July 27, 2011

IDEAS ON TUESDAY #22: Rare Earth Magic

Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

Fantasy Trope: the Quest…
Current Event: A real quest – two articles: http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/engineering/news/important-rare-earth-elements

Te quest in the articles above is a quest for real stuff, in this case, rare-earth elements. But what if one of those elements turned out to have MAGICAL properties when refined in a particular way – and at a particular time?

Say lanthanum, which is used in Prius car batteries, when it is processed at midnight on the night of a full moon…

So, Molycorp, the only American company producing rare earths gets the ore and because rare earths are in such huge demand, they begin processing day and night.

Brendan is eighteen – just graduated from high school and while he doesn’t want to go to college yet, he’s very intelligent. Starting out shoveling ore, he pretty much stays there all summer. One night, as all of his friends have shoved off for college, he’s feeling sorry for himself. He’s working the graveyard shift and whining about his life on Facebook when someone breaks into the factory.

In fact, a GROUP of someones breaks in. They’re creepy. Ooky. Mysterious. Spooky…who and what are they. And after he slips around a corner, he knows that they are after the rare earth metal run tonight that comes off the automated line at midnight. They don’t sound nice. Midnight is just three hours away.

What does he do?

Image: http://www.molycorp.com/images/graphic/lanthanum.jpg

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