TITLE: The Return to Setona Reviews
DISCLAIMER: All publicly recognisable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This piece
of fan fiction was created for entertainment only and not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Any similarity
to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
SUMMARY: Sequel to "The Fall of Setona", but can be read as a stand-alone. SG-1 are asked to assist the Tok'ra with a matter which may endanger several of their operatives and severely set back the Tok'ra cause.
PAIRING: Sam/Martouf/Lantash. Past Rosha/Jolinar/Martouf/Lantash.
CHARACTERS: SG-1, Martouf/Lantash, OCs
SPOILERS: Tok'ra episodes. Set early season 4. Shortly after "Upgrades", but before "Divide and Conquer".
AUTHORS NOTES: * denotes thoughts or symbiote/host communication.
SG-1 was sitting in a briefing room at the SGC, waiting for General Hammond to arrive. O'Neill was idly taking apart a pen he had found on the table.
"Anyone got an idea what this is all about?"
"Not a clue." Daniel reached over and grabbed his pen from O'Neill and pocketed it.
O'Neill looked unhappily at him, then glanced over at Sam who merely shrugged, then at Teal'c. Neither said anything. O'Neill sighed and poured himself a glass of water which he slowly sipped. Moments later, the door opened and Hammond finally joined them. They quickly straigthened up.
"At ease...I assume you're all wondering why you were called here for a briefing - today, when you weren't due back on base until the day after tomorrow."
"We...wondered, yes." O'Neill looked over at the other members of SG-1, "...and, you know, one of us had actually left the base - for some quality time with a few beers and a whole season of Simpson's!" He looked aggrieved.
"Sorry about that, Colonel, but the Tok'ra have made a request for help. As you know, if they hadn't helped you on the last mission, we would all have been enslaved - or killed. We owe them our help."
"Naturally...and of course you immediately thought of us...so, what problems have the snakeheads gotten themselves into this time?" O'Neill looked even less happy. Having his short vacation cancelled was bad enough, but for the Tok'ra?
"You will be briefed on the specifics when you arrive at the Tok'ra base on Vorash. All I know, is that someone who may have extensive knowledge about the Tok'ra has fallen into the hands of the Goa'uld. That person may have been made a host or may soon be made a host. I don't need to point out that this could potentially endanger all of us."
"So we help the Tok'ra..." O'Neill sighed.
Sam smiled, happy at the chance to see her father again. He had been on a mission when they last worked with the Tok'ra.
Shortly after, SG-1 was ready and waiting in the gate room. As soon as the wormhole to Vorash was established, they walked through, feeling a little nervous apprehensive.
When they came out on the other side, they noticed several Tok'ra waiting for them, among others Martouf/Lantash and Jacob/Selmak. After a short greeting they were led to the rings and taken down into the Tok'ra tunnels. There they were led to a relatively large room with a table and several chairs and told to wait.
"Didn't Marty seem awfully quiet today? He's usually more smiling and talkative..." O'Neill said.
"Yeah. He did seem rather subdued." Sam sat down on one of the crystal chairs. "Strange."
They had only waited a short time before several Tok'ra joined them. First came Yosuuf/Garshaw, Ren'al, and Jacob/Selmak, followed by Martouf/Lantash. Since Martouf was not a member of the council, SG-1 assumed he was there because he often worked with the Tau'ri. The meeting was quite short. It turned out the Tok'ra did not have much information other than the name of the Goa'uld responsible for the capture. Her name was Nephthys, and she had sent her Jaffa to the planet Setona - a planet under the local rule of 'Lord Zefina'. Zefina was a Tok'ra and had reported the happenings immediately. It turned out Nephthys had ordered her Jaffa to go to Setona and look for hosts, something she had rarely done there. One of the captives was a man called 'Talan'. Apparently, he was quite knowledgeable about the Tok'ra even though he was neither a current nor former host.
The mission for SG-1 and a Tok'ra liason - it turned out to be Martouf/Lantash - would be to attempt to retrieve Talan before he was made a host, if at all possible. There was no time to waste, and they would be leaving later that day.
SG-1 was standing near the Stargate, waiting for Martouf and Lantash. The Tok'ra had some things he needed to bring, so he was a little late.
"It is strange," Daniel mused, "we clearly haven't been told everything there is to this story. As you said, Jack, Martouf is behaving oddly. It's as if he is...guilty over something. Not only that...some of the other Tok'ra appear to blame him for something?"
"Perhaps it's his fault the Goa'uld caught this guy...Talent, or whatever." O'Neill said.
"Talan. His name is Talan." Sam looked up, seemingly from very far away.
"You've been lost in thought ever since the briefing with the Tok'ra...what's up?" Daniel wanted to know.
"This business about Talan...and the planet...Setona. I feel they were very important to Jolinar, somehow. I can almost remember, but I only get a glimpse and then the memory is gone before I can grab a hold of it."
"It's not going to be a problem for you, is it? Going to this planet, I mean? Is it something bad you remember?" O"Neill looked a little concerned.
"No. No, I do get the impression it was something positive for her, mostly at least...but also very secret. I don't know what it is, but somehow I don't think most of the Tok'ra knew about it."
"That could be good or bad, I guess, though I'm starting to get an ominous feeling. Tell me as soon as you remember anything of importance. Anything at all." He sighed. "I trust the Tok'ra to have forgotten to mention something unpleasant." The last part O'Neill grumbled, mostly to himself.
Just then, Martouf/Lantash arrived. He was carrying a large backpack and a bag, almost as large. His expression was still one of apprehension. He went directly to the DHD and dialed the address to Setona. Everyone went through quickly. They had been told that the Stargate would not normally be guarded, and today was fortunately no different. They hurried down a path through an area with many trees, but they did not venture into the dark-looking forest itself.
They had not walked far before they reached the first village. It was a strange, depressing sight. It was obvious the roads had once been paved, but now grass was growing in every crack. The houses looked like they could once have belonged in a well-off suburban town on Earth. Now, however, they all had broken windows and cracks in the walls and roof. Some of them had been patched with whatever primitive materials the locals had access to. They passed what looked like a metro-station, with trains long in disuse. Everywhere there was the signs of a modern, technological civilization which had fallen some decades ago. It was very depressing, as was watching the poor, subdued people living there. They looked downtrodden and fearful, like on so many other Goa'uld worlds. Martouf did not look like he wanted to talk, and the others did not feel like it either, so they went through the village in silence. Out again on the other side, the road got a little wider and, except for the broken pavement, there were no signs of the planets past.
"What happened?" O'Neill finally asked.
Martouf looked at him with a pained expression on his face, before looking down.
"The Goa'uld Nephthys decided to expand her empire." He answered curtly, with no emotion in his voice and without looking at anyone. Before any of them could ask further, he hurried on. SG-1 looked bewildered at each other, but followed without a word.
Not long after passing the village, Martouf led them away from the larger road and onto a smaller path. It wound its way through a more forested area now. They continued walking for several hours, without anyone talking much. The wind in the trees and the occasional bird singing were the only sounds heard during most of their journey.
"We're safe from any Jaffa here, right?" O'Neill asked.
"Yes. They never venture far from the main road unless they are on a specific mission. Even the road to the chaapa'ai is seldom used, except for shipments of raw ore. This planet produces much naquadah, as well as various other metals, gold mostly. Some of it is processed here, but most is shipped off-world directly. These transports are on a strict schedule twice a month. At any other times the Jaffa do not bother with the area." Martouf answered.
They walked on in silence for a while longer. Sam continued to have a strong sense of having been here before, realizing Jolinar must have been familiar with this path. She looked questioningly at Martouf from time to time, but except for giving her an occasional brief smile, he seemed to be lost in thought.
The main sun had almost set when they reached another village. This was smaller than the other and seemed to have been built almost entirely of more primitive materials. Most of the houses had probably been constructed after the Goa'uld had conquered this world. Martouf led them to a medium-sized house on the outskirts of the populated area.
"Talan's brother, Sirrik lives here with his family. I was told Talan's wife and son has come to stay with them." Martouf walked up to the door and knocked.
Moments later, the door opened and a man in his early twenties opened the door.
"Hello, Sirrik." Martouf bowed his head in greeting, then turned to SG-1. "These people are from the Tau'ri...our allies. This is Colonel Jack O'Neill, Major Samantha Carter, Doctor Daniel Jackson, and Teal'c - the former first prime of Apophis."
She called out to him, desperately. "Sirrik, no! You cannot risk going to see the parade!"
"I will be careful." The teenager looked stubbornly at her.
"There will be many Jaffa - what if they notice?"
"Why would they? They are not interested in humans."
"It is too dangerous. We will not allow it." She bowed her head shortly while control was transferred.
"The subject is closed. You're not going." Then more kindly. "Come. We brought you a present - something we found on Sagittarius III."
"Sam? Are you all right?" Daniel looked strangely at her. It was obvious it was not the first time he had called her name.
She shook her head briefly to clear it. "Yeah, I'm fine. It was just a...a memory flash."
"Samantha...are you certain you are all right?" Martouf looked at her with concern. "Come, let us go inside and sit down."
"NO! The others can come, but she is not welcome in my house!" Sirrik exclaimed.
"Sirrik..." Martouf began.
"No! She killed my mother! How can you defend her?"
"What? Listen, son, Carter hasn't killed you're mom, you must be confusing her with someone else." O'Neill said.
"She is at fault for her death. She might as well have killed her herself! And I'm not your son!" The young man looked angrily at O'Neill.
O'Neill gave him a strange look, suddenly noticing the man's eyes. They were an odd, pale lilac colour...and were those...fangs?
"I have explained the circumstances of Jolinar's death. Samantha is not to blame...and it was Jolinar's wish that she should survive." Martouf said.
Sirrik grumbled something, but stepped aside and did not argue further.
"I apologize for Sirrik's behaviour. He has Lantash's temper..." Martouf said as they went inside.
"Jolinar...Lantash...?" O'Neill looked at him.
"Sirrik - and Talan, are Lantash's and my sons, with Rosha and Jolinar." Martouf seemed uncomfortable at the admission.
"Great...just great..." O'Neill grumbled.
"They are Harcesises." Teal'c observed.
"Yes...they are." Martouf admitted.
"I thought their creation was forbidden by the Goa'uld?" Daniel wondered.
"And so it is..."
"...but we are not Goa'uld!" Lantash said, having taken over control from Martouf.
Before anything more could be said, four small children ran towards them and jumped at Lantash.
"I missed you!"
"Have you brought us presents?"
"I have something to show you!" The smallest boy gripped Lantash's hand and began pulling at him.
SG-1 merely looked at them while first Lantash and then Martouf greeted the children. The oldest was a girl of about 5, while the other three, all boys, seemed to be between 2 and 3 years younger.
O'Neill looked like he was torn between his fondness for children and his dislike for their grandfather...grandfathers, obviously. Studying them he noticed that two of the children also had the lilac eyes they must somehow have inherited from one of the snakes...and when they smiled broadly he noticed some of them seemed to have fangs as well. He shook his head.
Sam stood observing the scenery with a strange expression on her face.
"Grandmother...please...you must see the kittens. They were born just two weeks ago. They are sooo cute!"
Jolinar looked down at the little girl - her first grandchild - who eagerly pulled at her hand to get her to follow. She smiled and gave in.
Sam felt a strong urge to run to the children and hug them. This was coupled with a faint sadness that they were not giving her a warm welcome. She scoffed at her own ridiculousness. This feeling came from Jolinar. It was Jolinar's grandchildren, not Sam's. They did not even recognize her. Satisfied that she knew the source of her feelings, she could - mostly - suppress them and she followed the others.
Inside, they met two women who presented themselves as Tikka, wife of Sirrik and the mother of the three oldest of the children. The other - a young, very pregnant woman - presented herself as Sihw, wife of Talan and mother to his son.
SG-1 and Martouf/Lantash were invited to dinner, and they all ate a simple, but tasty and filling meal. Later, when the children had been sent to bed - with the gifts Martouf and Lantash had brought for them - Tikka, Sihw, and Sirrik explained what they knew had happened.
The Goa'uld Nephthys - supreme overlord of the planet - would sometimes send her Jaffa to look for hosts on Setona. Usually, Zefina would find out about it and warn them. However, this time she had not been able to. Unfortunately, the Jaffa had come to their village. They seemed to be looking for something special this time and searched in many places before finding someone suitable. Later, they had learned the Jaffa had been sent to find a host for one of Nephthys's children. Talan had the same golden hair that Rosha had had, as well as Sirrik's unusual complexion, but instead of Lantash's eye colour, he had Martouf's. The Jaffa had thought he was a rare prize and had taken him. Devastated and not knowing what to do, Sihw and her son had gone to stay with Sirrik and his family. They had immediately sent word to Zefina and she had contacted Martouf/Lantash. Because of the potential danger to the Tok'ra, they had come to the conclusion that it was necessary to tell the rest of the Tok'ra.
"Lantash, Martouf, you are here to free Talan. Is that not so?" Sihw asked, hope in her eyes after all the despair.
"...Yes...and we will certainly do our very best - together with our friends of the Tau'ri. But Sihw, you must understand that it may not be a simple thing - especially if he has already been made a host..." Lantash said, cautiously, but not unkindly. He so very much wanted to free his youngest son. The thought of Talan in the hands of Nephthys, perhaps host to the son of the evil Goa'uld, was not a pleasant one.
*'Not pleasant' is an understatement. We must free him." Martouf sounded very worried.
*We will.* Lantash hugged him. *We must.*
They spent the rest of the evening getting as many details as possible. Neither Sirrik and his wife, nor Sihw knew much. It was eventually decided they needed more intel and they would have to arrange a meeting with Zefina. Perhaps she had been able to get more information. Tonight they would stay with Sirrik and his family.
