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Friday, January 6, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: November 3, 2398

Kivi can presumably find anyone anywhere, but it helps to have a general idea of where they are. If their targets had run off to hide in Croatia, for instance, she probably would have never found them unless someone tipped them off to this fact. Fortunately, her SD6 team is not the only interested party. Investigators from multiple departments have been looking into the bombing of the former Balance of Power studios, and they do not believe that the culprits have managed to get out of the city. They’re still in New York, and as long as she doesn’t get distracted again, Kivi can take it from there. That’s not all the other investigators found.
A small group known as the Weighers of Justices have claimed responsibility for the attack. This is a new organization; so new that organization is a strong word to use for them. They say that they’re loyal to Solomon Powers and his legacy, and were retaliating against Leona’s legal killing of him, and her takeover of his microsovereignty. They’ve not released names, or shown themselves on camera, so this could all be a red herring, but Kivi and the other members of her team don’t care. Understanding motive is not part of their job descriptions. They just have to find these assholes.
It’s called a Pyramid Whelm. In a standard square or rectangular building, two members of the tactical team will take up positions on corners diagonal from each other. This allows them to watch for escape attempts from all side doors. A third member will take up a position on the roof, in case someone has some way out via helicopter or wingsuit, or something like that. When the main door of any given building is breached by two more tack team members, anyone hoping to evade capture will usually instinctively move to the back. The final two team members will be waiting for them at that exit. This is the most efficient use of a seven-member team, but it is a scalable tactic. A group totaling fourteen can double up on each position, or spread across a larger area, depending on necessity, threat level, and resource inventory. A single-family home can probably be contained with a single team, but an abandoned bulk store, for example, may need some extra people to cover all bases, but the same vaguely pyramidal formation is used in either case.
Before the Whelm comes the recon, which is when a single person, or maybe two people, attempt to gather as much information about a target location as possible before anyone else goes in. This is especially useful in urgent cases such as this, but it’s also risky if a security system tips the targets off to the oncoming containment. That’s what Kivi is supposed to be doing right now at that abandoned bulk story. But she’s not just doing it for her team, because they’re not preparing a Pyramid Whelm today. This is called a Deluge Configuration. It’s basically when every able-bodied law enforcer in the area comes out, and dominates a target location. This has become such an important case, despite the fact that no one was severely hurt, that everyone wants a piece of it. Leona Matic has her detractors—case in point, the bombing—but for the most part, she’s become very popular. People want to see the bad guys go down for this, so every department has a strong incentive to get it done quickly, and unambiguously.
Kivi does not feel the same way that everyone else does, and she knows that neither does Leona. That’s why she’s going to secretly convert the recon mission into a capture mission. She does not have the training or experience to take on all these guys on her own, but she’s doing it anyway, because it’s the safest way to go about it. It’s also the most rational, or maybe it’s more that a Deluge Configuration is an insane tactic. First of all, these people are bombers. This whole structure could be rigged up with explosives, which would put hundreds in needless danger. Secondly, when you have this many people who don’t even know each other, it would be incredibly easy for the suspects to slip away in the chaos. She refuses to let that happen.
As Kivi is double-checking her count of the suspects, Paula crawls up to her. “What are you doing here?” Kivi whispers. “You’re supposed to be hunting for underground exit points.”
“You think I’m going to let you do this alone?”
“It’s my job. I’m the Spotter.”
“Yes, but you’re not just spotting, are you? You were just about to go in alone.”
How does she know that? “What makes you say that?”
“I could see it in your eyes. Maybe I should be the Spotter.”
Kivi frowns. “The Deluge—”
“Is the dumbest thing that some guy with a computer keyboard came up with two hundred years ago. There’s a reason that the SD6 has never employed it once, because it doesn’t work. We’re surgical, that’s the whole point of a seven-person tack team.”
The Technician, Hurst crawls up to their position on the catwalk. “Hey, are we doing this, or what?”
Right behind him are Corolla, Hartwin, Klein, and Alserda. Now the whole team is here. “Are you mad?” Kivi asks their leader.
“No, you had the right idea, just the wrong tactic,” Alserda says. “We’re doing Hermit Crab Formation,” she orders.
“I’m not familiar with that one,” Kivi says.
Lieutenant Klein looks between Kivi and Corolla. “You’re in back.”
“Because I’m the newest?”
“Because you’re the smallest,” Alserda clarifies.
Hermit crabs live in shells created by other organisms. When one specimen grows out of its shell, it has to find a new one. So what they’ll do is get in a line next to each other, and trade shells one right after the other. In this case, Hermit Crab formation dictates the largest member of the tactical team approach the targets in front, hopefully giving the impression that there is only one person about to attack them. As soon as the targets see that an enemy is coming, and the tactical advantage of the ruse is lost, the crabs in back will break formation, and begin the attack using whatever means necessary and authorized. Despite the fact that two people on the team have never done this before, their technique serves them well. All bombing suspects are apprehended without anyone firing a single shot.
Once it’s over, Alserda conducts a brief interrogation in an attempt to ascertain whether there are any impending attacks. This is when they learn the truth. These guys never cared about their former boss, Solomon Powers. There was a vault in the sub-basement, which they robbed. The explosion was just to cover their tracks. They refuse to say where the money is, though. “That isn’t our problem,” Paula advises Kivi.
Kivi turns away, realizing that she’s right, and feeling a sense of relief in this truth. She’s not responsible for detecting clues, extracting confessions, or prosecuting crimes. She finds people; that’s it. What happens afterwards is out of her hands. Then again, that was Leona’s money. Maybe Kivi is responsible for recovering it after all.

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