Sunday writing chat prompts for 9 May 2021

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      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: hardship, sour, provincial, miss, banner. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “Is it morning again already?” (10 min)

      3. Write about doing habitual things in the wrong order. (10 min)

    • #7336
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      There was yet another meeting in the midst of Jun’s sleep cycle. She managed to get there without spilling coffee on herself. Her hair was a fright, and she couldn’t locate the eight elastic bands she would normally use to make a gravity-indifferent pony tail out of it, spacing them about 15 centimeters apart, from the back of her head to a bit shy of the ends. The hardships we put up with to have a really exciting job, she was telling herself as she sat down at the conference table. The eight-tenths grav would help, some.

      “Jun,” said Mona. “Nice of you to join us.”

      Jun tried to smile but she imagined it came out more like a sour snarl.

      “We’ve been going through the restart procedure for the ion thruster,” said Mona. “I read your proposal to modify the settings to let us use nitrogen from the atmospheric stores, and it’s a good one. I’ll need to talk to… uh…”

      “Environmentals?” Jun said.

      “Yeah. The name of the team lead slipped my mind. Dammit, that’ll bother me til she tackles me in the corridor sometime,” said Mona. “This engineering department is so provincial, everybody in their own little fief. Good work, talking to the Flight Dynamics person about their requirements, and coming up with a way to do it.”

      “Thank you,” said Jun. She tried and failed to suppress a yawn. “Uh, sorry,” she said. “Is it morning again already? When’s a girl supposed to sleep?”

      “You can sleep when you’re dead?” Jon suggested.

      Jun performed a rerun of the sour snarl, aimed at Jon. “I probably get to run this procedure on my shift, don’t I?” she asked.

      “Looks that way,” said Jon. “They’re still resurrecting the attitude control system.”

      “So let me see the marked up version of the procedure,” said Jun. “And how’s the approval for the markups supposed to work? Did I miss that part of the meeting?”

      “I’ll do a standup meeting with the captain and lead systems engineer,” said Mona. “We also need to temporarily change the limits on a few sensor items so they don’t ring alarms.”

      “Right,” said Jun. “The ionizer voltage for one.”

      “And there’s one that compares the measured thrust to the expected,” said Mona, “given the fuel feed rate, but it assumed we’d always use xenon so it has the wrong specific impulse number.”

      “Oh right.” said Jun. She could imagine getting all the way through the procedure, sending the command for ignition, and getting six independent red limit violations with their associated alarms. “That would wake a girl right up if she was dozing.”

      “You okay with running this?” said Mona, with that penetrating stare she had when she was concerned about her people.

      This seemed to require a more formal kind of a reply. “Yes, ma’am,” she said. “It’ll be good to have some backup eyes and ears, though.”

      “Of course,” said Mona.

      “And it’s naptime, I’m thinkin’,” said Jun. “So I’ll be alert at eleven tonight when whatever we didn’t think of bites me in the ass.” She turned to see Mona’s concerned expression. “Oh sorry. My language is leaking around the edges of my fatigue.”

      “A nap sounds like a great idea. I’ll… uh… get this approved and then take one myself, I think.”

      “I… uh… forget what I was going to say,” said Jun, yawning again. “Back upstairs with me then.”

      She hopped the lift, poked the button for Deck One, and zoned out. When it stopped, her hair went wild, with long slow waves lifting it in the lowG. She popped out of the open door, and forgot to retrieve her hair before they started to close.

      “Hold the lift,” Gin said, coming floating around the corridor at just the right speed to cancel the rotational gravity.

      Jun whirled around and stuck her arm into the closing door, which opened it again. The maneuver added a torsional wave to what her hair was already doing.

      “I found these,” said Gin, removing the eight hair elastics from her wrist and putting them in Jun’s hand. “I figured you’d want them, and I could stop off at the Prop group conference on my way to the control room.”

      “Thanks,” said Jun. “I’m… uh… half asleep or something.” She yawned again.

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