TITLE: Making Friends Reviews
DISCLAIMER: All publicly recognisable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment only and not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
SUMMARY: Written for the Spring 2010 Stargate Second Lives at phoenix-gate. Prompt: Delek. He is worried about the future of the Tok'ra and so does not trust the Tau'ri. Let him go on a mission where he and Jack will have to save each other and end up becoming friends.
CHARACTERS: Delek, Jack O'Neill
SPOILERS: Season 7, some time after "Death Knell".
O'Neill was not happy.
SG-1 had been sent on a scientific mission to examine an extensive area of ruins on P3X-396. Daniel was ecstatic, of course.
There were ruins both of Ancient and Goa'uld origin. Some of the buildings were still in decent condition, and they had found what looked to be a laboratory – with something Sam thought could be a powerful weapon. Or a power source. O'Neill felt sure it was an expensive paper weight, but no one ever listened to him.
In any case, Daniel had been trying to translate the Goa'uld writings with the help of Teal'c, but it was an old, obscure dialect and they were getting no where.
Surprisingly – and much to O'Neill's dismay – the Tok'ra had agreed to send someone to help them. He had hoped it would at least turn out to be Jacob, instead of some arrogant, pompous idiot.
No such luck. Delek had been sent to help. As far as O'Neill was concerned, it could not have been much worse.
O'Neill had greeted the Tok'ra - they could not say he had not tried to be friendly. Delek had merely nodded and asked for directions to the lab and the scientist there. Grumbling and fuming, O'Neill had taken him there. At least the snake had looked even less pleased than he felt, so perhaps there was some justice.
O'Neill was currently sitting in a sunny spot, and being bored out of his skull. He had tried to engage Teal'c in a game of 'twenty questions', but it had not gone well, and Teal'c was currently meditating.
At least this mission was going better than he had feared, O'Neill mused. Delek was exceptionally annoying, but he was apparently good at translating the old Goa'uld text. At any rate, Daniel and Carter were happy.
O'Neill was just happy he had not had to have much to do with Delek. He sighed. Why had he not brought a gameboy or at least a yo-yo or something to keep him occupied? He ought to have known by now how these missions turned out. No action whatsoever.
He closed his eyes, just for a moment. The sun was pleasantly warm and the insects were buzzing. He slowly began to fall asleep.
He awoke suddenly when there was an explosion from the area near the laboratory where the others were working. He was fully awake and standing in moments, but Teal'c was ahead of him anyway.
"Were this place not supposed to be peaceful?" O'Neill grumbled, mostly to himself, as he ran quickly after Teal'c.
When they reached the place the others had been working, the smoke was slowly clearing. For a moment, they feared the worst, but soon they saw three people picking themselves up. All had survived.
"What happened? What did you touch?" O'Neill demanded, mostly directed at Daniel.
"It wasn't me! It was.."
Another loud explosion was heard and a death glider passed by at low altitude, immediately followed by another.
"Where the hell did they come from? And why didn't we see them before?" O'Neill was angry, but mostly at himself. He should have been watching out while the others examined the laboratory.
"It doesn't matter! We have to get to the chaapa'ai!" Delek yelled.
O'Neill slowly awake, trying to remember what had happened. His head hurt terribly. Nonetheless, he slowly opened his eyes. The pain was less than what he had expected, mostly because it was a lot darker than he had thought. Many hours must have gone since he passed out.
Concentrating, he slowly remembered. They had been running to the Stargate, zigzagging among the ruins to avoid being hit by the death gliders. Daniel had reached the DHD and had dialed Earth. He remembered that much.
What had happened then? He thought for a moment. Yes, they had all been running to the open wormhole. There was a death glider approaching. It passed over them just as Sam, Daniel, and Teal'c ran through.
He had stumbled over some roots when he was maybe 40-50 feet from the Stargate. One of the death gliders had flown over him just then and he remembered a big explosion and then nothing until now. It was obvious he must have been hit.
Who had rescued him and why had they not carried him through to Earth? Where was he? He tried raising his head to look around him, and immediately regretted it. He moaned loudly.
"You must be quiet, Colonel O'Neill. The Jaffa are looking for us on foot."
The low voice had the characteristic distortion the Tok'ra used when the symbiote was in control.
O'Neill was confused for a moment, then he remembered. "Delek? Why didn't you go through the gate!"
"You were injured, clearly in need of assistance. I...gambled I could get to you and carry you through the chaapa'ai, before the death gliders made a new pass. I was wrong."
"Obviously. It was a pretty stupid thing to do." O'Neill grinned a little, then winced at the pain.
Delek looked insulted. "You would have been killed, had I not done so."
