(2016-09-12) Research Project and Rifle Training
Research Project and Rifle Training
Summary: Mon teaches Cari how to shoot with the M0. Mon's first time as a teacher is a little rocky.
Date: 2016.09.12
Related: None


Monica wasn't exactly overwhelmed with people looking for training on the M0. In fact, Carilena was the only one who signed up. It does make the logistics easier. Mon gets Chester, checks out one of the other horses…an easygoing mare, or so she hopes, and slings a brand-shiny-new M0 in the rifle scabbard on the saddle. Her own, rather more beat up copy is in the scabbard on Chester. She leads both horses to the rode that leads to the openspace. When you're throwing around high-powered rifle rounds, the further the distance from humanity, the better.

Of course, the problem with horses is that the rider is in control only as long as the horse thinks the rider is in control. When they realize that someone-like Carilena-has absolutely no idea what they're doing-things can get interesting. Like half of the trip being Cari saying things like, "No, left-come on, horse-left-/left/-not right!" Or something to the effect of, "Come on,please-faster. Just a little? She is leaving us beh-not slower!" And such other things. At least the mare simply seems to be paying Carilena and Cosmo little attention one way or another, following along behind Chester. Cosmo-has likely never even seen a horse before. He tries to get close to Cari, but then the horse snorts or something mundane-making his ears flatten as he bolts out of the way-only to try coming back again a few minutes later.

Monica reins Chester in a little. "You really have never done this before, have you?" She chuckles. She's not a great rider herself-there are far better-but she's comfortable in the saddle. "Just…take the reins…nudge the horse left when you want to go left, and right when you go right. Pull back to stop. Nudge with your heels to go. And try to get into the rhythm of her walk with your back.

"This is not as easy as you make it sound…" Carilena protests, though at least makes an honest go of it all. Trying to find the rhythm of the mare's speed reminds her of trying to surf, the one time she tried it-with there being a reason it was only the one time. As for pulling on the reins-that was apparently a bit too hard. The mare stops alright-but she comes to a dead stop in and instant, sending Cari forward a little-just enough to slam into the pommel of the saddle. She has to hunch over the mare's head for a moment, and whatever she mutters in her native Portuguese, it probably isn't well-wishes or happy thoughts, though it probably does concern the horse.

You say, "Easy easy…" Mon pets the horse. "It's in her mouth. It doesn't take a lot of force to get her attention. Usually." Mon winces. A saddle horn to the crotch is never fun. "You ok?""

After a moment, Carilena manages to push herself back and sit properly in the saddle again, through her face is flushed and her voice is strained. "I saw American-American Westerns as a girl…" she murmurs, trying to get her voice back to normal. "One-cowboy would sometimes lead another's horse…" And to make the point of her saying that even clearer, she holds out the reins to her mare.

Monica takes them. "Okay. Yeah, we have enough to learn today." She looks down at Cosmo. "It's a horse. They're on our side, you." The mare, for her part, has been around dogs before. She gives Cosmo a wary eye but once she gets clear signals what is wanted from her, she obeys. Chester probably isn't smirking, but it sure might seem that way to the outside viewer. Nothing much happens as we make our way to the openspace. "Doing good. There you go. It takes some practice. You have to build up the back muscles to do this for miles at a stretch. You can also try posting, where you stand up a little, but that's more an English saddle technique. Normally it takes shorter stirrups.”

Cosmo keeps up the back-and-forth, wanting to get close to Carilena, but getting shooed away by an innocent breath or snort or some such from one horse or another. He'll never be a sheep dog, that much is certain. For her part, Cari just wants to lean over the mare and wait the torture out, but she makes a go of trying to stand up a bit. "Why is it called posting?" she asks, partly to focus on the question on not the pain where pain really oughtn't be.

Mon just shrugs to Cari's question. “No idea. I only learned Western saddle.”

When we arrive at a secluded clearing, Mon ties a long rope to Chester's harness and another to Cari's horse's so they can eat and do horse things. "You ready for this?" she asks as she slides off her horse and slips the rifle from its scabbard.

