Champions Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter Twenty-One

The Bane of Mortal Things

"What place is this I have come? Am I not dead?" A scared hand reached for her chest, and through the leather and thick Kevlar shielding the Queen of the Malakim found the fierce pounding of her twin eight chambered hearts. She still had them. Her enemy had not removed them...strange. Even the Wraiths knew to remove a Malakim's heart or they shall not surely die. They will be cast into the Fading if they could not regenerate the gravity of the wounds, but they were not dead. "I live still...why...Is this the Fading?"

Novalis rose from the prone position they had placed her in when they left.. Even the down of her feathers hurt, today was a good day to die, better still to make one's enemy dead. Beset by the ironies of life, Novalis found her way out of the fog of her mind to see she was entombed in an ocean of mist.

"Is this what is to be Faded?"

As if to answer the monarch, the earth trembled in this world of white. Ionized air, lung hating smoke, spindling mists seized her. Somewhere beyond the horizon voices of choirs drew out in hymns of war disorientating Novalis' scenes further.

"To the Queen!" To the Queen! She has been felled!" The voice bellowed out belonging to the massive Balustrade.

Novalis watched her Crimson Wing descend. Yes her Wing, those closest to her. Several served the Queen, thousands had descended to the planet side to war against the Songless abominations, and their Diabolical Overlords but the Crimson Wing was the Queen's most beloved.

She closed her silver eyes, her mind still stymied as to why she had not succumbed to the Fading. She had her hearts so Novalis knew she lived still, but for what Anubis had done to her, for the power she had summoned, the ancient monarch knew the suffrage. She should be Faded.

Silver eyes widened in sudden shocking realization why she had not been felled by the Fading. The Nephalim! By the Great Song the Nephalim would....

"My Queen, be still you've been damaged." Balustrade gentled his leader.

Behind him the orange wings of Briel fluttered still and folded as the Adjutant landed.

"No! We must away to the Nephalim!" Novalis all but screeched. "Oh the Dark take me...that which I had served to save her from, inadvertently I inflicted upon her." Her eyes filled with unshed tears.

Briel and Balustrade exchanged worried glances for the Queen's sudden bout of bedlam, for they knew not why their beloved Queen was so suddenly afflicted.

"My Queen?" came the voice of Briel softly.

"Swiftly." Novalis said using both the shoulders of Balustrade and Briel to steady herself as she rose. "We tarry not, Samantha...she will need us. I must lift the Fading before she falls pray to its pull." Novalis didn't stop the tears this time as she wept. "Sweet Samantha, forgive me for I did not know that what I have done. Dear sweet, Nephalim..."

Samantha felt as if she had come of a three day leave from boot camp. Her head hurt as if she drank Jack Daniels on an empty stomach, and that was the good part of it all. Yes, she had suffered headaches, actually since that last major concussion on the Prometheus and a month latter at the Beta site when the Drone was hunting her, Sam has suffered migraines. Some were severe enough to have Janet extremely concerned. You simply do not suffer head trauma like Sam did with out lasting effects. Add to that fact the many times she had suffered the Ribbon Device and it was amazing that Colonel Carter wasn't severely brain damaged.

All too soon reality struck Sam with a discontented sort of perception. The power of the enemy had grown. Usiel would leave none alive. The hoard had descended upon her sanctuary stealing the very thing that Sam held most dear. Her family. Samantha's wrath would be terrible, her retribution swift.

Intrusively over the intercom system of the ship echoed the voice Sam had not heard for several months. The voice inside the black box while she had been a prisoner in the Calabim Sanitarium. The voice she thought once belonging to Malphas then to Achelous was in truth the voice of Usiel speaking through his agents.

"Oh Neph-a-lim....Neph-a-lim....I have something of yours."

'Whatever happens remember my sanity, whatever I see...is real....'

"There was a lot of blood. Would you like to see? The blood? Pale little creature, so tiny, frail thing. Just a featherling to my eyes."

Sam's jaw clenched tightly. She could feel Janet's fear, her rage, her primal urge to fight against the dark thing now holding her hostage. Carter reveled in the emotions flooding her for it meant her wife was alive.

