Champions Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter Eighteen

Dawn Before Battle

Captains Jennifer Hayley and Graeme Simmons, medical staff Lieutenants Amber Smith, Derrick Beck and Alicia Davidson, had been escorted to the Grigori command by both Teal'c and Daniel.

The latter two had been the only ones to know at least what they might expect crossing the threshold of the event horizon. Hy-Basil was a gorgeous realm of deceptively frail constructions and proved to be exceptionably resilient. The organic-ness had been breathtaking on the Malakim Home world, it was more so here.

The newcomers were quick to notice a recurring theme of golden lions rearing up upon its hind legs and silver oak tree insignias. The troop were accustomed to seeing the SGC's crest, apparently the Malakim had chosen a lion and an oak tree as their emblem of representation. Indeed, the lion and the tree were so important that it was also on the left arm of every warrior's leather tunic. Upon their right arm they bore that warriors association, be it a wing, in that case the color of the wing they were assigned, or if on base the warrior had the base's color which was Gold/Silver.

What astonished the newcomers more was the very appearance of their comrades. Sam and Janet were both garbed in dark blue leather britches, thick black cotton tunics and the same dark blue leather jerkins. Or rather Sam was in the jerkin and Janet was in the ever-present white lab-coat. Hayley had to bite her lower lip to keep from dropping her jaw in seeing the two most gorgeous women of the SGC clad in leather jeans.

Daniel wasn't so politically correct. "Whoa! Like the new uniforms, Sam." He had a massive smile on his face.

"Indeed, they are very becoming," Teal'c said, his dark eyes steady on Janet Fraiser. He swallowed hard but not so the others could hear it, but he couldn't take his eyes off the petite woman in the leather britches.

Sam's face fell into an expression revealing she was not amused. The face so reminded the archaeologist of what had happened on Simarka with the Shavadai, that he tried hard to suppress the grin on his face. But Sam was in an extreme position of power if she didn't like the outfit she would only have to say so. And it wasn't like she hadn't worn leathers before; in fact, she'd had fifteen pairs of leather pants at last count? So it wasn't the leather. It was more the leering she was getting from the males. It didn't seem to bother her if the females were paying her and Janet the same attention. Cassie had once dubbed Sam's and latterly Janet's outfits as 'come, fuck me leathers,' this uniform was no different. There was a definite sex appeal going on. Daniel glanced to Teal'c and back to Janet and finally realized why Sam's face had become so cool. It wasn't that someone was leering at her in so much as someone, who had a clear crush on her wife, was now gawking at the tiny physician.

"Welcome to Grigori Stargate Command," Sam flashed one of her most brilliant grins, the sort that caused others to go weak in the knees. "Ladies, Gentlemen, a tour will have to wait I am afraid. But I want to say how grateful Dr. Fraiser and I are for your decision to join us here." Sam realized just how 'Hammond like' her words were and shrugged in the silent communication of the others from the SGC as they realized it to.

"Ten-hut!" Captain Jennifer Hayley commanded. In an instant the others snapped to precise attention and saluted their commanding officer. One which Sam and Janet both returned.

"Yes ma'am" all of them said, which was military for thank you.

"We are honored to be here, Colonel." Jennifer finished.

The one thing Hayley was very quick to notice was the extreme protectiveness the Angelic warriors were of her CO and Doctor Fraiser. In fact there were two Malakim warriors that nearly hovered over the petite doctor. The taller one of the two, the one with blue hair watched the newcomers with a scornful eye as if they were a threat until proven otherwise.

So, she thought, this must be the infamous Blue Wing that the SGC had heard so much about. The Wing that had stolen a ship named for Colonel Sam Carter, just to rejoin with that same woman. They were an indomitable group of warriors, one the small blonde had no desire to meet in battle, but to fight along side them would be something else indeed. She had seen the avian people on base, as had everyone else who had volunteered to join the Colonels on Grigori.

"Lieutenant Fraiser and Wing Commander Boudicca will escort you to the KanchaiRyu Quarters where personnel of the Incarna base are housed in their communities," said Sam.

"I thought Kalevla was the Base," Graeme Simmons stated.

"That is the name of the City, like Colorado Springs. Incarna is to this command what Cheyenne Mountain is to the SGC," Janet offered an answer. "Kalevla has several communities and those that serve GSGC live in KanchaiRyu. No other community is better than another, however KanchaiRyu is one of the largest because of the sheer number of personnel in the service of this base."

"As I said, you will all have a tour, not only of this facility but of Kalevla. For now however, I need to brief you on what is going to happen in the next few days. After that you will be given your duty stations. Hayley, I want you on one of the Wings, Simmons I would like you to maintain the position you had at the SGC here in the laboratories of Incarna. As a representative of mortal technology your contributions will be needed for the further integration of our two races."

"Yes Ma'am." Both Jennifer and Graeme answered with a salute.

Sam smiled and returned the salute. "Of course, you medical personnel, your jobs haven't changed but the CMO will further brief you on her requirements. You'll see a there are quite a few changes in the medical field but Dr. Fraiser again will inform you of everything you will be required to know."

Sam herself was fascinated by all the advancements the Malakim had in medicine. What was more surprising was that the medical field was developed for the alien races within the Malakim Empire rather than the Malakim themselves since they regenerated easily even from the most grievous of wounds.

"We will reconvene at 1300 hours, until then you can now enjoy the tour. Daniel, Teal'c, I need to see you in my office."

"Be it your will my Liege," Boudicca saluted in supplication before she left to escort the other mortals in their tour around the base and the following brief tour of the city.

Daniel turned. "Liege now is it? Getting more accustomed to the seat of power, Sam?"

"It's not because of ego. But in this office, I prefer it. It helps sometimes with the decisions I have to make. Which troops to send in to a theater, who I have to send into a situation that could result in their deaths, other political weights I must now litigate, it helps to be not the woman but the office."

"Indeed." Teal'c said understanding that for Samantha, the title Liege was a rank as much as Colonel, General or Doctor were.

Daniel reflected upon the dream Shifu the Harsesis had suffered upon him. In that vision Daniel had absolute power and he demanded obedience and submission from those who served him as surely as if he were a god. Sam wore the title as she had worn Captain, Major, Colonel.... now she was Liege and it was all the same. Yes, she had near absolute power, but Sam carried it as an office not a rite.

"Taking after Hammond?" The archeologists decided to save himself further embarrassment.

"Couldn't have a better role model," Sam smiled easily. "Shall we?"

Moments later in Sam's office, Daniel Jackson whistled. "Whoa! Sam, this place makes the Oval Office look like a closet in the ghettos. So, is this a throne room or an office?"

Sam shrugged. "That's the Malakim for you, they tend to do things on a grand scale. It's pretty amazing really all they do is look at a picture or a pattern and summon up the World Symphony. Then they simply convert the raw, unprocessed materials into that object." The blonde's voice it seemed, to her long time friends, had a curious edge to it. Revealing, to those that knew her, that she was still trying to wrap her scientific mind around the manipulation of molecules it took to generate such architecture by simple will alone.

"And I guess it is a little of both an office and a throne room, sort of like the Oval Office. A part of my duties now include negotiations and talks with dignitaries of foreign planets," Sam turned. "But this is the best part of the office." She moved to the shelf and activated the switch that would cause the bookcase to slide away and reveal the hidden laboratory.

"Now that place is so you," Daniel commented.

"Impressive," came Teal'c.

"I know!" Sam flashed a massive thousand-watt grin. "It's so cool!" Of course the blonde had meant the lab, as she had no taste for the opulence of the office. Here in the lab, the colonel was in her element.

"I guess you won't miss the field as much all safe and tight here in this lab," the archeologist commented with out thinking. For a moment it was so easy to forget that only three months ago Samantha Carter had been brutally tortured for days without end, with no hope of escape.

A sharp look from Janet caused the man to shrink, and look away. Arion's ability of sharing memories flooded the young man once more causing him to wish he might be able to recall the words that he had so easily spilled forth.

"I am afraid I can't afford to enjoy the safety of staying on base. The news of Usiel's alliance with Anubis and Osiris means we will have to act fast and hard, however we can not engage the enemy so precipitously. Dad gave me the coordinates of the Drone planet, and according to the Tok'ra agent there are about three hundred drone units that received special conditioning to hunt down particular members of the SGC."

Sam didn't think she needed to single herself out, everyone the room knew the drones had been programmed to hunt Colonel Samantha Carter. The Tok'ra agent had not been specific enough but eluded to the fact that Colonel Carter was one of the most hunted of the SGC. Sam looked to each of her former teammates in turn and blue eyes rested upon the deep dark brown of her wife. "I know we are entering an ambush situation, but we are not going in blind." Sam retained her gaze upon her beloved, "We are not going to take any unnecessary risks, and we are going to have to turn everything to our advantage when we do go in."

"General O'Neill has ordered the embarkation of the Prometheus and the Thor on the heading for the drone planet." Teal'c commented informing the others. "They estimate four days travel until they arrive."

"The Thor?" Janet asked. "Good we'll need her.

The Thor of course was the SGC's Cheops class mothership. During his eighth year of service to the SGC General O'Neill, with the aid of SG1, had finally captured a Goa'uld mothership, without blowing it up or dumping it into some ocean. Because the Asgard had build and yes destroyed the first O'Neill in the battle against the Replicators, Jack wanted to return the favor. Besides he loved that little guy. The Thor had had a few skirmishes against the Wraiths and would now prove its mettle once more against the Anubis Drones.

The Prometheus had three squadrons of 302's and of course The Thor had twelve times that number of the fighters. They had a fleet with power to cover any engagement.

"Oh my God, this is so cool!" Jennifer Hayley exclaimed as she took in the vastness of the city. Her eyes were drawn to the growing spires of yet another Guild house being constructed, this one on the waterfront of the ocean's wharf. "They actually change the molecules in stone."

"I know," Cassie smirked. "I love these guys."

"Anyone in particular?" Hayley nudged her friend in the shoulder causing the taller woman to nearly drop her soft drink. The Malakim enjoyed carbonated beverages as much as the average Terran.

"Why do you say that?" Cassandra stammered, trying to recover herself. "I never said anything about anybody."

"You just did," Hayley chided. "Soooooo... since your mothers and sister are the only other humans on this planet before the rest of us arrived, I can only assume that this 'somebody' you're not talking about is one of those winged beauties."

"Beauties?" Cassandra grimaced.

"Okay, so I find the females pretty hot."

"Yeah they are."


"Jen, come on, you know."

"I thought you were walking the fence, not making any move until you..."

"Until I knew what team I play for?" the tawny redhead shrugged as she and Jennifer strolled the boardwalk along the waterfront. "I am not sure but I pretty much think I play for both. I find myself drawn to males as well as females," she chuckled. " I'm an equal opportunity lover." She took a sip from her drink. "Granted I've had more boyfriends than girlfriends but sometimes I think I want only to be with a woman, and suddenly I'll find myself wanting to be with a guy."

"A little confusing." the diminutive blonde commented.

"Yeah, to say the least. Look, can we not talk about this right now? Cassandra murmured kicking a pebble on the planks of the wooden walkway.

"Yeah, sure sorry."

The pebble skidded along another length of planks. "They are going to try and kill her you know."

"The Colonel?"

"Yeah. They wiped out an entire planet just to destroy the SGC. One whole planet for the SGC. Osiris knows SG1 intimately because of the connection to Daniel."

"Yes, but that was before Dr. Jackson joined the SGC." Hayley pointed out.

"Since Osiris became a player in the System Lords arena, she had one pet project, now it's her primary goal."

"Destroy SG1." Jennifer reasoned.

"Destroy Samantha Carter." Cassie corrected. "They nearly succeeded three months ago Jen" The pebble rolled off the boardwalk and into the golden sun kissed sand of the beach. Cassie followed its movement for a moment before returning her gaze to her friend.

Jennifer's expression was troubled, guarded. But she did nothing, said nothing, either to confirm or dismiss Cassandra's fear.

"Day by day her, " Cassie went on, "actions have become disproportionate." She scraped back her hair with both spread hands, full of fear at the possibilities no one could explain to her.

"The Colonel is dealing with a lot of things, Cass, most of which I can't even begin to fathom. Maybe it seems surreal to you because suddenly she's given a place where her greatest desire above all others has suddenly been realized."


"You have to ask?" Blond eyes rocketed into honey hair. "You guys. Your mother, sister and yourself Cass. She found a place to keep you all safe. And she's been given a hell of a lot of power, it will generate circumspection within her."

"Circumspection? Been hanging around my mother a bit have you?" Cassandra mocked.

"Which one?" Jennifer smiled.

"Sam says concerned. Mom... uses the word circumspection."

Biting her lip and meeting Cassandra's eyes Jennifer shrugged once more, "They make me feel like I have a family. When I finally came out, most of mine never wanted anything more to do with me, and the other half live in England and even they have little desire to be around a little dyke. Your mothers made me feel like I was a part of something greater than I can ever imagine, and I am not talking about the SGC."

Placing a small hand upon Cassandra's face, Jennifer's eyes became soft yet resolved. "We won't go down without a fight, Cass. And we won't let them near your mothers."

Cassandra nodded, unconvinced. "We'd better be getting back to Base, the Colonel will want to brief us on this new mission."

Jennifer Hayley was deeply concerned for her heroic icon Samantha Carter, and the gentle Janet Fraiser, her concern however was deeper for their daughter Cassandra. What would a desperate child do to protect her beloved mothers?

"What the hell was that about?" Janet snapped once Sam and she were alone in the colonel's office.

"What was what about?"

"We aren't going to take any unnecessary risks? Tell me Samantha what was that supposed to mean?"

"Means I am not going to take unnecessary risks, what is so complicated about that?"

"You meant me?"

"So, what if I did? You're the CMO of this base, I will not risk you on the field."

"I am as capable in theater as the next field medic, better even."

"Exactly, and you are not going. I need you here, I'll make it an direct order."

"You're pulling rank? God Sam, I can't believe you're pulling rank on me!"

"The CMO has no business in the field of battle."

"Bullshit, I am a frontlines physician. I was in Kuwait, not to mention a few other hot-zones while in service to the SGC."

"PX3-666." Sam stated.


"PX3-666. I nearly lost you Janet. God you were DOA in the Gateroom."

The residing anger in the forever-young physician melted away as she realized what was bothering her wife. She was will upset that Sam felt she wasn't capable of dealing with the dangers of the field, when Janet had proved herself numerous times before the incident on PX3-666 and after. In fact, three months ago, Janet had proven just how much of a warrior she was in rescuing her wife.

"Sam, honey I know your fear."


"Oh, don't EVEN finish that question. Don't you dare," arms folded around the diminutive form in anger. Anger that had wafted away was now back and in full force.

Blue eyes looked to the floor in her shame.

"Let me give you a little recap shall we?" Janet snapped. "You were taken as a host by Jolinar, your consciousness was taken out of your body and then transferred back, you were duplicated, became a host again, *and* you were killed in battle only to be resurrected by the Nox. Oh, and I had to revive you more times than I care to count. Wanna know how many times, Samantha? I mean if you want to know I can tell you. Because every damn time I had to bring you back to life I felt my heart stop. God, at one point I... me your doctor, never mind me your lover had to prepare myself to pull your plug because of your living will. You have no idea, none at all what that was like for me! So don't you dare ask me how do I know what it feels like, to think you've lost the one person who holds your soul. Don't you dare! Shit Sam, three months ago I pulled your broken body out of a crypt and resuscitated you with a makeshift defibrillator. God damn it Sam I *know* the risks."

"I know you do, I just want to keep you safe." whispered Sam sheepishly.

"I understand that. And a grave is a fine and safe place Sammy, but if we live we bleed."

"It's a good thing you're a doctor isn't it." Sam tried using levity to ease the tension that had come between the two lovers.

