DISCLAIMER: I only borrowed them for a while. MGM and whoever can have them back whenever they want. I'm sorry but I have no idea who wrote the songs I quoted. No copyright infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Lyrics quoted are from "Perfect Girl" by Sarah McLachlan from the album "Afterglow".
SPOILERS: Up to the end of season 7, pre-Lost City. P.S. She ain't dead.
SERIES: This is the third story in the Darkspell series.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author

By Celievamp


Janet stared at their test results in some disbelief. There was no residual radiation present in either her body or Sam's. Yet the dead Jaffa and Anubis warriors looked as if they had been microwaved. How had she and Sam been protected from the radiation? How had the radiation burst occurred in the first place?

Sam was still in the same catatonic state. Tests had shown that she was severely anaemic, her blood and tissues were missing many essential minerals and her blood sugar levels were incredibly low putting her into a hypoglaecaemic coma. Her blood also contained high levels of lactose and other fatigue poisons as if Sam had gone through some extreme physical exertion before her collapse and she was suffering from mild hemolysis though her red blood cell levels showed signs of recovery. She was receiving nutrients as fast as her body could accept them. They had carefully removed the damaged hand device from her right arm and treat the burns that spiralled around her forearm and across her fingertips and palm, her only visible injury from where the hot metal had seared her skin but her left arm and hand seemed to be paralysed, her hand locked tightly into a fist. Injections of muscle relaxants had failed to make any difference. Scans of her hand had shown that she was holding on to something but what that was remained a mystery though Janet could hazard a guess that it was the mysterious ring that Sam had so unwillingly shown her. Tests on Sam's sight and any potential brain damage she might have incurred based on Janet's analysis of her symptoms had also been inconclusive. Her brain activity remained minimal. The best diagnosis they could give was that she would either wake up – or she would not.

The surface layers of the activating crystal in the hand device were crazed and fractured as if they had been exposed to intense heat. Neither Dr Lee nor Teal'c had any explanation for how it could have happened and the two of them remain relatively unscathed. It had not been possible to return to the planet to retrieve any of the bodies for analysis, the MALP they had sent through had been fired on and destroyed as soon as it emerged from the wormhole. Analysis of the brief moments of footage revealed the presence of at least two Anubis warriors.

Janet had debriefed with General Hammond and Colonel O'Neill. She was relieved to hear that the other SG personnel had escaped without injury. The SGC had received Brata'c's message telling them that they were no longer in Bastet's custody but they had heard no more from him since. Teal'c was worried. As a leader amongst the free Jaffa the price on Bratac's head was almost as great as that for any member of the SGC.

After her release from the Infirmary, Janet was granted a week's leave. She asked permission to remain on base and stay with Sam. Hammond granted her request – providing that she rested. The remaining members of SG1 took it upon themselves to make sure that she followed those orders.

Sam was in the shimmering, the world between life and death. She was not alone. There were others here. The ones who had created it, the ones who had gone on before. The ones she had killed.

"Thank you," she said.

"No, thank you," the shimmering seemed to say. "We are yours to command, Samantha. As you will so be it."

"No… it was only to be the once, to keep her safe. I don't need… I don't want…"

"That cannot be. We are with you forever now. A part of you."

"What are you? I don't understand…"

<I>"What's in his pockets, then Precious?"</I>

Sam opened her eyes and sat up. Hands reached to steady her.

"Easy," she heard someone say. "You've been asleep a long time, Sam."


Her hands hurt. Her right hand and arm was swathed in bandages from fingertips to elbow and she felt the too-familiar pull and sting of healing burns underneath. Her left hand felt sore and stiff but did not seem to be injured. She flexed the fingers of her left hand slowly. Her palm itched. Something was missing, but she could not remember what it was.

"Okay, what piece of kit bit back this time?" she asked wearily. Waking up after being electrocuted was just getting so – old! She allowed herself to be lowered back against the pillows, Janet quickly checking that she had not dislodged any of the monitors.

"What's the last thing you remember?" Janet asked, taking hold of her left hand and studying it closely for some reason. Then she touched Sam's face, shining the ever present penlight into her eyes.

"I'm not sure," Sam frowned. She remembered pain, darkness – a woman with dark hair and pale skin, her eyes flaring gold – and then it was gone, the images too brief and disconnected to make any sensible reference. Fear and pain. Not things she wanted to dwell on. "Janet – how long was I unconscious?"

"Long enough to worry everybody," Janet said, somewhat evasively. "Now, I need to run some more tests and you need to rest."

Sam could obviously see again. Her eyes had tracked every move that Janet had made. Though for a moment Janet had thought she had seen something in her eyes, a silvery film, like a nascent cataract but whatever it was had dissipated when Sam blinked and her eyes looked normal after that at least to the cursory test with the penlight. And whatever she had been holding in her hand had vanished. She had not dropped it: Janet had watched her closely as her hand opened and there had definitely been nothing there. There was no sign of any nerve damage her fingers and wrist flexed with a normal range of movement. The amnesia was a little worrying but it could be another symptom of the trauma to her system. Still, Janet scheduled an MRI and a full body scan.

Tests confirmed that Sam's sight was fully restored. There was no problem with the optic nerve, no sign of any scarring or swelling. Since Sam had no memory of ever being blind, Janet decided not to mention it for the moment. Sam's brain function seemed entirely normal. Her residual injuries were healed, the anaemia under control.

However, the scan also showed that the artefact had somehow been incorporated into her body and the bones of Sam's hand had deformed around it. Function in the hand did not seem to be impaired. It sat in the centre of her palm. New nerve fibres could clearly be seen connecting to the ring of metal and bone but it did not seem to be causing any other irritation or infection. In fact it seemed completely inert.

But Janet had a bad feeling that it could not be that simple.

Anubis regarded the bodies of the fallen Jaffa. More of his cadre silently cleared away the bodies of Bastet's Jaffa and of Bastet herself. Ultimately she had proven to be a disappointment to him and had paid the price for her failure.

Samantha Carter had not been a disappointment. Once again she had evaded capture, destroying his creations in the process. He had sensed the energy discharge she had precipitated and wondered again what weapon she had used. Bastet had been adamant that Nef had kept nothing back from her. All that had been his was hers. And was now Anubis's. So it was amongst the Goa'uld.

Samantha Carter. Anubis was longing to meet her. They had much to discuss, many secrets to share. He had searched a long time for someone like her.

Sam snapped awake. The fingers on her left hand were tingling, her palm itched. Something was wrong. She glanced over at Janet who was still sleeping soundly beside her. There it was again. A noise, downstairs. Someone else was in the house.

Sam crept out of bed and eased the bedroom door open a notch. She stood for a moment, listening intently. She heard something that sounded like a drawer being pulled open in the den downstairs, the chink of metal against metal. Sam ghosted along to the top of the stairs, peering around to look into the downstairs hallway. She could feel a slight breeze which told her that either the patio door or the kitchen door was open. She crept downstairs and turned to confront the intruder.

