Champions Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter Twenty

Agents of Light and Darkness

"Destroy it!" Novalis commanded her gunner, after Bulstrode answered the presence of a Kel'tesh closing in on their position.

"Quantum toreadors locked on target, my Queen," Bulstrode said.

Novalis stood up her purple wings fanning in excitement. "Fire!"

"Torpedoes away."

Turning toward the viewer, Novalis saw the seven torpedoes strike the hull of the Gou'ld mothership. The resounding explosion was felt by the Gwaihir. "Damage report," Novalis commanded.

"Shields held, had we been closer there would have been hull damage." Ahern said. "The Kel'tesh was not so fortunate. They suffered major hull damage over sixty-seven prescient of the surface area. Their shields are down to thirty five prescient capacity."

"Hit it again, sonic blast." Novalis ordered.

"I heed." Bulstrode answered his fingers dancing over the kiosk sending the command to the weapons array.

Gwaihir vibrated to a teeth-chattering shudder, as the sonic wave rippled from the weapons array. The view screen flared brightly as an enormous sonic frount approached the Kel'tesh. Flaming chucks of debris and superheated gasses rolled with the wave into the swarm of fighters.

The Kel'tesh reeled and lurched to starboard. It had not a moment to right itself as the Prometheus and Thor fired Asgard enhanced ion disputers. The impact of the next explosion hurled the bridge crew of the Gwaihir to the mettle flooring of the deck. The piolet of the Kel'tesh tried in vein to right the pyramidal vessel. All around the angels the screams of dying enemies echoed into the Great Song, as the Kel'Tesh dissolved into fiery fragments.

"Helm descend planet side, castrate enemy retreat!" Novalis roared not taking a moment to cheer the deaths of the Diabolical flagship. "Resources have been allocated, we're making a daytime jump. As soon as your wings meet wind, summon firestorm, tremor and tempest. Come Choirs show us the meaning of hast!"

The Queen retook her position at the command chair leaving her back to her crew facing battle. All Malakims must physically lead their warriors into battle, with their backs to their Wing showing trust and resilience. That was why all Malakim ships had their bridges at the foremost of their ship and the captains chair at the foremost of the bridge. If a commander would not lead the warriors into battle by being at the forefront then the commander did not deserve to be followed.

"I heed," Ahern responded his red wings pulling into his body in supplication.

Kull warriors left behind from the evacuating Ha'Tac's had survived a wave of death, pure destruction and utter chaos. What they had not expected was for the earth beneath their feet to tremble. This was no impact tremor. Not a plasma eruption, or incoming torpedoes. This was the very earth warring against itself.

They were coming like a storm, like a tidal wave, like some implacable force of nature that would sweep the drones effortlessly aside in a moment. The earth trembling ever so slightly was only the beginning. The very air became heavy in the lungs as breath was drawn in.

A tide of mist swirled and slide around the drones, caressing the shining black armor with unseen hands, clutching at their booted feet. The fog was ever thickening until at last the warriors were unable to see more than a few feet in front in any direction, their own boots lost in the mist carpet below. Had they possessed emotions the Kull Warriors might have broken when the fog closed in so suddenly making sight unattainable

Wispy grey-white tendrils stole up slithering from the valleys and curled around the encampment like ghostly fingers. Then the fingers began to grow thicker and stronger and after awhile they pulled the mists up after them. One by one they struck, and wind covered summits were swallowed up in the mist soaked day. The lapping white ocean covered the tops of trees even as it closed around the smoldering remains of the buildings.

The only sounds was a rumbling of the earth. The fire-storm of enemy cannons had all but stopped, leaving the Kull Warriors in the ruins of their camp. The gods had abandoned them but the Kull Warriors did not feel remorse, betrayal or fear. The Kull Warriors did not feel. They were bred to kill, to stop Samantha Carter, any obstacle in the way was to be obliterated or ignored.

A Kull Warrior could ignore the irrelevant mist that stole their sight. They could not ignore the tremors that were ever increasing. The earth was rejecting them. The camp was won by the enemy. The gods were retreating to the reaches of space, rallying the Jaffa and to battle; but they were a hundred times outnumbered.

The darkness had reached its full and would grow no deeper, it weighed heavier on Malakim hearts and a great dread was on them. Novalis lead the Choirs to war, her single desire to shield the Nephalim from the dread spoken by the Wisdoms. Far and below the Kull Warriors swarmed across like beetles disturbed from under a rock. Novalis knew her own warriors would quail at her, and they would slay themselves at her bidding. She ask only for defeat the Kull, even unto their Fadding.

The drones could not know, nor could they care they were pitted against an enemy greater than themselves. They were created to withstand much, a small nuclear missel had not fell one of their kind when it first stalked the prey Carter. But the Songless foes had not been bred to withstand the torments of the earth as it opened up great fissures in the crust and devoured those unsteady enough to remain upon their feet in the blinding mists.

