Chapter 3 summary: Sam has a surprising encounter in Zipacna's palace.
[ 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 ]
Sam snuck along the corridors, having just passed a room which was obviously a guard room. However, no one was in it, but there were blood on the floor. She assumed one or more guards must have had an altercation with Elliot - which was when he had gotten wounded - and that he had somehow managed to kill the Jaffa and then vaporized the body. She was suitably impressed; Elliot had clearly been in bad shape from the torture even before being injured with the knife.
She opened a door and looked down into darkness - this was obviously the way to the holding cells, which were still without power. Nothing interesting for her down there. She closed the door again and returned to the corridor she had been in before, continuing in the same direction she had followed earlier. She was not as sure of the location of the laboratory as she had pretended to be. She did recognize this area from Jolinar's memories, but while the layout did not appear to have changed, Sam only had a vague feeling for the place. She hoped it would be enough.
As she spotted the door to what she was reasonably sure was the laboratory, she felt elation - which only lasted seconds, before the alarm sounded from somewhere. It was obvious someone had discovered the sabotage in the power control room, the missing guards, or the missing prisoner. She would have to hurry.
Thankful that the Goa'uld in charge of the laboratory seemed to be at the celebration, Sam entered the semi-dark, quiet room and started searching for the symbiote poison.
Suddenly, she froze, sensing the energy signature of a symbiote. She cursed herself for her lack of attention, but much of the technology in the room was naquadah based and it had thrown off her ability to sense a symbiote, meaning the Goa'uld had gotten almost to her before she sensed it.
She only had time to half-turn towards the danger, before someone had jumped her and they both tumbled to the floor. She tried fighting the man, but he was stronger, faster, and more agile than she was - proving this Goa'uld had learned to fight, which was not exactly common.
He held her down, his body laying partly across her back as he pinned her arms over her head. "Surrender!" He hissed into her ear in a low voice.
"Never! Let go of me, damn Goa'uld!" Sam wriggled under him, trying to get him off. A part of her told her she should recognize that voice, but it could not be true.
"Samantha?" He let go of her hands and rolled off her. "It's me, Lantash."
Sam turned over and gaped at him, the light being enough to recognize him this close by. "Lantash? How can it be you...and Martouf? I thought...I thought you were dead, both of you!" She sounded incredulous.
She now realised what Elliot had meant when he said Lantash was with Martouf! She looked at Lantash and Martouf again, and suddenly felt her throat constrict with the emotion from seeing them alive again. She had a very strong desire to hug them, but now was not the time. Guards could arrive at any moment.
Lantash nodded. "We were, but Zipacna revived Elliot and I in order to torture us for information. Martouf as well - and he became my host again as you can see. However, this is a long story, and I gather from the alarm we just heard that we can expect company soon." He got up.
"You're right." Sam accepted Lantash's hand and he helped her up. "We need to find all of the information Zipacna has on the symbiote poison - and his sample."
"I had just located it when I heard you. Come - we should destroy it and leave."
"Quickly - in here!" Lantash whispered as he pulled Sam into a niche, then took out the zat'nik'tel he had swiped from a dead Jaffa earlier.
They crouched down behind the large pedestal that supported the statue of a naked couple having sex against a pillar. It was not a moment too soon, as a group of four Jaffa guards entered the corridor just as they hid.
Zipacna's data on the symbiote poison, as well as his - fortunately - very small sample of it, had been destroyed. They had also managed to make a back-up of all of Zipacna's research - something which no doubt would be very useful for the Tok'ra.
They sat as quiet as possible, barely daring to breathe, while the Jaffa passed. Both Lantash and Sam noiselessly slid a finger to the activation button on their zat'nik'tels when one of the Jaffa gave the statue a quick glance, leering at it for a moment - then continued on his way.
As the guards disappeared around the corner at the end of the corridor, Sam and Lantash could finally relax, and they released the breaths they had both been holding.
"We need to find a better place to hide," Sam whispered, "or some other way to conceal ourselves." She looked down at her clothing, then over at Lantash, who was naked from the waist up. She felt her heart skip a beat as she admired his chest, fantasizing of running her hands up that...she quickly stopped her thoughts. They were in danger - and here she was, ogling him! "Perhaps we can find some clothes suitable for a human slave for you. Then we can both pretend to be servants, and none of the Jaffa or Goa'uld would look closely at us then, right?"
"Normally not - though I fear your attire would draw their attention in any case. You are beautiful, Samantha!" Lantash gave her a naughty smile, then dipped his head and gave Martouf control.
He looked up, a little shyly after Lantash's statement. "It might work, but if we get too close to any of the Goa'uld, they will immediately know I am not human...also, there seems to be something going on here at the palace. There should have been guards in the laboratory."
