Entry Nickname: Asteroid Snacks
Word count: 84K
Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Baku makes rent by doing odd jobs for her landlord and kills time flying her ship around the asteroid belt, hitting up seedy convenience stores for MSG chips. When she runs out of fuel and siphons some from a luxury cruiser, she sets in motion a series of misadventures that permanently alleviate her boredom.
The owner of the cruiser, Genevieve, forces Baku to pay for the fuel she stole. The only object of value Baku has is a silver coin she keeps as a good luck charm. Baku hands over her Siriusan denarius that, unbeknown to either of them, is worth millions of Ganymede Guilders.
The coin isn’t just valuable, it’s trouble. Possessing it leads Genevieve into the hands of paranoid but affable crime lord, Erik. Baku rescues her, and a friendship develops between the two women, but their subsequent attempts to evade Erik lead them into the world of forgery and organized crime.
When Erik captures Baku and holds her ransom, Genevieve forges art to secure her release. But Erik needs more than just art. He needs scapegoats to take the fall for the interstellar revolution he’s fomented by supporting two opposing sides of a Siriusan political conflict, and he isn’t afraid to doom Genevieve and Baku in his stead. Baku and Genevieve must ascertain his plans and subvert them or they’ll be captured and shipped off to Sirius.
The Fly n’ Buy mechanic lay hibernating behind the checkout counter, his segmented body curled into a ball, his hundred eyestalks gently entwined. Above the till hung a sign that read ‘Pump Out Of Order.’
Baku shrugged off her irritation at having flown there for nothing. At least she’d gotten out of the house and filled a few of the many empty hours.
She roamed the dim aisles, loading her hand basket with gummy worms, condensed potato starch chips, and a stale, greasy donut from a rotating hotdog heater. The Aldebaranians who worked this asteroid outpost never knew quite what to make of human food. They roasted coffee beans in the popcorn popper and dumped buckets of cold, gelatinous soup in the slushy machine.
Baku placed her basket on the counter. She fished in her coat pockets for coins and dropped a handful in front of the till. A Cordelian thaler and two Callisto rupees tinkled onto the silicon countertop.
The clerk trained one eyestalk on the coins, then on Baku. He motioned with a claw for more.
Baku dug deep in an inner pocket and found an Io yuan beneath a lump of lint. She dropped it beside the other coins. The clerk scooped the money into the till and placed the items in a bag, donut first.
“Thank you,” Baku said, having acquired all the accoutrements of identity she could afford. Maybe one day she’d spring for a soup slushy.
The clerk replied with a grunt that wasn’t altogether unfriendly.
Title: Engine of Change
Entry Nickname: Super Powers and Problems
Word Count: 100K
Genre: Adult SciFi
Seeing twenty-seven-year-old Jenna downing shots at the local dive bar, you’d never guess she was once the feared supervillain Engine. That’s because everyone knows Engine is dead, just like the rest of the Specials–the teens who ten years ago tried to take over the world.
Or so the old fabricated headlines read. Jenna would tell you she and her friends were trying to help.
Burdened with anger and guilt over being the last of her kind, all Jenna wants is to be left alone in the secret life she’s pieced together in New York City. That dream dies when the man who created the plague that eradicated the Specials threatens humanity with a new strain of the virus, and a government agency aware Jenna survived demands her help. Help she has no intention of providing until they blackmail her with the only thing she would care about: secretly held survivors of the original infection.
Now Jenna must overcome her demons, revive the leader she was, and save the world. After suffering through the genocide committed against her people, she's not sure she can. Or should.
First 250 words
The worst thing about having gained immortality at sixteen was being treated like a scamming teenager any time I wanted a fucking drink.
“ID,” Jimmy said as I climbed into the rust-red swivel seat at the middle of the bar. He leaned over the stained bar top and eyed me like I’d trailed dog shit in on my shoe.
I ripped open my wallet, nearly knocking over a half-empty glass of skunky swill someone had abandoned. “I’ve been in here a hundred times. Why are you still being a tool about this?”
Jimmy flicked his bald head up and to the right, at the fist-sized black camera aimed at the bar. His engorged belly swung around under his blue sweat-soaked t-shirt. “Because I still don’t buy that you’re twenty-two, Jenna.”
He was right, I wasn’t twenty-two. I was twenty-seven, but got carded everywhere. I couldn’t even buy cigarettes without catching grief. Immunity to physical addiction was a nice perk to the whole doesn’t-age-or-get-sick thing, though. Take that, Philip Morris and Anheuser-Busch.
I yanked out my well-fabricated driver’s license and passed it over. Jimmy looked at it just long enough to satisfy a judge, and handed it back. “The usual? Beer and a bourbon shot?”
I nodded and jammed my ID back into my wallet.
The place was pretty empty; only three sad sacks scattered around, hunched in shadows, nursing their regrets. Of course it was a Tuesday at five PM and the place was a dump.