DISCLAIMER: They don't belond to me. I just borrowed them. Not copyright infringment is intended, no profit will be made.
WARNING: There's a mention of rape, sorry, it was necessary to the story!, Heroes-Fixit.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.


Though They Sink Through The Sea
By romansilence


Part II


Chapter Three: Strapped to a wheel; yet they shall not break

Janet went back to the report and grew more angry with every line re-read. It was there as plain as the day that Warner's report was deliberately misleading. She didn't understand it. He usually was an unimaginative, thorough stickler to procedure, dotting every "i" and crossing every "t". There was only one possible conclusion: he didn't want her to survive.

"That rat bastard!" She loudly exclaimed, suddenly thinking of her first day on base and Samantha's run-in with her second-in-command.

"I sincerely hope that it's not me you're talking about, Doc." Abby's voice came from the entrance with yet another of the milky drinks.

"Of course not, Abby, but coincidentally you're just the person I wanted to talk to, to ask a few questions. Sam filled me in on what happened directly after P3X-666, roughly. I read some of the medical reports in my file, and had to accept that Sam being Sam, she left out quite a few things. So, I want you to simply give me your point of view. And don't even think about telling me that you have work to do or that I should wait for Sam to come clear with the rest of the story. All I want is your version of what happened."

"I'm way ahead of you, Doc. I didn't work for you for more than six years not to know that eventually this question would come. What Sam did was so incredible…" The woman's voice trailed off while she was taking a seat. "We were summoned to the gate room. Practically every single soldier stumbling onto the ramp had one injury or the other. Colonel O'Neill and Crewman Wells were carried through – by the way, his wife gave birth to a girl a few days later. They named her Janet."

"And he was so sure that he would have a son." The brunette said.

"Eventually they did, almost two and half years ago. Janet and Eli are good friends, but back to business." The woman cleared her throat. "He would need surgery but was no longer in any immediate danger, thanks to you. Surprisingly none of them was. Then Sam stepped through the event horizon, closely followed by Teal'c and Daniel Jackson. She cradled you in her arms, and everyone in attendance instinctively knew that you were more to each other than just best friends – the few of us that didn't know already. She held you as if you were the most precious thing in the world. She looked around for an empty gurney but there were none, and finally settled you on the ground, straightening out your limbs. She called for a defib unit and for Warner to take care of you.

"He took two steps forward and looked you over; then he just turned his back without checking your vitals or even touching you. Samantha looked at him with disbelieving eyes and then raced out of the gate room. She was back within minutes, the healing device in her hand. Sam knelt next to you and extended her hand, and slowly your whole body began to glow. It was a yellow beam of light that began to extend until in encompassed both of you. I stopped my ministrations; every single pair of eyes in the room was riveted on you both. Time seemed to stand still; even Warner stared. It was as if we had the chance to witness something extraordinary, something not of this world.

"The moment you took your first breath, Sam's eyes began to bleed. Daniel tried to get her to stop but she pushed him aside as if he were nothing more than a rag doll and he landed a few feet away. When she finally collapsed, General Hammond ordered Warner to take care of you. Your heart rate was flat, your blood pressure low but your vitals were stable, relatively speaking. Sam was out like a light and because there was nothing he could do for her at the moment Doctor Starck participated in your care.

"With Samantha and the healing device out of commission, we had a hard time to keep you stable. There was so much damage; it still amazes me how tenaciously you held on to life. Warner ordered us to let you go, -the next time, to give you peace, he said -- but we didn't. Marc Starck stayed by your side night and day because coming from the Academy Hospital, he was the only one not directly under Warner's command.

"The day Samantha decided to get you to the Nox, Starck was named as temporary CMO and Warner had just filed a formal protest with General Hammond, stating that he was the senior officer in the facility and that by right he should have been promoted to CMO right after the Kowalski-incident. The general rejected his complaint and sent him back to the infirmary. That's when he encountered Sam and ended up as wall decoration.

"Starck was still checking him out when you and Sam were brought back to us. You were still on the gurney but there was a hint of colour to your cheeks, your breathing was regular, and your heartbeat strong. Teal'c followed with Sam in his arms. She was unconscious, her eyes, ears, and nose was bleeding. Warner jumped from the cot and began to shout at her. He swore that he would get his revenge; that 'the immoral dyke would pay for her sins'. End quote.

"Teal'c put her on a bed and got Warner to back off simply by staring at him. This time Sam quickly regained her strength and insisted on staying in the brig whenever she was forced to leave your side to get some rest herself. General Hammond tried to keep things inside the base but Warner went over his head and filed charges with the NID. The next day we had an investigation on our hands and one of Kinsey's goons snooping around."

"Wait a minute. The NID? But it's none of their business; it's not their responsibility. He should have gone to JAG."

"Yes, he should have but he didn't. It took General O'Neill more than a year to find enough intel linking Warner with the NID and the Trust to get him out of the mountain and earn him a dishonourable discharge. He found evidence that he had sold confidential medical information and other personal files. He sent regular reports about alien technology and other stuff.

"However, the fact that he didn't go to JAG was what made Samantha's deal with Kinsey possible. Outside of the base, the Pentagon and the White House no one knows what happened, and the base at Cheyenne Mountain is occupied with deep space radar telemetry. There are no official court reports, only Sam's confession."

Silence fell and after some time Janet asked. "Why did you leave the SGC, Abby? Why did you leave the Air Force? You and all the others?"

"In my case it's easy. Doctor Starck died only a few days after the defeat of Anubis and Warner naturally succeeded him. A couple of months later I surprised Warner doing a completely unnecessary and particularly invasive examination during Sam's monthly physical. I objected; he ordered me to leave the room. I didn't go though Sam told me to. He tried to push me out of the door; I lost my temper and decked him – in full view of a surveillance camera. Doctor Weir should have initiated a court-martial but instead she offered me a choice: either stand trial or retire. I chose retirement. General Hammond pulled a few strings and I had a new job here at the CSC."

"What about the rest of the staff? Daniel said that the better part of my staff left the mountain at one point or the other."

"They all have their own story and their own reasons but in retrospect I can't help but think that Warner planned on having us all out of the way. We were a damned good team, and I'm sure he wanted to get his own people in. With Warner at the helm it was as if life was sucked out of the infirmary. I'm sorry, Janet."

