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Sam thinks Laura Roslin should have counted herself lucky to have 50,000 survivors. They've got just over 5,000. Until yesterday, most of them didn't even know about the Stargate.

"Five thousand, four hundred, and sixty-three and a half," says Paul Davis that first night, after they've held the town hall meeting, explained to the survivors what happened, and weathered the anger and complaints. "She's due in August."

"Jesus Christ," mutters Colonel Dixon beneath his breath. Blue eyes glance up at Sam. "You sure I can't persuade you to take the lead on this?"

"No power on Earth..." Sam trails off.

The Ori might be dead, but the Priors carry Origin on through the Milky Way, undaunted. Earth is razed, most of the population incinerated by the Priors.

There's no power on Earth anymore.

--

The first weeks are hellish.

They don't know how much the Priors have forced their people to give up in the attack. So they move and move and move, gating their way through the Milky Way until they find somewhere they can stay.

And that's just the physical side of things.

Emotionally, they're all wrecks. Uprooted from their homes, many of them struggling with the concepts of interstellar travel and aliens and other planets, never mind coping with the deaths of their families and loved ones.

Sam estimates that half the remnant cries themselves to sleep at night. As she lies in her bunk staring up into the darkness, she suspects the other half would if they weren't afraid they'd never stop.

She's not sure she could stop if she started.

--

Priority goes to protecting the remnant - making sure everyone's fed and housed, finding them work to do, ways to be useful, working on a plan for the future.

"We can't afford to strike back," says Dixon grimly. But Sam knows it grates on him as it grates on her. "We don't have the technology."

"At least we can resist."

Dixon grimaces. "For what that's worth."

It's worth a lot when they encounter a Prior on a trading planet. The Anti-Prior Device scrambles his power, Sam scrambles his brains with a bullet.

But it's not enough for the death of her friends.

--

News comes in bitter fragments.

Planets convert to the worship of Origin in a slow trickle, suspicious after too many years under Goa'uld rule. But there's no denying the Priors and their abilities - raising the dead, healing the sick, destroying the unbelievers with fire.

There's nothing from Earth, no news of people or planets. The Daedelus arrives from Atlantis, having tracked them down from a message Sam sent via the gate-bridge between the galaxies.

"Weir's offered sanctuary in Atlantis," Caldwell informs them that night over a cup of coffee - one of the last bags of coffee beans the remnants had left. His face is haggard and grim - there was nothing he or his crew could do on the long trip between galaxies, and Dr. Weir forbade anyone even trying to use the gate-bridge to reach Earth. "But I want to do a recon of the solar system first."

Dixon glances at Sam, glances at Paul. "I don't think anyone's going to argue with that."

--

More than one person excuses themselves from the slideshow.

Sam doesn't blame them; her stomach churns at the images brought back by Caldwell. All the big cities in the US have been cratered - slagged by weapons of unimaginable power, and other parts of the world haven't fared any better.

The satellite images don't do more than paint a big, grainy picture of Earth - the dead, the dying, the damned.

"But that's...isn't that people moving about? That city hardly looks like it's been touched," says one of the NORAD analysts, her voice quavering.

"Major Marks says there are places where it looks like the worship of Origin has already caught on," Caldwell says grimly. "It looks like the big cities went in the first wave, and smaller places were allowed to decide if they'd convert or not."

"Standard procedure for the Priors," Sam says. "Show the locals what happens if they rebel, then give them the opportunity not to."

Heads turn. "You could have stopped this!" The woman says. "Why didn't you?"

Her stomach cramps with nausea; she's hardly slept in the last month - barely enough to keep running, and sooner or later exhaustion is going to catch up. But the woman and all the others in this viewing deserve an answer - even if she can barely get it past her lips.

"We tried."

--

Not everyone can go to Atlantis straight away. There aren't enough slots on the Daedaelus for everyone to go at once. It'll take four or five trips, running out of food bit by bit, even if the ship won't run out of fuel for a while.

"Priority to the civilians and kids." Dixon says as they're talking it over. "Carter, you should go with. Someone has to update Weir on the situation. One of us."

