The Unclean Spirit Entered pt 1

Log Info

Title: The Unclean Spirit Entered pt 1
Emitter: Amy, extra special (Bacon and Mushroom) thanks to Linus for rules advice!
Characters: Alia, Amy, Jerry, Samantha
NPCs: Assorted Russians
Place: Moscow, Russian Federation
Time: mid-morning
Summary: Following a lead, our young heroes venture to Moscow to investigate the mysterious Dog Star Entertainment.

In a quiet city park outside of Steranko's little bubble of quasi-reality, Amy paces next to a stone bench, sipping at a bottle of water ahd checking her watch about every thirty seconds. The park itself is empty at this hour, and the neighborhood has very little in the way of traffic. The perfect place for a trip like this to begin..

As random chance would have it, Samantha's the next to show up. She's wearing her typical faded jeans and sneakers, a forest-green long-sleeve knit top, and a black nylon windbreaker, and she has her black backpack/laptop bag slung over one shoulder. "Hey," she says as she walks up.

Alia flies over about as covertly as she can, which when she can phase /through/ things, is actually not too shabby for a figure made of glowing light. She's currently wearing a black bodysuit with red lines, though her body is currently glowing a faint green, "So, all we need is Jerry then." She smiles and nods towards Samantha and Amy.

Jerry ambles up, dressed somewhat warmly for this time of year, plus with a backpack on his back - even the side pouches are zipped up and full with things. Clipped to his belt is a small flashlight, and a couple of secured weatherproof maps are barely visible in one pocket. He whistles the theme to 'From Russia With Love' as he walks up. "Everyone ready? Anyone need to go, because this is a non-stop flight; once I build up the needed velocity, it's really hard for me to create it again."

"I'm good," Samantha answers. "What's the in-flight movie?" Yeah, that would be her hiding her nerves about what the group is about to do behind trying to be funny.

Thankfully, no one is present to watch the four would-be heroes assemble, and anyone who did would probably write it off as kids getting ready for a hiking trip, given the big backpacks being carried by Amy, Samantha and Jerry. Alia, on the other hand, would probably make the eleven o'clock news.

For Amy, it's apparent this is the most surreal moment in a life that's more or less been one, long Dali painting. "Bathroom…Eh…yeah, lemme take care of that." she says, scampering off behind a nearby tree to deal with that issue. On returning, she gathers up her pack and gives everyone an apologetic grin. "Sorry, nervous bladder." she chuckles, pulling her ear buds out and stuffing them into her ears as she hefts the pack over her shoulders.

Sam sing-songs, "W-T-M-I…" as if it was the call letters of a radio station.

Alia glances over at Jerry, "I believe I'm all set, then." She then materializes, her glow fading as she shrugs, "I think this will be easier if I actually have mass, for the moment."

Jerry nods as they form up and closes his eyes in concentration. His kinetic field blooms around him and settles into a purple foxfire of light around the group, and he kicks off from the ground. It's a weird and disconcerting feeling, as they don't feel any movement inside the field, but the ground suddenly drops away like in a Looney Tunes cartoon - the sky leaps forward at them, rotates in a huge starry mass as the boy banks, rolls, and levels out - then there is a soft dull sound as they go supersonic - and they speed on through the night.

The Steranko Institute: Jerry spends a hero point.

As the Earth drops away from them, the quartet get a stunning view of Cove City, spread out beneath them like a banquet of neon and warm amber light. Then things start getting more interesting as they begin to accelerate.

"Whoa," Samantha says in a quiet, somewhat awed tone that goes well with the similarly-awed expression on her face, as the TK field forms and the group lifts off. Not long after, she's pointing down toward the Cove City burbs passing underneath, saying, "There's my house! Hi, Mom, hi, Dad…" Yeah, that would be more of the nerves-driven joking around.

Alia blinks, then smiles a bit, "Fascinating…" She seems all too used to this type of travel, or at least she's not really fazed by it as the world seems to blur and spin beneath them, watching the pinpoints of light with a curious expression.

Jerry took a Five-hour-energy drink before this flight, which is a good thing - even at his top speed, it takes about three hours to pass over the West Coast and strike out over the Pacific Ocean. He takes out a small GPS and refers to a foldout map a couple of times, since he's mainly just ballparking it now. Hw swings wide to avoid Japan, then as they begin to approach Russian airspace he lowers down to nape-of-Earth flight, hoping to scoot in under the radar and be small enough to not show up on anything else. The last thing he needs on his Permanent Record is 'started international incident'. The heroes boom over the snow-covered Ukraine, sticking to the massive mountain ranges and low-hanging clouds whenever possible. As they approach the coords, though, Jerry bleeds off their energy into quantum string dimensions, killing their velocity back to subsonic and hovering just above the treetops. They're on the outskirts of the vast metropolis, and he drops them down near a road. He takes several deep breaths and cracks open a granola bar to munch on. "Holy cats, that's the furthest I've ever flown. Whew. By the way, I hope the heck someone actually speaks Russian." He waves a small phrase book. "I think I'll be more liable to wind up married to someone's cow if I try to use this thing."

"Oh _fuck me_." Amy breathes as they finally make landfall. "Just….._fuck me_…." she repeats, shaking her head repeatedly and rather pointedly not letting go of Jerry just yet. Not until her brains catch up with the rest of her body, she swears they're still somewhere over the Urals at the moment. Nine hours is a long time to do what they've just been doing. "Please tell me we can take Jet Blue home…"

Moscow, Russia, 1046hrs
To give credit where credit is due, the quartet had the good sense to set down in a place unlikely to be observed, whether or not their arrival was registered by Moskva PVO remains an open question at this moment. Arriving in a suburb just outside of the great ring road surrounding the city has made for a quiet arrival, but to get anywhere else may require transport. Hope somebody's got cab fare.

"Holy carp, Jerry, that was awesome." That would be Samantha, and yes, she did say 'carp'. "So, what's the plan from here? Subway, or…?" In her backpack, her laptop has already spun up, and she's mentally consulting the maps she downloaded in preparation for the trip, along with Jerry's GPS for a location fix. "Nearest station is… that way," she points.

Alia hrms, "Well, I admit I did not take any Russian lessons prior to my arrival." She frowns, "And my request for a universal translator has not been fulfilled yet. Hopefully that will be done soon, but for now…" A faint nod towards Sam, "That seems like the best approach."

Jerry flashes a smile at Amy. "Nope; we're in the country illegally, and have no passports anyway. The best we could do is claim some protection under Alia and go to Russia's Eisn embassy if they have one. So, don't let me get shot or it's a long walk to a NATO nation," he grins. "We're also walking, unless you think they'll take American money. Which they might well do; I brought a couple hundred in small bills, so we might be able to get them changed at a tourist center or bank or something. Subway sounds excellent. Thank God for Gorbachev and American Express; our cards should still work fine."

"Eh….that'll be one hell of a hike." Amy points out, fishing out the Moscow Metro map that she printed out earlier from her pocket and unfolding it to peer at it. "We're headed for the Vystavochnaya station." she says, the Russian word slipping uneasily from her tongue. "And we're like….eh….someplace down….here…" she says, measuring the distance with her fingers. "I dunno if we really wanna walk around Moscow that far." she says, then sniffles, shuddering a little. "Frak it's cold…"

She isn't kidding. In Cove City, for the locals, this part of October's the beginning of real jacket weather. In Moscow, right now, it's about 37 degrees, rain drizzling down the ugly, red brick edifices from the glory days of Marxism-Lennism which stand incongruously with new construction. Such as the McDonald's across the street from the entrance to the Metro. The locals don't seem to pay too much head to the youths, preferring to keep their heads tucked down beneath their umbrellas and walk briskly to wherever it is they're going.

"Geez. I think you'd have to be actually /trying/ to design buildings this ugly," Sam comments. "Just /not/ trying to make them look /good/ wouldn't turn out this bad." She's headed toward the Metro station, and reaching out ahead of herself with her powers, to see how the fare system works. "Oh, bonus. It's like a smart card system, kinda like E-Z Pass on the toll roads back home. People just walk through. I've got this."

Jerry -puts up his hood, having prepared somewhat for the cold; at least he checked the weather before they left but it's gotten colder since then. "Let's get into the Metro, and go from there, OK?" he says. He smiles at Sam. "Wow, thanks!" he grins.

Alia wrinkles her nose, "Rather frigid, here… glad I wore an insulated outfit." And she takes out a coat and puts it over her outfit, looking to blend in at least a little better. Her hair, of course, covers her ears, as she glances around at the various buildings, "Lead on, then."

"My…other clothes are warm enough, hopefully." Amy sighs, shaking herself a little as she falls into step with the others. "I cannot believe I am here." she chuckles. "Thanks Sam, glad somebody's thought this through a little." she smirks as they queue up to enter the Metro station. "And the buildings, the old ones anyway, were all built during the Bad Old Days, when the people pretended to work as long as the government kept pretending to pay them." she comments. "Back in the USSR." she sings to herself. "You don't know how lucky you are, boy…."

The Moscow Metro system is famous throughout the world as being one of the few things that the Soviets didn't bugger up completely. Ever paranoid, Stalin ordered theat the tunnels be driven _deep_, deep enough for the Soviets to confidently predict they could act as bomb and fallout shelters should the Cold War ever turn too hot. Though this station lacks some of the opulence of the inner city stations, it is surprisingly clean and reasonably well-organized. Even at this time of day, the place is busy and, in a stroke of luck, a few high school age kids are present, so the presence of a few more doesn't seem to matter, even if they are very obviously foreigners. The only one who might really draw attention is Alia, but her coat masks much of her outfit and her eyes, well, who's to say if they really saw a glow or not?

Once in the station, Samantha pauses for a moment to try to get some of the cold rain out of her hair. Her windbreaker kept the rest of her reasonably dry, but now she's wishing it had a hood, or she'd brought a hat. She shivers a little, glad to now be in the relative warmth of the station. "Damn, it /is/ cold out there. I brought a sweat jacket in my pack I can wear under this jacket, but I didn't want to take out out out there and have it get all wet." As she's speaking, she's also paying attention to the fare gates as other people pass through them, and noting how their fare cards interact with the system. "I'm ready to head in if you guys are," she says a few beats later.

Alia nods, "Let's do this and get this out of the way, then." She actually pulls a hat out of her coat pocket, the long leather trench-coat seeming quite stylish for her. Putting on the hat, it's actually a Russian fur hat, seeming quite authentic as Alia comments, "A gift from the Russian ambassador." Her lips quirk a bit, as she lets Sam do her thing.

Jerry nods to Samantha, preparing to follow her instructions if any. He sticks close to the girls and keeps a casual watch out for anyone that seems to be paying them undue attention. "Sweet," he grins at Alia.

"Heh, cute hat." Amy chuckles, settling down somewhat as she begins to realize that the fear she harbors of a KGB officer laying a firm hand on her shoulder to lead her off to some terrible prison any second is just paranoia and not real. "Yeah, let's get this show on the road. I've got the map." she calls. "We're gonna have to change from the orange line to the purple at Kitaj-Gorod."

The Steranko Institute: Samantha spends a hero point.

Sam's first card swipe is rewarded with a bright red LED and the terse, Cyrillic equivalent of 'Failed to read card, please swipe again.'. Behind them, a group of young professionals, all with cell phones affixed to their ears, can be heard grumbling softly as these four idiot foreigners can't seem to get their act together. Her next swipe, however, is accepted with a surprisingly, for this part of the word, happy-sounding chirp. The LED goes green and the barrier lifts.

