Raymund Eich

Inflategate: A Zero-Gee Sport Story


How much will the star athlete pay for a championship?


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Powercrosse. A zero-gee sport mixing the best of hockey and lacrosse.

Skill moves.

Big hits. All while managing your team’s limited supply of jet pack air. Jaysen Tkachenko—the best active player to never win a championship—left his long-time team, the Miners, for the powerhouse Pterodactyls and his last good chance to win it all. But when he faces his old team in the finals, he discovers there are more important things than winning a trophy at all costs. You’ll love this science fiction sports story about a star athlete who becomes a better man. Get it now.

Sample of “Inflategate: A Zero-Gee Sport Story”


Behind the glass, the crowd screamed in delight. Almost every fan strained against the microgravity harnesses, raising jubilant fists or high-fiving neighbors. The sea of bright green replica jerseys and T-shirts with the Pterodactyls logo made the cylindrical court seem like a dome on the floor of some planet’s shallow, fertile sea. The few Miners fans floated inertly, lumps of black and gold. The secondary scoreboards all around the arena showed Q4 and counted down from 5:13. Pterodactyls 6 Miners 2.

The glowing white ball drifted toward the corner of the Pterodactyls’ defensive zone. The linesman extended his arms to his sides, waving off icing. Fans booed good-naturedly.

Jaysen Tkachenko thought, and compressed air jetted from his backpack for a moment. Only a moment. Conserve your tank, we only get so much air per game was a lesson learned in peewee. He coasted through the air like a rocket after its burn. His arms in bright green sleeves pulled his stick close to his body for better aerodynamics. A shake of his head flung a sweat droplet off his helmet’s face shield and into the air.

The Miners had made a standard play, throw the ball deep but not too deep, to give themselves time to substitute in a fresh set of forwards. They weren’t giving up. The Miners were a good team.

If he hadn’t signed a big free agent contract with the Pterodactyls for this season, the Miners would’ve been his team.

But not now. Game 5 of the Finals with the powerhouse Pterodactyls leading the series three games to one. In five minutes, the Pterodactyls would win their sixth championship of the decade.

And Jaysen, the first of his long career.

The ball neared the glass. It would bounce near one of the lighting stanchions running the length of the court. Jaysen extended his stick to catch it after the rebound. He closed his gloved fingers on the button embedded in the shaft. The electromagnetic cradle thrummed on. He couldn’t hear the magnet over the crowd’s roar, but vibration traveled to his hands. Eyes on the ball. An easy snag.

“Man on!” shouted Oleastri, his defensive partner, twenty meters away.

A blunt object pounded the upper left side of his jetpack. Drove him, with a little spin, shoulder-first into the glass over the lighting stanchion.

The transparent material flexed, except over the rigid girder holding LEDs. Pop. Jaysen’s left arm turned to jelly. His shoulder sent tendrils of fire down his arm and up his neck. He lost his grip on his stick. It floated against his wrist strap, bounced off the glass, banged his helmet.

Jaysen spun. Through nausea, he glimpsed fans in bright green, still flinching from his collision with the glass. The ball sailed on a new trajectory toward the end wall near the Pterodactyls’ goalie. One figure in black jetted after it. Another black-clad player loomed closer, his brown eyes and narrow nose as sharp as the point of the miner’s gold pick on his black jersey. Anderson. He’d been a rookie last year. “Worth your blood money now, you old sellout?”

Another lesson learned in peewee, use the side jets to stabilize yourself. Jaysen thought the command, despite the pain. Christ, his arm, any movement was agony. Air jetted and he stopped his rotation.

Behind Anderson, the swarm of six drones surrounding the referee glowed orange. Delayed penalty. Play would stop when a Miner cradled the ball


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Raymund Eich


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