Colonel John Sheppard froze in his tracks as the blood curdling scream ripped through the air. He resisted the urge to bolt in, remaining behind the safety of the doorframe for a few moments more to ensure it was safe enough to enter.

" Go!" He shouted into his headset, loud enough for the entire team to hear him even without their radios, whipping round the doorframe and kicking the door in with all of his might. The latch gave easily sending splintered frame flying in all directions. Without a pause John headed in, his P-90 leading the way as he heard chaos unfolding around him.

" Stop don't move!" shouts filled the building and John continued his fevered flight, desperate to find his wife in this barbaric hell hole. For several tense moments there was relative quiet and the rest of the team subdued and cuffed the thugs they found before continuing their search.

The sound of a pitiful whimper caught John's attention as quickly as any scream could and he bolted towards its direction, kicking down another door and leading with his weapon.

" Floor now.. or I start shooting" He threatened as the thugs inside smirked then begrudgingly dropped to the floor. Three more of this team plowed up the corridor behind him, flanking his as they came through the door, weapons drawn. John motioned for them to contain their new prisoners while he tended to Elizabeth, concerned as to the strange look in her eyes.

The gould squealed from its place behind Elizabeth's shoulder, its gleeful eyes feasting itself on its newest host. John's heart nearly dropped through his stomach as he saw his wife arch in pain, the voiceless scream coupled with her body going completely rigid. Without thinking he pulled out a zat-nikatel and fired, stunning both the gould and Elizabeth. Shoving the weapon back in its holster he carefully untied her restraints, noticing the marks on her upper chest where the gould had decided to toy with its new host before taking the final plunge. That explained the scream he heard earlier.

" Brickner, see if you can get the SUV on coms, get them to get a medical team here yesterday and enough backup to cover all these goons" Sheppard ordered, not wanting to move Elizabeth till she'd been checked over by the medics. Brickner bolted, obviously having no luck raising backup by radio until he'd cleared the shielded area. Within moments he'd returned, the rumble of the SUV behind him and the rattle of a chopper not too far behind.

Minutes stretched into eternity as more black clothed SG and marine teams flooded the complex, securing the numerous thugs and hauling them out to the waiting transport.

Dr Lam bustled in, a medical team with her and a helicopter gurney between them all.

" Tell me a story Colonel" She commented as she took stock of the situation. Elizabeth was still as John had found her, still blissfully unconscious with the tail end of a gould hanging out the back of her neck.

John gave her the edited version of what had transpired up to the point where he had discovered the gould and stunned the both of them. Lam looked up from her medical instruments and towards John.

" You sure you got it before it… attached itself?" She asked, carefully probing the limp gould with her gloved fingers.

" Yeah, she arched up, then I stunned them. There's no way it could have done anything yet" John replied, concern colouring his words.

" Well then, this shouldn't be a major issue then" Lam mentioned as she carefully rolled Elizabeth onto her side, pushing away the dark strands of curly hair to better look at the wound. With a pair of forceps she quickly cleaned around the area with a sterile solution before gently tugging on the ¾ of the gould that was exposed. Thankfully it dislodged easily, leaving a lovely gaping wound that started to bleed the moment the gould was removed.

" Err… someone…." Lam indicated the gould that she was still holding, and one of the medical team scurried forward with a secure container for her to drop it into. That done she set about bandaging the wound and getting her patient organized for transport.

" Is she gonna be alright doc?" John asked, trying not to sound like the guilt ridden husband he was.

" I think so, the gould didn't have time to attach to her brainstem, the wound should heal fairly quickly as so long as there hadn't been too much other trauma, she'll be back hassling you in a week or two" Lam smiled reassuringly as she co-ordinated moving Elizabeth onto the gurney and out towards the waiting helicopter.

" Thank God for small mercies" John retorted, knowing that things were a little more complicated that Lam was making out, but thankful for her reassurance none the less.

" You guys head back to the base with this lot, I'm hitchin a ride with the chopper." John called to his 2IC, who nodded knowingly then went back to his task of bailing the last of the thugs into the SUVs.

2 days later Elizabeth was back to her normal self, grumbling about being released back to her VIP rooms and away from the smothering watchfulness of John. The gould hadn't left any permanent damage and her broken bones miraculously hadn't suffered any ill effects from the rough treatment. She still ached from the beating, the bruises painfully dark against her pale skin. The Trust thugs had been processed and turned over to the local police for 'grevious bodily harm' charges, getting them out of the Air Force's hair and into a jail cell.

Over the next few weeks Elizabeth's condition improved steadily and she was finally allowed back home after the device was safely recovered from the compound and was back in the SGC's safe hands. The Trust seemed to have gone to ground to lick their wounds and it was doubtful they would try anything anytime soon.

Slowly, life got back to normal.