Burn Through

Nearly 15k words from Friday night to now, Monday evening.  I need to go back to my DayJob to take a break…

Much progress and I have seen much more.  Current word total of 58.9k.  I think 31 May is feasible…

Twelve seconds, Chinon thought. Five point four was their best. Even turning things over to them, could they really…?

“Sir?” Stora called again.

“Prepare to turn all controls to fully automatic on my mark!” He called. “Three… two… one… mark!”

The lights in the control room dimmed for a moment.


“The city’s reactor has been diverted to us!” Molly yelled from his left.

“Hope the hospital’s backup generator is okay…” another muttered.

“Plasma in!” Stora announced. He leaned forward to his screen. “What in the world…?”

Chinon’s eyes flew to the array of flatscreens that covered the wall. Everything the techs and engineers saw was there for his review.

“Oh my God.”

Several others’ eyes came up at that. Flashing red in warning was the plasma temperature: their greatest sustained was a bit over four billion degrees Celsius. This was already north of five.

“Reaction!” Leslie raised his voice above the murmuring. “Fusion!”

On a screen off by itself a digital counter began from twelve. Now eleven. Ten…

“Temp over six billion!” Molly shouted.

“The core cannot handle that!” Stora yelled. “Shut it down!”

“No.” Speaking for the first time since her arrival that morning, Fausta’s voice carried over everyone else’s.

Five seconds…

Alarms began.

“Burn-through on toroid seventy seven!” another engineer said.


“Nine billion!” Molly turned to Leslie with Fausta just beyond him. “What the hell are you doing?!”


“BURN – !”

With a shudder that nearly sent Chinon to the floor the prototype reactor died as plasma hotter than the sun tore out its side, vaporizing steel, electronics, and over twenty years and two billion dollars of work. Steadying himself with a hand against a chair, the Project Manager let his eyes go to the countdown screen.


Was it enough? Chinon wondered.

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