I think the reason my version is so different is because I pretended the draft you gave was mine, not yours. When I edit someone else, I try not to let my voice overcome that writer’s voice. When I edit myself, obviously I can do whatever I want.
Whenever I do tightening edits, I am always looking for areas that need to be EXPANDED. If I do expand, obviously, that means I end up making the tightening job tougher, but to me that is all for the good; all good writing comes from the editing. I also look for issues of rearranging.
Here, I pretended that as I was editing, I decided I hadn’t painted the fear strong enough in “my” first draft. So I added station names to give the feel that her panic grew for a long time. At one point, I think I had 4 or 5, but I needed a couple of words back for other purposes. Similarly, I added her internal thoughts/changed narrative to internal thoughts. I added the “invading her space” idea. All of this was driven by wanting to get rid of the word “panicked.” In other words, I did even more “showing” than “I” had in the first draft.
Also, as you pointed out, I did some things with pacing/flow, primarily the sentence fragments, to create atmosphere. “She knew:” was also part of that. It was expendable, but I used it for pacing.
I picked a few specific verbs (refused, squeezed, escape, crept, invading), not just for strength, but also for atmospheric fit.
I had to decide whether there was any original detail to get rid of. The addition of the station names made it easy to get rid of the “second of five” line. I tweaked the passage about the reading device but kept it because I thought it was a nice tie between the book and the poor lighting. I changed the “flickering” light to a “dying” light, which I thought was a nice psychological touch—but that’s probably over thinking.
I broke the paragraph just for a little extra suspense before the punch line.
Finally, I added the stammer to “M-m-ma’am” and broke “Please?” off as a separate question to emphasize his fear.
Jan, as far as comments on your edits, now that I’ve read your explanation and despite my thoughts above, I agree that the passage about the reading device can be cut. As you said, you liked it but it distracted from what you were really trying to do. I used to give my students an assignment in which I asked them to write a several paragraphs and then mark the sentence they thought was the “best.” Then after they turned in the assignment, I told them they had to re-write it without the “best” sentence. Of course, sometimes the best sentence can stay, but we have to be willing to cut even the stuff we are in love with if it is problematic from some point of view.
"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien