I hear a lot of people wondering how to extend word counts, get subplots going, etc. A good subplot to create is two antagonists. A main one, and then the secondary one, which leads to your MC going after the main 'bad guy' but having to get through the 'smaller bad guy first.' Taking that approach allows for dialogue between your MC and the second bad guy-which'll move your story along, and provide a secondary level of tension. I do it in this scene, which I'm still polishing. To set the scene, Kate set a booby trap with a grenade, which killed on mercenary, but maimed a girl, teen more like it, who would've bled to death because there wasn't a way to get the kid (Kate's a kid too b/c she's only 18) to medical help being bleeding to death. So, she did what still happens in battles today-and friend of mine has told me how many times he, and others, had to do it in 'Nam-well before I was born. So, this conversation is between her and the secondary bad guy-who she told a couple chapters earlier she'd kill but save him for last for him to suffer because he didn't take her offer to stop pursuing her.
Actually, there'll be two sets. One between Kate and the girl she ends up putting out of misery, then her and Johnson.
Kate stroked her hair gently, lovingly, and didn’t try to stop the tears. “I’m so sorry.” She whispered. “I’m sorry.”
The girl grabbed Kate’s muddy hand with a blood-covered hand, with the rain washing away her tears. “I’m dying aren’t I?”
Kate took the kid’s hand in hers. “I’m not going to lie to you. You are. There’s just no way, without the shuttle, they could get you back to the facility before bleeding to death…”
“I’m so goddamn sorry.” Kate sobbed.
The girl never took her eyes off Kate’s, and her hand shook so hard Kate could barely hold it. “I’m scared.”
Kate reached down, pushing the girl’s hair away from her face, trying to catch the tears, but only succeeded in leaving a muddy streak on the kids face. This was her doing. No one did this but her, and why? Because some prick wanted to kill the President and left her in the wrong place at the wrong time! Look at it! Barcelona all over again!
I’m going to take the pain away.
“I know.” Kate said softly, and she pulled the pistol off the girl’s belt. “I’m going to take away the pain now, are you ready?”
The girl pursed her lips before whispering. “Sally…Sally Fielding.”
Kate started to shake. “That’s your name?”
The girl nodded.
“Sally.” She said. “Please forgive me. I did this to you, but I’m not going to let you suffer anymore. Let me know when you’re ready.”
.”Almir.” Sally whispered. “It’s ok, Almir, I forgive you. They…made you do it. Can you tell my dad…I love him…that I regretted that final fight before running off to join the Blue Stars.”
Kate sobbed, gun hand shaking. “I will, Sally. Where does he live?”
“Ireland.” She said. “His name’s Mark Fielding. He lives in the capital city, Baker Street…”
Kate closed her eyes as the guilt crashed over her again. Ten miles. Baker Street was that far from headquarters, making the trip a short and painful one. How does someone go about telling a father that they killed his daughter-even if they were merciful?
“Are you ready?” Tears ran down Kate’s face.
Kate pulled the slide back on the Glock to make sure a bullet was in the chamber. She pressed the weapon tight against the girl’s armor. At this range, it would penetrate it like a hot knife through butter. “I’m sorry…”
Tears ran down Sally’s face, and she squeezed Kate’s hand. “I wish Daddy was here…”
This section fits into the example of showing character, because it shows the side of Kate that's merciful, feels guilty, and frankly hates her life as it is.
“Almir…” He said. “What an unpleasant surprise.”
She lowed the radio for a couple seconds before bringing it back to her mouth. “I could say the same.”
“You killed a girl.” He said. “Any idea how old the kid was?”
Kate put her head between knees before speaking again. “Sixteen or seventeen.” She said. “She lost half her right leg and a part of the left.”
“All you’re doing.”
Kate sighed. “Don’t remind me.”
“I’m guessing one of Markham’s kids put her down?”
“Think again.” Kate said softly. “I did.”
“How does it feel to know you killed a kid that young?”
“The same as it did on Barcelona.” She admitted. “It sucks ass.”
“Figured you’d enjoy it.”
“You obviously don’t know me.”
“Maybe I don’t.”
She raised her head. “Say Johnson. Who’s fucking idea is it to send kids into battlefields?”
He paused for several seconds. “It’s always been that way.” He said sadly. “The young have fought battles for the old. I hate it.”
“Kids killing kids.” She said. “What a fucking novel concept.”
“You’re a kid if you haven’t noticed.”
“Maybe by age. But I sure as fuck ain’t after the things I’ve seen.”
“Barcelona’s rough.” He agreed.
“More then you can imagine.”
“So.” Johnson said. “Why did you have mercy on someone who’d shot you given the first chance.”
Kate sighed. “Let’s just say I’ve been in the same position.”
“I have to say.” He said. “I’m impressed. In one day you’ve taking down my shuttle, and a good chunk of mercs. Too bad we’re not on the same side.”
“Twelve hours.” She said mildly. “To be exact, but who the hell is counting?”
“I’ve still got enough to take you down.”
“Keep talking, Johnson I’ve heard those lines before from bigger men too. Most of the times, you guys’ dicks just aren’t that big.”
“At least I don’t kill kids.”
“Really? Really? Who’s idea is it to bring such fucking young people to this jungle to hunt me? Anyone with any sense would see that outcome.”
“Which is why the bill will come from his ass.”
“Say, Johnson, since we’re friends and all now, how many people have you killed?”
“A couple hundred.”
Kate ran a hand through her hair again. “I’ve got four hundred plus on my hands.”
“Tell me on thing.” She said. “Just between us, what’s Koch’s plan.”
“Wouldn’t you like to know.”
“Call it curiosity.” She said. “Or as they said in an old move called ‘Dirty Harry,’ ‘I’se gots to know.’”
“He’s going to kill the President-that much you know.” He said. “And he’s got a very dangerous Special Forces team working for him-I wouldn’t’ want to run into them myself.”
“Hmm.” She said. “Sounds like fun for me.”
“I don’t think so.”
“That’s all he’s after? There has to be a reason to go after her.”
“The entire cabinet will be with her.” Johnson said. “By killing them, he’ll decapitate the Alliance.”
“And cause a chaos unlike anything the galaxy’s ever seen.”
“Knowing the plan won’t matter because even if you get off this planet, he’ll be too far ahead for you stop him. And with the star com system down, you won’t be able to warn anyone.”
“I wouldn’t bet on that.” Kate shook her head. “Sounds like he thought of everything though.”
“It doesn’t change anything, Johnson.” She said. “I’m still going to kill you last, understand me?”
“Good.” She said. “Just remember how many people I’ve killed over the past day.”
“Most of them kids with guns.”
“Keep telling yourself that.” She said. “And remember those words when I come for you. Sleep well.”
Both manage to move plot along (at the end Johnson tells Kate what she needs to know if/when she gets into position to try to save the President. The first explained character-in how someone who set the trap, had mercy and made sure someone stopped suffering and promised to tell the girl's dad about her, and her death. Imagine how that will go. But the dialogue sets that up.
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