"Relax. I'm happy you went back for me."
Delek took a deep breath. "You are welcome..." He found his water bottle and handed it to O'Neill, who drank greedily.
They were quiet for some time, listening for any sounds that might indicate the Jaffa were coming closer. Now and then they heard a twig snap, or commands being yelled in Goa'uld.
Eventually all became quiet.
"Do you think they've given up?" O'Neill wondered.
"No. I noticed the symbol on their forehead. They belong to Ba'al. He would not allow them to fail, so they will continue searching tomorrow. They will also have posted guards near the chaapa'ai."
"So we're screwed?"
Delek suddenly smiled a little. "As you say." He sobered. "I have not given up hope, but currently I can see no way for us to succeed."
O'Neill nodded, then winced again. His head was still hurting.
"You have a concussion. Unfortunately, I do not have a healing device with which to help you. You should rest."
"You'll get no argument from me." He carefully laid down.
Delek got up. "I shall reconnoiter the area. Perhaps I will find something we can use to make our escape."
O'Neill mumbled an affirmative, already starting to fall asleep.
He woke up to someone shaking him gently. He groggily opened his eyes to see Delek. It seemed to be early morning. The sun was just starting to colour the sky and it would not be long before it was light enough for the Jaffa to being searching for them again.
"O'Neill!" Delek shook him again.
"Yes..." He woke up fully. "Yes, damn it! Stop pushing me! What is it?"
"Are you able to move?" Delek asked, curtly.
He slowly sat up, stretching. His head still hurt, but not as badly as it had several hours ago. "Yes, of course I can move." He began to get up on stiff legs, almost falling.
Delek caught him, letting go as soon as he had found his balance. Neither commented on it.
"I have found a place where we can hide during the day. The Jaffa are unlikely to find us there." Delek said.
"Sounds good. Lead the way."
The Tok'ra took him to a part of the ruins located close to the mountains. The buildings were less intact than the others, so the Jaffa might not think to look too closely there, as there did not seem to be any places to hide.
However, behind some rubble and large bushes, were an opening to a cave. It was completely hidden unless you walked around the obstruction in front of it.
"How did you find this?" O'Neill wondered, as he crouched to enter the cave opening. A few steps inside, the roof rose and the corridor widened.
"I...found it by coincidence. I came across a rabbit, grazing nearby and decided it would provide needed nutrition for us. However, just as I fired my zat'nik'tel, the animal disappeared behind the rocks and bushes and did not appear again. When I investigated, I found this."
"But you didn't get the rabbit?"
"No, unfortunately not. I did not have time to explore further, but the cave-system either goes very deep, or there is another exit."
O'Neill nodded. "Sounds good either way - though another way out would be best if the Jaffa should find us." He walked several more feet into the cave, then laid down on the soft sand. "Too bad about the rabbit. I'm starving."
Delek merely nodded, looking very tired. "Yes. It is unfortunate we do not have any of our bags. The Jaffa are guarding the camp site, so we cannot get anything from there." He leaned against the wall for a moment, then made for the exit again.
"Where're ya going?"
"I intend to guard the entrance, should Jaffa find it."
O'Neill nodded. "You've been up all night. You should rest." He got up, wincing.
"You are still suffering the effects of your injuries. Humans heal very slowly."
"Yeah, yeah, I don't need the whole Tok'ra superiority routine...get some rest before you collapse. You're no good to me if you're out cold from exhaustion."
Delek looked rebellious for a moment, then relented. He inclined his head slightly. "As you wish." He handed O'Neill the zat'nik'tel and went to sit down a few feet inside the corridor.
O'Neill was a little surprised Delek had acquiesced. He must be more tired than he let on. Shaking his head slightly, he went to stand just outside the cave opening, but hidden behind the bushes.
When he looked inside a little later, Delek had laid down on the soft sand and was sleeping, oblivious to his surroundings.
Many hours later, Delek joined O'Neill outside.
"Feeling better?" O'Neill asked.
"Yes, I do."
He looked strangely at him, noticing the lack of distortion in the voice. Ignoring it for now, he motioned outside.
"I saw one Jaffa a couple hours ago. He checked the place - very quickly. I've seen no one else, but I heard a death glider about 30 minutes ago, so the bastards haven't left yet."
Delek nodded. "They will not leave until they feel certain there are no one here. It will in all probability take them another couple of days to convince themselves we have left."
O'Neill groaned. "We can't stay here for that long. Not without food and more water." He turned over the water canteen, showing it was empty.
"If you feel strong enough to stand guard for some time longer, I shall examine the cave system. Perhaps there is another exit."
"I'll be fine." O'Neill said. "Oh - and what's with the voice?"
