- "MIND THE GAP. HA. HA. HA."
- ―Mr.DART's helpful commentary
The first invitation went out in 2177; hover robots went out across Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas; broadcasting the location of the event, the rules, and the prospective prize. The rules were as follows:
- Only unpowered flying devices could be used.
- Only one person to a flying device.
- Flying machines can be of any weight and made of any materials.
- Pilots can bring whatever they can carry along with them.
- The course will be marked by red flags, whichever pilot that claims the final flag is the winner.
- No holds barred.
The prize as stated by the automatic invitation was whatever or whomever you desire. As the invitation spread further by word of mouth this frequently was interpreted to mean water, chems, ammunition, slaves, or more exotic things like power armor or the keys to a Vault. Ambitious and adventurous souls set off for Four Seasons, hauling plans and materials; planning to build their gliders and wings in the ruins.
The prospective flyers had to brave the dangers of the wasteland and the horrors of Four Seasons to get to the shattered Bank of America Plaza, but as they drew near an honor guard of hover robots saw them safely the rest of the way. In the groaning, shadowed shelter of the old bank tower; the participants finalized their devices before the race was to begin. They made camp and got acquainted, formed cliques and rivalries in the short time they had. At the appointed hour a Mister Handy flanked by hover robots came to start and officiate the race. Introducing itself as Mr.DART, the robot reiterated the rules and randomly selected starting positions for the racers.
2177-The First Race
- "HOW ABOUT A MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR THESE MARTYRS OF AVIATION. ·(beat)· HA. HA. HA."
The first race was charitably called a "complete clusterfuck," by the survivors. Aviation being what it is in the wasteland, as soon as the race began; many participants jumped into the air and plummeted like stones when their gliders proved too heavy or otherwise ill-conceived. Several other racers face planted into ruins or crashed through windows, unpracticed as they were. Of those that remained proceeded to kill each other, either with weapons they had brought with them, or by herding rivals into obstacles. Throughout it all they endured the harsh, grating commentary of Mr.DART which came from all around and who seemed to delight more in the failures than the triumphs.
In the end, out of the thirty or so participants there were seven survivors in addition to the victor. Mr.DART had the losers escorted towards the edge of Dallas while it conferred with the winner, Zed Four-Eyes of Texas. Zed pondered his myriad options, he could ask for any one thing after all. He decided to opt for a "wishing for more wishes," approach and asked for a life of luxury. Mr.DART asked for clarification and Zed obliged with "That means I want all the fresh, radiation-free food, water, and liquor I can put away in comfortable digs while wearing comfortable threads."
Noting that his definition did not mention any kind of duration, he had Zed escorted to the House of Tomorrow where he enthusiastically lived out his remaining days in splendor before vanishing completely. In his passing, a shiny, new Eames Lounge Chair was added to the house.
- Zed Four-Eyes: A self-taught engineer known for being a know-it-all with thick glasses; Zed actually ran extensive experiments in aerodynamics prior to the race before settling on an arrow shaped glider made from aluminum and a silky, thermoplastic material not unlike nylon. He opted to compete without weaponry, and managed to just squeak out a victory with only minor injuries.
- Galen Travers, a pillar of Weatherford's community, was one of only three Ghouls to participate in the first Bird Man Races, and he was one of the only eight survivors. He vowed never to return to the competitions. His contraption was a Texas Rattler hide, tanned and stretched. Kevlar was interspersed and bungee cords supported Galen. Galen may very well have won the race, but several competitors conspired to corral him into a building and Galen smashed against one, crippling his wings and ending his chance at victory.
2178-The Second Race
- "I LIKE TO THINK OF THIS AS A CELEBRATION OF HUGH-MON MASTERY OF GRAVITY. HA. HA. HA."
The second race had less of a false start, with many of the racers' design proving more plausible. There was still a great gap in piloting experience however, and many participants collided into each other unintentionally or smashed into walls. A lucky few were simply forced to land early (with varying degrees of success and injury) and were more or less disqualified. The victor of this race and their prize is not yet known.
- Jonaco Wilders: A nomad who spent his time traveling along the highways of Arkansas. As he heard stories of robots spreading messages that promised the winner to choose whatever they wanted, he decided to take the chance. So he grabbed his meager belongings and a sufficient quantity of booze and set off towards Four Seasons. Along the way he collected different kinds of materials to craft something of which he thought was a glider, which eventually ended up as a couple of sticks with a large bedsheet tied between them, resembling more of a parachute then a glider. When he arrived in Dallas, he encountered a couple of robots who guided him to the building with the starting line, along with several other competitors. When the race commenced, Jonaco took his 'glider' and jumped into the abyss. After the initial few seconds, he was overjoyed to see that he hadn't plummeted to the ground, but that he instead was gently descending back to the streets. But when a strong gust of wind hit him, he lost grip of one of the sticks and lost control before he violently crashed into a window and died.
Jonaco was contributed by Seqeu0.
2179-The Final Race
- "SUDDEN DEVELOPMENT: TODAY THE PART OF THE FINAL FLAG WILL BE PLAYED BY A TRIO OF SB-XXXX SERIES SENTRY BOTS WITH THE GATLING LASER SUITE AND IFF CALIBRATED TO EXTERMINATE ALL HUGH-MONS. MANAGEMENT APOLOGIZES FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE. HA. HA. HA."
- ―Mr.DART ends the race early.
The third race started off even better than the last. A small glider subculture had sprung up due to the previous races, and the members of that far-flung clique had refined their designs further. Unlike the previous races, there were no immediate fatalities from the starting point, and fewer accidental collisions. Mr.DART didn't care for this development at all. During the final stretch of the race, it sent robots to the finish line to shoot down all the participants on their approach. All the racers who had survived to that point were cruelly shot out of the sky in a torrent of laser fire and missiles.
- November Skyler: A VooDoo addicted fiend living just outside the borders of Four Seasons, November originally attempted to salvage one of the hover robots that Mr. DART sent out into the Wastes in an attempt to get more VooDoo. However, upon hearing the robots message about the race and the promise of whatever or whomever you desire if you win the race; November's drug addled brain was set into motion. As rumor spread as he entered Four Seasons to take part in the race, he heard the word 'Bird Man' races. Taking the two words and forming an idea out of it, he sprinted to the nearest store and sold whatever he could afford to lose for as much feathers and duck-tape as he could afford. Taking the supplies with him as he was ushered into Bank of America Plaza; he felt (as the other racers made their various gliders from whatever they could) that his plan was foolproof, considering that he spent most of the time high on VooDoo and running around in circles flapping his arms in an attempt to become a birdman. The day of the race, November taped the feathers of various wasteland birds to his arms and joined the other racers on the tallest building around. As he took a running leap off the building, and when him flapping his arms like a bird began to fall and him plummet to the ground, November managed to make history (both by being the stupidest contestant in the Bird Man Races to date) and to figure out that Mr. DART was actually an AI.
November was contributed by Hench.
After the third race, no further invitations were sent out and most of the small gliding subculture had been wiped out. A few people came by in subsequent years to see if there was a race but either left disappointed or succumbed to the dangers of Four Seasons.