RetRollSpective – Team Galactic

Hello and welcome to another RetRollSpective, where we reflect on the history of marble athletes that have appeared in Jelle’s Marble Runs. This time, we’re going out of this world to take a look at Team Galactic, a team that originated in the inaugural season of the Marble League and hosted the 2020 edition of the tournament. Let’s blast off and discover what this team is made of!

The official logo for Team Galactic, designed by Tim Ritz.

The origins of the team lie in Galakonur, a city renowned for scientific advancement, particularly in the field of astronomy. Cosmo, Astron, Starry, and Pulsar (the four original team members) met while working together at the appropriately named Galactic National Space Center, located in the heart of the city. The four worked as co-workers for about a year and a half and became great friends who bonded over their love for sports in their youth, and their successes competing in high school and college.

In 2014, the city announced that it would be holding an athletics competition, the Stardust Classic, in which teams of four marbles would compete against each other in various disciplines. Cosmo and Astron immediately applied and invited Starry and Pulsar to complete their quartet of athletes. The four were accepted into the competition, and on 04 October 2014, the four marbles dominated the fray to everyone’s surprise—and perhaps even their own—winning nearly half of all the events and performing well in almost all the others.

The Stardust Classic logo, designed by Phantasm!

Word of their success quickly spread across the region, with the quartet receiving news coverage and praise beyond the city of Galakonur itself. The emergence of not one, but four marble athletes in a region that severely lacked athletic importance resembled the creation of the universe, in that it seemingly came out of nowhere, but was in fact always there, just waiting, patiently, to show itself. This excitement underscored the announcement of a worldwide marble sports tournament a little while later, none other than the 2016 Marble League. The success of the quartet drove the region to almost unanimously nominate Cosmo, Starry, Astron, and Pulsar to compete in the tournament. The team submitted an application to the Marble League under the name “Team Galaxy” and was accepted.

However, for some unknown reason, the large, internationally known Galaxy™ corporation saw this name as a threat to their business and claimed that legal actions would be taken unless the team changed their name. A news article from a few years later explained,

“…after gaining popularity it got almost sued by the brand “Galaxy™”. After intense negotiations the team ultimately changed its name to “Team Galactic”, as still known today….A fair amount of followers assumed, wrongly, that the team is being sponsored by the brand and has accepted a partnership. Because of that many supporters bought all kinds of products of the Galaxy™ brand but most of all the “Galaxy Toothpaste”™”.

The classic design for Galaxy™’s world-renowned Galaxy Toothpaste (Art Credit: Lego).

The team ultimately complied with this demand and, just days before the opening ceremony, made a slight change to their name, adopting their new identity, “Team Galactic”. Rumors about a promotional event between the team and a Non-Descript Video Game Company were spread through the marble world, but both parties expressed that no such event was planned to take place.

As one of the original sixteen teams, Team Galactic competed in the first-ever Marble League in 2016. The team showed some potential during the first few events, placing in the middle of the pack. Team Galactic scored their first medal in the fourth event, with Starry getting bronze in the Sand Rally. This put the team at a respectable seventh place overall. Team Galactic continued to place in the top ten throughout most of the following events, notably placing fourth in the High Jump.

Team Galactic shines on the podium for the first time, courtesy of Starry.

However, due to the 2016 scoring system heavily favoring podium finishes, the team finished in eleventh place overall at the conclusion of the 2016 Marble League, tied with the Oceanics in points but behind the team in the medal count. Team Galactic was disappointed but ready to do better in the 2017 Marble League Qualifiers.

And better they did. Team Galactic truly blasted off in the Qualifiers, finishing in third during the Funnel Spinning and placing high fairly consistently to rank sixth for qualification overall. The sky no longer seemed to be the limit for what Team Galactic could achieve, and the team was ecstatic to participate in the 2017 Marble League. Astron noted:

“We’re really happy with how things have gone, you know, with restructuring and training. We’re optimistic to step into this season and leap up to the top of the standings.”

Astron, Starry, Cosmo, and Pulsar pose for a photoshoot.

