Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Story Summary: Martouf and Lantash are taken to the Tunnels after the za'tarc incident. Sam suspects that something isn't right within the Council. She believes that certain factions among them will force Lantash to leave Martouf, and allow Martouf to die. She realizes that she needs to be there for them, because as their mate through Jolinar, only she has the right to decide whether or not to allow Lantash and the healers to heal Martouf. Sam defends them and 'officially' becomes their 'bond-mate. Sam, Martouf, and Lantash grow close as they spend time together. Information and events come to light, and the Tok'Ra and the Tau'ri come to a better understanding of one another.

Story Rating: M – there is a small section of mild sexual content in the last chapter. Non-explicit.

Pairing: Sam/Martouf/Lantash

Main Characters: Sam, Martouf/Lantash, Daniel, Malek,

Secondary Characters: Jack, Teal'c, Jacob/Selmak, Per'sus, Janet

Minor Characters: Anise, Garshaw, General Hammond, other SGC members, other Tok'Ra, and OCs.

Chapter One Summary: Sam has some of Jolinar's memories flood her mind, and she realizes that she is the only one that can save Martouf and Lantash and keep them together. She convinces the General that she has to go to the tunnels, and when she gets there, she is just in time to stop certain factions of the Council from removing Lantash and allowing Martouf to die.

Rating this Chapter – PG-14

"Italics" – Symbiote-Host Communications

Tok'Ra Dawn

Chapter One

Trumping the Council

Sam had a really bad feeling about this entire thing, over and above the fact that she'd been the one to shoot and supposedly kill them. Martouf and Lantash were alive. She could feel it in her heart, maybe in her soul as well. She heard the whispers as they hurriedly dialed the Tok'Ra base. He was breathing, which after the second zat shot he shouldn't have been. But he was. She wanted to go, but they insisted that she stay and rest from her ordeal. She didn't like this feeling, but she didn't know what to do about it. If only her dad had been there, too, instead of wrapped up in something for the council.

She stared blankly at the wall across from her. It was supposed to be blank, but suddenly it wasn't. Jolinar was striding down a crystal tunnel and she was—furious. Yeah, furious. No one stopped her, as she entered the Council Meeting Chambers. Furthermore, as soon as she entered, all debate stopped. She looked at each of them in turn, or at least, she turned to those she knew would be the ones causing the problems. After staring each of them down, she turned to Per'sus and asked what the decision of the Council was. It was to remove Lantash from Martouf. Martouf was too badly hurt to survive. Was this the opinion of all of the healers? No. The healers had not been asked; it was a Council decision. It was fairly obvious that he, too, was not happy.

Jolinar began to talk to each of those she felt sure were behind this. Sam was in awe of the cold, implacability of the woman confronting them. When she was finished, Sam was surprised they had skin left on their bodies. And then Jolinar smiled grimly. Why had she not been immediately recalled? Per'sus did not know. He, Garshaw, Selmak, Ma'ashat, A'pashe, and Kintash had been absent and actually were not due to return until tomorrow. Only he, Garshaw, and Selmak had returned this evening.

She turned to the Council and informed them just how this was going to be done. Furthermore, she was the one that was going to do it. If she caught any of them anywhere near her mates, if they were still alive when she finished with them, they might very well wish that they were not. Did she make herself clear? One last look at each of those responsible and she turned, swiftly leaving the room and heading for the med bay. This was a healer's venue, not Council business. She would follow what the healers felt was the best course to follow—unless she disagreed.

Scenes continued to race across before her. Some of them were entire sequences, others were mere snippets, and many left her wondering what else happened. It was the longest deluge of memories that she had ever seen from Jolinar at one time. Perhaps they came so quickly and so fully because she needed this information so desperately. She smiled, and it was similar to Jolinar's when she told them what was going to be done. She just hoped that she could figure out exactly what she should be doing, instead of sitting here like a lump of coal with no thoughts of how to rectify this mess.

She sat up straighter as a memory of her dad and Selmak prodded her. Of course. Her dad. Why hadn't she thought of that before? What time was it? She looked at her bedside clock. Yes. The General should still be on base. She got up and started to gather her things, flinging them into the backpack. Then she sat down and requested, um, how long should she ask for? Six weeks? Eight? Okay, eight. She had them coming, and she'd rather request them and not need them, if Martouf and Lantash…well, she'd just rather have them. Then she wrote out her resignation. The General would try to talk her out of it, and she wasn't in the mood to listen. Every minute counted. So, if they didn't grant the off-world leave, she was out of here. And if she was out of here, she was still going to see her dad. So either way…she was going to the Tok'Ra base.

