Introduced by the Belgian company FN Herstal in 1991, the P90 was developed in the late 1980′s as a response to a NATO request for a new caliber to replace the 9mm Para. As a result, the FN P90 would create a new class of military firearm, the Personal Defense Weapon (PDW). As far back as the 18th century, there was a need for light, compact weapons designed specifically for rear echelon units, units which were not expected to enter into front line combat, but still at risk of being ambushed and being thrust into combat. Such personnel included artilleryman, vehicle drivers, communications personnel, signalers, messengers, and other support troops. These troops needed weapons which were light and compact so that they didn’t hinder the soldier’s main task, but effective enough that the soldier could defend himself. In the 18th and 19th century rear echelon soldiers typically carried musketoons and carbines, which were often shortened versions of the standard issue infantry musket. During World War I pistols, pistol carbines and short rifles were common. During World War II submachine guns became popular as well as short rifles and carbines.
The FN P90 was introduced for this purpose, but differed greatly from all other carbines, short rifles, and submachine guns that came before it. As a PDW, the P90 used a new kind of small caliber high velocity cartridge. The intermediate cartridge used in modern assault rifles was designed to be a compromise between a submachine gun and high powered bolt action or semi automatic rifles. It was developed to be smaller in caliber and shorter than say a .30-06, .303 British, 8mm Mauser, or 7.62x54R, and thus having less range and power, but more powerful and with greater range than pistol or submachine gun cartridges such as th 9x19mm Para or .45ACP. The concept behind the intermediate cartridge was to replicate the firepower of the submachine gun, but still maintain accuracy and range sufficient for battlefield use. The P90 uses a cartridge shorter than the intermediate cartridge, but longer than a pistol cartridge. The new cartridge introduced was the FN 5.7x28mm.
Essentially the 5.7x28mm cartridge was a further compromise between the submachine gun and the assault rifle. While shorter than an intermediate cartridge, it produces more range and accuracy than a submachine gun. What is also special about the 5.7x28 is it’s small caliber 20-40 grain bullet, which despite being small, packs an incredible punch with a muzzle velocity between 2,200 - 2,800 feet per second depending of grainage. Compare this to the 5.56x45mm cartridge used in assault rifles which has a muzzle velocity of around 3,000+ feet per second, and the 9mm Para, a common pistol cartridge, which has a muzzle velocity of around 1,000 -1,300 feet per second. As a result the 5.7x28mm is rated as being able to puncture level IIIA kevlar armor at a range of 300m. The 5.7x28mm cartridge is also known for being very accurate, with a very flat trajectory. Finally, since it is a very small cartridge, soldiers can carry more ammunition. When paired with the P90 the cartridge allows for 50 round standard capacity magazines, whereas most assault rifles have 30 round capacity mags.
The magazines are also unique in that they are top mounted horizontally. The P90 has a blistering firing rate of 900 rounds per minute, which is aided by the cartridge’s light recoil, allowing for very controlled fully automatic fire. Recoil is also managed with a muzzle brake which also functions as a flash suppressor. The P-90 can also be fired in semi automatic with the flick of a selector switch. Spent casings are ejected downward through a chute in the grip.
Aiding its purpose as a light rear echelon weapon, the P-90′s bullpup design makes it a very compact weapon, being only 20 inches in length and weighing 5.7lbs. The P90 was also designed the be completely ambidextrous; equally suitable for both right and left handed users. Another unique standard feature of the P90 is a reflex sigh, with regualr v-notch iron sights for backup. Optimum range is around 200 meters.
Despite its unique features the P90 hasn’t been heavily popular, with only around 17,000 being produced. In fact, the PDW concept has been slow to get off the ground. Nor has the 5.7x28mm replaced the 9mm Para, despite FN having also introduced a pistol chambered for it called the FN Five-seven. However, the P90 has been adopted for use by special forces of 40 nations. Some law enforcement agencies have also adopted the P90, most notably the US Secret Service because it is a weapon that packs a lot of firepower, but is compact enough to hide under a coat. The P90 saw some use among special forces deployed during the Persian Gulf War, and some have made their way into the hands of Libyan and Syrian rebels. However, the P90 lacks a serious battlefield history.
While the P90 has not yet fulfilled it’s role as a rear echelon weapon, there is one role that I must point out that the P90 has fulfilled beautifully. A role that I’m sure is on the back of the minds of many people readings this and probably the only reason the P90 is recognizable in pop culture. Due to the P90′s futuristic design, it made a perfect weapon for use in Science Fiction films and TV shows. Probably the most notable was was in the SciFi TV series Stargate SG-1 and it’s spin off series Stargate Atlantis, the P90 becoming the weapon of choice of Stargate command and being featured in most episodes. As a science fition geek, I would consider Stargate SG1′s use of the P90 to be almost as iconic as the phaser in Star Trek and blaster in Star Wars. Indeed Startgate SG1 probably made a better advertisement for FN Herstal’s PDW than any battlefield performance reports.
Fire and retreat from Replicators
“This is a weapon of terror, it’s made to intimidate the enemy. This is a weapon of war, it’s made to kill the enemy.”
Bullpup rifle chambered in .223 Remington/5.56x45mm. The civilian model has been discontinued although the military model is still in service with several countries. This is an early generation model that has the integrated optical sight. An aftermarket tri-rail handguard was added, although a later generation model offered it as a standard option. One unique aspect of this bullpup is that spent casings are ejected out from the front of the receiver. (GRH)
About a month and a half ago I used my tax refund to buy this beautiful new lever action rifle. The Henry Big Boy is a lever action produced by Henry Repeating Arms Co., one of their many lever action products. Mine is chambered in .357 magnum, many of their rifles are chambered in pistol caliber cartridges, hearkening back to the days of the Old West when Winchester lever actions were chambered in cowboy pistol cartridges such as .44-40 and .45 Colt. The Henry Big Boy comes in .357, .44 mag, and .45 colt. Since mine is .357, it can also feed and chamber .38 special as well. I bought this possibly as a short range hunting rifle, something to use when I don’t feel like using my flintlock. Plus, since it can fire .38 special, it is a very economical plinking gun. .357 is a fairly powerful pistol cartridge, but from a rifle it sports some very impressive ballistics, and it’s certainly good enough to take medium sized game at short ranges.
The most notable feature of the Big Boy is its brass frame. They also offer the same model with an iron frame, a checkered stock, and rubber butt pad. I considered buying that one because it would probably be more practical as a rifle to lug through thick woods. However the lovely gleam of it’s brass frame, brass butt plate, and brass barrel bands was too much to resist. It will probably get scratched, oh well, it was worth it. The rifle features a neat hexagon barrel, adding to its nostalgic old timey look and giving you the feeling that you are handling an old fashioned cowboy gun. It features a ten round fixed magazine, which is loaded through a loading port at the end of the barrel. To load the magazine port must be twisted and magazine rod removed. Then you insert the cartridges one at a time, then re-insert the magazine rod.
