Ch 25

V 1.5

Tokyo Metro Police Academy
Chofu, Tokyo
Twenty-two months ago

"Fire at the sound of the timer…"

Hearing a loud beep, Keitaro's right hand took a firm hold of the Glock 19 pistol and drew it from the kydex holster on his right hip. Pulling the pistol straight up until it cleared the holster, he dropped his elbow downwards to press against his side, causing the muzzle of the pistol to rotate so it was pointing forward. Pushing the handgun forward and up, his left hand that had been pressed against his chest met the hand holding the pistol and began to press against it, the two hands coming to a stop as the Glock reached eye level. All of this took a little more than half a second.

Making sure that the luminous sights were properly aligned, Keitaro's trigger finger moved from the frame of the pistol where it had automatically gone into the trigger guard and started to smoothly press against the trigger. Taking up the slack, he then applied two and a half kilograms of pressure until the pistol was a hair's width away from firing. Simultaneously making sure the sights were still aligned with the target, he continued the trigger pull until the Glock went off, firing a 9mm bullet and sending it racing downrange and through the target center.

Pausing for a instant, Keitaro then carefully let the trigger go forward under the pressure of his finger, until he felt the click of the trigger resetting, signifying that the pistol was ready to fire. Again he pressed back on the trigger until the handgun fired, and then rotated at the hips, swinging his upper body toward the next target. Aligning his sights on the new target Keitaro fired two rounds, the two gunshots coming so close together they almost sounded as if it they were one. Moving over to the last target, Keitaro put two rounds in the center before coming to a halt. Carefully looking around him while the Glock was still pointed toward the three targets, he made sure there were no threats to the sides or behind him before slowly and carefully reholstering his pistol.

"Excellent job, Taro-kun. That run was 3.9 seconds, half a second faster than the last." Natsumi Tsujimoto said with a smile. The brown haired police officer was wearing black tactical pants, boots, a black t-shirt with a red emblem for HK Firearms and was holding a shooting timer. A Glock and spare mags were holstered on her belt as well. "Your splits at the end were a quarter second apart, so you are getting to the level of a competitive shooter. You could probably get even faster if you continued practicing."

Keitaro gave a half-smile while reaching up to scratch the back of his head. "Doubt it, Natsumi-san. I don't have the money to buy the amount of ammo necessary to do that." He gestured toward the empty and half empty ammo boxes that were sitting on the counter beside them.


before

When the ronin had met the two police women at the café the week before, he did not believe they were certified firearm instructors. He had been disabused of that notion in short order when they had gone over their plans for training him. Miyuki Kobayawaka, the darker haired officer, had helpfully told him he was to learn everything a regular police officer would be taught in the Academy, but instead of having six months to learn it, he would have one week. At the sight of Keitaro blinking repeatedly in disbelief, Natsumi merely smirked and joking asked if he liked the smell of gun smoke, because he would be breathing in a lot of it.

That first day, they had driven over to a building that Keitaro later found out was an evidence lock-up. Taking Keitaro inside along with them, Miyuki showed a uniformed officer some paperwork and then lead Keitaro into a heavily secured room that looked like the scene from the firstMatrixfilm where Neo had said 'I need guns' and suddenly wall-sized racks of weapons appeared.

Guiding the younger man to a table, the two women brought over a dozen different types of handguns and had Keitaro pick up each type, checking for hand fit, ease of control operation and pointability. After about 15 minutes, Keitaro had settled on a Glock 19 in 9mm caliber, a compact polymer and steel pistol with a reputation for reliability and accuracy. Putting the other handguns away, the officers then picked out five high capacity magazines, capable of holding 15 rounds each, a cleaning kit for the pistol, and a carrying case. As the officers were packing this all up, he was told that the weapons they had shown him had all been seized from a gunrunner's operation, and the ones that were not held for police use were to be shredded and destroyed in a steel mill.

Going over to another room in the building, Miyuki showed another officer the paperwork, but this officer insisted on calling to verify his orders. After about ten minutes and some arguing with someone on the other side of a phone call, the officer finally and reluctantly let them into an armored room, which turned out to contain stacked cases of ammunition.

Borrowing a hand truck, Keitaro helped the police women load up four cases of 9mm FMJ ammo, two thousand rounds total. Natsumi then grabbed two cases of 5.56mm rifle ammo totaling one thousand rounds and then tossed four fifty round boxes of 9mm hollow-point ammo on top of that.

