Okay, I have three more entries. I decided to post all three and then come back and critique them in the comments. Feel free to jump in even if I haven't yet. :)
Title: Orbital Shifts
Genre: Hard science fiction
Intro: Tanner was a pirate and a killer -- he's been trying to turn over a new leaf. He was broken out of prison (MCF) by Maggie and he's developed a crush on her. Dev is his personal assistant AI and Connie is his younger sister.
“Didn’t make much sense there, Tanner,” Connie said. “Back up and try that again. And turn the video on.”
He took a deep breath, pinching his eyes shut with thumb and finger. “No, no video,” he said, voice trembling. Letting his eyes go, he blinked hard to clear them and wiped his nose on his forearm. “When they had me in MCF they put some kind of trigger in my head. Heard of hypnotic suggestions?”
“Post-hypnotic. Sure,” his sister said. In the video, she hovered close to the camera with only the bluish light of an empty message frame on her. The room behind her was dark. Gracie was asleep, she’d said, and being almost due she needed her sleep.
“I hear some signal and it kicks in. Happened once when they first got us out — Julia tried to stab Maggie and I near slit a chuck’s throat. Don’t remember much, kind of a blur.”
“Seems you always said that, about fights.”
When he didn’t continue, Connie prodded, “Something you can fix?”
He fell silent. Dev said, “Still two requests on hold.”
“Drop them,” Tanner said. “Don’t want to talk to anyone.”
“You hurt someone?” Connie asked.
He glanced around the projection on the still-cluttered living room wall and found his text message frame in the corner. It filled up before his eyes.
“You think they’re right? Void sucks out your soul?” tumbled out of him.
Connie fixed the camera with a stern look. “No, I don’t.”
“What Pa always said.”
Still stern, “Pa was a killer, a rapist, and an abuser.” Then she added, “You’re not him.”
“They got the trigger to me again.”
Connie’s voice turned soft. “Then have the honor to stand for what you’ve done.”
“I…” He raked his hands into his hair, then back out. “Video on, Dev. Connie, I heard it, I felt it click.” Tanner held up both hands, helpless. “Hand just —” He swiped at the air. His voice tightened and shrank. “Grabbed her throat. And she looked me in the eye. And…”