Stargate - Alpha One

Chapter Thirteen - Playing with Fire (Parts One and Two)
After a research mishap, Asahara disappears into the streets of Coalhearth

Irvina agrees to assist the Alpha Team in their attempts to return to their own dimension, but will she play by the rules?

(Writeup pending)

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Chapter Twelve - The Alpha Site (Parts One and Two)
The Alpha Team's search leads them back to where they started.

The team attempts to retrieve Irvina from Isis’ custody, but she seems to have her own ideas.

Emboldened by their success against Baal’s ship, Alpha One devised a plan to infiltrate Isis’ home planet and retrieve the scientist Irvina. Enlisting the aid of Maeve and her Goa’uld cargo ship, they set up a masquerade where Maeve would claim to wish to join Isis after the disappearance of her former master, Anat. The others posed as her slaves or soldiers.

Their entrance into Isis’ territory went smoothly, and they were instructed by one of Isis’ underlings as to where to land. After that it was a simple matter to send spies into the city, as any true Goa’uld would have done. They soon determined Irvina’s location.

Feigning orders from Isis, Maeve led the team to the research facility where Irvina was being held. Bluffing the Jaffa on guard was a relatively simple task, but those inside were not so easily fooled. Nevertheless, Alpha One got the drop on them and within a few moments they had dispatched the guards. Now all that was left was to return with Irvina.

But she did not seem to be feeling cooperative. Rather than attempt to argue with her about why coming with them was better than staying in Isis’ custody, they answered her questions with a single zat blast and carried her out. However, even the guards outside grew too suspicious when they emerged with their unconscious prisoner, and sounded the alarm.

Judging the security to be too thick to return to their cargo ship, Alpha One considered making for the main hangar bay instead. Before they could solidify their plans, however, Irvina, who had regained consciousness, managed to slip away in the crowd. With their only clue a veiled hint that Irvina knew where the Stargate was, they had no alternative but to try to head her off.

Sure enough, as the team approached the Stargate and the abandoned Alpha Site, they came across Irvina’s trail. Fleischman confronted her and convinced her that they were not servants of the Goa’uld, explaining that Maeve was Tok’ra, and was working against them. He also explained that they were in need of her aid in finding a way to return to their original dimension.

Irvina, having been unable to find the hidden Stargate, decided that it was in her best interests to go with Fleischman. They rendezvoused with the rest of the Alpha Team just inside the hidden base, using their GDOs to disable the trap they had left behind. At long last, they returned through the Stargate with their prize.

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Chapter Eleven - The Moon's Blessing (Parts One and Two)
The Alpha Team meets the Firlings

The Alpha Team explores a planet which might hold a key to returning to their universe, but finds something else entirely…

After cleaning up what was left of Baal’s forces, Alpha One was given the go-ahead to investigate another planet which Irvina had noted on her records, hoping to find something in her research which would help them. They traveled to the planet and started looking around for whatever might have interested her.

They soon discovered some ancient ruins with carvings on them – they were able to read part of a story told on the stones. The tale was of a people who had been ‘blessed by the moon’; that is, granted special gifts by the goddess Selene. At first the people used their gifts to bless those around them, but eventually those without the gifts became afraid and drove them away to a distant land.

Before they could continue their investigations, however, the team started to fall asleep. Those who could stay awake tried to return to the gate, but eventually everyone but Hutchinson succumbed. Shortly after his last teammate fell asleep, Hutchinson saw several men, at first with a camouflaged appearance, then somehow changing to look more like normal humans in a distinct uniform. They then dialed Earth without even touching the DHD, though they should not have even known the address the team had come from, and appeared to intend to send them back through.

Hutchinson, knowing that there was a force field protecting the other side of the gate, stopped them with a wounding shot to one of the men carrying his teammates. The strangers didn’t seem to understand what had happened, and when Hutchinson confronted them, they seemed to think that he was one of their own, in disguise.

It took Hutchinson a while to convince the strangers that he was not one of their own, but once he did, they were immediately curious to know why he seemed to be so. He did not have an answer for them at first, but eventually their questions led him to the conclusion that they were referring to the strange powers he acquired after being exposed to the device in the ruins on Nasya. He proceeded to bargain with the strangers, who named themselves the Firlings, that further information would be offered only under exchange.

