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Good Gun Nice Gun panel 1

Episode 37

Good Gun. Nice Gun.

Within a day, we’d fixed the road and moved four howitzers to the top of Cemetery Hill. Two days later, Kilo Company was up top watching the Ulimbese siege of Corwis begin.

Two divisions of Imperial troops had blocked off all entrances and exit routes from the city and spread patrols across the country side. If you were in, you were in. If out, you were out. There must have been some panic in the city, too, and some mob activity because I saw multiple fires and columns of smoke rising on the first day of the siege—and that was before we started shelling.

The shelling began early the second day. The almost unbearable noise of the howitzers required all of us to wear ear protection while they were in operation.

At this point most of us were just watching and waiting. During a break in the shelling, Park and I walked the row of howitzers together and I was pleased to spot our lucky gun.

“There,” I said, “that’s our gun,” pointing it out to Park.

“How do you know?” he said.

“Look at the paint on the back tripod. See the white? From ramming the side of the shipping container.”

“How about that?” he said, affectionately patting the barrel. “Good gun. Nice gun.”

“You know, if Four-eyes were here he’d remind you that’s not a gun. It’s a howitzer.”

“Yeah,” Park said. “Aspie bastard. I miss him.”

We looked down towards the city for a few moments in silence, then Park turned back and looked at the gun with a strange expression.

“Nukes,” he muttered.

“What?” I said.

“Nuke shells. For these guns. Why do you think we had nuke shells?”

“I dunno,” I said, “but it makes no damn sense for us to have nukes when we can’t even have GPS.”

“Yes,” he said. “I would think it would be illegal.”

“What’s illegal?” said Ward, walking up behind us.

“Your ass,” said Park.

Ward ignored him.

“We were talking about the shells Jock found during the cargo drop,” I said. “They’re probably illegal.”

“Under the tech laws?” Ward said. “Ulixis has nuclear power plants, so nuclear weapons are not out of the question. But if I’m wrong, we could get in huge trouble.”

“Yeah,” I said, “but the colonel must know what he’s doing.”

“He does,” said Park. “They must not be illegal under Ascendancy law. He may have steel in his spine but he’s no dummy.

“If they’re legal here, why wouldn’t the Corwistalians or Ulimbese have nuked each other yet?” Ward said. “I mean, if you killed my kid, I’d burn your country to glowing cinders for the next 1000 years.”

“You have a kid?” I said.

“Yeah,” said Ward. “He’s two.”

Park grunted and shook his head.

“Perhaps they’re illegal locally,” I ventured. “Some planetary treaty.”

“Makes sense to me,” Park said. “And the colonel wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about that, provided we were paid well enough.”

Suddenly we were surrounded by a howitzer crew. “Why the hell are you dipwads touching my gun?” said the angry gunnery sergeant.

“She was coming on to me,” Park said as we backed hastily away.

The gunny shook his head, unamused. Gun crews love their guns. He'd probably have been less touchy if we’d felt up his wife in front of him. We got out of the way quickly.

Jock showed up, hair wet and buttoning his jacket, apparently having taken a shower at one of the field showers that had been set up for us.

“Ulimbese armored column coming in, boys,” he said. “Just heard they busted through our previous location and are heading in from the south.”

Two of our howitzers were now facing south and the boys were digging in the spades.

Then it was done and they were loaded, fired, then were reloaded and fired again and again. I wasn’t sure how far out this column was but I hoped they were pinning it down before I ended up getting sent down to the road with an RPG.

“We flying a drone this time?” I yelled to Jock in between volleys. He shrugged, but Park yelled back at me. “Enemy has good anti-air capabilities. We’ve got to save the few we have left. Only for emergencies at this point. Gotta wait for our actual supply drop to arrive.”

“If it arrives,” Jock said. “I’m starting to think we’re like Robinson Crusoe out here, stuck scrounging off the land until we get picked up again.”

“Who was he?” Ward asked.

“It’s literature. You wouldn’t understand.”

Park snickered and Ward rolled his eyes. Everyone knew Jock wasn’t much of a reader.

As for the Corwistalian relief operation, the enemy armored column never made it to our position. We punched holes in them until they turned tail, then we pounded the rest of their armor into scrap.

The choice of Cemetery Hill was a good one. We approved. The colonel always seemed to know what he was doing.

That evening the howitzers resumed their sporadic shelling of the city, though I felt they could have hit a lot harder if they wanted to. From what I could tell, they weren’t even aiming at the palace. I didn’t find out why until later.

It turned out they were waiting until a certain VIP member of the royal family got out of the city. And guess which platoon got tapped to go in and get him?

The bastards.

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Wardogs Inc. series cover
Good Gun Nice Gun episode cover
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Wardogs Inc.

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