"Oops, there," Sam mutters to herself, having forgotten to shift character sets for a moment there. Now that she's gotten it, she repeats her Jedi Mind Trick on the fare gate for each of her friends, while waiting to one side for them to get through. "Awesome hat," she comments to Alia with a grin as the alien rejoins her.

Alia nods, and simply says, "Spasiba." She then winks and looks around, "Strangers in a strange land, indeed." She looks over at the young professionals behind them, and favors them with a smile, "Sorry about that. Slid it in the wrong way."

Jerry swipes his own card, humming to himself, and walks through with the others - he tries not to rubberneck, but can't help himself a little. He's been to Europe a few times, but never to the former Iron Curtain countries. So yeah, he's sightseeing a little. Once they take the trip down to the train, and boarding it is much the same as anywhere else in the world, so he's content to sit on the narrow seat and contemplate the various people around him and the signs of impending stations.

"Xie xie." Amy adds with a light, slightly delirious, giggle as she steps through, throwing in a little Browncoat-style Chinese just to twist the local's tails a little. Soon she's on the train, though standing, as she couldn't find a seat, leaning into the straps as the Metro proceeds apace. "Remember, guys." she adds, voice just loud enough to be heard over the screech of the wheels on the rails, there's little conversation going on around them, even from people on phones. " Kitaj-Gorod." she repeats pedantically, eyes on the map in her hands even as she rolls her shoulders to even out the weight in her backpack.

Oh dear….There's a problem. Amy forgot something when she was first planning their route. There's another changeover track before Kitaj-Gorod, and it's a _doozy_. The Orange, Green and Yellow lines meet at a place somewhere beneath the city labled, both in Cyrillic and Roman alphabets as Tret'jakovskaya. An appropriately busy station awaits, and, when the train rolls to a halt on a screech of steel on steel, Alia and Jerry are faced with a choice….

"Uh-oh…" Amy whispers to herself, blushing madly as she realizes she'd forgotten to warn the others about this stop. Then half the car seems to be emptying while the other half seems to be filling and there's people and noise and lots of the curiously beautiful, but utterly incomprehensible Russian language wafting through the air. .."Don't get off!" she calls, and hopes her people can hear her.

Jerry gets up, looks back and up at the stop and frowns.. he's jossled and carried along a bit by the crowd, until he hears and sees Amy's wave and call - he grabs a post and endures comments and frowns until he can sit back down again. "Whew," he says. "It .. I don't wanna try to even find the yellow line after that," he says.

Having arrived at the station nearest our destination, Sam takes a moment to get out the aforementioned sweat jacket and put it on, then puts her windbreaker back on over it. As she's doing so, she asks, "So what's the plan from here?"

Alia nods, "Indeed. Do we know anything about these people that wrote the game?" She glances over at Amy, then back towards Samantha, looking quite touristy, but fortunately not having any clues radiating as to just how FAR she's come to visit the Workers Paradise.

"Yeah, all I have is their bio-blurbs from their company website, and what Wikipedia says about them, which is pretty much the same, just with worse writing and three times the length." That would be Samantha speaking. "They didn't have any convenient mention of secret subliminal mind-control in their game to make people do batshit-craziness or whatever the hell is going on there."

"Sounds like we can't miss it." Amy comments, shifting her shoulders again as she makes her way up the stairs and back out into the increasing October drizzle. "_FRAK_." she all but yelps. "Okay, I am getting _really_ cold now." she says, pulling the nondescript black windbreaker she's wearing up to cover most of her nose, to the amusement of a few passers by.

"Galactica!" one of the Young Turks that have been with them since that first stop grins, waving a little as he takes off, cinching his gray poncho tight, towards the massive, steel and glass office complex that's just about impossible to miss.

Heading toward the exit from the station to the street, Samantha says, "I'll see if I can find anything weird going on, but it could take some time, given the number of computers they probably have. Might be best if we can find like a McDonald's or a cafe or something close enough for my powers to work but where we can settle in for a while without anyone bothering us. Unless someone has a better idea?"

