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On The Ground
Elf
rix_scaedu
This follows on from All In Motion and was written to M.B.'s prompt on Patreon. It comes in at 995 words.


The three of them withdrew to the edge of the park, which was also the precipitous edge of one of the municipal high-rise administration buildings.  Someone had given some thought to getting people down to the ground without relying on outside help in an emergency, and pivoting bars set with anchor points were positioned on the parapet.  They'd been released from their holding positions, and stood erect at the moment, but once an abseiler was suspended from one their weight would pull it back down into its storage groove where the attached rope would be protected from direct exposure to fire and, incidentally, much harder to cut.  For Mayin and Reaver, wrapping their rope through the harness and tying off while providing suppressing fire was a well-used drill that came back easily.  The Oberxiao wasn't as skilled but he had the concept down and he could shoot straight.

Dropping over the edge of the parapet together and having gravity become the most important issue was almost a relief.

Mayin and Reaver each had no doubt of the other's ability to handle the abseil but both of them made sure they stayed close to the Oberxiao so they could at least offer advice if he got into trouble.  He didn't take the drop quite as quickly as they would have without him, but he didn't get into any trouble at all.  The interlopers did send a few rounds after them, but they didn't persist - possibly because they realised that firing blindly in a city was not a good idea.

The three of them landed safely on the ground and were immediately met by a municipal authority security team and one of the oberxiao's colleagues.  There were some police present, but they were normal beat officers and were busy with crowd and traffic control duties.  Oberxiao Huhn Jan-li observed blandly, "I understood that there was a police tactical response team on its way."

The security team lead, a well-built woman with a Parks uniform on under her protective equipment, replied, "There is, sir, but they're heading directly for the park.  We've notified them that the official party and other personnel have reached the ground safely, but they haven't responded yet.  Now, not to be rude or obscure either, sir, ma'am," she acknowledged Mayin with a nod then used Reaver's legal name, "and Bunyer, but we need to secure those weapons you've acquired from the illegal protesters.  Your friend in the suit can vouch for us, if you require and I hope that Bunyer already trusts me.  If it helps, we were able to observe some of your activities through the park security camera network."

Jan-li’s fellow delegation member spoke up in the local language but with a stronger accent than the Oberxiao's, "I was tasked to pass on His Excellency's instructions that we are to cooperate with the local authorities as represented by the patrol leader here."  He indicated the woman who had been speaking.  “I have gained the impression that everything will be tidier if we have everything squared away before we interact with the tactical response team."

"Now that's out of the way," Reaver rendered his weapon safe, turned it barrel down and holding it by the stock, held it out to the team leader, " could you please take this thing off me?  It's a nice enough copy but it's not the sort of thing I want to keep."

"We can do that," the woman smiled at him.  "Anything else you want to hand over while you're at it?"

"Yes, actually."  He unhooked two bags off his belt and handed them over.  "I cleaned the emergency store out of harnesses and abseiling hardware.  Anyone up there can still make their way down with just a rope wrapped around them, but they would really need to know what they were doing and be confident that they'd be able to hold and control the rope the whole way down.   He looked up at the park and added, "That is a very long way down."

The team leader looked at him and remarked, "We saw some of what you did up there on the security cameras.  I'm surprised I haven't seen an application from you to be at least an emergency security warden."

Reaver shrugged.  "I decided that wasn't really the sort of work I want to do, now that I'm out of the war.  Outdoors and being helpful ticked most of my boxes."

She looked at him for a moment and then nodded.  "Fair enough."  There was a sound far above their heads and she added, "And that would be the police tactical response team."  Mayin and Jan-li handed over their acquired weapons in the same fashion that Reaver had.

Matters up in the park took a short time to resolve.  The municipal security team made everyone move back to what they considered a safe distance from the bottom of the building.  Mayin and Jan-li joined the official party, and Neoma, just as a military personal protection team arrived to take over the care of senior military officers and the ambassadors.  That team's leader looked at Wraith in his business suit and neatly brushed hair and blurted out, "Hang on, I know you!  You've grown your hair out."

"Well, it wasn't really appropriate anymore," replied Wraith.

His business suited colleague looked at him in surprise and indicated his short hair, "This is grown out?"

"He has hair," commented Mayin.  "For a while there, he didn't."

"It was a psych thing," said Wraith, looking around as he spoke.  "Mystique and all that.  Helped with the job."

"Yinying Saman," said Oberxiao Huhn Jan-li with some satisfaction.  "I thought so."

Neoma looked up at him and asked, "Do you have different names for everyone?"

"Only the people whose names we didn't know when we wanted to talk about them."  Jan-li smiled as he looked down at her, "We weren't able to ask them who they were, you see."