Gather the Fliers: Initial Put Downs and Combacks

It’s a chilly morning here in the highs are expected to be around 40 F/4 C later in the day.  Here in the United States, it’s Groundhog Day, and as we speak there are people standing in a public square in the town in central Pennsylvania preparing to worship affect rodent with a claim can predict the weather.  I can predict the weather, Jack: it’s going to be cold, it’s going to be gray, and it’s going to last rest of your life.  Or so says Bill Murray.

But this is another important day.  Because if you been following this blog for any amount of time you would know that two years ago today a rather important event happened in my life.  Today is the day that, after more than half a year of hiding, I came out of work and began living my life 24/7 as the woman I am today.  Or as I like to say, the groundhog came out of his burrow, saw his shadow, and said we had six more weeks of winter, where has I came out of my closet, saw my shadow, and decided to remain a woman.

Today is my Groundhog Day.  I’m going to do my best to make it a good one.

Much better now that I'm just about to mainline java.

In case you needed reminding about how I looked then.

 

And how I look today.

And how I look today.

Meanwhile, back in the Ready Room of the School of Salem, someone’s trying to do something they shouldn’t.  And they just opened a can of shit they’ll probably wish they hadn’t…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Both Emma and Kerry look back over the shoulder and found Franky Smith and Koyanagi Jiro, coven mates as well as wingmates, standing in the center aisle as they poked fun at Emma. Kerry immediately got the reference: kaiju were the enormous monsters from the movie Pacific Rim, which it premiered over the summer. And given the look on Emma’s face, she understood the references well.

They were both about the let the remark go when Jiro spoke. “We better go get ourselves a couple of Class 3’s so we can nuke this sucker before she goes on a rampage and starts tearing up the school.”

Franky laughed. “Yeah, nuke her from orbit so we can be sure.”

Kerry looked straight ahead and sighed. “That’s Aliens, guys.”

Jiro looked confused. “What?”

He half turned his head so he was now looking more at the ceiling instead of the two troublemakers. “’Nuke ‘em from orbit’ is a quote from Aliens; kaiju are from Pacific Rim. So what you want to say instead is—” He turned to Emma with a serious look on his face. “’All right, Mako. Get ready, this is for real.’”

Both Franky and Jiro appeared displeased as Emma and Kerry laughed, and Franky decided to voice his displeasure. “Well, excuse me, Malibey, for not being at the same level of idiot geekness as you. Instead of worrying about movie lines, maybe you should wonder about whether or not your wingmate’s PAV is going to be able to lift her monstrous frame off the ground.”

Emma instantly stopped laughing and got to her feet. She turned to face the Canadian boy and didn’t hold back. “I’ve had enough of your bullshit, Franky, so why don’t you just kiss my ass?”

 

First off, never go for the geek reference when Kerry is around ’cause he knows all the references.  It’s obvious he saw Pacific Rim over the summer–yes, he could have as it came out 12 July in the US and UK–and if you don’t think for one moment he didn’t have all the pertinent quotes memorized after a week, you don’t know Kerry.  And for anyone to mis-quote something from Aliens?  Get ready for the pain.

Emma must have saw the movie, too, ’cause she knows what Franky’s talking about.  Sure, Kerry made her laugh by including her in a bit of geek take down, but since Franky is a mean little asshole he doesn’t know well enough to back away and lick his wounds, and his next quip gets Emma on her feet and swearing.  We know she’s somewhat scared of Annie, but Franky ain’t Annie and she lets him have it.  Maybe she feels save in the Ready Room, or maybe she’s decided to blow assholes off–

"So, telling Franky to kiss my ass isn't going to far?"  "I'd say you need to go father..."

“So, telling Franky to kiss my ass isn’t going to far?” “I’d say you need to go further…”

And that’s when it gets real–

 

Franky said nothing as he stared back with open score at the defiant girl, while Jiro appeared uneasy and seemed to want nothing to do with the rest of the conversation. Finally the Canadian boys spoke. “You’re acting pretty brave all of a sudden.”

“Brave has nothing to do with it.” Emma hooked her thumbs on the pockets of her flight jacket. “I’m just through taking your crap.”

He smirked. “You’re trying to get me to call you out, aren’t you? You trying to get me out to the Manor so you can get me in the ring?” Franky looked slightly to his left. “Is that it, Kerry? You gonna be her champion?”

Kerry sat looking straight ahead as he released a long, loud sigh. “Emma doesn’t need a champion; she can take care of herself.” He tilted his seat back a touch as he crossed his feet at his ankles. “She shouldn’t have any problem dusting you.”

Franky shook his head as if he hadn’t heard correctly. “What did you say?”

Kerry finally tilted his head up and looked back. “Emma doesn’t need my help to beat your ass. You’d know that if you weren’t so damn stupid.”

By this time the whole Ready Room was silent as the other pilots watched this confrontation unfold. Everyone waited to see what happened next: Franky’s jaw tightened as he looked away a couple of times. “You want me to call you out, don’t you? You two had this all planned.”

Kerry stared up at the ceiling and moaned while Emma rolled her eyes. She shook her head as she replied. “Yeah, Franky, you’re right: we had this all planned out. ‘Cause we knew you were going to walk in here and act like the jerkoff you normally are and make rude comments about my height. You got us all figured out, dude.”

“The question now is—” Kerry finally sat up and spun around in his chair so that he was looking straight at Franky. “What are you gonna do about this?”

Jiro came over and tugged on Franky sleeve. “Come on, man. Leave these two alone. It isn’t worth getting involved.”

Franky snorted and turned away. “Yeah. Let’s get our seats.”

Emma sat down the moment the two boys were seated. She spoke with Kerry in a hushed tone. “I do not want to put up with this BS the rest of the year.”

