[ 1: Discoveries (PG-13) | 2: Fighting (PG-13) | 3. Through the Looking Glass (PG-13) | 4: A Goa'uld (PG-13) | 5: A New Reality (PG-13) | 6: Earth (PG-13) | 7: A Minor Goa'uld (PG-13) | 8: The Human Slave (PG-13) | 9: Egypt (PG-13) | 10: Ra (PG-13) | 11: Goa'uld Entertainment (R) | 12: Back in Space (PG) | 13: Comfort (NC-17) | 14: Next Morning (PG-13) | 15: Solving A Puzzle (PG-13) | 16: Queens (PG-13) | 17: Hathor (PG-13) | 18: Going Home (PG) ]
Chapter 3: Through the Looking Glass.
Summary: SG-1 and Martouf/Lantash does not even have time to fully realise they are in another reality before they get captured.
"What happened?" O'Neill wondered, confused.
"I think one of the devices over-loaded and sent out some sort of energy-pulse." Sam said, picking herself up from the floor.
Lantash got up as well, looking around. "Something looks different..."
"You're right..." Sam said. "There's no Goa'uld machinery connected to the alien ones..."
"And no devastation from the fight." O'Neill added. "What happened?"
"We may somehow have been pulled through the quantum mirror and into a parallel reality." Sam offered slowly.
"Segomo is getting away!" Teal'c suddenly said, starting to follow.
"How did he get past us?" Daniel asked.
They hurried after the Goa'uld, but stopped immediately outside, where a group of Jaffa were waiting, all with an unfamiliar symbol on their foreheads. Segomo was there as well, yelling at the Jaffa that he was Lord Segomo, their Lord - he had just taken a new host. One of his Jaffa was there with him, but he was being restrained.
The unknown Jaffa did not seem ready to accept Segomo's assurances, but nonetheless treated him with some degree of courteousness - and carefulness - obviously not wanting to risk annoying a god.
Besides, he might be telling the truth, however unlikely they found it to be. They would leave it to their superiors to handle it.
The arrival of SG-1 and Lantash/Martouf interrupted them, and they immediately fell on the newcomers. Segomo shouted they were dangerous heretics and needed to be caught and punished. This the Jaffa were more than willing to believe, seeing that those arriving were armed and mostly uniformed.
The fight was short and soon SG-1 and Lantash/Martouf were captured. They were all marched to the Stargate, then taken to another planet. Segomo followed too, though he was not tied up as the others.
"Didn't have much luck convincing them you're their master, eh?" O'Neill grinned at an outraged Segomo.
"Silence! Insolent cur!" Segomo hissed. "You will regret those words when I have assumed my rightful place!"
They were taken along a winding road through a small forest. The season here seemed to be early fall. When they came out of the woods, they saw a large palace ahead of them - obviously belonging to this universe's Lord Segomo.
Segomo was treated politely and taken to a chamber where he - with many excuses - were told to wait as an honoured guest until Lord Segomo returned. The First Prime had informed him that his Lord would not return for another approximately two days. His one Jaffa were kept under guard, but not imprisoned.
SG-1 and Martouf/Lantash were thrown in to a prison cell.
"I am confused." Lantash admitted. "I gather from all of this that we are somehow in another...universe? Reality? How strange that sounds! But I see no other explanation. Segomo is a very minor Goa'uld...an underling of Cronos. Here he apparently has a domain of his own."
"Yes, I believe that's what happened." Sam agreed.
"That is not the only thing that is strange." Lantash continued, "Even before we arrived here, something odd happened. Martouf and I had just arrived on Tenshawna and were walking along a path leading from the chaapa'ai, when all of a sudden we found ourselves in a laboratory full of strange apparatuses. There we also discovered you, in a firefight with a Goa'uld and several Jaffa! What were you doing there?"
"What were we doing there! What was you doing there! You're supposed to be dead!" O'Neill exclaimed.
"Dead?" Lantash looked taken a back. "I assure you, neither Martouf nor I are dead!"
"You crossed through time when the stasis field keeping the times apart shut down before the rest of the machine." Sam explained.
"Crossed through time? What do you mean. Where...when is this?" Lantash managed to look even more puzzled.
"The planet we were on are called P2X-393 - or as the Tok'ra call it, Shiren. We're in 2002. Almost two years after you were killed as a zatarc during the summit where Earth and the Tok'ra signed a formal treaty, confirming our alliance." Sam said, looking uncomfortable.
