Friday Night Story

Gun Control

“Unit 37, what is the status of the 246?” The outburst from the radio is met with an outburst of assault rifle fire. From the way they smash through the doorframe, I’m assuming 7.62, not 5.56- it’s just not my day.

I hold down the PTT button on my radio and yelp, “Stop transmitting; he’s using you to zero on my twenty.” That taken care of, I unholster my sidearm, and speak into its receiver, “Safety off; nonlethal round, limited penetration.”

A soft electric voice chirps out of the pistol’s grip. “Request cannot be processed.”

“Goddamnit, I’m me. Voiceprint analysis, Evens, Peter, Sergeant. Biometric and heat signature should match, because I’m me, damn you.”

“Hello, sergeant. Identity verification is not the issue. The signaling rate of noradrenergic activity in your locus ceruleus is elevated, indicating hyperarousal and extreme agitation. Physiologic indicators show you are 30% psychotic at this time. Are you experiencing hallucinations or extreme emotional distress?”

“Someone’s shooting at me, you terrible little machine, of course I’m emotionally distressed.”

“If you do not lower your tone, a calming electrostatic shock will be induced.”

“How exactly would that be calming?”

“Thank you for complying. Until psychotic state indicators decline to 10% or below, this firearm will be unusable. The public thanks you for your service, sergeant.”

I sigh. A round shatters pieces of wood into my face. I speak into my radio, “My weapon just bricked itself, are there any flintlock cops in the vicinity?” There was silence. “Goddamnit, you can respond now that I’m asking you to.”

“I’m showing an F-Unit two blocks away on foot, enroute, ETA 65 seconds.” I lean against the doorframe, exposing just enough of my eye and arm to look like I was aiming. He pokes his head out once, panicks looking down the barrel of my useless pistol, and hides.

Sixty-five seconds can be several lifetimes when you’re bluffing.

The flintlock must be a rookie, because he knocks on a door I’d already kicked in, then he loudly calls “Police” as he walks into the hallway blind. He’s lucky the man with the AR is worried about me, because he only takes a single round in the vest; it puts him down, but he manages to roll around the corner.

I mouth to the flintlock to throw me his firearm, and after a long pantomime that isn’t amusing at the time, he does it. He hadn’t even loaded the damn thing. I shove the ball and powder in, use the ramrod to smash it into place, every second glancing up, expecting to be greeted by the long eye of something very unfriendly.

When it’s ready, I cock the striker back, and shift it into my off hand. I hold my brick pistol over my shoulder like a boomerang and wait. Then he sticks his curious face around again, and I let it fly. It hits him in the nose with a wet crunch, like a bite of cereal just before it goes soggy. “It’s his fucking firearm- simp threw his firearm at us. I’m going to rush him.”

He’s halfway down the hall when I lean out, crouched, and fire right down his center line. Flintlocks carry a big ball with extra powder, roughly the explosive equivalent of a .45 mag- the thinking being that if they only get a single shot, it should be one hell of a shot. If they’d just program the Biometers in our police issues we wouldn’t need them at all, but that’s another discussion entirely.

The ball blows chunks of his spine and meat out his back. The flintlock reaches for the AR, and I let him keep it. As I round the corner, the other man reaches down for my thrown pistol. “You shouldn’t do that,” I tell him.

“Identity unverifiable.” He reaches for the trigger, and gives it a pull. His entire body jumps as several thousand volts spark through him to the floor. He probably would have fallen over on his own after that, but I’d been having an exceptionally lousy night, so I smack him with the wooden butt of the flintlock pistol.

The flintlock must be a lucky bastard, because the 7.62 hadn’t made it through his vest, which, at this range, and with the bargain-basement vests the department provides, was a damned miracle. I give him back his pistol, and as I help him to his feet he says he’ll take the collar from here, which is fine by me.

As I leave the scene, I slide my brick pistol back into its holster. “Psychotic state indicators 8%. Pistol is again functional.” I bite my lip to keep from swearing at it in front of a woman and her four year old daughter; I really need to get myself one of those illegal, unmodded holdout pistols.

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