Chapter Thirty-two Summary: Lantash and Malek talk, and Malek's insight into Lantash's problem helps him to decide that he is ready to go through the Sevesh. He goes to ask Daniel where Kataya is, and Daniel decides to go with him to talk to her. As they approach Daniel's room, they see Merdwin and Janet entering it at a run. Knowing that Kataya is in there, Daniel and Lantash dash after them only to be brought up short by the sight of Kataya lying in Sam's arms and covered in blood. Interaction between them develops rapidly. Sam berates them, and Merdwin takes Kataya and heads for the gate and Avilion, the Sanctuary, to try to save Kataya. Jack, Teal'c, and others follow.
Coeurawyn - My Heart “Italics” – Symbiote-Host or Telepathic communications
Jorlin paused after setting down the last of the trunks. She looked at the other Tok’Ra that Garshaw had requested, and then turning to Aldwin, she asked, “Is everything that Garshaw requested here? There were personal items requested as well as the articles we will need for the mission. The healers also had some specific requests for equipment. They feel that if Selmak can survive the first day or so that eventually, they will be able to prevail. Garshaw is staying until they know one way or the other, and she requested a few things of her own.”
Aldwin, who stood nearby with a small handheld device, inspecting and then checking things off as they arrived, replied in a clipped and harassed voice, “No, I do not see the clothes, uniforms, or personal items the others requested. I do not see Garshaw’s requested items, either. Nor do I know where they are, who was to gather them, or how they were to arrive here to be transported to those who requested them.”
“I have them, Aldwin, along with the other items that seem to be giving you such trouble,” the tall brunette Tok’Ra, Alanna, stepped up to Aldwin. “No one was sent to get them, so I brought them myself.” She motioned behind her to three other Tok’Ra, all of whom were carrying some type of trunks or satchels. The mound of personal items and articles for the mission was growing quite large.
Bowing to her, Aldwin set to work checking the contents off his list. “All right. That is everything. I hope it is enough for this mission. Three months is a long time for no more than they requested. Are you sure they did not request any other things they might need for it?” He fussed with some of their equipment, making sure it was the correct piece.
“I understand that the Tau’ri are supplying the rest, so we need only supply the technical needs. And as you can see, the amount of that which we are supplying is quite large,” Alanna stated quietly, and looking at the mound of equipment that was going, he had to change his mind and agree. It just seemed odd that they were taking no other provisions.
Of course, it always did seem that way when they were on a mission with the Tau’ri. They always supplied the survival gear and food. It just made him feel they were forgetting something, although he knew they were not. Of course, he reminded himself, very often, they had supplies hidden away at the site they were going to, or they took a cargo ship. This entire undertaking was a little different than most, as normally they would be conveying all of these items to the hold of a ship, not to the Chaappa’ai.
Turning to Jorlin, Alanna said, “Please convey to Garshaw the council’s regret at the turn of events, and assure her that we are waiting anxiously to hear news of Selmak.” Scrupulous, as always, to be sure to include the host, in her eyes of equal importance to the symbiote, Alanna continued. “Also convey our regrets and hopes to the members of the SGC and, particularly, Major Carter.
Drawing a small jewel-encrusted frame holding a photo of Samantha as a child out of her pocket, she continued, “Please see that Major Carter receives this for her father. Should they require anything else of us, tell them to please ask. Per'sus also wishes you to convey his wishes to Selmak and Jacob for a speedy recovery. To all those involved in this mission to the Corinthin Quadrant, he wishes you a successful mission, and he regrets that he could not come himself to be here while Garshaw is away.”
Bowing her head and stepping back, she watched as the rings activated. So far so good. The report she sent back would be as it should be. Everything here was going according to plan. She walked quickly away from the others and back to her private quarters, to make her report to her superior. This was a most difficult assignment. She liked the Tok'Ra. She laughed to herself, well, she was a Tok’Ra, and it was very difficult under the circumstances. However, needs must, and she reached into her pocket for her communications device. She must have another conversation with Torleck soon. Such a charming man. So enlightening.
