Log Title: Return to L.A.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: 7 February 2017
As logged by Major Bludd
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.
Los Angeles remains under Cobra rule. Things have calmed down to a new normal of checkpoints and BAT brigades marching down the street - curfews and rations. Most Los Angelinos have played along, but some have launched protests -- only to be brutally put down by Cobra Commander's troops, both android and human. Some Cobra Vipers feel a little uneasy now that the dog has actually caught the car and need to figure out what to do with it -- other Cobra are reveling in their new power.
The first time he came into Los Angeles after Cobra's takeover, it was early days and the chaos caused by the biker gangs helped to keep Bludd from being noticed. Now, with life settling down and BATs on every corner, it's going to be more complicated. "Synergy," he says quietly into the necklace bound round his wrist, "what's your estimate of success at disguising both me and Raya as Vipers until we get to the mansion? I have a plan B, in case you don't think it's a great idea."
Synergy's voice comes quietly through the necklace: "Visual and audial disguise: 100%," she claims with absolute certainty. "I've had time to study them from afar since my return. However, I can't provide radio codes or convincing IDs -- I just have the data yet. You'd have to keep your distance."
Raya looks at Bludd. She's obviously worried, but she keeps her concerns to herself, bravely placing her safety and trust in Bludd's hands.
Bludd nods. "Excellent." He turns to Raya. "Follow my lead, let me do the talking." Into the necklace, he says, "Let's have those disguises, please, Synergy. Quicker we get started the quicker we'll be back at the mansion." Or in very hot water, but he's optimistic.
"You got it!" Synergy replies through the necklace. "Showtime!" There's a shimmer of light, and then Bludd seems to be seeing the world through the slight distortion of a Cobra Viper helmet.
Next to him, Raya is suddenly dressed the same. She looks at her hands, turning them over to examine the details on the gloves. Glancing back up at Bludd, she nods. "I'm ready," she says quietly, straightening up and trying to carry herself less like a frightened musician and more like an evil shock trooper.
Thusly disguised, Bludd heads into the city, occasionally conferring with Raya for confirmation with regard to directions toward the mansion. He tries to take a path that will avoid as many checkpoints as possible, moving through alleys and other infrequently-travelled places. With his knowledge of Cobra's general operating procedures, he's confident he can at least talk his way through most any situation they come across.
Bludd and Raya are disguised as Vipers, making their way through Cobra-occupied Los Angeles on foot. Through Bludd's craftiness and Raya's home-turf navigating advantage, they've escaped notice more or less so far -- although finally has the lack of luck to run by someone he might recognize -- the Incinerator who tried to set him on fire back at Starlight Music -- easily identified by the Bludd-given injury on her arm. Spotting the Vipers, the Incinerator waves. "Hey, guys! Come watch this!" she yells, brandishing her flamethrower.
Bludd squashes his officer-instinct to press the Incinerator for the details on why she's out here randomly setting things on fire instead of being actually useful to Cobra. With an inward sigh, he turns his mirror-helmeted head toward Raya and nods toward the flamethrower-wielding troop. "Better play along for now," he mutters. He stalks over toward the Incinerator and throws on his American accent. "You got a show for us, firebug?" he asks, sounding like just such a diversion would liven up his boring day.
"I certainly do!" the Incinerator says, sounding perky and excited. She's definitely in the camp of 'reveling in the power' category, especially with supervising officers thin on the ground -- the BATs don't tend to criticize her for burning down things with no strategic value. 8299 has set up a variety of highly flammable and explosive objects in a chain along the street, leaving to a massive SUV limo filled with barrels of gasoline. "Watch THIS!" she yells, and triggers her flamethrower, setting off explosions like a chain of firecrackers on a massive scale.
Bludd glances incredulously up the street at the line of flammable objects. Fortunately his expression isn't visible through his holographic faceplate. He conjures an impressed reaction to keep his cover, giving a whoop of delight as the explosions go off in sequence.
Raya is more startled, looking at Bludd and doing what she can to hold it together in the face of such gleeful arson. "Wha-whoop?" is all she can manage, and then quickly shuts her mouth, since she obviously doesn't sound like a confident Cobra Viper.
The Incinerator doesn't seem to notice, however. "Wasn't that awesome?" she yells. Her face is hidden behind her mask, but her body language conveys unrestrained glee at the destruction she's caused.
The chain reaction is certainly impressive for anyone who doesn't mind mindless destruction. But Bludd, and others would hear something fairly ominous in the distance....something that should certainly be impossible.
A sonic boom that is way too close to the ground...
by the time the sonic boom fades, the incinerator would look down just in time to see a yellow streak fly past.....and one of the BATs get its head ripped off.
"Super awesome," Bludd agrees, moving on in more-or-less the same direction as before. "We gotta get back to our patrol --" His head whips around toward the unusual sound, and flinches as the sonic boom washes over him. "The hell is that?" he barks, barely managing to keep his American accent in place in his surprise.
Raya jumps at the sonic boom, almost falling down at the sound and the streak of yellow.
The Incinerator is just as shocked, especially after the BAT falls to the ground, headless. "What the HELL?" the Incinerator gasps. She looks around, trying to figure out the cause of the attack. "Stay here," she warns the 'Vipers'. "I'll get help." Hoisting up her flamethrower, the Incinerator takes off towards the nearest Cobra outpost.
As soon as the Incinerator is out of visual range, Bludd and Raya resume their path, adjusting it as necessary based on the Incinerator's movements. If she's getting help, she's heading in a direction they don't want to go. He's concerned with the damage done to the BAT, but that's a problem for another time, and probably somebody other than Bludd.
As Bludd adjusts his path he might spot a HISS tank suddenly floating off the ground with a pair of cobra pilots scrambling out of it before it's rather nicely crushed into a square.
In another direction, a very large black man actually LIFTS a HISS tank off the ground and throws it, almost effortlessly.
It's only when Bludd and Raya, still in their uniforms, make their way into an alleyway, that a yellow suited blonde woman suddenly blurrs into existence....right in front of them. "And here I thought You Vipers were only about yourselves....." Says Rock One.
Bludd comes to an abrupt halt as the blonde woman appears before him. "What do -you- want?" he growls. "Citizens are to stay in their neighbourhoods."
Major Bludd and Hologram Raya are moving through Los Angeles disguised as Vipers, courtesy of Synergy. A yellow-suited blonde woman who moves far faster than a human has a right to has accosted them in an alley.
Alley-Viper 910 is walking past the alley while on her way to her regular patrol. She notices the woman and the two Vipers and calls out, "Everything cool here?"
"You're in my neighborhood, Viper. I don't think Bionic One will mind a couple of prisoners while IQ and Sport One continue to wreck things here." Her eyes, hidden behind shades, look towards the alley viper as she speaks up.....but doesn't say anything....yet.
Bludd has no idea who this odd woman is talking about, but he knows a threat when he hears one. As luck would have it, however, help has unwittingly arrived. He glances over at the Alley-Viper. "We got a rule-breaker here," he says in an American accent. "Keep an eye on her while we go for backup." He nudges Raya's arm and the two of them begin to move off down the alley at a jog.
Alley-Viper 910 moves towards the blonde woman, saying, "You're going to have to come with me. Cobra Commander has made it clear the responsibility of Civillians in occupied territories."
"How about.....no." the blonde woman says before she speeds down a side alleyway. She really is fast.....extremely fast.
Bludd and Raya detour back toward their original target, Starlight Mansion, as soon as they're out of sight of the Alley-Viper. "Like to know who the hell that is," Bludd comments quietly.