AWC #269630 was by far one of the most popular destinations in the Alternate World Catalog. The entire planet, save for the occasional oasis or polar cap, was essentially the same as Monument Valley on AWC #000001: gigantic, picturesque mesas sculpted by wind and a long-ago wet period. The air was breathable thanks to rampant microbes and super-cactus, and vacationing families who came through the transdimensional gate at Wooster Station often had weeks of camp-out related fun with a rented 4×4 and trailer.

Assuming, of course, that they paid for them.

“Go, go, go!” Brian Mowan cried from the luggage rack atop a rental truck-and-trailer. He slapped the side furiously, which his counterpart at the wheel, Mako Yun, took as the signal to floor it.

“Hey! Stop them!” the camper-rental employee called. When no aid was forthcoming, he ducked into his shack and emerged bearing the most advanced theft-deterrent system on the planet: an old Ithaca 37 loaded with hyper-velocity Element 234 double-aught buckshot.

One corner of the 4×4’s truck bed disintegrated as the stolen vehicles took a sharp turn out of the lot. The third member of the team, “Ace” Motown, leaned out a back window with his Ruger GP100 .357 magnum. It was loaded with “hot poppers,” which made a lot of noise but not much else–no sense getting slapped with a murder charge when all they wanted was a clean getaway.

The Ithaca barked once more and Swiss cheese holes appeared in the far wall of the trailer–far from Ace or the others–before the shotgun’s owner hit the dirt. There was nothing between the three and the Wooster Station gate.

Their way cleared, the trailer thieves set off, headed for the wilderness…and adventure.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!