Sam slowly awoke and opened her eyes. The light was flickering, and the air smelled of acrid smoke. She coughed violently, then gasped as pain coursed through her. She spit out some blood and attempted to sit up.
She groaned as the pain intensified, and she fell back against the floor. Moving, or even just breathing deeply, was too painful. She lay still for several moments, trying to remember what had happened.
The first attack had happened through the Stargate. SG-4 had come in hot, and intense weapons fire through the wormhole had somehow disabled the iris, meaning there had been no way to block access for the many Jaffa that followed. The guards in the gateroom had defended the base as well as they could, and eventually they had won, though the victory had cost dearly.
Unfortunately, it had not been long before the Stargate activated again, and the iris mechanism was only partially repaired, meaning grenades had come through, disabling the iris completely. More Jaffa had followed.
That was when the report came that several motherships had been spotted, approaching Earth, and they would arrive within a day. The Jaffa had been sent by Sokar, so it was a safe bet the ships belonged to that Goa'uld as well.
Several waves of Jaffa attacked through the Stargate, and for a long time the people at Stargate Command had managed to fight them back. However, ha'taks were on the way, and the Stargate remained activated, so there was no way out.
Sam tried to focus her thoughts, which were blurry. She took slow, even breaths, and the fog in her mind lifted gradually. She could remember what had happened.
Eventually, groups of Jaffa had broken through and the fight had raged in the corridors. An explosion in the gateroom had caused parts of the structure to collapse, and no more Jaffa could come through. For now, at least. Sam felt certain the Stargate itself was unharmed, and that it was only a matter of time before it would be reopened. If it did not happen before, then surely it would when Sokar arrived by ship.
Of course, by then it would no longer matter.
Sam – and the rest of SG-1 – had been in one of the last surviving groups, fighting the Jaffa.
She listened attentively for several minutes, but the only sounds that could be heard, were the crackling of electricity from exposed panels and light fixtures.
Carefully taking a deep breath, Sam sat up. She closed her eyes and leaned against the wall for some time, waiting for a strong wave of pain and dizziness to recede, before slowly taking stock of the damage to her body.
Her shoulder hurt, but it was neither broken nor dislocated. Good. She had a nasty gash on her arm, but that would heal, and would be of no consequence for now.
That was as far as the good news went. From the pain she felt when she moved, she was certain at least a couple of her ribs were broken, and she more than suspected she had other internal damage. Her head hurt in a way that convinced her she had a concussion, but hopefully it was not too bad.
Forcing herself to ignore the pain, she stumbled to her feet, surprising herself when she actually managed to stand, albeit supporting herself against the wall. She had a wound – from a knife, that much she remembered – in her left thigh, but apart from that, her legs and feet were undamaged.
Satisfied she would be able to move, at least for the time being, she swept up her P90 and slowly limped through the corridor. She had only taken a few steps, when she discovered Daniel, lying on the floor. Her heart beating rapidly from fear, she leaned down and checked for a pulse.
She found none. Daniel was dead. A wave of sorrow swept through her, but there was no time to mourn right now. That was for later – if there was a later.
She walked slowly through the corridors, finding no one alive, and nothing but devastation anywhere. At least she also met no resistance. The pain in both her head and chest was getting worse, and she regularly coughed up blood. She was getting weaker, and needed to take regular breaks. If she did not soon find someone alive that could help her, she would not last long, that much she knew.
Desperately looking for survivors, Sam had managed to make her way several floors up, but each one had looked as hopeless as the other. Here, on the floor she was currently on, there was not even the crackling of electricity to be heard. It was completely dark, since the emergency lightning had failed as well, and she had to use a flashlight.
It was eerily quiet, and the dead bodies that lay here and there, only made it worse. The silence was getting to her, but she knew it was only a temporary quiet. Sokar would have arrived with his fleet by now, and he would have easily destroyed Earth's defences. It was only a matter of time before he and his Jaffa would come here, to dig out the Stargate.
She felt hopeless. All was lost. There were no one else left here, but herself, and on the surface people were no doubt being killed by orbital bombardment, in preparation for the Jaffa landing and enslaving the survivors.
