Chapter Seven Summary: Selmak and General Hammond discuss the possibility that there are more symbiotes somewhere. Martouf/Lantash and Daniel arrive and they are relieved to see and talk to Jacob/Selmak. While getting ready to go to the tunnels, there is an off-world activation. It is the Tok'Ra and it is not good news.
"Italics" - Symbiote-Host communication
George Hammond caught up with Jacob and Selmak the next morning in the cafeteria. They saw Dr. Fraiser leaving as they came in, so they joined their friend.
“Well, Jacob you look, ah, refreshed, this morning. Contented even. And from the looks of the glances the two of you were getting, I am assuming the rumor mill is working overtime, and grinding out rumors as fast as it can.”
“Be sure it is, George. You would think that grown men and women would have better things to do than speculate about other people, wouldn’t you?”
“Not gonna work, Jake. Spare me the gory details but, spill,” George Hammond demanded.
Jacob spilled, albeit, without going into the gory details.
When he finished, George nodded saying, “Good, I hoped you would eventually get up the nerve to ask her out.”
Selmak allowed Jacob to flush. “I didn’t. Selmak did. And she accepted him.” He grinned broadly, adding, “But we both spent the time with her and enjoyed it immensely.
“I am glad to hear it. I think you were the only one around that did not know she found you attractive.”
“Why the hell didn’t you tell me, George?”
“Why? You would just have said she was too young, or come up with some other excuse. That is why I always leave you there. I kept thinking that eventually it would penetrate that thick skull that she was interested. At least Selmak saw it. It seems to me that he has a lot more sense than you do, Jake.”
“Thanks, George, I will remember that,” Jacob laughed back at him, taking the teasing in good part.
“So what are you and Selmak up to today? Care to make another round of the base and do some more PR?”
“Sure, might as well. I really hope Martouf and Lantash come back today. I am beginning to worry myself, now, and I know that Sam must be getting worried again. I just have to keep telling myself to trust Daniel to help them to work through this. I am sure she is doing the same, but this is the fourth day they have been gone, and I will admit to a little concern.”
“I know, Jacob. I think that in almost every situation, being the one on the waiting end is the hardest.”
“Yes. And women have done it for millennia. They have waited for their men to return from war, from work, and from the bar. I don’t know how they did it.”
George nodded thinking about the different women who waited. Mothers waited for sons, wives for husbands, sisters for brothers. And in some wars, they had been all three within the same conflict.
Selmak’s voice brought him out of his reverie, “I am ready whenever you are, General Hammond.”
The general looked at him, and said, “George. My name is George. Please use it, friends always do.”
“Thank you, George, I would be happy to do so.”
George frowned before asking, “Do Tok’Ra have any other name? I mean, how do you each know who you are talking about, or is it that a name is never repeated?”
“In the Goa’uld there are enough of them that names are sometimes repeated. As far as we know, Egeria did not run out of names for her offspring. We are each named with one name. However, if there was ever a question then we would take the name of the place where we were born. I am actually Selmak of Sierresha, which translates into a rather long sentence.”
“Well, you have me curious now. What does it mean?” George Hammond wanted to know, intrigued.
“It means Selmak of the lake that is gazing quietly upon beautiful high places.” He smiled wryly. “I did tell you it was a long sentence. Our clutch was born and raised in a lake that was near a very beautiful mountain range. The climate was warm in the valley and only one of the mountain streams fed into it. There were hot springs at the base of the mountain, and the water mixed with that, and by the time it reached the lake it was warm and comfortable. I have been back there a few times, and it is still a very undeveloped area.”
His voice and face devoid of emotion, he continued, “I have looked in some of the other lakes to see if Egeria left other offspring there, but have found none. I have not looked in all the lakes, though, and still have hope that the next one I find will have some. We have always felt it strange that there were not more of us. While it is true that we numbered many thousands, still, most queens breed many more than Egeria did. I have never mentioned my suspicion but I often check when we go to a world that we know for a fact Egeria visited. And, of course, there are no doubt worlds that we do not even realize she was on.” He sighed again, as he contemplated the certain demise of the Tok’Ra as a species eventually.
