Week 20 of Odd Prompts

Some days, some weeks, are a step back. That’s ok. There’s always room to take a little detour until you get back to where you want to be. Slamming your head against a creative block only leads to headache, routing around it is much more effective and less painful.

nother MikeA telepath, a vampire, and a shapechanger walked into a bar…Becky Jones
Fiona GreyThe rhino chased the butterfly at full charge.nother Mike
AC YoungTwenty steps north, then twenty east. Dig between the two crosses.Fiona Grey
Becky JonesThe garden gnomes had been busy yesterday.Leigh Kimmel
Leigh KimmelA world of floating islands at the level where the atmosphere is breathable for humans.AC Young

And if you find yourself on the other side of that obstacle with fresh air to breathe and your brain wakes up, there are always spares.

SpareShe held his wrist, treasuring the steady pulse beneath her fingers.
SpareThe creature leaned over, and with a deliberate movement, swiped the diplomat’s glass onto the floor.
SpareNo one could explain the booming noise that woke up the neighborhood. Until…
SpareWaking up is hard to do…
SpareShades of green as far as the eye could see.

As long as you’re breathing, there is hope.



  1. Leigh Kimmel supplied me with this week’s challenge: A world of floating islands at the level where the atmosphere is breathable for humans.

    A Perelandra-style world of floating islands doesn’t seem to fit the prompt. A gas giant with a liquid layer floating on a denser gas layer, with islands floating in the liquid layer doesn’t seem to possible given the nature of physics. So I went with my third choice:

    Audit Report on Interstellar Mining Corporation’s mining colony on Corinthus VI

    According to the records of Interstellar Mining, the colony on Corinthus VI was founded approximately one hundred and fifty standard years ago. The colony’s intended purpose was to mine the valuable elements found deep in the gas giant’s atmosphere. Setting up the colony proved more difficult than anticipated, and Interstellar Mining decreed it to be a long-term prospect, requiring a long time to build up the extraction rate to a level that justified regular visits by transport vessels.

    According to the records of Interstellar Mining communication was maintained with the colony for approximately one hundred standard years. Records on extraction rates were kept throughout that time, and a number of scheduled delivery and ad hoc transport vessel trips were noted, the latter all very profitable. After that point no further information on the colony appear in Interstellar Mining’s records, but we cannot assume that communication ceased as Interstellar Mining kept very poor records for the last forty standard years of its existence, and standards of record keeping were dropping for at least the ten standard years before that.

    The records kept by the colony are much better. Communication according to their records ceased only after the last scheduled supply delivery thirty standard years ago. They have maintained records of extraction rates, and the volume of each element in storage.

    The colony itself was set-up with a lot of thought for future growth. The habitation areas were built on platforms, which were equipped with anti-gravity technology to ensure that they remained at the right height above the planet. This was essential as there is only a small band of atmosphere that has the right combination of oxygen concentration and atmospheric pressure for human habitation.

    The colony was supplied with schooling facilities to train up new engineers capable of maintaining the anti-gravity facilities, as well as both maintaining and expanding the mining equipment, and all other equipment necessary for human habitation. As of the last supply delivery they had plenty of spares for all essential equipment.

    The colony was supplied with hydroponic facilities and chicken farms to ensure that it was self-sustaining in food. Due to careful husbandry and rationing as required this remains the case.

    The colony has been well governed, even in the absence of corporation input. The colony has continued to expand, constructing and launching two more habitation platforms in the last ten standard years. In addition it has increased its rate of extraction and constructed all necessary storage facilities so as not to waste any of its efforts.

    The volume of spares for the technology that the colony requires to maintain its habitats, food supplies and mining equipment is starting to run low, and further supply will be required soon, probably within the next five standard years. Otherwise supplies will start to run out and the future of the colony will be in danger.

    Based on the current extraction rates the colony should be a jewel in the crown of Interstellar Mining Corporation’s assets. With regular transport vessel visits it should generate significant profits for any company that bought the colony rights.

    Unfortunately I have to point out that under interstellar law the colony has obtained Independence by Neglect. While an extant company can re-institute the necessary communications to prevent a colony ignorant of its rights claiming independence, Interstellar Mining Corporation is bankrupt, and under interstellar law colonies theoretically able to claim independence from a bankrupt company are automatically granted it upon their parent corporation submitting the bankruptcy paperwork.

    I will therefore be informing the colonial government of their new status, and giving advice on how to insert themselves into the local and regional trading network.

    I would advise any company interested in the valuable remnants of Interstellar Mining’s assets to seek a regular trading arrangement with the ex-colony on Corinthus VI. Whoever can obtain exclusive elemental transport arrangements (or otherwise dominate the trade) will make a large amount of money on the deal. This is the best that any company interested in Interstellar Mining’s assets can achieve.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fiona Grey started the safari with…

    The rhino chased the butterfly at full charge.

    [hum, now why would a rhino chase a butterfly? Perhaps the butterfly was teasing him? Need to think about this a bit…]

    [oh, drat. The back brain has decided to be funny, so…]

    Harold watched the screen carefully, hoping that nothing went wrong, but knowing that Murphy loved to stomp on hopes. Still, they had tested so thoroughly, but the acceptance test was like the final check, with the customer rep sitting there waiting for any glitch to show up.

    “Now, you are sure that these electric rhinos of yours are safe around people? I mean, we like to let our customers get up close and personal, but we don’t want them hurt.”

    Harold smiled.

    “We have tested them thoroughly. While they act like real rhinos, they are perfectly safe around people. I mean, you probably have an electric pet dog, or know someone who has one, right? We use a lot of the same software, and that has been tested with babies, old people, just all kinds of people.”

    The rep nodded.

    “Okay, let’s see what it does.”

    The charge level showed the rhino was at full charge. So, Harold hit the switch, and it started walking across the plain outside the factory. It was just a big grassy field, but they had placed some manikins and other obstacles for the rhino to show its paces.

    The test was going well, and even the rep was smiling, when it happened.

    There was a bobbing blur of color near the rhino, and then the rhino chased the butterfly across the field!

    Drat, drat, drat. Didn’t they get that bug worked out yet? For some reason, at full charge, the rhino would chase small spots of color in its visual field. Butterflies seemed to be the perfect targets.

    Harold looked at the rep. He was leaning forward, trying to see what the rhino was chasing. Well, might as well admit it.

    “Um, I thought we had fixed that bug, but apparently it’s still there. You see, for some reason, the rhino likes to chase butterflies. I’m sure we can get it fixed before final delivery.”

    The rep chortled, then smiled.

    “Please, please, don’t fix it. You see, one of our other branches sells electric butterflies. They aren’t much good for anything, except that visitors to our parks seem to love setting them free and watching them flutter around. But having a rhino chase them? I think it could make a great promotion! Synergy, you know?”

    Harold blinked, then turned and watched the rhino charging across the field, chasing the butterfly. Whew, and here he thought that was a real bug. It sounded like this rep really thought it was a feature! Huh, he should tell the programmers to be careful not to fix that.

    When the electric rhinos covered the plains of the family resort, chasing butterflies was one of the big attractions.

    [whew, got that out of the way… hope you got a charge out of it?]

    Liked by 2 people

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