Skyline Racing

Hey!  I’ll be you thought I wasn’t posting today.  Well . . . I’ve been busy.  Doing what, you say?  A whole lot.

First off, there’s yesterday, and where I went after I posted.  I went here:

Pretty, isn't it?

Pretty, isn’t it?

That was taken from one of the overlooks on Skyline Drive, the main–and just about only–road through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.  After posting I drove home, changed, and headed down I-81 to the park, which is a little over two hours from Harrisburg.  The trip there goes through one of only two places in the United States where you can travel through four states in under forty miles, and, if you’re speeding like mad, you can do it in under thirty minutes on I-81.

I figured it out, just in case you wanted to see.

I figured it out, just in case you wanted to see.

The only other place you can do this?  Here, at Four Corners, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah come together.

All you need to do here is drive around the parking lot.

All you need to do here is drive around the parking lot.

It was a time to relax and decompress, and actually drive around with the windows open, because the sun was shining and the air was considerably cooler a quarter of a mile, or four hundred meters, higher than the surrounding territory.

It was a good time:

It was bright and shinny.

Extremely bright and shiny–and you can see the windows down on my car behind me.

And I had a great meal to top off most of the day.

Nothing like an old lodge 3600 feet above sea level to set the mood.

Nothing like an old lodge 3600 feet above sea level to set the mood.

I managed one panorama scene.

Which aren't easy to take, let me tell you.

Which aren’t easy to take, let me tell you.

And managed to get a full-body picture of myself at the same location.

Most of the time you never get to see my girly curves.

Most of the time you never get to see my girly curves.

But that was yesterday–why so late today?

Well, because writing.  Because just over seventeen hundred words today.  Because . . . I passed one hundred and twenty thousand words.

Not lying at all.

Not lying at all.

This is about the fastest I’ve burned through ten thousand words in a long time–twelve days–and I didn’t want to stop until I finished this scene.  Because . . . I looked at my layout on the left side and thought, hey, I could split that into another chapter.  Because looking at what’s come, and what’s coming, it does make sense to put it off on its own.

And this last scene is a strange one, because I think it’s the first one I’ve written in about a half a million worlds that has no dialog.  In fact, I think I know–without looking–which scene I wrote that was nothing but descriptions, and that scene would have been written right around 24 July, 2013, because I wrote it during Camp NaNo 2013.  Like I said, about a half a million world later–that’s a lot of writing with someone talking somewhere.

The scene is racing, all kinds of racing.  First, though, let’s look at the teams:

 

Mórrígan A Team
Malaya Lacsina — F Philippines
Nadine Woodley — D United States Captain
Argus Pelham — D Tasmania
Nattat Adriano — C Angola
Emmalynne Neilson — B United States

Cernunnos A Team
Manco Mamani D Peru Captain
Darius Roy D Canada
Penelope Rigman C England
Alexandria Chorney C Ukraine
Kerry Malibey B Wales

 

And because there’s a lot of things happening in the scene, let me set it before showing you the last part.

Everyone’s racing in a ten-person pack.  The race runs between fifty and sixty minutes, and it’s mentally exhausting.  Also, there’s this:

 

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

It was on the forth lap, as they were coming out of Sunrise and heading into the Esses, that Kerry—who was running just on the outside of the main pack—made a move towards the front. He was good in the Esses and used that to his advantage, and he knew if he was lucky he could find himself up near the front as they soared over Polar Jump and dove into Polar Turn. He was up to fifth and moving into forth when Emma flew two-thirds of the way across the course to throw a wicked block on him. He cut slightly to his left and she nearly flew back into him before he went up and back to seventh.

Kerry was given all the hint he needed: if he wanted to get up to the front, he was going to have to push his way past Emma, and one of them was liable to get physically hurt in the process.

 

It’s clear:  Emma will jack his soul mate loving ass if he tries to pass her.  And that leads to the last lap, and if you follow most racing, it’s where a lot of drivers get their stupid on full-time.  These kids aren’t any different . . .

