Champions Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter Ten

Remains of the Day

Novalis, Queen of the Malakim Empire, potentate over thirty systems, each system having seven to nine inhabited planets wore a worried face. Today she felt every one of her 350 thousand years. She felt old and woren The Song came from a parched throat.

"What do you do when the music ends, and you are played out? My voice is muted and my ears have gone deaf. My people follow me because of the love they have for the old comfortable reign I have given them and me. They follow the Nephalim because the World Symphony is likened to a super nova within that pure and new spirit, they are in love with that soul. Great Song bless me, so am I. Yet she is scarily more then a featherling herself.

"The need to protect Samantha, to shield her with one's wing is so great that I can not resist the lure. Perhaps this is for the best. The Great Song has changed, the World Symphony possesses a new voice of which the old wishes to cradle as a newborn. Is this path of less Discord? With my dire urge to protect the Nephalim, dissidence is not generated?. Should I be jealous of her new voice? I should, but the World Symphony is so strong in the Nephalim, it does call to me and I do yield. The Great Song is vibrant as it had been when it sang into being the first grain of sand. What new frontier will come of this I wonder and what lays in hand for the Malakim?"

Novalis's silver eyes rested upon the image of her mother. The portrait hung over her desk in her private chambers. "Mother, is this the Transference? Is this what you felt when you passed the Great Song to me? Yet, the World Symphony did not change its concerto as drastically as it has with Samantha. Why?"

Novalis had always found comfort in the painted eyes of her mother's portrait. She felt as if her beloved mother was watching over her, guiding her from the soft whispered under aria of the World Symphony. But the painted teal eyes bore no soul this night. In her mind's ear she heard her mother utter "Nephalim." The World Symphony is different because now it was the progenitor of a Nephalim.

The Nephalim….The heart of a Malakim angelic and the soul of a Mortal.

Closing her eyes Novalis softly sang the notes of the Remembered. And in the void of the Dreaming came forth the image of her mother, Gabrielle, the First queen. Before the Throne there was the Seven Choirs and the Seven Archangels. And it was they who lifted the Archangel Gabrielle to become Queen of all Malakim. For, in her, it seemed the World Symphony was the strongest and she was blessed with the voice of the Great Song

It was a necessity of the Empire to exist under a single voice, rather then the original sextet, in order to battle Usiel and his followers. A third of the Hosts fell and were banished; forever Exiled. This had been the only time Novalis could ever recall the cacophony of the World Symphony and then she had been scarily more then a featherling, in fact her flight feathers had just developed.

Usiel was her mother's mate, but not her father. Novalis had two mothers as the vast majority of the Empire had single sex marriages. Her sire-mother was the Liege Commander in the Crimson Wing, and she was a hero to her daughter. When Aria (Arion's namesake) died in battle, Gabrielle, for a short time, sought comfort in the bed of Usiel. This fact had almost caused a rift in the relationship with her daughter, until Gabrielle woke one day to find that her lover Usiel was the slayer of her lost wife. It was that day Gabrielle passes the Great Song to her daughter. Once satisfied that all was well, she died as her heart had no further will to live.

With these thoughts resounding in her soul, Novalis admitted, "The sonata of the Great Song is yours sweet Samantha. I now must play second string."

Novalis looked once more into the painted eyes of her mother while thinking of Samantha. The day the music changed forever rang in the queen's mind.

Novalis was falling, she couldn't catch the wind and she knew that death was on her wingtips. She was on fire, her chest blazing with an intolerable inferno. The trees lashed into a violent frenzy. Her voice screamed out for the heaven to hear this would be her last aria, her last cry.

Did a shadow fall across the sun or did the sun simply go out, extinguished as abruptly and complete as a candle? There was still the sound of leaves, of a terrible rushing, yet all light was gone. Darkness was complete. Suddenly the wind was gone, and all sound with it. Novalis felt the World Symphony torn from her. When she reached for it her mind touched nothing.

She screamed out her terror. The sound was forced back into her throat and she choked on it.

Novalis was completely alone.

She had lost the caress of the World Symphony's Grace. The Blue Wing was nowhere, either to save or to turn to. She was alone in that fragment of nothingness. No light. No sound. No feeling. Where was her body? Novalis tried to move in her panic, there was nothing to move. Just as the light and sound had vanished, she was gone too.

The corporeal Novalis, Queen of the Malakim, simply was not.

