Image © Pavel Pepperstein
In 2064 a group of aerospace engineers working under the direction of a certain E., successfully launched production of the so-called ‘cloud-planes’ – and after a while all civilian passenger flights were switched over to the new technology.
E. suggested dividing the propulsion units and the passenger module into two autonomous assemblies, connected on the tug-boat principle by a special hawser equipped with hyper-responsive sensors (the material for the hawser was created in 2049). If a breakdown or malfunction occurs in the propulsion section, the hawser is uncoupled mechanically. The passenger module is composed of a jelly-like, transparent, but exceptionally strong material, permeated with nano-capillaries. The form of the module changes in flight, according to the dynamics of the air currents, but it most often resembles a spindle-shaped cloud, with elements of a flying tree seed. Left all alone in the sky, the passenger module goes into free fall through the air, descending to the ground very slowly. The material for the passenger module was synthesised in 2022. This material is so ductile and strong that it allows the module (the so-called ‘snot’) to land in the sea or on a mountain crest. And even if the ‘snot cloud’ descends onto sharp rocks, no mountain peak can puncture it, and all the passengers wait imperturbably for a rescue vehicle that will take the ‘cloud’ in tow…
© Pavel Pepperstein, 2010
Pepperstein’s science fiction short story Cloud Planes can be downloaded from: http://www.artists4parisclimate2015.com/en/artists/pavel-pepperstein/