First off, Happy Loving Day, which is the day the Supreme Court of America ruled to disband all anti-miscegenation laws in 1967. And if you’re old–like me–you’ll probably remember that a lot of the same things said about marriage equality today–like allowing it to happen goes against the religious beliefs of some–were said about mixed race marriages then. Same cart, different driver, but in the end the destination will be the same.
I’m dragging a little today because I was up at two and fought to get back to sleep between then and about four-thirty. I haven’t had a night like that in months, and it’s hitting me kinda hard, but I’ll get through it: I always do.
And now . . . Kerry’s at the Flight School waiting for class to start. This is right after Annie’s Flight class, so Friday is for flying. This is also the first time were we see Kerry alone since he left Cardiff, and the first time we see someone else since those days . . .
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Kerry sat in his old seat in the Pilot’s Ready Room and casually dropped his goggles and gloves in the seat to his left. He wasn’t the first—three other students arrived before him—but he was the only one sitting in the front row, something Annie and he did all through A Level Basic Flight.
He adjusted his glasses, something he did less and less these days. Since learning a simply adhesive spell in Wednesday’s class last year, it was rare that his glasses ever slipped these days. He thought it might be due to the quick landing he’d made outside the Hanger followed by the dash up the stairs to the main floor. It wasn’t that Kerry was late: he was actually ten minutes early.
But after the morning he’d had watching Isis and Annie flying about the Aerodrome—and Isis put Annie through a few easy maneuvers that proved she was actually using her gift and not levitating—he was ready to see what his flight class had in store.
After speaking with Nadine in Advanced Spells the other night Kerry had an inkling of what to expect over the school year. She told Annie and him about working on brooms, about learning to fly by instruments only; developing flight plans; being taught how to make minor repairs to a PAV—and, most of all, the three camping flights she took designed to prepare her for—
“Hey, Kerry.” Emma stood to his left, eyeing the seat where his goggles and gloves rested.
“Hey, Emma.” He poked his thumb to the empty chair on his right. “Let’s get comfortable.”
“Sure.” A hint of dejection peeked through her demeanor as she settled into the chair. “Saving that for Annie?”
He shook his head. “No.”
“She’s not taking the class.”
“What?” Emma twisted around in her chair. “Why not?”
“She felt she could learn most of this stuff either from me or from her parents.” He extended his legs and stretched. “Vicky told her she can come if and when she likes, though.”
Emma still appeared puzzled. “So what’s she doing instead?”
Kerry brushed some hair back from his forehead. “She’s probably over at the Black Vault right now.”
“Oh, right—sorcery.” Emma sat back and crossed her legs. “Gotta be the dark witch.” She caught herself, hoping she didn’t say something that would upset Kerry. “Right?”
He nodded slowly, a smile appearing upon his face. “Yep. We both do, as a matter of fact. It’s something we promised each other.” He didn’t bother to mention where that promise had taken place. “I like your new patch.”
By now not only do we know that Annie and no one else is always to the left of Kerry, but he knows it as well. And that move of his–saving the seat to his left–was to prevent a certain wingmate from sitting there. And she knows it, too: you can sense it in her body language. She was really hoping to plop down in that left-hand seat . . .
And she caught herself before she said something mean about Annie. She doesn’t know she’s cursed, but she also doesn’t want to make Kerry upset. After all, if you have to depend on your wingmate when you’re up in the air, and you’ve been talking shit about his girlfriend, will you really trust him?
Anyway, back to patches.
Emma glanced down by reflex, just making out her new flight patch: that of a witch on a broom flying across the shadow of a crescent moon with the constellation of Leo over her back. Her call sign was emblazoned across the top of the patch, white letters against the blue background used to represent Mórrígan Coven. “Oh, yeah. I had to ask what it meant, ‘cause I wasn’t sure about all the stuff.”
Kerry didn’t wait for his wingmate to explain. “Selene is the goddess of the moon, which you knew. She’s usually associated with the crescent moon and was often seen in paintings and drawings with constellations—of which you have both.” He examined the outline of the stars. “That’s Leo, which I think is seen in April, which is—” He grinned. “—your birthday month.” He chuckled in a low town. “Hence Selene.”