*Rosha, will you at least consider it?* Jolinar begged. *It is of great importance to Martouf - and to Lantash in particular. And I must admit that the idea appeals to me now as well.*
*I have never thought of having children - not after watching my parents and my younger siblings die. Killed, together with everyone else in my village. I would have been killed then as well, had not you and your former host, Lisha saved me. I do not want to risk having a family. They would be vulnerable and the life of a Tok'ra is not safe.*
*You saved me as well, soon after, when my poor Lisha was mortally wounded.*
Rosha 'nodded'. *So some good came of it - I met you. You are the best friend I have ever had. That, too is a reason for me not to have children. You would have to sleep and I would be alone.*
*Only for about the last 3 months of the gestation. That time goes quickly. Besides, you would not be alone. You would have Martouf and Lantash.*
*But what about the other Tok'ra? What would they say? The child would be harcesis - it would have the genetic memories of both you and Lantash, would it not? That could potentially pose a security risk to the Tok'ra. The others would not be happy!*
*Not all of them would need to know, perhaps...and Martouf suggested the child could be hidden with one of his relatives on Setona, remember?*
*Setona! It is now one of Nephthys's worlds - a Goa'uld world isn't a safe place! Besides, even if my child would be safe there, I would not want it to grow up away from me...and do we really want to go against the Tok'ra's wishes and do something like this in secret?*
*Setona is ultimately under Nephthys's control, yes, but Zefina is the local ruler and she is Tok'ra. She is a good friend of Lantash's and she would protect our children as long as they stay somewhere inconspicuous. As for the other...we would visit, of course, often...and we do not truly go against the Tok'ra. Only the Goa'uld have laws against harcesises, and we are not Goa'uld. Yes, the other Tok'ra might argue it is dangerous if the Goa'uld find out...that is true, but we will make very sure they do not.*
Rosha sighed. *Very well. I promise...I shall give it some more thought...*
Sam awoke from her dream. It had been very vivid, and she could almost still hear the conversation inside her head. It was very strange. She had had several memory flashes since she met Martouf/Lantash's son and grandchildren. Grandchildren! It seemed so odd. Martouf seemed much too young to have grandchildren - indeed he had not quite been 20 when Sirrik was born, but even so...Sam also found it strange because to her it felt like they were her's as well. Very strange indeed! She shook her head. She definitely needed some fresh air to clear her mind before going back to sleep.
She got up and walked over to the chair. They had lent her a robe to put on over her sleepwear. She felt for it in the semi-darkness. Finding it, she slipped it on and quietly snuck through the house, taking care not to wake any of the others. Fortunately, the door out into the garden was well oiled and made no sound.
Sam stood for a moment on the door step and enjoyed the fresh night air. It seemed to be early fall on this planet and the day had been warm. It was still warm enough that she would not freeze in the robe, but there was a slight chill in the air, hinting of colder days to come. Sam could see fairly well, as it was not really dark. The light was somewhere between moonlight and twilight.
A memory suddenly came to her. Setona did not have any moons, but it had two suns. The main one, which this planet circled, and a much fainter, distant sun. This was a binary system, with a relatively long distance between the stars. That was why Setona could have a stable orbit around its sun.
Walking in the strange light, Sam followed the winding path through the garden and out towards a group of trees standing by a lake. Getting closer, she could see someone standing there.
The person turned towards her.
"Hello, Samantha." Martouf and Lantash had been deep in thought, and so neither had noticed her approaching them, as early as they otherwise would.
"Martouf..." Sam came over and stood beside him. "Can't sleep?"
He turned back towards the lake.
"We...find our minds preoccupied with recent events. Sleep is difficult under such circumstances." He seemed to consider his words. "You are troubled as well?"
"Yes..." Sam did not know what else to say.
Martouf nodded. "How much do you remember?"
"Before we came here? The name of the planet, and Talan's name...they both rang a bell, but I couldn't place them. I recognized Setona when we arrived here, but that was all. However, as soon as I saw Sirrik I started remembering more and more. I've been having several - very vivid - memory flashes since then. And now dreams as well."
"It's what we suspected might happen. Lantash and I considered asking SGC to send another team than SG-1, but we decided not to. It would have required explanations and you would have heard about it anyway. Besides - it may even turn out to be an advantage."
"Sirrik certainly doesn't think so. He seems to hate me."
"For that I am sorry, Samantha. He blames you for the death of Jolinar. We have tried to make him understand. Intellectually, I believe he does, but he is stubborn. Unfortunately, he also has difficulties controlling his temper."
"Rosha and Jolinar always found it endearing that his personality is so similar to Lantash's."
"Yes..." He seemed lost in thought for some time before he looked at her again. "I fear our decision to have children may now endanger the Tok'ra and through them, you. We should have listened to Rosha. She always was the wisest of us."
"She was difficult to convince, but I assure you that she had long since come to agree with Jolinar - and you and Lantash. She considered it an acceptable risk well worth taking. Besides, Talan is 24 years old. Much of the knowledge he has inherited must now be of little value to the Goa'uld."
"I hope so..." Martouf still looked depressed.
"The other Tok'ra - most of them didn't know, did they?"
"Correct. Only Zefina knew. No one else. It was impossible to keep it a secret for her and we needed her help. Rosha and Jolinar were on a mission here to Setona, officially to acquire information about the population. The Tok'ra were interested in their reaction to their recent enslavement." A hint of pain crossed Martouf's face.
Sam nodded. "The Tok'ra wanted to know if such a population might more easily rise up against their new masters, and, if not, if they would at least secretly help the Tok'ra."
"Yes. Unfortunately there have been almost no signs of rebellion. Zefina has ruled as fairly and as benevolently as possible, without giving rise to undue suspicion amongst the Goa'uld. Still, the population is despondent...defaitistic, even. It is as if they have been broken completely." It was obvious this was not a pleasant subject for Martouf. "They do seem to be open to helping out hiding people on the run, but in general they are too afraid to do much. However, they will not report anything they may happen to learn about to the authorities. That is something, at least."
"Which made this a perfect place to hide for Rosha and Jolinar - and later for your children."
"Yes. I do not know if you remember, but Setona is my home planet. I still have a few, distant relatives here. Our children grew up with some of those. We visited as often as it was possible without the other Tok'ra noticing. Zefina kept the Jaffa away and warned us about the infrequent raids Nephthys would make for hosts. All went well until Talan was taken. Zefina was away, participating in a meeting with Nephthys and some of Nephthys's other underlings. They are recalled for briefings - new orders and such - every few years. It was just bad luck Nephthys sent her Jaffa out looking for hosts at that time."
"Now you mention it...yes, I do remember Setona is your home world." Sam suddenly felt very sorry for him and desperately wanted to comfort him. "It must be awful seeing your world like that - it was once very much like Earth, was it not?"
"Yes - in many areas it was actually more advanced." He swallowed. "I try not to think of that time. It...was another life."
Sam nodded. "I understand." She suddenly thought of something. "Is Zefina in any danger?"
"Yes. Not just because of Talan's genetic memory, but also because he knows she is a Tok'ra. He has of course been trained in various mind techniques and he will not talk during most kinds of interrogations, but if...if he is made a host...he will have no choice." Martouf almost choked on the words and looked devastated.
Sam felt deeply sorry for him. Not only had his son been captured by the Goa'uld and might soon become a host - if he was not one already - but as a consequence, many Tok'ra operatives would be endangered and several missions would have to be terminated. This could set the Tok'ra back many years in their fight against the Goa'uld. Feeling responsible for that as well must be agonizing.
"Martouf...I'm terribly sorry Talan has been captured." She put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed gently. "I promise...we will do what we can to save him."
Martouf was quiet for some time, then his head dipped and when he looked up his eyes glowed briefly. Lantash had taken over, though he did not look much better than his host.
"Samantha...I am the one to blame, not Martouf, nor Rosha and Jolinar..." He looked at her with a pained expression. "...I had long wished for children and had attempted to convince Rosha and Jolinar - as well as my former host, but they all felt the danger was too great. I...fool that I am...tried again as soon as I got a new host."
Sam nodded. "Yes, and Martouf agreed quickly, did he not? I remember both of you working to convince Jolinar and Rosha soon after he had become your host."
"Jolinar agreed quicker than I had thought, but Rosha was another matter. She was always strong willed - and more rational than the rest of us." Lantash sighed.
"Jolinar could not say no to both you and Martouf. She could not bear to see you unhappy. She was really quite soft, you know, despite her somewhat harsh demeanor. That was not the only reason...she soon came to want the children as much as you and began to try to convince Rosha. She succeeded, eventually."
"We were very happy about that - and surprised as well. Rosha's whole family - most of her village, actually - had been killed by the Goa'uld. Around 80 years had passed, but she was still very afraid of loosing loved ones - and so she was fearful of loving anyone. It also took her a very long time before she agreed to take me and Nemura - my former host - as mates. Though I realise that was much shorter after she had lost her family to the Goa'uld."
"Yes, she was afraid she would loose you, if she permitted herself to love you. Fortunately, Jolinar convinced her otherwise." Sam smiled. "I suddenly remember a great deal from Jolinar's life, especially her life with you. You were very happy together." She hesitated. "When I saw m...your grandkids...for a moment I thought...I thought that..." She blushed.
"That they were yours?" Lantash smiled a little, the first real smile she had seen from either of them since this mission began.
"Yes...and I felt a very strong impulse to grab them...give them a hug...even though I realise they don't know me...and..." She blushed again.
"...and you felt rejected when they did not greet you?" Lantash guessed.
"Yes. Stupid, isn't it? Besides, Sirrik would probably have killed me." She smiled wryly.
"He would never harm you. Sooner or later he will have to admit to himself that Jolinar's death was not your fault. If she had lived and you had remained her host, you would have been considered his and Talan's mother as well, according to Tok'ra tradition. Your current situation is very unusual, as hosts rarely survive the death of their symbiote. However, as you were Jolinar's last host, you are in many ways still considered Rosha's successor. Should you so wish, the Tok'ra would officially recognize you as such - in every way..." He threw her a strange look.
Sam wondered if he meant as his mate as well, but decided it was better not to ask. She was not sure how she would react if the answer was affirmative. Instead she asked about something else, which had been confusing her.
"Lantash...how old was Rosha when your children were born?"
" She was approximately 25 when she became host to Jolinar, so she was 102 of your years when our first son was born."
"Not at all." Lantash looked surprised. "She could have easily been Jolinar's host for another 300 years or more. She was still young."
"I know...I just meant...well, it's rather unusual for human females to have children at 102!"
"Ah. I think I see what you mean. It is a simple matter for a symbiote to induce a woman to produce more eggs, if that is what concerns you."
"Of course...I thought it would be something like that." Sam was quiet for a little while. "Maybe Talan has not been made a host yet? Wouldn't Nephthys have done something - I mean, to punish Zefina at least, if she had his knowledge?"
"We cannot assume that." Martouf said, having again taken control. "She could simply bide her time - for reasons unknown to us. She could also be wanting to lure us into a trap, knowing we would try to keep that knowledge from her. There is also the possibility that the Goa'uld who...who may have taken Talan as host has his own reasons for not making use of that information yet."
"Or, as I said, Talan has not been made a host."
Martouf sighed. "I very much hope you are correct, and there is yet time to spare him that experience, but again, we cannot assume it. In any case, we must move quickly. Hopefully Zefina will have some information ready for us."
"Another thing...I am confused. I seem to remember you being around 20 when your first child was born - which fits their age. However, when we first met...didn't you say you'd been with Jolinar for a 100 years?"
"Yes, and so I have...but during some of that time Lantash had a different host."
"Ah..." Sam still looked confused.
"You should understand. You told me it feels as if you had had a relationship with me for 100 years. And that is just from what Jolinar left with you. I have been Lantash's host for approximately 27 years. Should it not, to me, feel even more like I have been in the relationship for all that time?"
"I guess so..." Sam smiled, accepting such things would be different for the Tok'ra.
While they talked, they had slowly walked back to the building and had by now reached it.
"It is late. We should try to get some sleep." Sam said.
Martouf nodded. "Yes, I know. I believe we shall also be able to do so now. It helped talking about this - with you, Samantha."
"Then I'm glad." She smiled at him, then suddenly gave him a quick hug. "Goodnight - both of you." She let go of him and hurried into her room, pulling the door shut after her.
"Goodnight, Samantha..." They stood there, looking at the closed door for a moment before walking to their own room.
*She hugged us! She's never hugged us before!*
*Lantash...she was probably just feeling sorry for us.*
*Martouf! Why do you insist on interpreting everything as negatively as possible? Stop being depressing at once!*
*Because we have disappointed everyone? Endangered who knows how many of our operatives? Potentially set back the Tok'ra cause by centuries? Now, why would I be depressing?*
Lantash sighed. *I know.* He hugged his host and they quietly went into their room and found their bed. Eventually, they managed to fall asleep.
Next day. After breakfast SG-1 and Martouf/Lantash sat down to discuss how they would go about contacting Zefina, without risking to blow her cover.
"Martouf, couldn't we just go there, and offer gifts and worship? There is a day for that, right? I seem to remember you telling me...eh...telling Jolinar, that it was the way you and Lantash contacted her - when you were stranded here...just after becoming Lantash's host." Sam said.
"So we did. However, it would look suspicious if we all went - especially Teal'c. He would have to stay, and I also don't think it would be easy for Zefina to find an excuse to invite more than one of us to a personal meeting."
"That's off, then. We're all going, so find another way." O'Neill said.
"Couldn't Lantash pretend to be a Goa'uld who is paying her a visit or something? Then Teal'c could be his Jaffa." Daniel suggested.
"Yeah, you could be an envoy from Apophis, or something...right?" O'Neill added.
"Despite this being a somewhat secluded world, there will doubtless be someone who has heard of my betrayal of Apophis." Teal'c said.
Martouf bowed his head, allowing Lantash control.
"Yes, that would certainly be true. We cannot risk that. However, we could pretend I am a very minor Goa'uld, attempting to gain favours from Nephthys by bringing her Teal'c as a gift. It would not be unusual to approach one of her vassals first, instead of going directly to her."
"That's totally out of the question. We're not handing over Teal'c or anyone else!"
"Nor is that my intention." Lantash sounded irritated. "We will merely pretend to do so, in order to approach Zefina. She is a Tok'ra, not a Goa'uld. Remember? No harm will come to him."
"Right. OK, then. We go visit the friendly Zefina and pretend to hand over Teal'c." He grinned. "Perhaps, for once, we can have a nice chat over dinner - in her private rooms - with slaves ready to obey our smallest command. Sounds nice!"
Lantash gave him a disapproving look. He did not appreciate O'Neill's joke about slaves. "You will not be able to participate in the meeting with her. You, Samantha, and Doctor Jackson would have to pretend to be my servants. No Goa'uld would bring his human slaves to a private meeting with another Goa'uld."
