Concept admittedly stolen. (A vacuum cleaner singing "Saint James Infirmary" was in it.)
Hi! I'm Jim, a six-foot-six long drink of water with a shock of sandy blonde hair and medium blue eyes. When I turn sideways I disappear. Thin, you know? I've got big hands and feet. I can't play an instrument but the keyboard loves me. I have a stone ranch-style house just outside Cincinnati Ohio. I make a buck or two and have fun with programming.
Besides that I'm an inventor. A strange inventor, mind you, but an inventor. You see, when I'm sitting around the house cleaning, reading, cooking, whatever I'm a pretty normal kind of guy. However, let me get a snoot full and something switches on. Part of me knows enough physics, chemistry, electronics, biochemistry and engineering to be reeeealy dangerous.
A few years ago I was looking around my incredibly filthy place and realized that I hated housework. That was at about the third beer. After the eighth everything kind of turned off. I woke up to the sound of an old Electrolux canister vacuum tootling its way around the place cleaning anything that didn't move. A big box on the top of it had a camera, some circuit boards and an articulated arm with a claw on the end. The whole shebang had a big 12-volt battery on the back. Damn. I had a maid. It wasn't much to look at in the T&A department, but what the hell ... That was the beginning. The first time my big brother woke up.
Last year I got stinking drunk thinking that I really needed a boost to the bank account—something that would pay and pay, but had no idea where to go. Two bottles of tequila later I woke up with NO HANGOVER and a little fanny pack quietly humming away perched on my belly. I tried to pick it up but two spots on my belly hurt and tugged. The thing blinked a red light and buzzed at me. I thought for a minute. No hangover. Machine hooked to me. Fanny pack dialysis unit! After a while it gave me a green light and a light 'ping' noise while I felt something pull out of my belly. I picked it up and looked down. Two little marks on either side of my belly button were all that showed where it bit me. Hmm. This could be lucrative as hell, but medical trials were notoriously time consuming. I looked over the papers that had accumulated on my kitchen table while inhaling my first coffee of the day. I found a few letters from the DOD talking about approval trials and another discussing a six million dollar right-to-manufacture with a 50 dollar per unit payout. Another sheet gave me the specs that were sent to Uncle Sugar's procurement department. Hmm. Five year expected life, less than two thousand bucks to produce and support over five years with a filter module replaced weekly. Not bad, Jim2! Not bad!
Within a month the bank account was very healthy indeed. Within six months the DOD trials had undercut the FDA's approval process and Sandoval wanted in on the action. No problem! I asked for twice what Uncle Sugar paid and they cashed out without a qualm. Damn. I undersold myself.
I found out that the thing was good for renal failure, diabetic maintenance, heavy metal and organic toxin filtering and some cases of poisoning, such as methanol and ethanol. No wonder they were salivating to get manufacturing rights.
I'm bored. I tried getting a date or two, but when you've got to pin your ears back to walk in a wind storm and it looks like you suckled on the ugly stick as a kid you're kinda outa luck. I wasn't about to try a Japanese sex bot. Not only on the principle of the thing, but they just lay there, like a wife with a wedding ring and a hysterectomy. Fuck it. I went on a monumental tear.
I woke up some weeks later (I must have kept drinking, using the dialysis unit to detox occasionally.) someplace completely different. I was in what looked like a huge tube with a bed, table and recliner. It was nicely finished with gorgeous iridescent tiger-eye maple wood paneling and all, but it was a tube. I looked out an oval window and saw an airport. Now what the fuck? I got up, hit the bathroom for the morning necessaries and un-dogged the hatch where it said 'exit'. The ramp dropped and I climbed down to the concourse. When I turned around I saw the damnedest thing I'd ever seen. It was the fuselage of a jet with no wings or tail section—just little swept —back winglets with little pods on the ends. It wasn't on wheels, either. It was sitting on faired pods that looked like they had been engineered for low wind drag. I walked around the thing. It had "Jim's Ride" painted under the captain's window with "X-56577-CITX" written underneath. Shit, it was a beautiful thing as a static display but I couldn't figure out how it would move anywhere.
