Chapter One Summary: Many of the poisoned Tok'Ra are still at the SGC. The US government and the Tok'Ra High Council have agreed to an exchange program to foster the interaction between the Tok'Ra and the Tau'ri that came about as the Tok'Ra slowly recovered from their ordeal. There have been changes in attitudes and cooperation between the SGC and the Tok’Ra since the “poison incident” two months ago. Martouf/Lantash have been assigned to SG-1. Lantash is still sleeping most of the time, but he should soon be staying awake for longer periods. Daniel and Martouf discuss a little about the poisoning attempt while they are on an exploratory mission. Daniel and Martouf are examining some ruins.
"Italics" - Symbiote-Host Communication
Jack O’Neill pitched his knife into the ground. It stuck for the two hundred and thirty- eighth time in a row. He shifted, as he leaned against the column at the bottom of the steps that led up and into the temple, they were here to explore. Inside, Marty and Daniel were happily chatting away about dead goddesses and other charming and remarkable, to them anyway, things. Thankfully, having Marty around hadn’t proved as much of a problem as he had expected it to be. That was probably because the Tok’Ra was still asleep most of the time. Once Lantash woke up most of the time, all bets were off.
He sighed, thinking over the last couple of months. He had to admit that after the “Poison Incident”, the Tok’Ra attitude had changed toward the Tau’ri. They viewed them differently, which made the Tau’ri view them differently. It was friendlier. Hell, he was friendlier, as well. He’d come to know them and see them as individuals. He’d learned that you couldn’t paint all Goa’ulds with the same brush, anymore than you could paint all humans with the same brush.
He even really liked the one guy, what was his name? He was assigned to SG-2, Malek that was him. He’d taken Malek and explained hockey to him, which he appeared to understand, if not exactly appreciate, and introduced him to beer. Took him to O’Malley’s, too. Well, he’d taken both him and Martouf. They had made it a night out for the two SG teams, and it looked to become a regular thing. Taught them some pool, which, it turned out, they, caught onto way too fast. The only one that could still beat them was Carter. They were in the process of learning poker, too.
They’d actually heard a couple of jokes from Malek, given completely straight faced, and in a totally normal tone of voice. Everything had stopped for a moment, as they all took in what he had said, before everyone broke up laughing. Malek had looked at him and asked if he thought that the Tok’Ra lacked a sense of humor? He realized, he had told them that it probably often appeared that way, but in reality, when they weren’t being hunted down by the system lords, or poisoned by their own people, but were out and comfortable, among friends, as they were now, they often laughed a great deal.”
“Most of their humor, of course, would be meaningless to a Tau’ri, being based on things about the Tok’Ra, but in the same way, many things that the Tau’ri found amusing the Tok’Ra missed for the same reason. After that, they had begun to explain why they found certain things funny and before long, it was funnier trying to explain to them why it was funny than the joke had been to begin with. Some of it they caught onto very quickly, though. Blond jokes being one. Since everyone there knew that Sam was both brilliant and blond, it meant that they all loved blond jokes. It didn’t take them long to catch on to that universal type of joke.
He would never have believed that he would have a great time with two snakes, crap, he had to quit calling them that, Tok’Ra, in the group, but they were getting along fine. Malek’s host, Devlin, was as easygoing and likable as Malek, and Jack liked him, too. Two friends for the price of one, hell of a deal, he thought sardonically.
Carter had introduced them to blue jeans and informed every female in the SGC how hot they looked in them and a Tau’ri tee-shirt. Come to think of it, they’d garnered quite a bit of female attention at O’Malley’s that night, too. Jack frowned thinking about it. It hadn’t seemed to bother them any. In fact, they’d been quite comfortable flirting with the various women that had checked them out. They’d taken to wearing the jeans and shirts around the base in the evenings when they were off duty, come to think of it. They seemed to like them, and there was no doubt that the females of the SGC liked the way they looked on them. Jack frowned. What did they have that the SGC guys didn’t have, besides snakes, manners, and charm?
