Sunday, November 15, 2015
1st 5 Pages November Workshop - Christy Rev 2
Name: Christy C.
Genre: YA science fiction
Title: SEVEN SEAS
200 word pitch:
The space Colonies were constructed to save an overpopulated Earth, but Dahlia Yang-Lee thinks growing up in an orbiting ship is as restrictive as living under an asteroid. As an engineering student, Lia appreciates 90th century wonders. But, unlike her ancestors who dreamed of colonizing space, Lia dreams of exploring Earth.
When a time travel accident sends Lia aboard Callum Davis’ legendary pirate shuttle, she is unsure if meeting the subject of childhood nightmares is a blessing or curse. Considering Cal died 5,000 years ago, Lia’s inclined to pick the latter. More surprising than her time jump is the discovery Cal isn’t the villain textbooks claim he is, but a heroic outlaw. Fighting unfair policies that prevent the underprivileged from moving to elite space communities isn’t Cal’s only skill. His ability to charm the spacesuit off anyone leaves Lia wondering if his loot may soon include her heart.
The bounty on Cal’s head is a warning his story doesn’t end happily, unless Lia defies history to save the man she’s falling for. Breaking away from the future and leaving her rigid Colony life is Lia’s shot at freedom, but remaining with Cal on a failing planet could kill them both.
1st 5 pages:
The gun clicks and I smile.
So much for acting like a professional.
“It’s oddly exhilarating, isn’t it,” my mentor Chloe notes.
The charcoal black pistol fits perfectly in my palm. Sleek, classy, dangerous. If it weren’t for the museum inventory number attached to the trigger, I would have thought Chloe swiped the gun off the set of a period drama.
“I’m losing a battle with goosebumps.” My body has forgotten it’s always 23.5 degrees Celsius in lab. I suppose it’s still a comfortable step up from the -270 degree environment outside our space station windows.
“All finished Lia?” Following museum protocol, Chloe takes the gun with gloved fingers. The lid to its velvet-lined casing closes with a quiet hiss, locking automatically. A barcode directs Male_A077’s possessions to the correct shelving unit. “That’s the last container belonging to our pirating friend.”
“I’ll bet he never imagined the contents of his pockets would be so thoroughly analyzed,” I say, disposing used gloves in the neon orange burn box by my feet. I’m sure I’d leave a great impression on a future scientist studying the 90th century if they found the half eaten granola bar stashed in my purse.
“Everything that belonged to someone has potential significance. Even the castoffs.”
The lighting dims as our lab kicks into power saving mode. Is the workday already over? Chloe jogs up floating stairs to trick the motion detectors into believing our current team is larger than two.
“Hey, is castoff the polite term you archaeologists have for trash?” I call. The acoustics in here are better than a symphony hall.
Chloe waves for me to join her in the lofted office. “Well, his trash is my treasure trove!”
“Not to mention source of income.”
From her desk, Chloe punches in the security code that provides access to the workspace downstairs. A row of sealed cases descends under lab floor tiles for storage. I lean against a metal railing, watching as the large panels below glide smoothly back into place.
“Don’t tell me you’ve got the entire pirate ship hidden under there too Chloe.” The lab’s endless annexes could house a substantial meteoroid collection without my knowledge.
“The archaeology team is still preparing shipments from the ongoing excavation, but I believe your fabled shuttle will be here next week.”
I laugh a bit at this. “My shuttle? I think Callum Davis would be turning in his grave if he heard me renaming his pride and joy the Dahlia.”
“The Dahlia? I like it, don’t you?”
“You don’t think it sounds too cute for a ship full of outlaws?” Naming a famous pirate shuttle after myself might be the most narcissistic thing I’ve done all year.
“Tell you what, if a mob of angry space pirates comes barging into lab, you can blame the rechristening on me.”
Although children in the Colonies grow up hearing tales of the dastardly Callum Davis and his wicked band of pirates, I was positive Captain Davis was about as real as the alien under my bed. That is, until news of his shuttle’s discovery began trending in museum newsfeeds. The first uncensored photos we received from the pirate’s forgotten world sent a solar storm of shivers down my fingertips, and a flood of tea across my desk.
If an award existed for youngest intern to suffer a heart attack, I would have won when Chloe revealed our lab would be overseeing restorations on the Callum Davis shuttle. Every museum department has been scrambling around for weeks, trying to get involved on this high profile project. I suppose piecing together the tale of an enigmatic space pirate sounds much more exciting than examining the stomach contents of a person who’s been dead for 10,000 years.
Chloe glances up from her glass tablet. “Have you heard back about your training grant application?”
I manage to smile despite the fluttering in my chest that appears whenever I picture the two possible outcomes. “Not yet. The museum directors met this morning to decide who they’ll be interviewing, but no announcements have been sent.”
“Why do you sound so nervous? I think you have an excellent shot! The spot is basically yours if you nail this upcoming restoration project. I already have a bottle of champagne with your name on it.” She raises her stylus in a toast. “To a future museum employee! Ms. Dahlia Yang-Lee!”
“Thanks, but let’s not start celebrations too early Chloe. Wouldn’t want to jinx anything. Besides, there are at least ninety other interns who are just as qualified.”
I’m beyond thrilled to be nominated for the career development training grant, but I’m also terrified I’ll be horribly disappointed when the results are revealed if I don’t see my name on the list. Unlike the other ninety-nine applicants, I’m not an archaeologist by training. I know how to debug lines of computer code, not how to analyze the bugs in human remains.
“I wouldn’t have nominated you if I didn’t think you would be a competitive candidate,” Chloe reminds me. Her tablet trills as it updates our inventory logs from this afternoon’s work. “I’ve mentored many interns in the past and you are at the top of my list.”
“Then I’m glad you made a wrong turn into that auditorium.”
“You should thank the architect who designed your private high school. They made it impossible to navigate from point A to B without ending up at point E first.”
Chloe’s unplanned appearance at my engineering seminar’s final presentation ended with an offer for a summer internship I hadn’t applied for, let alone knew existed. The museum was so far off my radar, even working as a professional asteroid wrangler came in higher on my list of career goals.
“I’ve already spent the entire afternoon refreshing my computer but I’ll let you know if I hear from the Board this weekend,” I say. The systems in lab are touchscreen to prevent dust accumulation, but there are plenty of buttons waiting at home for me to wear down.
“Did you check your unsorted files?” Chloe suggests. “The security system has mislabeled my documents before, making them nearly impossible to find.”
“Yes, but the only unsorted recording was from a lonely Martian prince looking for companionship.”
“You are excited though, right?”
“About a rendezvous with a prince?” My armchair hovers towards me and I settle into the comfortable cushions. Better keep your researchers happy if you want them to spend hours holed up in the same room, right?
“No, not that. I’m still talking about the grant,” Chloe clarifies. She steps over a humming bot as it completes its daily polish of the office’s mirror like floors. “Earth, remember? You’re only one yes away. Shall I put a lab camera on hold for you?”
The fluttering returns, accompanied by an uncontrollable shiver. But it’s not the prospect of a permanent museum job museum that disrupts my motor functions at the mere mention of the grant.
“I don’t know if cameras are allowed at the Callum Davis excavation site,” I reply. It’s monitored more strictly than a museum lab, considering its location.
“I’ll write you a note and insist it’s for research purposes. I hope you’ll remember to be careful down there Lia,” Chloe says, suddenly serious. “I want my favorite intern to return in one piece.”
“Who said anything about returning?” The marbled planet rotates innocently on my idle workstation. How can a planet so beautiful be so deadly?