Sunday writing chat prompts for 13 Dec 2020

Home Forums Just the Place for a Snark Sunday writing chat prompts for 13 Dec 2020

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    • #6897

      The Sunday Brunch Prompted Writing Chat is an opportunity each week to test your skills at writing under pressure — or to have some fun without the need to be brilliant — or both!

      The prompts are intended as both as a challenge and a starting point, open to creative interpretation. You can use these as an excuse to write anything that comes to mind, whether it’s fiction or creative non-fiction or a mixture of both. You can write a separate piece for each prompt, or try to link them all together in a single story.

      If you join in the chat, you can add “an excuse to complain about unfair prompts” to the entertainment, too. But even if you can’t attend the chat session, feel free to give the prompts a try anyway (and leave your responses, comments, or complaints in this thread if you like).

      This week’s prompts are posted below.

      1. Use the following five words: crisis, freedom, fear, copy, craftsman. (10 min)

      2. Fill in the blank: “I need a new __________.” (10 min)

      3. Write about an unexpected crowd. (10 min)

    • #6898

      It was 20 hours or so when Jun thought to look at the clock. Multitasking was getting a little silly. She was going to have to learn to prioritize, work something all the way through and get it turned in and then go on to something else.

      Next week’s plan needed reviewing, from the Prop department point of view. Everything seemed nominal except she was a little concerned about the temperature of Tank Six. It’d be due… at 12 tomorrow, on Jon’s shift. She wrote up a report saying she was 98% sure it was good, and explaining the thermal thing. A 2% fear is… only a little one.

      The ship was turning about so that the nose dish could acquire the beacon at Lunar 72. This kind of thing is done with reaction wheels, which were not her department. But she brought up the Attitude Control department’s main page, which was stuffed with numbers. She’d done the course on quaternion math, of course, every budding engineer did. Did she remember enough to watch in detail? No. But they had sky coordinates for the rotation axis, the ultimate goal, the current ones, and the interim goal, just a little distance from the final. It was fun to watch those numbers changing.

      At some point the Attitude Control system might decide it was too much and the freedom to maneuver was getting close to limits, so they’d use her Propulsion System (just the attitude thrusters, not the main engine) to unload some angular momentum. She’d have to watch that. Last week’s plan projected no such thing would be needed, but it could happen autonomously if needed. Whoever wrote all that code was a genuine craftsman.

      Any time now…

      “Systems, Comm,” came Joan’s voice over the net.

      “Comm, go,” said Jin. The System Engineering cubicle was just over the wall from Prop, so she could hear both through the bug in her head and through the air.

      “Lunar 73 acquisition of signal,” said Comm.

      “Copy that, comm,” said Systems. And Jun could imagine Jin checking off that milestone as it was accomplished. The tick mark appeared on the Planning screen.

      And then of course she was tinkering with the thermal modeling software, trying to figure out how reliable the forecasts were. Not very. All this was inspired by Tank Six and the projection that it might hit the planning limit next… uh… is that Wednesday? Jun was still getting the hang of date conversion.

      They had all done shifts in the control room for a drone satellite at the Academy. At least here all the clocks were on GMT, so no local time conversion was needed, and everybody agreed when the day changed.

      But doing it on the ground wasn’t nearly as much fun as this. She was looking forward to getting off shift, riding the lift hubward, having a lowG drink with Jin to compare notes on the shift just passed, and just kind of letting her hair down. Out. Whatever it would do up at the hub.

      “I need a new hairstyle,” she said to herself. Letting it dangle was fine in normG, but it got caught in the lift door up on the podway once, trying to imitate a diagram of the solar magnetic field.

      Buuuut then it happened. With just an hour and a half to go, the alarms started going off. Most of the racket was inside her head, and none of it seemed to be Prop system related, so she sat down and started paging through the screens to see what the crisis was this time. Often these things were drills, but she would expect an announcement to that effect right… about… now…

      Huh. No such luck.

      She had worked through her checklist and verified the Prop system was safe. The iso-valves that separated the system into several fiefdoms were all closed. Pressures nominal. Temperatures good for now, including Tank Six. It seemed to like this pointing-at-the-moon attitude. She idly wondered exactly why that was, but this was not a time for idle wondering.

      “All hands, this is Systems,” said a very frightened sounding Jin. “We’ll be discussing the situation on the Anomaly Loop. My notes are on the anomaly whiteboard.”

      Jun thought nearly all the voices she’d heard on the loops this shift were people from her own class: greenhorns like herself. There was a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. If nothing else, it’d give them something to talk about on the pod, since they seemed to room academy classes together up along the hub.

      Jin was all business on the Anomaly Loop. “I’m going to poll all the systems for a status,” she said. “Comm?”

      “Comm is fine. We’re still locked on to Lunar 72.”

      “Copy. Attitude?”

      “Uh… come back to us, we’re still figuring it out.”

      “Copy that. Prop?”

      “Prop is safe,” said Jun. She pulled the attitude screen out from under whatever else she had been working on, and oh my were there a lot of red numbers on it. The attitude guy was a year or two ahead of her class, which made her feel better.

    • #6899

      As Viv took the Occupational Therapists through their new living quarters, I followed behind listening to what was said. My mind wandered as they talked about Jared’s condition and how he was recovering from the fall. Viv gave Tom and I credit for fixing the broken doorframe and installing the spring closure to help prevent another accident.

      They approved of our craftsmanship and told Viv that it satisfied their revised requirements after Jared’s fall.

      It made me feel good to be part of the reason the fear fell from Viv’s expression as the OT people went over the rest of the items on their checklist. When they were finished, they gave her a copy of the results and wished her well.

      “So.” I said. “The crisis is over and Jared can come home as soon as they release him.”

      “Yes.” She said on a sigh as she sagged onto a chair in their living space. “This crisis has passed but what about the next one? And the one after that?” She looked suddenly exhausted. “I need a new plan. I had planned to put Jared into proper care when he reached this point in his illness but with this new pandemic everyone’s freaking out over I can’t. Not to mention Jared is in a cast. How am I going to look after him?”

      I sat down on the loveseat opposite to her and leaned forward. “But you have help, don’t you? Didn’t you say you have caregivers that come in?”

      “Sure, but that’s only a few hours a week and it barely gives me enough freedom to run errands. I feel like this week was the first break I’ve had since I stopped working. I feel guilty for even saying that because the only reason I got it was because my husband hurt himself.”

      “Can you get more help?”

      “I can but Jared doesn’t like strangers. They’ve had to keep him doped up in the hospital to keep him from ripping out his IV. Having more people coming in and out of our home is just going to cause him more stress, which causes me more stress.”

      A thought had been percolating in the back of my mind since Tom and I came in to fix the door. “I don’t know if this would be helpful or just plain creepy.” I paused, because even though this was my idea it still kind of freaked me out. “You need help and I would like to be around more while Katie and Tom do their renovations next door. I took two weeks vacation to help them.”

      She frowned as if trying to figure out what I was getting at.

      “If you thought it would help, I could stay upstairs for a few weeks.” I rushed to finish. “I wouldn’t come downstairs unless you needed me and you would still have your privacy with Jared. That way you wouldn’t have a constantly changing crowd of people in and out for him to get used to.”

      “Then you could be close to help Katie and Tom without having to drive back and forth every day.”

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