July 30 1998, Beta site
Jolinar sat down on the bunk, drawing a deep breath as the door closed after the interrogators. At least the interrogation had only consisted of yelling, threats, and harsh words this time, and she did not have to heal anything.
*Why don't you just tell them something? They'll never let you go otherwise, and you must now something my people can use, and which also won't jeopardize the fate of the Galaxy or whatever it is you think will happen!* Sam told her symbiote, frustrated.
*Oh, so now I am worthy of being spoken to?* Jolinar sounded sarcastic.
*How long can you keep that up? Don't you know anything useful? I mean, I'm sure you must know something!*
Jolinar sighed. *I know little that is useful about Apophis, which your people do not already know. I will tell them nothing about the Tok'ra, of course. As for the state of the rest of the Galaxy? Yes, I do know something which might interest your people, but it would hardly help you, and I fear you would rush out and do something stupid, risking yourselves as well as the stability and possible future of the Galaxy. I will tell them nothing.*
*You arrogant bitch! Don't you trust us to decide that for ourselves? You treat us like children!*
*Which you are, compared to my kind. You have neither the knowledge, nor the experience, nor the level of technology to involve yourself with the things you are messing with. You are barely able to survive out here - focus on that, first!*
Sam spent several minutes being too angry to even formulate a reply, when she suddenly remembered something. *You told Daniel you could give him back his wife - did you mean it?*
*The Tok'ra have the technology to remove a symbiote, yes, and we do have some information about her which you may not. It is, however, not information which would help you.*
*What's this information?* Sam groaned. *Really, it's not like I can tell anyone if you don't want me to!*
*As I have told you several times, Tok'ra do not censor their hosts! What I know about Amaunet is by no means certain. It is hearsay.*
*Yeah, yeah, I get it, you're not guaranteeing it's the truth. What do you know?*
*I have not been able to confirm with the Tok'ra, since I have been on the run for many months, but when I last managed to get information from my informers - which admittedly is now almost three months ago - Amaunet had reportedly gone missing.*
*Yes, and rumours has it she is pregnant with Apophis's child.*
*Pregnant? I didn't think the Goa'uld did that - but then, it's not like I really know much of anything about them. Anyway, why would she be missing because of that?*
*If two Goa'uld have a human child, that child will be harcesis. It is forbidden.*
*Har-cesis. What's that? And why is it forbidden?*
*According to myth, the child will carry all the knowledge of the Goa'uld, their entire genetic memory - which is, of course, absurd. It can never get more than what its symbiote parents have. However, many Goa'uld believe in the myth, and I suspect Apophis is one of those that does. In any case, the Goa'uld does not allow a human child which has the knowledge of a symbiote - of two Goa'uld lines, even. To have a human know the same or more than they do, is a threat to them - and they also consider it blasphemous.*
*Because a mere human would know what only 'gods' should know.* Sam realized.
*Exactly. It is believed that Apophis wishes to use this child as his future host.*
*Okay - so Amaunet hides while she's pregnant, so no one will notice?*
*Yes, and also because the symbiote has to be dormant during the last three months of the gestation. This means Apophis will have hid her somewhere safe - somewhere the host will not try to run from.*
*Sha're has control?*
*For the three months just before she gives birth, yes. We suspect she may be hiding on her homeworld, but we do not know it.*
*I do! Sha're is from Abydos.*
*Then that is likely where she will have gone.*
*We should tell Daniel! He can rescue his wife!*
*He can only free her from Amaunet if she is allowed to accompany me to the Tok'ra. That is unlikely to happen. If she returns here, then she will most likely be imprisoned like we are, and tortured for information. They will be even less gentle towards her. Is that what you wish for your friend's wife?*
*She might get some time with her husband first! And who knows, maybe this will convince them they can trust you, and lead to them letting you go!* Sam did not really believe this herself, but they had to try something, right?
Jolinar snorted. *Neither of us believe that!* She sighed. *But I suppose it is worth trying. I do not know how far along she is in her gestation, so we should move quickly. I will tell the interrogators the next time they come.*
*Wait - I suddenly remember something...the Abydonians have buried their Stargate - they won't open it again until one Abydonian year has passed since we were there. Daniel told them to.*
Jolinar thought for a moment. *I do not believe that will be a problem. Apophis most likely arrived by ship if he took Amaunet there, but he will not have allowed the chaapa'ai to remain buried. While it is a safety against his enemies, it is also a danger if he cannot reach Amaunet quickly - or she him, should something happen. He will have restored the chaapa'ai, so your people can surely go there whenever they wish. I shall tell them this as well.*
July 31 1998, Beta site
*Why are you unhappy now? I told them about Amaunet as you wanted me to!* Jolinar sounded frustrated.
*Yeah, a lot of good that did!* Sam grumbled.
*That is not my fault! I did warn you we would not achieve anything!* She gave control to Sam, who seemed to need the ability to have a physical outlet for her anger.