Sam sat at the top of the stairs leaning back against the temple wall, looking out over the landscape, and thinking about the last few weeks. It had been hard at first having Martouf around. Jolinar’s feelings had kept getting in the way. Finally, they sat down and discussed it. Then they let their emotions loose, and when they came together, they thought it would be thunder and lightening. It wasn’t. The kiss was deep and long. However, it didn’t feel like a beginning, or even a continuation. It felt like goodbye. When it ended, they looked at each other, and she could see it in his eyes as well. It wasn’t there anymore. Oh, the love was still there, but it was different somehow, it didn’t feel like a living breathing entity anymore. It was no more than a memory of a shadow on the wall, painted in a shade of grey.
Then, something happened after that. She leaned in, so did he, and they tried that kiss one more time, but this time it was Martouf and Sam, not Jolinar. The earth moved a little and a few stars exploded. She’d pulled back, looked at him, and saw the same question in his eyes that she knew was in hers. What was that? They had become good friends. Did they want to chance ruining that? That was pretty wow, and it would have taken very little to leave them wanting a whole lot more. Then Martouf’s eyes had glowed, and it was obvious that Lantash had woken up.
Assuming they were enjoying one another, he had taken Sam back into his arms and kissed her very, very thoroughly. It was the closest she’d ever come to thinking that if it didn’t stop she was, A. going to become completely boneless, or B. have an orgasm on the spot, and she didn’t care which, but B was preferable. Forget the friendship; she’d take this any day of the week.
When Martouf had told them that Lantash was passionate, he hadn’t been kidding. Martouf must have been screaming at him to let her go because he stopped rather abruptly and apologized. She had looked at him in a rather dazed way and agreed to whatever he said. It wasn’t until later that she realized his smile had been extremely smug. He had not been sorry. Lantash had known exactly how he was affecting her, and he meant to do it again.
Sam’s lips curled into a small smile. She wished he’d get better, so that he would remember that he intended to do it again and get around to it. Martouf had never mentioned the incident. Neither had she. She had a feeling he had no intention of stopping Lantash. Yes, she was definitely looking forward to his getting better, and Martouf deciding that friends could sometimes be lovers.
Teal’c stood near O’Neill and watched over him and Major Carter. Both of them had accepted the Tok’Ra into their midst with little trouble. He was glad. He was surprised to find how much he liked Martouf and suspected he would feel the same about Lantash. He had also warmed up more than he expected to Malek, after getting to know him and his host better, as well. They were both honorable men, quick to accept blame and quick to offer a hand in apology. Neither of them held onto ill feelings.
O’Neill seemed preoccupied this morning, but he was afraid it was simply boredom. Whatever it was, it would soon explode into restless energy, if they did not find it an outlet. He sighed. He liked O’Neill, but sometimes he felt like he was watching a small boy who needed to be constantly distracted, so that the adults could carry on with their work. Perhaps shortly they would check the perimeter one more time. That was always good for twenty or thirty minutes, if Teal’c walked slowly enough and noticed enough interesting things along the way.
He was too late; the Colonel was again asking Daniel the same question that he had just asked him. Teal’c saw Major Carter smile at him, and he bowed his head in response. They both knew the following conversation by heart, or at least a variation of it.
“Daniel, how much longer is this going to take?” Jack raised his voice so that Daniel could hear him, as he and Martouf were inside the temple.
“It’s going to take the same amount of time that it was going to take ten minutes ago plus five, Jack. Asking more often is not going to speed it up. It is actually going to make it longer because I have to stop, look at my watch, tell you the time, and then explain to you, again, why it is taking longer than it should because you keep asking if we are done yet. Now, it is going to take five minutes longer than it was the last time you asked,” Daniel’s patience was, luckily, still not stretched too thin.
“Well, hurry it up, can’t ya? Don’t you want to see if there are some more fascinating ruins just over the hill?”
