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What most people don’t know is that he’s not just down in the bore with a powder charge. It’d shred him, for one thing, and he wouldn’t go particularly far. Instead, he sits in a concave dish, which will be caught by the tapered rim and transfer its momentum to him on the way out.

Kirby adjusts his cape, making sure it’s not caught under his feet, and checks the helmet strap. It’s just about boomtime. The quiet three-beep countdown begins; he flexes his knees, gets his tongue out of his teeth and prepares his bowels for the majesty of flight.