Grabbing her things, her request, and her resignation, which she really hoped she wouldn't need, she turned to leave, but stopped, frowning. Her brow cleared, she grabbed her personal firearm out of the bedside table, and put it in her pack along with extra ammo. She would also stop by the weapons locker. She didn't want to go unarmed. If she was lucky, no one would be around the locker, and the General wouldn't notice the armament.

She was lucky again, because no one was there, and she was able to pick up her sidearm, a zat, and her MP-5. Making sure that she had plenty of ammunition for the MP-5, she slid the Berretta she usually took with her on missions into her pack along with the holster and ammo that she might need.

As she approached the General's office, she slid her pack and MP-5 to the floor and leaned them up against the wall, before she knocked on his door. At his response to enter, she opened the door and walked in.

"Major Carter? I thought you were supposed to be resting?"

"No, Sir. It was suggested that I might want to rest. I don't. However, I am requesting eight weeks leave…with my father. I would like to go now."

"Major Carter, I don't think it would be wise for you to leave right now."

Sam looked at him, and he didn't like the look on her face…or in her eyes. They were desperate and yet desolate at the same time, and it was very unnerving. She held out the second envelope. "In that case General, I'm tendering my resignation effective immediately. And I will return to my father's home. Now."

"Major…Sam, I can't accept that. You know that you'll regret it, if I do. Now, why don't you just go back to your room, and try to get some rest?"

"No. General, I want to see my father, and I want to see him now. I don't care what the Tok'Ra say, he is my father, and I want to talk to him. It is very important that I do it, and do it now, before they have a chance to kill him."

General Hammond looked surprised. "I hardly think that the Tok'Ra are going to kill you father, Sam."

She frowned at him. "No, of course they aren't. But if I don't get there soon, they will kill Martouf. He was alive when they left. I know that for a fact. That means that Lantash is sustaining him and is also trying to heal him. If I don't go, I believe that they will remove Lantash and allow Martouf to die. It's happened before, and even though many believed that Lantash couldn't heal his injuries, as serious as they were, he did. Lantash is a very strong symbiote, and he is exceptionally good at healing his hosts. It's been proven time and again. However, I know what will happen, if no one with authority steps in to make the decision to allow him to try. I have to go now, General, before it's too late."

"Major. Sam…you can't stop them from whatever they want to do. I don't like the idea of sacrificing the host either, but they are Tok'Ra, and we can't interfere."

"No, General Hammond. You can't interfere. I can." She sighed. "General, Lantash, Martouf, and I never repudiated our…for lack of a better word…marriage. For all intents and purposes, I am their mate. Furthermore, I have no intention of repudiating our bond. Not now and not ever. They are my husbands, my mates, and a mate has final say in what happens to their mate, if they are incapacitated and unable to make the decisions on their own. I have to go, and I have to go now!"

General Hammond's mouth fell open, and Sam sighed, again. "General, if I wait much longer, they will kill Martouf and possibly Lantash because he will fight his removal. I am the only one that can stop that from happening. I meant what I said. I will go on leave and go, or I will resign and go, but I will go…even if I have to call the President of the United States to do it. I will not allow them to kill my mates!"

General George Hammond snapped his mouth shut. What did he do? What would Jacob want him to do? He was very attached to Lantash and Martouf. If Sam could save them…He didn't particularly like her ultimatums…on the other hand, she was fighting for the life of someone she cared for, loved, and obviously, them being so close to death, possibly dying, even as they stood here, had awakened her to that fact. It was the real reason that she never repudiated their bond. Her subconscious had known all along how she felt about them.

He frowned. If he didn't give her the leave, and they died, she would leave the SGC. And, it wouldn't be for just a 'visit' with Jacob, either, but for good. How would he have felt, if someone had stood in his way and not allowed him to be with his wife, when she was dying? That wouldn't have happened; he'd have gone through anyone and anything that stood in his way. Just like Sam Carter was very willing, and no doubt ready, to do right now. God help anyone that stood in her way. He nodded. "Very well. If this is truly how you feel, and I can see that you do, then I can't, in good conscience, stop you from going to your husband…husbands. Your leave is granted, Major."

Sam let out a shaky breath and gave him a very slight smile, more a grimace, really. Her voice much softer now, she told him, "Thank you, General. If they don't make it, either because I am too late, or because Lantash can't heal him and they…" She swallowed hard, and then once more reigned in her emotions, before continuing, "If they can't survive this and they…don't make it, I'll be back sooner. Thank you."

