But it’s not all that bad–trust me!
And a good day–and other days! Enjoy!
It’s an interesting day, filled with lots of doubt, crying, and indecision about my future. It’s also the day I picked up my first driver’s licence outside the State of Indiana and I’m shocked–Shocked, I tell ya!–that they actually put an “F” on it for “Sex”. Even with all the bad stuff happening to me today–and last night, let’s not forget last night–I had one bright spot that made the day shine.
And speaking of shinning… Today is an important day in my story history. For today is the eighteenth birthday of The Heartbreaking of Bolder, Colorado, Emma Neilson, making her the next to last member of her graduation class to reach the Age of Emancipation within The Foundation. And if you’re paying attention, that means there’s just one other birthday from that class to celebrate, and that’s Kerry’s, which happens in two weeks. That means Emma is probably out getting loaded somewhere–I’m sure she’s got ID that will let her get served–and Annie is counting the days to when Kerry and she can put their names on that wedding licence application.
And speaking of Emma–well, not yet, but just wait!
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie turned to Helena. “And why does it appear my code name is ‘White Queen’?”
Helena glanced off into space for a few seconds. “That may have something to do with me.”
“How is that possible?”
“Because my code name is Black Queen.” The sorceress scratched at her right cheek as she continued. “My mother called me that when I was a girl and it stuck with me when I came to school. Once I started going out on Guardian field ops it became my official code name and has stuck with me ever since.
“When I was out in San Francisco right after the first of the year—”
“What were you out there for?” This was the first Kerry had heard of Helena making trips to the North American headquarters of The Guardians.
“Had to do with the operation Annie was on while you were doing the Polar Express.”
Keep in mind I’m writing of future events, and this one happens after Annie’s Girl’s Weekend Out with The Guardians and Emma’s and Kerry’s Polar Express. In fact, this is happening two weeks after those events transpired, so it’s totally legit to speak of them in the past tense.
And what happened out there in the City By the Bay?
“Anyhow, when I was out in San Fran a few weeks back, getting intel on our—” She motioned between her and Annie. “—operation, some of the wags in the meeting called you White Queen because of our association.”
Annie gave this news a few seconds of consideration. “Maybe they feel I’m a bit of your opposite.”
“Or maybe they came up with that because a lot of Guardians are smart arses. Anyway, when your code names arrive don’t be surprised if that’s yours.”
The office was quiet for a few seconds before Kerry spoke in a soft voice. “What about mine?”
“Someone at that same meeting mentioned that.”
Helena chuckled. “About a third of the way through the meeting several pictures of your, um, other self, were displayed and a couple of them were of your and Annie together. A couple of people in the room called you the Red Queen and one even said that given your history of pop culture you’d probably appreciate Annie’s and your code name.”
Annie looked to her right once more. “What do they mean by that?”
Kerry didn’t have to think long on the matter once again. “It’s all comic book stuff, even your name, Helena. The Black Queen and the White Queen were members of The Hellfire Club in the X-Men comics. The Black Queen was a student of The Shadow King and was the leader of The Pale Riders during the Age of Apocalypse. The White Queen—” He chuckled. “She’s just a bitch. And she has a habit of not wearing a lot.” A smile slowly formed on his face. “The Black Queen and White Queen also have something in common.”
“Their first name: it’s Emma.” Kerry waited for Annie and Helena to exchange looks before telling them the rest. “Specifically, The Black Queen is Emma Steed—named after Emma Peal from The Avengers—and the White Queen is Emma Frost.”
While Annie simply stared at Kerry in silence, Helena seemed to speak for both women. “I’d make sure a certain ginger from Colorado doesn’t discover we’re sharing her name—” She arced her right eyebrow. “At least in a way.”
Annie humphed. “I know I won’t tell her.”
Kerry nodded. “I won’t, either.”
“Now that we know our code names—” Helena pointed at Kerry. “What about yours?”
“Oh, yeah. The original Red Queen of the Hellfire Club was Margali Szardos, who was a powerful sorceress, really big into demons, and the adoptive mother of Nightcrawler. In the Days of Future Past story, Psylocke was the Red Queen.” Kerry shrugged. “Given some of the stuff I know, I can see that name fitting.” He glanced at both women. “Even though I not completely thrilled to have that moniker laid upon me.”
