Chapter Four Summary: As they wait for the leaves to heal Colonel O'Neill, Martouf begins to fill Lantash in on what has been happening since the poisoning incident. He begins explaining what happened after they were all at the SGC and under Dr. Fraiser's care. Jack wonders what is going to happen now that three of his team-mates have realized they care for one another in more than just friendship. Daniel...ruminates about his feelings for Sam.
Ketra'kesh'cor - Four Bound by the Heart – a Threesome Containing Three Humans and One Symbiote, or Two and Two “Italics” – Symbiote-Host Communications
Martouf prepared himself to return to the recital of events as they had taken place during the 'poison incident', not an easy subject for any of them to talk about at any time. “To return to the subject, Anise finally became so concerned, as the substances became ever more toxic, that unbeknownst to anyone, she began to build detection devices, for the different poisons, and then to install them, all over the lab. Therefore, when the poison reached the lab, it set off one of her devices. She realized which one it was when the alarm in the lab went off, and she immediately announced throughout the tunnels which poison it was, and how it would affect us. Of course, by then, people were already collapsing in the tunnels.”
“A few of us started insisting that anyone still walking carry an unconscious comrade to the gate, otherwise we would not have managed to remove as many as we did and get them that far. Many were able to get there, but collapsed after they arrived at the gate. One group of us continued to transport fallen Tok’Ra ourselves, once all of those still capable of walking had ringed out. We did our best not to breathe when we were in the tunnels, but it is not possible to go through all of them without breathing. We did not even have simple hazmat suits, which is what the SGC used. They would have protected us enough to find and remove those that the poison overcame within the tunnels. We must begin to think of this type of equipment,” Martouf told him, before falling into a brief period of brooding upon the changes that needed to take place, and the possibility that the council would actually act to implement those precautions.
Shaking himself free from those unanswerable ruminations, he returned to what many, when they talked about it, called “the poison incident”, he proceeded to give both events and pertinent information to Lantash, saying, “It also appears that some symbiotes were more resistant to the poison than others. You were one of the most resistant. There was an entire group of us that were, and they are doing tests to try to find out what is different in either us, or you, that allowed us to continue to function, even after excessive exposure to the poison. They managed to determine how much we were exposed to, and according to their calculations, we should have been completely unconscious within the first hour. Instead, we did not become unconscious at all. Our symbiotes awoke periodically, as well, whereas no one else’s did. There also appears to be a range of reactions from very sensitive to those of us like you and I. In fact, you and I were probably in the best condition of all, however, since we did not continue to go into the tunnels, we cannot know if we would have continued to be, or if we would have been on average with our general group.”
Martouf shook his head and smiled wryly, “I have wandered off what happened again. Where was I? Anise? Yes, I believe so. She insisted that we must leave the tunnels, as quickly as possible. Although, the poison would not kill the host, the symbiote, if it died inside the host, would do so. Eventually, the host would be unable to continue to filter the poison, thus the symbiote would die and take its host with it. If we got out quickly enough, the hosts would be ill, possibly for quite some time, but we would all survive. Then she succumbed to the poison herself.”
“Freya was still viable, at that point, and she continued giving us both information and instructions. She explained that, as long as we left the tunnels the worst would not happen; the symbiotes would still become quite ill, though, and only time would heal them. She repeated several times that the hosts could filter the poison, but the symbiote could not. She also attempted to impress upon us that the hosts would be filtering for the symbiotes, a total reversal from what normally occurred. She put particular emphasis on those facts and I believe that had she not, many would have died…as they almost did anyway.”
“She advised an escape to the Tau’ri, as their medical abilities were the closest that she, or Anise, knew of, to what we would need. Hearing that, we made sure we had our GDO, and we were thankful to have been in the tunnels, while she was speaking.” He paused for a moment before commenting, “If Freya and Anise had not stayed and continued announcing those things over and over, I believe that the entire situation might have been much worse. The truth is that Freya stayed within the tunnels much longer than she should have. It is fortunate that she is a member our group, as far as her resistance to the effects of the poison, however, by staying within the tunnels and not leaving, she could very well have died. We did manage to convince her that everyone that she could help by remaining in them and repeating her instructions were all above ground and that she should leave. She stayed with us, until we found a downed Tok’Ra to remove, and then we all three ringed out. I was not sure she would even be able to walk to the Chaappa’ai, however, she did so.”
Once more Martouf paused before telling Lantash quietly, “I have more respect for her than I did. It should not have taken this incident to instill it. I have always known that she was loyal, and that many things she did of which we did not approve, she did for the Tok’Ra and our cause. I did not appreciate it, as I should have, however.”
Lantash caressed him gently before assuring him, “Anise is somewhat abrasive in her manner, and many take her attitude the wrong way. While I am often at odds with her and, like you, have not appreciated some of her better traits, I have never doubted her loyalty to the Tok’Ra or our cause. Most of your feelings are probably from me, so do not be so hard on yourself. It is more my fault than yours. We shall apologize to her and make more of an attempt to understand her point of view, when we discuss subjects. Will that allow you to feel less guilty?”