You can imagine, then, that Team Galactic was shocked when they scored dead last in the first event and fifteenth in the second event, which, of course, landed them in last place overall. The team was quite discouraged, but they trusted that their season was far from out of their control. In the third event, Team Galactic finally put eight points on the board, jumping up to fourteenth place, and in the fifth event, they got a much-desired gold medal with Starry’s performance in Hurdles, an event that Cosmo was originally scheduled to compete in. Team Galactic was now in eleventh overall. When asked, Starry could barely speak, they were so excited:

“Completely unexpected…my heart is full.”

Starry earned Team Galactic’s first gold medal, taking the top step of the podium aside the reigning and would-be Marble League champions.

Over the coming events, Team Galactic notably scored fourth in the seventh event, Block Pushing, fifth in the ninth event, Steeplechase, and earned their second gold medal with Starry’s incredible run in the last event, the Sand Race. Although the team sat in eleventh place heading into the final event, Starry’s gold medal raised the team to fifth place overall for the conclusion of the 2017 Marble League. In a show of love for their team, Starry invited their teammates onto the top step of the podium with them to celebrate the gold medal, cementing their status as one of the most successful marble athletes in history.

“LOOK AT TEAM GALACTIC!” Greg Woods exclaimed. “Look at Team Galactic, they are going to win the race! O’rangers…lose the battle, but win the war. The O’rangers…lose out to Team Galactic right at the end…”

Starry’s choice to invite their entire team onto the podium inspired the O’rangers and Thunderbolts to do the same.

Team Galactic was flying high into the 2018 Marble League, as placing in the top five made many fans gravitate towards the team. After showing signs of promise in the previous year, Team Galactic rocketed through the 2018 Winter Marble League Qualifiers and qualified before the final event by finishing in the top three in the first three events: Curling, Snow Rally, and 5 Meter Ice Dash. Many expected to see Galactic as a championship contender for the year. However, things didn’t go as the team had hoped. 

Instead of continuing off their success in the Qualifiers, the team faltered badly and ended up spending most of the 2018 Marble League season in the bottom half of the standings. Their only medal would end up being silver in the Bobsled, despite a penalty point. The team was showing decent performances, but certainly not of the caliber that many expected to see. In the penultimate event, Ice Hockey, Pulsar’s younger sibling, Quasar, played goalie, making their Marble League debut as the team reserve. Upon reaching the semifinal, Galactic only needed to win one of their next two matches to secure a medal. Instead, the team dropped both the semifinal game and the third-place game, leaving them with yet another near-miss in fourth place. 

Once again, Team Galactic entered the final event in eleventh place. Instead of getting a gold in the finale to salvage their season, Cosmo got caught up in the moguls and ended up going out in the first round, completing the disappointing season for the team. They would end up finishing in eleventh overall, the same result as 2016. Needless to say, the team and fans alike were extremely disappointed in the outcome. As the captain of the team, Cosmo was hit especially hard, feeling that all of the team’s fans had probably lost most, if not all their faith in them. There were discussions of Team Galactic being dissolved over the offseason, but ultimately the team announced that they would return for the 2019 games.

Team Galactic’s only medal in the 2018 Marble League.

The offseason demonstrated promise for Team Galactic with a fourth-place finish in the 100 Meter Water Race and by making it to the semifinals in the Amazing Maze Marble Race before being eliminated. The 2019 Marble League Qualifiers brought Team Galactic a second-place victory overall, helped by their first-place finish in the Underwater Race when the team tied with the Hazers. Galactic earned the distinction of “Preseason Champions” after this, referring to their unparalleled consistency in the previous three Qualifiers. Pulsar was flattered after hearing this, stating:

“We try to go beyond what we think is possible for us during off-season training because it sets a good precedent for the rest of the season. It proved successful for us in 2017, and maybe not so successful in 2018, but we’re convinced that this is the best way to run our team. And we’re grateful that you all agree. Hard work pays off.”

Nevertheless, fans of the team had learned not to become too optimistic about the team’s potential during the main tournament. Team Galactic’s fourth appearance, in the 2019 Marble League, began with finishes in the middle of the pack in the first six events, missing many opportunities to break through for a medal. Redemption finally came for the team in the form of Block Pushing,  where Galactic was finally able to medal in an event that they had reached the finals in during the 2017 Marble League. Team Galactic now had their second silver medal. 

For once, Team Galactic almost looks purple in this picture!

