Nephalim's Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter Sixteen

Mind Games

With her helm off, Sam looked both regal and wild within the same moment. Her radiance glowed about her like gossamer. The months spent off world had changed her more than her old friends had been prepared to witness. There was an etherealness surrounding her that lent her an unearthly brightness.

The blue cloak she wore rose slightly above her shoulders due to the armored shoulder pads beneath giving Sam the illusion of having wings, folded about her person as if she were a Malakim. Astride the bold Kha'antar she was great and terrible. Magnificent and far too beautiful to behold, the men who had been her long time friends and brothers had to turn their eyes away from the overpowering beauty. Battle-hardened warriors of the USAF and Marines held glimmering tears in their eyes, for never had they beheld such grace. Such was the power of the Song of Presence. For herself, Samantha Carter was almost unaware she was projecting such an aura until she saw the reactions reflected in the faces so familiar to her.

Because it had become such a natural part of her, the natural essence of the Nephalim, Sam could not turn it off as you turn off a light switch, she could however dim the reaction down. Or at least she believed she could. Behind her almost unnoticed came the rest of the Blue Wing.

O'Neill and Mitchell wanted to turn their eyes from the radiance emanating from Carter, it was to them as if they looked upon the corona of the sun for far too long. Even as they closed their eyes it was as if her image was tattooed on the inner part of their eyelids. Lighting strikes are seen even when eyes squeezed tight shut. Even Teal'c was hard pressed not to bend his knee to this formidable woman, in reverence. The last time either Jackson or O'Neill felt this way was when they were in thrall to Hathor.

'This is Carter, for crying out loud!' Jack's mind screamed. 'So why the hell do I feel like I want to worship her? Oh god, she's beautiful. So beautiful....'

'Too beautiful to be real. Sam, god, I can't not look at you and 'not' be in love.' Daniel's mind uttered in silent worship.

'I will worship you as befitting a Goddess, all you need do is tell me to do so.' Teal'c's heart cried out.

'Sam, whatever you want it is yours, I'll be yours.' Cameron's heart yearned to submit to the majesty before him.

"That's a new look for you." Jack O'Neill's voice broke through the paused breath the entire Gate room had taken. Almost collectively those in the room sighed and started to breath once more.

"If I may remind you sir, I retired from the Force. This is Malakim Standard Wing." Carter answered. "Their version of Dress Blues," she added with a slight smile, thinking to herself. 'Okay, it was fun at first, but this is ridiculous. Where the hell is the dimmer switch? I can't have them all acting loopy when I'm trying to get official things done.'

Of course on hearing that Sam Carter was dressed in typical Malakim garb, all eyes fell on the mithril and leather. The snug fit of the leather accentuated the blonde's muscles perfectly. The Wing uniform was practical, functional and not too bluntly put, damn sexy. Of course Carter possessed an imperial look due to the voluptuous cloak which the others of the Blue wing did not wear for they had no need with their great wings folded behind them.

"Behold and take care how you address the Imperial Prime Minister of the Malakim nations." It was Razeal who spoke in lieu of Minister Nachamel. Already his hand rested upon the hilt of his sun sword. It was an action not lost on Teal'c from his many decades of service to the Goa'uld Apophis. Had he not himself punished slaves for not displaying the appropriate homage. Even now he desired to punish those in the embarkation room who had not shown the proper respect to his goddess... no, his friend... a sister... younger sister... Samantha Carter.

'She is my friend, not my Goddess.' The Jaffa warned his heart. 'One does not worship a friend.'

"Yes, of course." Daniel spoke knowing just how temperamental the Malakim could be especially his counterpart Razeal.

Razeal, as the archeologist knew, was a passionate soul, young by Malakim standards and overly protective if not in love with Samantha Carter. Any slight against her no matter how minor would galvanize the spirited Kyriotate into almost reckless action.

"We bid you welcome Prime Minister," Jackson tipped his head slightly in a gesture of respect.

