Despite the somewhat alarming information they had received, they had decided to continue playing tourists. It was more important than ever that no one suspected them, and with the large number of visitors to Egypt, no one would pay much attention to them. It was actually a good place to hide.
They had spent a whole day walking around Cairo, just playing tourists and looking at the city, deliberately staying away from any ruins old enough to be from the time the Goa’uld were there.
The next day they had gone to ‘the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities’, which was home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts. The place turned out to be filled with things that were actually of Goa’uld origin, but little that would pose any danger.
They made lists of the things they found, which Martouf and Lantash thought it would be a good idea someone took a closer look at.
However, most of the collection was not put up on display, but were instead stored in the basement, as well as in several storerooms across Egypt. Given how much they had already discovered to be of Goa’uld origin, they decided to give Stargate Command a strong recommendation to find a way to get a couple Tok’ra to look at it. Especially since Lantash sensed strong naquadah signatures several places in the building, some of them strong enough that Sam felt them as well.
The day after, they had gone to see the pyramids at Giza, and the Sphinx. There had been lots of tourists, and they had quickly decided to focus on the less popular destinations, if they hoped to be able to walk around peacefully. Lantash did remember that Egeria had visited the place, though.
“I guess the damn Goa’uld were behind almost anything here, if it happened thousands of years ago,” Sam observed, as they walked among the pyramids at Saqqara.
“I suspect that is true, yes. Few Goa’uld remained in this area of your world, after the rebellion that convinced Ra to leave, though it was by no means a complete and immediate victory,” Martouf noted, before bowing his head and giving Lantash control.
Lantash looked up and smiled at Sam, then looked around at the ruins. He spoke, using Martouf’s voice. “From my genetic memories, I would say that pyramid there was constructed by Imhotep - a minor Goa’uld serving Ra, who was in charge of many construction projects.”
Sam shook her head. “I’ve never heard of him. Is he still around?”
“As far as I know, yes. The Tok’ra does not keep him under close observation. He was never powerful, and after Ra’s death, he has lost what little influence he had.”
Sam nodded. “Okay.” She glanced around at the ruins. “Most of the pyramids here looks to be in less good condition than the ones at Giza... and not as, um, smooth?”
“These are not meant for use as landing platforms. The shipyards were not placed here. Some of these were probably actual tombs. The humans took to construct tombs in the shape of Goa’uld palaces, temples, and landing platforms, though it took much time and effort for the humans to make those copies.”
“I doubt many archaeologists are going to like that!”
“Doctor Jackson was an archaeologist, was he not?”
“Yes...” Sam was quiet for a moment, not liking Daniel being referred to in the past tense. She was not even sure if he was dead or alive. How did you define someone that had ascended? “Well, Daniel is... or was... not exactly in the mainstream of our archaeologists. I think they found him to be a..., ah, crackpot.”
“Crackpot?” Lantash looked puzzled.
“Um, crazy. Someone who believes in insane things.”
“How very wrong they are!” Lantash shook his head, then sighed.
Sam read in the booklet she had brought. “That mound over there is the remnants of something called ‘Unas’s pyramid’!”
“Unas?” Lantash frowned. “There were some Goa’uld who kept using Unas hosts, though few of them lived on the world of the Tau’ri. Perhaps this was one of them.”
“Mm, according to a professor... someone called Malek, that pyramid was the first one to have pyramid texts.”
“Malek?” Lantash looked shocked. “It must be some other Malek!”
“He’s apparently someone who’s written a lot of texts about Ancient Egypt. Why?”
“There is a Tok’ra of that name. One of my friends... he was a very good friend of Jolinar’s.”
“Yes, of course. He’s one of those in the know about the conspiracy. You mentioned him.. and Dad talked about him too... he would be one of those going to help check out the Goa’uld stuff we found at the British Museum.” She shook her head. “Now that’s funny! Well, I’m very sure the one who wrote about the pyramid is not the Tok’ra. It must be a coincidence.”
“I agree,” Lantash said. “In any case. That archaeologist is unlikely to be correct in his assumption that the ruin over there contains the first pyramid texts, unless it was built a very long time ago. Decorating with text is an old tradition among the Goa’uld, going back to shortly after Ra arrived on your world.”
“But that was 10000 years ago! There are no pyramids that old!”
“Are you sure they are not incorrectly dated? In any case, some may have been destroyed during the rebellion, and some by the Goa’uld themselves, when they left.”
“Why would they do that? Destroy the pyramids themselves, I mean.”
“It was places used by the ‘gods’.” Lantash snorted. “They did not want mere humans to take them over and use them.”
“Well, I guess that makes sense, given their personalities!” Sam scoffed. “Okay, wanna go take a closer look at some of the ruins?”
Sam and Martouf/Lantash had decided to go on a ‘Nile Cruise’, since that would take them past several ancient Egyptian sites, which Lantash was certain would have been used by the Goa’uld. Also, it sounded like a pleasant way to spend a few relaxing days.
The cruise would start from Luxor and go to Aswan, stopping at various places in between to let the passengers explore.
In order to get to Luxor, Sam and Martouf/Lantash would be travelling by train. They had the option of taking an overnight sleeper train, but since they were in no hurry, they had opted for travelling during the day, so they could enjoy the view.
They would also be staying for a few days at Luxor, before going on the cruise, since they wanted to explore some of the nearby archaeological sites.
Sam leaned back in the train seat and shook her head. “There’s a place near Luxor called
Abydos! It has lots of ancient temples and stuff.
They had the six-person compartment to themselves, so no one could easily hear what they were talking about. However, there were no doors even here in first class, so they still had to keep their voices somewhat down.
Martouf nodded. “The planet Abydos is likely named for this city. Lantash and I would very much like to see it, if possible.”
“Sure, while there’s no longer a city there, it looks like there are tours taking tourists to the ruins, so it shouldn’t be a problem.” She shook her head again. “There’s a nearby... well, somewhat nearby... town called Naqada . Do you think that’s got anything to do with naquadah? Despite being spelled slightly differently, I mean?”
“In a sense. ‘Naq’ means ‘valuable’ or ‘precious’ in Goa’uld, so presumably there are some sort of precious metal or gem stones nearby.”
“Gold mines, actually, but it’s still strange the name is so close to the same.” Sam showed him the map.
Martouf got a distant expression, as he discussed something with Lantash. “There was once a spaceport located there. Gold and slaves were transported out, naquadah and other things were transported in.”
“I thought they used the Stargate for that?”
“Usually they did, though sometimes large cargo ships were used as well. The chaapa’ai was located near one of Ra’s palaces, and during the times when he lived there, he did not want the dirt and commotion of transporting cargo, minerals, slaves, and other things to happen within sight and hearing of him.”
“Ra had put the Goa’uld Seth in charge of this operation - as punishment for various transgression, including betraying Osiris. Seth went from having been in charge of parts of Ra’s fleets, to hauling cargo. He was not pleased, and it was probably one of the reasons he turned against him later. And chose to hide out on your world for millennia, to escape his wrath.”
Sam grimaced. “I remember Seth.” She looked out the window. “Sand, rocks, dust...”
“It is a desert.” Martouf smiled. “Something the Tok’ra are very familiar with. I shall readily admit I prefer a more lush terrain, but at least we are following the Nile most of the way. It keeps the terrain greener. Still, just being in this country is very interesting.”