Martouf smiled at him and gave a small laugh, saying, “Yes, I do believe so and…I have already apologized for us. She actually apologized to us in return and admitted that she often did not give the attention to other’s views or suggestions that she should. We have agreed to become more patient with one another, as well as taking time to truly examine each other’s points of view.”
Sighing deeply once more, he stated firmly, “I have once more left the sequence of events. I will begin again, where I took up a side issue. So. You wished to continue rescuing other Tok’Ra still in the tunnels, but I convinced you that we should leave, while we could still stand, and be aware enough to tell someone what was wrong, as well as what needed to be done. The others in our group agreed. Since we were the most well-known to the Tau’ri, it was decided that, indeed, we should undertake that task. You finally agreed, and we went to the Chaappa’ai, only to find those still conscious, arguing over what to do next and where to go. We did not stop to argue. I stepped around them, put in Earth’s coordinates, and sent the code, indicating that we were “coming in hot”, coding it only as an "emergency code blue", so that they would know we were not under fire, but that the situation was dire. It was accepted, and we instructed the people that were still conscious, to allow us a very short time to relay information, and to then begin sending our unconscious people through the event horizon.” Martouf shuddered again, as he remembered the scene at the Chaappa’ai, and seeing it in his mind, Lantash caressed him once more, giving him what comfort that he could.
He leaned his head back against the wall, breathing deeply, before continuing, “One of our people that could barely walk himself, knew he was about to become unconscious, so he simply picked up the first body lying next to him and stepped through before us. It did not matter. We stepped through next and handed the one we had picked up to a medic, at once. Samantha caught us, as our knees buckled, and once we were steady again, we began to give General Hammond as concise and complete a report as possible. This was not the time to worry about need to know, and base security. We had to tell them not only what happened, but also, about the poisons.”
Martouf smiled a small, almost amused smile, before telling Lantash, “It was as I finished explaining everything that still needed done, and the medical information, scant though it was, that Freya relayed to us, that I suddenly realized what I had done. By now, bodies were coming through the Chaappa’ai and the SGC personnel were catching and transporting them to the sick bay area. I looked around, appalled. Lantash, I had just thrust several hundred very ill Tok’Ra onto a new ally, one who knew little about us, and who was still somewhat uneasy around us, as well. I began to apologize, and General Hammond brushed every word I tried to say aside. It was very reassuring and…humbling to me. I feel a great deal of gratitude to the SGC. Without them, I do not know what would have become of us. They went well beyond what could have been expected of them in the best of circumstances, which this was not.”
“You see, Lantash, they removed the poisons, and all information about them, immediately, so that they would not fall into the wrong hands, while the base was unattended. In fact, General Hammond sent SG teams in to keep guard, until we could get some of our own people there, and even then, I believe that he and Per’sus agreed that some of them would stay a while longer. Now, of course, it is a permanent thing, but it works differently. These soldiers were for special duty, to be sure that no one accessed any of the data control centers, or sensitive areas.” After another pause, Martouf said yet again, “Once more I am off topic. I will return to the sequence of events.”
“When Freya came through into the SGC, she tried to explain to Janet what she knew, and how we needed to be treated, but she was too affected by the poison by then to be very helpful. She became unconscious before she could finish. Janet said that she did give her enough information that she was able to begin to understand what the poison was doing, as well as how we were probably filtering it, and from that, she could begin to figure out what we needed. Our own healers, the two that remained standing, were beginning to discuss removing symbiotes, which they did, before we remembered what Freya said about the host filtering the poison for the symbiote.”
“Freya did bring her data pad, and she had it clutched in her hand when she arrived at the SGC. Once she realized what it was, Samantha took it and ran with it to her lab. She and Daniel immediately began to decipher it. Between what Freya was able to convey to Janet, and what Samantha and Daniel found on the data pad, Janet Fraiser was able to form a much clearer idea of what they would need to do for us medically. She and her staff organized all of the infirmaries, and setup new ones, so that we were all cared for as quickly, efficiently, and kindly, as possible, in the circumstances. It is difficult to have several hundred Tok’Ra suddenly thrust upon you. They could not send us to the air force hospital, since we are truly aliens on their world, a world that does not realize life exists beyond there own, regardless how many believe that it does.”
“Their organizational skills are amazing. They had makeshift infirmaries set up everywhere, almost immediately. The entire base went into action attending to everything that needed taken care of, regardless their normal duties. Not essential personnel needed to run the base or their SFs, er, guards, of course, but everyone else. They even called in all of the off-duty personnel that they could contact. They more or less left those of us that could still walk to fend for ourselves, at first, although we were in the main infirmary, so we saw a great deal of what occurred. Once the new infirmaries were full, then some of us were assigned individual rooms, even if we did have to share our beds.” Martouf laughed at Lantash’s confusion. “We were put into VIP rooms, which have one large bed. We indicated to them that we were quite willing to share the sleeping areas, and they immediately took us up on our offer. Space was at a premium. You and I shared Samantha’ s quarters, along with Daniel. Many of the unoccupied VIP rooms held extra cots, in addition to the bed that was already there. Their VIP rooms will hold several Tok’Ra, or so we have found.”
