Visualizing the Unseeable Flow

Here it is, Sunday, and I’ve been hard at work since about six this morning.  Yesterday I bought a program that will allow me to do videos of what is on my computer screen while I’m working, so this means that video I’ve wanted to do on Dragon will become that much easier to create and put up on the blog.  You can expect to see that sometime soon–and you going to get a little treat along with that, because I’m actually going to write in the novel as I’m demonstrating Dragon.  Call it spoilers if you will.

Speaking of the novel and the current scene… When I said during the yesterday’s video that I expected to current scene run maybe two thousand words or so, I lied.  I’m already past two thousand words and I’m now expecting it to run maybe another thousand before I’m finished. I also checked the timeline on Chapter Ten for the novel and found that I started five weeks ago, back in the middle of February.  Based on these dates, it’s likely this is the longest I’ve worked on a chapter in any of these three novels.

In Friday’s post we had Kerry getting ready to teach Advanced Spells all about time.  Well, he’s up in front of the class having a few last thoughts…

 

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

 

He rolled his eyes as he faced his audience. On his far left sat the two new B Levels, Naomi and Subhan. To Subhan’s left sat Pang, and on his left was Kerry’s empty chair. Though Naomi had the option to cluster herself with the rest of the girls, she stated that she felt more comfortable sitting with someone from her own level.

To the left of his empty chair sat Annie, looking at him with friendly intensity. Nadine sat next to her, and to the ginger girls left sat Regina and Serafina respectively. Kerry knew he didn’t have to worry about any of these girls, though last year Serafina made it known that she wasn’t all that interested in time spells and he half expected her to ignore him for most of this class.

 

What Kerry is doing is very similar to something I used to do when I taught. Yes, way back in the early 1980s I actually taught computer classes. Let me tell you, it can be a bit intimidating getting up in front of a bunch of students who are looking to you for the answers–or who really don’t give a shit if you have anything to say.  And I was far older than Kerry at the time, so you can imagine how he’s feeling.

Fortunately, he knows most everybody there, so getting started doesn’t seem to be much of a problem–

 

He stared at the floor in front of his empty seat for a few moments before looking up. “I find time to be an interesting concept. Not just from the point of view of someone who enjoys reading stories about time travel and time manipulation, but also from the point of view of someone who has come to somewhat understand how it can be manipulated.” A smile crossed his face as he scanned his fellow classmates. “Also, given how long all of us will live, I guess you could say we’re already cheating time before we even learn how to cheat time.

“What makes time spells so tricky, at least to my way of thinking, is that it’s difficult to visualize how to craft the spells necessary to pull off various effects. I mean, it’s difficult enough for some people to pull off what we now consider simple spells and even some of us have trouble with crafting the more difficult spells due to their concepts, so it’s not completely out of the question that understanding time is going to be an easy thing.

“As all of us now know, time is not always a simple progression of cause to affect—and, no: I’m not going to tell you what I think it is because all of you’ve already heard my explanation.” He flashed a quick smile around the room at the relieved looks of students who didn’t want to hear about timey whimy balls of stuff. “Though right now I know how to accelerate and slow down time, I’m not quite as good as those witches who have actually learned how to stop and reverse it. But, I think slowing it down and speeding it up are more important to us right now.

“One of the really interesting things about time spells is that they can have an introvert effect on objects in physical space—and those effects can be harmful. Let me show you something.” He turned towards Wednesday. “You ready to be my handy assistant?”

Wednesday conjured a small box of yellow tennis balls that popped into existence near her right waist and floated alongside. “I’m all set, Teach.”

 

I’m sure there was a point in Kerry’s life where he was lying on his bed in his dorm in the coven tower, staring at the ceiling, thinking, “Man, all those years of watching Doctor Who have finally paid off.”  Though it probably wasn’t just this show they got them started on the concepts of working with and bending time; I’m sure he got a bit of an education reading ‘—All You Zombies—’ by Robert A. Heinlein, a story he wrote in one day on 11 July, 1958.  That story, along with another, By His Bootstraps, were full of quirky paradoxes which shouldn’t happen, but did within the stories.  Heinlein love playing with time paradoxes, and these two create some of the most fantastic paradoxes ever.