George looked startled for a moment, before saying, “I never even considered that there could be more Tok’Ra that have never been found. I will tell my people to be aware as they explore different worlds. It does not hurt to know that. It is something of which we should be aware. I am not sure how we would know that they were Tok’Ra and not Goa’ uld, though,” he said, frowning.
“Should you ever run across a lake that contains Goa’uld, they will attempt to take a host that gets near the edge of the water. If it is Tok’Ra, they will come to the edge of the water, but they will not attempt to take a human just because they stand by the water. They would have to be invited to come.”
“How would you invite one to come out?” George wanted to know.
“If they allow you to pick them up, they are very probably Tok’Ra and not Goa’uld. However, for safety’s sake, should your people ever run across some symbiotes, it would be best if you contacted us. We could determine with fair accuracy if they are Tok’Ra. There are a series of hand signals, and an answering pattern they would swim in, to let us know that they are of Egeria. We do know that Egeria planned at least a dozen clutches. Most of the Tok’Ra you know, are from three of those clutches. We do not know if she managed to give birth to that many before she was captured or not. We have only ever found symbiotes from those three locations. Unfortunately, she did not leave specific information within our memories as to where she meant to give birth. We have only vague allusions, very similar to where I was born.”
“What kinds of allusions?”
“Lake whose waters lie under the near stars. Lake that lies where the warm winds blow. Lake that gazes upon the snow and clouds. Very vague, I’m afraid, but I do try to look when I come across a place that looks as if it would fit any one of the many descriptions we have.”
General Hammond frowned again. “Are you sure those aren’t lines from longer poems or legends? They sound like they could be part of something else. Perhaps she emphasized those things but they are out of context?”
Selmak stared at the general. “Why, in two thousand years, have we never thought of that? It is strange that you would see it at once. Thank you, George; we will do some looking into that possibility.”
George nodded. “When Dr. Jackson gets back, give it to him and Anise. Between the two of them, if there is anything to my suggestion, they will find it.”
“I will, George. And,” he sighed, “I wish for Samantha’s sake that they would come back. I know she is very upset about this, and it is not good for her to be so stressed.”
“I know, but you put her mind at rest. She will trust Daniel to help them, and no doubt, she would rather wait an extra day or so, rather than have them regress and it start all over.”
“Very true. Well, I guess we should get started. Where would you like us to begin?”
“The gym first today? That way we can make our way around and hit the infirmary last.”
Selmak grinned, his mood lightening at those words, “An excellent idea, George. Lead the way.”
Laughing lightly, the two men made their way toward the gym.
Janet and Jacob left the cafeteria after having a cup of tea together. Selmak did not like coffee and Janet liked tea as well as coffee so they had enjoyed a cup of tea and a piece of cake. The klaxons blared an off world activation and Janet watched as they tensed.
“Go, Jacob. I need to get back anyway, for as I told you, we had some injuries on SG-5 earlier today. Go, go.”
Leaning towards her, he kissed her swiftly, saying, “Thanks, sweetheart, I will,” before walking quickly toward the control room. He really was expecting it to be Daniel and Martouf at last. He and the General entered the control room at the same time, both of them just in time to hear Sergeant Davis, announce, “It is SG-1’s signal, sir.”
“Open the iris, Sergeant Davis,” the General said calmly, as he and Jacob headed for the gate room. They were standing and watching the event horizon, as Martouf and Daniel stepped onto the ramp. Jacob noticed at once that Martouf looked calm and controlled. He did not seem to be overly tense, but neither was he completely relaxed. Just in case he had made Daniel bring him back, Jacob decided not to mention Sam first.
“Did she return with you, Jacob or do I still need to go to her?” Martouf ask quietly, as he reached him, and they clasped arms. Jacob realized that Martouf’s grip was quite tight, showing that he was not as stress free as he appeared.
“Let’s go to the General’s office. She is fine, but she is not here.”
Martouf nodded, as if he had expected that answer. As Daniel started to walk away, he turned to him. “Please, come with us, Daniel. You should hear whatever Jacob has to relate to me.”
“If you are sure?” Daniel asked.
“I am sure, Daniel. You deserve to hear this, as well,” Martouf said quietly.
Hesitating only slightly, he nodded and turned to go with them to the General’s office.
“So, how was your camping trip, Martouf? Did you find anything worthwhile?” Jacob asked, keeping the discussion light, until they could reach the General’s office.
