Tales from Space Short Story Contest - On Now!

Tales from Space Short Story Contest - On Now!

Part Two of An Incident in El Noor Excerpt

This is the second of the three part serial of Sergeant Wodin Whatthehel’s foxhole adventure in the full length GAF novel about the

GAGA’s conflict in the El Noor quadrant.

copyright 2014 by Tony Stark



The gun’s breaker blew and the lights turned red. Nothing happened except for a fleeting smell of ozone.

Wodin ducked as a bullet whizzed past his head. He stared at the gun in disbelief. He shook it, reset the breaker and waited until the lights turned blinking green. He aimed the gun again at the enemy.

“Once again, I bid you- adieu,” he quipped and pulled the trigger.

The trailing sound of the gun overloading was drowned out by Wodin’s less than composed curse. He crouched down in the foxhole as the snipers zeroed in on his protruding form.

Still cursing to the Norse Gods under his breath, Wodin dug around in his vest’s upper pocket for his communicator. It had to be bolstered by double batteries on this EM dampening planet and had an antenna double insulated against pulse attacks. It also had an analog dialpad that could be easily operated by gloved hands. It was, in short, curiously akin to a cell phone from the early eighties.

Wodin turned the gun over in his lap. Explosions ricocheted around his ears. He scraped some errant mud off the base of the barrel to reveal a sticker that read:

Wrought Industries Mag-Lev 3000 Ray Gun


For all your questions, comments and concerns


Galaxy Toll Free Number 1-800-800-866-877-8MAGLEV EXT 10496

Sgt. Whatthehel began stoically entering numbers into the analog keypad. It made a completely non-stealthy set of tones that, he couldn’t help but think, were allowing the distant enemy to nevertheless echolocate his position.

He held the phone up to his ear, but the casing clanged annoyingly against his flack helmet. He winced, and pawed at the chin strap on the helmet, ripping it off and placing the phone to his ear just in time to hear a recording say:

“-Wrought Industries TST, your twenty-four hour source for all things Wrought! If you know the name or number of the extension-”

Wodin pressed the designated numbers on the keypad hurriedly and pressed the phone to his ear. He held his finger in his other ear to try to hear the recording better. The Mag-Lev 3000 lay across his knees. Debris rained down on him.

“Welcome to the Wrought Industries Mag-Lev 3000 Troubleshooting Service Team,” the recorded voice said jauntily. In the background the Wrought Industries happy tune was playing.

Despite his dire condition, Sgt. Whatthehel immediately took on the expression of people everywhere who are forced to negotiate an automated phone tree directory.

“For questions about the usage parameters of your new Mag-Lev 3000 ray gun, press 1,” the voice intoned. “For comments about your new Mag-Lev 3000 ray gun, press 2,” it continued.

Wodin raised the phone from his ear momentarily, then thought better of it.

“For troubleshooting problems including dry fire issues, ray gun jamming and polarity miscalibration, press 3.”

The earpiece echoed the noise for the third key loudly in the foxhole. Wodin sighed as the voice continued, “Please hold, your call will be answered by the next available TST.”

A recorded song by Dom Donovan continued its second chorus. Bullets whizzed past Wodin’s head. An artillery shell exploded perilously close to his foxhole. They were zeroing in on his position. A strike any closer than that might kill him.

“Thank you for calling Wrought Industries Mag-Lev 3000 TST, my name is Splindy, how may I help you?” a chirpy young girl spoke in Wodin’s ear.

Despite the growing panic he felt, he knew better than to show it to this youngster sitting half a galaxy away. He took a deep breath.

“Yes, I purchased one of your guns,” Wodin began, “and-”

“May I have the serial number please?” Splindy asked cheerfully.

Wodin closed his eyes. He disassembled the battery to get at the serial number engraved on the gun body. Belabour dissasemblyHe intoned the long set of numbers and letters. They were repeated back to him to ensure accuracy.

“All right, we’re just bringing up your warranty information Mr…” Splindy trailed off, waiting for the computer. “Ah, Sergeant Whatthehel. Whatthehel, what seems to be the problem you’re experiencing?”

“The gun won’t fire,” Wodin said simply. “It’s primed, the light’s blinking, but I pull the trigger and it goes pyeeeeoooouuu.”

“Pyeeeeoooouu?” Splindy repeated.

“Pyeeeeoooouu,” Wodin replied. “Then the red lights come back on and nothing’s happened.”

“Well, the gun does make a high pitched whine when it fires, Sergeant,” Splindy offered helpfully. “Perhaps it’s fired its ordinance and there aren’t any reciprocating products around to show you it’s worked?”

A fresh stream of bullets streaked inches above Wodin’s head. “No, no dear,” he said slowly. “I’m sure it hasn’t fired.”

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