#Traveler'sGorge – August 13, 2020

With the gear packed into the bag and a ladder retrieved from the storage building with the rolling shutters across the street, the pair make their way onto the single story building. Up here one is given a better look at their makeshift engineering. The roof of the old prefab has been reinforced with a span of metal plating upon which the mast has been erected. Beams and girders are welded together and bolted to the plating, reaching a good

six stories high or so in order to give the height needed to the dish that's mounted above a small platform near the top. Thick cords snake through an opening in the roof and slither their way up the mast, weaving between the girders during their journey, tied down and wrapped around the structure wherever possible to help keep them in place. Four sturdy, metal cables- attached to thick, metal rings that are welded in place- stretch out from

the four corners of the rooftop, reaching nearly 2/3rds of the way up the structure and keeping it anchored in place in the face of harsh winds.

Kirill has just finished locking his harness into place and is taking his time testing it, giving it a few firm tugs. The harnesses secure around the waste and extend down the front and back of the legs, looping around the upper thighs. A few anchor points in the form of d-rings are present along the belt line. "You ever wear one of these?" he asks, gaze turned down to his own harness as he gets to work on tying a short length of rope to to

one of his rings. Judging by the way he goes about it, it's clear this isn't his first time.

Yan Sun has been increasingly distracted with staring up the comm tower after they retrieved the gear and, particularly, after climbing onto the roof. It looks taller up close. Kirill's question causes her to tear her gaze away, looking first to him and then to the harness that's still in her hands. "Uhm... nope. Can't say that I have." she admits with a slightly nervous half-laugh. Seeming to realize that maybe it's time to put the thing

on, starting to do just that. How hard can it be?

Kirill shoots Yan Sun a brief glance, restrained smile spreading across his features before turning his focus back to his own harness. "You-... uhh-..." he begins, looping the rope around intself and pulling it taught in a sturdy-looking knot. "...wanna make sure it's good and tight around the waist." he explains, tucking his thumb into the belt line of the harness and plucking at it to show the lack of give as he shoots another look to the

woman at his side. "You can give your legs a little more give. Don't wanna go cuttin' off the circulation or anything."

Yan Sun glances towards Kirill again and nods a couple of times too many as she returns her attention to the harness, eyebrows furrowing a little in concentration as she fights a stubborn waist-strap, accidentally tightening it too much after getting past the point where it got stuck, grimacing a little as she hurries to bring it back just slightly. It takes a little bit of fiddling, but soon enough she's set up, tugging a little at the leg

straps and nodding to herself. Hell yeah! She's got this!

Kirill takes a knee beside the duffelbag and begins to rustle through it for a moment before removing a second length of rope similar to the one he just tied to his harness as well as a pair of carabiners that he tucks into the pocket of his thick winter jacket. He slips his arm through the duffelbags strap, lifting it with him as he rises to his feet. Rather than embarrass the woman by asking a question he's fairly sure that he already knows

the answer to regarding whether or not she can tie a proper knot for the situation, he merely steps towards her, lifting the rope in a silent offer to tie it to her harness for her.

Yan Sun is quick to nod when she notices Kirill approach with the rope - she'd already been considering whether to ask for help or not, and the offer being made unprompted makes it an easy choices. "This... might be a bit out of my wheelhouse." she admits with a slightly embarrassed snicker, moving her arm out of the way.

Kirill gives a small, unassuming snicker of his own as he gets to work repeating the process for Yan Sun's harness as he did for his own, looping the short length of rope- no more than a couple feet- through the ring on the waist of her harness. He gives the rope a couple of tugs to test the strength of the knot until he's satisfied. "That should do it." he huffs through a breath that quickly turns to steam in the frigid cold. But he doesn't

step away immediately. Instead, he removes one of the carabiners from his pocket and begins tying it to the other end of Yan Sun's rope. They're a sturdy sort, if a bit banged up from plenty of use. Thick, metal devices with a spring-loaded gate to ensure it stays closed and a small switch is embedded into the gate. "You're gonna wanna make sure this is on anytime you hook yourself up." he explains. He removes the other carabiner from

his pocket, holding it near Yan Sun's as he thumbs the switch on hers. It immediately pulls the carabiner from his hand, the powerful magnet within doing its work. "Just a bit of added precaution. Can get a little windy up there." he continues, meeting her eyes once more to ensure she understands. With another thumb of the button, the second carabiner drops back into the palm of his hand and he steps back to attach it to his rigging.

Yan Sun nods a couple of times, paying close attention - she'd rather not add any more falls to her list if she can help it. It's not exactly as high-tech as some of the tools her more agile friends in the Little Dragons utilized, but it seems straightforward and reliable enough. "Got it." she confirms.

Kirill draws in a breath as he finishes with his carabiner. "All right then." he says, turning his gaze back to Yan Sun once more, that kind smile of his ever-present when he gives her an encouraging pat on the shoulder. "Let's get to work." He adjusts the duffelbag strap over his shoulder as he approaches the large structure. Given the nature of the structure, the girders offer plenty of handholds. He raises a boot onto one of the many bars

that comprise the makeshift mast and begins the process of hoisting himself up, using the bars of the girder like rungs on a ladder. After climbing a few 'rungs', he holds himself steady with his left hand while reaching up with his right, carabiner in hand. He uses the carabiner to tap against a metal bar a few times to get Yan Sun's attention, the sound reverberating through the structure, and then latches it onto one of the bars.

