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Gather Here the Brain Trust: Let’s Go To the Video

So here we are, out and about in The Burg once more, down to the coffee shop for my “writing fuel” as the woman who works her told me.  It’s really a beautiful day right now–

As you can see from the steps of the Capitol Building.

As you can see from the steps of the Capitol Building.

And it has added greatly, ’cause in about two hours time I whipped out eleven hundred words to go with the nearly eleven hundred words I wrote yesterday.  Things are getting pretty interesting, but I only say that because I have a vested interest in this story, and . . . well, I know what’s going on in this world.  Though I should correct that last statement because I’ve made some miniscule changes to the time line, and even added a few events that are going to kinda set the tone for the Summer of ’13 in the next novel.  Yes, I’m already thinking ahead.  But then I have done that since the start of this project.

Last time we left off with a question for Erywin, and being a nice lady she gave an answer–

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

“It means nothing.” Erywin brushed a few strands of hair from her face. “I do find it extremely unusual, however, that Kerry said he couldn’t focus on the image of a girl for the purpose of spell crafting. He’s done so many things already that are several levels above what he should be capable of doing that hearing this—” She shook her head. “It’s a bit mind boggling, actually.”

Coraline cocked her head to the side as she raised an eyebrow. “That’s for sure.”

“You said there was video?” While Deanna found Kerry’s predicament puzzling, she wanted to see what other evidence the two coven leaders brought for examination.

“Yes, there’s video.” Jessica turned toward the computer stations. “Sabrina, are you there?”

The voice of the school’s AI to emanate from everywhere. “I’m here, Jessica.”

“Load video AT 19032013 Malibey.” The holographic display came on a few meters from where the women stood showing Kerry dressed in a blueish-black one-piece leotard. “Thank you.”

“What’s with the outfit?” Erywin did poorly at transformation magic as a student, and that prevented her from progressing beyond C Level studies, thereby missing out on the D Level spells involving full-body transformations.

Jessica shot a quick glance at Erywin. “Standard enchanted garment designed to mold to the person’s body no mater what humanoid shape they select. For this class everyone wears them.”

A giggle escaped from Deanna’s lips. “They look like footie pajamas.”

“Having the feet covered keeps the students from standing around barefoot. It’s either that or getting them enchanted slippers that do the same as the garment.”

“I see.” Deanna nodded towards the display. “They don’t hide anything, do they?”

Coraline offered the answer. “Just like healers, transformers can’t afford to be too modest about their, or other’s, bodies.”

“That’s true.” Jessica interlaced her fingers and began tapping her index fingers slowly. “And since they’re trying to swap csi-forms from one end of the binary to the other, this can tell me quickly how well they did.” She turned to the other women. “This was Kerry’s first mimic attempt. He was mimicking Sudarat Chiangmai, who’s from Thailand—” Jessica turned back to the display. “He mimicked her and Kaisa Božic, a D Level from Croatia, without any difficulties.”

“What about the third girl?” Coraline was aware of class composition due to her position as the school’s doctor.

“Jordana wouldn’t agree to being mimicked. She said she found watching Kerry become twins of the other girls ‘disturbing’.” Jessica’s body language indicated she didn’t agree with this particular student’s opinion. “I’m going to have a talk with her tonight—”

“Before that happens—” Erywin pointed at the screen. “Could we see the video?”

 

Back when Annie and Kerry were starting their marionette gig they wore something similar, but this outfit is a lot more form fitting, and there’s no hood.  Based upon Deanna’s and Coraline’s comments, it’s obvious that all the little bits south of the waistline are visible, and like Jessica says, if Kerry’s gonna mimic a girl, she wants to know that he mimicked everything.  There ain’t no body modesty in Advanced Transformation, that’s for sure.

Now, about that video . . .

 

“Certainly.” Jessica stared at the display. “Sabrina, do you have Kerry’s transformation point marked?”

The young-sounding AI replied immediately. “I do.”

“Position the video to ten seconds before the transformation point, please.”

The scene shifted slightly as the video was set to the correct time stamp. “Done.”

“Run.”

