Log Title: Major Bludd to the Rescue!

Characters: Anne Albrecht, Kimber Benton, Major Bludd, Incinerator 8299, Lowdown, Synergy

Kimber Benton

Kimber Benton

Location: Los Angeles, California

Date: December 22, 2016

TP: America Burning TP

Summary: Major Bludd attempts to save Synergy from a burning building.

As logged by Kimber - Thursday, December 22, 2016, 7:02 PM

Starlight Mansion

Cobra has taken over Los Angeles. With their troops spread thin, most of the peace is maintained through BATs deployed on what seems like every corner of the city. Checkpoints have been set up, and citizens are regularly scanned by the BATs. Some are hauled off to detention; most are left alone to proceed with their lives under this new normal.

However, not all Cobra personnel are BATs. The BATs are deployed with a thin backup of regular Vipers and Troopers. One of these, Incinerator 8299, is enjoying herself a little too much. With no authorities besides Cobra, she's been using her special tools to do what she likes to do best -- light things on fire.

Kimber has been enjoying Bludd's presence, especially as things have calmed down and resumed some since of normality. Travel is still restricted across the city, but Kimber and Anne have at least been able to go far enough to get some groceries, under the ever-watchful optic bands of the city's BATs. Tonight is Anne's turn to cook, and she's whipped up something for Bludd, Kimber, and the Starlight Girls. Dinner is almost ready when there's a sudden flicker of light.

The ghostly form of a strange, floating blue-haired woman appears, distress evident in her wide, pupilless blue eyes. "Kimber!" she exclaims in a faint, echoing voice. "You have to help me!" The apparition is in near panic. Bludd might recognize the voice from his old phone-tag conversations with Kimber. It's Synergy.

Lowdown has been tasked with reconnaissance today. Given the situation, it wouldn't have been his top choice, but if he's lucky it will set the Joes up for success in the near future. And if he's REALLY lucky, he'll find an excuse to start some trouble. The sniper moves through the shadowed alleyways and, when feasible, across rooftops as he surveys the situation.

Life may have taken on a sense of normality at the mansion, but Bludd hasn't let his guard down. Not much, anyway. He still makes regular circuits of the mansion grounds and checks the rooms from time to time. Otherwise, though, he's settling in to the oddity of being, well, the man of the house, as he's the only man in it. Kimber and the girls know how to run things around here so he mostly assists where he's needed: lifting heavy things, getting things down from high shelves, opening stubborn peanut butter jars.

He's leaning against the doorjamb in the kitchen, watching on with a smile as Anne prepares dinner, when Synergy appears. He's alert in a moment, though the voice is indeed very familiar. He steps up to stand next to Kimber anyway.

Meanwhile, Incinerator 8299 has happened upon a new target: the studios and offices of Starlight Music. With no specific ill-will towards the Holograms themselves -- she rather liked some of their hits in the 80s -- she's nonetheless joyfully set the building on fire. Now she stands and watches it burn from across the street, fervent delight dancing across her face as flames lick farther and farther up the side of the building.

Kimber squeaks, "Oh, no! What's wrong, Synergy?"

The holographic avatar looks pained, and glances back over her shoulder at something only she can see. "Kimber! Starlight Music is on fire! No one else is here, and I have no way to escape! You have to come and save me, Kimber! I'll be burned alive!"

Kimber's eyes get as big as saucers, and she turns immediately to Bludd. "Sebastian!" she cries. "We're not allowed to leave our neighborhood! How will we get past the BATs?"

Lowdown finds a nice rooftop roost to hunker down and observe from. And by some odd chance of fate, it happens to be overlooking Starlight Studios! He's got a sniper's eye view of the conflagration below, sighting in through the scope of his CheyTac rifle and watching as the Incinerator delights in her chosen profession. In truth, he can't really fault her. He loves his job just as much.

Bludd gazes at the wispy form of Synergy for a few moments as he processes Kimber's request. "How far from here is Starlight Music?" he asks, pondering the placement of the BATs and the ways he might evade their notice. "And will you be able to disguise me if I head out?" he asks Synergy. "If you make me look like a Cobra troop the BATs ought to be less likely to pester me."

Incinerator 8299 watches Starlight Music burn. The BATs have cleared the area of workers, so no one should be in danger -- not that 8299 would particularly care one way or another. I mean, she wouldn't go out of her way to set something in fire just because it was, say, full of kids... but if something really pretty just happened to be full of kids and she wanted to burn it anyway, she probably wouldn't hesitate, because priorities.

Kimber seems ready to panic as well. "It's not too far -- just inside the city -- but there is at least one checkpoint in between here and there, because we saw it when we went shopping!"

While Kimber gets more riled up, Synergy seems to calm. Glancing back over her shoulder again, she then focuses her pupilless gaze at Bludd and says, "I can try to keep up a disguise as long as I can, but as the flames get closer, the heat is overtaxing my systems."

Behind Kimber, Anne puts down her cooking spoon and frowns. "Wait a minute -- you're not thinking of going out there and leaving us alone, are you? I mean, I'm sorry, but Synergy is just a computer -- we have the Starlight Girls to think of!"

Bludd nods at Synergy, then glances to Kimber as Anne voices a protest. He turns to the girl. "I am," he says simply. He's used to giving orders without explaining all the reasons behind them, and this is little different. "Lemme grab my sidearm, then Synergy, you can guide me there." He darts out of the room before waiting for anyone's response.

Lowdown's sight tracks slowly up toward the building, peering into the windows. He hasn't seen any evidence of life in that building thus far, but still better to verify before clarifying orders to either leave it be or put an end to these shenanigans. He makes sure his sound suppressor is firmly attached before activating his radio, "Lowdown, recon mission to Lima Alpha. We've got an Incinerator playing firebug with civilian structures. Requesting further orders."

Anne looks stunned as Bludd just shuts her down, and Kimber calms a bit, feeling instantly better knowing Bludd will once again take care of everything. Kimber follows Bludd as he gets his gun, and Synergy follows as well, simply floating along since simulating a walk would take extra processing power. "As what type of Cobra soldier would you like to appear?" Synergy asks. "I'll see what I can do." Kimber grabs Bludd's arm adoringly, wanting to help although likely just slowing him down.

"Better do a regular old Viper," Bludd tells Synergy as he checks his pistol, then puts on his chest holster and drops the gun into it. "They've got the mirrored helmets. Nobody can recognise a Viper with his helmet on. And I'd appreciate a heads-up as to your capabilities to maintain the disguise as we go along. If it's going to falter I wanna be prepared." He pauses to place a hand over Kimber's on his arm. "Be back soonest, love," he tells her, placing a kiss on her forehead before moving for the door. "Which way'm I going from here?"

Lowdown sends a radio transmission. Lowdown receives his orders and opts to stay quiet and continue watching for the time being...

With a flicker of light, a mirrored helmet forms over Bludd's head, just as he's leaning in to kiss Kimber's forehead, giving away the illusion as the 'helmet' fails to stop the kiss or bonk Kimber on the head. Within moments Bludd's body is covered as well with a standard Viper uniform, complete with the number 366 emblazoned on the ID points. Synergy herself disappears, but Bludd can hear her voice coming from the necklace Kimber gave him, as she says, "I'll give you as much warning as I can if things get dire."

"Good luck!" squeaks Kimber, as she gives Viper Bludd a quick hug and then releases him to go be a Big Damn Hero and save a computer.

Bludd takes a moment to gaze down at the disguise. He nods his approval and heads out, moving at a jog down the path leading to the mansion, turning as he reaches the gate in whichever direction Synergy advises him.

He slows to a brisk walk as he approaches the checkpoint Kimber mentioned, near the edge of the neighbourhood. He walks toward the androids as if they're not even there, intending on moving straight past them and quickly on toward Starlight Music.

Incinerator 8299 stands outside Starlight Music, watching with almost religious (or carnal) fervor as flames lick up the building and gradually work their way inside the workspace. The front office window shatters from the heat, and gold records start to melt down the walls as the fire slowly makes their way back towards the studios and the irreplaceable electronic equipment stored back there. Behind her red helmet, 8299's breath quickens.

Lowdown's methodical scrutiny of the flaming building has yielded one hell of a question - why hasn't the building's fire extinguishing system activated yet?

The BATs scan Bludd as he moves past him, but Synergy's illusion holds and they let him past.

It's quite evident that the Starlight Music building is a fully involved fire by now. Most people would be trying to get away from the place for fear parts of it might start falling off. Bludd moves toward it, spying the Incinerator standing before the place. He ducks into an alley to approach the building without being in full sight of the troop who in all likelihood started the blaze. "We're here," he mutters into the necklace wrapped round his wrist. "I'm gonna try going in the back. Where's your computer bank?"

"Towards the back of the building, thankfully, although the fire is moving closer by the minute -- soon it might be too dangerous for you to approach." Synergy's voice pauses before continuing, "I don't want to die, but I don't want you to die, either, trying to save me. Kimber would be crushed. Just... if you can, try to get in and at least save my memory. Everything else, I hope, can be rebuilt."

Lowdown starts examine the building's windows more closely, looking for any sort of fire suppression systems. Being a recording studio, it's fairly likely that they don't have a simple water sprinkler system. That would really mess with all the fancy recording equipment. Halon, on the other hand... The building might just have that.

Bludd ducks in a back entrance and heads for Synergy's computer bank, noting the heat he can already feel. No alarms, no sprinklers. "Something is very wrong here," he mutters as he runs, following Synergy's directions.

