Exiles Gate 14


Exiles Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter 17

The Calm Before the Storm

The Stargate lead to very different planets some of them in a different universe. Where mythological figures were actually people. Where time didn't always plod along in the same old course. Where the laws of physics could be altered, if you had the power. Where almost everyone everywhere seemed to speak the same language.

Hy-Basil had that surreal quality that many of the other worlds the SG teams had visited also displayed. The Chantilly lace style crystalline structures were breathtakingly beautiful. For the humans it took a little time to grow accustomed to the fact the architecture was designed for those with flight capability in mind. Taking the spiraling stairwells took time, fortunately, since the three months the mortals had been away, more lifts had been installed in the complexes to accommodate those who where unable to fly.

After another hour, the queen had sent for the members of SGC. The servant, a cute youngster, Heath Ledger say five years ago, with red wings, gold hair and golden eyes said, "You are to be honored by an audience with her majesty Queen Novalis herself." The servant seemed impressed. There were those of SG1 however, who felt the early warning signs of concern.

"When?" Sam asked.

"As soon as you are ready." The boy answered.

"Are we supposed to wear anything?" Jack asked.

This drew a blank look from the servant.

"Ah I believe the General means are we to wear anything special." Daniel clarified, his ever-expressive eyebrows rising up and down.

"Suitable clothing will be brought." The youth smiled. Then blushed as his gold eyes rested upon the form of Samantha Carter. To the Malakim she was a great hero; to be in her presence was overwhelming to say the least. The boy was the equivalent of 'star struck.'

"Okay then." Jack brought the gold eyes back to him. "If we need special cloths then bring them. If we need to know any other etiquette thingy, you should probably fill the rest of us who isn't Carter in on it."

The winged kid almost bristled at the tone in the silver haired male's inflection towards whom the lad considered one of his greatest heroes. It was like telling a seven-year-old boy that Superman was a pansy and Batman a coward. His wings shifted and ruffled, gradually though still disheveled they settled. Jack as well as the others saw the heated flash of anger rise in the boy.

"Daniel…what did I do?"

"In a round about way you insulted Sam." The archeologist answered

"Oh for crying out loud." The older man growled. "I did not."

The boy's feathers were still ruffled.

"Look Goldenrod I am sorry, alright?"

The young boy looked away from Jack to the object of his worship and saw that she raised a hand allowing the slight to pass. He smiled bashful, looked back to Jack with almost sneer and bowed. "By your leave Liege Commander?"

"Thank you….?"

"Jailil." The boy puffed out his chest unbelieving the Liege Commander had wanted his name.

"Jailil." Sam flashed a smiled, causing the boy to blush yet again. "Is there anything we need to know?"

"No Liege Commander. All is well." With a nod he departed.

Jack tuned to the blonde, "What is it with you Carter?"


"Goldenboy…he likes you." Jack pointed to the now closed door. Single male aliens tended to flock around Sam, as bees to honey. Of course she had a share of female alien vying for her attention as well. There was a time when he was extremely jealous of the fact.

"I think its just a case of hero-worship." Daniel could not help but chuckle.

Sam shrugged. She was always a little embarrassed at the attention she gained from starry-eyed admirers. "He's just a kid sir."

"I think it's cute." Cassie said in a singsong voice. "That kid has a crush on you…"

"Something you want to tell me Sam?" Janet placed a hand upon her wife's shoulder, her award-winning smile brilliantly coming to life.

Sam turned to her beloved and looked up under her bangs. "What? All I did was smile at him."

Janet leaned close to her lover's ear and whispered something that the others saw brought a bright blush to the blonde's face. She stood up swiftly "Janet!"

The doctor only giggled.

The servant Jailil returned swiftly, along with an older woman, whose wings and hair color were ivory. They were carrying new, classier tabards, breeches and tunics. They were of deep purple with gold threads woven within. They also brought thigh high lace up boots that were not dissimilar to the combat boots. It was Malakim military attire. The men separated to go back to their quarters to dress leaving the women to themselves.

Dressed, clean, fed and feeling as well as any of them could under the circumstances, SG1 plus General Jack O'Neill reunited. They were lead by the shy Jailil out into the streets. It was not paved with gold, but marble that seemed paved with gold. It had the weird effect of making Cassandra think she was in the big downtown Marshall Fields.

The sky above was clear and blue. The air was marvelously clean and crisp, warm with no threat of hot. Unreal, too-perfect weather, unless you were from San Diego. Along both sides of the marble street were buildings of crystal and marble and still semi-precious stones. Further down the street the buildings grew more massive in delicate baroque architecture, with more sand taller columns. But they were among the most modest of domiciles. And by modest it was meant, of course, two or three times the size of one of those overblown new three-story suburban junior-vice-president homes.

Ahead the buildings grew exponentially. It caused a strange optical illusion. Things far away, though much the same design, were six, eight, twelve, fifty times bigger then those nearby. It paradoxically made it seem that the street was very short. It was not.

They passed a fair number of strollers. Some flew overhead while others meandered the streets. The surreal quality of seeing angelics with various hues of wing and hair colors was becoming almost commonplace. When ever they passed the strollers they would stop as they caught sight of Samantha Carter, tilt their heads, fold their wings in a sign of submission and would not raise their heads again until she passed. It was increasingly making the blonde uncomfortable.

Janet felt smaller then she normally did. Everyone either towered seven or eight feet tall. She had always felt absolutely tiny when standing next to Teal'c but standing along side the gigantic Malakim Janet Fraiser felt extremely miniscule. Still the Malakim had given her the same near reverence they had for Samantha.

