Joie de vivre (Joy in life)


Chapter 1
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Sam waddled her way down the crystal tunnel, heading to the healers’ chamber where Olinka, the senior healer, wanted to check on the progress of her pregnancy. Sam reached out her hand to run it along the smooth crystals. She liked being here; it gave her a sense of peace.
“Greetings, Samantha,” Korra said, beaming at her. Accompanying him was Aldwin, who was studying Sam’s stomach with great interest.

"Won’t be long now," she told them, answering Aldwin's unasked question.

“What does it feel like being with child?” He asked her, his curiosity getting the better of him.

"It feels weird having this tiny life growing inside of me.” She answered honestly. She was still finding it hard to believe that she was, in fact, pregnant after Doctor Warner had suggested that likelihood of her ever being able to conceive was very small, because her body chemistry was altered severely by Jolinar.

“Are you planning on attending the celebration in order of the anniversary of Soren's birth?”

“Sure ok, can I go with you guys though as Martouf is still away on his mission?”

“We would most enjoy the pleasance of your company,” Aldwin replied. Sam laughed to herself knowing the true reason that he wanted her to go.

“Ok Aldwin, I will come… just to ask Soren out for you,” Korra chuckled at her teasing Aldwin.

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” he lied.

Sam shook her head, laughing. Then at the moment, the baby decided to make its presence known and he kicked forcefully. Sam made a grab for her stomach; this caught the attention of both men.

“Is everything alright?” Both men were concerned for her.

Sam smoothed down her top over the bump and replied, “Yeah, it’s just the baby kicking that’s all.” Now that really caught their interest she knew that they wanted to feel but were to polite to ask her so she asked them, “Do you guys want to feel?”
Korra gently placed his hand on Sam’s stomach. After a minute, he was rewarded with a small kick, well that had made his day; Aldwin shoved Korra out of the way and placed his hand on her stomach. “Does it hurt when the child within you kicks?”

“Only sometimes,” At that, the baby kicked again, for some reason it was very active today. Several people walked past them giving Aldwin strange looks. Then they heard a familiar voice shouting the names of the two Tok’ra who stood talking to her. Aldwin extracted his hand from Sam’s stomach and both men stood to attention.

“High councillor Persus,” they said in unison. The blonde-haired Tok’ra councillor gave both men a stern looking over, nodded to dismiss them, and then he turned his attention to Sam. “Samantha, you are well, I trust.”

“Yes I am thanks. How are you?”

“I am well. I was wondering if you are planning on attending the celebration of the anniversary of Soren’s birth?” Sam sniggered evilly, just managing to stifle a howl of laughter, not another one, she thought to herself. Sam rolled her eyes.

“Let me guess you want me to ask Soren out for you?”

He looked quite offended. “Good gracious no, Soren is a friend…. It was Garshaw that I wished….” He said slowly, and started frowning when she burst out into a fit of giggles. This was getting beyond a joke. About four months ago, Dureeo and his mate Tera, had been going through a rough patch in their relationship. Dureeo, being a good friend of Martouf, had approached Sam to get her to help him as he felt she was the only person that he could talk to since she was the mate of his good friend Martouf. He would have gone to Martouf but he had been away on a mission at the time. Suffice it to say, Sam had helped them heal the rift and since then she had become the Tok’ra equivalent of a love doctor.

“Ok I will see what I can do.” She promised him, trying desperately not to break out in another bout of uncontrollable giggles.

He looked relived. “Thank you if you will excuse me I have to go and attend a council meeting,” he turned to leave but stopped and turned back. “Samantha, may I ask something else of you?”

“Sure go for it.”

“May I feel the child move?”

“Sure ok.” Sam guided his hand to her stomach and held it there until the child squirmed. Sam’s stomach rippled under Persus’s touch and his eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store. He thanked her and then departed leaving Sam once again on her own and she resumed walking to the healers’ chamber.

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Chapter 2
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When she arrived, the healers' chamber was empty except for brown boxes holding all of their equipment. There were three shelves at the back of the chamber and on them were small bottles, data pads, and several piles of material presumably used for bandages. Over in the corner were a worktop and a Tok’ra computer.
Sam deposited herself on the smooth crystal platform and waited for Olinka to arrive. She was probably in the council meeting, though earlier in the day she had promised Samantha that she would not be very long. Sam glanced around the room taking in every detail. She had been here three days and had not seen Martouf as he was on a mission and was not due back for days. She had seen her father briefly on the day that she had arrived, but unfortunately he had been called away to deal with some difficulties at the Tok’ra’s second base on Revanna. In truth, she only really knew a handful of Tok’ra really well... At that, a rather peeved Olinka walked in. A few strands of fine white hair had slipped from her tight bun, she wore no make-up at all and she was scowling and muttering curse words under her breath. She slammed the pile of data pads down on the workstation, and turned to face Sam. Her expression softened when she saw Sam massaging her swollen stomach.

“How are you feeling today?” she inquired, as she picked up the two monitoring devices.

“I am alright, I miss Martouf though,” Sam confessed, she was feeling emotional at that moment in time.

Olinka smiled at Sam sympathetically, “Sometimes the amount of time that you are separated from your mate can put strain on your relationship.” Olinka lifted up Sam t-shirt far enough so that she could place one of the disks on Sam’s heart and the other on her abdomen.

“Yeah I guess. I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, but I thought I might have got to see more of Martouf, do you know I haven’t seen him for over two months.” She whispered, her voice broke on the last sentence and she began to cry.

Instinctively, Olinka wrapped her arms around Sam and hugged her. “There now,” she soothed, “Do not cry, it is not good for your child, you will see Martouf soon.”

“What if something happens to him? I don’t think I could look after this child all on my own,” she admitted in a shaky voice.

Olinka pulled back for Sam and held her hand “Samantha, the Tok’ra are a close knitted community if anything happened to your mate, we would all pull together to help you,” Olinka promised sincerely.

Sam wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and thanked Olinka for her comforting words.

“Samantha, I am not going to examine you today, though I do insist that you keep the monitoring devices on,” Olinka informed her. Olinka went to the shelf nearest to her, removed a small blue bottle form the shelf and handed it to Sam. “If you should experience really sharp twinges in your back, then I suggest that you take this, it should ease the pain.”

Sam thanked her for the bottle and jumped down off the platform. Upon leaving the healers chamber, the delicious smell of freshly cooked pastries assaulted her senses causing her stomach to rumble. Abandoning the idea of going back to her empty quarters, she made her way o the Tok’ra mess hall. There was not soul in there, the kitchen staff was probably busy, she could tell by the clattering of cooking utensils in the Tok’ra kitchen. Then she caught sight of the wonderful trays of hot and cold food arranged on the long crystal table, her mouth started to water.

“I see that you have beaten me to it,” Garshaw announced from behind her. Sam looked at her rather sheepishly. “I was only jesting with you; eat as much as you like it will only go to waste otherwise and that would give Darien something else to complain about.”

Sam chuckled and took the plate that Garshaw had handed her. Both women piled their plates with the nice foods and carried them over to a near-by table. As soon as Sam had sat down, she picked up the first of the delicious looking pastries and bit into it. It tasted even better than it looked and she crammed the rest in, heartily reaching for the next pastry.

“I don’t understand it,” she thought aloud. “I had a big breakfast only three hours ago and I am absolutely starving now.”

Yosuf finished her mouthful and then piped in, “You are now eating for two, so of course you will eat more.” The pair ate the rest of their meal in silence, savouring every mouthful. By now, the mess started to fill up, several Tok’ra that Sam recognised from Jolinar's memories said hello. Sam smiled her response.

“Samantha, what are you doing this afternoon?” Yosuf asked.

“Nothing at the moment…why?” Sam replied, before shoving another pastry into her mouth.

“I was thinking of going to the Bhdara, as I need a new dress for the celebrations tonight and I want to know if you would like to accompany me.”

