Champions Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter Seventeen

Within the Weave

Even as the interrogation of the assassin was commencing, Daniel Jackson had been kept occupied by briefing both Ambassador Deborah Granger and Senator Robert Kinsey Jr.

The Joint Chiefs had given Deborah Granger, a trusted member of the Presidents Foreign Affairs Administration, top clearance. Deborah had a face that enlisted confidence and trust. Like Jonas Quinn she made those around her comfortable by her voice alone, which made her task as Ambassador ideal. But, she was no pushover either, as a diplomat she could, when duty called for it, become as hard as stone and unyielding. She had auburn hair and dark brown eyes that added to her charm, as did the very slight English accent that betrayed her ancestry

"Ambassador, Senator, there are a few things you will need to know about the Malakim before you meet with them." Daniel said.

"Which is?" the senator sounded bored. Senator Kinsey was prematurely gray which made his similarities to his father even more apparent. Like his father he was a tall thin man with a pasty complexion and a long face that tended to resemble a horse. His gray eyes were as lifeless as a tin soldier's and, like his father that was as far as his connection to the military went. He had never served his country in that capacity and yet he was the Chairman of Apportions. The military, to say the least, hated him, just as they had his father.

"Their whole political system is set up as a matriarchy, they don't respond well to males. Secondly, they have a strange loyalty to Sam...er... Colonel Carter. Somehow, she fell into their pantheon, in fact the only reason they are giving us the defense grid is because of Colonel Carter. Their faith centers around something they call the Great Song and the World Symphony. Their 'devil' is the concept of dissidence and discord."

"Music." Granger nodded, understanding the reference of discord as the Malakim used it. "So, their entire belief system is centered around the notes of music? Dissonance is a harsh or inharmonious combination of sounds. But, on another level, it could be elements of a logical argument that are in conflict. That's interesting"

Daniel explained that the avian race was some how able to discern the natural course of a person's life journey. If a soul was in conflict with her demeanor then she created dissidence. If she was in conflict with herself too much it created discord. Some choirs tolerated discord more then others. "They have an almost futile system of government. There are seven choirs, lead by seven archangels; each archangel is lord of all she surveys, and each one answers directly to the Queen. If one of the archangels is out of harmony they can either rid themselves of the discord or they are removed."

"Removed? Why do I get the feeling you are not talking impeachment here," the Ambassador stated.

"I'm not. The Malakim are not dictators in the slightest definition of the term but they do have a warrior culture. Everything they do centers around honor and strict adherence to virtues. If those in a choir fall, say an archangel for example, they have a limited time to rid themselves of the dissidence."

"Or what? The other archangels assassinate them?" Kinsey rolled his eyes. "The only archangels are those that serve the Lord, my God."

"Like I said, a strict adherence of honor, very strict." Jackson decided to ignore the self righteous indignation of the senator, "Which is why Colonel Carter easily falls into their culture. She has her own code of honor that she follows. In all the time I've known her, Sam has never truly fallen from it. If she has, she carries that guilt with her for a long time, and she tries to make it right." The archaeologist knew that Sam had yet to fully forgive herself for the near abandonment of Cassandra in the nuclear vault, when the girl was twelve years old. Nor, had she ever forgiven herself for Rebecca's premature birth, which the blonde felt was her fault for insisting the family go on a walk in the Garden of the Gods National Park.

"And Doctor Fraiser's unshakable adherence to the Hippocratic Oath, is just as ardent," Deborah concluded, "no wonder the Malakim have welcomed her into their ranks too."

"Yeah. Anyway, the thing is, the Malakim race are extremely loyal and protective of both Colonel Carter and Doctor Fraiser, they are the only reason Earth is being protected. The Malakim tend to stick to their own section of space. While not xenophobic they are, like some of the superior races we've encountered, reclusive. Add that to the fact they are at war with the Wraiths, they don't have a lot or resources to simply give away."

"How much of their technology are they willing to share?" Ambassador Granger asked, "and, what is the cost?"

"I don't know, Ambassador, though I suspect they will wish to have Colonel Carter, Doctor Fraiser, and their family remain with them." Daniel answered honestly. "That's why you are here, Ambassador, to find out exactly what they want, and what they will give." Shortly, we will be joined by the others and full disclose will be given."

Kinsey Jr. shook his head, he couldn't believe that Earth was going to be saved by a bunch of heathen demonic beings pandering to a couple of God-forsaken lesbians. In his eyes, everything had fallen apart once the Eastern states allowed the homos to marry. He had fought ardently, proclaiming the Churches laws against the sickness, but nevertheless they won out. First Hayes, then Clinton had begun to reunion everything. Now, 'they' were allowed to spread their sin wherever they wanted, they were even allowed to be in the military.

Kinsey Jr. thought he knew, that the former President, Hilary Clinton, was a closet dyke and that it was no wonder she had permitted the sexual deviants to spread their sin. On that note, to him at least, it was no shock that God had struck New York as he had on 9 /11 back in '01, it had been Sodom and Gomorrah all over again only no one took the hint. Of course, his father had to die because of the sinful actions of certain homosexuals. Values? Honor? Virtues? Kinsey Jr shook his head, how could the Godless know what virtue was when they supported the lesbians? It was because of the likes of Colonel Carter and her 'wife' that Kinsey Snr. had died. Now, his son would make these women pay for the crime. Carter was a murderer, only no one but Kinsey Jr. saw this, and it was his God given duty to put an end to her in one way or another. Her very actions were treasonous, not even President Zoë Bartlett could save her dyke champion now.

To say the idea of giving up the DNA that would make a hybrid child had not played heavily upon Sam's mind would be a lie. The tall blonde colonel weighed the issue going back and forth until she felt like a tennis ball. With her arms folded around her chest her back leaning restfully upon the wooden threshold of Rebecca's bedroom Sam watched her daughter play with GI-Jane action figures and a model of a Malakim starship. One of them had a little white lab coat, the other blonde hair and wearing a black uniform, both female figures belonged to one of the Star Wars movies, Sam had forgotten which one, but to Becca they were Mama and Mommy.

Of course there was a large African American wrestling figure with a golden symbol that 'Sassy' had painted on its forehead, Luke Skywalker with glasses marked in black permanent marker and a middle aged silver haired G-I Joe figure wearing fatigues, as well as a figure that once was Queen Amadalia but now carried the name Sassy. The last figurine was a tiny girl who was always with the Mommies.

The small child mesmerized Sam. So tiny, she would never be taller than Janet, in fact the petite doctor doubted if Rebecca would ever reach a height over four foot nine. To Sam it was, with no pun intended, a small matter. Rebecca was healthy.

'I have a daughter!' she thought. 'Such a gift... such perfection. How can I compromise her? Compromise that gift? It would be so easy to fall into doing what might feel right.'

Sam watched as Rebecca had the blonde figure and the doctor kiss and then placed the Mama figure into a ship to sail off, leaving the Mommy and Rebecca doll on the floor alone. Blue eyes narrowed in stymied suspense as she saw Rebecca play-act a scene with a Malakim toy figure battling against storm troopers. And then she watched as the blonde figure was cast in a box and covered up with a cloth.

Walking into the room, Sam squatted down near her child, "Hey Little Bit what happened to Mama?"

"Oh, she is lost." Rebecca answered candidly.

Sam swallowed hard and winced. "Lost?"

"Yeah," a sad reply. "She is lost. Mommy is going to go find her."

Sam bit her lower lip and gathered her child into her arms. "What happens then?" she feigned a smile.

"Well...Mommy finds Mama and makes her way better, then Mama comes home but is sad. A lot. She's not the same as before."


"Before getting lost. I think the monster under the bed or the one in the closet got her and they might have hurt her. She has really bad nightmares, sometimes she cries at night. Actually, I think it was the monster in the box that did it."

Following an impulse Sam lifted the cloth covering the box containing the effigy of herself; within, she found a rubber cobra with the Mama toy in the middle of its coils. Sam went into panic mode and snatched the blonde figurine out of the box.

"Where did you learn this?" Sam's voice dropped an octave; her shock of what had been playing out within her daughter's imagination resonated loudly off the walls of her soul.

Rebecca turned around studying the blue eyes of her Mama. "What's wrong? Did I do something bad?"

