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Nine miliemeters might still be too big for Wulf

Posted on Tue Jul 14th, 2020 @ 6:36pm by Executive Officer Kenneth McTigue & Comm Tech Wulf Edevane

Mission: The Forgotten Arm
Location: Eros - Eros Gun Club
Timeline: Around 5 months since Wulf first signed on

Ken opened the door to the establishment It was an upscale gunstore. It was a beautiful shopfront filled with heavy bullet resistant glass cabinets displaying a variety of rifles and pistols. In the middle aisle was a small jeweler's display made from the same glass. In it were lain a collection of antique and near antique firearms. As Ken looked down he took note of some of the name plates. An 1854 Colt Walker Brevete, made in Belgium seemed to be the oldest. But there were others that Ken only knew from the history books. A Colt 1911 made in 1914 looked oddly familiar.

Ken looked around for a few moments longer before walking up to the counter and smiling at the very stunning blonde. A long, slender Belter frame, short blonde hair done in a side shave, a subtle nose ring. She wasn't Ken's type, but he could appreciate beauty for beauty's sake. "Hi, I'm looking to get some range time with my friend over there." Ken nodded to Wulf. "He is in dire need of a weapon's education."

When they first entered the store, Wulf focused on the tall blond, his gaze tracking quietly all the way up to her eyes before he offered a small, nervous smile. He stared a little too long, then shifted his attention to every cabinet in turn.

Guns were something the tech was aware of, but almost always from the wrong side. They'd been a part of his upbringing only from his early teens, and from that point onward, exclusively from bad influences. Staring at the shiny weapons in their pretty forms in exquisitely cared for cases, Wulf was reminded of the first time he'd stared down an empty barrel. 2am. His room. An overly excited sibling with a point to prove.

He wasn't sure if this was a good idea or not, but either way he was along for the ride. And whatever happened, Wulf trusted the Tross' engineer well enough now to know his intentions were at least constructive.

"Of course," the Belter blond addressed Ken, her gaze focused entirely on the elder man. "Pay up front, hourly rate, and for a little extra, you can choose your weapons. Anything," she continued, indicating the weaponry under the glass of the counter between them. "In here."

The transfer was done swiftly, including the little extra. He had paid for a couple hours. "I think we're going to start with something bog standard for the kid." Ken turned around, "Wulf, come on." Before following the girl behind the counter, through a doorway. The doorway lead deeper and deeper into the rock until they came into a large excavated room. Seven booths stood neatly arrayed. None were occupied at the moment, and the girl lead them to the one farthest from the door.

"Right behind you," Wulf had said, brightly.

And then with a quirky little smile that was solely directed at Ken, the blond led the two further down into the asteroid. Quiet, Wulf tagged along behind the engineer, his head turning emotions into locked mental boxes as they navigated the chilly rock tunnel.

"Wow," he said on a smooth exhale as the space opened up around them, and the tech walked backwards in the others' wake to take it all in.

"Here you go," said the Belter lass with an enigmatic expression on her face. "Ear pro, eye-shields," she indicated the counter between Ken and the range beyond. "You want any other protection?" She asked, amusement in her dark blue eyes as she regarded him. "Perhaps a bulletproof vest, or a riot shield?

Ken accepted both sets of PPE kit and handed one through to Wulf. "Thank you, but I think I'll need a body bag instead if he makes that kind of mistake." The engineer said in a rather serious tone but winked at the girl.

For a moment, Gia's face lit up in a genuine smile, then she ducked her gaze downward and took a step backwards to rest against the rock wall. "Need anything, you call me," she said, indicating a comm panel on the wall. "But I will watch a while I think."

"I know which end the bullets come out of," Wulf protested with some confident clarity, moving forward as Gia moved back. He already had the gear on and he stepped obediently closer to the counter alongside Ken now, then leant forward to look down the range at the far target. "It's a long way away?" His voice lilted as he regarded the Tross' engineer quizzically.

"It's about two hundred and ffity meters from here to the backwall. But we're going to start you fairly close so you can see what you're shooting at." Ken explained before turning to Gia, "Could you bring us two Glocks and a half dozen loaded magazines?"

Gia nodded, "I'll be right back." and stepped away.

"TWO HUNDRED and FIFTY...." Wulf spoke the words with a reverence that belied his current skillset. "Okay," He said, and nodded in agreement to Ken's plan to ease him in gently.

"Okay, first, firearm rules." Ken popped a finger up, "Until you have verified yourself, every gun is loaded and is to be treated as such." Ken's second finger went up, "Never, ever point a gun at something you do not want to destroy." A third finger, "Finger does not go on the trigger until you are ready to shoot. And when you are done shooting, you take it off the trigger." And a fourth came up, "Be cognizant of what lies beyond your target. Even the plastic rounds used for ship-board weapons can and will penetrate through your target." Ken then put his hand down. "Questions?"

