Enemy in the Ranks
Posted on Tue Jan 24, 2023 @ 12:35am by Lieutenant Colonel Caroline Archer & Lance Corporal Hailey Fitzpatrick
On a rocky terrain dominated by Ash and Oak trees, a large green planet creeps across the sky as day time begins to fade, the result is dark green fade across the landscape. This Once vibrant farming community with villages and farm houses that were littered across the land and among the hills, now lay vacant with the once pure farming landscape now turned into one large forest as far as the eyes could see.
As the Stargate opened, a team of five personnel in Stargate uniforms moved at a fast pace in a northern direction making as much distance as possible away from the Stargate. A minute later a second team emerged from the Stargate wearing British uniforms, this team moved in a Eastern direction towards a Hamlet in the hope of finding cover for the injured member of their group
Within the centre of the Hamlet lay the only building which still held a roof intact, unlike the rest which had fallen into disrepair or overgrown by trees. The British team entered the building, then around ten minutes later, half the team made their way in the direction the SG team had gone.
Captain Sally Burkers was stretched out on a bed in a hole withinside the wall. What ever might be said about the flat stone surface of a bed, it did the job. The room was small with a rotten roof that appeared like it may fall at anytime. In the nook of the room was a fire that was now burning bright and had taken the chill out of the room.
A young Lance Corporal Hailey Fitzpatrick took her helmet off, to tie her brunette hair back up and take up the unfastened hair strands. Her attention returned to Sally as soon as her hair was up again.
Sally lay in her white stained vest and trousers cut up from the left leg with a bandage rapped around. Her body was bruised up and down.
"The room is warmer, told you I could light it," Hailey wavered in her tone as Sally just moaned and groaned "Your going to be ok, Lt Campul and Lt Burke stated they'd be back before night fall."
Hailey knew night fall was near and that Lt Campul and Lt Burke were long overdue, they should have caught up with the SG members by now, but still no contact to inform her. This was not like them. She had hoped for them to of returned before she commenced the blood transfusion, but she couldn't wait any longer. Sitting on the bed beside Sally, she took one extra look out the window as dusk started to fall.
The concept of Sally not making it sent a dread of fear in to her, a hollow feeling grew as time passed in her stomach.
With each cough from Sally, Hailey had a dreaded experience of perhaps this was the moment she coughed blood or stopped breathing. And every time it broke her.
Five minutes later Hailey had an I.V. from her arm to Sally. Sally was fortunate that Hailey was a universal donor Hailey though to herself, otherwise with all her blood loss she wouldn't have stood a chance with the amount of blood loss. She could of by no means have had a notion a night out with some girls off-base might have placed her in this position. She hadn't meant to fall in love, let alone in a secret relationship with her Captain. Even if they rarely served together, she knew it was trouble. Hailey leaned over Sally and gave a kiss to her love.
"We got this," Hailey teared as she spoke.
A single knock came to the door, before a man in an SG uniform entered. A smile came to the strangers face as one of fear came to Hailey's. Straight away the SG member raised his arm to reveal he was no danger
"It's ok, Lt. Campul despatched me," the stranger spoke softly and slowly, "My name is Sargent John Cosby, he despatched me here while him and Lt. Burke went to meet the rest of my group,"
Cosby's eyes remain locked on Hailey's hand which lay resting on her handgun.
"I don't care, you can stay there," Hailey demanded.
"My commander wants us to regroup and send a scout team to the backup site," his voice was stern and demanding.
"Well you have to wait, Captain Burkers is the only one with the address, "Her hand squeezed tight onto Sally's hand. "And she's not in the talking mood at the moment, if you hadn't noticed"
Behind the Sergeant another new face entered. It was a woman, quite tall and lithe, dressed in dirty USAF green fatigues bearing the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Clearly she had been through it in the hours or days previously. Her regulation hair bun was still in place but many strands of blonde negated its perfection by framing her face. Her expression was alert and a little confused, tired eyes regarded all present with suspicion. In her right hand a standard issue side-arm was pointed at the floor and she raised it as she saw the pair.
"Hands where I can see them," she ordered. "Both of you." It was a kind and gentle sort of voice, soft and calming, not the kind of sound one would associate with an order like that.