"No! Oh no no no no no Honey, you did nothing wrong," Sam cuddled her child to her chest. "Sweetie, look. See, Mama is where she belongs with Mommy and Rebecca." Sam placed the toy next to the other two action figures. "See, in our new home, Mama doesn't have to leave like before, she will always come home everyday."

"Really... really? You don't have to go to different countries for deep space te-te'lim'marty?"

"Really, really, Little Bit. The Malakim made it so I don't have to leave," blue eyes met sapphire-chocolate. "Sometimes Mama might have to leave and stay away but not as often Sweetie."

"Then I will like our new home, Mama." Rebecca nuzzled into her mother's arms. "I hate it when you are gone for so long, I miss you so much. So does Mommy, she never says so, but her eyes tell me."

Sam smile was not feigned this time, "Mommy has very expressive eyes, just like you Baby," her lips kissed the girl's forehead. Holding the slight weight of her little girl in her arms, Sam had made her decision concerning Novalis and the child that she had wanted to create. "Rebecca, I have to get ready for work, you be good for Jailil, deal?"

"Sure." Rebecca said without a second thought, and then crawled off her mother's lap to continue her play. "Mama?"


"Can... can I... um... safeguard your old dog tags still?" Rebecca showed her mother the tags she was still wearing that she had previously had tucked under her shirt.

Sam looked at her old boot-camp tags, and smiled. "You know what Little-Bit, when a person moves to a new home, they often get house-warming gifts. Now granted they get the gift from new neighbors and friends and all, but I think this time it's okay if the present comes from family."

"What! I can keep them forever?"

"Sure thing."

"Whoohoooo!" The tall blonde felt the life squeezed out of her with all the tiny strength of the five year-old's hug. "Thank you Mama! This is great!"

Sam's Cheshire grin was so large, that the brilliance of the sun paled in comparison. For a moment longer Sam watched her daughter play, then guided by a second impulse she picked up the shoe box that contained the rubber snake, "I think you should play a different game. One that doesn't involve monsters."

Now that she owned her mama's old dog tags, the girl was more than content to discover that her beloved Mama was not going to go away. "Kay," she said and shrugged, it didn't matter to her that the toy was gone, what was a rubber snake compared to her Mama being around all the time and of course the tags?

Sam kissed her daughter on the cheek and gave her a large bear hug. "I love you baby."

"Love you too Mama," Rebecca returned the kiss. "Mama?"

"Hum?" Sam nuzzled her child's strawberry blonde locks, loving the scent of the baby-shampoo lingering in the red-gold wavy curls.

"Did you find the Malakim with the te'lim'marty?" Earnest blue-brown eyes studied her mother intently.

"Something like that, Honey." Sam answered.

"They came from that big funny pool that makes wormholes huh?"

Sam was constantly surprised by her daughter's grasp on science, but of course she shouldn't be for Rebecca had such a hunger for knowledge. True, neither Janet nor Sam would deny their daughters' the gift of knowledge and they explained things when asked, but still to hear that gained knowledge parroted back was always a momentary gasp of astonishment.

"How do you know it makes wormholes?"

"Easy. We were on Earth, and then we went with the Queen to the Malakim place. Only wormholes squash space like that Mama, you said so."

Sam grinned. "You got it right, sweetheart, that is exactly what happened."

"I thought wormholes... well I didn't know they looked like funny pools of water, more like holes in an apple, like you said."

Sam chuckled and kissed the forehead of her little girl, "That's the event horizon. What you see is..." the blonde thought for a moment then said, "well you know when you don't eat your tomato soup and it gets that skin on the top of it, it's like a barrier... ?"

"Yeah," Rebecca grimaced sticking out her tongue, "yucky I hate cold soup."

Sam thought now was not the time to tell her daughter that was what she got for playing at the dinner table when she should be eating. "Right. The watery stuff you see is the skin of the wormhole, it's called the event horizon. You can actually see the fluctuations of the barrier, that's why it looks like water."

"Oh," Rebecca commented nonchalantly. " I get it. That makes sense."

"Look baby, I'd much rather spend the day playing with you but...."

"You have to go to work. Yes I know. But I know you and Mommy will be back tonight so it's okay." Rebecca flashed what Sam had privately dubbed 'Janet's sunshine grin', for every time Sam witnessed it, she felt warmth like the sun radiating down upon her. It was far too adorable to see it mirrored upon the tiny girl.

Sam, unable to resist the _expression of cuteness, tickled Rebecca until the child squealed in delight and begged her mother to stop. "I'll wet my pants if you don't!"

"Can't have that!" the blonde laughed heartedly, throwing her hands up in surrender.

Rebecca tried to look serious as she addressed her mother. "You'd better get to work Mama so you can come home," that of course gained the girl a breathtaking bear hug from her mother.

"Okay, little general," Sam mock saluted, before she kissed her child once more, this time on the bridge of the nose. "You know how much I love you right?"

"Yep, not even the stars can be numbered for the amount you love me."

"That's right."

"Me too, Mama."

"My father was correct when he dubbed this project Pandora's box!" Kinsey Jr. wailed shrilly. "An enemy agent was able to slip into the very center of the world's most secret facility with out anyone knowing, is a testament to this fact. You didn't even know you'd been infiltrated, then he takes on the persona of a scientist who handles some of the more sensitive materials and still no one blinks an eye. It this isn't a cause to shut this facility down I don't know what is! And on top of that you have rogue members of the most trusted of all of this command running off and defecting, that is treason in and of it self. But I should expect that from people who so willingly turn their backs on what is Righteous and embrace Babylon."

"Oh, give it a rest," Jack sounded almost bored. "Stop pretending to be your father. At best you make a poor carbon copy."

"That is insubordination, General." the graying man barked, pointing his finger at O'Neill.

"Senator you are not my superior and I am not therefore being insubordinate" Jack threw out.

"I'll see you removed from this Command!"

"Oh, I don't think so." Jack smiled. "See our allies, you know the Asgard, the Nox, the Malakim, they like me here. Your daddy learned not to step on the SGC's toes with the Asgard and, since then, our list of allies grew."

"What the Malakim? I read the reports, and I heard what Doctor Jackson had to say. What have we come to when we ally ourselves with the likes of..."

"The likes of what mortal!" The voice was the sound of pure music echoing through a great hall.

All heads turned to see the silver wings of Nachmiel fan out to their full span nearly twenty feet from wing tip to wing tip.

"Dear God!" Kinsey crossed himself.

The grave and beautiful angel had formed out of the very air, her essence glowing and dominating. Her purple eyes resting upon Kinsey with an _expression that could only be considered disdainful. Nachmiel did not look as if she were going to entertain this man's petty prejudice for long.

Daniel Jackson, having spent time with the Malakim knew exactly what had occurred. Nachmiel had stepped forth from Earth's Shadow, a realm called the Penumbra. To the Aboriginal's of Australia it was the Dream-Time, to Native American's and the Amazonia Tribes of South America it was the Spirit World, to many Asians it was the Realm of the Ancestors. But what ever the name, the avian race was able to pass through the vale between worlds seemingly appearing out of nothingness and likewise disappearing at will. Though the Malakim used this place to travel distances at a much greater speed, their own personal wormholes as it were, it did have its theatrical moments. Right now it served to scare the self-righteous senator right out of his skin.

"General, Ambassador, I would have reasons why you bring this bigoted petty male before us? Even his title, junior, indicates he is of no importance. Do you think us so small to give us the ear of a minor office? We asked to meet with those of importance. This is an offence and shall not be tolerated." The silver wings seemed to double their size.

Her aide had forewarned Nachmiel that this male needed to be frightened. The Minister didn't think she was capable of performing such a grand display of opulent power; after all she wasn't a Muse of the Kyriotate Choir, Hashul had however insisted that a grand entrance and ruffled feathers would be more effective than the ministers more diplomatic correspondences. Apparently Hashul was correct.

Kinsey visibly trembling wanted to protest to tell this great being that he was not a junior officer but someone of importance. But he could feel the power resonating from her and he found his terror greater then his need to protest.

"Minister, please, I can explain. The title junior implies he is named for his father." Ambassador Deborah Granger said smoothly, even she was awed by the glowing specter of the Malakim. She had to fight the urge to think this outworldly woman was not some heavenly being but an alien from another planet.

"Named for his father?" Nachmiel frowned.

