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A Glimpse of the Coming Year: the Guardian Way

Yesterday was now only a lazy sort of day, but it was the kind where I had to get things done both in real life and on the page.  And that takes time, right?

First, I got the nails and brows down, just as I indicate in yesterday’s video.  It was a nice, relaxing time, and I always look forward to the time I spend getting pampered.

And this time I didn't even get wine.

And this time I didn’t even get wine.

So what did I go with?  A lovely dark purple called I’ll Take a Manhattan, which is a play on a Leonard Cohen song.

I have not, however, taken Berlin yet.

I have not, however, taken Berlin yet.

And the brows are, as the kids say today, “on fleek”, which actually means your brows are perfect.

Though I look like I'm learing in this photo.

Though I look like I’m leering in this photo.

Last night I finished Deanna’s scene and was about to start the last scene of Chapter Eight when I realized that some of that scene had to do with the new A Levels, and while I know where those kids are from and what covens they’re in, I didn’t have names for them.  You know what that means, right?

I had to name them.  All of them.

That means I spent a good two hours looking up names for kids from all over the world.  But I achieved my goal, so let me introduce you to the 2013 A Levels of Salem–

We'll start at the top of the Pentagram.

We’ll start at the top of the Pentagram.

Åsgårdsreia gets kids from everywhere but Europe, as Vanuatu is considered part of Oceania.  They also get of the two kids from China, though Macau is considered a bit of a cheat as it was held as part of Portugal for nearly five hundred years.  Still, it’s been returned to the PRC and is administered by them, so China.

Now let's move to the bottom-right.

Now let’s move to the bottom-right.

What’s interesting about Blodeuwedd is that all but two of their A Levels come from island nations, and they don’t have a student from South America.  As for the girl from Ireland, do you think she’s a ginger?  Do you think Kerry’s mom will be excited to hear this news?

Now to the left bottom.

Now to the left bottom.

Ceridwen had the best gender equality, with the boy and girls being nearly equal.  All their kids come from relatively small countries an they have none from Oceania.  I wonder if by the end of the first week at school Ragnhild is pining for the fjords?

Let's jump over to the middle right now.

Let’s jump over to the middle right now.

Though usually last in the lists, I’m doing Mórrígan now because I can.  Just like Ceridwen they have no kids from Oceania, but they get the other student from China, one who comes from Shanghai.  I promised I’d someday mention why getting students from China is a big deal and I promise that will happen–just not yet.  Mórrígan also tied Åsgårdsreia for the most A Levels, though their girl-to-boy ratio is only 2 to 1 while Åsgårdsreia’s is 3.5 to 1; Blodeuwedd had the greatest gender disparity with girls over boys 7 to 1.

And last but not least--

And last but not least–

Once more Cernunnos got the fewest A Levels and they didn’t get one student from the Americas this time.   They did pick up two Muslims–Yaman from Syria and Rajani from India–and Hayley Turner from Pink Lake, Western Australia–where you can find the real Pink Lake–has the most boring name of any of the A Levels.  Maybe today I’ll give all the new kids towns so we know where they are from exactly.  Because that’s how I roll.

Now, how about an excerpt?

I said a couple of days back that this Guardian edict may come with a twist and it doesn’t take us long to find out what they want…

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“So January to April?” Annie leaned forward in his seat, excited by this news. “I’m assuming they wouldn’t have us go out in May.”

Helena nodded. “Quite right. If they’re considering you for a field op, it will likely happen in the middle of winter or early spring. Also, given that these orders are coming directly from San Francisco, it leads me to believe that whatever it is they’ll have you doing will take place in North America. However, there’s a bit of a catch.” Once more she paused to ensure both kids were listening. “It is also highly likely you will not be going out together on the same mission.”

A puzzled look formed on Kerry’s face. “Wait, what? They’re going to put us on separate missions?”

Helena nodded. “It seems likely. Now wait—” She held up a hand as both teenagers began to protest. “While they were highly satisfied by how well you worked together in Kansas City, it’s standard procedure to break up a team at some point and see how they work with other people. The Guardians are nothing if not a team organization, and there’s only a few of us who get to work with the same team time and again, or even were alone.” She tilted her head to one side. “If you can’t work well with other operatives, your value as an operative is going to diminish. And I really wouldn’t want to see that happen with either of you.”

 

The Guardians are a group and as we’ve heard from Helena they usually work in groups.  That means you’re not always going out on your own, you’re part of the gang, and that means you have to know how to work with the gang.  It also means you likely won’t be working with the same people all the time, because it seems the Guardians like to match up skill sets and it goes without saying that Annie and Kerry are developing different skill sets.