He had been through the desk in the den, the drawers had been forced including the bottom drawer where they kept all their valuables, some share certificates, a small but valuable coin collection that had been Janet's grandfather's, their medals. They had talked about getting a wallsafe installed but had never gotten around to it. The DVD player was no longer in its place and he had also taken Cassie's laptop. She had left it behind on her last visit so that Sam could upgrade it for her.

"Leave them and go," Sam said.

He looked her up and down, grinning. "Why should I?" He took his hand out of his pocket and produced a switchblade. "You gonna stop me?"

"If I have to," Sam said. Her hand to hand fighting skills were more than enough to take this idiot down even if he had a knife. Then her vision fuzzed for a moment and she blinked. The pain in her hand grew sharply worse and she glanced down at it. Had he stabbed her?

Then it was as if someone had flicked a switch in her head. Suddenly her vision was like a photographic negative. The intruder was silver on black. Around them both were shimmering swirls of silver that almost resolved into faces, hands. She remembered now. She understood. This was part of her. It was hers to control. The shimmering closed around her. She raised her left hand, palm outward. Without the focussing energy of the hand device it would not be fatal but it would deter this human. She would protect what was hers to protect.

"Leave or die. Your choice," she said softly.

He was young and brash and in his eyes she was just a woman. It would not take much to frighten her, to make her back off. He raised the knife again and light exploded around him, the knife blade suddenly red hot the plastic handle melting, searing his skin. He dropped the knife as the exposed skin on his face and hands began to burn, screamed and ran.

Janet jerked awake as she heard a scream, something crashing to the floor downstairs then a door slamming. The bed beside her was empty but the place was still warm. Sam had still been here a few minutes ago. She glanced at the clock but the display was dark. The electricity must be out for some reason. She fished in the bedside drawer for the flashlight that they kept there for emergencies such as this and got up to investigate.

In the pale light she could see Sam sprawled at the foot of the stairs. Had she fallen? A few feet away from her there was something on the floor. The flashlight glittered off the bright surface of their service medals and she saw Cassie's laptop lying abandoned, what looked like a hunting knife lying a few inches from Sam's body. Had Sam interrupted a burglar? Had she been injured? Was he still in the house somewhere?

Fighting the urge to dash down the stairs Janet shut off the flashlight and turned it so that she could use it as a weapon if necessary and inched her way down the stairs. She reached out to touch Sam's throat and let out a stifled sob of relief as she felt life flare beneath her fingers. There were no obvious signs of injury, certainly no sign that she had been stabbed. There was however a strange almost metallic burnt smell lingering in the air – hot metal mixed with melted plastic mixed with… hamburger? It turned her already adrenaline-soured stomach a little. She had smelt something like it before… one of O'Neill's less successful barbecues? The connection was elusive her heart hammering in her chest.

Quickly she checked the rest of the downstairs area, finding a trail of damage where however had broken in had been searching for stuff. Whoever it was had gone. She was careful not to touch anything. It looked like a simple burglary. But Janet could not forget that it was just over a week since Sam Carter had come back from a mission with a piece of alien technology embedded in her body: its function still unknown. Last time they had snatched her off the street.

Janet checked the circuit board for the house and saw that the circuit breaker had been tripped. Either the burglar had done it or there had been some kind of power surge that had knocked out the whole system before or during the break-in. Carefully she reset the breaker and turned on the hall light. Nothing went foom.

She went back to Sam and quickly checked her over again as she eased her into the recovery position and then called the police and the EMT at the Academy Hospital. Sam was barely recovered from what had happened with Bastet – she did not need any kind of setback now. Her skin was pale and clammy to the touch. She was in shock. Janet snagged the afghan from the back of the couch and laid it over her, smoothing her fingers through Sam's hair. The unpleasant smell lingered in the air and now she remembered, shuddering, fighting against the gag reflex. The encounter with Bastet's Jaffa and the Anubis warriors at the Gate. Had something similar happened again? Turning over Sam's left hand she examined her palm for a moment but there was no burning or redness though if she pressed her fingers hard into Sam's palm she could feel the ring of bone and metal that had somehow fused beneath Sam's skin with no scarring, no outward sign that it was there.

She called the Mountain and got through to Colonel O'Neill who was the duty officer.

"Either of you hurt?" he asked.

"Sam's unconscious, but I can't see any obvious injury. I think I know what happened though – the same trick she pulled on the last mission."

"Oh Jeez – I thought… never mind. Any evidence?"

"No. A bad smell and a knife with a melted handle. Whoever was holding it might have some interesting burns. There's no body so she did not kill them. The police and an EMT unit from the Academy Hospital are on their way. I'll get them to take Sam straight to the Mountain so if you could have someone at the Gate to waive them through."

"So are Teal'c and Danny as soon as I can get hold of him. Hang in there, doc. Any flatfoot that gives you hassle flash your ID and refer them to me."

"Gotta go, sir, the police are here," Janet said as someone knocked on the door.

The EMT unit arrived a moment or two later and for the next ten minutes her house was a flurry of activity as the detectives and CSI squad checked over the house and gathered up evidence and the EMT team worked on Sam.

One of the detectives, who had introduced himself as Caleb Jones, picked up the knife, holding it by the tip. "Does this belong to anyone in the house?"

"No, I've never seen it before, Detective Jones," Janet said.

"So you wouldn't happen to know how the handle got melted?" he asked. "It's still warm."

"I don't," Janet said. "But the power was out in the house when I first came down. The circuit breaker had tripped."

"Perp might have electrocuted himself. We'll put a line out to the local ER for anyone with electrical burns to his hands. It looks like he left some of his skin behind here. Could be good for a DNA match." He handed the knife off to the waiting CSI officer.

The EMT unit had Sam ready for transport. "Excuse me a moment," she said to the detective.

"Ma'am," the paramedic recognised her. "We'll take good care of her."

"If it's what I think it is test to see if she's hypoglaecaemic and her red blood cell count will be low. Treat her for anaemia and mineral deficiencies."


"I'll be at the hospital as soon as I can," Janet said. She looked up as Daniel and Teal'c appeared in the doorway, along with Major Ferretti.

"Anything we can do to help, doc?" Ferretti asked, flashing his ID at the detective.

"Is the Air Force taking over the investigation?" Jones asked.

"Nope. We're just here as friends of the Doc and Major Carter and to assist in any way we can."

"Daniel, could you go in the ambulance with Sam in case she wakes up. Let her know that I'm fine and I'll be with her as soon as I can."

"Of course, Janet." Pressing a reassuring hand to her shoulder for a moment he followed the EMT unit with Sam out of the door.

"You're a doctor – do you think her collapse had anything to do with the robbery? If this guy did something to her she can press charges. We can add it to the sheet."

"I think it's more shock than anything else," Janet lied. "Major Carter is still recovering from injuries sustained on a recent mission. I think the shock of surprising an armed intruder caused her to relapse."

Jones wasn't convinced, she could see. Another detective came over, whispered urgently in his ear. He nodded, turned back to her. "Seems like we may have caught your perp. A guy just walked into the emergency room with burns to his hands and face. He's got previous for robbery. We're checking him out. So, if you'll finish giving your statement, Dr Fraiser, I can let you get to the hospital to your erm… friend."

Janet gave him a long cool stare at that and he had the grace to at least look mildly embarrassed. In the event there was not much more that she could tell him and he allowed her to go. Quickly she ran upstairs to change into street clothes and then Teal'c drove her back to the SGC leaving Ferretti to deal with the police and CSI people and secure the house.

O'Neill had also asked him to check if there was any sign that this was more than an opportunistic break-in. There were still rogue NID out there, some of whom had taken a keen interest in Carter in the past. If they had got wind of her new abilities he would not put it past them to stage some sort of abduction again.

Janet called the Mountain en route and found out that Sam had regained consciousness and was alert and responsive though a little shaky. The tests and treatments that she had ordered were being administered.

A little while later Janet walked into Sam's room and froze. Sam was sitting on her bed reading through her medical notes.


"Why didn't you tell me?"

Janet did not need to ask what Sam was upset about. "I didn't want to worry you unnecessarily. When you woke up your sight was fine. You didn't remember what had happened. If you had, you would have been told."

"I did wonder why you were doing some of the tests but I figured you were checking for neurological damage from the hand device." She looked up at Janet for the first time. "You still should have told me the truth."

"I know. I'm sorry."

"Is there anything else I should know?"

"You know everything else," Janet said. "Sam, what happened last night?"

"I remember hearing a noise, going downstairs to investigate. There was a man – early twenties perhaps late teens. He was holding Cassie's laptop and he had the dvd player and some other stuff. He took out a knife and…" she frowned. "Leave or die. I told him that. And I held out my hand. Silver…silver burning light." She shuddered, absently massaging her left hand. "I don't remember anything else."

Janet was still worried about Sam's bloodcount. Though there were clear signs that she was at last producing new red bloodcells on her own, she was still severely anaemic. Because of the naquada and rogue protein in her blood they always had problems crossmatching blood for her. Sam donated as regularly as she could manage so that there were usually supplies of her own blood on hand when she was injured. However the earlier bout of hemolysis had used up their supplies. So Sam was receiving daily iron and folic acid supplements and had been placed on an iron-rich diet. As that also included dark chocolate, Sam did not complain too much about the amounts of broccoli, spinach and wholemeal bread she seemed to be expected to consume.

Sam was on light duties only, confined to the labs and the technical areas. SG1 was on stand-down taking the opportunity to catch up on paperwork, reports and the like. O'Neill spent a lot of time with Hammond trying to sort out the fall-out from the change in administration and the ongoing investigation into P3X-666 – where Janet had nearly died compounded by her capture along with Carter by Bastet a few weeks later. Teal'c was training new recruits and Daniel was going through a backlog of articles that had been brought in – some from P3R-666 that they had managed to ship out before all hell broke loose. He also spent hours working with Sam going through the data they had gleaned from Anubis's MALP.

With the quiet encouragement of the Air Force investigation into the break-in at Dr Fraiser's house was concluded. The young man in custody had several similar offences on his rap sheet. The burns he had sustained were not life threatening. And any story he might tell about women who turned into burning balls of light were obviously the product of an active imagination and too many episodes of the X Files.

They tried to make the most of the change in pace. For some reason they all had the feeling that this was the calm before the storm.

Daniel had made the discovery – in a translation of some writings SG2 had found on P3X-439 he found a reference to an Ancient repository similar to the one that Jack O'Neill had inadvertently accessed several years before. Or as he had put it to O'Neill "That thing that grabbed your head, made you talk crazy and nearly killed you."

At the briefing Sam managed to summon up enough energy to discuss the possibility of creating some kind of interface with it that did not involve anyone having their brain reprogrammed. News of Daniel's discovery had not come as any surprise to her. It was as if she had been expecting the repository to be found. It was important to her, important to what she was becoming.

One problem with authorizing the mission was that they knew that Anubis was also interested in finding the repository. One of his reconnaissance drones had been seen on the planet. Hammond authorized it to go ahead with SG3 and SG5 accompanying SG1 as back up.

General Hammond was no one's fool. He knew that it was highly likely one of his frontline team would have to sacrifice themselves to bring this data home. "Recent intel suggests that Anubis has become a serious threat to dominate the rest of the Goa'uld in a very short time. We have to consider that Earth is at risk now more than ever. If the knowledge contained within this device can lead us to technologies we can use to defend ourselves, we must pursue it."

Sam already knew that the plan to download the repository into a crystal would not work. It was only a ruse to get her close enough to the repository to activate it herself. O'Neill despite his own nightmare experience in the past with the first repository would want to be the one to sacrifice himself but Sam knew it had to be her.

Sam just hoped that either the changes in her brain structure from Jolinar or whatever the device embedded in her hand was doing to her would mean that she would not be overwhelmed too quickly. Jack had been saved by the Asgard but recent attempts to contact them had proven fruitless. She might just be on her own.

Of course, first she had to pass Janet's medical to regain gate clearance. And at the moment that was not a done deal.

"I have to be on this mission, Janet," Sam said earnestly. "It's important."

"I know that you're anxious about this interface working. But Dr Lee or Dr Felger could monitor it in your place. You've done the hardwork," Janet said. She made the mistake of looking into beseeching blue eyes and sighed. "I don't know whether I can give you medical clearance, Sam. This object in your hand, it's obviously still active. We don't know how to shut it down or safely remove it short of amputating your hand."

"I can keep it under control. I can't explain how but I'm getting close to understanding it. And the more I understand the more I see how important it is that I help find the Ancients repository. It's all connected somehow. Bringing the two together will…will…" she stammered to a halt realizing that she had said too much.

Janet stared at her, horror at what she was thinking overcoming her usual professionalism. "God no, Sam. You can't be thinking of letting that thing download into your mind. It nearly destroyed Jack O'Neill."

"I think I have to. I think it – and this," she held out her hand "might be the key to beating Anubis once and for all. Janet - this may be more important than anything I have ever done, I… Please. Let me go. Let me do this."

Janet stepped back. "Okay, I understand. I don't like it, I don't agree with it, but I understand. If General Hammond okays you to go on the mission then I'll sign you off. Just…"

"Be careful, I know. I promise." Her hand grasped Janet's. "I love you," she whispered.

Janet frantically willed the tears she could feel gathering not to fall. "I know," she whispered back. "I know."

The structure that contained the repository was one of the most incredible buildings they had ever seen. Daniel was almost beside himself with excitement. "It's like the Abu Simnel statues only on a vastly greater scale. Incredible, just incredible."

There was only one problem. They could not find a way in.

Sam was having better luck than Daniel. Her instruments showed an active powersource embedded in the wall. As she approached, the wall warped and the portal appeared. "Umm – found it," she said.