"Lieutenant Campul is dead. So is Lieutenant Burke. They've been shot. With human weapons."
The news drained Hailey of her last hint of hope and face became a pale white. Lt Burke, he had a child, that was all Hailey could think of, she'd met his wife and she could drink him under the table. They used to joke that Captain Sally Burkers was his real wife, he'd dropped the r and was keeping it a secret. Then there was Lt Campul the ass, off-base Hailey found his behaviour revolting and childish. He went on as if he was god's gift to a woman and had tried to bed her a few times drunk. She was also sure he knew of her and Sally's secret. He was always a step ahead. At the end day he was a better soldier than the rest of the team combined and even had the nickname of the Spook for his six sense.
"I don't believe it," Hailey replied defensively with rage as the emotional impact of the day began to hit hard, "He... by god no enemy could sneak up on him, and for sure if Burke was with him, nothing could of."
Hailey's hand shook as that hollow feeling grew as she tried to gain a ground on what was happening.
"Lexington picked this address at random, no way A Goa'uld got here unless it was one of us," Sergeant Cosby spoke in a commanding and defensive tone as Hailey looked at him in suspicious eyes ," the British, it had to have been one of the British, she killed them and came back here for her. Maybe even you had..."
"Go Fuck yourself," Hailey harshly interrupted.
"Stay away, because one of you are a Goa'uld," His commanding voice began to fluctuate, "All I know is Lexington ordered me to meet up with the British, as he was sure they knew of a backup address. I know nothing of them two."
"IV, you plonker, why would I have be saving the Captain's life if I was a Goa'uld, I'd..." Hailey stressed before being interrupted.
"You only want her alive for the gate address. It has to be you, you snake," Lexington stressed as his attention turned to Hailey while slowly moving his hand towards his gun. "I can't let you have the address."
Hailey looked to the Lieutenant Colonel.
"Don't touch that weapon!" the Colonel exclaimed loudly, her M9 pointed directly at his head. "We've all had a difficult day, let's not make it worse by throwing around baseless accusations." In the face of the worst day at work she had ever had, Lieutenant Colonel Caroline Archer tried to remember who she was, and who she was was logical, intelligent, understanding patterns to make accurate assessments of information. She was very good at it, hence achieving a high rank at quite a young age. She had made Lt. Colonel younger even than Sam Carter.
"I could easily have shot you both by now, if I had wanted. As I didn't we can logically assume it's unlikely I am being controlled. The Corporal there is giving an IV to a compatriot, doesn't seem like a very Goa'uld thing to do, even if she does need her alive for information. I've certainly never heard or read of a Goa'uld calling someone a plonker. It's a colloquialism from a particular place and doesn't register as Goa'uld vocabulary. On the other hand..." she paused briefly, her weapon still trained on the Sergeant, "wild accusations, trying to confuse the situation, making up lies... Lexington I would never ask you to contact the British for a Gate address, they would just ask me."
Her eyes flicked to the nurse for a moment, hoping the young lady was in agreement.
"You had better start making sense quickly Sergeant," she said to him.
Sergeant Cosby slowly raised his hands high, cowarding slowly but tactfully away from the Lieutenant Colonel and towards the window, his attention remained focused on the Lieutenant Colonel and every aspect of her body, trying to find a weakness. After all the Tau'ri were after all a weaker specimen of life, he had judged long ago.
"You have the wrong.." half way in to Cosby's sentence he broke into laughter as his true Goa'uld tone was expressed through his voice,"...man. Ok you win Caroline, hook line and sinker as you's say."
Hailey gave all her attention to Sergeant Cosby, she was still grasping on what was fully going on. He looked Human, that was all she could think of.
"What do you want for my life then Caroline, "it bargained, with glowing eyes, "location on those still alive, save her life, because you know I can or maybe how we infiltrated your Tau'ri home world "
It spoke with confidence, that even convinced Hailey. At this moment all it cared for was its own existence, Tau'ri could be killed any day, its life was a different story.
Hailey had remained quiet, but the idea of him being able to help was like a devils bargain. She had to leave it in Caroline's hand. Chain of command, that was what Sally believed in and she had to abide by it.
