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All the Best First Battles

The last few days have sorta been crazy with depression and other things.  Really, haven’t felt like doing more than just sitting around watching TV, listening to music, and eating ice cream.  I’ve been going to derby practice in a strange, sometimes bad mood, and that led to me almost losing my shit last night over something–which then turned into a realization that I need to stop letting this depression kill my passions.

Oh, and I’ve also collected probably the best bruise I’ve ever gotten during practice.  This was me a week ago:

 

Yeah, that’s a bruise on my thigh that I got during a hip checking pace line drill, given to me by one of my coaches.  Yes, we just hand out the kisses like it’s Halloween. I know you’ve seen it before, but I’m so proud of that discoloration.

Now, about the writing…

I’ve spent most of the last week going over my first, unpublished novel, Transporting, showing how it pretty much allowed me to develop characters and situations that sort of turned into some of the things I’ve covered in The Foundation Chronicles.  And one of the things I learned when writing that novel is how to set up an action scene.

In the course of the story I determined that there would be a confrontation between the two main characters, Cytheria Warington and Audrey Dahl.  Yes, at this point in the novel Audrey has come along and is walking the stage, which means that the confrontation was going to be… well, different than throwing a few punches.

Allow me to set the stage.

Cytheria is what’s known in the future as a “Talent”, which is another way of saying she has a number of controllable psychic abilities.  One could think of them in much the same way as magic, but there isn’t a need to cast a spell with these abilities: they’re always “on”, so all one has to do is decide to us them and off one goes.

Albert isn’t a Talent, but as Audrey she is.  In fact, Audrey is something rather special:  she’s one-half of what’s known as a “Psychic Twin”, which are two people that are joined together at the quantum level, turning them into something akin to a gestalt mind whose abilities are magnified not geometrically, but almost exponentially.  It’s here that you can see where I got the “Astral Binding”, though in the case of Audrey and Cytheria, their Twinning allows them to speak to each other mind-to-mind all the time, whereas Annie and Kerry are unable to do such a thing, and what we call psychic abilities in the Foundation World don’t actually exist.

Anyway… There are a couple of instances in the excerpt where Audrey does speak to Cytheria in her head and it’s usually handled using a different font, but that’s not so easy to do here in the blog.  There’s also a couple of things that need explaining in order to set the scene:

One, they’re on another planet doing– well, I can’t say.  Two, they are fighting over something Audrey is doing that concerns sexual activity.  Yes, there’s a fair bit of sex in this novel, as well as scenes of drinking, drug use, and near suicidal actions.  The story is nothing if not adult.

Three, the action takes place aboard Liberator, which is a personal trans-atmospheric ship–think of a spaceship that can take-off and land like a plane and go into orbit and visit other nearby planets.  Audrey owns this ship and brought it along as a place to live and a means of getting around this planet they’re on.

And Four, there’s Maggie.  Maggie is what’s known as an Avatar, which is a fancy way of saying she’s an AI, only she can create a body out of the energy fields that make up Liberator.  In all honesty, she is Liberator: her programs make up the ship’s control systems, so when Audrey or Cytheria are calling out to her to do things, they’re actually instructing the ship.  Though Maggie is a lot more than just a ship…

There’s a lot of screaming and yelling before the fighting starts, but when it does–damn.  It gets ugly fast.  Cytheria is a cryokinetic who can control ice and freeze objects, while Audrey is a pyrokinetic who can throw around a lot of fire, so given that if these two girls decide to pull out those big guns it’s all over fast.  But they both have telekinesis and have shown they can life tons with just their minds, so if they don’t feel like going Full Elsa and Charlie McGee, they can just start throwing shit around without ever getting their hands dirty–

It was in writing this that I realized any battle between high-powered psychics–or, if you rather, witches–wouldn’t last long because with their abilities they could inflict a shitload of damage in a short period of time without ever needing to touch the other person.  If you can casually toss a car across a parking lot just by thinking about it, if you decided to fuck someone up, it’s not gonna be that big of a deal.  And will likely happen in less time it’s taken me to write this paragraph…

This scene was actually re-written several times, though the basic outline has always been there.  The only thing I’m not adding are all the italicized words here, ’cause there’s a lot because there’s a lot of yelling.  You’ll just have to imagine it all.

I should warn that this gets a bit–intense.  Painful, even.  Again, when you burn down the mission by snapping your fingers, snapping those same fingers with you mind is pretty easy.

Here you go.  Enjoy.

 

(Excerpt from Transporting by Cassidy Frazee, Copyright 2018.)

