Title: The Redemption of George Hammond

Chapter 16

Author: Selmak

Introduction: The SG1 team is captured by Goa'uld when they exit the gate at the Beta Site. To their confusion, George Hammond greets them wearing the uniform of the First Prime of Selmak.

Rating: MA – Non-Con Sex. Violence. Cursing. Not a Happy Piece o' Fiction. Very Dark fic.

Pairings: Yes. Several M/F/S (Male Female Symbiote) – but not who'd you expect more than likely.

We continue with our story. Samantha and George are having a bonding parental moment.

It was Abby, coughing a seal like bark and crying something fierce. Her sister was stirring, and he didn't want Hannah to wake, so he carefully picked up Abby and began rocking her. Gently and slowly, so not to excite her.

"Easy, girl," he whispered. "It'll be ok."

He grabbed her blanket and a soft bear, and he carried her to the bathroom where he closed the door partially so they could keep an ear out for Hannah. Samantha was already sitting on a chair that she had pulled next to the bathtub. She reached out for Abby, and he shook his head before he sat down on the edge of the bathtub.

"I can get her closer to the steam," he explained as he rocked Abby. She was anxiously clinging to him with an audible inspiratory stridor.

"Give me Abby," Abby's mother protested. "I want my daughter."

"I can get her closer to the steam," George stated firmly. "You're shaking and you're upset. I know you don't trust me with Abby, but she's gonna pick up on your fear, and it's going to upset her. You need to calm down."

"We should call Janet," Samantha insisted. The fear and concern for her daughter's health was obvious in her voice.

"No.. no…let's try the hot steam first," George insisted. "It's almost midnight, and Janet's probably sleeping. I didn't close the door completely so we can hear Hannah if she wakes up.

"Let me hold her," she requested again. "I'm her mother, she needs me."

"I can hold her closer to the steam," he insisted.

"George," she protested. Her voice was tremulous and she was reaching for their daughter.

"You need to calm down," George retorted. His voice was soft and gentle. "Abby's picking up the fact that her momma's scared to death so she's getting all wound up."

"That cough," Samantha protested. "It's so harsh. She might need medication."

"Hot steam will help her," Abby's father insisted as he carefully rocked their daughter. "If it was physically safe, I'd take her outside and walk. The cool night air would help, but it's just not safe. She's got croup; I don't think we need to get Janet up. The girls had croup when they were younger, and Marie and I ended up in the ER one night with Lena. Abby doesn't have it that bad, so let's try the hot steam first."

"Best thing for Abby right now, Samantha, is for you to relax, and to let Abby settle down. If in fifteen minutes, her cough hasn't improved, we'll call Janet."

"I wish you'd let me hold her, George."

He hesitantly glanced at Samantha; saw first how her light night shirt clung to her, flattering her curves and accentuating her Baby Buddha Belly. Goddamn, he felt so lonely at the moment, as he remembered those few precious moments where he had lost himself in her embrace, where he had pretended that Samantha had actually felt something for him. Yet he had done such horrible, horrible things to her, forever and ever marking his soul as one of the eternally damned. George once again vowed for the time remaining him, he'd try to make amends with Samantha, until the day a vengeful god decided that he'd paid enough of his own blood and soul, and it was finally "George Game Over".

Then he timidly looked at her blue eyes. To his complete unsurprise, the emotions in her deep blue eyes were enough to drown him. Her eyes were full of a depthless concern for the croupy Abby combined with an almost physical abhorrence for the monster that had fathered her children. She wanted him dead, rightfully so, yet Samantha appeared to favor parole for the ones that had wanted to murder the girls.

"Move your chair over slightly," George suggested. "I'll move over, and you can touch Abby. She needs her mamma's touch, but she's too big for you to easily hold now, Samantha. I'll support her weight and you can hold her also."

It was awkward, his back was already in spasms, but in next to no time he was precariously perched in a new position, supporting their daughter's weight while she rested on her mom's belly. Samantha was gently stroking Abby's hand.

"Hi baby girl, Mama's here, and everything will be just fine," Samantha lovingly whispered.

Abby was coughing dreadfully and Samantha had wanted and in fact still wanted to call Janet but George had insisted that a little humidity would help Abby. So that's why the three of them were sitting in the bathroom, while Abby coughed and coughed. Her barking coughing grew less pronounced as time passed.

