Chapter Nine Summary: Daniel and Martouf still want to know about Janet, Per’sus, and the bracelet, so Daniel begins probing for information knowing that they will find out more if they don’t ask one question. Sam tells them how the Courtship between Per’sus and Janet is proceeding. After they find out all they can about that, they begin to discuss the poisoning of the base personnel and the consequences…and exchange program between the two races that is working out very well. Not yet having time to go through all of Martouf’s memories of the incident and its far-reaching effects, Lantash is shocked at the changes that have occurred while he was unconscious.
“Italics” – Symbiote-Host Communications
Looking into the expectant faces, Sam broke out in a smile, “I guess I should find out what you know and what you don’t first. You do know that he’s really hot for Janet, don’t you? He always comes at meal time, and then he spends all her free time with her.”
“We know that he’s becoming very fond of her, Sam, that’s why we were asking about them. You know, how does Janet feel? Is she just kind of being nice, or does she really like him? I guess we want to know that kind of thing,” Daniel answered for both of them, not wanting to go directly to the question. They would find out more this way, and it would be more like a friendly exchange than an interrogation.
Sam looked surprised. “Well, yes, she really likes him. Daniel, you should know that. It wouldn’t be like Janet to string him along like that, if she didn’t like him, too.”
Daniel hastened to answer, not wanting to start another round of misunderstandings, “I know she wouldn’t, if she understood that he really did like her, Sam. That’s what we didn’t know. If Janet realized that Per’sus was, er, well, courting, old-fashioned word that it is, would be our equivalent for it.”
He watched Sam’s eyes soften. “Oh, what a sweet way to put it, Daniel. I think she does know yes, and she wants him to, so there is no misunderstanding between them, as far as I know.”
“Good. The way they were when they first met, it was kind of hard to know how Janet felt about him.”
Sam smiled at him, “Yeah, isn’t it funny, after the way they got off on the wrong foot like they did, that they’d end up in this big romance? It’s very sweet, too, though. I mean, they had sparks flying off each other in the infirmary during the crisis, but now they can’t see enough of each other. I think it’s because she stood up to him and made a few less than flattering remarks about and to him in the middle of all that.”
“I think she kind of kept him grounded during the period when we didn’t know if some of them were going to make it or not. As long as she was still fighting him, he felt like she was still fighting for them, and in his mind that meant they were all going to live. I have no idea why, but something about Janet that day, and her determination not to lose any of them rocked his world, I guess,” Sam stopped talking and stared at nothing as if seeing something they could not see.
Snapping out of it, she said, “If you want to know the latest, then the last I heard, the last time he came, Dad was with him. Let’s see, two days before this mission. I talked to Janet yesterday evening, so this is hot off the presses, and as far as I know it’s common knowledge, well, at least the parts I’ll tell you guys is, the other stuff isn’t, and that will not be given out, as you should know. Daniel, do not start whining. It won’t help. You know the rules. Girl talk is girl talk, and only special dispensation gets you access. Go see Janet when we get back, and if she says I can tell you, then I will. Deal?”
Daniel sighed, frowned, pouted and declared, “Deal, but there’s a condition.”
Sam looked suspicious. “What’s that?”
“I don’t know, I’ll think about it.”
“I’m not doing unknown conditions. Take it or leave it.” The silence stretched.
“Oh, all right. Deal.”
Sam rubbed her hands together gleefully, and said, “All right, here’s the skinny. It seems that he went to ask Janet to lunch, and Dad went to talk to General Hammond. Come to find out, Per’sus has been asking Dad some very pointed questions about mating rituals on the Tau’ri world and of Tau’ri women in the SGC in particular. I understand from Dad that he explained to Per’sus about taking a woman out to eat, and going to movies, walks it the park, picnics, that kind of thing. That’s where the lunches came in.”
“Since he can’t leave base, it was all he could do. Not the most romantic place to go, but better than nothing. Anyway, I can’t imagine Per’sus getting dating tips from my Dad. I’m surprised he managed to get as far with Janet as he did. Somehow, I can’t see my Dad as the best person to go to for advice on how to get Tau’ri women to notice you in five easy lessons.”
