Log: Stardate 6721.4
As soon as the Enterprise was in orbit, the characteristic beep that indicated an incoming message sounded.
Uhura announced, "Captain, incoming message from Commodore Dolenc."
Kirk turned towards his communications officer. "Main viewing screen."
The visage of the tall muscular blond Slovenian starbase commander appeared. "Captain Kirk, welcome to Starbase Six. My port master would like to meet with you before you start beaming down any of your other personnel. I am under the impression he wishes to coordinate with you about your crews shore leave schedule so that our facilities are not overwhelmed."
"Oh, really? I was under the impression that the rec complex on this planet was immense."
"Be that as it may, Captain, he would like to meet you within the next hour. Permission granted for you to beam directly down to my office, and I can take you to him."
Nonplused, Kirk turned towards his first officer, "You have the conn, Mister Spock. Im beaming down."***** The form of Captain Kirk rematerialized inside the commodores office. He found himself facing Commodore Mihec Dolenc, who was seated at a desk. Kirk scanned the room and noticed it was a large office, with windows, in the corner of the starbases main building. The commodores desk was positioned in front of one of the walls, across from a window.
Dolenc rose from his desk and shook Captain Kirks hand. "Welcome to Starbase Six."
Kirks impression of Dolenc was that he was built like a football player. He towered over Kirk by at least twenty centimeters. He also had the broad shoulders that would have been perfect for a football lineman.
"Captain, Im sure youve better things to do, but I wanted to talk to you before taking you to the port masters office." He whispered, "Captain, between you and me, the port master can be a loose cannon."
"How so?" inquired Kirk, realizing that the term could also be used to apply to him.
"Generally, hes a good officer. But if hes ever idle, he plays too many practical jokes. The secret is to keep him busy. I have to admit that I probably need someone like him to keep things loose around here. Im the type who tends to be too serious. I always got good grades back in school but worked like heck to get them. In fact, I was voted Most Stressed in my senior year of high school."
The captain and the commodore both laughed as they walked to the door and down the corridor. "Anyway, my port master appears to be an old friend of yours."
"You dont say..."
The door to the port masters office opened.
"Captain Kirk," Dolenc began, "I believe you know Captain Seamus Finnegan, the Port Master of Starbase Six."
"All too well, sir," grumbled Kirk, feeling very irritated but trying not to let it show in front of the starbase commodore. Seamus Finnegan was hardly a happy memory. Captain Kirk recalled that while he was a plebe at Starfleet Academy, Finnegan was a third year student and a drill instructor. Finnegan had a propensity to play practical jokes and seemed to take special pleasure in making Jim Kirks life miserable at the Academy.
Dolenc smiled politely and then departed from Finnegans office. "Ill leave you two to get reacquainted and coordinate the shore leave schedule for your personnel . And gentlemen, please dont kill each other."
Kirk took a deep breath, trying to calm himself for his encounter with his old nemesis whom he had not seen in nearly fifteen years.
"The renowned Captain James Tomcat Kirk, oh, my. I see that the Jimmy Boy I knew from Starfleet Academy is all grown up and finally a starship captain." Finnegan greeted the starship captain, with a warm and hearty tone of voice.
"And you, Captain, are now port master for Starbase Six," Kirk replied.
"Jimmy Boy, Ive got a proposition for you," offered Finnegan, in a teasing tone of voice.
"And what might that be?" the captain inquired. He was rankled at hearing Finnegan address him by the same nickname he used to taunt him during their Starfleet Academy days but refused to show his irritation.
"I would like to challenge your crew to a game of softball. Ill get together a group of base personnel from here, you get together a team from your ship, and well play each other to see whos got the better team. Weve got a couple of softball diamonds in the recreation complex."
"Im on. Unless you have any objections, well play at 1400 tomorrow."
"Were going to beat you, Jimmy Boy," predicted Finnegan, with a toothy grin. "Were going to humiliate you."
"You talk a lot, Finnegan, but nothings been proven yet," Kirk challenged.
"I can hardly wait til this game. Were gonna wipe the ground with your team, or rather, whats left of your team. Well prove once and for all that your crew is no match for Finnegans Hooligans."
"See you then."
As the hour of the game approached, crewmembers of the U.S.S. Enterprise wandered over to the collegiate sized softball diamond at the Starbase 6 Recreation complex, where they observed players practicing. They took a closer look and noticed it was the team from the starbase, the Hooligans.
"It looks like these guys have been practicing together for a long time," commented Uhura. "Theyve even got team uniforms. This match-up is going to be about as fair as most of Finnegans antics at Starfleet Academy."
