Chapter 23 summary: Lisha/Jolinar are back home in the tunnels - for a short while.
[ Chapter 1: Goodbyes | Chapter 2: An Audience | Chapter 3: A Conspiracy | Chapter 4: Promotion | Chapter 5: Minor System Lord | Chapter 6: An Old Acquaintance | Chapter 7: Diversions | Chapter 8: Plans | Chapter 9: Happy Moments | Chapter 10: Culmination | Chapter 11: Complications | Chapter 12: Daily Life | Chapter 13: Exposed | Chapter 14: A New Host - and a New Master | Chapter 15: New Challenges | Chapter 16: A Necessary Sacrifice | Chapter 17: Information Gathering | Chapter 18: A Surprise Visit | Chapter 19: Bad News | Chapter 20: War and Power | Chapter 21: Emergencies | Chapter 22: Found Out | Chapter 23: In the Tunnels | Chapter 24: Undercover at Bastet's Court | Chapter 25: Discovered! | Chapter 26: Rosha | Chapter 27: Host | Chapter 28: Getting Along | Chapter 29: Safe | Chapter 30: Lantash | Chapter 31: Shared Missions | Chapter 32: Taking A Chance | Chapter 33: Danger and Betrayal | Chapter 34: Some Realizations | Chapter 35: Hiding | Chapter 36: Time for the Truth | Chapter 37: Home | Chapter 38: Together | Chapter 39: Martouf ]
After having been debriefed, Malek and Jalen both left for the new location of their normal base, while Jolinar decided to stay here on a temporary assignment, in a newly grown room.
Jolinar had few, if any, personal items on her usual base - and, in truth, she had never really belonged to any one base. She had been on missions most of the time, except for the years she had lived on the planet where she had helped raise Egeria's youngest children.
She and Lisha agreed one base could be as good as another, so they became tentatively assigned to this one.
*It is nice to be here in the tunnels, among fellow Tok'ra, after having been undercover for so long.* Jolinar observed drowsily.
They were taking a relaxing bath and the warm, scented water was almost putting them to sleep. It had been a hard month while they were stranded on that planet, hiding from Zipacna's Jaffa. They were in need of several days of rest, and they were currently on indefinite leave.
Lisha nodded, relishing the feeling of finally being able to be in control for more than a few minutes.
*It is a pleasant place, these tunnels. I have barely visited any of the Tok'ra bases before as you know.* Lisha sighed. *You have been undercover for 455 years! First about 160 years under Cronus. Then, I became your host and we have been an underling of Zipacna's for...nearly 300 years...*
*295...* Jolinar commented, sleepily.
*As if that difference mattered!* Lisha snorted. *In any case, after being away for that long, you must enjoy being back in the tunnels, even if it is another base!*
*I do. Very much. It is pleasant not to have to be on guard the whole time, and nice not to have to pretend to be a Goa'uld. It is tiresome, if necessary. Unpleasant to be reminded of how easy it is for us - some of us, at least - to play this role. The things we sometimes have to do - abhorent! Though, it is always worse for the host, I admit.*
They finished their bath and put on the much more modest clothing the Tok'ra wore, unusually subdued to their eyes after the Goa'uld outfits they had worn for so long. They then went to the mess hall for dinner before it was time to sleep.
Grabbing some food and drink, not really caring what, they looked around for an empty seat. Spotting one, they went there, sitting down.
Jolinar knew most of the Tok'ra here, though none closely and many of them only in passing. There were perhaps one or two on the base - Tehvak included - who considered her more than an 'acquaintance', but they both had jobs which would keep them busy most of the time.
Besides, she had been away for 455 years. She had had some talk with other Tok'ra from time to time, but not a lot. While it might eventually be nice with some company, for now, they both felt it was quite enough just to be back in the relative safety of the Tok'ra tunnels.
They both had to admit it would probably take them some time to get used to being around so many who knew who she was and were friendly, and to not always having to rely only on yourself.
After staying there for nearly a month, they were getting used to life in the tunnels. Jolinar and Lisha helped putting intelligence reports in order. They streamed in constantly, and it was an important job - which Jolinar soon realised she hated with a passion.
Lisha took care of it most of the time, as she found reading the reports interesting. Jolinar tried to sleep or think of other things, but she quickly grew restless and they had to take regular breaks.
Now and then, they would spend an evening talking with some of the other Tok'ra on the base - or playing a game. Life was peaceful...and Jolinar was getting seriously bored.
Lisha did not want to take on another long-term mission, which might easily stretch out for more than the rest of her life, but she eventually agreed to shorter missions.
It was not a full week after they had reported their decision to Tehvak, when they were called to his office.
"Jolinar...Lisha. We need an operative for a shorter mission to Bastet's court."
"Bastet has done very little for the last many centuries - why are we interested in her?" Jolinar wondered.
"That has changed. From what little information we have about her, she seems to be considering an alliance with Kali, and they may be planning to go to war with Olokun, in order to conquer several of the planets near Bastet's border - at the very least Gwortak, with the extremely rich naquadah mines there. We need someone to keep an eye on her. If both the alliance and the war succeeds, Bastet could become very powerful."
"She is a dangerous, cunning - and unpredictable Goa'uld."
"That is very true - which is why we need an experienced operative."
"Yes. It would have to be a 5-10 year long mission. Not very short, but certainly no where near the centuries long missions you have been on before."
*What do you say? Will you rather we decline this? Bastet is dangerous, and it is for a longer time than we wanted. It is your choice.*
*Yes, but if we do not do it, they will send someone else, someone less qualified. They have no one suitable available right now. Besides, it is a challenge.*
*I agree.* Jolinar looked at Tehvak, who patiently waited for them to come to an agreement. "We will do it."
Chapter 24: Undercover at Bastet's Court