Friday, April 2, 2010

Pure Sport

A response to Greg Bear's "Blood Music", a novel about bio-engineered cells that spread like a plague through people, and Dean Whitlock's "Nanosferatu", a short story about a nanomachine medicine that acts like the fountain of youth.

Blake threw the alternate identity papers against the table. The glossy paper slid on the varnished table. "I can't do this," said Blake.

"You don't have a choice," said Ringley, Blake's agent, as he paced below the display shelves filled with Blake's MVP plaques and championship trophies. Ringley was well-built, a statuesque face and sculptured muscles that dwarfed Blake's own.

"Look at me, do I look like I've been gene-augmented? I've never failed the gene tests previously. It's got to be a, what do they call it?"

"False positive."

"Yeah, false positive. Get them to rerun the test."

"I'll do that, but it's not going to work."

"Why not?"

"Because, we enhanced you post-birth before they took the initial DNA specimen. We made the enhancements subtle so you would have an advantage but it wouldn't be obvious."

Blake's chair fell over as Blake leaped to grab Ringley's shirt and he strained to slam Ringley against the wall. Ringley braced himself and his body didn't budge. The top of Blake's head was lower than Ringley's chin. Blake let go of Ringley's shirt and his shoulders deflated. "Why?"

"The un-augmented league has pure games where there is a real challenge." Blake found it hard to believe that Ringley had done it for the game. More likely Ringley had seen the profit he could earn from Blake. "The augmented leagues are full of a gene war where anyone with some money can win and all the players lack intelligence."

Blake sat down again and picked up the papers. "If I become this," he shuffled through the paper, "Joshua, what am I going to do? All I know is how to play the game."

"You could play in the augmented league?"

"Look at me, gene therapy would take years to get my body in shape."

"You've got years, kid. I'll play up the false positive, but they're going to insist on a retrial and eventually you'll be out. This is a good option. Think on it."

The door slammed leaving Blake alone with a room full of awards that an hour ago had meant everything to him but now were nothing but a cheat.

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