"Your call," Hailey spoke softly as she rechecked the IV in her arm.
There was a momentary pause as the Lieutenant Colonel considered her options. Her mind swam. She just wanted this whole ordeal to be over, but if the Goa'uld was telling the truth then the implication was that he and other Goa'uld, probably the System Lords were behind the attacks and the inability to dial Earth. The intelligence officer in Caroline really wanted the information. But it could be a bluff, thanks to her clearance rating she knew there already had been Goa'uld on Earth. As for healing the injured officer, she wasn't about to let the symbiont into someone else who didn't choose it, she didn't trust it. Who would? As a result the location it offered could easily be another trap, she wasn't that gullible.
"No matter what I choose you are never going to leave Sergeant Cosby's body peacefully and let him live, are you?" The question was more for herself than anyone else. She had a decision to make.
The malevolent of the Goa'uld glared brighter than the fire as it looked upon the obstreperous Tau'ri. It could hardly believe that this Tau'ri was under the belief she had the advantage, her existence mattered nothing like all those before her, it was a God and it just needed a second, just a second.
Overall the events of the day were beginning to take hold of Hailey, with the trembling feeling slowly growing larger through her body. Her hands shuck and her emptiness inside her grew even larger with the dawn of never getting home again and losing everyone in one day didn't help at all. Still she paid full attention to the Goa'uld, she wanted to reach for her weapon and point it at it, But the risk was too much, the Lieutenant Colonel already had the gun pointed and the last thing she needed was to see her as an issue or to even upset any advantage she may have. She laid her hand on the bed near the gun just in case.
The Goa'uld's impudence grew as doubts of dying began to fade, it all came down to if the Tau'ri was quick enough on the draw and he was confident enough in his own self-admiration to believe he was better, still he needed a plan. His face turned to an expression of fear. The Gou'ld knew it was in no position to convince Caroline not to kill it, so it needed to cast a second of doubt with the Tau'ri, long enough to draw its gun and finish its culling. They all needed to fall.
"My wife Alice, tell her I'm sorry, I shouldn't.. " a fictional wife with a fictional trebling scared voice spoke out from the Goa'uld "..of said them worlds to her. I Lov..."
The Goa'uld, dropped its hands at an amazing speed and drew its gun that would have put anyone quick on the draw to shame. Sadly, for it at least, the reuse could have worked if it had been more patient and fleshed things out a little. Caroline wasn't naive but she was inexperienced, yet still on high alert. The amount of adrenaline in her system was starting to come waring. She knew she would crashed before too long and crash hard, but there was still plenty to be done before that could happen. The first thing was her response to this new threat and it was quick and decisive. The Colonel's stance remained true and without hesitation she fired a single shot. The sound was deafening in the small space, the muzzle flash lighting up the Sergeant as he was hit in the neck, the bullet shattering his spine on its way through and embedding in a wall beyond. His body crumpled to the floor and quick as a flash the officer was on her knees next to it. Pistol still in-hand she scooped the severed head of a Goa'uld symbiont from the exit wound and showed it to Hailey before throwing it derisively against the wall. The colonel took a deep breath in her kneeling position, her eyes closed for just a moment. "It's dead," she said, opening them again and holstering her sidearm. "I just wish we could have gotten to it before..." A quick change of tack was warranted as she realised she was a Colonel and needed to lead by example. No wishes now, just business. She moved to kneel by Hailey and wiped the bits of blood and Goa'uld on the leg of her fatigues.
"Are you alright?" Caroline asked the Corporal in front of her.
With a bewildered look, Hailey felt like letting loose and chipping into her, for the base, the enemy spies and everything that had gone wrong since agreeing to join this mission. But she knew deep down, it wasn't her fault and there was no point in shifting the blame. If anything she had more than earned her trust.
"No, I'm far from it," she wavered, "but the damage is done and I would have hesitated."
She wiped her eyes, as her body still rattled, but her pain and grief was no place to dwell at the present moment. She had a bigger issue.