She turned to go to the door, but the General stopped her. "Major, you forgot something." He held out the second envelope. "I don't want that resignation anywhere near my desk."

She took it, and this time she smiled a real, though small, smile. "Thank you again, General. I do appreciate it."

"You're welcome, Major." He nodded toward the door. "You'd better go. I agree with your conclusions of what will happen to Martouf and Lantash, if certain elements of the Tok'Ra Council hold sway. Don't forget your GDO."

She nodded. "I already have it. I hope you don't see me right away. Goodbye."

He nodded, as she walked out the door, and watched, as she picked up her things. He pretended he didn't see the MP-5. He just hoped she didn't use it on the Tok'Ra. That could make the treaty a little shaky.

Sam stepped out on the Tok'Ra world and headed toward the rings. Her MP-5 was attached to her vest. It was close, if for some insane reason she needed it. As she neared them the Tok'Ra materialized around her, but she kept walking. "Halt. You cannot…"

Sam whipped around and stared at the Tok'Ra who was attempting to stop her. Her MP-5 shifted but she did not touch it. It would not take much though. "Major Carter. I am sorry. I did not realize you were due to arrive."

"I'm here to see my father," Sam's voice was stoic, very unlike her normal tone, which was always quite friendly.

"He is in a Council Meeting at the moment, but I am sure that someone can find you a place to wait for him."

Her eyes narrowed, but all she said, was, "Yeah, whatever."

She was making the guard nervous. Her steady gaze and tense stance said that she was on the edge, and he wondered if he should even let her go. Suddenly, she relaxed and gave him a smile. "Sorry. It's been a hell of a rough day. I have a major headache, and they always make me cranky. Now, if you don't mind, I need to go on down, so I can find somewhere to wait on him. This heat and sun isn't helping my headache."

He relaxed at the change in her demeanor. "Of course. You know where the rings are. I hope that he will not be long, but perhaps someone can find you someplace quiet to await him where you can rest, and one of our healers can help your headache."

She nodded, as she stepped toward the rings. "Yes, I know where they are, and your suggestion sounds very good. Thank you."

He nodded at her, as she stepped into the ring transporter. It was a good thing that he didn't see her eyes. They didn't look nearly as friendly, as her smile did.

Once in the tunnel, she began her walk to the Council Chamber. She had been there often enough, she knew the way by heart. As one Tok'Ra after another approached her, she said the same thing…she was looking for this Tok'Ra or that one, while she waited on her dad to finish his meeting. They all walked off happy that she seemed all right after what had happened. She had not looked happy, but news had spread about what occurred during the summit, and no doubt, she needed the support that her father could give her, and none of them blamed her for that.

As she approached the Council Chamber, she could hear the argument over what to do with Lantash and Martouf. For once, there was only one guard outside the chamber. That meant that there could be three inside, unless the other outside guard had been sent to do or retrieve something. The guard stopped her and she asked him, "Can I help you?"

He looked puzzled by her question, and shook his head. She smiled at him, saying, "In that case, I need to deliver a message to the Council from the SGC. So, if you don't mind…"

He bowed his head, telling her, "I will announce you."

He turned to walk into the Chamber, but Sam told him, "No, that's okay. I'll announce myself. I think they're going to want to hear this news."

"I am sorry, but I cannot allow you to simply go into the Council Chamber. They are in session and that would break protocol."

She smiled at him, "I'll tell you what we'll do. You'll go in, and instead of announcing me to the Council, you'll whisper to my father that I have an urgent message for him, and that I need to see him. Now. That way, he can decide if I need to deliver my message now or later. Because, if you want to announce me to the entire Council, then I'll be right behind you. This is too damned important for me to let formalities take precedence over lives. So, what's it gonna be?" What had started out friendly and almost soft had hardened and become implacable, as she finished. He knew that she was not bluffing. The only way to stop her was to shoot her, and somehow, he did not think that Jacob Carter would consider her planning to disrupt the Council Meeting sufficient reason to do that. Besides, she had said lives. Then the light came on for him, and he was fairly sure he knew why she was here. What she could do about it, he did not know, but he was willing to allow her to try.

The guard suddenly grinned. "You are very like your father, when you want your own way, you know. I will tell him, and only him, that you are here, if you will refrain from following me in there, or shooting me, which I can tell is still one of your options." He lowered his voice, telling her, "Besides, I think this has to do with a couple of friends of mine. I will be right back, and your father will be with me. I give you my word."

