[ 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 eventually got into a routine. Working in the mine at day, and hunting and gathering at night. The locals kept harassing them from time to time, though they did not continue to do so as actively or as consistently as they had to begin with.
About two months went by in this manner. They began to get used to the hard work, though they were constantly tired. They had also become a lot thinner, even though they had not been thick before. It was not every day they managed to mine their quota, though eventually it was the case more often than not. From time to time they would get meat, which was always welcome.
Today had been hot and humid, though it was not felt while they were down in the always hot mine. While they had been working, a violent thunderstorm had sprung up.
When they walked back to their hut, lightening broke the sky almost constantly and it had become very dark already, though it was hours to sunset. The rain had started to fall in heavy drops and the wind was already hard. Some of the wind gusts were almost throwing them to the ground. It was fortunate they had all earned their dinner today. There would be no journey into the forest.
Safely back in the hut, they closed the door and shuttered the one window. The next several hours they just sat there, trying to stay warm as the wind and in some places also the rain, found its way into the drafty and leaky hut.
Wrapped up in their blankets, all their clothes, and as much hay as they had, they eventually fell asleep.
Some hours later, Teal'c awoke them.
"What is it?" O'Neill wondered sleepily.
"There is a distant noise - of roaring and crashing. From the river, perhaps."
"It would have swelled due to the rain, of course. I hear it." Jolinar said.
They all got up and hurried to the door, carefully looking outside. The storm had moved away and only a light rain remained.
Outside, everything was wet and the mud was deep.
The largest of the moons was up, and shone through broken clouds, giving them enough illumination to see by.
They suddenly heard screams and immediately saw the reason. A mudslide from the foothills of the mountains had hit several of the huts and pulled what it had not covered, partway into the river.
Nearby, some people were digging desperately in the mud, using anything they could find as shovels. Someone was probably buried underneath it.
"We should help them." Sam suggested.
"Help them? After how they have been treating us?"
Sam bowed her head, giving Jolinar control again.
"I am as angered by their actions as you, However, not everyone here is guilty, nor can we truly blame them, for they have suffered much at the hands of the Jaffa and do not have the extra strength and energy to see past the surface. They are not bad people - merely suffering and mislead. If the Tok'ra had not wanted to help those who believed they hated us - thinking we are Goa'uld, unable or unwilling to see the difference - then we could just as well end the fight."
Teal'c looked determined. "I wish to allow them to suffer...but the words spoken by Jolinar are wise. I will help as well."
"I agree." Daniel said.
O'Neill sighed. "3...no 4 against one. I give in. Let's help the poor bastards."
They ran quickly through the mud, sliding and slipping, sometimes almost falling as they went.
When they came closer they saw that one of the huts had slid all the way into the swollen river. It was standing some distance out, the roaring water surrounding it on all sides.
As the water slowly pulled it further out, the structure began to collapse and fall apart. Bits and pieces were torn off and disappeared down the river.
On top of the roof sat a young terrified woman, clinging to a small child. There was no way for them to get ashore and the water would soon reach them.
The villagers were attempting to throw a rope out there, but the distance was easily 50-60 feet, and they could neither throw it far enough, nor come close to hitting anywhere near the roof beam they were aiming for.
"Let me." Teal'c said, taking the rope from them.
He walked to the brink of the water and effortlessly threw the rope in such a way that the loop at the end fastened itself around the beam at the top of the roof.
The people started yelling at the woman and the child to use the rope to pull themselves to safety, but the woman just shook her head and looked even more frightened at the thought of traversing the water. She clung to the small child, who was crying.
"Someone'll have to go out there..." O'Neill eyed the river.
"I will do it." Teal'c said. He threw the end of he rope to O'Neill. "Hold on to this." He grabbed on to it and jumped into the water before anyone had time to say anything.
"Dammit, Teal'c!" O'Neill swore, holding onto the rope as hard as he could, while he watched his friend struggle towards the building in the river.
Sam and Daniel came to help him hold the rope, as there was nothing they could tie it to.