"You can hit stuff that far away with a handgun?" The tech asked, then looked to the engineer for guidance. He'd been listening, but that fact wasn't entirely evident right now. A brief moment of silence, and Wulf realised he did have another question. "Where do I put my finger if it's not on the trigger though?" And another. "How do I tell if it's loaded or not?"

"I can accurately hit targets up to around a hundred and twenty meters with my own pistol." Ken accepted the carrying tray from Gia. He placed it upon the small desk and took out the first Glock 312. A quick check to see if it was loaded, it wasn't, and an inspection of the weapon itself lead Ken to conclude they got a nice pair of pistols. He then quickly ran Wulf through checking a pistol to see if it was loaded and how to load and chamber a round. Then they ran through securing a weapon. After about thirty minutes they came to the first firing.

"Okay." Ken stood behind Wulf, bracing him. "Bring up your gun like we practiced, look down the sights, find your target, then gently squeeze until a single round is fired. Then put your finger in the safe position."

Wulf fidgeted, gun low to his side, a little nervous that Ken was stood behind him, a little unsure of what to expect. He'd seen more guns fired than he'd ever felt a need to hold one, and yet this lesson was different. There was less malice in the engineer's tone, more encouragement, and Wulf felt a rise of enthusiasm, an interest to see if he could do this.

He brought the Glock up, looked down the sights and slowly found the target. He tapped his index finger against the side of the trigger guard to show that he'd been listening, and then? Then Wulf turned, twisted sideways to look back at Ken with a proud smile on his face and a loaded gun in his hand.

"This is..." Wulf started to say.

Ken's left hand reached for the barrel of the pistol, his right fist connected with Wulf's jawbone. It wasn't a hard blow, all things considered. Ken wasn't turning his hips into it. Just a straight shot to the jaw. Wulf's hands let loose of the gun Ken was holding. "What did I just say about pointing guns?" the engineer asked as he unloaded and cleared the chamber before putting it down. He then extended his hand to Wulf to help him up from the ground.

Wulf rubbed his chin and scowled as Ken secured the Glock, but his initial pained frustration faded pretty quickly as a helping hand was offered.

"Ow!" he said, in sulky protest as Ken pulled him back upright. But Wulf had heard that warning. He just hadn't thought about it enough to remember to obey it. "You didn't have to hit me," he added, moodily.

With a cocked eyebrow asked "I should've let you point a loaded and hot gun at me?"

The tech's dark eyes went wide with the realisation that he was wrong, and Ken was right. Then Wulf studied the floor. "No," he admitted. "Sorry."

Ken favoured Wulf with a small smile then. "Come on. Get back in your stance."

Second time around, Wulf took this whole matter far more seriously. His grin vanished, his lips pursed and his concentration doubled. He adopted the position, setting his feet as Ken had taught him and adjusting until he felt comfortable but secure. Then, keeping his gaze forward, he spoke calmly. "Okay to pick up the gun now?" He asked, and waited for confirmation before doing so. Once he stood, Glock checked and reloaded, Wulf used his right index finger as his safety and took a couple of conscious breaths.

"Ready," he said.

"Okay. Safety off?" Ken asked, and received the nod. "Gently squeeze the trigger. You'll feel the mechanical breakpoint, push through that and you'll fire. Do not jerk it, do not pull it, squeeze it in a controlled manner."

Wulf sucked in a deep breath and held it as he tried to obey the simple instructions. It felt as if the trigger would never engage though, the slack in it seeming to take ages as he painstakingly slowly applied minimal pressure with his finger. Still holding the air in his lungs, he finally found the point of no return and snapped a shot off in the general direction of the paper target. It winged the top right hand corner just as Wulf exhaled. "I fucked that up," the tech muttered.

"The mistake there was holding your breath. If you want to be most accurate you want to inhale, then exhale while squeezing. You fire the round when you're out of breath. That's when your body is most stable." Ken shrugged. "That's great for on the range, like here. But if we ever get in a fight you won't get that chance. So you just have to get used to your body's rhythm to shoot." Ken nodded to the target again. "Fire again, but don't hold your breath, just keep breathing and try shooting a few rounds. Center mass."

Without turning to face Ken this time, Wulf listened and nodded. The advice made sense, and while he hadn't know the engineer long, he truly believed that Ken knew this subject more than well enough to teach it. "Okay, thanks," Wulf said, quietly as he let his expression settle into one of serious intent. He practised a couple of times, finger to the side of the trigger at first, wanting to do this right. Inhale. Exhale. Feel the difference. Wulf smiled. "Yes!" He said with quiet happiness. "I get it, now dude."

