Exiles Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter 11

Something Wicked This Way Comes

"How is she?" Malphas demanded of the doctor in the infirmary.

"She'll heal." He answered slowly. "Her left thigh took extensive tissue damage. I managed too repair it. Given proper time to heal and therapy, she'll have full use of her leg…"

"I do not care of her future, Martin. She has no future, but to serve the purpose of the Summoning. I need her in perfect health."

"I've given her extensively strong antibiotics. There will be no threat of gangrene or any other infections. I've taken the liberty of prescribing her strong painkillers, and tranquilizer. She'll be out for hours."

"Excellent." Malphas watched the prone form of the blonde crowned Colonel. She was beautiful, he remarked to himself. Extraordinary. She had an almost dignified, ethereal quality about her.

Tonight all preparations would be begin. Tomorrow night was the Great Summoning and the most significant aspect his own ascension.

"Make sure doctor, she remains healthy. Nothing will jeopardize my summoning of the Guardian. Is that understood?"

"Perfectly, Master Malphas." The doctor tilted his head, cringing from the note of malice emanating from his better.

"It would be unfortunate for you, should she die, before her usefulness is given."

"She'll receive the best medical attention, my lord." The doctor was still shivering. He hadn't stopped until the vile Master of the Keepers had left the infirmary. Hell it would be easier if he had one of those Sarcophagi, but the Goa'uld refused access to it. Zipcana had to his knowledge only allowed the woman to be in it once. A strange act in of it self, mercy from one of the System Lords. The doctor couldn't help but wonder what prompted such an act of generosity if she was not to be their host. Of course, her destiny was known to them, so that more then anything else motivated the Diabolical to allow her to be fully healed in the contraption. Samantha Carter the truth-sayer, the Malakim Knight born mortal would give up her body, her essence to the malefactor Achelous.

What the doctor found worse was the company of Serial, one of the female Reanimates, left to guard their precious prisoner. Doctor Martin, would have much preferred Malphas leaning over his shoulder than the ignoble winged woman, who glared at him as if were meat before a hungry rottweiler. He seriously doubted the worth of his involvement with the Calabim, more and more with each passing day.

But it had cost him his wife, his practice, nearly every thing, including his soul. And for what? Wealth? Notability? Now if this strange woman died, he would along side her. It had all boiled down to choices, and his had been taken away from him, that night he became a Calabim; that night in the pool of blood, where he had pledged loyalty to the Guardian of the Ages Three. Now he was a number, like all the rest. Well at least he wasn't going to be sacrificed to the snake-god.

"Sorry lady, but we all have our positions in life, and yours is to die. Mine is to make you healthy, just so they can kill you. What a joke." The physician laughed despite himself. It was all he could do. Nothing else in his life was humorous. Hell, he didn't even have a life anymore.

It had been almost a month since the raid on the Goa'uld ships. There were survivors, but the SG teams and Malakim warriors had been so far able to elude them. They had for the most part stayed within the confines of the forgotten Remnant temple.

"Do, you think she's still alive?" It was Daniel's first words.

Cassie didn't want to answer. She didn't want to imagine the possibility that Malphas had killed her. Not another one. Not again. Arion was presumed dead . . .Teal'c had barely managed to escape his crash site. And there was very little sign that Sam had been able to elude her capturers. The only thing Cassie knew was at one point that Sam was alive, then she was taken hostage.

"She's alive, Daniel." Cassie said quickly. Wanting to believe it, not sure that she did. It was an evasion both knew it. Neither could exorcize the fear that Sam had been captured and had been brutally tortured from their minds.

"We gotta move on this." Cassie turned the conversation her dark eyes studied the several faces before her. Six Malakim warriors, one Jaffa, five Marines, and one archeologist all of whom possessed lethal combat skills. It was all they had to face a score of hundreds perhaps thousands. True the destructions of the Goa'uld ship and the crippling of the other two had significantly lowered the population of the Jaffa, but there were the others to contend with. The Malakim attested the presence of the Fallen Remnants and no doubt the Calabim followers. And there were the three Goa'ulds. Imhotepe though minor in the ranks was exceptional intelligent and not as eager for blood as was Zipcana. Baal also posed a great threat. If they had the custody of the dragon eggs then the odds were very favorably in the hands of the enemy.

"Cassie. I know what your thinking." Daniel was now by the door. "But we can't do anything for her right now."

"Don't give me that platitude, Daniel. Don't you think I know that? God-damn it, if she dies...!" She looked down. "Sir…" She addressed Major Hagon. "I have a question concerning the last orders of the Colonel, I didn't copy…"

The middle aged man nodded, understanding. "Yeah, I understand that. I didn't copy her orders either, perhaps we should find her and question her ourselves." There was no way in hell the Major was going to leave one of their own behind. And there was no way in hell that he would allow one of the greatest heroes, that he ever had the pleasure to know to die if he had the chance to do something about it.

He turned to the young Lieutenant of SG1 and smiled, her wording was the excuse that they needed, if they didn't 'hear' the orders of their CO, then they weren't disobeying them. The Malakim had only obeyed Sam Carter, and he knew he couldn't get them to do anything, however, Cassandra Fraiser was in a unique position.

"Lieutenant Fraiser, you take SG1 and the Malakim and infiltrate the inner complex. SG3 will lay down coverfire."

"Yes sir." Cassie said.

Several days earlier

Cassie and Teal'c rushed the crash site, but Sam was nowhere to be seen. Tracking her was not difficult where normally in full health it would have been a daunting task. She had somehow managed to survive the crash, when all evidence stated otherwise. Had Cassie not made vocal contact she would have thought her blonde mother dead.

"She is resilient, Cassandra. She is a warrior of great heart and mind. I know you worry for her." The great man put a reassuring hand upon the young girl's shoulder and tried to smile. Cassandra was an adopted member of his family he loved her as he loved his own son Ray'ek.

They had tracked Sam's trail over to the second crash site. A Death Glider piloted by the First Prim of Zipcana. Teal'c scanned the evidence looking at the scourge marks by the laser damage and by the crash. But at a closer inspection there lay other evidence.

"A ribbon device was used here. With great force."


"Perhaps. However…"


"I could be mistaken, however the First Prim of Zipcana…could have been Zipcana himself."

Cassie paled. "Oh god…"

Teal'c's clenched his jaw, forcing himself to find his center. He was a warrior, though not without heart. To think that one of his dearest friends was taken…tortured…perhaps killed…with the evidence here…facing a Goa'uld. The use of the Ribbon Device, the amount of pure will that had been used…he came to one conclusion…She had been taken. If the Goa'uld had been present, his honor would have demanded she suffer greatly. Teal'c had to believe the worst that it was Sam that had been on the receiving end of the Ribbon Device. With the diameter of area damage, he doubted that she had survived. He knew first hand, having witnessed Apophasis use the Ribbon Device, with such venomous against a slave…they had not survived, but before their death…their screams of utter agony pierced the air. Sam had killed Seth with the device and she took no honor in it, but it had been fast. He had broken his spine, with the output of her own will and the backlash of his own it was surprising the Goa'uld wasn't cut in two. This was different. This was rage, wrath pure and simple. He knew the Goa'uld thrived on such torment…the evidence and his experience screamed at him it was Sam who had been hurt by the device not the other way around. Sam was reluctant to tap into that aspect of the device after she came to master it. She used it to knock an enemy away from her or to blow up an inanimate object, but never the torture aspect of it.

