What were you up to last night, Cassie? Why, I was out getting my browser my nails done, because I’m heading back to Indiana this weekend and if got to look my best. And looking my best means I’ve got a do a good job with my nails because I want to be pretty.
And here I am, being pretty.
That color is OPI Gel polish Do You See What I See? Do you? Because I do, and this is a color I hope to carry into warmer weather which will lead to spring and summer. In the meantime, it’s going to get me to Indiana and back, which is something that all least have going for me.
Even with that last night–which kept me out until 8 PM–I was able to get in some writing. I should say, I was able to get in some writing after doing a lot of scientific calculations for the scene I’m currently working on. Yes, I had to do some figuring ’cause it’s needed. And just a word of warning, but there is science in this excerpt as well. I know I’ve been told at various times that they get lost when I start talking science our racing, but truth is sometimes it’s needed for the further advancement of the story and this is one of those times.
But first, let’s get reacquainted with Jessica and her detention habits:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
Sudarat Chiangmai, the D Level from Ceridwen coven, snickered before speaking. “Are they going to have to do a weekend detention?”
The smile Jessica flashed was devastating. “Oh, no. It’s only going to be for the evening. But I made certain that the detention will stick with them well enough that I don’t believe they’ll attempt another transgression like the one that happened earlier this evening.”
Kerry knew there was no point in pursuing the matter further. Everyone was well aware that Jessica’s idea of detention was turning students in the various kinds of inanimate objects and forcing them to stay that way anywhere from overnight to an entire weekend, depending upon the severity of the student’s misdemeanor. It was rare that anyone deserved a weekend punishment: it was even more rare that a student would do anything that would require Jessica to issue more than one detention for that particular person.
Once was usually enough to get the point across.
It’s a good thing Jessica isn’t teaching at a Normal school, ’cause the administration there would likely get tired of their students getting turned into chairs, tables, and statues all the time. Also, how many times do students go into one of Jessica’s offices–she has one in the Transformation Center and one in her coven–and wonder if the chair they’re sitting in is someone they know. Witches who turn you into chairs, witches who shock you, witches who make you clean out the morgue if you’re bad. So much for all that writing “I’m a bad witch” crap.
But we aren’t here to talk about turning kids into chairs. No, Jessica has something else in mind–
Jessica pulled her tablet out of Hammerspace and laid it on the classroom desk. “Tonight we are going to touch on a spell that we last visited two years ago. All of you were in this class with the exception of Kerry, so you’ve all had some exposure to what were going to play with tonight.
“Everyone here knows the minor version of the Compress spell in one variation or another. Kerry learned it last year—or I should say, he was already learning it when he came into this class for he wanted to master it for Advanced Flight One. As for all of us here, your skill with Compress varies not only in the amount of compression you can effect, but also in the size of the object you’re compressing, and that means nearly all of you could take something the size of a Class 4 PAV and reduce it to nearly eighty percent of its size.
“The advanced form of Compress is different from the basic form in that you learn how to compress organic material.” She held up her hands. “Allow me to rectify that statement: you learn to compress living organic material. It is necessary to have an advanced understanding of the Compress spell, because if you don’t understand what you’re doing and you try to compress a living creature, the chances are excellent that you kill the object of your spell.
“The greatest issue we have with the Compress spell is exercising the willpower to make it work. Gathering energy is never a problem in most people are creative enough to visualize an object shrinking from full-size to a quarter of its normal size. The problem comes in the very last stages of the spell because disbelief sets in. This is especially true for witches who come from a Normal background, for Normal science says that shrinking a person to even half their size is an impossibility.” A mischievous grin appeared upon Jessica’s face. “We know better, don’t we?” Jessica pointed at the one student in her class whom she knew would have the answer to her question. “Kerry, why does Normal science say we can’t shrink things?”
So here it is: Jessica is gonna teach the kids how to shrink things–actually, shrink living things. As in people. Which means she’s gonna teach her kids how to make people smaller.
“Wow! I wouldn’t mind losing a few kilos!”
And maybe a meter of height as well, but that’s another story.
It only makes sense that if Kerry is out shrinking his camping equipment so he can get it inside his backpack, then it only stands to reason that some witch figured out how to do the same to people. And that means Jessica probably has a few things on her desk that someone should pay attention to, ’cause they may also be classmates who ran afoul of the Mistress of Transformation. And now she’s calling on the Geek Kid With the Answers on why Normal science says this is all bullshit:
Kerry didn’t know the exact answer, but he know most of what Jessica wanted. “The square-cube law comes into effect; it states that you can’t increase or decrease the size of an object without significantly increasing or decreasing the volume of the object even more so.”
“Which means want when it comes to shrinking a person?”
“The lungs can’t take in enough oxygen so they’re unable to supply oxygen to the blood, and even if they could the heart won’t be powerful enough to pump blood throughout the body. Shrinking the cells could possibly lead to cancers popping up, but the cell walls would also be so thin that they’d start breaking down and kill you that way.” Kerry stared off to a corner of the classroom as he remembered one last fact. “And lastly, you’d pack the atoms in the body so densely that anyone shrunk would weigh far more than they would in an un-shrunk condition. The only way you can get around that would be to shrink the atoms and science says that that’s impossible.”
Jessica nodded politely throughout Kerry’s explanation. Once he was finished she had one last question for him. “You’ve used the Compress spell, haven’t you?”
He chuckled. “Yeah, several times.”
“Ever have any problems with the spell?”
“A few times when I was first learning it, but nothing once I figured out.”
Jessica tapped her chin thrice before speaking. “So, in this instance, would you say The Art supersedes Normal science in this instance?”
A huge smile appeared on Kerry’s face. “Duh.”
Could you see one of the C Levels in the regular class answering Jessica with “Duh“? She’d probably go Medusa on them right then and there, which would suck for the student in question. But since Kerry’s an advanced student he can get away with it. At least this time.
Since we’re talking about this new kind of magic, any chance we’ll see it working?