“Daniel, Colonel O’Neill, Teal’c, in fact all of the non-mated officers and personnel that had quarters assigned on the base, offered to give up their quarters and stay with friends, or share them with a Tok’Ra. As I said, Daniel gave his up completely, as did Colonel O’Neill and several others that have homes in Colorado Springs, which is the name of the town near to the SGC. Teal’c lives on base, so he could not do so, though he offered to move to a supply closet since, he said, all he really needs is a place to meditate. They refused his offer; however, he shared his room. It was very kind of all of them.”
“While the medical personnel did what they could for us, General Hammond organized a rescue party. He sent two hazmat units into the tunnels to find and rescue the remainder of our people trapped in them. They also had instructions to begin clearing the tunnels of the poison. He had them ready and waiting when the last Tok’Ra came through the gate and it shut down. They left for the tunnels before many of us were even in the infirmary, Lantash.” Martouf could not seem to stop his words. His voice was an emotion laden, hoarse, whisper, as he repeated, “He had teams suited up and waiting for the last of our people to be sent through. As soon as the gate shut down, the SGC dialed out, and the teams went through to get the rest of the Tok’Ra out of what had become a death trap. There is no doubt in my mind, or anyone else’s, that if they had not, those symbiotes and their hosts would have died.”
Another pause and one more small smile came from Martouf, as he thought of the next event. He told Lantash, “As soon as those teams were through the gate, General Hammond sent two teams to Giaver to inform the Council of the sabotage, feeling it would be better if the news was delivered in person, than by radio.”
Martouf’s smile grew larger in his mind, and Lantash wondered what about that could be amusing him, when he continued, “He gave the two teams sent to inform and then retrieve the Council strict orders that under no circumstances were they to allow the Tok'Ra Council Members to return to the Tok’Ra base. Until the Hazmat teams contacted the SGC that the tunnels were clear of all poison, and the remainder of the Tok’Ra trapped there were through the Gate, the Council members were to remain where they were. Once the remainder of the Tok’Ra were safe, they could retrieve the Council. They were to use zat’ni’ ktels, if they had to, but they were not to allow the council members to endanger themselves. They were to be escorted to the SGC and nowhere else.”
Realizing now, what Martouf was smiling about, Lantash chuckled. As he told him about what occurred, Martouf had images running through his mind, and they were very amusing. Evidently, the Council did not take kindly to their kidnapping. Jacob and Selmak pointed out the seriousness of the situation, and assured them that George Hammond, an old and trusted comrade and friend of Jacob’s, would Not have gone to these lengths, if it was not necessary. They told them to ‘Think! For god’s sake’. Someone sabotaged an entire Tok’Ra base. Why were they standing here arguing over what to do? He believed what these soldiers told them. They had people at the SGC that were dying. Dying! Stop being fools! Yes, Lantash could very easily see why Martouf was smiling. Per’sus, Garshaw, and, surprisingly, Delek, backed Jacob up on what he said. They needed to be with their people, not running all over the galaxy looking for they knew not what. They arrived at the SGC and no one required zatting.
He returned his attention to what Martouf was saying, “Not one of us perished, Lantash. Not one, and it was all because of the fast thinking of their medical personnel, and the immediate response of the SGC. There was nothing put before a Council, no votes, nothing. General Hammond said, we will do this, and they did it. Period. End of discussion. Yes, the General had to contact his superiors, but not until after he made those decisions. The emergency situation was handled first, the conveyance of information and asking for orders came second.” Feeling Lantash’s curiosity, he told him, “Yes, their government agreed with everything General Hammond did. Their President authorized whatever help we and the SGC might need, and we were invited to stay as long as was necessary for us to heal and “get back on our feet”. The General was to do as he thought best. Keep him informed. That was it.”
Lantash felt Martouf shiver. Whatever he was thinking about was upsetting for him to relate. He wished that it was not necessary that Martouf relive those memories, however, Lantash also knew that he would remember no more than he already acquired. He was not conscious for anything else; therefore, Martouf would have to give him the information. He could go through his memories, but that was not as informative as the narrative, for it gave nuances and emotions that, the images did not always give, although many actually did. Still, he wanted to know exactly what occurred and how Martouf felt as it did. “I must go back somewhat in my narrative, to before the council members arrived, although, it was not long before they were there. Therefore, to begin again; I was still able to walk. Those who could did so. There were not a great many of us; however, as I mentioned earlier, we were capable of functioning on our own, so they trusted us to know what we needed, and gave us only basic, necessary care, until things began to calm somewhat. I believe I told you about the VIP rooms and that we are the ones that ended up in them. It only made sense, as we were, at least, able to care for ourselves somewhat.”
“When we arrived in the infirmary, after helping to escort or carry the last of the Tok’Ra there, we were led to some cots in the main area, but out of the way, and then they handed each of us a gigantic glass of water, with ice, some small plastic cups with lids, a pen, and a gallon jug of water.”