"Don't be, Abby!" Samantha's voice came from the door to her office. "Without your support, yours and the others' of Janet's team, I would have been lost all these years. You took care of Eli when I couldn't. You were the voice of reason when I lost hope. Don't be sorry. – With Warner gone, things have got better at the SGC infirmary though we still are in need of a CMO. The general reassigns them quicker than he changes his BDUs. I would say he misses his Napoleonic power monger. By the way: He sends his best wishes and promises to visit as soon as possible."

"You look beat, Sam. Sit down! Abby, could you get her something to eat?"

"There's no need, Abby. Daniel and Sarah will be here in a few minutes. I called them before I left the mountain. I want you to try some chicken broth tonight. If it works out we'll get you on a more solid diet."

"Sarah? As in host to Osiris? This Sarah?"

"Yes, remember, the Tok'ra separated them. Daniel and she married two years ago. She doesn't like to be reminded of this time and her memories are rather sketchy but she has proven a big asset to the archaeological department though she adamantly refuses to lead her own team through the gate."

"How many are there now, anyway?"

"34, in all. Ten military and ten civilian teams here on earth. Three teams with mixed members and eleven at the new Alpha Site, working in co-operation with the Tok'ra, the Hak'tyl and survivors of Jonas' planet."

"Twenty-three teams, that's a lot for one small infirmary. They must be working overtime with the pre- and post-mission physicals alone."

"Not really. Pre-mission physicals have been replaced by monthly check-ups at Warner's request, and General O'Neill was the first to embrace the new rule. When the Asgard installed the satellite grid they also gifted us with a modified version of Thor's Hammer. They are set up at the entrance of the gate room and scan everything and everyone coming through. Sorting out Gao'ulds as well as bacterial or viral infections. It works well but we still lose a lot of people in the infirmary. I hope you will be able to improve their track record once you're back on duty." Samantha answered.

They spent a leisurely evening with Daniel and Sarah. Janet found that she liked the former host a lot and that the woman had been good for the archaeologist come soldier. When little Eli had fallen asleep in Samantha's arms they called it a night. The tall blonde promised that she would be back in the morning and Janet quickly was close to follow her daughter to the dreamland, still overwhelmed with everything she had learned these past few days.

The whole thing with Warner kept nagging at her. She couldn't help the feeling that Abby had somehow held back, that she didn't tell her everything: sprained ankle, gynaecological examination, invasive. Her eyes snapped open, no, it simply couldn't be. Don't speculate; go with the facts. And fact was that her chief surgeon had used every opportunity he got to ogle her lover, and that the blonde had been in a foul mood, whenever an emergency had forced her to delegate Samantha's care to him. At the time she had thought that it was her jealousy speaking, her damn possessive streak – but now…

Suddenly, she remembered an incident with Lieutenant Astor, a few days before the summit and the whole Zatarc-mess.

"Take your paws off me." The woman's voice was angry and scared at the same time, and Janet's instinct drove her to investigate. She found the young lieutenant strapped to a gurney and Warner standing over her, obviously fondling her breasts.

"What's going on here, Doctor Warner?"

"The good Lieutenant objected strongly to have her post-mission physical, Doctor Fraiser. I didn't have a choice but to strap her down or bring her up on charges of insubordination. So, Doctor, if you don't mind, I just got started."

Janet didn't believe him and suddenly couldn't shake the feeling that she should have insisted on Samantha or Captain Carey giving her more information about what had happened almost three years ago.

"I'll take over from here, Doctor Warner. Major Castleman and the other member of his team are all yours."

"Yes, Doctor Fraiser." His voice was full of disdain but he left the room.

Janet quickly checked the neck and throat of the young woman for tell tale signs of Gao'uld infiltration and released her from the restraints. "I apologise for Doctor Warner, Lieutenant. If you want to press charges, I'll be in my office 'til seven. I will back you up with General Hammond, and if you want to speak to someone, Major Carter and I will always have time to listen."

Then, all hell had broken loose: the assassination attempt on Vorash, the Zatarc-testing, Astor's suicide, Samantha almost put to sleep indefinitely, O'Neill professing his love for the blonde, Freya's hurt expression and her relentless questioning if or if not her lover shared her CO's feelings, the death of Martouf. Warner had totally slipped her mind and she began to suspect that might have been the biggest mistake she ever made. She finally fell asleep, only to be found by nightmares.

"Mom, wake up. It's just a bad dream. You're safe, Mom. Sam's safe. Wake up!" Cassandra implored. Janet bolted upright in bed, her breathing ragged, dislodging the monitoring sensor at her throat. "It's all right, Mom. You're safe."

She knew she was at the hospital, she knew Samantha was at their home, taking care of their daughter but to no avail. "Warner! I have to stop him, have to keep Sam safe. Hurt her."

"Mom, please Mom, look at me!"

The brunette slowly turned her head. "Cassy?"

"Yes, it's me. It's all right; you were having a bad dream. Sam's safe."

"Warner. He hurt her." She whispered still in the grip of her dream.

"Warner has disappeared some time ago and T told me that he will never again hurt a woman or anyone else. Mum… Sam had nightmares about him for months after she returned to our house. She never told me what they were about exactly but I told Uncle Jack and T and he assured me that Warner would never return. Sam's safe; lean back and calm down." She saw the dislocated sensor. "Damn, I have to call her!" And off she went to the adjoining room. "Too late! Sam's already on her way." Seeing her mother's questioning eyes she continued. "The sensor stopped transmitting data the moment it lost contact with your skin. To Sam it must have been as if everything suddenly flat-lined and sent her in a full-fledged panic. She also doesn't answer her cell, so all we can do is to wait for her to show up."

"But how does she know? No one called her."

"The big, ugly watch-like thing she's wearing; it isn't a watch. It's a receiver, able to monitor your vitals remotely. Even when she was not at your side, she always knew how you were doing; she always was with you. We all think that's so romantic!" The young woman said with a smile.

"It also could prove that I'm an incorrigible control freak, Cassy." Samantha said stopping her full-out run when she saw that Janet apparently was all right.

"No, it means that you care – and that you go to great lengths to insure the safety of those you love, Sammy." The woman on the bed answered with a breath-taking smile. "Thank you for taking care of me, Cassandra."

"It was my pleasure, Mom. Besides, you held me during so many of my nightmares; it was the least I could do. You're in good hands now. I have to go back to work."

"A nightmare? Wanna tell me about it?" Samantha asked sitting on the edge of the bed.

"Not really. – Someone was hurting you and I stood aside, and there was nothing I could do. – How could you let him hurt you, Sam? You're a soldier; you're trained to defend yourself."

