The Last Laps: Bothered on Blue

Welcome back to the Blog That Continues Spitting Out Work!  Just joking:  I’m in that sort of mood today.  The weather is getting warm and the days are enjoyable, so my mood is beginning to improve.  I seriously need to put a few more sun dresses in my wardrobe, or even something that I can wear that are light and flirty, but still be able to wear them to work.

This will do for now, especially on Wednesdays, 'cause as we know . . .

This will do for now, especially on Wednesdays, ’cause as we know . . .

Like I said yesterday the chances were good I was going to finish the scene I started Tuesday last night, and not only did I finish it, but I managed almost a thousand words doing so, and put the cap on the scene in time to sit down and watch The Americans.  It wasn’t very long, and with one last scene in Chapter Thirty-One, it’s possible this one will come in at just under six thousand words, making it a one of the shortest in the novel.  (The shortest is fifty-one hundred word, and I’m certain I’ll go over that count.)

Since Renxkyoko Iglesias said she couldn’t wait to see what Evildoer Lisa was going to do, don’t let me keep you from that.  But first, a little racing:

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

As they flew through Woodland Path Alex turned on the speed and put a dozen meters between her and Kerry by the time their exited the woods and headed into Selena’s Meadow. Kerry pushed himself trying to catch up, but with all on his mind on unimportant things, his willpower to force himself faster falter slightly. The only thing he could do was take a few chances—

He entered Meadow Climb at close to two hundred kilometers and hour and whipped the broom through the turn as he sped into the sky after Alex. The g forces were incredible, causing his vision to gray for a moment, an nearly blew two elevation gates in the process, but by the time he’d leveled out on the entry to Pentagram Pass Kerry was perhaps seven meters behind Alex, and he closed that to five by the time they reached Trench.

Kerry’s mind was no longer on the possibility of being wrecked. While he casts glances into his rear view every few seconds, his concentration was on the back of Alex’s broom, and the need to negotiate Quarry Turn perfectly and at high speed so he could try to stay close enough to Alex to make a run on her during their final lap on the Green Line. He was up and out of the woods and passing Observatory Tower as he set up to take Observatory Bend at as great a speed as he could, ‘cause he knew Alex as going to do the same.

He leaned forward and braced his elbows against the broom’s column as he entered the turn, seeing Alex do the same. The centrifugal force was brutal but Kerry kept his eyes on the girl in front of him and held tight. After a few seconds of agony they were both out of the turn, and while he hadn’t gained any distance on Alex, as they entered Skyway Kerry knew he hadn’t lost space either.

Since Helter Skelter was one of his favorite turns Kerry made it through and even managed to pick up a meter on Alex as they entered Residences. With a few seconds of relatively easy flying ahead, He checked his rear view—

Lisa was about four meters back, with four other fliers about three meters behind her.

Kerry felt a slight knot twist up in his stomach. He knew what she was going to try: she would attempt to close on him from Back Path to South Side Dive, then once they were in The Sweep, she’d try to wreck him. Just like she did that time with Anna and him. Since the race was almost over and she had no chance at a Top 10, getting parked wouldn’t hurt her, and with them both out of the race their coven standings wouldn’t take too much of a hit, though he’d finish out of the points and drop out of the Top 5—

He wasn’t going to let that happen. He pushed the broom harder as he jetted through Aerodrome.

It was only when he nearly missed an elevation gate at Back Path that Kerry realized he was still on about what Lisa might do and understood he was getting rattled. I’m over-thinking this, as usual, and doing this during a race is not the place . . . He cleared his mind, negotiated Van der Kroff Heights, and pushed onward.

Kerry held the left side of the course, setting up to enter South Side Slide. He shot a glance at the rear view and saw Lisa set. He ready himself for her to move on him hard—

 

When you get to the point where you over-think the fact that you overthink everything, then you’re spending too much time overthinking stuff.  And, after almost two years of school, there are probably people within the school walls who know Kerry tends to overthink things.  In short, Lisa is playing a mind game on The Ginger Hair Boy, and it rattled him just enough to get him spooky.  Kerry’s not a machine:  he has flaws, and this is one of them.  And as he suddenly realizes, overthinking on the race course is a bad idea.

Well, then:  what happens.  Kerry knows something bad is coming.  And he’s right–only it’s not what he expects . . .

 

Right then another flier dropped down in front of Lisa, slammed on their air brakes, and cut so hard to the right and down that Kerry thought they were going to lose control. Since he was setting up the turn from the left side of course, he adjusted his turn and followed the other flier down and to the left. Before entering The Sweep he checked behind him once more: the move at the start of South Side Slide ruined Lisa’s entry into the turn, and she’d not only lost several meters but was mired in with the group of racers behind him.

He pushed his broom through The Slide, the other racer hold their turn on his right through the outside of the turn. Once they were out of the turn and moving along Diamond Lane, Kerry flipped up his visor to see who was next to him—

The other flier’s visor flipped up, and Kerry immediately recognized the bright red bangs that belonged to Emma. A smile came to her eyes. “Someone last year told me that racing on brooms is three dimensional—” She glanced forward. “Funny how people tend not to look up.”

“Isn’t it?” He noticed that Alex was now about seven meters ahead and slowly putting distance on them. “You wanna race?” He nodded ahead as they neared The Diamond. “See if we can catch Alex?”

Emma’s eyes smiled back. “Hell, yeah.” She slapped her visor down and pushed her broom forward.

Kerry flipped his visor down and entered the Green Line at close to three hundred and seventy kilometers an hour, crossing the Start/Finish line maybe a third of a broom length. He didn’t need to worry about Lisa any longer, and he certainly didn’t need to worry about Emma. He eased his broom through Rockport Lane and focused on Alex. Three fliers competing for fourth— Kerry leaned slightly to the left. This is how the season should end.

 

Only fair that after Kerry helped out his wingmate with a smack down that got her back in line that she’d come and do something that might have let him finish the race in one piece.  Before you ask, let me answer:  yeah, Emma did something that she was technically warned on before the race.  However, no contact was made, she wasn’t screwing around with Lisa, and since we know people in Race Control were watching what was about to unfold, after the move they probably looked at each other, shrugged, and went back to checking out the last lap of the race.

And, no:  they couldn’t order Lisa not to do anything because this isn’t Minority Report and Salem doesn’t have a Pre-Crime Department, and as one of the best seers in the world–who, incidentally, is sitting in Race Control as this goes down–would say you can’t act on those visions ’cause you’re liable to make things worse if you do, all anyone can do is watch thing unfold and wait for the outcome.  Or maybe Deanna was back in Race Control telling everyone “Wait for it” and leaving things like that.  We’ll never know–well, you’ll never know.  I know.  Bawh, hahahahaha!

Anyway, one last scene to write for this chapter:

You can see it right there.

You can see it right there.

And there you’ll discover how the final standings of the final race of the season shake out.  I should be able to get to that before I need to take notes for tonight’s Orphan Black episode–

Springtime For Kerry: Helter Skelter Comin’ Down

That scene I showed you yesterday?  Finished it.  Yep, sure did.  It took me awhile to get to seventeen hundred and sixty words, because I was spending the moment between music, napping, eating, and snarking on The Walking Dead, so I was a busy girl even though I wasn’t.  Such is my live on the weekend when I have no one with whom to visit and I’m playing one half the team of Two Broke Girls.

Given that I covered a lot of the race mechanics in the last post, it behooves me to not worry about getting you up to speed.  I will, however, give you a nice graphic of the section of the course that is covered in the following excerpt:

Where all the action takes place, so to speak.

Where all the action takes place, so to speak.

It doesn’t seem like a lot of space to cover, but then I don’t need a lot of space.  What happens in the next few hundred words doesn’t need a lot of space . . .

 

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

The third stage race was exactly like the first one with Mórrígan: everyone bunched up with lots of hard competition. The lead changed constantly between the top four, and everyone else remained within a second and a half of fifth and sixth place. Kerry stayed up towards the front, but as the laps wound down he found it more difficult to keep up the pace. It wasn’t simply a case of being tired: there were a few moments during Laps 4 and 5 when he knew he was flying on auto pilot, and the only thing that got him through the the various areas unscathed was memory brought on by dozens of laps runs over the last five months.

He didn’t like not being in complete control. While it had happened once in a while before—Penny and Alex both admitted there were times when their minds wandered for a few seconds at times during a particularly difficult race—it made him feel like he was a danger just by being on the course. He didn’t want to think about that now, because if he did his mind would wander and he’d start flying through the track sections without thinking about what he was doing—

Kerry snapped aware as he sailed into The Trench at close two hundred and fifty kilometers and hour, with Alex on his left and Nattat Adriano from Mórrígan on his right. He popped up a half-meter so they could all squeeze through the space through the trees. He got his mind back on the race as he sped into Quarry Turn with his shadows to either side, Penn and Nadine directly in front of him, and Emma drafting off his processor while Manco and Mórrígan’s Malaya Lacsina drafted off her.