Members of the Stargate program on more than a few occasions had encountered cultures that fell to their knees believing the team to be deities. This was different. The Malakim were under no such belief. Their reverence was as if Sam and now Janet were of royal blood. It was not something one became accustomed to readily. Nor did either woman wish too.

At last they approached the familiar tower of the Throne: The crystalline palace of the Queen. A place all of them had been before. Instead of being brought to the main audience chamber the six humans were brought out on to a vast patio. Janet recognized it as the one she and Novalis had stood on as they spoke softly of fears and nightmares. Far below were the magnificent gardens.

Novalis turned to the guests with a broad smile upon her rose red lips. Her actions were immediate as she took Samantha into a tight embrace with both arms and wings. "My heart is gladdened to know you are restored to us Samantha." In an almost motherly gesture she kissed Samantha upon each cheek.

Sam smiled a little unsure. She didn't know what the Queen would do on several points. One, Arian Novalis' daughter was an accused and confessed traitor. Two, Sam had accosted the younger Malakim.

"You are forbidden however to ever scare us like that again. Your absence has terrified many." The queen said with some authority.

"No more then myself." Sam responded dryly.

Janet stepped up to her wife placing a delicate hand upon the long back. At that Novalis stepped back acknowledging the position of the other woman. The Queen was impressed with one so tiny, no larger then a featherling, she could command such power. From the reports of both Turel and Zaira, Liege Healer Janet was an intimidating force. But then Novalis mused if her own wife was gone missing as Samantha had been, there would be nothing under the Heavens to stop her from gaining her back.

"I trust all of you have slept well?"

"Oh Yeah." Jack was smiling ear to ear.

"I think several have indicated they wish to stay." Teal'c added.

"Excellent." The Queen nodded, her lips peeled back into a smile at the exuberance of the mortal guests. "There are festivities that have been scheduled in celebration of the restoration of Samantha and her Wing's return home" Her dark purple wings flexed as one heavily burdened. "I fear however there are other duties we must attend to first."

Sam nodded and looked down, her breath a heavy exhale. "Arion."

"Yes Arion. She has admitted to the accusation of betrayal. She will forgo the right of Tribunal. Her sentencing will be carried out shortly."

"Novalis, she did help me escape." Sam said a little confused at the once trusted angelic's actions. "She said she was under your orders to assassinate Malphas by any means necessary."

"Not so." Novalis corrected. Her voice became chilled. "She, as well as the rest of your Wing, were ordered if they found an opportunity to assassinate Malphas they should try to take it. However this order was secondary to the order of protecting you Liege Commander as well as taking any orders you gave them. When they swore allegiance to you Samantha Carter, it was to the death and beyond. What Arion did is appalling. Not only did she betray you to the enemy forces, she was nearly the cause of your demise as well. And she failed to carry out her intention. Her directive was not to forsake you in order to assassinate Malphas, yet she did. She admitted to betrayal. That is the end of discussion of her fate. She will be punished accordingly."

"So…what is this punishment?" Daniel asked a little leery of the answer he might gain.

"She will suffer the fate that all those who commit treason suffer." Novalis answered.

She found all the faces of the humans looking at her as she moved away from the group.

Jailil stepped in. "Her wings…The flight feathers will be severed. She will not fly again."

Jack stepped up, holding up his hands. He had seen the images that Arion had given them all. He had heard Carter scream out in her nightmares as they traveled the temple to the Exile's Gate…"Whoa, whoa! That's it? She just has her wings broken and she gets off scott-free?"

"Sir." Carter turned to him. "The Malakim followed a code very similar to that of Bushido, the principals that every samurai strives to adhere to. What Arion has committed is inconceivable as a knight of that code. For the Malakim there could be no worse fate then to have their wings cut. Imagine Sir if you had your legs and your arms amputated and were forced to watch as others enjoy a life that is no longer yours."

Jailil shuddered. "Death is preferable. But a traitor will never have that luxury." The boy's golden wings fluttered in distaste. "She betrayed Liege Commander Samantha, she deserves it." There was a hint of loathing in the boy's voice that had not been there before. "Come." He pointed to the balcony proper. "As the one that was wronged, you are allowed to see justice carried out." Sam wasn't so sure she wanted to.

Janet who still had her hand upon her wife's back, gently rubbed it up and down allowing Sam to know she was there for her. She had sensed her lover's unrest and could understand why. "I love you Sammy." She whispered.

"Let's just get this over with." Sam said in a detached tone that set off alarm bells in Janet. The sentencing of Arion could bring closure to Sam or it could lead her back into the darkness she was teetering upon. At the very least, Sam would not be subjected to witness an execution. Yes, for a winged race clipped wings was horrible, but to humans the taking of life was far more disturbing.

The garden below was now filled with nine red armored warriors. The Wing between them held Arion. Her hands were clasped before her in chains that were linked to a silver collar around her neck.

Sam's hands, in a knee jerk reaction, shot up to her neck as if she felt the weight of the collar herself. Her breath started to hyperventilate. The remembrance of the device that held her prisoner flared white-hot within her mind.

"Sam?" Janet whispered.

"It's nothing." The blonde shook off her wife's concern. Well as best as anyone could. Janet Frasier was not one to be put off by bravado or posturing, especially by her beloved, though stubborn wife. Whatever it was, it was more than "nothing."

