Book one: Featherfall.
The great thing about having a dad for an inventor, is that you get to play lab-rat for him.
The worst part about having an inventor for a dad, is that you have to play lab-rat for him.
At the moment, my feelings were mixed. Although I knew that the pack on my back, despite weighing in at fully twenty kilos of metal and plastic, would in fact prevent me from ending up as a red smear on the pavement below me, knowing that something SHOULD work and standing on top of an office block with the wind blowing my hair vertically is an entirely different thing altogether.
My father who built the piece of dead-weight with unpadded straps that were even now cutting into my shoulders, did not see my apprehensions as acceptable.
"Finston." He said in his most firm tones, the kind that he thought sounded fatherly, when they in fact made him sound like a stern geography teacher "I have shown you exactly how the personal velocity reduction pack works. You know how it works. I didn't labor eight years teaching you proper physics when those highschool buffoons had you learning outdated Newtonian precepts for Nothing!
So toughen up and jump!"
I peered over the edge, putting one foot on the knee high barrier that ran around the edge of the roof and leaned on my knee.
"Pa, I still would like a parachute, just in case it catches on fire like it did the other three times." I straightened out, even as my father dragged long-fingered hands over his slightly weathered face.
"Don't make me take that pack and jump off this roof myself young man!" he had to yell as a particularly violent gust of wind came up and blew my baseball cap off.
There's always one thing that will make me try any of his harebrained inventions. His threatening to do it himself; y'see, life ensurance cover is only offered to the under forty's, at least at rates reasonable enough to warrant it. I've never managed to get a no claims bonus with my policy though.
Back in the present, the wind tore at my hair and whipped through my clothing, chilling me through my open jacket and jeans.
I hyperventilated took two steps back… and leaped.
The wind caught me, sending me into a tumble almost immediately. I didn't panic.
When I'm really under the pump, the world slows down… I guess it's part of the reason that I keep agreeing to test pop's crazy ideas.
I spread myself out, in moments I was facing the fast approaching pavement. I drew my left arm in and punched the activation button on my harness. For a moment nothing happened, I continued to fall.
Oh well. No biggie, I've been here before. Maybe next time I'll be smart enough to avoid jumping.
I closed my eyes, just as the unit on my back hummed into life. The straps cut into my shoulders and the flow of wind against my face chanced direction, coming from above, rather than down.
I opened my eyes and craned my neck. Orange light stained my face as the sun's rays passed through the hex-patterned, glassy surface of the wings.
Knowing the science behind it, the reason for the miraculous way a hunk of metal and plastic could produce something so pure and perfect, that made it no less real.
I was flying.
For a timeless minute, I soared on wings of fire…. Then the humming stopped.
I cursed and slapped the activation button again as in a second gravity returned and the ground rushed at me-