Nothing Exercise Can't Fix


quinn3_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Nothing Exercise Can't Fix
Synopsis Quinn tracks down Raith to acquire some firearms training.
Date April 7, 2011

Bannerman's Castle

The name Bannerman's Castle is as deceiving as its appearance; built stone by stone more than a century ago, the now crumbling fortress, seemingly derelict, was in its glory days used as a military surplus warehouse and still carries the faded words Bannerman's Island Arsenal on one of its walls. Time and neglect have since taken a hefty toll on the property, which belongs to the Maxwell Development Corporation in name, but is in reality much more than a prized relic.

On the outside, ivy creeps up its walls, some stripped down to skeletal supports and others as strong and stalwart as the day they were erected. In the decades that Pollepel Island has been abandoned, nature has reclaimed a large portion of the castle where its roof has caved in, creating courtyards of stone and saplings, thorny bushes and wire fences put up to section the most tangled hollows off. A few have been cleaned up, exposing worn stone floors that serve as gathering places for the people who live inside the ruins, and where the walls are tallest, shielding one open cavern from the mainland's view, there is a metal drum to burn fires in and large chunks of stone arranged around them in a circle.

Inside, Bannerman's Castle has been repurposed by the Ferrymen network as northern stronghold with its own electrical grid powered by basement generators, though most of the castle is lit by gas lanterns and candles to conserve fuel. Tall ceilings reinforced with wooden rafters are a feature in almost every room, including the castle's dining hall and the basement kitchen where food is prepared on outdated stoves and ovens taken from restaurants on Staten Island that were abandoned in the wake of the bomb and later repaired and refinished for installation in the kitchen.

Also in the basement are the fortress' supply rooms, which are kept under lock and key and contain everything from cured meats to additional linens, firearms, ammunition and fuel for the generators that power Bannerman. The living quarters and infirmary are located on the ground floor in the corner of the castle that's most intact, and while the narrow corridors are drafty, a lot of time and effort has gone into insulating the rooms themselves as best they can be insulated with what supplies were available and fit the budged allocated to the network's reconstruction efforts.

This is the second night trip Quinn's made out t o Pollepel in about the same number of weeks, now. Something she wouldn't normally do, considering how dangerous constant, short trips can get. But she had a few things she needed to done on the island, the least of which was delivering a rather large shipment of books that Lynette had asked her to get, try and track down Kaylee again, see what she could do to help over the evening…

But all of that became secondary when she'd heard that Jensen Raith was about the island. Not admittedly someone that Quinn would normally actively seek out, particularly after she and Magnes' little… trek through time in the fall (which thank God he didn't remember. She'd have to hug Kaylee for that too sometime), but something's been sitting in her mind ever since she started dreaming of things to come. Ever since she started seeing just how bad things were going to get.

Ever since she saw herself shoot a man in the head.

Even fi she didn't particularly like the idea, it was time to learn how to better defend herself outside of somewhat falshy defensive martial arts moves Ygraine had taught her. It may be a bti of self fulfilling prophacy, but it will only serve her well to learn how to shoot. And for that, she needs Raith - one of few people she'd trust tor eally teach her how to do it well.

With this in mind, she's set out about the castle in search of the co-director of Special Activities, hoping to catch him in the middle of nothing in particular. Hopefully, there wasn't any planning going on for something she wasn't aware of.

It's fortunate for Quinn that over the past couple days, things on Pellepel Island have calmed down a bit. Just enough, at least, for Raith not to be constantly occupied with things. He's done all he can do, apparently, pending firther action from someone else. Probably. Whatever the exact reason, Raith is not difficult to find, just on his way out of the dining hall when the Irishwoman happens to pass by it. How lucky. Aside from a nod of acknowledgment, however, it doesn't seem to occur to him that maybe someone- like her- is looking for him.

Lucky enough that, despite looking for him, she doesn't actually realise it's him until she gets that nod of acknowledgement from the man. Her steps falter as he continues past him and she almsot literaly spins around on her heel. "Raaaaith!" she speaks up as she moves to catch up with him, "You're just the man I'm lookin' for!" She even sounds excited to have found him, which feels a little weird even to her. "You… are you free at the moment? I… wanted t' ask you if you could do a favour for me…"

Easy enough to get Raith's attention. Easy to get him to stop and look to her too. But the look is more one of confusion than intrigue. Raith looks Quinn over for a moment, and then formulates his reply. "Okay, but I'm a hundred dollars a night. Fifty dollars extra for any weird stuff. Nothing gay," is more likely than not, not the answer she was looking for. It's also, more likely than not, the answer he'd have given even if she'd be a little clearer with her request to start with.