Sam frowned contemplating the idea of her dad giving advice to the Tok’Ra lovelorn. Her lips quirked as she imagined the Dear Selmak column in the local Tok’Ra data pad gossip for the day section. Hearing Daniel clear his throat brought her thoughts back from its flight of fancy and to the topic under discussion.
“Sorry. Where was I? Oh, yeah, one of the things my Dad told Per’sus was that Tau’ri women like to get little gifts or flowers when an anniversary, or some other special occasion comes around. Per’sus wanted to know what “other” types of special occasions, and Dad told him birthdays, valentine’s day, first time you met, your first date, especially if you can remember something she said that really caught your attention, just little reminders to let them know that you think of them, even when you aren’t with them. He told him that was big with Tau’ri women. We like to know we are on a guy’s mind, when we aren’t there with them.”
Sam started laughing and had to stop talking for a moment as the two men stared at her. Finally getting herself under control, she continued, saying, “So, Per’sus brought Janet a gift on the anniversary of the poisoning of the Tok’Ra base, and told her that he would never forget meeting her because even in the time of emergency she had not been afraid to show her interest in him by inviting him to take a walk.”
“He had known she meant in the future, but it had given him hope. He had been afraid that she was so angry with him when she told him that if he was not going to uphold her order, to just get the hell out of her way that she would never speak to him again.”
“Then later, when she had taught him the very rude American phrase, he was sure that she considered him beneath her notice, for why else would she tell him to attempt a physical impossibility? Once he finally found someone to translate the phrase, he had pondered her meaning for a long time. Then, he finally came to the conclusion that, since it was said in anger, she was probably just frustrated, tense, and worried about her patients. After all, some of them were quite ill, almost at the point of death, and, therefore, he should not let that bother him.”
“But, the moment he really wanted to remember was the one when he had demanded that the Tok’Ra be removed to the Tok’Ra base because he did not understand the process the humans were going through in order to cleanse the poison from the symbiote’s system, instead of the symbiote being the filtering system. She had looked him straight in the eyes and informed him that he had the IQ of tree moss and she’d had more intelligent conversations with sand. When he had taken the time to explain to her that one could not converse with sand because it had no intelligence, she had simply smiled.”
“He would never forget, he said, how beautiful she looked. Her hair was falling down, and the light was catching the red highlights in it. Her eyes had dark shadows under them from lack of sleep, and she was pale and tired. Nevertheless, he had realized in that moment that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, because she was beautiful on the inside as well as the outside.”
“That, he said, was when he knew he had a chance with her. He had picked her up, since she was such a tiny little thing compared to him, and kissed her long, hard, and passionately. When he put her down, she had looked flustered for a minute, then she had straightened her jacket, looked him over slowly and calmly from head to foot and back again, as he stood straight and tall for her, and told him to go take a long walk on the short pier. She had invited him to go somewhere with her. She was wonderful!”
Sam smiled, as she remembered Janet’s words to her, “Sam how could I tell that sweet man that wasn’t the kind of memory Jacob meant? Besides, if it gives him pleasure, and he doesn’t realize I was still insulting him, where’s the harm in allowing him to think it’s worth calling it an anniversary? It is the anniversary of when we met, I suppose, so I can remember it that way instead.”
Then she’d smiled again. “We did get off on the wrong foot. I don’t know how many insults I threw at the poor man during those first forty-eight hours, but it was a lot. He did deserve a few of them, but some were just pure frustration on my part.”
“When that one symbiote went into cardio, and we tried the diodes you constructed for just such a contingency, I thought I’d die as well, if it didn’t work. When we got it up and going between the eppi and that, I almost fainted with relief myself. He’s doing better than some of the others, by the way. It’s almost as if he knows how hard we fought for him, and he’s bound and determined to get well as quickly as he can.”
Seeing Martouf’s puzzled air, Sam stopped and looked at him. “Martouf, there are many American phrases that are insulting to a person’s intelligence. One is to tell them they are dumber than a box of rocks. Another is to tell them they are dumber than a fence post. She told Per’sus that she’d had more intelligent conversations with sand. That’s a pretty bad statement on his intelligence.”
“But, he is correct, Samantha; sand has no intelligence.”
Daniel and Sam sat in stunned silence. Suddenly, Martouf’s head snapped forward and Martouf scowled. “How was I supposed to figure that out, Lantash? I do not understand American slang, and I took it literally!” He exclaimed aloud.