And in terms of how time can be affected at the School of Salem, these are likely paradoxes that one would not want to have happen to them.  Helena learned the hard way that one needs to avoid paradoxes, and through geek culture Kerry is probably quite aware of how poorly things turn out when you go back in time to inform your past self of something they should or shouldn’t do.  It’s quite likely he knows that playing with time that way is quite similar to what happens when you try to manipulate the present to either bring about or prevent a future vision you’ve had.  As Dan has pointed out, without a frame of reference from which to work, it’s highly likely that whatever you are setting out to do will never happen.

Now, comes the obligatory warning: the excerpt you get tomorrow is going to be full of science.  Sure, there’s magic, but sometimes that magic comes with a sprinkling of science–

So says the writer who has a girl who can fly.

And Filling in Today Is…

Believe it or not, I finally finished the penultimate scene.

Really, I’m not making this up.

Last two nights saw about thirteen hundred words written, which was just enough to put the finishing touches on one of my longer scenes–one that I thought was going to keep going on and on and on.  Some scenes are like that, you know: you don’t expect him to last that long, but before you know it is spending the better part of a week getting everything done.

This means that tonight I can start final scene in this chapter, which I think I have a good idea of how that particular scene will proceed.  Or maybe I don’t.  I suppose I won’t really know until you sit down and begin writing–which these days involves putting on a headset and talking everything out.

Now, you’re probably wondering about the title of this blog post.  I know it can be a bit confusing, but trust me: a clear up the confusion rather quickly.  Like, it’ll be cleared up in the first paragraph–

 

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

 

Wednesday pace back and forth a few times deep in concentration, the soles of her Doc Martins making not a sound. “As I said, I’m not a fan of time spells but I know how to use them. However, we do have two students were rather good with them, and one of them is downright masterful. If none of you object, I’d like to have Kerry perform a few practical applications for us and explain how he is able to pull off some of his crafting.” She stopped and glanced from one student to the next. “Anyone have any issues with that?”

There were a few seconds of silence before Nadine Woodley crossed her legs and readjusted her short skirt as she got comfortable in her chair. “We all know Kerry knows this shit the best and Annie’s right behind him—” She looked across the semi circle at the two B Level students. “Well, maybe they don’t know, but they soon will.” She drew in a long breath as she dropped her shoulders. “I got no problem.”

“I don’t have a problem, either.” Rivânia Suassuna nodded as she looked at Nadine. “The majority of us have been in this class long enough to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and I don’t mind learning from someone whose knowledge in a particular type of magic is better than mine.”

Wednesday didn’t expect push back from the two girls who were generally regarded as being the leaders of this class. If they say they’re fine with the situation, the others will follow their lead. After a few more seconds of silence she acknowledged the will of the class. “Very well, then.” She motioned that Kerry. “Come on up here.”

 

It probably didn’t hurt Kerry’s chances of acceptance and that the two girls who vouch for his abilities are also team captains of their respective coven’s race teams, as well as being friends with both Annie and him.  Though Nadine is rather outspoken and if she thought Kerry sucked with the spells, she’d say so.

But we know Kerry is good with time spells, because we been hearing about it here and there throughout the last hundred and forty-three thousand words of this novel.  So it makes sense that the instructor who teaches advanced spells would have someone who’s more advanced in their advanced spells than her to come up and show the rest of the class how it’s done.

Which, if you think about it, can be a bit intimidating…

 

Kerry was a bit self-conscious about getting up in front of the class. It wasn’t that he had been in from of this particular class before: it hadn’t been unusual over the last two school years for everyone to perform a spell or two in front of the rest of the class. He also wasn’t that put off at the idea of offering instruction to other students—after all, Annie and he were minions in both sorcery and Wednesday’s other spells classes as well as coming into Transformation and Formulistic Magic classes. Since they were often asked for assistance during lab sessions, it wasn’t uncommon to show one or more students how to make a spell work correctly.