"Yes, his name was Ronald Kinsey, and he was a great man." the Senator boasted.

It was not uncommon for those of the Malakim to be named for another, however the emphasis on the syllable was always different, or a letter was added: for example, Arion for Aria. No one shared the exact same name, however a namesake was not uncommon in the avian culture.

Nachmiel studied the quaking male. "He is still an offence to our eyes and to the words we would share. He offends the Nephalim, which could be very unhealthy indeed."

Kinsey knew a threat when he heard one. But somehow he still had no voice to accuse this creature before him of making such a thing. The anger of the angelic being seemed to glow and radiate in some unknown presence he could not fathom, nor did he wish to.

"You mortal, have a contemptible lack of personality, you are as bitter as alum and to be spat out. Leave now, and bother this noble mortal company no more. We deny you. Ambassador, we will hear your voice alone. If this creature disparages the Nephalim in the eyes and ears of your potentate we shall remedy the problem. Be thankful I am of the Murcurian Choir and not the more aggressive warriors of the Grigori, who do not suffer discord concerning the Liege Commander Samantha Carter and her consort with as much leniency as I have displayed."

"You have not authority...."Kinsey started, but found himself muted by the sheer presence of the tall woman before him.

"Minister, Ambassador, maybe it's best we adjourn for half an hour." General O'Neill offered trying to defuse the situation before it became explosive. His soldiers' eyes caught the movement of Lamach's hand going for her sun sword. Any more exposure to Kinsey, O'Neill had a gut feeling the Malakim would take his head. One thing he had learned was that the angelic race were overly sensitive and overly protective of Carter and ol' Doc Fraiser.

"Quite frankly you need the alliance of the Malakim. The alliance between the Tok'ra and the Jaffa failed. The Anubis Drones had exacting fortitude and constitution as a Malakim warrior. We are just as difficult to destroy as they are." Lamach commented. "We can fight against the drones. We have been since their conception, and though Liege Commander's weapons and the armor she developed are effective to a point we are still mightier. Think on this as we recess, and would I be you, I would reconsider just what it is that is treasonous."

Usiel stood beside Osiris upon the balcony of the Pel'tak, below them the massing of several squadrons of the Anubis Drones.

"Do you still think my troops will be easily overcome by your people?"

Usiel watched the Songless creatures in battle simulations. Their very essence unnerved him. Every living thing had a note of their own that sounded within the World Symphony, these creatures did not.

"They number three hundred, a very small number, but all of them are extremely loyal to Anubis. What's more they are preconditioned to hunt Samantha Carter. She was the one who designed the weapons capable of neutralizing the drones. It was she who developed the armor that the SGC warriors now wear. It was she who figured out how to open the Stargate in the first place and make it work. Daniel Jackson's contribution was to unlock the Seventh Chevron, but if not for Samantha Carter the Tau'ri might never had achieved what they had.

"She has been a target of the Goa'uld for some time. The Tau'ri home world is protected under the Asgard treaties and cannot be directly attacked. Now the Malakim protect it as well, that is why we sent our operative in. To draw her out. Other System Lords had sent Ashraks after her, but somehow she has managed to slip away. She is resourceful and intelligent."

"Let me guess, the Diabolicals have decreed her the most dangerous mortal in existence." Usiel commented

"She is loathed more than Machello before her. Why do you think Anubis dedicated this squadron of Drones in hunting her? You believe my Jaffa are impotent against the Malakim? Perhaps this is so, they have become obsolete. For thousands of years we have relied upon the Jaffa as our foot soldiers, now few remain. The rebellion has all but wiped out the Jaffa loyalty to the System Lords. But I always have a plan, the Drones are perfection, they will destroy the Malakim and Samantha Carter. And we will finally be rid of the blight."

"Oh Arch." Usiel snickered humorously. "Your last plan didn't work out so well. What makes you think this will?"

Osiris had learned not to rise to the bait so quickly, and when she spoke her voice reflected nothing of her irritation. "If you think that stunt you pulled earlier will work again against the Drones by all means confront them and see just how potent they are. Then you will know Samantha Carter will not survive." The blonde System Lord thought, why be rid of only one nemesis when she could eliminate two such antagonists?

Usiel looked upon the black armored warriors, it would be interesting to test their metal. He did not like mysteries, unless he of course had created them. Even then he didn't like to keep the pretense up for long, simply put it was too much work to try and remain mysterious. It was so much easier to just be blunt and to the point. If it were solely up to the First Ruminate, he would call up the Nephalim and invite her to come to this planet so he could kill her.

"Oh very well send one out, and we shall have a contest of strength." Usiel relented. His black wings flared out stretching to their great eighteen foot length. And though he would never be able to fly properly he could easily glide down to the surface and face off against one of the mindless Drones.

At the sight of the incoming avian the Drones parted like ants whose mound had been disturbed. Completely autonomous they didn't panic, didn't worry for this new potential threat. In fact they regarded the winged creature as one would regard a mosquito.

Only one faced off against the black-winged creature. Osiris watched anxiously, and she was not the only one. On several of the decks the Jaffa who had turned from the Goa'uld to Usiel wanted to witness their new god fell the creatures that had usurped their positions.

Usiel's eyes widened and he stepped back, turning to face the drone directly. His first impulse was to raise his sun sword and cut the creature down. A wave of Usiel's hand sent a chunk of rock at the armored drone, seeming as if it would surely crush him.

But the drone was ready, and even though the bolder crashed down upon him, he moved it aside harmlessly, only dirt covering the armor was any indication the drone had been struck down.

"Throwing rocks" Osiris laughed. "How superior."

The fact the rock was a fifteen ton bolder was beside the point. A Jaffa would have been indeed crushed, but the drone was unaffected.

Usiel ignored the jibe and clutched up at the sky, more great blocks of stone tumbled down at the drone. But the creature would not be stopped. It dug itself up out of the rubble, still appearing as if nothing had happened to it at all. It rose and stalked a path for the Fallen.

Usiel gave a little growl and thrust his hand, loosening a line of silver lightning from the sky only recently cloaked with clouds. The bolt stuck the creature in the chest sending the drone several feet back into the rubble of rock. More lightning poured forth from the clouds commanded by Usiel, but the drone even now seemed more settled in his offensive posture.

Osiris having never seen a Malakim in true battle had to admit the assault was effective and would be against any mortal; an avalanche and multiple strikes from lightning would destroy an entire platoon of Jaffa, or any one else, save for a Malakim. Usiel turned his back upon the felled warrior confident that his methods had destroyed the black armed being but the drone would not be so easily obliterated.

Blaster fire struck Usiel in the chest slamming him. Pain exploded, sending ripples of searing agony into the avian's mind. Blood oozed from the gaping charred black wound. Third degree burns, several broken ribs and yet, Usiel still rose.

A second flare of fire caught Usiel in the thigh; the avian stumbled backward, tripping and crashing hard against the debris of stone, but even as he fell the drone was there, the drone's arm raised, the amber blasts sending eruptions of searing pain into the already damaged chest.

With a growl of rage, Usiel reached deeply into the World Symphony letting it flow though him as if his physical form was a mere conduit for its power. Usiel decided enough games, he'd strike the Songless creature down with the quick but less enjoyable means of the sun sword. He reverently drew out his sword, its golden blade humming to life, the avian pushed off the rubble, leapt at the drone with a sudden and devastating thrust, but one that never got close to hitting.

With hardly a movement the drone blocked the arm holding the sword and turned the blade away. Usiel went into a wild fury then, with the likes he had shown against Osiris, raining blows at the Songless thing. The drone saw the futility of trying to block, raised his arm shelled in the glinting black armor and fired his pulse beam. Usiel didn't even seem to move. He didn't step back or to the side, yet his subtle dodges and direction parries kept the drones phaser fire harmlessly blocked this time. The beams went wide and erratic hitting the dirt behind the avian.

Usiel glanced at the ground below the feet of the drone, a moments later the earth rumbled, complaining. The quake sent several of the other drones to their knees. The drone facing Usiel toppled and fell in the rift of dirt, falling back and down to the training arena, the shock of the earthquake making the drones body buck. Usiel continued to stare at the earth and the fracture in the ground started to swell with sand and close around the felled drone in a harsh, cracking echo.

Then hollow silence.