“If I’m going to have the name Emma following me around, you can have a girl’s code name.” Annie smiled as she finished her sentence then turned to Helena. “One last thing: what’s a media team?”
The Guardians know Kerry far too well by now and seem to be thinking along the same lines. While I’m certain Helena’s mother called her daughter “The Black Queen” because of her eyes and attitude, she does also link up with her two protegees, the White Queen and the Red Queen, so there’s a lot of Guardian symmetry going on here. Also, every geeky word Kerry said is all true because you know it is.
I’m also pretty certain he’ll need kid Annie about having a code name for a character named Emma, because… well, don’t mess with little witches who may react badly to Gingers From America. Yeah, don’t go there, kid.
Besides, you don’t want Annie digging into your comic collection and finding an outfit for you to wear based upon one of your code name’s characters. You don’t. And you know it…
It’s a chilly morning here in the highs are expected to be around 40 F/4 C later in the day. Here in the United States, it’s Groundhog Day, and as we speak there are people standing in a public square in the town in central Pennsylvania preparing to worship affect rodent with a claim can predict the weather. I can predict the weather, Jack: it’s going to be cold, it’s going to be gray, and it’s going to last rest of your life. Or so says Bill Murray.
But this is another important day. Because if you been following this blog for any amount of time you would know that two years ago today a rather important event happened in my life. Today is the day that, after more than half a year of hiding, I came out of work and began living my life 24/7 as the woman I am today. Or as I like to say, the groundhog came out of his burrow, saw his shadow, and said we had six more weeks of winter, where has I came out of my closet, saw my shadow, and decided to remain a woman.
Today is my Groundhog Day. I’m going to do my best to make it a good one.
Meanwhile, back in the Ready Room of the School of Salem, someone’s trying to do something they shouldn’t. And they just opened a can of shit they’ll probably wish they hadn’t…
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
Both Emma and Kerry look back over the shoulder and found Franky Smith and Koyanagi Jiro, coven mates as well as wingmates, standing in the center aisle as they poked fun at Emma. Kerry immediately got the reference: kaiju were the enormous monsters from the movie Pacific Rim, which it premiered over the summer. And given the look on Emma’s face, she understood the references well.
They were both about the let the remark go when Jiro spoke. “We better go get ourselves a couple of Class 3’s so we can nuke this sucker before she goes on a rampage and starts tearing up the school.”
Franky laughed. “Yeah, nuke her from orbit so we can be sure.”
Kerry looked straight ahead and sighed. “That’s Aliens, guys.”
Jiro looked confused. “What?”
He half turned his head so he was now looking more at the ceiling instead of the two troublemakers. “’Nuke ‘em from orbit’ is a quote from Aliens; kaiju are from Pacific Rim. So what you want to say instead is—” He turned to Emma with a serious look on his face. “’All right, Mako. Get ready, this is for real.’”
Both Franky and Jiro appeared displeased as Emma and Kerry laughed, and Franky decided to voice his displeasure. “Well, excuse me, Malibey, for not being at the same level of idiot geekness as you. Instead of worrying about movie lines, maybe you should wonder about whether or not your wingmate’s PAV is going to be able to lift her monstrous frame off the ground.”
Emma instantly stopped laughing and got to her feet. She turned to face the Canadian boy and didn’t hold back. “I’ve had enough of your bullshit, Franky, so why don’t you just kiss my ass?”
First off, never go for the geek reference when Kerry is around ’cause he knows all the references. It’s obvious he saw Pacific Rim over the summer–yes, he could have as it came out 12 July in the US and UK–and if you don’t think for one moment he didn’t have all the pertinent quotes memorized after a week, you don’t know Kerry. And for anyone to mis-quote something from Aliens? Get ready for the pain.
Emma must have saw the movie, too, ’cause she knows what Franky’s talking about. Sure, Kerry made her laugh by including her in a bit of geek take down, but since Franky is a mean little asshole he doesn’t know well enough to back away and lick his wounds, and his next quip gets Emma on her feet and swearing. We know she’s somewhat scared of Annie, but Franky ain’t Annie and she lets him have it. Maybe she feels save in the Ready Room, or maybe she’s decided to blow assholes off–
And that’s when it gets real–
Franky said nothing as he stared back with open score at the defiant girl, while Jiro appeared uneasy and seemed to want nothing to do with the rest of the conversation. Finally the Canadian boys spoke. “You’re acting pretty brave all of a sudden.”
