TITLE: To Hell and back 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. This entire story is based on the episode "The Devil You Know" and much of the dialog is taken directly from that episode.
SUMMARY: "The Devil You Know", from Aldwin's POV.
CHARACTERS: Aldwin, Teal'c
SPOILERS: "The Devil You Know", Tok'ra episodes in general.
AUTHORS NOTES: * denotes thoughts or symbiote/host communication. Gerim is the name I use for Aldwin's symbiote. It is taken from the Stargate RPG books, which are (as far as I know) not canon.
We have just listened to Teal'c giving us information from Selmak, concerning Sokar's planned attack on the System Lords. The Jaffa has risked his life to come here so quickly - running the Teltac's hyperspace engines at a much higher power than anyone had thought they could withstand, given the condition the ship is in. Impressive. The information may well prove invaluable.
My symbiote, Gerim, thinks Teal'c is more concerned with the lives of SG-1 - as well as Martouf and Selmak - but I doubt that. He is a Jaffa and understands well there are many things of greater importance than saving your friends. Regrettably.
I tell Teal'c to wait while we go to consult with the High Council. Admittedly, we are both a little relieved to leave his presence. Jaffa - especially those of the Apophis clan - carries bad memories for us both. It is not fair against Teal'c - we both admire him for leaving the service of Apophis - but it is nonetheless the truth. The heart does not always listen to the mind.
We do not have to wait long. The council decides to test a new weapon Anise and her group has devised. This is apparently an ideal opportunity for it. We quickly return to the Teltac.
I have just put the heavy container with the weapon down on a table, when we sense the energy signature of a symbiote approaching from behind. It is Teal'c. Gerim believes he seem concerned, so we decide I should explain the plan. I feel certain Teal'c will be relieved to hear of the great blow we will be able to deal to Sokar. Gerim is less sure. I do not know why he is being so cautious.
"I have been instructed to return to Netu." I tell Teal'c.
"What is inside the container?"
"For what purpose?"
I am surprised, confused even. What does he think it could be for? I open the lid to show it to him.
"The Tok'ra High Council believes that the uprising of Apophis presents a key opportunity. Sokar will take his mother ship into orbit around Netu to restore order there."
"This weapon is intended for Sokar."
"Yes, but unfortunately we have no weapons capable of penetrating the shields of a Goa'uld mother ship." I explain, certain he will understand the plan. He was First Prime, after all, and is no stranger to military strategy.
"How then will this weapon prove effective?"
"I am to launch it through the atmosphere of the moon into one of the holes of its surface and down into the core. There it will force the base elements into a cataclysmic chain reaction. The entire moon will explode, taking Sokar's ship with it."
I really hope he is not going to ask for further explanations. Science is not my strongest side - nor Gerim's.
"Along with everything else on that moon." Teal'c says.
I notice he is looking alarmed now. I realise he must be thinking of his friends. I, too, am sadden by their likely fate, but surely he understands why this must be done? I feel Gerim's sadness as well. Urged by him, I try to make it clear to Teal'c why this must be done.
"The Tok'ra would not do such a thing unless there was no alternative. Sokar cannot be permitted to rise to dominant power. It would end our chances of ever overthrowing the Goa'uld."
Not only that. Sokar would be the worst of the Goa'uld to achieve such power. With the possible exception of Anubis, of course, but thankfully he is dead. Probably.
"What of rescuing my friends and the Tok'ra still trapped on that world?" Teal'c asks.
I again feel a sting of sorrow. Martouf is one of my best friends. He became a host at approximately the same time as I and we spend the initial training together. Selmak and Lantash are some of Gerim's closest friends. Suddenly, this mission no longer feels like it could be a great victory - even if we should succeed in destroying Sokar.
Gerim suggests we offer Teal'c the opportunity to leave now. He should not have to participate in a mission that will likely cause the death of his friends, however necessary their sacrifice may be. How should I put it to him? He will not accept such an offer if he suspects it is given out of compassion for what might be perceived a weakness. I fear a Jaffa might take it as an insult.
"I am charged with my mission. If you intend to stand in my way, I will insist that you remain here on Vorash."
