Ch 11 The Shooting Range

On the way to Quantico Marine Base
Virginia, USA
Thursday May 20, 1999
The bus and the Suburbans had just passed over the Potomac River.  Bruce Maclaren was taking Claire and the extended Maclaren family to the FBI shooting range at the Quantico Marine Base.

“So your girls will be working with Claire for the rifle.  What are your thoughts on training Claire to use the pistol?”

Will smiled.  “They’ll help her with rifle, pistol, and shotgun.  They’ve been working with Alyca on all three.  Alyca has a part time job as the assistant range master for the Lothian and Borders Police.  It was easier and cheaper than building her own range.  She did upgrade the range with the pop-up target system she designed.  The 96 Olympics and this winters biathlon allowed her to try out her gun and ski designs that TDI is manufacturing for her.  They’re also manufacturing the pop-up target system.”

“She competed in the Olympics and the Biathlon to test out her products?”  The idea didn’t feel right for what he knew of the family.

“No, she never does anything for a single reason.  She is planning to explore the other worlds and colonize with us, but that’s all we know.”  Will responded.

“She is keeping a secret from the family?”

“Yes, in most ways we are just like any family.  I would say that our biggest difference is our closeness and willingness to help each other and also others.”

“I would’ve thought it was the abilities that your family has.”

“I feel that the abilities are a gift that allows us to do more to help others.  Alice spoke of the need for another world and that there our abilities would be tested.

“Why are you interested in living on another world?”  Bruce asked.

“Not just one world.  With the windows, we can have a home across multiple worlds.  Say you have a house with a large yard in another world.  You could cross over to this world and walk to work.  The big change won’t  be so much that we have other worlds available to man but that they are adjacent to this world and we can move easily among them.  We have global warming, ice ages, meteor strikes, earthquakes, and major volcanic eruptions among the things that could cause serious impact to man as long as we live only on a single world.  With multiple worlds adjacent to each other, they would be disruptions but wouldn’t destroy man or even our civilization.  There are many possibilities we can’t even guess at what man may do with what we will soon have.  Don’t forget that the AJ Power Generator offers virtually free power.  We wanted to be the first there, but knew from the beginning that we couldn’t and shouldn’t try to keep it to ourselves.  We took the first step in the direction that we want things to go but knew that we won’t be able to control the direction of progress.  With Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States being the first countries to go to the new worlds, we know that we will start out there with representative government.  Again it is a starting direction but it may not be the direction we actual end up going.”

“That’s a lot to think about.  I’m glad that you will be here to give advice.”  Bruce stated.

“I’ll have to leave in about a week.  I’m needed back home.  The Reynolds and the Smiths will be in Texas.  They can answer most questions.  There’ll be a good working relation between the three countries so it won’t really matter where we are if questions come up.”  Will stated.

Their talk shifted to guns and target shooting for the remainder of the bus ride.

Firearms Training area of the FBI Academy
Marine Corps Base Quantico
Quantico, Virginia, US
Thursday May 20, 1999
The convoy that the Secret Service had used to transport them drove directly to the Firearms Training area.  Claire was riding in the second vehicle with Robert, his mother and sisters.  Robert was the first to alight from the vehicle.  After he did a quick check of the area, he offered his hand to Claire as she exited.  They walked towards the bus where Bruce was organizing things.  Leslie, Mary, and Brenda were chuckling as they exit.  Mary offered her hand to her mother and they broke in to laughter.  Robert and Claire seemed oblivious to what was going on behind them but Robert blushed when he realized his family was enjoying seeing all the attention that he and Claire were giving to each other.  Claire caught this understanding from Robert and started to blush.  Her sense of the three women continued to grow.  She realized that the closeness that she felt to Robert also extended to a lesser degree to his family.

