Born to Play
Jackie Jackson loved his new home. It fit him like one of the thirty pair of handmade shoes stored in his bedroom closet. Jackie had spent hundreds of hours over eighteen months with designers, architects and contractors converting a twenty acre piece of Florida swamp into the perfect home and retreat.The total cost, two hundred forty million dollars and that didn’t include the thirty million dollars to eradicate every gnat, mosquito and flying insect within a hundred square miles. For the first time in his adult life Jackie did not have to bend over to walk through a door, he could stand up straight indoors and sit on a toilet that wasn’t painful for him. Jackie was special. Jackie was a wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins of the U.S. National Football League and, in most of the world, it just did not get more special than that. He was very rich, famous and very, very talented. However, it was all overshadowed by his love of the game and he truly believed that football was what he was born to do. He was right.
Twenty-two years earlier, Jackie’s parents, working with their own group of designers and architects, produced the greatest wide receiver to ever play the game. They invested every cent they had and borrowed more to pay for the procedure. It was an investment that would insure the future for them and their children for generations. But, what if he didn’t want to play football?
“Quite right,” said one of the architects, hurriedly displaying a holographic genetic strand. “Do you see these three genomes? If we eliminate this one, duplicate these two and insert them here,” he pointed to another location in the strand, “and here, we will make the corresponding genes virtually a basic instinct. They will control the mental and physical aspects. You, however, must guide him to the game.” It was that simple, and with a little parental manipulation, Jackie grew up with a passion for football that was at the very root of his soul. At eight years old, he entered his first youth football program, sponsored by several community organizations. Private high school coaches from all over the U.S. began scouting him by the time he was twelve. By thirteen, his father negotiated a high school football scholarship at Boise Christian that included academic and financial assistance. After three years of high school, Jackie and his father selected Stanford University and a 2.5 million dollar a year contract. Jackie played college ball for two more years and entered the USNFL as the youngest player ever, at age eighteen. His first contract with Miami was for one year and one hundred million dollars, at that time the highest ever paid a rookie. The contract was modified and extended for two additional years and until today, actually until three o’clock this afternoon, his contract with the Dolphins had paid him two hundred million dollars a year… That was until today.
Jackie exited his home into a very warm summer evening. He carried a glass that contained a half gallon of Iced tea, that in his hand looked like a standard fourteen ounce tumbler. As he sat in his favorite pool side chair he said, “H.V. sports related news.” Instantly a life sized, apparently solid, holographic news set materialized above the water’s surface. A beautiful young woman entered the set, sat at the desk and looked directly into his eyes.
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“Good evening, I’m Wendy Michaels and this is Custom News for July 23, 2059.
In our top story tonight David Jackson, father and manager of Jackie “The Flash” Jackson announced that contract talks are complete with the Miami Dolphins. The team and Jackson have agreed to a five year guaranteed 6.2 billion dollar contract. The senior Jackson said that with bonuses and incentives the contract could be worth as much as…”
“Next story Wendy,” interrupted Jackie.
“Certainly.” without pause she continued, “Former Seattle linebacker Jason Cause was found this morning dead of apparent suicide. Seattle police confirmed that no foul play is suspected. This is the sixth suicide of retired genetically enhanced athletes this year alone. A spokesman for the USNFL said ‘We are saddened by the loss of this great player. We at the USNFL are very concerned about the well being of our former players and if there is an issue we hope a solution is found quickly.’
“Custom News Services contacted Family Planning Through Genetics, Inc. for comment. The corporation has been the leader in genetic enhancement technology for the past twenty years. They declined an interview, however, and issued the following written statement. ‘Genetic enhancement is a safe and increasingly vital procedure within today’s society. The enhancement and development of athletes is only a small part of our services. We consider the elimination of diseases like cancer, heart and kidney disease and numerous other illnesses to be our primary products. The designers and architects at Family Planning Through Genetics, are dedicated to the betterment of humanity and improving the human condition.’
“In our next story, Major League Baseball’s All Star Celebration and Game opened today in Tokyo. The week-long event began with the traditional March of Champions that features all living members of the World Baseball Hall of Fame …”