Chapter Two Summary: Daniel and Lantash have made a startling discovery. As Lantash continues to recover, they come into contact with the woman in the green dress again and slowly begin to learn who she is, why she is there and what the secret of this temple really is. They decide who in the Tok'Ra can be trusted to keep this secret and to their surprise, they are delivered to them.
Amat - Love Mer Prinekh - Joined life. It is another more intimate name for My Lifemate used by both host and symbiote. Mer Prinekh is often used as a term of endearment and affection. Carus – Dear, Dearest
"Italics" - Symbiote-Host or Telepathic Communication
“Daniel,” Lantash whispered hoarsely only to stop speaking, afraid to put any of his thoughts into words.
“It says what you think it does. No wonder the Guardians won’t allow a Goa’uld within this place. If these writings are what I think they are, then any Goa’uld that could translate them could find and destroy the daughters of the Queen of the Tok’Ra,” Daniel said quietly.
Lantash reached out a hand and with trembling fingers, he touched the words carved into the stone. Taking a deep breath, he said, “Kataya always told me that there were other Tok’Ra queens. She swore to Siesha that she would find one and return her to the Tok’ Ra. She told me that she would take her as her own symbiote, if a host was needed. She promised that she would give birth to the next generation of Tok’Ra, if necessary,” Lantash said softly, his mind in the past as he remembered his mate and her symbiote. “Of course, if Kataya comes back, that would be out of the question now, but at least I now know that her insistence that there were other Tok’Ra queens was based in more than wishful thinking. I wonder why Kataya never came here to find the answer to where they were? She searched many worlds looking for them, I know,” Lantash said, sounding puzzled.
“She would not have known to come here,” said a voice from behind them.
Spinning around to face the same woman they came into contact with before, Daniel asked, “Who are you? More than that, what do you know about this place and these writings? Why wouldn’t Kataya know? And, why do you keep popping in and out like a Jack-in-the-Box?” Daniel fired his questions at her rapidly.
The woman smiled, amusement lighting her eyes. “My name is Valynara. I was a host of Egeria’s at one time. I brought her here to teach her that which she must know that she might become the mother of the small dragons whose hearts were good,” she responded to the first question he asked her.
“Then the legends that say that she did not like the way the System Lords treated their hosts are untrue,” Lantash said quietly.
She shook her head, and responded to his comment, stating so firmly there could be no doubt, “No, they are correct. She did not like the way they treated their hosts. She asked my permission before we blended. However, she was Goa’uld and her natural arrogance tended to make her forget upon occasion that it was my body and not hers to do with as she wished. The majority of the time, we had a truly symbiotic relationship, and that is what she hoped to pass onto her children.”
“So you never subjected her to what you subjected me to?” Lantash wanted to know.
Smiling as she remembered her Egeria’s reactions, she shook her head again, telling him, “No, she was never subjected to what you were. However, I did one time cut her off from the ability to do anything other than what I wished and gave her no input into what occurred, what we did, where we went, what we ate, nothing. I suppose you could say that I put her in solitary confinement, although it was not quite as stringent as what I inflicted on you. I also pointed out that pain was usually added when the Goa’uld were in control and gave her a slight taste of what it would be like for the host. Needless to say, feeling as she did already, she was appalled by what I showed to her.”
“You see, although she did not like what the System Lords did to their hosts, and she was beginning to realize they would never change, she still wavered at the thought of combating them. Up until then, her children were born knowing they should share the host body equally and treat them with respect. She would eventually have come to the conclusion that combat was the only way on her own, Lantash, I promise you. I simply, ah, encouraged a quicker recognition of what steps it would take to accomplish her desires. After her experience with me, she felt much more strongly that they must change the way they treated their hosts. She tried once more to talk to them, but when none would listen to her, she set herself to become the mother of a new race of Goa’uld. She decided that she would birth a race that would put a stop to the present System Lords and their ways. This I know from her return to us here. By then she had a new host. I could not remain with her as she attempted to change them, you see, for as a Furling, I was a sworn enemy of theirs; they would have attempted to execute us immediately.”
Sadness was in the woman’s face as she continued. “By the time she returned to us they were actively hunting her. She populated several worlds with her offspring, but she had no way to know what would occur when they matured enough to take a host. She could only assume that her children from that time period would continue to fight the Goa’uld, since that was part of the genetic memory she passed on to them and on which she put much emphasis.”
“When she was aware the System Lords would soon catch and kill or imprison her, she came to us and asked if she could leave a record here for her children to find and follow to their new queen or queens. We believe she left a memory of this place with the eldest of her children born during that time, and a legend or some trigger that would lead them here knowing that if they were true Goa’uld, they could not access the gate. She indicated she did so, even before she requested our help, for she felt sure that we would help her, or if nothing else, if you came to us here, we would help you begin to look for your younger brethren. Had you mentioned her, I would have known who you were, but not even in your mind did I find her name,” she said, her voice laced with regret at what she had inflicted on him.
After sending a look of apology to Lantash, she continued, “She had already managed to give birth to a few daughters, a feat in and of itself. I am sure you are aware of how difficult it is to produce a queen. That is why they are so rare. It takes much time and care to nurture one egg, to infuse it with the correct hormones, and give it the time and nurturing it takes to change one of you. She did not tell us where she secreted them. She asked that we inscribe into these walls her story, which we did as well as we could and make it seem the same. Her descriptions of the places she hid symbiotes and the little queens made no real sense to us, so we were not able to discover where she hid them, and I am afraid that much of what we know of this dialect has been forgotten over the years. It will be up to you to translate it.”
