This writing event is an attempt by multiple authors to write a coherent story with limited exposure to the previous works.
Things started remarkably slowly from there. First, a black car pulled up no less than one minute after Harnsworth put down the phone. Then, two very important looking people got out of that car. One was a man Steve could easily tell was tall, even from their elevated position. The man maintained a stiff posture and a buzz cut. If that wasn’t enough evidence of character, Steve saw on him a military uniform with buttons shinier than even Rachel’s glowing eyes. Accompanying him was a Kitsune woman with one, two, three- six. Six tails by Steve’s best count. She wore a uniform as well, but it wasn’t clear what kind.
They looked up at the three hovering soldiers, then drew their gazes down to the engineer at the operating console. The brass pair slowly approached the operating console, and were directed to the mic by the very out-of-his-pay-grade Harnsworth. A very gruff voice crackled in from the commanding man. “You may commence the test.”
Rachel was the first to go. Her job was to test a conventional minigun in flight. The engineer on the ground remotely pulled the trigger. The first few bullets were right on target. The rest would have hit the aerial combat dummy, had she not been pulled hard to the right.
The exo they all wore had no trouble keeping the weapon aloft. It even accounted for the recoil against her body, preventing her from feeling the full effect.
It did not, however, stop the recoil from affecting the flight characteristics of the system.
Rachel fought with the flight controls, trying her hardest to keep the exo level and straight against the recoil. She was grunting and growling the whole time, angry as only a hellhound can be. Six thousand rounds a minute were pushing back against her, and were winning.
Finally, the burst ended, and she had turned far enough that Steve and Mark were almost in the line of fire. Before Steve could speak up, he heard Mark on the comms.
“Wrong t-target, Rachel.” Steve could hear his voice waver, but decided not to comment on it.
His attempt at humor didn’t distract from the reality that both of them had almost been ventilated in a weapons test. The good thing was that the target dummy was several dozen bullet holes lighter.
Mark was up next, and both he and Steve looked down with concern to see the response of the two observing higher-ups to the catastrophic start. Steve made eye contact with a pair of aviators and a buzz cut, and they gave a gentle but assertive nod. Continue the test.
Mark pulled up his Barrett. He never was the calmest the squad, nor the most patient, but he made shots count when it mattered. He wasn’t concerned about flight. That was the remote part of his test. He started in a hover, squeezed the trigger, and ventilated the head of a ground target dummy.
Steve could see his concentration waver as he got used to the movement. Even in flight, though, the H’ARM system was very stable, and as long as Mark could hold the gun steady… -BOOM-
Another aerial target dummy lost weight. After several shots, the engineer came on the radio once more. Harnsworth’s voice was a little shaky, probably residual from the first test.
“Alright Steve. It’s time to use that fu- It’s time to fire the gun.” He corrected himself before speaking out in front of the intimidating high ranks. His voice picked up with an excitement he couldn’t hide, “Let’s see what it can do.”
Steve had gotten used to the flying more than Mark did, but he was getting concerned about the mass attached to his exo.
“Send it.” He responded, holding back a chuckle at just how screwed he might be. This wasn’t the first test of a magic-integrated weapon, sure, but it was the first test of one that could theoretically work. He tried not to think of the alternative.
Heart pounding. Check. Adrenaline pumping. Check. Flight controls working? He pushed forward on the sticks and accelerated. Check. With a few gentle turns, he lined himself up with one of the ground targets, only fifty feet below. At a few dozen yards out, Harnsworth pulled the trigger from his booth.
The shock was negligible. The sound wasn’t more than that of the rifle he’d fired in basic. The line of light streaking to the target like a laser more than a tracer? That was new.
The detonation on impact turning the combat dummy into so much synthetic dust? That was also new.
“Hot damn,” He couldn’t help whispering his amazement under his breath, but was shaken from the feeling by the jolt of the second round loading into place. He kept control of his flight, and pointed himself to one of the aerial dummies.
Harnsworth didn’t hesitate, and the shot fired almost as soon as he was pointed in the right zip code. The shiny mana line this time split, identifying targets, and hitting not just the one he was aiming at, but all three target dummies in the sky.
“Hot DAMN!” His shout carried out over the testing grounds as his exo seemed to disable the magical test weapon immediately following the second shot.
“Bring it back down, Top Gun!” The engineer radioed from below, excitement evident in his voice. Steve could see him doing his level best not to jump with joy down there. He calmly guided the H’ARM back down to earth, landing it next to where Mark and Rachel had already touched down.
As he landed, Mark’s face soured. If anyone had an eye for authority, it was him. “College Graduates. Six O’ clock.”
“Ah. Shit.” Steve managed to respond before turning around to see the two very proper uniforms on their way to debrief the test pilots in person.200 Views