Wednesday, June 8, 2016

QK 2016 Agent Round 3: AND I FEEL FINE, Adult Science Fiction

Title: Starborn
Entry Nickname: And I Feel Fine
Word Count: 85,500
Genre: Adult Science Fiction


Cold and heartless but the Enders Agency’s finest, 24-year-old Sherman Logan has saved every life but his own. He’s damn good at pelting in from between galaxies and rescuing as many people off their dying planets as possible. Again and again. When Sherman’s last real friend and comrade goes starborn – or dies on the job – to save a brave and beautiful young Earthling named Bennett and her suicidal father, Sherman falls hard.  She wakes him up - but waking means feeling the horror of every victim he didn't save. Soon, he realizes, the carnage won't end at his faraway deployments: Armageddon is about to hit right at home.

On Sherman's resident planet, a poltergeist ruler struggles to retake the podium from beyond the grave at the same time mysterious Ender disappearances begin to occur. With the help of Bennett, Sherman must confront the dictator-poltergeist and the root of these vanishings before they come for him too. On top of the incomprehensible death that haunts his everyday life, he'll have to venture deeper into his crashing universe – and himself – than he could have ever imagined.

But hey, apocalypse doesn’t faze him. It’s his job.

First 250:

The vehicle jumps and knocks my hand off the wheel.

I slam it back. Sarge says keep on the wheel. Don’t let go of the wheel.

Fuck that. Sarge ain’t here. The grey leather jerks in my grip and I keep my foot hard against the pedal. My eyes are dead ahead as the blizzard pushes us aside before I can jolt the wheel steady. But the bridge is falling apart beneath us; concrete crumbling from our tires into the steel-colored ocean below. Hail flashes like daggers off the headlights.

I glance into the overhead mirror at the huddled children in the backseat. Siblings. They always give those to me for some reason.

Sherm!” The mic attached to my shoulder buzzes.

Instinctively, I look out the driver’s window, expecting to see someone cruising next to me. Unc’s two lanes over, looking asleep again. His wrinkly old hand holds the wheel and his eyes droop, but nothing stirs, no emotion when his car jostles past a pothole at ninety miles per hour. More concrete railing sinks into the sea far below.

Wasn’t Unc. Of course. I know the voice.

I scrunch up my shoulder and speak into the mic, keeping my eyes on the road as we finally peak at the bridge’s arch and head for the descent. “Talk, Grant.”

Fuzz. Heavy breathing as Grant messes with his shoulder sleeve to speak.

“What’re we gonna do if this thing blows?”

“I’m gonna die. What’re you going to do?”

Always freaks him out.

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