Operation: Salt the Earth
|Salt The Earth|
|Dates run:||March 3-9, 2018|
|Read the logs:||Salt The Earth|
"Change in plans, you Highness. I hope you got those samples because we need to leave now."
A specialist operation means the four "elders" of X-Force (plus Dom) have to infiltrate a conference in the closed science city of Koltsovo. Without their powers.
Emma Frost, David North, Jubilation Lee, Kevin Sydney, Marie-Ange Colbert, Wanda Maximoff, Artie Maddicks, Nina Thurman, Felicia Hardy, Wade Wilson
James Neil, Vladimir Orekhov, Alexei Vazhin
An agricultural subsidy of Frost Industries stumbled into one of the risks of modern genetic modification research recently when a process designed to help treat residual radiation and heavy metal contamination in soil instead showed in studies that it was instead capable of sterilizing the soil so thoroughly that it would take decades, even centuries, to rehabilitate it to the point of sustaining plant life again. Quickly grasping that such research could be weaponized into a WMD of terrifying consequences, the lab moved to destroy the samples, research and all trails leading towards it, under Frost Industries’ research parameters. Unfortunately, despite their rapid response, Frost’s internal anti-industrial espionage experts believe that a long serving mole in the company saw the possibilities and activated in order to grab copies of the research and pass them along to a Russian contact.
Considering the gravity of the situation, Emma asks X-Force to locate the mole that fled in order to determine who has the information. Finding him, under interrogation, they discover that fortunately the Russians only have a partial version of the process, enough to possibly recreate it but not enough to pass around as a finished asset. However, the Russian contact Doctor Vladimir Orekhov will be attending a special conference in the closed science city of Koltsovo, Novosibirsk Oblast in order to drum up support for resources to develop it. Fortunately, thanks to the paranoia of the mole, other than broad documentation, the files he sold were encrypted to the point that it will takes months if not years to break them open. As Orekhov needs to secure funding to crack the code, the files he has with him in a secure drive cannot have been copied or otherwise duplicated.
The conference will take place in the VECTOR compound just outside of the civilian research facilities in Koltsovo. Besides being a completely modern group of facilities with cutting edge technology, the entire complex is also protected under a mass suppressor, eliminating the use of mutant powers anywhere inside. In order to retrieve the information, X-Force will need to infiltrate the facility, locate Orekhov, determine where the drive is located and either retrieve or destroy it before escaping. Complicating the issue is that while the conference will be relatively heavily attended, many of the guests are either firsthand acquaintances or personal colleagues, limiting the number of potential false identities possible. As well, everyone infiltrating will have to either be able to pass for a Russian conversationally or a close ally with equal fluency.
The compound itself has a primary FSB monitoring station several kilometres outside of it, where a security hard line runs to the city as a secondary operations point in the event of attack or malfunction (or secretly, if something dangerous compromises the compound and they need to force a quarantine overriding the compound’s command.
Only five members of X-Force can pass as Russians without their powers: Emma, North, Wanda, Nina and Kevin. While their identities are being developed, they work out a plan of attack. As the five will infiltrate the complex, the rest of the team will take out the FSB and use it as a base of operations to provide support via hacking, security cameras and comms inside the compound. Felicia and Wade take responsibility for secure their escape vehicle, leaving the rest to monitor and provide support.
The five have less than 48 hours to secure the files before the shift change at the FSB base reveals it is compromised. To make things more difficult, Alexei Vazhin, a high-ranking intelligence officer and his lieutenant Nicolai Krylenko are due at the compound to meet with Orekhov and review the materials directly, which will raise security to almost impossibly high levels to compromise.
During the 2 days, the team slowly opens avenues in the security to get closer to retrieving the key. Krylenko is revealed to be an enhanced being that is immune to the suppressor, and they are involved in a desperate fight during a distraction to help Emma and Nina get closer to breaking Orekhov's defenses. Between her internal hacking, supported by Doug outside, they are able to throw the internal systems into chaos as Emma confronts Orekhov to get the key. The suppressor is disrupted for a short time, long enough for all five to escape out of the facility, meeting up with the rest of the team and escaping Russia.
Trivia and Meta
IC notes stemming from the plot. Eg: "As a result of this Character A developed a crippling fear of ottomans".