Welcome to "The Diary of a Miner"; a blog detailing the adventures and mysteries that I, Syeonyx, embark upon in my quest to further my mining and survival skills! It'll be tough, there will be good times and bad times, but I'll always be alive to post my adventures... probably...

Rifleman OROTHO

     OROTHO had already begun to busy himself with the design of the intended spring powered dart rifle he had managed to concoct in his head. I got the impression that he had wanted COLUS to give him the all clear to begin experimenting with the compressed gas idea, although somehow I doubt that would have been a good idea. OROTHO was volatile enough as it was when he had a good idea, but give him gas to play with... He was busy scribbling on a piece of large paper, sat before a table, not even looking up when I entered into the lab. From the looks of the lab, he had already started to collect the necessary parts needed to make the dart rifle, and judging from the speed with which he was drawing, he was anxious to being work. I couldn't blame him I suppose; when I was young I owned a spring powered BB rifle, and I loved it! It was one of the last presents my mother bought me before the attack... I was only young, but that day I vowed to keep my dad safe, and trained in using the BB rifle with accuracy and efficiency. It was one of the single shot ones that OROTHO was making; you pulled back a slide which drew a new BB into the chamber and locked the spring back. Pressing the trigger released the spring from its catch and the BB went flying off. The principle was identical. I was hoping I'd still retain some semblance of accuracy with the ones that OROTHO was designing. It was that reason I offered to help him.

"I'm welcome to the help, but the design I think I can do myself."

I went over to the desk where he sat and looked at the diagram that he was quickly scribbling onto the paper. The lines were messy and a little rough, but the basic shape was there, and it wasn't hard to make out the main components, like the trigger, stock, barrel, magazine, slide... Although some bits didn't really make much sense. Well, it wasn't that they didn't make sense, but the way it was designed wasn't done so efficiently. For example, OROTHO had drawn the slide on the right side of the rifle rather than the left. That would suggest having to move the rifle from the natural firing position every time you used the slide. I suggested he put it on the left, so you could keep it well aimed without moving it at all. He sat there for a moment in silence, thinking about my idea. I couldn't tell though whether he was considering it or considering kicking me out of his lab! In the end, he began to nod, and erased a few sections from the centre of the paper.

"You're right... Most of us are right-handed, and we need to keep firing efficiency as high as possible. Tell you what: when I'm done with this, can you give it another look through and see if there are any modifications needed? I want to make sure it's the right design, and I get the impression you're the best person to ask about it."

Whilst OROTHO continued his design, I readied a few more materials that we needed to build the rifles: I suggested wood instead of iron as the stocks as they'd be lighter and easier to craft. They would also be easier to mould and alter to fit specific person's grip. By the time OROTHO had finished, I had gathered all the materials and tools we would need to build an entire rifle. Hopefully by the end of the day we would have something to test.

"Can you take a look at the designs and see if there is anything wrong or needs altering?"

I went over t the desk and had a look at the design of the rifle: it was looking quite good now with annotations and labels. OROTHO had already moved the slide over to the left-hand side so it was easier to reload without having to remove the rifle from your shoulder. He'd also added both iron sights, and some form of optical sight attached to the top, which he put a large question mark against. I asked him about this, thinking he was either unsure about whether it was needed, or whether it could be achieved.

"Well it would be handy to have an optical sight like that, but it would need a lot of calibrating. I could make use of a similar system that's used in the telescope that UOPETA has, and maybe incorporate a diamond as the focusing lens rather than glass."

That was a good point; we still had the telescope for reference, but I hadn't seen UOPETA use it in some time, and I was beginning t wonder where it was. I was also intrigued by this idea of utilising a diamond as the focusing lens as opposed to specifically shaped glass. I suppose the right shape of diamond could prove the right optical enhancing power we need. Going over the design again, I noticed one or two other small changes that I added in a different colour. The first was the loading system used in the magazine. It was a simple and efficient method, but could begin to falter with excessive use. The darts were loaded into the chamber via a flat piece of metal supported by a spring. As a new dart was brought into the chamber, the excess space left was filled by the next dart as the spring pushed the others up. With only one spring in the centre, it was possible the magazine may jam, so I noted the addition of a second spring, and moving the current one to the far side so it was pushed equally on both sides. OROTHO accepted this alteration and I went on to make a few more modifications. I was having a surprisingly large amount of fun with this, and it was rare for me to team up with OROTHO.


     We had spent quite a few hours working on the idea now, and we were getting somewhere with the prototype. We had fastened the stock we needed for the main part of the gun, and OROTHO had begun work on the sliding mechanism. The springs had been made in large quantities, and I was in the process of extending the current magazines and altering them so that they had two springs beneath the metal platform. Testing it a few times, I pushed on the platform in the centre, and at either end, and it worked much better than the previous version. The current magazines were styled in such a way that instead of making new ones, it was easier to modify the design. Now instead of the spring loading a new dart into the chamber, it loaded the next one to the top of the magazine, where there was a hole in both ends. The spring would rest close to the rear end and when the trigger was squeezed, the catch holding the spring back would push the dart forcefully along the barrel out the far end. The spring would now be in the rest position, taking the place of the dart to prevent a new one being loaded too prematurely. When the catch was pulled back, the spring moved back out of the way, allowing another dart to slide into place. Simple!

"We need to find a way to keep the magazine in place though, otherwise a dart might be loaded in incorrectly, or the magazine might fall out."

I suggested another spring-based latch that clipped the side of the magazine to the main stock of the body. The magazine would remain in place and in position whilst it was in use, and when required, the latch could be held open, remove the magazine and insert a new one. The only problem I could see with this method was that to remove the magazine you'd need to slide the catch back to the firing position as the spring would be blocking the darts position. It helped in a way because the rifle would be ready for the next shot, but I could see it being easy to forget.

"My other main concern is the amount of noise these could make. I see your theory now in making the stock out of wood, as that is less likely to allow the sound of the spring firing to travel."

To be honest that thought had never occurred to me, but with my experience of BB guns, you would have to be reasonably close to hear one go off. COLUS eventually came into the lab, and began to ask about our progress. Oddly enough, OROTHO began to go on about how useful I had been to him, and how I had helped in modify the design. COLUS seemed impressed, but whether it was because I had helped or because he had also picked up on OROTHO being humble I couldn't tell.

"How close to completion would you say the prototype is then? We wouldn't need to outfit everyone with one, but I would say darts are more of an issue."

"We should be able to have this prototype finished in a few hours, if we continue going into the night, but I get the impression you're here to tell us to rest?"

"That's right. I know I sound like an old mother to you, but you'll need the rest if you want to remain on the ball. You and Syeonyx have been doing some fine work, and I want you to get the rest now. It'll still be here in the morning, and we've got some time before SERVERE comes back."

We finished off the small bits and pieces we had been working on at that moment and then headed off to our rooms. Amie met up with me at the entrance to the lab, and we walked together back to my room. She seemed interested in what we had been doing, and I didn't mind talking to her about it, as I knew it wasn't beyond her at all. I was hoping that tomorrow we would have the prototype finished and would be able to test it on some targets, and from there we can determine any required fixes and alterations that would be needed.

Syeonyx signing off

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