Chapter 14 summary: Sam and Martouf/Lantash finally make it to the Stargate, only to find it is guarded, just as they had expected. How will they be able to over-power a group of armed Jaffa? With no GDO, and no idea where the Tok'ra are hiding, do they even have a place to go?

Reviews

[ Chapter 1: Pain, Sorrow, and Joy | Chapter 2: Escape and Rescue | Chapter 3: A Pleasant Surprise | Chapter 4: Escaping Together | Chapter 5: Waiting for News | Chapter 6: Lurking Danger | Chapter 7: Hallucinations | Chapter 8: Uncontrollable Emotions | Chapter 9: Happier Times | Chapter 10: They are not Gods | Chapter 11: The Trees of the Forest | Chapter 12: Collision Course | Chapter 13: Travel | Chapter 14: Enemies at the Gate and Land of the Light | Chapter 15: Another Option | Chapter 16: Undercover | Chapter 17: Going Home ]


Martouf quietly stepped up beside Sam, and she jumped a little, surprised. She again marveled at his ability to walk without a sound. She had not heard him walk towards her, despite the fact that his path to her must have been filled with little twigs and branches. Impressive.

He had been scouting the area to see how many enemies they would have to fight, and Sam turned to hear what he had to say.

"I apologize for startling you." He put a hand on her arm. "There are four Jaffa on guard. One on each side of the chaapa'ai, and two about 30 feet in front of it." Martouf whispered to Sam. "There doesn't seem to be anyone else within about a mile, so if we can take out these and move fast, we should be able to get away."

"Four Jaffa. That wouldn't be a problem if I had my MP5. With this?" She held up her zat'nik'tel. "I'm not sure. We'll have to get fairly close, and the area directly around the Stargate is very open - there's at least 50-60 feet to the nearest trees and bushes."

"The zat'nik'tels are not out only weapons. I have a hand device. With that I should be able to at the very least stun all of them before they can either shoot us or raise the alarm."

Sam nodded. "All right." Martouf put on his hand device and was about to sneak off to hit the Jaffa, when suddenly Sam pulled him back, throwing her arms around him. "Be careful!" She kissed him.

Martouf smiled and returned the kiss. "I will."

They walked as quietly as possible to the edge of the clearing where the Stargate was located. Sam almost groaned at herself every time she made a sound, however small it was. Martouf, of course, was somehow able to traverse the distance without stepping on or touching anything that could snap or crack. The Tok'ra certainly earned their reputation for being stealthy.

Sam watched as Martouf gave over control to Lantash, who was somewhat better at using the hand device. He raised his hand and the crystal in the middle glowed. He aimed at the nearest of the unsuspecting Jaffa, and then sent out a strong shock wave. It slammed into the Jaffa and carried him ten-fifteen feet through the air before he hit the ground. He did not attempt to get up or even move.

The three other Jaffa turned to see what had happened. Since they had not detected the shock wave, they ran to their comrade to see what had happened.

Lantash smirked when all three Jaffa placed themselves near the one he had hit. He would most likely be able to get them all with a somewhat wider blast. Of course, a wide shock wave would not be as powerful as a more focused one, but he felt confident it would be strong enough. He concentrated, and sent off the most powerful blast he could.

It hit the three standing Jaffa with an incredible power, throwing them almost as far as their friend had been, scattering them over the area.

Sam and Lantash waited for a short time, but when none of the Jaffa moved, they relaxed and carefully stepped out in the clearing.

"Wow, Lantash!" Sam said, partially awed and partially shocked, as she checked on one of the Jaffa. He was out cold, possibly dying or at the very least badly wounded. "I'm impressed! I didn't know it was possible to put that much force behind one of those shock waves! Hand devices are even more dangerous than I thought!"

"Thank you." He smiled wryly at her. "I must admit I was surprised with the result myself...and now I am feeling quite hungry."

"Yes, we didn't take a break to get anything to eat last night, and we barely got any most of the day before - I'm famished myself."

He nodded. "Using the hand device also takes some energy from its user, though I would not usually feel this...drained after only a few blasts, even as strong as these were. No, it was a mistake not eating something, despite our desire to reach the chaapa'ai quickly."

"Are you okay?" Sam hurriedly took off her backpack and opened it, starting to go through it. "You should get something to eat."