Arion was forced to her knees by one of the guards who placed a hard hand upon the maiden's shoulder. Before the winged woman there was what looked to be a marble block. Four hundred years ago on Earth such a block would have been used to remove the heads of traitors. This stone "chopping" block had an iron ring imbedded in it. Its purpose was clearly defined as the prisoner's chain was threaded through the ring by one of the red clad knight.

The Wing's Commander stepped forward with the cold detachment of an executioner. Her mane, as well as her wings, was the color of deep jade. In her armor it had almost a comical Christmas effect. There was however no goodwill in her expression that could even be comparable to the holiday.

She raised her voice in an operatic tone, that penetrated into the heart of everyone that heard it sing out.

"Much of what once was is now lost. It began with the saving of the life, nay the soul of the Queen of the Malakim. A mortal knight rose out of the hidden mists from the Stargate and took hold of the Queen. And she marched against Sergeant Death and kept it at bay. She would not allow the arrest to commence and restored the Queen to her life and her wings. For her bravery, her sacrifice of her own well-being, she was given a Wing of Warriors. She was given the title Liege Commander. She was accepted amongst the warriors as one of them. Samantha Carter is not of the Blood of the Malakim yea verily it is known her heart is Malakim.

"But all of them were deceived. One would betray them. One would betray Liege Commander Samantha daughter of Carter. And it is known the deceiver confessed this crime. Arion, daughter of Novalis Queen of Malakim you are dishonored. You are not of Virtue. You are not of the Wing. You are a forsaken daughter of the Empire. The very sky will shun you. The Great Song will be forever out of your reach until that time your honor is restored. Which will be a long time coming. Arion the Forsaken for your crime of Treason against the Hero of Hy-Basil: Liege Commander of the Blue Wing- Samantha Carter: Colonel of the Humans' Air Force, Commanding Officer of SG1, you will lose your embrace of the sky. What you have wrought cannot be undone. Your wings will be, for the passing of a century, severed from the sky. You are Arion of the Remnant. You are Arion the Forsaken. Now show some bravery if you can and embrace your fate Forsaken One. "

The Commander had said her piece and moved back behind the prisoner. She bowed her jade maned head and waited for the single from the Queen.

Novalis for her part showed no outward display of remorse, regret or pain that a mother would when seeing their child fail. Her cool silver eyes set darkly as she bore her glare into her daughter's eyes.

"Let it be done." Her voice was frigid and detached.

Two guards stepped with deliberateness to the left and right flanks of Arion's purple wings. Jade hair stood directly behind Arion, raised her hand then dropped it. The chain that connected Arion's wrist together was pulled hard. The warrior was now forced to all fours. Her neck being tethered to the cuffs around her wrists made it impossible for Arion to raise her head or move it side to side. Jade-hair took what almost looked to be a staff weapon and struck Arion in the center of her back causing an instantaneous reflex action. The sensitive wings arched up and out. At that precise moment the two awaiting guards at her flanks swiftly moved. Their Sun-swords were ignited, they struck in an upward stroke the stretched wings, so quickly that had you blinked you would have missed it. You could not however miss the cry of pain the screeched out of the traitor's voice.

Bits of bone and feathered limbs fell useless and bloody to the earth. The entire wing was not removed only the arched crest as well as the long flight feathers, but it was enough. Arion's breath came in hiccupped gasps of agony.

"Christ!" Jack uttered.

"I…I…said I wanted her to pay…but God that's nasty." Cassie echoed the distaste softly. "It like that guy that was bothering Starling in Hannibal…you wanted him to get it…but then he did and it was…all not cool."

Sam's reaction was similarly repulsed. A part of her had wanted vengeance or something like it. A part of her wanted nothing more to do with Arion…it was as if she was dealing with Anise…a defiant pain in the ass but she was not as evil as Apophis, Nirrti or Malphas. Another part felt almost sorry for the fallen angelic.

Janet was equally torn. Here a soul cried out in pain. Her honor, her oath, everything she believed in, cried out to her to intervene to heal this fragile body. Another part of her, a part she kept buried, the part that stood against Nirrti, stood in righteous vindication.

Teal'c could not help but think of his own status amongst the Jaffa that were still loyal to the false gods…was this what they wanted for him? What if Arion's betrayal was a case of brainwashing such as Ray'ek and then latterly Teal'c himself had fallen victim too? Yet she had confessed to her treachery forgoing the right to a tribunal, knowing full well what lay in store for her if she did so.

"Wha…" Daniel cleared his throat. "What is to become of her now?"

Without turning Novalis spoke. "She will be taken to the infirmary, healed then lead to the Stargate. She is exiled. A hundred years will pass before she is permitted in the confines of the Malakim Empire space. Though she may return to Chimera if that is her desire."

"How can you do that to your own daughter?" Janet asked for everyone.

"The law is the law Liege Healer. I above all others must adhere to them or they are not laws at all. Arion knew this when she confessed the charge against her. She knew what was required by me. The throne and its heirs are not above the law. In fact we are more compelled to obey then any other." Silver eyes brimmed with unshed tears. "Do not think me heartless, I did what I had to do. A hundred years is nothing to one so long lived. She will return to Hy-Basil when her sentence is over, by that time her wings will be restored to her as well."

The mortals still had conflicting ideas. But one they all shared was a respect for the hard place the Queen had been placed in. Arion had taken all choice away from the Queen when she confessed to treason and forgone tribunal. The queen was not above the law, and she was not as unaffected as she would have others believe.

"I am sorry." It was Sam that spoke. She couldn't imagine what she would do if Cassandra or Rebecca had been in the same place as Arion. But then thinking that your child committed high treason is one thing no parent would ever conceive of.