Over their heads they heard the voices of thousands rise up and call for the earth to churn in a molten swamp, a second chorus would sing the earth to harden instantly its grip into obsidian vices. The wrath of the Malakim lay upon them. Unable to see their tagetes the Kull Warriors could not fight back with any hope of success.

"Sing deep, sing long the mist to grow ever thick, let not the mists to fad! Keep to the air, touch not down!" Novalis roared above the din of battle, into the hearts of her warriors. "Shatter the earth, call to it. Let it devour those Songless abominations! Let not one survive!"

The great Queen of the Malakim lifted up her voice singing with every passion of her hearts. Her's was the loudest most defined voice above the choirs.

"For Queen, For Nephalim, for the Empire sing hearty, warriors!" Briel cried out.

And sing they did.

Had they known fear the drones of Anubis would have known terror. The mist distorted sound so greatly that it bounced until one could not tell from whence it came. The battle hymns filled the winds until the very air was thick with the cacophony of angelic voices. Puffs of gray smoke appeared, then spread and thinned. Brief flashes of light were followed by deafening roars that seemed to continue forever.

Several series of explosions, separated by seconds, the Kull Warriors felt the earth beneath then vibrate once more making their collective teeth chatter. Huge chucks of concrete and steel sprang into the air, suspended for what seemed like an eternity, then fell heavily back like a motion picture in reverse, bouncing against what remained of the camp, then plunged through the fissures resulting from the earthquake. Some miles off in the distance off the same macabre beat rained upon their earth what had to have been soldiers, equipment and buildings into the air, then down into abyss below.

Doctor Janet Fraiser, had readied the sickbay of the Samantha Carter for incoming casualties. So far they had been fortunate. The superior strength of the shields had held against the power of the Gao'uld weaponry. The squadrons of Wings had held off several more close attacks at a very high cost.

There was nothing Janet could do for those that could not escape, they would she hoped met their end quickly. She had treated engineers with second and third degree plasma burns when EPS conduits blew out in engineering when the ship had been stuck by a particular hard blow of enemy fire.

"Emergency Medical Transportation, med-staff, mortal patient. Severe trauma to cardiac and abdominal areas non-responsive." the voice over the speaker belonged to Razeal.

Janet, spun around addressing her staff of nurses and the other healers. "Get the crash cart ready stat. I want five units of plasma on hand."

In seconds the efficiency of the Malakim and human medical team had everything prepped for the incoming wounded. What Janet Fraiser had not been prepared for was the face of the patient. Cassandra Fraiser lay upon the biobed her whole chest a bloodied mass of bone, tissue and leather.

"Expose the chest! I got a cardiac arrest, potassium deficiency. Get me a number seven cuff and a tracheal tube, now!" Janet commanded with pure professionalism. She knew without looking her staff would do what they were told.

"Tracheal tube in." Alicia announced.

"Defib Stop CPR, Defib, 60 joules." Janet was still in cool command.

"Charging," said Alicia

"Clear!" Janet with forceful genteelness placed the paddles on Cassandra's chest shocking her. Her body jumps up. And thankfully the monitors had ceased the long whine of cardiac arrest, into a normal beeping.

"Pulse is erratic. Okay, we've got disorganized electrical activity," Alicia belted out. "Thirty beats per minute. BP sixty over forty and rising."

"Okay, set up an ambubag; draw two grams of magnesium sulphate, one milligram epi, and do a blood gas." Janet directed, with the professional detachment of a physician healing one she loved dearly.

"Epi's in," Alicia related quickly. There was an almost immediate reaction, Cassandra was responding to treatment. And for her superior's sake Alicia hoped the young girl would pull through.

Janet glanced to the monitors over the bed and was pleased to see they were leveling off to a more normal parameter. Once she was satisfied with the current readings, Janet started to repair the severe damage of Cassandras abdominal wounds.

The gravity of the situation was not lost on the diminutive physician. In fact it was the foremost on her mind. Ordering another unit of plasma the tiny physician was now ready to preform the much needed restorative surgery on her daughter. Yes her daughter Cassandra might be a lieutenant in the USAF, but she was first the daughter of Janet Elizabeth Fraiser and it would always be thus.

Armed with a physician's knowhow and a mother's indomitable sprit to safe keep her child, Janet Fraiser prepped for surgery. Fortunately they were aboard the highly advanced sickbay of the Samantha Carter and the exceptionally advanced medical technology at Doctor Fraiser's beck and call. Yes the Malakim had restorative and remarkable regenative properties inherent in their genetic aspects, but the Malakim still had need of medical procedures. After all they might be near immoral but there were those in their Empire were indeed mortal.