"I will not give up this ship." Sam said, she turned rested her eyes on Jennifer and then to Boudicca. "Razeal, incite self destruct. We have Usiel and I'm going to hazard a guess that Osiris is with him. "

The Malakim looked at one another for a moment, but it was only a moment's hesitation before each of them started to comply.

To accent her words, from just beyond the bridge pneumatic doors that had been previously sealed, came a constant thudding, snatching everyone's attention. Hearts thundered, beating wildly against chest bones. It was the Kull warriors, sent to hunt down the Nephalim. They would not distinguish the difference between that which they hunted and that which stood in their way.

"Liege, I need your authorization code." the young male said, his sapphire eyes flicking back and forth from the console in front of him and the constant pounding on the doors.

Sam gave a noncommittal nod of her head of her blonde head, and typed in her code in the console in the arm of her command chair. "Set for one hour detonation."

"Yes my liege." Razeal once more tilted his head and wings in supplication. His heart hammered in his young Malakim chest as he whispered the words, 'I am Razeal of the Grigori I die this day for the Nephalim.'

Sam spun on her heels pinning Boudicca with her gaze of blue, "Seal off all access to the Penumbra use whomever you need, then you and the others sneak in and seal it behind you and take SG1 with you. Give me fifty-five minutes and unseal the Penumbra access and extract survivors. If Usiel can use it to get aboard my ship we can use it to get off. Go to the Gwishir; contact the Thor and Prometheus from there."

"Liege, what of you?" Boudicca wanted to argue.

"I am going to save my wife and child."

"With all do respect Sam..." Daniel started, "are you insane?"

Behind his words the thudding of the Kull warriors continued.

"Probably." The Colonel answered.

"I heed." The warrior answered, her duty was to protect and serve the Liege Commander in all things, her vow was to heed the will of the Nephalim.

"No ma'am." Jennifer Hailey stepped forward. "Colonel, just for the record I am volunteering to cover your six. Ma'am you need us to cover you and distract the snake and wingless wonder to extract the doc and Cass. Ma'am Cass is by friend."

Sam looked at her junior officer. Jennifer had risked much as she used her own 302 to guide Cassie's disabled fighter into the shuttle bay. Sam knew exactly how Hailey felt, she her self had gone on what would be a suicide mission just to save Jack O'Neill, Daniel and Teal'c and even Jonas Quinn. She had done so on a few occasions for Janet.

"All right Hailey."

"We all go, Colonel Carter." Teal'c made a vow, "A warrior never allows a friend to go into battle alone. Nor does a warrior allow his friend to face danger alone. I will stand with you Colonel Carter."

Sam knew she would never be able to order those of SG1 and Hailey away not now, not ever. "Now I know how the General felt a few times." She smiled. "Fine, you're with me, Boudicca and the Blue Wing, you have your orders. Fifty-five minutes and you extract us."

"Here they come."

No one was quite certain who had voiced it, but it was true.

The entire scene had the riotous, unruly frenzy of a Hell's Angels rally. Kull Warriors broke through the hull; metal whined and groaned peeling away like so many layers of an onion.

"PARLAY! PARLAY!" Daniel screamed. "We demand parlay!"

For a moment, the time it takes to draw a breath, the drones paused, their raised arms and the weapons embedded in them stilled.

"You will come. Usiel commands it." seven voices said at once.

"Daniel, what the hell did you just do?" Sam hissed.

"Bought us time, Sam. Under the sections of warfare a combatant of ranking position can call Parlay. Under Parlay the prisoner can not be harmed and negotiations though not demands must be heard and met with the condition of surrender of the prisoner."

"Daniel, that's Malakim law in case you haven't noticed those things are not Malakim! And Osiris will not heed to Parlay."

"No, but Usiel will."

"Colonel?" Hailey asked her modified Zat gun pointed at the stilled drone in front of her.

Sam looked at the mutilated metal door and the seven Kull Warriors milling in front of them. Surviving one drone was one thing, facing seven super soldieries was a sentence of death. Their only hope of surviving this was to agree to the Parlay. And Sam hated the inevitability of her choice.

