Moscow is situated on the banks of the Moskva River, which flows for just over 500 km through western Russia, in the centre of the East-European plain. It has 49 bridges which cross the Moskva River and its canals within city limits. Moscow's road system is centered roughly around the heart of the city, the Moscow Kremlin. From there, the roads in general radiate out to intersect with a sequence of circular roads or 'rings' focused at the Kremlin. Moscow's architecture and performing arts culture are world-renowned. Moscow is also well known as the site of Saint Basil's Cathedral, with its elegant onion domes, as well as the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the Seven Sisters. Even with the presence of such beautiful older architecture, Moscow's skyline is distinctly modern with towers and skyscrapers mingling with the spires of the cathedrals. Temperatures can vary greatly from the summer to the winter months. Winters are long and cold, often spanning 5 months of the year with below zero temperatures.
Jetfire arrives from the Skies above Russia.
James Bailey stands on top of his hovertank, which is parked in the remains of a small Russian park on Sparrow Hill, which overlooks most of the city. Nearby are a couple of small trailers, like the ones seen on construction sites...only most of these have military-grade weapons and armed Exo-Suits nearby. Next to James stand a couple of EDC techs, and they're all pointing at various buildings and areas of the city and talking to each other.
Whirligig trots on out happy as could be when Jetfire lands and before he transforms, looking energetic, ready to work, and... well... tall. Her tail's a waggin' and her wings are held high. She likes building things! And now she has the opportunity to do just that! Again!
Zooming on by is the red and white awesomeness of Jetfire. Wheee. After zipping low over the buidlings of Moscow, he spots the EDC and banks to find a suitable landing space. Apparently he doesn't take long to find one since his retrorockets slow him down to landing speeds. Once Whirligig is out of his cabin, he transforms back to his robot mode and slides the faceplate of his helmet up. "You needed help, Mister Bailey?"
James Bailey hops off of his tank and comes over to stand in front of the Autobots. "Nice to see you again, Jetfire." He looks up at Whirligig. "You must be Whirligig...hmm, didn't realize you'd be so tall." He shrugs and looks around. "But yeah! That's right, we're trying to set up a forward command center here. And to make it in any way defensible, we've really got some work ahead of us. We can use all the help we can get. The size of this city raises all kinds of interesting challenges..."
If Whirligig noticed the comment about her height, she isn't showing it... probably because /she's/ still not used to her new vantage point on the world. Shuffling a bit, she turns a full circle, mindful that her tail doesn't smack the human or something of the like. "Hmmm... big city... definitely gonna need some kind of defense unit... perhaps mount artillery at various places around the city... have a centralized control unit somewhere in a defensible location..." In all honesty, she's no tactician. But she does know building, and she does know building /well/.
Jetfire smiles. "and here is why I brought Whirligig." he then looks to her. "She got a....rather impromptu upgrade, but as you can tell....be cause of it, her processing power is climbing." He then looks to Bailey. "and I heard about General Briar. I'm Sorry....he was a good terran." He then looks around. "Centralized command center. Uhm....It'd be an idea to get it underground." He then stops. "Mister Bailey? have the Bomb teams found any sort of Decepticon bunker or anything like that?"
James Bailey is something of a tactitian, due mostly to some very high-class strategy courses offered at various military academies he's been at and in the EDC continued education program. He nods to himself, following Whirligig's line of sight to various spots around the Moscow skyline.
And then he nods more solemnly, almost reverently, to Jetfire. "I appreciate that, Jetfire." He looks down briefly, silent. Then he answers the other question. "Well...it turns out they had an extremely sophisticated underground complex integrated in the subway system already in place here. But I think we've dismantled the offensive systems, and Moscow Civil Services is already working on getting the transit tunnels back to normal. But I guess that kind of brings up an interesting point. Rather than artillery, I think we're all hoping for something with a little less...er, splash damage. Hell, it was practically a stipulation from the Russian government when they agreed to let us build here."
Whirligig perks right up, and it's almost like you can see that lightbulb popping on over top her head. "...! Underground! That's perfect! An underground bunker!" Then she considers, looking down at James. "What about something more of... well, a way to keep the Decepticons from getting close to begin with? I've got goo left over from an attack we carried out on New Crystal city a while ago... we could gum them up. Keep them from moving."
Jetfire blinkblinks. "Goo? Some substance that'll gum up the gears of the Decepticons? That works." he then Ponders. "What about long range Artillery....like missile launchers?"
James Bailey think over the goo idea, and a slow grin breaks out on his face. "Goo? Did that really work?" Apparently he hadn't realized Autobot military science could be that unconventional. EDC tech tends to be practical and effective, and he just assumed the Autobots' would be same, except maybe enhanced to the point of near-overkill. "That sounds like a great idea. Not outright damaging to the city, but it'll restricts the mobility of any invading Decepticons while responce forces converge on them."
He looks a little uneasy, but says firmly to Jetfire. "Well again, too much high explosive is going to turn parts of the city to rubble. We don't want that except as a last resort."
He points out his hovertank parked nearby. "But one other thought that I wanted to run by you...we're thinking of some way to slave some of the secondary weapons systems on the Warthogs scattered throughout the city. Basically, we want a central computer system to be able to direct their fire at an aerial target. The laser systems aren't too powerful, but they have potentially unlimited range. And if there's a dozen of them from all over the city forming a web of fire, they could catch just about anything, provided it's high enough. In particular any incoming missiles or bombs."
Astrotrain arrives from the Skies above Russia.
"It was /amazing/!" Whirligig chirps enthusiastically. "I think watching cassettes and Shockwave sinking in that stuff was amazing... and Galvatron, too!" Is she actually... wagging her tail? "I can easily make another bunch of the goo grenades. I've still got the plans." She taps the side of her helm with one finger." Stuff actually cleans up nice with a good solvent, so if any got into the city, it'd be super-easy to reclaim... and I know how to separate it so we wouldn't lose any to that sort of thing."
Spinning and shifting parts result in Astotrain's heavy locomotive form taking shape.
Jetfire just....blinks at Whirligig's dancing, then looks back to Bailey. "I don't know which is worse, seeing an engineer happy....or seeing an engineer Autobot giddy about.....explosives."
James Bailey nods approvingly. "Outstanding! I can detach a couple of the EDC weapons technicians to help you in any way you need. They're probably won't be up on the chemistry (I know I wouldn't be), but they can definately help out with launching mechanisms, guidance systems, motion tracking." He looks over at Jetfire. "Something -you- could probably really help us out with is sensors. We're gonna need a lot, we're gonna need them sophisticated, with multiple scanning modes...and we're gonna need them everywhere." He points out some of the skyscrapers and other tall buildings. "Installing heavy equipment in any kind of urban setting requires a lot of strength and mobility. Installing them thirty stories in the air? That's generally a week-long construction project - for us."
Jetfire nods quietly. "thing is....I'm not that strong, for my size I mean. I can help with the scanning equipment, and.....hmmm..." he then ponders. "I wonder if the Hovercraft can keep from getting stuck?"
A yes, with the Decepticons gone from its borders, life in Moscow can return to some semblance of normal again! With the dancing and the singing and the copious amounts of consumed vodka. Not -all- the Decepticons are gone just yet. Moscow is a big city. Really big. Think about how big it was back in World War II, and how big it would be now. And it is this sheer size that Astrotrain is trying to use to his advantage to attempt to 'slip in' for a little covert mission of his own. In North America he might look out of place, in the form of a smoking locomotive. But in Russian territory he has a better chance to fit in, where such technologies are still used even to this day. Still, the presence of rocket boosters on his back is something that would stand out under any circumstanes, so he's even hitched up a few empty cars behind him to try and help cover it up to the casual observer, relying on old technology and the ignorance of your average citizen about individual transformers.
Astrotrain is on an important mission today. When Moscow was taken so suddenly, his latest load of High Grade energon was still waiting to be shipped out. The box car containing the glowing cubes is still in Moscow's central railyard, untouched...and undiscovered. But for how long? Hence why Astrotrain has returned, looking for his precious, precious booze.
Whirligig looks like she's already getting herself right into the swing of things, plunking down on the ground with her tail straight out behind her, wings twitching as she draws things out on a datapad. She's pretty much lost to her design-work now.
Jetfire looks over to Bailey. "Well, I suppose we could get started. What about AA-laser platforms on top of the buildings?" He then listens for a bit. "Moscow is trying to get it's public transportation back up, right?"
Locomotive chugs his way into Moscow's borders, looking like yet another freight load of supplies being brought in for the human population. Things are surprisingly undisturbed in here aside from the fighting that took place, as the Decepticons had more or less ignored the human population on a whole, and so the triplechanger manages to slip through without any real trouble amongst the rest of the rail traffic. "Heh heh heh, stupid humans..." The chuckle quickly turns into a growl though. "...stupid Autobots. Stupid Americon! Freakin coulda sent out a broadband warning, I'd a hightailed it back here and turned them AUtobots back!"
A pause. "...well I'd at least have saved the stupid energon. If I find some Autobot drinkin outta that car I'm gonna....ooooh!" He almost (but not quite) forgets to follow the local laws so as to blend in best he can. A sharp blast cuts over the city from his whistle as he goes through a residential zone, passing a crossing area as a schoolbus waits patiently for him to go on by. Despite the fact he'd be just as happy to ram the bus under different circumstances.
"Nnngh. Eeeasy Astrotrain. Easy...ya can go kick a puppy or something later."
James Bailey nods to Jetfire. "Yup...they've already started on the Moscow subway system. I think the above-ground trains were okay. I think some of the Warthog pilots were using the rail lines to get their tanks around the city. Beats Moscow traffic any day." He adds casually, completely unaware of any potential hijinks that may ensue if a Warthog were to run across an unscheduled train or two...
James looks around briefly, then says, "Let me know if you need any kind of back-up with the sensors, Jetfire. In the meantime, I'm gonna look into one last idea we had."
