Projections of the Astral Kind: Seeing All That’s Not Seen

Believe it or not it’s another excerpt.  How is this?  Well, it’s like this:

I went back and finished something I hadn’t worked on in the novel since… February.

Back on 13 February I posted this excerpt, which was something I was working on–struggling to write is really closer to the truth, but cut me some slack here, ‘kay?  At the time I wasn’t feeling the writing–I wasn’t feeling much of anything but depression.  In looking back at the posts I made back around 13 February, I was surprised to discover getting a couple of gifts that, I swear, I though I’d gotta around the end or March or the beginning of April.

That’s how much depression was messing with my mind: time was just running all the shit together and I couldn’t keep it straight.  Which is the only thing in my life that’s straight, but that’s another story…

So, last night, after finishing a chapter and writing another scene in my mermaid story, I decides to revisit the scene I’d started oh, so long ago and finish it off–

Why, look: I didn’t lie.

 

In fact, I finished that scene right about fifteen minutes ’till midnight, which means I actually wrote about 2,300 words yesterday, something I almost never do anymore.  Why all the energy?  Music.  Lot’s of music.

In  case you didn’t go back and re-read the excerpt at the link I posted, never fear, ’cause you get all the scene right here.  I’ll even break and let you know where the new stuff starts.

Are you ready?  Let’s go!

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

The moment Annie’s eyes opened she felt disappointment. The ceiling to the room looked the same and upon sitting up she say the rest of the room was just as she’d left it prior to trying to project. She let out a big sign and folded one arm under her breasts so she could rest her other arm against it as she pressed a fist against her mouth. It didn’t work. She shook her head. It should have worked. I know I was in a trance

It was in that second after her last through that she began to reevaluate her disappointment as she quickly noticed two things: one, she wasn’t wearing any clothes—and two, Deanna was sitting up in the middle of her reclining body.

The seer smiled as she took in her student’s discomfort. “I see you made it.”

Annie examined her surroundings slowly. “This is the Astral Realm?”

“Of course it is.” Deanna stood and everything from her thighs down vanished inside her body and the recliner. “Though I’m going to guess that what you’re seeing is really nothing more than the room as you left it before projecting.”

She nodded. “Yes. Everything looks the same—” Annie looked down at herself and spoke with a tone of disgust in her voice. “Why am I naked?”

“Let me answer those questions in order.” Deanna stepped away from the chair and stood in the open. Now that Annie could see her whole body, she noticed the slight glow surrounding her. “First, the reason everything looks the same is because you are now seeing the Astral Realm with a completely new set of senses—”

“It didn’t look like this when we walked physically into the Realm.”

Deanna projected a warm smile. “That’s because you were seeing things with your physical eyes. Now you’re not: you’re seeing things with your astral eyes, which are nothing but projections of your real eyes. In order to see the Astral Realm properly while projecting, you have to learn to project everything around you back to your eyes.”

After a few seconds of considering the matter, Annie felt she understood what Deanna was saying. “I have to use Astral Sight, don’t I?”

“Why do you think I was teaching that before Astral Projection?” She motioned towards her student. “Go on: try that.”

Annie began crafting as if she were really in her body and not a conscious mind linked to her astral form—as she now remembered Deanna explaining weeks before, there wasn’t a difference—and five seconds later the Astral Realm flashed into existence…

 

Everything above this point was written on 13 February, while everything below this point was written last night, 23 May.  Other than my twenty-years-to-finish novel Transporting, that’s the longest I’ve ever gone between starting a scene and bringing it to an end.  And now that we remember what happened to get Annie to this point, let’s see where it leads:

 

The room around her wasn’t anything like when Annie had when she last viewed Memory’s End from the Astral Realm. At that time it was all ghostly and mist-like—but, as Annie now realized, that was because she was seeing the physical world through The Curtain with physical eyes.

Now, using Astral Sight, she saw the world as it was meant to be seen from this side of The Curtain. The walls of the room appeared as flowing gold, moving slowly from the ceiling to the floor and back. The floor glowed in brilliant hues of steel gray and midnight black, while the ceiling was the color of translucent amber. And the pillows scattered about the room were the color of ripe pomegranates ready to eat.

