Not So Ready in the Ready Room

First off, Happy Loving Day, which is the day the Supreme Court of America ruled to disband all anti-miscegenation laws in 1967.  And if you’re old–like me–you’ll probably remember that a lot of the same things said about marriage equality today–like allowing it to happen goes against the religious beliefs of some–were said about mixed race marriages then.  Same cart, different driver, but in the end the destination will be the same.

I’m dragging a little today because I was up at two and fought to get back to sleep between then and about four-thirty.  I haven’t had a night like that in months, and it’s hitting me kinda hard, but I’ll get through it:  I always do.

And now . . . Kerry’s at the Flight School waiting for class to start.  This is right after Annie’s Flight class, so Friday is for flying.  This is also the first time were we see Kerry alone since he left Cardiff, and the first time we see someone else since those days . . .

 

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

Kerry sat in his old seat in the Pilot’s Ready Room and casually dropped his goggles and gloves in the seat to his left. He wasn’t the first—three other students arrived before him—but he was the only one sitting in the front row, something Annie and he did all through A Level Basic Flight.

He adjusted his glasses, something he did less and less these days. Since learning a simply adhesive spell in Wednesday’s class last year, it was rare that his glasses ever slipped these days. He thought it might be due to the quick landing he’d made outside the Hanger followed by the dash up the stairs to the main floor. It wasn’t that Kerry was late: he was actually ten minutes early.

But after the morning he’d had watching Isis and Annie flying about the Aerodrome—and Isis put Annie through a few easy maneuvers that proved she was actually using her gift and not levitating—he was ready to see what his flight class had in store.

After speaking with Nadine in Advanced Spells the other night Kerry had an inkling of what to expect over the school year. She told Annie and him about working on brooms, about learning to fly by instruments only; developing flight plans; being taught how to make minor repairs to a PAV—and, most of all, the three camping flights she took designed to prepare her for—

“Hey, Kerry.” Emma stood to his left, eyeing the seat where his goggles and gloves rested.

 

Guess who?!

 

“Hey, Emma.” He poked his thumb to the empty chair on his right. “Let’s get comfortable.”

“Sure.” A hint of dejection peeked through her demeanor as she settled into the chair. “Saving that for Annie?”

He shook his head. “No.”

“Oh?”

“She’s not taking the class.”

“What?” Emma twisted around in her chair. “Why not?”

“She felt she could learn most of this stuff either from me or from her parents.” He extended his legs and stretched. “Vicky told her she can come if and when she likes, though.”

Emma still appeared puzzled. “So what’s she doing instead?”

Kerry brushed some hair back from his forehead. “She’s probably over at the Black Vault right now.”

“Oh, right—sorcery.” Emma sat back and crossed her legs. “Gotta be the dark witch.” She caught herself, hoping she didn’t say something that would upset Kerry. “Right?”

He nodded slowly, a smile appearing upon his face. “Yep. We both do, as a matter of fact. It’s something we promised each other.” He didn’t bother to mention where that promise had taken place. “I like your new patch.”

 

By now not only do we know that Annie and no one else is always to the left of Kerry, but he knows it as well.  And that move of his–saving the seat to his left–was to prevent a certain wingmate from sitting there.  And she knows it, too:  you can sense it in her body language.  She was really hoping to plop down in that left-hand seat . . .

And she caught herself before she said something mean about Annie.  She doesn’t know she’s cursed, but she also doesn’t want to make Kerry upset.  After all, if you have to depend on your wingmate when you’re up in the air, and you’ve been talking shit about his girlfriend, will you really trust him?

Anyway, back to patches.

 

Emma glanced down by reflex, just making out her new flight patch: that of a witch on a broom flying across the shadow of a crescent moon with the constellation of Leo over her back. Her call sign was emblazoned across the top of the patch, white letters against the blue background used to represent Mórrígan Coven. “Oh, yeah. I had to ask what it meant, ‘cause I wasn’t sure about all the stuff.”

Kerry didn’t wait for his wingmate to explain. “Selene is the goddess of the moon, which you knew. She’s usually associated with the crescent moon and was often seen in paintings and drawings with constellations—of which you have both.” He examined the outline of the stars. “That’s Leo, which I think is seen in April, which is—” He grinned. “—your birthday month.” He chuckled in a low town. “Hence Selene.”

Emma’s mouth dropped open. “How do you know all that crap?” She started laughing. “I mean, I like looking at stars—”

“And you didn’t notice any special ones when we took astronomy last year?”

