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Magnificent Starlight

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"Your friends are gone," she said. "You're galaxies away from home." The Replicator sneered at her, cold and unforgiving. "You’ve lost everything.”

The robot beside her, draped in black terror and sizzling with dangerous sparks, huffed ferociously and shook its fiery mane. They fixed their piercing gazes on Sam and waited.

"They're not gone," Sam quietly replied, her voice barely above a whisper as she kept her eyes on the ground. She wouldn’t look at them. She couldn’t look at them. If she did, she might just lose everything.

A soft whinny reached her ears, and something nudged her shoulder. It was the unicorn. It was still with her. This absolutely incredible creature, running on unimaginable power and crafted in the universe’s finest metal, never left her side throughout this entire horrific ordeal. She remembered now how fiercely it guarded her each time she was driven to screams and how gently it licked away her tears. She couldn’t imagine what she had done to deserve its devotion.

Slowly, Sam pushed herself up off of the cold stone, shivering slightly against the icy breeze. Where were they now? She’d lost track some time ago, and realizing they were standing on a cliff so high up that not even a speck of ground could be seen below did nothing to assuage her fears.

The other mechanical unicorn – the evil one – stamped its hoof and she couldn’t stop herself from jumping at the sound. She was so tired. At least she wasn’t bleeding anymore, but her head still pounded and every place her Replicator double had slashed into her throbbed relentlessly.

She was so tired. And the Replicator was right: they were so far away from Earth that she’d probably never see it again. And she would die out here alone.

Her unicorn nudged her again. Looking up, Sam saw it had placed itself directly between her and the Replicator. It was still protecting her even now. She reached for it with a shaking hand, petting it gently on its warm snout. She thought briefly that it didn’t make sense for it to be warm, but then again, everything about this creature didn’t make sense.

Maybe, then, it was just enough to believe.

As if reading her mind (and perhaps she was), the Replicator asked, “What do you have left, Sam?” She spit out her name like a slur. “What could you possibly have left to believe in?”

Sam gazed out into the wide expanse of endless cliffs. They seemed ugly and barren, hopelessly gray and shrouded in fog. Something popped into her mind then, a vision of Daniel standing with her, assuring her that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. She felt Teal’c at her side, and the Colonel, too, and for that briefest of moments, she was no longer alone.

She looked over at her unicorn again. Its prismatic mane shone brightly, and its eyes glittered with hope and determination.

She smiled.

“Love,” Sam said simply. “I have love.”

The Replicator’s cruel gaze shot at her like flying needles. “Love?” she taunted. “Love is pathetic. You’re going to cling to a pitiful human emotion in your final hour?” She made no attempt to hide the viciousness of the smirk that spread across her lips. “Love is nothing.”

Sam shook her head, still smiling. “No,” she calmly said. “You’re wrong. And if you really believe that, then I can’t tell you how sorry I feel for you.”

The Replicator’s expression faltered. Her eyes narrowed.

The rainbow unicorn bowed its head as if paying deference to a queen. It knelt beside Sam, allowing her to jump onto its back.

“What are you doing?” the Replicator asked. Her gaze was hard as stone, eyes alight with her attempts to calculate her next move.

“I’m going to find them,” Sam answered.

The Replicator mounted her own unicorn quickly. “With love?” She was sneering again, but it was nowhere near as confident as it was before.

Sam glanced at her over her shoulder. “What else?”

The evil unicorn neighed viciously, as if repulsed by her optimism. The Replicator’s eyes blazed.

Sam’s unicorn scraped its hoof against the ground in anticipation. She breathed in, letting its renewed vigor pour into her soul. “I think we’ve got one wish left,” she told it, and it let out a small, approving neigh.

Sam leaned down, gently placed her hand against the creature’s neck and whispered, “Let’s go get our team.”

The unicorns raced to the edge of the cliff, each transformed into magnificent blurs of light.

They jumped.