Today is a day in which I should have stayed in bed. I am tried, I’m still feeling depressed, and it’s gonna rain a lot today. But it can’t rain all the time, right? That last is probably truer than we can imagine, but around here we need rain like crazy, so it’s probably good it’s coming. Besides, it’s not like I was going anyway.
There are several things to talk about today. The first is what I did last night, which I got into because, dammit, I couldn’t bring myself to write. I actually have noted that I wrote three whole words yesterday. Three whole words. Just like what I just wrote. I wanted to write but nothing was coming out, so I said to hell with it and let it all go and went to work on something else.
And what is that, you ask? Oh, just a Class 2 PAV, that’s all. You wanna see? Stupid question: of course you do.
It’s pretty much as a promised: a modified version of the Class 1 with a slightly different and larger processor, handlebars, and canards. The handlebars can be adjusted forward and back to give the pilot a better feel while they’re racing, as well as allowing them to “lean into the bars” when they are going though turns. They also give the pilot something to hang on to when they are accelerating and braking like mad, something they have to watch on the Class 1 because, well, you’re hanging on to the frame, and that’s not always the best option.
Now I should have the Class 1 and 2 side-by-side, and maybe put stick figure Kerry on one and Annie on the other. That means I gotta break out the Blender tutorial and bone up on how to do bends.
The other part of this equation is the writing, which happened this morning and ran seven hundred and seventy-six words. And it was tough writing, because I feel like I’m falling asleep as I sit here in Panera, and that’s never a good feeling. But get it done I did, and in doing so, this scene became the longest in the novel. See?
Friend’s List was the longest, back when Kerry’s parents were raking him over the coals over, you know, being friends with too many girls. Now Seeking the Connection is the longest, and growing longer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it hit fifty-five hundred words before I’ve finished with the sucker. Annie and Deanna: get those two together and it’s nothing but a chat fest.
But wait! Wasn’t Deanna going to introduce us to someone named Sabrina? Sure she was. And her she goes . . .
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Deanna raised her voice slightly. “Sabrina, please come.”
The space overhead—which happened to be the direction in which both Annie and Deanna were looking—shifted as a holographic projection of a young multi-ethnic girl near Annie’s age appeared She brushed her long brown hair away from face, exposing wide, near-violet eyes set against her caramel complexion. “I’m here, Deanna. What would you like?”
Annie propped herself up on one elbow. “Sabrina?”
“She’s the school AP.” Deanna turned toward Annie and half-propped herself up as well. “You know how the APs are really just conscious artificial intelligences inhabiting cybernetic bodies?”
“Sabrina’s the same way, except for her, the body she inhabits is the school computer systems. She helps out with security and organization tasks—in a way she’s the school secretary. You’d have seen her if you’d ever visited the Headmistress’ office.” Deanna lay back as did Annie. “Isis modeled her after someone with whom we attended school—”
“You knew her?”
“Yes, I did.” Deanna pointed up at the hologram. “Go ahead and talk to her.”
As has been mentioned before, APs are Artificial People, which is another way of saying they’re sentient androids. All the service staff at the school–the people tending the grounds, the people in the Dining Hall, and yes, the nurses and Isis’ security staff–are APs. The four main staff members–Headmistress, Librarian, Doctor, and Chief of Security–are humans, as are the instructors and, of course, students. They are treated just like humans: they have jobs, are paid a good wage, and have enchanted devices built into their bodies that allow them to do a bit of magic.
Whatcha gonna talk about, Annie?
Annie wasn’t shy or frightened around APs—her mother employed one to help out with things around the house, and Annie spent most of her tween years growing up around her—but this was the first time she’d ever encountered one that one could consider a true AI. “How are you, Sabrina?”
“I’m fine, Annie.” The holographic girl smiled back. “How are you?”
“I’m doing well. You live in a computer?”
“Several, actually. My core is spread over several systems, which means I never have to worry about being unable to do my duties should one system drop.” Sabrina clasped her hands together in front of her waist. “I also have a cyborg body when I’m required to have a physical presence, but I like being able to get around this way. There are few place I can’t visit in this form.”
The question Annie wanted to ask could no longer remain contained. “Why is your name Sabrina? I mean, if you are modeled after someone Isis knows, wouldn’t you rather her name?”
The AP hologram shook her head. “The person Isis knew died during The Scouring, and I’m meant to honor her and not take her place—something I couldn’t and wouldn’t do.” She placed her hand behind her back and smiled as she swayed back and forth. “Sabrina fits me better, though. And, I am a teenage witch, am I not?”
Deanna cut into the conversation when it became apparent Annie didn’t know how to respond. “Yes, you are—just like the person you’re speaking with right now.”
Sabrina nodded. “This is true. What can I do for you, Deanna?”
Yes, she’s named after a famous teenage witch, of which–as Deanna points out–the school has plenty. The person being referred to was one of Isis’ best friends when she was a student, the other friend being Wednesday. Of the three, however, the girl whom Sabrina mentioned died in The Scouring, and it’s a moment Isis had a difficult time putting behind her.
You also see, for the first time, mention made that Annie has grown up around APs. Having an artificial person come in an help around the house ain’t the same as owning a house elf, but then elves don’t exist in this world–at least not those drowned rat looking things that pass for elves in another magical series. Given that one could do the pointy ears and up-turned eyes with just a bit of transformation magic, as well as being able to do magic, makes the elves in my world a lot more like the ones who come out of the game Shadowrun. They probably carry big ass guns, too–
Now, what does Deanna want? Well . . .
“I need to see some video.”
Sabrina stared off into the distance as if she were looking at something. “Ready.”
“Orientation Day, 2011. Get my first meeting of the day.”
Annie didn’t need reminding as to who Deanna met. “That was us.”
“Yes, it was.”
“You recorded that?”
“I record everything—”
“Found it.” The AP turned her attention back to the seer. “What would you like?”
“Cue it up to a few seconds after my—” Deanna glanced to her right. “—guests arrived.”
Once again Sabrina appeared to look at something for a few seconds before responding. “Ready.”
“Put it on screen, please.” Sabrina vanished from the display, replaced with an image of the main room on the ground floor, the point of view seeming to come from behind Deanna and looking towards the door that Annie and Kerry had walked through on their first full day at Salem.
Annie stared at the display with unabashed amazement. Her memories of this moment were naturally clouded by the events of the past year, but she couldn’t help but realize the changes between those memories and what was now on-screen. “Look how different Kerry seems. He’s so . . .” She didn’t want to sound cruel, but knew there wasn’t many ways to soften the expression. “Shy.”
“He’s not the only one. Look at you, with that piercing stare and the way you’re standing there in the room, almost demanding attention.” Deanna tapped Annie’s hand. “I overheard more than a few students in my coven say you were ‘stuck up’. Looking at that image—”
“Yes?” Annie wasn’t sure she wanted to hear what Deanna was going to say, but knew she’d hear it anyway.
“The first word that came to my mind was ‘haughty’. Like you were a girl accustomed to getting what she wanted.” Deanna chuckled. “Your words, not mine.”
“I remember. Why are we seeing this?”
“Because there’s something I want you to see.” She Deanna stretched and got comfortable. “Sabrina, run the video, please.”
Here we are, going back to near the beginning of the last novel–well, about fifty thousand words in, which is pretty much the beginning in that damn monstrosity. But what could Deanna want to show Annie? Well, there’s really only one thing, isn’t there?
Now, to get to writing that–probably after a nap.