That should give him a way out, without any risk of dishonour.
"I will accompany you."
His will is strong. I realise he will not give in to his love for his friends. He wishes to render his assistance. I am not certain if I feel this makes it harder or easier, knowing that Gerim and I shall not have to do this alone. I realise I do feel grateful for Teal'c's wish to help us.
"Then we must leave immediately." I tell him, accepting his choice.
Teal'c merely nods and goes to pilot the ship. I do a few more checks of the weapon, before I return to the cargo area. I notice it has been transformed for this journey. There are makeshift beds along the sides - which still carry signs of having been slept in. By Martouf and Lantash, as well as the humans. My thoughts immediately return to memories of the past. Happy times as well as tense situations. The time when Martouf saved my life. The day when he, Jolinar, Korra, and I went to Silvar to swim, and those Jaffa suddenly appeared, seemingly out of no where.
I sigh. It will be a long journey, and not just because it will physically take a long time. It will, though, almost a day, even running the engines at maximum, as Teal'c does now. I feel the ship shake from time to time, but then it settles back to smooth operation.
Gerim is in no mood to talk. Perhaps we should attempt to sleep - if we can. We attempt to clear our heads of unwanted thoughts. It is useless. Both Gerim's and my mind is still swirling with memories of our friends. How Selmak helped me when I had just arrived and missed my home so badly. How happy Lantash looked when Rosha and Jolinar finally decided to accept his new host Martouf as their mate as well. When they agreed to continue their long relationship. Was it really 25 years ago? A little more, Gerim says, though my estimate is close.
So many memories...and soon they will be all that is left of our friends. I do not believe we will be able to rescue them. I wonder again how Jolinar managed to get away from Netu. I think everyone has thought about it at some time. Netu!
Gerim offers to come forward. To take control and allow me time to think and remember. I consider it for a short while, but then I 'hug' him and tell him it is not necessary. I cannot do that to him. He may not want to admit it, but he is somewhat shy when we are among people he does not know well, and he is extremely uncomfortable around Jaffa. Not that I am blaming him. Not after what they did to him and his former host. I know it was some of Apophis's Jaffa, and likely under the control of Teal'c. I am thankful Teal'c did not actively participate in the torture. It would have been too much to handle. No, I do not blame my poor Gerim for wanting to stay hidden.
From what Martouf and Selmak has told us, it is just as well. The Tau'ri apparently does not react well to symbiotes, so that is one reason more for me to stay in control, whenever we are around any of them.
Teal'c is calling for me and I go to talk to him. I wonder what he want?
"If Sokar has not entered orbit around Netu when we arrive, a rescue could still be attempted."
I am about to tell him there will likely not be time. That it cannot be done. That it is futile to hope and that it will only lead to more sorrow.
Then Gerim points out that Jolinar escaped. That there are always possibilities. That we should at least try to rescue our friends. Suddenly, irrationally, I feel hope return.
"Yes. But if he is already in orbit, we must act swiftly and launch the weapon. I don't like this any more than you do. But essentially, this is war. If Sokar ascends to ultimate power, the consequences will be far greater than loosing a few good people."
I feel much relieved that he does. I still feel the need to explain myself, though.
"Timing will be critical. Once the weapon has been launched, it will be approximately twelve minutes before the reaction in the moon's core reaches critical mass. If Sokar has enough advance warning, he will have time to escape the range of the explosion."
Teal'c nods and returns to piloting the ship. I walk back to the cargo compartment and sit down on one of the makeshift beds. This mission is starting to give me an ominous feeling. Gerim sends me warmth and love, but I sense he feels like I do. Worried, I lie down and try to sleep. Almost 18 hours remain before we arrive.
Gerim releases some calming and relaxing chemicals into our bloodstream and I feel myself dose off.
When I wake up I have no idea how long time has passed. I feel rested, so it must be many hours. I reach out mentally and search for Gerim. I realise he is still asleep. I am glad he managed to find rest as well and decide not to wake him just yet.