Delek looked at him in confusion for a moment, then realized he was wondering why he was not using any distortion. "I am not Delek. I am Terwen. His host." He explained. "Delek is still asleep. He stayed awake most of the night while I slept some of the time. I'm allowing him to rest now."
"Oh." O'Neill looked strangely at him. "I see."
"Why does this surprise you? You know Tok'ra share the body with the host."
"Yeah, well, let's just say we haven't seen much of that. Recently, at least."
Terwen nodded. "It is partly a personal preference. In some blended pairs, the symbiote is more often in control and for others it is the host. Another matter entirely is that..." He was quiet for a moment.
"Yes?" He pressed.
Terwen looked embarrassed.
"Many of our recent dealings with the Tau'ri have not gone well, and it is the general sentiment among the Tok'ra that...I apologize for saying this, but...it would seem you do not like us. I can sense it whenever we go to visit you. There is a certain...passive hostility towards us."
"Really? Ya, think?"
"Yes." Terwen nodded, oblivious to the sarcasm. "At the very least the atmosphere is...charged. A common Tok'ra way of dealing with such situations is for the symbiote to protect the host, often by assuming control. I realize it is not fair against the symbiote, to leave them to deal with this. However, for the host it is a relief. It helps. Some, at least."
"We don't hear the host because the snake wants to protect you against us?" He gaped at the man. That was a completely unexpected answer.
"Yes. And I would prefer it if you stopped referring to symbiotes as 'snakes'. We don't call you 'apes', and you are closer related to those, than symbiotes are to snakes."
He felt torn between yelling at the man and being embarrassed. He decided an attack was the best defense.
"It's not like the Tok'ra behave very nicely towards us either! Delek in particular doesn't seem to trust us and he doesn't even want us as hosts! Which is great, as far as I'm concerned, but still a bit insulting, won't you say?"
"Delek and several other Tok'ra - myself included - have become quite worried with the future of the Tok'ra. Since Egeria died and so many of our people have been killed, the Tok'ra are...threatened with extinction. There are less than 1000 remaining. Would you not worry in a situation such as that? Our alliance with the Tau'ri has been very successful, but it has also cost us dearly. It is, perhaps, a cost we cannot continue to afford."
"OK, I guess...I can see that." He admitted, reluctantly. "Doesn't mean you have to be so snotty!"
Terwen was quiet for some time. "I will admit some Tok'ra can be a bit...arrogant. Some of that is due to biological factors. As I am sure you are aware, Tok'ra symbiotes are biologically the same as the Goa'uld - however different they are philosophically. Some of the arrogance, I believe, is also a psychological protection. When you have been met with hostility or even disgust for a long time, it helps to behave as if others are inferior to you."
"I guess...doesn't make me love you, though." He admitted. "So that's why the Tok'ra don't want us as hosts?"
"It is by no means the opinion of all Tok'ra. In this Delek is in a minority. Limiting the available number of hosts can never be a popular opinion, as it is always difficult to find volunteers. No, the reason for Delek considering the Tau'ri to not be good hosts, are that you are unlike most other humans in the galaxy. Your will has not been eroded by thousands of years of slavery. This can be a valuable asset, but it can also make you dangerous — particularly as hosts."
"You mean he doesn't want hosts with their own free will and independence! That's possibly the most arrogant and derogatory remark I have yet to hear from any Tok'ra! How can you accept that? You're a host for God's sake!"
"You misunderstand. Delek by no means oppose humans being strong and independent. He does not want a meek host with no free will!" Terwen looked angry. "However, he fears you would not be able to curb your desire for freedom even temporary - and that could be a problem for a Tok'ra operative on a long term mission as a Goa'uld. The host cannot take control during these missions. It would be extremely dangerous! Think about it! Could you allow a symbiote control of your body - constantly, for years? It would be necessary! If you could not, the mission might have to be abandoned. A Tok'ra does not and will not suppress his or her host! O'Neill - they love their hosts - as we love them! It would be distracting and distressing for the symbiote as well to have a host that suffered constantly during such a mission. Dangerous, even! However, when the war against the Goa'uld has been won, no Tok'ra would have a problem having a Tau'ri host."
He looked a little embarrassed. "Well, I guess I wouldn't make a good host. I can agree to that, at least!"
Terwen grinned suddenly. "Delek has awakened. He would like to say something." He bowed his head.
Delek raised his head and looked at O'Neill with some amusement.
"You would certainly be a challenging host. Your poor symbiote would rarely get an opportunity to say much." He smiled. "However, you have many other qualities. While somewhat inflexible and perhaps not the most diplomatic, you are a skilled warrior. The Goa'uld have a powerful enemy in you and in many of the Tau'ri. I agree with Terwen in his observations, but if your kind would just accept the Tok'ra for secrecy in some matters, we could work well together."
