“Focus…The only thing that matters is the target.”
“Now gently squeeze the trigger.”
The report of the rifle was startling in the silence of the range, but Rin had long since stopped jumping at the sudden noise. Hours of training had improved her skills immensely, and she was now scoring more than 95% on the system.
It had taken some work to get used to the smartlink, but it made a world of difference. Other augmentations acted to soften her movements and made firing the gun almost second nature.
Izuho had been a patient teacher, tutoring her after his normal workday. She hadn’t even known how to hold a gun when she came to him, but despite his misgivings, she had learned very quickly.
The old weapons-master leaned over the young woman, tapping her right thumb. "Your grip has switched again, Mibōjin. Your accuracy and stability will suffer if you do not unlearn this habit."
“Hai, sensei”, she replied, resettling the wayward grip. The cybernetic arm might be solid and strong, but it still responded to unconscious habits and quirks just like the real thing.
“Now something more advanced, Mibōjin”, prompted Izuho, gesturing for her to pay attention to the firing line. "Switch the weapon to burst fire. No, not manually. Use your implants. Better. You need to remain focused and accurate as there will be civilian targets. Go."
Rin took a deep breath and focused on the reticule in her vision, tracking the predicted impact point of her shots. The first target drone was transmitting a AR representation of a ganger, and she promptly placed the three round burst into the virtual chest. Two more valid targets received deadly bursts before a virtual child appeared. Enhanced reflexes countermanded the impulse to fire and the crosshairs tracked across to the next valid target.
Five bursts and three civilians later, Rin was breathing heavily from movement and concentration. But she had placed at least two bullets in each of the valid targets and had not fired on any of the civilians.
Izuho noted in approval. “Very good. You have improved greatly, Mibōjin. We are done for the evening. I will put the weapons away tonight. Go spend some time with your family.”
Rin looked at Izuho quizzically. The weapons-master had never before spoke about anything but shooting, let alone advising her on a personal matter. Unable to think of a polite way to ask about the change, she merely bowed her head, thanked the older man, and left.
Izuho began cleaning and storing the weapons and he barely looked up as the man in the suit entered the room. The newcomer idly examined the assault rifle still lying on the table, sighting down the firing range at a target on the far wall.
“There is less hesitation”, he commented.
“Yes”, replied Izuho. "But accuracy still drops off by 8.7% following the younger decoys, and there is a 5.8 ms delay when firing on profiled targets. She needs formal training if you want this to improve substantially."
“I understand, my friend”, replied Saito. "But full security training would interfere with her focus and drive. She is more effective because she thinks she is doing this herself. We will continue to provide only indirect support."
As the senior manager turned to leave, Izuho shook his head. "She will destroy herself in this."
Saito stopped and looked at the weapons-master closely. "Not before she serves her purpose."