Chapter 16 summary: A badly wounded Jolinar gets help from a friend and eventually return home.

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[ 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 ]

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She woke up not long after, thinking that she must have been captured. The pain immediately told her that she had not been thrown in a sarcophagus. With difficulty, she opened her eyes and could vaguely see someone in the darkness. She was clearly still in the forest - hidden under something, perhaps the roots of a fallen tree.

Whomever it was noticed she was awake.

"Shhh...I believe the Jaffa are far away, but it is better to be quiet for some time yet."

"Sannya?" Jolinar managed, weakly. She then turned inwards and searched desperately for her host. She finally felt her - unconscious and probably too far gone to ever wake up again. Jolinar tried to stem the blood and heal the many wounds, but they were far too severe. The only way her host would live was with the help of a sarcophagus. Jolinar considered for a short while if there was a way for her to get her to one. Then she realised this would only lead to an endless cycle of torture, death, and revival. And it would end up with her host being killed anyway. She could not do that to her. She, herself, would end up either dead as well or again placed in a stasis jar. Besides, she could not start using a sarcophagus again. She knew what they did to you - which was why the Tok'ra - her people - did not use it.

"Sannya..." she coughed. "Thank you for making sure the Jaffa did not find us. Please, there is just one more thing I must ask of you. Take my zat'nik'tel and vaporize me. Shoot three times. And then get as far away from here as possible before they come back!"

"Jolinar! NO! I am saving you!"

"That, I am afraid, is too late. My host will most likely never wake up again - which is really for the best, as we are in a lot of pain. Too much for me to block fully. I cannot heal her - she will die in a very short time, and soon after I so will I."

"No! You are Egeria's friend - so you are also my friend. You must live - to return to the Tok'ra with what news there is of her. Is there nothing that can be done? Can your wounds not be healed in any way?"

"I, myself, are not wounded, but my host is beyond my ability to heal. Without a host I will not live long outside of very special environments."

"But...if you got a new host you would live?"

"Yes."

"Then...then I volunteer."

"You are certain of this?"

"Yes...yes, I am."

"If so...then I am grateful. Please, come closer - bend over me as if you would kiss me and open your mouth."

Sannya did so. Jolinar said goodbye to her unconscious, dying host and gave her a hug - hoping she could somehow feel it. Moments later she was in a new host, busily putting out nerve filaments and otherwise connecting herself to everything. A full blending would have to wait until they were in a safer location.

-
Later. They had managed to sneak out of the forest and were now waiting for morning in an old, abandoned building.

*Do not misunderstand me. I am extremely grateful that you were there. You have saved my life...but why did you follow me? I told you it would be dangerous and that you should stay in the village.*

*As I said earlier, Egeria was my friend. I consider you my friend as well...and you have been friends with her for far longer than I have lived. I wanted to see if there was anything I could help you with. I guess I felt...responsible. Jolinar, tell me, what did you learn about Egeria?*

*Not much, I'm afraid. I did not have time to read the full entry - if all was even written there - before the Jaffa came. I did learn that she was brought in and that she had been 'taken care of' as they called it. It means she was either killed or put in a stasis jar - like I once was. I can only hope it was the latter, and that she is not forever lost to us.* Jolinar sounded very sad, now mourning both her host and her friend.

Sannya was quiet for a long while, not knowing how to respond. Then she suddenly remembered something.

*What I am about to tell you, Egeria told me to relay to the Tok'ra, if any should ever show up. If no one came, I were to ensure someone else carried on the knowledge and could eventually inform your people. Let's see...she said...'Hidden like my oldest friend; three are waiting; each of their worlds a first'.*

*Are you sure that is what she said? It does not make any sense!*

*Yes, I am sure. It doesn't make sense to me either, but I had hoped it would to you.*

Jolinar thought for some time. *It is code, of course. She could not say her secret in the clear, if it were something of great importance. If those knowing it should be caught, they must not have the information easily accessible. On the other hand, it must be something we can guess - maybe something only the Tok'ra can figure out?*

*Yes, I agree.*

*I believe I am her oldest friend, and I was indeed hidden. As far as Egeria knew, I was still in a stasis jar in an unknown location when she told you that riddle. I don't know who or what it is that is hidden and waiting, but perhaps...presumably...it is someone hidden in a stasis jar?* Jolinar mulled it over for some time. *It could be daughters - queens! That she has hidden for us - if we are very lucky. But where? The only 'first world' I know of is the Tau'ri. Or it might perhaps refer to the original home world of the Goa'uld, but its location has been lost in antiquity, so I doubt it...I don't know. In either case, that would explain the need for secrecy. I will think about it, but for now we should return to the Tok'ra with what little information we have about Egeria.*

-
Jolinar and her new host travelled to the planet where Egeria had spawned what might easily prove to be her last clutch. After having again gone through a lengthy interrogation to prove who she was, Jolinar was told where to find the Tok'ra council. Selmak was currently leading it, and Garshaw had now also become a member, as had Ren'al. Jolinar gave a report on everything that had happened, except for the riddle, which she decided to look further into before telling them about. Cordesh, too, had joined the Tok'ra while Jolinar had been in stasis, and he had even been admitted on the council. Jolinar still only trusted him with some reservations, but no one else seemed to have problems, so she kept her mouth shut.