Cassandra lay on the bio-bed with gapping maw where her intestines had once been whole. The plasma fire had cauterized the wound but the burn itself was horrific not to mention the devastating damage it had left behind. One third of Cassandra's intestinal track had been vaporized in the internal explosions that had claimed her ship before she was rescued and transported to sickbay. Add to this list of injuries would be the trauma to the heart, twelve broken ribs and a collapsed lung. Malakim medicine was superior in that much of the medicine could in a mortal with the proper procedures reanimate dead tissue and with other techniques recreate destroyed organs with synthetic.

Janet with her Malakim nursing staff prepped the young woman to be suspended into the bacta-tanks. The tank was filled with a gelatinous, translucent red fluid which is used to heal persons who have sustained major physical injuries. The crimson bubbling slim is added to clear fluids to synthetically replicate critical fluids which are stored within the rejuvenation tanks. Cassandra was then totally immersed into the tank with a racial tube in her throat and a nasal-clam over her nose so she would not inadvertently breath in the bacta-fluid.

Janet was astounded by the rapid healing of the wounds and how relatively pain-free it all seemed. She watched with a critical eye as the gel formed around the traumatize area and started to regenerate Cassandra intestines and repair the lungs and heart. Muscle, tissue bone all would be restored in a rather short time, and with a third of post-op complications.

Instead of feeling threatened by the advancements that Janet herself might become obsolete, the doctor was fasninated. In fact only a Healer may operate the bacta tanks as their cold always be complication with alien physiology. Cassandra fortunately was not one of the few whose body rejected the treatment.

Forty five minutes later the severe trauma to her abdominal region had been repaired. "Ready for patient extraction." Janet said punching a few codes in the command council of the bacta-tank that would command the suspension gear to raise Cassy up out of the gel and onto a guerney were she would then be place on a proper bio-bed.

Cassandra coughed gagging on the tracheal tube that had been placed in her throat to remedy the difficulties she had breathing. Alicia gingerly removed the tube and placed an oxygen mask over the young woman's mouth and nose. Doctor Fraiser gave a look of appreciation to her head nurse knowing she could trust the lieutenant to carry out any request even unspoken. They were a formidable medical team. And Janet thanked the stars once more that she had Alicia at her side.

It would take the younger Fraiser a few moments more to become aware and conscience, by that time Janet had inspected the initiated growth of the damaged tissues and lungs with satisfaction. She would still need time to heal but at least she wasn't in critical condition. But she was still to frail to be moved. One thing to be said for Malakim medicine it was fast and relatively painless. Recovery time was also halved because of the artificial spontaneous tissue regeneration.

"Mom?" Cassie's voice was muffled behind the mask as she spoke.

Janet took up her daughters hand and gently squeezed it, "I am here." she cooed not caring if anyone thought it unprofessional. This was her daughter for crying out loud. In that same ginger care, Janet removed the mask. "I am here, honey."

"I hurt."

"I know honey. I am going to give you something for the pain." Janet feathered back the damp bangs of the girls forehead.

"Jen...she okay?" Cassandra looked at her mother. "She helped me. My engine, shot out. Dead in the water, she used her fighter to nudge mine back to shuttle bay," Cassandra mumbled, "Sam had to lower shields. Barely made it, Jen piggy-backed me home. Her own ship damaged. She okay. Mom Jennifer is okay?"

"Cassie she wasn't in here, I can only assume that she's fine."

The news settled her child, enough to where the mother in Janet smiled and leaned over to kiss her eldest's forehead. "You were very brave out there. I am proud of you. Right now Cassandra I need to you rest. You sustained a lot of damage to your costal and thorac regions, in fact I had to simulate new calcium growth in your chondrocostal as well as viscera-regeneration. The reason you are having trouble breathing is because I induce regeneration to your lungs. Don't try to move, honey you'll be sore because I also had to stimulate new intestinal regeneration."

Cassandra closed her eyes she knew what had happened. The helm exploded in front of her ripping her chest into shreds of meat. Her ribs cracked and broken punctured her lungs and would have killed her if not for the quick thinking of Jennifer Hailey. Emergency Medical Transport and Janet's expertise had saved Cassandra's life. The morphine had settled in causing Cassie to drop off into a stupor before she heard her mother explaining that she was because of Malakim medicine regenerating a new lung, new intestines and ribs.

"I need you to rest Cassandra, your body is still in trauma, honey."

"I am okay." Cassandra muttered not all trying to sound full of bravado. "I have you, how can I not be okay? You make everything better, Mom."

"Where have you brought us!" Osiris snarled.

"Out of the fires of Darkness," Usiel answered. "We flew between the Vail of the penumbra. Don't ask me to carry you lot again. Some of you need to lose weight!" the dark angel commented dryly. For his part the Fallen had spoken true he would not be able to take so many through the places between worlds again, not for a very long time.

The black-hearted lord had called for the Vail to slip, and he phased with Osiris and the ten Kull drones from the Kel'tesh to the Samantha Carter. With the World Symphony so chaotically animated because of the battle he took a chance and pierced it and hoped that his calculations were correct.

