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We Don’t Plummet Out of the Sky Anymore


Stan wanted a flying car. No, that wasn’t quite an accurate assessment. Stan wanted a nice flying car. He still had his old Sewell Cormorant, which was a perfectly respectable vehicle for an actuary with no aspiration toward inter-personal advancement or societal bliss. Of those qualifications, Stan regretfully acknowledged “actuary” as applicable, but only just so.

The gaudy three-color brochure in his hands promised more. Much more. Quantities of bliss awaited those fortunate enough to obtain a customized Bertolait Shearwater, and Stan desired bliss.

“Oh, hello Stan,” said Bliss as he entered the apartment next to hers. “No trouble with the car today?”

“No, thankfully,” answered Stan. The Cormorant’s internal difficulties were the sort that any matron would proudly discuss with all the surgical particulars, were they her own. Stan wished only that the contraption would silence itself long enough to pull away from the rooming house each morning, rather than announcing its discomfort to all and sundry as it lurched and hiccoughed into an airborne personification of rickets, constipation and the gout.

“More brochures?” asked Bliss. “Can I see?”

“Sure,” responded Stan. “This might be the one, love—it’s a Shearwater. It’s not just fancy chrome, Bliss. The Shear has an internal converter that is more sophisticated than anything that’s come out of Detroit in seventy years, and the body can handle more flight stress than any other aeromobile currently on the market. Listen, “The skin of your Shearwater is fused to the chassis by a rivetless layered float process unique within the aeromotive industry, ensuring a seamless exterior and a cabin that is unimpaired by adverse atmospheric conditions. Your Shearwater is truly a space-worthy vehicle, certified as the only consumer-grade design capable of simultaneously attaining a low earth orbit and maintaining a breathable atmosphere.

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