Dance the Light Fantastic
by Lee Hallison
Despite the static glare of the vid-screen, the station's com-room was gloomy and dank. I hated coming here to talk to my brother, but he insisted on our weekly chats. Weekly nagging, to tell the truth.
"Please don't!" Static blurred his face. I nodded, not intending to comply. Winning the zero-gee medal meant everything to me. If doping got me there, then I'd suck the damn stuff down no matter what Daveed thought. I distracted him with a story about last night's dinner and signed off as soon as I could.
He'd loved my first routine, and we both thought it had a fighting chance. But then I watched Dani's simulation of her latest choreography--an utterly beautiful air dance that played to my strengths. At the center? An impossible move.
I tried it clean, but my brain objected to the contortion. I spun out repeatedly. Dani said the drug quieted both the fear and balance center. It took users to a "new plane," she said, where one could follow projected visuals into seemingly impossible turns.
Doping no longer was illegal--the world had decided to level the playing field and as long as you disclosed, you could pump up muscles with drugs or speed your metabolism with special diets. Not even the newer psychotropic drugs were banned. Instead, the World Council spent tons on "educating" us about the significantly high risk. Dancers and air swimmers were among those most intrigued. Before we could even travel to the competition station, we had to watch plenty of council-created vids of competitors drooling and spasming as they tried to walk.