Weapon Shop 6

A Helping Hand

Author: Nu_Klear <nu_klear[at]yahoo.com>

Author: Kyle Bernard <csktech[at]yahoo.com>

Copyrighted: Feb 25, 2004

Category: Crossover

Rating: R

Spoilers: None

Keywords: None

Warning: Crossovers ahead (Yes Plural.)

The Following TV Series or books have been included in the story. Disclaimers appear at the end with the cast list.

* Original characters from A Dragan's tale

* Stony Man Doctrine

Legalese: All characters with their respective rights, properties, and copyrights are the property of their respective creators, authors, owners, producers, and agencies. These characters are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended or meant, and no money will be made from this story. This story may be copied in its entirety, and may be distributed as long as all copyright information remains.

Chapter 1

April 1996

Andy punched in the code for the oversized delivery door to his shop, grumbling about the backlog of work he was sure to have after a month on Avalon, only to have his eyes bulge and his face pale as the door opened. The Master-of-Arms of Avalon and premiere gunsmith found himself looking down the barrel of one of his own shotguns. For half a split-second he wondered if he could get a shot off with his Smith & Wesson before the shotgun went off, and wondering if the gun would leave enough of his head for his immortality to bring him back before his mind registered the green hair of the person behind the gun, then his worry vanished as anger exploded through him. "WHAT IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING, AND HOW DID YOU GET IN MY SHOP?!"

"Giving you a taste of your own hospitality… Not very much fun being met at the door with an automatic shotgun, is it?" Dragan said as he lowered the shotgun, a huge smirk spreading across his face but not reaching his eyes as he removed the clip from the Atchission then racked the slid removing the shell in the chamber before handing the weapon to its maker. "As to why I'm here--I'm looking for you, I have been trying to get hold of you for nearly a week and was a little worried you might have gone and lost your head."

"Okay," Andy growled his anger, now tinged with a little guilt, only slightly mollified by the other man's concern for his well being, "but you still haven't answered my question… How did you get past my security system?"

"I didn't," Dragan shrugged and jerked his thumb towards the work area behind him as he closed the shop door. "You'll have to ask the manic midget if you want to find the answer to that one."

"Huh…?" Andy looked past Dragan and saw someone at his workbench; they were messing with something on the bench while looking over a set of blueprints. As the only blueprints that should be in the shop at the moment were for a side-project that Andy had been fighting a losing war with and had left unfinished when he had received Austin's call, hoping the break would let him think up a solution when he had departed for Avalon, he understandably became very annoyed.

"Hey, what the fuck do you think you're doing?" When the person didn't answer or even seem to react to Andy's shout, the gunsmith growled and rolled over to his bench. As Andy pulled up next to the person he blinked, forgetting his annoyance for a moment in his surprise. It was only a kid; he couldn't be more than fifteen and from what Andy could pick up from the kid's muttering, he actually knew what he was looking at.

Andy's surprise kept him from saying anything for several seconds, then he spotted the partially disassembled guns scattered across the bench top, the notes and quick sketches the kid had scribbled on the blueprint, the large amount of tools laying haphazardly in random piles across the workbench and clenched his jaw as he felt his face begin to flush.

"Hey get the fuck away from… ack!" His anger boiling Andy had reached out and grabbed the kid's shoulder. The next thing he knew he was laying on the floor of his shop, the arm he grabbed the kid with barred and with the kid's fingers wrapped around his larynx poised to either crush it or rip it out. Andy's eyes glanced at the handgun laying just out of reach, then back up at the kid, who was now staring down at Andy with a confused and puzzled expression on his face.

"Tommy…let him go!" Dragan ordered, his tone making his displeasure clear.

Tommy blinked at Andy a few times; glanced towards Dragan and hesitantly began to release the gunsmith. He slowly loosened his grip then suddenly released him, grabbing the Smith & Wesson and darting out of Andy's reach before hitting the cylinder release and dumping the ammo into his hand.

"Sorry about that, Andy," Dragan walked over, giving the kid a brain duster as he passed him "I *thought* I had taught him better manners than to start messing around with your stuff without permission…"

"Hey, I was not messing around and I paid for everything I used so it wasn't his anymore," Tommy grumbled pointing at a wad of money on the bench with one hand while rubbing the sore spot on the back of his head with the other, then crossed his arms and glared at Dragan indignantly. "And I was just trying to repair or at least work the last few kinks out of that patch job I had to do on the Mongoose. It hasn't worked right since you used it as a soccer ball! Why do you always have to take it out on my stuff whenever Cles throws you out of your room?"