Lantash sighed, a rather long-suffering sigh, before explaining patiently, “Even literally, that statement is obviously meant as an insult. Obviously, both Sam and Daniel would be well aware that sand has no intelligence. As would Janet Fraiser. She had just told Per’ sus that he was more stupid than anyone she had ever met or known.”
“Just once I would like to have some respect,” Martouf grumbled stubbornly.
Lantash assured him, “They respect you, Martouf, and they realize that you are not used to their ways. They also know that you do not always catch on to things quickly in English."
Sam and Daniel both looked down at the suddenly very interesting bed covering. Then Sam was grinning, Daniel was in whoops, and Martouf was echoing Lantash’s moans. Lantash came forward and said, “Janet Fraiser was correct in her statements. How, my Samantha, did they ever get together after such a horrible beginning?”
Daniel broke in first with a question before Sam could answer, “Why hasn’t anyone said anything about the tree moss? Per’sus ignored it, too. Is it that no one knows what it is or what?”
Martouf frowned, “I believe we know what tree moss is, Daniel but we do not know of this IQ of its features. Not being sure which part of it you are speaking about, it is easier to just ignore it, for the more readily understood insult.”
“Intelligence quotient. It’s a measure of intelligence. She told him that he was less intelligent than tree moss.”
Martouf stared from him to Sam and back again, before saying, “Perhaps it is just as well that Per’sus did not understand her then, and we must hope that he will not recall later that she said it to him. It might be one insult too many, even though he managed to live with the others.”
Sam cleared her throat and continued, though with some difficulty and not daring to look at Daniel at all. She shook her head, “I don’t know, maybe Janet felt guilty at first for being so rude to him. My opinion though is that once the crisis was over and he apologized, she took a closer look, one that went beyond the surface, and she liked what she saw, so she decided to say yes to lunch, and it turned into more.
“Anyway, I guess he’s been getting really frustrated at not being able to move forward with his “courting” of her. Moreover, he’s been driving the people he works with nuts. So, Dad made an excuse to come with him, and he talked to General Hammond about the problem. And, the result was that Janet was called to General Hammond’s office while dad went to sit with Per’sus, as if nothing was going on.”
“So, General Hammond asked Janet what her intentions toward the Tok’Ra Per’sus were, and I guess she just stared at him not quite understanding what he meant. Well, you know Janet, she can be pretty blunt, so she asked him what he meant. Then General Hammond asked her if she realized that High Councilor Per’sus was quite serious in his pursuit of her?” She said she couldn’t believe how much she blushed, and then she touched this gold chain he had given her. She told General Hammond that she had hoped he was, yes, but since their customs were so different it was hard to tell. Especially, since all he had ever done was meet her for lunch.”
“General Hammond was able to tell her that was why Dad had come. He told her that Per’ sus was getting really frustrated only being able to see her at noon over lunch and that he saw no reason he couldn’t go in town with her sometime. If she wanted to invite him to stay for a weekend, or something she could, as long as they were extremely careful. It was no different than it was with Jacob, who also had to be careful. Or, like it was when we took Martouf and Malek to O’Malley’s. The weekend we took them to the Mall to get them some jeans and stuff was the same thing. It was the same when we showed them a little bit of Earth. The difference, of course, was that Per’sus, like Malek and Martouf, had no knowledge of Earth customs so they would have to be careful in that way, as well. He would also have to understand that he could not come forward and glow in public. Aiydon would have to keep control as long as they were in a public place. He also told her that if she wished to go with him, he would give his approval, just as others often took leave days off-world.”
“In the meantime, Dad was talking to Per’sus, and he admitted to Dad that he had given her a chain of gold, I think is how Dad put it, for her wrist, and she had not replied. He was beginning to think she was not willing to commit to something even that simple. I guess they were in the mess hall, and at that point, Dad decided they needed more privacy, so he took him to the VIP room that he always uses. He told me that he sat him down and asked him what he told her when he had given the chain to Janet. Per’sus said that he offered the chain of gold, with a kiss upon her wrist, as was the custom, and then he had asked her if she would accept the token from him, and then tell him if it was too much to ask that she accept it.”
