Camp Sweet Camp
Posted on Thu Jan 12, 2023 @ 2:13pm by Sergeant George Bernard & Sergeant Lacey Burkett
Mission: Phone Home
George rolled over and swung his feet the very short distance to the floor of the humvee ambulance. Poking the embers in the rock pit he found a small live coal. Splitting up a small log he stripped pencil size pieces creating a small triangle. Tending it carefully it was soon large enough to add more wood. Giving it time to grow, he placed a small pan with water they had already filtered. Soon he had coffee.
Checking the trap, he puled the two trout like fish out, cleaned and filleted them. Fried in a pilfered pan, he lightly seasoned them and added some white rice for a more balanced meal.
He and Lacey had developed a bit of a routine by now. A small lean to shelter was built so they weren't trapped in the trucks all the time. Logs laid out and the roof was simple tree branches with leaves. So far they had been unable to contact Earth, though he hadn't tried yet today.
Laying out the meds for Lacey, he added a multivitamin for each of them, and hoped the aroma of a meal would alert her to breakfast.
"Smells amazin'..." Lacey grumped from her bunk in the ambulance. She had taken great pains to arrange a selection of sleeping bags and other soft items to allow her to sleep on her front. Finally she had the methodology down and she had been able to sleep well. She extracted herself from the cloud of sleeping bags and quickly pulled her boots on, eager for the prospect of a fresh meal, wincing as her shoulder objected to being moved after being still for the night. George had done a large proportion of the work so far, setting traps, building things, organising... Lacey had done what she could, mostly with one arm. She had put plenty of effort into trying to keep her wound happy. Water in the lake was crystal clear and fresh and she had taken to to walking a fair distance everyday from the camp to take a private bathe and wash her fatigues, tops most especially. The wound had to stay clean. It was her biggest concern and without proper treatment things could go badly wrong. Never Again would Lacey take anything for granted from modern society should they ever get back to it. She tucked into her fish and rice.
"That's good, kinda like a Trout or somth', huh?" She smiled. "It's just perfect to get some fresh food. Hey! Meant to say when I was out bathin' yesterday I spotted some shellfish like clams or mussels or somethin', gonna take my knife, see if I can pry us up some shellfish. I found enough of them in the wild on Earth when I was out an' about reckon I can spot the filterin' parts, clean 'em up real good. Gotta be worth a try, huh?"
"Agreed. I would boil them first." George said. "I'd also like to supplement our meat. Hopefully, something that passes for deer or elk. We can smoke the meat to make jerky for long term storage. Berries would be awesome but finding out which are poisonous is another story. Expand our lean to into a cabin."
"Now I cou' tell you what was poisonous back in Alabama, but here? Ain't got no way of finding out, neither," Lacey replied, pondering the situation. "We did see some kind of animals over that ways," (Lacey indicated with a hand) "...when we were scoutin' this place out the first time? Kind of like a hairless Capybara but bigger I guess. Probably good eatin'. Give me a clear shot with the M24 up to about one click we got ourselves some dinner!" Lacey grinned and scooped some more fish into her mouth. Their situation as a whole was troubling her greatly but she tried not to dwell on that or to show it. She also wasn't sure if her shoulder would affect her accuracy, but she wasn't about to mention that. She just had too much to process.
"Not going to stop you though I'd rather have you rest." George offered." Let me finish unloading what I can in the pickup. Then we can make a day of it. Plus I can take Thumper in case something large shows up." Thinking about what Lacey said, he quipped. "Let's hope it tastes like chicken. Though I think it's closer to a pig." He also keep the FN pistol on him., Would be good for smaller vermin like rabbits.
"Somewhere 'tween pig an' 'gator as I reckon," Lacey grinned, but her joviality was short-lived. She stared at her meal for a spell. "Don't like you doin' all the heavy work, feels like I ain't pullin' my weight. I wanna do somethin' useful, y'know?" She confided in the ranger. She was an active sort of person and babying her wound was very alien.
"To be honest, I wasn't thinking about that. As a farm boy, I am very used to hard long days and nights. Ranger training was more of the same." George said without hesitation. He walked over with the medkit, and without consent started to change her dressing. "Actually until now this assignment has been more of a vacation." Trying not to hurt her, he peeled off the bandages and tossed it into the fire. Digging into the kit, he pulled out a pill. "You want to hunt, I won't stop you, but you get a lighter pain medication and I am going with you. That's not up for discussion."
As he worked on her, he added. "We've known each other for a little while. You're not a slacker. I don't like slackers and I like you." He finished with a wink.