Janet cupped the side of her beloved's face, even vexed the tiny woman was still very much in love with her wife. "Sam, if you want to pull rank, go ahead and try it, I'll pull my own. Have you forgotten that the CMO has, in all matters medical, the power to override a command decision from her CO? I have my doubts whether or not you are sound enough to go on this mission. Truthfully, I have real serious doubts, Sammy that you are fit for off world duty. Which is why you *will* bring your Chief Medical Officer with you Colonel Carter. This isn't open for negotiations or debate. Either you comply with your CMO or you stay, Colonel."

"Sometimes you can be a real bitch, do you know that?" Sam said in the softest of tones and with the largest of her brilliant smiles to take the sting out of her words.

"Isn't that why you married me? You needed someone to match your own bitchiness," Janet teased right back before planting a swift kiss upon Sam's delicious lips.

"Yeah, that must have been the only reason, couldn't be that I am totally in love with you," the soft tone became smoky. She pulled her wife into her arms, not to give her own passionate kiss but to simply feel the other woman pressing her body against her own. Something that in the last few years she had once more taken advantage of. The memory of Janet's untimely pseudo-death on PX3-666 had washed the blonde with a flood of memories she was always overwhelmed by. She could have lost Janet. Something Sam knew she would never have fully recovered from. "I just don't...."

"I know Hon, I know. Even if the Malakim do not need field medics as such; going into battle with drones that have fortitude to match their own, they will need me at some point. Which is why I am staying in the Sickbay on the Samantha Carter. Doesn't change the fact that I am still unsure of your performance. Sam Hon, you suffered... are suffering… from PTSD and I need to be there to monitor you. What happens, and God forbid it does, if you fall into that walled darkness you were in for three months? I need to be there to pull you up by your hair if I have to and get you back on track. I simply do not trust anyone else with your health Sammy, both as your doctor and your wife."

"I learned a long time ago, never argue with the CMO when it comes to all things medical," Sam stated, "or next physical there will be very large needles."

They both laughed at that one. Not necessarily because of the joke itself, but because of the need to relieve the tension that could have gone too far in to an argument. Neither woman thought the conversation was something to take in levity for it was a serious topic; humor simply took the edge off.

"I agree to that, and besides, I know you'll be safe aboard the ship." Sam gave a small thought to Turel and Zaire of whom she had ordered, using the power of the World Symphony, to insure Janet was protected. The two angelics would not allow the beloved petite woman to fall to harm.

"Not to mention the two bodyguards you assigned to me, clock round when off base."

"How did you know I did that!" golden brows stuck honey hued bangs.

Janet scoffed. "Oh come on Sam, I know my wife very well. Give me a little credit."

Sam flushed in embarrassment for having been found out or perhaps for being that transparent.

Janet lifted her chin, yes she was very capable as an Air Force officer, and she had a citation for going up against Hathor to prove it amongst several others. But Janet's theater of battle was not with an Aires Predator and Zat but a scapulae and microscope. "I love you for it you lanky goof. At least they don't hover as badly as when Novalis had assigned them the same task"

"I told them to be discrete but that you were never to be unprotected." Sam admitted. "I had to do something Janet. Make sure you and Little Bit are always safe."

"Always... that's such a mother's word... always. And you have Sam, you've always made Little Bit safe and you've always made it so I felt safe. But I am a big girl, even if I am only five-foot-two, and out there, I have to admit I feel better knowing you have a dozen angelic warriors covering your six. And going up against those drones... the thousands of Malakim warriors covering you and Cassandra make it a hell of a lot easier to see you go into battle. I'd much rather you do so from the bridge of the Samantha Carter, but somehow my gut tells me Sammy, you'll eventually end up with the ground troops. But like you, I need to know those I love are safe."

"I love you." were the only words Sam could manage, it was the only thing she needed to say, the bond between the lovers took care of all other thoughts and feelings. And for a frozen moment they simply floated in the euphoria of the other's depth of devotion.

The second time Sam started talking about the plans to strike out against the enemy it was with the full complement of Grigori warriors and the members of SG1.

"With the SGC's ships and those Novalis will donate, as well as the Samantha Carter we will have managed to create an armada. Using the same tactics as the Goa'uld; we will use space to ground attack before deploying the ground troops. We must cut off their command and control. Because of their greater fortitude and mastery over the elements and ecosystems, the ground assault will be carried out by the Malakim Wings to better facilitate the objective.

"We will attempt to naturalize not only this outpost of the drone army but also to take the war to the System Lords. It is imperative we obliterate this evil: the darkness must not prevail." Here, Sam paused for a moment deciding to regurgitate a few of her words from the welcome speech she had given only a few days prior: "We must make them call upon their hidden strength, so that they shall empty their hands of all their weapons. We must fly out and meet them; we must make ourselves a fortification of will, heart and determination... We must make them overreach their strength, so that they teeter and fall. We must, with courage and wide eyes, go forward and take our stand. We will not fall back nor will we fail. We must shake the very foundation of Goa'uld power. In their greed and pride for dominion they will lash out and we will crush them."

As before the gathered Malakim roared in their excitement, an excitement that had spread rapidly to the humans now on base. Jennifer Hayley found herself wanting to rise up there and then to take on the enemy. She felt as if she could take on the entire Horde of System Lords single handedly.

Sam's voice rose above the clamoring cheers. "You have all been given a report of your duty roster, where you will be positioned. As I said, the armada will fly in quiet, bombard the painted targets with heavy ordnance before dispersing aerial troops of the Malakim wings. They will generate multiple surface and air assaults. SG1 will then deploy to the surface with the OICW and Aries Predators that have been modified to combat the Drones."

Cassie turned to Jennifer who was seated next to her in the auditorium. "Can you even carry that gun?"

The Objective Individual Combat Weapon was a versatile and potent weapon that had replaced the M-16 and the M-4 as the military's workhorse rifle. The OICW, was 33 inches long and weighed twelve pounds. Its HE rounds replaced the grenade launcher that had attached to the M-16s and had a range 1,000 meters. A soldier could fire ten HE rounds per minute. Cassie thought the weapon was one of the best the Military had in its possession, and it was all due to Sam Carter.

Colonel Carter had expanded the technology on the 'Carter Special,' and developed this mammoth gun. Of course she had done it to combat the Drones and Wraiths, but the regular military didn't have to know of this.

What Cassandra truly liked about the weapon was that it fired the same range and rate as the P90's, she also liked the electronic compass, direct view optics and the automatic target tracker. Of course the heat-seeking thermal capability was a nice bonus as well.

"Oh funny. Ha ha ha." Hayley rolled her eyes at the tired old short joke. People called her Four Foot-Nine. She was Four-foot ten and three-quarters thank you very much.

"In action to individual weaponry, troops will utilize Area Denial Systems to protect the perimeter of Base Camp and seized territory. Normally, we would use MAV's to infiltrate enemy territory to harvest INTEL, fortunately the Malakim's ability to transport themselves between two planes of existence will better equip us in our need for recon. Furthermore, the Malakim Wings will go in silent using this same method. Silent running is our best hope to overtake the enemy. All teams prepare for debarkation, and may the winds be at our backs. Let this be the hour in which we draw swords together, our Song must be heard from star to star we will not go quietly into the Dark!"

"We heed, and obey!" the angelic Malakim warriors touched their fists over their hearts, their wings folded tight into supplication.

Teal'c had grown accustomed to the reverence in which the Blue Wing held Samantha Carter, after all the dynamic warrior woman had saved their sovereign, who was much beloved. Now, to see literally thousands of warriors, pledge their lives to his long time friend was breath taking. The only other time he had seen such devotion was within the Jaffa ranks to their Goa'uld overlords. But the beautiful blonde woman needed no threat, no show of power to gain such devotion. They followed her, not because of some pretense of fear or blind allegiance, but because they truly desired it. This was not brainwashed devotion; this was devotion from the heart out of love. And he too would tuck his hand over his heart and bow his head in supplication to this golden crowned warrior woman.