“Brave has nothing to do with it.” Emma hooked her thumbs on the pockets of her flight jacket. “I’m just through taking your crap.”
He smirked. “You’re trying to get me to call you out, aren’t you? You trying to get me out to the Manor so you can get me in the ring?” Franky looked slightly to his left. “Is that it, Kerry? You gonna be her champion?”
Kerry sat looking straight ahead as he released a long, loud sigh. “Emma doesn’t need a champion; she can take care of herself.” He tilted his seat back a touch as he crossed his feet at his ankles. “She shouldn’t have any problem dusting you.”
Franky shook his head as if he hadn’t heard correctly. “What did you say?”
Kerry finally tilted his head up and looked back. “Emma doesn’t need my help to beat your ass. You’d know that if you weren’t so damn stupid.”
By this time the whole Ready Room was silent as the other pilots watched this confrontation unfold. Everyone waited to see what happened next: Franky’s jaw tightened as he looked away a couple of times. “You want me to call you out, don’t you? You two had this all planned.”
Kerry stared up at the ceiling and moaned while Emma rolled her eyes. She shook her head as she replied. “Yeah, Franky, you’re right: we had this all planned out. ‘Cause we knew you were going to walk in here and act like the jerkoff you normally are and make rude comments about my height. You got us all figured out, dude.”
“The question now is—” Kerry finally sat up and spun around in his chair so that he was looking straight at Franky. “What are you gonna do about this?”
Jiro came over and tugged on Franky sleeve. “Come on, man. Leave these two alone. It isn’t worth getting involved.”
Franky snorted and turned away. “Yeah. Let’s get our seats.”
Emma sat down the moment the two boys were seated. She spoke with Kerry in a hushed tone. “I do not want to put up with this BS the rest of the year.”
Kerry glanced to his right, a slight smile on his face. “Keep putting him in his place the way you just did and it won’t be necessary.”
She said her left elbow on her chair arm and rested her chin in the palm of her hand. “You really think I could take Franky in a judgment match?”
Sure, Kerry may have helped set up the shot, but Emma put it away and finally brought the shame to Franky. It’s not hard to do because the kid is a total dipshit, but Emma has never stood up to people like this and it’s all new for her. There weren’t any threats, but there were a lot of well-placed comments that did the trick. Because this happened in front of the class, it’s likely Franky won’t try dissing anyone in class anytime soon–least of all Emma.
Now, concerning a theoretical judgment match between Emma and Franky, I’m sure Kerry has some sage advice. He could even use a Pacific Rim reference to get his point across–
Yeah, that’ll work…
Here we are once more on the trip to Kiev and while the chicken jokes are in short supply, we’re getting a chance to see Annie let her hair down and relaxing with someone her age. Kerry never seems to change that much when he’s away from Annie, but Annie gets to be more open and friendly when she’s away from school and/or her parents, which is how she is most of the time when it’s just Kerry and her out.
So how is the sushi setting with the East Euro Girls?
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Alex didn’t wait to finish her roll before speaking. “So it’s like the sushi in Tokyo?”
“I wouldn’t know—” Annie shrugged. “I’ve only has sushi in Osaka and Kyoto.” They exchanged stares across the table before both laughed. She set her chopsticks aside. “I hate to talk about that stuff: I always come off like a little rich girl.”
“If you didn’t want to look like a rich girl you should have left that purse at home.” Alex chuckled as Annie wrapped one hand around her Louis Vuitton bag. She sipped some tea so to wash down the last of her roll. “Don’t worry about how you appear; I don’t mind. And you’re lucky to have gone to those places. I’ll get there one day: Japan’s one of the places I want to visit when I do my Real Life Experience.”
“I want to go there as well.” Annie held her tea cup in both hands. “I want to visit the countryside and stay in ryokans the whole time.”
“What’s a ryokan?”
“It’s a type of inn. It’s all traditionally Japanese: you wear yukatas—it’s like a kimono—sit on the floor to eat and sleep on a futon.”
“Sounds like fun.” Alex ate another roll but waited until she swallowed before speaking. “You going to do that before your RLE?”
Annie stared off into the distance. “I’d like that.”
“You want to do that with Kerry?”
“Naturally.” Annie picked up he chopsticks and reviewed the food that remained. “We should order more.” She motioned at Alex. “Get what you want: I trust you.”
