So there I was, reading through chapter 8, unable to cut more than a sentence or two every dozen pages. It all seemed necessary.
And then I realized... it was all equally necessary.
Did I really need this chapter at all?
I'd gotten some feedback that this chapter was on the slow side. There were also some technical issues with the main conflict in the chapter (some readers found it implausible that anyone on the ship would seriously consider not letting the alien stay on board, given the kind of people they are). The conflict itself was also, perhaps, a false one... a problem dropped in to raise tension which didn't exist before this chapter and didn't have any effect afterwards.
So I cut the whole conflict -- about half the chapter -- which also allowed me to cut a page or two in the previous chapter that led up to it, for a total cut of 3200 words. It's kind of late for me to tell whether I've plastered over the seams well enough (hmm, where did that metaphor come from?), and I feel bad about losing some of the little character moments in there, but I feel good about this. If I need any of those paragraphs back, they're available... I always keep earlier drafts around.
Still probably won't make it all the way down to 100,000 words, but the shorter the better, eh?