When the rest of the team awoke, they were allowed to return to the ruins and investigate them further, but did not find anything which they believed Irvina would have been interested in. Hutchinson was forbidden from revealing what he had seen about the Firlings, even their name, but was charged with gaining permission for them to study and deactivate, if possible, the device which had altered his DNA. They were also told that Irvina had indeed come through the gate, but been sent back much as the Firlings had intended to return the Alpha Team.

Once back through the Stargate, Hutchinson revealed the identity of the strangers, but proceeded to gain permission for them to investigate the Nasyan ruins. With only his word and Thor’s confirmation of the people’s identity as voucher, the General nevertheless concluded that they should attempt to gain the favor of the Firlings, and cooperate with them in hopes of forming a more tangible alliance in the future.

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Chapter Ten - Testing the Waters
Ba'al sends a ship to take control of Earth

While at an impasse, the Alpha Team is threatened by the appearance of a Goa’uld mothership above the planet.

With their best lead to finding a way home seemingly come to a dead end and Asahara still recovering from Anat’s torture, Alpha One was recalled and placed on standby. Suddenly and without warning, a Goa’uld mothership appeared in orbit above the planet. A huge holographic figure of Baal appeared and demanded that the rebellious people of Coalhearth surrender to him and lower the shield (which Thor had erected) around the palace. General Wycliffe responded as diplomatically as possible in an attempt to buy some time, but was unable to determine whether Baal himself was present on the ship or merely broadcasting a pre-recorded threat.

Alpha One gathered their resources and came up with the best plan they could think of on short notice. With the aid of Maeve and her cloaked cargo ship, they launched into orbit and approached the invader. Down on the surface, another team set off a device prepared by Thor which created a signal intended to tempt Baal or his underlings to investigate. Sure enough, a small ship was launched, and Alpha One used the brief interval in which the shield was down to sneak past it.

Once beyond the shield, it was a simple matter to beam aboard the mothership. Not so simple was sneaking past all the Jaffa on board with a large payload of explosives. Somehow they managed to take out all of the guards they couldn’t slip past and reached the ship’s power core before the alarm was sounded. Setting up the explosives with both a timer and a remote detonator, the team worked their way back toward their entry point.

The anthill was stirred by then and it was a difficult return trip. Some judicious use of grenades managed to get them within range of the cargo ship’s transporters, and once back aboard they activated one of Thor’s transport boosters, allowing them to beam directly back to the surface before their explosives detonated.

And some explosion it was. The mothership’s naqadah-powered core amplified the simple explosives a thousand times, breaking it apart into several large fragments and thousands of smaller ones. Though there was no way to determine whether Baal had even been aboard, let alone been killed in the explosion, but the immediate threat had been ended. Until next time…

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Chapter Nine - Chasing Shadows (Part Three)
What would you do if you ran into yourself?

The Alpha Team gets closer to finding Irvina, only to learn that she has been made Isis’ prisoner.

As all evidence pointed to Isis’ Jaffa being the last to see Irvina, Alpha One devised a bold plot to replace the alternate Lamara (who had apparently defected to serve Isis) and try to access whatever prisoner records they could. After observing her movements for 2 days, they confronted and detained the Lamara who served Isis, and sent their own Lamara on toward the stronghold in her place.

It was a nerve-wracking couple of hours as Lamara searched alone for a records repository while trying to avoid looking suspicious. Finally she found what she needed and attempted to leave, only to be stopped by two of Isis’ Jaffa inquiring why she wasn’t at her post. She tried to make a break for it, but she was outnumbered and overpowered.

Deciding they’d detained the alternate Lamara long enough, Fleischman ordered the team to intercept the Jaffa who held theirs prisoner. They were able to correctly determine where their quarry was headed and set an ambush. After a few short bursts of gunfire, Lamara was free and the team headed back toward the Stargate by an alternate route.

