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Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Steven Petrick writes:

I like to think of myself as a soldier, although I am the first to admit that I am no longer physically fit enough to be a soldier and my training is woefully out of date. Still, even at this late date there are ingrained "trained reflexes" that will take over given the right stimulus/circumstances.

"Take care of the troops" took over near the end of the Terrorwerks episode. I wanted to make certain everyone got out (since I was still on my own feet), and this resulted in "a mistake." Instead of making sure the company's "secrets" were safeguarded and keeping a barrier of "marines" around myself, I was "the last man out" of the big room. I had become "the rear guard." As I turned to scan the room to make sure everyone was out, I was greeted by the advance of four "hostiles."

On seeing them, things went into "automatic" mode. I have no doubt that thoughts were flying through my brain, yet my body went into a modified pistol firing stance (slight shifting of the feet to create a stable platform, right hand already holding the "mini-uzi" rose to eye level), the modification being the retention of the briefcase in the left hand instead of also being brought up to help steady the weapon. The "mini-uzi's" lightness and lack of any real recoil easily accommodated this firing posture.

I am not, and have never really tried to be, a "trick shooter." If ordered, I would try to place my shots, but otherwise I tend to automatically aim for the "center of mass" of the target. (Caveat: if I believed the target had a "vest" I would aim for the head.) The range to the targets was not extreme, maybe 15 feet, maybe 20 feet at the absolute most. At least it would not have been considered extreme with a real pistol in good light. The conditions here required that my arm and the weapon become a straight-line extension with the line from my eye to the target with no real access to the weapon's sights.

As the weapon came on line with the first target, the only clearly conscious thought I can recall was a command in my head not to just depress the trigger and move the weapon back and forth. The command was for individual trigger squeezes for each target.

The weapon came on line, target #1 was acquired, lock-on was achieved, and the target was engaged with a burst.

I have no idea how many shots the "mini-uzi" unleashed with quick pulls of the trigger. It did not have a "single shot" setting as far as I knew. Up to that moment my finger had not touched the trigger, but now the tip of my finger was caressing it.

With the first target engaged with a burst, the weapon tracked to my left, searching for the next target. This target was also quickly acquired, lock-on again achieved, and the target engaged.

Again and again so that all four targets had been serviced.

Even as I was doing the shooting, part of my brain was processing the damage. This part recognized that despite my just completed effort, all of the targets were acting as if they were undamaged.

Without conscious thought, I re-engaged. Servicing each of the targets with a second burst, this timing tracking them individually back from my left to my right.

This time my brain registered that the three targets to my left were "disabled" and no longer a threat, but the last target appeared to be "taking cover" behind some boxes.

Rather than wait for the target to reappear, I was driven forward into the room to quickly flank the position at close range.

I did not fire however, because it was "close range" and part of my brain still recognized that "this is a game," so instead I challenged the hostile, asking him if he was still in the fight. He responded that he was "dead," but was working on fixing a problem with a magazine.

With that data, I quickly "cleared the room," i.e., "got out of Dodge" so that the "marines" could protect me.

The exercise ended, and I learned several things.

Most (but not all) of the hostiles could be "killed" by three hits, but some (and the same hostile could on being "revived" fall into either category) had to be hit seven times to be "killed."

That apparently the last group of hostiles I had engaged had fallen either partly or entirely into this latter group.

That, in servicing the four targets, I had emptied the "mini-uzi's" 30-round magazine.

I had no real control over how many rounds the "mini-uzi" fired with each trigger pull. If I took it for granted that each of my targets had required, as was being indicated, seven hits to kill, this would mean that somehow I hit each one with two bursts, one of which had at least three shots, and one of which had at least four shots. That would mean that at most only two shots missed.

I have reviewed my "mad quarter minute" several times in my head, and I cannot believe that I was both that good and that lucky. I suspect the reality is that each of my opponents actually only required three hits to kill. What really happened was that each was engaged twice in such quick succession that they did not have time to indicate they had been killed by the first burst before they were hit again. The "mini-uzi" probably fired four or five shots with each squeeze of the trigger, and by the time I had tracked back over the last target (or last thttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifwo targets) the weapon was already "dry-firing".

Still, my performance in the instance was not bad. Confronted suddenly by four hostiles, I did promptly engage them all, and hit them all decisively in a short period of time with steady, controlled, and (given the lighting conditions) aimed fire.

I think I have every right to be pleased with my individual performance at that point.

[For more about the TerrorWerks experiences, please see our page on them at http://www.starfleetgames.com/Terrorwerks.shtml]