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By Matthew Garcia-Dunn
Jondo was a Machina built for dancing. His steel boots had thrusters and chambers for what looked like some sort of nos-type accelerants. While Jondo mainly danced Flamenco, and sometimes Irish Riverdance, he was a Machina, which meant total mastery of any dance style was but an observation away. Like all of his kind, instantaneous learning was a trait.
Jet, on the other hand, only had his own pair of Sole-Screamer sneakers. They were his own design—something Sparkadia allowed a broke b-boy from a dying Earth. But seeing Jondo kick his heels to reload his accelerants, feeling the blistering heat of the Machina’s soles melt his own eyelashes, Jet might as well have been barefoot.
Technically the dance off was his idea, but Jondo was all too fast to accept the challenge.
Jet’s confidence was dripping out of his skin in long sweaty rivulets.
Jondo didn’t sweat at all.
From deep in his heart, Jet listened to the rhythm of Sparkadia and he remembered his first pair of FalconZ. A cool breeze whipped around his feet, forming a cushion of air. A tingling sensation started at his toes and traveled up to his head. He looked down. His Sole-Screamers shimmered out of existence, replaced by his old pair of FalconZ. The same pair he’d left behind on Earth.
The famous feather glowed like a light-up dance floor, like it was made of molten steel and freshly stamped onto the sneakers. Steam hissed from his heels as he nonchalantly kicked one of Jondo’s nos canisters off the dance floor. He stepped up, face to face with the Machina.
“That was alright,” Jet said. He should have been feeling the heat, the pressure, the eyes of the crowd, but he was cool. His sweat was nothing more than vapor. He grinned. “But clear off, it’s my turn.”
The rhythm of Sparkadia pounded in time with Jet’s heart. The beat took him over, and his feet carried him into the flow, into the zone. Out of time and space, and to a place where it was just Jet, his dance an ode to the FalconZ that won his heart.
No man nor Machina ever saw steps so precise, kicks so complex, or moves that busted the fundamental laws of physics until Jet threw down in front of Jondo.
In the end, the Machina conceded.
Whatever spirit overcame Jet that day, he danced like a man possessed—like a spark flaring into a star. It was beyond beast mode, which was a term his old street dance crew used when showering praise.
Everyone asked Jet to make them copies of his FalconZ that day, but he refused.
These were his, and his alone. His secret fire, his winged shoes, the birthright of his family, who always bought a pair every time they were retroed back on his Earth.
For all Jet knew, they were the last pair in existence.
They never left his feet again.