He made his way through the trees and back up into the air, picking up speed as the pack headed into Observatory Bend, building up gees as he flew through the two hundred degree turn. Kerry shook as he fought against the forces pushing him into the saddle. He spotted Alex just to his left, but he didn’t see Nattat; he figured she’s slipped slightly behind him as she ran the outside of the turn. He quickly glanced into his rear view and saw Emma drafting off Alex now, while Manco and Malaya were drafting off him.

He lined up on Penny as the pack neared the exit of the turn and made their way onto Skyway. Kerry felt the draft pull him closer to his teammate, and he sensed rather than saw her twitch slightly to her left as she took the quickest path on to Skyway. Kerry wanted to continue drafting, but he caught sight of Alex out of the corner of his left eye and halted his move because he didn’t want to wreck her. Instead he stayed in the middle of Skyway and forced a bit more speed out of his broom . . .

Helter Skelter grew closer. Kerry, certain he was clear of Alex, slipped in behind Penny with the intention of bring right behind her the whole way through the turn, and get a good pass on her in Residence. All he needed to do was draft now, hang tough, draft later.

He began blinking hard. He tried to recall his plan, but he couldn’t find that train of thought; it wasn’t there any more. He didn’t need it: it was just stay close and follow Penny—

Follow her through—

Kerry gasped as he closed fast on Penny, now only four meters in front of him. He sat upright and let out a shriek before jerking as hard upward on the control column of his Espinoza as possible, shooting seventy meters above the Blue Line and away from the line, where he stopped after a few seconds of sailing. He breathed deep to clear his head, waiting for the call he knew was coming—

Professor Semplen’s voice was clear in his ears. “Kerry, this is Race Control. What’s wrong? Over.”

“Race Control, I’m okay.” Kerry’s sigh was impossible to mask. “I’m coming back to The Diamond. Over.”

“What’s wrong?” Vicky broke in on the conversation. “Do you require medical assistance? Over.”

“I, um—” He shook his head, flipped up his visor, and began slowly flying back to The Diamond. “I don’t know what I need. I’m declaring a DNF.” This sigh was full of disappointment. “I’m done racing for the day.”

 

To bring you up to speed on racer lingo, DNF means Did Not Finish, which means the racer in question never crossed the finish line at the conclusion of the race.  Kerry also gets no points for the race, which means his coven gets no points for his participation, either.  The only time we’ve seen Kerry DNF before this is when Anna and he wrecked after Lisa “accidentally” slid into them.  When he an Emma wrecked before, he was crossing the finish line and therefore received points–I mean, he won that race–and he raced with a busted knee at Katahdin just so he wouldn’t get a DNF.

This time, however, Kerry did something we’ve not seen since he started school:  he pulled himself off the course and said “No mas” before slowly making his way back to base.

He just quit.

I tried finding an image of a tired boy on a broom, but I couldn't, so here's a bad moon rising.

I tried finding an image of a tired boy on a broom, but I couldn’t, so here’s a bad moon rising.

I would imagine right about the time Kerry pulled off the track and stated he was done for the day a certain Bulgarian girl probably flew out of her seat and headed right for the coven ready room–and with Annie, flew takes on a literal meaning.  She’ll show us the aftermath of his decision in the next scene.

I dare say we’ll see a lot of stuff from her point of view in a lot of the scenes to come.

Course Corrections

Here I am only six hundred and fifty-four words away from two hundred thousand, and this second scene is over and done, big fin for all to see.

See?

See?

It was strange with this scene because I spent three night working on it and is seems like every night I wrote about a hundred to a hundred and fifty words more than I wrote the night before.  Probably had a lot to do with my moods at the time, but it’s still a little strange to see that happen.  At least I know that in the last three nights I wrote almost seventeen hundred and fifty words, which is pretty good for me these days.

In the next almost seven hundred words we come to the end of the race.  More thoughts and more observations, and Kerry is brought back to a race moment that happened about one hundred thousand words earlier in the manuscript . . .

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Snow blew up behind Kerry the moment he dived into The Trench. He expected to see Anna vanish and reappear further back, but she crept out of the snowy backwash, centering herself directly behind his PAV so she could draft. She wouldn’t get a good draft as they were slowly drifting to the left into Quarry Turn before doing a little back and forth before getting back into the air, and as Kerry didn’t have any snow in his face he could open up a little space . . .

Anna hung with him all the way through Quarry Turn and the quick S-turns through the trees, so she was only four PAV lengths behind as they approached Observatory Bend. The sky wasn’t completely clear of haze, but it didn’t make seeing the elevation gates impossible. Kerry peeked at his rear view display and saw Anna setting up for the inside sweep. He smiled as the one-eighty turn approached—She’s watched the video of my first race and she’d doing the same thing Alex did on that last lap. He leaned over the handlebars of his Class 2 broom and began his turn.

He hit the turn hard and fought the gees as they quickly built. A quick peek saw Anna cutting a half meter to the inside to pull a tighter turn—only this time the strategy didn’t work. Kerry pushed his broom just a few meters a second faster through the turn, keeping a two PAV lead on his pursuer and keeping third for himself. As he came out of the bend he slipped his PAV to the left, causing Anna to brake just enough that she dropped back three lengths. Sorry, but I came up with a few tricks since that time I had Alex behind me, Anna— Kerry chuckled as he flew towards Helter Skelter. Annie; Alex; Anna . . . He quickly made his way down and through the tricky turn and blasted out the other side. Penny; Emma; Lisa. How is it I come to witch school and end up knowing all these girls with two syllable names?

 

I came up with his last way, way, way back in 2011 when I was role playing Kerry, and he actually came up with this thought while patrolling with Emma during the attack on the school–they happened at a different time than the Day of the Dead then–and the thought was something like Annie, Anna, Emma . . . how do I know all these girls with names that sound the same?  I don’t know:  maybe witch girls like to keep their names simply.  I will throw this out, however:  Annie’s, Alex’s, Penny’s, and Emma’s names are the only ones that are shortened versions of their real given names, while Anna’s and Lisa’s aren’t.  Coincidence?  I think . . . I’ll continue with the excerpt–

 

Kerry pushed hard through Residence and Aerodrome, but Anna pushed harder, and by the time he flew through Back Path the little German was back to a couple of PAV lengths behind him. As he dipped and rose into Van der Kroff Heights he wondered if he shown too much too soon, then disregarded it as he swept hard to the left and flew down towards South Side Dive. I’m a better flier and racer; she’s not gonna take me here.

He came out of South Side Dive with Anna still a couple of lengths back. Kerry knew her plan: she was was gonna turn tight on his inside and try to get ahead—or baring that, she’d get along side, keep him close to the enchanted safety barrier, and drag race him to the finish line. All he had to do to spoil her plan was get through the turn faster, keep her at least a half a length behind him, then get in the center of the course and open up with as much speed as possible all the way to the end.

He set himself in the saddle. He didn’t see any problems: he’d beat her and do it clean.

Kerry reached The Sweep and held nearly all his speed going through the long turn. He watched the turn ahead, but was aware that Anna was on his left, close but holding her fast line. She pulled up close, maybe a half a PAV length back, but she was still behind him and that was all he needed once the turn was completed—

There was a blur in the rear view but before he could register just what it was something slammed into the back of his PAV and slammed it hard to the right and into the safety enchantment. He tried to jerk it straight but Anna hit him hard before she when pinwheeling down the course. Kerry rolled hard to the right, felt the slight electrical surge of the safety enchantment before hitting the barrier. He bounced off the magical wall and tumbled over and over into the middle of the course, managing to see a departing broom before he fell into darkness—

 

Like I said, we come to the end of the race, and here’s the section of the course covered:

We start at the arrow and proceed to where X Marks the Spot.

We start at the arrow and proceed to where X Marks the Spot.

Some people suspected that certain shit would go down, but most of them figured that Anna was gonna crash Kerry.  Well, sorta:  it would appear she was crashed out as well.  Now, would anyone like to take bets on who the did the dirty deed?

If you don’t, no worries:  you’ll find out as soon as Kerry wakes up.

And I write it out.