“Yes, ok then.”

Yosuf rose from the table and picked up her empty plate. “Very well, I have to retrieve my basket and cloak and then I will meet you at the transport rings.” Yosuf left the mess hall, leaving her empty plate in the grey box at the entrance to the mess hall.

Sam left shortly after, and headed in the direction of Martouf’s quarters intending to retrieve her own jacket and then she went to meet up with Yosuf at the transport rings. Yosuf was not alone; Ren’al and Soren were with her. Soren was quite a nice woman; Sam had developed quite a good friendship with her. Soren’s green eyes shone brightly, and her ginger hair with blonde streaks fastened back in a loose ponytail. Ren’al, on the other hand, Sam was not too sure of her. She had chestnut hair pulled back in a bun. Both Soren and Ren’al were dressed in the traditional beige Tok’ra uniforms, the only difference clothes-wise between them was that Soren was wearing a yellow cloak over her uniform and Ren-al was wearing a black one.

Sam stepped into place and the big black rings descended from the ceiling, enveloping the quartet in a blinding flash of light. When they reappeared on the surface, the sun was high in the sky. Garshaw keyed in the symbols and the Stargate burst into life. Sam took each of the steps up to the Stargate one at a time, Soren was waiting patiently for her at the top and then they both entered the Stargate at the same time.

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Chapter 3
~~~~~~~~~~~~

The market on Bhdara was not what Sam was expecting at all. She had thought that it would be like a typical small market on earth, but this was the biggest market place she had ever seen. Rows and rows of shopping carts as far as the eye could see and where they ended, there were stone buildings, most of which were shops, three of them were taverns and one of them looked to be some sort of law office. Garshaw and Ren’al went off ahead of them, eyeing up several items as they went. Sam took had a good gander at all the precious articles. Garshaw and Ren’al stopped at one cart and immersed themselves in conversation with the owners. They obviously knew each other very well.

“Samantha, isn’t this pretty?” Soren said, drawing Sam’s attention to the lilac dress that she had a hold of in her hands. Sam reached out her hand and examined the fabric. It reminded her of her first prom dress. Soren had not failed to notice the way Sam was looking at it longingly. “Get it," Soren encouraged.

“But it won’t fit me.”

“Silly, it may not now, but it will, once you have given birth,” Soren told her.

Sam looked the dress once again and handed it back to Soren “I will think about it.”

They were on Bhdara for a good few hours. Garshaw’s basket was brimming with wares, some of which were for other members of the Tok’ra and some of which were for herself, including a nice red dress. Sam had completely forgotten about the dress she had seen. When she finally remembered about it, it was too late, as they had just arrived back on the Tok’ra home world. “Never mind.”

“You could always go back and get it tomorrow.”

Sam flashed a brief smile and headed for Martouf’s quarters. When she got there, she went over to her bag, pulled out her make-up bag, and the dress that she intended to wear for Soren’s party and began to change. She was going to wear a dress made from dark blue velvet; she had purchased it only a week ago from a small store in Colorado Springs. Early on in her pregnancy, Sam had decided that in the later months of her pregnancy, she was going to buy her clothes in a bigger size, instead of buying maternity wear. She had looked at some maternity wear in several stores and had concluded that frilly pink dresses and such were simply not her. The dress fit snugly against her body. She plucked a blue eye shadow from her bag and applied some of that to her lids as well as mascara to enhance her eyelashes. She had opted out of using lipstick because the one she had brought with her did not go with the outfit, so she just used lip-gloss instead. Sam flung her make-up into its bag and picked the comb to tidy her hair.

She was just putting the finishing touches to her hair, a small comb that had a blue stones embedded into it which had been presented to her by Martouf on their wedding night, when she heard Korra calling her name from outside Martouf’s quarters. They would not enter Martouf’s quarters when they knew that she was there, as they knew that Sam greatly valued her privacy.

“Just coming,” she called back. She squirted some perfume on her wrists and went to join Korra and Aldwin.

Both men were stunned when she emerged, she looked beautiful and Aldwin did not hesitate to tell her so, “You look simply ravishing tonight.”

Sam chuckled, if only Martouf had been here, he would have had something to say about that completely innocent compliment. They headed to the celebration, held in the Tok’ra mess hall. It was quite a turnout too. Shortly after the trio had arrived, Korra had met up with another dark-skinned Tok’ra, whom Korra introduced as Samina and her symbiote called Shallee. She seemed quite pleasant, and Korra was obviously quite smitten with her.

Aldwin had stayed by her side for the first half an hour, until Soren had managed to squeeze through the well-wishers and made her way over to Sam and Aldwin. Soren pulled Sam into a bear hug, and Sam hugged her back just as fiercely. “You look ever so nice in that dress,” Sam complimented her. Soren twirled, showing off her gorgeous dress, it was pale peach and almost the same style as the one Sam herself had taken a shine to at the market only that afternoon.

“You look simply divine Soren.” Aldwin said smoothly, taking her hand, raising it to his lips and kissed it. Soren blushed and turned bright red.

“Why thank you Aldwin,” she replied bashfully.

It was then that Sam took it upon herself to make the next move, on behalf of Aldwin, “Soren, Aldwin would like the next dance with you.”

Soren giggled and replied coyly, “I would love to dance with you.” Soren did not even wait for Aldwin to reply; she simply dragged him onto the Tok’ra version of a dance floor and flung her arms around his neck.

Sam scooted over to a nearby chair and sat down. She really missed Martouf. Looking around the room, she noticed Tannith whom was leering at her evilly especially when she patted her swollen abdomen. He crept over to her like a sneaky cat. Sam tired to pretend that she had not seen him, but Tannith was hard to ignore.

“Samantha, may I have this dance?” Sam did not really want to dance with him, but she did not want to create a scene.

“Just a quick dance,” Sam said firmly. He helped her up from the chair much to Sam’s protests and dragged her over to the dance floor. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close to him. Sam felt uncomfortable; she wanted Martouf. Hesitantly, she placed her hands either side of his shoulders. After a couple of minutes of dancing, he decided to up the stakes; he pulled her even closer to him so that her swollen abdomen bumped against him. Feeling nauseous, she started to squirm uncomfortably. He grinned evilly, obviously enjoying the fact that she could not stand being near him.

“Are you this responsive with Martouf or is it just me?” he said quietly. Sam pulled back, but his grip on her tightened. He was not going to let her go. Sam felt relief when the music finished and he released her. “It was a pleasure dancing with you,” he said huskily and waltzed off extremely happy with himself. Sam did not feel well at all; the colour had drained from her face.

“Samantha, are you alright?” Korra asked noticing her distress.

“I am going for a nap; I think I have over done it.”

“Samantha, allow Samina to accompany you.”

“No." Sam snapped at him and practically ran out of the mess hall as fast as she could. By the time she reached her quarters, the nausea had subsided. It did not take long for her to remove her makeup and change into her sleeping attire. Wearily, she crawled into bed, dimmed the lights and pulled the blanket up to her chin. As soon as her head hit the pillow, she went out like a light.

Blissfully tucked up in bed asleep she was unaware that Tannith had snuck into her quarters and sat down next to her on the bed. He leaned over and placed a brief kiss on her forehead. “Soon my master shall have his revenge, sweet Tau’ri, and neither Martouf nor your father will be able to protect you,” he cooed softly. Tannith stayed with her for over half an hour, then left.

The next day, Sam awoke in the morning, filled with energy. She threw back the covers and dressed herself in record speed. Last night she had had the most wonderful dream. In the dream, she had been wearing the gorgeous dress she had seen at the market, she was wearing it at a big party and Martouf was there. He was smiling down at her as they danced a slow waltz; it was so romantic. Therefore, she had decided to go back to the market on Bhdara and purchase the dress. Sam donned a loosely fitting dress and a light fawn jacket and then she went to Soren's quarters to ask her if she wanted to come but got a surprise at what awaited her. Soren and Aldwin tangled together in Soren’s bed.

“Samantha, good morning,” Soren greeted cheerfully.

Sam did not want to break the couple up especially as it had taken this long to get them together “Uh hi Soren, I just came to tell you that I am going back to Bhdara to get that nice dress I saw yesterday.”

“If you give me a few moments I shall dress and accompany you,” Soren promised.

“Oh no Soren, its ok I won’t be long.”

“Samantha, be careful,” Soren cautioned her, she really was not happy about Sam going on her own, neither was Aldwin for that matter, but he did not say anything; he just scowled at her.

The market on Bhdara was not as alive and busy as it had been yesterday.

Sam caught sight of the man who owned the dress, only the stall was not there. He recognised her and told her that if she could come back in one hour, he would have the dress for her. Sam thanked him and set about finding somewhere to eat. She wandered down the market when someone grabbed her from behind, and slapped their hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming.

Her stomach lurched and she wished she had let Soren come with her. The person dragged her into an alley between two buildings. She felt a sharp pain in her shoulder. And the next thing she knew, everything started to go black She struggled against her assailant, but her eyelids dropped and within seconds she was unconscious. The figure pulled off his hood.

“My master will be pleased.” Tannith cackled as he scooped her limp body into his arms and made his way to an empty warehouse where inside was a cloaked cargo ship that would convey both Tannith and his precious cargo to Apophis.

"Soren, calm down,” Aldwin said.

Soren continued pacing the chamber nervously. “Aldwin, we should not have let her go off alone.”

Aldwin pulled Soren’s into his arms and simply held her.

A furious Garshaw marched into the chamber “You allowed her to go off alone!” She bellowed furiously at Soren.

“I told her that I would go with her, but she wanted to go alone. There was nothing I could have done to stop her,” Soren said in her defence.

“Jacob will be here within the hour; explain that to him.”

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Chapter 4
~~~~~~~~~~

