Chapter 4 summary: Jolinar gains a better position - as Chief of Diplomacy, but she also has to provide Cronus with favours she would rather not.
[ 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 ]
Back on Cronus's planet, Jolinar had just been dismissed from an audience with Cronus. As a reward for her faithful service, she had been given a new position.
*Chief of Diplomacy!* Jolinar did not know whether to laugh or cry. *Why could he not just have given me Sernoh's planet and made me rule in his name? Why did he have to make me a diplomat? Me!?*
*No one can ever make you a diplomat...* Sannya mused, *...however, he probably thought of the shrewd way you handled this matter, and decided you might be good at spying and gathering information - and perhaps be good with words as well. You did convince him to listen!*
*Yes, but only with your help - and by dressing and behaving in a manner which promised more than we would like to give...* Jolinar sighed. *You are correct. I am no diplomat. I will rely heavily on your skilled tongue in this position.*
*Let us just hope my tongue will not be put to another use...I promise I will do my best.*
*You always do.* Jolinar got up. *We need to prepare a message for the Tok'ra, informing them what has transpired.*
With much help from Sannya, Jolinar handled the difficulties of her new position well. Several months went by without problems - and fortunately without any indication Cronus might expect more from Jolinar than what was in the job description.
Then came the time for Cronus's queen Rhea to go to his ally, Zeus. Much to Cronus's dismay, he did not have enough power and influence yet to have a queen completely to himself.
Queens were rare, and Ra demanded all but the most powerful System Lord's share the ones available. In many ways this made sense, as they all needed symbiotes for their Jaffa, but it did not make those Goa'uld any happier. Nor was it always popular with the queens, though it did mean they were treasured and could sometimes gain much power. Mostly, though, it was a tolerated problem, and a cause of resentment.
Especially since Ra himself had five queens for his exclusive use.
The demands on the queens, the constant need for many symbiotes for the large Jaffa armies, and the way Ra had decreed it, meant the queens would almost exclusively give birth to ordinary symbiotes. Anything else was not in Ra's best interest, as it was part of how he could remain superior. So the queens continued to be rare.
On top of this, it took time and effort to produce a queen larvae, and no System Lord would be the one to give the queen time off to do this - they had her only long enough for what was needed, and doing so would almost certainly mean he would not get enough symbiotes for all his Jaffa.
The minor System Lords had no access to queens at all, and had to either pay for symbiotes for their Jaffa, pay one of the few 'independent' queens for her services during a short period, or become someone else's vassal and have Jaffa that actually belonged to their overlord.
Ra had planned it well.
All this meant Cronus's queen would now have to leave him for almost a year, to spawn symbiotes for Zeus.
Cronus was furious - and very soon frustrated as well. He was one of those Goa'uld who considered it bestiality to have sex with unblended humans - little more than animals, as many Goa'uld thought them to be.
Jolinar, unfortunately, was the only unattached female Goa'uld, and while not a queen, she was at least 'truly sentient' - even to someone like Cronus. It did not take many days for him to remember her almost-promises.
*Can we not just say no?* Sannya shuddered.
*We can, but while he would never force himself on another Goa'uld, it would almost certainly mean an end to our advancement at his court. I am sorry, but we must either subject ourselves to this, or start over somewhere else.*
*No. We have come too far to start over.* Sannya sighed. *We will manage. Somehow.*
*I can block you out from it all, if you want. I very much understand your apprehension...I cannot say I find the prospect of sharing Cronus's bed an appealing one.* Jolinar shuddered.
Sannya was quiet for some time, considering it. *No. I will not let you suffer through this alone. We are neither the first, nor will we be the last. We must think of the greater good. We will get through this - together.*
*Yes, we will.* Jolinar gave her host a warm 'hug'.
While they found Cronus's advances unwelcome - to put it mildly - they managed to hide it well, always pretending to be receptive to his wishes. Cronus was happy and enjoyed Jolinar's company - both in the bed and outside - considering her a loyal and trusted underling. Her star was in ascendance and her position was secure.
When Cronus's queen returned, their relationship returned to the professional one, but Jolinar kept her increased influence and power.
This repeated itself over the years, with Jolinar stepping in as Cronus's 'mistress' whenever his queen was absent. It gave Jolinar the opportunity to attend many important meetings and she gained a unique insight into the workings of the Goa'uld.
Since Cronus now also trusted her, she had the opportunity to access his personal files from time to time. On top of this, Cronus - like so many - liked to talk in bed, and he often happened to share his plans with her this way. The Tok'ra learned much more than they had expected, because of this.
Jolinar - in the personae of Lord Siwa - was officially Cronus's Chief of Diplomacy, a job which she handled well, with the expert help of her host. The position meant she was party to most treaties and meetings Cronus participated in, and she regularly sent reports back to the Tok'ra - reporting both on the results of meetings, and on the general going on at Cronus's court and at various celebration with his allies.