A wicked smile appeared on the blond girl’s hair. “They make a non-alcoholic mojito here: it’s Sprite, limes, and mint mixed together. We should get a pitcher and then tell everyone when we go back to school that we were drinking mojitos before we went shopping.”
Even though it seemed a bit silly on the surface, Annie knew there were times when it was necessary to break out of seriousness that usually surrounded their lives and have fun. “Why not? Penny and Kerry did something fun while they were together last week, we should, too.”
I learned all about ryokans back in the mid-90s when I was kinda seeing a Japanese woman and became interested in visiting the country and getting out into the countryside. These are a popular way of getting into the Japanese way of life, though if you really want to get down and dirty in that respect, try a minshuku, which is the equivalent of a Japanese family bed and breakfast where you are pretty much living with the family: think of if as an AirBnB with the owners still there. Now we gotta wonder what Annie looks like walking around in a kimono, though I think she’d probably be cuter dressing up with the Harajuku Kawaii Lolita set.
It is true: Annie is, deep down, a little rich girl and she can’t hide that. She’s in nice clothes and carrying a Louis Vuitton purse, so it’s difficult not to see her as someone who’s used to having nice things in her life. And she’s worldly, something impressed upon me by the Original Annie back in the days of the first Foundation novel. What this means is that she’s a bit of a princess, sure, but that doesn’t prevent her from enjoying hanging with people less well off than her. Given that Annie’s not one for dealing with bullshit she probably wouldn’t want to hang with other people from her financial demographic ’cause they’re simply no fun at all.
But wait: the girls are gonna have virgin mojitos? Sure. Because it’s fun. Like Alex says, when they return to school in about seven weeks they can tell their friends, “When Annie and I went to lunch we had mojitos with our sushi,” because when you’re thirteen and fourteen it’s all about having fun.
And this makes me want to have a mojito with dinner tonight because why the hell not?
Now that we know the girls want silly fun, what is this about Penny and Kerry? Well…
“Great.” Alex gave the order for a dozen more rolls and the virgin mojitos to their hostess, then waited for her to leave before speaking with Annie. “What did they do?”
She ran her finger around the rim of her tea cup. “They had lunch in the village of Snape.”
Alex needed a few second to digest this information. “Wait: is that like the Harry Potter Snape?”
Annie nodded. “The same. He wrote and said it was like ten kilometers north of where they were hiking—”
“They went hiking?”
“Yes. Kerry said they talked while they walked and then headed north to this village and had lunch. He said the character in the books was named after the town and he wanted to be able to tell people at school that they were there.” She took a final sip of her cooling tea. “So, you see: silliness. We can do the same.”
“Sure can.” She grew silent as their pitcher of drinks arrived and she poured them both a glass. “Is he gonna take you there?”
“He said he will—if not next month, then next summer.” Annie raised her glass and reached across the table toward Alex. “To having a good day.”
Alex clinked her glass against Annie’s. “To a good day.” She then downed about a third of the drink before setting it aside. “Can I ask something?”
So, a little left over from the last scene. When I was looking at the whole “Walking around in the Rendlesham Forest” thing I started looking at a few things beyond that area, and lo and behold, I found a little village–
I found the village of Snape. No, really.
Some rather easy looking shows that this tiny burg in the east of England is the one whose name was used by another writer who likes witches for one of her main characters, a rather dark and gloomy character with greasy hair who is an expert in, um, potions and dark magic. And into this two come two witches, both great fliers, both great with, um, “mixtures”, and one of them great with that ol’ dark sorcery stuff, and they sit down for a lunch at the Golden Key Inn and probably laughing about how there were now witches in Snape, likely leading Kerry to do at least one really bad Alan Rickman imitation. Because it’s all about fun and that’s how he rolls.
I guess tomorrow is when we find out what Alex wants, huh? I mean, that would make sense…
Crazy things happening, yo. One of the things I started doing the last couple of days is putting some song lists together of tunes I listen to on YouTube. Part of this is so I can have something to listen to as I’m walking to and from work–yes, I’m like all the other girls now with my earbuds walking to my own soundtrack–but then I thought, “Hey, you know: I have a lot of music in my novels: A lot of it,” and since I am a bit scatterbrained at times I figured it might not be a bad idea to put them all together so I can jam out on them from time to time.
