Chapter Three Summary: Merdwin arrives at the SGC with two soldiers for them. He has a private interview with General Hammond to explain what is happening. Back with our team, the Tok'Ra arrive on the planet much to their surprise. They learn the secrets that have been kept there. Lantash is slowly healing and Daniel and Malek have a talk.
"Italics" – Symbiote-Host or Telepathic communications
“Unscheduled off-world activation,” could be heard in the corridors of the SGC. General Hammond, who had started out the door of the control room, turned back saying, “Do we have a signal, Sergeant?”
“Yes, sir, it is – it is the Furling, Sir,” Sergeant Davis said, his surprise evident.
“Open the iris,” the general answered, as he headed for the gate room. He reached the end of the ramp as Merdwin emerged from the blue pool.
“George, it is good to see you once again,” Merdwin greeted him as the two men shook hands. The two figures that had emerged behind him waited patiently for the greeting to be over. Turning to them, Merdwin said, “I have brought you two Warriors. Hopefully, only the first.”
Seeing the bemused look on the general’s face, he continued, “I know you thought we had forgotten you, but we simply could not return before now. However, things have finally become less hectic.”
George Hammond smiled at this man who had become a friend during the weeks before the battle with Morgasha/Bastet. As much as he would like to be angry over the things they didn’t tell the Tau’ri, he knew that it was better that it had happened this way. Major Carter and Kataya were sorely missed, but at least the last weeks they were all together had not been overshadowed with thoughts of their deaths. He nodded to the two Warriors standing behind Merdwin. He remembered both of them.
“Nice to see you both, Colwyn, Stephynara. We’re very glad to have you back with us. I’ll have Lieutenant Simmons show you to some quarters, and we’ll have your things delivered to them.”
“Thank you, General Hammond,” Colwyn, replied.
The general nodded and then turned to Merdwin, “I believe a briefing with the four of us would be in order. Shall we go to the briefing room?”
A look that could have been discomfort briefly crossed Merdwin’s face, but it passed so quickly that the General couldn’t be sure that it was. “Actually, George, we need to go to the control room first. I am expecting you to get a wormhole and signal from SG-1 at any time, and I wish you to refuse their code, if you would not mind.”
George Hammond stared into his friend’s eyes and sighed deeply, “You are involving us in another mission, aren’t you, Merdwin?” He finally asked.
“Well, actually, it is you who are involving us. That is neither here nor there. It would be best if they did not come back just yet. If they still wish to return tomorrow that would be fine, but I would doubt that will happen.” The four people started for the control room and as they mounted the stairs they heard, ‘Unscheduled off-world Activation.’
Entering the control room, the general said, “If it is SG-1, refuse to accept the code, but open the iris. Just in case,” he sighed again, as he looked at Merdwin who sent him a wholly unrepentant grin.
“Yes, sir. It is SG-1, sir,” Sergeant Davis said, as he refused the code, but opened the iris. The group stood waiting and within a minute or so, the gate shut down.
“They should not try again. We have made arrangements for what they need to arrive shortly,” Merdwin said quietly. “Now, if we could retire to your office, George, I will explain what is happening. I believe your talk with your new warriors could wait until later. You and I have to discuss this first, I think.”
“All right.” He turned to Lieutenant Simmons, and said, “See that Colwyn and Stephynara are given quarters. I will decide what teams to assign them to after I have talked to Merdwin.” Looking over at the two warriors, he said, “Make yourselves comfortable. You already know your way around. You will need to go to the infirmary for your checkups. So go do that, after you have settled in a little, then come find me, and we will decide where you would be best suited. Give some thought to whether or not there is any team that you would prefer to join.”
“Yes, sir, General Hammond,” they replied, before turning and following the Lieutenant from the room.
“Now, I think I deserve an explanation, after refusing to allow my own people onto their base, don’t you?” He asked Merdwin.
“Certainly I do, and you shall have your explanation. Let us adjourn to your office.”
As the two men walked toward Hammond’s office, Merdwin said, “I want to thank you for remembering to give us the GDO when Artereos and I were here. I should not have forgotten to take it with me when I left.”
“Well, I think that Thor caught you a little off-guard. I had the distinct impression that we were having a conversation and the next thing I knew you were gone. Even though we both knew he would be taking you, I don’t think either of us was expecting it at that moment,” General Hammond said.
Merdwin smiled, somewhat wryly, “No, I was not expecting it to be quite that soon, although I should have I suppose. I am just glad he was able to come. It would have been better if one of our own ships had been available, but it was not to be.”
As the general closed his office door and the two men seated themselves, Merdwin opened a link and said, “Nothing can leave this room, George. Moreover, we will not speak of it aloud, please. While we did not want Bastet to get word of our plans, it was unlikely that another System Lord would have warned her in advance of our strike. If we were not completely secure here, and one of them somehow learned of our plans, they would wish to assume her territory once we disposed of her for them. This, on the other hand, is something of which no Goa’uld must learn.”
