Hello.

This is a story I had to write for english class, and also a test to see how FictionPress works... Oh well.

Sorry if the paragraphs seem a little weird-looking. This document system doesn't like me that much... yet...

If you don't know what gene-doping is, it's like atheletes taking steroids, except these steroids permanently change your DNA.

Yeah, pretty intense stuff... Thanks for reading!

~FF15


Elyse Huberstein: A Story of Gene-Doping

By FrostFire15

The courtroom was too hot, too crowded, and my hands were already sweating.

"Relax," My mom muttered in my ear. "Everything will turn out alright."

I couldn't help but feel nervous. Why was this happening to me?

"Elyse?" One of my team members, Anne, came out of nowhere from the throng of people trickling their way into the courtroom, and sat next to me. "I'm so glad you're here."

Relieved, I grinned. "I'm glad you're here too. I couldn't see anyone else from the team..."

"You mean 'the team' as in us, the players, not the coach, right?" She scowled and pointed over to the front of the room. "I can see Coach Juliard right over there."

I craned my neck, and saw his familiar, short brown hair. He was facing away from Anne and I, something I was glad of. "Am I the only one asked to testify?" I muttered.

"From what it seems-" Suddenly, she was cut off by the deputy.

"All stand." He said shortly, and the entire congregation of people rose silently, an occasional cough echoing from the pack.

Another man walked out from a door in the back, a black robe on his shoulders. His eyes were piercingly gray, and I couldn't help but feel a little intimidated.

"Please, be seated." He gave a slight nod, and there was scuffling and shuffling as we sat back down.

"George Juliard." My former coach stood, his chest out. I felt a little surprised at how he could stand so proudly after what he's done.

The deputy cleared his throat. "Are you Georges Juliard?"

"Yes." He said lowly, and I strained to hear his voice.

"What is your date of birth?"

"April 7th, 1958."

"Mr. Juliard, you are before this Court for giving a performance-enhancing gene drug called Reproxygen to underage runners through a black-market, a charge you plead not guilty."

Coach Juliard made no motion to agree or disagree; he simply stood there, unmoving and unemotional.

The deputy nodded. "You may be seated."

Small mutters broke out in the crowd. Anna leaned over towards my ear. "I hope he goes to jail."

I nodded, and gave her a sympathetic look.

The prosecutor jumped up from his seat, and bounced over to the front of the court, his blond hair combed neatly. "Ladies and Gentlemen of the court, I intend to show that George Juliard did in fact give genetic-enhancing drugs to his innocent high-school athletes. Juliard is guilty of this crime."

The judge inclined his head to the prosecutor, and turned to face Coach Juliard's lawyer. "Defense, you may open."

"Your honor, ladies and gentlemen, I aim to prove that Coach George Juliard was, in fact, giving these drugs for the betterment of the athletes' health."

The defense lawyer was another man with a solemn, yet convincing face. His eyes swept the room and settled on mine. I shivered, despite the ridiculously hot temperature.

"The prosecutor may call his first witness." The judge grunted.
"Thank you. We would like to call up Dr. Baptiste Ferdinand."

A balding man stepped out of his seat and walked towards the bench. The doctor raised his right hand.

"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" the deputy questioned him.

"I do." He nodded.

"Good." The prosecutor paced in front of the doctor. "Dr. Ferdinand, please tell us all you know about Reproxygen."

Dr. Ferdinand cleared his throat. "I am a scientist at Oxford Biomedica. There, we were creating a genetic therapy drug used to fight anemia. Reproxygen would increase the number of red-blood cells when numbers fell low, therefore giving more oxygen to the muscles. The gene would help make more erythropoientin, a hormone that increases red blood cell levels." He shifted his glasses as they fell from his nose. "The gene has a 'built-in' gauge that notices when red blood cell counts have fallen below the healthy level. It helps create more red-blood cells, and stops when there's enough." ("German Coach Suspected")

"And are there side-effects or risks to this drug?" The blond prosecutor asked.

The doctor nodded. "It's a very advanced drug, and dangerous to mess up. We have only tested this drug on mice, so there's no idea of what could've happened if tried on a human. Most of the tests showed not results. A few were bad, and even fewer were good. But the ones that turned out bad had horrible results." He ran his fingers through his thinning hair, as though he was troubled. "The gene would not stop making more red blood cells. The blood was too thick, and the mice died."

There was a gap in his speech, letting the words sink into the courthouse. I turned my head and met Anna's eyes. I knew she was thinking what just occurred to me. That could've been us.

"Did you ever end up selling this drug, Dr. Ferdinand?" The prosecutor said softly.

"No," He shook his head, "We didn't think it would sell. There were already other ways to get more red-blood cells." ("Fears that Gene")

"Thank you, Dr. Ferdinand." The prosecutor backed away, while the judged turned towards the defence intently. "Questions?"

