Champions Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter Fifteen

Political Machines

"Anise, I would have a word with you." The twin voice of Xad-Arion called the smaller Tok'ra woman's attention from the iron gray tablet before her and the purple lapis lazuli jeweled page-turner.

The blonde looked up, pursed her full lips then, with a wave of her slender hand, gestured for the winged Tok'ra to have a seat at the polished crystal table. "What can I do for you, Xad?"

"Heed my words," Xad said

This gained a curious look in the green eyes.

"I think it's best you remove yourself from the Zartac testing when the Minister of Alien Affairs arrives from the Malakim Empire. They will not look favorably upon you for your involvement with what happened to Liege Commander Samantha Carter.

Anise held her tongue for the moment, which Xad took as a hint to continue the explanation.

"The Malakim are more then protective of Samantha Carter, and because of my host's abilities to share memories, the entire Empire knows of your manipulations and use of Nish'ta to corrupt Arion, which led to the internment and horrific torture of the Liege Commander. If you value your life Anise, you will do well to stay clear of any other Malakim, in fact the SGC in general."

"Are you threatening me, Xad?"

"No. I tell you only what I know, what I feel from my host. Anise, you cannot fathom the depth of emotions that run in the hearts of the Malakim. I can actual feel the discord in your own soul Anise! And it is foulness upon my tongue. I can feel the deep residing guilt of Arion's own. Trust me you do not want to convene with the other Malakim. They will not hesitate to bring you down and utterly destroy you. Not only for the incredible amount of dissidence you hold within yourself but more so for the simple fact Samantha Carter suffered greatly because of your involvement on Chimera."

Tok'ra shared a body with another soul and so they had a unique perspective of another's psyche. Sharing a body and a bond with a Malakim that understanding of psyche was ten-fold increased. Anise seemed to soak the information in with an open mind.

"And what of your host?" the blonde Tok'ra questioned.

Xad lowered the purple maned head then lifted once more. "Though I am not in as great a danger of being obliterated, I too should keep my wings to the wind, or I may feel the sharp burn of a sun sword's blade," Arion answered. "I am exiled, and I have betrayed everything the Malakim believe in, especially since my agreeing to become blended."

"They did not destroy you when you met with them earlier," Anise pointed out.

"My mother would never destroy me," Arion argued. "No matter how much of a disappointment I am to her. She had to order my wings cut so I might never fly. Granted, Xad restored much of the damage but I can never fly as a true Malakim, I can glide only. Severance of the air for an avian is grave indeed.

"I am cut off from the true voice of the Great Song, and I am nearly deaf to the World Symphony, that is worse than death. The others know this. You must understand, I am castrated from the wind and I have no voice to sing, death would be a release to me, and they will not give it. My pain is with me always for the crime I committed against Liege Commander Samantha, as it should be.

"If you value your life Anise, do not continue with the Zatarc testing. Leave it to Selmac. The Malakim has a rapport with Jacob because he is the sire of the Liege Commander. You? You, they will strike down without a thought. Through some stoke of luck you have never in all your years felt the pain of a Goa'uld ribbon device, pain stick or even staff weapon. You are pampered Anise. You will never survive an enraged Malakim, much less an entire Wing. Be as smart as you pretend to be and stand down."

"Does Selmac feel as you do?"

"My mate trusts me, Anise. And concerning Malakim interaction you would be wise to do so as well. But if you do not heed my voice, then I cannot and will not help you. Fly into the wind if that is what you want. The currents do not respect a foolish flyer."

"I'll take your advice under consideration Arion-Xad, but I am within the SGC and General O'Neill will not allow them to raise a hand against me."

"With their powers they don't have to raise a hand, Anise. My Kith can cause the very air to strangle you and when it concerns Samantha Carter, nothing will stay their course in their protecting of her and her ken. Nothing will stay their hand in rebuking those that caused her harm, you are warned," Arion said her voice filled with knowing. And if you do choose to ignore me, stay clear of the Malakite choir, their defining virtue is not forgiveness of those that causes The Nephalim harm."

Arion was deep in study of ancient scrolls, whose text Jacob could not make out as he stepped silently up to his new mate. For a small moment, he recalled a memory of his departed wife, pouring over books upon books. First for physics studies, theories, laws, and documenting her own research. Then she turned to philosophy when science no longer had the answers to the universe she was looking for. Rebecca Amanda Carter was diligent in study. Like her daughter Samantha, Rebecca never allowed anything to slip her grasp once she got a mental hold upon it, until she understood it.

It seemed to Jacob that the women he consorted with, first Rebecca, then Sam, then her wife Janet, and then their children and now Arion were vigilant in their quest for knowledge.

"What are you looking up Angel-face?" Jacob said as he approached and rested his hands upon the arch of the purple wings.

"The Nephalim."

"Sam…." Jacob mumbled.

"Some, mostly the legend of the Nephalim. When I was a featherling, I grew up with this legend as a part of my faith, as a part of routine education. All featherlings are taught the ancient songs and a great deal of them relate to the Nephalim."

"Arion, what is this Nephalim, exactly?"

"Succinctly a child born out Devine fornication."

"Now wait one damn minute! Rebecca never once was unfaithful to me, though I gave her plenty of reason to be…"

"You misunderstand me, Jacob, settle your feathers. What I said is traditional interpretation. A Nephalim is a child of Devine fornication. She is half mortal, half Malakim, with the soul of a mortal, and all the power of the angelic."

"Sam has displayed no powers such as you have," Jacob shook his head.

"No?" Arion turned. "She is now as immortal as Novalis. As long as the queen lives Samantha lives, and so too does Janet. As Samantha's lifemate and bondmate, Janet will live as long as Samantha does."

"Bondmate?" Jacob frowned.

"Did you know of the empathic connection Samantha and Janet share? It was generated by Nephrau of the Nox. What one feels the other feels, and so the singularity that caused Samantha to become the Nephalim was by this empathic bond transferred to Janet. As I said, Janet is as immortal and un-aging as Samantha. Samantha is as immortal and un-aging as the Queen herself. Of course the Queen will only live another thousand years. For a Malakim that is a remarkably short time. So the Queen isn't exactly immortal."

"For a human that's long enough," Jacob said. "But how is Sam's connection to the Queen, Devine fornication."

