Chapter 15 summary: Life is not always easy for Jolinar, but eventually she begins to feel at home. However, one day a ship is found and she has a chance to return to the Tok'ra. Should she? And if she does, what will then happen?
[ Chapter 1: Getting the first host | Chapter 2: Getting Acquainted | Chapter 3: Realizations | Chapter 4: Life and Discoveries | Chapter 5: Choices | Chapter 6: Daily Life? | Chapter 7: Ra's World | Chapter 8: A meeting | Chapter 9: Decisions | Chapter 10: Treason | Chapter 11: War | Chapter 12: On the Run | Chapter 13: A New Life | Chapter 14: Development | Chapter 15: Return | Chapter 16: Home ]
Over the years, she allowed more and more people to know. Slowly preparing them for the day when all would be told. When finally she publicly revealed what she was, the vast majority willingly - or at least relatively easily - accepted it. There was, however, a small but vocal group of people who did not trust her. They believed she would eventually grab power and behave like the Goa'uld they knew from the stories. That she was just lulling them into a false sense of security, in order to more easily subjugate them. They tried to convince everyone else of this idea and to rouse the population to fight her 'while they still had the chance'. They did not listen to those with a cooler head, who told them that a Goa'uld would not behave thus - developing the society and sharing her knowledge.
However, as is so often the case, some people started doubting Jolinar's sincerity and the dissent began to rise within the population. The leader of her opponents was a man called Tennok. The unrest continued to a point where one day Merina/Jolinar awoke to a large commotion outside. They hurried out of bed and dressed quickly, before running out into the street.
There a group of villagers were rioting and had set fire to some of the buildings. The wind was picking up and the fire was quickly burning out of control. Already more buildings were catching fire. Jolinar turned around and grabbed hold of one of her students who was standing nearby, looking shocked.
"Find all your colleagues and meet me here as quickly as possible! Send someone to alert the Firemen's guild." She let go of him as soon as he had nodded his consent. He still looked faintly bewildered. Jolinar ran inside and snatched a healing device that had been found about a year ago, and then hurried outside again.
When shortly thereafter everyone was there, Jolinar led them to the city square and immediately got as many people as possible engaged in putting out the fire. The officially appointed firemen were there as well. Jolinar was now very happy that they had made sure a Firemen's guild had been created a few years back. Unfortunately they were too few for something as large as this, but together with other volunteers it would hopefully be enough. As the irrigation canal passed close by the burning part of the city, they were going to use that.
They began to douse the houses next to the flames with as much water as possible, in an attempt to contain the fire that was now spreading quickly. Fortunately, there had been no people in the houses catching fire at first, so they could concentrate on protecting those that were inhabited.
Suddenly they heard desperate screams from inside one of the burning houses, and moments later a boy came running out - unharmed. Another followed closely behind, shouting at them.
"Jonn is still in there! He is trapped!"
A couple of the people who was trying to put out the fires ran to the open door and looked inside. It was very hot and flames licked the walls. Several beams had fallen from the roof, and they were now blocking most of their path as well as their line of vision. Jolinar came over and looked in as well. Just then they heard someone scream in terror as more of the roof caved in.
"We cannot go in there - there is no way through!" One of the firemen said, sadly.
Jolinar quickly surveyed the room and then looked around outside. She spotted a large piece of heavy cloth, hanging on a clothes line near one of the other houses.
"I have an idea..." She ran and got the cloth. When she came back she put it on the ground. "Pour a lot of water on it. Make sure it is thoroughly drenched - then pour some on me as well. And hurry!" She added, as the men stared blankly at her.
They complied and Jolinar wrapped the wet cloth around her, then alternately ran and jumped through the burning rubble inside the house. In the furthest corner she found the boy, Jonn, son of Tennok. He lay unconscious on the floor, his left arm and leg burned badly. Parts of his head and hair were too covered by blood and sooth for Jolinar to assess the damage fully. She quickly kicked the nearest smoldering beam aside and picked up the child, wrapping the cloth around him as well as herself. She then hurried out as fast as possible. She had just made it through the door, when the rest of the roof crashed down with a thunderous noise.
As Jolinar laid down Jonn on the ground, Tennok came running up to them, having heard what had happened. When he saw his son lay on the ground, covered in blood and burns and not moving, he cried out. He turned to look at Jolinar, his face wild.
"What have you done to my son? You evil Goa'uld! Why did you punish an innocent child because of your anger at me?"
Jolinar's eyes glowed. "Fool - get out of my way so I can save him before it is too late!" She took out her healing device and slipped it on, as two men pulled Tennok aside.
Concentrating, Jolinar activated the device and started running it slowly over Jonn, healing the burns and other wounds. Tennok now watched quietly from the side. The others had none too kindly explained to him that Jolinar had risked her own life running into the burning building to save the child. Who, by the way, had been endangered by Tennok's own foolishness when he and his group of rioters had lit a fire without thinking about the consequences.
The others resumed putting out the fires, and eventually succeeded.
Finally, a tired Jolinar allowed the healing device to turn off. The boy had been healed completely and groggily opened his eyes and looked around.
