I was supplying somebody with potential game titles and suggested The Nothing Gun. This is what happened in my mind when I tried to figure out what that was. Very much Spirit of the Century inspired. Enjoy.
Boot clicks like gun shots cut through the hallway, the men standing at attention trying not to tremble at each heel strike. They dared not even breathe until he’d passed out of fear he’d notice them. None glanced at the high polish on his tall black books, not a one dared eye the double row of gold buttons on his officer’s coat, and no eyes crept up the top of his six foot five inch frame to admire his tight cropped black hair or the grey skull-adorned cap he wore. Most of all, however, not a single soul even considered looking at the burns warping every visible inch of skin on the left side of his body, starting under his cap, running through a milky eye, down lips burned away, and into his high collar, only visible again across the knuckles of his crooked, withered left hand.
Straight ahead they stared, breathless and still, hoping to live another day,
But as it was, Faustenheim was too distracted to look to any of his men for non-compliance today.
Even with the Science Lab door, he spun sharply on his heel, executing a perfect 45 degree turn to step crisply into the lab. Because he was a leader. Leaders are decisive. They don’t slow for turns, they make them quickly and without waffling.
As the Science Lab door whooshed softly shut the soldiers outside collectively exhaled a wind of hot, stale breath.
“What do you have for me, Herr Doctor?” Faustenheim asked inside the lab. The short, fat Doctor Gray grinned like he’d just been given a year of Christmas bonuses and motioned the commander excitedly over to a tall shape on a pedestal, obscured by a white sheet.
“This had better not be just another fast, messy bullet gun, Gray,” Faustenheim warned as he crossed the floor. “I have already told you that I do not wish to simply spray more bullets. I wish to have a truly powerful weapon, something mine enemies cannot compete with.”
Dr. Gray nodded enthusiastically. “No, no, Commander. I focused on the Enigma Matter, working it and shaping it into the weapon you want, the gun you deserve! We combined the matter with the progress we’ve made in ballistics into the most powerful, devastating weapon the world has ever seen.” Gray took up two solid handfuls of white sheet and paused, looking meaningfully at Faustenheim. “I give you…The Go-Away Gun!”
Gray ripped the sheet back and let it float to the floor, eyes locked to the matte black gun on the pedestal, propped up in a stand. It looked like somebody had taken the hold-out of a room sweeper and fixed the barrel of a blunderbuss on the end. It had no chamber, only a fixed black box at the back of the stock. A clear window was set in the side and from it, the Enigma Matter glowed a dark blue. The sight was a giant thing, an inch across, with a simple wire ‘X’ bisecting it.
The Doctor realized Faustenheim hadn’t made a sound and turned to his boss.
“The Go Away Gun?” Faustenheim asked. One eyebrow was arched and his nose scrunched in distaste. The commander looked very, very displeased with what he saw. He didn’t even turn when Gray’s assistant walked in the room and promptly froze, paralyzed at the site of the officer in the lab.
“Um, well…Yes, Commander. I mean, it’s just a name, we can…” Dr. Gray babbled.
“Is not any gun a Go-Away gun?”
“I…I…I…I don’t understand.”
“I’ll demonstrate.” Before Gray could react, Faustenheim had pulled his sidearm and turned to the assistant. “Go away,” he ordered, and pulled twice on the trigger. The assistant stood long enough to swipe at the blood that ran down his face and look at the red stain on his fingers before collapsing, dead, to the floor. Gray stared in horror but masked it quickly as Faustenheim wheeled back towards him.
“See?” the Commander asked. “Gone.”
Gray tittered nervously.
“Ha. Ha. Very good, Commander. But maybe if I could demonstrate?” His hands shook as he unhooked the gun and stepped off the pedestal. He looked once at Faustenheim. Muscles bulged in the Commander’s jaw as he ground his teeth and Gray quickly looked away.
Even with his trembling hands, it wasn’t hard to fix the crosshairs on the assistant’s lifeless form. He held his arm straight out, elbow locked, and pulled the trigger.
The gun didn’t fire so much as shudder, merely trembling slightly as a ball of blue light left the end and enveloped the assistant’s body. It held there for a sliver of a second before just…leaving. There was a muffled thump as the air rushed in to fill the space the body had filled only moments before, and then nothing.
It had just…gone away.
Gray watched Faustenheim expectantly.
Faustenheim stared intensely at the space the assistant had previously occupied. He crossed the room to stomp the empty space twice. When he turned back to the doctor, he grinned like a madman.
“Is…is it what you wanted, Commander?” Gray asked.
Faustenheim, ignoring the question, marched to the lab door, leaned out, and pulled in the closest soldier. He shoved him against the wall, ordered him to stay, and crossed the lab once more to take the gun from Gray.
The soldier raised his arms in an attempt to protect his face but it was useless; a heartbeat after Faustenheim squeezed the trigger, he was gone.
The commander stared in wonder at the gun.
“It is…magnificent, Herr doctor,” he said, tone reverent and quiet. “This is what we’ve worked years to build.” Faustenheim ran one hand slowly, lovingly, down the black barrel.
“Thank you, Commander. I am glad you are ple…”
“Where do they go?” Faustenheim asked, cutting him off. Gray met his quizzical look and wrung his hands.
“I don’t know, Commander. I know it’s nowhere around here at least, if anywhere. But if I may be so bold…”
“…does it really matter?”
Faustenheim grinned evilly.
“Not one bit. Start production, I want a Go-Away Gun in every hand on the frontline as soon as possible.”