I get up, taking care to move gently and not make any sudden, hard movements. Gerim is even more troubled by this mission that I am. He has a gentle heart, and this is very painful for him. Suddenly, I wish he did not have to be part of this mission. That I could keep the events from him. However, as a host I cannot block him out - nor would he want me to carry this alone. I know this. Still, I wish there were some way I could protect him from this.
Perhaps Teal'c needs to kel'no'reem? He must not have been able to do so for many days. He flew the Teltac to Netu, back to Vorash, and now partway to Netu again. It must have been close to three days, I realise!
Suddenly feeling very ashamed I did not think of this before, I hurry to the Jaffa.
I see him sit as straight as when we left him to go to sleep, hours ago.
He turns, looking at me. His expression is unreadable. I imagine he looks weary, but I am not certain. He bows his head, acknowledging my presence.
"It...occurred to me you must not have had the opportunity for kel'no'reem for...several days, at least. Perhaps I could pilot this vessel while you remedy this?"
"It is unnecessary. I am well."
"Teal'c...even you must be weary. Is it then not logical to rest when there is time? I admit to being unsure of the exact amount of time remaining before we reach Netu, but despite my previous fatigue I do not believe I slept an entire day."
I see a hint of amusement.
"You did not. More than 7 hours still remain before we arrive. I will retire for my kel'no'reem. I shall return well before we reach our destination."
I nod, giving him a friendly smile as he leaves. We slept for more than 10 hours? True, before this mission we had been working hard for several days, with little opportunity for sleep, but even so...
I feel Gerim begin to rouse as I sit down at the control panel. He sleepily grumbles something.
*Good morning...* I tell him. *Slept well?*
*Good morning....well, yes...though I dreamt we had been captured by Apophis's Jaffa. Being here with Teal'c triggers some memories I had thought burrowed deeply.*
So that was the unease I sensed from him before, while I was talking to Teal'c. I 'hug' my symbiote.
*I know. He was Apophis's First Prime, then. At least he was not directly in charge of the group of Jaffa that tortured and killed your former host.*
*True...my poor Tavin...*
I sense the pain my symbiote feels.
*He has changed his ways. Back then he had little choice but to obey. We should not feel animosity towards him now. What he has accomplished is impressive.*
Gerim mentally took a deep breath. *You are correct, of course. My mind agrees - now my heart only needs convincing as well.*
We sit in silence for a long time, looking out at hyperspace as we whoosh through it. Occasionally, I glance at the instruments in front of me. There are no other ships nearby. No threats. The engines run smoothly now, even at this power level. I spend a moment contemplating this unexpected luck.
Suddenly, Gerim breaks the silence.
*I shall miss them if we fail to rescue them. I wish there were another way.*
*Perhaps...* I begin, unsure how to console my soul mate. I find I am unable to find the right words. I admit my defeat. *I wish the same. Let us hope there is yet time when we arrive.* I merely say.
Gerim, being more accustomed to piloting Teltacs, take control. He fiddles with the controls for a little while, and actually manages to coax another 1% extra power out of the engines. I am impressed. The engines shudder momentarily, then resume their smooth operation.
We return to our own thoughts. Some time later, Teal'c emerges from the back compartment. Now I am certain. He looks more refreshed.
"I am rested and ready to pilot this vessel."
It sounds almost like a demand, and Gerim nearly jumps from the seat. Obeying Teal'c as if he were still First Prime, even before either of us realise what we have done.
"The controls are yours, sir." Gerim says, immediately cursing himself for his reaction. He gives me control.
I send warm feelings of love towards him, as we begin to walk towards the back compartment. Teal'c is sending us odd looks, but he says nothing. I imagine he is thinking it is a good thing Gerim is not undercover, pretending to be a Goa'uld. I tend to agree. Treating a Jaffa as your superior is not exactly the best way to convince someone you are a System Lord, even a minor one.
Some hours later we are finally approaching Netu. I go and stand beside Teal'c, looking at the read-outs. I feel my heart sink as I notice Sokar's mother ship poised between the planet and Netu. We are out of time and our friends and the Tau'ri are out of luck.
"We must hold our position in the shadow of the moon so we are not detected." I tell Teal'c. It is probably unnecessary. He already knows this.
