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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Mysterious Champion: A Science Fiction Story

The Mysterious Champion: A Science Fiction Story
Quite a few people at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games thought there was something rather strange about Edward Skyborn. For one thing, he had a long, thin neck.  For  another thing, he never ate any of the food served up at the Olympic Village, but always ate meals consisting of a bunch of little tablets. Then there was the fact that he had somehow qualified for 10 different events, four in swimming, and six in track and field, even though no one had heard of him up until a few months ago. Also there was the fact that he said almost nothing, and talked with some strange accent when he did talk.  No one was expecting much from such an oddball. In each case when he had tried out for the US team, he had just barely qualified.

It was quite a surprise when Skyborn made the 100 meter freestyle final. In the final he finished in 42.25 seconds, knocking more than four seconds off the world record.  Skyborn showed no emotion upon finishing, and did not seem the least bit surprised when he won.

The audience gasped, and the TV announcers talked up a storm. This was unheard of. When people broke records such as the 100 meter freestyle or the 100 meter dash, it was always by very small amounts, never by an amount such as 10%.

Skyborn instantly became the talk of the Olympics. He competed in three other swimming events, in each case winning the gold metal, and in each case setting new world records. All of the new world records were about 10% faster than the previous world records.

The reporters besieged Skyborn, who refused to talk to them, always saying, “I can't talk now.” Some of the frustrated reporters began to check into Skyborn's background, trying to get any information about the new athletic sensation.

Some TV commentators suggested that surely Skyborn would not pass the drug testing that was being done at the Olympics. The only explanation for his incredible success, they suggested, was that he must be using some type of banned substance, perhaps a performance enhancing steroid.

Skyborn's first track event at the Paris stadium was the 100 meters sprint. He reached the final, but without making a very fast time. When the athletes lined up for the final, it seemed like anything was possible.

The gun went off, and a Jamaican athlete took the lead, after getting an explosive start. But then Edward Skyborn started to accelerate, and produced a burst of speed like no one had ever seen before. By the time he finished, he was about 10 meters ahead of all the other runners.  Skyborn finished with a time of 8.8 seconds, knocking a full second off of the record.

After he finished, Skyborn showed no emotion, and calmly took a victory lap around the stadium. The media sensation intensified. Reporters began to say that Skyborn was quite the mystery man. No one could find anyone who had known him prior to a few months ago.

Skyborn then competed in 4 other track and field events, winning each of them by a wide margin, and setting world records for each event, in all cases knocking about 10% off the existing world record.

At the laboratory which analyzed drug tests for the Olympic athletes, particular attention was being paid to the urine and blood samples taken from Edward Skyborn.

“Can you find any banned substances?” asked the supervisor of one of the lab technicians.

“No, I can't,” answered a technician. “But I found something very strange in his blood sample. It's the number of red blood cells. The count is much higher than normal. Plus the red blood cells themselves look larger than normal.”

“Check it out further,” requested the supervisor.

There was one last event for Skyborn: the Marathon. When the event began, the TV reporters were confounded. Skyborn wasn't running; he was walking. But he walked so fast he went faster than any other runner.

In well under 2 hours (another world record, by a large margin) Skyborn completed the Marathon to win his tenth gold medal. After winning, he walked a victory lap in the same speedy walk that had won the race.

On the day of the Olympic closing ceremonies, controversy raged around Skyborn. Word had gotten out that there was something incredibly strange about his blood test. Some reporters had found out that some of the information on his forms was fake. The people Skyborn had listed as his parents apparently never existed.

The closing ceremonies were held at night. At the climax of the ceremonies, a heart-stopping event occurred. A strange luminescent disk appeared over the stadium, hovering silently at a height of 100 meters. The disk slowly lowered in altitude, until it landed in the middle of the stadium.

UFO over stadium

Skyborn approached the disk, and climbed on to the top of it, as if he knew exactly what he was doing. He grabbed some unit on the disk, which was some kind of microphone.

“It was fun being in your Olympics, but it was not fair for me to participate,” said Skyborn, throwing his ten gold medals to the ground. “So let all my gold medals be given to the silver medalists. And let their silver medals be given to the bronze medalists. And let their bronze medals be given to those who came in fourth place.”

Skyborn entered into the shining disk, and then it slowly, silently rose up higher and higher into the air, until it disappeared from sight.

And that was the last anyone on planet Earth ever saw of Edward Skyborn.