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Entry Nickname: Don’t Eat Me!
Word Count: 80,000
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Seventeen year old Kenzie Cord has never doubted her future as an elite guard on Sanctuary, an orbital prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. When the prisoners take her hostage, she’s confident her commanding officer -- who also happens to be her mother -- will stop at nothing to secure her freedom.
But Kenzie’s mother chooses regulations over her daughter, leaving Kenzie to engineer her own escape -- easier said than done when surrounded by mind readers, invisible vigilantes, and an infuriatingly charismatic thief who runs at the speed of sound. Reluctantly, she begins to empathize with her captors’ desperation for freedom, wondering whether the real criminals aren’t the people imprisoning children in a soulless, AI-controlled wasteland.
Then monstrous alien creatures tear through Sanctuary, determined to harvest the entire station. With Kenzie’s survival tied to the prisoners’, she discovers there is more to her past than she ever dreamed, and more to the alien invasion than she initially suspected. Her worldview in tatters, she’s torn between the future she’s always imagined and the increasingly complex moral web she’s weaving -- a choice that might land her in prison herself.
Of course, that decision won’t matter if the space monsters eat her first.
My parents would kill me if they caught me watching cat videos at two in the morning, but I was too keyed up to sleep. I hunched over my tablet, flipping between cats and ducklings -- anything but my homework -- until the shrill of the alarm shot me straight out of my chair. My head smashed against the low ceiling and my tablet flew across the room. It shut down in protest, leaving me in a sea of flashing red and blaring alarms.
I thumbed the wall controls and jammed my feet into my boots. The lights came up, revealing I had them on the wrong feet. Swearing, I swapped them and tugged at the laces.
“Kenzie!” Dad’s voice boomed from outside.
“Coming,” I shouted. I took a second to scrape my curls out of my face and into a ponytail before I slid the door aside.
Dad waited, looking like he’d just woken up. He frowned at the reflective surface of the comm device embedded in his wrist. “I know!” I said, barreling past him.
The klaxon was loud enough to wake the dead, ridiculous since only five guards lived on the entire prison -- six, if you counted me. I ran down the deserted corridors with Dad on my heels. We bolted through the living quarters into the larger area of the station, housing medical supplies, airlocks, a common room, and of course the command center.
The latter was where we found Mom, hands clasped behind her back, not a hair out of place.