If you can’t play well with others then it’s likely you’ll not become a good operative, and the Guardians are eager to check out these two ASAP.

Annie wasn’t happy with this news but she saw how it was a good omen for them. She reached out and touched Kerry’s left hand. “I look at it this way, my love: if they didn’t think we were any good, they probably wouldn’t want us working with another team yet.”

“Annie’s absolutely correct.” Helena punched up something else on her display. “When I say they were pleased with how well you did in Kansas City, I mean they were extremely pleased with how you handled yourselves. If they thought you still needed work they’d probably assign you to another Level 1 field op.”

Kerry didn’t bother asking what a Level 1 field operation was: he knew their Kansas City mission was just that. “So what would we go on? A Level 2 op?”

“Nope.” Helena shook her head. “A Level 2 is just more of what you were already on, only they tend to be a bit longer and you have to handle more duties. No, my guess is they’ll move you up to a Level 3, which is a minimum of a five person group.”

Annie seemed pleased. “That doesn’t sound too bad.”

“It’s not. And any Level 3 either of you would get assigned to probably be people with fewer than a half-dozen of those missions to the record. In other words, relatively new operatives like you.” Helena shrugged. “Of course, I can’t guarantee that will happen.”

He wasn’t sure, but Kerry thought he picked up something in Helena’s voice when she made her last statement. “Is there something you can guarantee?”

Helena hesitated before giving her reply. “There’s nothing I’ve seen in the report, nor is there anything I heard unofficially, but I believe that one of the reasons the Guardians are waiting until 2014 to send you on a field operation is because the waiting for Kerry to undergo his transition.”

Both kids shot hurried glances at each other before Kerry turned to Erywin. “How does she know?”

 

Now we know what a Level 1, 2, and 3 field ops are, and Annie’s Girl’s Weekend Out is likely going to be a Level 3 field op.  I’ve got this all worked out and know all the things like location of operation and objectives.  When Kerry’s comes it’ll likely be the same, but–what is this?  Helena knows about Kerry’s secret?  How did that happen, as Kerry asks?  The answer is easy–

 

“She knows because I had to tell her.” Erywin sat up so she would appear more attentive. “Helen is your Guardian contact here, and since the Guardians were told about your Gift, she would’ve learned of it eventually.”

Helena locked her hands across her tummy and tapped her thumbs together. “If it’s any consolation, Erywin told me the night you discovered you had this gift and you sort of—finalized the process that night.” Her hands slid down to her thighs as she sat forward in her chair. “Remember, I’m particularly good at keeping secrets, so I wasn’t going to tell anyone else. As it was, the Guardians contacted me in July and briefed me on your gift: I never gave any indication I already knew.”

After a few moments Kerry gave a couple of quick nods. “I suppose that’s true; it’s not like you would’ve told anyone else. Sorry for overreacting.”

Helena returned the nod. “No need to apologize.”

Worried that Kerry might not ask the question, Annie gave it a voice. “Why would the Guardian want Kerry to participate in a group field operation as a girl?”

“I’m not sure about that. The Guardians are like every other organization in The Foundation: they’re seventy-five to eighty percent female. Since the chances are good of you being on an all-girl team, Annie, I can see the Guardians wanting to do the same thing with Kerry. And since it’s possible that by the beginning of 2014 they’ll know if his Gift is controllable, maybe they want to see how he’s going to relate to the other team members as just another one of the girls.”

 

This is some rabbit hole shit right here.  Coraline informed The Foundation about Kerry’s Gift going active and it looks like they told the Guardians because, well, Annie and Kerry has done things for them as well as continuing training during their B Levels.  Erywin knew to tell Helena because, yeah, she’s the Guardian contact at the school, but she didn’t let the Guardians know that she knew, even when she was between hospital visits during July, 2013, and the Guardians sat her down for a briefing where she never let on that she already knew.  Talk about secrets within secrets.

The really big deal here is that the Guardians called Helena to a meeting to give her a briefing on one of her students and probably Annie as well, since she’s being monitors at the same time.  Are we still wondering if Annie and Kerry are officially part of Team Guardian?  ‘Cause this makes it sound like they are within the fold save for not knowing the secret handshake–

Now it seems like the Guardians want to push the envelope a bit and see if Kerry is just “one of the girls” when out on a mission.  However, he has a few things to say on the matter…

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