Nephalim's Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter Eighteen


The specter of death does not haunt her.

Giving birth to this coveted nightmare was her greatest dream, she would see them all burn. The enemies of the Tok'ra would fall at long last. The rage within Chimera was more than was bountiful. The creature was growing more and more agitated. The dark purple gold tips wings fanned repeatedly, resembling a hawk that was unable to taste the wind.

She was communicating in a series of growls and eagle like screeches, her wings always moving. Anise was forced to confine her creature, lest she unwittingly unleash her rage, worst still waken in her power without understanding the fullness of it.

Surreptitiously, Chimera tested the confined space of her chamber, but it held solidly, unyielding. It was an alien environment of unnatural smoothness with one transparent wall that permitted her to see out. But all she could see was another environment like the one that held her. Always the wingless one watched her, always making marks in the thing she held. She stopped making sounds at her.

Wingless one did nothing to stop her as she examined and tested the environment again, but watched what she was doing even though she was only one good stride away from her. Wingless One was mindful to keep her distance since the broken bones. Chimera sensed that Wingless One was somehow responsible for her unnatural birth, for her, and this strange new entrapment. Wingless One was dull, soft and slow. But she had constructed effective devices, the devices that gave her advantages in spite of her dullness, her softness, her slow speed and winglessness.

The new place kept her far from the winds, the air she longed to feel at the tips of her great wings. It was a deep hunger within her, a hunger not for food or drink. But she needed it just the same. All she could do was wait, she was good at waiting better she suspected than Wingless One.

The hidden things were becoming clear. The music she heard on the edge of sleep and dreams drew so close she could almost scent it. And the stronger the songs became the more fearful the other smelled.

Yes fear.

Wingless One was petrified of the songs.

Chimera felt a certain gladness to this.

Anise felt Chimera's predatorial gaze fixed upon her. Since her creation had discovered the brittleness of her bones, she watched her as the great sand cats on Abydos. The symbiote had long knew that their structural perfection was matched only by their hostility. Even the Tok'ra admired the purity of the Malakim, they were survivors. Chimera was a survivor, a perfect specimen unclouded by conscience, remorse or delusions of morality. She was the perfect organism. The perfect host. Anise had achieved what Nirrti could not, the genus of a hac'taur.

The dark protects us from what we dare not know. Its second gift is comforting illusion; the ease of gentle dreams in the night's embrace, the beauty that imagination brings to what would repel in day's harsh light. Protecting our secret truths, but in doing so blinding us from the truth of others.

It was a rueful furrowed brow that painted itself upon Novalis' face when she took in the details of the long abandoned citadel. Many generations had passed since the Queen of the Malakim visited this place. It was as vile now as it was then. The ghost memories haunting the land were loud and disharmonious. Only now its decrepit form gave character and an almost evil dignity to the domain that hung upon the precipice of a mountain's ledge hundreds of feet above a black sea dotted with icebergs.

"Just like a snake-head to want a home in the frozen arm-pit of the universe." the voice of Usiel said expecting a rebuking comment from the queen, though it received none. She herself had been thinking something along similar lines. The stronghold had once been in possession of the Cherubim, the Choir's defining architectural design and construction. plunging depths juxtaposed to jutting spires, bastions and towers racking the gray skies. made for a spectacular view. Even as haunted as it was.

"Going to slip into the penumbra?" The Scourge pressed.

"In order to avoid any mundane detection devices, yes I fear I have too."

"I wouldn't want to. This place reeks of foulness, and discord."

"Since the moment I have been blighted with you, it seems such things as discord and dissonance are academic concerns. What do the damned care for such things?"

"The Fallen aren't disciples of Discord. Okay so some are but not all, Usiel never was."

"He was too self-centered to be a disciple of anything but his whims." Novalis half-heartedly agreed.

"It's very liberating, you should try it sometime. Just do what you will and will what you do, and fling consequences to the winds."

"I did that once, and I ended up with you."

"Oh! That hurt, Novalis! You wound me."

"I imagine it is too much to hope it was enough to vanquish you?"

The image of Usiel merely grinned with a mouth too full of teeth. Ignoring him, Novalis, Queen of the Great and powerful Malakim stood still, struck by the vibrations of ill-tuned notes of music seeping from the ramparts of the citadel. "Not all light diminishes in the dark. Something great and desperate lies beyond those walls for what fell purpose I can not say."

