[ Chapter 1: Captured | Chapter 2: Surprises | Chapter 3: The City | Chapter 4: Hiding in the Mountains | Chapter 5: The Attack | Chapter 6: Prisoners and Slaves | Chapter 7: Blended | Chapter 8: Thunderstorm | Chapter 9: Another Goa'uld - and a Tok'ra | Chapter 10: Free at Last | Chapter 11: To Earth | Chapter 12: Enemies and Friends | Chapter 13: Selmak | Chapter 14: Mates ]
Sam/Jolinar stepped into a small room, not much larger than one of the Tok'ra personal chambers. At Sam's surprise, Jolinar explained the Tok'ra High Council rarely had reason to meet all at once, and thus they needed no official room. One could be grown if one was needed, and probably would be, for meetings with SG-1 and the Tau'ri.
Only three of the council members were currently present on the base. They were Garshaw, Selmak, and Delek. Sam felt a slight anger from Jolinar when she looked at Delek. Apparently they did not always agree on Tok'ra policy.
Jolinar explained she often thought the council was too slow and too careful. As Sam well knew, she was more of an impulsive person and much preferred action to lengthy talk.
As Egeria's first and closest friend - as well as her original and strongest ally - Jolinar could have been on the council if she wanted it. However, she cared little for the intrigues and slowness of politics. As it was, her words carried weight. The council would listen and give her ideas careful consideration. They knew it was important, if she felt strongly enough about something to voice her opinion officially to them. They also knew her ideas were usually sound, if sometimes a bit rash.
Jolinar sighed and looked at the two other Tok'ra present, besides Delek. Garshaw looked like herself, but Jolinar became worried when she saw Selmak. Her host, Saroosh, did not look well at all. She was starting to look very old and frail.
Jolinar felt a stab of pain when she realised Saroosh would not live much longer. She was a good friend, as was Selmak - who would need a new host very soon.
*How old is Saroosh?*
*She will be 202 of your years in a few weeks.*
*I thought you said hosts lived much longer?*
*They generally do. Unless they are already quite old and weak when they become hosts. The younger they are, the longer the symbiote can keep them healthy - and young. For example, Martouf had only just turned 17 when he became Lantash's host, about 25 years ago. He could live as long as 500 years or more. Saroosh, on the other hand, were nearly 60, so she only lives an additional 140 years. Most new hosts are somewhere in between - like you. Giving them maybe 400 years of extra life.*
*That sounds reasonable, actually...that the age of the host at the time of blending matters, I mean.*
The council members greeted Jolinar and welcomed her home. They then greeted Samantha, her new host, and thanked her for saving Jolinar's life and bringing her home to them.
After the pleasantries were over with, it was time for the debriefing.
Jolinar explained all that had transpired. It turned out the council members wanted a very detailed report of it all, so it took hours before they were satisfied. Afterwards, Jolinar had a few other topics to discuss.
"Do you have anything else you wish to talk to us about?" Garshaw wondered.
"Yes. Is Cordesh on the base?"
"Not currently. He had some personal business to attend to. He will return later today."
"When he does, he should be arrested and interrogated."
"What! On what grounds!" Delek demanded.
"I happened to overhear parts of a transmission he sent to one of Cronos's underlings. Also, I have heard Cronos talk about a 'trusted Tok'ra spy, high in their ranks'. Search his room - he must have some means of contacting his new employers."
"I cannot believe Cordesh would do this! I have known him for more than a millennium. Are you absolutely certain you could not be mistaken?" Garshaw said, looking very sceptical.
"I am certain, unfortunately. And as you know, I have known him longer than anyone. He pledged fealty to me long before I became a Tok'ra. He has betrayed me more than anyone!" Jolinar looked both sad and enraged at the same time.
Selmak nodded. "His room will be searched, then. If he is guilty, he will be apprehended and interrogated before he is executed."
"Good. Now, there is one more issue; the Tau'ri."
"Yes. You have sent us reports that you believe we should ally with them...and now you show up here, bringing a group of them to our base. And a Jaffa, even! Have you lost your mind? Now we have to keep them here - against their will, no doubt!" Delek said.
"I assure you, they can be trusted to say nothing about the location of our base - or any other of our secrets - to the Goa'uld. They fight them as well."
"They might perhaps not willingly talk, but what if they are tortured by the Goa'uld? They have no symbiote to help them - unless the two humans are willing to become hosts?"
"I am fairly certain they are not. However, there are ways to make even a Tok'ra talk - though I admit it takes far more."
"Shall we not wait and see if this is even of relevance?" Selmak said, returning after having dispatched guards to search Cordesh's room. "If Cordesh is found to be a traitor, then this base - and probably others - will have to be moved and your friends will be able to leave without knowledge of the new location."
"True. As usual, your words are wise, Selmak." Garshaw nodded. "Jolinar - what is it you believe these can bring us, which will outweigh the added risk from having outsiders know of us?"
"We already have outsider friends. The Tollan and the Asgard, among others."
"Yes, but they are much more advanced than the Tau'ri, are they not?" Selmak asked.
"Yes, they are." Jolinar admitted. "However, the Tau'ri are out there, fighting the Goa'uld...whether we ally with them or not. Alone, they are likely to fail. Together, we are stronger. If we do not work with them, they may inadvertently do things that work against our plans - and we theirs. We should coordinate. Share some intelligence. Even if we cannot risk using any non-Goa'uld technology they might acquire, there are other advantages as well."
"Such as?" Delek asked, clearly not expecting her to be able to convince him.
"As you know, when we send an operative, he or she will sometimes need an entourage. Our only options until now have been one of two. Either buy human slaves - who are not trustworthy and have to believe we are Goa'uld. Or, Tok'ra must go, pretending to be human slaves. This only works if there are no Goa'uld who may come close enough to sense them. This can be dangerous in some situations."
"And you believe the Tau'ri might agree to serve this function, from time to time?" Garshaw said.
"Why not? They would get intelligence this way - and serve the fight against the Goa'uld. I realise they would have to receive some training, but still..."
"It is a useful idea, but hardly enough for us to risk so much."
"Samantha suggests they might find some who would agree to become hosts."
"Hosts are always needed, of course. It would be valuable - and reassuring - to know there was always an available host, when one was needed. Too many of our people have died because we could not procure a willing host in time." Garshaw shot Selmak a worried look, trying to make it inconspicuous. "It is worth considering. We will meet with the rest of the Tau'ri group later."
The guards who had been sent to search Cordesh's chambers now returned, bringing a Goa'uld long-range communicator that had been found.
"So it is true. Cordesh has betrayed us." Garshaw's expression was a mixture of sadness and fury.
"He will be detained and taken to be interrogated the moment he arrives on this planet." Delek told the guards, who nodded and went to make sure his order was carried out.
"Jolinar, thank you for saving us from this traitor. We will prepare a full council gathering to meet with your Tau'ri friends. We will see if we can come to some sort of understanding, if not a full alliance. Afterwards, we must move the base as soon as guests have left." Garshaw said.
"Yes, we also need to help them with that. Their world has an iris in front of their chaapa'ai, as I warned you about in my report. They no longer possess the device needed to prove their identity in order to have this iris opened for them."
"We shall find a solution for that, do not worry." Selmak said.
They were dismissed and left to find the other members of SG-1.
*They were not the most cooperative people I have met! Delek in particular, but Garshaw as well. Though it got much better after you had flushed out a traitor for them.* Sam remarked.
*It actually went surprisingly well. Much better than I had expected. I think we can allow ourselves to hope for some cooperation with your people, at least, if not a alliance. If your people are interested, that is.*
*We should work on a way to contact Stargate Command while the council interrogates this Cordesh fellow.*
*Yes. If we cannot go through the chaapa'ai, then we must travel by ship. The Tok'ra have a number of Teltacs available. We will chose the one closest to the world of the Tau'ri and use that.*
*The problem is that the Stargate program is secret on my world. The population don't know there's life anywhere else but on Earth. We can't just take a ship there and land it. Even if we could somehow avoid the general population noticing, the SGC would detect us and think we're an enemy. We don't exactly know a lot of people with spaceflight capabilities, except the Goa'uld. We might be attacked.*
*All right, then. Do you have another suggestion?*
*Do you have any communications device capable of sending radio transmissions?*
*I doubt it. Communication with radio waves is too slow for many purposes, as well as not being secure, but something can surely be deviced. We should talk to Anise's group of scientists.*
It turned out it was a simple thing to modify an existing piece of technology for radio communication. When they came back with the device, they were told Cordesh had returned and was now being interrogated. He had already admitted his guilt.
Later, SG-1 met with the council. It went quite well. They would have to wait until they had talked with their superiors, of course, but it appeared as if it would be possible to work out some agreement.
It was by now late evening, and they decided to stay for the night, before attempting to contact the SGC. Having no idea if it was day or night there, they could just as well wait until they had gotten some much needed rest.
When all of them had bathed and changed into clean clothing borrowed from the Tok'ra, they were given guest quarters. Before going to sleep, they went to the Tok'ra mess hall, to get some food. It was nice to finally be able to get good food, and plenty of it.
After eating, everyone wanted to go to sleep.
Daniel, Teal'c, and O'Neill bade Sam and Jolinar goodnight and turned in.
*Are we getting a guest room or do we still have our own room? They didn't give it to someone else when they thought you were dead, did they?* Sam wondered.
*Rosha and I shared a large room with Martouf and Lantash. We still do, officially, but we will probably stay in guest quarters at first, until you get to know them a little better. I assume you prefer that?* Jolinar asked.
*I...I think I would like that, yes. All things considered, it would feel a bit weird moving in with a guy I have essentially just met - even if I feel I know him quite well because of you. It must be stranger for him, though - he doesn't really know me at all.*
*It would probably be best for all of us if we stayed in separate rooms for a while. Even though I must admit I want nothing more than to get back to living with them again, and have that part of my life back to normal.* Jolinar admitted.
Sam 'hugged her'. *Don't worry. I'm sure it'll only be for a short time.*
They went to Martouf and Lantash and explained their reasoning to them. They seemed both relieved - because they did need some time to mourn Rosha and get to know Sam - but also unhappy, because they also felt a little rejected, even if they knew it was not meant that way. First Jolinar, and then Sam, spent time reassuring them they were in no way ending the relationship. This was only temporary. Eventually, they relaxed.
*Sam - I would like to hold him for a little while, and kiss him. Is that all right?*
*Yes, of course. I've told you. I don't mind - I'm just not ready for...um...more than that. Yet. I'm pretty sure I will be soon, though. You know very well that your emotions affect me. Besides, I'm more than a little attracted to him myself. I'm quite sure I'd have fallen for him on my own, given the chance.*
Jolinar sent warm feelings to her host, then concentrated on her mates.
Sam felt a little apprehensive as Jolinar embraced Martouf and pulled him close. He looked at her with a questioningly expression on his face.
"It is all right, my beloved. Samantha has agreed to letting me kiss you."
Martouf nodded, then smiled. He put his arms around Jolinar and leaned in to kiss her.
Sam felt Jolinar's reaction to the kiss, combined with her own. Her heart beat faster and as the kiss deepened she felt her knees go weak. She suddenly knew with certainty she loved the man...men in her arms very much. Wanted them very much.
She was unable to discern which emotions were her own and which were Jolinar's. They were one and the same, and strengthened each other further. Sam truly realized what it meant when the Tok'ra said they loved as one. The love - and lust - were not weaker for being shared between host and symbiote, but rather doubled.
As Martouf, then Lantash, continued kissing them, Sam admitted to herself she would not mind being intimate with them. Not mind at all... Soon, she promised herself and her symbiote. Very soon.
They finally broke the kiss and sat down beside each other. To talk, and to hold each other close. Comforting each other with the knowledge that they were alive and together.
Sam felt Jolinar's happiness, mingled with her own. For now, at least, she did not feel awkward or as if she was an intruder.
Next day. The Tok'ra had begun moving their base, while SG-1 went to another planet and dialed Earth from there.
When the wormhole had been established, O'Neill called the SGC through it, over radio. While they could not go home without having a GDO to send a signal to get the iris opened, radio signals would get through.
"This is Colonel Jack O'Neill of SG-1. Is General Hammond there?"
It did not take long before they got an answer.
"Jack! Is that really you? We had thought you lost! Is anyone else with you?"
"I thought I was lost too, sir, but we're all here. It's a bit of a long story. Mind if we come home?"
"You're welcome, but you know I can't just open the gate for you."