“This sounds very serious, Merdwin,” General Hammond responded.
“It is, and the complete secrecy of this mission is why I did not want Jack to come back to tell you. I felt it was better if he did not make a special trip back from the planet. You may have to start to send them equipment; however, I doubt it will be much, as we will be sending them anything they may need. Daniel already has an impressive want list. He will receive the things he requested tomorrow. The Tok’Ra they requested will arrive there tonight.”
“They requested Tok’Ra? What is going on, Merdwin? Cut to the chase,” General Hammond said firmly.
Nodding, Merdwin said, “Daniel and Lantash have discovered records that indicate that, at least at one time, there were other Tok’Ra queens. We must hope they still exist, and we have no reason to believe they do not. If word of them leaks to the System Lords, there will be a world-by-world hunt for them. It is one thing to have a group of Tok’Ra, who are slowly being destroyed by attrition, against them; it is an entirely different matter to have a Queen producing more of them. They would scour every world they have ever known. We cannot let that happen. The Tok’Ra have negative population growth. They must not be allowed to vanish, if we can stop it.”
George Hammond gave a quiet whistle. Then, thinking of the future, he said, “Merdwin, aren’t the Tok’Ra having trouble finding hosts the way it is?”
“They will no longer have that problem. People who would be only too happy to have a symbiote populate the planet in question. In fact, they consider it a great honor to be chosen as a host. So, thankfully, that problem no longer exists.”
“I don’t suppose you want to tell me the story from the beginning?” George Hammond asked. At a nod from Merdwin, he settled back in his chair to listen. Quite some time later, he said, “I assume this means I will not be seeing SG-1 anytime soon?”
“I would not count on it, George. While it is true that Artereos or I could translate the text faster, neither of us feels we can be absent for long periods right now. Had this happened a week from now we probably would be, but not yet. I think Daniel will do fine once he gets his reference material. I truly believe he will have it translated before we can be free to do it for him. Moreover, knowing Daniel, he will have it figured out almost as quickly. I cannot say it will be months before they return, but neither would I discount it. Once they think they know where the writings lead, then we will see, but I expect them to be very busy following numerous trails, some probably false. However, hopefully at that point, we will have a plan of action, and although it is possible they could execute it from here, I believe that I would not expect that to happen, if for no other reason than that the secret will keep better away from any of the main bases, be they yours, the Tok’Ra’s, or ours. I must also stress that the Tok’Ra have not been, and will not be, informed, except for Per’sus and Garshaw, as Artereos and I both believe there is still a leak there. Not necessarily a deliberate one, although that cannot be discounted at this point in time, as we simply do not have enough information to know for sure.”
George Hammond nodded, “I understand, Merdwin. This is of great import for all of us. If the Tok’Ra had larger numbers, they would be a more viable fighting force instead of simply having to use infiltration.”
“Exactly,” Merdwin replied. “Do you have any other questions, George?”
“Will we be able to contact you if we need to?”
Setting what looked like a jeweled picture frame on Hammond’s desk, he said, “Yes, use that. Just pick it up and repeat my name until I answer you. Mentally, of course. I suggest you put an image, perhaps of your grandchildren, in it. It can be used as what it appears to be.”
“Thank you,” the General said quietly, as he gazed at his friend, wondering, not for the first time, how the man across from him always seemed to have anticipated his requests.
“I simply put myself in your place, George, and ask myself what I would want from me,” Merdwin said aloud, in response to his comrade’s last thought.
“I appreciate that, Merdwin,” George responded, but he frowned as he looked at the man sitting across from him. Although Merdwin had been cheerful and upbeat, his usual insouciant self, he looked tired. Eyes widening, the general realized that the hair at Merdwin’s temple’s, dark as a raven’s wing before, had turned a silvery white. What had happened during the last six months? He would never find out if he did not ask.
“Merdwin, what has happened?” He asked, and then held up a hand, shaking his head. “I know you want to deny that anything out of the ordinary has occurred, but six months ago you didn’t have those distinguished looking silvery wings at your temples. No one has told us yet just what happened after, well, after Thor took Major Carter and Kataya. We have never really had closure.” He sighed, wondering how to explain this need to the man sitting there.
“There is no need to explain, George. We do understand, and we had hoped to have an answer for you all before now,” he said. “As to what has happened, it is complicated. Morgasha managed, in her death throws, to send part of her soul into Kataya. When we bound Morgasha’s soul, in order to bind it all, we also had to bind Kataya’s soul. We have been working to separate the parts of Morgasha’s soul from Kataya’s.” Merdwin sighed deeply, as if exhaustion was not far away.
“You must understand the strain this has placed on Kataya and Samantha’s spirits, George. They have not been able to find peace or rest. Samantha has refused to leave Kataya, so she has been with her all this time. She was not injured by Morgasha’s soul as Kataya was, for Kataya stopped Morgasha’s evil from entering her.”