Teal'c ground his teeth, his eyes blinking away an unshed tear. He dreaded the thought that roared in his mind. Sam Carter was dead.

"Cassandra," He put a hand upon her should once more. "We must move out, and regroup with the others."

"The hell you say!" Cassie turned on her heel. "Take a look around you! You expect me to just leave? I got to find her!"

"Cassandra, we have our duty, we can not Samantha is counting upon us."

"I can't leave her." Cass moved into the woods.

"We will not, but we must obey her orders."

"Yeah well I don't think I heard her orders! Now…I am the 2IC…and I order you to go with me!"

"Cassandra." Teal'c's baritone voice stilled calmly, trying to exorcize the heartbreak within.

"I gave you an order! You will comply! I am not leaving her! She's my mother!"

"She is also your commander. She…gave us an order we must find the Exiles Gate…I require your help, this is not something easily accomplished alone."

"You're Jaffa Teal'c you'll adapt. I am going after her are you going or not?"

"Cassandra…if…it was Samantha here, what would she do?"

Cassie dropped her eyes. Her mind reeling thinking…she remembered the elevator going down so many floors in that abandoned nuclear facility. She remembered how heartbroken Sam was. She remembered Sam crying, denying she was crying…Sam was doing her duty. No matter how her heart was wrenched from her chest, or the pure agony she was in Sam was doing her duty. It had tormented the then very young Captain.

"She would do her duty." Cassie murmured slowly.

"We will not let her die Cassandra, but if we intent on rescuing her, we need to gather the others. We need to locate the Exiles Gate."

The pain harried her back to consciousness. Sam grunted opening her eyes the smell of blood was a sweetish sickly rot that overlay everything like the stench from a poisoned wound. She tried to move, but a great weight lay upon her legs, and even the motion of lifting her head brought bright flame of agony alight behind her eyes. She groaned in pain and frustration, the memory of her nightmares coming back to her in mocking fragments. She froze for a moment, listening, but there was no more sound of Malphas's laughter, nor taunting of Achelous, only a quiet sound, like death. At the very least she had a recess from his malignance.

"Moving around like that is not a good idea." The voice came somewhere from behind, Sam's head. She tried to tilt her hear up as to gain a look at whom ever had spoke to her up was wrought with a sudden crippling wave of dizziness.

"You'll reopen your wounds. I had to put seventeen stitches in you, to keep your leg together. Nasty wound, that one. I, had to reconstruct your muscular structure in your thigh, just so it will be useable, however redundant. And if you keep moving around, you'll also aggravate your condition. You have a mild concussion." A man appeared before her, dressed in a long white lab-coat.

"You're supposed to be a doctor?"

"I was once." There was a trace of bitterness in his voice. "Now, I am Calabim." The tone was mocking.

"Must be very fulfilling for you." Sam became sardonic. She must have hit a nerve, for the physician remind silent. "You said repairing my leg was redundant. I can than assume that Malphas intends to offer me up to his tin god."

The doctor's continued silence, more than agitated Sam, it sent her into a fury all of her own. "Why try and hide it?" She challenged. "Don't treat me like am stupid. I know what Malphas plans." She laughed, partly at the irony of her situation. "Actually, I know more than you."

"What do you mean?" The doctor's interest was aroused.

Now, Sam kept her tongue, baiting him.

"You don't know anything." The doctor said after a beat. The contempt on his face was plan enough.

"I know that the sacrifice, Malphas intends on giving are numbered, more than I."


Sam made a shrugging movement. "Something I overheard. Frankly, I don't care if you live or die. But I'm a little attached to my life…"

"I help you, you help me? Is that it?"

"You don't seem particularly happy, here. You make the choice, doc. Help me, and have a better chance too live. Don't, and end up as hors d'oeuvre for Achelous."

There was a note of truth to what the woman said. If not why then was he considering it? The doctor wouldn't put it past Malphas, to do exactly what Sam had said. If it would grant the leather-faced broken winged wizard a ground of power, he would do anything.

"All right. Tell me what you have planed."

Sam weighed the words. She had let slip her mistrust with Arion. She was not about to allow the same thing to happen twice. "Untie, me first. You, get me a weapon, then we talk." There was no denying the authority in her voice. Doctor Martin moved to do as she commanded.

"This is it!" Cassie Fraiser commanded. "You all know your tactical positions, and the lay out of the compound. We hit them hard and we hit them fast. Neutralize the six Remnants as quickly as possible. We won't get a second chance at this, people. Try to keep the casualties light. Be very careful we don't know the location or the condition of Colonel Carter. We move out, now."

Armed and ready to meet with heavy resistance from the Calabim the conflict, they hoped would be over quickly. There was not a mind there that hadn't at some point reflected back first attack on the Goa'uld ships. This unit, if possible had the seeming of being even more impressive. It had to be. They would not get another chance at this.

The vague, distant expression in Malphas's dark hazel eyes seemed inconsistent with his bearing and composure. Indeed the subject on his mind consumed his every, attention. The coming of Achelous. He could sense a disturbance in the World Symphony. Great magic was a foot. Something powerful beckoned; no matter, he would create his own tonight. Tonight was his Ascension! There was so much to do before, the Summoning. There wasn't much time left.

Ascension. The very word filled Malphas with delight. It was a pity the Chosen One would die, during the Summoning. She would have made a superb trophy. Perhaps in death, she still would be. She was stronger than the others. If she survived . . . His smile was thin, narrow against his leather-tight skin. More than a trophy . . . a vessel, a holy sepulcher. He sniffed a breath of air. If she survived…

When you're waiting to die, you have a lot of time to reflect. There were regrets in her life that Sam would have like to have rectified. She hadn't given up hope. If she did, she'd lose. She trusted Cassie in all things. She knew her daughter was a live and she would get her team to safety, she also trusted Cassie to do something rash like chance a rescue operation to extract Sam Carter from the clutches of the Calabim.

She thought of her youngest daughter. A blessing with unique eyes, of heaven and earth both. How she loved Rebecca deeply. She wondered what her littlest would be like when she became a woman. Would she follow her parents as had Cassandra and become apart of the USAF and into SGC? Who would she love? What sort of person would she want to make a life with?

She thought of her beloved wife. Janet would make it through. She had Rebecca and Cassie, to help her survive her death. Sam closed her eyes, imagining the soft touch of Janet's lips upon her own. Her hands touching her, loving her allowing Sam to worship her body as they made love.

'I am starved for your touch, my love. I'm terrified of losing you Janet. I don't think I have ever been this frightened. At the very least Cassie will be home. They found the Exiles Gate my love, and they will be home soon. She's alive…Baby-girl…at least in this I didn't fail.