The blonde only smiled, a smile Janet had long ago learned to associate with remembered pain, a smile that appeared when she talked about her friendship with Orlin or about her mother. The brown-eyed woman studied her beloved.

"It wasn't you, you were trying to protect. You let him abuse you; let him rape you, to keep me safe. That slimy bastard! If I ever get my hands around his throat, it will be the last breath he takes."

"Janet, please don't. He's not worth it. He threatened to kill you if I didn't let him have his way. It was only once a month and it's long in the past. He wasn't able to taint our love then and he will not succeed now. Don't let him win, please!"

"Take me in your arms, Sammy." As soon as she felt the other woman's strong arms around her she whispered. "Please, make love to me. Show me that you're mine, mine alone. I need you, Samantha, please!"

She knew Janet wasn't yet strong enough; she knew she should have a better handle on her desires but it had been so long, and Janet's eyes told her that she knew exactly what she was asking of her. Samantha gently kissed her lover, her forehead, her eyes, her lips, her throat, the square inch where the sensor had been. Janet's hands were busy sliding under her T-shirt and roaming over her skin, leaving a trail of fire in their wake.

"Off, the shirt has to go off. I want to see you, all of you." Samantha complied.

Samantha knew that she couldn't let this go too far; Janet was able to move her arms but not much more; she couldn't allow her to overexert herself, but she also relished the touch of her partner's hands. What they did wasn't all of what either of them wanted to do, nothing more than petting but the blonde soon had to admit to herself that she needed it as much as her partner did. Making love to the smaller woman was what after more than four and a half years made her whole again. It was why she had fought for their love. It was what made life worth living. It finally washed away his touch.

Janet's recovery progressed amazingly, thanks to the Nox. Her medical file told her that Samantha had been able to heal her body but that nothing could be done for her mind.

Neither the Asgard nor the Nox had been able to guide her back to consciousness. Shortly after Eli's birth Lya and Nafrayu had gated to Earth to apologise for not even answering Samantha's message, sent one and half year prior. The Nox had taken in the few survivors of the Tollans after their planet was destroyed by Tanith. Deeply traumatised by their experience, they had tried to take control of the Nox' technology and for a while even gained access to the communications array and the gate. The Nox had a hard time to stay on their peaceful path and still prevail against the frightened Tollans but finally succeeded. When they heard what had happened they offered to try and heal her but even their powers were not sufficient. All they could do was to keep the body from decaying due to the immobility. Combined with regular physiotherapy and the low wave muscle stimulants Samantha had developed, it kept her from suffering the most debilitating effects of a long-term coma.

She had a lot of visitors on a daily basis, aside from Daniel, Sarah, and Jennifer Hailey. She got to know Eli better and couldn't help but being impressed and proud at the mixture of childlike wonder, pranks, and scientific curiosity the girl showed every day. Almost everyone she knew from the base dropped by. She shared laughter and tears with her friends and family, fun and sorrows. And she learned a lot about Samantha, about the woman she had become and the woman she always had been.

Some of the things she learned were hard to hear but Janet felt that she needed to hear them; so, some of the conversations she had were rather heart wrenching, in particular one with Daniel when she coaxed him to tell her about Warner. After their night of reconnection and passion the nightmare had not returned but she still couldn't get it out of her mind. Samantha, still being the brave and stoic soldier refused to talk about it, and so Daniel was the only one she could ask.

At first he tried to play it down. "It's in the past, Janet. He hurt someone we all love and respect – and he paid the price. There's nothing more to say."

"Oh, yes, there is, Daniel. Warner hurt her so deeply that she doesn't allow herself to even think about it. She has tucked the memories in a remote corner of her mind and built a wall around them but the bricks keep falling down. I have to know exactly what happened, and I have to know what happened to him, the first one for Sam's sake and the second for mine. Please, Daniel, tell me." Reacting to his uneasy glance she added. "The monitor is off-line. She won't come barging in if I get upset but I think she misses the thing at her wrist."

"She was wearing it every day for more than three and a half years; day and night, except when off-world." His words trailed off and he took a deep breath. "All right, I will tell you what you want to know but it's not easy to tell and it will be hard to hear.

"Every time she used the healing device it sapped her strength. Shifu would say it depletes the reservoir of her Chi. That's why Doctor Starck insisted on closely monitoring her health. Warner used this recommendation to schedule monthly physicals, and though Starck and then Halliwell were listed as her primary physician she didn't object to Warner doing them. If we all had been in our right minds, this alone should have tipped us off. Then there was the incident with Abby but Sam refused to comment on it. It was evident that she had a hard time to reign in her temper but when ever we asked she only said that it was nothing.

"Since taking over responsibility for the SGC and reading about Warner's conduct in the gate room, Jack covertly began to gather information and evidence against Warner. We quickly suspected that he was an NID spy but he was very careful and hard proof was difficult to find. Then Sam was allowed to leave the base and became pregnant with Eli. Cassandra one day told Jack about the nightmares and I tried to get her to speak. She told me that it was in the past and that I should mind my own business – but in less words. 'It's over, forget it!'

"When Jack finally found what we needed Warner was booted out of the Air Force and disappeared. A few weeks later, in a storage room we came across a box with videodisks. Though the surveillance cameras had been deactivated when he was alone with her, he obviously had a small camera going." Daniel took another deep breath. He really didn't want to go into any detail but Janet's determined face told him that she wouldn't be satisfied with anything less than the whole truth. "He had her gagged and bound, strapped to the examination table. He tortured her, penetrated her with every object imaginable. It was like some hair brained, X-rated, SM flic.

"She looked so vulnerable, so frail but when one found her eyes there was hatred and resignation and defiance. He was rambling the whole time, about the proper way women should serve men and not command them, and what a woman's body only was good for, and that he would teach her to forget her sinful ways. He said that your current condition was a sign from the creator to save her, that she needed re-education and that he had fifteen years to show her the light. He went on and on, that he would save her, first her soul and then her body by giving her a bunch of children."

"He raped her. This is all my fault."

"With everything he could find but he didn't use his penis. He said that she was not yet worthy of being the receptacle of his pure seed. And it's his fault, not yours."

"How long did this go on?" Janet's voice was barely audible.

"We found nine disks, so once every month while she was confined to her base quarters. – Sometimes she wasn't gagged and she tried to argue with him. It was like talking to a wall and whenever she came close to breaking through, he began to shout and threaten you, and he beat her.

