Log Title: Hydrax Recon
Location: Hydrax Spaceport
Date: July 20, 2020
TP: Hydrax TP
Summary: The Autobots do a fast recon of the Decepticon-controlled Hydrax Spaceport, and leave behind some surprises.
As logged by Topspin - Monday, July 20, 2020, 6:52 PM
- The Hydrax spaceport was one of the glorious projects of the Golden Age of Cybertron. Bordering the Decepticon-occupied Badlands, it was of key importance, and the siege on it was the second engagement in the war. Decepticons marching from the newly conquered Fort Scyk to the east were held back by Ultra Magnus and the Wreckers, while Optimus Prime held off the southern advance in his first battle. But Hydrax was surrounded, with the Sea of Rust limiting Autobot support, and ultimately, the Decepticons won.
Hydrax Spaceport: Once one of the two main launch points on Cybertron for those seeking the stars. First the Decepticons took Hydrax; then they took Ibex's Central Spaceport, slowly choking off access to the planet for those who would return home. The Decepticons are expecting the Autobots to try for Ibex, since it's right in their territory. Instead, Autobot Command sent a team to Hydrax, to size up the base and see if the Cons there are on the alert - or caught snoozing.
Necessity. That would explain why Nightstalker is slinking his way towards the Hydrax Spaceport. The Decepticons have a stranglehold on neutral traffic with holding 2 of the 3 master-ports. And here, now, it is his job to work with the assigned team to determine weaknesses in this one for possible future return to service for Cybertron itself and not a petty self-styled Empire frag-bent on destroying what has been granted a second life. << I know you know the routines, Firestar. Walk softly, carry a big stick, limit comm chatter. >> he transmits on a short-range tightband.
Firestar goes to give a nod to NIghtstalker. Her chance to see how the 'tape does over in the field. So she's going along with the sneaky cat-bot that's in his element. She might be sneaky, but it's only by experience rather than design. By necessity rather than function. She might not make noise, but Nightstalker was crafted for it. Topspin.. Well, she's only worked with him in passing and more-so knows him as 'that guy that's with Twin Twist but not as annoying." She has her blaster in front of her and is going along.
In his flying pontoon mode, Topspin had skittered across the surface of the Rust Sea, blasting through the corrosive fog to bring this small team to the edge of the Hydrax Plateau, so far without being seen. At the edge of the plateau he transforms, pulling out both laser pistols and moving into position. Although the Wreckers have a reputation for being loud, less well known is their ability to infiltrate bases BEFORE they go boom. The reputation is useful, but not always accurate.
The launchpad looks empty. The V'ger and a few other captured ships are impounded on one side of the tarmac, and some Decepticon troop ships have landed in the center. Seekers guarding the main hangar and the entrance to the watchtower look bored and uninterested in their jobs. The control spire itself is hard to see from here through the rust fog at the edge of the plateau. Sweepcraft fly overhead, scanning the area - those look like the most dangerous sentries to avoid.
Nightstalker veers only a short distance from Firestar, keeping her in his visual range as he begins a slow inwards spiral towards the embankment at a point between watchtower and hanger overlook, crawling low to the ground. He's looking for breaks in the ground, debris, shadowy points large enough to send to Firestar so she can, should she choose, follow and have some pre-scouted cover to add to her efforts.
Firestar's optics widen as she takes in all of the floating sentry drones, "Primus." She mouths it - the equivalent of whispering, not trusting herself to even vocalize. The Cons were still fortifying here. That meant that it wasn't fully secure yet. Hopefully this meant there were holes that they might take advantage of. As the signal is given over by NIghtstalker, a nod of affirmation is given over by Firestar. Going close o the ground, she would crawl along at the path, moving to tug herself carefully, anchoring herself firmly to go closer with each light tug of her fingers. Staying just out of sight of the sentries. She remembered them. From far too many hit and run raids.
Topspin motions to his right, indicating he's going to skim around the perimeter to the south. Transforming in the blink of an optic, he folds down to landspeeder mode and takes off, bravely skittering along alone to make a highspeed recon of the area. He skates along the very edge, both to avoid the guards, and just for the thrill of it. He courageously/foolsparkedly dashes between rocky obstructions at the edge of the plateau, risking death to gather data for the others.
- GAME: Topspin FAILS a COURAGE roll of Immense difficulty.
Twidget is here. She's not sure why she's here, but she's here, and that's probably a good thing. Maybe. She takes a good look around as she follows after the mainstay before looking for...terminals. Anything that might have good, viable, wonderful, tasty...technological data on the types of ships and other such things that are here. The diminutive 'former makes sure she's in her even more diminutive form, scurrying towards a data terminal to hook up and start scouring...
- GAME: Twidget PASSES a TECHNICAL roll of High difficulty.
Flipsides uses her small size to keep in cover as best as she can.. a few small drones slipping free from their storage docks on her legs and forearms and moving go hover around her, ready to intercept anything that comes at her. Her optics drift around taking in the setup and location of the visible guards as well as most likely spots for more hidden defenses and plans out a path towards where she /thinks/ there should be a access port she can use that would of survived the damage she see's.
- GAME: Flipsides PASSES a TECHNICAL roll of Very High difficulty.
So far, so good. With Nightstalker's guidance, the other Autobots move in. Topspin takes off, going a little too fast than is warranted and having to cut back before he hits something at high speed. His showboating almost blows the mission before it begins, and he must transform and duck down before he's spotted.
The others have more success. Twidget finds a stray terminal used for ships docking at the outer limits. It's been shut down, but with a little massaging, she gets it back online. Using it to hack into the internal systems of the launchpad, however, might be a little trickier.
Firestar uses Nightstalker's guidance and her own experience as a guerilla fighter to sneak right up to the perimeter fence, spying a small break in it just large enough to peer and maybe pass through, if she's careful. Flipsides sends her tiny drones ahead of her, clearing her path and getting a good look at the bored-looking guards out on the tarmac. Now, to just get past the Sweeps overhead...
Nightstalker's plan was to utilize the curve of the embankment to map out weak points to use as entry for future missions. But as this is not solo, he finds himself altering his concerns on the fly, moving towards one of the guard-towers. Plan: to climb to a higher vantage point on silent cat-feet and relay visuals across a broad spectral analysis to his mission partner. Claws sink out, systems slide into silent running mode and he moves, crawling, then working to climb the tower.
- GAME: Nightstalker PASSES a STRENGTH roll of High difficulty.
Frowning at his own incompetence, Topspin slinks down behind an outcropping, to the right and south of the other Autobots. From his vantage point he watches the Sweeps traverse above, getting a feel for their patterns and trying to judge from his angle their flight-path and where the holes might be in their patrol. Once he thinks he has a feel for them, he takes off like a shot. Weaving from rock to rock, he makes his way towards the fence, trying his hardest not to get detected.
- GAME: Topspin PASSES a DEXTERITY roll of Above Average difficulty.
Twidget exhales as she gets into the terminal and starts looking through whatever data is there...primarily to see just what kind of terminal it is and where in the network it resides... She sets up doing a scan of the network connections, two things high on her priority of 'see if they're here'... security and the traffic, or cargo manifests.
- GAME: Twidget PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of High difficulty.
Lovely. Sweeps. You can't live with 'em, can't kill 'em enough to make a difference. So Firestar evaluates. The Sweeps are paranoid, hyper-sensitive.. And generally on alert. But she can use their aft-rententiveness against them. It's a very, very old trick and one that might not ever work the way it is.. But, she picks up a small rock, goes to hurl it several hundred meters away, skipping it like a stone over the ground.. Hoping that the light noise gets them zooming after it to focus on but not big enough for them to call in.
- GAME: Firestar PASSES a DEXTERITY roll of High difficulty.
Flipsides moves quickly and quietly, using her size to hide behind things most others would have issues with, her drones bobbing an weaving at the same pace as they too work to keep out of view. Finally she makes her way to a smaller mostly destroyed building and digs through it a bit, going slowly to avoid noise and uncovers a access port. Quickly she attaches the properly cables as she huddles down even more to reduce her access and starts a search of what it might have access to.
- GAME: Flipsides FAILS a TECHNICAL roll of High difficulty.
Nightstalker finds the going more challenging than he planned, and it takes him longer to cross the middle ground and climb the tower than he anticipated. However, when he gets to the top, he gates a tape-optic view of the launch tower. Inside, aerospace technicians and flight controllers monitor the few ships taking off and landing at the nearly empty terminal. From here, all the starbase can be surveyed - if Nightstalker can get inside.
Meanwhile, Topspin makes it to the fence, avoiding the Sweeps' sweeps. However, once he's in place, he's rather pinned down, having moved as far as he could without a break in their routine - which Firestar then expertly supplies.
"What the slag was that?" Curse spits. "Another Primus-damned petro-rabbit?"
"Huh, what?" Deadfall asks, barely awake as he slides through a mindless routine. "Better check it out."
"Better lick my atom wheels, you exhaust-sniffing chrome-gobbler!" Curse grouses but breaks off from the group to investigate.
Meanwhile Twidget and Flipsides each find different terminal access points. Twidget's was intended for ships to query departure and arrival information, transmit manifests, etc. The terminal was shut down when the perimeter was cut off, but some massaging could make it work again. Flipsides is in a former cargo processing station. The workstations have been destroyed, but with the access port she might be able to cull some interesting information as well - depending on what she is pursuing.
Nightstalker's claws fail him a few moments here and there, yet he perseveres, rising to the top of the tower. Flattening himself down to the surface, he lurks like a pro, mulling over how to get.. inside. Time to add on the sneak. Many do look at him and think of of another at first glance and this, he has no qualms about using to his advantage. Optics glint and shift hues, emblem masks over as a specific set of infiltration protocols are engaged. It's a mere cosmetic thing, but mechs tend to see what they expect. Once the mask is on, he creeps on silent feet, skulking in the shadows to slide into the tower.
- GAME: Nightstalker FAILS a TECHNICAL roll of Very High difficulty.
Topspin seizes on the opportunity Firestar offers and scales the fence, dropping over to the other side and immediately moving to cover. He doesn't have Nightstalker's stealth capabilities - he's just a Land & Sea assault operative doing what he can, not to get caught. His usual strength is his firepower, which isn't as useful for an infil mission. However, he doesn't what he can, scampering over cargo crates at the edge of the tarmac, using his practiced climbing skills to get on top of and between things others might not have the dexterity to attempt.
- GAME: Topspin FAILS a DEXTERITY roll of Above Average difficulty.
Twidget hrms and starts working on getting the connection re-established as she scrounges away on her datapad, nodding and silently humming along to some tune in her head...because you can't work without tunes....
- GAME: Twidget PASSES a TECHNICAL roll of High difficulty.
Now looking up and over her shoulder as Topspin makes it over, Firestar glances over at some of the haos. They need a bit more of an opening. And if one of the Sweeps comes on over they're' going to have merry hell to pay this spread out. But they can't make anything that might trip an alarm and they definitely can't..
So she goes to use one of the older tricks in the book. One of those labeled 'From the Files of Moonracer'. She goes to throw her voice over to the area where the ships were landed. "Pillage you aftpipe, stop puttin' firecrackers in the heads of those turborats! You know it makes Curse 'an Deadfall twitch!" Then going to deepen her voice again to throw it far off. "That's the fun uvvet! THe heads go bweep bweep BOOM.." "That's what the Sweeps are gonna do to YOU if they catch you aft for scrap!" Two numbskulls arguing. PRay to Primus something this dumb works.
- GAME: Firestar PASSES a COURAGE roll of Immense difficulty.
Flipsides is just a bit annoyed as she fails to find any real information though she knows the port she is at should have /something/ on it. Her drones continue to flit from one cover to another around her, staying low to the ground as the watch her back as she continues to work, the small Femme putting more focus on her work and uses some truly colorful languge under at barely audible as she tries to motivate herself.
- GAME: Flipsides PASSES a TECHNICAL roll of Very High difficulty.
Nightstalker successfully fades from sight, looking completely innocuous even if he was spotted. However, the tower's locked up tight. Unlike the Ark or Moonbase One, where anyone can just fly in and record what they like, the Decepticons have the windows sealed and no convenient ninja-vents for getting in. Nightstalker either must view from what he can from outside (and down from his vantage point) or try something a little more aggressive and dangerous.
Topspin, meanwhile, starts feeling a little brave again, as Firestar successfully keeps the Sweep patrols on a wild mech hunt. Crawling up the side of one of the cargo crates, Topspin suddenly hears and noise and starts.... sliding right down between two large containers. 'No problem,' he thinks, hunkering down until they pass. 'I'll just.... oh, great. I'm stuck. Oh, Primus, I'm so glad Springer isn't here....'
Twidget's quiet tunes don't get picked up by the Sweeps, and neither does her hacking, as she successfully gets into the base's security network. Sensors, weapons... oh, the toys to which she suddenly has access! If they weren't trying to be quiet, the damage that could be done... but even so, she's gotten enough control to help even the sneaky element.
"Ramjet? Barabat? Is that you? You gear-suckers better get back to your posts, or I'll take them firecrackers an' stick 'em in a port where you don't want 'em to go, you unnderstan' me?" Curse takes off after the voices in a rage, while Deadfall yawns and says, "Yeah. You get 'em, Curse," and immediately falls asleep at his own post. I guess not ALL the Sweeps are equally alert.
Flipsides, meanwhile, is guarded by drones as she hacks into the base's comm network. Reports flit by from the launchpad to Kaon, Polyhex, and Tarn, keeping Decepticon Command abreast of what's happening at the base. So far, as far as Flipsides can tell, the Decepticons think, 'Not much.'
Nightstalker finds himself wearing anothers mask, and staring at the tower with amusement, if some frustration. Tail lashing, he considers, looks up, to the side, then mechs the eff up and heads for the door. Lowering his head, and his voice to more of a growl, he puts on the air that he's -supposed- to be here, red optics glinting. Going for the 'walk in the front door like he owns it'. He rasps, tone amused, "Surprise, Security inspection. I do hope I catch you with something to report back." and flashes a toothy grin. bearings,.. of titanium.
- GAME: Nightstalker PASSES a COURAGE roll of Immense difficulty.
Topspin finds himself out of sight but stuck between two containers. Getting out quietly might take some doing, and he can't risk getting caught. However, his unique position, as it is, might offer its own opportunities. Topspin takes out his hand-laser and, under the cover of the massive cargo bay, tries to cut into one of the crates, to see just what the Decepticons are shipping in and out of here. If he does this right, he'll get some real information and they'll never know...
- GAME: Topspin FAILS a FIREPOWER roll of High difficulty.
Twidget looks over everything she's got access to and does the important stuff first, copies as much into her datapad as possible. Once the file transfer is underway, she looks at the security accesses... and the mischevious side gets in. Oh, yes there's a lot she can do to unleash raw chaos...but she behaves. Barely. She instead inserts the registry number for the Autobot shuttle Dominance as a known friendly, approved to approach and land uncontested...and just hides the clearance codes. ...and does the opposite with a number of the Decepticon shuttles listed as common arrivals and departures, flagging them as 'shoot on sight'...because she's gotta have a little fun.
- GAME: Twidget PASSES a TECHNICAL roll of Very High difficulty.
Think, think. They were getting some useful things here but they needed more time. Firestar dredges up memories. When Cybertron was mostly powered down, Shockwave would still leave sections of it on low power so in case there were skirmishes there the area could be quickly repowered and any personnel there could get a quick recharge. Going through her head and some technical knowledge.. While also going to that era that had little, little booze.. There were stories of Decepticons in those areas going to take in a quick 'buzz' of fuel by supercharging themselves by taking in a full load from one of said power towers to get overenergized. It was probably still something in the vogue, even on these days..
Wait. Sweeps were hardafts. Sot hey couldn't have engex here.. So, that would mean.. A few quick minor sweeps of a sensor scanner and she would go to put over her fingers to the surge, going to try and give it a few quick sparks. Going to try and tug it a bit to get some extra ampreages out of it down the line. A few system shorts to try and go ahead to see if she could get some distractions in.. Provided it would work, she would then call out as loud as she could 'across' the way.
"BENDER, PULL OUT YOUR PORT! THE SWEEPS ARE ON US! STOP JACKING ON! STOP JACKING ON!" That going in a howl right as some power 'pumps' would hopefully get some more attention from the ceesed off Sweeps."
Plan Moonracer a Go-Go would never, ever be mentioned to Chromia. At all. Ever again. Especially to Moonracer. Not in the slightest.
- GAME: Firestar PASSES a COURAGE roll of Extreme difficulty.
Flipsides frowns as she finds how.. easy it was to get in when she tries a particular path into the data, the Femmebot leaning back a bit in thought as she stares at it for a long moment. Then a flare of anger at all the damage done to the city hits her and her optics narrow as she focuses again adn goes to work as she tries to slip a virus into those reports to randomly send the reports to the wrong places... as well as trigger a alarm at the far side of the city, well awy from where they currently on.. a alarm calling out a infestation of Scarplets.
- GAME: Flipsides PASSES a TECHNICAL roll of Immense difficulty.
- Flipsides looks around, peeking over the edge of her cover as she reaches out to tap her comms and sends out a warning to the team there, low key and directional to limit any chance of interception, << Triggering a alarm. Farside of city. >>
Flipsides pauses before adding, << Of a Scraplets infestation. >>
The cons in the tower jump to attention. Even if Ravage lost some rank in the recent restructuring, everyone knows he has the audial of Soundwave, and no one wants to get on his bad side. "Of course, sir! You'll see our security is as top notch as ever!" Airfoil looks around wildly, with the clearly guilty look of someone who's been caught. He quickly pulls up the guard listings. "There, see, ever--- CURSE? WHY AREN'T YOU AT YOUR POST?" He glances back at Nightstalker, panicked.
