Octagla 1: Slingshot Play
Donald S. Hall & Judi Suni Hall
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
The pressure is on Galactic Sports Hall of Fame center Daron Soimvell, aka Superstud. Tamara is going for the impossible, a three-peat of the Galactic Octagla championship. To get the position they want in the playoffs, they have to take this set of games with their bitter rivals Pendrae United, the team they beat in the finals the last two years.
No doubt at some point the team will be in a tight spot, and Coach Isley will call a slingshot play. Daron knows all about them. He could end up MVP. Or he could end up dead. But Daron has other things on his mind. He has sharp eyes and has seen things out of court he shouldn't. A known associate of drug lord Zloenni has been around their left winger, Ranga. These aren't home games where Daron could safely do something. They are on the Pendrae space station, part of Zloenni's territory.
Octagla is a rough, fast-paced zero gravity hockey-lacrosse hybrid. It is played in a transparent eight sided court. The aim of the game is to score by shooting a ball into a goal protected by a goalkeeper. The rules are designed to keep the play going at a fast pace, and to maximize the shots on goal. All eight surfaces enclosing the zero gravity court are active play zones, as is all of the space in between. The players bounce off the walls as freely as the ball, or if it suits them, run on the surfaces with adhesive shoes. They wear compressed air jet packs for maneuvering in the open court space. It requires exceptional spatial coordination to not get disoriented when the other players are just as likely to be upside down or sideways coming at you. Catching a pass in zero gravity then smoothly converting the resulting angular momentum into what you want is much more difficult than in a planetside game where your feet are rooted to the ground.
Readers will find a lot of the characters they enjoyed in the Gingezel series carried forward.