Sam's lips pulled back into a full blown toothy grin, she found the formality her friends were forced to act out because of her new role within the empire highly amusing. For a moment it was easy to forget they were falling all over themselves as they had with Hathor. Still was a little… odd to have to deal with such star-struck individuals especially when they were also her friends.

'This must be what like it feels to be the star of a popular TV show at a convention. Wonder if Cassie's Yolanda Reese felt this way at all those Wormhole X-treme conventions, everyone in love with the character Stacy Monroe... Actually that wasn't a bad show, lasted nine seasons.'

"Prime Minister is one hell of a step-up from General, Carter." Jack said.

"Sir?" Sam's blue eyes flashed an expression of fleeting confusion.

"General..." he snapped his fingers, "Oh right. You didn't get the memo. You and Fraiser have been promoted."

"But we resigned."

"Yes, but not before the promotions were signed and sealed. Straight from the office of the President, she promoted you and Doc Fraiser to Brigadier General. Congratulations."

Sam grinned. 'General Carter. Thought only Dad would be the only General Carter.' Aloud she said: "Sounds great sir."

"You can call me Jack now." The man shoved his hands into his pocket, as he rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet. "After all you're a retired General and now a politician."

"I know, sir. But every time I say Jack, General comes out. Old habits." Sam said with a shrug of her shoulders. Given the nature of her cloak it billowed out in the Malakim's equivalent of indifference as seen in the body language of wings.

She knew it would defuse the reactions of the Blue Wing and the Minister of the GAA, if the Nephalim took no offense at the more blunt and less diplomatic ways of O'Neill. The more Sam tried to turn the 'dimmer switch' down, the more she endeared herself to her old friends, the SF's and the ambassador. All she wanted to do was have them like her as they once had. The effect on the Blue Wing was pandemic they were becoming more and more protective of her. What the blonde hadn't realized was that while she was trying to control the Song of Presence that she was still affecting their reactions to her. Even Kha'antar would not be budged from his position at his mistress' side. Already dangerously protective of her, he was even more so now. A step too close by anyone who was not Janet or the cubs, would raise a deep growl in the throat of the blue maned beast, the claws extended reading to strike, the lips of the muzzle curling up showing six inch long incisors.

As spectacular as the image of the winged beings was, the sight of a human astride the powerful winged white-furred blue-maned lion, took Ayana Midthunder beyond the ability to integrate the wonder into her mind. She wavered on her feet, but was caught by Turelim lest she fall to the hard cement floor of the embarkation room.

"Ambassador?" Blue Wing's first officer questioned softly "What ails thee?"

"No–nothing. Nothing. She's stunning," Ayana admitted her eyes drawn to the glimmering form of the woman who now carried the title of Prime Minister. Naturally Ayana had studied the files of both Generals Carter and Fraiser as well as Major Hailey and Captain Fraiser so as to understand the women who had resigned from the Air Force only to emigrate to the Malakim Empire. "She—she was riding a winged lion."

"A pumaica," Turelim corrected, "His name be Kha'antar."

Ayana's dark brown eyes were still drawn in by the hypnotizing figure of Samantha Carter. She was a bonafide heterosexual but looking at the woman who was the Prime Minster, Ayana entertained the idea of "experimenting" if only to pay homage to this glorious being.

Sam took notice of the unfamiliar female watching her intently, having been told by the GAA of their requirements for the summit to take place, the Nephalim could only assume this was the new Ambassador. From her appearance, Sam recognized that the aged woman was like her friend Doctor Francine Michaels, of Lakota decent.

Daniel knew Sam would take no offense if he called her by name, but her companions would take great exception to such familiarity. "Prime Minister, Minister Nachamel, Warriors of the Blue Wing may I introduce the chosen Earth Ambassador Ayana Midthunder."