"While were just organizing a team on the spur of the moment," added Chekov.
"We not only dont match, but we dont look much like ball players since were just wearing our normal off-duty recreation wear."
Chekov remarked, "Well, at least I have my baseball cap."
Uhura then looked around the area at the assembled personnel. "Right, Pavel, but youre the only one wearing one. And it has nothing to do with the Enterprise."
The ensign was wearing a baseball cap with the logo of the New York Yankees.
Sulu, who had overheard most of the conversation between Chekov and Uhura, approached them. "Whats with the New York Yankees hat? I thought you would wear something to represent a Russian team, like the Moscow Mudhens."
"Well, my Uncle Vanya picked it up for me when he went to New York a few years ago. Vladimir Korolev, the great Russian pitcher, was playing for the Yankees then."
At the sound of a ball being caught, Sulus attention then turned to the field where Finnegans Hooligans were practicing. He then turned to his colleagues. "They look pretty sure handed in the field."
"Funny thing. Uhura and I were just discussing that." Chekov then shook his head in resignation as he watched the Hooligans practice turning a double play. "They sure look like they know how to play together."
"No kidding! They look like one well-oiled team. While we have no idea whos going to play where. Our team will probably be the first ten people who show up."
Lieutenant Kevin Riley came up behind them. "Youre right, Sulu. We need to get organized here. For starters, whos on first?"
"Ill play first base," their captains voice could be heard as he sauntered over to the bag. Transporter Chief Kyle was right behind him.
"Now we know whos on first," cracked Riley.
Nobody else argued, with either the captains claim or Rileys comment.
Kyle offered, "Ill play second base."
"What?" guffawed Sulu, unable to resist teasing Kyle.
"Ill man second base, mates," emphasized Kyle. "Im a good defensive man." Kyle was obviously unaware of the 350 year old "Whos On First" baseball comedy routine.
"I dont know whos on third," cracked Sulu, as the captain and transporter chief began tossing a softball to each other as a warm-up.
"Ill play third base," volunteered Riley. "Things can get real exciting at the hot corner. I used to play that in Little League."
"You can no longer can say that I dont know is on third," quipped McCoy. "And I thought I was the only one who remembered Abbott and Costello."
"Sadly," reflected Sulu, "we are barely more organized than the team in that routine."
From the home dugout, Finnegan noticed the lack of organization, "Are ye sure your makeshift team has the guts to take on our team?"
"We intend to give it our best shot," countered Kirk, drily.
"Your team has as much chance of winning as of escaping from a black hole. Weve been practicing together for months, and we havent lost a game yet to a starship crew."
"You havent beaten us yet."
"Dont worry. We will."
"Well see about that," replied Kirk, a look of determination evident on his face.
After Kirk, Kyle and Riley took over the base positions, other Enterprise crewmembers headed to the positions of their choice.
Uhura volunteered, "Ill play shortstop. That was usually the position I played on softball teams when I grew up in Africa. Im a pretty good fielder."
"Ill be the catcher," offered Scott. "That means I wont have to run much."
"Ill take center field," remarked Sulu as he trotted out to the center field position.
"Good choice," commented Captain Kirk. "Since youre the fastest runner on our crew, you can catch all the fly balls that the right and left fielders cant get to."
Assistant Chief Engineer De Salle took left field, "I was an outfielder back in Little League. Im pretty good at snagging flies. Im also a pretty good hitter."
Dr McCoy drawled, "Ill go to right field. Not much happens in right field. I can drink a beer or sip a mint julep out there."
Chekov challenged McCoys statement, "That is true for the ninety percent of the population who are right handed and dont hit balls to right field. But if theres a left handed hitter, theres a greater likelihood of hitting the ball to right field."
McCoy turned to Kirk. "Jim, I think Spock has corrupted that boy. He is quoting statistics, even about baseball."
Lieutenant Elizabeth Palmer offered to play the short fielder position.
Only one position was vacant: pitcher. Chekov proceeded to the pitchers mound. Being a lowly ensign, he was afraid that a more senior crewmember would pull rank and decide to pitch instead but no one else approached the mound. The infield was warming up, Kirk taking charge of the practice. The outfielders were exchanging fly balls.
As the navigator began warming up from the mound, Riley, from third base, could not resist teasing Chekov. "What do you Russians know about baseball anyhow?"
Kyle added, "Russian boys spend their time playing ice-hockey and gymnastics, not baseball."
Riley continued, "Theyre also obsessed with swimming and weight-lifting."
