2336 - Das Wunder von Terra
The Miracle of Terra
Robert Feldhoff

In late summer 1344 NGE the team Luna Levitator reaches the final rounds of the eliminations for the Solar soccer championship for the first time in forty years. The championship takes place in January and February 1345 NGE in Terrania. The team from Luna Town Center is a glaring outsider, but the experienced coach believes in his team. The most important players of Levitator are the young "Ten" Junior Solari, as well as the striking forwards Morg D'Accuzu and Toto Ambest. On January fourth the team arrives in Terrania, with no female companions allowed, which is initially no problem for Solari, because he does not have a girlfriend. But with the first press conference, he falls in love at first sight with Catalina Tampa, a journalist from Albion3D.

Meanwhile, outside the Sol system the threat from TRAITOR rises, and on January sixth there are already four thousand Traitanks, with more arriving all the time. At first only four hundred eighty four Traitanks attack, which the improved crystal screen almost easily blocks.

On the Earth, life goes on. The Trivid is full of the threat by the Chaos powers, but more and more reports on the soccer championship move into the foreground. On January ninth at the Garbus Music Hall, a party is given in honor of the championship, and the players of all thirty-two teams are present, as are the press and VIPs. A skirmish breaks out between D'Accuzu and Solari. The defensive midfield player, who sees the Ten as a wimp, gropes Catalina Tampa several times against her will in front of Junior, who attacks D’Accuzu to protect her honor. Junior Solari breaks D’Accusu’s cheekbone and is pummeled in return.

Their coach is not particularly inspired by it, but the old forward, a retired major from the LFT fleet, uses the circumstance for the team’s purposes. He gives what the press is looking for: a suspension for the two players. But behind the curtains, things look very different. Alderfarn does not at all think of shipping the two men home in disgrace, but does forbid any contact between Junior and Catalina for the duration of the championship. He contacts her anyway, but she rejects him with a simple message to contact her after the championship. Junior is confused, but little time remains before play time.

With much trouble Levitator makes it past the first eliminations, but afterwards it goes more easily, until the semi-final against North Star Terrania, with the soccer god Cedric Van Zeldern. The game takes place on February third. Junior has found out meanwhile that his coach pressured Catalina to not contact him anymore with a threat to her job. The coach subordinates everything to success. North Star, the favorite of the tournament, then also makes matters clear. Up till minute ninety-five the score stands 2:1 for North Star, and Levitator seem to have no chance. But then two things happen almost at the same time. Junior Solari is badly fouled and injured and the game is broken off. The civil defense official Alma Ospital issued this instruction, when eight thousand seven hundred and twelve Traitanks begin to attack the crystal screen. Again the break-through does not succeed, but the screen and also the Nucleus of the Monochrome Mutants are brought to the edge of collapse!

Bad luck for one is good luck for the other: Due to the civil defense game stoppage, the game must be replayed. On February sixth Junior Solari is once again physically fit, after two operations on his knees to replace torn ligaments, but his head is still not all there and his coach notices. Before the end of the half time break, the coach relents and has Catalina Tampa come to the stadium. When Junior sees her, he revives, but the supremacy of North Star is crushing. Eventually the game ends a tie and Junior can finally spend his first night with Catalina.

Outside of the system TRAITOR untiringly consolidates its troops. Over seventeen thousand Traitanks in total arrive, as do some ships of the Prophozeuten. But on the Earth the life continues. On February tenth it comes to the final is played in the Stadium of the Stars between Levitator and Asia Delhi. The game begins at 20 o'clock Terrania local time. Perry Rhodan permits it the crews of the fleet, including PRAETORIA to watch the game. That is, until 20:48 o'clock when the seventeen thousand four hundred twenty-four Traitanks open fire. The system alarm is given again, and once again Alma Ospital stops the game to order everyone into secure bunkers. But this time the players and spectators refuse to go and remain in the stadium to pick back up the game with the second half. It makes no difference, what happens outside the system, because the shelter would not help if a Traitank got through. Based on the energy values involved, the whole solar system might even be thrown into hyperspace if the screen breaks. Rhodan recognizes the psychological effect of the game and the shouts of the fans and players. He notes that "Terra is celebrating" and laughing at TRAITOR. The Resident has the Trivid signal sent out through the crystal screen. The Chaos servants should break their heads over the behavior of the Terrans and about what an ‘offside’ is. Luna Levitator wins the game 2:1 and begins to celebrate. And once again, the clenched strength of the Traitanks is not enough. Not yet...

Jerry Schneiderman 2006-09-07

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