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Manual Superpowers (Short Story)

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I kind of blanked for a second before he started talking again. I run a school for people just like you. Others got theirs from magic, just like you. I would like you to join my school. Let me call my friend Hypno Destiny, to meet us there. He usually talks to the parents for me.

Science Fiction Story Ideas

When he finished calling his friend, we walked to my house. When we got there, a man was standing, waiting for us. I am here to speak with your parents. I opened the door to find mom and dad watching TV. I have someone who wants to speak with you. My dad greeted them like he knew them, but I thought it was just my imagination. We would like you to enroll your daughter into the school. We would like to talk to them in private. My dad went upstairs with me for some reason.

I would do anything for an old student of mine, especially since you were one of my best students. If my daughter gets hurt, you will have to answer to me. Imagine all the wonders scientists have now. Imagine go on, then boom solved by my superpower, oh I feel so honoured. Precognition yep, you got it, you can predict the future. Ok it might not sound that good but what if you knew all the questions to your history test a week before.

Would you like to know what your dog is saying when they bark? Fortunately he never showed up again, because then the writers would have faced the same problem. Fred, from the show Angel , used to do this too. The solution is similar to that of mind reading. They can try to predict the outcome of taking a left turn, for example, but not automatically know when an enemy is sneaking up on them.

Second, give them only short glimpses forward. They can judge the immediate effect of their actions, but the long-term consequences are much harder to know.

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Finally, build in an inherent risk. The character might get lost in their visions of the future if they use it too often. Instead of making a choice, they could be paralyzed by the sheer number of potential outcomes. Super speed usually comes in one of two flavors. A character like the Flash is actually moving really fast, while Hiro from Heroes achieves the same effect by slowing down time. What plot holes does this power create? First, there are the simple physics issues.


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If the Flash is actually moving at twice the speed of sound as the show claims, he would possess so much kinetic force that any impact would shatter his bones. This did actually come up in the Flash, but only as a super creepy way to get one of the female characters to take her now smoldering shirt off. Physics would also make the Flash a living gun.

For the non-lethal option, he could carry a bunch of the ubiquitous tranquilizer darts every super hero show has. On the Flash, the character seems to constantly forget his own powers. Even a normal person could have flinched out of the way. The most important fix to super speed is introduce limited durations.

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Running that fast must be exhausting! This also introduces a tactical element. Your character has to decide if now is the time to use their reserve or if they should save it. Another option is to enforce the physical consequences of moving at high speed. Every step they take puts enormous pressure on their joints.

Air friction burns them, possibly to the point of serious injury. Can they even breathe while moving that fast? Why settle for just one power? What if you could have all the powers?

Exhibit A is Peter from Heroes. All he needs to do is stand near another person, and suddenly their abilities are his to command. I wonder how the writers thought that was going to wo rk. You may be noticing a pattern. One superpower is a challenge to deal with. Two or three is down right difficult. Superman, with his never-ending suite, is near unmanageable.

Ev en so, he quickly grew so powerful that defeating him in a credible mann er was imp ossible. The writers literally did not know what to do with him. Making your characters work like Rogue in the X-Men films is a good place to start. It also means that she often steals a power she has no idea how to use, which further complicates the situation. Finally, the fact that her ability is debilitating to whoever she takes the power from further limits its use. You may have noticed that limits are always the solution to story-breaking powers. Problems arise from these powers because someone who thought they were cool included them without the proper limitations.

Read more about Magic , Overpowered , Superheroes. He or she has flashes of precognition, but they never know when it will happen and what they will see. It might give them an edge when you need it, but leave them exposed to danger at other times. Something happening in a minute or ten can be seen clearly and will reliably happen, something happening in a day or a week might never occur like it was foreseen. Decided to wait until Changeling: One indirect ally is going to be a high-Wyrd Changeling who sends out warnings from prophetic dreams, leaving the recipient to interpret them.

Problems like this are one reason I like Captain America as a superhero. He is just powerful enough to justify his role as an action hero that should have been killed were he not enhanced. But he is not so powerful that there is no drama in terms of whether or not he would succeed. Despite the other problems, as you note, this is also why Iron Man is an appealing superhero. Because his armor is a finite resource, it frequently puts him in a position in which he is running low on power in combat and thus has a sense of vulnerability.

On the issue of technology, one reason why it is justified somewhat is the simple fact that developing new technology to replace the old is extremely time consuming. Right now, we already have the technology to stop relying on fossil fuels and have a much greater degree of equality in the world as well. It is just that we could not afford to change because it would require completely remaking all of civilization. Black Widow might actually be less effective wearing a suit. Because she trained to fight using her normal body, fighting inside a suit would be extremely unnatural and thus harder for her.

Playing to her strengths of being the silent assassin has its uses. This is also another reason why I think it would have been more interesting if Stark started off with little in the way of resources. After destroying the first suit in his escape, he began using what resources he could skim off the company to create a second. His second suit would thus be illegal and cause him to be fired, especially as he also simultaneously realizes what Stane was doing.

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Though I suspect that arc reactors are also far more easily weaponized than nuclear power. Look at how easily Pepper overloads it in the first movie, or how easily Vanko does the same in the second. A nuclear reactor may produce a great deal of radiation if there is a problem, but an arc reactor would explode. Telepaths are an idea that could easily have as many flaws as they do strengths. One obvious one is that whatever means telepaths use should logically be jammable. This is something that is almost always ignored in science fiction, with no logic behind it.

All signals can be interfered with in various ways and something that produced high powered white noise would easily overcome a human telepath. It could also be used as a telepath detector by cranking up the power to a painful range.

A short story about abilities and power

It would require something like sabotaging said jammers. Another possible weakness would be a telepath being utterly overwhelmed by the world around them in a fashion that leads to them not being very effective. Buffy is one of the only examples of this that comes to mind. I could see a telepath being the one to wear a Magneto helmet as the only means to get a sense of peace, which would also likely be required in a world with jammers.

Another possibility, as used on Heroes, is that of delibrately thinking about irrelevant things as a means of avoiding detection.

Super Power- A Short Story

In that case it featured a character deliberately thinking in a foreign language. As for precognition, another solution is that used by Star Wars, that it is only a possible future. Especially if there is something that gets in the way of said powers. He was thus able to get the drop on his enemy as she only saw the events as they were already happening. As an alternative to the above, the heroes could just intentionally go into the situation without a plan.

It would thus serve as an interesting solution to the Unspoken Plan Guarantee trope.


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One could also argue that this was the case in the Battle of Endor in Star Wars. All of the factors that led to the Rebel Alliance success were unplanned. You just mentioned my favorite male super hero, Captain America, and female, Black Widow!