"Tell me, who are Ra, Hathor and Seth? Who are, Anubis, Osiris, Yu and Baal? Are these not figures of Mortal mythological dogma? And yet they live. The joining of essence between mortal and Malakim created the Nephalim; over the eons this has been interpreted as to be Devine fornication. As all stories they are open to interpretation, Jacob, as host to Selmak you of all people should understand this."

The man nodded. "And her power? From what I've seen Sam doesn't have the same power as the Malakim."

"No?" There was amusement in Arion's voice. "Who is more terrible in strength, the person who has power to command elements or the person who can command the person who wields that power? 200,000 of my sisters and brothers left their choirs and gave birth to a whole new voice, a voice dedicated to Samantha alone. Samantha's connection to the Great Song via the World Sympathy rivals the Queen Novalis's own.

"Samantha might not be able to wield the power of the World Symphony but she is the forge of its essence. No Malakim will press wing in supplication to a Mortal born and yet no Malakim can resist the urge to bend knee to her. Even those who resist the idea that the Nephalim is real, will press wing and bend knee to her. Tell me Jacob is this not power? Is this not great and terrible power?"

Jacob paled in realization and so too did Selmak.

"This is why you so heavily warned Anise," it was now Selmak speaking.

"Yes," Arion took her lover's face between her hands. "She has no concept of how devoted the Malakim are to Samantha. Samantha Carter is lionized. No, more than that, she is canonized. No, more even than that, she is deified. And the Malakim are fanatical with her protection. If Anise ever encounters the Blue Wing she will be made to suffer so that even the torments of a Goa'uld inquisitor seems to a joyous occasion. The other Malakim will merely strike Anise down with all of their fervor for vengeance and justice. My words of warning are not superfluous. Anise is a fool not to take notice of the change in the winds, Selmak," Xad-Arion said slowly. "I know the Malakim, even I must fly with care, or I sail headlong into the currents. I smell an ill wind on the horizon it will have all Malakim feathers a flutter."

Selmak- Jacob kissed his mate. "I will see to it that they not lay a hand or feather upon you, our beloved."

Xad smiled, "Selmak should the Malakim take arms against Anise, she can invoke the Right of Parley. By the credence of the Code of Warfare, a prisoner has a right to invoke the Right of Parley if she is quick of tongue before action can be taken. The prisoner is then taken to the head of the order without harm until the fulfillment of Parley is played out. Even the Remnants follow this code, and will be inclined acquiesce."

"Are you telling me the most villainous of the Malakim…. That even this Usiel character will adhere to this code?" Jacob scoffed. "Not even Sadam would have done that during the Gulf Wars. No Goa'uld would …."

"Malakim do not follow the codes of mortals or Goa'uld. All Malakim have an accord with certain codes of warfare, one of them is Parlay. If a Remnant calls for Parlay it will be given."

"That doesn't mean that the enemy would reciprocate," Selmak commented.

"Aye, perhaps not. But the World Symphony would sing of it if such treachery were incited. After Parlay is commenced anything is a go, but during no enemy will lay a harmful hand upon their captive. And that is the way of it. Malakim stand on ceremony, know this and you better understand the nature of the avian race. Not even Usiel will bring the bad luck of the Dark upon himself for breaking Parlay, therefore the Minister of Alien Affairs will adhere to the code, if Anise is stupid enough to insist on going to the SGC and continue the testing."

"I'll be sure to tell her, if the need ever arises. She needs a good scare I think, too long Anise squirreled her life in books and science and she has become far too detached to the realities of her actions." It was now Jacob talking. He could never forget the screams of his little girl in the hands of the Remnants inquisitors and Goa'uld lotars that posed as physiologists.

Even now, he could hear Sam's screams of terror filled pain. How they tortured his little girl, how they beat her, until she was little more then alive. Yes, they had used the sarcophagus upon Sam to heal her, but not before they broke every major bone within her body and bruised every organ, and shattered her spirit. And all this because Anise had used Nish'ta on Arion, convincing the young winged warrior that the best way to defeat the enemy was to allow Sam to be captured, and use the power the young colonel had against them. Anise's greatest adversary might not be the Malakim after all, but a seriously pissed off father.

The Stargate of Hy-Basil was centralized in the basilica as if it was a holy relic. As with all the gates, it sat majestically upon a dais with the DHD directly in front of it. Two broad steps lead down into a widening room crowned with a forest of stone pillars. Archways could be seen in the northern, western and southern walls. Each of these exit archways had three descending steps leading into long snaking corridors beyond.

Twin guards stood watch, foreboding and domineering. The warriors were dressed in like fashion, wearing the colors of the royal guard: silver and blue dragon scale armor. The leather chemise, worn low, quilted and off the shoulders and sternums, provided fine protection. Their shoulder plates of overlaid semicircles of silver gave the warriors protection from fierce blows without hiding the alluring lines of shoulder and collarbones. Each wore armbands of silver and dark azure leather, the silver work depicting serpentine lions, with eyes of blazing garnets adding not only to their overall fieriness but protective aesthetic qualities. About their throats the winged warriors wore silver torcs each with the heads of roaring lions, into which were set emerald eyes. About their brows, accentuating the luxurious manes, were deepest ebony and brilliant silver. The overall effect was both enticing and frightening.

Suddenly, the guards heard the gate fire up. The warriors turned to their queen as soon as they saw her purple wings, each striking their fist against their chest in salute while dipping their heads in reverence to Novalis' potent presence.

As soon as Queen Novalis and her aide Briel stepped through the Stargate on their home world, orders were given to Gate to Grigori.

In seeing the confusion and the apprehension of the Hy-Basil Stargate Command's personnel Briel turned to her liege, her own worry reflective in the golden eyes.

"My Queen, since the disbandment of the Incarna Academy, Grigori's Gate was transplanted, there is no Stargate there any longer."

"Dial the coordinates." Novalis said folding her arms about her chest.

The Queen's orders though highly suspect were carried out. To doubt the Queen after she had given a direct order was not to be tolerated. Either her words would be proven wrong, by the fact the Stargate would not open up a wormhole, or they would be correct and a doorway through the stars would open. The argument on right or wrong was purely academic.

There was not a trace of smugness upon the Queen's face moments later when she saw the watery pool kawoosh open. In fact there was a very pleased grin that found her lips.

"My Queen?' Briel said approaching her potentate. "How did you know?"

"I was uncertain, but I had hoped the Blue Wing were industrious enough and ambitious enough to build their own Stargate. The coordinates to the planet would still be the same, the DHD would account for stellar drift since it has been near a thousand years that the academy was operational. Now, I think it is time we inspect our prodigal Wing."