 

It was a mad dash from there to Reservoir, and what Kerry suspected was going to happen on this last straight began. Everyone prepared themselves for the last dash to the end, and he did the same. All that was left was to launch through the last two elevation gates and . . .

Manco, Emma, and Argus were first off, with Alex and Nattat right behind them. Darius kicked at Malaya, which was enough for Penny to get around them on the right, Nadine above, and Kerry skirting the lower left. He caught Malaya’s draft and closed on her as their speeds approached three hundred twenty-five kph, and at the last moment he cut to the right, going up between her and Darius. The Cernunnos boy looked ready to kick Kerry as well, but he was by him before he could fully react. Two seconds later Nadine was by him and hanging on Kerry’s processor, riding his draft while using her air bubble to push his forward.

The problem was there wasn’t a forward. The pack completely the south end of the bend and was now moving northeast, and there was nothing but a mass of fliers blocking his path. In a few seconds everyone was going to hit their air brakes going through the Diamond Chicane, and he knew a crash of some kind was coming. The lead was bunching up, not spreading out, and it looked like—

They hit the left hand turn of the chicane, and things went sideways fast. Fliers bounced off each other; Argus nearly turned sideways against traffic and Penny nearly dumped her broom to keep from running him down. Alex slid into Manco and pushed him aside as she tried to straighten out. Emma spun her broom around as she took the right hand section of Diamond and smacked Nattat with her processor, making the girl’s helmeted head jerk as the safety enchantments flared around them.

Everyone was piling up in front of Kerry, and he was about to be run down from behind. There was only one place to go—

He leaned over the length of his broom and dropped to the bottom of the course. Everyone always flew high enough that there was usually a meter or two of open space under the racers, but with everything in flux that space had grown smaller. It was difficult getting through: it was even more difficult doing it at speed, while braking and turning, and the odds of making it through unscathed were slim.

He didn’t beat the odds. As he pulled his broom through the left-hand turn of the chicane, he heard the crackle of the safety enchantment at the same time he felt his knee let go: he’d gotten too low and scrapped the ground at better than a hundred and twenty-five kilometers an hour. Vicky’s warning instantly filed his thoughts: The safety enchantments don’t prevent you from getting hurt—they prevent you from getting extremely hurt or even killed. He bit his lip to keep from yelling and fought to bring his broom around through the right hand portion of Diamond, then pushed it hard forward.

Kerry launched himself towards the finish, willing every gram of acceleration he could muster.

He pulled to the left of the course and dropped his HUD so his line-of-sight was clear. He didn’t know how fast he was going, he didn’t know who was to his side or behind him—his concentration was on the course ahead of him. Emma and Alex were bumping into each other, fighting the whole way to the finish line, and that not only kept their speed down, but kept their interest off him. He headed straight at the finish line, hoping against all hope that nothing—

Emma glanced in her mirror before throwing her broom into a ferocious left side-slip bringing her all the way across the course.

Kerry pulled hard on the control frame. The broom began to slide around: the processor slammed into Emma’s shoulder and spun her off her broom and into the ground, while Kerry found himself flying forward without a broom under him.

He didn’t even have time to wonder if this throw would hurt as much as the last one before before he hit and blacked out . . .

 

Kerry worried someone was going to crash and burn–did he think it’d be him?  The damnedest things happen when you piss off your wingmate.

What happens next?  Well . . . I know what Kerry’s first three words will be if that helps.

Flying With the Pack

Never let it be said that I didn’t know how to deal with a lack of sleep.  That’s easy:  you take a nap when you get home from a long, boring day at work.  The downside of that action:  I didn’t head off to bed until after midnight, and there wasn’t a lot of writing for various reasons, number one of which was still feeling tired as hell.  Yes, the next time so asshole decides to burn a meal at two-thirty in the morning, I think I’ll head down to his place and help him finish cooking, Carol Peletier-style.

Needless to say, I’m kinda running on empty this morning with a whole lot of nothing ahead of me today.  I’m considering taking off for a long drive just to get the hell out of the apartment so I’m not sitting around napping between bouts of struggling to remain awake.  Hey, I could be in the mountains in a couple of hours if I get on the road by nine . . .

