“Sorry, I didn’t–” she muttered awkwardly. “I mean, that wasn’t about you. It was just–” Her frown returned suddenly, directed passionately at the floor before she forced it out, tilted her head to each side and took a deep breath. “Sorry. Look, ya want a lesson, I can give ya a lesson. Specially if he’s serious.” One of her brows raised curiously. “Nice alpha planet doctor like you musta never even laid hands on one of these.” She jabbed her thumb over her shoulder at the armory door. “Wouldn’t want you gettin’ hurt out there on account of that asshole. I’ll teach ya everything I know.”
As Corra forced a kinder smile, Cyrus added helpfully, “She won’t need it. I’m gonna talk to him. I’ll get her out of it.” He grinned in a manner he probably thought was encouraging. The result was a bit creepy. And before anyone could speak, he turned and rushed away.
Corra’s eyes had gone slightly wide at his proclamation. For a long moment, she stared at Cyrus’ retreating back. “Yeah,” she decided at last, looking back to Leta as she turned around, “you’re definitely gonna need lessons. Come on in.”
The armory was a long, rectangular room with burnt brown walls. It was shadowy and dim like the rest of the Dionysian,except one wall, which glinted invitingly even in the low light. As Leta stepped inside, she saw why: it was lined, floor to ceiling, with weaponry of all sizes.
As Leta stepped toward it, the knot of worry in her chest loosened ever so slightly. In spite of it all, in spite of everything, some of her burning questions and unending nervousness was replaced with something else: interest.
Beside her, Corra took a deep breath and placed her hands squarely on her hips. “Alright,” she proclaimed, gesturing to the racks above their heads. They seemed to hold everything from the tiny, concealable sort that could be stuffed within clothing, to monstrous rifles that Leta could hardly imagine being able to carry. “First lesson, I suggest you pick one you can hold.”
Well, there was no reason not to accept the lesson, was there? She wasn’t going to help Fiearius, but equipping herself on a criminal ship didn’t seem like a bad idea. Nodding slightly, Leta stepped closer to the wall, her eyes traveling high and low along the racks.
Pressing her lips together in thought, she regarded a line of long, thin guns she thought must have been assault rifles. Her height may have afforded her the opportunity to hold the larger weapons, but she could not envision herself doing anything but fumbling with something of that size. Then, she quirked a brow at the set of bulky machine guns in the corner. At that, a wry smirked touched her eyes, before her gaze finally lowered to another shelf.
Tilting her head, she stepped closer, filling her eyes with the sight of a row of shining handguns. With careful surgeon hands, she reached to pull it from the rack, closing her fingers around the grip. She turned around again with the gun in hand, examining it. The grated metal weapon relaxed into her grasp — a small but steady fit.
“Like this one?” she said, looking up at Corra.
Despite her foul mood, Leta saw a small, almost indistinguishable smile run across Corra’s lips. “One of my favorites,” she commended as she moved over to another wall herself and began sorting through what appeared to be boxes of ammunition. “When you’re in the range, dare I even call it that, only use the FMJs,” she advised her a little absently as she held up a clip proudly. “Hollow-points have a tendency to split on impact which…well it does interesting things to human bodies, but if you’re firing into a bullet-proof wall? Ricochet. Bad stuff.”
Swiftly, Corra rejoined her in the center of the room and began fussing about with the gun in her hand. “So this is your clip,” she told her diligently as she reached to unapologetically grab for the weapon in Leta’s hand. “Release is here. Pop it out, pop another back in.” The gun clicked as Corra shoved the clip in her hand into it. “Hold it tight, but not too tight, like this, with what ever hand you feel better with.” She meticulously rearranged Leta’s fingers on the grip. “This is your safety,” she pointed out. “On. Off. Only take it off if you know you’re gonna need it off. Never put your finger on the trigger unless you actually aiming to shoot something. When you’re not.” She moved her index finger as well. “Rest it here.”
