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29 - The clueless cavalier

Even after a good nap and that delightful cup of coffee (not to mention the delightful service), I still felt traumatized and needed to process, so I wandered . . . and wandered . . . and wandered . . . until I spotted something I couldn't ignore - A tall, slender man, boasting a name tag "El Bandito Peteo" (meaning the petty bandit) aimed his G-4 and attacked a young lady in a medical jacket.
I rushed to her aid, but she confused me for another attacker, dropped her purse and fled. The bandit crouched over the purse and pulled out a small item, just before a near miss from my Malinese field rifle alerted him to his new plight.
This rogue was handy with his G-4, too handy. I was knocked back by his return fire, which wasn't aimed and didn't miss. Sore and angry, I took aim and missed again. He smiled, waved, fired from the hip (with one hand) and still nailed me. If my friend had not sent me an old combat suit, I probably would have been on my way to sick bay or worse, but I was okay for now.
I dropped do the ground, took close aim and fired just as his third shot passed over my head. I felt the vibration. He felt a little more than that. Down he went, but he rolled behind an old metal table and fired off another shot, hitting me in the leg.
A lucky shot picked him up and threw him through the air, and I had time to re-aim for another, so I stood behind the corner of a nearby building and fired, just as he spotted me, swung his G-4 and blasted my shoulder. I got up off the ground, dusted myself off quickly, recovered my rifle and rushed to cover, only to discover that he was laying motionless. Nearby lay that purse he had stolen.
I picked up the purse and was going to help El Peteo experience life in a whole new way when I noticed several well-armed people in battle suits approaching in what was clearly a military tactical pattern. Accompanying them were several people in lighter armor, probably medics. A short way off, another similar group was making its way toward the scene.
As I crawled over to the building, I saw two more bands of them heading in. This was troubling. I had to get out of there, quickly, quietly.
I guess they were still on some level of alert after yesterday's excitement, so I thought the best direction to go might be to crawl into a pile of rubble that two groups were flanking. In retrospect, it was a terrible idea, but all of them ran by at a fairly brisk pace. Keeping buildings and other objects between me and them, I put enough distance behind me to make me a believable scavenger and then sat there, in plain sight, picking through the rubble.
The aiming dot from one of their rifles centered on my chest, and I stopped, put my hands up and waited for the wary soldier to move on, which she did. That was closer than I had wanted to get.
I found a metallic box, and I hid the purse in it, hefted the whole thing and made my way back toward the more 'civilized' areas. Arriving unquestioned at sick bay, I encountered the lady who'd been accosted. At a distance, I held up her purse, and the look of relief on her face was unquestionable. Smiling, she approached, eagerly snatched her purse, turned her back to me while she looked through it frantically, relaxed her shoulders and the rest of her posture as she turned back toward me . . . and with a heavy sigh, said "Thank you."
"You didn't see anything, right?" I smiled as I asked.
"Who, me? What would I have seen? Where? I seem to have dropped my handbag, and you have so kindly returned it." She rummaged through it, this time more calmly, and held something out toward me. It was a social stim. Looking at me, she smiled and held it out further toward me.
"Here. I know it isn't a lot to offer. You saved me from another trip through the cloning vat, and who knows how much memory I would have missed this time? Please, here, I insist."
Well, how could I say no?