"So we really have travelled in time." Lantash looked stunned. He gave control to Martouf.
"You say we became zatarcs? I hope we did not cause the death of anyone? How did we die?" He looked very concerned.
"You didn't kill anyone. You managed to fight it, somewhat, and mostly avoided hitting anyone before we could...kill you. I...I shot you." Sam looked apologetic. "You begged me to, but it was still the hardest thing I've ever had to do."
Martouf looked remorseful. "We should not have asked such a thing of you. It was not fair towards you."
"You had no choice."
With a sad expression, Martouf looked down. After a few moments he looked up again, having thought of something.
"Should pulling us forward in time not have changed the...timeline? Is that perhaps why Segomo is so much more powerful?" He stopped himself. "No...that cannot be why. It appears there are two Segomo's."
"Just taking you here would have changed the timeline, even if you died not long after the time you were removed from. Especially since Lantash lived on for some time and sacrificed himself to save SG-1 and my dad." Sam shook her head. "Long story. I'll tell you all about it later - if you want to. No, the reason nothing was changed is that our Segomo found a lab with machines from an advanced alien civilization, and figured out how to use them to somehow split the reality in two - even keeping the same quantum states. Normally..."
"Stop it! My head hurts!" O'Neill complained.
"Sorry. As I said, long story. In short, an accident caused a rift in the field and you came through. Also, we were pulled here to this alternate reality when a staff blast caused the machinery connected to the quantum mirror to overload. They're devices used for inter-reality travel, we've encountered them before." Sam told Martouf.
He nodded and sat down beside her. She smiled at him, but neither of them said anything for a while. Sam did not know how to explain or even what he would like to know about the time he had been...dead. She shook her head. This was so weird!
"It really is you. Sam said, moved. "I've missed you."
Martouf smiled sadly. "I assure you, I am me. It must be very strange for you, seeing me here, two years after I...died."
Sam nodded. "It is odd...but I am very glad to have you back." She smiled a little as she again considered what she should tell him. "Is there anything you want to know? About what has happened, I mean."
"It is difficult to know what to ask. Of course, I am interested in how the cooperation between the Tok'ra and the Tau'ri is going...and in how our fight against the Goa'uld goes, though I do not expect any major changes there after only two years."
"You would be surprised how much has happened. Not all of it is good, though several System Lords have fallen. I am sorry, but a great many Tok'ra have died."
"The large base on Revanna?" Martouf asked, worried.
"Was attacked by Zipacna. Very few escaped."
He looked devastated. "Who...was killed? I mean..." He closed his eyes, then after a while he bowed his head. Some time passed before Lantash looked up.
"Please, tell me..."
"Aldwin, Ren'al, Garshaw...and far too many others...all dead. I'm very sorry. Lantash, you gave your life saving Selmak and my dad - and SG-1."
"I assume I had gotten another host, then. What happened after...after we were shot as zatarcs?" Lantash looked troubled for a moment, but hid it quickly.
"You did get another host - for a while. Before that, Martouf and you were kept in stasis for a long time, until Ren'al and some others decided they did not want to risk letting you attempt to heal Martouf. Or so they said. I always suspected they really just wanted to examine Martouf's...Martouf's brain for clues to the zatarc programming." Sam swallowed. "I haven't forgiven her. It's true you were weak, but I don't think you were that weak. You suffered some additional injuries when they removed you. I believe that's why it took so long for you to heal. You were not yet fully well when Zipacna attacked."
"If I was injured during removal...indeed, if I needed to be removed, then I was either very weak...or unwilling. Tok'ra are never removed from a former host, unless they are badly damaged and can't - or won't - leave on their own." Lantash suddenly looked angry. "You may be correct in your assessment of Ren'al's motives. I have never liked her! It is probable I did not agree to leave Martouf. I wouldn't if I believed there was any chance I could heal him!"
"You said you didn't want me to feel responsible, but I do. How can I not? I fired the shot that killed Martouf - whether in the end you could have saved him or not." Sam admitted. It was obviously something that had nagged her for a long time.
"Samantha, there was nothing else you could have done." Lantash took her hand, entwining his fingers with hers, wanting very much to comfort her. "You told us Martouf begged you to shoot us. If I am not mistaken, we would have self-destructed otherwise, like other zatarcs have. Then there would not even have been a chance, whether Ren'al was willing to give us one or not. And there would have been no possibility of gaining any knowledge about the zatarc-programming."