From the response of the winged warriors, Ayana gathered that the familiarity with which the men of the base were responding meant that they teetered on the edge of a very dangerous sword's blade. Worse still, the men save one seemed not to be aware of how grave an error they were creating.

Doctor Daniel Jackson seemed to note the need for diplomacy, but it was Jack O'Neill who saw the hands of the seven Malakim knight's rest upon the hilts of what to the Ambassador looked like swords. She could see no blade, but that didn't mean that what their hands rested upon wasn't deadly.

"It is an honor to have audience with you Nephalim," Ayana recalled Jackson's warnings about paying homage to the Nephalim before the Prime Minister. Of course they had all assumed they were two separate persons. Now knowing they were one and the same the protocols in addressing her hadn't changed. "Prime Minister, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you on behalf of Earth."

Sam found herself smiling; it was surreal to the newly acknowledged "retired" General that she was welcomed to the Alpha Site as a potentate of another world by someone from Earth. She knew she was being watched by both the Minister of the Guild of Alien Affairs and the Minister of Defense, and therefore must hold herself apart from her friends and the ambassador. She was here not as someone from the SGC, but as the representative of an entire Empire. What further complicated things was that the Minister of Defense was absolutely opposed to the alliance and Nachamel was not too pleased about the prospect herself.

"Thank you." Taking a first look at her escort, Sam saw just how on edge the Blue Wing had become, all of them ready to snap. 'Right, no pressure.' "Perhaps it's best we start the proceedings."

"If you would all come with us we have with Turelim's kind help, set up facilities for this auspicious occasion on the surface." Daniel said his eyes wavering from Nachamel to Kidumiel to Sam. Having dealt with highly strung, easily provoked powerful individuals before, the archaeologist knew the best way to handle them was with extreme care and courtesy and with just a little show of inner strength.

"General Samantha Carter, the Nephalim of the Malakim; Archangel of Choir Grigori," Mitchell smirked. "That's one hell of a title–" If Cameron was going to say anything more it was cut short by the humming golden energy blade of a sun sword at his throat.

'Oh great! That's just great!' Sam moaned inwardly. 'Okay, so maybe dialing up the Song might be a very good idea.' "Razeal stand down."

The hand holding the blade hesitated. "He mocks!"

"No! No Mocking." Cameron took one large step back right into the muzzle of one very agitated pumaica. "Complimenting... I was complimenting! A great title, wonderful position. Um - she and I go way back…"

Kha'antar snarled, Razeal's blade hovered a moment longer.

The platoon of airmen lifted their P90's readying to fire at General's word. As soon as their weapons rose, the Malakim moved as one, in a single action. Each of their swords hummed to golden life.

Shit! That was the first word that sprang into O'Neill's brain. How did things go so out of control so quickly?

"STAND DOWN, gentlemen!" O'Neill roared. There was no way the SF's would stand a chance against warriors that could bring down the entire base around their ears. The winged kids would just do that fancy dance number that allowed them to go into the 'Umbrella' or whatever it was they called it.

"Sir?' One of the airmen questioned the orders he had heard.

"You heard me Sergeant. Stand down, that's a direct order."

"Razeal." The voice of the Nephalim was doubled over like a serenade of a singers' duet, lingering in the air as twin strings of a violin resonating in the heart.

The Malakim turned his head, his sapphire eyes rested upon the azure orbs of his leader, his set face of aggression turned to absolute love and worship. The deadly blade lowered. He wanted to sink to his knees before her beauty, her power.

"Your gesture of protection though honorable is misplaced; he brings no harm to me." She smiled warmly, fully aware what effect her smile had on the young Malakim. She could easily order him as his CO to stand down, but she would lose face as would the warrior in front of the Ministers of the GAA and Defense. However, there were other ways to get Razeal to comply and save face at the same time. Her next words were spoken not in English but in Malakim, ~ Cameron doesn't always think before he speaks, Razeal. He's a little thick. sometimes. There is no honor in punishing such a person, for such small infraction. ~ Sam pressed her hand to his cheek, ~Razeal, you have never failed me. I know you mean only to protect me, and I appreciate it. You are an exemplar amongst the Malakim, but Colonel Mitchell doesn't warrant such attention. Withdraw your blade.~

~ It is as you say Nephalim, so it will be done.~ Razeal answered, still beaming in pride for the homage his Nephalim paid him. Her touch upon his skin was as the purity of love. He would do anything she asked of him. Anything. If she wanted him to withdraw the blade it would be done.