Having her wound tended to without consent was a little strange. Her only bra had been hit by the staff blast and was rendered only partly useful, but it was all she had, minus a strap, so Lacey had cleaned it up. Over that was a black vest with the left strap pushed off to the side so it wouldn't sit on her wound, so things were kept easily accessible. Lacey almost said something as George started to work but what would she say? She couldn't see or reach to do anything and George was being very studious and helpful. She took the pill and carefully washed it down with a canteen that was on the ground by her and open. In some ways it made her feel like a child being tended to by a parent, but as she thought on it for a moment it occurred to her the more childlike thing to do would be to react, rather than letting George get on with it, after all he was only trying to help. Scratch that. He was helping, no trying about it. In the end her only reaction was to the pain.
"Thanks," she said to him, both for his actions and his words. "Same. Ain't never been a slacker, not since I joined the Air Force anyway. Not that they would let you. Same in the Rangers I guess? More, probably." She took another careful handful of food trying not to move the shoulder George was working on.
“Ranger school was rough. Beyond the physical requirements, you get about four hours of sleep a day for weeks at a time. I’ve seen soldiers fall face first and not even wake up.” He chuckled at the thought as he put on the last of her bandage. “Different from Sniper school. Still have score hide in land navigation and woodcraft is a bit different from Sniper/Scout teams.”
He saw her look but didn’t comment on it. The truth of it was George needed Lacey as much as she needed him. He had to try and keep them both healthy. “Our mission first and foremost is to survive. Once we clean up and secure the fire, we can see about supplementing our pantry.” George said. He added, “What about scouting a few other known worlds where teams have been to, in case we can find more information or even others. Not necessarily telling everyone where we are but some intel perhaps.”
"Now technically it's Anti-sniper school. We snipe the snipers who's tryin' to snipe us," Lacey said kindly with a smile. "Now I aint the cleverest an' I sure as hell aint no Ranger but trust me if I don't wanna be found aint nobody gonna find me. Ain't gonna miss nobody neither 'less I choose to. Guess that's why they sent me here, to the SGC I mean. Said I got talent. Ain't no Ranger though. Not going to get lost easy but y'all tougher 'an me for sure." She turned her head keeping her shoulder still to peer at him standing behind her.
"I guess makes sense if we can't contact Earth, maybe try to hook up with another SG team?" Lacey continued. "Better be careful though y'know? SG21 wasn't anywhere too too special like the alpha site and we got hit by Jaffa as well. Seems to me like maybe they got some tasty intel on us. Mole or somth'."
"It does make sense. Plan for the worst. Hope for the best. If there was a massive intel breach, then maybe a few neutral planets first while we get you up to back up to full health." He paused securing all foodstuff so that the campground was less attractive to critters. "If we have to, we may need to consider at least, using our marketable skills in another society. While I don't like thinking that, it's something that could happen."
George picked up Thumper, opening the action in practiced manner and checked that it wasn't loaded. Rules of firearm safety learned in single digit ages had stuck with him, nearly unconscious action at this point. Changing his mind, he swapped for one of the SR-25. A fast follow to prevent dinner from getting away was a good idea. Plus, the M24 and SR-25 could share ammo.
"Hell, I ain't never considered that," Lacey responded, screwing up her lips. She hadn't. "Whoever it is goin' to be plenty suspicious o' Tauri folks showin' up out the blue and swirly."
Lacey paused. She had always thought that somehow and in the not too distant future the pair would link back up with others from Stargate command. The prospect of that never happening was a whole new mind job. Best to put it from her mind, she concluded, at least until they had been out of contact a while longer.
George loaded the rucksack with supplies. Extra water, enough med supplies for bandage changes, broad spectrum antibiotics, and extra pain-killers. Jerky and cookies completed the loadout. After securing the ruck, George adjusted the hip holster for quick access, then slung the semi-auto designated marksman's rifle at the low ready in front of him with muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
He offered Lacey, "I think we start scouting the edge of the lake so it's easier to not get lost and all animals need water. Then if that doesn't pan out. I will set you up a simple hideaway and I can try to drive the game to you?"
"Yup, sure, aint never considered that, neither," Lacey responded as she rinsed her crockery and cutlery with water from the canteen. " I figured we would just kinda creep around 'til we spotted the varmints, like when I was a kid. Guess we better do this proper if we're gonna catch 'em. Don't know if they stick around or migrate or what. Best bag a few now. Hell, we don't even know what the seasons are on this bless-ed planet, how hot or cold, whether we'll be in shorts next week sweatin' our be-hinds off or in five layers snowed into the Humvees." Her utensils now clean they were neatly stowed and Lacey went to prepare her M24 and her personal kit for the hunt. This was a bad idea, but Lacey's inexperience with wounds and her anxiety about not being in her usual form was pushing her to prove to herself more than anything that she could still operate her rifle and fulfil her sniper role as normal.