“We camped by a beautiful lake where the stars seemed to set upon the waters at night. They looked to be so near you felt as if you could reach out and touch them. Daniel discovered that the planet used to belong to a queen who at one time was allied with Egeria. You would know of her also Selmak. Lantash could not remember too much about her other than they parted ways when Egeria became more radical in her aims than she was willing to be.”
“What was her name?” Jacob conveyed Selmak’s internal question.
“It was Nekhbet, a very minor player from what we were able to find out. There was no record of what happened to her, and Lantash said he did not know, all he could remember was that she did not believe in using the sarcophagus either. She agreed with Egeria on what it did personality wise. It is a lovely planet, calm, serene, and with a very comfortable climate,” Martouf told him quietly, as they approached the general’s door.
Once inside his office, and with the door closed on them, they each found seats and proceeded to look at one another, none of them exactly sure where, or how, to begin. Finally, Lantash came forward, to ask, “How is Samantha, Jacob? We wish you to tell us the truth, please. If she has discovered that she is happier, and more content, away from us, we will try to understand, although, I do not think we will succeed.”
“As I said, Sam is fine, and she misses you both. So please, don’t even start to go down that road of thinking she no longer cares for you; it is a dead end. She loves you, she misses you, and she is waiting for you to get your head outta your butt, and realize what she is saying to you. I hope that the two of you realized where she was on your own? That Daniel did not end up having to tell you?” Jacob asked forthrightly.
“No, he did not have to tell us. We realized less than an hour ago, though, so we cannot claim to have understood what she was trying to tell us right away, nor did we know where she was. We have, however, finally come to the realization of what she was trying so very hard to tell us. I am sorry we let her down, Jacob.”
Jacob shook his head. “Actually, she realized some things, too, and if I had not offered to come here for her, and check on you, she would have returned herself. I suggested that she stay in the Tunnels, and let me come here and check on the two of you. After hearing her side of it, I wanted to get your side, too, although I admit, I felt she was right to get the hell outta Dodge for a while, er, that is to say, leave so you would have time to come to terms with things. That is why I did not encourage her to return with me. Selmak agreed. If you really have been as overprotective as she said, then you both needed to do some thinking, as much as she did.”
“We have been overbearing and overprotective. Looking back, we are surprised Samantha remained with us as long as she did. We have been foolish, and have treated her as if she was a child instead of a grown woman, who was capable of making her own decisions. Does that answer your questions, Jacob?” Lantash answered him, bluntly and concisely. “We also realize that she could have talked to us until she had no more words, and we still would not have heard her. As difficult as it is to admit, she was right to leave us and force us to face what we were doing to her, to ourselves, and to our relationship.” Lantash looked Jacob straight in the eyes, hiding nothing, as he spoke. There was not a doubt that they were willing to take the complete responsibility for what had happened, and that they were sincere in there statements.
Jacob relaxed, and said quietly, “She understands why you were being the way you were, Lantash. She does not really blame you; she was just trying to get you to stop, before it drove a wedge between you. I said she came to some realizations, and I meant it. She came to realize what a truly astounding thing this is for you. How very rare this kind of thing is, and therefore, how nervous it is making you. She understands your fear. How terrifying it is to know that you could lose her and the child. But she also knows that she could lose you, too, and it is something that all of you have to live with. She is very aware that everything you did, you did for love of her and the child, and she is very touched by that. I really think she could come back now and make it work, but it would be a whole lot better, for everyone involved, if she didn’t have to come back and make it work, or manage to live with it.”
Daniel spoke up before Lantash could castigate himself and Martouf anymore. “I do not think that Lantash and Martouf can take the entire blame for this, Jacob. All of us, from Janet to Jack to me have to take a fair amount of it. Even the other SGC members were being overprotective. Mostly it was us, though. I am sorry we allowed it to happen. I am sorry I allowed it to happen. I should have known better and protected her from us. I let her down, too.”
“As long as you can all stop, now, and just care for her, not smother her, I think she will be fine, and so will you. I have to tell you, though, that what you all were doing, while it was driving her crazy, was not the final thing that made her actually make the decision to leave. She laid her plans well in advance, true, but she did not know when, or if, she would actually do it.”
