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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #1971623
Discrimination is like energy. It cannot be made or destroyed, but it can change forms.
Simon cocked his right foot to the side the instant he hit the snow. Sliding for a little bit, he pivoted his body and came to a stop before crouching to unbuckle his ski boots. He stepped out of his skis and scooped them up before plodding over to his coach.

"Couple meters short there, Sims," his coach said. "We'll have to review the recording, but I think your jump was a little late."

Simon cocked an eyebrow. "I felt like I had the distance. How far did I go out?"

"About 130 meters. I know Bergis is a tough hill, but that distance isn't going to be enough for you to get on the podium. You might not have noticed, but the field this year is deeper than ever, even with the newbies."

"What do you mean?"

"Just watch."

Simon turned to face the ramp and watched a slim figure in a blue jumpsuit slide along the bar. When a hill official raised the green flag, the jumper lifted off the bar and began sliding down the in-run. Simon kept his eye on the jumper, who hung in the air for what seemed like forever before executing the ever familiar telemark landing with ease.

"Who is that?" Simon asked.

"Name is Greg Koch, who actually lives and trains here in Innsbruck. With a 134 meter jump, he's making a very bold statement prior to the tournament."

Simon rolled his eyes. "You can't be serious. It's just qualifications. We know that doesn't mean jack."

His coach fixed him with a steely look. "Don't be so sure, Simon. Greg was pulled from the Continental Cup pool right after his 16th birthday by Pointer. If he jumps like that in competition, you better get used to having him around."

Just as Simon was about to retort, Greg ambled over with his skis. He lifted up his mask and shifted it to rest on his helmet. With a small grin not quite reaching verdant cheekbones, he waved at Simon before wandering off to one of the booths. Simon half raised his hand and blinked before realizing Greg had already left. Lowering his hand, he found himself with a startling thought.

"Have you seen his face?" Simon asked.

"What do you mean? He has two eyes, a nose and a mouth that isn't gaping open on every jump. That is the stupidest damned maneuver I've ever seen, and after 200 plus years of ski jumping you'd think jumpers would realize that it doesn't provide any advantage."

Simon sighed. "It's not that. It's just...maybe I imagined it, but..."

"But what?"

"His face looked a little green."

At that, his coach nodded. "Probably an Imperfect, then. I'd heard rumors about it, but I hadn't given it much thought. I figured maybe he had a lot of olive skin tones in his family or something."


"Enough chatter. Let's go take a look at the recording before your next jump."

With that, the two men walked away from out-run, where another young man with a face the color of pistachios hit the snow with aplomb.

After viewing the rather lackluster jump, Simon grabbed his skis and headed back to the top of the in-run. While waiting in the prep room, he spotted Greg staring out the window where the sunlight still trickled into the room. Shaking his head, Simon cracked his neck while waiting to take his second jump. As he waited, he noted the other jumpers with him. Two were Perfect Greens, their faces uniform washes of chlorophyll-infused melanin. They stood in the sunlight but stayed a fair distance from the glass. Simon wished the Ski Federation would ban them from competition, as they didn't need to eat and could maintain minimum weight requirements with little effort. At least Imperfects had to eat something to supplement their sunbathing.

"Hey, Simon! You're up!"

Simon jerked his head and found an official glaring at him. With a frown, he snatched his helmet and headed to the in-run. After fastening his boots and helmet, he positioned himself on the bar. Taking a few moments to adjust his mask, Simon waited. The wind swirled around, unable to settle on one steady direction, prompting the official to delay his jump. He sighed just as the flag went up. Simon hoisted himself up and began his run. He jumped shortly before reaching the end of the ramp and went airborne. He twitched his fingers searching for a headwind that would give him even an extra half meter while keeping an eye out for the critical point. He passed it and touched down four meters ahead, his telemark landing swinging out a little too much. Swerving in the outrun, he huffed before unbuckling his boots.

Once out of the out-run, Simon sidled up to his coach. His coach said nothing but signaled for Simon to watch Greg take his second jump. He looked on and watched Greg time the leap off the in run with ruler-like precision before lifting his hands into the wind. Greg soared well past the critical point before executing a conservative but solid landing.

"Your 132 versus his 135," his coach muttered. "What do you have to say to that?"

"Goddamn Greens," Simon growled before heading back to the chalet to change.

He was going to have a word with someone about these abominations. To him, chlorophyll was the worst performance enhancing drug ever invented.
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