Back at the base, Lamara revealed what she had learned inside Isis’ stronghold. Irvina had indeed been taken prisoner by Isis’ Jaffa, and been deemed important enough to transport by ship to Isis’ home planet. The coordinates of the planet were familiar to the team. Isis’ home base was at the original Alpha Site.

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Chapter Nine - Chasing Shadows (Part Two)
The Alpha Team searches for Irvina, and discovers more than they bargained for.

The Alpha Team tracks Irvina to a planet where they meet a familiar face…

Following a lead found in Irvina’s notes in the database on Nasya, the team traveled to a planet under the rule of the Goa’uld Isis. Not far from the gate, they found a road which led them to a small village, the inhabitants of which remembered seeing Irvina pass through several months before, but not return. Taking this as their best lead so far, the team traded a cyalume rod for a night’s lodging and set off to follow her the next day.

Late the next day, they passed a sort of slum camp and were thrown a curve ball when one of the inhabitants recognized Lamara. She quickly denied being the person they thought she was, realizing that several people in the camp were her own – or rather, the alternate version of her – relatives. Some of them were unconvinced, but pretended to take her word for it in a subservient and most un-Jaffa-like manner. It soon became apparent that the planet had recently been taken from Bastet, and that those Jaffa who had not escaped before Isis took control were treated as second-class citizens.

Eventually, the team reached a large city which appeared to be a frequent landing point for Isis’ ships. Against all odds, they managed to find somebody who actually remembered seeing Irvina get in an altercation with Isis’ Jaffa. And again they tempted probability when Fleischman spotted Lamara – the alternate Lamara.

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Chapter Eight - Retribution (Part Two)
With Anat returned to custody, Alpha One must discover who set her free...

Alpha One must scour Coalhearth to find Anat’s hidden agents. But can they pass through the decade-thick veils of secrecy?

With the help of Thor’s newly completed extraction device, Anat was removed from her unwilling host, Whispering Aspen. With her help, it was revealed that Anat’s escape and takeover was aided by a number of sleeper cells planted throughout the city; cult followers of Anat. Aspen was able to identify several locations which had once been used by the groups. The team split up to quicken the search.

Whispering Aspen was paired with her son, Red Jade, in an awkward reunion. Maeve, on assignment from the Dual Mind, joined Hutchinson, while Fleischman and Asahara paired up in a final group, each taking a couple extra soldiers as backup. Fleischman’s team hit a dead end, as did Hutchinson’s, but Red Jade visited his old friend Laughing Thunderbolt and browsed through the library records, determining which of the several locations might still be being used by the sleeper groups. Maeve, convinced that her team’s second lead was suspicious enough to warrant observation, remained there while the rest of the team raided a large warehouse in which they encountered resistance from two of the sleeper groups, subduing them.

Meanwhile, Maeve uncovered some illegal drug traffic being conducted in the upper level of the confectionery store she was surveilling. With no further evidence of sleeper groups within the city, Alpha One concluded their search.

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Chapter Eight - Retribution (Part One)
While Alpha One is on leave, an invisible enemy enters among them

Alpha One’s vacation is interrupted by the escape of their prisoner, Anat.

Alpha One, intending to enjoy some well-earned time off, split up and headed out to enjoy various pastimes. Asahara joined Thor who was working on a Goa’uld extraction project, Red Jade went off on a fishing trip, Fleischman ended up accompanying some fellow soldiers to a Coalhearth sporting event, while poor Hutchinson was stuck in observation after his telekinetic experience.

The first sign that something was wrong was when Dr. Bradshaw moved Hutchinson to a high security observation room without any apparent reason. He was there when Fleischman returned and was denied permission to visit him. Suspicious, Fleischman started snooping around, and discovered that Thor was missing and the General was supposedly ill. Without Asahara or Red Jade, he did his best to investigate the events of the past several days.

His actions did not go unnoticed, however. In what he thought was an attempt to pacify him, he was finally granted permission to visit Hutchinson. He soon learned his mistake when he found himself likewise imprisoned. But now at least he had another team member to consult with, and they quickly formed a plan. Hutchinson used his newfound telekinesis to unlock the cell door, and they quickly subdued the guards and escaped, managing to take one zat gun with them.