Sam’s eyes fluttered open and she sat up, only to throw up all over the grey floor. She was in some sort of Goa’uld holding cell. She finally got her retching under control as the marble door ascended and Tannith walked in, grinning from ear to ear.

“Are you ill?” he demanded.

“Go to hell, my dad and Martouf are going to kill you,” she hissed angrily.

Tannith threw back his head laughing. “Martouf is away on a mission, not due back till the end of the week, I believe, and Jacob, what can I say about him,” he gloated.

Sam was shaking with anger; she wanted to rip his head from his shoulders. “Why am I here?” Sam demanded.

He crouched down in front of her and gripped the side of her face tightly, so that she had no choice but to look him directly in the eyes. “My lord Apophis demands that you replace the child that you stole from him.”

Sam’s eyes widened in horror as she heard him.

“Yes, that right, Tau’ri,” he laughed, “My lord intends your child to be his new host. To that end, you shall remain here until you have given birth, the child will then be taken from you and you will be executed.” Sam’s blood ran cold and her hands instantly flew to her stomach, to protect the child from this monster and his master. How she wished she had allowed Soren to accompany her. Much to her annoyance, tears slipped from her eyes and rolled down her cheek.

Tannith’s facial features hardened “Cry all you want, Little Tau’ri, as no one is coming to save you.” He wiped away the tears from her cheek; Sam flinched away. He sighed and stood up “Now I must return to the Tok’ra , poor Martouf will be heart broken losing a child before he has even laid eyes on it, still I suppose Freya will no doubt help him heal,” he sniggered evilly.

Sam scrambled up from the floor and launched herself at him kicking and screaming. “Martouf will come for me and our child he will!! He will!!!” she yelled at him. He shoved her roughly to the floor and as she landed with a thump, her face contorted with pain.

“We shall see,” he said before the door slammed shut.

Bruises would adorn her back later on. The child inside of her kicked reminding her of its presence. “Don’t worry little one, I am not going to let anything happen to you,” she tried to reassure both the child and herself.

Jacob was absolutely fuming. “Soren, I asked you to keep an eye on her.”

“Jacob, I am so sorry, she was insistent. I tried to stop her, really I did, no one feels as worse as I do right now.” She told him, her voice sincere with regret.

“Let me get this straight, Sam went back to Bhdara to get the dress she had seen and she’s been missing what…several hours?”

Soren nodded.

Jacob threw his hands up into the air and exclaimed, “She could be anywhere by now.”

Suddenly Anise came running into the chamber. “Jacob, Garshaw, I am not sure if this is relevant, but Tannith is also missing, no one has seen him for several hours,” she informed them.

Korra and Samina were now present. “Tannith asked Sam to dance last night and he must have said something to upset her, she fled the celebration; she seemed most upset,” Samina piped up.

Jacob stomped out of the chamber and proceeded to yell Tannith’s name as well as some choice insults at the top of his voice, though he did not expect any answer.

Malek keyed in several symbols on the control panel in front of him and pulled the steering console back. “Martouf, I can not believe that we got a result so quickly.”

Martouf grinned at his best friend. They had completed their mission three days ahead of schedule. The council sent them to infiltrate Cronus’s place in order to discover the name of the planet that housed his new weapons facility. Once found, they were to go to the planet and destroy the complex, leaving no trace of it. Only they had not encountered as much resistance as they had thought, and the mission was completed with great ease. Both men were relieved and looked forward to returning to the Tok’ra home world. Martouf especially, as he knew Sam was going to be there and he had not seen her for two months. Martouf stacked one of the brown chests a top of another; they were only two hours away from the Tok’ra home world and from Samantha.

Sam banged her fist hard on the door to try to attract the attention of the guards stationed outside.

“What do you want Tau’ri?” The angry voice demanded, through the door of the holding cell.
“I want to see Apophis,” Sam demanded, the tone of her voice matching that of the guard outside the cell.

“He does not have time to listen to your pleas, Tau’ri,” he replied sternly. Sam felt like banging her head against the wall, the wall being extremely dense, but nowhere near as dense as the two guards outside.

“I would like to see Apophis now,” she said slowly, as if talking to a child. They did not respond, though she did hear a set of boots tramp off down the vast corridor. Some success at last. Slowly, she lowered herself to the floor being as careful as possible trying not to further aggravate her aching back. She sighed deeply, what another fine mess she had gotten herself into.

“Martouf, we have reached Vorash, I shall begin our decent.” Malek informed him as he inputted

new commands into the steering console in front of him. Martouf packed away the remaining equipment they had needed for their mission and then took a seat in the chair next to Malek. The black expanse of space disappeared before his eyes, replaced by first clouds, and then rock formations and sand, lots of sand. Martouf smiled at the sight of the sand, he knew Samantha was not too keen on sandy planets. She had explained to him that it gets everywhere no matter what you try to do to prevent it. So just for fun one morning, he filled her military issue army boots full of the stuff. Of course, she had not thought that it was very amusing, though she did get her own back. She had placed a mouse in the chest where he kept his clothing. One morning he went to take a fresh beige uniform out of the brown chest and suddenly this mouse sprung out at him, Martouf had hastily dropped the uniform and had jumped on the first available chair screaming like a baby. Sam had laughed at him, calling him a wuss. Of course, by the afternoon, the whole base had heard of it. The looks and sniggers he had received from his closest friends had been the worst taunting he had had to endure. Sufficed to say, it was the last time he or Lantash ever tried to pull a prank on Samantha, as they now knew that she had a most inventive sense of revenge. The touch down of the ship brought him out of his musings.

Martouf got up from his chair, walked over to the control panel next to the door and keyed in several symbols that made the rings whiz into action and the brown chests that had once been their had disappeared from sight. Malek picked up the grey bag containing personal items. Then both Martouf and Malek vanished into a bright light, reappearing in the familiar blue/ grey Tok’ra tunnels.

Tannith exited the Stargate with a smug smile on his face, thinking that soon the pathetic Tok’ra cause would soon be wiped out. Tannith found the transport rings and transported underground. He got the biggest shock of his short life.