Garshaw and General Hammond walked swiftly down the hall toward the control room. Both were expecting the Tok’Ra that Garshaw had requested the day before to make contact at any time. Of course, there would be no sense of urgency for them, and they had many things to gather for their joint mission with the Tau’ri, however, knowing her people and their ways well, Garshaw was confident they would arrive soon. So soon, in fact, that she felt no surprise upon stepping into the control room, to hear the klaxon’s blare their off world activation. As soldiers made their way toward the gate room, Sergeant Davis looked up at General Hammond, “It is the Tok’Ra, Sir,” he said, his hand already starting toward the panel to open the iris. As the order came to do so, he pressed his hand down completely and the iris slid open.
“We will be in the Gate room, Sergeant,” General Hammond said, as he placed his hand on Garshaw’s elbow to guide her, with old-world southern charm, from the room.
“Yes, sir, General,” The Sergeant replied as he watched the Tok’Ra begin to arrive, bag and baggage, through the Gate. He turned to Lieutenant Simmons and grinned, “You are on,” he laughed softly.
The young Lieutenant took off his head set, smiled briefly, and shrugged, as he left to start to make sense of the mass of luggage and equipment that was arriving, and get it all put in the correct places. With this many Tok’Ra running around, it could get interesting. Some of the Marines were not keen on anything with a symbiote in them. It could get dicey, but he hoped the Colonel’s warnings would contain any real problems.
Of course, it was going to get even more interesting when the Katteri started arriving. He had heard that at least two of the female warriors were very beautiful. He had already seen one, Kataya’s daughter, Gwennetha, and he had heard the other daughter was even more beautiful, but he didn’t think that was possible. He didn’t think there was any woman who could be more beautiful than Gwennetha. The type to haunt a man’s dreams, and she didn’t even know he was alive. They never did.
He sighed deeply and began to wade though the luggage and people, all the while thinking of what needed done. Let’s see, the healer's stuff was to go to the infirmary; they had decided that with the training starting soon, they would need the healers after all. The amount of injuries around here was about to go up. At least, that was the general opinion of what would happen once the Katteri arrived and the training began in earnest. What with the intars, and the energy thrown around by the Katteri, there would be more breaks, strains, and sprains to deal with.
As more Tok’Ra stepped through the event horizon and turned to begin moving the equipment, supplies, and luggage that was being sent through by those left behind, it became ever more confusing on the ramp. As things began to pile up in front of the Gate, everyone’s attention focused primarily on removing things from there, as quickly as possible. In the confusion, no one noticed the Tok’Ra who were already on the Tau’ri base enter the gate room and proceed to the ramp to help with the dispersal of the items.
As the last few things came through, Jorlin leaned over, reached to pick up a large trunk, and a voice at her shoulder, said, “Here, Jorlin, let me help you with that.”
Yelping, she fell over and landed on her, um, rump. She stared up at Jacob Carter, the man who was supposed to be dying.
“Well, Jacob, that has to be the fastest recovery in Tok’Ra history,” she said dryly, as she climbed to her feet with the help of the hand he held out to her. The sound of voices had ceased at the sound of her yelp, and all those who had been busy with their baggage turned and stared at him.
“I did suggest that you wait until the briefing to make yourself known, Jacob,” Jocasta scolded him, with a superior look. “It was bad enough for all of us yesterday. Today, with Garshaw assuring everyone you were dying, it must be even more of a shock.”
Jacob had the grace to look chastised. “Yeah, well, I guess I should have waited. Look, everyone, I am really sorry for the subterfuge, but once we have had the briefing, you will understand.”
“There will be no problems, Jacob,” Garshaw stepped forward and addressed her people. “There will be a briefing in thirty minutes. Lieutenant Simmons,” she nodded toward the young Lieutenant, “will be your guide until you have a permanent guide assigned. That will not take place until you have determined whether or not you feel comfortable going on this mission.”
Keveck spoke up, “I was under the impression that we had already agreed to go on a mission.”
“You agreed to go on a mission that will not be taking place. We will explain the true mission during the briefing. Please follow Lieutenant Simmons to the briefing room at the correct time.” She nodded and turned to leave, but the General was still holding her elbow.
She stopped to look at him, as he spoke up, “If you have any other needs in the meantime, any one of our people can help you out, if the Lieutenant is busy with someone else at the time. Please begin to make yourselves at home, and learn your way around, as it appears you may be here for quite some time.”
With a nod of his head towards the Tok’Ra, several of the marines, and the airmen standing around, he and Garshaw left the room.