I observe the scenery as Teal'c navigates the Teltac towards the hiding place. Then I go to prepare the bomb.
After I have worked on it for a few minutes, Teal'c calls out.
"Someone has transported up from the surface of Netu to Sokar's ship."
Thinking about who it might be, I finish the preparation. The weapon is now ready to be launched. Sokar's ship will only need to move a little closer, then it will be in an optimum position. We will not be able to look for our friends or the members of SG-1. We must hurry, in order to carry out the plan and kill Sokar. Too much is at stake to risk delaying this - even for our friends.
*As you told Teal'c, this is a war.*
It is obvious Gerim is trying to console himself as much as me, but his words are true regardless.
Suddenly, the communications device springs to life. I hear a voice, which I recognize as belonging to the woman who briefly hosted Jolinar.
"Teal'c, it's Carter. Come back if you can hear me."
Teal'c turns partway towards me.
"Wait!" He turns back. "Major Carter, it is I."
"Oh, thank God."
Almost as if in a trance I look at the button needed to activate the weapon. I must not let this stop me. There is no time to rescue them. We cannot risk the safety of countless millions for a chance to perhaps save 3 humans and 2 Tok'ra. We cannot...the needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few...I keep repeating this to myself.
Gerim 'hugs' me, wordlessly giving me his support. There is nothing to say. I sense his deep sorrow.
"Stop!" Teal'c yells at me.
I thought he had understood? Gerim suggests he has allowed his love for his friends to surpass his reason, and I decide I need to get Teal'c to listen. Gerim thinks it is a folly, but I suddenly need to get Teal'c to understand. I take my zat'nik'tel and aim it at him.
He looks at me, threateningly, and I do not know what to say. I strongly feel the need to explain my actions, but still I cannot find the words. I give up and merely push the launch button. The weapon ejects from the ship and I know it will soon burrow into the moon. I have doomed my friends and the three Tau'ri, but hopefully Sokar will be killed and millions of lives will have been saved.
They must have felt the impact down there, for shortly after I hear Major Carter's voice again.
"Teal'c, what's going on?"
"You have twelve minutes until Netu is destroyed."
"I am here with the Tok'ra Aldwin. He has launched a weapon into the moon's core, which will explode, destroying Sokar's ship, which is in its orbit."
Teal'c turns off the communications. For several minutes neither of us are talking. Does he not understand the danger we are in?
"We have less than nine minutes. If we stay here much longer, we risk being caught in the explosion ourselves."
"I will take that risk." He merely says.
Gerim suggests Teal'c may be hoping his friends will be able to escape and find a way to ring aboard. To me it sounds unlikely in the extreme - and surely not worth risking our lives for. Our friends are dead. We have killed them. We should mourn them.
However, Gerim is not ready to do that yet. He gently reminds me the weapon is already deployed - Sokar's ship will be destroyed or not, regardless of the fate of our friends and ourselves. He is willing to stay until the last moment to give Martouf and the others time to make their escape.
I must admit I think he is wrong, though I wish I did not. I decide to try to convince Teal'c to move the ship regardless. At least one out of the three of us should be the voice of reason.
"Even if Martouf and your friends somehow make it to the transporter rings on Netu, Sokar's ship is in the direct path of the matter stream. There is no way we can intercept them."
Why does no one listen to me? Even my symbiote disagrees with my decision, but he does not want the confrontation. I sigh.
Suddenly Teal'c steps up to me and take the zat'nik'tel from me and hit me, before I have time to react.
I try to fight him, only half-heartedly, but I am no match for him.
"Teal'c, unhand me! Teal'c! Teal'c, this is suicide!"
He ignores my outcries and simply push me into the cargo area and close the door.
I try to push at the door for a moment, without any effect, of course.
He continues to ignore me. He probably went back to the control panel. The energy signature from his symbiote is further away now.
Gerim, who is otherwise usually never fond of Jaffa, appears pleased.
