The Night Air: A Proper Finish

Before getting to the good, writty stuff, let’s get the personal stuff out of the way first, because that’s how I usually do it here at Casa Burg.  Yesterday marked eighteen months that I’ve done hormone replacement therapy, and there was some time–not much, but some–to reflect on what’s happened.  Needless to say, there’s more craziness than I care to admit that has followed me around since that time.  But I’ve made it so far, and I’ll hope to ilk out another six months now so I can make it to two years.

I even thought to snap a picture before heading out into the cold to work.

I even thought to snap a picture before heading out into the cold to work.

Now the writty stuff.  The scene is over, because I sat down last night and in two and a half hours time wrote just a smidgen over twelve hundred words.  And it was something of a strange situation because because the fifteen hundred words of the scene focuses on my kids through the eyes of Vicky and Isis.  But before we get into how they see my kidlettes, we get a reminder that there is always a bit of multiculturalism going on at the school:

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Isis entered the Flight Deck carrying a small cup of steaming coffee. She held it up for Vicky to examine. “You sure you don’t want me to get you one, too?”

Vicky shook her head. “Thank you, but I enjoy coffee that I don’t have to cut with a knife.”

Isis chucked before taking her seat. “Can’t help it if I prefer Egyptian coffee over that Americano crap you drink. It’s part of my heritage, you know?”

“Did you get your love of that strange ass sausage from the other side of your family?” Everyone at the school was aware that Isis was not only half-Egyptian from her mother, but that her father was half Puerto Rican, and due to this family connection she’d developed a love of the cuisine of both her father’s and father’s mother’s countries.

“You mean botifarra?” Isis set her coffee aside. “That stuff’s the shit, I’m tellin’ you, girl.” She stretched out her legs. “I made carne bif and oxtail soup for Wends over Yule holiday and she loved them both. She even likes my coffee.”

“That’s cause she’s crazy in love with you. Did she make you borscht while you were hangin’ in the desert?” Vicky wasn’t the only instructor who enjoyed kidding the school’s spell mistress about her long-hidden Russian heritage.

“She said she’ll make it next year when we go to Innsbruck for Yule.” Isis adjusted her glasses before nodding towards the display. “Where’s Annie?”

 

We knew from past readings that Isis is half Egyptian, but now we learn she’s also a quarter Puerto Rican from her father’s side.  And that she has a girlfriend who was secretly half-Russian for quite some time before her dad was outed as a spy.  And Vicky’s Jewish, so a lot of bases covered.

That little part above required some real quick research as I looked up how Egyptians make coffee–like Turkish coffee is made, only thicker–and I found botifarra quickly along with carne bif.  One interesting thing about making Egyptian coffee is you’re told not to pour the sludge at the bottom of the pot into your cup, except in the cases where you want to stay up all night.  Apparently Isis doesn’t need to bother with that Americano crap–aka, what most of us in the U.S. drink that passes for coffee–and it’s probably why she’s drinking out of small cups.

In case you’re like Isis and wondering about Annie’s location, she’s somewhere on this map of the last leg of her flight.

More towards the upper right than the lower left.

More towards the upper right than the lower left.

Actually Kerry and she are approaching the next to last dot, with the last one being the Flight School.  This map is the final leg from the Wonderland station to home, so you can see where she’s been and going.  And as expected, Kerry and she took the route across the sound to Manchester-by-the-Sea before turning towards the school.

With them just outside the walls, more or less, Vicky needs to get something ordered–

 

Vicky examined the tank without getting up. “Looks like they’re about to stop at the last check point and head home.” She slowly stood and pointed at one of the computer displays, bringing it awake. “Better let the hospital know we’ll bring them in and see if they wanna keep them overnight—”

“For observation?”

Vicky nodded. “Sure.”

Isis turned a playful smirk towards her friend. “You’re an enabler, you know that?”

“Why? Because I want to make sure they don’t have hypothermia?”

“Because you know if you get Coraline to put them up for observation, they’re gonna spend the night together in the same bed.”

Vicky tapped the computer display before. “Text mode, direct to hospital. Start: Gretchen, we’re bringing Annie and Kerry by for their after-flight checkup right after they land. Let Coraline know we’ll be there in about ten minutes. End: Send.” She turned back to Isis, folding her arms across her chest. “Enabler, huh? Did anyone enable you into bed with another girl when you were a student?”

Isis took a long sip of her coffee before answering. “None of the instructors we’re making it easy for me, I know that.”

“Um, hum.” A slight smile appeared on Vicky’s face. “You’re Chief of Security, so when Coraline’s finished with them, you can pull them aside and tell them to knock that shit off—” She winked.  “Yeah?”

 

Yeah, Isis:  you’re the Head Cop about town, why not sit those kids down and tell them to stay in their own beds?  I mean, if it came right down to it, the Chief of Security could tell the kids to chill their jets.  However . . .