Despite the water portion being canceled in the Triathlon, Pulsar was able to make it to the final before being blocked out of a medal by two of the other three finalists. At the halfway point, Team Galactic stood in third place overall, by far their highest placement in Marble League history. However, things would take a turn for the worse. Starry suffered a minor internal injury from the collision in Block Pushing, which rendered them unable to compete in the Hurdles race, an event they won two years ago. Quasar instead competed in the event, beginning a slew of subpar results for Team Galactic in several of the last Marble League events, except for Rafting.

For the third year in a row, the team entered the final event sitting in eleventh place. The final event was another event that Starry had previously won, the Sand Rally, but they wouldn’t compete in this one either, as their hard crash in the Dirt Race had exhausted their energy. Although Coach Black Hole had made admittedly questionable decisions about substituting marbles in events such as the Underwater Race and Hurdles, their decision to put Cosmo in the event turned out to be a great decision, for Cosmo had been running sand races with Starry for about a year.

With a great burst of speed reminiscent of Starry’s gold medal burst two years prior, Cosmo—true to their status as the “jack of all trades” on the team—managed to pass several marbles in the final stretch and finish the race in second, only behind Tumult from the Balls of Chaos. This silver caused Galactic to jump three spots in the final standings, finishing the year in eighth place. After the closing ceremony concluded, the team celebrated Cosmo winning their first medal along with everything else they accomplished over the season.

A desperately needed medal that propelled the team to finish in the top half.

“I know there are a lot of fans that questioned my leadership during the second half of the season, and I’m sorry for that,” Coach Black Hole reflected. “We didn’t focus a lot on endurance training this season, and I guess that’s ironic, considering that I used to be Astron’s track coach. We’re going to be better next season. I promise.”

As it turned out, Team Galactic would not need to defend their mantle as “Preseason Champions”. Coach Black Hole submitted a hosting bid for the team shortly after the end of the 2019 Marble League, unbeknownst to the team’s members, and Team Galactic was announced as the host for the 2020 Marble League at the end of the Marble League Showdown on 13 September 2019.

The team thought it was a joke at first, but was ecstatic to hear confirmation from their coach that it was true. Astron did not even know of the teaser image that was posted months before the official announcement, as they were on a special mission commissioned by the Galactic National Space Center to visit the International Space Marble orbiting around Marblearth. Astron returned to Marblearth three days later, celebrating their second space adventure along with the hosting announcement with their teammates. They, notably, were the first marble athlete to ever visit outer space.

The image announcing Team Galactic as hosts for the 2020 Marble League.

A few months later, Black Hole received an official letter from the JMRC, inviting the team to compete in the first season of Marbula One. Team Galactic accepted and submitted Starry, “Ursa Superior” and Pulsar, “Cosmic Ray” to compete in the tournament. The team’s reveal poster was designed in cooperation with the Galakonur National Space Center to be as scientifically accurate as possible, depicting the marbles blasting off into the unknown, and was released on 03 November 2019.

The promotional poster for Team Galactic in Marbula One Season 1, designed by Jack Ironhide.

“Starry is one of the most important marble athletes,” Coach Black Hole stated. “Pulsar has done well in many of the qualifying events, tying Smoggy for first in the Underwater Race earlier this year. They also placed fourth in the main tournament’s Summer Biathlon, and further want to prove their worth in Marbula One!”

As it turned out, both racers were able to do just that. Starry debuted in Marbula One at the Savage Speedway GP Qualifiers on 15 February 2020, where they qualified in second with a time of 28.37 seconds. They were in the lead for more than half of the race, only falling behind from the second lap to the fifth lap—but it did not matter. Starry won the first gold medal in Marbula One history.

A triumphant moment that served as the perfect liftoff to Galactic’s M1 season.

“I have been training for a moment like this my whole life,” Starry said as they came off the track, tears of joy flooding their eyes. “Thank you, everyone, for giving me an opportunity like this.”

Pulsar began their Marbula One career less triumphantly at the O’raceway GP on 22 February 2020, qualifying and finishing the race in twelfth. Team Galactic fell to fourth overall in the team standings, where they remained for the next race as Starry qualified in fifth and finished in seventh at the Momotorway GP. The fourth Grand Prix at the Hivedrive fared much better for Pulsar, who won the race after qualifying in ninth. The “Cosmic Ray” had raced like the speed of light, and it paid off.

