Tag Archives: scientist

Writing prompt: World Laboratory Day

Time: 10 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“World Laboratory” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.)

 

The capsule docked at the World Laboratory station. Dr. Trinner pushed gingerly from weightlessness into the gentle rotational gravity. The door slipped closed.

“Your laboratory is a ways from the dock. It’s all allotted by need, the labs with heavier shipping duties are near here, the vacuum labs are surface labs, the gravity labs rotate faster, the zero g labs are on the axis.”

“It’s all right, I wouldn’t mind stretching out,” Trinner assured the nervous guide. Her reputation obviously preceded her. But it had been years since the Erlenmeyer Incident…

Strictly speaking, her research didn’t benefit at all from work in space. But as a child, she had dreamt of being an astronaut. Doing science on a space station was damned near the next best thing. The station had jumped at the opportunity to have a Nobel winner onboard.

The light gravity was disorienting, harder on her stomach than zero g somehow.“How many are onboard now?” She braced against the walls of the corridor.

“30%, about,” the guide responded. “Some of the laboratories require special work and will take longer to complete. It will be pretty peaceful for a while here!”

“Other than the construction,” Trinner said.

“Yes, other than that.”

#

Trinner was alone in the lab. Some colleagues would follow in a couple of days. Her quarters were in the cluster near that lab section. It felt like science camp, living and breathing science, away from the cares of the world.

The construction echoed through the bulkheads from time to time. But there were other noises that Trinner couldn’t explain—voices. Voices came from the walls, in languages she didn’t know. She wondered if it were recordings of radio or television, but she couldn’t find a source.

Writing prompt: Abduct an extraterrestrial

Time: 10 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Abduct an extraterrestrial” (This list is an awesome source of completely silly prompts. March 20th is Extraterrestrial Abductions Day, and after a member of our writing group misinterpreted this as humans abducting ETs, we went with that. It seemed more interesting.)

 

The light from underground was reddish. The instruments confirmed that it extended into the infrared.

“They’re down there,” Mason hissed. “The aliens!”

For the historical reader, I should explain that the presence of aliens wasn’t the novelty here, but the collection of this particular species for the St. Louis Zoo. At this point, we hadn’t understood that the Iotans travelled along subharmonic strings. We only knew at this point that they couldn’t seem to escape from caves or other underground places once they got there. We’d managed to capture two of them in this trap we’d set. A pity, it took at least three to breed.

“I can see that,” I told Mason. He was really more of a technician than an exobiologist. For him, the victory was that his trap had worked. I was an exobiologist. I needed to figure out how to get them to the zoo without them de-materializing—an annoying habit. Further, I had to figure out what Iotans ate and breathed and whether their excretions would dissolve the typical metal enclosures.

The Iotans realized now their predicament. The two of them wailed high and frankly unpleasantly. We didn’t know if they had language or if they could travel as they did simply as part of their unusual biology. I wish now that we’d known what a headache this pair would be for us. After we accidentally killed the Iotans, tough times came in the exobiologist community. I got sent to work at the facility on Mars—a humiliation. But that’s a different story.

The red light flashed white and the wailing squealed higher then abruptly stopped. There were no more signs on the instruments, no more sounds, no more anything. We cautiously crept forward. The cavern was twice as big as it had been and we saw no Iotans anywhere.

“Where are they?” Mason asked.

“How should I know?” I exploded. We were exhausted when we reached the surface, and I noted the failure in my records.

Writing prompt: Tell a fairy tale

Time: 10 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Tell a fairy tale” (This list is an awesome source of completely silly prompts.)

 

“Daddy, what’s your favorite fairy tale?”

Karl thought for a bit. “You know, I don’t remember. It’s been a long time since I was little.”

Inga frowned. “I want a fairy tale. What am I going to do if you can’t remember any?” She sat up in bed. After seven was his precious quiet time. He needed to get Inga to sleep.

“I’ll make one up, how’s that?” Inga looked skeptical. “One just for you, a special one.” Flattery began to melt the skepticism.

“Once upon a time there was a scientist,” Karl began.

“There weren’t scientists in fairy tales.”

Karl held up an admonishing finger. “That’s only because they weren’t invented yet when the old ones were written. Just think of a scientist as a wizard, but with more numbers.

“The scientist worked many hours toiling with magical substances and arcane laws. He worked on lubrication systems for automotive engines.”

“Daddy, this better be going somewhere.” He needed to find the balance between interesting enough to engage Inga, but not so interesting as to keep her up.

“His world was full of discipline and certainty and steady income. One day, though, the scientist woke up in a different world. There were no cars and no lights and no tvs. He looked out his window and saw pigs and horses and a dragon flying through the sky.”

“A dragon?” Inga squealed. Karl cursed himself. Too exciting!

“Yes, a dragon. And the scientist was worried because his skills weren’t going to translate well to the employment prospects of this world. He would have to learn how he got there, and how to return.”