Once more Daniel explained, repeating the same things he’d already told him at least ten times already today, “We already know there are, Jack, and we’re here for at least three days. We’ll get to them. Didn’t you remember to bring a book or something? A gameboy and batteries? Your yo-yo? You do realize that it is just after daylight here and that the days are extremely long? Extremely long. Almost as long as a full day for us. I have no intention of doing more than napping, and neither does Martouf. We plan to use every bit of daylight that we have looking over these ruins. So, I suggest that you find a place to nap, or pull out your toys.”
“I brought all three, but I’m bored. I’m not in the mood to read,” Jack whined his reply this time, sounding nothing so much as a rather petulant child.
“I think you should check the perimeter again. Maybe there are some other ruins close by that we missed in our preliminary search. Why don’t you and Teal’c see if you can find something?” Daniel suggested the first thing that came to mind as he tried to concentrate on the wall in front of him.
Jack huffed, “We’ve already done that, Daniel. There’s no point in doing it again. Are you going to be much longer? If so, I’m gonna go and rest my eyes. Malek and I stayed up and watched hockey last night. It didn’t matter when he went to bed. Devlin slept through the game, so Malek can sleep as long as he wants to today. I don’t think that’s fair. They should both have to stay up and suffer just like we do,” Jack groused, disgruntled at the thought that his friend wasn’t losing sleep over watching the game. “Not only that, but Devlin can watch the game today, by going through Malek’s memories. I think we should make some new rules. In the meantime, I’m gonna go take a nap."
“That’s an excellent idea, Jack. I think you might want to do that. We’ll be a while yet.” Daniel looked up and winked at Martouf, and the two of them shared a smile and some amusement.
Hearing no other response, Daniel turned back to the wall and Martouf, as he bent over the last section of this wall. “What do you think, Martouf? Does it look different to you?”
“Yes, it does. I cannot explain it, though. There seems to be no reason for it that I can see. The difference does not continue, and it appears that someone put some effort into making it resemble the other writing as closely as possible. Is it an attempt to hide the fact that it was another’s hand that wrote it, or to hide that it was a later addition? Either reason would be possible as well as pointless to speculate about, at this distance in time,” Martouf gave his opinion concisely.
Daniel shrugged. “I agree. Either way it is different, and at this point, it really doesn’t matter why. Do you recognize who they are talking about here? And does it sound like the story is right?”
Martouf smiled. “That question I can answer for you. Actually, the reason you have not heard of this one is because she was so obscure. Had Lantash and I not once played the role of System Lord on a world where she was once in service to another, the chances are that we might never have heard of her either. Niet’sesh met her end in the manner written about in this section we are discussing. I suppose that someone was so overjoyed by it that they wanted to make sure the truth was known.”
“However, why it is on this obscure little world, I have no information to impart to you. Perhaps, at one time, she was less obscure than when we came to hear about her, and this was her world. We would have known little, if we had not been very bored one afternoon and proceeded to read a version of the world’s history in the immense library contained within the compound. The version of her demise matches this one. For whatever reason, someone left a record of her death here, and it seems to be a rather cheerful description of it, so I would speculate that her enemy rather than her friend saw to its inscription here.”
Daniel nodded his agreement with Martouf’s statements, and added, “At least we can safely assume that this world has not seen Jaffa, or System Lords, for quite some time. I haven’t seen anything newer than about six hundred years ago have you? Even then I’m not sure it wasn’t a transient thing. My guess is that there are no large deposits of Naquadah here, or at least none that slave labor could get to. Our methods being a little more sophisticated, we might find more than an adequate amount to interest us. Sam will be checking that out as we go around.”
Martouf stood and brushed his hands off, but he was frowning. “I am not so sure, Daniel, when this world was last inhabited. There is something very familiar about this area, even this temple, but I cannot pull up the information. One of the things that is a handicap, while I must wait for Lantash to awaken, is the lack of immediate access to information. The information is there, but it takes me longer to retrieve it. This place just looks very familiar to me, as if I have been here before, but I cannot place it.”
