SG-1 and Jolinar returned to their base world, while Martouf/Lantash stayed to help the other Tok'ra move the base.
Hammond and the only just elected Tau'ri Council quickly agreed to accept the help of the Tok'ra with thanks, and they also decided to seriously consider the ideas Jolinar had mentioned to the Tok'ra Council - perhaps, even, providing some hosts.
Jolinar had been given the coordinates of the new Tok'ra base world, and she told them to Jacob/Selmak, who had been chosen as liaison to the Tok'ra. They left about a day later, with a message about the Tau'ri Council's agreement to meet - and a suggested time and place.
The Tauíri had been given a small box of tunnel crystals, both for creating normal tunnels, and for bathing and toilet facilities, as well as a compact system that could handle the air cleaning and recycling for a small base. There was also a small system for pumping, cleaning and circulating water. It was enough to set up a small tunnel system - a base - complete with a ring transporter. There would be space and facilities for about one hundred people. It was decided to place it on the Council world, and use it for housing for the Council members, their family, and staff, as well as offices and meeting rooms. If it worked out well - and it seemed to do so - the Tok'ra would provide them with more crystals over time. It was to the advantage of both sides that the Tau'ri had a safe, and somewhat hidden place to stay.
December 5, New Earth
Martouf/Lantash had arrived carrying the message that the Tok'ra Council agreed to the suggested time and date for a meeting, so the actual preparations for the meeting could start. He also brought what intelligence the Tok'ra had been able to collect on Apophis, and on Earth.
Teal'c had finally been given permission to go to Chulak, and find out how his wife and son were doing, and bring them back to one of the Tau'ri bases if they were willing. The rest of SG-1, including Jolinar, would be going with him. They were hoping Bra'tac would be there, and that he would have information for them, to complement what they had received from the Tok'ra.
As a first shared mission - and in the spirit of hopefully future cooperation - Martouf/Lantash would be accompanying SG-1 when they went to Chulak. Of course, Jolinar had already been on several missions with SG-1, but as Sam was her host, it was not the same. It was agreed that the Tok'ra would also get any information they could find on Apophis.
Of course, it would not be a good idea to wear their BDUs, so they disguised themselves as traders, who were hoping to unload some of their merchandise on the people of Chulak, and perhaps earn enough to get by. Teal'c had suggested they bring a number of medicinal herbs, which only grew in warmer climates than what Chulak had, and which he knew always were popular.
Martouf and Lantash agreed with the assessment, and also knew where such herbs could be purchased, since they did not want to spend the time picking and drying them. After a short stopover for valuables in one of the Tok'ra stashes, they went to the great market on Nirra, where they had bought food from Gehlak months ago. This time they all carried a zat'nik'tel hidden under their clothing, prepared for anything that might happen. It was one of the largest and most diverse markets the Tok'ra knew of, but it was also a somewhat dangerous place, as they had learned when they last visited it.
This time, however, the trip to the market was uneventful, and a few hours later they stepped out on Chulak. They were immediately met by a small group of Jaffa guards, something they had hoped to avoid. Contrary to what they had expected, Apophis apparently now had the manpower to guard the Stargate on Chulak, despite the many Jaffa he must need to hold Earth.
"Perhaps it's time for you or Jolinar to pretend to be a Goa'uld," O'Neill said to Martouf, in a low voice.
"Wearing these worn and patched clothes? The ordinary Jaffa may be shocked enough by our voices and the flash of our eyes, that they will obey, but any higher ranking ones, whom we are certain to be taken to, will realize we are Tok'ra. That would not improve our situation," Martouf whispered back.
"Ah, probably right..." O'Neill agreed.
"Stop whispering, filthy humans!" One of the Jaffa said, hitting O'Neill in the stomach, then quickly striking Martouf over the shoulder with his staff weapon. Both men cried out from the sudden pain. "What brings you here? Answer me, quickly!"