The Cold Calculations

Today’s post title kinda comes from a story written before I was born.  Tom Godwin’s The Cold Equations was published in 1954 and, about fifteen years later, was deemed a classic of the science fiction field by The Science Fiction Writers of America.  A long story short, it’s about an emergency space ship sent to deliver medical supplies to a colony world, and the pilot discovers there’s an eighteen year old girl hiding aboard the ship who decided to hitch a ride because she wanted to see her brother.  However, the ship carries only enough fuel to handle the delta v needed to get from the mother ship to the planet’s surface based upon the calculated pre-stowaway weight, and because she weighs slightly more than a cell phone, at the end of the story she’s sent out the airlock like Laura Roslin herself discovered the girl.

The moral of the story is the universe doesn’t care who you are, you screw up and you’re gonna die.  Which is pretty true when you think about it, because the universe doesn’t give a shit about you–and if you read anything about the things were discovering out there, you’ll see it’s looking for new and inventive ways to kill us.

But nobody dies today; everybody lives, ’cause The Doctor said so–and besides, there’s no need for killing, at least not yet.  Not in my fictional word . . .

Kerry’s a little lost in his thoughts as he zooms over Selena’s Meadow, and it set up the post’s title, because if there’s one thing Kerry’s starting to understand, it’s cold.

And for your viewing enjoyment, follow Kerry's route along the line from left to right.

And for your viewing enjoyment, follow Kerry’s route along the lower line from left to right.

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

The race started well. Kerry began on the inside in fifth but shot to third half way through Woodland Path. He went after Rivânia Suassuna from Åsgårdsreia and Penny the moment they were over Selena’s Meadow. This was their first race with snow on the ground, and Kerry had to fall back so he’d know where the leaders were, as he didn’t want to run into them—

Which he’d continue to do for that and the next six laps.

They only place anyone could make time without fear of hitting anyone was in the air, and the moment they were airborne and picking up speed the wind chill came down on them hard. The minus fifty wind chill the Salem Overnight flight encountered was mind-numbing, but Kerry never spoke much of the minus twenty wind chill they dealt with for their overflight of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. He never mentioned it because it was something they—the entire flight—knew they would need to withstand when they were on The Polar Express, and to do so for far longer than the few hours before arriving home.

There was a huge difference between that cold and the chill Kerry felt now: on the first and this last overnight flight, all that was necessary was set a heading and fly straight. Here he had to keep his mind on rising, diving, and turning, all usually being done while avoiding other racing and the safety enchantment.

But he didn’t have time to think about what had already happened: it was the last lap, and he was approaching Meadow Climb at high speed. Turning to the left as he cleared the trees, he pulled his broom to the right and set up in the middle of Pentagram Pass. It was only as he began passing Blodeuwedd Coven tower that checked to see if he still had someone behind him.

An Åsgårdsreia flier continued to stalk him from about five PAV lengths back. He quickly checked the ID on their broom and had his suspicions confirmed: it was Anna Laskar, who’d stuck with him since this point in the first lap. Kerry relaxed, because Anna didn’t worry him. Her B Team records showed she was a clean racer, and in those sections of the Blue Line where someone could get aggressive and dangerous, she’d decided not to push her luck and remained behind him. He knew it was entirely possible that she was going to make a move against him at some point during this last lap, just as Alex had during his first Blue Line race—and there was even the possibility that she may do something to hurt him because she was friends with Lisa—

As he set up for his dive into The Trench he discounted this last thought: Anna wasn’t racing like someone who was out to get him. She was being careful and deferred his experience where necessary. There was also the moment before the race processional, when the fliers were setting up inside The Diamond, where Anna came over and not only wished everyone a good race, but said she’d do her best not to cause a problem on the course, and that she’d get out of the way of the more experienced racers if it should come to that.

No, Anna didn’t worry Kerry. But he’d not seen Lisa since the green lights flashed . . .

 

It would appear that (1) flying in low wind chills isn’t fun, (2) racing in them is even less fun, and (3) Anna seems to be a good sport and not an evil little bitch like her friend Lisa, who is still on Kerry’s mind.  But we’re only about a quarter of a way through that last lap, and like I said, the universe doesn’t give a shit if you’re cold or worried–

And neither does the author.

But then again, I am the universe here.

Tracking Through the Snow

Not a slow start to the morning, but a bit of one last night, because a new scene started and there was all the stuff I had to do for research and pictures and thinking how I’m gonna start–you know, the usual nonsense I go through with every scene for like the last six hundred or so thousand words.  One might imagine that I’d be used to this stuff by now . . .

At least I wrote nearly five hundred words before sitting down to watch Fargo, which is coming to an end next week.  And which is a shame, because I’ve enjoyed the hell out this season as much as I’ve enjoyed the last.  But all good things come to an end, Bunky, just as this novel will one day, as will this story.  Then it’s just muddle through the Christmas holiday season and the month of January, and make the best of the fact there’s nothing on to watch.  I’ve done it for two years in a row now, and I’ll make it through this year.

Maybe that gives me more time to write?

As you may have guessed by the title, I’m back to racing.  And it’s not a pleasant race.  Since the last time we saw Annie and Kerry it was the end of January, that means the calendar couldn’t have gotten advanced too much, and you’d be right.  To 9 February, 2013, to be precise.

Notes:  I haz them.

Notes: I haz them.

Remember, I keep all these little notes on the side of my scenes, and as you’ve seen before, this is another example.  I know what happens here, so I take the historical weather data I’ve located and apply it to a particular area of my fictional world–

Which would be this area for starts.

Which would be this area for starts.

And then I start on the first four hundred and fifty words . . .

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry roared through the Blue Line’s Woodland Path blasting icy haze behind him. Seconds later he entered Selena’s Meadow at better than two hundred and fifty kilometers an hour, his PAV sucking the light snow ground cover into his jet wash. He had no idea who was behind him, and wouldn’t until he reached Meadow Climb. He didn’t feel the steady wind out of the north northeast because he pushed his broom to three twenty-five kph and the minus twenty-five Celsius temps he’d felt for nearly the whole race returned.

He was happy this was the last of eight laps, because racing today was miserable as hell.

Kerry was in the primary race, the match between Cernunnos and Åsgårdsreia. Everyone knew today wouldn’t see the best flying conditions: the day before had been cold, windy, and snowy, and before the Midnight Madness began Professor Bashagwani advised all race teams to expect all of the same except for the snow. Come race time they discovered her forecast was correct save for one thing: in the early morning frozen fog covered everything with frost, and mist and haze remained once the fog vanished.

Each of the pre-race meeting warned the teams that they may face sections of limited visibility, particularly in the areas where the course skirted the ground. The racers were told to pay particular attention to conditions in The Trench, Quarry Turn, The Swoop through Diamond Lane, and Helter Skelter, though nearly every racer figured the respect they showed the last turn would be enough to prevent any serious issues there.

Kerry’s major concern wasn’t with the course, however. His real concern centered on Åsgårdsreia’s newest A Team members . . .

The prior week’s Battle Royale on the Green/Red Lines saw two members of Åsgårdsreia crash out against a member from Blodeuwedd as they headed into Sunset Boulevard. While all racers were out of the hospital, both the Åsgårdsreia were injured severely enough that Coraline refused to clear them for this week’s race, and that meant the coven needed to bring up replacement fliers from the B Team—

The two best fliers on Åsgårdsreia’s B Team were Anna Laskar and Lisa Glissandi.

Kerry was informed of the moves before leaving Advanced Flight One. Vicky pulled him aside and gave him the news. She reminded him that she and others were aware of his history with Lisa, but that he should just race his race and not worry that something could happen. As Vicky said, he knew all about how racing deals worked, and the only one who could keep him safe on the course was him.

He understood this perfectly, and let Vicky know he’d do everything he could to stay out of Lisa’s way.

 

And there you have it:  I’ve got the notes for the scene, I’ve got the location, and I’ve set up the action.  Now to tell you what’s going to happen . . .

Friends and Comparisons

Sundays are becoming not so much a day of rest for me–though I did get a nap in after I went and had my nails done and had something to eat–because I started in on my after-race scene with Annie and Kerry that ran eleven hundred and fifty words, and I stat down and compiled my notes on Humans, and that ran another nine hundred words.  In other words, lots of words.

The novel worked out in two steps, with five hundred words written in the morning, and the rest written after I woke up from my nap.  It’s really a short scene, and I’ll likely finish it off tonight after I do my show recap, which usually takes a couple of hours of writing.

So what is this about?  It’s about results–or, in some cases, regretting the ones you had:

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

With the races over Annie was surprised to hear Kerry say he wanted to walk the nearly two kilometers back to The Pentagram rather than hop on their brooms and be back in the garden in about a minute. His explanation of mater-of-fact and to the point: he’d spent all day either laying down or sitting on a broom, and it was time he got on his feet and walked around for a while.

