The first chapter of a book/novella I am working on. It follows the life of a veteran and firefighter who must cope with both his own personal shortcomings and his newly discovered ability.

Chapter 1 - Fuel

Flames licked the gunmetal-grey aluminum. Intense heat radiated through the silver skin of his proximity suit. Behind him, his comrades foamed down the missile pods of the AH-1W Cobra Attack Helicopter. Ten million dollars of explosion waiting to happen. Through his thick visor he could see the pilots still trapped behind the slowly warping Plexiglas canopy. They pried at the releases from within. The young Lieutenant in the front seat screamed at him, begging and pleading for him to free them. Suddenly her face, like the Plexiglas, melted beneath her helmet. Then his hand caught fire beneath its glove, consuming him in flames.

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An Unexpected Discovery

“Jesus Christ, Frank, could you watch where you’re going, please?” I scolded, annoyed at the frequent prodding on my back. “That security line gives you at least a couple meters, no need to stab me in the back every few seconds. Tethered to a frickin’ idiot.” I muttered to myself, forgetting volume doesn’t translate through the our comlink. “I know I am. And sorry,” Frank muttered, nonchalant as ever. His head hovered low over his palm, reading a timer that ticked and beeped relentlessly. In his other hand he shielded the red dust from blocking his view. Protruding from the stomach of his suit was a long metal rod, at the end of it a cord that connected to me. So we wouldn’t lose each other out here. “Soon the storm will be settled enough that we can see more than a few meters ahead of us.” “Thank God. When?” “Several minutes, give or take. Maximum distance we’ll be able to see will probably be… Roughly twenty meters or so. Don’t get your hopes up. Are we still on the right track?” He inquired, unconsc

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The Halls of Extinction

Doctor Alex von Strikken, PhD, was one of the most well-respected scientists in the small and well-respected field of genetic engineering. He had begun his career in the relatively looked-down upon area of genetic tailoring, customizing people's children for them as they grew in the womb, but quickly moved out of that distasteful area. Since then Dr. Strikken had been working in the government-run Species Revitalization Project, aka the Halls of Creation. He had been hired just in time to help put the finishing touches on the mammoth, and since then had assisted in recreating the dodo and the Tasmanian tiger. For the past three years, Strikken had been part of Project Tyrant, the attempt to rebuild dinosaurs, so far unsuccessful but coming close to what was hoped to be a viable triceratops egg.

Dr. Strikken was known as having a gift for seeing ramifications, able to foresee with startling accuracy how genes interacted. Many laypeople assumed that genetic engineering was like using building blocks - just s

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The God Machine

Chris stared up at the enormous machine, towering over his head. It was a vast cube, a mile to a side, and constantly toiled, even when it had no assigned task. Gears could always be heard whirring within it, and smoke perpetually billowed from the gaping spouts that spotted its sides. No one knew how it worked (and not for lack of trying to figure it out), but the machine powered the entire planet. Coils of cable stretched for miles and miles and fought for a spot on the machine. No matter how far and no matter what they were connected to, the machine powered it all.

But that wasn't everything the machine did. Rumors said that it could do anything, that the Engineers who operated its obscure machinery knew how to turn its power to control the weather or transmute lead into gold. Legends said that in years past the machine had called down rain to fertilize the deserts, that the oceans had been turned into pure water without harming their inhabitants. Legends said that it could be turned to war as well, tha

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Working with Myself

It all began on a normal, quiet morning as I sat in my favorite armchair, ruminating on my favorite subject - time travel. I myself was only a humble electrical engineer, far from the lofty heights of theoretical physics where time travel could be found, but I understood the basics. Teleportation was well understood, and had been around for over twenty years - I myself had built a teleportation gate during my time in college. In theory, time travel would work on the same principles, but rather than just displacing the target in three dimensions, it would displace the target in four –– the three spacial dimensions of height, width, and depth, and the fourth dimension of time.

Of course, the difficulty in building a time machine lay not in understanding the principles, but in applying them. To build a time machine would require crafting in three dimensions a machine that operated in four. So although many had tried to build a time machine that worked, no one had succeeded.

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Within a Glass Sphere

"Dr. Gammet, the data from the Hubble Telescope is finished downloading - I have it here."

"Thank you, Higgins." Frank Gammet took the flash drive that the young intern offered him in a long-fingered hand, and turned to insert it into his computer. "Isn't this exciting, John?" he said to the screen. "Finally, images from the very beginning of the universe itself!"

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Drug Lord

Prompt: You're the biggest drug lord the world has ever seen. The angel of death visits you on your deathbed and allows you to plea your case as to why you deserve to get into heaven.

I have made a lot of money by helping people to exercise their freedom to do whatever they wanted. Old fat douchebags in the government were trying to dictate people what they can and can not do with their bodies, with their oives, and I have rebelled against that and gave that choice back to people.

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Modern Day Robin Hood

Propmt: In modern day America, you lead a group of criminals who steal from the 1% by any means necessary, to give to the people who need money the most. You are the hood, and this is the story of The Merry Men.

Elon Musk, Mark Zukerberg, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Warren Buffett, countless people who's names you don't know, people who run oil companies and banks, who create everything from cars to cereal boxes, who control the industry, are in my power. All fallen to our attacks.

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Prompt: At age 18, you are able to trade in a percentage of your physical beauty for an equivalent amount of intelligence, or vice versa.

"Oh, my god, this is the dream come true!" I exclaimed, when I first heard about it.

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Accident X

Prompt: Your job involves computers and you work nights. One night you are dozing off but every 5 minutes you reach up and tap a random key on the keyboard without looking to keep your computer from going to sleep. Half through one shift, you look up and see you've done something terrible.

I felt desperately bored in this mind-numbing job. I just had to sit here all night and monitor cameras.

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Dream World

Propmt: While in a dream, you find yourself in the Dream Hub, a place where dreamers can meet.

I woke up and called David. "Hey, man, sorry for calling at 4 AM, and I know it's going to sound weird, but... 3-17-orange-duck. Do you have anything to say to that?"

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