DISCLAIMER & NOTES: See Part One
By Elizabeth Carter
What Dreams May Come
The mountain rumbled in a quake.
"What the hell?!" Jack barked.
"It would appear we felt the shock of an earthquake." Teal'c offered an explanation.
"Negative." Zephon said. "Rahabim says that a Goa'uld ship was downed by the queen's vessel and crashed into the mountain's entrance."
There was another shudder, as the mountain seemed to suffer yet another wave of attack. Rubble fell to the ground in a cloud of dust. Both Turel and Zaira, as they had upon the bridge of Gwihir, surrounded Janet. However, their wings now also encompassed the prone figure of Sam who had curled into Janet's lap in the fetal position.
During their encampment one, if not two, of the Malakim had in a hushed tone uttered the soft notes of the calming music. It was almost a lullaby, and had the same effects, for Sam was deep asleep almost as if the small doctor had given her a sedative.
The shuddering of the cavern had not stopped but the members of the rescue team no longer suffered the effects of the falling debris. Three of the warriors took a triadic point around the camp; at first appearance it was as if they meant to block the falling rubble with their hands in an act of defense. An act of defense it was, however the deflection was not to their own bodies, but for all. The Malakim's innate abilities to summon the power of the mind had telekinetically deflected the debris in a shield of pure energy.
Sam's body trembled against Janet, her chapped lips pulled back slightly as a moan trembled out of the troubled soul. Janet reacted immediately, as she held the woman she loved tightly to her chest. One hand gingerly feathered back the tousled blonde locks.
"Shh. It's okay you're safe now Sam you're safe I am here."
"Janet?" Sam's voice was as music to Janet's soul, a sweet beautiful ache of a violin's song. Like a rose petal dancing lightly across one's bare skin. Her heart threatened to stop beating within her chest. The forever-young doctor couldn't think of one other sound that she would rather be hearing right now except for the voice of this goddess. Mentally, Janet shook her head to clear her thoughts back to the task and the help at hand.
"I am here, Sammy." Janet leaned close so that only her beloved could have heard the secret endearment. The smaller woman knew her beloved hated the almost childish version of her name, save when Janet herself spoke it; normally it was because it was spoke as they made love. But other times like now, it was uttered to draw comfort.
"Janet?" This time the speaker was awake.
"You had a nightmare." Lover or physician it was difficult to determine who spoke. "Can you tell me about it?" For fourteen years Janet knew Sam's night terrors were prone to repeat themselves over and over, if not several times, until the blonde spoke about them.
"I " Sam started. "I was without you." The blonde's hold around Janet's small waist tightened. "I so lost I didn't know any more who Jolinar me that box Kobal Malphas I think I would have preferred Urgo " she tried to laugh, as she thought of the plump little man, and his antics.
"I know you feel lost Sam, but there is only you. Malphas can't hurt you ever, he is gone. Jolinar is gone as well sweety, there is only you. You are Samantha Marie Carter, my wife, the mother of two great girls. Malphas and Kobal can't hurt you, they are dead Sam."
Neither one of them voiced the fact that the dead had a nasty habit of appearing when you least expected it.
"Doc?" Jack came up to the couple.
Sam shifted moving so now she was sitting up, though she was now leaning on Janet's body her arms still wrapped around her waist. "Jan, if he finds us together, we'll lose everything. They will never understand."
Janet automatically rubbed the long back of her lover trying to sooth the woman, before giving her full attention to the now baffled General as he looked to her for clarification.
"No the policy " Sam pouted.
"Doc?" Grey eyebrows rose up.
"I think she mans the old, 'Don't ask, don't tell.'"
"But that's been gone for nearly ten years." He protested.
"I know." Janet smoothed the blonde hair back. "But she's a little lost."
Jack nodded then addressed his long time friend and fellow solder. "Carter, even if that policy was relevant today, there is no way in hell, I'd lose you or the Doc. Hell I knew a long time a go and kept it under wraps you're critical to the program. You've invented more things than I can name, and if it weren't for your brain the Stargate wouldn't have been running as it is. Danny was able to connect us with the seventh chevron, but you're the one that made it happen. Carter Sam, listen to your wife, you're safe okay? Crying out loud Carter I stood up with you Cassie was Janet's maid of honor at your wedding."
Sam relaxed so visibly that her death grip loosened around Janet's waist. Janet let out a much-needed breath, as her wife had constricted her intake of air. She didn't care that she'd be bruised, though at one point she had to admit that if Sam had held her any tighter, her ribs would have been broken.
"Doc, we have to move out. Novalis and her angels have turned the tide of the war, but she says getting us out of the temple is not going to happen. The entrance of the temple is blocked from the fall out of the avalanche because Zippy and his goon-squad decided to crash-land his mothership into the side of the mountain. Novalis suggested we go ahead, and head for the Stargate here and jump to Hy-Basil. Even if they use the particle emitter to cut a way to us, the mountain's entrance isn't stable. Danny said he and Razeal have a way to the Exiles gate mapped out, or at least he said he deciphered a way to get to it. And we really don't have a choice but to try. Oh yeah Novalis also said that she has the entire team of SG3 with her so we need not be concerned over them."
Janet nodded, understanding, "I'll get her ready to move sir."
The General tried to smile, but found it hard to even masque the _expression, the only real time he saw Sam so lost within herself was when Jolinar had died. The truth was he wasn't just worried he was very worried. Sucking in a small sip of air he reminded himself he was the CO and he wasn't allowed to be worried. "Doc, she's in the best possible hands," he smiled. "I wouldn't worry." Now if he could only make himself believe it. He squeezed the tiny doctor's shoulder and then Sam's before he headed back to the fire where the others were gathered.
"Jack," Daniel stepped up. "Razeal and I discovered a well a booby-trap in the chamber beyond this one when we were here before. The statue in the center emits electrical currents to anyone who enters."
"So that explains the O-zone. I knew it couldn't be the battle not this far below the earth. So this is a piece of cake right, you just turn it off."
"Well that's just it. I don't know how."
"What do you mean you don't know how? Danny you are Indiana Jones, figure it out."
"Well I need more time."
Jack scowled . then suddenly he felt a rift of time hit him as he recalled almost an identical conversation when he and Daniel had first arrived on Abydos. "Okay so you need more time, but I don't think we'll have much time left considering this mountain wanted to fall down around our ears."
"Daniel and I had been able to avoid the trap for the most part." Razeal commented.
"We moved quickly to the backdoor." The angelic shrugged, or what passed as a Malakim shrug, for his wings fluttered a bit then settled down.
The older man looked to Daniel, "Back door?"
"In the shoulder blades of the statue there is an entrance to a stairwell leading down."
"Okay so we move fast avoid Mr. Lighting "
"No." Janet said as she and Sam moved to join them. "The adrenaline rush could seriously hurt Sam. It would send her into shock if we're lucky, but a seizure and a stroke will be more probable"
"Damn it." Jack growled.
