In a sci-fi world, your hero’s phaser broke in the third chapter, write the worst possible payoff.
Chekhov’s Gun is meant to illustrate how every element of the story should contribute to the resolution of that story. How much this precept is adhered to depends, to a certain extent, on the length of the story. In a fantasy trilogy, certain storylines can trail off unresolved
“If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, in the following act it should go off.”
A Good One
DreVak pulled a phaser from the collection of belts scattered across the table.
“Ah, the Terravix Mark 7, handy little tool, in the right hands.”
He pointed it at me. “If I remember correctly, there’s no ‘stun’ setting.”
He pulled the trigger.
A Terrible One
Really lucky my laser gun broke a couple days ago, actually. Stupid git doesn’t realize that what he’s holding isn’t worth anything more than a paperweight.
As soon as he tries to shoot me with that thing I’m going to use the momentary distraction to break loose from this gorilla holding onto my arm, and make my daring escape!
It’s gonna be awesome.