"Your Majesty?" voiced Kidumiel Minister of Defense as she approached her Queen. Her red wings in utter respect were close to her body, but her white eyes betrayed her inner thoughts.

Novalis' own silver eyes stayed upon the minister for a moment before she spoke. She knew her Minister of Defense's feathers were not easily ruffled. To see the tips fluffed caused the Queen to take notice.

"What is it Minister Kidumiel?" Novalis addressed formally.

"This dossier came in as you were with the Tau'ri," The black maned woman bowed her head as she handed a parchment to her queen. "It bears the seal of the Wings."

"I can see that Minister," Novalis said dryly. Still, the fact that the minister of Defense herself had personally delivered the parchment had meant something, but the Queen was not about to have her feathers visibly ruffled.

That was, of course, until she saw the notice of Blue Wing's notice of resigning. It was dated a week before their apparent AWOL.

"Clever. They cannot be disbanded from the Wings because they resigned. Their pensions will be transferred to their new Guild, assuming of course they are accepted in one. And concerning the fact they stole the prototype science vessel the Samantha Carter, I can almost guarantee they will try for the Mercenaries' Guild," The Queen said almost to herself.

Novalis thought, 'How great and terrible a queen Samantha might become in the strength of her will, if she took on the power of the Great Song for herself. Not for naught dothe Diabolicals fear her. But nobler is her spirit then the understanding of the System Lords; for she is not the Nephalim?'

"Majesty, the Wings echelon follow her now. The birth of the Gigori is now at hand and the prophecy is fulfilling itself, what is to become of the Malakim?" Briel asked, for she too must have realized just how powerful the liege Commander was.

"Beyond the eyes of this Queen are such foretellings." Novalis said. "But mighty indeed she has become. As a mother to a featherling we will nurture this growth. It is the nature of prophecies to change the society that gave birth to it. Lo! We will go to her and make stronger our bond. We will rise up and be greater for it. The Diabolicals will fall and we will smote them to their ruin." Novalis stretched out her purple wings then folded them to her side. "We will see our sister and see for our own eyes how she fares in her new home."

"My Queen what of the Blue Wing?" Kidumiel urged.

"They acted with legality Minister Kidumiel, we will do nothing. The wind favors their backs and their currents will carry them. And I wish to see how far they glide."

Red feathers shifted once but Kidumiel suppressed her unrest of the Queen's desires. She prayed to the Great Song that this would not lead the Malakim into disparity. Still even the Minister of Defense could hear that the World Symphony was potent within Samantha. And that was cause for great concern for her because she could see not only a mere 200,000 souls turning to Samantha but legions of worlds.

"Great Song be yours, my Queen." Kidumiel tipped her head and wings.

Novalis studied the dark maned woman and considered that a small entourage to Grigori might be prudent. "Since the concern of yours is clear and not without reason, fall in Minister and see what our sister has become."

Novalis would say no more as she turned and stepped through the Stargate. She knew even without asking that the technicians would have sent the Malakim IDC even as the Queen was conversing with her Ministers. If The Grigori had an iris covering their gate, which the Queen suspected they had, it would now be open in anticipation for her arrival.

At the warning of an incoming wormhole the iris clanked shut over the Grigori Stargate.

"Receiving Malakim IDC, Lieutenant," Pumah announced.

Cassandra leaned over the golden wings of the young warrior and saw the computer screen displaying the identification code of the Malakim.

'More recruits?' the young Fraiser woman pondered. Only four hours ago another seven hundred had asked to come to Grigori, among them was the young Jailil nicknamed Goldenrod by General O'Neill.

Below the Command Center of the Embarkation chamber, seven warriors entered carrying ordnances that would at the very least stun a Malakim warrior or Jaffa. To kill a Malakim was extremely difficult at best, and Jaffa warriors were no push over either.

In hearing the incoming klaxon, Sam left the lab in her office and sprinted into the Command Center.

"Malakim IDC, Colonel," Cassandra said easily slipping into military protocol.

"Open the iris," The blonde ordered the technician at the controls.

Zaire who was always an operations officer when aboard a starship had taken the post of Control Deck Technician. Here she felt she could protect the good Liege Healer Janet if she had some control over who came through the Stargate. Her priority, to insure Janet's safety, had not changed despite the fact a new life was started on Grigori, where they should be extremely safe and sound.

The presence that came through the shimmering cerulean event horizon caused the warriors in the embarkation room to catch their collective breaths.

Sam's blue doe eyes widened, as she saw none other then Queen Novalis step through.

"Oh, this isn't going to be fun," Cassandra said.

Carter's expression of disapproval, usually reserved for Jack O'Neill's sardonic comments, was now shifted to the younger woman at her side. Cassie shuffled uncomfortably under the gaze. "Um…I'll get Mom, Queen Novalis will probably wish to see her too." The younger woman made a hasty retreat to the infirmary.

Sam sucked in a large breath, closed her eyes for a moment as she exhaled the air in her lungs and slowly made her way down from the command center into the Gateroom proper. The blonde had to admit her daughter was right this was indeed not going to be fun.

The briefing room of Grigori's Stargate Command Center was filled with warriors. Malakim for the most part, though there were a few humans. Colonel Carter, as her custom, sat in the master chair at the head of the long table upon the dais; and next to her, on the right, was Janet and, on the other side, sat the Executive Officer Boudicca.

To Cassandra who knew her mothers and even her friend well, were revealed ladies of dignity and power. She herself sat to Boudicca's left and so the rest of the table was filled with those of the Blue Wing.

At the end of the table sat Queen Novalis who was flanked by woman of their own great power, the Empire's Minster of Defense Kidumiel and Adjutant Briel. The Queen had brought no other guards or aides. In fact, it made a bold statement that she didn't need them because she was confident with the aid she had brought and she was defiant of danger.

Sam had tired to gauge the emotions, the thoughts, emanating from the Queen, but Novalis knew how to play the game of diplomacy. She didn't give anything of herself away. Sam decided Novalis was also testing Sam's own resolve.

"I am sure that, after we discus matters concerning the Base and the actions of the Blue Wing, you will desire a tour of Kalevala." Sam said in her own bold voice.

"Kalevala?" Novalis quirked a purple eyebrow.