Sam turned to the chamber that was giving her fellows unrest. Her keen blue eyes looked to the earthen floor of the chamber they were in and the seemingly seamless marble of the chamber with the colossal stature. She knew there was something the others were missing, something that had to do with the floor. Then she almost smiled as she turned to the motley group of warriors.
"Not movement heat." Sam muttered as she was still cuddled up to Janet.
The physician stroked the blonde hair trying to sooth her lover's unrest. She could feel Sam's tension as if it was her own. In the years preceding she and her blonde goddess had learned to almost commune through the bond. They could send emotions to one another, so now Janet was trying to over come the anxiety boiling in the heart of her beloved.
"So now what?" Jack looked at the colossal headless marble angelic. "What about destroying the hands or the stature itself?"
"Heat make it cold " Sam said. "All cold." She rubbed the bridge of her nose, her blue eyes squeezing tight as she looked to Janet with pleading blue eyes begging for her to understand.
"Shh it's okay baby." Janet cooed kissing Sam's cheek, desperately trying to calm her, she pulled off her own olive coat and started to pull it around Sam's body, granted it would be a little bit small for the taller woman, but at least she would not suffer from the chill of the caves.
Sam shook her head and rubbed her forehead, but the words still remained elusive to her. She was becoming agitated, because she knew at one time she could easily relate what she wanted to say. Now it was becoming increasingly difficult to even put two words together. But she had to make them understand. Movingly slowly from her Janet's side she took a large chunk of rock and threw it into the chamber.
"Carter!" Jack bellowed.
"Sam?" Three mortals questioned.
And one raised his dark eyebrow.
The Malakim warriors stepped forward, their wings shifting in the anticipation of danger to descend upon them.
Nothing happened. No lightning, no spikes shooting out of the wall, no floors falling from underfoot. There was absolutely no reaction to the intrusion of the granite missile that was thrust into the room, from the statue.
"Not moving heat make cold."
Daniel's blue eyes lightened up. "You're right!" He was now exhilarated as he understood his colleague's earnest plea for understanding. "The trap isn't motion sensitive, its heat sensitive."
Clearly those present were impressed with Sam's deduction. Janet coiled her arm around her lover, as she was more then impressed she was proud. Even locked in the fog of near insanity, Sam Carter was still the ever-evident genius.
"Way to go Carter." Jack tilted his head approvingly. "Okay we have to find away to lower our collective temperatures. Other then coating us with dry ice or C2 we are going to have to come up with another way. Ideas?"
For a moment everyone turned to the one who seemed to always have the scientific answers, but the tall blonde woman had lapsed once more into silence. She resumed her position next to Janet her arms going around the slender waist, her head resting upon the other's brow, as she was too tall to lean against Janet's shoulder. Janet rested her own left hand against the arm that held her, softly stroking the lines of veins and bones of the long fingered hand.
"Anyone else?" Jack threw open his hands gesturing for anyone to offer their thoughts, hoping that the others had an idea. "Malakim, you have abilities right?"
"We do." Zephon said as she stepped up to the gray haired general. "Pumah is an Ecomancer. And Turelim is an Elementalist.
"Ecomancer?" Jack blinked, not understanding.
"I can manipulate the eco-system." The gold-winged warrior said.
"As I can influence the Elements." Turelim said, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Turel, that he could have been her brother. Even his hair color was a lighter shade of blue as were his eyes, his wings an iridescent peacock green.
"I believe we can remedy the situation to our better liking." Turelim said, with a touch of arrogance in his voice that allowed no room for doubt.
"Then do it." Cassie said before O'Neill could issue a command. Both angelic's nodded their heads and moved to the threshold of the chamber beyond.
What the Malakim suggested was not that out of the ordinary, when SG1 considered all they had seen before. They knew all about alien races with unique innate abilities, so they just relaxed and took note. The Malakim spread out their hands, as if measuring something the whole 'I caught a fish this big' type measuring. Suddenly, the hair on the Malakim's arms stood on end, as if pulled by static electricity white-blue lightning tendrils crackled and danced between her palms.... and from fingertip to fingertip. The power of the World Symphony had been summoned. Their wings shifting in a half stretch they raised their hands upwards, palms facing the chamber of Colossus. The effect was instantaneous, the temperature in the chamber dropping, so quickly it was as if the entire area was blasted in a quick-freeze of dry-ice.
Those gathered could now see their breaths pluming out of their mouths as they drew in breath. It was astonishing despite the fact the members of SG1 were accustomed to seeing strange and wonderful things, the fact that the angelics had called upon some unseen power and caused the hidden chamber to drop to well below zero was truly amazing.
"Damn, that's amazing." Jack said as he came up to the flame haired Zephon who had been watching her counterparts summon the power of the World Symphony.
She turned to him, she still didn't know what to feel about the mortal male, the fact that he called her Zippo bothered her too no end, and yet she enjoyed his presence. And that unnerved the warrior. "You have no concept of our true power." She said suddenly uncertain why he had caused her ire to be raised.
"No I guess not." The general said a bit taken aback by the sudden animosity in the flame haired wonder. Of course they had gotten off on the wrong foot. He thought he managed to do that with a lot of woman he had met. He had gotten off on the wrong foot with his ex-wife, with Carter, even with good ol' Doc Fraiser, and then there were the alien chicks he had butted heads with. The Goa'uld and too a lesser extent the Tok'ra females never counted against his wrong-foot first impressions, but bombshell winged warriors did. Now was a good as time as any to try to put things to rights. "Say, Zephon if I stepped on your toes," 'God I almost said ruffled your feathers ' "I am sorry, Just names and I sometimes don't get along." he shrugged flashing a boyish smile that tended to get him some reprieve with most woman well most woman who weren't Carters or Fraisers.
"Your mispronunciation of my name is forgiven." The ember haired angelic nodded slowly then added a smile to her acceptance. Zephon shook her head still a little baffled at her sudden burst of anger. This mortal had the ability to both fascinate her and vex her at the same time. Perhaps later she would ask one of the older females as to why. After all she had just become an adult by Malakim standards, perhaps this conflict was common to those who had just passed the age of adolescence. If it was the young woman hoped it was a passing ailment and quickly over come. Again she would have to ask her slightly elder counterparts as to why this was so, and if they too had experienced such new emotions after reaching such an age. She was a hundred and seventy, the age many of her fellow young Malakim sought out romantic interests, perhaps this was the cause of her more then peculiar reactions to the puny human silver haired male. It that was the cause, further research was indeed needed.
The frigid atmosphere within the chamber was like walking into a deep-freeze. The first to enter was Razeal, after all if the lowering of the temperature didn't work; he could escape the onslaught of the lighting-strike in the hidden entrance of the statue with ease, as he knew the fulcrum release that opened the door in the first place.
No one moved.
No one breathed.
They watched collectively as the dark winged warrior intrepidly crossed the threshold between the two chambers. Razeal had nearly made it to the statue before he felt a shift in the barometric pressure. The hairs on his arms and the back of his neck rose slightly as his down feathers fluttered as they were the softest and most sensitive to the change in the air.
"It is holding." He turned to the others. "But there is a flux. It appears that the sensors are very sensitive, and there must be a set temperature for this chamber. I recommend that we all enter and evacuate as quickly as possible."
"You heard him kids, move out." Jack said as he gathered one of the packs. Then he too entered the chamber, followed closely by Zephon and Daniel.
Teal'c lingered making sure that Janet and Sam made it safely, as did the doc's ever-present guardians. The other angelics were more then reluctant to allow their Liege Commander more then a few meters away from them. The last to follow was Rahabim and the captive Arion who were both still in the shadow of reality.
As Razeal had indicated the flux of static electricity was clearly evident, most if not all present had the stinging sensation of pins and needles one feels when one's foot has fallen asleep. The heat sensor was very sensitive, however Fortune was with them once more, as the security system remained dormant.
As the angelic and Daniel had done before they opened the statue's back by the raised circle in the center of the shoulder and wing blades. Just as before there was a small grating noise stone dragged across stone and the small circular door opened in the direct center of the shoulder blades. Daniel as ever was reluctant to take point, after all it wasn't his backside he was worried about it was his front. But at least he knew what to expect to a certain point so he went first, followed by Razeal and Jack, then Malachi, Zephon and Pumah. Next came Janet with Sam, Turel and Zaira, Teal'c and Cassandra, Turelim, then Rahabim with Arion and tailing was Boudicca.
They marched single file down the spiral staircase, more then a few of the angelics grumbling under their breath for the crampness of the walls, their sensitive wings brushing against the marble. More then a few feathers were ruffled as they descended deeper and deeper until they reached the same iron door that Razeal and the archeologist had previously. It was not locked. Tensing himself in readiness, although he knew nothing lay beyond Daniel pushed open the portal.
An empty corridor stretched beyond. Glancing around his companions saw no sign of sharp iron spikes, traps doors, or lighting shooting statures. They drew a collective deep breath, thinking they might be able to relax for a second. Cautiously they started down the corridor.
Soon the sixteen companions found themselves amid a maze of dark passageways and shadow filled halls. High archways opened to the right and left. Corridors doubled back on themselves or ended abruptly in blank walls. Some stairwells led to nowhere, while others delved deeper into the oppressive dark. It was not at all difficult to believe that the Mad Malphas was the rachitic of this insane place. There seemed no reason or plan to the vast labyrinth, unless it was to lead those who wandered its ways inexorably downward.
As the sixteen went, Sam wasn't exactly certain when she first noticed the sounds drifting in the musty air. At first they hovered on the edge of consciousness, filling her with a vague and nameless unease. Finally they resolved themselves into distant yet distinct noises: an echoing boom like that of a slamming door; the grinding of unknown machinery, and high, wordless cries that were either screams of agony or inhuman howls of blood-lust. Though the sounds were faint and far off, they were not enough so for Sam's comfort. One thing was certain the sixteen companions were not alone in the maze.
Janet looked to her lover, she could feel the rise of anxiety in her, not from the fact that she held her hand tighter, but the empathic bond flared to like spiking off the charts as if it was a Naquaada explosion. She flashed a smile of warmth and tenderness, the same smile she would have given almost any one who was in the infirmary and locked in fear. Her professionalism kept at bay her own unrest for her beloved's state of mind. She knew only she had to keep Sam as calm as possible to contain the raging adrenal glands from overpowering her senses thus causing the narcotic to activate.
"Sam, honey it's okay." Janet tried to block the blonde's unrest with her own reassurance. Yet it was almost a futile effort. She could not Send falsehoods thru the bond. Janet's own doubts no matter how guarded she kept them Sam would feel it. What, she could Send was her undying infallible love.
"We have to be careful Jan we are not alone." Sam looked around her and her team. How could the other fifteen not hear the sounds just beyond the reach of definition?
"No one here will let harm come to you." Janet rubbed Sam's long back. "We all care for you, love you. We will keep you safe. I will keep you safe."
Sam's ice blue eyes rested upon the woman she loved, in that sudden moment the surge of uncertainty turned into another rush of emotions; something just as captivating, and as intense. When the rush hit Janet she almost gasped. Adrenalin still raced throughout Sam, but this was not fear, this was pure want desire unquestionable lust. Shuddering in the sudden intensity of her beloved's need, Janet sucked in another breath of air before her own reaction started.
The dark haired bombshell felt her cheeks burn in a flush, as she took a tighter hold upon the tall blonde goddess "Sam later I promise." Janet vowed her lover's want. It seemed to placate her enough that the blonde made no protest as they continued to walk down the corridors.
The sixteen came to a halt before a high basalt archway shaped like a gaping mouth. Whether the maw was open in laughter or a scream it was impossible to tell. Green mold clung to the stone lips, and black water dripped from jagged teeth. Distant sounds drifted through the archway: grunts, snarls, and high-pitched howls. They were almost like the noises of animals. Almost, but not quite. Beyond the mouth lay darkness.
"See Sam that's what you heard, the wind howling through the mouth." Janet said, though its eerie wailing had sent shivers down her own spine. As she looked to the rest of SG1, and the General she was gratified to see the noise unsettled them as well. Even the bold Malakim were not at ease. Sam was. Janet didn't know what unnerved her more the fact Sam was placid about the hell-mouth or the cacophony bellowing from it.
Together, with the rest of the team they stepped through the archway's gaping mouth. While elsewhere the dank air of the underearth temple had been oppressive, here it was downright, menacing. As they went, the darkness parted sluggishly before the flashlights and flickering ball of fairy-fire summoned by the Malakim and closed turgidly behind them, like oily water in the wake of a ship. Janet found herself taking shallow breaths; she was reluctant to draw the noxious atmosphere into her lungs, as if once inside her body it might fester, filling her with its dark disease. She knew they were not welcome here.
The sixteen walked down twisting tunnels; its walls were strangely curved and ridged. A dark, glistening mucus covered them, dripping onto the floor, which was nauseatingly soft and spongy under their feet. In all, the tunnel seemed as if it had not been hewn of stone but was alive. The mortals felt as if they had been swallowed by a gigantic creature, and were now moving down its long, sinuous esophagus. Hot bile rose in their own throats. They tried to force the queasy image from their minds but had little success.
"We went through the mouth." Sam said putting voice to their collective thought. "The thing ate us."
"This is just nasty." Cassandra remarked, her face turning yet another shade of green.
"Doc are we in a throat?" Jack turned to the Napoleonic figure.
Janet wanted to say no, she really did, but the physician in her said no it screamed that that they were. The conditions met the criteria to say yes they were indeed inside an esophagus. "I think maybe we are meant to think we are. Malphas is mad enough to do it, and from what I saw of the Malakim abilities, he might be able to create the illusion of such." God she hoped she was right.
The general was nodding slowly he had a vague idea what the Malakim could do; their powers were not unlike the Nox. And creating an illusion to make trespassers think that the mouth had indeed swallowed them was not unreasonable.
He was about to order precautions be taken by downing the neon yellow containment suits, when the moist tunnel divided. The sixteen paused, and Daniel with Razeal took out the map they had constructed from the stele upon their first visit.
"We have to take the right hand tunnel." Daniel announced. The fifteen others followed after him, down the slime-covered passage. Before long the tunnel forked again, and again. Each time either Razeal or Daniel used the map to determine which way they should take. Soon they found themselves in a labyrinth of networking tunnels, broaching and rejoining countless times in a chaotically braided pattern. There was not one among them that didn't begin to wonder if they could ever find their way back out if they needed to. No one voiced this fear.
A distant thrum vibrated in the air. It was so low that they felt it more then they heard it, reverberating beneath their feet, almost like the sound of a beating heart. Otherwise, the winding tunnels were utterly silent. The grunts and howls that had flirted out of the mouth-arch had ceased. The quiet was even more disturbing.
There was nothing to do but keep moving. The tunnel opened up before them, and they found themselves in a smooth-walled chamber. Glossy shapes were embedded in the wall, livid and throbbing, like huge organs. Sickened, they hurried across the squelching floor and moved through a circular opening in the far wall.
Once more Janet felt the surge of fear within Sam, even before she heard the blonde's breath coming in deeper pants. Blue eyes widened, searching for the danger, the dread she felt to come and consume her. Fear turned to rage Sam was not about to allow Janet or Cassandra to come to harm. Her hand trailed down to her side, to the hidden weapon she still had there. The sun sword, she would use it to protect her beloved. Her mind clicked back into the familiar, years of training now commanded her every action. She was a solider, a warrior dedicated to protecting the woman she loved. Sword in hand yet not ignited, Sam was prepared to face off any threat that dared to raise a hand against Janet.
For her part Janet felt the rise of protectiveness in her lover, and for the moment it was almost too comfortable to allow it to continue. Yet she knew it was unfair of her, because in her heart she knew Sam was trapped. She could not allow herself to fail, couldn't let herself run away and hide. She had to be brave and Janet as well as everyone else, who knew Sam, knew this about her and used it. Janet felt this was wrong in so many ways; it was like putting an anorexic in charge of protecting a food stash, or hiring an obsessive-compulsive to clear one's house. It worked, but was it right?
They rounded a sharp bend, then skidded to an abrupt halt. The hall ended in a single chamber, there were no other exits, nothing that indicated they would be able to move on.
"Danny I think you took a wrong turn," Jack sardonically commented, "are you sure you have that map the right way?"
Daniel swallowed his vexation; Jack had always managed to irritate him on some level just as the general had a habit of doing the same to Sam. Yes Jack was a good and solid friend, but sometimes he was an absolute nit.
"Maybe there's a hidden door." Cassie said as she stepped across the threshold, soon to be followed by the others. The first thing they noticed were the nightmarish friezes that covered the walls, and the grotesque statues lurking in the corners. Sam shuddered. Whatever, this place was it had been created by the mad and evil Malphas.
Razeal and Daniel gazed at one of the friezes. The stone relief depicted a tangled mass of writhing bodies tumbling into a jagged pit. Nervously, they looked away.
"Don't tell me you have a very bad feeling about this." Jack said to the two scholars.
"Maybe we should turn around." Janet said, worried about the blonde.
Sam went from protective solider mode into a hunter. The last time Janet had seen such a predatory look upon her tall lover was when she was subjected to the Broca Syndrome.
'Oh this is so not good.' Janet felt her heart skip, realizing that if Sam slipped back into that primordial being, that anyone if not everyone would be viewed as a threat or a rival. If a rival, Sam would seek to eliminate it; least they try to court Janet and steal her away.
Janet being as close as she was to Sam could hear the low timber of a growl. "Sam Sam " Janet called to her wife. "Sammy." She whispered gaining the full attention of the very ill Sam Carter. "Here, feel my heartbeat." Janet placed the long fingered delicate hand upon her chest. "Do you feel it?"
"Yes." Sam purred. She rested her forehead on the smaller woman's locking blue eyes to deep brown.
"No one owns my heart but you. No one here can take me from you. No one here is a threat. Feel my heart sweety feel my love, let it fill you."
For a moment only the two existed. Sam felt herself becoming embraced in the incorporeal sensations of Janet's undying love. In that instant, the beast within allowed its domineering power to wain and fall back until only Samantha Carter remained. If any had seen the exchange, they remained silent and said nothing of it. The enigma of the chamber of friezes had become all to dominate, to allow the look of devotion of two women in love to become a distraction.
Daniel and Razeal were locked in trying to decipher the horrific friezes upon the wall. The carvings depicted scenes of lives being slaughtered to feed the hunger of Achelous while at the same time defying not Malphas but Usiel the Fallen one. Usiel the consort of First One. Usiel the patron saint of Malphas the Mad, this was his temple.
"Well what does it say?" Jack demanded.
"It doesn't say anything, Jack these are carvings. It seems to be telling a story or rather a how to guide. How to raise Achelous." He pointed to a carving of two Remnant warriors leading a bound prisoner up a flight of steps of a Ziggurat. The same Aztec pyramid that Sam had only recently been marched up.
"Nice bedtime story but does any of it tell us how to get out of here?" the general commented in his dry sardonic tone.
"Daniel I hate to say it but maybe we did take a wrong turn." Cassie put forth. "It is easy to get lost down here." The young woman shuddered as she thought of re-crossing the humid "fleshy" tunnel again.
"Look beyond the obvious and discern a deeper meaning." Sam suddenly said her soft voice gaining the attention of the fifteen surrounding her. "Press the truth like fine paper and ink it with the visions you have seen."
The words came so suddenly that no one for a minute said anything. Most of them were confused by the blonde's words, while a few dismissed her out of hand for ramblings of drug-induced madness.
Janet was the first to defend her beloved. "She was right about temperature in the other room." The doc stroked the long back of her lover, if only to relay her trust in her.
Daniel looked back to the wall, trying to decide what was obvious and what from the friezes could hold a deeper meaning.
Cassie on the other had other ideas. "Mama." She took a hold of her blonde mother's arm. "You meant literally didn't you?"
"What?!" Jack raised a grey eyebrow.
" Literally." Janet repeated.
"That's insane." The general protested. "Look I'm sorry I'm going to sound like an insensitive lout, but Carter isn't exactly in her right mind.
"The temple was created by an insane priest, it stands to reason the only one to be able to discern the puzzles of a mad priest, is one who isn't exactly in their right frame of mind. Liege Commander Samantha was the only one of us who was not affected by the disconcerting tunnels." Turelim said feeling the need to defend her commander.
"What because of her mental state, she has the teacher's edition to the puzzles and maps to this place?" Jack murmured.
"Hell, she's a strategy guide to a video game." Cassie echoed the thought. "I say we listen to her." She winked to her mothers.
There were nine Malakim warriors who agreed with the flagship team's 2IC.
