Chapter Three Summary: After a confrontation with O’Neill, things finally calm down, and Martouf and Lantash begin to talk about their reality. It turns out that while many of the people are similar, the events were not. Only a very few were the same and in fact, one certain bit of information is very important to the Tok’Ra. Egeria is alive and well in their reality, although, it is possible that Apophis will soon find her. Sam makes it clear to everyone that she has no intention of backing away from Martouf and Lantash this time.
“Italics” – Symbiote-Host Communication
Colonel Jack O’Neill leaped to his feet and was around the conference table with his hand on Martouf’s shoulder before anyone realized what was happening. Catching Martouf off- guard he jerked him away from Sam and drew back his fist, biting out in a voice full of contempt, “You sneaky, slimy, snake, take your hands off Carter, and get away from her, before I kill you.”
Both participants in the embrace looked at him in a dazed and astonished fashion, still under the influence of the emotions set into play by seeing and touching one another after so long a time. Daniel stepped in front of Martouf saying, “Now Jack, calm…” but that was as far as he got, as Jack’s punch, which had been aimed at Martouf, caught him in the face, sending him staggering backwards into Sam, who was thrown into Martouf’s arms once again.
Setting her firmly on her feet, and to one side, their eyes flared as Lantash came forward to take back the control he had just handed off to Martouf. Watching as the man who had been a close friend to him in his own reality, careened off Sam and crumpled to the floor, obviously either stunned or unconscious, Lantash’s tentative hold on his already frayed emotions gave way. With a snarl that resembled nothing so much as an enraged jungle cat, he leaped at O’Neill, grabbed him by the shirt, and throwing him into the wall, held him there, his face smashed into the wall and an arm in position to be broken at the least struggle. Both men were breathing raggedly, but Lantash was doing so in pure rage.
“How dare you try to separate me from my mate and injure my friend?” He hissed. “Furthermore, I may not be completely familiar with how things are done in your reality, but I do not believe that type of insult is acceptable. You will never again call me a snake, nor,” he continued, his voice deadly in its quiet intensity, “will you hurt my friends. And never attempt to come between my mate and I, at any time, for I swear that I will kill you.” With the last word, he effortlessly threw O’Neill across the room and into the wall opposite them.
Dismissing him with a look of utter contempt, Lantash turned and looked first at Samantha, to ascertain if she was indeed all right, and then he knelt by Daniel, and felt for a pulse. The remainder of the statues in the room finally moved, and Teal’c, who had been watching O’Neill, stepped in front of him, as he again headed toward Lantash.
“That would be most unwise, O’Neill. One foolish action in a day is enough,” he told him stoically.
O’Neill looked at the big Jaffa in surprise. “Are you saying you’re on his side?” Jack asked him.
“I am saying, O’Neill, that Major Carter was not in distress. She was not asking for help, nor was she indicating in any manner that she did not wish to be exactly where she was,” Teal’c pointed out calmly, looking O’Neill in the eyes.
Shaking himself, Jack sighed and nodded. Realizing he could hear Daniel’s voice answering Lantash’s, he grimaced. How dare that, that, snake, call Daniel his friend, and accuse Jack of injuring him? He wouldn’t have been hurt if the snake hadn’t grabbed Carter. It was his fault Daniel was hurt, not his. And the snake didn’t even know their Daniel, he had no right to talk about him that way, Jack fumed. He didn’t know Carter either, but that hadn’t stopped him from mauling her. O’Neill shook himself again, and stalked to the other end of the room to try to calm himself.
He had always disliked and distrusted the Tok’Ra. And his feelings had only gotten worse with time. However, there had been deadly intent in Lantash’s eyes. He had meant every word. He would kill him before he would allow Jack to hurt Daniel or come between him and Carter. Loyalty was not a trait he attributed to the Tok’Ra, unless it was to their own agenda, and they certainly didn’t know the word loyalty in the way he used it. This Lantash, however, had just given a very good imitation of someone who was extremely loyal to his friends. Well, he’d wait and see how long that lasted. Probably until his own agenda was met, whatever that might be.
Neither was he shy about making his feelings known, but the other one had been just as vocal, when he felt the need to be. Well, none of it mattered; he’d definitely be keeping an eye on him. He didn’t trust him, anymore than he trusted any of the rest of the snakeheads, less in fact, because this guy didn’t even belong here, and as far as he could tell, he certainly wouldn’t be an asset to the Tok’Ra here. From what he’d heard, the guy had failed in about everything he’d done. Yeah, Jack thought smugly. He must be a real loser. The last Tok’Ra alive. They should be so lucky in this reality.
He watched as General Hammond crouched down next to Daniel. He could hear Daniel protesting, and he watched as Anise said something to Jacob. Watching closely, but keeping his distance, he saw Jacob take the healing device out of his pouch and give it to Anise.