When I first bought this rifle the magazine rod was very hard to twist and operate. However the more and more I work it, the more its wearing in and its becoming progressively easier.
Often the Henry Golden Boy and Big Boy is mistaken as a replica of the American Civil War era Henry M1860 lever action rifle. However this is not true. Rather, the Big Boy is almost like a hybrid of a Henry rifle, a Winchester Model 1866, and a Marlin Model 336. It has the loading port system and tube magazine of the Henry, the forearm and brass frame of a Winchester M1866, and a Marlin action. Regardless you still get this feeling of handling and firing an antique cowboy lever gun, a must for my tastes. The sights are simple, featuring and adjustable ramp rear sight and a front post sight.
Another feature I must mention is a transfer bar, which means you can have the hammer uncocked and down on a round without risk of accidental discharge, which is probably the most important modern feature on a rifle with design elements dating to the 19th century.
With .357 the action is very smooth and operates without any problem. I did some plinking with both .357 and .38 special. I purchased some cheap bottom shelf ammo not thinking about the possibility of feeding issues. Problem is I bought this really cheap .38 special ammo that used lacquered steel casings, and ejection was certainly is issue. I later bought some better quality .38 special with brass casings and found they fed with far less issues, though the action isn’t as smooth as with .357 and you kind of have to work the lever harder and faster to ensure proper feeding and ejection. The recoil is very light, even firing .357 magnum. Recoil wise I would compare it to 7.62x39. So it will definitely save your shoulder despite the brass buttplate.
At first I just did some simple close range plinking at steel swivel targets at 25 yards. The rifle hits right on at that range and it certainly is a fun plinker. Then I took it to the 100 yard range to see what I can do. I must admit I had a bit of a handicap shooting, I work night shift and it was a particularly bright day. So my eyes were very sensitive to light and my vision a bit blurry. I think I’m turning into a vampire.
I was shooting from a bench rest with open sights, using Fiocchi .357 magnum ammo with 142 grain bullets. I was firing three rounds groups. First I tested it at 50 yards. At 50 yards the target and visible and well defined. Note that each increment on the grid is one inch.
The first group shot to the right and high aiming at the bull. I decided to play with the adjustable ramp sight, lowering it one increment. The result was the 2nd group, which shot low. Thus I reset the sight and adjusted but aiming low, and to the left, resulting in the third group. At 50 yards it shoots on average 1-2 inch groupings.
I then continued by shooting at 100 yards. At 100 yards the front sight completely covers the bullseye and black portion of the target.
Despite increasing range to 100 yards it still shot high, in fact it shot much higher than at 50 yards. The first grouping I was aiming right for the bull, resulting again in a high group, with one shot completely off the target. I can only assume know that the .357 magnum’s ballistic arc from this rifle is much more considerable than I had previously imagined. Thus I adjust the the ramp sight down one increment. Like at 50 yards it then shot too low (2nd group). So I reset the sight and decided to aim low, resulting in the third group. At 100 yards it shoots around 2-3 inch groupings on average.
In my final test, I went back to 50 yards. This time I was not using the bench rest, instead firing off hand. Nor was I taking time with my shots. Basically the scenario was that I am the sheriff of a western town and some outlaws are up to no good and I have to deal with them. So I was shooting as quickly as possible while keeping rounds on target. This was the result.
Now I must say this is no tack driver, nor is it a long range rifle, and I bought it with that expectation. Ballistics data using a 140 grain bullet show that it has a drop of -.2 inches at 100 yards and -5 inches at 150 yards. So 100 yards is probably the edge of its optimum range. Mine seems to shoot high, but I still would not go beyond 100 yards. That is fine to me since where I traditionally hunt it is thick woods and there is rarely any continuous ground more than 75 yards. With a scope you could probably get much better range and accuracy out of it. I imagine that if I was using much better quality ammunition with hotter loads, say +P or buffalo bore ammunition, the groupings would tighten considerably at 100 yards and the adjustable sites will be much more useful. I shall try that some time in the future and post the results.
My final comments on the Henry Big Boy had to do with its quality. Originally I wanted to buy a Rossi Circuit Judge in .410/.45 long colt, most because of the allure of a revolving rifle. However, I had seen many complaints about the quality of it and manufacturing flaws. Plus it carried the Taurus name (Rossi is owned by Taurus), a Brazilian company which has a reputation for iffy quality control. So I decided to ditch the Circuit Judge. I also looked at the Ross M1892 lever action rifle, also in .357/38 and also made by Taurus. It was $300 cheaper (the Henry cost $730), but when I saw it in person I was not impressed. The metal work was OK, as was the metal finish, done satisfactorily but nothing thrilling. However the wood and wood finish looked bad, as if it had been done by either child labor, a drunk, or someone who just didn’t really care about what they were doing. It was really off putting. The Henry looks like a rifle of unparalleled quality at first glance. It looks like someone made them with an eye for detail and with uncompromising quality in mind. I also own a Henry lever action in .22LR as well, although with a steel frame, and I can say the same for it. When the sales person took it out of the box I immediately blurted “holy shit, that’s a beautiful rifIe.” I can’t stress the quality of workmanship that goes into Henry rifles, they are more than just firearms, they are works of art. They are the only metallic cartridge firearms I own and I have no plans nor feel the need to buy any other modern firearms again. Instead I want to focus my collection on antique muzzleloaders or replicas of antique muzzleloaders. So for me the quality of the Henry trumps all else, its a rifle you can own for a lifetime and can be passed down from generation to generation.
OU my god okay can you do each of the companions with sole sniping raiders or smth and the companion starts to just feel really hot and bothered (rlly hard/wet) and sole asks them if they’re ok bc they’re literally sweating and theyre like um yea?? (what’s going on w me??) and then the companion literally just comes in their pants and groAN (subconsciously bc of sole??) LMFAO SORRY THID IS SO WACK
I legit laughed for ages after reading this request XD
Sole cocked the something on their sniper rifle, ejecting the case and firing
another raider, blasting their head from their shoulders.
“Oh my god,” Cait
mumbled from behind Sole’s shoulder, groaning in the process. She startled
herself for a moment and Sole too as they turned around with a raised eyebrow,
smirking slightly as their eyes studied Cait’s.
“Are you alright Cait?”
They asked, trying not to laugh and Cait nodded with a flustered look on her
face. Sole turned back around, scoping in and shooting another clueless raider
in the chest.
“On second thoughts. I
think we should get outta here, you caused this, you can damn well fix it,” She
pulled Sole by the collar of their vault suit, yanking them into nearby cover
to ‘fix her problem’.
Curie found herself being turned on by the strangest of things and watching
Sole take out a hostile Deathclaw from a distance was no exception. Curie
hummed in excitement as that horney feeling overwhelmed her to the point she
was a breathing mess. Only she didn’t quite know what was happening to her or
“Curie? You’re looking a
little red,” Sole said with a concerned tone of voice, Curie shook her head,
trying to figure out what was wrong with herself.
“I’m fine, Madame/
monsieur,” she insisted, trying to fan her burning cheeks with her hands. She
was ok? Wasn’t she? Suddenly, she was shaking lighting, coming down from, what
felt like pure bliss. Curie closed her eyes for a moment, wondering what the
hell just happened to her.
He’d never found himself in such a compromising position before and he wasn’t equipped
in power armour either, which made things ten times worse. He crouched next to
Sole who was behind cover, reloading after they’d hit a dozen beautiful shots
on some Gen Two Synths. He groaned loudly making Sole stop dead in their
tracks, their eyes wide. Danse tried to distract them by coughing but Sole wasn’t
“What was that?” Sole
asked, a grin stretching across their face. Danse’s face was all shades of red
as he looked at Sole, standing up and then only wishing he hadn’t, “Oh,” Sole’s
eyes flicked from Danse’s crotch to his face, “Well this isn’t awkward,” Sole
joked trying to hold back from bursting out with laughter. Danse didn’t know
what to say, instead he just excused himself, needing to ‘cool off’ and get a
change of clothes.
Deacon furrowed his eyebrows trying to focus on pointing out targets for Sole,
he drew his lip between his teeth as Sole ripped another Synth to shreds with
their excellent sniper skills. He shook his head, trying to clear it, he was
feeling very strange and he couldn’t point out why.
Sole hit another shot,
hitting a synth clean through the chest. Deacon let out a moan, covering his
mouth immediately after he did. His eyes where hidden behind his shades,
luckily for him. Sole tried to keep a straight face as they asked Deacon if he
was alright to which he relied with a nod, afraid that if he spoke he’d let
something slip, maybe another moan and he couldn’t let that happen.
Deacon took off his
jacket, tying it around his waist in an attempt to cover his ‘situation’ but he
wasn’t fooling anyone. Sole would never let him live this down, mentioning it
whenever and wherever they could, just to see him blush like crazy. It worked every
Let’s be honest, this has probably happened more than once, because you can’t
keep the horny Mayor down. Sole sniggered as they noticed Hancock’s situation,
pretending they hadn’t.
“You alright there?”
Sole said turning their attention back to the super mutants they were sniping
out. Hancock raised a hairless eyebrow, taking another drag of his cigarette,
slowly nodding at Sole in confusion. It was only when Sole hit a great shot on
one mutant, making it stumble to its death that Hancock unintentionally
growled. He looked down at himself in embarrassment.
“Oh, come on,” he said
to himself, unaware he’d been turned on, probably because he was as high as a
kite, “Soleeee….” He whined, absolutely blaming them and their perfect physic
and skill for what was happening to him.
“Need some help with
that?” Sole mocked, clearly amused by the circumstances Hancock found himself
in. Sole put down their sniper and moved closer to where Hancock stood. He
groaned as Sole moved closer to his ear, their breath tickling him, “I’d be
happy to help you.”
He hadn’t realised how much he liked watching Sole hit headshots on gunners. In
fact, he loved watching Sole use his favourite type of weapon, the sniper, on
his least favourited people, the gunners. He watched, arms folded over his
chest as Sole took out the enemy. Was it getting stuffy in here or was it just
MacCready? He adjusted the collar of his jacket, trying to air himself out.
Sole gave him a concerned look, but he assured them he was alright, at least he
thought he was.
Suddenly, he groaned
loudly as Sole hit another Headshot, hitting the bastard between the eyes. Sole
turned, noticing the small wet patch on MacCready’s dark trousers. Sole covered
their mouth with their hand as they tried not to laugh. When MacCready noticed
he blushed a deep crimson, nearly cursing in the process. Both of them never
brought it up again.
Usually something like this wouldn’t excite Piper in any way, she didn’t enjoy
killing people but watching Sole shoot institute synths and coursers did
something to her.
She handed Sole five .50
calibre rounds, watching as Sole reloaded and emptied the bullets into the
Coursers chest. Piper realised at that moment she was sweating and then came
the aching feeling in her core. She moaned, she hadn’t realised the effect Sole
had on her.
Piper hid her face under
her hat, avoiding Sole’s eyes completely, she’d never been more embarrassed in
all her life. She felt the sudden urge to jump Sole then and there but instead
she avoided them for the next couple of days.
Sole was busy sniping out Boomer, who had a fat man so Sole wasn’t taking any
chances being seen by him. Preston stood back, looking intensely as Sole hit
the shot, killing the raider boss instantly. Preston secretly loved watching
Sole fight in the name of the Minutemen, maybe a little too much.
Sole claimed the
settlement, finishing off the rest of the raiders, turning around in surprise
when they heard Preston let out a strangled whine.
“You okay?” Sole asked
as Preston tried to hide the fact he’d got ‘hard’, only he didn’t just get a
boner he’d followed through with it and jizzed in his pants.
“I had something caught
in my throat,” he said pretending to cough and hit his chest, but who was he
fooling? Sole shook their head with a smirk on their face, whatever you say
Being a cold-blooded killer, as he was intended to be by his creators, it’s not
too surprising that he’d get turned on by watching Sole slaughter a group of
raiders from afar. The only thing is, it was unlike anything he’d ever
He scrunched up his
nose, something Sole would find is a trait of his, as he felt a twinge in his
pants, good thing his coat hid his growing bulge, but he couldn’t hide the
expression on his face. He awkwardly grunted as Sole took down another raider.
Sole looked at him.
“Something wrong?” they
asked and X6 didn’t quite know how to respond, he’d never been in this
situation before. Instead, he relayed away, he’d have to come up with an excuse
later but right now he had to sort himself out.
Education time! So as a writer I want things to be as accurate as possible and do a lot of research. I know I’m not the only one. As this is a topic on which I am very familiar I often see blatantly wrong things when people talk about firearms in their novels or fanfics.
So I chose these diagrams because they tackle the need to know parts. Are there a lot more? Yes. But unless you’re going into major detail- say, your character is cleaning their weapon or trying to fix/modify one- than this will cover your needs. I didn’t want to overwhelm with a more detailed diagram. My only complaint is on the pistol where it says barrel? That is pointing out where you can see part of the barrel but the majority of it is inside the gun. That whole black section on top- the part that will be rocking back as the gun is fired to eject the casing- is called the slide. Other than that potential mix-up, the rest of it is made pretty clear.
Wanna get clear some other gun facts? Check out my other reference posts to learn the difference between clips and magazines, and the parts of a “bullet.”
By the late 1870′s the British Army was still using the old Adams revolver as its standard issue sidearm. Many of the old cap and ball revolvers had been converted to accept metallic cartridges, however the revolver dated to the 1850′s and was quickly being outclassed by competing models produced in France, Belgium, and Austria.
Designed in 1879 by the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield, the Enfield revolver was adopted by the British Army and the Canadian Northwest Mounted Police in 1880. A six shot revolver designed to fire a .476 caliber blackpowder cartridge, the Enfield had some interesting design features on paper, however it was ultimately a flawed design which severely limited it’s service life.