'Oh god Janet…

'I would not have made it this far…without you. You are my hope. My love. Love is a gift to be given freely, unconditionally, no reservations no expectations. Stronger then the finest trillium hewn chain binding us together by our hearts. Ties that are not truly severed until the heart says it is done. Many never seeing this love for themselves when they spy its radiance in its deepest and purest form in others knowing its pricelessness and rarity, place faith in it, fighting for it. A select few sacrifice their lives dying to protect it. Somewhere I have heard past all we try to comprehend beyond all we strive to know there lies a truth. That truth is love. That truth is in you my heart. I will try everything I can to come home to you…all I can…

'You are my hope Janet...my all.

'The radiance of your presence drawing my heart near to you, glimmering in your chocolate eyes reflection pools of the soul. Glimpses of your very heart in small things you do unfold like rosebuds blooming in the springtime. I feel the velvet of your voice brush against my heart when the tones of my name pass over your lips. As the sun in the mists of the morning paints the canvas of sky so your smile colors my soul when your gaze rests on me. All that which is part of your essence is what has captured my heart. I love you Janet…my Janet…my all…my everything…my hope…

The doctor had come through. She had a weapon. A very surprising one. It was a Ribbon Device! She could conceal the weapon by using medical tape to fasten the device to her arm, and then pull her sleeve of her shirt over it. Under the garment, no one would know that it was there.

"Where the hell did you get this?" She questioned him, with dark expressions.

"It was not easy, but it was among your possessions. I have a contact in the sanitarium where your belongings were kept. They were able to acquire it for you."

Sam thought of Farland, the nurse who had tried so hard to help her escape. He had to have been the one to gain the weapon. But how had he gotten a hold of it? Surely Kobal had to have had it. It hurt too much to think about all of the equations. As it was she could not trust anyone or anything she saw. The only thing Sam Carter knew she could count on was the love of her wife. The only thing she knew that was true as that her Janet loved her. That was the only thing she knew that gained her hope. Her Janet was hope. Her Janet was love. She felt with the weight of the weapon and its presence gave Sam a small measure of security

What kind of security could you have in a place that scares you? "No not scared," Sam said to herself. "Scared was some plain old everyday emotion. I'm, terrified. Horrified. Overwhelmed with dread. I feel like my mind has been filled full of sewage and I'll never be able to get it clean. Like, I'll be eaten alive in my dreams. Like, I'll never see the real world again. Scared? They want to cut out my heart and eat it. No, I am defiantly not scared. All right Carter, you got to get out of this one yourself. You can't wait for the cavalry to arrive, or a knight in a starched white lab coat standing only five foot one."

They came in, no explanation. Each carrying tranquilizer riffles, in their right hands, aimed directly at her heart. Just one of them would drop her to her knees. They left little choice to do anything but follow.

Only pick the battles you can fight, Carter, anything else study them out so you can pick your advantage. Act like a woman of thought, think like a woman of action.

They marched her down a flight of stone stairs, and again down another. A door a dark hall, lite only by blue halogen lights, another door, more stairs. A sub-basement. The air cold, nearly freezing, blasted into their faces. The guards unflinching moved as automatons. The draft bit deeply into her bones, gnawing at the angry wound on her thigh. She stumbled with weariness of the defeated through huge gates, onto an underground street laid out and cobblestone with mathematical precision.

The Underearth temple was extensive. It was beyond amazing. Massive stone blazers brimmed brightly, giving the underground temple a false but burning sunlight. It was like what Sam had seen within Goa'uld temples. Jumping thru the Stargate had taught her to accept all manor of beautiful and impossible things . . . and despite the horror that the Aztec-esk pyramid represented, it was beautiful.

Down the street. Onto the vast open plaza, the Calabim waited there, silent, impossibly silent. There were dozens of the worshipers. Tens of hundreds of dozens of the penitent followers. The procession lead through crowed Calabim who looked at Sam as if she were an evil intruder. It was worse walking past the Remnants, who look at her as if she were lunch. They walked past the base of the miniature pyramid. Malphas was nowhere in sight.

The pyramid reeked. The stench was intolerable. It made her hold her breath. It wasn't difficult to guess the source the of the smell. The steps of the pyramid, from top to bottom, were covered with a dried crust, many inches thick.


She looked up those stairs and imagined how much blood it would take, and how quickly it would have to be spilled, for it to run all the way down from those heights.

She wanted to go home. She wanted it very badly.

Breathe. Breathe. Don't show the fear. She didn't want to think about the impossible monster that would be soon feasting on her heart. No. I can't. I can't think of anything but that. Nothing but the pictures of brutality I'd witnessed. Breathe, Carter. Breathe.

Each step took her closer and closer to the top, in mind numbing pain. Her leg screamed with each jarring step.


The vise was around her chest, squeezing the air out of her lungs, the blood out of her heart. She could feel her heart. It was right there in her chest, under the ribs, under the breastbone . . .

They'll split me open like a chicken, chop through the cartilage, my heart, beating, arteries pulsing, the blade, the serrated obsidian blade would sever the veins and arteries and my heart would . . . scream. They wouldn't care, wouldn't hesitate, I am nothing to them, nothing to that blood-crazed maniac who would eat my heart.

Breathe. Breathe.


She shuffled along, foot after foot, making a noise like some gigantic sack of dirt being dragged through the streets. Shuffle and stumble and mutter and glare. What a proud Colonel she turned out to be. She hated herself for the weakness. She hated the Calabim. Hated the Remnants. Hated Arion. Most of all she hated Malphas.

The guards, two abreast shoved Sam up the stairs. The pyramid was steps on steps. The basic construction, the blocks themselves, formed narrow, steep steps. But a broader, gentler stairway had been layered over this, still steep, but not so anyone would likely to fall.

They climbed, and the guards shoved. First step.

Oh God. I am climbing. Oh god. No.

Lift foot. Put foot down. Thigh and calf muscles work. Lift foot. Put foot down. Bone-jarring agony.

I have to stop. Have to stop.

Lift foot. Put foot down. Thigh and calf muscles work. Lift foot. Put foot down. Bone-jarring agony. Leg shaking, quivering from the effort. Stomach wanting to heave. Heart. . .heart . . . heart.


Lift foot. Put foot down. Thigh and calf muscles work. Lift foot. Put foot down. Bone-jarring agony. She squinted to look ahead. Firelight blinding. She tripped, a hand reached out behind her to steady her. No, they didn't want her to fall. Thanks. No. They still climbed. No.

Then he appeared. Malphas.

Malphas stepped out of his temple and stood there, legs spread wide, towering over the Calabim below. Dressed in gold and white robes. Sam shuddered, huffed in contempt. He looked at her. Their eyes locked. Yes, he knew she had made the noise to drive away the panic. He knew.

Six Remnants came hustling out off stage. They carried a turquoise pillow, holding it up for their evil god like they were offering him a mint. Malphas reached down raised a thin swirled, wavering black blade.


Four Remnants, held forth vases. At this point she could see steam. The sludgy slow-moving stream of red that trickled and poured and congealed its horrifying way down the steps to the right. It was blood over blood. The wet and fresh over the backed and crusted. The higher she climbed the thicker the crust. The higher she climbed, the quicker the stream.

Lift foot. Put foot down. Thigh and calf muscles work. Lift foot. Put foot down. Bone-jarring agony. Why couldn't she stop? Stop! Run! Run away!

Lift foot . . .

So close now. Her mind leaped reality.

A sound. Oh no, no, no, no, no, no. The sound of knife in flesh. The grunt of pain. The grunt of effort. The sound of blade on meat. The ripple of blood trickling slowly in the heat of the blazers. The smell of it. The sound of wet scooping . . . her body untouched, except there gaped a black-red wound, a hole where her heart had been . . .

Lift foot. Put foot down. Thigh and calf muscles work. Lift foot. Put foot down. Bone-jarring agony . . .

The gloomy, empty hallway would echo footsteps, if SG1 and its Malakim allies had been so careless as to make any noise. Wherever the Calabim had gone to, it wasn't here, and Cassie was perfectly content to have things that way. But they were going to find somewhere to hide for a little, while she recovered their bearings.

Getting in had been far easier than she had thought it would be. Leading of all, she'd gone in just after the supper hour, when the guards would be in a torpid state from their meal. SG1 slipped in with Malakim's help of summoning the elements of fog. They had also help over the first two stone barricades, at some distance from the court, and then they'd walked around the third checkpoint openly as if they belonged there. Of course their chameleon BDUs helped in this endeavor. The guards had never seen their passing.

They never questioned their presence, or gave it a second thought. Cassie continued her stroll with her teammates humanoid and angelic alike towards the manor proper, as lightning splashed across the sky in a swath of blues and white. The wind rose violently forcing the guards to duck their heads, and wrapped their arms around them trying desperately to recover some sort of heat. The rain, hard and cold, never permitted it.

But the next problem confronted they immediately in the form of a technological barrier. Illusions and invisible uniforms were not going to mislead the security systems. An electrical surge would disable the entire complex. Fog was here. With the storm so was the element of electricity. It would not take much to encourage the element to play havoc.

SG1 and the Malakim would need the distractions. And with the corridor beyond empty it had been child's play to penetrate onto the lower levels to the closet they now hid in. The next thing she needed to do was to find the bulk of the Calabim.

Cassie ordered one of the Malakim, Razeal to use his telepathy and astral-projection to accomplish this. He sent his mind out searching for the energies of the humans. He found them in some great hall. Chanting. Good, the enemy was in vespers so they were not about to discover stragglers along the way, for a while yet.

And now for architect of this evil masquerade…Malphas.

He searched for the Summoner, then sending his mind cautiously out into the emptier parts of the bastion to look for him. He had a fair idea where he might be. The touching of the World Symphony was powerful. So powerful it wavered through Razeal in a dizzying cyclone. Malphas hadn't noticed his presence. Nor had the other presence that lingered so close. It could only be Achelous.

The demon was only half aware. Preoccupied as if something else had its attention. Good. He was not to late. He slid his back down along the wooden support post until he was sitting on the cold concrete floor of the closet, his knees tucked up against his chest. He would have to probe very carefully. He did not dare catch the Calabim's attention; bound or not, it was still dangerous, and he was no match for him in a one-on-one duel.

Still, he didn't truly know if he was bound, either; even if it was there would be a very limited window of opportunity to act against the demon. He allowed his perception to move slowly through air, extending his probe into each room hunting for Sam. But wait. How about something quicker . . .searching for female empathic minds?

Still nothing. After all Sam's empathy extended only to her lifemate Janet.

Each room each chamber empty.

Wait a moment . . .what about in the temple, on the pyramid? He moved his perceptions along the air currents and "looked" out across the stone chamber. It was crowded with chanting minds. Up the steps of blood to a stone alter. His mind recoiled as he touched Sam's mind.

There was no mistaking her presence. Her terror. Her desperate pain. She was fighting it. Fighting Malphas. He pulled his senses back quickly and sat quietly for a moment, calculating his next move. Now would be a very good time to call in an ally. He closed his eyes again and reached out with his mind, but this time in an entirely different direction

"Elements?" He called, hoping he was doing so quietly enough to avoid the attention of Malphas and Achelous.

"It is time."

Razeal stepped out of the real world and placed himself into the penumbra, the half-world, known to the Malakim as Earth's Shadow. In here he was still bound by the laws of physics, but he could move at a greater speed. And here he could make his way into the pyramid with out the mortal's noticing his presence. Once there, he would have to step back out, into the physical world, lest Malphas feel him, worse Achelous, himself.

He told Cassandra of his findings.

The young lieutenant considered her options, trying to assimilate what Sam would do if she were carrying out a raid. "We separate into teams of two. Razeal you and Daniel. Teal'c and I. Malachi and Zephon, Boudicca, Turelim and Pumah. Our goal is simple. Search and locate Colonel Carter. Boudicca you and your team will lay down cover fire. Malachi and Zephon will help in creating distractions. Teal'c and I will flank the inner sanctuary and Daniel you and Razeal will come in from the north side. Razeal I want you to keep that…other-side in view if it wont giveaway our positions. As quickly as we can we will extract the Colonel and vacate the area ASAP. If you come in contact with any of the hostiles, neutralize them. As we had in the motherships, leave no trace of the bodies if you can. Move out."

Calabim were arranged in circles, spiraling inwards. The outer circle's black masks faced the thin-spread backs of the six, Keepers of the Lambent Reproach. The High Circle's gold-decorated masks faced Malphas. Malphas raised his arms. The Calabim chanting round died put with a final murmured chorus of "I will obey his servant in this world, I am Calabim."

Malphas kissed the Goa'uld serpentine tattoo around his wrist. A whisper of movement filled the pyramid as the Calabim followed suit. Malphas led them in a litany of the full obedience. Sam heard Arion say them as well. She looked at the faces of the Calabim. If they knew what kind of lies Malphas had told them, if they knew the total falsehood they were so willingly accepting as the truth, she might still be able to stop all of this! She opened her mouth.

Malphas glanced at her. She closed it sharply.

I can turn any word that passes your lips into a scream of agony.

The mage had touched her mind, but he could not control it. She pushed him out with such vigor Malphas wavered in his stance. A small gesture and the guards moved picking her up

Razeal and Daniel spotted Sam right off. She was being force; with none-to-great of care onto the stone alter. Her struggle was cut short by a guard's brutal backhand to the grievous wound on her left thigh. Razeal didn't have time to wonder how she acquired such a wound, but the guard's strike was enough to send her to her knees with a cry of pure torment.

The hearts of the men begged them do something, but they were outnumbered. If Razeal tried to touch Sam's mind now, Malphas would know and that would be the end of it. He needed to buy time.

Malphas was speaking, something about the Keepers of the Lambent Reproach standing guard and protecting the Calabim as the Great Serpent, guards the gate between worlds. Achelous was pleased with the Calabim. The conditions for Summoning him had been met.

Malphas swept his arms wide.

"Accept this Truth-Sayer, this Malakim Knight in mortal skin, our Master. Let her life be the final stone in the bridge across which the Guardian of the Ages three shall speak through. Let her body be thine!" Malphas his hands still raised, clasped together overhead holding the ritual dagger above Sam's head. "Oh Calabim! Your servants call out to you! Answer us! Send your voice to this world to speak to us! Take her vessel as your body and live in this world!" He kissed the tattoo Goa'uld serpents again.