But this time the situation was a little different. This wasn’t lab work in the actual sense: Wednesday had told Kerry Monday during lunch that she wanted him to actually lead the class in the discussion on time spells, as he had a far better grasp of them than she—

She was asking him to teach.

That didn’t scare him. He taught Annie what he’d learned in Advanced Transformation and had to give a report on their time together to Helena every week. But teaching Annie and private was one thing and having to get up in front of class and do the same thing Wednesday did–that was a completely different matter. It meant going from a relaxed, private environment with Annie to being out in front of everyone here in the Spells Center.

His hesitation must have shown because Wednesday placed a hand on his shoulder before he had a chance to turn and face the class and spoke in a near whisper. “You gonna be okay with this?”

He nodded slowly. “I’ll be okay. It’s just that—” Kerry wanted to turn around and look at Annie, knew that would be a bad move as it might because the other students to doubt his abilities. “It’s a little intimidating doing this, isn’t it?”

“It is, just a bit.” Wednesday’s grin was slight yet knowing. “First time I got in front of a class one of the students asked when the teacher was coming. Not too embarrassing a way to start off.” She leaned in slightly so that this time she was able to whisper. “You don’t have to do this, you know.”

Kerry looked off to his left as he nodded. “Naw, I got this.”

Wednesday’s smile flashed into a full grin. “All right, then.” She stepped away from Kerry and headed off to his right. “Take it away, Doctor.”

 

It isn’t difficult to imagine Wednesday stepping up in front of her first class and being asked by students about when the instructor will appear, since Wednesday still comes off looking like a student from time to time.  Which is in her youthful appearances. Sometimes it works for you, sometimes it works against you.

While Kerry is pretty comfortable teaching Annie, he still has some trepidation about getting up in front of a class full of students.  But this is a small class where everyone is pretty much intimately entangled with one another and that makes the process of teaching easy, so Kerry shouldn’t have any issues.

If he did, I wouldn’t have another four thousand words from the scene to offer–

Time Be Time

So here we are, back where we should be.  Or lease where I should be.  And at long last, you’ve caught up to the same scene I’m working on.  Though, if I’m able to get in an hour or two of writing tonight, that won’t last too long because I nearly finished the scene last night.  I only stopped because it was getting tired and I needed to do a few things before going to bed.

Today’s excerpt brings us to Advanced Spells, Wednesday’s class on Wednesday nights.  Believe it or not, I’m still a little proud of the whole “Wednesdays with Wednesday” saying I put together back in the first novel, and this is the first time we visited her class since then.  We don’t get into classes all that much, simply because the story isn’t about just learning magic and slinging spells: it’s about a couple of interesting kids who happened to be witches.  But every once in a while you get to find out what they’re doing in class, and this group of excerpts that have been running for a few weeks show just that.

Since we’ve had the opportunity to see what’s going on in some of the other classes, it’s only fair that we get to see a special night in Advanced Spells.

 

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

 

“Time: what is it?” Wednesday Douglas looked around the semi circle of students who made up her Advanced Spells class. “There are some who would say it’s a river; there are some that say it’s a stream from which we can never escape. There are some who say it is a logical progression of cause to effect, though there are few of us here who know that’s not true.” She winked at Kerry as a way of keeping him from saying what she knew he was going to say and replied to her comment.

Wednesday love the expressions on the faces of her students. It seemed to be divided halfway between those who understood the concept completely and were comfortable in their understanding of time, and those who seemed utterly confused by what they were about to discuss and do next, particularly when it came to her two new students.

Though her Advanced Spells class had remained static the previous year, this year saw a couple of changes. For one Hasumati Choughury, one of two Blodeuwedd students, graduated and moved on to her year of Real Life Experience. Though she was usually quiet, Hasumati had been one of her most attentive and had usually been among the first of her students to work out and master a spell.