Waving merrily to the frowning officer on the door, the three loaded the cases of ammo into the trunk of Miyuki's Toyota sports car, causing it to visibly sink down on its springs. With Keitaro in the back seat clutching his knapsack, Miyuki peeled out of the parking lot… or tried to, given that the car had a hundred pounds in the trunk in addition to the near-full load of passengers to carry.

Driving over to a small building on the Police Academy campus, the trio unloaded their new acquisitions from the car and brought them inside to what was apparently an armory. Locking the ammo up, the pair of police women then took Keitaro to a classroom, put him in a chair, and with Miyuki standing the whiteboard with a marker, began to list the subjects he would be studying in his training.

This day's starting lesson was the use of force and firearms in Japan, which was absolutely necessary to anyone carrying a gun. Taking a little less than an hour to go over and with Keitaro taking detailed notes without prompting, the ronin was able to memorize and learn what was needed, which was tested in a no-note pop quiz at the end of the lesson, which Keitaro passed with flying colors.

After that, Keitaro was given a crash course in tactical first aid. When he asked why this was required when he had studied first aid in school, Natsumi had replied with a straight face, "Not with gunshot and knife wounds you haven't." Another hour was spend covering penetrating trauma, laceration wounds, slash type wounds, heavy arterial bleeding, and how to treat them with bandages, pressure, and ultimately tourniquets and hemostatic packets like Quikclot. Keitaro's face had turned slightly green at the pictures in the book that Miyuki had showed, but he passed that section as well. Thankfully, it did not affect his appetite, so he was able to eat one of the sandwiches that Natsumi had bought at a corner convenience store for all three of them.

That afternoon, the next item in the syllabus was the care and feeding of firearms in general and Glock pistols in particular. Here Keitaro was shown how to field-strip and clean his pistol. Miyuki told him that at this time he would not have to detail-strip his handgun into itty bitty pieces, but he would be shown later and given a DVD to study so that he could do simple maintenance and part replacement in the field, especially since he would be out in the outer edges of nowhere for his job, and the nearest trained armorer would be in Bangkok… maybe.

The last couple hours of the day was spent doing actual (unloaded) gun handling. After learning the basic rules of firearms (i.e. always treat guns as though they were loaded, keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, never point a weapon at something you were not ready to destroy, and to always know what is behind your target in case you miss), Keitaro was given an orange plastic training pistol and went through a large cardboard box filled with different types of holsters, before he found one that fit his body type and concealed the pistol reasonably well. He was then was shown how to do a safe combat draw, and then had to practice it… dead slow. From start to finish, the two trainers were having him take 15 seconds for each draw, and then keep doing it over and over again. After watching him do it for ten minutes (which is a long time to do something as slow as that) while Natsumi corrected any small error they found, they had him stand in front of a target taped to a wall and keep practicing, letting him increase the speed so it was half normal speed. The reason for the slow speed draw was to engrain the motions into Keitaro's muscle memory, and doing a draw at half speed repeatedly for half an hour will certainly do that.

Finally the two taskmasters… mistresses… called an end to the day at about five pm. Taking the real pistol and locking it up, Natsumi and Miyuki told Keitaro to take the practice pistol and holster home and practice with it for half an hour a day during the weekend, in front of a mirror if possible, and in private preferably. Even with an orange practice pistol, some people would freak out at the sight of someone doing repeated draws from a holster. After that, they loaded him into the back of Miyuki's sports car again, and at Keitaro's insistence, took him to the train station rather than his home on the other side of Tokyo. Leaving him on the curb with his knapsack on his shoulder, he gave a wave as the two women roared off, turning to enter the station only to see that half of the males around him were giving him dirty looks. After a moment he realized why; he had just been dropped off by two very attractive women in a sports car… it looked more than a little tawdry. Mentally shrugging, he walked into the station to catch the next train home.

On Monday, the two female trainers picked Keitaro up at the train station, where he was waiting at the curb for them. Seeing that the top was down on the convertible sports car and at Natsumi's prodding, he tossed his bag in the back seat and gingerly crawled over the top of the door into the back seat, barely getting in the vehicle before Miyuki stomped on the gas and the car peeled off.

Once they got to the range, the trainers had Keitaro show his draw ten times in a row, still at half speed. Calling it 'acceptable' they then had him speed up his draw gradually, until half an hour and fifty plus draws later he was doing them at full speed… not to the point where world records would be broken, but still rather fast for a non-professional shooter.