Eric and Jerome exited the bus and headed over towards them.  Eric grabbed Robert’s hand as Jerome grabbed hers.  Their brother Jason escorted their great-grandmother Edna over to where they waited.  Claire realized that the three boys were a group with a bond similar to the one that existed between her and Robert.  Mary and Brenda also formed a group.  The groups weren’t an exclusion of others but a strong, tight closeness.  She realized that she, Tommy and their parents formed another group.  They had always had a weak awareness of each other but in the past day, she had noticed that it had grown.  It wasn’t as much as the awareness between her and Robert but it had grown.  She noticed that Rob and Kim, the boys’ parents, were also a group, no Robert had called what they were Life-Mates.  Robert’s parents were also Life-Mates.  The baby, Alice seems closely attached to all of them but most strongly to Kim her mother, Jess her grandfather, and Edna her great-grandmother.  It was almost as if there were two sets of attachments.

Claire’s thoughts were interrupted when Agent Bruce Maclaren asked for their attention.  He introduced them to Rich Lee, the range master for the FBI shooting range.  Rich introduced his assistant range masters.  Bruce beckoned Claire forward and introduced her to the FBI personnel.  The assistant range masters were a little surprised to see her there.  She introduced Robert to them.  Claire saw them sizing Robert up.  She could tell that what they saw was very positive.  She felt happy at their response.  She had sensed Robert appraising them, not as competition but as to whether they were someone that he could trust at his back.  She realized that is something that she had noticed about Robert’s immediate family.  They evaluated the situation and the people as to possible dangers and as to adversary or ally.  After her kidnapping, she found that attitude reassuring and one that she looked to copy.  Robert’s father Will was introduced.  She was surprised at the respect she senses in several of the FBI men.  Rich Lee called Will Sir William.  He related how he and the members of his Green Beret unit had discussed his saving of the islanders during the Falkland War.  She realized that yesterday was not the first time that Sir William Maclaren had led an effort to save someone.

Bruce divided them in groups.  Claire found herself grouped with Robert, Mary, and Brenda.  Unlike the other groups, their group had no assistant range master.  The other groups entered the shooting range.  Claire realized that the three young boys, their great-grandmother Edna, and their grandmother Beth had not joined any of the groups but stood watching them.  Bruce, Will and Rich Lee walked over to their group.  Brenda and Mary were introduced to Rich.

“My daughters have been training with their cousin Alyca Maclaren.  Besides the rifle, Alyca is an expert with pistol and shotgun.  Monday, Brenda and Mary surprised me with how they had progressed.  There are some things that they learned from Alyca that they would be able to pass on to their brother and Claire.  I would like to have them do the training for Claire and Robert.”

Rich smiled.  “I was going to ask if Alyca was related to you.  I saw her shoot in the 96 Olympics in Atlanta.  I was impressed with her shooting.  This past winter, I followed her in the biathlon when she won the championship.  I have wondered why I haven’t seen her competing more.”

Mary answered, “Shooting is just one of Alyca’s activities.  She has doctorates in mechanical and electrical engineering.  Her rifles and skis are her design.”

Rich was surprised at the breath of Alyca accomplishment.  He planned to bring the subject up with Will once he had this training set up.  “How does her skill with pistol and shotgun compared to her rifle skill?”

Mary continued to answer, “Shotgun is a little worse.  She is best with pistol especially two-gunning pop-up targets.
Neither my sister nor I are as good with any of them.  We are also best with the pistol.  That is probably because of what Alyca has taught us.  We are above the level of the police that we had shot with even the local range master.  There were Olympic shooters that came by to work with Alyca.  Most of them were better that us on their chosen weapon but we were better all around.  This year Alyca easily beat all of them.”

“Well, I look forward to seeing the three of you shoot in Sydney next year.”  Rich said with a smile.

“Oh, none of us are planning to compete.”  Brenda stated.

Rich was surprised but Will cut off the Olympic discussion before it slips into what they plan to be doing.  “They have skills in shooting but not in training.  I would like you to monitor what they are doing and give them some guidance when necessary.”

“Dad, we have been training.  Mostly the police but a couple of time Alyca was busy so we helped some of the Olympic shooters.”  Mary interjected.

Rich smiled at Will.  “I guess I will monitor any way and see what I can learn.”