By the time they arrive, Carilena has more or less recuperated, so she's able to slide off the horse-if with nothing of the grace or ease anyone withany real experience, at all, would display. Still, she lands on her feet and that's the important thing. "Yes, I-believe so," she says, voice a bit stilted as she tries to walk normally. Cosmo hurries over, though keeps a cautious eye on the horses, and sticks to Cari's left for the moment, on the other side of her from them.

You say, "Go ahead and get your rifle. Don't touch the trigger until I tell you to, and don't point it at me, Cosmo, or the horses. I'm assuming you've never done this before, so I'm going to start with the super-basics." Mon looks out into the trees, remembering the rules as she was taught them, so long ago, by her long-gone father."

"I remember a little from being shown in El Paso," says Carilena as she slides the rifle out-and yes, keeps it pointed at the ground, her finger behind the trigger guard. "Rule number one-the weapon is loaded until you unload it yourself. Rule number two-if you ever hand your weapon to someone else, it is loaded when they hand it back. Rule number three, if you look away from your weapon, even while it is in your hand, it is loaded." She manages to give Monica a small but sincere smile, there, though naturally it doesn't last long. "How do I see if it is loaded?" is asked almost immediately as she peers at the weapon, trying to figure out what to pull back, or pop open, or some such.

Monica smiles. "Well, that's one way to look at the rules." She walks over toward Cari, careful to keep her own M0 pointed skyward. "Rule 1. Don't point the gun at anything you don't intend to kill. This one thing more than anything else will help keep you and the people around you safe. Rule 2 is what you were talking about. Assume any gun is loaded unless you've verified otherwise since it was handed to you. Rule 3. Don't touch the trigger until you're ready to shoot." Mon lifts her rifle. Rule 4. Identify your target and what's behind it. On the M0, to make sure the rifle isn't loaded, you remove the magazine on the left, grab the operating handle and pull it all the way back, then look in the magazine well to see if you can see daylight through the breach." She demonstrates, ejecting an unfired cartridge from her rifle.

Watching carefully, Carilena tries to replicate the movements as Monica demonstrates them, and as she does so she says, "Two years ago, I would have argued with them. Today-I do not think I would. It is a new world, w-" Whatever she was going to add gets lost as the blue cartridge gets ejected. She arches her left eyebrow and holds it up. "Blue?" she asks, curious. Cosmo leans in to sniff at the weapon, which Cari allows after a mere glance, thugh he doesn't seem to take further interest in it.

Monica watches Cari. This is the first time she's actually taught this herself. "Gee," she says. "There was one in it. Wonder how that got there?" She smiles. "That's actually a dummy cartridge, and I put it there on purpose. I would not intentionally hand someone a rifle loaded with a life cartridge without telling them, but I did test every rifle and set its sights up, so they've all been loaded, and I was working like 16 hour days when I made them. Shit does happen. So yeah. That's what ejecting a live one looks like. And yeah, don't trust the color coding with your life either. Rule 1 still applies.

"I think rule numero one would apply even if I were holding only the-barrel," says Carilena, who, yes, had to think for a beat on what that bit of the rifle was called. Still, she finishes, making sure to peek through and look for sunlight before looking back to Monica. "This is one reason I prefer Cosmo-when shit happens, too many ways a gun can hurt the user." No snark or sarcasm, therel simply a preference for working with her friend. She signed up for a reason, after all.

Monica nods. "That's 'cause he has a brain, and he's loyal. A gun's a power tool for killing stuff. No brain. No loyalty. Okay. Some stuff that isn't normal about M0 ammunition. You'll note that it has no brass case around it. We don't have that much brass, and I didn't want to spend my entire life manufacturing steel cases. So our ammunition is caseless. I didn't invent it. Back in the 80s, H&K was working on the G11 assault rifle which used similar ammunition, and back in 1850s, rifles like the sharps used nitrated paper cartridges that held the ball and powder. Anyway. The exterior of the cartridge is also the propellant, and it supports the primer button too. So the cartridges are a little more fragile. If you drop one, check it for cracks, or for the bullet being pushed in or loose. If it doesn't look right to you, throw it away. I ship cartridges in an aluminum brick that holds them and protects them. It also keeps them separate enough from each other that if one goes off, for whatever reason, your whole ammunition pouch doesn't go off.