“Freeing Kataya’s spirit from the evil of Morgasha is a long, arduous fight, one in which we more than once, have been afraid we would fail. Only Kataya’s own stubborn will and refusal to allow Morgasha to win, and Samantha’s refusal to let her go or give up, have allowed us to bring Kataya through the ordeal so far. Without Samantha, I do not think Kataya’s soul would have survived.”
“Once we have completed the separation, then Samantha and Kataya will journey farther into the All, for they must complete the circle of joining they started before the Great Battle. Once they have traveled deeply enough, they must separate certain aspects of themselves from one another before their spirits can finally rest, heal, and be fully at peace. We hope that because of all the time they have spent bound together, that the time of their journey into the center of the All will take very little time and they will accomplish the rituals of separation quickly and easily.”
“Once that has been accomplished, we will simply wait for them both to come to us. If Kataya’s soul is still damaged, I will never forgive myself, and I will work as long as is needed, to return it to her whole and healed. I do not believe that will be the case. At least, that is what I tell myself.” The sorrow on Merdwin’s face was profound and it was obvious it went deep.
Smiling sadly, he continued, “Once they do come to us, we will know, and then we will all have closure. Moreover, you will know as soon as it happens, I assure you. George, it will be very, very soon now, I promise you. I am talking days, perhaps less, and it will all be over for you. At least, I believe it will be, for I am almost sure we will not find a great deal of damage left, if we find any at all.”
The General was not sure he understood, but seeing the emotional turmoil discussing it caused the other man, he nodded as if he did. “Are you heading back at once?” George asked him.
Merdwin grinned, “No, Artereos is taking my place for a few hours.” He paused, his smile fading as he said quietly, his voice once more strained, “Although Artereos is more than qualified to do what must be done for Kataya, I will not put him through having to do that to his own daughter, so I must return fairly quickly. I am going to see if Janet will speak to me. If so, I plan to spend some time with her before I return to Avilion, later this afternoon. If, that is, you have no objections?”
George Hammond shook his head, “No, I don’t mind. In fact, I will tell Janet she can leave now. I know she will be very glad to see you.”
Merdwin stood, saying, “Thank you, George. I appreciate it.”
George sent him a look of understanding, as he said, “I know Dr. Warner is here today and we have not been busy, so she should be free. Go on, I will let her know you are on your way,” he continued, as he picked up the phone. Merdwin raised his hand in farewell and headed out the door.
Things were finally settling down. Merdwin had missed his mate. Soon they would join by the Furling-joining rite and the Tau’ri mating ritual, also, if she wished. And when he told her the news, he was sure he would be forgiven many things. He hoped.
As SG-1 and the Tok’Ra finished eating, a group of young men and women entered the room. The oldest, a young woman of perhaps thirty came forward and went directly to Jacob. “I am Alys’yat. Valynara asked if any of us wished to care for you while you are here, and we have been chosen from all those who volunteered to do so. It is an honor. Please make your requests known to any of us and we will do what we can to accommodate you.”
Motioning to some of the others, she indicated they should begin cleaning up after the meal. Indicating them with a nod of her head, she said, “Tar’ian, Selvius, Othytia, Bles’ tia, and Sch’loc.” As she named each of the young people working around the table, they inclined their heads in a respectful gesture.
Turning back to the group of visitors, she pointed at a door on one side of the room, and said, “The food will be stored in there. Please help yourselves if you become hungry at any time. You will find beverages and water, also. The sleeping chambers are up the stairs. We will see to it that all of the rooms are prepared and you may choose whichever ones you prefer. Through that door,” she nodded at another doorway, “there is a chamber with comfortable seating, if you wish to relax and talk. We will be remaining here, to care for you, should you need anything. Please just ring the bell over there and we will come up to you.”
“My eldest grandmother is blended with one of your brethren. Soon, I will take her place. We consider it a great honor to meet at last the children of Egeria. It is indeed a wonderful day for us. We have long awaited the news that the Great Battle had taken place, that the small dragons whose hearts were good were indeed carrying out battles against the System Lords, and were ready to come to the heart-home of their mother, the Queen. Please know that we look forward to joining with you and your brethren.”
“Thank you, Alys’yat. We are very pleased to meet you and your people. I am Selmak, and my host’s name is Jacob Carter. We, the children of Egeria, call ourselves Tok’Ra.”
“Yes, Valynara explained that you are warriors fighting against the small dragons that are evil and that your name means ‘against Ra’, who was at one time the most powerful of them. I believe she said she sensed that he was no more. This is a good thing.”
Nodding toward Jack and his team, Selmak said, “The Tau’ri killed Ra a few years ago. Yes, it is a very good thing. But we remain Tok’Ra, using the name to mean against the System Lords in general now.”
Bowing her head to him and then to Jack she said, “I know that at least one of your number is very tired. Valynara explained that she had hurt him badly. We will leave you to relax with one another and to care for your injured comrade. Please do not hesitate to call one of us if you should need anything.” Giving a small sweet smile to all of them, she then turned and made her way out the door that she had indicated led to the sleeping chambers.
