Exiles Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter 10

One to Watch

"So sayeth Life, the world is mine.
Flowers bloom and birds sing for me
I am the day and the sunlight.
So sayeth Life the world is mine.

So sayeth Death, the world is mine.
For daylight is but a vain display.
Stars and moon sink in eternal night.
So sayeth Death the world is mine.

So sayeth Life, the world is mine.
You make great tombs of marble and stone
But you cannot entomb love
So sayeth Life the world is mine.

So sayeth Death, the world is mine.
I have prepared graveyards
And created pestilence and war.
So sayeth Death the world is mine.

So sayeth Life, the world is mine.
Every grave is a plot of land
Into which my eternal seeds do fall.
So sayeth Life the world is mine."

The words fell from the Queen of the Malakim. Her dark hair, wings and silver eyes flashed brilliantly as she turned to her companion upon the balcony of the Malakim palace. "It is an old lyric to help one rise above the lamentation of the heart. Death is always there, but life is always more powerful. Death has no dominion, Lady Janet. Though lovers may be lost, love shall not be. Your Sam will hold on to your love for her, and it will keep her alive. Believe in that."

"Right now it is the only thing I can believe in. I know she is alive. I can feel it. But it is so dim…as if she is hanging upon a thread."

"Your beloved has a strong will and is more than resilient. Her heart is Malakim. She has survived much and will go on surviving." What the queen didn't tell the strong willed doctor was of her greatest fear. Samantha Carter did indeed possess the heart of a Malakim Knight: noble, willful, compassionate, intelligent, protective, chivalrous, honorable, majestic and virtuous. She was the perfect embodiment of integrity, and selflessness. She would never shirk her duty. Indeed, if cornered by dozens of the adversary there was no doubt in the mind of the queen that the noble blonde warrior would blow herself and her enemies to kingdom come to protect others. And it was these qualities that the Queen had admitted and feared. If the prophecy was true, and Novalis had no doubt that it was so, then the calling of Achelous by Malphas would commence soon.

"Are you still having dark dreams?"

Janet held her breath for a moment, then nodded. "Always. It's the same damn dream…"

"Precognitive though it is, Healer, it is meant only as a warning, perhaps to help you prepare for what will happen or to help you avoid what might happen. Nevertheless, do not allow yourself to be consumed by these images, disturbing as they may be."

"Don't let myself be…" Janet stopped, her tempter rising. "Look, I know right now I'm not professional, I sure the hell am not the icon of military etiquette…. but…the love of my life is out there, and from the dreams…she was tortured and hurt…and she is terrified…Sam doesn't…" Janet winced. "Sam rarely becomes terrified, a little frightened, yeah…but…she…somehow manages to roll her terror into a tiny ball of nothingness, making it irrelevant. Actually she is very complex when it comes to emotions…"

"It is her eyes." The queen nodded, understanding where this small human was going with her testimony. And she knew that Janet needed an outlet, someone to speak to that was not a close friend. "She has the most expressive eyes I have ever seen in a long time. A hardened warrior, with the eyes of a poet."

"Exactly!" Janet beamed, thinking of those beautiful cerulean eyes. She found a warmth gathering throughout her whole being as she knew that some of those expressions that shone from the brightness of those blue eyes were reserved for Janet alone. It didn't matter how many lonely hearted alien males came on to Sam, or had fallen in love with her. From Martouf, (who to this day Janet could not forgive for what he had done to Sam) to Orlin, who became human because he had fallen in love with Sam. To Nafrayu who had given them their empathic ability, longevity and, more importantly, Rebecca, all because he had fallen in love with Sam as a child. Then there was Narim, who had made his home computer system sound like Sam, which had freaked the blonde out. There were countless others on Base who had a thing for the tall enigmatic blonde, including Jack O'Neill, who had been in love with Sam forever and a day. None would ever see the depths of her soul. Only Janet knew those depths.

"I can't lose her." The beautiful, petite doctor said, more to herself then to anyone else.

The queen remained silent, knowing the doctor didn't require an answer. Had the winged ruler spoken, the words would fall as platitudes and this was not something this strong woman needed to hear when her great love was on the threshold of death.

The harmony of the Choir changed melodies once more. Janet didn't understand its words, but the tone…was heartrending, yet under that…the words were inspirational.

"What are they singing?"

"They sing for courage, for it is for the warriors a good day to die. They sing that their enemies may flee in terror and for success in battle. They lament for the lives that must be taken, that will be given." The queen turned. "They sing for Liege Commander Samantha Carter."

Janet closed her glorious dark brown orbs, as the notes of the voices washed over her, finding a certain solace in the multitudes of voices in perfect harmony. She didn't understand the lyrical words of the Malakim, but the tone was unmistakable. This was no dirge; this was a song of rejoicing, of glorification and wonder.

"And they sing for you, Liege-Healer Janet."

This shocked the small-framed physician. "Me?"

"In as much as Samantha saved my life, had it not been for you, I would not have fully recovered. Only a healthy knight may lead. No potentate may hold the crown if she cannot protect her people. Samantha gave life back to me; your dear sweet soul gave back to me my health." The queen grinned widely this time, pure white teeth glistened in the dim light of the candles' glow. "And no Malakim can resist such an epic romantic tale such as what you share with your soul-mate. I am positive that your story of love will become something of chronicled legends…I believe you call them Shakespearian."

A blush rose to the ivory cheeks. "I hope it ends better than the tragedies," Janet slowly said, her mind reeling as she wondered what it was about her love for her wife that could stimulate such attention. But then she had to admit that she was a sucker for a good romantic tale. Not the cheap dime a dozen romance all fluff paperbacks sold in grocery stores, but stories of love and, yes, angst, and the bonding of hearts. Well, she had to take that back, occasionally she liked a little fluff, but it was, until recently, difficult to find lesbian fluff that was not written for hetero-males who got off on girl on girl action. Hell, she had even read Star-Trek: Voyager fanfiction with Seven of Nine with Janeway or Seven with the fiery B'Elanna. Even Sam would sit with her and read them, when they were in a playful mood.

But she had never imagined that others would tell of hers and Sam's love, in the very least in an operatic presentation.