The hallmark of the Enfield revolver was it’s Owen Jones self extraction system. The Enfield was loaded one cartridge at a time through a traditional loading gate on the right hand side of the revolver. However it utilized a break open extraction system which was intended to eject empty cartridge casings while leaving loaded rounds in the chamber. Unlatching the mechanism allowed the barrel to tilt up while the cylinder moved forward. As the cylinder moved forward spent casings would be ejected from their chambers.
The idea was that spent casings were short enough to clear the gap between the cylinder and frame while live cartridges would not. The problem was, it was not uncommon for spent casings to fail to clear the cylinder, becoming jammed within the mechanism. In addition wear tended to weaken the spindle arms which failed to ejected spent casings, while hinge wear could cause the barrel to wobble, decreasing accuracy. Black powder residue from the .476 Enfield cartridge also had a tendency to cause the ejection mechanism to jam.
The Enfield revolver saw use in some colonial conflicts, most notably the Second Anglo Afghan War. During the war, British soldiers complained that the .476 Enfield cartridge lacked stopping power. Due to the flaws of the Enfield design, the British Army began to phase out the Enfield revolver in favor of the Webley revolver in 1889, giving the Enfield a short service life of only 9 years. The Northwest Mounted Police continued to use their Enfields until 1911.
My friend Todd shooting alternating brass cased American Eagle .223 remmington 55 grain and steel cased Tula 55 grain. The brass was ejecting between 2 and 3 o'clock and the steel cased was ejecting around 4 o'clock.
Bothersome. That was the only word that Medic would use to describe it.
Oh, there were other words he could use. Heart pounding. Thrilling. Spine-tingling. Tingling in places other than his spine. Something out of the many daydreams that he’d had over these past few months.
But right now it could only be called bothersome.
It was funny how often dreams turned out that way in real life.
Sniper sighed in the darkness behind him and shifted under the covers of the camper’s bunk where they’d finally settled for the night. A heel brushed against the back of his calf, causing him to jerk suddenly as his heart skipped a beat.
“Sorry…” The apology mumbled into the pillow was almost too muffled to hear.
One of the most successful, and certainly one of the most famous Winchester rifles was the Winchester Model 1873, manufactured between 1873 and 1919. Originally chambered for the .44-40 cartridge, it was later produced in .38-40 and .32-20, all of which were also popular handgun cartridges of the day, allowing its users to conveniently carry one type of ammunition for both their rifles and pistols. Due to feeding problems, the original Model 1873 was never offered in the military standard .45 Colt cartridge, although a number of modern reproductions of the rifle are chambered for the round. The popularity of the Winchester in .44-40 led Colt to manufacture a version of the Single Action Army revolver chambered for the same round, called the “Frontier Model”; Winchester produced three variations of the Model 1873: the rifle, carbine, and musket (although the musket variation accounted for less than 5–10 percent of those produced). The rifle variation used a 24" barrel, while the carbine used a 20" barrel. The carbine was the most popular due to its portability.
Winchester established a One of One Thousand grade in 1875. All barrels were test-fired for accuracy during the manufacturing process. Barrels producing unusually small groups were fitted to rifles with set triggers and special finish and marked One of One Thousand to be sold at a price of $100. A second grade of barrels producing above average accuracy were fitted to rifles marked One of One Hundred and sold for a price $20 higher than list. Approximately 136 One of One Thousand Model 1873 rifles were sold with only eight Model 1873s of the One of One Hundred grade.
Winchester rifles were readily available on the frontier and became hugely popular, with over 720,000 produced. This popularity has led the Model 1873 to be credited as “The Gun that Won the West”, and inspired the 1950 Western film Winchester ‘73 starring James Stewart and directed by Anthony Mann. Production of the latter movie included a search for One of One Thousand and One of One Hundred rifles by Universal Studios with advertisements in sporting magazines and posters in sporting goods stores.
In 2013 Winchester brought back this iconic rifle. The rifle is manufactured under license from the Olin company by FN/Browning in the Kochi Prefecture of Japan by the Miroku Corporation. This marks the third of the classic Winchester rifle models to be re-introduced, the previous models being the Model 1892 and the Model 1894. The new model is available with a 20" round barrel and chambered in .357 Magnum/.38 Special only. It is nearly identical in design to the original Model 73s including the trigger disconnect safety, sliding dustcover, and crescent shaped buttplate, but with two notable exceptions. An additional safety mechanism, a firing pin block that prevents it from moving forward unless the trigger is pulled, was integrated and the cartridge carrier was changed to eject used casings away from the shooter. The fixed, tubular magazine has a maximum capacity of ten rounds.
“Camper?” Sniper raised the brim of his slouch hat to peer up at the silhouetted shape in front of him. “You still mad that the RED Sniper pegged you right before time was called?”
Scout kicked at the dirt, sending a rock skipping into the rough underbrush at the edge of the campsite. “It’s cheap, man.
“Look, I know you’re pissed, but that’s what snipin’ is.”
“Pot shots?” Scout snorted. “Please. Freakin’ camper outta actually learn how to fight with a gun.”
Sniper pulled down his aviators and looked out over the lenses. “What, like that scattergun you lug around with you? All that wavin’ about you’re doing is fighting?”
Scout nodded “Up close and personal. Like a good fight oughta be.”
“So you can’t help but hit, more like. You miss someone with a load of buckshot from two feet, you deserve to wind up in respawn.” Sniper couldn’t hold back an amused chuckle, and barely held back from outright laughter when Scout shot him a scowl. “Snipin’s an art. Takes skill to ‘camp’.”
“How hard is that?” Scout scoffed as he held up two fingers like a gun. “You point it, aim it, fire it. Pow!” His wrist snapped in a mimicry of recoil. “Move on.”
There was a certain temptation to just let it go, and up until that last bit, that’s what Sniper had been inclined to do. He knew it was frustrating to get halfway across the field past a barrage of missiles, explosives, and fire, just to be sent right back to respawn by a single well-placed bullet. But there was an element of professional pride, even if he was roundabout defending the slipshod shooting of the RED Sniper. Besides, he wasn’t gonna let a young buck whose definition of “finesse” in combat included bludgeoning someone with a baseball bat. With a sigh, he pulled himself up from his camp chair and, in a single smooth motion, he grabbed his rifle, swung it to his shoulder and fired off a shot. The canyon echoed as the rifle cracked, and Scout watched as the brittle branch of a weathered dead tree was sent flying.
“Not hard at all, I guess.” Sniper turned as he ejected the spent shell casing and looked at the surprised expression on Scout’s face. He slipped a fresh round into the breach and locked it into place. “Show me how it’s done, Roo.”
“What?” Scout looked at the rifle. “Me?”
Sniper nodded as he held the gun out. “Yeah. Ain’t that hard, is it? I didn’t even bother to aim.”