How could it have come to this in only a few days? She sat down against the wall, deciding she could just as well give up. It was not a thought that came easy to her, but what could she do? Even if she were not dying from her wounds, the Goa'uld Sokar would be here soon, and if she was still alive by then, he would interrogate her. Torture her, endlessly.
If the access to the Stargate had not been blocked, she might have gone to the Alpha site – or perhaps to a Tok'ra base. Though she doubted she would have been able to make it as far as the gateroom, even if the way there had been free.
She thought of her friends. She had found Daniel and Colonel O'Neill, both dead. She did not know where Teal'c was, but she doubted he was alive – or that anyone else but herself was, in the entire complex.
Part of her wanted to cry, but the tears would not come. She felt numb... and lonely. Yes, most of all she felt lonely, so very lonely. Perhaps, if she was not so completely alone, this would not be quite so bad.
Suddenly, she thought she heard something... it sounded like... squeals? Confused, she managed to get up again, and shook her flashlight, making it turn on again. The batteries were almost gone.
She very carefully made her way towards the sound, when suddenly she knew what it was! A symbiote! She ran the light over the body lying nearby, and she could feel the naquadah signature. It was Teal'c, and his symbiote had its head and part of its body out of the pouch. It squealed again, and looked towards her and the source of light.
Sam raised her weapon, pointing it at the symbiote. “I don't know if you can understand me, but if you try anything, I'll shoot!”
'Junior' made another squeal. Sam suddenly felt that it sounded wary, and desperate.
Still pointing the weapon at the prim'ta, she leaned down and felt for Teal'c's pulse. There was none, but he was still warm. He must have been alive until very recently – which made sense, since otherwise 'Junior' would have died too. Teal'c had a very bad head wound, which had obviously proven too serious for his prim'ta to heal.
Sam felt sorrow over the loss of her friend. Another one dead. So many dead.
The symbiote made several more squeals, and slowly, warily moved in the direction of Sam.
“I told you!” she warned.
'Junior' halted, and looked directly at her.
Sam shook her head, slowly, at the desperate, insane idea that suddenly popped into her head. “I can't believe I'm even considering this... however, there's a chance my wounds are possible for you to heal, and you're not old enough to take control against my will. So...I guess I am offering... a ceasefire? A chance for both of us to live. A little longer, at any rate. The Goa'uld – Sokar – will be here soon. If you play along and offer your services to him, then he might accept. Just – remember, I can take control from you while you're as immature as you are right now. Fight you for it, anyway, and I promise you, I will kill myself – and you – before I allow you to betray the Alpha site. The same thing will happen if you try anything else we haven't agreed on. So, what do you say? Do we have an agreement? Make one squeal for no, two for yes.”
'Junior' looked at her for several moments, and Sam wondered if it had even understood her. Then it made two, very clear, distinct, squeals, and started moving towards her again.
“Calm down!” Sam warned, raising the weapon again. “This will be on my terms, and this is how we'll do it. I don't want any scars on my neck, so I'm gonna pick you up, and you'll enter through the mouth. Understood?”
The symbiote made two more squeals, sounding insulted, furious, somehow, or maybe Sam imagined it.
“Good.” She shook her head as she gingerly picked up the symbiote. “I must be crazy.” It was very young. So young, in fact, that there was a risk it would not be able to successfully take a host, in which case both of them would die. Well, if they did not do this, then their deaths were certain. She held it up to her open mouth, and let go of her grip, quickly, before she had time to regret it.
'Junior' slid in immediately, and she felt the familiar, sharp pain at the back of her neck, reminding her of when she became host to Jolinar, then everything went dark.
She awoke some time later. Nervous, she probed for the symbiote, and finally sensed it, unconscious or sleeping. She attempted to move, and found she had control. There was little pain, and she seemed fully healed. Probably, the symbiote had been so exhausted after healing all the damage – and attempting to keep Teal'c alive before – that it had become unconscious immediately after healing her.
The corridor was still dark, and when she tried the flashlight, she found the batteries were completely drained now.
She felt famished, presumably because of the energy expended on healing. Feeling in her pockets, she discovered she still had half an energy bar from the day before, and she wolfed it down. Feeling a little better, she got up and began walking in the direction of where she knew the stairs would be, keeping a hand on the wall and feeling her way.
It was almost three hours later, when 'Junior' awoke. Sam had found her way to the floor where the mess hall was located, and discovered there was still some power there. She had made herself a cup of coffee, and eaten some leftover food, and was feeling much stronger.