Jacob and Malek watched as Jack O’Neill went to Martouf and leaned down to say something to him. They saw him turn to Daniel when Martouf shook his head no. Daniel walked to him and talked for a few minutes. Not waiting for Martouf to shake his head again, Jack frowned at him and said something. Martouf’s head snapped up and he nodded, getting to his feet, and heading for the door that led to the room Alys’yat had said would be a comfortable place to sit and talk.
They followed as Jack and Daniel walked on either side of Martouf and once in the other room, glanced around. Finding a lounge type of settee, they steered him to it, Jack pointed to it and before Martouf could argue said, loud enough that the Tok’Ra that had followed them in could hear him say, “Either you lay down here and let Daniel talk, or we take you upstairs and lock you in. You will rest, Martouf. Lantash needs to recover. We are going to need him in good condition. I would rather not make that an order, Major, but I will if I have to.” They saw Martouf sigh and then acquiesce.
Jacob grinned, and Malek looked stunned. He turned to Jacob, and said, “Lantash must be feeling very unwell and weak to let them talk to him in that way.”
“Maybe. Or, maybe he just trusts them enough to do as they say. Kind of like he would be with you and I, if we actually insisted, don’t you think?”
After considering Jacob’s words, Malek looked at Jack O’Neill as he stood frowning down at Lantash and talking quietly to Daniel. “He actually cares what happens to him, does he not, Jacob?” He finally asked.
“Yeah, I think so. I have seen it growing between them. At first, it was kind of a tentative cease-fire, which became an uneasy peace. Then before either Jack or Lantash realized it, the peace was real and they had begun to get to really know one another. My guess is that neither one of them would admit to liking the other, but actions speak louder than words. I wouldn’t bring it up to them though. Not yet, anyway.”
“I agree, Jacob. It would be a huge step forward for both of them if they can become friends, and I will not mention it to either of them. Now that Lantash is resting, perhaps we can get more information from Daniel as to what exactly has taken place here. We are all here, are we not?” He asked, before looking around and realizing that Brialek was not among them.
“Where is Brialek, Jacob? Did you see him leave?” He asked.
“I believe he followed Lieutenant Stevenson outside. It was decided that they would take first watch. One of the inhabitants took her to show her the rooms and she took one, put her stuff in it, and then left to do her stint at guard duty. Jocasta and I are taking next shift and Jack and Teal’c will be morning shift. We will take turns during the day until we can work out a feasible alternative. Daniel and Lantash are going to be needed to work on the translations, so I don’t think that Jack is planning on them taking any guard duty. And we may be able to dispense with some of it later.”
“And when is mine, Jacob?” Malek asked. “Am I not considered competent enough to do guard duty?”
“Well, since Jack and I both believe that two is probably overkill anyway, we really couldn’ t justify using three. Brialek asked to be assigned with Lieutenant Stevenson and I wish to be with Jocasta. That leaves Jack, Teal’c and you. If you really want too, you can take one of their places, but you will probably draw some time during the day tomorrow.”
Malek nodded, seeing the reasoning behind the decisions. He glanced up as Jack came toward them.
“There’s a bar over there and guess what? Yup, both port and mead. Help yourselves and then find a seat, and Daniel can fill you in on what’s been found out so far.
“Cheer up, Malek. Lantash will be all right. He just has to heal. You heard them,” Devlin, reassured him.
“I know. I am just somewhat anxious about him. We came so close to losing him,” Malek, replied.
“I know. Nevertheless, we did not, he is here, he is living, and he will be all right. He would not thank you for clucking around him like a mother hen with one chick,” Devlin, pointed out.
“You are correct and I will attempt not to ‘cluck’. Where did you pick-up that saying, if I may ask?” Malek, asked amusement obvious in his voice.
“Oh, I heard Daniel say it to O’Neill. That he was clucking around them as if he was a mother hen with only three chicks. I just cut down the amount of chicks.” Dev grinned at him. “Evidently, you were not paying attention at the time or you would have heard him,” he continued, his voice smug at having information his symbiote did not.
Malek shook his head at him and headed over to the chair next to the settee where Martouf was lying. Sitting down, he realized that Martouf had his eyes closed indicating he must be very tired. Glancing up, he caught Daniel’s eyes and nodded when Daniel shook his head and indicated that Martouf and Lantash had just fallen asleep. By mutual consent, they both stood and made their way out onto the Balcony. The others drifted across the room and settled into a quiet conversation as they, too, realized the two on the settee were sleeping.
It was a beautiful night. The night sky here was awash with purples and blues, pinks and reds. A moon hung low and mellow on the horizon, yet the stars were bright and looked as if they were caught in gossamer fine material, set there to adorn the heavens. Looking at it, Daniel sighed, wishing for probably the ten thousandth time that Kataya was with him.
