Still as the Machine
A short story by T.S. Dickson
Handman moved silently despite the bulk of his armor, the ballistic plastic of his boots barely making a noise as he ran stealthily to the cover of the wall. The Blat Blat Blat of the rocket launcher was much closer now, only a few paces away and behind the wall that was most of what was left of the old library building. He risked closing his eyes for a moment to concentrate on the noise from the gun. The sound was muffled, probably firing from behind some sort of soft cover - sandbags or dead bodies. The fire was continuous, so there had to be at least three crew members, one aiming the gun and two more serving the ammunition. It was probably a Mark Three or Viri style weapon. The rebels were importing weapons from the Viri or stealing them from the Army. A Viri weapon would have the magazine above and behind the muzzle, using gravity to feed the firing mechanism, while an Army Mark Three was designed to work without gravity and used a spring mechanism to load the anti-personnel rockets from below.
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