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Zodiac Forces Serial: Part 83
Part 83 When Alex arrived at Kimberly's classroom he found two other scorpio-in-training peering at a note on the door. 'Meet at the outdoor long range.' There was no signature, but the door remained locked. They all jogged across campus to make it there on time. Kimberly frowned at their not-quite-late arrival, but didn't comment. "It's your lucky day, folks." She pointed at her first student, "One." Her finger moved, "Two." All the way down the line, "Three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine." She gestured to the black cases stacked at her feet. "Find your matching weapon." These were new, whatever they were. The cases glossed perfectly black, no scuffs on the corners or latches. No sign of wear at all. They had engraved numbers carved into one face, three digits only. Sequential. Everyone found their case. Alex brushed his fingers across 027 and wondered if Scorpio always got to test out the new toys first. He grinned and popped the case. The weapon inside consisted of three major pieces plus a handful of accessories. Every inch shined with glossy paint. The number zero two seven dug in on the stock, black on black. He couldn't wait to fire it. Kimberly lectured about wifi recording, server sync with the Zodiac systems, and a laundry list of tech upgrades Alex wanted to drool over later. He accepted a box of rubber bullets that clinked. He couldn't wipe the toothy smile off his face. She walked them through assembly. Disassembly. Assembly. Until everyone understood how it was supposed to go. By the time she let them loose on the range Alex shook with excitement. The weapon wasn't much heavier than his other rifle, but each click and slide of hardware pushed into place like slipping on astroglide. The entire scope rotated around for receiving the next bullet. An optical trigger blinked green. The whole system felt like a computer waiting for input. Alex spent a half hour dialing in the scope to his preference. Kimberly stuck around only long enough to make sure they wouldn't shoot each other. When Alex emptied his box of bullets he frowned his disappointment. Someone dropped another box next to him, Alex looked up at one of the women in his class. "Thanks." "She left a case for us." A thumb gesture. Alex spotted it behind him beside the demonstration table. "Sweet." "You always shoot left?" "I prefer it." Alex said, "But I can do either." "The action isn't awkward?" "It's weird on our older rifles, but this one... this is so cool. Do you know if we're keeping them?" She shrugged as she regained her prone position, "She didn't say leave them behind." Alex nodded. He spent several hours learning the new rifle until the last box of bullets sat empty beside him.
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