In between his container crates, Topspin frowns as his hand-laser fails to cut through one of the crates. What's IN these things?
Meanwhile, Twidget's alternations will be sure to a) bypass security for their next visit, and b) cause some havoc between now and then. A warning comes up across the system - scraplets on the eastern side of Hydrax! Cascading alarms start going all over the system.
Back on the western edge of the fence, Firestar's antics have woken Deadfall and he goes to help Curse - who suddenly gets yelled at by Airfoil in the tower for not being at his post. "Since when does that wing-flap care about anything outside his own canopy," Curse growls, turning so quickly he runs right into Deadfall. "Out of my way, nozzle-smoker!" he yells, shoving his fellow Sweep aside and making for the fence as chaos starts to erupt around the base.
Not-Ravage turns his head to stare at the one looking about wildly, narrowing optics. "Well.. I'll be the judge of that." he rumbles, slinking from shadow to shadow. He leaps up onto a console, pats at an access slot with a paw, extending a wrist-jack then turns to glare, "Access reports. Patrol reports.. and you..." staring at Airfoil, "Why aren't they at their posts?" Intent to skim-pull active security rosters while being his essential evil twin*tm.
- GAME: Nightstalker PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of High difficulty.
"OK. Think, Topspin. With your CPU, not your gun!" Topspin looks around. As chaos erupts, he slips into the cargo containers. Instead of wrecking anything, he gets copies of any shipping manifests and pallet labels he can. He may not know what he's seeing, but that's OK - Jazz might. When he's gotten all he thinks he can, he slips out, and heads for the fence. Time to get everyone home.
- GAME: Topspin PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of Below Average difficulty.
Twidget leaves the alarm to run their stuff...and checks her file transfer to see how far along it is to load up her datapad with things. Though, that alarm will cut things short...she terminates what she has and goes to set up the sentries to treat the sentries as hostile entities for a brief time, just to cover their withdrawl. << This could get...crazy. I'm wrapping up here. >> She tucks her datapad away once the commands are sent, and starts to skitter her way out. Ignore the lizard!
- GAME: Twidget FAILS a TECHNICAL roll of High difficulty.
Okay, okay. They're having to fall back while the Decepticons are getting distracted and starting to go on about things. What can she do, what can she do.. Wait. The guards have been on a particular patrol pattern so far. With minor abberations. But, the Sweeps are rather focused to the point of obsessiveness. So.. THere are a number of things around her. Straining, Firestar goes to start moving around soem fo the heavy things and electronics about her. Not breaking them.. But, hopefully with all of the systmes fritzy they won't register movement AND later on the technicians will have to deal with /lots/ of minor placement issues since the delicate electronics are all several meters out of place as she goe sto play a bit of Tetris overwith hulking, bulky things about her.
- GAME: Firestar PASSES a STRENGTH roll of Above Average difficulty.
Flipsides flicks a finger, shifting a few particular reports to her internal storage as she continues to set up the virus she delved into it for a relayed reaction.. a total shutdown of the sensors of the city when a certain command is sent should the Autobots decide to launch a attack to retake the City.
- GAME: Flipsides PASSES a TECHNICAL roll of Immense difficulty.
"I'll go investigate immediately!" Airfoil yells a bit too loudly, and FLEES the control room. The other Seekers do their level best not to make optic-contact, giving 'Ravage' the run of the place. "Scraplet outbreak detected in Sector 3," Vandal says quietly, without looking up from his panel. "You overgrown photovoltaic pussycat," he mutters darkly.
Vandal then frowns. "No wait. System says it's a false alarm." He shakes his head. "Afthelmets," he adds, to no one in particular.
Topspin gets away with some low-level intelligence, letting the Bots know what the Cons are actually DOING with the base. Twidget adds to the chaos, as the sentries start going haywire. Firestar's tampering is more subtle but will have longer-ranging damage on the poor Sweeps' psyches. Finally, Flipsides gets in the last insult, as the city sensors are primed to be shut down at the flip of a switch. Not bad for one cycle's work.
It's back on the bridge of the Dominance where Firestar is cackling over with glee and giggling. "I haven't had that much fun in astro parsecs. Good going team. I think we've done a good bit of work for a followup if we decide to try and take it out." Now they're going back to Iacon with some useful intelligence and some poor nervous wrecks of Cons left behind.