He sighed. “While it is unfortunate and true, it is still an aggravation, when I am used to being able to recall things quickly. I will remember it eventually, or he may come out of his dormancy, become more aware, and supply the memory I need. Unfortunately, we do not know how often, or when, his periods of wakefulness will occur. We know that by leaving him within my body, he will stabilize more quickly than those that the healers removed. Those that they removed are much better now; however, they still are not doing as well as those of us whose symbiotes they were unable to remove at all. It is very worrying, of course, but it is more disturbing that Lantash is taking so long to recover.”
“We went back in more than we should have to bring more of our people out. And still, we did not get them all; it took your people to do that. I am glad he agreed to stop, when I pointed out that if no one was cognizant enough to explain, when we reached the SGC, then if they agreed to help, there would be no one to tell them what had occurred and what we needed. I believe it was only by pure strength of will and stubbornness that we stayed on our feet as long as we did that day. I truly believe he did not give in to the lethargy, until we could account for all of our people and the council. If he had given in earlier, perhaps he would not be taking so long to recover.”
“You miss him a lot.” Daniel looked up at him. He was feeling faintly surprised at the amount of longing in Martouf’s voice as he spoke of Lantash.
“You sound surprised, Daniel. We have often told you that the bond between symbiote and host becomes very close and intimate. We care deeply for one another. It is as if a part of me is missing. It is there, but it is not. I find myself talking to him, even though I know he will not answer me. Yes, I miss him a great deal.”
“I believe you. It’s just always so surprising to us, I guess. The idea of sharing our minds and never having any privacy is kind of unnerving to us. The Tau’ri, we’re a very private people in many ways, and we consider our thoughts our own. Sacred ground so to speak. Someone or something having access to our innermost thoughts is very disturbing to us on a lot of levels, and the more private we are the more we step back from the idea of blending. That Jacob has adjusted to it so well has amazed a lot of us.”
“Is that what you think? That we have no privacy, no place for private thoughts, because anything and everything is shared?” Martouf shook his head. “That is not how it works with the Tok’Ra, Daniel. We have our own space, our own thoughts that are not for access by the symbiote. He has the same from us. That is probably why Jacob has had little problem adjusting.”
“Selmak would have found upon blending that Jacob was a very private person. He would have shared all of his knowledge with him, his sorrow for Saroosh, any memories he did not feel were completely private, but he too, would have held back his most private thoughts. As he and Jacob became more aware of each other, he would have taught Jacob how to mark thoughts as private. He would also have begun to access Jacob’s memories, and Jacob would have stopped any access of memories that were private, by his feelings alone. Selmak would have known by then what type of memories were forbidden and stayed away from anything with that type of emotional signature on it, until Jacob allowed him access himself, freely.”
“Really. I wasn’t aware of that,” Daniel replied sounding both surprised and fascinated. “I'd like to talk about this some more when we can just sit down, relax, and know we won’t be, um, disturbed. I would like to know more about it.”
“Certainly, Daniel, I would be more than happy to discuss it with you, whenever you wish to do so. If I had known that your people were under this misconception I would have made an effort to explain much sooner. The Goa’uld do not allow any distinction; the Tok'Ra most assuredly do.”
Daniel nodded, and turned back to the area they were studying. Returning the conversation to the cause of Lantash’s illness, he said, quietly, “I’m really worried about the traitor you have in your midst. This was definitely an inside job that meant to wipe out the entire base, including the council. Now that we have this exchange program going, it will be harder for whomever it is to try, or succeed, at something like this again, but it is still a possibility. I know it has a lot of people upset, and not just the Tok’Ra. I’m talking in Washington, DC, and at the SGC. I’m glad Per’sus agreed to continue to leave all of the really toxic poisons at the facility we removed them to, and has allowed us to work with them, so that your people aren’t as exposed and taking so many chances. Your people do have friends among us, you know, contrary to popular belief.”
