Approx. 1400 words
All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2015 SJ
written by SJ
“It’s not too many Special Ops teams that return with more team members than they started.” Major Taliaferro joked.
She had to think second, then remembered. “Oh, Ricardo. Well, I don’t think he can be considered an actual member of my team. I doubt he’ll ever be able get an Ops certificate...” She thought of Bull and Gannon, joking. “After all, I’m still working hard to get Certificates for the other two big bozos.”
“Did they finished while I was gone?”
“Certificates?” The Major answered. “No.”
“Well, it’s just a matter of time and patience.”
“Probably so.” He looked at his desk, found some papers and slid them to her. “Have you heard of these star systems.”
As the Sol Frontier began to expand beyond the 50 light years around the Sol solar system, they divided the surrounding quadrants of 100 light years into sectors. The center sector was Sol (located in the absolute center of that was the Sol solar system, with the coordinates x0.0, y0.0, z0.0); therefore, the actual name of the Zeta Draconis solar system was Sol Zeta Draconis. The upper left sector was Sol1, then Sol2, then Sol3. Below that was Sol5, Sol, Sol6, below that was Sol6, Sol7, Sol8.
Lana examined the list of star systems:
“I remember hearing about Sol6 1Centaurus. She looked at the Major with interest, asking, “didn’t it had some ruins from an ancient civilization--a modern, maybe, space age civilization?”
“They’re sure of that now. The other systems have planets with exactly the same type of ruins. Which means, they must’ve had some means to colonize other worlds.” He looked at his computer. “And, it seems they’ve found a fifth system, Sol6 5Centaurus. Some of the planets have very little oxygen left, plus areas of hazardous fumes and radiation, and anyone going down to the planet would need at least a breather. But, the closest one, Sol6 1Centaurus, it’s been cleared, and they’ve already sent down some people to do research. The other two, they’ve just started examining those using the usual probes and drones.”
He looked at her and commented. “I mentioned this because they sent me a request for a Special Ops team to escort them.”
He sighed. “I told them no. An archeological dig is no place for an Ops team. Plus, we’ve got more important things going on right now. If they want some guards, hired some mercs.”
“So, there’s no danger?”
“They’ve had probes checking that place out for almost two years. It’s a dead world. The only danger is if a building falls on them.” He sighed. “They don’t need our help to prevent that.”
Another month came an went on Cheyenne. Lana’s official team was: Master Sergeant (SM8) Jennifer Dakota (unless she was needed elsewhere), Sergeant (SM5) Hank Ramcke, and Corporal (SM4) Sammy Burns, plus Archibald “Gannon” Shannon (promoted to SM6), and Sergeant (SM5) John “Bull” Hodge, even though, since they were officially part of first squad, had to be on call during a scenario in which they were not needed in their assigned squad.
Yes, they finally got their Ops Certificates.
Melinda Dion had her own team: Staff Sergeant (FG6) Nikolai Petrovsky, Corporal (FG4) Jesse Koufax, and Corporal (FG4) Lucynda de la Vega.
On a bright, sunny, afternoon, Lana was called over to the Base armory to look at a couple new weapons. There, waiting for her, was Major Taliaferro and Sergeant Petrovsky. Displayed on a table were two weapons.
The Major smiled at her. “I think we may have solved your sniper rifle problem.”
Even though Lana scored expert with the Marine sniper rifle, it remained a rather heavy and cumbersome weapon for her. On the part of the table closest to her, he pointed out a small, strange-looking, sniper rifle:
The weapon was barely 900 millimeters long; the metal parts were dark, and it had a wooden stock, which was open in the center in two places. The barrel was 200mm in length, the whole of it appearing like a silencer, which was what it basically was. It had a Federal Marine scope which was about one third the size of the weapon, located in the center. The Major let Nikolai explain it:
“I found the original of this weapon in a Planetary Guard armory on Neubayern-3. I had been looking for Old Earth weapons that could be traced back to a country called, Russia. When I found this weapon, I purchased it from them, then I took it back to the Federal Armory, where my brothers remade and upgraded it to auto rifle specifications. The original I kept and is now in my collection.”
Auto rifles, auto pistols, and those like it were Old Earth weapons remade using modern, present-day, metals, and materials, and with rail-gun-enhanced ammunition, which normally meant they fired a bullet that was about twice as powerful as the original. Most of them, like Lana’s 9.1 pistols, looked very much like the original.
Nikolai continued. “This is called the VSS ‘Vinovka’ sniper rifle. The full name of the original was Vinovka Snaiperskaja Spetialnaya. This one fires a 9.1mm sniper rifle bullet, and with a small adjustment, can fire 9.1mm pistol bullets. It can fire semi-automatic, or full-automatic. The original weighed 7.5 pounds (with a scope), this one, (with the scope is has on), only weighs 6.5 pounds. Up to 500 meters you can use the scope and fire semi or full auto; up to 750 meters, aimed shot is better. It has an extended range up to 1500 meters, but starts to do very poorly beyond 750 meters. It uses twenty-round clips.”
He picked it up and handed it to her.
“A sniper rifle that shoots automatic. That’s unusual.” Lana examined the weapon.
Nikolai looked at her holding the small rifle, then spoke. “Look at the two of them. It’s almost like they were made for each other.”
The Major agreed. “They’re both, small and deadly.”
Lana smiled and sighed, then joked, “yeah, that’ll look real nice on my dating profile.”
There were a couple chuckles.
“Well, I still need to try it out.” She examined the scope. “This is a Federal PSO-88. That’s a good scope.” She looked the Major. “Is this weapon on loan? Or...”
“No, it’s yours, scope and all, if you want it?” The Major smiled. “We traded for it--”
“Look at this.” Excited, Nikolai pointed at the other weapon on the table. “This is a VAL ‘silenced’ assault rifle; it’s an original and it fires the same bullets as the VSS did. I’ve been looking all over the Galaxy for one.”
“I can see the resemblance.” Lana mentioned. “The stock on the VAL is metal and looks like it folds up.”
Nikolai picked it up and folded up the stock, showing it, then placed it back on the table. He pointed at the barrel. “The barrels on both weapons were fully silenced in the same way...as are the auto versions.”
“You’ve already got an auto version of the VAL?” She asked.
“Not yet.” Nikolai smiled. “I have two brothers that work at the Federal Armory. They will make one and sent it to me. I don’t think it will take them very long since most of the parts are the same or similar to the VSS.”
“Nikolai gave us his ammunition for it.” The Major mentioned. “So you can try out your new sniper rifle right away. Nikolai has volunteered to show you how it works, and how to disassemble and reassemble it.”
“This was your weapon?” She looked at Nikolai, wondering why he was giving it up.
Before she asked, he explained. “I was never very good with sniper rifles. I am very happy to trade it to you for an original VAL.”
“Thanks. We can go to the range after lunch.”
After a few days, Melinda and her team were called away by the General; he had been impressed by the job she had done on Cornucopia, and wanted her team to continue on with the good work, remain as primarily an Investigation team.
However, approximately two months after Melinda’s team had left, the Base was put on alert; the next day Colonel Gallardo called a meeting.
At first, everyone thought they were being sent back to Cornucopia. But, they would soon learn they were going much further away--VERY much further.