There's a meme going around in which you post the first lines of all the stories you're working on. I think my friend, John, has the best.
But that won't stop me from pasting in the following (and like slithytove, it isn't always "just" the first line):
The Tri-Dimensional Intergalactic Series of Poker
"The Captain will call," the emcee reported.
The spaceman half raised his gold visor, not to see the other players but so the solar shield wouldn't reflect his cards. He didn't need to see the others or smell their stale polluted air... or that of the thousand unwashed beings which crowded in the stands around them. Gingerly he reached forward with his stiff gloves, picking up his two hole cards with just the neoprene domes of his fingertips. King of hearts, Wizard of stars. He set them down with a snap. "Five hundred million," his speaker announced to the others at the final table of the 3849 Tri-Dimensional Intergalactic Series of Poker.
The Uranium Age
"Come on, you stupid brother!" Rockweena shouted. "Daddy's going to start the fire!"
"I'm coming," said the younger boy as he clumsily scrambled over the rock face. "And I'm not stupid."
I am such a stupid shit. And I think I accidentally made a black hole in my basement.
It was purely by accident that the Unified Star Fleet destroyer U.S.F.S. Lincoln (DDG-892) was Out There when it happened. Even better that they were already at speed. It meant they would be able to hightail it back to Fleet Command and spread the word.
For four hundred years starships dropped into the RR-392 system, tagged the star with a gravity hook and took off in a new direction, and sometimes dove through the edges of the star itself to steal hydrogen for their engines. No different than any other navigational anchor star, until the day ships stopped coming back.
Somebody had thought it a good idea for all five of the Euro class battlecruisers of the Unified Star Fleet to come to the inauguration of the European colony on Avion III. Even if it meant they served as little more than cargo ships.
A Planet Once Called Bountiful
Dr. Janet Mayer proudly served as the Head Principal of the Blue City Elementary and Middle School here on Haven.
Thieves (Working Title)
Rocko's mistake was thinking that landing on a dying planet would be like landing on the worst dead planet he’d ever tried. The funny thing was -- he almost made it. Already he’d threaded the landing ship through the eye of the megahurricane and had less than a hundred meters to go, when the computer crapped out on him.
The EET War
"Wow," Jimmy Rawlins said, as he tried on the carapace armor for the first time. "Never knew they had anything cool like this in Cleveland."
"This is Dayton, moron," Corporal Willis said. "You’re in the goddamn United States Air Force and standing in Wright-Paterson. That makes it goddamn Dayton, not Cleveland."
"Whatever," Jimmy said, marveling at how well the seams of the carapace sealed and swinging his arms freely. "Still fucking Ohio."
"Yeah," Willis said sotto voice, "you say that now, you stupid moron."
The second thing wrong was that the victim couldn't possibly fit into a standard body bag. The first thing, of course, was that this body shouldn't have been in San Francisco to begin with.
Hope some of these were fun -- I'm having a good time writing...