But she offset this loss with the addition of two new students. The first was Naomi Rohner, an Åsgårdsreia coven girl from Switzerland who was short, blonde, spoke French and German fluently, and asked a lot of questions during Beginning Spells. The second was Subhan Najafi, a quiet yet intense boy from Pakistan who was a member of Mórrígan coven. Though he’d experienced some initial difficulty finding himself surrounded by so many people from all parts of the world, by the end of his first month he become completely at ease with who he was and where he was receiving instruction.

Her two new students where the ones who seemed the most confused by her opening remarks, though Serafina, her remaining Blodeuwedd student, also seemed a little confused, which wasn’t surprising since Serafina seem to have a bit of an issue with time in general. Which was likely why their past work in the upcoming spell casting had always given her something of a problem…

 

Yah gotta keep Kerry from answering the question “What is Time?” because, by now, everyone in the damn school probably knows what he’s going to say.  Wednesday sure did and cut him off before a single word slipped from his mouth.

The classes are changing, too.  We’ve seen a student graduate and leave Formulistic Magic and now we have someone who’s done the same here.  But two new students have entered the fold and just as Annie and Kerry did when they were nearly brand new A Levels, they are feeling a bit intimidated by the older kids.  Give it another month and they’ll not have a problem.  Or they’ll have burned the joint down.  Either one is possible.

What is it about time that bothers witches?  Let’s find out–

 

Finished with her dramatic pause, Wednesday continued. “All of us here know that time is far more complicated and far more simpler than that. All of us have worked with time spells in this class—with varying degrees of success, I might say.” She smiled at Serafina, who rolled her eyes in response. “There are even some witches who are in possession of the Jump Gift, and are actually able to make small movements up and down the timeline.” She half smiled as she shrugged. “I’ve read about what happens to these people if they make a mistake with their gift, and the results are not pretty.

“That’s because time is a rather unforgiving element of reality. Everyone here has experienced a mild version of Backlash whenever they weren’t precise enough in their crafting. For those witches were adept at manipulating time, even the smallest miscalculation in their crafting can result in some rather horrendous Backlash. There was an old ad on American television that said ‘It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature’. That’s so true, ’cause when it comes to a screw-up in time, Mother Nature can be a rather foul bitch.

“Now, the sort of Backlash were talking about here occurs were trying to do major disruptions in the time stream. However, you’ve all dealt with what we would consider minor disruptions of the time stream—like when we set up enchantments to produce time variations inside closed rooms. All the lower-level coven kitchens have them and some of the study rooms and labs have them as well, so we know, if done right, there are no dangers and playing with time.

“What we are dealing with tonight are individual time spells, the kind that we can use to assist us in everyday tasks, or to help us out where we need something extra when crafting our spells.” Wednesday ignored the pained looks from Serafina and Chunghee Pang, her Ceridwen coven student from South Korea. Though she knew they could handle the crafting, nether student was particularly fond of time spells. “I know we went over this a few times in the last couple of years and it hasn’t exactly been something that the majority of you have enjoyed. I myself am not a huge fan of time spells, but I recognize their usefulness. And I want everyone in this room, before they graduate, to recognize the same.”

 

If what happened to Helena on a certain day in September isn’t an indication of what sort of beating nature can give you if you fuck around with time without considering what you’re about to do, then you won’t mind if the world goes all Donny Darko on your ass and pound you into the ground.  When messing with time you better bring your A Game–

I wonder if there’s anyone in this class who’s gotten really good with time spells?

How Super Was My Lab: What You Have to Say

Quite a lot has happened in the last two days.  For one, I’m back to writing.  Believe it or not, I hadn’t written anything this last Friday and Saturday, which comes close to the longest time that I’ve gone without working on my novels.  I did almost 700 words this morning, which is a good stretch for me.