“We asked her to remain here with us in safety, but she refused saying she wished to continue in her fight both by producing more children and in actual combat. We promised to kill or send away any Goa’uld that managed to find and access this place, and we have guarded it ever since.”
“We have had little contact with the outside world since then, staying here constantly to guard her secrets. By the same token, we also did not bring up the legend of the Great Battle, not wanting our curiosity to give away our knowledge. It is too easy for us to pick up stray thoughts from one another, if we are not completely guarded, and so our easiest course was to cut ourselves off except for occasional meetings with family. We felt we would know when Egeria’s children came, for she would be in their minds. As I mentioned, she was not in your conscious mind at all, so I assumed you were a Goa’uld who had somehow managed to come here.”
“You are the first and, as you explained, you are the small dragons of her hopes. Now you must find your new queen and perhaps even some of your brethren for the Great Battle is past and you took part in it. That was the signal that you had indeed become all that she wished you to be.”
“As for why Kataya would not have known about this place, no one knew, not even Artereos. As for why she believed there were other queens that were Egeria’s daughters, I do not know. There could very well be a legend from the Myst-time that speaks of them, just as you were a part of the Prophecy of the All. And if you were a part of that, then there could very well be other legends that mention the birth of a new, good-hearted, Goa’ uld Queen, and perhaps Kataya knew of them.”
Turning to Daniel she said, “Dayillon of Alexandrian was a great scholar, a leader and crusader of causes, an enemy of ignorance, intolerance, the Dark Mage Daemon Lords, and, the Goa’uld when they arrived. Kataya believed in him and his abilities, and he could very well have told her of such legends, if Artereos did not. Perhaps you know the answer to that question better than we do, Dayillon. Although you and Kataya both were born several millennia after the Myst-time, still many of the legends remained well known then, but were slowly becoming lost to us. You found many legends and prophecies that we forgot over time. That is all I can tell you, for that is all I know.” With those words, she disappeared leaving his last question unanswered.
Martouf, Lantash, and Daniel sat in silence, each busy with their own thoughts. Finally, Daniel reached over and touched their arm before he said quietly, “I don’t think we should make this common knowledge, Lantash. I know you want to rush right out and tell the Tok’Ra, but the truth is that the Goa’uld are still a force to be reckoned with, and I don’t believe we want one whisper of this to leave this place. To alert the Goa’uld to a new Tok’Ra Queen would be to start a world-by-world hunt for them by the Goa’uld. When they found them, it would be a wholesale slaughter.”
Lantash’s first response had indeed been to go immediately to the Tok’Ra High Council with his information. Daniel’s words, very much a bucket of cold water, sobered him instantly. He knew that Daniel was correct. They could not allow word of this to leave this place. Sadness in his voice he said, “You are, as usual, quite correct Daniel. We must keep this information to ourselves,” he sighed tiredly, obviously discouraged by Daniel’s words and his realization that he was right. They could not afford to tell anyone. How were they to find the Queens then? He looked over to ask Daniel that very question, but never managed to voice it.
Watching the emotions flash across Lantash’s face as the possible consequences of rushing off without thinking this through ran quickly through his mind, he told him, “I don’t think we have to keep it completely to ourselves. I didn’t mean it that literally, Lantash, I simply meant we could not go to the council with the information. That won’t stop us from bringing a few Tok’Ra we trust here, though. Do you have any suggestions who to call into the latest Tau’ri/Tok’Ra covert operation?” Daniel asked with a slight smile knowing that both Lantash and Martouf would understand his allusion. It was once again time to falsify a request for people to come to the Tau’ri.
“We should keep the number to a minimum,” Lantash replied, as he frowned, thinking about the situation. “I believe that Jacob, Jocasta, Brialek, and Malek would be excellent so, perhaps, we should request them. We know them well and work well together. We know that from the—the last time we all worked towards a goal.” He sighed before saying, “Although, I do not get along well with Anise and Freya, they, too, can be trusted, and they are very good with this type of thing. If we find we need more people, she would be one we could add,” Lantash finally gave his list, after thinking of and discarding others for various reasons. “I believe they are all to be trusted implicitly. Although, there could be a problem with Selmak as he will wish to return to the council with the information. I believe that given the possible scenarios and consequences; however, he will agree to working on finding them first, and reporting it only when we can find a safe place for us to hide the Queen or” he swallowed hard before he could bring himself to whisper, “or Queens. Queens, Daniel, as in more than one. I keep telling myself this, but I do not believe that fact has truly registered with me, even though I continue repeating it to both of us. Martouf is as excited as I am, and he, too, is having difficulty believing in what we have found.”
Suddenly, he looked almost panicked, as he continued, “What if they have already been found and destroyed by the Goa’uld, Daniel? What if we cannot translate this writing? What if it makes no sense to us, once we do translate it? What if she wrote this, but something happened to them, and she could not come back and change this? What if…”
“Lantash!” Daniel grabbed his arm and shook it slightly to garner his full attention. Once he was sure that he had it, he stroked his arm soothingly, saying, “Now, stop. Just…stop it. You are borrowing trouble and seeing shadows where there very likely are none. Egeria has placed her young on safe worlds. We will translate these walls, and we will decipher what her words mean,” he gave his arm one last stroke and then gave it a gentle squeeze before releasing it, as he felt the muscles relax and sensed the calm he was gaining.
