Hello, sports fans, and welcome once more to the annual Ultra Bowl game highlights, live from Entertainment and Sports Brain Network (ESBN), tuned in for your yearly dose of real fantasy football. This year was an historic occasion for two reasons. The first is that Louisiana made it to the finals in both universes, this year. The second is that for the first time ever, one of the four football teams from Earth’s space colonies (AFC-Space) has made it to the Ultra Bowl. The Colorado C’thulus faced off against the Luna Ticks in the final four, but lost in overtime (partially due to a controversial facemask call on veteran right guard Perry Skullscar, who insists that he had just forgotten to tuck his tentacles into his jersey). However, due to their vast experience with necromancy, the C’thulus were still allowed to perform the rites for raising the Louisiana players, the Baton Rouge Bonedolls, up from the grave.
This year’s Ultra Bowl took place in the Tick’s Home stadium in Luna Central, where low gravity adds to the challenge of maneuvering. The indoor stadium was packed with fans, and the view of Earth through the glass roof served as a point of constant exhilaration for the many Terran fans making their first trip to Luna. There was a minor problem when the field manager heard the visiting team had been brought to life by the C’thulus, and locked himself in the closet clutching a bag of grass seed and crying, but it was quickly sorted out with a crowbar and 50 CCs of tranquilizers.
- There was some drama in the pre-game of this year’s Ultra Bowl. Moonbug, the Tick’s mascot, was an actual giant bioengineered tick this year, commissioned especially for the game. His instincts, however, lead him to become so overexcited by the crowd that he tried to suck the blood of The Baron, the Bone Dolls mascot. Unfortunately, the Bone Dolls also chose a realistic mascot this year and opted (with the assistance of the C’thulus), to raise a giant, tuxedo-clad skeleton via arcane forces. This resulted in two important lessons: 1. You cannot suck the blood of a giant skeleton, and 2. You should never try to eat any arcane force larger than your head. Moonbug managed to escape with superficial injuries to the proboscis and a fractured wing. Fortunately, due to the effects of antigravity on cheerleaders, at least that portion of the crowd that was male did not notice.
- The teams entered with great fanfare and cheering. The Luna Ticks came in wearing their famous spacesuit/football uniforms in green and yellow, and did some showing off in the warm-ups, taking advantage of the microgravity. The Bone Dolls preferred to crawl out of the ground, groaning ominously, a move that has been popular in previous years. The fans were kept in high spirits by The Baron, who attempted to do some necromancy by cutting the head off a live cockerel. A small disconnect in the spell resulted in the cockerel being what was brought back to life, whereupon it picked up its head between its wings and pecked him repeatedly on the skull before running into the stands, where it attempted to mate with a hotdog stand. The Baron also passed out voodoo dolls to the crowd. “My math teacher iv gonna have a nafty fuprive on Monday” lisped Bone Dolls fan Nancy Bella, aged 6.
- The coin toss went to the Ticks, who chose, unusually, to kick off. Kicker Danny Upton explained that this was standard procedure for microgravity games, since there was a very good chance of making a field goal. And indeed, thanks to microgravity, the ball made a high, clean arch, but the Bone Dolls, acting quite literally with the speed of a thing possessed, loaned Returner Drdrack Mmerrg (as he identified himself when interviewed) some extra leg bones. Thus enhanced, he showed exceptionally good posture catching the ball, bending all eleven knees. Meanwhile, his teammates had crawled over to the other side and were busily gnawing on the legs of their opponents. Following an exceptionally complex summersault, the returner began loping unsteadily downfield, being tackled at the twenty by two Tick linemen who were being chased by the dismembered head of safety Cruxgrug gxxl.
- The Ticks pushed back the onslaught of the Bone Dolls by taking advantage of their jetpacks to make forceful running attacks, which proved devastating to the Bone Doll line in the early part of the game. The Bone Dolls, however, managed to hold their own, stabbing the fuel lines of their opponents with their own rib bones, specially sharpened for today’s match. The Ticks had to call in two replacements due to untimely explosions. The Baron helpfully assisted in clearing the bodies off the sidelines, although what precisely he did with them was not clear.
- Brazga Mgwargl, a Bone Doll linebacker, demonstrated masterful use of a surreptitious voodoo doll on the first play of the second quarter, completely incapacitating the arm of Tick Quarterback Gordon Armstrong during the hike. The hike went wild and the lines collided, with promising rookie Zrrrkra Kzrr grabbing the ball and running thirty yards with it before being brought down. Armstrong tackled Mgwargl, almost getting a penalty for a personal foul, until it was pointed out that, because of the doll, he had also managed to tackle himself. The referees asked that voodoo dolls be kept out of future plays.
