"It should be in the next chamber," Mattew said to me. He was an old friend of my cousin Rick, and we also became good friends as a result. It was he that asked me, over a year ago, if I wanted to get some real-life experience in archaeology instead of just studying it in the classroom. I had needed a fresh start anyway, and Mattew knew it. Flying a few thousand miles from the US was about as fresh as it gets. A little over two years ago, my wife Amanda and daughter Shelby were killed by stray bullets in a bank robbery gone wrong. Wrong place, wrong time. God, I miss them. Since then, I had become extremely depressed and even contemplated ending my own life a few times. I had no other family besides my cousin Rick, who I hadn't heard from in three years. I had lost everything and everyone I cared about. So, with nothing to lose, I gladly accepted the offer to join Mattew on his work. It was better then the alternative.
In the last few weeks, though, he has been more and more focused on finding one particular thing. He called it the "Sun of Egeria", whatever that was. I had searched, in our down time, for any reference in egyptian history and religion as to what he was looking for, and found nothing. He insisted that it would be the archaeological find of the century.
"Help me with this." I replied. As I grab my prybar, Mattew grabs his and we start trying to get the door open. Its difficult. Suddenly, I hear a snapping noise and watch as a crack forms where I was prying and spiders climbing up the ceiling. It stops though, and the chamber still seems stable, so we continue to pry until the door opens.
I step inside first, holding the flashlight up high. There are pictographs and writings on the walls all around the room. There is a shelf in one corner with a few jars on it. And in the middle of the room is an elaborate sarcophagus. Maybe this would be a big find, after all.
"This what you're looking for?" I ask Mattew.
"Its interesting, but no." Instead he walks over to the shelf with the jars and starts blowing and brushing all the dust off of them. How are a few jars more interesting than an undiscovered sarcophagus? I wonder.
"Yes..." I hear from Mattew, reaching for one particular jar. As soon as he picks it up, the room starts shaking. Its a trap!
"Mattew! We need to go!" He quickly puts the jar into his bag and turns to follow me out the door. Before he makes it two feet, a chunk of the ceiling falls and hits him on the head. No! CRACK! He collapses. I glance around hurriedly, and see that other peices of the ceiling are falling in, too. I grab his arm and start dragging him toward the door. A large peice falls and blocks the exit. Just my luck. I'm going to die. Then I remember the sarcophagus, it might protect me. I check Mattew for a pulse. He is gone. Ok, his death will not be for nothing. Obviously whatever was in that jar is very important, the archaeological community WILL credit him with finding it. I will make sure of that. I grab the bag and throw it over my shoulder. I grab the pry bar and start making my way to the other side of the room where the sarcophagus is. A large chunk of ceiling falls, I can't dodge it so I drop in the hopes of it missing my head, which it does. I feel a searing pain and can't move my leg. Wonderful. I crawl over and start prying open the sarcophagus. I am NOT looking forward to laying in there with two thousand year old dead body, but what choice do I have?
To my surpise, as soon as I begin prying on the top of the sarcophagus, it begins opening on its own. The sides and floor are glowing. What the hell? There is nobody inside either. Whatever, worry about how weird that is later. This place could cave in completely any second. I climb in, and before I can start pulling the lid shut, they start shutting on their own. This is really weird.
The lid shut, the lights, if thats what they are, dim slightly. I can still hear the place around me collapsing. A few peices bounce off the lid of the sarcophagus. I hope it will hold. I notice I am starting to feel sleepy. That's just too much, something isn't right here. I look around, realizing I left the prybar outside. Great. I reach up to try and get the lid open with my hands, but its no use. The last thing I register before I fall asleep is a loud bang as a particularly large chunk of cieling hits the top of the sarcophagus.
The first thing I notice when I wake up, is the rumbling has stopped. Did it collapse completely? I shudder at the thought of being trapped in here. Just as I was wondering how I was going to get out of there, the lid starts opening on its own. What the hell is going on here? An ancient egyptian sarcophagus with power windows? I start to get up, then remember that my leg is broken. I attempt gently to move it. Its not broken anymore! Did I imagine it?
The temple didn't collapse completely. I stand up and look around. Dust fills the air, it makes me cough. I don't see Mattew's body. I assume it got buried under the rubble. I have to get out of here and report what happened. They will send someone to get his body. I reach down, grab the bag, and start sprinting toward the door. I climb over the rubble blocking it, and am just barely able to squeeze out. I hear something shatter. Mattew's jar, damn.
I get outside, and collapse in the sand. Its a miracle that I am even alive. And Mattew didn't make it. I feel my eyes start to get wet, and I choke up a little. No. Not now, I'll have time to be upset later. I have to report this and get some help. How will Rick react when he learns of Mattew's death? How will I get out of here? The Jeep! Did Mattew leave the keys in the igntion, or were they on him? Ill find out. I get to the Jeep, toss the bag in the back seat, and sit down in the front. Good, he left the keys in the ignition. I turn the key, nothing. Not even any lights. Great.
A quick inspection of the engine doesn't reveil what the problem is. I punch a few nice sized dents in the hood. My luck today is unbelievable. I walk around to the side of the Jeep and sit down in its shadow. I pull my cigarrettes out of my pocket and light one. For a moment I just sit there, in the sand, and think on how screwed I am. The rented Jeep won't start, and our satellite phone and water were both on Mattew. Poor Mattew. Poor Mattew's wife and son. What will I tell them? I feel as if its my fault he is dead. Maybe I can dig him out of the rubble...no. Thats a bad idea. The chamber could finish collapsing and I could easily join him. Damn it, why did that stupid jar have to be booby trapped? What could be so important about it? To hell with that jar, let someone else worry about what it is.
Without water I won't make it back to the city on foot. But I have to try, nobody will come looking for us immediately. I stand up, walk around the back of the Jeep and start looking through the bags to see what supplies I do have. Its not much. I did find a small water canteen, which I immediately chug down. Damn, that wasn't smart. I take a last hit off my smoke, and toss it. As I turn back around, I notice a squealing noise coming from Mattew's bag. What is that?
I grab the bag off the back seat, open it, and look inside. There is some kind of creature sitting in there, screeching at me. I drop the bag in shock, stumble backwards, and fall. I lay there for a second, letting my heart rate return to normal. This can't be real. I must have been hit on the head with one of the peices of ceiling. First, imagining that my leg was broken. Then imagining that the sarcophagus had come fully loaded with lights and power windows. Then seeing this creature in Mattew's bag. It was alien looking. This is impossible.
I slowly walk back to the Jeep, pick up the bag, and open it. The creature jumps at me, and I gasp in shock. Which it seems is what it wanted, because it goes straight into my mouth! Its attacking the back of my throat! What the hell! No, this isn't real. Its impossible. I fall backwards into the sand, and darkness takes me. I can't fight it.
My host is fighting me. I had no choice. I had no choice! I keep thinking to him. He isn't listening. I will make him listen, something I hate doing. But I have no choice. He must listen to me if we are to survive. I get up and sit down leaning against the metal object sitting there.
Stop fighting me and let me explain!
"Who are you? Where are you?!"
My name is Veskyr. I am... He interrups me.
Shut up! This is not real! Im dreaming, yeah, that's it. Im dreaming. Mattew's death, the glowing sarcophagus, the temple...