Jack rolled his dark eyes since he had a very bad feeling about the state of Sam Carter's mind. He could over rule the vote taken but it would be useless. The Angelics were a stubborn lot and more then likely would take Sam's words over his. He had no choice but to follow along. Still his mind protested, Carter wasn't firing on all cylinders and they were going to trust her judgment to become a Tomb Raider and lead them thru the temple. It was absolute madness.
Padding up to the doctor, Jack opened his mouth to reiterate his complaint. But he saw Janet's hand raise up, halting his words even before he spoke them. "Sir, I have a feeling what you're going to say. I don't like it but Sam is distracted when she helps us, I think that in itself is worth it. Until I am able to do some blood work, and figure out how to help her, I am going on a professional stand and saying that Colonel Carter needs this distraction. Sir I think the others are right, maybe Sam is immune to the effects of the Temple because of the drugs and what they are doing to her. I only wish I knew what they did to her."
Jack sighed heavily as he looked to the tall blonde before him. Sam was still possessive of her hold on the diminutive doctor. In his gut he had a bad feeling about the whole affair. Not because Sam was a little off in cognitive reasoning, but because he felt he was exploiting her illness. However Special Forces training kicked in: use whatever means necessary at your disposal to achieve your objective. Their objective, escape the Temple of the Remnants and find the Exile's Gate.
"Here!" Daniel cried out as his hand passed through the wall to the far left of the threshold of the chamber. "Sam was right we had to look deeper . she meant literally."
"I shall go first." Razeal said placing a hand upon his human colleague, "If there are dangers afoot, I will be more apt in surviving them. Wait here anon." With that the dark winged angelic stepped through the wall. Like the Event Horizon of the Stargate the sienna wall wavered, as it was disrupted from the passing of the large body.
They waited twelve heartbeats before the Malakim stepped back into the chamber. "The way for the moment is clear." Razeal announced once he was clear of the threshold.
With seemingly no other options evident the sixteen started down the corridor beyond the false wall. The tunnel plunged straight through the darkness, without opening or side passages. The staleness of the air grew more intense as they walked, but there was nothing to do but swallow their displeasure and press on. Soft, ropy strands dangled from the ceiling. Janet guessed they were moss or fungal growth, for they glowed with a faint noxious iridescent green light. All but the petite doctor had to duck to avoid the strands. For that she smiled, sometimes it paid being small in stature.
Though she couldn't be sure, Sam had the sense that the passageway was leading gradually downward. At this she smiled the goal was to reach the deepest chamber where the hidden gate was housed.
After a time, the inky mouth of a smaller tunnel opened up to the left. The stale stench was stronger here, pouring like black water out of the side opening. Yet it wasn't just the smell that spilled form the tunnelSam felt there was malice as well. Distant and faint, but chilling all the same. They traveled through a tortuous series of dank corridors and murky chambers. Before long the sixteen lost all sense of direction. At first, here and there, they encountered flowing wisps of green fungi dangling from the ceiling, and from time to time they caught a whiff of the same evil scent that had permeated the upper chambers.
"There is something down there." The tall blonde whispered to her wife. "And what ever it is I don't think it is terribly friendly."
"Just keep moving, Hon," Janet countered. She felt the malevolent presence as well.
The companions continued down the murky passageway. The mouths of more tunnels opened to their left and right. Some were blocked by fallen rubble, and others were dry and dusty. But the same pungent staleness wafted outward from several tunnels, as did the aura of evil. Without deciding aloud to do so, the sixteen picked up their pace. The Angelics were particularly on edge as they were used to more open spaces and not one of them was doing as well as they would have liked. Beings with a twelve-foot wingspan were not meant for spelunking.
"It figured a flightless fiend would make such a dismal place," Zephon grumbled.
"Hey one of the flightless right here." Jack pointed to himself.
Zephon's purple eyes narrowed not in a frown but in confusion. "You are different, O'Neill, you are born without wings. Usiel and Malphas " She grumbled something that sound very much like a Malakim curse. "It is entirely different."
The gray haired man smirked he liked this fiery beauty. "So I take it you're a little claustrophobic."
"You know afraid of closed in spaces." He explained with a shrug.
Zephon's reaction was immediate. Her wings did indeed become ruffled. "I am Malakim. Malakim do not fear such trifle thing. I am merely not fond of underground facilities." With that said she stormed ahead, leaving Jack alone with his mouth open.
"Touchy." He muttered under his breath.
"It appears O'Neill that you have an effect upon alien females." Teal'c commented as he passed his friend.
Even Janet and Sam smiled as they too passed him. "Ever the charmer I see." Janet threw over her shoulder, as she lead her beloved down the tunnel.
Sam suddenly stopped. She detected it then---a subtle shift in the movements of the air. "Tend to the wind." She muttered to Janet. "Guide the wind. The dust it stirred smelled of lotus-flowers."
'Great now she's talking in haiku-Zen mumbo jumbo.' Jack grumbled. He was still adamant about his protest in trusting Carter to guide them. The beauty was not herself, how the hell could she lead them? "Does anyone know what she is saying?" he addressed the group.
"The liege Commander is correct there is a shifting of the wind." Boudicca said. The other angelics agreed. Their wings forever attuned to the shifting breezes of the air currents, could detect the breeze Sam had spoken of.
"Okay fine so there is a breeze, but it sure as hell doesn't smell like flowers." The disgruntled general remarked.
"I trust her." Cassie said without a second thought that she had nearly snapped at her superior officer.
"Something is wrong here." Razeal said as he ignited his sun sword.
"I vote we run." Jack said, feeling the hairs on the back of his neck rise.
"I second the motion." Zephon shot back.
The others needed little urging. They started into a jog, hurrying down the passageway. At the same moment, the aura of malice Sam had detected earlier swelled behind them. They reeled, nearly overwhelmed by the bile emanations of hatred. Something was following them, and it was gaining.
Turelim, and Boudicca lagged behind. Whatever danger hunted them they would face off, buying time for their companions to flee to safety. Wherever that was.
Gasping, the sixteen hurled themselves down the tunnel, the darkness following thickly on their heels. An eerie whispering sound echoed all around. Lungs burning, the companions kept running. All at once the walls of the tunnel fell away, and they found themselves dashing across a cavernous chamber. Strange white shapes littered the floor, crunching brittlely underfoot.
The eerie whispering grew louder, filling the chamber. Thick blackness poured out of the opening behind them like a putrid flood. Legs pounding, the sixteen dodged for the other side of the chamber, desperate to reach the doorway. Razeal had out paced the others, and was now slamming his bulk against the hard barricade. The door buckled, whined in protect but finally gave away.
The strange whispering grew to a maddening din.