Jetfire nods to Bailey before looking into the sensor idea and starting to work on them. "Well....if we activate the sensors, we could add some laser batteries to them. of course, they'd have a limit to how low they could fire....so it wouldn't harm the city." he says before listening to the Locomotive's whistle. "At least Moscow's getting back to normal."
Whirligig starts singing random little songs to herself. This is how she thinks. "There's antimony, arsenic, aluminum, selenium, and hydrogen and oxygen and nitrogen and rhenium, and nickel, neodymium, neptunium, germanium, and iron, americium, ruthenium, uranium..." She could've picked a less abnormal song, of course, but Whirligig never considers such things. She keeps singing as she moves stuff around with the stylus of her datapad, arranging things and basically working out a design for a more effective goo grenade launcher... smaller ones that could be stationed in various places around the city.
Locomotive pulls into the outskirts of the railway station, finding himself forced to sit back and wait for several other trains to go by. He ALMOST transforms then and there, as it would be easier to just step over the obstacles in his path, but then one of those aforementioned Warthogs rumbles by, giving him pause as no doubt the loudmouthed squishy would squeal to the others if it knew a Decepticon was in the area. "Frakkin squishies, stay on the roads, not the rails!" He snarls, though his voice is thankfully drowned out by another train rumbling past.
When he's finally clear to proceed, he chugs very slowly amongst the various freight cars and warehouses. "..now where did I park that stupid thing?" From the top of his boiler, a panel slides back, a small arm with a sensor dish extending out as it turns in a full circle, looking for energy readings. "C'moooon, where's the one that lights up like a supernova?"
A few EDC weapons techs come over to stand next to Whirligig as ordered, exchanging amused looks as they catch some of the lyrics to the song. "So, er...anything we can do?"
Meanwhile, about a mile ahead of Astrotrain, two Warthogs pull up to each other next to the tracks. Both pilots pop open their canopies so they can talk to each other in person, rather than over comm systems where they might possibly be overhead by EDC command. "So..." begins One grizzled tanker. "Any sign of that Vodka car?" The other one, who looks like he's barely out of his teens, shakes his head. "I thought I found it, but it was filled with that stupid Energon. The sensors said it's not even the kind we can use in our Exos either." The first tanker snorts. "Typical. Look for a tanker full of Vodka, all we find is some new kind of Energon. Where did they park that stupid thing?"
"I'm gonna need some metal bracers for these things. They'll need to be built like missile launchers, sort of... but what comes out won't actually hurt anybody. They'll be strictly to impede the progress of the Decepticons." Whirligig, interrupted from her music, lowers the datapad so the techs can see it... and her plans. "It'll be hard for me to work in a smaller scale now that I'm... uh... /bigger/. Do you guys think you could help me build these goo shells?"
One of the EDC techs talking to Whirligig nods enthusiasticly. "Looks like fun." The other one casts a look at Whirligig when he thinks nobody is looking, then nods and pipes up as well. "I think we can handle it...uh...this stuff isn't, you know, TOXIC, is it? To humans, I mean?"
Whirligig smiles brightly. "Nope! I've done /lots/ of chemical tests on the stuff. I guess the closest you could equate it to is... well..." She pauses. "Um... well, like silly putty. And it expands a bit on contact with air. It won't do any damage to humans. Cross my core."
Locomotive continues scanning the cars he comes across, until he actually starts to pick up an energy spike. Further down the line where outgoing shipments are stored until their engines can pick them up. Figures...always the last place you look!
And of course there are two Warthogs on the track, in his way. "Oh fer the love of..." Resisting the temptation to accelerate and introduce the two EDC tanks to his armored ram prow, the triplechanger manages to somehow squelch down his baser instincts and approach at a slow, boring, albeit legal speed towards them, chugging away as he tries his best to convey through mechanical body language that the freight hauler with the empty cars would like to get past the nice military people.
Now let's see how well these two pilots did in training when it came to studying known individual Decepticons and their known alternate forms. You know, the boring book stuff!
The EDC techs exchange looks, then shrug at each other. Good enough for them. One of them goes to a nearby trailer which serves as a Mobile Field Unit for Exo repairs. It's currently crammed full of spare parts, there should be some extra grenade launcher components. If not, there's always the unused field artillery pieces that were shipped here but haven't been set up yet. The other EDC tech disappears for a few minutes, then comes back with a cart filled with chemistry equipment cobbled together from nearby Moscow University's chemistry lab, as well as a few bits from the EDC field mess.
Meanwhile, the two EDC hovertank pilots finally notice Astrotrain approaching.
The younger one frowns, eyeing the train challengingly. He doesn't recognize it as the (in)famous Decepticon that it really is, but he figures the locals ought to show some more respect to the EDC, seeing as how they came in and liberated the city and all! Plus there hasn't been any free vodka...that's practically why he volunteered to come to Russia. But no! Nineteen days and counting, and not a drop of vodka in sight!