Therefore, if you are interested, I have compiled all the songs that I can think of that put in an appearance in the story so far, and–SPOILERS!–this includes songs that haven’t yet appeared. They are also in chronological order, with Zoo Station–the song Vicky and Kerry flew to during his broom checkout–being first. And as you’ll see there are just over two dozen songs, with may more to come in time.
And in case anyone is wondering I also have a song list for everything that Kerry plays during Ostara, but that list is private as it has every song he plays so neener neener, you can’t have all my secrets.
With music out of the way let’s get on to the quick history lesson.
Kerry created a dream version of a place he knew outside of San Francisco: Battery Spencer.
Naturally Annie–who living in the mountains thousands of kilometers away–asks the question most people would ask:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie looked around just a bit puzzled. “What’s that?”
“This.” Kerry stomped his bare foot on the dirty concrete. “This. This used to be part of the defense of San Francisco.” He sat on the edge of the low structure, his feet almost touching the ground. He looked at Annie as she joined him. “Back over a hundred years ago they had all these guns in place around the Golden Gate—” He pointed towards the water in front of them. “—that’s the straight there—they were here to keep out enemy ships that might try to sail in and attach the city and ports. There used to be couple of big guns here, a few more down the coast—” Kerry waved his arm to his right. “—and a bunch of them over on the south side.”
“I had no idea.” Since Annie had spent her entire life living in the mountains she couldn’t imagine living in an area where these defenses existed. “Where are they now?
The guns, I mean.”
“Scrapped. All this stuff was obsolete by the 1920s because everyone was building huge war ships and aircraft carries. They pulled the guns out of here in 1942, melted them down, and used them for other things. There’s only one gun left over on the other side by the Presidio. It’s just used for demonstrations.”
“Interesting.” She loved how animated Kerry had grown talking about something that she’s never heard him mention in all the time they’d been together. He’s proud he was able to create all this; it’s likely this place was important to him. “What’s the Presidio?”
Kerry began rocking back and for as if he were anxious to do something. “It used to be a military base that was supposed to defend the city. It was shut down a while back and the buildings sold for development. The Disney people bought one of the buildings—” He stared at the bridge with a wistful look upon his face. “That’s where my parents used to work.”
“At this Presidio?”
“Yeah. That’s where ILM has their offices.” His chuckled was almost unheard. “That’s where the Yoda statue is.” Kerry finally looked at Annie. “I had my picture taken in front of it when I was six.” He grew quiet as he turned back towards the bridge.
First, the defenses. Like Kerry said, back in the extremely late 1800–mostly in 1895–a whole lot of gun emplacements were set up overlooking the Golden Gate, the entrance to San Francisco harbor. There were, for the most part, 10 inch guns set up on platforms that allowed them to drop down for loading, then pop up for shooting. There were at least two guns at Battery Spencer, and at least a half dozen more spread down the Marion Highlands, including two that were buried inside a hill.
On the southern approach there were even more, with a few going as far down the south coast as to be almost outside of the city limit. The idea was that any enemy ships that tried getting into the harbor was gonna get blasted to hell and gone before the got too close.
By the way, Battery Chamberlain, seen in the picture above, is that “one guy left” that Kerry mentions, and there are demonstrations these days showing people how it worked.
Not only did the Golden Gate have guns, but there were hardened forts as well. There was Fort Point which was, um, on the point right there where the straight narrows, and is more well known as that building the Golden Gate Bridge goes over–
And further inside the harbor was Fort Alcatraz, which is known these days as that prison that no one could escape. These places were chock full o’ guns as well and ready to blast any bad guys who made it past the outer defenses.
Overseeing this all was the Presidio, the military installation tasked with overseeing to the protection of the city. It was put in place originally by the Spanish in 1776 and was inactivated as a military base in 1994, which made it one of the oldest active military bases in this country. It’s all parkland these days and is open to any and all.
As Kerry also pointed out, the Presidio is where his parents used to work as Industrial Light and Magic–their former employee–has their offices on the old base. On the picture above ILM occupies a few buildings in the group of four at the very right center. And in the courtyard of one of those buildings–the one at the bottom of the group–is the Yoda Fountain, where Kerry was photographed standing in front of the grumpy old puppet.
Yeah, Kerry has a lot of memories of this area and Annie prods him a little to talk–
Annie rested her hand over his. “When were you here last?”