“I can only assume they had found some information that led them to believe the poison would make you thirsty?” Lantash sounded as confused as they had all been at the time. Lantash could hear and see Martouf’s memories about this and he watched with increasing amusement as Martouf thought about them. They were definitely confused when the nurses gave all of them their supplies, pointed out where the facilities were, and then showed them an opening in the wall where they were to set their plastic cups. In addition, they were to remember to put their names and their symbiote’s names on the label on the cup. Otherwise, they would not know whose was whose, and also, please write them in English. Furthermore, if they did not know the English spelling, Dr. Jackson could help them, if one of the medical staff could not do so. Oh, and do not wait too long to ask, because they might have to have him paged, if he was not already here, and it might take him a while to get there so, you know, just do not wait until they really needed to go. They looked at one another and gave the Tok’Ra equivalent of a shrug. None of them had any idea of where it was they might decide they wanted to go. Nor did they know why they would want to put their names on the cups, in English or otherwise; therefore, they foresaw no reason to disturb Dr. Jackson.
Martouf smiled, as he remembered the Tok’Ra’s faces, when the nursing staff realized they had no idea what they required them to do, and they gave them much more detailed instructions. Once they understood what they were to do with the water, the pen, and the cups, it had been a moment for Tok’Ra history. They looked at each other, at the cups, at the water, and at the facilities door, as if still not quite comprehending the instructions. No one had ever asked them to do something like this. Moreover, not only did they want them to do something like this—then they wanted the cup, with their names written on it…and it in it. It was—odd and—well, odd. One of the Tok’Ra scientists finally asked for clarification. The Tau’ri lab technician, seeing that they were still confused, explained how the process worked, as well as what it would tell them. The scientist asked to be allowed to watch some of the testing, and Janet agreed, understanding that they had no way to comprehend what the Tau’ri were doing to us. Lantash chuckled with him as he watched the expressions of the other Tok’Ra, as they realized what they were to do with the “supplies.”
Martouf continued showing him some of the things that happened. The scientist, Kalani, said later that their method made perfect sense, once she saw it done. It was somewhat laborious, true, but perfectly accurate. They knew by those two tests what was happening in the host and the symbiote. They were, she said, efficient and, for doing what needed doing for this problem, amazingly good at it. There were ways the Tok’Ra could help them to bring some of their methods more up to date that did not require naquadah in the blood. She was going to see to it that they learned about them. Perhaps it was time to share a little more knowledge and less suspicion between them.
Realizing Lantash saw his memories, but that he had not yet answered him completely, Martouf said, “No, but they discovered that as we, the host, filtered the poison out of you, it would show up in two “measurable” places in our bodies; those were our urine and our blood. Therefore, in order to encourage the filtering of the poison from your system, we were to drink water as frequently as we could. Then, when we had need of the facilities, we were to take our little cup with us to the bathroom, which is their word for the facilities, urinate in the cup, be sure our name and our symbiote’s name was on it, in English, and put it through the little door. Some very diligent person on the other side would then check it and chart it under the correct name. In this way, they would have an ongoing record to see how well, and how quickly, we were filtering the poison.”
“They also placed a needle into a vein in our arm. They closed it off, and then every thirty minutes, at first, and then at longer intervals, as time passed, someone would come and draw a small tube of blood from it. Again, some diligent person would see how well we were filtering for you. Now they only do it every few days on some of us, on others they no longer check it at all. By some standards, it is perhaps, primitive, but it is also extremely effective. Anise and Freya were correct in their belief that the Tau’ri and their treatments were more effective than any we would have devised.”
“I believe I glossed over some very important things, so I wish to go back and tell you of them now.” Martouf gathered his thoughts and then began his recollections, saying quietly, “When I finally joined my fellow Tok’Ra in the infirmary, before the room situation was sorted out, they told me that we were living a waking nightmare. The healers had removed many symbiotes already, the worst possible thing they could have done, and they wanted to continue to remove more, not believing the Tau’ri Doctors knew what they were doing. They had even gone so far as to call the Tau’ri medical facilities and the personnel in it “primitive”. All of us who became witnesses to the drama’s that played out in that room, were thankful that the Tau’ri put the remarks down to stress and the poison, rather than taking offense, as they would have had every right to do.” Martouf shuddered again, and Lantash comforted him as well as he could.
Letting out a shaky breath, Martouf hugged him back and told him, “Regardless how primitive their methods might appear to us, there is no doubt that our methods would have failed, and many of us would have perished during the “poison incident”. I personally, will never consider their ways primitive again. Perhaps they have not made the advances we have made in the last two thousand years, but considering where they started two thousand years ago, and where they are now, I would say they have made the greatest gains in technology. I would also say that their ways are different, not primitive; they are uninformed, not stupid. I have told many others the same thing and many agree with me.”
“The attitude to the Tau’ri is much different than it was two months ago. There have been murmurings of the possibility that there has been an active propaganda machine to keep our two races from learning too much of one another and planting views that would cause mistrust. They are investigating the possibility. Once again, I have strayed to politics instead of facts. I will try not to digress further.”