"That seems-sensible," Carilena says with a short nod, likely having already forgot much of the history lesson. As foreign as guns are to her, though, that probably can't be too surprising. "So-if he bullet falls, look at it carefully. If it seems 'off', throw it away-but how is this done safely? Just because it may be damaged, that does not mean it cannot 'go off'. I would not want a child or horse to walk over one by accident."

Monica ponders that. "They're not that sensitive…normally…that they'd go off when stepped on. But with a crack that runs through the primer button…I guess stick it back in the brick. I don't know. I've only broken them in testing and production.

A nod to that, then Carilena says, "Add to this the weight of, say, a horse's foot." She looks to her mare, then, the way the muscles rippled as the beast shooed away flies. Almost enough to give one a phobia, realizing just how powerful the beasts could be. Looking back to Monica, she adds, "Perhaps we could somehow test the different ways they could fail?"

Monica nods and runs her hands through her hair. "Yeah. Safe disposal too. There's gotta be a way. H&K was prepared to roll these things out to the entire German military. On the other hand they used to make billiard balls out of this stuff, so it may be less fragile than I worry about."

"Then it would be like being worried about a gun only to find it is without bullets," offers Carilena, giving another of her small-but-brief smiles. "Better to be cautious needlessly than reckless dangerously-and I think you no more wish injury upon anyone than I, as much as you obviously care for our fellow survivors."

Monica nods. "Here's my provisional thought. If the cartridge is in pieces, just kick the primer dot away from the rest of it. Iron will rust, and nitrocellulose should be ok as a fertilizer. Get the primer dot wet on the inside, or stand back and chuck it into a fire where it will make a small bang, or something like that.

After a moment's thought, Carilena says, "I think that sounds like a good idea, yes." Short, simple, and to he point. It does seem like a good idea, after all. "So-what do we do now?" she asks, glancing down at Cosmo briefly, who's just looking around and listening to the wilderness.

Monica shakes her head a little sadly. "Back in the world we just took the stuff to the shooting range. They had a bucket for bad ammo, and it magically emptied. It's not anywhere near as dangerous without the gun around it, but still. I'll have to think about that." Mon shakes her head. "Thousands of rounds made, and other than shooting them I have no idea how to get rid of them. Go fig. Anyway." She reaches into her pouch and hands Carilena a magazine, then a second, then a brick of ammunition. "You'll want to find some kind of pouch to carry this stuff. These are all live rounds. Handle accordingly. So. You know how to unload your M0. Here's how to load it." She demonstrates slipping the rounds into the magazine. "There's a spring at the bottom, and it gets a little tight during loading. Which is how I broke the only rounds I've broken, before I got the spring tension right. It holds twenty rounds." Mon loads the cartridge she ejected back into her magazine. "slide the magazine in here until it clicks. Then pull the operating lever back as far as it will go to load. You'll notice that it doesn't go back as far with a magazine in it. This is to keep the unloader out of the way during normal operations. We don't need it. Normally there's nothing to extract once the cartridge is fired.

As before, Carilena does her best to mimic Monica's demonstration, her own movements much slower and uncertain. She's hesitant about getting the ammunition into the magazine, though after the first few begins to get a touch smoother with it. As she presses ammunition into the magazine, her brow furrows in concentration, until at last she manages to fill it up. As shown, she slides the magazine into the weapon, then pulls the operating lever back, the move a bit awkward from her trying to keep the weapon pointed downward. There's a gentleness about it that comes from being a complete novice, at best, but also having a healthy respect and even fear of the weapon. It's not a gentleness from being concerned she might break it, but that she might accidentally set it off.

You say, "Okay. Next, I need to tell you that your rifle is fully cocked and ready to fire. It has no safety. I tend to think safeties encourage unsafe behavior around the trigger, and they're a booger to make reliable, and add a lot to the parts count. But then I'm used to 19th century guns. Anyway. The M0 does have a half-cock position on the hammer. Point the rifle in a safe direction, make sure it's not going to clobber you from recoil if it does go off, and hook your thumb on the hammer. Hold on to it with your thumb, and squeeze the trigger. Then let it down halfway. The half-cock should keep the gun from firing, even if you do pull the trigger, but the phrase "going off half cocked" was coined for a reason." Mon demonstrates carefully. "Make sure you hang on to that hammer. It's got a pretty beefy spring behind it.""