Alia shakes her head, "Seems like the best solution, at least for now." She adjusts her hat a bit, "And it would provide a nice spot of cover, for the time being."

"Sounds great to me," Jerry says. "Looks like a likely spot right over there, too," he says, pointing out a corner coffee shop. "We can get warmed up, too," he says, flexing gloved hands.

"Aces….let's get out of the rain." Amy echoes, nodding, stuffing her hands in her pockets and pausing at the crosswalk. Russian drivers are notorious, and today is no exception. No way she's come this far to get flattened.

Fortunately, there is a Starbucks in the foyer, with full-on Wi-Fi, expensive coffee and suitably Yuppie-esque crowd to enjoy it. Four foreign teenagers here raise a few eyebrows, but it amounts to little more than a sales pitch. 'Da, friends! Come, come! Familiar western coffee to be had.'

"Woot. Wireless and everything. Shiny. I'll get set up in the corner over there, if someone will be kind enough to get me a hot mocha. Venti. With whipped cream." That would be Sam, and she's looking up and grinning at Jerry, since he's the one who mentioned AmEx working here.

Alia says, "Venti espresso, triple shot, please, and a flavor of caramel?" She smiles over at Sam, looking rather amused at the fact that there's a Starbucks here. When the coffee is delivered, she says "Spasiba."

Jerry smiles back and is more than glad to, apparently. He goes up and orders, by pointing if necessary but in Muscova there's probably a fair number of people who speak English as a second language. Coffee obtained, he walks back and distributes orders to people, and sits back to observe the shiny towers next door. "OK, then; let us know if there's anything we can do to help?" he says to Sam. "They're in the middle building, um, 46th floor. They probably keep their server farm there as well, or very nearby."

"Um…Hi." Amy says, "Hablo espangol?" she asks the server, receiving only a mildly irritated glance from the young woman. "Right…Eh…Small black coffee…?" she requests, feeling the full weight of the language divide falling on her. Stranger in a strange land, indeed.

Fortuantely, the young, dark haired woman does speak enough English to interpret their orders, and, in short order, they are presented, only read back to them in a machine-gun patter of Russian. A few of the other patrons exchange glances and soft chuckles. "Amerikanski…." One of them smirks, flipping his copy of the Economist to a new page.

While the blissfully hot beverages were being obtained, Samantha was setting up shop in the corner booth she'd pointed to before. She's gotten out of her wet windbreaker and now-too-warm sweat jacket, gotten out her laptop, and is logging into the provided wireless. "Okay, this will do just fine," she says quietly to the rest of the group as they join her. "I could do this on my own if I had to, but I have some software on here that will make things a little easier than going bare-brain…"

Alia peers over Sam's shoulder, "Remind me never to get you any of my gear." She smiles faintly, "I'm afraid of what you could manage with it." She sips her coffee, then says simply, "Amerikanski? Does this mean I am blending in, finally?"

Jerry smiles at Alia. "I think you've been doing fine, but yeah, that's progress." He looks at the building across the street, pondering and waiting. "Man, it's amazing the progress they've made here. Look at that, some guy there even has a BMW; thirty years ago, he'd have had some boxy peice of crap, if he'd even been able to own a car.."

The Steranko Institute: Jerry spends a hero point.

Amy looks up just in time to catch sight of the aforementioned car, eyes narrowing a little as it speeds its way into the below-ground parking structure.

Jerry then watches the car accelerate and screech down into the garage. "Sam, you haven't tripped any alarms, have you?" he says quietly, frowning at the image. He drinks down the rest of his coffee and shifts his chair, just in case he needs to bolt. "That didn't look good; anything look like it's following him?" he says to the rest while not taking his eyes off the area.

"Guys, something isn't right with that car…" That's Samantha talking. "Wait. Looking through the garage cams, trying to find the right one… /There/ it is… Three guys getting out, but they're going into the main building, the big one in the middle. Briefcases, one's kinda big… One's on his cell… /Encrypted/? This probably isn't good…"

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