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Above the surface of Earth, three Goa'uld ships came to a stop.  They immediately became visible to a U.S. space-based radar station.  The moment the technicians became aware of the presence of the ships, they passed on the message, which was finally received by General John P. Jumper, the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff.  He and the National Security Advisor immediately went to the president, who was with Vice President Kinsey and General Maynard in the Oval Office.

"Mister President, a short time ago our space-based radar detected three Goa'uld vessels emerging from hyperspace," General Jumper announced.

"Just three?" Kinsey asked.  "That's hardly the full force of Anubis' fleet."

Maynard spoke up.  "I'd guess that this is an advance attack force.  They're here to test our defenses, see if SG-1 was successful in getting Ancient defense technology."

"Which they weren't."

"No, not yet, but Anubis doesn't know that."

"And he's most likely holding back his main invasion fleet till he finds out what we've got," Hayes guessed.

"Sir, Prometheus and our fleet of 302's can give them a run for their money," General Jumper said.

"Let's do it," Kinsey said firmly.

Maynard shook his head.  He turned to Hayes.  "I agree with your assessment, Mister President.  Anubis is attempting to goad us into action, which will show him the strength of our forces.  If we launched Prometheus now, it would reveal that we lack the advanced weaponry he is worried about."

Kinsey was all ready to say that they needed to throw the full might of their power at Anubis now and show him that the United States of America was not to be messed with, but, at the last second, he changed his mind and stayed silent.

"Remain at DEFCON 3 for the time being," Hayes said, "but contact the governments of Russia, Great Britain, France, China and Canada, and let them know what we think we're in for.  In the meantime, I'd better prepare a hell of a speech."

Daniel and Sam had been working together for over an hour when Jack came in to check on them.

"Sir, I figured out what Daniel is doing," Sam told him.  "He's modifying the matter stream transmitter on the rings so that we can use them to bore a hole through the ice."

"Cool.  I hope it's going to be ready soon, because we'll be reaching Earth in less than an hour."

"You need to contact the SGC, Colonel, tell them what's going on."


Jack hurried to the cockpit.  "Teal'c, open up a channel to the SGC."  The Jaffa immediately complied.

"Stargate Command, this is Colonel O'Neill.  Can you read me?"  Nothing but silence answered.  "Stargate Command, come in please."  Jack tried for another half a minute to contact the SGC.  When all his hails failed to receive a reply, he shouted over his shoulder.  "Carter!  We've got a problem here!"

Sam came trotting out.  "What's wrong, sir?"

"We can't get hold of the SGC."

"The sensors have detected Goa'uld ships in orbit around Earth," Bra'tac said.  "Perhaps the attack has already begun, and Stargate Command has been destroyed."

"Ah!  Don't say that!" Jack exclaimed.

Sam quickly checked the communications equipment.  She suddenly started cursing up a blue streak, making both Jack's and Teal'c's eyebrows rise dramatically.

"Sir, the next time we go to Area 51, remind me to kill someone," the major growled.

"What now?!"

"The Al'Kesh is equipped with an Asgard communications system, and it was one of the systems that the scientists were studying.  Well, in the big rush, someone must have screwed up.  We're not transmitting.  Damn!  I should have checked this before!"

"Carter, this is not your fault, and I will be more than happy to let you commit homicide the next time we go to Area 51."

"Then we are unable to contact the SGC?" Teal'c asked.

"Not at the moment," Sam answered.  "I'll get to work on it right away."

Sam frantically got busy trying to fix the problem.  The thought that Anubis had arrived at Earth and might already be wiping out the population plaguing her mind.  This couldn't be the end.  It just couldn't!

They were only a few minutes away from Earth when Sam got the communications system fixed.  Jack immediately tried to contact the SGC.

"Colonel O'Neill!  This is Stargate Command.  We read you, sir!" came the almost immediate reply.

"Get General Hammond."

"He's already on his way, sir."

Only a few seconds later, the general's voice came over the speaker.  "Colonel, it's good to hear your voice."

"Yes, sir.  I don't have time to explain, but the Lost City is on Earth, in Antarctica, probably right around where the second Stargate was found.  We'll be arriving in just a few minutes, and we're going to need backup, sir."

