The crown jewel of the many inventions we introduced to Anomaly was that of manned flight. Well…at least one man… The hot air balloon we managed to cobble together was the biggest gamble we took in our run-up to the battle with Erebos. The risk was not with regards to it flying…the stitching would determine that…but for the time and manpower we took to do it. Every hand allocated to the balloon project was a hand not used to build more of the “traditional” weapons these warriors could easily grasp. If not for Jon’s order and Caderyn’s implicit faith in him, I don’t think we’d have been able to accomplish as much as we did. Perhaps more importantly was if we didn’t have the cooperation of all the races (in particular dry, flexible woods and massive animal pelts donated by the Moncs and Nolacs), this project would have failed.

The balloon was a smashing success, and all doubt melted away when we conducted our first flight test. I designed the balloon to comfortably carry up to four people and a small cache of explosives. I could not, however, convince a single member of The People to jump into the steering carriage with me on any subsequent tests. Only a Bloksus by the name of Rhitom (pronounced ree-tom) expressed any enthusiasm to do so, but the density of their bodies belies their size…and weight… Only a Gigantus would have made a more absurd passenger.

The hot air balloon was constructed from thin, but strong pieces of the softest leather available. Each piece was stitched to the next with a finer version of the same fiber the Moncs use for their rope ladders. A waterproofing agent, remarkable in that it does not affect material pliability after drying, was provided by the Teana. It did not make much sense that the denizens of Anomaly’s hottest deserts would have such an effective proofing agent. The Teana rightly pointed out the weather changes were equally dramatic to the heat where they came from, so why would they not have such a material?

The balloon is approximately 12 meters in length and provides ample lift for its designated cargo of people and materials. It’s propelled forward using a man-powered fan belt driving propellers to the rear and steered with a basic rudder system. It’s admittedly a cartoonish bicycle-and-propeller setup… Cartoonish, yes, but no less effective. In neutral wind currents and a healthy warrior peddling, I estimate we can do slightly north of three meters per second. Considerably faster with a tailwind… I’ve asked Jon to keep this in mind as he chose where we would make our final stand. He promised to take full advantage of our air “supremacy.”