Exiles Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter Three

Life Interrupted

Colonel Carter had few options, in oppressing the Goa'uld presence. If she meant to suppress the enemy she would have to discourage the Jaffa from firing accurately. It takes time to acquire a target and aim and if bullets are hitting near him, they might not be willing to take that time. Accurate fire is what wins a fight; unfortunately the Jaffa Guards were expert in this tactic as well. Intimidating them into not firing was not going to happen. The Jaffa warriors were rarely if ever intimidated especially to a race they felt far inferior. However Sam knew she could force the enemy to move in a certain way, she at least could severely cripple their forces. She would encourage the enemy to move to better cover where they wouldn't feel as venerable. And she would have to move them where she wanted them. By forcing The Jaffa warriors to move to a different piece of cover she might get in a lucky shot and down her foe or her team might force them to retreat to a position that is more exposed thus she had to box them in.

Another thing she would have to do of course was to confuse or distract the Goa'uld from her activities and movement. If the enemy was too busy cowering from the SG-teams' volley of fire they would not likely to notice her fireteam's moving off to the side where they can get a better shot. More importantly if the Goa'uld were distracted as small strike team could encroach one hopefully the middle mother ship and blow it. The destruction of the one would in theory take the other two with it in a chain reaction explosion.

She had little time to act…guerilla tactics was the only way she and her teammates would make it out alive. She was out numbered hundred to one. Something as a commander she was taught early on was the OODA loop: Observer, Orient, Decide, and Act. Whoever has the faster OODA loop wins. By aggressively pushing the Goa'uld they had to take longer to go through their OODA loop because they are trying to orient, and decide what to do and then act. Meanwhile, they would rapidly lose the initiative and become confused. A confused fighter begins to make mistakes and eventually one of those mistakes will be fatal. The Goa'uld were notoriously egotistical and that was a prevailing weakness in their race and fighting tactics. They had come as always equipped for hostile encounters, but not to carry out a war.

She took an inventory of what they had, the new mortars that were a magazine fed and automated, thus it was also a disposable weapon as well. All one had to do was place the mortar in a location. Later when fire support was needed all one of her soldiers had to do was transmit the needed information to the mortar's onboard computer which makes the necessary calculations and fires the rounds. With the ability to determine the precise location and that of the enemy, every shot was accurate. By the time enemy forces returned fire on the mortar position, the mortar would be out of ammo and useless anyway. The SG soldier would be safely out of range of the Jaffa warriors trying to blow up the automated mortar. The Colonel also had the Kahuna shields, each of the members of SG teams possessed one and of course the encampment was protected by a slightly larger version.

All her soldiers had zat guns as side arms and the new five pound Ares Predator, which was slightly smaller, then the P90. It was a lethal weapon with four barrels; it lunched not only15 mm heat seeking mini-rockets, as well as 40mm grenades and 4.6mm copper, jacketed bullets. The heart of the weapon is a group of miroelectromachanical thrusters that lunch the projectiles that cycled the action to feed the next round into the chamber. The magazine capacity of at least 100 rounds of bullets but actually the magazine holds 150 projectiles including the grenades. It also sported integral laser scopes, cyberoptic triangulation and passive IR capability and silencers, all around a very effective combat weapon. In addition to the arsenical capabilities, the weapon was equipped with voice chip recognition, all the warrior had to do was to command the weapon to engage whichever projectile they wanted to launched. Only another SGC member could pick up the weapon, if any other touched the firearm, not only would he be unable to use it but the weapon would admit an electro-pulse parlaying the enemy with a non-lethal shock.

She had classic C4 explosives, claymores and phosphorous grenades in the company as well as a valuable defense system. The APEX Mobile Point Defense Systems were an automated weapons system capable of defending a secure area by itself, or under the direction of a remote operator. It was extremely effective with motion sensors a range of 200 meters, when a target moves across the sensor's 360 degree field of the fire, the central mini-gun tracks the targets, adjusts for movement, and fires. The operative can activate the APEX from as far away as a 1000meters; as well as activate individual unites by location by assigning a number and frequency or even deactivate on by the same process. It had a battery life of 50 hours though that could be extended by solar panels. The weapon capabilities had a drum of 400 rounds of 9mm caseless long ammunition, a land mine with the power of a machine gun.

Of course one of the better pieces of equipment wasn't lethal armament, but communications.

The armor of the SG troop helmets were sleek, motorcycle style helmets equipped with a zoom camera, a 360 degree microphone that transmits sound through the bones of their head. This allows soldiers to communicate during combat without giving away their positions. Hand singles no longer had to be directly scene, as the soldiers glove contain sensors, and the microprocessors embedded in the helmet recognizes the hand sign and transmit the single to the display inside each of the other soldier's visors. A 'Heads Up Display' dubbed HUD view in each helmet that allowed the wearer to see friendlies and the thermal pattern of hostiles. Each patrol member was also linked to a wireless network, allowing the solider to track the progress of the patrol by reviewing various readouts that display, maps, times, and distances, on the small screen display.

Other benefits Sam counted was the sonic suppressors each team member had, their new black chameleon uniforms that absorb both light and heat effectively making her warriors invisible even without the cloaking devises. The armor made of composite materials woven with carbon nanotubes, and microfibers, stronger than steel stopped most small caliber rounds. The inside layer of the uniform is composed of a network of micropossessor that monitor skin and body of the warrior. All soldiers in action were the uniform, which continually transmits life-support data to the command post over a wireless network. It continually monitors the operative's health. Another health issue arose with the SG-team uniforms. They were treated with enzymes that broke down toxic substances to provide protraction against biological or chemical agents, that Dr. Janet Fraiser had created and Sam implemented on a prototype now used widely. Each uniform was also equipped with pads for elbows and knees as well was as a lighter weighted ALICE vest.

The chameleon effect in the uniform was do to the weaving of electronicphoeric polymer components. It not only allowed the uniform to change color and to provide camouflage in any environment, but also refract the light so the cloth did not remain black. The warrior was practically invisible.

However her teams also had the electromagnetic cloaks she devised. Sam had been able to reproduce from the device taken from the Goa'uld's assassin that had been sent to the Alpha Site those long years ago. All of them together, would give them a chance to come out of the conflict alive.

