Title: GHOSTS OF THE VOID
Entry Nickname: #HackTheVoid
Word Count: 99K
Genre: YA Science Fiction - #OwnVoices
In the year 3023, the Void—a virtual reality world created by SALVADOR ORTIZ—has been in lock-down mode for a thousand years. Millions of people, known as Residents, are trapped inside. Unbeknownst to them, they repeat the year 2023 in an eternal loop. Since there is no known way to disconnect Residents from the Void without killing them, they have been placed in cryosleep by the U.S. Government, which has spent billions trying to reverse the lock-down unsuccessfully. Only a handful of hackers can enter the Void and come back. The most famous of these, the GHOSTS OF THE VOID, are a collective who support themselves by doing odd-jobs within the Void for scientists, government officials, and anyone else with enough coin interested in exploiting the virtual past to make a name for themselves in 3023.
18-year-old SUZANNA JIMÉNEZ, the leader of the Ghosts, lost the last of her family when her sister was kidnapped. After years of searching for her, Suz is now convinced her sister is dead, and escapes the real world by spending more time within the Void than outside of it. She is known for being a ruthless leader, who values the lives of her crew above all else.
However, when Suzanna discovers her sister is alive, her loyalty to the Ghosts is put to the test. She is hired by the government to find Salvador Ortiz in order to shut the Void down. A job that upon fulfillment comes with information on the location of her sister—and a one-billion-dollar payday. Enough money to get them both out of harm’s way. Now, Suzanna must decide if getting her sister back is worth risking the lives of her crew; if she’s really going to kidnap the daughter of Salvador Ortiz to get the job done; and if she and her team are good enough to hack through the virtual world before getting wiped out by Salvador Ortiz’s security system.
If the Ghosts manage to pull off their hardest job to date, they’ll succeed in freeing the millions of people who have been stuck inside of the Void for centuries. But failure may destroy the home and family they’ve created in 3023.
GHOSTS OF THE VOID is told through multiple—and mostly #OwnVoices Latinx—points of view. And will appeal to readers of Want, Warcross, Renegades, and Otherworld—fans of futuristic tales, complicated love stories, and virtual reality.
Akari Nakamura stared at the annoying blinking lights above the cafeteria exit, signaling a Code Black. Someone cut the electricity, killing the security system inside of California’s State Capitol building. She looked down at the granola breakfast she was eating for a second, and took a last bite before dashing out. She followed the winding corridors to the office of Representative Edna Rodgers. Once in, she pushed the heavy door into the wall until it closed, and darted next to her boss, who’d remained seated calmly at her desk, waiting for her with a stoic face.
“Don’t worry. I’ve got you,” Akari said. She took hold of the state-of-the-art Cobra stunner resting snuggly on the utility belt at her waist. Her slender fingers found their usual place of comfort. The familiar coolness of the steel in her hand steadied her galloping heartbeat, cleared her hurried thoughts.
She stood in front of the desk, focused on the closed door, its useless electric lock.
The back-up lights cast the carpet, ceiling, furniture, and their solemn faces in an eerie red glow. As if blood was coating the room.
Was it a sign of what was to come?
Akari felt determined to make sure it wouldn’t be her own blood spilled today.
Or the representative’s.
The door banged into the wall as someone forced it open, letting in the shrill noise of the alarms blaring through the hallways of the building.
A young man strolled in. Akari’s breath caught in her throat.
Title: Internal Traitors
Entry Nickname: The Jo & Empty Show
Word count: 80K
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
As the granddaughter of a senator and a self-made billionaire, seventeen-year-old Jordyn Hendricks has what many would consider a great life. She has a good group of friends, a mutual crush on a cute boy, and enjoys partying with her classmates. But her life starts to crumble once she’s announced as the new CEO of Wellington Corp—her grandfather’s corporation.
Control transfers to Jordyn —on her eighteenth birthday—but there’s a problem: she doesn’t want the job. She always pictured herself developing weapons, not running a corporation and she knows she isn’t ready. Until Jordyn turns eighteen, her aunt, Zalia, will serve as Interim CEO. Jordyn discovers Zalia has a plan that involves using people with cloudy eyes called “Empties” to do her bidding. Their first task? Bring Jordyn to her.
But Jordyn doesn't know Zalia is using Redisol to control the Empties, which acts like a psychiatric medication and changes the chemical makeup of the brain and nervous system. As she searches for answers, Jordyn must find a way to stop Zalia and protect her loved ones from becoming Empties.
It was official. In less than three months, I would be the new CEO of Wellington Corp whether I liked it or not. Grandpa Zac broke the news last night but reading it in the reports made it more real. How could the board members think I was a better choice than my aunt? She had a PhD and I was a seventeen-year-old mess with zero experience. I had no business running a multi-billion-dollar corporation. I didn't even own any business clothes. Most of my wardrobe consisted of crop tops and flannels. Neither were appropriate for my new job.
Mitch nudged me after I finished reading the report. “You okay?”
“I’m considering going into hiding, so that’s a solid hell nope.”
We were in Weapon Studies class waiting for our instructor to arrive. There were twenty students in class and we sat in pairs. Of those twenty, only two weren’t training to become a soldier—me and a boy named Will.
I wasn’t worried about whether I could hide the whirlwind of emotions brewing inside of me. My mom made sure I was a pro before she left. She was great at pretending she didn’t have feelings and terrible at being a mother. Well, not to my brother, Julian. He was always her favorite.
“Count me in.” Mitch slicked his sandy brown hair to the side.
“What?” I asked.
“You wouldn’t last two minutes without your partner in—well, not crime but something equally cool,” he said.