Pushing those thoughts aside, he turned to the Tok’Ra beside him and asked, “Have you heard from Gwennetha? I know she has to be very busy. Janet has only heard from Merdwin once, other than the time that Artereos and Merdwin came to the SGC. From what we were told, I gathered they really didn’t have more than a few minutes together. She told me that he didn’t say anything about what was going on, but she felt a great weariness in him, as if he wasn’t getting any rest and was worried about something. She didn’t think it had to do with Martouf and me though, so she didn’t question him.”
“I have only heard once. She warned me that she would possibly have to leave suddenly, but at the time, I did not realize she was talking about a particular incident. It was only later that I realized she must have known that she would have no time to tell me good- bye. And of course, she could not tell me ahead of time for fear of changing something and making it even worse,” he said quietly, never forgetting that this man standing next to him, asking with so much sympathy in his voice, had lost the two greatest loves of his life at the same time.
“At any rate, when I heard from her, she said simply that she was very busy and would be returning when she could and to not forget our promise,” Malek replied, smiling slightly. “Sometimes it is hard to have unwavering faith, but that is what I promised her and that is what I will give her,” he finished softly.
Daniel nodded his agreement, saying, “Martouf, Lantash, and I also promised that. Unwavering faith. Sometimes it is almost more than I can do. However, this latest development will give both Lantash and I another reason to live and to fight. For him, it is the salvation of his people. For me, it is both that and the finishing of a quest.”
Malek frowned, asking, “A quest? What do you mean, Daniel?”
“Kataya has been looking for years for a new queen for the Tok’Ra. She would wish me to do everything I could to help find them. And I will,” he said fiercely. “I will. We must find them.”
“So you can finish Kataya’s quest,” Malek said.
“Yes. I want to do that for her. I would rather she was here to help, but, in the circumstances, that is not likely to happen, so I will do it for her, gladly. However, there is more to it than that. I don’t want to see the Tok’Ra die out. I have too many friends that are Tok’Ra. Look, the Tok’Ra have faults. The Tau’ri have faults. Hell, the Asgard and the Furling have faults,” Daniel exclaimed, with something very like amused exasperation in his voice.
“The point is that in my eyes and in many other’s eyes as well, the Tok’Ra are a viable species who are well worth saving. We care what happens to them. We care a lot, even if some of them don’t believe that. That’s from a philanthropic point of view.”
“Nevertheless, even looking at it from a purely militaristic point of view, and let’s be honest, there are both points of view, if the Tok’Ra had large enough numbers, if they had a viable queen, and didn’t have to worry that their race was becoming extinct, they could be more aggressive in their fight. From what Valynara told us, Egeria’s children should have been born wanting to fight the System Lords and their way of doing things.” Daniel stared out across the valley to the outline of the mountains silhouetted against the horizon before turning back to Malek.
“That alone is wonderful, but when you add in what else we’ve found here, it is amazing. I mean, my god, Malek, look what we have discovered here already. A planet with people on it that don’t have to be convinced to take a symbiote, but are more likely to vie for the chance to become a host. On the other side of those mountains are towns and villages of people who are ready and willing to take a symbiote and to fight the System Lords. I just wish Kataya and Sam had lived to see it,” he finished, his voice becoming husky as he thought of how much this discovery would have meant to them.
Sensing the pain emanating from the man standing next to him, Malek said, his voice earnest in its sincerity, “Perhaps they do know, Daniel. I do not understand their life cycle, but I would think that once they are at peace then, surely, they could be aware of you, Martouf and Lantash. It could be that they know what you are trying to do. We must believe that they do,” Malek said firmly, even as his own heart ached for what he felt had been a great loss, not only to Daniel and Martouf, but also to all of them. Though he had known neither woman well, still he felt the loss of those bright and shining spirits. Their worlds had lost much when they were taken from them.
Pausing, and looking up at the sky for a moment, Malek finally seemed to come to a decision. “I have wanted a chance to talk to you alone for quite some time. I have wished to thank you for what you did for Lantash, Daniel. He told me a little. Enough for me to know that there was much more he was not telling me,” he said smiling slightly. “I was afraid for him. He has lost so much in his life. I was afraid he would not force a confrontation since he was not with us. I am glad he trusted you enough to do so.”
“He trusted Martouf enough to do so,” Daniel said, attempting to minimize his own role in what had happened. “I simply helped him to realize what he was doing. He is a special being, Malek, and I care for him very much. They are the brothers I never had, he and Martouf. I am very thankful to have them, my team, and the rest of the newly formed group, you, Jacob, Jocasta, and Brialek. You all helped us both and we are grateful to you. Please know that, Malek, you and Dev. Speaking of him how is Devlin, by the way? I don’t think he has said much more than hello to us.”
“I am not suppressing him, Daniel,” Malek said, somewhat stiffly, still not quite able to believe completely that there was no disapproval in those types of statements. Once again, he was brought very quickly to realize that he was being overly sensitive.
“No, I know you aren’t,” Daniel agreed, easily. “If I had to guess, I would say he is sitting back and saying that this is Tok’Ra business and he’s just here to provide transport and go along for the ride.”