Her people both the SG teams and the Angelics were loyal on to the death to her and for the cause they fought for. The Soldiers of Malakim have sworn to fight the 'Diabolicals'…the Goa'uld and their servants on any front, regardless of the consequences to themselves. 'We have always fought in organizations or operate alone'. And they had sworn upon their own blood complete loyalty to Carter.

Sam Carter called to her warriors under her command, human and Malakim alike; all would be called to meet with their commander at her large ovular tent inside the cavern. They circled around a large fire just outside the tent to warm themselves by its heat.

"This rain isn't going to let up any time soon and the fog isn't going anywhere either. So we are moving out. It is guerrilla war, ambush patrols work quite well when used to psychologically attack the enemy. If the enemy moves around a lot at night and they experience several costly ambushes they will be much more scared of moving around at night for fear of ambush. We can also make them believe we are greater in number then we are. We have to inflict heavy casualties on the enemy, the only way we can do that, with the means we have is surprise attack.

"Fear of getting shot by an unseen attacker is the worst kind of fear because they must be constantly alert, the Jaffa are bread to be strong, and fearless but we have to place a lot of stress on them, the only thing they fear is to fail their gods. This can be exploited.

"I want machine guns placed at either end of the box to close off the kill zone and when possible shoot down it. For this reason we take a bend in their patrol lines. Regular fireteams fill in the gaps between machine guns. Special care should be taken to make sure nobody is visible from the Jaffas' point of view. I want claymores and the APEX Mobile Point D-Systems planted on the patrol lines, and mortars set up. The deafening blast and sudden casualties will confuse the enemy and dramatically slow down their response, especially if a Goa'uld is caught in the blast. The mine blast is the signal to open fire cutting down any survivors. We are not taking prisoners people.

"I don't have to tell you it will be extremely dangerous out there because there will be little to no visual conformation on hostiles, make sure you activate the HUD on you're helmets, I don't want any casualties, especially due to friendly fire. The APEX systems will be more effective if you're not sure of your shot.

"We move two by two into the forest and wait. I will have a small team of volunteers delegate the south ridge of the Jaffa outpost camps, set up a series of explosives, the distraction should be enough to call out the Jaffa warriors out. While to the East half of SG1 will be diploid to draw out the forces Imhotepe will no doubt have hidden away. Two soldiers will enter Jaffa camp and take the first primes. But I need absolute stealth until I reach the encampment. No doubt they will have ways to detect us even if we are cloaked that is why it is crucial that distractions are timed, allowing for the assassin team to sneak into the encampment undetected. The fog will be working against them as much as it is us. We can use the mists to our advantage

"Major Hagon I want you to take your team and go down to the west of the ravine wait there until called for, I want you to flank them. Set up another ambush, once they feel they have fled one ambush I want them to run into another and another. Each fireteam will consist of two humans and one Malakim. Sniper attack and ambush and sabotage is the key to our getting out of here.

"SG1 a few years ago was able to destroy two Goa'uld mother ships with only five soldiers, people we can do this. We will not give up and we wont go down without a fight."

The three other members of SG1, the five soldiers of SG3 let out a chorused, "Yes Ma'am."

The Malakim warriors all bowed their heads, their closed fists snapped over their hearts, with a hollow thud, "Yes, my Liege Commander."

"Colonel…the teams that will be deployed into the ranks of the Jaffa inner guard…that is a suicide mission." Major Hagon pointed out.

"That is way I am going myself and only asking for volunteers." Sam said rather removed. It surprised her to see not only SG1 stand forward but the entire company of SG3, it didn't surprise her that the angelic beings had volunteered their lives.

She smiled and nodded her head, proud of her warriors.

"Colonel." A young tawny-brunette woman spoke, "because of the Naquaada and protean markers in my DNA, it is logical I accompany the team, if we acquire Goa'uld technology you'll need another who can use it."

Sam's expression was unreadable. She winced inwardly, suppressing a shudder for the young woman was right. She knew she was sending her daughter into a situation that could get her killed. "Permission granted Lieutenant Fraiser."

Another breathe, "Teal'c I can't order you…"

"I will go with you Colonel Carter."

"Sam…" Daniel began…

"No, Daniel, I need you to go with Razeal, to the temple and translate the scrolls…we need a contingency plan, if we can not possess one of the Goa'uld ships and hope they have a Stargate on board, then we have to find another way off this planet… or we are going to be here a very long time. And if that is the case we need to find a base that is completely defendable with its own water source and only one approachable point of entry."

The archeologist nodded his head complying with the logic of his long time friend.

"Colonel." Arion, captain of the Malakim strode forward, her dark wings tucked close to her body, "I shall go, my skills will be useful and if extraction is needed quickly, I can take one other to wing. Then go back for the others."

"Alright that's four, the rest of you have your orders. Arion, what do you know of the temple, I know its sacred to your people, but anything you can tell us, could save our lives."

The young angelic figure turned to a male standing to the back, "Malachi comply."

Malachi stood eight feet tall, his wings a brilliant iridescent red fluttered as he knelt bowing his head as he addressed his superior. "Colonel. There is an ancient proverb that was old when the eldest of our eldest was young. 'Myth is the history we cannot escape. Mystery is the omen we cannot ignore. Madness is the terror we cannot stop.'

" The proverb references to our Pantheon. The faith of the Pantheon is not static, Colonel. New spirits are born old ones are forgotten. This is precisely why it has never died. It has evolved. Malakim have classes, and sects. All Malakim serve Archangels, directly or indirectly. They are the greatest crusaders for all that is good and right in World-Symphony. Those who do not serve Archangels are Remnants they hold no loyalty to any.

"The Remnant Outcasts fell from the Virtues and were exiled. Banished for all time for seeking forbidden knowledges. They were cast out of the Eyries never to return and sent into the great wilderness, they chose the darkest mountains as a refuge. There it is said they found a Stargate, and learned its ways. They traveled the galaxies pretending to be something more then what they are. Sprits that lead evolving man to believe them descendents of Gods. Their temples are diabolical and they are a sacrilege to all Malakim. They do not follow the ways and are vile to us.

"Colonel the Exiled Ones cannot be trusted. The temple…is filled with the forbidden knowledges…and the key to the Exiles Gate. If they have a Gate upon this planet getting to it will not be an easy task. But we will not be daunted." The winged youth saluted in the Malakim way, waiting to be dismissed.