Satisfied, Corra stepped back and looked her up and down, her brow furrowed. “Shoulders back, feet apart,” she instructed, and Leta did as she was told, feeling somewhat bemused by the instructions, but not enough to interrupt.
“Know where your center of gravity is and keep your balance,” Corra went on. “Even little ones like that have recoil and if you’re not expecting it, you can get yourself hurt. Arm out straight. Don’t try any fancy shooting, not ‘til you’ve had more practice. The key for beginners is staying steady and keeping aim.” She nodded firmly and added, with a frown, “Also, don’t close your eyes. Either of them. People do that. I don’t know why, it’s the stupidest thing,” she muttered, but then she smiled up at Leta encouragingly and stepped out of the way.
“Go on,” she insisted, gesturing the the thick, black wall at the far end of the room, already riddled with caught bullets in its surface. “Give it a try.”
Hesitating slightly, Leta lifted her gun arm aloft as Corra had indicated. For a moment she did not recognize her own hand out in the air, her fingers grasped around the grip of a gun. A gun. She was holding a gun? She was an M.D. for crying out loud. But, before she could think more on it, she squeezed the trigger.
Aah bullets. The second most satisfying thing in the world to pop.
Dare I ask the first?
…A fair point.
Er… hollowpoints ricochet less than FMJ’s, because all that splitting and mushrooming takes up energy from the bullet’s flight, slowing it down considerably, and any ricocheting pieces that may come off (really unlikely, that) are significantly less dangerous than a solid bullet. Honestly, a hollow point hitting a flat steel wall probably isn’t going to bounce back more than a couple inches, if it bounces back at all (the lead may well simply stick – it gets hot enough). FMJ’s hold their shape the best because of the metal shell around the lead. The hardness of the shell and the lower bullet deformation mean FMJ’s bounce the best of all common bullet types – i.e. they ricochet the most. The only thing that would bounce better would be a bullet not made from lead – like a steel or tungsten bullet. Either of those would ricochet like nobody’s business. You generally don’t use hollow point rounds for practice because they are more expensive than most other types of bullet, not because they ricochet the most.
The best practice rounds are non-jacketed round nose or flat nose bullets (safest – least ricochet), or soft point (partial-jacket) round nose or flat nose bullets (less gun cleaning).
Also, if a bullet ricochets off of more than one surface in an enclosed gun range, it’s a terribly designed range. Generally, the back and/or side walls are set at 45 degree angles to direct bullets into a trough at the base of the wall, preventing bullets from flying all over the place.
I don’t really mean to nit pick, but it threw me out of the story quite a bit when the gun expert didn’t know basic bullet physics, and I see nothing here that would change the story in any way if corrected.
Okay, you caught me, I’ve never shot a gun in my life. Oops. What Corra says is a result of some likely haphazard Wikipedia research and my own sensibilities of what the Dionysian would and wouldn’t have. I by no means stick to it being accurate. Which it is clearly not haha. I was personally banking on a little suspension of disbelief for our space pirate fantasy 😛
But sorry if the mistakes threw you out of it! When we re-edit, I’ll definitely take your feedback into consideration. In the meantime, I promise this is the only time I try to get technical on firearms so you’ve made it through the storm haha. Thanks for the input!
Just came over from Pact/Worm. After seeing you in 3rd place so often on topwebfiction (and occasionally 2nd), I figured I’d check it out.
Enjoying the story so far. It’s nice to have something light to counteract reading through Wildbow’s stuff.
I can see not closing your eyes when firing a handgun. Typically helps with the sight picture on a rifle though.
I’m well aware that you sometimes have to write about things you have little knowledge of. I’m pretty tolerant about that kind of stuff, and the plot and characterization is otherwise pretty solid. Looking forward to catching up to the current arc.
Hi! Welcome! Glad you decided to drop by. We are definitely a lot lighter than wildbow haha happy to provide frivolous space pirate nonsense for your emotional recovery. Glad you’re enjoying it so far. Thanks so much for reading!