While he rambles, I try to remember how I got there. Its blank. The last thing I remember was getting ready to leave for a mission. What was the mission? I can't remember. This is stupid, symbiotes aren't supposed to have memory problems. What became of my host? Where are the others? Too many questions...my new host is still yelling at me.
...all a dream. Im still asleep in the motel, and we haven't left to come look for the whatever of Egeria. YOU ARE NOT REAL!
Egeria? That snaps me out of searching my memories and brings my focus back to what this host is thinking at me. My queen's name. Is she still alive? How long was I in that cursed jar?
My cousin's friend...looking for the Sun of Egeria, whatever the hell that is. Now let me focus...Okay Josh, time to wake up...come on damn it, just wake up!
You won't wake up. This is real. And if you would calm down for a moment, I can stop holding control of you and actually explain my actions.
Okay, let's say this is real. Why can't I move, or speak out loud? What are you, how are you controlling me?
As I said, my name is Veskyr. This is extremely frustrating, and I am surprised he doesn't know what I am. Do the Goa'uld no longer rule the Tau'ri? I am a symbiotic life form that needs a host in order to survive. Normally, I don't take hosts who are unwilling, but the circumstances were desperate, and we would both die had I not done what I did. I am fairly confused my self. I don't know how I came to be where you found me, I cannot remember. Where are we?
On the Tau'ri?
What the hell is a Tau'ri?
A planet in Ra's domain. The planet on which humans first originated. I don't have time for these games. A quick glance through my host's memories tells me what I need to know. We are on the Tau'ri, the temple he found me in was one of Ra's. My host is reading my thoughts, I am not used to having to block them.
Ra? As in the sun god?
Yes, he is a Goa'uld. They are also symbiotes, like me, but they have a very different view of things. They are power hungry, and pose as gods so those beneath them will serve them. They take unwilling hosts.
You took me.
I told you, I didn't have a choice. Look, this would be a lot easier if I were to blend with you. You would instantly gain all my knowledge. You would enjoy perfect health and a lifespan more then double of a regular human. All I ask in return is that you share your body with me, so that I may survive.
Hell no! Get out, get out, get out!!
I will prove to you that I am not going to harm you. I release control to him before continuing. If you really want, I will leave you. This would cause my death, but I would rather die then remain in an unwilling host. Before you make that decision, look into my mind. I will open it to you. You will see that I am not evil, that I am telling you the truth about what I am. I hate opening myself up to this host, as much as he seems to despise me. He will probably still reject me. If he does I will die, so I have to at least try and let him see that I am not the monster he thinks I am. I can feel him looking through my memories and my thoughts.
I feel myself put back in control. I jump up instantly.
"Holy crap!" I yell, out of surprise. This is actually happening. I'm not dreaming. This is unbelievable. The symbiote is telling me that he will leave if I want him to. He says it would kill him. At this point, I really don't give a damn what happens to him. This is just...I can't even think of a word to describe it. The symbiote is telling me that I can look through its thoughts and memories, that I can see it isn't a monster. Why should I care? But at the same time I am wondering that, I begin poking at the symbiotes memories. I see flashes of tunnels. Other people I don't recognize. A battle involving some kind of weapons that shoot electicity. Torture. I look a little deeper, my curiousity getting the better of me.
I can't find anything that would indicate that it isn't telling the truth. But it can control my body, couldn't it control what memories I see? I can't believe I am seriously considering this. I must be insane. Is it shock from losing Mattew? Is it simply because of some unfounded sympathy for this creature? Its all overwhelming. I light a cigarette.
Don't do that!
Do what? I mentally reply.
Inhale that smoke. It does damage to your lungs that I will have to repair.
I can't deal with this right now. Its a lot to take in. Smoking helps me think. Plus, if I stop I get headaches.
I can prevent that from happening. The headaches, I mean. I can cure your addiction to the chemicals in that smoke.
I don't care what you can do! I don't know if I can accept sharing my body with another mind. You were talking about 'blending'. Explain that! I demand. The symbiote gives a mental sigh.
The process of blending is where, if you decide to let me stay, we would basically get to know each other very well, very quickly. You get all my memories, thoughts, emotions...and I get yours. We become very close friends.
What if I decide later that I want you to leave?
It is not advised. Upon blending, the only thing that should seperate a host and a symbiote is death. It has happened, very rarely, that a seperation occurs where both survive. But it is an incredible emotional trauma and the host usually kills themselves within a few days.
Why did you say that I needed you in order to survive?
Look at the situation. According to your memories, we are a couple hundred miles from the nearest city, without transportation or supplies. I can keep you from becoming dehydrated, so you can make it back on foot. That is the most immediate concern. Other than that, you are most likely a target of the Goa'uld now.
Why the hell would these 'Goa'uld' want to come after me?
Because you are host to me. I am Tok'ra, the sworn enemy of the Goa'uld. If they learn that you are or were a Tok'ra host, they will hunt you down and capture you. You would be tortured for information regarding the Tok'ra.
This is insane. I don't know anything about any damn 'Tok'ra'!
They won't beleive you, Josh. Trust me on this.
Can we worry about it later? Can you get me back to the city without doing this now?
Yes, but that's about it. It is bad for both of us to remain in an unblended state for too long.
I stand up, put on a sun hat that was in the Jeep, and toss my smoke. I check my compass. The city is to the northeast, I remember that. I start walking.
Do you know what my cousin Mattew was here looking for? Where did you come from, for that matter?
I was in the jar your cousin retrieved from the temple. It had me in statis, a kind of suspended animation where one is in hibernation for hundreds of years without aging. I believe your cousin was looking specifically for that jar.
I...I don't know for sure.
Thats the end of that conversation.
29 hours into the walk, Josh-
I am exhausted. The symbiote really is keeping me from getting dehydrated, but in my determination to get back to the city I haven't slept except for one hour long nap. I don't know if I can keep this up, and I am still over a hundred miles from the city. Twice the symbiote has offered to take over control, so that I can rest. He says I can sleep while he walks. He has been sleeping off and on over the last couple days while I walked, so he isn't tired. Both times I refused him, I am extremely uncomfortable with having another 'person' in control of my body.
You really need to get some rest. Let me take over. What do you think will happen? All we are doing is walking, and we still have at least a day and a half to go.Why will you not let me help you? He thinks to me, sensing my thoughts.
Because this is not your body. You shouldn't even be here! I should never have gone on this thing with Mattew. I can't stop thinking about him. It should have been me that died in that chamber, not him.
No harm will come to you. I cannot continue pumping your mind full of stimulants, it is not healthy. You would have already suffered some kind of breakdown were it not for me. You MUST rest.
"Damn it, I SAID NO!!" I yell outloud, unintentionally. I'm in an extremely bad mood, from both my current situation and from exhaustion. I'm shaky. I need to rest. I collapse in the sand, panting, trying to catch my breath. I wish I had more cigarettes.
I am having trouble keeping my eyes open. Just a couple more minutes and I'll keep moving. I have to keep moving. It feels so good to just lay here and let my sore leg muscles rest for a moment...
The first thing I notice when waking up is that night has fallen. The symbiote is in control, he is walking at a steady pace. I don't even remember falling asleep. That's annoying.
How long have you had control? I think at him.
You have been asleep for almost ten hours. I estimate we are now less then 20 miles to the outskirts of the city. See? No harm came from letting me walk while you rested, which you desperately needed.
That's not the point, I told you no.
You also insisted that we keep moving. I wasn't going to just sit there for ten hours while you slept.
I have to admit the logic in that. Well, still...its my turn. You should rest.
So be it. He thinks at me before retreating, so much so that I can barely sense his presence. He is asleep within ten minutes.
I still almost think this is nothing but one very long, very weird dream. It doesn't seem possible. I didn't want him to take control, but I had to admit that getting some sleep and still making progress toward the city was convenient. What would Amanda have thought about all this? Where are you when I need advice, my love? Are you watching all this happen? You wouldn't have believed it, not in a million years.
After arriving at the city, I reported the collapsing temple to Egyptian authorities. They could not find Mattew's body. I felt the symbiote cringe at that information, but he wouldn't tell me why.
After getting everything sorted out with the Egyptians, I caught a plane back to the USA. Veskyr didn't like it at all, he kept insisting that it was unsafe. When I couldn't convince him that it was fine, I just started ignoring him. When the plane landed, I bought another ticket, this time to St. Louis, Missouri.
Why are we going there? Veskyr asks me
To get my car. I am not sure where to go or what to do yet, but I know I will need my car. Its sitting in a storage unit in Hazelwood. In the meantime, we can use this flight to formulate a plan. You say I am now a target of the Goa'uld, so obviously I can't just go back to living a normal life. I agree that we should find some way to contact your people. We also need money, I only have enough to get us to my car and get enough food until then. How good are you at math?
Extremely. I was one of our top scientists.
Good. Then I think I know what we are going to do to raise some money. I don't feel like explaining it all, so just look into my memories of the game called Texas Hold'em. Its a gambling game that involves a deck of 52 playing cards. I will pick up some playing cards when we land so you can practice. The goal is to determine if you have the best hand on the table, and bet money accordingly. I can sense the symbiote looking through my memories of how playing cards work, and how playing poker works.
After about twenty minutes he said, I believe I have a sufficient understanding of this game and how to play it.
Good, then after I pick up my car we will go to Ameristar Casino. After that we need a place to lay low while we figure out how to contact your people. I know some people in Colorado Springs, they are friends of the family and they're the reason I was studying archaeology in the first place.
I have no objections, you know this world much better than I.
When the plane lands I get a taxi and after a run through a Wendy's drive through for some burgers, we head to the storage unit.
You shouldn't eat this food. Veskyr says to me after examining its nutritional content It is very unhealthy. It will take me hours to repair the damage it will do to your body.
For now it's better than nothing. We don't have time to cook a decent meal. I reply. He can't argue with that logic.
The drive takes a little under an hour, and the taxi pulls up in front of the storage unit. I pay him, and we get out. Which unit is my car in...I can't remember.
Number 128. says Veskyr, looking through my own memories more quickly than I could.
I would have remembered eventually!
And we would have been here all day. he says, laughing in my head. I give him the mental version of a glare, to which he responds by smiling at me. Ignoring him, I walk up to the door, unlock the padlock, and open it. There's my baby.
What is that? Veskyr asks me
That is called a Nissan. I've modified it. It's very fast.
It seems entirely unsafe to go that fast without some kind of sheilding, Veskyr says, pulling memories of me flying down Interstate 40.
Yeah, but its fun. I say. I unlock the door, pop the hood, reconnect the battery, get in and turn the key. It roars to life.
"...beautiful..." I say under my breath.
Time to go to the casino.
Before hitting the interstate west, I stop at the gas station to fill the tank. When I go inside to pay for my gas, I get bottle of Mountian Dew and a pack of Marlboros. When I get back in the car I light a cigarette and take a drink of soda, while Veskyr is practically yelling at me in my head about the negative health effects of the cigarette and the soda.
Dude, knock it off. You can repair the damage if you like, but I will drink a Mountain Dew and smoke a cigarette if I damn well please. I think back to him, aggrivated by his constant griping about my decisions.
You are aware that I am not just a healing device. My purpose in life is much more than to simply function as your personal health monitor.
You can leave now! I was leaning toward letting you stay, but if this is how you're going to react every time I make a decision, by questioning it and complaining about it-
You condemn me to death, you realize that. Veskyr thinks to me very quietly.
I think about that for just a moment, then I'm sorry. Its been a very long last few days and I haven't had a good nights sleep in weeks. You don't have to leave right now. No, I haven't made a decision yet. Lets move on. I reply, focusing my attention on driving. I start the car and drive out of the parking lot to Interstate 70. I turn on the radio and switch in to my Mettalica mix.
I have a lot of fun on the drive there. Its been way too long since I've driven my car. The whole time, of course, Veskyr is nervous as hell about the way I'm driving, but he seems to be making an effort not say anything. We get to the casino and buy in. The dealer throws us two cards, we call the blind, and the first three cards are exposed. Veskyr and I are discussing the hand in our head.
Three 9s on the first hand is pretty damn good. Observe the other players and see if anyone has anything better.
So he does, and we bet ten. Seven of the nine other players followed. So it went for the next two cards, and we ended up with a full house. We tripled up in the first hand.
So it went for the rest of the evening. We came in with my last $112, and walked out with $892.
This will definitely be enough to get us to Colorado. Apparently having a symbiote in my head has other perks besides perfect health. Time to hit the road to Colorado. I am starting to become comfortable with having this second being in my body, and that scares me.
Presently, my host is driving the Nissan down the interstate. He tells me we are going to a place called Colorado Springs. He says he has a place there we can stay, some friend of a family member. I have been trying to remember how I ended up in that stasis jar. I cannot. When I contact the Tok'ra, they will be able to use a memory device to help me. It is extremely frustrating that I cannot remember.
My host and I have had very little conversation the last few days. I remind him from time to time that he needs to make a decision about blending with me or not, this unblended state is taking its toll on both of us. Not that it matters, if he chooses not to. I will die if I leave him, with no new host.
We searched the place where the Chapa'ai should have been before leaving Egypt. I could not sense it. My host tells me that there was an archeological dig in that location some years ago, and that it may have been recovered by one of this world's governments. I MUST locate it and contact the Tok'ra. Who knows how many years I was in that cursed stasis jar. Perhaps the Tok'ra don't even exist anymore...no! Do not think that way. I cannot think that way.
My host interrups my thoughts. Can you take over? I would like to sleep for a while.
Yes, I will let you get some sleep.
Of course. I assume control, and feel Josh retreat into unconciousness. We have been sleeping in shifts, neither of us relaxed enough to actually sleep properly. I drive on down the highway, my mind wandering. I could not sleep right now if I wanted to. I am entirely too stressed. If my host has not chosen to blend with me by now, he probably will not. I am going to die, most likely never learning the fate of the Tok'ra. I awaken from stasis only to die. My old host is probably long dead and turned to dust. I feel a pang of sadness at the thought of him dying for what, in the end, was probably a lost cause. I will join him soon, in the afterlife. I will be reunited with my hosts, and my Tok'ra bretheran. All this because the host I had to take to survive, was and is unwilling to be blended with me. I would have been better off still in stasis.
I drive silently, listening over and over again to the music, something my host had told the vehicle to play. It is too loud for my taste. He called it "Metallica". But I do not care right now, lost in my own thoughts.
After what seems to be about five hours, I feel Josh stir. Veskyr?
I have...thought about it.
