Kitty looked down at the table and grew quiet again.
So Atom spoke instead. [Why is Kitty upset?]
[She doesn’t want to talk about it. Got my theories though.]
[So what can you do to help her?]
[Not much.] I said.
[Alright mate. I’ll do my best.]
I finished reassembling the whole gun, cocked the action and listened for anything amiss. When I only heard the bolt lock back in place I dropped the hammer and heard an empty click. Everything was in order. “You still want me to talk?”
“This.” I said showing her the gun. “Is the Heckler and Koch PD9. The greatest close-quarter battle weapon ever built. If any firearm was designed by a martial artist, it’s this one.”
Kitty had started to roll her eyes, until I mentioned martial artist. Then she just scrunched up her face. “What does that mean?”
“It means the designer understood what was required of the situation and built the weapon around that.”
“Isn’t that what they normally do?”
I laughed. “If it was, there wouldn’t be so many copies of the Colt 1911 on the market.”
I picked up the PD9 and pointed out its features. “She’s got a bullpup layout, which means the magazine feeds from behind the pistol grip, so the barrel of the weapon runs almost all the way to the back rather than stopping in the middle like on a conventional rifle. That makes the weapon a lot shorter without sacrificing accuracy and range by shortening the barrel.”
I grabbed one of the long helical magazines and fed it through the space between the top of the gun and the scope mount, it locked in place at the end with a satisfying snap.
“Helical magazines hold three-times as much as a double-stack, though reloading like this does take a little practice to get it down to the same speed. But the scope mount has a fluted tunnel underneath it, which helps guide the magazine in.”
I cocked the weapon again and turned it on its side to show the ejection port.
“Because the action is behind the trigger and the magazine loads from the top, this allows the spent casings to be ejected downwards, the extractor barely gives it a nudge and gravity does the rest. No hot brass flying in the face of your mate beside you.”
I started swapping the PD9 between my left and right hands. “Weight distribution is almost perfect for firing one-handed, allowing you to easily switch between hands as needed. If you’ve taken cover from the right side of a corridor, you just swap hands and stick your left hand and eye around the corner, exposing as little of yourself to enemy fire as possible.”
“Can’t you do that with another gun?”
“Not as quickly and a lot of western armies don’t train their people to shoot with their off-hand. I learned that from a guy in Singapore. He was an ex-cop before he joined the services, he got winged in his right shoulder in the middle of a fire-fight and had to swap to his left until EVAC. Because he’d actually practised shooting his rifle with one-hand and with his off-hand we weren’t down one extra gun for that fight.”
I felt my eyes go glassy at the memory and I smirked. “Harry, Wild Harry Townsend we called him. He wore a pistol on each hip like a gunfighter and he could get them out faster than you could spit.
I was hunkered down with him behind this old Datsun in Bencoolen. He’d emptied his mag and was swapping it out for a fresh one. Just then these two Indos come screaming ’round the corner, right into our flank. I put two shots in the first guy, then swung around to get the next before he got Harry and all I saw in my sights was this splash of red and he dropped.
I glance at Harry and he’s holding his left pistol down by his thigh, he drew it while still crouched and hip-shot this guy square in the face.”
Kitty tensed up at that. “How do you do that? How do you make killing someone sound fun?”
“It might have something to do with me leaving out the part where I pissed myself.”
Kitty smirked and looked at me. “For real?”
“Well I was heavily dehydrated from sweating furiously in the tropical heat, but yeah I wet myself. Fight or flight’s a bitch that way.”
Kitty opened her mouth like she was about to speak, then closed it again. She stopped herself, scrunched up her eyes and threw them open again. She took a breath.
“I dreamt about the carjacker.”
Atom butted in. [Is that what you theorised was bothering her?]
[Well aside from the spray-on cheese on the burgers nothing else has really rattled her these last few days. So yeah.]
“What happens in the dream?” I asked aloud.
“I just hear the bang and suddenly I’m in the back of the truck again. And we stay in the truck, not moving, not speaking. After an eternity, the driver gets back in and starts up the engine.”
Kitty took another deep breath. “I didn’t know the guy, I never even saw his face. But I was there when he died. We’d won, he tried to steal our truck and the Raskols roughed him up, stole his gun and threw him out the door. I thought it was over. I thought that was going to be the end of it. Then I heard the shot and I knew that he was dead.”
Kitty exploded at me. “And then you sit here and talk about that thing like it’s a sports car. I can’t understand it.”
“HEY YO!” Patriot Rap yelled from the sleeping quarters. He’d joined us earlier that day. “Say your sweet nothings over wireless kids, the grownups need their shut-eye.”
Kitty and I looked at each other and then looked down at the table, suitably chastised.
Then from Tachi’s bunk we heard. “Delicately put sir.”
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