Undisclosed Revelations

Just like I promised the scene with Helena is completed, though it took a lot longer than expected, and took more words than I’d thought necessary.  But when one starts getting into a couple of lengthy descriptions of things happening–you know, stuff?–it ends up taking time and words.  And the first description also involved looking up a couple of things simply because that’s the way I am.

So we learned that Helena can Jump.  What is that?  It’s a Gift–think “mutant power”, but the reality is it’s something magical that always on, that’s inherent to the witch in question.  Isis has Flight, which is like levitation only she doesn’t need to expend magical energy to make it happen:  she just thinks about flying and off she goes.  With Helena she can jaunt up and down the time line–that’s how she met with Gabriel:  she waited an hour after he left, found out which route he took when he left the school, and went off to grab and gab.

She has to be careful doing this, however, and one of the things she’s never, never, never supposed to do is go up or down the line and meet with herself, because trying to change her personal timeline almost always creates a bit of paradox, and that’s never a good thing.

Which leads us to the next part.

There have been questions about how Helena was maimed.  Sean Bean notwithstanding, one does not simply lose both their legs, and a hell of an accident has to go down for such a thing to happen.  One of the things I wrote into this scene–something that took me a while to get right last night–was the exact cause of her accident.  Hang on tight, ’cause here is Helena reminiscing about the one really bad day in her life . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

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A year and a half after the event at Salem known as The Scouring occurred, the upper echelon leaders of The Foundation agreed to meet to plan their final moves against the Deconstructors. The Guardians’ Special Operations and Programming division brought in Helena to coordinate security for the meeting: she’d completed field operations for them over the last five years, and they felt she was the right person to watch over the seventy managers who’d show up for the discussion.

There were aspects of the meeting she didn’t like. For one, she hated the site: she felt it was too public, too open. She requested that the meeting be moved to either Mount Weather or Burlington at Corsham, but after five attempts to change the location were vetoed she gave up and did her best to make the security at the primary location the best possible.

People began gathering at seven-thirty. Helena made certain there were multiple exclusion fields surrounding the meeting area, and that access to the floor required a personal okay from her at each of the multiple checkpoints along the way. The meeting began at eight-thirty sharp, as demanded by the schedule Helena had put together, with the intention of breaking for fifteen minutes at nine forty-five, and finishing with the first draft of a plan drafted by eleven. She wanted this done and over with in under three hours, because she felt the longer they were at this site, the more vulnerable.

She was walking the floor, examining the enchantment around the checkpoint, when she felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. Helena spun around and saw herself laying on the floor, her clothing torn, her body covered in white dust and red blood, with one leg was missing and the other barely attached to the thigh. The injured her reached towards the uninjured her and spoke three words: “Get them out.” Then the her on the floor vanished, leaving the shocked uninjured her behind.

Helena hesitated for far more seconds than normal: her mind was locked up, unable to function. When she finally came to ran towards the meeting area. She shouted to drop the exclusion fields immediately, then burst into the board room and ordered everyone to jaunt immediately—

It was eight forty-six on the morning of 11 September, 2001, and a few floors above The Foundation meeting area on the 92nd Floor a 767 slammed into North Tower of the World Trade Center. As the ceiling exploded in debris and fire Helena grabbed the two closest people and jaunted out. The woman in her right arm was killed by the same piece of metal that severed both of Helena’s legs: the women in her left survived and managed to get Helena to a medical facility, when, while delirious, Helena Jump jaunted back to warn her that they were under attack, and in doing so create a paradox that ensured that she would hesitate long enough to allow the approaching disaster to occur. . . .

 

This was the “job” that Helena did for the Guardian’s SOP division that Gabriel referred to way back at the start of Act Three, the one that ended up costing almost three thousand people their lives.  That was a dig that wasn’t deserved, for in time the whole history of that job and what part Helena played in it will be revealed, but for now that’s the story of what happened to Helena, and why at the end of Act One Erywin mentioned to her pretty girl that everyone was concerned that she was going to maybe some kind of PTSD flashback that day–which just happened to be a few minutes after midnight on the morning of 11 September, 2011.

