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Out of Nowhere by Patrick LeClerc.
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Helping Out

by Meghashri Dalvi

"I think you can help me." The polite voice had a distinct European accent.

I looked up from my lab desk. A fair young person stared nervously at me. He was dressed oddly, but still had a genuine air about him.

"I am no agony-aunt to help you with your problem." I barked. "How did you get in?"

He was obviously puzzled with agony-aunt bit. But his pleasant smile did not go away.

"I mean... I have a technical problem." He tried to explain. With an old-world charm.

"What technical problem?" I roared. "I am no help-desk person either."

He was definitely more puzzled with the help-desk bit. Yet he managed to remain calm.

"You are a scientist… er…researcher... metallurgical expert. Aren't you?"

"So I am." I was still pitched high.

"I think you have developed a new alloy. Maybe I can - "

“Now you are talking my language." My voice came down a little. "What do you want to do with it? "

“This alloy is light, can withstand high temperature, and can be easily molded. Am I right?"

"Yes you are. But where did you get all that from?" Now I was puzzled.

He gave a mysterious smile.

"This is exactly what I want. You see, here is the basic design I made. But I had a problem with the material. I tried a number of materials, some were heavy, some were rigid. But mostly they all melted."

"Melted? What temperature did you try?"

"High. Very very high. In fact very close to the temperature of the Sun."

He produced something from an archaic bag. "Look here, please. The shape is important. It must be rightly molded. But the temperature - it has to withstand the temperature…"

I was stupefied by what he was showing.

Icarus was presenting me the design of his wings.


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