Today I also figured out how to use Dragon in a public place, and this blog post–as well as the writing I did my novel this morning–were done with Dragon.  The solution was simple: it was necessary to mute the microphone on the laptop so that the only ambient sound being carried by the head mic was my voice.  Speaking aloud, albeit in a soft tone, in order to write.  It’s not like I haven’t done anything this strange before.

The biggest thing to happen occurred last night.  I headed out with a friend to take in a presentation of The Vagina Monologues.  We made a pretty full night of it: we picked up sushi to go, stopped and had a beer, met a new friend who happens to be a schoolteacher, and enjoyed the presentation together.

Out with Mary getting a beer.

Out with Mary getting a beer.

 

And watching the show begin.

And watching the show begin.

We laughed, we cried, we came away with a greater understanding of camaraderie between women.  I nearly had a full on breakdown during one monologue which was presented by a transgender woman telling us of her coming out in the things that she had heard while growing up–many of which were things I heard growing up as well.  It was a great experience and were already looking to going back next year and doing it again, maybe even getting a few more friends together so we can reserve a table right up front.

But, let’s get back to the writing…

Said writing being right here.

Said writing being right here.

Because I didn’t write for two days, after today’s excerpt I shall only be fifty-nine hundred words ahead of you.  But I don’t have much to do today, so the likelihood that I will add another five or six hundred words to the current scene are high.  Believe it or not, I’m eager and ready to get back into my writing.  Maybe all one needs is a little rest and recharging to recover the energy needed to continue a project that.

The last time there was an excerpt back on Thursday, Erywin asked Annie of her opinion of Alex in relationship to the tutoring she was receiving for Formulistic Magic.  And, of course, Annie is ready to offer that opinion–

 

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

 

Annie was a bit worried by voicing her concern it wouldn’t matter how good Alex became, her words could prejudice any future consideration. At the same time, she knew that part of being a good sorceress instructing another student is that the instructor must not fear voicing those concerns– “She wants to work in the superlab. She’s considering a career as a chemical engineer, but she’s also considering a career in another field. So…”

“So she wants to give the class a spin to see if this is to her liking.” Erywen’s expression turned serious as she considered this information. “Given what I’d seen of her work in the last two weeks I was planning on extending an invitation tonight after dinner. Even with the information that you’ve given me, I still plan on making that invitation.”

Annie was somewhat surprised to hear this. “You’re not worried she may not have serious intentions for this class?”

“I think she’s extremely serious about this class—otherwise why would she go through three weeks of tutoring with you? If she finds this is not the field she wishes to go into, it is better she do it now then after she graduates school, yeah?” Erywin chuckled. “Besides, she may discover that this is the field she wishes to go into and she’ll end up working her arse off to be the best. Isn’t that what we all want?”

“Absolutely, Professor.” She started smiling as she found herself agreeing with Erywin’s position.

 

Annie’s hard work with Alex paid off, and it brought about an improvement good enough for Erywin to notice.  The real truth is Alex must’ve been just on the cusp of going from being good to becoming excellent, and Annie’s help was enough to push her over the line.  This is what Alex hoped for and the hard work paid off.  We knew that Annie was capable of teaching; the real question was whether Alex was capable of learning.  Apparently, she was.

So how does this finish out?

 

“Right, then.” Erywin picked up her tablet. “I would appreciated if neither of you say anything before I speak to her.  If she should ask why I want to see her tonight, just say you have no idea.” Both students nodded. “And, Annie?”

“Yes, Professor?”

“Thank you for giving an honest assessment of the student.”

She smiled as she gave a slight shrug. “It’s what I was trained to do, Professor.”

Erywin smiled back. “Helena will be glad to hear that.” She turned and walked out of the cubicle.

Kerry crossed his arms, tucking his hands under his armpits. “Alex will be happy to know her hard work paid off.” He took two steps across the cubicle and wrapped his arms around Annie’s waist. “Then again, she had an exceptionally good tutor helping her.”

Annie touched Kerry’s lips with her fingers before kissing him. “But as we both know—”

“Yes?”

