Chapter 33 summary: When someone informs the Jaffa about the presence of potential rebels, Rosha/Jolinar and Nemura/Lantash have to find a way to escape. But how to escape when there is only one door out - and it is both locked and guarded? Can a new friend help, perhaps?
[ 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 ]
"Rosha...Jolinar. I think it may have been a very bad idea to tell that young woman...Pita, as much as we did." Lantash said in a low voice, throwing a glance in the direction of the door.
It was evening, some hours after they had eaten the porridge that had been served for dinner. Pita had not shown up to talk to them - indeed they had not seen her there at all.
They had been given lodging in a large building, with rooms for many people. They shared quarters, which meant they could talk in relative privacy. They were very concerned about the way Pita had reacted, and the speed with which she had left - as well as the fact they had not seen her at all since.
On one hand, they ought to keep a guard, but on the other hand they also needed to sleep. It would be a hard day tomorrow if they were staying here, which was by no means certain.
"You are correct. We should not have told her, but what is done is done."
Lantash sighed, frustrated. "Do you wish me to keep guard first?"
"I have been thinking about it. I do not think there is much to be gained by either of us doing so. We cannot leave this place, even if Jaffa come. It is locked and guarded for the night. We may as well sleep. If we are fortunate and Pita has not told the Jaffa - which I think is by far the likeliest - I doubt very much she would have dared - we will at least be rested tomorrow."
"You're just going to leave it to fate? Trust this person doesn't betray us?" Lantash exclaimed, his voice rising.
"Shhh. Be quiet or you will get us turned in yourself!" Jolinar hissed in a low voice.
Lantash looked like he wanted to yell at her - or possibly kick the door - but he controlled himself with difficulty. A moment later he gave control to his host, who was of a somewhat calmer disposition, though not as much as would have been advantageous.
"Lantash is correct." Nemura argued. "We must find a way to escape this...deathtrap your clumsiness has placed us in. Save ourselves!"
Jolinar sighed deeply. She did like both of them, she just sometimes wished they were not as similar in personality as they were. It might have been better if at least one of them had the ability to control their temper.
She decided they would have to work on it, and that she would remind them to, when they hopefully returned to the tunnels. Rosha suggested Nemura was the more likely to accept their advice in that, and Jolinar agreed.
"And how will you accomplish that? This building contains a multitude of similar, small rooms, just like the one we are in right now. Apart from those, there is a simple latrine and a washroom. That is all there is in this building. The single door out is closed, locked, and guarded, and there are no windows. We made a discreet check of the entire place before retiring to our room. You know that." Jolinar patiently pointed out.
Nemura mumbled something inaudible.
That was when someone knocked at the door. Not really loud, more like a rapping. It was followed by a voice, whispering, urgently.
"Hello? Are you in there? I need to talk to you!"
Rosha, who had quickly been given control, looked to Nemura for a moment. They nodded at each other, and she opened the door.
Outside stood a young woman, maybe in her early twenties, with long curly dark hair and brown eyes. She was quite beautiful, but she was much too thin and had a number of nasty wounds on her arms, as well as one on her cheek. The wounds were relatively fresh and had only just started to scab.
When she quickly slipped inside the room, her eyes flicking fearfully right and left to see if anyone had detected her, Jolinar saw her dress was torn in the back, and she had additional wounds on her shoulders and down her back, obviously caused by a whip.
She must not have worked hard enough today, or maybe one of the Jaffa had just decided he found her provoking - or he just wanted to make an example. In any case, she had clearly received quite a lashing.
The woman glanced around the room. Seeing no one there but the two new people, she pushed the door closed. There was no way to lock it, so she sighed and turned to them.
"All right. What is it you want?" Rosha demanded.
"I am sorry for disturbing you like this, after light-out, but it is imperative I talk to you. I am Mina. You are Rosha and Nemura? The new people?"
Rosha looked to Nemura, then nodded. "We are. About what?" She had an unpleasant feeling she knew.
"The woman you talked to...Pita...well...I heard what you said."
Rosha sighed. "Yes? That was unfortunate."
"I have a very good hearing. Best of everyone I know!" She looked proud, then continued. "I saw her later, talk to one of the Jaffa. I followed them, and I heard her tell the guards she knew of traitors, and would give them up if she could just be taken to the planet her family was on."
So she had done what they feared!
"Did she give them our names?" Nemura inquired, worried.
"I do not know, but I would assume so. Another group of Jaffa saw me, and they thought I was being lazy. At least they did not discover I was listening."
"That is why they beat you?"
