“The first flykes were fitted with a conventional seven-speed gearbox. However, it was known by now that the so-called 'Herison Gear-Effect' could be produced by modulation of the drive current to the fore and aft Bosun-wave generators. This had a similar effect on the Gyrotor systems as non-frictional vector-braking, and consequently mechanical gearing soon became obsolete.
“In 2125, the DG500 reached a recorded velocity of 215 kph, with a VLC of 25.6m and LV of 3.2m/s. In 2128, subsidiary patents were leased to Triumph-Honda®, who began producing their own flykes by early '29...”
Yeah, they were headed here. I'd guessed the crane was a regular meet for one of the local flyke-gangs. I’d found bootleg beer-cartons in the cabin, and there were bonfire remains on the sea-wall. I hoped they were just kids, not jump-racers. All I needed now - a bunch of idiotic krebs out to prove themselves.
They were low now, speeding through the meadows towards the wharf. I came to a decision and pulled on my gloves. Time to go.
I had been sitting on a small iron platform halfway up the crane boom. It had narrow railings, and it was a long and slow way down. From the platform, however, the ladder travelled further up, to the great pulley-wheels over which some long-forgotten kids had tied a long rope swing. Quicker way down.
I scrambled up the ladder, feeling the boom rock gently beneath me. Reaching the pulleys, I swung myself over and slid quickly down the grimy rope, dropping the last few metres onto the shingle.
With a roar and screech of tortured flywheels, seven flykes shuddered to a halt, sinking to the ground above the beach, the whine of their turbines running down like a swarm of disappointed bees.
I crunched along the shingle towards the flood-wall. I figured they hadn't seen me yet, judging by the conversation I could hear. All the better. I didn't want any grievous. On the other hand, if they started something...well...
Shaz! I began to scramble my way up the flood-wall. Don't rise to the bait, Vonner. Just get your flyke and go!
As I reached the top of the wall and ground level, the conversation abruptly stopped as they noticed me. The group of flykes stood about fifteen metres away to my left, their riders still astride, watching me closely. As I climbed to my feet I glanced at them once, enough to get the score.
Two Triumph Jap-hybrids, five Tammys. Nothing to tex home about. I walked briskly away from them, to where I'd parked my own machine in a hollow in the tall grass.
“Well, bug me! If it ain't Adrian Vonner!”
I froze. Even after all this time the voice was familiar. I turned slowly.
“Remember me, doncha, Vonner? Yer don't ferget yer mates, do yer, Vonner! Gonna run away again are yer...Vonnerrr?”
There were sniggers all round, and I looked from face to face. Seven blokes, four with girls on their pillions, who did I know? None of them, they were all kids. Then I focussed on the speaker. A few years older, obviously the leader, and grinning all over his stupid ugly face.
It was Jefferson K.