Manuscript title: Brightest Midnight
Age group: YA science fiction
Word count: 65,000
Eighteen-year-old Lilja is laser-sure of her dream to pilot a geimskip into orbit, but less sure of the changing relationship with her best friend, Finnur. She can’t have both, not when she’s applied for an internship on the space station with the Icelandic Power Corporation—a company whose geothermal power plant is a danger to them all, according to Finnur. When Lilja finds out he’s plotting to thwart the plant’s expansion, their friendship is as good as over. With nothing to hold her back from realizing her dream, she accepts the internship.
During initial tests at the IPC’s space station, Lilja excels at the flying sims, putting her dream of piloting a geimskip within reach. But she soon discovers Finnur was right—the IPC’s power plant is triggering earthquakes in Iceland. When she witnesses the murder of a fellow intern who uncovers how to permanently disable the plant, Lilja must step in to complete the mission before an even greater earthquake kills everyone in her hometown—including Finnur.
First 250 words:
Waiting for my notification is torture. After refreshing my tablet non-stop all day at school and one last time when I arrive at the airstrip, I’ve had enough. It’s a relief to power it down and stow it away. I don’t need to hear the ping of a new message anyway. I’d much rather fly.
Finnur’s waiting for me at the tail section of his dad’s Haukur 100. It’s the lone propeller plane on the tarmac, but it stands proudly next to the jets lined up like shiny toys. Its sturdy metal frame looms against a gunmetal-gray Icelandic sky.
Finnur’s dark blond hair falls over the bridge of his nose as he greets me with a smile. “Hi, Lilja.”
“Ready to catch some air?” I rub my hands together.
Finnur raises an eyebrow. “You know you sound like a twelve-year-old boy, right?”
I pull myself as tall as I can manage in my thick-heeled boots. Even with the extra two inches, the top of my ponytail only reaches Finnur’s shoulder. “You know my motto,” I shoot back. “Fly like someone’s chasing you.”
Finnur rolls his eyes and follows my lead as I climb into the cockpit.
He doesn’t know how much I need the distraction of my weekly joy-ride because I haven’t shared my secret with him, or with anyone. But when the acceptances finally go out today, I’ll either get to spill my news—or be forced to watch my dream slip away.