Sam stared at him, for a long moment, and then nodded. "All right. But if you stab me in the back…" she shrugged, as she let the sentence wind down.

He nodded, saying, "Understood, Major Carter," turned, and entered the Council Chamber. The rather heated argument continued, and no one appeared to notice him. He walked soundlessly across the floor and up to Jacob and Selmak. Leaning into them, he whispered very softly, "Major Carter is here. She insists that she needs to see you immediately. She was ready to simply walk in and, short of shooting her; there really was not much I could do about it. However, she agreed to talk to you instead."

Selmak nodded once to indicate that he understood, and that he would come, before turning to Garshaw, who was sitting next to him looking very unhappy. She did not like the way this Council was beginning to do things. And she was definitely not in favor of removing Lantash, so that Martouf would die, and they could study his brain. Because that was basically what they were proposing to do. Feeling Selmak lean toward her, she turned to him. "What is it, Selmak?"

"I have to leave for a few minutes. Don't let them vote without me, or do let them, and then I can nullify it, because I was present, and they didn't wait for my return."

She nodded, and then, still speaking in low whispers, she told him, "All right. For now, Anise is holding her own. I am surprised, but she said that she promised Major Carter that she would do everything she could to save them. Removing Lantash is not saving them."

Selmak nodded his agreement with her statement, and slipped from his seat. Then he crossed the room and exited it, to find a very agitated Samantha Carter pacing the hallway. She heard him and swung around to face him, her hand going to her zat. When she realized who it was, the relief on her face was palpable.

She didn't stop to do the niceties, but cut quickly to the bone. "Selmak, Dad, I need to talk to you, right away…privately. Where is the closest, most private area around here?"

Selmak nodded his head toward a small alcove and turning to the guard that had come for him, he told him, "Brialek, keep everyone away from there. I do not care if you have to shoot them to do it. I do not want anyone near enough to it that they might hear what is being said."

The guard grinned to himself, but nodded in agreement. Selmak was becoming more like Jacob Carter every day. He did not consider that a bad thing at all, although there were those who did.

As soon as he finished giving his instructions to the guard, Sam turned on her heel and started toward the alcove they had indicated that they could safely use. They followed her into the small area, and Jacob came fore, asking her, "Sam, what's this all about? And, besides that, and more importantly, how are you doing? Are you going to be all right? Is there anything I can do?"

"I am not doing at all well. I don't yet know, if I'll be all right or not, and there isn't anything you can do, unless you can demand that the Council allow the healers to do their job, and allow them to make the decisions that need to be made. As for why I'm here—I have a question to ask."

He nodded, realizing that, while she had answered his questions, what she really wanted was to get to the point of why she was here. "All right. Shoot."

Taking a deep breath, she finally told him, "I remember, from Jolinar, that a mate has final say in what happens to their mate, when they are incapacitated and can't decide for themselves, is that right?"

Jacob frowned, and listened to Selmak, "She is correct, and I believe that our side just won, if she says what I believe that she will."

"Selmak says that's right. Why?"

"Because, technically, I'm still their mate. I never repudiated it, and neither, as far as I know, did they."

"They have not, Jacob. Your daughter has used her brilliant mind to stop what she was well aware would happen, if they brought them back here, and the Council became involved, instead of allowing the healers to make the choices and decisions, as they should have."

"So, she's willing to recognize their, er, bond, in order to stop Ren'al, Delek, Thoran, and company? What happens afterward? How binding is this, once she accepts their bond formally in front of witnesses? Can they divorce?"

"I do not believe that she is considering a divorce, Jacob. Whether we realized it or not, and whether she realized it, until today, or not, she now knows that she loves them. I would have to say that, in all probability, she loves them very deeply, and she will have no desire to leave their bond, once it is known and accepted, which, by the way, there is no reason why it would not be."

"You really think so? I know they care about her, but…I'm not all that sure how deep it is."

"It is very deep, Jacob. I can assure you. I have known Lantash for many centuries and Martouf for over a hundred years. They love Samantha very much indeed. It is in their eyes and their actions, whenever they are near her and every time you speak of her to them."

Jacob frowned, and then nodded his agreement, saying, "If this can stop the Council, then I'm all for it. So what are we waiting for?"

"We are waiting for you to satisfy your curiosity about your daughter's feelings for Martouf and Lantash. Are we ready now?"

"I said I was, didn't I?"

"So you did."