"Jonn! You are alive - and well, it seems." He fell down to his knees beside his son and helped him sit up, then hugged him tightly. When they had talked for a little while, Tennok rose and turned to Merina/Jolinar.
"Merina...Jolinar. I am deeply grateful to you for having saved my son's life. I see now that we...that I was very wrong about you. You may be of the same people as our evil, former Lord Apophis, but I realise now how unfair it was to assume that meant you were the same. I would not call one human being a criminal because I had met another who was - so I should not have suspected a Goa'uld of being evil, just because I know an evil one exists."
Jolinar smiled. "Thank you. I hope we can put this behind us, then, and together work to make this place a better world?"
"I would like that." Tennok smiled, grateful.
Jolinar furrowed her brow. "One thing - you would be wise to continue fearing and suspecting the Goa'uld. Most, unfortunately, are evil. We - the Tok'ra - are but one small group who disagree with their ways and how they treat humans and others. That is why the chaapa'ai must remain buried until you are ready and able to defend yourself against the Goa'uld. Or they are no longer a threat. Hopefully, that day will come."
Having made peace with the leader of the dissenters, Jolinar soon was free of opposition. She was now able to truly work with the villagers to improve as much as possible upon their life and advance their development. Since the population was motivated to become as advanced a civilization as possible before the Goa'uld perhaps arrived in ships, much was quickly accomplished.
300 years later. The planet no longer held just a small collection of villages. It was a planet-wide civilization with several million people. The development had been very fast, and they were now at a level were electricity had been installed in every house.
Merina, who now looked to be in her early thirties, was still host to Jolinar. They had resigned themselves to the fact that a ship would probably never be found and Jolinar would not be able to leave and rejoin the Tok'ra. Not for several centuries yet - not before the population of this world were truly ready to take on the Goa'uld.
Then, one day a Teltac was found buried under the sand and rubble. It was located near a mountain range. In the old books they found tales about a landslide which had hit a landing place for ships long ago. Only one ship was found, but amazingly it was intact.
Merina and Jolinar discussed it for some time, then decided they would leave to search for the Tok'ra. They spent a few more years on the planet, making sure the population was as prepared as possible and that her youngest group of apprentices were ready to stand on their own.
*Do not worry, Jolinar. They will do well...there are now educational institutions to prepare new generations of scientists and technicians. Schools for all sorts of trade needed. Yes, their development will be slower when they have to invent everything themselves, but they will continue developing their society. Besides, it will be good for them to learn to do it on their own.* Merina pointed out.
*I know. I just feel responsible for them.*
*Don't! I know you have done this partly as penance for what you did as a System Lord. And also because you are ashamed at how the Goa'uld have treated this planet, as well as humans and others elsewhere. You are not responsible for that! You are a Tok'ra, not a Goa'uld. It is not your fault.*
And so the day for their departure arrived. An official send-off was arranged, despite Jolinar's protests.
"Thank you...always remember, you must keep the chaapa'ai buried until you are powerful enough to defend yourself against the Goa'uld. Or when they are no longer a threat. I hope very much to be able to visit you when the day comes for you to again join the rest of the galaxy." Jolinar said.
"We will heed your warning - and look forward to seeing you again. Know that you and your people are always welcome here. Please. Do come and visit us from time to time. Perhaps we can trade - and I am certain that sometimes there will be a youngster wishing to fight the Goa'uld more actively...by becoming host to a Tok'ra. Please, when you are in need - come here and see. Sometimes there may be volunteers."
"Thank you. We will not forget you." Jolinar said, knowing well that as the years passed and the memories of both Tok'ra and Goa'uld faded even further into legends, few would want - or even think - to join the Tok'ra. It was, however, worth it to keep the contact. Perhaps they would indeed get some hosts. Besides, Jolinar would always feel some responsibility to them and would like to see how they fared.
When the ceremony and the following celebration were over, Merina/Jolinar went to the Teltac. It had already been loaded with what little they were bringing with them. Soon it lifted off from the world that had been their home for so long.
Unwilling to risk the Tok'ra by contacting them immediately - if indeed they could be quickly contacted - they spent a few years trying to ascertain the status of the Goa'uld and of the Galaxy.
There was very little information to be had about the Tok'ra - which was good. Jolinar heard a few hateful and fearful whispers at one court or another, so she knew they were still out there. Still working towards their goal.
The power structure of the Goa'uld was not much different than it had been those more than 1300 years ago when she had been caught and imprisoned in a stasis jar. She noted with satisfaction that the Tok'ra had managed to keep any one Goa'uld from growing too strong. They had also managed to keep the Goa'uld at each others throats, so that none of them became strong through cooperation. And none trusted each other enough to share information. Which was fortunate for the Tok'ra.
When Merina/Jolinar felt it was safe, they approached the location where they hoped to find some of the Tok'ra hiding. They would be able to lead them to one of the Tok'ra bases and to Egeria.
They arrived on the third of Egeria's planets, late in the afternoon. They had searched the two other of her worlds without finding any trace that the Tok'ra had been there recently.