Sam ran because Janet ran. She could feel her beloved's terror. Somehow she had to reassure her wife that the specters they ran from were not real. The group filtered into the room beyond the door. "Pry open the eyes of the sightless and make the mute defend their wordless state. All beings must confront their choices, so question them as you pass." The tall blonde winced. She knew she was losing herself. Even her own thoughts became harder and harder to understand. She prayed that her lover would understand. Janet could bring her back to herself. Right now the only thing Sam was positive of was sure of was her deep unquestioning love for her Janet. Her need now was to exorcize the fear. Yet every time she opened her mouth to warn the others, or tell them how something worked, something else came out. It was as if she was outside her own body watching as another controlled her. Of course she had experience in that area. Having been a hostage in her own body while Jolinar took over, then evicted from her body as the Entity had taken her over. Now those same feelings were back, that another controlled her, and her warnings, her suggestions were more confounding then the problem.
Janet turned whiplash quick to her wife. The emotions flooding in her heart spoke volumes. What Sam was trying to tell her was conveyed through the Bond. "The voices they aren't real are they."
Sam shook her head.
"Did you hear them?"
Sam winced. She wanted to tell Janet a clear answer, but she knew that she would only speak in Zen-like riddles. So she merely nodded.
"Did you feel the terror?"
"Throw fear into the flames and encourage others to do likewise."
Janet thought for a moment. Sam knew the fear element was there yet it was not dominating her as it had everyone else. "I understand baby." Janet rubbed her back. "We can't let our fears control us, so throw them away."
Sam smiled. She had faith in her beloved. Right now that was the only thing she had faith in.
"Anyone have a clue what that was all about?" Jack's voice was sharp.
"It stands to reason the Remnants would try and deter any who dare make an incursion upon their territory." Teal'c said. "Like the Nox they rely on illusion to aid in protecting what is theirs."
"Well I don't know about you, but I never heard of the Nox doing anything so "
"Evil." Daniel finished O'Neill's statement.
"Sam agrees." Janet said. "She is confident that the Remnants are using our own fears against us. We can allow our judgment to be over run by the Remnant's traps. Throw our fears to the fire or so to speak."
"Let the fire consume our fears, rather then fear consume us." Rahabim said. "That is a very old parable of the Malakim. Sound advice, if not difficult to follow when the traps seem tailored made for each individual."
Though still dark and stifling, the air here was no longer so oppressive and menacing. The sixteen companions found themselves breathing a little easier. It seemed that Sam knew what she was doing. They passed through a narrow archway and found themselves descending a narrow spiral staircase. The steps were slick and treacherous. Several cracked beneath their boots, and one gave way completely when Cassie trod upon it, if it wasn't for Teal'c's quick hand pulling her back, the young woman would have crashed into Razeal, and both of them would have gone tumbling breakneck down the steep staircase. The steps seemed without end as they delved deeper into the darkness.
Finally the staircase stopped, and they stepped through an opening into a passageway so broad that it was not so much a corridor as an avenue. A line of basalt columns ran down the center of the hall, supporting the arched ceiling high above. The columns were skillfully carved into the shapes of trees giving the illusion of walking in the forest of Hy-Basil boulevard under the shadow of dusk.
"This is incredible." Janet let out a slow whisper, turning her head to try to take in the grandeur of the subterranean road. "I'll give Usiel one thing---he knew how to think big."
"Kind of reminds me of that Giant's home on PX whatever where Nick decided to stay with the crystal scull." Jack said, whistling at the view.
"Actually Usiel and Malphas didn't create this section of the temple it was here long before the Fallen came here." Razeal said. "It was supposed to have been built by the Draconian nations. In ancient days, they constructed an entire city here, far beneath the surface."
"What happened to them?" Cassie asked. "The dragons I mean."
"It is unknown," Razeal replied. "They disappeared from this mountain centuries before Usiel stumbled onto their dwellings in the course of his excavations. Usiel then Malphas decided that this domain would be their own, and eradicated the younger dragons that was said guarded the hidden gate like so many rats. After that, the dragon home became part of the Temple proper."
The troop had been traveling for hours into what according to the watches of SG1 was the late evening. Tired and hungry the sixteen decided to make camp in one of the alcoves of the Draconian pillared avenue. The packs of SG1 and SG3 had been carried not only by the humans but slung over one shoulder of many of the angelics. That being the case, there was enough MRE's and tents to make a semi comfortable camp. The angelics insisted on setting the watch, as they would need very little sleep. Most set guard not only out of duty but also out of regret for what their beloved Liege Commander had suffered while in hands of their enemies.
Sam nibbled on her rations before she fell asleep with her head pillowed on Janet's lap.
Janet feathered back the locks of hair once more and leaned over, expecting to see the bright blue eyes looking up to her, but they were still closed. She was locked in her sleep. The word she had spoken was uttered in that same dream state haze that locked the tall blonde in her night terrors.
Janet winced, hating the feeling of helplessness. She could create vaccines against most exotic pathogens and find the cure to almost any exotic disease brought back to earth from away-missions, but when it came to her beloved's lost sense of self she could do nothing. At the very least, she could bring her lover out of the nightmare that now plagued her mind.
The doctor changed her position slightly so she could look through her medical supplies. As she did this, her mind raced through the options she had at her fingertips. A sedative might lock Sam into the nightmare realm of the hallucinogenic factor of the Calabim narcotic. Janet knew the drug racing through Sam's veins fed on the adrenal system, so a muscle relaxant along with an adrenal suppressant might work. While not a true sedative, it might act to inhibit the forever-young blonde from antagonizing herself and therefore accelerating the deterioration of her mental synapses. The only thing so far to soothe Sam's agitation in any way was the Malakim's lullaby. Janet, however, doubted that with the coming events, the Angelics would be able to keep up the performance. Janet thought to herself, 'Hell, if only I could record the voices, it might buy me time to concentrate on finding a cure for my beloved.'
The one other person who truly knew what happened to her wife was under heavy guard. Arion. She had been there during Sam's incarceration, perhaps even present during her torturing. She may even know what it was the so called doctors, no they were quacks, no self-respecting Healer would bring harm to their patients. To Janet that was deplorable and utterly unacceptable. Arion like Nirrti had stupidly brought harm to the people Janet loved and they both were to be forced in giving aid, for if Janet could not help her family, she would force her enemies to do it.
As she had done to Nirrti, Janet calmly walked up to the adversary, and pointed her side arm directly at the woman's forehead. "You know what they did to her, you are going to help me, heal her." The words were frozen before they left the smaller woman's mouth. Her dark eyes seethed in the fire of vengeance and helplessness.
"You said before you wished you knew what the Calabim had done to the Liege Commander. I know what they did to her." Arion said slowly. "I assimilated her memories into my own as I kissed her "
"When you kissed my wife?" Janet glared at the traitor still bound, as she knelt before the fire.
Rahabim, stood passively by, she would move only if her prisoner made a move against the mortal with the gun. The other members of SG1 had a sudden flash back to the Goa'uld Nirrti's cell when Janet had pointed her service pistol at the vile female. This time no one made a move to stop her, not even the General.
"Yes. It was the only way I could touch her mind and gain them without Malphas becoming suspicious."
"I am sure." The dark maned physician snapped. She had as much care for Arion as she had for Nirrti.
"You do not believe me." Arion's own dark eyes fell to the stone floor."