O'Neill was consulting over the radio with Reynolds who was holding the Gate with SG3. Apparently their worst fears had come true. They were no longer alone. He reported multiple gliders heading towards their position.

Daniel and Sam studied the portal carefully without getting close enough to activate it. "There doesn't appear to be any way to get it out of the wall," Sam said.

Reynolds had dialed the Gate to the SGC and was sending through a radio signal to keep it active so that nothing could block their retreat.

O'Neill watched the lead Deathglider approach their position on a strafing run. "Whatever you two are going to do – better make it fast!" he shouted. "We got incoming!"

"We can't remove it," Sam said decisively.

"And we must not allow this device to fall into the hands of Anubis." Teal'c intoned. Daniel and Sam nodded their agreement. Sam started to prepare to download the data into the crystal array she had prepared. She stopped, shivered. This was it. She wondered how badly it would hurt.


"It won't work. It'll take too long. Anubis's forces will have overrun this position long before it finishes."

"So we blow it up," O'Neill fished in his pocket for a block of C4. "Keep the status quo. No one gets their hands on it."

"No!" Daniel Jackson could not allow such a travesty to happen. "We have to try to access it."

"Sir, he's right," Sam said. "If we destroy it we lose our only chance to find the location of the Lost City. There is another way."

"Ah crap!" O'Neill watched the glider come around for a second run, wondering how many direct hits the structure could take before it fell down on top of them. Maybe it would do the job of destroying this thing for them. "Alright then, what?"

The bombardment was getting closer. Sam set her equipment on the floor and approached the portal. It began to morph, sensing her presence.

"Careful, Carter," O'Neill warned. "Don't get too close to that thing."

"I think I'm going to have to, sir," Sam said, not taking her eyes off the portal. "This is the only way. I have a feeling that this is how it was meant to be. In case I don't get the chance later, it's been an honour, Colonel."

She stepped up to the portal and raised her left hand. The portal reacted again, a spike forming next to the hood, its purpose clear to her. This was going to hurt but hopefully not for long.

"Step away Carter, that's an order," O'Neill barked.

"Sam! For gods sake, no!" Daniel shouted. "If one of us has to do it, let me!"

"Daniel – we need you to translate, when… I'm sorry sir, guys, I can't. This is the way it has to be." Sam slammed her hand onto the spike as the hood formed around her head. The device embedded in her palm began its own interrogation of the portal as all the knowledge of the Ancients was downloaded into Sam's brain. The pain was excruciating unending and Sam screamed until she was hoarse. An eternity passed. And at the end there was only darkness.

Abruptly the portal began to shrink back into the wall. Blood was pouring down Sam's arm from the wound in her hand. She managed to stay on her feet for a few seconds before she fell bonelessly to the floor, Teal'c managing to catch her limp body into his strong arms.

Anubis raised his head. She was there on the planet below. He could sense her so clearly. Samantha Carter. So powerful, so beautiful. And an innocent. He signalled to his new First Prime who stepped forward, bowing. "My Lord Anubis?"

"On the planet below. Among the Tauri is a woman, Samantha Carter. She is to be brought to me unharmed. Unharmed," he emphasised. "The rest you may kill but not her."

"My lord." The Jaffa bowed and retreated.

Sam was still unconscious, slung over Teal'c's shoulder when SG1 with SG3 and SG5 barrelled down the ramp. Several staff blasts came through the gate after them before the IRIS shut.

"Didn't quite go according to plan, sir," O'Neill told General Hammond somewhat breathlessly. "It's inside Carter this time though. She… volunteered."

"Colonel?" Hammond turned to look as the unconscious woman was loaded gently onto a gurney, Dr Fraiser already shouting orders for her care. She examined Sam's left hand and arm. The left sleeve of her fatigues were wet with blood from the cuff almost to the elbow, her skin stained with dry blood though there was no visible injury.

"I couldn't stop her, sir. We were under heavy bombardment from Anubis's death gliders. The portal is destroyed. I set a charge before we headed back to the Gate. Brought the whole structure down on top of it."

"So Major Carter now knows the location of the Lost City?"

"She knows a hell of a lot more than that," O'Neill shuddered. He remembered very little of his time with the alien repository – something of which he was very glad. "I suggest we get the Asgard on board right away… not just for Carter. Anubis is going to come looking for us sooner or later. I think we may have pissed him off one time too many."

"She did it deliberately, sir. Sam felt it was the only way we could successfully secure the data before Anubis reached our position," Daniel Jackson looked down at the table. If his reactions had been a little quicker, he could have stopped her. He had balked at destroying the repository but given a choice between that and destroying a brilliant, beautiful mind like Sam's, he'd have planted the C4 himself.

"Major Carter truly believed it was our only chance to access the knowledge of the Ancients," Teal'c said.

"She figured we'd never get another shot at it," O'Neill scrubbed his hands through his hair. It should have been him. Carter was probably the one mind on the planet who might have found a solution to this off her own bat.

"We know from experience that the Ancient's knowledge will essentially overwrite Major Carter's brain. We're hoping that during the transformation process she will become aware of the information we are looking for." Janet hated how she sounded. So aloof, so precise. This could kill Sam or even worse, destroy her mind completely, leave her a living husk.

Her mind went over what Sam had said to her before the mission and she realised that Sam had been prepared for this to happen. She had been preparing Janet to accept this sacrifice for what is was. Potentially their only hope.

"And then?" Hammond asked.

"Unless we can get the Asgard to reverse the process, Major Carter's nervous system will be overwhelmed. It will kill her or leave her in a profoundly autistic state."

They heard footsteps coming up the stairs. It was Sergeant Davis. "Message for you Dr Fraiser from the Infirmary. Major Carter just regained consciousness."

"I don't want to stay in the Infirmary," Sam said. "The last time it took a couple of days before we noticed any change in the Colonel's behaviour."

"Medically, she's fine," Janet said. "It's mainly fatigue. She can rest in her quarters on base or at home. Though I recommend that she's under medical supervision at all times."

"That would be you, then, Doc," O'Neill said. It made sense to him. No one knew how long Carter had with this. She and the Doc deserved to spend it together.

"I'm agreeable to that if both of you are," Hammond said.

It wasn't planned but these things rarely were. O'Neill showed up first carrying a case of beer and a brace of steaks. Sam was sleeping on the couch in the den so he went through to the kitchen with Janet and Cassie to talk where they would not disturb her. They did not talk about what was happening with Sam and the new threat from Anubis but it was like the elephant – in a way it was all they talked about. Suddenly they heard Sam cry out and Janet immediately set down her drink and went to her leaving Jack and Cassie alone.

Cassie stared at the closed door with such anguish in her expression that Jack took her in his arms holding her close. "Don't worry, Cass. You know us. We go, we do our thing and we come home. We'll whup Anubis's snakey ass and we'll be home before you know it. We're SG1, remember – more lives than a cat."