This planet was a tropical paradise. It was - just as Jolinar remembered - sparingly populated. A few scattered villages were located at some distance from the Stargate. The people had as usual been brought here by the Goa'uld - Ra, in fact. He had not found the planet worth the effort. The naquadah was plentiful enough, but very difficult to mine without using advanced technology. Ra, as all Goa'uld, preferred not to let their slaves work with that, or indeed learn about it. He had more than enough worlds where the naquadah was easy to mine using traditional means. While this planet was paradisiacal, he had more than enough of those worlds as well. Worlds which had a higher level of civilization. Because of that, he had given this and the two neighboring planets to his then new queen Egeria.
Merina/Jolinar's first night on the planet was spent in the village nearest to the Stargate. They were awoken early by people dressed as peasants - bu Jolinar sensed they had symbiotes. Tok'ra! They came to interrogate Merina/Jolinar. After a lengthy questioning session the Tok'ra were finally convinced it was indeed Jolinar who had returned to them. A young, dark-skinned woman stepped forward, smiling.
"I am Selmak. You are very welcome, Jolinar. You have been sorely missed."
"Selmak!" Jolinar gave her a warm hug and smiled broadly. "It is indeed good to see you again."
"You have been gone for a long time. Much has happened, but that is for later. Please - meet my two good friends. This is Ren'al, her host is Simja. The very suspicious man who kept asking you more questions - long after I believed you - is Garshaw of Belote. The host's name is Rilek. They are in hiding here, pretending to be a villager, and are currently helping us with Egeria's children. Garshaw is a former System Lord, just like you, who has continued to cause the Goa'uld much trouble - and who has become the most hunted of all times. More than you even. However, this place is safe. The Goa'uld do not bother coming here."
The little group spent some time talking and getting Jolinar up to speed on all that had happened during her absence. Then they came to the most important - but also least pleasant - news. Egeria had disappeared some weeks ago, shortly after leaving the planet. She had been spending a month or so here with her youngest batch - one she had spawned a few months ago. She had then intended to travel to one of the Tok'ra bases, but on the way something must have happened. She had never arrived. The Tok'ra knew that Ra had recently decided he wanted his revenge on Egeria. Thus she might have gone into hiding. That, at least, was what the Tok'ra hoped.
Jolinar/Merina stayed for a few days before they left. Jolinar wanted to look for Egeria, and Merina agreed with her 'headmate'.
It took them several months to find someone with useful information about Egeria's whereabouts. Eventually they found their way to the house of a peasant. It turned out Egeria had befriended the eldest daughter by coincidence. She - Sannya - was a headstrong woman who had just turned 25. She had convinced her family they should hide Egeria for a while. Egeria and she had spent much time talking and they had quickly become good friends.
When Sannya was finally convinced Jolinar truly was a Tok'ra, she agreed to tell her all she knew. She would also show Jolinar the men who had been in the group that captured Egeria. She had seen them, as she had been walking with Egeria when they came. She had quickly hidden in a bush, but she had not left. Of course, she had been unable to do anything to help Egeria. The men that had taken her were Jaffa. Ra's Jaffa. It had happened almost a month ago.
Sannya took Jolinar to the Jaffa village. At a distance she pointed out those three guards who had captured Egeria. Jolinar decided to return when it was dark, and see if she could catch one of them when he stood guard alone somewhere. He might be 'persuaded' to give her some useful information.
The first night she was unsuccessful, but the second night she had better luck. She caught one of the Jaffa and forced him to tell her all he knew - which, unfortunately, was not much. Egeria had been delivered to one of Ra's palaces, and then the guards had left. Jolinar decided to see if she might be able to sneak inside and find further information in the palace. There might still be something to find, despite a month having passed since Egeria was taken there.
Merina/Jolinar snuck inside in the deep of night. They managed to locate a computer which was not guarded. Jolinar quickly began going through the information on it, searching for any mentioning of Egeria.
She had just found a short entry which mentioned Egeria having been brought in and 'taken care of', when she heard footsteps. She also sensed several symbiotes. Jaffa!
With regret, she hurriedly shut off the computer and desperately looked for a place to hide. Finding none, she stood beside the door, zat'nik'tel at the ready. Perhaps she could shoot her way out.
Moments later the door was kicked open. Then everything happened very fast. She got the two first Jaffa with her zat'nik'tel and grabbed one of the staff weapons. She hit the next Jaffa hard over the head with it and he went down. Meanwhile, yet another Jaffa entered and aimed his staff weapon at her, but she hit the weapon hard and it fell to the floor. The Jaffa had drawn his knife and planted it in her shoulder as she pushed him aside and ran out, jumping through the first window she saw. She had not had time to open it, so she fell amid plenty of glass. She had been on the second floor and hit the ground hard. Nevertheless, she managed to get up and ran swiftly, despite the multitude of cuts and bruises she had sustained.
Just as she made it to the woods, a staff blast hit her in the side, and another in the back, felling her. Before darkness took her, she felt someone pulling her away.