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SEARCH COMPLETE: MARCH 14, 2409
IPO file photo by A. Savage
is the common nickname for the heavily customized Steyr Model SL revolver carried by Captain Sarah L. Inazuma of the Phoenix Queen.
The Steyr Model SL automated1 revolver was manufactured from 2007 to 2049 by the Austrian arms manufacturing firm of Steyr AG on Earth. Never available directly to the public, the Model SL was exclusively manufactured for the United Earth Bureau of Civil Protection, which issued them officers of CP Section 44, the section tasked with hunting and neutralizing GENOM Corporation's 33-series infiltration/espionage/assassin Boomers. As a result, the Model SL was popularly known, after the common nickname for BCP44's anti-Boomer operatives themselves, as the "Blade Runner".
A large, heavy, and accurate weapon chambered for the 5.56mm NATO rifle round, the SL earned a reputation for power and reliability that made it almost mythical in the security, law enforcement, and paramilitary industries, but by the 2060s it had had its day. As part of an agency-wide conversion to phased plasma weapons, BCP44's Model SLs were decommissioned in 2064. Most were consigned to a storage arsenal and later destroyed, but a few (no one is entirely sure how many) made their way into private hands through various quasi-legal means.
Captain Inazuma's, serial number 9613, was one of these. Owing to the very-dark-grey-market nature of the first few transactions, it's impossible to know today who bought it, or in whose possession it left Earth, or when that happened. All that is known for sure is that it had seen a good deal of action and abuse before Captain Inazuma's mother - also called Sarah Inazuma and also captain of the Phoenix Queen - purchased it in a flea market on New Chiba in 2344.
NCRYPT_ADDL_INFO CLEARANCELEVEL=MJ12 I am, of course, aware that the Captains Sarah Inazuma are actually the same woman, and I know why she bought a gun that she knew didn't work, but as this file may - indeed, probably will - be accessed by people who aren't cleared to know about Operation TWILIGHT, I have maintained the cover story throughout. -VES
It isn't entirely clear why the elder Inazuma bought the gun, since, according to her notes, it didn't actually work at the time; its servo-assisted loading mechanism had long since failed, its action had seized, and someone had tried to "officially" demilitarize it by removing the firing pin and filling the barrel with lead. Perhaps she simply wanted a project to fill the time during a long-haul hyperflight to the Rim, where she spent much of her time performing survey sweeps in the employ of the Royal Astrographic Society of Salusia. Regardless, she repaired the weapon and put it back into service as her sidearm.
Some time after that, she grew tired of constantly having to hunt for and/or scratchbuild its scarce ammunition and converted it into a blaster using the MorganArms CCRE-I system.
SIDEBAR: The CCRE System
excerpt from Wild, Wacky Weapons and Their Inventors, Don't Panic Press (2272)
"Colonel Colt's Re-Equalization System" was developed in the early 21st century by WDF founder, 3WA TroCon, semi-pro weapons designer, and all-around utility badass Kei Morgan. The story goes that one day around 2100, Morgan was playing around in her workshop with some old BlasTech "BlasCap" ammunition and got to thinking about ways she could make the largely-failed technology more useful. The first thing that occurred to her was that she could get rid of the infamous "some guns fail to operate" problem entirely simply by putting them in a gun that didn't need to be actuated by its own ammunition, such as the humble revolver, the mechanical workings of which are powered by the operator.
That led automatically to a new problem, of course, which is that revolvers don't hold very many rounds. Most hold six, which was a bit of a liability even in a 20th-century gun battle and is just hopeless in a modern lightfight. She put the project aside and mulled it over for a while, until one day she happened across one of ReRob Mandeville's SDF-17 engineering teams using a handheld pulse welder. This was an ingenious device, nowadays rarely seen, that used a rotating drum of tiny regenerating power cells (technical name "nanofusion breeders") to provide high-frequency pulses of energy which were then applied to the surface being welded. The rotating drum was necessary because, after discharging its payload in a microsecond burst, each NFB required about 500 milliseconds to recharge. The drum was sized and its turn rate calibrated such that by the time each one came around to firing position again, it would be ready to go.
Well, hey, thought Morgan, and she scored a broken PW from Mandeville's tool crib attendant, took it back to her shop, and stripped it for parts. There were still a number of challenges to overcome - supply of blaster gas, for instance, which she ended up cracking with a very clever high-efficiency cyclonic microturbine and a small pellet of an exotic solid that vaporizes into an excitable gas at certain temperatures - but within a couple of years she'd perfected what she jokingly called "Colonel Colt's Re-Equalization System" (after the 19th-century joke that God made men, but Colonel Samuel Colt made them equal).
The upside of the CCRE System is pretty simple. If you take, for instance, an old Colt Official Police double-action revolver (the testbed Morgan used for the original development project), fit it with a BlasCap barrel liner, and then load it with six .38 Special CCRE rounds - fifteen minutes' work if you know what you're doing, a couple of hours if you have to figure out how to install the barrel liner for the first time - you have... well, a blaster! Just like that!
A pretty heavy blaster, in fact, gauged strictly by its firepower, and insanely reliable thanks to the simplicity of its mechanical workings. Each CCRE round is good for a hundred firings before its gas supply is used up, and the NFBs work pretty much forever, so they can be reloaded if you have the right tools and access to the required material, too. In tactical terms, with a minuscule amount of forethought, you simply never have to concern yourself with reloading again.
The downside is that the system never actually went into production anywhere, so if you want six .38 Special CCRE rounds for your Official Police, you'll have to dig up the specs online and then make them yourself. But hey, if you've got the time and you're willing to haunt some swap meets and flea markets, you can probably score an old pulse welder for a few hundred credits. They usually had a couple dozen NFBs in them and you only need six that work. How hard can it be?*
* Quite hard, actually. Apart from the trickiness inherent in this kind of micro-making in the first place, nanofusion breeders can be temperamental little bastards when they're not in some kind of containment system. People occasionally blow themselves up real good trying to extract them from dead PWs and build them into "blaster bullets". But hey, you can't make an omelet...
Where Is It Now?
Following its CCRE blaster conversion, Captain Inazuma senior carried No. 9613 for the rest of her career. Among the many adventures of hers it participated in was the recovery of the lost colony of Mojave, during which it earned the nickname that has been attached to it ever since. No one on Mojave had ever seen a stock Steyr SL before, let alone one converted into a blaster (which were themselves unknown on Mojave, though certain laser and plasma weapons did exist there). Its visual and aural distinctiveness, and the fact that its proper nomenclature was unknown, thus led the Mojavians who encountered Inazuma to call her "the lady with that gun," and the name stuck.
The elder Sarah Inazuma retired in 2390, after the Phoenix Queen served with distinction as a hired warship for the WDF in the War of Corporate Occupation. Along with the ship and the corporate entity which operates it (Phoenix Industries Limited), she passed That Gun on to her daughter, also called Sarah, who carries it routinely in the course of her business today.
N.B. By the late 24th century, Steyr SLs had become extremely rare, with only a handful in collections and no others known to be out in the wild. Very occasionally, someone will recognize That Gun and offer Captain Inazuma a lot of money for it, but I am reliably advised that she will never part with it.
1 An "automated" revolver is not the same as an automatic one. It simply means that the cylinder advance and the crane which actuates the cylinder for reloading are servo-assisted, not that the weapon has an automatic fire mode.
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