"Why did she do it, Uncle Jack? Why did Sam put herself through this knowing that it could kill her or worse?" Cassie asked tearfully.

"She's Samantha Carter. It's what she does. You of all people should know that." Cassie nodded, remembering how Sam had disobeyed a direct order to leave her alone in the bunker when Nirrti's naquada bomb was about to go off.

"I know. And I am trying to be strong for both of them, but it's hard. It's so hard…" she clung to him and he did what he had to do –

just held her until she had cried herself out. He glanced up to see Janet standing in the doorway, watching her adopted daughter with such concern and love in her eyes. "Daniel and Teal'c just arrived. They're out back setting up the barbecue. Sam wants to talk to you."

He nodded, gave Cassie a last kiss on the brow and left her to her mother.

Carter's eyes were closed and he was concerned at how deathly tired she looked. Her laptop was open on her knees, the screen full of some complex equation that he hoped to god she would not try to explain to him.

"Why didn't you tell me how beautiful it was?" she asked softly.

"Mainly because most of the time I had no idea what was going on. How are you feeling?"

"Okay. Tired – and a headache that just won't quit." It was impossible not to echo that tired grin even though his heart was breaking. She shouldn't have to go through this. "Every now and then something amazing just pops into my consciousness – only bits and pieces so far but I'm trying to make notes on as much as I can."

"So I see."

"You never know what might come in useful one day. Even if I'm not here…"

"Ah-ah none of that."


"Major… you are going to save the world yet again and the Asgard are going to put you right. That's how this is going to end. Anything else is…"


He realises that he is holding her hand. "I'm really bad at this."

"You're doing okay. Sir, I need to ask you to something for me."

"No you don't," he said quickly. He stared at her, relieved to see her catch on.

"No, I guess I don't." Her family would continue to take care of each other. Whatever happened.

"I still think I should have done it," he said softly. "I mean, you're one of this countries national resources, if not national treasures."

She shook her head. "It couldn't have gone down any other way. I just hope it's worth it."

"So, any insights yet. Even if we do find the Lost City… I mean, even if we get there and find exactly what we're looking for to defend the planet…"

"What happened to me on the last mission is part of it. The more I think about it sir, the more I think I'm right. We have the weapon to beat Anubis." She held up her left hand. "It's here, inside me. What we need is a power source for me to draw on. I did it on the planet using the hand device to power the reaction and I've made it work with the naquada in my own body…"

"… and damn near killed yourself, as I recall, not to mention nearly causing a national security incident," Jack said. "So, you're the big bad… good… our supergun."


He digested this for a moment. "Cool."

General Hammond arrived just as they were settling down to eat bringing with him a bottle of Laphroaig. Sam, who loved a good malt looked pleadingly at Janet who relented. "One finger, that's your limit."

Hammond accepted a plate of steak and salad and a bottle of beer. "I'm glad I found you all here together – I had a feeling I would. I have something to tell you all. I have been relieved of command. The President has effectively shut down the SGC for a three month review process."

Everyone looked at Sam and then looked away again. She did not have three months. The way her symptoms were progressing she would be lucky to have three weeks.

"Stargate Command will be put under civilian oversight by a newly formed Government department."

"Does anyone know anyone who voted for those two shrubs?" O'Neill was furious and at his most sarcastic as a result.

"I've known President Heyes for a long time. He's a good man. Despite his tastes in running mates. I know Robert Kinsey brought in a lot of campaign financing. For all we know he may have used his knowledge of the Stargate as leverage to get himself a place on the ticket. It doesn't matter now."

Sam got to her feet and walked back into the house. After a few minutes Janet quietly excused herself and followed her. Behind her the debate continued.

"So what, we're just going to lie down for this?" Daniel asked. O'Neill''s mood had swung again. "We've been in this situation before."

"No," Hammond said. "This time it's different."

"Do you know who is replacing you?" Cassie asked.

"Her name is Doctor Elizabeth Weir."

"I've heard of her," Daniel said thoughtfully. "She's an expert in international politics. She mediates some high level negotiations for the UN. I actually referenced some of her work when I drafted the first treaty for the Tokra."

"All I know is that I've been ordered to Washington to discuss reassignment. I leave tomorrow," Hammond said.

"General, we do have a little unfinished business here," O'Neill said. His team mates nodded.

"Something must be done," Teal'c agreed.

"I have my orders," General Hammond said. "Besides, I have a feeling I may be able to do more from Washington than I can here."

"And in the meantime?" Daniel asked.

"You'll just have to plead your case to the new administration. I have every confidence in you people."

Sam was back in the den, sitting on the floor, her lap top in front of her. Tears were streaming down her cheeks and every now and then she would impatiently wipe them away with the back of her hand.

Janet snagged a box of Kleenex from a shelf and sat on the floor beside her, putting the box within easy reach. She waited for her lover to start talking knowing that it would be the only way to get any information out of her. Minutes passed. Or they could just sit. Sitting was good.

"What have I done?" Sam said at last. "I've probably killed myself, I'm going to put you and the rest of my team in danger trying to sort out what I've done, I've cost the General his job and I've probably closed the SGC for good. And for what!" She pushed the laptop away from her with her foot.

"Well I'm glad to see that this hasn't dented your ego any," Janet said deliberately. Shocked, Sam stared at her.

"You did what you thought was the right thing. You put yourself on the line again in circumstances that were unique. You are probably the one person who will make anything out of this, never doubt that." She held open her arms and Sam crawled into their shelter. "Anubis has been coming for a long time. We all knew that. And Hammond's reassignment has more to do with the change in administration and the P3X-666 mission than it has to do with you. It's just… bad timing."

"Kinsey's almost as big a snake as Anubis," Sam said. She let Janet's touch soothe her, her eyes closed, her fingers wound tightly in Janet's shirt. A memory came back to her. "You sang to me, didn't you. When we were in the cell. And you held me, just like this."

"Yes," Janet said. "Bastet had… she had tortured you so badly, Sam. I didn't know whether you were going to make it. We both needed a little reassurance at the time." She carded her fingers gently through Sam's hair, frowning at the heat of her over-warm skin. "How's the headache? The truth, Sam, please."

"Bad," Sam admitted. "I thought I was used to flashbacks with Jolinar but these are even worse. It's almost all the time now. Words and symbols, places, objects, faces – I don't know how they fit together. It feels like my brain is flicking through the channels, you know, a couple of seconds here, a couple of seconds there. It's all so mixed up. And then there's the other thing…" She slowly chafed the palm of her left hand against the fabric of her jeans. "I'm in control of it for now, but I'm not sure for how long, Janet. It's learning as well – about me, about this place, about what I want. And the repository interacted with it as well as with me. It's changing as well."

Janet had not shown Sam the last set of scans which showed in detail just how intricately the device was now linked in with Sam's nervous system. They could trace distinct fibres emanating from it that wound their way throughout her body. In a gesture of trust, Janet took hold of Sam's left hand, interlacing her fingers with Sam's so that their palms rested together. "And what do you want?"