“Well, let’s start sorting some of this stuff out, while we have the time,” Jacob spoke into the silence. Then realizing the Tok’Ra and the humans were eyeing each other uneasily, he continued to address the Tok’Ra, “I am truly sorry we had to do it this way, but if you will just trust us, and be patient, you will see that we had no choice.”
“Now, if you will show Lieutenant Simmons what belongs to whom, we will have the personal items sent to their respective owner’s quarters. The equipment you brought will be put into storage, for the time being, until it is needed. Your own personal things will also be set aside, until after your agreement to go on the mission. At that point, you will be assigned sleeping quarters, assigned a personal guide, and given a tour of the facility, so that you can begin to learn your way around.”
“A guide, Jacob, or a guard?” Keveck spoke softly, but there was an angry undertone to his voice.
“Do not jump to conclusions, Keveck, and do not make me wish I had not personally requested you,” Selmak came fore and spoke firmly to the younger man. “Each of you have been hand-picked for this assignment, and I expect each of you that agree to go on it, to give one hundred percent to it. You will soon know why we brought you here. Have the courtesy to respect my host, and his people, for as you will soon see, they have done you a great service. It will soon be time for the briefing, so please cooperate by giving the Lieutenant the information he needs. I will meet you at the briefing.”
As Selmak began to turn to leave, Keveck spoke up, “Selmak, you are correct, and I apologize. I was out of line,” he said sincerely, if stiffly.
Selmak looked at him, “Thank you. I appreciate your effort to make things go as smoothly as possible.” Nodding to them all, he and Jocasta left the room.
After sorting through and figuring out what belonged to whom, the Tok’Ra followed Lieutenant Simmons to the briefing room. As they approached, they could hear voices. As the Lieutenant opened the door, they saw Lantash standing next to Kataya, and Major Carter standing next to Dr. Jackson. They appeared to be in a deep discussion, and though they did not sound angry, there was definitely a tension in the air as Dr. Jackson and Lantash faced one another.
They watched as Kataya stepped to Dr. Jackson and placed her hands on his shoulders. Reaching up, she kissed him swiftly, and they heard her whisper, “You will both stop this, now. Neither Samantha, nor I, need this added stress. Please, Coeurawyn.” Astonished to see Lantash’s long lost mate treat Dr. Jackson in this way, they also noted that Major Carter treated Lantash in a similar manner.
Garshaw entered and immediately took in the puzzled looks on their faces. “I will make one thing plain, at once, so that it is no longer a question,” she announced abruptly. “Samantha, Martouf, and Lantash will be joined quite soon, probably before the mission. You will, of course, all be welcome to attend the joining, as well as the Tau’ri wedding, which will also take place quite soon.” She sighed with relief, as Merdwin entered the room with Jacob.
“Please, if you will all be seated,” General Hammond indicated the chairs surrounding the table. The other members of the Tok’Ra had also begun to arrive, some seeming to be on very friendly terms with their ‘guides’.
As soon as everyone found a chair and sat down, General Hammond quickly recapped what he had gone over the day before and then turned the meeting over to Merdwin, who also repeated himself with little interruption. When he had finished, he looked at the faces around him and sighed as he finished his presentation, “If there was an easy way to take care of this, we would. There is not. I believe Garshaw has something to say to you all, so I will turn the floor over to her now.”
Garshaw stood and looked at each of her people in turn. “As you all are aware, Bastet is a dangerous enemy of ours. She has attempted to destroy us on several occasions. On the last occasion, we were lucky that the Furling evacuated our entire base to Avilion in time to prevent the loss of anyone. The same will happen this time, if we do not stop her before she can strike.”
She paused to look around the table at her people. “However, due to the great number of people on their world, the Tau’ri cannot evacuate, therefore, the consensus is that we will stop her, once and for all this time, and it will be before she can strike either us, or the Tau’ri. It will take a concerted effort by all three races to accomplish this. To that end, each of you were chosen to be brought here to be informed of what is taking place. At this time, I wish to know if any of you do not feel you have the skill, or confidence, to undertake this mission. If any one of you has the slightest doubt in your mind, you must step aside, and we will offer a position to someone else. There will be no stigma attached to refusal.”
Again, she paused, and when no one said anything, she continued, “This mission will require you to live and train here on the Tau’ri base for the next eight weeks minimum. Our last information indicates that Bastet intends to attack ten to twelve weeks from now, and we wish to attempt a pre-emptive strike against her in approximately eight weeks, give or take a few days either way.”