“I will return to my recitation of the events that occurred the day of the “poison incident. Samantha and Daniel deciphered Anise and Freya’s notes. All of the Tok’Ra sitting by and watching so helplessly were very aware that those symbiotes that our healers removed would die, and nothing the Tau’ri healers could do would prevent it. They, too, at that point, felt the Tau’ri medical knowledge and facilities were simply too backward and primitive, to be of any use. They also realized that ours would have been no better in this situation. Those that were not removed, though, would benefit from the Tau'ri’s abilities.”
Martouf shrugged and shook his head, as he remembered the despair and sorrow they all felt at the loss. “It was obvious to all that only if the Doctor could re-introduce the symbiote to the host could they be saved, and they already knew what the Tau’ri thought about doing something like that. They all knew that the Tau’ri would allow them to die, before they reintroduced them to a human. Not only that, but many of the Tok’Ra symbiotes were unconscious anyway, or so lethargic, they were barely moving. They probably could not blend, even if the Tau’ri would re-introduce them. That was the belief at that point; the Doctors didn’t have the abilities, equipment, or desire, and the symbiotes were too close to death to reattach anyway.”
“At about the same time that I was hearing these dark warnings and predictions, Dr. Fraiser became immersed in a battle of wills with Per’sus directly in front of us. She told Per’sus that he had the IQ (I do not think that any of us know for certain what that is, although we believe we do, and I keep forgetting to ask) of an amoeba. She told him that if he was not going to help, by ordering the healers to stop removing the symbiotes from their hosts, she would have him, and his healers, zatted where they stood. She had symbiotes to try to save, who, thanks to him, would probably die because she was standing and arguing with someone whose intelligence was on par with that of a banana slug, no make that tree moss. Now, get the hell out of her way.”
“Luckily, Per’sus waved the healers away, just as Dr. Fraiser waved the Security Forces in, and then one of the healer’s finally succumbed to her symbiote’s illness. Someone heard Dr. Fraiser mutter, “Well, it’s about time. I kept thinking she would become unconscious over an hour ago. She is finally down, Dan, get her into the bed we have ready for her.” Martouf smiled, remembering the feisty little auburn-haired Doctor, as she astounded Per’ sus.
“Per’sus stood and stared at her in amazement, blocking her path in the now crowded room, she attempted to shove him, which did not work, he being so large, and she being so small. In exasperation, she finally told him to go, er, do something impossible to himself, and then waved the SF’s over and had him forcibly moved to the side, so she could pass. It was not an auspicious beginning to their relationship.”
“Not long after that, there was a meeting of several of their doctors, nurses, and Samantha. After some discussion and argument, Dr. Fraiser held up her hand, pointed to several of the group, and Samantha.”
Lantash felt the shaft of pain that shot through Martouf as he remembered the events that occurred as they watched. He relived Martouf's feelings of helplessness, and they almost overwhelmed both of them, before he shoved them away and returned to his narrative, “Lantash, the healers removed the symbiotes with nowhere to put them. Only the quick thinking of the nurses in putting them in basins, covering them with warm water, and leaving them with their hosts kept them alive. By leaving them with their host, they knew who belonged to whom. The symbiotes were getting weaker by the moment. SGC personnel were carrying some of the weaker ones. They were being kept warm by body heat and warm wet cloths. I believe that they were stroking them to try to keep their failing circulation up as well.”
“The host they approached first was Ellia, and Dr. Fraiser talked to her, obviously explaining something in detail. The healers had removed Jortel first, so she was the weakest of the symbiotes, at that time. Whatever they asked, Ellia agreed to at once, and immediately moved to the movable bed they brought in. Someone injected something into the back of her neck in several places, while Janet injected something into the symbiote. They watched it, and in a short while, Samantha nodded and relaxed a little bit. Janet looked Ellia over and was not happy with something and sent one of the medics out for something else.”
“Shortly, another bed was brought in and Ellia transferred once again. This bed had an open place for her face to fit in, and they removed the other movable bed from the room. Each time they moved her, she moved closer us. We realized they were about to attempt something, and we all stood in order to watch, mesmerized by the drama going on before us. We watched Dr. Fraiser make an incision in the back of Ellia’s neck. It was a shock to us, Lantash, to see a large deep slit opened in a host like that. Samantha unwrapped Jortel, and laid her on Ellia’s back near the incision. Jortel did not move at all. It was a very emotional moment for us, seeing her like that, unable to move, probably dying.”
“We wondered how they were going to get an unconscious symbiote into the body of a host, which was obviously what they were going to attempt. It was impossible. We muttered among ourselves wondering why they were bothering to try to do what was so clearly impossible. They were hurting the host for nothing. Dr. Fraiser and Samantha looked at each other and nodded once, as a nurse handed Janet a syringe filled with some type of fluid. She took a hold of Jortel, and then carefully inserted what appeared to be a long metal tube into her and began to depress a plunger. The liquid slowly entered her. Dr. Fraiser removed it from her after she introduced about half of the liquid. Samantha…Samantha stroked her,” he told Lantash softly, obviously touched by the care she gave the symbiote.
“Suddenly, Jortel began to move, and they encouraged her to enter the incision. Samantha bent close, whispering to her, and in a moment, she lunged into the opening. Ellia screamed and grasped the nurse’s hands. We knew what that meant. Jortel had used no numbing agent as she burrowed, she had simply torn through, sending out filaments and attaching as quickly as possible. To do it that way would have been very painful for the host. No doubt, they assured Jortel that Ellia agreed to it, or she would not have done it. Ellia gasped out something and the nurse sitting under the table talking with her repeated the comment to Dr. Fraiser.”
“I remember the conversation. The nurse said, “She’s attached, Dr. Fraiser, but she doesn't think she can make it. She told Ellia that she simply doesn’t have the strength to finish the blending and heal Ellia’s neck.”
“Doctor Fraiser answered saying, “Tell Jortel not to worry about healing the incision on her neck. We can do that with a healing device. All she has to do is get in and blend well. We’ll do the rest. I’m going to give her another shot to give her the strength she needs, as soon as she’s ready.”
“She responded, saying, “She says do it now, before she loses consciousness again, so she'll know what she is supposed to do.”
“All right. I’m injecting her now. I know it hurts her. Tell her I am sorry, Ellia, and I will be as gentle as I can.” “She apologized for hurting her, Lantash. Saving her life and apologizing for hurting her,” Martouf’s “voice” was husky with emotion.”
“Ellia murmured to the nurse and the nurse told Dr. Fraiser, “She said Jortel said to tell her that she is grateful for all you have done; do not worry about the small amount of pain, at least she knows she is still alive.”
“A couple of minutes later she completely disappeared into her host, and she even managed to heal the neck wound. Then Ellia told them, “She is fully blended, but is now unconscious. I do not believe I will remain awake much longer myself, as I am fast succumbing to the poison. I thank all of you for helping us.”
“We’ll continue to help you both, Ellia, don’t worry about it. Let the sleep take you now, and we will watch over you both.”
“Yes, I do truly believe that you will. We thank you.”
“The Tok'Ra watching learned that the Tau’ri do not believe in the word impossible, until they have at least tried. It was another enlightening moment for the Tok’Ra, as a group, as well as individuals. You and I have seen it before in SG-1, Lantash. Now, we have seen that it is not a rarity. We now know that many humans have this trait that tells them they must at least try to see if it will work.”
“Once they knew it could be done, they formed three teams to work on the symbiotes that our healers removed, the most ill being re-introduced first. None was lost, but there were some very tense moments, as they came very close to doing so several times, and one actually “died” but the Tau’ri pulled it back to life. That was the ultimate turnaround for any of the Tok’Ra who were still not yet convinced that they could have been so very wrong. Not only did the Tau’ri not want a symbiote to die,” Martouf laughed softly, “they would not leave them dead if they did die.”
“So the Tok’Ra from the base that were less affected watched, as the Tau’ri that they believed were disgusted and repelled by us, who would rather see us dead than alive, worked feverishly to save many from death. They watched as the Tau’ri fought the poison, and re-blended symbiotes, which their own healers had misguidedly removed from their hosts. Nor was it for just a short time, but for many, many hours, because those symbiotes were near death. The medical staff, as well as many others, hovered over them constantly for almost two entire days, before Janet Fraiser finally declared them out of danger. There were so many, Lantash. Twenty-three. There were twenty-three that would definitely have died, without the Tau’ri stubbornness and compassion.”
“The Tok’Ra had to admit that their words were completely and absolutely wrong. Not only did the Tau’ri re-blend the symbiotes with their human hosts, but they did it in a way that even the Tok’Ra would have thought they would have abhorred. They were profound and sobering actions, ones that forced many to rethink their entire attitudes and belief systems in regard to these Tau’ri.”
Pulling himself out of the well of sadness he had fallen into, Martouf finally smiled and even laughed softly, telling Lantash, “Per’sus finally stopped pacing when word came that the symbiotes were out of danger. He sought out Janet Fraiser, (or as he has been heard to call her, the beautiful auburn-haired termagant that saved his people), and kissed her. Then he told her how much he admired her for her dedication as well as her skill, and that he owed her everything, for saving his people. She stared at him and then, smiled at him a little bit, for the first time in two days. And this time, instead of telling him to go do something that was physically impossible to himself, when he kissed her, she told him that was nice to know and good night. She didn’t tell him to get out of her way, that he had the IQ of tree moss, compare him to an amoeba, or a banana slug, whatever that was. It was obvious that he felt that he was making progress.”
“Away from the infirmary, those that only needed minimal care watched, as the base personnel gave up their own rooms and beds, their recreation room, their racket ball court, their basket ball court, and sundry other nooks and crannies that one rarely thinks of, but that make life a little easier.”