Cytheria was already across the street and into the courthouse square when Audrey emerged from the auditorium. She was heading for her tent, and Audrey knew that the moment she got inside her home away from home she wouldn’t venture out for hours, come hell or high water. “Hey!” she yelled across the open space, gathering the attention of a few people out walking tonight. “Hey, Cy!” yelled Audrey once more, still not getting Cytheria’s attention. Crossing the street, Audrey gathered her thoughts and mentally screamed, Goddammit, bitch, I’m thinkin’ at you here!

Cytheria stopped and abruptly spun on her heel. “What do you want?” she yelled, exasperated by Audrey’s hounding.

“We’re going to talk,” Audrey said loudly, closing the gap between them.

“No, we are not.” Cytheria turned away, thinking to continue on to her quarters.

Yes, we fucking ARE! Switching to speech after getting Cytheria’s attention, Audrey said, “I’m either going to talk to you here, or inside Liberator. Either way, we’re having this out.”

Cytheria pooh-poohed the notion. “I don’t believe—“

Audrey grabbed Cytheria’s arm, spinning her around. “We are doing this, honey,” she said, dragging the resisting Cytheria towards Liberator.

“Let me go.” yelled Cytheria. She tried struggling free of Audrey’s grip, but Audrey was nothing if not strong, and Cytheria was so agitated she didn’t realize the women was also using telekinesis to hold the resisting Cytheria close to her.

Audrey wasn’t taking chances that Cytheria was going to get away. “Mags!” she yelled. Liberator’s entrance appeared only two meters in front of the women. Audrey got behind Cytheria. “Get in there.” she said, roughly shoving Cytheria before moving inside herself.

As door closed Cytheria glared at Audrey, who was moving past her towards the back of the cabin. “How dare you treat me in that manor.” she sputtered. “I’m offended that—“

As she continued moving towards the back, Audrey barley gave Cytheria a second glance. “Ah, blow it out your ass, baby,” she muttered. Though she seemed to be looking at Cytheria, Audrey was really looking at the view outside the front window. As she’d planed, Liberator was slowly lifting off.

Cytheria was nearly frozen with anger by Audrey’s remark. “How, how—“

“How what, bitch?” Audrey turned and faced Cytheria. Right now she wanted her looking at her—nothing else. “How can I say that? Fuck it: I’ll say anything goddamn thing I feel like saying.” She nodded in Cytheria’s direction. “Particularly to you.”

“You have no right to treat me this way.” Cytheria yelled. Just then Liberator’s engines fired. “What was that?” Cytheria turned and walked towards the windows. “What’s going on?”

“Going for a little ride,” Audrey said.

“Going where?” Once Cytheria was satisfied they were moving, she turned back to Audrey. “Where?”

“Around.” Audrey didn’t elaborate.

Cytheria stopped near where the ship’s entrance usually appeared. “Take us back,” she said coldly, her voice soft and low.

“No.”

Her eyes narrowed in a menacing fashion. “Take us back, now,” hissed Cytheria. Her last word could not be misconstrued as anything but a command.
Smirking, Audrey said, “What part of ‘no’ are you having problems with?” She crossed her arms defiantly. “We’re not going anywhere. At least not right away.”

“What is all this?” demanded Cytheria.

“We’re gonna talk about how you’re fuckin’ me up,” Audrey said.

“I am what?”

“You have done nothing but screw with me, and this project, since we got here,” shot back Audrey, allowing her voice to rise slightly.

Cytheria ignored Audrey’s statement. “Take us back,” she said, shaking her head.

“No, we’re gonna—“

“Take us back.” Cytheria’s face was turning a bright red, and her eyes appeared almost to pop from her head. Audrey thought for a moment she might actually stomp her foot in anger. “Do it now!”

Audrey stood her ground. “Not until we have this out.”

“There is nothing to discuss.”

“No.” shouted Audrey. “Not this time, goddamnit. This time, you’re gonna tell me what your problem is with me.”

“There is no problem.” Cytheria was reaching a point where, to Audrey, she’d be unable to hold her temper in check.

“So you say,” Audrey said. “But every time I turn around you don’t want me to do this, you don’t want to support me here—“

“I am not—“

“Shut the fuck up, I’m talkin’.” Audrey placed her hands on her hips. “And now this latest shit you’re doing—“

Cytheria put her hands to her head. “Stop it,” she said, cupping her ears.

“What is it with you and my ‘perversions’?” Audrey deliberately over-stressed the word, trying to make it sound dirty. “What is it? Why the hang up?”

“I don’t—” Cytheria dropped her hands and swallowed hard. “I don’t wish to speak of this.”

“Well, you’re going to.” Audrey gave Cytheria a self-satisfied smirk. “I want to know why you get so pissed off when I’m fucking around.”