"We are here to trade medicinal herbs, good Lord," Martouf gasped, still in pain from the hard hit on his shoulder, though Lantash was fixing it. He picked up the large bag of dried herbs, and carefully swung it onto his god shoulder.
"Medicinal herbs?" The Jaffa was about to hit Martouf again, when the Jaffa groupís leader stepped up and grabbed his subordinates arm.
"Are you placed here to injure traders? We are guarding the chaapa'ai against invaders, not against harmless humans coming to barter their goods. There is a sickness among the human slaves, as you well knows. If these herbs can help, we should consider ourselves fortunate, since our Lord Apophis will not appreciate a weak workforce!"
*Bra'tac!* Sam thought as she saw him. She almost laughed out loud with relief.
"I apologize, Master Bra'tac." The other Jaffa bowed his head and stepped back.
"Hm." Bra'tac took a closer look at the group who had just come through the chaapa'ai. Despite the hoods, he had recognized Teal'c and the three other members of SG-1 immediately, of course, but the group contained one more member this time, a young man. Presumably another Tau'ri. "Come, humans. I shall personally take you to the nearest market." He turned to his men. "Stay here until I return - and kindly attempt to do a better job in the future."
They had walked some distance from the Stargate and were hidden behind trees, when Bra'tac stopped and turned to his guests. "Foolish ha'shaks! Why do you come here, into the very
of Apophis's domain?"
"It's good to see you too, Master Bra'tac," O'Neill said, grinning a little. "We've missed your mild and friendly ways."
"Tek ma'tek, Master Bra'tac. Thank you for rescuing us," Teal'c said, respectfully.
"We were hoping you could give us some intel on Apophis," O'Neill told Bra'tac.
"And Earth," Daniel added.
"Hmph." Bra'tac sounded somewhat placated. "It was a dangerous choice."
"Is Apophis on the planet?" Sam asked.
"No, he spends almost all his time on the world of the Tau'ri. He has chosen it as his new homeworld. Amaunet is there with him, but Klorel has been appointed ruler of Chulak, something which he takes very seriously."
"He generally remains in the palace with his guards, though?" Martouf inquired, concerned. "Or does he interfere with the daily life of this planet?"
Klorel was young and inexperienced, and might do something unexpected, as the Tokíra had very little knowledge of him. It was rare for someone so young to raise to power so quickly, and normally the Tok'ra would have had the opportunity to observe him as he rose through the ranks.
"He has had some... rather unfortunate ideas about changes to the society, but he does not walk among the people, which pleases everyone. Apophis has this rather regrettable interest in seeing things for himself, which Klorel fortunately does not share," Braítac said.
"Good." Martouf nodded. "I would be unfortunate if we met him."
"I doubt he would care much about a group of poor human traders." Bra'tac looked closely at Martouf. "I have not met you before. Who are you?"
"My name is Martouf, and I am a friend of the Tau'ri."
"I see." He turned to Teal'c. "Can this man be trusted? If I am to give you information about Apophis, it would be most unfortunate if you had a spy among you."
"He can be trusted, I assure you," Teal'c said.
"In that case, I will tell you this; Apophis's success in conquering the Tau'ri, has meant many Jaffa have joined his cause, and many minor Goa'uld Lords are attempting to become his vassals, the stronger his allies. He is very strong, very powerful."
"Could Earth... the Tau'ri... could they rebel, do you think?" O'Neill asked.
"They've done it before," Daniel reminded them.
"That they may have, but I do not believe they would succeed again. I have become the First Prime to Klorel, so I visited your world with him about one week ago. Apophis has been very hard on the population, and many potential enemies among the population have been killed. Publicly, often, and in ways both cruel and unusual. The moral and courage of your people are strong, I know that from your team, but I fear they may have been broken. It seems unlikely a rebellion would succeed without outside assistance, at least if it is to happen soon. It is unfortunate. The Tau'ri could have been the hope this Galaxy needs."
"Don't count us out just yet," O'Neill insisted. "Quite a lot of us got away. Many thousands."
"And you have the power to fight Apophis?" Braítac wondered.