He had managed to secretly board the Samantha Carter. But credit was given to one Razeal of the Grigori many months ago when the Blue Wing and SG1 went in to Chimera to extract the Colonel from Malpheus and the his brood of miscreant Calabim.

"You didn't answer my question, Usiel. Where are we?"

"Withing the Nephalim's starship. We must move quietly. We might have lost everything in their strike against us but the music is not played out. I say we take hostages. One in particular...."

"Doctor Janet Fraiser." Osiris smiled.

"Take her and we have the greatest weapon against the Nephalim. She's a professional solider and will not surrender her vessel for one life, but she will trade her own for the good Healer, and that is all that is truly needed."

This was no mere war with the Diabolical for the Malakim. It was a war with the principalities—dark and light. The First of the Fallen had taken up arms with the Diabolicals and the Songless. The angelics knew as did Usiel he had the ability to unleash all manner of unholy powers. The entire World Symphony was in Discord. And so this had become a War of the Nephalim.

Usiel was mad but he was no fool. Taking Janet Fraiser hostage would not be easily done. But if the Nephalim, was the prophesied Savior of the Malakim, then her consort was the Grail; a national treasure. And treasures were always closely guarded. Usiel struggled against the erratic pounding to the World Symphony that caused his heart to slam painfully in his chest, and for a moment he had forgotten how to breath.

"It is the Harrowing." he stammered more to himself than his Goa'uld partner, still feeling the ebbing flow of Great Song caress his soul. Even dark the Great Song had not completely let him go, which was why Usiel had so adamantly rebelled against the Nephalim. He had almost forgotten what it was to hear its sweet sound, and now so close to it and yet unable to fully grasp it Usiel was forced to remember what he had lost since his Fall. What he was feeling was pure unadulterated vertigo

Osiris wasn't exactly comforted by Usiel's sudden shock of apprehension, she was after all trying to still her own inner panic. She shuddered in the touch of the dread place between worlds, it wasn't something she was keen on revisiting anytime soon. It was a cold uninviting place filled with shadows of memories and ancient screams. Osiris had been forced to relive every forced joining with a host. Forced to recall the essence of the hosts 'Song' as they cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Forced to live the horror of the blending from the perspective of the host.

The most recent memory was the taking of Sara Gardner. Osiris recalled only that the canopy jar had been opened by a golden crowned female. There was no time to quibble over a host body, it struck as quickly as it was able. And it realized it had much to learn, so much time had passed. The key and his queen were gone. And Osiris recalled that one Doctor Daniel Jackson knew how to read Gao'uld. No slave as permitted to know how to read Gao'uld! Yes their writings were simpler to the hieroglyphs but different enough to where a mere slave could not translate it. And yet this one had.

The essence that remained Sara Garden recalled having the puny male as a lover. An inferior model of male specimens in Osiris's view. Clearly his host was not a discriminating sort. As a possible mate Osiris would have easily chosen either the very small female with a soul of fire or the taller one crowed in gold to be host for his queen but Isis had perished.

In that void Usiel had brought 'her/him' Osiris felt the pain of loss all over again. He had no mate to claim, no queen to love and the screams of his hosts would not leave him. But in that place of shadow Osiris had seen a great shadow looming over Usiel the First Fallen, and he shuddered to have seen it. It was a darkness greater than the void of Anubis's face. And in that void, a baleful emerald fire blazed around Usiel cloaking him as a would be mantel. Osiris could not help but wonder what it appeared to be in the eyes of others. What did Usiel see when looking at the him? Did the Fallen see the symbiote and the host as two separate entities? Did Usiel see green sickly flames, did he hear the cries of raped hosts? And if he did what would Usiel do?

The klaxon sounded braking the stillness of the pregnant silence. "Warning hostile boarding Party. Warning hostile boarding party Warning...." The simulated female computer voice belted out over the siren.

"Liege Healer we must away you to safety!" Turel's voice was first head before the tall angelic stepped out from the Vail between worlds. She moved with deadly stealth to her charge, meaning to take Janet into custody.

"I will leave when my patients are safe!" Janet retorted.

"No now." Turel made to grab the tiny woman, but Janet was not to be bullied, she moved deftly away from her guardian and to the bed that held her daughter. She felt she was in the middle of the apocalypse, the end all to be all war of good against evil Only evil never bothered to tell anyone they had started the war which was why they were winning.

Zaire rippled from the penumbra, "Songless Abominations have taken the ship! They captured the bridge."

Somewhere in the back of Janet's mind she knew Diabolical meant Gao'uld, but abominations...the only thing she could think of were the Super Soldiers. Oh God the drones they could not be so easily stopped. ' Sam.... oh God Sam!'

"Mate take heed. Care for Cassandra! We must away, now." Turel said with more emotion than she had in a hundred years since her torture at the hands of the Diabolicals.