Selmak came fore once again, asking her, "Samantha are you quite sure that you wish to do this? You will be seen as their mate from that point onward. While it is not impossible to put asunder a bond, it is rare. I do not want you to say this, and not mean it. When Martouf and Lantash learn that you have accepted your bond, they will be overjoyed. I do not want them hurt by you refusing it, after they have survived."

She looked a little scared, for a minute, but then her lips firmed, and she nodded. "I'm very sure. I have no intention of refuting it, or them; although, I thought that they would want to, ah, deny it. From what you just said, I'm going to assume that they won't want to get out of it, and will want me as their mate?"

"They absolutely will want you as their mate, of that I am very certain." Selmak assured her softly. "They are very much in love with you…not Jolinar's remnants, Samantha…but you. It truly would hurt them very much, if you did not mean to remain their mate and only used that bond in order to save them, but not because you love them. As long as you care for them, and that is the reason you are using it to stop the Council, they will be very pleased."

Sam nodded, assuring him, "As I said, I have no intention of going back on it, once I accept it as being real and true." Glancing toward the Council Chamber doorway, she asked him, "Are you going to allow a vote first? Or do you just want me to put a stop to it?"

Selmak smiled somewhat wryly, saying rather regretfully, "As much as I would like to see you pull victory out of their hands, I believe we must make your announcement right away. Shall we go?"

At Sam's nod of agreement, they left the alcove and, as they walked toward the chamber, the guard sent Sam a small smile, which she returned. She took a deep breath and entered the room at Selmak's side.

As they entered the room, they heard Ren'al say, "So the vote is four to three in favor of removal."

Selmak strode forward angrily, "I have not voted, Ren'al. I believe that makes it four to four, still a dead lock."

"You were not here, Selmak, and we did not know where you were, or when you would be back. It was decided by vote that we would go ahead and vote now."

"How convenient, since the decision to have the vote would lie with the four of you. You know, tampering with the outcome of a vote is an offense, which can have a penalty of removal from the Council, as well as some nasty sanctions. You should be a little more careful."

Ren'al threw him an angry look. "I was not attempting to tamper with the vote; however, we have been here, for quite some time now, and we need to make a decision. Now, we are deadlocked again, unless Malek or Per'sus arrive here to cast a vote, and then we must go over all of the information again, before we can do so. We could already have been studying the brain tissue, if it was not for this unreasonable attitude of you and the others here."

That was all it took. Sam had heard more than enough of their plans to make her extremely angry. She stepped out from behind Selmak and stood beside him. She'd stayed quiet, but not exactly hidden, and they were so wrapped up in their argument that they hadn't noticed her, until she made her presence known so openly.

Finally seeing her, Delek demanded, "What are you doing in a closed Council Meeting? You are Tau'ri, as well, and are not allowed within the Chamber."

"Is that so? Hm…I don't think that Selmak and Dad got the memo. Furthermore, you opinion of whether or not I belong here really doesn't matter anymore than your vote matters. And it doesn't matter, either."

He frowned at her, "You are making no sense. If you do not voluntarily leave, I will have a guard remove you. If you do not go with them quietly, I will have you shot and taken out unconscious. I do not care how you are removed, so long as you are removed."

Finally, Sam decided she was tired of playing games. Her hand had been lying loosely on the zat on her hip. She had it out and halfway up, before Selmak realized what she was about to do and reached out to stop her. She looked over at him and frowned, before turning back to face Delek. Her other hand came to rest lightly on her MP-5, although she did not offer to use it…yet, however, she did warn him.

Selmak had never heard Samantha Carter snarl before, but he did now. "You so much as lay a finger on me or get anyone else to do so, Delek, and you and your host will be Swiss cheese."

"Samantha sounds very much like Jolinar right now, Jacob. I do not think I realized just how much of her that Samantha retained."

"I'm not sure that's a good thing, Sel. She could get herself shot and killed at this rate, if she's not careful. And, when Sam gets really angry, she can get pretty aggressive, too, so this isn't 'all' Jolinar, although she probably is making it worse."

"I do not think that she will be shot or killed, Jacob. We are Senior members of this council and the guards know that she is our daughter. They also know that Delek has no authority to demand what he just did. There are at least three, perhaps four, Council members here with more seniority than he has. For him to take over, and attempt what he is attempting, is very much pushing the bounds of what will be tolerated, trust me. As for the guards, they will not touch her without our agreement no matter what Delek tells them to do, so you can calm down again. Furthermore, at the moment, no one is moving or speaking. Thank the Goddess, she calculated correctly, and only threatened him verbally. It does not appear that she intends to use it, even though her hand is resting on her other weapon. Her stance is too casual for that to be her intention. However, I think she would have used the zat had I not stopped her. He's going to make a very bad misstep, if he is not careful, and then he will be taken care of by one of us in what could be undesirable ways."

