Daniella says: Dedicated to lborgia88 and all the other people over in Gatchamania who participated in the discussion “You know you're watching too much Gatch/BoTP when...” and who were the inspiration for this follow-up fic.
“I still think it's not fair”, said Jason, sulking on a corner of the couch in the team's ready room in Centre Neptune. Mark, sitting at the table, buried his head in his arms in exasperation.
“I know. You are probably right. But it's not MY fault they named a golf result after the Eagle and not the Condor! Take it up with Peter!”
“I did”, said Jason, sulking even more. “Anderson overheard me and said if I insisted on being so childish, I'd have to say good-bye to all shore leave for the next year. Can you believe it? Here he is, having us play a game with sticks and little balls, and he calls ME childish!”
“Well, Jason, you'll just have to reasonable about it”, said Mark, marvelling at his own nerve to use the words “Jason” and “reasonable” in the same sentence. It must've been all that fresh air he had been getting by playing golf for the last couple of weeks.
“Tell you what”, said his second-in-command, cheering up a little. “I've got an idea”.
“Will it involve both us being court-martialled, or only you?”
“When did you become such a chicken?”
“Since Anderson put it on record that our behaviour during the tournament will weigh heavily on his evaluation of the team”.
“Evaluation, shvevaluation”, said Jason. “Anderson is happy as Zoltar with a new mecha with the results of the tournament so far. We're doing quite well, no thanks to you, of course”, he glowered at Mark who had slipped up on his putting the previous day and landed G-Force in second place from the lead they were holding until then.
Mark turned scarlet. It was true that the team's abilities had progressed considerably since the first day when Anderson took them to the golf course and informed that, whether they liked it or not, they would represent the ISO at the annual sports competition as its golf team. Princess was executing her short game shots with the same precision she threw her exploding yo-yo, albeit with less spectacular results. Keyop was the team's best putter, which went a long way to compensate for the fact that his driving was not as good as the others'. Tiny and Jason were rapidly becoming the team's best when it came to driving and Jason, with his instinct for aiming, could actually send the ball, most of the times, where is was supposed to go – broadly speaking. Mark was overall good, and he was the only one not complaining day in and day out of the tribulations they had to suffer for ISO, but, in a one-to-one competition, he was sure that Jason would beat him hands – or rather, clubs – down.
“Shut up. It was an accident”.
“I know a book called “101 excuses for a bad golf shot”, maybe you have been reading it?”
Mark decided to turn the conversation back to Jason's whining about the lack of a score called a “Condor”, as he felt on safer ground.
“Okay, what's your big idea?”
“I am being reasonable. I know they can't change the rules just for G-Force – though, with all the trouble we've been through for Earth and the Federation, you'd think they would be a bit more accommodating...but anyway, there's nothing stopping us from making our own rules. You and me”.
“And?” Mark prompted him.
“And we set a rule that the best score of the day, whatever it is, will be called a Condor. So if I win, I will have the pleasure to say I've done a Condor, if you win, you'll have to have the humility to say so”.
Mark considered. Jason's plan was not that bad. It did not involve shooting, blowing up, or attacking anyone, at least off the golf course. Shurikens would not be allowed. Anderson need never find out.
“You got yourself a deal, partner. Shall we tell Princess, Tiny and Keyop as well? I mean, we are all on the same team.”
“By all means. But do you see any of them scoring a Condor?”
“Don't be so arrogant”, said Mark indigantly. “You just get lucky, that's all”.
Jason got himself off the couch, and sauntered to the door.
“See you on the course tomorrow, partner”.
Mark watched him leave, suddenly worried that he had made a big mistake...
The next morning found the team, as usual, lining up for their warm-up before the day's competition, this time against a team from Riga, which had been vying with G-Force for first spot for the last few days. Since only four of them could play, Keyop was chosen to sit it out, and happily went to wait for them at the club-house, hands on his Playstation already. Anderson took his place at the viewer's platform, accompanied by Peter, the team's instructor and currently, as Anderson saw it, first in line to be included in the New Year's honour list to receive an ISO decoration.