Zaire's ebony wings covered Cassandra's body, and Janet felt the ionization that preempted the traversing between the penumbra and the waking world.

"Wait she isn't stable!" Janet cried out over the pounding coming out from the door beyond. "She just came out of the bacta-tank!"

"I will shield her, Liege Healer." Zaire vowed.

Those able to move, Janet ordered the Malakim medics and Alicia to escort the others through the access tubes. At first there would be protest but the constant din of the enemy warriors berating the doors proved to be more than motivation.

"Go! That's an order!" Janet roared.

Janet saw the last of the patients save Cassandra escaped into safety before the door was forced open. The last thing Janet saw was a mass of blue feathers covering her. The last thing she heard was a scream that pierced the very soul.

Outside of what remained of the Gao'uld command center, a single being looked up. The great moon hung heavily in the sky, full and bright and a dozen times larger than its homeworld's own satellite. Things were flying across the night sky, silhouetted against the pallid face of the moon. Dark shapes, vaguely human, with huge wingspans. As the being watched, more and more of the things flew past. Intelligence reported there were hundreds of them tens of thousands of them, darkening the night, clocking out the light of the moon and the stars. The Malakim and come.

There were Malakim Warriors all over the compound, crossing the night sky in such numbers that they blotted out the stars in places. At first the being had not known what to make of this. Why were the feathered ones invading? They had always warred with the Wraiths, rarely ever with the Gao'uld. Then after watching his Kull Warriors fall to the might of the eccomancing winged creatures, he thought now was not the time to ponder their coming but to evade it. The very ground beneath his feet was aborting him, evation was not going to be simple. The sky once blacked by the seer number of Malakim was now whited-out by the sudden appearance of thick blinding fog.

Anubis could only watch in fascinated awe as he saw the Malakim dive like mammoth birds of pray snatching up his superior Kull Warriors into the boiling sky, and dropped them back into the ravines generated by the a second team of the winged menace. He watched admiring the true harmony of the cohesive efforts of the Malakim. Blood and body parts of the Kull Warriors fell back to earth, sometimes worse and stranger things were returned that were no longer in any way drone. The Kull Warriors are creatures of purpose and intent only, and know nothing of mercy. The trouble was so were the Malakim.

He had been watching the sky open up and fire rain down and blood pool around his feet, he had not until it was far too late seen the presence of a truly magnificent and terrible vision.

"I am Novalis of the Malakite Choir, daughter of Gabriel, Queen of the Malakim Empire, I give my life this day to the Nephalim. You are defeated Lord of the Diabolicals, I have seen the end of your course, now I take your life."

Massive blood stained purple feathers fanned out in a display of superiority, making this Warrior Queen all the more intimidating. The hum of an ignited sun sword caught the half-ascended System Lord off guard, but it was the only miscalculation he had made.

"Come at me then Queen of the Malakim, strike me down if you can." hissed the metallic voice of Anubis.

Novalis closed with the System Lord in a clash of sun sword and ribbon device that produced the shriek of diamond-edged saw bladed cutting through metal. Wheeling across the center of the observation platform, the combatants lunged and parried, attack and counter-attack carried out in a fierce, no-holds-barred, no quarter given struggle. The System Lord was supple and quick, worked his way around the Malakim with confidence and ease in a way that was disturbing.

Novalis had fought in conflicts all across the galaxy in the span of her life and against odds so great that many others would not have stood a chance. She had survived battles that had tested her skill and resolve in every conceivable way. But on this day, she had met her match. The System Lord she battled with Novalis was more than her equal in weapons training, and the power over World Symphony.

Wheeling and spinning leaping and somersaulting with astonishing ease, the System Lord's enemy was taking control of the struggle. Her agility and dexterity allowed her to keep him at bay, constantly attacking while at the same time effectively blunting his counterattacks, relentlessly searching for an opening in his defense. Anubis pressed hard in the beginning, sensing how dangerous this winged creature was, wanting to put an end to the combat quickly.

Novalis knew she had control by a thread and she was losing it quickly. He might only be armed with a ribbon device but his control over the World Symphony was astonishing. All around them the earth shuddered, quacking and the thick fog wall blocked all others from witnessing the contest of wills on the platform. Alone and cut off from the rest of the Choirs, Novalis intensified her struggle.

Holding the winged enemy at bay with the ribbon device was quickly proving to be ineffective, he would not be able to hold her for long. He had faced off against a fully Ascended and defeated him. The Entity that called itself Daniel was no match for Anubis even if he was only a hybrid. But this creature, this female had for eons controlled the very power Anubis had coveted. He had to her only a minor understanding of the Power.

Novalis kept her enemy away, deflecting his attempts to lock on her mind with the ribbon devices, deflected him from summoning the essence of the World Symphony. It was all she could do. She had a vow... protect the Nephalim and her Consort. Samantha and Janet must be made to be safe while Anubis still lived that was not possible. Novalis felt a fierce exultation. She would have the Lord of the Songless as captive yet!