Chekov retorted, "Russians know plenty about baseball. Baseball was derived from lapta, an ancient Russian game with bats and balls. It was taken to America by Russian settlers."
"Baseball came from cricket," disagreed Kyle, who himself was British, "which is English, by the way."
"Cricket was also derived from lapta," persisted Chekov, as he delivered a perfect pitch to Scottys glove behind the plate.
Uhura advised, "We might look more organized if we had a name for our team. Finnegans team has a name."
"Lets be the Giants," suggested Sulu. "I was a big San Francisco Giants fan while growing up."
"Lets not," countered Riley. "I spent my teenage years in Van Nuys, California, the heart of Dodger territory."
"Any other ideas?" queried the captain, as he looked at each of his participating teammates.
"How about the Enterprisers? Since we represent the Enterprise," Uhura suggested.
"Enterprisers it is," agreed Captain Kirk.
With their warm-ups concluded, Kirk and Finnegan strode over to home plate.
Finnegan waved a silver coin at Kirks face. "Well use this coin for flipping. Winner of the coin flip gets to be home team. I call heads."
"Now wait one minute," objected Kirk, stepping closer to Finnegan.
"Whats the matter, Jimmy Boy? Afraid of a coin flip?"
"I object to the use of that coin. It has heads on both sides."
"Just a little technicality, tails on both sides. Jimmy, since you are just a little too faint hearted to use my coin, well use a different coin."
"Well see whos faint hearted when the games over," Kirk was slightly annoyed.
After the coin flip, it was decided that the Enterprisers would be the "home" team while the starbase team of Finnegan would be the visitor and be up first. Chekov threw some warm up pitches to Scotty before both teams mutually decided it was time to play ball.
The game began. Chekov stepped onto the pitchers mound, with ball in hand. The leadoff batter from Finnegans Hooligans got into the batters box. Staring at the batter with an intimidating look, he let loose the first pitch. The batter hit a ground ball towards the second base bag, between Kyle and Uhura. Kyle fielded the ball, threw to first base. However, the batter had beaten the throw and was safe at first with an infield hit. That was followed by an out, with the runner advancing to second base. The next batter singled into left center field between Sulu and DeSalle. It took a strong fielding effort from Sulu to hold the batter to a single. This resulted in runners on first and third.
A player from Finnegans Hooligans shouted from the bench, "Your pitches arent slow pitch. Theyre not fast enough."
The batter on the on-deck circle shouted, "Pitcher cant pitch worth beans."
Another player on the bench shouted, "Well what do you expect from a Russian who cant speak proper English?"
Trying to ignore the taunts from Finnegans team, Chekov focused on pitching to the next batter.
Uhura stepped forward and advised Chekov, "Take your time, Pavel."
The Enterprisers team continued to have trouble that inning. The next batter hit a single to right field, which Doctor McCoy booted, resulting in both runners scoring and the batter ending up at second base.
One of the Hooligans bench jockeys remarked, "That right fielder is old and out of shape."
By the time the inning was over, the Enterprisers were down 4-0.
The Enterprisers gained one run in the bottom of the first inning, closing the gap to 4-1. Finnegans Hooligans were held scoreless in the top of the second. Unfortunately, for the Enterprisers, they were trailing 8-2 at the end of the fourth inning. Several errors in the field contributed to their growing deficit. Kyle was usually sure handed but had let a ball go through his legs. DeSalle had cleanly fielded the ball when a single was hit to left field, but he threw it past Riley trying to get a runner out at third.
Finnegan laughed heartily at the Enterprise crews discomfiture. "Jimmy, are you sure you can still beat us with that team? Youre already down by six runs."
"Its not over yet," Captain Kirk pointed out, confidently. He smiled that galaxy-wide famous smile.
Scott trotted out to the pitchers mound to talk to Chekov. "Lad, maybe we ought to trade positions," suggested the engineer.
"I think I can still pitch," Chekov shook his head. "I realize my pitchings been abysmal, but Im usually better than this."
"Okay, lad," replied Scotty. "If you change your mind, let me know." He patted the young navigator on the back and walked back behind the plate.
Kevin Riley came over from third base to talk to the pitcher. Kirk called time as both he and Uhura also walked to the mound.
Riley advised, "Pavel, you look too tight out there. I know you want to win pretty badly, but its only a game."
"This is no ordinary game," insisted Chekov. "If we dont win this game, Finnegan will never let the captain live it down."
"Ensign, I admit it would be very satisfying to beat Finnegan," commented Captain Kirk. "Its not important enough to get overly worked up about." He chuckled, "Besides, its not just your fault that were losing."