Osiris knew that Usiel was expending tedious amounts of energy, he had to tire soon. Still the System Lord had to admit she admired the strength of this winged creature. He was not mindless like the drones, but as relentless as they. He was driven, where they were controlled; he was passionate, where they were soulless. The pain holding the avian hostage had to be overwhelming but still Usiel fought on.

The Goa'uld smiled, Usiel could only gape in surprise as moments later a hand emerged out of the closed ravine, and the Drone clawed its way to the surface. Usiel was dumb with astonishment; only a Malakim could have, would have survived such an onslaught and come back. This thing, this Songless thing had risen from the grave.

The drone rose to his feet as if he had just tripped instead of being shot with lightning bolts, struck with an avalanche and a victim of an earthquake. Usiel didn't waste time reclaiming the battlefield. It wasn't as if he hadn't faced such fortified foes before. Fire power of the drone, its superior strength against the will of the fallen Malakim, each fighting hard to regain their fighting posture, but their enemy was relentless, thrusting repeatedly with sword, firing constantly with the phaser, each offensive, driving and hoping to off balance the opposition.

Usiel took another shot square in the chest, another round and another and the drone advanced with each step. It went on and on for many moments; the drone was relentless in assault, he would not stop. Only the twin hearts and four lungs of Usiel's anatomy kept the avian from tiring. Each participant drawing blood, each blow more devastating then the last. Each contestant held their ground stubbornly, neither warrior showed the slightest change in _expression as the blaster ripped the avian's tunic, raising miniature red geysers of blood and tissues as they impacted. Usiel didn't flinch. The power of the World Symphony had carried the notes of agony away, allowing the Fallen to fight on.

With a sudden burst of sheer power drawn from the World symphony, Usiel flew forward, his black wings pumping hard against the wind that had devoiced him. His blade working so mightily that its residual glow outshone the starburst of death glider cannons, he was at the peak of his dance. The drone held on strong, just as he was about to launch another counter, Usiel was gone, leaping high and turning a somersault to land right behind the drone, in perfect balance, striking hard. His tempo increased suddenly and dramatically, three steps forward, two back, perfectly balanced all the while, the blade slashed down too fast, too furious for the drone to stop.

Osiris watched, her blue eyes widening as she had witnessed the drone hold the avian at bay with a constant barrage of his disrupter, but the sun sword managed to parry each blast, and then apparently Usiel decided enough was enough, he flew into the air flipped and with a beautiful and graceful, perfectly balanced turn landed behind the drone. It seemed almost in slow motion to Osiris, though of course Usiel was moving with deadly speed and precision, as his blade, golden as the sun, cut a short vertical loop and then a second, reaching father out toward his foe. Osiris could see clearly now the arm had been severed, and the head followed shortly there after.

Usiel stumbled back; his black eyes filled with red agony as if it was the only thing he knew; the World Symphony had failed him. He clutched the gaping wounds in his chest, his lungs burned and he struggled to breathe. One lung he knew was punctured, one had collapsed. It was only the redundant remaining two that now drew breath. The burns, lacerations, severe concussion, broken bones, several of which were in his wings and rib cage, proved one thing to the Avian, the drones, though Songless, were indeed potent foes. The Malakim would be hard pressed to defeat them, but then that is exactly what the Fallen wanted.

Winding his way back to the Cheops class ship, Usiel shed what was left of his bloody tunic and dropped it along his way to the chow hall. His whole body felt mangled; of course, that was the truth of it. His back held several lacerations from the constant assault, his chest was still bleeding dark near black blood, his wings slumped in their shattered remains and his breathing was erratic gargles. At one point he went into a fit of coughing that sent the avian to his knees. He felt his stomach heave once and he empted the contents of his stomach onto the floor, in a puddle of viscous blood.

Using the wall for support Usiel managed to regain his feet and his balance to resume his slugging route to the commissary. The golden bulkhead was marked with a bloodied hand print and the floor was marked by the trail left behind from both his feet and the raining drops of blood leaking from the broken remains of his wings.

"Do you want to use the Sarcophagus?" Osiris asked with a strange note of compassion in her voice.

The sound of it perplexed Usiel beyond anything he had experienced before with the System Lord. He was prepared for her mocking tones, for her jeering and slants of his body. What he had not expected was the soft dove set tones of the host, Sara.

"I need only food: proteins and sugars, spontaneous tissue regeneration causes such cravings."

"Are you saying you need only to eat a side of beef and you are healed?" Osiris was astonished. She had heard Usiel brag about such things but she wanted to see it for herself.

Usiel didn't answer right away, in his estimation he had already given this mortal more knowledge then she deserved. He had toyed with her from the first day of his arrival, never placating to her posturing and deliberately antagonizing her to see just what steel a Goa'uld had before they allowed their over inflated egos to cause them to create stupid mistakes.

In his meditations, Usiel had floated through the World Symphony's penumbra and found this place of discord. Because he fed upon discord, because of his hate of the idea of the Nephalim he had come here as if, like a magnet, drawn to its polar opposite. He was surprised to discover that upon his arrival Osiris wasn't angered, in fact she took it in stride. But then why would she? It was a planet full of Songless creatures bent on the soul purpose of terminating the one being the System Lords desired the most to die, Samantha Carter.

"You gamble that Samantha's need to stop you will lead her here." Usiel redirected the interrogation. He ignored the stares at his crippled body as much as he had ignored the questions of the Goa'uld, as he took a plate from the service area and started to pile high several meats, and sweet desserts. Limping away from the food area he managed to find a chair at a table before he fell from exhaustion and pain.

"It would have been better had her mate died." Osiris commented dryly. She watched her counterpart dig into the indefinable mess of meats and munch loudly. She made a disgusted noise at his lack of professionalism as he feasted like a starving slave fed for the first time in days.

"Yes it would be, but not for the reasons you wish." he mumbled around a half chewed bit of food.

"Taking the life of that Fraiser woman would have crushed Samantha, her spirit broken, what other reason could compare?"

"The Nephalim survived several incidences when she should have died. She survived the first hunt when jackal-boy's drone went after her because of the prototype weapon she created. She eluded it, despite all of her injuries, and she managed to rig one of the missiles of that UAV thingy and blow it up. The drone survived and came after her again, just like that one on the surface had done with me, and yet, she faced the prospect of her death without flinching. She simply accepted it.

"Yes, her team-mates retrieved her and brought her back to their base, but the reason Samantha survived was because of the Healer Janet Fraiser's undeniable skills. Janet's skills have saved Samantha time and again. In fact her expertise is as empowering and as brilliant as your nemesis. Perhaps more. That featherling has the power over mortal life and death. Kill Janet and you will cut the head off the beast. You hunt the wrong mortal."

"And what of you?" Osiris offered, still disgusted as she watched Usiel devour his food.

"Oh, the Liege Healer is a minor, though very important, note in the Great Song, I only want the Nephalim, like I said I'm not greedy. Now Malphas that old bastard, he was greedy which is why he is now dead. I don't want the Nephalim to suffer, just die. I'll leave the cliché badness to you, Goldilocks." Usiel said around a lump of meat in the pocket of his cheek. He smiled and then belched.

Osiris rolled her blue eyes, for such a superior being Usiel had the charisma of the lowest born Jaffa.

Usiel had given up the use of utensils and started to pick up the hunks of meat with his fingers and stuffed them into his mouth. "Oh I am sorry, did you want some?" he handed the Goa'uld a bit of steak.

"No." Osiris spat and stood up. She stared for a moment as she saw the avian's skin begin to mend as if he were in a sarcophagus. His body was indeed regenerating. The System Lord gave a slight thought to the begone Nirrti and her quest to make a Hok'tar, she would have been beside herself if she had known of the Malakim. The angelics were indeed a far superior being, thus a more perfect host. Perhaps it was time to reconsider her alliance with this creature. If she could take a Malakim as a host, she would be even more powerful than Anubis.

"We have a Tok'ra operative within the ranks. I'll insure the information of where we are slips to the one that needs to know."

"The sire of the Nephalim." Usiel hazard a guess.

"Yes. Despite the fact that the alliance of the Tau'ri and the Tok'ra has failed and is disbanded, the Tok'ra named Selmac has kept fairly regular contact with Samantha." Osiris commented dryly.

