Alpha Site, July 10 1998
It was almost a week later. O'Neill had been released from the infirmary a couple days ago, but still supporting himself on a crutch, the stab-wound in his leg hurting. He had been kept busy with administrative tasks, something he hated with a passion.
There were enough housing for a about two thousand at the Alpha site, but most of those had to sleep on the floor in the large sheds that had been built when the first evacuation had taken place.
The majority of the refugees slept in tents, and even then there were not room for all, and many slept outside. Right now it was summer on the planet, and warm enough, so it would work for a shorter period of time.
A worse problem was that Apophis might find the address for the Alpha site, given time. They had destroyed the dialling computer after the Stargate had been opened for the last group, but there were backups they had not been able to get to, and it was only a matter of time before Apophis's scientists found those. They had to find a new place to build their colony, and fast. Until then, many soldiers were tasked with guarding the Stargate at all times, and they had buried explosives in front of it, since they were lacking an iris here.
Teal'c and Daniel were on one of the teams that were scouting out possible 'Beta site' planets, and O'Neill wished he was going with them. He wanted to do something active, working directly to get Earth back again, and to put his mind to other things than his own dark thoughts.
Many of his friends and what family he had left, were still on Earth. Sara , his former wife, was still on Earth. He had tried to contact her before leaving, but had not been able to. Presumably, she was visiting her brother in Kansas, she usually did this time of the year. He and his family lived in the countryside, so hopefully they would be okay.
O'Neill sighed, his dark thoughts continuing, but in another direction. His second in command had been taken over by a Goa'uld... or Tok'ra, or whatever it insisted on calling itself. He had already lost one good friend to one of those damn snakes - Kawalsky. It had not gone well when they had tried removing the Goa'uld. Then there was Daniel's wife, Sha're - it had not yet been a year since a Goa'uld possessed her - and her brother Ska'ara. Did these cursed creatures have to take everyone he cared about? He slammed his fist hard against the table, making some of the other people in the room jump.
"Hi, Jack!" Daniel said, as he and Teal'c stepped into the room.
"Daniel, Teal'c!" O'Neill nodded at them. "I hope to God you're bringing some good news. I could use some!"
"We have found suitable planet," Teal'c informed him.
"The Ruling Council has accepted it. The first thing that needs to be taken care of is housing, so groups that can build that will be sent there as soon as it can be organised," Daniel said.
"That's great." O'Neill sounded less than enthused, even though he knew it was important. He rolled his eyes. "Are they really calling themselves 'The Ruling Council'?"
"Yeah, they are." Daniel confirmed. "It's made up of those - very few - Senators who managed to get away from Earth, some Generals, and a few others. I guess they thought it was a fitting name. Besides, it's not like there's going to be any elected government anytime soon..."
O'Neill sighed. "I know. The plane with the President was shot down by Apophis, and most other members of the government didn't make it. It's just too bad Kinsey and some of his cronies had to be among those that did ."
Daniel nodded. "He's managed to get himself chosen as leader, or hadn't you heard?"
O'Neill looked shocked. "No, I most certainly haven't heard about that! Have they gone completely mad? Why would they do that?"
Daniel shrugged. "Most of the people in the Council know nothing about the Stargate program, so I guess they felt Kinsey was a good choice. At least he had heard about the program before any of this happened, and he's been talking about how much he was against the Stargate project, and that all of this wouldn't have happened if we hadn't gone 'out there' and provoked the Goa'uld. Anyway, I think Hammond was the only one who voted against Kinsey." He frowned. "No... I believe there was one other who abstained as well."
O'Neill sighed. "Well, that explains why I haven't been able to get any information about Carter and the Goa'uld." He got up, wincing as he put weight on his bad leg. "What do you say we go see if Hammond can get us in to see her? I'm tired of this anyway." He pushed the paperwork aside, disgusted, and reached for his crutch.
"Captain Carter is my second in command! I demand to know how she's doing!" O'Neill exclaimed angrily.
"Sorry, sir. We've got strict orders not to let anyone in," the guard said, looking apologetic.
"Come, Jack - it's no use." Daniel pulled on his arm.
Just then, the door to the holding cell area opened and Lieutenant Colonel Samuels exited, followed by two guards and two other men, who were unknown to the members of SG-1.
"Samuels! I should have guessed you were behind this!" O'Neill took a step towards him.
"Behind what? I'll have you know that I am working directly for High Chancellor Robert Kinsey!"
O'Neill rolled his eyes. "You know what I mean - what are you doing to my second in command, and why are you keeping us out?"