"That's out of the question, then. At least one of us will have to participate. Find a way!"
Lantash considered this for a moment. "There is one possibility...a lo'tar would be expected to follow their Lord almost everywhere, to be ready to serve his every need. Even as a very minor Goa'uld, it would not be unusual for me to be accompanied by a lo'tar. One of you could play that part." He turned to look at Sam. "Samantha, I suggest you be the one to take on that role."
"Eh...I suppose I can do that..." She looked a little unsure.
"Why her?" O'Neill said, looking suspicious.
"We are in a hurry, so there is little time to train any of you for such a role. Samantha, I am hoping you may remember something about this from Jolinar - she would have had knowledge of the proper behaviour."
"Why? She hasn't been a lot'ar, has she?" Daniel wondered.
"No, but she..." Lantash seemed to consider his words, "...it is knowledge all Tok'ra symbiotes - all symbiotes - would have from their genetic memory, as well as from missions among the Goa'uld."
"Of course. That makes sense."
"OK. I'll do it." Sam had just realised Lantash did not want to mention the fact that Jolinar had once been a Goa'uld. "Where do we get clothes and stuff? We can't wear this!" Sam indicated her uniform.
"No, of course not. We will purchase different clothing in the capital..." He smiled a little. "I would never get anyone to believe I am a Goa'uld while wearing a Tok'ra uniform."
They began their walk to the capital. It was some distance away, and on foot it would take them several days. This was especially so since they would either have to travel only by night, or go an indirect route through the forest and other less-populated areas. The commuter trains from Martouf's childhood were no longer running - traveling by those it would have been a quick journey.
The little group hurried on as best they could, in the hopes of preventing Talan from being made a host. Sirrik had provided them with food and water for the trip, as well as blankets. It was still early fall and the nights were reasonably warm so they did not freeze, even if they did not dare light a fire.
After following small paths for the first day, they eventually found their way to one which was more used. Martouf explained it was the same track he and the Tok'ra had followed through the forest long ago, when Nephthys had just conquered the planet. It obviously brought back many memories, and he was very quiet during the rest of their journey. The trip was fortunately uneventful and they met no one - neither Jaffa nor humans. Only once did they hear someone else, and had to hide until all was again quiet.
Finally, early in the evening of the third day they arrived in the capital, in the area close to the palace.
"The time of our arrival is fortunate. There is still time to purchase suitable attire before the stores close. Afterwards we will find a guesthouse where we can bathe and rest, before we approach Zefina tomorrow. She usually receives unannounced visitors before noon." Martouf said.
"Sounds good. Lead the way." O'Neill grinned. "Do you think they get any good shows at the guesthouse?"
Martouf frowned. "If you are referring to something like the television programs shown at Stargate command, then...sadly, not anymore. When I lived here as a child, before the Goa'uld returned, we did indeed have similar entertainment."
"Oh..." He looked ashamed. "Sorry, I guess...I didn't know..."
"Setona was much like the Tau'ri in many ways, though somewhat more advanced in certain areas."
"Oh, yeah? What do you mean more advanced? " O'Neill started, seemingly taking that as an insult.
"Perhaps we should get those clothes so we can get some rest and clean up a little. I, for one, look forward to a bath." Sam said, before Martouf and O'Neill could start arguing over this.
Martouf took a deep breath. "You are correct. Follow me."
He led them to a relatively large store full of various kinds of clothing, footwear, and accessories. Most of it looked like it would fit on upper class citizens, but it was not the style a Goa'uld would wear.
"There are a class of citizens who profit from the Goa'uld returning to this world - supplying anything and anyone their new Lords may want. It is quite unusual for a Goa'uld-controlled planet - and distasteful as well." Martouf explained upon seeing their reactions to the store's goods.
At the back of the store was a relatively large room secluded from the rest. Here the clothing looked different - and much more expensive. Some of it was relatively elegant, but there was also much which was really outrageous and over the top.
"Definitively Goa'uld style..." O'Neill remarked dryly.
"As Teal'c will pretend to be our prisoner, he can wear his Tau'ri uniform. The rest of us will need different attire." Martouf said.
Looking through the clothing they managed to find something suitable for all their roles. O'Neill would be a former mercenary, now in the service of 'Lord Lantash'. It would be his job to 'guard' Teal'c.
Daniel would also be a servant, but one in charge of things like book-keeping, ordering food and supplies, everything related to Lantash's small estate. Sam would be Lantash's personal slave - or lo'tar. It would be her duty to be ready to fulfill his needs before he knew he had them. As Lantash would be such an unimportant Goa'uld, with few servants, she would also be in charge of bringing him food, helping him dress, etc.
"Is it not unusual for a Goa'uld Lord to have only three human servants and no Jaffa?" Daniel wondered. He was looking sceptically at the dress Martouf had just picked out for Sam.
"No, not at all." Teal'c answered. "There are countless minor Goa'uld with little or no power."
"Teal'c is correct. Some of those will ally themselves with more powerful Goa'uld, while others try to gain favours or even territory and positions for themselves. This is generally done through deceit or by making themselves valuable to others looking for what they have to offer." Martouf added.
"So, Lantash is basically going to play a nobody in Goa'uld-land?" O'Neill asked.
"Yes, I believe that is an accurate description, if I understand you correctly." Martouf said.
"Great. What does that make me then? Low-life scum?"
"Not at all. Even the most insignificant Goa'uld would be considered above all humans. So working for one puts you in a better position than most - especially as you have a relatively high position among Lantash's servants."
"Yeah, because you only have three servants, so they would all have a high position..." O'Neill grumbled.
"What are you complaining about? You don't have to wear this!" Sam indicated the lo'tar costume she was holding. It consisted of a red top which was more like a strap of cloth or perhaps a bandeau bra. It was worn wrapped around the breasts and fastened in the back, in the style sometimes worn in ancient Rome. The skirt was of a matching colour. It would sit below her navel, but be long enough to reach to just below her knees. However, this did not make it any less revealing, as it had a slit that went up high on the side of her thigh. Together with this there was a thin cape-like garment, in the same light red as the rest, but embroidered along the hem with a golden thread. To match this Sam would wear a pair of golden slippers with high heels.
"You need to dress for the role, Sam. I thought you had learned that on previous missions?" Daniel grinned.
"Yes, dress like the natives...why is it always me who has to do that? Why not you?"
"We are - it's just that your job is...um...different." O'Neill could not keep from laughing.
"Do not be concerned, Samantha. I am certain you will look very beautiful in those clothes." Martouf said, smiling slightly. "Besides, it is really a very fitting outfit for a lo'tar. I think I ought to buy some jewelry for you as well - it would look good on you, and Lantash would appear to be a richer and more successful Goa'uld."
"Right." Sam sighed.
Martouf picked out a couple of gold armlets for Sam, of the type that wrapped around her upper arms, as well as a close-fitting choker-like necklace. He then began looking for an outfit which would be suitable for Lantash. He sceptically judged the various outfits in the store. There were several which could be used - they were certainly both extravagant and tasteless enough for a Goa'uld. However, the Tok'ra generally preferred the somewhat more subdued costumes, if possible, even when doing infiltrations. Of course, if they were pretending to be a more powerful Goa'uld, they would have to dress the part.
Conferring with Lantash, Martouf ended up choosing an outfit which were quite elegant and not too flashy - perfect for a very minor Lord such as they were impersonating.
"Maybe you should go for the black cape with the blue lining instead of the red. You don't wanna look like a cheap imitation of Dracula, do you?" O'Neill grinned.
"Dracula?" Martouf looked uncomprehendingly at him. "Who is that?"
"A character in a Tau'ri 'movie' - a form of passive entertainment were you watch a story on a little box. He is unpleasant." Teal'c helpfully informed him.
"Actually, it was originally a book..." Daniel began, before O'Neill interrupted him.
"That's not important." He turned to Teal'c, grinning even wider. "Way to go, T, you're getting the hang of it!"
Martouf seemed even more confused than before, but he decided it was - for some reason - better to take the cape with blue lining, and did so.
Later. They had paid for their purchases and found a room at one of the guesthouses close to the palace. It had permission to have hot running water, so they were all able to take a bath and get freshened up. After quite a delicious dinner it was now relatively late in the evening. Since they were all tired from their long journey, they quickly agreed to retire for the night.
Next day. After a quick breakfast they prepared to go to Zefina and put on their disguises.
Sam stood in the bathroom, looking at herself. She had just put on her lo'tar costume. The red bra-top and skirt fit her very nicely. It certainly did not conceal much! She blushed a little, wearing it. The slit went almost the whole way up one of the sides - to the upper part of her thigh. She did not really like the golden shoes, finding them a bit too flashy, but she had to admit they actually matched the rest of the dress well. Then there was this short cape. Finding it a bit ridiculous, she considered not putting it on, but eventually did so. She had better wear the clothes since Martouf said they were correct lo'tar dress style.
She swirled around a little, watching the cape. The colour was the same as the bra and skirt, but it was of a much thinner material. It was actually partly see-through. She studied the decorations on it. They were quite pretty - made with gold thread along the sides and bottom. The design was intricate - long snake-like dragons among some sort of flowers. It looked faintly oriental, yet not quite.
She picked up the gold armlets and wrapped one around each upper arm. They were beautiful, each shaped like a snake with eyes made of a sparkling, green stone. It appeared to be emeralds. Very pretty, actually. Sam sighed, then picked up the last piece of jewelry. It was the black choker. The material felt like velvet and it had a relatively large pearl pendant attached to it. She put it on and looked in the mirror. Great. She looked like...well, the clothing looked good on her, but she felt like she was dressed as a harem-girl or something. Why did lo'tar's have to wear such clothing? She sighed again and went into the room where the others were waiting, prepared for any comments they might make.
"OK, I'm ready to go." She blushed against her will and felt angry with herself for it.
"Wow, Sam." Daniel said.
"Yeah, very nice!" O'Neill grinned openly.
"Shut up! I look like a...like a...I don't know." She rolled her eyes at them.
"There is nothing wrong with your clothing. It is of good and durable quality, and very suitable for a lo'tar. Samantha...you look beautiful." Martouf said, earnestly.
*That's an understatement! I feel like ravishing her on the spot!*
*Lantash! Behave yourself!* Martouf admonished.
*You were thinking the same. Do not try to deny it - remember, I can read your thoughts!*
Martouf mentally gave Lantash a long-suffering look.
"Thanks...I think." Sam smiled a little. He did not look bad himself, she had to admit. Not that she was going to tell him, but he looked very handsome in that dark outfit and the cape. It did not look silly on him at all, to her surprise. The white silk shirt was a nice touch. The short jacket he had left open, and he had not buttoned the top buttons of his shirt either. This gave her a nice view of the top of his chest. Very nice indeed. Maybe this would not be so bad after all.
They left the guesthouse and walked towards the palace. As they came closer, Martouf took a hand device from a pocket and started putting it on.
"Did you buy that yesterday as well?" Sam wondered.
"No. A human merchant would never be permitted to sell any kind of Goa'uld weaponry or technology."
"That is correct. The false gods fear anyone should learn a way to use them. Even that which can only be used by themselves, they forbid access to." Teal'c said.
"Necessary, I guess, if they are to keep up the illusion that it's magic and not technology." Sam looked towards the palace a short distance away. There were very few people around, except for Jaffa guards. "We're almost there."
"Yes. From now on Lantash will be in control. We cannot risk switching control. Someone might notice and get suspicious." He dipped his head and when he looked up again Lantash was in control.
"I must pretend to be a Goa'uld, so I...apologize for some of the things I may have to say or do when others are present. Remember, you are my servants. Do not under any circumstances speak up against me or disobey any order from me. A Goa'uld would not tolerate such behaviour and I would have no choice but to punish you to avoid raising suspicion."
"Yeah, yeah, we know. Don't get used to it, though..." O'Neill grumbled.
Lantash merely raised an eyebrow, in a perfect imitation of Teal'c, making Sam and Daniel giggle.
Sobering, they got into their roles and walked up to the large entrance to the palace. Lantash told the Jaffa guards that he, Lord Alim, demanded to be taken to Lord Zefina as he had something valuable to offer.
As they were taken to a waiting room, Lantash heard Daniel snicker then quickly suppressing it. He sighed. Apparently he found Lantash's choice of name amusing.
*Maybe because it means 'wise and learned'?* Martouf suggested.
Lantash choose to ignore his host and sat down to wait for the Jaffa to return. They had gone to inform Zefina that she had a guest.
Just under an hour later they were brought before the planet's ruler.
"Ah...Lord Alim. I can spare a moment for you now..." Zefina arrogantly leaned back in her large throne chair and looked down at him.
"How dare you let me wait! Here I come - to offer you a chance at glory! And you let me wait, like I was one of your servants!" Lantash said angrily.
"Ah, yes, you mentioned some business. Tell me, does it perhaps include the shol'va you have brought here before me?"
Lantash took a deep breath and pretended to calm himself with difficulty. "It does indeed. I thought you might be interested in delivering him to Queen Nephthys. If you so wish, you can perhaps entice him to give you some information first. He may have...various useful knowledge...of course, you can also just torture him for the entertainment value." He grinned.
"Perhaps." Zefina agreed. "Why do you not keep him yourself, then, if he has so much valuable information, hmm? Or perhaps you could sell him to one of the System Lords directly. There is a good prize on his head, as you no doubt know. Why bring him to me?"
"Money isn't everything...and as you have many connections and are so much more trusted than I am...for now, at least..." he spread his hands.
"I see. What is your price?"
"Introduce me to Queen Nephthys. Let her know of the advantages she would gain from giving me a...reasonable position."
"You want favour, power, influence...I can understand. How horrible it must be not to have your own domain to use your talents on...yes..." She made a decision. "I shall introduce you to Queen Nephthys."
"Good. Now, I also happen to have some information, which I got from interrogating the shol'va myself. Would it perhaps be of any interest to you?"
"It might...why don't you and I withdraw to more private settings and discuss it? Then I can have some refreshments served for you as well, to commemorate this auspicious meeting."
Lantash nodded. "That would be agreeable."
"Good." Zefina turned to the nearest of her Jaffa. "Take the shol'va Teal'c to a holding cell."
"Not so fast. He is not yours yet."
"I merely wish to ascertain he does not escape. Surely you can see the logic in that?" Zefina looked at him as if she doubted it.
"Very well...but my servants will have to be appraised of his location and have access to him whenever they so wish."
"Of course." Zefina waved a dismissal in the general direction of her Jaffa, Teal'c, and Lantash's servants. "See to it." She rose and began to leave without waiting to see if her orders were followed. She knew they would be. As she reached the door she glanced back. "Lord Alim?"
Lantash hurried after her, signalling Sam to follow. "Yes, my Lord Zefina."
When they reached her, Zefina frowned slightly. "This meeting is not for human slaves - of any kind."
"Surely you will not deny me the services of my lo'tar?"
"Oh...is that what she is? Well, in that case...do bring her, if you cannot be without her services." Zefina turned and continued along a corridor towards her private chambers.
Lantash glared at the smirking Jaffa, who quickly paled and looked away after noticing the perceived god's hand device. It had started to glow a little.
*Now, now, Lantash - you're scaring him!*
*He deserves it! He grinned at the thought of Samantha being our sex slave - as Zefina dared hinting! I will get her for that, by the way. She's having far too much fun at our - and Samantha's - expense.*
*Calm down. Yes, you're right, of course, but the Jaffa does not know any better, Lantash. They believe Goa'uld perform all kinds of unspeakable acts.*
*Rightly so, I'm afraid. Now, let's see what Zefina can tell us.*
The door had closed behind them, and they all relaxed a little. Zefina had sent away everyone else, so there would be no prying ears.
"Lantash, Martouf, welcome." Zefina smiled at them.
"Thank you, Zefina - and Temma. This is Major Samantha Carter of the Tau'ri." He indicated Sam.
"Pleased to meet you. You're the first Tau'ri I've met. I'm very pleased about the alliance between our peoples. The Tok'ra need friends." Zefina smiled at her. "Please don't mind my comments from before - they were only for the benefit of the Jaffa. I have to play a role, you know."
"I understand." Sam smiled back. She instantly liked Zefina. "Wow...you've been undercover here for more than 25 years, haven't you?"
"Yes. Almost 27 years. I must admit that both Temma and I are looking forward to this mission ending. My poor Temma - she almost never has an opportunity to be in control. It is simply too great a risk that someone should notice." She turned to Lantash. "I am sorry, but I'm afraid I have bad news. Your son has been picked as host for Nephthys's new favourite child. The implantation and coming-of-age ceremony will be held tomorrow night. I am expected to be there - in fact I will be leaving for it quite early tomorrow morning."
Lantash's shoulders sagged. "So it is going to happen - as we feared. You will not be safe afterwards, Zefina - nor will several other Tok'ra." He quickly looked down, attempting to hide the tears that threatened to fall.
Sam felt a stab of sorrow for him and felt an impulse yo hug him. Instead she patted him reassuringly on the shoulder.
"Perhaps..." She began, unsure of what to say.
"Hopefully a way will be found to avoid the worst. We might somehow manage to free Talan before he becomes a host, or we will take him afterwards and remove the symbiote. Do not despair yet." Zefina said.
"Yes. 'Lord Alim' wanted to meet Nephthys and present her with the infamous shol'va, right? What better opportunity for that than at such festive times! Nephthys will be most pleased!"
"We cannot hand over Teal'c to her - surely that is not what you mean!" Lantash sounded horrified.
"No, of course not. You, me, and the three Tau'ri will be there as well. Teal'c will stay on my ship until evening. With the help of Sira - a loyal Tok'ra pretending to be an underling of Nephthys's, stationed at her court - we will be in and out with both Teal'c and Talan before the ceremony has even started. At least that is the plan."
"A bit desperate, isn't it?" Sam said. "Frankly, it sounds dangerous and I'm a bit surprised that a Tok'ra would suggest it. Usually we're the ones with the mad, fool-hardy plans. What if we can't get to Talan in time? And what about you? There would be no way to hide your involvement in this."
Zefina grinned a little, then became serious again. "True, I suppose, but the ceremony is tomorrow. We have little time for anything but desperation."
"And your position?"
"Will be compromised, as you said, but that would be the result in any case. At least, this way no one will die and it will only lead to one agent having to be withdrawn from their mission." She smiled a little ironically. "And we will be able to return to the tunnels and not have to play a Goa'uld - for a while, at least. That will be most appreciated...even if there are some things we might miss..." She said with a twinkle in her eyes.
"We will try your plan, then." Lantash said, looking at Sam, who nodded her agreement.
"Good. That is how it shall be then. Wait here while I arrange some things and make a few calls. I will have a dinner prepared for you tonight, and you will get accommodations here, of course. We will have to leave early tomorrow, as I said."
"Thank you, Zefina. Please make sure Daniel, O'Neill, and Teal'c have food as well."
"I will have a room set aside for your 'servants' and I assure you they will be well fed. I am afraid that the best I can do for Teal'c is to make sure he gets food and that my people will treat him well - so he is in good shape when Nephthys gets him, of course."
"We appreciate it. Thank you." Sam said.
Zefina left and Sam slowly walked over to Lantash who stood at the window, looking thoughtful.
"Who do you think Zefina would contact?" Sam wondered.
"Nephthys would have to be informed that someone will be accompanying Zefina. Sira should, if possible, be informed of the plan so she will be able to make any necessary preparations."
"Of course." Sam was quiet for a little while, then thought of something. "It must be hard to be undercover for more than 25 years! Have you ever done that?"
"Not for such a long time - never more than a few months - half a year at most. I...do not like pretending to be a Goa'uld. Nobody does, of course, but some are more experienced at doing such missions than others. Since the missions should be done by those who does them best, I prefer attending to other duties for the Tok'ra." He smiled wryly. "Since I was the last born in Egeria's last clutch, I am every ones junior...so I guess everyone has more experience than I do."
"Is that why you seem to be doing all kinds of jobs? I've seen you as a guard, a diplomat, on missions with us. Even...um...sort of...an errand boy for the council, I guess. Sorry, I didn't mean it the way it sounded. I actually don't know what jobs most of the Tok'ra do."
Lantash sighed. "It is all right. I do tend to get some jobs others may not want. I help out in many different areas, whenever someone is needed. The reason why Martouf and I are often sent to the Tau'ri is, I believe, twofold. First; except for Jacob, most are...less than enthused with the prospect of visiting the Tau'ri. They often feel they are not treated with respect. Second; none of you seem to feel...quite as uncomfortable around me...or Martouf at any rate...as they do around many of the others. Though as far as me being a diplomat? Well, Martouf is still laughing at the thought of me attempting to play that role." Lantash grumbled.
"Sorry, it's just that you and O'Neill get along pretty badly." Sam wrinkled her brow. "Jolinar went on long missions, pretending to be a Goa'uld - did she not?"
"Yes, she did. Sometimes for centuries. However, she did not take any of the very long missions while we were mates."
Sam nodded. "That's understandable. Centuries! Wow! That must be hard! Hmm...I wonder what Zefina meant about 'some things we might miss'."
Lantash grinned a little and pointed out the window, down into the garden outside. "I'm pretty sure she meant her 'pets' - and don't worry, she meant it jokingly...mostly..." He winked at Sam. "You see, she is very fond of young men."
Sam looked to where he pointed. Three young men, seeming to be in their late teens, were working out on some training equipment in a corner of the garden. Sam frowned.
"She is a Tok'ra! She shouldn't behave like that! Taking advantage of those young men - kids, almost. Keeping them here as...as sex-slaves. I'm sure they must be constantly terrified by the thought that they should not please her. What kind of life is that? How can she do that?" Sam sounded enraged.
Lantash sighed. "Samantha. Please understand that to be able to believably pretend to be a System Lord, there are certain things you simply have to do - especially during such a long undercover mission as this. Otherwise there would be suspicions. Besides, Zefina is not maltreating them. Look at them. They are smiling and happy - joking among each other. They are well fed and they have a warm place to stay. Is it really so terrible for them, that they must mate with Zefina from time to time? I find her very attractive. I am certain they do as well. You must also remember that life on most Goa'uld worlds are hard and short. Their lives could easily be much much worse. Do you really think they would rather work in the naquadah-mines, than be here?"
"No, of course not. I do realise you are correct. It's just...difficult to have to look at something which would be considered a crime on Earth...some parts of Earth at any rate."
"I can understand, but you must also consider something else...this is not the Tau'ri...Earth, and on many planets people may see things differently than what they do where you come from. That is something we, as Tok'ra, always must remember, as we travel around the galaxy and attempt to blend in. Most people here, for instance, would consider themselves lucky and feel that a life as Zefina's 'sex-slave' is a good life. In a few years they will be allowed to return home. They and their family will be paid a handsome stipend for life. Together with the...experience they have acquired, they make for quite an attractive package. I assure you, they will have no problems finding a mate. Of course, were Zefina not treating them well that would be different, but she is. I do know that on many worlds it would be quite a different and much more unpleasant matter, belonging to a System Lord and having to please him or her."
Sam nodded again, accepting the truth of what he told her.
Before they had time to discuss this further, Zefina came back and told them everything had been arranged. During the rest of the day Zefina played host to various entertainments, ending with a lavish dinner which dragged on for several hours. From her place behind Lantash's seat, Sam was able to look at all that was happening. Since Lantash was Zefina's only Goa'uld guest, he sat at her table. They had been served three appetizers, several main dishes, and two desserts. Not wanting to spend the night being sick, Lantash had wisely eaten sparingly of it all, except for one of the desserts which he obviously liked a lot. During and after dinner there had been entertainment; dancers, musicians, acrobats, even. Sam felt like she was on a visit to the Renaissance, during a banquet at the royal castle. It was quite interesting to see an example of a System Lord's 'daily life', she thought.
When the last course had been served, Zefina sent for her three 'pets'. They soon arrived, dressed in very little. Sam looked at them. She had to admit they looked good, even though she found them a little too young. It was strange to see someone who was actually a sex-slave, whatever else you might call it. They did not seem troubled, though, but smiled and looked happily at Zefina. To Sam's surprise they actually seemed to be pretty infatuated with her, and she looked at them with affection in return. It was all very puzzling.
Zefina soon rose and winked at Lantash, before she floated out of the room, followed by her young men. Lantash snickered a little, then sobered and looked towards Sam.
"I have eaten my fill. I shall retire for the night."
Sam quickly went to him. She pulled back his chair as he rose, then followed him out of the room and through the corridors. She took care to walk slightly behind him, as a servant should.
"I must admit it was an interesting, if strange, experience." Sam said, as they were walking through the corridors towards the room Lantash had been assigned. No one else was in sight, so she felt she could risk talking, if she kept her voice low.
"I am sorry neither you nor any of the others from your team could sit at the table."
"It's all right. I realize that would have looked strange...the Goa'uld don't dine with their servants. Besides, standing there at the ready for your orders meant I got to experience everything that happened during a Goa'uld dinner - with entertainments, so I'm not complaining. And I got plenty of delicious food in the kitchen before the dinner, as well as some whenever I was sent out to fetch something. Zefina's servants were very polite towards me."
"Of course. You are the lo'tar of a Goa'uld who their Lord is treating as an honoured guest. The position of lo'tar is the highest a human being can reach, and the Goa'uld who own them would not look mildly on anyone else not treating them as their position merits. It would be an insult to the Goa'uld as well."
Sam nodded. Now she understood the slight fear that had been in the eyes of one of the kitchen slaves when she - jokingly - had asked if they were trying to kill her, when they had offered her a third portion of a very creamy and rich dessert.
She opened the door to the room Zefina had had prepared for Lantash, and let him enter first. She gave him a mock bow. "My Lord..."
He rolled his eyes at her, happy Zefina had told her servant they would not need to accompany him. His lo'tar would see to anything he might need.
The room was spacious and richly decorated. It was furnished in a slightly oriental style, and all was very luxurious. There was a small divan near the door. Further in there was a very large bed, with many pillows and blankets. There was a table with a few chairs, a coach-like piece of furniture, and a desk with a chair. All was inlaid with decorations. Apart from a closet and a drawer, there were no other furniture. There was a door near the divan. Sam opened it to find a large bathroom, everything within it made of marble and gold. She closed the door again and returned to the larger room.
Sam looked around and whistled. "Nice place! I assume this is yours? Where would I sleep? In a room close by, I guess, if my 'Lord' should need me to fetch anything during the night."
"Well...no. Normally, the lo'tar would sleep in a small, adjourning room, where he or she can immediately be called from, if needed. That is, unless their lord - for some reason - wishes for more privacy and sends them away. That is rare - normally a Goa'uld would not care that his lo'tar heard him entertain himself with slave girls, for instance. However, during visits to other Goa'uld the lo'tar would generally sleep in the same room as their master. This is not only to have a trusted servant nearby, but also for security reasons. I know we have nothing to fear from Zefina, of course, but we will have to keep up appearances..."
"So I sleep in here. OK, no problem." She looked around and noticed the small divan near the door. She pointed at it. "I assume that is meant for a lo'tar or other servant."
Lantash nodded an affirmative.
"It will do just fine." Sam suddenly thought of something. "Lantash...has Jolinar ever been to Zefina's palace? I seemed to recognize some of the places."
"Yes, she has. A couple of times, actually. The first time was when she was sent to Setona as an operative, to judge the reactions of the population. As Zefina is the local overlord, she reported to her first, of course. We took that opportunity to talk to Zefina about Jolinar and Rosha hiding here while being with child - and about hiding the child here afterwards."
"You went with Jolinar? How did you explain that two Goa'uld were travelling alone together, with no servants?"
"We did not. Jolinar pretended to be a minor Goa'uld - I went as...um...as her lo'tar." Lantash blushed a little.
"As her lo'tar! OK...that I would never have guessed. I didn't think any Goa'uld would have another Goa'uld as a lo'tar."
"They would not. Martouf and I pretended to be human. That is one of the advantages we Tok'ra get from not entering through the neck - there is no visible entry scar. Tok'ra can pretend to be human or Goa'uld as they like. It is often useful on missions. As long as there are no Goa'uld to detect us, of course, and here there were none."
Sam nodded. "So, what did Zefina say?"
"She was...apprehensive at first, but she has a rather anti-authoritarian spirit, while also being something of a romantic, so she ended up agreeing to help hide both Jolinar and Rosha, and later protect our children."
"Lucky...she is a nice person."
"Yes. She is. We have been friends for a long time."