“He told Dad that she got all teary and smiled at him, and she said she loved it, thanked him, and that of course she would accept it from him, that it was a lovely, thoughtful thing for him to do, when he had so many other things on his mind. He said he expected to receive one from her the next time he saw her, but she seemed to expect him to be celibate, while she was still sleeping with whomever she pleased.”
Sam smiled as Martouf looked at her oddly. “I see no reason to be happy that Per’sus has been disappointed in his effort to win her affection, Samantha.”
Sam frowned at him. “I haven’t finished the story, Martouf, just listen please.” Sam looked at Daniel who had already figured the story out and was grinning as wide as Sam was smiling. “Anyway, so Dad sat him down and said, “Per’sus, this is the Tau’ri world, Earth. Did it occur to you, that if you did not explain the, er, “significance”, to Janet that she would have “no idea”, whatsoever, what you were asking of her? Hm? Did it even cross the one brain cell I’m beginning to think that you and Aiydon share, to ask what the mating customs on Earth were, when one asks a woman to “go steady”…that’s probably an ancient term now, but it will suffice for this, so did you?”
“See, we don’t give a bracelet and get a bracelet as an answer. We have to open our mouths and actually say the words. As in, "Janet, I really like you a lot, Aiydon and I both, and we were wondering if you would consider making our relationship exclusive". See that’ s what we call it. Exclusive, meaning, we, you and I will see no one else of the opposite sex in a dating/sexual way while we continue to get to know each other and determine if we might possibly be starting to maybe go beyond liking you.”
“I guess Per’sus almost swallowed his tongue and informed Dad there was no way he could possibly ask Janet something like that. She would refuse, and then tell him to do something disgusting to himself, as she had in the infirmary when he was badgering her, and standing in the way when the symbiote was dying, and they were all rushing around with electrical things and eppi something, and he had stepped into her way to ask questions, and she had really become angry and informed him that he was an idiot with the brain of an amoeba and” dad says he finally took a breath here, “no. No, she would be very rude to him again, if he was that forward. He was sure that he was just now beginning to make her believe that he was not completely and totally incompetent and stupid.”
“Anyway, I guess while Dad was trying to convince Per’sus that he had to ask Janet, General Hammond told Janet what the “Chain of Gold” meant to the Tok’Ra. He gave her permission to leave and promised to keep Per’sus occupied so he couldn’t leave. It took her a little over an hour to find one similar to the one he gave her, but of a more masculine look. She had the General call down to the room and make sure that Per’sus’s back was to the door, so she snuck in, which is difficult with the Tok’Ra’s enhanced hearing, but dad had turned the radio on fairly loud, and Per’sus was talking, still, about how he couldn’t possibly ask her those things even though he wanted to.”
“So, she walked up behind him and reached around him and slipped the bracelet on him, while dad played least in sight and high-tailed it out the door that Janet had just come in. She told me later that he had been telling dad again that she would tell him to do something, um, impolite, if he asked her to do this, so, she told him that she only told people that when she was stressed and scared and she had been very scared that day.”
“She told me that even though they’d had lunch many times they hadn’t talked about that first forty-eight hours. She said that she made him let her up from where he had pulled her onto his lap. Then, she sat down at the little table there in the rooms and took his hands in hers, and told him it was time he listened to what happened to them that day.”
“She explained about how close his people were to dying, and that she didn’t have the knowledge she needed to save them. The Tok’Ra had never shared the information on their physiology that she had asked for, so her knowledge of their internal organs and their structure was just not good enough to have to do the things that were asked of her that day. While it was true that we had dissected a few Goa’uld that had come our way, that was a long way from intensive study and reading about their internal structure and learning what organs did what, where they were located, and how they interacted with other organs within their body. The Tok’Ra have organs that we don’t recognize and we don’t have any idea what they even do.”
“She was suddenly given several hundred beings, of which she knew very little medically, and told that according to their “scientists” the Tau’ri had the means to save them. Very nice. But said “scientists” forgot to leave instructions on the how we were to save them. We were working blind, and we were lucky that no one died. He had no idea. He had no idea at all, of the pressure they had put the Tau’ri, and her in particular, under. Not that we didn’t want to help. We did. We just wished we’d had the information to do it right the first time, before we killed someone.”