With every breath she took, Novalis felt diminished. Here now she makes for the place that was the doom of the Self-Shapers. Those ancient beings that had the ability to alter their forms at a whim once played here, it had given birth to Achelous the Unmaker, and here too the foul Nirrti, who was driven by some depraved quest to lionize her own essence into something more reviled than that of the Great Speckled Serpent. It was here that he created the veiled Wraith, and here too Nirrti created her misfortunate abominations and now once more the presence of another Diabolical was felt with yet another dark abhorrent creation. It wasn't so much the creator that concerned the Queen of the Empire of Malakim, but rather its genesis of fell life.

Discharging the repugnant thoughts from her mind, Novalis shifted from the world of the corporeal to the realm of shadows and spirit. Here she would have the ability to move undetected. When the diabolical Nirrti had been overthrown, the guardians set upon the citadel by the previous owners had long been vanquished now there was nothing but the Faded keeping vigil over the domain. And even if there had been guardians, Novalis doubted the essence now inside the keep would be aware of them, much less feel the tingles of the spiritual web of the pen umbra.

The crumbling state of the once Cherubim bastion informed the Queen of the Malakim that the 'squatter' within had not only been unaware the keep had no umbral protection against invasion but the outer defenses were not functioning. To that end there were no guard patrols flying or walking the perimeter. Obviously it wasn't Nirrti then for she had her Jaffa always on watch as well as the miss-tuned mortals who had a clumsy grasp on the World Symphony. Their songs were loud and brash, as if a featherling tried playing a harp with a cymbal in hand.

"So this doesn't bother you we have been so far unmolested?"

Novalis turned to the scourge, an expression of curiosity painting her features. "I prefer to be unmolested."

She watched the Wingless One with wonder. It came to Chimera that the Wingless One could not here the music Beyond. There was no other definition to her now, save for Beyond. Beyond her reach, beyond her memories, beyond her touch, but the music was always there. Now something stirred it, and the notes were growing stronger, the sound louder.

Anise how ever wasn't as blind as all that. She saw there was indeed something amiss with the Chimera. Oh not the physical agitation any caged creature would exhibit longing to be free, but rather she had yet to become anything more than a beast.

'It doesn't bother you Anise that our creation is but an animal?'

*So too were the Unas before they were taken as hosts. They still are nothing more than beasts, scarcely sentient with a limited mental capability. Our creation has it in her to use the powers of the Malakim. It shouldn't matter that she knows how to use them only that she has them.*

"And what will come of me, Anise when you have your perfect host?"

* Don't think I will abandon you Freya. When in your passing I will take our creation as host. Malakim are long lived, their lives many thousands of hundreds of years long, perhaps by that time Arian will have taught our 'bird' a trick or two.*

"And you still think this is the best course for the Tok'ra?'

*Freya, you must know by now that you must do a little evil for the greater good.*

Chimera became excited, she had never felt a presence like this before, it was almost sweet, welcoming and familiar. But why should it be familiar she had never before seen anything more than the walls of three rooms and the Wingless One. And yet Chimera knew there was more to know, more to feel.

Chimera already knew she was going to be Alpha. Wingless One was older, she made sounds with her voice, the eyes sometimes glowed trying to instill her dominance, it only tested Chimera to challenge her for the right of… the right of the Wing? Wing? She knew wings were the appendages on her back but it was also something more. It was 'the more' that troubled Chimera, she didn't have another word for it but it existed. The more. The Beyond. The Music. All of it she knew instinctually, even if she could not yet define it.

Wingless One proved to be the weaker when the bones in her arm had been broken, and she had no wings with which to fly. To fly was something Chimera longed to do, caged in these small rooms only frustrated and angered her. But Wingless One who was physically the weaker was clever. She kept the winds, the sky from Chimera. It would be something that Chimera would not forget. Wings were made to fly, not be pressed to the body. Perhaps whatever it was Beyond that made the Music would set her free, and Chimera would prove she was the dominant.

Setting aside the tactile journal she kept for the sake of her host, Anise left the observation lounge, long hours watching her creature, the Chimera, grow more and more flustered could wear on anyone's reserves. It was no wonder Freya was upset. It had been several long days with near constant observing and collecting of data, it was time for bit of rest, but even as she walked the halls of Nard's old laboratories, the scientist felt something on the edges of her awareness. But then it evaporated like the ghost-mist of dew of an Abydosian winter...

Thinking it nothing more than her exhaustion, the Tok'ra dismissed the sensation out of hand.

"You come to a realm forsaken to you and your get, Diabolical. Tell me why is it I should let you live?" The voice of the Queen of the Malakim was quickly followed by the hum of a very deadly sun-sword's golden blade being ignited.

Anise swallowed. Hard. "It is said that if you see a Malakim step from the Spirit Realm, there are seven more in the velvet curtain between worlds, waiting only for a signal from their commander."