"My, my, my, what do we have here? What a delectable little morsel you are," Usiel hissed as he moved about Daniel. His willowy hands trailing like so many serpents around the archeologist's chest. The dark angel sucked in a breath as if taking in the scent of freshly baked confections. "You are just sooo yummy. It's unbelievable that you have such discord rotting within you."

Daniel recoiled from the touch, feeling foul from the voices slithering within his mind.

"It is so deep within you." Usiel cooed. The others of SG1 surged in vindicated anger that their captor had taken such an interest in Daniel and there was for the moment nothing they could do about it. The Kull warriors guarding them had their plasma guns aimed at their heads. The only thing they knew for the moment was that Usiel was not about to allow Osiris to torture them, but they didn't know how long it would last.

"Oh! You never told them," Usiel smirked as he whispered with a smoky voice. "Even more delicious," The angelic hissed. His black eyes now lifted and rested upon the mortals. "How delightful this will be. You, Daniel betrayed your companions to slave away in the Naquadah mines for days on end as you enjoyed luxury. Tell me Daniel when you were fucking that alien pussy did you think of your companions as they were beaten, fed merger scraps of moldy bread and stale water for ten days? You the man who would be king enjoyed ten days of feasts, and tasted the power of a sarcophagus, was it delicious knowing your friends were suffering? "You've never known what love is have you?"

Usiel looked up from Daniel to rest his black eyes on Samantha Carter. "You so enjoyed hurting her didn't you? You thrilled to feel that succulent pain you gave her. Come on admit it, you were even aroused by it. I can feel it. It is … succulent."

Daniel dropped his eyes unable to meet Sam's eyes. "You've never known love have you?" Usiel smiled once more. "Why the words just trip off the tongue so easily." The hands traced a figure eight around Daniel's heart. "That wasn't the only time you thrilled to hurt her."

"Daniel, don't listen to him!" Carter yelled.

"Oh but he will. You all will," Usiel smirked. "He dreamed in one reality and in another it was more then real. The Harsesis…gave him the foresight of absolute power. And he …" Usiel chuckled at his own words. "Oh now this is pure beauty. He had you incarcerated Samantha. Can I call you Samantha?"

"Go to hell." Sam snarled.

"Been there," Usiel smiled. "But then so have you. However you distract me," Usiel turned his dark eyes back to the archeologists. "Ahhhh look you DO remember," More laughter. "Samantha rejected you didn't she? She never found you sexually desirable. You didn't like that. You hated the idea she loved you as she would love a brother. You didn't like the fact that Samantha put everything together about what you truly intended with the weapons grid, so you had her arrested, and diagnosed with acute dementia. Oh then of course you shot her in the head and watched as her blood and brains trickled over the walls." A large snake's smile flared brightly across the dark angels' face.

His voice harsh, menacing, and yet soft and slow as bitter treacle, it sounded like several voices whispering together, in subtle harmonies that rated on the soul like fingernails drawn down a blackboard.

"But your dissidence didn't stop there. You took Janet Fraiser captive. She too rejected you, so you killed her, as well. Ohh you wanted that one more then Samantha. You desired her so deeply you would take her by force, but you wanted her to surrender willing to you. But she didn't so you took a pain stick to her and tortured her so terribly."

Janet flinched as she shuddered unable to believe Daniel would grow that corrupt. Usiel smiled when he saw the tiny doctor shudder. "Do you want to know how? Oh please…….it's such a great chapter in his vision. Isn't it Danny boy?" Usiel smiled as he felt Daniel flinch under his touch. "Tasty…" The word was hissed in a smoky voice. "This is too good to keep to ourselves. You see he had Teal'c go on several missions, then …" the angelic laughed. "He had Teal'c captured, and tortured with pain sticks, electroshock you name it. Teal'c's symbiote harvested for the Naquadah, which Danny here had injected into his own body! Yes Tee, he had you dissected like a little lab rat.

"With Naquadah in his blood and the new protein marker Danny here was able to use the ribbon device, which he then turned on Janet. And you know why? Because she wouldn't perform the experiments on Teal'c or you Samantha. And she definitely wouldn't…what is the word…give you a blow job…..So he killed her." Daniel felt bile rise to his throat. Seeing the stunned faces of the mortals, Usiel chuckled.

