“Now we’re in Intermediate Expert, and we have already started with the M20 Super Bazooka, but we still haven’t used that bio-aim rifle. So there must be something special about it apart from just being fixed in supply.”
Anne nodded. “You’re the only one in your class that has asked me that question. It is special, I’ll tell you that. That was one of the things that interested me about the curriculum at the range, so I did a lot of research on it.”
Her eyes moved up to the ceiling.
“Hmm, let me see. There was this man, his name was something Royce, Wayne or. . . I don’t remember, sha. He was a scientist. American by birth but naturalized German. He was recruited by the German government to oversee the creation of a range of weapons to help the army with combat in heavy fog. The man came up with an idea to infuse the bullets with a chemical that could be drawn or suctioned to blood like a magnet.
“It was field tested during a minor operation carried out by German troops in a forest where visibility was very low. But you know, a forest is a forest, and there was lots of wildlife. They ended up wasting so much ammo that they could only take down few of the enemy forces. They themselves were slaughtered like farm animals. It was a huge blow to the entire country and the goverment wanted to cancel all of Dr Royce’s research. Many people were even calling for the man to be executed. It was only his standing as a renowned scientist that kept him from the guillotine.
“He later reached an agreement with the government. He would get to continue his research, and if his next innovation should fail again he would be exiled indefinitely. So this time he didn’t just research, he actually created a compound that human blood could draw to itself from far distances. I’m not cooking this up, Chuks, he did, from scratch. It was very expensive infusing it into the bullets, but they only needed enough for a test, and so it came through.
“It was field tested too, and it’s like this time the authorities had learned the lesson of overconfidence, because they tested it on an outdoor firing range. The test subjects were padded up in layers of kevlar and stationed in trucks. When the shots were fired, they would drive off but the bullets would follow, although sometimes they would just lose enough velocity for wind to carry them anywhere. The test results were beyond expectation, regardless. This scientist went from being wanted dead to becoming a celebrity.
“But after some time, Middle Eastern terrorist organizations got wind of his experiments and began to seek to abduct him. The Germans sought out American protection, since those ones had military power in plenty. The U.S. carted him to a safehouse where he continued his reseach. Somehow, though, the place was infiltrated by a suicide bomber. Dr Royce was among those that were killed in that blast. But by then, he had already created a rifle for longer distance to be used with his invention to give them more distance.
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“But there was a problem. The substance with which the bullets were infused were unknown, since they had been created by the man himself. To make matters worse, he had worked on his own and no assistant was allowed into his laboratory. The only thing now known is that the substance was gaseous and that the bullets were made of very thin metal, to allow for as much of the gas as possible, and all of them were disguised as other kinds of bullets. As for the rest, he had taken the knowlege with him into the grave.”
Chuks had been listening so attentively that he was leaning almost out of his chair. On the television, Harry Potter was flying a latest-model broomstick.
“You said they don’t make them again, so how did you people get it at the range?”
“Well, there are over a hundred bio-aim rifles in the world, and the ammunition is extremely limited. Bio-aim stands for Biological Aim, just so you know, since the blood of living organisms does the aiming. They are still producing the rifles, and they said they are still trying to replicate Dr Royce’s bio-aim compound, but I don’t know whether they’ve had any success or not.
“The one we have at the range is one of the few there are in Nigeria. It cost, like, a fortune, but just one round costs even more, so it’s just there for decoration. It’s useless.”
“Wow,” Chuks said. He was short of anything else to say. Bio-aim. That fire-arm really had a history. It was strange that it would be him and not Mr dé Crozon that hit on it, considering the way he had seen the man’s mind work, but here he was. That guy, Kunle, had said that the bullet that killed the woman came from an M21. Chuks knew he had heard nonsense the moment he heard it, and now Anne said both bio-aim firearms and rounds were disguised as other models.
But there was still one question nagging at him. Anne had emphasized on bio-aim rifles being obscenely expensive, so expensive that Star Ranges, a firing range for that matter, hadn’t been able to afford one with a round, just one round. So what about killing one woman was so important to that man they had seen that he would go to that extent to make sure he succeeded?
And even then, self, how had he even gotten that kind of money?
“But wait o, Chukwudi,” Anne said, “why did you waste time and money when you know you will still see me at the range tomorrow?”
“I can’t explain right now, Anne, but it was very important for me to come today.”
They watched the film to the end before Chuks left her house. He thanked her for receiving him, even though he had done something as ridiculous as paying his class instructor a visit without telling her first.
He had already walked out the door when Anne called him back.
“Hey, Chuks, my dad usually comes around once in a while. If you try that when he is around, you’re a dead man.”