Leading Keitaro to the firing line outside the armory, Natsumi gave him his pistol, and smiled when he immediately checked to make sure it was unloaded. Pointing him downrange, she then had him start to dry-fire the pistol, aiming at a target five meters away, every pull of the trigger resulting in a 'click' as the firing pin struck the empty chamber. After each trigger pull, Keitaro pulled back slightly the slide of the pistol, resetting the trigger since no round had been fired to produce the recoil that worked the side and reset the trigger automatically. While he did this, Natsumi made sure his pistol was steady, that the sights were properly aligned and that he was not flinching or jerking as he pulled the trigger.

After 15 minutes of dry-fire came the moment of truth. Tapping Keitaro on the shoulder with ear muff hearing protectors, Natsumi waited until he put them on before handing him a loaded magazine, and with a slight smile gave the order "With one full magazine, lock and load your weapon." Watching as he did just that by locking the full mag into the pistol and chambered a round before facing downrange. Seeing he was ready, Natsumi stood right behind him to the right, and in a clear voice called out, "At my command, fire one round at the center of the target… Weapon at high ready…" Seeing that Keitaro was now aiming the Glock at the target, Natsumi finally gave the command. "Fire!"

Keitaro slowly pulled the trigger and the pistol went off, the round impacting in the center area of the target, but not in the bulls eye area. Seeing him lifting his head from peering at the sights to see where he hit, Natsumi lightly thwacked him on the shoulder and called out "Focus on the sights! You wanna see where you hit, look though the sights!" Seeing he was now doing so, she called out "Ready… Fire!" Waiting until he brought the pistol down from the moderate recoil, she gave the command again and again, until finally the slide of the pistol locked open, showing that the magazine and the pistol were empty. Seeing this, Natsumi called out, "Make your weapon safe and holster!" After Keitaro slowly released the slide and put the handgun back in the belt holster, Natsumi smiled and nudged him on the shoulder, saying to him, "Now you can look."

Looking at the target, it appeared as though someone had fired a shotgun blast of buckshot at the target. The figure of the target had 12 of the 15 shots scattered throughout the chest and stomach area, and a couple were just outside the outline of the target. Only one round had gone into the center chest area where the heart would be.

"Not bad, Taro-kun… but we are going to make you better." Natsumi smiled at her student, who cautiously smiled back.

Natsumi was a woman of her word. After some coaching and some four hours of firing roughly 500 rounds of ammo, Keitaro reduced his group from torso-sized to fist-sized, to where holding his fist in front of the large jagged hole would cover it. As lunch was coming up, Keitaro took his break, again eating a store sandwich while listening to the two police women talk about various cases they had dealt with. Most of them were highly amusing, dealing as they did with people and incidents that occurred while they were assigned to Traffic Division at Botuko Station, including the ongoing war Natsumi had with the crazed baseball-throwing vigilante known as Strikeman.

After lunch, Natsumi had Keitaro practice shooting controlled pairs, two rapid accurate shots, telling him that 9mm Parabellum ammo was marginal in actual combat use, especially since FMJ (full metal jacket – solid point) ammo had the tendency to pass through people and not transfer it's energy to the target and knock them down. In that spirit, she showed him the Mozambique Drill, where the shooter put two rounds in the target's center mass and then one round in the target's head. To make things interesting, she taped index cards to the target and told Keitaro that the cards were the aiming points, and misses were to be counted against him. He was able to mostly hit the cards by shooting relatively slowly, but at Natsumi's and Miyuki's pushing, and later teasing, he was able to get his speed back up after another 500 rounds or so, while also practicing combat reloads of depleted magazines with full ones. While doing all this, he was switched from a single target to three targets side by side on wooden stands and practiced moving from one target to another. When Keitaro asked why three targets, Natsumi lightly replied that if he faced more than three armed bad guys in a line in front of him, chances were that he was going to suffering from an acute case of lead poisoning by the time he got to number four.

