Nothing moved or stirred. Everything was silent, dead. Only the gun showed signs of life ... and the trespassers had wrecked that for all time. The return journey to pick up the treasure would be a cinch ... they smiled.
must have been hundreds of guns like this," Dorle murmured. "They must have been used to the sight, guns, weapons, uniforms. Probably they accepted it as a natural thing, part of their lives, like eating and sleeping. An institution, like the church and the state. Men trained to fight, to lead armies, a regular profession. Honored, respected."
Tance was walking slowly toward the gun, peering nearsightedly up at it. "Quite complex, isn't it? All those vanes and tubes. I suppose this is some sort of a telescopic sight." His gloved hand touched the end of a long tube.
Instantly the gun shifted, the barrel retracting. It swung--
"Don't move!" Dorle cried. The barrel swung past them as they stood, rigid and still. For one terrible moment it hesitated over their heads, clicking and whirring, settling into position. Then the sounds died out and the gun became silent.
Tance smiled foolishly inside his helmet. "I must have put my finger over the lens. I'll be more careful." He made his way
This is more of a fictional narrative than a story. There's little in the way of action, question, or intrigue. The ending is disappointingly simplistic. The dialogue and characters aren't realistic. You won't miss much by skipping this story.
A good little Phil Dick story. Explorers attracted by the flashes of light that seem to be nuclear explosions investigate the planet and are shot down by the one existing gun remaining on a world covered with slag.
A good comment on the stupidity and cleverness of Man.
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