Then, she felt her limbs once again. Her legs, arms and wings were tingling faintly, as though they had been asleep. She blinked her silver eyes rapidly, but though she herself was somehow back, nothing else was. It was nothing as simple as darkness, or absence of light. Darkness has a tangible quality can be moved through and felt; a world of things still exist around you. Here, Novalis was lost in a horrifying void

It was the same with the silence. This was more then silence. A deaf person can feel vibrations. Here in this void there was nothing to feel. The world was frozen. She didn't know that oblivion was so cold. 'The songs of the mother bloom in the children they bear' was the last thought that wafted into the queen's mind as she was swallowed by waters of doom.

Suddenly, she was aware of her hearts beating rapidly within the cage of her ribs. Had they stopped before? What had made them start again? The tingling in her arms, wings and legs grew stronger, and suddenly Novalis felt movement. This movement, she decided, must be the turning of the world rotating on its axis, razing its elliptic course about the sun. She felt the inexorable tug of life slam into her. Then Novalis was lifted up into the world of the living once more.

Her ears were opened and she realized that the World Symphony had drifted from her in to a new powerful sonata. The aria had passed from the Queen's heart to this mortal….this Nephalim. A cry came from her silent throat and she knew in her soul that her spirit was forever linked to the Nephalim. This fair-haired woman was, in the very literal sense, her soul.

This realization astounded Novalis, for as long as this gorgeous, youthful lass lived, so too did she. They were linked forever. Novalis could feel the power of the Great Song even now emanating from the Nephalim. And to a lesser, though no less important degree, she shared a connection to the tiny, stunningly beautiful healer. A triumvirate then. So be it.

She recalled little after the Nephalim pulled her from the watery grave, to the time when she woke to find the tiny healer flittering about her, inside the infirmary in the Eyrie. The queen was fading in and out of consciousness; she knew only that her life had been saved by the Nephalim and the healer. It would take time before her own physicians arrived at the base but the mortal healer had kept her amongst the living.

It was difficult for Novalis not to press her wings against her body within the presence of the Nephalim as she had once with her own mother. Novalis was at a loss. The World Symphony was no longer an intimate part of her. Oh, it was still there, as it had been when she was under her mother's wing, but she had wept for its loss.

The Great Song marked the coming of the Nephalim and so Novalis accepted it, as she accepted her own ascension to the throne on the passing of her mother. It was inevitable.

This gentle soul, this warrior, this scholar, mother and wife, was an icon of purity itself and thus would be the inheritor of the World Symphony. This inheritance also passed down into her legacy. She and her wife were the progenitors of a new order.

Novalis allowed herself to fall back into sleep; her ears were filled with the notes of the healing voices of the med-choir. When she wakened once more the smiling faces of her daughter and the Nephalim greeted her.

"Mother, you are restored to us!" Arion broadly grinned.

"It would appear so." Novalis croaked around a scratchy dry throat. Her daughter passed her a tankard filled with cold, sweet spring water. The Queen took a long draught before she would try and speak once more.

"Where is she who restored my life to me?"

Sam in her nervous habit pulled her lips together and swallowed. "My name is Colonel Samantha Carter of the SGC."

"She is the liege commander of her Wing, a unit called SG1, mother."

Novalis noticed a change in Arion's attitude immediately. 'Mother, not your majesty….not My Queen….but mother. She has never called me so since becoming a member of the Force, and never in public ear.' Keen silver eyes noticed that Arion's wings were pressed tightly against her body because she was in Samantha's presence. They were not so tightly bound within Novalis's audience. 'Curious.'

"Then you are a warrior." It was not a question.

Samantha nodded. "I am."

Novalis assessed the young woman; she nearly lost herself in the crystal clear azure depths of the Nephalim's orbs. They held such power, such residing emotions. The eyes of a poet then. This woman told so much with her eyes that her face never gave away. "It would seem you are more then you admit, young one."

There was a flash of a tiny smile in those blue eyes. It was the same expression Arion carried when called young. It said. 'You know I get called that all the time by those who think they know it all. I am a little more mature then you think I am. Give me a little credit.'

Novalis smiled to herself, wondering why it was the very young were always in such a rush to grow into maturity. Time came in its own fashion and it was neither late nor early but precise. Of course, when a soul was old enough to realize this, most of their lifetime had already been spent, trying to get to that age. And when you're that age you want to go back to being young again. What a cosmic entropic joke.