“Please lie still, Dr. Jackson, and this will only take a moment to heal you. The damage does not appear to be extremely extensive. Your nose is not broken, nor is your jaw. This will prevent your eye and cheek, which looks to have taken most of the blow, from swelling or discoloring. A little tenderness may remain, but that is all,” Freya had come forward and spoke softly to Daniel, resting a hand lightly on his shoulder, as she talked to him. She gave him a warm smile before Anise came forward to work the healing device, as she was more adept in its use than her host was.
In a completely unconscious gesture, Sam put her hand on Lantash’s shoulder, giving it a soft squeeze of encouragement, and his hand came up to cover hers and squeeze back in a silent communication. He sighed a little. He had lost control. Twice. First when he had seen Samantha, and second when O’Neill had attacked him. A sure sign he was a great deal more tense than he realized. He and O’Neill had never been friends, but they had respected one another in his reality. Evidently, that was not true in this one.
Finally, they were coming up against more people who were different. Anise and Daniel were not the same as his had been, for in his reality, Daniel had been Tok’Ra, as had his Samantha. Anise had been Daniel’s mate. Daniel had done much to soften Anise’s demeanor and curtail Freya’s horrible dress sense. Thus, a comrade that he had often been at loggerheads with in the past had come to be one of his dearest friends. That, too, did not seem to be true in this time and space. While Anise did not appear overtly antagonistic to him, neither was she offering unequivocal friendship.
Suddenly, a new thought made its way into his mind. Why had Jacob lied to him about his mate being alive? Was she O’Neill’s mate in this world? She did not act as if she was. He had felt the anger in her at his actions. There had definitely been resentment there. And she was touching him in a manner that only a mate would use. She was his mate, he thought fiercely, and there was no one and nothing that would keep him from her now that he had found her again.
However, there were questions that needed asked and answered. Looking down at his, well, the man who used to be his friend, and seeing that he seemed to be recovering well and quickly, he stood and turned toward Samantha. Leaning down, he kissed her lightly, a swift kiss that she returned, not reacting as if it was unpleasant or unacceptable, in any way. Taking her hand in his, he turned to Jacob who was now in a low-voiced conversation with General Hammond.
Noticing his movement, they turned toward him, and he lost no time in asking, his voice harsh with suppressed emotion, “Why did you lie to me, Jacob? Why did you tell me Samantha was dead in this reality?”
“I didn’t lie to you, Lantash. You asked if your mate was alive, and I told you no, she wasn’ t. In our reality your mate was Jolinar and Rosha, not Sam,” Jacob said quietly. “I’m sorry, but you didn’t name your mate and I assumed instead of asking. I guess things were a little different in your reality.”
The calmness of his answer seemed to soothe Lantash, as he answered more quietly, “Yes, evidently they were and I apologize. None of us were thinking clearly, no doubt because of the shock of the situation. I should have asked for her by name, but like you, it never occurred to me that the realities were that different. I was mated to Rosha and Jolinar, yes, but that was several years ago. When Samantha became host to Jolinar, we fell in love and became mates,” Lantash replied.
“You mean Jolinar forced Carter to care for you, the way she forced her to become her host,” Jack O’Neill said harshly, from the other side of the room.
Lantash frowned. “Jolinar did not force Samantha to become her host. Samantha volunteered.” Lantash smiled wryly, at the actuality of the exact opposite. “In fact, if anything, Rosha and Samantha forced Jolinar to become Samantha’s symbiote.”
“Yeah, well, not in this reality, she didn’t. She took her by force and then tried to shoot up the gate room and us.”
“Colonel, that’s enough,” Sam said sharply. Turning to Lantash, she said quietly, “It was an emergency situation, Lantash. She had no choice.”
“There is always the choice of death, Samantha. One does not take a host by force for any reason. It is the highest law of the Tok’Ra, the one law Egeria impressed upon our consciousness most stringently. Death is preferable to us, and we will give our life that the host might live, if necessary,” Lantash replied firmly, his voice brooking no opposition. In his mind it simply was not done. Ever.
“I came to understand and accept what happened between Jolinar and I a long time ago. I'm no longer angry with her. She died saving me, so, in a way, in the end, she did choose death. She left the information with me, so that we could contact and meet the Tok’Ra. It’ s how we met in this reality. From what you’ve said, it was very different in yours. And, while we are on that subject, if you don’t mind, I’d like for us to all sit down, and then start at the beginning, before we get into details. I’d like to know what is going on first, please.”
Jacob sighed, “I’m sorry, Sam. I should have had Janet catch you and tell you before you came in here. I meant too, but with everything that has happened, I forgot. I’m really sorry, kid, I know it had to be a shock.”
“It’s okay, Dad. It allowed me to have something I never was privileged to have before,” Sam said quietly, as she looked at Lantash and smiled tentatively. He smiled back at her, his smile almost shy, the look in his eyes, anything but.