Sam had a moment of drifting thought, if the Malakim she knew had such devotion to their archangel, and now to her it was almost stifling; she could not imagine the scope of it. After all the pure devotion these warriors had pledge to her was unwavering and unshakable. Their devotion to her was not unlike the devotion the Jaffa held for their particular Goa'uld lord or queen.

But then the more she thought about it was no less devote than her loyalty to the SCG and to her teammates, to the preservation of earth and battling the Goa'uld. The Malakim warriors she had before her, she trusted not only with her life, but also with the lives of her soldiers. They would give their lives if she but asked; they were steadfast and would not budge an inch even in the most terrifying encounters. They knew fear but never yielded to it. The winged warriors were honorable to a fault and were more rigid then any military personal Sam had ever encountered including the Jaffa, demanding precision in all things. To disobey either the word or the spirit of her orders was to lose more than honor it would lose their birthright.

"Alright… Razeal you and Daniel will go to this temple. I understand your collective reluctance to go there I but I need one of you to take Dr. Jackson there, I need to know if there is another Gate."

"I will comply, my Colonel." The young Razeal saluted once more, his head bowed in reverence to his leader. "When do you wish me to deploy?"

"In an hour." Sam said, and then turned her attention to the others. "The rest of us will leave in three hours, be prepared to move out, I want two APEX Mobil unties left to protect base camp. Dismissed."

Everyone save for Cassie filled out to other parts of the cavern and their perspective camps to obey the orders of their colonel. The young woman shifted nervously from foot to foot. "Ma'am?" She said in a soldier's voice…paused them said, "Mama?"

Sam looked up and tried to smile, her masque of professional indifference slipping. Her eyes betrayed her, such soft expressions of love and dread awash within the blue orbs.

"Hey…remember. I'm very brave." Cassie smiled stepping up to her mother.

"Very brave." Sam whispered. Her teeth gnashed together, knowing she had sent her daughter to die, she was in the field…she was a colonel…she was supposed to be detached.

'Damn it I'm a mother too!'

Not caring that others may see her, she took her daughter into her arms and held her tight. Whispering to the younger woman's ears alone. "I love you kiddo."

"You are only thing doing what you have to do mama…Colonel. Holy Hannah, you had to give the order…and I have to accept…my going is a logical choice we both know the strategy in it. I have the ability to use Goa'uld technology just like you, if we mean to capture a mother ship I am one of the few that can manipulate their technology. Or any other weaponry they may have…and…I want to make you proud of me…"

Sam opened her mouth, but closed it when Cassie nearly snapped to attention. "Not in you're my mother proud…I want to make you proud to be my commander…I want to be a great officer…like you…like mom…General O'Neill…It isn't easy living in your shadow, you know…you're a legend in your own time, Mama. Everyone compares me to you, mama…all the time…and to mom too, and …I have a lot to live up too…I just want to make you a proud commander."

"Oh god Cassie, don't you know I am proud of you? Both as your mother and as your Colonel? You're a fine example of an officer… and yes I've been proud of your achievements on so many levels." It was a mother's hand that cupped the younger woman's chin. "If I've been hard on you, I'm sorry, but I didn't want you to be singled out for favoritism…special treatment…Cassie, you are my daughter and you are one of the best officers I have had under my command. It's a privilege to have you in my team. And I am so very, very proud of you."

Cassie brightened, standing a bit taller.

Sam sucked in a breath she wasn't aware she was holding. "Lieutenant Fraiser, now go assemble your gear and be ready to move out."

"Yes Ma'am." The soldier's voice had returned. Cassie saluted her colonel waited for the return gesture before she turned a sharp 180 on her heel and went to carry out her orders.

There were others on SG1 and SG3 had seen the exchange between the two women, and there was not one among them that envied Carter's predicament. More than a few of them were parents themselves, and all of them, save perhaps Teal'c who had already known his son's destiny, could not imagine the pain of knowing you had just ordered your child into a suicide mission. It had to be killing Carter knowing she may never see her child again, despite that child was now twenty-three years old.

'You're very brave.' Sam whispered. 'Remember I love you, kiddo.'

She had so little time left…The girl was asleep in her arms, her slight weight nothing to Carter as she cradled the child close to her. She could feel the sweet breath escaping whisper fine upon her chest, making her want to cradle the babe in arms closer and never let go. She was almost venomously protective when O'Neill offered to take Cassandra from her.

Now she was in the elevator going down several floors deep into the bowls of the earth, into the derelict bunker of the missile complex, which was now for impotent military use. Far deeper then any grave, Sam was about to leave this golden child to die. The device in her chest a Trojan horse of the vilest Goa'uld constructs. To use an innocent…to kill hundreds perhaps thousands…this wasn't superior technology this was utter barbarity in its finest. Never before now had Sam so loathed the Goa'uld.

She was supposed to be a solider she was supposed to be detached…she had been responsible for hundreds of deaths while flying F116 bombers; she had not squirmed when having to perform black ops on alien parasites. Now this small girl had brought her to her knees, her impossible sapphire eyes, glistened in unshed burning tears.

A small movement in her arms snapped Sam back to herself, as she realized her precious cargo stirred.

'Oh god…she's awake…' "Go back to sleep sweety."

"Let me down." Cassandra whispered softly, her trusting brown eyes resting upon her hero. "Where are we going?"

"Somewhere safe." Sam managed; her teeth locked together…'Safe…for whom?' How could I lie to her? How could I pretend everything was going to be okay? Nothing was okay!' "It's okay." A lie! "Remember you're very brave." At least that was that truth.

They walled down the long cold lifeless hall, to the deepest area of the bunker. Behind the thickest walls of reinforced concrete, strong enough to contain a thermal blast, and fall out Sam would leave the child to her tomb.

"It's going to be okay Sam." Cassandra's sweet innocent voice shattered the young Captain's heart, pulverizing her reserve, swallowing hard the thickness in her throat; Sam remained as silent as the grim reaper she was impersonating by this act of deceit.

"Just a little further." Sam said. "And we'll be in the safe place."