George was quietly talking to Abby even while he rubbed her back, and Abby was clinging to her. She wasn't crying as hard as she had been, and her eyes were closing even while she held onto her mama's finger with a tight grasp.

"That's it, darling, you go to sleep. My pretty little Abby…" George kept murmuring soft words to Abby about how beautiful she was and what a special little girl Abby was. It was hard to hear what George exactly was saying over the running water, but the agitated Abby was being comforted and soothed by the loving timbre of her daddy's gentle voice.

"She's asleep," George commented softly. "Let's wait a few minutes before we put her to bed."

George continued rubbing his daughter's back slowly, and then he sighed.

"We were having a conversation before this happened. Why don't you want Weir and her group to hang?"

That question was spoken softly, and Samantha tightened instinctively. She clasped her hands together and placed them over her belly as though that futile gesture would protect Emma and Abby, wishing she knew what to say. To tell George that she had promised Harry Maybourne to use her influence to save Weir's life would lead to further questionings, which in turn would lead to her revealing that she had asked Harry what role her father and George had played in the deaths of SG1. Maybourne had gotten into her safe room, her SAFE room for the love of God, which meant even that room wasn't safe from her enemies. And what would Harry do if she didn't follow through on their agreement?

What would he do to her children?

"Hasn't there been enough death, George?" Samantha questioned, carefully keeping her voice low and controlled so Abby wouldn't wake.

"They tried to kill you and your daughters…" George reminded her. "Aren't you angry? Don't you want vengeance?"

"There's been enough death," Samantha repeated. "Bra'tac… Paul Davis… SG1…"

"I need to find their bodies," her husband answered slowly. "I need to bring them home for a decent burial. I owe O'Neill, Jackson and Teal'c that much."

"You kill Weir, they'll turn in martyrs, like the Jaffa did to Bra'tac," Sam reminded.

"Bra'tac," George sighed. "He attempted over a half a dozen assassination attempts on your father and me. And that's the honest to God truth, not the ramblings of raving lunatic."

Samantha shuddered before she answered slowly, "I didn't know that."

"Yes. We banished him from New Earth because we just couldn't execute him. No matter how far we had diverged on our personal beliefs on what was best for New Earth, I couldn't execute him until he tried to kill you. Tomorrow… no today… when your father asks for your recommendation on Weir's punishment, you will request that they're to be paroled and collared?" His voice was full of his disbelief and his inability to comprehend why she was doing it.

"Yes…" Samantha repeated her decision once more and then paused. She then blurted out, "I want you to tell my father that you believe that they should be paroled also."

George turned and looked at her, plainly disbelieving that he was sitting next to the real Samantha Carter.

"Me? I don't desire them to be paroled, Samantha. They should die because they were going to kill our girls. Is this where you threaten me with never seeing the girls again? So I have to agree or else? I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't. I won't see them again as you'll sign those divorce papers… and if I agree with your parole, Weir and her cronies will probably attempt to kill them again. Either way, my girls are as good as dead to me," his voice cracked as he stressed that final point and Abby began to stir.

Sam inhaled sharply, fearful that she had pressed George too hard. She had been aware of the dangers of using the "stick" on him too often, that at one point, George would no longer respond the way she desired him to in regards to threats of losing visitation with his children.… Now, she had to decide if she was brave enough to offer him a carrot.

"I'm not going to hit you, Samantha," he whispered. "Don't wear that look on your face, girl."

Abby began to whimper, and George began rubbing clockwise circles on his daughter's back again.

"Sssshhhh," George whispered to Abby, "Go back to sleep, pumpkin."

The three of them sat in silence until Abigail, cradled protectively in her mother's arms, had once again drifted off to sleep.

"George," Samantha then gathered her courage before she continued, "… if you recommend to my father to parole them… I'll do anything you want."

"Anything?" Hammond asked, his hoarse voice sounding strained. "You'll do… anything?"

"I'll even… share your bed… for one night," she whispered. "Willingly. Just not tonight, and please don't hurt Emma."

For a response, he stood up quickly, taking Abby with him, and Abby began to stir.

"Easy girl… easy…. You go back to sleep, darling." George whispered to Abby. He began swaying and rocking Abby before he left the room.

Good God above, he felt psychically and physically unclean at what Samantha had offered, and his uneasiness was affecting little Abby who was close to waking again. He carefully walked her down the hallway, realizing a few minutes too late that he should have helped Samantha stand, but that would have meant he would have to put his gorilla hands on her fair skin. He needed to put Abby to sleep in her crib, so he could watch her sleep. His daughter seemed fine… now… but croup was funny, and it just might flare up again. There was a rocking chair, and he could sleep there.

