Well, finally. I seem to be back on the blog, though it’s slow due to having a few days off on the road and a ton of work to do on the writing side that will likely keep my busy for a week. Such is my curse.
Anyway… here’s the last of Jessica’s class, and this puts you, the reader, within four thousand words of where I’m at right this moment. I’m not worried, but I am feeling the pressure: produce or die. Well, maybe not die, but something along those lines. I hear ya and hope to keep working.
As it was we left off with The Two Jordanas and it’s what some people call “a moment”:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Both students stared at each other in disbelief for nearly five seconds before Jordana looked up at Jessica and spoke in a choked voice. “He’s the same height as me.”
A low chuckle slip from between Jessica’s lips. “You mean ‘she’, don’t you?”
Kerry bristled slightly when he heard Jessica use the pronoun “she”, but rather than dwell on the matter he stepped in before Jordana could argue. “When you Compressed her, it affected her aura, too, didn’t it?” He looked away for second as he dispelled the uneasiness felt by speaking in such a strange voice that wasn’t his, and yet, was.
Jessica nodded. “That’s exactly what happened. In an inanimate object it’s not necessary to worry about affecting an aura because they don’t have one. With living creatures, however, their aura adjusts along with their physical size.” Jessica moved closer, appearing to tower over both children. “That’s why when you Mimicked her, Kerry, you matched her size exactly.
“Now I want to do something else—” Jessica squared her shoulders as she turned towards the real Jordana. She moved her hands in front of the girl’s face and seconds later, as the spell dissipated, she was back to her normal size. Jessica nodded in the direction of the other students. “Go sit down.” She stared down at Kerry. “When I give the word, I want you to change back to your original self.”
He understood what Jessica wanted to show, though he was a bit skeptical if things were going to work the way he expected they were supposed to work. “No problem.”
“All right then…” Jessica waited five more seconds to allow the anticipation to build. “Change back now.”
Kerry concentrated on going back to the way he was, back to his original body. It was what he’d always done when he’d mimicked before and given that he never had a problem then, he didn’t expect one now. As always, there was a second of disorientation as his form changed, only this time the disorientation hit him just a little harder as he instantly grew eight centimeters.
He threw out his hands as if to steady himself. “Whoa.” He let out a sigh as he grinned at Jessica. “Back to my old self.”
At least we know Kerry’s fears of not going back to Boy Kerry were unfounded, so he’s nice and happy. But, the pronoun dig… Jessica was actually chuckling at Jordana’s discomfort, but Kerry felt the hit only because–well, misgendering is a real issue for him one of these days. Not right now, but it makes one wonder how does someone handle those pronouns when you’re using magic to pretend to be someone on the other end of the gender binary? Not easy to figure out–though it really is when you think about it.
Now, the title mentions science and here it comes. Enjoy.
“That’s because your original aura was unaffected.” Jessica alternated her glances between Kerry and the rest of the class as she spoke. “As I explained once before, Kerry’s original aura possesses a sort of memory of his original form, which includes his current shape and size. This is why when he Mimics back to, well, his original form, he doesn’t have to go through any additional transformation magic. Mimicking wouldn’t be worth a damn if you can go back to being your old self after being someone new.” She looked at Kerry and motioned towards the chairs. “You can sit down now.”
With everyone in their seats Jessica was able to continue with the lesson. “Now, the advanced form of Compress treat size and mass the same. While it is possible to reduce the height, and consequently size, of a living creature to a maximum of about fifteen percent of its original volume, you’re only able to reduce the mass of the original, at that size, to about thirty percent of the original weight. While this doesn’t exactly work the same way as the Normal version of the square-cube law, it does present an interesting limitation in that we can’t take something the size of a car and compress it so it’s small enough to carry comfortably in our backpacks.” Jessica gave everyone an interesting grin as she looked around the room. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t witches who haven’t tried: it’s just that their level of success varies.
“Now, while this means that when Kerry goes off on the Polar Express next calendar year, he’ll be able to take about thirty kilos of equipment and stuff all of that into his backpack and it will weigh right around ten kilos. That comes in very handy for those times in the future we decide you want to do hiking and you need to bring along a tent and sleeping bags and food and water, but you don’t feel like carrying around fifty kilos of gear. Though trust me: I’m sure after Kerry’s been flying for eight hours with that ten kilos on his back, he’s going to wish it weighed a lot less.
“Using advanced Compress on humans, however, can make it difficult to maintain an illusion that a very small person looks like a child is not what they seem. For example—” Jessica pulled out her tablet and checked the display. “Jordana is 165 centimeters, so if I was the Compress her down to twenty percent of her size, should be the approximate height of a two-year-old girl. However—Jordana, how much do you weigh?”
The El Salvadoran girl wasn’t the least bit embarrassed to give this information. “Sixty-six kilos.”
“Sixty-six kilos. That means when she’d reduced to the size of a two-year-old, her weight would be around twenty-six and a half kilos, which would put her weight around what is considered average for a seven-year-old girl.” Jessica levitated her tablet over to her desk and set it down. “Anyone trying to pick her up would immediately notice a discrepancy between the size and the overall mass, and they’d wonder what was wrong.” She once again looked around the room from student to student opening her point wasn’t missed. “For those of you who might decide to use this form of transformation to achieve that sort of effect, it’s something you need to keep in mind.”
Kerry raised his hand and spoke once he was acknowledged. “If I were to mimic, say, a six-year-old, would my weight match theirs, or would it go against the same sort of limitation we see with the Compress spell?”
Jessica already knew this answer. “Since your Mimicking Gift bases your appearance off the aura of the person you’re mimicking, you’re going to match them in every category, including weight.” She gave a slight grin. “Quite an advantage you have there.”
As there was not much left to say, Jessica was ready to start the evening’s class. “All right then.” She clapped her hands together and began rubbing them like she was eager to start. “Who wants to be the first guinea pig in this miniaturization game?”
Now, in case anyone isn’t paying attention, there’s no Ant Man shit going on here, though no one has said anything about expanding things– I would imagine that has a whole new set of issues that requires a bit of ingenious dealing on the part of the crafter.
And speaking of ingenious crafters, it’s time to learn about time. No, really…