One gloved hand loosely grasping his P90, the other holding the similarly covered hand of an alien child, Jack O'Neill stared unwaveringly forward as the gate was dialled. His face was a blank, but inside he raged.

"You can't be serious." He'd said a few hours previously, slowly shaking his head, Hammond wasn't budging though.

"Like it or not Colonel we have no right to detain her here if she wants to go home."

"Since when?"

"Since we became a civilised species Colonel. Doctor Fraiser has informed me that she hasn't yet been successful in finding a cure. And need I remind you that we have yet to retrieve your team from the planet. Perhaps returning the girl will make them more willing to release Teal'c and Major Carter."

"Not going to happen." Jack assured him, Daniel hastily stepped in,

"What Jack means, General, is that the people have preserved what remains of their society through quarantining the sick. They aren't going to break that tradition because we return a runaway to them."

"They'll just stick her in with Carter and Teal'c." He broke in, "They can't help her Sir."

"Neither can we Colonel!"


"Jack, my decision is final. At fifteen hundred hours you, Doctor Jackson, and SG 12 will escort the girl back through the stargate. You will take her home and retrieve Major Carter and Teal'c."

"The Dicori won't like that." Daniel remarked softly.

"At this point Doctor Jackson, I don't give a damn what they like! Just get our people home!"

So here they were. SG-12 behind him, Daniel stood on the kid's other side, Fene was barely strong enough to stand. Every now and again her hand tightened its grip and through the isolation suits they all wore, he could see her face pale with pain. Like Carter's face when they left-no, not left, were forced to go. Never leave anyone behind, never.

'But you did', his inner demon taunted, 'you left them to d-'

No. He wouldn't think of that. The gate opened with it's customary flare, settling back to that calm, gently rippling pool. They would get them back, he'd bring Carter and Teal'c home again.

Or die trying.

Teal'c breathed the fresh afternoon air deeply. He had been by Major Carter's side for many hours, and the atmosphere inside was stifling and dismal. His teammate was deeply asleep and Milliya seemed confident she was in no discomfort. At her assurance that she would remain by Major Carter's side, he had allowed himself to be persuaded to rest for a while. In truth his failing strength would not permit him to remain awake much longer or he would have refused to leave his teammate though she slept for a week. Out here at least, he would wake at any disturbance from outside. He told himself this was how he could best aid his friend. In truth he knew not how.

The woman, Milliya still wanted his help. Worse, several other inmates had been glancing at him from time to time, fearful hope in their eyes. It was wrong, he had no salvation to offer them! He could not even save Major Carter from her fate! If he helped them escape this place he would merely to helping spread death to more of their people. The thought was incomprehensible.

And yet, to return to the SGC, to be freed of the burden of his teammates fate, it was tempting.

Teal'c lay back on the grass and dreamed of ghosts.

They exited the gate uneventfully enough. SG-12 performed a standard sweep of the area whilst Jack considered. When they returned, he glanced down at Fene. The trip through the wormhole did not seem to bother her. The crying had stopped, instead she sat quietly on the stone steps of the stargate, Daniel crouched worriedly at her side. He met the archaeologist's gaze 'How is she?' a minute shrug answered him, 'Not sure'.

Never mind then. "Major Bexson, on our six, Samuels, Hansely, keep a lookout. Jameson, help Daniel, I've got point." The group silently assumed their appointed positions. "Let's get moving, we've got a lot of ground to cover before dark." after a minutes thought, "and keep an eye out for red flowers."

With a snort from Daniel, a few puzzled glances from SG-12, they moved out.

The first thing Sam noticed was that she was dreaming. She must be dreaming because although she was still in the ward, and still felt terrible, the irresistible urge to sleep was gone.

And the ward was empty except for a glowing angel at the foot of the bed.

"Don't be afraid" the vision spoke gently. "I mean you no harm."

Equipped with a halo, a soft yellowish aura, and wings so huge they nearly reached the ceiling, the being before her looked every bit like a storybook angel. Except that she wasn't. Because this wasn't a normal dream, and despite the illness, Sam doubted she was hallucinating. Hallucinations generally made a lot more sense, or at least they did whilst you were hallucinating them. Which meant what Ella saw was real, and this was…

"You're an ancient." She murmured, pulling herself upright, wincing a little. The angel's beautiful smile faded, leaving puzzlement.

"And you are not of this world. How did another of your race find the Dicori? This world has been deserted by the goa'uld for centuries."

Sam sighed, this was looking to be a lengthy conversation and though the exhaustion was gone, the pain was still very much there. "It's a long story, can you lose the halo? It's giving me a headache."

The ancient nodded, piercing blue eyes staring into her as a shimmer seemed to pass through the room. The aura faded, the wings and halo seemed to vanish into thin air, leaving a woman standing in front of her. With black hair straight from a shampoo advert, oddly bright eyes, and an almost ageless face, she was certainly like no human Sam had ever met. Neither did she look like Orlin; who had been indistinguishable from any normal guy until you spoke to him. The woman in front of her wasn't alien, just a little too perfect.

"Does this appearance surprise you human?" the soft voice came again, Sam jumped realising she'd been staring. Sunlight shone through the non-existent window making her eyes hurt. She shook her head,

"No…is this what you looked like before you ascended?" another nod, "My name is Major Samantha Carter of the planet Earth…" the rest of her sentence was lost as she coughed. "Dammit!"

The ancient walked round to the side of the bed. "I am Elara. You are not well Samantha Carter from Earth."

"No I'm not. Where are we anyway? Am I dreaming?"

"Not as you understand the term. This is real, though our conversation is not happening in the physical realm your consciousness normally inhabits."

Her head hurt again. "Then why am I still…like this."

"Your illness is not caused by the microscopic life forms that generally cause illness in your species. This is of a different kind; I'm afraid I cannot prevent your discomfort, even here." Sam nodded wearily.

"Why did you bring me here Elara? Why did you bring Ella here? What is this illness? And what the heck is going on!"

I know, I know! I keep promising to update! Is it really nearly a year since I started this? Long hiatus! I'm doing my best! Spend thirty seconds to review? Pretty please?