I got this friend Wyatt who writes stories, and lots of them. He writes me into some of them, maybe you read one. He says I should try it sometime, actually he challenged me to. He'll publish them for me on computers, and polish them up and add cross-references and stuff. Well, I never backed down from a challenge before, and I ain't starting now. So let's go.
My name's Hudson Ramo, I work at DuoPolarity of Boston. Wyatt used to work here, he still drops by for a drink sometimes.
Last time he's in town, we go out to The Rat. You know, the Ratskellar, but everyone calls it The Rat. He likes the fancy "Brew Pub" down the street, but the Rat still has cheap beer, at least till the bands start playing.
Then we start catching up on what we done this year. He tells me his story, and lemme tell you, it's a roller coaster ride. He's up, he's down, and now he says he's off the train. Poor kid, but he's still alive and he's still got most everything a guy his age could want out of life. Or at least an even chance to get it if he wants it bad enough, and ain't that what life's about.
Then I tell him my story. DuoPol ain't been the same since our pal Ted died back in '99, but life goes on.
We found a couple of brains to do Ted's job. There's Stephen Oliver Samuels, the famous boy hero SOS in WW2. He just turned 72 this year. I hope I'm healthy like him ten years from now.
Then there's Erika van Cognos, transferred over from DuoPolarity van Rotterdam, and says she's been measured as the world's smartest woman. EVC and SOS don't always get along, but Ingrid keeps them in line, God bless her.
There's some new people to do Wyatt's old job on the electronics and computer stuff, Sureshkumar and Deepthi Prabhatha. They're from India, like you couldn't tell from the names, and they're married, like you couldn't tell that too. But we call them Suresh and Deep, and they're fine with that. They came over from our new office, DuoPolarity of Bangalore.
Suresh and Deep been working lately on framework powered skeletons, you can use them for training. They say it'll be great for construction work, and firefighting, and maybe soldiering. They were all ready to start at the top, with a model for doctoring, doing operations and stuff. But I said, maybe they should start at the bottom, with stuff just for fun, so people don't get killed if there's a fuckup. Why not baseball?
Well, why not baseball? We work just around the corner from Fenway Park in Boston, and we had lots of fine afternoons at the park. Baseball never hurt no-one, and it's a lot of fun.
Anyway, Ingrid said, good idea, and Suresh and Deep got the idea. So now we got a powered skeleton that trains in baseball.
Lemme tell you, Major League Baseball didn't like that news. Sure, some of the best players helped train the frameworks, we even got Pedro Martinez to help do the pitcher model. But once MLB caught on we could maybe manufacture star pitchers, they though we might be monopoly busting or something.
Gimme a break. Everyone wants to be a Major League pitcher, and some people will even train for it. So how is helping the ones who really want to train gonna hurt baseball?
So the framework was ready for a real game, but MLB said wouldn't let us train it against any of the major leaguers. What now?
Well, that's where my story ended that night. But then Wyatt says, "Maybe if you found superhumans to play the suits against, they might be enough of a challenge."
I told him it wasn't a real good idea, 'cause it could really fuck up the armor for Major League play, but Wyatt said we could do a meme merge or something between superhuman baseball and Major League baseball. That's where he lost me, but I sure couldn't come up with anything better.
So, I went back to work the next Monday, and told Ingrid about Wyatt's bright idea. She said sure, why not. So, I called up Total Conversion.
I talked with Julie Wolcott there, you know, the wife of Ellipsis. Sweet kid, been through a lot of trouble in her life. She almost went crazy from wearing the same kind of battlesuit that killed Ted. Finally she lost the suit, but she almost died then. Now she's better, but they say she has Seasonal Affective Disorder. That means you hate winter, but they call it a disease for some reason. Too bad her foundation moved to Greenland.
But when Julie heard about the "baseball suits", she perked right up. The kid loves baseball, and really loves the New York Yankees. 'Course, that makes her the enemy of all right-thinking Red Sox baseball fans. But that gave us just one more reason we had to beat them.