"She is no longer your second in command! According to your friend Teal'c, there, nothing of the host survives when a Goa'uld takes over someone. I'm in charge of interrogating the enemy, trying to get much needed information about the Goa'uld!"
"Jolinar is not an ordinary Goa'uld, she is a Tok'ra," Teal'c told him, calmly.
"I hope you don't believe that !" Samuels snorted. "The host has not been in control at any time during our interrogation!"
"Did Jolinar tell you anything useful then?" O'Neill asked.
"She's not ready to cooperate yet, but she will be." He started towards the door out. "I don't have the time to listen to anymore of this."
"Can we at least be allowed to see her?" Daniel implored, looking with some concern at a splatter of blood he had just noticed on the shirt of one of the men that had accompanied Samuels.
Samuels shook his head, then shrugged. "Why not. Perhaps it'll convince you the creature in there is not your friend anymore!" He turned to the two guards. "Keep an eye on them and make sure they don't try anything stupid. They have 10 minutes to talk to the prisoner."
"Sam!" Daniel exclaimed, and took a few steps towards the holding cell, before he was stopped by one of the guards.
Jolinar carefully touched her split lip, then absentmindedly studied the blood on her hand, before looking towards her visitors. She winced a little as she stretched, still sore from a kick to her ribs. Her left eye was swollen and partially closed, but she still managed to give Daniel and the others a glare that dared them to pity her. "Doctor Jackson." She nodded at him. "Teal'c - and Colonel O'Neill." She greeted them as well, but ignored the guards, who had been there earlier. "What is your business here?"
"We didn't come to talk to you - we came to see how Carter is doing," O'Neill said.
"We will both survive, thank you. As you can see, we have been interrogated. Their methods are somewhat crude, and they learned nothing."
"They won't give up, so if you've got anything to tell, you better do so," Daniel offered.
Jolinar snorted. "They do not have the means to make me talk. I will die before betraying the Tok'ra!"
"And what about Carter? You claim to be different from the Goa'uld, but you don't seem to care much about what happens to her !" O'Neill challenged.
"I offered to leave her for another host, if you would just let me go and search for one. Regardless, Samantha will not suffer - I am blocking the pain from her, and I can block her out completely, if it should become necessary. Only if I become unconscious will I be unable to do so. That is how it is always done among my kind - the symbiote protects the host for as long as it is possible."
"Admirable." Teal'c nodded.
"Of course - we've only got your word for that." O'Neill stepped closer, glaring at the guard. "Let Carter speak to us."
"What would that accomplish? There is no way for you to know it is actually her, and not me." Jolinar looked suspiciously at him.
"Does Sam want to talk to us? If she does, the you should let her, just to show you're not Goa'uld," Daniel insisted.
"Even if you do not believe me?" Jolinar sighed. "However, she does wish to talk to you." She bowed her head, giving Sam control.
Sam looked up at her friends, a look of confusion on her face, quickly replaced by determination. "Colonel... Daniel, Teal'c - it really is me!"
"Sam?" Daniel asked, unsure.
"It's me, Daniel." She gave him a shaky smile, before turning to O'Neill. "You've got to stop Samuels - and Kinsey's other goons! Jolinar won't tell them anything, and her having to heal me all the time , just means it'll be longer before she's strong enough to leave me... and I want her out !" Sam exclaimed, her voice rising in frustration. "You've got to convince them to let her go! She's telling the truth when she says she'll leave me!"
Her team mates looked at her for a moment, all getting the distinct feeling this was indeed Sam they were talking to, and not Jolinar.
"Sorry, Carter - if that is you - even if we believe her, Kinsey's got himself set up as leader, and he'll never believe her!"
"He's what!?" Sam looked at him with disbelief.
"Leader of 'the Ruling Council' - which is what they decided to call the governing body of those that got away from Earth." Daniel explained.
Sam groaned, hiding her face in her hand. "Please tell me that's a bad joke!"
"I'm afraid not." O'Neill frowned, suddenly feeling very sure it was indeed Sam they were talking to and not Jolinar. If the symbiote was letting her host talk - was the rest of what she said true as well? Were the Tok'ra really different from the Goa'uld? Daniel and Teal'c seemed to believe it, and a part of him was starting to also.
"Times up," one of the guards told them.
"Listen, can't you just give us a moment here!" O'Neill said, angrily.
"We're only following orders."
O'Neill sighed, shaking his head. He knew that if they were being troublesome now, it would only make it harder for them to get to see Sam again or get any information about how she was doing. "Okay, we're leaving." He turned to Sam. "Don't worry - we'll talk to someone. Get you out."
"Jack, they beat her!" Daniel exclaimed. "You heard her - it's Sam! How can you ignore that!"
