August 13, 2019


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: Planetary/Interplanetary Romance
Current Event: (not immediately current, but…

Sergey Akinpelu shook his head, saying, “Dad, you can’t just go there and talk to her!”

Still climbing on to his electric motorcycle, Sergey’s dad slipped his helmet on his head. “You think I can’t do what I please?”

“It’s not that, Dad! The rocket’s surrounded by soldiers. I don’t want you to get shot.”

Dad cinched the helmet tightly under his chin and said, “They will not shoot me. I love her.” Sergey glared at his dad as he lowered the solar cell umbrella and pushed it into the place where there’d once been a gas tank. Thumbing the ignition, he added, “My love for her is not like that of her previous husband.”

“Five husbands, Dad! The lady married five guys and she dumped all of them!”

“She will not ‘dump’ me. You will see.” He throttled the cycle up and rode away.

Ceeiab Saliguero, Sergey’s best friend and ex-girlfriend, said, “What’s your dad think he’s going to use to win captain Ansari’s love?”

Sergey snorted, “His sex appeal?”

Ceeiab laughed and shook her head. “Are you gonna go after him?”

Sergey frowned. He’d never really thought of it that way. If Dad got shot trying to get into the PAVATAR – the newest Plastic Aerobic Vehicle for Hypersonic Aerospace TrAnspoRtation – sent up to the growing International Space Station, then he’d inherit everything. He snorted again and said, “Inheriting all of nothing is still nothing.”


“Nothing. Listen, would you lock up the house? I gotta follow Dad and make sure he doesn’t get himself killed.”

“Now there’s my boy!” Ceeiab said with cheery sarcasm. Sergey flipped her off and hopped on his own motorcycle. It started with a bit more of growl than Dad’s toy had. Sergey had modified it based on the research he’d done for his virtual science class. Mr. Bondar was excited about what he’d found out about the new 3DacLion (three dimensional anode-cathode Lithium ion []) battery Sergey had…

He yanked his thoughts away from physics. It was a place he’d retreated more and more lately. He had to find Dad.

He took a few shortcuts Dad would never think of and reached Stonesand Airport before him. It was surrounded both by a three meter tall cyclone fence and a new-generation pain generator field. He sniffed. That was easy enough to overcome, the essential idea being the same as deflecting a sneeze by pressing the upper lip. Except that he used damp, twisted fiberglass draped over a nearby suitably conductive surface. He’d tested it once to meet a girl who worked at the port. He glanced down the face of the fence toward the gate.

His father rolled up, but Sergey was staring through the fence. In the center of the landing strip was thick-bodied rocket on landing pads. On top of the rocket was the rotund, winged PAVATAR passenger vehicle. Tomorrow it would be packed with twenty people submerged in hyper-oxygenated sky-gel against acceleration, hunger, and fear of lift-off and spaceflight.

Gunshots and screams from the gate made him turn abruptly...

Names: Hmong, Brazilian; Russia, Nigeria

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