Lantash nodded, before asserting somewhat stiffly, “I am much calmer now, Daniel. I do not know what came over me to act in such a way. Thank you for intervening and forcing me to take better control of my runaway thoughts. I apologize for my, ah, near hysteria.” It was very obvious that Lantash was mortified at his lapse of control.
Daniel looked at him and raised an eyebrow, before saying, with a slight smile, “Oh, I think you can be excused this time, Lantash. I am surprised it was as mild as it was. If it were one of us, we would be running around screaming with true hysterics, which, by the way, you were a long way from succumbing to, so do not give it another thought. Don’t let it bother you, please.”
Sending him a grateful look, Lantash nodded his agreement with Daniel’s words and returned to the original subject before his dive into the world of uncontrolled emotion, something he was not used to doing so utterly. “You are fine, Lantash, Mer Prinekh. It was only a momentary lapse of your emotional control and absolutely understandable in the circumstances. Please, do as Daniel requests and forget it even happened. You are allowed to feel any emotion you wish to, and he thinks no less of your for your momentary, ah, anxiety,” Martouf was finally able to murmur to his mate.
“Thank you, Carus, for such polite wording, but I believe the word used should have been “near hysteria”, or perhaps “panic”. I have never felt this way before, nor been so overwhelmed by such a…panicky feeling. It was most disconcerting,” Lantash revealed to him. “Thank you for your support and kind words, as well. Now I believe we should return to Daniel as he is watching us anxiously.”
Glancing fully at Daniel, Martouf had to agree, “Yes, do so, Amat.”
“I apologize again, Daniel. Martouf was attempting to convince me I did not act like a complete idiot. He almost succeeded. Now, back to what I was saying. I believe that Jacob, Jocasta, Brialek, and Malek would be the best Tok’Ra to call in on this “covert op” as you call it,” Lantash finally smiled slightly at Daniel, relieving and reassuring his friend.
“Those four sound good to me. We know they are loyal and can keep this to themselves. As for the other, I agree with Martouf. It was no big deal, and if you were truly having hysterics, I would have needed to be much more, er, firm with you to get your attention.” Daniel sent him a very solemn look and a nod of his head, a sure indication that he was very serious about what he was saying. Speaking more softly, he added, “You know, Lantash, your recent experience no doubt contributed to your rather out of character reaction. I have a feeling that if you had not experienced that, you would not have responded as you did.”
Deciding that Lantash had dwelled long enough on that topic, he changed it abruptly, saying, “Now, then, you look tired still. In fact, you look pretty wrung out. Listen, why don't you take that bedroll and lie down?” His realization of how tired and worn Lantash looked caused Daniel to frown. “Are you feeling all right Lantash? Are there any lasting effects that we need to know about?” He asked as he became more concerned about what he was seeing.
Lantash’s first impulse was denial, his usual response, but changing his mind he said, “Well, actually, she told me that it would take time for me to heal, as it had to be done slowly. She started the process and it will continue but I must not attempt to hurry it along. She did warn me that I would be quite tired for at least today, perhaps tomorrow, and possibly longer.”
“I thought she healed you,” Daniel said, obviously upset at what he considered a falsehood.
“No, you misunderstood. She blocked the pain until it heals. I received the impression that the nerves she damaged must heal undisturbed by me to be fully functional again, and if you remember, the Furling usually do not heal someone completely. They allow the body to heal itself, as much as possible. She also advised me against simply trying to put forth new filaments. It seems the device works much like the Furling mind, and it damages all of those nerve types thus attempting to put forth new ones would simply make more damaged tissue that would then need to heal itself.” Lantash disclosed as he smiled somewhat wryly, before adding thoughtfully, “This may also be a better answer to your earlier question about why the Furlings cannot defeat the Goa’uld using this method. When she was explaining this to me, I had the impression that the immobilization corrects itself over time, unless they use the device periodically, or the damage is so severe it causes the death of the symbiote. Therefore, they must kill them, remove them, or continually damage them.”
“Once a symbiote is within the Furling body, they have full control of them without the device. Both are definitely very effective means of control. Moreover, because of this, I am going to let Martouf take over talking to you. I believe talking to him would be less tiring on me. I will still be able to help you, I believe.” Lantash said as he moved back to the bedroll and lay down upon it, a sure sign that he was indeed not feeling well. It was disconcerting to see him that way.
Daniel frowned, worrying, but nodded, saying, “Go ahead, and rest. I am going to sit here and mull over what she told us.” He sat quietly as he mused about the story Valynara told them and the message from Egeria that he found. A trick of the light coming through the window was the only thing that led him to the spot. Normally, he would not have noticed anything at all amiss with the stones. Had he not been sitting in that exact spot at that exact time, he never would have realized that anything was there.
So how had Egeria known that her offspring would come here? This planet was not even on the Goa’uld radar screen. It was from the Ancient’s knowledge that downloaded into Jacks brain. Valynara was right; she had to have left some type of message in her offspring about this place, planning all along for them to come here.
Daniel put himself in her place as well as he could and let his agile mind drift to possible scenarios. She knew they were hunting her to either imprison or kill her. She would lay her plans carefully. She would give a lot of thought to who she could trust to guard the directions to her daughters whereabouts. The most logical person, who could not only protect the information, but who would also be completely capable of repelling the Goa'uld, would be the host she trusted and probably loved above all others. The host that would live long enough to keep and guard her secret. There was only one person that fit all of that criteria; her Furling host, Valynara, would be the one she would turn to and that is what she did.
Having made her plans and decisions, she would have left some type of information in her offspring’s genetic memory that would guide them here, but only if they fulfilled her hopes for them, or they passed some test. The information would be something that would mean nothing to them if they did not fulfill her hopes and dreams. What would it be? A legend? A Song? What would trigger it and what would it take to accomplish that? For that matter, how would they find the gate address?
From Valynara’s comment about the Great Battle, it appeared that the Battle was the defining event that would call them to find their queen. Except, they believed her dead, Daniel knew, so what would that do to the trigger? He shook his head. Her death would change nothing, as she already expected that she would have died. Would she have left some primal need in them, perhaps? Or a legend they discounted believing she had no female offspring? Would she have expected Valynara to contact them after the Great Battle if they participated? Perhaps, except that Valynara was more or less cut off from the outside Universe, although Egeria might or might not have known that. If that only happened after she left her record here, then she would not have known that Valynara would not know when the Battle occurred. Consequently, she would have left no instructions to her children, expecting Valynara to perform that duty. No, wait, she would have told Valynara what she wanted her to do; she would not have left that event to happenstance.
Daniel frowned at the inconclusiveness of his thoughts, and then he realized that how they found out was a moot point now. Therefore, he turned his mind in another direction. The Tok’Ra of today were her later children, for they had the will to fight the Goa’uld whereas the earliest ones would have only the desire to share the host body. Hadn’t Garshaw, or Anise, said at one time that there had been Goa’uld that had defected though? Could those have been from the older children? Would some of them have decided they did want to fight even though there was no imprint within them with that desire? That was a possibility. It was a rather good possibility, actually. He would have to ask Garshaw if she knew anything about that once they found the queens and they were safe. Those were no longer joining now though, so, it was a fair bet that the sarcophagus had corrupted them, they had died out, or they were living quietly in a host somewhere in some backwater world no one ever visited. In other words, it could be all of the above.
She left children on several worlds. So did that mean there could be adult Tok’Ra out there that had never taken a host? How long, he wondered, did a Tok’Ra live without taking a host? Could they live, like their blended brothers, indefinitely with the right combination of circumstances? Blended Goa’uld needed the sarcophagus to help to keep the human body from deteriorating, not their own, so it stood to reason that they could live for a very long time without blending. Depending on the worlds she put them on, they could be out there waiting for their brethren to find them.
Daniel’s thoughts circled and came back to his original musings even though he knew it was now irrelevant. There had to be an old Tok’Ra legend, something that would have told them to come here, but, perhaps, it was so old that no one remembered it, or they simply did not know what it meant. It could even contain the gate address in some odd way. Alternatively, they simply disregarded it because they knew she was dead and thought it was wrong.
Great. So, now he had to figure out not only what all this ancient Furling said, but also dig into Tok’Ra history. Not that digging into history was a chore, but it could be overwhelming, and he was kinda in a hurry now. This was something he could do for Kataya. He could finish her quest for her. He could not become their queen, but he could at least find the symbiote. He wondered why Lantash had said Kataya could not become the queen now even if she came back? He would have to remember to ask him. He would almost bet it had something to do with him. Lantash would assume that Daniel would object to Kataya becoming a Queen to his people and giving birth to symbiotes. Well, it was an odd thought and would take some getting used to he supposed, but if he could only have her back he would not care. Goddess, he missed her so much. Stop it, Daniel, he chided himself, those thoughts get you nowhere and only cause you more pain.
He changed the direction of his thoughts and his lips quirked in a wry smile. Jack would not be pleased either; there was a possibility they were going to need Anise. They needed access to Cadwaellon and the archives there to go through any old Furling legends and that was not something he had any idea how to accomplish. They could not even get to Avilion, let alone Cadwaellon. If Valynara turned up again, they needed to ask her how to get through to Avilion or Cadwaellon. He needed reference books, something, anything that would help.
Abandoning that train of thought, Daniel sighed and said, “I think I will start videotaping the walls. I am also thinking about having General Hammond send for the Tok’Ra we decided on to help us out on a mission and have him send them through to here. Despite the fact that you, she, and Jack are not the best of friends, I think we might need Anise. Besides, you brought her up first. What do you think?” Daniel asked. Receiving no answer, he looked over and realized that Lantash and Martouf were deeply asleep. Hearing Jack approaching, he quickly got up and made his way to the door, motioning him to remain quiet on his way outside to talk to him.
“Martouf and Lantash are asleep. Evidently, the damaged nerves that have to heal are taking a lot out of Lantash, and since Martouf experienced a lot of the pain, he is out, too. That they are asleep is not what is important but what we found in there is,” Daniel said quietly.
Looking earnestly at Jack, he continued, “Jack, we found proof that there were other Tok’ Ra Queens, and there is a really strong chance they are still out there, hidden somewhere. Supposedly, the walls in there have the directions of where to find them. I am about to contact General Hammond to see if he can get some of the Tok’Ra here without alerting them to why. We can’t let this get out Jack. Every Goa’uld System Lord in the universe would be out hunting them, trying to get to them before we do.”
“We, Daniel?” Jack asked.