Sam had noticed some bags of clothing standing on the bed. "Do you think these contain the nightwear Zefina said she would lend us?"
Lantash looked into one of them. "Yes. They do. I think I will bathe and get ready for the night." He looked at her with a sudden naughty glint in his eyes. "Prepare the bath and be ready to assist me, lo'tar."
Sam looked at him, momentarily in shock. "Eh?"
"Well, we did say no to the slaves Zefina suggested tend to my personal needs, and that means the duty falls to my lo'tar..." He managed to keep the serious expression for a moment longer, then he started laughing. "I apologize, Samantha, but your expression was priceless. Do not worry, I was not being serious. I can bathe very well on my own." Still grinning, he left for the bathroom, picking up the sleepwear Zefina had had sent there, on the way.
Sam rolled her eyes at him "Very funny!"
While Lantash and Martouf bathed, Sam examined the room more thoroughly. It really was luxuriously decorated. After satisfying her curiosity, she went to try and sit on the large bed. It was very comfortable. She slid up on it and decided to lie down just for a moment...
Lantash wasted no time and took a quick bath. When he came back out he was wearing something that worked as much as relaxing lounge wear as sleep wear. They had not brought anything to sleep in, so Zefina had supplied them with something which she found fitting. What Lantash wore just now was made out of high-quality black silk. It was very chest-revealing, as it was open at least half-way down to his navel. Martouf was not too happy about it, but Lantash reminded him that they had worn far worse - supplied by Zefina as well, by the way.
Sam had dosed off on the bed, but quickly jumped up when she heard the door opening. Seeing what Lantash was wearing, she just gaped at him, forgetting what she had been about to say. She admired him for a moment before realising what she was doing. Immediately pulling herself together she got entirely off the bed and ran to the bathroom, past Lantash who smirked at her. Flushing slightly from embarrassment, she snatched the bag with nightwear and hurriedly closed the door after her.
After bathing, Sam dried herself off and looked in the bag. She did not know what a lo'tar wore to bed, but she was feeling faintly worried, especially since it was Zefina who had picked it for her. Taking it out and looking at it, she saw that it resembled her day wear in many ways, just made of a flimsier material. Even the colour was very close to being the same. There was a small, short top, covering not much more than her breasts and fastened with thin strips. Her whole midriff and most of her back was bare. Sam sighed and put it on, knowing that Goa'uld were not exactly known for their conservative outfits, so she should not have been surprised by this. She then picked up the skirt and put it on. It was made of some thin, soft material which fell nicely along her body. It was a little shorter than what she had worn today, and it had a slit in both sides instead of just one. This outfit had sandals instead of slippers. She put them on and looked at herself in the mirror.
She had to admit the clothing fit her well, enhancing her figure in a very flattering way. Zefina had picked the dress well, even if Sam wished she had just given her a normal nightgown or perhaps a pajamas. She combed her hair quickly, then put on the thin, translucent robe which completed the outfit. It was embroidered with a simple golden pattern. She then left the bathroom.
She did not see him at first, but then she noticed him standing near the window. Lantash had turned off most of the lights in the room, and what little was still on were at the opposite end. This meant he was only visible because of the full moon. This planet apparently had at least one, and it was reflecting as much light as a full moon on Earth, if not more.
"Lantash?" Sam said, as she walked towards him. It took a little while before he turned to look at her, quickly wiping his eyes. Had he been crying? His facial expression was unreadable - it was as if he was hiding his feelings behind a mask. "I'm sorry - you wish to be alone." She had started to turn before he spoke.
"Samantha...no...I...we would like you to keep us company."
"Of course...listen...I'm sure everything will turn out for the best. We'll get your son before he's made a host..."
"Martouf and I very much hope you are correct, but we fear this mission will end in failure."
"Even if - and I say if - Nephthys's son takes Talan as host, then surely you can remove the symbiote? We just need to get him back to the Tok'ra."
Lantash was quiet for a while. "No..." He finally said. "The council deems it too risky. Yes, of course they can remove the symbiote, but if Nephthys's son learns anything about our operatives...finds out what Talan is - and he will - then nothing is stopping him from reporting it to Nephthys or others. The implantation itself will happen in a private room, heavily guarded. Nephthys will be there. There is no way for us to free Talan from that room, and afterwards it would be too late. No, if we cannot rescue him before, then..." Lantash's voice faltered, "...then...it is my assigned duty to assure that the threat is...is eliminated. Permanently. Regardless of the cost."
"What! No - they cannot expect you to do that. Not to my...I mean your son...they cannot want you to kill him! And how would you get away?"
"He is my responsibility...and we cannot risk..." He closed his eyes for a moment. "As for getting away...they do not expect me to. As long as I succeed..."
"So, you're just going to 'eliminate' him! And that...that doesn't bother you? I mean..." Sam said with an unsteady voice, close to crying. She hated herself for reacting so strongly to what might happen to Talan. She knew the memories of him were Jolinar's, but she felt them just as intensely as if they were her own. How could Lantash be so cold about it?
Suddenly Lantash turned back towards her, eyes glowing and tears glistening on his cheeks. "Doesn't it bother me? Of course it 'bothers' me! Don't you think I would do anything to save him? Give my own life to save his...if there was any way I could..."
"Sorry, I...sorry. Of course..." Sam looked down for a moment, then up at him again. He looked so terribly sad and it pained her to see his anguish, even more than she would have expected. She wanted to say something, but suddenly it felt as if her throat constricted. Instead, she just put her arms around him and held him close.
For a little while they just stood there, then Lantash put his arms around her as well and embraced her tightly. They continued standing in silence like that for several minutes, comforting each other. Finally, Lantash loosened the embrace a little and stepped back enough that he could look at her.
"Thank you. It has helped us...we are feeling somewhat better now."
"I am glad...Lantash...I apologize for what I said earlier. I was not myself. I have been having memory flashes regularly during these two days...more than I have had in all the time since Jolinar."
"I am sorry about that. I should not have asked you to accompany me." He smiled, a little sadly. Then he lifted a hand to her cheek and caressed for a moment.
Sam shook her head slightly. "It is only right that I am here." She smiled back, suddenly feeling very strongly for him and Martouf. Reacting to the emotion without thinking, she leaned in closer and gently touched her lips to his.
Surprised, he just stood there for a few moments before returning the kiss. Gently at first, but soon with more force. His arms had been holding her in a loose embrace, but now they drew her into a close hug. They continued kissing, and his hands began to roam across her back, touching and caressing her everywhere.
Sam just closed her eyes and gave in to the sensations and her feelings. It was not until they took a much needed break for air from their increasingly passionate kisses, that Sam's brain cleared enough for her to realise she was actually kissing Lantash and Martouf. And from the look in Lantash's eyes they would soon be doing much more than just kissing.
Before Sam had time to think about whether she really thought this was a good idea, and not something she would regret later, Lantash pulled her in for another drugging kiss and Sam again forgot everything else. Nothing that felt this good could be a mistake.
Lantash ran his tongue along her lips and she opened her mouth again. He quickly deepened the kiss. Sam moaned and dipped her tongue inside his mouth as well. After a little while, Lantash begun kissing and licking a trail from Sam's mouth down towards her throat - then further down and back to her neck.
Sam moaned again, louder this time, and slid her hands under his shirt. She enjoyed the feeling of his skin under her hands - and now she felt Lantash's hands directly on her skin as well. His hands had moved up to where her robe was fastened and soon it fell at her feet.
"My sweet Samantha..." Lantash murmured against her skin, as he alternately kissed and nibbled his way from her neck to her breasts, pulling at the top to get better access.
*Lantash, maybe...maybe it is time to move to the bed...* Martouf managed to suggest.
*I was thinking the same, dear friend.* He lifted up Sam and carried her quickly over to the bed, putting her down on her feet just beside it. He stood back a little, holding her hands while admiring her outfit and Samantha in it.
"You look beautiful, my Samantha," he gave her a kiss. "I think maybe we should persuade Zefina to give us that night dress - it looks very attractive on you."
"Thank you...I like your clothes too."
She smiled and ran a hand down from his throat to where the shirt stopped. Seeing his reaction she smiled wider and began opening his shirt. There were only a few buttons and his shirt was soon hanging open, giving her full access to both his chest and his stomach. She caressed him and leaned in to kiss him again, first on the mouth, then on his throat. She continued on downwards and kissed his chest.
Lantash quickly kicked off his sandals and picked Sam up in his arms again, smiling seductively at her. He gave her a long kiss before he put her down on the bed. He immediately joined her on it, and pulled Sam close.
"I think you are a bit over-dressed, Lantash-sweetie..." Sam cooed as she pulled his shirt completely off him and admired the parts of him that was now naked. He did not do anything, except observe her. When she had peeled off his shirt she began touching his naked skin, exploring every part now accessible to her. After a little while she pushed him down on his back and lay down over him, kissing him deeply.
A low moan escaped him, and he closed his eyes, focusing on the sensations. Sam now began kissing and licking his chest, while using her hands to caress him as well. She then zoomed in on his left nipple and flicked it gently with her tongue. Lantash gasped. Feeling encouraged, Sam began nibbling on it. When she was satisfied with its hardness, she gave the other one the same treatment. She then began trailing kisses down to his navel and further on until she reached his pants. Looking up, she smiled wickedly at him, before she loosened his pants and pulled them down and off.
"Now you are the one that is over-dressed..." Lantash smirked. "We need to do something about that!"
Before Sam had time to react, he had grabbed her and turned them over so he was now on top of her. Deftly, he untied the straps holding her top up, then proceeded to undo the fastenings of her skirt. They could now easily be moved out of the way by his eager fingers.
She had lost her sandals before, when Lantash carried her to the bed, so she was now only wearing panties. Sam blushed a little, lying there almost naked, while Lantash looked at her with lust and admiration in his eyes. It was very obvious he liked what he saw.
"So beautiful..." he murmured, reaching up a hand to fondle her breasts. He massaged them gently, then laid down on her and kissed her, slowly but deeply, entwining his tongue with hers. Sam wrapped her arms around him and pulled him even closer, caressing his back.
Lantash freed himself a little and his mouth now repeated what his fingers had done before. He kissed and sucked her breasts, making her nipples hard and very sensitive. His fingers moved further downwards, until he touched her through her panties. She was already so wet he could feel it easily through the fabric. He began caressing her, stroking slowly.
Sam moaned again, loader this time, and she arched her body up towards his fingers.
Lantash grinned and decided it was time to remove the last barrier between them. He pulled off her panties and Sam was finally naked. Taking advantage of the better access, Lantash again started touching and caressing her, now and then sliding a finger inside her. He again laid down on top of her, kissing her deeply, while his fingers continued pleasuring her.
Sam whimpered a little and threw her arms around him. She felt his hard shaft pressing into her stomach. Still a little breathless from the kiss, she spoke unsteadily. "Lantash...please...I need you...I want to feel you inside me..."
*Great idea - what are you waiting for? We are in need as well.* Martouf complained. Their manhood was so hard it was almost painful, and he could think of nothing but the release from being inside Sam.
Lantash agreed whole-heartedly, but before he had time to do anything Sam surprised him by taking charge and rolling him over onto his back.
Panting slightly, she kissed him and touched him all over, before straddling him. He gasped as she slowly lowered herself onto him. Sam closed her eyes and focused entirely on the feel of him inside her. She really needed this - she could not remember when she had last felt this horny, if ever. If she had had any doubt left over as to whether this was a good idea or not, it was completely drowned out by her desire for him.
She was very wet, but it had been a very long time since she had last been with anyone. He was also quite big so she moved slowly at first. Having taken almost all of him, she wiggled a little. Finally she slid the last of the way down, settling herself on him. At first, she just rocked slowly against him, but soon she began to glide up and down, still at a leisurely pace.
Lantash looked dazedly at her, mesmerized by the sight of his Samantha. Naked and riding him. She had closed her eyes and had an expression of bliss on her face. Feeling his control beginning to slip, Lantash desperately tried to restrain himself. He wanted this to last as long as possible, but at the same time all he wanted was for her to move faster, harder...
Sam leaned down to kiss him, rubbing herself against him at the same time. Lifting herself up a little, she began playing with one of his nipples with one hand. The other hand she slid around to his neck and began to caress him there. Suddenly she felt a slight movement under her fingers. Probing, she realised she was feeling Lantash and a memory appeared from Jolinar. She immediately knew just how to touch Lantash to best pleasure him directly. Acting on the memories, she began caressing and massaging him with her hand, while she continued riding him.
"Samantha...no!" Lantash said hoarsely. "...do not...please...I'm barely controlling my...self as it is."
"Who says I want you to control yourself?" Sam cooed at him, smiling naughtily. She continued stroking him as well as slowly sliding up and down over his shaft.
With a groan Lantash grabbed hold of her hips and pulled her down, hard, at the same time he thrust upwards. Sam gave a small yelp, but clearly appreciated his reaction. Grinding against him she moaned softly. Unable to control himself anymore, Lantash started to thrust upwards, then after a few moments rolled them over so he was now on top. He immediately began ramming into her, hard and fast.
Sam met his thrusts, while her hands kept touching and pleasuring him. One hand rowing all over his chest, the other on his neck, continuing to stroke Lantash. She had again closed her eyes and made small sounds. She was so very close to coming.
Lantash was trying desperately to hold back for just a few moments longer, but Sam kept touching him; she kept moaning and writhing under him. His eyes flared briefly as he gave in and lost control. Slamming hard into her it only took a few more thrusts before he came, burrowing his shaft in her as deeply as it would go as he spilled his seed. He pressed his eyes shut and moaned deeply.
Sam came, only moments later, clinging to him and rubbing herself against him. Afterwards, they lay on the bed, exhausted and with arms and legs entangled. Sam felt happy and more satisfied than she could ever remember having felt before. She just wanted to snuggle close to Martouf and Lantash and stay there for the foreseeable future.
Lantash kissed Sam before he gently moved off her, afraid she was being squeezed uncomfortably. Rolling over on his side, he pulled her to him, then drew a blanket over them. It did not take long before they fell into a light slumber.
Martouf awoke maybe an hour or so later. He lay there for a moment, thinking about what had happened. Lantash and Sam were both fast asleep. He looked at Sam and smiled happily. He hoped very much she would not regret this in the morning.
