Beck White doesn't have much to be proud of, but at least there's only a ten percent chance he's a murderer. That's what the official stats say anyway: only one-in-ten criminals sentenced to memory wipe have killed before. Now that Beck's free, that's really all he's holding onto. Yeah, he's probably done some awful things, but at least there's no blood on his hands.
Then he's ambushed and stabbed. The last thing he hears before blacking out is a girl's voice whisper that this is justice for the man he killed.
Moments from death, Beck's rescued by King, an ex-soldier who claims they once smuggled together. But murder? He knows nothing about that.
With the sucking (I get what you're going for with sucking, but I think it's more of a distraction than it needs to be) chest wound and somebody still out for his life, Beck sees no choice but to stick with the smuggler—and for better or worse, try to dig out the truth. But the more he snoops, the more holes he finds in King's story. If he's just a smuggler, then why are there automatic weapons hidden everywhere? Why is Beck's room locked from the outside at night?
When Beck narrowly escapes a second attempt on his life, King swears to resolve the situation. With a bullet. It's time to face the facts. His new friend is a killer, so is he, (It's obvious why Beck suspects King is a killer, but why does he suspect that he, himself, is a killer? Just by association?) and now he has to make a choice: look away and try to live as the man he used to be, or risk it all for the stranger who put a knife in his lungs. All for a moonshot at redemption.
EMPATH is a science-fiction novel complete at 85,000 words.
I read one of the previous drafts of this––the one where the girl played a more prominent role––and this is far better. Her removal has focused the query on the conflict between Beck and King, and it's much better for it. It's also far more dynamic from the protagonist's POV now. Before it was very reactionary. Only had a couple of comments (above). Great work!