"The city surrounding Incarna Academy," Boudicca answered. "The name comes from ballads of ancient Mortal heroic warriors favored by the Liege Commander's dame."

"I understand. Then it is aptly named for her daughter is now Steward of an Empire of warriors," Novalis said easily. "Come we will away with pretence and speak plainly. I have always admired that about you, Samantha, you never give false pretence. One always knows where one flies within your company."

Sam let out a breath of air she had not known she was holding. Under the table she felt Janet squeeze her thigh allowing the tall blonde to know she would always have the doctor's support. Sam felt a rush of strength enter her and fortify her heart and mind.

Janet had always been able to do this in her own quiet way, with but a mere touch.

"Novalis, the Blue Wing had resigned from the Military Guild prior to their hasty departure. And though they did indeed hijack the Samantha Carter, the vessel is here safe and ready for you to reclaim. I fully agree their manner of taking the ship was unorthodox, and if you intend to prosecute them you can do so but only on this matter, not on going AWOL. They can not be discommended nor court-martialed."

"You dare set limits to your Queen?" Kidumiel questioned darkly.

"Yes," Sam answered honestly. "I stand for my people. Nearly a year ago the Blue Wing was assigned to me, under my command. I am their superior officer therefore I am responsible for their actions. Indeed, it was because of their loyalty to me they borrowed the vessel so that they would be reunited with me. I had stated that I would not travel the Stargate for sometime. I believe this, and only this, was the motivation for them to take the ship or they themselves would have gone through the Stargate.

"Novalis, you said to speak plainly, fine here it is on the table and off the record. Doctor Fraiser and I, along with our daughters, will remain on Grigori. We hope to create a new base for exploration in conjunction with Earth and the rest of Malakim Empire. Some time ago our Alpha site was betrayed now yes we have a Beta site but with Grigori we now have a Gamma site as well. Grigori will of course be loyal to the Malakim Empire and answer to the throne of Hy-Brasil."

For all the posturing of the Minster of Defense, the Queen herself smiled. "Your spirit is indeed Malakim, Samantha. You hold true to the Blue Wing, as they to you. And yes I have had the foresight to already lay in negotiations with your government, not only for the defense network that will surround your solar-system but for this new base as well."

"Long in hours they will talk," Briel said at long last. "Best handled by the Guild of Alien Affairs."

"I bet that's like our own Foreign Affairs branch," Cassandra mumbled, though all ears had heard her voice.

Briel nodded, agreeing with the assessment.

Sam looked past her daughter to the Queen. "Actually your majesty, Janet and I will need to sequester your aid. She, Lieutenant Fraiser, and myself intend to resign our commissions from our own Military as the Blue Wing has done, and commit ourselves to this project on Grigori. Due to recent events on Earth and considering our position with the Malakim, we desire to reside here."

"You're defecting," Kidumiel said.

"No," Janet said. "We will always be loyal to Earth. But we are having a change of residency and employment, though our occupations will remain the same. Even our objective to see Earth safe can be served here. Our physical presence on our home planet isn't necessary to gain that goal."

Novalis assessed the three women before her and she would have waged the responses she had heard to the questions put to them. She was however more then pleased to hear the words spoken aloud. Not only for the gratification of her own ears, but now both the Adjunct and Minister of Defense had heard the conviction of duty in the voices of those they had doubted. They would doubt no longer.

"You said that the Guild of Alien Affairs is handling the negotiations with our planet's government?" Sam questioned.

"Indeed, I will advice Minister Nachmiel of the alterations on Grigori and your induction into the Malakim Military Guild," Novalis said.

Sam looked to Boudicca. "I would rather be inducted into the Mercenary Guild, as they are free agents it will mean less red tape for my government as well as yours. I am sure you can appreciate the delicate situation I am in. Janet and I are ingratiated to the Malakim Empire but, if we join the Imperial military, it could indeed be seen as treason."

Novalis seemed to consider the words the Nephalim spoke of. Both situations, the Nephalim in the Military, or the Nephalim as a Mercenary, had its pros and cons. The settling argument however, was if Samantha and Janet were seen as traitors, it could cause a freeze in not only the negotiations going on now, but also in future relationships.

"I understand your dilemma. Yes, the Mercenary Guild is more neutral," said Novalis. "However, to that end we will have to draw up legal contracts to make this Stargate Command a privateer faction, in which case it remains free of the Military Guild but it cannot be controlled by the Mercenary Guild. Only by my Sovereignty."

"I think that is more then reasonable," Sam nodded. "And I believe it will be amenable to our own government," Carter had an idea that a few would oppose this move, notably Robert Kinsey jr. the Chairman of Acquisitions. However, the SGC and now the GSGC would overcome such politics as they had in the past.

"Excellent. So let it be sung, so let it be written," Novalis decreed. "Now show me your new home my ladies, reveal to me what your presence as wrought."

The same tour Sam and Janet had taken only a day before had now been given to the Queen and her aides.

And Kalevala seemed all the more glorious, all the more wonderful then it had before. Novalis was struck in awe of the great city that had been birthed out of a modest academy. This was now a nine-tiered city, each tier a representative of the eight choirs, with the ninth representing the Nephalim. As with all Malakim city-states, each tier was devolved into the mountain and about each was set a great wall of marble, and in each marble wall a gate. The pylons of each gate had twin colossal statues of its patron choir, with the top most pylons colossal statues of Samantha and Janet.

This construction was due partly to the primeval formation of the mountain in which the city rested and partly due to the commands of the architects as they sung the citadel into creation. Novalis was impressed as she saw the great bastion crowning the city. The flight deck was wide and open to the wind, so those that looked down saw the sheer drop of nine hundred feet to the city below. This opening of the bastion looked eastward and yet was developed from the heart of the great mountain. The Queen saw the banners fly about the city and took note they were not the shields of the Malakim Empire but of a rampant lion and an oak tree.

Now that she was fully aware of the icons, the Queen was quick to notice that the gates to the Academy were of this same rampant lion. In fact the city-state of Kalevala was filled with lions and oaks.

Novalis knew then how deeply engrained the Nephalim had become within the minds of her people. 200,000 turned from their choirs and formed the Grigori, then seven hundred more came to the Nephalim, yet retained their choir even as they swore fealty to her. How many more would turn to this new young voice? Novalis knew the time had come to bring forth a new initiative. A bonding had to be created; one that could not be shattered.

