[ Chapter 1: The mission | Chapter 2: Nephtys Attacks | Chapter 3: The New Host | Chapter 4: Going Home | Chapter 5: Rejoined ]
Next morning, close to noon.
The Tok'ra had arrived home very late after several last-minute meetings,
followed by two receptions and a dinner. They were still sleeping in their rooms
at the guesthouse. Today they would return home, having made the bitter choice
to accept failure. The planet would almost certainly fall to Nephthys within the
week, and there was nothing left for them to do.
They awoke to the sound of someone hammering on the door to Zarin's room. Jena,
who was more of an early riser than Zarin, dragged herself to the door and
carefully listened for any danger. Hearing only the one person calling to her to
open the door, she decided to chance it. She did not sense a symbiote. No Jaffa
then, which was good. She opened the door.
It turned out to be the aide of one of the politicians who had been told the
truth about the Tok'ra. He almost fell into the room, obviously exhausted from
having hurried to get there.
He looked at Jena, then at the others as they sleepily staggered out into the
hallway. His expression was slightly fearful. "Statesman Sujun told me to bring
you this message: 'Your prophesy has come true. Nephthys has come. Her
underlings arrived early this morning and her ships are now here. The
politicians were questioned and you were betrayed by chairman Sholnek. Jaffa are
on the way. Sokkolf's forces are trying to defend the city, but they are loosing
badly. Save yourselves. Do not die for our stupidity. Run!' That is the entire
message." The aide jumped at the sound of a distant explosion. "Good bye."
Scared, he looked over his shoulder, then ran. Outside the booming voice from
Nephthys's speaker systems could be heard, followed by a distant thunder.
"Thank you!" Jena shouted after him, immediately realising he would not have
heard it. Zarin took control, as she and the others ran back into their rooms,
quickly dressed and grabbing the most important. Less than 15 minutes later they
were all out on the streets.
Most of the explosions were coming from the northern and eastern directions
where the governmental areas were. They ran to the nearest autorail station and
found that the trains were still running. The Tok'ra boarded the first train
going towards the south-western suburbs.
They had almost reached the outskirts of the city, when the power went out and
their train stopped. The Tok'ra got off and looked around. There were fewer
people here, except for those exiting the train with them. Most of those
immediately started running around in confusion. The explosions and weapons fire
could still be heard, and seemed to be coming closer. They could not stay here.
"I recognize this area." Jena said. "We are only one stop from the station were
we stepped off when we visited Kori."
"Yes, I believe you are correct." Johan looked blankly at them for a moment,
while communicating with his symbiote. "Malek suggests we go to Kori's house and
hide until nightfall in the old shelter were we met with Kori the second time.
The city will be dark without the electricity and we may be able to escape
undetected...I agree with him. We need to hide somewhere - soon, before the
Jaffa land troops here. We were betrayed, so Nephthys know there are Tok'ra on
the planet. We will be a high priority target. Kori's place is relatively close
and he will not report us if he sees us."
The others agreed and they all started to walk in the direction of Kori's house,
trying to stay in the shadows and keep to the safest and quietest route.
Meanwhile, another place in the city.
Atli had decided to spend the day visiting some of his friends from school. He
had not seen them all year while he had been at the university. They lived close
to the governmental area of the city, so he had taken the autorail there.
Shortly after getting off the train he had heard a strange noise from above.
When he heard it again, he and everyone else looked about. They soon spotted a
huge pyramid shape in the sky. It spat out swarms of small ships, which zoomed
across the sky. Then a huge 3-dimensional hologram - at least
Atli thought it was a hologram - appeared in the sky, just below the pyramid. It
looked like a beautiful, but very arrogant woman. She was dressed tastelessly in
golden robes. A few seconds went by before she flashed her eyes and started to
talk in a strange, flanged voice.
"I am your Lord Nephthys. I have come to claim what is rightfully mine. As a
sign of my power, I will now let the fire of heaven fall upon this world."
Moments later, Atli heard a sonic boom. It was followed by a burning meteor,
streaking across the sky. A little later the ground shook from the distant
"If you do not immediately surrender and worship me, I will eradicate you," the
Suddenly the sky was filled with different ships, coming from the garrison
outside the city. The battle for the planet now began above the heads of the
Atli ran as fast as his legs would carry him to the closest city-transport
station. An autorail train was just about to leave, and he threw himself inside
it a few seconds before the doors closed behind him.
Scared and with a pounding heart he let himself fall down into one of the seats.
