Jun 7, 2018

QK Agent Round: Planet Panic

Title: My Best Friend Runs Venus
Entry Nickname: Planet Panic
Word Count: 45K
Genre: Middle Grade Science Fiction


At 12.9 years old, number-obsessed Kade Walker has never heard of death. Literally. But neither has anyone else he knows. Kade is one of hundreds of kids "living" across the solar system through robotic avatars while their real bodies sleep in pods on Earth. Nothing can hurt him this way; the adults all said so. They just never said how to survive middle school with only 1.0 friends.

Kade's friend Princess Tamika would rather plot their next prank than expand their social circle. Lucky for her, his newest scheme covers both their goals. They're taking a diplomatic joyride across the solar system using an old teleportation machine that he's reconstructed. Tamika will thank him later. He's 63.1 percent sure of it. Unfortunately, the machine's not rigged for current use, so when Kade fires it up, he unwittingly kills a major security wall and releases an infamous hacker. Panic rating: ten times infinity.

First the hacker shuts down all communications with the adults. Then she devastates the security walls protecting Tamika and the other royal avatars. If Kade doesn't want to see his best friend used as a puppet, he needs to stop the hacker fast--even if that means waking up on Earth to fight with a body he never realized could be hurt.

MY BEST FRIEND RUNS VENUS (45,000 words) is an MG science fiction novel combining the virtual setting of READY PLAYER ONE with the adventurous planet-hopping of JACOB WONDERBAR. I am a Clarion West alumna and an Associate Member of both SFWA and SCBWI.

First 250:

It wasn't the first time Kade had hacked the Venusian maintenance system, but it was one of the best. If he had to put a number on it--and there was very little he didn't put a number on--he'd give it a 9.7. He checked the cable leading from his tablet to the blocky computer box embedded in the burnt orange mountainside. Connection: serviceable.

Tamika leaned over to inspect his work. "Hey," she said. "What do you think our real bodies look like?"

Kade tightened his grip on the cable, causing a nearby rock to flicker. The dust around it swirled to match. "I... imagine you look the same, and I look like a person instead of a gargoyle," he said. "But, hey, no complaints. I hear Mercury's princess designed her social companion to be a purple unicorn."

Tamika blushed, and Kade's gaze dropped to his tablet. He flicked his right wing, bringing an overlay of glowing text into view. Ninety-eight more seconds for the code to run. Current time: 17:03:34. He'd checked the time twenty-three seconds ago, but whenever he wasn't reading data, he felt lost. The overseeing adults called it unhealthy. Healthy people could watch a sunset without calculating its luminosity every thirty seconds.

Healthy people sounded boring.

"Kade," Tamika whispered. "Something's coming."

Kade froze and scanned the area. His sensors detected a deep clunk-clunk echoing across Venus's stone-hard surface. Low volume, maybe twenty to thirty decibels. His first thought was that it was a patrol robot, but it was coming too fast.

1 comment :

  1. Sounds fun! Please send a query, synopsis and pages to chquery [at] mcintoshandotis [dot] com. I look forward to reading!
    -Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis