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Gabbit Institute for the Study and Preservation of Xenosapient Artifacts
[The following is an excerpt from the transcript of a presentation by Gabbit Institute researcher Alan MacKellim on pre-Human Incursion Follower artifacts]
Transcript Start-: Alright, ladies and gentlemen, what we have here is a particularly interesting bit of alien technology. This is a semi-automatic, chemical combustion powered pistol, dating back to around 2193. Now, if you look at this pistol, you may notice that it's rather small, and the grip in particular is quite short and stubby. This is because it was made for a Follower, who, as most of you know, have smaller, four-fingered hands, as opposed to our five.
This is what they called a "KLK/88 Paymu", but you'll generally see them referenced under the name assigned by the Human forces on Swartkrans at the time, the Type-3 Sidearm. This was the most recent sidearm adopted by the Serev Imperial armed forces, and one of 3 types encountered in their hands by Human troops, hence Type-3 Sidearm. The Follower designation stands for (and my apologies in advance for mangling it, Humans don't really have the necessary vocal cords) "Keska Liir'ea Keltrov" which roughly translates to "Pistol, Self-Loading, for Land Forces" and then the last two digits of the Serev calendar year. At the time this pistol was adopted, it was pretty much the pinnacle of Follower handgun technology, and while it may seem primitive compared to our modern electromagnetic weaponry, and certainly to equivalent period Human firearms of the same type, such as the M1911 or P38, it's a very interesting little weapon.
So, a little background on these. This gun was introduced, as far as we can tell, around 2172, which would be 1688 in the Serev calender. At that time, the Followers were pretty much divided into two factions, led by the Serev and Kess empires. We know them today as Follower ethnic groups under the same names, but at the time they were powerful governments which dominated the primary continent of Swartkrans. Anyway, these empires had been engaged in a near-constant competition over land and resources for quite some time, and had a very intense rivalry going. Both nations, but the Serev in particular, were very big on eugenics and racial theory at the time, and as a result, had instigated something of a tech race against their rivals. The idea being of course that the superior race would naturally have superior technology.
This created something of a conflict in the Serev Empire, because you had a very technologically progressive government urging innovation, and a military that was still dominated by their equivalent of nobility, who were very conservative and resistant to change. Since the military would typically refuse to adopt anything forced on them, the government had to make them compromise on anything they wanted adopted, or they would simply throw out the weapons, and the government couldn't do much without undermining their own authority by going against the nobility.
Now, at that point, the Serev armed forces were issuing what we called the Type-2 sidearm, known to them as the KLK/69 Tes'ra. This gun was a front-loading pistol, like a Mauser C96 "Broomhandle", with an 8-round fixed magazine. This had served them well in the last war, and was probably more than adequate for their needs. However, the Kess had just recently traded their revolvers for a semi-automatic pistol that loaded from a detachable box magazine in the grip. The Serev government responded by putting out a request to their design bureaus for a new pistol that could compete. The result was an early form of this gun, designed by an engineer named Maarta Paymu, which had a box magazine, a shorter barrel, and grips made out of an early form of polymer. This didn't sit well with the military, who distrusted polymer, and thought box magazines were wasteful and would encourage soldiers to throw away ammunition. After significant haggling, they managed to settle on the prototype which would become this, giving it a longer barrel, more traditional wood grips, and adapting it to load from a version of the en-bloc clips used in the older KLK/69.
So, this particular example is a fairly late production gun. These were in service for around 14 years on the Earth calendar, and production was really only effectively stopped by Human Incursion. This thing fires a little 6.85x23mm cartridge, which was also used in the Type-2 pistol. It's a bottlenecked, high-velocity round, with a jacketed soft point bullet. You can tell them by the distinctive brown wax coating on the case, which keeps the rounds waterproof, and melts and lubricates the chamber when fired. Now, by Human standards this cartridge was anemic at best, and while it was perfectly adequate for shooting little Followers, if you shot an armored Human soldier with this you'd probably just piss him off. The gun holds 16 rounds in these stamped metal en-bloc clips, which you would carry in a pouch and simply push in through the top of the gun to load it. Once you'd fired all 16 rounds, the clip simply drops out the bottom of the grip through this u-shaped slot, because there's no longer anything holding it in, and the bolt locks open so you can stuff in a new clip.
This is a short-recoil operated gun, like a Broomhandle Mauser, which means that the barrel recoils with the bolt for a few millimeters of travel until pressure drops to safe levels, at which point the breach opens and this bolt comes out the rear, picks a cartridge out of the magazine, and loads it into the chamber. To cock it, you pull back on this knurled knob on the back of the bolt, or by the striker, which protrudes out the back here. This striker is particularly interesting, because it also acts as the safety: pulling back the striker and rotating it 90 degrees locks it back, and disconnects the trigger. To take it off safe, you just pull back and rotate the striker. This also allows you to cock the gun without cycling the slide, so you can carry it with the striker down and a round in the chamber, and then simply cock the striker when you're ready to fire, or re-cock and fire the gun if you get a light primer strike. This is a single-action only gun, so the safety only engages when it's cocked, because you really don't need it when the striker is down.
It's a surprisingly heavy gun for the size and caliber, but as you can see, there's an awful lot of machined steel parts in it, and it's quite a thick little pistol. I imagine if I was a Follower, this would be quite comfortable to hold and shoot, but my extra finger and stubbier digits overall make it a bit difficult to get a good grip. By all accounts, these were very accurate guns, and there are several anecdotes of Followers managing to take down Human targets by shooting them in the neck, or through the eyes.
Overall, while it's interesting, this was really not a great gun. It's very complex and expensive to produce, and the weak cartridge really does it in. During the Human Incursion conflict, the Serev Empire actually stopped production of these, and switched back to using their Type-1 revolvers, which fired a larger 10.6mm cartridge that proved marginally more effective against Humans. Most of them were destroyed by occupation forces after the war, and only a few examples like this one survive in places like the Gabbit Institute.:-Transcript End