"I am also a doctor of Theoretical Astrophysics. Quantum Physics fascinates me. In fact, when you are feeling better, I'd like to discuss a few things with you. Perhaps, we can set up trade negotiations. I'd love to learn more about your culture, sciences… on Earth, where I and the others of my team come from… angelics are…well….." A flash of a shy smile.

"A part of mythos?" Novalis prompted.

The young blonde smiled, relived to have been supplied the word she was so delicately trying to convey. "Yes, exactly."

The idea of celestials was not an uncommon occurrence. The Malakim knew that the Nox had similar tales told about their kind and those of the Faery-kin. The Asgard had their own dogma following them, as did the Diabolicals. So, it was of no great surprise to the Queen that her own race would have stories told by the hearth of her kith. Alas, even the Bardic Guild of her own kith told fireside tales of the Mortals, especially the Nephalim and her consort. And standing before her now was the very icon of those tales.

When myth becomes reality trouble is not far behind.

Novalis regained her thoughts from her errant memory, her silver eyes still placidly gazing at the portrait of her mother. "What is it I should do? She will be hunted by her enemies and those that belong to the Empire. I know only that she must be protected, but mother…. the World Symphony calls to me in a new song. It calls in a way that I find I can no longer deny. My soul was already fused with her own, now too my heart has become bonded to hers."

Novalis looked down and away from the portrait. "Oh, mother, my feathers have been stripped from me and I am falling, unable to gain the wind again."

Malakim, once they have passed adolescence do not age. When they grow older they do not weaken, only grow more beautiful and wiser. They die only in battle or when their hearts are shattered from the loss of a love so great, so epic it would be passed down into songs eons to come. They possess more beauty than any creature in the known galaxy, but they carry with them the extremes of the greatest of all happiness and the greatest of all sadness.

"A foul voice is in the air." Novalis said in a hushed tone. "I feel our test is yet only begun."

The image of her mother shimmered and the World Symphony sang loud within the troubled heart.

"Daughter what disturbs your soul?"

"Do you not feel it even in the Vail beyond life? The Symphony is no longer mine to conduct. A new Voice heralds the Choirs now."

"A voice once Mortal but not so now. The Nephalim." Archangel Gabrielle said, her voice like a soft whispering echo.

"So sayethwhen Legends become flesh troubles lay not far behind. I fear this horizon more then I feared anything past, save for the first war of the heavens."

"And so should you daughter. The Fallen must never take hold of the Nephalim. She must be protected. Her child born now and the one yet to come must be protected. Her wife must be protected. Do not be to eager to judge this new Voice. What you must do is to think upon the time you have before you now. Nine warriors seek her. Let them my child. They will, beyond death, protect her and her kin. Behold their love of her is beyond the power of the Great Song."

"It will be seen as treason if I do nothing when they come."

"How so, when you give her to those who would keep her, shield her, defend her beyond reason? The Great Dark follows the Fallen and with them the force of Diabolicals, more terrible then we have yet seen. You are correct daughter of mine, when you say the air carries a foul voice. And so it does. The path you fly is heavy with peril."

"Mother, who is this voice?"

"One who should be feared for he is the first to embrace the Dark. His sweet music is but bitter to the ears, be wary child of mine, for he has something beyond power. He holds charisma and becharms those he holds communion with. He is not a new devilry. Yes, he was old even when my great grandmother was a babe newly born, an evil of the ancient world. He will seek the smote the ruin of the Nephalim. This cannot be."

"What of the Nephalim, Mother?"

"Your souls are married and this is beyond dispute. Create an outward tie, of which none can dispute and all might see the harmony."

"A tie? She is already married. And no Malakim has taken a mortal in marriage since before the Dark Days."

"A tie, daughter of mine, must be made if you wish to harmonize or else give the Choirs all to the Nephalim and be mute. If you do not like the answers I give, do not ask me the questions. Now take some rest, for your heart is greatly troubled and weary from toil."

"Aye mother, I heed. A moment is needed to assimilate all I have heard."

Sam was becoming more and more impatient. She wanted to scream from the injustice of it all. The universe conspired once more against her heroes. Friends had been killed, murdered in what they had taken for granted as a safe place. Yes, work was dangerous, with even the threat of death and this was universally accepted. Home, however, was sanctuary and it was supposed to be safe, it was supposed to be removed from threats and death. It was, however, not.

Sam paled when she thought that Janet and her daughters could have been slain without a moment's hesitation in a place they had believed safe. As far as Carter was concerned the universe owed her and Janet. Samantha didn't want much, only that her family was safe, sound and alive. She wasn't greedy and didn't think that was too much to ask for. Now, the tall forever-young blonde had an opportunity to keep her beloved family safe.