George faced Lacey. He tone was matter of fact, but soft and calming. "I've worked with you enough to know the hardness of your steel as it were. Or at least a good idea. As a team of soldiers, we have to trust and listen to one another. I trust you with my life without question. Can I trust you with yours?" He let that sink in.
He continued, "If I tell you to stop. Will you? Without you or me there is no team. I am no more or less expendable than you are." George waited to gauge her reaction.
"See..." Lacey paused for a moment, looking back up at the ranger in front of her. He made some good points, that she couldn't deny. What she probably should have been doing was taking care of her shoulder, resting. But that was harder for her to achieve right now than it might have seemed. Lacey rubbed a hand over her mouth thoughtfully for a spell and then explained why.
"See... I gotta be useful. It ain't pride so much... ego... bein' the youngest in the family I ain't got so much o' that. See... I got these thoughts. As I reckon maybe you got 'em too. If I stop doin' stuff there they are. Ain't got no tee-vee out here to distract me, no Lorelei and Rory Gilmore on the DVD, no Radio, no armoury or shootin range. If I stop, I start me thinkin' about why we can't dial the gate. Dial Earth, I mean. Ain't gonna go into what I start thinkin' after that but it sure mixes me up. It's like Afganistan. You start thinkin' them bad thoughts, start rememberin' some o' that stuff, well I jus' go do somethin'. You reckon I should take it easy? Fine, I can do that. I'll take a P90 or an M4, somethin' light. As I reckon we close enough to see 'em I could take a sten gun and still hit the critters! But I gotta go. I gotta do something to stop me worryin', y'know?"
Fully slinging his rifle, George offered a calm "That's fair and honest. How about a compromise. I'll set you up with an P90. Light but effective. For our purposes.....perhaps whatever passes for rabbit or squirrel. We have some fishing gear. Let's not both get in over our heads. Our immediate needs other than a medic are met. Warm, fed, water, supplies. Yes some meat would be a supplement, I just don't want to end up with a 1000 pound Moose to drag and dress. Though we'd be set for winter."
Then added, "Once you're all set and have no immediate needs that you cannot attend to, I will go out and scout around a bit. I won't be gone for more than say an hour. If it's after that, get on the radio and send me three clicks on the mic button. No talking. I will answer with three double taps on the same button. That's means I am fine and, on the way back." But instead of waiting for and answer he got softer "Lacey, as one soldier to another. you pitch in just fine. Even if I didn't know you a bit already, I'd be more than comfortable from your current conduct. Fair?!"
"This situation sucks. We both know the score. I'm George. Let's not get hung up on saluting the flag until we need to." As he waited for a response, George thought he caught a glimpse of amber in Lacey's eyes. He brushed it off as morning light and his mind playing tricks on him. Lacey nodded.
"Alright, Sergeant... George," she said carefully. First names with a superior made her uncomfortable. "That's fair. Maybe not such a great plan, huh? Me trudgin' off through the bushes like some pro deer stalker or somethin'. If I'm bein' honest I probably couldn't hack it just now. I couldn't help you drag no moose neither! I'm sorry. I just got to worryin'. This whole thing... yeah it sucks. At least in Afghanistan I knew my family and friends was back home and the States was just a plane ride away. But I'm ok. I mean, I'll be ok. I'm good. I'll go wash up and if y'all wanna head out after, sure thing. I'll er..." Lacey looked around for something she could do. "I'll make sure none o' the critters get in our stuff!" She grinned.
Walking to the truck, George dropped his ruck and leaned the rifle against the humvee. Taking Lacey's M24 he saw the wince of pain in her face. "First, you are barred from anything heavier than say the M4 until I as chief medic and the ranking officer, deem you fit to not cause more injury to yourself. The ONLY option I will offer is a trial run if you qualify to MY standard. Is that clear?" His tone gave hints there would not be discussion on this.
George continued, "Second is that someone is coming. I don't wanna play odds on friend versus foe. We can leave hints to where we are going without tipping our hand too heavily to the Goa'uld, I think. Besides, two people aren't a fire team. Thinking fishing for you, Spotting for me. I will take the SR-25 since it's a much faster platform. Back in an hour. If you need me. Key two clicks, three times. I will respond with four clicks twice."
This was the first time George had really issued much in the way of orders and for Lacey it was actually quite refreshing. She found a lot of this experience quite troubling, but orders were simple. Orders generally made sense and were easy. You just had to follow them, presuming they were sane and moral.