Teal'c had managed to reach the hut and now beckoned to the woman. She again shook her head and indicated the child.
"I shall return for him." Teal'c yelled to her.
"No..." She cried.
"Let me take him first, then."
The water had now reach the roof of the almost submerged building and it was falling apart faster now. Teal'c estimated it was unlikely it would hold long enough for him to return. It was already getting dangerous, with large pieces of wood hurtling through the water.
Determined, Teal'c grabbed hold of one of the beams near the end of the roof and pulled himself up a little, enough that he could reach the foot of the woman.
Unceremoniously, he pulled her down to him, the child following as she did not let go of him. Both almost fell, dragging Teal'c with them into the water.
Teal'c managed to again grab hold of the rope and clung to it with one hand, trying to keep the woman above water with the other.
"Foolish woman. You are endangering all of us. Let go of the child or let me take him. Now! I cannot help you both at the same time!"
Sam was standing at the very edge of the river, looking at them and realising the woman was panicked to a point where she could not make a decision or even help herself. The walls of the hut was almost completely under water and quickly falling apart, and Teal'c was now also in danger.
*Jolinar. We need to do something! I'm a better swimmer than Daniel and O'Neill, but I don't think I'm strong enough to swim through those currents - even with the rope there as support. Do you think we can do it? You're making me stronger, giving me more stamina...do you believe it's enough?*
*Perhaps...* Jolinar considered it. *I believe so...but I need to be in control...* She suddenly sounded concerned.
*Then take control...or can't you swim?* Sam suddenly wondered, catching on to the symbiote's unease.
*Of course I can swim! Did you think my fins were ornamental?* Jolinar sounded offended.
*Don't be snappish! From the image you showed me...they are pretty...but no, of course not.* Sam actually smiled a little. *Anyway, I meant, can you swim when in a host?*
*Yes, I can.* She made a decision. *I shall do it.*
Jolinar quickly took control, kicked off her sandals, and ran a bit upstream. There she jumped into the water. Sam felt her quickly suppress feelings of fear, almost panic. She wondered what the symbiote had experienced in the past that made her react like this, but now was not the time to ask.
Teal'c had dragged the woman into the water and were pulling her back with him. Part swimming, part holding on to the rope and dragging them. He had pushed the child up onto the roof again, where he was now sitting, clinging to a beam. Teal'c was fighting the water and the added weight of the woman. She was no longer fighting him, and seemed to be in shock.
Jolinar swam outwards as well she could, but had not gotten far before the current began pulling her downstream to where the rope was. She knew it would probably not hold if both she, Teal'c, and the woman were using it. However, there was little she could do but grab onto it, if she did not want to be carried far past the hut by the roaring water.
She managed to hold on, and fought to stay on the other side of it, so she would not be in the way of Teal'c who would soon pass her.
The beam the rope was secured to creaked dangerously, but seemed to hold. Even that was by now partly under water, which were slowly rising up the roof as well.
Jolinar slowly pulled herself outward, toward the hut. Passing Teal'c, she allowed herself to slide under the rope and hold onto it on the other side.
On the shore, several of the locals had now joined O'Neill and Daniel, helping them hold the rope. They were fighting to not slide into the water.
Jolinar finally reached the building, just as it broke apart completely. The screaming child had managed to grab hold of the beam that had the rope fastened to it. It appeared to be a stroke of luck. He - and Jolinar - were carried a bit downstream, clinging to the rope and the beam, which was now no longer fastened to the hut. Eventually, Jolinar found the strength to grab hold of him with one hand. She was still holding onto the rope with the other.
As they were carried down the river, they were also moved closer to the shore, so it was not all bad. However, the river was still swelling from all the water running down from the mountains, so the current was getting stronger all the time.
Sam felt Jolinar use what extra strength they had to hold on, stretching themselves to their limit and past it. The water continuously threatened to pull the child from her or rip the rope from her hand. They were at the end of their strength.
"Hold on to me!" Jolinar yelled at the child, at the last minute remembering to use Sam's voice and not the usual distortion.