"I sure as hell hope so. I don't want her shooting the jerk; no matter how much of a relief it would be to get rid of him."

Totally ignoring the silence around her, Sam announced quietly, yet firmly, "Now, that I have everyone's attention, I'll tell you how things are going to be. It is not your place, and it is not the Council's place, to make a decision pertaining to what course to take regarding Martouf and Lantash's health. In fact, you should have nothing to say about it at all. This is the Healer's venue, and you have no business interfering in things you know nothing about. However, that, too, is now a moot point. You have all very conveniently forgotten something very important. Luckily, I did not forget. How this situation is handled is up to their mate…and that just happens to be me…which makes this 'my' decision. I will decide whether Lantash has the chance to heal Martouf. So you can disband your little group, and go about your business, while I talk to Calise, Gava, Arwanna, and Daimesh. Once I've talked to the healers, then 'I' will decide what we will do."

"You do not care about the symbiote. You will allow Lantash to die trying to attempt the impossible. All you care about is the host," Ren'al spat at her.

Sam looked at her, for a long moment, before she warned her, in a cold, inexorable, and implacable voice, "Do not ever again insinuate that I love Lantash any less than I do Martouf. I love both of them, and I want both of them alive and well. If at all possible, that is what I will get, but I won't know that until I've talked to the healers. But, I will tell you this. If Lantash is the only one that can survive, then I want him to survive. Now, I think this meeting is over."

Furious now, Delek ignored the slight disturbance at the door, assuming it was the other guard returning. He was listening to Thoran's advice about how he should handle the situation. Everyone except Sam, Delek, Ren'al, and Thoran looked to see what was going on. She kept her eyes front and centered on the three of them, who were, as far as she was concerned, the leaders of the 'opposition'.

As he listened to the last of what Thoran was telling him, Delek turned to the two guards inside the chamber and ordered them, "Seize her and take her the holding cells. Shoot her, if you have to; I do not care. Just remove her and her ridiculous claim from my sight."

The two guards looked at Delek in surprise, but did not move, even when he raised his voice, saying, "I order you to remove the Tau'ri woman from this meeting." Both of them looked to Selmak, and when he shook his head no, they nodded and ignored Delek's demand.

A voice from the back of the room, contradicted him, quietly, stating, "Major Carter, you will not have to defend yourself. No one here is going to attack you in any manner, I assure you." Per'sus bowed slightly, as he addressed his comments to her and walked farther into the room, approaching her and Selmak.

He paused for a moment before continuing, "Major Carter, I assume that Selmak and Jacob brought you into the Council Chamber, since you are standing next to them, and that they know why you are here."

"Yes, that is correct," She assured him.

He turned to Delek, saying softly, but very firmly, "A Senior Council Member brought Major Carter to this meeting. He must feel that she has something important to impart." Turning to Sam he continued, "I will once more assure you that no one is going to harass or harm you in any way. I would, however, like to know what you had to say to the Council."

Speculation in her gaze, Sam studied him and the man beside him. After coming to the conclusion that he was now in charge and meant what he said, she agreed, telling him, "They just voted to remove Lantash from Martouf, without allowing him to try to save him, and thereby, allowing Martouf to die. Ren'al admitted that they could have already been looking at Martouf's brain tissue, if the others hadn't blocked their vote for removal, which proves that she doesn't want Lantash to attempt to heal Martouf, and that she believes that Martouf should be sacrificed, so they can study his brain. She wasn't even planning on the healers trying to heal him. She doesn't care, if he lives or dies, and neither do Delek or Thoran, especially Thoran. Nor, in reality, do they much care if Lantash survives."

She threw them a disgusted look, before continuing, "Anyone that knows Lantash, also knows how deep his bond with Martouf is. They would be very much aware that to attempt to remove him from Martouf, before at least allowing him to try to heal him would be a death sentence for him, as well as Martouf. He would fight being removed, until he was too weak to survive, of that I am very, very sure."

She sent him a haughty look, as Thoran could not stop the telltale stiffening of his body. She sneered at him, and her voice almost dripped with venom, as she hissed her words at him, "Did you honestly believe that I would not know how much you despise Lantash, and how long you have hoped for his death? I am his mate, of course I know. I also realized what a perfect opportunity this would be for you to get to him, and yet, do it in a so-called 'legitimate' way."

