Log Title: BAT Command Infiltration
Date: July 12, 2017
Summary: Mainframe and Major Bludd infiltrate a BAT installation to try to free Los Angeles from Cobra control.
As logged by Mainframe - Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 7:34 PM
Los Angeles - California
- Conflicting images of Los Angeles flicker across our television and movie screens: Hollywood glamour contrasts with gang violence, year-round sunny skies with smog, fast cars with traffic jams. From what travelers can gather, Los Angeles is a land of style and disaster, movers and shakers and earthquakes. Residents are accustomed to a rhythm that alternates between relaxation and stress, but out-of-towners -- fortunately -- tend to experience much more of the former.
- The nation's second-largest city (after New York), L.A. is a great place in which to do business or take a vacation. Marvelous restaurants, terrific nightlife, beaches, diverse cultural offerings, Disneyland and easygoing attitudes converge in a vast territory flooded with sunshine and lined with palms. Nearly everyone should see L.A. at least once, though a single trip will hardly be enough to appreciate such a vast area that's jam-packed with things to do.
- Currently the city is a shambles, under occupation by Cobra. Black and silver Battle Android Troopers are on every street corner, reminding citizens in their computerised voices that they must obey Cobra's commands or be punished. Mirror-helmeted Cobra Vipers patrol the streets, on foot and in black Stinger jeeps or Ferret ATVs.
Somewhere in Los Angeles, an old Pacific Bell central office has been turned into BAT Central. Hotwire, genius BAT designer and programmer, has been running all of LA's BAT operations from one principal location. Unfortunately for him, the Joes have located him. With the help of a stolen notebook of Doctor Mindbender's, Mainframe has a plan to take down the entire network, and he's gathered an odd team of allies to assist him.
Mainframe crouches just within the compound's fence, and waits for Bludd to join him.
Once again utilising his holographic generic disguise, Bludd climbs over the fence and moves to crouch near Mainframe. He glances around the area between the fence and the buildings. "This what you expected?" he asks quietly.
Within the makeshift bunker, Hotwire works in his lab. He pauses to adjust his safety glasses as he marvels at the latest iteration of one of his BAT-control circuit boards. "Ha ha!" he laughs to no one else in the room. "With this, the BAT VI will be even smarter than most Vipers -- not that that's saying much!" he laughs again. Hotwire bends down again, and using a magnifying lens makes another small change to the circuit board before running yet more tests.
Mainframe crouches within the perimeter fence of BAT Central. He is wearing a MARPAT desert pattern Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform, and carrying a silenced Glock 19 9mm handgun in one hand and his armored laptop in the other. He scans around, watching the BATs move in patrols around the compound. As Bludd lands next to him, Mainframe nods. "Yeah. While deadly, these BATs are nothing if not predictable -- they don't take bathroom or smoke breaks, and they don't deviate from their patrol routes. With the cameras bypassed, this fence actually makes things easier for us to get in." He gives Bludd a smile.
Outside the compound, Hotwire's BATs move in predictable patterns -- just as Mainframe predicted and Bludd has observed in the field. These BATs, however, seem a little more self-aware than even the advanced models in Washington, DC. They watch passing cars and pedestrians with advanced threat-analysis heuristics, and are a real potential threat if things go badly.
Bludd smirks, knowing all too well about typical BAT behaviour. "They sure are easy to confuse," he agrees. "Especially if you know what their programmed priorities are."
Mainframe nods, studying the distant BATs curiously from his vantage point behind the fence. "Yeah," he agrees quietly. "Although these BATs worry me. They look like experimental prototypes -- which I hope means they're more likely to break down, but I'm not counting on it. Cover me -- I'll head to the window I marked out on the plan."
Bludd nods to Mainframe, waiting until he turns his back to reach through the hologram for his sidearm in his chest holster, and sidles along the fence to keep the other man in sight.
Sgt. Sideswipe is quietly tucked under a nearby car. His sidearm in hand, but more important, his medpack. The rookie Joe has been told to stay out of sight and provide aid and medical attention only if things get REALLY hairy. The 23-year-old stays crouched underneath the vehicle, a low-rider, which conceals his identity more than say a large pick-up.
