On the roof of a deserted office building, late at night, a stairwell entrance cracked open, spilling forth a burning orange glow. From it came a loose mob of men, dressed all alike in dark clothes; in their center was a struggling figure, bound and gagged. Holographic tattoos shone faintly from his exposed chest; writhing chains on a shoulder, a burning heart above his own. The other men kicked and spat at him as they hauled him to the edge of the roof.
Once there, they paused; two of them stayed with the captive to hold him, while the other six drew back. One spoke: "As we have previously established, the captive, a sailor from the freighter Her Grace Is Generous, has proven his inadequacy for the tasks of adult life through his acts of sexual deviancy earlier tonight. He will now be sentenced to Trial by Manhood - "
The captive, who had been working vigorously while the other man spoke, managed to spit out his gag. "You fookin' freaks, I'm not from your fookin' cuckoo-cuckoo land!" he swore, spitting as he spoke. "Your fookin' local customs can't hold me! I have the right to fook who I want, whatever your fookin' laws say against it, you fookin' fairies!"
The leader of his captors seemed unimpressed. "Begin the Trial," he instructed.
"I'm not one of you!" the sailor shouted desperately. "You can't force me to act like you - "
The two men holding him heaved and pushed. The sailor, arms and legs still tightly bound, tumbled over the edge of the building.
The other six dark-clad men walked forward, peering over the edge of the building. "Does it look like he spontaneously sprouted sparkly, diaphanous wings from his back, miraculously saving him from otherwise certain death?" one asked another.
The one queried peered down. "Doesn't look like it," he said with mock sadness in his voice.
"You can't say we weren't generous," the first speaker said. "With most people sentenced to a Trial by Manhood, we toss them off a three-story building; maybe four stories, tops. Here, we gave him the luxury of a ten-story fall!"
"Very kind of us," the leader agreed.
"And he certainly hadn't proved himself any kind of mature, responsible adult, otherwise," the first speaker continued. "After all - would a true adult, a worthy citizen of any civilization, rape and kill a teenage boy on his first night of shore leave?"
The assembled company shook their heads silently.
"All right," the leader said. "Enough of this. We'll report it to the Embassy in the morning. Right now, let's head back to the station and call it a night."
En masse, the eight policemen gathered on that darkened roof leapt off the edge - fell ever-more-swiftly downwards, the cold wind air rushing past their faces - and, midway down, spread their wings.