“There’s a temple to
here?” Sam stared at the building. “Why would they worship that idiot?”
They had arrived in Luxor the day before, and today they had gone on a tour to Abydos.
“He - and his queen Isis - were among Ra’s most important vassals. Until they were betrayed by Seth and fell out of Ra’s favour. I believe they had a palace here, once.” Martouf said. “Many Goa’uld had at least one palace in Egypt, since this was where Ra lived much of the time. I believe Min had a palace not far from here, for instance.”
“Min? Who’s that?”
“A minor Goa’uld. He holds little power, since he is almost exclusively interested in partying and enjoying himself. He has vast numbers of sex slaves, and are constantly on the lookout for new ways to pleasure himself.”
“Oh. I... see.” Sam looked closely at Martouf, who was suddenly frowning and looking around. “What is it?”
“I sense naquadah... in that direction.” He pointed.
Sam sighed. “We better check it out.” They had walked maybe 35 feet when Sam sensed it too. “Fairly strong signature, isn’t it? Since I can sense it here. Or are we almost directly on top of it?”
Martouf shook his head. “No, it’s another maybe 20 feet away. That means the signature is a little stronger than from a live symbiote. It feels like refined naquadah, in a small amount. I would guess some device left by the Goa’uld.”
“Let’s just hope it’s not a bomb!”
“I do not think the amount is large enough for that.” He stopped just beside a few pieces of rubble, and kneeled down to start digging under a rock.
“Um, Martouf... I’m not sure we’re allowed to do that...” Sam looked worriedly around. Fortunately, no one seemed to notice. Most of the tourists were staying near the better preserved temples, and they were fairly alone in this area of the ruins. A few minutes later, Martouf pulled at something he had found. “What is it?”
He dragged it free from the sand and dusted it off. “Kara kesh.” He looked at her. “Hand device, but not the standard type.”
Sam nodded. “Yeah, I see that now.” She frowned. “What do you mean, ‘not the standard type’?”
“There is more naquadah in it than what is usual, and there are a number of buttons on it that I do not recognize. Control mechanisms for something, most likely, though I do not know what.”
“Hm, no way to know, I guess. Do you think it works?”
“Almost certainly.” He began putting it on.
“Whoa, are you sure that’s a good idea? If it has unknown features, I mean.”
“I am sure that whatever it controls, it is not something that is activated by just putting it on.” He flexed his fingers inside it, then allowed it to activate, the center crystal glowing softly. “The main functions seems to be quite standard.”
They had walked behind some cliffs, and now Martouf pointed the ribbon device towards a rock, and fired a shock wave at it. The rock was not just pushed a little, but flew into the air and landed almost a hundred feet away.
“Wauw! Calm down!” Sam exclaimed.
“My apologies. This is very much not a standard kara kesh. It is much more powerful, and also quite different to control. I merely intended to give the rock a small push. This is very interesting. It must be a prototype.”
“Okay. That is interesting, and I will happily help you study it. Later, when we’re in a lab. With safety precautions taken.”
Martouf nodded. “Lantash and I agree.” He took off the hand device and stuffed it into one of the large pockets in the cargo pants he was wearing.
“Well, seems we’ll be going to Abydos again, ” Sam observed, as she looked over the itinerary of the cruise ship. They had just arrived at the ship, and were waiting to come aboard.
“I do not mind, as long as I am with you,” Martouf said, meaning it. He kissed her. “I hope there is a nice large bed in our room,” he whispered into her ear.
“Naughty!” Sam grinned. “I like that!” She added in a low voice, blushing a little.
“Good... I look forward to pleasuring you again.” Martouf smiled widely.
The ship was opened for boarding, and they went aboard, to their cabin - or rather suite, as that was what they had booked, since it meant there was a private bath.
“Very nice!” Sam said, impressed.
“The bed seems acceptable.” Martouf sat on it, winking at Sam.
She rolled her eyes at him. “Let’s go check out the rest of the boat?”
“With pleasure.” Martouf got up and followed, putting a hand on the small of her back.
They spent some time acquainting themselves with the ship, since it was going to be their home for the next week. It was a nice, and quite luxurious boat, with an elegant restaurant, a bar, lounges, sundecks, shaded decks, and a heated swimming pool, made out to look like it was a small lake. Sam was suitably impressed, though Martouf and Lantash had unsurprisingly seen places much more extravagant, even though, as Tok’ra, they were used to living under more spartan conditions than when they pretended to be Goa’uld.
After a quick meal, there had been a tour arranged for the passengers, to the Valley of the Kings and Queens, where they had seen richly decorated tombs. The trip had also included a visit to Hatshepsut’s temple - someone Lantash insisted had been a minor Goa’uld.
The next day had offered the visit to Abydos. Lantash had hoped they would be able to wander off from their group, to see if they could find other Goa’uld devices left over, perhaps by the same scientist who had constructed the non-standard hand device. That, however, turned out not to be so easy, and they decided to just notify Stargate Command, so someone could be sent to investigate.
They spent the afternoon soaking in the pool on the boat, eating fruit, and having a few drinks. It was very relaxing, something none of them was used to in their daily life. It was truly shaping up to being a nice vacation.
After a delicious dinner, they retired to their cabin.
“I’m happy there’s little wind today. Yesterday, it was a bit rocky,” Sam said.
“Lantash and I agree. While he can protect us against ‘seasickness’, it was still unpleasant. Neither of us are used to being on a ship.” He pulled Sam to him. “That means we get to focus on other, more pleasant things tonight.” He kissed her deeply, before lifting her up and carrying her to the bed.
They got up early the next day, since there would be a visit to a temple just after breakfast.
“Hathor!” Sam exclaimed. “I got up early to see a temple to Hathor?”
Martouf looked at the temple for a moment. “It does not quite look extravagant enough for her style, even accounting for the damage it has sustained later. When was it built?”
“During the first century BC... that is, between 2000-2100 years ago.”
“By then Hathor and Ra had long since left Earth. When she fell out of favour, she hid on your world for a period of time, but closer to where your people found her trapped in a sarcophagus. This temple must have been built by humans who for some reason chose to worship her. No Goa’uld would have forced anyone to build a temple to another Goa’uld - who had fallen from grace.”
Sam snorted. “I’m not sure if it’s better or worse that humans chose to worship her of their own free will!” She sighed. “How do you and Lantash feel about visiting all these ruins? I mean, much of it was built by Goa’uld or inspired by them, and you must have seen countless other examples on countless planets. Plenty of temples and stuff that are in pristine condition and still being used, even!”
“That is true. However, the world of the Tau’ri - and particularly places like Egypt, where many Goa’uld once lived, and so much of our culture originated - holds a special significance for all of us.” He smiled, wryly. “I can assure you, there will not be one Tok’ra who will not be very jealous of Lantash and I for getting to visit these places.”
Sam laughed. “Okay. Well, I guess I can see that!”
The ship had slowly sailed a little further south, and the day after they reached Esna, where the passengers were treated to a tour to the temple complex at Karnak. The complex held several temples, but the three main ones were for Mut, Montu, and Amun.
“I don’t know how to feel about this,” Sam said, looking at the pillars still standing from the big temple of Amun at Karnak, the largest of the temples.
Martouf frowned. “What are you referring to?”
“Being here... at the Temple of Amun at Karnak. This is where Apophis’s host said he had been a scribe!”
He nodded. “Yes, when Apophis was applying for sanctuary at your Stargate Command. I remember.”
“It’s just... that was so terribly long ago that he was taken, and during all that time, he was Apophis’s host. Suppressed or thinking he was living in a nightmare.” She shook her head. “It’s a bit creepy to think this is where he lived... where he was a free man, where he loved...”
Martouf sighed, unhappily. “It is a horrible fate to be the host of any Goa’uld, but to a System Lord is even worse. At least he is dead now, so his suffering is over.”
“True.” Sam gazed at the ruins of the temple again. “Let’s go look at some of the other temples here. Aside from this, and the temples to Mut and Monthu, there should also be temples to someone named Ptah, Opet, and Khonsu. I guess they’re all Goa’uld. Oh, and there’s also another Osiris temple!”
“They are all Goa’uld, and they are also all still alive, with the exception of Khonsu. A Tok’ra operative killed him some fifty years ago, and took his identity. He has slowly worked on his cover since then, and he is currently posing as an underlord of Anubis’s.”
“Cool.” Sam smiled.
They spent a few more hours exploring the site, before returning to the boat.