Ocir, Inspiration of the old (By ERIC)

As I look out the window of our ship, excitement boils inside me. I have waited very long for this moment. We are entering a planet’s orbit, one that has never been found before. Out of the window, I can see purple soil and tall indigo mountains, and what seemed like huge blue lakes, seas, and rivers. I am part of an expedition of 293 people, one that was dispatched in the hopes of finding new worlds to colonize. Unfortunately, forty two people were lost on the way. I feel nervous as I look around, the crew arranging the landing and all necessary precautions when first touching down on the new world. At least the planet seems like a decent place for a human habitat, the idea of it not being so scared me, especially after hearing about so many lost ships.
A tall man approaches me as I look away from the window: “Captain Tanaka, we need you at your position, the ship is traveling far too fast for a clear landing and we will likely have to arrange a few orbits around the planet while we use the front thrusters to slow down, we await your orders.” I snap out of my thoughts, and stare at the pilot in front of me, the one who had just spoken. “We will follow that procedure, return to your position and await further orders” I say as I try to concentrate on the task at hand. “Yes Ma’am,” the pilot answers, as he returns to his position. As I get up and start moving towards my position, I feel a sharp pain in my right leg that reminds me that I am still not in perfect condition. I attempt to ignore the pain and continue forwards, where the pilots await my orders.
Hours later, I am getting ready to sleep. In my own small room, I rub a healing lotion that treats my bruise with nanotechnology. I calculate that in eighteen hours it will not hurt anymore, and that in approximately in thirty six hours, it will be completely gone. I got that bruise playing Ocir, a required trainment exercise, that more recently had achieved great popularity all over the known galaxy, in the form of a sport. As I crawl into my sleeping bag, I start thinking about its origins and how it ended up as a sport. In my home planet, we used to play soccer, amongst other sports that originated on Earth, as the planet had a very similar mass and gravity. Ocir has taken ideas from past sports, and has mixed, created, and adapted ideas in a way that is more suited for today’s society. It all started as a training game for the first colonists, that would play in order to keep fit, as muscles easily atrofiate under low gravity. Additionally, it also served as a team building tool, enhancing teamwork between colonists, an essential skill. The game has many variations nowadays, but the version we use to train on the ship is one that deviated little from the original. Players are set in two teams of ten people, inside a large metallic sphere which serves as the arena. Inside the sphere, are “artificial rocks”, uneven surfaces that people usually refer to as platforms. They vary in size, from being able to fit one person standing, to three or four, and positioned in lots of different directions. All these platforms, are all held together by strong ropes, binding platforms to each other and to the inside of the metallic sphere. Players are usually equipped with magnetic boots, that allow players to run on the surface of the sphere, regardless of orientation. Additionally, players are also equipped with helmets, and with a slender but robust protection suit. All this allows for players to traverse the arena in many ways, either by foot on the inside surface of the sphere, by propelling themselves through the platforms and ropes in zero gravity, or in a combination of both. The last way is how I got my bruise, I propeled myself to quickly from the surface and tried to stop myself with a rope. I was going too fast, and as the rope slipped from my hand, my body started spinning uncontrollably, until it suddenly stopped when my leg brutally smashed against a platform. I shiver as I remember it, the pain was hard to deal with. Being the Captain, I wanted to set a good example
for the rest of the colonists, but it did not seem to work out then. At least soon I would be back to full health. Ocir also has an interesting way of scoring. Al ball is used, the size of a very large orange or a very small melon. I smile as I remember the ball I used to use when first playing, one inspired in a soccer ball, the game I played during my childhood. To score there are two holes in opposite sides of the sphere, where the ball is thrown to gain points. The ball can either be launched from close or far away, but there is no direct line of sight because of platforms, and teams usually leave a player guarding their hole. The ball can be taken away from the other team by force or light wrestling, but any strong violence is a big offense and will get players kicked out. I often used to try overwhelming teams by running quickly and trying to score on my own, but over time I found a better strategy was passing the ball to other teammates while some traverse the arena by foot and others by the platforms. As I start to feel drowsy, I think about how popular Ocir has gotten. The galactic league is huge and watched all over, and professional players are often extremely famous. Even small leagues exist, between neighboring planets, a lot of which are also transmitted. Many variations exist, especially ones that incorporate low gravity where zero gravity is not available, like in small planets, moons, or rings. A notable variation that is getting very popular is one that originated in Aquaris and other water planets. The game is played under water, in a similar way, and players wear breathing gear in order to be able to play under those circumstances. As I finally start to sleep, my last thoughts are a fleeting question, I wonder if soccer was a main inspiration for Ocir. Whatever the inspiration was, I think it doesn’t matter, as long as it unites people in friendly competition. High spirits are always good when exploring the galaxy.

(Written by ERIC)

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