by Amy Bartelloni
Upper YA Science Fiction
Cover Designer: Covers by Christian
Edited by Toni Rakestraw
Generations after robots conquered Earth, the remaining population survives in the ash of their defeat. Within their walls in Authority City, bots test and develop super soldiers. Rumors of horrible experiments are enough to keep humans in line. At least, most humans.
Eighteen-year-old Delilah O’Connor scavenges the ruins with her friend Zane, and Gen, a generation one bot they repaired off the grid. Gen’s curiosity gives Delilah hope for the future, but not enough hope to go against the Authority. She finds Zane’s dreams of a human resistance pointless, and it’s enough to keep their on-and-off relationship mostly off.
When they discover two dead guards in a shady trading stop known as the Banks, everything changes. Framed for the murders and pursued by Authority bots, Zane takes Delilah to the only safe space he knows—the headquarters for the Human Coalition. Even there Zane isn’t safe. When he’s captured, Delilah and Gen must join an unlikely alliance of bot and human to go in to Authority City and save him before he becomes another casualty. Things in Authority City aren’t as they seem, they’re worse. And Delilah might lose more than her friend within its walls.
Amy Bartelloni is a reader, writer, coffee addict, & musical lover who lives with her husband, 3 children, and various animals in the northeast US. When she's not playing mom-taxi, you can find her with her nose in a book or her head in the clouds. A people watcher and science fiction junkie, she still believes dreams can come true. The author of the Andromeda series with Limitless Publishing, (Andromeda, Orion's Curse, and the Scorpio Project), and contributor to Prep for Doom, Tricks, Treats, and Zombies, and 13: Resurrected, some of her favorite authors include Neil Gaiman, Jasper Fforde, Paulo Coelho, and Stephen King.
Brute shook his head. “Zane told us you were stubborn,” he said with a grin. “But he led us to believe you could be fragile.” He tipped his head. “I’m not sure he was right about that. From where I stand, you’re pure steel. And we could have used you a long time ago.”
“I plan to have a talk with him about that,” she said, absently. What Brute didn’t know what how fragile she was inside. How Zane had seen her the day her father died. How he held her when her Aunt ran off and left them and she thought she’d die in the streets. How he helped her get a job and earn her own living. If she was steel, he’d forged her, and it was time to pay him back.
“Well you probably know already, but when someone goes in Authority City, they rarely come out.” He gestured for Gen to get off the boat first. The bot swung her legs over the rail gently, all the while watching the waves lap the pier.
“But we are?” Delilah asked, following them on to the pier. It was more unsteady than she thought, and she had to hold Brute’s arm to avoid falling.
“That’s the plan,” he answered. “Smoke has a network set up for us to get them the information they need. Then they plan to bust us out. And not just us. This has been in the works for a long time.” He stepped off the dock and looked back without a hint of amusement on his face.
“She’s going to take out the zoos?” Delilah asked. She wasn’t sure how she felt about it. She’d gotten into this for Zane, but it was so much bigger than that. And after spending the last few days with these people, they felt like family.
Brute shook his head. “She’s going to take the whole damn city out. And we’re going to help her.”