For my regular readers, these are some special posts this week as part of a pitch contest I'm providing feedback for. My normal musings will return next week.
For participants, welcome to my blog! I'm happy to host you and excited to see what kinds of stories you've written. Please remember that only the author of this piece and the participating judges are supposed to comment. All other comments will be deleted.
We're Team Fluttershy! Because here on Balancing Act, we're both quite sweet unless you provoke us, in which case, we are terrifying.
You can check out other teams on the other hosting blogs: Rena Rocford (Rainbow Dash), Kathleen Ann Palm (Rarity), Elizabeth Roderick (Discord), Katie Hamstead Teller (Princess Luna)
Category and Genre: YA Science Fiction
Word Count: 98,000
In 2265, fifteen-year-old Mouse yearns to escape from the computer controlled foster system and fly to one of Earth’s exciting new colony planets. She can start over and become someone else. But she’s trapped for three more years, unless she can convince a foster parent to adopt her. Unfortunately, her sixth foster parent abandons her during a city evacuation, and Mouse barely escapes a kidnapping attempt. Desperate to avoid her former abusive group home and hide from the kidnapper, she programs a new identity and joins a group of runaway boys in their underground courier service. Disguised as a boy, Mouse avoids the unwanted attention she’s run from all her life.
Deep in the forest reserve, the biggest issue in seventeen-year-old Taryn’s life is telling her parents she wants to intern on a colony planet, until illegal miners blow up her home and kill her family. Taryn flees into the forest, her only thought survival.
Mouse’s safety is shattered when the kidnapper captures all the courier boys. Her first instinct is to program a new identity and flee, but she can’t leave them to face the horrors they might endure. She follows the clues to an isolated lab in the middle of the forest. Her friends lie in comas, and, in the next room, vacant-eyed kids are trapped in a virtual reality. Mouse rescues the only person still functioning, Taryn, captured while investigating her family’s murder.
Together, the girls must rescue the boys before the lab programs them into mining robot replacements and ships them to a distant asteroid to work until they die.
First 250 Words:
The Spaceport shuttle lifted elegantly over the rows of shipping containers and hovered above the burning city. So close, yet totally unreachable.
Mouse blinked away useless tears.
Ash billowed over the burnt transportation terminal and swirled around her head, obscuring her view for a moment. If everything had gone the way she planned, Mouse would’ve been on that shuttle in nine months, flying to the Jarian Spaceport and boarding a colony ship to Tanek.
Instead, she huddled at the edge of the cargo field with the last of the evacuees while flames engulfed the temporary city-block. Stuck on Earth.
It had been so hard not to beg Emma to take her with them. But it wouldn’t have changed anything. No one really wanted her.
Mouse had twisted her lips into a fake smile and waved her sixth foster parent off with the words she knew Emma wanted to hear. “Of course I understand. I’ve only been here three months. No time to change your colony application. It’s a great opportunity. Go. I’ll be fine.”
Emma’s grateful smile hadn’t made it any easier. Only twenty evacuees had received the offer to skip the emigration wait-list. Of course Emma chose to fly to Tanek now, rather than relocate to another city-block for the next nine months.
Mouse didn’t know why it still hurt. After fifteen years, she should be used to it.
Mouse’s breath caught as the shuttle wings rippled, transforming to propulsion configuration. Flames reflected off the gleaming silver fuselage, a star about to explode.