After breakfast the next day, they spent some time deciding what they wanted to see and do in London - they were pretending to be on vacation, so it would even be part of the mission!
“So, we’ll go to the British Museum so you guys can see something about human history, and then spend the rest of the day relaxing, sitting in a park, or maybe watching a movie?” Sam said.
Lantash nodded. “Yes, and then tomorrow we would like to go and see that... did you call it a ZOO? So we can learn something about your animals.”
“Yes, we call it a ZOO - it is short for zoological park or zoological garden. There’s lots of other stuff to see here in London, if you want to? They have a great science museum.”
“We would most likely enjoy that. We are staying here for one week, correct?”
“Yes, and then we continue to Paris, I think - or maybe Berlin.” Sam grinned. “It’s been a long time since I travelled this much - well, except through the Stargate. I guess, in a way, I’ve travelled much more recently than I did before joining the Stargate program. Most certainly I’ve travelled further.”
“Very true. While the Tok’ra travel much between planets, we rarely travel more than short distance across a world. Most people live close to the chaapa’ai.”
“Of course, because they have to walk.” Sam nodded. “Well, are you ready to leave?”
“What would you like to see first, Martouf?” Sam wondered.
“Is it ordered according to year? Because then it would make most sense starting from the earliest times, and then move forward,” Martouf said.
“Ah, in a way it is, but it’s also ordered according to culture. Europe... Greece, Roman... Egyptian, Chinese...”
“In that case we would like to start with the Egyptian section, since Ra, and many of the more powerful Goa’uld lived in Egypt. We would like to see how much of an influence it has been on that culture.”
“I kind of thought you might.” Sam smiled. “And remember, don’t say Goa’uld.”
“Of course... Sandra.” He looked at her with a gleam in his eye.
Sam groaned. “You’re right. I called you ‘Martouf’!” She sighed deeply. “It certainly takes some getting used to! Oh, well. I’m sure we’re not in any danger here, so if we’re to make errors, it had better be now, than later.”
“Of course, Sandra, beloved.” Martouf gave her another naughty grin.
Sam swatted at him. “Behave. Come - let’s go see their Egyptian exhibition. You know, perhaps we could go to Egypt, if you guys would like that?”
Martouf conferred with Lantash for a moment, then nodded. “We would like that very much.”
“Okay, we’ll do that, then!”
“Did you say they had scanned all the, ah, canopic jars at the museum?” Martouf asked, looking intently at the item in the showcase.
“Ah, most of them, at least... or... so I guess,” Sam answered. “To be honest, I’m not sure.”
Martouf nodded. “In that case it might be prudent to examine that one carefully, and preferably you should let the Tok’ra do so.”
“Uh, what do you mean?” Sam frowned, looking at the inoffensive looking canopic jar. The sign beside it said the text was an obscure dialect, and hard to decipher, but that they believed it to be a prayer to Shezmu.
Martouf spoke in a low voice. “The text on the jar - which is obviously a stasis jar, and not a canopic jar - proclaims that Shezmu is imprisoned in it for all of eternity, for his betrayal of Osiris.”
“Shezmu is a Goa’uld, I assume? You think there’s a living symbiote in that jar?” Sam’s expression became worried. She suddenly realized she could feel another naquadah signature, besides the one from Lantash.
He nodded, then bowed his head, giving Lantash control. He continued, using Martouf’s voice. “I do. I sensed the naquadah signature of both the power source of the jar, and of the symbiote, as soon as I approached the room. Also, the seal looks to be intact. Shezmu was Osiris’s... executioner, I believe would be the correct word. He was known for his gruesomeness. He had a Unas host for a long time, and even after he took a human host, he had a guard of loyal Unas working for him. Rumours had it that he fed the executed to the Unas. He fell out of favour with Osiris, then attempted to kill Osiris with the help of Seth. When that failed, and their attempt to become Apophis’s vassals also failed, Shezmu fled. Seth was demoted from his fairly high position with Ra, but strangely enough he was not killed. Later, he made another attempt at Osiris, and succeeded in getting him - and Isis, Osiris’s queen - imprisoned in stasis jars. It was not long after that, when Ra had finally had enough of Seth’s untrustworthy behaviour, and he had to flee. Of course, Seth was finally found, and he was then killed by you, but Shezmu’s fate was a mystery to us.”
“Well, apparently Osiris captured him and punished him. Of course, as you mentioned, Osiris ended up sharing the same fate.” Sam shook her head. “I wonder how many Goa’uld are hidden like that, just waiting for some hapless soul to break open the jar and become their host?”
Lantash looked grim. “Unfortunately, it could well be quite many. The Goa’uld rarely kill their own, when they have reached the level of at least minor System Lord. They prefer to imprison them like this. The eternity without any control of their fate is considered a worse punishment than death.”
“But they’re not conscious when they’re in stasis, are they?”
“No, it is a true stasis. Time does not pass for them, and they are in complete oblivion.” He smiled wryly. “I did not say it made sense, only that it was how the Goa’uld saw it.”
Sam nodded. “Okay. Well, I’m going to call the SGC and have someone come take a look at that jar, before some poor scientist happens to break it and become host to Shezmu.”
She called the SGC, informing them of the Goa’uld stasis jar, which probably contained the Goa’uld Shezmu. Hammond was not pleased by the information, though happy that the potential threat had been discovered.
Sam was happy she was not the one having to convince the museum - through their British allies - that they should give up one of their prized artefacts. It was not like the SGC could tell them there was an evil, power hungry alien inside it, just waiting to take control of someone.
While Hammond updated her on what little new information there was about O’Neill and Kanan, and then summarized what Jacob had reported from the search for what had happened to Doctor Flemming, Lantash walked around the room and then into the adjoining one.
Sam was just about to hang up, when he returned, approaching her. “There are several, ah, artefacts in this and the other room, which are Goa’uld. Three of them, aside from the stasis jar, have naquadah signatures. There is certainly cause to have these things examined further.”
“Do you want to talk to General Hammond about it?”
“No, I shall make a list, which you can send to him.”
“All right.” She returned to the conversation on the telephone. “Sorry, sir, but Lantash just told me there’s several more things here that are of Goa’uld origin. He’ll make you a list.”
She talked for a few minutes longer, then hung up.
“Will they retrieve the stasis jar and the other things?” Lantash asked.
“Yes, they just need to figure out how to convince the museum to give up their stuff.”
“Good.” Lantash took her hand and smiled at her. “Then, let them worry about it, while we relax and enjoy each others company.”
He pulled her to him, kissing her. Sam kissed him back, and for several moments their lips moved against each other, before Sam pulled back, smiling at him. “What do you say we take a break from all these old dusty things, and find the cafeteria in this place? I’m getting hungry.”
“So am I, but I already have what I want right here,” Lantash said, bluntly.
“Ah, I think... I think the other guests might object...” Blushing, Sam pulled Lantash after her, out of the room.
After lunch, they spent several more hours looking at the exhibitions at the museum, before deciding it was time for some fresh air. It was somehow tiring to walk in a museum for a whole day, and after a short walk in a nearby park, they ate dinner at a small Indian restaurant. The food was good, and they had talked and had fun, so Sam was in a very good mood when they were returning to the hotel, walking arm in arm.
She thought about the kiss they had shared in the museum, and about how nice it was to just spend time with Martouf and Lantash. Without the pressure of immediate danger that always hung over the missions they had shared before, they had time to talk and have fun.
To her surprise, she had discovered that both Martouf and Lantash had a sense of humour, and that they were both fun and sweet to spend time with. They were also very knowledgeable about many things, and very intelligent, so she could talk to them about things most people would not understand, without their eyes glazing over.
When they were back at their hotel room, it was not even 8PM, and while Sam still felt a little jet-lagged and tired, she also did not want to just go to bed already - or sit and watch television in the hotel room. Perhaps she should look at some of the work she had brought with her? She did have her laptop, and there was actually a network outlet in the hotel room.
She pushed that thought aside. Here she was, pretending to be on honeymoon with the most gorgeous man... men in the Galaxy... and she wanted to sit down with her work?
“It’s Monday evening, so I guess there aren’t much nightlife - or maybe there is, London is a big city - but, I thought we could go to the hotel bar and have a drink? What do you say?”
“We would be happy to accompany you, Samantha,” Lantash said. “Am I correct in assuming that a ‘bar’ is a place that serves alcoholic beverages, and that a ‘drink’ in this context means alcohol?”
“Yes, though bars do serve non-alcoholic stuff too,” Sam explained. “Listen, it was a warm day, and I think I’d like to grab a quick shower first. Do you mind waiting?”
“Of course not.”
Sam had only just turned on the water, when her telephone rang. She swore, grumbling about how typical that was. “Lantash? Martouf? Could you answer that?”
Lantash gave Martouf control, and he picked up Sam’s telephone and pressed the button to answer. “Hello, this is... Carter,” he said, remembering the Tau’ri often used last names in formal situations, and he assumed it would be someone from Stargate Command calling.
“Martouf?” The voice in the other end asked. “They picked ‘Carter’ as your undercover name? They couldn’t think of something else?" He sighed. “I’m Jacob - as you no doubt have realised. Could I talk to Sam?”
“She is taking a bath. Is it something I can help you with, Jacob?”
“Not unless you’re good at cracking computer codes.” Jacob sighed. "We found someone who’s worked with Doctor Flemming, and he told us he thinks Flemming’s been murdered... by people who only come out at night. The people in this city are acting weird... and we’ve just returned from searching the dock at a closed shipyard. You know what we found?”
“No... I do not. What did you find?” Martouf asked, knowing very well this was just Jacob’s way of talking.
“Schematics for a spaceship - and a whole bunch of computer discs with encrypted stuff, which is where Sam comes in. I don’t know a thing about computers, and while Selmak knows a lot, computers aren’t her speciality. So... I thought maybe Sam could take a crack at it."
“I shall inquire immediately,” Martouf promised, walking to the bathroom door. “Samantha?”
“Yes, Martouf?” Sam answered.
Hearing the water had been turned off by now, he assumed she had finished bathing, and opened the door, stepping inside - to see a completely naked Sam, towel-drying her hair.
She straightened automatically when he entered, then remembered her state of undress, and blushed.
Martouf just stood there looking at her, his mouth slightly agape. Several moments later, Lantash took over, giving Sam a naughty smile. “You look beautiful, Samantha.” He suddenly realized Jacob was still on the telephone, and he held it out to her. “Your father wishes to speak with you.”
“Eh, thanks, Lantash.” She smiled, a little awkwardly.
Lantash left the room, looking very pleased.
About ten minutes later, Sam came out from the bathroom, fully dressed. “I’m afraid the trip to the bar will have to wait until tomorrow. Dad would upload some of the encrypted files so I can get to them, and I’m going to have to try and decrypt them, as quickly as possible.”
“I understand, Samantha,” Martouf said. “Tell me if there is anything I can help you with.”
Sam nodded, and sat down and connected her computer to the hotel network, so she could download the files. Fortunately, the encrypted files were not terribly large, or this might have taken a long time. She still groaned at the slowness of the transference, compared to what she was used to at Stargate Command.
Martouf and Lantash left her alone, not wanting to disturb her concentration. They tried to read one of the books about Earth, Sam had gotten for them, but their thoughts kept returning to how attractive Sam had looked when they saw her in the bathroom, naked.
“Oh, my god!” Sam exclaimed.
“What is it?” Martouf asked, getting up from the bed where he had been sitting, trying to read.
“The people building that ship dad talked about? They’re Goa’uld!” She pointed at the screen. “Look!”
Martouf hurried to her. “Very true. That is Goa’uld.” He quickly read some of it. “The text speaks about duplication research... cloning, as you call it. They have cloned the symbiote of the man you talked about earlier, Adrian Conrad, and a great many of the people in the city have been implanted with these infant Goa’uld.” He looked to Sam. “That is why they are only out at night - while their hosts are asleep. They are too young to take control against their host’s will.”
“But... wouldn’t Selmak have sensed them?”
“Most likely they have no naquadah in their blood, since those who cloned them either did not think of it, or did not have access to it.”
“I need to call dad immediately, and then get this sent to him,” Sam said, dialling.
Sam sighed, as she crawled into bed, and pulled the covers up. “I really hope dad and the others can handle this! That is a lot of Goa’ulds.”
“I am sure they will manage. If the situation gets dangerous, Selmak can pretend to be a Goa’uld and insist they should obey her. It is likely to work, as these symbiotes are all really just children, and would probably be willing to be lead - until they become more mature.”