Afterwards, Sannya/Jolinar volunteered to spend their time taking care of the youngest Tok'ra as well as look for hosts for them when they matured.

It was a peaceful time for Jolinar. The planet was pleasant and peaceful, as were the villagers living on it. She soon found she enjoyed looking after the Tok'ra children. She had originally volunteered because she felt responsible for her good friend's children - and for not having been able to learn what had happened to their mother and perhaps save her. To her surprise she liked the job.

-
Sannya/Jolinar were relaxing on the green grass beside the small lake which the symbiotes lived in. They had just spent several hours playing with them and then bringing them food. The symbiotes were now old enough to not be in any danger from the fish in the pond, so they had recently been allowed to come out from the smaller enclosure. They still loved being played with, as well as being held and caressed.

Sannya/Jolinar had started to fall asleep in the warm sun, when one of the other Tok'ra - a young man called Rada/Ke'val - called for them.

"Sannya! Jolinar! Please come and help!"

*What now?* They got up. "Coming." Jolinar answered.

When they came over to the lake-side, Rada pointed at a young symbiote who looked slightly embarrassed, but mostly just defiant.

"Talk to him! He listens to you!"

Jolinar sighed. "What did Lantash do now?"

"He swam into the water-filled caves of the mountain again. Afterwards, when I had told him to stay out of the caves, he played in the waterfall. He is impossible, and he encourages the others to do the same. It is dangerous."

"I will talk to him." She allowed herself to slide down into the water and part walked, part swam to the symbiote.

"Squeeel." He rubbed himself against her arm.

"Don't try to ingratiate yourself with me. You know full well you have behaved badly, Lantash. You know you shouldn't swim into the caves - or play in the waterfall for that matter. It is dangerous. We don't want you to be hurt." Jolinar admonished.

Lantash mumbled something to the effect of being more careful in the future.

*I don't know if he meant more careful and not do dangerous stuff, or more careful not to be detected...*

*He is a rascal, but I can't blame him for wanting to explore the world. I understand his curiosity. It must be boring to just swim around in the water.*

*He can play with his siblings - and whatever there is in the lake...stones, plants, fish...* Jolinar pointed out.

*True, but even if it is far more exciting than it must have been to grow up in a Jaffa pouch - like you did - I am still not surprised by his desire to explore.*

*He even crawls up on that flat stone you know, and looks out as far as he can. Then he takes a quick dip and crawls up again!*

*Well, at least he is protected from bird attacks by that stone-outcropping of the cliff above. He is also not the only one doing that. Anise is as curious as he is - as are many of the others.*

*Yes, but Anise seems somewhat more careful.*

*She is just better at hiding it. Lantash doesn't always do that well - and he often has an unfortunate tendency to talk before thinking, so he almost always gets found out when he tries to hide something.*

They realised Lantash was nipping their right hand gently. "Squeeeel, squeek?"

*He wants attention - he wants to be caressed!*

*He doesn't deserve it!* Jolinar said, but started stroking the symbiote anyway. He made small, satisfied sounds.

*You do know he has a crush on you - don't you?*

Jolinar sighed. *Yes, I know.*

-
Several years later, the youngest of Egeria's clutches had all matured and taken their first hosts. They had then been sent to various bases for their training. Jolinar left to work undercover again, wanting a more active life, after years of passivity.

-
Many years had now passed - more than 450 years since Jolinar had rejoined the Tok'ra. She had been on a very long term undercover mission. Close to 300 years had been spent on one single mission were she had daringly infiltrated Zipacna's court and risen to become his second in command. Eventually this became too dangerous, and she disappeared, returning to the Tok'ra. Fortunately, the Goa'uld still did not share information, and she soon left for new missions. These were varied, but still relatively long term. Eventually she had returned to base to help with some security measures. Also, there were some new information about what might have happened to Egeria. Not much new was eventually learned, though.

Now Jolinar had just acquired a new host, and felt ready to again take on missions as an undercover agent. She had been transferred to a new base and had just arrived there.

She had been welcomed by Garshaw, and they had talked a little about old times. Garshaw was now a full grand councillor, and tried to convince Jolinar to join the council. However, that was still not something she wanted to be bothered with. Garshaw had been much hunted during the years - more even than Jolinar, and had chosen to take a female host some time ago, in an attempt to better hide. She liked the relative peace and quiet on the council and at home in the tunnels, and doubted she would chose to go on missions again any time soon.

After a little while, Garshaw spotted a young Tok'ra walking past them in the tunnels, looking interestedly at Jolinar.

"Lantash...this is Rosha and Jolinar who have just been transferred here. Could you please show them the base and the room where they will stay?"

"Yes, Garshaw. With pleasure." Lantash said, as he turned to Rosha/Jolinar and smiled.


THE END.