TITLE: Designs of Euphoria
GENRE: YA Science Fiction
When seventeen-year-old Lottie discovers her first love is a genetically modified warrior loyal to an emerging AI, the only thing worse is the reason why.
I looked behind, barely able to see Dad buried between the sacks, hoping against hope that he’d stay there. Grains of sand whipped around us, scattering as we neared West Gate. A slow ache rippled through my shoulder blades as I turned back around. Everything hurt, everything always hurt, by the time we got to the gate. Even my hair hurt. I tugged at its knot, letting the tangled mess fall to my shoulders.
A ding on the transport’s front display called, igniting a faint orange glow. They’d identified us. Cursing myself for not moving sooner, I slammed the text closed and jumped from the makeshift perch. A hollow slip ran between the transport’s interior wall and flat deck. Two quick bangs and the rusty casing opened enough for me to hide the book inside. A good kick and it closed.
Upon sight, the warrior’s darkened silhouettes shifted, drawing electrified braided spears outward. Black synthetic leathers ran smoothly over their bodies, layered on top of the concealed source of their inhuman strength: exogear. More warriors watched from the top of the warded wall, hidden from view and lost in the depths of the sky.
Either the automatic alert or my frantic scurry woke Dad. He wrestled a bit as he made his way to the front of the transport, reeking from whatever he'd hidden under his dusty layers. “Charlotte, I’ve got this.” Barely more than a whisper, his voice sounded thick and raspy from drink and unsettled sleep.