The 2012 Season
(Written by Rob Kelk; posted February 12, 2008)
June 25, 2012
"I know there's a war on. We started it, remember? But I still want to do this! It'll be fun!"
Kyon sighed. "We don't have time to learn how to play Astroball, Haruhi. Especially not to the level we'd need to take part in the match play this year. And there aren't enough of us."
"We only need five people for an Astroball team."
"Five, plus support crew. And we'll need five one-person ships adapted for the game."
"We can get our landlords to help."
"And who's going to ask them?"
"The same person who talked to them in the first place!"
Yuki nodded, put her book down, and stood up. Better to humour the commander without needing to be asked.
"Thank you for seeing me so quickly, Mr. Scott."
"What can I do for the SOS-dan today, Ms. Nagato?"
"Ms. Suzumiya wants to field an astroball team."
"We can allot some practice space near the station for the team she backs, certainly."
"I'm sorry. Ms. Suzumiya wants to be part of her own astroball team."
"That's crazy. She's the field commander of Operation Great Justice, a full-time job that she called an emergency Convention to get, and she wants to ignore her duties and play sports?"
Noah shook his head in amazement. "Fine, whatever. It's your show. What do you need from me?"
"I was afraid you were going to say that."
June 27, 2012
"Hey, Wiregeek, you've got a call from Noah Scott!"
"Thanks, Raven!" He switched on the FTL vidcom. "Mr. Scott, what can Hephaestus do for Stellvia today?"
"I'm calling on behalf of the SOS-dan. They want to set up an Astroball team."
"We aren't a sports facility, Mr. Scott."
"I know. They need a half-dozen one-man ships, with grav-towbars mounted on the front to manipulate the astroball. I know you have tow capacity, so I was hoping you'd be able to build that subassembly for them."
Wiregeek looked at the foundry's schedule for the next week, then turned back to the vidcom. "I think we can help you out there. Where do you want us to drop off the grav-towbars?"
"Gnarlycurl is fixing up the ships for the SOS-dan. Could you deliver them there?"
"No problem, Mr. Scott. Say hello to Ms. Suzumiya for me, would you?"
"Will do. And thanks for the help. Hermes can let Yoriko know how much the SOS-dan owe you."
July 6, 2012
The intercom between Stellvia's main mission and Great Justice Headquarters came to life. "Ms. Suzumiya, you have six astroball ships sitting in front of my delivery dock. Please come get them so that Hermes Universal Deliveries can dock and unload our groceries for this week."
"Kyon, you heard Mr. Scott. Go get the ships."
"We all need to get the ships," pointed out Itsuki. "One per team member, remember?"
"Right! Let's go!"
July 7, 2012
"Thanks for offering to coach us, Ms. Fujisawa."
Yayoi smiled. "Noah insisted. He said that most of you were menaces to navigation."
"I know," sighed Kyon. "Sorry about that."
"He also said to tell you I'm teaching you how to fly before you break Stellvia. Sorry."
"That's not nice ..." pouted Mikuru.
"We're getting free training -- who cares why?"
Kyon buried his face in his hand. "Haruhi, that isn't helping."
Yayoi went on. "He also wants to know when you plan to get back to work so we can stop answering your calls."
"We are working!" insisted Haruhi.
July 11, 2012
"I don't know why we have to practice all the way out here."
"Because we can't break Crystal Osaka when we bump into it, Haruhi," replied Itsuki.
Haruhi grinned and put an arm over Mikuru's shoulder. "You're still learning how to drive, Mikuru -- don't worry about it! Besides, Mr. Scott bought us all those extra cars that you wrecked, so we should use them!"
Kyon just sighed. Again.
July 15, 2012
"... and that's the weather for all you groundsiders. Now here's Kay with the sports report."
"Thanks, Yuri. The Astroball season opened today. Our own Academy Cadets, who were five-and-two last season, opened this year playing host to the SOS-dan, a brand new team. And, boy, are they brand new! Somehow, their flanker Asahina managed to wreck her ship in the first minute of game play. And then when she came back in a spare ship in the second half, she wrecked that one in less than a minute too!"
"Somebody wrecked two ships in one game?"
"That's right, Yuri! The FTLnet's already calling the pilot 'Miracle' Mikuru because she got out of both wrecks without a scratch. Of course, after losing one team member twice, the SOS-dan just couldn't keep up with the Academy team, who won the match 21-5. Good going, boys!"
"What happened in the other games this opening day, Kay?"
"To nobody's surprise, the returning champion L5 All-Stations lead by Cal Calrissian and Yayoi Fujisawa easily triumphed over the Crystal Kyoto Knights with a score of 19-12. The Air Force team out of Benjamin Franklin narrowly squeaked by the ..."
August 5, 2012
"We've lost three games in a row!"
"I'm sorry." Mikuru started to cry. "It's all my fault, I know."
Kyon put a hand on Haruhi's shoulder. "Do we really have to keep on doing this?"
"Yes! Until we run out of ships for Mikuru!"
Yuki didn't look up from her book. "That will occur at the end of our next match."
Mikuru ran from the room, tears in her wake.
"Please help me be a better Astroball player."
Yayoi sighed. "I'm sorry, Mikuru, I can't help you any more. We're on opposing teams now."
"Can you at least convince Haruhi to find a different pilot to take my place?"
"You're going to have to do that for yourself. Although that might go better if you found the replacement pilot yourself."
A third woman walked over to their table. "Excuse me, but I couldn't help overhearing you're looking for a pilot."
"An Astroball pilot, yes. Ever play?"
"No, but I'm pretty good at no-g maneuvering. I'm Winry Rockbell."
"Mikuru Asahina. If you're serious about wanting to play in my place, come with me ..."
"You're with the SOS-dan, right? I was hoping you'd hire me for anti-Boskone operations."
"Perhaps they'll hire you if you do well during the Astroball games," suggested Yayoi.
Mikuru smiled. "Right! Consider this your job interview ..."
September 3, 2012
"... yesterday closed off this year's Astroball season, with the SOS-dan winning decisively against the Crystal Kyoto Knights. Winry scored 11 times on her own, leading the team to a 19-12 victory. That means the SOS-dan finished the season 4-and-4, not enough to send them to the finals, but a lot better than everyone expected at the start of the year."
"Who is going to the finals this year, Kay?"
"Who else, Yuri? Once again, it's the L5 All-Stations versus the Air Force. The game'll be played next Monday, right here at Starbase 1 ..."
September 10, 2012
Mikuru walked into Operation Great Justice Headquarters to discover she was the only one dressed casually. "Huh? Aren't we going to go cheer on Yayoi and her teammates?"
Haruhi scowled. "There's a war on. We have work to do."
Noan whispered to Itsuki. "You kids going to try this again next year?"
"What do you think, old-timer?"
"Too bad. The league needs more teams ..."