Keeping It Real Chapter 4

Why is it that whenever there’s a female lead, we always get that scene. You know the one, where the attractive—but not as much as the protagonist lest she be overshadowed—tells the heroine that the local, aloof male model is interested in them? It happened here, in Marked and I could have sworn it happened in Twilight.

It’s only annoying in the context of other books but much worse in this one. Why? Because Lila is supposed to be a skilled observer. She wasn’t put in charge of looking after Zal just because she has a robot body and a wireless connection. They expect her to pay attention to her surroundings. Thus if Zal was staring at her a lot then Lila should have seen it. Instead, Robson wants to show us how special Lila is that she has Zal’s attention while no one else could earn it.

Back to the story at hand, they’re back at Zal’s rental late in the morning. Lila is laying on her bed, listening to Zal in his room next door. She tells us her “AI” is combing the sounds for anything unusual. She just won’t stop going on about AI and what it’s doing for Lila.

Look here, Robson. You don’t need to constantly remind us what Lila’s cyborg brain is doing. You could just flat out say that Lila listened for warning sounds of an intrusion. I’d use the moment to demonstrate how Lila is just getting used to hearing things outside of normal range. And I wouldn’t keep driving a spike labeled ‘Lila is a cyborg!’ into the skulls of my audience.

Lila then recounts the night, thankfully in shorthand. They went to bars then to a pair of clubs. Luke continued to flirt with Lila but, being as he’s a human and not an elf, Luke doesn’t get Lila’s processor overclocked. Then there was a fight between Zal’s fans and tbhe fans of some other band which caused her to carry him off in a hurry towards safety. So Robson skipped the excitement so we can see every moment of their going to bed. Lila is still angry that he shoved her out of his room. Then she hears Zal’s door opening and him leaning out to say goodnight and she returns the sentiment.

Then Lila examines her luggage. Apparently Lila decided to have a lie down first and then looks at her belongings. She says the locks haven’t been tampered with but Jolene stocked the rooms with the toiletries Lila likes, a robe and slippers like Lila wears and a picture of her dog.

What is it with these hacks and making their characters feel at home? Am I the only person that thinks the sense of displacement would be a good thing? Put your characters in awkward situations, have them fart in the elevator when they’re next to their crush, have them sweat because they swore at their boss accidentally. Showing us what they’re made of does not always mean throwing them into combat.

Lila puts most of the stuff in the bathtub she says she won’t be using. Which makes some sense as a mostly robotic person probably wouldn’t bathe the same way. Also she doesn’t want to be naked anywhere even if no one is around and thinks a bath is a bad place to spring into action from. Which is why bodyguards don’t typically work alone.

Then Lila goes over her pictures which Robson tells us Lila does once a day. This is the part that supposed to make us feel sad for her. There’s a picture of her parents and her sister and the family dogs, one of a birthday party and a prom picture. To Robson’s credit, everyone that should has a name and that part is almost humanizing.

If Robson hadn’t said that Lila looked at it everyday, it would be fine. I would have had her look through the pictures because she was uncomfortable being in a strange house near an elf.  Looking through the pictures would be a subtle hint that she misses the good old days before she became the bionic woman.

Lila then turns to her computer which has dutifully assembled links to news on her family. Everyone is fine but then she freaks out when she sees her memorial. Apparently her family thinks she’s missing in action. There’s no actual memorial, it’s just something she thinks about a lot because she’s unstable. Which makes sense but that’s still the last person I’d be loading up with armament. This is all forgotten when another guard comes by and tells her all is well.

Lila takes a shower, like runs diagnostics on herself, Lila cleans her guns and armor. You know, Robson, maybe you could take a moment to tell us how much of Lila is cybernetic? She takes the trouble to tell us Lila has armor for her upper half along with an additional gun. You don’t have to spoil the surprise that it was a magical explosion caused by elf terrorist that hurt her, but clarify what parts she had replaced. It’d give us a little insight as to what she’s dealt with so far.

Once that’s done, she lays down on the bed. Lila hears Zal step out of the shower, take his time finishing up and then silence so she goes to sleep. Two hours later, she wakes up to the sound of danger. That makes sense as her machine wakes her up so she sneaks out into the hall and shuts the lights off. Then she connects to the house security and looks around with infrared but can’t see anything.

Lila sees a figure through a window and guesses from its heat signature and cloak and the way it leaps and climbs, that its an elf. Lila runs to the front door were the DJ is just coming back and leaps over her and then runs around the outside towards one of the rooms. One of the fairy girls is waiting for the cloaked figure and Lila spots the telltale flash of metal that can always be seen when an assassin has decided on a knife. Why are they always pulling out their weapons and letting them flash in the dark anyways, especially considering the trouble they take to sneak around?

There’s a brief fight scene that’s alternatively boring and hilarious. Lila struggles to get the elf in custody while failing to call for help. You’d think her “AI” would do that automatically. What’s funny though is when the fairy touches Lila which causes her cybernetic parts to slow down and lose power. Then she gets his with a flower pot and Lila fails to capture the attacker. They flee out the window and the fairy is horrified that Lila is there.

The fairy explains that it wasn’t meant to hurt Zal and that the weapon was magical and only meant to put him to sleep. I tried that defense myself. ‘Why no officer, those were healing bullets made to cure cancer. Well, no, he doesn’t have cancer now, I cured him. The bleeding, bullet holes and pain is just a side effect that I’m working on.’

Anywho, the fairy says it was Zal’s cousin who’s only twelve and to please forget it because they just wanted to stop him from going on tour. Lila realizes she’s been nicked by the knife. She tries to argue but then she falls over as she goes unconscious to close the chapter. Alright, Robson, that’s one. Everybody is allowed to do that once per book. But you’re on watch from here on out.

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8 Responses to Keeping It Real Chapter 4

  1. maeverin says:

    so our tough as nails heroine got beat by a 12 yr old? if i were Zal, i’d get my money back.

    • vivisector says:

      Hell, I think the Otopian government should write her off as a loss at this point. Decommission her weapons and send her back to her family. She dumb as a pallet of bricks and easier to take down than an earthworm.

  2. chocolatesamus says:

    You know how at the prologue I commented that I could respect an author who admitted that their elves were dicks?

    I take it back. That’s apparently not what this author is doing.

  3. redclause says:

    I don’t know why it bothers me, but I still dislike elves that are just naturally better then everything else in fiction, even when it’s pointed out that their dicks. I just can’t really invest in a race that apparently can kick even a cyborg womans ass at the age of 12, it somehow just makes me lose interest.

  4. Scorps says:

    Wow, that’s just bad. Depending on how much she’s augmented, she should be able to do leaps and bounds over the pointy eared bastards. The stupid fairy shouldn’t have been able to touch her. What with a well placed shot to the knee or shoulder.

    • vivisector says:

      I’d have thought she would have had a built in stun gun or something for when Lila wanted to disable someone and take them prisoner. Though, yeah, a solid kick with a cyborg leg should be able to put them in a Dead Zone-esque coma.

      • Scorps says:

        Maybe the Megaman option isn’t available to these cyborgs. Which, again, is pretty stupid to not have for a bodyguard/agent cyborg. Hells bells, that makes the people who made Inspector Gadget (and himself) more competent then her and the people who made her.

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