HP: 1, Cond: Interesting.
That was what the redhead had thought when the letter arrived. Interesting - but the pictures were crap. Bad lighting, bad angle, taken when she came back after long hours of work... The apparent blackmail did not annoy her -she had another response to such- but the lack of professionalism was insulting! She could have modeled underwear if the study of life wasn't so exciting and these pictures made her look like an awkward teenager that hadn't even touched her mother's cosmetics once! They would have words, the letter's sended and her...
Made of organically grown nanofiber, the wings weighed barely a kilo each but they extended several square yards and they were strong - very strong. Beating at over two thousand times per minute like those of an overgrown bee, they propelled their cargo upwards at hypersonic speeds. Their cargo -redhead, irish, female, one- shifted from the smugness of having designed something like them to the discomfort of stratospheric flight with indecision. The air was thin and normally cold but even here Mach 7 produced enough friction for uncomfortably high temperatures and its thinness prevented breathing. No matter - her metabolism had adapted to fully anaerobic function a half-minute after takeoff.
As vacuum finally won over atmosphere, the growing smugness thrust aside a brief bout of vertigo. With no air to push against, the wings stilled... and the trillions upon trillions potassium-sodium pumps forming a weblike network across their transparent surface got to work. It was the same mechanism used by electric eels, amplified by orders of magnitude; tens of thousands of volts flowed now through the network. But the network's lines were meticulously aligned, the complex tapestry of currents producing a strong yet adaptable magnetic field. And that field latched against the planet's own magnetosphere and pushed - magnetic levitation overcame the cargo's weight and produced flight!This is how alien visitors must feel. I wonder... am I half martian perhaps?
Banishing that silly thought, Eabha McCorrigan focused on reentry. Designing and growing the wings had taken a good two hours but a Belfast-New Jersey run had taken a mere twenty minutes, making the whole trip much shorter than commercial flights.Not to mention sorer; I got aches in muscles I'd forgotten I ever had!
Smiling, if only to herself, she folded her wings and descended towards the city in a controlled fall. Now that she was close, the images she'd studied via Google Maps while waiting for the wings to grow fit reality closer and closer. Nanofiber membrane slowly dissolving against the friction, the redhead kept her fall at less than meteoric speeds. On passing the seven-mile mark, she was no longer winged and she had a terminal velocity of a mere two hundred miles an hour. Making her bones even denser while simultaneously upping their elasticity, she aimed for the empty lot two miles below...
New Jersey had a lot of abandoned industrial areas. The silence in one of them was only momentarily interrupted by a very loud gunshot... that wasn't actually a gunshot. One moment, the parking lot before the old warehouse was empty except for a couple rather ordinary tourists waiting by the entrance. The next, a tall redhead was crouching in the middle of that empty space, a spiderweb network of cracks radiating out of her feet. Cracks in concrete.
Her form-fitting, sleeveless top and short (but modest in comparison) skirt were just a bit out of alignment, a detail she corrected with a small smile for her observers. Then, unwrapping a tight, leather imitation bundle, she took out a pair of comfortable yet fashionable low-heeled boots she wore over her bare feet.Here's to hopin' me entrance didn't alarm ye.
she said smirking, a trace of some stranger accent over her english one. I be here for a business meeting concerning... operational security.
Checking that her long, wavy red hair had sustained no damage and returning them to a thick braid with practiced ease, she moved closer to the others in an enticingly swaying walk.