She thought about his statement for a moment, then tapped her forehead. “Oh, yeah: Harpreet pointed out Leo right around my birthday last year. Don’t know why I didn’t remember that.”

“Well, you were thinking about your birthday.”

“And speaking of that—” Emma crossed her arms and tried her best at a hurt pout. “You never did say where you went that night. You vanished right after Sorcery class and when you came back—”

“I told you what happened.” Kerry sat back with and crossed his arms, only he smiled and appeared relaxed. “I had to go to New York for testing, and I fell down and cracked my head when I was about to leave.” He’d told that particular story to Emma twice last year, and had hoped she wouldn’t ask again. “It’s that simple.”

 

It’s already come up a couple of times about Annie and Kerry’s Excellent Adventure, and how teachers and students believe the cover story is probably a load of crap.  Emma obviously doesn’t believe it, and the fact that they cut out on her birthday–19 April is Emma’s birthday, exactly two weeks before Kerry’s–means she remembers it even more.

So now we’ve seen her patch, which is pretty classical for a goddess.  For Kerry . . . um, it’s a bit more creative:

 

“Uh, huh.” Figuring she wasn’t going to get a better answer than the one she’d heard a few times already, she went back to the subject of flight patches. She pointed at Kerry’s jacket. “What’s yours suppose to mean?”

Kerry had spent several minutes examining the patch when he saw it for the first time, and spent a couple of minutes explaining the meaning to Annie. Of all the new B Level flight patches he’d seen, his was likely the most complex. “Well, this here—” He pointed to the pilot on the broom in the lower left corner of the circle. “—is supposed to be me. And these other points—” He pointed to the dark hurricane, then the bright cloud of gas behind that, and the strange looking planet behind the cloud, and the planet Earth at the far end of the string. “This is the Maelstrom, then the Ionian Nebula, then original Earth in front of our Earth.” He pointed to his call sign in the circular margin. “And here I am against Cernunnos green.” He grinned broadly. “Simple, huh?”

Emma shook her head slowly. “Again, how do you know that? And what does it all mean?”

“Well, it helps if you’re a geek.” He chuckled. “And it helps if your instructor is a big of a geek, too—”

 

It also helps if the author has access to the Battlestar Galactica wiki and was able to look up a few things based upon the “life” of the character upon which Kerry’s call sign is based.  Actually, I knew those things, but I had to check the name of one location in particular . . . yes, I’m a geek.

And so is someone else–

 

“I heard that, Kerry.” Victoria Salomon, the school’s flight and jaunt instructor, made her way up the center aisle towards the podium in the front center of the Ready Room. “And, yes: being a bit of a geek helps when you have to come up with a bunch of call signs that mean something to the pop culture sensibilities of my A Levels.” She turned to the two fliers, addressing the red head with the longest hair.  “How you doing today, Emma?”

“I’m doing fine, Profe—”

“Vicky, Emma.” Vicky’s grin was friendly and infectious. “You’ve earned the right to address me by my given name. It’s the way we do things in the advanced classes.” She flicked her eyes in Kerry’s direction. “Ain’t that right, Starbuck?”

He nodded and grinned back. “That’s right, Nightwitch.”

Vicky did a quick head count of the people in the Ready Room, then clapped her hands. “All right, pilots.” She sidestepped behind the podium. “I see it’s thirteen, and that means we got things to discuss . . .”

 

Kerry’s so used to talking to the instructors using their first names, and Emma–who has already said she find it hard to do–is still stumbling.  And we do see, again, that the gingers are paired up.  Is that because no one wants to be their friends?

Right now I’m about seven hundred words away from breaking sixty thousand total–

So if I write tonight I can make it.  If I write.  Which I probably will.

So if I write tonight I can make it. If I write. Which I probably will.

Sixty thousand plus for two acts?  Not bad at all.

The Naming of Call Signs

I have to be forgiven because I only managed seven hundred and fifty words due to getting shoes.  Yes, that’s right:  I had two new pair of shoes come in and–do I need to say the rest?  I had to try them on, then tell one of my friends about it, and by the time I actually got around to doing some writing it was getting late, and that meant I couldn’t write as much as I could have written.

Bad stereotype, I know.

