Name: Ashlyn (@AshlynWriting)
Genre: Science Fiction
Title: Lambda Ascending
35-word Pitch: At Epsilon Labs, heroes aren't born—they're made. Fifteen-year-old David is Crown City’s most popular hero and Epsilon Labs’ finest artificial human, whether he wants to be or not.
First 500 words:
“Nice kitty.” The tree scratches against my skin, but it won’t hurt me. Almost nothing does. “Come here, Mister Sprinkles.” Mister Sprinkles hisses, his eyes practically glowing in the dark. He bats a paw at me.
I grit my teeth, and growl at the dumb animal. “Look, I think we know each other pretty well by now Mister S.” The mangy cat hisses again.
This is humiliating. A normal teenage boy clinging to a branch is bad enough, but me? “Okay fine,” I say with a huff, “Mister Sprinkles it is. I just thought we were past all that and nicknames would be fine. Look, we know each other well enough that you don't have to be frightened of me.” I glance at Mrs. Benson down below. It doesn’t look like she’s listening to us, well me. “I don't want to be here anymore than you do.”
“Is everything okay up there, Sigma?”
My eye twitches at the name. “Don't worry, everything is under control,” I call, then turn back to my so-called mission. “Okay, Mister Sprinkles, this is your last chance. The easy way, or the hard way. Your choice.”
Of course, the dumb cat chooses the hard way. He always does. The branch is thick enough to support my weight as I crawl closer toward him, but it still wobbles with each movement. Flying ticks off the stupid thing off even more. With every scoot comes another hiss. Why Mrs. Benson cares so much about such a mean cat, I’ll never know. My job would certainly be easier if I cared whether or not the cat made it indoors for the night.
Just as I’m about to wrap my hands around him, Mister Sprinkles’ paw lashes out at me. His claws rake across my ungloved hand. He doesn’t break my skin. He doesn’t hurt me. It feels uncomfortable and weird, like when your leg is half asleep.
Super skin is way better than regular skin. Not that I know the difference.
I yank him from the branch he’s clinging to, and leap the ten feet down to Mrs. Benson with her little monster wriggling in my grip. “Here you go.” I shove Mister Sprinkles into her arms, and launch myself into the sky. I may have to be here, but I don’t have to stick around.
Yeah right. I’m supposed to. It’s what the customer would want. Crown City’s tax dollars’ at work.
Maybe I should take the longer route home so I can avoid pictures of Epsilon Corporation’s billboards that star my face. Or worse, the new Sigma movie poster. Geez, those things are so embarrassing.
Unfortunately, there’s a new Epsilon one on my route. Awesome. In it, I’m holding some new computer thing. I can’t fight my grimace. I look so lame. I think they airbrushed my skin, because it does not shine like that. They didn’t retouch my goggles much. My red suit looks like plastic, and the sigma insignia could be glowing.