Here are the next three scenes from RIFT, still first draft material, meaning the finished novel will look quite different. But if you like to follow the process and see what happens between these scenes and the published novel, read on.
The manuscript is now with my editor, and we´ll probably be going back and forth as we use to, before it is ready to publish. As soon as it´s out, my newsletter subscribers (who haven´t heard from me for a while now- too busy writing) will be the first to know. And they will get a 75% discount. Want in? Click here!
So, here´s RIFT:
RIFT - Scene 27
The first thing Sue noticed was the clean sheets. Then it was the white walls and the spotless suits of the nurses milling about. She remembered being captured by the Northerners, and the cleanliness of this place surprised her. She had been taught the people beyond the north border was dirty savages, and even the thought of them having something resembling a hospital was so distant from everything she´d ever expected. For a moment she believed she had been saved by a janissary rescue squad and brought back to Camp Gustavson.
But the language spoken around her was neither English nor the strange words that the Moon people sometimes spoke among themselves. She instantly recognized the sounds, reminding her of the first time she had been in combat. Of a woman taken prisoner. A woman she had shot.
Sue lifted her head, and a headache forced her down again.
«Careful mademoiselle. You have lost much blood.» A man´s voice, in accented English. He bent over her, and she saw a man with features that could have belonged to a pure Moon blood if not for the words that came out of his mouth.
«You need rest, for now. Don´t worry… Atlas, is that it? Hmm English then, am I correct?» Sue nodded carefully, wondering how he knew her name. A nurse came over and checked a machine standing by her bedside. She spoke a few words to the man, and then walked off. Sue tried to raise her hand. Chained to the bed.
«We have to be careful, I´m Sure you understand. We will talk more later. Now rest.» he said, and turned his back on her. She coughed, and tried to speak.
The man turned back again.
«Please, mademoiselle. You shouldn´t speak.»
She strained to get the words out.
«Did anyone else survive?» she whispered. The man´s brow furrowed, and he took a step closer.
«I assume you ask of your own people, yes? The janissaries.»
She mouthed a yes, soundlessly.
«Two more made it here. We lost one on the operating table.» Sue thought his eyes looked sad. Curious.
«The woman had lost too much blood. The man lives though. The rest I´m afraid are dead. As are so many of our people.» he finished, about to turn back again. Sue cut him off.
«You know my name.» she said. «What is yours?» The man smiled at her.
«You should not worry about that, mademoiselle Atlas.» he turned away, and walked away. As he stood by the doors, waiting for them to slide over, he turned around, reluctantly.
«I am only a doctor.» he said.
«Your… name…» Sue said, feeling herself sliding back into unconsciousness.
«Dr. Gregory Marsden Dubois.» the man said, his voice distant, as he disappeared before her eyes, along with the rest of the world.
RIFT - scene 28
She was feeling better, finally. She couldn´t remember much of the past few days, only that she had been sliding in and out of consciousness until she finally remained awake long enough to notice more of the people around her. There were six beds in her room. All empty save hers and one more. The person in the other bed was on the far side of the room, and was unconscious all the time. Sue remembered the doctor mentioning that a man had survived. She tried asking the nurses about him, but got no reply other than confused looks and gibberish in that strange language. None of them spoke any English, it seemed.
On the third day - it must have been three days - the doctor returned. This time a woman in a camouflage patterned uniform came with him. The two had the same angular features and the same sand- colored hair, but hers was cut shorter. And she had stars on her collar.
«Mademoiselle Atlas, meet colonel Renee Marsden Dubois.» he said. The woman remained standing, one step behind the man, Dr. Gregory. Sue cocked her head.
«Your wife?» she said without thinking. The two laughed in reply.
«No, mademoiselle,» the woman said, «he´s my twin brother. You are very perceptive.» Dr. Gregory motioned for one of the nurses to fetch chairs, and they both sat down. The doctor looked at his sister, before he spoke.
«So, your friend is still unconscious, I hear. I´m sorry. I am afraid he will not wake again.» Sue glanced over at the unmoving form.
«Can´t you do anything…» Dr. Gregory shook his head.
«If we had your technology… He has sustained severe damages to the head.»
«But what if you got him back? What if you could arrange for prisoner exchange or something?» she trailed off. What was she thinking? How many times had she heard the orders not to take prisoners?
«The Covenant seldom takes prisoners.» the woman said, a hoarseness in her voice. «And even if you did, he would never get the necessary treatment. Rory, that´s an English name, yes?» Sue nodded, stunned. So it was Rory, and he was dying.
«Only Moon people get cryo treatment, unless he already earned his citizenship.» Sue looked at Rory´s unmoving shape. A second rate citizen, about to give his life for the Covenant. Even if she could somehow break them free, Rory would die. Simply because he was English. Expendable.