"Come let us put this darkness behind us. There are festivals to enjoy." Novalis tried to smile. "It is necessary is it not to boost morale in the troops?" She smiled easier now. "We have much to celebrate."

Sam turned to her wife as they left the balcony. "I want to see Arion."

"Love, I don't think that's wise." Janet tried to stall her beloved.

"Jan, I need to. I need closure on this. I want to know why. I need to know why she did what she did. Guilt…I don't know. But I need to."

Janet understood. Samantha Carter was a woman of many levels, many layers, all of them complex. Sam wouldn't rest, wouldn't be consoled, without this resolution. "I'll make sure its okay with Novalis." She rubbed her beloved's back trying to convey her love in the small touch before moving away.

Sam watched as Janet made the plea on her behalf. At first it seemed that the tall angelic potentate would not relent. But Janet looked in Sam's direction, said something the tall blonde couldn't catch, and then waited. Novalis bowed her head, her wings seemed to shrug and then her head nodded. Janet moved back to Sam, placed a delicate hand upon the other's long back and said softly: "Its all set. Novalis said we can go as the preparations for tonight's festivity is underway."

Sam smiled meekly. "Thank you Baby-girl for understanding I need this."

Janet's only answer was to kiss her lover butterfly quick upon her lips. "I know your heart, lover." To emphasize her point she placed her hand over Sam's left breast as to feel the beating organ behind it. "And I know you."

The Malakim were coldly efficient in the carrying out of their justice. They were not however uncompassionate. Arion had suffered the rendering of her wings and faced a hundred year exile, it was enough. The Healers in the infirmary had seen to the bones in the wings and reset them to so they would heal properly as any amputated limb. She was about to be released into temporary custody until the morning when she would be sent off world. Where she went it mattered not, only that she was off of Hy-Basil.

Arion was gingerly putting a tabard back on when a green winged guard came into her room. "You have two visitors." He announced not looking at the shunned one.

"Very well." Arion couldn't imagine whom it was that would come to see her. Surely none of the Wing would come to visit her. They thought what she had done was reprehensible. A verbal slant against the Liege Commander was enough to cause a stir in warriors. To physically accost her was dangerous, to betray her was a sin unforgivable.

The Queen? Surly not. The guards would have announced it. Who then would come to see the Forsaken one?

Sam entered the cell.

Arion gasped, fell to one knee and bowed her head. Her wings out of reflex moved to close in about her body in submission. They were still so tender from the severing that Arion grunted in pain.

"Liege Commander." She said in a stiff breath that was choked with thick emotion and pain.

"Get up Arion." Sam said quickly. Pity and anger flared at the same time in the blonde. "So if you weren't brainwashed and you weren't an operative under some secret command from the queen…what the hell were you doing?"

"I had to get close to Malphas. I knew there was more to the alliance between he and the Diabolicals …the Goa'uld. I had to gain …Intel."

"And it never occurred to you to tell me what you planned? What you suspected?"

"I couldn't jeopardize…"

"Cut the crap!" Sam snarled. "Jeopardize…what?... me? Well I have news for you…that's exactly what you did. WE could have left…But you…turned me over. You didn't even trust me to help you. God the stunt you pulled is just like the NID. And you can justify it all you want. And you may even have a good reason for trying to get close to Malphas…but how you did it…"

Janet moved then. The Bond flared violently. Sam's rage was almost overwhelming, but equally strong was the pain of broken trust. The doctor stopped as she saw Sam stiffen. She was barricading herself behind a wall. That same wall she erected when she faced down Goa'uld, the General, the NID was in place now. Which also meant Sam was pissed. Not angry, not mad, she was pissed off. The jaw set, blue eye's flared in sapphire flame.

"What I could not jeopardize Liege Commander was my position. Yes, I was an operative. Not for my mother but another."


"The Tok'ra."

Sam stared disbelieving.

It was Janet that spoke. "What? The Tok'ra? You expect us to believe that?"

"Wh…who?" Sam managed.

"Anise." Arion said the name slowly.

Both humans let out an exasperated sigh. This was something Anise would pull. She after all played dumb with the armbands and the new Goa'uld ship. And then there was the whole thing with the Zartac testing…

"She contacted you. Not the Queen?"

"When I was captured she was there in the folds of Zipcana's followers. She was able to free me and she was the one who gave me the ribbon-device which in turn made sure it reached you."

Sam had wondered how the physician in Malphas' cult had managed to get his slimey little hands on such a weapon.

"She asked me to get to Malphas, to gain details about his alliance to the Diabolicals. He has…a certain…um…attraction to me."

"The old seduce, and drug'em so you can get their secrets." Sam mouthed. "Play on his…libidinous nature?"

"Yes…and yes I was to drug him. He was drugged with a narcotic that would make me seem as a trusted ally…someone named Kobal."

Sam looked violently ill. The name was enough to bring back flashes of her trapped in the Calabim stronghold. The collar and the unending pain it yielded. She felt the hand of her lover touch the small of her back, as well as the touch of her mind softly, empathically holding her.

"Was it worth it?" Sam demanded.

"No. The plan failed." Arion looked down disgusted with herself. "We learned only that Malphas was promised Hy-Basil by the system lords, if he gave the frequency of the shield generator to them. The Diabolicals want the Malakim as hosts. They feel that our bodies are superior to the humans. Zipcana had research material from a dead Diabolical named Nirrti. They felt that our abilities would help them win the war with rival system lords, the Rebel alliance of Jaffa, the Tok'ra and Earth…namely Stargate Command. Namely SG1." Arion half smiled. "The System Lords truly loath SG1. More now then they did nearly a decade ago." The young winged woman sighed. "I gave all the information I have and the stolen data to my mother. She said she would turn everything over to you Liege Commander once the festival for tonight was over. She knew everyone needed to.. "lighten up" I believe the term is."