At about four pm, Keitaro was pulled off the line and taken to a workbench in the armory. Slowly, but with no help from the watching trainers, he was able to field-strip his pistol and clean off the residue of the 1000 rounds he had fired through it. Miyuki told him there had been Glock pistols that had fired more than 100,000 rounds without maintenance, but regular cleaning lessened the chances of a malfunction, plus he would be working in a tropical and humid environment, and corrosion and gunk in and on a firearm never ended well. After Keitaro reassembled the pistol, it was locked up again in the armory, and the trio of shooters once again got in Miyuki's sport car and with Keitaro hanging on in the back seat roared off through traffic before dropping him off at the train station again. Before the trainers left Natsumi told Keitaro to wear a long tropical style shirt the next day. Seeing him nod an affirmative, the women drove off, and Keitaro turned to see that he was getting the evil eye from men standing nearby again. An eyebrow quirked upwards before he simply turned and walked into the station again.

Wednesday was more of the same from the day before, only the trainers had Keitaro wear his tropical shirt untucked over his pistol, and had him practice drawing his pistol from concealment. After 30 minutes of slow draw with the orange practice pistol and then full speed draw with his triple checked empty real Glock on the firing line, they had him do dry fire and then live fire. After that, they repeated the shooting course from the day before, only now Keitaro was drawing his pistol from under his shirt before firing. Once he got this down, Natsumi and Miyuki showed Keitaro how to shoot on the move, which consisted mostly in being in a slight crouch while his feet moved in a sliding shuffle so he would not trip or stumble over anything as he moved either forward or backwards. By the end of the day, Keitaro had fired something in the neighborhood of 800 rounds in the space of six hours, the only delay being how fast they could reload the pistol magazines.

While Keitaro was cleaning his gun at the end of the day, Natsumi brought up the fact that it was a shame that they did not have more time for training, since she would have liked to have shown Keitaro some CQB (Close Quarter Battle) hand to hand techniques. When she asked him what if he had any martial arts experience, Keitaro, being naturally modest, replied that he had studied some ju-jitsu and judo, but did not mention his rankings in them. So when Natsumi produced the orange practice pistol to show him how to prevent a gun takeaway, she got a shock as Keitaro was able not only to hang onto the pistol, but peel her hands from the replica gun and throw her back. Getting her dander up, Natsumi moved them over to a practice mat and started to try and do the takeaway again, only this time Keitaro was not only able to get the gun out of her hands, he did a modified judo hip throw that resulted in both Keitaro and Miyuki staring down at her as she lay flat on her back on the mat. With a huff, Natsumi got up and tried again… and again… and again… each time winding up on her back with the Urashima standing over her, a slightly apologetic look on his face. Natsumi realized the only way that would be able to take down Keitaro was be if she used her full chi reinforced strength and land a solid hit, but as annoyed as she was to be tossed around like a white belt, she was not going to risk hurting someone in practice.

Finally getting the full extent of his martial arts skills out of him, Natsumi decided to just show Keitaro the techniques to prevent a gun takeaway, not that he really needed them with his training. She also showed him how to disarm someone holding a pistol on him, and here she was surprised too. Natsumi knew that most people could do a takeaway faster than the person holding the pistol could react, but Keitaro was almost unreal. If he was within arm's reach of someone holding a gun on him, he could get it away from them before they realized it.

As Keitaro was getting ready to leave for the day, Natsumi instructed him to leave his holster on. Seeing him blink in confusion, she took the practice pistol and shoved it in the holster before pulling his shirt over it. Telling him he had to practice concealed carry, he was ordered to carry the orange pistol concealed and not let anyone realize or know that he was carrying. Hesitantly, Keitaro agreed, but as the three walked out to Miyuki's car he heard Natsumi muttering under her breath about the unfairness of a civilian with a weapon permit being able to carry a concealed handgun at any time while she was not allowed to do so off-duty and only when necessary on-duty, which was rare enough.

Carefully climbing out of the car at the train station and watching them drive off, Keitaro was very aware of the practice pistol pressed into his side under the shirt. The shirt was of thick enough material that the bright plastic could not be seen through the fabric, but he felt as though there was a neon sign under his shirt blinking 'Gun Here!' Remembering that this was training, and that Miyuki had told him that the sensation would pass, he turned toward the station again, only to see the nearby men glaring at him yet again. Keitaro stared back at them for a moment before he finally gave into his mischievous side and flipped them a jaunty (military style) salute before entering the station again.