"Would you rather I took it out on you?" The cold tone of Dragan's question combined with the look he gave Tommy made him take several steps back, shaking his head quickly as his face went pale and his eyes went wide. "Then quit complaining! Personally, if I was you, I'd be more worried about what I'm gonna do about your big mouth than what I do to your toys!"

"Yes, sir…!" Tommy said meekly, his back pressed up against Andy's workbench.

"God Damn kid, fucking with my tools…" Andy muttered darkly as he pulled his wheelchair into position and lifted himself up into it. "I swear, if he's gotten so much as a single scratch on one of those screwdrivers, I'm going to give him an intimate introduction to one of my Atchison's!"

Andy rolled over to his workbench, muttering curses the entire way, once there he reached for the nearest tool, then stopped as he noticed the small unfamiliar toolbox sitting on the bench and took a good look at the tools on his bench. A moment later Andy turned to his nearest toolbox, a quick mental inventory confirmed everything was in its proper place.

Dragan had walked over and begun helping Andy, when a loud crash followed by a startled yelp and sounds of a struggle caught their attention. When they turning towards the ruckus they found Tommy was laying flat on his back beside an overturned toolbox, with Recon's big paw planted firmly his sternum, holding the kicking and squirming young man in place while the large Saint Bernard used his tongue to enthusiastically wash Tommy's face. "Help…! Somebody get this hairball off 'a me, before it breaks something."

"Hey, Mutt…" Dragan smiled picked up a nearby rag and gently tossed it at the dog to get its attention. When the dog looked over, Dragan met it's eyes and muttered something under his breath. Recon just stood there staring at the ancient mercenary for a moment, blinked a few times then let out a ferocious growl and took off in the direction of Andy's office, leaving Dragan staring after the large dog in surprise. "Fuck me, it worked!"

Andy reached up, grabbed Dragan by the collar, pulled him down to his eye level and looked him coolly in the eye, silently promising an extremely slow and painful death if he didn't like the mercenary's answer. "What the hell did you just do to my dog?!"

"I didn't hurt him; it's nothing, just a little trick Chyra was teaching me. I just kind of told him that the fugly couch in your office was, ah… sort of a monster that wants to eat you…" Dragan said defensively then flinched and began to look a little sheepish at the sound of tearing cloth and an enraged dog attack began to come from inside the office. "So I'd say that's probably him killing the monster, before it could hurt you. I'm sorry, but I honestly didn't expect it to work. This is the first time I ever tried it!"

Andy glanced towards his office just in time to see the remains of a couch cushion fly out of the door, leaving a trail of stuffing in its wake as it. Andy stared at the cushion from a moment, then closed his eyes and bent his head. After a moment Andy's shoulders began to shake, then a chuckle broke free, then another, until soon Andy had his head thrown back, laughing so hard his whole body shook.

Dragan watched the gunsmith nervously; he had a good idea what was coming and spent a few seconds wondering what, if anything, he should do. By the time it finally happened Dragan had decided he deserved it, so ruthlessly clamped down on his bodies normal reflexes and didn't do anything more to block the right cross coming towards his head than turn his head with the blow to lessen the impact. Even then the blow set off starbursts behind his eyes.

Dragan covered his eye with a groan and began counting from ten, as he fought back 10,000 years worth of training and instincts screaming at him to take the gunsmith out.

"Hey, pick on someone your own size, bozo!" Andy frowned. He may not be at all happy about them breaking into his shop, but he was not about to watch Dragan mess with his dog. Andy turned a hostile glare on the young man that was assembling something on his work bench. "Christ, Drag, do his folks know you treat him like this? I mean, how would you like it if someone let your kid act that way?"

Dragan looked at Andy blankly for a moment, then shook his head and chuckled as a grin spread across his face. "Well, seeing as *I* am his folks, I would probably thank them for trying to help me straighten out his attitude problem; then punch them in the face for sticking their nose in how I raise my family."

"That's how you treat your kids?" Andy's asked incredulously glaring up at the ancient mercenary. "No wonder you're in the dog house with your girl!"

"No, I don't treat them *all* like that. Only the ones that refuse to get their heads out of the clouds and pay attention to the real world. And not that my love life is any of your business," Dragan scowled at Tommy, who quickly went back to working on whatever it was he had strewn across Andy's workbench, then shook his head with a low growl and turned to glare at the gunsmith, "but she kicked me out of the room because she got pissed when I gave her a gift."

"Why?" Andy couldn't help the way his lips curled slightly at Dragan's obvious vexation.

"How the hell should I know?" Dragan nearly yelled, his eyes starting to take on a red glow as he threw his arms up in frustration. "One minute she's all excited and happy as I've ever seen her, she opens the box stares at it for a minute, the next thing I know she's dragging me out of the room, chewing me out all the way, then slams the door in my face!"

"Okay, okay," Andy said, making placating motions with his hands in an attempt to calm Dragan down. "Well, what did you get her?"

"It was a piece of jewelry, one of those necklace things…" Dragan shrugged making motions like something wrapped around his neck as he began pacing. "I think they're called a choker. I had it custom- made: rubies, sapphires, and emeralds in a Platinum setting with each stone having a different protection spell in it. It took me two months of searching and nearly a million dollars to find and hire a master craftsman willing and capable of making it."

Andy just stared at Dragan with a shocked expression; his mouth hanging open then covered his face with his hand. For the next few seconds he fought it for all he was worth, but finally lost the battle as broke out in a full out belly laugh.

"ANDY…!?" Dragan growled as he stopped pacing, spun towards the laughing gunsmith, his expression alternating between 'What's so funny?', 'I'm gonna kill you', and 'he's gone mad'.

"Let me get this straight," Andy asked when he finally got his laughter somewhat under control. He looked up at Dragan's glowering face and smirked, "After nearly a month of having worked around several people who thought of her as nothing more than a trained animal you bought your 'wife' a piece of jewelry that closely resembles a dog collar, and you can't figure out why she's upset?"

"Aw, fuck!" Dragan pinched the bridge of his nose as his stomach tied itself in knots.

Seeing the pained look on Dragan's face, Andy started to chuckle again.

"Gee, thanks for the support, Andy!" Dragan dropped his hand and glared at the Immortal. "I mean it's not like I just found out I might have royally fucked up my relationship with Cles or anything…"

"Hey, don't look at me; I'm neither married nor a marriage councilor," Andy gave Dragan his best 'so innocent' smile, "so the best advice I can give you is to ask somebody else. I don't see why you're dumping this on me. I'd think even Chyra would be a better choice to help…"

"*NO FUCKING WAY!*" Dragan snapped, his hand violently slashing the air in a gesture of finality that inadvertently intersected an empty ammo can, sending it flying into the far wall with enough force to warp the ammo can and leave a noticeable dent in the cinder block wall. Dragan just stood there for several moments, his entire body trembling as he stared at the damaged wall; then closing his eyes he took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

Andy frown at what he was seeing, a moment ago Dragan had looked close enough to going over the edge to make him unconsciously drop his hand to the Smith & Wesson, but as he released the breath the raging emotions that had been clearly visible seemed to drain away. Andy's eyes narrowed, he had seen this type of thing before; in Nam he had seen many soldiers internalizing, repressing the fear, anger and any other emotions that they either didn't want to face, or couldn't deal with, sealing them into the back of their mind where they wouldn't have to deal with it. In the short term it allowed them to operate as if what was going on around them didn't affect them. Eventually, though, it would blow up in their face as the full brunt of all the backed up emotion would come down on their head, causing them to 'meltdown' usually taking others with them.

"Anyway, Andy, as to why I'm here, I need to ask you a favor…" Dragan stopped mid-sentence, his hand suddenly holding the familiar grip of his Bren-ten as eyes darting around the room for the source of the sudden alarm.


Andy's eyes went wide at the familiar sound, slowly turning towards the CNC mill he watched as Tommy casually opened it, reached in and pulled something that looked vaguely like a frame out of the expensive piece of equipment. "God Damn IT!"

Dragan jumped at the sudden curse, looked down at the red face of enraged gunsmith, and followed his gaze to where Tommy was standing. Seeing the open door on the CNC mill and the part Tommy was inspecting Dragan felt his blood start to boil. "TOMMY, WHAT IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOUR DOING?!"

"Making a replacement frame for the Mongoose…" Tommy looked up with a baffled expression, and then paled when he saw the saw the anger on their faces. "What?"

