Name: Kathryn D. Fuller
Twitter Handle: @kathryndfuller
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Title: THE RECEPTION
35 Word Pitch:
In 3641, Earth is dying. When religious fanatics attempt to gain control of a spaceship destined to colonize New Eden, 17yo Vayen must unify enemies to stop the hijacking and save her parents.
First 500 Words:
Ten miles outside the third largest hulled city on Earth, Vayen Kallmunz ignored the sandstorm rolling in—a massive, red wall of sand and soil stretching north and south as far as the eye could see. Instead, she cast an angry glare at the tattered East Point flag snapping overhead, obscured by dust and dirt swirling in the howling 152-degree wind. Through her hood’s lens and green goggles, the once red flag had bled to gray, shredded to colorless ribbons, like her confidence.
It was such a simple concept: Be better tomorrow than you are today.
The city’s motto, drilled into her head for as long as she could remember, taunted her. Be better tomorrow…she certainly hoped so, because today could not get any worse. Today, pea-brained idiocy reigned.
So much for being a genius.
“Today?” she mumbled to herself, testing the words on her lips, “Sure, today went fine. Just another day in the lab.” The lie felt as conspicuous as the fog clouding the inner lens of her hood.
Her lab partners emerged from the East Point University’s lab half-buried in the side of a rocky mountain. Like Vayen, Dexton and Sharmel wore matching silver and white rig suits, protecting them from the killer heat and blocking the sand that threatened to flay them alive.
“What did you say?” Dexton snapped in her headset. Considering she’d almost killed him earlier, she understood his irritation. “Are you getting in or what?”
“Just making sure these specimens don’t tip over.” She packed a small case into the trunk. The case carried six canisters full of martianium, the heaviest and most stable natural element known to man. Discovered on Mars forty years earlier, the exceptionally valuable and rare resource promised her redemption. I hope.
“Why? Protecting the evidence of your stupidity?” Dexton always resented her, so she usually ignored him. But today, his words rang with righteous anger, driving guilt into her gut.
As the lead tech and three years younger, she imagined he despised deferring to her commands, especially on a day like this. She wished she could relive the last four hours of her life with the hard-knocks wisdom gained from today’s disastrous experiment. Fearing failure and getting shut down due to funding gaps, she had rushed headlong into an experiment without testing her hypothesis first.
She dreaded owning up to her rash actions, but her father would ask about her day—he always asked. So, she would tell him, and somewhere between destroying twenty years' worth of space mining progress and almost killing her lab partners, she felt certain she’d topple from the figurative pedestal he had long ago erected for her.
She had always thought there would be relief when that happened, but she was wrong.
She cringed, not wanting to think of the conversation to come with her father. Instead, she turned to her more immediate problem: telling Professor Ming. Her boss. Her mentor.
There was no use lying to her. It was a foregone conclusion that the blasted woman knew everything.