Anubis had seen the female drop her guard, his probing mind had sensed a weakness in her mental shield. As a shark drawn to blood he swiftly darted in for the kill. The winged warriors guard fell, the red gem in the center of the ribbon device causing the golden fire to strike hard against Novalis's skull. The force of psychic-blast was so powerful the queen faulted and fell back. Anubis lunged, pouring all his malice into the device. Her hand numb, Novalis was unable to maintain a hold upon the energized blade, and the sun sword fell useless to the ground beside her.

"I have you now!" the metallic voice hissed.

"And lo I do call to you. I know thy secrete of thy soul," Novalis uttered. Tears turned to blood as the Gao'uld increased his mental rape.

"What's this?" Golden fire turned white in the purity of Anubis' anger. "What's this?! You try to hinder me! Nothing can hinder me!"

"In the Beginning there was Darkness and the Great Song cried out the Word. And the Word created life," Novalis spoke her voice a slow whisper hidden beneath aguish. The ribbon device was as molten hatred oozing into her mind, blinding her to all else but the pain. From her nose and ears dark blood dripped. "All things have a true name if you but speak it, it is created, speak it back to front and you uncreate it."

"The pain has made you mad, filthy flier. I will take you from your misery!" A cold voice answered.

Novalis screamed.

She felt nothing in this like before, not the torment of the ribbon device but the horrific hatred pouring out of Anubis as if sweat. His mind had latched unto her's, his thoughts like fingers raking her brain, until she thought her mind raw from the torture. It was what she had counted upon. She bore in her silver eyes of one who goes seeking death, having no hope.

Astonishingly Novalis rose to her feet, pushing past the pain, the venom of black hate, she drew into her arms the hybrid Ascended Gao'uld, her wings folding about in an embrace of death. Her lips parched and cracked whispered a single word into the creatures' ear.

Suddenly he too screamed with a cry of bitter pain, and the ribbon device went wide. Shapeless he lay now on the ground, torn and tumbled; and a cry went up into the shuddering air, and faded to a shrill wailing, passing with the wind, a voice bodiless and thin that died, and was swallowed up and was never heard again in that age of the world. Seconds later, Anubis' head no longer existed. It melted and oozed away between the Malakim's fingers. She fell to her knees blood and liquid flesh dripping from her hands.

"I am Novalis of the Malakite Choir, daughter of Gabriel, Queen of the Malakim Empire, I give my life this day to the Nephalim." Novalis limp body crumbled beneath her weight, closed her eyes, and did not move.

At the same time Janet was in surgery with Cassandra, Sam Carter sat upon the bridge of her ship. No that was not accurate, she wasn't sitting, she watched with piecing blue eyes at the forward screen as the firefight continued to rage outside. She felt as if she could feel every heartbeat aboard her vessel, every heartbeat of those who fought out there against the malice of the Gao'uld. They merged together in a single pounding beat, a single thump thump, as if someone striking the surface of a large drum. Sam pulled the rhythm into herself, making it apart of her, until it matched her own heartbeat.

The Samantha Carter was running with shields down since the distress call from the wing of fighters requesting emergency admittance to the shuttle bay, both the Prometheus and the Thor had closed in covering her flanks.

"Enemy fighters in range." Pumah said eagerly. "Liege I have a firing solution."

"Fire," Sam responded. She wanted blood for what the Jaffa had done to her child.

"Weapons firing," Pumah announced. "Quantum torpedoes away."

"Stay with them piolet," Sam said. "How soon until shields are restored?"

"Shields half power, now." said Turelim. "Liege, sensors have detected Gao'uld explosive device ten kilometers off the starboard bow."

"Destroy it," Carter said then turned to Boudicca her chosen Malakim First Officer, who stood at operations station. "Why didn't we detected it sooner?"

"The bomb did not activate until we came within fifteen kilometers. Until then it simply registered as random debris that would have easily be deflected by our navigation shields." Boudicca said. "The Diabolicals must have counted upon our willingness to lower shields for distressed piolets."

The tall woman nodded, it was a strategic method to eliminate a foe, use their compassion against them. With shields down any ship would be in extreme threat of being destroyed and with the net flight pattern of the ships, it would be a domino effect one goes and the others are struck with debris of an obliterated vessel. "Engineering increase power to shields."

"I heed, Liege Commander." Came the disembodied voice of Zephon.

"Quantum torpedoes locked on target, Liege." Pumah said.

Sam moved forward to the front viewer, her eyes watching the Prometheus and Thor veering away from their former location, as she said to Pumah, "Fire, full spread."

"Torpedoes away," Pumah said.

Sam turned her gaze was had the others of the bridge to the viewer and watched the torpedo strike the debris. She studied the dispersal pattern of the torpedoes the widened spread was made to hit as many different points around the painted target as possible to increase the strain of shields and batter a section in hopes of obliterating it.

