October 1, 2014


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 these.
H Trope: Hitchhiking ghost

Fatima Ozturk peered out through the tiny port of the Space Station Courage repair pod – the SSCRP affectionately known as a “Scrapper”. She said, “What are we supposed to be looking for?”

Her lab partner, Durante Ghandour shrugged, “The query marker path on the screen says we’re supposed to look for a malfunctioning satellite positioning dish.”

“How are we supposed to know if it’s malfunctioning?” Fatima muttered. She shot a look over to Durante. He wasn’t exactly her first choice of partner, but he WAS supposed to be some sort of history genius.

Durante leaned forward and tapped the display screen. “It says that it will be obvious.”

She nodded. “Bent then, most likely.”

“I’m just thinking it might be obvious to you, you’re the mechanical genius. Besides, I’m not sure I’m excited about being here.”

“How can you not be excited? We’ve been running 3D sims ever since we started Class 14! I am SO ready to be in space!” She shook her head. She hadn’t taken him for an agoraphobe.

“Not that I didn’t want to be out here – it’s just the timing…”

Piloting the pod forward, Fatima growled when the computer made a course correction she was just about to make. “It may look like I’m doing the job, but Station is still flying this toolbox.” She concentrated on keeping them oriented toward the body of the station while scanning the com dishes that came up on the screen. She tried to get a visual inspection as well as the two windows swept around. “What about the timing?” she asked as they flew to the next com dish cluster.

“Nothing. You’ll think I’m lunar.”

“I already know you’re lunar, so tell me already.”

Durante bristled, “What do you mean you know I’m lunar?”

She shrugged – a tough move in the heavy EVA suits they had to wear. They wouldn’t graduate to thinkskins until they turned eighteen and could sign all the paperwork saying they were responsible for themselves. “Forget it. What about the history of being here?” She figured that might deflect him.

She was right as he said, “This place we’re in right now? This is where Laika and Vladislav Volkov died. Practically the same place.”


He sighed then said, “The Soviet space dog? First living creature in space? She died around this point when the launch of Sputnik 2 overheated. They lied for about sixty years, then let the truth out. Then, three Soviet cosmonauts died in June of 1971 when their ship pulled away from a really primitive space station and a valve got stuck open and leaked all their air out.” He gestured out the window, “I expect their…” He lurched forward, banging his helmet against the thick quartz, whispering, “Yaa ilaahee!”

Names:  Turkey;  Italy, Egypt

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