Bruce agreed.  “I think I will too.”

Robert and Mary picked up the gun cases and they moved to their assigned location.  The two spots were the last two available.  Most of the range was in use by law enforcement officers.  There were FBI agents in their blue FBI jackets but also a large number of uniformed and plain clothed officers.  The new shooters included a good number of women.  Their youth and the even younger boys following them drew attention.

Soon Claire was recognized and the interest grew.  Bruce walked over to the group next to them.  Even with her attention on the pistol that Brenda was showing her, Claire could hear her name and the Maclarens mentioned.  Bruce walked back and pulled a pistol and shoulder holster from the case that he had been carrying.

“Claire, your father wanted you to use this pistol.”  He removed the magazine and checked for a round in the chamber.  He then handed the pistol to Claire.

Claire was surprised by the feel and weight of the gun.  She realized that it is plastic.

Bruce had watched her as she discovered the nature of the gun.  “Yes, it is plastic.  It’ll go undetected in a metal detector.  Everyone will know that the agents around you are armed.  Your father decided that it would give you an edge not to have it known that you were carrying.  I don’t know if it’ll last long.  We forgot that there would be a lot of people here.  I asked the FBI agents next to us to talk to the people here.  After yesterday, they’ll realize that you may have more trouble coming your way and that having surprise on your side may help both you and those protecting you.  The fact that you are here learning how to use a gun will be a big point in your favor since most officers believe in civilians being trained to protect themselves.  We all have relatives that are civilians.”

Brenda helped her put on the shoulder holster.  She and Bruce discussed the gun as Claire listened.  Not all of her attention was on the conversation.  Claire was surprised at how different her training would be from what she had expected.  She had expected that she would be stuck with some old guy who had been training beginners for the last thirty years.  Instead, Robert’s sisters would be training them.  They were Olympic quality shooters and had actually trained some Olympic shooters.  She could sense that they weren’t going to be easy on her and especially not on their little brother.  Something about wanting to find out what he had learned.  She also sensed that part of what they were going to be teaching wasn’t something that she could learn from the other trainers.

She noticed that the three boys had been following every word that was said and possibly some that weren’t said.  She turned and smiled at them.  Jason nodded his head in agreement.  She frowned.  Would they be able to follow all her thoughts?  She glanced at Robert.  Contact with Jason cut off, followed by contact with his brothers.  She looked at them.  Contact with Jason cut on and then off.  She understood how he had done it. Interesting.  I can tell that the boys are still in contact even when I am not in contact with them.  Therefore, you can be in contact with some people while being out of contact with others.  The boys dropped their shield.  She selectively tried cutting off Jerome.  He smiled.  Jason nodded.  She individually then had cut off each boy then all three boys.  They had responded when she did each change.  Oh, time to listen more intently.

Brenda started the training.  A minute later, Brenda had shielded herself just as the boys had, but she continued talking.  Then she had unshielded herself.  Each time Claire had lost concentration.  Brenda stopped and smiled at her.  “Claire, in shooting, you need to learn to concentrate on what you are doing no matter what is going on around you.  Now I will use a number of different distractions on you.  Your job is to concentrate on the training.  You aren’t to give all your attention because you become vulnerable but you aren’t to lose your concentration on the shooting.  OK.”

Claire nodded her head.  This will be much better than any class that I can remember.  Two lessons in one.

Mary and Robert had stopped to listen to Brenda.  As Brenda resumed the lesson, they each smiled as they in turn shielded and unshielded themselves.  Claire had glanced over to them but had kept her concentration on Brenda.  She in turn shielded and unshielded herself for each of them.  Getting different lesson from different people at the same time will keep me on my toes. Still the shooting is on what I have to concentrate.

The training for the pistol went on for twenty minutes.  Claire and Robert had each shot three sets.  She was surprised as her shooting rapidly improved.  She found that she was using more than her normal senses.  The shielding and unshielding and the thoughts passing among herself, Brenda, Mary, and Robert was bringing her perception of the gun, bullets, target, air, and many other things together.