- The bone dolls developed an interesting offensive strategy of burrowing into the ground with ball and digging underneath the Tick line, nullifying their low-grav advantage. They had similar success in using this strategy to bypass the offensive line when on defense. In response, the Ticks began firing their ice mining lasers at the ground, more or less at random. Linebacker Zizcrk Grzxm got a nasty blast through the head in the process, but managed to make the most of it by getting one of his teammates to lend him a hand, which he placed in the hole and used to distract the other players. The Baron, meanwhile, crouched on the sidelines over a mysterious pile of burnt material, busily chalking lines and placing candles.
- The Ticks, trying to get an advantage in the final minute of the first half, pulled out their secret weapon. Strapping a mini-black-hole powered vacuum to his helmet, center Jordon Alton attempted to vacuum up his Bone Doll Counterpart. This worked, to a point, although he only resulted in getting the dust of a very angry skeleton into his suit’s ventilation system. He ran off the field, apparently punching himself in the crotch as hard as possible and slamming his head into the ground.
- The Halftime show was provided by Luna, featuring the jazz-metal band “Unnatural Log” singing “Supernova” and “Geosynchronous Hearts”. They finished by hyping the crowd to fever pitch with the song “Faster than Life” and a brilliant laser display combined with well-timed aerial maneuvers from small, exploding animatronics aliens. This got a good crowd response, despite the ongoing battle with certain colonizing alien species on the moons of Jupiter being a hot-button issue. Around the finale, however, dark clouds began to gather over the stadium, which interested the stadium engineers a great deal, since that isn’t supposed to be possible. At the highest point of the song, lightning struck the podium. This was followed by an incredibly intense but relatively short rain-and-occasional-toad-storm, at the end of which, the field closely resembled a swamp. The Baron was sitting innocently on the sidelines, being fanned by two unknown zombies. Management eventually agreed, after seeing the grin on The Baron’s skull, that it was a freak accident in the climate control system. They neglected to comment on why crawfish and toads were optional atmospheric modifications. Apparently the problem could not be rectified sooner because of a surprisingly fierce headless cockerel that had put together a nest in the control room and was desperately trying to mate with a stale packet of peeps it had found somewhere.
- The Ticks, a team traditionally reliant on a combination of aerial agility and ground speed to score, found maneuvering in the swamp difficult. The issues of crawfish getting into various crevices of spacesuits that should theoretically have been airtight were constant, including one that made a spirited attempt to remove Left Guard Abraham Maslow’s nose with its claws.
- Maslow, once the crawfish had been removed and the hole it clawed in the suit repaired, showed some very fancy footwork on the team, getting a 65 yard run through the simple expedient of hovering constantly to stay out of the mud. This strategy remained popular with the team until it was discovered that the swamp-like ground now produced unexpected packets of flammable gas.
- The recovered Tick center, Alton, in the final minute of the third quarter, snapped the ball back long to Armstrong. Armstrong then got on top of the Moonbug, which was swimming well in the moist environment, and rode him through the defensive line. The Bone Dolls, however, responded by surrounding the charging mascot and, as one unit, forcing him into the air. The sound of the screaming quarterback slamming into the ceiling in front of 400 pounds of confused parasite served as a testament to the growing ability of the Bone Dolls to play in low gravity.
- As the fourth quarter wore on, the teams battled back and forth across the center of the field. In an attempt to gain the advantage, the entire Bone Doll team rearranged itself into what onlookers described variously as “a horrible crablike thing”, “a multiheaded, hellish apparition”, and “awesome” (according to one twelve year old). Unfortunately, though they made a decisive break in the offensive line, they lost a great deal of agility, and tight end Martin Rocklorne made fifteen yards before having the entire pile of bones collapse on top of him.
- In the last twenty seconds, the Ticks decided to try to break the stalemate with a Hail Mary into the endzone. But, in an amazing and totally unanticipated move, Grzxm tackled the runner in the endzone, flipped over, and caught the ball with the hand installed in his head, winning the game for the Bone Dolls at the last second.
- At this point, all the lights went out in the stadium, due to a certain black cockerel which had managed to overcome security, swinging its own head like a battleaxe, and had attempted to mate with the main power line.
Thus, the Bone Dolls will be walking away with their first FFL trophy this year. The Baron neglected to comment, although he did offer the interviewer a lovely string of beads before stalking away. There is currently some debate as to whether the C’thulus did something nefarious when they conjured the Bone Doll’s mascot. Someone pointed out the C’thulus are the only team banned from bringing in a realistic mascot, but had it explained to them this was a safety measure to prevent Armageddon. “We’re the C’thulus” said a spokesman for the team, heightening debate, “We’re SUPPOSED to do something nefarious”. The Bone Dolls are back in their respective graves, though some have signed contracts for further seasons and will therefore be trying very hard not to decompose in the off season. The Luna authorities have agreed that perhaps a small memorial statue to the cockerel is in order, because they aren’t entirely sure it’s dead yet and feel it would be better to be safe than sorry.
That’s the sports update for this year’s Fantasy Ultra Bowl. Be sure to tune in next year, and goodnight.