With a flick of his thumb, the metal device magnetizes to the structure, offering him a firm safety line should he lose his footing. "Slow and steady." he says, attempting a quick crash course for the nervous woman while they're still at ground level and no real damage can be done.

Yan Sun approaches the tower after Kirill, watching him get started on his climb while hesitating at the bottom, eyeing the comm tower. It's not fear that keeps her grounded so much as just not quite knowing how to approach this. She's only ever climbed one structure like this, and that was of professional make, with a service ladder. She grabs a bar and frowns at it for a moment before resolving to study Kirill's technique briefly before

doing her best to replicate it, a determined look on her face. A questionable sense of balance and non-existant upper body strength does not make for a proficent climber, so it's slow and awkward going, and it takes a while before she's even high enough that she deems it worthwhile to affix the carabiner.

If Yan Sun is still scanning, she'd see that there doesn't seem to be any faults with the many cords that snake up the mast. Those that carry power seem to be doing so without issue and others seem to have a firm connection for outbound traffic. The continued lack of any inbound signal means the issue is further up the mast.

Kirill is quick to adjust and move at Yan Sun's pace and, if her speed is bothering him, he certainly doesn't show it. One boot up. Grab a handhold. Unlatch the carabiner. Rehook the carabiner higher up. Other boot up. Grab a handhold. Given the non-uniform design, it's hard to get into a real rhythm. Crude welds and after-the-fact repairs sometimes block handholds, but it's not a particularly treacherous climb by any means. It just requires

a bit of lateral movement at times to find fresh handholds.

Yan Sun 's hopes that the problem might be at the base of the tower are quickly dashed, but she carries on, stopping every now and then to shift her attention from the climb to the wiring running up the mast. The climbing is taking enough of her focus that she's remaining entirely silent as they proceed higher. On her first step after moving the carabiner yet again her left foot slips on an icy bit of metal, and she winces as her leg slams

into one of the bars. She thankfully maintains her grip otherwise, but she lets go with one of her hands to rub her leg as she grimaces and lets out a whine of "Owww..."

The higher they get, the more each gust of wind can be felt every time it blows through the gorge. At times it almost feels like the entire structure is swaying when a particularly strong wind comes through which causes a gentle cacophony of chimes from below. Above, the small platform near the top is growing ever closer. Given that the mast gets narrower the higher up they go, the platform is a small length of steel no bigger than about 4 feet

long by two feet wide. Steel joists run along the underside of it and a number of braces maintain the weight of the structure, welded to the mast beneath the walkway. Thankfully, someone seemed to have the foresight to install a makeshift handrail along the outer edge of the platform.

Kirill has let Yan Sun pass him by, deciding it's best for him to remain a step behind if she's going to be setting the pace. The sudden jolt that's sent reverberating through the tower due to Yan Sun's misstep causes a pang of adrenaline to shoot through the older man's body and he instinctually tightens his grip, one hand reaching out as if preparing to support the woman above him should her grip- and harness- falter. But as she seems to

regain her composure he lets a long, deep breath out, swallowing the bout of nerves that seeped in. "You alright...?" he asks, having to raise his voice a bit to be heard over the wind and the groaning of the structure.

Yan Sun soon returns her hand, and foot, to the mast, nodding several times. "I'm fine! I'm fine." she says, taking a moment to steady herself. The jolt of pain had overriden any fear of falling, and she soon continues. As they get higher, however, her climbing gets slower, the wind and the swaying enough to make her uneasy, grip tight as she makes slow progress. She's stopped near the platform, with no idea how to actually get onto it and a

major reluctance to let go of her secure grip. She looks down towards Kirill to ask for guidance, but the realization of how high up they are - not much of a problem in itself, she's used to being much higher up - combined with the sudden awareness that she's clinging to the side of a flimsy comm tower sidetracks her and makes her freeze. "Haah...youknowwhat, this actually sucks!" she exclaims with a grimace, clinging tighter to the

mast as another wind catches them. The hair that isn't held in place by her beanie whips in her face as she looks down, looking not-so-happy.

Kirill is quick to shout back a supportive, "You're doin' great!" as he steadies himself beneath her. He remains in place, a shallow snort escaping him at her seemingly sudden realization. But as the moments linger and it seems to become more and more clear to him that Yan Sun doesn't seem to know how to proceed, he calls out once more. "You-... uhh-... need a hand...?" he calls up, one arm looped around a beam as he waits patiently.

Yan Sun gives a couple of sharp nods, expression remaining fixed in a grimace and her arms wrapped firmly around the beam she stopped at.