Within the makeshift bunker, Hotwire looks over the results of his latest bench tests and laughs gleefully in his cluttered lab. "Oh, yes!" he exclaims to no one in particular. "This will run my beautiful software even faster, increasing the BATs' reaction time by 28%! I'm a genius!" He rushes over to BAT head mounted on a lab table, and opens up the back of it, installing his newest experimental circuit board.
Within the fenced compound, Mainframe nods to Bludd and then crouch-runs across the small yard to the side of the building, somehow trying to watch the bypassed cameras, the BAT patrols, and the human Viper guards at the door, all at once. Once he's made it to the bunker wall he flattens out against it, catching his breath before motioning Bludd to join him.
Sgt. Sideswipe frowns, wanting to move in, but thinking that he's still very much in the training wheels of the Joes, he only tries to dig himself deeper into cover and look on.
Extremely heavy boots crunch as a BAT walks past the vehicle under which Sideswipe is hiding. The BAT stops suddenly and turns slightly, one if its armored toeless feet stopping just decimeters from the hidden Joe medic.
Sgt. Sideswipe 's eyes widen in realized fear. He recognizes the boots, and even the 'sound' - meaning these are BATs, meaning a lethal first shot is okay. But better yet would be for the BAT to just pass by. A few drops of sweat quickly form on his cheeks.
Bludd follows Mainframe's lead, similarly putting his back against the wall of the bunker. He smiles confidently at the Joe operative. "Cameras compromised?"
Mainframe gives Bludd a confident nod and a smile. "Oh, yes. Their security force is getting lazy and complacent. They're relying too hard on these cameras, which were child's play to bypass. Once we're inside, though, I might have to rely more on your expertise. I have an old layout of the building, but I have no idea how it's been modified by Cobra, aside from what passive infrared scans I was able to make and what we've surmised from monitoring the personnel coming and going from the building."
The BAT near Sideswipe chirps, "Vehicle illegally parked. Potential threat. Scanning." Reflected light bounces down off the street towards Sideswipe as the BAT projects a laser sensor grid over the stationary low-rider.
Sgt. Sideswipe gulps, realizing these guys have sensory detection. He looks around, quickly, quickly! Then, he sees a pretty good-sized pebble. Realizing where the BAT is, he CHUCKS the pebble out from under the car in the direct opposite direction of where the BAT is currently standing, hoping it's enough of a distraction for the young recruit to roll out and sneak into cover elsewhere!
Bludd looks to the door and takes a measured breath. The Cobra occupation has to be broken. It's certainly possible that Mainframe and his mates could pull this off on their own. But if they were to fail, the opportunity to take down the BATnet would probably be lost, as Cobra would be wise to the method. And that might mean L.A. would be occupied for a long, long time.
"However I can help," he tells Mainframe.
A big pebble is CHUCKED out from under the car, across the street where it makes a loud THUNK at it hits a discarded aluminum can. It was launched from the BAT's blind spot, alright, but once the robot does a quick analysis of the sound of the hit, it doesn't take long for it to calculate the trajectory and velocity of the rock to lead it back to its source. Bending inhumanly at the waist, the BAT folds down to peer beneath the car.
Mainframe gives Bludd a measured grin and another confident nod. "OK," he says. "I'm going in. Give me a boost?" Mainframe places himself directly below the window and stows both his gun and his laptop to leave both his hands free, forced to trust Bludd completely to help him up and keep him safe while Mainframe vulnerably shimmies into the small window access at the back of the building.
Sgt. Sideswipe closes his eyes and gulps, thinking 'remember the training, remember the training' - he quickly grabs his gun from the holster and pulls it out and aims right at the BAT's face, hoping for a direct shot, and maybe a few precious seconds to seek cover in a different location.
- CRACK!** Sideswipe's point-blank shot shatters the main red panel of the Battle Android Trooper's face, and it makes a high-pitched electric shriek as its head is thrown back on impact. The BAT immediately straightens out, and shakes slightly as it rights itself and begins to instantly recover. With a modem-like sound, it alerts all other BATs in the area, as well as Hotwire within the Cobra bunker.
Sgt. Sideswipe runsrunsrunsrunsrunsrunsruns for cover elsewhere, realizing it's probably best to get as far away from perimeter as possible - but at the same time, being JUST close enough to provide cover! He spots a nearby building and darts inside.
Bludd drops to one knee, laying his sidearm on the ground so he can cup his hands for Mainframe to step into. "Goin' up," he says with a grin he doesn't quite feel.
Mainframe accepts the step up, using Bludd's help to open the latch on the window and hurriedly crank it open so he can slip inside. Laptop first, then Joe -- and then his passive alarms start silently going off in his ear, alerting him that something has put the BATnet into high alert. "Crap!" he curses with a hiss, slithering inside and then leaning out to offer a hand to Bludd. "Something's up! Get inside!"
BATs all over the place start scanning nearby buildings and corners, looking for whoever fired that shot. Additional Viper Guards pour out of the bunker, fanning out, some of them heading uncomfortably close to where Mainframe and Bludd are attempting to penetrate the BAT command center. Two BATs follow Sideswipe towards the nearby building. They may not be as fast, but they make up for it in implacability. Out on the street, they grab some poor bystander just out walking his dog. "Wait!" the man cries. "I haven't done anything wrong!"
Sgt. Sideswipe looks around, "Damnit!" he curses to himself. He lightly taps his head with the magazine portion of the gun. "Stupid!" He hears the cries of an innocent person - protect and serve... and he opens the window...ready to get a good shot, waiting until the poor bystander is out of the fire range, but the BAT IS in range...and fires at the BAT.
Bludd quickly scoops up his sidearm, then reaches up for Mainframe's help to clamber in the window. "What is it?" he asks in a whisper, even as he's already scanning the room they're in for dangers and exits.
Sgt. Sideswipe 's eyes widen, feeling ever bit the rooking with every passing second! But the main thing is getting the pedestrian to safety. He frowns and fires off a few more shots to the BAT to get the menacing 'bot distracted. Looks like he'll have to find an exit and run toward ANOTHER building. He saves a few bullets and sprints out an EXIT, hoping to bring the BAT with him, but hoping the BAT is slow enough to not see where he's going.
Within the makeshift bunker, in a lab two doors down from the back room into which Bludd and Mainframe have landed, Hotwire looks up and frowns at the alarm. "Always when I'm working!" he shouts, raising a gloved fist in rage. "This better not be a false alarm -- if this is another Squirrel Incident, heads are going to roll!" He picks up his blowtorch in one hand, and his mini-grenade launcher (of his own design!) in the other, and heads out of his lab into the hall to see what all of the fuss is about.
Mainframe ducks down in the storeroom with Bludd, peering out the window and listening to intercepted messages from the BATnet. There's one door out of the room, which is filled with metal grey shelf upon shelf of outdated communications equipment. "Someone's started firing in the street -- not sure if it's Lowdown or Sideswipe, but we've gotta move. Hope someone's gotten that girl to safety." Moving away from the window, Mainframe crosses open to the door, cracks it open, and peers out into the hallway.
- WHARANG!** Sideswipe's shot echoes off the BAT holding the bystander. The BAT lets go of the pedestrian, emitting, "LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY." Good news for the dog walker, who promptly flees -- bad news for Sideswipe, who now has the BATs' full attention. As they move to pursue, the Viper Guards form a perimeter around the building, bracing themselves for a full-on G.I. Joe attack.
It's a good thing Bludd and Mainframe are already inside the compound. Probably. Bludd readies his sidearm and waits to head out into the hallway on Mainframe's signal.
Hotwire steps out into the hall, glancing to the right but failing to see Mainframe and Bludd hiding in the back room. Hotwire instead turns left, heading towards the front of the building while calling into his radio, "Just what exactly is going on out there? There better not be rioting! Not on a Wednesday!"
Back in the storeroom, Mainframe glances at Bludd. "Now's our chance. I'll just need a few minutes. Keep me from getting interrupted." With that open-ended request, Mainframe slips out into the hallway. He stops outside Hotwire's lab and plugs into the scientist's security keypad, trying to hack into it before the mad technician can return.
Bludd keeps a sharp eye and ear out while Mainframe works his magic with the keypad, sidearm at the ready.