Lantash smiled. "Don't worry about me and Martouf, Samantha. We will be fine. This just made me realise how hungry I am - I am not sick or anything, and we will not suddenly pass out." He leaned in and gave her a kiss. "Come - we should leave before more Jaffa show up."

Sam had searched her bag for something quick and easy to eat. Martouf and Lantash might well be fine, but she did not want them to feel even a little weak because they had not eaten anything for a long time. Not when she could do anything about it. "Damn - I didn't think I'd say this, but I really miss our energy bars. Well, I guess this will work." She took out some dried meat and an apple. "Here."

"I really am fine. Come, Samantha." Lantash look uneasily in the direction where the Jaffa would come from, expecting to see them any moment. He stepped up to the DHD and started dialing.

Sighing, Sam stuffed two apples and some dried meat into the not-quite big enough pocket her dress had, then closed the backpack and put it back on. "Coming."

The wormhole opened, and they hurried towards it. Just as they stepped through it, they heard angry shouts from far behind them. The Jaffa!

As soon as they were on the other planet, Sam and Lantash ran to a nearby group of trees, taking up position behind them, their weapons at the ready. They waited for a few moments, then the Stargate shut down without anyone coming through.

"They may have seen the address," Lantash said, running back to the DHD and starting to dial a new address. "We should continue to another world immediately."

"Agreed."

A few moments later they had safely exited the Stargate on another planet, effectively throwing the Jaffa off, even if they should have happened to see the first address.

"I am unsure if this 'the Land of the Light' is the same one I have heard of. Are these the coordinates?" Lantash pointed at the glyphs on the DHD.

"Yeah - it is!" Sam stared at him. "How do you know? Have the Tok'ra visited them?"

"Yes, but it has been some time now, at least 40 or 50 years. I have never been there, but several other Tok'ra have. We were trying to help them after the local Goa'uld left, however, another minor System Lord attempted to take over the planet and we had to stop our assistance, or they would have been punished. I believe we learned that Goa'uld had given up the planet again, and that no one is currently laying active claim to it. However, the Council has not felt we have the resources to help the people there right now." He sighed. "That is too often the case. There are a great many people in this Galaxy in need of assistance, and we can only do something for a very few, especially since we have to do so in secret."

"Well, you are fighting to take down the Goa'uld once and for all, freeing all these people. Even if it will not happen right now, it will hopefully happen eventually. That is worth more than anything else you could do."

"Thank you. That is what sustains us in the face of all adversity, the belief that the people of this Galaxy will eventually be free of slavery and injustice."

"No one is after us right now. Let's eat something, then go on to the Land of the Light, hmm?" Sam took out one of the apples, and waved it temptingly in front of him.


After the light meal, they stepped out on the planet P3X-797, which 'the Land of the Light' was a part of. Sam looked around in the semi-darkness, feeling a little uneasy despite knowing there was no one lurking in the shadows this time. Every one of the 'touched' had been cured and returned to their friends and family.

She shook off the strange feeling of doom, and turned to Lantash. "Well, as I said earlier, we have kept in touch with the people here, sending SG teams regularly. I think there was actually one bound to visit them around now, so if we're lucky, they're still here. In any case, there should be a radio, so we'll be going home soon anyway."

"Yes, I remember you told me. That is...good," Lantash said, frowning. He was not so sure he really felt that. Yes, it was good they would be able to warn the Tok'ra about Zipacna's research. Even if he believed they had destroyed all of it, the Goa'uld would still have knowledge of it, and might have other scientists who had studied the symbiote poison. Lantash did not think so, since Zipacna - like most Goa'uld - rarely shared knowledge with more people than what was absolutely necessary, but it was better to be safe than sorry, as the Tau'ri said.

No, that was not why he felt sadness and concern over returning to the tunnels. Samantha had gone back to being guarded about her emotions, and had not wanted to give him and Martouf any promises. He understood her reluctance, since a relationship between them might be difficult. However, he was prepared to fight to make it work, and to get permission to stay at Stargate Command - why would she not let him do that? If only they had a little more time together, then perhaps, he could have made her see this. He sighed.

Sam looked at him. They were almost at the 'Land of the Light', so it was no longer dark and she could see him clearly. He did not look happy. Realising why, she felt sorry for him - and ashamed at her own indecision. She loved him and Martouf, and they loved her - should that not be enough?