The only light in the room was from the moon and the small lamp over in the corner near the door. It was enough, though, for him to be able to admire Sam's naked body. She had moved a little and the blanket had slid off her. Martouf felt his pulse quicken and his body react to the sight of Sam, and to the memory of what they had been doing not long ago. He very much wanted to make love to her again - and perhaps be in control some of the time, though he knew they had to be careful while they were pretending to be Goa'uld.
Sam moved around a little, turning over unto her stomach. She made a small sound in her sleep. Martouf could not stop himself from reaching out and caressing her buttocks. They felt so soft and firm. He felt his shaft harden even further and he now had a very strong urge to mate with her.
Throwing the blanket off himself, he carefully slid on top of her. He lovingly began to kiss her back, very lightly at first. He then began to use his hands to fondle her as well - starting his caresses at the top of her back and moving downwards. Sam made louder noises, whimpering softly and shifting on the bed. It was obvious her dream was erotic.
Martouf felt another strong rush of desire. He let one of his hands glide all the way down her back and over her ass, down between her legs. He gently fingered her folds. She was very wet. Martouf groaned loudly and unable to wait any longer he spread her legs and entered her with one thrust.
Sam awoke immediately from her dream about Martouf and Lantash. Her mind was still somewhat foggy, but her body was already reacting to what was happening. She gasped as Martouf now moved a hand underneath her and began to rub her clit. He kissed her neck. "My lovely Samantha..." he murmured before he resumed thrusting into her.
Sam alternately tried pushing against his fingers and up towards him. Her writhing under him, the sounds of pleasure she made, her hands grabbing at the blanket in passion - all spurred Martouf on. He grabbed her hips and rode her furiously, realising he would not be able to hold back much longer. Moments later Sam moaned and thrashed under him as she orgasmed hard. Martouf, who was already very close, groaned and bit her shoulder to avoid crying out as he, too, came.
He lay on top of her, panting for a little while, until the world cleared again around him. Then Lantash, who had awoken around the time Martouf mounted Sam, told him to roll off her before they became too heavy. Martouf did so, and they curled up after kissing. It did not take long before they fell asleep again, snuggling close under the blankets.
Next morning. Sam and Martouf/Lantash still slept peacefully when Zefina quietly opened the door. She snuck inside and closed the door noiselessly behind her before she walked over to the bed.
"Lantash?" She said in a low voice.
"Mhpfh?" Martouf said sleepily, then awoke enough to realise that Lantash had better be the one speaking. He gave Lantash a mental 'push' to wake him. The symbiote took control, flashing his eyes.
"Yes. What is it?" Lantash said, trying to clear his brain of the last of the sleepiness.
"I am afraid we will have to change our plans. I have an idea, but please just listen to me, as we don't have much time ."
Lantash nodded. "Proceed."
Just then Sam woke up. Shortly after remembering that she was naked - and in bed with Martouf and Lantash - she realised there was someone else in the room with them. A little confused, she quickly grabbed the blanket and pulled it tighter around her. She blushed deeply.
"What are you doing here?" She demanded of Zefina.
Zefina smiled at Sam before turning serious again. "Good morning to you too, Samantha. I have just received important information necessitating us changing our plan."
Sam relaxed a little and nodded, leaning back into the pillows to listen.
"Sira contacted me this morning with some unfortunate news. She had just learned that Nephthys's daughter, Neela, will be at the implantation ceremony tomorrow."
An expression of pain crossed Lantash's face. "I see. Then I cannot go."
"Not as a Goa'uld looking to serve Nephthys, no, but I have another idea."
"Wait...why can't Lantash go?" Sam wondered.
"Because he - or rather Martouf - would be recognised. Neela's host is Svala, Martouf's sister."
"Oh...I see..." Sam looked at Lantash and Martouf. "I'm sorry. I didn't know..." She felt very sorry for him and put a hand on his shoulder, squeezing it.
"It happened long ago - almost 27 years ago - before Martouf became my host. It is not something we like to think about, but I will tell you about it later, if you wish." Lantash said.
Zefina continued. "I suggest that we still go there - all of us. I will pretend to have found out you are Tau'ri, and a Tok'ra, and that I will hand you all over to Nephthys."
"Wait a minute...that's not a good plan.." Sam began.
"Let me finish, please. You will only be in her holding cell for a short while and she will be much to busy to interrogate you. Sira has learned that the locks on Nephthys's cell doors are sealed with an electronic lock, which can be disabled by sending out a signal with a very specific frequency. She knows what this frequency is and has sent me this information."
"That is certainly useful, but would we not be searched and any devices we carry be confiscated?"
"Yes, if one of you were carrying the device, then that is surely what would happen. However, it is possible to make it quite small, and it can also be taken apart. I had thought we could hide a piece of it under the skin of each of you. The device will have no detectable energy signature when it is taken apart. You would most likely all be put in the same cell, and you would then be able to assemble the device again and use it to unlock the door."
"It might actually work..." Sam admitted.
"Then we could sneak out, find Talan, and free him. All without anyone suspecting you, Zefina. Your position would not be compromised, so the Tok'ra would still have all their operatives in place. That is truly a good plan!" Lantash said, appreciatively.
"Thank you. Now, we need to hurry. I have the device here." Zefina gave them a very small instrument together with a healing device. "You must get dressed quickly and go to the others, so you can get all the parts hidden before I send my guards to capture you." Zefina winked at Lantash. "I hope you got some sleep tonight. Today may well be a long and hard day."
She left as Sam again flushed a deep red.
"She won't tell anyone, will she?" Sam wondered, when the door had closed behind Zefina.
"If you are worried because she knows we mated tonight, then you have no reason to be concerned. She will not tell anyone."
"Thank you." Sam looked relieved.
"Samantha...you wish to keep what happened tonight a secret...do you regret it?" Lantash asked, his expression troubled.
"No...no, I do not regret it. Don't think that! I...I just need some time..."
"I believe you are aware how we feel. We both love you and would want nothing more than to claim you as our mate...but we will of course give you all the time you need...and hope very much you will eventually chose to become ours."
"I...I think I will. I'm pretty sure I love you. It's just...confusing for me, with Jolinar's emotions and all. I have had so many memory flashes these last days that I am no longer absolutely sure which parts are me and which are her. There is also the issue about us living on different worlds - that's one hell of a long distance relationship."
"I am sure we will find a solution to that." Lantash gave her a small, hopeful smile. *She loves us!*
*Yes. Probably. Hopefully she will chose to be ours, then.*
*That is very much my hope as well.* He gave Martouf a hug. *Now we need to hurry before Zefina has to send her people for us.* Lantash began to get out of the bed. "Samantha...there will hopefully be a time to discuss this later, if all goes well. For now, we must be quick and follow Zefina's advice."
"Of course." Sam gave him a smile before she quickly kissed him, then hurried out to the bathroom before him.
Later. They had taken quick baths and were again dressed as a Goa'uld and his lo'tar. After a very short breakfast they hurried to find Daniel and O'Neill. They briefly explained the changed plan. Neither of their friends liked it, but they ended up agreeing to it anyway. Afterwards, they all went to Teal'c's cell.
Teal'c was unharmed, as Zefina had promised. He needed no time to consider, but immediately agreed to the new plan. The small scrambling-device was split into 5 smaller parts. Each of them hid a part on their bodies, under the skin on their inner upper arms. Using a sharp knife they cut a small incision which Lantash later healed, using the healing device Zefina had given them.
Not long after they had returned to the upper rooms of the palace, first O'Neill and Daniel, then Sam and Martouf/Lantash were arrested by Zefina's Jaffa. They immediately brought them before their lord.
"Traitorous scum! You come here, attempting to curry favour and offering your services to me and Lord Nephthys...and what do I learn!" Zefina sounded enraged. "You only wished to ingratiate you so through my good will you would get invited to appear before Queen Nephthys - for what nefarious purpose I do not know. 'Lord Alim'...you are Tok'ra...heretic scum." Zefina spat. She got up and walked closer to Lantash. "You are a disgrace to your species - and collaborating with humans no less, Tau'ri enemies!" She said with scorn, giving the three members of SG-1 a disdainful look.
"The days of the Goa'uld System Lords are numbered - false gods all of you!" Lantash hissed.
"Take them to the cell with their shol'va friend. It's fitting company for such as these!" Zefina ordered her Jaffa.
Later. Travelling on Zefina's ship, as planned, SG-1 and Martouf/Lantash had been taken to Nephthys. They were now standing before her, together with the undercover Tok'ra.
"Well done, Zefina. This is certainly a worthy catch." Nephthys actually smiled a little, thinking about all the information she would gain. "They make a fitting gift to celebrate such an auspicious moment as my son's implantation ceremony. Your contribution shall not be forgotten."
"Thank you, my Queen Nephthys." Zefina bowed respectfully.
"You are welcome at my table at tonight's celebration." Nephthys said magnanimously. Zefina bowed again and rose as Nephthys turned to her Jaffa and addressed them. "Throw these traitors in a holding cell until I have time to deal with them."
"Yes, Queen Nephthys." The Jaffa bowed deeply before his goddess.
Just as they were leading the prisoners out of the room, Nephthys called out.
"Wait!" Nephthys suddenly got an evil grin on her face. "Take him and...prepare him. Then have him brought to my personal chambers and keep him there." She pointed at Daniel.
"Yes, my Queen Nephthys." The Jaffa took Daniel aside and led the rest of them to the holding cells.
"No!...wait...why me?...I..." was the last his horrified friends heard before Daniel was taken away.
Down in the holding cells.
"Poor Daniel. I hope she's not going to harm him." Sam said.
"Nephthys is a queen. Most likely she decided he would be a good source for code of life...I believe you call it DNA...for her next batch of larvae." Martouf bowed his head, giving Lantash control.
"Though he may not like what happens to him, he will live - as long as she gets what she wants." Lantash said. "Afterwards he will probably be sent to the same cell as the rest of us. We are all in grave danger, though nothing will happen until after the implantation. Without the part of the device Daniel has, we are unable to unlock the door. Unless Zefina or Sira are able to effect a rescue, we will be tortured to death, repeatedly most likely. Nephthys's son will take Talan as host and countless Tok'ra secrets - as well as several agents - will be compromised. It is all my fault. The least I could have done was going here alone and..."
Sam interrupted him before he could continue listing all the disasters that would befell them and the Tok'ra - all because of him. "Lantash...stop! Yeah, it looks bad, but we're not dead yet!"
"No thanks to the snake..." O'Neill grumbled, not making clear if he meant Nephthys, or Zefina - or perhaps Lantash.
Teal'c had been testing the door and several other parts of the cell. "It seems to be made of a sturdy material and there are no obvious ways to escape. I suggest we wait for now." He sat down and began preparing to enter kel'no'reem.
"Sometimes I envy you, Teal'c. I can't just relax and wait for whatever fate may come!" Sam said. She looked at her other companions. They seemed to feel like she did. She was not sure if O'Neill or Lantash looked the most on edge. She sighed. This would be a long wait. Perhaps she should see if something could be done about that lock, using the parts of the device which they did have.
Almost a whole day later.
It was now early morning. Sam had long since given up trying to open the door and had sat down to relax. She had tried to sleep, but had not had much luck.
Teal'c had spent some time in kel'no'reem and now just seemed to quietly wait, perhaps still in some sort of meditative state. O'Neill had alternately attempted to sit down and relax and gotten up again to walk around.
Martouf and Lantash seemed to take turns being in control, but Sam was not absolutely sure. Neither of them were handling the stress well. They had tried sleeping, but had not succeeded for long. From time to time they would get up, walk to the door, and check it out - shaking it a little or something. Sam felt very sorry for them, knowing they must feel terrible. Their son must now surely have become host to a Goa'uld, unless Zefina or Sira had managed to kill him. If they had not, then Zefina and maybe Sira might already be in the process of being tortured to death.
Sam debated with herself whether or not she should go to them and comfort them, and she had just decided to do so, when she heard someone coming.
Every one's attention was immediately focused on whomever was coming. Moments later they saw a young man. He had golden hair and blue-grey eyes. His complexion was unusual, especially for someone with that hair and eye colour, as he had kind of a golden tone to his skin. He resembled Martouf somewhat, but he was taller and looked stronger.
Jolinar happily leaned her head on Martouf's shoulder. She looked proudly over at her oldest son who had just gone through the naming ceremony and by now was teasing his younger brother. All children on Martouf's world had a child name and an adult name, which they did not use until their 18th birthday. It was a leftover tradition from those days when children rarely lived to adulthood. It had continued to be celebrated when Setona had become a highly developed world, where it was a rare thing indeed if a child did not survive to become an adult. Of course, now when the planet again belonged to a Goa'uld, the society was rapidly deteriorating and it was becoming much as it had been in those ancient times.
"He looks both happy and proud - he clearly feels as if he is much more a man than his younger brother." Martouf laughed. "And yet there are only a little more than a year between them."
"True...how quickly they grow up. I feel as if it was only yesterday he was learning to walk. It saddens me how much of their childhood we have missed."
Lantash took over, kissing Jolinar lovingly. "I know. I feel it as well."
Jolinar returned the kiss and put an arm around Lantash. "What saddens me the most is that one day we will watch them grow old and die - unless they chose to become hosts, their lifespan will be short."
"But perhaps longer than what it would have been, were they fully human. Jolinar, my beloved, do not think of such dark things now. Today is a day for celebration!"
Jolinar nodded, smiling a little. "Rosha agrees with you."
Sam shook her head a little, trying to clear it after the memory. The man she was looking at was Talan - Martouf's son. But was he a host?
Lantash had gone over to the bars, prepared to hear the Goa'uld speak instead of his son - ready, or as ready as he could be, to listen while a Goa'uld mocked him with the knowledge gained from Talan.
"Fathers...I am sorry I could not come earlier, but I did not know of your imprisonment until a short time ago." Talan said.
*For a moment I almost dared to hope, but he is a host. I sense the symbiote clearly.*
*Yes, I too allowed myself to dream for a little while, Lantash, but it is obvious the Goa'uld in Talan is trying to trick us in some way.*
*He will not succeed!* Lantash steeled himself and looked at the Goa'uld with a cold expression. "How dare you pretend to be Talan! You are a fool if you think you can trick me by using your hosts voice. You are Nephthys's son - and a coward if you dare not admit your identity!"