"She thought that she didn't have a choice, especially after he became the CMO. She was convinced that letting him have his way with her body was the only way to keep you out of harm's way. She didn't trust any of us to do this and I really can't blame her. We let her down, all of us. We didn't help her when she tried to gate through to the Nox. We didn't do anything when the whole thing blew up in her face and Kinsey targeted General Hammond. We didn't do anything when she signed this damned confession and sacrificed herself to save the SGC – and later, we didn't protest when Kinsey walked in and had her put in chains. It was easier to believe her when she said that it was okay and that she was ready to pay for what she did.

"In the end, it was not her friends who made a change for the better but a virtual stranger. Elizabeth Weir had a better grip on what was going on and why than any of us. She really came through for Sam. I was so fed up with everything that I just wanted to get out. But Sam made me promise to stay. Regardless of how many times she tells me how important I am, regardless of how many times she tells me that there's nothing to forgive and that we didn't let her down; I still feel guilty. I feel guilty and I always will because I know that I don't have her strength. I never could have lived through all of this and come out with my integrity and love unscathed."

"General Hammond told me what a confusing time it was, with the NID sneaking around, a new president to content with, and Sam acting totally out of character. I know you all would have spared her if possible. Sam doesn't blame you and I don't either. You're a good friend, Daniel. – And now, please tell me what happened to Warner."

"It was Teal'c who found the video disks, recognised Warner's handwriting on the casings and put one in a player. Then he called us, Jack, Hammond, and me. It was evident what they were about and Jack wanted nothing more than to fast-forward them. The general wanted them destroyed. But T was not to be moved. He insisted that we watch all of them, every single agonising minute. It's still burned in my mind. He argued that Sam deserved that her comrades in arms watch the torture and how a noble warrior prevailed over such brutality. He said that we owned her at least this much respect – and he said that it would be up to us to exact revenge in her stead. He said it was a question of honour.

"General Hammond pulled a few strings and we were able to locate Warner. Jack wanted to kill him on the spot but T convinced him that Samantha deserved a deeper kind of justice. We took him into custody. He bragged about what he had done and that soon he would have the opportunity to work on her every day. He told us his associates only waited for the birth of the baby, as it turned out it were only delusional words. There was nothing planned against her or Eli.

"We arranged for a late night dial-out. Sometimes it pays being pals with the leader of the SGC. We gated to the new home world of the Hak'tyl and he was put to trial. He was sentenced to death and the sentence was carried out."

"Please, Daniel, no short-cuts. I have to know and I have to know if Sam knows." Janet insisted.

"Sam knows that he's dead and that he wasn't murdered. She never asked how he died and we never volunteered – at least as far as I know."


"During the last three years there were a couple of missions when Sam worked closely with Ishta and her warriors. They might have told her but she never said anything. You know, Sam's not really forthcoming with her feelings. Sometimes I'd really like to pummel Jacob."

"Speaking of Jacob Carter…"

"Don't ask me, Janet. It's another of the things she doesn't speak of. I only know that less than three hours after he angrily stomped away Sam had to have her hands bandaged and the wall right beside her door had to be cleaned of her blood. Then she requested to see a lawyer. I hoped that she would have finally come to her senses but instead she had her last name changed. There are only three people who know that really happened: Sam, Jacob, and Selmac."

"Back to Warner please!"

"You asked for it, Janet." Daniel closed his eyes to centre himself. "We presented the video disks as evidence, and like T the women insisted on seeing them all. One of the elders volunteered to speak on his behalf but he insulted her and the others. He argued that Sam hadn't offered any resistance when being bound to the chair and that she secretly enjoyed their sessions. But he didn't take into account that if someone knows about abuse, continued abuse it's the woman of Ishta's tribe. They still are independent because they think that their male brothers are too willing to go back to the old ways and to confine their women at home, instead of sharing their lives as equals. Normal Jaffa justice is of the an-eye-for-an-eye variety. The Hak'tyl do not believe in torture – with one exception: rapist.

"He was whipped to death. Every adult member of the tribe gave him two lashes with a single tail whip. Even T probably wouldn't have survived this. They left his body for the scavengers and burned his cut off balls in a ceremony of justice."

Janet had sworn an oath to do no harm but she couldn't find it in her heart to pity Warner or to condemn the justice of the Hak'tyl. In her book, Warner got what he deserved.

At the beginning of her third week, in the middle of the night, Janet had rather unusual visitors. A beam of white light roused her from sleep, and Thor and Heimdall were paying her a visit, exchanging pleasantries, and promising to be back soon. The next day, she had another unusual encounter.

Whenever possible, and crisis at the SGC seemed far less frequent than a few years ago, Samantha spent the afternoon and evening, sometimes even the night with her lover. Dinner was a family affair, with Cassandra, Eli, and Jenny. This particular afternoon, however, instead of Eli coming in from her playtime at the day-care centre of the hospital, Samantha entered the room with the distinctive form of Jacob Carter following behind. One quick look was enough for Janet to know that her lover felt anything but at ease, and the haunted look in her eyes almost prompted her to send the man away.

"Hello, my love." Samantha kissed her with the same passion she showed every day. "Janet, Selmac has come to speak with you – and before you pass judgement, please hear her out, I mean him… I'll never get this asexual thing right. I'll be next door, doing some paperwork. And before you ask: Eli was invited to a sleepover with little Janet and her brother. We'll meet them tomorrow at the park for a brunch barbecue with the rest of the gang."

"You mean I'll get out of here tomorrow?"

"Yes, my love, for a few hours. Lefty is convinced that you can make it under your own steam but we'll also take a wheelchair, just to be on the safe side. I'll leave you now. You'll be fine with Selmac but call if you need me, Jan."

She was gone and an uncomfortable silence settled in the room. Janet was sitting in a high-backed armchair near the window and a two-seated couch had replaced the cot. "I should offer you a seat, General Carter, but I'm not sure I really want to."

"You will not be speaking to Jacob, Janet. He's still sulking and I suppose he will persist in this unreasonable behaviour for quite some time. We are not exactly on speaking terms at the moment, except for Tok'ra assignments. He thinks that I betrayed him by supporting your relationship with his daughter, especially by not telling him from the beginning. It was so obvious but he refused to see it, and he still does. We argue a lot but part of being Tok'ra also means thinking in rather long terms. One day I will wear him out.

"I came to let you know what happened the last time Samantha and Jacob spoke, and to assure you that the two of you have my blessing, if it counts."

