THE LAUNDRY: Hecter Ellipsis (IC)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Childish Grumpino, Apr 6, 2016.

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    “There are no roads in or out of Dunwich; the Ministry of Defence took over the entire village back in 1940 and redirected the local lanes, erasing it from the map and from the collective consciousness of Norfolk as if it never existed. Ramblers are repulsed by the thick hedges that surround us on two sides and the cliff that protects its third flank. When the Laundry inherited Dunwich from MI5, they added subtle wards; anyone approaching cross-country will begin to develop a deep sense of unease a mile or so outside the perimeter. As it is, the only way in or out is by boat – and our watery friends will take care of any unwelcome visitors smaller than a nuclear submarine.”
    - Charles Stross, 'The Atrocity Archives'




    The rain's as incessant as it is half-arsed. It's not really even heavy enough to be called rain, more just a constant drizzle that makes the very air itself feel like liquid vapours. It seeps into everything; into my shoes, through my socks, past the waterproof jacket I thought I was so very clever for packing. Judging by the expressions of the group I'm with, they're probably as unimpressed with the weather as I am.

    We're huddled together on one of the cliffs a short distance from the main village, standing in front of a small shooting range set up to face out onto the sea. Sensible placement, really: any stray shots aren't going anywhere other than out into open ocean. At our head, sourly surveying our small party of damp Laundry operatives, is our trainer for this particular session. Sergeant Laine, the definition of a grizzled old war veteran who's now found himself instructing the likes of us in the finer arts of firearms, survival and evasion. I get the impression he's not overly happy about this assignment, but Laine's a British soldier through-and-through: he'll suffer in stoic silence... so long as he can make us suffer a bit as well.

    Hence why we're standing on a cliff in the pissing rain.

    “Right,” Laine grunts, opening the metal case at his feet and withdrawing a small metallic object, “this this is a Glock 17. Standard sidearm of CO19, the Met’s firearms unit, and also the standard firearm issued to Laundry officers. Here is how you use it. You keep your finger off the trigger, then you stick the bloody thing in your pocket and phone the professionals. If you actually have to fire a gun in the line of duty, then someone has fucked up royally and it is probably you. Since we have to deal with every eventuality, however, including royal fuck-ups, I'll be taking you through the weapon. Everyone grab a handgun from the case and line up at the shooting range.”

    Our group shuffles forward, trying to remain huddled for warmth as each of us reaches down and takes one of the Glocks. I turn my own weapon over in my hands, suddenly wishing I had gloves on. The polymer material its made from is cold to the touch, chilling my fingers even further as I stop in front of the range. This isn't the first time I've received Laundry weapons training, but since I have to re-qualify as a field agent I'm nonetheless back to square one all the same. Sighing and trying not to dwell too much on the fact that I can no longer feel my toes, I step up to the bay in front of me and glance over at Laine.

    “Okay,” he calls as he stares around at our group, “anyone here used one of these things before?”
    #1 Childish Grumpino, Apr 6, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016
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  2. [BCOLOR=transparent]Rain. Cold. Ominous feeling that Sun’s existence was mere illusion, created by the cruel, uncaring universe just to torment us. It was good to be back on the Isles, albeit on a raggedy ship that seemed to stay afloat simply because the sea refused to accept something so hideous, and suffering from jet lag after being snatched from the airport like the last custard biscuit in the packet.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]The ship brought our group, apparently newly recruited personnel for this organization, to a dock in a countryside a less honest person would call picturesque. More sincere man would call it hideous. We were greeted by a grizzled man, whose face had many stories written into it. Few of them pretty. As part of our introduction, he was supposed to give us a crash course in handgun use. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]While I was familiar with hunting shotguns and rifles, I never really held a modern pistol before. Yes, there was a collection of service revolvers collected over the last century back home, but the invention of Gaston Glock was somewhat new to me. I knew his life story, though. An engineer that decided to make a good pistol. I looked at the piece of heavy plastic in my hand. It told quite a lot. What I was holding was not a weapon, at least not in the classical meaning. This was a tool for killing. There was no beauty or artistic elegance in the object, just cold pragmatism and brutal simplicity. It assumed you wanted to kill when you wielded it.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“I have some experience with firearms, sir, shotguns and rifles” I answered to Sgt Laine. “Mostly from foxhunts and such, though, as you said, the local foxes may fire back. Quite changes the balance of the thing, it seems.”[/BCOLOR]
  3. Harrison McCoy The youthful Marine regards the sergeant with an attentive gaze, looking out of place at a very strict position of parade rest, arms bent behind his back, crooks of his thumbs interlocking. He might look a bit show-offy to someone not familiar with military customs and courtesies, but Harrison is less concerned with earning the ire of his fellow trainees and moreso with not getting his ass chewed out by Sergeant Laine.