Although Starry did not qualify well for Greenstone, they finished the race in eighth, adding four points to their team’s total to trail the Hazers by just one point. Pulsar did not qualify well for either the Short Circuit or the Razzway but was able to finish the latter GP in eighth. The team became one of four teams able to win Marbula One heading into the final Grand Prix at the Midnight Bay Circuit, but Starry did not qualify well and they finished in fifteenth. Team Galactic finished the first season of Marbula One in fifth place overall, with strong performances in the first half of the season proving the potential of the team.

Team Galactic was the only team to have both of its racers win a race during Season 1, with Pulsar ascending to the top of the podium following the Hivedrive GP.

To the Stars and Beyond

an addendum by The Emperor

As the hosts of the 2020 Marble League, Team Galactic prequalified and competed in the Friendly Round. Finishing in each position once, they ended up in second place. They lit the torch in the Andromedome on 21 June 2020, beginning the tournament with high hopes.

It seemed as if Team Galactic was experiencing the alleged host’s curse at the start of the season when they placed fifteenth in Balancing, but as it turned out from their Halfpipe performance, they would encounter a unique type of curse: fifth place. While fans were ecstatic to see the team rebound after a poor start, they would begin to grow weary of Team Galactic’s tendency to place fifth after the third time. Of course, they would eventually place fifth three more times.

Besides their fifth-place result in the Halfpipe, Team Galactic had yet to score well in the top half…until the Newton’s Cradle event. Starry and Pulsar, a breakout duo from their successes in Marbula One, put on another dazzling performance, and while it was not a gold medal, it was something that their team needed desperately. As Starry coasted down the track, they built up energy and rammed into the cradle, ricocheting straight back as Pulsar skipped across the track. The duo was the first to exceed 100 centimeters, and with a score of 106.55, became the team to beat as the event rolled on. 

“I’m definitely a little upset that we didn’t get a gold, but I like to look at the bigger picture, and we have just taken the first step towards changing our fate.” Pulsar said in an interview after the event.

As Team Galactic continued to place in the upper middle of the standings, it was clear that they would break the “host’s curse” that seemed to plague the Oceanics, but they weren’t medaling, either. Following a seventh-place finish from Cosmo in the Long Jump, Team Galactic went on a streak of their now infamous fifth-place finishes, placing in fifth in three consecutive events. Pulsar was especially stung by this, missing out on moving to the Triathlon finals by one-hundredth of a second. With another chain of back-to-back fifth-place finishes in the Black Hole Funnel and the Relay Race, Team Galactic was sitting in the middle of the pack again entering the final four events. Quasar, the reserve, managed to get a very respectable fourth-place finish in the High Jump, besting most of the field. 

“It was a great moment in my career, that’s for sure. I could see the rest of the team cheering me on from the stands, and it just gave me the extra confidence that I needed to pull through!” Quasar remarked after the event.

Following that, Team Galactic would lose in another close finish in the Aquathlon to Team Momo, a team that, according to Astron, was “really starting to pull the best out of us; edging us on like true rivals.” The team was eliminated from championship contention following the Aquathlon. 

After being knocked out in the heats in Collision, the team turned their eyes to Starry for the final event; the Marathon. Despite qualifying poorly, and falling to last place early on, Starry managed to claw back places lap after lap, and by the time the final lap came around, Starry had climbed up to fourth place. Team Galactic would finish the league in seventh, tying the Hazers in points, but losing out to them in terms of medal count.

Team Galactic at the conclusion of the 2020 Marble League.

Heading into the offseason, the team returned to Galakonur. The overwhelming support from their fans, as well as the city’s inhabitants, really motivated the team.

Photo Taken by CMM Photographer, Baron.

“As popular as they are, I sometimes feel like they don’t get enough credit for their work. They’re pretty consistently middle of the pack but I never worry about them being able to qualify for races or the Marble League because they’re pretty amazing at that. Still, a bit frustrating they’ve yet to podium in any ML but I love them regardless.” ArtsyCipherer, a longtime Team Galactic fan, remarked at a Q&A hosted by the team in Galaknour. During this Q&A session, Cosmo announced that the team would be hosting a reunion with the Stardust Classic teams. 