Sam shakes her head. "Paul can have my berth. I'm not leaving until all our people are out."

"Jack's motto."

Her heart squeezes. "Yeah. Besides, I still have contacts here. I'll go with the next group."

What she doesn't say is that she can't leave the Milky Way. Not yet. The Ori might be dead, but the Priors don't know that and don't care; Adria might still be out there, and if she is, she needs to be dealt with. Sam and the rest of SG1 started this; in the absence of the other members of SG1, she's going to finish it.

Even if she doesn't know how.

--

The Daedelus leaves. Days meld into weeks. The camp seems emptier, everyone's mood duller.  Then, nearly two weeks after the Daedelus left, four 'jumpers swoop in through the Stargate, full of supplies and people to help move them, shift them.

Sam watches them land in the cleared space and feels her spirits lift, just a little. Atlantis isn't home - it won't be home the way Earth and the SGC were, the way it is to the man coming down the ramp - but it's there: a promise, a goal, a future.

John Sheppard greets her with a casual salute, beyond him, Teyla Emmagan and Ronon Dex survey the sky and the camp, as though watching for the Wraith. The fourth member of Sheppard's team is absent.

"No McKay?"

"He complained, so I made him get out and walk."

"Midway?"

"Yeah. Apparently he needs to adjust the codes before we can get home." Sheppard's easy expression turns grim. "Survivors?"

"Five thousand. There are some left on Earth, but we can't get them out. Caldwell couldn't use the beam either down or up."

"Maybe a cloaked 'jumper could slip in..."

She doubts it, but the gesture's appreciated.

--

"You have a plan."

It's Teyla who finds Sam out on the ridge overlooking the camp that evening. She doesn't ask permission, merely seats herself with easy grace.

"Is it obvious?"

"No. Not to the others." The other woman looks out towards the stars. "You will not be coming to Atlantis."

"I've got things to do here." Sam takes a deep breath. "Daniel sent the Sangraal through the supergate to the Ori galaxy. We're pretty sure it destroyed the Ori; but we have no way of telling. And there are still the Priors. The power they gain from the followers of the Ori has to go somewhere - to someone."

"You believe there may still be Ori?"

"Maybe. We don't know - that's the thing. And we have to know." Sam hesitates, not sure if she should speak of it - she hasn't mentioned it to anyone else since she and Daniel discussed it. Possibilities and perhaps, that's all. "Before the Ori came, Daniel was...Daniel was having dreams about an Ancient device - something that might stop the Priors from continuing to preach Origin. We were putting together a plan to go and find it, and then..."

Teyla sits silent beside her for a while. "You will do this alone?"

"If I have to."

--

The loneliness is the hardest. The solitude.

Even the other SGC personnel don't feel it the same. Maybe it's easier for most of them - guys who've naturally fitted wherever they went. Sam made herself fit, but she was never comfortable - not until SG1.

SG1's gone.

It's not even like her six months in Area 51 when they were there, just not there. Jack in DC, Daniel in Colorado, Teal'c on Dakara, waiting for the next phase of their lives to begin. And then Cam, dragging them back in again with his enthusiasm and his insistence, and Vala and her brazen confidence and charming cunning.

She doesn't know where Teal'c or Vala are; but she's pretty sure that Jack, Daniel, and Cam are dead on Earth. The only reason she's alive is because she went in to the SGC that morning to speak with Paul Davis while Landry was off stirring the alphabet soup.

In the darkness of her bunk, Sam acknowledges that she doesn't want to do this on her own.

Problem is, there's no-one else.

--

"Carter!"

Sam bolts out of the lab at the call, an Anti-Prior Device gripped in her left hand, handgun in her right.

Procedurally, they've done everything to protect their camp. No-one 'gates directly here; a half-dozen interim planets are assigned as jump points, and anyone outgoing is required to memorise the addresses.

But there's always the possibility of being found out.

She's at the Gate before she realises people are grinning, before it hits her that the men in armour aren't even human - before she recognises the leader.

Four steps take her to Teal'c. One movement brings her arms up around him, and his hand comes gently and firmly around her back, holding her tight in shared grief and shared relief.