Chapter 32 summary: Rosha/Jolinar goes on another mission with Nemura/Lantash, looking for hosts. They decide to go against the Council's wishes and visit a Goa'uld slave world.
[ 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 ]
"No one wants to become a host - anywhere!" Lantash exclaimed, exasperated, as he hammered in the glyphs for the stop-over world they would be going to before returning to their base.
They had spent the last week visiting planets, finding no one willing to join. It was not an unusual situation, but it was frustrating just the same.
"Wait! I have an idea." Jolinar put a hand on his arm, stopping him from entering the rest of the address.
"Yes? I am receptive to any suggestions."
"Why do we not go to one of the Goa'uld slave-labour worlds? Or a breeder world? I am certain there will be plenty of volunteers in such places!"
Lantash was quiet for a moment, considering it.
"You know the Council thinks it's much too dangerous - and that the human slaves in such locations are not truly willing, as much as they're merely desperate to get away from there - in any way possible."
"Well, you know as well as I do, that the slave-labour planets are either for prisoners - slaves who have rebelled - or are for when a Goa'uld desperately needs something built quickly, regardless of the consequences - for instance if they are under attack by a more powerful Lord, or have some kind of far-reaching plan, slightly outside their means. They are fortunately rare, but I know of maybe a handful from my work undercover at both Cronus and Zipacna's courts...come to think of it, I think our best possibility in this area is one of Bastet's worlds. I learned about it the month before I had to flee."
"Being a Tok'ra host should be vastly preferable - though I suspect not all humans might agree." Lantash sighed. "Slave-labour planets are, however, heavily guarded, and I doubt we can sneak in undiscovered. What about breeder worlds?"
"True, but if we are audacious enough we can do it! Breeder worlds are as heavily guarded, if not more. They are also very rare. The only ones I know of are owned by Ra, Qetesh, and Nephtys, though there may be others. No, I think we should try Bastet's slave-world."
Lantash looked at Jolinar for a few moments, weighing the options. "The Council may get angry - if we even return, that is." He shook his head. "You certainly live up to your reputation as being ready to act on impulse." He suddenly smiled. "We do need those hosts, though. Why not? Maybe we Tok'ra are sometimes being too careful. Lead the way!"
Jolinar smiled back at him, liking him for his willingness to try something, even if the Council might not approve.
She thought for a moment, then, remembering, she quickly entered the address to a planet with a large market place. They would need different clothing if they were to pull this off.
They stepped out onto Bastet's slave-world, dressed as a minor Goa'uld and her lo'tar.
Lantash had complained for some time at the unfairness of him having to be the lo'tar - and wear the barely-there clothing. Though he had soon given in to the logic of the situation. Jolinar had centuries of experience pretending to be a Goa'uld, and knew how to behave. He had no experience of it whatsoever, except what was in his genetic memory.
Besides, truth be told, Jolinar's clothing was almost as revealing - a fact which Lantash and Nemura were very much appreciating.
They were immediately met by several Jaffa, who demanded to know their business. Jolinar looked coldly at the leader, and told him they had come to select a few choice slaves for 'a private session with Bastet and a few invited guests'.
The Jaffa looked very uncomfortable, but managed to say he did not believe they had what Bastet needed for this kind of thing. Jolinar just looked at him, and he quickly moved aside, apologizing, because the gods knew best, of course.
"Well, that went reasonably well..." Jolinar remarked when they had gotten some distance away from the Jaffa. "Now we just need to find a place to change into clothing resembling what the humans of this planet wear, then we go find some volunteers."
"Would it not be safest to at least bring the other clothing? If Jaffa - or worse, Goa'uld - arrive, we may need to change outfits quickly."
"Yes, but if they find it on us, they will think we have stolen it - or that we are spies. One will get us beaten, likely killed, the other will get us tortured, and probably killed repeatedly. It is a difficult decision, but I believe it is safest to hide these clothes somewhere before we reach the city."
"As you wish." Lantash said.
"And do let Nemura keep control - both when you pretend to be my lo'tar, and in general when you pretend to be a human, hmm?"
"Sorry." Lantash answered sheepishly, bowing his head and giving Nemura control.
"No problem. I know neither of you have been on these kinds of undercover missions before." Jolinar sent him a warm smile, then gave Rosha control.
They quickly undressed and changed to the well-worn, poor looking clothing they had brought, then continued towards the village, after having hidden their other costumes.
They had barely reached the village before they were met by a group of Jaffa who yelled angrily at them, accusing them of slacking off. Nemura grabbed Rosha's hand and they quickly ran to grab some of the boxes that were being moved to the construction site.
There they worked carrying materials to the builders, until noon. They were very sore indeed when they, together with the other slaves, assembled to eat the bread and soup that was handed out to them for the mid-meal.
While they ate they studied the others, trying to determine who it would be best to approach. Rosha elbowed Nemura gently and nodded in the direction of a young woman who sat alone a little away from the others. She looked both fearful and sad.
"Perhaps we could try to approach her? She seems friendly - and probably not likely to just turn us over to the Jaffa." Rosha whispered.
"Sounds reasonable...though Lantash would like to point out she could be so afraid she tells the Jaffa in any case. Or she may even think she does the right thing by doing so."
"Nothing is without risk. Are you coming?"
Nemura nodded and followed Rosha over to the young woman.
"Hi. I am Rosha. This is Nemura, my...good friend." She gave Nemura's arm a squeeze.
"Hello. I am Pita." She gave them a quick look, then lowered her voice. "Have you also just been taken here? I have been here almost a week and I have not seen you before."
Rosha nodded. "Yes, we arrived today."
"From where were you taken?"
Rosha and Nemura looked at each other for a second.
"We...do not know what our world is called to others. We call it..." Nemura frantically searched for a useful lie.
"Teplik." Rosha quickly said, deciding her home world was probably unknown to most.
Pita nodded. "I have never heard of it, but from what little I have learned from the others here, there are a great many worlds."
"Where are you from?"
"Moh'nar. They - the Jaffa - they came in the morning. Took everyone in my village. They killed everyone who was too old, too sick, or too young to work." Her voice broke on a sob. "My grandmother...and my youngest brother...dead..."
Rosha awkwardly patted her on the back. "I am so sorry..." She thought of her own family...her village. Her entire people. All dead. Jolinar 'hugged' her.
"Are any others of your family - or friends here?" Nemura wanted to know.
"No. I was the only one sent here. My parents - and my older brother and his wife - they were taken somewhere else."
*Why would Bastet do that? To punish them for something?* Rosha wondered.
*Doubtful. Bastet would not care. It is more likely she has more than one slave world, and by coincidence her family was sent to the other. It is, however, important information for the Tok'ra. If Bastet has two slave-worlds, she is certainly preparing for something big. The Council must be told and an operative must be sent to observe.*
"That is horrible!" Nemura said.
"Yes, I would do anything to see them again." Pita sniffled.
Latching on to that, Rosha decided on a plan.
"There is perhaps a way."
"Really? Please, tell me!" Pita looked eagerly at her.
"We...know of rebels who might help a few escape. Who fight such injustice as what the Goa'uld do to humans."
"Rebels?" Pita whispered, looking horrified. "But how can they fight gods?"
"They do not believe Bastet - or any other Goa'uld - is a god."
"That is blasphemy!" Pita exclaimed, loudly enough they were drawing stares from some of the other people nearby. "Bastet is a god! Only fools fight gods!"
"Even so...they might help you. Would it not make it worth your while to meet them?"
"I..." She looked unsure. "I need to think about it."
"Of course. Think about it. And if you decide you wish to meet them, come and talk to us - at evening-meal, perhaps." Rosha sighed. It was clear this one was unlikely to agree to become a host.
Chapter 33: Danger and Betrayal