1,047 words today, on four pages. It does feel awfully good to be back.
So, today was a lot of fun. We’re firmly into the new Chapter Three now, and are in the middle of Dow and Sydney Bessette’s examination of the crime scene. I also got to introduce Mobese, who’s my kind of super-unhelpful UN Security officer character. I’ll probably finish the scene tomorrow if I’m lucky.
It’s kind of strange writing one of these scenes and having the crime scene be a place that one of the characters has walked through already. Normally, my detective characters are solitary figures, so having Bessette be there to talk Dow through a lot of the preliminary stuff is making for an interesting change of pace. A lot of the last chapter was from Dow’s perspective, and it was really a lot about him trying to feel out his new partner. I think that when I go through this chapter again in editing, I might try and put it more into Sydney’s head and pare back some of her dialogue as she tries to do the same and leaves him to investigate and deal with Mobese on his own.
That’s about it. We haven’t had an excerpt in a while, so I think I’ll leave you with a little something for tonight. As always, please remember that any novel text that I post here is a first draft and appear in an unedited form.
"Micro-meteor impact," Bessette said, coming in behind Dow. "The room was in full vacuum within thirty seconds. Look, it plowed straight into the floor."
She swept a stray piece of paper out of the way with her foot, revealing an impact warp in the rubber on the floor and a hole that corresponded with the one in the skylight. Dow bent to look. It was a neat hole. Round. He could probably have fit his index finger down it if he wanted. It reminded him, more than anything, of a bullet hole, and that was an unpleasant thought.
"Thirty seconds isn't a lot of time to get clear and seal a hatch behind you."
Bessette shook her head. "The objective isn't to get out. In the event of pressure loss, you're supposed to get a mask on to support you until you can get fully into the room's emergency suit. Besides; the shutters on these skylights are supposed to seal if the room sensors report any sort of atmospheric drop. Cole's didn't, though. My technicians removed the shutter when they put the cap on to re-seal the room, but they haven't found anything wrong with it yet."
Dow righted himself. "Then why didn't he get into the suit?"
Bessette shrugged. "He never even got out of his bunk. We found him there when we finally got into the room. All zipped in, like the alarms never woke him."
The bed was relatively clear of debris. A simple foam mattress with a sleeping bag and pillow growing out of it. The sleeping bag portion was still unzipped and flung open where Bessette's people had removed the body.
"That's unusual. Is that why you suspect—"
Someone cleared their throat from behind Dow and Bessette. A dark, heavily built man in a McMurdo Security jumpsuit was standing in the corridor just beyond the hatch. He had an unhappy set to his mouth and eyes, and nothing else in his face to suggest that the expression ever changed much.
"It's not so unusual," the man said. "Cole was blackout drunk, after all."