"Yes. For laziness. I was lucky, and they did not have time to do...other things, which is not uncommon. Several of the other women, and a few of the men have been raped. However, their leader arrived before this group got further than beating me. They did not seem happy, but he wanted their assistance with something and told them they could take their pleasure later."
Rosha nodded. Jolinar had informed her it was not unusual for some of the Jaffa to behave like that. Not everyone handled power well.
"Mina, I am sorry you were beaten. Please...I agree it is likely Pita gave the Jaffa our names...are there any way to get out of here?"
"Yes...I know a way out, but you will have to take me with you! I do not want to stay here. I could hardly work through today because of the pain, and I fear tomorrow will be worse. If the Jaffa find that I am slow..."
The Tok'ra knew what would happen then. Mina would almost certainly be beaten again, and that would likely mean she could not work - which again meant she would get no food, if she was not outright killed. The life of a slave was hard.
"You can come with us, if you want." Rosha offered.
Mina nodded. "Did you mean what you told Pita? There are someone who fight the Goa'uld?"
"Yes, we meant it." Rosha looked nervously to the door. "We can tell you more about it later. Do you not think we should make our escape before the Jaffa arrive to search for us?"
"The way out is visible from their post, and some of them are outside, being vigilant. We would never get past them. We must wait until it is time for a change of guards. It will be soon."
"How will you know? This place has no windows!" Nemura pointed out.
Their new friend went to the door and opened it, carefully peeking outside, then looking to Nemura and Rosha.
Rosha shrugged and followed, as did Nemura.
They went to the large room downstairs, where all the equipment for daily use was stored. It was just beside the hall that doubled as a guards post at night. The door to the hall was locked and bolted from the outside, of course, but Rosha immediately understood why this was a good place to spy on the guards. They snuck into the storage room and waited very quietly at the wall closest to the guards post.
It was not long after when they heard someone talk, and they realised it was the Jaffa, laughing and talking about this and that, while they played some kind of game.
Perhaps ten minutes later, the noise from the guards post increased and the sound of a door opening was heard, followed by more voices. It was obvious those who stood guard outside had just entered, and the Jaffa in the room were getting up as they were all preparing to be relieved.
However, soon angry voices could be heard, and it was obvious things were not going as usual. Rosha and the others listened intently for a short while, before they decided it was better to grab the chance and get away while they could.
Mina lead them to the small washroom behind the latrine. She went straight to the wall behind the pump and pushed hard against one of the boards, which began to give way. She winced in pain and Rosha and Nemura took over, Jolinar and Lantash lending them strength.
Together they quickly got the board pushed aside as much as was possible, revealing an opening big enough for a slim person to squeeze through.
Rosha slipped out and looked to both sides. No Jaffa were visible, but she could see why they could not have gone this way while the guards outside were there. The guards post was less than 50 feet away, and beside it was a small shed, where some of the guards had just been standing. She quickly motioned to Nemura, and he followed her.
When they were outside, Mina tried to get out. However, her wounded back meant she had difficulties squeezing past the board. Rosha threw worried looks in the direction of the guards post. Any time now the Jaffa would finish their argument and come out. She reflected briefly how lucky it was they had this argument, or she and the others would never have had enough time to get out. The topic of the discussion, however, meant anything but luck for them, but that was for later, when they were hiding in a safe place.
In a way, it was too bad they could not stay and hear the rest of the orders given to the Jaffa, because they would have been useful to know.
"Mina! We have to leave. Now!" Rosha whispered urgently.
She and Nemura pulled at the board as much as possible, and with a disquieting loud crack, it gave way. They each grabbed one of Mina's hands and ran, almost dragging the woman after them.
Fortunately for them, the Jaffa were much too concerned with their own argument to hear what happened, and the little group got away.
They did not stop until they reached the nearby forest. By then, it was obvious the Jaffa had discovered they were missing, and they heard distant yelling. Carefully, they continued further into the forest, walking in a small stream in order to mask their trail.
Finally, several hours later, they decided they had gotten far enough away. Besides, Mina was exhausted and hurting badly from her wounds. They would have to take a break.
Mina lay down on the ground - on her stomach in order to spare her back. Rosha quickly examined it, while Nemura went to a nearby stream to wet some material he had torn off his shirt, in order to use it to clean Mina's wounds.
"She is asleep." Rosha said in a low voice. "We really ought to clean her wounds, but she needs rest as well. Her back looks much worse than I thought. I do not understand how she has managed to walk this far."
"I will go to where we hid our clothing and fetch the healing device." Nemura offered, whispering.
"You must be very careful if you do. The Jaffa are searching for us. You heard what the one that must be the First Prime said, when he was reprimanding the guards."