He was about to put Abby into her crib when Samantha told him to stop. Then she reached for their daughter and took her from his arms. She cradled Abby awkwardly, resting her daughter partially on her belly.

"I have a crib in my room, and I want to watch her tonight," Samantha insisted. "I can handle this."

"But you need your sleep," he whispered, strongly voicing his complete disagreement. "Someone needs to stay awake all night and observe her. Let me do it."

"We don't want Hannah getting sick," Samantha retorted. "I've got a crib in my room, and I'll watch her."

"I won't be able to help you," he objected. "If she's in your room, I won't be able to keep an eye on Abby."

"Abby and I are going to my room, George," Samantha informed him.

Like the damned, cursed fool that he was, he followed her down the hallway and then she walked into her bedroom. He couldn't cross the threshold; he had promised her that he'd NEVER violate her again, and by the very God that seemed to delight in adding torment upon torment onto his scarred soul, that included her bedroom, so George could only watch as Samantha carried their daughter into her room.

He stood outside the door, heard Samantha humming a lullaby to Abby, and then after a few minutes, the lights in the room dimmed.

What to do?

He needed to be there in case there was a problem with Abby, but he couldn't be in the same room, so he decided to sit on the floor. It would be faster, if he was on his feet, but pacing the hallway would upset Samantha, and rightfully so. George put his back against the wall, and before long, Austin was next to him, the Rottie resting his heavy head in George's lap.

"You were so good to your sister," he assured Austin, as he began stroking the dog's head.

What the hell was he supposed to do? Parole Weir and he could see his daughters.

Disagree with Samantha, and she'd divorce him. He would never see the girls again; never see their first steps, never hear their first words.

But they'd be alive.

Until the next attempt, or the next one. Sooner or later, one of the Weir lead assassination attempts would be successful.

Either way, his children were as good as dead.

Oh God, what to do?

Abby was cuddling against her and Samantha gratefully and yet a tad regretfully put her daughter down into the crib.

"You're getting so big," she teased her daughter, even as she stretched her back. "Getting big, just like your mama is."

Samantha then placed her hand against her belly, and rubbed it gently.

"Look, Emma, your mama loves you very, very much, but I do wish that I could skip the forty weeks and pick you out of a catalog," Samantha protested.

Carefully and quietly, she dimmed all the lights in the room, dragged a rocking chair over to where the crib was, and then she returned to her sentry post, watching her daughter sleep. After thirty minutes or so, Abby was still sleeping easily, and Samantha thought it might be ok if she dozed. But first, she wanted to check on Hannah.

Gracelessly, she extricated herself from the rocking chair and she walked out of her room. To her horror, George was standing next to the doorway. He was close to it, but not over the threshold, she noticed. Even Austin was standing behind George, peering upwards toward her.

"Do I need to get Janet? Is Abby ok? Is there a problem?" He questioned; his voice was full of concern for their daughter. "I heard you get up, and I was worried you might need help?"

"What are you doing here?" Samantha retorted. "You're pretty damn close to the No Fly Zone, George."

"I'm not in your room," George explained quickly, the words falling over his tongue. "I'm not… I'm not… I'm… I wasn't anywhere near your room… I was on the opposite side of the hallway… I wanted to be close in case you needed help. I didn't go into your room."

He was holding his hands up and out, as though he was trying to prove that he was weaponless, and Samantha tried not to shake. In spite of what cruelties he had inflicted on her, George had never ever been less than a loving, devoted father to his girls. Well, his concern was apparently was for only the girls that were out of the oven, that is. George never asked about Emma when she went solo to her prenatal exams. He never asked, and she never told.

Her conscience nudged her firmly in her ribs, and tsk'd tsk'd her for being cruel.

"I was hoping you'd let me know if everything was ok with her," George said softly. "I really wanted to go with you to your checkups… but I thought… you lying on your back with me standing over you…it wouldn't be a good thing…"

"I thought that experience would be exceptionally traumatic for you and Emma. I wanted to question Janet, but I figured you had told her not to let me know anything. I told you that in this situation, you make the rules, and I'll follow them."

"Is Abby ok?" George quickly questioned. "Should I call Janet?"

"She's sleeping; I wanted to check on Hannah," Samantha explained.