"Damage report." Carter barked.

"Shields held....barely. Twenty-three prescient damage to starboard hull," Pumah said. "However, the explosive had been destroyed."

"I thought this ship was supposed to have the best scanners available in the Empire. Yet we did not detect a threat to the ship until it was less than fifteen kilometers away. Why is this Boudicca?" Sam demanded.

"With all the residual radiation of battle and debris the scanners can not distinguish between an explosive designed to look like debris and true debris itself, Liege." White wings tucked tightly against her body as if it was her error that the sensors had failed the Liege Commander's expectations.

"Shields are restored fully." Zephon's voice came over the ships systems.

Fifty one prescient of the shields power had been restored quickly. Very Quickly. Sam blinked in surprise. She knew tactical systems in general quiet well and had studied her namesake's specs in length. She was more than impressed with the efficiency of the Science Guild's flagship.

Sam would have addressed the issue, but was interrupted by a screaming klaxon. The bridge lights blinked from the dim light to crimson. "Warning hostile boarding Party. Warning hostile boarding party Warning...."

Sam felt her heart slam hard against her chest, her head spinning in torment as Janet's panic flashed into her own. All the while the tiny doctor had been in surgery, Sam felt a mother's panic and a physician's pure professional confidence. The doctor's emotions had been stronger than the panic. And Sam trusted it. Janet would never allow their daughter to die.

But the panic returned stronger than before, sizing Janet for a moment.

"Warning hostile boarding Party. Warning hostile boarding party. Warning...."

"Cut that damned thing off!" Carter barked. "Secure the bridge. Turelim lock out controls from all other parts of the ship to here! "

"I heed!" The green winged angelic his head. Since Zaire had been given the honorable duty to Janet Fraiser's protectorate, Turelim had taken over Operations in her stead.

Sam didn't watch as his hands danced over the kiosk, she trusted her Malakim Officers to do as they were ordered without supervising their moves. Toggling a switch on the armchair of her command chair, Sam decided her next move was to assure all hands that their Liege Commander and the bridge was still safe.

"To all hands, this is the Bridge. A suspected Drone - Jaffa boarding party have infiltrated the ship, neutralize at all costs." Flipping another switch on the command chair. "Engineering, assume command isolation, secure the area."

"I heed." Chief Engineer Zephon answered. She might be young but the lithe Malakim was brilliant. Expertise not age dictated one's office of service once in the Military Guild. She was of the Ofanium Choir, which now facilitated her well. The smaller Malakim was built for speed, she was able to quickly rush from one side of engineering to the other in half the time of her crew. The Gao'uld boarding party would not be able to access Engineering, nor gain control, now that she was securing the chamber.

Sam was a consummate professional solider. And her priority as a warrior and officer was to see to the security of her ship before she checked on those she loved. Isolating the two main sections of high priority, the young colonel now turned her attention to the personal and that meant vicariously she could by extension of the bond reach out and connect to Janet. The bond would tell her yes her wife was in a state of fear, but she too was in command.

"Turelim, status report."

The light blue haired male rose his head, he expression grim. "Decks nine, seven and four scan positive for intruders."

Sam tuned a dozen different shades of pale. Sick bay was on deck nine. "Janet..."

If any of the Malakim thought the utterance of one's lifemate's name was unprofessional none gave voice to it. In fact all mated angelic's knew the power of being bonded. A lifemate dies and the heartache of what follows in the wake of death, destroys the survivor.

"Turel and Zaire are with her, Liege Commander, they will not fail her nor you," Boudicca said.

It was only forty five minutes ago that a distress call had come from one of the Wings. In fact it came from Lieutenant Fraiser. She ship had been severely damaged, her voice crying out Mayday! Mayday, Mayday!' then nothing as her fighter had been struck again.

Sam had pounced upon the offending Jaffa piolet with a vengeance she had ordered a single quantum torpedo for one death glider. Overkill in the extreme, but her orders were carried out without question and the death glider exploded in blaze of glorious ball of fire.

Jennifer Hailey had helped Cassie back into the shuttle bay of the Samantha Carter by supporting the crippled Malakim fighter with the wingtip of her own 302. From the shuttle bay Haiely had transported Cassandra in an emergency transport to sick bay. Jennifer had latter reported to the bridge reporting that Cass was critically wounded as shrapnel butchering her abdominal region.

Now Sam's daughter and wife were trapped in sickbay, with intruders pounding upon the door. Sam felt a new wave of fear seize her that was not her own. Janet and Cassie were in extreme danger.

"Lieutenant Davidson to Bridge." the internal communications sounded.

Sam spun on her heal and slammed the communications button on the command chair. Alicia Davidson was Janet's right hand in sick bay.

"Bridge."Sam said more sharply than she intended.