Martouf had taken over from Lantash, as they felt that they should both take part of any reprimands. He asked now, obviously puzzled, “If it was not what we were doing, then what was it, Jacob?”
“Oh, it was what you were doing. If it had gone no farther, she might not have run, although truth to tell, I have a suspicion that you would have done something sooner or later that would have pushed her over the edge. But, the final straw was when she realized that not only was someone following her to the restroom, but there was an airman waiting in her room when she finished her shower to be sure she was all right, and she had been assigned to stand guard all night outside the door, “just in case” something happened.”
Martouf frowned. “I am sorry, Jacob, but we did not do those things, and if Samantha believes we did, then she is wrong. We will freely admit to seeing to it that she ate well, rested often, did not over-work or lift heavy things, always had someone with her in her lab, never walked up or down stairs alone, and did not venture through the Chaappa’ai.”
“We will also freely admit that we refused to take her to the Tok’Ra on a visit. We allowed Janet to run more tests than were probably necessary, and we considered staying behind instead of going on missions, until we decided that Nyan could keep her company. We were instrumental in getting her a lab assistant. We refused to allow her to leave the base without an armed and capable escort.”
“We did not assign a guard for her while she was on base, going to the restroom, or showering. That would have been ridiculous.” Martouf was quite indignant. How could his Samantha have believed that anyone was doing those things? Had they driven her to paranoia?
“No, Martouf, I know you did not. Sam did not think you did it either, but it made her realize that the situation was not going to get better on its own; that it would just get worse. You need to take it up with Jack. It seems that he assigned the guards. Sam told me that it had Jack’s fingerprints all over it, and she was right. The thing is, she was not sure you did not know about it and simply turned a blind eye, or even actively agreed with him. So, she put her long laid plans into action and left.”
Martouf’s eyes narrowed and became hard, his fists clenched until his knuckles turned white, his lips thinned as he clenched his jaws tightly and General Hammond realized he was seeing Martouf’s temper on its own, without Lantash holding him back, “I will kill him. I will kill him slowly. How dare he do that to us? Does he have no idea what damage he may have inflicted on our relationship? Of course, perhaps, that is what he wanted,” he said, bitterly.
“Martouf that is just not true. Jack knows you care for Sam; he knows how much Sam loves you, and he would not do anything to hurt her. He was just being overprotective like the rest of us, that is all,” Daniel hurried in to pour oil on the troubled waters. He hoped no one had a match. “We did discuss it early on, remember? And we decided it was not necessary at the time. Maybe Jack took that to mean that it would be necessary later. Try to stay calm about this.”
Martouf’s eyes flared, and Lantash came forward to say, “He will not hurt Colonel O’Neill, Daniel, I will not allow it. Although, I may allow him to threaten him and, as I have heard others of the Tau’ri say, make sure he knows that if it happens again, he will truly wish he had never been born.” He sighed. “But, what you said is true, also. We did discuss it, along with numerous, and we now realize, ridiculous, other suggestions and when Martouf has time to think about it, he will realize that it was not entirely the Colonel’s fault. We were all at fault when you get to the bottom of the situation. I just desire to see it speedily resolved.”
“And,” he continued, turning back to face Jacob, “the truth we suddenly saw this evening when we re-read her letter, is that it was not so much the things we were doing, as it was that we had taken over her life, and were allowing her to make no decisions, even when it pertained to her and her own body. That is what we must guard against most, but it must also be accompanied by a lessening of our surveillance of her. Samantha will do nothing that would harm either herself or her child. We have always trusted her, and there is no reason to stop doing so now. We simply had to be reminded of that. We are much more comfortable with the entire situation now, Jacob, I assure you.”
Jacob relaxed, agreed, and decided the subject had been gone over enough. They had obviously learned what needed to be learned, and Sam could look forward to a change in their attitude and actions.
Trying to lighten the conversation, he said, “I am sure she will be glad to see you, Lantash. She is missing you both as I said, very much. Although, do not be surprised if she insists on bringing one of Tashmar’s offspring home. She seems to have fallen in love with the little devils. And Tash is worming his way even deeper into her affections by following her around and acting as a body guard. She said he reminds her of you and the guys. So that should tell you she still loves you all,” he grinned, as Lantash began to smile for the first time since they had returned.