George sighed, and she saw how his broad shoulders seemed to relax.

"Thank God," he whispered.

She ignored him, not having the energy to deal with him right now, and she checked on Hannah. Her daughter was sleeping soundly, and Samantha sternly warned herself NOT to stroke Hannah's hair and to be content with just watching her daughter breath.

God above, how she loved her daughters.

George settled back down in the hallway, his back resting against the wall, within hearing range of Abby, and he closed his eyes. God damn, he was too old to be sleeping in the hallway, he thought as he massaged his aching head. The floorboards creaked and he kept his eyes shut. If it was another assassination attempt, he'd thank them with his dying breath.

The floorboards stopped creaking. If the death blow came, he'd take it like a man he once had been, not the shattered wreck he was now.

"Are you sleeping in the hallway?" Samantha questioned, her voice cracking like a whip.

"I'm attempting to sleep in the hallway," he glibly commented.

The floorboards creaked as Samantha walked away from him. He stretched for a bit, trying to find a comfortable spot. He couldn't find a comfy position, as his joints were too damn stiff, but he needed to be there just in case. After a few minutes of unsuccessful positioning and repositioning, he was hit in the face by something big and soft, which was followed by something else.

He gingerly opened his eyes, and Samantha was already strategically retreating back into her room. She had thrown one of her pillows and an afghan at him.

"Least have a blanket and a pillow," she said.

"Thank you," he softly responded.

"I didn't do it for you," Samantha informed him. "I did it for…"

"Abby," the two of them said together.

His quick response seemed to disturb Samantha, and she crossed her arms in front of her. It was a defensive gesture, and he tiredly nodded his head.

"I didn't think that you did it for me," George assured her.

"Just you keep remembering that," she ordered before she returned to the safety of her bed.

The next morning after a far too long sleepless night, she blearily stared at her father. Chekov, George, Janet and her father were in a private room about to discuss the sentencing options for Weir's insurrectionists.

"We can reschedule the sentencing if you're not up to it, Sammy," her father assured her. "Janet says both girls are fine, so you don't have to worry. Just go back to bed, and get some sleep."

"No," Samantha insisted. "Let's get it over and done."

"Agreed," Chekov inserted. "It's been dragging on for too long. Try them, convict them and sentence them. Delays just rile up their supporters."

Her father sighed, and shook his head.

"Weir and her cronies admitted that they were trying to overthrow the government. They admit to seven attempted murder charges, that being Janet, Samantha, Greg, Abigail, Hannah and Malcolm. They also pleaded guilty to plotting the death of the two unborn babies."

Jacob nodded his head and then Selmak spoke.

"The six of us each have one vote. The vote for death has to be unanimous. If there is a lone dissenting vote, we will discuss the situation until it's unanimous." Selmak's voice was then emotionless as she announced her decision. "Death by firing squad."

"Agreed," her father said. "Janet?"

"Line them up and shoot them," Janet said firmly. "Give me a gun, and I'll do it myself."


She swallowed twice, wishing she knew whether she had any support on this matter. Harry Maybourne's face appeared in her mind, and she remembered that ungodly fear when she realized that he had gotten into her private room to leave her a message. He wanted Weir and her group paroled… and to save her children from what he might do… she'd agree. It had to unanimous for death, but she needed George's support so she wasn't the lone dissenting voice.

"Collar them or freeze them. Don't kill them." Her voice was low when she finally decided to speak.

Janet nearly tumbled out of her chair in her complete disbelief that Sam didn't want them strung up by their short hairs. She was about to voice her protest, when her husband, Jacob, got in the first word.

"What?" Jacob questioned. He pushed his chair away from the table, and stood up. "You want them paroled? Chekov?"

The Russian was heavily graying; his face an unhealthy pallor, but his deep voice was still steady.

"I agree," Chekov inserted quickly. "Parole them. We need their skills. Keep them heavily guarded, but don't kill them."

"Parole? Chekov, they tried to poison you with rat poison! Chekov! What are you thinking? They…." Jacob paused as though he came close to letting something slip, and then he continued.

"They tried to kill my wife! They were going to murder my daughter! I can not believe this!" Jacob Carter turned to face George and he roughly demanded, "What's your vote?"

Samantha also turned to face Hammond, wondering how he would vote.

"Parole," George's voice was firm when he finally voted, and she nearly gasped.

