Chapter 14 summary: Jolinar gets a new host, and becomes a vassal of Apophis.
[ Chapter 1: Goodbyes | Chapter 2: An Audience | Chapter 3: A Conspiracy | Chapter 4: Promotion | Chapter 5: Minor System Lord | Chapter 6: An Old Acquaintance | Chapter 7: Diversions | Chapter 8: Plans | Chapter 9: Happy Moments | Chapter 10: Culmination | Chapter 11: Complications | Chapter 12: Daily Life | Chapter 13: Exposed | Chapter 14: A New Host - and a New Master | Chapter 15: New Challenges | Chapter 16: A Necessary Sacrifice | Chapter 17: Information Gathering | Chapter 18: A Surprise Visit | Chapter 19: Bad News | Chapter 20: War and Power | Chapter 21: Emergencies | Chapter 22: Found Out | Chapter 23: In the Tunnels | Chapter 24: Undercover at Bastet's Court | Chapter 25: Discovered! | Chapter 26: Rosha | Chapter 27: Host | Chapter 28: Getting Along | Chapter 29: Safe | Chapter 30: Lantash | Chapter 31: Shared Missions | Chapter 32: Taking A Chance | Chapter 33: Danger and Betrayal | Chapter 34: Some Realizations | Chapter 35: Hiding | Chapter 36: Time for the Truth | Chapter 37: Home | Chapter 38: Together | Chapter 39: Martouf ]
Jolinar awoke slowly. She checked on her and Sannya's body - it was severely damaged. She would not be able to heal it on her own, but perhaps she could keep it alive long enough to reach a sarcophagus. A healing device would never be enough. She sighed. Sannya was still unconscious. Perhaps it was for the best, though Jolinar would have liked to talk to her, if this was the end. It was a selfish wish, she knew.
She opened her eyes and found that she had been placed on a bed in a small room. Clearly, it was not in a Goa'uld palace, but then she would already have been healed...but it was not the home of an impoverished family either. The walls were smooth and the floor covered with hardwood. The one window was small, but it was made of glass, and framed by curtains. Jolinar noticed the furniture in the room was well-made, and even decorated, and the chairs were upholstered. No, this was clearly the home of a very well-off, human family.
She moved a little, and a whimpering sound escaped her.
Jolinar pulled herself together. It was the Jaffa leader from before. She opened her eyes and tried to sit up. The Jaffa ran to her aid.
"Careful my Lord. You are badly wounded."
"Where am I?" Jolinar demanded, trying to make her voice strong.
"In the village nearest the chaapa'ai."
"Why have I not been taken to Apophis's home world?"
"I apologize for my failings, but we are currently unable to reach the chaapa'ai, and we do not know when we will be able to do so. Cronus's Jaffa are blocking our way. They are well protected by the terrain, and it may well take a day or more before we are able to break through, if they insist on dying for the wretched Cronus!"
Jolinar knew she ought to admonish him for talking like that of any Goa'uld. A god was a god, even if he was an enemy, and only other gods could speak badly of them. Talking like this Jaffa had just done would be close to treason, and any Goa'uld would punish that.
She decided she liked him! Be that as it may - she and Sannya would be dead and beyond the help of even a sarcophagus, long before a day had passed.
"I cannot wait a day! It is your duty to get me to Apophis! If you fail, I shall enjoy the tales of your demise!"
"Understood, my Lord! I shall not fail!" The Jaffa looked pale with fear and bowed quickly to her before he turned tail and ran off.
Jolinar sighed and glanced briefly around the place. The house clearly belonged to one of the better off human families of this village. The door to another room was open, and she could see through it into the adjoining room. Several dead bodies were scattered on the floor. Probably the former inhabitants.
Jolinar felt anger towards the Jaffa, and remorse they might have done it for her sake. She carefully laid back down on the plank bed she had been placed on and closed her eyes.
She briefly thought about the fact she was now depending on a sarcophagus. Normally, she would rather die than use one of those damn things, but she possessed information essential to the Tok'ra - and then there was the riddle from Egeria, which she needed to solve. No one else knew about it. She realised she would have to tell the Council - or someone, at any rate - when she returned. If she returned. It was looking less and less likely that would happen.
She prayed the riddle would lead them to Tok'ra queens, if they could just solve it, but they had very little information. She was feeling more and more certain she or the other Tok'ra would somehow have the pieces that seemed to be missing. Egeria would not leave something as important as this to them, and not believe they would be able to solve the mystery.
Jolinar sighed. There was also the matter about whether or not Egeria herself was alive, perhaps tucked away in a stasis jar somewhere. The Council knew what little information she had about that, but they did not seem to share her belief Egeria was still alive. She decided it was time to tell some of the other Tok'ra about it as well. Perhaps some of those might come upon information, which they would otherwise have found unimportant.
*You must take a new host!*
*Sannya! You are awake?!* Jolinar 'hugged' her host.
*Yes...Jolinar, I meant what I said. This is bad. You cannot heal me. Every time you repair one thing, something else starts bleeding. Is that not correct?*
*I may yet succeed.*
*No, Jolinar. Please. It is time for someone else to take care of you for me. I have been your host for more than 170 years.*
*And you could easily be with me for an additional 250 years or more.* Jolinar sounded desperate.
*We both know only a sarcophagus can heal me now. We are not going to get to one for a day, at least, is that not correct? I can read your mind too, you know. And that will be much too late. I will be dead in hours. Please, do as I say. I do not wish you to die with me.*
*I do not want to leave you. Besides, finding a willing host here, and this quickly, will be close to impossible. No, I am not leaving you, Sannya.* She again 'hugged' her host.
A group of Jaffa entered the room, their leader first. Between them they dragged four terrified women.
*I hope this is not going where I think it is...* Jolinar looked at the four young women.
*One of them will be your new host. Jolinar, you must do this!*
*I must not! I am Tok'ra! I do not take unwilling hosts...not...any more.*
*Stop being a fool! We do not always have the luxury of doing that which is right! Sometimes we have to do what is necessary! It is because you are Tok'ra you have to do this! If you do not, they will know you are not Goa'uld. You will have been disclosed as a Tok'ra, and all our work will have been for nothing! All the agents in Cronus's domain will be suspected of being Tok'ra!*
Jolinar was quiet for several moments. *I understand. For the mission...* Jolinar sounded deeply saddened. *Sannya...my dear Sannya. Goodbye. I am deeply sorry I could not save you. I have failed you...I am grateful to you for the time you have been my host.*
*You have not failed me! It has been my honour to be your host. I would not have had it any other way. Good luck in the future, my dearest friend.*
Jolinar dimly became aware of the Jaffa in the room speaking to her.
"Lord Siwa. Please, accept one of these poor substitutes as your vessel."
"They are not my usual quality, but I suppose one of them shall have to do. Bring the..."
*Ask for the young woman with the wavy, dark hair. She is tall and strong looking - and very beautiful. In addition, she does not look like a farmer's daughter. Likely, she was born to this house and her family is dead. You could be what she needs.* Sannya suggested.
"...one with the dark hair closer.* Jolinar finished, choosing as Sannya wished.
The woman screamed.
"No, please! I beg you! No!"
The closest of the Jaffa forced her down to her knees, just beside the bench Jolinar was now half-sitting on.
"Send the others away. I care not for observers!" Jolinar said, knowing she would be expected to kill them if they watched.
Most of the Jaffa left hurriedly and were happy to do so, leaving only those of 'trusted' rank there. Watching a Goa'uld burrow into a host was not something they ever wanted to witness. They had heard stories...
The two high-ranking Jaffa looked on uncomfortably, as Jolinar exited her host and jumped the short distance through the air, burrowing into the neck of the now wildly screaming woman.
Jolinar sent out tendrils and connections as fast as possible, then quickly dulled the pain as much as she could, while apologizing to the new host for the way she was entering. Unfortunately, it would have caused suspicion if she had insisted on doing the transference the Tok'ra way.
*I am Jolinar...Lisha. We will talk more later. For now, unfortunately, I will have to remain in control. I really am sorry.* She tried sending calming feelings towards the young woman.
She took control easily, the host's struggle brief and over almost immediately. She felt a wave of nausea, both at her actions, and at the ease with which she did this. Rising quickly, now in full control, she sent another apology and warm feelings towards her host. She stretched and looked arrogantly at the Jaffa.
"This host will do. Give me a zat'nik'tel."
The Jaffa who had been looking away with uncomfortable expressions, quickly handed her what she wanted.
"The old vessel failed me."