Sam considered the words the woman had said. Considering Anise was involved it was no wonder Arion had seemingly turned traitor. The Tok'ra woman could twist things around so you felt your head wasn't on straight. After all she had talked SG1 into wearing the armbands…she had probably sugar coated something, some plan and Arion went along with it with out thinking further.

"What are you going to do now?" Sam said with a soft more relaxed tone.

"Actually knowing my actions would label me a traitor no matter the outcome, Anise said I was welcome amongst the Tok'ra as a consultant on Malakim / Remnant weapons."

"So why didn't you want a tribunal?" The voice was now filled with curiosity.

"I openly betrayed you Liege Commander. Samantha…I dishonored everything I believed in and you. My dishonor demanded that I not fight, that I submit to the punishment. A hundred years Samantha is nothing to an immortal. And when I return my honor will be returned and my mother will not be disgraced. Had I fought, my mother would have been disgraced and her honor lost. I could not do that. Now, at least she was seen to do what was honorable, by punishing me the way the law decreed. She is disheartened by having done so but in the eyes of the Malakim she is not disgraced."

Sam nodded slowly. It was hard for her to forgive Arion for allowing her to be hurt, but the torture at the hands of Kobal and the latter torture at the hands of asylum were not because of Arion. Arion's only betrayal was not helping her escape and handing her over to Malphas to become a sacrifice. But, because of Arion, Sam had had the ribbon device to escape. The tall blonde had to remind both herself and her teammates of that. For some reason they were all under the impression it was due to Arion, that she was tortured.

Sam sighed heavily. Holding a grudge was one weight she could shed now. "Arion, …there have been times when I felt betrayed by those I work with. Teal'c has been brainwashed, General O'Neill, at the time a colonel, was undercover working with the alliance and he said some pretty harsh things that both hurt and ticked me off. And the NID is always stabbing us in the back…and Anise…has pulled her share of tricks. Next time you pull something like that when we work together, I am going to shoot you once with a zat-gun."

It wasn't forgiveness, but there was hope. Both women smiled. Reconciliation was well on its way.

"Then I shall endeavor to remember that." Arion smiled shyly.

Sam and Janet were walking out of the Infirmary towards the main square of the city already sounds of jubilation could be heard. "How are you doing?"

"A lot better then I was twenty minutes ago." Sam admitted and then leaned down to take her lover's rose-petal soft lips with her own. "Come on let's go find Cassandra…see if we can't do something about the suitors she has flittering about her."

Janet leaned against her beloved's lanky body forgetting for a moment just how gaunt she had become since her capture. Sam was painfully thin. The doctor in Janet screamed out for an immediate course of action. But the opulence of the breakfast / brunch and the feast to come would aid in Sam's return to health. Still Janet wanted to treat the anemia with a combination of diet and meds. There was no decision to be made, out of automatic reflex; the petite doctor would keep a close watch on her wife.

"So my Love are you going to threaten to maim them as you had Dominic?"

Sam flashed one of her brilliant smiles. "I think a well placed word is all that is needed."

"Oh like what?" Janet kept her delicate hand upon the small of Sam's back.

"Reminding them just whose daughter she is. They'll behave."

"And if they don't?"

"I'll threaten to pluck their feathers for my pillow."

"You've been hanging around O'Neill again haven't you?" Janet bantered.

The blonde shrugged. "So I am slightly over protective when it comes to Cassie."

"I remember." Janet reached up and placed a tender kiss upon succulent lips. "One of the reasons I love you."

All of Hy-Basil was a rush of excitement. Young featherlings ran to and fro laughing at the jubilance of the impromptu celebration. Mistrals played music, cheerful and lyrical music. The scents of a hundred different foods wafted into the air, enticing the taste buds to water, despite the very filling brunch. If the Malakim knew how to cater a brunch they outdid themselves when it came to hosting a party.

Bright rice paper lanterns in a very Japanese styling lined the thoroughfares, giving the streets a frivolity of celebration and happiness. All the streets ushered the spectators to the main square of the city. Here on the rooftops giant taiko drums were set up. Some of the drums were nearly seven feet tall, their masters played with exuberance and joviality. The enormous amount of energy it took to play the drums was to say the least awe inspiring. The drummers were garbed in similar fashion to their Japanese counterparts. A corded silk headband held back thick massive manes, and black sleeveless gies covered their sweat soaked bodies, though the males went topless. The whole group were called the Kodo in angelic script, the characters meaning both heartbeat and child, which meant to play with the heart of a child.

The drums were not the only instruments to play. A dozen or so pipers played upon reed flutes and then there were the cymbal players. If you closed your eyes you could forget for the moment you were in an aerie hundreds of miles from surface of the planet partying with winged beings and felt as if you were back in Japan…or at least the Japanese section of Epcot at Disney World. There was great pageantry around.