*You are happy he disobeyed us. Threw us in here, and is now keeping the ship in orbit until Netu explodes and takes us with it?*
*I do not require his obedience, nor should I expect it...but you are correct. I am pleased we will stay here. I still hold hope - however unlikely, as you will surely tell me - that our friends will find a way to flee and even access the ring transporter. That they will somehow get away. I realise it will probably not happen, but the Tok'ra cause is saved, at any rate. Sokar's ship will be caught in the explosion.*
*You risk your life...* I point out to him, though I secretly admits I would not mind risking my own, as long as Sokar is killed. If only it gives Selmak and Martouf a chance to live.
I sit down against the door and wait. There is little else to do.
A few minutes later, I faintly hear a crackling noise. I put my ear close to the door and hear a voice through the communications system.
"We're on our way!"
I am not certain I recognize the voice, but I know it must be one of Teal'c's human friends. I feel a spark of hope. Have they escaped? I hear Teal'c answer.
"Timing will be critical, Daniel Jackson. You must tell me precisely when you are ready.
Gerim realises there is something Teal'c needs to know and tell me to get up and stand as close as possible to the door.
"Teal'c, listen to me carefully! In order to intercept the matter stream you must fly the cargo ship between Sokar's ship and the planet. If we do not come to a complete stop, we could miss part of the matter stream. Your friends would die. And that's only if Sokar doesn't blow us out of the sky." I add.
Teal'c does not acknowledge if he has heard me. I can only hope he has. I believe he has. I feel the ship accelerating as he moves it.
Again, I hear a voice through communications. It is the same one as before.
"Almost there, Teal'c."
I try not to fidget, but both Gerim and I are very nervous. If I were back home, before I joined the Tok'ra, I would have prayed to Apophis to deliver our friends safely. Now the idea appears ridiculous, knowing he is no more a god than...Gerim. Still, I miss the comfort I felt back then.
"We're ready, Teal'c!"
I hear the report through the door. I feel my heart beat faster. Gerim releases calming chemicals into our bloodstream. As much for his own benefit as mine, I suspect.
Suddenly, I feel us stop and the ring transporter activates. Surprised, but grateful, I watch as it deposits Martouf, Selmak, and the three Tau'ri. They are almost carrying Selmak, who does not look good. That is a concern for later. Now we need to get as far away from here as possible.
"They're here! Go! Go! Go!" I yell at Teal'c through the still closed door.
There is the familiar sensation as the ship accelerates quickly and then makes the transition into hyperspace. I let out a breath I had not even realised I was holding. Gerim is cheering loudly in my head.
The door opens and Teal'c is standing there, smiling.
"We have escaped."
"Iced tea. Air conditioning. Water." I hear Colonel O'Neill say.
I look at him and then at the others. They all look tired, exhausted even...dirty...pained. I am sorry for what they must have endured, but so very happy that we could save them. I still only half believes it is really true. That they are really here.
Teal'c hand Colonel O'Neill a water bag, still smiling.
I feel grateful I was wrong and Teal'c right. My friends are saved!
*You should tell him.*
Gerim is correct, of course. Teal'c hands me back my zat'nik'tel. I take it and look up at him.
"I'm sorry I doubted you."
"I am as surprised as you that we survived." He admits.
I smile at him, bowing my head in acknowledgment.
Turning, I see Martouf give Major Carter some water. They all begin to relax. After drinking some fluid they look more comfortable. It must have been terribly hot down there.
I stay for a while, just enjoying their company. Enjoying the fact that they are alive. I am unsure what to say to them, other than that I am happy they survived. I am not part of what they have endured together and feel like an outsider. Even to my Tok'ra friends, Martouf and Selmak.
Both Gerim and I have changed our opinion of Teal'c after this mission. Before we respected and admired him for what he had done. For going against his 'god'. Now we have seen another side of him as well. We have seen him as a man who is very loyal to his friends and will risk anything for them. I still think it was a dangerous gamble, but I am very happy with the results. Teal'c does not seem to harbour any ill feelings towards us. I think we might even become good friends. It would be strange to have a Jaffa friend. Strange, but also nice. It has helped me feel less uncomfortable around Jaffa. Well, around Teal'c, at least. Perhaps it will also help Gerim. I think it already has and he agrees. It turned out to be a good mission after all. In more ways than one.