Monday, November 16, 2015

Outer Planets: The Cutting Room -- Final Chapter

This will be the final installment of Greg and Elena's scenes from the cutting room floor of my upcoming novel, The Outer Planets. These two individuals will remain pivotal supporting characters in the novel, but their personal relationship will not make it into the final text. (As I mentioned before, they may have their own spin-off story at some future date. I'm still mulling that idea.)

If you want to catch up on the two previous Cutting Room posts, you can read them HERE and HERE.

To recap these characters' roles:

 Meet "Chief" Greg Farr, the head of security on the planetary exploration vessel NSS Robert Bradley. He's also an inspector in the RCMP--Royal Canadian Mounted Police. So, yes...he's a Mountie in spaaaaaaace.

 His love interest? Elena Stevens, a wise-cracking, happy-go-lucky med tech (the futuristic equivalent of a nurse-slash-physician's assistant) in the ship's Medical section, more popularly known as Med Bay. Elena is Hispanic and hails from San Antonio, Texas. (She's also a huge Spurs fan. Yeah, I'm making a gamble that the Spurs are still alive and kickin' in the early 2040s.)

*     *     *

Greg hadn’t seen Elena for three days when she stepped onto the lift that morning and gave him an uncertain smile.
            “Hi,” he said.
            “Hello, yourself.”
            When he didn’t—couldn’t—say anything more, Elena leaned against the back wall of the unit, dropping her head and the smile. Greg fought the urge to gather her in his arms and breathe in the scent of her hair. He knew what happened between them had no rationale, but he couldn’t pretend it hadn’t happened at all.
            Before he was fully aware his body was in motion, he had pressed the HOLD button on the lift panel.
            Her head came up, questions in her eyes.
            Greg moved to stand in front of her. “Talk to me.”
            She straightened, folding her arms across her chest defensively but didn’t avoid his eyes. “I don’t know where to start.”
            He tried to read her body language and failed. "Just talk."  
            "Okay." Elena’s arms unfolded and eased down to her sides. She never looked away. “I know you needed me. I needed you, too. I guess it’s a little late to second guess ourselves, now. It happened.”
            "Yeah." Greg studied the generous bow of her lips and the intelligence in her dark eyes. He’d crossed a line, broken through a wall, recklessly and without a plan. He was on the other side now, in that place where right and wrong blurred, deep in a purgatory he once believed he should avoid at any cost.
            And it was costing him.
            Greg reached out to brace his hand against the wall, leaning in. “’Lena,” he whispered, shaking his head.
The cold, wary steel in her eyes warmed a degree. “We made a mistake, Greg. We’re human.”
He moved his hand from the wall to cup her cheek. “We are.”
“Don't you wish you could just erase it from your memory banks?”
He lowered his mouth and she met him halfway. It was a soft, slow meeting of souls. His fingertips settled lightly on her throat, feeling her pulse jump against his touch. She reached for his free hand, threaded her fingers with his and gently squeezed. 
She was the first to break contact, eyes closed and mouth still parted when she tucked her head beneath his chin. “This can’t happen again.”
He nuzzled her hair. “I know.”
“I’m running late,” she breathed.
“Me, too.” His hand trailed from her neck to her shoulder and down her arm before he broke contact and stepped away to release the HOLD button.
When the lift stopped on Main she moved to the seal and angled her head his way. “See you around. Chief.”
“You bet. Stevens.” The right side of his mouth curved up in a half-smile and he watched her beat a quick tempo toward Med Bay. The lift seal closed, leaving him alone.
*     *     *
This was actually one of my favorite scenes between Greg and Elena.

Greg is a man of few words. He speaks exactly eighteen in this exchange, but the subtext and his internally monologue serves to fill in the blanks.

Elena is still processing their encounter. Though she's mentally trying to chalk it up to "just one of those things" it's apparent she's struggling with the aftermath.

These are two disciplined, ethical individuals who both put a high value on morality and now must deal with the emotional consequences of breaking their own rules.

Though I'm sad to see this personal interaction go, I agreed it was distracting from the main mystery and suspense of the primary plot line. The novel was too "busy" and required a sound trim to better focus on the essential elements. 
Seven Weeks of the Season Holiday Celebration

Happy Holidays! Right up until the third week of December, 
random commenters on selected posts will be chosen to receive special gifts.
 It's our thanks to you for visiting Spacefreighters Lounge.

We didn't have any outside comments on last week's post, so I'll sweeten the pot for this week. A random commenter will receive the special gift package with both week's prizes. 

Good luck and have a great week!

~~ * ~~


  1. That is a great scene for sure. Shared it!

  2. Thanks so much, Pauline. Glad you enjoyed the scene. :)

  3. Ooh, I like that scene. Especially the lack of full sentences coming from Greg. I can imagine what he is saying with his eyes. It must be so hard to cut it out.

  4. Aw, thanks Riley! Yes, it was hard to cut--argh!--but I know the book is going to be better for it in the long run.


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