He has made a decision. This is the end of me. Okay. You do not have to say it. I will leave you. I am truly sorry for what I did to you. I release control to him, and begin retreating into my own mind, attempting to make peace with this being the end. Pull the car over and get out. I will leave you. Good luck.
No! I...I have decided to let you stay. I have no family to speak of. I have nothing. I can't go back to the University and continue studying archaeology, not after what happened to Mattew. Maybe letting you stay could be the start of a new beginning for me. Maybe its just my soft heart, but I can't let a sentient being with a good soul die knowing I could have prevented it. And perfect health is definitely a plus. On top of all that, if I am now a target of the Goa'uld, I'll probably have much better chances with you, rather than without you.
He is letting me blend with him. He is letting me stay. For a moment, I cannot even say anything to him in reply. I was preparing for death, then he told me I could stay. Told me I could blend with him. After I took him unwillingly. I can't believe it.
I...I don't know what to say. Thank you!
It's getting close to dark anyway. I'll pull off the highway and find a place for us to sleep.
Thats a good idea.
The next exit isn't for a few miles. In the mean time...He reaches in his pocket for a smoking stick.
Please don't do that. I think to him. I told you, once we are blended I can cure your addiction to that smoke in a matter of seconds. I have already repaired the damage it has done to your body.
Exactly. Is his reply. If I have to quit smoking when we blend, I want to enjoy a last one. Now please, just let me enjoy it. He reaches over and turns up the volume on the vehicle's audio system. "...where's your crown king nothing!..."
I pull off at the next exit where I see a dimly lit neon sign declaring a vacancy. When I get to the bottom of the off ramp, I take one last long drag off my cigarette, flick it out the window, and turn off the stereo. When the light turns green, I rev the engine up and dump the clutch. The turbocharged monster roars as I kick it sideways turning onto the road.
DON'T DO THAT!! THIS IS NOT SAFE! the symbiote is yelling at me. I can feel him wrapping even more tightly around my spinal column.
Cut it out, your going to cut off my blood flow.
That seems to have stung him a little. I would never cause you harm.
I get to the motel and get a room for the night. I bring my clothes and food inside, and go to take a shower.
This seems like a method of getting clean that is rather wasteful of water. Veskyr comments
Well, what do the Tok'ra do?
We have baths, the crystals we grow our tunnels out of form them. The crystals also help keep the water filtered and fresh.
Well, you're a lot more advanced than we are. I reply.
Veskyr grins mentally. True.
After a shower and a dinner of microwaved Easy Mac I bought at the gas station, I lay down on the bed. Once again Veskyr is commenting on the lack of nutritional value. Ignoring it and instead focusing on whats ahead of me, Okay, what do I have to do? I ask him
Just lay back, close your eyes, and relax. Ill take care of it. Again, thank you for saving my life.
The symbiote's gratitude was heartfelt. I felt it as if it were my own.
To me, it looked like watching a movie that summarized Veskyr's life before I became his host. A lifetime of memories jammed into a couple hours. It was much more then that, of course, but thats what it looked like. Veskyr is over a thousand years old, counting the 700 or so years in the jar. He was one of his queen's last batch of larvae before she disappeared. I watched suffering at the hands of the Goa'uld, I watched happiness when he was around other Tok'ra. I felt love as he spent time with his mates. Mates!
You're married? How long do you guys live? I ask him when its over.
I am, technically. Although, I was in that cursed stasis jar for at least a few hundred years, who knows what happened to them by now. For all I know all the Tok'ra could have been totally wiped out a long time ago. With that, I feel waves of greif and sadness from my symbiote. I want to comfort him, but I'm not sure how. To answer your second question, a Tok'ra host will usually live for about 200 years, sometimes as much as 250 years depending how old they are when they become a host, barring mortal injury. A Tok'ra symbiote will on usually live an average lifespan of about 2000, maybe as much as 3000, again barring mortal injury and assuming there is always a host available. We don't really know, or at least I don't. When I was last among the Tok'ra, Selmak and Jolinar were the oldest Tok'ra symbiotes and they were only about 1200 years old. The Goa'uld can live up to about 6000 years old with the use of the sarcophogus, but we don't use it.
Don't worry about me. It is my responsibility as your symbiote to be concerned for your happiness and health. He says, sensing my desire to comfort his sadness.
Doesn't it work both ways? I ask
Yes, it does. The longer we are blended, the more we become as one. Our thoughts will still be seperate, but our emotions, especially our stronger ones, will begin to synchronize. We feel love and hatred as one. We become closer then the closest friends. It is a rewarding relationship.
I see. I'm not really sure what else to say. Not that it will help, but I lost my wife and four-year-old daughter a couple years ago, so I know how you feel. They never even caught one of those assholes involved in the bank job. Now waves of sadness wash over me again, this time from my own mind.
Do we have a plan? He asks me, wanting to change the subject for both our sakes. I must find either the chapa'ai, or a way to get to my ship. I must attempt to contact the Tok'ra.
You have a ship? This surprises me
Yes, my Alkesh was cloaked, in orbit around your planet's moon. It probably isn't there anymore, though.
Okay, first things first, we need to get to Colorado Springs. My mom's friend should let us stay there while we figure out a game plan. I say
Thats fine. How about we get a proper nights sleep for once?
Sounds great, Veskyr.
I switch off the light, check my cell phone, and lay down in the bed. I am looking forward to a solid night's sleep.
The next day we complete the drive to Colorado Springs. I drive in silence most of the time, until I decide I need an answer to something, something that is clearly troubling my symbiote.
Why did my friend come looking for the jar I found you in? Why couldn't they find his body? I ask
I...You won't like this. Did you notice any changes in Mattew recently? Did he become cold, distant, obsessive?
Yeah, actually. I thought it was just because he was looking for something particularly valuable. The Sun of Egeria, whatever that is.
Egeria is the name of my queeen, the queen of all Tok'ra. It is my belief that your cousin was searching for me. Son, as in offspring, not sun as in that which gives light to the surface of a planet. I believe this Mattew may have taken as host to a Goa'uld, and that the Goa'uld survived.
This is a lot to take in for my already overtaxed brain. So, Mattew is still alive? Can the Goa'uld be removed?
In theory. If we can capture him alive and bring him to the Tok'ra. But that is a 'big IF', as the saying goes on this planet.
This is too much. Take control please. I can't take it right now.
The rest of the journey is completed with no conversation.
Finally we get to the outskirts of Colorado Springs. I assume control and we stop at the first gas station I see. I look up my mom's friend's address in the phonebook at the 7-11, and set my phone's GPS. I pull up to her house just as the sun is setting, and see a silver Volvo parked in the driveway. Hmm...when I last saw her she was driving a Jaguar. I hope she didn't move. Granted, I haven't seen her in almost five years, not since my parents' funeral.
Walking up the driveway, I notice the mailbox still says CARTER on it. Good, she still lives here.
We should have stopped and gotten something to eat. Veskyr comments
She will have food for us.
I knock on the front door. It doesn't take long before a woman opens the door.
"Hi, Sam. Been a long time." I smile at her.
She responds by grabbing her 9mm pistol off the small table by the door and pointing it at me.
"Don't move!" she commands, reaching for her cell phone with her other hand. She starts dialing.
"Sam, its me. Josh Sinkler. My dad, my cousin Rick, and my friend Mattew all worked with Dr. Jackson on some digs in Egypt a few years back. You were at my parents' funeral!" I don't understand why she is acting this way.