Sam nodded. "Yes, Zipacna is throwing a party to celebrate his alliance with Ares. That's what gave us the opportunity to get in here - SG-1 and my Dad are pretending to be Zarin's entourage."
"Ah, that explains a great many things. We wondered why the power suddenly went out, allowing us to escape, and also how you came to be here. Not that we're complaining." He gave her one of his most charming smiles. "We have missed you."
Sam felt her heart beat faster. He looked adorable. She had never thought she would see that smile again. Not ready to tell him of her feelings for him - and it was not really the right time for that anyway - she smiled at him.
"I missed you too," she admitted. "Now, we better get going before those guards come back!"
Martouf nodded. "Yes."
They listened for a while, not hearing even the distant tread of the Jaffa. Feeling reasonably safe, they got up and left their hiding place.
"We should try to get back to the others," Sam whispered. "This way."
"Damn! More guards!" Sam swore in a low voice, as she and Martouf quickly dove for safety behind some red silk curtains in a small alcove in the corridor. It was good Goa'uld palaces were full of hide-outs, statues, and decorations - they made for excellent hiding places.
The group of Jaffa marched past them, not looking to either left or right, and as usual they were making too much noise to hear anything else.
"I do not believe we will be able to get through the area around the hallway and to the other wing of this palace, where Jacob and your team is. Not as long as the Jaffa are looking for me and Elliot," Martouf pointed out.
"Yeah, I'm afraid you're right," Sam sighed. "Any ideas?"
"Well...we could try to find some different clothing and disguise ourselves among the kitchen slaves, perhaps. There will have been many extra servants hired for a celebration such as this, and no one will wonder why they do not know us." He thought for a moment. "The only other option I can think of, would be to somehow find a way out of the palace, and hide in whatever stables or warehouses we find there. In any case, we cannot stay here, or we will soon be found."
Sam nodded. "You're right..." She shook her head, frustrated. "I'm sorry - Jolinar may have known where to go, but I just can't remember!"
"You must not apologize, Samantha. I am surprised you remember this much. Jolinar was only at this palace occasionally. She was an underlord with her own small domain, during most of the time she was undercover in Zipacna's realm."
"You can't be serious! Leaving!? Carter isn't back yet!" O'Neill stared disbelieving at Zarin.
"I apologize, but currently Jaffa are searching everywhere in the palace. Zipacna will be furious his prisoner has escaped - and that someone obviously helped him, since the power control room was sabotaged and the technician and several Jaffa were killed in the process. I have told the Jaffa I would consider it an insult if they searched my chambers here, but soon Zipacna himself will order it, and I will have no choice but to allow it. Our only chance is to disguise your lieutenant as one of my servants, and get him and you to my ship before someone who will recognize them show up."
Selmak allowed the healing device to turn off, having repaired most of Elliot's many injuries. The young lieutenant now breathed more freely, and the unconsciousness had been replaced by a more normal sleep. Elliot had a pretty bad concussion, which Selmak had mitigated much with the healing device, but he would benefit from resting and allowing the rest to heal naturally. The Tok'ra turned to join the conversation.
"I am not pleased at the prospect of leaving Samantha, but I am afraid I must agree with Zarin. If we stay, we will be captured - and that will not help Samantha."
"And Jacob agrees?"
"So we leave," O'Neill sighed. "You know how much I hate leaving anyone behind."
Selmak bowed her head and gave Jacob control. He looked unhappy.
"Sam will have an easier time hiding than we do - she's one person, and she has Jolinar's memories to help her. That doesn't mean I like it."
Out of options, they woke up a very groggy and confused Elliot and helped him put on a disguise before leaving. Walking out of the room in plain sight, following Zarin to her ship, the Jaffa did not give them more than a passing glance. They did not expect the servants of a minor god, loyal to Zipacna, to be disloyal. At least they dared not suggest it without orders directly to that, when Zarin vouched for them.
It was a good thing they left when they did, though. The order to detain and interrogate everyone came just as Zarin's ship was leaving. She was first asked, then given a direct order to come back or be fired upon. She did not hesitate telling her First Prime to have the ship accelerate away from the planet as fast as possible, and jump to hyperspace the moment it was possible.
They made it, just as Zipacna's deathgliders were approaching. Had they waited just a few minutes more, it would have been too late.
Elliot was still somewhat confused and bothered by his concussion, and the Tok'ra gave him something that would make him sleep for at least a day, or so, allowing his body to recover after the ordeal.
"In a way it's too bad we couldn't find any clothes for you that would work for a minor Goa'uld - wouldn't that have made it easier to get out, you think?" Sam wondered. "I have a hand device I stole from a Goa'uld technician we killed earlier."