Assuming I can finish this post writing like this.

Assuming I can finish this post writing like this.

Now, time wouldn’t matter if I had a Class 1 PAV, because I could zip off to Colorado in about five hours if I were of a mind.  But I don’t have one, otherwise this witch would be flyin’ the hell out of here.  All I have is a car, unfortunately, so I have to make do with that.  Kerry, on the other hand, not only has a PAV, but he has access to a number of them.  Today’s scene, however, has him going back to basics, so to speak, as he gets to race on the good ‘ol reliable brooms like the one he keeps in his room or in Hammerspace.  And in today’s scene he’s racing–

 

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

The Black Saturday races were know as the Fifteen on the Green: fifteen laps on the Green Line using Class 1 PAVs. The Class 1s were what everyone learned to fly during their A Levels, and while they were the broom of choice of the B Teams, once a student reached the A Team those were usually cast aside in favor of the Class 2s and 3s. While American Thanksgiving wasn’t celebrated at the school, Black Weekend—as the period was often called these days—was a time to celebrate magical traditions, and racing on the modern equivalent of the original witch’s broom was as traditional as it got.

The Green Line was used because it was the first of the three courses constructed, and the one upon which every racer started. There was almost nothing technical about the course: it was wide, flat, and fast, with almost nothing in the way of elevation change. An average lap on a Class 1 of about three and a half minutes was possible on the eleven and a half kilometer course, and a good racer could cut that time to three minutes on a Class 2.

And there in lay the problem: by the time a racer made the A Team they were skilled with the speed and maneuverability of the Class 2, so racing all out on a Class 1 became second nature, something one could do with relative ease. The combination of the simplicity of the track and broom, combined with the skill of the pilots, meant the Fifteen on the Green races looked remarkably like the last race from Talladega that Kerry watched three years before.

He would discover just how hard this particular race actually was.

 

As you can guess, it’s not going to be a lot fun out on the course for Kerry, and while there’s a lot more to this scene, I’m not giving it to you.  This is just a teaser; a taste of what’s to coming.  You’ll see it all before the weekend is out, but not right now.

It’s time for me to fly.

I hear the mountains calling.

Details in the Dungon

This is not a good morning.  It hasn’t been for a while, because at two-thirty the fire alarms went off in the building, and for the first time there was smoke in our hallway on the eleventh floor.  It was smoke that smelled a great deal like someone was cooking and then fell asleep, allowing whatever it was on the stove to go up in flames.  Don’t laugh:  that same thing has happened twice before, and I suspect this morning was the third.

I didn’t get back to sleep until about four, which means I never really got back to sleep, so at the moment I’m feeling really slow . . .

This will be me in about another two hours, albeit with a lot less cleavage.

This will be me in about another two hours, albeit with a lot less cleavage.

On top of that the evening didn’t turn out to be the greatest, either.  It was one of those “Let’s Cry, Shall We?” moments from just about the time I walked out of work until I fell asleep.  I actually had to stop on the walk home and let it out for about five minutes, and then it was another five minutes after I got in the place, and another five while I sat out on my balcony and watched the lightning storm pass, and . . . you get the picture.  Lots of sadness; lots of crying.

And, yeah:   lots of writing.

Since I hadn’t written the night before I needed to make up for it last night, and penned–is that still a word?  We’ll go with it–a little over thirteen hundred words.  I took my time on it because, really, my mind was in other places.  Still, I got it done, and finished the scene.

And it doesn’t disappoint–I hope.

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

Most people were either in the covens or in the Dining Hall, leaving the Rotunda empty. They’d covered nearly half the distance from the transept to the East Hallway when they heard a familiar voice speak in a low tone. “Kerry.”

He turned towards the East Rotunda staircase where Nadine stood at the top of the flight leading to the lover levels. She waved them over. “Come here.”

Figuring there had to be a reason why Nadine was being so secretive he took her suggestion and headed towards her with Annie next to him. “Hey, what’s up?”

Nadine nodded in the direction of the downward flight. “Let’s talk in private.” She bounced down the fight, with her two friends close behind.

