============================= Rumors =============================
Message: 8/1 Posted Author News from Moscow Sun May 11 Anonymous
News from Moscow is both detailed and constant. Citizens are able to go about their lives without serious issue, as the Decepticons have neither the will or the means to adequately blockade an entire city from human entry or exit. People are able to contact each other inside or outside of Moscow easily through phones or Internet. Decepticon patrols are centered around preventing sentient or military vehicles, ie Autobots or EDC troopers, from getting in.
The Decepticons largely ignore the human citizens so long as they stay out of the way. Regardless, many of the citizens have evacuated for their own safety. The Decepticons, and the Constructicons specifically, have been busy working in various parts of the city, and what they are working on remains one of the few things the Decepticons are actively guarding, ensuring that no citizen is able to get too close to really see what's going on. Some smaller buildings and many cars have been cannibalized or dismantled by the Constructicons, though for what purpose is unknown.
OOC: Scrapper & Hook.
Nightbeat goes to investigate...
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.
Hook says, We'll need to ship in some supplies to build in Tunguska, it's a wasteland. We could rip down some steel skyscrapers here in Moscow, and fly the raw materials out to Tunguska."
Scrapper, for his part, is in the heart of Moscow. The outer suburbs are all but vacant of Decepticons other than those going on the odd patrol or heading out to do some exploring such as our buddy Onslaught. Long range scans will show Decepticon seekers performing flybys over Moscow, making traveling inwards riskier and riskier the deeper in one goes. Ambulances are not high on the priority list of the Decepticons, and so Onslaught is First Aid's biggest threat at the moment.
The Decepticon soldiers who have surrounded the garage have been standing outside it since they recieved the order, looking between one of the other and shrugging at the weird orders of superior officers. One of them, however, sees the ambulance sliding down the ramp of the garage's rear entrance and takes off after it. The soldier is frustrated quickly, however, as First Aid disappears between them. He activates his communications system and quickly summarizes the situation for the rest and Onslaught. The Combaticon Commander considers for a moment and then speaks. "He's most likely gone to ground so we'll need to flush him out. Deploy the sonic emitters and, this time, deactivate your auditory recievers before activation."
First Aid checks the grounds before he steps out and transforms back down, now just a plain ol' 1980s Toyota van whom has seen better days drives along the road very casually. Making note of the humans as he passes by. Maybe they are ok-- maybe, there are none whom are enslaved and everything is just fine-- so would that mean the decepticons were not as brutal.. as he thought they were?
As First Aid drives along he notes the high decepticon activity forming, which sets him slight at unease and nearly hits a kid who comes running across the street for his ball. First Aid quick hits on the brakes to not make impact and the kid just stares at his front grill. "..primus kid--" First Aid mutters, "..you need to be more careful."
Tricked-Out Porsche <Nightbeat> drives slowly into the city on a highway choked with other traffic. He's covered in brown, just like most cars in or around the Moscow region. It's a unique quirk of the area - a combination of nearly everpresent snow or rain, lack of grass, and heavy industrial pollution - that blankets all moving vehicles with mud and dust and soot. Unless you're rich and have your car washed every day, or only take it out of a garage once in a while, your car ends up the same uniform muddy brown as all others. In Nightbeat's case, his normally obscure paint job is obscured and he looks like a vague sportscar-shape, blending in with other cars in the area.
Onslaught and some soldiers are kind suspicious but First Aid hid in a garage so they don't know where he is. And now Nightbeat's rolled on in."
First Aid watches the kid grab his ball and head back toward the side-walk, kinda giving First Aid that odd like of, 'did that van just talk to me?'. He rolled down the road to notice a.. maybe fimilar car passing by-- wait was that.. nah, couldn't be. Probably just his stress of nearly being caught getting to him. So onward the van rolls, hopefully away from decepticons not toward-- however by the looks of things, that was about to become impossible..
Tricked-Out Porsche <Nightbeat> follows the flow of traffic in the outskirts of the city. He's had a few close calls with Decepticon patrols without even venturing into Moscow proper. But he hasn't been spotted yet. Maybe his makeshift camoflauge is working after all, or the patrols he's encountered so far aren't especially observant, or he hasn't come close enough to any sensitive areas to warrant more scrutiny from the Decepticons. Or maybe he's just getting lucky. For now.
Sunder hears tell of intruders nosing about where they shouldn't in Moscow. Why, that's HIS job! Rumbling in anticipation of a Hunt, the Sweep grinds his fangs together and prepares to search. He has his scanners on full, in case he picks up any Autobots.
"Status report!" Hook shouts into his radio. He is buried deep below the street, in the nerve center of the tunnel complex. Hook grumbles about the ineptitudes of the average Decepticon guard. It's hard to build good help these days. Hook moves to the security station in the hidden base, and scans the monitors for any Autobots. It would be impossible for the Decepticons to have guards posted around the city... But they /do/ have cameras covering a wide area.
The 1980s White Toyota van keeps on the move, moving with traffic, trying to blend in. The city was huge, decepticons on alert, and he had a feeling his day was about to become more fun. He turned down a road, where it seemed very quiet here, perhaps part of the city that had been evacuted, since it did seem most of the buildings here were housing complexes.
Here the van drove slowly, scanners on full. Looking at any life-form, weather it be human, bird, cat whatever. Looking at the structures, looking to see what state they were in and what the whole status was. So far, everything showed the humans were 'ok' and though he knew his life was now endanger, he wouldn't give up just yet.
Tricked-Out Porsche <Nightbeat> finally takes a chance and ventures deeper into the city...he heads for Moscow University area, near the river. Perched on a hill to the southwest of the downtown area, the University grounds features lookout points with an excellent panoramic view of over three forths of the city. A perfect place for a stake-out.
Since moving along city streets in robot mode is somewhat unwieldy, Sunder decides to transform and use his radar. That would speed things up a bit. At least then he'd know which direction was the quickest.
Sunder's head disappears into his chest, his wings fold around him, and now he is in Sweepcraft mode, his headcannon still visible.
Sunder sweeps the area.
Scrapper is still working away on the opposite side of Moscow. What is the Constructicon leader doing? Converting a telephone pole from a telephone pole to a telephone pole... /that transforms into a glue-based missile launcher/! But right now it still just looks like a telephone pole. All the radio chatter gets his attention, though. "What's wrong? Are the Autobots finally making their attack?"
"Sweep, a patrol had picked up an ambulance behaving erratically, but it was lost at the following coordiantes." Hook transmits to the Sweep. "If it's an Autobot, you are NOT to engage, just keep track of it." Hook orders, unsure if the Sweep would even listen to him. He changes the comm frequency to send a messege to his fellow Constructicon. "Scrapper, there was a suspicious report, but no hard evidence of any autobot activity."
"Understood," Sweepcraft <Sunder> transmits back. "I have initiated a radar sweep of the area, and my sensors are telling me there are at least two Autobots in the area. I haven't pinpointed their location yet, but I soon will." The soapdish banks between tall buildings, and skims over low ones, as he tries to get a lock on his quarry.
The area was indeed diserted, and for the moment, First Aid transformed into his robot mode, crouching down to look around the area with his visor, scanning everything in the stop motion, very unaware that there could be a camera near by, after all, spying and sneaking isn't what a doctor does best, however protecting life and healing is what he did.
First Aid picks up the sounds of jet engines and quickly transforms back again, "..don't linger to long 'Aid." He tells himself as he starts rolling again, heading down the bank and donward down the streets hill, comming to a stop and making a left.
As he drove along he saw a few Decepticons fly over head, unknown weather they were seekers or what, and he rather not question it either-- he just keep moving along like a normal car in the subdivision. Nice and easy..
Tricked-Out Porsche <Nightbeat> pulls up to an ideal vantage point in a tour bus parking spot, close enough to the top of the hill to get a good view of the city. He notes the lack of visible Decepticon patrols in the city (except for one Sweep, who's bound to be trouble), picks out just a few carefully hidden cameras - and therefore assumes there must be many more, and possibly other more sophisticated detection systems - and notices a momentary flash of Constructicon green. Then he has to pull out again as a Russian police officer comes over to investigate what looks like an illegally parked car in a heavy tourist area.