"Yes," The defence jumped up. "Dr. Ferdinand, if this drug was never sold, how did it get into the black market?"

"We... don't know." The doctor stammered, clearly nervous by this sudden twist. "Reproxygen is in our storage, with security. The black market's Reproxygen is only a copy, making it even more dangerously unpredictable."

"I have no more questions." The defense muttered, and the Doctor went back to his seat.

"I would like to call another witness." The prosecutor said. "One of Mr. Juliard's athletes, Ms. Elyse Huberstein."
I gulped and gave Anna a panicked look. I'm going to be called up already?! She shrugged as if she knew what I was thinking and gave me a little nudge with her elbow, encouraging me to go forward.

I stood and dragged my feet over to the bench. Each step was like the sound of a hammer hitting a desk in the silent courtroom.

The deputy gave me a sharp look, but relaxed when he realized I was just a teen. "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?"

"I do." I swallowed, and the deputy nodded. "You may be seated."
I sat down in the bench.

"Ms. Huberstein," the prosecutor questioned me, "Could you please tell the court your story about the drugs?"

My palms were really sweating now. I gripped the bench seat and started. "I am a 16 year old high school student, and I was on the track team. Mr. Juliard was my coach. He would train us hard, but he was good. We lost a track meet one day, and he told us that he was going give us a supplement to improve our running. We were excited, and we didn't question Coach Juliard's decision, because we trusted him and he was a good coach."

I glanced at my ex-coach subconsciously. Luckily, he was looking away from me. "I went into his office one day, to ask him about our next meet. He wasn't there, but his computer was on. I was wondering where he was, and I took a peek at his laptop." I gulped as Coach Juliard looked at me, glaring. "H-he had an email on his screen, opened."

"And what did the email say?" The prosecutor asked.

Everyone in the courthouse was looking at me, and suddenly I felt pressured. I licked my lips and opened my mouth, and forced the next words out. "It said that the new Reproxygen was hard to get on the black market. He was asking for new instructions so he could order the product before... Christmas."

The courtroom was buzzing after my last statement. I looked into the crowd, and Anna gave me an encouraging smile.

The prosecutor nodded. "I have no more questions."

The judge looked at the defense. "Do you have questions?"

"Yes." He came up to the bench and looked straight into my face. "Are you aware of the good effects genetic medicines have?"

"Yeah," I answered, "I know they use it on plants to make them stronger, and I know they use them for inherited diseases."

The defense raised one of his eyebrows. "And what are your feelings about the genetic medicines Mr. Juliard wished to use on you?"

"It's just wrong." I retorted.

"But the Reproxygen could've helped you improve your running."

"Just because it could help doesn't mean it would help. The Reproxygen, and genetic engineering itself is too much of a risk." I was starting to get annoyed.

"Did Mr. Juliard give a form of some sort to your parents to sign about the... supplements?"

"No." I replied.

"So you simply believed your coach, without parent consent?"

Suddenly I felt a deep loathing for the defense lawyer, even when I knew that this was just his job. "He lied to us and told me they were vitamins! He could've killed us all!" I snarled. (Reynolds)

The defense turned towards the judge. "I have no further questions." He dismissed me.

I exited the bench, walking back to my seat next to Anna. My hands were still shaking, and I tried to calm down my breathing. "That was scary," I murmured to Anna.

She gave me a sympathetic smile.

The judge cleared his throat. "The jury will now go into deliberate. If Mr. Juliard is found guilty, he will face charges for supplying genetic steroids to underage female athletes."

The court hummed with excitement as Anna and I exited the courthouse.
"Are you still scared for the outcome?" She asked me.

I shook my head. "The jury will understand, I'm sure of it..."

That was two years ago.

Coach Juliard was sentenced to a 16 month suspension, and he was banned from the German Track and Field Federation. However, he is still allowed to coach, and there have been rumors that he has still been taking offers.

I talked to Dr. Ferdinand afterwards, and he told me how, at the University of Pennsylvania, some scientists came up with a steroid that made mice stronger. Suddenly, athletes started volunteering themselves to test the treatment. These athletes knew that the treatment could cause infections, organ failure, and death, but they didn't care.

It made me realize how much more we need to stop unneeded genetic engineering, especially for athletes. Although it has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the lure of steroids that act like the human body has already begun to tempt both coaches and athletes. (Reynolds)

What would the Olympics be like if there were normal athletes versus the genetically engineered ones? It would be horribly fake, and least of all, fair. There would be no prize for those who worked the hardest, but only for those who took the most medicine. Would there be separate Olympics for those with 'supergenes' and those with none? But who would want to stay normal? Who would want to be a simple citizen when you could be Superman?

The temptation would be too great, and we would kill athletics as we know it today. Gene-doping may be inevitable, but it is better to try to stop it today than when it's too late.