A fleeting look of sorrow crossed the young man's face, only to be replaced by determination. "His name is Anbas, but I am not him. It saddens me that you should not recognize me, but in truth I would not either, if our roles were reversed."
"How could you be him? I sense the Goa'uld within you." Lantash said, sceptically.
"Anbas is here...but he is not a Goa'uld...anymore..."
He began to explain.
The day before, just after noon.
The Jaffa carrying Nephthys's son went into the small, private chamber and walked proudly to the platform where the host lay. Beside the naked young man, several guards were posted. Nephthys was there as well, waiting to oversee the implantation. Talan, the future host, tried to control his fear. He did not want to show weakness to the Goa'uld. He was determined to put up as much of a fight as possible.
Talan felt the symbiote slide over his skin. He closed his eyes. Moments later he experienced intense pain, as the symbiote burrowed through his neck and coiled around his spine. He steeled himself and tried to empty his mind of any dangerous thoughts. He was attempting to use the mind techniques he had been taught, to hide his knowledge or at least delay the detection of it for as long as possible. Maybe that would give the Tok'ra the time they needed to recall any agents which could be compromised.
The symbiote sent its tendrils into Talan's brain, settling into its position. Talan felt his eyes glow and control of his body being taken away. Moments later he felt it...him...Anbas! Invading Talan's mind, but not really going for anything but control right now. Obviously, he did not think Talan had any interesting knowledge, secure as he was in his superiority.
Talan concentrated on projecting fear, anger, and innocence. Anbas fought him for control for a short time, as expected, then won, suppressing his host.
Talan felt like he was drowning, so far down had Anbus pushed him. He felt panic rising for a moment, then got it under control. It was as if he could not breathe, barely sense his surroundings.
He faintly noticed Anbas getting up and bowing before Nephthys, greeting her. Then, with an arrogant smile, he took the clothing a slave handed him. Dressed, he followed his mother into the large ballroom where the celebration was being held. It was full of people, but Talan barely heard or saw anything, often blanking out completely for periods of time. His small attempt at resistance had made Anbus continue to suppress him completely. As scary as it was, Talan felt some small comfort in it - this had been his plan. He hoped it would also keep Anbas away from his memories and knowledge for the time being.
The whole day went by. Talan made no further challenges to Anbas's control, and the Goa'uld soon seemed to forget about the existence of his host. The suppression slipped a little from time to time, and Talan no longer felt quite as much like he was drowning.
Late in the evening, Anbus finally retired to privacy. he had celebrated his first host-body very thoroughly, with much food and drink, as well as several women. Satisfied, and quite exhausted, he went to his chamber to relax and sleep.
Anbus had considered using the sarcophagus, for regenerating quickly so he could return to partying, but in truth he wanted the time alone. He needed to familiarize himself fully with this new body of his. During the day he had regularly had to draw on experiences from his host. It disgusted him that he, a superior being, needed something from his host. That would have to end as quickly as possible.
Tired - and more than a little drunk, since he had wanted to enjoy this new life to the fullest - Anbas stumbled over the leg of a chair and fell, hitting his head against the corner of a table.
The pain made him call out and his hand went to the side of his head. Unhappy, he looked at the blood it came away with. The damage was minor, but he felt greatly annoyed. Partly because of his clumsiness, but even more so because this made it very obvious to him he was not a god, however much he might try to convince himself that he was.
He suddenly imagined hearing someone taunt him, but he could not see anyone. Even more irritated he got to his feet. Clambering to his bed, he threw himself on it and started the process of filtering out the alcohol from his blood and healing the wound.
Done with the filtering, he began healing. It really was ridiculously easy to heal these bodies. Too easy he suddenly realised. The wound should not have healed this much so quickly - not before he started working on it. He quickly finished the process and started probing his hosts body. There were several other small oddities - were his host not fully human, perhaps?
*Tell me!* Anbus demanded. *What are you?*
*Your host, apparently...* Talan 'snorted'.
*Answer me! I need to know...I have a right to know!*
*And here I thought 'gods' were all-knowing...* Talan mocked him.
Furious, Anbus tightened the grip on his host and Talan felt the world disappear as a crushing force pressed at him from all sides. He felt as if he was suffocating and his consciousness began slipping away.
*Tell me now! I will kill you if you do not obey me!* Anbus screamed.
Almost unable to think, Talan struggled to formulate a reply. *And...whe...ere will you...be...with...without...me...?*
Having to admit to the truth in this, Anbus finally let go, roaring with anger.
During Anbus's confusion, Talan managed to surface and grabbed control. He lunged for a knife lying on the table. He got it and was just about to stab himself in the exact spot on the neck where Anbus would be closest to the skin, when a shocked Anbus yanked back control.
*You are harcesis...* Anbus suddenly realised. *Your faster healing, knowledge about symbiotes, all the little abnormalities of your physiology...* Anbus was even more shocked at this realisation than the fact that his host had come close to stabbing him. Who would have dared? Then he thought about all the knowledge that would now be his. *You must have the genetic memories of two Goa'uld - I want it! Give it to me! I shall use it to gain vast power...*
*Never. It is mine. Much too powerful for a weak symbiote like you. You could never handle all that knowledge...I would have to feed it to you in such small bits to not overtax your tiny brain...if I wanted to share it...* Talan said, realising Anbus would keep this up until he got the knowledge he wanted. Moreover, he, Talan, would be powerless to stop Anbus. That left him with the one - very unlikely - chance. He decided to take the gamble and continued taunting Anbus mercilessly.
The symbiote was by now beside himself with anger at this insolence - and from someone who should not even exist, no less! This valuable information would be his - all of it! Anbus did something which he would normally never have done. He opened his mind for a full merging of all the knowledge and memories of his host. This way he would get it all, even if his host tried to fight it. It would go a little slow, most likely, since he would have to pull it from his host and there would be a lot of information in the genetic memories from two Goa'uld.
Feeling Anbus do this, Talan let go of all his mental shields. He opened up completely to the genetic memories he had been trying to hide, hoping to overwhelm Anbus. Since Anbus expected to have to pull it from Talan, he would instead get a flow so fast it might stun him for a while, maybe even harm him.
The inherited genetic memories - while always accessibly and able to have an effect on their owner - were not usually in the active memory and also not part of what was shared during a normal Tok'ra blending, unless needed. Since there was so much of it, and since much of it was unpleasant, it was normally carefully sifted through for what was required for a specific task.
Symbiotes - especially those in Jaffa, who had few personal memories yet - were much affected by them while growing up. Less so as they acquired more memories on their own, but by then they had usually already been damaged by their inherited memories of power and evil deeds.
Now Anbus was exposed to a full dose of Tok'ra genetic memories, including all that which came from Lantash and thus contained that which Egeria had changed - and added. Anbus gasped under the massive onslaught, completely unable to stop the flow or even slow it down.
As he received it all over such a short span of time, it had a much larger effect on him than it otherwise would, drowning out and replacing the effects his own genetic memories had had. Since he was also young and did not have many memories of his own, these imported memories had a lasting effect.
For a long while after the memory transfer, Anbus just lay on the bed, completely exhausted and overwhelmed. There was so much new to take in. So many different ideas, and so much information - most of it telling him that much was not as he had thought. There were so many things he now saw from a very different perspective.
Fighting it at first, he soon had to admit it; his own position had been wrong and the Tok'ra right. It was unpleasant, but undeniable.
The whole Goa'uld way of life was wrong! It would lead to their downfall. The only solution was cooperation and technological development. Everyone would be needed for this to succeed - humans, Jaffa, and symbiotes. All could and should contribute. They had to, for the future of everyone in the Galaxy. It also meant no one was more 'worthy' than anyone else. Everyone deserved be treated with respect. Slavery was wrong and...and...taking an unwilling host was wrong.
Suddenly Anbus felt disgusted with himself. He was ashamed at his actions and realised he had to talk to his host. That he needed to apologize to him. He would leave him, of course, regardless if he could get another host or not. But first he had to escape this place so Talan would be free.
He considered his options...if he could actually find a willing host, someone who wanted someone such as he...unlikely in the extreme, he knew that...but, if he could...would the Tok'ra perhaps let him join them? Would they accept someone like him? He doubted it, but he wanted to fight the Goa'uld. Very much so. Anbus took a deep breath, preparing himself to speak with his host.
*I...I apologize...* Anbus began. It would be a very long conversation.
"After we had spoken for many hours, we came to an agreement. I will stay his host...willingly...and we would like to join the Tok'ra. If they will accept us." Talan ended his long explanation.
Martouf, who had taken over from a surprised and shocked Lantash, still sounded like he had a hard time believing what he had just heard.
"If...Anbus...really is being honest and sincere about this, then I am sure you will be accepted."
"You're gonna believe him - just like that? Listen, I can understand why you'd want to, but it's obvious the snake is tricking you!" O'Neill said.
"We want to believe it is true, yes, but we are not fools. The Tok'ra will test Anbus, most stringently. Anise, whom I believe you have met, has been doing some research into ways of using the memory recall devices to test if people have been brainwashed, but it can be used as a general truth-detection device as well."
"A lie-detector. OK, if you think it's trust-worthy. I don't put much faith in them personally...and I also do not really trust Anise. There was this deal with those super-hero armbands..."
"I do not know how the Tau'ri 'lie-detector' functions, but I assure you, this will work. There are other means as well - for instance, we have drugs which have a stronger effect on the symbiote than the host. They will effectively render the symbiote unconscious for a period of time, while we talk to the host."
"All right, I admit it sounds like you - for once - may actually have things under control."
"How did you learn of us being prisoners here?" Teal'c said, still suspicious.
"After our discussion, Anbus and I slept for some hours. We were totally exhausted. Mentally, it had been a very draining experience for both of us.
This morning, Nephthys joined us for breakfast, looking very pleased. She asked if Anbus would want any of the prisoners as a gift to celebrate his implantation. He could pick anyone but Teal'c, whom she wanted to give to another System Lord, in order to increase her standing. We agreed Anbus should ask for time to decide, after he had had the opportunity to look at them.
We went here as soon as possible after that, having one other thing we needed to attend to first...but come now, we must hurry. There is little time left before Nephthys concludes her meeting with the Goa'uld who are to receive Teal'c."
He unlocked the door to the cell and quickly looked around. Seeing no one there, he gave a zat'nik'tel to each of them and motioned for them to come. O'Neill shrugged and walked out, the others following. Whatever Talan's - or Anbus's, whomever one of them it was - plan was, it could not be worse than waiting here for Nephthys or her guards.
"What about Daniel?" Sam wondered.
"Yeah, we're not leaving without him." O'Neill added.
"Your friend is safe, if still somewhat...affected by what happened to him tonight. He is physically undamaged, but feeling somewhat distressed. Nephthys had ordered him sent to your cell, but we succeeded in intercepting the guards. They will not be found. We have found a place for your friend to hide until he can flee together with you." Talan had led them out of the cell area and through a corridor, while talking in a low voice. When they rounded a corner they almost fell over a Jaffa who was lying on the floor. "Sorry, I should have warned you." Talan looked apologetic.
"He is dead." Martouf said, checking.
"Shouldn't we...um...vaporize him, to cover our tracks or something?" O'Neill said.
"No. This one I have left on purpose, in an attempt to mislead Nephthys and cast doubt on Heryshef. He is a minor Goa'uld, who has an uneasy truce with Nephthys." Talan explained.
"OK...now I'm confused! How does a dead Jaffa implicate this particular Goa'uld?"
"It is not the Jaffa himself, but a certain piece of fabric with a button on, which is sticking to his armor." He pointed to it.
"Heryshef is well known for his interest in fashion and has his cloth woven with intricate patterns of his own chosing. Also, his buttons are all imprinted with his symbol. Yesterday, Anbus and he was drinking, and they had a quarrel over a woman. This lead to Anbus throwing some wine on Heryshef's clothing, making him furious. During the ensuing fight Anbus happened to tear off a piece of cloth, which had a button attached. Fortunately, Heryshef did not notice - being quite drunk - and Anbus hid the material in his pocket, wanting to further spite Heryshef by letting him walk around with soiled, ripped clothing. It was really a stupid, unimportant fight, and soon forgotten amongst more alcohol and women. However, this morning Anbus found that we still had the fabric in our pocket, and we decided to make use of it for casting the blame on Heryshef. Nephthys will likely believe it - she has suspected Heryshef for a long time."
"So Heryshef will be blamed for our escape." Sam concluded.
"Great! Now, let's get out of here and find Daniel." O'Neill said.
They continued through the labyrinth of corridors. Only once did they hear Jaffa. They quickly hid in a small room and stayed very quiet, waiting for the guards to pass. Fortunately, they were not detected and there were no further instances. They safely made it to a back door Talan and Anbus had found earlier. Talan took them to a small building, outside in the courtyard. They went inside. At first they did not see much in the dark room, but Talan led them to the opposite end.
"You will hide down here." He opened a door in the floor and they climbed down a ladder. "I will be back as soon as possible." He closed the door.
They heard Talan drag something on top of the door, presumably to hide it - or to make sure they did not get out!
With an uneasy feeling they sat down to wait in the semi-darkness. This room was rather large and was probably used for storage. There was a dim light coming from the far corner, behind some crates.
"You think we can trust him? Because if we can't, we're stuck down here!" O'Neill did not sound happy.
"Why should he free us from the cell if he is really a Goa'uld?" Sam wondered.
"He may wish to sell us to another Goa'uld or keep us for his own reasons. Goa'uld are rarely loyal, even to their own family." Teal'c pointed out.
Martouf nodded. "That may well be the case - we cannot know for sure. However...I find myself believing him, though I admit it may be wishful thinking. Lantash is more suspicious of him than I am."
"Why?" Sam wondered. "It seems to me that Talan is behaving as I remember it...from Jolinar."
Martouf's head dipped as Lantash took over control.
"While it is an attractive thought, it is unknown how much Tok'ra genetic memory would change him, since he is already grown. There is no prior cases to compare with. He has been affected by his Goa'uld genetic memories during his childhood, and it has a strong effect. However, he is still young and Egeria's teachings are powerful. We shall see." He looked thoughtful. "I am also suspicious of how he knew to find this hiding place. Talan has never been here before and Anbus cannot have learned much of this place while he was in a Jaffa."
"Yeah, there's that..." O'Neill commented.
Just then they heard a sound from the other end of the room. It sounded like someone whimpering - perhaps having bad dreams?
