Note that the last chapter has two versions, one that is NC-17 and one that is PG-13.
Chapter 7 summary: Finally they are allowed to go to meet the Tok'ra. Will it go better or worse this time?
[ Chapter 1: A New Reality | Chapter 2: Old Friends, New Friends | Chapter 3: Jolinar | Chapter 4: Getting Acquainted | Chapter 5: The NID | Chapter 6: Cimmeria | Chapter 7: The Tok'ra | Chapter 8: Mission with the Tok'ra | Chapter 9, version I: Together Again (NC-17) | Chapter 9, version II: Together Again (PG-13) ]
A few days later SG-1 was finally standing in the gate room, waiting to go to the Tok'ra base planet. This was only their second real mission together, but they already felt like a team again.
"Nervous, Carter?" O'Neill asked.
"Yes, sir, a little. So is Jolinar. She has explained to me that there always is a rather lengthy interrogation, to determine that the symbiote is who it says it is, when there has been a change of hosts which no one has witnessed...and there is something else as well..." Sam blushed a little.
"What? You know I hate surprises..."
"Nothing important." Sam said hurriedly. "For Earth, at least. It's just...Jolinar has a...a mate. Mates, I guess, as he - they - are Tok'ra."
"Mates...as in married?" O'Neill wondered.
"Yes..." Sam said, then immediately walked through the event horizon first.
The rest of SG-1 quickly followed. O'Neill had already gotten over the surprise and now found it amusing. No wonder Carter was worried!
"So, you think this mate will like Jolinar's new host?" He smiled broadly.
"I know they will come to like me, eventually - but I'm a little apprehensive about it, yes. This time Jolinar is alive, so things may go...differently."
"Oh, yeah, I'm sure they will..." O'Neill grinned.
Sam rolled her eyes.
"Sam - are you Martouf's mate now too? Since Jolinar is alive, I mean." Daniel asked.
Jolinar took over. "She is, yes, unless Martouf and Lantash should not wish it. Such is Tok'ra tradition."
"What about Carter? Doesn't anyone care how she feels?" O'Neill started to sound a bit angry.
"Host and symbiote love as one. Samantha will feel what I feel. It cannot be different."
"An....interesting side effect of the blending..." O'Neill lifted an eyebrow, in a perfect imitation of Teal'c.
"Yes. Now, let's get this over with." Sam said, having taken back control. She was getting annoyed with this line of discussion. Why did everyone have to interfere in her life?
*They are just worried for you, Samantha...Sam.*
*I know...* Sam sighed. "If you really prefer to call me Samantha, then do so. We've been blended for about a month, and you keep doing it from time to time. I've gotten used to it!* She began walking towards the dunes where the Tok'ra had hidden in the other timeline. They would likely chose to be there, even if it was almost 3 weeks earlier. Her team mates followed, carefully looking around.
Just as they were about to walk around one of the larger dunes, Sam sensed several symbiotes.
Before she had time to say anything else, several Tok'ra jumped out of the ground all around them, surrounding them. They were armed with staff weapons and zat'nik'tels.
"Whoa..." O'Neill looked around, shocked. "Very sneaky...stealthy...!"
About half of the group of Tok'ra consisted of the same people they remembered from their first experience, the rest were different ones. It was not really surprising, as SG-1 had arrived at an earlier date - and they probably rotated guard duty. Cordesh was not present this time - something Sam and Jolinar felt was a relief. They would confront him about his treachery later.
The highest ranking among the guards - The'lal - stepped forward, followed by Martouf who was ready to protect her.
"You have a symbiote - are you a Goa'uld? And what are you doing here?" She said to Sam, ignoring the others in favour of the presumed leader of an enemy group.
"I am not a Goa'uld..." Sam began.
"He is Jaffa...Apophis sect." Martouf gave Teal'c a suspicious look.
"I am no longer in the service of the false god, Apophis." Teal'c said, repeating his words from his original encounter with the Tok'ra guards. It amused him a little to see everything go so similar, despite all the differences they had already introduced.
"If you are not Goa'uld, then who are you?" The'lal continued, returning to her questioning of Sam.
*Sam?* Jolinar asked.
*Please.* Sam bowed her head and gave control to Jolinar.
"Hello, The'lal. I am Jolinar of Malkshur."
"Jolinar!" Martouf exclaimed, staring at her with a combination of shock and disbelief.
"You have a new host?" The'lal asked.
"Yes." She turned towards Martouf. "Rosha...did not survive...." She said quietly.
An expression of pain crossed Martouf's features and he looked down.
The'lal nodded. "We are all sorry to hear that." She sighed. "I apologize, but you know the procedure...you will have to prove who you are."
"Excuse me - why don't you ask us?" Daniel wondered.
"Did you witness the blending? Know Rosha and Jolinar before?" The'lal asked.
"Eh...no to both, but..."
"Then you see why we cannot rely on any testimony you may give."
"Now, listen just one damn minute...." O'Neill were starting to get annoyed with her.
"Let me talk to her. I can ask her a few questions, and then maybe we do not have to go through the official procedure." Lantash said, having taken over control from Martouf. Right now he was feeling slightly more in control of his emotions than his host, but not by much.
"Of course." The'lal stepped back.
Lantash walked over to Jolinar and in a low voice started to ask her various questions of a private nature - things that no one would know but them. After a little while he embraced her tightly. He looked up and towards The'lal, clearly fighting emotion. He spoke with conviction.
"She is Jolinar. There is no doubt."
The'lal nodded. "I accept your judgement. Welcome home, Jolinar. I am sorry for your loss." She gave a sign to the others to lower their weapons. "Who are the ones with you? They are friends, I trust?"
"They are." Jolinar said. Stepping out of Lantash's embrace with some reluctance, she began introducing her companions.
"My host is Captain Samantha Carter of the Tau'ri. The others are her team-mates; Colonel Jack O'Neill, Doctor Daniel Jackson, and Teal'c - former First Prime of Apophis, but now fighting against the Goa'uld together with the Tau'ri."
"The Tau'ri! It has been a long time since we met any of them, though we know they were behind the killing of Ra."
They were all taken down into the Tok'ra tunnels and led to a room where they were told to wait for one of the council members to arrive.
"What will happen now, Carter?" O'Neill wondered.
"Jolinar says one of the council members will most likely be with us soon, to speak with us. We should ask to be allowed to meet with the full council and suggest an alliance, though they may not be interested at first. Colonel...they will be wary because their position is precarious. They are always on the run from the Goa'uld; always at risk of an attack."
"Believe me, I can understand that. However, I would think it should be obvious that an alliance is to both our advantages. Especially given what you've told us will happen."
"Yes, but I don't know how much of that we can tell them...should tell them. Some of it, certainly, but...there is also another thing...will they believe us? Jolinar and I hope we can go on a joint mission to Pangar . Saving Egeria should prove to the council we can be valuable allies. Hammond also suggested it might be possible to find some hosts for them. They will absolutely be interested in that - especially if Egeria is saved and starts spawning more Tok'ra."
O'Neill nodded. "Sounds like a plan - saving their mom - that's what she is, right? - should put them at ease about us."
Not long after Martouf arrived. He gave Sam a sad smile. It was obvious he was grieving Rosha. "Garshaw will be here in a few moments, to speak with you all." He swallowed, nervous and unsure of how to proceed. "Jolinar...and...and Samantha?"
"Yes. That's right." Sam smiled, a little shyly, before she allowed Jolinar fore. *I had not expected my response to seeing him again would be this intense...it has been so long.*
*I can understand. I have missed them very much as well - and I have never had to watch them die. It must have been horrible.* Jolinar raised her head, smiling at Martouf. "Martouf. It is wonderful to see you and Lantash again."
"Likewise." He smiled a little broader, then went over to her and put his arms around her. He bowed his head, and when he looked up again a moment later his eyes glowed briefly. Lantash was now in control.
"It is very good to see you again, Jolinar. We had feared you were lost to us."
"An ashrak was after me - sent by Cronos. He followed us for many months and was close to catching us several times. Eventually he wounded us greatly, and...and Rosha did not survive. Lantash...I could not heal her. I tried, but...I am so very sorry." Jolinar hid her face against Lantash's shoulder.
Lantash closed his eyes briefly, looking pained. "We all grieve for her death." He opened his eyes again and held Jolinar even closer, almost clinging to her, suddenly fearing he might loose her as well. He took a deep breath. "You were returned to us - for that we are very grateful." He started to dip his head to kiss her, when he thought of something. "Samantha...will she permit this?"
"Yes. We are fully blended - have been for many weeks. She feels what I feel."
Lantash nodded and completed the movement. Closing his eyes he kissed her. The kiss was sweet and gentle at first. The kiss was both a new experience, and a soothing, familiar one. After a little while it started to grow deeper and more passionate, until Lantash remembered their audience and restrained himself. Giving Jolinar one more kiss, he reluctantly let go of her.
Jolinar - and, to her own surprise, Sam - already missed his embrace. They agreed, though, that this was neither the time nor the place. Besides, Martouf and Lantash needed time and space to come to terms with the loss of Rosha and the fact that Jolinar had a new host.
Sam had just been given control, and she looked over at her team mates. Seeing their surprised - and bemused - looks, she flushed a little before Jolinar could control her body's reactions.
Fortunately, Garshaw chose this moment to make her appearance.
"Greetings. I am Grand Councillor Garshaw of the Tok'ra."
Teal'c bowed his head to her. "Greetings, it is a great honour to meet you." He turned to O'Neill, then continued. "Garshaw is the most hunted...Tok'ra of all time." He remembered well the Tok'ra did not like to be referred to as Goa'uld and did not wish to insult Garshaw this time.
"Garshaw...hello. I am Colonel Jack O'Neill from Earth."
"The Tau'ri." Daniel added helpfully. "Hi. I'm Doctor Daniel Jackson."
When everyone had been introduced and Garshaw had asked some questions of them, they got to the point where they suggested cooperation or perhaps even an alliance. They then had to explain they did not come to volunteer as hosts. This lead Garshaw to ask what they did offer, which would be important enough for the Tok'ra to risk their safety, by trusting outsiders.
"Well, we have been told there's a possibility of finding hosts for you on Earth, eventually - though it may take some time to find them." O'Neill said.
"Besides, we have much in common. We both fight the Goa'uld - maybe we could share intelligence and information. Perhaps even go on missions together." Daniel added. "We also have some technology which we have found that might be of interest."
"We have to use only Goa'uld technology, in order to appear Goa'uld. We fight through infiltration." Garshaw explained. "But hosts are always of interest, of course," she continued. "We are grateful to you for returning Jolinar to us, but do you have anything else which you can offer now? Something that can be taken before the council?"
"Wait a minute...there is a small thing, now that you mention it. We happen to have the gate address to where Egeria is being held captive..." O'Neill sounded a bit smug.
"Egeria?" Garshaw looked at him in disbelief. "She is alive? You know where she is?"
"Yes. It's a long story, requiring much explanation...but yes, we do know where she is. She is alive, but we need to move quickly as her health is in danger." Sam said.
"I will call a council meeting immediately!" Garshaw turned quickly and was about to hurry out of the room.
"Wait!" Jolinar called after her, having taken control. "There is something else - something of grave importance to the safety of the Tok'ra. You need to take care of this matter before informing the council about Egeria."
"What is it about?" Garshaw said, slightly annoyed at the interruption. Did Jolinar not understand how important it was to save Egeria?
Jolinar looked around, then told her team mates and Martouf to keep watch in the corridors so that no one could get close enough to hear.
Garshaw looked impatiently at her.
"What is this foolishness? Do you not trust your fellow Tok'ra any more?"
"Yes, most of them. However, we have a traitor. I learned of it while I was undercover at Cronos. He started to suspect and I had to flee - and he then sent an ashrak after me, as you know."
"Who is this traitor? Do you have proof?"
"It is Cordesh - and I believe he should have a long range communication unit in his quarters. He needs some means of contacting his master."
Garshaw looked infuriated. "I will see to this at once...and then I will call a council meeting and arrange for a rescue mission for Egeria!"
She stormed out of the room. When she had left, the others slowly walked in again.
"Wow...well, second time sure seems to be going better..." Daniel commented to Teal'c.
Martouf gave them both a strange look. "Second time?"
"It...is a long story. I promise you we'll tell you all of it, eventually." Sam said, after Jolinar had given her control again.
A surprisingly short time later they were called to a meeting in a quickly grown council chamber. All the council members who were currently on the base were present - minus Cordesh, who had already been captured. A long range communication device had indeed been found in his possession and he had soon admitted to his guilt - though nothing else. He was currently being interrogated, later to be extracted and killed, should the host be found to be innocent. Otherwise both would be killed, but Jolinar had said she believed the host was innocent, so that was the assumption for now.
Aside from the council members and SG-1, Martouf/Lantash were there as well. They were not members of the council and would not normally be invited, but this meeting concerned them as well. SG-1 and especially Sam and Jolinar would tell much of what had happened, how they came to be blended, and how they knew of the location of Egeria. Then, most likely, a mission would be ordered to retrieve her.