Several members of the Tok’ra security force surrounded him, all pointing their staff weapons and zat guns. Tannith gulped nervously but managed to keep an impassive face.

“What is the meaning of this?” he asked calmly.

Martouf ploughed through the guards and grabbed a hold of Tannith by his neck. Martouf squeezed hard, choking the life out of him, anger on Martouf’s face apparent.

“Where is she?” Martouf demanded through gritted teeth. When Tannith did not answer, Martouf squeezed tighter. “I will ask you again, where is Samantha?” Still Tannith did not answer.

Jacob placed his hand on Martouf’s shoulder. “If you kill him, we will never find out where he has taken Sam,” he reminded Martouf gently.

Martouf’s face reflected the hatred that he felt with his heart and reluctantly, he released Tannith. As soon as Tannith was free of Martouf’s grasp, he gasped for air. All the time thinking to himself that there was no way that anyone could have know where he had gone as he had worked so hard to cover his tracks, still, it did not make any difference, he would never tell the Tok’ra what they wanted to know, but then decided that he would torment Martouf.

“Yes I know where she is, but I will never tell you Tok’ra scum!!!” he admitted haughtily. Martouf’s face contorted with anger and he lunged at Tannith, only for Jacob and the three guards to pull him back.

“Take the prisoner to the holding cell,” Jacob ordered the guards who were not busy restraining Martouf. Martouf tried to struggle, but the hands holding him back only got tighter around his arms, shoulders, and upper torso. He was seething with rage. Martouf’s blood boiled in his veins as he watched the centurions leading Tannith away. Jacob came around to stand in front of him and placed his hands either side of his shoulders. “We will get her back,” Jacob promised him.

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Chapter 5
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It had been three days since Tannith’s capture and they were still no closer to finding out where he had taken Samantha. Most of the Tok’ra operatives working within the ranks of the system lords had been informed of Tannith’s betrayal and the kidnapping of Samantha Carter, but as of yet, no one had reported any possible sightings. The general morale among the Tok’ra was quite subdued. Sam was well known and respected; her presence was sorely missed. The council had refused to inform General Hammond and the rest of sg-1, as they knew they would insist that they turn Tannith over to them for questioning and the Tok’ra had not even started to interrogate him.

Martouf paced his quarters, his mind filed with worry. Where was she? The question echoed through both his and Lantash’s mind, but went unanswered. Tannith had yet to say anything of relevance. Martouf would have gotten the information out of him, if the council had of allowed him to interrogate the prisoner. Lantash was losing what little patience that he had left.

Martouf stopped pacing when he caught sight of Sam’s journal on the small bedside table. Reaching down, he picked it up and opened the front cover; two pieces of paper fell out onto the floor. Silently he retrieved them from the floor and turned them over. They were pictures. The first was of Sam and himself, taken in front of her house on earth. It had been a warm day and the flowers in the pots behind them had been in full bloom. Martouf then turned his attention to the second picture; it was a scan of the child that was growing inside his Mate. As he stroked the faint image on the page, tears rolled down his cheek. He could not lose them, not now, not ever. Carefully, he tucked the two images back into the journal and replaced it on the table. Using the back of his hand, he wiped the tears away, before traipsing of to the holding cell, determined to get the information out of Tannith one way or another.

Sam grimaced as she rubbed her back. It was very painful today. She had been on the Goa’uld mother ship for days and had seen Apophis only once. He had confirmed what Tannith had told her. He had allowed her to leave the holding cell and relocate to a set of quarters used by one of his many mistresses. The walls were gold with typical hieroglyphs. There was no bed or sleeping platform. Over in one corner were lots of pillows, a large sofa and a low round table. Opposite that was a vanity table and chair.

The only other person that she had seen in the past three days other than the guards and Apophis was the jaffa woman who brought her meals. Sam had thought about trying to escape herself, but she was in no condition to go roaming around a huge spaceship fighting off serpent guards, only too willing to kill her if they could. At that, the door whooshed open indicating that the jaffa woman had returned to bring her next meal. Only it was not her, it was another woman. Sam curiously watched the woman as she set the meal down upon the vanity table and crossed over to Sam. The woman pulled back her headscarf, revealing curly brown hair and hazel-green eyes; she studied Sam intensely.

“Tau’ri, my name is Velda,” she murmured so that the guards standing at the door would not hear. “I am Tok’ra.”

Sam heart skipped a beat, a tiny spark of hope sprung forth.

“I came to tell you that you are not alone here and that I am formulating a plan help you escape and Tannith has been apprehended. I am afraid I must leave you now, don’t give up hope, you will soon be back with your father and Martouf.” The woman turned and left, leaving Sam once again on her own.

Martouf had only just managed to convince the Tok’ra centurions that he had obtained permission from the council, which he had not, to see the prisoner.
Tannith was looking particularly pleased with himself; he sat on a chair arms folded in front of him.

Martouf walked a little further into the chamber so that he stood directly in front of Tannith, looking down upon him with disdain.

“I wondered when you would show yourself.” Tannith drawled smoothly, never taking his gaze of the guarded entrance to the chamber. Martouf felt like knocking the smug smile off his face, but restrained himself. He was not going to allow Tannith to get under his skin.

“I suppose you would like me to tell you where I have taken Samantha?” When Tannith did not receive an answer form Martouf, he carried on speaking in lowered tones. “It may please you to know that she fought me especially when she found out what my master has planned for her… and the child.”

Martouf could feel his control slipping. “What plans?” he demanded through gritted teeth.

Tannith threw back his head and laughed, angering Martouf even further. “My master intends her child to be his new host, to replace that which Daniel Jackson and the Sholva stole from him.” Martouf absorbed the new information and concluded that Tannith’s master was Apophis.

“When she gives birth, my lord will take the child and then kill your mate, pity you will not live to see it, as my lord is also keen to eradicate the Tok’ra plague,” Tannith gloated. It dawned on Martouf what Tannith had meant by his last words. Martouf, horror-stricken, ran for the council chamber as fast as could. He had to warn them of Apophis’s impending attack.

All of the high council members were present and were most displeased by Martouf’s interruption, Garshaw most of all. “What is the meaning of this outburst?” she demanded, giving him the evil eye.

“I believe Apophis is on his way here,” Martouf informed her and the rest of the council.

“What makes you think this?”

“Tannith admitted it.”

“We must evacuate,” Garshaw nodded at the two centurions, who immediately set about informing the rest of the Tok’ra population. Garshaw and the council followed shortly after the centurions. Martouf went straight to his own quarters to pack both his and Samantha’s things ready for shipping to the new Tok’ra home world.

People were everywhere. Some carried large boxes and crates that held equipment needed for the day-to-day running of the base and other were carrying smaller boxes that contained their personal belongings. A small group of centurions, carrying staff weapons, were hurrying people along with most of the essential equipment being shipped to the new home world, a world of which Tannith the traitor had no knowledge. The Tok’ra had been in control of all that he had seen and heard over the past few months, they had been feeding him with false information of their future plans and the location of their new home world.

Tannith had been raining curses at the Tok’ra for over half an hour. His words caught the attention of only one Tok’ra: Martouf. When Tannith realised that Martouf was watching him, he beckoned him over. Martouf gripped his staff weapon tightly as he breezed over to the Tok’ra holding cell. It would have been so easy for him to kill Tannith by his own hand, but it would also be satisfying to have him die slowly by the hand of Apophis, for failing him and feeding him false information about the Tok’ra.

“What do you want?” Martouf demanded sternly. Tannith no longer appeared to be smug and conceited; in fact, he appeared very desperate.

“I will tell you where Samantha is if you set me free.” Martouf glanced around him. He had the chance to deceive Tannith and learn valuable information about the whereabouts of his mate. He deacti

vated the force shield, never taking his eyes of Tannith. “Now tell me where she is!” Martouf had expected Tannith to try to change the topic or attack him, but he did neither.