The video began. Kerry concentrated while Jessica spoke a few words of encouragement off screen. He took a breath and started straight ahead with great intensity. Without any indication something was about to occur he changed from the red haired boy everyone in the room knew to a shorter girl with a darker complexion and long black hair. The new Kerry then turned to his right and spoke in a voice that was no longer his. “Did I get it right?”

Coraline blew out the last breath she was holding. “Goddamn, he’s fast.”

“Stop.” Jessica turned back to the women in the room. “You don’t know how fast. The other mimics I’ve worked take anywhere from five to ten seconds to complete their transformation.” She pointed at the display. “You can’t even follow him. One second he’s Kerry, the next—” She waved her hand and dropped it to her side. “Someone completely different.”

“What was that thing that happened?” Erywin took a step closer to the frozen display and motioned to her head. “It was like something flashed.”

“That was likely the skin crawl.”

She turned to Jessica. “Skin crawl?”

The transformation instructor nodded. “That’s what we call it when you’re switching from one form to another and things are shifting around. In some cases it looks exactly as if your skin is crawling.”

“I can see that, but—” Erywin turned back to the display. “This looked like something—”

“I’m certain it wasn’t anything important.”

“Would you mind if I look at something?”

Jessica shook he head. “Be my guest.”

 

Erywin’s a lot like the bulldogs that come from her fair island, and when she sets her mind to something she doesn’t give up easily.  And she learned something new:  skin crawl.  Wouldn’t you like to see someone’s skin moving about as they transform into another person?  You’d think they’d do it more like in a movie, where the CGI keeps everything nice and smooth and seamless.  I’m sure you’ll get to see that at some point–though back in the first novel when Jessica did her Mystique thing in front of the A Levels her skin didn’t crawl.  There’s a reason for that, and you’ll learn it one day.

But right now Erywin’s got her finger on the button and she’s playing with the video.  Let’s see what she’s up to, shall we?

 

“Sabrina.” Erywin took a couple of steps back from the display. “Please reposition the video to three seconds before the transformation point.”

The scene shifted back to Kerry before the transformation. “Done.”

“Set video to run at half speed.”

“Done.”

“Run, please.”

The video ran forward at half the previous speed, and everyone watched as Kerry approached the point of mimicking and proceeded through the transformation. The moment it was finished Erywin called for Sabrina to stop the playback. She turned to Jessica. “Did you see it that time?”

She nodded slowly. “I saw something, yes.” She appeared thoughtful. “I don’t know why I didn’t see it before.”

“Because you’re used to seeing this stuff all the time. And with Kerry’s transforming so quickly, it’s hard to see what’s happening.” Erywin appeared to consider something for a few seconds.

“Sabrina, please reposition the video to one second before the transformation point.”

Again the display shifted back to Kerry pre-mimicking. “Done.”

“Set video to run at one-eighth speed.”

“Done.”

Erywin took a short breath before giving the order. “Run, please.”

The video crawled forward, the one second interval stretching out to eight seconds. Erywin kept her eyes affixed upon Kerry’s form, waiting for him to start the process of transforming from himself into another person. The process began as his features began shifting, changing—

STOP.”

 

That’s a pretty hurried stop, Erywin.  Do you have something good for us to see?

 

Kerry’s image froze in place. Erywin slowly moved closer to the display. “Sabrina, center on Kerry’s torso, display from waist up only, expand to fill screen.” As the final instructors were carried out

Erywin stopped and pointed at the transformed boy in the display while turning back to the other three women. “What the hell is that?”

Coraline, Deanna, and Jessica stood silently as they regarded Kerry’s image, which was that of a girl with a pale complexion, green eyes, and long, curly red hair. Deanna was the one to state the obvious. “Based upon what we’ve heard, that’s the girl from Kerry’s dreams.”

Erywin nodded. “Yes, but what the hell is she doing there?” Her arm flopped to her side. “Jessica?”

 

I believe this is the point in the narrative where I say shit is about to get extremely real . . .

I’m about to head out for brunch, then back to the apartment for a nap.  But I think, I really do, that I can finish this scene this afternoon.  Because this chapter is nearly done, and it’s time to move on to the next and find out what this crazy transformation stuff has to do with Kerry’s issues.

And by now you should know I'm all about transformations . . .

And by now you should know I’m all about transformations . . .

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