The lower levels of the Great Hall were much like the majority of the tunnels under the school: stark, dimly lit, and quiet. Kerry knew this section well, as the tunnel leading to Cernunnos Cover was a few meters to their right. Nadine turned left instead and walked towards the storage areas under the jaunt station and the school archives. As soon as they found a quiet passage she ducked inside and waited for her two followers. She didn’t bother with preamble. “Did something happen between you and Emma yesterday?”

He groaned quietly, hoping the unpleasantness that happening in Queens had died. “Yeah.”

Annie lightly touched his arm. “You should tell her everything.”

Nadine did a quick double-blink. “Must have been bad if Annie’s telling you to come clean.”

“It was . . .” He shrugged. “We landed in New York City—”

“I know: I helped set up your Scavenger Flight locations.”

“Right. We took a flight break when we were getting picture of the Unisphere, and she decided—” Kerry stared at the floor as he sighed. “She hit on me—”

Annie turned a cold stare towards Nadine. “Again.”

It was the older girl’s turn to scoff. “Yeah, I’ve heard the rumors in our coven.” She turned to Kerry. “I guess she didn’t take it well.”

“Not at first, but . . .” He cleared his throat as he shook his head. “She was okay by the time we were off Long Island and on our way home. I figured it was over.”

“What happened, Nadine?” Annie knew the whole story of what happened during the flight; after dinner, but before they got ready for the Midnight Madness, he told her everything that transpired earlier in the day. She’s suspected that if Emma tried anything Kerry would set her right, and he’d done that. However, there appeared to be a lingering aftermath . . .

“A couple of girls told me this morning that Emma started going on last night about today’s race.” Nadine turned and leaned back against the passage wall. “She was talkin’ shit about how you guys were tied at one, and this was going to be a deciding race.”

What?” Kerry’s face twisted about, unable to hide his disbelief. “What is she talking about?”

“One of the girls said that Emma told them that since you won your first race last Saturday, and she’d won the week before, this was going to be the chance to see which of the A Team B Levels was better.”

“Ah, jeez.” It became completely clear to him now. Two weeks before Emma won her first race as an A Team member, in a twelve lap heat on Class 2s against Ceridwen, making her the first B Level to win an A Team race in almost a decade. Then last Saturday Kerry won his first A Team race during a eight lap heat on Class 2s against Åsgårdsreia. “What is the big deal? We both have a win—so what?”

“It seems like it means something important to her, dude.”

Right off the bat we know that (1), the flight back from New York was cool, (2), Annie knows everything, (3), both Emma and Kerry have won races.  Of course there’s (4), Emma is totally talkin’ shit about Kerry, and it sounds like she’s letting people know that since this is the first time they’ve raced together, there’s gonna be some kind of showdown for the crown.  In other words, Emma’s acting like a twelve year old girl who’s been scorned, but instead of texting “Screw You, Kerry!’ to his iPhone, she’s gonna whip his ass on the race course.

All does not look that smooth in Wingmate Land.

Also, Nadine called Kerry “dude”.  Total teenager shit, yo.

Annie has a way of seeing something that Captain Clueless can’t–

“If I may . . .” Though not a racer, Annie had certainly lived through events at home and heard enough stories from her mother that she could venture a guess. “Even though Emma was on a Class 2, she was racing the Green Line, whereas you—” She touched Kerry’s hand. “You raced the Blue Line. You also won against the coven second in team standings, while Ceridwen was third at the time—”

“And still is.” Nadine slide her feet out a little and looked down at them. “I got a feeling Emma thinks your win is seen as being more important than hers—”

“But it isn’t.” He stepped back and looked down the long underground corridor to see if anyone had heard his rising voice. He sharply exhaled, getting himself under control. “We’re the only two B Levels on the A Team, and she won before me. It’s no big deal.”

Annie chuckled. “You’re still a bit clueless, aren’t you?”

He turned to her. “What do you mean?”

“She’s acting this way because you hurt her—”

“I didn’t mean to.”

