Friday, November 16, 2012

Hot Chips and Sand 36-40 First Draft Comparison

Hot Chips and Sand
Copyright © 2012 Mary Hughes
All rights reserved

“Exile? Surely you’re going back eventually? Can’t you raise an army, or convince Congress or the U.N. to help, or…?” VickieShe wasn’t quite sure what aid a deposed ruler had at his disposal, but there had to be someone who would help.
No.Normally I could. But the world at large has more on its mind than a tiny country in the Middle East. By the time I could get any viable forces gathered, the protection grid wouldwill be in place. and Fahrrad wouldwill be immune to attack. And the world at large has more on its mind than a tiny country in the Middle East.”
Vickie stared at him, at first not comprehending. Then, “Cliff is still going through with the deal?”
“Yes, of course. Cliff Kulinahr shrugged. “He is a consummate businessman. He will do business with Fahrrad ifSince he cannot do business with me., he will do business with Fahrrad. And probably turn a better profit.” Kulinahr’s mouth twitched. “Fahrrad . The man does not know how to bargain.”
Agitated, Vickie stood.leaped to her feet. “There are things that are more important things than the bottom line!”
“I doubt if Cliff thinks so. ButPlease don’t be upset on my account, Vickie. I owe himCliff my life. And I will avenge my people eventually.”
Vickie felt strangely sick. Yet another situation where, her head and her heart disagreed. No. This was worse. What Cliff proposed to do, to assistdisagreeing violently. Though she understood the business sense she couldn’t shake how wrong it felt. Assisting a cruel dictator like Fahrrad with his plans to lockin locking up an entire country,? Unthinkable.
Heroes used their power for the greater good. She’d thought Cliff was her hero.
Where was unthinkable. Did Cliff lackher hero’s basic human concerncompassion?
Vickie was convinced that the more power a person possessed, the greater their responsibility. Cliff was a man of great physical strength, and, according to Kulinahr and the captain, of significant worldly power. It went completely against her grain to see him abrogate his responsibility this way.[MH1] 
And admit it, Vickie. You thought you finally found the perfect man. Well, they only exist in fairy tales.
“Vickie? Are you all right?”Kulinahr was watching
She looked up. Kulinahr’s eyes rested on her with warm concern. “Vickie? Are you all right?”She coughed, covered by picking up and sipping her coffee. “Oh, sure. Just a little concernedworried about you. What will you do now?”
“As you can see, I have been writing. “Writing letters.” He gestured at the desk. “I am not without influence. Perhaps there is still something I can do in what time I have left. before the project is complete.”
“Which is how long?”
Cliff estimated the project could be done in under six months, with some new machine at his disposal. There may yet be time.”Not long, but still some time.” He shook his head and sighed.
He shook his head and sighed. Vickie could see he was “You’re getting tired. She stood.
“Thanks for the coffee,”I’d better go.” Immediately she said, immediately cursingcursed herself. She had never been one for appropriate niceties. She stood awkwardly. “I mean, um, thanks for the coffee.”
He lifted his face to her and smiled. “Thank you, Vickie Johnston. Just talking has helped me. I will see you again.”
OnBack at her way back to the hotel, Vickie reflected on what Kulinahr had told her. She hadwas left feeling unusually helpless. She’d offered himKulinahr any assistance he might need, and left feeling unusually helpless. And Cliff. He could help, he had helped. Why but how much could she reasonably give? She was he ignoring Kulinahr’s needs?a project manager and software developer, not a government or even a hero. That was Cliff’s job.
He had seemed like a dreamShe flung herself onto her bed. When she’d needed rescuing he leaped into the breach, strong, dynamic, heroic. But moreMore than that, his intelligence in coping with the situation, his gentle attitude when she had nearly broken down had impressed her to her core.
She shook her headherself angrily. She hadShe’d allowed herself to get carried away with her daydreams about the man, and now she was paying for it. ‘Old reality intrudes again, Vickie. Give it up. Romance is not for you.’Reality sucked.
She got up off the bed then, unaware of the wet pillow she had left behind. She calledphoned the airline and told them she would bepaid an exorbitant fee to shift her departure time, returning immediately. Then, aA stiff smile on her face, she wentheaded home.
* * * * * * *
The phone rang loudly in the empty room, clanging five times before the young blond man ran, cursing, through the doorway. He caught it on the sixth ring.
“I didn’t expect you to call.” He was still panting a little.
The voice at the other end was wry. “I didn’t expect to call. Something’s come up.”
“Not more bad news, I hope.”
There was a silence. The blond man waited patiently until the other voice said, “No. Good news. Definitely, rather. I’ve solved that problem we had in staffing.”
The blonde manblond threw himself into the chair, grunting as he hit. “That was quick.”
Another pause. “I know. But it’s right.”
“If you say so. Well, that’s oneOne less thing to worry about, at least. Do you want me to make arrangements?”
The line chuckled to itself for a few seconds before the answer came. “No. I’ll take care of it myself.”
After he had hung up, the man in the chairblond grinned to himself. ItFrom the interest in his boss’s voice, it actually looked like two less things to worry about.

