Friday, March 15, 2013

Interlude File #1 - Team Building - Author Bell

Team Building - Bell

Official Interlude - File #-1

   "What am I going to get out of this? I hope I'm not making a mistake." These thoughts trailed in my head when I pulled up to an old building with chipping paint. Almost immediately, a gruff bearded man exited the front door and started walking to my passenger's side door. His hair seemed to spun everywhere, but his general appearance and personal hold of his body said that he was controlled. With a turn of the wrist, the van puttered to a close. "Ivan, grab the guns from the back."

   "Will do." We stepped out of our van. I locked the door just as the gruff man approached me. "You this Jonathan character that keeps calling me?" He smiled to signify that he was joking.
   "Yeah! I'm Jonathan," we shook hands. "And this is Ivan." Ivan turned the corner with two small cases in his left hand. He extended his right hand and gave the man a firm handshake.

   "I'm Ronald Loebker. Good to have you two here, the range doesn't get visitors very often. Are they here for this too?" A red city car pulled into the parking lot. Sionne and Kathrine both hopped out of the vehicle. Sionne wasn't wearing her usual red raincoat. In fact, she was wearing a casual navy blue jacket and had her hair up. Kathrine was also different. She wore aviators and, by the looks of it, hadn't bothered to touch her hair at all this morning. Kathrine opened the trunk and removed two cases as Sionne walked over to greet us.

   Everyone was introduced, so we entered the building. It was a peculiarly small range, but it was perfect for pistol marksmanship. Ronald was busy setting up targets for us to shoot while I briefed everyone. "So today, I have a goal for us. We need to score above a certain threshold as a team on at least one target." Hopefully, this would inspire some teamwork between Ivan and Sionne, who haven't been too fond of each other.

   I took a look at our weapons. I had my .44, Ivan had his 1911, and the two women had Police M9 pistols with 10 round magazines. With Ivan's 7 rounds and my 6, I created a challenge for us to land each bullet carefully. I figured that if each person could land at least 2 bull's eyes and land the rest with 9's, then we should come up with a collective score of 305 or higher. It would be tough and require excellent shooting, but we were up for the task.

   With help from Ronald, we started our exercise. We had a first relay of target shooting, and then a second. Our shots were placed with delicate care, as we fired bullets of ripping velocity through the air. After the second relay, we went over each other's scores. Kathrine was having a mediocre shooting day with her best score of 83 out of a needed 92. She made some comment like "I shoot better with a rifle", but the score still set us back. I had shot mediocre as well. My right arm was bothering me from the last engagement we had, and firing a .44 was harder on my arm than I thought it would be. I managed to pull of a score of 53 out of a needed 56. Sionne had done very well with a 95 out of the 93 she needed, and Ivan was tailing her excellent shooting with a 66 out of 65. I added up the scores and announced "Okay, we have 297, and we need 8 more points to get there. This is the last relay, so make your shots count!"

   Ronald pulled out his binoculars to count our scores as we fired. Kathrine was done first, and she had managed to add 5 points to her score. I managed to add 2, even though my arm was killing me. Sionne and Ivan wanted quiet while they were shooting, but Ivan was looking like he was going to shoot first. He stood with strong posture, sighting down his pistol. A light flickered above him, and he fired. "6!" Ronald called out. My mouth must have dropped, because I've never seen Ivan shoot a bad shot before. The light stopped flickering, and he fired off two more rounds, booth were 9. He signaled to to Ronald that he needed a few minutes to rest, so Sionne took the opportunity to ready herself.

