IC: Akiri Hewkii
Hewkii gave a soft nod. It wasn't an order, but when the leader of a wahi nodded at your idea to leave it was usually a good idea to follow through. After a moment of pondering Hewkii turned his attention back to Farzan.
"Alright then, you'll have an adjacent workshop for personal projects. Come to my office later this afternoon and we can sign the documents there. I'm sure you've already met the host of this exposition, Lenat. If not, look for a tall vortixx who seems far more interested in mechanical objects than living beings. It'll be good for you two to get in touch before you've started working. And now, I really must be going. So many booths to visit, so little time.
The akiri began to walk away then paused when he realized the volo-luto was still on his wrist. He said, "Oh, and don't sell any of these. In fact, I feel it'd be better if you hid them under the table for the rest of the day," and strode away into the crowd, his two guards following behind.
IC: NPC Sentinel
The guard struggled to understand his orders properly. Jump, the newly appointed captain of aeronautics had commanded, but how? Here he was holding a carved wooden bar in his hands, the contraption weighing down on his body, but for the life of him the guard had no faith in the outcome. He was on a cliff in a remote canyon. It was for security, the captain had explained when asked. The guard had a hard time understanding what was so top-secret about watching a fool throw himself off a cliff with canvas wings.
“Jump,” the captain repeated, “You read the manual on the way here, and saw the demonstration…”
Ah yes, the demonstration. A spry tree-talker had effortlessly slipped into a glider while firing off a rapid string of incomprehensible words, ran to wards the cliff, jumped and dropped out of sight before soaring back into view with a whoop of laughter for a wide banking (he remembered the term from the manual’s glossary), back to the plateau. The le-matoran seemed natural in the air, only fitting. The guard, by contrast, knew rocks fell when tossed. He looked back at the ledge.
How was a simple hundred foot drop to a sandy canyon floor so frightening? He had clambered along the faces of cliffs his whole life as a stone cutter until joining the sentinels, his days spent dangling at the whim of a taut rope. Jumping off a cliff with a glider couldn’t be more dangerous, and yet the idea of committing his entire life to the sky was too difficult. The faces of his wife and daughter flashed behove his eye as the captain repeated his order. The guard took a deep breath and walked to the edge.
Wind buffeted his body, a soft moan as the air chased itself through the remote canyon on one of the outlying islets of Po-Wahi, a salty sea-breeze. Would the ocean air influence the glider, he wondered, make the canvas stiff, add too much weight? He was at the point of no return, toes dangling over the precipice, heart racing: jump and fall to a sandy end or remain and lose his job, return to being a stone mason without time to visit his family in Po-Koro? Death or living death?
An impatient shove made the choice for him.
Death it is then, he thought as his body tipped over the edge and began its perilous plunge, rock face racing by in a blur of sandstone. He would hit the ground, he knew that fact of life was absolute, and die from the impact. He could imagine his body compressing and his bones exploding out of his back, like a macabre Jaller-in-the-box. His wife would receive a pension, modest but enough to support their daughter. She would grow up to be a sculptor, the first in the family. The idea brought a smile to his face. By dying he bought his daughter’s future. What more could a father want than a happy child?
Or could he?
The part of all po-matoran that resist the inevitable, stoic resilience he had heard a ga-matoran call it once, suddenly screamed, forced its way through his complacency, and took control. If he crashed he could never see those fine sculptures. To fly, to entrust his dreams to canvas and balsa, to disprove the notion that all rocks must fall, then, was his only hope of ever praising his daughter’s success. The guard’s hands moved efficiently, one at a time, from the main bar to the wing lines, and with a pull he felt his trajectory change with a magnificent whoosh of air. The wings worked! Those simple wings, boxed and shipped across the entire island, had supported him and opened his eyes to a whole new world of possibilities.
The sensation reminded him of being named by the late Turaga, the joy of learning something new about himself and the curiosity of how far he could take it. He watched the sand grow more distant as he controlled the wings – no, his wings – using a pair of chorded pulleys. With a clear mind he made the wide bank, eyes absorbing the light playing off the shimmering sea his new vantage allowed him to glimpse, and for a moment was disappointed that only the small squad of sentinels and the Wind-Rider envoy (a party of two gangly warriors sent to oversee proper training), were able to see his accomplishment.
I flew, he would tell his daughter, military disclosure protocol be ######. I flew like any rahi with wings. I soared. He would omit his crash-land on the plateau, say the broken leg was from a skirmish with a group of nui-jaga, but he’d flown and that was what mattered.
The Aeronautical Reconnaissance Corps. of the Po-Wahi Sentinels had been formed, and so, by second nature, had the Cartography Division.