Daniel frowned, still thinking about the situation. “You know, Martouf, you’re all really, really lucky that whoever the traitor is, he wasn’t able to get to the more potent stuff. All you have this time is a bunch of really ill symbiotes, and that’s bad enough, but if whoever it is had been able to access the other stuff, none of you would be here at all. You're all lucky that the human body filters this poison so well, and once the original massive dose was finally filtered out; there are no lasting ill effects. That we actually have stuff that appears to speed the process along is another bright spot. You guys really didn’t look good at all when you stumbled through our gate. Well, those of you that could walk at all, that is.”
Daniel brushed off some more dirt on the wall they had moved to and proceeded to examine it along with Martouf. “It’s weird that we haven’t talked about this before. It’s probably good that we are, though. All I know is that when I saw you come through and almost collapse in Sam’s arms, I was stunned. Then the bodies started coming through, and it was chaos, but we had to get the facts.” He shook his head, remembering, and shuddered slightly.
Martouf nodded. “I am aware of what a shock it must have been, Daniel, and we cannot thank you enough, for all you and your people have done for us. The fact that you sent your own people into the tunnels to retrieve ours and start decontamination, without knowing for sure if it was toxic to you, regardless what we told you, hazmat suits or not, showed great compassion and friendship.”
“The Tok’Ra that you found and retrieved, owe their very lives to you, for if you had not removed them, they would have succumbed when the human body could filter no more. You have been nothing but helpful to us in assisting in any way that you could. I believe that many on the council, who have often believed the Tau’ri dislike and scorn the Tok’Ra, became aware that it is individuals, and not the Tau’ri in general, who are prejudiced.”
“When they saw how diligently and intensely your people worked to save, not only the hosts, but the symbiotes, they were impressed. When your people insisted that the symbiotes be reintroduced to their hosts, in order to save them, it made an even more favorable impression, since many believed that a Tau’ri would be only too happy to remove a symbiote from a human under any circumstances. To have this rumor proven so very wrong, in front of so many council members and Tok’Ra, to see the way the symbiotes were handled, not as if they were beneath contempt and disgusting, but with gentleness and consideration, these things will prove to be a turning point in the relationship of our two cultures. At least, that is my opinion.”
“You were not there when Dr. Fraiser and Per’sus clashed the first several times. When your Dr. Fraiser stood up to Per’sus when he, Malek, and the other council members arrived from the other base, and told him that his people were dying because they had been removed from their hosts, that our healers, though ill themselves wanted to remove more, and she absolutely forbid it, he was quite shocked.”
“When she told him to either uphold her order, or get the hell out of her way, because she had symbiotes to save, despite their own people trying to kill them, he was astonished enough to wave the healers aside. It was just as well, as one passed out shortly thereafter. It was amusing to see your SF’s moving him to one side, as well. Janet is such a tiny thing, to be such a virago. When she insisted that they must at least attempt to return the symbiotes to their hosts, it was startling to see his reaction.
Daniel laughed, “I heard that Janet had a few more words for the High Councilor. I think tree moss, banana slugs, sand, and at one point even an amoeba were brought into one of their, er, discussions.” He sobered, “She would have had them escorted out at gun point, well, zat point, you know. When she went so far as to call in the SF’s, she was extremely angry. She had patients that were about to die, and that is not acceptable to her, if it can be avoided.” Then he lightened up again, “On the other hand, we have to be glad that the council was there and healthy.”
“Yes. We were fortunate that our council was off the base at a last minute council meeting. Had the traitor known about it, no doubt he would have postponed his attack. As it was, he missed our most important people. They, too, saw what happened, and how well your people handled the symbiotes. When Samantha cradled them and stroked them, while Dr. Fraiser injected them with the substance to force them into activity to re- blend, it was a revelation to them.”
