Chapter Thirty-eight

"I can't believe I actually agreed to give that snake a second chance!"

"Jack, this isn't your fault, it was Sam's decision."

"It shouldn't have been. Her judgment is clouded."

"Do you think she would have ever forgiven you if you had murdered Ki'ya against her will?"

"I don't give a rat's ass if she'd forgive me, at least she'd be safe!"

"Sam is not lost yet." Gabriel interjected. "After the birth Neith will be weak, we will have a better chance against her."

"And then what?" Jack demanded angrily. "We are out of healing devices, we can't cut her out, we can't even go back home to help her."

"The Tok'ra can remove her if necessary." Daniel said.

"Oh it is necessary! There's just one problem with your little plan, Daniel: we have no idea where the Tok'ra are."

"The Nox will help us." Gabriel said confidently. "We just need to find her."

"Easier said than done."

"O'Neill." Teal'c called as he caught up to them.

"Any luck?"

"None. I have searched all of the rooms with pools on the lower levels."

"And we've check every room up here that isn't blocked by fires."

At a loss on what to do next the men just stared at one another. Growing frustrated Jack pinched the bridge of his nose hard enough to leave a white mark. Daniel looked around the empty halls of Ba'al's former Temple and suddenly had a thought.

"Gabriel, you said that Sam was displaying primitive Goa'uld behaviour."

"Correct."

"What if there is another personality? A 'wild' one?" Daniel asked. "Where would a wild Goa'uld go?"

"Daniel, that's brilliant. She'd head for a natural lake or river, she'd go outside."

Daniel took off running, knowing that the others would follow. The world was a lush one, with large trees that spoke of their great age. Some form of moss hung from their branches like clothing hung out to dry. The sun wasn't as intense as the star that heated the Earth and it gave the forest a slightly golden cast.

They followed the slope of the land, assuming that the bottom of the slight valley most likely held the nearest water. They ran through the beautiful forest, the joyful carefree singing of the birds mocked their nightmare situation. The tranquility was shattered as an anguished cry rang through the woods.

"Carter!"

The only reply was another piercing scream. However the second call gave them a chance to redirect themselves. Bursting through the underbrush they came to the banks of a shallow slow moving river.

Sam was on her hands and knees shoulder deep in the water retching a combination of blue and red blood. Jack splashed into the water and wrapped his arms around her waist.

He was ready for a fight, but he didn't get one. Sam twisted around and held on to him as though someone was about to pry her away from him at any minute. Jack changed his restraining grip to a comforting embrace. Sam cried bitterly against his chest, struggling for breath.

"It's alright, Carter." Jack whispered. "I've got you, she's not going to take you again. It's going to be alright...I promise."

"Sir..." Sam whimpered "I'm sorry..."

"It's okay, it's over."

"No..."

Jack held her tighter as she started to tremble. She tried to pull away, but he wasn't about to allow it. When she began to struggle Gabriel took control and joined them in the water to restrain her further if need be.

"What have I done?" She panted. "It's all going to happen again...worse than before."

"Car..."

"That is not Sam anymore." Gabriel informed gravely.

"I have to stop it!" Ki'ya suddenly wailed. "I can't be responsible!"

"Ki'ya, you have to leave her."

"I can't! I still need her, we have to stop what I've done!"

"You will kill her!" Gabriel snarled. "You will kill her as you killed your previous host."

"No! I love her!"

"Then let her go!"

Ki'ya looked around desperately. Her frightened expression degraded into one of rage. Gabriel gripped her shoulders in fear that Neith was about to resurface. She cried out in terror and threw her head back.

To everyone's surprise Ki'ya suddenly slipped from the back of Sam's neck and dropped into the blood stained waters. If Jack hadn't had such a tight grip on Sam she would have collapsed into the river as well. As it was she simply passed out against him.

Knowing he couldn't let her get away to breed again Gabriel dove into the water after her. It quickly became clear that he was not going to be fast enough in Daniel's body to catch her. In a split second decision he released Daniel and dashed after her.