Usiel finished with his first serving of food, rose from his chair listing slightly to the right from the severe injures to his left side. His left wing was now completely useless, mending the joints would take more then spontaneous tissue regeneration, but he was not about to crawl into a gilded coffin. If he did, he would lose the ground he had made with the Jaffa that had sworn fatality to him. And he would have lost all to Osiris. He couldn't allow that to happen. It was too bad that tiny human Janet Fraiser wasn't here. She was known to heal even the most vile of enemies because of the Oath she took.

The System Lord pondered the Malakim warrior before her. He moved with stiffness and tiredness, but he never complained about his injuries, his warriors pride would never allow him to do so. The gaping wounds in his chest were still charred glistening black because of the burns and blood loss.

In this weakened state, it wouldn't take much to reach in and pluck out the heart or hearts as it were. Usiel had stated often enough the only true way to kill a Malakim was the heart, break it or remove it and you destroyed the Malakim. Even decapitation never truly destroyed the Malakim, as their spirit would live on in the Penumbra of the Great Song. But to silence the Malakim you had to destroy the heart, without it they could not exist in any form.

Usiel said nothing as he once more filled his platter up with even more food, this time more sweets then protean. Once more he found his table, sat in the chair and began to devour the servings with ravenous hunger. Unable to watch the disgusting display Osiris left, she had other things to concern her then the eating habits of her winged partner.

Looking out at the sky above Cheyenne Mountain, Jacob Carter knew that wasn't the first time he had hurt his daughter. He remembered the look in her eyes when he walked away from her when they were in Washington and she was still a Captain. At that moment his pain of her rejection was so loud he could not hear her voice so thick with tears. After that he was too bitter because of the cancer, he would not allow his little girl to see her daddy lose a battle. Yet, she had come to rescue him. His little girl was doing bigger and better things than he had ever thought imaginable until of course he was blended with Selmac.

And because of Selmac, Jacob Carter was alive and well. And because of the Tok'ra he had to leave his little girl. It hadn't been a good day for either himself, Selmac or Sam.

Since the disbanding of the alliance of the Tok'ra and Tau'ri back in '04 Jacob Carter had had very little contact with his daughter. He had missed so much, but he had been grateful that he had been there for the wedding between Janet and his little girl. He had missed Mark's but of course he had not been invited, nor had he been invited to partake of his first grandchildren's lives until years later.

Rebecca had been three when Jacob was again allowed to return to Earth and see his daughter. That meeting too had not gone as well as he would have hoped.

Janet was kneeling before her youngest daughter in the living room so that she might prepare the girl to meet her grandpa, but it wasn't Papa Fraiser. It was Mommy's daddy and he had been living away and could only now come and visit. From the kitchen Jacob had heard the questions that were far too articulate for a mere child of three years.

"Does he love Mama?"

"Yes, very much."

"Then how come he is gone? Is he an ambassador and work with deep space te'lim'marty too?"

"His work takes him away, Sweetie, like Mama having to travel a lot because of her job. Yes, he is an ambassador of sorts but he doesn't work with Deep Space Telemetry. "

"Oh" The child seemed to consider a moment before she spoke once more. "Is he nice?"

Janet didn't answer right off. Jacob could understand why, while the petite woman and his daughter understood why he had to leave, his departure had hurt Sam deeply. She had nearly lost everything in 2004. First, she nearly lost her own life twice, then her father and at one point she had nearly lost the love of her life, and lastly she had nearly lost her career. To Janet, Jacob's departure mirrored his abandonment years before when he had been dying of cancer and he had cast Sam out of his life because she wouldn't submit to his wishes and join NASA.

"Yes he's nice." Janet said at last. "And, he's very excited to meet you."

"Okay, I'll see him." Answered the tiny voice.

"Ready Dad?" Sam placed a hand upon her father's back.

"I am part of the Tok'ra High Council and a three your old child makes me nervous." The aging Carter laughed dryly.

Sam flashed her own encouraging smile, "You'll be fine Dad. I have to warn you she's a little small for her age, but she's perfectly healthy."

"Takes after Janet then." Jacob commented out-of-hand. "Its hard to believe that she has both of your DNA. Granted I know about hybridization with the attempts with the Goa'uld and humans and of course the Anubis drones, but knowing how a fully human is the ..."

"She isn't a hybrid, Dad," Sam said defensively. "She simply has the DNA of two women rather than male and female parents. I told you Nephrau helped us with cross-ovum fertilization. She is the perfect blend of myself and my wife."

"Kid, that is a little too much information for a father to know about his daughter."

The blonde chuckled and ducked her head. "I understand, I never want to know if you have a sex life either," she shivered going to a very bad visual place. Like Cassandra said once 'ewww parents and sex, just don't happen!'

Sam led her father into the living room to where her wife and daughter awaited. Jacob, though having been warned that his youngest granddaughter was small for her age, had not expected such a tiny thing; she looked barely a year old. To Jacob she was so frail he was afraid that if he touched her, she would shatter. Rebecca was a bold child and stepped forward with the natural curiosity of child of three. Her doe shaped blue-brown eyes rested upon the face of her grandfather as if judging him.

"Hi there, I'm ..." Jacob started but stopped when Rebecca let out a squeal and dodged behind her petite mother.

"He's bad! Mommy he's bad! Mama make him go away!"

Jacob turned to Sam his dark brown eyes filled with worry and regret. "Sam, I'm sorry, I didn't meant to frighten her."

Then everything happened so quickly it was difficult to keep pace.

"Mama get him!" Rebecca cried.

Janet spun around and caught her daughter to her arms cradling her, so intent on comforting Rebecca that she hadn't noticed the matchbox car the child had in her hands until it was zigging through the air to strike Jacob on the head.

"Ow!" Jacob rubbed the bruise on his forehead.

"Rebecca!" Janet half scolded, half trying to distract her daughter.

"Janet, she must sense Selmac." Sam reasoned and stepped closer to her little one. "Her physicals show she has the unique protean marker." The blonde looked at her father wincing in sympathy for him, both for the reaction of the terrified little girl who was still shivering in her mommy's arms and for the fact Jacob was now sporting a small scratch on his forehead. Of course Selmac would heal the physical wound but not the grief he was feeling.

"Perhaps I should go into the kitchen." Jacob said defeated. Strange, he had faced off against the other Tok'ra when his loyalty was in question, against Sokar, Seth and a dozen other Goa'uld but a small child's terror brought Jacob-Selmac to his knees.

"Honey... I know that Grandpa feels a little strange, but he will never ever hurt you." Sam reached for her father's hand and squeezed it when she felt the weight of it in her own. "He's my Daddy and he loves me and Mommy and he loves you too."

"He doesn't know me, how can he love me? Only Papa knows me and Grandpa George, they love me." Rebecca quibbled. "He feels strange. If he feels strange, he's a stranger and you said never ever be with a stranger, Mama!" The child was near hysteria, her little arms coiling around Janet all the tighter, nearly winding her mother, her tears staining Janet's collar.

"Kid, this is a bad idea," Jacob said softly. "I am scaring her."

Sam nodded, not wanting to agree but she knew she had to. "Give us a moment to explain things Dad, she doesn't mean to..."

"Sam, it's okay." Jacob touched his daughter's arm but doing so caused another reaction in the small child.

"Don't touch my MAMA!" she snarled. "Go away monster!"

Jacob winced with the memory. It had taken several hours for Rebecca to calm down and understand that her grandfather meant her no harm, that he felt different because he was 'special'. Sam had to explain she too knew the 'funny tummy' feeling and grandpa was always going to feel that way, but he wasn't bad nor was he ever going to bring harm to her or her mothers.

This visit had only lasted a week, and by the end of it, Rebecca had accepted Jacob as her grandfather, but she still had reservations since no one else in her family ever made her feel so strange. Not even Uncle Teal'c but of course he no longer had Junior and therefore Rebecca had no point of reference for the strange feeling her Grandfather's presence gave her. Cassandra, or 'Sassy' as the child called her older sister having a hard time pronouncing Cassandra or Cassy, told her sister she knew about the funny feeling too, but it was perfectly okay. With both mothers and Cassandra as spokespersons, Rebecca had finally relented and accepted Jacob for who he was.

Despite the three-year-old's eventual acceptance however neither Jacob nor Selmac would forget the scream of terror of the child. It would burn forever just as if struck point blank with a staff weapon.