He knew from his own experience how easy it was to love this woman, how easy it was to follow her. He himself would do anything for her, laying down his life for Samantha would never in the Jaffa's mind be enough to give back what she had given him. And then there was Doctor Janet Fraiser, that Teal'c believed he owed more than a life debt. Seven generations past, Ry'ac and his family would still owe this tiny woman everything for all that she had done for him and his loved ones.

He deeply loved Janet, wishing more than once that he could have been the one to capture her heart, that it was he who she would turn to in the night and be held by. The Goliath man knew more than anyone else what Jack O'Neill felt when he looked upon Samantha: a forlorn love never to be made real. And like Jack O'Neill, Teal'c knew he had to love Janet from afar, just as his best friend loved Samantha. But he could show his love to both remarkable women by being there to protect them when it came time to go into theater. What happened those long years ago on PX3-666 would not happen here. Not ever again.

The memory of that dark period in the history of SG1 would be ever emblazoned upon the Jaffa's heart.

Colonel Jack O'Neill was dying in the arms of Major Samantha Carter.

The only thing keeping the fallen Colonel alive was Sam's quick actions and the new ceramic inserts of the ALICE vests. Fear was not disproportionate to concern flooding the major. Her hands, tacky with blood and burnt flesh, assaulted her nostrils instantly causing a gag reflex that the blonde willed away. If Janet could handle such things as plasma burns, Sam thought so too must she. Janet... she was out there somewhere across the ravine healing others under gunfire, with no thought to her own safety, indeed the very embodiment of the Angel of Mercy. But Daniel was with her, the man wouldn't become distracted, he would watch and protect her. Yet, a tiny part of Sam had wished it was Teal'c guarding her lover rather than Daniel. She loved him as she did the rest of SG1 but somehow the image of Teal'c watching over Janet was more reassuring. Instead, Teal'c was watching over Sam and the fallen colonel.

It frightened Sam now, how much control she had lost. O'Neill's life was slipping away, everything around her erupting. It was as if her thinking blurred, or became something other than thinking. The lingering scent of Jack's blood overtook Sam's mind. He wasn't moving and at one point he had stopped breathing. Mouth to mouth CPR brought him back. All around the young major (the sounds of) battle exploded. Staff blasts, MP-5s, P90's, M-249/M-16, and the short-barreled rail modified M4 (dubbed the Carter-special because it was she who had reconfigured the M-16 and A-15 and M4 into one amalgamated weapon) merged into one staccato beat. Death gliders screamed overhead, and all of it became silent in Carter's mind when she heard Daniel's voice over the radio.

"Medic! Medic! Oh God! Fraiser's down. Fraiser's been hit! Medic! Medic! Oh God Janet!"

Everything became cold. Frozen. Blood roared thick in Sam's ears. Staff Blast sounds in her ears and yet she didn't know which was exploding around her and which were in her mind. She wanted to run, not away from danger, not from duty but into its face to confront the enemy. She wanted to protect her mate and face off the incursion of warriors surmounting them. Yet, she had a duty to protect, a duty to save the man in her arms, a duty to take command. That frozen moment lasted a lifetime. The outside would see only fifty-three seconds tick away before the blonde major took charge.
A different roar broke through. Sam greeted the sound with a burst of irrational happiness-strong and profoundly sweet. Two medics were charging the ravine where her fallen lover lay perhaps dead never knowing love's last touch. Two more medics were coming for the unmoving colonel.

Duty. Duty. Duty.

Sam watched for a moment insuring her CO was safe in the hands of the field medics. Duty. Sam knew her duty. For others to survive she had to rise from the fire and destroy the enemy. One last glance to the ravine and Sam swallowed the bile rising in her throat.

'No! You are going to hang on Baby. You are NOT going to die! I won't let you. Oh God Janet, just hang on Baby. Please hang on. I love you. You know that right? I love you. I won't let you die alone!'

It took forever in the blonde's judgement to see Daniel and the teams of medics emerge from the ravine carrying two prone bodies on stretchers. Only then did Sam address the troops. "Fall Back! Fall back!" The warrior in Samantha Carter took command. Her heart ringing in her ears. Smoke of the battlefield rank with blood and ozone burned her lungs and cloaked her eyes. The tears fell. Sam would do what she had to do. Her duty.

To protect Janet, to get that tinny angelic goddess of healing to safety Sam had to throw the emotional shields in place. She would lead her people through this maelstrom. The medics had O'Neill moving, it was at that moment Sam saw it. The Jackal headed monster that had taken both Janet and the Colonel down. He was slipping from the ravine looking for new prey.

Sam saw him first. "Motherfucking bastard!" The scream scourged her throat. Later she would have no memory of it, none at all. Only red haze filled ice blue eyes, clotting her mind, creating urges that swelled within her, growing into a ripe crescendo of vengeance. Sam stared dumbly at her 'Carter-Special' in the realization she had emptied her clip. The Jackal Guard fell, his body torn asunder by over seven hundred 5.56mm Teflon coated bullets. There was not much left of him, not even the Goa'uld larva he carried with him remained. Vengeance be done.

Sam turned mechanically, ripped the clip out of the weapon, slammed in a new magazine with the palm of her hand; her mind targeting any Jaffa that dare stand before her. Carter had survived the Drone, now she was a hunter, and no prey would escape her.

"Get to the Stargate!" Sam belted the order. "Teal'c, dial home; SG6, and 13 take point; SG8 and 7, escort the wounded; SG9, cover their six. Move! Move! Move!" Sam didn't have to think. Instinct born out of a thousand jumps controlled her. The GDO activated sending SG1's IDC into Stargate Command. Her hand reached automatically for her radio, "SGC, this is SG1 we are in full retreat, we have heavy casualties. We're coming in hot! Repeat we are going in hot!"

She heard the gulping sound of bodies passing through the event horizon, blending into it the drumming of bullets and staff blasts. Carter and Teal'c let loose their entire ordnance, bringing down one of the enemy fighters. The earth shattered in vibrations of the downed craft. Smoke billowed in the sky, clods of dirt splattered around them in dark rain. In Samantha's peripheral vision she saw Daniel near a stretcher carried by two medics. Janet was almost safe.

For a moment, Sam was paralyzed by a sense of appalling loss, helpless and totally grounded, both a pain and a numbness that seemed to extend into an eternity of meaningless succession like a drab, purgatorial road without signposts, that she'd walk forever, alone. Janet's wound was graver than Sam could have imagined. Her chest a chard mass of blooded glistening flesh.

"She's going into arrest!" a medic was heard to say just before the threshold swallowed him.

Sam hit the radio. "We need a crash cart in the Gateroom! Get a crash cart to the Gateroom, Fraiser's down!" Sam couldn't leave until all the SG teams had bugged out. It was duty. Janet had done hers and was perhaps dying for it. Sam could do no less. Nor would Teal'c. They were the last to arrive in the Gateroom. The iris slammed shut behind them, blocking out the deadly fire of the enemy. Danger was far from over.

The Gateroom became bombarded with wounded, retreating soldiers and bustling medical teams. Warner was doing triage; Jack O'Neill and Simon Wells were assessed quickly and sent to the infirmary. O'Neill still wasn't moving, Wells could be heard repeatedly weeping "It's my fault, it's my fault she's dead...my fault, oh God, my fault...."

Above the cacophony Warner decreed Janet Fraiser DOA and turned to assess others.

"No goddammit!" Sam barreled over Daniel to get to the tall physician. A hand reached out wrenching Warner around so he faced her. "Blue eyes puffy from tears glared arctic coldness. "Fuck you! Get the defibrillator. You are NOT going to give up hope on her."

"Major!" Warner tried to call reason into the maelstrom. How could he make the distraught, war weary major understand Doctor Fraiser was DOA. There simply was no hope, he was wasting time on the dead when the critically wounded needed him.

"Do it or I will shoot you myself," she spat. "She'd never give up if it was you! Any of you! And you fucking well know it."

"Expose the chest!" Warner ordered a medic stood near to Fraiser, seconds were passing away, perhaps there might be a chance after all. But Warner never truly believed it; he was only going through the motions. He knew Major Samantha Carter was not exaggerating when she said she would shoot him. "I got a cardiac arrest, potassium deficiency. Get me a number seven cuff and a tracheal tube, now!"