But laying upon the pillows… Annie gazed down upon her physical body, which looked remarkably how she would see herself in the Physical Realm. She found this a bit puzzling until she looked at Kerry, saw how his body glowed brightly with Astral energy, and realized the reason her body wasn’t glowing—

“My aura’s no longer there.” She turned to Deanna, who seemed to glow a bright yellow now. “That’s it, isn’t it? I look plain because my aura has left my body. That’s what astral projection is, isn’t it?”

Deanna nodded. “Quite so. If you notice Kerry—”

“I have.” She chuckled. “He hasn’t begun to project so his aura is still attached to his body.” Annie glanced down at her body. And, it would seem, so am I

She saw her lifeline extending from somewhere behind—she figured it was likely the small of her back—and extend down to the back of her sleeping body. At the same time, there was a second lifeline extending from her back to Kerry’s back. Just as I’m joined to him while I’m in the Physical Realm, I’m still attached to him here.

Annie make a bit of a face as she looked at Deanna again. “This isn’t going to cause a problem, is it?” She held the lifeline going to Kerry and gave it a shake.

Deanna shrugged. “It’s hard to say. There’s little on witches with an Astral Binding and even less on those same witches performing Astral Projection.”

“In other words, there isn’t any information at all.”

“Correct.”

“Fantastic.” Annie looked to her right as she sighed. “We get to break new ground—again.”

“Speaking of breaking new ground—” Deanna pointed at the wall behind her, which if Annie remembered was due east. “I think it’s about time you move beyond these walls and do a bit of exploring.”

“Like this?” Annie motioned at her naked body.

Once again Deanna shrugged, though this time with a smile. “Who’s going to see you?”

“True.” Annie chuckled as she realized there was only one person who could see her, and they had. Then again— She looked upward at the ceiling as if she expected something to appear. There is something else out there

“No point being afraid.” She nodded as she stared at the wall behind Deanna. “We do just as we did when we flew while Astral Walking, correct?”

Deanna nodded this time. “Exactly. Only you’re going to find the action a little easier this time.”

“Well then, I should be off.”

The seer turned and motioned towards the east wall. “You know how to get back.”

Annie stood on her toes and pushed off just as if she were leaping from a diving board. Her astral body rushed forward and passed through the wall in the blink of an eye—

 

There you have it: our little girl is off flying about the Astral Realm by herself.  And as she points out, there is something out there on the school grounds that may want to speak with her.  Who am I kidding?  You know The Benefactor and Protector of Salem’s gonna show her face.  Though it’s probably not her face we’ll see…

And one other thing: today I was officially cleared to return to practice, having served my 30 day suspension from my derby league.  I was told it was really up to me if I thought I was “well enough” to come back, but honestly, I’ve been ready to get back to practice for two weeks, so hell yeah I’m well the fuck enough.  By the time I go back next Tuesday it will have been about six weeks since I’ve attended practice, with only a couple of occasions to get out and skate at night.  I’m actually thinking of heading out about six-thirty to skate around the HACC parking lot, ’cause I do need to get back to that regime–

Good things are popping up.

Let’s hope they keep coming.

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Beyond the Rune: Secrets Within Secrets

Wait… what is this?  An Excerpt?  Why yes, it is.

Allow me to explain.

I’ve been listening to my play lists on YouTube, because when you’re home all the time there’s not much else one can do, though in the last couple of weeks I’ve made something like six or seven new lists–

But never mind that.  Today I decided to listen to the Music For Witches play list, the one that has all the tune that are, or will show up, in my Foundation Chronicles series, and after fixing the videos that couldn’t be accessed I decided to give it a listen, and with every song I remembered the second of the story or trailer where the song occurs…

And I remembered it had been a while since I last wrote in C For Continuing.  As it turns out, it was exactly thirty-one day ago. (You may want to read this again to remember where you left off.)

And that got me to wanting to write.  To be precise, I needed to finish Chapter Twenty-eight.

So I did.

Yep. I did this.

 

Nearly eleven hundred words in about an hour, and a chapter that is just short of seven thousand words detailing the events before, during, and after the second big vision Annie and Kerry have during the C Levels.

Which means you get to read it all right now.

Enjoy.