The Calabim began to chant the full obedience again. Sam fought the leather bonds that held her body motionless, fought desperately. Nothing helped. Someone gasped. Sam looked up. Red light was seething around Malphas's body. The light was hot, smoky hellish. It writhed almost as if alive, embracing the magus. Malphas's arms were still poised overhead, the knife still deadly close to Sam's heart, his head thrown back. An expression of pure rapture covering his face. The chanting of the Calabim grew louder, more enthusiastic. Then she saw something other. Something beyond the high priest. A power conduit. If she could direct the flow of energy from the ribbon device into the conduit she would have enough distractions to free herself and make a limping run for it. But her timing had to be just right.

Malphas appeared to be rising up in the air, hanging as though the light were the grasp of some outworldly entity; Malphas flung his eyes open and screamed out, "The Great Guardian comes!"

Everything froze.

Razeal and Daniel waited pensively. Malphas's words echoed loudly in their ears. "Oh Calabim! Your servants call out to you! Answer us! Send your voice to this world to speak to us! Take her vessel as your body and live in this world!"

The enchantment flung from his body into Sam's she was sealed from Achelous's power, if only for the moment. The spell had worked. Sam watched as Malphas kissed his wrists a second time. She had to work fast. The blonde had to work against Malphas's magic, as soon as the magus began glowing with his infernal light Sam was ready. The Calabim were aroused into fearful fit of zealous frenzy. By this time Sam used the stone bed as a way to negotiate the ribbon device onto her hand in seconds she was ready with her plan. She poured every once of her strength into the ribbon device. Weakness flooded through her, she dared not pause, not even for a moment. Timing . . .that was going to be all of it.

"The Great Guardian comes!"

At that single moment the power of the ribbon device zinged to life, hitting the glowing orb. The combined force attacked every circuit breaker, every wire, every blazer of fire, every generator, fusing everything together in sight, so that nothing would protect the lines beyond. A full lighting strike could not have wreaked more havoc. Every light, every crystal power unit in the castle exploded in a shower of electrical sparks from raw sockets and dozens of fires burst into existence as the wires shorted out. Malphas's energy-source fragmented as the crowd itself fragmented into chaos of screaming, frightened humans, each one clawing for an exit and paying no attention to anything else. Now they showed their true colors, panicking, trampling over each other, ruled only by fear; a selfish fear that cried out from each wizened soul that he was more important than anyone else here, that he should be saved . . .

Malphas screamed at them, howled orders at them, but the sound system had died a fiery death with the first surge, and not even he could shout loud enough to be heard over the screams of his congregation.

Sam felt herself become free, hands fumbling, grabbing her chest, missing heart… grasping, heart… had it! The blonde took advantage of the chaos, she jerked her quivering muscles broke way from the stone alter and went for slamming her body into a fleeing Malphas.

Malphas howled. Red rage seethed in the magus. "You've destroyed everything."

"That was the initial plan."

"Now you die!" The old magus screeched as he swung widely at her with the dagger, Sam leapt back, not far enough. The blade kissed flesh. Barely. So quick and so deep, the wound didn't have time to hurt, before Sam spun on her right leg, her left hitting Malphas's wrist, the arm went wide. Another kick to the chest Malphas was down.

"I've been dead before, it's highly over rated." She hissed. Her hand opened the ribbon device activated in a shimmering blast; it found its home in his chest. Sam pinned her prey to the floor straddling him. Malphas gargled defiance, his eyes wide as Sam forced her palm in direct contact with his chest, the glaring amber light flared in rage.

The blonde colonel was unexpectedly thrown to one side with such abruptness she had no idea what had happened; she tried to rise, to her feet. Up. Something hit her. A blow sent her down again! Breathless. Blood, she tasted blood! What?

A Priest had plowed into her. She jumped up, mindless of the screeching pain in her thigh. Kobal, faced her, she had a two-inch dagger. A smile. Bloodlust in her eyes, she dashed in. Sam did the only thing she could, she ducked below the alter. Kobal leapt up over it, to fast, to quick, not enough time to stop the momentum, she slipped on the blood, she never let loose the blade. Sam was on her feet, running for the entrance to the temple. Sariel who had watched the pathetic attempted of Kobal to subdue the Chosen one, followed.

From his hidden alcove the hidden figure of a Malakim warrior unfolded his great blue wings and dove for the floor of the ceremonial heart of the temple. His prey the old decrypted form of Malphas.

Razeal, bent down taking Malphas, by the collar, his fists reared back . . .something pulled at him. No lifted him. He looked down; one of the Remnants had scooped him up high overhead. He was suddenly dropped.

"What the Dark!" Malphas said. He looked for what ever it was that let out the war cry. "Find it!" The order was snarled. Abaddon ran for the shadows. Followed by two other of his fellow warriors

Mirfara and Agares, the last remaining Remnants encircle Razeal. There was nowhere for him to flee. Smoke from the fires billowed, choking the air, consuming every available breath. Like a cobra it entwined around Razeal. The Remnants moved in. Mirfara lunged with his stiletto slicing the throat before him. Agares plunged his sai's into hard stomach. The smoke cleared. One Remnant lay dead his head nearly severed, the other coughed up blood, twin sai's sticking out of his lungs. He would be dead in seconds

Malphas howled.

The fires were spreading; one whole corner of the hall was ablaze giving Razeal more than enough light to see his exit. He bullied his way through the confused and terrified humans to the door that led to the temple entrance. He had to reach Sam. She had gone through there.

Sam spun on her heel, going for the door. Fire burned the floor here as well; the entire castle was going to be engulfed in flame. Sam trudged down the hall. Outside she heard the distinct crack- of submachine gunfire. Explosions flared, chorusing with the wild snapping of lighting strikes and the roar of thunder, and rumble of death gliders. It sounded like a war-zone.

Razeal kicked Malphas in the side as he passed, to ensure he did not follow, felt a crunch of broken bones beneath his heel, and ran on. He shoved his way past the last of the Keepers, into the temple . . .but once he was out into the corridor leading to a stairwell he met with a new tide of people, this time pushing and shoving their way into the depths of the Underground building. But suddenly someone blocked his way deliberately. A bald man with an eye patch bolted to his head. The man Razeal cared noting for. His weapon was a Jaffa staff weapon. He stood in attack position. Razeal acted instinctively, without thinking, lashing out with his mind and throwing an illusion of nightmares straight into the man's thoughts, bargaining that he might be marginally sensitive. It worked better than he could have hoped, sending the man screaming to the floor, clutching his head, howling that Achelous was eating his brains.


The answer came with a muffled, staccato crack of automatic weapons fire just beyond the entrance. He shoved his way into the middle of the corridor just as an explosion blew the door off the hinges and deafened him.

The people at the farthest end of the tunnel were flung into the air; backlit by the fire outside; they flew at him and hit the ground, in a curious time dilation slow motion. Those nearest him cowered away, hiding their faces in their arms.

A raid. . .Great Song!, SG3 started a raid. . .!

His ears weren't working right, though he doubted the three warriors in front of him could hear anything at all. Explosions and the sound of gunfire came to Daniel muffled, as if his head had been muffled by pillows.

Daniel pressed his advantage. He wouldn't have it for long. He lifted his head, rose and turned fast, massively graceful . . .plucked Batarjal from the shadows. Shoving him against the wall, with bone-cracking force, Daniel disposed of him in two terse swats with his combat dagger, left hand then right, an explosion of blood. And let him drop. His head nearly torn from his shoulders. That left two others. The winged woman, and the one he knew that was called Abaddon. They would not fall as easily as their companion.

They circled Daniel, as jackals before a kill. They gauged their enemy carefully. They had seen how he killed. They were not afraid. Batarjal had been careless. He allowed the confusion of the fire and raid disrupt him. He deserved to die.

Daniel studied his enemy's movements. They moved in precise timing. They would attack at the same moment. Daniel tasted fear in his throat. But he couldn't give into the Rage. He needed control. He was at a distinct disadvantage, his body worn and tired from his flight here, wanted nothing of fighting. Daniel would not yield. His dearest friend was in danger.

The man suddenly surged across the fire like a silent wall of muscle, ramming into Daniel slamming him backward into the ground so hard it nearly knocked the wind from him. Abaddon rolled off quickly into a crouch behind the cloaked warrior, waiting for him to get up.

"Scholar, would you feel more comfortable with a gun in your hands? You do not know how to fight."

Rage washed over Daniel like a flood. He shifted his stance, lashing out at Abaddon

"I know how to fight"

Abaddon laughed at him and leaped backwards avoiding one swing of Daniel's fist then ducking under the second. Abruptly the woman was there, crouched, she dodged behind Daniel to slice his calves, intent on hobbling him. She could have easily cut the ligaments behind his knees . . .instead she clutched his shirt, tugging on it, then tripped him as he whirled around. Abaddon lunged in at Daniel's exposed throat, but Daniel brought his blade up under Abaddon's chest, lifting him and throwing him as he charged, sending him flying across the inter of the temple and into a cluster of vases. He dove after Nelchael taking advantage of Abaddon's dazed condition.

Nelchael rolled instinctively to her feet, grabbing a scrap of wood by her feet, lashing out at the figure with the club. Daniel leaned back and let Nelchael's weapon whistle past his shoulder, then slid forward while his opponent was off balance to slash sharply at the Remnant's gut. Nelchael, however, spun all the way around, following the momentum of her club. Daniel's slash glanced off her side. The wooden club came swinging around again, forcing Daniel to dodge away. Letting loose a deafening war-howl, Nelchael took a step forward.

Daniel whirled around exposing his back to her, Abaddon, in a wolf attack pattern had soundless slipped up to him. Close now, Daniel's hand ripped out of the air slamming Abaddon in the head, shredding through the flesh in his face, the momentum spun the Remnant around into Nelchael. Adaddon leaped over the woman, but she went skidding to the floor. She wasted little time, hand springing back to her feet. Abaddon didn't move his hand skirted behind his back. He let loose small throwing daggers. Four sharp missiles zinged through the air finding their marks in Daniel's chest.

Daniel tumbled backwards. The padding of his vest had deflect two of the blows, two jammed sharply into his torso, shallow but substantial blows gashed between his ribs. Blood soaking the vest, his hand reached up tearing them violent from his body. Rage took over. Eager now, his tiredness forgotten, Daniel flew at the Remnants. Nelchael stood before him, her hand held a swirled blade. The blade lunged; Daniel caught her wrist, crushing the bones. It only took seconds before she felt her stomach disemboweled. She was dropped to the ground. Daniel distracted by the woman, never saw Abaddon, until it was too late. The Remnant plunged a punch dagger into his shoulder blade. Daniel was on his knees, roaring in searing pain. His hand instinctively let go of Nelchael, clutching the blade from the protruding from beneath his collarbone the force of the blow landed him on top of her. Abaddon pinned Daniel to her carcass both with the punch dagger and his knee, his other hand raised, a second knife to Daniel's throat.

He lurched forward, nicking Daniel's throat as if he were a barber merely shaving him, He stared stupidly, at the wooden stake protruding from his chest. How did it come to be there? Blood vomited from his mouth, he feel hard, sandwiching Daniel between bodies. The punch dagger still spearing Daniel's shoulder.

"This is just great."

First on the scene, it looked to Cassie and Teal'c like a bolt of lighting struck the castle. Only difference was that it happened from the inside out. As soon as the battalion arrived, she lost control of the situation. The Malakim and SG3 took the reins Cassie was forced to watch. But they would be damned if they didn't do anything. Cassie had to get in there and free Sam. Save her, not only from the Calabim, but the crazed motley army out here.

"We're supposed to be the good guys."

In seconds it looked like she walked right into a war movie. Fires roared everywhere; Malakim touched down and disgorged troops, SG teams, and took cover: They didn't seem to be firing until they were sure of their target; all the random lazarblasts was coming from the Calabim Guard units. How they could shoot, in the deluge of the rain and the density of the fog astounded both Cassie and Teal'c. Most of the offensive lazarfire never hit, their targets. The elements seemed to be aiding the task force more than hindering it. The raid was able to breach the defenses with relative ease.

A hellish noise right beside her pounded her into the dirt, as the gunner in a Death Glider let loose a barrage against the trio of gunmen on the battlements, that caught one of them and cut him in half. The second must have seen the gunner take aim for he hit the dirt in time to save himself. Another munitions dump exploded on the far end of the compound, light flared and danced around the men, and women, some living, some dying. A second explosion from inside motivated the troops to storm the castle. Cassie and Teal'c along with them.

Another explosion tore the door clean off the castle walls. Fire blazed from within, people screaming, dashing in all direction. Pure chaos. It was the exact thing Cassie wanted to avoid. But, the Calabim landed the first blow. The Malakim enforcement responded. Hard.

Where the hell was her mother?

The flame roars, higher in the air, the fire spreads out all around her, consuming a building of steel and stone. The flames lick out grasping at her. She turns runs, but it she isn't fast enough to out run the inferno. A door ahead of her…small. She opens it, Sariel still pursuing her. Sam barged in. She found it to be a dumb-waiter. With no electricity, and her leg, nearly making her lame. Sam's only hope of escape was here. Using her strength, she yanked on the ropes, pulling the lift up.

The minutes dragged by, Sam's arms roared in agony at the extensive strain of her muscles. The wooden boxed clucked hard. Sam nearly lost her grip on the robes, as the dumb-waiter came to an abrupt stop. She had reached the maximum level of the lift. Tying off the pulleys, Sam forced open the door to the elevator.

Fire burned the floor here as well; the entire castle was going to be engulfed in flame. Sam trudged down the hall. Outside she heard the distinct crack- of submachine gunfire. Explosions flared, chorusing with the wild snapping of lighting strikes and the roar of thunder, and rumble of Death Gliders. It sounded like a war-zone.

What the hell was going on?! Her teammates must have found a way to her. She smiled. She knew she could trust them to pull through. And Cassie had assembled a raid. It would end.

