Chapter 4: Cooperation
*denotes host/symbiote internal communication

The ashrak studied the memo they had all been given at the briefing. The alien ships would be arriving soon.

Cronus had reacted quickly, sending ships and forces as soon as they could be gathered. He had not been happy when he learned the ashrak had failed to execute Jolinar, but at least her location was now known, and this way she could not escape. He would get his revenge, even if it became a bit more expensive and time-consuming than he had expected.

The ashrak was displeased with how the mission had developed, and ashamed at his own shortcomings, though at least it would not be a complete failure. His target would be killed, even if not in the way he had planned.

He turned as he heard someone enter.

"Colonel O'Neill? Would you please come with me," Hammond said.

The ashrak nodded. "Yes, General." He looked at the group of MPs behind Hammond. "Something wrong?"

"Probably not. We just need your help with something."

The ashrak felt his suspicion aroused. Something told him he had been compromised. "Sure, what's up?"

The four MPs stepped up to him and raised their weapons.

"Jolinar is starting to remember some of the things that happened just before she became unconscious, and she claims you may not be who you say you are. We just need to check you out," Hammond told him.

"And you believe a snake over me? General, it's not that I won't do it, if you really think it's necessary, but now? We're under attack, for god's sake!"

"Just let Doctor Fraiser take a look at you. It won't take long, everyone will be satisfied, and then you can go right back to what you're doing."

'O'Neill' nodded. "Right. Okay." He shrugged and pretended to relax - and even took out his weapon and held it out to the MPs.

"Accompany Colonel O'Neill to the infirmary, and then..." Hammond began. That, however, was as far as he got, before the ashrak flashed his eyes.

The ashrak dropped his gun, then grabbed the two nearest MPs and slammed them hard against each other while they were still in shock. He then kicked the legs out under the third MP at the same time as he let himself fall, getting out of the line of fire.

Snatching his gun from the floor, he shot the fourth MP and then Hammond, before the latter could get out of the room.

The ashrak quickly broke the neck of the three MPs he had not shot, then checked on the fourth. The man was bleeding, but not dead, something the ashrak immediately took care of, before doing the same to Hammond.

It had barely been two minutes when he closed the door behind him. He ran down the corridor, where he met Teal'c.

"There's been an attack! Hammond and four MPs are down! Get the medics, quickly, while I sound the alarm!"

"Of course, O'Neill," Teal'c said, turning to obey. Suddenly, he stopped, sensing something in O'Neill's bearing or behaviour that aroused his suspicion.

The ashrak did not wait for Teal'c to decide if he might be a threat, but hit the Jaffa hard over the head with an MP5 he had taken off one of the guards. He could not afford the noise shooting Teal'c would cause, since he could hear others approaching.

Teal'c stumbled, but it took another hard hit before he fell. Knowing the Jaffa would probably be unconscious for at least an hour, the ashrak unceremoniously dragged him into the nearest room and shut the door. He would have to take care of him later.

He had only just turned to walk down the corridor, when Siler appeared from the door at the end.

"Colone! I have reports of gunfire! Did you hear anything?"

"Yes, that's why I came here! There's been an attack! Several people down! I'll get the medics!" He hurried away, not waiting for a reply.

He had hoped he would not have been discovered yet, but now he had no choice but to put his plan to work immediately.

"It's a gas of some kind!" Harriman said into the telephone. "Most of the personnel is already dead, or unconscious!" He listened for a while. "No, sir. I've closed off the ventilation, but I'm trapped in here... wait, the Stargate just activated... offworld activation. Yes, sir... No, I can't get the iris to work... yes, sir... understood, sir."

Harriman hung up and frowned at the telephone.

The base was in lock-down, making it hard to enter it. Except from where it mattered the most, since the iris did not work. Sabotage - like the nervegas.

It was the ashrak's doing. He had taken O'Neill as host, and had fooled them all. They had discovered it much too late, and now they were under attack through the Stargate, as well as by ships from orbit.

Harriman looked out the window from the control room and into the gateroom. Through the Stargate marched Jaffa - lots and lots of Jaffa. The ashrak was down there, receiving them.

