The door was opened, the worn, tired shape of a man welcomed in. Behind the mask Gunner studied him, eyes pulled into narrows behind those dark sockets. The fingers had moved up into steeples, jaw forward as they regarded the stranger. Beneath the layer of dark steel the expression twisted, able to do so without giving too much away. What was he? Tanned, tattooed, no overly oppressive field – human? No, he was something else. There was something off about him, and it was that something in return made Gunner uneasy. It was close, a single word on the tip of their tongue – but that did not matter when there was business to be had.
Inside secure once more, the gunsmith went to work.
A gloved hand gestured for him to take the chair opposite, before the hands began to slowly sign. Almost as if taking his cue, Dancer – a short and scrawny man - began to translate, “Gunner welcome you and invites you to be comfortable for the duration of the work. The piece is in its final stages and may take some time.”
The toolbox was opened then, a collection of pieces neatly pulled out and tools neatly lined up alongside. The last pieces needed to finish the firearm. To begin with the smith moved to attaching the main body of the grip to the rest of the frame, a squeak of noise as a u-shaped structure – smaller than Liberators - was affixed into place. A few testing pulls of the trigger, the pieces carefully being lined up as the ratchet and pawl caught. Towards the back the fingers pinched and secured the hammer, screwdriver carefully tightening it before lowering. Pulling the hammer back, the dark hollows watched the ratchet rotate round, held in place. A squeeze of the trigger sent the tiny hammer forward with a loud click.
Satisfied, the gunsmith lowered the in progress firearm to study the reaction of the client. It was spun round, held in gesture for them to take the end and obtain a feel for it. The hands meanwhile moved, the voice of Dancer speaking out, “How does it feel in your hand? Is the grip comfortable enough for your liking? Not too small? Not too big? Whatever- I can’t say that.”
The masked head of Gunner swiveled to Dancer, the long hum of machinery in the background filling the silence. Sighing, the hand gestured to the Cadet and then to the door. It was hard not to miss the screwing up of his face, that momentary flicker of dejection, “Very well, as you wish.”
The cadet left, the door clunking shut behind them.
Gunner was still for a moment, hands brought together to halt the animation that would have taken them. Yet slowly, a small hiss from behind the mask sounded out, muffled by the grill but otherwise still audible.
“As I was saying,” the gunsmith began, words slow and measured – the eyes did not move from the lips of the one opposite them, “Whatever you have planned for it, is your business to be had. But understanding the nature of how you wish to use it is important to know. Preferences can be refined should you choose to raise them.” The hands turned upwards, an exaggerated shrug, “Perhaps an alternative question – what game are you hunting? How fast do you need to be?” A shaft of steel was placed between them then. The hand gestured for the return of the frame, before laying it down next to the shaft. Presented next to it was a barrel, the screwing thread notable at the end of it. Finally a cylinder, six chambers drilled through with a central shaft. In all it, when assembled, was considerably shorter than the Liberator, barely nine inches in length due to the removal of the excess metal in the name of weight and being transportable. It otherwise followed the same process Gale had used before.
A small tin of percussion caps, powder and shot was then placed next to it – the eyes locking on expectantly, the voice filling the space between, “It is a rotary piece, revolving if you will, built around a single barrel but featuring multiple chambers. Each carry a primer and each do not require flint. As such, there is the wet weather advantage. Any current questions?”