Turning from him back to Per'sus, before Thoran could respond, she once again addressed the High Councilor, explaining what had just occurred, "Ren'al held a vote, while Selmak was talking to me, to find out why I came here. I knew, before I even arrived, what they would try to do, and I came to inform them that it wasn't going to happen that way. As Martouf and Lantash's mate, that is my decision, and my decision alone, to make. Moreover, I will make that decision, after I have all of the facts and not before."

"I see." He turned back to Delek, saying, "That is our law, Delek. Furthermore, as far as I know, neither Martouf and Lantash nor Major Carter ever repudiated their mate-bond. They are bonded mates. The three," his eyes slid to the fourth Council member, who stood with them, and no doubt voted to remove Lantash, without allowing him to attempt to heal Martouf, adding, "Let us make that the four of you, have overstepped your bounds. Whether you will retain your seats on the Council, after this despicable bit of treachery, is yet to be seen. I believe that this meeting is dismissed. Delek, I will see you in two hours in Garshaw's Command Chambers. You, Ren'al," he paused for a moment, and then continued, "as well as, Thoran and Daresh will all be there, as well. Do not be late and, if I have not yet arrived, you will wait for me, until I arrive, regardless the time. You have already earned yourselves some…well, we will leave that for now. I will simply add that you do not want to earn anymore."

He turned back to Sam, saying, "I am on my way to talk to the healers myself. Would you care to accompany me?"

Sam finally reattached her zat to her belt, and her shoulders visibly relaxed. With one last warning look at the group standing as still as statues behind her, she turned and nodded to Per'sus. "Yes, Per'sus. I would very much like to do that."

He nodded and looking at Selmak and Jacob said, "It might be that you should come, as well. We do not know what the healers are going to say, but it may not be good news."

Selmak gave control to Jacob, and he nodded. "I agree." Turning to Sam, he asked her, "Are you okay?"

Sam shook her head. "Not really, Dad. Do I normally go around threatening to use zats on people, or warning them I'm going to make Swiss cheese out of them?"

"Well, no," he dropped his voice so that only Sam, Per'sus, and Malek could hear him as he continued, "But, after all, it was at Delek and his cohorts, two of which I definitely don't trust now, and I've always been leery of them. What's left to say? Now, come on, let's head for the med bay."

Sam gave a real smile, for the first time in hours, as her dad wrapped his arm around her, and the two of them, Per'sus, and Malek, began the walk to the med bay. Then his smile faded, as he told her, "They've put them in stasis, Sam. Martouf looks pretty bad."

Sam nodded, but it was obvious that she had more to say.

"What, Sam? What are you thinking? I've known you too long, and seen too many brilliant ideas come out of that head of yours to discount any idea you have without really looking closely at it."

Sam nodded, but her brow was furrowed. She finally started speaking, slowly, as if still thinking, even as she talked, "I'll know more after I talk to the healers, Dad, but…unless I'm wrong, one of the problems is going to be bleeding. He has a lot of holes in him. Yes, Lantash can probably heal them, unless Martouf bleeds to death or goes into shock first. If the healers are using healing devices on some of the major areas, to help Lantash out, and if we replace Martouf's blood and fluids, it would give Lantash that much less that he would have to try to maintain, and instead, he could concentrate on the most important things."

All three men stopped and looked at her, and finally Per'sus asked her, "What do you mean, if you replaced Martouf's blood and fluids, Major Carter? How could you do that?"

A devil must have been sitting on Sam's shoulder. She looked at the three of them, and realizing that Selmak had once more come fore, she gave them the most innocent look she could muster and murmured, "Wow, I didn't realize that you were so primitive medically speaking that you don't know how to replenish a blood supply, or keep someone from going into shock. Maybe we can help you guys with that. I mean, it's not a hard thing to learn to do."

She waited for a short time and, when they all continued simply to stare at her, she sent them a sheepish smile, saying, "I'm sorry, but you opened yourselves for that one." Then her smiled died, and she said, "We really don't have a lot of time. We should go. You can figure out what I just said later."

Selmak, Per'sus, and Malek all came out of their stunned surprise, at the same time, and started walking forward. Per'sus gave her a slight smile, assuring her, "I believe that I know what you meant, Major Carter. Moreover, I can even admit that we probably did have your…comment…coming to us. I must point out though, that few of us now say that of you, and those that do, do not know you or your people. Still, there is no apology necessary, as you may be correct. Perhaps our healers will know if it could help and if so, we may call on your medical personnel, if you feel that would be acceptable.