For a minute Scout just looked at the rifle in Sniper’s hands as if it were going to jump out and bite him. Then, either out of pride or principle, he took it and felt the weight, sliding his hand on the stock until his hands were in roughly the same positions as Sniper’s had been. He planted his feet on the ground, his stance narrow as he pulled the stock to his shoulder and squinted down the iron sights. His hands were shaking and causing the muzzle to quiver at the end of the barrel. A small tremor that wouldn’t have meant anything with a scattergun, but for a rifle was enough to send the bullet careening off course. The weather wasn’t overly warm, but he could see a small bead of sweat starting to form at Scout’s temple.
Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy, ran through Sniper’s head, but he held his tongue while Scout’s own peeked out between his lips. His first shots weren’t nearly as neat.
Still, he was trying.
With a brazenness and disregard for proper gun safety that came with dying several times in a given day, Sniper crept up behind Scout and slipped his hands on top as Scout stiffened underneath. “Don’t overreach. I’ve got longer arms than you.” He gently pulled Scout’s hand closer. A long leg tucked between Scout’s knees to urge his stance wider, directing his feet before using his own arms to pull him taller. “Don’t slouch. Stand up straight. Makes you stronger.” He murmured over Scout’s shoulder as he used whole body to carefully nudge him this way and that until he almost felt like the gun was back in his own hands. After a minute, he felt Scout relax in front of him, and when those blue eyes flicked back to look at him, he didn’t feel all that inclined to let go.
“Take a minute and breathe,” Sniper instructed quietly. “Get a handle on your own heartbeat.”
For once Scout was quiet. They stood there, front to back, as Scout slowly picked up the easy rise and fall of Sniper’s trained breaths into his own rhythm. The wind blew gently around them and the soft moan as it ran through the desert canyons was the only sound.
“Good, Roo.” Sniper leaned in just enough to let his breath ghost across Scout’s neck. “Now when you’re ready, exhale and fire.”
Sniper felt the rifle’s kick, but held both himself and Scout firm. Down the canyon he heard the ping of the bullet striking a rock, and pulled away to see a small dust cloud a few feet to the right of the tree.
“Not bad?” Scout exclaimed. “That’s it?”
Sniper grinned and shrugged his shoulders. “You did hit the general vicinity of the tree. I’ll give you that.”
“Pppph!” Scout stuck out his tongue as he handed the rifled back to Sniper.
“Think you might have some promise though.” Sniper continued as he ejected the casing. “You’ll just have to come back and practice some more.”
Scout did not blush. He totally, absolutely, positively did not blush at the look that Sniper was giving him over the rims of his glasses and the slip his voice made into a range just a little deeper that was totally on purpose. And he sure as hell didn’t get a goofy grin of his own as all thoughts about the indignity of respawn and RED campers faded away into nothing.
But he did certainly plan on another round of target practice.
During the 1950’s the US Military experimented with the concept of a Salvo rifle, a rifle that could increase the probability of hitting a target by firing multiple projectiles with one shot. Numerous prototypes were created which fired special duplex (two bullet) or triplex (three bullet) cartridges. The Winchester Salvo was one prototype based off of the FAL. An extremely bizarre weapon, the Winchester Salvo featured two barrels and two chambers which fired simultaneously. As a result, the Winchester Salvo used two magazines at once. While the Win Salvo was double barreled and fired both simultaneously, it only had one bolt with double extractors, and was operated with one gas system. It could be operated in semi automatic and fully automatic, and when fired the spent casings were ejected to the left and right.
To increase the Win Salvo’s firepower even further, the weapon used special 5.56 T65 Duplex ammunition. The T65 Duplex cartridge used 7.62 NATO brass, necked down to 5.56mm. However the Duplex cartridge featured two 35 grain or 41 grain bullets, with each seated on top of each other inside the cartridge. Thus when fired, the Duplex cartridge would fire two 5.56 projectiles at once. With the Winchester Salvo rifle, four projectiles would be fired with each trigger pull. Obviously when used in fully automatic fire, the Win Salvo sprayed a formidable stream of lead.
The bizarre Winchester Salvo produced by the Springfield Armory for US Army Ordnance testing. The Army rejected the design for a number or reasons. First and foremost the firing of two 5.56 T65 Duplex cartridges produced 25% more recoil than a .30-06 M1 Garand. The Win Salvo was also very heavy, weighing almost 12 pounds, 3 pounds heavier than the standard M14 battle rifle. Finally the Win Salvo was an ammo hog, firing two magazines worth of ammunition simultaneously. Remaining prototypes are currently on display at the Springfield Armory Museum.
This weapon was designed by Texan inventor Virgil Rigsby. It was an electronic machine-gun capable of firing rapidly without any recoil, muzzle flash or case ejection, and it also fired very quietly (reportedly about as loud as a .22 rifle). Basically, wrapped around the barrel are numerous electromagnets, which propel the projectiles at the target at considerable speed, negating the need for gunpowder. The main problem with this design, and indeed all coilguns, is that it required a large electrical source at all times. Coilguns can also overheat very quickly. Rigsby’s design didn’t catch on, and I’ve yet to see a coilgun that has been a big success. Having said that, give it about 200 - 300 years and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that this kind of technology will be standard-issue.
And the gun education for my fellow writers continue. For parts of a gun look here. For magazines vs clips try here.
While this doesn’t upset me as much as the magazine/clip debacle, this one can still get to me. This is not a “bullet.” This is a cartridge, a single round of ammunition. What many refer to as a bullet is actually composed of these various parts. The only part flying out of the barrel of the gun and slamming into the target is indeed the bullet. It is propelled by the gunpowder inside the cartridge igniting once the primer at the back is struck. The casing- usually brass- is ejected from the weapon via its ejection port. In a revolver, you have to open the cylinder and dump the spent casings. There are various calibers out there and even types of rounds- full metal jacket, hollowpoint, etc- but honestly most writers will never get that far into things to have to worry about learning all that. Unless your character is special forces, an assassin, or what have you, don’t sweat that much detail. That said, if you decide to use a specific model of firearm, make sure you use the right ammo type if you bring it up for some reason.
A shotgun shell works virtually the same way, save that it also has a wad in the hull (aka casing) to separate the shot from the gunpowder. There are various types of shot- bird, buck, etc- which are distinguished by the size and number of pellets that are in the hull. The exception being the slug, which as you can see is a mack-daddy single shot. Once again, only the shot comes out of the end of the barrel, the hull getting ejected out- typically by pumping/charging the shotgun.
Firstly, I want to apologise for the long wait between chapters! Things have
been extremely busy for me. I say this every time, but I want to thank everyone
who takes the time to read and review my story! I’ve received such sweet, kind
messages from many people and it really does mean a lot, so thank you all so
much! I hope this chapter will answer all the questions you guys previously
had! I hope you enjoy it! :)
The Straight Pull Mondragon — M1893 and 1894 rifle,
The Mexican artillery officer Gen. Manuel Mondragon is most famous for developing one of the first semi-automatic rifles in history. A revolutionary gas piston design, the Mondragon semi-automatic rifle also used detachable magazines, which would not become common until World War II and after. Before Mondragon invented his semi-automatic design, his original basis for the rifle was a straight pull bolt action design. The user had to work a bolt, however the bolt only had to be pulled back and pushed forward to eject empty casings and load fresh cartridges.