Cassandra followed as unquestioning as Isaac followed Abraham to the mount to be slaughtered as a sacrifice. Sam was her idol, her unshakable hero. Cassandra had fallen in love with the beautiful woman, as any child loves their mother deeply. Mother was the name of god in the hearts and lips of all children. And for this particular child the name of god wasn't mother, it was Sam. She had lost her mother to the sickness, but Sam came swooping in like an angel, giving her hope once more, and letting her know she'd never be alone anymore. She had even changed her painting with a crude red stick figure telling Cassandra that it represented her, and promised her she was never to be alone again. Cassandra never thought to question it. Sam's word was law.

The chamber was a crypt of rubble and barren remains of the past. It was hear that Sam sat Cassandra down upon a broken pediment, wrapping the blanket tighter around the oh so tinny malnourished frame. The blonde was almost crying freely now.

Sam smiled, feeling loathing for herself, "remember you're very brave." She said softly, touching the girl's cheek. Biting back the pain within her. The lump in her throat had become a sizable burning block. "Very brave."

"Sam what's wrong?"

"I have to leave you here for a little while, okay? I'll be back…" 'Oh god it's all lies…I'm fucking lying to her!'

"Are you crying?"

"No!" An admit denial. Before she lost it completely Sam backed up and turned her back on the child.


She reached for the door.

"Sam…don't leave me…. Sam! Sam!"

Shuddering, Sam swallowed hard, as she began to close the door.

"SAM! SAM! SAM!!" Fear filled cries of terror, pleading for understanding. "SAM!"

The door slammed shut, the tears fell, to door was locked. Sam Carter spun on her heels running for the other end of the corridor feeling something she had never felt before. Cowardice. Never had she so hated herself, even when she had believed she had betrayed Janet…those many months ago.

Sprinting into the lift that would take her back to the levels of safety back to SG1, Sam punched the button commanding it to move. Her tears, her anguish freed, itself mindless or perhaps all to aware of the self inflicted damage Sam beat the walls of the elevator, first with her kicks then with her fist, pummeling the mettle case, with anger, self-loathing, obligation to duty, for those cries. No matter how long she lived… she would forever hear the child crying out her name in desperation. Sinking to the floor in complete disappear, the grief overwhelming her Sam sunk further and further into herself.

How could she leave her? Awake… waiting to die…it would have been easier, so much easier if Cassandra had staying in coma. She was awake…

Sam's mind raced. Cassandra was awake! Why? The astrophysicist leapt to her feet, wrong or right about a sudden flash of scientific revelation, she had to go back down to Cassandra. If she was right, she could not leave the girl there alone, waiting for starvation to kill her because everyone thought her death was radioactive. If she was wrong…Sam…could not leave her…She couldn't…she had made a promise.

Impenitent of disobeying a direct order, the young woman rushed back to the cell mindless of any repercussions. Besides if she was wrong, you can't court-martial a corpse. All she told O'Neill was that Cassandra was awake; she had heard Daniel's "Oh God." Before she cut off all communications.

Sam reeled the locking mechanism on the door, closed it behind her and rushed to Cassandra's side, embracing her in a life crushing bearhug. Her tears wetting the child's shoulder as she held her close to her.

"You're very brave." Sam said as she cradled the girl closer to her, if the blast did happen, it would take the blonde as well.

"So are you." Cassandra uttered back clutching the blonde as tightly as her hero was holding her. "I love you."

"I love you too." Sam managed holding the child even closer until oxygen almost became an issue.

It happened then.

Sam's watched beeped zero-hour.

And they were alive. Holy Hannah they were alive!

Colonel Sam Carter watched as her warriors nearly had base camp dissembled and stored to move out. Daniel and Razeal approached her; obviously they were ready to leave. The winged warrior bowed as his kind did upon one knee his fist over his heart his head titled, his eyes cast to the floor until his superior gave him leave to stand at ease.

At first the reverence of the beings unnerved Sam as it always did when some alien race thought SG1 gods because they traveled the Stargate, until she discovered the bend of the knee wasn't due to worship or fear but that all the Malakim showed such respect for all of their superiors. It was the Malakim way of allowing the more dominating ranking officer or their 'Liege Commander' show of honorable face. It was not unlike a samurai showing true respect for his shogun. The Malakim warrior like a samurai exposed his neck for the sword, of his liege. It took absolute trust and respect to show such face to another in such a way.

"Razeal." She said allowing the single word to give her impression he might rise. He regained his full seven-foot plus height and stood silent as the archeologist approached the Colonel.

"Sam, I'm ready to move out." The blonde man said simply wondering if he shouldn't say more, feeling he should. "Sam I've been your friend for a long time, and I know…that sending Cassie…in is killing you, I could use the extra back up…"

"Daniel I know what you're trying to do. But my daughter knows the risks." Sam said with a measure of pride. "And she's right, I'll need her abilities with my strike team. And yeah it is killing me, I'm her commander, her colonel but I'm her mother, and I hate it I have to separate the two. God I hate it, but we both know our duty." Blue eyes winced as a heady breath was drawn in to steady frayed emotions.

All the time Daniel had known the beautiful woman, he had liked her, in time that had grown to love as any brother loved his sister. Sam was more then resourceful, and more intelligent than had had seen in many a folk including even the most advanced alien nations. She was a complex woman of many enigmatic layers a scholar, a warrior, the lover and wife of another brilliant woman, a mother of two children and so much more. She had a stronger spirit and soul than he had met in all of his encounters. It was so easy to see why so many had fallen in love with her if not wonder. Knowing her, how could you not love her? Jack O'Neill was still in love with her after all these years, Daniel loved her and in his way even Teal'c did. There was nothing these three men would not do for her. And knowing her command there was not one member on SG3 or the Malakim whom would not do the same. Not out of love, but out of sheer respect for her and her abilities as a commander.

It was a friend now that stood in front of the tall ageless blonde. "She takes after you, you know. She'll come thru have faith in that."