"I'm not ignoring it! I'm going to talk to General Hammond - I don't know what else I can do." He shook his head. "We don't know that was Sam - it could have been Jolinar..."
"You don't believe that!" Daniel said.
"I find myself quite convinced that was indeed Captain Carter," Teal'c added.
O'Neill sighed. "Yeah, I agree. It did sound like her. God help us if there really are Goa'uld who are... different. Who fight the System Lords."
"The Tok'ra might make a valuable ally," Teal'c observed.
"It makes sense, don't you think? That the Goa'uld aren't all the same," Daniel said.
"I guess it does, but on the other hand..." He shook his head again. "All I know is that if they really are - for lack of a better term - 'good Goa'uld', then you're right. They could be a powerful ally, and we're doing our best to antagonize our only link to them... at a time when we need allies more than ever!"
"You're sure of it?" Hammond asked.
"No, no I'm not sure ... but Jolinar is different . She's not like the other Goa'uld we've met. Yes, she's arrogant and very sure of herself, and she does have some of that damn superiority thing going on, but still... there's something ..." He shook his head. "I don't know..."
"She's not evil. She doesn't have that malicious streak the Goa'uld all have," Daniel said. "and I really think she's speaking the truth when she says she'll leave Sam, as soon as she can."
"I have never known a Goa'uld to let their host speak. Jolinar did," Teal'c argued.
"We've seen them masquerade before - like Hathor did," Hammond said.
"Yes, but this was Sam," Daniel insisted.
"I tend to agree," O'Neill said. "I don't think Jolinar would have behaved that way, even if she was impersonating Carter."
Hammond sighed. "If the Tok'ra are real, and Jolinar is one of them... I don't know if it'll make things better or worse."
"What do you mean?" Daniel stared at him. "The Tok'ra could be a great ally - and we need that!"
"I very much doubt Kinsey and his people will believe it." He sighed. "There's something else."
"What?" O'Neill asked, warily.
"A General... an old friend of mine... I asked him to come when we needed people we could trust for the evacuation. He didn't mean to go through to the Alpha site, but wanted to stay on Earth and try to make up things with his son. He got injured and was taken here since he was unconscious. His name is Jacob Carter."
"Carter?" O'Neill wondered.
"He's Captain Carter's father. He's been in a coma for almost a week, but I've just been informed he's awake. I was about to go see him when you showed up."
"Does he know about Sam?" Daniel asked.
Hammond shook his head. "No, there wasn't time to tell him."
"What are you going to say?" O'Neill asked.
"I was going to tell him she had been taken over by a Goa'uld - when I had explained to him who these aliens are. He only knows aliens attacked Earth, not much else about them. Now?" Hammond slowly shook his head. "I just don't know. We're not sure if the creature that's in his daughter is an enemy or a potential ally."
"Well, potential ally should be better, shouldn't it?" Daniel pointed out.
"Is it? As an enemy at least we could work towards removing it - even if we haven't been very successful with that before. In the current situation, if it's someone who could become an ally, then Captain Carter would almost certainly be considered expendable, and they would let the alien keep her, if they thought it would convince Jolinar's people to help!"
"Jolinar claims she'll leave Carter when she can find another host," O'Neill said. "I'm not convinced that's the truth, but if it is then that should help."
Hammond nodded. "Perhaps."
"General... you do know she's being tortured?" Daniel asked.
"When we went to talk to her, Kinsey's men had been interrogating her, and they had clearly hit her several times."
Hammond nodded, sighing. "I suspected it, but I didn't think they would have gone that far yet." He shook his head. How was he going to tell this to Jacob? "I regret not fighting the election of Kinsey more than I did, but to be honest, I don't think It would have mattered. I will talk to some people that I think will listen to me, and hopefully we can talk some sense into Kinsey or at least some of those that support him. Many just do so because they're scared, though I don't hold out much hope i can convince them. Frankly, I fear those people who have only just learned aliens are real after losing their world to them, are ready to do almost anything."
"Especially to an alien from the same species who did this to them, and whom they suspect has knowledge that could help get their world back. Yeah, I can see how that might be a problem, and that they won't care much if the alien claims to have a different ideology. Those things never matters much when you fight for your survival." O'Neill sighed. "By the way. There's one other thing... I saw Colonel Cromwell on the way over here. Frank Cromwell. What's he doing here?"
"His name came up when I was looking for people I could use for the evacuation. He's Air Force Special Ops."
"Yeah, I know. I served with him in Iraq." He frowned.
"Is there a problem with him?" Hammond looked closely at O'Neill, noticing something from the other man.
"No... no, there's not. As long as he keeps away from me, then I'm good."