 

Isis stared back at Vicky for nearly five seconds before she snorted. “You know I’m not going to do that. It hasn’t become a problem, and if it were—” She shrugged. “The headmistress knows about it, and if she hasn’t comment by now, I’m not going to say anything.” She stared down at her nearly empty coffee cup. “Though if someone ever walks in on them in the hospital doing something—”

“It won’t happen; they’re not like that.” Vicky sat back against the instrument console. “They’ve been out tonight, fifty kicks out and back, and we both know they’re hitting negative wind chills the whole time, and not once have either of them complained about this flight. Sure, they’ve privately said it’s cold, and that they’re cold, but they haven’t publicly bitched about how cold their are, and could they please come in early.” She recrossed her arms as she lowered her gaze towards the floor. “They’re like that with everything: give them an assignment or a job to do, and they get it done. No whining, no bitching, no pissing and moaning. I wish more of our students were like that.”

Though Isis had no contact with either student in a classroom environment—other than her flight lessons with Annie—she knew of their exploits through numerous dinners conversations in the Instructor’s Residence and late-night talks with Wednesday. There were, however, things of which she was aware that only two other instructors at Salem knew, and while she didn’t have all the facts from their weekend away from Salem, she knew why their student files were yellow flagged as well as knowing that they should have a red flag . . .

“You’re right: they’re good kids. I suppose that if everyone else can look the other ways concerning their—” She raised an eyebrow. “—occasional nocturnal actives, I can as well. Besides, if their parents ever find out what they’re doing, I won’t be one of the people who’ll have to face them.”

“True there.” Vicky pushed away from the console and moved closer to the holo tank. “They’re coming in.”

 

. . . Even Isis knows it’s a fool’s journey to get between two kids in love.  The only solution she could ask for while they’re in the hospital is put them in separate bays, and Coraline is probably hip to the fact that one or both kids would need monitoring through the night to keep them from sneaking into the other’s bay.  They seem to have the light bending invisibility down pretty well, so trying to keep them out of a single bed in the middle of the night in the hospital is kinda like Lori keeping Carl in the house and away from zombies.

They could also lock them into a bad.  Which isn’t good, either, because what if they need to get out.  Or just drug them up and make them sleep.  Eh, they aren’t getting sexy with each other, so let it bed.  After all, if the headmistress hasn’t said anything, then no biggie.  And it seems that Isis doesn’t mind cutting them slack because she knows things about them.

So they’re almost home–right?

 

“So they are.” Isis stood and joined her friend watching the two small blips coming closer to the middle of the display centered on the Flight School. Only . . . “It looks like they’re going to fly past us.”

Vicky shrunk the display to show only the school grounds, now that they were inside the outer walls. “Looks that way.” She tapped her left ear. “Salem Night Solo, this is Flight Deck. Where are you going? Over.”

Annie’s answer was prefaced by a laugh. “Flight Deck, we’re taking a short detour—” The comm exploded with the sound of a loud, screeching guitar before breaking into a driving song.
Isis watched the dots closely. “Looks like they’re going to buzz The Pentagram.”

Vicky started laughing as she dots heading straight for the Great Hall. “Shit. Kerry and I did that the first day he checked out on an Espinoza, and he told me Annie and he did the same thing later that day.” She watched them fly between Ceridwen and Cernunnos Towers before slipping between the hall and Åsgårdsreia Tower before buzzing Mórrígan and Blodeuwedd Towers on their way back to the Flight School. “Let’s get outside.”

“Right with you.” Rather than head for the stairs and walk outside, Isis and Vicky jaunted down to Selena’s Meadow. Isis immediately looked to the north and the music. “Jesus, he’s really blasting that computer.”

“You should know it can do that; you modified it for him.” Vicky watched both fliers come in fast, slowing only at the last moment before dropping eight meters straight down to land slightly harder than normal a few meters from their observers. Vicky waited for Kerry to kill the music before speaking. “Rock in America, Kerry? I didn’t think you had that in you.”

He threw his leg over his broom and dismounted. “I can be full of surprises—” He lifted his goggled before slipping back his hood. “When it’s needed.”

“I see.” Vicky turned to the smiling girl in front of her. “And what the hell was that last maneuver? I don’t recall that being authorized.”

Annie pushed back her hood before removing her goggles. “Well . . .” The moment Kerry reached her side she threw her right arm around him. “It seemed like a good way of letting everyone know we were home.”

 

Tunes, baby, and Annie is having fun with them.  Also, blasting around The Pentagram, Great Hall, and coven towers with music blaring as loud as possible is a great way to let everyone know you’re back on the reservation.  I guess after a few hours in the cold Annie wasn’t about to sneak in like a teen trying to cover up that she was out late with her girlfriends.  Annie’s pretty much saying, “I’m home, bitches!” and Kerry’s right there helping her the whole way.

And what is he playing?  (You Can Still) Rock in America, by Night Ranger.  Given that Kerry’s already played Sing Me Away by the same band, either Vicky wasn’t paying attention to the comms at that point, or she was having a bad reaction to Isis’ coffee.

One scene left in the chapter, and as you can probably guess, there’s some warming involved . . .

