Sorry for the extended delay: this story was on hiatus for a while due to writers block.

Knife Edge, part 16: Light and Darkness, Life and Death

"SAM!" O'Neill yelled out a warning a fraction of a second too late to save Carter, and the Maggog bit down, injecting her with venom. She fell like a puppet with the strings cut as the toxins paralysed her, making it easy for the Maggog larva to take rout in her abdomen.

Beka and Tyr responded immediately, their weapons firing reputably at the Maggog, knocking it clear of Carter and killing it before it could attack anyone else.

"Sam!" Jacob rushed to his daughter's side, followed closely by O'Neill and Jonas, "Sam, can you hear me?"

"Maggog inject their prey with a concoction of toxins that produce paralysis and coma, at lest to start with. She will be unconscious for some time." Tyr looked down, "Some would consider it a mercy if she never woke up."

"And what the hell is that supposed to mean?" O'Neill sprang to his feet, ready to swing a punch with his one remaining arm.

"She has been infested by Maggog larva: they will start to grown, then eat their way out of her, killing her in the process." Beka stepped between the two men, "There is medicine we can give her to slow them, but nothing long-term..." She span round at the sound of someone being attacked my the Maggog," Less talking, more running."

"Agreed." Teal'c nodded, lifting Carter up without any apparent effort.

Trance stalked through the base like the Angle of Death, the ribbon-device she had taken from Osiris vaporising anyone or anything that got in her way. The Jaffa still tried to attack her from time to time, but their staff-weapons and Zat-guns had no effect on her. The Maggog seemed to be afraid of her, and fled whenever they saw her.

If only the Abyss was that easy...

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry..." The sound of crying from a nearby room caught Trances attention, and she investigated to find Rommie kneeling on the floor, cradling Dylan's head in her arms as she rocked back and forth.

"Rommie." Trance crouched down next to her friend, "Rommie, it's time to go."

"Go? Go where?" The AI had a distant look in her eye, "What's the point?"

"There is always a point to having hope."

"I killed him, just like Gabriela. Is this my cures: to kill those I love?"

"Something are more complicated they we'd like, but there is always the chance to change them for the better." Trance stood, "Pick him up and follow me."

"Rommie, can you target the Maggog precisely enough to avoid hitting anyone on our side?"

"To a certain degree: some Maggog will have to be missed to provide a margin of safety..."

"Do it: full spread, all tubes."

"Is that wise Harper?"

"I've been infested with Maggog eggs, you haven't. Trust me: death is better."

"Missiles away."

"You sure you know the way?" O'Neill asked, confused by the seemingly endless labyrinth of tunnels under the Ancients city.

"I was once a very good thief Colonel, and a good thief is one who can remember how to get out of a place they got themselves into." Beka smiled as the rounded the last corner and came out into sunlight "See?"

"I stand corrected." O'Neill admitted, and was then blown off his feet by the first by the impact of Andromeda's missile barrage, "What was that?"

"Orbital fire support." Tyr lepta to his feet, "Let's move!" He ran across the open ground in the direction of the Maru.

"You sure this will work?" Rommie asked as she carefully lowered Dylan's body into the sarcophagus.

"There are too many variables for me to work out right now." Trance activated the system, "But if you believe in any kind of higher power, now would be a good time to start praying..."

To Be Continued...

(At some point...)