They had snuck into the laundry room and stolen some suitable clothes from a clothes line, then made their way to a rather large storage room behind the palace's kitchen, without being discovered.
Martouf shook his head. "The hand device may prove useful, but as for pretending to be a Goa'uld, I doubt it would have worked. As a slave, no one will be concerned they do not recognize me. A strange Goa'uld would stand out - at least to the First Prime and the other lower leaders among the Jaffa. Of course, if I get too close to a Goa'uld, it will not matter how I am dressed. No, this outfit is better."
Sam nodded. "I understand."
Martouf began to strip off the soiled and torn clothing he wore and Sam quickly turned her back, as she realised he came from a culture which did not have the same problems with nudity as her own.
"I apologize. I forgot the Tau'ri consider nudity offensive."
"It's all right...and we don't consider it offensive, well most of us don't, it's just..." Sam blushed. "In my culture, usually only people in a relationship feel comfortable being naked around each other." She grabbed the clothes they had stolen for her and walked towards a pile of large boxes. "I'll change over here."
When she stepped back out a little while later, Martouf was already there, wearing the clean - but obviously very worn - clothing they had found for him. He smiled at her, somewhat mischievously.
"You look...cute in that. However, both Lantash and I must admit to preferring your other outfit."
Sam felt her cheeks grow red again. The clothes she had worn before had obviously been those of a more trusted, personal slave for a minor Goa'uld Lord - and so she had been dressed scantily and to enhance her figure, as was custom. What she wore now was a dress meant for a common slave. It was still nice clothing, as she would have worked inside the castle, but not nearly as provocative. She wore a modest, blue dress, somewhat faded, with no embroidery or other decoration. She also had a thin leather belt and matching leather sandals.
Meeting Martouf's eyes, she smiled back at him, deciding to get back at him in the same manner. She looked at him, slowly appraising him from foot to head. He wore a pair of grey linen pants, not much different from what he usually wore as part of his uniform, and a shirt of a blue colour matching her own dress. He wore sandals, just like she did.
"Well, I must admit I'm a little saddened you've covered up your chest..."
Martouf raised an eyebrow. Pleased, his smile grew wider. "Oh, well that can quickly be remedied..." He sighed, sobering. "Though right now we need to find a better place to hide." He pulled out the zat'nik'tel. "Put all our old clothes in a pile. We cannot risk anyone finding them."
Sam nodded and did as he asked. He shot the clothes three times, making them disappear. It was not a moment too soon, because he had barely hidden the zat'nik'tel under his shirt, before he suddenly froze.
"What is it?" Sam whispered.
"Jaffa...just outside the door." He looked around for a place to hide, but saw nothing nearby except the boxes Sam had used to conceal herself a short while ago, when she changed clothes. At the other end of the room were several large boxes, as well as a door to another section, but it was too far away for them to reach it in time. "Behind here!" He quickly pulled her after him, and she followed. "I fear they will see us, though. They are likely to search the room thoroughly, and these boxes barely cover us." He looked concerned.
For a moment they listened to the muffled sounds of cupboards being opened, boxes being pushed around, and pots and pans falling to the floor, on the other side of the door. It was quickly followed by someone shouting angrily, and then heavy steps were approaching the door to the storage room.
"I have an idea..." Sam said, putting a hand behind his head and pulling him to her, kissing him.
Surprised, Martouf did not react at first, but he soon realised her intention and threw his arms around her, returning the kiss with fervor.
Sam made a small sound and closed her eyes, momentarily forgetting the situation. His lips felt wonderful against hers, and his body was pressing against hers just right...
She was quickly brought back to the present when the door was opened and several Jaffa entered the room. Their leader immediately stepped up to Sam and Martouf/Lantash and gave them a brutal push in the direction of the door. "Lazy human scum! Hiding back here and satisfying your dirty little desires instead of working! You are fortunate I have more important things to do than to punish you for your transgressions! Get back to work!" He yelled at them.
Apologizing - and feeling relieved, Sam and Martouf/Lantash fled the room, only to find that all the kitchen servants had made themselves scarce, not wanting to risk a confrontation with the angry Jaffa. The whole area was empty, except for the group of Jaffa searching the storage room.
Realizing they would need provisions, they quickly snatched a bag, putting fruit, bread, dried meat - whatever they could get their hands on quickly - into it. As they were hurrying out of the kitchen, Martouf spotted a water skin, which he grabbed before they left. It was not a moment too soon. Just as they exited the door, they heard the Jaffa behind them, leaving the storage area after finishing their search.
Chapter 4: Escaping Together