“The student has to be able to take the information that tutor gives her client correctly.” She wrapped her arms around him and rubbed her lips against his before engaging in another kiss. “And I was fortunate in that I had an incredibly skilled student.”

 

That last line goes both ways: Alex is an incredibly skilled student, but her primary student is also incredibly skilled: he has to be if he wants to keep up with his soulmate.  That’s the thing about being one half of a team that wants to excel at so many things–whether you realize it or not you push each other harder than you might push yourself where you working alone.

And working alone is exactly what were going to see in the next two scenes, for the scenes actually take place simultaneously on seventeen September, 2017, which happens to be a Tuesday evening.  We already know from the last novel that Tuesday evening is when Jessica teaches Advanced Transformation, and while Carrie is there for every class Annie comes in when she feels she needs to get a handle on the particular spell before she starts learning it from Kerry.  This evening she’ll take a pass on class and head off to get mentoring of her own–

Which means it’s time to head out to the Witch House…

How Super Was My Lab: About This Extra Work–

So here we are, Day Four of Cassie’s Big Week of Excitement, and while I didn’t officially go out last night, I did go down to have dinner and ended up sitting next to a woman who’s a lawyer who’s been working in Harrisburg for a few weeks and was getting ready to return to her regular office in Reading.  After I returned home I wrote my weekly Humans recap, then headed off to bed before the massive wind storms hit us.

Which they did.  And woke me up at a little before four in the morning.  So I’m kind of running on empty at the moment as is nearly six now and I know I’m going to need coffee before I get into work.

What excitement awaits me tonight? I have a political get together which is being held at another person’s house.  I should be home before nine, which will allow me and hours so to get in some writing before heading off to bed.  Tomorrow night me walk down to the local coffee shop to watch a band play between seven and nine, and Saturday night I will be heading out to Carlisle to see a performance of The Vagina Monologues, which I’ve never seen.  And that will be it: no more excitement plan for this week.

I may actually be able to work on my novel.

And speaking of that novel, I’m still stuck down in that goddamn superlab and my kids are finding there were cubicle. Is anything interesting going to happen to them?  What you think?

 

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

 

Annie and Kerry found her cubicle quickly: there is was the second cubicle down on the right from the personal rest area. It was much like the cubicle they used in transformation class with one exception: where those cubicle walls stopped at about mid-chest level, a meter of safety glass continued upward and there was a sliding door on the outside of the cubicle that could be used to seal it off from the rest of the lap. Annie suspected this was in place as a safety measure in case there was an accident in the lab and students were unable to get out through the airlock. It was likely that in that instance once the door was sealed shut, a stasis enchantment would go in place over the cubicle freezing time for those inside and preventing them from being harmed.

She was about to ask Kerry—who was busy checking the computer system—when Annie realized Erywin was standing just outside the cubicle looking at them. She smiled at her instructor. “Do you need us for something, Professor?”

“As a matter of fact, I do.” Erywin stepped into the cubicle entrance but did not enter the cramped area. “I actually need to speak with you, Annie, more than I do Kerry.”

Annie nodded. “What can do for you?”

“I’d like to discuss Alex Chorney.” Erywin held the tablet in one hand and used the other to grip the wrist. “You’ve spent the last three weeks tutoring her.”

 

First off, we find out that these cubicles are probably safety zones for the students in case something goes wrong in the lab.  We already know that there is magic that will basically allow you to freeze time around a person, and that same magic works for areas as well.  So each cubicle sort of acts like a panic room in case you are unable to leave the lab, and Annie is likely correct in assessing that once inside time stands and your prevented from being hurt by whatever’s happening outside.  So no worries: even if the building collapses around you and it takes people a week to get to your cubicle, as far as the people inside are concerned they just shut the door.