The weather was still excellent, with just a touch of overcast, and the temps remained at fifteen as it had for most of the day, so Annie agreed that a walk back through the forest would be both relaxing and not a little romantic.

After leaving The Diamond Kerry said as they walked hand-in-hand through the forest. She imagined he was re-running the races through his mind, examining what he did right and criticizing what he felt he did wrong. He’s always his harshest critic—he’s like me in that sense. But she didn’t want him to concentrate on what wasn’t: she wanted him to celebrate what was. “You’re thinking again, my love.”

Kerry looked down while chuckling. “I’m always thinking.”

“But this time you’re thinking about what you did—” She wrapped herself around his arm. “You’re thinking about your supposed mistakes, and not about your accomplishments.” Annie turned a sideways glance his way. “Aren’t you?”

He continued looking down for a few more seconds as a smile began to slowly form. “That last race—”

I knew it. “Yes?”

“I screwed up on two spots on the Green Line.” Again he shook his head. “Can you believe that?”

“You’re not going to run a perfect race every time.” She slowed their pace just a bit. “And it was your fifth race of the day; that will wear you out.”

“Yeah, but . . .” He sighed as he finally looked at her. “I shouldn’t have screwed up on the Green Line.”

 

Kerry loves to beat up on himself, because that’s the way he acts.  Annie is always sportive–as he is of her–but this time, while supporting, she says something she’s never said before . . .

 

Annie rolled her eyes. “You sound like Papa.”

Kerry’s eyes widened as her words sunk in. “Sweetie, do you know—?”

“—What I said?” Annie pulled them to a stop. “I just—”

“—Compared me to your father.” Kerry kept from laughing, but he couldn’t keep the smile from his face. “Anelie Kirilova . . .”

Ohhh.” She covered her eyes and chortled. “Mama would be laughing right now if she’d heard me say that.”

“Did she say you’d do that?”

“Not actually, but—” Annie had told Kerry about her conversation last Yule with her mother, who had hinted that Kerry was in many ways like Annie’s father. “She’s have found the comment amusing.”

Now that her statement was out in the open, Kerry was even curious about what was on Annie mind. “Why did you say that?”

“That you remind me of my father?”

“Yes.”

She tossed her head to one side. “Papa tends to ignore any of the good that happens to him during any of his races, and agonizes over all the issues and problems he’d experience. And you’re doing the same, my love: you’re obsessing on the worst of your races today, and completely ignoring all the success you’ve had.” She shook her head. “I can see why it would turn Mama somewhat mental.”

Mental?” Kerry chuckled once again. Based upon what Annie had said about her mother, he could imagine a number of moods for her, but “mental” wasn’t one of those. “Am I driving you mental?”

Annie held her right left thumb and index finger about a centimeter apart. “Perhaps . . . a little.” She giggled before quickly kissing on the lips. “Come on: we need to get to dinner.”

 

You can bet Annie heard her mother’s voice saying, “You fell in love with a racer,” as she was told back last Yule–a conversation Annie eventually relayed to Kerry.  But it’s one thing to talk about that, and then another to turn around and tell the boy you love something you probably told yourself you’d never do–

"I don't think you're anything like my father, Kerry.  For one, he's tall and has dark hair, and your a short ginger who'll everyone will come to hate--wait, I mean . . ."

“I don’t think you’re anything like my father, Kerry. For one, he’s tall and has dark hair, and your a short ginger who’ll everyone will come to hate–wait, I mean . . .”

At least Kerry takes it all in stride and laughs it off, because he knows it’s just a slip of Annie’s tongue, and she’s really telling him something else, which is he shouldn’t be hard on himself.  And really, she saw something happen during the race that makes her go into Please Do This For Me Mode–

 

Humph.” She swung their arms back and forth as they walked. “Promise me one thing tonight.”

“Anything, Sweetie.”

“Do not let Emma go on about your race together—or the fact that she placed better than you.”

There wasn’t any need for elaboration, because Kerry knew exactly what Annie was asking. During the Stage Two heat between Mórrígan and Cernunnos one of the Mórrígan fliers crashed coming out of The Sweep on the last lap and not only did not finish the race, but she was unable to race in the Stage Four heat—also known as the Battle Royale—between Mórrígan, Cernunnos, and Blodeuwedd. Since the rules allowed for a member of the B Team take the place of an injured flier—as Kerry had done—Emma was brought up to fill out the roster.

They’d both run great races, even though it was this race that Kerry felt he’d not done his best and was obsessing over before Annie mentioned the said obsessing. He’d finished sixth while Emma crossed the finish line in forth, and it was her finish that allowed Mórrígan to finish the heat in a points tie with Cernunnos, and for them to go on to win overall because of their first place podium finish over Alex’s second place finish. During the after-heat celebration Emma had pointed at Kerry and cut loose with a big cheer, as if to let him know in their first A Team race together she’d bested him . . .

Kerry smiled at Annie. “I promise I won’t let her bother me. If she tries to bring it up, I’ll tell her it was a good race and leave it at that.”

“Good.” She smiled back. “And if that don’t work, let her know I’ll curse her.”

“Just glare at her and I think she’ll get the message.”

“I will.” Annie grew quiet for a moment. “You know Emma was the reason you finished sixth.”

“Well—”

“She threw three blocks at you: the reason you think you ‘screwed up’ on the Green Line was because you didn’t anticipate her doing that. And the last she threw was as you were going into Helter Skelter.” Annie exhaled hard. “You lost two positions there, and it was the last lap. She also threw a block on Penny in South Side: I thought Penny was going to walk over and slap her after the race.”

“She almost did.” Kerry had pulled the fuming girl aside and said that since the race was over and the results were final, they should just let it go— “I let her know she could get another chance against Emma if she ever done another A Team race.”

 

It sounds like Emma wasn’t being a good races, she was being a greedy racing, and it also sounds like she was rubbing it in a little.  Bad Wingmate, and it’s a good thing Kerry didn’t let Penny come over and disqualify you for the last race.  But other things will come out in the remainder of this conversation, after which I can get into the dance itself.  Which should be fun–

Should be.

Back On the Blue: Southward Bound and Done

Here I am, up early and getting the post out before I have to hit the road for The Burg in a few hours.  An so I wouldn’t have to rush around this morning doing a lot of different things while trying to get this out, I wrote last night–a lot.

First off, I did manage ninety thousand words without a problem–

As you can see.

As you can see.

But that was just the beginning.  See, I didn’t want to leave this scene hanging while I spent ten hours on the road, so I decided I’d finish it.  Which meant that no matter how much time it took, I would.  And . . . I did.

It took two thousand and sixty-eight words, but it is done.  This scene is finished–just like Kerry’s first A Team race.

It wasn’t easy to write, and there was a lot of looking at stuff I made up and imagining the Lad From Cardiff as he zip through the various check points on the ground and in the air with a little blond Ukrainian hot on his butt, and I even had to do a little math here and there as well because science and magic do work together at times.

Speaking of that math, it starts right away:

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

The turn coming up was one of the easiest on the Blue Line, and yet still one of the hardest. Observatory Bend was a two hundred and ten degree carousel turn three hundred by three hundred meters long and across. It was a lot of room to make a turn, but most racers tried to take the turn at as high a speed as possible, and with those high speeds came high g forces. In a couple of practice runs Kerry had taken the turn on his Class 1 at two hundred twenty kilometers and ran up a force of two and a half gravities, but now, racing on the Class 2s with Alex a matter of meters behind him, two hundred kilometers and hour wouldn’t be enough: he’d need more speed . . .

He slowed just enough to keep from overshooting, but still held on to more than three hundred an hour as he hunkered over the handlebars and held on. The g meter in the upper left of the HUD showed the gravities building: two Gs, three, four . . . Three hundred meters into the turn, and with five hundred to go, Kerry held the turn while pulling five gravities of centripetal acceleration. His vision was turning gray; his shoulders, ribs, and hips hurt, alleviated only slightly by enchantments in his racing uniform; his wrists felt like they were about to snap away. Worst of all, even with protection, his genitals alternated between being pushed into the saddle and being crushed by a torso suddenly five times heavier. His first two times around Observatory Bend weren’t nearly this bad, due to his speed being slower because he wasn’t racing

He held the turn for almost eight seconds, then straightened the PAV, managing to catch his breath so he could accelerate through the fast turn to the right that once more led him back the Observatory Tower and on to Skyway. This stretch was only a third of the length of the Green Line’s West End, but Kerry was sixty meters above the ground and well clear of the trees, and the kilometer long stretch allowed for a quick seven or eight second sprint into the one turn that scared the hell out of everyone. Kerry entered the sweeping left hander at end of Skyway, popped his speed breaks, and set up for the most feared turn on the Blue Line . . .

