Science Fiction Short Story prompt (intro only) - Green Energy Version
|Helga wiped the sweat from her brow and then carefully placed the wrench down. She wouldn't have to have a new part for the windmill printed, after all. Every steading had to provide its own food: that was the rule, though She traded with Jim down the road some oranges for his strawberries, and that year the tornado had come through the fields, she had been astounded at how generous the town had been to her. It was just one of the ways the balance was kept. These days, there wasn't too much risk in it: the new dome kept the sun in and the locusts out, and the windmill put out enough juice to keep the weeder-bots running an hour a day. But farming occupied her hands, and it kept her attached to the land. The kids hadn't known anything else, and neither would her grandchildren on the way.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a sound she hadn't heard in years upon years: a low rumbling just outside the dome. She grunted, and her aching knees brought her to her full five feet of height. It couldn't possibly be.
But when Helga opened the door, there it was, an old red truck with a combustion engine, grumbling away. These days, what could be had at all was pretty much available to everyone - but personal motor vehicles weren't on the list. Whoever that was wasn't from around here. The engine noise and the vibration rolling from the vehicle came to an abrupt halt, and a young man with sandy hair and dark glasses stepped from the vehicle.
"Greeting, ma'am. Sorry to bother you, but is this the house where James Sawyer lives?"
Helga blinked. "Yes. That is, that's my son."
The fellow ran his hand through his hair. "Good, ma'am. Can you bring him out?"
Helga crossed her arms across her chest. "Depends. What's this about?"
"Well, you know your son's test scores have come in - very high marks. Did you know he also applied for the new position at the Space Center?"
Helga squinted. "Sure. He wanted to be on the robotics team, the one building that new weather satellite."
The visitor frowned. "Well, not exactly. Or that's not exactly what we're hiring for, anyway. He's going to be working on the orbital fusion project - that is, if he accepts the job."
Helga's eyes widened. "But I thought fusion had been abandoned, after - "
"We've got the ecology back in order, or at least on its way again. It's time to look to the stars, and plentiful energy is a necessary part of that. We aren't going to get colonists to Mars using solar electrolysis - not soon enough anyway."
Helga shook her head. "Wait - soon enough for what?"
The sandy-haired fellow straightened. "Let me start over: my name is John Adams. May I come in? Your son and I need to talk."