Malek’s smile was rueful, as he asked, “How did you know that?”
Daniel laughed, softly. “Martouf and I talk a lot. He explained that often he just doesn’t feel like being bothered. That it’s actually nice to have someone else take over during boring meetings and tedious chores. I can see his point. I mean, if you can get someone else to match your socks, why should you do it yourself?”
Seeing Malek’s look of confusion, he elaborated, “That is just an example of a boring job that I would try to push off on my symbiote, if I had one. I hate folding laundry and matching socks. You never come out with the right number. I think washing machines eat them.”
“I believe I understand. With us, it is the desert uniforms. The number of hats never matches the number of uniforms. In addition, the leggings are always wrong, as well. Sometimes you have one too many, or you are missing one depending on your viewpoint I suppose,” Malek said, and then frowned. He looked at Daniel, as he said, “Do you know, although I have heard the men complain of these problems, I have never heard the females voice this concern.” He seemed to brood for a moment on the unfairness of the universe to the male half of the population, before asking Daniel, “Why do you think that is Daniel?”
“I believe that females possess a gene which enables them to keep their socks, hats, and stockings together,” Daniel responded solemnly, before catching Malek’s look and laughing with him.
“You two seem to be having a good conversation,” Martouf said softly, from behind them. “It is a joy to me, as it would be to Lantash, to hear you laugh together.”
Daniel looked at him intently, before saying quietly, “You are supposed to be resting. Explanations can wait until morning if they have to. And what do you mean, as it would to Lantash?”
“Lantash appears to be awake but very restless, Daniel. I am not sure why. He is not really answering me, and he seems disoriented. I thought I would try to find Valynara and see if she will please check on him.” Martouf appeared to be listening for a moment before saying. “He is making no sense at all now, Daniel. And he is beginning to behave as he did this afternoon.”
Daniel frowned. “Come back in and lie down,” he said to Martouf; as he stepped up beside him and urged him back inside. He was not surprised to see Malek go to his other side and urge him quietly, too. He turned and allowed them to escort him into the room. That in itself seemed very out of character. Lantash should be protesting as he had earlier.
“Valynara. Valynara are you there?” Daniel said, attempting to throw his thoughts outward, hoping she was listening. “Valynara? Damn it, when I want you listening in, you aren’t around.”
“On the contrary, Daniel, I am here. I was simply talking to someone else. What can I do for you? And were you aware that you were capable of opening a latent link?” she asked him.
“Um, well, I knew I could activate one that was already set. Is this the same thing?” he asked her.
“Not exactly, but close enough for now. What did you need? You sounded rather distraught,” she said.
“Lantash awoke disoriented and he is not acting like himself. He is being very pliable and easily influenced him and Martouf both. Martouf said he did not seem to be able to talk to him at first. Is something going wrong?”
“Not exactly. Have him lie down, please, and I will be there as soon as I dress.”
“Oh. Sorry. I didn’t realize you were asleep,” Daniel apologized.
“I was not asleep, Daniel,” she said, laughing softly.
“Oh,” Daniel gasped as her tone settled into his mind. “Oh, I am sorry.”
“You did nothing wrong, Daniel, nor did you interrupt anything at this point. Now take care of Martouf and Lantash.”
“She is coming,” he mouthed to Malek.
Martouf had lain down on his stomach on the settee. Now he asked, quietly, “Would you rub Lantash again, please, Daniel? He seems to be upset, and he is having trouble communicating with me.”
Malek watched as Daniel sat on the floor next to Martouf and began to rub up and down his spine. In a few minutes, Martouf said, “That seems to be helping. It is as if he cannot hear me again. He was starting to have the same reaction he had earlier.”
“I will not leave him, Martouf, I promise,” Daniel assured him.
Noticing that something was happening, the others had joined them. Daniel shook his head, nodded for them to stay out of Martouf’s range of vision and not say anything. He did not need an audience, his look said.
Jacob nodded, and knowing that Malek and Daniel would help him, he indicated to Jack, Teal’c, and Jocasta that they should go out onto the Balcony.
Shortly, Daniel felt Valynara kneel beside him. At her nod, he moved over enough to let her have better access, but he continued to rub Lantash. He watched her as she laid her hands first on Martouf’s forehead and then the back of his head. Frowning, she moved her hands down his spine, checking every inch of him. When she had finished, she sat back and indicated that Daniel should stop.
“Martouf, you must roll over now,” she said, gently. When he had followed her instructions, she once again placed her hand on his forehead before saying, “I am going to enter your mind now, Martouf, to retrieve Lantash. Please do not fight me. I promise I will not delve into your private thoughts, and it will not hurt you or Lantash. I must go in to bring him back.”
He nodded to her, his trust in her apparent, as he closed his eyes. Closing her eyes, too, she sat perfectly still, barely breathing. A crease formed on her forehead and her lips firmed as if in determination. Eventually, a slight smile made its way onto her lips, and she opened her eyes at the same time Martouf opened his.
