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 Post subject: Needle in a Haystack
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:16 am 
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Wednesday, November 20th 2014

The Alpha site was far more rustic than Fia had expected. A dozen or so Quonset huts, ringed around the clearing where the stargate stood. In the command hut, Fia paced around the briefing table, going over the mission parameters one more time. As soon as the folder had hit her desk, she knew exactly who she wanted on this mission. Thankfully command had agreed. She had gated here right away, leaving orders that the others were to follow as soon as they were able. Time was precious in a mission like this.

Staff Sergeant Dreher had been an easy choice. He had been combat rescue, like herself, specializing as a field medic. Though she had never actually served with him, Fia had heard his name bantered about as a solid, dependable soldier who kept his head under fire. While she hoped she would only have to call on his martial training, she thought that unlikely. Too much time had already elapsed.

Fia had chosen First Lieutenant Davidson for the technical part of this mission. She too had come highly recommended as a soldier, but more importantly Davidson had spent some time working the X-302 project. While the engineer hadn't been tapped to work on the latest design, she would have an understanding of the foundations. For anything else, Davidson would have a limited time to look over the schematics before they gated out.

The final choice had been both the easiest and the toughest to make. They had no idea what was on the other side of the gate. What little that had been relayed back by the X-305 gave no indication of what, or who, had happened. It was entirely possible they were gating into hostile territory. If that was indeed the case then she wanted someone at her back who she KNEW could handle whatever was thrown at them. That someone was Taft. General Hammond had only nodded when she asked that the Sergeant Major be included, and since she had no doubt the General knew everything that went on in his base, she took that as a sign of trust.

The muffled sound of the stargate activating outside heralded the arrival of her team.

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Last edited by Fia Serigliano on Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Needle in a Haystack
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:25 am 
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Taft was the first one through, as always. He had no intel about what they were getting into, and the Alpha Site didn't run their own armory per se, so when he'd packed up to go through he had brought everything except the kitchen sink. He was geared heavy and fully, looking as if he were marching the front line into the European theatre of WWII for all the gear he was carrying that included his favorite combat shotgun with the drum feed and two ordinance crates, one propped up on each shoulder as he lumbered through and down the steps of the platform. Two soldiers, Marines of course, came running up and relieved him of the crates. They ran off when he said 'command tent' and he turned to watch the others follow him through with his arms propped up around his long weapon casually.

A mechanic and a medic, with Fia as the Team lead, left Taft as the heavy. The other part of why his packing had gotten a little out of control. He rolled his shoulders under the weight of his full pack and turned back to the rest of the site to make his way toward the command tent. Whatever the mission was, it was urgent and Taft had no intention of letting any time go to waste on his account. He walked up to his stacked crates, dropped his pack next to them, and stepped in. "Major," he said by way of greeting as his eyes adjusted to the light inside the tent. "What are we looking at?"


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 Post subject: Re: Needle in a Haystack
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 5:43 pm 
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It had been Joey’s sincere hope that her first trip through the gate after returning to the SGC would be a nice little recon mission. Stomp around some alien forest, chat up the locals, maybe not get shot at by any Jaffa. That’d be a brilliant way to clear out the doldrums that her reassignment to Area 51 had kicked up, getting her back into the swing of things, and maybe giving her an offworld mission that she could point to and say ‘look, I didn’t get get shot in the ass on that one’.

Luck seemed intent on not letting her off so easily. She’d been called up for a mission on quite short notice with no more of an explanation given than ‘problem with the 302’. That pseudo-briefing had been equal parts vague and terrifying; the X-302 project had been one she’d done work on-and-off on for almost the entire time she’d been assigned to the SGC. At Area 51 she’d been pulled onto other research projects as the designs for a production model were set in stone, but the engineer had invested no small amount of time and energy into the craft’s design. That it had any problems at all was not only a bad sign for the Stargate Program’s efforts to build their own spacecraft, it was potentially a reflection of flaws inherent in a design she’d poured herself into improving.

Thus it was with much more anxiety than she cared to admit that Joey emerged from the gate onto the planet set up as the Alpha Site. She’d said a brief hello to Taft and Dreher in the Embarkation Room, but all three were too focused on the mission ahead to hold any sort of conversation. Dreher she simply wasn’t familiar with, and Taft was probably absorbed by now in imagining a dozen different combat scenarios they could potentially end up in. Davidson herself was distracted with mentally reviewing the finalized X-302 schematics, trying to predict what systems could be the most failure-prone.

This was still absorbing her as she hurried with Taft past the Alpha Site’s smattering of corrugated constructs to the command tent. On arrival she didn’t waste any time; setting the P90 she had been cradling on a nearby crate in order to slide out her tablet. First thing she pulled up was the latest blueprints, for the craft, hastily loaded onto the device before departing. Her ears were perked up just enough to listen to Major Serigliano’s explanation of just what little impending disaster had gotten them called out here.


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 Post subject: Re: Needle in a Haystack
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:23 am 
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Fia looked up as her team walked in. They all seemed well prepared, though she had to chuckle at the extra crates. Her guess was they were Taft's, he was covering all eventualities. Dreher dropped his pack beside Taft's, obviously waiting on her answer as well. Davidson had already pulled out a tablet and was reviewing what looked to be engineering plans. Rescue and Recovery is all goes to plan. Davidson, your going to need these as well. Fia handed a portable drive containing even more shematics to the woman before scooping a remote off the table.

One click brought up an aerial map of some unknown planet, the lower corner showing a large flat clearing with what was obviously a gate and DHD in the middle. P4M-399. Class M planet, believed to be uninhabited. It was chosen to be the testing ground for a new fighter that stargate command has been developing, designated X-305. Another click and a photo of an unusual Goa'uld ship popped in screen. When SG-1 was held captive by Hathor, they witnessed a new type of fighter, which was dubbed Needle Threader. Small and heavily armed, it was designed to fit through the gate, unlike our F302's. Command ran with the idea and created a two person craft armed with pulse canon to be used in atmosphere only.

Captains Lemay and Mosse departed at 06:00 on a test run through the gate. They ran maneuvers for about two hours then they missed check-in. The distress beacon is active, but no other communication has been picked up. Telemetry puts the signal about here.
Fia poked the upper corner of the aerial map, the area was heavily wooded foothills with very little room for controlled landings. About three and a half miles north northeast of the gate. Our main objective is to find our pilots and bring them home. Secondary objectives include ascertaining the cause of the crash and if possible retrieving the ship. Questions?



Image Goa'uld ship Image X-305

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 Post subject: Re: Needle in a Haystack
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:38 pm 
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Staff Sergeant Dreher shifted a bit. He'd come along to see what was going on, ignoring the Marine in their midst and the lack of other Combat Rescue team members until he knew exactly what they'd been called together for. And once he got it he looked a little disgruntled. "Major, why are we bringing... or rather, why isn't this a full combat rescue team." He'd corrected his tact but it was still obvious by the beginning of a offhand gesture that he'd been about to ask why Taft was even there. There was no disdain, he knew the Sgt. Major's reputation but that reputation wasn't for anything to do with what Combat Rescue did for a living. "This mission sounds pretty straight forward what we do, aside from the vehicle recovery bit."

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Taft appeared to ignore the question about himself, he was working on the job rather than his precious ego at the team not being all Marine Raiders Regiment. If it was down, they weren't retrieving the aircraft by themselves unless it could fly again. Might need a runway. Believed uninhabited didn't mean uninhabited, and it didn't mean that nobody ever visited. So, blascord for clearing trees, firearms for enemy personnel, moist towelette for if he got his hands dirty, and two trauma kits for the Air Force kittens they were going out there for in the first place. He had everything he needed, he just needed to shift things around. Some Strawberry Shortcake band aids, just to be safe. Duct tape, ammo, blah blah blah. He had a list coming together in his head. Then he fired off a casual response regarding why he was there. "Just in case we run into a hidden, technologically advanced, society of amazon women that will only speak to the prettiest of men."


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 Post subject: Re: Needle in a Haystack
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 11:17 pm 
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Already pulling up technical diagrams from the portable drive on her tablet as the Major started her briefing, Joey was rather surprised by what she was seeing. Last she’d heard of the X-305 project, they were trying to essentially refit a standard 302 frame to have retractable wings and an underside-mounted thrust source to keep it aloft during gate transit. This design… definitely wasn’t that. Some of the interior structure seemed reminiscent of the 302 design, but the exterior struck her as having more in common with an Al’kesh than a human-built fighter. The fact that there seemed to be some sort of vertical thrust module reverse-engineered from the propulsion systems of a Death Glider certainly helped with that comparison.

