"Remember, DO NOT FLAP," the technician reminded her above the engine noise of the Flight Machine. "This pack has its own glider-wings, and any flapping on your part will disrupt the steering mechanisms and put you in the ocean!"
"Understood!" T'reka chirped.
"We're going to drop you in five."
The doors beneath the pack that held her in straps dropped away.
The Flight Machine jumped away from her and wind rushed in her ears.
T'reka fought the urge to flap by increasing her grip on the shoulder straps and sinking her toe-talons into the canvas of the pack. She made her analytical mind take over for the descent.
The Flying Engine's rapid ascent was an illusion caused by the pack's bulk and apparent solidity in a rapidly-changing environment.
The apparently-ascending ground should not terrify and, though she felt the urge to slow her descent, she knew she must not.
The pack's own wing should be deploying any moment now.
Any moment… now!
She fought terror by attempting to analyse the geography of her soon-to-be home.
If they didn't deploy the wing, this would be a really expensive way of killing her…
Another falling pack, apparently far below, grew a giant, multicoloured envelope that slowed its descent and shot past her and her pack.
T'reka squawked as the pack's wing opened up and slowed her down.
Once again, the earlier pack was in the lead, and steering towards a sandy cove She, too, felt like she was sailing towards that destination without any input on her part.
The urge to spread her wings and assist was powerful, even now.
T'reka increased her grip on the straps and forced herself to sing a relaxing song. Shutting her eyes made her more anxious about the inevitable impact, so she kept her eyes open and attempted to catalogue what she observed as she sang.
Naturally, the lyrics and her self-appointed purpose mixed into a jumble unrecognisable as either, and by the time she realised that, the pack, the envelope-wing, and herself had come to rest next to the first on the dry, soft sand.
T'reka allowed her grip to relax and counted the packs, each as big as her little flat, back in the city.
There should be five.
One. Two. Three. Four…
The fifth descended on its own wing and sank slightly into the sands.
T'reka breathed out.
Now she could unlatch herself from the middle pack and begin the task of settling in. Her wing-fingers trembled and, when she leaped for the sand, her arms flapped harder than she really needed to.
The sand was hot. The jungle thick. The air full of unidentified insects.
And there was not another living soul for Flights.
T'reka found the pocket with the heavy instruction manual and looked up the directions on what to do with the very obvious packs surrounding her on the beach.