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Page 37.
Machine Man (serial)

On the sidewalk below me, the mother yanked her son’s arm. This kid was no toddler: he was seven or eight. I have seen women wrestling with children of this age before, in supermarket aisles and parking lots, and usually the kids don’t budge. But apparently a man plummeting out of the sky changed everything, because this kid flew through the air like he was hollow. It was a convincing example of the strength-boosting properties of adrenaline.

My legs could not correct my flight path, and thus were forced to abandon their original plan to use the boy and his mother as shock absorbers. I impacted the sidewalk ten inches from them. The concrete split beneath my feet. Dust burst into the air. My spine bent in a way that felt very, very wrong. I lost my breath and sucked in a lungful of dust. I felt the Contours moving beneath me, and tried to tell them to wait a second, because I had to apologize to the mother, and check she and her son were okay, and so was I. But the legs didn’t care. Their world was defined by a location, a destination, and the optimum path between the two; everything else was a waste of time. I was pretty sure now they were going to kill me.


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This is where site members post comments. If you're not a member, you can join here. There are all kinds of benefits, including moral superiority!

Machine Man subscriber Alex (#237)

Location: London, England
Quote: "We're today's scrambled creatures, locked in tomorrow's double feature (Bowie)"
Posted: 5524 days ago

Time for a new spine perhaps? He'll be a cyborg in no time at this rate.

Machine Man subscriber Mapuche (#1184)

Location: Darwin, Australia
Quote: "Inconceivable!"
Posted: 5524 days ago

10 inches? Surely you meant 25 cm....

Sounds like serious lab time needed before road time in future for this puppy...

Machine Man subscriber Impotent Verse (#3907)

Location: Cambridge, UK
Quote: "On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog"
Posted: 5524 days ago

Uh oh! Product Liability Law Suite in the making.

Machine Man subscriber Ian Manka (#3916)

Location: Los Angeles, California (school) | Akron, Ohio (home)
Quote: "Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance."
Posted: 5524 days ago

I knew that pathfinding API was a bad idea. Also a bad idea? Letting unfiltered thoughts control the movement of his legs, but then again, maybe not... we'll have to see.

Also, I've never heard of the expression "flew through the air like he was hollow." Do things that are hollow fly faster through the air? Is this common knowledge? Or did someone have to hollow out the nearest child to discover this useful fact? I'll dismiss it as my lack of understanding of anything remotely science-y.

Abgrund (#3357)

Location: Atlantis
Quote: ""Redeem your mind from the hockshops of authority." - Ayn Rand"
Posted: 5524 days ago

The force on launch would have exceeded the force on impact, of course. Unless the Contours decided to land stiff-legged just for the hell of it.

Brian (#3987)

Location: Arizona
Posted: 5524 days ago

I was watching Aimee Mullins from the TED conference this year. The title of her talk - How my legs give me super powers.

Max, did you know this real life machine woman?

Machine Man subscriber C Leffelman (#3968)

Location: IL
Quote: "You can only be young once. But you can always be immature. - Dave Barry "
Posted: 5524 days ago

I just want to know where the legs think that he wants to go, and for that matter when the legs are just going to get retro rockets so as to control the route of flight.

@Ian Manka, the hollow thing, perhaps relating to birds with hollow bones, in general lighter things fly easier.

Mary Rose (#2854)

Location: San Francisco, CA
Quote: "go big or stay home"
Posted: 5524 days ago

I hate the word impacted when it doesn't relate to wisdom teeth. Hit is a perfectly fine word.

Machine Man subscriber Yannick (#3858)

Location: Heist, Belgium
Quote: "he reads things"
Posted: 5524 days ago

@Ian Manka: hollowed out objects are generally lighter than their unaltered counterparts, considering they have a lot less mass.

Machine Man subscriber Chemical Rascal (#3964)

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "Don't read this. It's not relevant to anything. Go away."
Posted: 5524 days ago

Ah, yes, they are lighter, but they have the same drag... I think.

stanley becker (#5283)

Location: black hole
Posted: 4810 days ago

if your brain was replaced by a brain that was structurally the same as the contours - hey presto - you would have a sympathetic path of communication - the answer seems to be, use the contours to design your Future Brain - let the contours be your paradigm for all your Future blueprints - which primarily entails a coup of your brain by your superior legs - I'm attempting to be logical here, Max. [let your contours take over the writing of the tale].

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