Jacob rapped on the door to Doctor Fraiser's office, waiting to be let in. The diminutive physician opened the door and gave the former general a polite smile. She had always given him a very tight polite smile, but remained slightly aloof. Or course she had a difficult time reconciling the pain Jacob had given her lover four years ago when he walked out on her in Washington. Janet Fraiser was perfection in etiquette, class and demeanor, but Jacob knew he was being given the brush off, and he couldn't fault the small woman for her protectiveness over his little girl.

"Doctor, is Sam allowed visitors?"

"She's out of ICU." Janet answered crisply. "She was responsive this morning and is now in the general ward. If you want to see her go ahead, but please don't excite her. A month ago Sam suffered a severe concussion, the only reason I passed her to go to the new Alpha site was because it was purely a research project and light duty. The head trauma she took during the attack of the drone has placed her recovery back months." There was no mistaking the concern in the woman's voice, nor her authority.

"I understand." Jacob nodded trying to reassure the petite Doctor.

"To be perfectly candid, no Sir, I don't think you do. Major Carter is in relapse because of the attack. You're her father so I will tell you her condition has me concerned. Very concerned. She had several bruised ribs, two of which were broken, several lacerations, contusions and abrasions. A third degree burn covering her left clavicle that she had re-injured. A couple of years go she had it dislocated when taking a hard landing on the ramp from an extreme high velocity; it was dislocated again during the drone's attack .Of course there is the sprained wrist I had to repair and Sam has severed tendons in her left leg, not to mention the major blood loss. She also suffered extreme dehydration and exhaustion.

"Frankly, Sir, it was only because of Selmac's assurances, that Sam would remain on light duty working on the research of the prototype weapon that she was there. As you know, General Hammond had ordered me to put Sam on the Alpha Site team, despite my advice to the contrary. I cleared her only for light duty. While I of course do not blame you for what happened offworld, Sam should not have been cleared for Gate travel, period. I repeat it is very important that you don't excite her, it's bad enough Sam is in relapse without making her healing all the more difficult."

"My daughter is lucky to have you Doctor," Jacob said, in such a way he was not alluding to the physician but rather the woman who was his daughter's soulmate.

"I get protective of people of whom I am responsible for their care." Janet said with a bit more acceptance in her voice. "Sam should be coming around soon, go see her."

"Thank you Doctor Fraiser, for being there for my little girl. I think she would be lost without you."

The smile on Janet's face this time was not one born out of military protocol but perfectly genuine.

Jacob looked at his youngest child lying still on the bed. She looked horrible. The aberrations and lacerations that marked her beautiful face burrowed deep in a father's chest. A deep gash over her left eye, the bruises on her cheeks, the swollen chapped lips and not to mention the pallid-greenish look of her bruised skin. Granted Sam was extremely fair skinned so much so she burned in the sun far too easily but her pallor was now so white that she looked almost dead. The IV in her arm were feeding her glucose-saline and of course there was another bag hooked up to her arm that administrated a special morphine drip Janet had created for those with symbiotes or their protean markers.

The father ached to see his child in so much pain.

The blue eyes that were typically so full of life were almost stormy gray when they fluttered open from her drug induced stupor.

"Hi ya Kid. You were asleep for a long time. You gave me quite a scare."

The fact Sam had slept for twenty four hours had the old general panicked.

"Sorry..." the voice was strained. She licked her dry lips, swallowing, trying to ease the pain in her parched throat.

Jacob swallowed a parental heartache and leaned to take his daughter's wounded hand. It was his way of telling her he loved her. And she smiled as only a little girl could for her daddy. The father knew how much pain she must be in, but like the good little solider, she never once complained about it, for that the general was even more proud of his child.

"Jack told me what happened. I am proud of you."

Sam smiled warmly at the tenderness her father was showing. Smiling because her ever critical father had told her he was proud of her. She licked her dry lips again, wishing her throat didn't ache as deeply as it did.

Jacob winced inwardly, knowing the words he would speak next would indeed hurt his little girl, but he would deliver it with as much care, and tenderness as he was capable of. For the moment he drew on his belated wife's influence.

"Look Sam, I might not be around as often for the next little while."

Blue eyes blinked back puzzlement, "What do you mean?" Sam's voice was still so soft, so stained.

"Things kinda got a little screwed up, when you were out there. The Alliance is in trouble."

Jacob looked at his genius daughter trying to concentrate on his words, she struggled even to remain coherent much less wrap that brilliant mind around the words she was hearing. "I don't understand."

Janet's words came flooding back at him, that he shouldn't excite her too much. "You don't need to know the details right now." If Sam was told that Selmac was in question of loyalty because of the tie of the host to the Tau'ri that noble part of Sam would stand on edge and take the blame of that which was not her own. Samantha couldn't bare the idea she was to be blamed for Jacob's almost exilement of the Tok'ra High Council. And so Selmac and Jacob were in agreement at this moment. Sam was to be spared the details for the moment. "We are just going to go our separate ways for awhile. " Jacob tried to smile, "If I stay with the Tok'ra I can at least try to mend some fences."

"Are you sure?" Sam frowned. She had been blended with Jolinar and she had dealings with the Tok'ra other than her father, Anise came to mind right away.

"I am not ready to give up on this just yet." Of course he wouldn't give up, he was a Carter after all and a Carter never gave up. They persevered against all odds, especially the hopeless ones. Seeing the flood of worry fill the ever expressive blue eyes once more the fiery tempered Janet Fraiser flared alive in the Tok'ra's mind. "Don't worry, I'll be around eventually." He kissed her forehead.

Jacob could barely meet the cerulean eyes that were brimming with tears. The father recognized the _expression. It was exactly the same as it had been in Washington in '98. But like a true solider she faced the inevitable. "I'll miss you." Sam knew that was as close as she could ever get to telling her father she loved him.

"I'll miss you too." He rose and left the infirmary, not looking back, not able to look back into those eyes that were a constant reminder of his lost wife.

He passed Doctor Fraiser on the way out of infirmary. "I think she needs you, Doctor." Selmac said. "She is experiencing some pain."

Jacob brought his mind forward to the present, forward to the events surrounding his little girl, and her family. So many layers of politics centered around the astrophysicist and physician that the Tok'ra wondered if they were fully aware of how much their presences affected others: the Tok'ra, female Jaffa warriors, the Malakim, even the Asgard, Nox, Tollan, Ancients, the Ascended, and even still more shocking the Wraiths, to name but a few. The influence of these two ladies went beyond their scope.

The recent stirring of the Malakim brought the Tok'ra back into the company of the Tau'ri, more than any event in recent history. Selmac of course had knowledge of the Malakim for a long time before they became known to Earth. The Malakim had very few altercations with the Goa'uld, because their greatest enemy were the beings known as the Wraith, a race of people that had waged war upon the Ancients, long before the Goa'uld were a significant predicating threat.

The Wraiths committed genocide against the Ancients through a virus that nearly obliterated them. It happens every now and then, an entire race lead to extinction because of such a tactic. The Wraith, not the 'Diabolicals', were the threat to the Malakim Empire, just as the Replicators were for the Asgard. But when the avian warriors enigmatically started to wage war on the Goa'uld because of Samantha Carter's presence within their Empire, the Tok'ra High Council decided it was time to re-establish relations with the Tau'ri.

With the accumulated knowledge of Selmac to rely upon and his own experience with Arion, Jacob Carter knew that his daughter and her family could be in no safer place than in the company of the Angelics. Especially now since every System Lord had a high price on his kid's head. In fact, Sam was more loathed than Machello and more hunted then Jolinar. There was not a System Lord that did not have a bounty upon her. Anubis, Baal and Osiris had the highest asking price for Colonel Carter's head. Now apparently a rogue Malakim was in on the bidding wars, Usiel the First of the Fallen. His claim of course was that he didn't want to share the World Symphony with the 'Nephalim'

The SGC, the Malakim, and the Atlantic Base all wanted Sam as well. Their want, however, had nothing to do with her death, they wanted her among their numbers. Jacob ruefully smiled knowing the avian's had won, because they offered something so tempting to Sam, she could not turn them down, a way to keep her beloved family safe.

