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This is my rifle...

Posted on Mon Jun 5th, 2017 @ 4:22am by Sergeant Bella Zaltin

Mission: S2E1 - Secrets
Location: USS Vindex (Deck 26) - Marine Armory
Timeline: Mission Day 85: 1030

Laena found herself walking into a place she never expected to see, the Marine zone. She wasn't quite sure what they called this place, though if she were honest, she didn't quite care. All she knew is that the person she was looking for would hopefully be inside. And to her pleasure, she was right. Standing just beyond the large doors was the young woman she wanted.

"Sergeant Zaltin?" Laena asked, taking a few steps forward. She'd never been around Marines much, but she heard stories. She knew they could be jumpy and startle easily, so she tried to be as least intimidating as possible. Though, she wasn't sure anyone could ever find the small Orion woman intimidating.

Bella was busy re-racking her uniform in her locker after deconstructing the old one following the away mission when she heard the demure voice. Turning, she cracked a half smile at the Stellar Cartographer.

"That's me. What can I do for you..." she paused for a moment to swipe a glance at the young Orion's collar, "Petty Officer?"

"I was hoping I could speak to you" Laena swallowed hard, a bit embarrassed that she was going to ask for help. She took a deep breath and continued, "Twice, recently, I've had a phaser rifle put into my hands with the intent to use it. And I'm ashamed to say I have no real experience using such a weapon and I'm finding it difficult to operate, and frankly a bit scary. I was hoping..." Another calming deep breath. "I was hoping, when you had some time, you could teach me how to properly use one? I don't want to be dead weight next time we're in trouble."

Bella was torn. On the one hand, she really didn't have time for this; a PT session with Charlie squad, an initial hack on two performance reports, briefing the new MXO on the away mission were but a few things on her plate for the day. On the other, she always welcomed the opportunity to teach others about one of the main loves in her life: firearms. That, and Laena had come to *her*, not the other way around. The Orion was prescient enough to know her weakness and what was needed to shore it up and Bella admired that.

"None of us have the time, but we make time for what's important Petty Officer. Do you have the time now? Or do we need to make an appointment?"

Laena smiled, broadly, at hearing the question. "Of course, if you have time now. I don't want to burden your schedule needlessly."

Bella smirked. "I'm always up for teaching a fleeter some phaser call what you went through at Starfleet bootcamp "phaser fundamentals" is a travesty. Come on," she beckoned with her hand, leading the Orion away from the armory and towards the phaser range.

After a quick, silent walk down the corridor, the two women entered the completely empty facility. The first section consisted of 5 individual "lanes", each containing a table which bifurcated it from the moderate, 25-yard space beyond it. Each lane was separated from the others by a half-wall from the ceiling. Beyond the last "lane" was an open area that created a triangle, a thick red line painted on the floor and two tables were at the points where the lines met the last land and the other at the wall. The area past the red line was yellow and black hashmark, on the floor, the walls and the ceiling. The wall the then traced back to their location held three armory lockers, the first of which Bella walked to and began entering the combination.

"Before we even get to the line, let's go over a few rules. First, the four rules of weapon safety. One: The weapon is always active. Don't assume that just because the capacitor is removed that it is incapable of firing. Two: Never point at something you're not willing to kill or destroy. Three: Always be sure of your target and what's in front of and behind it. Can't have you smoking one of us because you either missed or the shot carried through your target into one of my men. Four: Keep your bugger hook...sorry," she said with a wink, removing the phaser and closing the locker, "used to dealing with knuckle-draggers. Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire."

"Questions on those?"

"Umm..." Laena thought for a moment. "No, that all makes sense."

After leading Laena to the first lane, Bella took the phaser into her hand and explained the main parts, pieces, and functions of the weapon. "And for whatever reason, frakking Starfleet Acquisitions couldn't spend the money to put sights on these things. Training for point shooting is fine and dandy for close quarters combat but for anything beyond spitting distance, these babies need some serious augmented reality or targeting systems to become effective. For now, though, we'll go with what we've got."

The point shooting explanation was succinct yet complete. Now it came to application. Bella watched as Laena took the phaser and pointed it downrange. Her target: A large red square, suspended from the ceiling.

With her arms pulled close to her body, Laena tensed as she aimed the nose of the rifle towards her target. Her grip along the barrel tightened as she tried to steady the weapon in her hand. "Finger off the trigger," she said, reminding herself of the rules. "Nothing in front of, or behind, my target. And I'm willing to shoot you." She closed one eye and used the other to stare at the target.

Bella nodded silently as Laena went through the rules and finally pressed the trigger. A lance of light shot from the end of the rifle, streaming towards the target and clipping the bottom right corner, leaving most intact.

"Not too bad for your first go. It seems that you jerked the trigger in anticipation, which is why you shot down and to the left. Now, let me demonstrate some techniques..."

Bella showed Laena several techniques and repeated several simple drills until it seemed that the diminutive stellar cartographer had at least a somewhat comfortable grasp of basic phaser rifle fundamentals. Or, at least, her mostly-destroyed targets seemed to tell that tale.

"Much better. How do you feel?" the Marine First Sergeant asked, taking the rifle and moving to the locker to replace it with another.

A smile was plastered on Laena's face as her chest rose and fell quickly. "Exhilarating," she said, taking deep breaths. "I wasn't expecting to enjoy that."

Bella's smirk turned into a near full-blown grin. Marine trainees never reacted in this way and it was refreshing to have genuine joy be expressed from a student. Then again, she reminded herself, turning back to direct Laena at engaging more distant targets with slower fire,this isn't something to get used too...


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