Quinn stops dead in her steps, blinking a bit as she looks up at Raith. And it takes a moment, but a wide grin cracks across her face. "Well, if nothin' gay, then I don't think I'm too suited for that anyway," is given as an amusiing jab at the both of them, her hands moving to her hips in mock indignation as she speaks. But when that moment passes, seh takes a deep breath, expression becoming more serious. "It's nice t' know you're branchin' out a bit, but… I was actually wonderin' if you had some time-" she furrows her brow, and decides to just say it. "I want t' learn how t' shoot."

Raith likewise blinks for a bit. He glances at his watch. "Sure," he says, turning his attention back to Quinn, "Meet me outback, outside the wall. I'll get some irons together and we'll cover the basics." Painless. Maybe too painless. But hey, this is part of Raith's job as the Special Activities co-director. He's probably all too happy to do his job.

Oh. That was a lot easier than Quinn expected. That's a welcome surprise! She gives an enthusiastic nod, a smile crossing over her face. "Alright! I'll be right out there. Is there anything I should do or get?" She's honestly clueless about how this kind of stuff works. She's done laser tag in the past, maybe a few arcade games. Nothing that even remotely comes close to counting.

"Yeah. Some empty cans or bottles or something, and maybe a flashlight if you have one already." Raith doesn't wait around to further clarify anything or add more details. He's already off to go and get 'some irons,' most likely. It's not liable to get much darker outside of course, but it is liable to get colder, and they're liable to face greater risk waking people up if it gets too much later. Makes sense, really.

A flashlight? Oh, that just brings the biggest grin to Quinn's face. But she doesn't linger as Raith starts off, instead turning back towards teh dining hall. Best place to find cans and bottles, right? That's what she assumes, and it ultiamtely proves pretty successful, Quinn able to fill a bag with some empty, washed out cans and bottles that had been headed for trash. A flashlight is harder. She doesn't carry one for herself, and she has no idea if Raith has one for himself. But after a bit of poking around, she's able to procure one, taking it and the bottles out to the appointed meeting spot.

It's not long after Quinn reaches the appointed spot that Raith comes onto the scene. With a small messenger bag in his hand and a carbine slung over his back, the picture is completed with a headlamp: An actual LED torch attached to a headband around his, well, head. Keeps his hands free, keeps the light point where he's looking. Makes perfect sense. "How much training do you have in firearms?" he asks of her as he finishes his approach. He wants to know, obviously, where he needs to start. The messenger bag goes onto the ground.

"Uuh…" Quinn rolls her shoulders, looking and sounding rather sheepish. "None. Unless arcade games count," she confesses. "I hope that's not too big a problem?" It probably is. She know she'd be annoyed if she was Raith. "But I figure I should learn. You know… be prepared in case things get worse." Which is, again, the honest truth. Eyeing the head lamp for a moment, Quinn smirks as she folds her hands together, and when she opens them, a small ball of radiant light floats up into the air in front of her, shedding light around the both of them, and after a moment, ahead in a beam not unlike Raith's light. Keeps her hands free, indeed.

Raith regards the ball of light for a moment. And then, before he moves on to anything else, asks a very, very simple question of Quinn: "Can you make that strobe?"

To Quinn, that's a very odd question, but one she responds to with a wider smirk. "I work as a DJ in my spare time," she says somewhat softly, looking up at the light. It flickers a bit, and then like Raith has asked, it begins to strobe. Not quite full speed one might expect, but it's close. "That, an' things like people I know gettin' shot, an' havin' to help fend off Sylar the other week are forcin' me t' learn how t' do things like this." And how to shoot, is the implication.

"Here's a tactical application, then." THe note about Sylar is ignored, if only for the moment. "Strobe that in someone's face, and it's almost impossible for them to hit you or defend themselves. Distracts and disorients. Remember that." Lesson: Over.

