Books by Tom Reeve

Deleted Scenes: Kira’s Original Intro

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Not all of the parts that got edited out of Full Coverage were cut because they were bad. In this Deleted Scene, we will go over a scene that was cut to improve pacing and to change when a character introduction happened. There will be some mild spoilers involved in describing this scene, so if you haven’t read Full Coverage: An Action Comedy yet, please go and check it out on Kindle or paperback on Amazon first and then come back here.

The Scene

This scene is from the last third of Chapter 2 in Rev 07 of the book. This was the first full version I sent to my awesome editor for her to read over in May of 2016. The final version of the book is Rev 10 and the text for that was finished in March 2017. This scene would take place right after Chapter 5 in the final book, but as you are about to see, the timeline this scene existed in is very different from the final book.

This scene takes place two days after Kyle is attacked by assassins in his apartment. Kyle goes to a Lowe’s/Home Depot style store to replace his smashed home furnishings and this is where we first meet Kira in this version of the book. In the previous scene, the three assassins (there was a third guy named Reynar in this version) who attacked Kyle in his apartment were all blown out of his window using the explosive rounds in the shotgun hidden under his couch. Kyle still has some lingering effects from the pills keeping him strong at this point in the story in this timeline, which is how he was able to reach the shotgun and why he still fights enhanced in this scene. (I told you things changed a lot!) The three assassins show up for a rematch and Kyle and Kira take them both down.

Why It Was Cut

My beta readers all liked this scene and it covers some important plot points by introducing Kira and showing the Hitboard hit on Kyle. However, this scene was cut so I could introduce Kira earlier when Kyle is first in the hospital in what is now Chapter 3 in the final version. My early draft had only ten chapters and several of them were way too long, including this one. Even though this is the last scene in Chapter 2, it doesn’t start until we are 29% through the word count of the book. This means Kyle doesn’t have an ally until we are 1/3rd of the way through the story. Moving Kira’s intro to Chapter 3 (out of 17 chapters in the final version) gets her into the story at the 16% mark, so Kyle has an ally for the majority of the story.

The other reason for cutting it was that having Kyle leave assassins who had just tried to kill him potentially alive doesn’t fit with how he treats threats on his life throughout the rest of the book. In this old revision Kyle chooses to stay in his apartment and eat a cheeseburger instead of checking to see if the assassins were really dead, but that’s a bit of a stretch, even for him. Worse, it’s inconsistent with how all the other fights go. Cutting this scene improved the pacing and the consistency at the same time.

What Replaced It?

Chapters 6 and 7 replaced this scene in the final version. In this revision Kyle never applied for a new job so Nadima Qosi didn’t exist yet and he didn’t start going to the gym until right before his sparring match with Kira. The timeline changed pretty drastically after this revision.

What Was Kept?

Most of this scene was just cut from the final version, but a few elements were moved and adjusted a bit.

  • Kira is still introduced, just much earlier in the book.
  • Kira still helps Kyle finish off the Greek assassins, it just happens in his apartment the first time they fight.
  • The assassins Maxine and Enyo remained, but Reynar was cut to make things 2 on 2 after the timeline changed to have Kyle’s pills already worn off during the apartment fight.
  • They still find out about the Hitboard hit on Kyle from the assassin’s phone, but this time Kyle is the one who looks it up (to give him more agency) and this time he’s holding on to the phone when it explodes (because it’s funny when he gets hurt).
  • I do want to put the 2-part epoxy kill into a sequel at some point. Possibly a variation of it using boxed wine or a bottle of soda or something like that.
  • Similarly, I also want to use the #facepalm kill in a sequel eventually. I just need to find a good excuse for it since there’s a bit of setup needed for that one.

The Deleted Scene

Below is the full text of this deleted scene. This is from an early, pre-editor reviewed version of the book so it’s definitely a rough draft. The writing in the final version is a lot better, trust me. If you’ve read the final version, you’ll notice some major differences between this scene and how the final book wound up.

Two days later Kyle leaned against the concrete pillar in front of the entrance to the Riley’s Home Improvement store. The pillar provided security in at least one direction for him and made Kyle feel a little less vulnerable as he stood outside waiting. Kyle was wearing a long sleeve t-shirt to hide the striping on his left arm as he waited for Kira to show up.