Emma’s mouth dropped open. “How do you know all that crap?” She started laughing. “I mean, I like looking at stars—”
“And you didn’t notice any special ones when we took astronomy last year?”
She thought about his statement for a moment, then tapped her forehead. “Oh, yeah: Harpreet pointed out Leo right around my birthday last year. Don’t know why I didn’t remember that.”
“Well, you were thinking about your birthday.”
“And speaking of that—” Emma crossed her arms and tried her best at a hurt pout. “You never did say where you went that night. You vanished right after Sorcery class and when you came back—”
“I told you what happened.” Kerry sat back with and crossed his arms, only he smiled and appeared relaxed. “I had to go to New York for testing, and I fell down and cracked my head when I was about to leave.” He’d told that particular story to Emma twice last year, and had hoped she wouldn’t ask again. “It’s that simple.”
It’s already come up a couple of times about Annie and Kerry’s Excellent Adventure, and how teachers and students believe the cover story is probably a load of crap. Emma obviously doesn’t believe it, and the fact that they cut out on her birthday–19 April is Emma’s birthday, exactly two weeks before Kerry’s–means she remembers it even more.
So now we’ve seen her patch, which is pretty classical for a goddess. For Kerry . . . um, it’s a bit more creative:
“Uh, huh.” Figuring she wasn’t going to get a better answer than the one she’d heard a few times already, she went back to the subject of flight patches. She pointed at Kerry’s jacket. “What’s yours suppose to mean?”
Kerry had spent several minutes examining the patch when he saw it for the first time, and spent a couple of minutes explaining the meaning to Annie. Of all the new B Level flight patches he’d seen, his was likely the most complex. “Well, this here—” He pointed to the pilot on the broom in the lower left corner of the circle. “—is supposed to be me. And these other points—” He pointed to the dark hurricane, then the bright cloud of gas behind that, and the strange looking planet behind the cloud, and the planet Earth at the far end of the string. “This is the Maelstrom, then the Ionian Nebula, then original Earth in front of our Earth.” He pointed to his call sign in the circular margin. “And here I am against Cernunnos green.” He grinned broadly. “Simple, huh?”
Emma shook her head slowly. “Again, how do you know that? And what does it all mean?”
“Well, it helps if you’re a geek.” He chuckled. “And it helps if your instructor is a big of a geek, too—”
It also helps if the author has access to the Battlestar Galactica wiki and was able to look up a few things based upon the “life” of the character upon which Kerry’s call sign is based. Actually, I knew those things, but I had to check the name of one location in particular . . . yes, I’m a geek.
And so is someone else–
“I heard that, Kerry.” Victoria Salomon, the school’s flight and jaunt instructor, made her way up the center aisle towards the podium in the front center of the Ready Room. “And, yes: being a bit of a geek helps when you have to come up with a bunch of call signs that mean something to the pop culture sensibilities of my A Levels.” She turned to the two fliers, addressing the red head with the longest hair. “How you doing today, Emma?”
“I’m doing fine, Profe—”
“Vicky, Emma.” Vicky’s grin was friendly and infectious. “You’ve earned the right to address me by my given name. It’s the way we do things in the advanced classes.” She flicked her eyes in Kerry’s direction. “Ain’t that right, Starbuck?”
He nodded and grinned back. “That’s right, Nightwitch.”
Vicky did a quick head count of the people in the Ready Room, then clapped her hands. “All right, pilots.” She sidestepped behind the podium. “I see it’s thirteen, and that means we got things to discuss . . .”
Kerry’s so used to talking to the instructors using their first names, and Emma–who has already said she find it hard to do–is still stumbling. And we do see, again, that the gingers are paired up. Is that because no one wants to be their friends?
Right now I’m about seven hundred words away from breaking sixty thousand total–
Sixty thousand plus for two acts? Not bad at all.