"No, not yet, but maybe we will have. We have made some friends, and with their help we may yet succeed. Eventually." O'Neill sighed, aware how unlikely it was to happen any time soon.
"Who are these friends? I know of no one who is strong enough - and willing - to take such a fight," Braítac said.
"They may not have the manpower, but they do have the technology, knowledge, and intelligence. Together... it might be possible." Daniel looked at Martouf, who nodded slowly.
"Maybe. We shall see what the Council says. However, you must understand, regardless of their decision, it will not be a quick victory."
"Who?" Bra'tac repeated.
"The Tok'ra," O'Neill said.
"The Tok'ra? They are just a legend." Bra'tac scoffed.
"They are quite real. We have, in fact, met them," Teal'c insisted.
Bra'tac looked impressed, but then his expression become more despondent. "Even if that is true, you will never be able to find them again. No one knows where they are. They are said to be masters of stealth. Besides, even if they are real, and truly are the Goa'uld resistance, they would still be Goa'uld, and I doubt they would lower themselves to helping humans."
"You are wrong," Martouf said, looking annoyed.
"The Tok'ra can be trusted, and they are willing to help us. We do not yet know how much, but I believe something can be worked out," Daniel told Bra'tac.
"Besides, it won't be hard to find them. There are some who are quite close." O'Neill grinned crookedly.
"What do you mean?" Bra'tac frowned.
Sam's eyes flashed as Jolinar took control. "Very close."
Martouf dipped his head, giving Lantash control.
He looked up, and directly at Bra'tac, his expression even more annoyed than Martouf's. He flashed his eyes a strong golden-white, just to prove a point. "I am Lantash - and we do not like being referred to as Goa'uld."
"Tal ve'nu!" Bra'tac exclaimed, slowly shaking his head.
"Believe it. We are Tok'ra," Jolinar said. "I am Jolinar of Malkshur."
It took some time and explaining before Bra'tac recovered from the shock, and was convinced Lantash and Jolinar were really Tok'ra, and not Goa'uld. However, he readily admitted no Goa'uld would have agreed to dress like that, or allowed themselves to be treated the way his subordinate had done earlier. Reluctantly, he accepted the truth.
When they had finished talking, and Braítac had also answered the questions the Tok'ra and the Tauíri had about Apophis, Klorel, Amaunet, and what was happening on the world of the Tau'ri, Bra'tac was long since back to his unflappable self, and seemed rather pleased the Tok'ra needed him for information.
"Okay, business is done," O'Neill said, when they had been told what Braítac knew. "Teal'c?"
He nodded. "Yes. Bra'tac, now when the important matters are taken care of, I have a private question."
"Your wife and son," Bra'tac observed.
"Yes, are they well?" Tealíc asked.
"They are. However, Teal'c..." Bra'tac looked somewhat uncomfortable, not a common state for him. "Understand that it was hard for Drey'ac and Rya'c without you here. They were ostracized and had difficulties acquiring the means to survive. Eventually... Fro'tac took them into his household. Teal'c, Drey'ac is now his wife!"
"How could you have allowed this to happen!" Teal'c exclaimed.
"Would your rather your family be dead? They were outcasts!" Braítac repeated.
"I will kill Fro'tac myself!" Teal'c glared at Bra'tac. "I came here to take my wife and son to one of the Tau'ri bases, and what do I find? My friend Fro'tac has betrayed me!"
"Quiet!" Lantash said in a low voice. "Someone is coming."
They all quickly pulled up their hoods again, grabbed their sacks of dried herbs, and began walking, following Bra'tac. They had just turned the next bend in the road, when they passed a group of Jaffa. The group had been joking around and being somewhat noisy, but quickly straightened up and greeted Bra'tac respectfully, before continuing past SG-1's group.
"That was close!" Daniel observed, when the Jaffa was outside hearing range.
"Yeah, good thing one of us was paying attention - and has a damn good hearing!" O'Neill smiled at Lantash.