"Samantha has made her reasons clear to me why she believes parole is in our best opinion. We can't afford to lose Beckett and we can't lose McKay, though God knows I wish the man came with a mute button."

"Are you crazy?" Jacob spat that comment at George.

There was a long moment of dead silence as everyone remembered all too well that George had been in five point restraints in the not so distance past and then George barked a loud laugh. Chekov gave out a sigh of relief, and Samantha stared in amazement, as George continued to laugh.

"I was… but I'm feeling much better now with those daily injections," he drawled. "Much, much better..."

And he continued to laugh.

The announcement that Weir, Beckett, McKay and the rest of their team had been paroled came as a shock to everyone, including Carson Beckett. The doctor collapsed into his chair after he was sentenced. The Scot was so busy trying to comprehend that he wasn't on death row that the announcement that he was to be collared and placed on the strictest parole appeared not to faze him in the slightest.

Not so Elizabeth Weir, John Sheppard, Aiden Ford and Rodney McKay. In spite of being held by two Super Soliders, Elizabeth Weir fought like a wild cat, successfully kneeing one in his cod piece, hooking her hand around another's mask even while the others struggled in vain.

"Subdue them," Chekov ordered the guards, and each rebel was shot once with a zat.

He walked over to the prone figures and then collared them. He did it quickly and efficiently, with a scowl as though he was touching something unclean. When he was done, Chekov quickly wiped his hands on his jacket.

"Take them to the tank, they'll need a complete set of biometrics run and to be indoctrinated with the Collar philosophy of life," Jacob snapped. "George, you care to give them Collar 101 and tell them what joys to expect when they're collared?"

Samantha first looked at her father and then George. The two men were formerly the closest of friends, but there was a schism that had formed between them that had first developed when she had been attacked. It had been compounded with interest when her father had nearly killed George, but now, now it seemed her father enjoyed verbally wounding George, and George was giving it back just as hard.

George sardonically saluted Jacob, and for a moment the two men just stared at each other. They reminded her of nothing more than two pit bulls staring each other down, debating whether or not to attack the other.

"Aye, Aye, Sir! Greg, please make sure Samantha has lunch as she's looking pale. Take a few super soldiers to guard you, as I'll be busy teaching collar-garten."

"Greg," Samantha pleaded, as Chekov was rummaging through her kitchen closets to find something to make for lunch, "No turnip borscht, please."

The Russian chuckled, and swore that there would no turnips for lunch.

"You don't even have any turnips," he retorted.

"Thought you might find some," she snapped.

That caused Chekov to laugh heartily, and Samantha wondered what the HELL they were putting in the water today as everyone appeared to be in quite the good mood. No doubt because she was six months pregnant, she couldn't get any of the good stuff. After a few minutes of Chekov rattling around in the kitchen, he cheerily presented her with a grilled cheese with tomato sandwich on sourdough and a side of potato chips.

"So, you get to baby-sit me today?" Samantha questioned tartly.

That earned another rumbling bark of a laugh from the normally rather stolid Russian.

"Greg," Samantha asked slowly. She needed to be careful asking him what she wanted, and so was feeling him out slowly.

"Eat," he insisted. "While it's still warm. Your daughter will be happier if it's eaten warm."

"Why did you agree to parole Weir and her friends? What made you decide that they were paroleable?

He put down his sandwich and finished chewing before he spoke.

"I think they should have been strung up and hung," Greg stated calmly. "I don't think they're trustworthy. They'll get together and try to destabilize the government again, as they can't seem to wrap their peacenik minds around the fact that the tattered remains of humanity are only inches from being completely and utterly annihilated. I can't blame them; you Americans had it easy; you did not have any similar carnage to the Siege of Leningrad in your history. We lost over a million and half people in twenty eight month period. Over a million civilians died from starvation…My people refused to roll over and die for the Nazis. Fighting, it was our only chance for victory against the Nazis, because sometimes, peace is just another word for surrender."

"I don't understand why you didn't vote for the death penalty then," Samantha admitted.

Chekov laughed again, and she shook her head in disbelief at his jovial mood.

"I have no noble reason for doing so," he admitted. "In fact, the reason why I voted for parole is simple. When they poisoned me, they added a little bonus due to an unexpected chemical reaction. It wasn't just rat poisoning…"

"Greg?" Samantha questioned.