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

Helena wrapped the door three times; she always felt that was enough to get someone’s attention. If they weren’t around to answer, then she always believed she wouldn’t have expended too much energy trying to let someone who wasn’t there she was waiting outside. On the other hand, three knocks was enough to get anyone’s attention in the Instructor’s Residence and if they didn’t answer the door, chances were they didn’t want to speak with her.

Given that the Head Sorceress knew the person with whom she wished to speak was in her room, if the door didn’t open in the following few seconds she’d have to assume they were trying to duck her—

The door opened and Deanna smiled brightly. “What can I do for you, Helena?”

“Moment of your time?” Helena leaned against the door frame, trying press herself ever-so-slight into the seer’s personal space.

“Of course.” Deanna opened the door and stepped back.”

“Thank you.” Helena wore her slippers down from her room as she knew she’d need to remove her shoes once inside Deanna’s room. She set them aside and headed for one of the two reading chairs next to each other in a corner of the living space. “Mind if I sit?”

“No, not at all.” Deanna waited for her guest to get comfortable before adjusting her abaya as she sat in the chair to her Helena’s right. “I gather you have questions about the children’s vision?”

“You could say that.” Helena let silence take hold for a moment before going on. “How many other visions have they had like the one today?”

Deanna’s smile didn’t change at all while giving her response. “I’m not a liberty to divulge that information.”

Helena needed a second to take in what she’d just heard. “I’m sorry—what?”

“I’m not permitted to give you that information.”

“I see.” Helena tapped her right cheek slowly. “My I ask why?”

“Because, for the most part, visions and pronouncements are guarded.” Deanna slowly cross her right ankle over her left as she pushed herself back into her chair. “That prevents outside persons or parties attempting to interpret said visions and pronouncements in a way that prevents them from occurring—or worst yet, making them happen.” She chuckled. “You’re no the only one with secrets, Helena.”

“And yet you called me in to hear their vision.” Helena sighed as she, too, sat back. “Why did you do that?”

“I was concerned by what I heard today. And I felt that what happened to Annie and Kerry today needed—” Deanna shrugged. “I guess they needed someone who better understood what they’d seen to help them understand it as well.”

“Still, you let me hear audio of their vision.”

“For just the one time. It auto deleted right after it finished playing. Sabrina confirmed that—as I’m certain you know.”

So our AI did tell her I tried to listen again. Sneaky little bitch. Helena’s expression remained fixed to conceal her thoughts. “And what if I needed to hear it again?”

Deanna set her left against the chair’s arm and leaned towards her guest. “The audio’s been sent to the London Archive, per normal procedure. If you need to hear it again, contact the Prognosticators and give them a detailed explanation—”

 

There was a time, long ago, when the word Prognosticator was used, and it was Annie saying it to Ms. Rutherford while discussing day tripping around London in the lobby of the Park Place Sherlock Holmes.  This was before a certain ginger hair boy knew anything about witches or the love a chestnut hair girl from Bulgaria had for him, before anyone walked through Founder’s Gate, before there was all that hand holding going on in both London and Amsterdam and being asked out on a date and the term soul mate was used for the first time–

So now you know: Prognosticators have all the visions.  And they keep them in an archive in London.  And they hold on to their secrets as tightly as the Guardians hang on to theirs.

And this is not going to make Helena a happy sorceress…

 

“—Of the vision and why I need to hear it again.” There were only two occasions where Helena needed to check out a particular vision from the Prognosticators’ London Archive, and both experiences were unpleasant. “So you won’t tell me what I need to know.”

Deanna cocked her head slightly to the right. “That depends.”

“On?”

“On whether or not I feel you have a need to know.”

Though Helena had interacted with Deanna on a number of occasions before—both in public and private—never has she come across this taciturn and cold. She’s guarding something and doing her damnedest to keep it from me. “And what if I told you I needed to hear that vision again?”

“If it was absolutely necessary for you to hear it again I’d give the Prognosticators a compelling reason to give you access, but I’d need assurance there was an absolute necessity—” Deanna’s head barley shook. “And right now I don’t see the necessity.”

Helena was an expert when it came to stonewalling and she knew when it was time to stop pushing. “Well, then—” She rose to her feet. “I guess we’re done.”