"Consider it done, Jack.  Stargate Command out."

Sam turned to Jack.  "Sir, as soon as we come out of hyperspace, Anubis is going to detect us.  We can't cloak the ship until after we enter normal space."

"The moment we emerge from hyperspace, we will activate the cloak," Bra'tac told them.  "The ship will be visible for a mere instant."

"Let's hope that Anubis and his cronies aren't paying really close attention," Jack said.

Her'ak, Anubis' First Prime, entered the room where his god stood looking out a window.

"My lord, the advance attack reports that they have received no challenge."

Anubis turned to face him.  "Order them to begin the attack.  If the Tau'ri have weapons of the Ancients, we shall see."

Her'ak bowed and left with a feeling of satisfaction.  Soon, the Tau'ri of Earth would be no more.

"Mister President, even though we have yet to see the bulk of Anubis' fleet, I agree that it is out there, waiting to see what we'll do," Hammond said to Hayes over the speakerphone.  "Prometheus and the 302's can't possibly win against an entire Goa'uld fleet, but if it is sent to protect SG-1, it could give them enough time to complete their mission."

"Mister President, that is downright insane!" Kinsey exclaimed.  "We need to attack Anubis now, hit him with everything we've got before he starts targeting our cities.  This Lost City story is a crock of bull.  SG-1 is just—"

"Bob, shut the hell up!" Hayes yelled.  Everyone in the room, as well as Hammond in his office, fell into a stunned silence.

"Excuse me?" Kinsey sputtered.

"You heard me.  I've had enough of your crap about SG-1."  The president turned back to the speakerphone.  "Tell Prometheus to launch, George, with orders to protect SG-1 at all costs."

"Yes, sir!" Hammond said, hanging up.

Still angry at being humiliated like that, Kinsey nevertheless decided to play it cool.  "Mister President, I believe it would be wise for us to get to the Alpha Site now, even if it does turn out that those three ships are all that Anubis sent.  You can keep in contact through the Stargate, and—"

Hayes shook his head.  "It's too late for that, Bob.  This battle is going to take place, and we're going to be right here for it.  All of our lives are depending on SG-1 now."

The fear of dying swept through Kinsey.  "But, Mister President!  There's no reason for us to—"

Hayes interrupted him again.  "Face it, Bob.  As much as you hate SG-1, you'd better pray that they don't live down to your expectations, because your ass is on the line just like the rest of ours."

Her'ak stood at the console.  Behind him, Anubis sat in his throne.

"My lord, the advance attack ships have found a large force of what appears to be aquatic war vessels on one of the planet's oceans.  They wish to know if it is a suitable target."

"Yes, that will do.  Tell them to destroy it."

"Yes, my. . . .  My lord!  Sensors detected an Al'Kesh exiting hyperspace.  The ship cloaked immediately upon exiting."

Anubis rose from his throne.  "Find the ship's energy signature.  Tell the advance force to suspend the attack on the planet.  That ship must be found."

The Al'Kesh carrying SG-1 and Bra'tac swooped down toward Earth.  Its occupants had no idea if they had been detected coming out of hyperspace.  If they were, it would only be a matter of time before Anubis found them and sent his forces after them.

"Head toward the coordinates where the Stargate was found," Jack ordered Teal'c.

Just then, Daniel came into the cockpit.  He stepped up to the pilot's seat and touched Teal'c's shoulder.  The Jaffa looked at him, then stood to allow Daniel to take the seat.  The archeologist piloted the ship over the mountains and across a snowfield.  He brought it to a stop a few hundred feet above the ice and snow.  An intense beam of blue-white light descended from its belly and bit into the snow and ice beneath it, quickly melting through.

They'd been in that position for only a minute or so when Bra'tac announced, "Al'Kesh and gliders approach.  We have been discovered."

"Crap!" Jack cursed.  "Prometheus will never reach us before they do.  We're going to have to take evasive action, try to stay in one piece until our forces get here."  He looked down at Daniel.  "Daniel, you'd better let Teal'c take the controls."

The archeologist made no move to leave the seat.  Jack wasn't even sure Daniel had heard him.

"The ships still approach," Bra'tac announced.  "They will be in firing range in thirty seconds."