Janet, in no time at all was on a monitor, and had a tube down her throat. The charred remains of the ALICE vest discarded and her BDU slit open by a pair of sheers.

"Tubes ready! Tubes in!" Joe Pascual, one of the medics yelped.

"Defib Stop CPR, Defib, 60 joules " Nurse Alicia Davidson cried out, thankful Major Carter had forced Warner to do something other than turn his back on their beloved doctor.

Sam swallowed hard, "Come on, come on!"

"Clear!" Warner put the paddles on Janet's chest and shook her. Her body jumped up. A normal beeping came from the monitor "Check the monitor. Let me in, let me in. We still have flatline!"

"Hit her again." Warner commended.

"Charging," Pascual.

"Clear!" Warner shocked Janet once more and her the body arched, and fell.

"Wait! Wait! Pulse is erratic. Okay, we've got disorganized electrical activity." Alicia belted out. "30 beats per minute. BP 60 over 40 and rising."

"Okay, set up an ambu-bag; draw two grams of magnesium sulfate, one milligram epi, and do a blood gas." Warner directed, disbelieving that Fraiser had any activity at all.

"Epi's in." Pascual related quickly.

The aging doctor turned to anyone in the Gateroom, "notify the ICU, I want an EKG and an EEG, and I want her potassium levels rechecked, stat! Let's get her to ICU!"

Sam sprinted out of the Gateroom following the gurney that held her lover, her face awash with agony despair. She was losing the love of her life. Once in the hall, her tears fell freely; anger and frustration ruled her without mercy. She was only half way there when she noticed something or someone in her way. Sam swatted away the intrusion and almost wished she had a ribbon device to permanently rid her of whatever dared to interfere in her rejoining Janet's side.

"Major Carter?" It was Emmett Bergman who dared come between her and Janet

"Leave me the hell alone!" She snarled. "And turn that damn thing off!" Her rage rattled the souls of any who had heard her, had seen her. Sam didn't hear the sanctimonious dribble that spilled out of the prick's mouth as he addressed the others clotting the corridors. Her own body trembled, in fear and disparity. Her eyes burning from the tears falling freely, her mind had seized up on her, focusing myopically on a single soul.


Lieutenant Jennifer Hayley, one of the teammates on SG9 had assisted in the armory with the ordinance coming in. It shocked her to see Major Carter plow threw the others, slamming the 'Carter Special' into her arms gruffly, her voice just as harsh. "Hayley, take care of this."

"Yes Ma'am." the small blonde barely finished the syllable before Sam was flying out the door to the more secure section of the weapons locker. She watched with baited attention as the Major keyed the commands to the wall unit that kept the Goa'uld devices secure.

Sam would never recall swiping all the Healing devices into an attaché case, fleeing the armory and heading for the infirmary. She was completely on adrenaline overdrive, trampling over the SF's in the corridors she didn't bother with apologizing, as she didn't have time for pleasantries.

By the time the major stormed ICU, she had in her right hand the circular Healing device and in her left hand the six pronged trident device Nirrti had used on Cassandra only two years ago. Janet lay still upon the bed, EEG leads on her head, EKG leads on her chest and the respirator tube down her throat. The machines were keeping her alive. Sam scarily recognized Warner in surgery over her lover, frantically trying to repair the plasma damage.

Although Warner had given up hope in the Gateroom, somehow the CMO was hanging on to life with a thread. The medical staff around him were stupid enough to think Janet Fraiser would pull through. Did they not see that it was only the machines keeping this frail little thing alive? Warner knew he was wasting time with Fraiser, O'Neill and Wells needed him. They were savable, Janet wasn't.

Janet had given up her life to save Airman Wells how could Warner allow the man to die? The lad had a new child and a chance. Janet was dead; no one seemed to notice it was only the machines that maintained her functions. Warner had done what he could, he turned from the woman that for seven years was his superior officer, now it fell to his shoulders to take command. His first decision was to save the savable. Fraiser would agree with him, this was triage after all.

It was then he saw a blonde tornado take the Infirmary. Warner was about to hit the panic button, Major Carter was irrational and out of control and more than that she was lethal. "She has the healing devices." Alicia was heard to say. "Thank God, if anyone can bring her back she can."

Warner decided to allow the Major to waste her time with the healing devices, he had to save the others. But he had not gotten out of the way fast enough for Sam's taste. Her eyes were still frozen in desperation and determination. Carter nearly threw Warner out of her way, with strength that belied her size. To ensure he stayed out of her way she shot the handle of the door twice with her Zat, it wouldn't last for long but Warner could not extract her from Janet's side.

Once more Warner moved to call the SF's to extract this mystical woman out of his infirmary, but some how a deeper part of him knew that would cause even more of a disruption. And so, regrettably and against his better judgment, he allowed the grieving major to stay. For Sam it wasn't a matter for discussion. It simply was. Janet needed to be healed. Janet was needed.

Sam desired it, willed it, and craved it, until it was the only thing within her heart, in her mind. Nothing outside mattered, nothing outside existed. Only Janet existed. There was only Janet, a void of golden light, and Sam.

Sam felt her heart race, thunder its staccato beat in her ears until the sound of it stormed her mind. Each pulse thudded; each beat hammered in time with Janet's own heartbeat. It was one beat, one pulse, and one breath.

Samantha was vaguely aware of warmth trickling from her ears, her eyes and nose. She must be crying. But she didn't pause to investigate; she only fed the golden void more of herself, more of her energy, more of her life. In that golden void she felt a darkness creep into the edges of the light. She knew she couldn't step into the darkness, but it was so tempting... beckoning her with its siren song, but to succumb to it she would lose Janet. That wasn't even a question.

Pushing past the barrier Sam would barter her soul to God, to whatever entity, whatever power in the celestial universe that wanted to listen if it meant her lover would live. It wasn't a sacrifice it was a tribute. 'Take my life for hers. My soul for hers. I give it freely with no regret. Save her. Please save her.'

Teal'c and Daniel dodged the cameras rushing to follow Sam into the infirmary, having their own need to see Janet and Jack safe. Janet was in ICU, but Jack was in the ward resting, as was Wells, both having pulled through the trauma though not without a great deal of pain. Six hours would pass and Sam still had not emerged from Janet's private room. Warner was growing concerned. He had convinced himself Fraiser was a lost cause; Samantha Carter was only giving herself a fool's help she could save the tiny woman. Warner had no recourse but to call in the remaining SG1 members to take Sam away, so he could do what was necessary and lay Janet Fraiser to rest.

It didn't pass Teal'c eyes that Warner was petrified of Samantha Carter, and if anyone went in save for SG1, the blonde tigress would hunt him down, of that Warner had no doubt. Six hours Warner had been very patient with the major, indulgent even. Granted for that time he had been in surgery with the critically wounded of PX3-666 but even when he had emerged, Samantha was still locked in a trance with the healing devise draining her life from her. Sedating the major could undoubtedly damage her in ways he could not imagine. She had to be stopped another way. Warner knew that if anyone could get through to Major Carter that you can't heal the dead it would be her teammates and so he had called General Hammond for aid.

Hammond had several hours earlier asked Daniel Jackson to go and collect Cassandra from her home. She had a right to say goodbye to her mother. Even the general believed his dear friend Janet Fraiser was gone. But a part of him hoped against all the odds that his goddaughter could and would find away to bring that angel of healing back to the realm of the living. He had never known anyone tougher or more resourceful than Sam. When the unthinkable happened, Cassandra and Sam would need each other for strength, to grieve, and to say goodbye.

Now verging upon the seventh hour, the eighteen year old, with her 'uncles', floated surreally into the darkened, too silent depths of the infirmary. This one place of healing was now a pit of apprehension, where hope was forsaken.

Siler had managed to open the fused door, but clearly not fast enough for the likes of SG1, Cassandra or Hammond. What the four of them saw stopped their hearts in their throats.