Hy-Basil was a new safe haven. Or was it heaven? Her family would be safe. She would have to convince Janet to move. Sam didn't know how she would be able to convince her, or even if she could. But Sam knew only that she had to. Janet, Rebecca and Cassandra meant everything to her now, far more then the SGC ever could. She would poignantly give it all up if to keep her beloved family safe.

Samantha Carter didn't care what she lost with the military; she didn't care if she lost everything of her career. She had given fifteen years of her life to the SGC. She had given her blood, her mind, and at some points her life. She wasn't Jacob Carter. None of her beloved family would die needlessly because of dedication to the Force. She would not be a Carter who lost a wife.

Because he was inconsiderate, and a workaholic and, apparently to him, he was never wrong, Jacob Carter was the direct result in the death of Rebecca Carter, Samantha's mother. For this reason both his children, Samantha and her brother, Mark, had been emotionally scarred.

As it was, Mark Carter's own marriage was now in jeopardy. He and his wife were separated but not divorced. They were trying to work things out but apparently Julie had had enough of Mark's closed off heart. He was a devoted father, but because of the tragic death of his mother, he, like Sam, had closed himself off emotionally, fearing pain would take him. But, unlike his sister, he hadn't realized that closing himself off would cost him his family.

Samantha knew what needed to be sacrificed, and she would give it up without a fight. To a young woman who had her family torn apart at such an early age, it meant everything to her now. The bright center of young Samantha's universe had not been science; it had been her mother. When she died, so did that brightness. Sam buried her soul in the quest for knowledge of science as surely as Rebecca Amanda Carter was buried beneath the surface of the earth. There was nothing left for Samantha. . It was her mother who had challenged Sam's mind but always been there to give support, allowing the child to know she was loved. On her mother's death, Mark abandoned her, and her father pushed her hard but gave her little support.

Sam feathered back the golden-crimson locks of her tiny daughter. Praying to God she world be as good a mother as her own had been. Soft lips kissed a little brow and sweet words were uttered in a hushed note into a tiny ear. "Mama loves you so much Little-Bit. I'm so very proud of you sweetie." The pad of her thumb stroked the silky softness of the child's cheek as yet another kiss was placed upon her forehead.

In the girl's sleep, Rebecca instinctively reached for the touch of her sire-mother. Sam grinned as she took hold of the small hand. The tall blonde was fascinated and held in awe by the little life laying sound asleep with in the depths and warmth of her mothers' bed. How small that hand was in her own willowy one. Rebecca Marjory Fraiser-Carter would forever be tiny just like her birth-mother. At age five she was the size of a small two year old, and often mistaken for such. The fact was, she was as active as Janet and Sam; the girl was thin but in perfect health (which Janet had done extensive tests to insure). The child simply couldn't keep weight on her, because she was so busy.

This busy-ness gained her the title 'Little Miss Hurricane " from a certain silver haired doting uncle. There were moments however that she wasn't hyper. She would sit for hours drawing, or in quite contemplation. Another factor showing she also had her mothers' intelligence. The girl's mind was frighteningly acute, and she understood things that were often beyond the ken of many an adult.

Young Rebecca could already solve calculus equations. Sometimes, Samantha and Janet were worried that their daughter would forget how to be a child and play. . She was indeed a prodigy. The crack Jack had made, many years before, about the worlds IQ going up a couple of notches with two Carters wasn't far off the mark. The only thing was the second Carter wasn't a twin from an alternative universe but a child.

It dawned on Sam what it was her own mother had been frightened of. Rebecca Carter, a brilliant physicist in her own right, was often impetuous and playful. Mother and daughter would go to the cinema wearing flannel pajamas simply to get reactions from those around them. They would swing on swings. They had bought white tennis shoes just so they could paint them. Sam's favorite color being orange, she had painted her shoes in bold orange strips. They would play chess every other Saturday. They would hug a tree together, plant licorice in the garden, blow bubbles and sing silly tunes like 'Row row row your boat.' Rebecca Carter allowed the young Samantha to be a child, while encouraging her intelligence too.

Rebecca would even do odd equations that when Samantha solved it; it made a joke (well sophisticated humor but it was still a joke). Rebecca loved the pursuit of science and asked questions, with the idea that, if a question can be asked then the answer must exist. It doesn't matter if the answer come quickly or in several years, the fact remained the answers were out there. She taught her daughter to never stop asking questions, even if it was of herself.