Daniel pinned Jack with a level gaze saying, “I am going to help the Tok’Ra find at least one of their queens, Jack. Their numbers are dwindling. Without a Queen, they have negative population growth. Egeria made sure their memories contained the information they needed to fight the Goa’uld, and she left the information about the existence of her daughters hidden here until they proved themselves by being part of the Great Battle. Well, they did and here we are. If I have to leave Earth to do this I will, Jack. Don’t force me to it, if you can help it.”
Ignoring the last statements, Jack focused on something else Daniel had said. He asked, “What about the Great Battle? What does that have to do with anything?”
“Come inside; I’ll show you,” Daniel said. “Just do it quietly.”
Pulling the stones away from where he had replaced them, he showed Jack the inscription. Speaking softly so as not to disturb Lantash he said, “It says, ‘I leave this record so those of my surviving children, in the aftermath of the Great Battle, may find the daughters I have left for them. Egeria.” Daniel replaced the stones and motioned Jack to go back outside so that they could talk without disturbing Lantash and Martouf.
After following him outside, he said, “The guardian, Valynara, came back after we found it. It seems that she was Egeria’s host and well it is a long story, but the point is that, when the Goa’uld were hunting Egeria, she came back here to her former host and asked to leave instructions on how to find the little Queens for her children. The thing is, she did not want them to find it unless they proved themselves to be ranged against the system lords and their treatment of the hosts. Valynara used a milder form of what she did to Lantash and it made her determined to become the mother of a race of Goa’uld that would fight to change the ways of the System Lords and defeat them if necessary. She did not want them to find the daughters she left unless they were willing to fight the System Lords. The Furling teaching methods seem most effective.”
“What do you mean effective, Daniel? Effective in what way?” Jack wanted to know.
Daniel looked at he ground for a moment before looking back at him and then he said, “Evidently, what the Furlings can do in its most drastic form, the form she used on Lantash, is cause a deterioration and inflammation of the filaments that the Goa’uld use to communicate. The more they try to interact with the host the more pain they encounter. Soon, the deterioration and inflammation cut them off from all sensory input. Complete sensory deprivation, Jack. The perfect Goa’uld prison.”
“Egeria already disagreed with the way the System Lords treated the hosts. From what Valynara told us she inflicted a much milder degree of deprivation on her than she did on Lantash, but it was enough to convince her that it was time to combat the System Lords in a more drastic and physical way. Valynara said she was already realizing she would have to go to war with them; she just accelerated that realization. As far as we know, they hunted Egeria and killed her. Nevertheless, her children and her genetic memory live on. These daughters were born with the will to defeat the Goa’uld, Jack. They are a sentient species, and they deserve to live just as much as we do. I for one do not want to see them become extinct. Are they Goa’uld? Physiologically, yes, intellectually and emotionally, no. I am going to help them.”
“Have Martouf and Lantash recovered?” Jack asked.
“No, evidently whatever it is that the Furling do to the filaments has to heal on its own. She repaired and helped just enough that he could function again, and the rest has to take care of itself, otherwise they will not heal correctly. She said he should be all right within a couple of days or so, and she did block the pain according to what Lantash told me.”
Jack nodded. “Let them rest.” Jack paused before saying quietly, “Daniel, what does Lantash say to all of this? How does he feel about it?”
“I think he is in a wait and see pattern right now, not wanting to get his hopes up but anxious to start trying to find them before this leaks out. He understands that he can’t just go announce to the Tok’Ra that there are Queens out there without taking the chance the Goa’uld will find out.”
“As for how he feels about it, well, think about it, Jack. What if you thought that every female on earth was sterile and that as people died and were not replaced you would eventually see the end of the human race through attrition? Then suddenly someone said, hey, wait a minute, we think there might be one or two females that are not sterile; we just have to find them and we can save the human race. All we have to do is translate four walls of an ancient dialect that none of us know, figure out what the translations mean in order to find out where they are, and do it before the ones trying to kill them in order to wipe out the human race get to them first. How would you feel?” Daniel asked as he looked unwaveringly at him.
Jack sighed. “I would want to do everything within my power to find them first and see to it that they were protected so they could become the mothers of the new human race. I do understand, Daniel, on the other hand, where are they going to get hosts for all of these baby Tok’Ra? More than that, an even better question is who is going to raise them to the point that they can take a host? Are you going to volunteer to become a Jaffa?” Jack asked him.
“No. However, the Jaffa rebels still need symbiotes, Jack. Why couldn’t they raise Tok’Ra instead of Goa’uld? Not only that, but I do not believe they have to have a Jaffa or anything else, other than a place with Naquadah. I know it would take some doing, but it is a possibility. Moreover, we have never looked into finding hosts, as we should have. There are a great many people out there that would welcome the chance to survive a terminal illness. Not only that, but I do not think other societies are as bothered by it as we are. They do find willing hosts, Jack. I think that is a road we will have to go down sooner or later. For now, we just have to find her or them,” Daniel said, quietly.
“I think we need to contact the General and get Jacob, Malek, Brialek, and Jocasta here. We may need Anise, but if so, we can bring her in later. One of us should go tell him about what we have found privately, because I do not want this rumor to get started at the SGC. This could be the future of this race, as a viable species, and I don’t want to take chances with that,” he stated firmly.
“I know you probably don’t want to do this at all, so if you want me to go talk to the General, I will,” Daniel said softly.
