A deleted scene from Time Up
Have you read Time Up? Here’s a scene between Ben and Van that got cut in early editing.
Ben’s was at the top of his list.
“You haven’t had a physical in four years,” he said, after popping his head into Ben’s office. Ben looked like a dog who’d been caught nosing through the trash.
“I’ve been very busy.”
He nodded. “The pressing-ist.”
“Protocols dictate twice annual physicals for all staff.”
“I’ll move it to the top of my to do list, promise.”
“What are you doing now? Spacetime seems to be intact for the moment. I bet you could be spared.” Ben sighed. Van watched as he mentally searched for an excuse. “Humor me. Fifteen minutes.”
A few minutes later, they were in Sickbay. Ben undressed while Van prepared a blank medical chart on a notebook-sized computer screen attached to the wall by a metal arm. Like his comm and Station’s other computers, it was a thin, rounded-off piece of clear glass.
He told Ben to have a seat on the table, then started with a look at his ear with an otoscope. He moved on to the nose, mouth eyes. He moved down the body, checking Ben for any signs of problems.
“When did you have your appendix out?” Van said, when he got down to the stomach. Ben had a faint scar across his right-lower quadrant.
“When I was thirteen. Collapsed at a junior-high basketball game, right when I was about to take a foul shot after some dippy-blond kid from the private Catholic school in the mouth elbowed me in the mouth.”
“Where’d you grow up?”
“Well, everything seems to be in the right places. Any complaints?” He stared at Van for a few seconds, his crystal green eyes almost bright enough to catch a fire. Then he shook his head. “You mean other than the this damned doctor interrupting my work day to look up my nose and press on my stomach?”
“Yeah, other than that.”
“No, I’m good then.”
“Just two more orders of business.” He handed Ben a small plastic cup. “I trust you know what to do with that. But first …” He slipped on a pair of gloves and then laid a syringe on a tray table next to Ben. Ben glanced down at it, then tensed. His eyes went wide. Van wasn’t sure what to say, at first.
“Needles not your thing?”
“Are needles anyone’s thing?”
“Good point. I’ll make it as quick as I can.”
Ben nodded and laid his forearm out, inside up. Van told him to keep his eyes up and remember to breath. He wrapped a rubber tourniquet around his bicep and tapped the fold of Ben’s elbows. Lucky for him, he had big round veins. Van started to tell him about his morning on the beach, and then, just as he was to the part were Kyle Owens came bounding across the sand, stuck the needle through Ben’s arm. Deftly, he loosened the tourniquet and popped a vial into the syringe. He wanted two, but for Ben’s sake, he settled for one. He put a folded square of gauze over the edge of the needle and pulled it out, then told Ben to hold it tight. He labeled the vial and then sat down to make some notes in Ben’s chart.
“So what about you,” Ben said. “I know you grew up here, but your file says no family in the area. It didn’t say anything about family, actually.”
“I was raised by my aunt and uncle.”
“What happened to your parents?”
Van heard the question, but he didn’t answer. He put a band aid across the gauze pad on Ben’s arm, then told him his was good to go and reminded him not to forget the urine sample.
Van shrugged. “For what?”
“For being cool about the needle thing.”
“I don’t like small, enclosed spaces. We’ve all got something.”
Ben smiled and then left. He brought the urine sample back a few minutes later. Van finished up his chart and sent the samples down to the lab for testing.
I cut this scene because both of my editors and most of my early readers flagged it. Most didn’t see how it fit into the story, and truthfully, a lot of it wasn’t intended to fit in this story. I was planting some seeds I wanted to use in later books, but at the time we didn’t know if there’d be any later Station One books. Now, I’m kind of sad it was cut. I think it definitely started the Van and Ben relationship on a more sure-footing. We don’t get to see them interact much until they’re searching for the homeless lady around Mission Beach. There’s also something else important here: the bit about Van’s parents and family, which plays a little more prominently in This Time Around.
I do think the scene could use a lot of work. It needs to be tightened, for example, but I think some of it should’ve stayed a part of the story. It’s made my job a little harder in the second part, that’s for sure. Going forward, I’ll trust my own instincts a little more.