MAD SCIENCE INSTITUTE chapter 2 (part 1)

This is an excerpt from Mad Science Institute, a novel that will be available 12/16/2011. This chapter introduces Dean, the second of two point-of-view protagonists.

Dean is a tough-guy, which is good because he’s going to get knocked around a lot during the course of his adventure. But, hey, someone’s got to keep the school from burning down.

Chapter 2

Dean

As the curtain of black smoke pulled back, Dean yanked the oxygen mask from his face and dropped his heat-warped helmet to the pavement. His fellow firefighters rushed in to offer assistance, but he didn’t need any. He was on his feet, and so were the rest of his crew. One man had a hurt shoulder—a broken clavicle, Dean guessed—but the fire was out and their job was done.

He unclipped the air-tank from his back, and when he shucked his insulated jacket from his shoulders, a light rain of charcoal chunks and burned brick chips fell from him. The late summer Los Angeles wind was hot and tainted by the coppery scent of smog, but it still felt refreshing as it hit his broad chest and played through his short, black hair. He was not the tallest firefighter at his stationhouse, but he was far from the shortest, and his sturdy frame was wrapped in ample muscle and minimal fat, allowing his body to shed heat with the greatest possible efficiency.

His colleagues gathered his discarded clothing as he dropped it and one of them shoved a canteen in his hand. Dean upended it over his head, then accepted a second canteen and gulped down the chilled water. By the time he finished, the station chief arrived and swapped Dean’s canteen for another full one.

“Not exactly the best-case scenario,” the chief said, pointing with his chin back towards the remnants of the building from which Dean had just emerged.

“I’ve seen worse,” Dean said with a shrug. He had once remained on his feet for three days to battle a jet-fuel fire at a hanger outside of Bagdad. By comparison, today was easy. Half the building may have fallen down, but he had read the impending collapse in the sagging interior walls in time to hurry his men to safety. The apartment building was lost, but the fire would not spread.

“Take a rest,” the Chief said, jerking his thumb towards an awaiting ambulance. “I don’t want to see you back on the line for thirty minutes, minimum. That’s an order.”

Dean had a seat and allowed the paramedics to record his vitals before he found a shady spot from which he could watch the clean-up operation. Exactly thirty minutes later, he got up and went to lend a hand.

He took only three steps before he saw someone who stopped him short. There, across the street, stood a figure he instantly recognized but couldn’t believe: Professor Denise McKenzie.

As the curtain of black smoke pulled back, Dean yanked the oxygen mask from his face and dropped his heat-warped helmet to the pavement. His fellow firefighters rushed in to offer assistance, but he didn’t need any. He was on his feet, and so were the rest of his crew. One man had a hurt shoulder—a broken clavicle, Dean guessed—but the fire was out and their job was done.

He unclipped the air-tank from his back, and when he shucked his insulated jacket from his shoulders, a light rain of charcoal chunks and burned brick chips fell from him. The late summer Los Angeles wind was hot and tainted by the coppery scent of smog, but it still felt refreshing as it hit his broad chest and played through his short, black hair. He was not the tallest firefighter at his stationhouse, but he was far from the shortest, and his sturdy frame was wrapped in ample muscle and minimal fat, allowing his body to shed heat with the greatest possible efficiency.

His colleagues gathered his discarded clothing as he dropped it and one of them shoved a canteen in his hand. Dean upended it over his head, then accepted a second canteen and gulped down the chilled water. By the time he finished, the station chief arrived and swapped Dean’s canteen for another full one.

“Not exactly the best-case scenario,” the chief said, pointing with his chin back towards the remnants of the building from which Dean had just emerged.

“I’ve seen worse,” Dean said with a shrug. He had once remained on his feet for three days to battle a jet-fuel fire at a hanger outside of Bagdad. By comparison, today was easy. Half the building may have fallen down, but he had read the impending collapse in the sagging interior walls in time to hurry his men to safety. The apartment building was lost, but the fire would not spread to the rest of the neighborhood.

“Take a rest,” the Chief said, jerking his thumb towards an awaiting ambulance. “I don’t want to see you back on the line for thirty minutes, minimum. That’s an order.”

Dean had a seat and allowed the paramedics to record his vitals before he found a shady spot where he could watch the clean-up operation. Exactly thirty minutes later, he got up and went to lend a hand.

He took only three steps before he saw someone who stopped him short. There, across the street, stood a figure he instantly recognized but couldn’t believe: Professor Denise McKenzie.

 

Read more of chapter 2 tomorrow!

About Sechin Tower

Sechin Tower is a teacher, game developer, and author of MAD SCIENCE INSTITUTE, a novel of creatures, calamities, and college matriculation. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
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