He had gotten a replacement hand the previous day. Now he had three different skin tones on his left arm with distinct line between the golden tan of his bicep, the paler skin in between his elbow and wrist and the ghostly pale complexion of his brand new hand. This new hand would be the only replacement limb he could get on his current health insurance for the next six months so he had to make the rest of his body parts count until then.

On the way to get his new hand Kira, his old mentor and original sponsor as an assassin, had texted him saying that she was back in town and wanted to meet up. He asked her to meet him at the Riley’s Home Improvement store since he needed to get some new furniture to replace the ones that had been destroyed in his apartment and an extra set of enhanced hands couldn’t hurt when it came time to move them in.

He had gotten an autonomous cab faster than he expected and was now waiting for Kira to show up. She was never early to anything, but she was always right on time.

At last a bright orange motorcycle with black trim pulled into the parking lot and Kyle suddenly felt much safer. Sunlight gleamed off the glossy paint and even from the other side of the parking lot Kyle could see how shiny it was.

The six-foot-two woman driving the motorcycle carefully parked her bike and then stepped off it.,As she moved she made sure the bottoms of her boots didn’t touch any of the paint. She was wearing full motorcycle leathers with Kevlar backing and polycarbonate armor plating underneath. The rider had been a fan of the local baseball team until they moved out of San Francisco to a more densely populated neighboring city, but her love of orange and black as a color scheme remained. The black suit of armor had orange lines tracing alongside the reflective trim. Her helmet was metallic black with another orange stripe going down the length of it and ending at a copper colored visor that hid the face of the woman behind it.

Like the rest of the suit, the helmet was armored and weighed roughly twenty pounds by itself. A normal person would have found such a suit about as mobile as a medieval suit of armor but this was no normal human. Underneath the armor was a set of arms as toned as Kyle’s had ever been and a set of drug enhanced six pack abs strong enough to give herself an abortion.

Not that she would ever need one. Like most well off women of the day, Kira had already had her ovaries removed to prevent unwanted pregnancies and periods from getting in the way of her daily life. Any woman who could afford to got their ovaries removed during high school or college and fresh ones printed and put back in when they decided the time was right to start a family. This of course led to outrage from religious groups complaining that printing new ovaries when it was convenient led to sexual promiscuity even though they reduced the need for condoms, which those same groups also complained about.

Kira Faizal pulled off her armored helmet and shoulder length curly black hair with an orange highlight on the left side swung free in the wind. Her skin was a well-tanned olive bronze made possible by the mixture of her Thai mother and Persian father and evenly darkened with the use of the same tanning pills Kyle used to be able to afford. Not a stray body hair was to be found anywhere on her skin, except for the places where she wanted it.

Kira adjusted a heavy looking orange and black messenger bag over her shoulder and walked towards Kyle. Her eyes pierced Kyle from the other side of the parking lot and examined the surrounding area. These same eyes could pick out an ant at one hundred feet away thanks to the custom zoom lenses she had gotten printed inside of them.

Kyle didn’t know for sure how old Kira was, but he was pretty sure she was at least fifty since he had heard her once say she had over twenty years more experience working as an assassin than him. He also knew that she had started taking pills to re-plasticize her brain. These pills supplemented the myelin in the user’s body, reinforcing the neurons in the brain and preventing the neural degeneration and dementia that frequently happened to the elderly. Those pills were neon blue and to need them Kyle surmised that Kira must be in her late fifties, at least.

Nobody would be able to tell this from looking at her though. To the casual observer Kira was an extremely fit woman in her late twenties. Thirty plus years of physical training and the best pills money could buy had created a body that would be the envy of the few remaining personal trainers left in the country. She also made good use of the cheeseburger pills that Kyle so desperately missed but she preferred her large chunks of meat on skewers instead of between buns.

“Kyle! Good to see you! It’s been a while!” Kira shouted as she ran over to him. “Vitron told me everything.” She gave him a hug and squeezed extra hard just to see if she could make him squirm a bit. Kyle responded by squeezing her as hard as he could. Satisfied that neither had the upper hand, they ended the hug simultaneously.

“What’s with the hand?” Kira asked.

“Oh, some metalized assholes tried to collect a price on my head two days ago.” Kyle replied.

“Oh yeah, you’re a freelancer now right? Yeah, you might have to deal with that for a while.”

“Wait? You knew that could happen? Why didn’t Avery tell me that?” Kyle asked.

