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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

Excellent! How much is he on stream for?

We’ve already received a commitment to three million US dollars a week to keep quiet, but I’m confident we can extort more in the future, and possibly some political concessions in the future, assuming you still want to pursue the democratic option.

I’m open to all ideas General, if we can seize power legitimately it’s all the same to me as mounting a military coup in every country in the world – the final result will still be the same.

And one more report from the spiders your Supremacy…


President Bush is using one of our spiders as a paperweight in the Oval Office. The amount of data we’re getting through is phenomenal, although most of it concerns the correct way to swing a golf club, but we’re hoping to get something useful through soon.


General, you’ve excelled yourself. It’s just like the voices were telling me.

Oh dear, you’re still hearing those?

Yes, and it’s getting worse, I had someone talking to me all night last night, technical and political information from all around the world – I mean, some of it is useful, but I don’t know where it’s coming from. And my arm is still playing up, two weeks ago it began typing an entire series of articles on military tactics in the middle of the night – every morning I wake up and there’s a new bundle of papers waiting to be bound and filed. The voices have also started talking me through the personnel records and giving me an opinion on each person here – you scored very highly you’ll be pleased to hear.

Oh good. Erm, I mean, my Lord, perhaps you should seek medical advice on this…condition. Have you ever had symptoms of dual personality before? (The General pauses before muttering under his breath) I can’t believe I asked that…he’s as mad as a hatter…

No, it’s not like that…the voice is definitely external. And it’s only happened since we’ve been here in the base. (The Doctor pauses) But this isn’t getting us anywhere, despite what the voices are telling me, I’ve still got some ideas of my own – I’m glad you are here, I’d like to present to you my latest invention!

(Still under his breath) Uh-oh…

(Doctor Sinister presses a button on the console in front of him. A door at the far end of the parade chamber opens and three platoons of black-clad Sinister Incorporated Shock Troopers file in and snap to attention in perfect formation)

General, you’ll of course be familiar with the 5th S.INC Shock Battalion – these men are the cream of that formation, especially selected for this trial.

Of course my Lord, you could not have picked a finer group of men for the..errr…the whatever it is you have lined up.

(The Doctor presses another button on his console and above each soldier, a hatch opens in the ceiling. Slowly, through each hatch, large chrome-plated roughly cylindrical objects slowly descend. Each one is six-feet in length, about a foot wide in diameter and has a handle one foot from the lower end. As the metallic objects reach the troops, the men grab them, unhitch them from the frames holding them and clutch them to their chests. The metal frames ascend back to the ceiling and the hatches close)

Behold General! The new XP78 Assault SinRifle!

The what? (The General descends the podium and walks over to the nearest trooper who is visibly straining to remain standing up) I thought we’d decided to stick with the XP77? For a plasma rifle, it’s small, convenient and what it lacks in stopping power it makes up for in ammunition capacity – it’s ten times better than anything we had in our old base – H.A.T.E. designed it for us especially.

Bah, the XP77 is rubbishthis is the future! I don’t need H.A.T.E. to tell me what to do. (The Doctor joins the General at the front of the parade of troopers as the General removes the massive gun from the sweating soldier and looks it over)

My Lord, this thing weighs a ton!

50 pounds to be precise…even more when you insert a magazine. (Doctor Sinister heads to the edge of the parade chamber and wheels back a small shopping trolley piled high with large metal boxes. He picks one up, opens an aperture on the side of the rifle being held by the General and inserts it inside with a click) There you go.

But, my Lord, this gun is so heavy I can barely stand up, let alone move with it. (At the far end of the line of troops, one man collapses in a heap. Two others drop their own weapons and frantically try to lift the gun from his chest) You expect people to take this into battle? It’s taller than me! Why on Earth is it so big?

Tush tush General, always the sourpuss. Give it to me. (The General hands the weapon to Doctor Sinister who lifts it with ease) It’s really not that heavy…

But my Lord, that’s your cybernetic arm…you can lift two tons with that thing. These guys don’t stand a chance.

Trust me General, when you see what this thing can do, you’ll see that it really is the friend of the Infantryman. (Doctor Sinister raises the weapon and activates it gun with a keypad on the top, aiming it at the ceiling. There is a roar as the gun fires streams of super-heated plasma at the roof, which vapourises in a cloud of smoke) There, you see? We’ve improved the flow rate of plasma by including a mini-fusion reactor in the hilt. (The ceiling begins to sag as a cluster of small rocks pours through from above)

The gun is nuclear powered?

Yes, the reactor takes up one third of the interior. Don’t panic, it’s all lead-lined and super-cooled.

But that’s insane…

(Oblivious…) That’s not all General, watch this… (Doctor Sinister activates a switch on one side of the weapon and a second cylinder emerges from the top with a whir. He aims it at the ceiling again and presses a firing stud…with a whoosh a rocket leaps out from the second cylinder and impacts on the ceiling, bringing down a metal girder at the far end of the chamber. Some of the assembled troops look upwards nervously) Missile launcher! Nice eh? It can fire nuclear tipped warheads as well, if we need it to. (There is an ominous cracking sound from the ceiling)


And there’s more… (The Doctor takes aim a third time, this time aiming at one of the troops. He presses more buttons on the top of the XP78 and the weapon fires a blue pulse, which throws the soldier off his feet and smashes him into the rock wall. General Menace rushes over to check the man’s condition)

[continued on next page]

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