 

Those g forces and the time down Skyway–how did I know them?  I have online calculators bookmarked for when I need to figure something out.  Figuring out the amount of force Kerry and the others pulled.  I did know how large the turn was because I measured it:

 

I used the three hundred meter stick.

I used the three hundred meter stick.

Then I went to my calculator and plugs in the numbers:

Ignore that red mark, it knows not what it says.

Ignore that red mark, it knows not what it says.

So I know that Kerry pulled five gs through that turn.  And since I can find the circumference of a circle, and I figure out from the angular velocity that he would cover the distance I have in about the time I indicted.  Just for the record, Kerry and Alex were going about one hundred and ninety through that turn, which is about what a stock car does going through Turns One and Two at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Should turn these kids loose on those dudes . . .

As for the trip down Skyway, I used another calculator:

Once you know how long and how fast, the rest is easy.

Once you know how long and how fast, the rest is easy.

So in figuring out an average speed for four hundred fifty kilometers per hours, Kerry would cover that kilometers in around eight seconds.  I didn’t even figure out the g forces here, but they’d be pretty good, too, probably two or three every time they accelerated and braked.

And speaking of breaking . . .

 

Helter Skelter was, according to nearly everyone who raced the Blue Line, the most technical turn, the most difficult turn, the most hated turn, and the most feared turn—usually all four at the same time. Kerry brought his PAV to as slow a speed as possible before yanking on the hand grips hard to pull himself through the one hundred and fifty degree turn to his right, then shot downward towards the tree tops. He skimmed the tops, spotting his entry into the trees by way of the three elevation gates placed in an slight opening in the forest. In the middle of the gates he forced the speeder around to the left through one hundred and forty degrees and shot downward at an angle towards a gate sitting a few meters above the floor. This was the entry for the last turn, taken at ground level, an easier one hundred degree turn to the right, through a gate, and straight off into the woods in nearly a straight line for six hundred meters before heading back into the sky.

While entering the last turn he felt Alex right behind him. He didn’t bother to look in his rear view: she was there, probably a meter or two off his tail. He didn’t give her any passing opportunities—he stayed close to the inside of each gate on each turn—and she didn’t force the issue. The second turn was where Hasan lost control, crashed into the barriers, and fell to the ground breaking his leg, so both racers were acutely aware of the dangers. Only the most foolish took unnecessary chances here, and neither Kerry or Alex were foolish.

 

Technical turns like these are always a pain in the butt, because you have to do them right and quick.  Screw up either, and you’re gonna lose positions, or you’re gonna break a limb.  These kids don’t want that:  they’re in line to do something good.  So Kerry doesn’t rush it, and Alex doesn’t push the matter.

Though going through Residence and into Aerodrome–

This big turn in the sky here.

This big turn in the sky here.

–Kerry understands that Alex is drafting him to either shake him up or hang with him until the last kilometer of the course, when she’s going to try and pass him either on the South Side Slide or The Sweep and run hard for the finish line.

That would be this section here, about two kilometers total.

That would be this section here, about two kilometers total.

And how did that turn out?

 

They were both through Back Path and heading into the slight rise that led to Van der Kroff Heights before they turned left and held as much speed as they could through long, descending right-left that was South Side Slide for the final run through The Sweep and into Diamond Lane. This was Kerry’s big moment. He’d heard nothing of either of the two pilots in front of him DNFing, nor had he passed anyone in trouble. If he could hold off Alex he’d finished third in his first A Team race and end up with a podium. He topped Van der Kroff Heights with his thoughts on how to protect his advantage, then jetted through the turn at almost four hundred kilometers an hour, and slammed downward through South Side Slide with Alex right behind him.

They were kicking up dirt and debris as they leveled out next to the Groundkeeper South structure, keeping most of the speed he’d possessed leaving Van der Kroff Heights. Kerry knew he could get through The Sweep at this speed, and that he could hold the turn for the three or four seconds needed. It was going to hurt: he’d easily pull five and a half gees, and his boy bits were going to take a thrashing, but at the end lay a third place finish, and the gain was worth the pain.

Kerry set up on the far outside of the turn and held there before starting his entry to The Sweep. He began his turn, staying as close to the outside safety enchantment as possible, and held on. The weight piled on and his vision began to gray once more. He stopped watching the g meter when it passed five and a half, and he felt like he was pulling six, maybe seven. The only good thing was with him being on the outside like this, Alex couldn’t get around him—

Half way through the turn Alex’s speeder came around on the inside, maybe a meter from Kerry, carrying just enough extra speed that she was able to come out of the turn ahead and slide up in front as they sprinted towards the finish.

What the—? He ignored the pain in his body and set off after Alex, getting in behind and drafting her as she’d done him. They hit four fifty, five hundred, six hundred kilometers an hour, with Kerry less than a PAV length off her processor. This was over in the next five seconds, and Kerry had one chance to pull ahead: out of the short dog leg leading up to the last three hundred meters he caught as much of the draft he could, snap slid to his left, and pushed the speeder ahead, hoping the combination of physics, magic, and willpower would help enough . . .

Alex reached the finish line a half a speeder length ahead of Kerry to finish third.

 

No podium for Annie’s Racing Soul Mate, but he’s happy he had a good finish and a clean race from Alex.  After they slow down they meet up with Penny and Kerry asks his questions–

 

He found her waiting with Penny, who hovered about ten meters from the start-finish. Kerry pulled along side and gave Alex a thumbs up before raising his helmet front. “Congratulations. That was great.”

Alex and Penny both had their helmet fronts up. “Thank you. And congratulations to you as well. Forth and points the first time out—” She laughed through the huge smile on her face. “Much better than my first time.”

He leaned forward and addressed Penny. “Did you get second?”

I think so—” She nodded towards The Diamond. “The results will be finalized once we’re inside.”

As they flew slowly towards Exit Three Kerry turned to Alex. “That was a sweet move at the end. How did you do that?”

“It wasn’t magic, if you were wondering.” Alex moved around on her seat, relieving his own tenderness. “Girls can take higher g forces; it’s because how we are made—”

A broad smile spread across Penny’s face. “And we don’t have to worry about squashing our lady parts on high speed turns.”

Kerry laughed. “Yeah, you have an advantage on me there.”

“I knew I could pull more speed through that turn than you—” Alex sighed as if she couldn’t believe her own luck. “It was just a question of whether I could hold the turn and not hit you.”

They entered the exit tunnel. “You proved you could. Great race, both of you.”

Penny stretched out her arms as they entered the Diamond and proceeded to the infield. “You helped make it a great race. Imagine if we could have run the whole race that way.”

Alex looked up at the overhead displays, awaiting the official results. “It would be one, two, three.”

 

Yeah, not squishing the lady parts does help a lot when you’re pulling a five g turn–or as they both did at the end, closer to seven or eight.  And the part about women being able to pull higher g forces is true:  the US Air Force did studies on this back in the 1960s.  It’s all about the hips and that uterus that helps prevent blood from pooling in the lower torso during a high speed turn.  Power of the Womb, yo.

And the results do come:

 

The results flashed upon the holographic displays, and the green border indicated their were final. Penny let out a scream. “Second. Hell, yes.” She tapped Alex on the arm. “And you got third.”

“Two podiums.” Alex pointed at the display. “You got forth—”

He finished her statement. “And Manco got sixth.” Kerry began laughing. “We got four of six point positions.”

“And two of the three podiums.”

Penny leapt off her speeder and pulled Alex and Kerry from theirs before binding them up in a huge hug. “Second, third, forth—” She looked up at the screen, then back to her floor mates. “We got a shot at Mórrígan.”

Alex was almost bouncing up and down. “It was a good day to race.”

Kerry looked up into the stands to where Annie was sitting. She was on her feet applauding while looking his way. She kissed her right index and middle fingers and extender her hand in his direction, in the way they’d begun doing to each other over the last year. He kissed the index and middle fingers of his left hand and slowly extended them toward his happy soul mate. “You’re right, guys.” He smiled as he dropped his arm to his side. “It was a good day to race.”

 

And there you have it:  nearly thirty-six hundred words of how Kerry did in his first A Team race.  Actually, more wordage than that, if you count the scene before, but I’m just talking about this part.  And now that Kerry’s through and has his Sweetie waiting for him, I need to get ready and hit the road back to my other Home in the East, which is not to be confused with a Home By the Sea.

Maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll get to write tonight.

Back On the Blue: The Bum Rush

As with the day before, yesterday was tiring.  I spent most of it on the road to Indianapolis–two and a half hours there, the same back–so I could see my therapist.  She was happy to see me, was ecstatic about the news of what’s happening in my life, and said she wants to see me in a year when everything is finished.

She also said she doesn’t want to hear from me for the next year, either, because that would mean there’s something wrong with me, and she doesn’t want there to be something wrong with me.  Neither do I, to be honest, so I’m gonna run the straight and narrow for a while.

Anyway . . . I did write last night.  Seven hundred words of writing.  And while I didn’t finish the scene or clear ninety thousand words, I’m close on both and will do those today.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this:  the last segment of the scene, and what happens when three POed racers gang up on their fellow teammates who are being douches.

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

The trio launched off towards the two older boys from their team. Kerry watched Darius and Manco panic as they realized their predicament: together they could block one of the girls, and likely both, but with Kerry helping out it was impossible for them to cover all three team members simultaneously . . .

Penny flew up hard on the inside of Gloucester Bend and refused to slow as Darius began a slow slide to his left. Alex squeezed between Manco and the outer safety enchantment, while Kerry went right up the middle. He caught the quick nod to her right from Penny as he gained about a half-a-PAV advantage on the boys and figured out what she was about to do. As she slid to her right Kerry jerked his speeder to the left, and the combined action was enough to force Darius to back off about three PAV lengths. Hoping that Alex had seen his move, he jerked his PAV to the right towards Manco: Alex had seen his move, and cut right for the front of the Peruvian boy’s speeder—and like Darius, Manco cut his speed enough to prevent a crash.

Now that they were clear of their team mates Penny jabbed her finger down the course. “No more wasting time: let’s race.” She leaned down between her handlebars and shot down the Green Line.

Kerry willed himself to speed up, and he was pushed back into the saddle back as he accelerated at a tremendous rate. He concentrated on catching Penny, who was already on the northward segment of Gloucester Bend. He checked his rear view; Alex was there, maybe three lengths back. She stuck with him as he hurried through Diamond Chicane, but he didn’t worry about her: his focus was on Penny, maybe a dozen speeder lengths ahead.

He concentrated on his entry into the Green-Blue crossover. As he reached the start-finish line the green lights flashed three times: he was on the final lap. If I’m going to do something, I have to do it now . . . Kerry entered the altitude gate and bore to the left, joining the Blue Line for the last time as he entered Woodland Path.

Woodland was a fast stretch, bending almost ninety degrees to the left before slowly straightening for a flat-out run across Selena’s Meadow. It was the only section at ground level that wasn’t surrounded by trees, and one area that afforded plenty of passing room. It was also one of the most dangerous spots, too, because fliers needed to shed all their sped in order to make Meadow Clime, a quick left-right turn that moved the course fifty meters above the school grounds.

Kerry passed the gate leading to the climb and pulled back and up on the handlebars. The speeder responded, and he pushed the PAV ahead as he shot over the trees and into the sky. He always felt a slight twinge here, for this was the same place almost a year ago that, on the Day of the Dead attacks, he flew in from the north and dropped straight down to the Meadow, all while he had a monster on his tail. This time it wasn’t a monster: it was Alex, who was only about five meters behind him as he headed down Pentagram Pass. At this point they were a few meters above the pointed roofs of Blodeuwedd and Mórrígan Coven Towers. Penny was even with Orchestra Hall and diving towards Trench, and Kerry understood his battle wouldn’t be with her, but with the Ukrainian girl pushing hard behind him.

He would have to push himself that much harder to be better.

The Trench was next, and Kerry’s stomach clutched as he flew back into the trees once more. This section of the Blue Line was narrow but there was enough room to stack fliers above and below, and it wasn’t unusual to see three levels of fliers zooming down this corridor to the moment of openness at Quarry Turn before hanging a hard left back into the forest. Another short, fast S-turn, and then Kerry was out of the woods and sailing past the Observatory—

 

And so you can follow the Blue Line:

Woodland Path after crossover from Green Line.

Woodland Path after crossover from Green Line.

Meadow Climb:

Minus monsters.

Minus monsters.

Pentagram Pass:

One of the ways Kerry can look down on Emma's coven.

One of the ways Kerry can look down on Emma’s coven.

And right at the end, The Trench, Quarry Turn, and Observatory Bend.

With Kerry getting ready to make that hard turn with a Ukrainian hot on his rear.

With Kerry getting ready to make that hard turn with a Ukrainian hot on his rear.

Back On the Blue: The Plan

The next few days are gonna be busy for me.  Today I start working on the forms for my name change, and I’ll have dinner with a friend.  Tomorrow I visit my therapist for probably the last time, just to show her how I’m doing.  And Friday I start preparing for the trip back to The Burg, and maybe drop off my papers with the Clerk of the Court to get my name change process rolling.

Oh, and probably wash panties, ’cause clean panties are a must.

And writing, too.  Since putting up a post a while back saying I was a bit burned out on writing, I’ve been hitting it hard, and yesterday was another twelve hundred fifty word day, with four hundred thirty-four written in the morning and eight hundred and ten written before going to bed.  I’ve inched up over eighty-nine thousand words, and it’s highly possible that I’ll hit ninety thousand tonight or tomorrow.  No matter what, I’ll be there before heading back to the other casa on Saturday.

The lights turned green and the race is underway, but not all is rainbows and unicorns with Team Cernunnos–

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Almost fifteen minutes into the race, half way through the fifth lap—the third on the Green Line—and Kerry wasn’t in a good mood. It wasn’t due to running a bad race: it was due to having a couple of teammates who, in his opinion, were acting like enormous douche rockets.

The first lap went without incidence. When they crossed over to the Blue line it was with a Ceridwen flier in first, Manco in second, and Darius in third, while Penny, Alex, and Kerry held and and traded off sixth, seventh, and eighth with the remaining four positions firming in Ceridwen’s possession. Through this lap and the next on the Green Line, Penny, Alex, and Kerry began pushing their way forward, so by the time they began the fourth lap—the second on the Blue Line—they’d moved into forth, fifth, and six positions, and were rapidly gaining on Manco and Darius, who’d managed to pull far ahead while the girls and Kerry fought through Ceridwen fliers surrounding them.

That’s when the trouble began.

By the time they’d rounded Observatory Bend and turned onto Skyway, the trio had second and third place in their sights. Being the quickest of the trio, Penny made her move on Darius as they flew through Back Path and began her pass, but he threw a block which nearly put in into the safety barrier. She attempted two more passes, and each time Darius—who didn’t appear nearly as fast as Penny—threw a vicious block, forcing her to fall back and regroup.

As they entered the Green Line for the last time it became obvious that Darius and Manco were doing everything they could to protect their podium positions, and they weren’t about to let their teammates by, even if one, two, or all were faster. Penny grew frustrated with the attitude, and in The Esses she tried her best to make her way around Manco, who then nearly wrecked her in Polar Jump, which made Alex and Kerry scramble to keep from running into Penny.

The problem wasn’t just in the front, either. Once Penny, Alex, and Kerry had made their way around the other Ceridwen fliers, they’d put them several seconds behind. That was no longer the case: those fliers were closing fast, and with a lap and a half remaining, Kerry figured that the guy’s efforts to keep their lower lever teammates away from what they saw as their podium wins could result in Cernunnos losing the podium and most other points positions.

 

In technical racing terms, what the boys are doing is known as “acting like dicks”.  They’re so hell-bent on getting a top three–here known as “getting a podium” because at the end of the race those in the top three stand on a podium and get recognized–they’ll blow everything, including the race itself.  Rather than looking at the big picture, they’re looking at fame and glory, both of which are fleeting.  I’ve seen this happen in races before, and it’s truly an embarrassment when someone not only crashes and burns their own race, but they bring their team down in the process.

In case you were wondering, in the Salem school system there are individual points, and those points accumulate into overall Coven points.  So a flier from, say, Ceridwen, can win a lot of races, but if two other fliers from, say, Cernunnos, keep getting the second and third place finishes, it’s likely you could have an Individual Champion from Ceridwen, while the Team Coven Champion would be Cernunnos.  Are you racing for the team, or for yourself?  Manco and Darius are definitely racing for themselves.

This is not sitting well with the new Cernunnos Troika:

 

Heading towards Northwest Passage Penny flipped up her visor and began yelling to Kerry and Alex. “These idjits are pissing me off. I’ve had enough of this shite.”

