By Ada Herschel, Science and Technology
16/6/282- If there was a presentation at the IIC that I expected might help shuffle off the draconian air of this year’s conference, it was Ivan Klankenvroot. He is, after all, a peer of Rigel Rinkenbach, second only to Rinkenbach in terms of theatricality and bombast. Ultimately, however, such was not the case.
Things started well enough. As the lights went down in the auditorium, a player piano began plinking away at Rautledge’s Deep Sea Aria. Klankenvroot himself descended from the rafters, seated within the subject of his presentation, a small gyrocopter. As it settled on the stage and Klankenvroot stepped out, the audience (mainly composed of tech enthusiasts and writers such as myself) gave him thunderous applause. Not necessarily because we were impressed with the machine, but because we were finally happy to be shown something that didn’t have guns on it for a change (although, if the group of uniformed Crowndonian officers seated in the front row were anything to go by, that could likely change. The officers did not applaud, by the way. They were very serious men, with very serious faces).
Klankenvroot bowed and accepted this adulation, told us that he was glad to be back under the auspices of his new, Nor Eastern patronage (a statement which elicited much grumbling from what I’m assuming were Crowndon natives), and went on to present his machine.
“I’m happy to announce that I have conceptualized, built and, most importantly, SAFELY tested the world’s first commercially viable gyrocopter for personal use, the Klanken-Copter. This small copter is made of light weight, yet triple ultra-strong materials that won’t break the bank (or the bones, should something unfortunate occur) of the average citizen. Imagine taking flight in your very own Klanken-Copter. With the power of flight, you can Break Free of the constraints of the streets and alleys of your cities and towns. Break Free of traffic jams caused by trudging horse drawn carriages, or overheated steam-autos. Break Free of the pressures of time as you fly straight as a crow to your destination with the Klanken-Copter. With the privilege of flight, all such obstacles will be rendered obsolete.
“My personal goal is to make the Klanken-Copter the preferred method of everyday travel throughout the Triumvirate, and beyond. The Klankenvroot Klanken-Copter. Break Free.”
The audience applauded the presentation. I applauded it too, despite having some reservations about the idea of your average dock worker taking off from a pub in a gyrocopter and ‘Breaking Free’ through an apartment window, but such worries were second to my relief. We’d finally been shown something exciting, something ambitious.
That excitement was quickly dashed, however, as the Crowndonian officers took to the stage, presented Klankenvroot with what I can only assume is an extradition order, placed him in cuffs, and led him off stage. I am told they also confiscated the Klanken-Copter (stupid name) prototype.
Outside the auditorium, my already battered hopes broke completely when I saw the crowd of people protesting Klankenvroot’s presentation. Many held up signs calling him a traitor; others called him a murderer, likely referencing the ill-fated and tragic Heisenberg project (a project that Klankenvroot ultimately had little to do with, other than coming up with the idea, but that’s enough for some people, I suppose.)
The crowd was dispersed when Monteddorian troops rolled in. Luckily, the crowd was made up of invertebrates who ran at the first sign of the Julianos sigil. Hell, I ran, and I wasn’t even involved with the mess.
I’m beginning to think I’ll have to write this year’s conference off as a total loss.