“Lot No. #024: Intergalactic Death Ray”
by Nemma Wollenfang
Today on our roster we have ourselves a gen-u-ine Death Ray, folks. Titanium outer casing, Super Tungsten core shielding. Beautiful piece of artillery, simply beautiful. Exquisite! Commissioned by the Zarr of Ka’ar in circa 5559D, during the War of the Nine. Designed and supplied by the Voi Tertiary. Very reputable makers indeed. Trademark on the underside.
This fine little piece of equipment destroyed an entire exoplanet, wiping out all 17 billion inhabitants. I know! Hard to believe, isn’t it? Considering the size. Note its portability.
Bidding starts at 40 cretnars. Reserve of 50.
What do I have?
90 at the back, straight in with 90.
100 on my right.
1-30 from the rather exuberant spine-backed lady centre-aisle. Yes, I see you. A representative of the Voi, yes? Hmm, I had heard they wished to repurchase the weapon. Too much potential for catastrophic law suits. A bit late considering the damage already done, but who am I to judge?
Alright, 1-30 we’re at. 1-30 with me.
1-60 from the fellow with tentacles. Looks like the residents of Atla are showing interest. For those of you unfamiliar with Atlan current events, their priests have been campaigning to destroy this item ever since it was used to disintegrate their sister planet.
So that’s 1-60 we’re at. 1-60 with me.
Can I get 1-70? 1-70 anywhere…?
Are you all happy to allow the Atlan priests to disassemble this intergalactic treasure?
Really, no more interest?
C’mon, folks! This is a piece of living history! Faltark the Great sacrificed a legion of ten-thousand warriors, including himself, to reach this very weapon during the Battle of Rorx before it could be used to obliterate his home-world. Surely we can-
2-50 on my right. That’s what we like to see!
Yes, yes, and…
What was that Lord Vargiis? No. No! You may not test it. And we all know whose confederation you’d aim it at. The Phasmids have been your sworn nemeses for centuries. If you wish to use it to destroy your enemies you must win the auction… Yes. Any item can, of course, be tested by its purchaser but only after purchase.
Right, where were we? Ah, yes. Bid of 2-70. 2-70 on my right…
Yes, Lord Vargiis?
Yes, a warranty is included. Valid for 5 Terra Years with full repair guarantee.
Now, can we get back to… Oh! New bidder!
The Phasmid Ambassador with 500 cretnars! Phew, what a leap! I can understand why. Your people have no wish to be on the receiving end of Lord Vargiis’ rage, am I right?
5-50 from Lord Vargiis.
5-60 from the Phasmids.
Things are heating up, folks!
Please quiet down Lord Vargiis. Save those insults for your war-front. You know the rules. We’ll have civility in this auction room, if you please…
What was that, Lord Vargiis? I can go suck a pustulous what?! Huh, alright…
Lord Vargiis has been cut from the bidding!
Please ignore the acid-spitting as Security removes him and his minions from the premises. Reverting to the last bid, we’re at 590 cretnars from the Phasmid Ambassador.
5-90 with me now, and…
700 from the being of mist and smoke in the far corner! And where do you hail from good sir, or madam, or… err… never mind. No response? Alright…
700 with me.
7-70? Can I hear a 7-70 from anyone?
7-60 with me…
Are we all done at 7-60 cretnars?
Ambassador Phasmid? Any new…? No? Not too worried now that Lord Vargiis is gone, are you?
Alright. 7-60 and holding…
To the insectile gentleman of indeterminate origin for 760 cretnars.
Excellent value, sir. I’m sure you’ll be very happy with your purchase. Please go to the side door and someone will be along to assist you short… I’m sorry? You wish to try it out right now? Umm, well, yes I did say that its purchaser could test it after purchase but really that’s rather unorthodox. Surely you’d prefer to take it home before… Wait, wait. I’ll fetch the instructions! Just one moment. Sir, please, you shouldn’t just press any button…
Well, I suppose our planet didn’t need two moons.
Now, sir, threats do no good here. Please withdraw your stingers or you will be escorted from the premises. Are you sure? Alright… Security!
Ah, yes. I thought you’d see reason. If you would kindly retake your seat? Thank you.
Well, ahem, that was exciting. Shall we continue with the auction? Excellent!
Next on the agenda: Lot No. #025 Intergalactic Space Cleaner.
For mopping up those troublesome messes caused by, say, detonating moons.
The successful bidder of our last lot may be interested in this item.
So… what are my bids?
Nemma Wollenfang’s fiction has appeared in several venues, including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Beyond the Stars, and six of Flame Tree’s Gothic Fantasy hardbacks. She is also the recipient of this year’s Speculative Literature Foundation Working Class Writers Grant. She can be found on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter: @NemmaW.