Trailer for Daedalus the first story in The SWIC Daedalus Files.
Using a new Gryphon-7 hard-shell wingsuit, Tiger Baily, irreverent member of the Navy SEALS Winged Insertion Command, makes a harrowing first experimental base jump from the edge of Space, the Fred Noonan Skyport 80,000 meters above Jarvis Island in the Equatorial Pacific. Tiger’s target, which he must reach to survive, is Kiritimati Island, a tiny isolated atoll 379 km northeast of Jarvis over ever-threatening and oh-so-deep ocean waters.
A strange thing happened to me while reading Robert G. Williscroft’s story Daedalus: I felt it hard to believe it was fiction. Earlier, I had read his novel Slingshot about the world’s first Space Launch Loop, and since Daedalus follows it, I should have known it was fiction. Still, this hard science-fiction tale is told with such vivid, realistic, sometimes visceral detail and moment-by-moment suspense that I almost completely lost myself in it. When I finished the story, I felt I had shared Derek “Tiger” Baily’s harrowing flight in his Gryphon-7 wingsuit.
Why is Derek risking his life? Simple: they need to test the limits of Gryphon-7, which is “an extremely new kind of weapon, or perhaps delivery system.” Carried above by the Space Loop, he falls in his full-body, fuel-supplied spacesuit 80,000 meters toward the Earth. He is a true pioneer, the first to attempt this journey, and there are unexpected surprises and dangers along the way. Don’t miss the ride!
Daedalus is a well-crafted account of a daring flyboy's test jump from a 50-mile-high perch above Earth—kudos to Williscroft for making the details of this future-tech so believable. This story reads more like a memoir than science fiction, which adds to its immediacy and credibility. For the brilliance of the science alone, I recommend this short read.
How about a free fall from a spot 80,000 meters above the world. Tiger hangs ready for the jump of a lifetime but this courageous man is one of a kind. That's why he was recruited to test Gryphon-7. A suit with wings and a jet pack which can make the user literally fly.
This story is an adrenaline junkies' guide to the ultimate ride. An excitement that can't be denied as the author brings Tiger to life to live in the dangerous life that makes the rest of us civies so safe.
Science history is full of inventions inspired by the science fiction of Jules Verne, HG Wells, and Star Trek. Robert Williscroft’s stories fire my imagination in the same way. I enjoyed this short story for all the reasons that I love this author’s work: full of real science described in such detail that I can picture this world, feel this world, and lose myself in it. The story follows Derek Baily, a wingsuit adrenaline junky whom you’d normally read about in Outside Magazine. He was recruited by the military to test out its military-grade wingsuit called the Gryphon-7, which is faster and more efficient. The wingsuit is described in detail: the material, the design, its performance numbers in speed, altitude, and glide ratio, all these things that engineering nerds love in their hardcore, science-based fiction. It was fascinating. The story culminates with a test jump from a space launch loop, an elevator the lifts people and material into low-earth orbit for easier launch into space and which was the subject of the author’s earlier novel Slingshot. If you’re a fan of that novel, you will enjoy this side story. The author does what he does best in building a realistic future world of real science and engineering that inspires me to think of what is possible.
Afraid of Heights? Then you won’t make it as a member of SEALS Winged Insertion Command.
For a once in a lifetime thrill, follow the thoughts and actions of Derek “Tiger” Bailey, most adept member of Second Platoon, First Squad as he wrings out the details of making a wingsuit jump from a platform eighty kilometers (fifty miles) above Jarvis Island on the Equator in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Tiger Bailey reached that platform using the “Slingshot” space portal system described in Robert G. Williscroft’s richly detailed series of hard science fiction novels, The Starchild Trilogy. But rather than launch into space from the Fred Noonan Skyport, Tiger Bailey attempts a 236 mile traverse over the ever threatening and oh so deep ocean waters. This is what SEALs do, test new means of surreptitiously inserting themselves into combat zones.
While the beginning and middle of Williscroft’s short story is mesmerizing, the fifty mile high drop and long distance transit will have you holding your breath.
Much to Williscroft’s credit, the physics and dynamics of Tiger’s record breaking flight seem spot on.
This story won’t take you long to read, but I promise you’ll keep thinking about it for a long time.
Copyright © 2023 Author Robert G. Williscroft - All Rights Reserved.
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