Memories Among the Recollections of the Present

Today is a day in which I should have stayed in bed.  I am tried, I’m still feeling depressed, and it’s gonna rain a lot today.  But it can’t rain all the time, right?  That last is probably truer than we can imagine, but around here we need rain like crazy, so it’s probably good it’s coming.  Besides, it’s not like I was going anyway.

There are several things to talk about today.  The first is what I did last night, which I got into because, dammit, I couldn’t bring myself to write.  I actually have noted that I wrote three whole words yesterday.  Three whole words.  Just like what I just wrote.  I wanted to write but nothing was coming out, so I said to hell with it and let it all go and went to work on something else.

And what is that, you ask?  Oh, just a Class 2 PAV, that’s all.  You wanna see?  Stupid question:  of course you do.

There, in all it's grayish glory!

There, in all its grayish glory!

It’s pretty much as a promised:  a modified version of the Class 1 with a slightly different and larger processor, handlebars, and canards.  The handlebars can be adjusted forward and back to give the pilot a better feel while they’re racing, as well as allowing them to “lean into the bars” when they are going though turns.  They also give the pilot something to hang on to when they are accelerating and braking like mad, something they have to watch on the Class 1 because, well, you’re hanging on to the frame, and that’s not always the best option.

Now I should have the Class 1 and 2 side-by-side, and maybe put stick figure Kerry on one and Annie on the other.  That means I gotta break out the Blender tutorial and bone up on how to do bends.

The other part of this equation is the writing, which happened this morning and ran seven hundred and seventy-six words.  And it was tough writing, because I feel like I’m falling asleep as I sit here in Panera, and that’s never a good feeling.  But get it done I did, and in doing so, this scene became the longest in the novel.  See?

I haz proof!

I haz proof!

Friend’s List was the longest, back when Kerry’s parents were raking him over the coals over, you know, being friends with too many girls.  Now Seeking the Connection is the longest, and growing longer.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see it hit fifty-five hundred words before I’ve finished with the sucker.  Annie and Deanna:  get those two together and it’s nothing but a chat fest.

But wait!  Wasn’t Deanna going to introduce us to someone named Sabrina?  Sure she was.  And her she goes . . .

 

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

Deanna raised her voice slightly. “Sabrina, please come.”

The space overhead—which happened to be the direction in which both Annie and Deanna were looking—shifted as a holographic projection of a young multi-ethnic girl near Annie’s age appeared She brushed her long brown hair away from face, exposing wide, near-violet eyes set against her caramel complexion. “I’m here, Deanna. What would you like?”

Annie propped herself up on one elbow. “Sabrina?”

“She’s the school AP.” Deanna turned toward Annie and half-propped herself up as well. “You know how the APs are really just conscious artificial intelligences inhabiting cybernetic bodies?”

“Yes.”

“Sabrina’s the same way, except for her, the body she inhabits is the school computer systems. She helps out with security and organization tasks—in a way she’s the school secretary. You’d have seen her if you’d ever visited the Headmistress’ office.” Deanna lay back as did Annie. “Isis modeled her after someone with whom we attended school—”

“You knew her?”

“Yes, I did.” Deanna pointed up at the hologram. “Go ahead and talk to her.”

 

As has been mentioned before, APs are Artificial People, which is another way of saying they’re sentient androids.  All the service staff at the school–the people tending the grounds, the people in the Dining Hall, and yes, the nurses and Isis’ security staff–are APs.  The four main staff members–Headmistress, Librarian, Doctor, and Chief of Security–are humans, as are the instructors and, of course, students.  They are treated just like humans:  they have jobs, are paid a good wage, and have enchanted devices built into their bodies that allow them to do a bit of magic.

Whatcha gonna talk about, Annie?

 

Annie wasn’t shy or frightened around APs—her mother employed one to help out with things around the house, and Annie spent most of her tween years growing up around her—but this was the first time she’d ever encountered one that one could consider a true AI. “How are you, Sabrina?”

“I’m fine, Annie.” The holographic girl smiled back. “How are you?”

“I’m doing well. You live in a computer?”

