Champions Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter Four


(Nine months prior to the Malakim arrival to the SGC)

"Samantha Carter has become more and more of a problem." Osiris snarled. The wine glass she was holding went flying from her hand and smashed against the far wall of her chambers, nearly clocking a Jaffa with the explosion of crystal. "She has proven more of a nuisance and a deterrent then even the Tok'ra! If she were to die the SGC would be impotent!"

Ga'rak flinched; he himself had faced the Taur'ri female in battle more then half a dozen times. He had respected her as a worthy adversary for she was a formidable warrior, enemy or not. In fact, many of the Jaffa thought it an honor to battle against her. She was also a very brilliant woman; so much so that even Nirrti and Hathor had wanted her as host for themselves. Of course that was before they fell to this woman. Some of the Jaffa had dubbed her the 'God-Killer'. It was a lethal combination to have the mind of the most brilliant of scholars and the heart of a master warrior.

Osiris watched the glass glittering on the floor of the hall, the red wine spilling out like blood. It was then a cruel smile had spread across her lips.

"An Ashrak can be deployed my lord. I believe many would rally to the opportunity to assassinate the leader of SG1." Ga'rak pointed out, his baldhead tilted not daring to meet the eyes of his god.

Blue eyes flaring golden-white sparkled in what could almost be perceived as merriment. "No. I have a better idea." Blue eyes watched as the wine continued to pool " Awaken the Zatarrc." The smile that appeared upon her face was vile. "She is far too noble for her own good. That virtue will be her undoing."

"It will be as you say my Lord Osiris." Ga'rak bowed his head.

(The present)

Someone was following him. A sixth sense, the result of years of service, warned Andréa Blessing of SG3 Marines that he was being watched and tracked. Softly, the marine cursed. He leaned against a nearby building and casually scratched at his right ankle. At the same time, Blessing swept the street around and behind him with a relaxed gaze. It was late, nearly midnight, but in Colorado Spring's "adult" entertainment strip, things were just starting to happen.

Dozens of people crowded the sidewalk. Men and woman, black and white, they were all part of the usual weeknight crowd. Cheap whores in black leather outfits that exhibited all their charms mixed with high-class hookers dressed in silks. In a tough economy, both were anxious for business. Teenagers and college students hunted for drugs, bargaining with street dealers for the best price. Red-faced drunks begged for quarters. Young kids, dressed in rags and violating curfew, danced on street corners looking to grow up too fast.

Young and old, they shared one trait in common. None of them expressed the least bit of interest in the motionless figure of Andrea Blessing. With a sigh of annoyance, the big Marine from SG3 shook his head. Friends didn't track you. Just enemies. Mentally, he reviewed anyone he might have insulted or annoyed lately. The list wasn't very long. The one person he had insulted had been two, no three years ago, but she was a comrade, and one he trusted. She was their best, and now she was on trauma leave. Said she had had enough. Andréa knew that was a lie, it was in the blood, it locked itself into the soul, she would never, could never give it up. She would always be a part of the SGC.

Straightening his long coat Blessing started walking again. A black hole of an alleyway loomed up to his left, and, smoothly, without breaking stride, Blessing swiveled into the narrow corridor. An unbroken wall of brick, twenty feet high, lined both sides of the passage. Just as he had remembered, it was the perfect location for a trap. From underneath his topcoat, the Marine pulled out his gun.

A man walked right passed him.

"Lose something?" Asked Blessing, stepping out of the alcove. The stranger stopped moving, then slowly turned. Less than six feet separated the stalker from his quarry. The strange man's eyes widened in sudden shock as he spotted the pistol in the soldier's left hand, it's muzzle, gaping wider than the entrance of hell, was pointed in direct line with his stomach.

"Blessing, right?" The swarthy man asked, his voice low and guttural. Slowly, very slowly he spread his hands apart as if demonstrating he was unarmed.

"Which hardly matters." Quibbled the large fighting fit marine, "What's more important, is who."

The Marine never completed the sentence. The stranger's right hand twisted unexpectedly. As if by magic, a thin cord flashed out from beneath the man's arm and wrapped whip like around the Biretta. Blessing was caught completely by surprise. Before he could squeeze down on the trigger, the gun went flying from the Marine's hands. Pistol and strangler's rope disappeared into the trash, leaving the Marine unarmed. And now it was a fight for his life.

Free of the threat of the automatic gun, the swarthy man attacked with a ferocity that had Blessing reeling. A series of savage karate kicks to his chest sent the Marine stumbling backwards. Steel-tipped boots felt like hammers striking Blessing's body. Growling sharply in his throat, the assassin leapt into the air, aiming a sideways thrust for the Marine's head. Enough force propelled the blow to crush Blessing's skull like an eggshell.

Locking his wife's office in which he had gone to retrieve paperwork for her at the Academy Hospital, Gideon Jewett a technician of the SG8 Medical Division rode the elevator to the street. At the underground parking complex, he waited ten minutes for his car. It cost extra to have your automobile brought to the entrance by one of the lot's security guards, but it was well worth the price. Despite security cameras and motorcycle patrols, muggings, rapes and murders were common occurrences in these parking garages. Rumors had it that the security patrols were the ones responsible for many of the crimes. No one knew for sure, as dead men told no tales.

Jewett didn't mind spending the extra cash if it avoided unnecessary confrontations. The city was a dangerous place. Urban America was increasingly becoming a jungle in which only the strongest and smartest survived. These days, more people died from gunshot wounds than from any disease. The government claimed that crime was under control but nobody believed the politicians. The truth was on the streets.

Survival depended more on recognizing the perils that haunted daily life and adjusting to them with superior firepower. A fact of life in the nightmarish world of modern society was that someone else always possessed enormously superior weaponry.

Leaning his head back against the headrest of his seat, Jewett waited for the light to turn red. "Yeah, always someone out to get you." He muttered, rubbing the back his neck, muscles having gone numb. "I should just retire like Hammond or Carter. Nice big boat, yeah real sweet. Or I could do the Carter thing, rural living, the simple life. Nice." He closed his eyes, thinking hell it would be nice to do both, a big farm on the lake front, it would be a wonderful dream. . . . Hammond was old; he deserved to retire from SGC. But Carter, hell she was so young, just past 40 when she up and quit. It didn't make sense, he thought inwardly, the damn broad probably felt her maternal clock ticking. That's what you get for allowing a little girl to play in the big league. They just couldn't cut it. Didn't have the stomach for it. The worst thing was, Jewett admitted Carter was the best they had. She and her freaky skills.

"Always someone out to get you." A disembodied voice came from the back seat of his car.

Gideon turned, not enough room to pull his gun. "You little fuck! You're 'jacking the wrong car, I am Airforce."

"SG8. I know Tech-Sergeant Gideon Jewett."

Something silver flashed out of the swarthy man's hand, Jewett flinched; something struck him in the neck. He felt something sticky oozing from his throat. "What the. . ." Jewett would never be able to finish his sentence. The car spun out of control, his body slumped forward, slamming into the steering wheel ---the horn clamored loudly as the vehicle careened into a lamp pole, striking a cab that was pulling out. His head had landed in his lap.

Robert Rosenthal loved to show off his boat to his friends and teammates from SGC, James Mchattie, Maria Checkal, Jay Madsen and Rick Alkazian, they were all apart of SG12 Intelligence and Espionage. They had gathered together on Rosenthal's boat for their weekly poker game, that was slowly turning into one held monthly as their missions overloaded their lives. The poker games were a way to relax, unwind, complain about the Goa'uld element, and to enjoy the simple pleasure of comrades, while drinking malt liquor. Tonight was no different.

They indulged in their greatest infatuation, poker. They played five card draw, seven card stud, dead man's call, dead man's bluff, a dozen different variations. They played for dollars, for markers, for drinks. The amount didn't matter. They lost as often as they won. The results never mattered; they gambled for the sheer pleasure of it. It made life as a SG teammate bearable.

Robert carefully shuffled the cards and dealt. His fingers moved smoothly, handling the deck like an old friend. The game was seven card stud, "Ace showing," he declared softly to Maria who was to his right, "your bet."

"One chip for Maria, two for luck."

"I'll chance the bet." James said placing his own chips in.

Around the table it went until it was back to Robert. He matched everyone's chips then turned over another card. "Ace and jack, you're still high, Mem."

With the five players, all evidently familiar with the each other's style of play, it moved swiftly from hand to hand. The cards ran good and bad for all the participants. The level of chips in front of them varied, but after nearly an hour, none of the party members, were appreciably ahead.

"You know Blessing's team took a header with their discovery of Naquaada, a couple of nights ago." Jay Madsen said.

"So the General will just send in SG7." Maria said throwing a few chips into the pot.

"I don't know, Blessing is convinced the Snakeheads hid something in those mines. His case is pretty big, the General, threatened to recall them if he didn't find a few answers in the next three days."

"Recalled? Hell, maybe they'll send Carter and SG1 in." Rick took a look at his hand and the pot; shaking his dark head he laid his cards face down. "I'm out."

"Rick, she's on leave, went up north somewhere, ya know." Robert commented, "Gettin' touch with her feminine side."

"Carter . . ." Rick stated. "Damn I remember when she first came in. She wasn't more than a kid. Hell at that age I was . . .well never mind what I was… but god she came in as a doctor, combat pilot and all that then gets the sweet spot on SG1."

"What's changed Rick? You tried chasing Carter when she joined." Jay bantered causing the others around the table to laugh at their friend's expense.

"I never met a frostier woman." Rick stood up going to the cooler for another beer. "Eyes way too old for her age. All business. But god, that smile of her's it was enough to trap a guy's soul."

"Among other things." Maria snickered. She had to defend her former counterpart. Sam Carter, Janet and Cassandra Fraiser, Hailey, Satterfield, were a few of the only other women in SGC. Not to mention Maria had a small crush on the esteemed CO of SG1. Carter was not only a credit to the SGC, but to all women in the Force. Sam had a powerful mind, and talents to rival Sherlock Holmes, Einstein, and Shordeninger among others. Maria beamed in pride, as one Armed Force's finest; the best of SGC was a fellow woman. Maria had been there when Hathor took over the base and Carter had taken command, kept her head and stood, not only against a god, but Hammond and the rest of the men. She was indeed a role model for any woman, of any age.

"Anyone else want a beer?" Rick asked.

Maria raised her hand, as did half the table. Rick acknowledged the requests, and opened the refrigerator door. It was the last thing he did.

The Springs municipal harbor was ablaze with the explosion. The Justice would burn to its waterline. There would be no survivors.

The handsome young couple sat in the rear booth of Geppi's restaurant, nibbling on thick-crust pizza and drinking coca-cola. None of the staff remembered exactly when they had entered, or who had taken their order. But since they seemed to be having a good time, no one worried, nor bothered them. They seemed to be a part of the atmosphere of the restaurant. They had been sitting quietly for the last two hours.

Anita Ellensburg and Mike Browning both Airforce officers from the Elite Security unit SG6, had been dating for the last two years. It was thanks to Sam Carter they had met. It was Sam who introduced the new comer Mike who was in the academy with her daughter Cassandra, to her comrade Anita. Now they were planning their wedding. Anita wanted her friend Sam, to be a part of her new joy, but Sam Carter was not to be found. The golden haired Colonel had gone on extended leave and was now living somewhere up north in the mountains. Anita owed everything to her friend. It was Sam's strength Anita had clung too when the 'boys club' became too much. Sam refused to make herself in a man's image. She refused to be beaten by an overwhelming male dominant profession. When Anita wanted to throw in the towel and give up on SGC, Sam challenged her, asking what did her heart want to do? Allow the males to win, or beat them at their own game, by being their better? Anita not only owed her new life she was about to embrace but her continued work in the Stargate Program. SGC had been the best thing in the officer's life. She owed it all to Sam Carter.

The jukebox switched from country back to rock. The patrons never said a word as Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever?" Blared from the speakers. The half eaten pizza growing colder and nearly full Coca-cola growing more flat and warm, as the ice had melted. The young couple had still not moved. A young waitress came to check up on them, she screamed, shaken to the core, as she discovered the couple had fallen into their booths, their mouths opened with saliva pooling onto the vinyl surfaces.

The Airforce Academy hospital became rushed with hysterical patron's convinced they had been poisoned, by the food at Geppi's restaurant. Its owner Reno Geppi would be ruined when the press got a hold of the news that two Airforce officers, had died of what later would be proclaimed as arsenic poisoning.

Lori Burke of SG18 Covert Operations waited for her ex-husband to show up to take their son Clayton to a wrestling match. Clayton had been talking about nothing else for weeks. Travis was late again. No not late, the damn jerk hadn't even shown his face, he didn't call, nothing.

"Bastard." Lori snarled under her breath, wrapping her arms around herself. She walked from the dining room to the living room, where her son lay clutching 'The Rock' action figure Travis had given him for Christmas. Lori wanted to throw the damn toy into the garbage. But she couldn't do that. She couldn't taint her son's view of his father, no matter how badly she disliked him. She had regretted ever getting hooked up with the skunk. The only good thing that had come from their marriage was her beloved little boy.

Clayton, was Lori's treasure, her shining beacon through the darkness and the nightmares. He made it all right. Made the grueling work of SGC livable. Clayton was such a precious gift. She grabbed a second afghan off an easy chair, and covered her boy. She turned when she heard the sound of footfalls coming up to the door.

A quick glance to her son, to make sure that he was still asleep before she confronted Travis. She decided to take this outside. Arms crossed, Lori waited in the drive. It was not Travis who walked out of the black sedan parked on the curb. Even before she saw the flash of a silver muzzle of an Ares Predator, Lori knew she was in danger. Springing back to the door she made it to the foyer before something slammed her in the chest.

"Mommy?" A small voice whimpered from the living room. The swarthy man looked up, a knife flashed out raising the head of the blonde woman, the neck slit easily. He watched as the boy came into the entryway, " You are not wanted Clayton," the man said as if he knew the boy, rising from the SG18's dead body. "Look upon this and remember this day."

The child could only stare, later he might remember there was a black and gold ring on the man's hand, but for now he only saw the pooling of blood coming from his mother' s body.

"Mommy? Mommy!? Noooo Mommy!" He fell to his knees, cuddling the lifeless body of his mother. The man said nothing, did nothing more as he walked out the door.

Years of martial training warned Carlos Ricci of Covert Operations unit SG18 of peril an instant before he was attacked from behind. He flung himself to the right, his body dropping into a backward somersault, as a swarthy man hurtled forward. Without a wasted motion, Carlos was back oh his feet.

His attacker wasn't unexpected; Carlos had guessed immediately what the swarthy man intended to do with the chain. However, caught in motion he was unable to perform the proper defensive moves. With a snap of steel against bone the chain wrapped itself around Carlos's extended arms, the hook on the end locking into an open loop. Sharp pain cut into the young Sergeant's limbs: A thick strand of barbed wire ran through the chain, and the hooks clung to his flesh like a hoard of vermin, tearing his exposed skin. That was why the swarthy man wore padded gloves.

"Carlos Ricci of the SG18, welcome to the end of the turning of this wheel of life." He lashed out with a spinning windmill dragon kick. The blow slammed into the side of the Marine's face like a thunderbolt. Bones shattered like rotten wood as blood and brains sputtered across the man's shoulders. The Marine remained standing, a horrified look in his eyes an entire portion of his skull smashed to a pulp, dead on his feet.

"Hey Nervous, we're still on for tomorrow right?" Michael leaned an arm on his partner's, and brother-in-law's shoulder. "After the play, Jess is making her mouth-watering Anasazi Soup."

"You bet, of course, Mic. Wouldn't miss it. Hey would I miss Ruby's debut? Jess would have my head if I skipped out. Course, my niece wouldn't be too pleased with uncle Mickey if I missed seeing her play Tinkerbell in the school play."

Captains Jerivis Norwood and Michael Munguia were both standing members of SGC team SG11 Engineering Corps. But their best had left the Force. She wasn't exactly what either man would have considered a warm woman. She was too much of a brain for their flavor; add that to the fact she was a dyke made them give her a wide birth. Yet Colonel Carter, both men agreed was needed desperately by SGC. The command took great advantage of her skills and now those skills were absent, the planet itself was hurting. They need her more than ever. Their scientific mission was dead, and they had no leads, nothing. They weren't the only ones that lamented for the forever-young woman's talents. Andréa Blessing, Jeff Hornsby, Gideon Jewett all were on missions that Sam would have solved, somehow her brain could always solve the nasty ones. She had a knack for it.

It was late, nearly two in the morning, when Jerivis and Michael left the bar. Trudging back through the puddles to the welcome warmth of their car, neither man paid attention to the wino that tripped into the trashcans, clutching a bottle of Jack Daniels to his chest as if it was the source of life.

"Come on, I want to get home, so I can just turn around and come back to work." Jerivis complained through a large yawn that had caused his eyes to water. "I am so damn tired, my eyeballs hurt."

"Quit ya'bitching Nervous, I'll get you home to my sis. Hey, at least you have a warm body to crawl up to."

"You shouldn't talk about your sister that way."

"So arrest me." Jerivis yawned once more. "I'm cold and tired."

"Yap, yap, yap." Michael put the key into the ignition of his car, "You know you bitch a lot for a man," he turned the key.

Across the alleyway a swarthy man watched as the Caddy thundered in a blast that would echo off the sides of the mountain. Deadly smoke wafted up into the frostbitten air, the car continued to burn.

The swarthy man twisted the black and gold ring around his finger. "My god will be pleased."

Eyes glazing over, SG7 Science corps Captain Jeff Hornsby decided it was time to call it a night. His head hurt from starring at the computer screen all day. And it was only getting later. It was well past midnight and he was getting little done. The mission he had been on was a bear. He rubbed the back of his neck, wishing for the twentieth time that the one person who took these wretched mind-boggling cases hadn't retired from the Force. Her mind worked twenty times faster then his and she could solve these dilemmas quickly, but she was on trauma leave.

"If wishes were dollars. . ." He paused draining the cup of cold stale coffee. "Yep, time to go." He said through a yawn, watching with no interest as the cleaning crew came into the office. A new member he noticed was busily emptying the trash-bins. The swarthy SF came over to his desk smiled briefly picking up Hornsby's wastebasket. Hornsby smiled back not paying any more attention as he turned back to the computer console.

He moved the mouse, clicking on the shut down icon in the start file of his computer, then his hand would twitch involuntarily when he felt a jagged fragment of steel slam into his chest. Futilely, Jeff tried to reach around and pull the knife blade from between his shoulders. There was no strength in his fingers. He fell face first onto the keyboard. Causing the computer to wail in protest.

"Good night Captain Jeff Hornsby, you served SG7 well, I am sure."

Major Graham Simmons wondered along the stone path of his new home. His shift was over only an hour ago; it was nearly sunup when he came home. Completely exhausted, his feet were cold, his back was killing him, all he wanted to do was to crawl into his warm bed, and simply sleep the day away. Hell he could sleep for a year.

Pushing the door open, Graham plodded into the house's small entryway. Hanging his jacket on the coat tree where Samantha Carter had always kept it, he passed the office space, not noticing that a shape darker than a shadow lingered by the desk. He was so tired that he would skip his shower and climb into bed.

He had stripped down to his tee-shirt and boxers and simply slid under the covers. His head hadn't even hit the pillow when he heard something.

"You are not Samantha Carter of the SG1." A voice hissed. "Where is she?"

"What the hell!" Graham bolted out of his bed, tackling the intruder, slamming the swarthy man to the floor. The assassin bucked his thin body upward, slipping under Graham's hold with blinding speed. His left foot swung around in a sweeping reel kick, striking his target in the mid back. Graham careened, sprawling to the floor, the assassin's left foot snapped upward in a deadly kick aimed at Graham's chin. He slammed head first to the hardwood floor.

"I have no quarrel with you. Tell me where the woman is."

"I don't know who the hell you are talking about." Graham spat out blood.

"This house belongs to Samantha Carter, tell me where she is."

"Who? Look I bought this house from a broker, I don't know who the hell you are talking about!"

The swarthy man nodded, giving Graham no time to recover, he caught the young Major square in the chin with his knee. Graham staggered back against the overstuffed white chair near the bed. Grabbing Graham's left arm, the assassin twisted it up and around his enemy's back in a vicious hammerlock. With a howl, Graham dropped back to his knees. Savagely the assassin wrenched the limb higher.

"I need time." Growled the swarthy man as he dug his fingers into pressure points behind Graham's neck. Like a puppet with its strings cut, Simmons collapsed flat onto the floor unconscious. The last thing to register in his mind was a black and gold ring. And his assailant's voice as he said. "This poses a problem."

(Even as Jerivis and Michael left the bar.)

