It feels good to be on the road again. One can eventually only stomach so many meetings. On the way to your next appointment, you consider that your career choice did not pan out exactly as you had hoped. Your partner was right saying there is very little money in it, at least until you can reach the top of the ladder. But you expected some recognition for the work, some respect in the eyes of your interlocutors. Ah, turned out signing up to be a ReBBL administrator was something else entirely...
Your first months were spent in a dusty office, recording match results, administrative decisions and print proclamations half of the coaches never read. Then you were sent on the field, to reinforce some admins on the side leagues. Another bundle of months spent printing more proclamations, chasing down coaches and recording administrative decisions. But now it is finally it.
After a seemingly endless series of meetings, during which the main administrator kept rushing out off the room bellowing for a broadcaster to pick up a game (whatever that means), you are now back on the field to investigate a series of forfeits from a bottom division Chaos Dwarf team. It was long time you get out of headquarters, you were afraid to end up like that Norse they got chained to a strange machine, always typing away on a keyboard and feeding its furnace with spreadsheets.
After a couple of weeks of pleasant traveling, it is now time to move to Sylvania, to meet up with the management of the Land Sharks. After a good night of rest at Club Firefly, the only decent place in Tempelhof, you spot the owner in the common room the next morning. Eager to sort your case out, you decide to approach him and settle the matter as soon as possible. Only ass you stop in front of the table you then notice the bloodshot eyes, the bags under them, and the ragged breath: all clear symptoms of a raging hangover.
- Another (rather) early meeting at Club Firefly -
Mmmh? What? The coach of Land Sharks? That would be me, yes. What do you want at such ungodly hour? Talk about Blood Bowl? Grmph. Sure, but you buy the drinks.
What do you want to know? The game against the Perkutores of Melnourne? Who is that? Ahh the Firing Pins… That was way back, why do you ask? You are from the ReBBL administration? Sigh.
Why do you official types like to come bother a poor soul like me before his breakfast? What have I done to you to deserve such treatment? That’s what you are coming to assess you say?
Erm. Well, take a seat then. I’ll answer your questions to the best of my abilities. Just let me get refresh my drink.
So. Where do we start? With my identity? Well, I’m the owner, and coach, of the Land Sharks from Tempelhof, Sylvania. Sorry. The official name is “A Shiver Of Land Sharks”, but High Lahmian does not translate well and we never use it. Just use the initials if really needed. I have had the unmatched honor of being at such position for twelve weeks now, sixteen if you add the pre-season campaign.
Yes, we played the... Perkutores earlier during the season. When was it? Week 3, Week 4? Still remember we lost, 2-0 or something. Did I notice anything suspicious during that game? Well… Glad, you asked.
First of all there was Chaney, that fleabag in a duster, was supposed to bring us firepower on the pitch. More of reliability, yes, could not do anything right that day. Probably all the beers the guys had on the way. Then there was the opposing team, with an almost-naked, over-ripped ball career of a Hobbo that simply refused to leave the pitch, and a blocker scoring a touchdown. All of this sounds suspicious enough to you?
I must confess some details are a bit fuzzy now, and I may have had a few drink at the Rock Monkey after the game. I know Melnourne is not next door, but if you ever venture in that area you better try out their stout, that will put hair on your chest. The live music is kind of an acquired taste though…
After that? Well, knowing the players they probably celebrated in their usual fashion. I am afraid they have not yet found a brew they did not like. Same goes for libidinous companions, of the contracting kind or other. Me? I just took my share of winnings, drank most of it then came back to this very place, Club Firefly. Where I quickly had the dubious honor of meeting Anton Crantz, the local representative of the Guild of Bandits (and affiliated trades).
Another fellow who does not regard any hour as too early for a meeting, if you catch my drift.
- Land Sharks, it’s not me, it’s you. -
Anton Crantz? I would not say he is the kind of fellow I would bring to a party. Not a large fellow by any measure, awful hairstyle, boring suit. He looks just like a ReBBL Admi- Erm, cough, cough. Like an Imperial accountant, yes. Mind if I get another drink to clear my throat? Water only? Are you mad?! If you would let me just… Alright, I guess…
Where was I? Ah yes. Horrible drinking habits, no class in his beverage choice nor any table etiquette at all. But rather efficient at his job, I will give him that. He maneuvered me in a corner and then forced my hand into a sponsorship by the Guild. Yes, I would have done without it myself as well.