"Daniel it is the only thing that is making me be okay with this. You know when she joined up; I thought well she's following her mothers' footsteps. Being who she is…what she is…it was the only logical choice. Janet was a little worried about it, but she relaxed when Cassie said she was going more into the scientific aspects of it. A medic and astrophysicist…I thought great field as non-combat…but so are you and it hadn't stopped you from bring thrust into the middle of a death-zone or even my wife for that matter. I wanted to protect her you know. I don't regret she joined up…don't get me wrong. Her entire childhood …she's been a military brat." Sam laughed slowly. "So is Becky, and if she joined…I don't know…Daniel…I keep thinking when Cassie first came to Janet and I… and I bless that day…now I look at not a child but a grown woman, she's devoted so much of her energy to her work…"

"Surprised?" The archeologist commented. "Look at who her mothers are and tell me she didn't pick up the workaholic bit from you and Janet…tell me her devotion to something she has passion for is a phase. These are good qualities."

"Oh I know that." Sam smiled. "And I am so proud of her, so is it wrong to sometimes see the little girl in her?"

Daniel shrugged his shoulders. "I think that is the bane of every parent…. that they from time to time see the little life that once was in their grown child, daughter or son, I think it's the same. And I don't think any parent is ready to order their child into a life and death situation. I mean its hard enough to send friends, and trusted allies, fellow soldiers and teammates to go into the fray but when its your own child…who is one of those warriors its has to be one of the hardest things you have ever faced."

"One yes…" Sam looked down to her boots, thinking of the twelve-year-old child that had so desperately cried out to her in anguish behind that steel door, those many years back. A child she nearly left to die. Then to lose her again when she was sixteen had been torment. But both Janet and Sam had seen it through together. It was another life remembered, and after they had, had a life without interruptions of death.

"Sam I have faith in you. You've always brought to us a fighting chance to survive even in the most darkest of hours. Someway, somehow we will make it out of this alive, all of us. I trust in that." Daniel commented softly.

"You put too much faith in one person, Daniel." Sam said dryly. "Be careful you're not disillusioned."

"Sam, if you think that for one moment there isn't one here who doesn't trust their very souls with you, then it is you that are disillusioned. Sam don't you know what you mean to everyone here? What you bring with you? You are our best reason to hope, our best chance to live and avoid the doom the Goa'ulds have thought to condemn us. Some live to serve death, some die to serve life. You are the latter Sam. Like it or not, you are these peoples' hero Samantha Carter. They would follow you into the bowels of Hell and face Hades himself if you but ask it"

"That is exactly what I must do Daniel ask them to go into Hell. And we will see more devils then I care to."

I fear more than that…my little baby girl Rebecca and my darling beloved wife…my sweet…sweet Janet…am I and Cassandra, not to see you again? No! By god no! I will see you again my lover, my heart. If I am to be these peoples' hope, then my sweet baby-mine you are mine. For you my Janet, I will come out alive, and I will bring home our eldest…alive. You are my hope. I'll come home to you…I'll come home to you...I'll come home to you…'

"Cassandra, I think you'll like staying with Janet, a lot." Sam said smiling to the girl sitting in the passenger seat of her mustang. "She and I are…very good close friends."

"But Sam why can't I live with you?"

Sam looked to the girl then back to the highway before her. After the loathsome lies she had to tell the child only a day before, Sam was resolved not to lie to the girl again, not like that.

"Sweety, I wish you could stay with me. But I'm off world to often and I won't be around for you, not enough. Janet will be. And sweety I'll see you every chance I get. I spend a lot of time with her…with Janet. She can be the guardian for you I can't be."

"But I love you…I hardly know Janet."

"I know." Sam squeezed the girl's shoulder. "I care for you too. I and I care for Janet, she is my very close friend like I said. And I trust her, with everything. You'll like her."

"She's very nice, and pretty like you, but… I …" Cassandra looked out the window watching the stately homes zoom by, in-between thick deliberately planted groves of trees.

"What?" Curiousness and softness was in the voice of the blonde as she studied the child. Cassandra's hand was lazily petting the pup that was sleeping heavily upon her lap. She had named the dog Jack named after Colonel O'Neill. After it all it was he who had given her the pooch. Though the name should have been Jacky for the pup was a female, but Cassie said since Sam was Sam and still a girl, Jack the dog could be Jack and still be a girl-dog.

"You said you'd never leave me again like before."

Sam's heart was thrust warp speed into agony of her resent transgression against the child's innocent trust, because she was following orders. "I wont leave you like that Cassandra. I can't keep you with me as much as I'd love that. It's impossible. Cassandra, I'm off world once or twice a week, sometimes for expended periods of time. I can't be the guardian I should be for you. Janet can. And I do promise you every chance I get I'll come and see you. And we'll do things together like we spent in the park today.

"But Cassandra, I promise you will love staying with Janet. She's a wonderful woman, and she's excited to have you stay with her. You'll have your own bedroom and everything. We have some cloths for you, but…we have a small budget for SGC that will be able to give you more money to get more clothes…and things, toys…heck even a Playstation 2. They're the best; they have backward technology playing old first gen-games and new games, and play DVDs and CDs.

"Sam, what is all that? I mean CDs, DVDs and a…play-station two?"

"Oh you're in for a real treat. DVD are disks that play movies, CDs play music and a Playstation, well it plays video games…I'll show you. See that is another earth rule, every kid has to at least own some kind of game system to play video games."

"Do you play video games?"

"I am a pro at Tomb Raider and Broken Sword, I'll show you. You'll like them and there are hundreds of games to choose from. And the music, oh Cassie wait until you find out what a music store is." Sam grinned ruffling the child's hair.

"Hey I like that." Cassandra returned the smile.

"What the shopping?"

"No you called me Cassie…short for Cassandra right? Like Sam is short for Samantha?"

"Yeah." The blonde nodded. "So you like having a nickname?"

"Just like you, Sam I have a short-name. I like it a lot." Cassie puffed out her chest proudly. Loving the idea that she was anything like Sam. She wanted to be just like Sam in everything. If Sam liked those…what ever it was video games…she'd like them too. If Sam liked all those gadgets she spoke of then so would Cassie. And if Sam liked Janet a lot so would Cassie. There would be no ifs ands or buts about it.

Sam led the way to the house; with Cassie trailing behind her bring Jack loping along happily upon a leash. "Will Janet let me keep Jack?" Cassie wondered hoping that maybe if she found a reason she wouldn't like staying with the brunette she could stay with Sam.