“She hasn’t done this as long as I have. Most people either retire or die. You might be the first one she’s had to cut.” Kira said as they started walking into the Riley’s. “Speaking of which, I’ve heard Vitron’s side of the story. What’s yours?”

Kyle told her the whole story as they shopped for a new sink. The yakuza mission in the Caribbean, getting laid off and his fight with the trio of dreadlocked metal boned thugs in his apartment culminating in him needing a new hand and home furnishings.

Kira rolled her eyes and shook her head disapprovingly as she wondered if Kyle had really become a hopeless cause since they had last seen each other two years ago.

“So what’s your plan?” She asked as she fiddled with a no-touch faucet.

“Plan? Oh, nothing yet. I was going to go on vacation for a few months. I guess I’d get a new job after that.”

“Good plan. Though if you want a new job I’d start applying now, while you’re still in shape. Are they still paying for your pills?”

“No, but I should be fine if I’m not working. Right?”

“Well, you are going to need to start going to a gym after they wear off if you want to get a job again.” Kira said as she looked over Kyle’s face to gauge his reaction.

“Dammit.” He said.

“Yeah, I know. I haven’t been to one in decades either. I wonder if there are even any still open in this city.”

“No, no that. Them.” Kyle said as he pointed behind her.

Standing next to the power tools section were the three dreadlocked thugs that Kyle had launched out of his apartment in spectacular fashion two days ago. Clearly the impact had not been enough to kill them as Kyle had assumed.

“What? Oh, hmm.” Kira sized up the three angry looking giants with dreadlocks standing just ahead of them. She was not impressed. “Ugly. You know them?” She asked.

“Yeah, they’re the metallized thugs with dreadlocks I was telling you about.” Kyle said.

“I thought you said you killed them?” Kira gave Kyle a very stern look.

“Well, I blew them out of a thirty-eight story window. I figured they died on impact.” Kyle said defensively.

“You didn’t check?” Kira’s eyes were now attempting to bore through Kyle’s head to determine if there was anything inside other than air.

“There wasn’t time to go all the way down there and check. My burger was getting cold!”

“My god, you have gotten lazy.” Kira said as she shook her head.

“Well, well, fancy meeting you here. We were just shopping for some hammers to crush your head in with.” Enyo said as he looked over Kira trying to gauge how dangerous she was. They had planned on Kyle being alone.

“What the hell is with you all and head crushing?” Kyle asked. “Is it your way of hiding that you can’t kill the right target from your clients?” Kira gently elbowed him in the ribs for that one. She was glad he had at least remembered her lessons on always taunting your opponent. Treat your targets as though they were nothing, and then make them so.

“Enough talk!” The giant viking woman Maxine yelled as she charged at Kyle and slammed him into a super glue display stand.

He landed a few punches into her face but punching her felt like hitting the side of a building. His knuckles bled from striking her hardened cheek bones. Maxine grabbed him with both of her log sized arms and started to crush the air out of his lungs. Even his reinforced ribs would collapse under this amount of pressure. All he could see was metal fangs and blonde dreadlocks.

“Now you’re mine!” Maxine roared at him with a fanged grin.

Kyle flailed his arms around feeling for anything he could grab to hit or stab Maxine in the face with and got one hand on a two part epoxy syringe. He took the epoxy syringe and jammed the whole package into Maxine’s mouth. Her metal teeth clamped down and broke through the plastic packaging and tore open the two tubes of the syringe. The two components started mixing between her teeth and Kyle punched at the plunger on the back of it to fill the woman’s mouth with quick-setting epoxy.

The woman let go of Kyle and she grabbed for her throat. She managed to pull out the epoxy syringe out but it was already too late. The two components of the epoxy the syringe had contained had already started to mix and harden at the back of her throat, sealing off her lungs from the air she needed.

Kyle staggered back, watching the Maxine fall over and suffocate.

“That it?” Kyle said to Enyo and Reynar as he gasped to catch his breath. “What else you losers got?”

The two remaining dreadlocked assassins charged at them. The blonde man named Reynar went after Kira while Enyo, the Greek witch doctor sporting a new skull necklace went for Kyle.

