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Please don't miss and hit a man

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Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  James Gunn on Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:47 pm

Target practice. It had been one of those things that could make men competitive, and one of the things that marines would find entertaining. Bottles had been fetched and tied to a line that might've usually carried signals, it was just now that it would carry targets instead. The bottles originated from the officer's mess and their nights and dinners during which they had drunk them empty. They were heavy enough that a breath of wind wouldn't make them fly horizontally to the land, but yet light enough that they still moved some on such an occasion.

Gunn held his musket and gazed at the line, as it finally settled to its right length. There was a soft sound, glass tipping and thunking against each other. It could've been a secret song of the fairies, the giggles of a group of dancing pixies.

He rolled his eyes in the direction of Vining. The man had yet again managed to appear with a crumpled shirt, but atleast he had not forgotten to shave.
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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  George Thompson on Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:51 am

Thompson enjoyed target practise. He was usually quite good at it too, which wasn't to say the other Marines were slack. He glanced along the line at the other Marines. Dickin was a pretty good shot, as was Joyse, and McEwen. He wasn't too sure about Gunn, or Vining and thought that Branning was a fair shot.

There was no finer way to spend time than with a group of folks you got on fairly well with, doing something you enjoyed doing, in Thompson's opinion.

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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  James Gunn on Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:19 am

Firing practice was easy. There was no need to engage in a conversation. If there was a start of one, it was usually simple and to the point. You either missed, or you hit the target. It was either a cheer, or a mumble. He checked his flint. Not fully reliable thing, a flint. They could break or chip at the most inappropriate time. One never knew when it might happen. Some were better, some worse, lasted long or lasted for a few shots before giving way.

His, he decided, was alright. Anyway, it had been near new. He tapped his finger against the lock thoughtfully and gazed at the bottles, swinging ever so softly in mid air. Light reflected off of them, while some shone through. Unlike a volley, this would set each marine to be noticed by others as well as make clear how accurate each was in firing. Each would fire at his own leisure, but alone. He rolled his eyes. How long would it take for the first one to get his act together and fire though, damn him. It wasn't hard now, was it? You had your musket loaded. You aimed it, you waited, you hoped you weren't an idiot enough not to distribute a wrong amount of powder. Misfiring, or worse, would be even more embarrassing when revealed openly to others. Especially if it was one's own damn fault.

He spat. Get a move on already. They weren't getting any younger. Of course then somebody wised up to the error that somebody had done, in favour of thinking they might make their job easier and faster. "Wait. You idiot.." Not all bottles were needed. It was making it blind easy for the first marines to fire, and harder and harder as the bottles became fewer. To be fair, each should've had one to fire at.

The error was remedied after a scoffle, a few curses, and shouted words, and a complaint that came to be silent rather quickly. When the rope stiffened again, there was a single wine bottle, hanging tied to it. Its brethern left to be sacrificed one, after another. Alright. Finally the practice could begin, and the first marine take aim.
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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  George Thompson on Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:35 am

There were murmurs and then the line of bottles was replaced by one solitary green glass bottle, which dangled forlornly above the water.

"Go on, Lakey, show us how it's done, then," someone said, pushing Lakey forward. "You ought to take first shot, bein' as you's older'n the rest of us."

"None of your cheek, now, or I'll make you clean all my kit as well as yourn," Lakey retorted, reaching almost leisurely for a cartridge to begin loading his musket. Prime, powder down the barrel, screw up the cartidge with the ball still in it, push that down the barrel, ram it all down, then bring the musket up, cock it, present...

He timed it carefully, and pulled the trigger only when he was ready. The bottle disintegrated into green glass shards which dropped harmlessly to the water beneath.

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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  James Gunn on Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:45 am

"Not bad." Gunn watched the shards as they descended towards the sea. They glittered and then they were gone. There was only the very top of the bottle that remained as a reminder of what had been there before. The Irishman looked bored.

"Next! Might hurry you....self, even." He could've stepped forward himself, of course. He just didn't.
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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  George Thompson on Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:47 am

"You think you can do better, go ahead an' do it," Thompson said, perfectly willing to wait his own turn. He was toward the middle of the line as it was.