After the third set, Mary called a halt.  They looked over to Will, Bruce, and Rich.  Will had been describing Claire’s rescue to Rich and Bruce.  He had been going into more details than he had with Bruce the other day.  This had kept Rich’s and Bruce’s concentration on the talk and not on the training.  In fact, a number of other officers had come over to listen.  Will stopped and looked at the four young people.  “Well, I see that they are ready to show you what they have learned.”

Bruce and Rich realized that they had totally forgotten the training.

Mary said, “Robert will shoot first and then Claire.  Let us know what you think.”

Will, Rich, Bruce, and the others that had been listening to the conversation turned to watch Robert shoot.  He quickly placed all but one in the center.  Claire had followed his shooting with more than her normal senses.  Again, she got a better understanding of what she must do.  There was quite a bit of talking among the on lookers.  This drew the attention of more people.  Mary looked at Rich and Bruce.  Both men looked at each other.  Rich shrugged and pointed to Claire; indicating that she should shoot.

Claire faced the target.  She started to think that she would be nervous with everyone watching her but then she realized that the shielding, unshielding, and the other things that the others had done had taught her to concentrate on shooting.  She calmly shot the full magazine, but her shots weren’t as fast or as accurate as Robert’s shots.  She had three that had only touched the center.  As she put the gun down, she realized that the talk behind her was much louder than after Robert had shot.  She turned and saw Rich, Bruce, and the on lookers staring at her in amazement.

Bruce looked at his watch.  “Less than thirty minutes of training.”

The excitement of the crowd had grown.  The talk had brought more over to see what was going on.  Claire realized that those that had come with her hadn’t joined the crowd.  She looked over at them in the adjacent lanes.  They were smiling at her but there was no look of amazement on their faces.  She had a feeling of belonging.  They were happy at how well she had done, but it wasn’t unexpected.

Rich looked at Brenda and Mary.  “Could we see the two of you shoot?”

The twins nodded.  They each took a firing lane.  Both women stood ready.  Robert called out, “Go!”

They both started simultaneously.  They finished together as best as any of the onlookers could tell, but Claire could tell that Mary had been both slightly faster and more accurate.  Claire again had learned from their shooting.  She knew that if she shot now that all of her shots would be in the center and that her time would be slightly better.

Rich retrieved the targets and they were passed around.  All the shots were grouped in the center.  Claire heard many people saying that they have never seen such shooting.

Rich addressed the twins.  “You cousin does this with two guns.”

Brenda replied, “Yes, and she is faster.”

One of the onlookers called out, “Who is their cousin?”

Another asked, “Who are all these people with the President’s daughter?”

Will turned and addressed what has turned into a crowd of all of the law enforcement officers at the shooting range.  “Their cousin is Alyca Maclaren.”  He paused, as recognition of her name was evident by some in the crowd, who explained to those who didn’t know of her.  “My name is William Maclaren.”  Again, there were those who recognize his name and passed on the information to others.  “These are my daughters Brenda and Mary and my son Robert.  The others are family and friends.  We were lucky enough to be in the right place to rescue Claire Clarke yesterday.  We are hiding out until the rest of the terrorist are found since they may have a grudge with us.”

There was laughter as the crowd realized that this family and their friends were possible as much of a target for the terrorists as Claire was but they were here on the shooting range not hiding in some safe house or leaving the country.

Rich decided he needed to regain control of the range.  “I would like you to return to your practice.  We all have more training to do.”

There were some calls of “Not all of us.”  Soon the range returned to near normal but there continued to be a lot of talk.

Rich looked at the four young people.  “For some reason, I don’t believe that you would be able to teach me to shoot like that.”

Mary replied.  “We would be able to improve your shooting but not to our level without a lot more training.  Claire has a natural aptitude that isn’t often found.”

Rich nodded.  “I would appreciate any help you can give me but you are the ones here for the practice.”

Brenda smiled.  “I will stay with you, Bruce, and dad at the pistol range.  If you could show Claire, Robert, and Mary to the rifle range they can continue their training.”