Kira dodged two swings from Reynar and got in a few shots to his chest and head after each missed punch. Punching him was like punching the side of a car door and while she couldn’t do much damage to him she was keeping him off balance and preventing him from landing any hits with those steel knuckles of his. This was not a new challenge, she had faced many people with metallic bones before. He was just another mountain in her way about to be demolished.

Reynar managed to get an arm around Kira and he flung her towards the power tools aisle. As she jumped up, Kira realized that she was dealing with an amateur, a musclebound thug and nothing more. A professional would have gone for the kill if they had gotten a grip on her instead of throwing her out of harm’s way to give her a chance to reset.

Kira pulled her messenger bag off and checked her surroundings for anything useful. She had been thrown next to the power tools aisle and her eyes immediately latched on to a pair of buzzsaws on the table to the right of her. She darted to the table and found that the battery packs were already plugged in. She hoped that they hadn’t been doing too many demonstrations with these earlier in the day as she ripped the safety guards off the front of the saws and fired them both up. Carbide tipped blades spun to life like a pair of jet engines in her hand as she cut the saws loose from the security chains that held them to the table.

Kira turned to face her opponent, a whirring buzzsaw in each hand. He had the strength and the armor plating beneath but she had the skill, precision and a pair of saws with metal cutting blades. Her heels came slightly off the floor as she shifted her weight forward, his body would be tough and the saws would need some weight behind them to get through his bones.

“Now that hardly seems fair, don’t it?” Reynar said to her.

“Feel free to slit your wrists and save me the trouble.” Kira replied back as she lined up her hips perpendicular to him to try and give her body a smaller profile for him to hit.

Reynar rushed right at her and a meaty reinforced arm flew past her head as she shifted sideways to avoid it. She sidestepped around the man, letting one saw ride high down the length of his arm and the other low off his thigh as she went behind him. Sparks flew out and mixed with the blood splatter as the blades made contact with the metallic bones beneath the muscle.

The dreadlocked man attempted to smack her head with the metal protrusions on the back of his fists but instead she caught his forearm with both saws. Even with all her body weight leaning into the saws Reynar pushed her back several inches on the slickened concrete floor. As the saws dug in through the armor of his jacket and into his arm Reynar’s face became covered in the blood spray. After another second of pushing blood gave way to sparks as the blades started to dig into bone.

Startled by the realization that the saws were starting to get through his arm the man recoiled and Kira stepped back. She held the saws sideways and spun them up to throw the loose bits of flesh and blood caught on the blades out to the side of her. Aside from some sweat her clothes had remained perfectly clean so far.

The man spun his body around, shielding his severely damaged arm from Kira’s saws. Glistening metal teeth shined out from behind the blood dripping off of his face. Kira saw the fear in his eyes, the fear that she had put there. He was not going to get the rumble he had hoped for. This was going to be a professional carving.

Kira stood still, waiting for him to make his next mistake. He tried to goad her into coming at him but she remained fixed, her eyes tracking his every move, both saws silently waiting for the next opportunity to howl. She had lacerated several key arteries and she had no problem waiting for him to bleed out. Patience was a weapon she had great experience using.

Finally, Reynar grew impatient with the standoff and he lunged at Kira with a desperate growl. She ducked the swing from his good arm and got in close to his chest, jammed one saw up against his jugular and the other into the larger gash she had started on his injured arm. The skin of his throat gave way to the reinforced Adam’s apple below it but Kira couldn’t get enough leverage to push all the way through it.

Reynar tried to bring both arms on Kira but moving his injured arm only helped the saw finish its job as the bone snapped under the blade and his arm feel to the floor. His good hand grabbed Kira’s head like a basketball and she could feel the immense pressure on her skull as his hands tried to force their way in to her brain. Kira didn’t have metal in her bones, only the silicate mixed into her bones kept her head from being crushed instantly. Even with the silicate reinforcement her brain would be crushed soon if this fight continued anymore. It was time to end this.

Kira dropped her left arm and brought the saw against the back of the man’s leg and sliced through his hamstring muscles. He screamed in pain as he fell forward on to Kira and the force of the impact as his heavy body hit the floor gave her the push she needed to get the saw through his Adam’s apple and into his throat. The screaming turned to a gurgle as the blade sawed through his throat and dug into his metallic spine. Deep red syrupy blood spilled all over Kira as she rolled over and pushed the heavy corpse off of her. One down, two to go.