Dr Gregory got to his feet.
«I´m sorry about your loss, mademoiselle. But I have other patients to tend to. My sister would like a word with you though, so I will leave you two together.» He walked out, and Sue looked at Renee.
«Time for interrogation then.» she said drily. The colonel only smiled. Sue thought it must be a high rank, from the way the nurses looked at her, but then she hadn´t even known the northerners had ranks.
«I believe we should talk.» Renee just said.
RIFT - scene 29
«Hold your fire. Wait for my signal» Kirilov´s whisper was inaudible except for the ear bud that amplified the sound inside Dave´s ear, making the order clear and loud enough. Dave felt a shiver running down his spine, but his finger on the trigger was remarkably steady. He blinked. The flicker in the corner of his vision was a nuisance, and though he mostly managed to ignore it, he was afraid it could hinder his aim. Once they got home he would have to see if it could be fixed. Hasle might have some ideas.
The monsters moved slowly, but steadily toward them, and Dave took aim at one of the larger ones. They looked like a mix of images he´d seen in school books, of ancient beasts now extinct. Dinosaurs, elephants, dragons. Most walked on their hind legs, while others used all fours. He even noticed one being carried by a larger one. Probably its mother. Even the baby monster looked fearsome, like it could devour a grown man.
He looked over at the others. Scott aiming at the center, Greer at the one on the far left, and Baldwin at the one furthest to the right. Most seemed to mill about behind the large one in the middle though. Scott would probably cut down half their number within seconds.
«Listen up.» Kirilov´s voice cut his thoughts off. «Once we open fire, they will spread out. So cover the flanks while Scott does the heavy lifting. Wagner, you pick off anyone trying to move closer. I don´t want anyone getting away, so once we´re done, we move out and finish them off up close. Remember, they will kill you if yu show the slightest weakness. So be swift and ruthless. And whatever you do, do not remove your goggles.» A trickle of sweat reached the corner of Dave´s goggle, but he gritted his teeth and tried to ignore the itch. He certainly wouldn´t oppose Kirilov´s orders.
«Everyone get ready…»
Dave saw one of the monsters stroking the back of a smaller one, that seemed to have a hard time keeping up. The small one let out a yelp, and the larger growled in response.
A deafening sound erupted, yelps and growls forgotten. Scott´s machine gun rattled, the bangs indistinguishable from each other, Dave hesitated for a moment, enough for him to lose his aim. Where was that beast he´d been aiming at. From the right flank a series of bursts kicked in, decimating the monsters on Baldwin´s side. Dave still tried to find his aim, but gave up and fired wildly into the flock. The monsters fell, their blood spattering all over as they tried to run for cover. But there was no cover to be had, and one after another they fell, writhing, screeching, yelping. It was slaughter.
«What the hell is this?» The shout from his left made him look up. Greer was half way standing, and Dave saw he had put his weapon down. He looked around, and saw Kirilov and the other seniors had joined in, firing at whatever moved out there.
«What have you done to us? Why…» Greer screamed hysterically, until his chest erupted, and he fell to the ground, eyes and mouth wide open, goggles pushed up on top of his head like a second pair of eyes.
«Sniper!» he heard Kirilov shout, and he took aim again. The monsters were all down now, but he scanned the far side of the clearing, searching for the sniper.
«Damn it, why didn´t the rangers pick this up?» one of the seniors said, before Kirilov cut him off.
«Shut up Jan. You know the enemy sometimes trail the monsters. Everyone, we have to make sure they are all dead. Let´s move it. Seniors watch for the sniper, juniors watch the monsters.»
«What about Greer?» Scott said, and Kirilov sneered in response.
«He´s dead, and he brought it upon himself. Standing up like that… Now move!» The three remaining junior Wardens stood up, and walked toward the carnage, the seniors following a few steps behind.
«Shit.» Baldwin whispered. The silence was palpable, and only their breathing and a soft whisper of branches moving in the slight breeze broke the quiet.
«Remember, keep your goggles on at all times.» Kirilov spoke sternly. A movement in his peripheral vision made Dave flinch and half- turn, but it was just the irregular flicker.
«What is it, Wagner?» Kirilov said.
«Nothing, Sir. Just something interfering with my goggles.»
«Hold it, let me see.» Kirilov walked up to him and put something, an electronic device Dave had never seen before, up in front of him.
«What do you see?» he said. Dave hunched his shoulders.
«Nothing, just that box or whatever it is.» Kirilov seemed to relax, and put the box away in his pocket.
«Good. Now, everyone, let´s get this done so we can go home.»
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