Hanger Babies

The saying goes, “If the wifi doesn’t work at one Panera, go west young–er, old girl.”  Which is exactly what I’m doing this morning.  I ventured out and headed west over our now ice-laden river, and ended up at a location where the wifi is letting me.  Maybe I’ll try the other Panera next weekend, but for now I have found another home to call my own.

Where am I in the story?  Out of the ready room and into the hanger–or, if you prefer normal building designations, off the first floor and down to the ground floor.  And why hanger?  Call sign for the Flight School is “Carrier,” and as Annie was told, if you think of the building in that sense, then all the “aircraft” are gonna be kept in the hanger.

Vicky is showing the goods.  The students have seen a whole lot of storage cabinets with a whole lot of things inside them, and Professor Salomon is proud of the program she’s put together.  Now it’s time for her to give you a lesson, so sit back while I let her speak:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

The students parted as she waded into the group once more. “What are we going to do? We’re going to fly. But how? Let me show you.” Vicky placed her hand behind her butt like she was reaching for something; a second later her hand appeared holding a long metal pole that appeared from out of thin air. She allowed a few of the students their gasps of surprise before moving ahead with the lesson. “This is my baby.” Vicky held the simple pole with an oval piece of metal at one end in front of her for the students to see. “She is a Qunkat Mark III, and I’ve had her since they started making these in 1995. They stopped making the Mark IIIs in 2003, but on the professional circuits you’ll still see these going head-to-head with the Mark IV and Vs. They are that good, especially if you’ve made a few mods to them—as I have to this one.”

She slowly lowered the broom to her side. “What makes these fly? Originally PAVs were brooms, because it was easy to enchant the wood and get them to hold a charge.” She waved off questions. “Wednesday will go into that more tomorrow. What you need to know is if you want to fly a real broom, you can find on, enchant it, power it up, and take off on that sucker. You won’t have all the niceties of what we have here, but you can say you’re a honest-to-goodness witch on a honest-to-goodness broom.

“Once The Foundation got their hands on some real brooms and began to reverse engineer them, they figured out not only how to improve them, but how to keep them powered indefinitely. See, you can enchant a broom to get it fly, but if you don’t re-power the enchantment now and then, you might just find yourself plummeting to the ground when you least expect it. Not only that, but have you ever thought about sitting on a broom? Sure, you could use some magic to make them a bit more comfortable, but—” She shook her head. “Who wants a hunk of wood stuck in their crotch for a few minutes, much less a few hours?”

Vicky turned the rod around and held it in both hands. “The Class A PAV is a simple thing. A meter-seven long, made of carbon-carbon filament—” She placed a hand under the oval attachment at one end. “The processor keeps the enchantment charged through constant energy replenishment. And where does it get that?” She grinned as she looked upon her students. “Tell you in a minute.”

 

Vicky is a chatty one, isn’t she?  The important thing is in the construction of the world.  The PAVs are manufactured, constructed, crafted as a device to be used.  And yet there is something different about them:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Swinging her right leg over the hovering broom, Vicky positioned herself on the seat in one smooth, seamless move. She leaned forward and placed her hands on the PAV while her legs folded up and back under her, as if they were being held in place. She brought up the HUD before sitting up part ways, one hand still lightly touching the broom’s shaft. “As you can see, once you get used to learning how to pilot on of these, it’s a lot like riding a bike—only you’re usually floating around at a couple of hundred meters above the ground, so if you fall, it hurts a lot more.

“Now, that part about recharging the enchantment that keeps it flying . . .” She twisted around and laid her free hand against the oval metal attachment she’d called the processor. “Normally this will supply enough energy to keep the enchantment running for close to a day, and it also draws enough power on its own that if the enchantment is drained, it’ll power it back up after a good night’s sleep.

“But when some one is flying a PAV like this, the processor draw energy directly through the pilot. Why? Because the pilot—me, you, whomever is up here—can channel enormous amounts of mystical power—” Vicky waved off a couple of hands that popped up. “Wait until tomorrow, Wednesday will cover that . . .” She turned her body so she was facing forward again. “The pilot is the biggest source of power, and since the processor can pull energy from them, you literally find yourself in a position where you never need worry about your enchantment draining and causing your PAV to crash.”

There was mumbling from a few of the students. One of the girls from Australia, Loorea, chuckled. “The bloody thing is a vampire.”

“You’re not the first one to say that.” Vicky swung her right leg over the broom and sat side-saddle so she could look at Loorea. “That’s what a lot of people have called it over the years. And they’re right: it is taking something from you—only what it gives you in return is the ability to stay in the air and fly for as long as you’d like.”

 

Yes, sir, let that thing suck the power right from you.  What’s the worse that could happen?  Don’t worry:  that doesn’t occur.  You think I’d kill my kiddies off with a cheap stunt like that?  Don’t answer that.

There is also a rather nice scene I put together down here.  It’s sort of between Kerry and Annie, when the former has to pick out a broom for the later, ’cause she’s about to show the class how to fly one of these things.  What does he do?

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

He flipped open the one on the left, ‘cause being left handed he always followed what his creative right brain told him. The PAVs were on a carousal with left-right push buttons next to a digital counter just inside the door. The simple thing would have been to pick the broom right there in the front, but that was too easy. He started playing with numbers in his head. We first met on the twenty-seventh of August, so four days until the end of that month, and now it’s the fifth of September . . .

He hit the left button and saw the counter advance to the number two. He cycled through the carousal until the ninth broom came to the front, then stopped. He lifted it off the hanger expecting it to be heavier than it was: he figured it weighed no more than a couple of kilos.

Kerry returned with the broom and handed it to Annie with both hands. “Here you go, Sweetie: Number Nine Dream.”

Annie didn’t hear the snickers from a few of the students behind her. All she saw was Kerry offering here the broom, and all she heard was him calling her Sweetie. “Thank you.” She took the broom he offered, then turned and approached Professor Salomon. “I’m ready, Professor.”

 

Obviously Kerry’s been hanging around River Song far too much.

It didn’t seem as if I did a lot of writing yesterday, Part Three Chapter Sixbut once I figured in the total time putting words down on the electronic page, I ended up with a little over thirteen hundred words for the day.  I hope to finish out this scene today and move onto the last of Chapter Six, which may or may not be as long as this scene and the last.  As you can see in the picture to the right I’ve been a tad wordy with my flying shenanigans, and since the scene I’m in now is probably going to end up another two thousand words longer, I may just skip the last scene–or make is a lot shorter than what I have imagined.

Right now I’m closing in on seventy-five thousand words, and if I turn the end of Part Four as the end of Episode One of Book One (did you get all that?), I’m easily looking at over a hundred thousand works just for this opening part.  I’ve two more episodes to get my kids through the rest of their A Levels at the school–and they have five more years of education ahead of them.

Damn.  I’d say I got my work cut out for me.