“This is—” Cytheria’s arms flailed about, her exasperation showing. “This is not something I wish to discuss.”

Audrey was having none of it. “Oh, cut the bullshit, sweetheart. I want to know all about your hang ups,” she said loudly. “I want know why you keep interfering.”

“I do not interfere.” Cytheria cried.

“I want to know why you do it,” continued Audrey, ignoring Cytheria’s plea. “Why you keep getting in my shit about sex.”

Cytheria’s shoulders seem to sag a little. Her voice reflected a calm that seemed to be taking hold. “I don’t care about your… having…” Cytheria was having difficultly getting out the last word.

“Sex. The word is sex,” Audrey said, rubbing it in.

“I know what it is, damn you.” Cytheria maintained the same cool, level tone of her last statement, but Audrey knew she was incredibly pissed now; Cytheria only swore when she was extremely angry.

Chuckling, Audrey asked, “My, a bit peevish, aren’t we?”

“We don’t need to discuss—this.”

“What is this ‘this’ shit?” Audrey raised her voice every so slightly. “Can’t you say the word?”

Cytheria hesitated before saying, “I can.”

“Then say it.”

There was an even longer pause as Cytheria stood across from Audrey, her eyes locked upon her Twin. A few times Audrey thought she was going to say something, thought she could see her mouth move, felt she could even pick up on her thoughts. It was just as she thought: the girl was simply incapable of even saying the word “sex”. After about fifteen seconds Audrey said, “Can’t do it, can you?”

“Just take us back,” Cytheria said, returning to her first request.

“Not until we talk.”

“Take us back.” Again using the cool, low tone, Cytheria’s eyes began boring through Audrey.

“You’re going to tell me why this is such a problem between us—“

“Take me back.” Cytheria was becoming more insistent.

“You tell me—“

Audrey was suddenly off her feet and flying backwards. She hit the cabin wall hard, bouncing off before falling to the floor in a heap. Audrey felt something in her right shoulder pop: she wasn’t sure if she’d broken her scapula or if it was a simple dislocation. Either way, it hurt. Audrey raised her head from the floor and was going to say something, but she quickly found herself flying, straight up, into the ceiling. She impacted hard, getting the air knocked out of her lung. She didn’t so much fall to the floor as she was flung.

Lying in a heap, Audrey slowly rolled over. “Trying to tell me something now, Cy?” she moaned. Audrey’s stomach was a glowing river of pain. She wondered if there was a rupture somewhere inside her abdomen.  She rose to her feet, shaky from the swift beating she’d just received. She slowly tuned to face Cytheria, who was still staring at her coldly, her face devoid of emotion. She began to say something, but all that emerged was a tortured howl as her right arm was telekinetically seized, yanked roughly towards Cytheria and dislocated before it was twisted like a piece of taffy. The ulna and radius snapped in three places, with a piece of the ulna ripping through the skin near the wrist. Already unsteady on her feet,

Audrey screamed while falling to the floor. She held her right wrist gingerly, lying upon her side, gulping down air.

“You little bitch,” hissed Cytheria, spitting out the last word. Her face was a mask, devoid of emotion. “You think you are in a position to make demands of me?” Audrey tried to keep from whimpering, not wanting Cytheria to see her, but she knew just as well that her Twin was aware of what she was feeling. “I’m growing tired of you overstepping your bounds with me. It’s time someone taught you some… manners.”

“Like you?” gasped Audrey. “Oh, yeah, you’ll do just smashing, honey.” Audrey screamed as her right leg was bent sharply away from her torso. Nothing broke, but Audrey felt her kneecap wrench horribly as it popped loud enough to be heard. She gritted her teeth against the pain, but a small scream somehow managed to slip out.

“Enough of your filthy mouth.” Cytheria began moving slowly back and forth, her eyes locked upon Audrey. “Your constant blabbering is nothing if not tiresome.”

Audrey forced her way up into a kneeling position. Her left leg was still good, but her right—the kneecap wasn’t broken, but it felt as if it could have been torn away from the ligaments and the cap was floating about loose. Bottom line: it hurt like hell. Audrey used her telekinetic ability to take the weight off that part of her body. “You still won’t talk about it, will you?” Audrey asked.

“I’m through talking,” hissed Cytheria. “Maggie, return the ship to the landing site at once.”

“Ain’t gonna happen,” muttered Audrey.

Cytheria replaced her rage upon the injured Audrey. “I was not speaking to you.”