The child tried his best to do as she said, but he was cold and wet. He could only get a weak grip with his numb hands. Jolinar looked down at his scared expression.
She sighed and pulled him tightly to her, closing her fist around the rope he was using as a belt. Now, if that would only hold...
"Do not fear. We will make it." She tried to reassure the boy.
The others were pulling them in, slowly, against the force of the water. If they could just hold on for a little longer, they would be safe.
It was a very near thing, but Jolinar somehow found the strength to hold on. Just as she felt her grip slide and she imagined the roaring water taking her and the boy and dragging them along, she had reached the shore and helpful hands pulled first the child, then her, out of the water.
Exhausted, she lay down on the ground and closed her eyes for a moment.
"Sam?" Daniel asked worriedly. "Are you all right?"
Sam tiredly took control and roused herself enough to open her eyes.
"We...will be. Teal'c?" She asked.
"He and the woman got ashore safely." Daniel assured her.
"That was a damn stupid thing to do, Carter." O'Neill admonished, still scared.
Sam turned her head slightly, seeing him stand beside her.
"Sorry, sir. I had to do it."
He sighed. "I know...and you did well." He looked proud for just a second, then his expression hardened again. "Just don't ever do it again! We can't afford to loose you!"
Teal'c came over and sat on a fallen log beside them. He looked uncharacteristically tired. He smiled at Sam.
"The villagers have dug out those who were trapped in the buildings under the mud. All have been saved."
Sam smiled. "That's good to hear."
Before they had time to say anything else, the locals came running towards them, carrying blankets for Sam and Teal'c. They flocked around them, thanking them and generally singing their praise.
The members of SG-1 looked at each other. This was certainly different!
Eventually, everyone went back to their own huts. Those who no longer had a place to stay, went to friend's places.
Parts of the mine was flooded and it would take several days to drain. There would be no mining tomorrow and for maybe as long as a week after that. The time would be spent rebuilding and digging out as many of people's belongings as was possible.
SG-1 returned to their own hut, tired, cold, and wet, but finally accepted into the community. They looked forward to resting and sleeping for many hours.
Having stripped off their wet clothing and wrapped themselves in their blanket - as well as the extra, slightly damp, borrowed blanket, Sam/Jolinar tiredly snuggled down into the hay and immediately went to sleep.
"It will not do! We have no real forces anymore. We could not defend them - and see what it brought them!" The young dark-skinned woman said.
"Selmak is correct! It was wrong...foolish, even, to attempt it."
"We had to do something! Should we just stand by? Do nothing? It might have worked and you know it!" Jolinar looked at them, frustrated.
"Jolinar does have a point, Delek. It was the best opportunity there has been in a very long time." Ren'al said.
"She almost died! And the population is still enslaved - and now decimated! Their villages leveled!" Delek could not believe the others were defending Jolinar's insane plan.
"Only because Cronos decided to step in and take over the planet!" Jolinar pointed out.
"We should not have killed Ri'hael - then his domains would not have lured Cronos here." Selmak opinioned.
"If we had not killed Ri'hael, then he would have punished the population of this planet - there would have been no uprising!"
"Which leads us back to why this rebellion was foolish from the beginning."
"Listen! I..." Jolinar was about to launch into a defence, when a voice was suddenly heard from the doorway.
"Selmak is correct. It was - unfortunately - not the right choice to further this rebellion. It has caused much suffering."
"They asked for our assistance, Egeria." Jolinar did not want to admit she had been wrong. Not yet.
"True, but we should not have agreed to it. Saying no to help them with their dream would have been very hard, but we should have realised this could...would happen. We are all to blame. I most of all. We must do better in the future."
Sam woke up, still hearing the voices in her head.
*Mmhph?* The symbiote slowly awoke. *What is it, Sam?*
*Your dream. I'm assuming it was yours.*
*It has been a long time since you had such a vivid dream - and one that was partly a memory as well, am I not correct?*
*It was. Brought on by our experience in the river today.*
*Yes. You promised you would tell me about that.*
Jolinar sighed mentally. *There is little to tell, and it is not a pleasant memory. The Tok'ra had been asked by the people of the world of Tiwanna to help rid them if their Lord Ri'hael. He was a minor Goa'uld and not very powerful. However, what he lacked in power, he made up for in evilness and cruelty. The population had finally had enough and wished to rebel. Some still feared their god and dared not rise up while he still lived. The others felt the rest would follow if Ri'hael was killed, proving he was mortal. It would also throw his small empire into chaos and the Jaffa would have no one to order them to attack. Long story short - we agreed to assassinate Ri'hael.*
*I thought the Tok'ra did not make such attacks. I thought you didn't get involved directly and preferred infiltrating the Goa'uld and slowly changing things - over the long run.*
*We do. However, it has not always been this way. In the beginning, the Tok'ra fought actual battles. We were many, and had large forces, though we could not continue fighting that way, especially after I lost my domains. We changed to fighting the war by infiltration, but for a long time we still tried to help save populations, rescue people. As we grew fewer - and as we experienced the often unfortunate effects on many of those populations we helped, it was decided to take a less offensive course. The affair with Tiwanna was one of the reasons.*
*Did you succeed in helping them?*
*We killed Ri'hael.* Jolinar confirmed.
*Well, what happened, then? I assume something went wrong, from your mood.*
*You could say that...at first everything went as planned. After Ri'hael's death was announced, almost the whole population of Tiwanna rose up. Very few Jaffa had the morale to fight and the planet was freed. Everyone was happy. We sent some people to help them stand on their own - build irrigation, mills, and such. However, a few months later, Cronos decided to take over the now 'available' planet. In order to avoid future problems with a population that was obviously less than inclined to serve and already strongly doubted the Goa'uld were gods, Cronos punished them severely. He massacred many of them and leveled their cities and villages. Then, in a final act of vengeance, he blew up a dam that was keeping water from flooding the central plains and several of their cities.*
Jolinar 'nodded'. *Yes. Many were carried away by the waves of water. We were there and attempted to save as many as possible. When our original contact person was swept away, I tried to save him. I jumped into the water and managed to get a hold of him. However, I could not hold on and he disappeared before my eyes. Not only that, but I was weakened and unable to swim ashore. I fought the water until I passed out, trying to keep my head above water and avoid being hit by all the floating debris. I would have drowned if one of the other Tok'ra had not succeeded in grabbing me when the current accidentally brought me close to land. My host and I were unconscious and half-drowned, but we both survived. Unlike most of the population.*
*I think I can understand why you were afraid to jump into the water. I'd have been too, had I been close to drowning, as you had.*
*Do you? Because not only were I scared - which I admit - but I was also reminded of the time when I could not help a people who had trusted us, had come to us begging for help. I could not even save the one who had asked us for help in the first place. And on top of that I risked the life of my dear host. I almost got her killed! When she became my host, I had promised her I would keep her safe...I...*
*Jolinar! You did not let her down. You did survive. And I'm sure she agreed with your wish to save those people.*
*Yes, but nonetheless...I did not relish being reminded...and I did not enjoy risking another dear host in the same manner.*
*It was my choice! If anything, I risked your life, without asking if you agreed to it!*
*There is a difference. I could have stopped you from doing it - and there would be nothing you could have done.* Jolinar sounded bitter, ashamed.
Sam swallowed at being reminded of the fact that the relationship could never be completely equal. It would always depend on the morale and good heart of the symbiote, who could take control or even torture her, if it so wanted. Sam pushed those thoughts aside. Jolinar would never do that! Sam knew that.
*Don't be ashamed for a biological fact none of us can change. You're not a Goa'uld.* Sam tried to comfort her.
*I once were. I never...never want to be like that again! Sam...my greatest fear is that I should one day find myself in a situation where I would be forced to once again suppress my host...have to keep control against her will. Take an unwilling host...as I did when I were a Goa'uld.*
*Jolinar! I know you! That would never happen! If it did, I'm sure the circumstances would be grave indeed, and you would be excused.*
*No! There is no excuse!* Jolinar snapped.