A couple of things that I wanted to share to show where Helena’s mind was during that time in 2001.  She mentions that she wanted to hold the meeting at either Mount Weather or Burlington at Corsham.  And what are those places?  They’re huge underground bunkers built in the 1950’s to ensure continuation of government in the instance of a nuclear war.  Mount Weather is in the Blue Ridge Mountains about an hour west of Washington DC, and is suppose to be like a little city inside the mountain:  rumor has it one gets around on electric trams, and there’s supposed to be a small lake inside that acts as both fresh water storage and place where one can sit and think about the world going to hell on the outside of the mountain.  The site first came to light in the 1970’s when a plane crashed into the mountain about a mile from the entrance to the facility, and since then the above ground facilities have become the home of FEMA.  In one of the real ironies that makes life a lot stranger than fiction, Mount Weather is where nearly all of Congress was sent to ride out the 11 September attacks, so it was probably a good thing Helena wasn’t there with The Foundation.

I'm certain Helena would have had a real party here--

I’m certain Helena would have had a real party here with the Congress Critters–

Burlington is Burlington Bunker, located near Corsham, England.  It’s also about an hour west of London, and not only is the bunker still there, but there’s a train line that runs right through the middle of it.  The idea was that in the instance things were about to go to hell, The Royal Family, the PM, Parliament, and anyone else deemed necessary to keep things running would board a train and hightail it out of town for the bunker.  The train would enter the tunnel that runs through the complex and stop, letting everyone off to go inside and ride out the storm.  These days the bunker is decommissioned, but there is a brand new Ministry of Defense complex sitting right on top of the bunker, so don’t expect all that underground goodness to go to waste anytime soon.

You enter the tunnel from the right riding the Last Train From London.

You enter the tunnel from the right riding the Last Train From London.

There is one place Helena didn’t mention, and that’s Raven Rock, which is about an hour due south of where I’m writing this post.  It’s another Command and Control bunker, and it’s become more famous over the last few years as the place Dick Cheney always visited when he needed to get out of town and chill for a bit.  Does this mean Helena was afraid of upsetting Dick by taking over his digs?  Surely you jest; she probably didn’t want to be responsible for cleaning up the place after she went all Dark Sorceress on his ass.

The original Undisclosed Location.

Welcome to the original Undisclosed Location.

I mentioned to someone yesterday that The Foundation has places where they “hide in plain sight”, and these are a few of them.  You’ll get to see another of them two more scenes from now, and once you see it you’ll go, “Oh, yeah, that makes sense.”  Because it does.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

Helena wants to get into Kaden’s house.  There is a way to do this thing, but she has to be careful least she set up another paradox that messes up Kansas City–and while she might not give zero shits about the city, she doesn’t want to get in trouble with people on her side of the magical line.  How does she do this thing?  Watch and learn:

 

Helena knew her paradox Jump a little over ten years ago led to the deaths of almost everyone at that Foundation meeting, and since then, whenever she found it necessary to Jump, she made certain she wasn’t anywhere in the area of her destination. This time was different, however: she needed to be close to the house so she could seek Kaden come out so she could Far Sight beyond the open door.

Fortunately Helena knew just want to do.

She checked the time on her mobile: twelve-oh-three. Kaden had left the house maybe three minutes ago, which meant that if she wanted to craft a Far Sight spell, she’d need to be ready about two minutes before he left. And she knew exactly where to set up—

She Jump jaunted and positioned herself about fifteen meters behind where her invisible self stood. Helena checked her mobile once more: eleven fifty-eight. She scanned the area between her new position and the house: she knew she was there, watching the house, and that she hadn’t turned around once, so she was safe where she was. All she needed was for Kaden to leave.

Right on scheduled the front door opened and Kaden walked out. Helena didn’t have a great deal of time, but she’s already crafted her Far Sight spell, and as the door began opening, she cast—

It felt as if she were moving at high speed towards Kaden, then she was past him and through the door, into the darkened living on the other side. She cast her senses around, sensed the dining room just beyond the living room, moved her Sight there, looked about and found a niche where she could hide.

Helena jaunted.

The moment she was in the house she threw herself against the wall and listened. She was still invisible, but that didn’t mean Kaden might not have heard the pop of her arrival. There wasn’t any worry, however: she heard the lock bolt home followed by Kaden stepping off the porch. She dropped her invisibility and stepped through the archway into the living room.