“He is back,” Martouf said, sounding surprised. He added, amazed, “He is asleep.”
“Yes. He was lost in a nightmare and because of the damage that was done to him; you could not tell that he was not awake. I am afraid he was reliving the feelings he encountered this afternoon, while he was, ah, incapacitated. I am sorry; I should have realized he might have nightmares. I have blocked those feelings for now so that the nightmare will not recur. I will release them sometime after he has healed enough that you will be able to wake him yourself should it happen again.”
“He should awaken shortly now and I believe he will feel stronger. I checked to see how he was healing first and he is doing quite well. Another day, two at most and he will be back to normal. When he gets tired, you must insist he rest though, Martouf. The more sleep he gets, the faster he will heal. If he refuses, you must have Daniel contact me, and I will see to it that he gets the rest he needs,” Valynara said firmly.
“If you need me again, do not hesitate to call me. I will gladly come at any hour, day or night,” she said and looked at Daniel.
“I understand and I will call if you are needed, I promise you. I will stay with them; be sure we are in the same room.”
Nodding her head in agreement, she said, “That would probably be a good idea. I will wish you all a good-night.” Daniel followed her from the room, saw her disappear at the spot where the luggage had appeared, and she had disappeared earlier. Okay. So, that was one place that had to have a transporter of some sort.
Heading back into the next room, he was in time to hear Jacob ask Malek what had happened and hear Malek explaining as well as he could.
Seeing Daniel enter the room, Jacob said, “Explain to me again what she did to Lantash, Daniel. And why can’t he just heal himself?”
Before Daniel could answer, Martouf’s eyes flashed and Lantash, obviously now awake, sat up and answered Jacob’s question himself, “She injured the filaments with which we communicate with our host. It was a salutary experience, Jacob. The more I attempted to share the pain with Martouf and heal the injury, the worse the pain became. The less I interacted with Martouf, the less pain I felt. Soon, my ability to communicate at all was completely gone. I was completely isolated in a black empty void. No sound, no light, in short, nothing but a blackness in which my mind seemed to be encased. I could feel nothing through our normal channels with the host. I do not believe I could have left Martouf’s body had I wished to. I was truly trapped. I have never felt anything like it before, and I hope never to do so again,” Lantash said, quietly but firmly.
“You felt Daniel, though,” Malek said.
“Yes. The pressure was the only thing I could feel. It,” he paused, before saying quietly, “helped.”
Changing the subject, he said, “Martouf tells me that Valynara was here. He said I was locked in a nightmare and that he was unaware I was asleep. He says he would not have been able to awaken me. Is that correct?”
“Yes. She blocked the feelings of what happened until you heal. Once that happens, she will release them because Martouf will be able to tell if you are asleep and dreaming. She also said, quite firmly, that you have to rest in order to heal. The more you rest, the faster you will heal.” Daniel said firmly.
“All right. Daniel, you need to tell everyone what we have found and what Valynara told us and then, perhaps, we all need to get some sleep. Tomorrow will hopefully bring the supplies you asked for, and we can begin the work of translating the walls,” Lantash said, as he once again lay down on the settee. For once, he was not going to argue about resting. It had been made obvious to him that rest was the only thing that would hasten his healing.”
As the group settled into chairs around the settee, it did not miss their observations that Daniel sat protectively near to Lantash and Martouf. Once settled, Daniel explained how Lantash had recognized the writings as an ancient Furling dialect as soon as he had been able to see them clearly. He was also the one to realize that not all of the writing was the same; some of it was added much later. While he could not read any of it, he felt that Daniel might be able to. Daniel made out three words: hidden, royalty, and joined, which made sense now. Since those were the only words that he could say he thought he knew, they had headed outside, only to find they were behind a force shield. One that did not allow them anywhere near the gate, windows, or doors.
He explained how he had turned around after trying to contact Jack, only to find Martouf and Lantash on their knees and in a great deal of pain. He quickly recounted what he had done and how she had thrown Martouf against the wall, hurting him badly, as well as Lantash, and how she had then healed them enough they would not die, and agreed not to kill them, yet.
She was not, he said to them, a Lady they wanted to cross if they could help it. He went through the discovery of who they were by Valynara, and how she had evidently gone somewhere and contacted Artereos, because she had come back and helped Lantash as much as she could.
He told them the story of how Valynara had been Egeria’s host. He explained how Egeria’s experiences, though much milder than what Lantash had endured, had turned her disagreement with the way the hosts were treated by the System Lords into a crusade to change their ways. When the System Lords would not listen, she had vowed to become the mother of a new race of Goa’uld. A race with the knowledge and will to fight the System Lords and win.
He explained that they were probably the offspring from before she came back here and left this record, but that they believed she left knowledge of her intention to come here within them. So somewhere, there were legends or something that would have told them to come here. Legends that might hold other clues to where she might have hidden her daughters.