“Several, actually. My core is spread over several systems, which means I never have to worry about being unable to do my duties should one system drop.” Sabrina clasped her hands together in front of her waist. “I also have a cyborg body when I’m required to have a physical presence, but I like being able to get around this way. There are few place I can’t visit in this form.”

The question Annie wanted to ask could no longer remain contained. “Why is your name Sabrina? I mean, if you are modeled after someone Isis knows, wouldn’t you rather her name?”

The AP hologram shook her head. “The person Isis knew died during The Scouring, and I’m meant to honor her and not take her place—something I couldn’t and wouldn’t do.” She placed her hand behind her back and smiled as she swayed back and forth. “Sabrina fits me better, though. And, I am a teenage witch, am I not?”

Deanna cut into the conversation when it became apparent Annie didn’t know how to respond. “Yes, you are—just like the person you’re speaking with right now.”

Sabrina nodded. “This is true. What can I do for you, Deanna?”

 

Yes, she’s named after a famous teenage witch, of which–as Deanna points out–the school has plenty.  The person being referred to was one of Isis’ best friends when she was a student, the other friend being Wednesday.  Of the three, however, the girl whom Sabrina mentioned died in The Scouring, and it’s a moment Isis had a difficult time putting behind her.

You also see, for the first time, mention made that Annie has grown up around APs.  Having an artificial person come in an help around the house ain’t the same as owning a house elf, but then elves don’t exist in this world–at least not those drowned rat looking things that pass for elves in another magical series.  Given that one could do the pointy ears and up-turned eyes with just a bit of transformation magic, as well as being able to do magic, makes the elves in my world a lot more like the ones who come out of the game Shadowrun.  They probably carry big ass guns, too–

Now, what does Deanna want?  Well . . .

 

“I need to see some video.”

Sabrina stared off into the distance as if she were looking at something. “Ready.”

“Orientation Day, 2011. Get my first meeting of the day.”

Annie didn’t need reminding as to who Deanna met. “That was us.”

“Yes, it was.”

“You recorded that?”

“I record everything—”

“Found it.” The AP turned her attention back to the seer. “What would you like?”

“Cue it up to a few seconds after my—” Deanna glanced to her right. “—guests arrived.”

Once again Sabrina appeared to look at something for a few seconds before responding. “Ready.”

“Put it on screen, please.” Sabrina vanished from the display, replaced with an image of the main room on the ground floor, the point of view seeming to come from behind Deanna and looking towards the door that Annie and Kerry had walked through on their first full day at Salem.

Annie stared at the display with unabashed amazement. Her memories of this moment were naturally clouded by the events of the past year, but she couldn’t help but realize the changes between those memories and what was now on-screen. “Look how different Kerry seems. He’s so . . .” She didn’t want to sound cruel, but knew there wasn’t many ways to soften the expression. “Shy.”

“He’s not the only one. Look at you, with that piercing stare and the way you’re standing there in the room, almost demanding attention.” Deanna tapped Annie’s hand. “I overheard more than a few students in my coven say you were ‘stuck up’. Looking at that image—”

“Yes?” Annie wasn’t sure she wanted to hear what Deanna was going to say, but knew she’d hear it anyway.

“The first word that came to my mind was ‘haughty’. Like you were a girl accustomed to getting what she wanted.” Deanna chuckled. “Your words, not mine.”

“I remember. Why are we seeing this?”

“Because there’s something I want you to see.” She Deanna stretched and got comfortable. “Sabrina, run the video, please.”

 

Here we are, going back to near the beginning of the last novel–well, about fifty thousand words in, which is pretty much the beginning in that damn monstrosity.  But what could Deanna want to show Annie?  Well, there’s really only one thing, isn’t there?

Now, to get to writing that–probably after a nap.

The Meeting of the Geese

I know the title of today’s post probably makes no sense whatsoever, but in time it should make sense.  I hope.  One never knows because I’m looking at things a certain way an I have a strange sense of humor.

One of the things I did yesterday was flesh out the current chapter by adding more scenes.  That’s right:  more.  Because I wanted to separate thing and get them in their own little boxes.  I actually split out one and added another, so technically I added only one–

Giving me this layout.

Giving me this layout.

It’s how I work, and that work is making it easier for me to work.  Sorta.  I try not to think about it too much, otherwise I’ll probably go nuts.