"This," the ex-spy begins as he unslings the carbine from over his shoulder, "Is the M4 carbine, the M16's little brother. Lightweight, thirty round detachable box magazine, capable of semi- and fully automatic fire, and accepts a variety of accessories. If you do most of your fighting in urban settings, this is the best assault weapon you can have. And tonight, you're going to make friends with it. Looks like you found some cans, so go ahead and set some of them up about…" He thinks for a moment, and then points haphazardly towards the west. "Ten meters off that way, and I'll get everything ready for action."

A single strobe to blind someone? That wasn't something Quinn had even thought of. Even the flashes she did that one day when Elaine got shot, were in the heat of the moment, and did far too good a job of blinding everyone in the area. This was definitely a good tip, something she would be filing away for use in the future, if she ever needed it. With that done, the light flickers a gain as it ceases strobing, returning to the state it had been in before.

Her hands clench into a fist for a moment, joints cracking, as Raith unslings the carbine. A slow nod and a bit of a "Wow", but she otherwise silent as she picks up the bag of cans and bottles, moving to set up the impromptu shooting range. A minute or two to get that done (at least, she thinks it looks good), before she starts back, leaving the bag over at the other end instead of lugging it back and forth.

When Quinn does get back, it is just as Raith is finishing up adding one of those accessories he was talking about, screwing an extension onto the weapon's barrel. It's possible that Quinn has seen enough movies to know that, "This is a standard issue sound suppression device. A silencer, although you will observe it does not completely silence the weapon's report." And then, Raith promptly hands the weapon over. "Unloaded for now, until you get the basics and a feel for the weapon. The trigger you can no doubt find. The selector is on the left side, has 'Safe,' 'Semi,' and 'Auto' positions. Directly behind the carrying handle, which doubles as your iron sight, is the charging handle. Pull that all the way back and let go, disengage the safety, brace the stock firmly against your shoulder and you're ready to rock 'n' roll. All there is to it."

Quinn has seen plenty of action movies, but it doesn't really compare to actually seeing it all up close like this. There's a bit of apprehension in her movements as she nods and slowly reaches forward to take the weapon. "Yeah, I've always heard that movies overdo the whole silencer thing," she muses as she looks down at it, then back up to Raith, as he continues to tell her about it, her eyes are moving over it in an effort to find everything he's pointing out.

And then comes the fun part. And by the fun part, it's really the part where Quinn starts to fumble about with the weapon. She doesn't actually pull back the charging handle, she more mimics how she thinks it's done - simple enough, right? - eyes the safety as if mentally unlocking it, and presses it against the shoulder of her hoodie, like she always sees in the movies. It's kind of awkward, held a bit too high and not quite right. But it looks like she's at least got the basic idea, if the motions aren't perfect.

"That's good," Raith says, "Just needs a little practice, and you'll be holding it like a pro. Drop the butt a little bit and it'll be just about perfect." And Raith goes back to the bag on the ground briefly, before passing over to Quinn a loaded magazine. "Remember, finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until you're ready to shoot. Open end towards the weapon, inside of the curve towards the barrel, slide it into the magazine well just in front of the trigger guard until it clicks, charge it, shoulder it, make sure nobody is downrange, press down on the selector nub until it clicks once for semi, then pick a can and squeeze the trigger." Simple, right? It's maybe a lot of information, but it's all simple information, at least.

Taking a deep breath, the weapon raises back up about where she had it. It shakes a little in her hands. She's trained herself long ago not to shake with nervousness, but this is a bit of a different situation. A nod, and she goes through the process. Charge, click. Shoulder, thunk. Nobody downrange. Set it to semi… click. She purses her lips, attempting to steel herself as she aims ahead. Just right down the sight, right? Okay.

Deep breath. Try to stay still. Good advice for anything. Slowly, her finger moves to the trigger, and she squeezes.

The suppressor keeps her from being deafened, but her shot - well. It hits a can. Just not the one she was actually aiming for.

"Good!" Raith remarks. "Very good. First shot's always the hardest. What's your take?" Whatever that means. "How'd it feel? How didn't it feel? Is the rifle too big to hold comfortably? Too cramped?"