“It doesn’t matter. She’s hurt, and she’s looking for a way to get back at you. And the race today—it’s the first time you’ve completed against each other since you both had your wins.”

Nadine nodded. “Annie’s right: Emma wants to get back at you somehow, and she’ll do it by making a point of showing everyone who’s the better racer.”

Girls understand girls, and they both seem to understand Emma.  Kerry’s still learning the tricks of the trade, and he’s getting there, but it’s still a bit of a struggle.  And now he’s feeling the pressure . . .

Kerry sighed, his eyes closed. I didn’t want any of this to happen. He opened them and stared at a section of the wall to Nadine’s left. If she’d just not said anything—or if I’d said something a year ago . . . “Oi. What a mess.”

“Yeah, it is a bit.” Nadine stood away from the wall. “I’ve already spoken with Erywin, and she said she’s gonna speak with Emma—though I don’t know if she’s gonna speak with her in person, or if there’ll be something said in the team meeting where it look like she’s not being called out.” She rotated her right shoulder, working out a kink. “She’s a bit pissed about all the blocking Emma does in the races, so maybe she’ll work in something about keeping your mind on the race into her speech.”

He ran his fingers through his short hair. “I hope so.”

“Is there anything you can do?” Annie decided it wouldn’t hurt to ask. “You are the team captain.”

Nadine frowned. “That’s true. But about the only thing I can do is tell her to lay off the blocking and shit like that. Still, I might pull her aside and tell her not to get cute out on the course today—it’s Fifteen on the Green, and the race is enough of a bitch without someone turning it into a grudge match.” She patted Kerry on the shoulder. “Look, just race your race today and don’t worry about her. Right?”

“Right.” Kerry managed a smile. “I’ll keep it clean.”

“Like you always do.” She gave his shoulder another pat. “See you on the course. Take care, Annie—and thanks.”

“You’re welcome, Nadine.” She waited for the older girl to vanish up the staircase before turning to Kerry. “What’s wrong?”

The problem Nadine has is that it’s known she’s somewhat friendly with Kerry.  In fact, what she did here could be viewed in some circles as fraternizing with the enemy, so to speak.  Nadine is her coven’s racing team caption, and warning a member of another team–well, all’s fair, right?

Nadine doesn’t play that game.  She knows a grudge match because of a broken heart could lead to something else getting broken, and she doesn’t want that to happen.  So she tells Erywin and Kerry, just so they know.  And she doesn’t leave Annie out of the mix, either.

Once Nadine’s gone Annie moves in to comfort Kerry, who is probably worried he won’t keep his cold yogurt drink down now.  And he’s being himself, which means . . .

He rubbed his forehead, covering his eyes. “I really screwed up.”

“Don’t ever say that.” Annie took his hands in hers and pulled him to her. “You did nothing wrong, my love. She decided to pursue you, and you told her it wouldn’t happen.” She kissed him before whispering in his ear. “Don’t blame yourself for her actions.”

Despite knowing that Annie was right, Kerry still felt some responsibility. “I should have told her last year to leave me alone and cut her out.”

“And we have no way of knowing if that would have changed anything.” She rested his head against her shoulder. “For all we know, love, things would be even worse. Things are where they are because things are meant to be here.” She patted his hair. “You’re going to do well today.”

He smiled as he wrapped his arms around Annie’s waist. “I’ll do my best, darling.”

She kissed his forever. “You always do, my love. You always do.”

Don’t blame yourself, Kerry.  None of you kids are really responsible for your actions as this age, mostly because hormones make you crazy.  But still–

What could go wrong in a race called Fifteen on the Green that Nadine calls “a bitch”?

Oh . . . many things.

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: Run Your Race

I wasn’t too busy with the novel last night, mostly because I was working on my Humans recap, and by the time I finished that sucker, I’d ended up writing about, oh, fifteen hundred new words.  I should take that back:  after the recap I added another three hundred words to the scene, and then, this morning, I put an additional four hundred in.