The symbiote made a weak attempt to take control from her, but its young age combined with its near exhaustion from healing her, meant that Sam kept control easily.
*Insolent host! You will cede control immediately! I have healed this miserable body, and it is now mine!* the symbiote insisted.
Sam sighed, not really surprised. *You're forgetting the terms of our agreement, 'Junior'. Go back to sleep, you need it! I'll wake you up when the Goa'uld arrive.*
*I am your god, Nerys! You will cease calling me 'Junior', at once. It is an insult to my greatness, and you will obey me!* the symbiote demanded, furious.
Sam rolled her eyes. *Okay, your highness. Nerys. Whatever. Just... go to sleep!*
The symbiote became even more enraged, and again tried, desperately, to take control. Giving up, it 'yelled' at Sam. *Ungrateful has'shak! I shall punish you for this – at a time of my own choosing!*
Sam snorted. *Later? I would have thought you’d punish me now... unless you can’t!*
She waited for some time, but Nerys did not say anything further. She could feel it... her? simmer with repressed anger.
Sighing, Sam sat down to await the arrival of Sokar’s Jaffa, thinking about all that had happened recently. After some time, she realized Nerys had fallen asleep again. The symbiote was really very young, and quite exhausted after the ordeal.
What would she do? The plan was to - somehow - insinuate herself at Sokar’s court... or rather to let Nerys do so. Then, when there was a chance, Sam would flee, and attempt to find the Tok’ra, get Nerys out, and join those of her people who were at the Alpha site.
That was as far as she had planned, but now she suddenly had a new idea. She considered staying at Sokar’s court for some time, trying to gather some intelligence about the Goa’uld Lord.
She felt fairly certain she would be able to control her symbiote without problems, for at least a few more years, but could she stand being her host? Would the symbiote keep up the attitude, or would she... mellow with time? Become less Goa’uld, and more Tok’ra? Would, perhaps, the memories Sam carried from Jolinar, Tok’ra memories, of a symbiote who had changed from Goa’uld to Tok’ra, be able to affect Nerys? Make her change too?
Sam did not know the answer to that. She poured another cup of coffee, and shuddered a little at the complete desolation of the place. She felt alone, in a way she never had before. There were literally no one else to rely on for this ‘mission’ she had set up for herself... if she wanted to remain at Sokar’s court for a longer period of time, that was how it would be.
*Why do you drink that noxious sludge? Stop it! Immediately!* Nerys insisted, having awoken.
Suddenly, Sam felt like grinning. Hearing the symbiote complain was actually a relief - she was not completely alone in this... and there was someone who was feeling worse than she was.
True, the voice in her head was Goa’uld, and a pain in the mikta, but right now it was welcome company. She had an - however unwilling - co-conspirator in this, and somehow she would succeed in gathering vital intel about Sokar and escape, reaching the Tok’ra and the Alpha site. Perhaps she would even change Nerys... maybe if she could get her to look at Jolinar’s memories? But how?
Before she had time to consider any of this further, she heard noise, and then shouting. The Jaffa had broken through to this level of the compound, and it was only a matter of minutes before they were here.
She grabbed her mug and swallowed the rest of the coffee, by now bitter and getting cold. She grimaced, but enjoyed the enraged complaints from Nerys too much to care. *Well, are you ready for your big act? Convincing the Jaffa you’re a Goa’uld in control of your host, and not just a little kid needing said host to handle everything for her?*
Nerys fumed and called Sam a long string of unpleasantries in Goa’uld. With no blending, Sam had no clue what they meant, but it was unlikely to be pleasantries.
*Calm down. The Jaffa are here. Now, remember our deal. If you say or do anything I don’t agree with, we’re going flying from the tallest place I can find. Get it?*
Nery was silent for so long Sam was getting worried, as the Jaffa were just outside in the corridor. *Yes,* the symbiote finally answered.
*Good.* Sam allowed Nery to take control, and the symbiote flashed her eyes and turned towards the door, where the Jaffa now entered.
“Jaffa, kree!” Nerys flashed Sam’s eyes again, just for dramatic effect, and looked as arrogant and pompous as she possibly could. “Why did you tarry? Take me to your Lord Sokar at once, so I can get a bath and some suitable clothes!”