This statement was true enough, on most occasions. And Novalis wasn't about to shatter the assumption. "Speak truly Diabolical, or you shall find your head lying by your feet."

"I came for refuge."

"Wrong answer." Novalis pulled her hand back just enough to swing the sun-sword.

"Wait!" Anise screeched ducking, her cringing form would have made for an almost comical appearance if not for the ire burning in the queen's blood. "It's true!"

"Your ilk are not wanted here trespasser, you would do well to answer. You will find no refuge in the Empire, Diabolical. Convince me not to slay you."

"I am Tok'ra." The eyes flared white.

"We've established you are Diabolical, yes." Novalis grew more impatient with this thick-minded creature of the dark. "If you came in search of the one calling herself Nirrti, you are far too late she was vanquished long ago, you will not find your master here."

'Off with her head! Off with her head!" the voice of the scourge urged.

"I Do Not Serve The Goa'uld!"

"Bored now," Novalis said in a very Usiel like way. "I think I will have your head."

"I… I ask parlay!" Anise yelped knowing such a thing might stay the hand of her slayer long enough to lay terms, if anything it would tempt the honor of the winged knights.

"Not granted."

'That's it! Kill her! Kill her! She's of the dark, give her no quarter. She's the cause of the discord in the World Symphony!'

That answer shocked Anise. She was wagering on the parlay to give her time enough to slow the momentum of what was happening to her and to keep her head.

"I ask to see the queen."

"You are seeing her." Novalis hissed.

Again Anise was taken aback. Out of cards to play she knew her only recourse was to expose her creature: the Chimera, and pray to the spirit of Egeria that Queen Novalis would show benevolence.

"I do seek refuge but not for myself. For one newly born."

"You dare breed your filth-parasitical-get here!" Novalis roared.

'How now my Queen, think - wonder if this is just like Osiris, and Nirrti they want Malakim hosts! She made little slimy snake-babies! Already to dig in the brain like the parasites they are!' Usiel was practically jumping up and down like a kit trying to fly without her flight feathers.

"I do not have the ability to be a queen." Anise said flatly

"All female Diabolicals lay claim to be queens and goddesses."

"I told you I am Tok'ra!"

Novalis's purple wings moved up and down in a Malakim shrug, "Details, details. You are a trespasser who has not found my favor. I will merely kill you, slay your get and be rid of this place and its infection" Saying nothing more, Novalis summoned the Essence of the Great Song into her, tapping into the vibrations of the World Symphony she commanded the walls within the chamber to buckle as if intense heat grappled them.

"Be thankful, DIABOLICAL," Novalis, said admiring the smooth flexion of her finger joints as if her hand were some species of exotic predator, "that you are not that wall." A small Usiel-like smile, "Is there some truth you wish to say? I am unaccustomed to having parasites live within my empire, I don't think I will start by allowing you to keep your life. Tell me or don't, I will have this wretched place searched, find what I want, take it, destroy it and order this whole abominable citadel to become rubble."

'YES!' a small voice in her mind cheered.

"NO!" Freya squealed. Giving into her fear had allowed her to overpower Anise's more dominant personality. "What you seek is through those doors. I beg you… It is innocent, if anyone is guilty it is we. It was created in a lab, and has no memory of who or what she is, do not destroy her!"

Novalis of course knew the Diabolicals could switch their voices, but the stench of fear was so overpowering that the queen was tempted to believe the distraught female.

What was beyond the door made Novalis stopped in her tracks. It was her, the Nephalim, her beloved Samantha. Her beauty was almost painful before now it was unbearable. Novalis felt the desire to fall to her knees and worship this goddess. With wings, Samantha was far more than beautiful she was awe-inspiring. Wings! Deep purple wings tipped with palest gold that was identical to the unruly shock of golden mane about her head, the gaze of those sapphire eyes, always depthless now seemed ancient and primal.

"What have you done?" Novalis spoke though if her words made sound she wasn't so sure.

"She was made, so that the Tok'ra may live." Freya said. "She is our hope."

'So this is to be the terrible new life to take the void which the uncreation of Anubis had left behind. It was my shame I have wrought such grave death to the World Symphony by my fell deeds, and now with this abomination of the Nephalim, of my Samantha… do I hope it restored.'

"Sam-Man-Tha!" General Jack O'Neill accented each syllable of his former team-mates name. "Congratulations!" If his grin was larger it would have broken his jaw bone.

"Indeed, may your daughter be as strong and brave as her mothers." Teal'c added his own version of congratulatory praise.

