Chapter 9 summary: Egeria arrives to visit Jolinar, and it soon turns out it is not merely a friendly visit. She has something of grave importance to discuss, and Jolinar will have to make a decision. Her choice will change not only her own future, but ultimately that of the entire galaxy.
[ Chapter 1: Getting the first host | Chapter 2: Getting Acquainted | Chapter 3: Realizations | Chapter 4: Life and Discoveries | Chapter 5: Choices | Chapter 6: Daily Life? | Chapter 7: Ra's World | Chapter 8: A meeting | Chapter 9: Decisions | Chapter 10: Treason | Chapter 11: War | Chapter 12: On the Run | Chapter 13: A New Life | Chapter 14: Development | Chapter 15: Return | Chapter 16: Home ]
Back home, Jolinar started planning how to carry out her goal to become vastly more powerful. She had decided it was the only way for her to change the way of the Goa'uld. She had to become strong enough to force through her opinion. The strongest of the opponents bordering her empire was Zipacna, but he was still much too powerful for her to take on. Her other neighbors were 4 minor Goa'uld. Of those, 2 were friendly. They had been her fathers allies for almost 1000 years, and they had sworn the same loyalty to her. Of the other two, one was directly hostile, but to weak to do anything, and the other was neutral.
Jolinar waited for the right moment to attack her hostile neighbor. That moment came when his Jaffa raided one of her ships passing through part of his territory. Normally this would not have been cause for war, but it could be construed as cause enough and Jolinar jumped at the opportunity. She attacked him in a surprise move and was victorious. It did not take long before he surrendered to her and became her vassal.
After some skirmishes with the formerly neutral neighbor, he too became her vassal. Jolinar now ruled over 8 major planets and 4 mining colonies. Her army of Jaffa had swelled to almost 10000 man strong. She used some of the many extra resources to construct more ships and soon she had 5 Ha'tak at her command.
After some negotiations, her two friendly neighbors 'agreed' to become her vassals as well. Jolinar was now a full System Lord to be reckoned with. She got invited to Ra's parties where she was popular, because she had continued her animosity towards Zipacna, who was now Apophis's ally. While she did not enjoy attending Ra's parties anymore than she had enjoyed visiting him the very first time, she agreed to do it. Partly because she had to, in order to keep up appearances, and partly because it gave her an excuse to meet with her now close friend Egeria.
Almost 50 years had passed. Jolinar had become very powerful, so powerful that not even Zipacna would be able to conquer her forces without assistance. She and Egeria had continued their friendship. After a few years they had admitted to each other that they both talked to their hosts. They also soon learned that they shared many of the same opinions regarding what they found to be wrong in Goa'uld society. They only rarely spoke of this, of course, as it was heresy. It would have been extremely dangerous, if anyone should hear them.
Then, one day, Egeria suddenly approached Jolinar. She showed up to visit her without having announced it beforehand. Recently, Egeria's father had been murdered, and she had inherited his empire. She was now - nominally at least - a very minor System Lord. Of course, in reality, Ra was the actual owner of the empire. However, as long as Egeria did not attack Ra, 'her' forces would obey her without question. Egeria had spent much time thinking, and had decided that something must be done actively about the Goa'uld way of life. A few years ago she had begun to imprint her spawn with her ideals. The first would mature within 10 years. Egeria needed allies as well as hosts to safeguard their immediate future.
"Jolinar, I have come to speak with you on a matter of grave importance and utmost secrecy." Egeria said.
"That sounds...interesting..." Jolinar quickly looked around the room. It was empty except for a guard at the far end. "Perhaps we should go outside for some fresh air?"
"A wise choice."
They went out into the half-circle garden cut out on the mountain-plateau outside the throne room. There they walked in quiet until they came to the point that was most distant from the door and hidden behind the fountain. This was a very secure place. There was a vertical drop of about 150 feet in front of them, and no one could hear them.
"We are safe from prying ears here." Jolinar said, turning to Egeria. She was quiet for a while before she said anything, seeming to collect her thoughts or perhaps she was conferring with her host. She took a deep breath and started.