"It counts, Selmac. Please have a seat."

"As you know the Tok'ra had severed almost all connections with the people of the Tauri after the incident at the beta site and Anubis' super soldier. We heard about P3X-666, the battle against Anubis' fleet and O'Neill's return only long after the fact. And only another couple of weeks later we were able to send a team to Earth. We especially wanted to find out how Samantha had been able to use the ribbon device for healing – something never heard of before.

"Anise and I were waiting in Jack's office – and Jacob began to read Samantha's confession he had hunted for in the files. He had been tense before but he grew more agitated, even frantic with every single line he read. The confession not only details what Samantha did to trick base security and about her zatting General Hammond. It also tells why. Kinsey insisted having it black on white that her acts were not out of loyalty to a fellow officer but out of misguided passion for a member of her own sex. At the time this would have been enough to ruin your career as well as hers. He didn't want to believe what his eyes were telling him.

"His little girl, his brave little soldier never would this blatantly disregard the rules of military conduct. His little girl wasn't a lesbian. His little girl would never prefer the company of a woman to the company of a real man in her bed.

"I was overwhelmed with the power of his emotions, something I never before had experienced from him. He had found her quarters before I knew what he was up to."

"Please, tell me what happened."

"The door was closed but Jacob entered without knocking. Samantha was sitting at a big desk, littered with stacks of paper and books, typing away on her laptop. She instinctively snapped to attention at the sound of the door. She recognised her father and wanted to greet him with a hug but he stopped her in mid-step with nothing more than a look. He said. 'Samantha Elizabeth Carter, I have questions and you will give me the answers I seek.' He asked her about your injuries and let her describe what she did to save your life. Despite his strong feelings I let him continue because I didn't know where this was leading.

"Then he said. 'I never would have thought you capable of such blatant insubordination. You let your emotions rule your judgement. Did you forget everything I taught you? I'm disappointed.' I could see her shoulders straighten and she answered. 'You taught me that succeeding in a world dominated by men means leaving your heart behind, means suppressing every emotion from love to hate. Yes, I let my heart decide and I don't regret it. I love Janet with all that I am and I would give my life and my soul to keep her out of harm's way.'

"He answered. 'I don't want to hear it. Tell me that this woman is nothing more than a friend to you.' I knew what her answer would be and I tried to argue with him but he simply shut me out. She said. 'I'm way beyond pretending, Father. Janet is my best friend and the love of my life and the other half of my soul. She completes me – and I will no longer hide who I am just to make you feel better.' He slapped her, hard. Her head snapped to the left and her upper lip was split. She didn't even try to protect herself when he backhanded her -- breaking the skin of her cheek with his wedding ring.

"I am ashamed to admit that I was too stunned to do anything. Samantha's eyes were blazing with anger. I know she wanted to strike back but held herself in check. He spoke again. 'You made your choice, Samantha. Your kind should not mingle with honourable citizens. From now on, you no longer are my daughter. I will never forgive or accept your choices – and I hope the woman who corrupted you will never wake up.' He turned around and left. I just had enough time to assure her that I was sorry and didn't share his opinion. I doubt she heard me.

"A few months later, when we calibrated the weapon of the Ancients to stop the Replicators, we learned that she had her family name legally changed to Fraiser, Jacob was so angry he almost botched the mission."

"Thank you for telling me, Selmac. Tell me, do you have any plans for tomorrow?"

"I planned on returning to our home world. Why?"

"Would you like to take part in this barbecue thing?"

"I don't want to impose, Janet. And I think it would be hard for Samantha to see her father's body and know what he is thinking about her and your beautiful little girl."

"Why don't we just ask her?"

They had a wonderful Saturday. The sun was shining and though it was too cold to run around with shorts and sleeveless shirts, it was pleasant enough to enjoy the outdoors. While Samantha and the others, Selmac among them, enjoyed an impromptu game of softball, Janet and Jack O'Neill were talking.

In his usual straightforward manner he said. "I want you back at the infirmary, Janet, ASAP."

"I don't know if I want to come back, Jack."

"I could make it an order, Lieutenant Colonel."

"Yes, you could, General, but I'm still on medical leave. I have yet to decide if I'm willing to renew my commission; retiring is a viable option. So, I'm afraid, General, you don't have any leverage."

"Oh, for crying out loud, Doc. You used to be not as easily offended. I just want my old team back. I want someone I trust to take care of my boys and girls. I'm tired of incompetents with delusions of god-hood. Janet, no one is as good as you. Fact is that we lost more men in the last four years than in all the time you were at the helm. At least think about it." He almost pleaded.

"All right, I can do that but you should know that I already have a standing offer by the Chief of Staff of the Colorado Springs Central Hospital to head up the ER."

Before Jack could answer a curly headed whirlwind launched herself in his arms. "Uncle Jack, Mommy, come and play with us, please!"


Chapter Four: And death shall have no dominion

Two months later, Samantha was sitting on one of the beds of the infirmary, waiting for the results of the newly reinstated pre-mission physicals. Janet had argued that she needed more than just a vague impression on the teams' health, and that only the knowledge of their exact pre-mission status had often helped to assess the origins of an infection and others things.

"You still can change your mind, Sam. No one can force you to take this mission, to take part in this hair brained Tok'ra plan. It's too damn dangerous. There are a hundred things that can go wrong. Please don't go, baby."

"Janet, please! We both know that I'm the only one with the qualification to do this and stop Ba'al. I have to go."

"And regardless of what happened between you, he's still your father. Promise, that you will be careful, my love."

"I promise, my love. I'll come back to you."

74 hours; she was gone for 74 hours already – and if everything went according to plan Samantha and SG-2 wouldn't be back for another four days at least.

It was the first time since Janet's return to duty last month that her soon-to-be wife was off-world for more than a few hours. She put her key in the ignition of her car and thought back on how the blonde had convinced her to return to the SGC, at least on a part-time basis. All Samantha had to say was. "I always feel better when you do my physicals, Janet-baby."

So, Lieutenant Colonel Janet Elyssa Fraiser returned to the Cheyenne Mountain Complex and resumed her duties as the Chief Medical Officer but instead of also working at the Academy Hospital like she had done before, she opted on taking a part time job at the ER of the CSC. Alicia, Abby, and a few others of her old team also willingly returned – with Abby being reinstated to the rank of master sergeant and Alicia working as Janet's administrative assistant. All of them agreed that they must suffer from a serious addiction to adrenaline to willingly return to the top-secret facility.