Only one or two other passengers were there - most people had just scurried
around in a panic instead of going anywhere in particular.
It was not until now that Atli regained enough of his senses to realise, that in
a stroke of luck he had actually boarded a train going in the direction of his
He heard several explosions and looked out of the window. A fierce battle was
raging in the air. The defenders were putting up quite a fight and several alien
vessels were blown out of the sky and crashed down near the central train
station. However, it was clear that the attackers had superior numbers and that
they were gaining the upper hand. Fires had broken out across the city.
Terrified, he looked away, glancing at the the people on the train. They did not
seem to be interested in talking - studiously avoiding to look out the windows -
looking as if they were trying hard to pretend none of this were happening.
The city transport had just pulled into the station nearest his parents house,
when a large explosion was heard and all power went out.
Atli pushed open the door and got out, then quickly ran up the stairs to the
street. Carefully looking around, he ran to the other side where he would be
covered by the trees.
Several airborne vessels skimmed cross the sky while he hurried home. Another
one flew past and landed not far away, just as he threw himself inside his
parents house and locked the door after him.
Hearing the door close his parents ran into the room, followed by his sister.
His mother embraced him, looking extremely relieved. "Oh, thank Anubis on his
mountain that you are safely home. The times are ending," she cried. "The gods
of old have returned to let their wrath fall upon our blasphemous heads. This is
the punishment for approaching the Ring of the Gods - for trading with
foreigners who use what is only permitted for the gods..."
"Mother! This has nothing to do with the chaapa'ai or the visitors from Toven.
Someone calling herself Nephthys arrived in a flying ship - a
spaceship - shaped like a triangular mountain."
"That is what Anubis lived in. It is as the old stories tell us - Nephthys has
the signs of the Gods?"
"Her eyes did glow - and her voice was somewhat like thunder, as
is foretold - still, I think she may be using our stories to scare us..." Atli
had started to calm down. He was safely home with his family, and he could now
think more clearly and rationally about what he had seen.
"We will talk of this later," his father said, returning from having received a
tele-communication. "I have just received word that all who are associated with
the government are being rounded up and killed, their families taken to Nephthys
- as hostages presumably. She has occupied the governmental palace. We should
Just then, someone hammered hard on the door and ordered them in a loud voice to
open it. Atli's parents turned white and panicked. Then his mother, Aldis,
regained some of her senses. She grabbed hold of him and his sister Svala,
pushing them ahead of her. Their father nodded to her and motioned at them to go
with their mother, as he slowly went to open the door.
Hurrying them to the room furthest away, Aldis pushed first her daughter, then
her son into a closet each.
"Stay there and be quiet NO MATTER what happens." She pushed a
basket in front of Atli's hiding place, making it look as if none could have
entered it. She was about to do the same for Svala when she heard angry voices
inside the house, and Kori trying to question the intruders. Realising it would
be safest for her children if she were not standing close by, she quietly closed
the door behind her and went to the next room. She then pretended to emerge from
it as a group of noisy, large men came dragging her husband. Kori was trying to
reason with their leader.
All the men were dressed alike, in some sort of uniform - wearing chain-mail
perhaps? - and on their foreheads they all had the same symbol, something that
looked a bit like a goblet.
Aldis just stared at them for a moment, in total shock. Before she had time to
think of what to do, one of the Jaffa had grabbed hold of her.
"You are the wife of Kori?"
"Yes," she answered, scared.
"Search the rest of the house. If you find any others bring them here," the
leader ordered a group of his men.
Terrified, Atli sat absolutely quiet, barely daring to breathe. He could hear
the loud, angry voices in the corridor outside. What did they do to his parents?
Would they find him and Svala as well? Suddenly the door to the room was opened
and a large man entered and started to search the place.
There was a small crack along the edge of the closet door, and Atli could see
the man walking around, looking everywhere. Soon he was standing just outside
the closet. Atli held his breath, certain that the door would be ripped open and
he would be found and dragged out to some horrible, unknown fate.
However, nothing happened. The man just took the lid off of the large basket and
looked inside it briefly, then walked on. Atli was just starting to breathe
easier, when the man stopped beside Svala's closet. He was about to continue his
search elsewhere, when a small sneeze was heard from inside.
The man yanked open the closet door and Svala almost fell out, only to be
immediately captured. She yelled and kicked at her enemy, but he was much too
strong for her to escape. The man carried her out to the others in the corridor.
"I found this one. There were no others."
"Good." The leader looked around. All his men had returned. "No one else
"No, my Lord."