Rebecca was a cheerful woman who smiled easily. Samantha thought her mother the most beautiful woman on earth, far better then her own very plainness. The young Samantha had straight blonde hair, blue eyes that were too large, no breasts to speak of and, according to Mark,she was way too scrawny. Sam wanted to be like her mother, even if she was merely pretty, instead of plain. But her mother said she hadn't even finished growing up so she shouldn't waist energy on appearances, but spend time on developing her mindand heart. Her body would reveal itself in its own fashion and in its own time, when it had stopped growing. After all Samantha was only fourteen. There were other things that needed attention.

Rebecca had also told her, 'when I look at you I see you. And even if you grow neon orange hair, sprout wings, a hooknose and your head spins around 360 degrees, even then I will still see YOU.' This had caused the Sam at that time and the present day version to smile.

Sam's smile deepened as she looked to her sleeping daughter recalling the most treasured time her Mum had disputed the quiet of the room with her idea it was playtime.

"Samantha, honey…" came the lyrical notes of Rebecca Amanda Carter's dove-set voice.

"In here Mum," Young Sam answered from the confines of her bedroom. She was sitting with one knee drawn against her chest and she was reading through a rather large tomb of quantum theory. Upon the desk, neatly scrawled upon a notebook were very complicated computations concerning wormhole theory. It almost looked like base-eight math. She was trying to solve it. Impressive.

Rebecca glanced at the paper reading what it was her brilliant daughter was working on. Because of her accelerated classes Samantha had a tendency to overwork herself. But the fourteen year old was going to graduate high school early and then had plans to go into the Airforce Academy, and from there on to Stanford, where Rebecca had gone to receive her own doctorate in Physics. As it was Samantha was taking several classes in the Academy because her SAT scores were through the roof.

Because of her young age she wasn't officially a part of the students of the academy; she wouldn't be that until she was sixteen and even then she would need her parent's consent. She would be very young when she received her doctorate. But her father had lofty goals for his little girl and he had pressured Sam into complying. He envisioned his daughter, a woman who would go very far and indeed probably one of the youngest officers in the Airforce. If young Samantha Carter wanted to follow her dream and become an astronaut, and a commander of a shuttle she would need to prove her mettle in more ways then one.

Jacob Carter had decided his little girl would be a colonel before she was forty. A full star general before she turned fifty. He had it all worked out.

Rebecca, however, was worried. She felt her child was taking on too much. Yes, Samantha had been certified as a genius but she needed to live a little too. A large teasing smirk spread across the young mother's face. Sam, when she was engrossed in her homework, was completely oblivious to the world outside mathematical equations. So it came as a sudden shock to her to see the book she was holding snatched from her hands.

"HE-EY Mark!" the young blonde automatically snapped, but her blue eyes caught the blueness of her mother's own and she blinked. "MUM!"

Rebecca giggled. The large playful smirk was ever present. "You need to get out."

"Mum, give me my book back."

"No." the woman smiled at her daughter's obviously flustered expression.

"Mum, you said I could use your book---." The young blonde pouted.

"I know Hon, but still no," Rebecca held the book behind her back.

Sam would have none of it, she bolted to her feet and tried to reclaim the borrowed book. But Rebecca was a little more crafty and held it above her head. Sam tried to reach it but she was only five foot five and her mother was four inches taller then she was and so the book remained elusively out of reach.

"Aw come on Mum give me the book," Sam tried to remain fierce but the corners of her lips were curling into a smile and Rebecca was outright giggling.

"Nope. Enough stale old books Samantha."

Sam huffed an exaggerate sigh, as she watched her mother back out of her bedroom. "Mum?"


"Give it back."


"You're acting like a kid."

"And you should be," Rebecca said and ran out of the bedroom.


The young blonde was hot on her heels as Rebecca took flight down the flight of stairs, past the foyer and out of the front door into the yard. Sam caught up to her mother who had set the book down upon a picnic table she was sitting upon. Sam smiled and joined her.

"Now, see, isn't this better?" the older Carter woman smiled.

Sam stuck her tongue out.

"You know dear, if you stick your tongue out the blue bird of happiness will come along and poo on it."

Sam burst out laughing; sometimes her mother had a very quirky sense of humor. Actually, Rebecca Amanda Carter had a wonderful sense of humor. She loved to laugh. It was her philosophy that when you can laugh you have an open mind. She tried to teach both of her children that humor was a wonderful thing to explore. Mark had learned it readily enough but Sam was struggling. Samantha Marie Carter was all work. And today was about play.