*Stop it! You wouldn't do it. I know you...trust you. Now, please, go to sleep. You're keeping me awake.*
*You know...I prefer the other kind of dream...about your mates...* Sam 'blushed'.
Jolinar grinned. They both relaxed. *Yeah, me too.*
Next day Jolinar was her usual self. Talking with Sam had helped her, and she was no longer upset.
That day and the next several were spent cleaning the village and rebuilding the huts that had been taken by the water. It was a race against time, while the water slowly drained from the mine. When that had cleared, they would be forced to go back to work there, even if the huts were not rebuilt. And at an even higher quota per day. The Goa'uld was not happy with the low yield this month would otherwise give. This was one of his richest mines, and he was not known for leniency or fairness.
SG-1 worked hard together with the locals. These days really helped them to finally get completely accepted and truly become a part of the community.
Eventually, the village was mostly itself again, with the last group of relocated people able to return to a place of their own.
A small celebration was held that evening. SG-1 and several of the villagers had hunted, and there were several rabbits, and a couple of deers to eat. Many had brought some of the food they were growing, so for once there were enough food for all - and much tastier than usual.
After the dinner, some people danced, and everyone drank a local alcoholic beverage. It was made out of a sugary fruit that normally ripened during late fall. When it had been collected - after falling to the ground on its own - it was buried and allowed to ferment underground for months. The result was strong and somewhat nasty, but everyone accepted a glass anyway.
The members of SG-1 were sitting on logs around a small fire. They had partied with the others, but now they felt like quiet contemplation. O'Neill seemed especially far away in thought.
"What is it, Jack?" Daniel asked.
"I was just thinking of Earth. By now they have most likely called off any search for us." He looked unhappy. "Our GDOs - if we had them - would likely have been locked out."
"More than three months have passed since we were captured on P4A-771." Sam pointed out.
"Yeah, I know. We can hardly expect anything else. Still, the knowledge that we're cut off - left behind - isn't pleasant."
"They haven't given up on us, sir, I'm sure of that. They...just don't look as intensely as before, but I'm sure the teams are still told to keep an eye out for us." Sam said.
"But we're still declared MIA - and presumed dead." Daniel added, morosely.
"Stop it, Daniel. We'll get back!" Sam wrinkled her brow. "The three of you, at any rate. I don't know about me."
It was something they had not really talked about. It had not been important, since they did not know when - and indeed if - they would ever be able to return to Earth.
"Surely Jolinar will leave you for another...host, when we get away from here and find the Tok'ra? That's what she promised." O'Neill voiced what they had all assumed - indeed, what Sam herself had said when she became Jolinar's host.
"I know...that was the plan. Now I'm no longer so sure..."
"What!" The others looked at her, disbelieving.
"I...Jolinar and I are becoming good friends. I'm not so sure I want her to leave."
"So what? You just wanna go live with the sn...Tok'ra?" O'Neill wondered.
"I don't know yet. Maybe. Or perhaps we can work something out. Maybe they'll let me be a part of SG-1 even if I'm a host. Could be useful in many situations."
"Yeah...fat chance of that!" O'Neill said, not believing they would be allowed to do that. Even if he and the others trusted Jolinar, it was doubtful anyone else could be made to do so.
"Well, if they're going to be our allies?" Daniel said.
"We'll have to wait and see how it goes. I want that too, but...there are other things to take into account. At any rate, we should focus on finding a way out of here." O'Neill remarked.
"I talked to some of the others. The Stargate is guarded, but currently only by a handful of Jaffa. If we could get weapons we should be able to overtake them. The guards here in the village and around the mine would be too far away to do anything." Sam said.
"Unfortunately, the Jaffa here are the only source of weapons, and they are very much on their guard." Teal'c pointed out.
A couple of the other villagers approached them, and they pretended to talk about something less dangerous. They were informed that the water in the mine had receded and that the work there would be resuming tomorrow.
SG-1 decided it would be best to get some sleep before that, and retired immediately.
"Not looking forward to doing that again..." O'Neill said, voicing every one's opinion about the work in the naquadah mine.
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