The nearest Jaffa looked at the Goa’uld with a surprised expression, but quickly collected himself. “Yes, my Lord, of course. Your host is unknown to me, who may I have the pleasure of announcing?”
They had been taken to Sokar - who had been very interested in any information Nerys could provide, given that her host was the only survivor from the human base. He hoped Nerys would be able to draw much useful information out of her host’s mind, and Nerys made sure to not dissuade him of that belief.
Right now Sokar was occupied with the subjugation of the planet, and re-opening the Stargate, but as soon as he had that under control, he expected to see Nerys again, and hear what she had to tell.
Sam and Nerys were sitting in the luxurious chamber that had been provided on Sokar’s mothership, and they had just eaten a delicious meal. Sam had not felt like eating, her thoughts occupied with their dangerous situation, and her dead friends and coworkers. Nerys had been very willing to keep control, thoroughly enjoying her first meal in a host. Sam might have laughed at her eagerness, had she not been so depressed and preoccupied.
Nerys ate the last of the food on the plate, and drank the wine in her goblet, then got up and looked, with a pleased expression, in the nearest mirror. She slowly turned in front of it, holding out the thin pieces of cloth that made up the skirt of her revealing dress, and allowed the soft material to flow through her hands.
As the symbiote twirled around in front of the mirror, making the dress flutter around her, and grinning foolishly, Sam was suddenly reminded that this symbiote was a child. Yes, it was a child with some very convoluted opinions about herself, and the memories - albeit not all accessible yet - telling her she deserved worship and had the right to treat others as she wanted, but a child nonetheless. In many ways at least. Was this something Sam could exploit, something that could be used to turn the young Goa’uld into a Tok’ra, perhaps?
She mentally rolled her eyes as Nerys took off the dress and put on another, even more revealing and outrageous. Sam did not enjoy Goa’uld clothing, or the way Nerys obviously thought of Sam’s body as hers. She considered grabbing control from the symbiote, but did not feel like listening to her complaints, remembering how much Nerys had whined when Sam had insisted on control during their bath.
Which she soon found she had to, anyway. Nerys suddenly stopped being pleased, and became silent in Sam’s mind. She sat down on the bed and Sam got a decidedly unhappy - and worried - vibe from the symbiote. It did not take long before Nerys put words to her unhappiness.
*You do realize I am doomed? You will not let me give Sokar the information he wants! When he realizes this, he will send me to Netu! Do you know how unpleasant a place that is?*
Sam grabbed control from the symbiote and snorted, lying down on the bed and ignoring the angry insults Nerys had started throwing in her direction, when control was taken away.
*Yes, as a matter of fact, I happen to know exactly how unpleasant Netu is! I happen to have been there, as well as having the memories of Jolinar being imprisoned there!*
*Jolinar... the Tok’ra you were host to!* Nerys sounded as if even mentioning the Tok’ra gave her a bad taste in the mouth. Sam had the distinct feeling of someone rooting around in her memories, and soon after the symbiote made a noncommittal sound. *Your experiences only means you should do anything to avoid going back there!*
*Don’t you realize, that if you gave Sokar all the information he wanted, immediately, then he would have no more use for you? Or do you think you have any kind of special talent or ability that means he just has to give you a high position? Ahead of other, more experienced Goa’uld? Of course not! You, my ‘friend’, would be going to Netu... and take me along for the ride. That’s not going to happen!*
*If you think you are so intelligent, then tell me what you wish me to do?* Nerys ‘spat’.
*Me? A human? Surely you aren’t asking me?*
For several minutes, Nerys was unable to form the words, even mentally, so furious did she become. When she had finally calmed down, Sam was surprised with what she said, even if the words came slowly and it clearly pained her to say them. *Regrettably... I do not yet have full access to my genetic memory. Of course, in time I will have. Until then, I have... little knowledge of Sokar. Since it is... in both our interests to survive this, you will give me the information you apparently have on him, so I shall not have to waste my time looking for it in your inferior mind!*
*You know, you really should learn to have a nicer attitude when you’re asking for something.* Sam observed, actually surprised with the symbiote’s admission. *Then I might consider helping you.*
*Why would I need to ask for something that is my right? I am a god, and you are just a host!* Nerys answered, angrily. *You are so far beneath me you barely exist!*
*Yes, about that. Why are you even talking to me? I thought that was a big no-no for an important snake like you - kinda means you’re acknowledging my existence, doesn’t it?* Sam threw back at Nerys.
