Warning! This blog post will contain spoilers for anyone who hasn’t finished reading Terra Sea Merge yet. Skip this post if you haven’t finished reading the story.
As with the previous novels, I will be sharing with you some of the deleted portions and rewrites in Terra Sea Merge. Unlike the last one for Shark Station, this one will not include an entire chapter, although Terra Sea Merge is very different from the initial storyline. In the original draft of Terra Sea Merge, Allie was even more annoyed, frustrated, and disgusted with the exchange students. After letting the story sit for a while and coming back to it, I realized she was too moody, even for Allie’s typical personality. So I revamped the entire middle of the novel, leaving her only extremely exasperated with her nemesis, Brodie, rather than the entire group. Here are a couple of snippets of what the story used to be.
I felt that the original storyline wasn’t as exciting as the other Oceania books had been, so to spice it up, I wrote a scene where Mariah and Teegan went AWOL and decided to explore the city on their own. Here’s part of that scene:
Raising my eyebrows, I asked, “Has Mayor Cho been notified of this yet?”
“No, he hasn’t,” confirmed Astrid.
“I think we need to tell him.” Ugh, I hated who I was becoming. The rant I had kept replaying over and over in my head and I realized I sounded a lot like the adults I couldn’t stand. Now I was ratting out two people my age for doing something they weren’t supposed to do. Who was I?
One of the privileges—well so far the only privilege of having to babysit the exchange students was that I had a personal direct line to Mayor Cho’s c-com. I called him and he answered on the fourth ring.
“Allie, what is wrong?” Mayor Cho’s face and upper torso appeared as a holographic projection.
“Two of the exchange students have gone missing.”
“What?” he exclaimed. “How did they go missing?”
Astrid appeared close behind me and answered, “They disappeared when I went to use the restroom. When I returned, they were both missing.”
Sighing, the mayor closed his eyes and breathed in out for several breaths before responding, “Which two are missing?”
“Teegan Cole and Mariah Cooper.”
“I’ll look up their images from what Guamanian Governor sent me and put out a digital all points bulletin for them with Oceanian Security. Hopefully, the surveillance cameras will pick them up in little time. Standby, I’ll call you once they’ve been found and the two of you can retrieve them.”
The video call ended and I plopped down onto a nearby bench. “I can’t believe they’re doing this! This is such a juvenile move.”
Astrid stood beside the bench I was on. “It does seem that way. I can understand their frustration, but this seems to be a little drastic. I wonder if they behaved like this on land.”
Puffing out a breath of air, I responded, “if they did, then the governor purposely gave us some troublemakers.”
“Perhaps the best way to keep this from happening is if you took over their instruction, Allie.”
I gawked at Astrid. “No way! I’m already missing out on my classes enough because of having to babysit them. I don’t want to have to instruct them too. It’s too much. I have my own life to live here that doesn’t involve them.”
“But if this exchange system is to work, then we have to make the best effort at it.”
A buzz came from my pocket and I was confused since my c-com didn’t buzz. When I realized what it was, I dove my hand into my pocket and pulled out the com-stone. Quickly, I waved my hand across it to answer the incoming call.
Samantha’s grinning face appeared and I couldn’t have been happier to see her. “Allie! It’s so great to see you. We just arrived in Guam and have been placed with our host families here.”
“That’s great, Samantha.”
Either the tone of my voice or my face gave me away.
“Did something happen, Allie? You seem off?”
Seeing Samantha made me almost want to burst out into tears of frustration and explain everything to her, but I kept my composure since I was in public and Astrid was standing right next to me. “I’m having issues with the new exchange students, that’s all. It’s been a lot harder than I anticipated it to be.”
“Well, tell me what’s going on and maybe I can help.”
I doubted she could, but I figured I had nothing to lose if I told her. “Two of them have gone missing and we can’t find out where they are.”
“Are they girls or boys?” wondered Samantha.
“Two girls, they’re our age.”
“Hmm, I’d say they’re in one of two places, either Central or the Entertainment District. I’m leaning towards the Entertainment District because if I was in a foreign city that had an amazing amount of different technology than my home, I would head for the place of fun.”
My c-com began pinging with an incoming call.
“I’m so sorry, Samantha, but I have to go. I’ll call you back later.” I reluctantly hung up on my friend and answered the Mayor’s call.
“Allie, we found them. They’re in the Entertainment District inside one of the old-timey arcades. I’m sending you the location now, but I would take the train and get over there as soon as possible before you lose them.”
“We’re on our way now,” I assured him.
Well, Samantha was right; they were in the Entertainment District.