But I managed to finish the scene in the Ready Room–not long after I got this in:

 

Vicky ran her fingers around the patch on the breast of her jacket. “All of you have your coven emblem on your patch. You’ll see I don’t: that’s because I’m out of school. Even though mine reflects my call sign—which is Nightwitch, by the way—you’ll see I have a red border. This indicates I was a member of Bloeddewedd Coven. The rest of you have purple, red, blue, green, and yellow, for Åsgårdsreia, Bloeddewedd, Mórrígan, Cernunnos, and Ceridwen.

“You, on the other hand, have your coven guardians. Each of the creatures on your patches represented the spirit guides of each of the school founders. Some of your who know a little about Celtic mythology know that Cernunnos should have the stag that Åsgårdsreia has, and that no one should have a serpent, but tell that to the spirits: they had other ideas.

“We have group names for each of your covers, which you’ll also find out are the names of their racing teams. You students in Åsgårdsreia Coven, as you are associated with The Wild Hunt, you are the Hunters. Bloeddewedd fliers, you’re the Night Owls. Ceridwen fliers are the Warthogs, and don’t take that as demeaning, ‘cause one of the best aircraft ever built had that nicknamed. Since Mórrígan was associated with the raven, you students there are the Blackbirds. And since Cernunnos has the snake, you two—” She pointed at Annie and Kerry. “—are known as the . . .” She cocked a questioning eye at them, to see if they’d figure it out.

Kerry only had to give it a moment’s thought before he gave the answer with some excitement in his voice. “Viper pilots.”

Vicky smiled. “Somehow I knew you’d get it.” She checked her tablet. “Since we have only the both of you, assigning your call signs won’t be that difficult . . .” She pointed at Kerry. “You are Starbuck.” She turned her finger towards Annie. “And you are Athena.”

 

A bit geeky, I know, but it opens up a little more information about the coverns.  Unlike American Horror Story, my coverns are full of sweet kids, none of whom are having sex–okay, none that we know about.  But that’s another tale for another time.

Tonight I go through the dynamics of how to fly something that looks like a broom.  Also, a very simple count of Chapter Six shows I’ve written ninety-one hundred words, and I’m guessing I’ll have another five thousand down before this chapter is over.  Then there are six to go, and technically I’ll be finished with Episode One of Book One, and I can then start on Episode Two of Book One–are you confused yet?

Don’t worry; sometimes I get like this.

 

Prepping the Ready Room

Slow writing again last night, but it seems after I get everything else out of the way, I end up not getting into the story until seven-thirty or eight PM my time.  I suppose I could write longer, but it seems as if my window for getting things done right now is a couple of hours, maybe three at the most.

But it works.  I’m doing a thousand to twelve hundred words a night now.  It’s not a lot, but it’s every day, and that’s after all the crap I’ve had to muck through for the measure of the day.  I don’t consider it a problem:  I considering it making progress.

So, Flight School . . . yeah, that’s where the kids are.  They hiked through the tunnel and under the woods, and now they’re getting dressed and about to get their lecture in the ready room.  I made my introductions with the flight instructor, Professor Victoria Salomon, and introduced the kids in their flying finery.  Which is to say, they aren’t dressed in the school uniform as much as they’re dressed in flying leathers–which I’ll probably describe more in the scene tonight.  There is a reason for the attire–but then, I figured this out long ago.

I was just telling a friend this morning that I stopped just short of sixty-nine thousand words last night, and if I’d bothered to check my total count before signing off for the evening, I probably would have pushed to hit it.  As is it, when I pulled the story up to check on something, I ended up making a few corrections and adding a word here and there, and suddenly I’ve added two dozen words and it’s even closer.  This is going to be a long scene, however:  maybe five thousand words.  Which is why I’m considering ending this part of the novel at the finish of the next chapter.  Then I’ll throw a marker in there, to show where Episode Two starts, and keep on writing.

Every day I think about this and work on it, the more the layout of this story becomes clear.  This is going to be a little like my unpublished novel Transporting, where, because of the size, I separated the first novel into a trilogy.  I’ll likely do the same here with The Foundation Chronicles, which is becoming a chronicle, all right.  It’s a lot of detail about a place that exists in my head, but is so very real to me.

Oh, and tonight, I had out call signs.  My kids are going to be pilots very soon, and like Professor Vicky–call sign Nightwitch–will tell them, while they’re not in the military, it’s easier to keep track of them by their call signs once they’re airborne.  This will come in handy later in the story, because there’ll be call signs all over the place.  You’ll hear about those as well.

I have bill paying to do tonight, so I might not get as much writing in.  Then again, I’m leaving work early, so I catch an early dinner–

Who knows?  I might just get the kids into the hanger this evening.