“Samantha is aboard the mother ship that has been dispatched to destroy you.”

As soon as Tannith had finished the last word, Martouf lashed out at him, sending him reeling back into the holding cell and then reactivated the force shield. The expression on Tannith’s face was a sight for sore eyes. The deceiver had been deceived. Tannith regained his composure and charged the force shield smashing his fist against it; he was glaring at Martouf furiously.

Martouf’s attention on Tannith was distracted momentarily, as he heard his name being shouted form the end of the tunnel. It was Korra. Martouf observed Korra as he ducked and dodged several stragglers laden with belongings. Finally, he reached Martouf, slightly out of breath.

“Martouf, our sensors have detected a Goa’uld mother ship in the planet orbit, we must leave now.” Korra panted before turning around and scurrying away to help the stragglers he had previously passed, helping them relocate their belongings to the new home world. Martouf turned his attention to Tannith. Martouf nodded his head, indicating that Lantash had taken control.

Lantash raised his head with pride, gloating over the predicament of his lesser rival. “Tannith, it gives me great pleasure to see you cower like a frightened child,” Lantash declared arrogantly.

Tannith punched the force shield again out of frustration. “I hope my master disposes of your mate slowly and painfully,” each word fell from Tannith’s lips like drops of acid. Lantash shook his head and then took off through the now empty tunnel clutching his staff and weapon and formulating a plan to rescue Samantha.

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Chapter 6
~~~~~~~~~~

Sam clenched her fists at her side to stop her hands from shaking. Over half an hour ago, Apophis had demanded that his Jaffa bring her to the main peltak, so that he could tell her of his plans for the Tok’ra. He had quite happily told her every nitty-gritty detail of his plans to destroy the Tok’ra once and for all. At first she had been shocked, and then appalled, but now she was simply frightened; frightened for her Tok’ra friends, for herself, and her unborn child.

Sam looked out into space as they exited hyperspace and appeared in orbit of the desert planet Vorash, which was the current home world of the Tok’ra. Sam hoped that the Tok’ra had had some warning of the impending attack.

Apophis sat up straight on his throne, rubbing his fingers together greedily; with a simple nod, he dismissed the two brown haired women, dressed in short revealing leather dresses. They bowed before him as a small contingent of Jaffa escorted them away. The women left silently never taking their eyes from the grey marble floor. Sam guessed that they were two of Apophis’s many mistresses. They would serve him until Apophis tired of them. Then he would probably have them sent to work in one of his Naquada mines or worse executed.

Sam’s face shrivelled up in disgust. The system lords did not care about anyone else but themselves. If they saw something that they wanted, they would possess it. If they could not possess it, then they would destroy it, so that no one else could try to possess it.

A guard stationed at the main control console glanced over his left shoulder and gave her a reassuring smile. Sam realised that he must be Tok’ra and if he was Tok’ra, then the Tok’ra were alert to the impending attack. She smiled warmly back at him. Fortunately, their actions went unnoticed by the other occupants in the room.

“Send the death gliders to the planet immediately,” Apophis barked at the jaffa next to the undercover Tok’ra operative.

Within minutes, a fleet of gliders appeared out side of the mother ship and descended to the planet. Sam gazed out at the image of planet, hoping that the Tok’ra had evacuated in time.

Martouf ducked to avoid the falling dust and debris. The death gliders were bombarding the planet surface. Only Martouf and Tannith remained beneath the surface. All of the other Tok’ra had been evacuated. Jacob had wanted to stay behind on Vorash to help rescue his daughter. Garshaw had been incredibly sympathetic to his plight, but had refused to allow him to remain behind as Selmak would be needed to help set up the new base. Jacob had protested, but Garshaw wouldn’t budge.

Martouf’s plan of action was to wait for Apophis to send foot patrols to scour the tunnels looking for any survivors, and when they arrived Martouf was going to ambush one of them and steal his armour. Thus allowing Martouf to sneak aboard Apophis’s mother ship undetected. Once aboard he could then locate and rescue Samantha. The bombardment had left a mass of destruction in its wake. Broken crystals from the ceiling had shattered all over the dusty floor where the sand had come pouring in. There were now big gaps in the ceiling and upper walls were huge crystals had been. Soon the foot patrols would arrive; Martouf had only to bide his time until then.

Apophis sat back on his throne, pleased with himself for finally getting rid of the Tok’ra. He had been quite fortunate to have had a spy operating within their ranks. Of course he realised that there would still be some surviving Tok’ra; but even those would only be the handfuls that were seeded in the ranks of the system lords. Apophis was confident that they would soon be apprehended and then executed slowly and painfully. Once this task was completed he could then begin his search for the jaffa rebel army, he had received intelligence that the Tau’ri was aiding them.

The Tau’ri; Apophis sniggered evilly as he turned his attention to the Tau’ri female gazing out at the planet below, one hand rested on the wall to support herself an the other hand cradled her swollen abdomen.
His chief physician had informed him that she would give birth within the month. The child she carried would make a good host, though he was somewhat sickened by the child’s parentage. He had no real qualm with the fact that it was half Tau’ri, what disgusted him the most was that it was half Tok’ra. Apophis had been disgusted when he had learned of the relationship between Martouf of the Tok’ra and Samantha Carter of the Tau’ri. But Apophis had soon changed his tune when Tannith had informed him that the human woman was carrying the Tok’ra’s child. It was then that Apohphis had conceived the perfect revenge against all that had been done to him. Meaning mostly the loss of his own child, the child that had been his and Amonet’s.

The door to the left of Apophis whooshed open. A Single jaffa stomped in and presented himself on his knees in front of Apophis.

Apophis who had little time for those lesser than him demanded that the jaffa speak. The Jaffa soldier glanced up at Apophis as he relayed the news, “The gliders have finished their assault no Tok’ra has attempted to escape and we are now ready to deploy the foot patrols.” As soon as the jaffa was finished speaking his gaze lowered to the marble floor “Very well,” Apophis replied as he waved his hand dismissing the jaffa, who left silently.

Martouf crouched down behind a battered workstation awaiting the opportunity to ambush a jaffa soldier. Ten minutes ago the Tok’ra tunnels had been breached by the jaffa foot patrols; they were scouring the tunnels in search of survivors. They had found none; though it did not take them very long to find Tannith as he was cursing at the top of his voice, he was still cursing when they had led him away to be transported to the mother ship. He had protested even louder when the jaffa soldiers had shackled his hands. Once he had realised that the jaffa soldiers were not going to release him he had begun to curse the Tok’ra again.
Martouf snapped back present when he heard footfalls approaching his location. Three jaffa stomped into the chamber, their helmets were on so that nobody could see their faces. They surveyed the room looking for anything of value; when they did not find anything the y left immediately, thought the jaffa that had been in front of the others had decided to dawdle, his attention he been attracted to several small pieces of broken crystals. Martouf watched as the jaffa placed a single broken crystal in the small pouch attached to his belt. This gave Martouf the advantage he needed. He shot up out of his hiding place, extended his arm and fired the zat weapon twice, the jaffa fell to the floor; dead. Martouf quickly removed the jaffa's body armoured, removed what he could of his own attire and then dressed in the items had had taken from the dead jaffa. Once he had done this he stepped back from the body and fired his zat adept at covering their tracks.

Martouf did not waste time rejoining the other two jaffas that were deep in conversation with another trio of jaffa. Martouf heard the leader of the other trio address one of the two jaffa Martouf was with. It seemed neither party wanted to transport back to the mother ship. For they knew what Apophis would do to them when he was informed that there had been no Tok’ra on the planet, when it had been bombarded. A heavy debate ensued between the two arguing jaffa. Eventually it was decided that they would all go together. They had thought that if they all explained the situation and failure to apprehend any Tok’ra survivors then as a group Apophis would show them leniency. Lantash sniggered evilly in Martouf’s head. They had more chance of seeing Freya fully clothed than to get leniency from Apophis. Martouf wasn’t really listening to Lantash at all he was too busy trying to figure out how they were going to escape from the mother ship once they had rescued Samantha.

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Chapter 7
~~~~~~~~~~

