Near the Stargate

Near the Stargate

The area around the planet's Stargate is lush and green, shaded by towering cypress trees and looming mountains. The ground is spongy, verdant, and occasionally unpredictable, giving way to quagmires and hidden streams where the foliage has grown up over watery areas. The gate itself is directly north of the transport rings by a distance of roughly a hundred yards. The buzz of insects can be heard day and night, though there are no signs of terrestrial animals in the immediate vicinity.

Lt James Lockley

A quick flash of light and James was looking at a thick jungle lush and green he felt the sponge ground taking three steps out the transport ring and quickly started seeing the area through the cross hairs of his ACOG sight. Pumprey was first to call clear when no targets presented themselves, followed by Ashton.

"Clear. Take a knee, The ranger ordered next, and they all kneeled down where they were at. Waiting for the next team.

The first thing the lieutenant and his team notice is the extreme environmental difference between the frigid camp and the torrid gate area. The glass of Lockley's sight fogs immediately, and moisture seems to instantly condense on his skin in a thick layer of 'sweat' or 'dew'. The surface of the metal weapon also collects condensation, making it surprisingly slippery.

The shimmering surface of the Stargate ripples just to the north, the invisible wormhole waiting beyond. Halfway between the first team and the gate is the MALP, its righting arm stuck firmly in the mire. Lockley observes that it has somehow managed to get a creeping vine wrapped around it, such that the machine could not possibly extract itself without a cutting device.

Off to the east, about fifty meters away from the gate, Lockley can see a number of the strange segmented insects hovering among the branches of a younger cypress tree. There seem to be at least a half dozen, possibly more. One of them appears to have noticed the new arrivals and is flitting back and forth, side to side, over a distance of about ten feet. It shows no interest in coming any closer at this point.

Sgt. Jake Bishop

Bishop takes a long breath, in and out. His exhale falls on 14 and the short steps into and through the gate which deposits him in another place. He stifles a cough as the hot moist air stings his throat and lungs with it's suddenness. He takes the other team in with a quick glance, noting their state of currently not being under duress he moves his team to make an inner half ring. Couching down on one knee he raises his rifle to scan the area and curses quietly at the fogged sight, instead he points the barrel slightly lower than on aim and looks over the scope.

He catches Lockley's eyes and follows them to the strange insect. He shakes his head, insects that hover tend to be more predatory, like wasps and hornets, but bees present a good counter argument and he holds judgment. After sizing up the big bugs he stays low and through a series of crouch steps moves up to the MALP to check for obvious damage, and a smidge of cover should it make itself needed.

Lt James Lockley

After a moment,the ranger has the group drop there winter gear by teams. The sergeant first and then his team. Sgt Bishops uses hand signals to show his intention, and Lockley nods in approval and covers his approach.

Bishop makes his way over to the MALP, covered by Lockley as the others in the team keep an eye on the bugs. Arriving at the robot, he gives it a quick up-check and finds no visible damage, just the snagged arm. The rolling treads of Findy's creation give it a nice, stable base that does not sink deeply into the mire.

Bishop's feet, on the other hand, are ankle-deep in the wet, green muck. Every step in the vicinity is a tough go, like walking through wet concrete.

The curious bug hovers back and forth a few more times, inching just a bit closer toward the team. Its zig-zag motion is like a figure eight that rotates slowly counter-clockwise, each swing moving the perigee a slight bit toward the Ancient artifacts. Only forty-five meters away now.

"Hallo, Bishop," Findy says, over the radio, "think you can get our MALP righted?"

"Don't overexert yourself trying. Remember to stay hydrated.", Eileen's voice comes over the radio as well.

Sgt. Jake Bishop

"Yes, Ma'am." Bishop says low voiced, as a blanket response to the two on the radio. He isn't happy about he mush under his feet, the sucking mud would make running one hell of a chore. The sudden heat had set him into an intense almost instant sweat, so that would have to be dealt with before he began freeing the MALP arm. He shucks his coat, pulling a folded knife from the chest pocket and clenching it between his teeth. He drops the coat to the side, on top of it goes the momentarily useless rifle, it's foggy scope would need some time to equalize and de-fog itself.

That off he concentrates on cutting and digging through the debris to help free the MALP arm, the small knife opening with an audible click. Content to let the rest of the away team keep eyes on the bugs and the treeline.

The slithering sound of steel against fiber issues repeatedly as Bishop's knife races back and forth, ripping through the thick vine that had snared the MALP. The tendril yields surprisingly easily to the sergeant's efforts, and with a plop the MALP ends up back on its treads when the vine finally snaps in two. The righting arm retracts with a somewhat squishy click into its safe holding place up against the little robot's side.

Lockley frowns over his scope as the curious insect swoops ever closer to the security team. Now only forty meters away, the lieutenant can make out the iridescent sheen of the gossamer wings, the plated articulations of the armored abdomen, and the nasty-looking stinger at the end of the tail.


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