The Gun

Paycheck and Other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick
Buy it on Amazon
First published in Planet Stories Sep 1952

The crew of a space craft examines what they think is a barren planet before an unmanned anti-aircraft gun shoots down their ship revealing the planet had in fact been populated some time in the past. This gun, it turns out, guards a vault of film, records, and books documenting the culture of the planet (possibly Earth in the far future after nuclear war?). The crew dismantles the gun in order to safely leave the planet’s surface, but soon after they are gone the gun begins a process of automatically repairing itself.

Cast of characters

  • The Captain
  • Tance – the ship’s archeologist
  • Dorle – chief navigator
  • Fomar – the ship’s biologist
  • Nasha – the vice-captain