[ 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 ]
They arrived on a pleasant looking world, seeming to be in early spring. The many trees close by were all covered with pale green leaves. All looked peaceful.
However, before the Stargate had time to shut down, Jaffa came running out from the treeline.
With no where to hide or run - and still waiting for the wormhole to shut down before they could dial out again - there was very little they could do. They only had the one zat'nik'tel and no other weapons.
Sam/Jolinar had by now recovered enough from the shock from the staff blast to be able to stand on their own. The damage was superficial. Had they been blended fully - and longer - they would not have been affected as strongly. As it was, Jolinar was healing it, even if it was going a little slower. It would still be gone completely in a few hours.
Having let go of Sam, Teal'c snatched the zat'nik'tel from O'Neill's belt and lifted it in order to fire. However, O'Neill stopped him. There was no way they could win and shooting at the Jaffa anyway might get Teal'c killed. This was no time for Jaffa heroics.
Surprisingly, the Jaffa did not attack. Seeing Teal'c, they stopped and greeted him.
"Tek'ma'tae, honourable Teal'c, First Prime of our high Lord's ally. What brings you here to Q'umarkaj, ruled by the illustrious Tohil?"
Teal'c quickly recovered.
"I am on a journey sent to familiarize myself with the specifics of the customs and people of each of the worlds in the empires of Lord Apophis and Lord Zipacna - as well as of their respective minor Lords."
The leader of the enemy Jaffa nodded. "We were briefly informed to anticipate your arrival, more than a year ago. This planet only recently emerged from an unusually long winter, lasting more than half a year, so we have regrettably been unable to prepare anything. Nor did we receive any forewarning that this visit was imminent." He looked slightly indignant.
O'Neill was about to open his mouth and say something, but Sam kicked him discreetly to keep him quiet. Jolinar had told her it would not be wise for them - mere humans - to talk right now, and interfere in internal Jaffa affairs.
"We were surprised by a small attack by one of Cronos's minions and briefly imprisoned. I fled by masquerading as a human. My men were not so fortunate. They shall be avenged. One of my favourite slaves was wounded and we have gone here to rest for a day or so, and to be properly attired before returning to report in person to Lord Apophis."
"We are honoured by your presence. Please, come. We shall prepare a feast for tonight and your slaves will of course be well cared for."
"Slaves!?" O'Neill hissed in a low voice to Teal'c when they began their journey to the nearby city.
"Slaves." Teal'c confirmed with an almost humourous glint in his eyes.
They were taken to a large house, almost a small palace. Here they were separated from Teal'c and taken to the servants rooms, where they were given clean clothing and shown where the baths were.
After bathing, Sam had the wound on her shoulder dressed. By now it was almost healed, but it was better to hide that fact.
They were then given something to eat and shown to a room they were given to share, not far from the corridor to the upstairs rooms where Teal'c would be residing.
When they were alone in the room, O'Neill wanted answers.
"OK, so Teal'c's our master? Isn't Jaffa slaves as well?"
"Even amongst servants, someone has to be in charge." Daniel quoted.
"True. Jolinar says, that as a First Prime, it is in no way unusual to have a few human servants - slaves, really." Sam looked thoughtful. "It's a good plan, really. Let's hope it works. We'd no doubt be in a cell otherwise. Apparently, Teal'c were being sent to check on some of these planets before, and the Jaffa here haven't heard he's no longer First Prime of Apophis."
"How does Jolinar feel about pretending to be a slave? I know the Goa'uld and the Tok'ra are different and all that, but still." Daniel said.
"She has no problems with it - it's not the first time she's done so. Tok'ra go undercover both as Goa'uld and as humans."
Daniel nodded. "Makes sense, I guess. Why haven't we heard anything from her recently, by the way?"
"Several reasons. She is mourning Rosha - and trying to block the pain of her death from me, for now at least. She has also been concentrating on healing me. Also, I...haven't quite gotten used to the feeling of someone else being in control of my body, yet. I sorta panicked a little last time, when I tried doing something and couldn't. That, combined with you guys probably preferring to hear me instead of her...well, we agreed I should stay in control for the time being." Sam suddenly felt Jolinar give her hug. It was a nice feeling.
"I'm not blaming you for panicking. I'd have gone crazy by now if it were me." Daniel looked like he meant it.
"It'll get better, Jolinar says. Especially if and when we blend fully. For now it's better I'm in control anyway. The Jaffa would probably notice a difference." Sam smiled.
"Yeah, there's that..." O'Neill grinned.
"Can't she just talk like a human? We've heard Goa'uld do that before." Daniel looked unhappy, clearly remembering what had happened then, when Hathor had done so.
"Yes, of course she can. That would be impersonating her host, though, and the Tok'ra don't like to do that unless it's absolutely necessary."
"Sam - you said if you blend fully. What does that mean?"
"Since I'm not completely comfortable with this yet, Jolinar is just here temporarily - for now."
"You mean she can leave?" Daniel was suddenly very interested.
"She can, yes, but it's dangerous - both for the host and the symbiote. We'll see - maybe it won't come to that. I think I'm handling this better now."
"What if the Goa'uld doesn't want to leave? What then?" Daniel asked, hopeful.
Sam's head bowed and she let Jolinar take control, assuring her it was OK for her to do so...for a little while, at least.
"You ask because of your wife, Sha're - she who is Amaunet's host?"
"Yes. Can she be freed?"
"It is possible. The Tok'ra have the technology to remove a symbiote, but we do not always succeed. Of course, we need to capture her first - and the high council may insist on the need to interrogate Amaunet first. Depending on the situation."
"You mean torture her!" Daniel blurted out, angry. His expression quickly changed to one of hope. "I was afraid no one had the knowledge to remove a symbiote."
"We - our doctors - didn't exactly have much success, when they tried it - and Earth's pretty advanced compared to most people we've seen out here." O'Neill added.
"Not in comparison with the Tok'ra...as for knowledge of symbiotes? We have a somewhat unique insight there and know exactly how and where tendrils would connect." Jolinar smiled wryly.
Jolinar gave back control to Sam. She smiled, a little sheepishly, at them. Then her expression changed.
"Someone's approaching. A Jaffa probably." Sam told them, sensing the symbiote.
The door opened and Teal'c entered - dressed in more traditional Jaffa wear - and clearly for a party.
"Teal'c! How good of you to remember us! Anything we can do for you? Polish your armor, perhaps?" O'Neill grinned.
"You are requested to help serving at the feast tonight. Many of the locals are preparing to sow the fields and cannot be spared. The warm seasons are short here." Teal'c informed them helpfully.
"We'll...be there. Now?" Sam said hurriedly, seeing O'Neill look like he was about to complain.
"Good. They need you in the kitchen." Teal'c was quiet for a moment. "Sorry." He actually looked apologetic.
"It's OK - but don't you take advantage of this and have me run back and forth to fill your wine glass or something!" O'Neill added, only half-jokingly.
"You are forgetting - Jaffa do not indulge in alcoholic beverages." Teal'c said, then left.
"I swear - he's doing it on purpose!" O'Neill complained.
"The local Goa'uld won't be there, will he?" Daniel looked concerned.
"No, not for a Jaffa feast. Jolinar says it would be considered beneath the Goa'uld - and the Jaffa wouldn't want him there either. This is strictly a Jaffa matter."
"Guess they'd have a little problem relaxing and having a good time with the local snakehead presiding." O'Neill smiled.
They hurried to the kitchen, Jolinar reminding them to behave like servants or both they and Teal'c would be in trouble.
The feast were going well enough, with few incidents so far. They were all remembering to behave themselves accordingly.
Then, one of the Jaffa apparently decided he did not like the expression O'Neill had on his face, not finding it humble enough. He started ordering him around and complaining about his slowness, or that the food he brought was wrong. O'Neill was close to exploding, but managed to contain his rage. Then the Jaffa 'happened' to give O'Neill's arm a push, just when he was walking by with a large bowl of thick soup.
O'Neill lost his grip on the soup bowl and tried to regain it, but it was too heavy and he stumbled. He managed to stop the bowl from falling to the ground, where it would no doubt have broken, but he spilled most of the contents out over the floor and over the boots of the nearest Jaffa.
The Jaffa that had pushed O'Neill looked a little unhappy that the human had been able to avoid breaking the bowl.
"Clumsy hassak! Clean it up at once!" He yelled at O'Neill.
O'Neill was already irritated and he had now had enough of this.
"You pushed me! If anyone's supposed to clean it up, that'll have to be..."
"...me!" Jolinar said quickly, using Sam's voice. Afraid what might happen otherwise, she had immediately grabbed control - apologizing to Sam - and put down the tray she was carrying. She now ran for a bucket of water, as well as some cloths to clean up the mess.