Deanna stood a moment later. “Yes, we are.”

The sorceress turned and took two steps towards the door, then turned, appearing to remember something. “One thing, though—” Helena locked her cold, black eyes upon the young seer. “If they’d never had a vision prior to this one concerning Guardian activities, why would you ask for keywords that might pop up in future visions?” A quizzical look formed on Helena’s face. “Hum?”

For a moment Deanna’s expression didn’t change, then she burst out with a short, happy laugh. “Oh, please. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s been going on with these two kid for the last year and a half. And even if I weren’t a counselor, I’d guess they were involved in some Guardian chicanery—starting with their little off-site excursion back in April of ‘12.”

 

Once more we see that people around Salem figure Annie and Kerry were up to something when they vanished for a few days in April and it had to do with some shit Helena was running.  Of course, Helena is gonna do what all the spooks do–deny everything:

 

Helena smiled as she put on her slippers. “Nothing happened then, Deanna.” She finished and stood. “Annie went home to visit her mother, Kerry went to New York for medical test.” She shrugged. “It’s that simple.”

“Simple… yes.” Deanna moved slowly across the room, closing the distance between her and her guest. “Which is why there are reports attached to their personal files concerning the period of time they were away from the school at that time…” She stopped an arm’s length away. “Reports filed with redacted information.” She stared up into the sorceress’ eyes and spoke in a low, warning voice. “I’m not an idiot, Helena: don’t ever try to bullshit me again.”

Helena said nothing for several seconds as she considered Deanna’s words and tone. Finally she nodded one. “I won’t.” She nodded over her shoulder at the door. “I’ll see myself out. Thank you for your time.”

A smile appeared as Deanna’s face lit up as if nothing had happened. “You’re quiet welcome.”

The seer was still smiled as Helena stepped into the hallway and quietly closed the door. She squared her shoulders and exhaled deeply, mumbling to herself as she headed towards her own room. “Damn good thing she never became a Guardian.”

And in the process of doing so she gets called out, something that doesn’t happen often with the Head Sorceress, and something we’ve never seen Deanna do to another person.  You can bet Helena never does this again.

Now the question is–

What comes next?

I think I know.

Beyond the Rune: You Belong to the Family

Yesterday was a lovely day, but for some reason I didn’t eat a lot.  I had breakfast before shooting my video but then I went out to Zeroday and had a lunch that consisted of humus, pretzel bits, and beer.

Drinking now equals carbohydrates to burn off during skating later, right?

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

 

I also stopped off at the Midtown Scholar book store for a muffin and tea, because that’s always a good way to take the edge off.

 

Then I went home, napped, and went skating without food or water.  While I made it, I was trying to see how fast I could skate and didn’t do as well as I expected.  I have no picture, which is probably for the best.  However, I did shoot some video–

This was my first fast run, where I covered the equivalent of 25.7 laps in 4:59.  This first was done while playing The Doobie Brothers’ Without You, hence the title of the video:

 

And this was me just screwing around while listening to the Genesis song Duchess.  This was the first time I tried skating backwards outside and it’s really not as easy there as it is when you’re on a nice, smooth rink floor. Also, I sing–if what you want to call the sounds coming out of my mouth “singing”.  It’s all somewhat amusing.

 

So, about that story–

I’ve finally finished the scene, writing twenty-three hundred words in five days.  Not bad, I say, not bad.  One more scene to complete and Chapter Twenty-Eight is history and I don’t have to worry about writing it when I get to this point, as it’s already written.

What happens at the end of this scene?  Let’s find out:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“Media teams are those people who show up in the aftermath of—situations—and fix things so that Normals believe different events have occurred.” Helena lightly tapped the surface of her desk. “In some instances they’ll also work on the memories of people, both Normal and Aware, so that they are unaware of what really happened.”

Annie’s eyes grew slightly wider. “They can do that?”

“Of course they can. You’ve already been exposed to that aspect.”

The young sorceress thought for a moment. “Tanith and her father.”

Helena nodded. “Correct. Her knowledge of both of you and Erywin was removed and both she and Kaden had their memories adjusted so they would remember their new family history better. That way there are no slip ups.”