Almost as if she had read Janet's mind, the queen of the angelic beings turned to her and explained, " Malakim rejoice in the purity and trueness of love where ever such love grows and prospers. You and your wife Samantha share such a love that it begs to be told, and retold."

Janet found that for the first time since she had learned of Sam's and Cassie's disappearance that she was truly smiling.

In the ambient layers of sound and distance, the pitch of the music changed this time. It was enough to gain the queen's militant attention. She turned to the diminutive doctor. "Come, the time is upon us, our Northern-corps approaches."

The entire sky over the Northern Gates became utterly black. The Host was approaching, their numbers so thick it blotted out the sunlight. There had to be thousands of the winged warriors. As they flew before their queen, their voices called out a ballad of glorious cadences of battle hymns. Jack and Janet both felt a rising in their blood, as if the words they did not know spoke to their hearts. It was similar in tone and power to Carnuna Burana. Their words even sounded in a respect like Latin. Both the mortals felt goose bumps rise across their skin at the power of the voices of the warriors. Indeed they were a frightening image to behold. The warrior in Jack and the protective feralness of love in Janet wanted to answer the call to fly in upon a war-bird and take down the enemy. The hymn was fire for the soul, fueling the blood. No speech as St. Crispen's Night could even compare to the surge of rising adrenaline provoked by the voices of these warriors.

Jack, upon seeing the mass of warriors, let out a held breath. "My god."

It was as if a tornado had touched down in the city, for the wind rose as the Host landed. And thunder clapped as booted feet began marching with an absolute precession that was almost machine-like. It was something the General would not forget. Ten thousand warriors moving as one entity, it was something to behold.

"You are impressed, General," the queen commented with a broad smile, proud of her own troops.

"These are but a fourth of my military company. Unfortunately, they are all I can spare at the moment. My other warriors are otherwise engaged. In the protection of the Malakim Empire I send them to patrol the boundaries and to protect it.

Jack O'Neill was speechless. Being a military man, knew the importance of military unity, but to see such perfection was an awesome, breath-taking site. Sending out ten thousand troops would indubitably turn the tide of the war on Chimera. Hell, he had to hand it to Carter. When she made allies, she made allies.

"The Northern Patrol are more than willing to battle the Goa'uld in the name of the Liege Commander."

Janet took in a great breath. She knew that Sam had made a powerful friend with the queen, but to know troops that had never personally met the enigmatic blonde were willing to lay down their lives was astounding, if not farfetched and unbelievable. Yet here they were.

They were all dressed in blue scale armor that glittered gold in the brilliant sunlight. The cuirass form fitted their bodies, giving their already primed muscles an exaggerated appearance. They had long decorative shoulder pieces, their legs protected by greaves as intricate bracers protected their forearms. Janet thought the lengths of metal covering both their hips and loins and tabard looked similar to that of Jaffa armor, or something an ancient Greek-Xenaesk-warrior or Roman Centurion might have worm. The back was almost open to allow for full wing movement. They were beautiful and fear inspiring at the same time. Their helms were of the same blue antimantium alloy, similar to SGC's biker helmets with a black faceplate.

As it was with the military in a war-zone, there was no indication of rank on any of the uniformed armor. One could not tell the difference between archangel-knights, warrior-vassals, or the wing guards, though with closer scrutiny, one could tell that only the knights bore the sun-swords.

"Liege Commander Samantha Carter of Stargate and her warriors are pressed and out numbered by the Diabolicals. You have one goal. One mission. Retrieve Samantha and her warriors from the hands of the enemy. No Diabolical will survive this. No Remnant will live. Wipe out the threat, all of them. At all cost protect the Liege Commander!"

It is a thunderous sound when ten thousand voices rose in a single note. "Our Queen, we heed. We will comply!" Row by row the angelic Host rose taking to wing. Once more their voices called out in high harmony the battle hymn of Carnuna Burana / Ave Satani.

The queen, with a smug smile of satisfaction, turned to the general and the petite doctor. "As you can see, Liege Commander Samantha Carter has made powerful allies among the Malakim. The Diabolicals will soon discover it is unwise to threaten her within our Empire. We do not suffer evil to live."

"I can say this…the Goa'uld are fucked," Jack whispered to Janet.

They watched as once again the sky became covered in black sackcloth as the winged warriors took to the air. It was a daunting prospect to know that each of theses warriors had pledged their lives to retrieve Sam and the SG teams. Yep, definitely not a good idea to piss off Sam's friends. Jack smiled, thinking that if they had had the Malakim when Senator Kinsey, Colonel Simmons and Colonel Maybourne were running around, there would have been a lot fewer complications with SGC.

"Come, our ships await. It will take unfortunately, a week to arrive at Chimera from Hy-Brasil, even at Hyper-velocity, for we are forty thousand light years from the planet.

Janet was ushered into the inner chambers of the ship and given the VIP quarters, near the queen's own chambers. The rooms were extensively large. There was a bedroom with a locking door, a separate common room, a kitchenette and a dinette. Both Malakim lady knights, Turel and Zaira, were ordered to stay in the common room. They were faithful in their duty to protect the doctor.

They were bodyguards, but tried to insure that Janet did not feel as though she was a prisoner to be watched. She had spoken to them often and found that a friendship with the two angelic warriors was easily made.

As it was, the three of them sat in the common room of her quarters conversing over a hot meal of smoked meat that was something like lamb and steamed vegetables that had the distinctive taste of asparagus and artichoke hearts. "Can I ask a question?" Janet queried over a bite of tender meat.

"If it is in our power to answer we will, but ask your question," Turel said.

"Back there, a few days ago, when I challenged the queen, and she called for the guards… would you have…"

"Stood against our colleagues?" Zaira finished the question.


"We are ordered to protect you, Lady Healer. No matter what the circumstance may be. It is a vow we take very seriously," Zaira said. "If harm came to you, Liege Commander Samantha would be most displeased."

"I'll tell you, I won't be pleased either if harm comes my way." Janet smiled slightly.

"No insult upon you, for we know you are apart of the mortal military body, but you are a Healer foremost are you not?" Turel asked her own question.