Selmak told her, "Samantha if I must put up with your father's amusement for much longer, I think I may strangle you myself." Then he paused, before saying, "However, he has shown me what you are talking about. I can certainly see where it very well could help. Perhaps a great deal. One of the things that hosts and symbiotes sometimes die from is blood loss. If you could replenish Martouf's blood, then Lantash would not have to stimulate his system to attempt to do it, which would free up some of his resources for other things. I agree with you, your father, and Per'sus. I think it is something to discuss with the healers."

Turning to Per'sus and Malek, he told them, "What Samantha is talking about and Jacob is showing me, is just what she said. When a person is injured they literally replace their lost blood and bodily fluids, including their electrolytes something which needs done, too. We do it automatically, which leads us back to the fact that it would free Lantash up to do other things."

They were nearing the sick bay area, and Per'sus asked quickly, "How? How do they do that?"

"They insert a needle directly into a vein and allow the blood to flow directly into the person. The same with the fluids and other things. It may sound, ah—primitive—but it does work. The only thing is that you have to have the correct blood type. That would not be a problem, though, as the Tau'ri know how to…" he listened to Jacob for a moment, "Type and cross match blood. Actually, they may already have his blood type on file in his SGC medical file. Once they know what type he is, they would then check the other Tok'Ra for others of his type, from whom they would take some, or get it from their own stock of blood. I believe that it is something worth speaking with them about."

Malek looked over at Sam, for a short time, before saying, "Major Carter, my name is Malek, and my host's name is Devlin. I do not believe we have met; however, Lantash, Martouf, Devlin, and I have been friends, for a very long time, and they have told me a great deal about you. I am glad to finally meet you; I only wish it was under happier circumstances. I was wondering—is there anything else that your people do that could help in this situation?"

"I'm really not sure, Malek. I probably should have brought Janet Fraiser with me. She's the head of our medical department, and besides that, she's an excellent doctor—ah—that is a healer. Unfortunately, I didn't feel that I had the time to spare, and it looks like I didn't; another fifteen minutes delay, and they might have prevailed, and Lantash might have been forcibly removed." The quiver in Sam's voice spoke to just how much strain she had been, and still was, under.

Per'sus nodded, and he was obviously unhappy. "That is possible, even with Malek and I joining the group. I saw several of Delek and Thoran's people on their way as well. With the other of the elder Council members absent today, it could very well have gone in their favor once the others arrived."

"You should get rid of them," Sam spoke harshly, and then, realizing how that sounded, she hastened to add, "From the Council. I meant from the Council," she assured them. However, under her breath, she continued, "Although the other alternative might be even better."

Having the excellent hearing of the symbiotes, all three men looked at her again. Feeling their gazes, she looked up, asking, "What?"

They all shook their heads, deciding not to admit to hearing—and agreeing with—her last comment. Selmak decided that, perhaps, there was something about which he should apologize, saying, "I did not realize that you and Malek had not met. I am sorry I did not think to ask and then introduce you."

"No problem, Selmak, it worked out all right. Don't lose any sleep over it."

He frowned at her choice of words, but Jacob explained. Once he finished speaking with him, he turned back to her and murmured, "You know, you sounded very much like Jolinar in the way you took on Delek and demanded that things be done your way. I do not believe that she was ever threatened with seizure, a holding cell, and being shot, though, and, therefore, she was never forced to draw a zat on any of them. I was very proud of the way you stood up to them," He assured her softly. The pride of which he spoke was quite evident in his voice.

Sam murmured a "Thank you, Selmak" and then, they had no more time to talk, as they reached the med bay and entered the main room. Sam felt her heart clench. It was nearing decision time. She truly hoped that her decision was the right one. Anxiety swiftly coursed through her, before she could contain it, but it was just as quickly banished. There was no room for doubt, and she refused to allow it as much as a toehold. She 'knew' in both heart and mind, that she made the correct decision, when she decided to come here to claim them as her mates. In the very center, of her deepest core of emotions, there was no longer any room for doubt about that. From the moment, she rushed to the gate room and saw them with the pleading look in their eyes screaming for her to stop them, up to the moment they said her name and she shot them—and then beyond—there was no longer room, for any more doubt about her feelings for them. Her love of them pushed that cause for anxiety into a deep dark hole and sealed it over. She had enough other things to stress over right now. That was one less about which she had to worry.