"Then take Kori and his wife outside and execute them - as a warning to the
population of this world of what will happen to them if they try to resist or be
anything other than the slaves they are. Take the girl to Nephthys palace."
Carrying their crying and fighting prisoners off, the Jaffa left the house. All
was quiet again.
Atli stayed in his closet, too shocked to do anything else. His parents were
probably killed by now - and who knew what fate awaited his sister - and what
had he done? Nothing! He had done nothing to help them. He hated
himself for it, but he had enough survival instinct to stay where he was. He did
not dare leave his hiding place for a long time. What if they came back?
The Tok'ra arrived at Kori's house shortly after the Jaffa had left. They found
two bodies outside the house and no one alive in the vicinity. Zarin carefully
looked around for any sign of enemies. Seeing none she snuck over to the two
"Staff-blasts. Jaffa did this." She turned them over, seeing it was who she had
feared. "It is Kori and his wife," she said sadly.
Malek nodded. "Nephthys is killing everyone who is even remotely a part of the
government. That was to be expected - she does not wish to leave anyone for the
people to rally around in a rebellion."
*I hope it is not our fault they are dead - poor Kori and Aldis...I wonder where
their two children are?*
Zarin gave her host a hug. *It is most likely as Malek said, and they would have
been killed in any case...I grieve for them as well...as for their children -
they were probably taken to Nephthys, to be either slaves, hostages - or hosts.*
*Hostages?...but their parents are dead!*
*They and others like them would be held hostages to assure that the people
obey. Nephthys will also patrol with ship and likely deploy orbital weapons
platforms. The majority of the population will probably not believe she is a god
- at least not at first. That is the 'problem' with more advanced civilizations
and the main reason why the Goa'uld keep their planets at such a low level of
development...Nephthys must rule with fear and terror for a long time, before
new generations grow up and believe her to be a god.*
The Tok'ra looked around the house and garden. All was quiet and they proceeded
to the bomb shelter, to hide there until night fell.
Much later that day.
Atli had been sitting in the closet for several hours. He had tried to move
around a little, but he was terrified of making any noise. He had lost almost
all feeling in his legs. When almost an hour had past since the men had left, he
had decided to leave his hiding place. He had just started to push the door
open, when he heard someone - voices! They had somehow been able to walk around
in the house without making noise and he had not heard anything until someone
spoke just outside the room. The voice had said something about the house being
empty and that they should leave. He did not think it had been the same who had
killed his parents, but he was not ready to chance anything. Also - the next
voice he heard was strangely distorted, much like Nephthys had been, but it did
not come through a speaker, so that could not explain it. Perhaps this were some
of her people? That would be even worse! Especially since they apparently did
not need a speaker system to talk that way - what if Nephthys really
was a goddess - and an evil one?...but if the intruders had been
gods, should they not have known he was here?
Confused and scared, he had quickly made the decision that it would be far too
dangerous to leave. Now, however, almost two hours more had passed and no
further disturbances had happened. He was starting to get hungry, and he really
needed to relieve himself. He listened for a little while, holding his breath.
All was quiet. He carefully pushed the door open a little bit, enough so that he
could get an arm out and start pushing the basket away. It went well for a
little while, until he tried getting up to a half-standing position, to be able
to reach out and get the basket fully out of the way. His legs were numb from
sitting like this for so long, and he fell out of the closet, tripping the
basket over with a loud crash. Hitting his arm on a chair, he yelped out, then
quickly shut up and lay still for several minutes, listening.
Feeling reasonably certain that no one had heard him, he got up, rubbing at his
arm. Thankfully it was neither broken nor bleeding.
It was early evening. Atli had managed to eat a little, and was trying to think
of what to do now. He felt very young and very alone, missing his parents and
his sister. He tried to decide on a course of action, but his thoughts
inevitably returned to his family and he started crying again. Eventually he
pulled himself together and decided he had to do something, anything, to keep
his mind off what had happened.
He should leave - who knew, perhaps the men with the tattoos on their foreheads
would learn that he existed and return to capture him. Atli felt terribly guilty
about having escaped when his parents and sister had not, but most of all he
felt guilty at having done nothing to try and stop the intruders.
Slowly he started to pack a few things he would need into a backpack. Clothing,
tinned goods and energy bars, a blanket, several bottles of water, rope, fire
starters,...as he continued adding things he realised he needed cooking gear -
something portable. While he was still living at home his parents would
sometimes take him and his sister on a camping trip. He remembered that they
used to store the gear in a room at the back of the old bomb shelter.