The room remained quiet until Jorlin spoke up, “I, for one, will look forward to taking part in this mission. Plans are already underway then? You know what we are doing, when, and how?”
“No, not yet. We have some ideas, but we wanted the Tok’Ra to be in on the planning of this. To that end, we have begun to assemble a team to do tactical planning, and one to do specifics on team dynamics and training. We will also be assembling a team whose main purpose will be supply, and there will no doubt be medical personnel required.” General Hammond responded to the question.
“Who is in charge of the operation?” Keveck asked quietly.
“Jacob is in charge of the Tok’Ra contingent, Kataya is in charge of the Katteri contingent, and Major Carter is in charge of the SGC contingent. Merdwin and I will be in charge of the group as a whole while here; once on Bastet’s world, I will be in charge, Selmak/Jacob will be second in command. Should Major Carter or Kataya be off world during the upcoming training, for any reason, then the leadership of their contingents will fall to myself and Merdwin, or another high ranking Furling, until they return,” Jack O’Neill spoke quietly, but firmly.
“There is already a team set up to work on tactics, as we stated. It consists of SG-1, Lantash, Selmak, their respective hosts, Kataya and Merdwin. Garshaw informed me that one of the Tok’Ra, named Keveck, is an excellent tactician. Whichever one of you that is, if you agree to the assignment, you are on that team.” Jack continued.
“That would be me, Colonel O’Neill,” Keveck said, “and it is actually my host, Christoph, who is the better tactician. Fortunately it is something we both excel in and enjoy,” he continued, with quiet pride. “We will be honored to join the mission. The Tok’Ra have long wished a chance to destroy Bastet. I cannot imagine any of us not agreeing to go along. I am surprised that you did not request Aldwin, though.” He sent a puzzled look to Garshaw, “He is excellent at organization.”
“That is very true, which is why we left him behind. If we must evacuate, we will need his skills there.” Keveck bowed his head, in silent acknowledgement of this point.
“Is everyone agreed then? You are all willing?” Garshaw watched as each of her people nodded their acceptance. “In that case, I will return to the base tomorrow, or the next day, at the latest, with the news that Selmak seems to be holding his own, and that I expect to soon hear that he will recover. And I will begin to hint that Martouf, Lantash, and Samantha have become even closer while waiting by his bedside, and it will not surprise me to hear that Martouf and Lantash will soon take a mate.” Garshaw indicated to General Hammond that she had no more to say.
“As far as what will happen for the remainder of today, we will assign each of you a guide. They will stay with you until you feel comfortable in moving around the base on your own. You will each be issued key cards that will give you access to certain areas of the base. Some areas are off limits to everyone, except a very few of us. You will have twenty- four hour access to the training areas, the gym, your quarters, the mess hall, the recreation area, administrative offices, and the medical facilities to start with. As each of your strengths become obvious, or if there is a particular area you work in, I am sure those areas of access will expand. Please feel free to keep your guide as long as you wish. The corridors and different levels can be confusing, and we want you to be comfortable here.”
As General Hammond finished speaking, Morlash spoke up, “So the guides are just that, guides?”
“If we cannot trust each other at this point in time, then we will never be able to accomplish this mission. Only with complete trust in one another and perfect coordination can we hope to defeat Bastet,” Teal’c spoke up. “That includes trust between all of us. Tok’Ra, Tau’ri, Furling, and myself.”
Bowing his head, Morlash stated, “I agree. I only wished to be sure that I understood correctly and that your indication was, indeed, a great deal of trust between us. We, I am sure,” he said slowly, “will do everything in our power to see to it that the mission is a success. To be revenged against Bastet will be worth a great deal, and we will cooperate in every way that we can.”
“Yeah, well, I am glad, ‘cause, see our Marines can be a little mouthy,” Jack spoke up. “So, if they get that way, try not to let it get to you, and just let the leader of that group know, and we will take care of it, okay?”
“I think it would be a good time to start going over some of the things we have discussed so far, so that we are all on the same page,” General Hammond stated, indicating that Colonel O’Neill and Merdwin would go into the details of what they had tentatively come up with so far.