“Had it not been for the Classic, chances are we might not have made it to the Marble League! And now to have hosted one? It’s been a real blast, and we want to share it all with you!” Cosmo said. With the renovations that had been done to the Andromedome prior to the league, the stadium was in perfect condition to host a Stardust Classic reunion. Some of the prominent teams included the Asteroids, Solar Flares, Purple Rockets, Stargazers, and Supernovas, who all accepted graciously, whereas some teams, like the Tubular Terrestrials, were busy in other leagues. The tournament was held in the Andromedome shortly after the conclusion of the Marble League. 

The eight teams participating in the Stardust Classic Reunion, designed by Phantasm: (From left to right) Team Galactic, Supernovas, Blood Moons, Purple Rockets, Crazy Comets, Stargazers, Asteroids, Solar Flares.

Team Galactic opened the reunion with a fourth-place finish in Block Pushing, with the gold medal going to the Stargazers, a team hailing from SuperJackJack’s Marble Games, a youth competition near Bermenghank. Astron and Pulsar were selected to run for the team in the Black Hole Funnel, of which they placed in third and earned their first medal of the tournament. The gold medal would go to Orbit and Sulfur from the Purple Rockets, a team hailing from the nearby Sheetersburg, and that competed in The Emperor’s Marble Sports Games. Team Galactic would turn on the afterburners in the next event though, as Cosmo won gold in the Sand Rally. Starry followed this up with a masterful ten-second victory at the Starlit Speedway Grand Prix, and Team Galactic would end up winning the Stardust Classic Reunion.

The Stardust Classic Reunion standings, designed by Laurent Rollon!

“Wowie! We won something! We’re on the podium!” Quasar exclaimed jubilantly during the awards ceremony.

A few months after the reunion, Team Galactic received an invitation for Marbula One Season 2. Coach Black Hole wasted no time in selecting the dynamic duo from Season 1, Starry and Pulsar, to compete in the second season.

“We’re ready to rock and roll!” Pulsar said before the Minty Mania GP Qualifiers. “Well, okay, maybe just roll.” Sadly, Team Galactic did not get off to the start they envisioned in Season 2. Following Minty Mania and the O’raceway, they were one of four scoreless teams. 

In a press conference after the race, Black Hole remarked, “I feel like I didn’t train them hard enough. We had been flying high after the Marble League, and I should have brought them down to Marblearth sooner.” 

After another poor qualifying at the Honeydome, Starry was visibly upset before the race and had to be calmed down by the Honeydome referees. Black Hole pulled Starry aside for a pep talk. The results were visible. Starry rose into the top half early on and slowly chipped away at the lead, ultimately finishing in second, propelling the team to eighth in the standings.

Starry took the podium to earn Galactic’s first points of the season at the Honeydome GP.

“No words can express how happy I am! What an exhilarating race and thank you, everyone!” Starry exclaimed with tears of joy following the race. 

Pulsar managed to qualify well again at the Aquamaring, and early in the race held the lead. They could not hold onto it, however, and fell to seventh. After another poor qualifying at Tumult Turnpike, Starry managed to claw up into the contenders for the lead once again. With one turn to go, it appeared that Starry would finish the race in fourth. But, as is tradition with the team, with an excellent divebomb to the inside, Mallard stole fourth, with Starry placing fifth plus the fastest lap, in the fifth race of the season, propelling Starry to fifth in the individual championship. 

“Well, it was….a little bit infuriating,” Starry said. “But we’ve got to make the best of what we can, and I’ll take another top-five finish.” 

Pulsar rounded out the first half with another thirteenth, meaning Team Galactic sat in seventh at the end of the halfway point. 

Skyfall, another Team Galactic fan, reflected on the team’s standing following the Arctic Circuit: “I generally tend to be a pretty optimistic fan and consider anything above eighth to be a good race. Think about it, we’re supposed to be competing against sixteen to twenty of the best marble teams in the world, so placing eighth or better consistently among them is pretty spectacular.” 

During the break, Black Hole received an invite to the Marble League Winter Special. “I was a bit hesitant to accept,” they remarked. “I feel like we need to focus on training for Marbula One. Something’s got to click. We’re doing well, but there isn’t a lot of chemistry between the duo. On the other hand, there are bound to be team events, which could serve as the teambuilding we need to strengthen the chemistry between Starry and Pulsar.” 

