|Nolan and Zara are on the run from the emperor, Zara's father. It seemed they had escaped, had made an idyllic life, but the Emperor was not so easily deterred.
Thanks for your entry in the Science Fiction Short Story Contest!
What I liked:
This story is built on a pretty enjoyable plot concept, and the writing was pleasant to read. This story gives the impression of a world behind it, complete with a well-conceived set of technological capabilities and political systems. Well done!
What might be improved:
This story reads like an introductory chapter to a longer story. A short story canot fit a three-act story arc with inciting event, pinch point, three distasters, a major obstacles, and a false sense of security before the final act. Instead, in a short story, stakes have to be set up quickly (and you did a good job with this), and then a conflict must be set up that pivots about the choices of one of the characters. Nolan's choices, as well as the setup of traps, were performed in the past - despite the AI anlysis of the assaulting bugs, Nolan and Zara don't actually do much once the action starts but escape. Science fiction can be a technical genre, but a bit more focus on what the main character's choices during the story will strengthen your story's emotional impact. Additionally, give some thought to Nolan and Zara, and the dialogue between them. You don't have a great deal of time to establish depth and dimension to them or their relationship, but a bit more dialogue that is a bit less on-the-nose would strengthen them as protagonists.
Thanks for an enjoyabnle story, and Congratulations on winning April's Contest! And please forgive me for the horribly delayed review.