Another quick check of the mobile: a minute after noon. Helena smiling when she thought about her still being out there deciding upon the best way to get into the house, and now that she had solved that problem there was only one thing left to set right: the time frames for herself. Right now she was in two places at the same time, and in a moment she was going to jaunt away from her position in the park and set herself up five minutes earlier so she couple pop in here and think about how she was outside getting ready to jaunt five minutes back in time—

What’s that shit Deanna says all the time about divination? Helena unlocked the door. It’s wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff? She should try a practical application of this shit sometime . . . Helena needed to break the shielding around the house so she could get back to where she should be, and pulling the door off the latch should do the trick. And if doesn’t, I’ll just bounce off the walls and end up in a heap on the floor

She Jump jaunted again, this time moving back up the time line to where she was in time before jumping about in time and space. She ended up on the other side of the playground set, and the moment she was settled she checked her mobile: the clock rolled over from twelve-oh-three to twelve-oh-four. That was what she needed. She dropped her invisibility and walked across the park and street to Kaden’s house. Up the porch, to the door—push it in. The door opened.

Helena entered.

 

And that’s how you do it, kids.  As the Mythbusters say, don’t try this at home:  leave time traveling to the experts.

She’s looking around for things, magical things, stuff that would make her understand why Kaden’s got such heavy-duty shielding around the house.  She finds no evidence that magic is being used full-time around the house–one of the things she notices is that, unlike witches who like to keep their things nice and shinny, Kaden’s letting his furniture age naturally, just like if he were a Normal–and Helena heads upstairs to scope out the bedrooms.  Tanith’s bedroom is neat and orderly, something she probably picked up from her dad.  And speaking of dad–

 

From there Helena headed into Kaden’s bedroom, and found much the same, though with fewer posters and plushes, and far more muted colors. The bed was made, the items on top of the chest of drawers all in their right place, the curtains drawn, a couple of items of clothing folded and placed upon a chair in the corner. She looked around and found his shoes next to the bed, ordered much the same way Tanith’s shoes had been ordered. She threw open the closet doors, expecting to find more of the same order she’d found in Tanith closet—

What she found caused her to take a step back, eye wide in horrid realization of what was likely happening this very moment.

“Oh, shit.” She double-tapped the bud in her right ear. “Parkland, this is Homestead. Abort, Abort, ABORT.”

 

A surprised Helena is not a good Helena, and she’s ordered the plug pulled based upon what she found in Kaden’s closet.  One can assume she didn’t stumble across a Rainbow Dash onesie, that’s for sure.

And one can deduce from this that things are about to get interesting for my kids . . .

The Winter of Discontent

Yesterday something popped up on my blog–not my blog, actually, but more a message from WordPress.  It was, “Congratulations!  You registered with us five years ago today.”

I had to think about that, because I was damned if I could remember just when I’d signed up and established my presence here.  I remember when I started blogging–those first, abortive attempts in April of 2011 that I didn’t take very seriously, like damn near everything else in my life back that.  But I hadn’t remembered when I signed up for this space, I had to think . . .

Yeah, that would be right before Christmas 2008, not long after being laid off from a job I’d held for thirteen years.  A job that had been going downhill fast at the point, but because the economy was free falling faster than Gypsy Danger from fifty thousand feet, there weren’t a lot of options when it came to better employment.  So when the end came I took my severance with a smile and more or less told them I was happy to be leaving their shit stain of a job behind.

Sure, I wouldn’t work again for a little over three years, but you have to take the bad with the good.

Why did I sign up?  I don’t remember the exact reasons.  I believed, most likely, that I had something to say, and that I was going to try this fangled thing the kids called “blogging”, ’cause I can write and people are gonna want to hear what I have to say.  Yeah, December 2008.  I had me a blogging area.  I wouldn’t start writing until about . . . let me see . . . yeah, about two and a half years later.

That was probably a good thing, because everything coming out of my mouth back then was filled with remorse.  I was still in therapy, and would remain so through 2009–that was when my insurance ran out and I couldn’t afford to not only see my counselor any more, but I couldn’t afford the medication I was taking.  I will tell you right now, in case anyone is wondering:  mental health coverage is a wonderful thing.  Sometimes the only thing preventing you from jumping off a building is a twenty dollar co-pay on your meds, and if you have that in your life, you should consider yourself lucky.