"Listen...Lantash..." She began, then stopped when she heard someone coming towards them.

"Samantha, I will be giving control to Martouf now, since I am uncertain how they would react to me," He said quickly in a low voice, then bowed his head, giving control to Martouf.

A group of people stood waiting for them just as they left the forest and came out into the full daylight.

"Welcome, travellers, let us take you to 'the Land of the Light'." The man bowed to them, smiling.

"Hello, I am Major Samantha Carter from Earth. This is my...friend and companion, Martouf."

"Greetings." Martouf made the traditional half-bow of the Tok'ra.

"Come, friends from Earth. You are always welcome here, and especially the one called Samantha Carter, a member of the famous SG-1," The man who had spoken earlier said. "Let us take you to High Councilor Tuplo. He has met your kind before, and will be most pleased to meet you."


"Captain...Major Samantha Carter." Tuplo smiled at her, then Martouf. "And Martouf. I am most pleased to meet a friend of Major Carter's. You are both most welcome. We became...concerned when your friends had to leave so quickly, and more so when we could not contact your people despite several attempts. We are pleased you have resolved whatever problem existed. Now, we will prepare a feast for you, to celebrate our eternal friendship."

"Eh, thanks." Sam frowned. "Um, who was here and when? Did they say why they left? You have really not been able to contact Earth?"

"I believe they called themselves 'SG-4'. They arrived almost seven days ago, and stayed for only one day before they were recalled. I understand there was some sort of emergency, but we were told they would return when all was again well, so we did not worry overly. Do you not know this?" He looked at her, strangely.

"We have...been out of communication. Stranded on another planet." Martouf told him.

Tuplo nodded. "Ah, that explains your strange attire, which is very different from what I have come to expect of your people. In that case I fear my news will concern you. When we did not hear anything from your people in four days, we attempted to contact them, but we had no success. The result has been the same the three more times we have attempted it."

"So today it has been six days since...whatever happened that was important enough to recall SG-4 took place." Sam looked concerned. "And you haven't been able to contact Stargate Command today or yesterday..."

"That is correct. I am sorry to bring such troublesome tidings," Tuplo said, looking unhappy.

"What happened precisely when you attempted to contact the Tau'ri...I mean, Stargate Command?" Martouf asked. "Did a wormhole open, but no one answered your radio message, or did you not achieve a lock at all?"

"I...do not know much about how the...the Stargate as you call it, works. We entered the glyphs that your people gave to us. Normally, ah, the...the wormhole? would make a large flush, then become a wall as if made of water. We would then send a signal with the...radio and we would soon after get an answer. This time, when the large red button was pressed, there was no flush, and no wall of water. It merely turned off the lighted symbols."

"It wouldn't connect," Sam translated.

"It does not have to mean it has been buried or destroyed. It could simply already be connected to another chaapa'ai," Martouf said.

"I know, but they've tried four times! If it's been busy every time, then either someone keeps dialing in and keeping it open - like Sokar did; the gate is connected to a black hole or caught in a time loop, or some other nasty thing, or...a massive evacuation is going on and the gate's open most of the time to get people and stuff through. I can't think of any other reasons why it wouldn't be connecting, if it hasn't been buried or destroyed." She looked desolate. "I don't know which of the explanations are the worst."

Martouf stepped closer to her and put his arm around her. "Your people are both talented and ingenious. They will survive, although I will readily admit that they would in a better situation if you were there with them. Alas, I must admit a large part of me is very glad you are safely here with me." He smiled bleakly at her.

"Thanks." She gave him a small smile. "I hope you're right and Earth does make it. I just wish I was there to do something, instead of being here and not even knowing what is going on!"

"We should try to connect to the Tau'ri chaapa'ai before anything else. It may be working again." Martouf looked at Tuplo, who had been attempting to follow their discussion without much success. "How long has it been since the last attempt?"

"Almost four hours."


It was late evening. Sam and Martouf/Lantash had made three attempts to open a connection to Earth's Stargate, none of them successful. Tuplo and his people had made a lavish dinner for them, which they would have enjoyed greatly had the situation been different. As it was, they ate politely from the various delicacies, then retired to the bed chamber that had been set aside for them. Apparently Tuplo or one of the others had guessed Sam and Martouf/Lantash's relationship, because they had been given a room with only one - quite large - bed.