“Actually, Daniel, I don’t have a problem with it. I know what you are thinking, and I do still feel the same in a lot of ways, but having some of them at the SGC, and getting to know them sort of changed some of my feelings about them. I’m still not gonna volunteer just yet, but I really don’t have a problem with others doing it. It’s kind of hard to hold a grudge, when you have a host thank you for talking the general into allowing the blending, which is what Jacob did. He seems content with it, and if he can do it and even enjoy it, I can see others doing it, too.”
“If they really do have a sharing relationship like Jacob’s and Martouf’s, I think it is great. But, if you’ll think about it, until they spent those weeks with us, all we ever saw was the symbiote in control. The weeks they were with us showed that they really do both use the body, which I for one always doubted. So, I’ll go and talk to the general, and we’ll see about getting the Tok’Ra here. Are Martouf and Lantash fit to take over command until I get back?”
Daniel stared at Jack. “I, well, I suppose so. I mean they are not incapacitated, just asleep.”
“Fine, I’ll have to wake them and let them know I’ll be back later,” Jack explained.
Turning and walking back into the building the two men were surprised to see Martouf just sitting up. After greeting them as they approached, he said, “Lantash is still resting. I believe he is better, though. Even that short nap seems to have helped him.”
Jack looked at him intently before saying, “I’m glad you’re awake. I’m heading back to the SGC to talk to the General about getting Jacob and company here a.s.a.p. I need you to take command until I get back,” Jack told him.
Martouf stared at him much as Daniel had before saying, “Me, Colonel?”
“You and Lantash are the ranking officer, Martouf. It’s your responsibility to take command when the commanding officer is absent. I’m gonna be absent. You are in command.”
Jack sighed. “Martouf, you and Lantash were given rank in our military based on your experience and your abilities. You studied our command structure among many, many other things. You did well. You passed the tests with flying colors. I’ll be back as soon as I can, Major. Hold the fort till I get back,” he ordered.
Turning to Daniel he said, “Dial home for me will you, Daniel? I’m going to go let Teal’c and Lieutenant Stevenson know that the Major is in charge until I get back.”
Martouf stood stunned as Jack walked out the door and headed to tell the others he had to go to earth but would be returning soon.
“I’ll not even tell you “I told you so”,” Daniel, said as he input the glyphs for home.
Jack came back in and headed for the gate. “Code accepted, Daniel? He asked.
“No. No, Jack it hasn’t been,” Daniel said, sounding surprised and a little uneasy. “Something must be going on at the base for them to refuse to accept our code,” he continued quietly.
“Shut it down, Daniel. I’m not going through if they aren’t accepting the code,” Jack said, equally as quiet.
The three of them watched as the wormhole shut down. They stared at the Chaappa’ai as if expecting it to have an answer, but for now, it remained silent.
“What now?” Daniel finally asked.
Frowning, Jack said, “We wait thirty minutes and then we try again.”
“I have contacted Artereos for you, Dayillon. He will be sending the requested materials to you as soon as he can. He is pleased at the information I have given him, and he has taken it upon himself to request of the Tok’Ra that they send the requested persons to you here.”
“Valynara. How did you know what I wanted? I thought you weren’t supposed to read minds,” Daniel said, his voice almost accusing.
“We are not. However, I am a Guardian of this place, and I will protect it. If doing so means I monitor your stray thoughts, then I will do so. I have not “read” your mind; I have simply picked up your stray and throw away thoughts. It is working to your benefit, is it not?”
“Well, yeah, but I just don’t like the idea that you can see what I am thinking.”
She smiled at him and shook her head, “I will not be delving deeply, Dayillon, have no fears of that.”
“Do you know what is going on back on Earth? Why they won’t accept our access code?”
“I do not believe they wish you to come home at this time. I am sure they will have an explanation in due course,” she replied, as she watched the gate.
“You’re expecting it to activate. Do you think the Tok’Ra will be here that quickly?” Jack asked
“I do not know when they will arrive,” was the uninformative answer.
“Then why are you watching it?” Jack wanted to know.
“I have no idea,” she said her voice calm and her demeanor unruffled. “You were all gazing at it, and perhaps I simply joined you in watching it,” she continued, the remainder of her answer as uninformative as the first part.
Removing her gaze from the gate without haste, she changed the subject saying, “The villagers have been made aware of your presence here, and that it is acceptable to me. I doubt they will bother you, although they could become curious. They are a very polite people. Many still have symbiotes from Egeria’s first children. They will not join your fight perhaps, but they will be eager to meet others of her offspring.”
“Many here would take symbiotes and join your battle, though. It was one more thing we could do in case Egeria’s children proved to be warriors against the Goa’uld. It will not be as difficult to find hosts as you think, Colonel, because Dayillon, I am sorry, I should attempt to remember to call you Daniel, was correct in his statement, and many cultures do not have the problem with it that you do.”
“The people here were raised on legends of the symbiotes and the long life and health they impart. To have one in one’s family is a great honor. Therefore, we will hope that we can find other adults of your kind, Lantash, for they have hosts waiting. And now that I know of you, we will also be a place you may look for hosts, whenever you have a need for them.”
“I didn’t even know there was anyone living here. We thought the planet was deserted,” Daniel said quietly
“We removed the people from this area long ago, Daniel. It was not necessary that they have use of the Corridor of the Stars, and we preferred that this temple fall into disuse. We wished it to appear that this planet had nothing of value on it. It was a precaution, nothing more. Until today, we have never had a Goa’uld come through except for Egeria. I should, of course, have realized at once who and what you were. I did attempt to search your mind, but as I mentioned before, I did not find you thinking of Egeria or her daughters. Now that I know you did not come here specifically for that, I can understand why I did not.”