She reached for another door opening it she faced Arion! Sam growled, rage billowed, instinct rushed, Arion felt stars swimming around in her head, as a fist landed square in her nose breaking it. Blood sprayed. Sam lunged for her, but stopped. Sariel was behind the traitor. Sam slammed the door shut, locking it.

Arion was back on her feet. "Follow me."

"Why the hell should I trust you?" Sam flared.

"You don't have a choice."

The women dodged out a second door into a hall. Up a flight of stairs behind them. A door splintered. They continued up the stone steps, into another room. Out side fire blazed. There was a pool. Sam skidded to a halt. This room. Damnation was in this room. Sam spun on her heel, going for the door. Sariel thundered through it, blocking Sam's path.

Behind her Arion. Sam was trapped. Of course she had the Ribbon Device. But even the infernal weapon could not protect her from the blaze. She backed up, near the pool of blood. A glance at its murky surface let her see something moved beneath it, fear bloomed in her chest. She wouldn't let the Remnants take her easily. Allowing her rage to fully consume her. Every neuron in her soul blazed, her muscles rippled, with Rage. It gave her strength. The ache in her leg merely numbing, Sam cat-like leapt into the air, her voice roared, as she was a cougar.

One. Two. Sariel, never saw it coming, it was too quick. The tall blonde woman became a great cat. Teeth snarled, the Rage filling her, she roared again, Sam, didn't stop, she spun around flaring the ribbon device Arion across the chest. Rippling deep into her body. She was on her, she wouldn't stop. Arion kicked Sam in the leg. She screamed. The Rage left her. She fell. Blood rippled from her wound the stitches popped open. Sam became as paralyzed. Blackness washed over her.

She heard the growl first. She opened her eyes. Sariel faced a seething winged warrior. Her belly dripping hot red blood. Arion circled the Remnant, white teeth gnashing. The winged warrior crouched low. Lunged, sticking the Remnant in the chest. The two went spiraling into the pool. Blood splashed. The thing in the pool lashed out. Sam saw the shape of a snake. It was the biggest serpent Sam had ever seen. But then looking at it once more it was more…Sam felt her face pale…it was an infant dragon!

The magnificent creature moved to quick for the eye to catch. Sariel screeched defiantly as the snake coiled around her body, pulling her beneath the blood filled pool. Sam edged on her back towards the door. Using the lintel for support she found her feet. She watched in fascinated horror as the draconian unhinged its jaws and began swallowing the Remnant. Her cries were muffled in the thing's throat.

Sam didn't hesitate; she lifted her hand and poured the last of her energy into the Ribbon device. The dragon roared, screaming. Another shot rippled from Sam's palm, this time she targeted the pool where the beast was en-wombed.

The room shuddered in electrical explosions.

Razeal, hand reached out, rolling Abaddon from Daniel's prone body. With his foot braced on the woman's body below the archeologist, he pulled the punch dagger from the other's clavicle, it came out in with a sickening wet slurp. Daniel roared in pain, his hands curled, inwards, cutting open his own palms. Razeal leaped back, expecting a reflexive backlash. There wasn't one.

"Daniel, what are you doing here?"

"The same as you." A soft whisper. "Saving my friend." The archeologist rolled to his feet.

He escorted his friend to sit down. They didn't have much time. But the doctor was intent on field-dressing his wounds. "We must move quickly." Razeal said.

Another door, opened into a hall, Providence was with them no one was in the way. Two men, one winged and dressed in blue armor and leather, crossed and entered into another door.

She couldn't stay where she was. She was alone. It was the only way it had to be. The room she emerged into was at the very least silent. She could regain her strength and her composure. If only the world would stop spinning . . . If only she could breath . . .

Sam found the dumb-waiter. Crawling in she ripped strips of cloth from her shirt and wrapped it around her hands. Unwrapping the rope, she let it glide through her wrapped hands. Going down was far easier than it had been going up. The rope slipped, burring her hands. She tried gripping it, but the force so strong lifted her up off her feet. Her strength waning evaporated, she let of the rope, feel to the floor in a thunk. Pain rippled in her leg as she landed on it. The pain was enough to send her unconscious. She never felt the jarring when the elevator slammed down on the ground. A small pool of blood seeped around the crown of her head.

Teal'c followed the hall behind the door Razeal and DanielJackson had disappeared. In advertently he spotted blood. Either Razeal or DanielJackson was wounded. The blood path lead behind a wall. Looking around Teal'c couldn't find any means as to how they had disappeared.

There's gotta be a hidden device." Cassie said she began looking around for hidden fulcrum levers, the sort in mystery novels and movies. The room had three chairs a bookshelf and twin statues of serpent headed women.

Frantically, Teal'c attacked the bookcase, through each book to the floor. Nothing! The statues. He tried pushing the heads. Nothing. Moving them. They wouldn't budge. Pushing on their arms. Nothing. Teal'c closed his eyes trying to think. Rolling his eyes, he pushed on the statute's breasts. He was rewarded by the gravel sound of stone scraping against stone.

"Now that's perverted." Cassie blurted. "This Malphas is a real ladies man."

"From what I have observed, I would say the contrary Cassandra."

"It was sarcasm, Teal'c."

Tentatively they stepped beyond the threshold of the secrete passage way and into the darkness beyond. It took moments before his eyes adjusted to the new light, or lack of it.

The two disappeared down the junction Daniel and Razeal had passed after crossing over into this hidden passage.

Sam spun into awareness. Her whole body throbbed in shrieking agony. Her left leg had lost all feeling in it. He head swam in and out of blackness. She reached tentatively for the top of her head, fearful of what she might find. Her hand came down drenched in blood. Head wounds, her profession, had taught her; often bleed a lot, despite the minor damage done. A mild concussion, an excruciating headache, but she'd live. Maybe. If she could avoid any further stupid mistakes.

Sam, felt her strength being stolen from her. She had to use the wall to support her, least she falls. She had lost a lot of blood, and she was losing more, it streamed down her leg into her shoe, causing her to squish with each step. Her pants leg was sticking to her, with the tacky blood-glue.

"Liege Commander!" Arion rushed her, Sam focused on her enemy, raising the ribbon device.

Arion stopped. Waited. She deceived no less.

"I had to deceive you my Liege Commander, to obey my queen."

"What!?" Sam spat in disbelief.

"To get close to Malphas. She bade me if I could, if he showed himself I must take the opportunity to assassinate him. I allowed you to be injured this was not foreseen." The winged being kneeled, her neck exposed. She reached into her belt and unlatched her Sun Sword and skidded it across the floor to Sam's feet. "Your injuries are my fault. Malphas still lives, I failed my queen. I allowed you to believe I betrayed you and ...become tortured, I failed you and my queen in this as well, for she bade me protect you. My life is forfeit." She looked up slowly. "But I beg you stay your hand until I can free you into the arms of your warriors, Liege Commander."