Sam started pacing the room. *They actually got more hostile, blaming us - I mean you - for holding back information. Not only that - now they seem to think we've got a lot of information they can drag out of us! You .* She sighed. *Sorry, I do know it's not your fault. I had just really hoped they'd be a little less hostile, and maybe start believing you a little more.*
Jolinar snorted. *That was naive!*
Sam was about to hiss something hostile at Jolinar, as she usually did, but then she stopped herself. Jolinar was not the enemy here, she realized - and she had known it for some time. *Never mind. You're right. It was stupid of me to get my hopes up.* She kicked the wall, then sat down on the bunk, hiding her face in her hands. *I'm just so tired of it all. Exhausted.*
Jolinar 'nodded'. *So am I. This uncertain situation and the never-ending questioning is tiresome.* She 'sighed'. *So is the endless hostility from you. Yes, you are no longer actively hostile, but I can feel your constant desire for me to leave.*
*I'm sorry, but can you blame me? I mean, I realize this is not what you wanted either, but...* Sam stopped. *But I guess neither of us gains anything from this. You're right, it is tiring. I suppose we should call a cease-fire. Deal?*
*Deal. Sounds good to me,* she answered, sounding both relieved and grateful for that, at least.
August 1 1998, Alpha site
When the last group were about to leave the Alpha site, the Stargate activated just before they could finish dialling.
"Incoming!" O'Neill shouted at the group.
Everyone ran for cover behind the low dirt mounds that had been constructed in a half circle around the Stargate after the last attack.
As expected, grenades came through first, exploding as soon as they hit the ground, only seconds after O'Neill had ducked behind the low wall beside Teal'c. The shock waves set off some of the closest of the claymores, but O'Neill was still relieved, and somewhat surprised with their luck.
He had half expected shock grenades like the ones they had been exposed to on Apophis's ship. They would have been left stunned and temporarily blinded, completely at the mercy of the incoming Jaffa. Well, fortunately even a ‘god’ could make tactical errors.
As soon as the explosions had subsided, Teal’c risked a quick peek. "Five Jaffa are coming through - more are arriving."
O'Neill nodded. He waited a few moments, letting the Jaffa pass the area where the claymores had already exploded, then yelled. "Now!"
Ferretti, pushed the button and a batch of claymores exploded, sending several Jaffa flying. Those that were able, hurried away from the area, more concerned with fleeing than anything else, which made them vulnerable to the defenders weapons fire.
Another group of Jaffa stepped through, just as the last ones from the first group fell. O'Neill ordered Ferretti to blow the remaining claymores, praying no more enemies would come through.
Finally, the Stargate shut down, and Daniel ran for the Stargate, dialling out as fast as he could.
"We opened it!" He shouted. "We're safe!"
"For now." O'Neill sighed. "Stay and keep it open - we can't risk another attack like this one." He turned to Teal'c, who returned from having checked on the fallen. "How many?"
"Six dead and four wounded on our side, fifteen dead and five wounded on their side," Teal'c announced.
O'Neill nodded, unhappily. "Shoot the Jaffa, then let's get our own through to the Beta site."
"Did not General Hammond order us to take surviving Jaffa prisoners?"
"Yeah, he did, but I'm not gonna give the NID guys anyone else to play with. So - there were no survivors. Got it?"
August 5 1998, Beta site
"You wanted to see me, sir?" O'Neill looked unhappily at Kinsey behind the desk, purposely ignoring Colonel Samuels who stood beside him.
"Yes, it has come to my attention that you are not following orders. Is that correct, Colonel?" Kinsey asked.
"No sir, who said that? I'm great at following orders."
"It doesn't matter who said it. Is it true that there were surviving Jaffa after the last attack on the Alpha site? Survivors that should have been brought here for interrogation?"
"Nope. No survivors. Naturally, if there had been any, we would have brought them back with us... sir. "
"Really? I was told there were, and I have reason to believe the source. He only came to us with this information today, because he didn't want to go against the orders of his superior. I reassured him that he was doing the right thing, as we are your superiors. Colonel, did you kill those prisoners instead of turning them over to us?"
O'Neill glared angrily at Kinsey, wondering who it was who had decided to report him. Damn snitch! He took a calming breath. "Okay, what the hell. Yes, I gave the order to kill them, but do you know why? Because I don't want you guys to get anyone else to play with! No one deserves that!"
"You're out of order, Colonel!" Kinsey exclaimed, then looked gleefully at him. "If the situation was any different, you'd be going through court martial. As it is, we need everyone - even those like you, as deplorable as that is! Don't think you'll get out of this without punishment, though! You're in charge of guarding the Stargate during third shift... every night for the next month! Just be happy I don't demote you, but you can be sure I'm keeping an eye on you, and if you as much as look wrong on one of my people, you get the cell beside the snake. Understood?"
O'Neill ground his teeth. "Yes... sir!"