The queen turned to her hosts and she knew in her mind what it was she had to do, what she had to ask of them. "Samantha, Janet, I am beyond wonder of what the Blue Wing and your Grigori have created in such a short time."

The humans gave each other a look of questioning puzzlement. It was apparently news to them that the rabid construction of Kalevala was abnormal. They had assumed it was par for the course that a city was so quickly grown. But then, when a following had a cause to answer, there was great fervor in their desire to see it through to the end, whatever the end.

"I hunger, should we not adjourn to feast?" Novalis asked.

The quantity of food the Malakim were able to eat in one sitting was still very new to the humans, but they of course had slower metabolisms than the avian race. The Malakim had a great need for the vast quantity of food to fuel their hyperactive systems. Four lungs, two eight chambered hearts, two livers, four kidneys and two stomachs, needed more then a mere human's physiology. Fortunately the Carter-Fraiser household came with a complete revenue of servants.

Janet and Sam both had to adapt to this new development, but the servants belonging to the Retinue Guild had volunteered their services. Indeed, they did not see this as a task of mediocrity, but of great prestige to run the great House of Carter-Fraiser. Even Jailil asked to become the nanny of Rebecca as he found that to be of the highest honor to the steward for so grand a treasure.

Sam and Janet had tried to ensure their cooks knew they did not need so much food, but then they had resigned this argument saying that the entire household staff would eat what the chiefs had prepared. The avian people simply had extremely difficult time articulating what a 'small' quantity of food was other then military rations of Malakim MRE's.

When the call came in, to have a feast ready for the Queen of the Malakim, the chiefs of the Carter-Frasier House were more in their element and indeed it was a feast to behold, worthy of a queen's own table.

Of course, during the dinner, little Rebecca declared boldly, without regard for etiquette and protocol, that she would sit between her two mothers. And that they should sit close to one another so that she may. Since Rebecca had been able to talk, she had said she always wanted to sit in the middle of her mommies. Neither woman could deny their little one this one indulgence. (Of course, if you asked Cassandra she would tell you Rebecca had several indulgences from her mothers especially when it came to Sam.)

Once the feast had finished they adjourned to the lounge where a servant passed flutes of sherry out to all then backed away silently as a shadow.

Rebecca Marjory Frasier-Carter had in all her young years experienced much. Children had the amazing capacity to accept the unworldly where as no adult could. You take a five year old to Disney-World and there is absolutely no doubt in their mind that Mickey Mouse is in fact Mickey, and not some five foot tall female dressed in a rodent's furry costume like some mascot. You take her to a science fiction convention as Cassandra had done and Jeri Ryan wasn't herself but indeed Seven of Nine, Roxanne Dawson was a Klingon named B'Elanna Torres and Yolanda Reese was in fact Major Stacey Munroe. And so, when this particular five year old saw angelic women talking to her mothers Rebecca took it all in stride.

She loved to hear the voices of the angels. It was as if music itself underlined the dove-set tones of the winged women. As the adults talked about boring things such as the population of this new city they had moved to and other military junk, Rebecca crawled up into her Mama's lap, took the long fingered hand into her own and played with the digits. She did this until she calmed herself into sleep with her head resting upon her blonde mother's lap. Sam, for her part, stroked her hand through the red-blonde tresses.

"Samantha, Janet, there is something I must speak with you on a very private matter," Novalis said delicately when she had finished her drink. The change in the Queen's voice was astounding. Suddenly it became powerful, harsh as stone, and undeniably potent. All who heard it trembled and fell away asking no more questions.

Sam nodded, complying with the queen's request. "The study is private enough, I'll meet you and Janet in there momentarily," with her head she indicated what would take her attention.

Cuddled on the sofa like a kitten was little Rebecca soundly asleep. Gingerly, Sam gathered her daughter up into her arms, a wide smile upon her face as she felt the child snuggle into her arms. The girl's body was so completely limp she felt as a rag doll in her mother's arms. And like children locked so deeply into sleep Sam knew her daughter would not be easily roused even as she spoke to her.

"Come on Honey, time for all little pictures to snuggle into big comfy beds," Sam placed a soft kiss upon the girl's forehead drawing in the scent of baby powder. Softly, Sam carried the girl to the child's bedroom and laid her down in the middle of the bed. Her fingers trailed down the strawberry blonde ringlets, hypnotized by the power of the child's aura. As all endearing mothers, Samantha Carter was in love with her daughter. The name of joy upon the hearts and lips of all mothers was the name of their little one.

Living now on Grigori, Sam felt for the first time that her daughters would be safe, the tiniest one and the adult one. Her girls were safe.

'I guess you're right Mama,' Samantha addressed her own long dead mother, 'wait long enough and angels truly do come and whisper secrets to you in your sleep.' Placing yet another kiss upon the girl's cheek Sam crept out of her daughter's bedroom and returned to her wife and guest.

The three ladies had deferred to a private chamber, the door closed behind them allowing for words to be openly shared.

"Novalis, if it is about this marriage of convenience. My answer is still no," Sam said as soon as all three of them were newly settled upon the Edwardian styled overstuffed chairs. "My loyalty, my heart, all that I am, belongs to Janet. I will never cast that aside even if it's just in name. Especially if it is just in name. If ever our marriage was dissolved, which it never will be, it would have to be because of something more. I am sorry," Sam voiced.

Janet took her wife's hand and squeezed it tightly. "I agree Novalis, all that you have given us, we can not and will not comply with this request."

"I understand," The queen smiled, for a moment she allowed the utter devotion of true love to fill her, for she could taste it as it radiated off of the two women before her. "No my request is of another nature but close. I feel that a union between your house and mine must still be made. And I have a solution, perhaps a better one."

Blue eyes looked to brown then to the Queen's silver. "How?" It was Janet who spoke.

"Within our Realm females often donate their eggs so that the males who desire a family may start one. The eggs are joined with sperm via medical procedures, then implanted within a host womb by a willing female."

"Invetro Invitro fertilization and a surrogate mother, yes we have similar procedures on earth," Janet said. "In fact, had Sam and I not become pregnant via the Nox's aid we might have resorted to the use of a sperm bank. We wanted a child, with one of us being the mother. We love Cassandra deeply as if she was indeed born from us, but a child born of our own flesh…a baby… is something special. "

Janet knew just how badly Sam had wanted a child before Rebecca had been born. In fact it was a topic of conversation several times.

