[ 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 4: A Goa'uld.
Summary: Segomo meets himself - and a Tok'ra goes undercover.
Warnings: Character death.
Lord Segomo had returned to his palace and had been informed he had a guest. A guest who had initially claimed to be him. He ordered him sent for.
"You dare claim to be me? Give me one reason why I should not kill you immediately!" Lord Segomo snarled angrily.
"Simple. I am you - just have a test done of my code of life."
"You are a clone?"
"No." He considered. "I come from another...reality."
Surprisingly, the other Segomo believed him. It turned out he had recently discovered the same laboratory he had, and learned enough to know it could be used to make changes to the timeline. He had also discovered a device existed, for travelling between alternate realities. He had not had time to study it further, and besides, he already had a large domain and did not want to risk it - however much he wanted more, of course.
He decided to take this opportunity to get as much information as possible from his other self.
Lord Segomo interrogated the lower-ranked version of himself for some time - and watched the effect of the entropic cascade failure. Most of the information he gained was about the machines in the laboratory - given by the other Segomo in the hopes of being allowed to go home before he was killed by the distortion - and very little about the universe he came from.
The Goa'uld Lord did understand enough to realise he was essentially a nobody in the other reality.
Satisfied he needed no more information from this loser - and that he would do best in staying here and not making changes to the timeline - he lifted his hand device. He hesitated for the barest of moments, since this really was a version of himself.
His other self immediately started to beg for mercy and Segomo killed him then. Swiftly.
He considered it to really have been an act of mercy, though he felt strange having killed what was essentially...himself.
Then he remembered others had come through with the other Segomo. Perhaps he should see if something useful could be learned from them. Were they also suffering the effects of this temporal distortion?
He really knew nothing about them, except apparently there were one Jaffa who had been loyal to Segomo. The five others - among those a Jaffa of Apophis's - had all been enemies of the other Segomo.
Could they be trusted here? With a real Lord instead of that loser?
He decided first to talk to the Jaffa that had served the other Segomo.
Segomo mused over what he had learned. It was not much. The Jaffa had known almost nothing about what his Segomo had worked on, and he was ultimately loyal to Cronos, that Segomo's overlord.
Cronos! He could not trust someone who was loyal to his enemy - and former overlord, as much as he hated it - even if it had been in another universe. was now a long time ago, that he had become his own master. He did not relish being reminded of the time when he was not. He quickly killed the Jaffa.
After enjoying a large meal - and the ministrations of some of the new slave girls he had just purchased - he went to his throne room and ordered his Jaffa to fetch the captives from their cell, though not before they had been bathed. He hated the smell that always seemed to cling to prisoners.
He leaned back in his comfortable throne and watched as his Jaffa marched the four humans and a Jaffa into the room. They probably did not know anything, but he would enjoy the process of making sure that was the case. It was too rare he had the opportunity to use his talent for extracting information.
"I have killed the traitor who was with you. I am the true Lord Segomo. Kneel before me!"
They all did, with some help from the Jaffa. All except Lantash, who realised he would have to act now, if he were to have any chance of convincing Segomo he was a Goa'uld and not a Tok'ra.
He threw off the Jaffa nearest him and straightened.
"I am..." He searched for a suitable name, "...Lord Ranesh. How dare you keep me imprisoned...and with humans...and a Jaffa! For several days, even! No one listened! They all believed the words of that worthless traitor who tried to impersonate you! Such insolence would not have been tolerated where I come from!"
"Interesting...he did not mention another Goa'uld came from his reality. We shall see who you are..." Segomo turned to his Jaffa. "Take the others back to their cell!" He turned back to Lantash.
"You claim to have been betrayed by...the other Segomo." He knew very well there was no reason to attempt to hide the truth from this Goa'uld who came from the same reality as his other self. "Why did you not speak up? While I know they can be sadly lacking in intelligence, surely not all my Jaffa dared allow a god to suffer in a holding cell with humans?"
"Few approached our cell - no doubt per orders by the other Segomo. Where I come from, we have had some experience with parallel realities. They are not always hospitable places, so I chose to wait and see, rather than risk my life unnecessarily, as unpleasant as it was in that cell."
"Sensible." Segomo nodded, looking like he believed Lantash. "So, Lord Ranesh, what really happened that lead to you coming here, and who are these...inferiors? Why are you travelling with them?"
Lantash thought for a second, making sure he knew exactly how to play this. He and Martouf had agreed on a story, but they had not expected it to be this easy to convince Segomo they were not Tok'ra, For that matter, why had it been so easy? Was it a trap? He would have to be careful.
"The Segomo in my reality was planning to use the devices he found on Shiren - the planet where your Jaffa captured us - to change the timeline to his advantage. While his wish to further his influence is understandable, he was taking unjustifiable risks and his plan would have resulted in the toppling of many Goa'uld System Lords, as well as changing the entire power structure of the Galaxy. There was a summit between the System Lords and a decision was made to stop him."
"Very unusual! They must have considered him a great threat - despite the fact he was a nobody!" Segomo said sarcastically. He frowned. "And why do you dress like that? You look like a human servant!"
