THE MIGHTY ICARUS IN:
It's New Year's Eve, 1939. Ten minutes left till midnight and the birth of a new, beautiful decade.
These are also the last five minutes I'll spend cooped up in this metal fish bowl that's been orbiting the Earth for as long as I can remember. The name's Icarus. I'm 27 years old and am the designated 'monitor' for the great blue ball hovering far, far below me. For as long as I can remember, living in the same cramped compartment day in and day out, I've been doing nothing but watching these people that live below, taking notes for the ones that created me, beings that I do not know, and will most likely never meet during my life in this vast galaxy.
Four minutes and all that changes.
I'm surprised it's never happened before. Maybe the Bowl's finally getting faulty in its old age, but this thing is heading for a full on collision with a passing comet, and hopefully, if I'm lucky, the impact should be powerful enough to free from this awful, awful place. If I'm unlucky, the comet will cause the ship to explode and I'll die, but at least there's a bright side. A small dream I've had for years that may soon be coming to fruition.
There's a chirp of white noise behind me, courtesy of the metal servant that's been my sole companion all these years. It hovers in the air, spewing out the synthetic food I've been living off from its under carriage, before clinging to my back and forming into the strange, metal wings that seem to be its natural setting. It locks in tight to my uniform, a mesh of red, black and colors that must represent whatever strange, ancient culture helped to create me. There's a symbol on my chest, one that I still don't understand, but maybe, maybe one day, once I get to Earth, I'll be able to learn what it means.
I take one last look at the swirling wall of screens that fills the Bowl, showing different points of interest around the globe, for so long the only thing that kept me sane as I learned so much about the world. It shows Polar Bears in the Arctic, Jellyfish in the Pacific... and it shows humanity. Humanity in London, humanity in Beijing, and humanity in New York, all gathered together to celebrate the momentous event coming their way, and I can't wait to join them.
"Collision detected." A strange, female voice I've never heard before, says from somewhere up above me. "Impact in 3. 2." I push myself up against the Bowl's wall and get ready to fly.
The wall of monitors explodes, ripped off into the sheer dark hole opening up before me. The recycled air I've been breathing my whole life starts to get sucked violently into the vacuum, and just as I leap off the wall towards my escape, using the last of the artificial gravity, the wings on my back stretch out and create a protective mask around my mouth that will let me breathe normally in the dangerous environment.
I'm weightless, floating in the dark as the place that's been my home for so long explodes into debris, creating several shooting stars that will be a treat for anyone down below, I've never been happier. Free to soar with the wings still on my back, I begin to spin and perform tricks I've only dreamed of, naturally gifted for the performance and having the time of my life, thanks to my body heat being preserved by my skintight uniform. A tear escapes my eye and hovers completely still in space. I watch it for a moment, transfixed, before turning down towards Earth and willingly beginning my descent.
Flames tickle my skin as I break through the atmosphere, but I barely even feel it thanks to the natural gifts of strength and durability I was born with. For a second the wings on my back ignite, and the look is so strikingly beautiful that I set the flames as my wing's default appearance. Then I pass through the white clouds above New York, three minutes to the strike of midnight, and I see the most marvelous sight that simply couldn't be captured on a monitor. The city is lit up bright with colors of nearly every kind, with noises of all sorts bouncing up from the ground. The merry nature of the evening can be felt from the sky, and above all the cheer taking place is a blimp, decorated in the native colors of its country as it hovers far above the ground. A smile, the best smile I've ever conjured, crosses my lips, but it doesn't last.
Almost immediately I sense something wrong with the evening. From the blimp, I see black smoke gushing from a wound in its side, a wound that's getting bigger with every passing second as the mighty vessel unwillingly descends towards the ground. I would learn later that the damage was caused by a miscalculated firework, but at the time I wasn't thinking about what had started the incident, instead I was thinking about the innocent people caught in the vehicle's path, feeling compassion in my heart similar to all the times I had seen tragedy from my monitors in the Bowl, all that time unable to act, but now, finally able to do something. I think of the blimp, then I think of all the innocent people about to get hurt, and I understand that I can't let that happen.
My wings snap upward, quickening my descent until I'm hovering right next to the gargantuan vessel, with a quick twirl towards the blimp, I place myself right under the Pilot's cabin, who I give a quick check with my Super vision just to make sure he's alright. He's fine, just confused by the floating man waving at him from the window. Then I duck back under the metal craft and begin to push. I push upwards against the craft with all my strength, and I begin to feel the thing slow down ever so slightly.
It's not an easy task. Far from it. Sweat drips down my head as muscles that have never been used struggle against the massive weight above them, but they do their job and I do mine, gritting my teeth and bearing it, and finally I successfully land softly in the middle of Time's Square, the blimp managing to squeeze in between the buildings before letting out one, final gasp of air. I stand beside the cabin, offering a hand to help the pilot down from the exit. He gives me a quick, surprised look but accepts my help and jumps down with no harm done.
That's when I look up and see two million New Yorkers staring at me in complete, total shock.
There's never been anyone, or anything like me before as far as I know, but now... now there is, and as the silence emanates from the crowd, I realize just how important this moment could be to history.
"Um... hello!" I say, giving a polite wave as some of the crowd begins to overcome their shock, and, slowly begin to clap.
Fireworks, a number of different colors, streak up into the air, symbolism for a new, beautiful decade filled with hope. The whole crowd's clapping now, a thunderous applause that shakes the heavens and makes me blush ever so slightly.
Embarrassed, I shoot up into the sky, flaming wings casting a trail behind me greatly resembling a cape. It seems someone was quick enough with their camera to get a picture of my flight. That picture went on to be the cover of the next issue of Time Magazine, as well as appearing on every single news paper in the country. I was the talk of the town, a strange alien visitor from another planet come to save us all. A champion to the weak and an ever present shield against the forces of Evil.
I don't know about that. I just want to help people, repay them for letting me share their beautiful world.
Now and forever. I just want to help people.