“They found themselves sharing rooms with soldiers and were amazed when they patiently showed them how things worked, where things were, and how to ask for more, if they ran out of something. They were shown the mysteries of the DVD and entertainment centers, country music, rock music, Classical music, and a great many other things in between. Once they realized the stories and movies were not true but “fiction”, meaning “pretend or false”, they began to enjoy this “entertainment.” They learned to eat big Macs and French fries. They were given food, medicine, and clothing. Moreover, a roof over their heads. All of it given at a few seconds notice. Not to one or two of them, but to several hundred.”
“I say they, because I do not count us among those that had to learn that there was more to the Tau’ri than we knew, although we, too, are still learning of them. We already knew that they could be kind and patient, with a sense of humor and honor. Although, I was not aware of the various forms of entertainment, blue jeans, boots, tee-shirts, pool, O’Malley’s, mini-skirts, poker, or slow dancing. I find I am particularly fond of the blue jeans, tee- shirts, very short skirts, and slow dancing.” He quickly showed Lantash each of these items, especially the slow dancing, the very short skirts, and the blue jeans. Which, of course, brought images of O’Malley’s.
Martouf sighed, “Anyway, needless to say, it changed Tok’Ra – Tau’ri relations. Oh, I forgot. They brought in machines that could filter impurities from the blood. That is what you remember me doing the one time you awoke while I used the machine. It would take several hours to do it completely. They brought them in originally for the symbiotes the healers removed, since they were in such dire circumstances. It was not that the host could not filter it for them; it was an adjunct to the host’s filtering abilities. By cleaning our blood, it allowed us to filter more, and faster. Once they realized it worked quite well, as soon as one host was finished, they moved it to the next. That is also one of the reasons they knew that those critical Tok’Ra would survive. Once they began to help the host filter, they improved dramatically…well, not in their responses as far as becoming conscious, but in the test results. It also allowed the hosts to be less affected by the poison, as well, so they were soon able to stay awake for longer periods. Once they did not have to use them on those Tok’Ra all the time, they offered it to the remainder of us. Many refused, until they saw how very much better those of us doing it felt afterwards. It has helped a great deal.”
“I can see where the Tau'ri’s actions would have caused that turning point, Martouf. They cannot deny that which they saw.”
“I believe you know of some of the other things that happened, Lantash. If not, then we can go over some of it later, and since you are sure your memories have all returned, you are welcome to ransack my memories, for a more complete replay of the entire sequence of events, as they happened. For now, there are perhaps some other things we should talk of, instead.”
“What do you wish to say to me, Martouf? That we should remain friends with her? My feelings for her are not those of a friend. And I am not confusing her with Jolinar or Rosha,” Lantash sounded somewhat testy at what he assumed his host was about to say.
“Well, actually, I was going to tell you that I do not think I can remain just friends with her for very much longer. We…the evening that you awoke, and we had just kissed, we had given free reign to our feelings, that is, those she feels for us that are from Jolinar, and I gave reign to those I believed I still felt for Jolinar, as I held her. It was—not what either of us expected. It was like a faded portrait that had once been vibrant. You still love the portrait and always will, but it will never be as vibrant and alive, as it once was,” there was still a trace of surprise in Martouf’s tone, as he explained to Lantash what occurred that evening.
“Then we kissed as us, as Samantha and Martouf. It was…enlightening. It was much more than I expected it to be, much more emotional, as well as physical. We were both surprised and were stepping back to discuss it, when you woke up and took over. We have never discussed what happened that evening. I do not think she is angry about it, and I sometimes think there is something in her eyes when she looks at us, but Lantash, I have also seen it in her eyes, when she looks at Daniel,” Martouf sighed lightly, as he remarked on what he saw in Sam’s eyes.
“So, I was not mistaken. You have seen it as well.” Lantash added his sigh to Martouf’s, before saying, “You realize that we will be able to deny her nothing. Moreover, it is not as if we have never shared a mate before. We enjoyed sharing with Malek and that relationship has the benefit of knowing your loved one is cared for should something happen to you. I believe we could come to enjoy sharing with Daniel, as well, but I am not sure how Daniel would feel about that idea, or how Samantha would, either, for that matter.”
“I do believe that today, when she stood facing the two of us, she realized, for the first time, that she wanted us both in that way. She is beginning to realize that she loves all three of us. I am just not sure if she will be able to accept that, if she cannot choose between us, and she will not enter into a Ketra’kesh’cor with Daniel, and us then she will have none of us, and we will all be unhappy. It would be easier if we were living with the Tok’Ra, of course, where it is an accepted way of sharing a mate. The Tau’ri frown upon it, I believe, at least if it is done openly,” Lantash’s remark was laden with irony.
“Yes, I believe that they do. The Tau'ri appear to be quite repressed and restricted in some respects.” Martouf opened his eyes and let them rest upon Samantha, as she sat in the chair and made lazy circles on the armrest with her fingers. She was such a beautiful and exciting woman. It would be agonizing to give her up. Perhaps they should talk to Daniel about the situation. Thoughts were sometimes the same as words for the two of them, and he immediately voiced his thought, “Lantash, perhaps we should talk to Daniel about the situation. He may not be as interested as we believe him to be.” He paused for a moment before continuing wryly, “but I do not believe we are wrong about his interest in her at all. If anything we may have underestimated it.”