Hook keeps his optics glued to a bank of monitors he installed personally, for just such an occasion. He spots a glimmer of movement in one monitor, and rewinds the recording... And captures a freeze-frame of First Aid, transformed to robot mode. Hook does his best to keep an eye on the Autobot as he returns to his vehicle mode. "Scrapper, we definatly have an uninvited guest. First Aid. I don't know why they sent a doctor to do a spy's job... There may be more Autobots in the city."
Scrapper scowls inwardly at the news. "Spies! They probably heard about our construction work and are here to sabotage us! Well they've got another thing coming if they think they can do that. After all, the defences are spread out across the city. Good luck knocking them all out at once." Scrapper listens to the additional reports. "First Aid? The Protectobot? What the... he's no fighter, Hook, and I don't think he has the ball bearings to be much of a spy. Could he be here to protect the buildings and cars we've stripped down?" Scrapper leaves the disassembled telephone pole and transforms to payloader mode, rolling through the streets towards where First Aid was spotted. He's many blocks away at this point, though.
Scrapper transforms into a payloader.
In a chorus of shifting and spinning parts, Astrotrain's body spins and lifts up into his large robot mode.
Astrotrain is, like many Decepticons, just wandering around Moscow at the moment. When the Decepticons are ignoring the local inhabitants, he's no exception. Quite literally ignoring the local inhabitants, as he strides down several back streets, rifle on his shoulder....and stepping on a parked car or two in the process, leaving them little more than squashed tinfoil in his wake. Yep. Ignoring.
Well, while Astrotrain "ignores" the locals, at least he does it in style. Overhead, a Soapdish is also ignoring them, because he's too busy trying to locate the sources of two Autobot signatures he detected on radar. <<Having fun, Astrotrain?>> he shortranges offhandedly.
Tricked-Out Porsche <Nightbeat> finds another spot to double-park for a bit in the tourist area on top of Sparrow Hills and then trains his optics again on the are where he saw the green, so out of place in Moscow with it's yellows and greys and blacks that look like they came straight out of the 'Soviet Era' (geez, it's been nearly half a century and still with the yellows and greys...) but now the view is obstructed by buildings and trees. He knows what he saw though, and it looked like a Constructicon. Nightbeat occasionally catches glimpses of other Decepticons walking the streets though, and decides it's time to make his getaway with the tiny amount of information he's been able to gather. He turns and pulls onto the highway leading south...and promptly get stuck in traffic again. At this rate it'll take him hours to get out of the city.
<Autobot> First Aid says, "This is First Aid, is anyone available, whom um-- is good with kids?"
<Autobot> Whirligig says, "...why would you need to be good with kids, 'Aid?"
<Autobot> First Aid says, "Well um, lets just say I found a.. straggler." Sounds of something being moved can be heard and a young female voice in the background with a slight russian accent can be heard, 'Whad does zis do?' "Gah-- don't touch that--" ruffle, ruffle, "As I was saying, just need someone who is good with, um, kids."
<Autobot> Whirligig says, "Um... well... uh... I'd help, but, uh..."
<Autobot> Powerglide says, "How hard could kids be?"
<Autobot> Powerglide says, "Just throw them some sandwhiches and bam! Done!"
<Autobot> Whirligig says, "I'm probably not the best femme to have around human children..."
<Autobot> Arcee sighs. "Primus... where are you, First Aid?"
<Autobot> First Aid says, "I'm here in Yamalia"
<Autobot> Arcee says, "I'll come to you, then. Stay where you are."