As carefully as she can, Carilena does as directed. Keeping the rifle pointed downward, she pulls the hammer back with her thumb, lips pressing together for a moment from the exertion. She finally manages to do so, then eases her index finger around the trigger and sloowly begins to squeeze, until she can ease the hammer forward again. Once it's in the half-cocked position, she spares a glance at Monica, though her eyes swiftly return to the hammer as her thumb presses against it.

Monica finds herself cringing. "Yeahh… definitely should have told you this part while the thing was unloaded. Point it… a little further out, just in case. Did you feel the trigger dip into the half-cock position?

"I-think so?" says Carilena as she raises the end of the barrel a little. "I think it will take me a good few times to even begin to be sure of what I feel and hear from it."

You say, "Okay. Finger off the trigger and let the hammer move forward slowly. Sorry. I've been using guns with half-cocks since I was old enough to lift one.""

With another of her small smiles, Carilena says, "And I have not. Guns in the favelas weren't uncommon, but-nothing like this. I have never fired even one of those, so I don't yet have the experience." She'd almost shrug, were it not for wanting to pay attention to the rifle. And the attention paid to it is as she slowly does as directed, easing the hammer forward, little by little.

Monica draws her lips together as the hammer goes forward to where it starts to touch the firing pin. "Ok, stop there. Pull it back until it clicks once. One click is half cocked, two is full cocked.

"Once is half, two is full…" Carilena repeats quietly, trying to commit it to memory, as she eases the hammer back. She does it as slowly as before, so it is, to her, almost ages before she finally hears the click.

You say, "There you go. Now… it should never be able to fire on half-cock, but like I said, the phrase "going off half cocked" has been a catch phrase since the 18th century for a reason. Okay. When you're preparing to shoot the rifle, pull it up to your shoulder, like this." She demonstrates with hers. "There's a thing called the Chick Lean, where new shooters, especially women, tend to lean back and away from a gun, and it puts you off balance. Lean into it, like you're going to try to push the barrel into something. I weigh a hundred and twenty-nine pounds these days, and I've put probably a thousand rounds through this rifle so far. You can do it. It does kick, but it's not too bad. It's easier for guys. Their center of gravity is higher, so leaning into it takes only a tiny amount of lean."

Following the demonstration, Carilena sets the rifle to her right shoulder, adjusting it a few times so it looks more or less like how Monica holds hers, then she looks forward. Her right index finger rests against the trigger guard. She tries to mimic the forward-leaning stance, resting more of her weight on her left foot to do so, left hand fidgeting on the rifle a little bit before she finds a decent and comfortable way to grip it. "I imagine the generally-denser muscle mass helps them, too," she adds in a more conversational fashion as she adjusts her position in minute movements.

You say, "yeah, that too. There you go. Like that. Okay. There are three sights on this rifle. The one on the front, the one on the back close to your face, and the one right by your thumb that's folded down. The first two are called iron sights. They're good for short to medium range. The other one's called the tang sight. It's for long range. We'll cover that later. Meantime, line the front sight up with the rear sight, then adjust the rifle until that dead stump out there…" she points to one probably 30 yards away, "is just at the top of the front sight, and the front sight and the rear sight are the same height. Let me know if you have problems seeing it."

That makes Carilena arch her left eyebrow and glance at Monica again, then she looks ahead. Tilting her head to her right a bit,she peers down the rifle, closing her left eye so she can aim. Once shes' found the stump she opens that eye again, keeping her gaze pointed at the target. "In El Paso," she murmurs conversationally as she makes the tiniest adjustments, to make everything line up properly, "they used alleys and old cans. I think I like this better-out in the countryside."

Monica nods. "It's simpler, and there are miles and miles that way before there will be humans around, but…" She yells. "Can anyone hear me? We're going to be shooting here." She hears nothing back. "Okay. Finger off the trigger, hammer back to full-cock.

Keeping her index finger against the guard, Carilena grips the hammer with her thumb again, lips briefly pulling back as she exerts the force necessary to pull the things back some more. Just more evidence she wasn't just whistling Dixie about her lack of experience, as the effort alone is obvious.