“Would they have been involved with the family of the girl that died?” A somewhat worried look began to form on Kerry’s face. “Ruth, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, it was.”

“Did they make her family forget her?”

“I don’t know: I wasn’t told. My guess is they brought in another child and did a ‘cut and paste’ as they like to call it.” Helena didn’t look at Kerry as she finished her though. “If Emma and you had died during the Day of the Dead, a media team would have likely showed up at both houses and ‘adjusted’ everyone’s memories of you.”

This was something Kerry always suspected would have happened in the instance they’d fallen to their deaths the first time, or if they were both killed by the Abomination later, but now Helena was confirming that the Guardians would have likely done just that. “So, they’d have gotten another boy to take my place?”

“Probably a cute ginger girl—” Helena smiled at Kerry. “You know, to make your mother happy.”

Kerry stared back, his face frozen in a dead-pan mask. “This is my ‘Not Amused’ face. Can you tell, or do I need to go into more detail?”

Helena immediately realized she’d once more overstepped her boundaries with the lad. “Sorry, Kerry.”

He did a quick tit of his head to the right. “It’s okay.”

 

This is the second time–or is it three?–that Helena is given Kerry a dig about his mother wanting a girl more than a boy, and just as he did the other time he wasn’t all that happy about the dig.  It’s been said before that everything at Salem–or that happens to these kids–is a test, so it’s likely that Helena’s little digs are a way of testing Kerry for–what?  Who knows.  Then again, maybe Helena’s just being a bitch.  It’s not like it’s out of the question.

Turns out Annie’s got something on her mind as well–

 

There was something about Helena’s description of media teams that worried Annie. “Do they ever change the memories of operatives?”

“You mean like those operatives who may have had a vision of a future operation?” Helena leaned back in her chair. “Is that what you mean?”

“Yes.”

“It’s been… known to happen.”

“What?” Kerry quick sat up straight. “They can’t really do that, can they?”

Excuse me?” Helena leaned forward once more. “Do you remember receiving encrypted emails while you were away for Yule holiday? The ones from San Francisco by way of Amsterdam? The ones that assigned an ID number to you? You know: the ones you used in a debriefing a couple of weeks ago?” She planted her right elbow on her desk and rested her cheek against the back of her hand. “Face it, kiddies: you’re part of the family now and that means if The Guardians want to twist your brain around a little so you don’t remember certain things, they can. And there’s damn little you can do.”

 

For a bit of reference, this scene is happening at the end of January, 2014: 28 January, 2014, to be precise.  This means it happens after The Polar Express and after Annie’s Girl’s Weekend Out.  And it’s the second real confirmation that Annie and Kerry truly are operatives for the Guardians, because they now have official identification numbers.

And why do I say second real confirmation?  Because there is a scene before this when Annie and Kerry as required to give their Guardian identifications during a debriefing, which you only do if you’re a real operative.  And since you know you want to know their IDs, they are:

 

Helena: ANE1648584FO
Annie: SUN9042241PO
Kerry: SUN3712108PO

 

The first letters indicate where the ID was filed.  In Helena’s case it was Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe, while for Annie and Kerry it was San Francisco, United States, North America. Then you have a random seven digit number followed by a two-letter code indicating their operational status.  For Helena she’s a “Field Operative” while Annie and Kerry are “Provisional (Field) Operatives”, indicating they still require supervision.

See?  Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy.

So the question of “Are they or aren’t they?” is now answered: they are operatives, real ones.  This makes them part of the family–and that means the Guardians can futz with their memories if they like.  Which leads to this:

 

Annie and Kerry exchanged worried glances before Kerry asked a question. “Has it happened to you?”

“If it had—” Helena raised her right eyebrow. “—do you think they’d let me remember?”

Kerry nodded slowly. “Yeah, dumb question.”

“So…” Annie considered not asking the question, but knew she must. “Are you going to tell San Francisco what happen?”

Helena started at the surface of her desk for a few seconds before replying. “No.”

“May I ask why?”

She shifted her gaze to the girl across the desk from her. “My job, as your in-school handler, is to report regularly on your training progress—or your lack thereof. There is nothing laid out in my instructions about you requiring me to tell the Powers That Be about any visions you’ve had concerning your Guardian activities.” Helena shrugged. “And as I understand the way these things work, there’s always the possibility that what you saw won’t happen—so why get San Fran’s panties in a bunch over a mater that may never come to fruition?”

