiz zat...

    The two men pause, each having realised that the other is not to be trifled with, there is a subconscious nod of approval in each direction. Ron pours his new Team Director a cup of Assam, which is accepted courteously.

    RD: Very well - let us get straight down to business. I am moderately bouyant following the Jerez test: have you acquainted yourself with the data?
    EB: Erm...not yet Monsieur Ron - I 'ave not yet been security-cleared for such a level. Ze Security Doorman seems to be avoiding me, and never returns my telefone calls...
    RD: Hmm - perhaps demoting Martin to Gate Security Officer has something to do with that. I hadn't considered he might try extract a modicum of retribution following his de-elevation from the McLaren heirarchy. I will have Sam induct you afterwards. During the meanwhilst, have you any thoughts on the competition?
    EB: Oui - ze Mercedez are looking dangerously competent so far, as do ze Ferraris. Now Williams 'ave a decent engine and a proper Technical Manager, zey are looking better also. Ze ozzers I am less concerned about. 'Owever, we 'ave to regard ze Bull in ze Living Room - zey 'ad a shit time in Jerez, eizer due to ze Renault powertrain or ze packaging thereof, but no laps is no laps. You can expect 'Orner to spout some merde about zem not being worried, but my Gallic friends at Renault tell me that not only are they working flat-out to cure the powertrain, but Newey 'as pulled out anozzer 5 hairs working at ze drawing-pallette redesigning the RB-10. It seems that ze cunning McLaren suspension-deflectors are taxing him very well also.
    RD (grinning unpleasantly): That'll teach them, the trophy-gobbling swine! I realise it is an awkward question, but what can you tell me about Team Enstone?
    EB: Lotus? Zey are in ze crapper - any team zat 'as to 'ire zat Venezualan calamity is up to zere necks in shit. Why do you think I made myself available to McLaren? I only feel a little sorry for Romain though - he deserves better zan 'aving a team crumble out from beneath him.
    RD: Hmm - I tend to agree with you regarding Maldonado. His sponsorship would be gobbled up by the Carbon Fibre bill he will doubtless incur. If only he would collide with Horner's cars more often, eh?
    Both man chuckle nastily...

    RD: Very well Eric - I am not unimpressed by your succinct and pithy extrapolation of the first test's data. I look forward to integrating your abilities within the McLaren framework, with the pursuit of dominance forefront in our purpose, n'est-ce pas?
    EB (mildy impressed): Bon - I zink we can work togezzer M'sieu. Merci for the tea.
    RD: Indeed - so much better now I can use my urn again...I will have Sam complete your Security Clearance.

    A switch on the Command Console is depressed, and shortly the squeakily-clean Sam Michael appears through the Granite Portal...

    RD: Ah...Sam - kindly complete Monsieur Boullier's Security Induction, would you? It seems our erstwhile CEO is shirking his duties as Doorman and Security Inductor. And could you have Maintenance look into the recent smells that seem to be permeating this office? I am starting to find it disagreeable...
    SM: As you wish Mr. Dennis - kindly step this way, Mr Boullier...

    As Sam & Eric leave the Inner Sanctum, Ron can be seen sniffing experimentally around the Command Console...

    EB: What does 'e mean "smell"?
    SM: Oh, that's what we call "Martin's Revenge"...
    EB: Eh? You mean Martin Whitmarsh?
    SM: Yeah, since Ron "de-elevated" him, he's been on a strict diet of sprouts, and every so often he sneaks off from the gate so he can flavour Ron's office aircon...
    EB: "Flavour"?
    SM: Yeah - he farts into it, pretty persistently, I've heard. I think he's paying tribute to John Button personally...

    ...to be continued... :moustache:
     
  10. Road of Bones

    Road of Bones MTC Mole Premium Contributor

    Inside the McLaren Technology Centre, there is an air of frustration competing with the faint whiff of second-hand sprouts, all to the background sounds of furious hammering and skull-piercing drilling. As the massive granite portal doors are now permanently ajar, we can see his Ronship pacing fretfully back and forth behind the Command Console. A cup of Lapsang Souchong cools dejectedly, forgotten in his irritation. The noble digit stabs the "Summon TP" button, and soon the massive frame of Eric Boullier occludes the threshold of the Inner Sanctum...

    RD: This is infuriatingly sub-optimal Eric! 2 no-scores in a row? Horner thumbing his nose publicly at my august personage, and witholding yet more staff, scrupulously vetted and recruited entirely legally. Up with this I will not put! Pounds the console emphatically. He's even telling me to attend the beam in mine own eye, the ghastly little oik. How are we to improve the Racing segment of our Concern, without decent staff?
    EB: Zis is ver' unsatisfactory, for sure. We 'ave bin working all shifts to make ze downforce improvements required for competitiveness - ze figures et le Windtunnel data are ver' encouragable. We are pushing les autoclaves to maximum making new parts for ze cars also...
    RD: sniffs - Indeed? Zat, That, is better news. When will these new parts be fitted to the cars? I desire an immediate and efficacious upturn in laptime.
    EB: shrugs gallicly - zey were ready two weeks ago, Ron. For some reason, zey 'ave bin sat in their crates in le warehouse since then...
    RD: incensed - Whaaaat? How has this state of affairs been allowed to persist? Who is responsible for despatching these parts to the race team?
    EB: Hien - we 'ave bin looking into zis, and it appears that all Race Vehicle Deliveries 'ave to be signed out by ze Security Officer. No-one 'as bin able to locate 'im until this morning...
    RD: sighs bitterly - It's Martin Whitmarsh isn't it? Honestly, I thought we made him a more than generous Demotion Settlement...
    EB: Zat is not ze problem Ron - it seems that 'e was found severely weakened and on ze verge of malnutrition in one of ze staff lavatoires. Ze works Doctor informed me that he was dangerously close to doing himself permanent damage, owing to 'aving lived exclusively on les Sprouts de Bruxelles for ze last 4 months...
    RD: shaking his head sadly - Oh dear oh dear, Martin - I can understand his desire to extract a modicum of revenge upon myself for ousting him, but I can't help but feel he could have found a more salubrious method for doing so - flatulating into the air-conditioning is a little bit Prep-school, really.
    EB: smirking gallicly - Oui Ron.
    RD: Very well - see that he is treated and returned to health, would you? And get those parts fitted to the cars toute suite. During the meanwhilst, I will have Legal look into the Contract Situation with that Fallows fellow - perhaps he was not as carefully vetted as we had previously surmised. Carry on, Eric
    EB: Ver' good Ron.

    We leave the men to their travails...
     
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