Parties and summits were particularly good places for information gathering, both by listening to half-drunk Goa'uld bragging about their power and influence, and by observing their interactions and so learn who might be about to betray who. Goa'uld were not generally very good at pretending.
*Do we really need to wear this?* Sannya complained, studying their reflection in the mirror.
The dress they had on - if it could be called that - consisted of a short skirt made of several layers of a thin, almost translucent material. It was held up by an intricate web of strips that covered parts of her back, went up over her shoulders where they became two broad strips, crossing down over her breasts and on to the skirt. Except for covering the nipples, the strips were too thin to cover much else. On their feet they had sandals made of a gold mesh, and their arms and neck were hung with golden rings.
*We need to use every asset we have. As you well know, Goa'uld are not exactly known to dress modestly, and we do not want to stand out by doing so. Besides, I hope it will help us gain information from Oceanus, Cronus's brother. He is in charge of his fleet and armies of Jaffa, and could be very useful.*
*Yuck. He is also known for his, shall we say...'unusual' appetites. The slave girls are terrified of him. I have seen the looks in their eyes.*
*More likely those he decided were worthy of being resurrected, but I see your point. He would not dare hurt us, though - unless we permitted it, which we would not.*
*I would still prefer focusing our energy on other Goa'uld.*
*Then we shall do just that. Oceanus is not a priority. Not yet, anyway.*
Sannya ran a comb through her hair once more, checked the make-up, then gave control to Jolinar. They had taken to let Sannya have control now and then during private moments, even if it was perhaps not completely safe. However, the small risk was worth it, when their undercover mission was likely to last centuries - time when the host could rarely, if ever, be in control.
With a sigh, Jolinar assumed an air of arrogance and predatory lust, and strode out of her chamber. A long walk through the palace took her to the large ceremonial hall that would be the location of the evenings dinner and entertainment.
The slaves had been hard at work to ensure that everything was spotless. Goa'uld held these 'parties' for their allies - and others - from time to time, mainly to impress. Because of this, great attention was given to details, and most palaces had several rooms constructed just for this purpose.
This one was huge. The floor was constructed of marble, jade, and obsidian, in a repeating geometric pattern. On the walls, large sceneries made in gold and strong colours filled every surface. Most of the scenes showed Cronus conquering worlds or receiving worship. Here and there they were interspersed with erotic scenery, showing gorgeous bodies writhing together in any combination and position imaginable.
Rows of tables were placed along one side of the hall, covered with tablecloths of expensive material and intricate weaving. On the tables where expensive porcelain, imported from Lord Yu's domain, with cutlery made of silver and gold. Large vases overflowing with flowers were placed here and there, among solid gold chandeliers - and everywhere plates were filled with an abundance of delicacies.
Arriving a little late, Jolinar hurried to her place. As chief of Diplomacy, she was sitting at Cronus's table, but at the most distant end. She went to where Cronus and his queen Rhea were sitting, and bowed deeply to them. Cronus smiled at her cleavage, but Rhea sent her a look that was barely civil.
Jolinar was well aware that Rhea knew who shared Cronus's bed in her absence - and Rhea obviously did not approve. Jolinar tried sending her a submissive look, which seemed to please the Goa'uld queen.
Relieved, Jolinar found her own seat and sat down. She gave Oceanus a glance - and a smile. It could not hurt to make him notice her now, and begin to show interest, even if they were not going to try to seduce him tonight.
As soon as Jolinar was seated, a slave approached her, filling her glass, and offering her the first dish of the evening. She accepted, without a word of thanks, as was expected. She began to eat, momentarily focusing her attention on the entertainment which was just starting.
The dinner had many courses, and the entertainment shifted during the whole time; musicians, dancers, acrobats, and magicians showed their talents and tricks. During all of this, Jolinar tried to listen to and observe the Goa'uld and their interactions, while also appearing as if she was engrossed either in the entertainment, the food, or one of her neighbors.
This was certainly a time when being a Tok'ra was a huge advantage. Jolinar could focus her attentions on what she was expected to, while Sannya could keep her attention on any important bits of information. It worked out quite well.
As the evening progressed, many of the Goa'uld got drunk or high from the various kinds of drinks and drugs offered. Jolinar made sure to keep her own intake below what she could easily filter out, but many others did not, and soon they were not guarding their tongues as well as they should. Sannya smirked, always amazed how similar the behaviour of these 'gods' were to that of ordinary humans. Jolinar merely enjoyed how much easier it made getting useful information, especially if she distracted them by flirting shamelessly.
Finally the celebration came to an end. Jolinar eventually excused herself from further activities in the bed of a young Goa'uld she had seduced in order to learn of his allegiances, and she could at last return to her chambers with many valuable secrets. At least, the young Goa'uld had been handsome, and while not the most experienced, he had certainly been vigorous, so Jolinar and Sannya were altogether satisfied with how the evening had played out.
Chapter 5: Minor System Lord