First Time's The Charm
rating: +6+x

Assigned Personnel

Light Transport Vessel 04
Pilot: Brad Cannon
Deckhand(s): George Montgomery
Rudy Lynch
Timothy Holland
Boarding Party
Security Officer(s): Ken Jones
Peter Alves
Researcher(s): Gene Perry
Dorothy Hansen
D-Class: D-3487
D-6533
D-2995
D-3855

Brad Cannon heard Peter Alves coming before he entered. He was humming some tune from some opera that Brad didn't know the name of. Peter didn't know the name either; he simply identified it as 'that song where the dude's just stoked about the elephants'.

"So," Peter slid into a seat across from Brad in the mess hall. "Your crew got picked to take us on our little trip tomorrow, huh?"

Brad swallowed the last of his lunch. "Heh, I volunteered us."

"Oh. Really?"

"Yeah, it's something to do. Beats just cruising around the perimeter all day, at least."

"I hear ya, man." Peter replied as he dug into his own meal. "Three months of seatox, and then the post is boring as sh-"

"Seatox?" Brad interrupted.

"Oh. Yeah, y'know. Like detox, but out at sea." Peter explained, adding with a grin "I am gonna party so hard once I'm back ashore."

"Sure kiddo," Brad smiled back. Then he stood and took his mealtray. "Speaking of boring, I've got to get ready for a patrol-shift right now. See you at the briefing tomorrow morning."

Alves gave a small wave goodbye as Cannon walked away.


Specialized Tools/Equipment

  • Noise-cancelling Ear Defenders (x12)
  • Disposable Camera (x6)
  • Set of Semaphore Signal Flags (x2)
  • Retractable Personnel Tether (x4)
  • Analog Stopwatch (x2)

Ken Jones held one stopwatch in each hand. After watching them count off 60 seconds in sync, he reset them and placed them back on the workbench with the rest of the items. Satisfied that everything was in working order, Jones turned around to find Brad Cannon approaching him.

"Hey," Ken greeted him "how was patrol?"

"Meh, same old same old." Brad replied with a shrug. "Weather's a bit nasty out there."

"Hm… That going to affect the mission?"

"Nah, shouldn't be anything we can't handle." Brad reassured him. He then turned to Rudy Lynch, who had just now followed him in. "Everything squared away down there?" Brad asked, referring to their patrol boat.

"Pretty much, sir. Tim and George are just topping up the fuel. Wanted to let you know we tuned into the forecast; it might blow a bit more tonight, but should die down by late tomorrow morning."

"Ah, good news." Brad said, as much to Ken as Rudy. "Make sure they don't need any more help, then all three of you can turn in until tomorrow's briefing."

"Oh hey!" Ken interrupted as he slotted the four mini-flags into the box holding the ear defenders. "I'm gonna come with, put these on the boat so they're there in the morning."

"Nah, Rudy can take care of that for you." Brad took the box from Ken and passed it along. "Right Rudy?"

"Sir!" Lynch gave an informal salute before he turned and left with the box tucked under one arm.

"Oh, the rest of that..?" Brad gestured toward the remaining gear.

"I'll hang onto it 'til tomorrow." Ken said.

After bidding each other farewell, Cannon left. Jones, once more, examined and tested each piece of equipment; then he tucked everything into his gearbag and retired to his quarters.


Objective

  • To board SCP-2454 for the purpose of gathering data and recording observations

"It doesn't mean 'get ready to make your way back soon'; it doesn't mean 'just finish your roll of film quick', okay? You get three pulls, you get your asses out!"

Ken Jones, giving the D-Class personnel their directions for the operation, could not seem to emphasize this enough. "Because there are no extra minutes. If you aren't back on this boat when the timer's up, I cut your cord and it's nobody's problem but your own."

The four D's tasked with entering the ship to take photos nodded broodingly. Jones, apparently satisfied, turned and faced the front window. He saw the cloudy gray sky as the small cabin cruiser's bow rose up over the crest of a wave, then the cold gray sea as it dipped back into a trough. Briefly in between, the massive cruise ship on the horizon.

Brad Cannon leaned over from his captain's seat. "Support Vessel's reporting about 11 minutes between pings," he mentioned to Jones. "Could be you will have an extra minute…"

Jones turned to him now. "Is that coming from the guy who woke up ten minutes before his alarm this morning, treated it like an extra hour, and still was late to briefing?" Cannon smirked at that slight exaggeration, but kept his eyes ahead as he negotiated the ocean swells. "If I'm lucky enough to get a bit of breathing room," Jones continued, "I want it there when I need room to breathe."


Planned Procedure

  • Light Transport Vessel 04 (operated by Brad Cannon and crew) will transport all personnel from Support Vessel 01 to area of operations
  • Boarding Party will enter SCP-2454 with cameras and evidence bags, taking photographs and collecting articles for study
  • Light Transport Vessel 04 will extract personnel from area of operations and return to Support Vessel 01 for debriefing

"Of course he won't want to leave anyone behind," Dorothy Hansen spoke in a hushed tone. "But if it comes to jeapordizing the entire team, and the objective, for the sake of trying to save one -" She halted mid-sentence and stared gravely at the back of the seat inches in front of her face.