“Okay, first off, if any of you see a flaw we’ve missed, have an idea of another way to do something, see a detail, or a pitfall, that we’ve missed, speak up. We want everyone’s input as to what you see that we haven’t. I understand, from Merdwin, that there are some things that will have to be a certain way. When we get to those, if we try to change something that can’t be changed, he will let us know. So, okay, here goes,” O’Neill spoke briskly, as he imparted information they all needed.
“As soon as the Furlings arrive, we will be ready to start forming teams and training them,” Jack said. “Merdwin, do you know how many there will be altogether from your people?” Jack asked.
“There will be a minimum of eighteen, and depending on how many teams we decide on, we may request more. That is not counting Kataya and Samantha. Kataya suggested at least two Katteri to a team. Artereos agrees and I concur.”
“Samantha and Kataya will not be counted as part of a team as they will not be able to use their energy to help you fight as you enter battle. I suppose this is as good a time as any to point out that one of the main purposes of some of the teams will be to protect Samantha and Kataya, until they find Bastet and begin their battle with her. To that end, they will not be using any of their energy, and they will not manifest until they have her in battle with them.”
“I have given some thought to the make up of the teams, Colonel, and that is what decided me to request two for each team. As you know, we cannot throw a strong shield and keep the links open. In my opinion, the links will be a priority, as will the group shields. They will not be able to protect completely, but they will be able to cut down on the damage the group takes,” Kataya pointed out quietly.
“That sounds reasonable to me. I’m sure we’re all going to need all the protection we can get,” O’Neill agreed.
Looking a little anxious, Sam turned to Merdwin, “Are you saying that we can’t help our teams as we look for Bastet?” She asked, obviously upset at the thought of not helping her team.
“You will need to refrain from using your energy reserves, Samantha. There is no reason you cannot use your Tau’ri weapons, though. The abilities you and Kataya have must remain hidden, until you find her and engage her in battle, and we must protect the two of you, at all costs. It is imperative that the two of you find and engage her together, and at full energy reserves,” Merdwin said firmly.
“Merdwin,” Kataya spoke up, “There will be at least five additional Katteri coming. They may need some protection, once they begin their duties, depending on how this all works out, of course. I have gone over this with Artereos, and we have decided that they should be in a contingent that comes in near to ours, that is, the one that Samantha and I are in.”
Looking at her closely, Merdwin nodded slowly, and then asked, “And have you requested specific individuals, Kataya?”
“I have and they have all agreed to participate. They are Gwennetha, Seraphynara, Rosawyn, Caliswyna, Desrynara, and Garwynthia. That will be six high priestesses altogether, and I am quite sure that some of the warriors will be high ranking priests, although I do not believe that they will be needed for this particular duty.” She looked at him steadily. They sent no mental message; it was unneeded.
Merdwin nodded his head abruptly, once. “I agree,” he asserted swiftly.
“Um, excuse me, but why do we need six more people that we’ll have to protect? Why priestesses?”
“Our priests and priestesses are our healers, Colonel.” Kataya answered him. “Artereos believes we will need them. They will be fighting along side us, but there may come a point when they will need protection, as they do that which their training leads them to do. Because of that, I would not include them in the count of a team. I also suggest that they be broken up into groups of three each. I want three of them together within a group.”
“It will be very important that they can get to the, ah, wounded as quickly as possible,” Kataya said, and although her voice was reasonable, it was quite plain that she expected to have her way in this instance. Jack glanced at Merdwin, who indicated with an almost imperceptible shake of his head, that this was one of those things that would just have to be this way, so he dropped the topic.
Merdwin took over the briefing at this point to say, “I believe it might be best if the teams are all dressed the same. Bastet would instantly recognize both Tok’Ra and Katteri uniforms. I believe she will be more likely to stay and fight if she does not realize, at first, that there are Katteri among the warriors attacking her base.”
“I agree about the Katteri warriors, Merdwin, but the sight of Tok’Ra fighting their way into her stronghold will only spur her to stay and fight. She would take great pleasure in defeating them, and she will attempt to take as many alive as she can, so that she can torture them for information. It is an angle we should at least investigate. It would, of course, put the Tok’Ra at greater risk, and that should be taken into account before a decision is made,” Kataya said.
“I have to agree, Merdwin. Kataya has read Bastet very well. That is exactly what she will attempt to do.” Lantash added, “Her hatred of the Tok’Ra will overcome any caution she might feel, and her overwhelming arrogance will take care of the rest. That is on the pro side of the question. However, Kataya is also correct in thinking that the Tok’Ra will be singled out as targets which in some respects is a very large con.”