"Daniel, you need to—"

Before Jack could finish his sentence, Daniel suddenly shut off the beam, turned the ship, and took off, heading straight for a range of mountains in the distance.  Their altitude remained low, way too low to make it over the mountains that they were fast approaching.

"Daniel, what are you doing?" Sam asked.

Not answering, Daniel stayed on course.  Moments before it seemed certain that the archeologist was going to kill them all, he altered course slightly to the right.

"Whoa!" Jack yelled as they shot between two peaks and into a labyrinth of mountains.  Seconds later, the first wave of enemy ships arrived.  Destructive bolts of energy streaked past them, impacting upon rocks and snow.  With half a dozen death gliders on his tale, Daniel wove between the massive peaks surrounding them, skimming past some so closely that the wake from their passing blasted snow off the mountains.  He never wavered, never hesitated, as if he intimately knew every inch of the terrain.  Jack realized that, somehow, Daniel was using his paranormal abilities to map out the terrain in advance, seeing every crevasse, every dip and peak before they got there.  And it was working.

"The bulk of Anubis' forces cannot follow us here!" Bra'tac shouted.  "They would surely impact upon the mountains or each other."

Even as he spoke, Daniel suddenly aimed the ship straight at a mountainside.  At the last possible second, he veered to the left and squeezed between two cliffs.  Two of the gliders chasing them failed to make the maneuver and crashed into the mountain, exploding on impact.

"Yes!" Jack cried.  "Way to go, Daniel!"

The chase continued, enemy gliders and Al'Kesh attempting to follow and shoot them down.  The fact that they were cloaked meant that the enemy had to rely solely on sensors to detect them, which was an added advantage.  But, even with the cloak and Daniel's amazing piloting skills, there were so many attacking ships that his companions knew it was only a matter of time before they were hit.

And then something else happened to change the odds even more.  Half a dozen gliders converged on them from different directions.  It was a trap that they couldn't possibly escape from . . . and yet they did.  Even as the gliders swooped and fired at them, Daniel was already taking evasive action, somehow dodging gliders and weapons fire before they were there.

"He knows what they do before they do it!" Teal'c cried.

Struck dumb with amazement, the others knew that Teal'c was right.  Just as he had when he fought Har'tec, Daniel was predicting the moves of his enemy before they were made.

"Holy Hannah!" Sam said, her face alight with wonder.

A moment later, they ran out of luck.  A stray shot from an Al'Kesh struck them.  The ship jolted violently, sparks flying through the air.

"The cloaking device has been damaged," Bra'tac said.  "It is failing."

At that moment, Daniel made a maneuver that, if it hadn't been for the inertial dampeners, would have smeared them all over the front window.  As it was, Jack felt his stomach do a loop-de-loop.  The archeologist had abruptly decelerated, then dived straight down into a wide cleft between mountains.  The ships following them had no hope of duplicating the unexpected maneuver and shot past, some smashing into mountains as they tried to change course to stay on their target's tail.

Inside the cleft, Daniel made a complete one hundred eighty degree turn and headed back the way they came, shooting up out of the cleft like a rocket.  He barely managed to avoid several more ships that had been taken by surprise, shooting down two of them before streaking past.  The sudden change in directions had all the enemy ships scrambling to turn around.

Dozens of enemy ships still after them, Daniel took the Al'Kesh out of the mountains.

"O'Neill, there are more ships approaching from the distance," Bra'tac announced.

"Oh, shit!  We're about to get our ass—"

"They are not Goa'uld."

Jack, Sam and Teal'c all looked out the side window to see the Prometheus and dozens of F-302's.

"Yes!  The cavalry is here!" Jack shouted.

Onboard the Prometheus, Colonel Pendergast stared at the force of Goa'uld ships ahead of them.  A large group of gliders and Al'Kesh were speeding above a snowfield.  Strangely, the Al'Kesh in the lead was occasionally winking out of sight.  Realizing what that meant, he broadcast over the communications channel, "The Al'Kesh in the lead is SG-1.  Do not fire upon it.  That ship is to be protected at all costs!"

Moments later, the battle began, Earth's forces fighting fiercely against the enemies seeking to destroy their world.  The air was suddenly alive with weapons fire and exploding ships.  Amidst it all, a single Al'Kesh had come to a complete stop over a circular hole in the ice.  Once again, the bright beam of light descended from the underside of the ship to resume digging.

Daniel got up and left the cockpit.  Bra'tac moved into the vacated seat as Teal'c stepped up to the tactical station.  Sam followed Daniel.

At that moment, the huge bulk of Prometheus came down to hover over them like a mother bird protecting her chick.

"SG-1, this is Colonel Pendergast, do you read?"

"Yes, we sure do," Jack answered.  "It's good to see you, Lionel.  You got here just in the nick of time."

As the battle continued to wage above them, SG-1 sat and waited for the modified matter stream to cut through the mile of ice, only the mighty ship hovering above them preventing them from being destroyed.

"O'Neill!" Teal'c called out.  "An Al'Kesh is bearing down upon us!"

Jack looked out the window to see a ship coming right at them.  Seconds before it would have opened fire, a damaged F-302, smoke billowing from one of its engines, took it out.

"Whoa.  That was close," Jack muttered, saying a silent thank you to that courageous pilot and hoping that he got to safety.

"Colonel!  Teal'c!  We've got to go!" Sam called out.  Jack and Teal'c joined her and Daniel at the ring platform.  The archeologist was moving the remains of his modifications away from the transport rings.  He and Sam were already dressed in their vests and jackets.  Jack and Teal'c quickly put theirs on.

"Daniel, how are we gonna get down there?" Jack asked.

Teal'c scanned the floor.  "The rings."

Sam nodded in agreement.  "The Ancients built both the Stargate and the rings, so it would make sense that there would be a ring platform down there somewhere, just like there was on Taonas.  The transmission beam just couldn't penetrate a mile of ice."

Jack, Sam and Teal'c armed themselves as Daniel finished clearing everything away from the rings.  They all stepped into the center of the platform.

"Ready, Bra'tac!" Jack called.

"Good luck!" they heard the man call back.

An instant later, the rings leapt up around them, and they were beamed down.  They found themselves in a small chamber.  There was an opening off to one side, which Daniel went through, the others following.  The chamber they entered looked somewhat like the one on Praclarush Taonas.

"This looks vaguely familiar," Sam said.

Daniel moved to an object standing against one wall.  It contained a large niche, as if something was supposed to be placed inside.  He laid a hand upon it.

"Dormata," he murmured.

"Anyone know what that means?" Jack asked.

"No, s—"

Sam's voice was cut off by a high-pitched noise.  They stepped to the right and saw Anubis standing a few feet away.  Jack and Sam instantly raised their P-90's and pointed them at the figure.

"You are too late.  The power of the Ancients is mine," the Goa'uld announced.

Daniel stared at Anubis for a moment, then walked forward, going right through him.  The archeologist kept on walking, not looking back.

"Fools!" shouted the cloaked figure.  It then disappeared.

"It's a hologram," Sam said.

Daniel stepped onto the dais holding a chair exactly like the one on Taonas.  He knelt and held his hand over a section of the floor.  A device similar to the one they'd taken from the other place rose out of the dais, except that this one appeared to be dead, without power.  Daniel removed it.  Sam took the module they'd gotten at Taonas out of the bag she carried on her hip and gave it to him.

At that moment, SG-1 heard the rings activate.  Jack, Sam and Teal'c all took cover.  Two supersoldiers appeared.  The three members of SG-1 immediately opened fire on them.  They succeeded in taking one of the drones down.

Seemingly oblivious to the action, Daniel inserted the new power module into the hole.  The dais lit up.  With Sam, Jack and Teal'c trying to hold off the drone as best as they could, the archeologist went to the chair.  As two more drones ringed down and started shooting, he sat down.  Using the control pad, he made the chair recline and swivel around to face away from the action.

Jack called over his shoulder, "Daniel, whatever it is you're gonna do, you'd better hurry up and do it!"

At that moment, a brilliant light bathed Daniel in its radiance.  His eyes slid shut.  A low rumbling echoed through the chamber as a part of the floor between SG-1 and the remaining drone crumbled away, a golden light shining up from the newly formed hole.  In the next second, a stream of brightly glowing objects poured upward from the hole.  Some of the objects attacked the supersoldier, enveloping it.  Seconds later, it vanished.