Gen. Mondragon drew inspiration for such a design from the Rubin Schmidt series of bolt action rifles from Switzerland. The Mondragon straight pull also had a fixed magazine which was loaded with en bloc clips. One unique feature was a switch mechanism which when activated allowed the user to fire the rifle without pulling the trigger but only working the bolt. The idea behind this was that a soldier could fire while simultaneously while charging an enemy position.
The Mondragon straight pull was manufactured in Switzerland by SIG as Mexico lacked the industry to produce armaments. Originally the Mondragon was chambered for 6.5X48 Mondragon. However the Swiss experimented with the rifle, chambering it for a low caliber high velocity cartridge called the 5.6X68 Rubin. Very few Mondragon straight pulls were produced before Gen. Mondragon modified his design into the more common semi-automatic rifle. Those few models with still exist today are in museums or private collections. The model pictured above sold at auction for $32,500.
So here it is, the third installment of the soulmate tattoo AU, this time focused on Riza. And it’s a long one. I got carried away, though I’m quite happy with how it came out. It is a companion/sequel to Drabble 59 (“Gift”) from Roy’s POV and a companion/prequel to Drabble 37 (“Match”) from Havoc’s POV, although the way I wrote this, it can also stand on its own and the others aren’t necessary to read. I’m going to write more from this AU, because I’m a weak person. Also this quote fits this perfectly.
66. The Pounding of a Heart
Ishval is hotter than anything Riza has ever experienced during the day. She’s pale and blonde-haired and forced to hide under her white coat, lest she wants to suffer sun poisoning. Three weeks into her deployment, she sat in the sand outside of her tent for nearly thirty minutes, the coat defiantly cast off to the side, and was forced to deal with a old field medic that chastised her for being an idiot while treating her sunburn.
Riza breathes in the sandy, dry air. The burn crossing over her nose and cheeks reminds her that she’s alive. She began to wonder if maybe she died on the train and this was hell. Maybe that was the sun talking. She wouldn’t be the first person to go delirious after being out here for so long. A few of the soldiers were beginning to crack under the heat and some of the State Alchemists were losing their touch as well. The other day, through the safety of her scope, she watched as one alchemist ended a transmutation mid-way and was blown off his feet by the rebound.
For the most part, Riza can hide under that white cloak in a niche. The sun beats down on her mercilessly, but she creates a tent of sorts in the coat and peers through the scope of her rifle. She’s alone, silent, the sound of her steady breathing mixing with the wind. She lies in wait and watches. Breathes. Squeezes the trigger. The shot booms across the expanse. The gun clicks as she moves to eject the casing. Breathes again. The daylight is her domain. Everything is so bright, the sun paling the beige sand that is stained with blood. She rarely closes her eyes, not even to blink. She can’t allow any room for mistakes, and so she forces herself to watch.
At night, she’s given some reprieve. There’s little need for a sniper at night, and so she can hide in her tent and try to remember life back home or crouch beside a fire and force food into her body. Rebecca writes to her a few times, but stops when Riza can’t bring herself to reply after the second one. She doesn’t know what to say.
Hey there, best friend, sorry I haven’t written in a while. I’m too busy murdering people and watching the boy I thought I once loved use the alchemy I gave him to destroy towns.
Riza closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. Thinking about people back home always gets her worked up, but she can’t stop herself sometimes. She’s still young. Getting distracted is a mistake. Feeling regret and shame right now is a mistake. There will be plenty of time for that later should she make it out of her alive.
Usually at this time of night, she’s already hunkered down on her cot, clutching her pillow tightly, but right now, she’s standing in line with a few other soldiers. The gun in her hands is not the familiar sniper rifle that she’s grown used to, but a semi-automatic that she knows how to use nonetheless. It wasn’t that unusual to get called onto a mission that wasn’t related to her field of expertise and she knew what to do, but it’s disconcerting to be surrounded by other comrades. She’s used to being alone, the relationship between her and her prey almost intimate and distant at the same time.
Her heart pounds wildly in her chest as she realizes what could happen. She’s not used to seeing death up close and personal, only through a lens, and that frightens her.
Unable to stop herself, her eyes swing to the left, swooping past a few soldiers and onto one man in particular that stands off to the side. Unlike most of them, he still has his white cloak on over his uniform. As they continue to stalk forward into the town, he pauses to tug on white gloves, sharp eyes focused on his hands and not on the scene before him. His face is pulled into a tight mask, but she can tell that he’s struggling somewhat and it tugs at her heart. A part of her wants to break line, walk over to him, and help him with his gloves – and then another part of her wants to smack him clear across the face.
Roy Mustang strikes a lot of fear in the hearts of the Ishvalans, admiration and respect in his fellow soldiers’, and a wild range of emotions that Riza can’t even begin to describe in hers.
He doesn’t look at her when he starts forward again, even though she knows instinctively that he can feel her watching him. He flinched when he found out that she was on this night mission with him and reared to argue with their commanding officer, only to halt when he realized that there was nothing that he could say. He looked at her glumly then and she attempted to give him an accepting glance that told him it wasn’t his fault, but she can tell even now that he isn’t happy. He’s tense, fists clenched at his side, eyes boring holes into the town straight ahead. He doesn’t want her to see his work up close.
Riza almost sighs. There isn’t any room for happiness here. He should know that by now. Stupid idealistic boy, even now, desperate to hold onto something.
They’re almost on top of the town when gunfire goes off to her right and shouting causes her attention to jump in the direction. Small bursts of light from guns being shot speckle the dark, near-moonless night. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Ironically, their sneak attack was snuck up on. The soldiers, not prepared for the attack and even more helpless in the dark, begin to panic and all hell breaks loose.
Men are shooting in the dark and screams pitch in the air around her. There has to be some friendly fire going on around as everyone falls victim to panic. A general screams behind them to gather their wits, someone shouts to fall back, a woman is cut off mid-scream. For a mere second, Riza stands there frozen, but then jerks to the left and runs so that she can slide behind a rock for cover. She presses herself against the cool rock, breathing heavily and clutching the gun against her chest, as gunshots fly over her head. It’s only when she realizes that the gun is shaking in her hands that she manages to take a shuddering deep breath and reign herself in.
She glances to the side and spots the body of someone in a white cloak laying face first on the ground. Her heart shoots right into her throat and she chokes. No. The single word whimpers in her mind, her stomach swirling violently. It’s the only thing she can think.
In the back of her head, she knows that it’s a stupid move, but she has to get to him. She has to make sure he’s alive. She has to protect him. And so Riza abandons her safety behind the rock, ducking as she runs towards the body and falls onto her knees, grabbing hold of his shoulders. “Major!” When she pulls the man onto his back, all of the air leaves her body and she stares down blankly.