“For instance, the one that came so close to dying. What if she’d missed placing the diodes where they needed to be? He’d be dead. It wouldn’t have helped. She told him that she felt really lucky that I was there to help that day as well, because she and I had dissected a couple of Goa’uld together, so I had an idea of where some of the organs were and we were able to double check each other. We both agreed on where the heart was, sort of, and evidently we were right.”
“Even so, she was lucky she hadn’t killed them. If it hadn’t been that they were dead anyway, if she didn’t do it, there was no way she would have done any of those things; not with her lack of knowledge. He had no idea of the amount of stress she and her people were under that day."
“And,” Sam said smugly, smirking at Martouf and Lantash, “That is when Per’sus knelt at her feet and asked her to forgive him for being such a coward, when she was so brave. He promised that he would never be so again. The next time something that might need explaining turned up, he would be very sure to explain. Then he asked her what the next step in a Tau’ri courtship was. She told him it depended on the couple. Some would refuse to bed one another before they were joined. Others would have already done so. It's a very individual thing on Earth. Mostly the couple knew when they were ready to go to the next step, if the sexual side of dating was what he was talking about.”
“If it wasn’t, and he wanted to know what the next step was as far as the courtship steps were then the next would be an engagement. He wanted to know what that was and she explained that when a couple decided that they suited and wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, then they became engaged. The man usually bought a woman a ring that she wore on her left hand. That ring told all other men that she as “taken” and thus off limits. The engagement period was more or less like what they were doing now except they would have decided they wanted to marry, or join, bond, whatever word you used for it. It was just another period of time to make sure it was what you really wanted.”
“So, the last I heard, which was yesterday, by now Per’sus should be at Janet’s house for the weekend to meet Cassie. Janet hoped the fact that Per’sus was basically “Goa’uld” wouldn’t freak her out, but I don’t think it will because she knows my dad and she’s heard me talk about Jolinar and Martouf and Lantash.”
“Ah, and he also promised her all the information she wanted on the symbiotes, so that she would never again have to wonder and worry if she had to treat one. She thanked him and explained that as soon as the scientists and healers had realized what had happened, and what the Tau’ri had done for them with little or no knowledge because of their, er, difficulties getting such things approved and through the council, things were made available. We now have a very nice library on Tok’Ra physiology. Nevertheless, she thanked him, anyway. The information is interesting, too.”
“So what was it you wanted to know?”
Martouf smiled wryly, “I believe you have answered the question, Samantha. It was about the bracelet that Per’sus gave to Janet. I had noticed it and his attentions to her. I like him, and he and Lantash have been friends for many years. I was afraid she would not realize what it meant and therefore perhaps hurt him.”
Sam nodded. “If I had thought that I’d have said something about it to you, I promise you. I hope it works out for them. I think she really is falling in love with them, and he seems absolutely fascinated with her. I hope it’s not just a surface thing with him and once the novelty of having a woman stand up to him wears off, he doesn’t lose interest in her.”
Lantash came forward and said quietly, “You need have no fear of that, my Samantha, Per’ sus has women standing up to him constantly. The Tok’Ra are not known for anyone that is quiet and soft spoken. No, the women do not worry about responding in as biting a manner as possible, at times when they feel they are correct.”
“Good. I was worried about that.”
Martouf returned to continue, “He admires her attitude greatly though, Samantha. I do not think that is something that need worry you. She will not change just because of him.”
“He watched her work over his brethren, keeping them alive, hour after hour, when he had been told that the Tau’ri found us disgusting, repellent, and that they would rather remove us than see a human with a symbiote. You were considered an aberration, who used Selmak only because your father was ill, but once you saw it work your mind allowed that it could work.”
“At any rate, for all of us to sit and watch, as all of your people not only worked to save the host and symbiotes that were together, but also worked so very hard to see to it that each of those that had been removed were reintroduced to their host and thus survived as well was a revelation."
“At one point you were carrying a symbiote in your arms and you had it covered with a wet cloth. It was getting you wet, but you ignored that and continued to dampen it if it dried. You carried it anyway. Moreover, every so often your hand would reach down as if absently stroking it, but it was obvious that while you were doing that, you were also monitoring the fact that it was breathing and aiding its circulation. More than that, you were attempting to reassure and comfort it. That was why you kept it cuddled so close, because you knew that it would be feeling as if it was in a void with nothing around it to hold it firmly.”