Monica nods. "Easy. It's a stiff spring, but not that stiff. And… might want to keep your finger up here, along the bottom of the rifle. There's some discussion that reflexive action can pull your finger right into the trigger sometimes." She adjusts the finger. "Okay. Your rifle is hot and ready to shoot." Mon steps back a few steps. "What you do is this. Take a deep breath, let half of it out and squeeeze the trigger. It takes a little force. Not a lot, but this isn't a "breathe on it and it fires" trigger. We're going to fire, so aim, deep-breath, let half of it out, and squeeze. When you're ready.
<FS3> Carilena rolls Body: Failure.

Watching the other woman for a moment, Carilena studies her, then gives the tiniest of nods before returning her attention to her weapon. She takes a deep breath as she rechecks her alignment, and slowly begins to let it out as she slides her index finger around the triger. A pause-then she pulls the trigger and lets out the rest of her breath. The sharp CRACK is-either the gun or her shoulder, and she isn't sure which. All she knows is the moment she pulls the trigger, she felt like her mare kicked her square in the shoulder. It makes her exclaim something in Portuguese as her torso pivots away and her arm drops.

Monica reaches out to try and help catch the rifle. "Easy! Easy! Don't drop it, it's hot."

Carilena is only too happy to let Monica take the rifle, since her right arm is dangling limply. It frees up her left hand to go to her shoulder, touching it gingerly.

Monica nods. "Yeah. I'm sorry. I forgot one super-important thing. Pull it in tight. You don't want to give the gun room to move before it starts transferring force to your shoulder."

"That," Carilena says, barely moving her mouth, "would have been good to know, yes…" She rubs her shoulder a few inches in, though it likely isn't doing much good. At least it probably isn't broken, so there's that.

You say, "This is the first time I've taught anyone, and it's stuff I learned when I was eight. If it's any comfort, that was exactly the experience I had with shotguns the first time.""

Monica sets the rifle to half-cock, a little awkwardly, since she's not holding it normally.

"That does not bring much comfort, I must say…" Carilena murmurs, though at least there's an attempt at a smile as she does so. It's a small attempt, and one rather less than successful, but an attempt it is nonetheless.

Monica holds the rifle out to Carilena. "Sorry. I shoulda thought of that. I've test-fired this rifle. The suppressor works, so the recoil's normal. The crack is from the bullet going supersonic. You can hardly hear the thump of the propellant going off under it.

Carilena takes the rifle with her left hand, her right arm still hanging. It's quite likely one of those sorts of pains she's never felt before in her life. Her body is still reeling from it. "That knowledge is-interesting…" she manages to say, and not terribly insincerely.

Monica rubs Cari's shoulder. "Come on. Let's try it again."

<FS3> Carilena rolls Body: Success.
<FS3> Carilena rolls Firearms: Good Success.

Grimacing as she moves her right arm, Carilena once more takes position, lifting the weapon and peering down along it. After a moment, she exhales, then slowly inhales once more. Letting out that breath, she slips her index finger back around the trigger and pulls. This time she remembers what Monica said about tightening, so makes sure the rifle butt has nowhere to go before it transfers the force. The rifle cracks, lifting in the air as her torso moves back and pivots, and she looks in the distance at the small cloud of dust or smoke that emanates from the stump.

Monica beams. "You got it! Rifle's hot. Shoot it again!"

Once more, Carilena grits her teeth and sets the rifle against her shoulder, keeping it snugly there once more. Taking aim, she fires again-the puff of smoke telling her she got it a bit off-center that time, but she still hit the tmp, and right then she'll count that as a win.

Monica grins. "Awesome! Go ahead and put it on half-cock and let's give your shoulder a rest for a few."

Carilena is only too grateful for the chance for a break-and it's only then, after half-cocking the rifle and lowering it that she realizes Cosmo had fled. They'd been around the guns at El Paso, of course, but not that close. He's a few dozen yards away, staring at her. He only begins to approach when he sees her lowering the weapon and she beckons to him with her left hand, though he isn't exactly rushing back.