I climbed up the stairs, closed and dogged the hatch. To my right was the door to the cockpit. I turned the handle and slowly opened the door.
Holy shit. It looked like a Christmas tree had thrown up all over the walls and front console. Instead of the familiar two-handed yoke between the pilot's legs there were two armrests with a joystick on one and a centered slider on the other, backed up with a dial. In the captain's (left) chair was a thick folder. I picked it up and walked back to the recliner where I sat and began to read.
We now own most of a Cessna Citation X that started out with a crushed tail section and collapsed landing gear. The insurance paid off all but a million on the jet after a containerized cargo module fell on it and we picked it up for a million two. It has the fully upgraded Citation avionics package. The airframe has been strengthened and signed off on. Four fixed landing pods were attached to the strengthened frame, along with the raked winglets.
The pods on the winglets produce vertical or lateral thrust on demand from the captain's console. The fuselage has been shortened and most of the luggage compartment now contains nitrogen for atmosphere as well as oxygen and hydrogen fuel dewars. The hydraulics and controls have been removed that would control the wing and tail surfaces. The normal fuel and engine gauges, alerts and controls have been removed and replaced with minimal controls that monitor and control an electric generator driven by an Oxy-Hydrogen engine that charges a bank of batteries. The water is recovered for personal use. Everything runs on 48 volts DC but the TV, stove and microwave. There is a catalytic H2O cracking facility in the rear stowage to use when fuel is needed. There are two banks of hydrogen fuel cells to use in an emergency. The manuals are in a cabinet near the recliner. You'll find that you already know them and a quick review will bring everything to you. You need to take flight school and get certified for VFR (visual flight rating), IFR (instrument flight rating), how to plot and file a flight plan, how to use the radios properly, tower protocol and general aircraft behavior.
The performance of our little toy is pretty formidable. I quit pushing when I lifted straight up at 4.2 G. Since it isn't held up by wings mach quenching can't hurt it now. Once it gets above about mach 7 you start to get surface heating, but not much. In upper atmosphere it's been to mach 27. Yes, it's been in orbit. We could make a lot of money as an earth-to-orbit lifter, but a lot of things would have to be strapped down! I almost lost the booze! I had to install a pump and one way valve on the shower drain too. It was quite a little mess.
It took about eight mil to bring it to spec.
The fuel tanks are full and last about seven months at load by my calculation. There's an apartment just off the field with our name on it and a little runabout is parked near the 'tail'. All the info on the apartment and training is on the front seat of the car.
The rest was receipts and accounting. He'd sold the house! I shrugged. What the hell—I wasn't attached to much there but my clothes and computer --it was fastened to the table in front of me and my clothes were hung up in the closet.
Well. I'd better get fed and start reading! I was bored before. Hell, I sure wasn't now! I headed for the airport restaurant and tucked into dinner then talked to the pretty lady that scheduled classes. I was already paid up and scheduled—I just needed to get my hands on my copy of the schedule and textbook requirements.
Two weeks later I was flying. I could read a weather map and was getting a handle on flight plans, restricted air space, flight levels and tower chatter. I was having trouble with runways and taxiways but I'd get better. Everything that I tried felt natural. Everything was where I expected it to be on the console. My lips twitched a little when the instructor went over GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight), fuel loading, runway length and takeoff temperature behavior as 'my ride' ignored all that. I would solo next week. I needed a bunch of hours before I could take IFR classes.
Once I got my ticket I took a six-month lease on a Cessna Skyhawk that had just had its annual inspection. I checked my account balance and grabbed my passport, then packed an over-nighter. It was time to fly.
I flew all over hell—I touched down and toured every city in the US worth touching (OK, in my opinion, all right?) and got used to most of the airports. I didn't have the range to hit Hawaii but I did spend some time in Alaska. I kept scrupulous notes in my flight log as to my air hours. I went back to Cincinnati every few months to top off the dewars using land-line power. The day-to-day power demands were met by the umbilical near my plane's tie-down--I just had to worry about boil-off from the dewars. I had the black water tank flushed and the water tank flushed every month.
.... There is more of this story ...