They carefully walked over there and peaked around the corner. On a small pile of hay someone was sleeping. That person tossed and turned in his sleep, clearly having a nightmare. They looked at him in surprise for a moment. Sam was the first to recover.
The man on the bed stirred, then slowly woke up.
"Daniel! Are you all right?" Sam hurried to his side, followed by the others. "We were worried about you."
"Yeah...I guess so..." He sat up. "It was just a nightmare..."
The others looked at him, unsure of what to say. Nephthys had probably done the same to him that Hathor had - Talan had hinted as much. Did he remember it or had he temporarily suppressed the memory? Perhaps he just did not want to talk about it right now - pretending it did not happen and merely was a bad dream. If so, they would let him handle it in his own way - they would be there for him, if or when he needed them.
"So, Daniel...how did you get here?" O'Neill asked.
"Um...Talan intercepted the guards taking me to the cells and freed me. One of the servants saw it, but I managed to convince Talan that she could be trusted. She had been nice to me yesterday and this morning - bringing me food and water. It was good Talan did not kill her - she ended up helping us. She showed us this place when we needed somewhere to hide me quickly." He looked at Martouf. "Talan told me that he is a host, but that his symbiote can be trusted. That he is no longer a Goa'uld. I don't know what to think, but he helped me, so..."
"We talked to him also. I am fairly certain he is telling the truth, but Lantash still has some doubts." Martouf said.
They all sat down to wait. There was little else to do. At least they were all together again now. That was worth something.
Many hours later.
It was now early evening. Teal'c was meditating and the rest had fallen asleep. Finally, there was the sound of someone pulling the crates that covered the door away. They awoke and got ready as best they could, for whomever it might be. They still had the zat'nik'tels they had gotten from Talan.
The door opened and a light was held down. Someone stuck his head down and glanced around - Talan.
"We still need to be careful and quiet." He said in a soft voice, as he lowered down a ladder. They quickly climbed it, while Talan kept watch.
"What is your plan?" Martouf wondered.
"Anbus managed to convince Nephthys that Heryshef was to blame for your escape and for the dead Jaffa. She killed him for the treason and appointed Anbus new lord of Heryshef's small empire. This is to be his first assignment for Nephthys. We are to leave tonight, on Zefina's ship. Anbus will travel by chaapa'ai from her world, accompanied by some slaves and Jaffa, which Zefina will provide. Lord Anbus can't arrive empty-handed to his new empire."
"And we go with you as well?"
"Yes. One of you must accompany me now, secretly, to convince Zefina that you are alive, and to arrange for a place to pick you up. She will not trust me, I am sure."
"I will go - I am the only one she may believe in this matter." Martouf said.
The rest stayed hidden while Talan and Martouf went to talk to Zefina. They were able to get to Zefina's room without being stopped, but she was very difficult to convince. She suspected Anbus of doing this in order to blow her cover, but finally she agreed to trust him - for now at least. They agreed on a place to pick up SG-1 and Martouf later.
Talan, as Anbus, then went to make preparations to leave. Martouf snuck back to the others, fortunately again without being caught by any Jaffa.
The pickup had been uneventful, as had the short journey through space on board Zefina's ship. When they arrived on Setona, SG-1, Martouf, and Talan were dropped off close to where Talan's family lived. He had managed to convince Zefina and Martouf/Lantash to let him see his wife and child before going to the Tok'ra. Martouf and Lantash would be keeping an eye on him until they arrived at the Tok'ra base, where it would be determined if Anbus was trustworthy.
Meanwhile, Zefina would prepare his retinue - if the Tok'ra accepted him, he would be a valuable operative and would pretend to assume his position as the new Lord of Heryshef's domain.
They slowly walked the short distance to Talan's brother, Sirrik's house. Talan seemed apprehensive and was probably worried about how his family would react.
"Talan, why haven't we heard Anbus speak at all?" Daniel suddenly wondered.
"He is ashamed of himself. He does not feel he has the right to be in control, except when he has to, to act Goa'uld. Not after what he has done. I do not wish him to continue punishing himself like that, but we both agree that you would most likely prefer not to be reminded of his existence."
"He's right..." O'Neill mumbled in a low voice.
"We should still meet him, I think...but maybe not while we visit with your family, Talan." Daniel said.
"I am well aware that would be a bad idea. I do agree you should meet him - and you will, when we have arrived with the Tok'ra." Talan said.
They had now arrived at Sirrik's house. Martouf walked ahead to talk to them and explain the situation a little. Some time later he returned and told them that they could all come in.
The visit was short and Talan was kept under guard the entire time. Nonetheless, his family was very happy to see him again and to know he was alive and seemingly well. If all went well with the Tok'ra and Anbus turned out to really no longer be a Goa'uld, then Talan would be able to visit from time to time. Of course, if Anbus turned out to still be a Goa'uld, he would be removed and Talan would return to his family.
Since Sam had been part of the mission that had brought back Talan, and since she had willingly put herself in danger for Talan, Sirrik promised to give her the benefit of the doubt and no longer blame her for Jolinar's death. It might take him a while to do so, but at least he was now trying.
It was late evening when they left to go to the chaapa'ai, and deep night when they arrived there. Fortunately, there were no guards and they made it safely through to the Tok'ra base planet. Talan had been wearing a blindfold, since they did not want him to know the gate address, should Anbus turn out to be Goa'uld.
Coming out on the other side, they were soon surrounded by Tok'ra guards who took them to the tunnels.
Talan/Anbus were taken aside and led under guard to a holding cell. There they would stay until everything was ready for the examination. Meanwhile, the others went to be debriefed by the council.
SG-1 was let out quickly, but Martouf/Lantash were kept in there for a long time. When they finally came out, they looked both relieved and unhappy at the same time.
"So, what did they say?" Sam asked, a little apprehensive.
"For now they are awaiting the results of the examinations and interrogations of Talan and Anbus. There is a team working on them now and we should have an answer within a few hours, at most."
"What are they doing to them?" Sam sounded worried. It was obvious she was still very much affected by Jolinar's feelings regarding Talan.
"Anise reported they have answered satisfactorily when questioned with the assistance of her modified memory recall device. Now they will give them a drug which will render them unconscious. Talan should wake up shortly, but Anbus will stay sedated for quite some time. Meanwhile, Talan will be interrogated, probably also with the assistance of a memory recall device."
"It sounds a bit like overkill - shouldn't the memory recall thingies be sufficient?" O'Neill said.
"They should, but since there is a potential risk to several operatives, and since Talan and Anbus would have to leave immediately on an undercover mission to Anbus's new empire, the council wants to be absolutely sure."
"Of course. It is very rare that Goa'uld turn Tok'ra, and when it has happened in the past it usually took several years before they were trusted on important missions - especially on their own. Isn't that correct?" Sam wondered.
"Yes, exactly. However, in this case we have no choice. He is expected to arrive on his world shortly, and no one else can be sent as a replacement. This is too good an opportunity to not take it - we would get an operative who are absolutely trusted by Nephthys, and very close to her."
They went to the Tok'ra version of the mess hall, to get something to eat and to relax a little while they waited. Martouf and Lantash were both quiet and tense during the time and did not want to speak much.
Finally, several hours later, they were told the interrogation was over. They had found that Anbus truly had changed and could be trusted. He and his host would be welcomed to join the Tok'ra.
Martouf looked much relieved and immediately left to speak with Talan. SG-1 did not see either of them again that evening, and they soon retired to the guest quarters which had been made available to them.
Next morning, Martouf and Lantash found SG-1 in the mess hall, eating breakfast. They sat down to eat with them, and told them the news about Talan/Anbus. After the new Tok'ra had been given instructions by the council, Martouf/Lantash had spent several hours explaining a number of things to them and talked with them about going on missions for the Tok'ra. Talan and Anbus had left for Setona shortly after daybreak.
Having learned how things turned out, SG-1 would be returning home to the SGC in a few hours. Martouf asked Sam to come with him for a while - to talk about Talan among other things. They walked to his room where they could talk in private.
"I am very glad Anbus is a Tok'ra now - and that Talan is not host to a Goa'uld, of course. It has really been a stressful mission! Even more so for you, of course." Sam added quickly.
Martouf nodded. "It has been...very hard. I am pleased everything turned out well in the end." He smiled shyly at her. "There was something else that happened on this mission - something which pleases me and Lantash greatly."
Sam blushed profusely. "Yeah...I guess we need to talk about that..."
"Lantash and I very much hope you are still not regretting it? Have you made any decisions?"
"I'm not regretting it - there's just so many reasons why it would be difficult if we decide to...have some sort of relationship. Where would we stay? I'm not sure if I'm ready to leave the SGC and go live with you here at the Tok'ra...and I guess you and Lantash can't just leave and go stay on Earth. So...we need to be sure of this - and how we'll go about it, if we decide to do it."
"Lantash and I are very sure. There is nothing that would make us happier than taking you as our mate...but we meant what we said. Take the time you need." A troubled expression crossed his face. "Actually, you will be getting plenty of time to think this over. While everything turned out for the best, and the Tok'ra even gained an operative, the council still thinks we deserve some sort of punishment - though they don't call it that, exactly."
"What do you mean?"
"Instead of staying here and helping prepare for - and participate in - the official signing of the Tok'ra-Tau'ri alliance, Lantash and I will be sent on a fairly long mission."
"They can't do that to you! You're one of those who has worked the hardest for the alliance!"
"The decision has been made. Someone else will take over my duties, both my normal ones and the remaining small errands and short missions that need to be done in connection with the treaty." Martouf bowed his head. His eyes glowed when he again looked up.
"The mission we are being sent on is one which is important, but which would be difficult to find volunteers for. Many undercover missions require the Tok'ra to take on the role of a Goa'uld, though we also sometimes pretend to be humans. This mission is of the latter type." Lantash said.
"And that is why no one wants to go?"
"No. Though in this case they probably consider it an extra punishment for me, since I would rarely be able to risk taking control, and then usually only if I pretend to be Martouf. Tok'ra rarely impersonate their host if it is not absolutely necessary. No, what people don't like about this mission is that it will be hard work. Slave labour, actually. They are building ships, possibly of a new design. The Tok'ra need an agent there, to learn more about them and what plans this Goa'uld - Shesmu - has. He is known to be very suspicious of everyone and everything and we cannot get anyone into his court. This means we must take another route to learn of his plans. If we go as someone totally inconspicuous - like a slave - to the planet his ships are being built on, he will not even learn of it. It will probably take a long time to get information this way. However, if we keep our eyes and ears open, it will be possible. The mission will probably take at least a couple of years, maybe longer - and there would be no way to contact us safely during that period of time."
"I see..." Sam looked unhappy. "...but at least it's not dangerous, is it? I mean, would a Goa'uld not sense you?"
"Yes, of course, if a Goa'uld got close enough, but they rarely come close to ordinary slaves, so we should be quite safe as long as we keep our place and do what we are told."
"But there will be hard work..."
"Yes. However, as a Tok'ra, we can tolerate it better than a human, even if we are not accustomed to that particular kind of work. We will survive and return - to you, hopefully?" He looked at her questioningly.
"I...I think so. Two years - or more - it's a long time, but...yeah, I think so..."
Lantash nodded. "That is all we can ask. We will hope - and look forward to being with you again." He walked over to a chest of drawers and pulled out the top one, taking something out. "We would very much like you to wear this for us..." He put a necklace around her neck.
Sam went to the mirror and looked at it. It was made of gold and had a relatively large emerald pendant, set in an intricate gold framework.
"It is beautiful!" Sam blushed. "I will be very happy to wear it. Thank you." She smiled happily at him, then went to him and gave him first a kiss, then a warm hug.
Lantash kissed her back and caught her in a tight embrace before she could step back. Sam had not intended for anything to happen right now, as she would soon be leaving for the SGC, but as the kiss deepened and grew more passionate, she quickly forgot everything else.
Soon Lantash's hands began to caress her - one strayed to her ass and the other found its way up under her shirt, pulling it free. Gripped by lust, he pushed her up against the wall and began kissing her desperately. While his hands were busy unbuttoning her clothing and pulling at it, he kissed her chin, neck, throat, everywhere he could reach.
Sam was by now very aroused, and did her best to help him. Soon her pants and underwear were lying on the floor. She began pulling at his clothing, as did he. His belt fell to the ground, and he stepped back a little to pull off first his vest, then his pants. Moments later he was only wearing a shirt and feeling too impatient to take that off as well, he returned to her embrace. He had opened her shirt and now pulled her bra up enough that he could suck and kiss her breasts. He laved her nipples until they were both hard.
Lifting her up so that her buttocks rested on his hands, he pushed her against the wall. She eagerly spread her legs and locked them behind him. Using the wall for leverage he moved one hand between her legs and spread her labia. He then placed the tip of his shaft against her opening and pushed hard, entering her deeply in one stroke.
They both gasped and stood still for a moment, before he returned his hand to her ass and lifted her a little more. He began thrusting into her. Holding onto him with her arms and legs, she did her best to reciprocate. After a little while, Lantash gave over control to Martouf, who continued almost without a break.
Sam touched him everywhere she could reach, caressing his back and shoulders. Sliding one hand up under his shirt, she enjoyed the feeling of his naked skin. Her other hand found its way to his neck and began stroking Lantash through the skin.
Martouf made a hoarse sound and slammed hard into her, pinning her against the wall. He gave back control to Lantash, who thrust into her a few times. Then he held Sam even closer to him, as he walked over to the bed and put her down on the edge, deciding he would get better leverage this way.
Lantash began riding her faster, ramming into her. Sam was unable to do much except wrap her legs around him and buck against him, as best as she could. She continued touching him, more and more erratic as she got closer to orgasm.
After a few more thrusts from Lantash, Sam gasped and came hard. Her convulsions were enough to push Lantash over as well, and with a strangled cry he emptied himself inside her, shuddering with pleasure. He lay down on top of her for a little while, panting.
He kissed her gently, before crawling fully up on the bed and pulling her to him. "We love you so much, sweet Samantha..."
Sam smiled and snuggled closer to him. "I love you both as well." She admitted, both to herself and to them.
Contentedly they lay there for a little while, enjoying the closeness to each other. Soon Sam would have to get up and dress, in order to leave for the SGC, but just now she did not want to think of it. She would just lie her with Martouf and Lantash, and think of nothing else.