Over the next hour, Claire had found that shooting a rifle took longer to learn.  There were multiple positions and both shooting with a scope and without one.  The training had gone faster but there was more to learn.  She found that communication with Robert, Mary, Brenda, and the boys had improved.  She also could sense everyone at the range, especially those that had rescued her.  The family members were easiest to sense but Linda Steele and her sister and mother also felt like part of the family.  Soon their rifle shooting had drawn the same type of notice as on the pistol range.  After they had gone through all the rifle combinations, they returned to the pistol range.

Leslie, Kevin Gilbert and one of the assistant range masters also were returning to the pistol range.  They were carrying the heavy sniper rifles.  Why were they not at the rifle range with us?

Robert enthusiastically explained to Claire, “Mom is a master with her custom sniper rifle.  A sniper rifle has a much longer range so they need a different firing range.  She has been teaching me.  As soon as my shooting warranted a custom rifle, I will get one.  After today’s training, I will meet her criteria when we get back home.

Claire was struck by two things, his longing to show his mom that he was ready to have his own custom rifle and the fact that he was looking forward to going home.  Claire let go of his hand and stopped walking.  How could he leave me?  What will I do without him?

Robert realized where his words had led.  He too was stricken at the fact that he could be thinking about leaving Claire.  He turned back to where she has stopped a step behind.  Their eyes met.

Claire stared into Robert’s eyes.  In them as well as through the link that they have developed, she realized that Robert also did not want them to separate.  Claire realized as the President daughter she could not run off with Robert.  She also sensed that he and his whole family has a mission that required Robert to be with them.  She felt tears form in her eyes.

The next thing she knew they were in each other’s arms kissing.  She had dreamed about sharing with a man the special relationship that her parents shared.  She realized that in Robert, she had found that man and the relationship was deeper than anything that her parents had.  Suddenly she realized that Mary and Robert’s parents were surrounding them and were hugging them both.  Brenda was running over to them.  When she and Robert broke apart, Leslie hugged her.

Leslie looked at her son’s Life-Mate.  “Claire, you are part of our family.  It will be a while before I can call you daughter, but that is what you are in my heart.”  Robert’s other immediate family members embraced her and welcomed her to the family.

Claire realized that they had been waiting for Robert and her to realize the strength and depth of  the bond that was growing between them.  She sensed that the other family members were holding back because the six of them were making a big enough display in public.  She sensed her welcome to the family and felt herself returning the love she felt.  One of the stronger ties came from the baby Alice.  In her, she sensed someone wise and old.  This confused Claire.

Robert sensed her thoughts.  We will explain about Alice later.

She looked at Robert and knew that this was not the place to discuss Alice.  She accepted this and knew Robert could tell that she did.  She marveled at the closeness that they had.  Suddenly she realized that this was all happening in front of over a hundred people.  She looked around at all the people watching them.  Her dad would find out.  He is the President.  They will tell him everything.  What am I going to tell my parents?

Will and other members of the family sensed Claire’s concern about everyone knowing and telling her father.  “Claire, this morning I again suggested to your father that you should return with us to Australia.  We will go with you to talk with your parents.  Once they understand, I am sure we will work things out.”

Claire felt some relief but she still worried about returning home to face her parents.  It was not marriage that Robert and I need now but more time to learn about each other and the special abilities that we have.  What we need is training as well as schooling.  Look what Robert and I have learned today.  Shooting was just a small part of it.  We will marry, but that was a number of years off.  Suddenly she had a vision of a large house.  Mom, Dad and Tommy but he is much older, were there.  Robert and I have just married.  In the sky, there are two moons.  One is larger than the other is but both are smaller than our moon.  Who was…  

Her thoughts were interrupted by a question from Alice.  Can I be your flower girl? 

Claire laughed.  Of course.

Then Alice had told her brother Jason, Now!  There was excitement in all three brothers.

Claire turned and watched Jason walk over to Rich Lee.