*How can I not!? You are the worst, most insolent host anyone could have! It must be because you were host to a Tok’ra before. You are polluted. I should not have agreed to this! Saving your life! I am too merciful!*
*Merciful? You would have died before me, if I hadn’t become your host!* Sam scoffed.
A long time passed, then Nerys spoke again. *Fine. You want me to ask nicely? I can do that. Show me the relevant information about Sokar. Please.*
*Better.* Sam sighed. *I have some knowledge about Sokar, but Jolinar was the one who was undercover at his court, and she knew much about how to fool him. Unfortunately, I do not know exactly how to access all the relevant information. Jolinar’s memories are... somewhat fragmented and difficult for me to reach. Sometimes, they will come to me unbidden, and at other times I am even able to look at them directly.*
*That is an outrage! You forced me to humble myself, and then you admit your weak human mind cannot help me! I should have known!*
*Many of the memories are blocked, and those I can access are jumbled and fragmented - whether because I can’t get to all of them, or because of the way they were transferred to me, I cannot say. I think what happened was that Jolinar basically did a, ah, memory dump on me while she was dying, and I don’t think it was deliberate. Anyway - I can point you to some memories that has to do with Sokar, and then you just, you know, have to follow them and see if you can... unravel the mess,* Sam told Nerys.
*That is unacceptable! You will apologize for this! It will take me many hours to find anything, if I am to sort through the memories of a symbiote! Of course, a mere human like you cannot fathom how much knowledge and memories my kind have!*
*Well, you can always start from the beginning and work your way through, or are you saying you aren’t up to it?* Sam goaded the symbiote, very much hoping she would fall for it and actually go through a significantly portion of Jolinar’s memories, especially the early ones, from when she decided to become Egeria’s ally. When she became Tok’ra.
*Of course I can do it. Easily,* Nerys ‘yelled’. *Just see to it you keep guard, and awaken me as soon as someone approaches... if that is not too difficult for your small brain to handle!*
Sam rolled her eyes. *No, I think I can do that. You just get started.*
Nerys actually did just that, and left Sam alone for the next many hours - except for the occasional complaint about the massive amounts of information she had to go through, and once, when a servant arrived to remove the tray with dishes and ask if Nerys needed anything. Sam had alerted Nerys, and she had taken control, yelling at the slave and telling her not to come back until next morning, unless Nerys called for her. The servant had fled, terrified.
Sam prepared herself for the night, and went to bed, falling asleep while Nerys continued going through Jolinar’s memories, by now too absorbed in them to complain - or to stop when she had found what she had been looking for.
It was very early next morning, when Sam awoke from something disturbing her, she did not know what. It turned out to be Nerys, who had ‘poked’ her, surprisingly gently.
*Hmm? What do you want?* Sam wondered, sleepily. She turned over on her back, and realized - with some surprise - that the symbiote had not retaken control while Sam slept.
Nerys hesitated. *Jolinar... she, she was right. The Tok’ra... they are right.* She sounded awed, and... surprised, perhaps? Humbled. *The Goa’uld are wrong... I was wrong...*
It was more than obvious the symbiote was being truthful, and Sam did not for a moment doubt that Nerys meant what she said. *Does that mean... that you’re Tok’ra, now?* She sounded disbelieving.
*No...* Nerys said after some time, and it was clear the next words were hard for her to say. *I fear... it is too big a change, too soon. I am not yet... worthy... of being called Tok’ra. However, I hope I will one day be.*
Sam felt like giggling like crazy from the relief, but she was very much aware it would be the wrong reaction for so fundamental a moment in her young symbiote’s life.
*I think the fact that you feel that way is the best proof that you will become Tok’ra.* Sam said.
Suddenly, she felt less alone. Not only were they both in this, as unwilling partners, like they had been yesterday - no, now they would truly be partners, working towards the same goal.
Perhaps all was not so hopeless, she mused. If Nerys could take the first steps to becoming Tok’ra this quickly, then surely, it would also be possible to conquer Sokar and free Earth. Eventually.