"Oh my God!" Daniel and Cassie uttered when the breath returned to their voices.

Janet's entire body was glowing in a blanket of golden radiance, emanating directly from the out stretched hands of Samantha Carter. What stayed with her, what burst within her, was less any physical sensation than a sense of benediction; that from their disparate selves was being fused, in this moment, something wholly new and transcendent, as simple and intricate as a snowflake.
No one could say how it was even possible Sam was still standing, still managing to pour her energy into the healing devices and yet she was defying everything but the ever lasting hope Janet would live.

"She uses her own Ba to heal Doctor Fraiser."

The other two turned to Daniel for a translation. They grew concerned at the man's blue eyes widening in shock." He... he... means soul."

"What!" Cassandra scoffed. "Sam is using her soul to heal my mom?"

"Indeed. SamanthaCarter has fallen into a state of deep Kelnoreem, to make this possible. I have never seen a Goa'uld capable of such compassion but I have heard of such things in ancient lore. I have always thought it the prattle of young Jaffa girls in the service of the temples." Teal'c commented. His warrior heart thudded hard against the cage of his ribs in witnessing such devotion. Truly these two women were soulmates. "I have never witnessed such love before.," added the great man in a much quieter tone.

Hammond was astounded, as were the others gathering around the tall blonde but not at what Sam was doing, nor that she was willingly doing so, but that she was truly accomplishing the impossible. Janet Fraiser might yet survive.

"Please Sam, bring her back. Please bring her back." Cassandra prayed. She passed the men having made up her own mind. She herself had Naquaada in her blood, if she too could only harness that part of her the teen knew she was capable of helping Sam. Not knowing what she was doing, only knowing she wanted to help, Cassandra pressed her body against the lanky older woman, arms touching, hands clasped, Cassie called up that most ancient song, a child's love for her mother.

One thought. One command. One will echoed through both women's hearts and minds pouring into the devises. "LIVE!"

Cassandra felt a weight increase within her arms just as Sam teetered and fell in a bone rattling thud to the infirmary floor.

"SAM!" Cassandra shrieked.

Daniel, Teal'c and Hammond started at the fall and the cry of the girl. Teal'c moved faster than the others and grabbed Samantha into his arms, cradling her softly.

"Oh God, look at her!" Cassandra's hazel eyes couldn't let go of the image of blood trickling out of Sam's nose, mouth and eyes. Even her forehead seeped beads of bloody sweat. "What's wrong with her? There's so much blood!"

Daniel snatched the hysterical girl into his arms his own frantic worry more than evident upon his face. Hammond stared slack jawed, his heart jack hammering in his ears. He didn't want to entertain the idea he had lost both beloved ladies. He couldn't fathom it.

"Fatigue." Teal'c said. "She has exhausted herself."

"You don't look like that because you're tired Teal'c! God, what the fuck is wrong with her? Something's wrong!"

Hammond had found his mind and had sense enough to summon Warner. The doctor was still terrified of Carter and had decided the better part of valor was discretion. Having been stripped of his pride the physician hailed Doctor Reg Tupper to assist. Tupper was under Janet's command in the Air Force Academy but he too served the SGC. Because of the heavy causalities his hands were needed to bring healing to the warriors of the SGC. Now he would help again.

"Don't separate them." Cassandra blurted out. "Please let them stay in the same room."

Tupper looked to Hammond but the general gave no indication he would oppose it. Besides, he thought keeping Sam from her soul sister was nigh on impossible. "Make it happen."

Warner left the chamber quickly with the intent of fetching a gurney

"Why is she bleeding like that!" Cassandra still demanded answers. "Look at her she's crying blood!"

"In her strain her body couldn't contain the stress as it was and she has burst capillaries." Alicia tried in vain to sooth the panicky teen. "It's been known to happen to women in childbirth."

"Well look at her! You're telling me tears of blood are normal for stress? Do an MRI and a PET scan for crying out loud. My mother is a doctor, don't look at me like I don't know what I am talking about. Do something! Warner you worthless piece of shit! Dammit, can't you lot function without my Mom? She's going to be pissed off when she finds out you're slacking."

Daniel placed his hands on Cassandra's shoulders; the girl was physically trembling in her rage, despair and sense of helplessness. It was overwhelming. "Cassie they are good people, let them do their job."

"Job? They tell me 'oh it's okay, she just popped capillaries, she's only fatigued,' Fuck! My mom is going to ream you all out for this... this..." unable to restrain herself the eighteen year old turned and wept on Daniel's shoulder. "Just make them better... please..."

Warner had returned to the ICU with a gurney onto which Teal'c could relinquish his precious cargo. Davidosn checked Sam's vitals taking the stethoscope out of her ears, "Doctor, I have normal sinus rhythm.

"Run an EEG and a EKG." Tupper demanded. "Miss Fraiser we have to remove Major Carter. Stand aside."

Davidson tried to discourage the distrustful young woman but somehow she felt it was saccharine and the last thing Cassandra Fraiser needed was false platitudes. Instead, she spoke softly. "Cassandra, your mom and Major Carter are fighters; they defy the odds, have faith in them."

Cassie watched as they wheeled her beloved hero out of the ICU. Swallowing the stinging bile in her throat she turned her blurry hazel eyes back to her mother.

"She looks so tiny laying there. So frail. My mom... she is never frail. She's little, but... but... she isn't frail. She faced down Nirrti for me. She was scared to death but... she faced the bitch down for me. She's my mom..."

"I know," Daniel said softly.

"I want my mommy back." Cassandra pushed away from the archeologist, to claim a chair near her mother's bed. It was evidently clear the teenager was here to stay through the duration.

"Cassie, if you need anything, anything at all let us know. Teal'c and I are here for you." Daniel said,

"Why weren't you there for her? Teal'c, you are supposed to be the tough one. Why did you let my Mom get shot? I only need my Mother, my Sam. Can you give me them?"

"Janet's alive Cassie, she's in a coma, but you must prepare yourself for the possibility that she may never wake." Daniel said softly not wanting to be the one to say it.

Cassandra said, fighting back tears. "She'll wake up, and Sam will be okay. You'll see. They're heroes and heroes don't die," the last few words Cassandra uttered as if she were trying to convince herself of the fact. The men could find no voice; disheartened eyes glanced from one to the other and back to the vigilant teenager. They left slowly, as if their own lives had been sucked from the marrow of their bones.

Morose, Cassandra took visual staring empty eyed over her mother, refusing to budge, refusing to let herself even blink, believing the frail woman before her would somehow wake and return to those who loved her. Cassandra had grown quieter but not calmer. There was nothing at all calm about the woman's heart that had become suspended in the most profound solitude she had ever known.

"Mom?" Cassie took up the thin hand into her own. The usual lightly tanned flesh was now a new bluish-white, so translucent and so frail. "Mom, can you hear me? Look at me Mom, see me. Come on Mom, you have to open your eyes. Sam tried so hard for you. I... I... I can't use that thing. I don't know how. Mom, Sam needs you." Cassandra feathered back the locks of reddish-auburn hair.

"You highlighted your hair again." a dry slow chuckle found its way out of the teen's mouth. "You change it almost every six months. I like it. It's your natural auburn. It was that color when you first gave me a home. It's my safe color. Silly isn't it Mom? That's my Mom's color, the others, aren't really you. That tawny blond definitely wasn't you, nor was that really bad cut last year. Sam was right, you look better when you have some length to it. Of course Sam had a whole Meg Ryan look going for her for a while." Cassandra laughed. "You know why Mom? 'Cause you said you had a crush on Meg and so Sam decided to try to get her hair like that. Then she went and lopped it off when you said she looked like a thistle. I think she was kinda peeved that you didn't appreciate the attempt to look like your movie-crush."

Cassie's hand touched the soft skin of her mother's cheek. "She really loves you so much. I wish to God that you two could get married for real. Not just your secret commitment ceremony we had in the Garden of the Gods. You know, if you wake up Mom, you guys could you know? We could go to Hawaii and you two can get married. Sure it would still be secret but it would be real.