Unnoticed by anyone except Edna, Beth, and Alice, the three young boys had watched the pistol training with undivided attention.  They followed what Brenda and Mary taught.  When Robert and Claire shot, they also learned with them as the two learned from each other.  After the first round of shots, Edna had noticed the three boys huddling the way they did when they were in deep communication.  She had pointed it out to Beth.  Both of them watched the boys as they huddled together after every round of shooting.  When Brenda and Mary shot, the boys noticed that they had shot as one and that the two sisters worked together during the shooting demo.  They realized that they also could work together like this as they did in so many things.  Even with only one of them shooting, they could work as a team.  ‘Team Reynolds!’ the boys had cheered.  Edna had questioned them about the cheer.  Jason had told them that once Claire, Robert, Mary, and Brenda understood the link between the four of them that would work together as a team.  When Edna had asked them if all seven of them could work together as a team, she had seen the light dawn in their eyes.  Jason had said, “Yes we could Great Grandma.  Please, excuse us.”  He and his brothers had discussed this idea.

All morning as they had learned more about pistol shooting, they had wanted to ask if they could have a try.  Every time that they were ready to ask, Alice had told them to wait.  They had not considered it strange that their baby sister barely two days old should tell them what to do.  In her, they recognized their grandmother Alice.  Therefore, they never had considered not listening to her.

Then Alice had told Jason, “Now!”

Rich Lee had only caught the last of the interaction between Claire and the Maclarens.  It looked like they were very happy.  From some of the comments that he could hear, Claire and Robert had kissed and that had set off the reaction in the other Maclarens.  Thinking about them as he had watched them earlier, he had noticed the way that they had looked at each other.  When one had shot, the other had concentrated completely on the one shooting.  They were a cute couple but too young to get married.  He wished the President luck; he knew the problems that he had had with his three before they got married.

He felt a tug on his sleeve.  Looking down he saw the oldest of the three boys.

Both Kim and Will had seen Jason followed by Edna approach the range master.  From separate locations, the other Maclarens and the Reynolds had then taken notice.

“Mr. Lee, my brothers and I would like to try shooting on your range.  We have been following what Brenda and Mary were teaching.  We need to fire a pistol to make sure we understand what they taught.”  Jason asked Rich Lee.

Kim looked at her grandmother, who nods yes.  Leslie noticed their interchange.

Kim said, “I would appreciate it if you could give them a chance to try shooting.  Grandmother, don’t you have Rob’s twenty-two pistol.”

Edna reached into her purse and handed the gun and a box of ammo to the range master.

Rich took them.  He wondered if he were crazy.  Claire Clarke certainly learned fast and everyone else in the family especially Will’s kids showed excellent shooting.  Might as well see how they do.  “OK, your family has been full of surprises all day.  What do your boys know?”

“I taught them basic gun safety once they started to show an interest in my guns.”  Rob said.

Rich asked each of them a question.  They each promptly answered using proper terminology and explaining why something was done not just what to do.  He couldn’t remember seeing them run around or having been under foot.  He realized that they had been doing just what the oldest had said they were doing.  “OK, we will do this one at a time.”

Robert went over to Jason and put his hand on Jason’s shoulder.  Mary did the same with Eric and Brenda with Jerome.

Robert said, “We will do the individual instruction after you run them through what they need to do.”

Everyone was now focused on the young boys.  Rich told the boys what they were going to do.  Each would go up to the firing line.  Once there, they would be handed the loaded gun.  They would fire all the shots at the target.  If they did anything unsafe, the gun would be taken from them immediately.

The older cousins checked that the instructions were understood.

Jason was the first to shoot.  His first shot hits the edge of the target.  The next four walked in towards the center.  With the last five, three were in the center and the other two were in the first ring out.  Robert had talked to him between each shot so he had been slow to complete the ten shots.

The on lookers were impressed.  It was obvious that he had improved with every shot.

Eric was next.  All his shots had hit the target.  Mary had only talked to him after each of the first three.  Five of the last seven were in the center with the other two in the next ring out.