"She knows all about it and has no problem. She told me that she even installed a doggie door herself, in the back door. The backyard is fenced in so Jack wont run off. And I bet she'll let you even take the pup to your room at night."

"Oh..." Cassie tried to sound enthused. Then she looked up top the tall blonde. "Do you have a dog?"

"No." Sam said. "Too much maintenance for me. But I have a cat a big old tom named Schroeder. He's an orange tabby. I'll show him to you one day."

"A cat?"

"Um…a smaller animal than a dog, hunts mice…furry and they purr and cute. I guess I am a cat person." She shrugged mindlessly before laying a single knock on the door before she opened it.

"Hey Ba---" Sam stopped herself, before she finished her endearment. Cassie had no idea that Janet was something far more then just a friend to her. Sam didn't know how the child would respond to a same-sex relationship.

Janet was one of the very, very few who were both authorized to take the child under her wing with security clearance and willing to have an other life to be responsible for. It actually came down to two choices Hammond or rather his daughter who would only be told their girl was a refugee, or Janet. Janet had no qualms about taking the girl. Like Sam herself she had grown to care a great deal for her. And more to the point, Sam had loved the child as if she had given birth to her. In that respect, Janet could not refuse the child sanctuary. In time the young doctor had loved the girl as deeply as her beloved.

It would take another year and a half before the girl called Janet mom, and Samantha Mama. For Sam said she had called her own mother mama.

The fog thick wall of white hide everything, every movement, every sound displaced, perfect if you did not want to be noticed. And here obeying the orders of their Co, five marines without ever questioning had set up the parameters exactly as the Colonel commanded. The APEX mobile security system was placed within the picket line of the Jaffa enemy. Mortar lines hidden in the earth to ensnare the enemy, both weapons would cut down the defensives of the hoard of Jaffa warriors. Snipers lay in wait their HUD mapping out the coordinates they need to separate friendly from hostile movement.

Likewise the Malakim waited, their parameters equally guarded their loyalty to their Liege Commander utterly unshakeable. Their abilities with telekinesis, pyrokinesis, (the ability to discharge a ball of fire,) necrosis (the ability to fire a blot of electricity into a target) and entropy (which could heal or drain the life of a target) were their weapons. Each of the winged warriors was armed with the traditional weapon of their order, a sun-sword. The blade as constructed out of an ectoplasma beam of light, a lazar in essence that bore the distinct appearance of a single column of flame. The two handed hilt was made out of mythril overlaid in blue-jade, the crossbar an elaborate lionian Neo-Celtic zoomorphic design that looked as if it was a relic from the fourteenth centaury Europe, the pommel would have been classified as a wheel, each held a stone of the wearer's heraldry marking of their clan.

When Sam had saved the life of Queen of the Malakim, the Ladyship Novalis, she had not only been given a wing of warriors, but one of the sun-swords with the Carter coat-of-arms emblazed on the pommel's disk. When General O'Neill saw the gift, he had teased Sam relentlessly that it resembled a light saber until Daniel pointed out the biblical texts that referenced angelic guardians with swords of flame, two such warrior guardians were said to stand sentential over the Garden of Eden. To a primitive cutler of Samaria a sun-sword could look very much like a sword made out of flame.

Sam, Cassie, Teal'c and the Malakim warrior Arion waited, with the patients of a pride of predators. Their single to move would be the firefight within the ravine. Until then they would stalk ever closer to their quarry. The chameleon uniform, and personal cloaking devices allowed for the warriors to infiltrate enemy grounds. Their mission was elementary. Sneak in a ship, try to locate a Stargate, if one was not located set up explosives and ready it for destruction. Then proceed to the next. If no Stargates were on any of the three ships, she would issue the order to for all three to be destroyed.

She prayed to whatever god was listening; whatever entity was benevolent that Daniel and Razeal were able to discern the glyphs inside the forbidden temple and find the Exiles Gate. There was a Malakim saying 'Four thousand throats maybe cut in a night by a single running warrior.' What then of four such warriors?

Cassandra had been over stimulated.

Janet and Sam had both wanted to welcome the child with a bang. A banner that read 'Welcome home Cassandra ' was hung from a partition of walls going from the foyer to the living room, mylar balloons were floating everywhere. They gave Cassandra a tour of her new home, both woman taking mental notes on how to make the house a bit more friendly and interactive for a twelve year old.

Her bedroom was overrun with a hoard of fluffy stuffed animals that all of SG1 and General Hammond had bought for the child one such plush creature sat in the corner of the room for it had no other place to sit it was far too large. The goliath-sized Pooh Bear sat facing the bed with a crocked lopsided grin. It was a present from both Sam and Janet to Cassie, something to help chase away the nightmares, it could cuddle Cassie rather then the other way around.

Upon the dresser tiny fragile blown glass and porcelain angels and delicate fairies to help ward against nighttime terrors. There was also a DEL desktop computer upon a writing desk complete with DSL online hookup, so that Cassie had a hands up on homework when she started school. She had a TV and VCR/DVD player upon a miniature entertainment center. There was also a bookcase with several shelves already filled with young adult fiction: The Narnia series, Richard Kipling's stories, the entire set of Oz, The Black Stallion (for most young girls loved horses for some reason) and Harry Potter and also the two Alice in Wonderland books as well as Peter Pan (the original version not Disney's), J. R.R Tolkein's collective works and the Dragon Riders of Pern entire saga, made up the little library. Anything else Cassie wanted could be added latter. Save for Harry Potter, all of the books and come personal from both Janet and Sam's collection when they were younger.

Upon the wall a picture of a nebula and the solar system to bring Cassie a bit of comfort when her hero was off world. On that note Sam had given Cassie her first globe of the known universe one her own mother had given her when she was twelve. This way Cassie could try and map where Sam went on her jumps threw the Gate that didn't exist.

On another shelf were board games, Clue, Monopoly, Life, Chess, checkers both western and Chinese, a card game named Magic, cribbage, and dominos as well as a deck of regular playing cards.

On that same shelf, Cassie would find a five-disk CD tape-deck portable stereo. With a few of the new boy bands that Janet had asked the clerk at the shop what young teenage girls liked. Once more if Cassandra wanted more music it could be acquired upon their shopping trip.