"Oh gee you think we should?" Jack growled. "I mean you betray in your precious Liege Commander to the guy who wants to carve her heart out and feed it to some snake Remnant Goa'uld bastard and we should trust you?"
"I do not expect trust." Arion managed with some dignity. "But know what she felt I have felt."
"My heart bleeds." Cassie would have no more of it. If it hadn't been for the laws that kept the Remnant alive she would have taken Sam's new Sun sword that was ironically Arion's own blade (which was kept away from the blonde for now) and loped off the warrior's head.
"Let your hearts understand." Arion sighed heavily. With a tone so low that it was inaudible to the humans around her, and before the Malakim could react, Arion telepathically Sent to all those around her save for Sam herself, as she was sleeping a very vided recollection:
Hands bound behind her Sam was dragged by armored Remnant guard toward the center of the room. The hand holding her scruff pulled her head painfully back claws gouging her flesh as she was hauled to a stop. In front of her a ginger-brown headed human female with eyes the color of a storm. She was an average height standing five inches over five feet. Her hair hung over her face to the left, covering what might have been a scar. Her full lips were pulled back into a smile as the female studied Sam as intently as the young blonde studied her.
"You are Samantha Carter, and you are SG1's Commander and you are my prisoner," the human said. "You wear a collar around your neck that prevents you from futilely using your gifts, unless you like pain I suggest you don't use them. The usage of your empathic powers also alerts my wrist unit. I will then administer more pain. I control the amount, the severity and its duration. In short I control you." There was a signal to the angelic guard who dropped Sam to the hard floor. Kobal's hand slid to the wrist unit and slightly touched the button.
Pain exploded at the base of her scull coursing down her spine then out to her limbs. As the spasms racked her body, she yowled in fear and shock. She was falling but back arched and limbs rigid, she was unable to move to save herself. She slammed to the floor, the impact knocking any remaining air from her lungs. Wave upon wave of fiery agony surged through her body as she lay there unable to gasp for breath, it stopped and her body went limp. But the pain remained.
Whimpering softy, she attempted to move her trembling limbs, tried to curl herself into a ball. Every movement, no matter how small hurt; where her body touched the floor, where her limbs touched each other, it felt as she were sill being consumed by the fire that had surged through her.
"Remember that taste of death, so you will recognize it again when it comes. Remember, the control is mine, Samantha Carter."
Sam tried to speak but her throat was so dry and sore that she began to cough, sending fresh agony lancing through her body. When the coughing ceased, she pushed herself up on her hands until her head and chest were r cleared of the floor. Human grey eyes regarded her dispassionately.
"What do you want with me?" she whispered.
"I am your Inquisitor, in service to the Calabim."
"Where are my companions?"
"I have told you all you need to know. Stand up." Kobal ordered. "The Diabolical Zipcana who handed you over to us was generous enough to allow you to be healed in his sarcophagus. Fortunate so that, the pain you now feel is generated by me."
The pain was beginning to subside at last, and as Sam slowly pushed herself upright on her still shaking limbs, she realized just exactly where she was. She was in some sort of dungeon. The prison was under the control of an alliance between the Goa'uld and Remnants, and their employee, the Jaffa, or a Calabim, was the human in control of Samantha. If she was right, and she really was here, Sam knew she was dead.
Pain gripped her again, felling her to the floor. Her nerves already inflamed by the previous punishment, this time it felt a thousand times worse. She lay there, keening her agony, unable to stop because somehow it helped lessen the pain. Finally it ceased.
"You took too long." Said Kobal. "Now get up."
Every muscle in her body shrieked its objections as still hypersensitive she tried to move. Hands slick with sweat slipped on the tiled floor, unable to gain purchase. She clawed at the gaps between the tiles, finally managing to get a grip and lift her head and shoulders. Kobal reaching for her wrist unit again.
"No! For the love of God, no more," she gasped, pushing herself onto her haunches. "I'll never be able to stand if you do that again!"
"Praying?" said Kobal, thoughtfully. "Interesting concept. I have no religion," she said, her voice suddenly cold. She pressed the button, releasing it again almost instantly. "I am surprised what you know of the System Lords you have any faith at all."
This time, when the brief jolt of energy from the collar surged through Sam's system, her body arched upward and she found herself staggering to her feet.
"See how quickly you learn?" the Inquisitor said, "Now the rest should be easy. Simply tell me what I want to know."
"I will tell you nothing."
The next moment, she was staggering backward, her face burning from the force of Kobal's slap. Colliding with the side of the wall, she found her self abruptly sitting back down.
"You were given an order woman, you will obey it instantly." said the Inquisitor, her skin darkening with anger. Too shocked by the pain and the speed with which the human had moved to answer she merely nodded. Sam struggled to stand once more using the corner of the wall to pull herself up as she had seen the hand of her tormentor go for the wrist unit. "Shall we begin again? Why are you on this planet? You were carrying Naquaada. Why? Now, I can make this simple. Even if you try to use your mental gifts it will alert the collar. Every time you feel any emotion but fear, it will trigger the collar and my wrist unit. You know what happens then. Pain."
Janet, Cassie and the others had vicariously felt every fiber of pain that Sam had been through by the hand of the Inquisitor. Every blow given to her by the Remnant guard was felt as if it was their own bodies being abused with such deadly force.
"Make no mistake, I will find out what I need to know, eventually. How much pain are you willing to go through to give what I want?" Kobal hissed. The pain started again. She felt disembodied, unable to concentrate on what the inquisitor was saying as her hearing and consciousness kept fading in and out. Gradually she became aware of a throbbing in her face as she felt it being repeatedly slapped in an effort to bring her round. Eventually she found the strength to lift an arm to try and fend off the blows.
For Pain was the first thing she was aware of when she came to. Sam tried to open her eyes, panicking until she remembered she'd been hit by the Remnant. She barely recalled the collar, but after she had laughed in the face of her tormentor the Remnant guard had backhanded her, the blow had been hard enough to send her spiraling across the room, the angelic male or female impossible to tell, had struck another blow at the side of her head. His next blow sent her staggering across the bunk. She landed in an unconscious heap. Blood seeped slowly from the cut of her rapidly swelling eye.
They knew the torture had gone on for days, they felt the starvation Sam had endured with water only keeping her alive. They felt the despair while captive of the Director as he gave her his own brand of torment. They felt the hunger Sam suffered in the hospital had been given nothing but protein bars and water to sustain her, everything else had been pumped into her veins, vitamins and minerals, she was given only enough food to survive nothing more. The hushed whispers of Malphas as he 'raped' her mind came in fragments and in a multitude of whispered voices.
"The truth is such a precocious, abstract thing. The truth is a dangerous thing to you."
"So it is." Sam admitted to the axiom. "Tell me, what you see?"
"A woman who knows the name of death."
"Now you are being myopic and ambiguous."
"How does it feel?"
Sam didn't answer.
"I am trying to keep you alive. The less you know the better. And when this is over. Not a soul will believe you."
"You have answers." Sam challenged the disembodied voice coming out of the black box.
"And you think, I'll give them to you."