The on lookers were loudly discussing five-year-old Eric’s shooting.  There were a couple of arguments that were almost out of control.  Rich told them to quiet down, that they had one more shooter.  The crowd was hushed in anticipation of what they might see.

Jerome walked calmly to the line.  He accepted the gun from Brenda.  Seven of his shots were in the center with the other three in the first ring out.

The crowd was in shock.  Few of them could match what a five-year-old boy had just done and it was his first time shooting.

Rich turned to Jason.  “Do you want to shoot again to see if you can do better?”

Jason replied, “No thank you.  We all learned while we shot and can now shoot as good as Jerome can.  Unless things get real bad we won’t be doing any shooting until we are a lot older.”  His brothers nodded in agreement.

Rich, Bruce, and the on lookers who overheard this were stunned.  The boys shot impossibly well for the first time.  Most officers could not match Jerome’s score.  Then to have all three boys show no further interest in shooting was unbelievable for young boys.

Will realized that the boys had distracted everyone from Claire and Robert, but they now in turn needed a distraction.  “Rich, do you have a pop-up range.  I would like myself, my kids, and possible Claire to go through it.”

Rich was not sure if he could take any more surprises.  He led them over to the pop-up range.  The family, friends, and on-lookers filled the grandstand to overflowing.

Brenda and Mary explained the pop-up range to Claire.  How the first priority was not to shoot any of the bystanders or good guys.  That only the bad guys were to be shot.  Points were deducted when you shot anyone but a bad guy.  Claire asked how did you knew which were the bad guys.  They told her to wait until she tries one of Alyca’s courses.  They were much harder to figure when and when not to shoot.

Rich had heard this.  He would have to ask about Alyca’s courses.  It would be good to have some of the guys work harder to determine when to shoot.  The experienced shooters sometimes almost flew through the course.

Will went first.  He shot well, up in the top five percent for the range.  Brenda and then Mary went next.  They have no misses and no bad shots.  They both also had broken the record time for the course by over six seconds.  Mary had a slightly better time for the course.  Robert went next.  He also had perfect shooting, but his time was slower than his sisters’ times but not slower than the previous course record.  The audience was fairly subdued; there had been too much unbelievable shooting.

Claire was the last to shoot.  Brenda and Mary had continued to give her pointers as each of them had gone through the course.  Claire went through the course.  She was slightly faster than Will but she had also shot perfect.

Rich asked Mary about Alyca’s pop-up course.  He was intrigued by the more subtle variation in the targets, multiple targets per location, and the different combinations that could be run all controlled by a computer.  He asked how to get information on it.  Will said that he had documentation and that he would send him a copy.  He remembered the cost as $175,000.  Rich said that he would have to put in a request since he did not have that type of money in his budget.

Claire had been listening to the exchange.  She looked forward to meeting this other cousin.  When she heard that Rich could not afford the setup, Claire broke into the discussion.  “I will talk to daddy about this.  My recent experience shows that you need the best training that we can get.”  She also was considering what it would be like to try the course.

Bruce received a phone call.  The secret service communication center had noticed that they hadn’t reported that they had left and it was past the scheduled time.  Bruce apologized for the delay and thanked them for the reminder.  They made a hasty exit.

On the bus, Will turned to Bruce once they were under way.  “Can you call and ask for a meeting with President and Mrs. Clarke for Claire and my family?”

Bruce looked at Will.  He saw no apprehension, just the joy that he had seen on the faces of the whole family.  Will seemed to be actually looking forward to the meeting.  “I will do that.  I also should be there.  We don’t want this getting around too soon.”

Will laughed.  “She covered it up pretty well when she had her brothers ask to shoot.  Between that, the pop up shooting, and all the other shooting that everyone saw, do you think that a kiss between a young girl and boy will be the first thought on everyone mind.”

Bruce was confused.  The target shooting will be the first thing on almost everyone’s mind, but what had he meant by “her brothers.  The two-day-old baby was the boys’ only sister.  He could not mean the baby was responsible for them asking to shoot.  “Would you clarify ‘her brothers‘?”

Will shook his head no.

Chapter 12


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