She shot the now dead Sannya three times, vaporising her and so sparing her body any risk of either being mutilated by local people angry at the Goa'uld, or from being taken by Cronus's Jaffa and revived to be tortured endlessly. However unlikely it was they would arrive in time to do so. Jolinar closed her eyes for a moment, thinking of Sannya, then turned back to the Jaffa, in full control of herself.
"Now, after this little unfortunate mishap, you better not fail me again!"
"Lord Apophis...thank you for receiving me. I am Siwa." Jolinar bowed before the Goa'uld.
"Ah...yes. I heard of your little problem on the way here. How do you like your new host?"
"Adequate. I still miss my old look."
"Very unfortunate. Do you wish me to kill the Jaffa responsible for this outrage?"
Jolinar pretended to consider it.
"No...it was really that uncivilized brute Cronus who was at fault."
"Yes, it must have been horrible being one of his minions. So primitive and uncivilized as his ways are!" Apophis shuddered. "I do not understand how you could stand it."
"I am glad it is over, though I believe the information I acquired is well worth it. I am certain you will agree with me. I need to retrieve it, then it will be yours, my Lord."
"Good." Apophis smiled, looking satisfied. "If the information is as good as you say, you have earned a star system of your own. I will see that you get it."
Jolinar bowed deeply. "Thank you, my generous Lord Apophis."
She was taken to a luxurious guest chamber, and after she had bathed and changed to more appropriate clothing, she was served delicious food and drink.
Apophis was clearly showing himself from his generous side, hoping to get the - presumably valuable - intelligence this former ally of Cronus had.
Jolinar might actually have enjoyed the pampering, if the situation had been different. As it was, however, she was mourning Sannya, and she had an unwilling host.
She would get the needed information for Apophis, from the Tok'ra - chosen carefully for the best effect. However, first there was something else which was long overdue and could not wait. Something she needed to attend to immediately.
*Lisha...we have some time alone, now. We need to talk. I apologize for all that has happened, and particularly for keeping control for so long - and for not explaining anything to you.*
She waited for her new host to acknowledge her. It took quite some time, for the poor woman was terrified after all that had happened - and grieving as well, since several of her friends and family had been killed by the Jaffa.
Jolinar gave her a warm 'hug' and released calming chemicals into her bloodstream. Finally, her host responded.
*Why are you talking to me? Is this a cruel trick? You are going to pretend you will acknowledge my existence, only to suppress me again and torture me? Do you crave worship? Or do you perhaps want me to look upon you as my savior and have me thank you every time you deign to talk to me? The only interaction I will ever have again?*
Jolinar felt very ashamed, and if it was possible, she regretted what had happened even more. At least the woman still had a strong spirit and dared voice her opinion.
She was once again very glad she was not a Goa'uld - the young woman would have suffered greatly for saying what she just had, and in such an insolent tone. As it was, Jolinar was secretly proud of her new host, for daring to talk like that to her.
*Lisha...this is going to take some time, but I hope you will understand. I am not Goa'uld...* She began to explain.
"This information is very interesting." Apophis said, enthusiastically. "I had no idea Cronus had these...interests. I knew about his brother's perversions, of course, we all did. Hmmm...he is laughably inefficient in his affairs! If those were my naquadah mines...hmmmm..."
"Perhaps they should be, my Lord...but may I point your attention to this..." Jolinar flicked the report forward several pages.
"This is correct?"
"Indeed. Backed up by two sources, as you can see."
"I see...how dare they! Cronus and Sokar allying - and Amman conspiring with them! That can not be allowed to happen. Ever!" Apophis turned back to Jolinar, still enraged. "I will go through the rest of this with my advisors. You have indeed proven yourself, Siwa. I will give you Terweh as your home system, and you will have the neighboring systems Kiwh and Sestor as well, when you have helped me remove the traitor who is currently graced with the ownership of those! I had never thought Amman would turn on me!"
"It is inexcusable! I will gladly help rid yourself of this...vermin."
Apophis nodded, satisfied with her answer. "It is settled, then. You will receive Terweh immediately, and a reasonably sized Jaffa force, as well as one Alkesh and a swarm of death-gliders. Use them wisely and bring me Amman! You have one month in which to prove yourself!"
"Yes, my Lord." Jolinar bowed deeply before she hurriedly left for her new duties.
Chapter 15: New Challenges