NAME: Rachael Buchanan
MENTOR: John Hansen
TITLE: Ersatz Wings
GENRE: YA sci-fi
PITCH: Everyone but Jena has a doppelganger, someone with identical looks but an opposite personality. With that secret hanging over her, Jena must avoid rebel Dissenters who seek her while her past threatens to ruin her.
The red panic lights flash above me as all of the other lights are cut off, plunging me into a ruby strobe-light darkness. I sit in the gloom, head tilted slightly to the side, and listen to the low thrumming alarm that has been triggered. It vibrates my whole body with its deafening, resonating tones: errr… err… errrrr…
The systems are much too old. In fact, this is one of the oldest Wings still in existence. It’s no wonder that something has gone wrong.
When Coptain barges into my meal, flushed and scared, I just look up at him, studying his fear for a moment with a sense of mild curiosity. His skin is sheet white, glistening with sweat, and he almost looks like the spooked horses I’ve seen in the history books, the ones that were forced to be ridden into battle. I watch as his eyes dart around before locking onto me.
I’ve never seen him so terrified before. And, in my experience, terror is not a good sign.
“We’re out of life support, Jena. You need to find someone to link with.” His voice is a hoarse shout that sounds almost painful as he fights to be heard over the alarms. For a moment I wonder if he is imagining the life-stealing expanse of space that is all around us, trapping us on this damaged Wing. Looking down at my hands, I daintily smooth a napkin out on the table, making sure the creases disappear from the white fabric before I look up.