"I have heavy metal poisoning. Cadium and a few others are in my system. I, at the most, have three to four months to live as my internal organs are shot. The healing devices, at best, only give me a modicum of relief from the pain. For obvious reasons, I refuse to get into a sarcophagus."

"Oh God, Greg," she protested.

"So, as you see, I am not being compassionate. I'm being a realist. I don't want them being executed because their deaths would merely be an easy escape from this hellish reality. I want them to pay… and continue to pay for what they've done. Besides, I have enough blood on my hands to explain to St. Peter. He may not let me enter."

"Do they know?" Samantha whispered. "My father… George?"

He nodded his head and gave her a crooked smile.

"Yes, we've known for some time. I have gotten my affairs in order, and I am content," Chekov admitted. "I'll be meeting my Kisa soon."

She couldn't help it, Samantha started to cry. Blaming the reaction on her hormones was a ready excuse, but Samantha knew she was lying. In all honesty, Samantha had never been particularly fond of Chekov, nor had she trusted him during her SG1 days, as she always known and accepted that he'd make his decisions on what favored his country. But now, he was one of the few remaining pieces of a life that she was slowly and surely forgetting that it had existed, rather than fragmented daydreams.

A time when every day was full of adventure…. And hope.

Chekov's level-headedness and ability to cushion the sparks between her father and George had been a godsend these past few months and Samantha felt overwhelming lost at the prospect of losing that buffer.

"But your father and George have agreed to give me one final assignment. I will find SG1. I will bring their bodies home, and they will be buried here."

The Russian paused, and then he started laughing.

"What?" Samantha questioned. She couldn't understand why Chekov was so damn cheery.

"I have to remind George not to bury me next to O'Neill. He never liked me and I think I deserve a restful sleep after all this."

George came home late, after teaching Weir and her groupies the joys of being collared. He had warned them, that they'd be closely monitored, who they spoke with, who they didn't speak with, would be duly noted. Being less than charitable as after all, they HAD tried to kill his family, he didn't warn them about some of the side effects of the collars. Let them discover firsthand the exquisite joy of when the collar reset itself every 24 hours as part of its daily maintenance. Since a collar was wired to have a 'symbiotic relationship' with its wearer, he'd bet that they'd scream off their fool heads because of the pain that the reset caused.

McKay would probably soil himself and cry for his mamma.

He had given them the information on what code words would strangle them, what would release the collar from that command, and he had cautioned them, NOT to try and remove the collar. For good measure, he had shown them a few pictures of people who had tried to remove it. Perhaps people wasn't the right word, the remains of the people was the better word.

Since it was so late, he just checked on the girls quickly, to make sure that they were sleeping, and then he went to his bed. To his surprise, Samantha was in his bed.

She was awake… and Samantha was trembling.

"What are you doing in my bed?" George questioned.

It was pretty damn apparent what she was doing but he needed a few minutes to get his thoughts collected.

"We had an agreement," she whispered softly. "I'm here to fulfill my side."

He felt like laughing, he felt like crying, he felt like screaming. A thousand and one different emotions ran through his head and he couldn't help but bitterly laugh.

"There was no accord," growled George. "You have me over the damn barrel. I have to agree with everything you want else I'll never see my girls again. You are going to get our daughters killed because of your foolish, naive insistence on paroling Weir and the rest. And I agreed with your decision, only because I'll have a few more hours with the girls."

"If I was a good Dad, a decent man, I'd have disagreed, taken the divorce settlement and walked the hell out of here. I'd never see the girls again, but I'd know that they were alive. But I can't let them go. I can't imagine counting down the days until Emma's due date, and wondering if she's been born. I couldn't live like that… and yet I'd have to… so I could keep our girls safe…"

"I admit that I'm a lousy father and a horrible husband. I confess before the entire universe that I have done things to you that I will never be able to forgive myself. But in spite of the fact I am certifiably insane… I know that what you're offering… is so repulsive an offer and yet so damn tempting that I can not accept it. I will not go that path of self-destruction once more. I refuse to …"

George inhaled quickly, and then he walked out of the room towards the living room. It would be a long, restless night on the couch, but he didn't trust himself to speak further to Samantha. Because sure as God made little green apples and Rotties by the name of Austin; he knew that he would break down into tears and ask her why she was pushing him so hard to another breakdown.

His hands were shaking, his heart was breaking, and he began to obsessively and compulsively recite the Golden Rules of Sanity.

