[ 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 7: A Minor Goa'uld Lord.
Summary: Lantash and the others get a taste of how different this reality is.
Warnings: Mention of torture.
They slowly wandered towards the new center of the city. On the way they studied the remnants of the civilization. Some of the houses from before the attack still stood, and there were even one or two here and there that was almost intact.
People seemed to live in all the houses they had been able to make reasonably wind- and waterproof. Those not fortunate enough to get a room in one of those, lived in the primitive sheds that had been put up everywhere.
As could be expected, there was no electricity anymore. Only candles, fires, and torches lit up houses and streets as darkness fell. They would have to find a place to stay for the night, and soon.
In a situation such as this, it would normally be a task for a First Prime, and Teal'c inquired for the nearest place that would be up to his Lord's standards.
They were shown to a small hotel, which only had a few visitors besides themselves, but it had electricity, warmth, as well as clean water - both hot and cold. Minor Goa'uld would stay here when they had business in the area.
The owner of the hotel was a human. A middle-aged man who was extremely polite towards Lantash, and clearly very much afraid of what might happen should the Lord be unhappy or angered for any reason.
Two other Goa'uld were staying there at the time. They saw one of them on their way to their suites. He was handsome, as most Goa'uld hosts were, but had a cold, arrogant expression on his face.
A servant brought him a box of something he had apparently ordered. The Goa'uld took one look inside, then showed the package aside, angrily. Strawberries fell all over the floor, some of them rolling almost to where SG-1 and Lantash were standing, waiting for space to allow them to pass by to the stairs.
"Di'dak'dida? Gonach! Ke'i kresh'ta!"
"Uh...how dare you...dammit! Kneel...ah...scum?" Daniel whisperingly translated to O'Neill and Sam.
"I'm sorry!" The servant fell to his knees, a terrified expression on his face. "They are fresh! Picked today!"
"Rak'lo najaquna shel're hara kek!" The Goa'uld said slowly, with menace in his voice. He grinned evilly and lifted the hand with his hand device, activating it. He began the process of killing the servant.
"It's time for you to die..." Daniel translated.
"What! Just for bringing him some strawberries he didn't like?" O'Neill exclaimed, incredulously.
"Quiet..." Lantash said, warningly.
The Goa'uld quickly changed from ribbon mode to shock wave mode and killed the servant by showing him almost through the nearest wall, before he turned towards O'Neill. His eyes flared.
"Kegalo! Shree'tar." He hissed. "Quiet. Human trash. Kek kel shak!" He stepped towards O'Neill, raising his hand device again.
Lantash threw O'Neill a warning glance, and he thankfully kept his mouth shut.
"Tak mal tiak." Lantash greeted respectfully and bowed to the Goa'uld. "I am Lord Ranesh. Please forgive him. I have just acquired him and the others a few hours ago."
"Tau'ri Noc'Onac." The Goa'uld said angrily.
"Of course. You are quite correct. The humans are not truly sentient - thus they do not learn quickly. I will teach him."
"You bought undomesticated humans?" The Goa'uld suddenly grinned. "You must be very young and inexperienced."
"Indeed. I have only just been allowed a host and has acquired this small entourage. I hope to find ways to increase my power and influence here on the Tau'ri."
The Goa'uld nodded. "I suppose I shall have to forgive you for not knowing how to keep your slaves in line yet. Perhaps I should teach you. It is important to not allow them to think they have right or are worth anything. Be careful you do not start thinking it! We do not want them to get ideas! Your animal interrupted my entertainment and you will not allow me the pleasure of killing it. You are sure you will not allow it? I can give you another in compensation. They are cheap, since they breed like rats." He sighed. "This deplorable place has little enough to offer in the ways of diversion. You must join me for dinner tonight. My name is Lord Cordesh."
Lantash reacted only minimally to the name. He knew it was not a question, but an order. "It would be my honour."
"I suppose it is my luck you are here tonight. I feel a rare desire for company and the only other Goa'uld besides us, prefers to follow his inclinations for the service animals. I can understand the need from time to time, but he seems to be obsessed with them. It is somewhat creepy." He laughed noisily. "They rarely seem to last long, so it is fortunate for him there is an inexhaustible supply of them here."