"Yes," Janet nodded. "I am addressed by my salutation rather than my rank. Sam's a doctor, too, but she's a doctor of astrophysics. I'm in medicine. And she…well, she balances well between the two."

"You do not?" This was Zaira, her blue hairs were pulled back by a wave of her long fingered hand.

"Well, no, I do…but I made the distinction to be called Doctor instead of by my rank. Sam's the opposite. Until recently it was very difficult to be a woman of high rank on the military, mostly because the men in our world have a problem with a woman with power."

"That is not logical," Turel said, her agitation evident in the flutter of her wings.

Janet had learned to read the body language of the winged beings. It was not dissimilar to watching a feline or an eagle. Like birds the Malakim wings became ruffled when agitated. And like a feline with their tails, subtle movements of the wing tips suggested the emotion, whereas a face may not reveal it at all. And like their avian…cousins…the Malakim had a tendency to perch on the balls of their feet, even upon the narrowest ledge or the back of a chair versus sitting upon it as would any typical humanoid. However, Janet had seen the queen sit properly upon the throne when addressing the court, but assumed that more likely than not the queen walked around when she had to give an audience. The Malakim had an acute sense of balance that no bird or feline possessed. Their wings were also incredibly sensitive to touch, much like feline whiskers, which no doubt was due to the variations of air-pressure in the sky during flight.

"Tell me about it. But who ever said a human was logical." Janet shrugged.

" But you have now a female potentate," Turel continued.

"Believe me it was a long time coming," Janet said softly. "But the Malakim have always had a female…Potentate."

"Yes. Male Malakim are too aggressive to rule, but a female has logic and heart. Males…are far too quick to jump to battle to be efficient; they are not suitable to have that kind of power. No male has ever sat upon the Throne. More over, it is females who give life. They are closer to Creation, to the World Symphony, therefore the only ones suitable to have power," Zaire explained. "In battle, a male is suitable to lead a legion of warriors, though, like the Liege Commander, only a female may head the entire military wing."

Janet nodded, gaining more of a sense of her winged hosts. It was no wonder then that they bore a small bit of an antagonistic reaction to General O'Neill's presence.

"Arion…she is pledged to protect Sam, as you to are me."

"Yes," Turel answered abruptly, feeling there was no need to expend more vocabulary where one word would suffice to answer the question.

"She is the queen's own daughter," Zaira explained further. "But Liege Commander Samantha has more than one knight with her. The Queen ordered a Wing to her side. I assure you, they are loyal unto death to the Liege-Commander."

Janet tried to take this to heart, tried to use that information to ease her unrest. "This Wing…I mean, it's temporary right?"

"Unto death Liege-Healer." This was Turel. "They will travel to whatever worlds their Commander does, and offer what assistance they can. Seven warriors have pledged their heart's blood to her of their own will. The queen asked for seven volunteers, many stepped forward, including Zaira and myself. The queen made her choice." The seven-foot woman seemed almost bitter that she had not been one of the chosen seven.

Janet nodded, pursing her lips. "That is a little out of procedure."

"We are aware of that. That is why, as you mortals say, we are…on call," Zaira said. "Liege-Commander Samantha need but ask and she will have a Wing at her side instantaneously. The Queen owes a life-debt to your wife, something which is not taken with any casualness. But the Queen knows of the corruption that lingers in the different divisions of your government. She knows that your…Joint Chiefs…" the angelic thought for a moment wondering if that was the correct word, obviously it was, so she continued, "would try to manipulate the powers of our people. We have heard what they tried to do to the Tollan, and that they had tried to steal from others," Turel said, her voice cool and reserved.

"Well, I say we made some mistakes, but…that is a total different branch…" Janet started, but Turel interrupted.

"I know this, Liege-Healer, as does the Queen. However, it is because of these divisions that we can not allow our warriors to be taken by these same divisions that had threatened the Tollan. We do not engage in wars for others. This battle we face now is one we have engaged in for eons, as the Diabolicals are our enemy. And Malakim warriors do not allow their friends to face danger alone, nor do we abandon them. But as to other worlds, we never interfere in a war nor aid one side over the other. We do not have the right to help other races slaughter each other."

Janet kept her tongue for a moment, for she had no response to that remark.

Zaira added, "But to stand before the Goa'uld and against their many instances of galactic enslavement is something we do well. We also have engaged in wars against the Replicaters, as well as the Diabolics and the dark Draconian Nations." "But it is against the Virtues to aid in wars over planetary domination, and is not what we will lend aid to."

"I can understand that, " Janet said in truth. She licked her lower lip, looking to the Angelics before her, wondering if she should voice her thought. "Is it permissible for me to take a limited tour of the ship?" She asked, thinking that Sam would love to see all of the scientific aspects of the Malakim cruiser.

"I do not see that it will be a problem, Liege-Healer," Turel said stoically.

"Why do you call me that?" The beautiful feminine doctor asked softly.

"It is a title given to you by the Queen," the blue haired warrior said. She simply did not see that any further explanation was relevant. The queen's word was law.

"Yes, but why?"

Zaira, always more sensitive to the alien guests of the queen, offered an explanation. "You are the wife of the Liege Commander Samantha. Her title passes to you."

'Great, the good-colonel's wife…'

"Though she was be-knighted, for she is a warrior, you are titled for your gifts. It is widely known from your planet that you are its foremost leading expert in several fields of medicine."

Janet had been given a whirlwind tour of the ship. The Angelics decided to limit their tour to the more prudent areas of interest: the Mess Hall, the Hydroponics Bay, the Astrophysics lab which contained a wide screen indicating the systems that the ships passed as well as every documented Stargate. Sam would love it here. There was every conceivable deep space telemetry device Janet could think of that Sam had told her about and then some. Yep, her beloved would definitely be beside herself, as if she was in Disney World. The doctor was taken to Engineering where she saw the powerful central hyper-drive. There were the archives, which was a glorious library Daniel would have drooled over, as well as entertainment bays housing holographic projections that made Janet think of Cassie's fascination with Star Trek: Voyager. Janet was also taken to the training bay and gym, where she saw the Malakim warriors not on duty practicing some sort of aerial martial arts. Indeed, it was actually very beautiful to watch, as if it was performance art rather then deadly combat.

It seemed that the Aeries were not the only place the hypnotic music could be heard, but in the ships as well. In the Dojo, the Choir's chanting was to entice the blood of battle-lust, forcing adrenaline to heady peaks. Hell, after a moment of listening, Janet felt herself wanting to join the fray in some way.

As she left the gym she recalled the music, or rather the Choirs, and it gave her the urge to concentrate and access all of her mental capabilities. The Mess hall had the choir of relaxation, tuned to one's mind as if to simply unwind and enjoy one's food.

Of course she felt as if she was in her own amusement park when she discovered the Sickbay.

There were nine biobeds, and fourteen gurneys. Okay, she that wasn't impressive. But the medical equipment was beyond anything that the forever-young doctor had ever seen. There were bio-suits that regulated the temperature of the patient that were far more comfortable than the regulation PJs issued by Earth hospitals. There were bio-scanners to give an accurate diagnostic view of the body that were similar to MRIs and ultrasounds and x-rays, though ten times as advanced. It gave cross sections of the patients from bone structure to muscle tissue, organs and circulatory systems. The bio-scanner could also close in and augment a certain area of the body for closer inspection. The bio-Scanner could detect toxins, Goa'uld implantation, diseases, broken bones, scarring, allergic responses, hormonal shifts, or anything else that could be construed as a medical danger.

There was also a vat for growing organ replacements. A tissue sample could be harvested from a healthy organ and bio-engineered to be viable for the recipient. In part, it cloned new organs for transplants. Along the same lines there was synthaflesh, organic tissue that regenerated new flesh.

Nestled in the corner were stabilization units, enclosed capsules that were designed to stabilize a critically wounded individual until proper medical care can be obtained. There was also a medical cocoon, a special portable enclosure which allows bedridden invalids and trauma victims to be transported from one environment to another. It was totally self-sufficient. The cocoon contained a miniature power generator, temperature/humidity/precious fluids and gas regulators, and a central nervous system-precious fluid-monitoring bank. In short, a highly technical life-support system.

What caught the doctor's attention the most were the medical tools. She was completely fascinated by the small lightweight surgeon's instrument, called a vibroscalpel, that cut by vibrating a small-wire ultrasonic relay. Sensitive controls in the scalpel's handle allowed for adjustments to compensate for the material being worked on. There was a dermal-regenerator that hyper-excited the white blood cells to regenerate at a higher speed. It helped with contusions, lacerations, scar tissue and burns both pyrokinticly generated and radiation-generated. A bone-knitter that did the same as the dermal regenerator though, given its name, its purpose was evident.

Another interesting medical instrument was the flexclamp. Used to pinch off blood vessels in areas difficult to reach, it was comprised of three adjustable claws which were attached to the end of a flexible shaft. It worked like a turnicate to halt internal bleeding.

As a gift, the queen had ordered that Janet be given a Medipack. It contained a synthaflesh dispenser, a dermal regenerator, a vibroscalpel, flexclamps, painkillers, as well as a host of slap patches; antidote, stimulant, tranq and trauma patches. And even a small mobile diagnostic analyzer, as well as a healing device that was nearly identical to the Goa'uld design. Though the tiny doctor didn't know is if she could use the last item, to Janet it was as if she had been given a large diamond.

It occurred to the intelligent physician that the Voices in the sickbay were soothing, calming, as if the Choir was the epitome of bedside manners.

"The Choir," the small brunette started, looking to Zaira for answers. "The notes seem to stimulate different synapses in the brain."

"Indeed. Music is known to cause reactions in the cerebral cortex, and incite certain hormonal reactions." It was not Zaira who answered, but the blue-haired Turel.

Music to sooth the raging beast…

"So then you have a Choir on board, like the ones in aerie?"

"No, unfortunately it is synthetically recorded. Though we do have a Conservatory where our voices can be lifted, when not on duty. And there are no regulations that state we cannot add our voices to the recorded Choir, if we choose to."

"So you can sing to the radio, so to speak."

Both Malakim looked to the small mortal, perplexed at her choice of words. "Radio?" Both said in unison.

"Radio transmission is an archaic form of communication," Turel said pointedly.

"True. But it also relays music for entertainment."

They blinked, but neither said anything, as if casting the ancient technology aside as something purely mortal.

"Are you hungry, Healer? We are nearing the Mess," Turel said, her arm sweeping out to the next hall. Janet had spent over eight hours in the Sick Bay learning much about the basics of Malakim medicine. Truth be told, she had not wanted to leave, but she was on a tour after all. And there was nothing said that indicated she couldn't return. And now that she thought of it, she was famished.

"Sounds good," Janet smiled. "I'm almost hungry enough to eat a horse."

Turel frowned. "I must apologize, but we have no equine flesh available."

Janet opened her mouth to say something, but found she was giggling instead. "Um, no it's an earth expression. Saying you're so hungry you could eat something…well…something you wouldn't normally eat."

"Hungry enough to eat a twelve day dead dragon-carcass," the tall blue said. "I understand. A similar expression, is it not."

Janet cocked her head, causing her auburn hair to fall about her shoulder. "I think you'd have to be pretty desperate to eat that."

"Indeed," Turel nodded.

"Tell you what, let's forgo 'equine flesh' and twelve-day old dragon carcass and grab something a bit more palatable."

"That we can do," Zaira said, her caramel features brightening up in a smile. "On board ship, we eat very well indeed. It keeps morale up if the dining is delectable."

"An army marches on its stomach," Janet said softly. 'And a happy stomach of a solider, makes for a happy solider.' Janet's musings were laid to rest once she found that General O'Neill was sitting talking with a massive male Malakim, whose wings were dark blood red.

"Who's the General speaking to?" she put to either of her escorts, wondering if the general had been given a bodyguard as well.

"He is our gunner,. His name is Bulstrode," Turel said. "I think he has much in common with your general."

"Why don't you and Turel sit with them, Healer, and I'll retrieve our food."


"Do you have a preference of what you would like to dine upon?"

"No." After three days in the capital city of the Malakim home world, Janet found the food to be gourmet quality. Whatever the angelic brought back would be more than fine with the doctor. "Whatever you bring will be fine."