They fled outside the base, heading for the general’s personal quarters in Coalhearth. Sneaking in, they discovered the general, the doctor, and Asahara all held prisoner. Anat, who had somehow escaped and disguised herself as the doctor, was not present.

Joining forces with the general and some of his loyal guards, Hutchinson and Fleischman reentered the base pretending to be unconscious prisoners. While Asahara and the general snuck in via the underground entrance and rescued Thor, who had been put in Anat’s cell and concealed with holograms, they took advantage of Anat’s arrogant gloating and disabled her holographic disguise, subduing her.

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Chapter ? - Last Breath (Part One)
A harmless game turns deadly

While trying to enjoy their well-earned vacation, Alpha One’s friendly game of D&D is interrupted by the reappearance of some old friends…

(Session postponed indefinitely.)

With Galadare as Guest Writer.

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Chapter Seven - Haunted (Part Three)
Can Alpha One evacuate the ship's inhabitants before it's too late?

Alpha One must evacuate the inhabitants of the damaged ship – but the sudden appearance of a Goa’uld cargo ship may throw a wrench in their plans.

Colonel Fleischman and Sergeant Hutchinson returned from the crashed colony ship to with the Prefect and took him on a tour of Coalhearth. Meanwhile, the General assembled a committee to determine what could be done to rescue the more than a thousand inhabitants of the vessel. They decided that there was plenty of land available on the mainland west of Coalhearth; many citizens had also expressed a desire to begin a colony there. The prefect was amenable, and so they began their rescue plan.

Once again Thor beamed the team to the ship, this time with backup and a full load of protective suits for evacuating the colonists. Before they could unload the cargo, they spotted one of the black creatures which had crawled out of the ship and was lying prone a couple hundred feet from the entrance. To make certain that it was dead, Hutchinson took a shot at it, which suddenly pinged off an invisible object halfway to its target.

A few moments later, they heard the whine of engines and saw the vague silhouette of a Goa’uld cargo ship as it took off. As there was nothing but the fuel-powered jeep to take cover behind, they stood their ground, weapons ready. An instant later, the jeep and its passengers disappeared.

Left alone, the pair followed the frantic Prefect (who had made a break for it) back to the ship and tried to radio the other group. All they received was a brief message cut off by the sound of a closing wormhole. Their backup and cargo had been sent back through the gate.

The next thing they heard on their radio was an unfamiliar Goa’uld speaking words they couldn’t understand. A moment later it was answered, but this voice they knew; Asahara, or rather Valesh, was responding. After a few tense moments, involving Asahara firing one of the giant ship’s guns at the cargo ship, it was uncloaked and Asahara told them that Valesh had appropriated it for use in the evacuation.

Boarding the ship, the pair found a single Goa’uld, Maeve, with no escort whatsoever, piloting the otherwise empty vessel. She was unusually friendly with them, though it did nothing to help them lower their guard. On Asahara’s instructions, they flew the ship into a large, double hangar bay and parked, then went down to meet the others.

Meanwhile, Red Jade and Asahara were dealing with their own troubles. While still trying to assemble the evacuees into groups, Red Jade discovered that the black humanoids from the lower section of the ship had breached the upper levels and were advancing through the farmland sections. Red Jade took up the rear as the evacuation commenced, firing his weapon at the creatures to slow them down as much as possible. Asahara, still needed in the control section, barricaded herself in as the last of the evacuees passed.

Hutchinson and Fleischman met up with Red Jade just in time to turn back another wave. During the firefight, something very strange happened. A boy tripped and started sliding back toward the cannibalistic creatures. Hutchinson reached out for him and missed, but a moment later the boy stopped falling and slid back up to reach his hand. Too busy to stop and think about what had happened, the team continued back up toward the hangar, closing the last of the doors behind them.

The rest of the evacuation went smoothly and quickly. They loaded the ship as full as they could, flew out to the Stargate, and let Thor beam them through. Asahara, setting the hangar to open at a timed interval, found a way around the overrun areas of the ship and arrived just in time for the last trip. Reaching the Stargate, they were all beamed through, including Maeve – right into a holding cell, in her case.

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