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Mutants & Masterminds: Future Imperfect - Fiction: (Re)Learning to Fly [complete]

Travis Kincaid

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The red Porsche raced along the sun baked blacktop it engine growling like a contained beast. The speedometer fell past one hundred and fifty miles per hour and Travis grinned as he threw the car into a corner. Its tires squealed but maintained their grip on the old road under the pressure of the wind pushing the rear spoiler down. With a thump he transitioned from the smooth interstate highway ninety three to Kane Spring Road. In the desert roads lasted far longer than other parts of the country and even a less used road like this was more than able to sustain the car's speed comfortably.

Kane Spring road went through a lazy "S" curve before opening up into a straightaway were it eventually intersected the Old Highway Ninety-Three. A short time later and he slowed down as found the old dirt road leading out into the desert. Perhaps another twenty minutes brought him in the middle of nowhere. The car's door opened and a blast of acrid dry heat smacked Travis in the face. It was over one hundred degrees and dry as a bone. It was also the isolated desert, where no prying eyes could see a mutant use his powers.

He stepped out of the car as the engine ticked in the heat trying futilely to cool itself. He locked the car and pocketed the keys. Then he looked up into the deep blue sky.

Into the distance, a ribbon of black

Stretched to the point of no turning back

A flight of fancy on a windswept field

Standing alone my senses reeled

A fatal attraction is holding me fast,

How can I escape this irresistible grasp?

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"Dammit!" Travis untangled his limbs and sat up. He was hot and he wished to god he was sweaty but the air was so dry that his body couldn't even produce sweat fast enough. He checked his watch and decided that an hour in the heat warranted a couple pints of liquid to keep things functional. The "trunk" of the Porsche was almost laughable but he had managed to fit a small cooler inside with frozen waters and Gatorades. After a quick drink Travis moved away from the car once more.

He reached out with his telekinesis and attempted to lift himself from the ground. He found that once again he could only seem to exert force on his clothing and not on his person. He rose slowly into the air, dragged by his clothes until they cut into him and twisted his limbs enough to disrupt his concentration. He plummeted the twenty feet he's risen and landed once more in a heap. "Ow." His anger rose and he slammed a fist down into the hard dry earth. Unconsciously he unleashed a torrent of kinetic force with the blow, the back blast hurled him ass over teakettle to land fifteen feet away. He looked up at the cloudless blue expanse above him and began to laugh.

The sole intention is learning to fly

Condition grounded but determined to try

Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies

Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I

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Running. Heavy footfalls on hard packed earth. And then a sound like a mighty fist pounding into the ground followed by silence. Travis soared some hundred feet into the air before he reached the apex of the arc and began to tumble back to the ground. "Ohhh crrraaaappp!"


"Unnnggh." Travis lay still for a long moment his face pressed into the dirt, his limbs contorted. He was largely uninjured, a few minor scrapes and bruises were all the repeated impacts had managed to impress past his considerable power to bleed kinetic energy away from his body. He rolled over and licked his dry lips, tasting the salty desert dust on them. He grunted and flipped to his feet. He considered the efforts and failures of the past hour as he guzzled down more water.

He realized that he was missing the median, the middle ground use of his ability that would allow him flight. He needed the impulsive power of a destructive blast but with the focus and duration of traditional telekinetic applications. "I need a frickin' miracle," he bemoaned himself. He was tired an cranky. His parched throat was beginning to get sore and he felt achy, more so than he would have expected. He wiped at his mouth and saw blood on his hand. The virus then, he was pushing himself to far to hard. He needed to be careful lest he kill himself.

"One more try," he promised himself as he finished the bottle. He tossed it back into the cooler and walked back out to the spot he'd be trying to take off from. OK, something between the two, sustained high power impulse. You can do this Travis, after all Ronnie said you used to do this all the time.

He focused, forming a field of active kinetic power around himself he watched as pebbles and dust rose into the air around him or shot away at oblique angles. Got to get this right ... He focused the power into a tight blast, less concentrated than his offensive attack blasts but far more so than his shield or his telekinesis. He closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath.

The blast threw him up into the air but he kept pouring power into it, kept concentrating on the application of directed power and energy. He dared not exhale. His lungs began to burn. Finally he could hold it no more, with a gasp he exhaled and took a fresh breath. As he did he opened his eyes and saw the land splayed out before him. In the deep distance he could just see the arc of the horizon as he flew further into the atmosphere. A whoop of exultation escaped his lips. With barely a thought he executed a loop and a barrel roll. An Immelmann turn and a steep banking spiral.

In the open air high above the Nevada desert Travis Kincaid whooped for joy.

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,

My grubby halo, a vapor trail in the empty air,

Above the clouds I see my shadow fly

Out of the corner of my watering eye

To dream unthreatened by the morning light

Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night

There's no sensation to compare with this

Suspended animation, A state of bliss

Can't keep my mind from the circling skies

Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I

Lyrics from Pink Floyd, "Learning to Fly" from A Momentary Lapse of Reason

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