"Mom... Sam needs you so much. She'll pull into herself like she did with Jolinar. She told me things about herself when she was fourteen when her mother died because... because my birth mother died. We related. Mom, she can't live without you. Yeah, she'll be alive, do her duty, but that will be all she will be. Just duty. She won't be living. Mom... Come on you Napoleonic Power Monger, Jack is just waiting to get jabbed with a really big needle. You have to tell Hammond he's an idiot for not listening to your medical advice. This place, Mom, the SGC needs you. It doesn't have a heart with out you Mom and a body can't live without a heart. Mom... you can't die. You can't quit. You NEVER quit. I was a fucking royal bitch to you when I was changing, but you never gave up. Mom you were always there, always, even when I was so pissy to you. I love you. Mom you took on Nirrti! God you took down a huge SF and ripped off his gun and pointed it at Nirrti. Mom, you are a hero, and heroes don't quit, not
ever. You don't. You're so brave Mom. You're very brave."

Cassandra dropped her head upon her mother's pillow, her hand resting upon the older woman's heart. Her voice now a husky ragged torn whisper. "Mom... Mom, come on, you have to wake up! Please Mom, I can't go through this again. I lost my family on Hanka and Providence gave me you and Sam. Mom... please... please... wake up!" Her tears felt hot and heavy, "Mom, you said that when a person is sick they have to fight. It's important you fight! Mom! MOM!" Cassandra wailed. She no longer had a sense of what was around her or where she was; she knew only her mother was lying as death before her. "Mom please... mom...Mom, I can't do this again... I can't... Mom... Mommy, I need you!"

She didn't know what the abrupt change had shifted in her world but suddenly the darkness parted as if a large hand had parted the drapery in an ancient and forsaken chamber in a mansion. The light shining-shimmering in wasn't in a forgotten chamber but in to the deep recesses of her soul. Someone was calling to her, crying out to her in pain. The voice. She knew that voice!

*Mommy, I need you! *

It was her little girl. Cassandra needed her, with such desperateness. Janet was not about to allow anything to harm her little girl. Her child needed her mommy and Janet would battle Lucifer himself to protect her little one. Janet fought a greater nemesis than the devil; she fought off against her own death. From beyond her reach the powers that be, had decided on a sheer whim to snuff out her life. She now defied them.

*Mommy, I need you! *

That wasn't going to happen, nothing would stay a mother from her child. Cassandra needed her. For the love of a child, Janet would turn from the abyss that claimed her life and return to her baby girl.

*Mommy, I need you! *

"I'm...here..." Janet didn't know if she said it, thought it or dreamed the words. She had wanted to say them, to be safe the tiny woman opened her dry aching throat. "I'm here."

"MOM!" Cassandra barked harshly. "Mom! You're awake?"

"Sorry Honey... I hurt." Janet felt the weight of the world fall on her shoulders, struggling to rise above the pain, the nausea. She wanted so badly to be there for her child, but she could scarily keep awake let alone concentrate on what was hurting her daughter.

"No, no, Mom, it's okay. Rest okay?" Cassie kissed her mother's clammy forehead. "I'm going to get Alicia, she'll know what to do. Mom, it's going to be okay now. You rest. I love you."

"You okay?" Janet struggled against the sleep coming over her. The young mother needed to know her child was safe.

"I will be now."

"Others... battle...Wells?"

"He's in recovery, so is Jack."

"Sam? Where's my Sam?"

"She's going to be okay" Cassandra stammered, hoping she wasn't lying. The truth was she had no idea how her beloved hero was. The image of the blonde's face so pale and covered in her own blood wasn't something Cassie was likely to forget. " She was here for a long time, but... um... they had to make her rest... she hasn't slept in thirty two hours or so."

"She knows... better..."Janet struggled to keep her eyes open for just a little while.

Cassandra leaned close to her mom whispering, "Since when has Sam done anything health-conscious when those she loves are in danger? Mom you were so hurt... you were DOA in the Gateroom and you had to be resuscitated. Mom... mom you have to fight. I know you're tired but it's important you fight," the hand that once stoked her mother's cheek was doing so once again. "Look I gotta get the nurse."


Cassandra thought for a moment, nodded and kissed her mother's brow. "I'll get you something, probably ice-chips for now. Just rest."

"You'll..." Janet paused to try to clear her dry parched throat. The tracheal tube had made her esophagus raw and tender that it hurt to even try to swallow. "Be...okay?"

"Sure I will Mom, I'm a tough kid, we'll survive this." once more Cassandra kissed her mother's cheek.

Instead of leaving the ICU room, Cassie hit the nurse call button and only had to wait a while before Alicia Davidson appeared.


"Mom was responsive for a few minutes. She regained consciousness."

For the first time since the broken body of her CO had returned the young nurse smiled and felt, as Cassandra had before her, a ray of hope. Proficient as always she checked Fraiser's vitals and smiled once more, they were returning to normal. Of course Janet's BP was below normal and she wold need a blood transfer, but she was on her way to full health. Tupper came in moments later, rechecked the vitals and prescribed heavy antibiotics as well as anesthetics for Fraiser's needs.

"WELL?" Cassandra demanded.

"I think there is a very good chance that she's going to have a full recovery." Tupper commented. "It's amazing, she's overcome so much. We are going to keep a close eye on her, she isn't through the woods yet, but she's well on her way."

Cassie nodded, she hadn't given up hope, and she knew how her mom and Sam felt about challenges given to them to beat impossible odds. So far they were winning. "What about Sam?"

Tupper looked down for a moment unable to meet the intense gaze of the young woman.

"Her PET scan resembles that of someone who has been the victim of a stroke" Tupper explained. "However, we are hopeful the effects are only temporary as a residue backlash from the Healing Device."

"She's in a coma?" Cassie dared to ask disorientated and agonized. As she watched two medics wheeled in a very still blonde major.

"No, though she is on a heavy sedative to aid in recovery. Nurse Davisdon will be here in two hours, and the night duty will be checking both your mother and Major Carter's vitals every four hours. The fact your mother is alive is amazing. It is truly astonishing what Major Carter was able to do."

"That's because she didn't give up. Neither of them will ever give up the fight." Cassie said as she continued to stoke her mother's forelock drawing as much comfort from the caress as she was delivering. "My moms are heroes, they are very brave. And they don't give up."

Cassie wandered over to Sam and kissed the blonde's forehead. "Sam.... I love you too. Mom woke up for a little while, thought you should know. It worked. And you sure as hell better get better. Mom will be real ticked if you got yourself into trouble for her." Cassandra squeezed the long fingered hand of her hero. "But I am glad you did. I have my Moms back." Cassie smiled

"Yeah Sam, moms... 'cause you're kinda my Mama too, kind of a lot. You wouldn't leave. You didn't know then if it was okay and you wouldn't leave, even though you had orders. And you wouldn't leave now, even though it could have cost you the SGC, still might. But you didn't leave. I am glad my Mom has you, Mama. I have my family, I won't lose it. Not ever."

Now, listening to Sam's speech, Teal'c recalled hearing Cassandra's vow as he sat in the ICU's observation room all those years previously.

He knew that Samantha would never place her wife in a position as the doctor had been on PX3-666, for the blonde had become overly protective since that time, with good reason. He also knew the Malakim had the same devotion for the enigmatic colonel herself. He knew the Blue Wing would guard Samantha and Cassandra. That didn't mean however that while engaging the enemy Teal'c would allow his guard to slip. For sixteen years he had fought at this woman's side, and had seen the darkest of moments with her and rejoiced in the brightest.

The mammoth Jaffa loved Samantha Carter as dearly as he would if she had been born his sister. For in all ways, save DNA, she was his sister. For Teal'c there was no question just as there had been no question for the Host of Malakim before him of whom he would swear fealty to. He would follow Samantha Carter to the ends of the galaxies without question. For Teal'c there had never been a debate if he should or should not follow her to this new Stargate command. Teal'c had made a vow to himself to serve not only Samantha Carter but also Janet Fraiser all those years ago and he had no intention of changing that vow now.