"If you move I will shoot you." She replies. In a few seconds someone picks up her phone call. "Sir, we have a situation at my home. There's a goa'uld on my porch. Yes sir, for the moment. One. Understood." She hangs up and puts her phone back in her pocket quickly, never taking her eyes off me.
She can sense me. She was once blended! I think to my host as I take control.
"I am Tok'ra. My name is Veskyr."
"Sit down and keep your hands where I can see them."
I do as she asks. She keeps the weapon aimed at me the entire time. Within ten minutes, two vehicles arrive and seven men step out of them. One of them who my host is not familar with places restraints on me and puts me in the vehicle.
How could she have sensed you? my host asks me
She was once blended. Notice that tingling sensation? I have naquidah in my blood, and as a result of being blended with me, so do you. The naquidah has a reaction to any other naquidah in the vicinity, thus the tingling. That is how we sense the stargate, certain technologies, and other symbiotes. In time you will learn to distinguish the degree of the reaction to determine the source, and even the direction.
She was once host to a Goa'uld?
So it would seem.
I focus on the conversation Samantha is having with three of the men who arrived.
"...claiming that he is Tok'ra."
"I am unaware of any Tok'ra by that name." the Jaffa is saying. What in Netu is a Jaffa doing here?
"Alright, we'll take him back to base and contact the Tok'ra. I'll call Hammond and let him know what's going on." The one who seems to be in command says before getting into the vehicle.
They drive us up onto a mountain, and follow the road to some kind of facility the Tau'ri seem to have built right into the mountainside. They lead us inside silently and into a small box.
Its an elevator. We use it to move up down to different levels of a building more easily. Josh informs me. They said they were going to contact the Tok'ra. Thats a good thing, right?
It may be, but I have been gone for so long that it will take some serious convincing so that they believe I am who I say I am. There are security procedures to be followed when one changes hosts, to verify their identity. Unfortunately, in this case due to me having been gone for hundreds of years, those procedures will probably not be sufficient. It surprises me most that they even know of the Tok'ra. It is clear that the Goa'uld have not ruled here in hundreds of years, so how would they know of us?
For that matter, how was Sam ever in contact with the Goa'uld? I have no idea.
As I ride down in the elevator, I start to sense another source of naquidah. The chapa'ai is here! Well that might explain a few things. Josh says
Hopefully these Tau'ri will be successful in contacting the Tok'ra so that I may prove who I am and learn what has transpired. There is much to discuss with them. The humans lead us to a room, ask us to step inside, and lock us in.
Now what? my host asks.
Now we wait.
After what I estimate is about three hours, the door opens and a man wearing a Tok'ra uniform steps in. I sense a symbiote, but do not recognize the host. I stand up.
"I am Veskyr of the Tok'ra"
"I am Lantash."
"Lantash!" he was one of my closest friends "It is good to see you, my brother. What became of Olrik?" I ask, referring to Lantash's host that I had known last.
"He was killed in battle with the Jaffa of Ra over 600 years ago. You will understand if I am skeptical of your identity. None of us has heard from you in over 700 years. You were presumed dead."
"The last thing I remember was preparing to leave on a mission. I cannot even remember what the mission was. The next thing I remember was waking up to find that I had been put in a stasis jar. This human saved my life and agreed to be my new host."
"I would speak with your new host." Lantash replies.
It is probably best if my fellow Tok'ra do not know that, at first, I took you involuntarily. Veskyr thinks to me before releasing control.
"Um, hi. My name is Josh Sinkler. I was on an archaeological project in Egypt with a friend of my family. We found the stasis jar."
"I really am speaking of my own free will. Veskyr wonders what new methods may have been developed for determining his identity, and that I am speaking freely."
"Anise is still alive and well. Perhaps she could help us determine if there is truth to this. I will send for her." I feel my symbiote's pulse quicken and a wave of emotion hits me at this. Primarily relief that she is still alive, and regret that she has been alone for so long.
My mate! Still alive! What of Teva? Oh she has been alone these 700 years, how must she have mourned my presumed death. Did she mate again? I am sorry my love. Will she forgive me?
I wish I knew what to say. I'm sorry. I send comforting, warm feelings to my symbiote, trying to make him feel better. It doesn't help much.
The next day, Anise arrives. She enters the room accompanied by SG-1 and two security officers. Veskyr wants to run to her, hold her, touch her so badly. I advise him against it. He leaves me in control.
She is carrying some kind of case.
"I would conduct this interview in private" she says curtly to the security gaurds.
She turns to SG-1. "I will send for you when I have results."
The interrogation process was exhausting. She used some kind of device I assumed was a Tok'ra lie detector. She asked each of us over 50 questions. When she finally turned the device off, I felt Veskyr snatch control before I knew what was happening.
"Now I have a question." I can feel tears welling up in my eyes. "Have you mated to someone else?"
"No, Veskyr. I still held out hope that one day you would return to me." with that she walks up and embraces us. The love I feel for her, the longing, is undescribable. She was alone for these 700 years, and she waited for me. I can tell my host is feeling these things as well, as though he had been mated to them for so long. He is also feeling a little awkward.
I told you we feel deep emotions as one. I think to Josh before returning my attention to Anise.
"Perhaps we should let the hosts introduce themselves?" I pull back, regretting that I had to.
Anise retreats and her host comes forward. "I am called Freya." she states matter-of-factly.
"Hello, Freya. I am Veskyr, mate of Anise for these last 800 years. I imagine you are feeling much the way that my host is right now."
"and how is that?"
I feel Veskyr try to push me forward. I hesitate.
Go ahead and introduce yourself. It is my hope that, in time, I can continue my relationship with Anise as I left it, but for that to happen the hosts must be compatible as well, since we love as one. You need to say hi. He pushes me forward more forcfully.
"Um, hi. My name is Josh Sinkler."
"Hello Josh. I am Freya. I have been host to Anise for 57 years as of nine days ago."
"I've only been host to Veskyr for a few weeks."
"That's okay. I trust you are close friends already?"
"Yes, we are. I saved his life and he saved mine, that tends to bring you close to someone."
"That is as it should be."
"Um...Veskyr suggests that we inform Stargate Command of your success in determining our identity." I say, feeling rather awkward
I see Anise take control and knock on the door. The security officer opens it.
"Please send for General Hammond and SG-1".
"Yes, ma'am." The airman replies before turning and walking away.
We are seated in Stargate Command's briefing room, being updated on the current situation in galaxy, and arranging my host's affairs on Earth. In the room is SG-1, to all of whom I have introduced myself, General Hammond, Lantash, Selmak, and Anise. We have been brought up-to-date on the Tok'ra relationship with the Tau'ri.
"The Goa'uld power structure in the galaxy is...strained. Three months ago Apophis was destoryed, along with the largest Goa'uld fleet ever assembled. This left the remaining System Lords fighting over his territory and armies. Currently, Lord Yu seems to hold the most power, but Ba'al is quickly gaining strength and there seems to be a new Goa'uld on the rise whose identity we have not yet discovered." Lantash is explaining.
"Have any new technologies been developed in fighting the Goa'uld?" I ask
"Actually, yes." Anise jumps in "I have developed a poison which is very deadly to symbiotes. We are still unsure of the best way to apply it as a deployable weapon, however. You could help, I think."