Still angry, O'Neill disappeared into the kitchen with the now-empty soup bowl.
When Jolinar returned with the cleaning utensils, he had relaxed enough to appreciate she had saved him - and maybe all of them - from attention they could not afford. He nodded to her as she was returning to the banquet hall to clean up.
"Thank you. I'm not good at being a servant..."
Jolinar nodded. "There was a time when I would have reacted like you. Far worse, actually...many years of being an undercover agent, sometimes acting as a a human slave, will teach you otherwise. I have done a lot of groveling." She smiled wryly and left the kitchen.
When Jolinar had cleaned up the floor, the Jaffa angrily pointed at his boots. She sighed inaudibly and cleaned them off as well.
When she got up to leave, the Jaffa grabbed her arm and turned her towards him. Caressing her cheek, he grinned lecherously.
"Too bad you're just a human - you're quite attractive!" He allowed his hand to slide down her cheek and throat, continuing on until it reached the top of her breasts. "Perhaps I should make an exception..."
Sam felt Jolinar's anger and disgust directed at the Jaffa mingle with her own identical feelings.
Fortunately, the Jaffa just laughed loudly and gave her butt a slap, as the other Jaffa joined in his humour.
Jolinar picked up the cleaning utensils and quickly made her exit, gratefully fleeing to the kitchen.
*He wouldn't really do something like that - would he?* Sam wondered, worried.
*He might well...despite being slaves themselves, the Jaffa do consider themselves to be above humans, and are also usually treated as such. However, considering someone so far beneath you as to not even truly think of them as intelligent, has never stopped anyone from taking them to their bed anyway.*
*That almost sounded like a personal experience...*
*The Goa'uld generally think of humans as far beneath them but...I...have taken several humans against their will in my time.* Jolinar admitted, obviously ashamed. *And I don't just mean as hosts...*
Sam was stunned, appalled...and more than a little worried to hear this.
*I thought Tok'ra were supposed to be good guys that only took willing hosts - and not considered humans beneath them!*
*We are, and we do not...* Jolinar sighed, *This is not the best time for this, but I guess you should now...I was not always Tok'ra. I was a Goa'uld before I saw the error of my ways...with much help from my host at the time, and Egeria.*
Sam was quiet for so long that Jolinar got worried.
*You're a Goa'uld?*
*No! I was a Goa'uld. I am a Tok'ra - have been, for many, many years.*
*If you could become a Tok'ra, how can I be certain you can't have a change of heart again?*
*Change of heart? Ah, you mean can I become Goa'uld again. No - I would never do that! I assure you, I am a loyal Tok'ra in every way. I absolutely believe what the Tok'ra do is correct. Do not worry.*
Sam 'nodded'. *But how can I know for sure you're being honest, though? That you're not really a Goa'uld right now?*
Jolinar 'laughed' bitterly. *It is quite easy - we wouldn't be having this conversation if I was still a Goa'uld. I would have no need to trick you. I could just keep you suppressed and impersonate you to your friends...punish you if you 'misbehaved'...* Jolinar sighed. *I am not proud of my past, but there is little I can do to change it.*
Sam suddenly relaxed. *I understand - and I do believe you. Trust you, even. It's just - I was a bit shocked you had been a Goa'uld, even though I realise that must be how you all began.*
*Actually, most Tok'ra are born Tok'ra - by queen Egeria. But she was originally Goa'uld, of course.*
*Jolinar, I...don't think the others are ready to know this part of your past just yet. It...wouldn't be a smart idea to tell them...*
*Do not worry. I am very much aware of that!*
*You should be proud of having changed from Goa'uld to Tok'ra yourself, instead of just having been born Tok'ra. It's an impressive achievement.*
*Thank you.* Jolinar sounded grateful. *Though pride and arrogance are our greatest failings...even for those born Tok'ra. It often gives us more enemies than friends.* She gave her host a hug.
While talking, they had put the cloths and the bucket away and were now ready to return to serving the Jaffa. They picked up a tray of desserts that one of the kitchen servants told them were the next course, and took it to the dining room.
Fortunately, they all managed to get through the rest of the evening without any further incidents. It was after midnight when they were finally allowed to return to their room, very exhausted.
Next morning they were awakened quite early, by someone hammering at their door.
Thinking they were expected to do even more work, they quickly jumped out of bed and began throwing on their clothes, yelling apologies and excuses for over-sleeping.
It was only a few minutes later when their door was knocked over and several Jaffa entered, looking furious.
"Treasonous hassaks! Your 'master' is a shol'va and no longer the First Prime of the honourable Lord Apophis!" The leader of the group said.
The second, a somewhat older Jaffa was only slightly friendlier.
"Whether you were part to this information or merely oblivious slaves, your punishment shall be the same as his." He turned to the other Jaffa behind him. "Take them!"
Sam/Jolinar, Daniel, and O'Neill barely had time to grab the rest of their clothing and no way of defending themselves, before the group of Jaffa had surrounded them. It was senseless to try and fight them without weapons.
They were taken outside, where Teal'c was already waiting, hands tied.
A man came running, slightly out of breath.
"Lord Tohil is currently entertaining guests and does not wish to be bothered by treasonous scum. He orders them sent to the naquadah mines of Uih'det until further notice."
"The naquadah mines are almost too good for rabble such as these!" The Jaffa leader snorted, then ordered the prisoners to move.
They were walked to the Stargate at a very brisk pace. Once there, the lead Jaffa dialed an address and they were taken through the wormhole.
The planet they arrived on was quite different from the one they had just left. It was mid-summer here, and very hot. The place was dry and dusty with only a few trees and bushes here and there. The area near the Stargate was littered with several houses and guards-posts. This would be where the Jaffa guarding the Stargate lived.
After again being forced to walk very quickly, for a couple of hours, they arrived in a small village with meager huts. Small, half-starved children played in the streets, but fled as the group of Jaffa and prisoners came nearer.
SG-1 saw them peak out from the buildings, looking at the new-comers with large, frightened eyes.
Sam/Jolinar and the others were taken to a large Jaffa who appeared to be in charge of this place. He had a house that was both larger and better-looking than the others. He was notified of the prisoners, what they had done, and that they would be staying here for the time being.
He called some of his guards who took over, letting the Jaffa from Q'umarkaj return home.
SG-1 was taken to a small hut with only two rooms - a large combined bedroom and living room and a kitchen. Here they were told to stay - for the time being.
"What the fuck do they mean by that?" O'Neill was getting seriously tired of these people.
"Probably just that - we'll stay here and work in the mines until - and unless - Tohil thinks of something else." Sam said, relaying what Jolinar had told her.
"Someone will likely come to give us further instructions." Teal'c looked apologetic. "I am sorry my plan did not work. It is due to my failings that we currently find ourselves in this deplorable situation."
"Never mind, Teal'c. There wasn't anything you could have done." O'Neill said.
Jolinar took control. "The plan was sound, if bold. You could not foresee they would learn of your rebellion against Apophis, while we were there. No one had any better ideas and the moment called for desperation."
Teal'c bowed his head, grateful for their acceptance.
Jolinar had just given back control to Sam when the door opened and a middle-aged man entered. His greying hair had once been black, and he was tall and muscular.
"So, you are the new arrivals. Three humans - and a Jaffa!" He frowned at Teal'c. "You will be the only Jaffa in the mines - that will be doing any mining, that is. I hope you will not be mistreated by vengeful humans, but I cannot guarantee it. They have only ever seen Jaffa as their immediate, and often cruel, masters. However much they, too, are servants." He indicated the hut. "This is where the four of you will live. You do not start working until tomorrow. I suggest you spend today looking for hay or other materials that can be used to fashion a place to sleep and so on, as well as food and firewood. You shall be given a little food each week, aside from what you may get when you work in the mines. You will also receive oil for lamps, and rarely some cloth for clothing. Any questions?" He looked at them.
"Don't think so." O'Neill said. "Can we go now?"
"Be careful. The Jaffa do not appreciate witty remarks. Also, the Ring of the Gods is heavily guarded. Get some rest. It will be hard tomorrow." He left.
They spent the afternoon scouring the area for dry grass to sleep on, and anything edible not already claimed by the locals. The others in the village looked at them with a combination of curiosity and scepticism - mixed with fear in the case of Teal'c.
SG-1 managed to find some edible roots and Teal'c even caught a rabbit - by hitting it hard with a rock he threw from quite a distance. They were all very impressed.
Not having any sort of cooking gear, they roasted their food on sticks over a fire, all the time guarding it against the villagers who rarely got meat and were obviously jealous.
