Kumbha 7, 2077, m249
Hundreds boarded transport vehicles earlier this week to make the pilgrimage to San Olympus to see who would rise to be the first ever MAFL champion.
“I’ve given my vacation notice for the week because this is going to be one party I don't want to miss.”, said one Europa fan boarding a transport, much to the roaring cheers of her fellow travel mates.
The flow of traffic between Marineris and San Olympus is unprecedented with transport agencies working round the clock shuttling fans the 4500 km distance. In addition to Marineris residents, hundreds of visitors who came from abroad for Pathfinder Marathon have stuck it out to make the stop to the mountain colony even though the likelihood of acquiring tickets is virtually impossible.
The few scalped tickets that have become available onboard an PTV have reportedly sold for as much as 20 times the original fare.
With PTVs coming in from the colonies, Olympus Park will be at true stadium capacity for the first time. They have found a way to park an additional 25 visiting transport vehicles, making this the largest single gathering outside a colony facility with more than 5000 spectators expected.
For those who can't make the stadium event, they will be able to enjoy the Championship match through the many parties being held throughout the colonies. San Olympus itself is being completely transformed to host the surge of visitors; the main promenade, marketplace, and even cargo facilities have been retrofit to support the event.
"We are preparing our infrastructure to handle a population increase of 20%," said Steve Ulytaria, "We will have more than enough air and water, but there is only so much we can do about space."
Interest has also spilled over to Earth as a growing Earth fan base has resulted in a spike in planned coverage with double the resources deployed to cover the event.
“Our viewership numbers have increasingly grown since we started covering MAFL”, said World Associated Press President, Jada Mattata. “We acquired the necessary resources months ago once we saw the early returns. Our fans are in for a treat when they see our superior coverage.”
And will fans be treated to a superior match between the league’s two top teams – The Titans and Comets or will it be a case of the same old, same old?
The Titans are undefeated against the Comets in regular season play, having won all 3 matches.
For the Titans to continue that streak though, they will need to lean heavily on their league leading defence and their reigning MAFL goalkeeper of the year, Icilio De Sisto as their offensive game will be challenged with leading scorer Readale Nash, still bothered by a late season leg injury.
“If Nash can go, that would be huge as he’s the offensive game breaker that can help put us over”, said Ware. “If not, our team has depth and we’ve been successful all year in pulling together to cover off injuries.”
For the Comets, if they bring the same offensive fire they unleashed on Al’amal last week, they could very well overpower the Titans’ air tight defense and goalkeeping.
To help bring that fire, Ware’s infamous words, “We Own You”, have been posted up in the Comets locker room.
“Are we using it as motivation - absolutely,” said Comets Captain Liddell Bradley. “Talk is cheap though so we have to go out there and just do it. Come this Saturni, we’ll see who owns whom”.