Hotwire argues with the guards at the front desk, and Bludd and Mainframe can hear him yelling in a combination of English and German. "ONE shooter? All this is about one possibly-crazed gunman? This is America -- what do you expect? Surely my BATs can handle one man. Get back to your stations!" With that, Hotwire heads back towards his lab....
Meanwhile, in the hallway, Mainframe looks up nervously as he hears Hotwire returning. "Uh, this guy's really good," he murmurs apologetically to Bludd. "I might need a couple more minutes to bypass this thing..." Mainframe crouches down and attaches his combat laptop to the door panel, needing more firepower to bypass Hotwire's lock.
Sgt. Sideswipe realizing that much like an earthquake, it's far better to be outside than to be inside, and have a bunch of BATS converge like the inhabitants of an anthill. Sgt. Sideswipe barges out of the 'EXIT' and heads to another building, looking over his shoulder to see the BATs, hoping he can find another building to disappear into.
Bludd edges past Mainframe in the direction the multilingual shouting is coming from, his weapon held out at arm's length, his thumb on the safety. "Got a feeling we may be about to have some company," he mutters. "Hope you don't have a problem if I have to take somebody out."
Unfortunately, the BATs were waiting. As Sideswipe explodes out of the exit, they open fire, converging on the medic and not worrying about anything else that might get hit in the crossfire -- including other BATs. Laser fire lances out at Sideswipe as he books across the street, lighting up the dusk as the android troopers move together as one. They're eerily silent as they advance with one pure motive -- to kill.
Sgt. Sideswipe closes his eyes, realizing he's REALLY going to be in trouble. But actually, that's the least of his worries. He has to make it back to the PITT ALIVE if he's going to get into trouble. He's not as pacifist-y as Lifeline, but he still isn't big on violence. But he's prepared to use violence if needed. Meaning...taking his only grenade he has...and throwing it into the cluster of BATs that are close to him, hoping the ensuing chaos can buy him JUST a few seconds to hide.
Hotwire chooses that moment to round the corner, freezing immediately when he spots the bland face of Bludd's disguise. "Was?" he stammers, dark eyes flicking to Mainframe trying to break into his lab before focusing on the gun pointed directly at him. Too late, Hotwire goes for his rocket lancher.
At the door to Hotwire's lab, Mainframe comments, "As long as they're Cobra, I don't care how many you have to take out -- no offense intended." As Hotwire rounds the corner, Mainframe doesn't even look up, focused completely on his job and trusting Bludd to take care of the mad German scientist.
The aim of Sideswipe's grenade arm is true, and the grenade does land directly in the central midst of the BATs. There is a terrific, deafening explosion.... but when the smoke clears, most of the BATs continue forward, leaving their heavily-damaged comrades behind. Those closest to Sideswipe swap out their laser hands for massive claws, reaching out to try to grab the medic and take him into painful, and ultimately fatal, custody.
Bludd doesn't seem offended by Mainframe's response. He's ready the moment the cross scientist appears. He thumbs off the safety on his sidearm, hesitates just long enough for Hotwire to reach for his weapon, and fires of a pair of shots.
>> Major Bludd strikes Hotwire with M9 <Medium>. <<
Sgt. Sideswipe cries out in pain as he's grasped by the claw. He frantically tries to escape, going so far as to shoot the remaining rounds into the BATs elbow, hoping the multiple blasts MAY sever the arm and buy him...heck...anything.
- BAP BAP* The pair of rounds slams into Hotwire, staggering him backward as he pulls out his miniaturized rocket launcher. He raises it shakily at Bludd, but then turns at the last moment to aim it at Mainframe as the door console turns from red to green and the Joe tech announces, "Got it!" Hotwire fires off a rocket, flinching as it burns his hand (he doesn't have a cool rocket-glove like Bludd) and hoping it takes out the door controls if not the Joe computer specialist himself.
>> Hotwire strikes Mainframe with Grenade-Launcher. <<
Sgt. Sideswipe struggles and flays! He's composed enough to not call out for help, realizing he's on his own, but it's not like these guys DON'T pack a punch, so as a result, he cries out in pain as the claw restrains him, most likely making time for OTHER BATS to close in.