The recoil is really not what Quinn was prepaired for, and her finger slips off the trigger as the can is hit, taking a half step back with her eys wdened a bit. Okay, so, in theory that's not as bad as she thought it would be, In theory, at least. And Quinn is smart enough to reach down and click the safety back into place before she lowers the weapon. "Aah, um. Well, I mean… it feel a bit awkward. I think it's a bit big? It kinda- what' it called when you shoot and the gun jerks back a bit? That was- that is somethin' it'll take me time t'g et used to, I guess? Somethin' I guess I could get used t', but it felt kinda weird."

"Recoil. It does kick a bit, but you get used to that. If you lean into it a bit, that helps. The stock on the M4 telescopes, so you can use the lever on the bottom of it to adjust the length until it's more comfortable to hold. Ultimately, it's just like anything else. The more you do it, the more you get used to it, the easier it is to do later." Nugget of wisdom after nugget. Raith's done this enough to offer advice. The advice he offers, clearly, is less suited to learning how to 'shoot like him' than to 'shoot comfortably.' "But, a rifle is probably not what you'll be using most of the time is you're trying to keep a low profile. That's mag's only got four rounds left, so go ahead and throw the rest downrange, and then we'll move on to pistols."

"Recoil! Right!" Quinn actually sounds a bit cheery when she repeats this, looking down at the stock. She's not going to fiddle with extending at the moment. She's just going to listen to the advice as it's given, nodding when appropriate. "Four r- oh, right." Rounds are bullets. TIme to start remembering all this terminology. "Alright, let's…" The process from earlier is mostly repeated again, the safety turned off, the way down the range watched, and the weapon raised back up. The ball's light shines brighter and more direct on her target, in an attempt to help her centre on it better. And she fires once more- and still misses. But she's learning. That's okay, right?

Huffing out a bit of air, she clicks the trigger, as if making sure that there's nothing left inside, and then the safety is switched back on. "I think I'll be more comfortable with pistols," she admits, looking over to Raith. That's how it was in her dream, at least.

For the second time, Quinn steps back into the 'waiting room' as Raith is screwing a suppressor onto a handgun, markedly smaller than the rifle. Of course, this takes a bit longer; he's had less time to finish it. "This is the Smith & Wesson Model 39, Mark 22 Mod 0. Navy SEALs used it for a while before they upgraded. I picked this one up, fourteen-odd years ago, right before I went to France." A couple more twists, and the attachment is secured. "Also known as the 'hush puppy,' because if you ran into a sentry dog during your infiltration, you'd use it to hush the puppy before it gave you away." Morbid.

"Utilizes an eight-round detachable box magazine, nine by nineteen millimeter Parabellum. Beretta holds fifteen, but the fact is if you run into a problem you can't solve with eight rounds, odds are you can't solve it with fifteen, either. Suppressor will make this front heavy." And he hands it over. "Safety's on the left side, magazine release in on the left side right where the trigger guard welds to the grip, so be aware of that. Same rules as before, open end facing the gun, magazine is slanted, so it only fits one way." That magazine is passed over. "Disengage the safety first, or the weapon won't operate, rack the slide back and let it go, and you're ready to rock. Keep your wrist strong or you'll have feed problems, but relax your elbow a bit to help with the recoil."

The rifle, with the safety reset, is held by the handle that Raith had pointed out earlier. Quinn can't help but wince at his story about how it gets his name. Saaaad. It's a good thing she has a cat - even if it's someone else's - instead of a dog, otherwise that story probably would've made her really sad.

An exchange is made, carbine for handgun. It's heavy in her hand, the suppressor making it heavier than even the pistol she held in her hands in the vision. "This is the slide, right?" she asks, pointing to the top of the handgun. She only knows this, again, because of action movies and TV shows. Burn Notice does wonderful things when it comes to filling one's mind with bullshit about weapons that may or may not be true. She turns the weapon over as she moves to face the cans, so she's not facing Raith with the weapon in hand. "Alright, so…" click goes the safety, and once Quinn has a right grip on the handle, a bit of fumbling has the clip sliding in until it clicks. She takes a deep breath, pulling on the slide like she's seen. It's harder than it looks in the movies, definitely. "Man, my luck, I'd get my finger jammed in there," she half jokes grimly - which is why she makes sure any flesh it out of the way before she lets go.