How did he corner me? Well this must have to do with the extra-Blood Bowl activity of the Land Sharks. You see, with their penchant for bacchanals, casual revelry and general debauchery, their lifestyle requires a certain… regular resources intake. And what they cannot get in cash, they get in kind.
How do they manage that? Well, most probably not with their gains on the pitch, I tell you that. With their performances this season, it is a miracle we have any stadium at all… Let’s just say they are crafty and do not balk in front of more … unsavory means, to seize the means of inebriation.
You know that they have names for their little tricks? They always talk in code and slang, like some kind of secret society or something. Predatory Journal, Florida Swampland, Glim Dropper (Crantz liked this one), Big Store (that one was quite the bust), Three-Card Monte, etc. It adds a certain flair to their discussion I believe. But it does not make for the best company, that it does not. I always stay away from their little … projects.
Me? Well… I am not going to tell you the story of my life, that is not the kind of person I am. Suffice to say I am a well-traveled man, which explain why I am so far from my natal Bretonnia. Yes, I know. Everybody notices, I never managed to shake off the accent, but what are you going to do, eh?
What was that? What are you hinting at with that “birds of a feather”? I will let you know sir that I will not tolerate such insinuations. I may have started from scratch and landed nowhere, but I did that on my own! I will not deny I have been to shady places: Sartosa, Cathay, Yvresse… But I have lived my life as honestly as a fellow can do when living at the crossroads of sailing, Blood Bowl and the catering industry.
Anyway. That gorydamn sponsorship deal was the reward of the Land Sharks’s sins, not mine. Playing it fast and loose on the pitch gave me tachycardia; off the pitch? It put the Guild on my back and pushed my blood pressure in the triple digits.
Now, do you mind if a fellow gets a little libation to settle my stomach?
- The Reloading Scheme -
What do I know about this week forfeit from the Chaos Dwarf team? I will tell you this: I am not unhappy about it. These days, the less I have to actually handle the players, the better. I am not quite sure why the Firing Pins did not show up though. But, if we venture in the realm of hypothesis, I could offer a guess, based on what may have whiffed out from the locker room this week.
You ever heard of a Reloading Scheme? No? Well, I did not until recently either. It is a fancy name for a rather simple idea: one “enterprising” fellow hits a target, once the target is let go, another one latch onto it under any pretense and the thing can go on until our target is sucked completely dry. Or sometimes they even work together with a slightly more organized approach.
Have you heard of “Gentleman Xhoni Guide To Party Trains”? No? So, in a nutshell, a certain person went around using the name of Xhoni. Passing themselves as a contractor sent by headquarters to act as a customer lambda, they managed to extract goods from several branch offices of various companies, one of them being a local Bloodweiser brewery down in Wissenland. The story picked up some momentum in some certain circles and the Guild kept an eye on him.
Then the fellow decided to build on their infamy by teaming up with a printer and sell brochures titled “Gentleman Xhoni’s Guide to Party Trains” explaining how to pull off the “Mystery Shopper stunt”. The Guild did not like that one one bit. Scamming scammers was slightly beyond the line, when failed attempts started sprouting all over the Empire they went down on Gentleman Xhoni like a ton of brick. But they did not manage to get all the brochures out of circulation.
I will not surprise you by saying that Chaos Dwarves’s lands are not the most loved by travelers. You will then not be surprised either to learn that one of said brochures made its delayed way back to Melnourne somehow. Some of the local boys probably decided that a hare-brained scheme to get rich quick was just what they needed and got in touch with “Gentleman Xhoni”. Our gentleman obliged and reply that for a fee he would tell them how to run the con, and for an extra one even give them a target: a printing company he knew off.
Now it is possible that the Chorfs have paid for the knowledge and maybe for the target as well. It is possible that they ordered some printing materials and inks from that Toner Company they heard about, expecting to rip them off in the end. I can only imagine their surprise when they got drowned in return with invoices coming from said Toner Company. If we are still in the realm of hypotheticals, it is possible that the Firing Pins and, more precisely, their management, were quoted by name in said invoice avalanche.
Knowing how Chorfs like to sort their issues in private, this tale could explain the absence of the team this week and the pyramid of beer barrels in the locker rooms these days.
But what could one do, if such rascals have the blessing of the Guild… And now that I come to think about it - no, whatever. I am done.
Now, if you have nothing else to ask, either sit down for a drink or leave to have my liquid breakfast in peace. Good! Grab a cup, I am sure I know a story or two you have not heard of yet…