So lets get to the setup:

 

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

After his last B Team race Kerry came to the Cernunnos ready room, got comfortable in a recliner, and took a nap. Right about eleven ten Annie came by and they had lunch; at eleven thirty-five Penny came by, and the three of them headed down to the hanger area below The Diamond track and looked over the Class 2 PAVs. Though Penny was there to help Kerry find a good racing broom, Annie knew a great deal about Class 2s through her family, and she made the final decision on while broom Kerry would pilot. Because this was the third broom Annie had chosen for him, he named it “Third Party”.

They returned to the ready room where Alex was already waiting and in her racing gear. Kerry didn’t need to change as the racing gear was the same between the two team levels: a soft black leather body suit with gloves and short lace-up boots, and a full face helmet with a visor enchanted to darken and lighten on command. The outfit was enchanted to protect the flier a much as possible in the event of an accident, but as he was told in orientation, enchantments were designed to keep a pilot from being killed; they could still end up injured, much like Hasan was during practice.

Like the uniforms of the other teams, their Cernunnos colors were represented by green stripes running the length of the arms and legs, padding on the shoulders, and a band encircling the top of the helmet. His last name was printed on the front and back of his helmet as well, so fans and racers alike knew who was whom among the faceless people on the course.

 

In the next scene you’ll get a better look at the Class 2 PAVs/brooms, but they’re somewhat easy to visualize:  if the Class 1s look a lot like a classic witch’s broom, the Class 2s look a bit like the speeder bikes from Return of the Jedi–in other words, a Class 1 with small handlebars and a set of canards at the front to allow greater maneuverability.  Those aren’t the only changes, but visually, that’s as close as it gets.

Kerry also meets the other two members of the A Team:

 

It wasn’t long after Penny went to change that Manco Mamani, the captain of the team, and Darius Roy emerged from the adjoining locker room. Both boys, like the injured Hasan Fofana, were D Levels. Manco was from Chiclayo, Peru, while Darius hailed from Durham Bridge, New Brunswick, Canada; both were similar in appearance—tall, brown hair, dark eyes, dusky complexion—and in personality, which while it wasn’t surly, wasn’t overly friendly. They offered perfunctory greetings to the team before walking away, completely ignoring Alex. A few minutes later Penny came out of the girl’s locker room and they took their place in the front row.

So . . . not so nice, hun?  They’re dusting Kerry and Alex, and when everyone gets set for the discussions on the day’s racing–which, by the way, is a combination of running the Green Line and then the Blue Line and going back, doing three laps on each–the girls and Kerry sit in the front row, and the other two boys sit in the back.  Some witches be too cool for the room, it seems.

That becomes evident when they head out to get their speeders–I mean, brooms.

 

The turned right outside the door and made their way to the lift that would take them to the lower levels. Right away Kerry noticed the distance between the two older boys in front, and the girls in the back, with Manco and Darius not only ignoring the three newest fliers, but trying to distance themselves from them. He didn’t like what he felt was a huge snubbing, and thought to make his feelings known. “Hey, ain’t we supposed to be on the same team?” Manco and Darius stopped and turned to face their teammates. “I mean, is this how you guys do thing here?”

Manco shrugged. “This is how we did things last year.”

“No, it isn’t, Manco.” Penny stepped up next to Kerry, with Alex next to her. “Not when Jeong was Captain, and Hatim and Risto were on the team.”

Darius smirked as he spoke. “Yeah, and none of them are on the team this year.” He turned to Kerry. “This is how we do things up here; we ain’t down on the ground now.” He used the slang that Kerry was told referred to the fact that the B Level ready rooms were on the ground floor under the grandstands. “And I don’t care how well you did racin’ in the ghetto today, kid, when we’re out there, you stay out of my way.” He slapped Manco on the arm and the two of them turned and walked away.

Alex clutched her helmet against her hip. “Shcho velychezna mudak.”

Kerry continued staring straight ahead. “What’s that mean?”

“It means he is large ass.”

Penny snorted. “He’s a right daft twat, that’s for sure.” She patted Kerry on the back. “Gonna keep an eye on you, boy: don’t want you turnin’ out like them.”