Kirill quickly snaps off a nod of his own in response. It takes him a moment before realizing Yan Sun probably didn't catch that, prompting him to speak up. "You just hold on." he calls up to her. He checks his footing, shifting in place for a moment before starting to maneuver laterally, passing beneath the platform to approach it from the side opposite of Yan Sun. The whole structure groans- and Kirill in turn- as the rather large man

hoists himself up onto the platform and each step he takes seems to reverberate through the steel girders. He quickly hooks his carabiner onto the handrail at Yan Sun's end of the platform and takes a knee for stability, reaching out to offer an arm to the woman clung to the side of mast. "We'll do it slowly, alright? Go ahead and take my hand and-... and just inch your way on over."

Yan Sun manages to tear her gaze away from the ground, turning her focus inward towards the various metal bars that make up the mast instead, waiting in silence for Kirill to get up. When he speaks again she looks up, nodding a few times and flashing a grateful smile as she peels one arm away from the beam, hand seeking out the offered arm instead. Only once she feels confident that the grip is secure does she start to awkwardly crawl onto

the platform. It's far from graceful, but that's not really her main concern at the moment.

Kirill helps to inch Yan Sun onto the platform with an instruction of, "Eyes on me, Yan." in hope of keeping her from focusing on the ground far below. Once she's safely on the platform he takes it upon himself to hook her carabiner onto the railing. He draws in a deep breath, hands pressing against the thighs of his pants as he slowly rises to his feet once more. "Hardest part is out of the way." he assures, resting a hand against the

railing as he catches his breath from the climb.

From this high up the entire compound is visible aside from the parts outside of the mouth of the gorge that are concealed by the sheer rock walls. People scurry about down below. Smoke rises from a fire amongst the tents that a few people are seated around. The swaying of the tower seems much more gentle with solid ground underfoot, but it can still be felt everytime the wind whistles through. The overhead view gives a clear view of the

gorge's layout. Further into the gorge, the road that runs through it separates once again to form a square around a clearing in which a singular statue stands. It's hard to tell, but it looks as if the statue is missing its head. Beyond that clearing another wall- much like the one Yan Sun and Jessica arrived through- stands to seal off the rest of the canyon.

Yan Sun lets out a relieved breath once she's on a solid-ish surface, not even trying to stand up, but rather just letting herself fall into a sitting position. She offers a quiet "Thanks...", a little bit of embarrassment mixing with the relief. She slowly relaxes as she looks out across the Gorge, putting the thought that they're going to have to get down too out of her mind for the moment. "I've, uh... I've only really climbed one tower

like this before, and that one had a service ladder." she explains with an out-of-breath snicker. Her eyebrows furrow as she adds: "Didn't keep me from losing my footing on the way down..."

Kirill casts a glance Yan Sun's way as she begins to speak, brow furrowing as she mentions the service ladder. "Knew we forgot somethin'." he jokes in response. Her addition causes his shoulders to rattle and he offers a small, exasperated shake of his head. "Ya know, for someone who doesn't seem all that fond of heights, it sure sounds like you manage to find yourself dealin' with 'em a lot." he muses.

Yan Sun frowns. "I'm fine with heights!" she protests a little defensively. "I'd just rather not fall to my death..." she adds in a mutter, echoing protests she's given all too many times before. "I tried to learn to be good at this stuff, you know. I hav-... had some friends that have no issue climbing over whatever without any support." she comments, getting stuck on the tense for a moment. "Figured they could teach me. Didn't go great.

Maybe I'm just not built for this stuff." she admits with a snicker. She'd wanted to keep up. With Changying. She'd driven her to challenge herself. Jessica was too, in other ways. This whole trip was a testament to that. Everyday life to most of the people here, maybe, but it was new and challenging to her. Rewarding too, though. A hint of a smile tugs at the corner of her mouth, unexplained, as she continues to look out at the

prefabs dotting the ground below, and the wall marking the edge of the outpost.

Kirill lifts his hands, palms outward as if in lighthearted surrender at Yan Sun's sudden protest. Her muttered addition garners a snicker and he turns his gaze out over the compound, leaning a bit heavier against the railing without much worry. And why should he worry? His people built it. They trust him with their lives. The least he can do is give them that same level of trust. That kind smile remains on his face as he listens, and he

gives a soft nod as Yan Sun finishes speaking. "Not everyone is." he says without an ounce of judgement in his tone. Truth be told, he isn't exactly ecstatic about being up here either. But given Yan Sun's obvious apprehension, it seemed like it was probably in both of their best interests if he kept that little fact to himself. "Just like I ain't built for-..." he casts a glance back over his shoulder to the electrical box mounted

behind them, thrusting a thumb in its general direction before settling back against the railing, "...tinkerin' with any of that. Suppose we've all got our callings. Out here ya just gotta... make due however ya can." There's a certain calmness to the way he speaks that betrays the fact that they're on a rickety makeshift structure six stories above the ground. And, despite the fact that he undoubtedly has plenty of duties awaiting

him around the gorge, he doesn't seem to be in any rush. Things will get done when they get done.

Yan Sun snickers slightly and nods. "Well, at least this should be something I know how to deal with." she says, carefully getting to her feet with a quiet grunt, keeping a grip of the railing as she looks around for any sign of the fault, her cybernetic eye still supplying enhanced vision. May as well get to work now that she's caught her breath. She doesn't quite operate on the same leisurely pace as Kirill.

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