After accepting the invite, they traveled to the Himarblelaya Mountains in a private jet that belonged to Atlas, the Chief Architect of the Andromedome. There was a rumor going around that Black Hole was considering Atlas as a manager for the team. That rumor was proven true before the Ice Dash when Black Hole announced to the team that Atlas would be joining them.

“I’m thrilled that Atlas is joining us!” Quasar said after the reveal. “I feel like Coach has been so stressed with coaching us, managing the finances, organizing events, et cetera. I’m glad Atlas will be on board to help us out!” To start off the Winter Special, Starry got things rolling with an eighth-place finish in the Ice Dash. Astron followed this up by placing fourth in the Snowboard Cross, one of the best finishes of their career.

“I’m shocked! Flabbergasted! That was insane!” Astron said after the event. “Knocking out both the O’rangers and Savage Speeders in the same heat is no easy task!” they exclaimed with a laugh. “I’m thankful for all my teammates, coach, and our new manager, Atlas, for helping me get here.” Sadly, Cosmo could not keep the momentum going, and placed dead last in Speed Skating. The team could not rebound in Bobsled, an event that they had placed second in last time, only managed to muster a ninth-place finish here.

“We need something to click in Ice Hockey,” Black Hole said, just before the event. “Quasar was a great goalie last time; now we need some solid offense from the main team. I’m hoping we can wake up here, and end the season with a bang.” Team Galactic managed to knock out their newfound rivals, Team Momo, in the round of 16, and narrowly slipped by the Hazers in the quarter-finals. They would face the Savage Speeders in the semi-finals. After taking it to double-overtime, the team could not muster the final push and lost to the Speeders. 

“We were exhausted,” Cosmo said after the event. “We went through a double-overtime, and then lined right back up in the gate to face the O’rangers, of all teams.” The team finished with another fourth-place finish and ended the season in tenth place.

“It’s not the statement I wanted to make as a manager, but we’re looking for a rebound in Marbula One,” Atlas commented after the closing ceremony.

After flying back to Galakonur, the team went straight back to training. With Atlas taking over managerial duties, Black Hole had more time on their agenda to train. The team took a small road trip to the Startop Mountain range.

Pulsar relaxes, taking in a cliffside view overlooking the Startop Mountain Range. (Photo Credit: Phoenix)

There was a small village perched atop the Peak of the Cosmos, in which Black Hole trained the team hard. There was a nightly campfire, and Black Hole remarked, “It really helped our teamwork and bonding. The team has been very stressed after an array of events, I figured this was the best way to train them while also getting some enjoyment out of them.”

After returning to Galaknour, the team took a long flight to Lewara, with Pulsar ready to go for the Raceforest GP. Despite another poor qualifying, Pulsar managed to gain a tremendous number of spots, and at one point held the fastest lap. Pulsar finished the race in fourth, just missing the podium. 

Cosmo and Astron in Lewara, outside the Raceforest, captured by The Emperor.

“I felt like I had let my team down in the first half of the season. Starry always had my back and I was struggling to do the same for them. I aim to change that from here on out,” Pulsar said after the Grand Prix.

Starry followed this up with an eleventh place finish at the Momotorway GP, which sent Team Galactic into the spot of infamy; the ethereal fifth place. 

Meme created by The Emperor.

At Palette Park, Pulsar managed to qualify third for the third time this season. But, as had been the case in the other two races Pulsar qualified third, they fell down and got mired in the middle of the pack, and finished twelfth. 

After the race, Pulsar remarked: “I don’t really want to talk about it. It was rough, but I’m glad I still scored.”

The next stop on the Marbula One agenda was Misty Mountain, where Starry looked to set the ship sailing in the right direction. After another poor qualifying, Starry managed to climb to fifth in the race before the red flag. Starry would hold on to fourth in the end and fall just short of the podium. Team Galactic rose to eighth in the standings following the race.

“What a climb,” Starry said after the race. “I know a lot of people were skeptical of my qualifying run, and that run-in with Clementin, but I hope my performance in the race can speak louder than that.”