"I'm sorry," Hailey tried her best to focus, "Captain Burkers, her wounds are bad, I'm not sure yet if she'll make it, I've stopped the major bleeding. But the less movement the better, but I also need medical supplies,"
Hailey glanced at the Lieutenant Colonel,
"And how are you sir," Hailey spoke," Are you injured."
Caroline smiled. "Ma'am is fine. And so am I, uninjured at least. To me there's no reason to be sorry. You're still alive and so is she. You've done well by the Captain so far, keep it going." This wasn't meant to be at all condescending, just encouraging. "With that Goa'uld dealt with hopefully things will improve now." Caroline seemed strangely calm but that was just her general demeanour. She never really got riled up or raised her voice, just a tad more urgent if the situation called for it. She watched the injured Sally Burkers breathing in and out for a moment.
"She's had it bad before, but never this bad, she needs rest and less we move her, the better," Hailey let out a breath," I'd recommend we stay put if possible, but she needs treatment I can't give here. "
"If we can't move her for a while then the mountain must come to Mahomed." Caroline thumbed her radio. "Sierra Golf India One this is Sierra Golf Papa Niner?" The Colonel waited for an acknowledgement, but none came. She tried again.
"Sierra Golf India One this is Sierra Golf Papa Niner?"
There was no return.
"We shouldn't be out of range... I wonder..." Caroline's calmness faltered slightly. She had gone to find the British herself after Sergeant Cosby was unaccounted for, leaving the rest of what was left of her team to setup and cover the Gate, but it had taken her a little longer than anticipated, she had gotten a bit turned around in the forest. A concept started swimming in her head, one that gave her a serious cause for concern she quickly got up and checked the fallen Cosby's side-arm. The standard issue M9 was, strangely, fitted with a suppressor. Her heart sank.
"Sierra Golf India One this is Sierra Golf Papa Niner?"
"I have to go check on the rest of my team," Caroline said, somewhat flustered. "Wait here with the Captain. I'll be back soon, if you need anything use the radio."
Hailey's eyes locked on to Caroline, she didn't want to be the one to make a situation worse, but she found little choice as another unit went silent. One by one they fell, if anything Hailey felt like they had walked right in to shooting gallery and they were the ducks.
"What if there's another," Hailey blunted out in a panic ," They are shooting us like duck, is it really the best option to go out on your own."
Caroline paused for a moment, considering Hailey's words.
"I see what you're saying," she returned after a few moments, "but I don't think we have another choice. Sally can't be moved, and someone needs to re-establish contact with my team. I can't help Sally if she needs it the way you can and we can't carry her or we'll be even more like sitting ducks. I think I have to go."
Caroline stood gracefully, her side arm still in her hand.
"I'll be careful. Stay armed. If anyone other than me shows, be very suspicious and get me on the radio. I won't be too long."
Hailey reached to the ground, picking up Sally's SA80 A2 rifle. No sooner had she picked it up did she make sure the safety was on and throw it to Caroline.
"The Captain will want her weapon back," Hailey's voice was nervous but she knew if Caroline died, they were as good as dead too. "We'll be waiting for you."
Hailey held her handgun in hope to calm her nerves. Caroline caught the rifle roughly.
"Thanks, Corporal" she said putting her arm through the sling and taking up the SA80 into a patrolling position. "I won't be too long. Sit tight."
The Colonel swung the rifle behind her back once she was safely away from the building and took her M9 back out of its holster. She didn't want to knock Hailey's confidence by admitting straight up she didn't know how the SA80 rifle worked. Sure, she could have figured it out and it may come to her having to use it but now wasn't the best time. She had plenty of time and practice with an M9, it was probably the best call for now. Caroline moved on out into the creeping darkness, hand tight on her weapon.
Never would she have thought this would have been her lot, being on an Alien world, a giant green planet setting in the sky above, her team probably dead and two British military personnel for company, one of whom wasn't even conscious. Caroline was an analyst primarily, a desk-jockey, a mild mannered mom. She stopped for a moment and regarded the white oak leaves on her uniform in the waning green light. She was a proper Colonel now, boots on the ground and weapon in hand. She put thoughts of her children and husband to the back of her mind and trained her eyes on the tree-line. Was there another Goa'uld out there? Was her team still alive or were she, Hailey and Sally now all alone?