And second: Erywen wants to talk about a special pupil Annie is had for the last few weeks.  This brings up the situation that was discussed in Kiev between Alex and Annie about getting some tutoring, and since Erywen is asking about it it would seem that Annie did exactly as she promised…

 

“Yes, I have.” Since spending the last three Saturdays working with Alex in the Chemistry Building, she figured it wouldn’t be long before Erywin asked her what was going on. “I visited her over the summer and she asked if I would tutor her because she’s hoping to secure a spot in this class.”

“And you’ve been working with her since she arrived.”

“I’m not the only one—” She glanced to her right. “Kerry’s been helping out as well.”

Kerry nearly snorted. “I’ve been helping get things organized and assisting Annie where necessary, but she’s the one doing all the heavy lifting.” He leaned against the counter on his side of the cubicle as he turned to look at his soul mate. “Only telling the truth, my darling.”

Erywin chuckled. “It doesn’t matter whose doing the majority of tutoring: what matters is that it’s occurring.” She stepped into the cubicle and set her tablet down on the counter next to Kerry. “What do you think of her progress, Annie?”

Though she had on producing any reports, Annie had been keeping verbal notes on the classes on her phone so she could review Alex’s progress. “Her execution of formulas are not in question, nor is her knowledge. I think her biggest obstacle is she’s afraid she’s going to be allowed in class and she won’t live up to expectations.”

“Is that the fear students have of every class, not just the advanced ones?”

“That’s what I told her yesterday. I said since all the classes are nothing but a series of tests, you have nothing to fear if you’re invited into the advanced class because it’s already assumed you will be able to do the work.”

Erywin picked up on a slight shake of Annie’s head and knew it meant something. “You have an opinion on this?”

 

Well, of course Annie has an opinion on this matter. If there’s one thing that both kids have picked up over there B Levels, it’s that they have to be honest when evaluating the progress of someone they are mentoring/teaching/tutoring.  Annie has always been honest about Kerry’s progress, which means she’s going to be honest about Alex’s progress.

The good thing is Erywen knows this, and she can expect Annie to give her an honest evaluation.  And what is that evaluation?

Maybe you’ll find out tomorrow.

How Super Was My Lab: Let’s All Look

And here you thought you were gonna get an author’s interview…

I spoke with the author last night and she decided that since she can’t actually start her Facebook giveaway until Friday, she wanted me to run the interview that morning.  Being the understanding person I am I said okay, so you’ll see that interview in a couple of days on 3 March.

In the meantime I arrived at work in my latest dress–

Gotta greet the new month in new hotness.

Gotta greet the new month in new hotness.

And I’m ready to take you into the superlab–

 

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

 

Annie had seen pictures of the super lab of being inside was another matter. She hadn’t realized it, but given the height of the ceiling she figured they were actually in the sub level and that the entire of the lab cut through into the lower level above. It wasn’t necessary to guess why the additional space was needed: pipes and HAVC conduits covered most of the ceiling.

She recognized at least a half-dozen chemical reactors, two condensers, two cookers, and in the far corner of the room three distillation columns. Her now trained eye saw that the system was set up for batch processing, there she spotted a couple of control panels which told her that it was possible the lab could be switched over for continuous processing if necessary. There were safety stations every ten meters and next to every station was an emergency vent button that could be used to clear the room of noxious and toxic fumes in seconds.

There were two powered exoskeletons stationed between the supply entrance and the personnel airlock which she guessed were used for moving around chemical containers inside the lab. To her right, about eight meters away, was a safety cage where the two hundred liter barrels of chemicals were stored, and off to her left was an open door that she assumed led to a locker room and a rest area.

 

There’s a lot of big words there and even bigger amounts of equipment:

Sort of like this without the witches.

Sort of like this without the witches.

But trust me, it’s put together in a way that’s gonna allow these kids to make a whole lot of mixtures that are designed to do good things for a body.  You might say they’re magical…

 

 

Annie was standing in an area which was unknown even to her parents. As they had once mentioned, they both took three years of Formulistic Magic before electing to move on to other studies in their D Levels. Her father specialized in classes revolving around magic as applied to mechanical technology in the Tesla Center, and her mother’s pharmaceutical research was performed at another location, as the school didn’t have a proper superlab when they were here nearly twenty years ago. One day when they came to visit she would make certain her parents saw this laboratory, for while it wasn’t in her nature to boast, she felt a certain pride in being the first Kirilovi to enter this room.

