"Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs" - deleted scene

Beware: spoilers.

In the published version of LUNPAD, Cass the tyrannosaur is badly injured in a monster truck accident. In the first draft of LUNPAD, Cass was killed in that accident. The scene following the accident was Cass's funeral, seen here.


The scene

Florida is not a bad place for a dinosaur funeral. They have the equipment.

"In accordance with her requests," said Cass's lover, "we are gathered here today to launch Cass's ashes into space on a huge-ass rocket." His eyes were smeared with the cream you need to use when you cry a lot. He looked down at the rocket, four meters high, hastily built and painted red, but of dinosaur craftsmanship and so more reliable than Destructoraptor. Hopefully. The sky over the Cape was cloudless.

"Uh, if anyone has any feats to announce, now would be a good time. As for myself, I have programmed the trajectory of her rocket to intersect asteroid 6161 Vojno-Yasenetsky and destroy it. That's a little inside joke between Cass and me." He honked like a foghorn into a handkerchief. "Anyway, the floor is yours. There's a microphone down there for the smaller types."

A skinny ornithomimosaurid flapped up onto the stage near the gantry. "It is I!" he crowed. "Dimotro!" He flexed one wing, then the other. Tark and Entippa groaned.

"To honor Cass," said Dimotro, "I will go with her into space! Hanging from this rocket will I brave the fearsome G-force of acceleration and soar into the troposphere! Then will I glide back to Earth, a thousand-mile glide, with only a bottle of water and a jumbo bag of Red Chief pemmican for provision!"

The dinosaurs hooted and cheered for this, and Dimotro made a show of tapping the rocket with his foreclaws, looking for handholds.

"He looks like a bird," Entippa whispered to Tark. "Every bird on this planet is a parody of him."

When the cheers died down a human stepped onto the stage. He wore a business suit and he adjusted the mike stand nervously.

"The Standard Life and Accident Insurance Company," said the human, "will pay to the decedent's estate the inflation-adjusted sum of $362,116,91, subject to investigation into the cause of death..." he went on for a while.

"That's kind of a lame feat, giving people money," whispered Tark. "Is that a lot? Is that person really here or is he a hologram?"

"Quiet," said Entippa, but soon enough Entippa got bored as well and started catching up with other people in the crowd. He didn't notice that Tark was gone, until he heard the human scream and saw him run off the gantry.

Tark stalked the microphone, weeping openly. "I'll get them!" he cried. "I swear! I'll find whoever did this to you and I'll make them pay! Oh, Cass!"

"Dammit," said Entippa. He pushed through the crowd. "Excuse me." Tark clawed at the rocket, weeping. The paint was still drying, and accumulated under his claws in wet red balls.

Cass's lover shuffled from side to side, not sure how to intervene. Entippa finally made it to the gantry and collared Tark. "C'mon, let's go," he said. "I'm sorry too. We're all sorry."

Cass's lover lowered his head to face Entippa. "Do I know you?"

"Only vaguely," said Entippa. "Parties and stuff. My friend is drunk. I'm sorry." He pulled carefully on Tark's arm.

Tark panted and took a final look back at the rocket. "You got..." he said, "you make a hell of a lot of ashes, Cass."


Why it was deleted

This scene has some good jokes, shows more aspects of Martian dinosaur culture, and fleshes out Tark's character, showing a more noble side of his impulsiveness. But killing Cass made the story as a whole too dark. The Strange Horizons editors asked me to un-kill Cass, cut the length of the story, and re-submit. You can't have a funeral without a corpse, and cutting this scene was an easy way to cut 500 words. (I had to add a couple dozen words to the sparkplug scene to establish what had happened to Cass and how Tark was handling it.)

Even if Cass had stayed dead, cutting this scene would been the right thing to do. Putting a big retrospective scene here delays the main conflict of a story that has already gone on for a while without introducing its main conflict. This scene also introduces several new characters who, while quirky, are never seen again—a common failing of mine.

Like the final story itself, this scene is licensed under a Creative Commons license.


This document (source) is part of Crummy, the webspace of Leonard Richardson (contact information). It was last modified on Monday, August 17 2009, 16:05:38 Nowhere Standard Time and last built on Tuesday, October 21 2014, 19:00:03 Nowhere Standard Time.

Crummy is © 1996-2014 Leonard Richardson. Unless otherwise noted, all text licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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