Putting all the rest into his backpack, he thought for a moment, then went to
his parents bedroom and took all his family's jewelry. Money would probably be
worthless now, but he took that as well. Just before he left, he went back and
took pictures of him and his parents and sister - including the new ones that
had been taken just a week ago.
Having put on his jacket he then took a last look around him, shouldered the
backpack and went to the shelter to pick up the cooking gear before he left. He
had decided he would try to get to the northern part of the country where his
mother's aunt lived. He could hopefully stay with her, at least for a while.
Inside the bomb shelter it was very dark. The power had gone out many hours ago
and had not been restored. The shelter had an emergency generator, of course,
since it was built for wartime. He felt the urge to power it up in order to
restore some feeling of normalcy, but decided against making any unnecessary
noise. He should be able to find what he needed using his flashlight. If that
was not enough, he seemed to remember there should be some battery-operated
He snuck around inside the building, quickly locating what he was looking for.
It was on the top shelf, of course. Great! Typical! He moved an old chair over
and stepped up on it. He had just grabbed the cooking gear when someone stepped
into the dark room. He almost fell off the chair and nearly dropped both
flashlight and cooking kit, just from the shock. His staggering made the light
beam hit his face.
"Atli?" The figure in the doorway asked. "We thought you had been captured
together with your sister when the Jaffa...the large men who serve
Atli stepped down from the chair and shone the light towards the voice...he
seemed to recognize it...where had he heard it? The he recognized him.
"Johan...Johan Malek...is that not correct?"
"Yes, it is." Johan said. "I am very glad to see you got away. Come - my friends
are in the other room. Tell us what happened."
Atli nodded and followed him, not really wanting to talk about the events of the
day, but grateful to no longer be alone. While he did not know these people
well, he had met them before and he knew his father had trusted
them. That was enough for now. He greeted the others and wearily sat down to
tell his story.
"...and that is all I remember...one more thing...who are these men who serve
Nephthys? They are scaring...huge and muscular with...a sort of
tattoo on their forehead. It looks like...I don't know...a cup perhaps, or maybe
a goblet? Though there were some other symbols on it as well."
"They are called 'Jaffa'," Jena said. "They are actually slaves, servants of
Nephthys. They are almost always extremely loyal. The goblet-like image you saw
on their foreheads is her symbol - it marks them as hers. Others like Nephthys
have their own Jaffa, with their own symbols."
"Where will you go now? You cannot stay in your parents house, but I see you
have realised that already." Johan indicated the young man's backpack.
"Yes...I have family in the northern territories - my mother's aunt lives there
and I hope she will let me stay there...perhaps help her on her farm...I have no
plans for anything else...I doubt the university will reopen soon."
*If ever...* Zarin remarked to her host.
"We will also be going north, trying to get to the chaapa'ai. Hopefully it will
not be heavily guarded - yet. We expect to attempt to leave the city around
midnight, when it is very dark." Jena said. "If you want, you can accompany us
some of the way - it is a long walk to the chaapa'ai and your knowledge of the
area could be very useful."
"I would like that..." Atli said. *Very much!* he added in his thoughts. He much
preferred walking with these people than trying to travel the whole way alone.
He had secretly feared having to be all alone, walking through the darkness
"Good. That is what we will do, then. There are several hours yet before it is
time to leave. We should take the opportunity to rest and get something to eat."
"There is plenty of food in the house...I can go and fetch some of it.
What we don't eat or take with us will rot anyway...I suppose it is safer
spending the time until we leave out here in the shelter?"
"Probably no one will come back to look for you - yet at least. The Jaffa will
not care...however, staying out here is the safest. We will go
with you and bring here what we need." Jena said.
After picking up food, water, blankets, and whatever else might prove of value
to them on their trek, they returned to the bomb shelter to await midnight.
A few hours later.
