Melorder Fallaburr, the registered husband of Constance Ortuist Fallaburr, is a comparative flight historian, about to make his first unassisted flight from one of London's tall buildings.
Interviewer: "What number Melorder, is this building on your list?"
Melorder: "It's in the top twenty, but there's some trouble getting a permit to land."
Interviewer: "Is it high enough?"
Melorder: "It's a possibility, though the draughts are inauspicious. I don't want to end up in the Thames. I can't swim, even if I can fly."
Melorder's last words in English were recorded on a portable tape-recorder in a hotel bedroom at the Crane public house at Bungay, Suffolk, where Melorder was making a survey of East Anglian decoy air-fields for the Imperial War Museum.
Interviewer: "Your researches have surely told you that success has been very limited?"
Melorder: "We all know there has been a conspiracy. Only the failures have been recorded. We are all too interested in Icarus and not enough in his father."
Melorder had been employed as an official witness of the Violent Unknown Event, and because of what he saw, he had himself sterilised as a precaution against making his wife pregnant. He need not have worried, for it soon became apparent that a high proportion of those affected by the VUE, male and female alike, became sterile anyway. Melorder's brother-in-law, Rapper Begol, had flippantly remarked that a true VUE mutant could only satisfactorily reproduce itself with the aid of a placenta that had developed an egg-shell. Melorder and his wife rarely lived together after he had been sterilised.
Interviewer: "Is it true you were married in a DC10 flying over the Eiffel Tower?"
Melorder: "That was the intention. But by the time the chaplain recovered from air-sickness, we were over Les Invalides."
Interviewer: "Is your wife going to watch the flight?"
Melorder: "No. She said, 'Too much entertainment, and not enough research'."
Interviewer: "What about the timing?"
Melorder: "For the inaugural flight, I intend to use lights, so the most auspicious time would be in the evening, round about now. I'll make it down into the shadow of the building when the shadow is at its longest."
Interviewer: "That shadow is important to you?"
Melorder: "Consider the times it's rotated around this building. I was born down there. My mother started labour in that shadow, and had to wait until it came around again before she was finished."
When his duties as an official observer were over, Melorder had turned his attention to publishing an encyclopaedic History of Flight, and to the formation of an aircraft museum at Rishangles.
Interviewer: "It's been said that having started your life in the shadow, that's the way it's going to end for you?"
Melorder: "No, I can't help them out. I've no intention of fulfilling that particular forecast. Besides, if I fail it'll ruin your producers, the BFI. The Bird Facilities Investments might never film again."
The VUE had affected Melorder's sight for the better and his hearing for the worse, and the muscles along his arms, and across his chest and back had become enlarged, engorged and strengthened. His doctor referred to the phenomenon as 'patagium fellitis', or 'skin-wing aggrievement'. It was this useful characteristic that eventually persuaded Melorder that his historical and theoretical knowledge of human-flight should be put to practical use.
Interviewer: "I hear Armeror Fallstag has ordered you a wreath?"
Melorder: "He should save his money - I'm not dying by gravity. I'd rather be pecked to death by penguins."
The Falls Biographies
Constance Ortuist Fallaburr
Appis (Arris) Fallabus
Ipson & Pulat Fallari
Bird Gaspara Fallicutt
Sallis Pino Fallpinio
Erhaus Bewler Falluper