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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  James Gunn on Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:52 am

The marine looked to consider Thompson's words for a moment then shrugged and stepped out of his line. "Get it over with more soon." He muttered as he reached into his cartridge box. A new bottle had been hung where the earlier had been. The little top had been removed and now lay on deck where it had been dropped.
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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  George Thompson on Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:03 pm

Thompson kicked the bit of glass into the scuppers and heard the quiet plop as it hit the water. "No point in messin' up the deck with it, is there? An' sure you'm a good marksman, Gunn." He couldn't be anything else, with a name like that, but Thompson didn't want to antagonise him.

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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  James Gunn on Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:19 pm

It was certainly better that Thompson did not try to connect Jem with Gunn, and come to a conclusion that a name suggested an unflattering jammed gun. As well, it would have been better that the name would not come true, in that sole firing at the bottle. No jammed muskets needed, when all eyes were on one man.

He grunted in Thompson's response. His movements were quick. First, the cartridge was removed from the box, second , a swift tear had the paper give way. Third, came the powder which had been left some in the pan, closed, and some in the barrel. The rest seemed to go much like clockwork. Precise, and wasting no time all up till the musket was ready. He returned the ramrod to its place, cocked the weapon. Aimed.

Halted his breath. Waited for the wind to steady and then die. He fired, the burst of smoke making him blink. The bottle shattered, the ball hitting it higher, close to where the rope had kept it in place.
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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  Tom Branning on Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:05 am

Not a bad shot, Branning thought. Not bad, but he could do better. He didn't think much of self-promotion most of the time, except when it came to marksmanship.

When Gunn had returned to his place in the rank, Branning took a step forward and got to work loading his musket. The firelock came up to his shoulder and he settled into a comfortable, loose-legged stance. There was a seemingly long pause as he waited for the wind to stir the tied-up bottles in just the right way. No sense in rushing anything.

The shot, when at last he fired, startled one of the ship's boys who was watching from nearby. It was a clean hit, square through the middle of the bottle he had marked down as his target.

With a slight, smug grin, Branning stepped back into his place in the rank.

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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  James Gunn on Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:12 am

Gunn seemed not fazed by the smug grin, that Branning carried on his face. Instead he seemed still rather pleased with his own shot, and muttered loud enough for the marine, several in line, to hear. "..Anybody can hit the fattest part of a bottle.. easy." He might've meant broadest, but didn't exactly remember the word for it on time.

The marines had proven themselves good so far. A hit after hit was a promising beginning.
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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  George Thompson on Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:19 am



Thompson grinned. Gunn was good - no matter what he said, it wasn't easy to hit a bottle hanging from the end of a piece of cordage. The next one up was Branning, and he stepped forward to load before pausing, which made Thompson grin. There was no rushing the big Marine, but then, there was n need to.

The sound of the musket going off made one of the young ship's boys gasp in surprise, but the bottle was hit cleanly, the shards splashing harmlessly alongside.

Dickin was next up and he loaded his musket calmly before taking position to fire. He pulled the trigger, but there was a sudden gust of wind that set the bottle swinging wildly, and the ball went wide. He lowered his musket, looking disgusted.

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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  Tom Branning on Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:25 am

It was easier, was it? Branning lifted an eyebrow just slightly. "Better off hittin' a man in his middle," he said simply. "None of that fancy shootin' stuff."

Dickin stepped up and tried his luck, but was thwarted by the wind.

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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  James Gunn on Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:29 am

" Not bad, getting him in the ..muniéal." He hesitated and pointed his hand to his neck to indicate what he meant. "Dead." He nodded and then added." Head, same." He glanced at Dickin. He didn't need to look at the bottle, to know that he had missed. Both his expression and the lack of the sound of a bottle shattering, indicated it well enough.

"But, if you can not, then centre is good. Yes."
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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  George Thompson on Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:40 am



Thompson blinked at him. "Oh. Neck. Well, so long as you kill the bastards before they can kill you, it's all good, mate."

It was Grattan who was up next and he went through the loading procedure calmly and efficiently, without wasting a movement or a grain of powder. He raised the musket, pulling the butt into his shoulder and aimed at the bottle that was still swinging from Dickin's miss.

He waited until he was sure of the target before pulling the trigger, and was gratified to hear the bottle shatter - he couldn't see it because of the gout of white smoke.