"I agree, but first we must get my new host into training. He has much to learn."
What kind of training are you talking about? my host asks
All kinds. Fitness training, survival training, combat training...it will take months if not years before you are ready for missions.
I turn my attention back to the group. "Also, we beleive that the Goa'uld were hunting me. Josh's family friend, the one who found my jar...we believe he was host of a Goa'uld."
"We will learn what we can of this, but what troubles me is that they came looking for you after so long. Why wait?" Jacob, Selmak's host, asks.
"Is it possible this Goa'uld has been on Earth for a long time already, and just kept jumping hosts to avoid detection? We've seen it before." Daniel Jackson puts in.
"Its possible, but the Goa'uld are power hungry. There would have been something to indicate his presence." Jacob replies.
"I'll look into it" Daniel says, leaning back.
"More likely, he came in a ship, probably a Tel'tac. If he did survive the cave-in, chances are he is already gone." Jacob states
You mind? my host asks
Of course. I retreat so Josh may come forward.
"What about my personal affairs? If I'm going to go live with the Tok'ra, I need to know that there is still a place here for me. Money and such."
"We have arranged an apartment for you in Colorado Springs. It has a garage where your car will be kept, and we have opened a military bank account for you. On paper, you are now officially a civilian contractor on the payroll of the United States Air Force." General Hammond says to me.
"You're going to pay me to be a Tok'ra?" this makes me laugh
"In a manner of speaking, yes."
"If you don't mind, General Hammond, there is much to be done. We will take our leave." Anise says, standing up. The rest of us follow suit. "I will show you the address we would like you to send us."
"Of course." General Hammond says, as he and SG-1 stand up.
Sam walks over and hugs her father. "Take care dad. I'll see you soon, I hope"
"As soon as I can, Sam." Jacob says, holding his daughter for just a moment.
We walk down to the Stargate, say another round of goodbyes, and step through. The first thing I notice is heat on the other side.
The Tok'ra like desert planets, less chance of being detected that way, unless they are looking specifically for us. An exploring enemy comes across and unihabited desert planet, they are less likely to wish to investigate it further then if it were a planet with a temperate climate. Veskyr informs me.
I hate heat.
It's an unfortunate result of having to hide from the Goa'uld.
Anise interrups our thougths. "Temporary quarters have been grown for you. Step where I am, over the ring transporter."
I do so and it seemed to me as if we got sucked into the ground.
How does that work? I asked Veskyr
Its basically the same principle as the Stargate. It transports a matter stream, just over much shorter distances.
I look through his mind at what he knows about how the Stargate works. Interesting, and pretty awesome when I think about it.
"Your quarters are that way. A clean uniform is on your bed. Take today to rest up, because your training begins tomorrow." Lantash says before walking away.
What are these tunnels made of? I ask Veskyr
So many questions, he laughs They are grown from crystals whenever the Tok'ra inhabit a new planet. The air produced as a byproduct of the process is breathable and lasts long enough for us to set up our life support systems.
We walk to our quarters and go inside. I collapse on the bed, letting all this just sink in. A month ago I was a normal person living on Earth. Now I'm here, on another planet, host to an alien. This is just unreal.
I must have dozed off. I wake to find that Veskyr is in control, and we are in the mess hall having dinner.
Sorry. I wasn't tired so I came down here to get something to eat. he thinks to me, sensing that I am awake.
Its fine. What is this? Its good.
Just one of the meals our chef prepares. The meat is from an animal native to many worlds in this galaxy, similar to your chicken on Earth.
We ended up sitting in the mess hall for almost four hours, just talking about everything. Our respective histories, our potential future, and Veskyr's mate.
Did you notice she said "temporary quarters"? Maybe she isn't opposed to continuing the relationship? I ask him.
It will take time, but I agree.
I'm still tired. Let's go to bed.
We walk back to our quarters and get ready for bed. We have to start training tomorrow.
And training it was. Anise was there, as well as Lantash and Jacob.
After a couple hours Lantash and Jacob left, so it was just us and Anise/Freya. When I fell over for the sixth time trying to land a complicated kick, we all had a good laugh. Over lunch, Freya and I talked, about our history, about Earth. She was really curious what life was like as a citizen of Earth.
"It really isn't all that interesting. Earth has a lot of...negative sides. People kill eachother for no good reason, everyone has money problems...honestly, I think I will miss it but part of me is glad to have gotten away."
"Your planet is so overpopulated. I can't imagine living somewhere with that many people."
"You get used to it."
"I guess I would. I am honestly surprised your society hasn't completely destabilized, with so many people. I would think tensions would be very high." Anise says, looking thoughtful.
She's smart. Yes, she is, very. My symbiote says. "It is unstable, in many parts of the world. We are always at war over something, somewhere. Its disgusting."
"It is no differant then the rest of the galaxy. Humans are naturally violent, and the oppression of the Goa'uld doesn't help the situation. There really isn't anyone left who remembers how things were before the Goa'uld, but that was back in the time of the Ancients."
"Ancients?" I ask
"The race of humans who built the Stargate system. The Goa'uld claim it was their creation, but they just used it to gain power in the galaxy. Most of the Goa'uld technology is based on the Ancients' technology. They moved out of this galaxy over 10,000 years ago, but their infulence remains. They existed long before the first symbiote ever took a host."
"This technology is the stuff of sci-fi movies. It's incredible."
They switch control. "Movies?" Freya asks, looking puzzled.
"Um, not sure how to describe them. Its like, made-up stories that we watch on a machine called a television for entertainment."
"Interesting." She didn't look very interested, putting down her empty dish. "Time to get back to your training."
On the way back to the surface, she stopped and spoke to a Tok'ra I hadn't met yet. "Malek, would you bring us some staff weapons? I'm going to start training Josh with them."
Staff weapons? I ask Veskyr
The primary weapon of the System Lords' Jaffa soldiers. As such, it is a common weapon we also use to fight the Goa'uld and defend our bases when necessary.
The staff weapons were interesting. Like a lightning rod in my hands. I was about as good a shot with them as I am with Earth guns, which is damn good. I once shot the tab off a soda can at 600 yards with a .30-06 in a shooting competition.
Veskyr was pleased. You're a natural with the staff. He said on the way back to our room that night.
The staffs are disappointingly inaccurate.
Yes, but you did very well. I am proud.
After a bath, I lay down and we fall asleep quickly, worn out from the day's training.
Its been four months since I joined the Tok'ra. I have been spending a lot of time getting to know Anise/Freya and they have been getting to know me. Veskyr is hopefull about the future. I have also been training hard since my arrival and the council has decided I'm ready for my first mission.
Martouf takes a couple steps into my quarters. "May I come in?"
"Yeah, what's up?"
"The roof of the tunnel..." Martouf looks confused.
"Its another way of saying hi where I'm from." I laugh
"Oh. We are leaving. Your first mission will be to accompany myself, Anise, Malek, and Aldwin to a planet called Vorkuva, a peaceful people whom we trade with regularly for food and occasionally stolen weapons. They have even procured small ships for us in the past."
"Ok, I'll meet you at the rings."
After changing out of the Tok'ra uniform, we meet the rest of the group and go to the surface. We are all dressed in regular clothes usual people wear on the planet we are going, in case someone who doesn't already know who we are can't be trusted.
