The Enemy of the Good (eideteker) wrote,
The Enemy of the Good

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Flying High Again

Last night, I crossed another kind of flight off my lucid dreaming checklist. I've done a bird-like flight, complete with flapping arms and surging up and down (the bigger the wings, the more upward thrust with each beat). I've also done a kind of levitation flying, standing upright like the Martian Manhunter. I've done more of a hovering flight, almost wafting like a ghost. I've also done the classical Superman flight. And while not exactly flying, in the category of "movement through the air" I've done Spider-Man-style webslinging and Nightcrawler-ish teleportation. So a lot of people think of flying in a dream as one thing and one thing only, when it's way more subtle and varied than that. Let's face it, only one kind of flight is boring.

This morning, it was Human Torch time. I was running into battle with this giant, multi-stage, metal dragon-tank (it was almost more like a dinosaur in length). Multi-stage meaning you would destroy one part of it (the fire-breathing head, let's say) that was attacking, and then it would shed the wreckage of that part to reveal missile launchers or lasers and so on. Very frustrating. So I was running into battle when suddenly I felt lighter. Then my feet weren't touching the ground, and I was on fire. I was now sort of floating, like an ember. See, whereas Superman's flight is more of a magical flight (despite having evolved from his original leaping ability), the HT's flight is very much physics-based. He floats, due to being lighter than air (he's basically a combustion reaction once he flames on), but it's hardly flying. You have to turn up the intensity in your feet to the point they act as a jet. I imagine it's theoretically possible for him to fly ass-backwards by making his head the jet, but that would be almost as stupid as making himself fly in a seated fashion by way of a large jet of flame emerging from his ass (note to self: future dream material). So you just float there, gradually losing momentum from your run, until you figure out what's going on. And then, just like Johnny Storm, your first reaction is to utter some variant of "COOL!" and take off at maximum velocity.

Gaining altitude is easy. Maneuvering, not so much. Superman just turns and looks where he wants to go. The Torch has to bring his feet around. Think of it like the difference between front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive. Except here, Johnny's more prone to understeer. Which is why he spends more time practicing flight than just about any superhero I know. Because he's actually changing local flame temperature at various points on his body. No wonder he can only fly for limited periods; never mind his flame "running out," he's got to have the concentration and focus of a helicopter pilot. More so when he flames off his arms to pick someone up, because now not only is he working with less flame surface and more weight, he's also got to keep track of which parts he can and can't flame up.

You know I love complexity. This is probably, if not my favorite, the most interesting kind of flight I've ever undertaken in a dream. All the while I was learning to fly again, I was also throwing superhot fireballs at the joints on this chrome juggernaut. I was aiming for the joints between the battle-chasis and the moving undercarriage, since the whole thing was just about plowing through a school. And, of course, as a novice, I had absolutely no warning when my flame was depleted; leaving me plunging towards the asphalt below, hoping I could muster enough residual heat so that I'd be light enough that the impact wouldn't injure me seriously. I was midway through a vertical jack-knife 180° when it happened, so I was basically at zero horizontal velocity. I just fell straight down onto my back (no Mr. Fantastic to catch me). If I'd been travelling sideways, I'd have had abrasion damage to deal with (skidding across concrete), even after the flame mitigated the intensity of the impact. My subconscious is pretty exacting when it comes to physics, eh?

I survived the fall without breaking anything. Then, since I was apparently travelling with blackacre when our train broke down and this was her hometown, we went to hang out with her extended family (not her actual extended family, whom I've never met) and everyone talked about the attack on the school while I recuperated.

The world really needs a lucid-dreaming superhero. I'm thinking there's a guy who's waking and sleeping selves are reversed. And this guy is a lucid dreamer. So while waking, he can do anything he could do while dreaming but only while he maintains lucidity (which, as you may know, is usually a very short time). It could be an interesting meditation on intentional living and mindfulness, as well.
Tags: story ideas

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