The weapons of the Ancients shot up through the shaft created by the matter stream and out into the open air.  Every Goa'uld vessel they encountered was instantly destroyed.  Up they rose, a golden column of destruction aiming straight toward the Goa'uld fleet in orbit around Earth.

Prometheus, its shields down and weapons expended, was on a collision course with Anubis' mothership, its crew determined to take out the ship no matter what.  The glowing stream came upon the Earth ship and diverted around it harmlessly, writhing arms splitting off from the main flow like the tentacles of an octopus.  They attacked the Goa'uld ships ruthlessly, slicing through shields and bulkheads as if through tissue paper.

Onboard the Prometheus, Major Gant cried, "Weapons fire coming from the surface, sir!"

"Break off the attack," Colonel Pendergast responded.  "Get us clear of that ship."

Prometheus changed course and flew under the mothership, which was being decimated by the alien weapon.

On Anubis' ship, Her'ak called out, "Our shields are of no use!"

Anubis watched helplessly as his fleet was wiped out.  He raised a hand protectively as several of the Ancients' weapons headed straight toward the window.

"Noooo!" he roared.

Seconds later, in a cataclysmic explosion, Anubis' mighty ship ripped apart.

Down on Earth, the president in the oval office and everyone in the control room at the SGC listened to the report from an excited witness.

"Thousands of bright yellow . . . I don't know. . . .  They're coming from the surface.  I don't know what they are.  They're cutting the enemy fleet to shreds.  My God, it's beautiful!"

"Sir, what is it?" a technician asked Hammond.

A smile of satisfaction and pride beamed across the general's face.  "That is SG-1.  By God, they did it!"

Not knowing exactly what was happening in the skies above them, but having gotten a brief report from Bra'tac that the weapons Daniel unleashed were destroying the Goa'uld ships, SG-1 waited in the chamber, still alert for any threat.  Just then, the bright light around the chair went out.  Jack, Sam and Teal'c turned to it and saw that Daniel appeared to be unconscious.

"Daniel!" Sam hurried forward, followed by Jack and Teal'c.  Frantically, she checked his pulse.

"His pulse is erratic," she said over her shoulder to the others.  She then turned back to Daniel.  "Don't you dare leave us now, Daniel.  We won.  You did it.  We're safe."

The archeologist's eyelids fluttered open.  His eyes met Sam's, cutting right into her soul.  He whispered something that she could not hear.

"Daniel?" Sam said in a scared voice.

Finding the strength from somewhere, Daniel struggled upwards.  Jack and Teal'c hurried forward and helped him out of the chair.  They'd just gotten him off the dais when he went limp in their grasp.  They lowered him to the floor.  Sam rushed to his side, Teal'c moving out of the way for her.  She pulled Daniel up into her arms, looking into eyes that were now glazed and distant.

"No, Daniel.  Don't do this," Sam begged, starting to cry.  "Please."

"Sam," Daniel said in a breathy whisper.  He uttered words in Ancient that she could barely hear.

"Daniel, what are you saying?  What can we do?" she asked in desperation.

But Daniel did not answer.  As Sam watched helplessly, his eyes slid shut.  A soft sigh slipped from his lips, and then he was still, his body going limp with cruel and terrible finality.

"No," Sam whispered brokenly.  "No."

'Oh God, no,' Jack's mind cried in silent denial as his questing fingers searched for a pulse and found none.

A horrible, heartrending cry rose out of Sam.  Deep, wracking sobs shuddered through her as she gathered Daniel to her chest.  Beside her, Jack sunk to the floor as anguish overwhelmed him, making him feel cold, empty and broken inside.

Tears welled up into Teal'c's eyes as he looked down upon the body of a man who had become one of the best friends he'd ever had, a man who had yet again given his life to save them all.  But, unlike before, no alien entity came to take him away, no bright light heralded the transformation of his body into another form of life.  Daniel Jackson was truly dead this time, and nothing was going to bring him back.