The meeting ended up being very long. The council was surprised and suspicious at first, when they heard about the time travel and the crossing over from another reality. However, after having heard most of the story, they were eventually won over. There were of course many of the future events which were of great interest to them, even if some had presumably already been changed - or would be, by them knowing about it. There were future attacks by the Goa'uld, as well as the whereabouts of the System Lords, which were of great interest to the Tok'ra. With the foreknowledge, they could keep an eye out for Anubis - who all had thought dead. They would also be on guard for future zatarcs and possibly avoid that any were created. At the very least they would find a better way to detect and cure them. The Tok'ra were very determined to avoid the many instances in the coming years were large numbers of Tok'ra had been killed in the alternate time line. However, the single most important information was the location of Egeria and the possibility of saving her.
"We thank you. The information you have provided us with is of great interest to us. First and foremost, a rescue mission must be launched immediately to save Egeria." Garshaw said.
"We agree...as we talked about earlier, we would like to suggest a joint mission to Pangar. This is an excellent opportunity for some cooperation, don't you think? We do have some people who have been there before, as you know." O'Neill reminded the council.
Garshaw nodded. "In the spirit of our future alliance I think that can be arranged."
"So, you're willing to consider an alliance?" Daniel asked.
"Yes, of course. I thought we had made that clear? An alliance would clearly be advantageous to both our people."
They then went on to planning the specifics of their mission to Pangar. A number of decision were made. The Pangarans would of course be required to hand over Egeria, that was non-negotiable. The Tok'ra would accept nothing else.
SG-1 had relatively complete information about the Pangaran society, infrastructure, and military capabilities. This information would be put into a file which would be given to the Pangarans - together with the strong impression that this information, as well as their gate address - would find its way to every Goa'uld System Lord unless they handed over Egeria. On the other hand, if they did, they would be guaranteed that the Tok'ra would quickly provide a cure to the defective tretonin. They would also receive further help and cooperation from the Tau'ri and perhaps the Tok'ra. In addition, the Tok'ra would help them decipher the many inscriptions found in the ruins on the planet - for instance in the temple where Egeria was discovered.
When everyone eventually had agreed to the plan, a decision was made to leave for Pangar in three days. This would be time enough to prepare and to move the Tok'ra base - should Cordesh have communicated the planet's address to Cronos . It would also give SG-1 time to report to Stargate Command and make preparations for the joint mission. Janet would accompany them, in order to observe the Tok'ra healers and their examination of Egeria. Since the Tok'ra would become Earth's allies, it was advantageous that Stargate Command had doctors who knew Tok'ra physiology and how to treat them, even if it was rarely necessary. Given it was rare to see symbiotes outside hosts, this would be an opportunity to study one of them in this way - and a queen, even.
The next three days were full of hard work for all of them. SG-1 and several other SG teams helped the Tok'ra move their base and set everything up. A new base location had been chosen, after Cordesh had been captured, so there was no way he could have known about it and informed his superiors.
The interrogation of Cordesh did not reveal much, and he was extracted from his host and executed. Cordesh had originally been a Goa'uld, but had been an honest Tok'ra for many centuries since then, so his treason was a surprise to them all.
It turned out he had been subverted during an undercover mission. He and his host had been tortured to death and revived repeatedly over several months, and they had nearly gone mad. They had also become completely dependent on the sarcophagus, and was still taking a drug that had been given to them. It partly relieved the symptoms, but also made them extremely receptive to coercion. When Cordesh and his host had finally been released they were both willing to do anything to continue receiving the drug - and were not far from believing the Goa'uld way were the right one. It turned out Cordesh had been especially susceptible to the drugs brainwashing capabilities, and soon he was a willing agent. His host would wake up from the effects from time to time, but his fight was never a long one. Now, with Cordesh gone, he was able to tell enough of the story that the Tok'ra could guess what had happened. However, he was still in need of the drug and the healers did not know if he could be weaned from it. Without it, he was again able to tell right from wrong much of the time, and he felt deeply guilty for his treason against the Tok'ra. When his guards were temporarily occupied elsewhere, he got away and allowed one of the last collapsing tunnels of the old base to swallow him.
Seeing that both Cordesh and his host had actually been victims of the Goa'uld, their deaths were mourned like the Tok'ra they had been.