When we arrived at the arcade, the bustle of the gaming stations that I’d seen when I was here before was almost entirely absent. Teegan and Mariah weren’t being very smart about going to a place where mostly students hang out in a city where homeschooling was a non-existent practice. It meant that no other students would be in the arcade at this time of the day.
They were easy to find at the back of the arcade playing some retro games. So focused on their games, they didn’t even notice Astrid and I approach.
“Teegan,” I said in a firm voice.
Her long dark brown hair with blonde highlights whipped me in the face as she spun around, her caramel eyes wide. “Allie?”
“What are you two doing here,” wondered Mariah, her arms folded, her eyes focused on us in an accusatory stare.
“We are here to ask you the same question,” calmly explained Astrid, an edge of diminishing patience in her tone. “Why did you run away from the dormitory?”
“It was boring and we wanted to have some fun. What’s wrong with that?” Mariah tucked a stubborn lock of her chin-length hair behind her ear.
I let out an incredulous sound. “Are you being serious? We need to take you back to the dormitory now. Clearly, everything both Astrid and I have said to you about the precautions you need to take as you are unfamiliar with Oceania yet have meant nothing to you. Stop arguing and come with us now!”
I let Astrid ensure the both of them followed as I led the way back to the nearest train station. We wound up waiting almost an hour due to few trains going to the Entertainment District this time of day.
Teegan and Mariah sat next to us quietly, but I could tell that both of them were fuming on the inside. For someone who’s broken many rules myself, I still can’t figure out why they thought it was okay for them to just run off and do what they wanted. If this was the way the exchange students were going to be acting for the duration of their stay here, I wouldn’t be surprised if nearly every Oceanian hated them.
Due to Allie’s frustration with the exchange students, I had a passage where she went to Katrina for advice. Katrina is one of my favorite side characters because I love how unapologetically herself she is. She’s not afraid to speak her mind regardless of what others think. Unfortunately, for me to go another direction with the story, I had to cut her blatant advice out of the story. Here is her advice to Allie on how to handle the exchange students:
By the time I got back to school, my class had already ended and the school was like a ghost town. Needing a friend, I decided to go down to the sublevels where the labs were. Although I didn’t have a specimen at the moment, I knew Katrina would be studying her newest one.
Just as I’d expected, I found her sitting at the stool in front of the tank, taking down observations on her digipad. She didn’t notice me until I was almost right up on her.
“Oh hey, Allie, what’s up?” Katrina returned to writing.
“What’s up? My blood pressure,” I leaned against the corner of the tank, still fuming from my outburst.
Katrina spun on the stool to face me, crossing her arms. “What happened?”
“These stupid exchange students! It’s like just because they were chosen out of however many people to be the ones to come to Oceania, they think everyone should bow down to them. They think that just because they’re here, that they should be allowed to go wherever and do whatever they want when they want to!”
“Isn’t that what Land Dwellers do in their own cities and towns?”
I opened my mouth to speak, but my jaw just hung agape.
Katrina cocked an eyebrow, “well?”
Sighing, I admitted. “Yes, Land Dwellers are used to a lot of freedom to do anything they want to do. At least, that’s the way it is in the United States. I can’t say much about other countries since I’ve never been there.”
“Didn’t you once tell me that to keep infection down that every entrance to a public place has a scanner that scans for diseases?”
“Okay, so then that is a bit of the freedom taken away. Are there any other rules or laws that are similar to the way things are here in Oceania?”
A thought for a while, but couldn’t come up with anything else. “I don’t know.”
“Look, Allie, human beings don’t like change. Some people pretend to, but most really don’t. There may be a few people who delight in it, but I don’t believe them.” Katrina stood up. “These students are coming from a world that is very different from ours. Compared to where these guys are from, Oceania is going to feel very restrictive and unforgiving to them. Getting them to adapt to that isn’t going to be easy.”
“Then what do you think I should do?”
“Have you tried knocking them senseless and then rebooting their brains?” Katrina smirked.
“Katrina, you know I can’t do that…even though sometimes I want to.”
“Well, the only other option is to try to explain to them why our society is different and how it works for us. I’m not entirely sure about the Land Dwelling nations, but I doubt they’re all the same. See if you can find examples of how other nations have laws similar to ours and use it as a case for showing that Oceania in essence isn’t that different from their world. Maybe then they will calm down a bit.”
Katrina returned to her stool. “But if that fails, I highly suggest striking them on the head and leaving them outside the city for the six-gills.”
“Katrina!” I complained.
“Fine, fine, fine, do what you please.”
I hope you enjoyed these deleted scenes from Terra Sea Merge. There will be one last blog post for this book later this month. Stay tuned to read that one!
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any comments, you can leave them here on my blog or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you, especially if you think either of these passages should have stayed in the novel or that you’re glad they were omitted.