This time the tech fired four shots at the target in quick succession, his eyes burning with concentration. While they didn't exactly group close together, they all hit the target and Wulf's grin broadened. "Like that?" He asked his teacher.

Ken nodded, pulling the target closer to them with the button. "You're hitting the silhouette, that's better than I've seen some guys do when they first start boot camp." Ken replaced the target sheet with a new piece of recycled bamboo paper. "Put the weapon on safe. Drop the magazine, empty the chamber. Then we're going to start from scratch again."

Quietly, and with just a little reverence, Wulf waited for the target to come back in and took the praise graciously. A fear instilled previously in the younger man began to fade, being replaced by that simple sense of achievement. He beamed a self-indulgent smile but didn't revel in that moment too long, pushed into following Ken's instructions as he kept pace with the man's instructions. Safe. Drop the mag. Empty the chamber. Place Glock on counter. Stand back and show hands are clear.

"So, Ken," Wulf opened as he picked up the pistol once again. "Were you really good at this right from the start?"

"Load, chamber, empty the magazine, all inside the target." Ken instructed, "And no, it took a couple months before I was truly comfortable with my weapons."

"Yessir," said the tech, and he slowly repeated the steps Ken had shown him previously, then braced his feet against the ground and controlled his breathing. This time he ran the mag dry as quickly as he could muster, then tilted his head to study the resulting hole-filled piece of paper. "They're mostly on there," Wulf decided, wrinkling his nose.

Ken had hung a target in his own lane and sent it downrange. As soon as it was steady the engineer raised his own loaner Glock in a smooth motion. As soon as he had a bead on his target the weapon spat a full magazine in a near-constant stream of noise and death. He cleared the chamber and dropped the mag before recalling his own target. "So are mine." Ken said dryly.

Wulf stood with the Glock held down to his side and stared in awe at the second returned target. "How do you *do* that?" He asked, genuinely curious. "And how do you do that *so fast*?!"

"Keeping a firm and controlled grip on your gun, knowing how bad the recoil and muzzle climb are, and more than 20 years of experience." Ken smiled. "You do a few more magazines with that Glock. Try and notice how your hand jerks up with every shot, and try to pull it back to the point you had it aimed before it jumped. Controlling that will help your consecutive accuracy."

That. That was a lot of things to bring into consideration, considered Wulf. And he wasn't at all sure he wanted to put in two decades of time to this whole gun training thing. He did, however, know how to handle one without blowing his, or Ken's, head off on purpose now though. That was a worthy goal for day one.

"Okay, dude," he agreed, and he changed mags slowly and with purpose. That next set of shots was slower, the tech's face lost in a deeper concentration as he really concentrated on trying to feel, and to be in, the moment. This time, the paper target had more holes in it, but save for one that was dead centre on the head, the rest were random as hell. Wulf didn't seem to mind. "Totally aced that one," he said with a dumb grin.

"You're improving." Ken agreed, "But it might just be beginner's luck." He ruffled Wulf's hair and grinned. "Let's make this interesting. If you manage to put ten out of fifteen rounds from a single magazine into a target, I'll buy your drinks tonight. Has to be a new paper every magazine. But if you don't manage it when our time on the range runs out, you're buying my rounds."

Now, thought Wulf distantly as Ken's hand mussed his hair, if I could just figure out what I did right in that one good shot moment... And then the bet dropped and it was game on. Dark eyes bright, the tech shook his shoulders out and pulled himself up to his full height, a big smile flashing across his face before that expression dropped into serious-mode. "Anywhere in the target?" Wulf asked. "Or has to be in the silhouette?" But he nodded either way, definitely game for a bet on this one. "Absolutely though, yeah. You're on," Wulf agreed. "Your turn now though."

"In the silhouette. Like this." Ken said. He pressed the return button for the target, kept eye contact with Wulf as he slammed the magazine into his pistol, racked the slide, shifted his eyes as soon as the target stopped. As soon as he broke eye contact Ken's pistol snapped up and fifteen projectiles were sent down range in rapid succession. When the target returned there was a large shredded hole in silhouette's head, and no other holes on the paper.

"Daaaaaaaaaamn," said Wulf on a slow exhale of breath. "That was... awesome." His performance was far more choppy and unrefined, though his gun discipline had improved considerably, Wulf very much needed to watch everything his hands were doing, hold his breath and concentrate. He looked impressed rather than intimidated by Ken's ability, and bit his bottom lip he he refocused on a new target, stance as comfortable as he could muster.

Wulf's target returned with 4 holes inside the dark outline, one arguably scraping an arm, and the rest dotted about the wider landscape of the white background. Two hadn't even hit that. He adopted an involuntary pout, showed his Glock to be clear and turned back to hero worship the skills of the engineer beside him.