It was only minutes later when someone hammered at the door. It would not be long before they succeeded in getting in there.

Harriman ran for the telephone, intent on getting as much information about their attackers out, as possible.

Sam meticulously studied the door's electronic look.

Jolinar had taken control for a short time, tearing asunder first the handcuffs and the cuffs around their feet, and then ripping away the casing of the lock, leaving the tampering to Sam, who knew the technology better.

*Any luck?* Jolinar asked.

*Perhaps... I believe I can do this, but I need a small, thin, flat piece of metal in order to short-circuit it.*

*There seems to be metal wiring in the coverings for the light fixtures, but I doubt they will work. There are no other obvious options in here.*

*No, but that makes me think of something that will work. The light in here are fluorescent lamps, and I know the type we have here have a metal cathode shield... it's common, helps keep the lamp ends from darkening over time. Anyway, I can use that. It might be a perfect piece of metal for this.* She looked up at the lights. *Too bad they're too high up for me to reach, and the bench is fastened to the wall, so we can't move it.*

*Let me have control.*

*Okay.* Sam bowed her head, letting her symbiote fore.

*Thank you.* Jolinar assumed control and went to examine how the bench was bolted to the wall. *By the way, you do not have to bow your head when we switch control. It is mainly done as a way to help those around you see control has changed - and to hide the eye flash, of course, since many people find that unsettling. Of course, there can be some minor disorientation for the host just after a shift in control, so it can help with that.*

*I noticed. It helps to have my head bowed and my eyes closed at the time.*

*I can pull the bench loose,* Jolinar told her, grabbing hold of it. She pulled hard, and the metal made an unpleasant sound as it was buckled, wrenched, and torn partially apart, partially out of the wall.

*Whoa! You're... strong! I mean, I know you are, after what you did to the cuffs and the lock cover, but still.* Sam had a memory flash. *The ashrak... yes, I remember him pulling the cell lock apart and yanking the door open, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.*

*Tok'ra and Goa'uld are significantly stronger than humans.* Jolinar pushed the bench to the middle of the room, and crawled up on it. She could just reach the lamp now. *We must hope the noise did not alert anyone to our escape attempts.*

*I don't think they can hear it through that door, it's pretty thick. Besides, I think they're too occupied worrying about the attack to concern themselves with us. Cronus could arrive on Earth any time.*

*Very true.* Jolinar took the cover off and looked at the lamp itself. It was a standard long, tube-type lamp.

*Just twist it half a turn, then you can remove it.*

*It is fortunate there are more than one lamp in this room, or it would become completely dark.* Jolinar removed the lamp. *It seems not to be very sturdy. It is made of glass.*

*Yes. Give me control so I can do this.*

*Of course - though I could easily find the information how to do this in your mind... if you wanted me to.*

*Yeah, well stop doing that!*

*I said I can, not that I would - not without your permission.* She gave Sam control.

*Good.* Sam quickly broke off the end of the glass tube, and carefully took out the oblong piece of metal she wanted, and folded it out. *Damn!* she swore, as she cut herself doing so.

*I can heal that faster than you can disable the lock.*

*Do so, then.* Sam jumped down from the bench, and went to straighten out the piece of metal as well as she could.

*Why are you constantly so angry and ungrateful? I thought we had started to become, well, friends.*

*Oh, I don't know... perhaps because my world is under attack by an evil alien? Or could it be because my commanding officer - and friend - has become host to an assassin who will do anything - including destroy my world - in order to kill me? Or could it be because I am the unwilling host of the alien the ashrak came here to kill, and now imprisoned, interrogated, probably soon to be tortured... if I even survive! Yes, I wonder why I'm pissed!*

Jolinar sighed. *Those are good reasons to be angry, and I am sorry. However, now is not the time to dwell on that. We must escape - and quickly.*

*I know,* Sam grumbled, but kneeled beside the lock and started fiddling with it again, trying to short-circuit it with the metal sliver. It took only a couple minutes, then Sam grinned as the lock crackled and then clicked. *Got it - and sorry about being so grumpy!*

*Impressive work!* Jolinar 'hugged' her. *Now let us get out of here!*

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