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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  James Gunn on Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:15 am

Neck. That what the word was. Neck. Thompson got the point anyhow. He looked at the next bottle which shattered in mid air and nodded approvingly. One more marine, whose practice produced results. If this record would continue, they could be certain that Terpsy was safe. The latter wasn't something they needed to doubt though. These were the finest marines - and marines were almost always the finest thing on a ship anyway.

"Your turn, Thompson."
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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  George Thompson on Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:24 am

"Already?" Thompson couldn't believe they'd all fired and it was his turn again so soon. He stepped forward, reaching to take another cartridge so he could reload his musket.

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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  James Gunn on Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:39 am

"Yes." Gunn paused, as some of the others looked at him, most of those who had not yet fired their musket and thus were surprised and a bit annoyed at being skipped because the daft fellow, decided to call names.

"Uh.. no..." He glared at a mutter of one with more voice. "...Whatever."
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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  George Thompson on Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:02 am



Thompson shrugged a shoulder and grinned. "Didn't think it was."

McEwen stepped out to load, aim and fire. The ball hit the side of the bottle, which broke off beneath the point of impact with cracks over the rest of the glass. It swung wildly from the end of the halyard as McEwen lowered his musket.

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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  James Gunn on Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:30 am

Well, it would've probably still killed a man. Even if the bottle itself hadn't broken up in full. Gunn watched as another of the marines took their place in the firing, and the bottle was replaced, even if not fully demolished. He averted his gaze to see some of the Tars that were there.

He shook his head. Tars. And to think that some rumours suggested there was one of the younger boys, that might be joining them. Silly sod, who thought it was all fun and games, being a marine. He'll be set right. Very right. If not by Shriver then .. he'll learn what hard work is, not all that lying about doing nothing. Or distracting one of their own, and that queue. What did he think he was.

He turned to look up as another bottle swung in its place.
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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  Nathan Allen on Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:55 pm

Allen had been watching the others as they all took their shots, bottle after bottle shattering as they did. Not bad. He always loved shooting competitions; any opportunity to practice his aim was more than welcome. But when Gunn called on Thompson before the rest of them had had a chance to shoot, Allen could not resist calling him on it.

"Tryin' t' cheat some o' us out o' our turns, Gunn?" he said, smirking as he stepped up to take his shot.

He primed his musket, took aim and fired. The shot hit the bottle near the neck and it shattered just as the others had. Allen grinned again, satisfied with the result.

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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  Tom Branning on Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:06 pm



Despite himself, Branning chuckled. This young pup Gunn was a rare one. He wasn't the only fellow to skim the top off a bottle anyway. Not by a fair piece!

"I reckon," the big Marine remarked casually, "that some other lad oughta knock off a bottle neck. Stop this young'n swellin' 'bout his chest so."

Ware grunted a laugh. "Easy 'nuff." He stepped forward after Allen had retired back to his place and swiftly loaded his musket. It took him a good long moment to settle his aim before he fired. His shot was not, however, rewarded with the welcome sound of breaking glass.

One of the ship's boys sprang to the rail and leaned way out over it. "Parted the line 'oldin' the bottle clean in two!"

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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  Nathan Allen on Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:37 pm

"Nice goin', Ware," Allen remarked dryly, rolling his eyes. "You were 'sposed t' be aimin' fer th' bottle, not th' rope."

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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  James Gunn on Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:19 pm

"Dumb luck." Gunn did not stand convinced, or perhaps he had thought himself too proud to admit that Ware's aim had actually been very good. Excellent even. He didn't hit the bottle, but had the rope splayed across it, and sent the thing into the water, whole. It was like aiming and hitting the eye of a man, rather than just his head.

"Couldn't repeat that, if he want." He muttered.He had glanced at Allen too. Seemed the competition amongst the marines was rather hard. They were good shots.
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Re: Please don't miss and hit a man

Post  Harry Quinn (Retired) on Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:14 am

Quinn nodded. "Good shot, that, Ware. Though you're s'posed to be aimin' for the bottle." He couldn't fault the man really; it had been a good shot and he could so easily have missed, like Dickin, because of the wind. "Who's next, then? Allen, you ain't had a go yet, have you?"

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