August 2, 2017


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.
H Trope: Halloween!

Snow-dusted, dark alpine slopes reminded Nazar Ionescu of a tidal wave frozen solid an instant before capsizing a crowded luxury liner on the North Atlantic. The TITANIC, perhaps. He said, “This is not going to end well.”

Giorgia Lukić shook her head and said, “Sad sack.”

Nazar looked over at her, frowning. “What does that mean?”

“Nineteen forty-three, World War Two, an old comic book character whose name was a euphemism for a much more vulgar term. But you’re someone whose very presence lowers the tone in the room – a sort of the human equivalent of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.”

“I am not!”

She swept an arm to include then entire four hundred kilometer long range of mountains. “They’re moody this morning. Yesterday morning, they were divine. How can a conference in the Alps...”

“These are not THE Alps. They are Alps – and do you know it’s a Latin word that means a place in the mountains where cows eat?”

“It does not!” she exclaimed pushing him away from her. “It can’t. It’s got to be more romantic than that!”

He shrugged. “I was born not far from here and shipped out about ten hours after when the Soviet Union shattered. This is not a romantic place.”

Giorgia took a deep breath, exhaled then said, “All right. It’s November and miserable. But we’re not here for romance, are we?” She fixed him with a long look. He blushed and turned away. “We’re here for an experiment that has the potential to change the face of physics…”

“Or open a gateway to another realm,” he said. She shot him a quelling look. They’d had the conversation before. Many times. With many people. He was well-known for his beliefs. Some had even named him ‘Marburger’ – as well as a having a fast food named after him at a nearby restaurant – after the early 21st Century report1  that nudged a controversy just before the first activation of the Large Hadron Collider.

“You cannot be really serious, Nazar. Really?”

He stared up into the mountains for a long time before saying, “Science is full of unexpected developments, Giorgia. No one working at Bell Labs in 1958 could have predicted that their device would be used to play movies in people’s home. Certainly no one watching Eniwetok would have predicted the Bussard probe on its way to Alpha Centauri. No one...”

“I get it. We test a new application of a scientific law and don’t necessarily know exactly what will happen.”

“I’m not talking about the purely physical results. There is another dimension, something beyond what we...”

She held her palm out to him and turning around, headed back to the lab where a team of nearly a hundred scientists from all over the world had gathered at the foot of the iron-rich mountain range to create a microscopic wormhole that would take power generation to the next level.

“Giorgia! Wait for me!” She stopped but didn’t turn around. When he caught up with her, he said breathlessly, “If nothing happens with the first power up, you’ll never hear another word from me.”

The sunlight faded as clouds drifted over the Transylvanian Alps. Giorgia shivered as she nodded. “Make sure of it.” Still without turning around, she headed for the lab.

Padding footsteps made by his rubber-soled, signature blaze orange Converse All-Star high top tennis shoes followed after her. She said, “They should be powering up right around now.”

Under their feet, the ground trembled. Giorgia squeaked in surprise and Nazar grabbed her elbow to steady her. She was looking directly at the lab, slightly upward so that she could see the archaic crenellations of the roof. Something appeared over the building. Immense, winged, it hovered and for the briefest instant seemed to coalesce into an apparition that she could only call a ghost dragon...

Names: ♀ Italian, Serbian; Ukraine, Romania

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