Sam was ready to go to bed, and sat propped against the pillows, wearing a thin blue nightgown she had been given. She had been deep in thought, but looked up as Martouf/Lantash came from the small bathroom, wearing the sleepwear he had been provided with - a tunic-like garment reaching half-way to his knees. It was white, but decorated along the hems with a blue-green pattern, which looked like it might have been found in ancient Greece. It was tied together with a thin leather belt. Sam smiled at the sight of him.

"My appearance amuses you, my Samantha?" Martouf wondered, smiling back at her.

"Not at all - I am just not used to seeing you in, ah, something like that." She grinned. "It's not exactly your style."

"I have worn many different kinds of clothes. This is not bad compared to some."

"Yeah..." She suddenly giggled. "Oh, my god! I just remembered something you once wore - when you...pretended to be Jolinar's lo'tar?"

"Ah, well. Yes." Martouf reddened slightly. "I had not expected that memory to come to you."

"You know, I actually like what you're wearing. It's certainly....provocative, I guess. I doubt very many men would willingly put that on." She patted the bed beside her. "Come, join me." She winked and smiled invitingly at him.

Martouf grinned broadly. "Oh, with pleasure, my love."


Sam awoke early next morning, from the sun shining through the thin curtains fluttering in the light wind. Outside, birds were singing. All seemed completely peaceful. For a few moments she just lay there, enjoying life. She looked at Martouf/Lantash sleeping beside her, the blanket having slid down so she could see his naked chest.

She was so very temped to pull it further down, wanting to admire his body without anything covering it. She idly thought about the night before, and felt a stab of desire as she remembered their passionate love-making.

She sighed. To be honest, part of her wanted nothing more than to be able to stay here, making love with Martouf and Lantash for the rest of her life, but they should get up and try to dial Earth again. She was very worried about what might have happened. She gently kissed Martouf before she slid out of bed.

"Mpfh?" He said, sleepily. "Samantha?"

"I'm here, Martouf. I thought we'd get up and get some breakfast - then head out and see if we can make a connection to Earth."

He stretched, then yawned mightily before slowly sitting up. "You are correct, of course, though I wish we had more time to spend just enjoying life - and each other." He smiled at her. "I very much hope we will find time for a...a vacation, I believe Jacob called it. There are many places Lantash and I would like to show you."

"I'd like to show you some of Earth, too." She sighed. "That is, if there's anything left to show. Martouf...what do we do if we can't establish a wormhole this time either?"

"Well, we could stay here and try again later."

"No. If we can't get through, we should find another way of contacting Earth. Going to Cimmeria will do us little good, as they don't even have a radio - and if we can't dial Earth from here, there's no reason why we should be able to from anywhere else. Frankly, I have no idea what to do. Steal a ship and fly there, perhaps? Do you or Lantash have any other suggestions?"

"Stealing a ship is an option, though travelling to the world of the Tau'ri would take a long time from here, unless we got a relatively new and fast ship. This planet is very far away. We could perhaps try to find the Tok'ra, and hope they have some information about what is happening on the Tau'ri."

"I'm afraid they've moved all their bases after the attack, and I don't think they have settled anywhere permanent yet."

"Which means going to Cimmeria or another Asgard planet will not help us with that," Martouf said, then saw Sam's uncomprehending expression. "After the Asgard installed exceptions for Tok'ra in their devices, we have had a small - safety box, I guess is the best word - installed on each of the protected planets. It contains information about the location of a small outpost or base, so that a Tok'ra who has been gone for a long time will always be able to find their way back."

"That's extremely useful!" Sam exclaimed. "Why haven't you guys told us about them? They would certainly have come in handy now and then!"

"They would do you little good, Samantha. Only someone who is a current host to a Tok'ra is able to open it. It has to be this way, or it would be a grave danger to us."

"Why? If no Goa'uld or Jaffa can go there?"

"They could force a human slave to get the information. No, this is the only way it will work. Regardless, if the Tok'ra have not settled permanent bases yet, there will be no current information to find. We will have to find them another way." He sighed.

"Well, perhaps it won't be an issue. Come, let's go eat, then try the Stargate."


Chapter 15: Another Option