He didn’t need any time to consider the answer. “Like the middle of June after my seventh birthday. My parents were working and my grandmother didn’t want to do a lot of walking, so it was just my grandfather and me. He brought me up here, then we went to the Nike base down the ways, and before we went home we actually walked out on the bridge.”
“You did?” Annie grew a little excited. While she’d crossed many river bridges in Europe she’s never stood on a structure as huge as the Golden Gate Bridge. “How far out did you walk?”
“Out to about a hundred or so meters beyond the north tower.” Kerry held his arm next to Annie’s face and sighted down it towards the spot he remembered. “Right about there.”
“That had to be exciting.” Remembering what Kerry was like then—the intelligent boy who only saw a certain Chestnut Girl in his dreams once in a while but knew her presence meant he had someone with whom he could talk for what seemed like most of a day—she imagined he felt a combination of exhilaration and fear as he walked out on the bridge. “What was it like?”
“Windy.” He laughed. “And chilly, but you dress for that around here. I remember how far down the water seemed: like eighty meters or so.” He glanced at Annie. “Not so far these days, huh?”
She gave him a slow shrug. “It is if you fall.”
“And what is this Nike base you mentioned?”
Yeah, what is that Nike base you mentioned. Well, I’ll mention that tomorrow–along with a dirty little secret Kerry figured out about Annie. Will it change his perception of Annie? Ummm, probably not, but he’ll have fun pointing it out.
I’ve reached the last scene of the penultimate chapter, and the end is pretty close at hand. There are only four scenes remaining, and I may actually remove one of those because it might not be necessary. I guess when I start writing these scenes this weekend I’ll know of the one I think needs removing goes.
But that’s for later, maybe Friday–no, make that Saturday, because tomorrow night I’m gonna be super busy–but for now I need to start my kids out on what for them is their last night together in North America as B Levels, and the next time they’re back in this longitude they’ll be ready to take over as the C Levels of the Second Floor.
It’s also the last day that this novel visits: 1 June, 2013. There are no more days after this, either, so you know this is gonna end on a particular note. But that’s as few thousand words away. Right now that day is starting–and about as early as you can imagine:
The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Kerry sat in the bay window of Room 308, his back pressed against the window frame as he gazed out upon the darkness over Salem Harbor at just a little past midnight on the first day of June. The residents nearly two kilometers across the water were dark, and the only major light source in sight was the small light station a half a kilometer away, located at the end of Derby Wharf.
The rest of the area was as dark as the skies he remembered the first night he spent at Camp Baxter during his first overnight camping flight, thanks to the same magic used to screen out all local light pollution.
So we’re back in that bay window at the Sea Sprite Inn, only this time we’re seeing things from Kerry’s perspective rather than Annie’s. And when the time is stated as a little after midnight, that’s not a joke: the scene is listed in Scrivener as taking place at ten after midnight. Like I said, start of the day.
And I even have sort of the view of the area:
The Sea Sprite Inn would be right in the middle of the frame at the edge of the shore, and the room overlooks the harbor beyond. The lighthouse is over middle right, half a kilometer from the inn, and the far shore is, as measured, almost two klicks off in the distance. No word yet if anyone’s going to be eating at Witch’s Brew Cafe in the morning.
The evening went almost the same as last year. They walked to the same restaurant they visited last year—the same where Kerry’s birthday dinner was held—and met up with Coraline and her fiancé, though this time Trevor joined them for dinner: he was staying with the other A and B Levels in Boston and would fly with them in the morning. After they returned to the Sea Sprite Annie and Kerry rested for a bit talking and listening to music, then cleaned up and prepared for the night ahead.
Just like last year, neither expected to get much sleep.
Annie shifted around in Kerry’s embrace, getting comfortable against him and the pillows they were resting upon. She rested against him as she also gazed out the window. “No moon tonight.”
“No, it’s waining tonight.” He tightened his arms around her slightly, giving her a long, slow hug. “I checked before we left the school.”
“Hum.” She pointed out the window to star about twenty degrees above the horizon. “The red one there: what is it called?”
“That’s Antares, in Scorpius. It’s one of the largest stars that we can see, too.” He knew what she was doing and pointed to another start in the sky, a little further to the east. “But that one is brighter.”
She lay nearly on her back and stretched her legs. “And what is the name of that star?”
“That’s Altair. It’s also a big start, and spins so fast that it spreads out at the equator.” He played with a few strands of Annie’s chestnut hair. “Either are the brightest stars in the sky, so just like last year we can use them both.”