Cameron swallowed hard, his mouth had once more put him within a hair's breath of being beheaded. "My apologies." Mitchell said, not knowing whatelse there was to say.

Jack leaned close to Daniel a deep scowl on his lined face. "What the hell was that?"

"I tried to tell you, they hold Sam in very high regard. They have strict rules of conduct. And we just broke them."

"Yeah, I noticed the hands on the swords." Jack admitted.

"They might have gotten a tad upset about how familiar we were with the Nephalim."

"For crying out loud, Daniel, that's Carter!"

Heads slowly turned at the raised voice of the General.

"Not to them, Jack. And that is what we have to remember." Daniel pointed out. "We're not dealing with Sam, we're dealing with them." He pointed to the winged warriors.

Usiel sat upon the great throne in the audience chamber, his black wings fanning over the low backed throne, his legs draped over one arm, and his head resting upon the other. "Well!?" he plucked imaginary lint from his ebony feathers. "Did you miss me? Did you wonder why I wasn't around giving you worthy advice?" he smiled with a mouth filled with too many teeth.

"I had hoped you had vanished." Novalis said truthfully. "That I was rid of you at last."

"How now my Queen---such rudeness. tsk–tsk… Really it doesn't become you."

"You know what becomes me? Hardly, I think."

"Oh I do not smile and flatter you, I speak plainly enough. If I be real, I would kill you in an instant. But I am a Scourge only and tasked with one thing. "

"You claim you speak plainly, then why did you vanish? You could have generated my downfall, the Ministers would have felt the Discord that generates with your presence."

"Oh my Queen, and you think they could not feel it none-the less? Do not be mistaken, the lack of my presence is not a lack of Discord. They felt it surely. No. I left because it was soooo boring!" Usiel clutched his head as if he had been suddenly struck by the blinding pain of a migraine. "Oh by the Winds of the Great Song it was dull. Yak yak yak." His black eyes rolled. "I long for that as much as I do rectal thermometry and molting."

"So to be rid of you, I need only to conduct several meetings." Novalis cheerfully played with the image of the scourge undergoing the privations he described. "And I will do so gleefully."

"Ack! No sense of what is fine and fun in this existence. Jabbering on and on about what to do with those puny mortals. You sound like jib-jib birds! You should have blown them out of the stars! Come–come the Malakim can harness the power of the stargates. 'We' know how the Ori make those super-gates. We can Sing a planet to become a superconductor just as the Ori and their Pyre's are able to do, and yet we – no - 'you' keep ourselves small.

"You would make the Empire, the great and powerful Malakim flitter as the clumsy first flight of a youth. We must back our threats. The mortals managed to offend themselves to many races in the galaxies, and yet we fall back. They offend and threaten the Nephalim, and yet we fall back. Rise up, Novalis seek ye now to strike down the enemies of the Nephalim, the Empire. The Tau'ri have made acts of war against us and you stay your sword! Others have done less and we strike against them, were you not tempted to do so?"

"Yes, I was tempted but I didn't give into the temptation." Novalis proclaimed.

"Bored now." Usiel mockingly yawned. "So Matriarchal-Oppressor, you've found the origin of the mysterious Song?"

"I have. It keeps the company of a rogue Diabolical."

"Well!" Usiel was almost jumping up and down. "Where?"

"An outpost once held by the Diabolical Nirrti, until the Crimson Wing vanquished her."

"Oh yes." the Scourge's wings snapped, "Didn't that Diabolical flee to Hanka?"

