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Title: I, Aneksi
Age Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Alternate History
Word Count: 119k
To use the Black Death as a weapon, one needs the cure to shield their own — and so the undertaking of medical research becomes an act of war.
Seqenenre, an Egyptian scientist, learns a terrible secret about the plague destroying the remnants of the Teutonic Roman Empire. But before he can use it to find a cure, his city Alexandria is ransacked by an Arab General, his plans stolen, and himself held prisoner in his own home.
Haider, the scientist son of the Arab general and an ambitious Persian governor, comes into possession of Seq’s secrets. His pride recoils at the thought of using the ill-gotten spoils as a road map, but his ambition to be the first to find the cure overpowers his arrogance.
Once Seq is saved by his sister, Nilofer, and the incorporeal spirit of their thousand-year old ancestor, Aneksi; he will race against Haider to find the cure first.
Both scientists are materially aided and ethically shackled by their governments. What was once a philanthropic aim to save lives becomes the keystone to an engine of death. Battles are fought, alliance shift, and plots are hatched to give the scientists — armed with their intelligence and the scientific method — time to claw their way to a working cure. Only their mistrust for each other stands between mutually assured destruction and a chance for peace.
I, ANEKSI is a 119,000 word novel set in an early-gunpowder alternative history Egypt and Persia with some magical elements. It follows the points of view of a diverse cast of scientists, supersoldiers, nobles, and the incorporeal spirit Aneksi — she who was once a Roman legionary and now a demigod to her people — as they fulfill their own ambitions in this shifting techno-political status quo of the post-plague world.
As a biotechnology researcher, my struggles in the lab have bled through to the depictions of gritty perseverance of the scientists in the story. My short stories have previously been published in [pro-publishing market]. My experiences as an immigrant in a racially diverse country serve as inspiration as well.
This story is an ode to, and a celebration of, the ones who influence the trajectory of human advancement one failed experiment at a time.
First 250 Words (Optional):
Nilofer jumped off the sandstone wall into Nekhet Senakhtener: her family’s fortress, her home — now a garrison of the invading Sassanid-Gupt alliance.
Her scimiset slithered down her right arm and locked into place with the tip of the wide blade an inch lower than her tallest finger. She clenched her fist and the weapon came to life with electricity coiling and spitting around its serrated edges, forming a necklace of red lightning.
Mothernode Aneksi’s cavernous voice filled Nilofer’s consciousness: <Gupt guard to your right, coming closer>
Nilofer took a deep breath and let her synapses link with the blade. She raised her scimiset arm, cocked her head towards the guard, and pulled a phantom trigger. A bolt of red sparks leapt off the blade and struck the man’s chest with the dull crack of a whip hitting leather and the body crumpled to the floor in a soft thud. Nilofer left her arm raised, her scimiset roaring and crackling along to her thudding heartbeat.
Mothernode’s urgent command cut through the numbness of her first kill: <Southeast tower, now.>
Nilofer sprinted past the dead man’s body, smoke rising from his chest. She made a point to memorize the Gupt soldier’s face under the sheet steel helmet; she owed him at least that small courtesy. She snuck into the Nekhet’s corner bastion and climbed the spiral staircase unchallenged to the top, calming her frizzled nerves with every step.