Also, I was up at four AM:  first because I couldn’t sleep, second because of Pluto.  The New Horizon flyby was this morning, and as I write this it’s already happened, though we won’t know until about seven-thirty PM my time if it actually made it, or if it slammed into something fifty kilometers per second and went kaboom.  This is something I’ve been waiting for over the last decade, and I can’t wait to get the info.

As for the novel . . .

I added something this morning that I felt was missing from yesterday’s writing.  Since Kerry spotted Annie in the stands, it’s only reasonable that she saw him looking her way.  And she would respond, because if there is anyone who’d want Kerry to do well, it’s his Sweetie . . .

 

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

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.

(start new)  Annie saw he was looking in her direction and gave him a smile along with a small wave. He waved back, and for a moment the jitters he’d felt since stepped onto the lift subsided. He’d felt this way when he’d run his first B Team race, and he was feeling it a bit more now because this would be his first real race on a Class 2. Seeing Annie, however, put his mind and nerves at ease: no matter what happened to him on the course, he’d see her after he finished and they’d dance the night away. If he wasn’t in the hospital . . .  (end new)

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

 

It’s not a lot, but it’s one of those touches that would put Kerry at ease and make him feel better.  And he will need that–

 

Erywin and Vicky met them at the Start-Finish line. They were riding Class 1 and were there to assist the fliers with getting into their proper starting positions. All fliers had run qualifying laps Friday morning and were familiar with their pole positions—though those had changed for a few racers due to the elimination of Hasan due to injury. Since he’d not qualified as an A Team member, nor had any A Team points to help with placement, there was only one position remaining for Kerry: tenth, or last, place.

He set up in the back and looked forward as he lowered his visor. His plan was to survive the race and make it to the next stage; his goal was to at least point this first time out. Kerry knew the positions of his teammates: Alex was seventh, Penny sixth, Darius third, and Manco second. I need to pass Alex and Penny to get a point, and after that . . .

There wasn’t any point in thinking about “after that”. Penny was correct: run your race and everything will be fine. He had his plan and his goals—all that remained was for the race to start.

 

It’s not a good thing that Kerry starts in the back, but he’s raced before, real and on a computer, and he knows what to do.  And he does . . .

 

Five red globes appeared above the start-finish line and flashed three times before changing to a steady yellow. This was the moment Kerry waited for: the start of the race. The yellow globes began flashing, and he knew there was only one more sequence to show—

They flashing yellow turned steady green. Kerry pushed on the handle grips and willed his speeder forward—and nearly ran over the eight place Ceridwen racer in front of him. He jerked the PAV to the right and poured on the speed. Three seconds later he slipped in behind Penny and followed her up through Rockport Lane. He triggered his racing HUD—which only showed speed and enchantment strength—and saw that a quarter of the way through the long, sweeping turn, he was already going two hundred forty-six kilometers per hour. Two hundred meters past start-finish and I’m going a hundred and fifty? This thing moves.

 

In case you’re wondering, that’s an acceleration of 11.56 meters per second squared, which is also about one and a fifth gravitates.  With a velocity of 68 meters per second at the time Kerry checks his HUD, how long did that take?

What do you mean, you don't get physics?

What do you mean, you don’t do physics?

So just under six seconds and he’s two football fields from the start finish, and still picking up speed.  If only the other twelve year old kids back in Cardiff could see him.

And if we want to put this in a proper context, the Formula 1 car Annie’s father drives has an average acceleration of 1.11 m/s2, which means if Kerry and Annie’s Papa were racing together, right now, Kerry would be beating him.  There’s probably a reason why Annie’s Mama might not want Papa to know her daughter is in love with a racer, because Papa knows how Mama felt about him racing, and . . .

Yeah, just another reason dads don’t like their daughter’s boyfriends.

How goes the rest of the start?  Like this:

 

Penny worked her way around another Ceridwen member and Kerry slid a half-meter to his left and pulled a half a PAV length ahead of the same flier. He hung there with the girl as she kept glancing to her left as they approached Graves. As he slowed and turned slightly to his right, Alex slipped in on the girl’s right and hugged the inside of the turn. The Ceridwen flier, finding herself stuck between two Cernunnos members, tapped her air brakes and dropped back a few meters.

