Sunday writing chat prompts for 7 Feb 2021

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    • #7107

      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: vehicle, promote, perforate, green, friend. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “add that to the list.” (10 min)

      3. Write about something that’s undercooked. (10 min)

    • #7108

      Let me just state for the record, I really like Arif. He’s not only sweet and thoughtful, he has this edge to him that makes me think he’s so much more than he lets on. Damn, after that slip last night about chocolate and foreplay, I could barely concentrate on our conversation.

      I adjusted the lighting to shadow my face,. I didn’t want him to read the wayward thoughts reflected in my eyes before I was ready to promote him to being more than just a friend.

      Let’s add that to the list of ways the pandemic wasn’t helping the romance along. It perforated the road to happiness with roadblocks like no touching and wear a mask. Everyone was jumping aboard the panic express regardless of whether the vehicle was on solid ground. Don’t get me wrong. I understand the basic science and don’t disagree with the restrictions, it just makes me a little green with envy at all the half-baked disbelievers. If I didn’t believe, Arif and I would be a lot further along than we were now.

      Then again, if we didn’t believe, we both probably would be sick right now. There have been families in both of our buildings, placed under quarantine. It’s a minor miracle we’re still healthy.

      And… I jinxed myself. The next morning I woke to a fever and tightness in my chest.

      It scared the absolute crap out of me.

      How the hell was I going to do this? I lived alone. Sure, I just got groceries the other day and my cupboards were full of boxed food and cans. It was going to be impossible to replenish the perishables in my fridge.

    • #7109

      Mona came huffing up the ladder. “Sorry I’m late,” she said.

      “You okay?” Jun said, before it had fully sunk into her still awakening consciousness that this was her group leader and so due some respect. If she was out of breath, there was probably a reason which was not any of Jun’s business.

      “Yeah, fine,” said Mona. “Thanks for asking. The Chief Engineer wanted to have an impromptu staff meeting just as I was on the way out the door.”

      Jun nodded sympathetically. Mona was also a friend, at least when work didn’t get in the way of that. It’s an odd social structure, and even odder when somebody gets promoted. The previous Prop group leader had disembarked when Jun came aboard, so except for the hail and farewell party, they hadn’t met.

      Mona was used to being one of the gang in the nosebleed pods up by the vehicle axis in lowG, but now she got a cushy halfG stateroom to herself. One of the first group getting acquainted sessions was a chummy party in Mona’s quarters, to welcome the greenest members, Jun and Jon, and get everybody used to who’s who, informally. Calling it a stateroom was very generous indeed, and Jun had gotten the idea of putting the sleeping bag high up on the wall. The bat-dangle from the ceiling was her own idea, and would only work in the lowest of lowG, right next to the hub compartment.

      “Everybody remember why we’re here?” Mona was asking.

      “Eyes on the actual plumbing,” said Jun.

      “Where exactly are all those valves and thermistors we babysit?” said Jon.

      “Easy,” said Gwen. “The ones at reasonable temperatures are in this room here, which has air in it. The nutty ones are in vacuum.”

      “Let’s have a look,” said Mona. She carded the hatch and it opened after a hesitation for the air sampler to work. “There’s nasty stuff in the pipes, as you know, so for safety’s sake there’s a door interlock that releases when it’s safe to breathe in there.”

      “Is that our thing, too?” Jun wanted to know.

      “Kinda joint with Environmentals, I think?” said Jon.

      “Add that to the list,” said Mona. “Each one of you needs to know what we’re responsible for, where the documentation is, and what kinds of failures it has had, or could have.”

      Jun had learned how to type stuff into the bug in her head, but it was cumbersome so she pulled down the virtual keyboard and the system watched her fingers twitching.

      They did a quick tour of the plumbing system. Hydrazine pipes were painted green and had arrows on them to show flow direction. Each valve had a label on it, and Jun recognized the acronyms on most of them, making notes as they went.

      “Pressure regulator,” said Mona, pointing at a green fat section of the pipe with two pressure gages sticking out of it like Micky Mouse ears. “And an emergency relief valve.”

      “Which is in here, with us,” said Jun.

      “There’s another one in the vacuum compartment, for each section of the pipe,” said Jon. “Between valves. That should blow first.”

      “Good,” said Mona. “What happens when it doesn’t?”

      “We get the fuck out of here,” said Jun. “Sorry.”

      “A couple whiffs of hydrazine will ruin your whole day,” said Gwen.

      “And how does the compartment cleanup work?” Mona asked.

      Jun knew this one. “Pump it out, let the Environmentals sort out the gases, and dump the bad stuff overboard.,” she said. “I presume we have to let Envs know it’s coming.”

      “There’s a procedure for that,” said Gwen. “Which you might not be able to find quickly enough when you need it.”

      Jun made a note to put a bookmark to it… someplace.

      “So if the pressure regulator malfunctions…” said Mona.

      “Can they do that?” said Jun. “It’s a pretty simple gadget.”

      “Which spent the last, how old his this ship? Fifteen years immersed in pressurized hydrazine,” said Mona. “And probably nitric acid, if there’s any water in the system. Though that should boil off first when we actually use the thrusters.”

      “The backup system,” said Jun. “It might be kinda undercooked.”

      “Exactly,” said Mona. “Sealed up tight for years at a time. Nobody’s sure exactly what’s in there. Suggestions?”

      “Use it now and then?” said Jon.

      “You get to explain to the Captain and the Chief Engineer why we want to do experiments with their spacecraft,” said Mona. “Good luck with that.”

      “Sample and test?” said Jun.

      “That could work. The sampling valve is… where?” said Mona.

      “Uh…” said Jun. “Downstream… through that wall. In the vacuum spaces. Not very convenient now the ship’s actually in space.”

      “Exactly,” said Mona. “If we have to do a spacewalk for some other reason, we might include that as a secondary task. I presume you’ve all done the EVA training?”

      EVA is extra-vehicular activity. Jun couldn’t help blushing. They’d done in-vac work in a chamber in Houston, and the suit was… way more form-fitting than Jun would have liked, especially since her safety buddy was a guy. She made a note to ask about wearing something over the actual pressure suit. Like, for example, Gin’s pajamas that looked like a flight suit. Or, her overactive imagination suggested, a dress. She’d seen one of those “Join up, see the universe” posters with a woman in a pressure suit, complete with bubble helmet, and a dress over the top of it.

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