It isn’t Roy. The body belongs to a soldier whose name she doesn’t know, red blossoming on the white coat over his heart.
Just as relief sneaks inside her, bullets smack into the sand around her and through the air. Riza shouts and leans forward over the body as one of the bullets just barely misses her. Before she can return fire though, there’s a loud snap and a large wall of flames shoots between her and anyone shooting at her. The explosion nearly knocks her backwards, but she’s able to keep herself upright on her knees. She has to throw a hand up to shield herself from the sudden light, but she never looks away as the flames rise higher and shouts turn into horrified screams. The flames are so close to her yet not touching her, a dangerous shield, and the blazing heat from them blows on her like a hot caress.
It’s while Riza is staring at Roy’s flames protecting her that she feels a wicked burn on her arm, like something cutting lines through her skin. She gasps at the sudden pain and grabs at her right forearm, doubling over from the shock. When she pulls a shaky hand away from her arm and shoves her sleeve up, her vision blurs and all she can see is haphazardly written dark lines marring her pale skin, the flames causing strange shadows to dance around and on her.
The soulmate mark. She was branded with a soulmate tattoo mark in the middle of battle. Absurd laughter threatens to bubble to the surface, but she bites down on her tongue so hard that the metallic taste of blood seeps in her mouth. Riza trembles under the weight of the implication of this mark. She has a soulmate, and the universe thought it fit to mar her with this information right now. What is she to think of that? She’s in the heat of battle, gunfire and screams filling the air, fire blanketing her for protection, friend and foe dying alike around her, and then her soulmate’s first words to her sear onto her skin. She nearly collapses, but grits her teeth, lets the sleeve fall back over her arm, and pushes herself to her feet.
Once she’s up, the flames die down, like they alone were waiting for her to be ready. When Riza looks over, she spots a glimpse of Roy, and he’s staring at her with worry plain on his face. She takes a deep breath and gives him a short nod. The worry fades from his face, leaving him with a hard expression, but not entirely from his eyes. Had he seen her suddenly jerk in pain? The words throb on her still, but she shoves the pain deep down and tries to focus on staying alive, telling herself that the mark means that she will live past this. She shoots and runs, ducks and waits, shoots more, until finally all that’s left are the general’s shouting commands to cease fire and get their shit together.
Riza shakily stands up, gun slack in her arms, and looks around. A few men are groaning on the ground as medics begin to survey the field. Others are standing around looking as shell-shocked as she is while one or two walk around to finish off any injured Ishvalans. She’s not sure what to do or think when she feels a hand on her elbow.
Turning around, she spots Roy standing next to her, eyes focused on her face. “Are you alright?” he asks, his voice very careful so as to not quake. “Were you shot? I saw you jerk forward and–”
“No,” Riza responds a little too quickly. She takes a deep breath and shakes her head. He lets go of her, but he doesn’t look away. “I wasn’t shot, I mean. I’m fine. Thank you.” Without thinking, she goes to grip at her arm again, which causes his eyes to flicker down and then look up at her questioningly. She stares back at him, unable and refusing to answer. “You saved my life.”
She doesn’t want to know how many men were killed by those flames that shot up to protect her. She heard the painful shrieks to know that it was more than one. She also knows that he doesn’t want any gratitude. There’s something strangely sick about being thanked for doing their job here. He nods his head and then walks away to help an injured soldier off the ground.
By the time Riza finds herself back at camp, she can’t stomach to eat anything and her arm is throbbing even worse than before. She supposes that happens when you get your soulmate mark later in life or maybe because she hasn’t looked at it properly yet. The dull thuds have grown more insistent, reminding her that she’s still unknowing, but she keeps ignoring them until she’s alone in her tent.
After peeling off her uniform coat, she tosses it to the side and sits down on her cot. She doesn’t want to admit that she’s scared to see the words written on her skin, but she is. Why is it that they would choose to appear on her now? Soulmate marks are supposed to be something happy, something heartwarming. There is nothing about this place that resembles that. Why would something so good show up during a time that is so bad? She wonders if her more self-loathing thoughts prompted it, out of hopefulness or cruelty, she isn’t sure. No one knows why soulmate tattoo marks appear when they do.
Steeling herself, Riza finally gazes down at her arm and stills completely as soon as she catches the first word. She’s heard these words before, can recall them as clear as day, but that doesn’t matter. Even if she couldn’t remember them being spoken to her, she would still know who they belonged to. After all, his name was written on her skin for her clear as day in a familiar messy scrawl.
Roy, call me Roy, I mean, not Mister Mustang.
Riza has to bring a hand up to her mouth to stifle a cry as tears spring into her eyes, blurring her vision of the tattoo once more. When the mark was seared onto her skin, she thought for a second that Roy’s flames burned her. She wasn’t. Instead, she was burned by his words, marked as his forever.
She is his soulmate. He is hers. The determined boy that convinced her father to take him on as an apprentice, the ridiculous boy that wore down her defenses and wormed his way into her heart, the idiot boy that chose duty to his country above all else, the idealistic young man with dreams for a future that made her trust him, the relentless soldier that was both a hero and devil with his flame alchemy… They would be tied together, their lives a tangled mess, unable to leave the other completely behind.
Riza laughs coldly now from behind her hand, but then goes quiet just as quickly. Her mind latches onto memories from long ago. The way his eyes would settle on her so gently, the bright laughs whenever she said something witty, the charming smiles when no one else was looking, his hand on her elbow, the too close dancing, panicky looks, his crushed expression when he first saw her out here. She comes to a conclusion very quickly. Jumping to her feet, she leaves her tent and walks resolutely to Roy’s tent. She’s only half in uniform, but she doesn’t care. She doesn’t care about anything. She just– She needs–
Right when she’s about to storm into his tent, Roy steps out and they nearly collide. Both of them halt right in time and stare at each other, him looking down at her with wide eyes and an open mouth, her glaring up at him with narrowed eyes and lips pressed into a thin line. Now that he’s in front of her though, she doesn’t know what to say – she doesn’t even know if she can speak. All the demanding words that were swirling in her mind moments ago fade away and leave her with a constricted throat.
Tentatively, Roy puts a hand on her shoulder. “Hawkeye, are you okay?”
He can’t even say her name – it’s like he won’t allow himself, like he doesn’t deserve to – and she thinks of the words marking her skin as his, mocking her for her own inability to say his, to follow them. She can’t say his name. She can’t do what he asked of her all those years ago. His first words to her claimed her as his – and it was the one thing that she couldn’t follow.
It takes a wild amount of strength that Riza doesn’t know she has left for her to keep her eyes trained on his as she raises her right arm. He gazes at her questioningly and then looks down. Immediately, Roy pulls back and she watches as he folds in on himself, turning into the saddest boy she has ever seen. His eyes become hooded for a moment, his face filled with torment and regret, his shoulders slump, but then he gently takes her arm in his hand. He traces the outline of his words with a delicate finger, smoothing away the burning pain with his touch, and she shivers.