"Yes, what of it." Now it was Novalis who seemed indifferent.

"How now my Queen, be it that you have allowed the fact to slip thy mind. Hanka is the planet the first child of the Nephalim hails from. Nirrti ravished its people destroying all but the girl. Nirrti would never have fled to that little planet if not for the actions of the Crimson Wing. A great shame you did not destroy her when you were vanquishing her. So what says the Nephalim, when they find out it was because of you their daughter's planet was made dead?"

Novalis said nothing.

"I get the distinct impression you're a little concerned what the Nephalim will do once she finds out."

"You will not say a word!" Novalis roared, her nostrils flaring, her massive purple wings fanning out.

Usiel smiled only. "How can I? I am not truly here. And you will be dethroned soon enough for sedition against the Empire."

"I am Her Queen." Novalis growled.

"A queen may only have the throne if she is healthy in mind, spirit and body. You do have a sound body." Usiel gave a lecherous leer, "but not so much with the mind, and spirit. If you do not stand down it is a seditious act, treason against the empire!" Usiel curled his legs up to his chest as he did with his arms in a mocking shiver of orgasmic delight. "Ooohh goody you get to have your wings severed from your body for treason! You'll never touch the sky again. Oh Novalis wait until you taste the Dark! It can be a delight, a deep warmth the wind of the sky can never give you."

"Apostate! The Dark is nothing but a viper set upon the young."

"Are you trying to convince me? Why? I am not but the inner darkness of who you are. I am not truly Usiel only his image, I am you Novalis." Even now the ripples of his image shimmered displacing the face of Usiel with a reflection of Novalis herself. "And so it is 'you' that plays with the tailwinds of apostasy." Even his voice had transformed into the tones of the Queen. It was her voice, her words sounding back at her in the hall of the audience chamber.

"I'm losing my mind." Novalis fell to the floor of her audience chamber, the feathers of her wings spilling out about her as if she had shed them in molting phase.

"Yes, Novalis," the Scourge answered, "you are."

The table around which the conference was being held was circular and slightly raised to meet the needs of the taller Malakim. It was formed from the quartz crystal coaxed out of the earth by the Blue Wing, who had been sent to ensure a proper place was crafted for the Nephalim.

From previous experience Jack knew enough that the chairs must be low backed as to accommodate the great wings of the Malakim. Using the large leather chairs in the SGC briefing room as a model, new chairs had been commissioned for this meeting and all future negotiations with the winged beings. The result was something that was comfortable for all to sit in during the long hours of the summit.

The edifice itself that housed all of this was crafted from granite. One would not think granite to be a delicate stone, but under the power of the Songs of the Malakim it took on an ethereal quality. The architecture looked more like a chandelier than a building, when lit from the inside it carried this airy and magical essence with it. It was so abstract, conceptually, there didn't seem to be anyway it could have been constructed but from the melody of a song.

It was indeed a place to hold an audience with a goddess.

The members of the Blue Wing would not enter the negotiations but rather stood as an honor guard to the Nephalim. Kha'antar however would not be moved from Samantha's side, regardless of the order she gave the massive cat. He had stubbornly decided he was the one to protect the growing cub in her belly and as far as the pumaica was concerned that was the end of the conversation.

Of course for the Earth's side of negotiations Mitchell, Teal'c and Jackson had to stay out of the talks, as far as the Malakim were concerned they represented no benefit to the talks and therefore were banned. Only O'Neill was allowed in the conclave because the Imperial delegates viewed the man as a representative from Earth's Defensive Force.

Ayana had proven the better choice as an ambassador even without the empowering legacy of her honor bound ancestors. She countered each question put before her with ease and had been able to keep to the pace of the Malakim Minister of the GAA for the eight hours it took to come to an agreeable treaty between the two nations.