Paying just enough attention to the briefing to get the critical details, she continued to run through the schematics for this lovely little invention. Atmospheric operation only, which meant no need for massive engines to reach orbit, or a finicky-as-hell hyperdrive crammed into the frame. Keeping it aloft without a traditional wing structure seemed to be accomplished with remarkable efficiency. If anything, this design should’ve been less prone to having operation troubles, given than it was a comparatively simple air-breaking craft, rather than a SSTO strike fighter like the F-302. Irony, she supposed, was in full effect in this case.

Taft’s comment on Amazons was enough to yank the engineer’s attention away from her technical readouts, if only to make her own snarky comment back. “I don’t think we’re gonna get that lucky, Sarge.” She finally shut off the tablet screen and began stuffing it back into a sling that kept it secured at her side, only to start fishing another electronic piece of equipment out one of her other pockets. “Least I hope not. If they only talk to pretty men, we’re not gonna be able to negotiate with them at all.”

The device she held up was a handheld machine with the rough dimensions of a smartphone, though easily four or five times as thick. “Alright, thankfully I grabbed this thing before we left. It’s designed to interface with the power systems on a 302 and provide diagnostic information, but we crammed a sensor on here that can pick up naqahadah energy signatures from a pretty good distance. Oughta make finding the ship a bit easier.” Not to mention it’d help in repairs if she found herself having to patch up the 305 after an alleged landing.


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 Post subject: Re: Needle in a Haystack
PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:16 am 
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Well she couldn't fault the staff sergeant's loyalty to his combat rescue unit, even if it was short sighted. Fia nodded at his question, So running a rescue op with no more intel than one solitary beacon seems pretty straight forward to you? She asked, not expecting an answer. Because it seems like there are way too many things that could go sideways to me. When you don't know the stakes, it is better to have a wildcard up your sleeve than an ace. It was more explanation than the man was entitled to, but Fia gave it anyhow.

Davidson was already proving to be a good choice, how she could take in that much information in so short of a time was testament to how brilliant all the reports on her had said she was. Fia's lips curled in a smile as the Lieutenant sassed Taft. It was good to see the team falling into and easy banter already. While she may not personally agree with the woman's assessment of pretty, Fia wasn't exactly unbiased either.

Fia scooped up her pack, attaching the clips to her harness with practiced ease. You've all got time one final equipment check, we gate out in 10 minutes. And don't worry, Sergeant Major. If there are any man-hungry Amazons thinking you are pretty enough to talk to, I'll set them straight. The last sentence was tossed over her shoulder as she headed out of the hut.

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 Post subject: Re: Needle in a Haystack
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:24 am 
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"Your definition of pretty and a society of warrior women's definition of pretty are likely two very different things, Davidson. A hardened warrior will beat out any of those smooth faced boys with the airbrushed fluff muscles you like to peruse on the world wide web." Taft pulled a notepad out of one of his pockets and wrote something before putting it and its pen back in the pocket. It was a grocery note, but nobody needed to know that. "If they managed to put the 305 down without turning it into scrap metal, the naquadah detector will be good." He was willing to jump on that bandwagon, though he was planning to find a smoking furrow ending in a blackened crater.

Dreher nodded, then realized the superior officer was being rhetorical because she expected a response in the negative and cleared his throat into a closed fist in an attempt to cover it up. A few seconds later he guffawed as Fia appeared to declare that Taft was not only not attractive but anyone who thought so was in need of forceful correction.

".... yes, ma'am." Taft said in a hard tone as his gaze, with the full weight of all his chevrons and rockers on the Staff Sergeant. It took Dreher a moment but it slowly dawned on him that while he wasn't usually in Taft's command structure that was before Taft had become the Sgt. Major of the SGC. He wilted a bit and turned to calculating exactly how bad Taft's wrath could get before he could get the Air Force to step in. Taft turned and stepped out of the tent, moving to his crates and pack. He immediately began sorting the things he felt he needed, stiffly. Robotic-ally even. Making his load out meet the most likely scenarios he had in his head. Two med packs, C-4, det-cord, detonators, more ammo for the shotgun, and one AT-4 on the side. He set it aside, closed the cases, and then set up his mirror for face camo.


