Believer Scrap 7

The sound of shotgun blasts and plasma pulses resonate through the second-floor classroom once more for yet another unimpressive three-member-one-visitor session of the college airsoft club.  Jonas and Marcus are at the controls working through campaign mode on Legendary, whilst one Toby Jones attempts the infinitely more challenging task of trying to figure out whether or not one Cecile Smith actually wants to buy a gun, and what theoretical gun would be a good gun for her to buy, if she were even buying one.

“What abooouutt, this one?” she inquires, pointing to a pistol-gripped shotgun on the laptop screen as she blurs the mouse cursor around it.

Toby takes one look at her selection and sighs.  “No, okay, look, I told you this.  For a primary weapon, you’re looking for either AEG or GBB; that’s Automatic Electric Gun, or Gas Blow-Back.  That’s a spring shotgun, and it’s not even a trishot; it’s no good as a primary in the games we play.  Besides, that brand is crap, it’s cheap, and it’s crap.  What’re your search settings even set to?”

“Lowest price, I guess?”

“Uggh, geez, look, can I, umm?”  He reaches his hand forward, pulls it back, then sort of hovers it indecisively near hers on the trackpad.  She ends up doing the same thing once she realizes his intentions, which only compounds the matter.  “Can I just take the wheel for a minute here?”

“Oh, sure, you could have just asked,” she says as she relinquishes her spot at the computer, happy to stare at it from the general vicinity of his shoulder.  Toby wheels his chair up to the plate and refines her search to what he feels is a more practical array.

“Okay, sort by type, AEG, price range one hundred to three hundred; that’ll get us started.  Scroll through that and see what looks nice.”

Cecile wheels back up to the screen and starts scrolling down the wide selection of fake armaments in every shade of black imaginable.  It doesn’t take her eyes long to begin attempting to glaze over as the deluge of new information begins to drown her brain.

“None of these look very nice, Toby,” she complains.  “I mean, they all look the same, and they’re kinda ugly.  What’s the difference, anyways?  Are there, like, stats or something I can look at?”

Toby does his best not to grimace within her cone of vision at her mention of the word “stats”.  “No, Cecile, there are no ‘stats’ that you can look at.  None that would really make much of a difference, anyways.  There’s really only two things that matter:  price, and brand.  Higher price means a more reliable gun four times out of five, and that extra twenty percent comes from buying a bad brand.”

“Well…  But…  Okay, okay, let’s just, let’s go to step eight for a second.”  She spins her chair to look at him face to face, something he tries to avoid by constantly taking glances at the screen as an excuse.  “Do I need a three-hundred dollar gun?  I mean, I’m pretty sure I suck, and I’m probably going to suck just as much with three Benjamins in my hand as one Benjamin.  I just want something that works and looks fun, and I mean, really, I don’t know how ‘into’ this I’m going to be six months from now, so I mean, why waste the money, right?”

Toby shrugs.  “It’s not really about sucking.  Remember, I said more expensive means more reliable, not better.  Cheaper guns could jam, the gears might chip faster, they won’t shoot as straight even if your aim is good, there’s a whole lot of little things that’ll just annoy the hell out of you, trust me.  It’s like buying a used car; you never know what’s going to go bad on it next.”

This gives her pause as she looks pensively up at the drop ceiling, a slender finger tapping at her cheek.  “New cars’ll do that too, though, just, like, slower.  And who can afford new cars when you’re a broke college like us?”

“Your analogy kind of breaks down when we’re talking hundreds and not thousands, girl.  Also aren’t you all about how you’ve graduated and have all this money from your sweet job?”

“Are you allowed to call me girl?” she asks, focusing on a completely different part of his statement.  “I mean, like, is that sexist?  Or is it supposed to be ironic?”

“It was supposed to be…” He trails off as he stares at her blissfully innocent and inquisitive face, enamored by how utterly sincere it looks.  How a person like this found her way into a place like this remains beyond him, and why she has stayed is something beyond the beyond.  Part of him wants to tell her that she’s in the wrong place so save her a whole lot of time.  A currently-larger part of him is just curious to see what she’s even up to.  Or if she’s even up to anything.  In the short few times he’s interacted with her, she certainly seems like the type to not really plan things out.

{This will likely make it into the story proper, I just don’t know where yet.}


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