"Who told you that you could use that?" Dragan growled as he covered the distance between himself and his son. Once he was close enough Dragan reached out and grabbed the young man by the front of his jacket, not even noticing the weight as he lift him to eye level. "You asked if you could look around, and unless I've lost my mind, while I looked for something that could tell me either where Andy was or what happened to him, I said that it would *probably* be alright with Andy, *if* you just looked around and didn't mess with any of his things without his permission!"

"But he wasn't here, so how was he supposed to give me permission?" Tommy swallowed at the look in his father's eyes, combined with the fact his feet were dangling in the air, sent a shiver running up his spine. "What's the big deal? I'd planed to pay for the stuff…"

Dragan growled into Tommy's face, the closest he had been to striking one of his own children out of anger as he had been in five thousand years. Finally he slowly lowered the kid back to the ground, shifted his grip to the back of the young man's neck, walked him to the door of shop and physically ejected him. "Get your ass home; don't stop for anything. I don't care if you see Lucifer himself heading toward city hall with a Nuclear bomb under his arm ignore him and just keep going until you get to the Mixer and you can tell Noel, he will send someone to handle it. But if you're not in my office when and if I call you will regret the day you were born!"


Dragan slammed the door shut, cutting off whatever Tommy had been about to say. Dragan stood there for a moment as he took several deep breaths to calm himself before turning to face the understandably outraged gunsmith. Who didn't even give him a say anything before looking up from his inspection of the CNC mill "That little shit, burn out the up a 16,000 dollar bit!"

"Andy, I'm sorry… I didn't… If I had thought he'd… aw, fuck it!" The ancient mercenary threw up his hands in defeat, sat down on a handy 55 gal drum, rubbed his temple with a pained expression and sighed. "Gods, I love him but I'm getting sick of apologizing for that little punk! Ever since he passed the final test for the Hunt he's been acting like this and no matter what I do he seems to be getting worse… I'm beginning to worry he's gonna fuck up on a mission and get someone killed!"

Andy snorted, the description reminding him of how some of the people that he'd passed Beret training with acted like right after graduation. "Sounds like the kid just needs a good sharp kick in the ass to me… Now are you gonna tell me how he got by my security system and what about are you gonna do about my mill?"

"A good sharp kick in the ass…?" Dragan's head slowly raised a cruel grin spreading across his face. "Now that gives me an idea; Andy how would you like to do me a favor and get some satisfaction at the same time?"

Andy looked at Dragan warily. "What have you got in mind?"

Tommy looked up as Dragan walked into the office, took one look at the grin on his face and felt his blood run cold.

Dragan walked over to his desk and sat down. He started working on his computer, seemingly almost unaware of the young man presence. After several minutes the printer started and Dragan finally looked over at the now fidgeting young man. "Tommy, you should feel special; today you managed to embarrass me, your brothers and sisters, not to mention making the Hunt look really unprofessional to someone that has been a good friend to us… and you did all that within 15 minutes! A new record I believe!"

"First thing in the morning you are to go back to Immortal Arms." Tommy was looking at a figurine on the desk, so he missed Dragan plucking the paper from the printer, signing it and putting it in his out box. "You will wait outside until he gets there."

Tommy looked up and frowned. "Why?"

"Because it's an order," Dragan's smile would have sent a shark running when Tommy asked him that, "and if you don't show you will be lucky if I only loan you out to the next CIA Antarctica listening post…"

Andy pulled up to the shop. He wasn't at all surprised to find a very wet Tommy sitting near the back door. "Well I see that you and your father had a little talk." The sullen Tommy stared at Andy as if he were an alien from another planet. "Well come on in and I'll explain the deal." Andy unlocked the doors and Recon headed on in followed by the unusual pair.

Andy wheeled his chair over to the CNC mill. "Here's the deal, kid; your fumbling last night ruined one of the bits on the mill. I don't know who taught you machining, but you seem to have missed the day that they talked about friction."

"Nobody taught me… I didn't take any milling classes, I taught myself." Tommy frowned as he watched Andy open the mill.

Andy unchucked the bit, "See this," He held up the diamond encrusted bit. "That was a 16,000 dollar bit that is used in milling titanium. Notice the pretty blue color. That means it been run without the cooling system running.

"I told you I would pay for it."

