I love watching deleted scenes from movies. Those little moments that didn’t make the final cut, but can still give insight in the characters and stories. Just like in movies there are a lot of scenes that get cut when writing book. There’s lots of reasons why a scene gets cut. It might not move the story forward, or it’s slowing down the action. Maybe it’s to repetitive of other moments in the story. Or maybe the way you’re telling the story changes and the scene no longer fits into the narrative.
That was the case for the three short scenes below. Before I decided to stick with just Crystal and Desi’s point of view for the story I had written several scenes from the point of view of other characters as well. For the most part it was easy to rework those scenes to fit in with that, but the capture the flag chapter really had to be pared down in order to make it work since there are so many moving parts and action that take place without either Crystal or Desi being present.
I thought it would be fun to go back (all the way to draft 4) and take a look at the capture the flag scenes I had to cut from the point of view of Grady, Justin, and Tyler. And just like with a lot of deleted scenes from the movies I haven’t done a whole of editing to these. Enjoy!
Grady had divided his people into two teams, those with Sertex blood and those without, just as they had done during their raid on the CDC headquarters. It was a brilliant plan. Desi had no experience fighting in Neophia so she would never be prepared for them. Grady led the Sertex team. They had all blended into the background so they were virtually invisible. As planned they had let Desi’s team pass untouched and were now following behind them unseen waiting for the right time to act.
Grady had to keep biting the inside of this cheek to keep himself quiet. He found the way Desi was leading her team highly assuming. Moving with her body pressed against the inside wall, the elaborate hand singles she used to communicate, and her annoying habit of retracing her steps were complicated and ineffective. It was clear that Desi didn’t trust her team making them easy prey for Grady.
When Desi sent a scouting party down a separate hallway, two men from Grady’s team went after them without being ordered to do so. They all knew the plan and the role they had to play in it. Grady moved his team closer. They would have to act soon before Desi ran into the rest of their team fully visible a few halls ahead. Desi was moving faster now and several members of her team were starting to fall behind. The time to act had come. Grady fell into step behind a member of Desi’s team. He placed an invisible hand over the mouth of the man he was tailing. He used his other hand to grab the soldier’s weapon arm and twist it behind his back. The soldier was caught so off guard that he allowed himself to be led into an empty room behind him without a fight.
The rest of Grady’s team had followed suit and they had managed to capture seven members of Desi’s team without firing a shot. Now visible, Grady’s team quickly relieved them of their weapons and tied them up in the middle of the room. “Sorry about this,” he said with a chuckle as he placed a piece of tape over the last soldier’s mouth, “but I can’t have you running off and giving our whole plan away. I’m sure you understand.” Grady rose to his feet and looked at his team. “Everyone ready.” They all gave Grady a nod before becoming invisible again.
“Now you kids just sit tight,” Grady patted the head of their hostages in a mocking fashion. “We’ll come back and get you once the party’s over.” The captured members of Desi’s team scowled at him as he led his invisible team out of the room.
Justin’s footsteps echoed in the empty corridors. He wasn’t bothering to keep his team quiet as he led them towards Desi’s flag. He knew in his gut that they wouldn’t be discovered. His only concern was getting Desi’s flag and returning it to Crystal as quickly as possible. He had never felt so determined in his life. Despite everything that had happened between Crystal and him he still had not completely abandoned hope. This was the perfect opportunity to try to win some favor with her. If the military was Crystal’s whole life then he would do everything in his power to prove that he belonged there too, and right now that meant winning this game.
As they made their way back towards the center of the building, Justin began to slow his team down. From what he could remember of the blue print they were getting close. He couldn’t risk being caught now. He peered around the next corner. A lone member of Desi’s team stood at the end of the hallway. He was exactly where Justin expected him to be. Justin watched him for a few minutes. The guard seemed nervous, edgy. When his partner returned a few seconds later he jumped and trained his gun on him until he realized who it was. Justin watched for a few seconds longer to see if anyone else showed up, but no one did. He had been right, Desi hadn’t devoted a lot of resources to her defense.