“I have considered that option as well, but like you, I believe he is in love with her and has been for quite some time. He has hidden it well, but I saw it very clearly today. His eyes are sometimes hungry, when he looks at her. Much as ours are, I would imagine,” Lantash’ s comment did not surprise Martouf, as his thoughts were much the same.
“Perhaps we will get a chance to talk to him later today, before the dinner. If we do not find a chance to do so today, there is tomorrow. It has waited this long, it can wait a little longer.”
“Yes, it can and I do believe that Samantha is just now beginning to believe that not only does she not want to be only friends with us, she no longer desires to be Daniel Jackson’s sister. We should allow her to find her way, before we do anything more, for the moment. Perhaps space is what she needs, as much as anything. I believe we should continue to show her that we do not consider her just a friend, and push that as far as she will allow it to go. It is the commitment for which I do not believe we should push her. So please do not misunderstand what I am saying.”
“I am glad you clarified, Lantash, because I did think you meant not to pursue her at all for now.”
“Not at all, Martouf. Now is the best time to pursue her, while she is off balance a little. She will work through it, whether we push her for intimacy, or not. It is not the intimacy that will bother her. It will be the chains of gold that will trouble Samantha. I have a feeling that ours may need to come from the three of us, not the two of us,” Lantash warned him, keeping his voice mild and untroubled.
Martouf smiled slightly, “You may be right, but as you say, we have shared a mate before quite successfully, very happily even. Had Rosha and Jolinar not come along, we would have stayed in that relationship for a very long time. At least, being the secondary lovers we felt no guilt in leaving.” He paused. “I wonder if she would choose a primary lover.”
Lantash smiled. “Possibly. Get some rest Martouf. I will awaken you, when they come to check O’Neill’s leaves. The days on this world are extremely long, as I remember.”
“Thank you. I believe I will,” Martouf shut his eyes and almost immediately drifted off.
Jack watched his teammates as they sat quietly around him waiting to see what the leaves did for the burns. They were unusually quiet. Too quiet. All of them were thinking about something. He just wasn’t sure he liked where he thought their thoughts were taking them.
He’d seen the look on Daniel’s face earlier, quickly though it had been covered. Martouf’s had been a mirror image, again for only a moment. Great, just great. He was going to have two of his team fighting over a woman, also a teammate. And that teammate? If the look on her face had been anything to go by, she was shocked to realize she viewed them both as men, desirable men, men she desired. Both of them.
Maybe, if he was very lucky, she would choose both, and a bloodbath would be avoided because they realized that all of them had always wanted to participate in a ménage. They would participate in some weird local custom they had to undergo in order to get a scientific treaty to explore, and possibly use this wonder plant. Maybe it would include marriage of some form and get him off the hook.
Yeah. He could do that. Whatever happened, happened under the auspices of, “anything for the betterment of Earth and the USA”, banner. They expected all of them to do whatever it took “within reason.” Taking part in bizarre rituals had become a way of life for most of them, so what was one more? If Carter ended up married to three “men”, and he used the term loosely, who was he, or the government, for that matter since they were the ones that had just decided to recognize off-world marriages, to complain if they came back with a miracle plant? If—that was the problem. Big If. He sure hoped this was a wonder plant. Hey, if a guy was going to dream up a perfect ending to a big problem, then he might as well dream as big as he wanted to, and make it all turn out perfectly.
The problem with that was that real life never turned out as you imagined it would. Something always screwed it up. This time, he figured it would be the plant. Yup, it was the plant. Surely, Carter, Martouf, and Daniel wouldn’t screw up his plans. Jack snorted to himself. Right. Well, for now, he’d pretend it was the plant.
This silence was getting on his nerves. “Shouldn’t you guys go find out what we do for lunch around here? You said that it wasn’t a gathering, so do we get our MRE’s out and get up a campfire somewhere when noon finally gets here?” Jack finally asked in exasperation.
Daniel looked up from some fascinating instruments he was examining, and said, “No, we’ re fine. I think we still have time, Jack. I’m sure they’ll let us know.”
“Daniel, I’m sure you should all be going and finding out, or something,” Jack reiterated more pointedly, as he jerked his head toward the door. Daniel looked at him blankly.
“No, Jack, we’re fine, really. Just relax,” Daniel assured him, as he once again lost himself in his study of the instruments. Or so it appeared. The reality was that Daniel was somewhere deep in his mind, and his thoughts were nowhere near the instruments he appeared to be studying so intently.
He was thinking about Sam. His friend, Sam. His almost sister, Sam. His hot as hell and wonderful woman, Sam. Yeah, that one. When, had this happened? When, oh when, exactly, had Sam his friend—become Sam, the woman he loved? He sighed. Stop trying to fool yourself, Danny-boy. It was long ago, and far, far, away.