Again the couple exchanged a quick glance before Annie spoke for them both. “Thank you.”

“All right, now: get out of here. Go on.” Helena motioned towards the door. “And do not speak of what happened today in Divination. The less said—”

“The better.” Kerry was up and waving the door to the office over. “We know. Thanks.”

The moment the children left and the door was close Helena began tapping her lower lip with her right index finger. “And now that I’m done with you, I need to see a seer about a vision…”

 

And there you have it.  While Annie and Kerry aren’t getting reported by Helena, the fact that their in-school handler–the first time we’ve heard her say this–needs to see a seer about a vision means Helena is going to have a chat with Deanna.

Any guesses about what they’re going to discuss?

Beyond the Rune: What’s In a Code Name?

It’s an interesting day, filled with lots of doubt, crying, and indecision about my future. It’s also the day I picked up my first driver’s licence outside the State of Indiana and I’m shocked–Shocked, I tell ya!–that they actually put an “F” on it for “Sex”.  Even with all the bad stuff happening to me today–and last night, let’s not forget last night–I had one bright spot that made the day shine.

And speaking of shinning…  Today is an important day in my story history.  For today is the eighteenth birthday of The Heartbreaking of Bolder, Colorado, Emma Neilson, making her the next to last member of her graduation class to reach the Age of Emancipation within The Foundation.  And if you’re paying attention, that means there’s just one other birthday from that class to celebrate, and that’s Kerry’s, which happens in two weeks.  That means Emma is probably out getting loaded somewhere–I’m sure she’s got ID that will let her get served–and Annie is counting the days to when Kerry and she can put their names on that wedding licence application.

And speaking of Emma–well, not yet, but just wait!

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Annie turned to Helena. “And why does it appear my code name is ‘White Queen’?”

Helena glanced off into space for a few seconds. “That may have something to do with me.”

“How is that possible?”

“Because my code name is Black Queen.” The sorceress scratched at her right cheek as she continued. “My mother called me that when I was a girl and it stuck with me when I came to school. Once I started going out on Guardian field ops it became my official code name and has stuck with me ever since.

“When I was out in San Francisco right after the first of the year—”

“What were you out there for?” This was the first Kerry had heard of Helena making trips to the North American headquarters of The Guardians.

“Had to do with the operation Annie was on while you were doing the Polar Express.”

“Oh. Okay.”

 

Keep in mind I’m writing of future events, and this one happens after Annie’s Girl’s Weekend Out with The Guardians and Emma’s and Kerry’s Polar Express.  In fact, this is happening two weeks after those events transpired, so it’s totally legit to speak of them in the past tense.

And what happened out there in the City By the Bay?

 

“Anyhow, when I was out in San Fran a few weeks back, getting intel on our—” She motioned between her and Annie. “—operation, some of the wags in the meeting called you White Queen because of our association.”

Annie gave this news a few seconds of consideration. “Maybe they feel I’m a bit of your opposite.”

“Or maybe they came up with that because a lot of Guardians are smart arses. Anyway, when your code names arrive don’t be surprised if that’s yours.”

The office was quiet for a few seconds before Kerry spoke in a soft voice. “What about mine?”

“Someone at that same meeting mentioned that.”

“They did?”

Helena chuckled. “About a third of the way through the meeting several pictures of your, um, other self, were displayed and a couple of them were of your and Annie together. A couple of people in the room called you the Red Queen and one even said that given your history of pop culture you’d probably appreciate Annie’s and your code name.”

Annie looked to her right once more. “What do they mean by that?”

Kerry didn’t have to think long on the matter once again. “It’s all comic book stuff, even your name, Helena. The Black Queen and the White Queen were members of The Hellfire Club in the X-Men comics. The Black Queen was a student of The Shadow King and was the leader of The Pale Riders during the Age of Apocalypse. The White Queen—” He chuckled. “She’s just a bitch. And she has a habit of not wearing a lot.” A smile slowly formed on his face. “The Black Queen and White Queen also have something in common.”

