September 3, 2013


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.

SF Trope: Absurdly Sharp Blade
Current Event:,

Zahra Gourian stared up. Straight up. Into the cloudless sky. The base of the space elevator, Zulfiqar was fifteen kilometers across and had roots that extended half that down into the ground and three times that in all directions. Plastic injected sand formed a massive block anchoring the largest object ever engineered by Humanity. Where she stood with her new friend, it was still the dark before dawn. “Isn’t it blessed?” she said faintly.

Hydar Aualgeath shook his head, “Why did they name it after the Prophet’s sword?”

She looked over at him and said, “It’s symbolic.”

“Of what?”

Zahra snorted and said, “You’ve been away too long.”

“I was born in Minneapolis just like my dad. I’m as American as Taco Bell®.”

“That’s American?”

“F0unded in southern California in 1962.”

She grunted and said, “I love Taco Bell.”

“Me, too.”

“But you hate the Sword of the Prophet?”

“No need for Islam United to threaten the rest of us with a sword hanging over our heads.”

“The world’s been threatening us for hundreds of years!”

Hydar sighed then said, “I chose Allah not because He was stronger but because He is better than any other faith offering I have ever studied. Besides, Islam has threatened various parts of the world for just as long – we’ve proven our staying power. Now we need to prove our building power.” Zahar didn’t realize she’d clenched her fist and raised it until Hydar stared at her and softly said, “So you are in favor of killing all Humans who don’t agree with you in order to go to the stars and kill all the aliens who don’t agree with you?”

“You’re Muslim!”

“I am. But my intent isn’t to subjugate infidels, it’s to emancipate them. The same will hold true when I’m on the first ship out there.”

“You’re only fifteen,” Zahar said.

“Yeah, but I’ll be twenty-five, then thirty-five, then forty-five. Then I’ll be out there somewhere.” He gestured to the infinite depths of space. “I’ll bring the emancipation of Mohammed to the Universe.”

She stared at him then turned away, shaking her head. Without looking at him, she said, “Emancipation only allows others to enslave us – just as they’ve always done. We need to subjugate the wrong thinking of the infidel, no matter what world they come from or what their shape.”

“What are we subjecting it to?” Hydar said softly.

“The same thing the superior has always subjected the inferior to – the undefeatable logic of our faith and our lives.”

“I suppose superior technology is proof of Allah’s greatness?”


He nodded sadly. “Then the Koran is unnecessary to demonstrate Allah’s greatness?”

Zahar spun around, looked up into the morning sky. The sun’s rays were racing down the razor straightness of the Sword of the Prophet eventually to touch the Earth. That was the moment the Sword began to sing, and the song it sang was of power...

]Names: ♀Iran, Afghanistan; Iraq, Sudan

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