Janet approached the table where the general and the massive warrior sat. Janet that that the winged soldier made Teal'c look small. Jack looked up to see the diminutive doctor step up. "Hey, doc…um…Turel, have a seat."


"No, I will remain standing."

Jack looked to the statuesque blue haired warrior, shaking his head. "What do you think Doc, Turel and Teal'c…twins separated at birth?"

This caused the brunette to chuckle. The tall winged woman had many of the same characteristics that Teal'c possessed, especially when he had first come to Earth.

"In spirit, if nothing else." Janet nodded. Her comment was followed by a raised blue eyebrow on the seven foot Malakim, a gesture that got both the humans to laughing.

"I am sorry, Turel…It's just you remind us of a good friend." Janet hoped to soften the almost insulting mirth.

"I see." A monotone voice that was very Teal'c-ish.

Again both mortals smiled at this.

"So, did they give you the nickel tour, too?" Jack changed the subject.

The doc nodded. "Spent the last few hours in Sick-bay…" She couldn't hide her delight even if she tried. "The advancements they have…It's impressive."

"Your own private candy store," Jack smirked. "Carter would go nuts over the astrometrics lab. You better be careful, doc, you're gonna lose her in there once she sees it. She won't wanna come out…with her idea of fun and all."

Janet smiled warmly, gratified to hear that the general had used the present and future tense when he spoke of her beloved. It was as if the words themselves defied the odds that Sam was gone.

Janet gestured with her chin, "What is it you're eating?"

Jack looked down at his platter of food. There was something that resembled collard greens with mushrooms and onions, small bits of meat that had been left from an obviously large slice of some sort of meat, a mixture of white sauce and noodles. It smelled divine.

Jack pursed his lips, and shook his head. "You know, after traveling all over the galaxy, I kinda stopped asking what it is I'm eating." He flashed a boyish smile. "I find I'm happier that way. And this stuff…" he pointed with his fork, "is the bomb."

Janet nodded in agreement at his sound logic. Sometimes it was better not knowing what you were eating. Of course it only applied if the indigenous folk were eating the same thing. Zaira returned carrying three trays of identical food that the general had been devouring.

Turel had not yet taken a seat, though Zaira did.

"You're not joining us?" Janet asked of her second bodyguard.

"I must secure the perimeter," Turel commented, her hand on her sword at her side, ready to draw it at a hairs movement in the wind.

Jack raised his eyebrows…'talk about devotion to duty…'

"Um…but standing you're drawing attention to us," Janet pointed out.

"One must stand watch."

Jack was slightly amused, wondering how his CMO was going to handle the more than stubborn Malakim Knight. Damned if he didn't think of Sam, and her absolute devotion to something once she got engrossed in it. He could take a few tips. When Carter was in her lab she became myopic to her projects. So much so, he had to threaten to kick her off base if she didn't comply to take time off…Of course, since Rebecca came along those times were few and far between. Still…a little knowledge went a long way.

"Fine. But if you don't eat you will not be in top form and you wont be able to perform your duties… And besides, everyone on board is a Malakim warrior. Do you think one of them would bring harm to me?"

"The idea that a warrior of the Malakim would being harm to you, Healer, is highly unlikely."

"Then please sit down," Janet insisted, gesturing at the bench next to her.

Turel sighed, then reluctantly complied with her charge's orders, though even as she ate her eyes never left scanning the Mess hall for any potential danger, however redundant the action was. The healer was correct, the likelihood of attack aboard the Queen's flagship was not probable, at least not an attack from the interior.

"After you dine, Liege-Healer, if you wish, we can take you to the bridge." This came from Bulstrode. He turned to Jack; "Of course the invitation extends to you as well, General O'Neill."

O'Neill brightened. "Cool."

The Gwihir warbird and an entire fleet of Malakim ships massed near the Chimera system. They cruised the void of space like black manta rays, as nightmarish predators. Their sleek designs made their form and function a beauty to behold as well as some of the fastest ships in the galaxy. Novalis had truly 'souped-up' her private ship. She had always been fast, but now she was much faster. The modifications Novalis had added truly made the Gwihir a part of her. She knew every bolt, every rivet, every wire, every component of the war ship. Novalis put her blood and sweat into it, perhaps even apart of her spirit. The Queen reveled in the work she had done herself, for she was renowned in her own right in both quantum physics, engineering and astrophysics. And she was insistent on being a part of the war-bird's construction, since it was her conception in the first place. Some times it was good to be the Queen, and her subjects stood prouder knowing their potentate was unafraid to get her hands dirty, so to speak.

The ships themselves could easily hold a crew of one hundred thirty or so crew and officers. This particular ship had gained the pilot a certain reputation since Novalis was the only pilot to ever successfully navigate the nebulas, with minimal damage to her ship and crew both. The crew of the Gwihir took a certain pride in their flagship and Queen. They were loyal to the death, but that was going without saying since all Malakim warriors were loyal unto death. Ironically the Remnants had this same tendency to their own demonic leaders.

All of them were Malakim, but even to the telepathic race, Novalis was apart from them. How could someone be so extraordinarily strong and vulnerable at the same time? She was as water, for nothing is as soft as water but who can withstand the raging floodtides? She was a maverick, hard-nosed pilot, but there was a softness to her, suppressed and buried under layers of pain that no one could reach except her own wife.

Mostly the Gwihir struck the small military cruisers of the Remnants or Goa'uld. It was a dangerous game to play but one that several of the species of the galaxy were forced to play, because of the strict hold of the System Lords. There were some in the Goa'uld Empire, like the Tok'ra, that used their positions to secretly help the Hidden Federation, at great cost to themselves. They were sympathizers but they could never come out in the open, they were more of an aid where they were, hidden among the enemy.

"We're approaching system vectors now," came a young voice from the ops station. "Nothing appears on my scopes."