But what stuns her the most is the look of recognition in his eyes, and that’s when it confirms it for her. Still, it doesn’t feel anything less than breathless.
Roy gazes at her sadly and nods his head.
Her breath hitches in her throat. His hands are hot against her skin, but the once burning tattoo feels so cool under his touch. Still, she can’t help but tremble. “How long?” she asks.
“Since I’ve known you,” he admits quietly. She almost whimpers. “I got the mark before I met you, when I was ten.” He rubs his thumb along her forearm. “I knew it was you the moment we first met.”
“Why didn’t you–?” Her voice cracks and she bites down on her lip. She feels the most absurd urge to cry. They told each other everything, but he hadn’t told her this. He kept it from her. Waited for her. Never once forced his feelings or knowledge on her. She knows that not telling her about his soulmate mark was for the best, but it still stings.
“I realized immediately that you didn’t have the mark yet, so I figured that meant you weren’t supposed to know,” Roy tells her. “I didn’t want to pressure you. I wanted you to make your own choices, grow into your own feelings, do what you wanted to do, not because you felt obligated. I didn’t want to make you feel like you had to…”
He didn’t want her to feel like she had to fall in love with him, right? Riza wants to call him an idiot. She wants to beat him in the chest, run her fingers through his hair, pull him flush against her and kiss him, hold him, shake him, run away from him, never let him go. He didn’t tell her because he didn’t want her to feel like she didn’t have a choice in who she loved. But has she ever had a choice in that? Riza can only ever remember loving Roy Mustang. It was like she didn’t need his words written on her skin for her to know that she was his.
His gaze softens under hers. He doesn’t need for her to speak for him to know what she’s thinking. They can’t say them anyway, not here, not now. She doesn’t know when. It will be a long time, she thinks, before they will allow themselves the luxury of having each other.
“Where?” she asks instead.
He gives her a small, lopsided grin, causing her stomach to flip flop, and lets go of her arm so that he can lift up his shirt a little. She spots her own careful handwriting tattooed on his lower left abdomen: If you could please follow me to your room, Mister Mustang.
Riza catches herself reaching out to touch the words, but stops herself when she’s a hair’s breadth away. She’s afraid. She’s afraid that if she’ll touch him, she won’t be able to stop. And besides, it isn’t appropriate. He’s her superior now, Major Mustang, while she is still technically a cadet, even if she is on the battlefield. Clenching her hand into a fist, she pulls it back and drops it to her side. He lets go of his shirt and it falls back down.
“Your handwriting hasn’t changed since then,” he says, the grin still on his face. “Constant as ever, just like you.”
“Yours improved, but only marginally,” she replies.
Silence falls between them again as both their eyes drop to the ground. The mark doesn’t burn anymore. Maybe all it needed was his touch. She’s not sure how soulmate tattoo marks work. Her father had one, but he refused to talk about it or even admit that it was there, faded as it was after her mother’s death. She only knows a handful of people with them and has followed in her father’s footsteps in actively avoiding talk about them. Rebecca has one, she knows, terrible handwriting tattooed on her hip. Her friend proclaims to be proud of it despite also how furiously she blushes whenever someone sees it, but she also has the decency to not talk about it in front of Riza for the most part. Other than that, she’s never bothered to ask any questions about them.
“We can’t,” Riza begins, but then stops herself.
“I know,” Roy adds miserably.
When he locks eyes with her, there’s a hopeful gleam in his eyes, reminding her so much of the young man that talked about his youthful aspirations at her father’s funeral. Her heart pounds so strongly in her chest that she feels like can’t breathe. He still desperately wants to believe that there is a bright future for them – that he can make a difference – that they can deserve something good and whole. She doesn’t know if it’s possible anymore, not after what they’ve done with their foolishness and naivety, but she knows that she can’t be whole without him anyways.
“So we keep this to ourselves,” Riza says.
“And act as if we don’t know and nothing has changed,” Roy agrees.
Riza frowns at that. “You’ve always known though. Nothing has changed for you.”
“Doesn’t mean that this doesn’t hurt even more,” Roy points out. He’s right, of course. Now that both of them know, it will make things ten times more difficult. He held himself back for her because of her lack of awareness, but now only they themselves can hold each other back. The only barrier between them is one another. It’s terribly ironic. “Tomorrow is going to be a long day of debriefing about tonight’s mission. I suggest you get some sleep, cadet.”
Riza salutes him. “Yes, sir.”
(God, she just wants to say his name. It sits on the tip of her tongue, begging to be said, but she knows that she can’t. She’s not allowed. She doesn’t deserve to be able to say it.)
She has to force herself to turn so that she can leave when Roy calls out to her and she stops in her tracks. “And be careful.” Her head drops and she closes her eyes and smiles faintly before starting up again. It’s as close as he can get to saying what he really wants to say, but she understands. All the times he said those words to her, he really meant something else and she understands it now.
The next morning, Riza wraps a bandage around her forearm, claiming to have been wounded in the gunfire the night before when another soldier asks her about it. She catches eyes with Roy, spotting a knowing look in his eyes, and has to tear her eyes away from him quickly as her heart leaps. Everything has changed, but in a way, the knowledge that he’s her soulmate and she is his has changed nothing for her either.
Hugh Adams Silver and Walter Fletcher of London patented this case-ejecting device in 1884. Marked SILVER & FLETCHER’S PATENT, THE EXPERT, 450, and PATENT S.W. SILVER & CO. CORNHILL, LONDON. The example shown is fixed onto a Webley Royal Irish Constabulary revolver.
The device ejected a casing upon each strike of the hammer, so that there was no need to manually eject each casing upon reloading. The Royal Irish Constabulary and the Metropolitan Police of London bought and fitted a number of these devices to their revolvers in 1887.
Produced in Germany before World War I, the Schuler Reform pistol is one of those oddball designs that standout among others. An unusual gun, the Schuler Reform pistol features four barrels lined up vertically in one solid breechblock. The firing mechanism worked much like a double action revolver. At first pulling the trigger merely fired the first round. A subsequent trigger pull lifted the breechblock mechanism so that the next shot was in alignment, then the hammer would strike the cartridge, firing the next round. This process would continue until all chamber were fired, at which point the user could simply remove the breechblock for reloading, then reinsert it for the next round of shooting. By cocking the hammer manually, the pistol could also be fired as a single action. It was chambered for .25acp, a small, underpowered round, but one that was popular in its day for use in pocket pistols. Interesting, as the shooting process continued, spent cartridge casings would be ejected from the force of the pistols discharge in the chambers below it.
The advantage of the Schuler Reform pistol was that it was extremely thin and very light (12oz). Thus it was very easy to carry. However it was not very powerful, had a small capacity compared to automatics and revolvers of its time, and was difficult to aim. Production ended with the start of World War I.