As always, please read the chapter before continuing.
Just one scene last week, but it was intense. The younger Ladies are now in the clutches of Sexton's henchmen, and Sexton has a plan to double-cross Rose and kill everyone involved. Allison is willing to let the situation develop; Rose and Elena are still out there, free, and should be aware that the younger Ladies are hostages. Amber, well, part of her doesn't like being ordered around. Her mouth already has Smith riled. Believe it or not, Amber has a plan.
I'd like to point out that Allison never really answered Amber's question about being tied up. Allison has a side venture that takes up her Thursdays, as has been mentioned previously. It was going to be an element hinted at until a full reveal in a later book. Speculation is welcome in the comments.
Rollins isn't that bad, all things considered. Of Sexton's people, he's the idealist. He believes what he's doing with and for Sexton is for the betterment of his country. Smith is far more ruthless, though. Sexton uses Smith as a blunt instrument, when subtlety isn't needed or wanted. Every villain needs someone to do the dirty work, someone who will follow orders while the villain is establishing an alibi elsewhere. Smith is the dog heavy, the guy designated to shoot the dog in a Western, a term I discovered after listening to the director's commentary to Die Hard. That commentary taught me more about movies and movie making than anything else. It's well worth listening to.
Amber's plan, such as it is, was simple. Annoy the henchmen, separate them, and hope that Allison picked up on subtle clues. Amber isn't good at subtle, though. To point out the obvious, the kiss was to let Allison know she was up to something. Allison, even though she didn't know what Amber was up to, used the distraction. There's a difference in the women's fighting styles; Allison has one, Amber doesn't. Allison has had formal training and is well aware of the vulnerable parts on a body. Amber's style is a mash of all the anime she has seen coupled with wrestling moves with as much grace as a falling boulder.
However, when someone brings a gun to a fist fight, it never ends well. Being in a small space doesn't help Smith, but he has two targets and no fear of collateral damage. He probably wouldn't care if Rollins was able to stand up, but with Rollins down, Smith can shoot and stand a chance at hitting one of the Ladies.
Which he did.
Figuring out where Amber was hit took a bit of thought. I didn't want the wound to be "just a flesh wound". At the same time, I needed the wound to be dangerous but not immediately fatal. Most gunshot wounds are just that, wounds, leaving the victim alive but in pain. A shot in the abdomen, though, takes time to heal properly and requires the victim to avoid eating. A chest wound could hit the heart, or just leave a hole in a lung. The shoulder, though, bleeds and removes the victim's ability to use the attached arm. In Amber's case, that means not being able to use a manual transmission.
Of everything I've written, I feel this chapter, with how it ended, proved to me that I can write, that I can go beyond a caricature. The chapter let me write drama, even if I got to it with a gunshot.
Tomorrow, Rose meets with Sexton
Saturday, over at MuseHack, the adaptational news round up for January.
Coming soon, gaming, character building, and, hopefully, photos!