"Go on, swap it out. It isn't going to replace itself." Ken said as he did the same on his own target.

He swapped it out, feeling kinda proud to understand what all of this mean, and happy to be learning in a safe environment. This wasn't anything like the last time someone had tried to teach him how to shoot - the unpleasant memory still locked in Wulf's mind as he reloaded and drew back the slide. He stood, for just a few extra seconds, staring down the range and shoving that mental imagery way down deep, then Wulf worked his way through another magazine.

"Six rounds this time!" Wulf declared, as he studied the peppered target. Granted each one was in a different part of the black outline, but he was definitely getting closer. Four had hit the white paper, the others were missing somewhere beyond the sheet.

"You're not trying to hit consistently at the same place. Focus more on your shot by shot accuracy instead of trying to blast your whole magazine and hope you get ten in the black."

"I am trying," Wulf insisted. "I'm just not achieving the desired result." He face-palmed and came up smiling, but the next mag the tech took things really slow.

From the end of the shooting range Gia, the girl who ran the range slowly walked up. In her arms she cradled two black rifles. One was Fabrique Nationale de Herstal, or FN, P25. A submahine gun originally designed for the UNN's ship-board crew to assist in repelling boarders. It was compact, traditionally designed and known to be reliable. The other was a HK 67, a rifle designed as a designated marksman rifle.

Ken accepted both rifles and their accompanying magazines from Gia and gave her a broad smile. "You know how to spoil a man." he teased.

She gave Ken a wink, "I just know how to make them feel good." and with a coy smile she walked away.

Ken watched her go and wondered if there was a litle more swing in her hips than strictly necessary.

Wulf waited until Ken turned back in his direction to beam a big dumb grin at the engineer. "She likes you," the tech noted, grin turning more filthy by the second.

Ken picked up the P25 and slid the magazine in. Seventy rounds of four millimetre ammunition made a quiet rattling sound in the composite box that held them. "What's not to like." Ken said with a cocky grin. "Now watch this. You're going to love this." And pointed the short rifle downrange. One long squeeze of the trigger. The target had a hole big enough for Ken's head in the torso.

He'd turned back to watch Gia walk, but Wulf's attention shifted back to Ken once the Belter Blond had settled back against the far wall down the range some. "Woa..." was his first reaction, then his eyes grew steadily wider as Ken's new 'toy' obliterated the target. There was a long few seconds of absolute silence as Wulf's brain processed how this would translate into real world retaliation against actual people and then the tech exhaled in a short rush of held breath. "You could seriously fuck someone up with that..." He added, his tone one of gravely serious respect.

"You can seriously fuck someone up with that Glock too. This just does it faster." Ken answered with a serious tone, but his serious expression broke as he looked at the compact machine. "Want a try?"

"Uh, yeah," Wulf said. "Sure, why not..." There was a certain amount of guilty conscience there, but it was pushed aside by curiosity and a need to not be left out. "So are you gonna ask her out?"The tech raised an eyebrow as he looked up at Ken.

Ken took out the empty magazine from the rifle, verified its empty chamber, and clicked the safety on before handing it over to Wulf. "Maybe. If she brings me a big old school slug thrower I might buy her a couple beers." Maybe Ken was speaking slightly louder than he needed, or maybe his ear protection wasn't as good as he had hoped.

"Why would you want to throw slugs at her?" Wulf asked, but the grin was tugging at the edge of his mouth as he did so. He'd heard the term before, though his firearms knowledge far undersurpassed Ken's own. "Thanks," he added, as he took the P25 and (as Ken had taught him) double-checked it was empty and safe. Then he tapped his own ear pro and gave the engineer an upwards nod.

"You're yelling by the way," Wulf informed Ken helpfully, as they both saw the demonstrative shrug and shake of the head that Gia telegraphed into the room as she wandered closer to the two.

"Many beers," Gia suggested with a sly smile. "And I fetch 'old school' for you." She waggled a palm as her eyes locked with Ken's.

A broad smirk dominated Wulf's face as he turned, only slightly, away from the direction of the target, lowered weapon down at his right side.

Ken raised his fist and moved it back and forward while giving a wink to Wulf. "Many beers."

As he slid a new magazine into the P25, Wulf mimicked Ken's process of 'rattle it, move into position and then open fire down range'. He let out an elongated 'wooooaaah' as the bottom corner of the paper target sheared off at a wonky diagonal, then made the gun safe and placed it down on the counter. A fake yawn was followed by the stretching of his arms upwards as if it was way past his bedtime. "Guess I better head back to the Tross," Wulf stated, gifting Ken a broad grin. "Three's a crowd, right?"

"I have friend?" Gia stated with an impish grin. "She likes beers too..."

Ken and Wulf exchanged a meaningful look, and Ken winked. "Many beers indeed."


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