First of all, the All-Stars was intended as the kickoff for the Barnstorming series. And that series would also hold Crackerjack and The Future Cat under its umbrella. Hence, I plotted it as a sprawling series. Except it suffered from an excess of plot and subplots and complications, even worse than the Times of the HG Wells series. And I should have known better! Seriously. Because the middle of the Wells series was hard for me to write, and some it drags a bit. Stories I had really thought about got short shrift. And the same ended up being true for Barnstorming.
It was a time for new beginnings, for a woman who had over half of her adult life stolen and for her cousin, a new job and new challenges. And this promised a new life for a young man with few plans and no real direction. Furthermore, it was a chance for three women to change their lives, and for fifty athletes to do something new. And there was a secret project by Section 31 that threatened to break a treaty and had the potential to open up a portal to another universe while someone out there – whose intentions were unknown – was trying to get in.
While the story resolves itself pretty well and the characters make sense, the story leads to a series which ends up going nowhere. Although I did write the immediate sequel, Play, that story has never been posted anywhere (if I end up really scraping the bottom of the barrel at Wattpad, then maybe I will haul it out; the same might end up as true for Fanfiction.net). And then the following stories never really get off the ground at all. A pity; the concept is a decent one but I just ran out of gas there.
Who is the Honky Tonk Angel? The answer might surprise you.
For a prompt about vices, I decided that the vices would, perhaps, be small ones. It would be the kinds of things that you might talk about on a first date. And so I thought of my favorite odd couple. Their first date had been mentioned but not shown; this proved to be a good opportunity to rectify that.
They go to a baseball game, and he has to help her get a cap that will fit. However, she accidentally grabs one for the wrong team. But that is more than forgivable.
After all, she’s blind.
But that hardly matters, as they have a lovely time of it. Then Kevin messes up, and calls her Josie. But Jhasi is okay with this, and finds it amusing. She then confesses that she does not always keep in touch with her family like she should, and gives up on things too soon. Kevin, to his credit, seizes the opportunity and asks her to not give up on the two of them.
Spotlight on Original Sport – Mirror Universe Baseball
Baseball in the Mirror Universe originally came out of the fact that I had established baseball in the Prime Universe (mainly because I wanted Lili O’Day to wear baseball caps instead of toques). I wanted something kind of opposite, kind of not. And so Mirror baseball was born.
The Spectator’s Perspective
In Reversal, Lili asks Doug if there’s baseball on his side of the pond. He replies, “Five bases, twelve guys on a team and a lotta fights.” For a spectator, Mirror baseball is barely controlled chaos. While there are positions, rules and strategy, those are often neglected in favor of the usual mayhem that occurs there. In Temper, a pitching change is effected by the reliever fatally knifing the starter.
The difference in the numbers of bases and players makes for differing rules as well. In Temper, Lili skims the rules and finds the following –
Teams have twelve members and there are five bases. Positions are: first base, second base, third base, fourth base, left-side catcher, right-side catcher, right field, center field, shortstop, left field, left-side pitcher and right-side pitcher. The bases are laid out in a pentagonal shape with the full field often being shaped like a hand-held fan although some variations are possible and are legal per the rules.
There are two pitchers’ mounds and two batters’ boxes.
Two batters hit at the same time so, for practical reasons, a lefty pitcher is always paired with a righty hitter and vice versa. Hence, standing in the batters’ boxes and viewed from the perspective of the home plate umpires, there is a lefty hitter on the left (who is being pitched to by a right-handed pitcher) and a righty hitter on the right (who is being pitched to by a left-handed pitcher). Pitches need not be simultaneous although it is better defensive strategy for the pitchers to toss at the same time so as to minimize all of the running around in the outfield if both hitters connect. Anyone can field the two balls in play, and anyone can make an out, even if the righty hitter is tagged out with the ball hit by the lefty hitter.
There are five outs per side per inning.
As of the time that Lili checks the rules (2178, although it’s an alternate timeline), records are denoted as follows –
The most recent championship teams are the South American Pistoleros (2175), and the Ganymede Hunters (2176 and 2177).
The record for the most home runs is held by retired Pistolero catcher Ty Janeway. The record for the most steals is held by retired player (played on several teams) shortstop Lefty Robinson. The record for the most wins by a pitcher is held by retired Hunters left-handed pitcher Amanda Cole. Currently, the wins record is being challenged by Hunter right-handed pitcher Alan Foster.
In Reversal, Robinson and Ty Janeway are shown at bat, being pitched to by Amanda Cole (the counterpart to the canon MACO character) and Aditya Balakrishnan. As stated in the above rules, the pitchers hurl at the same time.
In Temper, the Empress‘s team (the Conquistadors) plays the Hunters. Lefty Robinson has become the Hunters’ coach. Foster is still playing, and the reliever who murders him is Trent “Miracle Worker” McCoy. Presumably, Cole, Balakrishnan and Janeway (he and Robinson are also players in our universe) are retired or dead by the time that Temper takes place. However, given that the game in Temper takes place during an alternate timeline, it’s entirely possible that Cole, Janeway and Balakrishnan are still playing, or are in the game somehow, perhaps as coaches.
In Reversal, Ty Janeway is shown endorsing Picard synthbeer. The slick advertisement includes a model who essentially simulates a sexual act (it’s a lot less explicit in the PG-13 version of Reversal, of course). The ad is intended to evoke the old-style Billy Dee Williams Colt Malt Liquor ads. And, of course, Picard as a brewing family – instead of being winemakers, as in our universe – that part is anything but accidental.
Wagering in the Mirror Universe is Star Trek canon. In the first MU episode, Doctor McCoy comments on two nurses betting whether an injured man would live.
Furthermore, Movie Night is of course canon in our universe.
Hence I combined the two, and came up with Game Night. Game Night is not only when a good chunk of the ISS Defiant‘s crew sits in the Mess Hall, drinking synthbeer and watching the game, it’s also when wagers are laid.
In Reversal, the betting is taken and supervised, and the point spread is covered, by Chip Masterson, who at that point in time is a Tactical Ensign. By the time Temper‘s time frame rolls around, Chip is running Game Night with the help of his son, Takeo. But it’s Arashi, who has a head for business, who does the books, with collections done by Takeo and Travis‘s son, Izo. Takara (the Empress’s daughter by Chip), Kira (her son by Aidan) and Jun do not involve themselves with Game Night or subsequent collections. But much like a company store, controlling Game Night means funneling salary funds back into the Empress’s coffers. It’s a reliable source of, if not income, then at least of monies that don’t leave the Empress’s control for very long.
Arashi also takes care of the point spreads, and truly understands them (Blalock and Trinneer have him explain the concept to the viewer audience). However, even a loss, or not making the spread, does not matter. Arashi always finds a way to get people to pay.
Lili realizes, in Temper, that she needs to provide refreshments. As a creative chef, but with very little to work with, she either fries vegetable tube paste squeezings in linfep fat and passes it off as chips, or fries elekai meat, again in linfep fat, but this time with hot spices, and calls it mock Buffalo chicken wings.
For the denizens of the mirror, they don’t have much in the way of entertainment that doesn’t involve either mayhem or sex, so Game Night offers a way to pass the hours. For gentler mirror persons, baseball may even offer a means of living and succeeding that doesn’t involve assassinations (although Trent McCoy acts differently). Another symptom of a society out of control, Mirror baseball takes sport to an extreme.