Chapter Thirty is a go, and more of a go than I’d imagined. That’s due, in part, to a lot of re-figuring of this section that I’ll actually discuss more once I get to the end of this excerpt. For now, let’s get into the morning, which isn’t going to be as long as the last we just visited–
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
The overcast to the east was slightly lighter than the rest of the sky as Annie reached the Flight School only moments after the alarm on Kerry’s phone sounded, indicating the time as five-thirty. At a time when most students were sleeping in or just starting their Friday morning, Annie and her always-present chase pilot were getting ready for her biggest solo flight—
But first they needed to get through the pre-flight ritual.
Annie found it unusual to find an after-dinner email from Vicky indicating the time she needed to report to the Flight School, but more importantly how she wanted her breakfast prepared. She asked Kerry about this when they met a few minutes later before heading out for a relaxing evening in their tunnel hideout, but all he’d tell her was that he’d received an email as well, and that Vicky asked him not to say anything about what was going to happen in the morning. Try as she could short of quickly brewing a Draught of Submission, there wasn’t a thing Annie could do to make Kerry give up this secret.
Upon entering the Hanger Annie headed to the spiral staircase and proceeded to the second floor, as the email had instructed. She headed down the long corridor to the Flight Deck, but instead of entering that room she stopped before the last door on the right and knocked.
Vicky answered the knock, half-opening the door. “Ah, right on time.”
“Yes.” Annie put on her best smile. “Can we come in now?”
“Certainly.” Vicky stood aside allowing unobstructed access. “Nikh’nas.”
That last part is “Enter” in Hebrew, because Vicky being Jewish and all, and this is the first time we’ve actually heard her say anything in that language. She’s proficient enough that she could hold a conversation with a native speaker, but that likely doesn’t happen much.
Also: doesn’t Annie have feminine wiles she can use on Kerry to get him to tell her things? After all, they did spend the evening in their “tunnel hideout”, as Annie calls it, and that means they were alone and Annie–well, she could have asked or cajoled or whatever, right? She must be losing it.
So what is this ritual Annie must perform that is so important Kerry is willing to take the secret to his grave?
The moment she was inside Annie quickly scanned the room. There wasn’t much to see: a few chairs along the side walls, two projection screens on the far wall, a long table with two chairs facing them in front of the screens, a podium in the right-hand corner.
What drew her attention, however, was a second table in the middle of the room situated five meters from the other table, with two chairs set facing the far wall. Before each chair were two plates of food, a tall glass containing a beverage, silverware, and a napkin. While each of the smaller plates and the glasses were different, both of the larger plates contained the same thing: a steak and two eggs prepared sunny-side up, though the steak in the left-hand plate was much smaller than the one on the right.
Isis, wearing jeans and a sweater, stood on the other side of the middle table. The moment Vicky closed the door the security director motioned the couple forward. “Good morning.”
Annie stood behind the chair on the left, holding the back lightly in both hands. “Good morning.” She examined the plates of food. “I take it this is why we’re here so early?”
“It is indeed.” Isis spread here arms wide. “The traditional final solo breakfast of steak and eggs.” She chuckled. “Though you two are only the second to partake in this particular tradition.”
Kerry stood behind his chair examining the plate before him. “Oh?”
“Yes. I’ve only done this for one other student. It’s been a tradition elsewhere for fliers elsewhere, and I thought, what the hell? May as well do the same here.” She nodded towards the kids. “We know how you guys normally sit, so everything is laid out as expected.”
Steak and Eggs is the title of this scene, and I’d decided a long time ago–even before I began plotting this novel–that Annie was going to get this breakfast before heading out on her final solo flight. There’s reasons for this, and they’re going to get brought up in the next scene, but for now–yeah, she’s getting steak for breakfast.
Now, about the changes: I’ve said before that while I do a lot of plotting nothing is actually written in stone. I mapped out all three of Annie’s solo flights, but after getting the first two out of the way, once I began re-examining the final one, I saw that it left me wanting. So I set about changing it, and in doing so I had to change the time lines and a few other things–one of which was using a specialized web tool so I could figure out compass headings.
Most of all, though, I changed the date. Originally Annie’s solo flight was Saturday morning, 13 April, 2013, but as I wrote this scene, and as I remembered why this scene was developed in the first place, I realized that I was missing something incredibly important. So the date was moved up to Friday, 12 April, and the reason for this is going to become painfully clear–
Though right now it’s probably clear only to me.