*Zarin, have you noticed? Our young friend is just sitting over there in the
corner, not talking to anyone, looking as if his world has just ended - which it
has I guess, but I do think we should try and talk to him - he has been like
this since we ate.*
*Yes, I know. I am not so sure he would appreciate our interference...his
parents have been killed, his sister abducted by Jaffa - his entire civilization
brought down and any dreams he might have had for his future life have been
crushed. Perhaps he would like to be alone with his thoughts and memories.*
*Maybe so, but I believe it would do him good to talk...perhaps we should ask if
he would like to come with us when we leave this planet? There is very little
future for him or anyone else here. The most he can hope for is a life as a
slave...it would be such a waste of his talents!*
*No one should be a slave, but would he want to leave with us? I do not believe
he would appreciate going with us to the base...and how would he react when he
learns that we are the same species as the Goa'uld who have just robbed him of
everything...I doubt he would look on us with friendly eyes.*
*You give him far too little credit. It will take us several days to reach the
chaapa'ai by foot. It is quite far away and we can only travel by night,
and we will have to evade the Jaffa patrols. It will give us time
to get better acquainted and by then he may be able to understand the difference
between the Tok'ra and the Goa'uld.*
Zarin snorted, but then sighed and gave in to the wishes of her persistent host.
*Very well. You may be right.*
Jena got up and walked over and picked up a cup of tea for herself and one for
Atli. She went and sat down next to him, as she handed him the tea.
"Here. Have some hot tea - it will be a long and hard journey and we will all
need to be in as good a shape as possible."
Atli took the cup without a word, but gave her a weak smile. They sat in silence
for a little while, then Atli looked at Jena.
"What do you think will happen to Svala...my sister? Is she still alive?
Zarin and Jena thought back to the young girl they had seen at the dinner. She
was already very beautiful, and it was clear that she would most likely become a
"Yes, I am quite certain that she is alive...it is likely she has been taken as
a host...the Goa'uld...Nephthys people...they are really parasites who need
hosts to interact with their surroundings..."
"A host? What does that mean? Nephthys is a parasite? Will Svala
"Her personality and all that she is will be suppressed, but she will be alive.
The technology exists to remove the parasite, and if you are very lucky then
maybe, one day, you might be able to rescue her."
"That sounds horrible! Poor Svala!" Atli looked devastated, then hope shone in
his eyes. "Could we not go and attempt to rescue her now?"
"I'm sorry, dear Atli, but that is completely out of the question. Your
sister...Svala...she and others like her would be kept in a secure place, very
heavily guarded. In all probability she is not even on the planet anymore, but
will have been sent back to Nephthys home world."
About an hour later Atli had fallen asleep. Jena shook him gently. "Wake up...it
is time to leave."
They walked quickly through the dark, deserted streets. They were very careful
not to make any noise. Only once did they hear people - a small group of Jaffa
who seemed preoccupied with the bakery goods from the store they had just
*The Jaffa seem totally absorbed - I guess they have never been to a planet like
this, where there is plenty of food and everything. It must be strange for them
to see non-Goa'uld technology.* Johan observed.
*Yes. I wonder if it will make them question Goa'uld magic. Perhaps that is one
reason why Nephthys took out their power grid.*
*I certainly hope it will give her problems, huge
They were currently walking through one of the suburbs. It would soon be time to
find a place to hide for the day. While the time was only shortly after 3 in the
morning, the eastern sky was already starting to become rosy - not surprising,
given it was summer and the capital were fairly high on the northern hemisphere.
"Atli...how well do you know this area? Is there some place close by where we
can hide during the day?" Johan asked. "It would be too dangerous to walk around
when the sun is up and people start getting out."
"There is a school two streets from here. I attended it while we lived here for
a few years. It is summer break and no one will be there - besides, I doubt any
parents would have sent their children out for anything the day after having
their planet occupied by an evil god...alien parasite...whatever!" He looked
around the street they were on - dawn was breaking slowly and all was quiet. It
looked deceivingly beautiful and peaceful. There were no signs at all of the
terrible things that had happened yesterday.
"All right. It sounds like it a plan. Lead the way."
They arrived at the school less than 30 minutes later. It looked completely
empty. It was surrounded by a large schoolyard and sports-grounds. A small
forest could be seen nearby. They walked until they found a window that had been
left open. Atli glanced shyly at Zarin. "I think I am the smallest. If one of
you would help me up, I can probably fit through the window."
*How rude!* Zarin snickered to her host. *I think he was implying that you are
fat, and that you would stand to loose a few pounds...I, on the other hand, am
slim as a willow...*
*He wasn't looking at our waistline, and you know it! Besides, you shouldn't be
talking. Remember how you gorged yourself after our last
mission?...and who had to run it off again? Next time you will get
your share of the exercise!*
Meanwhile, Lantash helped Atli, and he crawled through. Soon he found and
unlocked a door, letting the others in.
"There is no power, so it is quite dark. There is an old shelter here somewhere.
We found it one year and played in it...it should have a generator and I think
even a small shower unit."
"Sounds very nice. We may all wish to shower before we leave tonight, but for
now it is safer to stay in a room with multiple exits, if anyone should show
up." Jena said.
They spent most of the day sleeping and talking. Exhausted from the recent days
mental and physical exertion, Atli fell asleep and slept almost all of the day.
The Tok'ra went to an adjacent room and discussed their situation, planning how
to get away from the planet.
Lantash went looking for a tele-ball. The locals had managed to reverse engineer
a Goa'uld long range communications device left behind by Anubis. The result was
the tele-ball. It was still expensive, but available in all major cities. If
Lantash found one, he hoped there might be an official newscast which would give
useful information about the current situation. It would be nice to know if
Nephthys had imposed martial law, for instance.
After a while he found one in the staff lounge and turned it on. Every channel
repeated the same communique over and over again. Nephthys's first prime began
by announcing that the audience would be honoured by a message from their
Goddess Nephthys. Then she appeared on the screen, flashing her eyes and began
speaking: "I am your Goddess, Nephthys. I have come to claim what is rightfully
mine! Worship me or I shall strike you down without mercy. You have done
surprising well during the time you were left to fend for yourself. However,
most of your gadgets are blasphemous, an insult to the Universe and I am here to
provide much needed guidance. It will be a difficult transition, but afterwards
your lives will be in accordance with the will of the Universe. Your are to be
commended for your excellent mining operations, which I will allow to continue
in my name. My loyal Jaffa have been deployed to keep order during these trying
times. Do not tempt them with foolish disobedience, as they are neither as
intelligent, nor as merciful as I your beloved Goddess..." she continued along
these lines for quite some time. Disgusted Lantash turned off the transmission.
*We will learn nothing more from that self-absorbed tyrant...*
*Agreed, Lantash. We should return to the others and tell them what we have
Returning to the others, they quickly reported what little information had been
contained in the broadcast. After a short discussion, the Tok'ra took turns
keeping watch and sleeping, trying to get as much rest as possible before the
Late in the evening shortly before midnight, when the sky was almost dark the
little group resumed their march.
The first half of the night went smoothly. The streets were empty and they soon
reached the outer parts of the city. However, just as they were about to turn
down the road which would eventually lead them to the chaapa'ai, they spotted a
Jaffa patrol. Atli and the Tok'ra hid behind a picket fence while the guard
passed, then carefully continued on. They had not walked long before they
encountered another Jaffa patrol and then yet another.
"We are getting close to the chaapa'ai - Nephthys predictably has stationed a
contingent of Jaffa in the area. We will not be able to get closer this way..."
Milek looked at Atli, "...do you know another way to the chaapa'ai, one which
will provide us with more cover?"
"My mother would not let me get close to it, so I have only ever seen in
once...I walked through the forest." Atli pointed towards the outline of trees
which could be seen behind the houses. "The forest is fairly thick, and the path
is a good deal longer than the direct route, but it is almost unused. I have a
compass and I believe I can find my way through it fairly quickly. About a year
ago, two of my friends and I went on a hiking trip which took us that way and
out on the other side - just so we could see the chaapa'ai for real. The trees
stop maybe 100 feet from it." He had a far away expression, obviously lost in
"Perfect! This means we will be able to walk during part of the day."
Looking around for any signs of enemy activity, the group quickly ran for the
treeline. Following it they soon found the entrance and the beginning of the
path Atli had followed a year ago. It did not look well travelled and were
partly overgrown here and there.
Following Atli, who walked in front with his compass, they slowly made their way
through the forest. Here and there other paths branched off. In some places the
way were so covered with plants that they could hardly see it, but they always
managed to find it again and continued. The forest were quite dark and it felt
almost cold even if it was the middle of the summer.
It was shortly after noon when they reached a more open part of the forest. A
decision was quickly made that they should take a few hours break and get
something to eat. The trunk of a fallen tree and a couple of large rocks served
nicely as chairs for the weary group.
After the light lunch, Atli sat looking out over the place. It was so very
peaceful. Except for a few birds and the trickle of a nearby brook, all was
quiet. For a short moment he could almost imagine that none of all this had
happened - that his world had not been attacked and when he returned home his
parents and sister would be waiting for him.
Sighing deeply, he looked at the Toven traders who currently were not talking,
though some of them seemed to be having some sort of internal communication.
Perhaps some sort of meditation or a religious ritual? Either way it was not his
concern. They were friendly, and he was really starting to like them all. They
treated him with respect, not like some adults who never really listened to what
he had to say. Still, they were a strange group - perhaps because their customs
were different? Sometimes their personality seemed to change within a matter of
minutes. He prided himself on his keen observation skills, but this was not
something he had noticed at first. But as he spent more time with them it became
The sun was shining down on him and it was very warm. Insects were buzzing
lazily and he was starting to feel sleepy. It did not really matter that his new
friends were a little strange and he soon feel asleep.
Several hours later Jena gently shook him awake. He had slept peacefully without
any nightmares about the death of his parents, the end of his civilization, or
alien body snatchers claiming his sister.
"It is time to go. We hope to traverse half of this forest while it is still
light enough - and these winding, overgrown tracks makes the going much slower."
"Yes. I'm coming." Atli got up and took out his compass. Finding the direction
they were soon on their way.
They walked most of the afternoon and evening, taking only short breaks to eat.
The forest were quiet except for the animals, and they met no one. Once, during
the early evening, they saw a vessel cross the sky. Atli recognized it as one of
the ships that had attacked the planet a few days ago. Johan told him it was a
'death glider' - a type of ship used by the Jaffa for planetary attacks and
surveys. Probably they were currently using it to intimidate the population, and
to convince them that it would be a very bad idea to fight back.
"Your civilization is quite different from those ruled by the Goa'uld. You are
much more advanced and it will take Nephthys far more time and effort to
suppress the population. Goa'uld rule by fear and intimidation, and by
suppressing all knowledge. They pretend to be gods and use advanced technology
to convince people of their supernatural abilities. Your civilization will not
be easy to cow." Johan said.
"I hope you are right. There are those who still believe in the old gods, and
many more are superstitious...like my mother is...was..." the young man became
quiet as he was overwhelmed by his memories.
It was getting too dark for them to make their way through the forest, and they
stopped in a clearing in order to sleep until dawn. They made camp and went to
sleep, except Lantash who took the first watch.
His host was asleep, so he sat down and contemplated their situation. He soon
became aware of the fact that he was not the only one awake. Quietly he got up
and sat next to Atli.
"You should sleep," he said softly, using his hosts voice. "It will be a very
long walk tomorrow and you need your strength."
"I know. It's just...I can't stop thinking about my family, my planet...my life
as I had imagined it would be - and what it is now likely to be. Is it selfish
of me to worry about my future, when I am alive and free, when so many are not?"
"It is understandable...how did you imagine your life?"
"I had hoped to continue my studies - to become a scientist, maybe study the
chaapa'ai...figure out how it works - perhaps even one day travel to other
planets if we succeeded, or if we managed to build a spaceship capable of
interstellar flight..." he blushed, "but most of all I had hoped that my
neighbors daughter would one day become interested in me...and perhaps marry
me..." he sighed, "...but now I have to hide on my mother's aunt's farm and work
there...if I don't get caught by Nephthys's people..."
Lantash looked thoughtful. What he had to say was not pleasant, but he felt the
young man deserved to know. "You should know that you may not be safe there
either. Nephthys is very persistent and thorough. She will want to kill everyone
who is even remotely connected with the government, and to capture their
families. Sooner or later she will realise that you got away - and she will not
give up looking for you. The fact that you are intelligent, a student of
science, and would make a handsome host, makes the situation even
more dangerous. You have been taught some of the knowledge that she is desperate
to eradicate from your people - by making you a host she will not only remove a
potentially dangerous enemy who can teach others, but the Goa'uld controlling
you will absorb your knowledge and make an excellent underling."
"Then what should I do?" His look of despair was quickly exchanged for one of
anger and determination. "Do you know what I would like to do? I would like to
kill Nephthys, with my bare hands preferably - and
all her evil kind...and then I would free my sister...Jena said the technology
exists to remove a parasite, if one of the creatures should have taken control
"That is true, but you have no great chance of success alone..."
"Then let me go with you to your planet...from there I can go to other worlds,
right? Somewhere there must be someone willing to fight these Goa'uld! I will
find them and join them, or create a resistance myself!"
Lantash thought for a while about how to respond to this, then decided to take
the chance. "I understand you well...and I will reveal something for you. We are
not who pretend to be - we are not traders from Toven. We are really part of a
resistance movement who fight the Goa'uld - this is why we knew Nephthys would
be attacking your world."
"Why did you not say so immediately?"