“Not a chance.” He watched the boys enter the lift and vanish without waiting for them. “I thought all Canadians were supposed to be nice?”

“They are—just not in our coven, it seems.” Penny shook her head. “Come on; let’s get our brooms and make the best of this shit show.”

 

He called Kerry “kid”.  Annie would have lit Darius up if she’d heard that one.  And racing down in the ghetto?  Some serious attitude there.

What Alex actually said in Ukranian is, “What an enormous asshole,” and it goes back to the title of today’s post.  We’ve now seen how surly Darius is, and we know Franky–another Canadian–is a butthead, which goes completely against the grain of how we’ve come to think about Canadians.  Now, while I was speaking to one of my various Canadian friends who do live North of The Wall–as I like to say–we got on the subject of Canadian Geese.  And if you’ve ever had an encounter with these creatures, you know they’re more like winged minions of death.  My friend, who has had numerous encountered with these Northern Death Birds, put it as matter of factly as possible:  “Canadian Geese are assholes.”

"What did you call me?"

“What did you call me?”

So, the meeting with the geese, aka, the dudes on your race team are assholes, Kerry, and it looks like they’re tossing you in the back of the bus with the girls.  True, when you were leaving Berlin you guys were in the back of the bus, and you were having a hell of a lot of fun, but this is something completely different–

I’m sure the race is gonna be . . . interesting.

Bringing the Madness Once More

Well, that didn’t take long . . .

When it comes to saying, “I’m not gonna work on something and finished it today,” I’m probably lying by butt off.  I said I wasn’t going to do the Red Line in full right away, but . . . well, I had time on my hands and a program in front of me, so I figured, what the hell?

I at least have the route laid out in its glory, though there are a few areas I need to smooth out because when you’re working in three dimensions you can do that.  That will be this week.

So here it is, from a couple of different views.  First, from the south:

What you might see if you were camped out over Gloucester.

What you might see if you were camped out over Gloucester.

And then from the northwest:

Only because I don't see the school like this often.

Only because I don’t see the school like this often.

And one view from due east that shows the grid and how high some of the turns are.

Like, really high.

Like, really high.

Each gird box is one hundred meters on each side, or three hundred and twenty-eight feet.  So besides K1 (in the middle) going up a thousand meters, you have Plateau, (on the right north of the Observatory) at just over three hundred meters, Corkscrew (the climb and circles half-way between the Pentagram in the center and the far left) at four hundred, and The Point all the way to the left going up five hundred meters before diving towards the ground.

I view my tracks a lot like those used in Formula 1.  The Green Line is a lot like Monza in Italy:  fast with just enough curves and chicanes to keep you from crashing and burning too hard.  The Blue Line is like Spa Francorchamps:  big and fast, but a bit more technically challenging.  The Red Line is like the Nürburgring Nordschleife, demanding as hell with all the curves, though I’m not sure what this makes Mount Katahdin–though the races do call the later The White Hell . . .

By the way, the top part of Corkscrew is how high Kerry went the first time he checked out on an Espinoza with Vicky.  As for the Mile High flight, Annie and Kerry when just over three times higher than K1.  They was way up there.

And there was writing!  Like right here:

 

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

Annie danced past the foot of her bed on the way to her dresser and Little Talks began playing on the music stream she’d selected from her room’s computer terminal. She’d already hung up her uniform; all that remained was to put up her shoes, pull out her blue slippers, close up the dresser, and wait, knowing she wouldn’t need to wait long.

She checked her appearance in the full-length mirror. Makeup off, hair combed right, touch of gloss, and nails a lovely light blue thanks to the time spell she’d practiced over the summer that allowed her to do her feet and hands property in about forty five minutes instead of three hours it would take if she allowed the several layers of coatings and polish to dry naturally. Annie examined her fingertips carefully once last time before skipping over to the computer terminal to check the time.

Twenty-one forty-five. Just as she shut off the music there was a knock on the door. A huge grin appeared as she grabbed her robe off the bed. Punctual as always.

 

If it’s Friday night, it must be time for the Midnight Madness.  And this is the first of the year, so one must look their best, right?  Once again we have Dancing Annie, listening to music on the computer terminal set up in her room–and, yes, they were there last year, but we never really discussed them.  She doesn’t have a laptop, however:  more like a device that lets her get into the school network cloud, so she is connected to messages and the whatnot.