"I want to keep you safe. I want to send Anubis back to the hell he came from. I know I'm a soldier but I want our first question when we go through the Gate to be what can we learn today not what weapons can we find to beat the Goa'uld. I want a better life for all those people out there who are enslaved by those creatures. But most of all…" She sighed, snuggled closer to Janet. "Most of all I want to come back to you, my sweet Janet and never leave."

"Save the world, make peace in the Galaxy and come home to your lover," Janet paraphrased. "Not such a bad list, love. All good things. I like the last bit especially. I'll hold you to the last bit, Sam."

<I>"Don't worry you will find the answer if you let it go

Give yourself some time to falter

But don't forgo know that you're loved no matter what

And everything will come around in time"</I>

The song lyric had come to her out of nowhere. It was from a CD that she had played a lot whilst waiting for Sam to recover.

"Do you feel up to sitting with the guys for a while?" she asked. "You know they're worried about you, about what you're putting yourself through."

"The Colonel talked to me earlier," Sam said. "He still thinks that he should have done this, not me. I told him the truth."

Janet nodded. Whenever she thought about the transformation Sam was going through her stomach felt as if it was in freefall and she wanted nothing more than to hold onto Sam as tightly as she could and never let her go. But she had to. For all their sakes.

In all their dealings with the universe it was hard to believe that Sam's condition was entirely accidental. Janet suspected the hand of the rebel Ascended and she knew that Sam and Daniel did as well. Finding that… thing… had just been too convenient.

Sam was just staring at her, her fingers tracing softly over the skin of her cheek, the soft hair at her temple. "I don't want to forget you," she whispered. "I don't want to forget us."

"You won't," Janet smiled. "And if the worst happens, then I'll remember for the both of us until the Asgard can restore you."

Anubis sighed. He needed a new First Prime. He watched as his warriors cleared away the remains. A slave scurried up to wash the bloodstain from the floor. The Tauri had destroyed the Ancient's portal and escaped back to their homeworld. Samantha Carter was still not his.

But at least she still lived. That fool had fired directly at her first whilst she was at the portal and then whilst her team mates carried her back to the Chappa'ai. He had boasted of how close his Jaffa had come to destroying them all.

He had no proof that she had succeeded in accessing the portal. It was well and truly destroyed. The knowledge it had housed was either gone for ever or in the skull of the human woman. Extraordinary as she was her mind was still far too primitive to survive exposure to such technology. The changes wrought in her by Jolinar of Melkshur, Orlin and latterly Nirrti's gene splicing would have been incremental but would still be inadequate.

She would try to stand against him and she would fail. His victory would be total. He would possess her - her beauty, her mind which his technology would open to him all her knowledge, the knowledge of Jolinar of Melkshur, the knowledge of the Ancients. He would prevail. There could be no other outcome.

He gave the order. The fleet would assemble and the attack on the Tauri homeworld begin.

Being captured, tortured, held prisoner and then the extended game of hide and seek with Anubis's supersoldiers not to mention the break-in and Sam's little adventure on P3X-439 had left the two women with precious little time to make any plans for their anniversary.

So they did what they did best. They kept it simple. With Cassie away at college during the week and every other weekend it was easy to find time alone. They talked about going out for a special meal but there were things that Janet wanted to do in the form of celebration that could not be done in a restaurant. Not without the police being called anyway. So they spent the evening at home. Dinner was delivered from a local restaurant they both liked and that knew them well. All they had to do was serve it up. They both dressed up for the occasion. Janet put her hair up leaving her neck and shoulders bare and Sam dressed her short locks up a bit with some butterfly combs that Cassie had bought her several years before. Janet was in dark purple, a simple strappy ankle length dress that showed off her slim strong shoulders and the perfect line of her spine not to mention her cleavage. Sam was in a black trouser suit, the cropped top a sheer fabric that hinted at lacy underclothes, her pale skin almost seeming luminescent in contrast to the dark colour, the trousers slung low at her hips revealing her toned abdomen and her bellybutton with the diamond stud that nestled there. A wrap appliquéd with more butterflies completed her costume. Both women were barefoot which was usual when they were relaxing at home.

Janet poured the wine and handed a glass to Sam. "To us," she said huskily. "For all that has been and all that is to come."

"To us," Sam replied, taking a sip of the wine before leaning in to snatch a kiss.

Janet had chosen food that could be eaten with fingers without being too messy. Picking up a morsel she held it towards Sam who took it into her mouth. Sam then chose something to feed to Janet. They continued in this way for a few minutes before hunger got the better of them and they tucked in.

After they had eaten their fill Janet poured them both another glass of wine. She gazed into Sam's eyes noting absently how dilated her pupils were. "Room for dessert?" she asked.

"Only if it's the bedroom," Sam whispered.

Janet grinned. "We can do that. It's your turn to do laundry by the way."

Sam stuck out her tongue. Janet leaned in and sucked it into her mouth. They kissed long and hard until Sam pulled away, gasping. "Oh my, dizzy…" Janet held her gently for a moment or two until she got her bearings again. Her skin was clammy, her pulse far faster than it should be considering that they'd barely got into foreplay.


Sam nodded. "Sorry."

"My fault," Janet brushed the trace of a tear from Sam's cheek.

"I want you so badly but…"

"It's okay. I don't want you to pass out on me either. Quiet and close is good, don't worry. No pyrotechnics. But we can still have the chocolate torte."

Master Bratac's arrival energized everyone. His concern that `Hammond of Texas' might have fallen in battle was obvious. Daniel Jackson tried to explain about the change in political leadership and that Dr Weir was now in charge but Brata'c did not look particularly convinced of the wisdom of this change, particularly in light of the news he brought.

"I am afraid that I am not the bearer of good news. We have had word from Jaffa loyal to our cause. Anubis is gathering full force of his fleet. He will be here within three days."

Daniel escorted him to the Infirmary for his check up and filled him in on the way with what had happened to Sam.

"How is she?"

"Making the best of it. She's trying to write down everything that occurs to her but at the moment all she's getting is snatches."

"And Dr Fraiser?"

Daniel did not know how to answer the Jaffa. He guessed that he knew of the true relationship between the two women but not whether he approved or not. "Trying to be strong," he said at last. "Making sure that Sam does not exhaust herself."

"She is also a true warrior," Brata'c said. "The heart of a lioness and the stubbornness of a mule."

Daniel bit back a laugh. "You should hear some of the things that Jack calls her sometimes."

"Do not be fooled. He knows her true worth."

"We all do, Master Brata'c. We all do," Daniel said.

Janet greeted the old warrior warmly. "I want to thank you for risking your life getting us away from Bastet."

"Your safety and that of Major Carter was paramount to everyone," Brata'c said. "The world would be a sadder place if you were to fall. How is Major Carter?"

"She's resting in her quarters, I hope," Janet said. "Hopefully you can talk to her later. Now, how is your Tritonin supply holding up?"