"My people have fought the Goa'uld for centuries. Since it is very dangerous -
most planets are after all occupied by Goa'uld and the populations believe they
are gods - we keep our identity concealed. Members of the resistance have
visited your world since you became free from Anubis, pretending to be traders
as this is a good excuse to travel to other worlds. We dared not risk telling
the truth - until desperation made us do so. When still only a few listened to
our warnings, Nephthys attacked and won. Someone betrayed us and we had to
flee...Atli...I apologize for having deceived you, but it was necessary - both
for your own and our safety."
"I understand...I am not angry at you...do you think I could go with you? Join
"Yes...perhaps in time, but it is a hard and very dangerous life. I suggest that
you accompany us to the planet Tollan where you can stay with friends of ours.
Their technology is superior to that of the Goa'uld and you will be safe there.
I have no doubt they will give you sanctuary for a few years. You will have time
to think and to come to terms with recent events. Your pain and anger will never
vanish, but you will learn to control and harness them. If you choose to join
our resistance, then it must be for life as we cannot allow anyone to leave with
knowledge about us. Then, when you have had the time to think, you can make your
Atli did not look happy. "I do not need to wait! I
know I want to fight Nephthys - more than anything else in the
Lantash smiled. "Let us wait and see. For now, you leave the planet with us."
*If we manage to get away - the Jaffa may be guarding the chaapa'ai too
diligently for us to approach it* he thought. "Go to sleep."
Early next morning everyone were getting ready to continue the journey.
"Oh, no!" Atli said, frantically searching the area where he had slept. "I've
Jena came over to help him. "What is it you have lost? We really need to be
going soon, if we want to reach the chaapa'ai today. The longer we wait, the
more likely it is that Nephthys has stationed a large garrison of Jaffa there
"The compass - I can't find my way through this maze without it."
They searched for a little while, but did not find it.
"I were fiddling with it last night when I couldn't sleep - I could have dropped
it anywhere..." Atli looked miserable. Now they would waste a lot of time
finding their way through the thick forest, all because of his clumsiness.
"Do not worry...we will find the way without it." Johan said.
"Ehrm...the sun is up...we can use that...and there is more moss on the trees in
the direction facing north...yes, we will manage..."
Atli nodded and did not say anything further, though he highly doubted these
measures would work. The majority of the forest were too thick and the trees too
tall, for the sun to be seen, or for it to reach the trees enough to have any
influence on the moss.
As the day passed, however, he had to admit it did look as if they were going in
the right direction. On the rare occasions where they passed through a clearing
in the forest and could see the sun, it was always standing in the correct
position. Impressive - and another oddity to add to his list.
The trek was uneventful, and they reached the edge of the forest just as the sun
was setting. Johan snuck closer to the edge and hid behind a large tree. He
scrutinized the area around the chaapa'ai for a little while before returning.
"There are four Jaffa on guard. I do not remember seeing any buildings in the
surrounding area, so I assume they are stationed in the nearby town. We will
have to wait and see if there are guards at night as well, though it is very
likely. On most planets the chaapa'ai is either guarded around the clock, or not
They waited. About an hour later, the guards were replaced by another group.
"It is as we feared - it is continuously guarded."
"Why would it be? No one on the planet knows how to use it." Atli wondered.
"They know we are here - remember, we were betrayed. Nephthys is aware that we
are not just traders, but members of a resistance movement, known and hated by
all Goa'uld. Our capture would be of a high priority for her." Lantash said.
"Then what can we do?" Atli sounded close to despair. Their escape was so near,
and yet infinitely far away.
"We have weapons, but nothing like staff weapons. Our zat'nik'tels have limited
range, so we will have to get fairly close. But first we need to determine the
length of their shifts. Then we can attack just before the change of guards,
when the Jaffa will be weary and their attention will be drifting." Johan looked
up: "It is almost dark, but both moons will be up tonight. They should provide
us with enough light to target the Jaffa. A standard shift is about 4 hour
which keeps the Jaffa from getting bored and lowering their guard."
"It is summer. In another 6-8 hours the sun will have long since risen - there
will be no darkness in which to hide."
"That is unfortunate, but it can not be helped. We will rely on the fact that
only 4 guards are present at a time, and hope reinforcements are far away -
and that Nephthys does not decide to transport slaves or goods
through the chaapa'ai just then."
When 4 hours had passed, the next group of guards arrived. It was decided to
wait just over 3 1/2 hours, since the guards would then start to tire and look
forward to replacement, while those new guards would still be far enough away to
not be able to assist in any way.
[ Chapter 1: The mission | Chapter 2: Nephtys Attacks | Chapter 3: The New Host | Chapter 4: Going Home | Chapter 5: Rejoined ]