And here she is checking out her nails again.  It was established last year she likes doing her nails, so she’s got them ready once more.  Probably for someone special . . .

 

Annie flung open the door: Kerry stood in the corridor, wearing his gray pajamas, black slippers, and dark gray robe. The moment he saw his soul mate on the other side of the door he pretended to adjust a bow tie before cocking his head slight to one side and greeting her using a soft, fake, English accent. “Hello, Sweetie.”

Annie slipped on her robe and commanded her lights off as she stepped into the corridor, closing the door behind her. “Hello, my love.” She slid her arms around Kerry and gave him a tender kiss. “Miss me?”

“Any time I’m away I miss you.” He sidestepped and held out his arm for her to take. “Shall we go?”

“We shall.” She took his arm and walked with him towards the staircase. “I didn’t think this week would feel so long.”

 

It’s not been mentioned before–well, just a little maybe–but Kerry and Annie pretty much greet each other from time-to-time like The Doctor and River Song, and given that they’re both messing around with time spells . . .  Kerry was actually pantomiming the Eleventh Doctor adjusting his bow tie, something he did when he first saw Annie in her flight gear their first day in Beginning Flight.

Speaking of flight–

 

“I think it was a lot of what we did today.” He held her hand as they took the stairs to the first floor. “Not to mention with all the advanced classes we’ve got longer days than everyone else.” They strolled through the A Levels’ area, nodding at two girls who were just leaving their rooms. “That’s gonna make all the weeks long.”

“And we have class Sunday morning.” She chuckled as they almost bounced down the stairs leading to the main floor commons. “And if you go out for racing—”

Kerry humphed. “If I get accepted, you mean.”

“If you go out, you’ll get accepted.” She guided him around as they reached the ground floor and turned to their left on their way across the commons to the tower exit leading into the Pentagram Gardens. “You need not fear.” She slid her arm around the crook of his elbow once again. “How were the Class 2’s? I know I asked you to wait until later to talk about it—”

“And this is later.” Kerry hadn’t wanted to talk about his time in Advanced Flight during dinner; he’d wanted to get back to shower and change before heading off to the first Midnight Madness of the new school year. He’d also wanted to hear about Annie’s time up at the Witch House, and find out if she’d picked up anything new. “It was nice. Those things are fast and so responsive.” He held the coven tower door open for Annie. “The handlebars take a bit getting used to, though.”

 

Handlebars?  Let’s look:

 

Annie waved open the wall door leading to the garden beyond. “You need that because of the acceleration and responsiveness.” She’d seen her father on a Class 2, so she knew a bit about them. They had the same main frame as the Class 1s, but the similarities ended there. The saddle had a small back to keep the pilot from slipping backwards and off because, depending on the model, the acceleration was as much as three times greater than the best of the Class 1s. And instead of the pilot maneuvering the PAV by applying pressure directly to the frame, there were a set of handlebars with heavy, padded grips that allowed the pilot more control. “Wait until you fly the Class 3s.”

“Ha.” Kerry slowed to a comfortably stroll under the covered walkway to the Great Hall. “I only get to try those if I make it to the A Team; Class B is as high as the B Team goes.”

“I wouldn’t worry too much—” Annie leaned into his arm. “If you make the B Team, I feel you’ll make the A Team soon after.”

He kissed her on the forehead. “Were you hanging with Deanna this afternoon?”

“I’d never tell.” She took a moment to kiss his hand. “Did you speak with Jario or the girls?”

 

I started thinking I should do some models of the Class 1, 2, and 3 PAVs, because I do know what they look like, and it would probably help to show people what I see in my head.  It’s just a matter of doing the modeling, which I do know how to do by now–I think.

There you have it:  more building of worlds, and more madness until midnight.

Good times, I’m telling you.

History on a Math Shell

There are times when I’m writing my stories that I have to get all geeky for real.  The Foundation Chronicles actually takes place against the backdrop of our world of 2011, so there are times when things are referenced as being something real in my world.  Which is why, during the little time I had to write–driving a few hundred miles in the day tends to make you tired by the time night rolls around–I was able to come up with a short history of Professor Elenore Karasek, one of the school’s former flight instructors, and how she used her love of the city of Chicago to rename the school’s race courses after three mass transit lines.