"We need to talk, Dr Weir,"

Elizabeth looked up at the shadowed blue eyes and nodded indicating that she should take the seat opposite. She had just read through Dr Fraiser's latest report on Major Carter's medical condition and was pretty certain that the woman should not be on her feet. "Yes we do, Major Carter. And I think you can call me Elizabeth."

"Then it's Sam," the blonde woman said with the hint of a smile. "There are things you need to know. I need to make you understand while…"

"I know about your medical condition, Sam and the likely prognosis. Be assured that we will do everything…"

"No…" Sam interrupted her forcefully. "This isn't about me. This is about what I am… becoming, what it means. We thought we were looking for the Lost City to find a weapon that would beat Anubis. But now I know the truth. We already have the weapon to beat him."

"I don't understand," Elizabeth frowned.

"I am the weapon," Sam said softly. "What we are looking for now is the power source that will activate my full potential." She looked down at her left hand. Elizabeth was already acquainted with the events on Bastet's planet from Janet Fraiser's report.

"How do you know this?"

"We have come to a sort of understanding, I think, an arrangement." She chuckled softly. "I'm sorry, this sounds ridiculous, doesn't it. The plot of a multi-Oscar winning movie."

Elizabeth Weir looked at the pale careworn face and wondered at the strength of this woman who could face the inevitability of her mental disintegration and physical demise with such clarity of purpose. She was not usually someone to accept things at face value. But something about this situation – something about this woman… It was at that moment that she knew she would do everything in her power to help Samantha Carter fulfil her destiny.

"I have to ask, Sam – how certain are you that you can control this weapon?"

"I'm certain. Without a naquada power source I can burn but I can't kill. In fact as I'm sure Janet – Dr Fraiser – has told you, I do more damage to myself."

Weir nodded. "Yes, so I understand. Sam – Major – I assure you that I will do everything I can to ensure you complete your mission. I will talk to the President today to see if he will authorize the mission. I…" She was interrupted by a knock at the door. Sergeant Davis entered at her command.

"Dr Weir. The security gate has just reported that the Vice President is due to arrive in about fifteen minutes. He wants to see you directly."

"Thank you, Sergeant. Show him to the briefing room when he arrives," Elizabeth sighed, looked across at Sam. "Well, my day just got better."

"Anubis believes that we know the location of the Lost City," Teal'c said.

"We don't," O'Neill said.

"Not yet," Sam said. "And it's not just the Lost City he's after…"

"Anubis doesn't know that we don't know," Daniel interrupted her, making her lose her train of thought. She shook her head, frowning. Janet laid a gentle hand on her arm.

"Headache again?"

"Same one," Sam quirked a smile. "Advil just isn't hacking it at the moment."

"You won't let me give you anything stronger," Janet said. "Sam - what did you mean – it's not just the Lost City he's after?"

Before Sam could answer her the briefing room door opened and Kinsey walked in with Dr Weir and his security escort.

Kinsey was on the offensive (or just being offensive) from the start. "Oh! Well, some people just don't know when to leave."

Even Dr Weir ignored him. "Colonel O'Neill, Teal'c – I know these are strange circumstances to be meeting for the first time."

"And you are?" O'Neill asked, his eyebrow raised.

"I am Dr Elizabeth Weir, Colonel," she smiled, reading him like an open book.

"You can just call her your one hope of ever stepping through the Stargate again," Kinsey sneered.

"Bit of a mouthful," O'Neill said, turning his attention back to his new boss for the moment.

"I know I'm playing catch-up but I understand that time is short," Weir said.

"Actually, it's all relative, ma'am. Carter could explain it better if we had more time." Sam managed a smile at that.

"Let's get started, shall we?" Weir said. "Obviously this is a situation of great importance…"

"She's quick," O'Neill muttered.

Sam felt a flash of anger towards him, stilling it immediately as her left palm began to itch. Now Kinsey was speaking.

"Which is why I've taken it upon myself to come down here and see what Mr Brata'c has to say personally."

Sam opened her mouth to correct him but O'Neill was there already.

"Master Brata'c. Master!"

"I beg your pardon. So, you believe the Goa'uld Anubis is planning to attack."

"You may be certain of it," Brata'c said.

"I'll say this, the timing is impeccable. The moment we suspend Stargate operations," he ignored the audible groans from Jack O'Neill and Daniel Jackson, "you pull this out of your hat."

"Mr Vice President, if you're suggesting that we'd make something like this up…," Jack said hotly.

"Yes, that's exactly what I'm suggesting!"

"Yes, well that is exactly what we do, we sit around on our fat asses and create scenarios that put the planet at risk, that's exactly what we do."

"Oh, I think you'd do just about anything…"

Weir had had enough. "Gentleman, for the purposes of this discussion let's assume that Master Brata'c is in earnest and the threat is real." They weren't listening, eyeball to eyeball in their latest pissing contest.

Sam could suddenly feel her life slipping away from her. "Oh this is such derantis!" she shouted. In the sudden silence she continued. "Do you even know what the threat is? Anubis is half Goa'uld, half ascended Ancient. With the knowledge and technology to wipe us all from the skin of this world. We won't be given the opportunity to surrender or negotiate, we either fight him or we die." Pain silvered behind her eyes and she sat back, breathing heavily. Janet's hand was on her wrist, checking her pulse but Sam could have told her that it was racing.

"You just said derantis," Daniel pointed out. His blue eyes were shadowed. He had already watched one of his friends go through this.

Sam glanced at Janet for confirmation. Janet nodded. Her face had that watchful detachment that Sam saw every time she was in the infirmary as a patient and the news was not necessarily good.

"Derantis, what is that?" O'Neill asked.

"Latin?" Kinsey guessed.

"No, it's not," Weir said thoughtfully, staring at Sam.

"I think that what Sam is trying to say is that trying to negotiate based on our past experience would be insane… crazy," Daniel supplied.

"Yeah, I got that," Weir was still looking at Sam who was getting increasingly uncomfortable with the scrutiny."

"We believe that there may be alien technology… within our reach that could defeat Anubis."

Kinsey snorted his disbelief. "So now you're pulling a ray gun out of your hat."

"A weapon capable of defending this planet," Teal'c pointed out. His expression said everything to his team mates: this man was totally without honour.

"I can't believe we're sitting here listening to this!"

Weir tried to regain control of the meeting. "Mr Vice President, on SG1's last mission…"

"Oh, I am aware of the events and that once again Colonel O'Neill is culpable in allowing one of his team to be compromised – the second time this month, isn't it, Major?" Janet's hand brushed hers, a show of support in the face of the man's bitter disdain for her sacrifice. "In fact I believe that in destroying that installation you incurred the wrath of humanity's worst enemy on behalf of us all."

"Wait a minute, I thought you didn't buy into the whole invasion thing," O'Neill leapt on Kinsey's admission.