Rule of Sanity #1 – there was no redemption for someone like him. No one cared for him. Everyone viewed him as the scarred freakish monster he truly was. They'd dance a jig if he was assassinated, yet he had to stay alive, because without him, Samantha, Abigail, Hannah, Emma… they'd be slaughtered. Not even Austin would escape the butcher's knife, because Austin had proven his loyalty to him over and over again on the bodies of the insurgents.

Samantha lay in George's bed and she was stunned.

"I've just been turned down…" she whispered to herself. By the very man that forced himself on me six months ago. Of course, I was thinner and more attractive then…

Please, I'm in such a state of denial! I had my soft and saggy new mommy body and my leaking new mommy boobs.

Rape is an act of anger and violence, fury and rage. It's the result of being controlled by those emotions and the insane desire to take it out on someone smaller and weaker than you are. I angered and deeply upset him tonight. Not just tonight, but several other times, I've pushed him as far as I dared… and George kept his temper in check for the most part and he walked away.

He's not the same man he was six months ago. But he's not the man who once was my CO.

Who the hell are you, George Hammond? What the hell type of man are you now? And what type of man are you turning into?

Carefully, she got out of his bed, and she put on her robe. Sam walked out to the darkened living room, and she saw him on the couch. George was muttering to himself, and he was rubbing the left side of his face compulsively. She couldn't see his face in the dark, but Samantha could just imagine how raw and abraded it was from that obsessive ritual.

"George, let me get some antiseptic for your face," she offered.

"I'm fine. I'm fine."

She ignored him, and went to the bathroom where she scavenged for assorted first aid supplies. That done, Sam took a deep breath, and tried to settle her nerves before she dealt with George once more. Times like this she wished she wasn't pregnant, as she could use a shot or two of liquid courage.

Her nerves steadied, she returned to the room, and she sat next to him on the couch.

"No, you just leave the supplies there, I'll take care of it myself," George whispered. "It's not that bad. You go to bed as you need your sleep."

"Hammond, let me put this ointment on your face," she retorted. "You don't give me orders, remember?"

Opening the tube of ointment quickly, she spread some of it on her fingers. She began dabbing it on his face, and George sighed softly.

"Did that hurt?" She questioned. "I'm sorry… if I hurt you."

She meant that apology to cover more than just the sting from the first aid ointment.

"You have gentle hands," he assured her. "Soothing my pain away. Thank you."

"I'm still scared of you," Samantha blurted that out. "Even with the collar. I am still fearful… of your temper."

"Of me," he said simply. "You have every right to be."

"Tonight, I was in your bed because…."

"I know why you were there. You don't have the upper hand in our little card game; you own all the damn cards, Samantha. Don't offer your body to me," he protested. "Don't cheapen yourself. It rubs my soul raw to see that…"

"No…" Samantha protested. "I think you actually rubbed your face raw."

A tired grimace of a smile was his only response to her quip. She continued to dab at his face, and then she recapped the ointment bottle and placed it on the table. Then she took his unresisting hand and placed it on her belly. Emma was active at the moment, moving and kicking, and his face lit up when he felt Emma's gyrations beneath his hands.

"Tonight, have this," she whispered. "You're right. I don't think you at my prenatal exams would be a good idea. It would be… upsetting… to have you there."

"Will you tell me how's she doing at least? Please? I really want to know," he pleaded.

"Yes," Samantha agreed. "I can do that much for you."

Epilogue #1:

Three months later.

Greg Chekov sat in the command chair of the Korolev, and he gestured with his fingers. He was in good spirits, resulting from a mission that had been successful and well-run.

"Make it so," he ordered.

The Kirk-like effect for which he was aiming was ruined completely by a powerful, wracking fit of coughing. When the hacking finally ceased, he wiped the blood from his mouth, and then rubbed his aching chest. Carson Beckett, the silver collar of the Condemmed gleaming against his neck, was hovering next to him and the Scottish doctor began scolding him, insisting on another return to the Korolev's infirmary immediately.

He sounded nothing more than a Scottish mother hen chastising one of her chicks.

"Shepard, you have command of the Korolev," Chekov announced.

Shepard turned to face him and Chekov gave him a long look until Shepard wiped the insolent look off his face.

"If I die before this mission is accomplished, you two will not live more than five minutes longer than I do," Chekov reminded the two men.

Chekov dutifully reminded the 'volunteers' of that little tidbit every morning during their 'staff meeting'.

The coughing started again, and Chekov helplessly doubled over from the agonizing, ripping pain.