Uhura agreed, "The rest of us have been making errors in the field. Take away the errors, and weve got a game."
Chekov smiled at their remarks and returned to the mound with more confidence.
As the game progressed, the Enterprisers nibbled at the lead. After seven innings, the score was 9-7 in favor of Finnegans Hooligans. The Hooligans scored another run in the top of the eighth inning, making the score 10-7.
Before the Enterprisers came up to bat in the bottom of the eighth, Finnegan taunted, "We let you have your fun, but we are now going to win it. We already got an insurance run this past inning."
"Well wait and see," Kirk reminded him.
Finnegan decided it was time to insure victory for his team. He suggested that his third baseman and shortstop complain to the umpire about the field conditions to see if he would call the game. After a semi-heated argument, the umpire sent him back to the dugout.
"We need to be on the lookout in case they try any other shenanigans," Kirk warned the other infielders.
Finnegans Hooligans attempted one more prank during the eighth inning. Sulu lead off the inning with a single. Suddenly, the sprinkler system came on, quickly wetting the infield, making base stealing impossible. In spite of Finnegans suspected cheating, the Enterprisers scored a run in the bottom of the eighth inning to match the run that the Hooligans had scored in the top of the eighth, making the score 10-8.
Chekov held Finnegans team scoreless in the top of the ninth inning.
It was now the bottom of the ninth inning and the last chance for the Enterprisers team to score against Finnegans team. The lead off batter in the inning was Scotty, who singled. Chekov was the next batter. He hit a grounder to the shortstop that was turned into a double play.
"This has not been a very good day for me at the plate," moaned Chekov, dejectedly. "I usually can make contact but cant hit it very far. Today, everything I hit was right at someone. 0 for 5."
Meanwhile, the members of the Hooligans were clapping their hands and claiming victory.
"Give up, Jimmy," taunted Finnegan. "Its obvious we have the better team."
"We still have one more out," asserted the captain, "And, in case youve forgotten, Im up next."
After two pitches, Jim Kirk lined a single to left field, "We appear to be still alive," he informed the Hooligans afterwards from first base.
Chekov affirmed, with a confident voice, "Captain Kirk will not let us down, whether its saving the galaxy in our missions or playing softball against Finnegan."
"Very true," agreed Uhura.
Uhura was the next batter. She walked on four straight pitches. Kevin Riley followed her to the plate. He doubled, scoring Captain Kirk. Uhura also tried to score and, luckily, was a fast enough runner to beat the outfielders relay throw. The Enterprisers had tied the score. They were especially ecstatic because they had trailed during the entire contest and now had a chance to win.
"This is great!" Sulu was grinning happily, a broad smile evident on his face.
Kyle was the next batter. On a 2-2 count, Kyle singled to center field, and Riley scampered home with the winning run.
"We won!" shouted Uhura.
"Very satisfying," announced Chekov. "We just finished making a last gasp comeback in the bottom of the ninth." He then shouted, "Haroshah! Bolshoi haroshah!" His excitement showed as he said "Good! Very good!" in Russian.
"Theyd begun celebrating before the last out," Captain Kirk observed.
A happy Chekov laughed, "While my pitching performance did not come up to the standards of Whitey Ford, Bobby Shantz and Ron Guidry, I followed in their winning tradition."
"Who are they?" asked Kyle.
"They were some really good left-handed pitchers who played for the New York Yankees. Like me, they were short in stature."
"Chekov," asked Riley. "How do you know so much about the New York Yankees of the late twentieth century?"
"Remember when I said that my Uncle Vanya got me a Yankee hat. He and my father went back to New York and got me their baseball cards."
Kirk then yelled at the shocked Port Master, "Finnegan, as the old catcher Yogi Berra used to say, It aint over til its over."
Finnegan merely glared at Captain Kirk as he and his team left the field without another word.
Kirk stated with satisfaction, "Ive been waiting over fifteen years to get back at him for all the grief you caused me at the Academy, and this was far more satisfying than beating up a simulacrum ever could be."
As the crew of the Enterprise walked away from the diamond in preparation for their return to the ship, McCoy turned to Kirk, "Finnegans Hooligans live up to their name. Perfectly. Or should we say, live down to their name."
Riley then commented, "We could refer to this occasion as Finnegans Wake since its the death of their unbeaten streak."
McCoy chuckled, "Riley, you do know your James Joyce."
Riley beamed, "A fellow Irishman."
Kirk then added, "Or we could call it Finnegans Wakeup Call. Wake up and learn that you dont start celebrating until the last out."
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