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Old August 28th, 2017, 02:09 PM
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Default Vignette: Trade show on Old Station

I was at a trade show on Old Station around Rhylanor, and I had resolved that I would make such journeys profitable in terms of personal enjoyment. Just last year at Iderati I had chartered a Safari Ship just so I could jump to 567-908 and holograph the Valley of Memories from orbit.

So this year I was at Rhylanor, which I knew held the corporate headquarters of Instellarms. I called and asked if I could come visit, and they easily agreed. The hotel speeder dropped me off.

It was a small machine shop with plasticrete floors, a few roof landing pads, maker tools lying idle, and a friendly robot secretary. I introduced myself as a military historian looking for information. “She” said she knew little, but I was free to browse their company database (!). “Copy any files you like.” I spent hours copying data files, purchase order records, holo-presentations, holographic drawings, and lots of genuinely interesting things. I wrote articles for years after.

I had my com with me. I asked about their collection, and someone took me to the “vault.” Racks of Third Frontier War gauss guns. Examples of Instellarms’ production over the years. The Instellarms Anti-Boarding Shotgun. The AR-10 (both the Yori and the Efate models, and the belt-fed Light Machine Gun). The AR-15 (a dozen variations). The AR-7 .22 survival rifle. Its predecessor, the AR-5 bolt-action survival rifle (these were maker samples serial numbered in digital pencil). AR-14 rifles made by Shig-Raaden in Aramis and Korugg in Deneb. A pistol version AP-14 with a disapproval letter from the Archduke (he thought the idea was stupid.)

There was more. I asked what was in that case on the top shelf; they said it was empty. When they went back to the office, I climbed up on a table and took it down. Inside was the Instellarms AR-10 rifle with the perforated muzzle brake, the side feed gas system, and serial number 1 digitally projected in the recognition gap. By now, Jem Silluvan (an engineer and designer on staff) had come in, and he looked in on me. We took the case into the main room and he blew out the fragments of degraded protocomp with compressed air. He told me his first job at the company was redesigning the gas system to work in the open on Yorbund.

There was a point when I considered walking out the back door with this case and mythical weapon, but I overcame the urge.

Silluvan told me of his current research in microsaboted smart pellets. He took me to dinner and regaled me with an oral history of Instellarms; I still have the recording. He introduced me to glaced argu as a dessert.
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