Well I'm still working on the problem of Vicki being The Girl, and I've mostly cracked it. It ended up taking a major rejiggering of part 8, giving Dale more of a reason to want to go back to the bridge and using Tim's idea of changing the frequency of the brace as a pretense to do it.
It's all got to do with the dream he has while sleeping in Tim's front room in front of the TV, having Vicki appear to him and making him think he can go and save her.
The answer has been to make Dale recognise that the place in the dream is the faraway, and believing that Vicki's trapped there and that he can go there and bring her back from it.
A critical part of making that seem real was making that belief follow him out of the dream. You can dismiss a dream as just being something your mind makes up, but if something else happens out in the real world it would make it seem a) like you were right in the dream and b) make it nice and ghostly.
I settled on an IM conversation from Vicki's account – someone that could only be Vicki, and the entity breaking in to taunt Dale about having her captive. It felt pretty strong when I first wrote it but I'll have to see if it works. I like the idea of the supernatural co-opting technology and machines to do its bidding, makes it feel a bit more like it's really happening because it's not all airy fairy and spiritual.
The only element missing is a view or a scene or a reveal that shows Vicki there, something *really* scary that I can replicate when they get onto the bridge and find her.
The challenge there is that when she appears on the bridge to Dale it can't really be scary because he has to be overcome with love and run to her.
It's all reminded me – as every session does, that rewriting is a process of making the reason things happen stronger. When I look back to the first few drafts there were so many things that happened there was no rhyme or reason for, they were just there because they were cool. It's what the phrase 'kill your darlings' was invented for.