2005 was a mark of a grand year, President Hillary Clinton had passed an emancipation proclamation that guaranteed not only the rights for homosexual to be in the military but also, perhaps more profoundly, equal rites for same sex marriages. She had declared it unconstitutional to prohibit those who loved each other and carried on a life of monogamy, whether they be same gender, transgender, transsexual or opposite sex, the opportunity to enjoy a true and legal marriage. Simply put, if the Government could not impose its views on religion it had absolutely no right in imposing a narrow minded view on the private marital rights of its citizens.

Granted, for eight years Samantha Carter and Janet Fraiser had lived a life of complete commitment but 2005 marked it fully legal. It was soon ther after that Sam brought forth the idea of children.

Samantha Carter sat with her back pressed to the oak tree in the back yard of her home, a home she now shared with her wife. In the distance, across streets, the giggles and play of children could be heard. It was a Saturday morning ballad she never got tired of listening to, though at times it filled her with an unspeakable emptiness.

She had always related to children. For some reason children on the planets SG1 visited always approached Sam wanting to be near her. At first, the blonde thought it was due to the team's own alien-ess. Or perhaps it was due to the fact Sam seemed to be the more approachable amongst the four. Children related to females more then they did males, especially the young.

Lya had told her once, while in private, as they were talking about Nafrayu, that children know a pure heart once they see it. Sam was to the Nox an enigma, a pure heart in a warrior's soul. How was this possible?

Sam ducked her head thinking of little Danielle on the planet Argos who sat upon her lap contently eating raisins. Of Nafrayu, who by now must be a young man, but then was the little seven year old who took her hand and wouldn't let go for the first day SG1 had been there. And still there were others.

Chief amongst the memories was Cassandra herself, who took hold of Sam's arm and wouldn't let her go, her large hazel eyes pleading with Sam to stay at the girl's side. And so Sam had stayed. A bond had been forged when Sam had held the child on Hanka and it grew stronger still when in the utilitarian quarters given to the girl at the SGC. Cassandra had taken Sam to be her hero and her mother, though it was Janet who later bore that title. And Samantha never begrudged her lover this joy.


"Sammy?" Janet came near her wife close enough to touch her. "You have such a strange expression on your face." She came close and traced her fingers along the taller woman's cheek.

Sam suddenly couldn't bear to meet Janet's eyes, the blond bowed her head, fixed her gaze upon the tufts of dandelions sprouting to life in the lawn. She felt Janet's thigh press against her own leg, felt the air stir as Janet moved around behind her.

"Something's the matter. Tell me Samantha."

Sam leaned her head back upon the shoulder of her wife even as she took the arms of the smaller woman and wrapped them about her lanky body. In the action Janet's eyes became wary, deep concern underlying the dark orbs. The doctor touched Sam's face once more. Her fingers going under the blonde's chin to turn Sam so they might look at one another.

"What on earth are you thinking of?" Janet pressed again.

"That?" Sam indicated with her chin something across the tall wooden fence.

And for a moment Janet gave a listen then turned back to her beloved. "I only hear the neighbor kids."

"Janet…. I want one."


"A baby. Janet…. I love Cassandra so much, but I want a child…" Unable to remain still, the blonde rose up out of Janet's embrace and moved past the oak to step near the garden Janet had planted that spring. "I know you really hadn't thought about it, but it's been on my mind for a while. Invitro fertilization, it could work."

For her part Janet kept her immediate judgment to herself. She let her eyes close. Words, so many words, none of them meaning anything now, for how could Janet articulate her own thoughts.

"After eight years we are finally married, though my heart always belonged to you Janet. We raised Cassandra together, but….. I want a little one. I know, maybe it sounds selfish, but…Janet just take some time to consider it."

"Sam, you are newly colonel and it's your first year in full command of SG1, you worked so hard for this. Sammy you can't go off world pregnant, as your doctor I won't allow it and as the other mother to this child you want, I would ask you not to. Samantha, consider what you're talking about."

"I have considered. Janet, and I want to have a child."

"Do you expect me to carry it?" Janet almost accused.

Sam said nothing. Then looked to her wife. "No, just your consent to make a family. I can take a year sabbatical, teach at the academy, and work in the labs," She tried to smile but there was no mirth in the expression. "You wouldn't have to patch me back together every other time I returned through the gate."

With Janet's glare, Sam cast her eyes aside. The children laughed, giggled and squealed in their play, the sound of it now echoing in Janet's ears as well. It lingered there until she could bear the sound no longer; the haunted look in her beloved's blue eyes stuck her hard.

Sam shoved her hands into her pockets moved to the backdoor of the house. "It was only a dream….I ...need to ride. I love you." The blonde would say nothing more as she departed.

Janet remained in the back yard; for a moment the laughter of children was drowned out by the roar of a large Indian coming to life. The doctor winced as she heard the kids next door calling out to her beloved wife as they saw her ride out. Sam had such an affinity for children. Janet had seen how her beloved acted around them, playing with them even as she had with Cassandra.

Sam had so wanted to take Cassandra, but her life as a member of SG1 meant she couldn't. Sam wasn't on earth long enough to care for the child that had captured her heart. Janet had come to the rescue and told Sam she would take Cassandra. Now, Colonel Samantha Carter had come to a point in her life she would set aside the military, even for a little while and all for the chance to have a child.

This would not be the first discussion of a child, but Sam had never pressed her desire, she always feared Janet would want to break things off because she wanted a child and her wife didn't. But there was always a deep unreachable sadness in the blue eyes when Sam would hear the children.

Janet had her own fear, that Sam's desire to have a child would turn her attention to the one soul that could actually give Sam what she wanted. General Jack O'Neill. O'Neill was still madly in love with Sam, and yes the blonde had had a certain attraction to Jack, but of course she always had a weak spot for the lunatic fringe. Janet knew deep in her heart that Sam would never betray her, would never betray their love, but still those little nagging demons always asked that hated question. 'What if…'

And for a time it seemed that Sam had given up hope, the discussions had stopped, and for a moment Janet thought that haunted look had vanished. And Janet had wept. Samantha loved her so much the colonel had given up the hope, the dream to have children of their own.

Janet knew the desire was strong, the need, the want, the dream, it was always there in the cerulean eyes, but Sam had given up on it, for the discussions had ended in fights, and Sam would always walk out the door, telling Janet she was loved as she rode off on her motorcycle. Sam would return home a few hours later, a small thin smile on her face and the fight would not be spoken of and the topic closed. Then one day they had stopped talking about it all together. For a time, Janet assumed Sam had come to her senses and put away the idea of children. After all their careers didn't have room for little ones. But Sam never had, she simply kept the dream buried within her.