Why all the gloomy talk?  For one, I had another strange dream–yeah, that’s been happening for some reasons.  I can’t quite put my finger on what happened, but think of it as Glee with time travel.  Like I said, strange.  I have no idea what it meant, but it was there.  The one thing I do remember is that I was told, quite a lot actually, that I needed to get better.  And I spent a large part of the dream alone.

I’ve also thought, for a few weeks now, that my depression has come back.  I’d distracted a lot these days.  I look for things to break up the monotony, and it’s not always there.  When I’m writing, at times it feels like I yank the words out onto the page, that I have trouble typing them, like I don’t want to see them, even though I do.

When I’m not at work I spend all my time alone.  It’s one of the reasons I try to eat out on the weekends, because I do get a bit of peace from being out among the people–even if the majority of them look like scary-ass crackers, like the people I saw yesterday.  You pay your money and you take the ride, right?

Five years registered, half of that writing.

Where am I going to be in five years?

Maybe a time traveling Glee knows.

 

Getting the Right Wrong

As a kidlette I read a lot.  Since I was reading at an adult comprehension level when I was seven, there was very little Dick and Jane in my life, and a lot more Hell at 50 Fathoms, which I read at least a dozen times before getting out of the 6th Grade.

The one genre I was into, however, was science fiction.  I got my hands on most of the Golden Age authors and bought their books, read them cover to cover again and again, and went looking for more.  There was something awe inspiring to live in that time and know your book store would soon carry the new Clarke, the new Asimov, the new Heinlein, the new Ellison . . .

There was something that the writers back then spoke of when talking about science fiction and fantasy.  It was known that some of the things they wrote about were, perhaps, going to never come about.  There were items and subjects and characters that might not ever be anything but words on the page.  And they knew this, because–hey, writers, we make stuff up, right?

The trick, they said, was to follow your internal logic, and to keep your rules consistent.  If your technology could only do A, B, and C, you damn well better not have it do E at some point.  As David Gerrold once point out, if you write your story so that people can only use their right hands, then you damn well better now have the hero save the day at the end of the story by using their left hand.  Anything that plays hard and loose with your internal logic, that violates your rules and laws, it cheating that would make Lance Armstrong say, “Dude!” while giving you the stink eye.

When you’re writing anything–not just science fiction, but anything that requires some “facts” to come into play–it’s always best to do your research and make certain when you’re setting up your premise, you are working with something that not only makes sense,  but is also something that can’t be taken as complete bullshit.  Given what we know about space flight these days, it’s difficult–if not impossible–to write a story about some kids cobbling a rocket together in an abandoned field and flying it into orbit.  Oh, sure, you can adjust the rules of your universe and all that, but you best make certain that is spelled out so people don’t scratch their heads and go, “Huh?”

I’m in a few groups on Facebook where I hear and see about new novels and stories from people like me, writers who hope this will be our job one day.  I saw something like that the other day:  a new book, by someone I know.  I’m checking out the blurb, and right off the bat, I see something stated as a major plot point–

That is totally, scientifically wrong.

Now, I do things with time travel and faster than light space drives.  I can hand wave with the best of them, and I always try to keep my facts straight when I do this.  If my ships go this fast, I find out the distances between two stars and calculate travel times.  That’s how you do things.  When you’re stating as fact something that can be fact checked on any number of databases as all sorts of wrong, you’ve pretty much ruined the story for me–and probably for a number of readers as well.

Your stories live and die by facts and rules.  Create your rules based upon the first, and never violate the later.

Otherwise, you could find yourself becoming the Next Big Internet Meme.

 

Evenings at the Imagination College

Another chapter started, and another thousand words burned through pretty well.  I won’t say quickly, because it still took about ninety minutes to get to my nightly quota.  Part of that was from being tired as hell, and part of it came from . . .

Well, looking things up.

After my post about The Story of Albert and his love for The Duchess, I started thinking about that as part of a story I’d actually started putting notes to maybe a week before.  That story arose out of another idea, but it dealt with two of my characters going out to enjoy their birthday.  Yes, in my worlds, even if you are born twelve hundred years apart, you’ll share a birthday if you’re special—and if the author thinks there’s a good reason for it to happen.