Kerry glanced to his right, a slight smile on his face. “Keep putting him in his place the way you just did and it won’t be necessary.”

She said her left elbow on her chair arm and rested her chin in the palm of her hand. “You really think I could take Franky in a judgment match?”

 

Sure, Kerry may have helped set up the shot, but Emma put it away and finally brought the shame to Franky.  It’s not hard to do because the kid is a total dipshit, but Emma has never stood up to people like this and it’s all new for her.  There weren’t any threats, but there were a lot of well-placed comments that did the trick.  Because this happened in front of the class, it’s likely Franky won’t try dissing anyone in class anytime soon–least of all Emma.

Now, concerning a theoretical judgment match between Emma and Franky, I’m sure Kerry has some sage advice.  He could even use a Pacific Rim reference to get his point across–

"Hit him in the crotch with an Air Hammer, Emma!  Hit him again!  UNLOAD THE SPELL!!!"

“Hit him in the crotch with an Air Hammer, Emma! Hit him again! UNLOAD THE SPELL!!!”

Yeah, that’ll work…

The Special Allowances

I have this strange, sinking suspicion that I’m going to need to run out and buy a new lamp tonight, because this morning my bulb blew out and now my three-way lamp is acting like a one-way, which is never a good thing.  Sure, why not finish out the new year having to stumble around trying to find stuff in the dark?  It’s not like this place is that big that I can’t find what I’m looking for in the pitch blackness of night.

But night is where we are at right now, and speaking of that, you saw a few hundred words of lead-in of something, and I think we all have some knowledge of the approaching event . . .

 

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

Annie had known about the upcoming flight for two weeks, and her discussions the Friday before with Isis was to go over the specifics for this flight. Normally Annie would have made another, longer solo flight in broad daylight before doing a night solo flight, but both Vicky and Isis felt that given how well she did on her first flight, and how well she did when she flew with Isis, that Annie should skip the second day flight and move directly to the night flight.

In the end Isis left the decision to move ahead to the night solo flight to Annie. She immediately chose to proceed directly to the night flight as she felt she there wasn’t much of a challenge in another day flight. Annie felt that if she were as good as Isis indicated, then it was time to ignore the current learning scale and move up one more level . . .

Vicky and Isis finally entered the Ready Room, closing and locking the main door behind them, as well as making certain the locker room doors were sealed as well. She’d already made Kerry aware that this meeting was considered immensely private, and she had warned him the weekend before that they were not to discuss the matter with other students at all. As Isis told Annie, if anyone asked about her next solo flight, all either of them were to say was upcoming.

The women made their way to the front of the room, and while Isis took her place next to the center podium, Vicky turned the lighting down by half and activated the holographic map. Only once everything to was to her liking did she take the podium and address the other girl in the room. “How you feeling, Annie?”

“I feel good, Vicky.” She ran her the fingers of her left hand lightly over the fur collar of her coat’s hood. “I’m eager to start.”

 

Whenever you ask Annie if she wants to try something that she’s not perhaps ready to do, you may as well throw a whole lotta meat into the bear pit and ask them not to eat.  Annie’s natural state f learning is to push things right to the wall, and since she’s done nothing but that since coming into Salem, it only makes sense that if you want to move her on to a more difficult event, she’s gonna run at that with extreme passion.

It seems, however, like there’s something big going on, and Vicky gets to that part right away:

 

“I’ll bet you are.” Vicky was smiling as she turned to Isis. “We’ll see if your enthusiasm remains high after you hear what awaits you outside the walls tonight.

“First off, allow me to address the need for secrecy on this flight. Tonight it’s going going to be you two—” She pointed at both students. “—and that makes you the first B Levels to go outside the school walls unescorted at night since 1973. Annie, we trust you will do what’s expected of you tonight, and with Kerry now approved for solo night flights, we saw no reason to have either Isis or myself tag along. You guys will do fine on your own.

“However, while the headmistress is aware you’ll be out on your own, she was a bit apprehensive that if others knew about tonight’s flight, they might—” Vicky hesitated, as if she were unsure of her next words.

Kerry found them for her. “She’s afraid the other students are gonna say you’re playing favorites with us again.”

Vicky nodded. “Pretty much. I know you’ve had some issues doing minion duty in other classes, and I wanted to avoid more of that.”

“I’m not worried about the jealousy of other students—” Annie didn’t bother blocking the contempt from her tone. “—but I can see why you wouldn’t want us to talk about this. Some would think we were bragging about the test.”

“Exactly.” Vicky smiled as she relaxed. “I knew you’d understand.” She looked to Isis for a second, then turned back to Annie. “Ready to begin?”

Annie made herself comfortable. “I am.” She knew Kerry wouldn’t answer: as with the last solo preflight briefing sat quietly, prepared to speak only if he was spoken to directly.

“Let’s get started then.” Vicky half-turned and moved the holographic map between Isis and her. As she turned away from the display well over a dozen and a half points appeared over the area between the school and the city of Boston. “There’s a lot to cover this evening, both figuratively and literally.

 

Right away the kids learn they’re being treated . . . differently again.  No B Levels outside the walls at night, unescorted, since 1973?  That’s like, um, forty years!  And these two are being let outside the walls because they can be trusted–I mean, it’s not like they don’t have hiding places on school property, so why worry about them being alone beyond the walls?

So flying out of the school and down to Boston–

Just like this, only no plane wing and probably no bird, either.

Just like this, only no plane wing.

The list of points was published yesterday, along with the map.  Now all Vicky and Isis have to do is tie the two together and tell the kids . . .

The Naming of Call Signs

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

Bad stereotype, I know.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Don’t worry; sometimes I get like this.

 

Prepping the Ready Room

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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