Then a year later came planet P47711X, the Kahuna, and Nephrau. The Nox lad must have picked up the great desire within Sam to have a baby and decided to help out his first crush. Nephrau must have also picked up Janet's deep abiding concern for Samantha, should she become pregnant, so he had decided it would be Janet to carry little Rebecca.

Janet settled on the memory and unconsciously took her wife's hand. Now that they had Rebecca, Janet cold never conceive of the idea why she had opposed the idea all those years ago. How could she have given her beloved such deliberate heartache in the denial of a family? Sam had never given up on Janet, never turned away, and never told her things wouldn't work out and that they should separate. Sam had stayed with her, because of the power of her love.

"Novalis, what are you asking?" Janet questioned softly bringing her concentration back to the Queen and her inquiry.

"A willing donation of biological matter from you Samantha," The queen said diplomatically.

"I am thinking you're not asking for my blood," It was and was not a question.

"Not quite your blood, but your DNA yes," The Queen of the angelic's said. "My only child Arion has defected to the Tok'ra, and thus her claim to the throne rescinded for all time. You would not bond with me in a Marriage of Name, but perhaps you would be willing to donate DNA."

"Cross-ovum fertilization. You want Sam to donate some of her eggs to be genetically bonded to yours?" Janet frowned, though not in disapproval, but in confused wonder. "Would that even work between two completely different species? Our physiologies are so different, I am not positive that would even work."

"On your planet have not your scientist cross-bred different species," Novalis said objectively.

"Sure the gray rhino, the liger, the mule but…we're talking animals not sentient beings here and besides they are all sterile," Sam pointed out. "Cross breeding a human with a Malakim …..that's big."

"Then you refuse," The tone coming from the queen was deflated. A sound Janet recognized all to well. It was the same tone Sam had given five years ago when she would bring up the dream of having a baby of her own and Janet had denied the blonde her great desire.

"No," Janet said before Sam could answer. "No, we're not saying no, just pointing out the extreme improbability that a cross ovum – cross species union would even work," Softness entered the dark brown eyes. "Novalis, Sam and I only have Rebecca because of the Nox, otherwise we could have a child born with only the DNA of one of us."

"The Nox are not the only ones to make possible cross ovum fertilization. The Malakim Empire has been doing it even before the Nox. It is how our species has survived. This is not a problem. Janet, Samantha if ever you desired to have another child we can assist in this."

"Novalis, we don't doubt this, but cross-species is something altogether different. I mean have you done this with other species?" Sam wanted to know.

The purple haired woman shook her head. "No, until now there had been no reason. Samantha, we are bonded; whether you understand this deep connection or not it remains true. Because of your new link to the World Symphony, your bond to the Great Song, my people do hear it and it does call them to you. I need my people united, you turned aside the proposal for our connection to be recognized as mates, this union would be alternative."

When Novalis saw the wary gazes of the mortal women she placed a long fingered hand upon each of their shoulders and spoke. "Consider, it is no different from your own home world's use of sperm and egg donors or surrogate mothers."

Sam gave a wondering expression to her wife then back to the Queen of the Malakim Empire. She was too struck with astonishment to give voice to her words.

Novalis continued. "I have read the histories of the world you came from. I have read how marriages and the hopes of children would unite two warring nations or even make them stronger against a third rival. A child born between our two worlds would make a union of great strength. I fear for the future, Samantha, that a rift will arise because of our twin queenships. We are linked until the setting of time. I told you so before."

"Yes," Sam said, "You said you are mortal now…. and that I am more or less immortal. But I am not a queen, in fact I have absolute no desire to be so."

"The Nephalim has its place in the royal line. A courtier if you prefer, you are not in the line of succession, of course, but the World Symphony is as strong within you as it is in me. Perhaps you are a reflection of myself. Samantha, because of your title, your inheritance of becoming the Nephalim, you are to the Empire, a Prime Minister.

"As for the immortality, you and Janet are as the mortals would have it said as immortal as you can be. Your lifespans are of course very short in the terms of a Malakim, spanning only a thousand years, but then so is mine."

"Me?" Janet was stymied. Then her brown eyes widened. "Oh, of course the Nox bond! Sam and I are empathically connected. So that is why some of the Malakim, especially Turel and Zaira, commented I have World Symphony within me. Almost like osmosis, through the bond Sam and I share, we share all aspects of her as you said 'inheritance of the Nephalim. "

Novalis bobbed her head. "Precisely. Samantha, my people see you as a twin shadow of myself. For this reason a great rift could very possibly shake my Empire, and my people. I must make a duet rather then a solo in the Great Song. You are the Nephalim; I am the Queen, a child created using our combined DNA will stop that rift from ever being realized."

"A duet into a trio," Janet said. "And what of Sam's connection to this child if it is even possible?"

"Or Janet's," Sam added.

"Samantha, you are donating DNA only, that is your tie to the child. Tell me those on your home world who donate their DNA for such things as procreation have a tie to the children they help create?'

"No," Both women answered. "Generally, no they don't."

Novalis nodded her head. "Think upon it, then. And should you wish a tie to this child you will be granted it, But I alone will be her mother. You will be family nothing less and nothing more."

The angelic warrior queen looked to the Lilliputian physician, "Consider, I do not ask this of you Samantha, to increase your difficulty with your own life, but the need to unify an Empire. You denied marriage out of your own honor to your wife; I respect this and admire it. I dare say I would have done similar. But this request is little more then donating blood. The empire will know you desired to assist your queen in keeping the Malakim unified and donated what was necessary to help this come to be."

"Won't this same Empire think ill of Sam for not becoming a part of the child's life as a parent?" Janet couldn't help but ask.

"No that should not be a deterrent, Janet," The queen said. "You concern yourself with the idea that Malakim will disparage Samantha for assisting in the creation of a child and yet not partaking of her rearing?"

"Something like that, yes," Janet, said. "Would they not expect more out Samantha because of this endeavor?"

"Our ways are not your ways, Janet. The people of the Empire will see Samantha's gracious assistance to better the union of our two species in a way that is acceptable to all. Marriage is preferable but that is obviously not a possibility," The queen abruptly rose to her feet, her silver eyes still resting upon Janet as she spoke. "This is of course clearly something you will need to conference over," she now looked to Sam. "If you choose to decline the request, nothing more will be said of it. Perhaps it is enough you both are now a residents within the Empire."