Another integration though derived of another Asian community was the dragon and lion dancers of China. In the greens of the park, several acrobats played the part of a dragon or a lion complete with feathered long lashed blinking eyes and clapping mouths. So too these costumed dancers made it feel as if they were celebrating the Chinese's New Year. There were Malakim children running around giggling and waving sparklers, others set off small firecrackers. Yet overhead massive displays of fireworks exploded, set off by the true dragons. The young dragon-kind seemed to make an impromptu game out of it. Sort of like a dragon hack-sack. One would hurl a host of unlit fireworks into the air and before they fell to the citadel below others would zip by and ignite them. The display was more wondrous then any Fourth of July, Samhain or Disney-world creation the mortals had ever laid eyes upon. If the Kodo players and the dragon pyro-technicians had worked in conjunction it was obviously for many of the bursts of color erupted in time with the music.

In the center of the park a great bonfire was made where some of the more foolish and more daring angelics leapt over it. It was a good way to get your wings singed, and a few youngsters would stumble away with burnt wing tips. Though each of the fire-leapers had great smiles upon their faces.

Jack O'Neil was asked to join in this game by "Zippo" and to this Cassie belted out in a roar of laughter.

"What's so funny kiddo?" The gray hair man scowled.

"Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick!" Cassie was still rolling with laughter.

"Oh ha ha." O'Neil tried deepening the scowl but to no avail. "I am still your superior officer Lieutenant Fraiser!"

That only got the young woman howling. Cassandra was laughing so hard tears leaked out the corners of her hazel blue eyes. Even Daniel joined in snickering loudly.

"I do not understand." Both Teal'c and Zephon said in unison. Then both raised an eyebrow in time. Jack rolled his dark brown eyes.

"I am too old to play with fire." He said at last folding his arms.

But Zephon was not to be put off. She grabbed hold of O'Neill and ran for the pyre and leapt in a great bound clearing the topmost licks of flame. It was then that Carter and good ol' Doc Fraiser decided to join the party.

When Zephon relinquished her hold on the aging General he dusted himself off pretending not to have shaky feet and looked at the two women. He held up a hand. "Don't ask. Besides I am not going to tell."

Zephon made no such agreement and told the newcomers of Cassandra's limerick. Two pairs of eyes, one ice blue the other chocolate brown, stared at their CO. Then they sputtered out in a fit of giggles. Jack O'Neill stomped off looking for a very tall mug of mead.

"Higher, higher burning fire making music like a choir!" Roared Malachi as he leapt into the air did a somersault and landed unscathed.

This little limerick was uttered each time one of the players would bound over the flames. It wasn't long until the entire Wing that belonged to Sam had made the jump. There were even a few brave or foolish members of SG3 that attempted the leap. Most came away with the soles of their boots a little melted. Even Teal'c braved the jump, as it was also a game played by the Jaffa.

There were twin-restraining hands upon Cassandra when she moved to take her turn, each belonging to one of her mothers. She stuck out her lower lip as she had done when she was twelve and pouted.

However all the expectant eyes of the Malakim warrior looked to their leader. They had no doubt she would brave the flames. After all this was Liege Commander Samantha Carter, hero of Hy-Basil.

"Oh you have to be kidding me." Golden eyebrows shot up into unruly blonde forelocks.

"Liege Commander it is your turn." Razeal prompted.

"Yeah Carter, show these angelics what the SGC is made of." Jack urged as he came up from behind carrying a quart-sized mug of golden mead. "I mean if an old man like me can do it, surly you can do it. You're what ten years younger then me?"

"Nineteen and a half sir." Carter flashed a smile. "But who's counting? And you had help clearing the fire by Zephon." Blue eyes looked back to the pyre that was now at least six and half feet tall.

All of the members of the SGC: SG1 and 3 cheered loudly along side the Malakim Wing urging the forever-young Colonel to take the dare.

"Sam…" Janet warned. "You don't have to do this…" then in a quieter tone. "Do you know how dumb that is?"

"Yeah." A quick answer, which meant she was going to do it.

"If you get burned, I am not fixing you up." Janet folded her arms defiantly over her small frame.

Sam leaned in and kissed her wife on the lips. "Don't worry, you won't have to." Taking several steps back Sam gauged the distance necessary to leap clear of the flames. In school she was top in Track and Field. The long jump being one of her specialties as well as hurdles. Taking in a large steadying breath the blonde readied her self for the leap. "Oh Boy." With both hands she brushed either side of her nose going down to her cheeks. A habitual gesture that showed she was undertaking something risky and something she definitely did not want to do. Janet couldn't help but recall the first time she saw Sam do that, when they were attempting to gain the attention of libidinous SF's when Hathor took over the Base. Gaining speed as she ran the Colonel jumped into the air and barely cleared the flickering fingers of the inferno. She tucked and rolled as a landing then came to her feet.

The Wing and every member of the SGC present cheered. Well not every member. Janet was still scowling. When the grinning Sam came over for a congratulatory hug, Janet punched her in the arm.

"Hey!" Sam whimpered rubbing her bruised appendage.

"You dumb blonde!" Janet punished. Then allowed the barely hidden smile to shine through and hugged her wife. "You're ego sufficiently fed?"

Sam leaned in whispering. "Not until I stroke another fire." Janet's face reddened. A deeper shade of red bloomed when Sam rose her eyebrows suggestively.

Novalis watched the Liege Commander. A tiny feeling of worry washed within her. But she was gratified in seeing that Samantha was able to let go for a moment and allow herself some measure of happiness. The queen knew Samantha was at the end of her tether, but with tonight's festival she was able to stand on firmer ground. Novalis was well aware of the Liege Healers hypothesis concerning the state of hormones in the warrior. And despite the advice from the Malakim Healers, Novalis went with what Janet wanted. After all who better to know the human heart and mind but a human Healer.

