Friday, November 11, 2011

582 - Spiking a Cleary

“Elsha… go in for Jorasa… she only needs a moment or two more.”  Elsha nodded and picked up her helmet, but didn’t get up.  They were still in the midst of mid-game.  The choir sang softly as the watching crowd spoke quietly, a sea-murmur of bets made and changed, and commentary on the first set play.  Servants moved between the seats, offering refreshements. 

Jorasa sat, helmet off, while Akminchaer finished wrapping her left forearm, face calm as any of the men having an injury attended to.

“It is not broken, Jorasa,” the Haian said.  “Is it too much to ask that you not play with it again today?”

“Thank you, Akminchaer,” Coach broke in.  “She may have to.”

Even as they spoke to the Haian, their eyes were on the faib bowl where the servants wiped up the spray from Amitza’s bloody nose.  Her uniform was no longer pure white but spattered red brown as well.  She'd been caught by Saras Trenas... his elbow, as she came down from opening their goal, just barely before the breaktime whistle.

It would be worth it, having him in the penalty cage, for the first two tenths of a tenth in the second half, though Jorasa thought it was a little light.  "He should have been called for spiking a cleary," she said. "That should have been a full half tenth penalty." Then she answered the Haian.

“I can play, if I must…”  Jorasa turned the hand over and hid the wince.  She’d taken a direct tackle from the heaviest Jammer the Dulis had and he’d knocked her tail over tip.  “But thank High Selinae for Elsha.”

“Indeed.  Having no second line is very very hard on you as a team.  You could not play the regular season, even if you were up to snuff for the High League. Your Thumpers need more muscle, though your focus is spectacular.”  Coach’s eye tracked along their line to an unseemly disturbance at the rail.

“If that card-pub tries to get that close again, Borasa and bothers you," he called.  "You have my permission to punch the man.”

“Coach Arenen, please!”  Denas Sharas, the premier publisher of faib trading cards, drew himself up from where he’d leaned over the railing above.  “At least consider the idea!”

“I shall consider the Mahid Women as a trading card line, Sharas, when that one apologizes for the lewd and horrendous idea of a bare-handed set!”  Jorasa and Amitza’s lips were tight for more than just suppression of pain.

The choir’s song rose to its ritual conclusion and Elsha checked that her hair was tied back hard before putting her helmet on.  “Zero all, my team,” Jorasa called softly.  “Zero all, let’s hold them to that.”

Both goals had been opened but no one managed to score and the Mahid were taking a pounding.  They’d been fast enough to slide under, around and past the Dulis, mostly.  What damage they'd taken had been glancing.  But the Dulis were finally taking them seriously enough. 

Coach caught everyone's eye on the bench, one after the other as he paced in front of them.  He seemed perfectly composed and his comb tapped slowly on the knuckles of his other hand.  Reminding them all.  Knuckles out. Knuckles out.

"Meet them with knuckles not your fan," he'd said in their ears immediately after first set.  The second set would be brutal.

The watching crowd settled, intent on the battle before them, wine glasses set aside as the red-shirt skated out with the new disc.

“Teams come, teams come now.” The referee’s call was echoed by the choir and the two lines poured over the lip of the bowl to take their places, the goal minders taking up their patterned, regular sweep across in front of their goal slots.   The broken paper in those slots started to flutter, just a little, as the air in the bowl began to move.

The crowd hushed as he raised the disk and paused. Elsha and the Duli crouched lower on their skates, eyes on the red-shirt, and each other.


  1. I really hope that this brings more women onto the team. I also really wish I could be there for real to watch this game.

    Am I the only one who is anxious for, and afraid of Fiab becoming a real sport in out world??