Justin led his team into a small room one hall over from his target. They all started examining the ceiling. After a few seconds a member of Justin’s team called out “over here,” while she pulled a screw driver out of her pocket. Justin and another member of his team hoisted her towards the ceiling where she quickly removed the vent cover. She slowly pulled herself into the vent, Justin followed quickly behind her.
The dust in the vent duct was thick. It took all of Justin’s concentration not to sneeze. Slowly they crawled towards the room with the flag. It seemed to be taking them an exuberant amount of time to reach their target. With every passing second Justin’s anxiety grew. He could not fail. This was his last chance.
Up ahead his team member had stopped. She had reached their target. Justin approached the vent cautiously. He felt the panic starting to rise inside his chest. The room was dark, there was no way he could tell if they had reached the right room or not. They had to be absolutely positive they had reached the right room. They would only get one shot at this. His teammate was watching him expectantly. Ignoring his sudden bout of self-doubt he motioned for her to start removing the screws from the vent. Her precision was impressive and she was able to remove the first three screws without making a sounds. The fourth, however, slipped through her fingers and fell through the vent to the floor below.
They both froze. They heard the door open and suddenly the room was flooded with light. Justin swore the beating of his heart would give them away. On an upside, at least they knew they were at the right room. Justin could now see the flag laying haphazardly on shelf in the closet below. “See I told you it was nothing, stop being so paranoid,” said one of Desi guards. After a few seconds he turned off the light and shut the door again.
Justin caught his teammate’s eye and they exchanged a huge grin. Quickly they removed the vent. Justin jumped down into the room, careful not to make a sound, and grabbed the flag. A second later and was back in the vent on his way to rejoining the rest of his team. They had managed to steal Desi’s flag with anyone even knowing. Needless to say his whole team was ecstatic as they made their way back to their base.
Tyler followed faithfully behind Desi, though his confidence in her was beginning to waiver. Half of their team was missing, a fact Desi had yet to notice. He had tried to alert her to this but she had merely brushed him off. He had to assume that she had her reasons. She was a highly experience combat officer, whereas he had not yet completed his first combat mission. Still, she had named him second in command. That must mean she trusted him. So while Desi was focused on leading them towards a win, Tyler focused on covering their tail, in case any other members of their team decided to go missing.
It was during one of the brief moments when he was looking over his shoulder that Tyler ran into Desi. She had stopped suddenly. She pressed her body flat against the wall and peered around the corner into the next hallway. She pointed around the corner and moved out of the way so that Tyler could look. He saw Crystal’s team waiting for them half way down the hall. He quickly looked them over. He did not see Crystal or Grady. They appeared calm and confident despite their apparent lack of leadership.
Desi grabbed Tyler’s sleeve and pulled him down into a crouching position. The rest of the team quickly followed suit. That’s when Tyler heard it. A stifled laughed. Barely a syllable had escaped into the air. Tyler whipped around. He was positive the sound had come from behind him though he saw no one there. He trained gun over the heads of his teammates and fired. Desi fired her gun at the same time though in the opposite direction.
“What the hell are you doing,” she yelled at Tyler. They were supposed to make the first strike against Crystal’s team together. “Where the hell is everyone?” She asked finally realizing that half the team was missing.
Tyler didn’t answer. He was watching as members of Crystal’s team suddenly appeared behind them. His shot had caused a few of them to break their concentration so they were no longer able to blend into the back ground. Tyler caught Grady’s eye as Grady aimed his gun at him. Tyler dove out of the way, Grady’s shot connected with the wall where Tyler had just been. The pounding sound of footsteps from the adjoin hallway was growing louder. “We’re surrounded,” Tyler called to Desi who was firing round after round at Crystal’s team.
Desi was coping much better than the rest of her team. They were so surprised to find themselves suddenly surrounded that they were easy targets for Crystal’s team. Tyler frantically scanned the hallway for a way to escape. There was a door a few feet ahead of them. Tyler grabbed Desi and pulled her towards it. They may be down, but Tyler refused to give up without a fight.