Alone in the water Daniel's fear of drowning returned to him. He thrashed in the shallow waters, not even realizing that all he had to do was stand. A strong arm wrapped around his waist as Teal'c hauled him up. Sitting on the mud bank of the river he shivered like a cat left out in the rain. Daniel stared into the water, trying to find Gabriel, but the swift Goa'uld was no where to be seen. The calm river had smoothed back out to a glass like surface.

Gabriel had heard Daniel struggling in the water, but had every confidence that his friends would help him. He raced through the warm water searching for Ki'ya with a single purpose in mind. Her son did not concern him as much as she herself did. He alone could not reproduce, she on the other hand could fill these waters with in a matter of years.

Sensing the pair getting closer Gabriel stretched his toothy jaw. He wasn't sure he could win against both of them, but he was confident that he could at least take her with him. Rounding a bend in the river Gabriel was brought up short by something he had not expected.

Ki'ya was locked in combat with an unusual looking Goa'uld. The scent that Gabriel hadn't understood before in the Temple suddenly filled his sense once again. Its source was at the center of this battle. The newly born Goa'uld's fore half was jet black that faded towards deep green towards the tail. Light stripes ran down its back, darkening as they got to the tail.

"No...that's...that's not possible."

Neith's son was not a son at all, it was a hybrid, a hermaphrodite. As a mixture of male and female this creature would be fully capable of spawning an entirely new race of Goa'uld, ones that could breed on their own.

It was strong, certainly stronger than its mother. Ki'ya had her jaws locked on his midsection, but that allowed it to slash brutally at her side. She held her grip, however she was in no position to kill him, he would win this fight before long.

Gabriel shook off his shock and swam full speed into the fray. With the arrival of a new challenger the hybrid took his attention off the pest clamped down on it. Even with Ki'ya on its side the Goa'uld fought skillfully.

Striking like a blind enraged snake the hybrid twisted and lashed out with considerable force. While Gabriel fought it they slammed Ki'ya into a rock and she sank senseless to the bottom. Now free it launched itself fully at Gabriel.

Although expecting the attack Gabriel found this young creature to be far more powerful than he anticipated. Gabriel ignored the slicing cuts that the hybrid was gouging out of his hide and concentrated on trying to wrap around him.

Gabriel succeeded in entwining their bodies, but ended up at a disadvantage. The hybrid had his middle wrapped around Gabriel's throat whereas Gabriel only had the Goa'uld's tail under his control.

The hybrid squealed in triumph and slowly tightened his coils. If Gabriel had managed to come out on top he would have simply broken the Goa'uld's neck. The hybrid however was obviously enjoying slowly suffocating his prey instead.

Gabriel thrashed, but he could feel his consciousness beginning to fade. He was on the verge of passing out when the hybrid released him just enough to allow him to breath once more. The action confused Gabriel until the Goa'uld hooked a single tooth into his lateral line.

The lateral line was a sensitive narrow strip of skin that ran down the sides of every Goa'uld. It was used to detect electrical energies, Naquadah, and changes in water pressure. It was also a source of great weakness. When the hybrid twisted his tooth deeper into it Gabriel instantly went into a violent seizure from the agony.

The hybrid waited for Gabriel's spasm to subside before choosing a new spot and starting again. Through the haze of pain Gabriel's blood turned ice cold at the ruthless nature of this creature.

He struggled harder against it, tightening his grip on the Goa'uld's tail as hard as his strength would allow. However he simply didn't have the hybrid in a position where he could kill him.

Hissing darkly the hybrid kept his hold, but drew back his head to strike hard enough to finally kill. Gabriel was still fighting for freedom when Ki'ya slammed into them. The hybrid's mouth had been open wide and she had rammed herself directly down its throat.

The hybrid dropped Gabriel and threw himself around to dislodge her. Ki'ya was knocked free, however her jaws had torn free a large percentage of the hybrid's delicate gills. Unable to breath the hybrid twisted in spirals until his body went lax and sank.