After the tour, and exploration of the room the three sat down with a pizza party and a game of Clue. Janet had decided not ever to play that particular game with Sam again as she had after asking each Janet and Cassandra questions on preceding terns had promptly discovered who killed Mr. Body with what weapon in what room. It rapidly ended the game in twenty minutes after it had started.

The girl now lay asleep on the couch the second movie of the night still playing. They had first watched Warriors of Virtue, then Star Wars, which Cassie had fallen asleep when the Obi-Wan-Kenobi was combating Darth Vader.

"I think she had a pretty big day…a whole day playing in the park, on the swings, roller blading, playing catch with the Colonel, then brought to her new home…"

"A bit much, not to mention the last couple of days." Janet nodded with a smile. "You know she sure idolizes you."

Sam ran a hand threw her short blonde hair, her face once a smile now a grimace. "I know. I'll have to climb down off that pedestal before I fall off." Sam had picked up the slight weight of the child and started for her bedroom. Janet had turned back the blue coverlet so that the tall blonde could tuck the child into the warmth of the mattress. Janet watched as her lover bent over the angelic form of the girl and kissed her forehead, fluttering back the locks of dark hair. "Love you little one." She whispered silently.

They would tiptoe from the room, gently closing the door behind them. "You have a very natural way with her Sam." Janet said once they were heading down the stairs. "You're so sweet with her."

"It kinda took me by surprise too, how quickly I took a shine to her." The blonde admitted. "I mean after I found her, she quickly became my shadow. I don't know Janet I never expected to be any ones mother-type-person. Being a parent…it wasn't something I really ever wanted."


"My dad." Sam swallowed. Their talk had migrated into the kitchen; Sam took a chair by the table, her hand curled around a bottle of tepid beer, the pad of her thumb stroking the glass. "It was one of my greatest fears I'd be just like him as a parent. He was always away…you know… off on some military operations. Daddy's little girl always knew he'd come back, always knew he'd win, but as a person…he wasn't the warmest guy. Especially when Mom died…he was so distant. I reminded him too much of her." Sam looked down to the table and her hand. "We look a lot alike, same blue eyes, same blonde hair…when I was young I wore it long just like Mama…. Dad had pulled so far away…he put me in boarding schools because it was easier to visit me then to be someone I needed. Mark left and with me away, he didn't have anyone underfoot. I never wanted to be like that…ever...I couldn't take Cassie because it would be just like that…me away all the time. I can't put her thru that Janet. My Dad… he always had to be right. Always. He could never admit when he was wrong. The only time he did was when he apologized for Mom's death…if he hadn't I don't think I would have ever forgiven him or the military…hell I probably would never had entered the academy…He…is such a hard man.

"The whole time I was growing up, he would turn something around…always telling me to do something for him. Always making something about him. And if I didn't comply, I was a disappointment to him. Go to the barding school for him; enter every scholastic club there was for him. He knew I put him on a petal stool when I was a child, and he always manipulated that. He was always pushing me…I skipped four grades in school you know and all he could say I wasn't doing enough…so I became entered in to early college courses, I was still as sophomore in high school when I was a sophomore in college… When I told him I was going for my doctorate…in astrophysics…that I became a Top-Gun…hell when I became the youngest female commissioned officer, he always made me feel like I did it in his shadow…like it still wasn't good enough

"Janet I don't want to be anything like him as a parent… I don't want Cassandra thinking she isn't doing enough, that I can't be wrong and admit it; I want her to feel like she can come to me without fear that she can confide in me. That she can feel…With Dad…I had to lock away most of my feelings…I couldn't be a girl with him…I was always tom-boyish…anyway…but…if I reminded him of Mom…if I showed softer emotions…he'd tell me that if I wanted to get any where in the man's world I couldn't let my emotions be seen. I had to build a wall…I don't want Cassie to feel she ever has to do that…and it terrifies me that I'll be just like him…that she won't feel like she is loved. That I love her."

Janet had been leaning against the sink, now crossed the small distance between them and knelt beside the woman she loved, her hand resting upon the long legs of the blonde. "Lover, you have such a capacity to love and to be loved. Had you ever thought you might be like your Mom? Sweety maybe you are like your father when soldiering, but I seen you with Cassie and you're great baby. You're amazing really. And what you did…when you went after her in that dungeon of a place…was more out of love then what you claimed as logic. Give yourself a brake my love."

Sam smiled, her hand reached out from the bottle she held to touch the softness of Janet's cheek. "You're pretty incredible you're self. So willing to take a teen in your home and be her legal guardian, effectively her mother."

"One of her mothers." Janet remarked warmly. "I don't think you could pull away from her now. Sweety you couldn't leave her to die what makes you think you can now even when she is safe. It's not in you to abandon those you love. You are not your father Samantha Carter, you wont leave her wanting."

"Have I told you lately how much I love you?" Sam smirked, placing a chaste kiss upon Janet' forehead, before resting her own head upon it.

"Not recently no." A teasing response, "so why don't you tell me?"

"I love you baby-girl. You'll never know how much it means to me you wanted to do this, wanted to take her when I couldn't."

"Sam have you ever thought if you could have taken her, that my place in her life really wouldn't have changed? We are together and if she was your ward, lover I would still have some parental influence, just as you do now. Right now it is an address only that separates you two. She's joined to the hip to you and so she is apart of the package that means to be with and love Samantha Carter. Babe I welcome it. But I admit, it is a little scary being a new mom to a teenager."

"Well with a teen at least there aren't dirty dippers to attend to." Sam bantered.

Janet snorted a laugh with that comment and placed a kiss upon Sam's nose, she blinked and shook her head. Reaching down the blonde eased the Lilliputian doctor so instead of kneeling she was sitting upon her lap straddling her legs, looking nearly like a spider.

"No dirty dippers huh? Well there is a small blessing, though on that subject her dog…it is house broken right?"

"Colonel O'Neill said she was." Sam shrugged, her hand clinging around the trim waist of the woman she loved, of her attention was not upon the pup. Janet's hands migrated from her hold upon Sam's waist to her neck; cupping the side of her eloquent jaw line she titled Sam's head up ever so slightly so she could kiss the soft satin lips. Her tongues questing entrance into the other's mouth, the tip running over sharp white teeth, before dawning Sam's own tongue into her mouth suckling hungrily. Janet felt the pull of Sam's strong arms pull tighter, pressing her body into her own.