The trip home that evening and going in on Thursday morning was interesting, as Keitaro had to navigate the notoriously crowded public transit system while carrying his practice pistol. After a few close calls where people brushed up against his pistol side on the train home, he learned he had to keep his arm relatively close to his torso, but he had the feeling that it would look kind of odd always having his right arm next to his waist. So once he got home, Keitaro got on the internet and looked into concealed carry, and not surprisingly, he found some American web sites that gave techniques and hints to carry without being obvious. It was there that he learned that the way most criminals gave away that they were carrying weapons was that they were not used to it, and therefore had specific tells and behaviors that most experienced police officers could pick up on. Always 'guarding' a weapon with a hand or forearm, or adjusting it if it shifted were the two biggest tells. Keeping that in mind, Keitaro was able to make some small adjustments to how he wore his belt and holster to where the pistol was comfortable, steady, and not easily visible unless the entire shirt came up.

Getting ready the next morning, Keitaro made some adjustments to what he wore. Where he would normally wear slacks and a button-down shirt when out of the house, today he decided to forego it for blue jeans, trainers, a dark blue undershirt, and an Okinawan kariyusi shirt he had received one year from Granny Hina as a present, a square bottomed open collared short sleeve shirt that was worn untucked and therefore concealed the pistol and holster neatly. This one was dark green with small red and green watermelons printed across the cotton fabric.

Waiting at the curb of the train station with his bag slung over his shoulder, Keitaro was looking at his watch. Miyuki and Natsumi were twenty minutes late, apparently due to the heavy traffic common to Tokyo. It was no big deal to him, but sooner or later he would have to find a pay phone to call Seta-sensei for instructions, as the Police Academy was a little too out of the way for him to go to on his own, plus he would need to be with one of the trainers to be admitted.

Hearing the squeal of rubber on asphalt, Keitaro was barely able to make himself stand in place as Miyuki's Toyota convertible slid through three lanes of traffic before coming to a halt at the curb next to Keitaro. Seeing Natsumi behind the wheel and Miyuki hanging onto the dashboard with white knuckles, he could feel a sweatdrop forming on the back of his head.

"Hey, Taro-kun! Sorry we're late, let's go! We've got places to go and people to do!" Natsumi called out cheerfully, unaware of her mangling the saying and the odd looks everyone was giving them. Looking around, Keitaro could see that the afternoon spectacle of men giving him dirty looks was occurring now as well.

"Natsumi-san, why are you driving Miyuki-san's car?" The darker haired trainer did not look happy that her partner was behind the wheel.

"Miyuki-chan lost a bet with me this morning on who would finish first, that's why we're late. Come on, let go!" Natsumi gunned the engine of the souped-up drop-top.

Looking over at Miyuki again and seeing she now had a slight blush on her face, Keitaro gave a mental sigh and tossed his bag into the back seat, and after carefully hitching up his jeans, jumped into the back seat and braced himself as the brown haired trainer stomped the gas and burned rubber, leaving the crowd on the curb to stare after the fishtailing car.

That morning was spent with Keitaro refining his pistol technique. Two hundred rounds were sent downrange to service the targets as the young ronin moved from one side of the range to another. Just to make things interesting, the trainers would load dummy rounds among the real rounds in Keitaro's magazines so that he would practice 'failure drills', when for whatever reason the pistol failed to fire. He had been taught the 'tap rack bang' drill on the first day on the firing line, but hearing about it was not quite the same as being in the middle of a firing string and hearing your pistol go 'click' instead of 'bang!' When Keitaro asked what he could do if the malfunction was a real non-clearable jam instead of one of the three normal malfunctions, Natsumi told him semi-seriously that he could throw the jammed pistol at the attacker's face and either rush them and take them out hand to hand, or run away as fast as he could, because either way he was screwed. Otherwise it would be a good idea to carry a backup firearm like American cops did or to carry and use a knife like most soldiers.

When the afternoon came around, the reason for Natsumi's and Miyuki's late arrival that morning was explained. Dragging out a long black plastic case out of the trunk of the car, Natsumi flipped it open to show an assault rifle. With her compatriot holding it and gesturing like an arms convention spokesmodel, Miyuki went to the whiteboard again and started lecture two of the care and feeding of firearms series – M4A2 carbine version. The trainer told Keitaro that they had borrowed the carbine from SAT so that he would be familiarized with military type rifles, but that he would unfortunately not get the same in-depth training that he got with his Glock.