"Novalis, even if we do accept, there is no guarantee that your DNA is compatible with Sam's," Janet said professionally.

"Then Liege Healer, I will ask you to be the attending physician," Novalis said warmly.

"What if we don't comply," Sam said as much for her own benefit as that of her wife. She wanted confirmation upon the word Novalis had given.

"As I said nothing more will be spoken of it and the matter dropped. And the Great Song favor us, perhaps this rift is nothing more then the shifting creation of the Grigori and the adaptation to the World Symphony to the new choir. At any rate the Empire welcomes, the Nephalim, her beloved consort and the Grigori within our fold."

Alone, within his chambers, Usiel snapped open his black eyes and grinned. Even aboard the Cheops class warship he could feel the shifting winds.

"Oh, they stir, they sing, they move in the mist, and they will all come to me. I so love the taste of discord. Osiris, turn your face from your lord, he has no love for your service. He has his superior warriors and he causes the Jaffa to fill themselves with dissidence. So strong and so thick is their unrest…." Usiel flared out his wings in a shudder of a near climatic release of sexual tension.

"And you my Queen of the Malakim, come out come out where ever you are…" he sang. "Come we wish to play. Samantha, we have plans for you, my sweet Nephalim."

The First of the Fallen giggled in such a sound it was if a squirrel had inhaled helium and sneezed. "Osiris is going to be so pissed….." In his giddy state of mind, Usiel found his way to the Pel'tak and found there Ga'rak at the helm.

Usiel padded up and clapped a hand upon the young Jaffa warrior. "I want you to navigate this craft with a new heading."

The Jaffa looked to his winged lord and stuttered as he met the black soulless eyes glittering back into his own. "My lord?"

"Any moment now the Taur'ri will uncover the Ashrak and of course he will be executed. If the warriors of SG1 are par for the course they will make contact with their Leader Samantha Carter. But you see we don't want them to unify upon where the Nephalim is. I want to choose the place."

"My lord, I will change course but how will you cause the Tau'ri to comply with your desire?"

"Oh. That. Right well easy. We use bait."

"My lord?"

"SG1 simply cannot stop themselves from becoming heroic figures time after time. It's what they do, it's in their very nature. So we let slip a clear passage of intelligence. You see, the Ashrak will give up the information that it was Osiris out seeking Samantha's head. The Malakim are persuasive when they want information, the Asherak will have recourse but will give said information out.

"The radical organizations of the Tau'ri home world will learn that the deaths of fourteen warriors are due to a call being put on Samantha's head. There will be superiors who will see Samantha as a threat, and because she has allied herself with the Malakim they will question her loyalties. They will then try and recall her to Earth"

"Forgive me, my Lord Usiel, but how do you know this?" Ga'rak asked tentatively.

"Simple. It is the very nature of the paranoid and self-righteous to accuse the innocent for their inadequacies and unsettling matters they are impotent to handle. Samantha Carter is perfect to take the fall, for she is a hero. And the paranoid self-righteous politicians hate such heroes; they always assassinate them or cause them to fall. After all Jolinar of Malkshur was killed for similar reasons. And me…well...I did what I did on purpose, with every intent to fall." Usiel grinned, "But Arion well…she was painted as a target for her fall."

Ga'rak was astonished by Usiel's up-front nature of his own darkness. He wasn't at all like the Goa'uld who needed to posture to insure their position as Gods. It seemed to the Jaffa warrior that Usiel didn't care one way or the other if others saw him as a god, he simply was. In Ga'rak's eyes this raised his view of Usiel even more as a deity, for all his posturing it was only with Osiris. Osiris rose to the bait every time, Usiel spoke. The Jaffa had lost all respect and graver still for the Goa'uld their fear of them. They had turned their eyes and their loyalties to the winged war-god. Something else stuck close to Ga'rak as he thought of Usiel's words.

'Simple. It is the very nature of the paranoid and self-righteous to accuse the innocent for their inadequacies and unsettling matters they are impotent to handle' Ga'rak thought of his father of whom Anubis slew, because he failed to conquer SG1. For a long time the young warrior had blamed Samantha Carter for the death of his father, now hearing the god Usiel speak Ga'rak became to understand the true nature of the Goa'uld false gods.

To his surprise the winged one was grinning widely, almost approvingly of the young man's inner thoughts.

"My lord you have but to tell me the coordinates and I will obey. The Jaffa….. have seen the truth of the false god Osiris. You rose up after being shot several times with a staff weapon at point blank range, a Ribbon Device and a Zatnicitel. No Goa'uld would have risen, as you, without the use of a Sarcophagus."

"I know," Usiel said. "Why do you think I allowed it? I would show Osiris the true power of divinity. It hurt like a son-of-a bitch but it was necessary to reveal the truth." The black wings flared out to their full span of eighteen feet, then closed about the body slowly. "It pleases me to know the Jaffa support the greater of two powers. Come, we have disinformation to deliver. And a hero simply cannot resist but to stop the flood of vile things, it's one of the stupid things they do. And they are always sooooo predictable in that way."

Usiel himself entered in the coordinates into the Pel'tak's systems. Ga'rak's dark eyes widened when he saw the new heading. "My lord…..this is one of the training grounds for Anubis Hok-warriors."

"I know. Once they hear of this they will want to stop me. This training facility is small, and it is one of Osiris's little playgrounds. It is also the closest planet near the Malakim space. I want the Taur'ri to think I am going to ally myself with Old Lack-Face. "

"But you have no intention to do so." Ga'rak drew his own conclusions.

"Well of course not… never trust anyone whose eyes you can't see. Besides Lack-Face is creepy, I don't do creepy. Never ally yourself with someone who makes your feathers itch…or….makes you feel like your intestines are filled with maggots. Besides Anubis is too much competition, I don't like to compete. And I am too lazy to try and overthrow Anubis especially since SG1 and the Grigori are so willing to do so. Why waste our reserves? "

"May I ask what you intend to do?" The Jaffa stared intently at the Malakim standing at his side.

"I only want Samantha, once I have her, everything else is irrelevant. I am not greedy; I just want her, gone. She ruined everything. The World Symphony was perfect before she went and became the Nephalim. Now this creature has an Empire within an Empire, and that is one Empire too many."

Part 16

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