She looked down and examined herself for any injuries. At least her biker clothes were waterproof and would be easy to clean. She pulled out her phone and snapped a picture of Reynar’s body lying face down on top of a buzzsaw in a pool of his own blood. It wasn’t for an official job, but targets of opportunity never hurt when it came to padding a resume.

#24voltvampire

Kira looked over the mess she had created and her eyes caught a glimmer from protruding metal bone of Reynar’s severed arm. The jagged edge of where the metal bone had broken stuck out of the arm like a spear. It would do nicely.

“Hey Kyle! Bring her over here!” Kira yelled down the row of aisles where Enyo and Kyle were fighting.

A toilet smashed into pieces as it hit a plumbing display just above Kyle’s head. Chunks of white ceramic showered him as he ran through the debris. He could faintly hear Kira yelling at him from the other side of the store.

Enyo had thrown him several times down most of the length of the store. Kyle was still struggling to find something good to hit her back with in between being tossed.

He grabbed a cinder block from the gardening section and swung it at her head but it just disintegrated on impact the same way the chandelier he had hit her with had. Kyle threw a punch at her with his new left hand and she caught it out of the air. The two of them struggled to push the other back and Enyo started to overpower Kyle as she put all of her metalized body weight down on him.

Kyle’s feet slid back slightly, bringing Enyo within arms reach of where he had grabbed the cinder block from. She picked up a cinder block with her free hand and hammered it into Kyle’s trapped hand. The nerve capping pills went to work as the blocked the full sensation of every bone in Kyle’s left hand being crushed.

“Dammit! I just got that replaced!” Kyle yelled at Enyo. Bits of concrete dust landed on his tongue as he yelled at her.

“That’s for Maxine.” Enyo said as she smiled over Kyle. “And this is for me.” She slammed her reinforced foot down on Kyle’s left foot and smashed it into the concrete floor. Kyle’s left leg went limp and he fell to his knees, unable to put any weight on his shattered foot.

“Good bye Kyle.” Enyo said as she pulled her free arm back to get it ready to punch it through Kyle’s skull.

“Excuse me ma’am.” Kira said as she tapped on Enyo’s shoulder with the finger side of Reynar’s severed arm.

“What?” Enyo growled as she spun around to face Kira.

Kira flipped the arm around in her hand and slammed the jagged metal end of it through Enyo’s right eye and into her brain, killing her instantly. Enyo fell to the floor, the hand of Reynar’s severed arm catching the floor and holding the body up like a macabre tripod. Kira let out a sigh of relief, pulled out her phone and snapped a picture of the corpse for her resume.

#facepalm

“Wow, that’s a new one.” Kyle said as he spat out the cinderblock dust that had gotten into his mouth. He brushed the dust from broken toilets and cinder blocks off his shoulders and tried to stand back up on his one good foot.

“I always knew one day you would be a master baiter.” Kira said back to him with a smile as she tucked her phone back into her blood drenched motorcycle jacket. She crouched down and started searching Enyo’s pockets.

“What are you doing?” Kyle asked.

“I’m trying to figure out who put the hit out on you.” Kira said as she flipped Enyo over and checked her jacket pockets. She felt a bulge in one of them and pulled out Enyo’s shiny silver phone. “Let’s just hope we don’t need that retina I just stabbed.”

Kira grabbed one of Enyo’s thumbs and held it against the screen of the phone. It unlocked. Kira quickly thumbed through the open applications to find the Hitboard app.

“Damn, I can’t see the job listing anymore. It’s set to private and someone else already took it.” Kira said.

“What do you mean someone else already took it?” Kyle asked.

“If you have a list of assassins you can set it to go to the next one on the list after the assassins on the job are confirmed dead. These three must all have had their heart rate monitors synced to their phones to let the client know if they failed.”

“Kira, if they have their hear rate monitors synced to their phones, doesn’t that usually mean that they have a fail-safe too?” Kyle said as he leaned back away from the phone.

“Oh yeah, good call.” Kira said as she tossed the phone towards the two other bodies. A few seconds later all three of their phones exploded.

She helped Kyle up and gave him her shoulder to lean on while his ruined hand and foot dangled loosely from him.

“Well, at least now we know that there is a Hitboard hit out on you. There’s also apparently a line of people waiting to kill you and since the hit is private that means they were all invited to join in this little murderclub.”

“Wonderful.” Kyle said as he hopped his way towards the exit.

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