"We need to get you to the infirmary," insisted Beckett. He was waving something over him, and the Scottish doctor turned to Shepard for support. "His 02 sats are dangerously low. He's in danger of imminent respiratory arrest."

He protested, but the two men manhandled him, pushing, prodding and half-carrying him and he found himself in the all-too familiar infirmary, lying on a med bed. Beckett rapidly administered an O2 treatment complete with a nebulizer, and Chekov pulled it away from his face. Beckett hissed in frustration, and pushed it back on his patient's face.

Using the last of his energy, Chekov pulled the mask off his face, and grabbed Beckett's shirt.

"Why the hell should I trust you? You did this to me," Chekov spat.

His physical strength spent, Greg closed his eyes, focusing only on the tremendous effort it took to breath. Each gasp was pain akin to walking on fire. So close, and yet he knew that he wouldn't be able to see his mission complete. Much like Pheidippides, he had put everything into the marathon of his life, and he knew that he'd collapse and die before he reached the Finish Line.

I couldn't die, not yet! I had found them, and I needed to bring them home! Damn you, Beckett! Damn you Shepard for doing this to me!

"John, I need the blue medication and a syringe." Beckett's voice was calm and Chekov knew he was in a hell of a lot of trouble.

Darkness crashed down and he knew no more.

"Did you stabilize him?" Shepard questioned Beckett. The former USAF officer turned resistance fighter had gone gray over the years, but his unruly hair was still had a mind of its own.

"As best as I could," Beckett admitted. "He's a very ill man."

Shepard groaned and walked toward Beckett. John then uneasily looked at the dying man who was in a medically induced coma.

"And do I need to remind you, if we lose him, we're dead, Doc?" John retorted. He then grimaced at Beckett, and apologized. "I know you're quite aware of it."

"He needs to be put in a pod," Beckett explained. "He will not live to see New Earth otherwise."

"It would be a shame for us to have completed our mission and then blow up right outside New Earth's fly zone just because Chekov kicks the bucket," Shepard dryly commented.

"Enough," Beckett snapped. "I went along with you and Elizabeth. Against my better judgment I did, and therefore I'm responsible for what happened to him. I need your help to put him a pod and hopefully the system that's monitoring him will accept his suppressed life signs. If not, everything will come to a quick and fiery end."

The two men 'podded' Chekov and then hooked the pod's connector to the life support. They held their breaths, expecting their subterfuge to be discovered and the game 'reset'.

"Five minutes, John?" Beckette questioned in a very quiet voice.

"Yes, Chekov said that if we killed him, we'd be dead within five minutes as the life support on the ship would be shut off, including the pods."

"It's been six minutes, at least." Beckett then checked the life support monitor. "He's still alive, but barely."

John put his hand on one of the occupied pods and looked at Beckett.

"Any idea which one this is? They all look the same to me."

Beckett shook his head at Shepard's failed attempt at humor, and then checked the battered pod. The face plate was dark and he couldn't view the man inside the pod. He checked the monitor, and then he was able to determine who lay in deep slumber in the pod.

"Colonel Jack O'Neill," he answered.

"Welcome home, Colonel, " Shepard dryly commented. "You'll find that not much has changed since you left."

Epilogue #2:

As it was to be expected, Janet soon delivered a healthy and loudly screaming Martin Lance Carter-Fraiser. After Martin had been cleaned up and made presentable for viewing, Samantha found herself carefully holding the newborn baby in her arms, and she marveled at the tiny life. Thick curly eyelashes, a mop of unruly hair and his mother's eyes.

"He's…perfect… Janet," she informed her friend.

Janet wiped her sweaty hair away from her brow, and she happily grinned as Jacob took Marty back from Samantha before handing him to his wife.

"And he's the last baby I'm having!" Janet cooed cheerfully to Marty. "Though you're really beautiful."

After a suitable time spent admiring the sleeping newborn, Samantha and George returned to their apartment. She then carefully prepared a nice, warm bath for soaking, not too hot, not too cold and was about to undress and gingerly place herself into the tub when she realized that she was bleeding.

Somehow she managed to make it back to her bed, though the distance had become far longer than its norm and Samantha tried to stay calm.

"George…" she called softly, willing herself not to panic. She called again louder when she began to cramp and then she heard him at the door. "I'm bleeding. I need help…George… Emma… Oh God… Emma…You're too early."