“It was noticed that as the others carried some around when it was needed you told them something and they would stroke the symbiote for a little bit first, and then all of them would smile and hold it a little closer. After that they were fine with carrying it.”
Sam smiled slightly, before answering, “The symbiotes were moving around in their arms, and it made them afraid they would drop them. I told them I thought they were feeling as if they were going to fall with nothing holding them in place so to try holding them closer, and stroke them every so often.”
“All of them were surprised at how much like velvet their skin was because they expected a different feel to it. That was one thing. The other was that they all realized that as soon as they stroked them and nestled them closer to their bodies where they felt the body heat as well as more secure they quieted and rested better. That’s all.”
“Once we got the tanks set up by each host we could put them in there, but until then we couldn’t risk separating them and losing track of who belonged to whom. We were surprised the healers removed them without tanks to put them in to begin with, but later realized that the healers themselves weren’t in any condition to even be on their feet, let alone thinking straight. I’m just glad the nurses thought fast and got basins and warm water for them. It’s too bad those few had to be carried around, but they were in the worst shape and needed constant monitoring.”
Martouf agreed, “That is very true, Samantha. The healers were not thinking clearly at all. Unfortunately, the poison had affected them enough that the symbiote took over, but not enough for the host to be able to override them yet, as it had in my case and most of the others. The healers are quite strong mentally, and the hosts had a very hard time wresting control from them.”
“Thankfully, Janet had the presence of mind to take control from them by whatever means she had even if it did mean that she had to threaten to have them shot. I am also glad that Per’sus gave the order for them to stop even before she called in the SF’s, but also that he believed that she would have carried out her threat.”
“Moreover, as I said, many of our people saw these things happen, they heard the determination of your people to save our people in spite of our people’s misguided attempts to stop them.”
“Even O’Neill was known to be angry about the attack. Someone overheard him commenting on it. Someone else said they thought he didn’t like the Tok’Ra. He is said to have paused and then admitted that he wasn’t always very smart. That just because Tok’ Ra were physically Goa’uld that didn’t make them Goa’uld.”
“He’d just never bothered to look at it that way before, and now he had. He’d just realized, he said, that by painting them with the same brush he painted the Goa’uld with, he was doing the same thing as painting the Tau’ri with the same brush and saying that they were all the same. Which he had pointed out was obviously not true, was it?”
“I was told there was a lot of scuffing of feet and muttering before someone spoke up and admitted that they hadn’t looked at it that way either, but that the Colonel was right. The Tok’Ra had as much right to be liked or disliked individually as any one else. And besides, they were human at least half the time, the Goa’uld never were. That led to even more agreement. So that was the beginning of a Tau’ri turn around in some areas.”
“It was such a revelation to many of them. A large number of Tok’Ra have questioned their perceptions of the Tau’ri and have found them to be wrong. They have also begun to wonder if there has been a propaganda war waged, to prevent good relations between the Tok’Ra and the Tau’ri, particularly now that this sabotage incident with the poisoning has occurred.”
Sam sighed sadly, before answering softly, “Yes, and it’s too bad it took something so drastic to bring us together. I’m just glad it wasn’t truly as tragic as it could have been, and everyone is all right. And in a way I’m glad it happened the way it did because the traitor did us two huge favors. Maybe even more.” She brightened as she thought of that.
“What are those, Samantha? I do not consider that he has done anything, but spread the very fear and suspicion he meant to spread.” Martouf frowned, as he contemplated the difficulties this was causing within the ranks of the Tok’Ra.
“Well, we just touched on one of them. It’s brought a much better understanding and a stronger connection between the Tau’ri and the Tok’Ra, something I am quite sure he, or she, did not wish to see happen, so that’s one.”
Holding up a second finger she said, “You were all supposed to be dead. Not only the Tok'Ra that lived on the base, but the council members from the other bases as well. During an important event no less, which would not have looked good at all. As it is, there will be some who will insist that the Tok’Ra deliberately cancelled the meeting at the last minute and had hoped to catch the culprit.”