“Be that as it may, to return to my story of the people who reside on this planet which, by the way is called Valdellon. There is a large population here. Many towns and villages exist beyond the hills of this valley. We designated this temple and area to be our sacred place and the people, in return for our protection of them, have granted this to us.”
“So you’ve set yourselves up as the local deity?” Jack asked, not sure he liked the sound of that. “That doesn’t sound like the Furling.”
Smiling at him slightly she said, “It is our sacred place, Colonel O’Neill, not theirs. They have there own beliefs, which we do not interfere with. They are very aware that we are an alien species that brought them here millennia ago to protect them.”
“Before we isolated ourselves here we gathered humans who were willing to blend as well as those who were already blended with Egeria’s earlier offspring. Their numbers have grown.”
“So they weren’t all blended.” Daniel stated.
“No, they were not all blended, and as for the symbiotes among them they only take hosts who have already had their children. It works quite well, and it will be a steady supply of hosts for any symbiotes of the Tok’Ra who need them as well as any new symbiotes found.”
“I do sincerely hope that you find other worlds with grown children of Egeria on them. She should have chosen only waters that would sustain them indefinitely or else put them into stasis jars to hide them. She did not really say, but I had the impression that she probably did both hoping that if one group did not survive perhaps the other would,” she said quietly. “And I believe she might have chosen unpopulated worlds for the ones in the stasis chambers and populated worlds for the ones born into the waters. Otherwise, her children would not be here today. I am speaking of your brethren, Lantash, not the young lost ones.”
She was quiet for a moment before saying, “If I am correct, the children that are today fighting the Goa’uld were born before she came here, and I believe there are possibly more adults from that time out there somewhere waiting for their brethren to find them. I also suspect that you may find Egeria’s children from after she was here, on uninhabited planets as well as in stasis. I believe she intended to have as many children as she possibly could before the System Lords found her. Unfortunately we do not know how long it was after she left here before Ra hunted her down and, we assume, destroyed her.”
“All of this information will be a very big help to us, Valynara. I know you said you did not have any other information for us, but I don’t believe that is true. I think that just as this information will perhaps be of some benefit, so will other of your recollections help us,” Daniel said earnestly. “Please, anything at all that you remember or anything you think of that she said or did, might give us a clue. Please, come talk to us of her and her time here, often.”
“I, too, wish to know of her. We have only memories left to us; we never knew her as you did. Perhaps it seems odd to you that we would wish to know of our Queen, but I believe many of us would wish to hear of her.”
“Why would you think I would find it strange or odd that you would wish to know her? She is not just your Queen, Lantash, she is your mother.” Valynara pointed out softly. “I know that the Goa’uld think of them as Queens, but I believe that she left more with you than that. As you learn to dig deeper, you will begin to understand this. As for my knowledge of her, I will freely give what I have. I will also give freely of my memories of her, for she was very dear to me.”
Suddenly, the Stargate activated and a wormhole was established. Stepping out of the fluctuating blue of the pool was a startled looking Jacob Carter and company. He stopped short at the sight of SG-1 and looked around the building in which they now stood.
Giving a lopsided smile, he said, “Okay, how did you guys do that? We got the message from Artereos that you needed us for a mission, and that we should expect to stay for quite some time. We dialed the SGC, they accepted our code, we sent our luggage through, and then we walked out here. Sans luggage it seems,” he continued as he realized that only the group had materialized on this side of the gate.
“Well, maybe it was Valynara,” Daniel spoke up.
“Who?” Jacob asked as he walked down the steps that led to the gate.
“Valyn-” Daniel said, as he turned to the woman, only to find she had once again disappeared. Daniel expelled a gusty sigh. “I wish she would stop doing that!” he exclaimed. “Moreover, I would like to know how she is doing that,” he said sounding exasperated.
“Well, Daniel, whomever you are talking about obviously is not here, so perhaps one of you can just tell us how we arrived here, and while you are at it, how about why we are here?” Jacob asked even as he realized that the group in front of him was almost as disoriented as he was.
“I think Lantash and Martouf should be the ones to tell you why you’ve been brought in on another ‘covert op’,” Jack said quietly, as he nodded to the man standing next to them.
As the group of Tok’Ra looked at him, Martouf shrugged and Lantash took control. “It is Daniel’s discovery. Perhaps he should be the one to tell you,” he said, almost diffidently.
“Ah, no, I don’t think so. This is your discovery, as much as it is mine, and it means a great deal to you and your people. You take them over and show them.”
“Show us what?” Jacob said, sounding almost testy. “Do you think you could stop passing the buck long enough for one of you to explain why Artereos of Cadwaellon, instead of George Hammond of the SGC, contacted us to tell us that you needed us? Hm? Anyone?”
Looking from one to the other of the three men facing him Jacob realized for the first time that Lantash did not look well. “Lantash, what is wrong with you?” He asked abruptly. “You look extremely…tired.”
“I am extremely tired, Jacob,” Lantash answered quietly. “However, it is my understanding that I will be better by tomorrow or the next day, so it is not important. The reason you are here is, though.”
He looked from Jacob to the other three Tok’Ra with him. “It is important to all of us, and it must stay between those of us who are here. We cannot speak of it except among ourselves, and then only when we are absolutely positive, no one can overhear us. We are on a world that is under Furling protection. The gate here will not let a Goa’uld through, as far as we know. We believe it is like the one on Avilion.”