"Over the years we have discussed the development of Goa'uld society and we have agreed that we are heading in the wrong direction. The Humans and the Jaffa are treated as animals, but they are sentient beings and the very foundation for our society. We depend upon them for our very lives as Goa'uld. Not only is our behaviour morally wrong, but I believe it will ultimately led to our downfall. True, we have nothing to fear from our slaves and warriors, and it is unlikely that they will ever become a threat, but we are facing far more serious
problems." At this point, Egeria turned and looked directly at Jolinar. "You see, our time is consumed with territorial disputes, which are of no real consequence. Yes, today you may win a battle or even a small war, but in the long run nothing really changes. Worse still is the fact that there is no real technological advancement. Our scientists are simply too few, there is very little cooperation and with almost unlimited access to slave labour there is no real incentive to improve upon construction or mining technology. In short, our society is stagnating. This is a dangerous situation, which I cannot accept. In addition, we know almost nothing about the territories outside of Goa'uld space and no Goa'uld has ever left the Galaxy. If we do not evolve and explore, we risk attack and conquest from outside our realm. It is my belief that our only chance lies with the humans and the Jaffa. We must educate them to a level where they can make real contributions, and we must treat them equally. Only together do we have a chance. It is both the right choice, the wise choice, and in fact the only choice."
Jolinar had listened quietly, nodding from time to time. "You know I agree with you on this - or else, I suppose, you would not have approached me...but what can we do more than what we already do? We can treat our own hosts as equals. We can try to surreptitiously help a few and lessen the misery for those under our protection..."
"We can - and must - do more. We must be more active!"
"I am trying be just that! If I could become powerful enough, they would have to listen to me. I could make them listen to me..."
"Jolinar, dear Jolinar..." Egeria shook her head sadly. "I know well what you are trying to do, but hear me out. Even if you do become very powerful - and you already are one of the strongest of the System Lords - what would happen then? When you try to change how we Goa'uld do things? When you suggest we should treat human slaves better...as equals? When you say they are equals? That we are not superior and that it is wrong to take an unwilling host - because it is wrong to do that. What gives us the right? But they will not see that...they will not want to see that. It would destroy their illusion, if they can no longer believe humans are inferior. If they can no longer convince themselves that what they do is not so bad, because nothing of the host survives? Most would rather do anything to not have to believe otherwise - to not have to change their way of life."
"I would be undermining everything they believed in, everything that gave them the right to be the way they are and to live the life they do..."
"Yes. It would likely be one of the few things important enough to make them band together and kill you. So you see, Jolinar, that unless you are the strongest of all - stronger than all others together. Stronger even than Ra is now...you cannot succeed this way. Besides, it is next to impossible to force people into believing differently and to behave differently. They must first want to change."
"I cannot become stronger than Ra! How can you even suggest something like that!"
"I do not."
"Then what? Are you saying it is hopeless? That we should just give up and accept that our race is doomed and with it most of the rest of the galaxy? Then why did you want this stealthy meeting? Surely not just to tell me our dreams are impossible?"
"No. Because I do believe they are possible, but not in the way we have thought in the past. This requires cooperation. We need allies. Otherwise our plans are doomed to fail."
"We have my forces - and yours, if they obey you and not Ra. You said yourself that we could get no one else."
"There is a friend of my family, Olagin. He has been my father's friend for more than a millennium. He has sworn loyalty to me - not Ra."
"I have met him once, I believe. Does he agree with our cause?"
"Some of it. He does not want to accept that human hosts are truly sentient, nor will he consider talking with his own. Do not even mention it to him! It took me long enough to convince him my question had been of a theoretical nature only. However, he does agree that our society is moving in the wrong direction and that it will lead to our downfall unless something is changed. He says he believes the real downfall of our civilization started maybe 700-800 years ago. Before that, he claims, people were not as megalomaniacal, nor as completely focused on gaining power. Be that as it may. I know not what could have caused this change, if it is even real."
"So he might be an ally..."
"Yes, only he has but one planet and few Jaffa."
"And yet, you want the three of us to take on Ra?" Jolinar raised an eyebrow.
"Not in the way you think, but eventually, yes. You see, I have an idea that will soon give us many loyal allies - with your help."