The Night Air: Out to the Asylum

Well, another year begins, and it’s been a tough morning for me.  One, I was out last night and had a few drinks.  Well, more than a few.  That caused me to wake up fuzzy and not feeling my best–at 3 AM.  I had coffee using my next Chemex maker, which is a bit time consuming, but makes the coffee taste so good–

So much joy in something so simple.

There’s a lot of joy in something so simple.

Also, some jackass gave me shit about my “existence,” which is to say he was being a transphobic asshole.  He kept saying he couldn’t except my existence because gender was a “simple thing,” and I couldn’t be who I was.  I finally told him–twice in fact–that my existence didn’t require his belief to be real, and that if he couldn’t handle that, it was his problem, not mine.  He finally left me alone when I realized he wasn’t going to get under my skin and make me spin out.

Oh, and I also broke a nail again, but it was the same nail I broke back last July, and I have a feeling that what broke off was something that was going to break eventually no matter what.  It’ll grow back, so no biggie.

Now, back in the story . . .

While I didn’t write yesterday, I was writing at four this morning, and I’ve been writing, off and on, since then.  We’re now into the flight of Salem Night Solo, and it’s going . . .

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie crossed US 1 just north of Putnamville Reservoir and began to parallel it as she headed towards I-95. A little over twenty-seven kilometers out, and she was not only feeling the cold, but everything Vicky and Isis mentioned about how things looked different at night were all coming true.

Departure from the school went as expected. Vicky instructed her to climb to three hundred meters, get her bearings, and then head to the first objective, which Annie accomplished with no problems. After months of working with her Band she understood completely how to use the mapping function to find a location and determine her heading. What she found more difficult now was keeping her altitude steady. With the ground more difficult to see, it was easier to slip up and down off the hight she was ordered to maintain. Annie knew that as the flight progressed, she’d get better at staying level throughout the flight.

Once they were moving Annie saw for the first time how the school was ringed by Normal civilization: since there were only a few areas inside the school walls that were illuminated, the demarcation between the darkness inside and brightness outside was striking. It was one thing to view the darkness of the school from Observatory Tower, but this high above the Flight School, she realized for the first time how isolated they were from the outside. That made her feel comfortable in an unusual way.

The moment Kerry and she cleared the south walls Annie felt a faint smile forming under her balaclava. Right now all the other B Levels were either in their towers or elsewhere on the school grounds, and here she was with her soul mate flying free away from the school and into Gloucester and point south. The first solo flight felt no different from the times Kerry and she had flown out on their own, but now she felt as she was at home: able to do what she wanted and as she pleased—up to a certain point. Back in Pamporovo her parents didn’t give her objectives to reach and photograph . . .

It was while traveling to the next objectives that Annie began to feel the cold, and she realized that she’d have to keep an eye on her HUD. Objectives in the distance could only be guessed at and not completed determined, and she knew once they were closer to Boston, the lighting might give everything an appearance of sameness, making it more difficult to pick out locations.

I know I can do this— She crossed I-95 as she kept US 1 to her left. I simply need to concentrate more.

“Flight Deck, this is Salem Night Solo.” Annie adjusted her goggles. “I have my next objective in site; it’s about two kilometers ahead. Over.”

“Roger, Salem Night Solo.” Vicky’s voice was smooth and clear. “We confirm your position in the tank. Hold at an altitude of one-fifty over objective and catalog. Over.”

“Roger, Flight Deck. Over and out.” Annie descended from two hundred meters as she approached the Halstead Danvers apartment complex. Once over the central building she turned to her chase pilot. “Please get this for me?”

“Sure thing.” Kerry unshipped his tablet from the sticky enchantment that held it in place while they were in motion and photographed the complex below their position. “Flight Deck, this is Salem Night Solo, Starbuck Actual. Objective snapped and confirmed. Over.”

“Roger, Salem Night Solo.” Vicky’s chuckle was easy to hear over the comm. “Athena Actual, can you confirm that your in-love-with-his-call-sign boyfriend has confirmed your position? Over.”

Annie didn’t try keeping the mirth out of her voice as she could almost see Kerry blushing under his balaclava. “I confirm that he has confirmed. Over.”

“Okay, Night Solo. Take five and get your course sent for the next objective. If you’re ready to go before five minutes has gone by, radio in. Over.”

“Roger, Flight Deck.” Annie nodded to herself while watching Kerry. “It shouldn’t take me long. Over and out.” She tapped her comm to standby before bringing up the navigational maps of the region.

Kerry side-slipped his broom until he was about a meter away. “How’s the next part look?”

You have to love how Vicky and Annie are sort of making fun of Kerry, who you know is taking it in stride, but probably blushing like hell as Annie suspects.  It would also appear that Annie has reached the sight of the old Danvers Asylum without any issues–

Then again, it's a pretty easy flight up to now.

Then again, it’s a pretty easy flight up to now.

Given that I don’t have anything to do today, and that I’ll be home all this time, odds are good I’ll get around to the next leg.  And bring in 2016 with some lovely soul mates flying.