Seeing that it was over Ki'ya drifted listlessly into shallower waters. After ensuring that the hybrid was dead Gabriel sought her out. She was laying on her side on the sandy bottom breathing heavily. Gabriel knew he should just kill her, but found himself unable.

Instead he rubbed his head gently against her side to let her know he was there. Ki'ya lifted her head and chirped sadly before laying back down again. Gabriel swam around to face her and his heart sank at the sight before him.

One of the hybrid's slender toothy jaws had broken off during their impact and was speared through Ki'ya's neck. Her skin was turning white, indicating that the wound was bleeding heavily internally. Slipping underneath her Gabriel helped her back to the shore where he had left the others.

When he returned Daniel lifted him carefully from the river. Gabriel barely had the strength to retake him as a host. When he did Daniel was instantly exhausted as well and dropped to his knees. Sam pulled herself from Jack and knelt on the shore to retrieve Ki'ya. She cradled the dying Queen close and looked to Gabriel.

"I'm sorry, Sam." Gabriel whispered. "You were right about her, she saved my life at the cost of her own in order to kill her child."

"No, not hers...Neith's."

"So, does this mean it's over?" Jack asked nervously.

"Yes...the Goa'uld race dies with her."

In Sam's arms Ki'ya snuggled affectionately against her before relaxing completely. Tears slipped from Sam's aqua eyes as a painful grief seized her heart. Gabriel reached out and gently took the dead Goa'uld from her and laid her in the shallow waters.

Sam didn't even get a chance to try and get to her feet. Jack collected her in his arms and lifted her up. She peacefully allowed it and buried her face in his shirt to hide her tears. Daniel sighed heavily and struggled to stand. Teal'c assisted him and they made their way back to the Temple.

When they returned to the Temple's Gateroom Sam insisted on being put down. Jack was never ceased to be amazed at how quickly she regained her mental and physical strength. However, when she tried to step away she realized she still needed his help to stand. Jack wrapped his arms around her waist and supported her.

"Okay, Kids, party's over." Jack said wearily, yet with some cheer. "I think we've way over stayed our welcome here."

"Where should we go?" Daniel asked.

"We could go to the Jaffa Nation." Teal'c suggested. "However I am not sure how well received Gabriel will be."

"True." Jack mused. "Besides, Dakara is too hot for my taste anyway."

"Idlewyld is lovely this time of year." Gabriel smiled. "And I just happen to know someone who owns a place there."

"Do you think he'll let us stay?" Jack chuckled.

"For the rest of Time itself."

"Let's see how you feel about that in a few weeks. I'm not the easiest of house guests."

"So Idlewyld it is?" Daniel asked.

"I don't see why not, at least for no..."

"Whoa...wait a minute guys." Sam interrupted in alarm. "Why aren't we just going home? Earth is still there...right?"

"It's still there, but...um...we can't go back." Daniel admitted.

"What?"

"They closed the SGC, put the Stargate in storage, revoked Daniel's citizenship, the works." Jack shrugged as if he had no interest in returning anyway.

"Plus, Jack's wanted in several states for a number of various acts of car theft and I think the Air Force is interested in trying him for Treason."

"Treason?!"

"Well...he did break into and blow up part of Area 51."

"All in all we're not really welcome there anymore."

"We've lost everything?" Sam asked in disbelief.

"No...not everything." Jack replied seriously.

Sam furrowed her brow in confusion as Jack reached out and pulled Daniel and Teal'c closer. Teal'c seemed unamused although a slight smile twitched the corner of his lips. Daniel smiled, but it was Gabriel that snake his arm over Sam's shoulders. Jack chuckled and sighed in complete contentment.

"We managed to keep the one thing that matters."

"We're still a team." Daniel smiled.

"Always, and forever."

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Well my little Kittens that is it! The End of the Wired series!

In the end I decided that poor little Ki'ya could not be saved, however, I feel she has redemed herself as best she can.

I love you all for reading and for following along on this adventure!

But don't worry. I don't think we've heard the end of Gabriel and the gang. The next set of stories set in this time line will be part of a series that I like to call:

Stargate: Exile