Janet felt her heart pounding harder and harder as if she was climbing the mount of the world's highest roller coaster and about to plummet downward. Every beat of her heart pounded heavily in her ears, she was positive she was deaf from it. They were but moments away from saving her beloved wife, and her precious eldest daughter. From the breast pocket of her BDU blouse, Janet withdrew a picture of her family. All four of them snuggled together in front of a lake. She traced with the pad of her finger the lines of her wife she so loved, before putting the photo back safe and sound where it beloved. It would only be moments now…

'Hang on lover…I am coming. I know you are in pain, baby, I can feel it. I know you're terrified…I've never known you to be so frightened...save when Cassie was facing death from that bitch Nirrti. Hang on, my Heart…Just hang on a little longer…'

Novalis turned her head to meet the teal eyes of the young Ahern. He was no more than a hundred and twenty; too young for Novalis's liking to be in the Wing, but the lad had proven himself a talented warrior and a Wing-mate.

"Ahern, I suspect they are cloaked as we are. Reconfigure the scanners to register for non-Malakim cloaked vessels." She looked back to the vid-screen with a sense of apprehensiveness as she stared at the galactic ocean. There was a foreboding that set Novalis's teeth on edge. "Keep your eyes peeled, I know there is something out there."

Janet and Jack watched from the dais above the Com station, fascinated by the commotion going on around them as the Gwihir crept forward through the star-speckled backdrop of space, a predator stalking its own predator that hunted her. A snake eating its own tail. What then when the snake came to its own head?

Jack in particular was amazed at the queen's actions. In a lot of ways she reminded him of Sam. She took command with the same grace, power and determination. And like Sam, her subordinates flocked to her, offering their allegiance with very willing hearts, partly because she was a competent commander, and partly because she was very comfortable in her position. So who was he thinking of? Sam or the Queen? Perhaps it was Sam. Hey, he was worried as hell over the woman he loved but could never have. And he knew that with her extraordinary intelligence she would see her teams through this. The SCG only took the elite, the best of the best, and Sam was above them. He knew that if it had been any other team leader on this mission he would have doubted their survival chances. But because it was Sam, he knew that they were all alive. He had to believe it.

Novalis studied the enhanced image of the Gwihir on the vid-screen. "There!" she said, "That distortion, the shimmering area."

Janet and Jack were both pulled out of their daydreams by the sudden declaration of the queen's voice.

"I heed Queen," Bulstrode, the gunner, said, "It's getting larger as we close in on it."

"And it's closing in on us. Your opinion, Bulstrode?"

"I think it is an energy field, Queen."

"Yes. Enough energy to hide a ship, wouldn't you say?"

"A Goa'uld cloaking device!"

"Red alert! Bulstrode!"

"I heed Queen."

The small Goa'uld scout ship must have had a power transfer. Ahern only had a second or two to catch a glimpse of the ship. If his attention had wondered for a moment…

"Ahern," Novalis said, "good work."

"Thank you, Queen."

The lights dimmed. The klaxon alarms sounded: a bit redundant, Novalis thought. Battle stations were called but there was not a Malakim soul that was not already doing all their worth at the moment. "Ahern, cut that infernal noise off. Bulstrode, all power to the weapons system. Sabine, I want hyperdrive back on line."

Chief Engineer Sabine's aquiline voice came over the intercom. "I can not comply, my Queen. The power core has limited resources at this time. I have sublight engines on line, the hyperdrive is still offline. I had…"

"Sabine, you have my permission to do what ever is needed to insure our survival. We are going to land, make it possible."

"I heed."

With apprehension, both the humans glanced to one another and then back to the winged woman before them as she gave the next order.

"Divert all power from shields…to cloaks and weapons."

"No shields . . ." Grogan, the navigator of the Gwihir, made no attempt to conceal his worry, which was very apparent in the ruffled feathers of his golden wings.

"Goa'uld ships can not fire while cloaked. We can. We only have seconds, warriors. We raise shields now, we give them the hand." Novalis sighed inwardly. Thanks to the Tok'ra and Stargate warriors she knew what the Goa'uld were capable of. She also knew of their weaknesses.

"Bulstrode, two photon torpedoes at the ready. I want the ion cannons powered. Sight on the center of the mass."

"Aye, Queen."

The Gwihir sailed closer and closer to an indefinable spot in space, more perceptible as different if one looked at it from the corner of the eye. The ship was very nearly upon it when. . . .

Novalis saw it first.

Ahern spoke: "Goa'uld mother ships."

The Goa'uld craft appeared before them as a spidery sketch, transparent against the stars, quickly solidifying.

"----Arming torpedoes and ion cannons!"

"Fire, Bulstrode!"

The torpedoes streaked toward the Goa'uld ship. It was as if their impact solidified the ship while simultaneously blasting a section of it away. The fighter titled up and back with the momentum of the attack. It began to tremble, sending anyone who was not seated tumbling to the floor. Janet had landed hard against Jack as they were tossed to the metal floor of the bridge.

Ion cannons flared, sending a thin bright light across the expanse, connecting Gwihir to the Goa'uld ship with a lethal filament. The Goa'uld ship's hull glowed scarlet as did its bridge. The enemy ship shuddered harder. Their power was lost. They lost ion controls and their hyper-warp drive. They would have to withdraw or die.

"Good shooting, Bulstrode! Shields up, Ahern," Novalis ordered. "We come around again, torpedoes, targeting the bridge. Novalis to fleet, target all firepower on the center of the pyramid."

The Gwihir circled around the crippled warship. It would not get another chance. Like the great aquatic predator it resembled, the Gwihir bore down on the Goa'uld ship, loosing its photon torpedoes. The ship rocked with small serious interior explosions. Huge chunks tore away from the core, hurtling into space.

Novalis herself took over the piloting at the controls, banked a hard left, causing the Gwihir to veer sharply away from the explosions. Bulstrode read the intend on his Queen's mind and sent another wave of ion phaser fire as did the other ships of the Wing. The battleship continued to break apart, the explosions tearing through it, shattering it, engulfing it, and finally consuming it altogether in a brilliant ball of light.

Debris flew past the hull of the Malakim ship, and the light of the explosion faded to black.

There was no jubilation on the bridge of the cruiser. The battle wasn't over yet. Instincts commanded Novalis's reaction.

"Raise shields, Ahern," Novalis said.

"Aye, Queen." He accessed the automation center and tried to call the shields.

Nothing happened.

"Queen," he said in concern, "shields are unresponsive."