The hospital, however, was not where she was headed now. She stopped her car in the driveway of a big stone building. Samantha had bought it from the profits of her inventions a year and a half prior. It held a two-bedroom-apartment in one half of the ground floor, Cassandra's realm, and increasingly Jennifer Hailey's. The other half held a big kitchen-dining room combination, a living room with an entertainment centre, a guest bedroom, and a half bath. The top floor had another two bathrooms, four bedrooms, one of which had been transformed into a study, and a sunroom with a retractable glass ceiling and a big telescope.

She remembered the first time a bashful blonde had shown her to her new home, a few days after the brunch-barbecue.

"If you don't like it, we will find something else or we can move back to our old house. Daniel and Sarah are living there now but they probably would be willing to move, to move here instead. I put the rent in a special account, at your discretion only."

The blonde was so nervous she totally missed the look of awe on Janet's face. "I know it's rather big but I wanted something big enough for the whole family and the guys – and it's close to base and the hospital. I wanted a big yard for Eli to play, to invite some friends."

Samantha was blushing. "I never would have thought that one could make this much money with a few simple inventions but I don't want you to think that I lost contact with reality just because of the money. We can find something smaller if you want to; something more suited to Air Force Officers."

"Sam, Sammy, take a deep breath, calm down. I love the house. I love that you want your family and your friends close. I love you, Samantha Fraiser."

The blonde gave her a smile that had the power to lighten up a big dark room. "You're not disappointed?"

"No, my love. When I was a little girl I dreamed of having a house like this. I'm not disappointed. I love you, baby."

Janet found her youngest daughter in the sunroom, curled up in an old leather armchair. It came as no surprise to the brunette. The observatory was the one place in the house where the child felt closest to her mother. She gently picked up the three-year-old and made them both comfortable. Waiting was part and parcel of being a doctor, and usually she was very good at it – but waiting for Samantha was harder, it always has been. If not for the little girl in her arms it would have been downright unbearable right now.

Samantha had estimated that it would take them about a week to reach Ba'al's new home world, free her father, sabotage his new weapon, lure him to the fake Tok'ra outpost, and blow up his fleet. The week went by without a sign or a message. Sleeping without her lover by her side had been hard but now it became outright impossible. Janet spent most of her time on base, except for the hours of playtime reserved for Eli.

She was sitting in the commissary, having lunch with Cassandra when the klaxon for an unscheduled, off-world activation rang through the speakers, followed by the request for a medical team. Both Fraiser women sprinted towards the gate room, disregarding the fact that the younger woman wasn't even Air Force and had no business being present. They both had images of a tall blonde being carried through the gate on a stretcher running through their minds.

The wormhole closed behind SG-19 when they arrived at the gate room. The team of anthropologists was suffering from nausea and diarrhoea that turned out to be food poisoning from a rather spicy root the locals regarded as a delicacy. Janet was about to leave with her patients when another unscheduled activation was called. She put Cassandra in charge of the team and called for back-up.

Chevron 7 locked, the wormhole burst into life, the iris closed. She heard the announcements from the control room as if in fog. "Incoming signal. – It's SG-2. – Open the iris."

The blink of an eye later, two rather dishevelled looking Tok'ra carried Jennifer Hailey through. A score of other Tok'ra and the rest of SG-2 followed on their heels; they all looked as if they had been through a lot. They were continually looking back towards the gate, making the SFs behind their weapons more than nervous. They clearly were expecting trouble but all stayed calm; so she concentrated on Jennifer. She assessed the small woman's injuries and made her as comfortable as possible given her dislocated shoulder and a badly broken leg. Before she could administer a painkiller, the event horizon began to flicker but there was still no sign of Samantha. Janet stared at the gate as if she could keep it open by the force of her will alone.

Finally, three more persons stepped through, their backs to the room. She immediately recognised Samantha who still held her Carter-special at the ready. Next to her was Jacob Carter and to the far right Garshaw, both women holding him upright. They barely had cleared the gate when the wormhole collapsed, severing the tip of her gun. The small doctor was already on the run, closely followed by two medics. A smile lit the blonde's battered face when she felt the presence of her lover.

She whispered. "Kept my promise, love! Take care of Dad!" She then slumped bonelessly in Janet's arms.

Seeing her beloved injured snapped Janet into doctor mode. She quickly made sure that Samantha was not in any danger and within a few heartbeats the pandemonium the gate room had turned into was back to a semblance of order. After sending everyone who didn't need immediate medical attention to one part of the room she concentrated on Samantha and her father. Jennifer already was on her way to level 21.

Jacob and Selmac were both badly injured, badly enough to let Janet wish for a sarcophagus – though she knew that both would object to its use. She managed to stabilise him and then had a better look at Samantha. Her love's vitals were still stable but she had a split lip, her left eye was swollen shut, and her whole body seemed to be covered in bruises. She ushered them off to the infirmary.

The tall woman's guardian angel, however, had worked overtime. Further examination showed no signs of internal injuries or a concussion. How ever it did reveal a couple of broken ribs, a multitude of superficial cuts, and a deep laceration at her right thigh that had reopened when they cut her out of the Tok'ra issued garments she had been wearing. Samantha came around long enough to give Janet one of her special smiles and then slipped in a deep sleep. In the meantime, Cassandra had taken care of Captain Hailey and Garshaw was trying to treat Jacob/Selmac with a healing device. Instead of improving his condition he flat-lined. An adrenaline injection brought him back and it was decided to wait.

Colonel Ferretti was barely able to stand when he reported to O'Neill's office to give his preliminary report, well three words. "Mission accomplished, Sir."

"When was the last time any of you had any sleep?"

"Two and a half days ago, more or less, Sir. Sam was awesome."

"She usually is, Ferretti. "

"No, Sir, you don't understand. Ba'al unexpectedly sent ground troops; Selmac was still weak from his imprisonment and quickly captured. She led Ba'al's Jaffa on a wild goose chase, kept them at bay, and enabled us to get away. She let herself be captured to get her father out, freed them both and finally led us through the gate. Everyone else would have earned a purple heart for this mission alone, Sir."

"Unfortunately, that's not for us to decide. Go and get some sleep. I'm really looking forward to a full debriefing."

When there was one thing Jack O'Neill hated it was waiting. He was trying to concentrate on some paperwork when the red phone rang. "Yes, Madam President, about an hour ago."

"Yes, the mission was a success."