Turning he walked to the fountain and kneeling in the dust and dirt he removed the stones and called them over to him. He was not surprised when Malek knelt beside him and reached out, with fingers that trembled, much as his had, and traced the words cut into the stone.
“What does this mean, Lantash?” He asked, afraid to believe what he was reading.
As he swayed slightly, Daniel came up to him. “Lie back down, Lantash. I suspect that you have to rest, or it will take longer to heal.”
Nodding his head Lantash agreed, but did not go back to lie down. “I will lean up against the fountain, and you can explain to them what we have discovered, please, Daniel.”
“Somebody better explain and quick. I want to know why this wasn’t brought before the council.” Selmak said forcefully. “If I understand this statement correctly, there are Tok’ Ra queens somewhere out there.”
“Yes, Selmak, there very well may be. Furthermore, if you go running to the council with the news, then we can figure the Goa’uld will know sooner rather than later. Then we can watch as they start a world by world search for them to destroy them, before we ever get a chance to decipher the information she left behind,” Daniel said quietly.
“I take it there is more to this than just this sentence?” Selmak asked, somewhat mollified by the sense of what Daniel said.
“Yes. The Guardians of this place added some of the writing on these walls separately, at a much later date. We believe the newer writing is the information that Egeria left to help her children find the new queen or queens and any of their brethren that still survive,” he explained, nodding at the walls surrounding them. Reaching down he replaced the stones. “It is a long story. I suggest we make camp and once we get everything set up, we can discuss this in more depth. Lantash needs to rest.”
The next thing they knew they were in a suite of rooms over looking a large valley. Daniel squeezed the bridge of his nose again. He wished she would stop doing things without telling them. However, the smell of food was making itself felt. Moreover, she was standing in the doorway.
“You may leave through this door or the back way at any time. You will not need to keep guard but you may do so if you wish. We will be watching over you, however, so you have nothing to fear. Lantash does need rest.” She frowned. “I was more severe than I realized, but he will recover somewhat, probably after he sleeps for a few hours.” She walked to him and placed her hand on Martouf’s neck, then nodded her satisfaction with what she felt.
“You should spend the evening explaining what you have found and learned. I believe that by sometime tomorrow you will have the items you feel you need, Dayillon. Goodnight.”
Daniel shook his head as she once again disappeared without waiting for a response from them. “There has to be some type of transport beam or something. She cannot just disappear into thin air,” Daniel said, his frustration obvious. The Tok’Ra’s trunks suddenly appeared in the spot where she had been standing.
“It looks like the Furling air transportation department found your luggage, group,” Jack said with a grin.
Setting his weapon down, he headed for the table of food, following Daniel’s example. “I agree with her. We should eat and then you can all discuss this. Lantash needs food and rest first, though. Talking can come later.” The Tok’Ra stared at him.
“What?” Jack asked. “Hey, he is my Second in Command now. I take care of my people, okay?”
“Nothing, Jack. Nothing at all,” Jacob said as he clapped him on the shoulder on his way to the table. “I take it that was Valynara? He asked.
“Yup, that’s her; A Lady in a green dress with a decided preference for coming and going both quickly and quietly. She has a serious grudge against the Goa’uld, too. We thought she was gonna kill Lantash, before Daniel could make her understand that he was not Goa’uld and she had a real serious problem with Teal’c at first, too,” Jack elaborated as he watched Daniel take a plate of food to Martouf.
Hearing footsteps, he turned and saw both Teal’c and Lieutenant Stevenson entering. “Valynara said you wished our attendance, O’Neill,” Teal’c said quietly.
“You and the Lieutenant need to eat, too,” Jack sighed. The woman certainly liked to arrange everything. “After that we’ll decide on who takes what watch.” At least she was leaving that decision to them.
Noticing the murmuring of voices, he turned and watched Daniel as he offered a plate of food only to have Martouf shake his head no. He watched as Daniel insisted, until Martouf gave in and agreed to eat. Good, he wouldn’t have to make it an order. He turned back to the other members of his now enlarged team. The Tok’Ra were eating, but you could tell that they were stunned by the turn of events.
“Listen, I know this is a shock, but I think she’s right, and we should just talk a little tonight, and then actually get started on trying to figure all of this out tomorrow. Like she said, Lantash hasn’t recovered yet, and if we do too much talking, he’ll stay up instead of sleeping like she said he should.”
“I believe we are all simply trying to assimilate this information, Colonel,” Malek said quietly. “I would like to know what is wrong with Lantash, though.”
“Ah, well, that has to do with the serious grudge she has against the Goa’uld. Actually, I think that is a mild way to put it. Anyway, she used some kind of device on him and it damaged the nerves he uses to communicate. So, it kind of wears him out to talk right now. She said it would get better on its own; in fact, it has to heal on its own, for it to heal right. He just has to be patient,” Jack replied, equally quietly.
Seeing Malek frown, he said, “She was doing what she promised Egeria she would do, Malek, which was protecting the information here, and keeping it safe for Egeria’s children. That is you guys, so be glad she was willing to defend it.”
Martouf looked up and said, “The information about Egeria is an interesting story. Moreover, I believe Daniel could tell you after we finish eating. Then tomorrow we can begin work on finding our new queen. The new,” he paused as if listening and then said, “The new Mother of the Tok’Ra race.”