“I am glad she has gotten to see them, Jacob. She has been wanting to ever since they hatched. I should have brought her at once, as soon as we knew they had arrived. Neither Martouf, nor I, will make that kind of mistake again, I assure you.”
Jacob nodded saying, “Now that Anise has found a way to synthesize a food for them, the lizards can go anywhere it can be made. They aren’t nearly as particular about what they eat as we thought they were. Those black bugs just happen to be their favorite food and what they prefer.”
Changing the subject he asked, “What are your plans for now? I assume you plan to go to the Tunnels? It is still the middle of the night on Corlatt, and Sam was probably in bed several hours ago. It will not even be daylight there for three or four more hours.”
“We came back so we could get cleaned up, and then Daniel and we are going to go to the Tunnels to see our respective mates. We wish to be there when she awakens,” Martouf took control and answered Jacob’s questions.
“Good idea. Go ahead and do that. I will wait around here for a while, yet, but I may go back through with you.” Then thinking of Janet, he added, “if not, then tomorrow for sure.”
Selmak came forward, and turned to Daniel, saying, “I do hope that when you, Freya, and Anise decide to have children that you will have learned from this.”
Daniel looked at him blankly for a moment, before saying, “But, I didn’t think we could have children.”
“There is no reason you cannot, Daniel. You must discuss it with Anise. She can insure that Freya’s eggs mature and are released at the most opportune moment and then, after a couple of months, she will simply become dormant until the child is born. I believe it would be an excellent event, and it will ensure that your children and Martouf, Lantash and Samantha’s children all grow up together and have playmates.”
“It would be a wonderful happening, Daniel. What Selmak says is true, and I know it is something about which Samantha has worried. That is, I know she has worried that our children will have no one to play with. I am aware that many children grow up without playmates, but if they can have them, it is so much better for them. You should think about it, and discuss it with Freya and Anise,” Martouf said, as he joined the conversation.
Daniel looked stunned at the thought, but said, “Yes. I – I will. I had assumed, but if it can, that is, if we can, I did not know, we should talk, yes, I – I will.”
Lantash grinned. He did not think he had ever heard his friend so without a coherent thought.
“Come along, Daniel. We will go and get cleaned up so that we may leave as soon as possible.”
“What? Oh. Oh, yes, of course,” Daniel mumbled, as he stood and followed Lantash from the room. The two men and the symbiote in the office behind them laughed aloud, as they remembered the shock on Daniel’s face.
They got up as well and walked down the hall toward the infirmary. After telling Jacob and Selmak he would see them later, General Hammond stopped, and then turned back to them, as if just having a thought. “Of course,” he said quietly, “Dr. Fraiser is still young enough to have children as well.” Having dropped that bombshell, he turned and walked off down the hall leaving a stunned Tok’Ra behind him.
Not quite two hours later, Daniel and Martouf were heading towards the General’s office when the klaxons went off, and they heard the always ominous words, “Unscheduled off world activation.” They sprinted toward the control room and entered just as the technician on duty was telling Jacob and the General who it was.
“It is the Tok’Ra, Sir.” Then he gasped, “General! This is showing up as a code red. They are coming in hot.” He watched as the code changed from simply red to the next level. He bit out the new information.” Code Red One. They are under fire, sir!”
“Open the iris,” the General barked, but Sergeant Davis was already reaching for it. The general hit the intercom and called for defense teams and med teams to head for the gate room. Jacob stood frozen watching the event horizon as supplies and people started pouring through. Jack and Teal’c arrived in the control room, and as a group, they moved toward the gate room.
No enemy fire was coming through the event horizon yet, but the Tok’Ra that began to arrive were disheveled and had cuts, bruises, and wounds of assorted kinds. Martouf and Lantash stood silently beside Jacob, Selmak, Daniel, and the General, their attention riveted on the event horizon. There did not appear to be any serious injuries. Where was Malek? Arwanna? Daimesh? Anise? And even more important to them, where was Samantha? What in the Goddess's name had happened?
Jack, Teal’c, and numerous airmen had sprung forward to help with the supplies that were coming through, helping to move it off the ramp.
