T4

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T4 - FREEBALL

When Exiler arrived at Midway Chuck wanted to put together an impromptu game of Freeball to show their nephilim guests what the Selenite obsession with the game was all about. Del had to stay aboard and babysit Abaddon.

The Freeball Gamecore was a very big empty cavernous cylinder, the largest space within Midway, aligned on the rotational pole. It was 60 yards long and 18 yards in diameter, with springgy white padded vinyl on every surface. There were thousands of black felt polka-dots on the walls, distributed uniformly, the kind of fabric Velcro likes to grab.

The game was called a "gig," and it was composed of four "sets" of ten minutes each, where teams alternated between offensive possessions called "jams" and defense. In a jam, a team attempted to move the Freeball down the Gamecore toward their goal. The goal was to get the "Freeball," which was actually a living person, stuck to the black felt polka-dots on the circular end wall of the Gamecore. The Freeball wore a bright yellow leotard covered all over with black cloth handles and white Velcro dots.

In the very first jam the Red Rovers lost their Exterior Van. Freeball was very rough. Plastic Girl had her knee deliberately twisted after a Gray Storm team foul that awarded the Rovers a free shot and easy point.

After that, Gray Flankers approached, first Cosmic Girl and then Doll Woman, who presented their right side first. The Freeball, named the Red Torpedo, swing his arms to fight them off but they simply bounced off him like billiard balls and influenced his direction.

Chameleon Girl and Hawkwoman let their sticky right side grab the Red Torpedo and coast along, slowing him down. The end wall loomed. Ol' Torp struggled to get free, but the girls coordinated their gyrations to allow them to bounce off the wall on their nonsticky left sides. In a few more seconds they managed to fling Torp against the Gamecore inner wall at the two yard ring, where he stuck fast. Gina blew her whistle and that set was over. The problem was that everyone couldn't just stop at Gina's whistle. They all carried on coasting until they reached the nearest side wall. Then the possession switched to the Gray Storms.

In the second set, Red team took out their vengeance on behalf of Plastic Girl's knee, body-slamming the Gray culprit, Sky Girl, so hard into a side wall that the wind was knocked out of her for the duration of the game. All she could do was moan and take little breaths, she was definitely in no condition to resume play in the extremely oxygen-demanding game. Sweeter for the Red Rovers, Gina didn't call a foul for the hit, but every- one knew it was a purely cynical play to even the playing field.

Don't play the game if you cant take the pain! someone shouted out.

Now with both teams were down to six members apiece and the end cap just ten yards away, the Grays all kicked together and flung the Gray Cannonball as fast as they could on a final last-ditch hope to get him down to the end. The reaction hurled every Storm in the opposite direction.

Except for the Gray Freeball, who was sticky-Velcro all over, the players had sticky Velcro all up and down their left side and the fuzzy non-sticky pads on their right, all ready to snag the Cannonball. To prevent this, he moved his body violently to present a more difficult moving target to the defending Red Rovers. Part of the sport was to be a dancer.

The crew of Exiler was enraptured. None of them had ever seen a sporting event before, with the exception of the death trial. Never for fun.

At precisely this time, Robyn and Hope quietly slipped away from the sidelines to move into the tunnels of Midway. Their departure was quietly noted by Chuck, who followed at a discrete distance.

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