“I will agree that you know Bastet better than any of us, Lantash, so I am willing to take a closer look at the possibility,” Merdwin said. Then smiling slightly he continued, “I know Morgasha better than anyone, and I agree that her response would be the same as Bastet’ s.”
Daniel spoke up, saying, “Well, it sounds good if you say it fast, but is it really necessary that we make the Tok’Ra priority targets? Don’t you think she is going to stay and fight anyway, not knowing that we have Katteri with us? I don’t think we need the added benefit of the Tok’Ra taking that risk.”
“Not only that, but it means we have more people we will have to give extra protection to, which in turn puts the other team members at more risk.” He stopped for a moment and then continued, “Not that we wouldn’t be protecting them as much as anyone else, anyway. I mean we would.” Daniel stopped trying to explain and sat back letting his words sink in.
“What you say is true, Daniel. She will attempt to fight, especially seeing what a small contingent we have, and knowing that the Tau’ri don’t have ships to attack her from above. It wouldn’t be necessary, and it would make the fighting easier in some ways. We wouldn’t have to be trying to protect the Tok’Ra anymore than anyone else,” Jack said, thoughtfully. “So what do you guys think? If she is going to stay and fight anyway, and I see no reason she wouldn’t, then I agree with Daniel; there is no real need for the added risk to you.”
“If we wear our uniforms, and she is alerted to our presence, she will undoubtedly attempt to take some of us prisoner for the pleasure of torturing us. That is her way. The idea that she will not prevail against such a small force will never enter her mind. On the other hand, if she sees Tok’Ra in the forces attacking her, she could decide to launch her attack on the Tok’Ra base early, with whatever ships she has, knowing her plan has been discovered,” Keveck spoke up, after giving all points consideration. “I believe that is something we should try to avoid, if at all possible. I agree with what Lantash said, about it spurring her on to fight; I am just unsure of her other responses. What do you think, Lantash?”
Seemingly lost in thought, Lantash took a moment or two to answer, “I believe you may have come up with a scenario we had not considered. It would be very likely that if she saw Tok’Ra in the groups, she would send her fleet. Kataya? Thoughts?” Lantash questioned her to see if she agreed. Of all the people sitting around the briefing room table, Lantash, Kataya, and Merdwin knew her best.
Kataya, too, took her time in answering. When at last she replied, it was to agree with the two of them. “I agree, but this brings up another point. If we are going into battle trying to keep them from knowing there are symbiotes among us, then the symbiotes will need to be careful not to give themselves away. Merdwin, I believe that we will need to have our people use a shielding technique that will hide the presence of the symbiote from the Jaffa, for the naquadah alone will give their presence away, if they get close enough to them.”
“One other thing, if she would send the fleet because there were Tok’Ra, then if she discovers that it is the Tau’ri that are attacking her, it could cause the same response. We should probably have an evacuation plan in place for the Tok’Ra in case that scenario takes place.”
“Good point,” Merdwin said, as he made a short note on his folder.
“So we go in with all of us in SGC uniforms. All carrying P-90’s and we should have some…” Jack’s voice trailed off, as he made notes to himself. “I’ll get with you later, General, on just what ordinance I think we’re gonna need.”
“Do we know if the gate is guarded?” Garshaw asked. “It was not when Selmak was there.”
“Not to our knowledge, Garshaw,” Merdwin responded. “Artereos’s agent’s last reports were that there were still no extra precautions being taken. She still believes herself to be undetected.”
“We must hope it remains that way,” Garshaw replied.
Jack looked over at Merdwin, and asked, “Do you know when your people are due to arrive?”
“The first of the Furlings that will be assisting will be arriving within the next day or so. I suspect that unless something occurs to prevent it, the first group will arrive tomorrow or the next day at the latest. In the meantime, if the Tok’Ra are not familiar with earth weapons that should be one of the first orders of business. They need to be able to use them efficiently. It will do no good for them to look like they are Tau’ri, if they cannot fight, as if they are Tau’ri,” Merdwin pointed out.
“Okay, who do we have that would be the best to teach these people how to use a sidearm, a P-90, grenades, claymores and a launcher?” General Hammond asked his people.
