new scene : 40,000 space suits

As you may or may not recall, draft three is trying to accomplish three things:

  • rearranging scenes so that the book keeps all of the balls in the air
  • filling in plot holes that opened up when draft 2 was done by revising each character thread seperately
  • smoothing over the sentences

A lot of the head scratching is done while staring at an outline, and
then the fun part – well, usually the fun part – is executing against
plan. Sometimes it’s a chore, like when I’ve got to fix a major plot
hole. Other times it’s something light and fluffy – filling in a chapter that needs to exist.

Here’s a sample of a new chapter I wrote this morning. Stick around
to the end of this post; I’ve got a post-script about the awesome
setup that this scene creates.

=== ?? 2064: Extreme Environmental Inc, Lincoln MA

Restivo looked at the three men on the far side of the dumpy
conference room table. They seemed young. Too young?

“What makes you think you can do this in three months when Hamilton
Sundstrand said it would take three years?”

The one with the goatee met his eye. “With all due respect to
Hamilton Sundstrand, they’re a division inside a defense contractor
inside a defense contractor. They get paid every year, whether they
develop anything or not. We’re a small firm. We have to hustle. I
think our work on the Everest Adventure Team suits shows what we can

Restivo pursed his lips. “That was just 12 suits. We’re looking at
40,000 suits here. More if you include training and spares. How can
you possibly deliver that many?”

The second principle of the firm answered. “Fourty or 40,000 – it
doesn’t matter. Once we get the design nailed down it’s all over to
the machines.”

Restivo nodded. He’d already known the answer, but he felt compelled
to ask the question anyway. He really didn’t like the position he was
in – so many untrusted vendors, so many rushed orders. Something was
going to go catastrophically wrong. Still, with the timetable the
president had given him, he had no other alternative. “OK, you’ve got
the contract.”

The first one, goatee kid, coughed, then managed to gasp. “We got the
contr- we got it? Doesn’t this need – a huge contract like this? It
can’t – are you sure?”


“It can’t be that simple. We – we didn’t even get a call back from
our state rep. Are you sure you can just give us this contract?”

“I’ll sign it right now.”

The three men exchnaged glances then started grinning.

The second one stopped smiling for a moment and raised one finger.
“I’ve got a question. We could save a hell of a lot of time in the
development process if we could hang onto that helmet.”

Restivo furrowed his brow. “Really? I thought you were going to
reuse the helmets from the Everest thing?”

“Oh, we are – but the computer is in helmet. If we can copy all the
software – heat balancing, coms, all that – it’ll save us a ton of

Restivo thought about it for a moment. They had two dozen more of
these from the other captured ships.

“Sure”. He pushed the ziplock evidence bag across the table.

“Uh – do we need to sign for that?”

Restivo shook his head. “All the regulations are out the window.
Just get this done. Lives – thousands of lives – depend on this.”

Goatee kid looked serious for the first time in the conversation. He
swallowed. “Yes sir.”

Now, the really awesome thing here is that in the final battle the PKs are all going to be wearing spacesuits running software that was written by a bunch of random strangers on the moon.

…and some of those random strangers are uplifted dogs who have been using the heads-up displays in their suits to do some ultra-nerdy LARPing.

I think you can see where this is going.


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