Sam felt the world spin around her. She defied the darkness setting in on her, body. Grasping the wall, Sam edged her way along the wall bit by bit down the hallway. She didn't fight this far just to give up in her enemy's lair. Malphas wasn't going to win. Not this time . . . Her mind flared in the axiom she had tried to teach Cassie. If you get into a situation that you are unfamiliar with, always accept that situation for what it is and work from there. Do not waste time trying to find explanations for things you do not understand. Once the situation is secure, you will have time enough to research whatever you did not understand

Arion rushed her, and grabbed the blonde warrior; she seemed almost weightless in her arms. "I vow to get you to safety." She moved to blackness of the corridor caught in the inferno of the attack. There was an open window at the far end of the hall. It was a singular chance that the knight would take.

"Malphas is above us." Teal'c continued up the flight of stairs. He had began counting steps when he and Cassie first penetrated the secrete passage, by now they were the top most tower.

"It feels as if this castle is alive, with its own heart beating and we are in its bowls."

"There's a pretty thought." Cassie replied sourly.

"We must, continue our trail up. In a place like this, there is no way to be certain of anything."

They found their way through piles of rubble to an outer wall. It was a strange obsidian-like material, smooth and apparently joistless. As they felt their way along, Teal'c in the lead, the rest of SG1 trailed a few paces behind, searching constantly around him, his expression quizzical. Something was bothering him.

Teal'c soon came to a high but narrow passage leading to a hallway.

"Let us try down here," Daniel suggested. They moved cautiously down the passage. It was faintly illuminated by small torches. Some way ahead, the passage seemed to enter another room, opening into a darkness that gave no hint as to what it contained. Still no sign of anyone.

"This is strange, very strange." Said Teal'c in a voice tinged with uncharacteristic worry. "We have come too far too easily. I do not like this passage, the way it feels, or smells. Something is wrong." Razeal insisted

"You're sounding paranoid." Cassie told him. "Nothing is wrong. And you're beginning to give me the willies, so stop it."

A sharp rattling sound began behind them. They whirled about to see a door of iron dropping from the ceiling, clanging to the floor, closing off the entrance to the passageway.

"There you are. I have told you!" Razeal said with an odd triumphant note.

"It doesn't mean anything, we're still safe." Cassie protested. "We can still go ahead."

"No, Cassie, you can not."

"Malphas!" Razeal roared spirited ahead, rushing for Malphas.

"Razeal, wait!" Cassie ordered.

The Malakim tackled Malphas to the ground, slamming the man to the ground, ramming Malphas's head against the rock floor. A sudden, harsh screeching rose about them, and, with a violent initial jerk, the floor began moving. It carried them downwards into a shoot. Leaving them no room to get off.

"Not good! Not Good!" Cassie exclaimed.

"What the hell?" Daniel yelped

"Oh, bother!" Razeal's voice coughed out in surprise.

Malphas laughed.

Daniel grabbed for the wall to hold himself back, but the stone surface offered no place to grip. He fell backwards and were drawn feet first, scrambling madly at the wall to slow himself ahead him, Malphas was down too, fighting vainly to pull himself back up. They only succeeded in slowing themselves, but the moving shoot still dragged them to the gaping opening. The hapless Razeal had no chance at all the passageway had narrows so his wings were more of a deterrent then a benefit. He had been taken off his feet by the first jerk and dumped into a heap. He could do nothing to slow himself as the tunnel-shoot whisked him along.

"Daniel!" Cassie cried helplessly.

But the Malakim, a tangle of limbs could only wave weakly as he was launched through the hole vanishing into darkness.

Daniel and Malphas redoubled their own frantic efforts to hang on but it was useless. The momentum dragging them relentlessly on, and Malphas soon followed through the opening. There was no floor beyond it. Daniel quickly followed. As he went off the end of the hurling tunnel, he failed out. One hand contacted a projecting rail and he gripped it as he fell, swinging down. Inched from his face a spinning wheel over the moving floor of the tunnel somehow rolled, turning back to run beneath the upper surface. He hung by the brace, which held the projecting end of the tunnel-shoot and wheel. He had no chance then to see what was beneath him, but he heard Malphas and Razeal struggling.

He looked down, seeing only a gapping maw. It had the strong effect of looking like a great beast about to devour him. Daniel saw no place to climb to and he couldn't see below him. He let go he landed hard. Stone. Stone! He was alive.

"Daniel!? Razeal!" Cassie scrambled after them Teal'c hot on her heals.

"This is intolerable!" Razeal grumbled.

"Very." Malphas snapped.

Cassie skirted around the ledge. What she saw stunned her. On a gargoyle, Malphas was hanging, precariously below him Daniel. How they got that way, was difficult to discern. Daniel must have been hanging on the gargoyle, and then Malphas hit him. Nearly dislodging him, before he fell to an almost certain death to the glass roof stories below, he had clutched on to Malphas. . Where the hell was Razeal?

The old man's grip was failing him, without thinking, Cassie, grabbed the magus's arms, trying to hoist both men up. Their combined weight, taxed every muscle in her body, sweat and rain glistened on her hands, she couldn't hang on, much longer. And there was no room for Teal'c to take her place.

"We, find ourselves in a very dubious situation, Lieutenant Fraiser. You let go of me and you kill Daniel. To save him, you must save me. Decisions, . . . decisions, what is a righteous woman to do?"

"Silence!" Cassie snarled.

"There is no decision to be made." Daniel calmly stated.

"What the hell are you doing!?" Cassie demanded.

Cassie tried to pull up, but she was slipping herself, nearly going over the ledge. The rain had made the stone battlements slick gaining purchase was impossible.

Cassie and Teal'c watched in horror as Daniel pinched the nerve points under Malphas's arms. The magus's reflexes betrayed him. He let go. They hurled downwards, into the void of white fog.

"Daniel" Cassie futilely groped the air.

" No!" Teal'c defied what he saw.

They watched, time-slowed seconds as both men plunged into the darkness beyond. A crash of glass, and they were gone.

Cassie was falling. She was going to die. Then a hand reached out and snagged her arm, and yanked her up.

"Holy Hanna!" It was the first words out of her mouth when face-to-face, with a living goliath. Her second thought, Daniel was dead. Again. "This has gone wrong all wrong! I can't find Mama and…Daniel is…"

Wind whooshed all around them, as the two members of SG1 turned to see Daniel in the arms of Razeal. The winged being hovered for a moment above them, before he allowed Daniel to touch down alongside his companions.

Cassie stalked up to him, embracing him in a tight hug. "You scared me you oaf!" She snapped, smacking him in the chest.

"I scared myself." The archeologist commented. "But I saw Razeal down there waiting to catch me…"

Relief flooded the young woman as she hugged Daniel. He like Teal'c and Jack were more then her teammates, they had always been as uncles to her. They were her family. She punched Daniel in the arm. "Don't ever do that again." She smiled as the child she once was. "Or I am telling Mama on you!"

"Come, we must Find your…'Mama'…" Teal'c uttered, his anxiety showing in the less then professional comment. "Colonel Carter is still in danger."

She tried to move, but each action, each motion rewarded her with searing pain. Her body didn't want to move. Sam didn't want to argue with it. She had lost so much blood, that her mind was already spiraling in a fog. The concussion hadn't helped. The world was in a blanket of grayness.

Part 12

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