"That sounds interesting. I am listening...I should tell you that Arnora is very sceptical and worries for your sanity..."
Egeria grinned. "I cannot say I blame her..." She sobered. "I need your help in locating humans who wish to be loyal to our cause - and who wish to serve it by becoming willing hosts to...to my children."
"Your children! How can you trust them to agree with us?" Jolinar suddenly realised what she must have done. "Egeria! You...you changed their memories, controlled their knowledge and their loyalties...is that enough?"
Egeria nodded. "Yes, as you know, queens can - among other things - control what knowledge, what memories her offspring are born with. Not only that. I have imprinted quite strongly that what we Goa'uld do are wrong...and I have made sure they will want to do something about this injustice. They will want to fight it - and they will wish to share the body with the host. I also strongly emphasized that humans are equals and should be treated that way. I did many changes to the memories they will be born with. Do not worry. They will only want to take willing hosts and they will agree with our cause."
"Hopefully your changes and imprints will be stronger than the memories they will inherit from Ra's DNA - or could you filter that from the hosts DNA and only use the human parts?"
"I did not risk using DNA from Ra - have not since over two years ago. He is not the father - my lo'tar, Svenn, is."
Jolinar gasped at the audacity of what Egeria had done. "I really hope Ra does not find out - he would be furious!"
"He will never know."
"You really changed their memories? Imprinted your ideals on them? Take only willing hosts?"
"They cannot do otherwise, except in extreme emergencies."
Jolinar nodded. "They will have a hard life. It shall be interesting to see how they behave, when they have no wish to play gods or suppress humans. When they want to share the body with the host. They might be very different indeed - I hope they will at least be able to act Goa'uld, or their lives will likely be short."
"Do not worry, they will. I have made sure of that. They do know what it is to be Goa'uld - they just have no wish to be that way. So...will you help us? I do not have the opportunity to look for hosts, as I have to stay under Ra's supervision most of the time."
Jolinar thought about it. "Yes...yes, I will help you. But what then? When they have matured and taken hosts, what will you...we do?"
"If you are willing, then we will fight Ra - and all that he and his kind stand for. I will spawn many young who shall share our ideals. Together we will fight the System Lords - perhaps not in the traditional way of the Goa'uld, but we will infiltrate the ranks of our enemies and destroy them. We may need physical power as well, or this fight will take millennia. If you will truly join us, then be ready to help us with your forces, if...when, it becomes necessary."
Jolinar knew the dangers of what Egeria suggested. Knew it was treason - worse than that, it was heresy...but she also knew that there was but one answer she could give. "Yes, Egeria. I will join your fight. You have convinced me of the necessity of it - and perhaps also of the possibility for a victory, even if it may be far away. I pledge my allegiance to you, Egeria."
"Thank you, Jolinar. What does Arnora say?"
Jolinar gave control to Arnora, who surprised looked to Egeria. "I...had not expected you would ask me as well. You know that I agree with you. I, too, pledge my allegiance to you, wise Egeria. Your cause is just."
Egeria smiled. "Thank you, Arnora. You are surprised to be asked? You should not be. If I do not myself believe in my ideals - and follow my ideals as much as is possible in my position - how could I ever hope to change the world and the mind of others? This organisation...this resistance will be for both host and symbiote, equally. Together we will win! That is the only way. Outward we may often have to pretend we are Goa'uld, but alone together we will not be like them. We will be...Tok'ra - those who are against Ra and all he, and those who share his ways, represent."
Arnora smiled. "I am honored to be part of the Tok'ra." She gave control back to Jolinar, who likewise expressed her happiness at being a member of Egeria's resistance.
"Jolinar, do you know of anyone we might trust? What about this Travik? You seem to spend some time with him."
Jolinar blushed a little. "We are...good friends, maybe more... He talks to his host - and I will contact him about this idea of yours, but I feel certain he will not wish to join. He enjoys the pleasures of a luxurious life too much to join something as dangerous as this. We are after all talking treason - heresy, even...but I will approach him."
Egeria nodded. "Good. I shall talk to Olagin. We will meet again in one month."
They returned to the throne room and the rest of Egeria's visit was spent on normal pleasures with dinners and entertainment. They talked only of trivial matters.