October 4, 2016


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: “Neil Stephenson's The Diamond Age features a very well justified abundance of airships. With ubiquitous nano-tech it's so simple to create objects that are lighter than air but stronger than steel…As to the airships, when you can create these materials you don't have to fill the envelope with anything at all. Vacuum is lighter than everything and thanks to nanopumps cheap to create.” (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld)

Napuc Chi shook his head as he said, “You will never get me next to that window!”

Anibal Tecú sighed. “If you’re afraid of heights, why did you volunteer for the survey? You knew we’d be using the Zac Petén.”

He paused, pursed his lips. Anibal got the impression there was something else he wanted to say – maybe about his fears…but he said, “It’s the only way I could investigate the alien presence…”

Anibal sighed dramatically. “This is an ecological survey…” she began.

“I know what it is!” Napuc snapped. “But I have interests besides creating gene maps of coati migration over the past millennia!”

Anibal held up both hands and stepped back. “Hey! No biting heads off! Sorry…”

Napuc closed his eyes, pressing his thumbs into his temples, arms akimbo. Anibal was abruptly reminded of the Jaguar God of the Underworld. Napuc muttered, “Sorry. Sorry…”

“What’s wrong? It’s gotta be more than just getting a boring job.”

“It’s not the job,” he smiled weakly, “though I could think of a few other things to be looking for besides troops of coatis.”

“Like what?”

He shrugged. He winced, then turned from the window. “I need to get my scanners ready.”

She watched him go, then turned back to the window. The Zac Petén swung lower over the Yucatan Peninsula. In the distance, hidden by jungle and itself little more than a large city, squatted Chicxulub, the town that had given its name to the prehistoric crater scar left by the impact of an object that had sealed the extinction of the dinosaurs. She frowned momentarily, looked over her shoulder at her departed lab partner and friend, then looked back out. The zeppelin was moving steadily, yet there was no obvious motion. As a second generation lighter-than-aircraft, it’s stability and economical operation made it the first choice of many scientific expeditions.

But there were people who’d rather walk than fly, and she’d been surprised when Napuc had volunteered to come along. They drifted over a dark blue dot of water that vanished at the bottom of a ubiquitous cenote. The sinkholes clustered in the trough formed by the crater impact rings. She straightened and went back inside. “Napuc?” His voice came faintly up a ladder access to the deck below. She slid down and dropped lightly to her feet. When he turned to look at her, the device he was holding was clearly not a bio-sign detector. Her first thought was that it was a futuristic ray gun and that he was going to disintegrate her. Then she frowned. “What are you trying to do with that thing?”

He pursed his lips, raised the flat circular muzzle, and said, “I’m looking for an alien.”

Names: Modern Maya ; Modern Maya        

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