The flickering neon of the city below played against the moonlight through the prismatic plates of the dome that covered the sky over Karachkina. Rain was due in the weather cycle and the climod stacks were geysering water vapor and particulate nutrients for cloud formation. There were still a few hours before the fat drops condensing on the dome glass would start to fall, and even then there was no risk of lightning. Myrlande and Ivalu didn’t even consider it.
For as different as the two girls looked superficially—Myrlande was taller than all the boys their age and had a permanent smile, braided hair, and skin the color of the rich soil of Old Earth, whereas Ivalu, with her long, straight hair and rosy cheeks that flushed whenever her name was spoken, was yet to hit her growth spurt and had a face that always made strangers ask, “What’s wrong?” when nothing was wrong—but they shared all the things that mattered: an inventive spirit, a thrill-seeking nature, a cleverness beyond their years, and an obsession with mostly-harmless mischief. They stood three kilometers in the air atop Zijun Tower with their contraption, feeling awe when they rightly should have felt fear.
They called it a kite, but they really had no concept of what that meant. This was no child’s toy. In truth, they’d built something much closer to a tandem hang glider without any of the safety features.
“We can see the whole conurbation from up here,” exclaimed Ivalu.
“Imagine how it will look from over there!” Myrlande pointed dead ahead into the open sky.
“Are you ready?”
Myrlande only giggled and grinned.
At the same time they both yelled, “Threetwoonego!” as fast as they could, and they were both running before go.
Their legs kept running but there was nothing else below their feet. The nose of the glider dipped terrifyingly for a moment before an updraft leveled them out, and they wailed with delight. They spiraled over the tops of modified redwoods that formed a shadow city beside Karachkina, soared through vapor clouds, and came dangerously close to kissing the glass of the dome’s side walls several times. If anyone caught them they’d be in so much trouble, but they never seemed to get caught. They didn’t have a care in the universe. They were alone in their bubble where they were all that mattered.