Kerry sped ahead through the short chute leading to the gentle left-right-up-down chicane that was Gate Pass—the same place that his impromptu race with Emma began just over a year ago. He hung on as he pushed the speeder through the turn much faster than he’d ever done with his Espinoza, feeling it slide a bit as if he were on ice. But there wasn’t any ice in the air: the only think keeping him on the course was magic and willpower, and at the moment he had plenty of both. He dropped down into Keeper Path, again picking up speed as he headed towards the Sunrise Bends. He glanced to his right as Alex glanced to her left: her eyes smiled, and his smiled back.

He negotiated the entry turn and pulled to his right, following Sunrise towards the school’s outer wall and the hard left turn. You’re running your race— He felt the gees pile up as he pushed the speeder, and himself, through the long, wide, one-seventy turn towards The Narrows. Keep doing what you’re doing, and it’ll turn out great . . .

 

In the time this scene played out, Kerry covered this distance:

Follow the squiggly yellow line again.

Follow the squiggly yellow line again.

Even if that’s maybe thirty seconds, you’re still looking at about a two and a half-minute first lap, and about three to three and a half minutes for the next Blue Line lap.  Say six minutes to go Green to Blue to Green–that’s an eighteen minute race, probably averaging close to 175 mph the whole way–

And they gotta do it two more times after this.

Yeah, it’ll make for an interesting afternoon.

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?

The Boy Who Lay Broken at the Bottom of the Chicane

Today is starting with a bit of fuzziness, because I was out until two AM last night, and there was a vodka martini–shaken, not stirred–there as well.  So here it is, ten ’till eight, and I’m just getting into my post.  Oh, any my computer is being a pain in the butt as well, taking forever to come up.  This, too, also happens.

All of my racing scenes are finished, and they ended the way I expected them to end–with pain.  Though up to the point where everything get painful it was a good race.

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Just like at Sunrise Bends, Kerry had caught up to Emma at Polar Turn, but as he tried to take the inside, she threw another block, forcing him to break and slow. While he wasn’t upset, he was getting a bit peeved that he wasn’t doing that to her, and she was taking every advantage of him—

She pulled away fact, accelerating down the straight leading to Northwest Passage. This straight was only three hundred and fifty meters, but it was a fast three-fifty that led right into the Northwest Pass, the last turn before heading into the two point two kilometer curving straight known as West End, the fastest part of the course, and the one section that Kerry had already taken at high speed.

Emma cut into the inside of Northwest Passage, holding good speed. Kerry was right behind her now, only about four meters back, taking the turn a little wider because he wanted to set up his exit and come out on a different line than Emma. He saw her line and had it figured out: she was taking the turn tight and would line up on the west side of the course. Kerry wanted to set up on the east side, so he’d have plenty of room to pass—before Sunset Boulevard, he hoped.

He knew what he had to do if he was going to get around Emma. It was just a matter of flying smart and not letting her action get to him. Because he’d realized what she was doing with her blocks: she was trying to rattle him. She was trying to get him upset—and when you’re upset, you’re going to make mistakes. Kerry wasn’t about to make a mistake. By they time they were in Sunset Boulevard, she’d follow him.

Emma was really turning on the speed, however. She zoomed out of Northwest Passage and was into the wide expanse of West End in a matter of seconds. Kerry pushed his broom forward, the air speed indicator a blur as he chased her down. The lines were set just as he expected, and while he knew he’d have a little farther to fly to be able to pass her, he also had more room to move, but being on the outside of the gently curving course, he saw further than Emma—which meant he’d catch his marks well before her.

I'd like to point out that there's another grave near Sunset Boulevard.  Nothing says, "Hey, kid, lets not forget your mortality," like putting graves near a race course.

I’d like to point out that there’s another grave near Sunset Boulevard. Nothing says, “Hey, kid, lets not forget your mortality,” like putting graves near a race course.  Though I do believe the graves were there long before the courses . . .