You can't tell your race circuits without a map, right?

You can’t tell your race circuits without a map, right?

What you have in the picture above are two of the three school race course:  the Green Line (which is the solid line closest to the wall) and the Blue Line (the inner solid line).  I don’t have the third course up, the Red Line, only because designing it will be insane, and no one’s racing the Red Line right now.

(Oh, and in the picture above you’ll see, off to the right, that light green mat is Selena’s Meadow and, right below that, the Flight School.  Doesn’t look like much of a walk, but it is.)

Why go through all this?  Because I knew there would be a part in the current novel where racing was going to come into play, and that time is now.  Which means I have to do my prep to set everything up so I can write about what’s going to happen in the Great Illegal A Level Race of 2011.  And not only do I have a course, but I know the names of  the different sections of the course.

Always good to have a nice little cheat sheet of the neat racing names for your course.

Always good to have a nice little cheat sheet of the neat racing names for your course.

Just like an auto race track has its names for their straights and turns, the Green Line has the same, and the notes I have above show the areas that’ll get passed during the scene.  Most of those names are pretty literal, though you may wonder why there’s a section of the track named Graves . . .

"Don't worry, kids.  It's not like a turn called 'Graves' could mean anything bad . . ."

“Don’t worry, kids. It’s not like a turn called ‘Graves’ could mean anything bad . . .”

Like I said, some are very literal.

There is one part of the upcoming scene where a couple of my kids will race down a long, semi-straight stretch known as West End.  Why?  Because it’s on the west end of the school, that’s why?  It’s two kilometers long–that’s one and a quarter miles for you metricly challenged–and it’s the section of the course where one will get the most speed out of their PAV.  If they are of a mind, that is.

There it is, the West End, Girls.  Sorry:  bad 80's music pun.

There it is, the West End, Girls. Sorry: bad 80’s music pun.

How much speed are we talking?  In what I’ve already written for the scene, Annie recalls when Kerry and she were trying out the course a few weeks before, and they managed to reach about one hundred and seventy kilometers and hour without even working up a sweat.  She mentioned that she knows enough Imperial Units to know they were flying along at about one hundred miles an hour (one hundred and five, to be exact) and that probably would have gotten them in trouble if they’d been caught.

For this scene I want to know how long it would take Kerry to get up to a much higher speed, and how long he could fly down West End at that speed.  For that I head over to the Tutor 4 Physics site, which has a lot of nice calculations that I’ve used in my science fiction writing.  How will I used this?  Let’s look at what Annie said:

If they came out of Northwest Passage (that bend at the very top right of the above picture) as a speed of sixty kilometers an hour, and accelerated at forty-five kilometers an hour, it’ll take them seventy-eight meters, or two hundred and fifty-five feet, to get up to 170 kph.  That’s just under the length of a football field, so that’s some good acceleration.  And with those numbers, it’s easy to calculate they could cover the entire distance of West End in about forty-three seconds.

Of course Kerry will be going a lot faster, which is why I need to know just how much time he’ll have to think about what he’d going to do next.  Ergo, calculations are needed.  Which is why . . .

You tell 'em, Jessie.

You tell ’em, Jessie.

All to get a few thousand words into a story.

Yeah, I’m like that.

In de Straten, In de Lucht

Needless to say, in the last twenty-four hours I’ve walked through the aftermath of an ice storm, managed to make it through work without loosing too many brain cells, had dinner, was interviewed as part of a doctoral thesis, wrote eight hundred words for the first new scene of my last chapter of Act One, then headed to bed and had the damnedest dreams which ended with me being forced to fly a woman to Europe so she could track a connection to a drug smuggling operation being run out of an abandoned mental hospital in some unnamed state, after which I kicked back at an outdoor electronica concert held in a square in a town in Belgium, where we drank wine from boxes and sat at school desks while getting on our groove.

I hope you got all that.

"You sorta of lost me at--mental hospital?  Really?"

“You sorta of lost me at–mental hospital? Really?”

