They said he was mad.
Well, they were right, of course.
He was completely out of his mind.
But he had an idea that wouldn’t go away. He had spent months dreaming of the project, gathering the parts he needed in his junkyard. Nobody wanted to help him, everybody said he was mad for trying. It was bizarre and impossible.
But he was determined.
He wanted to be a cloud farmer.
In retrospect, he knew the odds were against him.
But he was here now.
The utter joy he had felt as his homemade cloud harvester craft hovered had been uplifting, the anti-gravity disks engaging with a stuttering hum. The thrusters had coughed and roared and pushed him up as he rode on the back like he was on a hover-bike. He had had to eliminate certain comforts, like protection from the elements; there was no cockpit canopy, just the box of controls, handlebars for steering, and a reasonably comfortable chair.
The rickety thing coughed as it raced into the grey sky forming above the island of Pulau Pemping, smoke pouring from the exhaust where some of the gases had caught fire.
Most of the island could see him as easily as they could see Singapore on the horizon, an impossible forest of grey rising into the sky.
He whooped with joy as he raced into the dark clouds.
This would be his lifelong triumph.
He would be remembered for decades by everybody on the island.
The clouds misted up his goggles, but he was going flat now, his speed at a nice 329km/h, a little over the optimal speed, but still within the margin. The information flashed across the inside of said goggles in clear emerald writing.
He pulled the lever to his right, opening up the collection vanes. The tarpaulin-like surfaces folded out to look like dragon wings. They had already collected the fresh cloud-vapour, roiling over and around the craft. The extractor whirred, drawing it in to the tanks.
It was working!
It was actually working!
“Holy Jancuk, I did it!”
He threw his head back, and threw his middle finger up at the sky above, and then down at the cloud-obscured island far below.
He frowned as something fiery dropped down ahead of him, a blur of orange in the clouds, hidden from view. More of it fell past him, giving him only glimpses of fire and something that looked a lot like metal.
A roaring drew his attention above him.
He looked up.
The clouds were parting before something massive.
He had only a few seconds to realise just how insane he was to be up in the air in the first place before the remains of Eagle Station engulfed him and his bizarre bird-like craft, vaporising him instantly. The station slammed into Pulau Pemping moments later.