Sabina, below in Engineering, immediately turned to her controls. With a subvocal curse, Sabina bent closer over her console. "The automation system is overloaded."

"Emergency power to shields, lose the cloak."

The lights on the bridge dimmed further as the shields drained the small ship's power. Novalis looked up, seeing the second Goa'uld ship she knew to be out there.

She banked her ship hard starboard, coming around. "Ready torpedoes---."

But the order came to late. The enemy ship fired at nearly point-blank range. The Gwihir did not have the time to maneuver. "Torpedoes coming in!" Novalis cried, bracing herself in the pilot's helm control.

In the view screen the enemy ship's photon torpedoes streaked toward them with an awful inevitability. The energy from the blast sizzled through the ship, searing and melting computer chips, blowing out screens, crashing whole systems. A fire broke out on the upper deck. The acrid odor of singed plastic and vaporized metals clouded their air. The Vid-screen flashed, then darkened. The ship bucked violently. The illumination failed.

"Sabina!" Novalis yelled, "Where the Darkness are my shields! What's left?"

"Shields are up Queen, we have auxiliary power," the Chief said.

"Ion cannons?"

"A few shots, only"

"Not enough," Bulstrode said, "against their shields."

As it was, the enemy ship could out gun them, and with auxiliary power only, the Goa'uld pyramid could most definitely outrun them, but not outmaneuver them. Novalis still had a few tricks up her sleeve.

Novalis had two options; direct all power to weapons or to thrusters.

"Emergency power to the thrusters!"

"Yes, Queen," Sabina obeyed.

As the thrusters further drained the small ship of power, the trembling slowed and ceased, the ship stabilized. Novalis engaged the lateral thrusters, and brought the ship around to face the Goa'uld ship.

"Novalis to fleet, rake the Goa'uld ship!" she ordered.

The ion cannons rippled outwards, a long finger of dense light streaking along the side of the pyramid's starboard engine nacelle. The battle cruiser heeled over and began to tumble, spiraling on its headlong course.

"Ion cannon lock just blew, Queen," Bulstrode said.

"Do your best, Bulstrode. Fire when ready."

The first officer believed he could hit the opposing ship, even at this range. Precisely, carefully, he aimed. A moment's pause:


The magnetic bearings of a stabilizing gyro exploded, and the Gwihir lurched. The ion beam went wide. Bulstrode muttered a curse. Novalis plunged the ship under the belly of the behemoth battle cruiser. The enemy's torpedo just missed, but it expended its energy and a mass of charged particles and radiation slammed into them. She struggled to steady the ship, veering sharply to an evasive starboard.

Too late----

The enemy's ion blasts hit the barely shielded Gwihir dead on. The power serge caused the primary helm console to fail completely. It carried a jolt of electricity straight through the controls. Half the instruments blew out.

Faster than the eye could follow, Turel captured the tiny doctor in her arms, cradling her, as she would a child, her wings folded around her body. Zaira in the same inhuman celerity, knelt before her companion, her wings spread over the two bodies, effectively encasing Janet in a feathered shell. Their bodies protected the human from any electrical shock, debris and impact. She was completely buffered from all harm.

Novalis felt the voltage arch across her hands. It flung her back, arching her spine and wings, shaking her like a great furious animal, and slammed her into the deck. Every muscle in Novalis's body cramped into knots. She lurched over onto her face and tried to rise. She could not breath. The pain from her seared hands shot though her, cold and hot and overwhelming. She was beginning to lose consciousness.

Bulstrode leapt to the helm, seeking out which operations still functioned and which had crashed. Sabina took the weapons, listening to the commands.

"Ion banks, fire!"

The cannons searched, but they had lost power. The Gwihir was going critical and it was dead in the water. Novalis climbed to her feet, her face bloody and her hands already blistered from the burns.

"Queen. . . ." croaked Ahern.

"Damage report." She stood, ignoring her own wounds.

"We have no shields, minimal life support, impulse engines only and no weapons or at best a few torpedoes."

Novalis turned and looked to her gallant crew, noticing the nervousness of her human guests. She had not been the only one to sustained injures. All of the other five were bruised, bleeding, fighting off the pain of their battle. Well, all save for the mortals, since Turel and Zaira had taken the brunt of the damage.

Janet was completely unmarked, while Jack supported a bruised elbow and his left eyebrow was cut. The queen was more than pleased to see the Liege-Healer completely unharmed. Her knights had done well. The only sign that Janet had been in the battle was tussled hair and the expression of fear upon her beautiful face. Her champions were not so fortunate. Zaira had substance extensive lacerations and bruises upon her back and wings. Turel felt hot blood flow from her temple, from her arm, from her body. She coughed blood and pat it out.

Janet went directly into physician mode. She noted the blood, and her acute 'doctor's' sense picked up the rasping-wet sound of the angelica's labored breathing. "You have a punctured lung," she said to the blue haired Turel. "I need to take you to the Sickbay."

"My pain is irrelevant at this moment."

'So that is the way you want to play it, Miss All-noble. God, you're almost as bad as Sam when it comes to her own health. Duty first…'

"Well, I am going to go to your Sickbay and if you are supposed to protect me, I suggest you escort me there, or I'm going to go by myself."

"That is forbidden," Turel argued. "You are to be protected. You can not go by yourself, Liege-Healer."

"Then you better go with me," Janet replied. The brunette knew exactly how to play expectantly stubborn-duty bound warriors, especially females, considering she was married to one of the more infamous ones.

Novalis whispered a thank you to the brunette. She knew the knights would not budge from their duty even though they were in great need of medical attention. And if the doctor had insisted on staying upon the bridge, despite their pain and obvious injuries, the knights would have remained. However the doctor oh-so-cleverly had worked around that by insisting that she was going to go to Sickbay.

Another blast of ion phaser fire ripped across the hull of the Gwihir. Both of her protectors wrapped their battered wings about Janet once more, shielding the tiny physician from the onslaught of battle.

Novalis swung the ship around for one last pass. Novalis's long fingered hands danced over the controls, readying the last of the photon torpedoes and reserves of the ion cannons. She accelerated on full impulse power. She could see that the ship's commander was waiting, ready to fire. Novalis hit the controls. Two torpedoes were away, on course to the enemy command ship. In the pure silence of the hard vacuum of space, the torpedoes torched the enemy ship and explodes the warbird's port nacelle. It collapsed, spun, tumbled and gracefully, quietly exploded. The warbird responded not at all. The ship drifted off its course.