He told them that the story written here was in a very ancient Furling dialect and they had to translate it before they could begin looking for Egeria’s daughters. Once they had it translated, he suspected it was going to be a little more complicated than they thought. Somehow, he doubted very much that she had simply named the planet or planets where she left the young Queens, otherwise Valynara would have found and brought them here. However, he didn’t want to speculate until he started translating the writings.
What they were fairly certain of, Daniel said, was that somewhere out there in the universe were Tok’Ra waiting to be found. Hopefully, both mature Tok’Ra, as well as some young that had been put into stasis jars. Then there were the Queens. Yes, Jacob, plural, as in more than one. That was the truly amazing thing. According to Valynara, they knew she gave birth to more than one daughter and they were hidden somewhere out there, too. It was very possible that they were not with the other offspring, but secreted away. They really had no way of knowing until they managed to translate those walls. Now, it was their job to find them.
“So the daughters were from the same groups as Selmak?” Jacob asked.
“Possibly, but they could be from a later group. If Valynara is correct, she had several groups of offspring. She did not say how many daughters she had, but Valynara got the impression that some were in stasis and some were born into or introduced into waters on deserted worlds. Your groups were born into waters on populated planets. They had to have been or you would not be here now. If we understand correctly, and what Valynara believes to be true is true, then you were all very young when she died. She never knew if you became the warriors she hoped.”
Sighing, Daniel stated, “The truth is that for now everything I have told you is pure speculation, and until we can translate those walls, we will not know for sure if our suppositions are correct or not. And that is also assuming that besides the locations of her offspring, there is also some explanations as to what she did, where and why.”
Remembering another important point, he added, “Oh, and many of the people living here, are descendants of the people who were hosts for Egeria’s first born young. They are the ones that had the instinct to join with a host in a truly sharing way. Valynara and the other Guardians, brought people who were already hosts and their families and other non- blended people who wished to blend, but did not have a symbiote waiting for them. I think that perhaps they found more of Egeria’s offspring from her earliest, um, groups and brought them here. They were building a world of people willing to be hosts, in case Egeria’s dream of a new race of Goa’uld came to pass. And it did. It is no wonder they have guarded it so closely.”
Daniel contemplated Egeria’s dream for a few moments before continuing, “So, if I understood Valynara correctly, Artereos is sending me some materials that should be helpful for translating this stuff. However, if Lantash is right, this is one of the oldest of the Furling dialects. Not only that, but Valynara admitted that they have forgotten most of it. In fact, what little chance I had to look at it, I think that possibly the language they did use to add in Egeria’s story is not exactly the same as the original. I just hope Artereos has some books on it that I can read,” Daniel said quietly.
Selmak said slowly, “I am one of the few remaining of the oldest amongst us. Lantash and Malek are from a younger group. We did figure that out long ago. We come from different worlds, too. Of course that doesn’t mean anything, as she could have transported some of us to different worlds hoping to keep us hidden from the Goa’uld.”
“Garshaw, Ma’ashat, Lustesh, Apashe, and Toma’lat are also very old. There are very few others,” Selmak seemed lost in thought.
“Well, if I am right, then there should be some old legends, songs, or something that would point you to here and to the existence of a new Queen. I am hoping there are some old Furling legends that deal with the ‘small dragons’ just as the prophecy named them. If it did, then there has to be other information about them. We are going to need every bit of help we can get, you know. There are going to be mounds of material to sort through. And Selmak, I hate to pressure you, but you are our best hope of dredging up those old Tok’Ra legends. I hate to ask it because I really don’t want to have to bring any more people into this than we have to, but is there anyone who would be more familiar with them than you? Think about it and if you think there is we need to know. And if it is Anise, well, we will all just have to promise to be nice. All of us, Jack,” Daniel said firmly.
“As if I wouldn’t be, Daniel,” Jack spoke up putting on his best ‘who me’ look. “I also think that tomorrow is going to be a very long day with lots of stuff needing examined and looked into, so we should all try to get some sleep.”
“I agree, Colonel,” Lantash surprised everyone by agreeing. “Tomorrow will come soon enough, and we will have a great deal to do.”
“I agree also, Lantash, but I do have one area where I disagree with Daniel. I believe that all of us would have had the same legends in our memories. That we do not remember after so many years is not surprising. I believe we might want to try the memory recall device,” Malek said firmly. “We should contact the base and have them send us that as well as any data we have in our systems on our history. And now that I have added that to our list of things we need, I, too, believe it is time to go to sleep.”
“Your genetic memories. Of course, I hadn’t considered that and you are right. Selmak would not be any more likely than any of the rest of you to remember the legends. Thanks, Malek, it will make things a lot less complicated.” Looking over at an obviously tired Martouf, Daniel added, as he stood, “And I also believe you are correct in thinking it is time we all got some rest.
As agreement with that statement seemed to be the norm, they all stood and headed up the stairs. It took very little time to sort out the rooms and with murmured goodnights to one another; they went their separate ways.
Even though they parted for the night, the sense of expectancy among the group remained. Something good was about to happen. You could feel it in the air.