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 Post subject: Re: Needle in a Haystack
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:43 pm 
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It took Davidson some time to process the major’s remark, simply because so alien a comment caused her brain to come to a complete halt after she first heard it. Had she… Taft… what? The lieutenant blinked, her eyes darting back and forth between both of them multiple times. She had seen hundred-page tracts on the technical details of how the stargate operated that made more sense to her than the suggestion that Taft, quite possibly the gruffest old bastard she had ever met in a military overflowing with gruff old bastards, could be pretty.

“Well,” she whispered to herself, too quietly for any errant superior officers to hear, “No accounting for taste, I guess.”

Mercifully, she didn’t get to linger on those wonderful thoughts for too long before the order to make one final equipment check before deploying was given. Joey gave her head one quick little shake in a physical attempt to disperse any conversations of Taft’s alleged attractiveness before refocusing her attention onto her gear. The detector still had a near-full charge in it, same situation for her tablet. She grabbed her P90 on the way out of the tent behind the sergeant, giving it a visual once-over as she stepped over to the sole large backpack that she’d brought along from the SGC.

Stuffed inside were the standard array of field rations, spare ammunition, and first aid supplies, all sharing space with the more technical aspects of her loadout. A full set of tools in case she needed to patch up the 305, ranging from a simple socket set, several wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, hammer, and electric drill to a voltage tester, wire cutters, simple headlamp, protractor, small hand saw, small electrical saw, spare wiring, and a spare battery for anything in the pack that needed one. If a one-woman repair shop proved necessary, she’d be more than prepared.

The pack was over her back as she made one last check of the sidearm at her side, visually inspecting the exterior and checking to make sure it was properly loaded before returning it to the holster. Despite the usual level of heavy firepower that Taft had prepared, she had no real expectation of getting into a fight - if anything had shot the 305 down, whoever was responsible probably would’ve attacked the Alpha Site by now. Her guess was either some sort of mechanical or electrical failure (possibly the latter, if the fighter’s power sources were overtaxed by the reverse-engineered propulsion systems) that had left the pilots incapacitated and unable to call for help after the crash. Definitely a situation where time was of the essence in rescuing them, but hardly one where they’d have to go in shooting.

Or maybe there was a hyperdrive installed on that thing not present on the schematics, and they’d taken it for a joyride. That seemed about equally plausible.


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 Post subject: Re: Needle in a Haystack
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:53 am 
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Fia didn't need to go over her pack. The contents hadn't changed since the day she arrived in the mountain and requisitioned it. She went through it once a week to make sure everything was there and up to date, but other than that it remained packed and ready to grab just inside her office door. It was small compared to Taft and Dreher's, absolutely minuscule next to Davidson's. Years of SERE training had taught her how to make do with minimal equipment, and in fact that was her preference. It was hard to ghost through the underbrush when you are the size of a tree.

While Fia waited for her team to gear up, she took a minute to tame the mass of curls she called hair. Roughly twisting them into a braid, she then secured it inside a cap. She toyed with the idea of stealing Taft's mirror even though she didn't really need it. However he was in full Sergeant Major mode, which was more than a little intimidating, even to her. She ran a quick gaze over his preparations, only raising a brow at the AT-4. That would be one heck of a wild card. With a nod she moved to the DHD.

With a light touch, she initiated the dialing sequence, each co-ordinate lighting up with that unique sound. Then she rested her hand on the center button. She could feel the power humming beneath her palm, and just for a moment the awe she felt for this technology rose up in her. With the slightest pressure she would kick off a process that would establish a stable wormhole that spanned a galaxy. In mere seconds they would travel further then even the most advanced ship could take them. It was humbling.

Sergeant Major, you take point and secure the DHD when we get to the other side. The rest of us will run a quick sweep of the clearing and provided all is clear, we will head out. Fia outlined as the others fell in behind her. A quick glance to make sure they were all ready, and she leaned on the console. Here we go.

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