August 6th, 1998
"I will never betray the Tok'ra. Never!" Jolinar told Maybourne. "I have told you I can give your people some information about the Goa'uld, information which would be useful for you. I can even help advance some of your technology, even if I am not a scientist. However, that will only happen if you let me go!"
More than a month had passed since Jolinar had taken Sam as a host. They had been prisoners of the NID for most of that time.
Over Janet's protests, they had been transferred to a secret NID installation while they were still unconscious.
"We'll never let you go! You'll tell us what we want - all that we want, just so we will let you live!" Maybourne said.
Jolinar snorted. "I am not afraid of you. While we are talking about threats - what about the ashrak that attempted to kill me? Despite me asking several times, you have not told me if he is imprisoned as well. If he is, it is only a matter of time before he escapes, finds me, and kills me. Then you have nothing!"
Maybourne shrugged. "Very well, if you must know, the ashrak is dead. He was killed - and disintegrated by Colonel O'Neill - just after shooting you. Regrettable, we would have liked to get our hands on him."
"You are fortunate, then. He would otherwise have tricked you, somehow, and escaped - most likely killing many of your men while doing so," Jolinar told them.
An unknown man stepped forward. "Do you know how long we have wanted a Goa'uld to experiment on? We need to find a way to incapacitate and kill you guys. If you're not telling us anything useful, there is no reason not to use you for these experiments."
Jolinar looked coldly at him. "As I have already told your friends - several times - I am not a Goa'uld. My people fight the Goa'uld, just like yours do."
"I find that hard to believe. You are a snake!"
"Biologically, I am the same as a Goa'uld, yes - though calling me a snake, would be no more accurate than calling you an ape."
"Just wait until I get my hands on you! You won't be so cocky then!"
"Do you want to tell me your name - or should I just address you as ape-man? My host thinks that is quite fitting. She is of the opinion you resemble something she calls an 'orangutan'."
"Shut up, Jones!" Maybourne said. "As for you, Jolinar... unless you start coming up with some useful information about your kind, I'll have to let Jones and the other doctors play with you. See if they can find something that will kill you - without killing the host. If possible."
Jolinar snorted. "I have not heard of any drug or technology which can kill a symbiote and not the host. It does not mean it does not exist, of course, but I doubt it is easy to find. The problem is that all but the most infant of symbiotes have a toxin - or venom, is perhaps a better word - which would kill the host if the symbiote dies. The Tok'ra can remove a symbiote, and if our people were to become friends - which seems unlikely at the moment - we would be willing to help free those of your people that are taken as a host. I should warn you, even if our healers are very skilled, it does not always succeed."
"What makes you think we'd believe you? But no worries - we've got competent people here, who look forward to finding out - on their own!"
*Maybourne is an even bigger idiot than I thought - and that doctor, Jones? He's insane!* Sam complained.
*I agree.* Jolinar answered, only half paying attention.
*Hey! Are you even listening? I don't have anyone else to talk to, you know!* Sam rose and walked around in the small roam. Her hands and feet were shackled, so she could not move very fast.
*Sorry. It is just... my memories from just before I became unconscious are starting to come back. Memories from back in the holding cell at your Stargate Command.*
*When the ashrak was interrupted in his execution of us, the hara'kesh turned off. I was dazed and in pain... only barely conscious.*
*I don't remember anything after he started to use the... the hara'kesh. It was immensely painful, but only for a moment, then everything disappeared.*
*You would not remember more than that. I blocked you off completely. The only way you would have felt more of it, would be if I had become unconscious, and you had not. Among the Tok'ra, the symbiote protects the host in this way, as long as it is possible.*
*Thank you,* Sam told her, meaning it. She was quiet for a moment. *What was it you remembered, that had you concerned?*
*After I had collapsed to the floor, I was only half-conscious, but I am almost certain I watched the ashrak and Colonel O'Neill fight. The ashrak hit him, hard, then turned and shot me, several times.* Jolinar was quiet as she thought about what had happened. *My memories are... unclear. I lost consciousness very shortly after that, but just before doing so... I think I saw Colonel O'Neill shoot the ashrak. Then the ashrak fell, and O'Neill bent over him, to check on him, presumably. Now, I am not sure, but...*
*You think the ashrak could have jumped into the Colonel?* Sam asked, suddenly very worried.
*I believe it is... possible. Though... honestly, I do not believe it is likely.*
*I suppose it is strange the Colonel disintegrated the ashrak, but I suppose he may just have wanted to make sure he was dead.*
"You have contacted your masters and told them to come here and attack us!" Maybourne exclaimed, angrily.
"What?" Jolinar looked at him, uncomprehending.
"Don't pretend you're innocent! We've detected the ships on the way here!"
"How exactly would I have contacted my 'masters'? I am not telepathic!"
"Through some alien device you have managed to hide on your person, no doubt!"
"You are fools! It is too much of a coincidence to assume it is anyone but Cronus. I would not want him here - he is the one who sent the ashrak to kill me." Jolinar suddenly remembered what she and Sam had discussed a while back. "I do have a suggestion for you. Perhaps you should examine Colonel O'Neill, and see if you find some sort of communications device."
"Colonel O'Neill? You dare suggest he is the one to blame for the alien fleet's appearance?"
"No, but the ashrak may have taken him over. That could explain why he disintegrated the ashrak... or the ashrak's former host, at any rate."
"You really think no one would have noticed? We're not idiots, you know!"
"No one would have discovered me, had there not been someone with naquadah in their blood to sense me!"
Maybourne snorted. "Typical Goa'uld arrogance!"
Jolinar shook her head. "Think what you wish - but do not be fools. Have Colonel O'Neill examined."
*Jolinar, if the Colonel has become host to the ashrak... why hasn't he killed us already?*
*Perhaps he has been unable to. Most likely because we were transferred away from Stargate Command.*
*That's possible... Jolinar, what will happen to us when Cronus arrives?*
*Your people are unlikely to have any chance of standing against him. He is even more powerful than Apophis, and you only won against him due to... special circumstances.*
*So Earth will fall.*
*Yes.* She was quiet for some time. *I am sorry.*
Sam snorted. *How gracious of you!*
*It is never pleasant to witness the fall of a civilization.*
After that, they both remained silent for some time, deep in their own thoughts.
*Jolinar... do you think Cronus is attacking Earth because you are here? I mean... he wouldn't... would he? Not just for you?*
*Yes, he might. Actually, I am certain of it. Of course, it may have been an extra encouragement that he would get to conquer your world, since his arch-enemy Apophis failed at it. However, I highly doubt he would have even thought of attacking you, had I not been here.*
Jolinar sounded very guilty, and Sam suddenly felt sorry for her. At the same time she was angry at her for being the reason Earth had been attacked... and to some degree still for taking Sam as an unwilling host, of course.
*You know... it's not your fault. I mean, yes, you took me as a host against my will, and I'm still not happy about that. The ashrak followed you here, yes... but you were just trying to escape and I guess you did try and warn us." Sam sighed. *Jolinar... what will happen to us when Cronus arrives?*
*Let us just say that it would be best if we were somehow able to escape before that.*