"No...I do not. But I will take them from you."
"I want an answer myself. Tell me Samantha, what is reality?"
"Reality is the truth of the world around you. Reality is not fantasy. Reality is existence"
"And are you in fantasy or reality? What reality are you in?"
Sam was silent. She couldn't answer, what she didn't know. She turned from the box, ashamed. "I...do...not know."
"Than you do not exist." The voice teased.
"Yes I exist! I exist! Pain is real! Blood is real! I feel pain. I bleed. I am real!"
"Pain and blood. Blood and pain...Yes. Simple. And so life is the blood and blood is the life?"
"Admittedly Where there is life you will find blood, yes. A tree, it has sap...it is its blood. The earth... she has rivers, oceans, seas, and lakes...magma it is her blood. Carbon based-life forms have iron based plasma...yes blood is equated to life. A being cannot live with out blood. A tree with out sap withers and dies. A planet with out water has no life. Carbon-based beings cannot live with out plasma. So yes, life must have blood, in order to exist. Now, I have answered one of your questions. You will answer one of mine. The drug, that has been given to me. There is a hallucinogen, in it. And it is opium based. What is it?"
"I think, I'll let you deduce that on your own. You have done so well, so far. Considering, you don't exist."
"I do exist! I do exist!" It became a mantra. "I do exist! I do exist! I do exist! I do exist!"
"It is useless. You must realize this." The voice said, in its ever-detached tone. It was a creature born of a nightmare, a monstrous snakelike beast with leathery skin, dull-feathered bat wings and metallic fangs. It slithered around the small cell, testing its strength. It possessed limited power, but what power it had was focused on the being whose night terrors had called to it. Patiently, with the diligence of something that has no concept of time, it waited, settling finally in the darkness of the corner of the padding, coiled ready to spring. A name formed in its mind.
"Samantha--Sam, Samantha-Sam, Samantha-Sam."
"Leave me, Malphas." Sam ordered."
"You can expect the mercy, of my house, if you surrender to me now. Your rebellion has failed."
"I, intend to go on fighting. You, risk oblivion, Malphas, as I am not alone."
The dark scaled, serpent threw back his head and laughed, his voice deranged and reckless as his nature. When his laughter died, he leaded down and lapped at Sam's face. "I, risk nothing," he replied, "Because I have nothing. Already, I am branded forsworn, and no atonement can rid me of that shame." Its mouth curled upward in a hideous semblance of a sneering smile. "Perhaps I will make it a badge of Honor. The Forsworn Prince has a certain ring to it, does it not?"
"That, particular title has already been taken by your master."
"They will send their armies after you."
Sam nodded. "I expected no less."
"You can not stand alone against them."
"I will do what I must, regardless of the cost."
"You've already paid dearly. Come home to me, Sam. And I can uplift you."
"No, I do not think so. As you said, you have nothing. So you have nothing to offer, me. You are in no position to grant, anything. And, I am in no position to accept anything."
"What about your freedom? The life of your woman? Or the life of the woman who has followed you? What, is her name...Cassandra? Yes. Lt. Cassandra Fraiser, of the United States Air Force Stargate Command SG1. Wouldn't you, like to save her life?"
Sam's, face grew white, as she realized the importance of the demon's, words. "If honor were expedient it would not be so highly prized." Sam retorted.
"You are what I am not. Keep your honor at the sacrifice of innocence. Stay then, if you must. Perhaps there will come another chance when you can save yourself."
"You will not win, demon. We will war, and we will win."
"You will condom a woman to death for your honor, Samantha? I have already won."
"You are a deceiver. And I, have a power you can not hope to achieve."
The demon laughed at the puniness of the human's words. "You are desperate, little mortal."
And yet beyond all of this beyond the fall and the screaming agony of her wounded leg the seething rage when Sam had been betrayed, the collective rescuers had felt the one thing Sam had clung to her entire flight for freedom and her sanity they felt her love for a single soul. They felt her love for Janet. More then that they experienced the unrelenting passion Sam had for her wife and the unquestioning acceptance that that love was returned.
"Now you know." Arion muttered softly pulling her captive audience back from the memory fog she forced upon them.
"Someone gag her." Cassie said as she found her feet, she would not show her CO a face of despair as eyes filled with tears for her mother. "Mama I am so sorry "
Janet remained silent she moved to her wife and cradled her head upon her lap, cooing soft nonsensical words to her, as she stoked the golden hair. Her large fawn like eyes glistening in tears that fell freely down her alabaster cheeks. She could not have imagined the torment her beloved had faced. To feel even a fraction of it now, was overwhelming. The only thing Janet wanted right now was to hold her lover and keep her safe from all the harm the world had given her. She wanted Samantha Carter whole.
Teal'c stood before the bound winged female. "In my custom I am well within my rights to kill you for what you have done to my family. You live only because Samantha Carter has allowed it." Anyone who knew Teal'c could read the dark stoic expression upon the giant man's features. Six foot six of pissed off Jaffa was a very dangerous soul to encounter, not many could boast they had survived such an encounter intact.
"Yeah you know what?" This came from the normally mild mannered archeologist. "I am not as generous as my friend Teal'c" With that he actually backhanded Arion. Everyone gathered who knew him were for a moment utterly and completely stunned.
"Danny!" Jack snapped whether from the fact he was shocked at Daniel's sudden display of violence or the fact he had so causally stuck the prisoner.
"Tell me you didn't want to do the same." The younger man barked back. "God Jack you saw what happened to Sam you felt it and she." He pointed to the now gagged warrior, "allowed it to happen."
The first time Daniel Jackson had acted out of vindication was when Teal'c's son Ray'ek had been in dire danger of dying. Sam and the young archeologist had taken a Goa'uld larva then Daniel spun around and emptied his clip of his side arm into the watery containment unit and destroyed hundreds of the larva. He had been so over come by rage he reacted, just as he had done now.
"Yeah I did, but we don't torture our prisoners no matter how much we think they deserve it Hell right now I wish I could use that damn hand device on her, but we will hand her over to the Malakim authorities Sam didn't kill her we hurt her and we take everything Sam suffered away." Jack knew in his heart that yes he wanted to kill Arion for what she had done to Sam. But his best officer the woman he was still very much in love with had one of the greatest virtues he had even seen in all the souls he had ever encountered benevolence. If they did anything to Arion more then secure her at this moment then Sam's torment was in vain.
Daniel cast blue eyes to the stone floor, ashamed of his actions, of what the Remnant had brought him to not since Shar're's abduction and consequential death had he felt such seething rage for another living being. "Yeah you're right." Was, the only form of apology he would offer.
"Do not worry, friend Daniel." Razeal said softly. "Liege Commander will be avenged once we reach home. We are still loyal to her, and we have not forsaken her."
The other Malakim stood forward, each of them in turn making a similar vow that their beloved Liege Commander CO of SG1 would have vengeance delivered by the Queen herself, if not then by the Wing who had sworn allegiance to Samantha Carter. Arion would not escape her due.
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