“What’s that?”

“Their first name: it’s Emma.” Kerry waited for Annie and Helena to exchange looks before telling them the rest. “Specifically, The Black Queen is Emma Steed—named after Emma Peal from The Avengers—and the White Queen is Emma Frost.”

While Annie simply stared at Kerry in silence, Helena seemed to speak for both women. “I’d make sure a certain ginger from Colorado doesn’t discover we’re sharing her name—” She arced her right eyebrow. “At least in a way.”

Annie humphed. “I know I won’t tell her.”

Kerry nodded. “I won’t, either.”

“Now that we know our code names—” Helena pointed at Kerry. “What about yours?”

“Oh, yeah. The original Red Queen of the Hellfire Club was Margali Szardos, who was a powerful sorceress, really big into demons, and the adoptive mother of Nightcrawler. In the Days of Future Past story, Psylocke was the Red Queen.” Kerry shrugged. “Given some of the stuff I know, I can see that name fitting.” He glanced at both women. “Even though I not completely thrilled to have that moniker laid upon me.”

“If I’m going to have the name Emma following me around, you can have a girl’s code name.” Annie smiled as she finished her sentence then turned to Helena. “One last thing: what’s a media team?”

 

The Guardians know Kerry far too well by now and seem to be thinking along the same lines. While I’m certain Helena’s mother called her daughter “The Black Queen” because of her eyes and attitude, she does also link up with her two protegees, the White Queen and the Red Queen, so there’s a lot of Guardian symmetry going on here.  Also, every geeky word Kerry said is all true because you know it is.

I’m also pretty certain he’ll need kid Annie about having a code name for a character named Emma, because… well, don’t mess with little witches who may react badly to Gingers From America.  Yeah, don’t go there, kid.

Besides, you don’t want Annie digging into your comic collection and finding an outfit for you to wear based upon one of your code name’s characters.  You don’t.  And you know it…

Beyond the Rune: Under the Lens

Hey, guess what, everyone?  I wrote today!  Yay!

Last night we had recruitment but not a lot of people showed, in part due, I think, to the weather turning shitting late in the afternoon.  We have another coming in a couple of months, so there’s no worry.  I was dressed for the event, as usual, and even posted some good song lyrics for the picture:

 

And today I visited the Midtown Scholar, our local independent bookstore.  I had a tea and picked up a book and all was well.

 

This afternoon I got to writing another five hundred words and in that group I came up with the answer to Helena’s statement, where she basically said that she was quite certain Kerry knew the answer to what a gray operative was.  And does he?

Well, Kerry?

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Without further prompting Kerry gave the matter a bit of thought and had what he believed to be the answer in less that five seconds. “Like gray lensmen—right?”

Helena nodded. “Exactly.”

“That means nothing to me.” Annie fixed her gaze upon Kerry. “What is that?”

“It from the, um, Lensman series.” There was a bit of soft throat clearing before he continued. “The Lensman series was written in the 1930s and 40s and is considered one of the best examples of space opera ever. The Lensmen themselves were a group of—I guess you could say they were intergalactic cops who used a device called a lens that gave them some incredible physic powers.” Kerry gave a slight shrug with his left shoulder. “There’s a lot of people who believe the Green Lanterns were taken from the Lensmen, though there are others who disagree.”

Annie didn’t seem satisfied with the answer. “Green Lanterns?”

“Yeah… it’s a DC comic series.”

“I see.” Her demeanor hardened just a bit. “None of that gives me the answer to my original question.”

 

Yeah, Kerry.  Knock it off with the geek knowledge and get to the meat of your soul mate’s question:

 

Kerry immediately realized his mistake. “Right. Um, gray lensmen were members of the corps who worked undercover: you could tell they were different from the rest of the group because when they were back at base for rest or training, they wore gray clothing to note their status. Hence, gray lensmen.” He alternated his gaze from Helena to Annie and back to Helena as he finished his train of through. “You could think of the Lesnman Corps as the Protectors, while the gray lensmen were more like the Guardians.” He raise a brow as if trying to elicit a positive response from the sorceress. “Right?”

Helena nodded. “Quite.”

“So what came first? The literary version or our version?”

