It had taken quite a long time for all of the members of the guerrilla band to finally get along. Calvin and Sarah Jane were much more cordial to each other. Both had changed dramatically over the past few months. In order to be successful, each member of the group had to put their differences aside and work together.
It was a somewhat cooler day in the mountains. While Kevin had been wracking his brains since the morning trying to get the generator started, Sarah Jane and Mallory were out collecting berries, nuts and pine cones. Calvin and Neil were looking forward to the upcoming hunting season in September. Not that the old bureaucratic regulations applied anymore, but the best hunting took place in the fall of the year.
Jake’s chiseled arms throbbed from spending over an hour splitting large blocks of firewood. He was sweating and getting tired. Jake didn’t notice Sarah Jane approaching him. Although the environmentalist and social justice warrior had every intention of clinging to her belief system, a recent discussion with Mallory had made her question some very important things.
Jake, his shirtless upper torso displaying a ripped physique, drove the head of the axe into a huge block of wood. Sarah Jane offered him a bottle of water, which he eagerly gulped down.
“Jake, I’ve been questioning some things lately. You may find it strange hearing this from me, but I believe that it’s time for me to learn how to shoot.”
“Why the sudden change of heart?”
“Mallory and I had a discussion. I hate to admit it but you guys have been right all along. Peaceful protests and writing letters isn’t going to cut it this time. Not that I have any desire to kill anybody. Just in case I have to protect myself.”
Jake put his shirt back on. “If you’re serious about learning, I have no problem teaching you. Come on inside for a minute.”
Sarah Jane followed Jake inside of the mine. A steady electric hum signalled that the generator was finally up and running.
“You finally got it to work,” Jake said.
Kevin sighed deeply, wiped sweat from his forehead. “It goddamn well took long enough,” Kevin said tiredly.
“We need to borrow the AR.”
“I’m going to give Sarah Jane some basic marksmanship lessons.”
“That’s great. The only thing is, we have to preserve as much ammo as possible.”
“It’s a good rifle to start on. We still have quite a few bullets for the British rifles,” Jake stated. “We’re only going to use twenty rounds.”
“In that case, I guess it wouldn’t be a problem. You’re going to the rock quarry?”
“That’s right. We need to take one of the ATVs.”
A rock quarry was located a quarter of a kilometer away from the mine. Inside of a rickety metal trailer was an old table and chairs. The rebels had set up the table and chairs a hundred yards from a huge mountain of gravel. Sarah Jane sat at the table. Jake could sense how nervous she was as he placed the AR-15 on the table.
“It’s all fairly straightforward.” Jake pointed to the dial on the side of the rifle and demonstrated the features. “Move it this way you have semiautomatic. This way it’s on safety.”
“So does this rifle shoot like thirty rounds a minute like those British assault weapons?”
“No, this rifle isn’t fully automatic, just semi.” Jake pointed at the button located an inch or so above the rifle’s magazine and pressed it. A magazine fell out which he caught with his other hand. “That’s the magazine release.”
Sarah Jane pressed the butt of the AR-15 firmly against her shoulder.
“Now focus through the scope. Don’t worry about parallax error as I’ve sighted in the scope exactly where it should be.”
Sarah Jane took a couple of deep breaths before focusing on one of the two targets propped up in front of the mountain of gravel. She squeezed the trigger. The round missed the target by a few inches. She fired again. Same result. Frustrated, Sarah Jane lowered the AR-15.
“This is harder than it looks,” Sarah Jane said with a chuckle.
“Just keep going. You’ll get it.”
Sarah Jane focused through the scope.
“I’ll give you the same advice I gave Mallory. Aim about an inch or so below the target.”
Sarah Jane, a little less nervous than she’d been, aimed just below the metal silhouette on the right side. She fired another round. It nicked the target. She fired again. This time, the bullet hit the target dead-centre. The sound of a bullet travelling at 2,700 feet-per-second slamming against heavy steel resounded through the air with a loud crrrack.
“Excellent work,” Jake said. “Keep going the way that you are.”