Rebecca looked to a large pile of leaves gathered by a tree. They had been raked up earlier by Mark via the orders of his father. And Rebecca flashed a wicked smile. "I dare you."

"What?" Sam furrowed her golden eyebrows.

"I double-dog dare you." With a head gesture the older blonde indicated the pile of leaves.

"You can't be serious."

"Samantha, my treasured daughter, I am always serious. Even in playtime." With that, Rebecca bounded off the top of the old faded redwood picnic table, and hop-skipped and jumped into the nest of orange, red and amber foliage.

Leaves whooshed into the air and rained back down onto the ground accompanied by the bell like laughter of Rebecca as she emerged from the center of the pile with leaves clinging to her hair making her look like Mother Nature, herself.

Sam was so enjoying the free spirit of her mother that she stood on the wooden tabletop took a running leap and landed with a fluff in the leaves causing them to erupt into the sky once more.

Sam was immediately caught up into a large full-bodied hug from her mother. "See Sammy, you can have fun without being self-concious." The large white grin caused Rebecca's angelic face to glow.

They lay back in the foliage enjoying the rich sent of autumn that hung thickly in the air. For a time they stared up at the clouds making pictures out of them and silly nonsensical stories to go along with them.

Rebecca turned and started picking the leaves out of her daughter's golden hair. "Honey…."


"I know you are dealing with a very heavy load. Quite frankly I think it's too much. I know your daddy is pushing you like he is. And I know you want to make him proud. He might never say this to you, but he is proud of you, Samantha. And I am very proud of you, sweetie. I would be even if you were like any other kid in the world. You've accomplished so much, but you are still just a girl. You're not a woman yet honey and you shouldn't have to have adult responsibilities."

"You and dad fought again last night," Sam said suddenly. "About me. I heard you."

"Yes," Rebecca never shielded her children from the truth.

"You two fight a lot about me."


There was a silence.

"Honey, please try not to worry. There are going to be days when everything seems to go abysmally wrong. Everything you do seems to turn on you, and no one is listening to you. Days when something shows up out of the blue and screws everything up. It's okay, there will be days like that. Growing up you'll find that most of those really crappy days are caused because of some guy or other. But there are days when things go right too. And when those days come you have to cherish them and make great memories out of them to help you with those bad days."

"Mum, if this is a warning about allowing a guy to come between me and my goals, Dad already had that talk with me," Samantha sounded bored.

"No, Samantha, you're smart enough not to let that happen. In fact your dedication to your work is beyond reproach. That's why we are out here, Honey. Listen to me okay?"

"Sure Mama," Samantha said as she snuggled close to her mother's body. She loved the scent of her mother and smiled in the warmth the older woman gave to her.

Rebecca kissed her child's forehead. She was always tactile in her affections for both her children. Jacob was the polar opposite. That was another worry for the young mother that her beloved son and daughter would grow up to be emotionally stunted. Detached because their father was ever the military presence. Rebecca tried with all her heart to counter balance that heady influence upon her children.

"Hon, when you get into the real world, I want you to always remember this, because, despite our advances, men will try to push you down because you are becoming a woman of brilliance. Don't you dare let them. Don't let them push you, your father or any one else. Shakespeare had it right; you must be true to yourself. Stand up for what you believe in, and hold that aspect of truth to your heart. Never be afraid to stand against those who believe differently. Respect them, but you don't need to allow them to berate you if you believe differently."

"If your thoughts differ from theirs then say so. Even if you go into the military so you can become the astronaut, don't let your superior officers crush you, especially if you're in the right. I want you to remember that you can be anything you want to be as long as you are true to yourself. And you can do anything they can do."

Samantha smiled. Rebecca Amanda Carter was very liberated and she had fought hard for woman's liberations and installed that into her daughter as well. Rebecca believed in absolute equality. Not one being above another but absolute equality. This she placed in both of her children

Rebecca turned to her daughter. "Samantha you will also find that sometimes a man will…he feels he must beat a woman in order to feel superior to her. No Hon, before you even ask the question your father never hit me. But there are men who won't be able to handle the fact you are more intelligent then they are and sometimes the blows don't come from the hand but from their voice."