Weir tried again. "The fact is that until we know the location of the Lost City…"

"I know where it is," Sam muttered.

There was silence. Everyone was looking at her again. "I know where it is," she repeated. "At least I will soon."

"Look, let me make this simple. If Carter comes up with the Lost City we go find it, yes or no?" O'Neill said.

"No!" Kinsey said immediately and then looked dumfounded as he heard Elizabeth Weir – his appointee to this post say yes. He was about to say more on that subject when Sam got shakily to her feet. Janet automatically rose to her feet, reaching out to steady her but Sam signaled that she was okay. Janet saw that her eyes had changed again, the vivid blue overlaid with silver.

"Sam – be careful!"

Sam ignored her. Her focus was totally on Kinsey. The room fell silent, watching her as she moved until she was standing directly in front of him. "You are a coward and a fool," she said coldly. "I would remove you from the skin of this world without regret." She held up her left hand they all saw the glow begin to form, brightening by the second. Kinsey almost fell back over his chair as he staggered to his feet, his skin already beginning to prickle.

"Major Carter!" Weir gasped.

"Carter – he's not worth it!" O'Neill was on his feet but Janet beat him too it, positioning herself between Sam and Kinsey.

"Sam – you don't need to do this. You've made your point. He's terrified." Janet reached out and drew Sam's arm down to rest by her side again. She watched as the glow faded, Sam's hand curling into a fist. "He won't stand in your way."

Sam blinked, the silver fading away to reveal tired blue again. "Janet? Protect you," she said clearly. "Must protect…" O'Neill and Teal'c just managed to catch her as she slumped.

"Get her to the Infirmary," Janet ordered. Teal'c bowed his head and carried his team mate away. Despite wanting to do nothing more than follow her, Janet took a moment to check the Vice President who looked as if he had acquired nothing worse than minor sunburn but might be on the verge of a heart attack.

"I… I saw," he stuttered. "Silver… angels… swords of light. All around. How… what?"

"You saw, Mr Vice President, but I doubt you will ever understand the sacrifices she has made and will continue to make for this world," Janet said bitterly. "He's fine, Dr Weir. It's mostly shock but he'll get over it once he's put what happened here into his own particularly twisted perspective. If you'll excuse me, I need to get to the Infirmary."

"A moment, Doctor Fraiser," Dr Weir said. "I want you to hear this as well. Perhaps now I can make you understand Mr Vice President. We're not looking for the weapon. We have the weapon – Major Samantha Carter is the weapon. What we're doing now is searching for the power source that she needs to do what must be done to save us all. Even you. That woman will be our salvation, sir. I can't allow you to continue to obstruct us. I won't watch her die from the side effects of what she voluntarily put herself through because of your small-minded vindictiveness where these people are concerned. I will not let you make her sacrifice in vain. I am going to authorize the mission with or without your say so. I will go to President Hays himself if I have to."

Kinsey had one more attempt to browbeat Weir into submission before he left.

"You don't know O'Neill like I do."

"This is my call," Weir said, wondering how she had lost control of her life in such a spectacular fashion. "Colonel O'Neill…"

"Is the one who got us into this mess in the first place!" He continued, his voice low and malevolent. "I want him gone, Doctor. I want them all gone, you haven't figured that out yet?"

She bridled at that. "Oh, I figured out quite a bit."

"Well hallelujah for that!" Kinsey snarled.

"This is my office, this is my chair. Until someone tells me otherwise I'm going to make decisions as I see fit. Not as they fit into your agenda."

"You have no idea what my agenda is. You don't know anything, Doctor and if you think you do, you're not as smart as I thought. I won't allow the Major's parlour tricks to sway my judgement."

"You didn't listen to a word she said, did you," Weir said sadly. "I'll tell you again, Kinsey. I will go directly to Hays about this."

Kinsey snorted and left followed by his ever-present security detail.

Dr Weir walked into the Infirmary. Shrugging off the nurse who was trying to hook her up to an IV, Sam slid off the bed she was sitting on and came to attention.

"Dr Weir, I would like to apologise for undermining your position and attacking the Vice President. I fully admit to any charges brought against me at this time."

"There are no charges against you, Major. As for the Vice President – he seems to be unsure at the moment as to whether you are an angel or the antichrist. What I came to tell you is that as soon as you feel you're ready your mission is a go. The President agrees with my assessment of the situation and over-ruled the Vice President. He has been ordered back to Washington. The Prometheus is being prepped for launch as our first line of defence. He also asked me to wish you good luck and godspeed. Now sit down, Major, before you fall down."

Janet helped Sam back onto the bed and then turned to Doctor Weir. "Permission to join the mission, Dr Weir."

"Janet… no!" Sam reached out to take the smaller woman's arm.

Dr Weir stared at the small dark haired woman assessingly. What she had seen of the Stargate's CMO she liked very much. Her exemplary dedication to duty was apparent in her record. However, her near death on a mission where she had no business to be had nearly brought this project to its knees – and Weir knew that her appointment here was a direct result. Should one of her first acts be to compound her predecessors error of judgment?

She glanced across at the tall blonde who was obviously still conscious by sheer force of will alone. The bond between the two women was clear. Kinsey had insinuated in his way that there was more than friendship between them but Weir knew that it was none of her concern. "Very well, Dr Fraiser. Permission granted. But you are there solely to see to Major Carter's health. You are to take no other role in the mission."

"Understood, Dr Weir. And thank you."

Major Carter's head was resting on her knees. "You have to stay here, Janet. I have to keep you safe. Protect."

"I need to be able to monitor your condition, Sam. This thing is slowly killing you. You're already starting to lose your verbal skills. The headaches are paralyzing you." She sighed. "Think about it, Sam. Anubis is three days away from Earth, Sam. No where is safe. We started this together. And we're damn well going to finish it together."


"Perfect Girl" by Sarah McLachlan from the album "Afterglow".

Am I faithful, am I strong, am I good enough to belong
In your reverie a perfect girl
Your vision of romance is cruel and all along I played the fool
All your expectations bury me


Don't worry you will find the answer if you let it go
Give yourself some time to falter
But don't forgo know that you're loved no matter what
And everything will come around in time

I own my insecurities I try to own my destiny
That I can make or break it if I choose
But you take my words and twist them 'round
Til I'm the one who brings you down
Make me feel like I'm the one to blame for all of this...


Don't worry you will fine the answer if you let it go
Give yourself some time to falter
But don't forgo know that you're loved no matter what
And everything will come around in time

You need everybody with you on your side
Know that I am here for you but I hope in time
You'll find yourself alright alone
You'll find yourself with open arms
You'll find yourself you'll find yourself in time

The riot in my heart decides to keep me open and alive
I have to take myself away from you
'Cause I can't compete I can't deny there's nothing that I didn't try
How did I go wrong in loving you


Don't worry you will fine the answer if you let it go
Give yourself some time to falter
But don't forgo know that you're loved no matter what
And everything will come around in time

Continued in Dawnspell 1: Past

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