Mainframe is blasted backwards as the rocket detonates right in front of him, destroying the door controls and partially fusing the frame itself. Mainframe hits the far wall and bounces off of it. He crashes to the ground where he kneels for a moment, shaking his head as his ears ring and blood runs from multiple small shrapnel wounds to his face and arms. He curses like the Marine he is, and after a second struggles to climb back to his feet.
Bludd swears under his breath as his shots fail to deter the scientist from shooting at Mainframe. The blast knocks him off his feet, sending him sprawling onto his stomach in front of Hotwire. He looks up at the man and raises his pistol for a very close-range shot.
>> Major Bludd strikes Hotwire with M9 <High>. <<
Sideswipe empties his clip into the sensitive elbow joint of the BAT holding him, and although it shreds the joint plating, the arm holds -- these BATs are no joke. "You have been apprehended," the BAT intones emotionlessly. "You will come with us. Resistance will be met with lethal force." The BAT turns, and starts dragging Sideswipe towards the BAT compound. The other BATs disperse and resume their rounds, except for the most injured, which attempt to walk (or crawl) back to base with no assistance from the others.
Sgt. Sideswipe winces in pain as the BAT's arm has a vice-grip lock on the young medic's arm. His entire clip is spent, and he has nothing else to defend himself. He closes his eyes and blurts out "Fuck..." realizing THIS is not how to be a Joe. He goes limp, realizing there's not much else he can do at this point.
Hotwire curses in German as the shots again slam into the armor he wears beneath his labcoat. It's a good thing for him he paranoidly wears Kevlar to work -- if not, he'd be dead twice over by now. "I will cut off your limbs and recycle them for new bio-organic BATs!" he threatens Bludd, and then lashes out booted foot, attempting to kick Bludd in his bland, forgettable face.
>> Hotwire misses Major Bludd with Kick. <<
Mainframe makes it back up to his feet, repeating, "I'm OK... I'm OK..." although it's not clear if he's talking to Bludd, or trying to convince himself. He stumbles backward into the wall behind him, but after bracing himself -- and setting his expression -- he suddenly launches himself forward with a haggard battle cry, slamming himself into the damaged door with all of his battered, bloody might.
The BAT dispassionately drags Sideswipe back to the compound, where Viper Guards anxiously mill about. "Did you hear that?" one of them asks the other, looking back towards the building. "It sounded like an explosion!"
"Do YOU want to go in there and face the wrath of Hotwire? The guy gives me the creeps. Let him sort out his own problems." He finally looks up as the BAT brings Sideswipe forward. "What's up with this guy?" the Viper Guard asks the BAT, not even looking at Sideswipe.
Bludd bites his lip to keep himself from saying anything that might identify him. The urge to make some kind of snappy retort is strong. He rolls away from the scientist's attempt to kick him, then hears -- and feels -- Mainframe's brief and painful-sounding battle with the laboratory door. A glance that way causes his eyebrows to rise in astonishment and disbelief. He scrambles to his feet and lunges at Hotwire, attempting to wrap his left arm around the man's neck.
>> Major Bludd succeeds with his generic combat roll on Hotwire. <<
Sgt. Sideswipe realizes his situation, and looks up at the Viper, and doesn't say a thing, hoping the guard can be distracted by other things. Instead, he opts to fake how hurt he is - he lets out a pained groan and starts to close his eyes, making him look like even a less of a threat then he already is.
Hotwire lets out a gurgling scream as Bludd rallies and gets him around the neck. He drops his rocket gun and straggles at Bludd's arm, although the mercenary is far too strong for the low-exercise scientist.
At the damaged door, Mainframe climbs back to his feet after his painful impact with the door. He wobbles over to the two combatants, casually swipes up Hotwire's rocket gun, and walks back. Mainframe calmly aims the gun at the accursed door, his new mortal enemy. There is a whoosh and a WHOMP, near-deafening as it echoes in the hallway. Unheard, Mainframe mumbles, "Be right back," and steps through the smoke into Hotwire's lab.
"Uh, I guess I'll take him into custody," Viper Guard 1136 sighs. He takes Sideswipe's other arm, and pulls slightly until the BAT lets go. "Curious about what's going on in there anyway," he says, as another *WHOOMP* is heard inside. "Good luck," the other Viper Guard says, holding the door open for his partner but otherwise looking calculatingly bored -- curiosity leads to more dead Vipers than any other trait.