The Queen had wanted much more of the night's celebration. She wanted to be able to celebrate Samantha in the true way a hero should be celebrated. And like all true hero's Samantha wanted little fanfare. And so Novalis would honor Samantha in the company of her own team of warriors as well as her Wing. Small, private and a quiet affair to honor the mortal woman that had come to mean much to the folk of Hy-Basil

The festival played long into the night, dancing, feasting, and drinking. Acrobats tumbled, Lion and Dragon and Fire dancers frolicked, the Kodo taiko drummers drummed. The Dragons continued their igniting of fireworks displays. Singers sang, Bards related tales of heroics most of which centered around Samantha's saving the life and soul of Novalis Queen of the Malakim. Others related old love stories of two hearts bonding and coming together. Stories of war and great battles had been band banned for the night by the Queen. Novalis didn't wish to trigger some explosive fears in the Liege Commander.

Novalis was pleased to see that the Liege Commander was enjoying herself, she was even dancing with her wife, playing Malakim games of Dare. Tonight was a time to heal.

The Malakim partied hard. It was obvious they had a passion for life and loved to celebrate it. Even as couples parted to enjoy small celebrations of their own, others continued to cavort. Sam was enthralled by the intoxication of Janet's presence. She didn't know if it was the inebriation of the strong drink or simply Janet. But the last time Sam had felt such need, such drive was when the Broca Syndrome took her ill.

Sam came up close behind her wife; her breath tickled Janet's ear as the blonde's low, husky voice whispered, "I need you." She pulled her lover into a secluded area of the grove of trees where the lawn was as plush and soft as a teddy bear's fur.

Janet felt strong arms encircle her from behind. "All I require is you, now." Sam had made her decision to tell Janet with words and actions exactly how she felt about her. Having come this far there was no point in holding back now. She threw caution to the wind and bent her head close to the Doctor's own.

Janet felt Sam's lips caress the soft, sensitive skin just in front of her ear. She felt her knees grow weak, but Sam's arms held her up with no difficulty.

"I know you are afraid for me, but you do not need to be." Sam unzipped Janet's jacket as she spoke; allowing the discarded garment to fall unheeded at their feet.

"Sammy… I,"

"Shh," Sam soothed. She pulled Janet's tee shirt out of her pants, her hands sliding up underneath to caress the hard planes of the Doctor's well-muscled abs. Sam's hand came up, brushing lightly over Janet's chest as it did, to gently force the redhead's chin up until she was looking at herself in the mirrors of Sam's blue eyes.

"You are purity. Such perfection…so beautiful…my all…my soul…."

As she was whispering in Janet's ear, Sam's hands once again slid beneath the Doctor's tunic, her fingers caressing the silky skin and moving inexorably upward, pulling the shirt up with them as they traveled. Janet watched fascinated, as Sam explored her body, and when the blonde's hands reached the apex of their journey she obediently raised her arms and allowed her tunic to be pulled off over her head. She could feel Sam's body pressing into hers, Sam's hips putting gentle pressure on her body, pressing the sensitized flesh between her legs with her thigh. She couldn't stop the moan from escaping her lips.

The Colonel began to knead the Doctor's pert breasts with both her hands. Sam slid her hands to Janet's back, causing her to whimper at the loss of contact, and as the sound escaped her lips she saw Sam's smile. It was Janet's turn to smile when she felt her wife unclasp her bra and slide it slowly down her arms. She moaned when those talented hands returned to their pleasurable massage of her breasts.

The throbbing between the red-heads legs was increasing. She was crazy with need, and her hearts hammered when Sam spoke again in her ear. She pressed down onto Sam's thigh, and the Colonel instinctively knew what her split-apart desired.

"Let me help you with that." Sam's right hand trailed down over her stomach and slipped into the waistband of her trousers, cupping Janet's sex momentarily, eliciting a groan of desire, before it withdrew to undo the button and zipper, allowing the pants to pool on the floor at their feet. Sam's fingers slid beneath the elastic of Janet's panties, dipping only low enough to skim the leading edge of the neatly trimmed thatch of hair between her muscular legs. She traced back and forth several times before hooking her fingers over the elastic and sliding the damp cloth down over Janet's legs, kneeling to allow the Doctor to step out of the clothing. As she slid back up Janet's body Sam allowed her breasts to skim the back of the redhead's legs, she felt her nipples harden as she made the upward journey. She stopped to press a kiss into the cleft at the small of her wife's back before she stood up fully and wrapped her arms completely around Janet's body. She pressed her hips firmly against Janet's behind and pulled her roughly towards her own need.

"Let me show you what beauty truly is Janet." The redhead could only swallow in response.

Sam's left hand moved up to cup Janet's right breast, while her right hand moved down to tease its way through the tangle of dark curls between her legs. On feeling the slick wetness within the blonde gasped.

"So warm and wet for me Janet." She nuzzled her lips into the curve of the redhead's neck and breathed deeply, while she rubbed her fingers between the swollen, dripping lips of Janet's sex.

"Oh God Sammmmy!"

"I have dreamed of this for so long baby-girl," at those words she slipped two fingers inside the tight, hot opening that led to Janet's very center, the heel of her palm pressing against Janet's swollen clit, while she pressed her firmly against her body. Sam began moving her hand slowly in and out of Janet's body, her hips pressing a firm counterpoint to the motion of her hand. Her left hand was massaging the doctor's breast, rolling her taut nipples between eager fingers. Janet was losing all sense of herself, but she never broke contact with Sam's eyes as she looked back over her shoulder. Only Sam's strength was keeping her lover upright now and she realized that Sam could easily support her weight; for once Janet was leaning on someone else and she felt a rush of wetness drip down between her legs at the thought being protected by such power.