"Oh, how arch!! You never told them the details of your vision, of what you sweet lovable baby-faced Daniel Jackson had done what you are truly capable of. You murdered Janet Fraiser, Teal'c and Jack O'Neill, and then murdered Samantha Carter. Your rapid rise to power corrupted you totally. And you carry this dissidence within you as if you actually created these atrocities against those you claim to love." Another smirk. "And in another quantum reality…you did."

There was a sickening glee in the angelics voice. "Just think in another alterative reality you did all those things with a very willing heart." Usiel moved away from Daniel and smiled as he saw the ashen expressions of SG1. "The thing is, Danny my boy, that you are more then capable of this discord. It started so early with your need for the sarcophagus. Before that even Samantha asked you not to kill Goa'uld larva when on Chulak because they were defenseless. She said to do so would be as the Goa'uld, but you killed the infants without so much as a blink of the eye and you took pleasure in the kill!

"The worst the Nephalim, did with addiction to some freaking Light was yell at her CO, that she wouldn't continue to call him sir. Oh yes she jumped a thirty foot fence ate three stakes and a diet coke and assaulted several patrons at a pub…BORING! Imagine, her greatest sin in addiction was to be insubordinate…..you… Danny my boy are far more delicious. I LIKE you." Usiel tilted his head like a cobra wavering before its pray.

"You are darkness and you beg my attentions. You do call to me as do the Goa'uld. For you are as Goa'uld." Usiel stepped back and snickered as he approached Sam "Tell you what. Why don't we trade secretes? Only you go first because I've forgotten what mine is."

"God you're certifiable," Sam said under her breath. Usiel cocked his obsidian head bird like.

"You're just now figuring that out? What college did you go to? I faced the Fading, and believe me it isn't something you get over." He titled his head back and forth, the smile on his face; wide and Cheshire. "It leaves a scar on the old noodle, know what I mean Nephalim? BUT I am sane enough to know I'm mad. Madness is more fun. Liberating. Try it sometime."

"I don't think so." Sam shot back.

"To each their own. But I can sense the scars of the Fading upon you Nephalim. You have come close to the Abyss, haven't you? Only that bitch of a mate you have, pulled you from it. May the Darkness take her." Usiel steeped closer to Sam whispering in her ear in a seductive purr. "Don't you see? I share a skin, a heart with the Abyss." He pulled back sneering now "Oh!" he snapped his fingers as if to recall something. . "Why don't you make whatever reprieve you what to, to whatever god you worship just so you feel better when I end your life."

"You are the worst patronizing clichéd bad guy we have ever heard of." Cassie snapped. Her body still recovering from the intensive surgery she had not three hours ago.

"Oh?" A smile as Usiel held up the index finger of his right hand "But you have heard of me," a brighter smile. "Oh love to stay and chat, but can't my attentions are needed elsewhere. So love, love kiss, kiss gotta fly." Usiel flashed a lazy human military salute and parted out of the doors leaving the prisoners to their bewilderment.

Janet cast a quick glance to Sam; something in the bond she shared with her wife frightened the petite woman.

The blonde's breath was heavy as if it were an effort to make herself remember to breathe. Sam was losing her faith in reality, or perhaps she had lost faith in herself, and now she seemed only to exist through a constant effort of will. Three months ago Sam was convinced that if she had ever stopped concentrating on the fact she was real she would disappear.

This was the Fading!

"You are leaving her alive! You have railed against her existence and now you won't even kill her?" Osiris screeched once they were alone in the antechamber of sickbay.

"Do you know how easy it is to sow discord amongst tightly knit groups? Surprisingly easy. Right now they are looking at that Daniel creature with such contempt it's better than sex. Speaking of which, THAT was the last male you had a good romp with? No wonder you want to get some from me."

Osiris stared at her cohort with her own contempt.

"See... I can feel your own discord directed at me. Nice and sweet, just the way I like it Goldilocks."

"Kill her and be done with it." Osiris snarled, ignoring the snide comments from the dark Malakim.

