Entry Nickname: Can’t Keep a Bad Girl Down
Word count: 82K
Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Niobe is guilty of many things: bar brawls, affairs with married mayors, eyebrow-raising morals, and of swaggering through life like a drunk cavalier. She is also the best biohunter east of the Rockies, a fact that has helped her avoid more serious censure from the Guild of Biohunters.
Orphaned at a young age, Niobe joined the Guild to help other victims of the constant biological warfare over what few resources remain in a North America devastated by climate change.
Biohunters are neutral agents - part paramedic, part microbiologist part CSI - but when Niobe is framed as the source of deadly new weapons wreaking havoc across the north-east, she faces execution or worse: exile from the Guild and from the closest thing to a home and family she has ever known.
As a rising and ruthless new power shows its hand and proves it will commit unthinkable crimes to achieve its goals of controlling what’s left of civilization, Niobe must prove her innocence, finger the baddies and save her friend. If only she wasn’t handcuffed, but you can’t keep a bad girl down … at least not for long.
First 250 words:
The ambush came as Niobe hauled her dusty turbocycle saddle bags along the dimly-lit motel walkway. It had been a long day on the road, and she really didn’t have the patience for it.
She had to credit their stealth - she didn’t hear a thing until the snub nose of an ultrasound injector pressed into the exposed flesh at the back of her neck, snuck in above the worn leather of her jacket. Her neck hairs rose in ineffectual defense, and she suppressed a shudder at the contrast of cold metal on warm sweaty skin.
Niobe mouthed a silent curse. “For Gaia’s sake, can’t we do this after I’ve had a shower?”
She eased her head to one side, hoping for a glimpse of her attackers. One stood just beyond the downward cone of light that lit the door to her room, too far to be holding the weapon to her neck. Two of them, then. There was a whiff of salty, smoky body odor that suggested a long time between washes. She heaved a sigh. “Fine. What do you want?”
Niobe could have answered the question for them. Most likely gold, or her comms unit - something they could sell to buy a meal or some water. Resources were scarce and a biohunter was an obvious target for someone looking for gold, or high-tech comms gear. There was precious little technology around these days, and what did exist was priced sky-high. People would kill for it if enough was at stake, and she had enough.