“Rules of engagement?” Wraith spoke while trying to identify the controller of the camera drone that their camera man was picking up but not controlling.
“Clear and immediate threat to the techs and/or the hostages,” replied Mayin.
“They come after us or get us on camera with their drone,” added Reaver.
“They start using the park as a sniper post for elsewhere in the city or they turn out to be the diversion while the real bad guys do their thing elsewhere,” finished Wraith.
“And what do we want to achieve,” asked Mayin, “aside from getting us and the hostages out of here alive?”
“Gathering intel from these bozos is not my problem,” answered Wraith.
“And I think the authorities would frown at us going all hunter-killer on these guys,” put in Reaver.
“Neoma,” said Mayin quietly to her niece, “you need to stay here while we go deal with the bad guys. I need you to curl up in a ball on the ground with your back against the wall. Stay there until we come back.”
“Why?” Neoma looked frightened.
“Because no-one will be trying to hurt you, but the smaller you are and the better protection you have, then the less likely it is that you’ll get hurt by accident.”
The suited woman asked, “But wouldn’t we be safer with our backs towards the wall?”
“If someone else finds you, we want you to look like people and not like something disguised in clothes,” replied Wraith.
Sharvon the cameraman said quietly, “I can’t curl into a ball, drones to control and all that.”
Wraith looked at him speculatively. “Can you do anything to their drone?”
“If I’d been allowed to bring my kit for exclusive shoots, hey I could have taken over it and the sound board over there,” he nodded vaguely in the direction of the console the techs were hiding behind, “but I wasn’t and so I can’t just hack into that stuff. If we have time, I can add their drone to my network then cut off their privileges but that would give us a brief window where their guy has access to my entire network.”
“Not really what we’re after then.”
Wraith was about to say something else when Sharvon said, “That’s…interesting.”
“What is?” Everyone may have asked that at once.
“I’m getting a message on a data feed channel.” Sharvon adjusted his display and turned his screen so everyone else could see it. “See, that blue field there. It’s meant for a type of transfer I don’t need to use. I understand ‘Friend query’ because it won’t let you use punctuation characters, but I can’t read this box thing that follows.”
“That’s a military electronic signature chop,” replied Wraith. He looked at Mayin, “Would this be your mysterious friend?”
Mayin took a look at the screen. “He’s the only oberxiao out there and this is an oberxiao’s chop.”
Wraith said quietly, “The one with the prosthetics? Oh…my. Sharvon, the answer is ‘yes’.”
This is now followed by Rules of Engagement 2.