"Hey, could that discussion wait? I just thought of something a little more urgent." O'Neill said, from the other end of the cell where he was sitting. He was observing them with an expression that was not exactly pleased. "If this is an alternate dimension - or whatever - won't we suffer that...subtropic cascade thingie?"
"We may." Sam looked concerned. "Those of us who are alive here will, almost certainly, but it should take about 48 hours before it happens. Hopefully we'll be back before that."
"It happened a lot faster to you back there in the lab, when that other Carter appeared, though." O'Neill pointed out.
"Yes, but that was because we were both in our own reality, remember? That's also why it happened to both of us - neither belonged more than the other. This is a parallel reality, not the same. It should be similar to the time when the other Captain Carter and Kawalsky came through."
"OK. So we're safe for now?"
Almost two days passed without any opportunities for escape, nor any visitors to their holding cell, except for the guards bringing food and water.
Then, early in the morning of the third day, they were awakened by Segomo. Judging by the host, it was the one from their own reality. He stood outside their cell, looking furious - and scared.
"Tau'ri! You have previous experience with travel between realities, correct?"
Sam shook off the last bit of sleepiness.
"Yes, some. Why?"
Before Segomo could answer, it was as if part of him shifted and distorted. All the members of SG-1 instantly recognized the effect, but Martouf looked on in confusion. A short while later, the distortion stopped.
"This is caused by travel between realities?" Segomo said, when he had had time to collect himself again. "It is like what happened to Major Carter when I pulled her past self through time?"
"Yes and no..." Sam began.
"Don't tell him." O'Neill said. "Let him suffer - and die."
"If she does not give me any useful information, I have no reason to let any of you live. I assure you, you will die before me. And not in a quick or pleasant way."
O'Neill shrugged. "That's your plan anyway, isn't it?"
"Sir, it won't help him even if I tell him." She turned to Segomo. "The increased entropy generated by two of the same people existing in the same reality causes a temporal distortion. It happened instantly for me and the other Major Carter because we were exactly the same, and both in our own reality."
"So it is not happening to my version here?"
"Is there any way to stop it?"
"No - either you or the other Segomo would have to leave this reality. Or you will die."
"I see. Does that mean killing him will work?"
"Well, obviously we haven't tried that, but probably. Yes. Like it did when you killed the...other me."
"You have just bought yourself and your friends a few extra days of life." He left.
"Carter, why didn't you tell him to let us go or you wouldn't say anything?" O'Neill said.
"Would you have trusted him if he had promised to let us go?" Martouf asked.
"No...but that's not the point!"
"Did you notice the entropic cascade effect looked a bit different?" Daniel said. "As if only part of him shifted."
"Could it be because his host is different here?" Martouf suggested.
"Yes, that's it! His current host is probably dead here, or never existed, so the Segomo here has another host. That means only the symbiote is suffering from the temporal distortion."
"So if the host's really lucky, his snake will cascade right out of existence?"
"Yes, that is essentially correct. However, we have no idea what that will do to the host. Can't be healthy." Sam said.
"What concerns me is what's going to happen to us. Will we be...distorting...soon too?" O'Neill wondered.
"No, probably not. It should have started by now, if it were going to. I seems to have taken about the same time for Segomo as it did for the Captain Carter that came through with Kawalsky."
"So we're good?"
"I think so. We're lucky. We must all be dead in this reality."
"Or never have been born." Daniel suggested.
"That's lucky?" O'Neill wondered.
"Well, it is for us." Sam smiled wryly.
"How different do you think it is here?" Daniel asked.
"We won't know until we - hopefully - get out of here." Sam said.
"Hopefully we'll get out of here and directly back to our own reality and never know!" O'Neill grumbled.
"Martouf - couldn't Lantash just pretend to be a Goa'uld and get us out? They believed Segomo - to some degree, at least." Daniel suggested.
Lantash took control.
"I can try, but I am unlikely to succeed. I have been imprisoned here with you for several days - without complaining or yelling at the Jaffa. They would at the very least suspect I am Tok'ra."
Sam nodded. "That's probably true. Goa'uld don't behave like that."
>> Chapter 4: A Goa'uld (PG-13). Segomo meets himself - and a Tok'ra goes undercover. Warning: Character death.