"Don't you dare let anyone belittle you, Samantha. It's not worth it, even if you think you've made a commitment to that person, get out of that relationship. Because your soul is worth a lot more then that. You my sweet daughter are worth more then that. You will undoubtedly have a few relationships as a grown woman, but the person you take into your life must be equal to you. They must care and love as you care and love. You have a lot of time to figure this out, but I don't want to see you hurt.

"You said person…not guy…"

Rebecca smiled. "I am covering my bases."

Sam sat up and looked at her mother. "So…if say one of your kids were to say…um….like the same gender…as they are…."

"As long as that person met my requirements, the gender issue is not important. I want my kids to fall in love with someone who will hold them up when they need it, tell them they are twits when they are idiots, but give enough love to be able to do it without out malice. I want that person to be able to be loved as well as love and receive trust, as they must give it. That's what is important to me. A parent, who gets all hung up on that gender issue, isn't looking at the whole picture."

Sam visibly sighed in relief.

Rebecca ruffled her girl's golden locks. "Of course if they are the wrong person and mess with my kids, this ol' Mama bear will get tough and they will regret fucking with her cubs."

Samantha giggled, her mother was very liberal but only occasionally did she use harsh curse words and it always stuck young Sam funny when her mother did.

"I know I am getting a little serious in the 'talk' department Hon, but sometimes a Mum worries you know. And things are going to be tougher for you then they are for Mark, especially for your intelligence, and for your dream to go into space. But I know you have the confidence to see to the achievements of your dreams whatever they are; even if your dreams change you have a lot of courage. You're very brave. Remember that. You are very brave.

"And let everyone see your confidence. I wish that you may succeed in everything you do, save for one thing, so you always have something to aspire for, to reach for. And Samantha, never be afraid to laugh, and play. Jump a pile of leaves for no apparent reason other then the fact it was there. That takes courage too honey. Sometimes more than it is to be serious. Let go of the self-conscious bit from time to time and just giggle."

Sam smiled and nodded taking her mother's words into her heart and holding them dear. Rebecca was a brilliant physicist but she was also a philosophizer. Indeed, there were questions that science couldn't answer and Rebecca was tenacious when it came to solving an enigma that stymied her, so she turned to philosophy. It was a part of her Zen.

Another Zen was pottery, which she introduced Samantha to and both loved it. Samantha enjoyed throwing pots, and working with wet clay on a wheel, as much as she did playing a guitar.

"I will remember, Mama," Sam said, her azure orbs gazing into the cerulean of her mother's.

"I know you will." The older woman plucked another red leaf from her child's long straight blond hair and tossed it aside. "Just promise me you'll play from time to time. Get a little reckless."

At that Sam grinned widely. "Speaking of that, I fixed my Yamaha. You want to go for a ride?"

"Maybe tomorrow, Little Einstein. After you bake those yummy chocolate cookies you've been promising me for a week."

"You and your chocolate cookies!" Another flash of white teeth. "You know you can make them too Mama."

"YOU, make the best though," Rebecca was now fishing leaves from her own golden locks.

"Okay, okay. I promise, tomorrow, I'll make 'em. They will be ready and fresh out of the oven for you by the time Dad picks you up from the lecture hall."

'If he picks me up,' Rebecca mentally said. 'I had to take a cab home that last time. He was too fucking late…I'll probably end up taking another tomorrow. God I swear I should have my kids teach me how to ride a motorcycle then I could borrow Sam's bike… Samantha would love it if I used her Yamaha…. Mark would even let me use his Honda….'

Rebecca stood up and dusted herself up. "Sammy Hon, tomorrow you and I have a date with that bike of yours. I want you to teach me how to ride."

"Really! Oh that will be so cool, Mama," Sam leapt up and hugged her mother. "You'll love it. The rush you get is awesome!"

"Well Mark totaled my car and until we get it back from the shop we are down to one vehicle. But I could use you kids' bikes if I had too," Rebecca chuckled. "Now that will turn some heads at University."

"My Mum on a motorcycle…imagine that? Ya know one of these days when I am fully grown I intend on getting a big bike, an Indian or a Harley, or heck both."

"As an astronaut you could afford it," Rebecca said. "If you saved up that is."

"I'll have to get a car of course. Something cool. Something silver."

"My daughter, the scientist and adrenalin junkie," Rebecca ruffled the girl's hair once more gaining her a scowl. "Who knew?"

"I should just lop this all off," Sam tried to smooth her long, straight, though now tangled blonde hair. "Be easier to care for. What do you think of me with short hair?"