Total Conversion used to have a lot more supers than they do now. 'Course, that was before the UN took over most of the supers, and put them in a team called "Paxis". But Totalcon still has some left.
So, who could we field? Well, we don't have a lot of staff. There's me, and Ingrid, and her little sister Karen, and EVC and SOS and Suresh and Deep, and our latest temp secretary Sandy. We talked our old secretary Shelly into showing up with her husband and the whole family, but only one of them could play ball for old time's sake, with the other watching the kids and all, so Shelly played. That made nine.
Me, I was hoping Wyatt'd show up for old time's sake and to help us out as a relief batter, we even had a suit saved for him. But he was busy with friends on a farm in Illinois, and couldn't make it. So our team was light.
But then Karen came through with a referral. She knows this woman Norma, an aerobics instructor who used to work out with her and Wyatt. Hell, at least she's used to exercise. So we got our ten.
We had some extra prep for the game, once I heard how fast Stonewater's pitches were. Maybe we can handle getting beaned by a 95 mph fastball, but not a supersonic pitch. So we had to armor-plate our suits. 'Course, that meant tuning the motors inside them and stuff, we had a few late nights getting that done.
We also argued about whether their side could fly, to field hits and stuff. It's our game, and our side can't fly, so why should they be allowed to. But they said, what about their guys who can jump real high? And what about guys who fly better than they run bases, can they fly the bases? In the end, everyone else said we could beat 'em anyway, so I caved.
We picked a field in Norwich, Connecticut to play on. Convenient to Boston, but the Yankees have a farm team there, so good compromise.
People were worried about the weather, seeing as how it was November. But the weather never stopped no football fans, so I didn't see why to let it stop us. Besides, Ingrid and Julie said maybe they could call in some favors with the people who run the experimental Nexrad II weather control radars.
I know you're thinking, that kind of stuff costs money. That's why we decided to sell tickets. Lot of demand, too. The President bought a block of seats, and so did the UN. We built some bleachers just so we could sell the extra seats, and it paid off and more.
I know you want to hear everything about the game, who played what, who batted when, the works. Wyatt said he'd include a program and a commentary with all that stuff.[Editor's Note: Hudson thinks you want to know all that crap, but I promised him I'd put it in. Follow the hyperlinks. Happy browsing! Wyatt]
We had a coin toss for playing order. Our team won, so I had us batting after Totalcon each inning.
I want to say, the game was a real pitcher's duel. I had Karen pitching, and Totalcon had their ninja girl Jill on the mound. Best choices we could have made, and they did their job right, just like pros. Most innings were no runs.
But the batters came through too. Totalcon got two runs the second inning, but we answered them with six.
I could see, players were getting better throughout the game. Our Karen was doing that, 'cause up on the mound she was getting all the action, and our suits were training her right. But Totalcon had people learning too, as fast as our Karen, and lots more of them too. There was ninja Jill figuring baseball out, and famous some-say-magic boxer Lucianus Autonomus, and especially the mutant supergenius Steve Wolcott. They even brought back Leo the superhuman Yankee! Could have been, our 6-2 lead wouldn't hold.
Then there were the injuries. On Totalcon's side, Walt Rubenstein, they call him Superjew, pulled a muscle in 4th inning. Lucianus was their backup for him, but they'd already brought him in to replace their lawyer guy Dave Brizitski. So they had no backup, other than bringing Brizitski back. And that was no help for them.
On our side, it looked for a while like Karen's suit was crapping out. She let a couple of runs through in the 7th, so it was only 6-4 us, and we hadn't got a run since the 2nd. Karen wasn't happy, but we brought Norma in as relief pitcher. And that "meme merge" stuff let Norma's suit learn everything Karen's suit knew.
Anyway, we even got a couple more runs in the 8th, thanks Deep and Shelly. And Norma kept the lid on, you should've seen her when she struck out Unholy Mary and Crusher Joe while they still had two runners on base in the 9th. So it came out DuoPol 8, TotalCon 4!
Rematch next year? You bet! But we gotta give our Red Sox their own chance to break the Boston curse first, their own way.
(13 November 2003, 24 October 2004)