“G-Force is doing very well, Chief”, he told Anderson as soon as they settled down. “They are disciplined, well-trained, they respond well to instructions. They will make it to the top three, maybe even get the top post. I'm very happy with them”.
Anderson harrumphed and shook his head derisively.
“That's because you don't know them well. Oh yes, they can easily absorb new material, they are in great physical condition, and they have lots of experience they can rely on, from all the missions they had to carry out. But mark my words, these kids can make you wish you were born a Spectran goon and chosen by Zoltar to command his latest mecha – sorry, you might not get my meaning”, he added hastily, recalling that all details of G-Force's missions were not made public. “What I mean is, wait and see. These kids will turn your hair grey the same way they did mine – so to speak”.
The Rigan team, resplendent in their red uniforms, eyed G-Force up and down.
“Ready to get your heads mashed in?” sneered one of them.
“Where's your spirit of sportsmanship?” protested Princess.
“Save it for the next time we go against Spectra, sister. This is war!”
Jason took out his driver and approached Mark.
“Huh? Ready for what?”
“Ready to see what it's like to lose to a Condor, who scores a Condor”.
They took up their positions, and the game started, Jason actually overshooting the hole. He swore under his breath.
“Remind me again, it's not the longest distance which is called the Condor, is it?” sniggered Mark.
The first eight or nine holes passed quietly, with the Rigans and G-Force close enough in score to make it hard to guess the winner of the day's competition. Jason was a few points ahead of Mark in their own private competition, but not enough to make him feel certain of scoring his Condor. Mark was getting more and more frustrated by the hour, and Princess and Tiny had given up trying to understand what was wrong with the two boys and why they kept baring their teeth like that...
At the tenth hole, Jason lost his lead to Mark, who, quickly picked up his ball and moved to the next hole and, in his joy, actually picked up a spare ball and hit it with his seven-iron in Jason direction.
“Fore!” he shouted just in time to his second-in-command, and Jason flattened himself on the ground. As soon as the danger was over, Jason retaliated, hitting a ball with his driver and overshooting Mark by at least a hundred yards.
“Fore!” he shouted, then quickly pulling his rescue and fishing another spare ball. “I mean...Fore!”
This time his ball landed near enough to Mark to compel the Commander to, as Jason put it later, “eat dirt”. Mark had to admit that Jason had better aim. It was an occupational hazard with gunners.
He picked himself up as the captain of the Rigan team, livid, approached them.
“What in the name of heaven do you think you're doing?” he yelled, forgetting that you're not supposed to yell on a golf course.
“He started it”, said Jason, who had reached them by this point.
“He wanted to score a Condor”, he continued helpfully.
The Rigan looked at both of them.
“I think we should stop the game, and call Anderson. Your behaviour is inexcusable!”
Mark and Jason almost fell to their knees, united in their determination to let Anderson out of this.
“Sir, it's okay, no harm done. Let's go back to our game. See, here's Princess and Tiny, let's start the next hole”.
Princess, Tiny and the other three members of the Rigan team were looking at them bemusedly.
“Do your team-mates always behave like this?” one of the Rigans asked Princess.
“On their good days”, she laughed.
They went on to the next holes, Mark and Jason on their best behaviour, although they kept shaking their clubs menacingly at each other. Finishing the 18th, Jason whooped and punched his fist in the air.
“And G-Force is, once again, the indisputably bestest team in the galaxy! Give me five, mate!” he slapped the palm of the Rigan closest to him.
Shaking his head at the antics of what was supposed to be the best fighting team on Earth, the Rigan captain pulled out his score-card and noted the scores. Jason peeked over his shoulder.
“And it seems that today the Condor scored a Condor...and the Eagle is going to acknowledge him as the best player of the team!”
Mark pulled a club out his bag.
But Princess had had enough. She linked her arm through Mark's, and gently guided him away.
“Maybe, Commander, you should let Condors alone, and start dealing with Swans...”.
As always, reviews make my day!