"Oh, Sam this is great! You and Janet must be so excited! This is so wonderful!" Daniel pulled his long time friend into a great bear hug that gained him a deep throated growl from Kha'antar. The big cat would not be moved from Carter's side. He had made such a massive fuss when she had ordered him away that the entire base felt in danger of becoming the beast's lunch.

In the end, Carter gave in and allowed the massive pumaica to stay at her flank so he would protect her. Of course when you're as large as a saber toothed tiger standing five and half feet at the shoulder, with six inch fangs and retractable claws and weigh close to a ton you get your way.

Alone now in the briefing room of the SGC, Sam and the others had gathered around as if it were old times once more and nothing had changed between them. The Malakim and the ambassador had returned to the 'Samantha Carter- alpha' a while ago affording Carter some time to reminisce with her friends. Not long after, Sam had told the men that she and Janet were expecting a new daughter.

"Way to go Sam!" Cameron added as he took his own turn at hugging her. "So when is the little colonel due?" He pattered her still flat tummy indicating which 'little colonel' he meant.

Again Kha'antar snarled this time moving his girth in front of his mistress his wings fanning out in warning as well as acting as a shield against the males' touches.

~ Easy, Big-Guy~ Sam addressed the pumacia in the Malakim's more lyrical dialect. ~They are apart of my pride, and will not harm me or my baby - my cub - it's okay.~ She stroked the great maw, putting her hand directly near Kha'antar's incredible incisors, her long dedicate fingers stroked his ears to allow him to know she wasn't displeased with his show of aggression.

Kha'antar hurumphed as much as a great feline could but his wings now lay flat and rested against his muscular body.

Sam's blue eyes twinkled in her mirth and at the astonished looks on the guys' faces: it would never get old. "In about eight months now." She answered, admiring the smooth flexion of her finger joints as if her hand were some species of exotic predator as they moved through the thick blue mane of her mount. "Ah sorry about the big-guy here but ever since I've become pregnant he's become very protective."

"I bet Janet wouldn't have it any other way." Daniel commented not taking his eyes off the jaws that could easily break the spinal-column of an bison. Bison? Hell, a grizzly bear. And Sam was stroking him as if he were nothing more than her ginger cat.

"I think the two have conspired to make sure I behave myself." Sam's face lit up with the brilliant mega-watt Carter grin. "It's well… kinda endearing actually. How protective they are."

"Big teeth, endearing?" Jack scoffed, "Funny definition you got there Carter."

Sam only chuckled and gave one of her lazy shrugs. "Oh, Janet's much worse. It's her bite you have to look out for."

"Don't let the doc hear you say that," O'Neill warned. "I bet she's a sight to see though. But come on Carter you were pretty protective of her, when she was preggers with Little-Bit. You almost demanded she take the entire nine months off, and went ape-shit when she was sent off-world on a mission."

Sam found heat rising to her cheeks, "I was just cautious."

"I believe you demanded," Teal'c interrupted, "that I was 'to stick to her as if molecularly bonded to her'."

Sam smiled warmly at the memory. She had indeed ordered Teal'c to be more than usually vigilant when he accompanied Janet on one of the very few off-world missions the doctor was ordered to go on.

Sam had only just heard that Janet had been ordered off-world by O'Neill to Pangar so she might refine the Tretonin production for the Liberated Jaffa. Because it was an allied world and not a hostile environment the general believed it safe enough for his CMO to travel. Besides her expertise on the Tretonin drug made Janet Fraiser the logical choice.

"Colonel Carter, do not despair. Pregnant females have traveled through the Stargate on several occasions. Even Dray'auc had done so when she was with my son. Nothing ill occurred. Both were healthy."

Sam's blue eyes held Teal'c captive, "That might be so, but this is my wife. My daughter, and I will worry. Normal travel can be hard on a woman newly pregnant, but intergalactic travel can dangerous. Having your molecules disassembled and reassembled What doesn't it really do to a fetus? Does anyone really know? Then of course there is the portability of contagion, enemy fire, for that matter friendly fire. The General should simply send someone else, Lam for instance. There is no reason why Janet's 2IC can't go. This is ridiculous, sending Janet off-world into a potentially hostile environment."

"There has been movement of Goa'uld or Ori movement in that sector for sometime. Dr. Fraiser insists she will be fine. The Pangarans are our allies for many years, willingly sharing their raw Tretonin for Dr. Fraiser's refinement technology. She will not be harmed. And she desires to go"

Sam looked anything but convinced. Her nervousness carried through to her legs, forcing her to start pacing the confines of her lab, easily navigating around the dozens of on-going experiments. Teal'c simply watched the blonde in her clouded buzz of activity.

"It is not wise to disagree with Dr. Fraiser."

To this Sam could not help but allow the smile that found her face. "Typically I would agree with you, but then again you're not married to her or expecting a child with her."

"It is not wise to disagree with a pregnant wife, every Jaffa knows this." the great hulk of a man tilted his head to the side a playful gleam reflecting in his dark eyes.

Again Sam smiled. "You're right. But I'm ordering you to accompany Janet, and I'm ordering you to stick to her as if molecularly bonded to her." Sam put a hand on the man's shoulder. "It's not wise to disagree with an expecting and protective parent. As a father, I expect you to know exactly what I mean."

"I believe it would be dangerous to upset the expecting parent and mate of a wife with child."

"Glad we see eye to eye, Teal'c." Sam's grip softened. "I can relax a little knowing it's you watching over her. I don't trust Janet's safety with many people. I love Daniel but after P3X-666..." Sam didn't finish her statement, nor did she need too. Teal'c of all people knew the pain of the loss of one's beloved. He had tasted it twice, now that he found love with Ishta, he knew he would give his soul to see her safe. Samantha Carter would do no less. "I know my babies are going to be safe with you. Take care of them."

"You have my vow Colonel Carter… Samantha, I promise you no harm will find them."

"I trust you." Sam answered, "I will always trust you with the safe keeping of my family, Teal'c. I'll still worry but not as much with you there."

"Samantha, it is going to be well." the great man said, "I know this burning in your heart, I felt it when Dray'auc was carrying Ry'ac, you feel you can never do enough to insure her protection and that of your unborn child. You feel as if all you can do is not enough."


"Take pride in that feeling, let it fill you, for it will give you strength and courage."

A brilliance came over Carter's face that took Teal'c's breath, right here, right now she was beyond beautiful, he found himself dumbfounded and shamed that he would think such thoughts of his long time friend. A Woman he considered his sister in all but blood. Now he wondered what it might be like to have the love shimmering in her eyes turned on him and now he understood Jack O'Neill anguish more than ever that Sam had taken Janet as her mate. Janet was a very fortunate woman to know such love and devotion.

"Oh, Teal'c don't tell Janet I asked you to----"

"'Molecularly bond with her?'" the great man's lips curled at the corners, "I wouldn't dream of it. I have grown fond of you, I would not like to see what a very small but very powerful irritated female like Dr. Fraiser could do to you. Many fear those very large needles."

"Yeah, they can pack a wallop in the backside if she's mad at you." Sam reminiscently rubbed her left buttock that had been victim of one such incident. "But if it means her safety and that of our little girl, then bring on the needles. I will use every precaution I must just to make them safe."

"I give you my vow," Teal'c placed an open palm against his heart and bowed ever so slightly to the blonde woman. "Samantha I will see to the safety of your wife and daughter."

"I'm in your debt." Sam gave the great man a very toothy smile.

"Indeed." the smile was returned.

"Janet is having her fun paying me back for my precautions, only I have a giant lion and seven warriors who seem to be 'molecularly bonded', to me. And she's monitoring my health more closely than she had ever before. And more than herself when she was carrying Rebecca," Sam said turning her attention back to the reunion.

"I can't imagine the stress of being a Prime Minister with a potentially heated negotiation is making Janet even more vigilant over you and the baby's health." Daniel said. "Prime Minister, that's big Sam. I can't even begin to imagine how you became the Prime Minister of a massive Empire."

Sam bit the nail of her left thumb as she was often known to do when lost in thought. "…It's complicated. My entire position with the Malakim is so complex, not unlike quantum physics. I'm the Nephalim, a member of the House of Thrones which means Queen Novalis adopted me and Janet as family and now I'm the Prime Minister. I'm more than a figure head but less than a political power player. I feel like the fulcrum on a tetter-totter trying to maintain the balance between the castes." A hand absently strokes the thickness of blue mane as the forever young woman continued to talk. "Take this alliance for instance. It was so close to shutting down, I feared never to gain the acceptance of the Ministry of Alien Affairs and thus the Queen's approval. Granted it's a hundred years treaty which hangs on the probational precipice of a knife but we still have it."

No one mentioned that the alliance came at the price of a man, everyone found most foul. A man that like his father was self-righteous, self-serving and a political snake. The son of a bitch.

"What's going to happen to Kinsey?" Leave it to Daniel to break open the can of worms everyone one would have preferred to have been left to molder on the shelf collecting dust.

"He'll be contained, you have the vow of Minster of War that he will not be put to death, and the Malakim don't do torture. He'll be placed in a maxim security prison, minus all the posh privileges some of our own prisoners enjoy."