"I can not... not yet...."

"Why? Why can't you?"

"She claimed Parlay." the Fallen said as if it explained everything.

"Irrelevant. She is a Tau'ri unworthy of such benevolence."

"SHE is the Nephalim of the Malakim Empire!" Usiel growled, his hands shoving Osiris backwards nearly propelling her to the floor of the antechamber. "Show a little respect."


"You can't just go around killing people you hate." Usiel shrugged, "I mean there would be no one to torment and play with and what is the fun of that? Nobody played with you when you were a little worm did they? Had the sand box all to your wormy-little-self did we?"

"A god does not play, we concur."

"Oh you play. You play at being gods...when we all know you'd be swimming around in some swamp or in some gut of a Jaffa if it wasn't for a host. Without a one you are wiggly little wormies perfect to use for bait." Usiel wiggled his finger mocking the invertebrate he mockingly compared Osiris to.

"I will slay you for such insolence." The Ribbon Device on Osiris's palm glowed golden with the fire of her rage.

"The one thing I learned in all my years is that nothing ever works out the way you want it to. Point that thing somewhere else before you hurt yourself. You know by now you can't kill me with it. There is no escaping the nature of the Universe, Osiris. It is this very nature that is the core of existence. Where others see coincidence, I see consequence. Where others see chance I see cost."

"What are you getting at," Osiris' patience had run its course. She had decided it was time to have the Kull Warriors take the winged creature apart. If the only way to kill a Malakim was to remove the heart, with ten Kull drones that would be easily done. Immutable anger now controlled the System Lord, she would not tolerate Usiel for much longer.

"I will answer to the Parlay, THEN I can take the Nephalim and have Sergeant Death be strict in his arrest. But they first must stew in their righteous anger, let them wait."

"I've had enough of your games creature, if you will not act, I will. You are the weakest link in this union, perhaps you should just 'fade' away."

Usiel rolled his black eyes. "Do you write your own your own material? Because it is soooo fresh. I mean it is sooo funny. By the Dark what a clever smart girl you must be to throw that at me! I mean is there anything else you wish to throw at me because that is so funny, really it is. You are so original to come up with that all on you little bitty own. I'd love to stay and chat but you're a total bitch. Seriously you didn't play well with others did you?"

Osiris would not give the winged male the satisfaction of a retort. Having decided she was going to sic the Kull Warriors after his sorry arse had made all the difference. She could for the next few moments suffer his remarks, if only the chance to feast upon his twin hearts. And feast she would. If she ate the primta during System Lord summits, she would consume Malakim hearts with delight.

Back on the Gwishir another drama was playing out.

"Speak to me Healer, what is this malady that plagues our Queen?" Briel demanded earnestly.

White wings fanned slightly in annoyance, but settled over the shoulders of Healer Rakrir. His blue eyes resting upon Briel. "She suffered the Near-Fading Adjutant; it has placed her in a state of Bedlam."

"Will she recover," The diplomat demanded.

"She should, with some rest. She survived Adjutant because of the link she has with the Nephalim. They share the same fate." The healer revealed.

"Than it is reasonable the Nephalim will suffer Bedlam of Near-Fading." Briel's voice was dark.

Rakrir nodded. Any comment he was to make was cut off by the hoarse cries of Novalis. "To Samantha.....the Nephalim she does call to me. The hour is dark, to her! To her!"

Marshaling her strength Novalis sat up steeling her silver eyes upon the far wall. Bizarre, hallucinatory visions filled her mind since her felling with the faceless Diabolical. They were more vivid than dreams, more like a memory, but Novalis knew she had never suffered anything of its like before so how could they be memories?

Lighting ebbed in the night of her mind, casting aside the darkness micro-seconds at a time. Thunder of war pealed around them, all but drowning out the sounds cries of disparity in Novalis's own skull. She was flying, fleeing cold and hot all at the same time. Fog cloaked her eyes and she couldn't see, multiple whooshing noises sliced through the mists of her mind. She willed the grogginess to leave her, she was desperate for it. She felt a nausea strike her, making her whole body swoon.

"They are here." She stated in a voice of mist it self.

