I just can’t do it.
The government has ordered a demonstration today in order to assess any possible threat our invention poses to national security.
If we fail to do so, they’ll shut us down completely and take over everything.
Epid, a fantastically absorbent, thin and resilient skin-tight fabric developed in the search for bulletproof material.
Epid was too effective for such use, with bullets bouncing off the material with greater force than they struck! The ricochets were deadlier than steady bullet sprays.
But we three inventors had a lot of leftover material, and one of us had an idea… entertainment!
For a time we sold tickets displaying our amazing invention.
We made special boots, gloves and body wear for three young athletes who put on a show in our production called Bouncers. We rented football stadiums to meet the demand for tickets.
Our stars were three cousins, Ballistic, Fly and Airstrike, raised by their Uncle Angel in the circus outside Las Vegas. Ballistic was once afraid of heights and had played the circus strongman and a clown. Fly was autistic and a savant upon the trapeze. Airstrike was a wire-walking, knife-throwing juggler.
We were only in business for two amazing months before Uncle Angel, who built human cannons for the circus, poured his life savings into an invention he named the Altitude Cannon, able to propel a human body five miles!
He planned to sell rides from it for a thousand bucks each but there were surprisingly few takers. Riders would be launched suddenly feeling gravity at three times normal for almost nine seconds until gradually emerging from the firing shell that then dropped away below. They would continue to arc upward getting lighter until reaching peak altitude when the parachute would automatically deploy. They would land at the prearranged field. The whole thing would last about 10 exciting minutes, depending on the winds, and be recorded. He lowered the price to $500; then to $250. But no one wanted to be first. Uncle Angel tried to hire someone to take the first ride, but the lowest bidder demanded a $10,000 advance.
Then Airstrike, to repay her beloved uncle for his kindness, thought of a publicity stunt to prove that the Altitude Cannon worked safely. She announced that she would be fired from the cannon and cross paths with a prearranged media helicopter at 1500 feet; however her trajectory was too high, the wind behaved unpredictably, the helicopter wavered.
She was shredded by the helicopter’s blades.
Hoping to save her Uncle’s reputation, Fly allowed herself to be fired toward the top of the tallest building downtown, five miles away from their launch site. Her projected travel time would be three minutes. She hadn’t counted on the flock of geese that slashed her as she shot through them. Sharply assaulted, parachute damaged, Fly struggled to deploy the wingsuit seam, managing to skid bloodily to a stop in the streets far short of her goal.
Uncle Angel was horrified that his nieces suffered for his failures and shut his project down. Ballistic lost heart for heights. And a confused public somehow rumored that our product, epid, let them down when it wasn’t even involved.
But if they had been wearing epid body suits, Fly and Airstrike would have survived.
Publicity drew the attention of the military from both domestic and foreign interests.
Suddenly mysterious offers of billions are made to us for ownership of the patent and trademark of our material.
Partner Boe Ingram wants the money but partner Chuka Lamae can’t stand the idea of militarizing of our creation, an inevitability once out of our control.
I have the deciding vote which must be made soon. But I did make sure that all of this was happening in the public eye. Who knows what the military could do with epid?
So I need to put on this fancy super rubber suit, jump off a building and bounce 66 stories into the air over and over again? I don’t even know how to control the bounce! And I can’t believe that it works!
As a crew helps me into my suit along with Boe and Chuka, I see why it would be difficult to steal the secrets of epid. When donned, the suits have no discernible seams. Any stranger trying to take the suit off a Bouncer without damaging the suit’s molecular integrity and usefulness would be at a loss.
It’s not long before I’m standing on the edge of a very tall building with Chuka and Boe.
Thousands watch below. Helicopters hover above and below off to the side. Media coverage is ubiquitous.
The suit is warm but it can only have strategically placed openings that allow safe areas for body heat release and air to the skin, at points unlikeliest to contact a hard surface.
I don’t think I can jump.
Fuck that’s a long way down.
There goes Chuka.
There goes Boe.
The world is watching.
And then…I step into nothingness.