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I'm sharing a new story, a Middle Grade/YA science fiction adventure, titled Rescuing Mara's Father. It's a work in progress (though it's with my editor), so suggestions would be great. The narrator is Mara, an almost 15-year-old girl. The scene is class in Teacher's study in a mining outpost on the Outer Rim. This snippet takes place immediately after last week's.
Please excuse the creative punctuation, necessary to keep this within the guidelines. It's also edited from the original.
Wilanda, who sits between me and Lukus, says, “Manager doesn’t know anything—he’s so stupid he has to have Teacher read letters from Mining Headquarters and write his reports.”
One of the boys whose father and brother work in the mines defends Manager, then things go downhill from there.
“That’s enough for today,” Teacher says, giving me a look. He’s always after me to contribute to class discussions, so the one time I do, chaos breaks out—is that my fault?
I figure it’s best to exit quickly with the rest of the class, outside Jako punches my arm, “Are you ever going to learn to keep your mouth shut?”
I punch him back, “Yeah, I saw how well that works for you. One more month and I won’t have to worry about that.”
He picks up a rock and hits the same spot on the back of our shed he always aims at, “So, you’re really going, huh?”
“Yeah, I can’t wait.”
“You don’t have to sound so happy about it,” then he brightens, “I heard a Voxian cargo ship came in this morning, wanna go to ‘port and see?”
Her father is gone! Taken by the Queen of Compara’s agents. Mara has to rescue him before the Queen tortures and kills him.
Instead of the kind, loving father she’s always known, he’s become demanding, critical, with impossible expectations—not just as Father but also as the only teacher in their frontier outpost. Mara would rather scoop zircan poop than listen to another boring lecture about governments on Central Planets. Give her a starship engine to take apart or, better yet, fly, and she’s happy. Now, he's gone.
Never mind, they’ve had a rocky road lately.
Never mind, Father promised she could go off planet to Tech Institute next month when she turns fifteen, where she’ll learn to fly starships.
Never mind, she ran away because she’s furious with him because he reneged on that promise. Father is her only parent. She has to save him.
Along with her best friend, eleven-year-old Jako, and his brother 15-year-old Lukus, Mara sets off to find her father. An old spaceport mechanic and her mentor seems to know why the Queen captured Father. In fact, he seems to know her father well. But, does he tell her everything? Of course not. He dribbles out info like a mush-eating baby. Worse, he indicates he’ll be leaving then soon. And Lukus can’t wait to get off our planet. Mara’s afraid they will all leave her, and she’ll be on her own. Despite her fears, she has to rescue her father.
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