"No, no fatalities, so far. General Carter was gravely injured. The doc is not sure if he and Selmac will make it."

"I don't know any details, yet. It appears that he and Fraiser have been captured and tortured when they were on the Tok'ra outpost. I wanted to wait with debriefing until she is sufficiently recovered and everyone has had a chance to get some sleep."

"According to the doc, she should be fine after some sleep and a ton of painkillers. I was told that she took quite a beating."

"Yes, I understand, Madam President. I'll get you all the intel you need, two hours tops."

"Your private cell phone? – Yes, noted and memorised, Madam President."

As a man with a mission Jack O'Neill left his office and headed for the infirmary. After two lengthy talks with Jennifer Hailey and Garshaw he used the number he just had been given. President Clinton was on her way to the Pentagon, a meeting with the Joint Chiefs.

"The first part of the plan went without a hitch. SG-2 freed General Carter and Fraiser reprogrammed Ba'al's weapon. Ba'al followed them with his fleet to the old Tok'ra outpost, but he didn't start his planet burner as he had done before. He sent ground troops. As a contingency plan Fraiser had an automated timer running but they had to keep them occupied for 72 hours. They had to play for time. Selmac was once again captured and Fraiser lured the Jaffa away from the Tok'ra and the other members of her team. They had to augment the core temperature of the planet to make sure that it had maximum effect. The technical details are way over my head. Bottom line is: Sam freed herself and Selmac, let the assault on the gate and brought all her people back."

"No, there's been no change to General Carter's condition."

"Yes, Madam President, a complete mission report. 24 hours and you'll have all the details. Do you think that this time they will go for it?"

"Yes, I understand."

"No, as far as she is concerned, she got what she deserved but that doesn't mean that I will stop nagging them about it."

"Yes, Madam President, I'll make sure to tell her. Thank you."

Samantha quickly recovered but Janet insisted that she stayed in the infirmary for at least three more days. She used the ribbon device to heal Selmac and her father – and somehow they came to some sort of truce though their relationship was still rather formal.

Almost three weeks later, Samantha and Janet were called to the SGC on their day off. They were ushered to their shared quarters and told to dress in the clothes laid out on the bed. Having spent most of their adult lives in the military they knew when to question an order and when not. This was not one of these times. There was a dress uniform for Janet, complete with regulation heels and the half wings of a lieutenant colonel on her epaulettes. A second, plain dress uniform was waiting for Samantha.

She adjusted her tie in front of the mirror. "I always loved you in dress blues, Sammy."

The blonde blushed. "I missed wearing the uniform, incongruous as it seems. This is more than I ever thought possible."

They kissed and shortly after were escorted to the gate room that was filled to the brim with dress uniforms and other fineries. There was a rather large delegation of the Tok'ra including Selmac and Garshaw, Teal'c with his family, Thor and Heimdall, and Lya and Nafrayu from the Nox. Samantha was directed to the foot of the ramp where Jennifer Hailey was already waiting, balanced on a walking stick.

The Generals Hammond and O'Neill were standing to the left of a lectern draped with the flag of the United Nations. Behind it were the flags of both the USA and the SGC framed by the gleaming black metal of the Stargate. Samantha slightly turned her head and saw her lover standing in the front row next to Cassandra, Daniel, and Sarah. She looked as confused as the blonde felt. Something definitively was up.

And it must be more than just a promotion, though Jennifer had more than earned her major's leaves. They long ago had stopped to make a big deal about such things. There usually was a quiet ceremony in the briefing room followed by a big party. She searched eye contact with the smaller woman who imperceptibly shrugged her shoulders. Before she had a chance to lose herself in pointless speculations, the voice of Sergeant Siler rang through the speaker system. "Attention!"

Everyone, including the civilians snapped at attention. General Hammond, now with three stars adorning his shoulders stepped behind the lectern. "From the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force: in recognition of Captain Jennifer Hailey's outstanding work I hereby authorise her immediate promotion to the rank of major. Captain, step forward."

Jennifer walked up the ramp where the general took off her captain's bars. "The United States Air Force recognises that you have fulfilled tasks and duties well beyond the responsibility of captain."

O'Neill moved forward and attached the oak leaf on her left shoulder while Hammond did her right. "It is with pleasure that I bestow upon you the responsibilities, the respect, and the rank of major."

Samantha's mind went back to the day she had been in Jennifer's shoes, almost nine years ago. There hadn't be any time for a party with the treaty negotiations between the Asgard and the System Lords, Nirrti trying to kill Cronos, and everything else. The rhythm of Jennifer's walking stick on the metal mesh of the ramp brought her back to the present. Once again Siler called them to attention and O'Neill's voice rang through the room.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Air Force, Marines, and dear guests – the President of the United States of America."

A room full of right arms went up in salute when Hillary Clinton stepped through the entrance to the gate room and took her place behind the lectern flanked by both generals. "At ease, please!" The soldiers all flowed to a slightly less rigid parade rest.

"With the initiation of the Stargate Program the words 'first line of defence' were redefined. The first line of defence for this country, for our whole planet is this room – and a piece of technology we still try to understand completely. The members of this command, however, quickly learned that there is much more at stake than the fate of our planet. We found friends out there, true and trusted friends and allies. It is with great joy and pride that I greet the representatives of the Asgard, the Nox, the Tok'ra, and last but not least the Jaffa.

"Many people on our planet still believe that they have a right to try and dominate those that are different, be it by the colour of their skin, their sex or their religious beliefs. You all taught us that differences are a source of strength, not of weakness and that all in all we have more to gain than to lose. May the new alliance we forged exist as long as the old one did."

Thunderous applause greeted her last words and she waited for the noise to calm down but it took long enough for Samantha to begin asking herself why she still was standing at the foot of the ramp instead of somewhere in the anonymity of the crowd.

"Today is very special for me. In the past, when I was called here to Cheyenne Mountain it was either to sign a treaty or due to some sort of diplomatic emergency. During the last four years I witnessed countless acts of bravery and heroism, with my own eyes and by way of the mission reports. I had the privilege to see the men and women of this command work together to once again save our world and the world's of others. More often than not our country has been amiss to properly show the gratitude we owe you, all of you."

Samantha felt a knot tightening in her stomach.

"Almost five years ago, Major Samantha Carter, an outstanding officer who had proved her worth and her dedication to this program over and over again fell victim to the machinations of former Vice President Robert Kinsey and other parts of our governmental system that meanwhile have been eliminated. The Joint Chiefs as well as the Congress' Defence Committee have finally agreed that she has paid more than once for the lapse of judgement committed all those years ago. – Doctor Samantha Fraiser, please step forward."