“The traitor will hear that rumor as well, and it will make him think, even if he knows it to be false. However, the biggest thing is that now you know he, she, whatever is out there. So your security is tighter, you are watching closer now. In addition, you are now the hunter instead of being just the hunted. That can’t be comfortable for, er, it. So that is third.”
"Then there is a fourth, and it’s a bonus. It made you get that poison, which never should have been in a facility that contained housing in the first place, out of there. I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I considered your people insane for keeping it on base like that. I’m very glad you decided that it needed much more careful handling and left General Hammond’s precautions to protect your non-scientist personnel from it in place. So actually the traitor did you two huge favors and two other pretty darned good sized ones.”
“I suppose when looked at from that perspective what you say is true, but the tension that the people are now under is very great. I have been told, though, that oddly enough, having your soldiers there just walking the halls with their weapons has helped a sense of security descend.”
“Per’sus was one of the first to notice that wherever the exchange soldiers were walking in a group that they always seemed very alert and that the Tok’Ra noticed. He was the one that asked that they carry their weapons. After a week of that he could tell that in the areas where the soldiers walked regularly there was less tension.”
“He realized that having the warriors there, who were absolutely not connected with the poisoning, but were definitely allies, had the effect of making all of the Tok’Ra feel less vulnerable. They no longer had to watch their own back all the time, even from their own kind. There was someone else to do it now. He went to the General, they discussed the problem, and that is why and how we now have security teams at each of our bases. It is an odd feeling to go to one of our bases and see SGC personnel screening you before allowing you onto your own base.”
“I imagine it is,” Sam said. They all sat quietly pondering the changes that had taken place in the last few months between the Tau’ri and the Tok’Ra.
Lantash sounded very concerned as he told him, “I had not found those memories yet, Martouf. I see things are very serious then if the Tok’Ra truly have Tau’ri security guards on all of our bases.”
Martouf explained what was happening, “Yes, but every member was hand picked by General Hammond, myself, Samantha, Jacob, and Colonel O’Neill. No one who does not like the Tok’Ra was sent. Not even if it was only a very small dislike. So all of the security teams are made up of men and women who were excited and eager to go and live with the Tok’Ra. Needless to say, another shock for our brethren. They saw Tau’ri who arrived breathless and so excited they could hardly talk. Those that could were asking questions so quickly our people had difficulty answering them fast enough. Another perception of the Tok’Ra about the Tau’ri shot down in flames, as they would say. You see, I am picking up some of their idioms.”
“So do we have both security teams and exchange soldiers then?” Lantash asked, still trying to take this all in.
“Yes, since many of the symbiotes still needed the filtering to continue twice a week, it was decided that they would be the first of the exchanges. An equal number of SGC members are working off world with different Tok’Ra bases.”
“I see. That is most enlightening. So, that is how we became one of the exchanges. But that would mean that almost every Tok’Ra on our base would still be at the SGC,” Lantash said coming to a realization of what that would mean to them.
“Yes and that obviously wouldn’t work. Malek stayed on as an exchange from his base and his second is running it. All of our bases have at least two or three people there. The ones that were the most affected and might need the filtering more than twice a week stayed on the Tau’ri world. We requested that we stay, being known and somewhat familiar, to act as liaison, which we were granted.”
“The others were released to our healers after they were shown how to use the machine and had done so many times. They were sent back to the base with the others, the loan of two of the machines, the SGC’s good wishes, and sighs of relief at getting their base back to some semblance of order. People began to move back into their own quarters, places like the rec room, which became a very large infirmary/barracks room during the crisis, were turned back to their original purpose. You slept through a great deal, Lantash.”
“Yes, I can see that I did. I must go through some more of your memories, Martouf. However, in the meantime, I think we are about to have company. They have come to get us for the joining ceremony.”
“So soon? I am not ready. Perhaps…”
“Thank you. Now I believe it is time to talk to our Samantha about the ceremony that will soon begin.”
Lantash came forward, and said lightly, “My dearest, Samantha, as much as I would rather sit here the remainder of the night, I do not believe we are going to be allowed to do so. I am assuming that the rather large group of people coming this way is to take us away, so that you may have the cottage. I believe the evening’s entertainment, although the evening is still some way off, is about to begin.”
“Furthermore, that entertainment, unless I am much mistaken,” Daniel added, amused, “would be us.”