Monica nods. "You'll want to arrange a sling. A women's belt works pretty well. That's what I use on mine. And you'll want some kind of pouch to haul your magazines and your extra ammo in. I use the same one I used to feed my cap-and-ball guns, but a good sized purse or camera case will work." She watches Cosmo. "As long as he stays behind you when the shooting starts, he's fine." Unsaid is that things could go terribly wrong if he's in front. Mon tries to be at least a little sensitive. She feels the same way about Chester. Who's looked up from eating the wild grass and batted his ears, but seems otherwise unimpressed.

"I think I have something like these things," says Carilena as she crouches, giving Cosmo a reassuring scruffing. It seems to calm him down some, and even gets his tail to wag, if only a little, and if limply. "When Sheriff Terry took Avery and I scavenging, he helped us find many things." A beat, then as Cosmo sits at her feet, she looks up to Monica. "What-do you think, when people choose to not live with others, at a camp or something like this?" she asks a touch more quietly.

Monica looks out toward the stump, and pauses to unload her rifle while she thinks. "I think some people have gotten so screwed up that they're too…paranoid, too afraid…or too afraid of losing someone else to want to be around other people. Or some of the people who've survived were antisocial to begin with." Sheputs the cartridges back in the magazine and puts the mag back in the rifle but doesn't load it before slinging the rifle to her shoulder. "I don't know what we should do about those people either. If anything. I mean, eventually camp hope's going to expand to fill the whole town. When we have the people, I think we should expand the perimeter around the whole town. Maybe…make a deal with the outliers that they can join up, or we'll set them up in Sunray or something. But real antisocials? People who'd be in jail or mental institutions? My gut instinct is that we don't have the resources to keep them around. Banish, and if they won't stay away…" she passes her hand across her throat in a cutting motion. "I don't like the idea…because I was pretty antisocial when I got here, even if I didn't let on. But we are resource-tight right now. Especially people-power. Same reason your gun doesn't have a safety, besides my personal preference. It adds parts, and I have to make all those parts for all those guns, and there are so many hours in a day.

Looking back down to Cosmo, Carilena is silent a few moments, thinking on all of that. She scruffs the dog's head, neck, and upper back, slowly putting him at ease again. Finally, she exhales and looks back up. "The other day-some of us went to investigate sites for possible shelters. There was a ranch-a few miles in I think this direction." She nods to the north-west. "We did not see who lived there-but someone did. We approached, sneaking, and were seen. We left. I think we should go back, openly, perhaps with a backpack of supplies to offer, whether or not they listen, whether or not they agree. But-we do need people. And we will need a place where we can safely house others when we try to-deal with the ship. But-I am new, I am still on probation. I do not think the others think my idea has merit."

Monica looks at Carilena and nods. "Kind of like taking in strays. That works for me. And yeah. I don't know what the plan is for dealing with the ship beyond the basics. I mean yeah, I know what Devon's up to, more or less, but I don't know what the others want as a fallback plan. In case he doesn't get the job done. I'm assuming there will be evacuation plans, but nobody's talked to me about them. I keep thinking…steal a train. But track needs maintenance as much as roads do, so I don't know. A train would certainly move and house all of us all at once. But as far as taking in people and you being on probation… You've been here more than a week, you've helped out a ton already. If nobody else is going to do it officially, here's my take. I want you to do what you just described as a research project. That puts it in my bailiwick. I'm taking you in as my assistant on that project, and on the strength of that, I'm going to say you're welcome as a full member. This may ruffle some feathers, but they can come talk to me if they have a problem with it. The whole delegation of authority was so the Mayor doesn't have to do it all the way he did when I got here. I'll tell Terry and the gang on the wall you're a full member unless the mayor says you're not.

Monica adds, "You want to shoot some more? You need to be comfortable with it before we move on to long range shooting."
<FS3> Carilena rolls Firearms: Failure.

"Yes," say Carilena, giving Cosmo one final scruffing before she stands erect once more. A snap of her fingers and a wave-to-point outward makes Cosmo begin to walk away again, though he looks back at her, uncertain. That she's raising the rifle again seems to answer any questions. As she settles the rifle against her shoulder again, she says, "I thank you, for everything. I have enough supplies in my home to make a-gift basket, you would say?-and I can take it to the ranch. Some food, a first-aid kid, clothes. Not much, but enough, I hope, to get them to listen." A beat, then she re-sights the tree stump. "It will be an-interesting research project," she says more quietly, then lets out her breath and pulls the trigger-only the grimace but not just from the discomfort. Not even a hint of smoke anywhere as she twists and lets the rifle sweep upward. Whatever she says in Portuguese can't be particularly kind.