"Kinda airforce-y," Rebecca said with a shrug. "It's your head, do what you want." She turned and grinned. "Just as long as I get my chocolate chip cookies I am a happy Mama."

For the remains of the day, the two Carter women would share each others company, giggling over bowls of blue jello and just being with each other.

The Bridge of the Gwihir was becoming a hive of activity; throughout the night, they had scanned a spatial anomaly, something that registered on the telemetry as null-space. Something that all space going species avoided for the dangers it represented.

The Flagship of the Empire was at the height of technology; the only other ship that could meet it and was indeed superior was the Samantha Carter. Because of this advancement, the Flagship wasn't in immediate danger from Ion fallout. However, the bridge officers were not content in this security, and they would not relax their guard.

"My Queen, new telemetry coming in." Balustrade's baritone voice boomed like low playing bass. The tone of the normally placid man caused the Queen to pay a bit more attention than she typically would have.

"The anomaly…My Queen it is following us."

Silver eyes narrowed. "That's not possible." Novalis said. She moved with ease across the circumference of the bridge.

"The evidence proves otherwise." The giant tactical officer intoned. Black wings folded against the mammoth body as the smaller female took over the tactical station. Balustrade was correct the anomaly was indeed tracking the Flagship.

"Astrometrics, readings!" Novalis barked the order.

** We read the anomaly, my Queen, it seems to be a localized 20 kilometers off of our starboard bow.** Tailtie responded. **From what the Liege Commander and I can figure it had been trailing our hyperspace signature for sometime.**

** Actually, I think its camouflage.** Sam said over the comm. ** In fact I am very certain that it is. I was searching for tachyon and neutrino emissions that are common traits for this sort of anomaly and I found trace amounts of trillium, beryllium and nutronium, the same components that make up your vessels. Now I understand we can bet getting ghost images and reflected sensor reading, but I don't think so.**

"A cloaked vessel." Balustrade said, bring weapons on line."

"My Queen, I have never heard of a Remnant vessel that has that kind of technology." Secretary of Defense Kidumiel spoke.

"Nor do the Goa'uld," Teal'c echoed, as he was on the bridge with Cassandra, both had previously spent time with the engineering and command of the Gwihir learning the Malakim technology.

"The Tok'ra have not been forth coming in the advances they have made." Cassie pointed out. "But I doubt it's them."

"It is not they," Novalis shook her purple mane, "we have found the Samantha Carter."

"I think they found us." Cassandra pointed out.

The anomaly changed, it wavered like the ripples in a shallow pool of water. Where it once held position now appeared a ship of exceptional design. The shape itself bore the appearance of a mammoth devil-ray, its sleek design made it look more organic then mechanical.

"Whoa!" Cassie stepped back. "Talk about your weird paint jobs."

"Indeed." Teal'c seemed to frown, but it was hard to discern from the expression of the normally stoic man.

Members of the SGC were accustomed to ships of gunmetal gray. Or, as in the case of the Goa'uld ships, gold, but the Samantha Carter was dark orange with black striping, exactly like that of a tiger's coat. If one cared to look at the stripes closely they were not exactly black but a deep rich amethyst. But the purple was so dark it passed for ebony.

"Liege Commander Samantha, Liege Healer Janet, report to the bridge," Novalis commanded.

The main viewer on the bridge of the Samantha Carter blinked, the starfield with the massive Gwihir was replaced by the image of the Flagships own bridge.

There were seven of the nine warriors that belonged to the Blue Wing. When they saw the image of their beloved Liege Commander and her consort a collective gasp escaped their lips.

"She is here!" Zephon said disbelieving

Oh, they had felt the power of the World Symphony gaining in strength and the voice of the Great Song getting louder ever since the discovery of the Empires Flagship. They began to believe their beloved Liege Commander was upon the Flagship, yet at the same time they didn't dare hope. After all, the pull could have come from Queen Novalis herself, the daughter of Gabrielle the first of the Thrones.

On board the Gwihir Sam felt an odd sensation she had not felt for some time, the activation of a transportation device. The last one she had been 'beamed' up in was an Asgard transporter. Granted, what she was feeling now felt the same as a Ring transporter, but it was not.

When the sensation was gone Sam Carter found herself aboard the bridge of the science vessel named for her. At her side was her wife, her eldest daughter and her little girl who looked absolutely befuddled.

"Engage." The command came from Boudicca.

The Samantha Carter warped into hyperspace causing the starfield displayed on the viewscreen to become a stream of lights.

Part 11

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