“Yeah, but you’re gonna have to, sweets.” Audrey slowly found her way to her feet, where she balanced herself on her one good leg. “Maggie’s got an override in place: she won’t listen to anyone but me.” She chortled. “So you can make all the fucking demands you like, but until I release the override, we’re gonna spend the next couple of hours flyin’ around.” Audrey smiled as warmly as she could through the pain. “Just you and me, alone.”

Being alone with Audrey didn’t not appear to be exactly what Cytheria had in mind. “That is not possible,” she said coldly. “You will—“

“Stuff it in your ass, you overblown twat.” Audrey squared herself, knowing the sort of reaction her remake would garner. “I’m calling the shots here—“

“You are doing no such thing.” Cytheria yelled. “I am telling you—“

“And I’m not fucking listening. We are not going back—“

“Return us now.”

“Until I get the answers I want.” Audrey hobbled backwards a couple of steps. “You just don’t want to talk about it.”

“I want to go home.” This time Cytheria did stomp her foot. She was looking like a very large, furious child—and an extremely dangerous one at that.

“Not until—“

Audrey was thrown off her feet and into the cabin wall to her left. She managed to roll herself enough to her front that her shoulder didn’t take the full brunt of the assault, but she barely had enough time to get her left arm up before the impact. The left side of her face went numb almost as soon as she hit. Some of her teeth were loosened, and there was another loud pop—yeah, she was pretty sure that if her jaw wasn’t broken, it was probably as dislocated as her right shoulder.

While Audrey rolled to the floor Cytheria began to chuckle. Softly. That was what bothered her the most: for the soft laugh was something one would hear from a person who was, in Audrey’s opinion, right on the edge as far as slipping away into madness. Or is she already there? she thought. Either way, I don’t have much time—

“Are you through with this childishness?” Cytheria asked. “Because I, for one, have grown tremendously bored with the direction this conversation is taking.” She slowly circled around the prone Audrey, who lay upon the floor breathing wheezing loudly. “If you wish to continue prodding me, however, I will be more than happy to show you the errors of your ways.“ Cytheria stopped only a meter from where her Twin lay and looked down upon her with little, if any, concerned or emotion. “My dear Audrey.” She began to turn towards the pilot’s bubble. “Perhaps if Maggie won’t listen to reason, I may be able—“

Cytheria was swept off her feet as if someone had yanked a rug out from under her. She crashed to the floor, the right side of her head slamming against the surface. Her vision grayed momentarily as she felt her right ear pop, rupturing her eardrum. Before she could get to her feet she was flung backwards into the base of the sofa under the front windows. She hit hard, her lower back bearing the brunt of the impact. The cracking sound that followed—as well as the pain that accompanied it—let her know her coccyx had shattered, that maybe she’d broken her sacrum as well. Either way, she fought to keep from passing out from the intense pain.

Audrey was up on her good foot, limping about on the other, standing the best she could with the help of a little telekinesis. “I kung fued your ass, bitch.” she taunted loudly. She began to taunt Cytheria a little further, but Audrey was promptly struck in the stomach hard. It felt like she’d been nailed with something the size of a telephone pole. She had trouble breathing as she was bent nearly double, the air being squeezed from her lungs. She sailed backwards, spinning twice in midair before once again slamming hard against the back wall of the cabin and dropping to the floor. There was so much pain now and it was everywhere. Audrey couldn’t tell for sure what was wrong, but she knew it wasn’t good. Not one damn bit. I can’t take another like that. I’ll be lucky if Cy doesn’t kill me.

Cytheria fought her way to her hands and knees. She began healing her wounds using her biokinesis ability, but it would still be a few minute before her shattered bones were re-knitted. Like Audrey she used her telekinetic ability to help her stand. “Hardly likely, you bloody slag.” she screamed, her lips stained with blood-flecked spittle, after dealing Audrey a retaliatory strike. After gathering herself up, Cytheria gazed upon Audrey’s writhing form struggling upon the floor. “Is this what you had in mind, dear?” Cytheria said, her tone once more cold and emotionless. “A short, sweet discussion concerning our differences? Is that what you hoped for?” She tried to stand up straight, wincing from the damage to her coccyx. “Didn’t turn out quite as you expected, did it, darling?” Cytheria chuckled menacingly. “Sorry to disappoint, but as you should know by now, when I don’t wish to speak about something, it means I don’t wish to talk.” She took one limping step towards her fallen Twin, who, from all appearances, seemed on the verge of passing out. “Would it that you’d bloody well understand—“

Cytheria choked on her next word as she began to struggle for air. An enormous pressure was building around her chest, one that continued building, growing— Cytheria grunted as she felt one rib break, then another. There was as sharp, intense pain as her left lung was punctured; she nearly doubled over, her wheezing now overlaid with a soft gurgling as blood trickled into her air passages. Two more ribs cracked, loud enough that the sound was audible inside the cabin. Another rib fractured, ripping up through her abdominal muscles and her blouse and forcing a small, tortured scream from Cytheria’s tightly pressed lips.