“Good God, Sel, it looks to be less than half of the Tok’Ra personnel from the Corlatt base. Where the hell are the rest, and the supplies and equipment they should have been shoving through? It looks as if they managed to save very little equipment. What in the hell do you think happened? And where in the hell is Sam?” Jacob asked his symbiote the plainly rhetorical question, his tension apparent.
Even though it was obvious to him that Jacob did not expect a reply, Selmak answered steadily and calmly, telling him, “Only a surprise attack would cause this much disruption and so little equipment saved and moved through. The gate on Corlatt is on the surface; everything would need to be transported to it. If the attack was sudden, they would not have had time to do so. As for where Samantha is, I am sure we will soon know, as it appears the equipment coming through is slowing, and more of our people are coming through with it.”
“Not enough, Sel, no where near as many Tok'Ra as there should be.”
Selmak sighed, sadness almost overwhelming him. So many of their brethren had already been lost. “I am aware, Jacob. I am aware.”
As Selmak had predicted, the last of the supplies they did seem to have salvaged were sent through, and those who had been frantically shoving things into the event horizon as gliders were firing on them, dove through the gate along with dirt, dust, rocks, and sand. The two Tok’Ra standing and watching the event horizon realized one very important fact; Sam was not with them. Selmak took over as he felt Jacob’s panic rising, and Lantash did the same for Martouf. As the event horizon shut down, Selmak demanded of Aldwin, the Tok'Ra who was the last one through the gate, and who had landed almost at their feet, “Where are Samantha and the others?”
Realizing that Jacob feared for his daughter, and Martouf and Lantash for their mate, Aldwin replied at once, “They are on Verduna, and as far as we are aware, they are safe, Selmak. She was not on Corlatt when the attack began, and as you can see, well over half of our people are already relocated. As soon as we received word that Amset was told our location, and that he was on his way with a fleet, we began the evacuation. We attempted to convince Samantha to return here, but she refused, insisting that she would help with the evacuation first, and then return to Earth, if she needed to. She agreed to go through to the new home world with the first group and to work on the receiving end. Furthermore, she agreed to do no lifting or moving of anything, but instead she will be overseeing, directing, and deciding, along with Freya…and, er, Anise, where equipment will be placed as well as where we should store those pieces that have no place to go yet. ”
Both Selmak and Lantash relaxed marginally as the relief swept through both them and their hosts. She was safe. The word continued to echo through Martouf and Lantash’s joined minds. Safe. However, now that they knew that, they wanted to hear everything that happened. Such as, why, if they were already sending people through to Verduna, were both the remainder of their equipment and the remnants of Corlatt’s Tok'Ra, suddenly forced to go to Earth?
Realizing that Selmak, Lantash and their hosts had questions, Aldwin attempted to save some time and answer some of them before they were asked, “We had all day yesterday and most of tonight to evacuate so we knew we could get everything. We managed to pack up all of our personal belongings, all of the science equipment, everything. Samantha, Malek, Anise, Christophe, Arwanna, and Daimesh, were in the first group to go. They went through to receive things and begin to grow the tunnels,” he paused as an airman handed him a much appreciated bottle of water. He tiredly smiled his thanks, before turning back to Selmak, Jacob, Martouf, and Lantash.
He took another long drink, sighing in appreciation, as it ran smoothly down his parched throat and then, lacking a napkin or handkerchief, he wiped his mouth on the back of his hand. He sounded a little better when he returned to what he was telling them, “Later some of the others went through with some equipment, but they came back and relayed the information that the new tunnels were growing quickly, and the engineers had chosen well. That group went back through several more times with both equipment and personal belongings. They would help transport things to the tunnels and then come back for more. Finally, they had no choice but to remain on Verduna, as that end became as busy as our end was. They were needed there to help sort, categorize, and if nothing else, at least place the items into a designated area.”
He reached up and kneaded his neck, working on the knots making themselves felt and massaging Gerim as well, before starting to relate the remainder of his information, “Several groups worked in that manner, until we were down to what you see here. We were to have been the last group through. Someone packed your belongings and sent them through, Selmak, so they are at the new base.” Turning his gaze to Lantash, he said, “I believe that Samantha took what you left on the base with her, Lantash, when she went through to Verduna.”