   She steadied herself and focused on her target. She fired her weapon. "10!" Again. "10!" She continued firing, and she scored a 99 out of 100. I looked through the binoculars in disbelief, but sure enough, nine of her rounds were touching the "10" line. I laughed and congratulated her as Kathrine gave her a loud high five. Ivan stood in his booth staring at the target down range; maybe in disbelief. The lights flickered on, the furnace shook the ground as it was turned back on, and we celebrated for a moment.
   It was time to go, so I rallied everyone with a "Alright, good work guys, time to pack up for-"

   "No." Ivan said in an growl. "I've got 4 shots left." With that, he grabbed his pistol with one hand, placing his other over his chest. His gloved finger glided next to the trigger, and he quickly applied pressure. He fired four rounds in rapid succession ending with a  "click" from his pistol. Ronald, ignoring Ivan's range violation, looked down range with the binoculars. His jaw gawked. Ivan opened his case, placed his pistol inside, and walked out without a word, door slamming shut behind him.

   "I can't tell what it is, but it looks like a 10. Um, all shooters, you're free to retrieve your scores." Ronald gave us the order, but he also walked to the end of the 10 meter range to see Ivan's score sheet. We ignored our own scores and went to see Ivan's. Somehow, he had placed each of his last four shots in a perfect square which touched the of the "10" line. It was terrifyingly beautiful. I did some math in my head, and our scores marked up to 306.

   Ronald closed up shop and headed to his rustic car. We also exited the building, but I noticed something. "Hey, Ivan took the van!" Sure enough, Ivan took off and left me here at the range. I was stuck with the two ladies. I turned and gave them a sheepish smile. Sionne squinted her eyes and held in a laugh. "Come on, we'll take you back."

   On the way home, I took note of the luxurious car. It wasn't a super expensive car, but it was still nicer than anything I have owned. The powerful engine was seemed like nothing but a low hum from inside, and the speakers had great quality playing Sionne's acoustic music. Kathrine had fallen asleep in the passenger seat, and I sat quietly in the back seat, observing the small neighborhoods that lined the streets back to the city. Sionne hit the power button on the radio and looked up at her rear view mirror at me. "So, Jonathan. How long have you and Ivan been friends?"

   I laughed. "Surprisingly, I wouldn't say that we're friends. Our friendship is entirely tied to our work. I need him, and he needs me. Sure, we go grab a beer or something every once in a while, but it's normally to discuss something in our work."

   "You two are kind of similar though. I know it's aberrant when you think of it first, but you work well together and have a similar lines of thought that usually leads you to the next step."

   "You think? He's generally a lot darker than I am."

   "Haha! I haven't even seen his face! He's always wearing black and that hat."

   I chuckled at the comment. It was true, Ivan's wardrobe must be filled with black clothes. "To be honest, I don't believe that I've seen his face either."

   Sionne looked in the rear view mirror with concern. "Really? After all of this time?"

   "Yeah." I nodded. "Really."

   "Isn't that dangerous?"

   "What do you mean?" I was confused as to what Sionne was getting at.

   "Well, at the station, we run background checks to make sure we're not recruiting mass murderers or child molesters into our force. You know nothing about Ivan, and he definitely has a violent passion to him. Is he normally violent?"

   "For the most part, no. He's genuinely a good guy even though he has some fits sometimes. His dead eye aim is also a reason why I keep him close."

   "Wait, fits?"

   "Well, he just gets frustrated with cases sometimes. At worst, he comes into my office and paces around jabbering about how something here and there doesn't make sense. It's unusual for him to act that way, but you just have to leave him be at that point."

   She was quiet for a while, probably thinking about him, trying to sleuth out his secrets in her own head. 
"How do you become acquainted with such a personality? I'm sure you can't entice a man like Ivan with anything normally bargained with."

   I sat back in my seat and let out a confused hum. "To be honest, I'm not sure."

   "What do you mean?"

   "Ivan has always been around. I can't even remember our first case together." I looked out the window at the dark clouds forming. I chuckled. "To be honest, when it comes down to our work, he's almost like a part of me, working at my side and figuring everything out with me." I looked at the rear view mirror, but I lost my smile and stared back out the window. Sionne's eyes were staring at me with concern. 

   I never want to see that look again.

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