"So no cable TV." O'Neill through in.

Sam shrugged, "Nope, though not exactly chain gang, the Malakim do employ the work-regimen as apart of becoming reformed. He will be treated as any other high-risk prisoner of war." Sam's eyes seemed to focus on something far beyond sight, before she spoke once more. "What happens to him after that is of his own making. The Malakite Choir control the criminal penal system. Malakim virtue in its purest form. None fall to their wrath that do not deserve it. Their justice is swift, always fair and always balanced to the crime in question. They strike down discord and dissonance, if you generate you are given a chance to remedy your fate before they intervene on behalf of the harmony of the World Symphony. It is not in their nature to be forgiving. They distinguish only, Discord from Harmony."

"Then what fate befalls Senator Kinsey is of his own making, he would bring upon himself his own punishments." Teal'c concluded.

"Exactly," Sam confirmed. Despite her resilience Carter shivered at the thought that she and Janet had been a hair's breath from becoming Faded because of the enormity of Discord they had wrought. What they had done would have brought a punishment of their own making. An errant hand lay protectively over her abdomen.

Kha'antar sensed the shifting in his mistress' mood; his nose nuzzled her belly as if to promise to protect the Third Cub. Pumaica were known to be lethal to any potential danger any hint of a threat by anything outside their Pride, and cubs were ferociously protected. His mistress moved her hand from where the cub rested within her to his muzzle stroking it, affirming the bond between them in the ways of the pride. The touching of muzzles was always an intimate action, one mothers did with their cubs, pride-mates had for one another, as mates shared between each other. His Mistress instinctively knew the ways of the pride even without the memories-born to all pumaica. Her hand continued to stroke his muzzle as if he were her cub, causing the great cat's affection for her to rise as well as his possessiveness of her.

"What do you think Bartlett will do when she finds out she has to give up Kinsey." Daniel asked still playing with that can of worms.

"She has no choice but to offer up the shol'va of your government." Teal'c surprised everyone by answering before Samantha could. "Even the Goa'uld would avoid the Malakim when ever possible. Intergalactic peace or world destruction. For the good of this world she will surrender him, just as she was prepared to surrender you and Doctor Fraiser."

"Sir, you're oddly quiet." Sam observed of her former commanding officer.

"I was just thinking - what's the punchline? We just made an alliance with what could be the most powerful group of people we have met next to the Ori and Ascended and they want nothing more than for you, the Napoleonic power monger and the kids to live in their Empire." The gray haired man ran a hand through the wire of his short cropped hair. "It just doesn't add up."

"Religious icons don't' necessarily have to make sense, Jack." Daniel commented. "Whole nations went to war, crusaders, inquisitions, pilgrimages, and quests for grails to mention but a few things that have been inspired by religion. And that's the inner workings of our own planet. Why wouldn't the Malakim go on a crusade for their Holy Icon? In this case Sam, Janet and the girls."

Jack looked upon the genius scientist with renewed awe. He had always believed she was a natural resource if not a national treasure. And now his belief was back by the fact that Samantha Carter was the Holy Grail of an entire empire of angels. They would have been so screwed if the Malakim had stayed pissed off because of what that blow-hard Kinsey wanted to do.

"Good thing your friends don't hold a grudge." Jack put voice to his thoughts. "Or we would be in a world of hurt."

Cameron interrupted, They would have made Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Andrew look like a April Shower in comparison. Some pretty powerful pals you've got there Sam."

Sam once more found herself thrust back to the devastation Grigori faced - was still facing - and all because of the Gestalt and its aftermath. How much worse would it be if that destruction was a deliberate attack? Earth would not survive long enough to execute the Exodus Project to the Alpha and Beta sites. What would have made it worse was the Malakim would have attacked in her name.

It was then that it dawned on Carter just how deadly the image of the Nephalim truly was.

Her face paled so fast the others thought their friend had fallen into some sort of shock. Moving towards her their panic roused Kha'antar from his lazy vigil into a full blown protective stance. His mouth opened revealing fangs glinting with strands of silvery saliva, the roar bellowing out of him caused five of the guarding Blue Wing to appear from the pen umbra swords drawn and at the ready.

"Stand down!" Sam ordered trying to find her feet. The blood rushing to her head made her knees go weak and unsteady. The actions of the Blue Wings, her mount only proved her epiphany was real. "It's nothing," she lied. Those that knew her saw the lie for what it was. Even Kha'antar knew his mistress had told a falsehood. He didn't understand why.

