Over the past few weeks, we’ve covered the remarkable story of a supervillain’s origin story as it’s developed in real time. Beginning on Bastille Day, an inventor, former jet-skiing champion, and French military reservist named Franky Zapata announced himself to the world by grabbing a rifle, mounting up on a hoverboard, and flying above the people of Paris like some great levitating sci-fi demon. More recently, he tried to cross the English Channel on his board, but fell into the ocean halfway across. We took solace in the fact that Zapata, like a number of continental armies throughout history, was unable to land on British soil on this previous attempt. And yet yesterday, he made the flight again and, god help us all, pulled off the crossing.
As Reuters reports, Zapata’s trip from Sangatte, France to Saint Margaret Bay, Britain took a little over 20 minutes. The mid-point refuelling process that caused the last attempt’s failure went well this time, allowing the world to see that, yes, people can now invade other nations on a hoverboard device that France’s armed forces minister previously told The Guardian could be used in future as “a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform.”
Zapata, perhaps cackling in front of a map of the world in his underground laboratory, is now poised to change the face of warfare forever. “Whether this is a historic event or not, I’m not the one to decide that,” he told Reuters after the flight, obviously hoping to downplay the horrific magnitude of his invention. “Time will tell.”
Future generations, hiding in scorched tall grass and covering their ears against the constant buzzing of enemy hovertroops who criss-cross the skies above them like rifle-toting hornets, will look back on this quote with understandable horror. We have done nothing to stop Zapata and the French military from their work. History will see us as failures, too quick to say, “Oh, look how cool the hoverboard is!” while the French Republic made its first, floating steps toward a new Empire. They will watch the Hoverbattle of Hoverwaterloo play out with shock and disgust, knowing that their predecessors idly dreamed of Back To The Future technology becoming real rather than face up to the storm clouds on the horizon.
Or maybe everything will be absolutely fine...until Zapata completes work on his next project, which, he has said, will be a goddamned flying car.
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