|I think it says, "Buck buck buck-aww."|
The end of #30 had Rose receiving a call from Amber. The scene change let me focus on the critical part of the phone call. Amber is being herself, with some help from painkillers and caffeine. The note held a threat to Rose if she didn't come through with what Sexton wanted. Amber couldn't read his handwriting. This was mostly self-deprecating; my handwriting gets compared to chicken scratches, with the chickens protesting that they're more legible. At the same time, Amber is provoking the villains again. If she can play with their heads enough, one of them will make a mistake. She's already deep into Smith's mind, having unnerved him back in #23. Keep in mind, it didn't work as well as expected. Amber still has the slug in her shoulder.
If this feels like I'm covering old ground, well, I am covering old ground. This is what happens when I pad a story out. I've mentioned before that most of the writing I did prior to NaNoWriMo was in the form of short stories, typically under 5000 words. I had a premature climax the last time I had hostages taken. However, Sexton is the type of character to threaten someone's family, and I had just Rose's worked out. Elena's is back in Russia and wasn't expected to have an impact on this story. Both Allison and Amber are single and are junior partners in company. Sexton doesn't deal with minions, he deals with the boss. Even if I knew where the younger Ladies' families were, Sexton wouldn't have bothered. All that said, I used my first NaNo as a learning experience. One skill I learned is how to keep the story building up without reusing plot points.
The scene with Rose showed her reaction and showed Elena taking over the planning. Again, it's an echo of the earlier hostage taking. Elena does have a plan in mind. Over the next few chapters, a few details that were set up previously will return. There is a method to the madness.
Back at Rose's home, Amber keeps up her war of wills. Smith is already in a losing position. Rollins, though, recognizes what's happening. If only he had a different boss in his career. I'm not sure when I decided that he was the more sympathetic of Sexton's henchmen; a lot of ideas flowed from the writing. This is good and this is bad. The good part, twists come up that make sense but can still be surprising. Going back to Subject 13, El Diablo Verde's entire character came out of imagining Ricardo Montalban being his voice actor. Here, Rollins being more level-headed and sympathetic let me contrast him to his co-workers. The bad, I sometimes write myself into a corner because what I need characters to do won't fit with their personalities. Rollins won't shoot a puppy; mind, I never needed him to. He might shoot Amber; he won't shoot Maria.
Even with Rollins being the more sympathetic agent, Amber still plays her mind games. Rollins did learn from before; he's not an idiot. With Amber talking back, Maria has picked up some boldness of her own. For her, the situation is surreal. Her kidnappers aren't can't keep the caffeine freak quiet. Their attention really isn't on her, so she can say what she wants.
For those wondering, the Klingon version of the saying is, "Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, prepare to die."
Tomorrow, hostage negotiations.
Saturday, over at MuseHack, the trouble with tie-ins.
Coming soon, gaming prep and more.