The grizzled, veteran tanker, on the other hand...his eyes buldge slightly at the sight. No, he doesn't recognize Astrotrain either...these are a couple of boozing grunts, not exactly the cream of the EDC. But the older tanker knows a little more about EDC command's thoughts on local populaces, a Warthog pilot's position within the EDC heirarchy, and the odds of winning an argument. He hisses quickly, "Get out of his way! You wanna get reported?! We're both supposed to be in Sector E right now!"
Both Warthogs pull out of the way to let Astrotrain pass. But after a moment, the younger one ventures, "Hey...on that last car. Was that the Russian spelling for 'Pislner'...?"
Jetfire ticks away at a Datapad. "Oh yeah, Mister Bailey. Keep an eye out for a Decepticon named AstroTrain. I've noticed there's a lot of railyards around here and he tends to thrive in this sort of atmosphere." He says as an apparent second thought....as he moves ONE Radar/laser cannon battery to the top of one roof....yup he's huge.
"No it isn't!" Astrotrain starts to respond to the human's question, but immediately shuts up a moment later. "..er I mean..*TOOOOOT!*" Yes, when in doubt, let loose a whistle blast as he starts to chug past the two tanks. It's as ingenious as Peter Griffin covering his farts up with coughs. Pure foolproof.
Still, there's a bit more urgency to his motions as he pulls away from the EDC, hopefully before any words from Jetfire get sent out across the broadband. That's right! Home free! No takebacksies!
"THERE it is!" Astrotrain calls out, finally spotting a big WHITE glow on his sensors nestled in amongst several other cars. He quickly ditches the two that he's holding, picking up a bit more speed as he rumbles in amongst the open warehouses towards his prize!
And right away, Whirligig gets right to work with the techs, murmuring and chatting with them as she shows them chemical compositions and airtight container ideas and other such things. She's too distracted to hear much anything else outside of what she's working on now.
Jetfire continues placing laser batteries in the highest buildings of Moscow, as well as sensor units, secondary sensor units....generators and stuff like that.
The EDC techs help out Whirligig eagerly. Up until now they'd been given some rather vague instructions that usually amounted to 'Set up some defenses that will work against Decepticons but won't damage the city too much. Oh yeah, and fix my Exo-Suit.' They quickly perform any tasks she assigns to them, then always come back for further handholding - er, instruction. Sometimes they even offer some suggestions based on.
The two Warthog tankers, on the other hand, seem to be a little slower on the uptake.
The younger one scrambles out of his tank and runs over to one of the abandoned train cars after Astrotrain ditches it and pulls away. Seeing crates of something, he crows in triumph, "I knew it! Look at this stuff! I don't know what it is, but there's enough to fill a jacuzzi! Good-bye, fake ID!!"
The older one grins indulgently...then slowly frowns. "Hey, wait just a second. Where's that engine heading off to in such a hurry? You think...you think it could be...the Russian -Mafia-?!" He starts to button up his Exo and powers the engines. "Kid, let's get after him!"
Locomotive has no idea that he has inadvertently given the two tankers a 'gift' that, were he smarter, he could have used to keep them busy as he made off with his prize. The key word of course being 'smart' of which the triplechanger is not.
"Ahhh there you are," he fairly coos as he pulls up in front of the freight car, fairly basking in how it's all but beaming on his electronic sensors as a massive source of energy. "Now I'll just get myself turned around, hitch up and get back to..."
And then the sound of human vehicles approaching behind him. This is where the proverbial feces has hit the rotary device, isn't it? "...now what?"
Both EDC tanks slow to a halt by Astrotrain. They're both off the tracks though, and off to one side. The pilots pop open their canopies and look out silently.
After a while, the younger one whispers loudly to the older, "What now...?"
The older one squints at Astrotrain for a bit, then clicks on the tank's external speakers. He opens his mouth to say something, then stops and clicks off the speakers. Instead he whispers back, "How do you say 'papers' in Russian...?"
"Ehdiski," The younger one offers back instantly.
"How'd you..." The vet eyes the youngster for a bit, then shakes his head. Activates the speakers again.
Of course, Whirligig is more than enthusiastic at having someone /willing/ to work with her. She's rather cheerfully going right along with the EDC techs, readily listening to their ideas and even using some of them as she starts to actually construct the first of many of the launchers that will be filled with the goop.
"Uh, uh..." Astrotrain tries to think fast. Which is an oxymoron when you think about it. What are they asking for!? What should he do!? SHould he try to talk his way out of this? He's not even equipped with a holographic projector to show a fake driver like the Autobots usually have....why wasn't something like this standard in Decepticons!?
Oh yeah, cause they generally had no desire to blend in. Lost without any options, his frame suddenly shifts, then lifts upwards as he transforms, suddenly towering over the two EDC hovertanks. A moment of silence is followed by...
"...LOOK OVER THERE!" He suddenly points in the opposite direction of where they're facing. And then? Then he proceeds to kick out with one enormous boot at the nearest tank, using his not inconsiderable strength to give it a good kick and send it flipping onto it's roof! Don't worry about the pilot, folks. If GI Joe taught us anything, it's that lots of vehicles get destroyed in war, but no one ever gets hurt!