The cords on Cytheria’s neck drew taut as the pressure around her chest became focused upon her sternum. Cytheria knew what this was: that bloody goddamn Audrey. She’s—she’s— Cytheria shrieked as her breastbone snapped in half like a piece of dried kindling. She staggered backwards almost into the port wall, blood trickling from her mouth with each hacking breath, her arms attempting to hold her chest together while she cleared her mind enough to try and heal the damage.

With Cytheria distracted, Audrey sprang into her penultimate action. Mustering as much energy as she had, she leapt painfully to her feet, then jumped across the cabin and on to the starboard cabin wall where she ran, holding herself in place with telekinesis. Audrey hurt everywhere. It was all she could do to move considering the pain coursing throughout her body. She felt as if she wasn’t going to last much longer—maybe a minute, maybe two, she couldn’t say. She knew if Cytheria managed to heal herself before she could lay this last act on her, this game was over and she wouldn’t live to see the end.

Getting the best leverage she could, Audrey bounded off the wall and shot herself back across the cabin. The strain of using her telekinesis was giving her a massive headache, but for all she knew it could have also been a concussion or a severe skull fracture. She reached out with her good arm and grabbed one of the step supports leading to the pilot’s bubble. Swinging her body around she let go as her feet lined up with the staggering Cytheria. When the girl was perfectly in her sights, Audrey let go of the support and fell towards her.

Audrey struck Cytheria hard. Her feet hit her in the chest, then, as her bad knee caused her leg to buckle, her legs spread around her Twin as Audrey slammed into her upper body groin first. Her momentum threw them both back against the port cabin wall, with Audrey pinning Cytheria with her weight. Before falling Audrey grabbed Cytheria’s hair with her good hand and, with a loud, painful grunt, pushed of the wall with her good foot, dragging them both to the floor with Audrey using Cytheria’s dazed condition as much as she could against her.

Both women screamed as they hit the floor: Cytheria from the trauma of her chest wound—which was further aggravated by Audrey striking her and then nearly falling on top of her—and Audrey from just about everything in her body. Audrey nearly released Cytheria when her broken arm bounced off the floor; Audrey forcing herself to hold on even though everything around her was beginning to gray out.

“Let go. You fucking bitch.” screamed the struggling Cytheria through clenched teeth. “Let me go.”

“Sorry, Cy—“

“Let me go now.”

“I have to do this.”

Cytheria continued to struggle, trying to extract Audrey’s fingers from her thick hair. “You are doing nothing, do you—“

Audrey mumbled a quick, “I’m sorry, love,” then yanked Cytheria’s head back hard. Cytheria redoubled her effort to find release from Audrey’s grasp and while she was flailing against Audrey’s good hand, Audrey used her waning telekinesis ability to lift her broken arm, extend the index and middle fingers of her right hand, and plunge them into Cytheria’s eyes.

Cytheria’s tortured scream filled the cabin. She reached for Audrey’s hand, found it, but could only struggle weakly in an attempt to remove the fingers from her eye sockets. Audrey held on, pushing herself to stay awake, not to pass out, not to fall into blackness—

Cytheria dropped her mental barriers.

For the first time in weeks Audrey was able to access Cytheria’s mind—and, currently, her intense pain. But suddenly that didn’t matter to Audrey: she had what she wanted.

Unconstrained access to everything that was her.

Audrey had no idea did if this was going to work. In the end they might both end up dead. Or brain damaged. It didn’t matter. This had to be done.

She focused, slipping in—

The cabin turned deathly quiet. Cytheria froze, her breath coming in short, stabbing jabs. Neither woman moved for nearly thirty seconds before Audrey released Cytheria with a loud grunt and collapsed, gray, waning, her energy spent. Cytheria cupped the remnants of her eyes and curled up in a fetal position, crying in pain.

I got it, I got it, Audrey kept repeating in her mind. That was it: she was certain she’d gotten what she’d come for.

Someone was lifting Audrey by the shoulders. “I’m preparing the nanodoc,” said Maggie. She held Audrey close, being careful not to damage her further. “You only need to hang on another fifteen seconds.”

“Get—get Cytheria first,” gasped Audrey weakly. “Get her in—“

Maggie brusquely cut her off. “She’s not dying, but you are.” Maggie brushed Audrey’s blood-flecked hair from her face. “The restrictions on allowing you to be injured stand rescinded: now let me save you.”

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