The eerie unsettling smell of the mother ship hit Martouf’s nostrils as soon as they beamed aboard the space ship. The main ring room was of typical Goa’uld design. Hieroglyphics adorned the gold walls. Martouf allowed the other jaffa in front of him to lead the way to the main peltak. As they navigated their way flawlessly around the halls of the mother ship, Martouf being behind the rest of the group ducked inside of an alcove and watched as the rest of the group marched on to their impending doom. He rested his back against the smooth black wall, still pondering on exactly how they were going to the escape the ship. They couldn’t transport back down to Vorash as Martouf was sure that Apophis would sabotage the d.h.d to prevent any Tok’ra who returned to the planet from escaping. They could always escape by cargo ship, but Apophis’s mother ship would most likely give chase and destroy them. Martouf realised that they had no other choice but to allow Apophis to return to Delmak, Apophis’s current home world and somehow use the Stargate there to escape.

Sam had broken out in peals laughter at the look upon Apophis’s face when the group of jaffa had informed him that no Tok’ra had been on the planet. She immediately fell silent when Apophis had raised his hand in rage, sending the jaffa hurtling across the room, crashing into the wall behind them. As soon as he had dealt with them, he got down from his throne and thundered over to Sam. He grabbed her roughly by the arm his fingers digging in, causing her to gasp out in pain. He had been humiliated by the Tok’ra and she would now suffer for it. Angrily, he draggd her by the arm. Sam grinded her teeth together to control the pain, as he pulled her out of the peltak, he was taking her back to her cell and not his mistress’ quarters. She tried to fight him but his grip on her arm grew tighter.

When they arrived at the holding cell, he punched in the series of symbols that would open the door. She shoved her inside with such force that she lost her balance, sending her crashing to the hard marble floor. She landed on her stomach and cried out in agony. Apophis merely shook his head as the door closed in front of him. Sam placed her palms flat against the cold floor and tried to lift herself up, but her arms weren’t steady enough and her body sagged back to the floor. Then she felt it. A puddle of water beneath her. Frustrated, she pounded her fists on the floor. Sam rolled carefully over onto her back and proceeded to cry like a frightened child, “Where are you my love? I need you,” she sobbed, realising that her water had broken.

Martouf pursed his lips together so that he could not shout and curse at Apophis, which would only give him away and then he could forget any chance of rescuing Samantha or their child. He had witnessed Apophis manhandle his very pregnant mate rather roughly, pulling her by the arm whilst the jaffa behind her prodded her in the back with their staff weapons. She had looked fatigued and frightened; he could tell this by the bags under her eyes and the way she slouched when she walked. Martouf now knew which holding cell she was imprisoned in, all he had left to do was wait and see how things unfolded.

Velda re-checked the information on the computer screen in front of her. According to the computer, they were currently in a region of space unoccupied by any Goa’uld. Most of the planets in this system were desolate worlds, Velda made a mental note to report this to the council for future Tok’ra home worlds. This was the perfect place for Velda to pull off her plan. She was going to blow the engines on the mother ship so that she could rescue Samantha, steal a cargo ship and escape. With damaged engines, Apophis would not be able to pursue them.
Velda imputed several instructions into the computer telling it to blow the crystals needed for engines in twenty minutes, thus giving her plenty of time to procure Samantha and get to a cargo ship.

Velda remained on guard as she navigated the vast corridors; each corridor looked the same. She had visited the mistress’ quarters where the female Jaffa, whose job it was to tend to the needs of his mistresses, told her that Sam had been thrown back into the cell she had been in when she had first been brought aboard the mother ship. Rounding one corner, she nearly collided with a duo of jaffa; luckily, she managed to jump out of the way before they waltzed past her. Velda silently cursed them and their arrogance, if she had not moved out of her path then they would have knocked her over and kept on going, they wouldn’t have given her a backward glance. Velda stayed were she was until the sound of the jaffa’s heavy boots disappeared from hearing and the she continued on with her task.

Martouf popped his head out of the hiding place, surveying the corridor it see if it was clear, there would not be another foot patrol for an hour. The two jaffa whom had recently passed had not noticed him. His head snapped back as he heard footfalls. They were light which indicted to him that they were not jaffa but a woman, mostly likely one of Apophis mistress on her way to do his bidding. He got a surprise when the woman appeared to be Velda, mate of Ocker, one of Martouf’s friends. It might be dangerous to call to her. He waited until she was passing his location and the made a grab for her. One of his arms wound around her slender waist and the other hand he placed over her mouth to prevent her from crying out in alarm. He released her as soon as she was safely hidden behind the marble wall. Velda raised her fist in front of her and spun around, ready to face her attacker, which turned out to be a tall jaffa wearing his helmet. “Velda, it is I.”

Relief washed over Velda's face upon hearing the familiar voice. “Martouf, you scared me,” she exclaimed, lowering her balled fists.

“Velda, I apologise and I know where Samantha is.”

“Martouf we have to get Samantha and then get to a cargo ship immediately, I have rigged the engines aboard this ship to blow, and Apophis won’t be able to follow us then.” As soon as Velda had finished explaining her plan, both Tok’ra sprung out of their hiding place and dashed to the end of the corridor were Samantha’s cell was located. Martouf handed Velda a zat and told her to keep a watch out for any jaffa. Velda took up position directly behind Martouf. Martouf quickly keyed in the symbols and the door opened.

Sam bunched her hands into tight fists as another contractions tore through her already pain-wreaked body. She could hear someone outside trying to get in, but she was past caring about who it was as long as they could help her deliver her baby. Her eyes were glued on door as it opened, there standing in the open door way was a single jaffa, and his helmet was shielding his face from her view. “Please! Please help me?” she begged, “I am in labour, I need a doctor please,” her face contorted in pain as another contraction tore threw her body. The Jaffa’s helmet receded back revealing his identity. She uttered a silent plea to her unknown guardian angel. It was Martouf. He was the most gorgeous thing she had ever seen, though a troubled expression daunted his handsome face. Martouf wasted no time in dropping to his knees to assist his mate into a sitting position. Lantash reminded Martouf that they had to leave now, but Martouf knew that this was going to be extremely tricky.

“Martouf is it really you?” she asked, needing to know that he was not a mirage.

“Yes love it is I, we have to leave now can you walk?” Sam shook her head. Martouf scooped her up into his arms and got up. Velda and Martouf exchanged worried glances as they ran from the holding cell. Sam wrapped her arms tightly around Martouf’s neck; cuddling into his chest. The armour he wore felt cold against her warm flushed cheeks. The three of them made it safely to the nearest cargo ship bay. They chose the cargo ship that was closest to the large cargo bay doors as this was going to be the easiest ship to steal. Once inside the ship, Velda scurried over to the pilot’s chair and began to make pre-flight preparations. Martouf placed Samantha gently on the floor and then stood up to retrieve a blanket from the one of the storage boxes, but Sam grabbed hold of his arm as another contraction rolled over her. Her face contorted in pain and tears slipped form her eyes, rolling down her cheek. “Shush my love, be strong,” he cooed softly, wiping away the tears.

“Martouf, less than a minute,” Velda yelled from the helm. She pressed a button on the steering console and the huge cargo bay doors opened, the cargo ship ascended slowly and hurtled out into space. Velda had to dodge energy blasts emanating from the mother ship until she had reached a safe distant to engage the hyperdrive. Once in hyperspace, Velda checked the sensors for signs that the mother ship had followed; it had not. She heaved a sigh of relief and activated the autopilot, whilst she went to check on the condition of Samantha.

“How is she?” Velda inquired from behind Martouf.