In a chorus of shifting and spinning parts, Astrotrain's body spins and lifts up into his large robot mode.
The EDC techs continue to work with Whirligig, and together the pair starts to construct the next launcher, although they still stop to help out Whirligig on hers anytime she asks for it. Slowly the two launchers start to take shape...the one the EDC techs have produced has a vaguely unfinished look, and it's clear it's been cobbled together from various other pieces.
The veteran Warthog driver is physically knocked off of his tank as Astotrain kicks it over...but while it rolls once, before it can touch the ground the various drive units fire in computer-controlled bursts, flipping the tank over again so that ends up righted again, hovering in the air on the other side of the railyard, bobbing up and down a bit like a car with bad shocks. From inside the tank, a faint female voice says, "Stabalization successful."
The older tanker meanwhile, scramble aboard the other tank. The rookie immediately fires up his own tank's engines and sends it back to hover next to the first tank, both on the opposite side of the railyard from Astrotrain. Both EDCers watch hesitantly, unsure what's going to happen next...
Astrotrain seems satisfied that the two tankers are holding off for now. Maybe they're totally intimidated by his huge mechly physique! Maybe they know that Astrotrain is one of the stronger Decepticons! Maybe they're still a little in shock and figuring out what to do next. Or maybe they're busy calling for help.
"...oh slaggit." Astrotrain grunts at that, realizing that the gig, as they say...is up. And without further ado he turns and opens up his chestplate, ripping the roof off the rail car and starting to stuff miniaturized high yield energon cubes into his cargo space as fast as he can, looking like Oprah bent over a buffet table wolfing down the contents.
The two EDC tankers look at each other. The older one takes the opportunity to get back onto his own Warthog...and promptly buckles himself in tightly this time. Both Warthog pilots stare at Astrotrain. The vet slowly enters a few commands onto his tank's computer systems. After a while it responds. "Target: Decepticon Astrotrain," he reads out loud. "Threat rating...Class Eight." He looks up. "Aw, crap."
The younger pilot sits frozen at his controls. This is the first time he's ever seen a real live Decepticon and not some simulator facsimile. And he had no idea they were so BIG.
Jetfire casually listens to the comm chatter from the EDC until he gets one about a strange transforming train in the railyards....transforming. Slag..... He sets the sensor nodes and laser batteries down, then turns, rockets into the air and transforms.....heading FOR the railyards!
Leaping into the air, Jetfire transforms into his Advanced fighter mode.
Astrotrain finishes stuffing the last of the cubes that he can into his chestplate. There's still some left in the railcar, but he's managed to take a good portion of his 'stash' so he can try to save it. Now as long as he can avoid any sorts of hull breaches to the explosive contents of his internals that have effectively turned him into a walking bomb.
"So long, suckers!" He states, even tossing a half-snide wave towards the two humans, before he abruptly leaps up into the air to fly away!
And promptly lands face-down again a city block away, crashing to the ground in an open part of the railyard. His confusion quickly gives way to realization of what just happened.
"...they're ENERGON cubes! How can they possibly weigh that much!?" A glare is shot towards the two NPC hovertanks. "You pusbags better not be laughin!"
The two EDC Exo-Gumbies watch Astrotrain's antics in confusion. After a while, the rookie unfreezes enough to say, "Should we...go after him?" "Kid, our top speed's around 60 mph. Our -top- speed. That thing could probably walk faster than us." "So...call it in?" "According to the comm net...there's already reports of a Decepticon sighting in this area. No, kid...we were never here, and this never happened."
"It never happened...trust me on this, kid. Better for everyone."
Whirligig glances up considering that... /something/ is going on, but she apparently is missing it. Finally, she just shrugs and goes back to work, occasionally helping the EDC techs with their work before going back to her own, and as soon as she's done with one goobomb launcher, she moves right on to another.
Just as the vet stops talking.....ZOOM!....another transformer screams over his head (way overhead).....and flys in the direction the smoke trails....only to transform and find Astrotrain nose down in the railyard. "Did it again, didja?"
Jetfire slows down to a 'reasonable' speed or lands, and transforms into his robot mode.
Astrotrain picks himself up after a moment, grumbling as he sits upright and has to open his chestplate again to lighten the load a bit. He's just closing the panels on his chest once more when Jetfire lands, as the triplechanger is standing up. "...aw slaggit. Two squishies is bad enough but then along had to come Starscream's bosom buddy! Ain't you got some science-type thing to go angst and emo over!?"
Jetfire shakes his head and draws out his rifle. "and you're usually sneaking into places where you're not supposed to be. Don't you have other energon to pick up? do you HAVE to do it in Russia?"
"It is when it was mine to begin wi..." Astrotrain pauses in mid sentence, blinking to himself. "...wait why am I even explainin it to you! I'm takin this and I'm leavin and that's that! You gonna stop me, pretty boy!?" As Jetfire draws his rifle, the triplechanger does the same, almost as if he's -relishing- the chance at a proper scrap, though the way he keeps looking around at the area suggests he's aware that this isn't the best place to do so. Moscow isn't 'friendly' territory anymore.