Andy shook his head, "You still don't get it do you? It was never about the money, I can afford a new bit, what I can't afford is the time that I will have to wait for a new one to arrive.

"Then what is it about?" Now there was an overtly hostile tone to Tommy's voice.

"It's about respect. And you are in for a huge lesson in that area." Andy wheeled himself away from the young immortal. He returned a few minutes later carrying a hand broom and a dust pan. "From now on you're working for me. You do what I say… when I say it… and no back talk."

"I don't have to put up with this shit."

"You do if you want to get back into your dad's good graces." Andy watched Tommy's face fall when he dropped that little bombshell, "That's right kid, your old man and I had a long talk last night. Seems I'm not the only one that noticed that you like doing things your own way and to hell with everyone else. As of midnight, you've been cutoff from your previous life. No cars, no bank accounts, no credit cards. Hell, the bouncers at the club have orders to toss you out on your ass if you come within 100 feet of the club.

"You can't do this," Tommy yelled.

"I can and I have. You get paid 12.00 bucks an hour. There's a room above the shop that you can sleep in. You work the hours I work and do what ever I tell you to do. And right now I want you to clean up the mess you made while I warm up the casting forge."

Tommy's eyes flickered to the hand broom and then into Andy's eyes. He defiantly picked up the hand broom and then dropped it to the floor. "Not a chance," He said as he stormed out the door.

Tommy walked up to the door of the Mixer, and then frowned when the doorman blocked his path. "What are you doing?"

"I'm under orders not to let you in," The doorman pointed to the clubs security office's civilian access door. "Besides, Dragan is waiting for you in there…"

"Fine!" Tommy looked at him and scowled before pushing open the door to find Dragan, Cles and the other members of his team waiting for him. "Ah, hi…"

Tommy slunk back to Immortal arms with his tail between his legs. He father's words and actions left him feeling alone in the world. Each of his bank accounts had been locked out, even the ones that he thought Dragan didn't know about. None of his friends would even talk to him; even Cles had been aloof with him.

He walked back into the shop to find Andy sitting there with the Atchission pointed at him. Andy smiled and lowered the shotgun. "Well I see you decided to join us."

Recon padded over to the young man. He stuck his head under Tommy's hand and waited to be scratched. Tommy nodded his head. "So 12.00 bucks an hour and a place to live, I guess I don't have much choice now.

"Kid you didn't have a choice before and now its 10.00 bucks an hour."

"But you said 12.00 before!"

"That was before you walked out on me the first time. C'mon I'll show you the room."

Andy led the young man to a little used doorway in the back of the showroom. He unlocked the door and threw it open, revealing a steep staircase that lead to a small room upstairs. "I was planning on installing an elevator one of these days and using that room as extra storage but I guess having you living up there for a while won't hurt anything too much. Well go take a look. Supposed to be a bed and a small kitchen up there; you'll have to use the shops latrine and god only knows where you'll shower but we'll work something out, maybe the Y down the street."

Tommy climbed the steep steps, though he thought it was a pretty generous thing of Andy to even call it a staircase, more like a ladder that was leaning against a house. His head poked through the hole in the floor and what he found left him filled with dread.

The room was even worse that he expected. Dust was everywhere; there were even clumps of it stuck to the walls. Tommy could see where rats had moved in and they had left their calling cards all over the small apartment. "Holy shit, it's gonna take me a month to get this place livable."

Andy's voice drifted up the stairs, "Kid get your ass down here; we have work to do."

Tommy took one more look around and snorted. "Guess it will have to wait."

Downstairs, Andy led Tommy to the casting forge. "Ok, kid, I'm gonna teach you how to cast bullets."

"Oh please. Like melting lead is all that difficult."

"Lose that attitude or you're never gonna learn a damn thing. We aren't casting lead. This," Andy held up a small bar of a silver gray metal, "is magnesium and it's the first step in making Demon Killers." Andy reached over and turned the exhaust fan on, then laid the two bars in the preheated kiln. "Magnesium is one of the base metals. It melts at 922 F and boils at 1363 F, the trick is smelting it safely. Here," Andy handed his new worker a gun-looking device.

Tommy looked at the gun and than back at Andy, "What the hell is this?"

"That, my friend, is an infrared thermometer. You aim the beam at whatever you want to measure and pull the trigger. See the temp that comes up on the screen. Give it a shot."