Returning to his previous subject, he told them, “As I mentioned, we all worked through the night until just a short time ago. It could not have been more than an hour, or perhaps two at the absolute most, that the last group went through the Chaappa'ai to Verduna. As I stated previously, we managed to get everything through, except what you see here. We finished the packing of our own belongings and the few remaining odds and ends that could have been abandoned had there been a need.”
“As soon as we had everything gathered we tried to dial Verduna, and the gate would not engage. We assumed they were trying to dial us to perhaps come back and help, so we waited, but nothing happened. We then continued to try to reach them, until we realized we had very possibly waited too long, and would soon be under attack. The tunnels were already collapsed, so we could not retreat to them, even had we wished to, which, in any event, we did not and would not. When we still could not dial Verduna, we decided to come here, so you would know what had happened, and we could continue in our attempt to make contact with the others from here.”
Once again sighing, as he recalled sending the codes through the open gate, he sounded even more tired as he continued, saying, “The first of the gliders appeared and began to bombard us within moments of our decision. Luckily, the way the Chaappa’ai is situated on Corlatt made it very difficult for them to be accurate in their attempts to annihilate us. Although it is on the surface, if you will remember, Selmak, it is surrounded by hills in all directions except for the small gap through which we passed to access the Tunnels.”
Glancing around, he quickly took stock of how much damage the Tok’Ra had sustained. He turned back to Selmak and Lantash, and then indicating the other Tok’Ra, who were, at least for the moment, simply resting and drinking their water, he took up his story once again, “Most of the injuries that you see are from rocks and sand that the blasts were throwing up, and therefore were not terribly significant, however there was one pilot who appeared to have less difficulty in navigating the area. Having previously made the decision to come to Earth, Jalen had already dialed the address and sent the code telling you that we were in danger. When the Jaffa pilot appeared to be becoming much more accurate in his attempts to kill us, we changed the code from the simple red for danger to red-one indicating we were now in peril. We were very thankful to receive the all clear signal from here as it had become questionable whether we could all make it through along with the remainder of our belongings and equipment without loss of life. However, we all made it. Even,” he smiled fully for the first time since they arrived at the SGC, “Tashmar and family. They are in the very large crate over there.” He nodded toward a large crate that had holes in it.
Once again turning back to Selmak and Lantash, he said as his smile faded, “I am sorry, Selmak, but we have no idea why the Chaappa’ai would not engage, and therefore, why we cannot get through to Verduna. As for the Tok’Ra already on Verduna, we are assuming that they will soon realize that they cannot dial Corlatt and try here, if they can dial out at all.” He drew what, for all intents and purposes, had turned into his report on the preceding events to a close.
“You are sure our people were alright? They were not perhaps under attack there?”
“Not as far as we know. Besides, even if they were under attack, the gate should have engaged.”
Selmak frowned. That was true.
Lantash assimilated all the information. Samantha was all right. She had already been at the new base. Whatever had happened, she would work to fix it if it was on that end. Finally, he said quietly, “Samantha will get word to us as soon as they realize they cannot connect with the gate on Corlatt, if there is any possible way that she can. She will assume you came here, if you were able to get away, and they will be worried about all of you. Did we have any ships that were on the base that were flown out?”
Aldwin looked startled that he had forgotten that. “Yes, we had two. Korlan and Jorlin took one and May’et and Torlesh took the other. But neither one was in good repair. They were newly acquired, and each had problems we were working on fixing. They are traveling together and will take almost two weeks to reach Verduna if,” he continued ominously, “they have no other problems. I am afraid that the general consensus was that two weeks was being extremely optimistic. They are traveling together in case either has trouble, as it is expected they will.”
“Both of the Alkesh that are in decent condition are on missions under operational silence. One of them took a grave chance and broke their silence to get the message about the attack to us, and then immediately went back undercover. We are fairly sure they were not detected, but we cannot take the chance of trying to contact them again. I am sorry, Lantash.”
Lantash nodded decisively, “No, of course we cannot, and I would not consider doing so. However, we must attempt to contact the other two, so that they will know there may be problems when they reach Verduna. Whatever has happened, if they can contact us, they will. In the meantime, we should continue to attempt to connect from here.”
Pausing in thought for only a moment, his conclusions reached, he then continued, “There is always the possibility that the gate malfunctioned. It does happen, and that is why we carry spare parts for the dialing devices. Do you know where they are?”