"Yes, very." Lantash said, trying to hide his disgust with the other's complete lack of compassion for the humans suffering.
"In two hours. I fear a shorter time would mean these monkeys would not be able to serve us anything edible."
Lantash bowed, and he and SG-1 hurried to their rooms.
"Why did you agree to eat dinner with that pompous idiot?" O'Neill wondered.
Lantash sighed. "I would prefer not to, however, I have to keep up my role as a very low-ranking Goa'uld and I cannot afford to insult him. It would be...un-Goa'uld. All a minor Goa'uld would think about, would be to increase their power and influence - even if it means bowing to the higher ranking ones for a time. Besides, I hope to gain some information from him about this world."
"I guess that makes sense. Wait...Cordesh...isn't that the guy who betrayed the Tok'ra when we'd just met you?"
"He is. Obviously he either did not become Tok'ra in this universe or he succeeded in getting away after betraying them." Lantash looked worried. "I hope it is the first possibility, and that he has not caused my people much misfortune. I shall have to be careful what I say, lest he recognize me as Tok'ra, if he ever was one." He bowed his head, letting Martouf fore.
"Cordesh originally swore loyalty to Jolinar, before she became a Tok'ra. He chose to become Tok'ra as well, when she did. We worry what might have happened to her, here."
"I can understand." Sam said, concerned.
"We are also surprised Cordesh did not recognize us. Even if we are dead in this universe...as well - which seems likely - he should have recognized me from before. Perhaps he left the Tok'ra long ago, or he never joined in the first place."
"I thought you weren't supposed to take control while you were doing the undercover stuff?" O'Neill asked.
"I should not, however this is hardly a normal undercover mission and no Jaffa or human servants are likely to burst in and discover I am not Lantash." He gave control back to his symbiote.
"Would you need any of us to accompany you?"
Lantash considered. "My First Prime and my lo'tar should attend me. Whether or not you will be allowed to stay, depends on the situation. We shall see."
They were all starved after walking for many hours without anything to eat. They ordered a light meal, which everyone except Lantash ate hungrily. He only ate sparingly, knowing that he needed to be able to eat the food he would no doubt be offered by Cordesh.
They each took a quick bath, since they would need to appear to have been transported here, and not to have walked for many hours, first through the forest and then the city.
Lantash wore clothes resembling traditional Indian clothing. He had on a pair of grey silk pants, and a white shirt of the same material, lightly embroidered. Over the shirt he wore a dark blue, sherwani-style coat, richly embroidered with gold thread and with precious stones woven into it. A turban of matching colour to the coat and a pair of embroidered shoes completed his outfit. He sighed as he put on the hand device and looked at himself in the mirror. He looked very much forward to wearing a Tok'ra uniform again.
He turned to look at Sam and smiled when he saw her. She looked very attractive.
She had on a short sleeveless mid-riff baring blouse. Most of her back was bare, the blouse only held together with strings. It was made out of silk brocade, in a colour similar, but lighter than what Lantash wore. It had a golden embroidery along the border, made in the same style as her 'master'. She also wore a matching long skirt wrapped around her waist, much like a sari, but not draped over either of the shoulders. Instead she had a thin veil draped lightly over the back of her head and her shoulders. She wore a pair of elegant leather sandals on her feet.
Teal'c was wearing a standard, non-descript Jaffa uniform, but with a turban to hide the fact his forehead symbol was that of an Apophis Jaffa.
O'Neill stared at them all, grinning.
"Don't you think you should have picked another culture to be from, Lantash? It's not like any of you look remotely Indian..."
Lantash sighed deeply. "It does not matter one way of the other. Goa'uld will dress according to the culture they have picked for themselves - or their overlord, if they are someones underling - regardless of how their host looks. I admit to not feeling comfortable in this outfit, but that would be the case regardless of which culture I tried to emulate, as I do not enjoy being overdressed." He again looked unhappily at the precious stones in his clothing.
