Chapter 21 Neoterra: Hexahedron Baxter looked up from the perfectly polished gun counter he was working at. A beautiful Indian woman walked through the front door of his store, “Crusader Weaponry and Range”. She wasn’t in uniform, but he could tell she was military; her poise, confident and rigid demeanor and of course, the standard issue sidearm and knife on her belt. Baxter spent ten years in the service himself. Three as a Fusilier and the rest as a Guarda de Assaulto. He knew the type. “Good morning ma’am. What can I do for you today?” he said jovially. “I need an hour of range time and all of the .454 casull rounds you have,” the beautiful Indian woman said. “.454?! What do you have that fires those?” Baxter asked in surprise and wonder. She put a case on the counter and opened it up. Inside was an ancient but well taken care of Ruger Alaskan revolver. “Holy shit…” Baxter said to himself. The large revolver was obviously used. He could see certain spots where some of the stainless finish had rubbed down, indicating frequent use in a holster. The sights had been changed to tritium night sights and sported custom rubber grips. “That is a beauty. Fortunately for you, I do carry .454 rounds. There is a private contractor company called ‘Dead Six’ that buys a lot of large handgun rounds. It’s part of their creed or something that all members use some kind of big wheel gun. They’re crazy, but they’re good customers,” Baxter explained. He found a total of one hundred rounds and plopped them on the counter along with the proper paperwork to fill out. She took his pen, expression never changing and voice the same monotone. Most people were happy to come to the range, Baxter thought. He shrugged and looked over her paperwork. “Sarah Patel,” he read off the paper. “Here’s your ammo and hearing protection. Enjoy!” he said, overenthusiastically, trying to cheer her up. She just put the boxes of ammunition in her basket and headed to the range without a word. Baxter was curious about her and observed her through the safety glass. She obviously knew what she was doing and took up a perfect Isosceles stance and began destroying paper targets with the ancient gun. Nothing makes a satisfying bang like a large caliber revolver. Eventually he had other things to do and went back to work but something about Miss Patel bothered him. He tried to read her and figure out what she was feeling or thinking, but she had an awesome poker face. An hour later, Miss Patel walked out of the firing range, smelling of burnt powder and turned in her hearing protection and basket. She used up all one hundred rounds. “How did you do? Mind if I see your targets?” Baxter asked. She shrugged and showed him. There were neat, extremely tight patterns over what would be every major body organ of the printed silhouette man on the target. “What range was this?” he asked in awe. “About twenty meters,” she said nonchalantly. Baxter was speechless. This wasn’t good shooting, this was the kind of shooting only a professional marksman could do. “I’m guessing you ain’t a REMF admin type huh?” Baxter said. He still used the ancient American term for Rear Echelon Mother Fucker. He knew a paper pusher could never shoot like that. “Definitely not,” she said simply. She paid, put the revolver back in the case and left without another word or glance back. An hour or two after the pretty Indian lady left, Baxter realized what he saw on her face and body language. Terrible sadness. That was odd. Why would she be so sad? She had an amazing old firearm and shot really well with it. He knew random speculation would never give him the answer, so he shrugged and went back to work.