The Silencer

Caitlin did a little more of Bernadette’s business the next day. She went to the nearby local shipping center, bought a corrugated box, 6 feet of bubble wrap, a scissors, and a small roll of package sealing tape. She also asked for a large handled shopping bag to carry it all in. Returning to the Ritz, she waited until the strong room was empty, then quickly opened and emptied her storage box of all but the two kilos of weed, and, placing the contents in the shopping bag, she pulled the loose bubble wrap over it. Then she brazenly travelled up to the 13th floor and stepped out of the elevator carrying two contraband pistols and four blasting caps into GLCIS’ “in house safehouse”.

Her debriefers had left, and only a few of the bell hops and maids were on the floor. She retrieved the original 12th floor room key and told that bell hop that she’d leave the 13th Floor key in the room after she finished packing. With the door closed and locked, she made up a second package of contraband to store next to the weed in the strong box. That done, she packed up all the rest of her luggage, including the suitcase with the bomb and silencer parts purchases, and asked the same bellhop to help her get it all down to check out. She stopped briefly to put the new package in her strongbox while the bellhop maneuvered the luggage cart through the Strong Room and into the lobby.

He was new and young and naive. He was to start agent training the next week. Nothing about Caitlin putting a package into a strong box, before checking out, or even her having a strong box at all, struck him as suspicious. He barely registered the action and told no one about it. And GLCIS lost it’s final chance to uncover Bernadette’s plot.

Caitlin took an electrotaxi to Midway, and arrived in Montpellier that day. Since it was an early evening flight, she arrived after sunset and the hall was, dark when she got to her front door. Taking her flashlight out she checked the cardboard and it was still in the door jamb, entered and shut off the Datalink wiping, looked at the Event Function page and the wiping hadn’t been interrupted. She turned on more lights and did the black dot checking and nothing had been moved. She relaxed. She was looking forward to the next two months off. It would entail a couple of trips back to GLC unknown to anyone. So she kept the scrap of cardboard. Waste not want not.

The next day Abigail came out the back, said hello to the next door neighbor and told her that Caitlin would be back that evening.

On a rainy day a few days later, Bernadette sat down with the flashlight, the tea lights, the silicone pad, the pipe fitting, the steel wool, drill and drill bits (the battery having been charged overnight), the epoxy welding compound, the epoxy putty, and two pieces of scrap from another building project: a 12x15in rectangular particle board for a work surface and a 12 in. of 1/2in diameter wooden dowel rod.

She first removed the thin aluminum cups from the tea lights. Bernadette had far more than she needed because the thin aluminum was the hardest material to work with. Any slip at all could bend, crinkle, or crumple one of these, so she needed plenty of patience, plenty of cups, and a willingness to fail plenty of times if need be.

What she wanted was five of the aluminum cups bored through the exact center with a 13mm (1/2 in) hole. The bullets were 9mm in diameter and and they needed 2 mm clearance all the way around in all five cups for safety when the bullets were fired down the tube of the flashlight body. First she removed both the bulb and the base end of the flashlight leaving only the hollow tube of the body. Then she pushed a tea light cup into one end to make sure that it just barely cleared the inside diameter of the tube. There was no problem there.

The tea light cups each had a central dimple for a starting hole and she had to drill each in four stages so that the hole could be gradually enlarged to 13mm while keeping the drill bits centered on the mark the first bit made into the particleboard. She took the drill bit that fitted the aluminum dimple exactly and drilled each of 10 cups with that size bit, then each with the next size bit, and so on. She was careful and lucky at this stage and lost only 2 of the cups with inaccurate drilling. But the longer she worked the more likely she was to slip from fatigue.

With a drilled tea light cup, Bernadette drew both an interior and exterior circle on the silicone, then cut the outside out carefully with a scissors. This was slightly larger than the inside of the cup and she carefully trimmed the edge so that it just fit. Then she folded the circle over, edge to edge and made a single straight cut in the center from the fold to the mark of the inner circle, re-folded the circle 90 deg from the first fold and made a second straight cut. This left a cross cut into the circle only as long as the 13mm inside diameter.

Bernadette then mixed a small amount of the epoxy putty and worked a thin coat onto the bottom interior of the cup and pasted the silicone circle into the cup bottom. Cleaning the excess putty, she put that cup aside to dry and cure. This was the “wipe” on the front of the silencer that the bullet passed passed through last, pushing the four cut flaps aside. Then she opened the roll of steel wool and cut it lengthwise to approximately 1/4 of the length of the flashlight tube. She wrapped this piece around the dowel and used the tube interior of the flashlight to cut the steel wool length to an approximate fit to the flashlight diameter, cutting it just a little long because it can compress. She made 4 of these.

The cup with the wipe was dry enough to install into the flashlight tube. Bernadette mixed a small amount of the epoxy welding compound and spread a generous amount on the outside wall of the cup, put it lower side down on the table so you could see all of the wipe. Then she carefully put the upright flashlight tube over the wipe cup and smushing the welding compound around the outer cup, cleaned off the excess, and set the tube aside vertically for that to bond.

After bonding, Bernadette took the first piece of steel wool and wrapped it around the dowel and pushed it carefully down the tube until the dowel and wool both touched the silicone wipe. Holding the dowel in place, she pushed the wool around the dowel gently into the wipe with a pencil to make sure the wool fully contacted the silicone. Then she very, very slowly and carefully extracted the dowel, looking down the tube making sure she could see the red flaps at the bottom. If she couldn’t she’d push the dowel gently down and out the wipe to make sure the center of the tube was clear.

Bernadette returned to the cups, placed one on the dowel, and mixed some more welding compound, spreading it generously on the bottom of the cup and all around the sides. Holding the tube vertically, she gently slipped the cup into the tube with the dowel and carefully pushed the dowel out the wipe. Checking to see that the center was clear and using the dowel to clear it if needed, she then took the pencil and gently pushed the second cup onto the steel wool around the edges, and set the tube upright to dry and cure the bond both to the inner side of the pipe and to the steel wool below.

At this point, Bernadette put in another roll of steel wool in exactly the same way she did the first one, then another cup smeared with welding compound down on top of that. She repeated this whole process two times more, each time making sure with the dowel that the center was clear through to the wipe. This gave her a cylinder divided into four compartments each full of steel wool.

After everything had completely cured, she threaded the tube fully on the dowel and drilled four circles of six evenly spaced 5mm holes around the tube, being careful to drill into the steel wool segments and not the cups, then checked and cleared the center again. Finally she placed the screw threaded plumbing fixture onto the dowel, generously coated the fixture with the welding compound and set it into the tube, keeping the dowel threaded fully through the tube to make sure that the center was straight until the compound fully cured on the pipe fixture, then smeared each crack on both ends of the tube with still more welding compound.

This was to be a single use silencer, so Bernadette test threaded the extended Glock barrel onto the plumbing fixture, then removed it, put thread locking compound onto the Glock threads and screwed the barrel into the fixture until it seated firmly hand tight. From this point forward all she would have to do was field strip the gun, replace the old barrel with her silenced barrel, reassemble everything, load it with subsonic ammunition and the gun would make no more noise than the popping of a champagne cork. Now all she needed to do was get the guns and blasting caps over.

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