And what is Annie doing? She’s looking for the brightest star ’cause the moon isn’t up. It’s a continuation of what they pledged the year before: when you see the moon, look at it and know I’m looking at it, too. And if you don’t see the moon, pick the brightest star in the sky. Any day now Kerry’s probably going to teach Annie to say “My Sun and Stars” in Dothraki when he tells her she’s the “Moon of My Life,” because the kids at Salem don’t need another reason to roll their eyes at these two.
So what are they seeing? Oh, something like this:
This is a screen shot from my newest program, Stellarium, which is open source and free–though you should leave a little donation, as I did–and is a powerful planetarium program that will allow you to track the sky, day or night, from anywhere in the world. Yesterday, when I should have been writing, I was playing with different sky views, and I actually got an idea of the sort of sunshine Kerry’s going to get when he’s off on The Polar Express in the next book. Spoiler: it’s not a lot.
This means I’ll have something else to waste my time on–I mean, use as a tool to help with getting scenes right. After all, I can now use this to see the local condition as a particular location–like when Kerry has to face his parent at the end of the day, novel time. So much fun.
So, what becomes of this star gazing?
“Good.” She pointed towards Altair. “I like the blue star: it reminds me of coolness, and that which is cool can be warmed through cuddling.” Annie looked up at Kerry and smiled. “Red is anger, and I never want to be angry when thinking of you.”
“Or of a scorpion.” He chuckled before kissing her on the forehead. “Altair is it. Though watch out for the Monster From the Id.”
Annie giggled for several second. “What are you talking about?”
“Nothing—” He gave his head a single shake as he quickly glanced out the window with a slight smug on his face. “I’m just being silly.”
“Better than how you were last year.” She reached up and touched his cheek. “No tears this year; I like that.”
He pressed his hand against hers. “It isn’t because I’m not sad—”
“Then tell me.”
That’s where I left off, and when this starts up again, we’ll discover just why Kerry has no tears. And . . . we’re gonna see something else as well. Something you would never imagine.
Now, as I leave off, I must delve into a bit of geekness due to something Kerry said above. While looking at Altair he tells Annie, “Though watch out for the Monsters From the Id.” In the movie Forbidden Planet Altair was the star around which the planet Altair IV orbited, and that’s where the crew of the United Planets Cruiser, the C-57D, landed, made contact with Doctor Morbius and his daughter Altaira, learned about the Krell–and then had everything go straight to hell on them when their were attacked by the invisible monster later known as The Monster From the Id, which was really nothing more than an energy construct created by Doctor Morbius’ subconscious while he dreams.
In a way, this is a form of Dreamwalking that may just be possible in my world, and if it is, people better look out, because this Monster From the Id vaporized a space ship just to keep it from leaving the planet. Any witch who could do this would be a force to recon with–
The movie had a budget of $1.9 million, which in 1956 was a hell of a lot of money for any movie, and unheard of for a science fiction movie from the 1950s. The Monster From the Id was animated by Joshua Meador, who was on loan from Walt Disney Pictures (making this the first time Disney allowed one of their own people to work on another movie), and he actually slipped in a couple of what we would today call “easter eggs” during the attack sequence: the creature has a small goatee (Doctor Morbius is the only person in the movie with the same feature), and the monster roars much like MGM’s (the studio that made the movie) Leo the Lion does at the start of the movie.
The biggest contribution from the movie was to science fiction itself. Two of the main props–Robbie the Robot and the model of the C-57D–were used for years in other movies and TV shows. (Robbie has twenty-five credits to his “name”), Gene Roddenberry was heavily influence by the movie when he created Star Trek (as I’ve pointed out before, the time the C-57D enters orbit around Altair IV is 17:01, which is also the registration number of the Enterprise), and both Babylon 5 and Firefly/Serenity borrowed from the movie. In fact, a large part of the end of Serenity is related to Forbidden Planet in that the crew finally travels to Miranda and discovered information about the creation of the Reavers in Alliance rescue ship, C57D. Forbidden Planet is based in part on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and in that play Miranda is the daughter of Prospero, a great sorcerer, so the crew of the Serenity reach Miranda and discover that the Reavers are pretty much the Caliban of their universe.
There you have it: we start out with my kids stargazing together, and end up with lesson in science fiction history.
Never let it be said I don’t give you anything.