Incinerator 8299 spots what looks like a Viper making a beeline for the back of the building she set on fire. "Hey!" she calls out. "Don't go in there! It's on fire!" She raises the barrel of her flamethrower, and chases after the Viper, trying to stop him before he gets himself in over his head and burns himself up. He's just a Viper, but that still doesn't mean she should just let him die if she can help it.

Lowdown frowns as he catches movement in the edge of his sight. Not only does it look like someone entering the building, but now the Incinerator seems to be chasing after them. Crap. He breaks radio silence for permission to... do... something... ?

Bludd hears the voice somewhere behind him, but ignores it and presses on until he finds the room where Synergy's computer self resides. Unfortunately it's down a hall that's dangerously ablaze. He grabs a conveniently-placed fire extinguisher and fires it down the hallway. The mostly-liquid chemical douses the fire quite effectively where it hits, and Bludd uses it to chase the fire out of his intended path to Synergy's room.

Synergy appears again in front of Bludd, pointing out what Bludd needs to grab. "Now, once you pull the memory, I'll go offline and you'll lose your disguise! Thank you so much, Sebastian! I literally owe you my life!" Synergy flickers back out, shutting down so she doesn't become corrupted when Bludd yanks her memory.

Behind Bludd, Incinerator 8299 gives chase, unafraid of the fire around her. "Viper! Get out of here! It's just a music studio! There's nothing decent to steal!"

-Right, the disguise.- Bludd had forgotten about that. It wouldn't matter except for the troop behind him...

Keeping his back to the door, he removes the memory as instructed and tucks it away, then draws his sidearm as his Viper diguise dissolves. He keeps his back to the door and waits for her to come in.

Incinerator 8299 hurries into the room where Synergy until recently resided, and stops short. "What are you doing?" she asks to the back of the -- wait, wasn't there a Viper in here? Who's this guy? Alarmed, the Incinerator brings up her flamethrower. "Turn around slowly," she orders. "One wrong move, and I'll light you up!" She sounds like she'd love the opportunity to turn someone into a human torch.

Bludd quickly draws his sidearm and aims it behind him, glancing toward the Incinerator without fully turning his head. Which of them is quicker on the trigger? Though being shot doesn't bother him, the idea of being set on fire gives him momentary pause. With Synergy's memory module tucked up against his chest, he snaps off a couple shots in rapid succession, hitting the Incinerator's arms to force her to release her flamethrower. As insurance that she doesn't see his face, he hip-checks her into the doorjamb on his way out, a move he hopes will only stun her, because nobody deserves to be burnt alive. He dashes back down the hallway and back through the building, emerging on the street and utilising whatever alleyways and shadows he can find as he makes his way back toward Starlight Mansion.

Incinerator 8299 is stunned, and barely makes it out alive. Who was that that strange man? She can't say, but for Kimber and Synergy, the day is saved.

Back at the Mansion, Kimber waits anxiously for Bludd's return, worried both for his safety and for Synergy's. Occasionally she glares at Anne for suggesting that Bludd should simply leave Synergy to die.

Bludd returns to the mansion, Synergy's memory module hidden in his jacket, the sidearm tucked away in its holster. He's somewhat sooty, but seems unharmed. He looks around as he enters. "Everybody alright?" he calls.

"Oh my GAWD!" Kimber emits a high-pitched shriek, and pounces Bludd as soon as she sees him. "Oh, no! You smell like smoke! Are you OK? Is Synergy OK?" She looks around, like maybe she expects Synergy to have walked right in beside him.

Bludd gives Kimber a squeeze with the arm that's not holding the module to his chest under the jacket. "I'm fine, love." He unzips his jacket and takes out the memory module. "The whole machine was too big for one man to move, even if the place hadn't been on fire," he explains. "But Synergy told me how to remove her memory, and said the rest could be rebuilt." He holds out the module to Kimber, studying her face for her reaction.

Kimber's light eyes once again widen to what seem like dinner-plate size (how does she do that?) and she accepts the memory device with reverent caution. "I'll get Aja and Rio to look at this as soon as they can get through the checkpoints," she says quietly. With tears in her eyes, she murmurs, "Thanks so much, Sebastian. I can never repay you for this." She leans up and gently kisses him, and then prepares to take Synergy somewhere safe until she can be rebuilt.

Bludd smiles down at Kimber. "Way I see it, I owe you over that whole kidnapping deal," he says quietly. "Least I could do." He regards the memory device in her hands. "I hope they can set her up with a new machine," he says. He returns her gentle kiss and looks down at himself, smirking. "I think I need a shower. Smells like somebody's barbecue disaster in here."

Kimber's eyes light up mischievously. "Tell you what," she says conspiratorially, quietly so the other girls can't hear. "You start that shower, and as soon as I get Synergy squared away I'll join you for your reward." She gives Bludd an exaggerated wink, and then saunters off, wiggling her bony little butt just in case Bludd's watching.

Bludd beams after Kimber. "You are on," he says, heading upstairs, taking the steps two at a time as he goes.

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