"What speak of you, my Queen?" Rakrir asked seeing that Briel would not, undoubtedly, putting it down to a woman locked in Bedlam.

But even before the Queen of the Malakim could answer, there was a shifting felt in the World Symphony.

"Someone pierces the Vale." Briel said.

"There are many songs." Novalis said.

"A Wing perhaps?" the Healer questioned, He too could feel the fluttering of several individuals and their personal songs echoed in the Vale between worlds. "But why come here?"

"They mark the Queen's Song!" Briel answered, a mere seconded before she withdrew and ignited her sun sword.

The bulkhead in front of them wavered and rippled like the air on the Savanna desert.

"Stand down your weapons; we are the Blue Wing of the Grigori!" Boudicca said before she fully materialized out of the Penumbra. Once fully through she was on bended knee, her great white wings pulled exceptionally close to her body. "The Nephalim is in grave danger, there isn't much time, we must be away now!"

Behind her the seven others of the Blue Wing made their own appearance, each of them down on a single knee, their multicolored wings pressed to their bodies. They had come following the prominent pull of the Great Song emanating from their queen. They had not expected to find her in sickbay, but they would not allow this minor distraction to stay them from their course.

"The First of the Fallen has taken the Nephalim. Please, we must go now!" Razeal yelled, his voice cracking under the strain.

Briel spun on her heels so quickly her own orange wings flared in the arousal of penned battle. She struck the bulkhead with the com-panel, "Sickbay to bridge make an intercept course to the Samantha Carter. All Wings take up arms. Crimson Wing to sickbay, stay with our Queen. Orange, Red and Sulfur Wings enter the Penumbra; the Liege Commander's Blue Wing will take the headwind; once we over, take that ship slip through, protect the Nephalim and the Consort."

"No." Novalis said. "I will take the headwinds. The Nephalim's heart cries out to me, her song I must heed and press wing."

Briel knew better than to argue her Queen's words. If Novalis truly wanted to lead the strike team there was no way the young adjacent could waylay the Queen. Novalis's will over the World Symphony even in Bedlam was far too strong, her fortitude unbreakable."

"As you will my Queen." Orange wings pulled in tight to the younger Malakim's body "We have only forty minutes, make it happen!"

"I offer you a deal, you give me what I want or we will all die right here, right now." Sam snarled once she saw Usiel and his partner Osiris reenter sickbay. Surrounding them like some macabre royal guard were the ten Kull Warriors. The seven that had escorted the bridge crew to sickbay had three 'brothers' waiting for them. It would be near impossible to fight the ten without the Malakim warriors. Sam wasn't about to try, but she did have an ace up her sleeve. "Only my voice will stop the self-destruct Usiel. That is my Parlay."

"Wait...wait..." The dark angelic smiled warmly. "You had a self destruct initiated? Are you serious? Is she serious? Oh tolootala!"

His reactions befuddled the mortals completely, leaving them agog as they starred at the mad angelic

Osiris was not going to stall, and she had no death wish, unlike her demented colleague. Instinct drove the Goa'uld. "Stop it now or I will kill your lover," Osiris growled snapping Janet by the neck, the Ribbon Device flaring to life. At least her reactions were more predictable.

Janet whimpered under the flare of pain coming from the weapon. She could count on her hand the amount of times she had felt the power of the Ribbon Device and still have fingers left over. Her eyes crossed, every fiber of her body wilted. Categorically the doctor within her could explain exactly what was happing to her body, but all she could think, all she could feel, was the pain ripping through her.

Her tiny body shuddered as the pain intensified, and for a moment all she could think of was her wife. How many times had Sam, her beloved wife, suffered this? How could she survive this?

'I love you Sam.' If she was to die she wanted to die confessing her love for her family. 'Our girls...I love them. Sammy...baby-blues...Sammy I love you....oh god!' Janet felt a heaviness spill over her snapping her from her false reality. 'So this is death....Sammy...forgive me... forgive me for being weak...I can't be strong like you....Sammy!'