A black, fathomless abyss of anguish and despair rose up to swallow Sam whole as she cradled the body of the man she loved more than anything in the universe.  She pressed her tear-streaked face against his, rocking back and forth like a stricken child.

"I love you.  I love you," she whispered over and over again in a shattered voice.

The words created an unreasoning anger within Jack.  Why now?  Why when it was too late for Daniel did Sam finally say that she loved him?  Why couldn't she have loved him when he revealed his feelings for her?  At least then, Daniel would have had a few precious months of happiness before. . . .

Jack lurched to his feet with a choked little gasp and strode away, the pain eating him alive.  Oh, God, this can't be happening.  Daniel can't be dead.  They were all supposed to be celebrating the defeat of Anubis and the salvation of Earth.  Thor was supposed to have come to the rescue at the last minute, like he did so many times in the past, and fix everything.  But, this time, there was no last minute rescue, no happy ending.  Earth had been saved, but at the cost of the finest man and best friend Jack had ever known.

Bra'tac's voice came over the radios.  "O'Neill, Anubis' forces have been defeated!"

Jack closed his eyes.  He reached for his radio.  "We know, Bra'tac.  We know.  Daniel—"  His voice broke off.  He took a deep breath.  He just couldn't tell the Master Jaffa over the radio.  "Come pick us up."

Jack turned around and walked back to the others.  "Teal'c, we need to . . ." His voice wavered and cracked, "we need to take him home."

The Jaffa nodded.  He knelt across from Sam.  "Major Carter, it is time to take Daniel Jackson home."

Sam's head shook.  "No," she whispered, clutching Daniel even tighter.

"Samantha," Teal'c said gently.  "He is gone."

Sam gazed down at Daniel's face.  "No, he can't be gone.  He can't be.  I love him."

Teal'c's voice trembled.  "I know."

With utmost gentleness, Teal'c took Daniel out of Sam's grasp.  Gathering the still, limp body into his arms, he stood and walked toward the ring platform.  Jack went up to Sam and helped her off the floor.  She clutched at him as they joined the Jaffa.

"Ring us up, Bra'tac," Jack said into his radio.

A moment later, they were on the Al'Kesh.  The Master Jaffa's grin instantly vanished upon seeing Daniel and the anguish on everyone's faces.  He knew without asking that the archeologist was dead.

Teal'c carried Daniel's body into the bedchamber that had once belonged to Osiris.  He laid the archeologist down on the bed and turned away.

As the three men left the room, Sam curled up on the bed beside Daniel and laid her head on the chest that would never again rise with the breath of life.  Alone in the room with the man she loved more than her own life, Sam felt her heart shatter into dust, with no hope of repair.

General Hammond was just about to make a base-wide announcement that the Goa'uld fleet had been destroyed when Jack O'Neill's voice came over the speakers.

"Colonel O'Neill!  Congratulations!" Hammond exclaimed.  "You and the rest of SG-1 have once again saved the planet.  How is Doctor Jackson doing?"

There was a long silence.  "Daniel . . . Daniel's dead, sir."

The control room went utterly still, gasps arising from several people.

"He did it, General," Jack continued, his voice heavy with sorrow.  "He saved us all.  The weapon, getting us back in time, everything.  It was all him.  He sacrificed himself for us."

In the control room, more than one person had begun to cry.  General Hammond's eyes stung with tears that he could not allow to fall.

In a voice full of terrible sadness, he said, "Bring him home, Jack."

"Yes, sir."

General Hammond closed his eyes for a long moment, taking a deep breath.  Shoving his sorrow deep inside for the moment, he told a technician to turn on the base P.A. system.

"I have an announcement to make, everyone.  Thanks to the heroic efforts of Doctor Jackson and the rest of SG-1, the forces of Anubis have been destroyed."

Throughout the base, a cheer arose at the fantastic news.  Everyone quieted as Hammond continued speaking.

"I am afraid, though, that I have some sad news.  Doctor Jackson is dead.  It was through his actions that Earth was saved.  He gave his life for all of us, and every man, woman and child on this planet owes him a debt that we will never be able to repay."

In her office, Janet sunk slowly into her chair, tears pouring down her cheeks.  With a little sob, she lowered her face into her hands and cried for her lost, dearly loved friend.

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