So, my three elements are a space station, a skipping rope and a butterfly hunter. Three seemingly incongruous elements, so this'll be interesting.
I'm seeing three major 'types' of space station for use in this;
- Residential space station
- Research space station
- Military space station
Which one I choose will largely depend on the story, but my personal tastes (which will be overridden if they conflict with the story) lean towards the military station because military sci-fi is best sci-fi.
The most awkward element, this one will probably be used as some indicator of the presence of children. Alternately, it could be a fitness skipping rope, or even an 'accidental' skipping rope, i.e. something that must be repeatedly jumped over but isn't actually a skipping rope.
This is what interests me the most, because the concept of a butterfly hunter is so vast. The 'hunter' element is simple - it simply refers to someone seeking something. However, the butterfly bit is what's so interesting.
Butterfly as literal butterfly
The literal butterfly is the most obvious route - a small winged insect. Perhaps it's from the station's agriculture department as a pollinator, because nobody wants to pollinate plants by hand with a toothbrush, or a strange specimen from a distant world that catches the eye of an entomologist.
Butterfly as monster/threat
The monstrous butterfly is another fairly obvious option - think Alien meets Perdido Street Station. One idea I'm toying with is a butterfly-esque monster that is the physical embodiment of despair, driving people to suicide by its mere presence. The skipping rope would become a noose, and the butterfly's effects could be used to explore the hunter's psyche.
Butterfly as MacGuffin
The hunter needs that butterfly, and they need it fast. Perhaps it's been genetically engineered to produce an enzyme crucial to medicine, or maybe it's a priceless, one-of-a-kind specimen. Whatever it is, it's got out of containment and a wild butterfly hunt begins.
Butterfly as symbol
Butterflies are powerful symbols - of innocent childhood days spent chasing them, of personal transformation, of hope, of rebirth. The hunter could be seeking what the butterfly represents, not the butterfly itself - sort of like the blue bird of happiness from K-Pax.