Starry would be chosen to run again at the next race; the Savage Speedway, the track that Starry had won the year before. And Starry would deliver once again, with another medal at the track, this time a silver.

“It was thrilling!” Starry said crying tears of joy after the race. “Words cannot express how thankful I am to my family; my team, for supporting me and helping me get on the podium once again. Reach for the stars!”

Team Galactic rose to sixth in the overall standings after the penultimate race and set their eyes on an overall podium. The rest was up to Pulsar, who was chosen to represent the team at the finale; Midnight Bay.

“I think it was the right call,” Atlas said after the event. “Pulsar may not have experience in a finale yet, but I see no better time to give them a shot! The championship was already decided, so we wouldn’t lose anything from it anyway!”

Atlas’s statement would be proven false at Midnight Bay. Team Galactic lost their streak of never placing last in a Marbula One race, as Pulsar finished well off the pace of the rest of the field. Pulsar left the track in a hurry afterward and didn’t comment on the race. 

“We just need to give them some time, that’s all.” Black Hole said after the race. “Pulsar’s a great athlete. Deep down I think they still know that. Every marble has off days, this was one of theirs. Plus, we’ve seen that this track doesn’t play to our strengths before, so hopefully, they’ll come around soon.”

Team Galactic would finish the season out in seventh place, with Starry just missing the racer’s podium in fourth. The team had two silver medals and one fastest lap.

“I just don’t think I’m suited for Marbula One.” Pulsar said. “Yeah, sure I had an off day, as Coach said. But I seem to be having a lot of those…”

The team returned to Galakonur a little bit downhearted but were determined to bounce back in the Marble League 2021 Qualifiers.

“We’ve always been a strong team in the qualifiers.” Pulsar said. “We’re yet to qualify below fifth place in any Marble League Qualifier yet. Let’s keep that streak alive.”

“Yeah!” Quasar said, echoing their sibling’s sentiments. “I feel like the odds are in our favor here. We’re in our preferred group, with only three other teams that qualified in Marble League 2020, along with the events favoring our strong suits!” 

The team spent a lot of days and nights training in and out of the Andromedome, which, after the conclusion of the Stardust Classic reunion, was remodeled once again to house Team Galactic’s Marbula One Track; Starlit Speedway.

The Starlit Speedway, Team Galactic’s proposed track for Marbula One.

“We entered this competition as four friends looking for a chance to prove our worth. We’re going to do that, and win the Marble League this year.” Cosmo said.

The team would select Cosmo to compete in the Marble League Practice Race, a Sand Rally taking place in Felynia. Cosmo crossed the line in a respectable sixteenth. When the Marble League 2021 Practice Race concluded, it was announced that the Solar Flares, a former Stardust Classic team, would be joining the Marble League.

“This will be amazing!” Starry said after the announcement. “We go waaaaay back with the Solar Flares, in fact, they’re quite close friends with us. I’m so happy that they’re going to be competing with us in the 2021 qualifiers!”

“Yeah, we used to go on astronomy trips together at night after training.” Cosmo reminisced. “Ah, I miss those days. It’ll be great having the team back with us!”

Royal Stardust made a comment on the Solar Flares, too. “It’s great to see more of the Classic teams getting time in the spotlight. I’m sure the Solar Flares will do well in the Marble League.”

The team would book their hotel room to be directly across from the Solar Flares, and they spent a lot of nights training for the Marble League together. 

“It’s great to have more teammates to train with!” Pulsar said. “We’ll be rooting for the Flares in this Marble League, and hopefully we can take those top two spots!”

Team Galactic at a press conference discussing the Solar Flares, depicted by Laurent Rollon!

In RetRollSpective, Team Galactic has come a long way since its inception in the 2016 Marble League. Starry’s three gold medals have made them one of the most celebrated marble athletes, as has the team’s everlasting consistency, proving that Galactic has astronomical potential. Best of luck to Team Galactic in the future, keep on rolling!

Special thanks to Novawolf for helping craft the lore for Team Galactic and designing the Starlit Speedway, Phantasm_Agaric for supplying graphics for the Stardust Classic Reunion, and Laurent Rollon for the Press Conference and Stardust Classic Reunion Standings!

Cosmo enjoying a sunset, captured by SuperJackJack.

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