"I'm fine, really." She looked to her former team-mates, to Boudicca, Razeal and Zephon of the Blue Wing and laid a gentling hand upon the monstrous cat. Each muscle in his body quivered with the desire, the need to protect his mistress, even her calming hand would not be enough to sooth the savagery burning in his blood.

"Nephalim?" Razeal's voice wavered slightly as his gaze pinned the mortals before him as vermin to be exterminated.

~I am not in danger, and you will not act against my friends. These men are as my brothers treat them as such. In the name of the House of Thrones they will be protected.~

~ We heed and obey, Nephalim.~ The trio chorused. Reluctantly. As one each of the swords extinguished, wings settled. One by one they evaporated into the shadow between worlds to once more take point.

Kha'antar shuddered once more before he too settled into a semblance of calmness. This time his azure eyes never left the males gathering around his mistress. They reeked of fear and worry.

"Guys, I'm fine. Really. It's just—" sighing Sam started once more. These three men and even Cameron had been a part of her team, her family for over a decade. If she could not trust them than whom could she trust? "It's not every day you realize your name can bring whole nations, planets to war. It's a little much to take in."

"You're handling it a lot better than I could." Daniel said earnestly, his own mind flashing to his dreams Sefu had given him. With his own taste of absolute power, he had created weapons of mass destruction, murdered Teal'c after implanting himself with the protein markers of the Goa'uld larva he had ripped from the Jaffa's belly, turned on his fellow humans, imprisoned Sam and raped and murdered Janet and shot Jack O'Neill. Yeah, not so glorious. Sam just went pale. A bit more honorable if not noble. But then that was the essence of Samantha Carter.

Sam offered a weak smile at the comment but kept her tongue between her teeth. She could not help but consider what RepliCarter had said to her about power and untapped potential. Her replicant self had tempted her with discovering the secrets of the universe.

Some secrets weren't meant to be tapped into.

And some secrets were meant to be opened for all to see.

Which of the two, the full potential of Samantha Carter's untapped power fell into was difficult to say. Despite being a scientist of unparalleled genius and caliber, Carter wasn't so sure she wanted to know.

The Nephalim, all the power of the Malakim born to a Mortal.

All. The. Power. Of. The Malakim. All their power. Not all their Songs. But all their power. With only her will, Samantha Carter could control, dominate and command all of the Malakim and their variegated Songs. An entire Empire made of immortal super-powered emotional warriors who could raze whole worlds to ruin with only a Song all willing, waiting to Serve the Nephalim.

Abruptly, Samantha was on her feet, bottomless sapphire eyes glistened with a knowledge older than creation. "Sorry sir." She mounted Kha'antar "I need to go." And then she was gone. Vanished into the Pen-umbra with no further word said.

President Zoe' Bartlett stood staring out at the large bay windows behind her desk within the oval office Ambassadors Midthunder and Granger had left after informing her personally over the compliance they had agreed to, to ensure the negotiations for a treaty became solidified. Her eyes fixed upon the graying sky still trying to comprehend the requests of the GAA. Perhaps the single most powerful alliance Earth had ever contracted with an off-world government had been made with the Malakim Empire. All they had asked for was for the custody of Robert Kinsey Junior, Senator of the U.S. Government and of course the blessings on the defection of the Carter-Fraiser family.

They had wanted Kinsey imprisoned in one of their own penal colonies for acts against the Daughter of the House of Thrones, namely the Queen's own adopted kin, who was none other than the Imperial Prime Minister who was none other than the Nephalim sacred icon of the Great Song, who was none other than Brigadier General Samantha Carter USAF: retired.

Pinching the bridge of her nose, Bartlett wasn't looking forward to the summoning of one of her Senators, much less delivering the news that he would be remanded to the laws of the Malakim Empire, imprisoned for life for treason. Of course here on earth he would have been tried for treason with the death penalty waiting for him. There was the remote chance the Trust would somehow bend the Courts to their will and he would be acquitted, but it wasn't a certainty. Kinsey had fallen out of favor with his affiliates. They might just leave him to rot, or believe he was dangerous with the information he wielded and assassinate him as the Trust had seemingly done with the loathsome man's father.

Frankly life in a Malakim prison was the best thing for him. He might live longer with thousands of enraged angelics.

What choice was there, send her world into oblivion by those same enraged angelic warriors, or give up the freedom of one man? How it was all started by this same nefarious man's scathing remarks, and Bartlett's almost dooming agreement to hold Carter and Fraiser for possible treason.

Samantha Carter was perhaps the single most powerful woman in the galaxy. She had all the power of an entire empire of strong-willed-sometimes-impetuous-willing-to-do-anything-for-her angelic warriors. They had enough spiritual power to lay waste the whole of Earth if not its solar system and all done in her name. There would be no stopping them.