"Colonel, Doctor Fraiser ordered our escape from sickbay, she Lieutenant Fraiser and two Malakim warriors are still within, all other hands have fled the area we are secure. Colonel.... she's in trouble." The head nurse's voice cracked in her own disparity.

"Understood, Lieutenant. Stay in the secure area and dig in."

"Yes ma'am." the nurse said feeling somehow reassured that Colonel Carter was still in command.

Sam turned back to her bridge crew, her mouth opened to issue another order when suddenly a bright white fire erupted inside her own mind. Crying out she feel to her knees clutching her head. Her teeth smashed together in a grimace of utter agony. She knew this pain, this agony well. It was the pain of a ribbon device worming its vial way into her mind, destroying it.

"Colonel!" Jennifer was at Carter's side instantly, holding her.

Sam arched back tumbling out of the younger officer's grip. She groaned in her agony, feeling as if the Ashrak was back to destroy her as it had once before, when Jolinar had taken refuge within her..

"Liege Commander!" It was Boudicca who cradled the young blond into her arms now. Jennifer stared she had never seen her hero so tormented. "What takes you?" Boudicca insisted.

Sam screamed, holding her head, never before had the ribbon device seized her. "...name. I know thy secrete of thy soul. If you but speak it ......back to front and you uncreate it." was a whisper heard to be said before Sam passed out.

Usiel watched as the drones broke through the tritium doors of sick bay with an expression of pure boredom. Mortals did things so difficultly, it would be easier to simply part the Vail and step past it and rematerialize on the other side.

Yet when he tried to do just that, he was forbidden access. It was if the spirt world and the physical world were severed were wrenched apart and the barrier calcified.

"The gauntlet is thick here." Usiel murmured, a bit vexed that he could not easily penetrate this ethereal barrier as he would have wished. Of course he would blame this incident upon the presence of the Nephalim. The Fallen knew as any other Malakim that the Gauntlet was the manifestation of the Dark emergence into existence. Before this catastrophe event all pain was accidental, the intended result of hasty actions. After the Severing, there emerged a new form of pain in the universe: caused for pleasure, and Usiel basked in the giving. But in the receiving he was not so inclined to acquiesce to cosmic karmic justice. This too was the cause of the Nephalim. Now more than ever the First of the Fallen wanted to wreak vengeance upon the Consort so that he could deliver some of this deliberate, intentional pleasure giving pain upon the Nephalim.

If he could not render the Gauntlet to pierce the Vail between worlds he would render another barrier. This of course was the true corporeal barrier of the bulkhead preventing the Songless drones from infiltrating the Liege Healer's domain. Placing his hands together the black winged demonized angelic called forth the power of the World Symphony and what little control over it he had he caused the metal of the bulkhead to heed his desires.

Blandly and without care of awe the Kull Warriors waited as the metal began to ooze like mercury and dribble away leaving behind a gapping hole. The first drone waited only long enough for his body to squeeze into the gap, caring not that molten metal fell upon his armored shoulders. He did not flinch as the heated liquid substance bored holes into his own unread flesh.

His black gauntleted arm raised and fired shot after shot. He saw his target a moment before massive black wings of a female engulfed the diminutive Tau'ri, effectively shielding her. An enemy of the god was an enemy and would be neutralized. The winged creature only stalled the inevitable.

"Remember you Songless beast" Usiel roared above the laser fire, "you have to remove the hearts. And don't kill that featherling of a healer, we need her alive." He followed after the second black armored drone entered the sickbay. He was astounded but the sheer show of determination of the Malakim protecting the tiny mortal.

"She at least deserves to die by a true warrior," He muttered. Pushing past the drone, Usiel stood behind Turel. "Go to the Great Song, sister," he said before he plunged his dagger deep into the back of the bloodied mass of warrior, causing her to scream out such a sound he would forever hear it in his dreams. Usiel watched in macabre fascination as her bodied shivered in the death-troughs.

Janet couldn't move, Turel had used her own body as a shield to protect her she could scarily breath, she couldn't see but she could hear. She heard the distinct clang of boots of a super solider drone. He could feel the shuttering of Turel's body was it was wracked with laser fire. She heard the gasp of breath coming from the emotionally impotent warrior. Then she heard the scream of utter pain.

"Turel go into the pen umbra," Janet pleaded. Tears blurred the doctor's eyes, her own body shivering.

But she would receive no answer, save for the words of the enemy telling the drones to remove the heart. Then something stuck her in the back hard enough to force the wind from her lungs. The weight upon her increased tenfold. And in that moment Janet recognized the metallic scent of blood. And all to familiar shudders of death.

"I am Turel of the Cherubim Choir, I die this day for the Liege Heal....." the words were not spoken but echoed in Janet's mind clearly as if uttered aloud.

"Turel.....Turel........"Janet cried out the name through a throat tight from disparity. "Oh Turel..."

Black wings still covered the doctor, the body of Turel still protected her, even in death the tall blue haired warrior would protect the Liege Healer.

Part 21

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