Chapter 10

Ætherglow #194


You’ve had this routine pressed into your head as long as you can remember, and would never make such an amateur mistake as not verifying the status of your weapon. You turn it over to visually confirm that no magazine is inserted. Then you throw the sling over your body and adjust it to a comfortable place. Next, you find the weapon’s ID in the local network and connect it to your system.

Registered user Aydan confirmed, it flashes onto your visual field. Each one of these weapons was registered to a particular person before you arrived, and nobody else should be able to fire it without your permission, another feature of a technopath’s weapon.

You bring up its HUD overlay onto your vision, showing you it is in SAFE mode and its ARM condition is FALSE. You pick up a magazine and start loading it from the bin of little metal rods on the table.

“Have you shot guns before, Aydan?” Zeta says, getting itself situated as well.

“Yeah, my mom taught me when I was little. I guess it was right around the time my brother disappeared, she started taking self defense for me very seriously,” you say. “Plus, had to get started preparing me for the job they signed me up for. What about you?”

“Yeah, I have, being from a technopath family and all,” it says. “But hopefully I’ll go into something like Obfuscation and not have to be in a position where I’m likely to be in a gunfight.”

“I’ll be an officer, so, who knows.” You load the last rod into your magazine and insert it into the weapon.

Professor Arak addresses the class. “Because of the limited number of lanes, share them in pairs of two.” You and Zeta go to find an open lane. “Remember not to become overconfident. Today is a simple introduction to the weapon platform, but the real skills you need to master are not merely hitting a target under controlled conditions. Later we will be practicing a lot of drills for multiple target transition, shooting while moving, making use of cover and concealment, and eventually shooting in microgravity also. And as always, shield your weapon as well as you would your own mind. Your skill is meaningless if your gun is hacked.”

“Want to go first?” Zeta says.

“Sure.” You raise your weapon and activate the visual overlay, showing you a bright line in your vision marking the projected path of fire. You reach out mentally to connect to the target positioning motor, and move your target out to ten meters to start with. You set your line of fire to the center of the target and set ARM condition TRUE. You fire your group. It’s very smooth, you don’t notice recoil from it at all, and quiet, you only hear the click of the trigger and the echoed sound of the bullet striking metal down the tunnel. The weapon itself is perfectly balanced in your hands, effortless to control, and manipulating its settings is as simple as adjusting volume or brightness on your terminal. It truly is so simple a child could use it, the peak of military technology.

“You’re pretty good Aydan!” Zeta says. Your group was very good, it seems like anybody’s would be with this weapon.

“Try it yourself,” you say.

Zeta takes its turn, and hits a group about as good as yours. “Wow, it really is that easy.”

You step up to take your next turn. Looking for more of a challenge, you position your target at 30 meters. You find the target and arm your weapon, ready to fire. But just when you are about to pull the trigger, a message notification flashes at the top of your visual field. It’s from ÆON.

Will you check it?

1) Switch over to messages to see what it is: 4 (50.0%)
2) Æ can wait until after my group: 4 (50.0%)
Expired 10 months ago (2023-06-02 15:01:31)