When Eppis learns of Ilo’s death, a tiny flashback to their romantic collusion appears; as mentioned by Sofita in Episode 4, and then alluded within Ilo’s thoughts in her debut chapter. Flashbacks inside dialogue-heavy scenes is a no-no, and Ilo’s past narrative grew long. There was no reason to include it the scene and doing so took the reader out of the scene presenting it. The primary purpose of it was establishing the arc’s title, with Ilo comically referring to Eppis’s social-life stratagems as ‘tactical pursuits.’
After sacrificing this scene during third draft edits, I added Ilo’s crack about Eppis Banto’s tactical pursuits in the recorded message at Ilo’s funeral.
Deleted Scene: Episode 6 (Tactical Pursuits Arc)
Characters: Eppis Banto, Ilo Cux
Version: Second Draft edit
Content Warnings: None
Eppis fondly recalled her alliance with Ilo, forged at the Arukal bluzsh in Toxis. In her early pursuit of Ozbi, the gorgeous subak had chosen to cohabitate with Velto at a high-rise shared with Hib Perkad and Ilo Cux. The two zaxir often dragged a preoccupied Velto to the citbluz, with Ozbi declining their invites.
The high-end Arukal kept a floor just for Ilo, and Eppis managed to walk in with a group of deliciously rotund lingerie models that kept fawning over her pretty face. Eppis lost the pair in the pools, keeping an eye out for Ilo. When the belly finally left Velto’s side to hydrate on the rocks, Eppis swam in like a shark on the hunt.
“I’d knew you sniff me out, sooner or later,” Ilo said.
“If you desire to be alone-”
“—you know I don’t, hizzah.” Ilo rolled onto her stomach lowered her voice. “Keep that big backswell of yours in the water, and act like we’re discussing something funny.”
“If you’re looking to make Velto jealous, it won’t work.”
“Velto’s not wired to care if I stray,” Ilo reminded her. “She’s not like us.”
“Us?” Eppis balked. “I’ve no idea what you’re speaking of,”
“I want Velto all to myself, Eppis,”
“How does that fare for Hib Perkad?”
“Hib’s not the problem.” Ilo smiled then. “My problem is Citizen Tis. Velto won’t part with her, and she won’t leave.”
Eppis lost her will for a retort.
“Don’t look at me like that,” Ilo laughed. “I’m going to give you some advice. You’ve been riding all these subbies, the one thing they have in common being Ozbitis. That’s going blow up in your face.”
“You’re tracking my sexual interludes?”
“Get over yourself,” Ilo said. “Those subbies don’t get together after you burn them and say, that Eppis really likes Ozbi, we should hook her up.”
“That’s how zaxiri operate-”
“—subbies are different animals,” Ilo shook her head. “When they get together to talk about you, they’ll say you’re an eel desperate to ride Ozbi because she probably said no to you. They’ll warn her, not sing your praises.”
“Did someone warn her?”
“How can you be so pretty and so stupid?” Ilo scolded. “You’re fine for now, but keep doing what you’re doing, and someone will warn her.”
“You’re an expert on nothing,”
“I know that everyone in our circle thinks you’re nailing Velto’s subbie friends, and then ditching them is just to anger Velto,” Ilo revealed. “That’s right, Eppis Banto, you’re considered the subbie bouncer.”
Eppis moved closer to Ilo.
“I know better,” whispered the zaxir. “You’re just getting the goods on Ozbi.”
“Perhaps she’s next on my list,”
“You’re too focused.” Ilo saw right through her. “I used to think I was all alone in this world when it came to my dirty monogamist yearnings, but I see them when you look at her.” Ilo then whispered. “She’s all you want. I see you die inside whenever Velto kisses her or when she smiles at Velto.”
Eppis stared at the churning cold water, lost.
“How do you think I feel?” the zaxir continued, “Seeing Velto on the couch with her?”
“Ozbi’s a good citizen-”
“—I know that, but Velto’s mine.” Ilo’s brow bent. “I can’t share her, and my feelings are getting the better of me.”
Eppis understood what Ilo spoke of all too well.
“I’m starting to hate Ozbi,” she’d added. “She doesn’t deserve that.”
Eppis turned away and pretended to enjoy her soak.
Ilo’s smile faded. “I need you to get over this disgust you have for your feelings and get Ozbi off my couch.”
Eppis stared at the ceiling and its many tiny lights.
“You and I could enter therapy, Ilo,”
Ilo laughed. “I’m too fabulous for therapy.”
“Waxam is wrong,” Eppis has said.
“Says who?” Ilo countered. “Tee Banto?”
Eppis straightened up and put her feet on the pool’s bottom.
“My kerma exercises no control over me,”
“Good,” Ilo said. “They can all ride off, Eppis. We decide what’s right, you and me, the two most magnificent looking citizens in this place.”
“I’m playing for keeps, Ilo.” At that moment, Eppis felt invincible. “If Velto tries anything,”
“I’ll give Velto plenty to do,” Ilo assured. “You just get back your tactical pursuits.”