Tommy aimed the strange device at the magnesium that was beginning to change color due to the heat. "It says 412F degrees."

"Good. When it hits 625, add three more bars. That will drop the temp back below the melting point. Keep adding the bars three at a time until you have all of them in the pot so to speak."

Tommy looked at the stack of magnesium bars on the table beside the forge. "Holy shit, how many bullets are we casting today?"

Andy snickered, "Today, about five thousand; all week, probably somewhere around twenty thousand in various calibers.

The next seventy-two hours the pair worked, taking only small breaks. Tommy only left the forge to go to the bathroom and to let Recon in and out. The Saint Bernard seemed to have adopted Tommy as his personal servant. Tommy didn't mind that too much, but the 18 hour old pizza that Andy had ordered and promptly forgotten about was a little much for his taste.

The first 18 hours were spent casting magnesium bullets, first in .44, then in .45 and finally in .357. When Tommy asked Andy about all the different rounds he got an abrupt, "Well, that little pop gun of yours will need ammo, won't it?"

When the stacks of magnesium bars were totally depleted, there were more that 5000 bullets sitting in the cooling tanks. Tommy wiped his brow and headed for the stairs.

"Where do you think you're going, kid?"

"Upstairs to start cleaning," Tommy asked hopefully.

"Not a chance, that's just the first batch. Help me move this kiln. We need a fresh one." The pair carefully lifted the still hot kiln off the heating unit and set in on a stack of bricks so it would cool. "Now go into the back room and get the blue labeled kiln."

Andy saw the confusion on the kid's face and decided to ease his curiosity. "The next batch will be pure silver."

Tommy couldn't contain a chuckle, "You expecting a hoard of werewolves?"

"You know, kid, I can see why your old man was so eager to get rid of you. No I'm not expecting werewolves. Fact is most Weres are decent folks." Andy dragged the kid's face down, "Pure blessed silver will put most things in a world of hurt and if you'd looked at the project I left on the bench you would see that I was modifying a CAR-15 to a different caliber. I'm Gonna need about 5000 rounds to test them and since you have so much energy, we might as well cast them all tonight."

Tommy groaned. <I'm never gonna get that room cleaned.> Then he had an idea and smiled, "Andy, is it okay of I step out side for a minute?"

"Sure kid, take Recon with you, he probably needs to stretch his legs, too."

Tommy unlocked the door and stepped into the chilly night. The rain of the previous day had stopped but the chill remained. He cupped his hand together and yelled into the night, "Oooookaaaa!"

Tommy and Recon walked back into the shop where they found Andy lugging boxes over to the kiln. "Hey, let me help you with that," Tommy interjected as he grabbed one of the boxes. Tommy lifted the box and the bottom fell out of it. Hundreds of crosses scattered abound the floor.

"Damn it, kid, I was sliding that across the floor for a reason." Exasperated Andy added, "Go get the casting pot and I'll pick these things up."

Fifteen minutes later the bottom of the kiln glowed cherry red and both Andy and Tommy started throwing crosses into it. "Same thing, kid, Only this time the temp is 1793F; while you do that I'll get the molds ready."

The gunsmith returned with a series of molds that looked much different than the previous ones Tommy had been filling. He lifted one up and inspected it. "Pretty small isn't it?" he asked, this time a little more respectfully that before.

"Good eye, kid. 5.7 NATO, a friend of mine has a fondness for that round. The new CARS are gonna be chambered for it as well. Keep an eye on the pot, I'm gonna start reloading the .44's and 45's.

Tommy opened door and watched Recon run off to the side of the building; Tommy heard a high pitched cry and smiled.

"Ooooookaaaaa…!" a moment after the answering cry a small group of figures scurried out of the alley beside Immortal Arms. "Hi, Tommy. Tommy call Kwisle?"

"Yeah," Tommy grinned down at the small creatures. "I'm gonna be living here for awhile but it seems that some rats got there a head of me…"

The small creatures stiffened, seeming to bristle like cats. "WRRRATSSSSS!"

"Yeah, rats! I was wondering if you guys could help me get rid of them and maybe clean the room," Tommy smiled, "if I promised you a big bag of M&M!"

The Krisle huddled together for a moment then turned to Tommy and held up three clawed fingers. "Two?!"

"Alright two bags of M&Ms," Tommy chuckled as the Krisle cheered, until one of them squealed.

"Big Dawgy!"