Sgt. Sideswipe gives a defeated look at the Viper Guard.
"Stay quiet," Bludd hisses into Hotwire's ear, remembering this time to put on his American accent, "and do as you're told, and you might survive this." He watches Mainframe collect the rocket gun and handily defeat the door. He flinches at the incredible sound of the rocket's impact, then gazes back at the scientist. "That guy's crazy," he says conspiratorially, a phrase calculated to inspire fear but one he believes a little himself just at the moment. "Seriously, just do as you're told." As an afterthought, he points his sidearm at the scientist's temple.
"Alright! Alright!" Hotwire exclaims, trying to crane his neck to look around without moving so much as to get himself killed. Surely his beloved BATs will come for him, right? The human guards cannot be relied on -- weak, stupid, ... uncontrolled. But his BATs -- they will save the day.
There is a long quiet pause from within the lab. Whatever Mainframe is doing, however, he'd probably better hurry.
The Viper Guard brings Sideswipe inside, past the guard desk. "You'd better go check on Hotwire," the desk guard says boredly. "It's sounds like a war's on back there." 1136 scowls -- it sucks to be low on the seniority latter, and have to go investigate dangerous explosions. He shoves Sideswipe into a detention room, and heads back towards where Bludd is holding Hotwire hostage, not quite sure what excitement he'll find. Just in case, he readies his rifle.
Bludd begins walking Hotwire slowly toward the lab door, deliberately turning so that the scientist is facing down the hall and can't see into the lab. "Tick tock," he calls in a low tone to Mainframe.
"Got it! Ha ha!" comes Mainframe's muffled voice within the lab, and then outside Bludd can hear the series of quiet explosions outside: WHOOMPH! WHOOMPH! WHOOMPH! From down the hall, the desk clerk yells, "The BATs! They're on fire! We gotta get the hell out of here!" 1136 forgets all about Sideswipe and what he's supposed to be investigating, and with the other Viper Guard, heroically flees the building.
Back in the hall, Hotwire's dark eyes widen to near saucer size. "No! No! What have you done?"
"I introduced a flaw in their code that causes them to instantly overheat and burn -- but not before transmitting the virus across the BATnet. It'll be weeks before Mindbender figures out the problem, and by then we'll have moved into other cities, freeing each of them from your control. It turns out your speedy new upgrades actually made the process faster and easier. Thanks so much!" Mainframe smiles tiredly but triumphantly at Major Bludd.
"My work is done. Let's clear the building out of useful research and then go."
Bludd beams over at Mainframe as he explains what he's done, though it falters as he takes in the other man's injuries. "You need a medic," he tells him. He looks over at the scientist he's still got hold of. "What'll we do with this guy?" he asks in his American accent.
"I brought a medic," Mainframe says tiredly. "We just have to find him." Looking over Hotwire, Mainframe says, "I guess I'll take him into custody. What about you? I can't just let you walk away, but after all your help... I'm willing to look the other way."
"I need to get back to my people," Bludd says. "I'll help you find your medic, get this guy squared away. Then I've gotta get scarce. You can scour this place for tech if you want. With the BATs destroyed, Cobra'll be disorganised. Won't be long before there'll be vandalism and such. I need to make sure my friends are safe."
Mainframe nods. "Fair enough. Thanks for your help." He zipties Hotwire, and then sends out a backdated log for Cobra to find, suggesting Hotwire was sending out a code upgrade patch right before everything went sideways. He gets Bludd's help squaring everything away, and then stops to offer the mercenary a final handshake. Mainframe's eyes sparkle with mischief. "You did good today. Keep it up, and I'll see what I can to keep people off your tail."
Bludd gives Mainframe a skeptical smirk, but shakes his hand anyway. "Thanks. Right now I'm looking forward to things getting back to normal in this city. L.A. is crazy enough without Cobra. It'll be nice to not have to be constantly on watch for looters or gangs or Cobra soldiers..." He sighs. "Won't be long now." He looks over the other man for a moment. "Get ya to yer medic," he drawls, smiling.
Mainframe shakes Bludd's hand and smiles. "Will do. Take care of yourself." With a final goodwill nod, Mainframe takes his medic, his prisoner, and his stolen technology and heads out.