“Dad’s got a hand device with him, I suppose he can use that to convince them further.” Sam still looked unconvinced.
“There’s also the fact that the cloned symbiotes have no naquadah in their blood, and that they have been engineered to have a defect, making them vulnerable to the drug Jacob and the others found. Both of these things will make them feel weaker, and increase the likelihood they will agree to become ‘underlings’ of a more powerful Goa’uld.”
“I hope you’re right.” Sam sighed, then turned out the light. “Good night.”
She fell forward as the ki’tel’ma - the pain stick - again pressed against her neck, causing the excruciating pain to pulse through her. The most intense pain coursed through her own body, with slightly smaller waves of pain flowing through their shared body.
She moaned, then cried out in agony, no longer able to hold back, as the pain reached a crescendo and she felt as if nothing else existed, save the fire focusing on her neck, but now feeling as if it burned their entire beings.
When she was just about to pass out, the pain stopped. Relieved, she allowed herself to rest against the cool floor. Her poor host had passed out, when the pain had transcended what she could block from her.
Weakly, she opened her eyes and looked up - into the leering face of Bynarr. He pushed her back on the floor and began tearing at her clothing.
Her body still sluggish and unresponsive after the torture, she tried to fight him, then screamed for help, knowing there would not be any.
“Samantha! Wake up!” Martouf urged, insistent, shaking her a little stronger, finally succeeding in pulling her out of her nightmare.
Her eyes flew up, and she sat up straight, staring at him with an expression of fear and pain. Then she came back to the present, and saw who it was, and she relaxed. “Martouf.” She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment.
“It was a nightmare,” he reassured her, putting his arms around her. “Just a nightmare.”
Sam nodded, clinging to him. “I know. Thank you... thank you for waking me.”
“Of course, Samantha. What were you dreaming?”
“I think... it was probably caused by my worry for my dad, Teal’c, and Jonas...” Sam said, not wanting to tell Martouf what the dream was about.
“Ah... Samantha, you uttered a few words... in Goa’uld. You also mentioned Rosha.”
Sam sighed. “Oh god, did I? I didn’t realise I had spoken aloud. I didn’t scream, did I?”
He shook his head. “No, it was mostly... whimpers... but you did cry out once. I have a suspicion as to what it was about. You were being tortured... by the Goa’uld, were you not?”
“Yes... by Bynarr. I was trying to... reassure Rosha, protect her.” Sam looked unhappy. “Could we not talk about this?”
His expression grew dark, pained, at the thought of Bynarr. “I believe it might help you to talk about it, but if you do not wish to, then we will not do so.” He sighed. “How often do you have dreams like this?”
“Where I am being tortured, or other bad things happen?” She winced, thinking about the dream she had some months ago, where Jolinar had been the one torturing someone. Granted, it seemed to have been while Jolinar was still a Goa’uld, but it had been very disturbing anyway. She decided not to mention it. “Rarely. If you mean dreams where I am Jolinar, or which are caused by memories from Jolinar, then... sometimes.” She blushed, thinking of the dreams she still regularly had. Dreams that were much more pleasant, and very erotic.
“I am glad the memories are not causing you pain often.” He looked at her, somberly. “I wish there was something I could do to assure it never happened.”
“Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t happen often, and my own memories cause me nightmares often enough anyway.”
“I understand. Fighting the Goa’uld - or just living in a Galaxy where the Goa’uld rule - unfortunately means experiencing unpleasant things.” He hugged her to him again, and slowly caressed her back, wishing very much he could take away her pain.
Eventually, Sam had relaxed and fallen asleep. Martouf had kissed her softly, and pulled the blankets up around her, before walking noiselessly to his side of the bed.
*She seems to be sleeping peacefully now,* Martouf observed, as he crawled into bed, moving slowly so as not to wake her up.
*Yes, she does. It saddens me that our Jolinar’s memories are causing her pain, and that she does not wish to talk to us about it. I feel helpless.*
*As do I.* Martouf sighed. *They caused Jolinar pain as well, and she also insisted on handling it herself. Samantha is similar to her in many ways. They are both strong and independent, and unwilling to admit weakness.*
*Of which Samantha has very few, I suspect, just like Jolinar.*
*Sleep well, my Lantash.*
*And you, Martouf.* He ‘hugged’ his host.
Eventually, they, too fell asleep.