“I think Jenkins, McIntyre, Lawrence, and Hodson. Colin McIntyre and Cynthia Lawrence are two of our best marksmen, Rod Jenkins is a whiz with claymores and like matters, and there isn’t anyone better with Launchers than Marilee Hodson. What do you think Carter, Teal’c?” O’Neill asked them.
“Indeed, O’Neill, your choices seem very good,” Teal’c, agreed.
“I agree sir, and they are, um, good natured people, sir, if you know what I mean. So, there should not be any personality conflicts. All four of them are very, um, easy going.”
“I think the words you’re looking for are non-prejudiced and tolerant, Sam. Therefore, if they are, they would be good choices. I think we are all aware that it is possible that there will be some strained moments. We are three different races who don’t know each other well, and unfortunately, the Tok’Ra is of the same race that is your sworn enemies. I think having this out in the open is better than pussy-footing around it,” Jacob spoke up, as Sam tried subtly to remind the Colonel why his choices were good this time and to be sure to think of that with respects to other decisions.
“I agree with Jacob. It is better that we are all aware that not everyone is tolerant. We will do our best to keep our people polite and courteous, but sometimes things happen. We have already had one meeting discussing this topic, with our people, and they are all aware that we will not tolerate any type of problems. Disciplinary action will be taken, so please report any type of harassment to your group leaders,” General Hammond said, forthrightly. He nodded to Jack to continue with the briefing.
“All right, then can anyone think of anything else that we should be starting training on right away?” Jack asked.
Teal’c joined the conversation, to inquire, “Should not the Tok’Ra have some basic first aid for humans? Unless they are going to have their healing devices, of course, in which case, they should need nothing more.” He looked toward Malek who seemed to be one that the others deferred to somewhat. Already lines of command were beginning to show themselves.
“We do have some very basic training, but something a little more in-depth would not come amiss,” Malek agreed. “We may carry a few healing devices with us, but most of us will not. Brialek, Arwanna, and Calise are all healers, so they will no doubt have theirs. One or two others of us will also carry one. Although we are not healers, we can use the device; we just do not use it as well as some,” He said in a deep quiet voice. Sam nodded her understanding. She looked at her dad.
“Yeah, Sam, I will have mine, but it wouldn’t hurt for everyone to have at least some first aid, as Malek said, that is a little more in-depth than what they now have. I think we all know that this could get very messy,” Jacob warned, in a calm, but intense manner.
She nodded. That was about five. “I agree. Okay, I will set that up with Janet. So, we have at least six Furling healers and about five Tok’Ra, but most of them are going to be too busy fighting to do much more than try to manage the injuries to keep them from getting worse. We will have some medics along, too, I assume, sir?” Sam looked at Jack, waiting for an answer.
He frowned as he gave it some thought. “I’m not sure, Carter.” Then he sighed and said, “Yeah, you’re right, it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Last team through the gate will be the medics. We will add an extra team with them in it.” He made more notes in his notebook.
Jack took up the direction of the meeting again. “When the Furlings begin to arrive, we will start training in earnest. Each team will have a minimum of one Tok’Ra and two Katteri-enti Warriors. From what we have decided so far, it looks like teams will have from six to eight people in them, unless they have healers, in which case that team will have more. SG-1 is the designated team to take out Bastet. All other units will be assigned specific targets to take out or areas to cover.”
“The primary goal is to reach Bastet with Carter and Kataya fully intact and at maximum strength. They will not manifest until they have engaged the enemy. All teams will be answerable to me and after me, to Jacob and Selmak. We will work out the rest of the chain of command as we go along with the training. It won’t be an all Tau’ri command chain; there will be officers from each of our groups in the chain of command.”
“I cannot emphasize enough that our primary goal is to deliver Carter and Kataya to the battle with Bastet, at full power and intact, and then to continue to protect them from outside interference, while they engage her. Does anyone else have anything to add?” Jack asked, trying to end his part of the briefing.
“I do, Colonel,” Kataya spoke up. “I have the plans to the stronghold, and I am studying them now. The stronghold is quite large, but we have information about her daily routine that will, I hope, prove valuable.”
As she paused, Jack again spoke up, “There is one other thing that is a priority, and I should have mentioned it earlier. It is extremely important that you remember this. General Carter and I are in command, but everyone needs to realize, that should Major Carter or Kataya give a command at any time, it is to take priority. They won’t be giving any commands going in, so if you hear one of them tell you something, then know that it is important that you follow their commands to the letter, regardless of what we may have told you. No questions asked.”