“Yes, they are on Verduna. If there is a malfunction, then they will have to find the parts and that will take time,” Aldwin sighed, obviously tired, and now that the crisis was passed, he was feeling the aftereffects, even though his symbiote was attempting to let him come down gently from the adrenaline high.
Aldwin cleared his throat, obviously a little uncomfortable, then plunged ahead and asked his question, “Lantash, how far along is Samantha? She looks, um, very pregnant.”
“In four days time, she will be seven months. She will have only two months to go, give or take three weeks,” Lantash said grimly, as Martouf soothed him from within, as he felt the beginnings of the old fear rising. “Samantha will be fine; she is with Arwanna and Anise. They have all of the medical equipment and our trained healers are there. They will be fine, Lantash.”
“I know, Martouf. Thank you for reminding me. We must continue to do so for each other. I have a feeling the next two weeks, or possibly more, will be very long indeed.”
Aldwin acknowledged Lantash's answer with a simple nod.
“Let’s go try to contact Verduna, and then see about contacting the Alkesh and the Tel’tak that are on their way there,” General Hammond said, knowing it would be better if they had something to do that was constructive.
An hour later, SG-1, Jacob, General Hammond, Aldwin, and a Tok’Ra engineer named Laurent sat in the General’s office.
Laurent looked around the table at the grim faces and sighed. He did not have good news. “We still do not know why the gate will not connect to Verduna. There is no way to tell from here. We have not managed to contact the Alkesh or the Tel’tak. Jorlin said when they left that they had at least two crystals in the Tel’tak’s engine that were in very poor condition, so they could both have to slow down considerably. The estimate of two weeks for them to reach the new base is probably being optimistic in the extreme. I believe it will be, at a minimum, three to four earth weeks before they reach Verduna.”
Aldwin spoke up to enforce the seriousness of the ship’s situation, “There is nothing we can do about that situation but wait, for we cannot take the chance on them splitting up and one of them completely failing. Our people would be drifting without defenses if that happened.”
“Selmak, we must decide where we are going to go. As the ranking Tok’Ra in our group, you are in command. We cannot go back to Corlatt and we cannot go forward to Verduna. We could go to one of the other bases if we knew for sure where they are, but as you know, that is no longer information that is freely known throughout the Tok’Ra. So although we could find out it would not be a prudent thing to attempt. I do not believe we should take the chance on our communication being tapped into.”
“No, only under the direst of circumstances will we do that. As has already been pointed out, all we can do is wait until our ships reach Verduna. Three weeks is not that long. As for where we will go, General Hammond has talked to his president, and they are offering us accommodations here at the SGC, until we can get to Verduna, and I have accepted. I already have a group helping to turn some of the unused storage rooms into sleeping quarters. There are not enough private rooms, but most are willing to share accommodations. The bonded pairs are being put into the smaller storage areas. The larger rooms we convert will be communal, for those who are single.”
“We will continue with any missions that anyone had planned, and some of us may temporarily join SGC teams. We will consider this a get to know you time between the symbiotes, hosts, and members of the SGC. Other than that, all we can do is to continue waiting. Thank you for your report. Sergeant Davis will take you and show you where everything is. You will find him in the control room. You are all exhausted. Go get some rest.”
Laurent and Aldwin nodded. They had been dismissed, and they left, glad to be released, for Selmak had stated no more than the truth. They were exhausted.
In the room he left behind there was a tense silence. Finally Lantash broke it. “Samantha will take care of herself and her baby. We have always trusted her, and there is no reason to stop doing so now. We must all remember that.”
Jacob came forward and smiled encouragingly at him. “You are right, Lantash. We all know how competent Sam is. We have to trust in her and for that matter in Anise and Malek, Daimesh and Arwanna. They are all good competent people. Whatever has happened, they will take care of it, and if they can’t, then when the ships arrive, we will know what the problem is, and what they need to get it back online. Now, very possibly, we have at least three weeks to wait. I suggest we get some missions on the board, and get back to work.”
General Hammond drew out some folders. He would keep SG-1 busy for the next three weeks or more if it killed him. And it just might before this was all over. What no one was admitting was that the new base could very well have been attacked and destroyed. If the informant knew where their Corlatt base was he might have known where they were going. However, that was not a possibility that would be discussed. Not yet, anyway.