Jetfire just....chuckles at Astrotrain. "yeah. Astrotrain, you're in a very tough spot here. Shoot at me, and you risk hitting your....stash." he says chuckling lightly. "Or...you can put that thing away......and we talk about this. I don't imagine Galvatron's been giving you a break lately."
"Or option three, I shoot yer face off and get outta here anyway!" Astrotrain rumbles for good measure, but then pauses as he peers off into the distance. "Yer lucky that yer surrounded by yer pet squishies and their tinkertoys, or I'd do just that! As for now, I'm outta here!" Having considerably lightened his load, he takes to the air again, this time managing liftoff as he starts to rise into the air, arms thrust ahead of him superman-style like so many other Decepticons in flight.
Jetfire turns and starts to shoot at Astrotrain. Yup....he's not getting outta here THAT easily!
Jetfire misses Astrotrain with its Pistol attack.
Astrotrain pauses in mid-air as several shots streak past into the air, turning and shaking his fist for good measure back at Jetfire. A moment later, he transforms, rocket thrusters igniting powerfully as his wings spread out and he blazes a path into the sky like a shooting star. "I'll dance with ya proper next time, Jetfire! Then we'll see who the rela mech is!"
Parts spin, components shift and Astrotrain's body grows in size until he is an enormous space shuttle.
Astrotrain retreats from the area swiftly, outdistancing all pursuit and parting shots.
Astrotrain takes flight to the Skies above Russia.
Astrotrain has left.
By the way, Whirligig is pretty much done with the goo grenades. Now she's working on... what is that? A radio jamming system of some sort? She's speaking quietly with the EDC techs occasionally over this little gizmo.
Jetfire flys back to where Whirligig is and returns to placing sensors and laser batteries on the tops of buildings.
James Bailey comes over to check up on Whirligig (or more accurately, the techs that were assigned to help her). He raises his eyebrows, impressed that the goo grenades seem to be going so well. "Jamming?" He says, catching the end bit. "Well...that's kind of interesting. But you know, that might work havok on our own forces too. This is a big city, and we're probably gonna need highly effective communications systems. Especially with mixed Autobots and EDC combat units in the same area, and who knows what radio frequencies they're each using." He points a thumb back in the direction of one of the EDC construction trailers. "I was looking up that whole goo thing...the reports say the Depthcharge was involved in that too. Have you got access to any of his work? Particularly the forcefield technology he uses?"
Whirligig lifts her head slightly. "Afraid I don't have access to it," she admits sheepishly. "The jamming tech is only good if we use it right. If the right mechs /use/ it... it'd give us an advantage." She pauses, then looks down at what she's working on. "It'd be nice if we had his forcefield tech... but honestly, I haven't seen DC in a long while..."
Jetfire ponders something. "I suppose we could come up with some force field tech, but I doubt we'll be able to get anything working before this battle's over."
You say, "Maybe we can keep it in mind. In the meantime..." he grins at Whirligig. "Radio jamming is looking more like a winner. And while I was in there, I also tried to activate the new air defense system I was talking about - the one where various lasers are centrally controlled to perform anti-artillery and anti-missile defense? I think we're ready to give it a shot." He glances at Jetfire again. "Maybe you'd be willing to help me with a little field test?"
Jetfire nods quietly. "all right. I should warn you...I'm pretty quick."
"Well, the goo grenades are pretty much done," Whirligig points out, lifting her head a bit. "I'm gonna figure out where to mount them and then leave the techs with the jamming device for now. Where'll the central control area be?"
James Bailey heads for his Warthog. "Well...in this case, we're more interested in how quick your missiles are, Jetfire." He climbs aboard and starts up the systems, causing the tank to lift a few feet off the ground. "I think it's gonna be somewhere right here. But we might try to have a few redudant control areas in other spots in the city."
Exo-Tank Hermes Class <James Bailey> unfolds each pod under itself forming arms and legs, the nose folds down revealing a head which flashes its lone optic.
Jetfire tilts his head. "you really want me to missile one of the defenses?"
Exo-Tank Hermes Class <James Bailey> Robot marches out into a wide, soccer-field sized field on the edge of the Moscow University campus, dotted with nothing but trees. The Warthog's external emitters click on as he goes. "No...I want you to missile my Warthog. From high altitude...one klick, at least. If our 'slave defensive fire' system is working right, about a dozen lasers from around the city should open fire and catch the missile in mid-air."
Jetfire nods quietly. "all right. and away I go." he says before doing just that....zoom.
Broadcast has arrived.
Whirligig kicks herself into the air almost immediately after she speaks, moving to fix googrenade launchers to strategic locations around the city. Her jetpack keeps her aloft, propellers scooting her about. She calibrates each one to a remote control unit she'd been building for something else entirely... to be placed in the central control unit.
Over an imaginary train track a bullet train emerges inside Moscow, Russia. It's pulling a boxcar full of something too. It's chugging along rather quickly too.
