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Posted on Apr 29, 2007 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features, TIAOW

The Incorrect Art of War [Episode 29] – Sinister Rifle Association

By A J Summersgill and Jim H Moreno

Oh my God! What have you done?

Stun gun! Very useful for kidnapping any pesky politicians we want to have a word with. He’ll wake up in a few hours… (Doctor Sinister studies the readout panel on top of the gun) Although I do appear to have accidentally put it onto the "Elephant" setting. Hmm… (The assembled troops look nervously at each other, some try to surreptitiously shuffle slowly backwards)


Oh but that’s not all it does! Observe… (More buttons are pressed, a third cylinder emerges from the bottom of the weapon and as the Doctor takes aim at another trooper, there is mass panic among the troops. The men ditch their own weapons and start to run around frantically to avoid being hit. The Doctor takes his time to aim at one of the panicking troopers and fires. There is an immense cloud of smoke and debris and as the dust settles, the soldier lies on the floor, unconscious and cocooned in stringy fibres)


A net thrower?

Yes, handy for quelling riots. (The Doctor presses more buttons as the troopers all head for the exit, which they find to be locked)

What are you doing now Majesty?

I thought I’d demonstrate the flamethrower. (The troops utter a simultaneous scream of terror and begin to fight each other to try and batter down the metal door)

NO! Erm, I mean, no, my Lord, I can imagine what that looks like.

Oh, very well then. Would you like to see the inbuilt water cannon?

No, no my Lord, I’m sure it’s very effective.

There’s also a grenade launcher, shotgun, pepper spray, smoke launcher, taser, rubber bullet dispenser, mortar, flare launcher and it doubles up as a communications array. It has an inbuilt torch, telescopic sight, RADAR, infrared targeting computer, motion sensor, integral bipod, a three-foot long spring-loaded internal bayonet and there’s a fold out screen so the men can play computer Solitaire when they get bored. This gun is the pinnacle of Sinister Incorporated research General – it does EVERYTHING. It’s totally recoilless and you can even fire it underwater – or in space.

Does it have an on-board cigar dispenser?

Well, no, why, do you think that would be handy? Because we can include that if you would like. I mean, I’m already working on some enhancements as well…the XP79 will have optional bolt-on units to allow it to…

My Lord! Please, I get the picture. Permission to speak candidly.

Well, if you must. I can’t promise not to be annoyed though.

That’s a risk I’ll have to take my Lord. Sir, your gun, this XP78 is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. You call this an assault rifle?

Yes, don’t tell me you don’t appreciate the power of this thing. It’s perfect for attacking any enemy we care to designate!

Excellency, an assault rifle should be short, able to be used indoors without restricting the movement of the soldier carrying it. The very term comes from the German Sturmgewehr – as in "storm rifle". This thing is massive, I don’t see anyone "storming" anything carrying one of these. An assault rifle should be lightweight and accurate.

Who needs accuracy when you can just knock down a building?

And what about servicing this thing in the field? An infantry weapon should be capable of being field-stripped for repair work on the spot by the man carrying it. This XP78 of yours carries an internal fusion reactor – unless you only intend to recruit nuclear physicists to use these things, I don’t see it being very practical if it breaks down. My Lord, I appreciate that you are just trying to give the troops the power to knock down anyone they come up against, but this just doesn’t do it. This…monstrosity might very well contain every marvelous kind of weapon you could think of, but it’s taller than most of the men carrying it, unwieldy, heavy, and cumbersome.

Shiny though…

And that’s another thing, are you trying to get your men killed? This thing is so reflective it would be seen from miles away by your enemies – what happened to stealth?

I could paint it black…

No, that won’t do it I’m afraid. Please…I beg you…reconsider.

No General, for once I’m putting my foot down – this WILL be the new weapon for the Sinister infantry.

Then, my Lord, (looking up) at the very least won’t you consider running for the door…I think the ceiling is about to come down on us all.

(There are horrendous cracking and creaking noises as dust, then rocks begin to tumble from the huge hole in the ceiling caused by the XP78’s rocket launcher)


I’m way ahead of you General! (Doctor Sinister sprints for the exit, pushing aside the frantic troopers. He reaches the door, which opens for him automatically and as he and the General collapse on the other side, it closes again, trapping the men from the 5th S.INC Shock Battalion forever. There is a loud rumble and a final crash as a hefty part of Mount Cheyenne thunders down, burying the Parade Chamber)

Dammit, that’s a loss we could have done without.

I know General, I know, those rifles cost me a small fortune.

I was referring to the men.

The who? Oh, yes, shame. (Ponders for a moment) I wonder if we can dig them out?

I expect they are all dead by now.

No, I was referring to the rifles – I made them pretty sturdy you know.

(Through gritted teeth) Yes, my Lord.


Will General Menace ever truly appreciate Doctor Sinister’s genius?

Will Doctor Sinister ever find out what’s causing the voices in his head?

And why weren’t the cats in this episode?

Find out in the next exasperating episode of…The Incorrect Art of War!!

A J Summersgill and Jim Moreno.

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