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Shooting Range

Colonial Building Site


Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016, 4:50 pm



      While the Swiss Army was disappointed with the colony’s decision, they respected it and kept outside of the property line.  Ernst did, however, give them all individual emergency alert devices that were remarkably similar to the device Carmen had used.  When activated, they would send a signal to a Swiss satellite that would be relayed to the Swiss troops.  Aaron also got approval for colonists to carry loaded assault rifles. 

      The rifles, which Aaron bought to prevent suspicion of their origin, were Richthofen A2 rifles.  The Richthofen A2 was a 900mm weapon, which could fire 820 rounds per minute and hit targets 950 yards away.  A clip held 60 rounds.

      With the help of Samuel and some of his paid help, Sarah and Aaron set up a shooting range on Tuesday.  The majority of the range was set up like a standard rifle range, with target stands at 50, 75, and 100 yards.  The stands could easily be equipped with paper targets manually.  In addition, a box of moving targets was bought and scanned. 

      The moving targets were invented in 2011.  They worked like helicopters and could fly in all directions.  They were round balls that pulled air through small but fast moving fans.  The largest of the fans was on the top.  The other two fans were located forty-five degrees apart on the backsides.  Moving targets could attain various speeds up to fifty miles an hour.  The cost had come down since they were invented and now amounted to the price of two hundred rounds of ammo.

      All of the colonists over the age of fourteen, except for Kara and Keith, went to the training.  Keith took care of Spencer, and Kara watched the other children.

      The first two hours were spent in lectures by Sarah and Aaron on gun basics.  The lessons were done in a tent set up beside the firing range.  The tent was also where the guns and ammo were secured in cabinets when they were not in use.  The tent had various posters showing information on topics like aiming and the construction of a bullet.  Also in the tent was an electronic white board.  Folding chairs were set up inside the tent for the students.

      The lectures included a complete overview of how the guns work.  This included everything from bullet design to targeting.  Also included in the lecture were safety instructions.

      When the first set of lectures was complete, the class began practicing with the paper targets from standing positions.  After the class started to do well with the targets, Aaron had everybody congregate in the tent for further instruction. 

      Aaron explained, “Combat shooting is far more difficult than target shooting.  First, we need to deal with the fact that you’re going to be shot at.  So it’s very important to take cover.  Cover can be anything that will stop bullets including trees, buildings, rocks, and vehicles.  If you can’t find cover, you still have a few choices.  Kneeling allows you to get behind a low object.” 

      He kneeled down demonstrating kneeling positions.  “Even if you’re in an open field, kneeling makes you a smaller target and can get you out of view.

      “The prone position will make you a smaller target and allows for the best targeting, with rifles at least.” He got down into the prone position to demonstrate.  “Unfortunately if you’re down here it will take you longer to flee if the need arises.  Also, if you flee, use any cover you can to hide your body.  If you run straight from the person, you’ll be a fairly easy target.  On the other hand, if you zigzag and they pursue directly you won’t gain any ground.  As long as you have ammo, your best bet is usually to continue shooting.

      At this point he stood. “Standing, you still have some options to make you a smaller target.”  He stood to the side, demonstrating.  “If your body is pointed straight toward your opponent, you will be a big target.  What you want to do is look at the person from the side like this.”

      “Since an attack could come at any time you need to be prepared to expect it.  From now on we are going to have randomly timed cover drills.”  Sarah handed out small earphone plugs to everybody.  Aaron continued, “These will make a piercing noise to alert you of an attack.  When you hear the alert, get under cover as quickly as possible, preferably in less than five seconds, and put in the plug to wait for further directions.  Unless you hear over the earpiece that it’s a drill, be prepared for combat.  This means if you can get to your rifle, turn the safety off and be prepared to use it.”

      “The earpiece contains a microphone that will pick up your voice from inside your ear.  The communication is over radio frequency.  To activate it give it a tap.  Tap it again when you’re done.  It does this by, determining the origin of the sound. If you need to sound the alert, say ‘Alert activate.’  It’ll only work if the earpiece is in your ear.  The earpiece is charged by movement, so as long as you keep it on you it will maintain its charge.  Now let’s practice.

      Aaron took out his earpiece and put it in his right ear.  He tapped his earpiece then said, “Alert activate.”

      The earpieces all made a loud high-pitched piercing noise.  Most people fumbled to put the earpiece into their ear and then take cover.  A few, including Carmen, properly found cover first then put the earpiece into their ears.

      Aaron said, “Who can tell me what went wrong?”  The sound of his voice could be heard through the earpiece.

      Tara said, “We were supposed to find cover first.”

      Aaron nodded, “Right. Everybody take your earpieces out, take a seat, and we’ll try again.”

      Everybody followed his instructions.  Once everybody was seated again and the earpieces were out.  He again said, “Alert activate.”

      Again, the noise came through the earpieces.  Everybody took cover by getting on the ground or under their chairs.  A few people also took cover behind the cabinets in the room.  After taking cover, they put the pieces into their ears. 

      Aaron said, “Good.  Everybody get back to your seats, and we’ll go over the next point.”

      After everybody took their seat Aaron continued, “Another important part of combat shooting is speed and concentration.  Adrenaline is OK to an extent, but you need to be able to aim. Aiming, however, can’t take long because that will give them the chance to shoot first.