Now it was time to help his daughter remain safe. From the net-work of operative's, Selmac had been informed that three hundred units of the Anubis drones had all been programmed to neutralize Samantha. Acting perhaps precipitously, Jacob felt he had no other choice but to contact Sam and inform her not only of Usiel's alliance with Osiris and Anubis, but that they were sending out a squadron of super soldiers to hunt her down. If Sam had as much influence over the Malakim as he was led to believe, she would need them now more then ever to take the war directly to Anubis' lair and eliminate him.

Sam logged on duty and headed directly for the infirmary. Janet had been paged an hour earlier as there had been an incident during training and two Wings had been injured. Much of it was superficial, well superficial for a race that regenerates tissue damage.

Hammond had always checked in on his wounded soldiers, it was one of the small things that made him a revered CO. This was something Sam took with her as part of her command. She wanted all those following her leadership to know they were valued. There wasn't an SF who ever felt as if they were nothing but a 'red shirt,' A simple visit from the Colonel in the infirmary went along way to improve Moral.

Eighteen faces beamed on seeing their liege walking in. "Officer on the deck." one of the warriors sounded off.

"As you were." Sam countermanded quickly knowing that all eighteen would do everything, broken wings, legs, or ribs forgotten, in an attempt to press wing and salute their Liege Commander.

Sam moved to an auburn winged youth and smiled, somehow the young male reminded her of Captain Simmons who still sported a large crush on her. They could have been brothers save for the wings. "Khurdad, isn't it, of the Amber wing?"

"Yes My Liege." the lad smiled as his liege called him by name.

"What happened?" Sam knew she would be given a detailed report from the Masters of the Field, but like Hammond she would ask questions of several of the team-members, if she felt it was necessary Carter would have an inquest of both teams.

"We..." he bit his lower lip as he felt his face flush, "grew careless my Liege, the Amber Wing wanted to prove to the Master of the Field we were ready for the Crucible. We challenged the Bronze Wing. A crosswind was generated as our two most potent ecomancers went up against theirs. Um... we... we...kinda... er... created a small tornado."

"What?" Sam stared. She still had to grow accustomed to training ascendants that included spontaneously generated weather and natural phenomena.

"Well, we fell into the live fire range." The lad further explained.

Sam had seen some of the young warriors bodies riddled with staff blasts. It reminded the colonel of the human Jaffa, Apophis had intended to infiltrate the SGC some years back. The only difference being that those kids could have died, the Malakim kids would be in a lot of pain but they would live.

"Khurdad, you're Wing Leader are you not?"

The beige eyes fell away. "No longer my Liege, Master of the Field Zephon removed me. I do not deserve the position. I disregarded orders, orders that on the true battlefield could have gotten my Wing killed."

"She's right. Look at those that followed your tail wind, Khurdad."

The lad did.

"Now see them dead. Or worse, Faded. Mortal allies can not regenerate Khurdad, they die. Disregarding direct orders can cause a lot of collateral damage."

"I think I am going to be sick." The winged lad's pale face turned green.

Sam wouldn't pull back. A training accident was one thing but a stunt like that anywhere else was lethal. The kid needed a good scare to make him realize life wasn't something that could be taken for granted. A race that regenerated even from the most critical of wounds could make them a little careless. On earth, a stunt like the two Wings had pulled would get all of them discharged from Basic, or expelled from the Academy.

"We'll talk about this later Khurdad, for now I suggest you obey every order from the Liege Healer."

"Yes my Liege, I Heed and Obey."

Sam nodded and turned to walk down the row of beds filled with young warriors that were fast mending from their in-born ability to heal.

In the midst of twenty-five tall and lanky avian people it was very easy to miss a mortal of only five foot-two. Sam had to scan the room twice before she spotted her petite wife near a green winged female. One look at the young girl's wing told the story of her injury. The wing was dislocated, having suffered such injuries more times then Sam would like to recall she knew the cure was as painful as the wound. She didn't envy the youth a bit.

Watching Janet always filled the blonde Colonel with pride. The diminutive doctor's voice was tender and yet unquestioningly in total control of her domain. "Okay Sisera, this will hurt, on three we are going to pop the bone back into place."

"As you will," the girl said trying to sound brave. Janet nodded to her nurses who held Sisera's arms and right wing immobile as Janet moved around the gurney gingerly putting her hands on the dislocated arch of the green wing. "Ready...One." there was a loud snap that caused even Sam to wince.

"Song in the Dark!" Sisera snarled. "What happened to three?"

"I didn't want you to tense your muscles. I'm sorry to have surprised you." Janet said. "Your ligaments should heal properly now." A hand upon the thigh gained the doctor a small smile from her patient, before she moved on to the next person needing her attention.

"Colonel," Janet slipped easily into military political.

Sam nodded her head and flashed a very brief smile to her wife, "Doctor, there is something we need to talk about when you have a moment."

"Give me about another hour to over-look the rest of the injuries, and you'll have my complete attention."

"Take your time Doctor." Sam responded professionally.

"Janet," Sam addressed her wife once they were in the physician's private office nearly an hour and a half later. Though the voice of the blonde was soft, the look in the blue eyes betrayed her worry. The colonel opened her mouth to say something but she didn't want it to sound accusatory so she shut it again.

Janet gathered something was weighing heavily upon the blonde and given recent events that wasn't hard to imagine why. So, Sam had come to a decision regarding Novalis and the idea of the hybrid child. She steeled herself for the answer she believed her wife would give.

"Janet, in passing, did you mention anything to Rebecca about my imprisonment on Chimera?"

Well that wasn't something the redhead was prepared to hear. "Why would you even think that?" she came off a little defensive.

Sam missed the subtle hurt and anger and dove right into the explanation describing to Janet just what the blonde had seen. "Janet, if she didn't know, how did she know to put my figure in with the snake. And about the 'monster in the box.'" The blonde winced, looking away for a moment. "That was exactly what it was, a 'monster in the box'. I didn't know if it was Malphas, Archils or Usiel or all three screwing with my head. But I... Janet, I doubted it so much. I had to keep telling myself that I was real," there was a dry humorless laugh, "It was just like on the Prometheus, when Teal'c told me I was imagining that I was on the Prometheus when in fact I was being held in custody, like I was with Hathor. I had to recite a mantra that what was happening, the ship was real. I had to do it again when I was a prisoner on Chimera. Trapped in a cell, this box trying to warp my sense of reality, it didn't help that I was pumped full of that drug. But how… how did Rebecca know that was how I felt?"

Janet switched modes from a wife stung by an accusation to full physician immediately. She knew Sam was working herself into an anxiety attack. They had, in the past three months, been all too regular. Especially for the first three weeks after Sam had returned home. Janet actually had to take her monthly leave for the year so that she could stay home with her wife because Sam could not be left alone for more then a few minutes.

Caring for Samantha during that trying few weeks had taxed the ever patient redhead until she wanted to get out and breathe for going stir-crazy. For those three weeks Sam had to be able to see Janet or she'd fall into a near comatose state of panic. But, because of Arion, Janet had felt and vicariously experienced everything Sam had during the months the blonde was MIA. There was no way Janet would ever let Sam go un-attended.

Janet closed her eyes willing away the memory of the sight of her beloved wife, as the blonde curled her knees up under her chest, softly muttering that she was real, home was real, that Rebecca was real, Janet and Cassandra were real. There were nights when Janet had to hold Sam for the duration because of the nightmares, because of the waking dreams Sam was locked into. During those first weeks, the hallucinogenic narcotic that had been forced into the blonde's blood stream had yet to fully detox. The Malakim music, the giddiness of a five year old child and the unconditional love of a wife had kept Sam sane.

Janet reminded herself that Sam could have very well ended up completely schizophrenic, or as emotionally impotent as Turel. Or worse, she could have been driven so hysterical she would commit suicide as several of the Malakim had done when they were victimized by the same drug just to alleviate the pain. What one tiny woman had done for her wife was to bring her back from the Dark, from the near Fading, an entire Empire had been astounded.

As she had before Janet grasped Sam's hands and placed then over her own heart, until the blonde calmed in the rhythm of Janet's heartbeat.

"How did she know...? We were careless... I... did it... I brought pain to her! Me.... First Cassandra, then... then you... because I was at the Colonel's side rather than yours when you were shot... and died... because... .I wasn't there to protect you... then... now... now Rebecca."