"Relax," said Gene, soothingly. "Breathe… Try to focus on the horizon." Gene Perry and Dorothy Hansen were the two official researchers on this assignment. They shared a bench seat, and for the most part had been chatting between themselves.

The pair of them had been slated to board SCP-2454 together; recording observations while remaining on the deck of the ship, in sight of Jones and Alves at all times. But Dorothy started feeling nauseous shortly after the transport boat got under way, and Jones made an executive decision that she would not be boarding the cruise ship in that condition.

Gene, however, had insisted that he still get to investigate the anomaly himself. And Dorothy had been trying to convince him it was too dangerous to go alone; without a tether, without a second pair of eyes to keep contact with the guards. If he was, at the wrong moment, wrapped up in taking notes instead of watching for the signal to evacuate…

Gene argued that this opportunity was too good to pass up. If it's taken ten years to even attempt a first exploration, how long would it take to mount a second? This was a chance to make a breakthrough, to earn some recognition. He wouldn't get another chance like this one.

Dorothy raised a finger. She wanted to interject, after taking a second to brace against the seasickness. "You said 'ten years'?"

"It's a fairly short assignment, you know," Gene reasoned. "This posting, I mean. I guess enough people are happy to just put in their three months and transfer out." He sighed and added derisively "Without contributing to our overall understanding of the thing."

Hansen understood Perry's point. But this conversation only made her more anxious about the plan, though she couldn't articulate why.

"And we finally got a project head that's pushing this stuff through," Perry prattled on. "Not just thermal imaging and satellites, but real hands-on observations. I can't let this chance slip away."

Hansen had tuned out, instead committing her focus to not throwing up.


Hazard Assessment

  • Constant vocalizations by SCP-2454-1
    • Noise-cancelling ear protection will be worn by all personnel within the area of operation
  • Bursts of radiation occurring at approximate ten minute intervals
    • Total time in area of operation will be limited to seven minutes
  • All electronics brought on board rendered immediately inoperable
    • Non-electronic means of communication and data collection will be established and used while within area of operation

Deckhand George Montgomery held one hand up near his face, and the other pointed out to the side, extended index fingers representing the signal-flags he was rehearsing to use. "So, this is..?" he prompted Security Officer Peter Alves.

"One-minute signal," replied Alves, with mock indignation at being given the simplest of options.

"And you…" Montgomery pressed on.

"Return the same signal to acknowledge." Alves answered, his indignant feelings now a little bit genuine. He mirrored George's hand placement, with his elbows tucked in to his sides.

"Good," Montgomery replied. "Now, if you need immediate evac?" Alves pointed both fingers upward, then outward, then up again. "Right," Montgomery affirmed, "and if I give you that signal?"

"Then you're coming to pick us up, ready or not." Peter was confident he had memorized the pertinent signals they'd be using. "Hey," he looked to George with one finger pointed upwards tracing circles, and the other hand in a fist rocking back and forth. "How about this signal?"

"Oh," replied George thoughtfully. "That's… you signalling that giving some handjobs ain't no big deal."

"Hey," Peter looked sternly at him, "it's only gay if you cuddle after." The two of them stared at each other for a beat before Alves' expression cracked a little, and they had to turn away from each other to avoid bursting into laughter.


Contingency Plan

  • In the event of any unanticipated problems or emergency situation, all personnel must immediately evacuate SCP-2454
  • No recovery efforts can be made beyond the original allotted timeframe.

"Roger that." Cannon slotted the radio handset back into place. "Care to make the announcement?" he asked Jones. Jones nodded, and turned to address everyone in the cabin.

"Alright, listen up!" Jones waited until everyone gave their attention. "Support vessel's just reported a hit, and the next window is ours. That's action in ten minutes time, everyone be ready!" He concluded on that note, and everyone seemed to withdraw into their personal thoughts.

Ken Jones opened his gearbag and re-examined his equipment. He'd given one of the stopwatches to George already; the other he took out now and hung around his neck, tucking it under his sweater. The 'Personnel Tethers' for the D-Classes (actually not much more than retractable dog leashes) he left in.

Two of the Ds turned over in their hands the disposable cameras they had been issued, the other two just gazed out at the rolling waves. Deckhands Rudy Lynch and Tim Holland, who had been sitting quietly near the cabin doors, stood and shrugged into their cold-weather coats.

Hansen looked to Perry once more. It was a final, silent plea not to go, yet acknowledged that said plea was futile. Perry tried a reassuring smile; it faded to stoic determination after he turned away.

The support ship radioed in their latest reading. Everyone donned their ear defenders. The boat made its way toward the objective.


After Action Report

Mission was a complete success. Although no physical items could be retrieved from SCP-2454, (sample collection bags containing various items were all found to be empty after disembarking) photographic evidence gathered has been very useful.

I believe that this has provided an excellent baseline for how more information on SCP-2454 can be gathered moving forward. For reference, I've attached a copy of the original mission outline to this file. My recommendation, however, is that future undertakings might increase the number of participating personnel. With multiple photographers we could collect more data in a single exploit.

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