“It was also a revelation when Dr. Fraiser made the incision in the neck of the hosts for the ones that were simply too week to blend in our normal way. To watch them lie outside the host body, while they struggled to re-attach, was very upsetting for us, and yet Janet and Samantha stayed and encouraged them, injecting more of the drug, and keeping them moist, until the symbiote could function enough to fully blend and heal the neck.”
“And they did it for what seemed like hours to those of us that watched, and not once, but many times, as they worked to save them. I do not see the disdain that I was wont to see before, when someone mentions the Tau’ri. Many of us that had symbiotes that were not as ill were not as ill ourselves, and we saw everything that occurred. Our symbiotes will witness it, as it happened, when they access our memories, and it will make a difference to them. They will discuss it, both among themselves and with us. That is not to say that the Tau’ri and the Tok’Ra will not still have differences, but at least we have a better understanding of one another.”
Daniel nodded. “Yeah, I was told that Per’sus was heard to say later that the same compassion that had led us to accept Apophis, when he was being chased by Sokar, was the same compassion that had now helped the Tok’Ra. He also went on to say that seen from a different perspective, it was not such a bad trait to have particularly when tempered with good judgment. And that’s when he took his idea to the big Whigs in Washington and here at the SGC, pointing out that the Tok’Ra had vast knowledge of the universe, its peoples, languages, and worlds.”
“I’m actually surprised he even admitted that the Tok’Ra had a problem, but he went on to say that the compassion of the Tau’ri tempered with the knowledge of the universe from the Tok’Ra could lead the Tau’ri to learn restraint and to learn to pick their fights more carefully. The Tok’Ra on the other hand would learn to temper their decisions with compassion and to take other things into consideration when making a decision. The worlds were not either black or white. Some were grey. The Tok’Ra needed to learn the different shades of grey. The Tau’ri could teach them that. Personally, I thought it was a rather poetic thing for him to say, and I was impressed with it. I kind of liked him before, and that reinforced my opinion.” Daniel smiled, as he thought of the Tok’Ra High Councilor, before returning to what he was saying.
“Like the man said, it would be a fair trade. And thus, our present exchange system was suggested and eagerly accepted by both sides. Of course, it will work better, when the symbiotes are awake more than an hour or so a day and able to remember more than five minutes at a time where they are, and why they are here.”
Looking up, Daniel saw the desolate look on Martouf’s face, and added, “Personally, I think we will see that before long. Lantash is staying awake longer every time he wakes up. Eventually, he will begin to remember more and more of what happened. He is already remembering what happened from one time to the next, and every time he remembers a little bit more, and retains it to the next time,” Daniel assured Martouf, his voice soft with understanding.
Still speaking quietly he tried again, to reassure him, “Martouf, Lantash will be fine. We are all here waiting for him to wake up and be himself. True, it might be a while, but when he does, we will all be here to greet him, welcome him into our lives, and help him catch up on what has been going on the last couple of months. Moreover, it has only been two months. You’ve only been with us a few weeks.”
“Well, a few weeks of missions, after Janet finally said that you were driving her crazy, and to go and get out of her hair. You did spend a few weeks going through that filtering they kept doing on all of you, to help rid your body of the poison faster. That’s working, too. The ones that refused it at first didn’t do nearly as well as those that agreed to it. You don’t have to do it anymore, and there are more and more of you that no longer need it.”
Martouf nodded, saying, “I agree, Daniel,” before pausing, and then continuing, but changing the subject, “Daniel, have you noticed that Per’sus has been to the SGC almost every week, since the incident, and sometimes several times a week, if he can arrange to be, passing by? Daniel, how can one be “passing by” in a galaxy? In fact, I have noticed that Per’sus has made it a habit to visit the SGC often, and he always manages to come around the time that Janet has lunch. He has been seen there with her many times now, and he has also brought her gifts.”