Samantha's legs automatically began to make one step after the other and before she knew it she stood at arm's length from the lectern and cast a quick glance at her now beaming lover.

"Doctor Fraiser, without your ingenuity Stargate Command would have stayed the subject of a science fiction novel. Eventually, the Gao'uld would have remembered our world and found us an unsuspecting target. Without your selfless dedication this world no longer would exist."

The President nodded to O'Neill who in turn gave a sign to Siler in the control room. "Attention!" A shuffle of feet followed and suddenly it was as if the whole room was holding their collective breaths.

"In the name of the Joint Chiefs as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces let it be known: in recognition of her outstanding dedication to the security of this planet and our allies all charges against Major Samantha Carter-Fraiser are dismissed and as of now she is reinstated in the United States Air Force with the rank of Colonel. – Doctor Fraiser, do you accept the promotion?"

The blonde looked at her as if she suddenly had grown a second head; all she could do was nod. O'Neill gave another sign and the ranks to Janet's left parted to make way for a curly haired child wearing something closely resembling an Air Force dress uniform. Samantha was beyond astonished; her daughter hated wearing skirts, with a passion. Eli balanced a big jewellery box in both outstretched hands and was beaming at the older woman. The President bent down, opened the box, and took the golden wings from their casing.

"On behalf of the United States Air Force, it is with great pleasure that I bestow upon you the responsibilities, the respect, and the rank of colonel." She clipped them on both of her shoulders and once again bent down to retrieve the bars with commendations and medals to go at her left side just above the heart. There were almost as many as General O'Neill sported. "Welcome back, Colonel Fraiser!"

Instead of accepting a salute from the still flabbergasted woman she hugged her. This was enough to bring her back to the necessities of protocol. She saluted the generals and then turned around to pick her daughter up. She found a room full of grinning, saluting soldiers. She returned the salute with a hint of tears in her eyes. O'Neill took the microphone.

"And now folks, go change and prepare to embarque to the Alpha Site. They asked for the honour to host the party. Colonels Fraiser and Fraiser, to the briefing room, ASAP. There are a few details to get out of the way."

"Care to introduce me to this young lady, Colonel?"

"Of course, Madam President. May I present Eli Rebecca Fraiser, daughter of Samantha and Janet Fraiser. Eli, say hello to the President."

Far from being intimidated by the smartly dressed older woman Eli began to tell her how much fun it had been to see her mother so surprised, and that they both hadn't known and that she didn't like skirts but today had wanted to look just like her Mum and her Mummy.

Cassandra was waiting at the foot of the staircase to the briefing room to take her little sister to the locker room to change.

"They have the same smile when they look at you, Colonel."

"They both are my daughters, Madam President, and I'm very proud of them."

"Will Cassandra also join the Air Force after her residency?" Hillary Clinton asked while they were slowly climbing the stairs.

If Samantha was surprised to find that the most powerful woman on earth knew so much about her family she didn't show it. "I don't know, Madam President. When Janet, Cassandra, and I first became a family, all she was talking about was to become one day a member of SG-1. SG-1 no longer exists, and because of what happened she has developed a certain degree of resentment towards the forces, regardless of how many times I told her that it was my fault, my decision. So, at the moment, I don't know. Time will tell and it will be for her to decide."

They arrived at the briefing room and all took their seats. "Let's cut right to the chase. The Joint Chiefs have agreed to put Colonel Samantha Fraiser in charge of a newly to be formed SG-1. Its primary function will be to step in when no one else can do the job, basically you will be trouble-shooting. We recommend Doctor Jackson and Major Hailey as permanent members of the team and anyone else you want. General O'Neill will assign your missions but you will have the right to refuse them if you don't feel comfortable. We also feel that you should continue to work at the Colorado Springs Central Hospital. Your contributions to this country's health care are too important to miss them. It will be up to you how to balance both parts of your life. Think about it; speak with your family and friends. Let me know what you decide – and now I must leave, I'm expected in Washington. Have a good party."

"Madam President, may I accompany you to the surface?"

"It would be my pleasure, Doctor Fraiser. I hope you don't mind the doctor but two Colonel Fraiser's is just a bit too confusing."

"No, of course not. In the hospital we go by a first name basis to keep the confusion down. Sam, Cassy, and I sometimes work the same shift, and three Doctor Fraisers are too much, even for a big hospital. – I wanted to thank you personally for what you did do today, Madam President."

"It was long overdue, Doctor. Oh, I almost forgot. Adam, the briefcase, please." A young man stepped out of the group of people following the two women. The President took an envelope out of the leather case he presented to her. "General O'Neill has all the paperwork necessary for Colonel Fraiser's reinstatement. This is for her personally. It's the confession Kinsey made her sign, the original. As far as I know there are no copies."

"Why are you doing this, Madam President? This is far beyond your duty."

"There isn't just one answer to this question but there is one that should be obvious: It's my duty to look out for the people of this country, Doctor, especially heroic types who are too honourable and too noble to do so for themselves. But there is more. At first I only took an interest in her case as a favour for an old friend but it became more than just an obligation. Shortly after the destruction of the Replicators I was at the base to sign a treaty with the Asgard. It was over very quickly and I found myself with a few hours of leisure time. I chose to finally have a thorough look at the base and General O'Neill assigned Doc… Colonel Fraiser to show me around.

"We were in the engine room when the whole facility shook with a series of explosions, an accident in one of the science labs as it later turned out. We found ourselves cut off from the others. Life support was down all over the base, a few of the labs were isolated. I was ready to panic but she calmed me down and at the same time she somehow re-routed power to make the auxiliary system work. Then we had to wait for someone to dig us out and we talked. The infirmary had been destroyed and they checked us out in the briefing room. All the time that we were sitting there and talking she had a broken arm and two broken ribs, and she never said a word. Samantha impressed me like no one else ever did.

"Believe me; getting her back in the fold was worth every aggravating minute with these stubborn old men at the Pentagon." She said with a twinkle in her eyes. "I did what I had to do but if you really want to repay me, well, an invitation would be nice."

"An invitation?"

"To your wedding, Doctor."

"We would be honoured to have you, Madam President."

The End

Addendum –

Dylan Thomas: And Death Shall Have No Dominion

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.
And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.
And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

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