O'Neill got up and left quickly, before he did something they would all regret.
August 6 1998, Beta site
*So they finally found time to examine the dead ashrak,* Sam observed, sitting down on the bunk as soon as Jolinar gave her control.
*That vial they found on him - they said it contained some sort of drug, but you wouldn't tell them much about it - you just said it was used to make symbiotes undetectable to other symbiotes. Oh, and that only ashraks use it because most Goa'uld find it unnatural and 'wrong'. So, why is this making you so nervous?*
*It is called Hakoor'ash. I worry they will test it on us, Samantha.*
*What?* Jolinar sounded momentarily distracted.
*If we are to spend a long time together, then could you please call me Sam instead of Samantha?*
*Yes... of course, if that is your wish,* Jolinar agreed. *Just please do not use any diminutives for me!*
*Don't worry, I won't!* Sam 'rolled' her eyes. *You were saying... that you worried they would test the drug on us? And that it made symbiotes undetectable to other symbiotes - that is related to that tingling or buzzing we feel when Teal'c is near, right? The one you said was due to the resonance of the naquadah in us with the naquadah in his symbiote?*
*Yes.* Jolinar sighed. *Someone with naquadah in their blood can sense other naquadah-sources. We can tell the difference between different kinds also... biologically bound naquadah, raw naquadah, refined naquadah... and so on. A Tok'ra - or a Goa'uld - can sense another symbiote at a distance of about 50 feet.*
*Wow - that's... strange... and useful, I guess.* Sam lay down on the bunk and yawned. She threw a look at the clock just outside the bars of her cell. 6 PM. She hoped they would bring their food soon, so she could go to bed. She always felt exhausted after the interrogations, even if Jolinar was the one in control during them.
*Yes, and sometimes dangerous, if you are pretending to be a human, which the Tok'ra sometimes do.*
*Which is where this drug comes in - I assume you are using it? No reason not to, unless you'll rather be caught than use something you find 'unnatural'.* Sam snorted.
*No, the Tok'ra are not using it, at least not unless it is completely unavoidable, but not for the same reasons as the Goa'uld.*
*What, then?* Sam looked toward the door out of the cell area, which had just opened. A man came in, carrying a tray with food for them. She got up and went to the hatch door in the cell, which was used to put the food inside. "Thanks," she said, nodding at the guard. He frowned, but said nothing and just hurried out. Sam sighed. *I really wish they would stop doing that!*
*I very much agree.* Jolinar sounded annoyed.
Sam went to the bunk and sat back down, putting the tray on the small table beside it, and pulling it towards them. *You were explaining about the drug the ashrak used.*
*Yes. The drug masks the naquadah in the blood of the symbiote and also the small amounts in the blood of the host. It works by forming a thin layer in the outer skin of the host, all over the body - a layer which blocks the energy signature from the naquadah completely to all others. It also partially blocks the signature you feel from others, of course.*
*Okay. Why, then, did we sense the ashrak in the gateroom, if he was using the drug?* Sam picked up the MRE and looked at it. *Chicken stew. Could be worse.* She shrugged and opened the bag, then stirred it a little with the spoon, absentmindedly studying the contents before she started eating.
*If you say so.* Jolinar frowned at the contents. She was getting more than tired of these ready-made meals, which they had now eaten for almost a month. She sighed and continued her explanation. *The dose he had taken before arriving on Earth had most likely been broken down. The effects are not long-lasting. Presumably, his newly healed skin was still too sensitive for him to take another dose and be able to function. The pain would likely have surpassed his ability to block.*
*Unfortunately, there is a side effect to the drug forming a layer in the host's outer skin... it feels as if the skin is on fire. Constantly, until the drug has been broken down. Usually, the symbiote is able to block that sensation from itself, and it is necessary in order for it to be able to function. Even more unfortunately - and the reason the Tok'ra do not use it - is that due to the way the drug works, it cannot be blocked from the host. The symbiote has to block out and suppress the host completely, in order not to go crazy from the pain. The host will still feel it, though - it will be about the only thing he or she senses for the time the drug is used. If we are in a situation where a Tok'ra has to use the drug, we will block the memory of the experience from the host afterwards, but that is all we can do. Now, do you understand why the Tok'ra do not use this drug?* Jolinar bit out. *Even the ashraks only use it when necessary.*
Sam had listened, horrified, to what Jolinar explained, completely forgetting her food in the process. *Yes, I understand... and I also understand why you don't want to tell my people about it. They would use it to make us speak, don't you think?*
*Yes, it would be the only thing they have which I cannot block from you. However, they would use it because they thought they would be torturing me with it... which they would be, but in a different way than what they think.*
*You have tried using it.* Sam suddenly realized.
*Yes, once. I will never do it again. My people are working to try and create a version without the side effects, but they have not had much luck yet.*
Sam shuddered, very much hoping their interrogators would not decide to test it on her and Jolinar. She had a very bad feeling they might, though.