Kerry checked his review as they began the turn leading to West End and saw the full pack of Ceridwen fliers round Polar Turn and advance towards them. “We gotta do something, or we’re gonna get a real fight on the last lap.”

Penny nodded. “Then we gotta do something.”

They reached West End and began to accelerate. “There’s only one thing to do—”

“Yeah?”

“We gotta bum rush these guys.”

This brought a gleam into Penny’s eyes. “Out of Reservoir?”

He nodded. “That would be a good place.”

Alex—who’d pulled closer to Kerry so she could hear the conversation, yelled out her thoughts. “I don’t know this bum rush, but it sounds like we take action.”

Kerry glanced at her as the trio accelerated down West End. “We do.”

“Then I’ll work with you.”

“We work as a team.” Penny set back in her saddle. “When we come out of Reservoir, we move on those tossers. Alex, you take the outside; Kerry, you go up the middle. I’ll take the inside.”

He was already visualizing what would happen. “Got it.”

Alex nodded. “As do I.”

“Good.” Penny slapped down her visor. “We do it on my mark.” She leaned towards her handlebars. “Let’s make this happen.”

They flew together in formation the rest of the way down West End and into Sunset Boulevard, only breaking up as they zipped through Double Dip, reforming as they negotiated Double Back and Cove Lane. Kerry readied himself for Reservoir, a tricky turn that beginners found difficult to time, but which he found to be one of the more fun, semi-technical turns on the Green Line. It swept right out of Cove Lane, rising and dropping over the Cove Reservoir path before turning back to the left, once more flying up over the path before dropping down into the long, fast curve known as Gloucester Bend.

They completed the first flyover as Penny spoke. “We ready?”

Kerry nodded once. “Ready.”

They started up into the last flyover when Alex spoke. “Ready.”

“Okay, then . . .” They began their drop through the elevation gate towards the ground. “Let’s get ‘em. Go, GO.”

 

That’s where I left it, with Penny, Alex, and Kerry about to put the moves on the older boys and take this race to them.  Because sometimes you just gotta give someone the bumper and push them out of the way–or into a wall if there’s one nearby.

And so you can see where this stuff is happening, I even made pictures!  First, Observatory Bend and Skyway:

Squiggly line, remember?

Squiggly line, remember?

Then Back Path, where Penny was getting blocked.

Right there by the Aerodrome.

Right there by the Aerodrome.

Polar Jump, Northwest Passage, and the start of the West End, where everything started coming to a head.

Also known as the place where Emma Blocked Kerry.

Also known as the place where Emma Blocked Kerry.

And finally Reservoir, when they make their move.

Complete with little people standing under the course.

Complete with little people standing under the course.

Reservoir is also where, during the Day of the Dead, Emma and Kerry rejoined the Green Line on their way to The Diamond.  And we remember how well that turned out.

Let’s hope this time things are better for Kerry.

Ready on the Green: At the Post

It may be late, but it’s coming.  Wanna know why?  Well, you’re gonna!

See, I didn’t write yesterday.  Why?  I was on the road for almost six hours because I met with friends up in Rockford, IL, and in the best of times that’s a two-and-a-half hour drive for me.

Even Google Maps tell me so.

Even Google Maps tell me so.

Going up wasn’t that bad; traffic was pretty normal for the western burbs of Chicago.  Coming back, however, I had to deal with the end results of three accidents, and the last one forced me to make a quick detour off the interstate and down a highway which I know I’d traveled maybe thirty years before.  Needless to say, that and having to pick up dinner at the end of the day added more time than I’d anticipated for the trip home.

At least I was dressed comfortably.

At least I was dressed comfortably.

Even once home I had to make noted for my recap of Episode 3 of Humans, so by the time I was done with all that, I was tired and didn’t feel like writing.

So what did I do?  Wrote this morning.  Seven hundred and fourteen words worth of wrote.  Since you’ve been waiting, I’ll give it all.

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry stood next to his hovering Class 2 as the large service lift rose from The Diamond’s lower lever hanger, lifting him and the team to the infield section of the ground floor of the track. He wore his helmet, though the front was raised so his face was visible, otherwise he was ready to race.

He looked up into the stands where nearly the entire school body sat among the cavernous structure. He understood how The Foundation built for the future, but it was strange to see a little more than one hundred people sitting in a space designed to hold fifty times that number. He also felt a little sadness because the space represented the potential the school had hoped to achieve by now, but could not.

The lift locked into place and the command was given to the flier to mount their PAVs. Kerry liked the Class 2s; they superficially resembled the Class 1s, but only because they had a long frame and a seat in front of the processor. There the similarities ended and the Class 2’s uniqueness took over. The processor was about twenty percent larger and more streamlined. The saddle had a small back to prevent the pilot from sliding off during periods of high acceleration. At the front were canards about fifteen centimeters below the frame, there to allow more maneuverability at high speed. And rather than control the PAV by applying pressure directly to the frame, there was a set of handlebars with grips that were used to control the PAV.

For the same reason a Class 1 was called a “broom”, the Class 2 was nicknamed “the Speeder Bike” due to its resemblance of the device from the Star Wars universe. As Kerry mounted his PAV, he chuckled as he pondered the irony that they, too, were about to go forth and race in the woods. At least no one will be shooting at me

 

So now when you think of Kerry and the others racing, you’ll have this image in mind–

Stormtroopers and explosive crashes into trees not included.

Stormtroopers and explosive crashes into trees not included.

–‘Cause that’s pretty close to a Class 2, save for the modified single-line Class 1 frame.  Seriously, I’ll have to get into Blender and start designing these suckers.

 

They were given the command to head out to the course, and Kerry followed the team, led by Manco, from the infield towards the oval track. There wouldn’t be a parade lap: they’d head directly to the course out Exit Three. As they reached the track surface he looked up and saw Annie waving to him; she’d picked a seat midway down the backstretch where she could view the holograms showing the race from the various Spy Eyes that would follow and record each heat. Jario sat to her left: he was waving to Penny, who was waving back.

Kerry knew they’d both watch the races in comfort: the seats were not like what one normally found at sporting events, but were large and comfortable, and had small tables to the side upon which one could place they snacks and drinks. The first time Kerry sat in one, he felt he was about to see a movie or play instead of a race over one of the school’s courses.

Penny slid in close to Kerry’s left as they passed through the tunnel exit. “You remember the crossover rules?”

“Yep. Green under to Blue; Blue over to Green.” He sat up and rolled his shoulders as they emerged into the light. “I won’t forget.”

“I know; I just wanted to make sure you remembered.”

“And remember to watch the transition from Blue to Green—” Alex pulled into position on his right. “Every thought the pop-over is supposed to act like a chicane to Green Line, it doesn’t make you slow much; you’ll carry a great speed from Diamond Lane to Rockport.”

“You’ll carry a hell of a lot more speed into Graves—” Penny checked her helmet, as if reassuring herself that it was in place. “The first time I raced Blue to Green I almost crashed there because I wasn’t paying attention.”

“From The Sweep to Graves it’s as long as West End through Sunset Boulevard, and just as fast.” Alex looked over and smiled. “Don’t worry: we are sure you’ll do well.”

“Thanks, guys.” He closed his eyes for just a moment as they approached the start-finish line. “I won’t let anyone down.”

“Run your race and everything will be fine.” Penny slapped down her face front and flipped up the visor. “See you at the end.”

 

The area Alex is describing is the following:

Just follow the squiggly yellow line.

Just follow the squiggly yellow line.

When they say “Pop-over,” Alex means the course rises up over the Green/Blue crossover so fliers never run into each other–which would probably see one of the racers die if that ever happened.  It’s meant to slow up the racers on their way to the Green Line, but once you know how to navigate that chicane properly, one figures out how to take it without losing much speed, which leads to one heading into the Graves turn a lot faster than the B Team racers gets when running juts the Green Line.

It’s almost time to get this party started.  The racers are just about ready–

Are you?

Paths of Pain and Glory

Hey, now, I’m coming to you from Indiana, back in the old Red State Homestead, and working on my post in the confines of my comfortable library.

This was moments after I started playing Steve Winwood's "Valery" last night before working on the novel.  The party had started--

This was moments after I started playing Steve Winwood’s “Valerie” last night before working on the novel. The party had started–

The drive home wasn’t that bad, at least until I hit Indiana, and then it was like one hundred and twenty miles of near heavy traffic the whole way, with idiot drivers and truckers who don’t mind blocking both lanes and slowing traffic the hell up.  If I’d had my War Wagon, I’d have left bodies in my wake.

Simpler times in eastern Ohio, before I know of the hell that awaited.

Simpler times in eastern Ohio, before I knew of the hell that awaited.

