|not sure where I found this ....|
"You're mad Pemberton, that contraption will work no better than Daedalus' own invention did for his son."
Sir Alistair Pemberton chortled, "Don't fret old man, I won't damage your precious roses if I come plummeting out of the sky. And fear not for me, I am certain that the Aether Wings will work." Pemberton checked the straps once more, tightening them securely across his chest and hopping up and down to see how the wing pack settled to his shoulders. The harness wasn't perfect, and he could already tell some redesign would be needed to make it comfortable for long flights, but that was putting the cart before the proverbial steam powered horse; first he had to prove that his Aetheric panels could truly catch the substance of the heavens and carry him skyward.
Sir Horace Caulfield stamped his foot, "Now see here Alistair, I'm not worried about my roses, though you had best keep your word on that, but about your life and limb. I shall not be the one to tell that hellion of a wife of yours that you've broken your leg, or God forbid, gotten yourself killed."
"And you shall not have to. She will be arriving in due time with Lord Davenport. Should I fail my dear wife will be on hand to berate me to her own heart's content," Pemberton replies with a wry smile.
"Don't be so glib," Horace muttered back.
Pemberton tested the wings' controls and verified that his gauges were reading properly, "I say, don't get all mushy on me Caulfield, I'm a certain that this will work as I am the sun will rise. Why I tested the Aetheric panels with my own dog, and Mister Troggerdon returned just fine, though I do not think he enjoyed his flight. Relieved himself in my best slippers that night." A blast from a steam whistle drew his eyes up, "Huzzah, there they are!"
Samantha Pemberton and Lord Nigel Davenport III drive up in a new auto-carriage, black and white smoke trailing behind. Samantha tsked at her husband as she approached, "Don't you look the daring-doer? Aside from those awful goggles. Honestly, husband, why have you not replaced them with proper diamond glass?"
Pemberton flushed red. "Because these are lucky my dear," ground out before stepping forward and offering the Lord Davenport a stiff bow and his hand, "Sir, I am honored that you came for my test."
"Yes, well, the honor shall be mine if you succeed. Don't let me down, would you?" Davenport was a minor lord, but also the head of Her Majesty's Air Corps. His presence was quite a coup for Pemberton, and would lend great credence to his offering at the Engineering Society's annual gather the following month.
"Yes, well, now that you are here I will begin. My Aetheric panels will enable this light wing-pack to carry me to the heavens as easily as if I were tethered to a fifty cubic foot helium reservoir." He made one final adjustment to his goggles and gloves, and then proceeded. "If you will all stand back, I shall ascend to the skies like a bird!"
Mrs. Pemberton, the Lord Davenport, and Caulfield all stepped away, leaving plenty of room as Pemberton unfolded the great wings. They looked much like those of a great bird, though the glint of brass beneath the pale white "feathers" hinted at their true origin. The feathers themselves were unique, thin strips of metal, hammered to the shape of a feather and traced with distilled Aether, they gleamed under the sun like something from a fairy tale.
The wings began to flap, and Pemberton took off at an awkward jog before leaping into the air. Astonishing to the three onlookers he the wings did indeed carry him aloft; each beat propelling Alistair further from the ground. Pemberton twisted his body and swooped into a long and elegant turn, still gaining elevation with each beat. A glance at his altimeter told him that he had passed two hundred feet and was rising steadily.
Soon he was soaring through the open air, high enough that he could not see the amazed looks and gaping stares of the people below. Ever onward and ever upward he flew, eager to see the capability of his wings.
Down on the ground the three soon lost sight of Alistair Pemberton, and finally ceased to look up and instead looked to each other. Each was equally surprised by the success of the test. Samantha was the first to voice her feelings, "It would seem that dear Alistair has indeed proven the naysayers wrong. My Lord Davenport, I do hope that you can see that my husband is far more the genius than even he had thought, which is truly something to be said."
Davenport opened his mouth to reply when a silvery white feather of hammered metal floated down between the three of them, landing quietly on the ground.