As Sam reached for another branch, these contemplations still in his head, he felt a large hand on his arm. When he turned to look at Nathan, the young man gestured towards the hover
“Hey, little buddy – the first chance we get, you’re going to have to let me teach you how to drive one of those things; Sarah, too. We may stumble across another one, and I’d rather have you or Sarah driving it than one of those Controls. I still don’t trust them, exactly, no matter what Elliot says. And there’s always the chance we could get separated. If that happens, I don’t want you two getting stranded. If any more of the scholars’ men catch up to us, you may need to make a run for it. I wouldn’t want them nabbing you because you couldn’t get away when you had the chance.”
Sam shrugged, physically and mentally. He didn’t really like that idea, but he wasn’t about to argue with Nathan and his good intentions. Nathan had been technically eager from the start, at least as far as the hovers were concerned. He had tried to start one of the vehicles on Fervor after they had been abandoned by the adults on the island, before they had received the Directives at the Gathering forbidding it, and he had almost succeeded without the proper training. Sam, on the other hand, had never been interested in driving a hover. He also had found that even though the Languorite had stripped him of his obligations to follow the Directives, he still faced a slight wave of nausea whenever he had to travel in or even be around one of the vehicles. Conditioning, perhaps.
“We’ll learn,” Sarah agreed. “Even if we don’t really want to – right, Sam? It’s important. In fact, I think the first opportunity that Fiona has, she should teach us how to use any of the devices that she knows how to use. It’s not like we’re restricted by the Directives anymore. We’re free from them now; we have to get used to that, again.”
Just a gentle push, that was Sarah’s way, but that was all it took. Sam wanted to please her, not because he felt compelled to like he had with Francis, but because he wanted to; she deserved his cooperation.
Hopefully my flight will go well. Wish me luck!
As I gather my gear and ready for my trip, I thought I’d share an excerpt where some of my characters are doing the same…only I don’t have to steal any maps. Today’s excerpt is from Transcendence, Chapter 7 – Recruitment:
As soon as Nathan returned, they started out towards the combination storage unit/residence. They travelled in pairs so as not to attract any significant amount of attention, with Sam and Angela leading the way, well ahead of the others and Royce at the rear, glancing over his shoulder as he went.
As they neared the building Sam searched the connection to see if Elaine and Elliot were inside. Fortunately, they weren’t. He and Angela slipped inside and he sent her up into the loft to throw down the storm gear while he searched for the records he knew Elliot had stashed somewhere around. He found them in a crate that had been hidden underneath the table where he had first seen the maps. The maps were no longer spread across the tabletop, stored in a plastic tube off to the side. Sam slid out the one with the route to Transcendence on it before pulling the file box out into the open.
“I hope these are one size fits all,” Angela said as she tossed down her fourth set of gear, trying to move as quickly as possible.
“I don’t think it matters. It might be a problem if they’re too small, maybe for Malcolm and Nathan, but otherwise we’ll rig them to fit,” he answered.
He flipped through the records, pulling out the files relating to everyone in his alliance, as well as for Katrina, Anthony and Grace. Then he noticed that Elliot had added to the collection. There were files about the Littles and various house families, information that Royce had retrieved from the Hub. Sam grabbed anything relating to the people in his alliance that was in those files as well. He didn’t get a chance to read any of it, because of the rush, but he thought it might be useful later.
“One more,” Angela informed him. “Then we pack it all up and we’re out of here. In and out, clean as…” She paused in mid-thought, and Sam didn’t think anything of it, partially because he had just made a discovery that had him perturbed.
“The blueprints, they’re gone! We need those. They show the layout of the buildings. They can let us see the security systems. How are we supposed to get Sarah out of Transcendence without them? They were here, with the other files. Where did they go?” Sam leafed through the papers a second time, searching frantically, but to no avail. He started to go through the entire box again, hoping that the records had been reorganized or maybe shuffled around for some reason. That proved futile as well.
“Sam…” He heard Angela descending from the loft, but didn’t stop long enough to look at her.
“I saw them with my own eyes at Elevation. Where could they have gone?” He was tempted to dump the entire box out onto the floor. He was certain that they hadn’t been left behind.
“Never mind them; we’ll just have to wing it. Be quiet, Sam. We have to go, we have to…” He heard rustling as Angela hastily shoved what she had gathered from the loft into a canvas bag, but she stopped suddenly and sucked in a quiet gasp. “Oh no.”
She had sensed trouble before she had heard it, which was why she had alerted Sam to danger a few moments before he would have known it was there by other means. When he stopped rustling through the papers he could make out the sound of voices raised in hostility. He felt around in the connection, easily identifying Nathan, Malcolm and Royce. He detected anger, frustration and defensiveness on their part along with some apprehension. He also noted the distinct presence of Elliot, the lone Connected latent, and one of the ghostly minds he suspected belonged to Elaine. Their diversionary tactics were in play.
That’s it for today. I’m that much closer to my departure to France. I’m looking forward to seeing family and the beautiful sights of Eymet. – More tomorrow.
Continuing with my introduction of the characters and culture in my book, Fervor, I thought it appropriate to present Sarah, my protagonist’s best friend. Here’s a little excerpt to give you some insight into her persona:
Francis emerged from the house with a girl who was even smaller than Sam. The waif-like Sarah, who stared vacantly out at the space before her and allowed herself to be pulled along carelessly by the blond boy, had both dark hair and eyes and a thin frame.
“Sam? Francis said that you were hurt…” Her thoughts were very strong now that they were actually meeting face to face – much stronger than their Teller’s.
“Here – let me be your eyes,” the older boy offered, and then he projected the image that he saw to the slender girl. Sam could see it too, and it felt weird to see himself through someone else’s eyes. He looked so small, his grey eyes sad and accusatory, his light brown hair uncombed and unruly and his rosy cheeks stained by his tears. Sarah knelt beside him and smiled.
“Is it bad?”
Although Sam knew Sarah had the potential to push much harder than even he could, her thoughts were always so soft, so gentle. He nodded without considering that this gesture would be lost on her if Francis had not chosen to pass it along through his projection.
“Let me see what I can do.”
Her mind touched his, and he felt it wrap around the pain and pull it free.
Sarah is a juxtaposition – small for a Little, she is physically weak and vulnerable because of her visual handicap, but she is also the most powerful member of her house-family on a psychic level. Sam likes to refer to her presence in the connection as “an elephant that tiptoes”. She has the potential to push very forcefully, but uses care not to overwhelm others. As a Fixer, her healing skills make her the most valued individual in the group and the others are inclined to protect her, knowing that their well-being may very well depend on hers.
Because she is the only other Little in the house family, she and Sam develop a special bond. Her essence as a Fixer means that she is naturally nurturing and caring. She loves all of her house-family, even when they stray from an acceptable path. She has a fondness for Francis that the others do not share, and tries to include him despite Sam and Fiona’s objections.
Next week: Francis – a lonely and misunderstood Teller