"SAMANTHA CARTER!" Janet said in a voice children winced to hear. For Sam it was a voice of an all powerful goddess. It was a voice Janet had used often enough to get through the downward spiral the blonde would take. "Enough." Janet let go of the blonde's hands knowing Sam would keep them where they lay, and placed her own finely boned fingers on either side of her wife's face. Dark velvet brown eyes stared intently into the blue. "Enough." The words were now a cooing purr. Don't give yourself to the Dark, Sam. You stay with me."

Janet swore, if she ever got her hands on Usiel she would personally remove his hearts, Oath or no Oath. She took a gun to Nirtti's head and was definitely going to shoot the Goa'uld in the head, if the twisted creature hadn't healed her daughter. This same Healer was going to perform open heart surgery upon yet another twisted creature for hurting her beloved wife.

Once Janet was sure she had the blonde's attention she spoke again, her voice soft, measured and compassionate but with unyielding strength. "You are here with me, with our children. Rebecca is a perceptive child, and all children that age are empathetic to their mommies... in this case both of us."

"But she knew."

"Yes, so she knows. Maybe she knows because mama was home for months which she isn't accustomed to. Maybe she knows because you have extremely expressive eyes. Maybe she knows because you have terrible nightmares. Maybe she knows because she loves her Mama and wants to take away the pain. Children react Samantha, they don't respond. They play out things that they love, and things that they don't understand or that frightens them so they can get an understanding of it all. They play act things out to have a sense of power. Maybe, if you had left her to play, she would have had the figures of herself, or me, or Cassie come in and save you, so she could feel on some level that she had made it better. Sam, Rebecca is our daughter, does it surprise you how perceptive she is?"

The blonde sagged in a chair and took her wife with her. The slender arms wrapped around Janet's waist, her cheek pressed against the doctor's abdomen. "I feel like an idiot."

"Welcome to the human condition Samantha Carter." Janet grinned. "And it's pretty normal to get worked up over little ones. We are both a little over protective about Rebecca. But we have to let her breathe and be her own little self too. Sam, we won't let anything hurt her, you won't let anything hurt her. I know you." Janet stroked her fingers through the unruly gold locks.

"So, what do we do about Becky and the toy?"

"Give it back to her and let her play the scene out as we secretly watch and see what she does. She might need this, Sammy, to make her own resolve, to make her feel she has helped Mama."

"I knew there was a reason I married you," Sam nuzzled into the arms holding her.

"Good to see you love me for more than my good looks." Janet chuckled. "You okay?"

"You always make me okay." came a muffled answer.

A knock at the door had Sam immediately pull back, Janet looked at her wife and found the blonde had managed to bring herself into prefect presentation.

"Come." Janet ordered at the closed door.

It was Pumah who entered, golden wings pressed to her body in supplication. "Liege, we have a communication from the Tau'ri SGC. Minister Nachmiel and General O'Neill have deemed it urgent."

"On my way." Sam touched Janet's shoulder and slipped back into military mode. "Doctor, you're with me,"

"... Carter, we found the assassin with the aid of your Malakim buddies. Gotta love those guys." that was the only levity in the silver haired general's voice. "I have SG Teams at the ready, and the SGC is at High Alert Status." Jack O'Neill stated as calmly as he could. He had no desire to have to be the one to tell his long time friend and unrequited love that Osiris had orchestrated the deaths of the fourteen members, simply to get at Carter. Nor did he wish to say the NID sent its hound Kinsey Jr, along with the Joint Chiefs Colonel Davis to investigate the deaths and their link to Carter. But he had no choice. "Sam.... Osiris sent the killer to flush you out. Carter, that fucking snake-head knew that you would give yourself up."

"I'll make ready for a strike here sir." Carter said, the command mask fully in place. She didn't have the luxury of guilt over the deaths of her comrades, not yet. But she would avenge their loss. "On the way to Grigori the Blue Wing informed me that there were skirmishes along the borders of Malakim Space and the System Lords. Though the Empire was able to retake Chimera, it's pretty much quarantined. They have seven fleets of the Dragonkin stationed there. This could be a ploy of distraction. We knew Usiel had allied himself with a Goa'uld sir, just not which one. It was guessed Baal."

"Osiris and Anubis have a higher price on your head, Carter." Jack said. "I read the review Minister Nachmiel had about the body of your troops, 180,000 warriors is impressive. Carter, you're going to need every single one of them. And don't go in thinking it's not an ambush."

"I know sir, the whole thing is a set up. I can deploy a few Special-Ops Wings to paint targets. Queen Novalis' main military body is concentrated with Wraiths, but I can rely on her to send me at least two armadas of Dragonkin and perhaps five battleships. It will be enough to go against Anubis, Sir, and his drones. I've seen what the Malakim can do and they have equal if not greater fortitude to the drones. And the Malakim starships are a match to the Asgard. We won't go down without a fight sir."

"Carter, there's more." Jack turned and beckoned someone off camera. The blonde was a little surprised to see her father standing where the general once had.

"Dad?" Blue eyes widened in shock.

"Hey Kid," the older Carter greeted. "Looks like serious stuff going down. I've just received word from an operative inside Osiris's ranks. They've given the address and location of a small base within Goa'uld occupied territory. It's a small training faculty for the drones, the operative counted three hundred troops." Jacob Carter dipped his head and when he looked back into the camera it was another speaking. "Samantha, according to our operative all three hundred have been programmed to seek and destroy one target."

Sam swallowed... "Me."

"That is correct. If you truly have 180,000 Malakim warriors it might be enough to stop them, but that means striking them before they are mobilized. General O'Neill was correct it will be an ambush, one on their own territory."

"Home field advantage, I got that." Sam nodded. "Here, I can do the most good. Earth is restricted by the Administration that cannot afford to send out several units. I am the administration on Grigori, and the Wings are more than prepared to bring the war to them." Sam commented with steel in her voice.

"May you have every success, Samantha." Selmac said before dipping his head. Once more it was Jacob who spoke. "Sam, be careful. These drones have a singular goal. To kill you."

"That isn't going to happen Dad, I have an entire army of angelics on my side. I don't plan on losing. I like defying the odds; I've gotten good at it over the years. All of us have."

"Yes. Speaking of all of us." Jack was now back in the eye of the camera. "Two SG1 team-mates have requested they be reunited with the rest of the team. And I have a few other volunteers."

"Teal'c and Daniel are more than welcome, sir." Sam smiled. "I'll send you the gate address to Grigori. Sir, who are the other volunteers?"

"Captains Jennifer Hailey and Graeme Simmons. Lieutenants Amber Smith, Derrick Beck and Alicia Davidson. Seems they want to follow Doc Fraiser," there was a dry chuckle from the general. "Actually her entire team wanted to follow her, but I can't run an SGC with out someone in the infirmary."

Sam smiled knowingly. "She does inspire loyalty sir."

"Yeah she does." Jack looked at the woman that would never be his, and thought for the uncountable time that Janet was a lucky woman, but so too was Carter to have such a woman as Fraiser in her life.

"Until things have settled down, I think its best that an emergency transfer of command be initiated."


"Carter, we both know that you belong inside the Malakim Empire at that new base of yours. It's time you had such a Command. And besides," Jack grinned, "the Malakim might be ready for one of their myths to come to life but earth isn't ready for 200,000 angels storming in with light sabers, just because they want to be with you."

Sam looked to her wife then back to Jack O'Neill. "Sir, to clarify, are you sanctioning my command at Grigori?"

The general's voice became very quiet, almost a whisper. "Samantha, I know you well enough to know you want this. You want that command. I know you have a lot of reasons that are personal, and if I had the chance I'd take it. Especially if it meant to keep my family safe."

Sam looked down and back up again. "I do sir, for those reasons and more. I'll send a briefing along soon with a mission report."

"Will I find three resignations in with the report?" Jack asked the question already knowing the answer.

"It would be a conflict of interests otherwise sir. Earth needs this alliance, and in my opinion it is for the best, if Janet, Cassandra and myself resign and take full command of the base here at Grigori."

"Your opinion has always been worth something to this command Carter, you know that. We'll get the paper work hashed out later. Right now we have a war to win." Jack said in a tone that indicated he might disagree on some level but was still supportive.

"Yes sir." Sam smiled, silently acknowledging her friend's approval in with her CO's blessings.

Part 18

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