(you can read part I here)

At once I was startled as I nearly plowed into the back of the halted mortar ring. Halted?? Excitement was crawling into my gut. I was then alarmed by the realization that I was standing on the port side (left) of the ring… the flat side that it would drop on if it were commanded to establish itself into firing configuration.

I valued myself out of the way just as the ring shifted ballast to its port side causing it to be off-balance heavy to port. It leaned over plopping itself flat to the ground with a dull yet seismic thud and dust plume. The mortar tube snapped up and pointed itself some 35 degrees to the horizon. A computer clicked and whirred as the gun tube jerked up and down slightly to make fine range and azimuth corrections.

At once my omnipresent earpiece crackled and came alive: