Champions Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter Five

A Single Moment

The death of fourteen SG team members lay heavily upon every member of Stargate Command. The President the Joint Chiefs and the Secretary wanted answers. General Jack O'Neill wanted answers. Colonel Samantha Carter wanted answers.

The families of the lost members had been told lies. They were told that a terrorist organization had orchestrated the hits and struck them down out of retaliation for the second war of Desert Storm. The US government and public press had all told lies to the populace. They claimed a band of unknown terrorists had marked soldiers at random in order to frighten the mainstream of the States… and her Allies populace. They were victims of a highly organized terrorist group. This satisfied the questions of the general public. Yes they wanted vengeance and yes they wanted blood for their loss, but thinking it was a phantom organization allowed it to be pushed aside, after all John and Jane Doe had no power to stop such a thing. America would send out their Black Opps troops and take down the enemy; its populace believed it or at least they wanted to.

The SGC knew the truth. Their lost members were more than grieved. They were honored as heroes, lost in battle against an intergalactic nemesis. In one single moment the warriors of the SGC had once more known the bitter truth: the enemy they were fighting was more than real. The Goa'uld had struck again. It had to be the Goa'uld, there was not a single soldier, or scientist of the SGC that believed otherwise. Even if Carter's theory about the Zatarrc was right, it was the Goa'uld that were ultimately at fault.

"Samantha, I am grieved to hear of this news." Novalis, Queen of the Malakim, said in a respectful voice. "What resources we have will be at your disposal in order to find the infiltrator. The Red Wing will be standing by."

Sam nodded. "I don't think I need an entire Wing, Queen Novalis, at least not yet. But thank you for your generosity. I am thinking it is the work of a Zatarrc. It is the only thing that makes sense, only an SG team member would have so much personal knowledge of other members."

"A Zatarrc?" The queen frowned.

"It's. . .a spy of sorts, anther word for them would be a Sleeper. Brainwashed and controlled by a Goa'uld. They would have been taken and then drugged with a substance called nisshta. It makes them completely susceptible to programming. A Zatarrc may not even know they are one until they are 'wakened' and compelled to carry out the orders of their 'master.' In this case, the assassination of Stargate teams." Sam explained.

The Queen bowed her purple mane, as she comprehended the ramifications of such an agent. "Not an easy enemy to face. One of your own, turned traitor against their will, or without realizing it is so."

"Yeah." Sam looked away. Her mind flashing to Martouf

He was a Zatarrc, his mind compromised by the organism. In the end Martouf begged for repentance as he tried to kill the President of the USA as well as the Tok'ra High Chancellor. It was Sam's gun that delivered the lethal blow. He had died in her arms and, because of Jolinar's memories; Sam had grieved for him as if he had been a lover.

"Your majesty, as you can see the base has been compromised, most likely from within. This is the reason the SGC cannot contact the Tok'ra themselves in order to retrieve a Zatarrc testing device." Cassie pointed out, "We have to work in a more covert method to flush out the Sleeper, the best way is through one of these machines."

Janet recalled that she had nearly sent the woman she loved into a forced sleep for who knows how long. And then there was Jack with one of his hair-brained schemes that nearly got him a lobotomy, because the testing couldn't tell the difference between hidden secrets and brainwashing. O'Neill was forced to admit that he was in love with Sam. Sam herself to admit she loved another and that, if it were public knowledge, she would be cast out of the military, as would the one she loved.

Of course Janet had faced more circumstances that threatened to steal her beloved away from her then she cared to admit. At least when Sam was subdued at the time of the testing it had been by Janet's own hand. There had been a handful of times her lover had been taken prisoner by the Goa'uld and it had seemed hopeless that she would be returned to her. Looking at her wife, Janet couldn't help but recall vividly when Sam and the rest of SG1 had gone missing with no trace as to what happened to them. Only Teal'c had been returned, and he on the brink of death.

SG3 and 7 had brought Teal'c home upon a stretcher. His injuries were extensive. It was as if he had been the victim of Goa'uld cannon fire. Heavy scarring, heavy blood lossand massive damage to several major organs, the hemorrhaging alone would have killed anyone else.

Janet had sat with him at his bedside, worried for her friend, praying he would survive. She had done everything she could for him, now his survival rested in the coils of his symbiote.

It had been almost three weeks and Teal'c was still locked in a coma. Hour after hour, day after day, Janet stayed at base, sleeping when she could upon the sofa or in her office, all the while keeping at his bedside, nursing him back to health. She couldn't give up on him, couldn't abandon him even when she had been given a direct order form General Hammond to return home.

With Cassie visiting her grandparents in Oklahoma, home was an empty place, made more so by Sam's absence. Three weeks, and the search teams came up with nothing. No sign of SG1. If the Goa'uld had taken them into a stronghold, where in the Galaxy were they? And yet Janet almost prayed they were prisoners, if they were prisoners then they were not fallen to a thrice-fired zat gun.

Sitting-empty-eyed, with a migraine, near tonear to Teal'c's bed, Janet was very near collapse. She was unable to summon the energy to act. It became like a horrible dream, where she knew she was dreaming and yet unable to stir or fully wake. Her spirit would grant no energy, it had been stolen from her.

For several minutes Janet concentrated the whole of her will on rising from the chair. She failed even to straighten from her near-comatose slump. It was almost as if her spirit was contemptuously amused at her powerlessness, content to let her body be shackled by the extremity of exhaustion and overstress. Her heart was broken. Hammond had withdrawn the search for SG1 today. No sign of them. He had one last call to make to the Tok'ra but he wasn't hopeful. The General had listed Colonel Jack O'Neill, Captain Samantha Carter and Dr. Daniel Jackson MIA

Missing In Action. The words burned in Janet's mind; suffocated her. It was a pain she could not banish. They were missing and there was absolutely nothing she could do to change that. For three weeks her staff had witnessed the fact she was overburdened, and overtaxed, and they could not persuade her to leave.

Her heart didn't want to fight the last restraint of her body's lethargy. The shackles of truth repressed her. Janet refused to believe her Samantha was dead. She wouldn't allow herself to believe it. This was what she tried to tell herself. They were gone and Teal'c was close to death. And so she waited, making sure he had the right meds, urging him to come to the waking world, yet Teal'c refused to listen to her. It had been a full three weeks now, and still nothing.

UAV's, Balloons, scouting missions; nothing. It was as if the rest of SG1 was obliterated. Janet refused to give up. Her nurses, Warner, all pleaded with her to rest, that they would look out for the Jaffa. There was venom in her voice each time she told them now. Finally she pulled rank and ordered them to back off.

Or course Hammond countered the order and commanded Warner to drug Janet so that she would at least have a few days sleep. Deprived of sleep and proper diet Janet's body started to turn on itself. They put her in Sam's quarters; the diminutive doctor had almost slept a full three days nestled in the blankets that still carried the scent of her lover.

Now she was awake again and hovering near Teal'c. The colossal body on the bed moved ever so slightly. Janet was at his side immediately.

"It's okay! It's okay! You're in the SGC, Teal'c." She was doing her best to sound comforting, reassuring, confident.

For a moment the Jaffa looked absolutely disorientated. He focused upon the figures of both General Hammond and Dr. Fraiser standing next to his bed.

Hammond flickered the smile one shows when visiting a close friend in the hospital. It was the smile that belies the worry within your heart. The smile that says 'hey you look great,' though in truth you don't. "Good to have you back, Teal'c."

Teal'c must have had a flash of what had happened to him because he sat up so abruptly that Janet was trying to push him back down. "Easy! Easy!" Her voice was thick with concern.

Teal'c ignored her. "Where is the rest of SG-1?" He looked around the room as if to see if his teammates were there but when he didn't see them, he felt his own deep concern take his heart and freeze it.

Hammond spoke up, "Good question. We were hoping you could tell us."

As if to force the thoughts, the knowledge to the forefront of his mind, the Jaffa concentrated but he could remember nothing. He carried the expression of a man ashamed. Not only was he not with his friends, but while he was safe and apparently cared for, his friends might be suffering or worse, dead.

Janet had signaled for one of her male nurses to retrieve clothing for Teal'c so he could change out of the hospital gown and into a fresh uniform. It didn't take long before the nurse returned.

The large man ducked behind one of the curtains so he could change with a bit of privacy. "Searches have been carried out?" He asked. "What do you know General Hammond?"

Janet looked to her CO, her large dark eyes almost accusing him of the lost hope.

Hammond hadn't felt himself since he had ordered the search to be stopped. In fact he was regretting his actions.

Teal'c who had finished dressing pushed back the curtain and picked up his field jacket from the bed, waiting for the general to explain those lost moments he had. He hoped that perhaps with an explanation might come clarity.

" When you didn't return, we sent SG teams 3 and 7 after you. We found you lying next to the Stargate, but no trace of Colonel O'Neill, Captain Carter, and Dr. Jackson." The General's voice reflected the grim look mirrored in the larger man's face.

Teal'c shirked on his jacket and continued to listen in stoic reality.

"We assumed they were captured." George Hammond said not doing a good job of keeping his own voice from being riddled with emotion.

Janet saw her patient gritting his teeth his jaw clamped shut. She had so counted on him knowing what happened, he had been her last best hope of having her beloved restored to her. "You have no memory of this, Teal'c?" Her voice almost shaking, the worry was drowning her.

"I do." Teal'c frowned. " It was a mixture of Horus and Serpent Guards. A very unusual combination." In all his years of service to Apophis such a combination wasn't unheard of but it was very, very irregular.

Even Hammond sensed this was a serious shift of power. " Serving what Goa'uld?"

"That I do not know. General Hammond, I will return to the planet immediately to search for the answers." He was bound and determined to find his lost friends, his comrades. His honor demanded it. And stronger still his love of the three demanded it. It was this love, this honor that gave his gait purpose as he moved past the old General.

Hammond wasn't about to be pushed aside. "Can't let you do that, Teal'c."
Teal'c first knee-jerk reaction was a burst of anger. The words had stopped him in his tracks and he spun around, the look of total befuddlement very apparent on his dark features. It was unacceptable that this man before him stopped him from doing what he must do. "General Hammond, I will not remain idle while my friends may be in danger on this planet."

Janet became spurred in to action. Yes she wanted the Jaffa to hunt for her beloved, for her friends. But she was a doctor and her oath, which she believed in with all her heart, demanded she stop her patient. "Teal'c, you've been unconscious for three weeks."

The hulk of a man almost scoffed. "That is not possible. My symbiote would have awakened me long before the period of three weeks."

The Lilliputian doctor shook her head bearing a dark expression in her eyes. "You were barely alive, Teal'c. You had substantial internal injuries." She didn't go into the six hours of surgery she had to perform just to keep the man alive.

Hammond showed true pride in his blue eyes when he looked at the seemly younger man. He would not let her sacrifice be in vain. "Dr. Fraiser spent most of the three weeks at your side. It was her refusal to give up that kept you alive."

Teal'c bowed his head in admiration to the doctor. " I am in your debt, Dr. Fraiser. General Hammond, permit me to return to this planet to search for my friends."

Hammond and Fraiser exchange worried looks. Janet wasn't even positive that Teal'c would have survived, now just waking; he could further jeopardize his health. The general had been a frequent visitor and he knew that his CMO was very concerned. She might have lost her friends, her lover and, after all she had done to save Teal'c, she couldn't bear the thought of losing him too.

" If their bodies were not found by my side, then they are prisoners." He couldn't, wouldn't believe they were dead. As a former First- Prime he knew the value of SG1 as prisoners far outweighed the need for immediate retribution. The knowledge his friends carried, and of course the potential to become hosts would save them from execution for a time. He was loath to admit that Captain Carter would be prized as a host for a Goa'uld queen. She was astoundingly beautiful; add that to the fire of her spirit and the vast genius of her mind and she would be most sought after as a host.

Hammond sighed heavily trying to reason with the goliath before him. "If they're prisoners, they're long gone from that planet. We sent out UAV's, balloons; our best rescue teams... and found nothing but scorched earth. There was no trace of them. They could have been moved to any Goa'uld stronghold. You'd be searching for a needle in a very large haystack."

Janet flinched inwardly but kept her tongue. Besides she didn't trust herself to speak at the moment.

This news was irrelevant to Teal'c " Perhaps. But I must try." It was pointless to remain and argue the merits of his need to search. He simply turned away from the general, but the old Texan followed him.

" Teal'c! I understand your desire to do something, anything, for SG1. I feel the same way. But I cannot expend any more resources on this. I'm sorry. Request denied."

Teal'c was angered beyond words, beyond thought. He simply could not believe the words he had just heard. His jaw slammed shut once more, the sharp white teeth grinding as he strove to find his composure. "If the people of the Tau'ri have given up hope on SG1, then it is with great regret that I must leave this world and return to my people."

"You mean you want to leave the SGC?" Hammond was astonished.

" That is correct."

Janet opened her mouth to say something but Hammond's voice cut her off. " I can't let you do that, Teal'c. I won't let you."

Teal'c nearly lost all of his self-control. The thought of their torture, their impending deaths played over and over on his mind. He was a former first prime, did not General Hammond appreciate this! He knew what hated prisoners suffered by the hands of the false gods. He had been at times the administer of such punishments. He could not stand by and let this happen. Speaking through his teeth, not caring that his eyes glistened with unshed tears as he spoke the words he thought he had no choice but to say.

"General Hammond. I hereby respectfully inform you that I must take my leave of the SGC." He removed the olive jacket from his person. "Therefore, I am no longer under your command." With that he let the covering fall to the floor of the infirmary. And with it Janet's best hopes she would see her beloved again.

Her dark eyes could only stare at the jacket on the floor, not paying attention as the Jaffa started to walk away, or as the SGC's commander blocked the larger man's path. Which was not an advisable course of action. You had to be either very stupid or very brave to stand in the way of Teal'c

"I can't allow you to do that. You're too great a security risk." George didn't want to see Teal'c leave. If any sort of rescue mission was to commence, if he had any hope of getting his favored team back, he needed Teal'c. And the old Texan was fond of the Jaffa and he was reluctant to lose a friend

"General Hammond, I would die before willingly divulging any information pertaining to this world. You know that." Teal'c was almost shuddering in his anger, in his frustration and his sorrowed disbelief of the words he had heard the general speak.

"Yes, I do." A good soldier knows when it is time to give up.

"I will depart in one hour." He said matter of factly, leaving both Janet and Hammond in the infirmary with the expression of absolute helplessness.

After a moment Hammond left as well, carrying the discarded jacket on his way out.

Janet returned to her office feeling as if the life was drained out of her. The tremendous strain she had been under the past weeks finally broke her. She studied the medical case files of SG1 until the print blurred her eyes. She cast them aside, unable to shun the thought her beloved was lost to her. Sam had traded on her luck too often.

She was nearly killed because the Chav'adie were extremely male dominated and Sam was not one to allow oppression thrive, by the Broca Syndrome, and once Apophis had killed her and, if not for the Nox, Sam would have remained dead. She nearly froze in the Antarctic. Of course she nearly blew herself up when she and SG1 went up against Apophis. Sam had been a prisoner of circumstance for trespassing; crossing lines with the Destroyer of worlds, and she had been taken prisoner yet again and forced to slave labor in Naquaada mines as Danny lived up the highlife. Then, of course, was the incident with Jolinar. The Asherak had killed Sam/Jolinar and it was Janet, who crawled up on the gurney resuscitating her lover, who forced her back into world of the living.

Three weeks missing, Samantha Carter had played her hand out. They were supposed to be celebrating their third year anniversary of being a couple. Another season of new wonders was now stolen. That pain was more then Janet could contain.

The tears fell hot against her flushed, hollow cheeks. She cradled her head in her hands, her small body shuddering in her silent tears. This was the scene Teal'c witnessed when he tiptoed into the office of the woman who had captured his heart. He would never voice it, but somewhere along the lines he had lost a part of himself in those large doe-brown eyes, for he had fallen in love with Janet Fraiser. DanielJackson had teasingly accused him of having a crush on the Lilliputian doctor. He told him he didn't want to crush her, he wanted to hold her and love her, but he knew she belonged to another, though he never knew who it was.

"Dr. Fraiser?"

"This is my private office Teal'c." Janet swallowed down the thickness in her throat. Dismissively, she wiped away the tears from red puffy eyes and would not look at the Jaffa.

"Forgive the intrusion, but I want to tell you, thank you for all the kindness you have always shown me."

"That's my job Teal'c, I am a doctor." She wouldn't look up.

"I have seen other doctors of the Tau'ri, you are different. You always give more of yourself then is required." He stepped softly up to her, then dropped to a single knee watching the tiny woman.

"Are you alright Dr. Fraiser?"

"No I am not." Janet muttered brokenly.

Teal'c, overcome by her despair, reached out his python arm and touched the doctor on her shoulder.

"Oh God Teal'c." Janet was openly weeping. "She's gone isn't she….? Oh God I can't lose her. She is my life. I love her so much. I . . .we had an argument before she left….she…. oh God Teal'c it was so dumb…so stupid. I didn't get to tell her all the things I wanted to before she…..I love her…"

In that moment Teal'c knew who had captivated this woman's heart. Captain Samantha Carter. They were mated. And he approved of the match. If he himself could not be the one to love this very special soul, then he would want no other then Captain Carter to be there. He trusted her as much as he trusted Master Bra'tac.

"I give you my word Dr. Fraiser, I will not rest until I find them and bring them home. Bring her home to you."

He felt Janet clutch him, her whole body shivering in grief and dispair. Her tears soaking the unbleached thick linen of his robes as he continued to hold her tiny body. He closed his eyes and let her fall, let her pain crush her, he would not let her shatter, but he would hold her until she could move past the pain.

"We will of course offer what assistance we can." Novalis spoke calmly, bringing Janet back to the present. "We do have our own methods of leaching out the truth. We need only to summon the World Symphony and the reluctant traitor will be revealed, perhaps with more accuracy then this Tok'ra Zatarrc testing."

"Actually I may use that as a contingency plan." Sam remarked. "The presence of the test equipment may be enough to cause the assailant into action. And if not we still need to find which Goa'uld is behind this. I almost guarantee it will be a System Lord. I need to talk, or better yet, meet with the Tok'ra to see if they have any information upon this incident and they may have an operative working on the inside, who may have more Intel."

"Very well. You can use our subspace communications to send a message. A few months ago under a flag of truce we met and started negotiations of an alliance. We did so only because the Tok'ra delegate was your father Liege Commander." The Queen smiled. "He was most impressed with your accomplishments. The Tok'ra know that if it had not been for Jacob Carter's biological connection to you, we would never have suffered an alliance. The very nature of their being creates dissidence within the World Symphony." The Purple wings shifted once, then settled. "However, they strive to find a harmony between host and symbiote. This is worthy of consideration. And though they are not Diabolicals, they are not exactly forthcoming and we do not trust their motives completely." Novalis again fluttered her wings in unrest. "But your father is amongst their number and I have found no discord with him and the Symphony. He is a being of his word."

Sam smiled, taking pride in her father. Yes Jacob Carter could be a proud man and yes he had created discord in the family, but because of Selmac that rift had been healed. The Tok'ra may not be fully trust worthy as they left a lot of information out of their briefings, however, Sam trusted her father without question. He might annoy her from time to time, even get her so angry she was beyond thought, but she trusted him and more. She loved him.

"We do have a ship that will take you to a neutral location where you can meet with them. And, if the Blue Wing is let known you are underway, they may seek to intervene and escort you. At that time you can apprehend the eager warriors and have them return the Samantha Carter. As I said if they yield, there will be no charges drawn and they will not be Court Martialed. However, because of their actions, they will be suspended indefinitely from the Militia of this throne. As free agents they may serve a new master." The Queen smiled. "Perhaps some thought might be warranted on the matter, Liege Commander, as to whom they would pledge allegiance too. I am positive this new master would gain very loyal warriors in their struggle against the intergalactic menace of the Diabolicals."

"I am sure something will come up." Sam smiled back. "Nine unemployed winged warriors would come in handy for whoever decides to take them on as hired soldiers."

This also brought up the subject of the generators for the protection web and everything that it entailed. It would cut off any enemy incursion via ships. The trade negotiations had been set up quickly and, because it was not direct interference, the Treaty of Protected Planets was not in violation. Since Earth itself would not possess the generators no one country would have direct control. However, the SGC would hold all diagnostic logistics over the WEB. The Malakim would load the generators and send a convoy of their vessels to the Tau'ri home world to deploy the technology.

Sam looked at the offering and then back to the queen. "Please understand as I say this. The offering is very generous and I know my government would be thrilled to have this technology. But why? I mean … it seems….like a lot."

Novalis could fully understand the tall blonde's query. Her expression was not of a person insulted, but one of gentle mentor.

"Samantha you have found a unique place within our Empire. And we care for our own."