That gives you a bit of perspective as to where I’m at this morning, sort of feeling hell-bound and down.  Though I shouldn’t say that, because yesterday–despite all the crap I just laid out above–was pretty sweet.  Walking to and from work was pretty sucky, and these days work just sort of wears me out, but at least I have some energy at night to make it into the novel.

It was flying time for Kerry, wandering through the Flight School hanger with Vicky (I should point that distinction because there is another building on the grounds that’s known as The Hanger, where the science geeks store their smaller flying machines), and they started looking at better PAVs and talking a little broom history, particularly in the area of Witchy Poo.  I also got Vicky to use a phrase that I’ve been wanting to say for some time, and that’s “lovey-dovey”.  There’s a reason for that, and those reasons won’t be apparent to you, but they are apparent to me.

After looking at the chapters I realize that I need to break up my act as I flip from the south end of the school where Kerry is, back to the north side of the school where Annie is, and that means I’ll need three more scenes.  Three more, between two scenes that are already in place, and that’s what I’m going to need to tie it all up.

It’s not a big deal, because these were going to be incorporated as part of the first two scenes I had in place, so it’s only a matter of adding and writing.  No big thing, as they say.  I’ve been tracking drug lords and drinking cheap wine outta boxes in my sleep, so three scenes is gonna be a walk.

I can see the end of this stretch, and it’s leaving me feeling a little barren, because while I know what I want to get into after I wrap Act One, I’m not sure how to go about getting there.  I’ll talk about that later, because, right now, I feel the urge to hop on a PAV and fly to Europe.

These things will do that, you know.

Hanger Babies

The saying goes, “If the wifi doesn’t work at one Panera, go west young–er, old girl.”  Which is exactly what I’m doing this morning.  I ventured out and headed west over our now ice-laden river, and ended up at a location where the wifi is letting me.  Maybe I’ll try the other Panera next weekend, but for now I have found another home to call my own.

Where am I in the story?  Out of the ready room and into the hanger–or, if you prefer normal building designations, off the first floor and down to the ground floor.  And why hanger?  Call sign for the Flight School is “Carrier,” and as Annie was told, if you think of the building in that sense, then all the “aircraft” are gonna be kept in the hanger.

Vicky is showing the goods.  The students have seen a whole lot of storage cabinets with a whole lot of things inside them, and Professor Salomon is proud of the program she’s put together.  Now it’s time for her to give you a lesson, so sit back while I let her speak:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

The students parted as she waded into the group once more. “What are we going to do? We’re going to fly. But how? Let me show you.” Vicky placed her hand behind her butt like she was reaching for something; a second later her hand appeared holding a long metal pole that appeared from out of thin air. She allowed a few of the students their gasps of surprise before moving ahead with the lesson. “This is my baby.” Vicky held the simple pole with an oval piece of metal at one end in front of her for the students to see. “She is a Qunkat Mark III, and I’ve had her since they started making these in 1995. They stopped making the Mark IIIs in 2003, but on the professional circuits you’ll still see these going head-to-head with the Mark IV and Vs. They are that good, especially if you’ve made a few mods to them—as I have to this one.”

She slowly lowered the broom to her side. “What makes these fly? Originally PAVs were brooms, because it was easy to enchant the wood and get them to hold a charge.” She waved off questions. “Wednesday will go into that more tomorrow. What you need to know is if you want to fly a real broom, you can find on, enchant it, power it up, and take off on that sucker. You won’t have all the niceties of what we have here, but you can say you’re a honest-to-goodness witch on a honest-to-goodness broom.

“Once The Foundation got their hands on some real brooms and began to reverse engineer them, they figured out not only how to improve them, but how to keep them powered indefinitely. See, you can enchant a broom to get it fly, but if you don’t re-power the enchantment now and then, you might just find yourself plummeting to the ground when you least expect it. Not only that, but have you ever thought about sitting on a broom? Sure, you could use some magic to make them a bit more comfortable, but—” She shook her head. “Who wants a hunk of wood stuck in their crotch for a few minutes, much less a few hours?”

Vicky turned the rod around and held it in both hands. “The Class A PAV is a simple thing. A meter-seven long, made of carbon-carbon filament—” She placed a hand under the oval attachment at one end. “The processor keeps the enchantment charged through constant energy replenishment. And where does it get that?” She grinned as she looked upon her students. “Tell you in a minute.”