"Had he succeeded, it might have destroyed the entire Goa'uld way of life! I was tasked with this important mission. Apophis was somewhat suspicious and demanded his First Prime accompany me. Given the situation, I agreed. I then put together a team of specialists...of carefully picked and specially trained humans. As for the clothing - it was a necessary ruse."
"Humans? You do not mean to say those miserable creatures in my holding cell is your team of specialists? Why would you want to use something that is little more than animals - not even truly sentient - and for an important task such as this?" Segomo looked both repulsed and shocked.
Lantash was a little surprised at such an extreme reaction. True, the Goa'uld did not rate humans highly, but they often used them for various tasks. Tasks considered too dangerous for Jaffa, or otherwise unsuited for them. He quickly recovered from his surprise, though.
"They are my personal slaves. As I said, specially selected and trained for missions where it is of utmost importance the Goa'uld does not detect they are being targeted. Not only are they not able to sense the humans, but most Goa'uld would naturally ignore their presence. Certainly not consider them a threat."
Segomo nodded. "I can see why that might be useful in some situations, but I still question the wisdom. While these humans would of course never question Goa'uld are gods, they might think themselves worthier than they are. You do not let them do the actual apprehension, I hope?"
"Of course not!" Lantash pretended to be appalled. "I would handle that myself; at most assisted by a trusted Jaffa, in this case Apophis's First Prime. Incidentally, my own First Prime was killed by the other Segomo."
"That is too bad. It can be so bothersome to find a new one, not to mention train him. It is so inconvenient - it takes them forever to learn correct behaviour! I have had to kill dozens before I found one that learned quickly enough and was worthy of the position."
"Yes...such a bother..." Lantash said, doing his best to hide his disgust with this Goa'uld.
"Well, what shall we do about you, then? Do you wish to return to your own reality? Otherwise, I am sure we can find a use for someone with your skills here."
"I have a rather large domain back home and would prefer to return to that, instead of having to go through the trouble of establishing myself again here."
"Understandable, but I am afraid I cannot allow you to leave just yet. Not until you have helped me with a small problem. Perhaps your slaves will be capable of handling it?" Segomo asked, though it was obvious it was a demand.
Lantash sighed inwardly. So much for getting back to their own reality quickly.
"Perhaps." He agreed. "What is it you need my help with? And what do I get in return? You cannot expect me to help you out of the goodness of my heart!"
"You would help me because that is the only way you will be allowed anywhere near that laboratory - and thus your home. That would be your payment. Going home to your empire."
Lantash brimmed with anger. "This is outrageous! How dare you!"
"Perhaps. What is your answer?"
Lantash controlled himself with difficulty. "What is it you need me to do?"
"First...will you do it?"
Lantash sighed deeply. "Yes."
"Good. I need you to get me a queen."
"A queen?!" Lantash almost laughed at the ridiculousness of the demand. 'Difficult' was an understatement.
"Yes. That is all I need to become a true power. To avoid having to go to others for symbiotes for my Jaffa. To truly be independent!"
"I do understand. However, capturing or luring over a Goa'uld queen...is not easy. Besides, she is unlikely to agree to ally with you in any case, unless you are one of the most powerful System Lords."
"Let me worry about that! I don't care how difficult it is. You are not going back until I get my queen!"
"I see...am I a prisoner, or can I leave?"
"You're welcome to leave - to go and look for my new queen." Segomo called for a Jaffa. "Free Lord Ranesh's slaves and give him whatever clothes and other things he needs for his task. Provide him with a generous sum of money for his expenses, then let him leave."
Lantash was taken to a room and given clothes and currency, then the others also were provided with clothing and sent to him.
"What was all that about?" O'Neill demanded.
"I guess your attempt at convincing Segomo you're a Goa'uld and not a Tok'ra was successful?" Sam said, looking relieved.
"It was." Lantash frowned. "Actually, it was surprisingly easy to convince him I was Goa'uld. He did not once suspect me, or even mention the Tok'ra...and he was unusually derogatory about humans and Jaffa. Even more so than Goa'uld usually are."
"Maybe he's just like that." Daniel shrugged. "So, what now? We're going home?"
"No, unfortunately not yet. Segomo will not allow us to approach the quantum mirror before we help him with a task...and he has a large force and can easily keep us away."
"Why do I have a feeling I won't like this?" O'Neill grumbled.
"You are probably correct. He wishes us to bring him a queen." Lantash sighed. "I do not like it either."
"A queen? Can't he just grab one of the local girls and stick a snake in her?"
"He...most likely will find a...pleasing young woman to implant his queen in, but he cannot use just any...'snake' as you are so fond of calling symbiotes. He needs an actual queen - the kind that gives birth to new symbiotes, for his Jaffa."
"Ah! That kind of queen..."
"Where will you find him one? Did he tell you which queen he wanted?" Sam wondered.
"No. He left that up to me..." Lantash looked decidedly unhappy.
>> Chapter 5: A New Reality (PG-13). SG-1 and Martouf/Lantash set out on their mission in the alternate reality. How different is this place, exactly?