“Not well, we have to get her to the healers as soon as possible.”

Velda stared at the crumpled, gasping form that was Samantha; it was then that another idea struck her brain, which she blurted out to Martouf. “If memory serves there is planet in the next system with a Chaapa'ai, we could land the ship and use the Chaapa'ai to get to the new home world.”

Martouf contemplated the suggestions presented and bowed his head. Velda scurried back to the pilots’ seat and inputted the new destination into the autopilot.

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Chapter 8
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jacob flung his clothes haphazardly into the storage container and plonked himself down on the end of his bed. Selmak, for the last few hours, had been trying to find tasks to distract him from thinking about Samantha, unfortunately despite her best efforts Selmak had not succeeded.

Jacob felt he was to blame for Sam’s abduction. Nothing Selmak could say could convince him of that. Frustrated, Jacob snatched up the goblet on the nightstand and hurled it at the crystal wall, spilling its contents in the process. His head slumped into his hands, all he could do was wait; wait to hear if she was alive or dead.

The Goa’uld cargo ship touched down with a slight jolt. The area was mountainous, proving to be somewhat tricky trying to land on what little flat land there was. Velda had managed it though, and was in fact quite pleased with herself for doing so. Velda powered down the engines as Martouf appeared through the window. The Stargate was located on top of a rocky cliff. They would have to go the rest of the way on foot and that was going to be easy, looking back at his mate he concluded that even if her carried her it would take them two hours to reach the Stargate.

Martouf retrieved his mate from the cargo ship floor, Velda’s eyebrows rose in question. “Martouf what are you doing?”

“I am going to carry her to the Stargate.”

"Martouf, it is too dangerous, you would surely fall, killing yourself, your mate, and your child!”

“Velda, what am I too do she cannot walk,” Martouf uttered several Goa’uld curse words as he lifted Sam from the floor. Martouf, carrying Sam, and Velda departed to ship ready to begin the hike up to the Stargate.

Velda wiped the perspiration form her brow and glanced back at Martouf. His eyes focused in deep concentration upon the uneven incline. Already he had stumbled three times, once he had nearly dropped Samantha.

Velda could not watch him struggle like this, “Martouf, please see if Samantha can walk if we help her. If you carry on like this Martouf, you might do yourself and Samantha injury.” Martouf conceded Velda’s words and decided that she was right as he gently lowered Samantha to the ground. Velda grabbed one of Samantha’s arms and Martouf grabbed the other, together the two Tok’ra helped Samantha to stand properly. Her legs were still quite shaky; she didn’t have much faith in herself at the moment. They walked forward a few steps and then a few more. When her legs were strong enough to support her weight, they began their trek up the cliff. Aided by Martouf and Velda, she clambered over rocky terrain, pausing occasionally to get her breath, she was quite exhilarated from both the effort of having to climb and the ever growing intensity of the contractions.

Two hours later, the three of them had battled their way up the rocky slope, taking great care not to trip on any loose rubble. Martouf and Velda took the last stride up to the top of the cliff; they secured their footing and then helped Samantha up. By now she was puffing and panting heavily, her face was bright red and sheen of sweat lined her forehead.

“Samantha love, not far now,” Martouf graciously assured her. A small sound escaped from her mouth, which Martouf took as a reply to his words.

The top of the cliff was level apart from the few potholes, which Velda had found, the hard way. She put her foot into one, lost her balance, tumbling over landing with a thump. “Ow!” Velda exclaimed at the offending hole.

“Velda are you ok?” Sam said, in a croaky voice.

“Yes Samantha,” Velda replied, picking herself up off the floor and then brushed the dust from her clothes.

Sam’s knees started to knock together, Martouf gripped her tightly top prevent her from falling. He was getting more and more worried about her by the minute as was Lantash. Martouf told Velda to dial the gate. Velda sprinted over to the DHD and inputted the correct symbols. The seven chevrons glowed and then the shimmering puddle that was the event horizon whooshed out at them. Sam’s head tilted back as she screamed, right into Martouf’s ear.

“Love, what is wrong?” he demanded anxiously, wondering what could go wrong next.

The pain that Samantha was feeling was unbearable “Martouf, I can’t go any further,” she announced, whimpering.

Martouf shook his head, sternly he replied, “My love you must, we are nearly there,” hoping that the last few words would give her the incentive to carry on. It didn’t she began to cry instead, making Martouf’s moral drop several more levels.

“I can’t, I can’t, I can’t!” she cried repeatedly. Martouf knew time was precious and the only way he was going to get her to move was if he carried her. For the second time that day, he scooped her up into his arms, ran up the three stairs leading to the Stargate and hurled himself through the event horizon, followed by Velda.

Martouf exited the Stargate and paused at the top of the steps, this new Tok’ra home world was a green paradise, unlike the barren desert worlds that they usually picked. Martouf noticed two men, dressed in the familiar beige uniform, emerge from the trees, a few metres in front of him. He gracefully descended the stairs so that Velda would not bump into him when she exited the gate. The event horizon rippled as Velda stepped through. Both of the centurions were indeed surprised to see Martouf. Their job was to escort Tok’ra field agents to the transport rings.

“We have to get Samantha to the healers immediately.”

The two men narrowed their eyes on the writhing form in Martouf’s arms. “Follow us.”

Martouf and Velda followed them through a small group of trees, until they came to a clearing, the grass worn away. Velda moved closer to Martouf as the rings ascended from the soil and then descended transporting the small group underground.

Martouf dashed into the healers’ chambers, startling Olinka and her assistant, Tren. Tren was fairly new to the Tok’ra, his symbiote’s name was Larak; Tren had brown eyes, blonde hair, was quite tall and lean. Martouf moved closer to the pair. Sam moaned loudly as her body jerked. Olinka placed her hands over Sam’s stomach and bean to prod it with her bony fingers. The monitoring devices were still were she had placed them days ago.
“Judging by the way her body is clenching and unclenching she will give birth within the hour,” she mumbled. “Tren, grab those pillows over there, Martouf, deposit Samantha on to the platform.” Martouf gently lowered her to the sleeping platform as Tren used the pillow to prop her up, so that she was half-sitting and half-lying down. “Tren, go to the kitchen, procure some boiling water, and bring it back here.” Tren bolted from the room to get the water. “Martouf, go to your new quarters, get Samantha some comfortable clothes, then go and inform Jacob that his daughter is safe.” Martouf was just on the verge of protesting, that was until Olinka flashed him one of her no-nonsense glares. Martouf raised his hands in surrender, Sam started to panic. He could not leave her, no, not when she about to give birth to his child.

“Martouf love, please don’t leave me, I need you here.”

“Samantha, I just have to go and let you father know that you are safe, then I will return to you, my love.” Sam was not happy about him leaving, but what could she do? It wasn’t as if she were in the position to drag him back. Before he had left she had made him promise once again that he would return soon.

Martouf navigated the Tok’ra tunnels with ease. The layout was much the same as the old base. The only difference was that the council chambers were in a different place. Martouf entered his quarters and went straight to the large bag containing Samantha’s clothes. He pulled the zipper and plucked out a white cotton dress. After zipping the bag back up, he went to find Jacob.

Jacob was still sat on his bed with his head in his hands; his back was to the entrance of the chamber, when Martouf found him. Martouf coughed slightly, so that Jacob wouldn’t be startled by his sudden presence.

“Please go away, I don’t feel like talking to you,” Jacob whispered, not realising that it was Martouf.

“Jacob, I am sure that Samantha would very much like to hear your voice.”

Jacob jumped up from his bed, upon hearing the voice of his son in law. “Sam’s alive? Hurt? Well?”

“Samantha is alive but the stress of the past few days have sent her into premature labour.” Jacob did not need to hear any more. He was off like a shot, with Martouf not far behind.