"Yes, apparently they were the ones who had talked to Pita and instead of reporting it directly or starting a search for us, they had waited for the First Prime, because they knew he would arrive today for some sort of oversight. At least that is what they said."
"That was most fortunate for us, or we would have already been imprisoned, interrogated, and perhaps executed...unless they learned what we are or showed initiative and handed us over to their 'god'." Rosha mused.
"Yes, I wonder how the First Prime even learned of us? It is not like the local leader would have felt the need to inform him of us. Either the local Jaffa leader deemed us of no threat and believed he could easily contain any rebellion, or he would have sent out some of his own men to search for us earlier. Admitting to the First Prime he had not captured us, and that there was a potential problem, would just bring the wrath down on his own head."
"Well, most likely one of the local leader's subordinates decided he could gain influence by telling the First Prime about this." Rosha speculated.
"You really do fight the Goa'uld, do you not?" Mina suddenly asked, having obviously awaken and been listening, at least for a while.
Rosha turned to her. "Yes, we do. How do you feel about that?"
Mina was quiet for a long time.
"I have always been told the Goa'uld are gods - that they have the right to do what they do...but...what gives them this right? And are they truly gods?"
Rosha took a deep breath. "No, they are not gods, and they do not have the right to do what they do to people. They have merely taken that right themselves - and they use technology to make it appear as if they rule by magic. They are mortal beings, just like you or I."
"But surely they must be much more powerful, stronger...more intelligent...to be able to do this. Not like you or me...or Nemura."
Rosha grinned wryly. "In some ways they are all that - they are very intelligent...but as I said, their power comes from technology, nothing else. It merely appears as if it is magic because you do not know how it works."
Mina looked at her for a moment, then slowly shook her head. "No...some of it cannot possibly be other than magic! The sticks the Jaffa have brings forth thunder and lightning...they are given to them by the gods! The flying machines! Heavier than anything you can imagine, and yet they can float through air, at great speed. Move between worlds even!"
"These sticks - they are merely weapons. Advanced, yes, but technology nonetheless. Anyone can use them, whether the Goa'uld want them to or not." Rosha explained. "The flying machines are another type of technology. Highly advanced, but ultimately not beyond the understanding or ability to build for anyone...you just need...knowledge. You or I could fly them, with training."
Mina looked unconvinced. "If you say so...but what about those hand devices the gods wear, then...I have seen them used on a slave. Eerie ribbons of light - tongues of fire - springs from them. The victim cannot move against it. It kills, slowly, under great pain. I have been told it can also make an invisible wave that will throw anyone a great distance. It is said only the gods can use them. Try to explain that! You will never make me believe you can make it do that, even with all the knowledge you can collect in a lifetime!"
For a moment Rosha considered what to say.
"Some Goa'uld technology have been specifically made to only function if the user has naquadah in their blood. It is another way the Goa'uld make their subjects think they can do magic and are gods. It is true you cannot use it, but that is only because your blood does not contain this element - otherwise you could learn it, difficult as it might be."
Mina shook her head. "You speak strange - and dangerous - words. I cannot comprehend how it could be so."
"Look at it this way...you can make fire with fire-steel and a flint stone. With a bow and arrow you can kill a bird flying through the air...you can do a great many things which humans once could not. How is this?"
"Someone once figured out how to do so, I suppose?"
"Yes. They are inventions. Technology. But if you had never heard of it. If you did not know it existed - would you not think it was magic upon seeing it?"
"I...perhaps." Mina looked thoughtful. "Come to think of it...have not the gods given us this knowledge? I believe I have been told that...perhaps the god Thoth..."
Rosha groaned, and she believe she heard something that sounded suspiciously like a suppressed laugh from Nemura. She glared at him, daring him to do a better job of convincing the young woman. He quickly rose.
"I believe it is time for me to go fetch those things we talked about earlier."
"I am weary...I very much needs to rest. Will we not be able to stay here for a while longer?"
"Yes, we will. Nemura will go and when he comes back, he will bring something which should help you feel better. Then, we will continue walking, if it is safe. If nothing else, we need to find another place to hide during daytime, as they will likely be looking for us."
"They will not look during night?"
"Yes, but unless they deem us worthy of setting in death-gliders or such, we should be safely hidden by the darkness and the trees. The Jaffa have not been given the technology to see in the dark."
Mina nodded, and yawned. Tired, she carefully lay down. Rosha went to her and began cleaning the wounds on her back, as Nemura slipped off into the night, to fetch their healing device and other things.
"Nemura...good luck...and be careful!" Rosha called after him.
He smiled. "I will."
Chapter 34: Some Realizations