Looking at Daniel the Jaffa couldn't help but wonder if the archaeologist had felt the same. But somehow Teal'c believed that for Daniel Jackson the decision was a simple one. Just follow Samantha, wherever she may lead.

Apparently 180,000 Malakim warriors were of the same heart.

Jacob Carter wandered the silent, golden halls of the Kel'tesh that now bore the name Thor.

He knew the situation for his daughter could go from living to dead very quickly. Some divinity gave speed to Sam in her quest to end the evil plague of the Goa'uld. Even Selmac was stymied when it came to the might of the Malakim. They had for so long been removed from the Order of the System Lords, until they passed into rumor as the Ancients.

Jacob prayed their secret powers would be enough to make a stand against the dark domination of Anubis and his unholy army of drones. Osiris and Usiel, an unlikely alliance if ever there was one, but one that could bring ruin to Samantha Carter. Of course the chance of success was slight, but then that was when SG1 shined the most.

In the past sixteen years, SG1 had defied all sanity that said they should have been dead more times over than fortune could favor. How long could Sam play the luck card before the warranty was null and void? Surely there was one last hand to play out. Or at least this father had hoped.

Sam... his little girl had survived so much, when only a fraction of such things would have crushed another. Death, resurrection, torture, memory stamped, transference of consciousness, torture, her sharp mind used against her, and not to mention several countless other mental anguishes. The loss of friends, loved ones, having to kill a dear friend and to hold him in your arms as he took his last breath, hunted, tortured again, witnessing atrocities all in the name of patriotism. The meeting of ones self not once but thrice. And yes, once more tortured, and nearly raped more than a few times. And she was bound to her own grief for her actions she had no choice in taking. Never leave anyone behind but how many times has she followed an order to do just that? How long would she linger in her guilt?

Even after all these long years, Sam still regretted leaving Cassandra in that bunker for only a minute, for leaving Ambassador Joe Faxon with the Ashen, for making a bomb that would have destroyed an entire race of people when it's ship was scourging the earth of a planet below. Her guilt for over a dozen other imagined wrongs settled about her shoulders as a mantel she would not shed.

In his mind Jacob saw his child, a bright-eyed girl of five, who still thought her daddy had hung the stars and moon. There was no greater hero in those blue eyes. Somewhere they had drifted so far apart, Jacob felt never to reconcile.

But Sam had risen above an old man's pettiness and had forgiven him his many trespasses; more than that even she had given Jacob back the love of a child. And in that father's memories Jacob heard a scream of the like he wished never to hear again. He saw Sam slammed against the stone wall of her prison as a Remnant punished her. Jacob saw Sam pleading with her tormenter not to use the collar that was clasped about her neck. He saw in the theater of his mind's eye how Sam screamed, as the torture lasted hours upon hours until she passed out from the pain. How they used drugs and sensory deprivation to torment her, and still Sam survived. This army Osiris gathered, had been bred for a single purpose; to destroy the Nephalim, the bane of the System Lords.

His thoughts hoarded Jacob's attention so much so that he had not seen the passing of another in the gilded hall until he saw purple feathers at his side.

"What is on your mind, Arion?" He asked of her as a manner of greeting. Something in the lilac eyes told the aging former general that his mate had much to say.

"In the gathering dawn of war, soldiers amass their will and strength knowing they go to their doom if they falter, but they will follow the Nephalim to whatever end, for she is much beloved. The power of the enemy is growing. The Dark Song has been unleashed and now turns to Samantha Carter: the last hope of the Malakim. The wrath of Usiel comes swiftly and Jacob you must come to understand this quest will claim Samantha's life. It was foreseen and it was a risk we all took.

"The Dark Song can so easily seduce those who hear its notes. For Usiel will have dominion over the World Symphony even unto the ending of galaxies. Usiel and Osiris have marshaled an army to obliterate Samantha for she is the greatest threat to them. To the System Lords they found this woman a nuisance for six and teen years. Now they know the truth of her presence. In her they see their demise. This agent, that lurks in Osiris's shadow, are his words so trusted we will not question it?"

"Yes, Eieal has been an agent for many centuries," Selmac answered. "Xad, you know this, why do you ask this?"

Jacob gave a thought to his child and the heart that beat beneath her chest.

"I ask because Usiel has a way to poison the minds of those around him, until they no longer recognize friend from foe." Arion said. "Trust me, I know. I have heard his lies through the lips of Anise, who had so believed him she would never question her actions as treachery. And Samantha had paid an abominable price for that assumption passed to Anise and to myself. None are above the corruption of Usiel, save only the Nephalim. We are following the directives of the Nephalim to run quiet Selmac, and we are assuming it is an ambush. But I can not unwrap my mind from thinking this is exactly what Usiel desires."

The voice changed with a slight dip of the head, it was now Xad speaking. "The Tau'ri are foolish. They infiltrate the stronghold of their enemies with optimism that they will succeed when all things point that they can not possibly triumph. What madness drives them to this selfless sacrifice, I have only now begun to understand because of my host Arion. Your daughter will not rest, she will not stop until she has vanquished this evil Jacob and she will die for it, she has shown her quality."

"My kid will survive this." Jacob leapt to his child's defense. 'You hear that Kid, you will make it out of this, your daddy says so.'

"Her body might but when Usiel wraps his mind about hers it would be best if she had died three months ago in that Underearth Fortress. She doesn't understand what lies ahead Jacob. She can not stand the maleficent and come back from it, untouched, unchanged."

"She's a veteran of the Gulf War, and dozens of battles against the Goa'uld. She faced death directly in the eyes and came back, and war changes us all."

"Not this war of weapons, Jacob, this war is for her soul. Usiel doesn't just want her body dead. That is all too easy. He wants her gone. His greatest desire is to see her memory, her song, her touch upon the hearts of others until her name is no longer recognized by the Great Song and the World Symphony will not bid her calling."

"Malakim superstition." Selmac scoffed, dismissing the urging of his mate.

"Malakim truth, you pigheaded stubborn twit!" Arion roared, her purple wings flaring out in agitation. "Great Song you are impossible!"

Jacob blinked, his mouth gaping in the hearing of the slander. Not for the insult but for the words, for they were the words spoken many a time from the lips of his deceased wife Rebecca. He was still staring gaped mouthed as he watched his mate turn on her heel and storm the hall behind him. He heard her voice before Arion was finally away. "Your blindness to truth will make corpses of us all."

Within the halls of Hy-Basil.

"Novalis, hear the Wisdoms." three voices chorused out, in the chambers of the Queen's throne room.

"I will heed thy voices," The great Queen titled her head to the trio of women who were always the voices of the knowledge and wisdom. No Throne could rule without wisdom, this was a forgone fact and so now, when the trio called the Song to them, it behooved the potentate to hear them.

"The Malakim have always weathered the storm of the Diabolicals because we are the stronger and united. But Usiel brings something to the Diabolicals they have quested for eons. Domination over the World Symphony though they call it not by this name. This war must be decided before it starts who the victor will be."

"We will win the day." Novalis said with all the confidence born of a warrior queen's heart.

"No, not your heart Novalis, the heart of the Nephalim must believe she is already triumphant and the battle is purely academic. In her belief all others believe and so goes the will of the Great Song."

"Samantha is a woman with one wing tipped in blood, the other in science. She will believe in her people's might."

"Novalis, the battle of which I speak of is the one of her soul. For it is so troubled its lamentations can be heard even at this great distance. Usiel must not hear the dirge of her broken spirit or she will be overrun. She is young and brave, Novalis, and yet her faith in herself has been shaken. So much death, so much reckless hate haunts her, levitate her troubles Novalis or we, not the Diabolicals, will rue the day. Let her know she stands not alone in grief, dark or light."

"So will it be." Novalis pressed her wings to her body in supplication to the wiser souls. There was some good in this universe and it was worth fighting for. "I will forfeit my life if it brings peace to her. Without my permission or want, my heart has gone to her, yea though hers belongs to another, that I can never measure. And so in my love for her, I pass my life to the winds of fate where ever it blows."

Part 19

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