As she usually did whenever asked about possible Foundation connections to the Normal world, Helena ignored Kerry’s question and spoke to kids. “A gray operative is one who works independent of the normal team dynamic. Given some of the things I’ve already heard from San Francisco, they’re integrating you into the normal team operations now so they can see how you work independently in the future.”

“So, what we saw was real?” Annie tried to keep her excitement suppressed. “Or at least will be in the future?”

“Who knows? Maybe Deanna does; I don’t.” Helena offered a warm smile. “We know they’re interested in Kerry as an Infiltrator and given what you both say you saw, it seems they’ve expanded upon what we spoke about earlier in the year.”

Kerry nearly rolled his eyes thinking back to the start of the school year when The Guardians said they wanted Annie and he to go on separate field operations alone and that they wanted to integrate Kerry into a field team as his female self, something he more or less shot down—for now. “Yeah, but it looks like I’m working with The Guardians using both genders—”

“According to what you both said, that seems likely.”

“So why do I get that code name?”

Annie turned to Helena. “And why does it appear my code name is ‘White Queen’?”

 

There you have it.  It once more appears that The Foundation has affected Normal pop culture with a science fiction reference—or maybe it’s the other way around?  It seems like it’s something that a lot of people in The Foundation don’t like to answer, but it’s always likely that there have been geeks in the rank long before Kerry showed up and that they liked to give themselves pithy names they discover while out in the Normal world.

Now, does that mean the Operative in the movie Serenity was taken from The Guardians?  Only Joss knows for sure…

It seems like we’re getting into another area now: why the code names?  Why those code names?  And you know who may have an answer?

The Head Sorceress.

Beyond the Rune: Hearing Those Words

Yes, I did get out some writing.  Not a lot, however, ’cause my mind is like a sieve today and nothing is sticking to it well.  Which is to say while I managed three hundred and fifty words in the new scene, getting more out of me was starting to become a chore.

Also, I did a lot of running around today ’cause I went to bed starting to slip into a funk and that funk was with me when I woke, so I decided to stop giving into my depression and do something rather than sit around and mope.  Also, I realized that I was once more digging into shit for which there was no reason to dig because said shit hadn’t happened and likely won’t.  Once more, my mind fucks with me more than anything else.

Anyway, I’m ready for the new ladies to show up–

–and I hope I can help them get interested in derby.

Meanwhile, someone is interested in a dream that two of her more interesting students had and it’s possible it’s causing her a little pain…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Helena took Annie and Kerry to The Witch House, where they listened to the audio of they rune dream in the privacy of the Head Sorceress’ main office. No one spoke during the fifteen minute recording, though there were moment when Helena would sigh aloud or muttered something just under her breath, as if she couldn’t believe what he’d heard.

After the recording finished she asked both children to tell her what they’d seen and done within the dream. When Annie asked if the conversation was being taped, Helena confirmed that she was shooting video for Deanna to watch as that had been their agreement in the instance that Helena required details on a specific vision.

It was only after all the specifics of the rune dream were given that Helena sat back in her chair. “Recording off.” She lowered her head as she rubbed her eyes. “Fucking Christ, did you two fall into it.”

Kerry asked the most obvious question. “Are we in trouble?”

Helena replied without giving him an answer. “You’re having a vision dream of things that may not happened to you for years, maybe decades, to come and you’re speaking of things of which you can’t possibly have any knowledge.” She sat up and uttered a dry chuckle. “Grey operatives; media teams; code names even. I mean, it’s not like I don’t expect you to achieve the level you mention in your vision, but for the moment—” She cleared her throat. “It’s just that no one expected you to hear about these thing by now.”

“So, what is a grey operative?” Annie wasn’t concerned about being in trouble as they had no control over what was in their vision, so she expect there wouldn’t be a punishment. “I mean, since we heard of it in our dream, it doesn’t make sense to keep the information from us now.”

There was a moment of silence in the office while Helena drummed her fingers on her desk. When she did answer, it was in a roundabout manor. “I’m sure he—” She pointed at Kerry. “—can figure it out.”

 

And if you know Kerry–and you probably do, only not as well as me–you know he’s gonna have an answer.

If you’re lucky he’ll tell you tomorrow.