The party steps through the stargate. Its chilly on the other side, and I see no signs of civilization other then a path that leads into the trees.
"That way." Malek says to me, indicating the path. We all walk to it.
When we get the village, Malek leads us into a pub.
"We are here to see Littrel." He says to the man tending the bar. The man leaves and in a few minutes a short, fat man with gray hair and a matching curly gray beard walks out from behind the bar to greet us.
"Malek, how are you?" Littrel greets him cheerfully.
"We are well, thank you. We come to trade."
"Right. Come around back."
We meet Littrel around the back of the building and follow him up a short path to another building. He unlocks the door and we step inside. He shuts and locks the door behind us.
"I just got a new batch. Eight staffs, eleven Zat'nik'tels, a few crystals, and a small field sheild generator. That was very difficult to aquire."
He looks expectantly at Anise, who takes a few gold chains and a large jewl of some kind out of her bag and sets them on the table. Littrel examines them.
"Add another-" he is interupted by staff blasts outside. "Its a raid! Hide here!" He runs to the back of the building and pushes aside a shelf to reveil a hidden chamber. He pushes the shelf back into place and starts to run toward the back door. Too late. The door is kicked in, and six jaffa rush in, weapons ready.
"You will come with us." The lead Jaffa states. Littrel holds his hands up and they escort him out of the building.
"What will they do to him?"
Probably interrogate him for information on us, then kill him for stealing property from whatever Goa'uld they serve. Veskyr thinks to me.
"They will torture him for information regarding the Tok'ra" Aldwin says.
"What are we going to do about it?" I ask
"At the moment, nothing. We must gather intel regarding the situation. How many Jaffa there are and where they are. If I do not return in two hours, assume I was captured" Lantash says, before getting up and very quietly leaving through the back door of the building.
"So we wait?" I ask
"Yes." Aldwin says
Lantash was true to his word and returned in two hours.
"There are many Jaffa. They know we are here. We must disguise ourselves and find a way into the main chamber they have set up in the town's audience chamber. A Goa'uld is here to oversee our capture. I am not familiar with him, so I must assume him to be an Underlord in the service of another Goa'uld. We must find out what they have done with Littrel, and rescue him if possible."
We get up and leave, each grabbing Zats on the way out. Lantash leads, we sneek to Littrel's house and take some of his cloaks. Hoods up, we proceed to the audience chamber, on the pretense that we are villagers going there to pay worship to the Goa'uld.
"Stay at the rear, lest this Goa'uld sense the presence of symbiotes" Aldwin whispers before we arrive.
"...know that there are Tok'ra among you. Anyone with information regarding their whereabouts that leads to their capture will be generously rewarded. Anyone found to be helping them in any way will be executed." The Goa'uld is saying to the gathered townspeople.
Martouf sends me a meaningful look.
There are only six Jaffa in here and two at each door. We may be able to take them all down and leave the Goa'uld defenseless. We may be able to rescue Littrel, who is most likely in another room of this building. Move when the others do. You will stay in control so that I can focus all my efforts on boosting your speed and reflexes. Veskyr thinks to me.
They moved. All at the same time. "Sha'lokma'kor!" The Goa'uld yelled at his Jaffa.
The townspeople are screaming and running for the door. Lantash takes control, being a better fighter then Martouf. Malek jumps up and takes out two Jaffa before they have a chance to react. The one nearest Aldwin swings his staff and knocks the weapon out of Aldwin's hand. I aim and fire. Direct hit. Aldwin grabs the dropped staff weapon. The two standing guard by the Goa'uld raise their weapons. I shoot one, Lantash shoots the other. Anise is shooting at the remaining Jaffa, who has taken cover behind a columb. The four that were gaurding the doors rush in. Aldwin shoots two, killing one but only clipping the other. The injured Jaffa aims his staff and fires. Aldwin is hit. Malek shoots the injured one with the staff. I fire at the other two guards. I hit both. Malek runs around the back of the columb and takes out the last Jaffa, before rushing to Aldwin.
The Goa'uld underlord, who had been just watching, stands up and raises his hand with the ribbon weapon toward Lantash. "Di'dak'dida Krenol Me?!"
"Shel norak!" Lantash warns him.
"Rak'lo najaquna shel're hara kek." The Underlord snarled in reply. His eyes flash and the hand device begins to glow. Lantash fires the Zat. The Goa'uld stumbles back but doesn't fall. He raises his hand, and Lantash fires again. The Goa'uld collapses, dead.
"Go get Littrel, Josh!" Malek says to us. I run to the hallway and down to the door at the end. I stand to the side and push the door open. Two Jaffa inside. Shoot one, but before I can turn to the other he fires at me. Hits me in the leg.
I'm on it. Kill him!
I shoot and he goes down. I limp over to where Littrel is chained to the wall. He has painful looking burn marks all over his body, presumabley from torture.
"You came for me." he says, breathing heavily. I unchain him, and together we limp out the door, back toward the main room.
"You are injured." Martouf says to me.
"Veskyr is working on it. Littrel is in bad shape, though."
"We need to leave before reinforcements arrive."
"Where will we go?" I ask
"They are surely guarding the Stargate. And no doubt reinforcements are already on the way."
"We will go to my home. I have an underground escape passage there which leads directly to the Stargate." Littrel manages to say.
"Quickly!" Malek says, and we all make our way to Littrel's house as quickly as posssible with the injuries and without making noise. We follow the passage from Littrel's house and it leads to a small underground chamber with a ladder to a hatch that comes above ground about 50 feet from the Stargate. The chamber is well stocked with stolen Goa'uld weapons, as well as some food and water. I open the hatch enough to take a look.
"I count twelve guards. Probably more that we can't see. They are standing close together in a formation in front of the Stargate facing all directions. Veskyr suggests that if we use this-" I pick a Goa'uld stun grendade up off the shelf "we can take the guards and get out of here."
"Aldwin is badly injured. Without medical attention beyond what Gerim is capable of healing, he may not last more then an hour or two. I beleive we must try for his sake as well as Littrel's."
"So be it." Anise says, climbing up the ladder. She opens the hatch and tosses the stun grenade. It goes off, and all of us climb up and start shooting. Seven more Jaffa run out of the woods. Littrel gets hit in the firefight. I hear him yell as he goes down. I look over to him. He's dead. Somehow we manage to take the rest of the Jaffa down without further injuries and I dial the gate as quickly as possible to a safe world, then back to our base.
When we arrive back at the base, we get Aldwin immidiately to the infirmary. He will live. Veskyr has almost fully healed my leg, I can walk on it normally again.
Overall, the mission was a failure. We almost got captured by the Goa'uld and didn't get any of the intelligence crystals or weapons.
"The council expects a full debriefing from all of us in the morning." Martouf says to us before leaving toward his quarters.
As I walk back toward mine, Veskyr and I discuss the events of the day.
How did the Goa'uld even know we were there? Not an hour after we arrived, they did. What happened? I ask Veskyr.
Someone leaked information that we were there. Someone we trusted. Either one of the people of the town that knew who we were, or...
Or a Tok'ra who has been brainwashed into serving the Goa'uld through the power of the sarcophagus. It would not be the first time that has occured.
Troubling doesn't even begin to describe it, especially if it is a Tok'ra.
Myself, Anise, Lantash, Aldwin, Malek all stand before the council to give our report of the failed mission yesterday.