The kiss deepened, and Janet felt herself melting into Sam's lips, taken by the pure delirious passion thundering within her. Their tongues grappled with one another, neither winning nor losing, but seeking within the other's mouth. Hyperaware of each other's, budding want, Sam began kneading Janet's hips, as the smaller woman suddenly darted swift kisses along the neck and shoulders of her beloved, marveling at the marble smoothness of her pale skin under her lips. And wherever her lips touched Sam glowed with renewed desire. To tall blonde her lover seemed more Pre-Raphaelite then ever, like Rossetti's sensual angels, she had recalled seeing in one of her art history classes she had taken in college to fill a liberal arts criteria. The woman in the painting had burned its image upon the very young Carter, now that same burning swirled in Sam's mind as she gazed upon the glory she held in her arms. She became completely intoxicated by Janet's dominating kisses. White lighting seared in her groin, building, crying out to be touched, released, her whole body burning. Sloe-eyed, her breath heady and labored seared her throat as she quested more sensual contact from her beloved.

A single word brought it all to an abrupt end. "Cassandra." Janet mumbled as she pulled away from Sam's assault upon her throat.

"We'll find a way to tell her." Sam mouthed intent upon seducing her lover.

"No she's here."

Sam bolted to her feet, unceremoniously knocking Janet to the floor in a tangle of arms and legs. A heat of red blush found a permanent place upon the blonde's face whether it was for dumping her girlfriend on the floor or being caught kissing her by Cassandra she didn't know. With a deft quick hand the blonde hoisted Janet to her feet with surprising strength.

"I came down to get something to drink…" Cassie uttered softly feeling as if she had done something terribly wrong. Her head was hung, looking intently at the tiled floor of the kitchen. "I didn't mean to see…"

Sam let out a breath she wasn't even aware she had been holding. "It's okay sweety. You didn't do anything wrong." Sam bit her lower lip, having no clue what so ever on how to explain to a child what she had seen.

Janet took the reigns. "I guess it looked a little weird seeing two woman…kiss like that…"

"My aunt…on Hanka…she was bithil-varda…she had a wife…I guess she was my aunty too." Cassie looked up for the first time seeing the two women before her a wash in confused expressions.

"Bithil-varda?" Janet asked. "Like Sam and I?"

The child nodded.

"Here its…well…." Sam stumbled. "Gay is one of the words, another would be for Janet and I… lesbians…so you know about this kind of relationship?"

"Yeah." Cassie shrugged. "Are you and Janet married, Sam?"

The woman looked to one another, their eyes glistening with unsaid dreams and unfulfilled wishes. "No sweety we're not. On Earth its complicated. Others don't understand it, and ridicule us. So we have to keep our love very secret. If anyone found out especially at the base, Janet and I would have a lot of …trouble."

"So you're being together is like the Stargate…it doesn't exist?"

"Yes. That's right sweety, it has to be a secrete." Janet answered.

"How can someone say is love wrong?" Cassie shrugged. "Isn't love, just love?"

Both women let out a dry laugh. "You'd think that wouldn't you?" Sam said. "But people on earth, not all of them, but some of them think its all wrong because it isn't the…it isn't what they think is normal. But what Janet and I share is both normal and right. You're right Cass, love is love. And yes I love Janet very much."

"That's why you said she was a very special friend in the car on the way over."

The blonde flashed a warm true smile. Her hand stoked the back of her lover in a tender touch of assurance. "Yes."

"Cassie, are you going to be okay with this?" Janet asked tentatively. She swallowed hard, thinking she had faced an entire base filled with degenerative primordial soldiers and the thing that terrified her was standing a few paces before her.

"Yeah," a nonchalant shrug of little shoulders. "I can share Sam with you."

Janet left a ten-ton weight lift from around her neck. "You know that you and Sam share a very special bond, and I wont stand between that. I can share Sam too."

"I think you should marry Sam, even if you marry her in secrete. If you did she would have to live here with us, she could stay all the time…when she isn't off-world." Cassandra said in the same nonchalant tone that had been with her earlier. "She's happy when she's with you." Cassandra finished thinking of the times she had seen the two in the lab back at the base. She remembered even when they were frantic about the Naquaada bomb in her body that Janet had made Sam calm and more she had made her hero smile. If Janet made her Sam happy and glow like she was a moment ago, then there was no beating around the bush about it; Sam and Janet should be married. It was that simple.

SG1 had a surprising good habit of beating the odds.

Turning to the three beside her, Sam uttered with a voice filled with iron conviction: "We won't have a great deal of time to move to the ring transportation once the Goa'uld have deployed their troupes. When in doubt surprise them. Each of your HUD screens has complete schematics of the motherships and where the Stargate would be, the main reactor and bay for the death gliders, set up the C-4 explosives with a twenty-hour delay on the detonators if you do not I repeat do not find a Stargate. If you do, I want the main reactor blown so the ship is grounded. The mass of Jaffa platoons will make it nearly impossible to confiscate the ship so if we do not find a Stargate on any of the ships we blow them all, taking as many Jaffa and Goa'uld as we can. If we cannot escape the ships before they blow, at least we have given the others a chance to survive and if they can find the Exiles Gate they can escape, we will succeed together in a greater whole. The Goa'uld destroyed the Gate they will not destroy us. We will not give up the fight, and we will not surrender. Have hope. I promise you we are not finished with this yet."

'You are my hope Janet, I'll come back to you…know that I love you… You are my hope baby girl. I feel your love. Can you feel mine? Do you know you are the brightest star in the firmaments? Do you know that the light of the last star will burn out before my love of you fades? You are my hope…my Janet…my only hope…you give me strength in the dark. Do you know I love you? Can you feel it? I can feel you can you feel me? Do you know you are my hope? Do you know I love you with all that I am, all that I hope ever to become? Can you feel it my beloved, my love for you? For you…all for you…my always.'

Sam initiated the cloaking device on her left wrist as her right wrist as all SG troopers had a GDO device strapped on it. Her mind shifted gears from Janet to combat mode just as readily as she now shifted for seen to hidden. Her apprehension, her uncertainness washed away in the whispy tendrils of her beloved's ghost presence within her heart.

Part 4

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