Chapter 4
Vickie had been back at work for two weeks when the meeting notice came. She read it once, quickly, then to keep her anger from making her do something stupid, she printed it out and read it again, slowly. It didn’t work.
Nope. Still pissed. She stormed into Phil’s office. “What in the name of all the gods of logic do you think you’re doing, ?”
She slammed the door shut behind her. “I don’t have time for a new account. I just got a handle on the Geocom database, and you know the Delmar conversion is behind because of that little escapade I had…”—”
            “…and“And you are my top analyst and I need you on this assignment.” Phil Westerby, slightly balding but otherwise showing little oftook his rapidly‑approaching middle‑agetea and seated himself calmly behind his desk. It was a signal, so, agitated though she was, Vickie sat too.
            She knew something important was up. ItHer brain started working again. While it was true that the president of Fitzwater Software and Consulting, Jerry Fitzwater, would try to make them work 26 hour daystwenty-six/ten if he thought he could. Jerry,  suspend the laws of time and space—bless his money‑grubbing soul, wouldhe’d be more than happy if she took on another client. But—Phil usually Phil did a better job of running interference.
Something was up.
Phil deliberately began polishing set down his tea, removed his high refraction glasses. “The , and started polishing them, slowly and deliberately. “Have you heard of the Hawkesclyffe Computer Company is a ?”
“Before seeing them on my already overfull client list?” She waved the printout of the meeting notice. “I know a little. Hawkesclyffe is a genius and the HCC is his hardware firm.”
“A high‑powered hardware firm, sure to be . They’re growing at Moore’s law’s rate—Fortune 500 within three yearsnow, and if they keep up their phenomenal growth. And if this newlatest chip is even close to what the engineers say it is, they will take over the industry.” ”—Phil leaned forward and tapped his glasses pointedly on thehis desk blotter. —“they will take over the industry.”
            ““Okay, so they’re important. Give them to someone who has time for them.”
He made a small noise and perched his glasses on his nose. “You don’t understand how important this is. If we become Hawkesclyffe’sHCC’s software house Vickie, why, every sale offirm, the new HCC300 series will be bundled with our software bundled in. It will make our company one of the biggest players in the market.”
            Vickie made a rude noise. “Then give“Good, it’s important. Give it to Mel. He’s always belly aching that he can do iteverything better than me.”
“Can’t.” Phil smiled gently. “He won’t like it. He hates everything.” He stopped, and looked at her quizzically. “Besides, he asked specifically for you.”
 “No Vickie. Sir Humphrey Hawkesclyffe.”
Vickie groaned. work with. Well, she She supposed, geniuses only havehad to be nice to their loan officers, not their vendors. And you had to be self‑confident“Why me? I’m too young to start up in such a competitive industry with only your own radical, untested ideas.
            Radical. It seemed so at odds with the with an old fart named Sir Humphrey. An English.”
“First, he may be old but he’s known for his radical ideas. Second, even though he’s a British knight of some sort. But , his company wasis based in the U.S.A. She had looked into it during a job‑hunt about five years ago, when Hawkesclyffe Computers was just getting off the ground. The company, though, not its founder. United States.”[MH3] 
She had always imagined Hawkesclyffe himself to look, oh, maybe like  Alistair Cooke. Slenderstill pictured him like Alec Guiness, slender, white haired, and carrying a walking stick, wing‑tipped shoes, the works.
            Why had Hawkesclyffe asked for her, then? Her research into his company was just that. She had never sent a resume, or anything. . “Why her?did he ask for me? Why not Philyou, or Alice, or any of another half‑a dozen higher level management??”
Phil shrugged. “Dunno. But he wants you. So you’ll be at that meeting. And your temper won’t. Got it?”
“Got it.”

 [MH1]The old "abrogate his responsibility" is term paper writing. Fiction must be snappy with clear nouns and strong verbs. Thus the new "Villains abused, idiots wasted."

 [MH2]Yay, setting the scene!

 [MH3]Large chunks of exposition are like mashed potatoes without gravy or butter. I gave this information more snap by embedding it in an argument.

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