Erywin positioned herself in front of a large chemical reactor and clapped her hands. “Here we are: the Tesla Center chemical superlab. We will hold class here once a month and everyone in this class will be required to perform at least three assignments during this school year. As we have done over in the Chemistry Center you will work in pairs— though, as in the case with our F Levels, they will work together as the trio for now. When you are working on assignments in here they will be done at times when we would normally be holding lectures in the Chemistry Center—” Erywin turned slightly to her right and something caught her eye. “Kerry, what are you doing?”

Annie’s soul mate and climbed atop a rolling safety ladder and appeared to be looking over the contents of an open chemical reactor. He turned slowly back toward the rest of the class with a huge grin on his face as he shouted out his reply. “Yo, Gatorade me, bitch.”

 

Annie is fairly proud that by entering the lab she’s actually doing something that her parents didn’t do when they were students–though I’m gonna say the odds are good neither of her parents killed a couple of Deconstructors when they were students, so she’s got that on them, too.

But, you know, leave it to Kerry to just have to let his inner Heisenberg out and come up with a completely different idea of why they’re there.  And where does he get the idea to yell out the need for an electrolyte replenishing refreshment?  From here:

Yes, Kerry just has to go all Jessie Pinkman the first chance he gets.  Fortunately for him Erywin knows the source material and has a sense of humor:

 

Though Erywin rolled her eyes Annie noticed that she covered her mouth for a few seconds, probably to hide the smile on her face from the rest of the class. “Kerry.” She motioned at the boy. “Come down from there, please.” He stepped down from the safety letter an approach both Erywin and Annie, who were now standing close together. She lay a hand on Kerry’s shoulder. “If possible, can we have less of you pretending that this is something more than a chemical superlab? After all, if Isis suspects someone was here trying to cook meth, she’s going to become exceptionally upset.”

He shook his head slowly. “I won’t do that again.” He cast a quick glance to his left and gave Annie a wink.

As soon as the couple stepped back Erywin continued addressing the class. “As I was saying before being interrupted, this year you are required to perform three assignments. The objective of these assignments is to create a successful mixture in bulk. Most of what you’ll create will be of pharmaceutical grade purity, so it is not only important that you may be required to create three hundred liters of a particular mixture, but it will be necessary to ensure that the entire batch is equal to or greater than a specified purity.” She held up her right finger to emphasize the point. “If a small portion of the test sample falls several percentage points below purity, that means your entire mixture has fallen below a specific purity level and you will be required to either take a hit to your proficiencies for that assignment, or start over.

“The whole idea behind working in the superlab is to gain an understanding of what is required in these exceptionally large batch processes. Many of you will not go on to a future that involves Formulistic Magic, but it is necessary for you to gain an understanding of the protocols and procedures required for this sort of work were you to advance into the various chemical engineering fields.” She smiled as she looked around the room. “And for those of you will be moving up a level next year, you get to do it all again.”

Erywin let everyone down to the north end of the lab; it was not only the entrance to a personal break area, but along the wall were several work cubicles. “Each of you have an assigned workspace where you can keep track of your progress as well as use a computer terminal to look up information related to your assigned. You will use these cubicles as a team and they will remain yours throughout this level year.” She clapped her hands. “Find your cubical; the sooner you do, the sooner we can get to making magic.”

 

This is not an easy class and these are not going to be easy assignments.  Here a simply screw up could see a few hundred liters of mixture getting poured down the drain while your proficiencies take a massive hit–yeah, the superlab is no joke.  Not only does your magic gotta be on fleek, but being just a few steps off in your protocols will jack you hard.  But I’m certain Annie and Kerry will do okay–

But we are not finished with the lab.  Oh, not quiet yet–