The first typed draft of my short story "Camera," March 2001 (it was zero-drafted in a notebook):
No more shooting in the corridors, but Riesel's nerves still sang from her part in the ship's defense. She peeled her pale blue suit of mecha down her arms, her scarred torso, and finally her legs. Heat pricked her depilated skin as nanoprobes withdrew and she bit back a moan as her muscles, released from their unnatural tensile state, slackened. The mecha pooled on the silver deck like a satisfied cat.
The door from the corridor slid open and a trooper, still wearing her mecha, poked her head in. "Sarge, they need you in Blue Area."
Mentally, Riesel groaned. "Confirmed. Go strip off, Park. That suit'll tear you up if you're not careful."
"Sir. On my way, sir."
The door slid shut. Riesel stood slowly, every muscle throbbing as she performed a few isometrics before putting on clothing. Her black undress coverall covered her reddened limbs, and her uniform cap hid the pressure marks on her bare scalp. She scooped up a tube of the protein paste regulations required, post-mecha, and jogged to her next assignment.
Activity surged in the silver corridors: squads of mechanized troopers trotting in unison, engineers inspecting the bulkheads for damage, civilian scientists helping to clean away debris from the unsuccessful attack by the Terraformers. Riesel smelled ozone and sweat and burnt plastic, poorly masked by the lemony deodorizer valiantly puffing from the air recyclers. She followed the yellow strip on the deck to a cluster of primary-colored triangles. She took the upship corridor to Blue.
"Sergeant Flood," said the trim blonde officer manning the Blue control desk. "Sorry to pull you out just after a fight."
"No problem, sir."
"This shouldn't take long. Roo Squad captured one of the terrorists. It seems her ship left her behind deliberately; she was pinned down three corridors away from their boarding tube."
"Our intelligence informs us that the Terraformers are running low on manpower in this sector."
"I'd heard that, sir."
"We want to know how they can afford to waste a suit of mecha."
"Consider it done, sir."
He gazed at her solemnly. "We need this information, Sergeant Flood. Beta-Coriolanus is a delicate world. If the Terraformers are still making an effort to capture it for their use, we need to know. And we need to know what the general populace thinks. The recent communications blackout has made our Intelligence very...unhappy."
Third-person limited just didn't sing. It wasn't cold enough, or distant enough, for the kind of world I wanted; or at least, I couldn't make it turn out that way.
Then I got the moment of inspiration we all hope for, that so rarely comes. Date on this file is June 2001, though I actually started on the changes in April, I think, again writing by hand in a notebook.
You're stripping out of your mecha because the battle's over. Your nerves still sing from your part in the ship's defense. You peel the shimmering layer of mecha down your arms, your wound-scarred torso, your legs. Nanoprobes withdraw, pricking your depilated skin with delightful heat, and the mecha pools on the silver deck like a satisfied cat. Released from their unnatural tensile state, your muscles slacken. You're a normal soldier again.
A trooper, still wearing her mecha, pokes her head in the door. "Sarge, they need you in Blue Area."
You groan. "Confirmed. Go strip off, Park. That suit'll tear you up if you're not careful."
"Sir. On my way, sir."
The door shuts. You do some isometrics under the black monitor cameras before you pull on your black undress coverall. Your uniform cap hides the pressure marks on your bare scalp. You suck down a tube of the protein paste regulations require, post-mecha, and jog to your next assignment.
Following a yellow strip on the deck leads you to a cluster of primary-colored triangles. The silver corridors surge with squads of mechanized troopers trotting in unison; engineers inspecting the bulkheads for damage; civilian scientists cleaning away debris from the unsuccessful attack. The air stinks of burnt plastic, not masked by the lemony deodorizer pumping out of the air recyclers. You take the upship corridor to Blue.
"Sergeant Flood," says a trim blonde officer manning the Blue control desk.
"Roo Squad captured one of the terrorists. Find out what she knows." He gives you a palm reader, with her record open. It shows a DNA scan and nothing else.
[copyright Elspeth Potter, 2005]
Works much better, I think. I sold this one twice.