Bonus Scene

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Hello, readers! I've decided to share a bonus scene with you -- in Matthew's point of view. Since the sequel and finale of the Unplugged Trilogy partly take place in his perspective, I wanted to practice writing a scene from The New World that would both challenge me and help me to better understand his personality and motives. Matthew is one of the more challenging characters to write, because he's experienced so much loss and pain that it kind of clouds his "true colors". I wanted to let his sense of humor shine through, and also make sure that he and Enna had a genuine connection that wasn't based on anything shallow, rather their shared experiences as outcasts.

The following scene occurs when Enna gets savagely beat up by the battle droid that Luke had intentionally set out for her in the Training Department's storage closet. Enjoy!

* * *

I shake out my hands and take a deep breath, still fuming about my recent encounter with Luke. The more time I spent musing over Enna's suspicions about him, the more I realized the potential for them to be true. Restless to know the truth, I found Luke -- wandering an old tunnel off of the Warehouse -- and demanded that he tell me why he continues to abandon his duties. His final retort echoes in my mind perpetually, heating my blood to a constant boil: "I can't speak for you, but I have more important things to do than slave for the Depot." Even though I know it was a jab at my unfortunate position as a tunnel-digger, I can't help but wonder if Luke is on to something. Have I really escaped one tyranny just to join another?

My shoes slap the dry stone underfoot as I enter the empty Training Facility. I'm late for Enna's practice. I sigh and rub a hand down my face, feeling uncharacteristically self-conscious about how filthy my uniform is. Just as I head towards my apartment to change, a piercing scream stabs the air. It comes from the storage closet.

Enna.

Instinct takes over and I sprint towards the room, yanking the door open. She lies curled on the floor, unconscious and covered in bruises. A droid stands over her, its fist poised to strike. I am pure adrenaline. The light on its chest quits blinking when I slam my fist into its neck, and it falls backward with a terrible crash.

Enna continues to lie still: too still. Fear rises up within me, quickly replaced by self-directed anger. Obviously, my coaching hasn't been inspiring any progress. It's my fault that she's hurt. I gently roll her over, holding my fingers to her neck. She has a pulse and she's breathing. That's good enough for now. Urgently, I scoop her into my arms and hurry towards the clinic.

I don't get it: Enna was doing so well in her practices! How could a single droid cause so much damage? Enna moans, and I quicken my pace then turn the corner. Almost there. When I rush into the clinic, I deposit her onto the nearest bed, muscles aching. Hope appears at the end of the ward, looking worried.

"Oh dear." She dashes over to Enna as I stand helplessly. "What on Earth happened to her?"

"She was fighting a droid..." I drift off, not quite sure about what happened myself. I can tell that Hope is worried, but she forces a happy demeanor upon herself, pulling out a pack of ice from under the bed.

"Well, don't you worry. Go ahead and run along: she'll be fine." Hope turns her back to me as she holds the ice against the large bruise spreading on Enna's jaw, but I continue to stand there. I've never seen her look so vulnerable. Even when Sam forced her to fight a droid in front of the other Trainees, she continued to get back up on her feet. I feel like I would be betraying her to leave, especially since this incident was my fault.

"Do you mind if I stay?" I ask. Hope turns to me, surprised, then her gaze softens and she smiles a little.

"Of course not." I nod and walk over to the chair next to the bed. "Could you hold this for me?" I take the ice pack from Hope and hold it against Enna's jaw. A thin string of her lies over her forehead, her nose, her lips. I move my hand to brush it away when she stirs, slowly opening her eyes. I snatch my hand back, worried that she caught me about to touch her. But, judging by her confusion, I'm sure she didn't. I force myself to relax.

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