    LCpl McCoy's gaze follows the sergeant's hands, his lithe muscles tensing up at the sight of the Glock. The group shuffles forward, and, sensing a lack of military adherence to custom, he relaxes and steps forward with the rest. Naturally, he wants to appear prepared, but his time in training quickly taught him that acting the best didn't necessarily make you the best, and punishments for being a showy asshat were doled out frequently. With Sergeant Laine's blessing, he picks up the especially light handgun and aims it at the ground, finger lazily resting on the trigger guard. He refrains from checking to see if it's loaded, again trying to avoid giving off the "I've seen this shit before" vibe, and follows the group, gravitating towards the middle.

    As soon as he takes his place on the range, McCoy's body begins to tense a bit. The ghost of a memory from training plays over the reality in front of his eyes, the white noise of the ocean and the wind overlaid with the staccato crack of firearms only audible to the boy. The spell is broken as Sergeant Laine's question hangs in the air. Despite his lapse in concentration, McCoy catches the gist of the query and, glancing at the craggy-faced man, reluctantly raises a clenched fist as an affirmative. He watches as a mere handful of others do the same, more comfortable now that he's not the only one. Still, it's very few.

    He keeps his mouth shut; no one asked him to speak.
    #3 Mjr.Chaos, Apr 6, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016
  4. Sergeant Laine snorts derisively as Henry speaks, looking the man up and down before replying.
    “Well that's not fox-hunting gear you're holding there mate, and it's not foxes you need to worry about round these parts,” he says with a humourless grin, “The local fish are more than enough to keep you on your toes, you catch my drift.”

    His glance moves along to Harrison, standing like a soldier on parade, and there's a sudden note of approval about his face as he nods. “You can stand at ease, son. You're not with Her Majesty's finest anymore, God help you. Still, you look like a man who knows a way around a firearm. Get up here and show this sorry lot how it's done.”
  5. Harrison McCoy The Marine nods to the sergeant, only half-surprised that he'd been selected to demonstrate. He ritualistically examines his lane, estimating his distance from the target, noting that the vaguely torso-shaped plywood cutout is close enough that gravity and windspeed are all but irrelevant. This is, he cautiously admits to himself, child's play.

    The ritual only takes a few seconds. Apparently satisfied, he adopts a wide-legged stance, his torso perfectly parallel with the target, raises his arms, the pistol gripped firmly in his hands, and squeezes. Once, twice, three times, over and over again until 11 shots have rung out. His finger is immediately resting on the trigger guard as he lowers the weapon and examines his marksmanship. There's a ragged hole in the dead center of the plywood target, roughly the size of a fist, denoting a remarkably small spread. For once, Harrison suppresses a childish grin, nodding at the sergeant respectfully.

    Fuckin' righteous.
  6. [BCOLOR=transparent]I watched the two former soldiers exchange their meeting rituals. As with many things, I suppose, the scent of a former military man is hard to wash away, if you feel like washing it away at all. To nobody’s surprise, the former royal marine turned the target into a very organized Swiss art piece with leisured ease. I felt quite assured of the security personnel this organization seemed to hire, and made a mental note to not shy away from leaving them to deal with the trouble should it arise. They appeared quite capable of holding the danger at bay while the important people make their exit.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]The pistol felt comfortably heavy, compared to the old service revolvers. While I assumed I’d not have to use it again in my work, I enjoyed shooting firearms as much as the next person. I mimicked the stance the royal marine took when shooting, and emptied my clip into the target. Most of the shots hit their mark, though the spread was nothing worth mentioning.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]Waters bountiful in catch, you say? I was never one for sea fishing, but I might give it a try. Anything you’d recommend as a bait?” Perhaps he’d divulge more information, if properly amused by the banter.[/BCOLOR]

  7. It was a cold, drizzly morning in the middle of motherfucking nowhere. How Chris felt devestated when he was ripped from his cozy wheelie chair and bits and bobs of doodads to be made, and thrust into the countryside without so much as a macchiato and a coat.

    So here he was. Freezing his fucking balls off in the English countryside, wishing he could be back at base clandestinely playing the latest "Flappy" something-or-other game that had come out, and shirking any notion of paperwork and bureaucracy. Albeit in a shite mood, the technician listened somewhat intently to Laine as he barked orders. He had suddenly been given a gun, and had also, without meaning to, blurted out the words "Piss and vinegar" underneath his breath. Audible enough to be heard a few paces away, but quiet enough that Christopher could keep his dignity.

    Chris, with a somewhat unsure stride, made his way to the range and gave an awkward and uneasy glance to Laine and the target too. He pointed the glock at the target, and waiting for the click of the safety, he shot at the target's vicinity. Once. Twice. Three times. Four times. He hoped he had at least got it somewhere on the board, nevermind a chest or a headshot.

    "Sergeant! Was my performance satisfactory?" He exclaimed to the man, Christopher being somewhat nearsighted in one hand, and not daring to check on the other.
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