"Beta Wing, engage the Enemy squadron here. Alpha Wing, proceed with interplanetary landing to neutralize the Hostiles below," the queen ordered over the broadband communications channel.

Almost at once the captains of the other ships, in a perfect harmonized voice, spoke. "WE HEED."

"Okay, I gotta know how you do that," Jack said suddenly, more to himself than to anyone in particular.

However, the queen turned to him, a slight smile on her face. "We are Malakim."

"Of course, that explains everything." Crying out loud. I hate answers like that. Like they think it answers everything. 'Our ways…We are Nox…We are the friggin' tight assed Tollen…We are the Asgard…Love those guys…We are the Malakim…Who just happen to look like angels…God, do all aliens answer this ambiguously?'

In the sickbay Janet took both the diagnostic pad and the bone-knitter in hand. She knew she could very well be stepping on the toes of the Malakim CMO, but she warranted that perhaps another pair of surgical hands could benefit the emergencies that cropped up, especially in the areas of triage. Though from what she knew of the Malakim spirit, few would leave their posts to report to the medical area, even if they were dying. But nonetheless, she was a doctor and she was not about to stand around and watch when her own duty called. She was, after all, a Liege-Healer.

Running the bio-scanners over her first patient, Turel, Janet discovered the warrior had suffered not only a broken wing but the feathered appendage was dislocated as was the shoulder. There were burns caused by electrical shock and blood loss that needed to be contained.

The Medical bay was fairly vacant which confirmed Janet's earlier assessment of the winged warriors: their duty was primary. No doubt when Novalis found a safe port the Sickbay would have a host of casualties. The medics and Malakim CMO had their hands full with the near fatalities, so Janet concentrated her attention on her bodyguards.

"Turel, you have both a shoulder and wing dislocation that I need to attend to before I can fix your fractured arm. I am going to give you a mild anesthetic to numb the pain so I can…"

"No anesthetic, Healer I must be lucid to perform my duty."

"Now you listen to me," Janet huffed. She was a military physician and would have none of this bravado from her human patients much less the angelic ones. "I've been in combat situations plenty of times, and in wars, both Earth's own and off-world. Don't you give me that 'I am all brave and pain is irrelevant crap.'" She gave her guardian a look that would have bored a hole through triennium walls. "Now sit there and let me do my job."

Turel didn't even raise an eyebrow. She remained absolutely silent in front of the fiery physician before her. Suddenly deciding that, though tiny, the Healer no doubt had a very powerful streak of will that belied her stature.

"Good." Janet bristled, then gave her patient local anesthetics as well as placing both tranq and trauma patches upon the damaged area before proceeding. She knew she would have to return both appendages back to their sockets before using the bone-knitter. If she did it the other way around, there could be more complications. "Zaira. I need your help. I know you're in pain, too, with the burns, but I need to pop her wing and shoulder back into place."

"I understand." The silver haired Knight nodded, then stepped up to her companion. Turel's shoulder and arm were now severely numb from the local and patches. Janet was more than pleased because she knew popping bones back into place hurt like a mother. Turel only gave a minor flinch as she felt the appendages going back. Zaira looked more pained than did her companion. Janet could relate. Though as a physician she had to detach herself from pain because to feel every patient's hurt could be very detrimental to any one in medicine. She saved that for off-duty.

Zaira placed a kiss upon her companion's forehead, and softly began humming soft delicate notes that had an immediate relaxing effect on Turel that no drug could have offered. Janet allowed the closeness to continue, knowing the comfort of a loved one enhanced not only cooperation from the one needing medical help but it also lifted the chances of recovery up a few notches. With the bone-knitter and dermal regenerator, Janet was not only able to assist the healing of the broken bones but heal the lacerations abound the angelic's body, face and wings.

Next came Zaira's treatment. The burns were cleaned, and healed with the synthaflesh and dermal regenerator. What would have taken days, perhaps weeks, to heal only took moments. Janet was thankful and felt very privileged to be able to utilize such advanced medical equipment.

With her guards healed, Janet approached Rakrir, the CMO of the Malakim ship Gwihir. "Healer Rakrir, what can I do to help?"

The young male looked relieved, his white wings shifted a bit, and he replied, "I know it is for field-medics…but I would ask that you aid in a ship-wide search for the injured. The knights can be most resilient in their dedication to duty."

"Tell me about it." Janet smiled. She wanted to pat the young physician on the back but knew that the wings of the Malakim were very sensitive to touch, so she stayed her hand. "Not a problem, I'll help where I can. And no it isn't 'just for field-medics'. Just because I am a CMO…er…Liege Healer doesn't mean I don't go into the battle-zones if duty calls me there."

The Malakim Healer smiled. "Then you are as dedicated as any Malakim Knight. It is not a wonder then you sport the title Liege-Healer. Not many are granted such high honor. I have no doubt my people are in very competent hands." The physician looked up and gestured with his angular chin to a row of silver cases. "Med-kits are over there. Good fortune in the keeping of lives." It was a dismissal.

Janet sprinted to the counter with the cases and turned back to her bodyguards, knowing they were but five paces behind her. Each of them also took a field-kit. Yes, they were to save Janet from harm, but they were not about to stand by and watch their fellows suffer in pain. .

For the next precious moments, as the Gwihir navigated the misty atmosphere of Chimera, Janet went from corridor to corridor giving medical attention to many warriors who would not leave their posts. She healed electrical burns, radiation burns, smoke inhalations, broken wings, arms, and legs, and more lacerations than she cared to count, and seven concussions. Had it not been for the advanced tools in the kit, Janet knew that human methods would have taken far longer to heal her patients. Indeed, many she would not have been able to treat at all if not for the tools she had now at her disposal.

"All hands …" Novalis' voice came over the inter communications system. "Blue wing has engaged the Diabolical hostiles on planet. We will engage in the aid of what looks like a firefight in progress. Prepare for disembarking."

Part 11

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