Exo-Tank Hermes Class <James Bailey> folds each pod under itself and unfolds to lay down forming its hovertank mode.
You paged Jetfire with 'Yup.'
James Bailey transmits a quick warning to the other Warthogs within the city limits to let them know what's coming...
the Fighter zooms out to a safe distance before slow looping around......then as the sonic boom flys over Moscow....coming in right behind it is a missile....screaming straight for the tank.
Jetfire strikes you with missile for 17 points of damage.
The bullet trains clammers and spins out of control as Jetfire attacks an EDC pilot! "What the Aerosmith?" The boxcar slamms into the back of the bullet train and all the MREs inside fly out.
As the missile approaches, lasers pulse into the sky from different points all over the city, as the computerized missile defense system directs the fire of any available Warthogs to form a web of lasers. Unfortunately, two of the lasers come from nearly the same location (specifically, the Moscow central railyards area) rather than from strategic locations in Sector E of the city...as a result, the computer's carefully calculated pattern of web fire leaves a gaping hole through which the missile streaks, blasting James' tank and nearly flipping it onto it's side!
James is jostled around a bit until his tank stops rocking. He quickly barks out over the broadband, "I'm okay! I'm okay..." Then he glances at the nearest computer console, "We're okay, right?" He says quietly inside of the tank. Finally he gets on the radio with the EDC's central control techs, trying to work out what happened. "Uh...I think we understand what happened that time," he reports. "A couple of Warthogs were out of place...for some reason. Want to give it one more shot, Jetifre?"
Jetfire pulls away again. << I really don't feel comfortable with this, Bailey. I mean....shooting at you guys?>> He says before sighing....turning and firing off another shot.
You evade Jetfire's Missile attack.
This time, the system works perfectly...since all of the Warthogs are in their reported position, the web of lasers works, forming a tightly woven grid of beams directly in front of the missile's flight path. Although it's still not a certain thing, the odds of intercepting the missile are thus increased greatly...and ineed, one of the beams intersects the missile to cause it to detonate in mid-air.
James smiles broadly as a few fragments rain down on his tank's exterior. "I think we're in business!"
Exo-Tank Hermes Class <James Bailey> unfolds each pod under itself forming arms and legs, the nose folds down revealing a head which flashes its lone optic.
Exo-Tank Hermes Class <James Bailey> Robot turns to orient it's sensors on one of the goo guns that Whirligig has finished installing. The external emitters clock on and James' voice booms out, "You know...since I'm already going to have to do some work on this thing, why don't we just try and test out the other defense systems while we're here?"
Jetfire flys lower and starts to land.....transforming before he lands and lands on his feet.
Jetfire slows down to a 'reasonable' speed or lands, and transforms into his robot mode.
"Just don't fire them at me!" Whirligig calls back. "Staying aloft is a good thing! I sort of tend to think PK would bring me back to life just to kill me if I got hurt again!" She makes a few minor adjustments. "Okay... gonna fire a test round!"
Finally the bullet train transforms into Broadcast. His optics look over his damaged boxcar and the MREs. "NOoooooooOooooooo! All those foods are going to go bad!"
A bare few seconds after Whirligig triggers the device, one of the launchers lets loose what appears to be a funny looking little ball right at the Hermes. It sails along, sails along, sails along... and when it clinks to a stop finally, it doesn't so much burst as it "pops," releasing a payload of sticky goop that seems to expand a bit as it touches the open air.
Exo-Tank Hermes Class <James Bailey> Robot takes a few steps back as the goop covers it. At first it manages to keep moving, but it quickly gets immobilized completely by the goop. It struggles a little, but is clearly stuck and won't be doing much of anything else for the next few seconds - more than long enough for someone to take a few cheap shots at it.
Moments later, one of the laser batteries Jetfire added to the sensor dish on top of the Moscow University tower does just that! It fires a blazing ruby beam that burns a hole through the goop and into the shoulder armor of the modified Warthog. <<Hey!>> James shouts over the radio. <<What was that?!?>>
<<Sorry, sir>>, one of the EDC techs from central control transmits back, sheepishly. <<Thought we'd give Jetfire's system a test too.>>
From Exo-Armor Hermes Class <James Bailey> Tank, James scowls and grumbles about over-eager weapons techs.
"Yahoo!" Whirligig crows happily, pumping her fists in the air as she kicks out her ankle-less legs. "They work!" She's leaning back in mid-air, looking positively thrilled. "Haha, we rock /so/ hard!"
Jetfire chuckles at Whirligig and catches her in mid-air.....then pushes her back onto her feet.
Broadcast cleans up what he can from the MREs. "I am in Russia... And I not see Moose nor Squirrel. Dammit!"
Exo-Tank Hermes Class <James Bailey> Robot struggles a bit more in the goop, then finally shudders one last time and is still. After a second the canopy opens slightly, even though it isn't supposed to be used in the Warthog's simulated robot mode except for an emergency ejection.
James pries open the canopy a little further, then drops down a tiny ladder and climbs out, careful not to get himself caught in goop as well. He has to swing fack and forth a little bit as he gets to the bottom, time it and then jump off.
Jetfire looks to James. 'well.....looks like everything's running smoothly, Bailey."
James Bailey stands up and dusts himself off. He casts a worried look back at his Exo, still trapped in the goop. "So...this stuff is going to what, wear off? Dissolve over time?" He looks over at Whirligig hopefully. "Or do I need to apply that solvent you were talking about." At the same time he makes a mental note, next time perform all field tests with a -spare- Exo.
"You'll need the solvent, but I've got some right here," replies the bulky engineer femme. Whirligig digs about in subspace for a moment before offering the necessary stuff. "Here we are."
James Bailey takes the solvent with a murmured thanks, then smirks slightly. He touches a small earpiece, activating the transmitter there. "Jenkins?" He says, calling the tech who shot his tank earlier. "Got a little job for you..."
He walks over to the control center, then looks around again. "Okay I think it's safe to say we've now got a working sensor grid, radio jamming, laser batteries and coordinated fire for missile defense good-old-fashioned offense...and a little surprise in case any invaders get into the city anyway." He ticks off each item on his fingers as he talks. "The next thing I can think - at least the only thing we can reasonably tackle tonight - is reinforcing the construction here around the command post, and also in the redundant control centers. All these defensive measures won't do any good if a surgical strike can take out command and control in one shot."
Jetfire chuckles. "That's why we mentioned an underground base. Ya should have a series of redundant bases as well....just in case."
Whirligig gives a cheerful thumbs up. "Then let's do this thing! The quicker we get done, the quicker things'll be totally ready and set."
James Bailey shrugs. "You're absolutely right, establishing a command center underground would be a make it tougher nut to crack...but in some ways our hands are tied here. The EDC has to think that someday this war is going to be over, and the people of Moscow will be able to go back to their normal lives. It's gonna take them long enough just to get their subway system back to normal." He looks around, "Not to mention all the other little 'modifications' the Decepticons made. We can't justify adding to that by putting more in here." He gestures at the EDC trailers and the Mobile Field Unit. "That's why our command post is such a mobile, temporary structure. And why we set up in parks and open areas like this. We can pick up the whole operation and move it out with minimum long-term effects to the city. And if the Decepticons try to attack, at least that'll limit the collateral damage somewhat."
He nods to Whirligig. "Right...well, we've got stacks and stacks of armor plating in the supply area of the MFU." He grins up at Broadcast. "This is where we could really use a set of strong servos."
Jetfire smiles. "well...even when the war is over....we can turn it over to the Russians to do with as they will. weapons removed of course."
As soon as she knows where things are, Whirligig trots over to look into what she has available. She's already got a datapad out and is drawing up plans.
James Bailey squints up at Whirligig's datapad, although he can only catch a few flashes of it as she walks. "Uh...I was thinking along the same lines." He offers, although odds are that wasn't the case. "We've got enough armor plating here to cover the mobile vehicles we brought, including the ones currently at other positions." He frowns at the Mobile Field Unit. "We're gonna have some more shipped in if we want to keep the MFU stocked though. There's enough techs here to handle most field repair jobs for the Exo-Suits."
Whirligig plunks down with the techs she'd been chatting with before. "Okay, guys. We have very little time... are we ready to do this thing?" She smiles cheerfully at James. "That sounds good. I think we can do a really good thing here."
Jetfire simply stands back and watches.
The Large white NASA shuttle could be seen in the sky, banking over the area, before making another pass. It seemed to be staying rather high in the skies, most likely scanning for any hostile activity about the area.
EDC Forward Command Center
With the aid of the Autobots, the EDC has established a defense system for their forward command here in Moscow. It's clear that the EDC's main objective was to establish strong defenses - even at the expense of pure offensive capability - that did not require further demolition of city itself, either in consruction or through collateral damage caused during an attack.
The command vehicles and prefab buildings of the EDC command post have been moved to a large field next to Moscow University (itself situated on a hill overlooking most of the city). Next to them is a Mobile Field Unit capable of basic repairs of vehicles and Exo-Suits. Each structure is heavily armored, and a pair of redundant control vehicles are stationed at other parts of the campus to prevent a surgical strike from taking out the entire system.
Other, less obvious additions include a series of sensor emplacements and laser batteries placed by Jetfire at the tops of skyscrapers and towers around the city, launchers capable of lobbing Whirligig's goo-grenades at invaders anywhere in the city, and a communications jamming system also of Whirligig's design.
The command center actually consists of seperate rooms and trailers filled with communications equipment, computer systems, or other military control systems. From terminals in any of the building, an authorized operator can trigger the goo grenades, check sensors, or activate Whirligig's jammer.
EDC techs also helped install and test computer protocols to control the laser fire from the skyscraper-mounted batteries and any of the Warthog tanks within city limits. Available lasers can be directed in unison by the fire control computer both for missile/bomb defense and to coordinate fire on invaders.