While we're waitin' for Khopesh, I'll finish that section, Big O.
James thought about it. He had balled his eyes out after Pop died, but so far, he had kept his composure. The marine said he was good at lying. That made James nervous. Still, someone with actual military experience
? He might be a godsend. "Stay right here," he said, and went to one of the bedrooms were Granpa Rick was once again creaking back and forth on his home-made rocking chair. James told him Gunner's story.
Granpa fingered his tie nervously. It looked like something from the 1890's, but he wore it anyway. He stood up slowly, very slowly, and had James lead him to the living room. Granpa gave a small nod and asked, "Yew sure yew can train owr boys? Y'aint lying, is yew?"
Gunner shook his head. "Nosir. I ain't lyin', I swear it to ya on a big stack of Bibles."
Granpa Rick thought on it for a few moments, and answered in his thick drawl, "I guess yew can stay. For now, anyways. Yew'd better start trainin' now, though, or yew'll have hades t' pay, yew read me?"
"Yessir. Right away! Thank ya, sir!" Gunner snapped to attention and saluted.
Granpa laughed, which was very unusual for him, "Now I know yer a marine. By the way, we dug up a weapons cache at the gas station. It's from durin' the Rebellion. They... belonged, in the past tense, to marines, if yew get m' meanin'. Perhaps you could teach the men how to use them."
James patted Gunner on the back, "Yeah! You can be like von Steuben at Valley Forge! Turn us into a regular army, you might."
Gunner put on his cardinal-feathered hat, "Right you are."
"This is a 12 gauge, pump-action, Remington 870 shotgun. Designed in 1959, right before the occupation. It has a bottom-loading, side-ejecting receiver. Ya put the tube magazine under the barrel. Aim. And blast away. It's great for hunting animals." He pulled the pump. "And people. Ooh-rah." Gunner held the shotgun up for everyone to see. The "class," 30 Robertson clan members, studied it intensely. After they got a good look at it, Gunner demonstrated how to fire it. Following that was a practice period, where all the men got a chance to use the shotgun. Gunner picked out the best shooters. "Victor, Bobby, and Jonny, you're the best. I award ya with these three shotguns. Take care of 'em, keep 'em clean, and use 'em often. It ain't hard to get shotgun ammo, so practice often." Gunner passed them out to the three awe-struck men who then thanked him again and again. Gunner took one large rifle out of the weapons crate. "This is an Italian-made Beretta BM59. El Duce ripped the M1 Garand design after we wupped the dagoes in the War. We would've clobbered him if Adolph hadn't interfered. Anyway, after he saw the Garand in action, he wanted it. Then, some Krauts helped his weapons-makers develop this little guy. It has a removable 20-round magazine, foldin' bipod an' a flash suppressor/grenade launcher. It fires 7.62x51mm rounds. Take a look at it. This is how ya load it." He then went on, demonstrating how to use it. Practice ensued, and the lone gun was given to Bart Robertson, Harry's other brother. Bart was a natural with the gun, almost as good as Gunner. Gunner then pulled out several other infantry weapons, and, through testing, gave out FN FAL's, a few sniper rifles, and some Swedish AG-42 Ljungmans. Everyone was happy when the lone bazooka was next and last. It even looked exciting. "This is an M9 bazooka from '44. It has an optical sight, a reinforced launch tube, can penetrate five inches
of armor, uses the M6A3 rocket. You can break this baby in two for transport. If the Randalls from Shenandoah come an' crap shells on us with their Stuart, some of you will have to use this one bazooka to take. It. Down. I fought Panzer X's in the New England Rebellion. One of their main purposes is to scare ya out of yer skin. Ya need to be level-headed and not even consider runnin'. This takes a second to use, so find cover, have a buddy load it, and blast away. There're only a few rockets here, so do not
miss. If some scaredy-cat wastes all four of these, it's over. The Randalls will laugh their fat heads off as they massacre you. Now, is there an explosive-expert here?"
Carl Robertson raised his hand, "I've used powder before. I drained a bunch of shells, put it in a box, buried it, and waited for some sap t' step on it. I'm also the one who makes grenades around here."
James thumbs him up, "Yep, Gunner, he's right. He's the only one who makes our grenades. He's a good soul and won't run. Got guts."
Gunner was reluctant, but they couldn't waste rockets practicing. Carl shouldered the bazooka and beamed with pride. "Thank ya, sir. Ooh-rah!"
Suddenly, the sound of a motorcycle was heard. It sounded like it was a bike that was in bad condition, probably salvaged. Then, amid a cloud of dust, the vehicle appeared down the road. The driver raised his fist, "Woo-hoo! Yeah! I'm so cranked!" The driver stopped the bike and hopped off. He pulled off his goggles and helmet and put on an Afrika Korps-style cap. Harry.
Cousin Harry raised his fist, "Yeah, baby! I found this motorbike in an abandoned Randall barn, fueled her up, and drove it here. So, what's buzzin', cuzzin'? Who's this guy?" he asked, pointing to Gunner.
James put his arm on Gunner's shoulder and pushed him forward, "This is Gunner Patterson. He's training the troops."
Harry's left eye twitched and his eyes widened. "What? That's my job. Where'd he come from?! I'm doing a fine job trainin' the men. Who allowed this?!"
James pulled Gunner back, "Granpa, that's who. What he says goes. Nothing against you, but Gunner was a Rebellion Marine for two and-a-half years. Granpa put him in charge."
Harry put his gloved finger on James' chest. "We'll see about that, cuz. We'll see about that." He threw his hat on the ground and stormed off towards the house.
Gunner gulped, "Well, that was delightful, Jimmy. Just delightful. Who is that party pooper?"
James picked up the discarded cap, "Cousin Harry. He's our strategist. Looks like he also thinks he's the marshal, or something, too. Ah, well, Granpa'll deal with him."
All yours, K97!