<Autobot> First Aid says, "Understood"
Hours later, Nightbeat makes his way to St. Perersburg
Saint Petersburg is built on what originally were more than 100 islands created by a maze of rivers, creeks, canals, gulfs, lakes and ponds and other bodies of water that flow into the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the Neva river. Renown for its numerous bridges over canals and rivers of various sizes, styles and constructions, built at different periods. St. Petersburg is often called the "Venice of the North" or the city of palaces. It has many cathedrals and buildings of baroque and neoclassical construction. The largest cathedral - St Isaac's Cathedral - houses the biggest gold-plated dome in the world.
The city remains a major transport hub with three large seaports and an extensive rail network. The city is part of the important transport corridor linking Scandinavia to Russia and Eastern Europe. The climate of the area is quite variable due to the influence of the Baltic Sea and it's cyclones. Summers are typically cool, humid and quite short, while winters are long, cold, but with frequent warm spells.
Tricked-Out Porsche <Nightbeat> drives through other St. Petersberg traffic, covered in brown like many of the other cars driving in or around Russian cities. It's a unique quirk of the country, a combination of nearly everpresent snow or rain, lack of grass, and heavy industrial pollution that blankets ground vehicles with mud and dust and soot. In Nightbeat's case, his normal identifying paint job is obscured and he looks like a vague sportscar-shape, blending in with other cars in the area.
Munition, on the other hand, has no such benefit of camoflage, lacking a functionally mobile alternate form. Instead, he remains in a camoflaged forward observation post, along with a couple of lightly-armed intelligence operatives. Examining the "duck blind's" defenses, he rubs at his chin, pondering how best to alter the structure into a defensive bunker, should the need arise. In hushed tones, he directs a subtle reorganization of supplies and weapon placements, for more effective coverage in the case of an assault - and usage, in the event of a Decepticon invasion...
Tricked-Out Porsche <Nightbeat>'s winding drive through the city takes him to the outskirts of the city, where his enhanced optics spot a glint of light from the observation post. He pulls off the road behind a few other cars (cars here seem to be parked rather haphazardly, sometimes in remote areas with no sign of the driver, or even where the driver might have gone). Nightbeat shuts off his engine and then trains his sensors in the direction Munition and his team are hidden, trying to watch for further activity.
Munition shakes his head. "NO," he grunts. "You're completely neglecting the southern flank - nevermind that there's no observational advantage from that angle, it's a tactically sound striking point. You simply must... GAH, I'm working with idiots," he hisses, throwing his hands upwards. "You're completely missing the point of a DEFENSIVE structure..."
Tricked-Out Porsche <Nightbeat> catches a few snippets of the conversation even at this extreme distance, and starts to drive along down the south road, careful to let himself blend in with a few other cars. With all the tails and stake-outs he's been involved with, he's learned many of the tricks to approaching a target in a seemingly innocent manner.
As Munition continues his griping out of frustration, the monitoring crew carefully notates the approach of Nightbeat. Even if they don't bother to report the vehicle's movements, everything is examined and recorded into the comprehensive records. The weapons expert begins directing one hapless observer in installation of a new, repeating laser cannon, on their currently-undefended southern flank...
Tricked-Out Porsche <Nightbeat> drives along, taking the road that goes closest to the Decepticon position, then pulls over into a gas station that's still about 3/4ths of a mile away. He chooses a parking space where he has an unobstructed view of the post (the exterior at least), and then turns on his radio, tuned to a local Russian rock station, to mask the sounds of his own voice.
You send a radio message to Munition: Huffer? Huffer, do you read me? Hazard here. Man, they've got some weird atmospheric distortion here. Radio waves bouncing all over the place, but I think I've finally got a lock on you. We've got the prototype mass driver cannon into the country. By boat, just like Jazz suggested. I think we have a way to get it around Moscow and into Rostov as per plan...
Munition freezes for a moment, holding a hand to his earpiece. He wasn't actually... "Scan for radio activity and potential distortion sources," he snaps, pointing at one of the techies. Never before had he so completely intercepted a message without outside technical help or gross local interference...
"Sir?" the radio operator announces. "I picked up a local broadcast a moment ago, but it was a directed transmission - no clear link. Perhaps it was a mis-directed communique? The Aurora activity here has wreaked havoc on our com systems at times..."