He nodded to Kataya to continue, and she said, “Just to let you know a little of what we will be studying, and what will be coming up in briefings going forward, Samantha and I will need to get Bastet outside into a courtyard. It is imperative that we manage to get her there, as we will need the space afforded, yet also the confines of the walls. We will be calling a briefing nearer to the time of the battle to go over specifics of the tactics. Anyone wishing to study the plans of the stronghold should contact Merdwin or Colonel O’Neill for a copy of them.”
“So does anyone have anything else?” Jack asked, as the room became quiet again.
“Will we be able to begin to familiarize ourselves with your weapons and communications systems right away, Colonel O’Neill?” Malek asked.
“Sure if you want to. Carter, you want to handle turning that over to the people involved?”
“Yes, sir,” Sam replied. Turning to the Tok’Ra, she said, “I will talk to Janet right away, she is our Chief Medical Officer. Once I have told her what we need, she will coordinate with those in weapons training, so that the first aid sessions and the artillery and weapons training will not conflict. Once you have dispensed with your guides, we will assign a few of them to work as liaisons, to be sure that everyone involved always has the most up to date information on times and schedules. As long as you keep your guides, it will be their responsibility to know what is happening where and to relay that information to you.”
“Yes, and just so that there are no misunderstandings, we will try to put our information and any changes on paper. We will show you where we will post it, and we will post it in both English and Goa’uld. I realize you all speak excellent English, but since we were not sure if you could read it as well as speak it, we decided on doing it this way,” Daniel spoke up
‘That is indeed thoughtful of you, Dr. Jackson. Thank you,” Malek said, and then continued with a slight smile, “All of us read some of your language, but if it is also in Goa’ uld we will be able to check our translations to determine whether or not we have them correct. It will help us to learn to read it better.” As Daniel nodded his acknowledgment, General Hammond began his dismissal.
“The guides are outside waiting for you, and if you need anything, you have only to ask them, or Lieutenant Simmons, and we will do our best to get whatever it is you need. We will set up the first of the weapons training sessions for later this afternoon. That should give you all time to settle in, and we will contact you when we have the session set up. All right everyone, if there is nothing else, dismissed.”
With a nod, General Hammond left the room, and everyone else stood, although few made their way to the door. Most of them stood in small groups, talking over the events that had transpired, how they felt about it, and how the upcoming confrontation would impact all of them. Garshaw was talking to Merdwin.
Jorlin turned to Major Carter, and said, “I almost forgot. Alanna asked me to give this to you to give to Jacob, but I suppose you do not really need it urgently now.” She smiled, as she handed over the picture in the small jewel-encrusted frame.
Sam took it in her hand and looked at it. “Thanks. I will see that he gets it back.” She smiled at Jorlin.
Glancing over at her, Kataya said, “Samantha, wait. May I see it, please?”
“Sure, it’s just me as a kid.”
“No, it is more than that; it is a type of communications device. You will probably want to give it to Merdwin. Garshaw, it looks like another spy has arrived in your ranks, but at least this time it is one of ours.” Turning to Merdwin, she said, “Alanna has arrived at the Tok’Ra base. We should be hearing from her before long.”
Merdwin nodded, “Yes, Artereos told me he had contacted Per’sus and asked him to send her. We will be better able to keep an eye on Torleck,” turning to Garshaw, he continued, “and you will now have a secure link with which to contact us. She was supposed to arrive before you left to come here, but she was delayed and did not arrive until later. I am very sorry that I forgot to mention it.”
“I am most happy to hear that we will now be able to communicate with one another. I was concerned as to how you were planning to keep me informed as to what was transpiring. I should have realized that Artereos would leave nothing to chance, if he could possibly arrange it otherwise,” Garshaw answered.
“Yes, he does try to cover all contingencies,” Kataya said, smiling softly at the vivid mental picture she saw of her father at his desk going over battle plans. “Rest assured that he has no intention of allowing Bastet to escape this time. The time was not right before; this time it is.”
“If you have nothing further you need me for, I believe I will go to my quarters,” Kataya nodded to Merdwin and Garshaw, and walked quickly out the door. No one noticed her go, nor did anyone notice the blood that had suddenly began to seep through the tips of her fingers.