Given that he was familiar with firearms handling now, it did not take long to finish the lecture portion and move to the firing line. With Miyuki filling the 30 round magazines as fast as she could with stripper clips, Natsumi and Keitaro went to town with the carbine, trading the weapon back and forth between the two of them, quickly transitioning from static position firing to multiple targets to firing on the move. Six hundred rounds went downrange in three hours before the trainers called an end to the training and Keitaro learned the most disliked part of using the M16/M4 weapon system – cleaning the rifle after use. Given the way that combustion gas from the round being fired was used to work the action of the rifle, there was a lot of soot and caked carbon residue that needed to be wiped, scrubbed, and scraped out to make sure the weapon operated correctly.

Being dropped off at the end of the day at the train station, Keitaro watched the trainers drive off before he turned to see the now traditional glaring of the people around him. But given that he had now figured out why he was getting the dirty looks, Keitaro just smirked at them, made a show of taking a deep breath and brushing off his clothes and running a hand through his short hair, and made his way through the jealous crowd.

Friday was the last day of the week of training that Keitaro was receiving. Here he received some of the more esoteric training that members of SAT received, such as moving around corners without getting shot or having his weapon taken away, passing through a doorway without becoming a massive target, and operating in low light conditions. Keitaro had known that the sights on his Glock had tritium inserts, but he had not realized how much of a difference it would make until Miyuki had cut most of the lights on the indoor firing line and all he could see of his pistol was a faint outline, as well as three glowing green dots on top of it.

Low light training consisted of shooting both with and without handheld lights. Without lights was relatively simple, as all Keitaro had to do was line up the three glowing dots on top of his pistol and fire. However, when Keitaro had done a firing string in the dark with multiple targets and Miyuki had turned the lights on to show that one of the targets had a picture of a smiling schoolgirl taped to it, complete with a pair of bullet holes in her forehead, it reinforced what the trainers had taught him about making sure what he was shooting at before he pulled the trigger.

Shooting with a tactical light was more complex, as not only was Keitaro not holding his pistol in a two hand grip like he had before, he was now juggling a handheld light in his off-hand now. Natsumi had shown him the various ways to hold a tactical light, but the one that he was most comfortable with was the Harries technique, where he was holding the light with the bottom switch next to his thumb and the lens pointing out of the bottom of his fist. Crossing his hands so the back of his hands were pressed against each other, the light was parallel to the barrel of the pistol, and the position was not very different from the angled Weaver stance he had been taught.

Once Keitaro had gotten familiar with a tactical light grip, Natsumi had taught him the most important part of using it… not using it much at all. When he had asked about the contradiction of that, Natsumi had grinned and explained that leaving a tac light for more than a second at a time and not moving immediately afterwards, was an invitation to getting shot. Real life was not like the movies, where cops moved through darkened buildings with lights blazing… unless they were carrying the heavy 'body bunker' shields that had lights built into it to absorb the rounds that would inevitably come toward them. Even though tactical doctrine was to use the light for up to two seconds at a time, Natsumi and Miyuki recommended only a second at a time plus immediate movement afterwards, since any nitwit with a gun in the dark can spray rounds at a light within two seconds.

After lunch, the two trainers decided it was time for Keitaro's final exam. Setting up various targets on the empty range, the trainers had the ronin run though various tactical scenarios, most of them at double time; drawing from concealment, engaging multiple targets, clearing staged malfunctions. The second part was more of the same, only he was doing it in a darkened range, with a tactical light available to use. Miyuki would stand behind Keitaro with a flashlight and illuminate target stands, and he would have to identify the threat and engage if needed, since a couple of the targets had non-hostile pictures taped to them. Finally Keitaro was given magazines loaded with the hot-loaded hollow-point ammo and shot controlled pairs and multiple shot strings at static targets, and his control was good enough that the shot groups did not stray outside the index cards taped to the targets.


now

"Congratulations, Keitaro-kun." Miyuki was standing beside her partner, wearing snug-fitting jeans, a grey t-shirt with a black emblem showing three arrow in a circle and the word 'Beretta' and a light black fabric vest over it. "You have now passed the basic SAT operator shooting test."

"SAT operator?" asked Keitaro in surprise. He knew that Natsumi had been trained by the Tokyo Police emergency response unit as an experiment, but due to 'political considerations' was not allowed to serve on it at this time. That had been the reason she had been shipped off to Los Angeles on an exchange program with her partner in crime, and while she had been running the elite Metro Unit ragged with her enthusiasm and strength (Natsumi could pull herself up a rope hand over hand, not using her legs or feet, while wearing full armor, tactical gear and weapons, something not even the most muscular SWAT officer could replicate) Miyuki had been assigned to the LAPD forensic unit to learn the newest and most advanced evidence detection and processing techniques.