A month ago Sam had bought her daughter a miniature mechanic's jumpsuit at the Harley shop so that the tyke might mimic her blonde mother when she was working upon her bike in the garage. It was this jumpsuit Rebecca was wearing now. It was a difficult thing for either mother to get Becky out of as it had come one of her favored items of clothing. The other was a pair of miniature scrubs Janet had made for her including a small lab coat. It was as if the child lived in both garments twenty four seven. Right now Rebecca Fraiser-Carter was a carbon copy of both her mothers as she was dressed for Jumping. Upon her feet were small combat boots they sold at the PX for the military toddlers. Upon her red-blonde head was a green baseball cap, just like her mothers and sister were wearing.

She even had a small black vest that uncle Jack had given her for camping trips. The child delighted in having it as it had dozens of pockets to carry very important items: A matchbox car, a toy miniature Harley, a GI Jane Doll, MRI snacks, a field watch and compass, there were crayons and a little sketchbook, bits and pieces of her toy doctor's kit with real band-aids, and of course Jessie her purple rabbit, that fit nicely in a breast pocket. She also had her dog-tags, one tag belonging to Sam the other to Janet both sets were from their days in boot-camp.

Sam and Janet were holding either hand of their daughter with a distinct feeling of déjà vu. Fourteen years ago they were walking into the same massive room holding the hands of another child. Readying to take her through the Stargate back to Hanka.

Rebecca stared at the massive ring and her expressive doe-shaped eyed widened. "Whoa……" She couldn't take her eyes off of the blue shimmering event horizon. "Are we really going to go through that!?"

Sam kneeled down, and rubbed the little girl's tummy. "We sure are. You, Mommy and I are going to go on a little trip. I know it looks a little scary but it's really a lot of fun. I think you're very brave honey."

Rebecca beamed in absolute pride. She thrived when her Mama said she was very brave, because her Mama was the bravest person she knew. Mommy seemed to have a stronger heart because she was kind of the boss at home, but Mama was so brave and strong, that if she said she was very brave it meant a great deal.

From behind her Cassandra chuckled as she had heard those same words so many years ago. She remembered she didn't want to let go of Sam. That she thought Sam the bravest person she knew, and Cassie remembered how much she loved the tall blonde almost immediately.

Sam wouldn't leave her in that bunker, even though she wasn't sure about the bomb in her chest. She wouldn't leave despite the orders, despite the fact they would have died had the bomb gone off. She remembered Sam holding her tightly, and feeling so utterly safe, even if she was scared to death. She recalled telling Sam they were both very brave. And that she loved her. More, she recalled Sam telling her she loved her back.

She looked to Janet, her mother, who had saved her life then and once more when she had turned sixteen. She had been so rotten to her mother, hurting her when she had called her Janet. To Cassie she thought her Mom was one of the single bravest souls she knew standing against Nirrti, other Goa'uld, and harder still against her friends when she had felt she was in the right. She felt Sam had a strong heart because the tall woman had to face so many atrocities, so many battles and remain utterly detached. Yet, she knew it affected her more than her Mum cared to admit.

Right now was such a time. Her Mum had taken trauma leave because of the terror she had faced and yet, right now, she was willing to go through the Stargate and head another mission. That same expression that was in Sam's eyes when she had been ordered to leave the bunker was upon her now. Resolve but hidden uncertainty.

'Are you crying?' A hand had wiped away tears. 'No.'

Cassie couldn't help but wonder if the question were asked if she was nervous….the answer would be a defiant no. To Cassandra and Rebecca it made Sam heroically brave, to face her fear as she was and yet continue with her mission as if she had no hesitation at all.

The door to the Gate Room slid open revealing the rest of SG1, and the Malakim warriors. As soon as Rebecca saw the angelic being she hiccupped in a gasp of air.

"Holly Hannah!" She yelped.

The faces turned to the wee child. Sam picked her daughter up into her arms. "You don't have to worry, Sweety they are friends of Mommy and I. They won't hurt you."

Eyes that held heaven and earth stared. Rebecca leaned so that her tiny lips whispered softly, "Are they real?"

"Yes they are real." Sam said.

Janet reached up and touched her daughter on her small back. "They are friends, they won't hurt you."

"They look like Nana's Christmas Angel." Rebecca said boldly. "Only someone painted their wings and hair."

Briel took a bold step forward. "It is an honor." She tilted her head ever so slightly. Then slowly she reached out her hand to touch the girl's cheek. When she made contact her luminescent eyes blinked as she saw before her the birth of Sam and Janet's child "Your beginning in this world was extraordinary." She uttered in great tenderness. "Such a struggle for life at so young an age."

The mothers looked to the Malakim woman, their expressions troubled. Both of their hands held the child protectively as she was in Sam's arms. Neither one of them would ever forget the image of their baby hooked up to the monitors, all the tubes and wires giving her life. Her early emergence into the world, as she made her appearance in the Garden of the Gods, would be a long-standing memory. Sam would never forget the complicated delivery, that Janet had talked her wife through because Rebecca's umbilical cord had prolapsed and had strangled her. Both mother's had given her life that day. Janet had given birth, and Sam had performed CPR giving the breath of life back into the child.

"I have the sight of the Dawning of New Life in the World Symphony. Her song is already an opus of greatness." The Adjunct said in a sweet whisper. "But then she is the child of the Lieges, so it is not unexpected her destiny will be of greatness. She retains not only their spirit but their beauty as well."

Both mothers drew closer to their daughter. "Her destiny is what she wants to make of it." Janet said defensively. "No one is going to draw it out for her."

The Adjunct was thankfully wise enough not to argue with a mother. But the World Symphony had other plans for this unique soul cradled in the arms of the Liege Commander.

"Janet's right. We are not going to shape her future, that's for her to mold."

The red mane of young Briel tilted. "Who am I to deny the will of two mothers?"

Rebecca had lost the thread of the conversation a while ago. All she could think of was, it would be cool to play pilot if she had wings herself. And thus she started to think about how she was going to get a pair of wings. She was about to ask the funny colored angels if she could fly with them when Mama drew her attention.

"Hey kiddo you off in space?" Sam chided her little girl.

"Huh?" Rebecca tilted her gold-red unruly mane.

"I asked if you're all set for the Jump, but you didn't hear me. You were lost in your own thoughts."

Janet giggled. "I wonder where she gets that from?"

Sam looked at her daughter then to her wife. And with a perfect candid voice she responded. "From her Mommy. So Sweety you ready to Jump? I'll be holding you the whole way, you're very brave you know."

"I am not scared." And to prove it she puffed out her chest. "Mommy?" She looked to her smaller mother. "Yous said I can only play Pilot with Mama, but would it be okay if I played it with them?" She gave a general wave of the hand to indicate the Malakim warriors.

"We'll see." Janet commented.

"Ah man that always means no." Rebecca shot back just before Mama carried her through the event horizon.

Waking in a pool of spittle and blood, Graham wandered, holding his head, into the small bathroom. His whole body felt like one giant bruise, it hurt even to think. The side of his face had swollen, in black, blue and green welts. The back of his neck, spine and head were throbbing, that not even six aspirin would levitate.

Trudging to the shower, Graham shed his boxers and tee-shirt, leaving them in a pile on the floor. Shutting the opaque glass door, he leaned into the shower stall to turn on the water and adjust the temperature. Water roared out of the pipes, a white noise that would drown out most others. Well, that was fine, he didn't need to listen to the old building settle right now, and jump at every creek and pop. He snagged the new bottle of shampoo off the shelf and stepped into the shower leaned forward against the cold tiles of the wall letting the hard droplets of water drum on his aching spine. He lifted his head into the showerhead letting it drown his throat. Graham rinsed the last of the shampoo from his hair and ran his hands over it to sleek out the water.

The shower had made his body feel better. For about 5.5 seconds. Then he was in pain every time he even thought of moving. But he had to move. He had to warn Colonel Carter. Had to call the Base. General O'Neill had to know. Someone was gunning for Samantha.

Hy-Basil was as pristine as it had been when Sam had first arrived on this planet of angelics. The monumental trees that dwarfed even the redwoods in California and the crystalline aeries were as astounding as they had been that first time.

The Stargate was within the palace's most secure areas. Unlike most off world locations the Stargate was not left out in the open. The Malakim were as precautious as the Tau'ri in protecting their world from Goa'uld incursions, Re'tue infestations or any other hostiles.

Unlike SGC the Malakim Stargate compound was housed in what could only be called a palace of light. It was a very intriguing structure with the focus on the high dome, which sat between two three-story wings. Twin rings of glazed skylights surround the upper section of the complex. The outer walls were constructed of marble, which gave the building a bright, glimmering air.

Where Cheyenne Mountain Complex was very deep under the earth, the Malakim Complex seemed almost to be in the stratosphere. With a race that thrived upon their wings it wasn't at all surprising their Base would be highly elevated. If one thought that infiltration would be easier for the exposure they were sorely mistaken. To even reach the structure you either came in from the Stargate or you flew up. The area was under very heavy Guard. It was by no accident that the Tower was centralized between seven Dragonking lairs. Of course the Tower was the nexus point upon the most elite military base: the fortress of the Malakim Knights.

The Malakim Embarkation Chamber was nearly as large as that of SGC. Of course this Chamber had balconies where warriors would stand with Phase-pulse rifles and other large caliber cannons all pointed at the Stargate in the event that unfriendlies came through.

When the crew of the Gwihir and SG1 entered, they were greeted by a woman who had her ebony mane pulled back into a very severe bun. Her white eyes shone with relief once she saw the image of Samantha Carter, her red wings fluttered a little in acknowledgement of their honored guests.

"I am Secretary of Defense, Kidumiel. Welcome back to Hy-Basil Liege Commander." She said in a voice that held both confidence and veneration.

Sam cleared her throat a little, as she set her daughter down upon the marble ramp and spoke. "Thank you." She slipped one of her half smiles. "I am pleased I could return the generosity the Malakim Empire has afforded myself and my team."

Now that the pleasantries had been made, Sam decided that she would waste little more time. "I have been briefed on what happened with the blue wing and the ship. How do you want to proceed?"

"The situation is a delicate one, Liege Commander. The Queen has asked to speak with you directly, however she is off world at the moment. Please, we will recess until her Majesty returns, until that time your needs will be facilitated." Spoken like a true diplomat. "Your château has been made ready for you as have quarters for your team."

Sam nodded. "When do you expect the Queen back?"

"It is difficult to discern as she is in summit with the Asgard Supreme Commander. This is another issue the Queen wishes to speak with you Liege Commander. We are bidding with the Asgard over allowances to add our aid in protecting your City-Sate of Colorado Springs, The SGC and your kith and kin." Kidumiel said.

Sam and the others of SG1 looked at one another in amazed awe. The Empire was negotiating with the Asgard to the rights to protect the Tau'ri.

"Please." The Secretary of Defense gestured for the guests of the Empire to follow her. "There is much preparation to be made before the summit with the Queen and the pursuit of the Blue Wing."

General O'Neill hadn't moved from his office since the reports came in. An hour ago, Paul Davies came in looking as if death himself walked in his shadow. He dropped the reports on Jack's desk.

"It came in this morning. Last night . . .oh God, Sir." He fell into the chair facing the General's desk, holing his head. "It was a massacre."

Jack just went into his office; he hadn't even had a sip of his first cup of coffee from the styrofoam cup. The General opened the thick manila folder, his eyes widened at the list of names, his breath choked in his throat suffocating him. Someone was hunting the SGC's most elite special units. Several members of the SG teams had been brutally murdered. Blown up, shot, decapitated, poisoned, all of them were Special Opps professional precision hits. All the deaths within an hour of one another. An hour!

There was no color in Jack's face. His heart had either stopped beating or had roared so loudly in his ears that he had gone deaf.

"Who the hell could have done this? Why?" Davies murmured

Jonas Quinn came in slowly; he could tell by the very air that something was wrong. "General?" his voice sharp now in his ears.

Jack snapped up his head. "Jonas, not now."

"Sir, Major Simmons . . ." the young man stammered, not daring to meet O'Neill's face.

"He'll see me!" Graham pushed past the archeologist.

"Simmons!" O'Neill barked.

"Sorry Sir . . ." The young officer nervously saluted. "Someone's after Colonel Carter."

Both Jack and Paul looked at one another, brown eyes on brown eyes, slowly they turned to Graham.

"What did you say?" Davies barked.

"I said I was attacked in my own home Sir. Some man, he was after Colonel Carter . . ." and Graham began to tell him all he knew. The morning had gone on gruelingly slow. Questions. So many questions. And Graham had no true answers. For all his life the young officer couldn't describe the man who had come into his home to slay Samantha Carter. Graham could only account for the swarthy skin. Thin, narrow faced coal black eyes, beady and unblinking like a snake's, and the slick black hair. He looked like he couldn't even lift a hundred pounds. And yet he was fast, like the reptile he resembled. There were no distinguishing marks. Or anything else that came into the focus of memory. Only that he knew Kung fu or Karate, or the Vulcan nerve pinch or some such martial art.

The strange part of the attack was that Graham was still alive. Graham wasn't on his list, so he had lived. The young man had seen his face, heard him speak, he might be able to identify the assailant, and Graham had been left alive. Lori Burke's little boy had also been left alive. But why leave witnesses? Only a disorganized and careless perp would do something like leave witnesses. This assailant was far from being disorganized and he certainly wasn't careless, considering that in a single night, within hours of one another he had slain SG Teams force, several teams almost in their entirety.

So the only other reason, you would leave a witness, much less two was that you were untouchable, or felt untouchable, untraceable. Which meant he had very, very powerful friends. But who on Earth had SG Teams made enemies with?

The first thought was that maybe the NID had taken out contracts. But that was dismissed. More likely it was an agent of the Goa'uld wanting vengeance. But they hadn't gone after Samantha Carter or even other members of SG1; they had gone after SG teams. Sometimes you have to burn down the whole house to get rid of the termites. And if not the Goa'uld, who? Who hunted SG Teams?

Graham felt his stomach knot as he realized that the assassins, who had been able to slay fourteen people, would not stop until they had all members of SG Teams. Samantha Carter . . . they had wanted Samantha. The assassin was surprised to find Graham in the house. If . . .Samantha had been still living there, she would have been dead. Graham had to warn her. Warn them. Dr. Fraiser and Colonel Carter they would have to know. Someone was hunting the warriors of SG Teams.

"Colonel Carter, we have to get to her, warn her, put up a dragnet." Graham excitedly said rubbing his head. "She and SG1, it won't be long before they find her…er them sir."

Jack, and Davies both exchanged glances. Yes, she was in grave danger and she had to be warned, but where she was she might be protected. After all she was off world, on a planet that practically worshiped her. The Malakim would not allow harm to come to the Colonel, nor SG1.

"Don't worry Simmons, Carter and SG1 are off world. But she'll have to be told. Knowing her, she'll want to come in on this." Jack said. "She isn't officially on duty, but she'll want to be included." Jack knew the woman well she would demand to be included. But the safest place for her was on Hy-Basil. Of course, he would have, not only Carter and Fraiser's former homes under surveillance, but their new home as well.

"Hell of a way to come back to active duty. . . God. . .this is unreal. How the hell do you kill fourteen specially trained SG team members who have battled Jaffa and the Goa'uld?" Paul rose from the chair.

"You send in a specially trained assassin. I want all information on this, and I want it two days ago. I want to know exactly every fiber of evidence. Simmons get out there and recall all off duty SG teams. I want them here under watch. Davies, go back to the Joint Chiefs see what you can't dig up. Don't let me down Davies play all the markers you have. I'll talk with the president myself."

Paul left the office, angry, frustrated and scared. There was no one in that office that had not felt the same. Angry, that fourteen SGC team members had been savagely murdered. Frustrated, because there were no answers to have. Terrified that it had happened. That it could happen again. All of the SGC held it's enraged breath.

The death of fourteen soldiers could not be kept in a news blackout, even if the General had tried, and he had. The whole of the city, had known of the atrocity by the time of the midday world news. By evening, it would be in the papers. Fourteen Soldiers who had dedicated their lives to the protection of the country were murdered. Of course after 9-11, there was speculation as to who orchestrated the hits. All of Colorado Springs and the rest of America would blame Talaban terrorists.

Petty criminals cringed, as the anger in the Armed Forces escalated so that, even the beat cops and the Homeland Security leaned heavily on everyone. The civilians wanted retribution for their fallen heroes. The Feds had even joined the hunt for the assassins who had slain their soldiers. The Pentagon had steered the riled tempers towards the convenient scapegoat Iraq.

Sam, Janet and the others had almost forgotten the sheer opulence of beauty of the Malakim Homeworld. Yes their palaces were beautiful but here were other worlds with such wonderful architecture. The beauty was in the air as sounds of music drifted within hearing. The voices of a thousand angelic voices lifting up and singing in rejoice of what it was to be alive. Perfect in pitch and harmony.

The Great Song was felt even in those who were mortal. It was the feeling of goosebumps when one hears' the anthem of your own country; of a soft favored carol. There was a story that 'Silent Night Holy Night' on the eve of Christmas had for a short time brought peace between the German and Allied forces over a small shack somewhere in France. The music in the air now brought that feeling of goosebumps, and swelling of the heart.

It was irrelevant that the words could not be understood, the melody was perfectly understood. It even had little Rebecca prancing along as she twirled to the soft notes. Indeed the music had with it an alpha wave effect that brought calmness.

Janet knew from her brief study of the Malakim they had an organ, not unlike those little guys on the planet with the Harmony-plants. The angelics were more alert to the sounds omitted, than what could be 'heard' by the human spectrum. But that didn't mean it wasn't heard. The vibration had still been present but it didn't mean it wasn't heard. It simply could not be preserved by human auditory systems. The Malakim, so sensitive to harmonics, were able to change pitch so quickly that the human did not hear any error. Thus they were always heard in perfection. The doctor also knew that certain sounds had a physical reaction to the human brain.

Some sounds could create nausea, headaches, and pain while others were perfectly soothing. Still others stirred the adrenal glands, heightening a volatile reaction. Here the music had a certain whimsy to it and Janet could not help but smile. She loved to watch her little girl dance along perfectly content in the alien surroundings. But then children have an amazing adaptive way about them.

It hadn't been that long ago that SG1 had been to Hy-Basil and thus the way to the château given to Fraiser/Carter family was recalled with relative ease. Of course the stately manor could easily house all of SG1 and them some, but the Malakim had presumed that the Liege Commander and Healer would wish for privacy. This was the reason the other members of the team had been given suites in a nearby inn.

Briel had escorted Janet and Sam to their Malakim home with SG1 taking up the rear. Of course Jailil the servant nicknamed "Goldenrod" by Jack O'Neill was there to greet them. He was stumbling and as bashful as ever. In some odd way the young Malakim male reminded Samantha of young Graham Simmons. That young man, to this day, had such a hard crush on Sam that he had even bought her old home from a broker when it was on market. Janet thought it amusing, Sam just thought it almost creepy. At least he hadn't made his computer sound like her as Narim had done, that really creeped the Colonel out.

Briel handed the colonel a small case that was not unlike a brief case. "Within you will find the schematics and data read outs for the proposed Defensive Net. Which is our offered assistance in protecting Earth. Curious, Sam unzipped the case and looked within. She found a bound booklet she handed the case to Cassandra and started to thumb through the file

"Defensive Net."

To Daniel this had a familiar and stinging ring to it. In his vision from the Harsisis a net was also conceived. Of course he had tried to take over the world starting with his friends.

"Yes we employ such nets around our more important planets. The grid will be set up on several of the moons orbiting the nine planets of your sun. This way the grid will encompass your solar system. It is an effective and efficient means to protect ones world. The Queen will discuss this with you on the morrow as well as the return of the Samantha Carter and the Blue Wing." Briel tilted her crimson mane. "I take my leave of you now, until morrow." With that she departed.

For a moment no one spoke.

"This is incredible!" Sam said as she continued to look at the schematics of the grid. What Briel had said was correct, Earth's moon was well as a dozen or so satellites orbiting the Gas Giants would have the defiance shied generators up. Any unauthorized ship sailing on to the Tau'ri' solar system would have

their operation systems neutralized until the threat could be assessed. Like the iris there was a code that would allow the shield to yield to allied ships.

"Theses are schematics for anticoncussion fields and deflector shields." Cassie looked at a copy.

Sam scanned the material quickly, and related vocally what she found. "According to this the shield grid is an electromagnetic force-shield that can absorb energy charges and disperse the energy into nearby space. The ray shielding is designed primarily to block and absorb Goa'uld type weaponry. The partial shielding prevents matter of any type from passing through it. They also reconvert the energy so that it disrupts the engines of alien ships, effectively leaving them dead in the water. The ships are not destroyed but they are unable to function."

"Sweet." Cassie said. "And they want to give these to us?"

"Apparently." Sam said.

"Should we not wait for the other footwear to fall?" Teal'c rose an eyebrow.

"The other shoe to drop T-man." Cassie corrected the colossal man. "Given the Malakim's almost reverence for my Mum, I kinda think that there won't be a catch. Besides just ask them bluntly, I think the Queen will be straight with us."

Sam nodded. "Regardless I think we should give the General a heads up on what is being offered before the meeting. Daniel you and Teal'c go back to the Malakim Stargate Complex and send a transmission back to the SGC and let the General know what is going on."

"Right on it." Daniel nodded. The young archeologist then lightly backhanded Teal'c in the stomach. "After then how about you and I hitting that pub we were at the last time we were here."

Teal'c gave a slight nod of the head and smiled

"Sure knock yourselves out." Sam shrugged. "But remember we have an early morning so go easy on the ale."

"Do not worry Colonel Carter, I will insure DanielJackson is not overly intoxicated."

"Hey it was Jack not me that made all the ruckus. I told him flirting with Zippo would get him into trouble."

"Indeed." The colossal man said.

Sam shook her head it was almost an epidemic, middle-aged men chasing women half their age. Only this epidemic didn't seem to have a cure. Gray haired men chasing twinkies. The blonde rolled her eyes. It would never end.

Sam looked at her own beloved thanking the stars for the trillionth time she had found her heart. And their love had produced out of a Nox-given miracle their treasured daughter. She couldn't help but allow the smile to flash across her eloquent features.

"After you deliver the Malakim offering to The General, report back to me then you're on your own." She was still smiling as she watched Rebecca start her exploration of the château.

Cassandra saw the look her Mum gave her mother and smirked. "Hey Becky how about I show you this place a bit. There's a great garden out back, that even has a hedge maze we can get lost in for oh a few hours.' She winked to her mothers and scooped up the tiny tot.

"Real subtle Cassandra." Janet winked as she approached both her daughters. As she stroked the long back of Cassie she gave her youngest a little peck on the cheek. "Have fun."

"Oh we will Mommy." Rebecca promised. "Sassy knows all sorts of fun things."

"I am sure your sister does." Sam smirked. "You two be careful, its getting late."

Jailil wanting to please the Liege Commander and her consort. He stepped up, his golden wings bound almost straightjacket tight about his body when he addressed the mothers. "If you wish I can attend them outdoors insuring they are well guarded."

Sam knew Cassy could handle herself, after all she was a Lieutenant in the SGC, on top of that she was her daughter. She also knew the boy wanted to do something useful. "Thank you Jailil, though you might have your hands full, Becky can be a little spirited."

"Then she possesses the heart of the Liege Healer. It is well known that the Liege Healer picked up Turel and threw her when she would not comply with the orders to take the Liege Healer to you, Liege Commander."

All eyes turned to Janet.

The smaller woman shrugged and felt her face flush. "I was desperate."

"Way to go Mom!" Cassie cheered.

Janet gave a slight coy smile. "Hey it's getting late." The embarrassed woman turned the subject of the conversation around.

"Yeah come on Little-bit we don't have a lot of time before sun-down when little girls have to be inside."

"Kay. See you later Mamma, Mommy." Rebecca waved and blew kisses, then they were gone.

"Hey Jailil?" Sam said

The Golden haired youth turned and bowed his head. "Yes my Liege."

"Um…that…. Please I'd rather not be addressed like that." She smiled trying to convey a warmth and not displeasure. She knew the young male would take it to heart "Colonel or Samantha is fine, okay."

He dropped his golden eyes. "You are discontented?"

"No!" Sam belted out. "I mean no, ah its just Liege sounds like something you would call the Queen you know and I am not. And …"

"It is only that we are not accustomed to its hearing." Janet smoothed. "She's accustomed to Colonel, Carter or Sam. The Tollen have taken to call her Samantha." Janet moved and placed a gentling hand upon the muscular arm of the tall Malakim youth. "Me I am used to Doc, Doctor Fraiser and Janet." She smiled once more. "Liege is a bit much, it conveys royalty."

The lad seemed to take the words in stride now that he had a better understanding. "Others will still address you as such."

"I know." Sam said. "But even in conversations. At least those within my Wing would call me by my given name Samantha or Colonel."

"Is this what you desire?"

The woman nodded.

"Then I shall hear and comply." Jailil beamed as he had been given a very rare privilege. "Is there anything else I can assist with?"

Both mothers' eyes brightened with the sudden thought. "We could use a nanny for tomorrow." Both said in unison. They looked at one another snickering.

"I shall watch the featherling myself." He bowed his head. "I shall take my leave of you now and attend the others." He smiled and then he too was gone leaving the two lovers alone.

Sam wrapped her arms around her wife's trim waist. "I think we should wait for the guys to get back before we get all 'libidinous.' I don't want to be in the middle of something and have to stop." Her lips descended upon Janet's taking the lower lips into her mouth and suckling.

Janet suppressed a deep moan, her own hands trailing up the her wife's hips to her waist to finely rest upon the toned muscles of Sam's long back.

"Couldn't agree more." Janet mouthed as she nibbled Sam's throat. "Definitely don't want to stop."

"Kissing good. Stopping bad." Sam managed to articulate as she felt her wife's roving hand move to her breast and stroke the heavy firmness. "No stop."

"Stopping bad." Janet echoed, the pad of her thumb rubbing against the hardening nub of Sam's nipple. When she felt her wife's arms encircle her waist tighter, she heard the timber purr deep within her throat, Janet knew they would have to stop. Samantha was an exceedingly passionate woman when her fires were aroused it was more then difficult to put them out. For one reason she fed Janet's own passion to a frenzy.

Sam's hand slipped from around Janet's waist to her hip cupping the rounded globe of her bum gently squeezing it. The other slipped up the spine to warmth under Janet's auburn waves. The pad of her thumb mimicking Janet's own actions with her breast as Sam rubbed the softness behind her neck.

The taller woman started to back her wife up, navigating her to the parlor where she knew a large sofa to be. The fires within her yearning, screaming to be answered. The passion, hunger for Janet knew no bounds, no limits. The back of her mind telling her softly that she, and her wife were utterly safe. Their children watched over by none other then an angelic being. That peace brought out the more passionate beast.

Janet followed wholeheartedly, her heart hammering loudly against her chest, her breath coming in quickened gasps. She felt the back of the sofa hit her knees and willingly lowed herself down upon the softness of red crushed velvet.

Sam wedged her thigh between her wife's core gaining a deep husky moan out of her lips. When Janet arched her back up, she exposed her throat, enticing Sam to take her. The blonde nipped the column of her throat at the same time her hand cupped the fullness of her lover's breast. Her leg moved slowly causing the courses of the BDUs to stick against the hardening nub of Janet's clit.

"Have to stop." Janet moaned softly.

"Don'wanna." Sam managed. When it came to making love to Janet and coherent speech, coherency always lost. Sam moved her mouth taking Janet's own, pulling her lips into her mouth as she suckled upon the fullness. She gained another hearty moan when she bit down almost hard.


"Want my Jan." Sam cooed, her hands nimbly removing the buttons of the olive-black canvases blouse. Her tongue playing ballet with Janet's own, each tasting the silky warmth of each other's mouth. "God Janet…. I need you." Her heart fluttered hard as Janet's kisses became more demanding more dominant.

At that moment Jailil had decided that it might be a good time to interrupt them. Of course he had not meant to. But when you hear a prepubescent male almost squeak an apology it is rather difficult to ignore.

Both women leapt up from the sofa straightening their shirts and smoothing their nerves.

"For…forgive me." The youth managed before ducking his reddened face behind a golden wing. "There was a transmission for you. It…it...it is from your teammates."

"Its alright Jailil." Sam smiled a little embarrassed herself for allowing her libidinous nature take charge. She gestured with a wave of the hand. "Show us to the comm.-system."

"Yes my Liege." Jailil snapped into habit.

Behind him, just now coming in was Cassandra with Rebecca holding her hand.

He escorted the four Fraiser-Carters to the study where a large mahogany desk housed a flat screened computer. Before she navigated around it, Sam addressed her youngest.

"Sweety, go with Jailil and get a snack from the kitchen okay."

"Sure." The child shrugged, not catching on to anything that might be amiss. "Hey Jailil do you have blue jello?"

"Of course it has become a delicacy since your mother's introduction of the confection to our Culinary Guild."


"He means they have it Little-bit." Cassandra translated. "Run along, we have to do tall talk."

"Ah man…you know cutting someone out of a conversation just because their short isn't fair." The little girl pouted but followed her angelic nanny into the kitchen.

The three remaining family members chuckled before they turned back to the desk. "Well let's see what the General has to say." Sam said.

The comsystem was designed much like a flat screen kiosk with a touch panel. The Colonel logged on as she would a typical computer to the Internet. And she was immediately on screen with a very nervous and pensive Daniel Jackson. He looked as if all the life had been drained out of him.

"Daniel?' Sam narrowed her blue eyes not at all liking the expression upon her friend's face. She liked it even less that Teal'c seemed to mirror it.

"Sam, look . . ." Daniel took in a deep breath. "There were some members of the SG Teams . . ."

"What about them?" She narrowed her eyes, instantly, instinctively what ever was about to be said, she almost knew. Sam became cold, chilled to the grave, she knew without being told, she knew. They were dead. All of them. "How?" She uttered in such a small voice, it pained Janet to hear it.

"They were hit professionally in different ways. Last night . . .timed assassinations: car bombs, boats blown up, poison, decapitation, stabbings, shootings. Fourteen in all. Sam fourteen good soldiers butchered. All of them SG Teams."

Sam fell against the chair, just managing to land upon the cushion. The words echoed in her head dully. She didn't want to believe it, couldn't believe it, but did believe it. She swallowed hard, shuddering. Janet would wrap her arms around her, but she pushed her away closing herself off from the Bond so suddenly, it was as if she had backhanded Janet with all her strength across her face.

"Do they have any idea who it might be?" Sam finally asked her teammate.

He shook his head. "It has to have some connection to the Goa'uld. They are thinking Ashrak."

Sam paled even more. Her hand shot up clasping at forehead. She had a vivid flash of pain as she recalled Jolinar's torture and death. "Ashrak." She repeated woodenly. "I . . . I . . .have to do something." Sam stammered coming to her feet. "I can't just sit here and do nothing."

"Sam I don't mean to sound insensitive, but what do you think you can do?" Daniel said.

"Indeed, this could be the very strategy the enemy will exploit." Teal'c said stoically. "A means to cause you to act and thus giving them the advantage."

Cassandra was keeping her mouth shut her idea was to go back and place a sting operation up, if it was an Ashrak well they couldn't kill what they couldn't see right? And with the new phase shifting devices installed they were cloaked. Hell even the Malakim had the personal cloaking devises; they could use that World Symphony thingy and track down this Hunter. Perhaps there would be a time to bring it up to her CO. Right now wasn't it.

"Sam, . . .Sam please." Taking one step nearer, Janet solicitously grasped Sam's arm. "Let it go."

"No. I am speaking to O'Neill myself." Sam spat, then flew from the common room of the château.

Janet and Cassie needed no further prodding to follow the tall blonde. Only Rebecca stayed behind with her new guardian Jailil.

Moments later Sam and the rest of SG1 were in the Hub of the Malakim communications of their Stargate complex. Before them on a holo-screen was General O'Neill

"Sorry Carter but you and SG1 are grounded from Earth for the moment." O'Neill rubbed the back of his neck. He knew that once the information was related to Carter that she would demand involvement. He also knew that keeping her grounded would not be an easy task.

"No Sir!" Sam snarled. Abruptly startling them all.

"No Sir?" From the video feed Jack tilted his head. There had been only a hand full of times he had heard Carter countermand him with such venom. And the fire of the two words had always taken him by surprise. Most of the time it was 'with all do respect, Sir…'

Sam yanked her arm away with such force Janet's hand was thrown aside. "How can you even ask that?" Sam demanded angrily, incredulously, whirling away from them "What do you expect me to do? I can't ignore this. I can't let it go. They were our counterparts Sir we fought the battle together. Even bled together. We. .I . . can't just let this go. Can you? Could any of you?"

In truth no, none of them could let something like this pass.

"Carter listen I am not going to let this go, none of us are. But I need SG1 to stay away from earth. It's a direct order Colonel." General' O'Neill inflected his seriousness of it.

"Sam, you can do no good back there right now. I will not allow you to endanger yourself." Janet echoed softly to Sam's ears alone. "If something were to happen to you. . ." Janet's voice became choked in fear and pain. "If. ..I . . ever . . .I . . .could never go through that . . . again. When I thought I lost you before, I lost myself. You are my very breath of life Sam. You." Janet clutched Samantha to her, her dark eyes closed. "I won't lose you. I won't! Let others . . . I beg you. . .Sam. Pull away from this. If they were able to take the lives of fourteen highly trained officers, what do you think you can do when you're not even a hundred percent yet? I know you hurt, beloved, I know you are in such rage, but let others fight this. They will kill you, and you know it."

The tragedy of it was, Sam knew Janet was right. She knew that if she went back, the possibility of her death was exceptionally high. Sam wasn't a hundred percent. She wasn't thinking she was reacting. The weight of vengeance and the love of her family could not be weighed. She had no choice and that caused her to become angrier, frustrated and more frightened. She could do little. .. her talents. . .they could be made to solve the bloody atrocities, but if she dared to risk a trip back to earth, she risked being assassinated. And that was exactly why the General had ordered SG1 to stay away.

"What if it isn't a Goa'uld? What if it's a sleeper?" Sam said.

"Sam? Janet asked.

"A Zataarc agent. Who better to know the ways, the locations and the lives of SG team members then one of our own? They did it with Martouf. Sir you have to consider it as a possibility."

The gray hair man nodded. It was a thought in the back of his head; he simply didn't want to put a voice to it. "Carter you want to do something? Contact the Tok'ra see if you can't get your Dad and Anise. If it is an inside job, then we'll have to do some testing."

Of course the Zataarc testing wasn't exactly accurate but it would narrow the field down a bit.

"Yes sir." Sam answered, feeling at the very least she was able to do something other then be pampered because of the trauma leave.

Part 5

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