"Yeah, I know. Carter suggests you send a team to 'the Land of the Light' in...say, 3 hours? I gather that's long enough for you to prepare? We'll meet you there and you can have us checked out. See we're not impostors or anything."
"That works. We'll see you home soon, hopefully. Hammond out."
Relieved and hopeful it would all work out, they went to the meeting place they had agreed on. Jolinar was not so sure it really was a good idea she and Sam went with them, but they managed to convince her she would be safe.
They had not waited long before SG-2 and SG-3 met up with them. After making sure none of the members of SG-1 were carrying weapons or any hidden devices, they were allowed to go through the gate. Home to Earth.
"Earth! Home! I didn't think I could miss those ugly grey walls so much!" O'Neill said, smiling as he looked around him.
"Welcome home, Jack." Hammond smiled. "You too, Doctor Jackson, Captain Carter, Teal'c."
"It's good to be home, sir." Sam smiled. She sobered quickly. "However, there are some things we need to talk about."
"Later. You'll be debriefed fully, as soon as Doctor Fraiser has had time to check you all out."
They left for the infirmary, to have Janet confirm they were indeed who they claimed - and appeared - to be.
They had agreed it would be better if they waited for the debriefing before mentioning the Tok'ra. Since an x-ray or MRI were not part of the normal examination, Jolinar would not be discovered.
O'Neill made sure to ask to have one done himself, though. He told Janet he had fallen and hit his head and would like to make sure all was all right. This way they would be able to better prove what they said about the Tok'ra, when it was clear at least one of them did not have a symbiote.
Afterwards, when they had all been cleared, they were given a few hours off, to shower and change, and get something to eat. It was strange for them all to be back home. The normal, little things were very obvious to them. For once they even enjoyed the food in the mess hall, despite the fact it did not taste any better than it usually did. It was just one of the little things that really made it clear to them they were indeed home.
It was late afternoon when they were all assembled in one of the briefing rooms. This, too, was a strange, familiar feeling after being away for so many months. When they had left it had been late February, now it was mid-August.
O'Neill and Daniel had shaved and cut their hair, and now looked very much like themselves again, albeit a lot thinner. Teal'c, too, had his appearance back to normal. He seemed more at ease with his familiar shaved head.
Sam was the only one who did not look quite like she usually did. Her hair was a good deal longer - made even longer by Jolinar's attempt at growing it out. Sam would normally have cut it short again, but her symbiote had managed to convince her not to. Sam suspected it was partly because Jolinar was used to having longer hair, as Rosha had had, and she wanted the familiar feeling. If it helped her deal with the loss, Sam did not mind. Besides, in a way this was fitting. She was the only one of SG-1 who would start a completely new life, so she figured looking a little different was as it should be.
While she would probably end up staying with the Tok'ra most of the time, Sam hoped it would be possible to continue to visit Earth and to remain in contact with her friends and family there. With luck, the Tok'ra became allies of Earth. Sam and Jolinar hoped to be able to go on joint missions with the SG-teams from time to time.
Hammond entered the room and the debriefing began. It would be a long meeting, even without the extra information about the Tok'ra.
"We'll start from the beginning. We know you were captured on P4A-771, but not much else. For instance, who captured you?"
They explained what had happened to them, with Hammond asking questions now and then.
"So, you're saying a Goa'uld helped you escape - and from its own holding cell no less!"
"Yes. Only it turned out she wasn't really a Goa'uld, but a Tok'ra...and she was an undercover operative pretending to be Cronos's underlord."
"I can confirm having heard about the Tok'ra before, General Hammond. The Tok'ra are a small alliance of Goa'uld who oppose the System Lords. It was my teacher Bra'tac who first spoke to me of them...we did not know they were more than a legend." Teal'c said.
"But now we've met them and learned they're real! They're the same species as the Goa'uld, but they're enemies of the System Lords." Daniel explained.
"It sounds almost too good to be true, but please...continue." Hammond said.
They explained further; how they had learned of the differences between the Tok'ra and the Goa'uld; how the Tok'ra only took willing hosts and allowed the host to share control. Eventually, they reached the point in the story where Rosha was killed and Jolinar needed a new host.
"You volunteered!" Hammond sounded shocked. "Does this mean...is this...this rebel Goa'uld here?"