Believe it or not, I wrote last night.  I finished the current scene, and came near the totals I’ve done the last few nights.  It’s taken me four days to do this scene, but my numbers show my slow yet steady progress:

Words 07/07/2015: 435
Words 07/08/2015: 652
Words 07/09/2015: 670
Words 07/10/2015: 615

Of course, as soon as I saved this mess off, I crashed hard for the night.  I consider myself lucky to have finished the scene.

What is happening now that Penny wanted to speak with Kerry?  Well . . .

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry glanced to Annie; she gave him a quick nod. He headed up the stairs with Annie beside him, feeling a tremendous amount of trepidation. I think I know what this is about— It didn’t take long to reach the top of the stairs where Penny was waiting. “What’s up?”

“Come on.” She turned and headed off, with Annie and Kerry behind her. She reached the hospital entrance and pushed open the door, holding it for her guest. “He’s here.”

Professor Semplen was standing in the waiting room when Annie and Kerry entered. “How are you, Kerry?”

“I’m—okay.” Seeing the professor only increased his hunch about the summoning.

Annie stepped inside and let the door swing shut behind her. “Hello, Professor.”

“Hello, Annie.” Holoč gave both students a faint smile before he turned to Kerry. “We need to speak.”

“That’s what Penny said.”

“Yes . . .” The professor turned to the girl on his left. “You want to tell them?”

“Sure, Professor.” She exhaled hard, looking tired. “The boys went out early for practice—”

Kerry looked slightly puzzled. “The boys?”

“Manco, Darius, and Hasan from the A Team. They were out running the Green and Blue Lines, trying to get in some practice time before breakfast. They were on the Blue Line and . . .” Penny shrugged. “About twenty minutes ago Hasan lost it going through Helter Skelter and crashed and burned.”

Annie didn’t seem surprised by this news. “Was he hurt bad?”

Holoč answered her question. “Broke his right leg; we were just back there speaking to him.” He touched the frames of his glasses as if he was unsure if he wanted to adjust them. “Coraline’s marked him as ineligible to race today.” He paused once more, this time setting is glasses back further on his nose. “I’m moving you up to the A Team today, Kerry. I need you to fill out Hasan’s slot.”

 

It should come as no surprised that this was the lead up to moving to the A Team.  But first, before we get to that–

I talk about Helter Skelter a lot.  As you are aware I’ve named spots on my various race courses just as, on real courses, drivers have names for various spots.  Helter Skelter is one of the most technical, and difficult, turns on the Blue Line, and made even trickier due to the changes in elevation.

See, that’s one of the things that come into play when you’re dealing in three dimensions.  The Green Line stays close to the ground, but the Blue Line starts getting people into the air, and up their the only thing to limit your speed is the need to hit certain elevation gates–otherwise, how do you know where the course is actually located?

Helter Skelter comes off of Skyway, which is sort of the West End of the Blue Line:  a long, slightly curving area where one can pour on the speed–and since Skyway is fifty meters, or one hundred and sixty-five feet, above the ground, that means you can get a lot of speed.

The fliers approach the first part of the turn on a slight left-hand turn, then begin to descend just a little before they switch back to the right.  And I do mean switch back:  the turn is about a one hundred and sixty degree turn–while descending.  The fliers keep losing altitude until they are right over the trees, and then make another switch back turn to the left while dropping into a space in the trees.  And just as soon as they’re close to the ground, they make a ninety degree turn to the right and shoot up out of the trees.

So when you get to the bottom you go back to the top of the slide, then you turn and you go for a ride . . . ergo, Helter Skelter.  Here’s what it looks like with the course highlighted for better viewing:

From up here, not so bad.

From up here, not so bad.

From here, however--

From here, however, not so easy.

And what students standing on the roof of the History Building see.

And what students standing on the roof of the History Building see.

Since Annie’s dad drives in Formula 1, he’d likely call this a chicane and refer to it as a “passing opportunity.”  The students are likely to refer to it as “terrifying”, and they know there’s little room for error in this section.  Yes, there are safety enchantments in place to keep students from crashing head-on into trees, but it’s still possible for a racer to screw up and hurt themselves bad.

And the Class 2 PAVs are a lot faster and far more nimble than the Class 1 brooms, which means an enterprising pilot can try and tempt fate by negotiating this portion of the course with higher speeds and snap turns.  Sometimes this results in gain positions; sometimes it results in broken bones.

Let’s move on–

Kerry’s worried:  not about moving up, but about pissing someone off–

 

This was what he’d half expected to hear, and the news came with some reservations. “Are you sure Madhushri or Victoria wouldn’t be better suited?” He wasn’t trying to talk himself out of the spot; he simply wanted to know for sure that moving up wasn’t going to cause trouble with others in the coven, particularly with his two B Team members who were also of higher levels.

“No, not at all.” Holoč shook his head. “Madhushri only agreed to be on the B Team to fill out the roster, and Victoria’s not nearly as good as you: in two races she’s only pointed once, and that was for sixth. In the same two races you’ve had one podium and missed another by a second . . .” He looked down for a moment, then raised his head nodding. “No, Kerry: I haven’t made any mistakes.”

 

When you have that kind of record it’s easy to see why you moved up.  Even if it is only two races.  Sometimes that’s all it takes.  There is a wrinkle, however:

 

Penny cleared her throat. “There is one thing . . .”

Kerry half-turned so he didn’t release Annie’s hands. “What?”

“You’re going to have to run your B Team races as well.”

Holoč nodded. “If you don’t run them, we’ll have to forfeit. You know the rules.”

“Yeah: you have to start with three racers.” He’d gone over the racing rules whenever possible, and it was necessary to begin a race with all your team members, or suffer a Coven Team penalty of fifteen seconds for every missing flier. While the A Team could usually make up that in the Coven Standings, the B Team, with only three members, couldn’t. And with this being the Samhain event, with each team doing three races, no one wants to suffer that sort of hit on their standings.

Annie was concerned with one thing. “Two races in the morning and three in the afternoon: that’s a lot to ask of Kerry.”

“I know it is, and I’m sorry, but I don’t want the B Team to lose position in the standings.” Holoč laid a hand on Kerry’s shoulder. “Here’s what we’ll do: the moment you’re finished with your last race, come to the team ready room in the Diamond. You remember where it’s located?”

“Yeah, I remember.” Each A Team had their own ready room so they could prep for races, and the B Team members were invited there the first day of team orientation. It reminded him a great deal of the ready room in the Flight School, save there were fewer chairs, and come of them were able to recline so pilots could relax between races, or lay still if they were waiting for medical attention. “We’re over by Exit Two.”

“That’s right. Come there and you can lay down on one of the recliners and take a nap. If you need help with that, I can ask Coraline to get something to you. When the team meets for lunch in the Dining Hall, you can either join us, or I’ll have lunch sent down.” Holoč turned to Annie, who was now looking less apprehensive. “It’s not usually allowed, but if Kerry decides to eat in the ready room, you can join him.”

“If he decides to do that—” Annie latched onto Kerry’s arm. “—I’d love to join him. Thank you, Professor.”

 

Holoč is gonna wear that boy out if he’s not careful, and he’s trying to minimize that effect–hence the “Come in and get a nap” thing before the afternoon festivities.  It’s a real calculated risk on the professor’s part, and he knows it–but he also knows that Kerry’s young, he’ll have plenty of energy reserves, and there’ll likely be a huge adrenaline outpouring once the green lights flash and the race is underway.  Which can be a plus or minus . . .

Only thing left to do is get breakfast, but after leaving the hospital Annie has something else in mind:

 

“I told you.” Upon reaching the ground floor she pulled him under the first floor overhang and eased him back into the shadowy landing leading to the lower levels. “I don’t want you to be nervous; you’re doing to do great.” Annie kissed him slowly, letting him fall into the comfort of her embrace. “Tonight, when we arrive at the dance, you’ll be the proudest boy there.”

“Why’s that?” He fell back against the wall happy and content. Though the news brought about a nervousness he’d knew would one day come, it vanished in the aftermath of his soul mate’s kiss. “Because of the races?”

“That and . . .” Annie giggled as she rested her head against his shoulder. “You’ll be with me, my love.”

“Oh, well—” He kissed her forehead and held her tight. “That always makes me proud.”

 

That Annie:  she’s so modest.  And Kerry knows it, too.  And loves her for it.  Then again, she’s his tasty little cabbage roll, so why wouldn’t he be proud to have her call him her soul mate?

The setup is complete.  All that remains is a little orientation before getting to the point of ladies and gentlemen starting their, um, engines?

For sure something will be revved up.