Read The Champion Online

Authors: Scott Sigler

The Champion

Also by
Scott Sigler

Infected

Contagious

Ancestor

Nocturnal

Pandemic

The Galactic Football League Series (YA)

The Rookie

The Starter

The All-Pro

The MVP

The Galactic Football League novellas (YA)

The Reporter

The Detective

Title Fight

The Gangster

(COMING IN 2014)

The Rider

(COMING IN 2014)

The Reef

(COMING IN 2014)

The Color Series short story collections

Blood is Red

Bones are White

Fire is Orange

(COMING IN 2014)

Galactic Football League:
Book Five

Scott Sigler

THE CHAMPION

(The Galactic Football League Series, Book V)

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2014 by Empty Set Entertainment, LLC

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

Published in the United States by Empty Set Entertainment

For more information, email
[email protected]

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Sigler, Scott (print)

The Champion/ Scott Sigler.

p. cm

1. Science Fiction — Fiction 2. Sports — Fiction Library of Congress Control Number: 2014932144

ISBN: 978-1-9393665-0-4

Book design by Donna Mugavero at Sheer Brick Studio

Cover design by Scott E. Pond at Scott E. Pond Designs

Limited Edition SEPTEMBER 2014

Empty Set Entertainment

San Diego, California I
www.EmptySet.com

To my nieces and nephews
,

Riley, Sydney, Caden and Tyler
.

I am so proud of all you do in athletics and in life
.

Your uncle loves you
.

Acknowledgments

“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice

for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.”

— Mia Hamm

My teammates:

A “Future Hall-of-Famer” Kovacs

every team needs a great coach, and she is ours

Donna “Chalkboard” Mugavero

interior book design

Scott “Big Fish” Pond

cover design, color insert design

John “The Franchise” Vizcarra

continuity coaching

Melanie “Mad Dog” Mallon

copyediting

Kelly “Lethal Weapon” Lutterschmidt

copyediting

Dr. Joe “Annihilator” Albietz

medical consulting

Dr. Jeremy “The Eraser” Ellis

alien physiology consulting

Carmen “Gmork” Wellman

Siglerpedia Czar

Contents

BOOK ONE: The Off-Season

1 Press Conference
2 The Plan
3 The Request
4 Quarterbacks
5 Rendezvous
6 The Ship
7 The Biggest Ship
8 Surgery
9 Punch-Out

BOOK TWO: The Portath Cloud

10 First Contact
11 Company
12 Hope
13 Bumps
14 Welcome Committee
15 Visitors
16 The Portath
17 Believer
18 Duel
19 History Lesson
20 Jeanine
21 The Pit
22 Prelims
23 Broken
24 Uncle Johnny
25 Free to Go
26 Courage
27 Gredok the Splithead
28 The Tier Three Tournament
29 The Blessing

BOOK THREE: The Preseason

30 Preseason Week One
31 Preseason Week Two
32 Preseason Week Three
33 Preseason Week Four

BOOK FOUR: The Regular Season

34 Week One: Isis Ice Storm at Ionath Krakens
35 Week Two: Sheb Stalkers at Ionath Krakens
36 Week Three: Ionath Krakens at Coranadillana Cloud Killers
37 Week Four: Ionath Krakens at Yall Criminals
38 Week Five: Ionath Krakens at Neptune Scarlet Fliers
39 Week Six: Alimum Armada at Ionath Krakens
40 Week Seven: Ionath Krakens at D’Oni Coelacanths
41 Week Eight: Bye
42 Week Nine: To Pirates at Ionath Krakens
43 Week Ten: Ionath Krakens at OS1 Orbiting Death
44 Week Eleven: Buddha City Elite at Ionath Krakens
45 Week Twelve: Ionath Krakens at Wabash Wolfpack

BOOK FIVE: The Postseason

46 Week Thirteen: Themala Dreadnaughts at Ionath Krakens
47 Playoffs Round One: Buddha City Elite at Ionath Krakens
48 Playoffs Round Two: OS1 Orbiting Death at Ionath Krakens
49 Galaxy Bowl XXVII Ionath Krakens vs. Jupiter Jacks

Epilogue

BOOK ONE

The Off-Season

1

Press Conference

THE GREATEST MOMENT OF HIS LIFE
passed by in a blur of pain, the experience washed thin by anguish.

Quentin had faked his way through the locker-room celebration. He’d forced a smile when people congratulated him, pushed down his despair long enough to tell every player how he or she had contributed to the championship. John and Ju ran interference for him, gently guiding away the over-stimulated Sklorno — who wanted to jump and scream with their godling — or any players that had drunk too much champagne and were looking to sing songs and celebrate with their Galaxy Bowl XXVII MVP quarterback.

Other than the handful of players and staff who already knew, Quentin wasn’t telling anyone that his sister, Jeanine, and his friend Fred, were lost in the Portath Cloud: a place from which ships did not return.

The Krakens had seized the greatest prize in all of sports: the GFL championship. That put them in the history books, granted a form of immortality: Quentin and his teammates would be remembered.

And he couldn’t enjoy any of it.

He’d received the bad news right after the on-field awards ceremony. Messal the Efficient had pulled Quentin aside, taken him to Doc Patah’s training room. There, Messal had played a holo of Fred saying the
Hypatia
was under attack and that the only chance for survival was plunging into the Portath Cloud. Quentin could do nothing other than watch helplessly — the holo was already several days old before it arrived from halfway across the galaxy.

He had made his decision to go after them. Many of his teammates had decided to come along. One teammate in particular — Cormorant Bumberpuff — had promised to acquire a ship that could take Quentin and his friends to the Cloud. Getting that ship would take time; for now, all Quentin could do was wait.

And, while waiting, he had obligations to fulfill.

Quentin! Quentin!

He blinked, returning to the moment. The post–Galaxy Bowl press conference. Seated at a table lined with a blue drape decorated with GFL logos. Messal the Efficient, on his right, standing on a step stool that let him look out over a podium engraved with the Galaxy Bowl XXVII logo, choosing whose questions would be answered. And to Messal’s right, mostly blocked by the Worker and the podium, the owner of the Ionath Krakens — Gredok the Splithead.

Quentin! Quentin!

From beyond the bulletproof crysteel wall that separated Quentin from the press, the multi-headed monster called out to him, screaming his name over and over, each head vying for attention, demanding he answer yet another useless, utterly obvious question. He stared out at the reporters, his eyes narrowed against the glare of camera spotlights. A dozen species represented, perhaps a hundred faces in that crowd, all packed into a space built for maybe fifty sentients, all hanging on Quentin’s every word.

Messal pointed to a fluttering Creterakian dressed in a white bodysuit lined with repeating pictures of bananas that peeled, then zipped themselves back up, then peeled again.

“Kinizzle,” Messal said. “Go ahead.”

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