"Yes, sergeant! I get you. Two clicks, three times. I'll be fine though. Tidy me up a little, bathe, maybe investigate me some o' them shellfish. Good Huntin'."
Lacey watched the Ranger until he had disappeared from view and then set about cleaning up whatever was left from breakfast (there wasn't much). After that she moved a short distance away from the camp for a bit more privacy and took her daily wash in the lake. Lacey was trying to be spartan with the the washing supplies if she could. They wouldn't last forever, so it was mostly a redneck wash and hoping everything else would be ok rinsed in Lake water. It occurred to the sniper, sat as she was feeling the stones and slippery lake plants under her birthday suit that at pretty much any point George could employ optics and get an eyeful if he so desired. She found she was strangely untroubled by that. He didn't seem the type. In any case, Lacey wasn't overly private about that kind of thing. She suddenly found herself facing away from the camp, where she hadn't been before. Maybe she was more private than she thought...
Red hair wet and sat on her right shoulder to avoid the wound on her left she returned to camp, her fatigues a tad damp from her not being fully dry when she put them on. They would be dry quickly in the warmth of the day.
"M4, huh..." Remembering George's words she raided the weapon stores for an M4 and a P90 and compared weight, which turned out to be almost identical. Lacey settled on the former, being more familiar with that family of weapons and supposing the longer barrel might make it more accurate. She kept things as simple as possible, with some basic lightweight optics and no other extras to keep the weight down. The M4 was soon in pieces, laid out on a cloth and was cleaned, re-assembled and magazines were filled and placed in her personal kit in lieu of her M24 accessories.
It was now Lacey would normally zero the weapon. She couldn't just go ahead and start shooting, George would wonder what the hell was going on. Should she contact him and ask for permission, or wait until he returned? If she waited and something happened, she would have no experience with the weapon. That seemed bad. Lacey picked up the radio and thumbed the transmission button twice, three times.
George heard the clicks and slowed down. He keyed the receiver four times, then repeated as he told her. A few minutes later he pulled around the lakeside and parked the truck.
"We have a herd of....something out a few miles. Roughly whitetail size. Can't get too close but I will go out tomorrow early if we are still here." George offered.
"Sierra golf two one six sierra, understood. Got to zero me this here M4. Want me to wait, over?" Lacey was one for by the book at all times. Doing what she was taught she could never fuck up. In some ways it was a strength. In other ways a potential weakness.
George keyed the mike, a bit miffed. "Did you use the laser boresight to get it on paper? " When there was no response, he added, "Wait for me." He kicked himself mentally as that should not have been missed. Closing his eyes, he meditated for 30 seconds, getting more centered and focused.
On the other end of the radio Lacey rolled her eyes. It wasn't that she didn't know what she was doing, it was that firing would be loud and would put any pray in the vicinity on alert, not to mention George himself. The sniper decided she should have made that clear on Comms but she had been told to wait, so she did.
Pulling around the lake, George got out of the humvee. "Let's get a few things and get our zeroes checked. No more surprises, please." He offered.
Then added, "an M4 for each, I'll take an M4/M203, but with the herd I saw. I wanna take Thumper just in case when we hunt. We might need something heavy to break through thick bone. After lunch, I am getting hungry."
Lacey had watched the vehicle approach as soon as she has had heard the engine. Now dry, her wavy red hair blew a little in the breeze. It wasn't in the regulation bun anymore, trying to reach up behind her head was causing issues with her shoulder. Lacey just hoped she wouldn't get chewed out for that. Surprises? She wasn't sure what George meant by that but she got the impression they had got their wires crossed about something. Maybe she shouldn't have called him and should have just waited for him to get back. Either way, the direction was now lunch and weapons work and both sounded good. She looked at the Ranger apologetically.
"Ye'Sergeant. Lunch it is. What ya fancy?"
Looking at his watch, George said. "I am thinking straight up MRE's I don't wanna think or cook right now. Let's conserve a bit of energy. It's also time to take another pill. Staying ahead of the pain is going to be a big part of your recovery." He looked at her as the wind blew a stray strand into her face. Was she always that attractive? Maybe in the uniform he hadn't noticed. Just another soldier. That hadn't changed. Driving the thought from his head, George added. "A quick range session to get a few things sorted out, luinch, and I'll map out the plan for Porky's or Bambi's demise. It's us or them. I prefer mine on the grill." He said ending with a smile.
"Come on. Let's get to work, Lace" he said, the new nickname just flowing, he turned to attend to the next steps. "Call me Bernie. You always use names in combat since the enemy won't."