Janet felt the pressure inside of her increasing exponentially. She didn't know what to do with her own hands until Sam whispered hoarsely in her ear. "Do you know how much I love you?"

She brought her other hand up, around Sam's neck, holding her head tightly as Sam continued to nuzzle and bite Janet's neck and shoulder. Janet couldn't remember ever being so aroused, Sam had been nothing but gentle and Janet could have sworn she would never be able to achieve release this way. "Cum for me Janet, and I will show you beauty and perfection such as you've never imagined."

Hearing the blonde's words as Sam's tongue skimmed up her neck to explore her ear pushed Janet over the edge. Her body began to vibrate with tension, as her stomach muscles tensed and released, the tall blond watched her wife's face redden and contort as her climax hit her. The Doctor never took her eyes off Sam's as she came. "Sammmyyyy…Oh God Sammyyyy…so close….."

When the aftershocks subsided she hung limply in Sam's arms, feeling safe and protected.

She captured the blonde's lips in a kiss. It was at once gentle and insistent as Janet tried to convey all of her yearning, desire and love in that one embrace. Janet's arms pulled the other woman close, her tongue begged a quickly granted entrance into the warm inviting mouth of her love. One kiss turned into two and then a third, before Sam left the tempting lips to create a path of kisses down Janet's neck culminating in a playful nip to the tanned skin.

"Mmmmmmm." The sound was definitely a purr and the accompanying arching of her back almost catlike as Janet felt the teeth dig into her flesh. Turning she dislodged Sam, who ended up lying on her back, a very aroused Doctor straddling her waist. "We seem to have been here before." Janet commented with a smile, remembering last night's lovemaking that seemed to have happened so long ago.

"Hmm." Sam's fingers began to trace a path up the length of Janet's body. Starting at the base of her back they first dipped lower to caress the firm behind before moving upwards to pass fleetingly along the ribs to the underside of firm round breasts. Cupping the precious flesh she let her thumbs pass teasingly over the nipples, the whimper from above making sure she repeated the maneuver with the same agonizing feather like touch.

"No you don't." Capturing Sam's hands Janet forced them to lay flat against the mattress of so soft grass, before placing a kiss on full lips, then moving on to sample the creamy smooth skin of the elegant neck. Lips soon found their way to the swell of a tempting breast, eliciting a whimper from deep within Sam's chest. Slowly Janet began planting kisses around the full breast, making sure to avoid touching the aching nipple. One hand moving down to perform a similar dance across Sam's other breast, short nails producing a rippling of sensation that went straight to Sam's already over heated center.


Hearing the unspoken plea Janet lowered her mouth to engulf the hard pink nipple, her tongue lavishing it with attention before raking her teeth against the sensitized peeks.

"Yeeesssssss..." Sam's body arched in pleasure, the smell of arousal that surrounded them making her head swim with need. Janet's hand began to trace erotic patterns across a taut stomach as she explored the quivering body, her fingers caressing ever lower.

'PleeeeaaaassssePleeeaasssssss." Sam begged, her body in desperate need of release.

Abandoning Sam's kiss wet nipples, Janet looked into the beautiful face of her future lover. "Sam, look at me." The voice was deep but the words softly spoken, the tone penetrating Sam's rapture and electric blue eyes sought out soulful brown ones. "I just had to see your beautiful face." Fingers dipped lower and entered Sam's welcoming folds.

"Ohhhhhhhhhh." At the first touch emotions were unleashed and the meaning of pleasure redefined as Sam basked in all the new sensations. Velvety smoothness engulfed Janet's hand as she rubbed against the slick peeks of Sam's most intimate flesh. Heat radiated from Sam's very center as the movements increased and the young woman's cries of pleasure gained volume. "Do you want more?" Janet asked, her finger teasing the edge of Sam's entrance but not wanting to trespass in this most sacred of depths.

"Yesss." The word was met with a delicious feeling of being filled, of being whole, as her walls closed in to mould around the welcome invader. Slow careful strokes set off a new set of feelings and led to an increasing demand, "Janet…"

Janet's fingers increasined in speed and depth as she watched the cascade of emotion pass across Sam's face. Blonde hair pasted to flush cheeks as eyes squeezed shut in impending release, Janet didn't think she would ever see a more beautiful sight. She was soon proven wrong.

Body straining Sam was on the precipice of release, needing just one more thing to send her over into a land of unknown bliss. The Bond flared brightly between them. Janet entered a second finger; her thumb searching out swollen peeks. The pressure grew and multiplied until finally the world stopped, only to come tumbling down in a tidal wave of orgasm, "Jaaannnnnnnnneeeeeeeettttttt..." As the name tore from Sam's lips her eyes opened to stare unfocused at her beautiful lover, at that moment the two were joined by their Bond.

"I love you. I love you. I love you." Sam uttered. She clutched Janet close to her as if she released her beloved would fade away. "Baby-girl…." Blue eyes glistened in tears as she wept. Her hold tightened. "Janet...my Janet…my wife…please…don't leave me…"

"I am here my beloved." Janet's voice caught in her own tear-choked throat "I could never leave you." The redhead's delicate hand fingered blonde locks. "I'm always here. Feel me. Feel the Bond Sam. My Sammy…my wife…Don't you know I will never leave you?" Hang onto the Bond…on to me…Hang on Sam, I will always hold you."

Part 18

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