      “We have set up some moving targets to practice with.  First, they will be in the default mode with the lowest speed.  We’ll slowly increase the speeds as you progress and then we will put them into timed mode.  In timed mode each second that passes after the targets launch costs you a point with a maximum of ten points per hit.  If you don't hit the target after ten seconds, you get no points for the target.  Let’s break for lunch, and then we can start practicing.”

      Before lunch, Michelle and Jared found Keith and Spencer.  Spencer was sound asleep and Keith was reading a book he had downloaded to his PDA.  Michelle said, “Thank you for watching Spencer.  Was he OK?”

      Keith said, “He was perfect.”

      “We’re taking a break for lunch.”  Jared said to Keith and Michelle.  “Why don’t you both get something to eat, and could you bring me a sandwich?  I’ll take care of Spencer.”

      Michelle asked, “Are you sure Honey?  I can watch him.”

      Jared replied, “I’m sure.”

      Michelle and Keith went to the kitchen tent.  Keith sat with Carmen.  After Michelle got a sandwich and coffee to Jared, she sat with Tara to talk about children.  While Tara’s accent and way of saying things were unusual, especially to Michelle who had rarely been outside of New England, her view of the world was even more unusual.  Even simple things like how accepting Tara was of other people, her optimism, and her self-confidence were odd to Michelle.

      Carmen and Keith were talking about the training.  Carmen whispered to him, “Your parents are evil taskmasters.”

      Keith chuckled and replied sarcastically, “So you now know what I have known all my life.  How is the training going?”

      Carmen shrugged, “I don’t know.  I can shoot a paper target!”

      He replied with his eyes playfully widened in fake surprise, “Cool!”

      “Your dad talked about combat shooting but didn’t mention the psychological issues of actually shooting at a person.”


      “So, isn’t it difficult to shoot at another human?”

      “Yes, but in this case it’s defensive.  I bet he expects the reflexive nature of self-defense will prevent it from being an issue.  Besides, why bring that up, what if that makes it worse!  Then they’ll be thinking, ‘am I nervous about shooting like he said I’d be.’  They’ll have enough trouble already that bringing that up will make it worse.”

      Carmen nodded, “I guess that makes sense.”

      Keith gave an indifferent smile.

      After a pause Carmen said, “If those guns can shoot 820 bullets per minute, but only hold sixty . . . that means in five seconds you’re out of ammo.”

      He smiled, “Aren’t you the math wiz.  I guess that’s right, I never thought of it that way.  I don’t think anybody would ever need to shoot all sixty in five seconds, except in practice with paper-targets of course.”

      “There should be a more efficient way to store the bullets.”

      “Well, there are other types of clips.  There is a circular type, kind of like gangsters used with Tommy guns.  Of course, Tommy gun drums held only 50 rounds so Richthofen A2s hold a good deal more.  On the other hand they only shot seven hundred rounds per minute.”

      “Really, how do you know so much about guns?”

      “Well, my parents, and my own personal curiosity.  With the US the way it was they taught me fairly young about guns.  I think they expected at any moment for the government to collapse and the country to become complete anarchy like in those movies from the eighties and nineties.”

      “It’s cool that they did that for you.  Tommy guns do seem fascinating.  Some of the movies about the twenties make them seem unbelievably powerful.”  After a pause she said, “If you had a builder attached to a gun you could supply an unlimited ammo supply. I think it would take a ton of work, though, and maybe double the gun’s weight.”

      “Well, I guess that would put an end to the Rambo look of soldiers wearing ammo belts.”

      “Yeah,” she replied.

      After lunch, Keith took care of Spencer.  Carmen went back for more training.  At this point, the moving targets were turned on.  Even at the slowest speed and without the timers, most of the class had trouble hitting them.  The teenagers were the first to start hitting the targets.  After a few hours, most of the class had moved on to the timed setting.  They finished the training near dinner with everybody fairly capable of hitting moving targets.  Before dinner, Sarah expressed the importance of practicing as often as possible.

      With everybody acquainted with the two weapons forms (builders and assault rifles) Aaron and Sarah concentrated on other defense mechanisms.  The first thing they set up was body heat sensors around the perimeter.  They were designed to spot humans entering and would ignore wildlife, except of course the small bear that would cause the alarm to go off from time to time.  At first when the bear crossed, everybody thought it was the Chinese.  Then after a few more times, they thought it was the Swiss or one of the children in the colony.  Finally, they realized it always happened at the same spot.  A few people took turns watching and finally saw the bear crossing the perimeter in search of food.  This was a relief, because they knew what it was, but at the same time they worried about their food storage.  After a very thorough review, however, it turned out that their food was all stored properly in airtight containers and that trash was being properly sealed and dealt with as well.

      Beyond the heat detectors, they also installed radar equipment to warn them in case of paratroopers or the smaller possibility of helicopters.  Helicopters had progressed in their stealth abilities, but it was unlikely they would go unnoticed by the Swiss.  A plane on the other hand would be easy to get over the colony to allow paratroopers.

Copyright (C) 1998-2001 East Coast Games, Inc. and 2001 - 2006 Forest J. Handford

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