I did a check on the amount of time they’d be in West End going as fast as I know they’re going, and it’s not a lot of time–which means there’s a lot of quick thinking going on while they both zip alone.  I used to do a lot of computer racing–so much so that I had a good steering wheel with force feedback and a six-speed in-line shifter that I ended up breaking because I did way too much racing–and I used to be like Kerry:  I was always thinking as I raced, looking for my marks, checking the cars around me, thinking about how I was gonna set someone up for a pass.

Kerry is doing that as well, thinking about what’s ahead.  And he’s picked up what Emma is doing to him is–in the words of a racer who once won a race by “accidentally” getting into the back bumper of the guy in first place and spinning him out with about two-thirds of a lap to go in the race–“rattle his cage” a bit.  And both times she did so, it worked.  However . . .

 

He was only a few meters behind Emma when he saw the course curving to the left. They were entering Sunset Boulevard, and this is where Kerry expected to make his move. He waited to see if Emma would set up on the outside of the curve, or if she’d diamond the turn. She reminded hard against the outside line, just as he’d expected. Kerry took the middle of the corner, keeping his speed as he felt the g-forces picking up as he prepared to pass Emma on the inside.

He saw the upward flick of her head as she saw him coming. When he was three meters from her processor she cut hard to her left, throwing a block as she cut the turn in a hard diamond. Kerry didn’t slow this time, however. He went up and over to her right, setting up on the outside of the curve, maintaining nearly all his speed while she lost a few kilometers an hour due to her quick cut-over move. He glanced over his shoulder before shouting into the comm. “You seem to lack three dimensional thinking, Selene.” He returned his focus to the track, fighting to stay on course as he navigated the turn.

 

Sorry about that, Emma, but you can go over in this race, too.  Maybe she wasn’t paying attention to the races that day.

Let’s just take this to the end, so we can see how this ends in pain–

 

Kerry wasn’t taking any chances. He slipped to the middle of the course, read to cut left or right if Emma tried to pass. It wouldn’t be possible for her to go over or under him as he’d done seconds before, but then they weren’t officially racing, and maybe she wouldn’t care if she cut through one of the holographic rectangles, not if it meant getting around him—

“Selene; Starbuck. Stop NOW.”

The moment Kerry heard Professor Salomon shouting in the comms he pulled back on the shaft of his broom as hard as possible and struggled to bring the PAV to a stop. The broom turned sideways as he pulled back harder with his left hand than his right, but he managed a controlled, sliding stop.

Emma, on the other hand, wasn’t as quick. He saw the panicked look on her face as she realized she wasn’t going to stop in time and that she’d spear Kerry. She pulled hard to her right, sliding her broom at him, slowing considerably but not stopping . . .

Kerry screamed as the shaft of her broom hit the outside of his left knee; a second later Emma fell into him and pushed him over. They both tumbled several meters down part of the rocky incline that made up Double Dip. The second he hit the ground Kerry felt a searing pain in his right leg; something was broken, but he didn’t know what. Emma fell half on top of him, half on top of rock; she screamed as she rolled away from him. He finally came to his own stop when the right side of his head smacked a small rock, leaving him with an agonizing headache.

He lay on his back looking up at Professor Salomon hovering maybe five meters overhead. Even though he was slightly dazed, Kerry recognized Annie flying in from behind and sliding up next to the professor, looking none too pleased. He took a deep breath, wondering what was coming next while watching professor tap the side of her helmet—

The professor spoke matter of factly. “Coraline, I need a pick up.” She stared at the fallen racers while Annie glared at Kerry. “I’ve got two down in Double Dip . . .”

 

And thus I get my somewhat Swedish title for my post today (though the original title of The Girl with the Dragon TattooMän som hatar kvinnor–actually translates as Men Who Hate Women, but I won’t quite go there), because Kerry’s a bit busted up, and we see the beginning of an injury that’s going to plague him for, believe it or not, at least three more novels if these stories ever get that far.  And, it goes without saying, Annie’s a bit upset.  There’s a scene I’m considering adding, but I have decided upon that scene yet.  If I do, it explains a little about–well, you’ll see, because it would come after the next scene, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

After all, there’s a lot of writing to go.