Canyons of Steel – Still Just a Rat in a Cage Pt. 9
They dropped the duffel bags on the tar covered rooftop of the hotel. Military credentials can give you amazing things. A hotel security officer stood with them, just watching in wonderment. He had been asked to follow them, and collect their things after they had taken flight. That was the hard part to explain. Niaomi simply said, just follow us and you’ll see. The syblings slipped into their uniforms, Maxwell’s much more traditional looking as it carried the beadwork of his heritage, though still remained functional. Niaomi’s was much more sleek, as her’s was crafted by the military agency she belonged to.
The security officer blinked a couple of times. Both of them unwrapped a wing harness. Maxwell’s was much more natural looking, as it retained it’s feathered look. He carefully strapped the leather bindings around his chest as he tested the weight of the harness, nodding as he felt the wings were secure on his back. The only really visible piece of technology that he wore was a ventilator mask. A project Maxwell had succeeded in, the mask had a modified mp3 player, USB connectors, and small speakers. Complete with an adjusted volume, this rig was used to echo the cries that hawks, falcons and eagles would make. Only amplified at several decibels.
Niaomi strapped her metallic wings to her back and tested them. The security guard marvelled how they seemed to become a part of her as she stretched out her wings. Much more sleek than Maxwell’s, her rig was built for speed over power. Not that she didn’t have the latter. A pair of gauntlets held small shurikens that she could release with maddening speed. The fingers could unleash claws, similar in style to a Kestrel’s.
Niaomi looked to her brother as she snapped the last of the straps in place. He gave her the thumbs up and they both walked to the edge of the building. Twenty stories up. A cake walk. “Don’t forget our stuff,” Niaomi called back to the security officer. The officer nodded rather dumbly, with a look on his face that read, Are you really gonna jump? Niaomi turned to her brother again. “Clear?”
“Clear,” he confirmed. And with that word, they both lept off the roof, their speed increasing as they hurtled toward the ground. The security officer could only look fearfully on. His eyes widened as the pair fell faster earthward. And just when he expected the worst, the pair opened their wings and began to fly. Just as their namesakes, the pair actually could not fly, but used the wing harnesses and the updrafts to glide, just as a hawk would glide. A small thruster built into the rig would force the wings to flap when they needed to ascend, just as a bird of prey would. And so, it gave the illusion of flight.
And it became the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. And he finally let go of the breath he’d been holding.