This is the one time that her dream actually helps a little bit. She can't really remember or know how she fired that gun, but the whole thing was vivid enough that she vaguely remembers how she held it when she fired. So she tries to mimic that, and it looks a lot less awkward than when she held the rifle. Not natural, but must less awkward. She raises it up, making sure no one's walking across, and tries to aim.

Deep breath again, and she pulls the trigger. This time she's more prepared for recoil, but Quinn isn't the strongest person on earth, so that kickback, while not to bad, is still just a little worse than expected. As for the can, she doesn't hit it dead on, but clips it well enough to make it spin and slide off where it had been set.

"Would've kicked a little harder without the can on the barrel," Raith says, "But with the lower weight, that would've been a solid hit. Good shot. Keep plinking, it'll get lighter the more bullets you fire. And don't forget you're shooting at cans and bottles. If you have to do this for real, you'll be shooting at targets that are ten times bigger." Arguably, that should alleviate some anxiety.

"When you fire the last one in the magazine, the slide will lock in the open position automatically," the ex-spy adds, going back to the messenger bag for another magazine. "When you run dry, we'll cover some reloading techniques, and after that, it's just practice."

"Mm…" By can, Quinn assumes Raith means the suppressor. Not that she's ever expecting to fire one any time soon, but as with the rest of the lesson, it's all good information to know. She gives a nod of acknowledgement. She tries to focus again. The thought that normally she'd be hitting bigger targets actually is comforting, in the sense that she'd have to worry a bit less about precision. It's horrifying in the fact that, you know. It means that she's probably shooting a person.

Still, she doesn't deter her that much. She tightens her grip a bit and takes a deep breath. And she fires again. Misses her target. Take a deep breath, recenter, take a moment between shots - it helps, at least for learning, even if it'll never be that easy in the heat of things. Fire again, and miss. Of the remaining five shots, two hit home, and only one is a solid hit, sending a can flying back. Which, to her? Really not that bad at all. But with the clip expended, the slide is stuck back just as predicted, and that has her stance relaxing, a look offered over to Raith. "Well. I think I'm a bit amazed with myself. I didn't think I'd hit any…"

"The idea that some people have 'the right stuff' when it comes to shooting is a myth," the ex-spy states plainly, "You work at it, anybody can be good. I was hitting targets at six hundred yards by age fourteen because I practiced, not because I have magical DNA. Keep practicing, and you'll get better. On the topic of reloading, there's essentially two types. Emergency and tactical. Right now, empty weapon? Emergency reload situation. Magazine release is a button on the left side, within easy reach of your thumb. Press it firmly, and the mag will fall free of the well. Insert another mag and rack the slide. Second's a tactical reload, which we're going to practice."

"Core idea of a tactical reload is you've fired some of your magazine, but not all of it, and there's a break in the firefight, or the threat's gone and you aren't sure if there's another one nearby. Well, you still have perfectly good ammunition left, so you reload with a fresh mag and save the old one, easy as pie. First, you take a new magazine-" Like the one Raith is offering- "And pull the gun into your 'workspace,' which is just closer to your body. Eject the old magazine and catch it with the same hand holding your new one, twist your hand slightly and insert the new one, and then put the old one in your pocket or something. Anywhere's fine as long as you don't mix it with your full mags. Normally, you don't need to rack it again because you still have a round in the chamber, but this time's an exception." A lot of information, again. But the instructions aren't complicated, again. Straight forward, and easy to practice anytime. Maybe anyone can be a good shootist.

Still facing down the range, Quinn tilts the handgun to the side, looking where Raith had mentioned teh magazine release was earlier, and sure enough there is. She's about to press it when the next lesson is relayed to her. "Oh," she says as she looks at the offered clip, taking it carefully. "I think is going t' be where I finally cock it all up," she remarks humerously. She's clumsy. And she is not expecting this to go well. She also flips the safety back on, just in case. "Okay, so…" She holds the clip in hand - the full one - turning a bit and pulling the weapon close. And she hits the mag release - and watches the empty clip fall towards the ground as she fails to be fast enough to catch it. Can't get everything on the first try!

"That's fine," Raith says encouragingly, "If that happens during a lull, just leave it and slap the new mag in. If things look clear, scan around, then just pick it up and put it in your pocket. Next time, hold your hand under the magazine before you hit the release so it slides right into your head. Keep practicing, you'll get it in no time. Last trick worth mentioning is suppressing fire. Couldn't be easier. Aim at your target, and then just empty your piece as fast as you can. Finish loading and have at it."