He was a little unsure if he had just been insulted or not. "Yeah, well. You seem to be doing quite well on the secretive front...despite..."
"Quiet!" Delek suddenly whispered.
He wanted to tell Delek he should shut up, when he realized there was someone nearby.
He chanced a peek outside and saw two Jaffa. They were checking out every nook and corner of the place, so it was unlikely they would not discover them.
He pulled out his weapon, as did Delek.
"If possible, let me shot them with my zat'nik'tel. Your Tau'ri weapon makes much noise, and I would rather we not draw the attention of further Jaffa." Delek whispered.
"My weapon may be a bit noisier than yours, but I'm sure as Hell not gonna risk you not getting both of them before they get one of us!" He hissed back.
"Jaffa, kree!" One of the men outside yelled, pointing directly to the cave he and Delek were hiding in.
Delek jumped forward and quickly shot once at each of the Jaffa, by now only maybe 20 feet away. They began to fall, and Delek shot them once more. They slumped to the ground, dead.
"Help me get them into the cave and then hide all tracks before someone else shows up!" Delek told him.
He grabbed one of the Jaffa and Delek the other. They quickly pulled them far enough into the cave they could not be seen. With the help of some twigs, they swept away all tracks of the Jaffa.
After returning to the cave, Delek began pulling the armor and clothing off one of the Jaffa.
He looked on for a moment, wondering what the Tok'ra was up to. "What are you doing?"
"If we are fortunate, we will be able to masquerade as Jaffa. That might give us the opportunity to escape this place. This one seems to be about my size, and the other closer to yours. We should make haste."
"Why didn't you just say so!" He exclaimed. "That's actually a great idea!" He added.
He began stripping the other Jaffa and soon he and Delek were both dressed as Jaffa.
"Won't they notice?"
"Not if we keep the helmets on and we do not meet anyone that wishes to talk. If anyone approaches, let me answer them. I will hopefully get away with a short answer in Goa'uld." Delek gave him a wry smile. "We will just have to hope we are lucky."
"That works for me." He smiled back at the Tok'ra. Against his better judgment, he was beginning to like the man.
They made it to the Stargate, meeting only two small groups of Jaffa on the way. Fortunately, neither tried to stop them. When they reached the Stargate, they found it was guarded by three Jaffa.
He and Delek approached the DHD, but were immediately stopped by the guards, who demanded to know where they were going and on who's order.
"We are required to report an important find directly to our Lord Ba'al." Delek said, using his host's voice.
The Tok'ra was obviously trying to sounded sufficiently commanding the Jaffa would not question him. No such luck.
"Which find would that be?" The largest of the Jaffa asked, sounding suspicious and a little threatening.
"Ah, crap! They won't go for it!" O'Neill said. He pulled out his staff weapon, activated it, and shot the nearest Jaffa before anyone else could react.
Realizing there was nothing to do but follow suit, Delek activated his staff weapon as well.
The two remaining Jaffa was too shocked by what had happened to react quickly enough, and Delek got one of them before they could defend themselves. O'Neill shot the other, at the same time as the Jaffa was aiming his weapon at the Tok'ra. The enemy fire went wide and did not hit anyone.
Delek immediately ran to the DHD and dialed Earth. The connection had just been established when more Jaffa came running, yelling angrily at them.
O'Neill had pulled out his GDO and sent the signal, and they ran through, staff shots whining around their ears. No one was hit, and they got through safely.
Turning around, O'Neill saw the iris close behind him and Delek. They were safe!
O'Neill hesitated for a moment. He still felt Delek was an arrogant, smug bastard - together with several of the other Tok'ra. However, the man had saved his life, and some of the things the host...Terwen...had said...they actually made sense. He took a deep breath, then went over to where the Tok'ra was standing. Grinning a little, he slapped him on the back.
"You did a good job back there...thanks."
Surprised, Delek turned around and looked at O'Neill for a moment, then nodded his head.
"I am certain you would have done the same, had our positions been reversed. I am...happy I could be of assistance."
Later, as they walked to be debriefed, O'Neill thought about what had happened.
He and Delek might not quite be friends...not yet, at least....but they respected each other. There was a bunch of things they disagreed on, but much to his surprise, he had realized there were as many things they agreed on.
He would still grumble each time they had to work with the Tok'ra, but he no longer hated them. He decided the mission had been worth it, despite the boring ruins, the knock he had gotten on the head, and even the nosy Jaffa. Yes, it had definitively been worth it.