"While you present a...different...appearance, I'll have to say it actually suits you." Sam smiled, then added, a little shyly. "You look good."
"Thank you Samantha, so do you." He gazed appreciatively at her.
"Ranesh..." Daniel said, thoughtfully. "Ah...now I remember...it's a name used in some parts of India for 'Lord Shiva'. it's really interesting..."
"Oh, no. No long-winded explanations today!" O'Neill ordered.
"OK...but, that explains the clothing." Daniel said, a little annoyed with being interrupted. "By the way, I've seen clothing like what Sam's wearing - it resembles what some of the temple dancers wore when I visited southern Indian...the state of Tamil Nadu..." Daniel quieted as O'Neill sent him a death glare.
Sam looked down herself. "I sure hope I'm not going to be expected to dance!"
"You need not concern yourself with that, Samantha." Lantash said. "If a performance is required it is the responsibility of the host, not the guests. Besides, as my lo'tar, you would not be expected to perform...ah, except for in more...shall we say, private situations..." He smiled mischievously.
Sam blushed as the others laughed.
Teal'c suddenly turned to Lantash. "I believe it is time for you to go and take part in 'Lord Cordesh's' dinner, or you shall be late."
"Yes, you're right. Thank you for reminding me." Lantash shook his head, angry with himself for forgetting.
He knew the reason, though. He was very much not looking forward to spending an evening in the company of Cordesh - the traitor - though he knew there was no way he could avoid it. Besides, he was hoping he would learn something useful about this reality.
Lantash sat in an ornate chair beside Cordesh - who had, of course, made sure to have a more opulent place to sit. They had eaten a lavish dinner, which Lantash had to admit had been delicious.
He and Martouf felt sorry for Sam and Teal'c. The Jaffa's duty was to just stand guard and make sure no one attacked his Lord. He had done this until Cordesh decided they did not need guards and indicated he would consider it an insult if Lantash kept his. He had quickly sent Teal'c back to the rooms where Daniel and O'Neill waited.
Sam had to stay and be ready to assist Lantash with anything he might need. She was happy she had already eaten, or it would have been torture to watch all this delicious food pass her by. However, no human slave - not even a lo'tar - would be permitted to eat with the Goa'uld.
"I have some entertainment scheduled for tonight. I promise you, it will be exquisite!" Cordesh grinned.
"I look forward to it." Lantash said, politely, though he silently wished he could just leave.
Cordesh was a most unpleasant character here, much worse than he had been in Lantash's own reality, after he became a Goa'uld there. Martouf suggested he may just have hidden it, but Lantash doubted he would have been able to hide this intense a contempt for humans.
As well, he had made no comments about the Tok'ra - which might be good or bad. Had he never been Tok'ra? Then there might be no reason to boast about his 'successful' infiltration - if that was what he had done. Had he been Tok'ra? How long ago? His host was different, but that was hardly surprising - he probably had taken another one in order to hide, like he had attempted to do in their own reality. Maybe his life had turned out quite differently. That would explain much.
"Since you interrupted my enjoyment of killing the human slave this afternoon, I just have to have something else to entertain me." The Goa'uld smiled. "First, we will have some more ordinary entertainment. I have arranged for dancers and musicians." He clapped his hands and several humans entered, looking very apprehensive.
The musicians played quite well, Lantash thought, and the scantily clad female dancers were very talented... He smiled as he watched them. However, he soon found himself glancing at Sam again and again, secretly wishing she was the one dancing - and for him alone.
Martouf added his suggestions to what he would like to do to her afterwards and Lantash agreed. Realising, however, that this was not the time for such thoughts, he made an effort to think of something else. How would he get information out of this annoying, unpleasant Goa'uld?
After about an hour's performance, Cordesh grew tired of the display and yelled at them to get out before he killed them. Lantash looked on in shock - the dancers and musicians had done nothing to incur this wrath, and he had never experienced a Goa'uld behaving quite this unpredictable before. He frowned slightly and threw Sam a concerned look. He very much wished she was not in here with them, risking to draw the attention of this madman.
When the performers had left, Cordesh turned to Lantash.
"I have had my Jaffa capture a few human slaves - I almost considered including those cretins that 'performed' before, but dancers and musicians are getting scarce..." He laughed loudly. "I guess others weren't as disciplined as I am, and followed their inclinations to kill them! Anyway, I have some slaves to play with. I guess I should be generous and offer you one at least, but I did not think of it earlier and the four I have will barely make up for the pleasure I was deprived of earlier... However, you are young and inexperienced and I do not hold a grudge. If you want, I shall ask my Jaffa to grab a few of the servants here for you. What do you say?" He smiled, slightly condescending, but clearly feeling magnanimous.
Lantash barely managed to hide his disgust. "That will not be necessary. I have already intruded on your hospitality far too much..." Getting an idea of how he could get out of this, he sent Sam an obvious, lustful look. "Besides, I have other pleasures planned for later..."
Cordesh laughed. "Well, if that is your inclination..." He shook his head. "You are too soft. You need to learn. Yes, I will show you, then you can return to your chambers and have your fun with your lo'tar." He ordered his Jaffa to bring forth the humans they had captured.
Four terrified humans knelt in front of Cordesh who was looking over the assortment of torture instruments he had had his Jaffa bring. Getting ready to torture the slaves to death.
Sam sent Lantash a pleading look. He looked as if he was about to be sick, thinking about what Cordesh would do to the humans. He absolutely did not want Sam to experience this.
"Lo'tar!" Lantash ordered.
"My Lord." Sam said, kneeing in front of him.
"Return to my quarters and prepare for my arrival. You already have your orders."
"Yes, my Lord." She rose and hurried out, deeply grateful.
Lantash shot Sam a - well hidden - envious look as she escaped the room. He dearly hoped this was not going to get as ugly as he feared. Martouf hugged him warmly, comforting him. Lantash offered to block Martouf from experiencing whatever Cordesh was about to do to the slaves, wishing he could block himself out too...
It was quite late when Lantash returned to the rooms he shared with SG-1, looking harried.
Worried, Sam hurried to him. "What did he do to the slaves?"
Lantash shook his head, not wanting to be reminded. "Let's just say...when we get back, I think I'm going to need that therapy for...post traumatic stress syndrome, Stargate Command offered all of us after we returned from Netu."
O'Neill looked appalled, realising it would have had to be very bad indeed for the Tok'ra to react like that. He quickly decided to change the subject. "Did you learn anything useful about this reality?"
"Yes. Whatever happened here, the Goa'uld are worse, much much worse than they are in our reality. They also seem to be even more self-assured, arrogant...megalomaniac. I would say they have had very little opposition." He looked tired. "I do not know what it is that has caused it, but some of the planets he mentioned as being under him and his allies are free where we come from." His expression cleared some. "I did learn a few other, more immediately useful things. I know the name and location of the city Ra stays in when he is on the Tau'ri. He has moved the chaapa'ai there as well. Also, Colorado Springs was the first city to be subjugated, since this is where the chaapa'ai was."
"So the SGC existed here as well. That is something, at least." O'Neill said. "Where does our old 'friend' Ra stay?"
"In a country you refer to as 'Egypt'. He has rebuilt one of his palaces near a larger group of the old landing platforms...pyramids and moved the chaapa'ai back there as well." Lantash said.
"OK, Egypt it is, then."
"Wait...Lantash, didn't you say this was the first city to be conquered?" Daniel wanted to know.
"Then we should not leave just yet. There may be some information to be found here - people may know something. Especially since the SGC apparently was located here in this reality as well. Perhaps we can find someone that worked for them?"
"It's not a bad idea." Lantash said thoughtfully. "However, I fear the Goa'uld will have killed everyone with any connection to your 'Stargate' program - or made them hosts."
"Perhaps, but there might be one or two that got away. We humans are resourceful, you know..." O'Neill said. He made a decision. "We'll stay here a little longer."
>> Chapter 8: The Human Slave (PG-13). While exploring the city and looking for clues to what has happened, SG-1 and Martouf/Lantash come across an old man, now a slave. PG-13.