"Yes. I did...and she is." Sam said, looking a little embarrassed.
"We didn't know how to tell you - or what. So we decided to wait until we'd explained a little about the Tok'ra, sir." O'Neill said, defending her.
"The Tok'ra are honourable. We visited their base and they did us no harm." Teal'c added.
"You'd have just thrown Sam in a cell immediately, without listening, if you'd heard about Jolinar before knowing who the Tok'ra are!" Daniel said.
"I still might!" Hammond sighed as he looked at Sam. "But let me hear the rest of the story first, and then we shall see..."
They told the remainder of the long story. When they had finished it, Sam bowed her head, allowing Jolinar to come fore.
"I am Jolinar of Malkshur - and a member of the Tok'ra. I bring greetings and promises of peace, as well as hopes of future cooperation between our people."
Hammond looked shocked at hearing the voice of a symbiote, coming from Sam, even though intellectually he already knew she was there. He collected himself and nodded.
"I believe that would be to our advantage. However, while I can suggest it to my superiors, they are the ones who will have the final word."
"I understand that. I am willing to meet with them, as a representative of my people. Or, I can call for others, who may be more suited, as long as they are guaranteed safe-conduct."
"I am not certain I can guarantee that, but I believe my superiors will eventually come around. Until then, you may find yourself a prisoner, but I promise I will do what I can to protect you. Both of you." Hammond looked apologetic.
"Then that will have to be acceptable." Jolinar said.
"The rest of SG-1 will be on stand-down while Captain Carter and Jolinar talk to the authorities."
"Uh...just one thing..." Daniel suddenly said.
"It has been almost one Abydonian year since I left there. I promised to come back, whether I had found Sha're or not. I'd like to go there, please."
Hammond nodded. "I see no problem in that. Take Teal'c and Colonel O'Neill."
"Thank you, sir."
"Daniel...I just remembered...your wife is host to Amaunet. If you can somehow manage to capture her, the Tok'ra can try to remove the symbiote."
"Yes, I remember."
"Really? I didn't know anyone had the knowledge or technology for that." Hammond said, looking surprised.
"Well, as you might imagine, we have a somewhat unique insight into how a symbiote connects to a human host." Jolinar smiled wryly. "We can...usually...remove a symbiote, though it can be dangerous if it puts up a strong fight."
"If there's even a chance, I'm certain Sha're would want you to try."
"I agree with Doctor Jackson - and this is something you should mention when you suggest cooperation with your people. We haven't had much success in those matters, so if you could help any of our people who may be taken as hosts..." Hammond said.
Jolinar nodded. "I guarantee you, my people would do their best. Taking a host against its will is distasteful and unethical to us."
The meeting was adjourned and SG-1 were given the rest of the day off. Sam/Jolinar were confined to the base, but were allowed to move around in the company of a single guard. That would probably change when Hammond received orders from his superiors.
Early next day, SG-1 minus Sam left for Abydos, having dialed the planet's gate and determined it was open.
It was less than an hour after that when Hammond got orders from Washington. Jolinar was to be interrogated - she would be picked up later that same day.
To every one's surprise, SG-1 returned with a very pregnant Sha're after only a few hours. Amaunet was dormant during the last months of the pregnancy, and Sha're had been spending some weeks on Abydos already. She would be giving birth at any time and then Amaunet would awaken.
The people sent from Washington had not yet arrived for Jolinar, so she and Sam were in the gateroom to greet the rest of SG-1 when they returned.
"Jolinar - you did mean it when you said the Tok'ra could remove the symbiote, did you not?" Daniel asked worriedly.
Sha're stood behind him, looking at Sam with some apprehension. She could sense Jolinar, but she had already been told about her and that she was a Tok'ra. She knew about the Tok'ra from Amaunet. They were feared and hated by the Goa'uld. Which was good, Sha're decided, but she still felt some trepidation and had great difficulties trusting any symbiote.
Sam dipped her head and gave Jolinar control.
"Yes, of course. However, Amaunet would need to be awake for the extraction process, so we must wait until after the child is born."
It was agreed Sha're would stay on the base until she had given birth. Until then she would be able to walk around freely, but she would always be followed by a guard, of course.
After the child was born, she would stay in a holding cell until the Tok'ra could extract the symbiote.
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