"It looks like a ty-pical village on a Goa'uld world," Freya observed.

"Yeah, I agree. We've been to many worlds like this," Sam said.

"Why would the Jaffa go to the village, if they only came here to get the naquadah? That doesn't make sense, does it?" Daniel wondered.

"There wasn't as much naquadah as there should have been, probably. That's why they were angry. They're most likely going to insist on getting the rest - or punish the people of this planet," Martouf explained.

They heard a scream, and then the sound of a staff blast. "Let's get out of here!" Daniel exclaimed, turning around and getting ready to run.

They heard several more screams and another staff blast.

"No!" Martouf insisted, grabbing hold of him. "We must help these people!"

"Why?" Daniel asked. "What can we do?"

"I am Tok'ra! I must fight Goa'uld oppression!" Martouf said, with passion.

"You are a child!" Daniel told him.

"Shut up - both of you! Let's go see what's going on!" Sam decided.

The children looked at the scene before them, hiding behind some thick shrubbery. The Jaffa were shouting at a terrified group of villagers - and they clearly had already killed two of them.

"What are they yelling about?" Sam whispered, not understanding enough Goa'uld to catch what was being said.

"The villagers were sup-posed to provide fifty cart-loads of naquadah ore for this half-year. They have only provided forty-eight cart-loads," Martouf told her in a low voice.

"And they're being punished for two missing cart-loads?" Daniel looked at him, shocked.

"Yes, and keep your voice down!" Martouf threw a nervous look in the direction of the Jaffa, who fortunately did not seem to have noticed.

"We can't let them get away with it!" Daniel said, suddenly deciding they needed to do something. He got up and was out in the open before any of the others could stop him. "Hey!"

"No! Daniel!" Freya exclaimed.

The Jaffa leader and a few of his men turned around and looked at Daniel.

"You... you let them go! You... big brute!" Daniel insisted, his voice starting to shake.

"Or else what? Ha'shak!" The Jaffa laughed. It sounded unfriendly, dangerous, even.

One of the other Jaffa raised his staff weapon and pointed it at Daniel. "Should I execute the insolent child?"

"Damn!" Martouf hissed, and pulled the hand device out from his pocket and started putting it on. It did not fit him well.

"It's too big for your hand!" Sam whispered, frantically.

"It is made to adapt to almost any size!"

"Not that of a child!"

Martouf flexed his hand, and concentrated. The kara'kesh slowly shrank some. It fit better, though not perfect. Well enough to work, though. Hopefully.

Lantash took control, flashing Martouf's eyes as he stepped out from behind the bush.

"Jaffa, kree! You will surrender! Kneel before your god Lantash!"

The Jaffa stared at the child, surprise and uncertainty evident on their faces. They were clearly not sure how to react to what seemed to be a Goa'uld - but in a very young host.

"My Lord?" the Jaffa leader finally asked, uncertainly.

"Yes! I am your Lord!" Lantash said, doing his best to make his voice sound as deep and dangerous as possible - which was hard, even with the distortion. "Why are you not obeying me?" He allowed his hand device to glow. "Perhaps you judge me by my choice of host?"

The Jaffa swallowed, now looking distinctly nervous. "No, my Lord. Of course not!"

"Good! Then I shall not have to kill you all!"

"If I may be so bold - why have you come here? Are you sent by our Lord Veles?" the Jaffa asked.

"You dare question me? Of course I was sent here by Lord Veles! I am his new underlord!" Lantash spat. "Now kneel!"

"Yes, my Lord."

The Jaffa leader did as he was told, and the other Jaffa all threw themselves to the ground as well, as soon as they saw him do it.

"Now take the naquadah and go back with it - quickly! Lord Veles needs it as soon as possible, and he cannot wait for your ri-diculous attempts at disci...disciplining the population! I am sent to do that instead!"

"Of course. I beg forgiveness for my failings." The Jaffa leader bowed his head even deeper.

"I shall consider forgiving you! If you obey quickly in the future!"

"Yes, my Lord. I shall aim to do so."

The Jaffa leader gave orders to his men, and they immediately disappeared in the direction of the Stargate, where they would begin to move the naquadah through.

"What now?" Sam wondered, walking up to where Lantash was standing.

Daniel and Freya joined them as well.

"They should bury their Stargate. Do that Veles have ships? Do you think so, Lantash?" Daniel asked.

"I doubt he has ships, since he is probably just a newly e-stablished Goa'uld. Maybe he has this world and one or two more. If they bury the chaapa'ai, they'll be safe. At least from Veles."

Meanwhile, the people of the village had slowly approached the children, and now humbly kneeled down in front of Lantash.

"Have mercy, great Lord Lantash!" one of the men pleaded. "We had a bad harvest, and then many suffered from a sickness. There were too few to work in the mines, and we did not have time to fill our quota. We will do better next time, I promise!"

"I am not interested in your excuses - or your naquadah." Lantash hesitated, discussing with Martouf how to play this. The population seemed convinced he was a god, and might not react well to being told the Goa'uld were impostors. "There is a great evil in the Galaxy. To protect you, your god wishes you to bury the chaapa'ai, until it is again safe."

"Yes, my Lord. We will do so."

"You should do it as soon as we've left," Sam added.

"Which will be when the Jaffa have taken the naquadah through," Anise said, having taken over control from Freya.

"You are a god as well?" One of the other villagers looked at her with clear worship on her face.

"It is a great sign that you have chosen to appear as children! A sign that our people will prosper and grow strong!" another villager said. "When those carrying the appearance of the innocents come to save you, it is clear all will be well. We are not afraid of the great evil, my Lords."

Lantash groaned to himself. "Good. However, it is my wish that you bury the chaapa'ai as soon as I have left. You will obey me."

"Of course, my Lord."

"Well, that was weird!" Sam observed, when they had stepped through the Stargate to another world - a planet used by the Tok'ra as a stop-over world.

"Yes, I cannot say I could have hoped it would turn out so well," Lantash said, sounding very relieved.

"We're do we go now?" Anise wondered.

"We should go back to the first planet we visited - maybe that guy... Mochan... maybe he's found out some more," Daniel suggested.

"I don't think that's a good idea..." Sam began.

"Why not? Do you have a better idea?" Daniel challenged.

"No, but that's where they'll look for us first - Dad and the others, I mean. Besides, I'm hungry now," Sam said. "I've been hungry for a long time."

"Yeah, so am I," Lantash agreed. "We should take a break."

"And get some sleep too. I am tired," Anise said, yawning mightily.

Daniel looked at the others. "Losers!" Then he suddenly yawned too. "That was your fault, Anise!"

"No, it was not!" Anise said, hotly.

"Was, too!"

"Was not!"

"Quiet!" Lantash exclaimed. "We'll find a place to sleep for tonight. I know the address to a good planet."

Next chapter >>