The hundred-person security team hit the steel doors and spread through the first floor of the 50 story building. It looked like it had been choreographed because it had. Hundreds of hours drilling in a virtual mock-up. Behind and above them came the dragons and gryphons who secured the airspace before and delivered additional security personnel on the World Government Building roof in a well-coordinated relay.
As he stepped out of his armored and shielded air car, Trevor wondered again why no had come up with a more original name for it.
Wu, in late 20th Century grunge, flanked him, scanning the gathering crowds. Dissatisfaction with the former world government was high, but it only took one person willing to become a martyr. Behind him, hidden by her sheer tininess, he heard Deborah’s quiet chanting as she evoked the NAMES of her God to bring peace and safety. A half dozen strides and the security team called the first floor clear as he stepped through the door.
Trevor dropped to the ground. Forty feet of golden dragon suddenly surrounded him. Just outside the coils, words of fire hung in the air, trapping the bullet. Deborah said something and the words faded, taking the bullet with them.
“Hold here,” Wu hissed. Trevor wasn’t going to argue. Going further into the building for cover meant walking into a possible ambush. Going back to the street would be foolish.
He, Wu, and Deborah held position while security scrambled. Within minutes, the shooter was found and quarantined. More time passed, long enough that crowd came out of their shock and started getting loud. Security called an all-clear.
Wu shimmered, his golden scales fading and reforming into the human-seeming Trevor was familiar with. Wearing the ancient garments Wu called “hanfu.” Why always hanfu when he transformed? And what happened to the grunge gear?
Pushing aside the inanities, Trevor examined the groups of people gathered around him.
Outside the building were citizens and magical beings, most local, a few from other parts of the world. Protesters, mostly ‘human’ citizens, on one side. Supporters, mostly magical beings, on the other. Both groups increasingly agitated.
Inside the building, he saw humans and perhaps a few in human-seeming. Uncertainty, fear, resentment, and a surprising amount of relief.
His own people were split, Some remained outside to help with crowd control. Some followed him prepared to spread out and start the worked they’d spent a decade preparing for. And the security teams were everywhere—or trying to be.
Hovering camdrones waited just outside the legal privacy limit. It was as good a moment as any. He waved the drones forward and signaled Deborah. She stepped back, blending in with the surrounding government bureaucrats and staff.
“Not how I wanted to start my first day on the job, but first days tend to be shit anyway.
“All of you,” he took in the bureaucrats, “are probably wondering what to expect. There are going to be a lot of changes, and you aren’t going to like some of them. But I hope some of them you will like. For now, keep doing your jobs and focus on making sure food and energy keep moving to the people who need them. You’ll have plenty of time to gawk at me later. Promise.”
He refocused on the cams. ”To my supporters outside: thank you and go home. We have a lot of work to do, so don’t wear yourself out here. The real fight hasn’t begun yet.
“To the protesters, I’m not going to silence you. I’m not going to arrest you. I’m not going to attack you. As long as you stick to making noise in the street, you can knock yourselves out.” He paused. Then deliberately pulled his hair back into the style still sometimes called a “warrior’s braid”—as if warriors only had one hairstyle. When he finished, he relaxed into a loose fighting stance, letting the lines of his pants emphasize his readiness for action.
“Any of you thinking that rebellion or armed resistance might be a good idea—back down now. Or you’ll join your friend with the gun.”
As he finished speaking security called in to report the upper levels clear.
“For real this time?”
“Ah… yes, sir. For real this time.”
He signed forward and he, Wu, and the rest of the team that had gathered behind them moved for the lifts.
It was going to be a long day.