"You…mean.. your allies." Sam said a little nervously

The queen shook her head. "When you restored my life to me, you created a dissidence within the World Symphony and the Great Song changed its harmonics. The Song now includes you within its opus. It is most difficult to explain to one who can not truly feel the essence of the World Symphony, but…." She looked to Janet then back to Sam. "To use a metaphor, before Jolinar joined you, your own song had its own harmonies. After Jolinar, that changed forever, she integrated with you, fusing her essence to yours. You now have the trace of her song within you. Your song was so altered that you differ greatly from all other mortals in your world. You forever changed and you can never go back to the way you once were. Even upon the subatomic level your song has been forever altered. This same change has come to me."

Sam blinked as the analogy started to sink in.

Novalis stood up and approached both Sam and Janet her massive purple wings covered the humans. Her voice was a low whisper. "When you restored my life Samantha you made me Mortal."

Blue eyes blinked once more. "I…Ah…what?"

"The Song of Life passed from me into you Samantha Carter. I am completely mortal. The World Symphony, as I said, had changed harmonics; even as the Doctor removed the shrapnel from my hearts she changed its pitch."

The two exchanged worried glances.

"We...I didn't mean to change anything…are you sure…about this mortality thing?" Sam pulled back in her chair a little concerned.

"Without a doubt. I have lived for ten thousand years, Samantha I know the Great Song well." The queen flashed a brief smile. "The longer your song remains without dissidence the longer I live. So you see it is in my best interest to see to the complete safety of your world and that you are well cared for."

In a shattering moment of clarity, Sam thought, if it was her life and Janet's that kept the queen alive, would it not be easier to keep the two of them as pets?

"Not pets no, and certainly not prisoners." The queen pulled back, her wings relaxing against her body. "Yes I read your surface thoughts Samantha, if you were anything but free it would create dissidence. One does not sing in the Choir when a tune can not be carried"

"So basically you're keeping your er…assets covered." Janet commented off handedly.

"Exactly so." The Queen of the Malakim sat back in the chair. "This shift of harmonics has been felt in the World Symphony by all Malakim, but the truth is not known to many. They know only that you Samantha and you Janet are apart of its Song." Novalis smiled warmly. " So you see, the Malakim have great interest in your continued survival and your continued well being. So we will do what we can to insure this harmony."

Sam frowned a little, not at ease with this new resolution.

"Umm I have a thought." Cassie said. "If all Malakim felt the shift of the Song, ever think that is why the Blue Wings is so devoted to my Mum? I mean maybe its like imprinting you know, they shifted their allegiance because they felt a connection to her. The Blue Wing were the warriors present when my Mum gave you CPR. And because Turel and Zaire, were there they bonded to Mom when she performed emergency surgery on you. Maybe I am just talking out the side of my head, but it's a thought. This reaction could be caused by super pheromones combined with something like Sodium Pentothal… tends to make your mind extremely pliable. A little like the affects of Nish'ta. Not that ... er… um…not that your presence Moms gets them high or anything." Cassandra looked to her mothers with a sheepish expression. "But maybe the shift in harmony or whatever was strongest at that moment, so maybe the Blue Wing are caught up in it."

Novalis was impressed. And so was Janet. Her daughter it seemed didn't always have her head stuck in quantum mechanics, she actually studied the medical side of things.

"Indeed I believe you have a valid point." Novalis said softly. "The Blue Wing had imprinted upon the Liege Commander and the Healer. This is one of the reasons charges will not be warranted. However, I cannot allow this 'civil disobedience' to go unpunished. They will not be exiled, simply decommissioned. The Blue Wing's connection to the Great Song Via the World Symphony was massively altered. Samantha, you and Janet are their connection to the Great Song. It is curious they have yet to know this shift.

" 'Myth is the history we cannot escape. Mystery is the omen we cannot ignore. Madness is the terror we cannot stop.' There is an ancient proverb that was old when the eldest of our eldest was young." Novalis repeated familiar words. Words that Sam had heard once before from Malachi. What the queen said next was even more familiar.

" The proverb references to our Pantheon. The faith of the Pantheon is not static, Janet…Samantha. New spirits are born, old ones are forgotten. This is precisely why it has never died. It has evolved. Malakim have guilds, and sects. All Malakim serve Archangels, directly or indirectly, and they all serve me. Samantha, Janet, what has happened is that you have become in every essence of the word, Archangels."

Sam's very expressive eyebrows shot up into her unruly bangs. Janet stared. Cassie snorted and Daniel dropped his mouth gaping at the two women sitting before him. It was Teal'c who was the first to respond vocally.

"Can it be countered?" Teal'c asked.

"Not without killing many millions of my people." Novalis answered. Purple wings fluttered before she spoke once more. "As I have said, Samantha and Janet have a singular connection now with the World Symphony. Any alteration the Great Song now would bring irrefutable harm to the Empire; one that would take an eon to recover from. Understand we will protect the Liege Commander, her consort and her kith and kin."

"I have a question." Cassie asked. "What happens if something really bad happens…. and well…. my mothers die?"

"Then it is very fortunate the Nox and Asgard are not the only ones who can resurrect the dead." Novalis said in complete candor. "Given enough time, perhaps the Great Song can be altered but, until then, it can be adapted too. This has been so since that single moment when you saved my life Liege Commander. Simply knowing it changes nothing. You need not concern yourself with becoming active within our Empire, you need only to exist as you have been."

Several things lay on the line. The catching of the assassin, the missing Blue Wing, contacting the Tok'ra, as well as dealing with the fact Sam and Janet had a rather unique relationship to a race of millions.

Sam had decided to contact the General giving him a basic heads up on what was happening. The negotiation of the Protection Web was a significance in and of itself. Of course, informing the General of Sam's newly revealed status amongst the Malakim was another point of great interest. The tall Blonde herself was having a difficult time digesting that part, but it would explain a lot of things.

The forever-young colonel also wanted as much information the SGC had on the assassinations. What, if any, leads the General had to go on.

Janet placed her hand on Sam's long back as they made their way through the streets of Hy-Basil "A bit much to take in all at once isn't it?" She said softly.

"Yeah." Sam said, her brows furrowed. "It is." She looked to her wife with renewed sense of self. But then Janet had always been able to do that for Sam. "How about you?" The taller woman ran a hand down the other's spine resting on her hip. "It seems you truly are an angel of mercy."

"Oh hardy har har." Janet mused. "Wasn't it you that Narim called a Sher'mau."

Sam gave her a wiry look. The last thing she wanted to do was to be a Tollen angel. It was bad enough as it was that Narim had had a crush and made his household computer systems speak to him with Sam's voice. He didn't just have a crush on her he was obsessed with her. Even though he had died, it still creeped her out that the Tollen's computer spoke to him in very sensual tones.

"We have some video feed taken from Captain Jeff Hornsby when he was in his office." Jack said scratching his gray eyebrow out of nervous habit.

"SG7." Carter said. "He was killed on base?"

"Yeah. It pretty much sums up the fact we were right about the Zatarr in the ranks. We didn't get a good picture of the perpetrator but it looked like an SF. Hornsby was killed by a K-bar."

"Standard issue knife." Sam nodded. Anything else sir?"

"We have our own Internal CSI teams on it, we'll keep you up dated. What he used so far is what we have on base and anyone with clearance to the armory could easily get their hands on the items. His methods are standard special forces kill techniques."

"That does narrow it down sir."

"Maybe. But most members of the SGC are given specialized training. Covert Operations…lost two of theirs. So did Elite Security and Espionage/Intelligence was completely neutralized…but we're open to ideas. SG7 and 3 had been working on a jump together. And 7 and 11 were going to dive into a project with the weapons grade naquaada brought back. SG teams 12 and 18 had gone on a jump together and 12 and 3 had made a jump together before that. There is a definite connection there."

"Yes sir." Sam nodded. But she knew her General's predicament as to who to trust with the investigations. Paul Davies of course was in on it as was O'Neill himself. Jonas Quinn was also in on the investigation though in a completely unofficial capacity. Basically, the eager young man's role was to gather seemingly irrelevant conversations incase someone let something slip in his "harmless" presence.

"Taking out all of SG12 Espionage / Intelligence was a smart move. Neutralizing half of Covert Operations was also a good move, as was taking out some of Elite Security. Hitting one from medical and science was effective as was one in the SG3 marines. These were effectively strategic hits not random strikes Carter." Jack said. "Ashrak or Zatarrc they definitely know what they are doing." The general leaned forward before he spoke once more. "I have SG5 Marines and SG2 and 4 going to the planets in prior missions to see what they can't dig up. They were off world during the murders so are not suspect. Neither are members of SG1 Carter, all of you were in the Gateroom, at the time."

"Good to know sir." Sam said stoically. "Sir, the Malakim, as you know, have offered us a Defense web. I met with the Queen today and I'll send the schematics of what she is offering. It is purely defensive but it is an incredible weapon against space attack. In addition to this sir, Novalis has offered assistance in tracking down the assassin, or assassins, as well as a ship to deploy SG1 to the Tok'ra."

"That's pretty generous. What's the catch?" Jack commented a little suspiciously

"I am."

"What?" Jacks' eyebrows shot up into his thatch of silver hair.

"Apparently sir…." Sam smiled a little bashfully then gave O'Neill a synopsis of what the Queen had related to her. Detailing her connection to the Malakim world as she understood it. Most of which she was still trying to digest.

"So you're what, their new queen?"

"No, not exactly, but they are connected to me…..I am still a little unsure if it myself. I think in the way you are the missing link for the Asgard, I am connected to the Malakim. Daniel had a connection to the Ancients and became an Ascended and therefore has a connection to them too. Cassie had telekinesis, Jonas was a prophetic at one point and Teal'c…"

"Yedddedtta." Jack made his grunting 'shut up Carter' noise and pinched his fingers together. "Okay I get it. So they are doing all of this because you're the queen's …heir…. or whatever?"

"Apparently something similar to that effect, sir." Sam sucked in some air trying to file her thoughts into a cohesive report for her commanding officer. "The Malakim Empire also formed an alliance with the Tok'ra which would not have happened if not for …well sir… my biological connection to them."

"Your dad."

"Yes sir. The queen admitted as much, if it wasn't for the fact my father was among them an alliance would have been out of the question. They don't trust the Tok'ra because they aren't as straightforward as the Malakim would have them.

"The angelics don't like half truths any more then we do. Gotta love'em for that. At least you know what you're dealing with when you deal with your guys Carter."

Sam allowed a small slight grin. "Novalis also stated they have made a pact with the Asgard in the efforts to help protect Earth sir. That is why we have the defensive grid but, according to the pact, the Malakim can not give us offensive weapons."

"But they can give us defensive technology." Jack ran a hand trough his short-cropped silver hair. "As long as you're in the picture."

"Yes sir."

Jack grinned. "Doesn't look like you 're going to retire any time soon Carter."

Sam didn't respond right away. Though Janet piped in, defending her wife as she saw a flash of uncertainty in the blue eyes. Only Janet could have caught the fleeting expression. More so the Lilliputian doctor had felt it in the Bond they shared.

"Well sir that wasn't a part of the contingency. She needs only to be affiliated with Earth for the Malakim to continue its protection."

"What are you saying?" Jack scowled.

Janet again spoke. "They are highly empathic / telepathic sir, attuned to some spiritual resonance. I can't really explain it sir, but keeping Earth safe basically keeps the colonel and I content. We could live on Hy-Basil and still be content, as long as we knew that earth was safe. Hypothetically of course."

"Of course." Jack didn't like where this conversation could be headed. He couldn't lose Samantha or Janet. He knew the tall blonde was still working through her torture, which happened three and half months ago. He knew she was struggling with nightmares every time she sought slumber. The bastard Calabim had broken Samantha Carter. Now she was struggling to put her life back together.

Hy-Basil was a perfect retreat. Sam and Janet, and their family, would be perfectly safe. Hell Carter and Fraiser had a ritzy home all to themselves, as well as a Wing of Warriors dedicated to Sam. If Sam wanted to retire, to pull out of the SGC permanently, to do so on the Angelic homeworld would be a perfect place in which to do it.

"Don't get any ideas." O'Neill said. "You have a go." He decided to change the subject. "Contact the Tok'ra and, as I said, see what INTEL they might have on a specific System Lord gunning for us."

"You mean other then Anubis?" Sam said.

"Or the other dozen System Lords that have a bounty on our heads." Cassie added.

"Right." Jack grimaced. "And good luck SG1."

"Thank you sir." Sam said then terminated communications. "You heard the General. We move out now."

Part 6

Return to Stargate Fiction

Return to Main Page