Tommy looked up just in time to see the Krisle swarm Recon, who was snuffling one of the Krisle, petting and scratching wherever they could reach on the dog. Tommy shook his head and headed back to the kiln as the Saint Bernard laid down to give them easier access. "Some guard dog!"

Tommy went back to the grind, melt and pour, melt and pour, when the pot emptied, toss in more crosses. The only break in the routine was the next day when the UPS man made a delivery and Andy disappeared into the office for over an hour. When he came back from the office he called Tommy over to him. "Know what this is?" He held up a short barrel.

"Gee, let me take a guess, a gun barrel?" Tommy answered smarmily.

"Wow, kid, there may be hope for you yet. What I meant to ask is, what's different about it?"

Tommy took the barrel blank and looked it over carefully. He noticed the Colt logo on the side and made the connection right away. "It shorter than most of the CAR-15 barrels," He turned the blank upside down, "And the chamber hasn't been formed yet."

"Can't get anything past you. Finish up here and meet me over by the lathe."

An hour later, with all the silver bullets cooling in the tanks and the casting pot cooling, Tommy finally made his way over to the other side of the shop where he found Andy sitting by one of the lathes, centering one of the barrels in the holder. Andy's head popped up, "All done?"

"Yes, sir." Tommy answered in a tired sounding voice.

"Good. Now watch what I'm doing, because you get to do the next one." Andy rotated the calibrated hand wheel and the barrel inched its way onto the bit that Andy had chucked into the lathe. "Keep it slow and steady and make damn sure that the coolant is flowing. We don't want a repeat of the other night. These are custom bits that cost more than you are gonna make in the next year.

Tommy leaned down, watching the bit cut into the metal. "What's so special about them?" he asked.

"There are several cutting surfaces and if we do this just right, the bit does all of the work.

"Won't that leave the surface too rough for the round to chamber?"

Andy smiled; he'd finally gotten Tommy interested in something. "It would if this was the final step. The bit is actually undersized. The next step is a thousand grit stone that will smooth out any imperfections left behind by this bit. The stone is intentionally over sized by three thousandth of an inch and we will make up the difference when we chrome the chamber."

Tommy's eyes lighted up with excitement, finally something he'd enjoy doing.

Andy looked over his shoulder. "I told you that when you lost the attitude you'd learn something."

Andy laid the last of the finished barrels on the table and stretched his arms. "That's it, kid. We'll chrome them tomorrow; been a good day's work."

"Andy… It's been five days."

Andy looked up at Tommy as if he had lost his mind. He scratched his chin and sure enough, there was enough beard there that Andy felt a little guilty for driving the kid so long. "Sorry Tommy. I tend to lose track of time when I'm working. On the bright side we have a lot of the backlog taken care of. I'll tell you what, let's take tomorrow off and start fresh the next day. C'mon furball, lets head home."

Two days later…

Andy looked up at the clock when delivery buzzer went off. <Who would be making a delivery this early?>

Andy waved Tommy back to work as he rolled towards the door. "Who is it?"

"Hey Andy, it's Noel, could you open the door? We've got a couple of deliveries from Dragan!"

"What did he… Jesus Christ!" Andy shook his head but opened the door. His eyes went wide as two large individuals started in the door with a large something covered in packing quilts between them.

"Thanks, Andy, now if you could just show these guys," a third person with grey skin stepped through the door, turning slightly sideways as it was the only way which he could fit his shoulders through the doorway, smiled down at the slightly stunned gunsmith and shifted the boxes he was holding to the floor "which way is your office?"

"Over there…" Andy pointed as Noel and the two men headed in that direction; a moment later they returned, Noel carrying the packing quilts and the large men carrying the remains of the couch Recon had destroyed. "Hey. where are you taking my couch?"

"The dump. I think!" Noel smiled revealing sharp canines. "It's not like you need it anymore!"

"Huh?" Andy watched them go in stunned silence, shook his head and started for his office. <At least they saved me the trouble of getting rid of it.>

Andy pushed open the door of his office and stared. In the exact same place his old couch had been sat a beautiful golden brown leather overstuffed couch. On each cushion was embossed the Immortal Arms logo, finding the shipping receipt he felt his jaw drop at the item description of hand-made leather couch… Looking up at the couch he shook his head. "What is he thinking? Having this in my shop is like keeping a Michelangelo in an outhouse!"



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