“When Janet was berating him for allowing his healers to continue on a course that would kill the symbiotes, he was—well, I am not sure exactly what his emotions were, but they were intense and—admiring—I think would be the best way to describe them. Is she— that is, do you know if she finds the idea of a symbiote—distasteful? I would not like to think that he could get hurt. He has not been interested in a woman in a very long time. Not since his mate was killed many years ago. Well, in other than as a,” he waved his hands, not sure of the word he wanted.
“Do you mean as an occasional bed warmer?” Daniel grinned at him, as he gave him the American equivalent of what he was attempting to put into words.
Martouf smiled, relieved that Daniel understood what he meant, even though he could not verbally explain it to him. It must be a truly universal, cross-cultural need, easily understood and accepted as normal. “Yes, that will suffice. Thank you. I ask because I noticed that he has given her a small chain of gold, and to us that is a promise of fidelity. I do not know what you would call it. It is not a promise to bond, nor is there usually even a mention of it, at this point. It is more of a—a promise to—to sleep with no other female. If she gives one in return, then she will be telling him that she has considered his request, and she agrees to see him in the manner of a man who is—is,” “courting is the word you want, Martouf,”, “thank you,” “courting her, and that she will sleep with no other man. I do not know if she knows this, or not, and I do not feel it is my place to tell her.”
“Tell Sam and have her tell Janet. Problem solved. Why’d you thank me a little bit ago, Martouf? I didn’t say anything,” Daniel said, as he looked at him questioningly, before inspecting the wall once again.
“Oh, it was not to you, it was to Lantash,” Martouf said casually, before realizing what he said.
He immediately began to question him, “Lantash? Lantash are you awake?”
Sounding exasperated and almost offended, Lantash replied, “Of course, I am awake. What else would I be, except awake? It is obviously daytime. Why would I not be awake? Although, I must admit, I am finding it rather difficult to remember why we are on Quilleron with Daniel Jackson and Samantha, and looking once again at this rather boring temple dedicated to Niet’sesh. It is no more interesting now, than it was the last time you insisted on looking at it. I made you leave that time, as well. We have seen enough; let us go. In fact, I have seen more than enough of it, for the second time now. Why must you continue to drag me back to this excessively boring place that talks only about an unendingly, unutterably boring Goa’uld? Was it not enough that we spent an entire afternoon one time reading a tome of history that mentioned her? She did not even have the palliative of being interesting.”
Martouf sighed, “You don’t remember anything before waking up here, then.”
Lantash frowned at him before informing him, “Of course I remember. I remember being poisoned and going to the SGC. I remember being vilely ill. I remember waking up as they injected me with a substance that made me vilely ill, again, but which always made me feel better afterwards. I remember you lying patiently, as they filtered more of the toxin out of your system on several occasions, and I remember that it is something that you allow to happen often, not because it helps you at all, but because it hastens the breakdown of the poison, in my system. I also know that it is not a comfortable procedure for you, but you go through it anyway, as do all the others.”
He paused, before continuing, “I remember wondering how such a medically primitive society could be the ones to save us all. Furthermore, I remember how very glad I was that they were primitive and had the medicines and equipment on hand to help both of us. In addition, I remember, I remember…I remember breakfast before we went to see Per’sus and the council in General Hammond’s office. That is the last thing I remember before waking up and hearing you telling Dr. Jackson that Per’sus is courting Dr. Fraiser, while we stand, in a temple, on the world of Quilleron, discussing the dating habits of the High Councilor, as well as, how boring a long dead, quite obscure System Lord was. I am curios as to why we are here, and why you would be surprised that I am awake. Do I sleep a great deal now?” He sounded almost bewildered now, as he realized that he was missing a great many blocks of time and, therefore, no doubt, many memories.
Sounding relieved, Martouf told him, “You are obviously remembering more on your own then, unless you have accessed my memories because the last time you awoke, you could not remember past the first time we had the filtering done, after we were released from the infirmary. You have been sleeping a great deal, yes, probably twenty-two or more hours a day.”