 

Vicky is a chatty one, isn’t she?  The important thing is in the construction of the world.  The PAVs are manufactured, constructed, crafted as a device to be used.  And yet there is something different about them:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Swinging her right leg over the hovering broom, Vicky positioned herself on the seat in one smooth, seamless move. She leaned forward and placed her hands on the PAV while her legs folded up and back under her, as if they were being held in place. She brought up the HUD before sitting up part ways, one hand still lightly touching the broom’s shaft. “As you can see, once you get used to learning how to pilot on of these, it’s a lot like riding a bike—only you’re usually floating around at a couple of hundred meters above the ground, so if you fall, it hurts a lot more.

“Now, that part about recharging the enchantment that keeps it flying . . .” She twisted around and laid her free hand against the oval metal attachment she’d called the processor. “Normally this will supply enough energy to keep the enchantment running for close to a day, and it also draws enough power on its own that if the enchantment is drained, it’ll power it back up after a good night’s sleep.

“But when some one is flying a PAV like this, the processor draw energy directly through the pilot. Why? Because the pilot—me, you, whomever is up here—can channel enormous amounts of mystical power—” Vicky waved off a couple of hands that popped up. “Wait until tomorrow, Wednesday will cover that . . .” She turned her body so she was facing forward again. “The pilot is the biggest source of power, and since the processor can pull energy from them, you literally find yourself in a position where you never need worry about your enchantment draining and causing your PAV to crash.”

There was mumbling from a few of the students. One of the girls from Australia, Loorea, chuckled. “The bloody thing is a vampire.”

“You’re not the first one to say that.” Vicky swung her right leg over the broom and sat side-saddle so she could look at Loorea. “That’s what a lot of people have called it over the years. And they’re right: it is taking something from you—only what it gives you in return is the ability to stay in the air and fly for as long as you’d like.”

 

Yes, sir, let that thing suck the power right from you.  What’s the worse that could happen?  Don’t worry:  that doesn’t occur.  You think I’d kill my kiddies off with a cheap stunt like that?  Don’t answer that.

There is also a rather nice scene I put together down here.  It’s sort of between Kerry and Annie, when the former has to pick out a broom for the later, ’cause she’s about to show the class how to fly one of these things.  What does he do?

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

He flipped open the one on the left, ‘cause being left handed he always followed what his creative right brain told him. The PAVs were on a carousal with left-right push buttons next to a digital counter just inside the door. The simple thing would have been to pick the broom right there in the front, but that was too easy. He started playing with numbers in his head. We first met on the twenty-seventh of August, so four days until the end of that month, and now it’s the fifth of September . . .

He hit the left button and saw the counter advance to the number two. He cycled through the carousal until the ninth broom came to the front, then stopped. He lifted it off the hanger expecting it to be heavier than it was: he figured it weighed no more than a couple of kilos.

Kerry returned with the broom and handed it to Annie with both hands. “Here you go, Sweetie: Number Nine Dream.”

Annie didn’t hear the snickers from a few of the students behind her. All she saw was Kerry offering here the broom, and all she heard was him calling her Sweetie. “Thank you.” She took the broom he offered, then turned and approached Professor Salomon. “I’m ready, Professor.”

 

Obviously Kerry’s been hanging around River Song far too much.

It didn’t seem as if I did a lot of writing yesterday, Part Three Chapter Sixbut once I figured in the total time putting words down on the electronic page, I ended up with a little over thirteen hundred words for the day.  I hope to finish out this scene today and move onto the last of Chapter Six, which may or may not be as long as this scene and the last.  As you can see in the picture to the right I’ve been a tad wordy with my flying shenanigans, and since the scene I’m in now is probably going to end up another two thousand words longer, I may just skip the last scene–or make is a lot shorter than what I have imagined.

Right now I’m closing in on seventy-five thousand words, and if I turn the end of Part Four as the end of Episode One of Book One (did you get all that?), I’m easily looking at over a hundred thousand works just for this opening part.  I’ve two more episodes to get my kids through the rest of their A Levels at the school–and they have five more years of education ahead of them.

Damn.  I’d say I got my work cut out for me.