As it is, given the date upon which their birthdays fall, getting them back in time to see one of the Genesis concerts held at the Lyceum in May, 1980, is something that can actually happen—and would put them in the ballroom for their birthdays.  Yeah, it’s a strange thing, because I never realized any of this when I was putting the character together twenty year ago—nor did I realize the significance of the dates, because, when I was finishing Transporting, I actually change the date of birth.

Strange, I know.

So, for the hell of it I started looking up things around that location—the theater is still there, running The Lion King pretty much non-stop—and began imagining the location in the 1980’s, with my character there wandering the streets of Westminster after the show was over.  It was a nice picture, and one that I can imagine even better once I know what the weather was like that night.  (Note:  it was cool, about 45 degrees Fahrenheit, and dry.  And Sky View Café tells me the moon didn’t rise until a little after midnight, and it was just past full.)

But I had other things bothering me as well, this time for another story for the same characters.  One of them buys some land—and by “land”, I mean they end up with enough property to start their own state.  It’s stated that they land will be managed as a natural preserve, and that most of it will be open to the public, with a “small” portion that will be kept completely private as their estate.

And how “small” a portion are we talking?  A parcel eighty by one hundred kilometers—or for those not completely into the metric thing, fifty by sixty-two miles.

That’s big; it’s pretty huge, actually.  The public land is even bigger, if you can believe that.  So I started wondering:  what does that look like in today’s terms?  If I overlay those dimensions over a map, how much of, say, where I live, will this estate take up.

Answer:  a lot.

The private land would cover something like five or six counties in Northwest Indiana; we’re talking the sort of estate that only third-world dictators get to enjoy.  As for the whole estate, the natural preserve that can be visited by people if they like themselves some wilderness?  Pretty much an area the size of the state of Indiana.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to move all the people out of my home state and turn it into a park for all to enjoy.

Now I don’t have to wonder any more.

 

Time Jinxes and Lesbian Kisses

As you may have guessed from reading this blog, I’m a science fiction fan.  I’m also someone who spends some times fooling around with the concept of time travel.  Or, as I’ve started from time to time, I like Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey Stuff.  So it’s not surprising that I find myself drawn to this sort of thing like a moth looking for a light bulb to land upon.

So after I edited my chapter for Her Demonic Majesty, I starting mind gaming some ideas for, well, characters in a story.  I won’t go into detail on the characters, or the story, but needless to say, an event involving some time travel that happens in an earlier (unwritten) story is discovered, and one of the characters now understands why something that she did years before happened the way it did then, and . . . well, this is where the “well” goes all Timey Wimey Ball on her.

Which brings another character to ask, “Instead of splitting them up (which is what happened originally, and one character time traveled back to prevent that), why not kill them?”

Of course, I had to figure that one out.  You get into all these strange paradoxes when you’re talking time travel, and sometimes it becomes impossible to know what’s going on, because the human mind can get all bendy wendy when you start thinking about why you just can’t keep going back and doing things again and again when you have the ability to flit about in time–

Which means you need to get your rules down pat before you head off in whatever doubles for your time machine.  It’s a tough multiverse out there, and you gotta be ready.

Or at least come up with something that makes some sense so you don’t have too many geeks poking holes in your logic.

There was something else I pondered yesterday as well.  I was speaking with a friend, and I mentioned to them that I was going to start on a story that would have a character who was a lesbian.  While my friend didn’t get indignant, or anything, she did say, “Don’t make her a lesbian.  You need more bi-sexual characters.”

Now, while I don’t have anything against bi-sexual characters, for the story I’m going to do, the character is a lesbian, case closed.  The funny thing is, last night I met with my therapist (yes, I have a therapist, and yes, she helps me), and mentioned this comment to her.  She laughed and said, “What?  There aren’t any stories out there with lesbians in them now!  It’s all gay men!”  I did tell her–as I am telling you now–that the dirty little secret about gay male erotica is that it’s mostly written by straight women, just as a lot of Japanese women write yaio manga (translated as “Boy Love Comics”, a very popular genre with girls there).

Her advice was keep writing what I like, and if I can write some great stories about lesbians, then go for it!  I don’t know about “great stories,” but since I love writing about women, maybe I’ll eventually become the “go to person” when it comes to lesbian erotica.

Until then, I’ll finish my novel edit, get it sent off . . .

And continue doing what I like.