Sam bolted for her wife; she could feel her wife crying out for her. "Leave her alone you bitch!" Sam roared. She would slay the vile thing if it was the last thing she did. "You god-damn cunt! You want me, then fucking take me! Leave her alone!"

The Kull warriors' grip upon her was too strong and Sam was immobilized, she could only watch as her wife was tortured by the Goa'uld. "Stop her! Teal'c!"

SG1 could not move. The drones had them all immobile, their strength to powerful to fight.

This of course only fueled the passion of death-lust in the System Lord. Usiel was right; the best way to harm Samantha Carter was to use her wife against her. To torment the tiny doctor would 'kill' Colonel Carter. The gem in the center of the Ribbon Device flared white as Osiris poured more of her power into it.

Janet would have cried out had she the strength, but her life was slipping from her too quickly. It would be over soon. No more pain, no more hurt, just death. "Sammy I love you." Janet mouthed, thought or screamed, she didn't know.

"Everything that has a beginning had an end." Usiel said softly. "Sometimes to defeat evil you do not combat it with good, but confront it with another kind of evil." He moved so quickly that no one was sure he had moved at all. Osiris's eyes widened, shocked as she had felt something strike the back of her skull, it was like something itching her mind, something tickled.

With lightning fast agility Usiel had plunged his fist into the back of the System Lord's skull. A sickening crack followed by a sucking sound, Usiel had with steel power thrust his hand through the bone into the brainstem with a hard yank he forced his fist out.

"Oh my God!" Daniel gasped. "Sarah! My god Sarah!"

The blonde body fell in a bloodied heap.

"Not a god any more I am afraid." Usiel said dropping the symbiote to the floor along side the corpse of Sarah Gardner just before he stepped on it and ground it underfoot.. "Oh well, she wasn't fun anymore anyway, worm filled strumpet."

The humans and angelic alike could only stare dumb-founded at their nemesis. Janet had fallen to the floor and was not moving. Once more Sam made to move to her wife, this time she was not impeded by the drones. They were all to befuddled as to what had just happened. Their master was slain, now without directives they were in a state of shock.

Janet herself was in her own world of shock, scarcely able to function above 'fire bad, tree pretty' level of cognizance.

Sam cradled her wife in her arms softy cooing to her as she petted the dark sweaty locks. Through their bond she sent her undying love, her eyes turned to ice as they leveled upon the dark angelic creature before them. Because of Usiel, Janet had been hurt, because of him; Janet was freed from Osiris' torments. Sam hated having to owe this thing before her for the life she now cuddled closely.

"What?" Usiel's broken black wings lifted in a Malakim shrug. "I told her once I would betray her. Even told her I might kill her one day. Sometimes I can be a creature of my word." He smiled. "And besides she was breaking Parlay. I won't tolerate that." He causally wiped his bloodied hands on his tunic as if it was mud. "Like I told her, where others see coincidence, I see consequence. Where others see chance, I see cost. Guess that is the cost of fucking around with Parlay. Now....where were we?" He snapped his fingers. "Oh right that whole self-destruct thingy." A new sneer. "Be my frigging guest Nephalim. Die! That's all I want. I am not a greedy bastard, just a bastard. I just want 'you' dead. If you want to blow yourself up, I'll stand back and watch you do it. I don't care if I have to die to make that happen; I am just as dedicated to my duty as you are to yours. You're dead, I win."

Sam had not been bluffing when she had threatened the self-destruct, but she had not counted on the pure acceptance of the First of the Fallen to so readily give up. He wasn't concerned about self-preservation. Sam was doing him a favor by the ultimatum. Now she was weaponless.

"Or...you can die right here, right now, they go free, I leave, end of story. That IS my Parlay. What do you say...want to be a hero Samantha Carter: Nephalim of the Malakim? You are a warrior, prove it, and die for your people, enough of them died for you."

Sam looked at the now rousing form she held so protectively in her arms. There was no choice. None at all. Cassandra and Rebecca needed a mommy.


"NO! You can't do that!" Several voices said at once.






Sam looked to those who called out her name, wife, daughter, Danny, Teal'c, Four-foot-Nine, all the people she called family ....then she looked back to Usiel.

"Do it, and be done with it." She ordered

Part 22

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