Monica nods. "Had to miss eventually. It's ok. Go ahead and shoot the rest of the magazine. I planned for this with thirty people. I have cases of ammunition."

"Alright," says Carilena, bringing the rifle down and before her once more. She'll proceed to shoot the rest of the magazine as instructed.

Monica smiles, and chuckles a little. "It's weird. I feel like my baby's growing up. And I'm not sure if it's the rifle or my first student." She looks at the mutilated stump. "'Course now comes the less fun part. Here's the thing. When nitrocellulose burns, it makes a certain amount of soot. Also, a certain amount of the bullet gets rubbed off inside the gun. Very tiny amounts, but they add up. Since we're done shooting for today, unless we're attacked or something on the way back, so it's time for me to teach you to clean the gun. I'll also give you a short tour of what's in it and where all the parts go. In the military, or so I'm told, they teach you so you can field strip the gun and put it back together blindfolded. I'm pretty much there, but I've had this mechanism in my head for over a year. It was something to do with my brain while I was out in the wilderness.

<OOC> Monica doesn't figure on walking you through the whole procedure on-camera. basically the mechanism works like this one (if you can watch video, watch from 4.01 minutes to the end.) [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GadzX6vPl8Y]"

<OOC> Monica says, "the big differences are there's a magazine sticking out the left side horizontally, and the bottom of the rolling block loads the next cartridge as the block opens, since there's no empty cartridge to deal with. And there's a gas piston/cylinder that powers the whole shebang so it happens automatically."

"You are also very familiar with this design, I think," Carilena points out as Cosmos cautiously pads back over. "Your experience in the play-acting you have mentioned-I think this makes sense that such a mechanism was-in your head-for so long. Like I would think of raising dogs to make part of all families, teach people how to think with their dog, speak with their dog, because that is my experience." She aims the rifle at the ground, there, giving Cosmo a smile as he stops nearby.

Monica nods. "Yeah." She smiles a little. "I keep being surprised how useful a lot of that stuff turns out to be. I mean…I survived on it for years." The smile fades. "Including the fast draw and shooting."

"Many wars are fought far from home," says Carilena as she crouches, to give Cosmo some more scruffing, "whether one is attacker or defender. This means one needs skills like tracking, navigation, assessing threats-and proper re-enactments of these would likely include these abilities as well." Her left hand begins drifting over Cosmo's back, fingers digging through the fur just enough.

Monica nods. She watches Cosmo. "We'll need to keep dog management as a skill. Domesticated animals are…smart power tools. And friends.

That makes Carilena smile again, though the amusement is more of a wry sort. "That is the way most people see them," she says a bit more quietly. "Tools. Dogs-can never be thought as tools. They are family. Treat them like this, they will be more than friends. They will tell you things if you learn to ask. They will help in many areas, in ways a tool never can."

Monica looks at Cosmo curiously. "Family?" She looks deep into the dog's liquid eyes. "Are you family, Cosmo?"

The dog looks up at Monica and wags his tail slowly, as Carilena gives a small chuckle. "As I said-one must learn to ask. They do not speak our languages well-though many dogs can know specific words, and most can learn your body language and tone."

Monica nods. "Yeah…" She smiles. "Kinda wish I could have a dog, but dogs in machine shops are a bad, bad idea. At the very least they get crud in their fur."

"Perhaps we can figure something out," says Carilena as she looks down to Cosmo again. "Having their love and friendship, being able to have someone to give that love and friendship to-it is worth anything." A beat, then she stands up once more. "Now-you mentioned cleaning the weapons."

Monica nods. "It's harder in the field. One thing to add to your pouch is a hunk of old bedsheet or something." She lays out the folded cloth from her pouch and lays her rifle out on it. She opens the cavity in the buttstock and gets out the cleaning kit. "There are also spare front seals in there." She opens the cowling, shows Carilena where to look for leaks in the ring seal, then slowly pulls the rifle apart, showing each piece, how it works, and laying it out on the sheet.

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