"That's it?" Quinn's expecting some twist to the instructions, but she shrugs. Pressing the clip up and in - again, a bit harder than she needs to - she waits for the click and turns off the safety, before she racks the slide. "Alright, here goes…" She turns back the makeshift range, aims out, and- pulls the trigger. It's only eight shots, but the pace manages to gradually increase between shots as she gets used to the idea of having to fire as fast as possible. "I somehow think this might be easier if I played more video games," she jokes again after the last bullet is fired. "My hands hurt a bit. Please tell me that's normal."

"Until you get used to it, perfectly normal." Good news, at least. It also appears like it might be the end of the lesson, because Raith is slinging the rifle back over his shoulder. "And I'll tell you now, video games don't really help. Practice helps, except for suppressing fire. You throw lead down in suppression like that, you won't hit anything. I was a top marksman in the Army, and I won't hit anything with suppressive fire. Not on purpose. But you'd better believe that everyone in the area you were firing into would've ducked their heads until you stopped. Just long enough for your buddies to get behind cover."

"Oooh, okay," Quinn replies with an understanding nod, again flicking the safety back on. It doesn't hurt to be overly cautious, does it? "Okay, yeah, I get it!" Again, she sounds positively excited. "I always wondered what exactly that was supposed t' be…" She transfers the pistol from one hand to another, flexing her fingers a bit. They actually do hurt a bit. That part kinda sucks. "I'll have t' find somewhere I can practice when I'm not here, then. I don't imagine it wise t' do that stuff around Grand Central anymore, but I guess I'll figure somethin' out." A beat. "Well. I'll have t' borrow a gun first, so I might have t' go by GCT anyway…" she trails off a bit, waving her free hand dismissively. Getting a hold on a gun is secondary to knowing where to practice, to her. "Thanks a lot for this, Raith. Particularly on short notice like this."

"Just doing my job," Raith replies, picking up the messenger bag and holding out his hand. "If you're going to be spending a lot of time around GCT, I can try to scare up a forty-five and a suppressor for it. It'll kick harder than my hush puppy, but it's quieter too." The ex-spy is dedicated enough to helping the Ferrymen learn to shoot that he will happily try to find weaponry for them to use. With each passing day, they need more and more gunslingers. A trend that he hopes won't continue.

"I don't know about a lot of time. At least, not immediately. My job at Studio K keeps me busy. But it's something I'm going to try and do more in the comming weeks, definietly. I know they need help out there, particularly since it's kinda a skeleton crew out there right now, so I wanna help out how I can." Quinn gives a bit of a nod as she reaches out to take his hand, giving it a frim shake. "Something that kicks harder might be better, I would think? When I started learning guitar, I used thick strings so I could learn to play regular ones better."

"It's worth considering, definitely," the ex-spy replies, "Something in forty-five caliber should do nicely until you step back down to nine millimeter." Raith gives a small gesture with his outstretched hand, as if to say, 'May I please have my pistol back?'

A more than reasonable request, and Quinn gets the hint almost immediately. The safety is check again (it's on), and the pistol is handed back to Raith carefully. "Thanks again," is offered despite not really needing to, and Quinn looks off towards the various damaged bottles and cans. "Imma go clean that up while you get all of this back together…" She's really happy to have had the lesson, definitely. "I suppose I could stand t' work out a little too," she says in an amused, self depreciating tone, "I bet that'd help too."

"There's nothing that exercise can't fix," Raith replies, "As long as you're doing the right exercise." The ex-spy extracts the spent magazine, and then hits the slide release, snapping it forward again without racking it proper, before he presses his thumb against the hammer and squeezes the trigger, carefully returning the weapon to a fully safe state. "Just grab most of them. A little liter won't hurt, and it's getting plenty cold out. I'm all for getting back inside before it gets much colder."

"I think that sounds like a plan," Quinn agree, heading off towards the bottles. This wasn't really how she ever expected to spend a night. At least, not until recently. But for her two cents, it had turned out really well. Now she just had to hope that they only time she actually had to put it to use was in practice. She doubts she'll ever be that lucky.

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