Hey sports fans! Who’s ready for some ... kurble? I wonder if they have tailgating at these games.
Tranis whooped warm air into his lungs, squinting against the bright sunlight. The surroundings hadn’t been so damned blinding when they started the match. The bit of cloud cover that had kept things comfortable for sensitive Kalquorian eyesight were long gone. Every expression on the muddy field looked ferocious simply because they were all straining to see through narrowed eyes. The spectators on the sidelines, almost everyone else who’d been granted shore leave, wore dimming goggles.
Tranis snarled, fangs down, at the Nobek in front of him to make sure the other man knew it wasn’t just a light-blinded face he was making. He cupped the rough-hided kurble ball in his swollen hand. It was getting hard to curl his fingers around it now that they were late in the game and the poison had done its work. Only professional players were allowed to use the lethal dosed kurble balls, but the recreational versions were plenty nasty too.
The Nobek defender in front of him, a fighter pilot named Nemu, gave Tranis a feral grin. “Your mouth is bleeding, Dramok.”
On Tranis’ left, Lidon promised, “Don’t worry. I’ll see to it yours bleeds too.”
The two men growled at each other, and the primitive sound of it sent a thrill through Tranis. The game had gone off wonderfully. Nobeks had actually vied to be on Tranis and Lidon’s team, simply because if they managed to do well with a Dramok hurler and a crippled flank defender, they would have the greatest bragging rights. The pair had surprised everyone; Tranis never let the ball’s intermittent protruding barbs vary his accurate throws. Nor did he flinch from the opposing team’s stampeding Nobeks who looked to throw him hard to the ground, adding a few punches and kicks for good measure. Lidon had stood fast on his braced leg to absorb the attacks when he wasn’t throwing himself bodily into the fray. He seemed to take great delight in proving just how savage he was.
Even Tranis was impressed, though he’d been sure the Nobek’s injury would only spur Lidon to fight all the harder. The muddy condition of the field had worried him for his left defender, but Lidon’s traction shoes had put him on even footing with the rest of them.
As they readied to line up for another offensive, Lidon’s gaze swept the intimidating wall of Nobeks ready to stop their march down the field. “To your right.”
Tranis’ right flank defender, a ship security lieutenant named Mucod, crouched slightly at his side, his hands hanging loosely in front of him as he eyed the cluster of defenders tensing in a tight knot. Tranis was a lefthanded hurler, which meant most his throws went in that direction.
Mucod nodded. “I’ve got them.”
Tranis looked over the gang of muddy, bloody, snarling Nobeks waiting to run over him. His team was ahead and close to scoring again. One more goal, and the game would be theirs. His ballooning hand and poisoned system just had to hold out. He thought he might have half a dozen plays left in him. This close to victory, he wasn’t about to forfeit.