By Moe Lane


Funny: it says 'Vaputech' on the crate, but it doesn't really seem all that bad. It isn't even smoking.

The Skates themselves look like nothing more than somewhat large boots. When put on, the user can feel a toggle switch in the left boot: push on it, and the soles of the boots smoothly peel back to reveal a silvery material. Experimentation will reveal that this material is completely frictionless, thus allowing the wearer to glide over any solid surface as if it were ice. Toggling the switch will cause the lining to retract, allowing normal movement.

Now, this would be the point where an experienced entity might wince, but it quickly becomes clear that the activated boots are not a waiting trap. There's some kind of sophisticated stabilization going on around here: it's almost literally impossible to fall down while wearing them. In fact, someone could surf down a narrow banister while wearing them, with nary a wobble. That's really ... odd, considering the source.

Wait a second: the boots' linings have retracted back, and won't pop out again. What? No! It can't be! There's a ... there's a manual. This has got to be some sort of captured Revelations and Development equipment.

Well, now: apparently it is (the basic design, at least). It turns out that the boots are powered by the (perfectly safe and non-radioactive) backpack also found in the crate. They go too far away from the power source and they shut down automatically. Seems reasonable. Looks like the battery has enough juice for a few more centuries of use... hmm. What are those nozzles for?

Ah. Clever: they're exhaust pipes. According to the schematic, the backpack also contains possibly the most powered propellers on the corporeal plane: when fired up, this baby will provide clean and nonpolluting thrust sufficient to propel the average entity at a speed of up to 125 mph. Neat, but what about ... oh, there's the helmet. Goggles, too. And, my God, yes, heavy gloves - hmm, they seem to direct the thrust of the exhaust - and knee pads. Vapula must have done nothing to this design.

Better read the manual all the way through, first, just to make sure that there aren't any little surprises ... that's IT? The only problem with this thing is that it, when active, temporarily bollixes up 'inherent and learned celestial abilities'? That is a bit of a problem - and odd, considering that this thing doesn't seem to be an artifact at all. Must be a problem with the power source. Well, increased difficulty in using Songs or a resonance isn't so bad - oh, wait, the manual says not to bother with trying to take celestial form while this thing is buckled on. Damn: that crimps things a bit. Still, with one of these babies you could go almost as fast as an Ofanite. That's got to be useful, especially if one has a human that needs to keep up with the rest of the group.

One does wonder why it was locked away, though. Of course, Vapula is insane ... but Sparky isn't, so why is that his sigil on the lock?


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