  2. Knee them in the nuts!

    Seriously. The girls need to start inflicting some pain, even if they take penalties for it (though Coach Arenen must have them practice making it look accidental, since all the guys are experienced at that. The feminine Mahid trait of sneakiness will help a lot). Because if they don't, the pounding they're getting will just get worse -- not only by this team but from subsequent ones, if the word gets around that they're patsies. There's nothing the guys want more than to make them into a team of victims and chase them right out of the sport through physical intimidation. They need to show they won't give an inch and every injury will be avenged, so as to be equally intimidating. They want to fight for equality? In this context, it really has to be a fight for equality.

    They're already showing their Mahidness in the form of stoicism in the face of pain and courage. They need to show it in ruthlessness also. (Their other strengths, which Coach Arenen should be playing on heavily, are discipline and teamwork. Oh, and being okay with the fact that sometimes it is not fun.) Yes, it's war out there, but they're Mahid, they can easily make the switch from players into warriors. The nuts are a symbolic target: "You've got this vulnerability that we don't."

    An old-timer hockey coach would say, "Lay the hickory on 'em." (Real quote.)

    -Karen, otherwise a perfectly nice Canadian

  3. Oh another idea -- they need one enforcer. Maybe the biggest girl. Or the one who finds this the most fun. Suggest Coach Arenen have her undergo rigorous unarmed war-training in her faib-gear (maybe he can talk Ilesias Mahid into it) plus weapons-training using a faib-disc alone.

  4. Heh... it's going to get messy.

  5. I'm actually thinking of getting a bunch of skaters together in a skate park and seeing if the game is playable... though perhaps without the checking...

    Tag Faibalitz anyone?

  6. So far they're getting thumped... to my eyes, they look like a team that hasn't been given permission by their coach to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war, as it were. Hence the first comment.

  7. I am remiss! I didn't put any of that into haiku form.

    mayhem, ultraviolence,
    inflict, Mahid girls!

  8. Of all the words in
    the Garden Orbicular,
    "nice" seems not quite right.

  9. There is a scene in "The Longest Yard", where the prisoners have stolen the guards medical records, and are researching who has an old break, wound, or hidden disability that can be exploited during the game. I would think this sort of prudent preparation would come naturally to the Mahid.

    I vote Elsha for enforcer - she has issues that it would be theraputic to work out. Not with brute strength, but deception and guile.

    Those boys are going to hurt in places they didn't even know they HAD!

  10. @Dave: Excellent idea. Coach Arenen might not think of it since there are gentlemen's rules in faib, and this would definitely be breaking the spirit of them if not the letter. But that wouldn't necessarily stop the girls from thinking of and enacting it, Mahid minds that they are.

    More confirmation that literacy is crucial to liberation.

  11. Oh, sorry...

    Medical records
    studied in preparation
    improve the outcome

    Pain is inflicted
    teaching proper respect of
    their abilities

    That one who makes cards
    if ever the gloves came off
    would just soil himself

  12. Men's literacy
    is an excellent thing, too.
    Six points to Ace's Dave.

  13. To the Mahid girl's Faibalitz team
    a proposal was made, quite obscene
    should that card-maker vile
    perhaps suffer a while
    with Obedience in his bloodstream?

    The faib team came, with heads held high, their opponents there to meet
    larger, more experienced, a real tough team to beat
    they knew it would be a challenge, one many said they'd lose
    but they'd trained and fought and bled to have the right to choose
    to play the game their fathers played, their brothers and their sons
    so no matter what the outcome, they knew they'd be the ones
    to whom the victory was handed, for no matter what the score
    they knew that they'd won the right for women to demand MORE!

  14. Shirley, you must give Dave mucho points for all this.

    I was vaguely thinking of doing one based on "The Charge of the Light Brigade" but maybe it would be insufficiently serious.

  15. Attn EC readers: most polls on my site are about the Chevenga works, but not the latest, so you don't need to have read them. It's about spoilers in general. Please vote!

  16. I've fixed the 'permission' problem. I realized it was in my head and not on the page. Thanks, K.

  17. Yay! Coach Arenen
    lets slip the (black) dogs of war.
    Let 'em have it, gals!

  18. Thanks too for astonishing commentary, Dave!