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Chapter 9
~~~~~~~~~~

Sam gripped the platform tightly, what was taking Martouf so long? He had only been gone about ten minutes but to her it felt like hours. Tren wiped her forehead with a cloth. Olinka had gone to find some small blankets and had left Tren in charge. Tren had explained to her that he had assisted the midwife on his home planet, so he knew what he was doing, much to Sam’s relief.
“Samantha, when you feel the need to push, do so.” Sam nodded her head, unable to speak. The contractions were getting much stronger. A few minutes later she had the uncontrollable urge to push.

“Whenever you are ready, Samantha."

Sam waited for the next strong contraction and began to push, at that moment; Jacob ran into the healers’ chamber, Martouf was close on his heels.

“Where the hell have you been?” Sam yelled at Martouf. Martouf’s charming features became puzzled. “My love, I went to get your father like I said I was going to.”

Jacob placed a kiss to the top of Sam’s forehead. Sam sought the comfort from Jacob’s hand.

Martouf decided to hold her other hand, he reached out his hand but she snatched hers away. His eyebrows quirked with confusion, “Samantha, what have I done to make angry at me?”

Sam smirked, how he dare play the innocent party. Her whole body went rigid as Sam gripped her father’s hand tightly. Jacobs leaned over and whispered words of encouragement into her ear. Martouf once again reached for her hand but she pulled it away. “You,” she spat at him, “did this to me,” indicating her swollen stomach. “You got me pregnant and then you left me to cope with most of it on my own and if that isn’t enough, you weren’t even here to protect me and your precious child from Tannith! I hate you Martouf, I really hate you!”

Martouf was really taken back by her hurtful words, but she was right. He had not been there for her much and he was truly sorry. “Maybe so Samantha my love, but I am here for you now, please my love, my mate, allow me at the very least to hold your hand?”

Sam held out her hand to him, though she did not look at him, scared that if she did look into those hypnotic eyes of his, all the hatred would disappear.

Tren stood in position at the end of the platform, ready to receive the child. “Samantha, upon the next contraction, I want you to push as hard as you can.”

Sam followed Tren's instruction and moments later, the Tok’ra healers’ chamber became filled with the cries of a newborn infant. Sam cried too, but her tears were of joy.

“Tren, I have the blankets,” Olinka announced handing him a piece of material.

Tren cleaned the baby as best he could. Carefully he wrapped the blanket around the baby and handed it Samantha. “Congratulations, Samantha and Martouf, you have a beautiful baby girl.”

Sam beamed down at the child in her arms; everything she had had to endure over the last few months had been well worth it. Jacob twirled the tufts of brown hair on the babe’s head. “Congratulations Sammie, that’s one beautiful baby”.

Martouf shifted nervously on the spot. “Perhaps Jacob, you should go and show our new addition here to the Tok’ra community.” Jacob looked to Sam for permission to take the baby from her. Jacob scooped his tiny granddaughter up into his arms. Tren had suggested this because Sam and Martouf needed time alone to sort out whatever problems existed between them.

Tren inspected the afterbirth to make sure that it was all there and then disposed of it. “Samantha, if you should need anything, I will be in the mess hall, you may wish to wash and change, there is a small wash area through that archway.” Sam thanked Tren for his kindness. Sam waited until Tren and Olinka were out of hearing shot before she turned to Martouf.

“Martouf, please could you help me.” Sam carefully swung her legs over the side of platform, she stood up a little too quick, and she thought she was going to pass out, but luckily, Martouf caught her. He helped her through to the wash area. Slowly, he lifted her soiled clothing over her head and proceeded to wash her body down. Sam didn’t protest, as she hadn’t the strength to do it for herself.

“Samantha, I am so sorry for not being there for you when you needed me.” Sam opened her mouth to protest, but Martouf paced a finger over her lips. “I promise though, that as of now I am going to do everything in my power to be there for you and our child when you need me.”

Sam studied the sullen face of her lover, “Martouf, I am sorry for what I said; I love you so much that it hurts.” Martouf dried her body down, reached for the clean dress and lowered it over her, “Martouf?”

“Yes love?”

“Please tell me that you still love me.” Martouf dropped the soiled dress and the bath sheet, wrapped his arms tightly around her, lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her softly. When he met no resistance, he deepened the kiss. All the tension of the past few months melted away. Finally, the pair broke for air and Martouf reminded Sam that she had been through quite an ordeal and needed to rest. Martouf helped Sam into the main healers’ chamber and onto the platform; she would have to spend the night there for observation.

Everyone in the mess hall had been oohing and aahing over the baby. What piqued their curiosity the most was the lack of a name for the child. Jacob told them that Sam and Martouf had not yet decided on a name.

Jacob caught Soren admiring the baby from afar. Jacob wasn’t going to hold Sam’s kidnapping over Soren, she had done her best to look out for Sam. Jacob apologised to Soren, her shoulders straightened, and she smiled, “Jacob please, let’s not mention this any more. Samantha is safe that is all that counts.”

Jacob agreed. Jacob allowed Soren to hold the baby. Silently, she rejoiced as she held the sleeping infant in her arms. “You have a beautiful grandchild, Jacob.”

Jacobs face lit up with pride, “Yes Soren, she is gorgeous isn’t she?”

Sam arranged herself comfortable upon the platform, grimacing when she moved too quickly. Her father had returned the baby only moments ago, it was now fast asleep in the brown basket that Martouf had scrounged from Ren’al. Martouf, along with her father, had gated to earth to collect much-needed items for herself and the baby, Jacob had also promised to bring back the rest of her team. Sam glanced over at the sleeping baby in the basket and silently. she pondered names for the baby. Then she came up with the perfect name, but of course, she had to discuss it with Martouf.

Three hours later, her father and Martouf returned, they had brought the items that Sam had told them to bring, along with three very pleased members of sg-1.

It had taken some time, but eventually Jack O’Neill had put aside any hostility he had for Martouf and Lantash, partly because it was not going to deter Martouf and Samantha from being together and partly because he still felt guilty about the altercation that had taken place only months ago.

Jacob had told them about what happened with Tannith. Jack stormed around demanding to know why they had not been informed immediately; Daniel had been severely upset by the news and Teal’c… Teal’c had just sat back in the leather chair, eyebrows raised in disapproval. Jacob had also informed them that Tannith and Apophis were still at large. Of course, they agreed that none of them were to speak of the incident in front of Sam as she had been through enough without having reminders of the pain, stress, and sorrow that she had suffered at the hands of Apophis and Tannith.

Jack, Daniel, and Teal’c peered into the basket. The tiny infant was still sleeping, snuggled up inside the blanket.

“What is her name?” Teal’c enquired looking from the baby and then to Sam. Martouf opened his mouth to tell Teal’c that they hadn’t yet decided, but Sam beat him too it.

“Well.” she said softly, looking to Martouf for a reaction “I was thinking of calling her Martina Faith Carter.” Sam tilted her head back to see Martouf, “If this is ok with you I mean, if you have a name?”

Martouf shook his head and flashed her one of those charming grins, “No Samantha, I have no quarrel with the names you have chosen.” Martouf patted his mate on the shoulder and walked around to the basket. Daniel, Jack, and Teal’c stepped back, so that Martouf could lift the sleeping infant from her makeshift crib. He cuddled her to his chest protectively.

"Err, guys, why don’t I show you to the mess hall, grab yourselves something to eat?” Jacob suggested to them, Jack took the hint and ushered Daniel and Teal’c out, leaving Sam, Martouf, and Martina on their own. Martouf crossed back over to the sleeping platform and sat on the edge of it with the baby cradled in his arms.

“Martouf, are you a little disappointed that she wasn’t a boy?” Sam asked of him.

Martouf shook his head. “NO, my love,” he whispered. “I have you, my love, my mate, mother of my child, and I have my daughter, sweet Martina. I really could not be happier.” The proud parents gazed down lovingly upon their child. Despite the knock backs in their lives, everything had turned out all right in the end.

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