Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Secret Agent #12

Title: M0U5E
Genre: YA Science Fiction

Everyone leaves.

In the distance, the North America Space Transport lifted elegantly to the sky, causing ash to swirl through the air. It hovered over the burning city, reflecting the red flames on its gleaming silver fuselage, then shot away horizontally and disappeared in the gloomy haze. Her foster parents were gone. They would board the colony ship to Tanek in a few days.

Mouse turned away from the doomed city. She was stuck here with the other pathetic city-block residents of Pineridge, waiting to evacuate. Most of them were too numb to speak. They huddled at the far edge of the transport terminal, surrounded by rows of shipping containers, while the city burned on the other side of the charred passenger terminal.

Silent ash fell all around her like dead snow, blocking the sun. The stupid city had caught fire three months after she moved in with her new foster parents. Of course, they left her. In the scramble to evacuate twenty thousand city residents, the space authority reluctantly offered to relocate five-hundred people to Earth's colony planets.

A light tap on her shoulder drew her attention to the evacuation checkpoint. Nothing worked in the city anymore. Hastily assembled portable data units formed a barrier in front of her, limp cables looping through the containers to the distant evacuation sky-cars. They couldn't park them any closer. A woman in a white environmental suit stood with a portable scanner, ready to log her identity. She couldn't avoid the scan.


  1. This is a great opening! From the very first line you've set a great tone and voice for the MC who's been left behind. I love the setting and the atmosphere here!

  2. I'd cut the first line. It's meaning isn't clear until we get to the end, and it doesn't really add anything.

    And perhaps the transport ship shouldn't rise elegantly. We're seeing this from Mouse's eyes, and she's calling the city stupid, and she seems angry about being left behind. It seems she wouldn't think of the ship as rising elegantly. Her thoughts about it would run in the same vein as the stupid city.

    Perhaps say "Mouse's foster parents' in parg 1, so we know right away who 'her' is.

    And the city catches fire three months after she moves in with her foster parents. But when is that in relation to now? How long has the city been burning?

  3. I love plucky loners struggling against the fires of near apocalypse.

    The "North American Space Transport" is a bit clunky. Maybe N.A.S. Transport instead. "Everyone leaves" is powerful but better used later, I think. I would replace the first "her" with "Mouse."

    Having been abandoned, what is her most immediate need? Is she hungry? Cold? Does she have friends? Where will she stay tonight? I know it's only page one, but I would be worried if I was Mouse. She seems irritated, so survival is perhaps not an issue. I would hint to what her next step must be and how it might be frustrated.

    Is she small? Fond of furry gray coats? A fan of Fritz Lieber? Inquiring minds wish to know.

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  5. I found this interesting from the start. The tone and visuals are great and as the reader, I immediately knew it was Sci-Fi without needing to glance at the listed genre--good work!

    I absolutely adore this line "Silent ash fell all around her like dead snow,"! <3

    I do agree with some of the above comments. The word "horizontally" sticks out to me for some reason, and not in a good way. I feel like it could go from the sentence without any loss to its impact. "North America Space Transport" is a little choppy. I had to reread it a couple of times to absorb and move forward. I would love to know why she was left behind? Hopefully, that comes up in the next page or two.

    Though the first line is a captivating thought, I feel it may be better suited to end a chapter vs. starting the story. I'm not sure why this is being conveyed at the start, before we know anything about her. It's not strong enough alone, but with something added, it could be a big bang of a start if you really want to keep it there.

    I'd keep reading! Good luck and way to go! :)

  6. Personal opinion coming out here and I only have the first few paragraphs to go on, but I’m not a fan of evacuation ships taking people to new planets in my SciFi. Again, one of those things that just shows how subjective thing can be.

    That being said, objectively looking at this, I think you’ve done a great job here setting the scene. Watch your word choice as, since we’re dealing with a girl who seems like a pain-in-the-ass protagonist from the start, I don’t think she’d use any sort of positive words to describe what is going on around her (like the ship lifting elegantly). Saying her foster parents were gone but would board a ship in a few days seems at odds with each other. Otherwise, just check your blocking: they’re in a terminal, but she can see the ship in the distance and ash is swirling around her. Is there no roof on the place? The ship is in the distance causing a swirl of ash, and yet it’s falling around her.

    It does hook from the start, even if it wouldn’t be something quite right for me — since I’m dying to know why exactly she wants to avoid the scan that logs her identity.