Tricked-Out Porsche <Nightbeat>'s hypersensitive hearing picks up the orders and response. This time when he uses his radio, still directed at Munition, he also adds some well-known 'static' tricks. "Huffer...? You reading me buddy? *bzzrk* ay again, I didn't copy that."
Munition frowns, hearing another broadcast. Looking down at the comm officer, his only response is a head shaking. Cautiously, the weapon designer pulls a cable from the main radio unit, plugging it into his helmet, so it can record his radio transmissions - in and out. Mouthing 'heavy static' at the comm officer, he opens a return channel, replying, "Repeat transmission. Communications failure..."
Tricked-Out Porsche <Nightbeat> transmits back, "Having trouble *sqwuark* there, Huffer. Signal's coming and going. I say again, we've got the mass driver weapon. We're gonna be taking it around Moscow by hovercraft. The *bzzzzt!* or the Sentinel. We'll try to keep to the west of the city. Less surveillance in that area. Plus after what Mirage reported about what's going on in there...well, best be safe. *chzzt* What'd you think about that report anyway? Do you buy it? Is that even -possible-?"
Munition nods to the radio operative, who promptly records the communication for later transmission to headquarters. 'Can you triangulate?' Munition mouths, to which the techie squints, then begins twisting a few knobs.
"Do not copy, repeat, I do not copy, please state again. Heavy radio interference." If the speaker somehow thought he was speaking with an Autobot... there was no reason to provide any doubt. Information was information, in any form...
Tricked-Out Porsche <Nightbeat> transmits back, raising his voice slightly. "I think that's better. I say again, we're moving the mass driver on a route west of Moscow. We'll use a hovercraft. Not sure how reliable Mirage's report on Moscow is though. How much defensive work could the Decepticons have done over the last 72 hours? You're the expert, what do you think?"
Munition holds his hands out at the radio techie: 'have you found the transmission?' A shake of the head and a circular wave of the palm was all the response he needed... keep him going. With a sigh, Munition carefully replies, "Moscow? Don't the Decepticons control that?" He maintains the heavy static, hoping that the target won't pick up on the slightly 'off' voice, and would forgive the fact that the answer wasn't relevant to the question...
Tricked-Out Porsche <Nightbeat> radios back, now cutting all of the static tricks from his side to make the transmission as clear as a normal comm. "Huh? Of course the Decepticons control it. What's the matter, didn't you read the reports? Geez..." Nightbeat trails off, and inside he's practically biting his lip, wondering if his ruse is going to fail because it was too obscure an approach. Or maybe because this Decepticon doesn't know the answers he's looking for!
Munition knows the answers - but isn't going to give them to an Autobot under ANY circumstances. Perhaps if whomever was communiating would have impersonated a Decepticon instead...
The techie snaps his fingers, pointing off in the general direction of the gas station, as subtlely as possible. Narrowing his optics, Munition pauses, then signals to cut back on the static. "Of course I read the reports. What are you going on about, anyway?" Carefully, he gestures for one of the observers to train the repeating pulse laser on the gas station - just in case.
Tricked-Out Porsche <Nightbeat> spots the activity, and especially the laser pointed in the direction of the gas station. Well, it was worth a try. But he's still not out of this yet. He transmits back, "The intel reports on what the Decepticons are up to in Moscow...? I was just wondering what you thought of it. But anyway I just wantedto letyou knowthat thingsaregoingaccordingtoplan." While transmitting this, Nightbeat watches the traffic coming in and out of the gas station. When it looks like three different vehicles, two cars and one truck, are about to leave the station at roughly the same time, he speeds up - his last sentence gets faster and faster until it's almost incoherent, but he's done in time to click off his radio and leave the gas station at the same time as the other cars.
Munition frowns, as the vehicles all depart the site... leaving him with no clear target to eliminate. "We may have been made," he mumbles, after unplugging himself from the radio. "Pack your supplies, this strategic post has been compromised. Pull out immediately." Frowning, he ponders the concepts that Nightbeat suggested. "This information COULD be useful...