"...a hundred years probationary treaty," Midthunder said, "I think that is a very generous offer. I am sure in that time we will prove our measure to the Malakim Empire." Having talked with Samantha Carter, Ayana got the impression that the Nephalim was the sort of person that had to slow down when she talked to you because she was already ten moves ahead and she had to back up just to deal with you.

Nachamel nodded, "Of that I do not doubt."

"Nephalim," Minister Kidumiel spoke. "There is one more thing before we close the negotiations."

"Go ahead Minister." Sam tilted her head allowing the woman the floor.

Kidumiel looked to each of the humans in turn. "The Empire has made peace after great battles with our enemies, we take council after wars with our adversaries, we shall have peace when Kinsey answers for the treason he has wrought. He will hang from a gibbet for the sport of crows, only then we will have peace! His treachery will cost many lives and many lives more if you do not comply. Surrender him now, or the rage will fester and we will cut out the rot by force!"

Even as the tempestuous rage boiled within the Minister, the sky grew dark, in the not too far distance thunder rolled. Only the Malakim and Nephalim were aware of a World Symphony being triggered with vulgar Song. They made no move to intervene, as a rule an ecomancer's emotions often were made known by small meteorological displays.

Too recent a reminder of what devastated Grigori and Hy-Basil, Sam flew into action. She would not have another climatic holocaust. Both great planets were still recovering from the plague of despair that had seized all ecomancers, including Kidumiel.

"Hold on, I didn't authorize that!" Sam stood up so swiftly that she took Kha'antar, and the others at the table by surprise. The great Cat was on his feet in a moment, his blue eyes searching for the opposition that called for his teeth and claws.

To their credit the Blue Wing were seconds behind the pumaica their hands on their swords, all of them ignited. Their only concern was the protection of the Nephalim, anyone who opposed her would be struck down. She only need give the word.

"This by order of the Queen of the Malakim Empire, her word is above yours Prime Minister." Nachamel stepped forward, her voice rebuking Samantha.

"You're willing to wage war for the life of this one man?" Ayana was astounded.

"The filth that cur whispers like a viper from the shadows from whence he came. He disgraced the Nephalim, our Prime Minister and thus the Empire and our glorious Queen. This we will never abide, he threatened the Nephalim with sedition. This we will not tolerate. We will have him, this villain or we will make war," Kidumiel snapped.

Perhaps it was the earth rumbling and not thunder. Beneath their collective feet the ground gave a shudder of life. Kidumiel's body shuddered, not from the mini-quake but overwhelming anger. Red feathers flared, pluming nearly twice their size.

The table, its occupants drifted away as Sam turned her azure gaze upon that of Kidumiel. The minister felt herself spiraling, spinning in a fog, a mist so dense it dampened her feathers, causing them to settle against her body in a crimson heap.

The grayed haired general watched agog as a mere look from Samantha Carter settled the fuming Malakim. No words, no movement, just a look. And what a look it was. Jack could have sworn Carter was emanating a golden glow. It felt something like electricity, no, no not electricity. Electricity would travel from her to the Malakim, through them all, and that was not what any of them felt.

Ayana could not turn her gaze from Samantha even as she dominated the other so effortlessly, Kidumiel was helpless, helpless, battling at the Nephalim with weak will, unable to so much as bruise the liquid steel of Samantha's power. She shifted her slow-motion gaze from nothing to nothing to nothing more. She floated, naked. Exposed. Watched. The wind had left the Minister's wings.

Samantha waved her other hand, and all at once the shudder of the quake was gone, the wind wavered and stilled. And everything pulled back. To Jack it was like a fade. Like on a TV show when they fade from one picture to another. One minute you're seeing one picture, then slowly another picture emerges beneath the first.

Only this was not TV. And this was happening in three dimensions. The picture had sight, sound, smell. It had a breeze that smelled of damp. It had the soft sounds of the wind drifting through the leaves making it sound like rain.

