Here’s a short story that for some reason attempts to meld the worlds of sci-fi and sports betting.


Alien Sevenfold Acca


The Alienball Cup is back.

Didn’t see it coming? People often forget that alienball doesn’t operate off the normal sports calendar. The Fornack year lasts 10 months, so the alienball season is constantly out of sync with sports events on Earth.

Well, it’s really out of sync to the tune of 300 or maybe 400 years, but you know what we mean.

The first round of the Cup sees all the top teams take on a bunch of lower-league sides. So what we have is a series of odds-on fixtures. The perfect opportunity for a sevenfold accumulator with a low but fairly reliable yield. You won’t get rich from it, but you might just double your money:

  1. Cats 1/9 v Snakes
  2. Suns  1/100 v Spiders
  3. Fish 1/8 v Trees
  4. Trains 1/5 v Scissors
  5. Horses 1/20 v Clouds
  6. Cups  1/50 v Dogs
  7. Chairs 2/9 v Slugs


There’s a fixture every 8 hours because of the quick rotation of the Fornack home planet, so stay tuned to this blog for up-to-the-minute comment and video highlights.


Match Report 1: Cats 1/9 v Snakes


It took a late surge from last season’s beaten semi-finalists to put the Snakes away.

Put it down to ring-rustiness. We expect the Cats to go far again in this tournament. They’re quick and they’re sharp.

But the difference between a top side and a team of journeymen (journeyaliens?) was clear in this game. The Cats are a fully-limbed side, whereas the Snakes tend to use only the forelimbs.

On a slide down the wings a Cat will guard the ball under its body and still be able to get away a pass without breaking stride. Time and again the Snakes got just past halfway and had to check back for lack of options.

So far so good on the acca.


Match Report 2: Suns  1/100 v Spiders


We’re still on target.

A comfortable win for the Suns, although they’ll be disappointed with that scoreline against total newcomers the Spiders.

That said, Juanito’s audacious late somersaulted goal – off the antennae no less – is an early candidate for goal of the tournament. Up until now we’d thought using the antennae counted as handball in this code, but obviously not. Just goes to show that there’s a lot we still don’t know about alienball here on Earth.

The Suns may well meet the Cats in the next round. They’ll have to improve greatly if they’re going to cause them any problems.


Match Report 3: Fish 1/8 v Trees

FISH WIN 23-22

Now this was a game. The Fish down 14-0 at the end of the first quarter only to claw it back against the tiring Trees.

After they drew level you sensed the winner was going to come for the Fish. But the fact that the winner was clearly offside was a right kick in the teeth for the Trees.

Not that Fornacks have teeth. A right kick in the proboscis.


Match Report 4: Trains 1/5 v Scissors


A clash of two quite negative sides, most notable for their unusual logos.

The Trains in their red strip have a logo that looks so much like a train that surely it must be one. The Fornacks must have some sort of public transport, and what could a train possibly look like, other than a train?

The Scissors, though. Can that really be a scissors? How could these multi-limbed things use a scissors? They don’t have hands. And anyway, what sort of corporate sponsorship would that be? Scissors International Limited. Seems unlikely.

Anyway, a routine win for the Trains. They were more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.


Match Report 5: Horses 1/20 v Clouds


The Horses impressed in recent friendlies, having gone far in last year’s tournament. No surprise that they won this at a canter.

There was a nice shot of the Fornack sun over the stadium roof just before kick-off. A greenish star, although maybe that’s just a trick of the planet’s atmosphere. Odd that the astronomers still don’t know exactly which star in the Fornax constellation the signals are coming from.


Match Report 6: Cups  1/50 v Dogs


Since no one understands the Fornack language, we don’t normally bother to broadcast the native commentary with match footage.

But this one was special. The Cups and the Dogs seem to come from the same city, and this tie had all the needle and mentallness of a classic local derby. Skin and feelers flying everywhere. Hopefully they can grow those things back.

You can hear the excitement at full time in the native shrieks, whirrs and clicks. You could almost believe they were roaring “Your boys took one hell of a beating!”

Things are getting a bit exciting now. The acca is still on.


Match Report 7: Chairs 2/9 v Slugs


What can we say, folks? These things happen. Well, this particular thing never happened before, but you know what we mean.

As for those of you who think they smell a rat, a few points to note:

First, if you honestly think we’re trying to pull a fast one, how did we manage to arrange for a supernova to appear in the sky?

Second, why would we be trying to worm our way out of a payout on an accumulator that hardly even doubles your money?

You guys are going to have to do better than that.

We’re not the ones who receive the signal either, so it’s a waste of time blaming us for that. Boffins with radio telescopes pick it up and relay it onto the Internet, and that’s where we get it.

There are no “other ways” of finding out who won the match. We’re not hiding anything from you.

There isn’t a spacecraft that can reach the nearest star, let alone one that can fly all the way to Fornack to find out who won the match. Anyway, how many spacecraft do you reckon this company operates?

There are no Fornacks on Earth to ask. There are none lurking in orbit. There are none in this office. Sorry to disappoint you.

By the way, for all we know the match never took place at all. The star that blew up was probably close to the Fornack star. So their whole civilisation may well have been vapourised.

Puts your bet into perspective, doesn’t it?

We will of course pay out on the first 6 fixtures.