Watching the wind take the leaves from the trees with a shudder, Bartlett heard a gasp pf breath and wondered who was in the room with her, when she realized it was her own lungs making the noise. For a moment she had started when she watched a flock of geese land in the lawns behind the bay windows, completely unmolested by White House security. How easy it was for the birds to simply bypass security, land and settle upon the grounds.

"If geese can do it, why not angelics?" Despite herself Bartlett shuddered at the image of a flock of angered Malakim warriors flying in, bypassing security, completely unmolested by the guards and eradicate the land because someone had threatened their goddess, their Nephalim?

In the end it had been the geese that placed resolve in the President's heart. Kinsey would be given to the Malakim.

"Madam President, this is outrageous!" the face of Senator Robert Kinsey junior became nearly purple in his outrage. It was not at all missed by the most powerful woman in the nation. Nor was she fazed by the man's scornful expression. This only served to make the man's face become the deepest color of crimson.

"This is no more than you would have us do to the members of our own military." President Zoe Bartlett didn't feel the need to utter the names of either Carter or Fraiser.

A sneer found its way to Kinsey's thin lips. "And I assume that you mean those women who were formally of the SGC before they turned their backs on our country."

"I speak of all who sacrificed in the wars this nation has ever fought in. Robert, would you demean the lives this and past administrations asked of its women and men? Are you now so cowardly that you cannot give something of yourself?"

Kinsey's sneer deflated into a withered look at being chastised. It did not last long however, nor would any self-beration on the Kinsey bloodline. Self-righteousness reared its ugly brutish head out of the mire of self-pity.

"What is the matter, Robert? Are you so unwilling to give your life for this planet? You are your father's son. Willing to sacrifice any and all others to "save this country" but when it comes to laying down your own life for that same cause you turn coward and run for the high ground. You disgust me." The president said in a voice low and dangerously sharp. "As always the Kinsey blood is unwilling to yield to the greater good."

"My father died for the greater good!"

"Oh?" A sneer now found its own place upon the young president's face. "Is that what you think? How truly mistaken you are. Oh yes the press was told of his demise at the Pentagon during Nine-Eleven. But we all know the truth, he ran, seduced by the power of the Goa'uld and became a host to one and was blown out of the stars for his trouble. If you want to redeem your family name yourself, then go gladly into treaty with the Malakim Empire. You are indeed liable of the sullying and scandal you caused against the head of a foreign nation, once more such actions have placed this country you claim to love so much in very grave danger of intergalactic war. Such actions as you well know are treasonous."

Kinsey baulked inside, but after years of being a member of the Trust he knew the games of deceit, underhanded cunning and of courting the Master of Lies had schooled him in the fine arts of appearing impassive, when he was anything but.

"The Trust is not without its own intergalactic allies."

"The Goa'uld are impotent." Zoe' shot back. "And the Trust can never play its games with the Ori as it had with the arrogant boastful Goa'uld. And with you in custody of the Malakim, the Trust and the Goa'uld will before long become an extinct sect." Zoe Bartlett President of the United States grinned. "Is this the full extent of your threats, Kinsey. Or do you have more of your mediocre self-important drivel to spew?"

Concern washed over Sam in bounding waves. Oh she knew she had a great deal of influence over the Malakim, but she wanted to equate that with her popularity as the Nephalim. She had decided to handle it as much as her down-to-earth personality would allow, or in the very least a favored actress on a popular tv show. But somewhere along the way, her popularity grew exponentially to uncomfortable heights and it was then that the blonde quasi-mortal realized just what kind of power she truly had.

Her first instinct was to speak with Janet. Her second was to dismiss her epiphany on her pregnancy. Her last thought was the one she resorted to.


If anyone knew what it was to wield such power it was the queen of a vast empire of immortal omnipotent beings. The queen's eons of life spoke of wisdom or at least experience. If Janet was going to be upset that she turned to Novalis rather than herself, Sam devised a way to placate her sometimes temperamental wife. Some of them highly pleasurable to both of them. Groveling was not going to be amongst her favored, but it wasn't going to be dismissed out of hand, but it was the last option.

Of course Janet could always compliment her on her choice of confidantes. Making congress with Novalis over the stresses of being lionized and followed by millions was not only wise but prudent. Only the queen could relate and issue advice.

The 'Mortal-born with all the power of the Malakim.' Nephalim, Daughter of the House of Thrones, Prime Minister of the Malakim was terrified of what she possessed.

Power with a capital 'P'.

Part 19

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