“I have not yet accessed your memories,” Lantash, assured him.
Martouf relaxed even more, saying, “Good, then you are remembering things on your own, and that is very good news and means you are finally healing much more quickly.”
“Why are we here, Martouf?” Lantash’s curiosity was beginning to push him to find out what was happening in their joined lives.
“It’s a bit complicated. I would rather, and Dr. Fraiser would rather, that you remember as much as you can on your own before you access it, or I tell you. If I give you a brief answer, will that suffice, for now?” Martouf almost held his breath, as he waited for Lantash to answer.
“I suppose it will have to,” he stated, sounding resigned to waiting, something he was not good at doing.
Happy to have his agreement, Martouf hurried to give him what information he felt that he could, “We are now members of SG-1, and will remain so, for the foreseeable future. Colonel O’Neill is the military leader; we are to lend our experience of the worlds we visit. Our experience with cultures and worlds will hopefully help them not to get thrown into jail, become a tribe’s supper, or touch something that will kill them, that sort of thing.”
Lantash was quiet for a moment, as he gave Martouf’s words some thought. Finally, he murmured, “I believe I understand. As I comprehend it, we are teaching them about the worlds around the universe. What is it that we are gaining from them that is so important that the Tok’Ra council sent for us to tell us we were staying here and joining this team? Not that I strenuously object, since we have often talked of doing so, but if the council appointed us to be here to do this, there must be a reason, and I am assuming that was what our meeting in General Hammond’s office, the one that I slept through, was about.”
Martouf smiled at his mate, telling him with a tinge of amusement in his voice, “It was and you did. As for what we are getting in exchange for our knowledge, it is very simple. We are learning compassion in decision-making. In the words of Per’sus; "The Tok’Ra on the other hand would learn to temper their decisions with compassion, and to take other things into consideration when making a decision. The worlds were not, either black, or white. Some were grey. The Tok’Ra needed to learn the different shades of grey. The Tau’ri could teach them that".”
Lantash made his decision as to how he should handle his newfound information, finally telling him, “I see. Well. I have a feeling that, once I remember everything and have accessed your memories, I will feel much the same, so for now, I shall stay quiescent and watch. If you are in difficulties, I will help you, but otherwise, I do not wish to interfere. How long do I usually stay awake at one time?”
“You are already well over the time you are normally awake. Janet said there was a possibility that, when you awoke permanently, it would happen all at once. I am hopeful that this is that time. I have missed you my old and dearest friend, more than I can tell you in words. You must look to my heart for that.” Martouf gave him a hug and sent the warmth of his feelings to him in an immense wave of emotion. All of his pent up worry, anxiety, and fear increased its intensity.
Lantash reveled in the feel of Martouf’s love and returned it to him in abundance. “I can feel it, Martouf, and I understand and return it to you. You too are loved.”
“Martouf? Is Lantash still awake? That’s a long time for him. Maybe he is finally coming around.”
“Yes, I believe he may be, Daniel. He is still awake, but resting, and he remembers much farther this time, as well.”
Daniel smiled widely at him. “You see? I told you he would be all right. Come on; let’s look at this other wall, before Jack has a cow.”
“Why would Colonel O’Neill wish to have a bovine? What would be its purpose?” Martouf questioned him, quite seriously, although, he looked extremely confused and puzzled.
Daniel looked at him and laughed. Now, they had two of them. He’d forgotten how funny Teal’c had been when he first came to Earth. What is an Oprah? That statement cracked him up every time he remembered it.
Suddenly, they heard a very alert, very not bored, somewhat exasperated, Jack O’Neill calling to them, “Daniel, we have company. You and Marty need to get out here. Why don’ t the UAV’s show us this stuff?”
“What is it, Jack?” Daniel called out to him.
“Looks like the locals, Daniel. It’s your show. Come make nice. You’re on.”
Daniel looked sorrowfully at the wall, sighed in resignation, and turned to the doorway to “make nice”.