The rain drifted into the sounds of a protesting voice: "That isn't how we do things." Granger mewled, she was almost oblivious to what had just happened. As if the mind was unprepared to assimilate all that she had bore witness. And so the ambassador's brain turned from it and formed a delirium of sorts where she rationalized all that she saw, here she was protected from the paranormal that always seemed to lay just beyond the Stargate.

Mitchell, Daniel and Teal'c who still stood on the parameter of the meeting's lattice-worked granite-bower collectively shook their heads trying to regain the feeling of dizziness that wafted through their minds, uncertain of what it was they just witnessed. Watching Sam, it was if she whispered into each of their ears, simply asking them to forget what it was they saw, that the treaty must be made. Easy enough to comply with the angelic woman's desires. The desire of the Nephalim even melded into the minds of Midthunder, O'Neill and Granger until it became their own.

To an outside observer, say the Blue Wing, it appeared as if the Nephalim had pushed pause on the world… as if she were making a recording on VHS of a program and didn't want the commercials to hamper the viewing pleasure at a later date. A mere blink of an eye and the ambassadors and those of the SGC continued their conversation without wholly realizing what it was that had just happened to them.

"Oh yes it is," Jack blurted out interrupting Granger's protests, "Only we never talk about that little dirty part of politics." Jack said. "The governments, the military have done some pretty despicable things and all under orders. All in the name of the greater good. If Kinsey needs to be put under arrest for some intergalactic crime, to save the world. I say go for it."

"It is well you understand, General. You will have that hissing tree -weevil here within one rotation of your earth upon its own axis. If, after that time Kinsey is not surrendered we will take him and those who harbored him. The probation will have ended and we will wage war. You already battle the Wraith, the Ori and the remaining Diabolicals. The Tau'ri cannot afford for the Empire to be its enemy." Minister Kidumiel demanded. Red feathers once more started to unfurl.

The memory suppressant this time wouldn't work the vengeance of the storm the mini-quake thundered back into the forefront of the mind. For those afflicted with the Song of Domination, they stared at Samantha each with their own personal version of disbelief that they had for a brief moment been lead to believe that what they had witnessed had not happened.

Samantha had her own moment of disbelief. Her doe eyed look – her blue orbs widened impossibly further. To say she was stunned by Jack O'Neill's easy compliance to the ultimatum would have been an understatement. A large understatement. Then again perhaps not so much. Kinsey like his father had made several enemies within the SGC, the greatest of these being Major General Jack O'Neill.

"You can not kill him." This was coming from Ayana. "If we surrender him, it will only be to stave off the threat of war, but we will not send Senator Kinsey to his execution. I want it in writing that you will do no harm to him. He has threatened the Nephalim yes but no harm befell her. Therefore no harm will befall the senator."

Midthunder knew the Malakim would have Kinsey one way or the other, there would be no stopping that. In surrendering him, she could at the very least guarantee that the despicable man lived. Midthunder had had her own encounters with the man and had on those loathsome occasions wished Kinsey would just fall into some crater, break a bone and die of bone-marrow infection.

But that was just wishing.

Sending him to the Malakim prisons was just as good and his death wasn't on her cosmic conscience. Ayana would not send a man to be murdered, but she could not allow the world to face devastating if not biblical ecological tribulations because of that same man.

"You will promise me, Minister Kidumiel that he will not be executed. He will be treated as a political prisoner and not tortured. The Malakim pride themselves on their word, on their honor, Give me your word and I will believe it is so."

"You can't be serious!" Granger roared, "Senator Kinsey can not be handed over—"

"Yes he can." Midthunder interrupted. "And he will be. We have no choice and I will not commit nor condemn our world to an intergalactic war over the life of one man. Once before the Oval Office was ready to prosecute Generals Carter and Fraiser on treason to save our nations from going to war with one another, which if found guilty would have meant their death. Can we not say the same for Kinsey to save our planet? If his imprisonment will do that, then by all means that is what I will recommend the President and our foreign allies do."

Part 17

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