Exhausted, they called it an early night. They all went to sleep on their respective piles of hay, almost immediately after dinner.
"So...any bright ideas?" O'Neill asked into the darkness of the room.
"Unfortunately not." Teal'c said.
"Not at the moment. Jolinar seems to think Tohil will probably leave us here for the foreseeable future. According to what little she knows about him, he's rarely interested in much of anything, except for parties. Unusually for a Goa'uld, he's not even that interested in power, except where it can give him wealth to pay for his lifestyle. We must wait for an opportunity, should one appear. We should each be ready to flee whenever we can."
"No shit, Sherlock! What does she want us to do? I mean, even if we get away we can't go to Earth. We don't have a GDO."
"We could go to the 'Land of the Light' or one of the other planets that are friendly to us. Even if they can't contact the SGC, most of them are checked in on from time to time, so we would eventually be able to go home." Daniel suggested.
"True. I guess we could." O'Neill admitted.
Jolinar took control. "We could go to the Tok'ra."
"Aside from the obvious problem that you're the only one with the coordinates, there's also the small problem of getting them to trust us and believe us - if you're not with us."
"Giving you the coordinates for a base is too risky, should you be interrogated, but I might tell you the addresses for a number of planets to go to that are occasionally visited by Tok'ra."
"And how do they recognize us? Or do you perhaps have a secret hand-sign you can teach us?"
"No, nothing like that. However, back in the palace, before I freed you, I transmitted your images to the Tok'ra - as well as information about the Tau'ri and my recommendation to investigate you further. They will recognize you."
"Great!" O'Neill mumbled, not sure if he was' more angry that she had done it; that she had not told them about it; or more hopeful the Tok'ra might somehow save them. Not that he believed for a moment they would.
Soon they stopped talking and returned to their own thoughts, and attempted to sleep. Despite being as tired as they were, the uncertainty about their future was making it difficult for them.
*I'm sorry if I keep you awake - we need to rest, I know that.* Sam sighed.
*Sleep does not come easy for me either - I feel I am at fault for your current, unfortunate situation.*
*How? There's nothing you could have done!*
*Had I not been so weak when the address of our destination was chosen, I could have sent us to the Tok'ra. After failing there, I did not immediately pretend to be a Goa'uld and order the Jaffa away on some errand; instead relying on Teal'c's plan and gambling no one there would not know he was no longer First Prime. It was foolish of me, and I would well understand if your friends were angry at me. I apologize for allowing this to happen to you, my new host, and...*
Sam interrupted her before she could continue listing her errors.
*Jolinar! Stop! No one's blaming you. There was no way for you to do better. You don't deserve the blame and besides...it's also a bit derogatory if you think we are unable to make a decision on our own and have to rely on you to save us. I know you have much more experience, but we do know what we're doing. Most of the time, anyway!* Sam added.
Jolinar was quiet for some time.
*I apologize. I see what you mean. I shall endeavour to behave differently and trust in your abilities.*
*Good - and stop being so hard on yourself. You don't deserve it. I...like you. You're a good person - and now, let's sleep!* Sam said, a little embarrassed at her admission.
*Thank you!* Jolinar hugged her mentally.*
*Another thing...I had forgotten about it, but I sensed something strange. Earlier today, near the Stargate, and also...near Teal'c? Thinking about it, I can sense it now as well. Sort of a...tingling...sensation. Is that his symbiote I feel?*
*Yes, you sense the naquadah in its blood. It is resonating with the naquadah in my - and now also somewhat your - blood. The sensation from the chaapa'ai is different, but very obvious when you know it. We can sense all naquadah, whether refined or raw. It all feels different. The energy signatures from symbiotes - from organically bound naquadah - is very different from refined naquadah. Can you feel it?*
*Yes...yes! I can! It's not much, but I can clearly separate what is 'Junior' and what is the Stargate!*
*'Junior'!* Jolinar smiled a little at the name. *I doubt it would find it a flattering name...* She grinned. *In any case, in time, you will be better at distinguishing the sensations. In time you will be able to distinguish familiar symbiotes by their naquadah signature.*
*You mean you can recognize someone that way?*
*It is not an absolutely certain way, but you do get a familiar feeling when it is someone you know well. So, yes.*
*Interesting...* Sam yawned. *We should sleep.*
*Yes, we should...good night.*
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