So here's how it works:
Comment with a prompt. It can be science, it can be math, it can be an obscure bit of computer coding, it doesn't matter so long as it is dorky as hell. We are discussing characters who are not all human, who live on a spaceship, and who do science for a living; let's make the fic reflect that. If you just really want to see a fic about a Starfleet astronomer writing a grant for some telescope time on the Enterprise, read about the struggles of the botanists trying to get their Aldeberanian tomatoes to grow, watch Bones play House and try to treat the surprising and alien venereal disease that Jim's somehow managed to contract this time, then this is the challenge for you.
Pictures, links to Wikipedia articles, explanations are all welcome. Be as specific (or not) as you want, and prompt as much as you want. Prompts will be open until March 10th, at which point writing and/or posting begins - more details on that later.
- This picture of star cluster M4
- The Helix Nebula
- The Witch's Head Nebula (extra points for a Halloween/horror/ghost type story...)
- Any discussion of false-color image processing.
- Planetary ice plumes!
- Any discussion of space weather
- Acknowledgement that the Enterprise is a closed ecological system
- A botanist working on developing an interplanetary transgenic plant? Details as to the purpose of the incorporated gene appreciated, as are the difficulties involved in the process.
- The Color of Plants on Other Worlds
- Some idiot coding the in-ship message system tried to use improper memory space and didn't handle the error, resulting in an ambiguous bus error message with no useful information (such as the line of code the error is on) and shuts down half the main systems.
- Sys. admins and uptime on the in-ship network would also be delightful.
- Discussion/analysis/contemplation of a planet's sky, as a motif or even as a plot point (can a planet's sky color be changed? How? Why?)
- Playing 3-way chess
- I'm curious about the scientific debate that went down on Vulcan around the engineering of Spock. To Create, or not to Create? I'd also like to hear how his parents addressed the fact that, as a hybrid species, there is a high possibility that Spock would be sterile.
- I want to see big up-fucking problems that the science department solves before Jim Kirk even notices them; something funky in the atmosphere that they prevent the away team from breathing, a decompression bomb in a data packet, a structural design flaw in the Enterprise that wasn't caught in the models in and sims, whatever.
- 'And by "coronal mass ejection" I ... actually mean "coronal mass ejection" (why are you still leering at me?)'
- What if someone created a weapon that temporarily suspended the Pauli Exclusion Principle, and thus made objects/people/whatnot implode?
- Quark stars/strange stars and quark/strange matter
- Time dilation and the Twin Paradox: We all know that the Enterprise is basically screwing around with the theory of relativity when in warp. I would love to see a situation where the ship is warping for an extended time and, once they return to Earth, they find that the people back on Earth have aged considerably more than they themselves have. Perhaps a hundred Earth years have passed while it has only been six months to the people of the Enterprise, and everyone they left behind on Earth is gone.
- Super space pot! The botanists become everyone's favourite when they figure out a way to engineer a hybrid of two highly incompatible, but highly, um, awesome alien plants. Spock, being the CSO who would be required to shut the operation down should he find out, is kept in the dark until everyone can come up with a suitably sciencey explanation as to way the project is completely legitimate. Bonus points if a lab gets hot-boxed or one of the engineers develops a high-tech vaporizer or something!
- A probable (scientific) explanation for male pregnancy (if someone managed to swing it)! Extra points for Sulu pregnant or Kirk/McCoy, or McCoy/Spock!
"What I really like is what I call the Star Trek test. If Kirk & Spock show up orbiting an object, just by looking at the picture of it they know it's a planet. In an IAU world [i.e., one using the definition of a planet as, among other features, having cleared its orbit], Spock would have to come back and say, 'Captain, let me survey the entire solar system, determine whatever objects are there. I'll integrate the orbits overnight and get back to you.' "
I and my roommate instantly decided that we want to see that analysis, run by Spock and/or Chekov.
- In order to be released from the Planet of the Week, Kirk and Spock must participate in a rube-goldberg device making contest, and win. While all of their opponents are trying to sabotage them, since the leadership of the planet will only allow one team to go home at the end.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, someone is Up To No Good on the Enterprise and the kids upstairs have to handle it themselves.
- Xenolinguistics, yo! I want the fic where Uhura has to really exercise her language-fu. I want phonemes--laryngeals, pharyngeals, labiovelars, tense-lax distinctions. I want head nouns, enclitics, and morphographemic writing systems. Bring on the alien syntax!
- How about the "red matter" issue. What it is, how it works, the political and ethical implications?
- In one of the deleted scenes of the new movie, we see that Amanda actually gives birth to Spock...meaning she actually carried for the duration of the pregnancy. Given that Spock's blood is copper based and his mother's is the human norm could someone come up with an explanation of how the Vulcan doctors were able to ensure a successful pregnancy given the vastly different blood types involved? Was there a medication they could give her so that her blood could tolerate the interaction? Was the pregnancy difficult?
This link may also be of interest: BBC News/Health/Patient bleeds dark green blood
- Scientific/philosophic conversation about one's understanding of and importance in the universe, based on this picture.
- In their travels, the crew comes across a naturally-occurring sphere that is the closest to perfect in recorded history. (Feel free to reference this man-made sphere.)
- Extended periods of time in space must be a huge mindfuck. I'm sure people are freaking out at any given time, prone to depression, anxiety, etc etc. We see a lot of planet-of-the-week induced triage situations, but what about day to day crew wellness? Does the Enterprise have a huge staff of psychiatrists and psychologists? What are the psychological repercussions of warping around the galaxy?
- What happens when something slips through the cracks and manages to cause a huge problem in one of the closed systems on ship? Like say the water filter isn't working, or leaves a salty aftertaste in the mouth. Or what if something happened to damage the co2 scrubbers/hydroponic section and the crew walked around slightly loopy?
- Science jokes. As many as you want, of whatever nature. Bonus points for dorky come-ons (i.e., "I wish you were my second derivative so you could find my concavities," "I wish you were DNA heliocase so you could unzip my genes," &cetera).
- Transporter-lag! Is it jarring to be pulled from a wintry morning on Planet X to the temperature-controlled hallways of the Enterprise? Are there physical or psychological ramifications? (Whip-lash? G-forces being weird?) Did Kirk really leave his metaphysical soul on Viridis III?