"Yeah, you passed the test that's given to newbies when they join SAT and complete basic training. You aren't ready to storm a terrorist hideout all by your lonesome like some action hero, but with some more training you could get there. Right now you shoot better than 95% of the police officers in America." Natsumi said with a grin.

"Seriously?" Keitaro would have thought that most police officers would be excellent shots, or at least better than him after an, admittedly intense, week of training.

"Yep. Really ticked off the Metro officers at LAPD when I showed up. It annoyed them that a 165 cm Asian female qualified as High Expert the first time she shot for score at their range." Natsumi said with a short laugh. "Then they used me to scam other officers into betting that they could shoot better than me. Didn't have to pay for a single beer or dinner when we went out with the guys after that."

"Speaking of which, to celebrate the completion of your training, Natsumi-chan and I would like to invite you to dinner." Miyuki interjected. Seeing that Keitaro's eyes widened, she continued speaking. "It will be relatively simple, and it won't be a bother."

"Yeah, Taro-kun, it's tradition that newbies pay for the first round of drinks." Natsumi dropped an arm on Keitaro's shoulders, and mussed his hair with her free hand, or at least tried to, since it was a little too short to fall out of place.

"I can't drink yet, Natsumi-san…" Keitaro responded with the first thing that popped into his mind. The drinking age in Japan was 20, but as long as someone did not cause problems, the police was not really hard-nosed about it, which was only reasonable in the land of beer vending machines.

"I said *buy* the first round, not drink it. But if you are really really good, we might give you a sip." The brown haired trainer winked at him.

"Well… OK." Keitaro was never one to turn down a home cooked meal, especially after a week of convenience store sandwiches.

"Good! Lets pack up all this gear, and then we're off to the store!" Natsumi stepped away from the ronin and turned toward the firing line. Drawing the pistol on her belt and quickly clearing it of ammunition, she waited until Keitaro did the same before taking hold of his arm and dragging him toward the armory. "Hurry, I'm hungry and Miyuki-chan makes a mean curry. Seriously, it will bring tears to your eyes." The darker haired trainer followed behind them, hitting the light switches to the range and dropping the room into darkness as she followed the pair out.


A/N – I know that this chapter is a little more technical than most people are used to, but I didn't want to do a handwave about how Keitaro went to Thailand with Seta and how he got his firearms skills that he winds up using there. His marital arts skills are explainable from his family training, but given that Japan has some serious gun control laws, the few people that have access to guns are the military and police officers. And given what research I have done about the Japanese police, I have the feeling that they operate the same way the British police do, with only certain specially trained officers carrying firearms. So Seta had to yank on some major strings to get Keitaro the training that he did, but that is all that it cost him. Having low friends in high places and knowing where the bodies are buried can help you get a lot done without spending a lot of money. In this case, Keitaro's new pistol is officially a transfer to a security contractor working for Todai, and the ammo was from 'surplus stocks' held by the police. Natsumi and Miyuki training Keitaro is a favor from their commanding officer to Seta, as the CO would like to have at least one quiet week every once in a while at Bokuto Division.

As you may have noticed, I have set the stage for a lemon next chapter. What I will probably will do is post the lemon itself over at mediaminer, which is a lemon friendly fanfic website. Instruction on how to get to it will be given at that time.

For those who are wondering when this arc will end and when the story will return to Keitaro, Tsuruko and the residents at the Hinata-sou, it will take place when Keitaro leaves for Thailand, in about two more chapters. To mollify the readers that have been waiting for the next arc, I can tell you that (minor spoilers) 1) Keitaro is not going to blow up at Tsuruko, as she is not the one responsible for Motoko's fate and 2) Keitaro will be receiving visitors that he will be happy to see – a father, daughter, and someone that helped them all out in a bad situation. (end spoilers).

Many thanks to AZ for grammar and technical assistance on this chapter, and PCH for grammar assistance as well.

As of 13Dec11 0000 PST, this story has 108,762 hits, 228 Reviews, 25 C2 listings, 352 Favorite Story listings, and 318 Story Alerts. Thanks again to all the readers following this story. *thumbs up*