"We were ambushed by the Jaffa at the storage building of our trading partner, Littrel. There was no warning." Lantash is saying. "We hid in a secret chamber there, and the Jaffa took Littrel to the Goa'uld. We decided to attempt a rescue, since Littrel knew our true identities and he would surely have cracked under torture."
"Why is it that this man knew you were Tok'ra?" Garshaw asks accusingly
"We have been trading with this man for approximately 15 years. He has earned our trust, and he almost always obtains intelligence and data crystals for us, in addition to weapons."
"I believe from now on it would be prudent to more closely monitor our trading partners. This was too close a call." Garshaw states, leaning back. "What happened when you attempted a rescue?"
"We underestimated the number of Jaffa they had deployed in the area. We managed to rescue Littrel and escape, but Littrel lost his life during the escape. We also killed the underling Goa'uld that had been sent to oversee our capture." I state to the council.
"Who was this Goa'uld in service to?"
"We do not know."
"Aldwin nearly lost his life, as well! This was wreckless. You shouldn't have attempted a rescue." Garshaw exclaims.
"Never mind that, now. It is already done, and Aldwin will make a full recovery. We need to focus on the fact that the Goa'uld even knew you were there in the first place. Where are we with that, do you have any idea who betrayed you?" Jacob asks
"We do not. I am certain it was not Littrel, so that would leave another villager or...we may have a traitor in our midst." Malek says, looking down.
"I believe it is too early to jump to that conclusion." Garshaw states. "However, we will further investigate this matter. You are dismissed."
We all turn to leave. "Veskyr, wait."
I stop. "Yes?"
"Have you yet remembered how you came to be in the stasis jar on the Tau'ri?" Garshaw asks me
"I have not."
"I believe it is time we try the memory recall device. It is important to determine what happened."
Martouf follows me into the other room, and takes a memory device off the shelf. We sit down and he applies it to the side of my head.
Ouch, what was that? Josh asks me
It is Tok'ra memory recall technology. That is the only pain we will feel from the device.
"Are you ready?" Anise asks.
"Yes." I reply and she turns it on.
I focus my thoughts on the time before the stasis jar. I see...preparing to leave for a mission. Saying goodbye to Anise. I am dressed as a Goa'uld. I step through the Chap'ai. The memory jumps, I am talking to a Goa'uld. The one whom I am supposedly here to serve. I remember that his name is Anshar. The memory flashes again. I am standing, inputting commands on a console. What was I doing? I can't remember. Flash, now I am discussing something with Anshar. He looks pleased. Flash, I am surrounded by Jaffa. The want to arrest me, my true identity has been discovered. I must escape. I raise the hand device and push the Jaffa away. I grab a dropped staff and walk quickly toward the exit. When I get to the main chamber, the Jaffa gaurding Anshar take up positions and fire their weapons at me. I return fire. Three of the Jaffa are dead. I see Anshar raise his hand with the ribbon device on it. I shoot him twice in the chest. Pain! I've been shot with a Zat. Darkness.
"I lost it." I told Lantash, shaking my head.
"What did you see?" he asked
"I was undercover as a minor Goa'uld serving a Goa'uld called Anshar. He was an Underlord in the service of Ra at the time. I am unsure of what my mission was there. The last thing I remember was being in a fight, exchanging weapons fire with his Jaffa. I shot him with a staff, then I was hit with a Zat discharge. Its all dark after that."
What do you think happened to your last host after they shot you? my host asks me as we walk away.
I have no idea. I can only hope he didn't suffer much.
After the memory recall my host and I decided to go do some physical training for a few hours. It helps us to blow off some steam, as my host puts it. Then we ate our evening meal, and returned to our quarters to get cleaned up and prepare for bed.
As I climb out of the bath, feeling much better from the steamy hot water, Anise walks in. I haven't even dressed yet.
"Don't ask to enter or anything." I say sarcastically, repeating my host's thoughts as I hurridely grab my night clothes off the bed and put them on.
"I just came to see if you wanted to talk. But I see that you are getting ready for sleep, so I will return another time."
"Not necessary. Sit, talk with us for a while." I indicate the space on the bed next to me. She is wearing a very small dark red silk night dress. It accents her form nicely.
She looks great! my host thinks at me excitedly.
Yes she does. I have a feeling she wore that dress because she knew we would like it.
"Have you thought about us?" She asks sitting down.
"What do you mean, us?"
"Our relationship. I waited for you, for 700 years. I never gave up hope that you were still alive, somewhere, and that someday you would return to me. I miss him terribley, but Freya and I feel we can come to love your new host as I once loved him, and it is our hope that you and Josh can come to come love us, as you once loved me." By 'him' she was referring to my last host. I can see her eyes tearing up.
"It doesn't feel like 700 years to me." I have trouble responding, as I start choking up. This is hard. "It feels like yesterday that we were watching the sunset over the ocean of Orthela. I cannot begin to tell you how much it meant to me that you hadn't remated."
With that, she grabbed me in a tight embrace, which I returned. It felt so good to hold her again. She pulled back a little, and looks us in the eyes.
"Your new host has beautiful eyes." I say quietly.
"Freya says thank you" Anise giggles, before leaning in and locking us in a kiss. I can't even describe my feelings right now. After so long, together with my mate again. We start to lean back and Anise takes the cue. Its getting rather warm in here.
We sit there for another moment, just kissing and hugging, enjoying being back in each others arms.
As we lay back on the bed, Anise reaches up and presses a button on the wall, raising the shield on the doorway to our room.
"The shield?" I ask, breaking the kiss
"We don't want to be interrupted, do we?" She says, with a mischevious look in her eyes.
I grin "No, I suppose we don't..."
Martouf, in another section of the tunnels-
That dinner was excellent.
Yes, I beleive it was a new recipe the cook wanted to try on us. Lantash replies.
I'm bored, let's go see Josh and Veskyr. I know you miss spending time with your friend anyway.
My feelings are always so easy for you to read, Lantash laughs.
Comes from being blended for over 20 years. I stand up and walk to the passage leading to Veskyr's new chamber. As I approach, I hear a faint hum and notice that the shield on his entrance has been raised.
What do you think-?
Shh. Listen. Lantash tells me and we stop and listen for a moment.
Anise and Freya?
Of course. What did you expect would happen when Veskyr and Anise were reunited? A nice round of handshakes and a game of chips? No, we should leave them alone. Lantash says, and we turn and walk away.
Two hours later, Josh-
Afterwards, as we both lay there catching our breath, Freya looks up at me. I can see the love in her eyes. I share the feelings.
I'm glad your happy. Veskyr thinks to me. Despite this not being something you originally volunteered for.
It was fate, my friend. I respond, matter-of-factly. For the first time since losing my wife and daughter, may they rest in peice, I feel like I belong somewhere. We start to drift off, perfectly relaxed, holding the women we love in our arms.
Sure, there are problems to deal with. There always would be. But for the first time in three years, since the loss of Amanda and Shelby, I am truly happy. I found a reason to live again, a purpose greater then myself, helping to rid the galaxy of great evil I didn't even know existed three months ago, one mission at a time. I found a very close friend in Veskyr, and while I will never forget Amanda, a perfect relationship in Anise and Freya. I am quite sure this is how it was meant to be, that this was my ultimately what I was made for. I am Tok'ra.