Still holding onto her hand, he gestured to the conference table. “Please, if you will sit down with us, we will explain what has occurred. I was just about to tell your people the events that have happened in my, or so they have explained to me, reality. We were about to compare the two, to see if there is any information that might help them. I am afraid, from what has been disclosed so far, that while many of the people in our realities are similar, many are not. Nor are our circumstances similar and for that you must be grateful,” he finished, his voice full of both sadness and bitterness.
Gently squeezing the hand she still held, she began to walk to the table to take a seat, when O’Neill broke in. “SG-1 is seated on this side of the table, Major.”
“I see that, sir,” she replied, as she sat down in a chair between Lantash and her father. “However, I prefer to sit by my,” she paused for a moment, before finishing, “father.”
“That’s fine, Major, there is nothing stating you must sit with the rest of your team,” General Hammond said quietly, as he sent a very severe look at Colonel O’Neill. It would take very little more for him to put O’Neill out of the meeting. He hoped he wouldn’t have to do more. This situation was touchy enough.
Turning toward his old friend, he said, “Jacob, why don’t you fill Major Carter in on what happened yesterday. Perhaps by then, Dr. Jackson will be recovered enough to join us and then we can go on with the debriefing. I imagine a lot of questions will be answered during that.”
Nodding his agreement, Jacob quickly recounted the events of the previous day. He explained they had gated to this particular planet because Anise and Daniel had discussed it and the interesting artifacts he had seen there. He told her how Anise was using it, as an archaeology trip, as well as a scientific trip, to test some new equipment they had for testing the air for contaminants.
He recounted how they had been checking the other rooms for threats and almost fallen over Martouf and Lantash as they lay, half dead on the floor of a back room. He told her how they had started talking to him and learned that he thought he was the last Tok’Ra alive and that they were hallucinations because they were all dead.
Anise had realized what was happening, found the control to the mirror, and turned it on. They had seen the destruction and Teal'c, as he searched through it, no doubt looking for pieces of Martouf to take back as proof. He told her how badly hurt they had actually been, that he and Malek had spent all afternoon and into the early evening working on both Lantash and Martouf with the healing device, and how relieved they had been when they both woke up, alert and aware.
He continued to tell her how much like their Martouf and Lantash they were finding them to be, “right down,” he said, “to their habit of eating cinnamon twists and chocolate iced, glazed donuts, until they were almost unwell.” Martouf flushed with embarrassment; Jack glowered from across the table. Sam smiled as her dad talked about the two of them and her eyes shone. She really hoped they were the same, because one so rarely got a true second chance in this life. She wasn’t about to pass this one up, or mess it up with doubts and second thoughts.
Turning to Martouf, Sam said, “You were going to destroy yourself, and instead you fell into the mirror.” She shook her head. “You were very lucky. The odds of you picking up the control to the mirror instead of the zat, accidentally turning it on, falling through into a hospitable reality, and actually being found by your own people are probably astronomical.”
Martouf looked back at her for several moments before saying quietly, “luck?” He shrugged, and then smiled slightly, continuing, “or destiny? Where destiny leads, we must follow, and we have been led here for a reason, a purpose that we do not fully comprehend, yet. Perhaps we never will, but we will always believe that we were brought here by more than mere luck. As you pointed out, there were simply too many extraordinary circumstances, for it to be that simple.”
Sam smiled warmly back at him and said, “You may be right. Sometimes things do happen for reasons we don’t at first perceive, but very often, we eventually figure out what the reasons are. We’ll hope to come across the reason for this sooner, rather than later.”
“If the odds are so great against this happening, then has anyone considered the idea that it wasn’t an accident at all? That, in fact, he was planted in this reality for a purpose we won’t like? Has anyone considered that maybe he isn’t even Tok’Ra in his reality? Maybe he’s really Goa’uld? Maybe we should be thinking a little more carefully before we just open our arms and accept Martouf and Lantash back into them… for all we know he isn’t even Marty but someone that’s been altered to look like him.”
Everyone at the table turned to look at Jack, and he had the grace to flush, saying, “Well, someone should play devil’s advocate,” he mumbled.
“Very true, Colonel O’Neill. And I would certainly be cautious in your position. You, after all, do not know me, nor I you. For all I know, you are actually working in league with the System Lords and giving them information about the Tok’Ra and will be contacting them to give them information on me and the other Tok’Ra here.”
“Well, that makes no sense. Why would I want to give the System Lords in your reality information about the Tok’Ra in mine?”
“I have no idea, Colonel, but it makes as much sense as me giving the System Lords in my reality information about you and your reality.”
“I think we can discount either of those possibilities, Colonel, and according to Dr. Fraiser's tests, he is Martouf and Lantash, so that also is not at dispute,” General Hammond said.
Nodding to the young man coming around the table to take a seat, he continued, “Dr. Jackson, are you sure you feel well enough to join us now?”
Taking a seat between Teal’c and Anise, he said, “Yes, sir, I feel fine. It was an accident and no permanent damage was done. I’m very interested in the discussion and events, so, please, continue,” Daniel assured him quietly.
Acknowledging his response, the general said, “In that case, if you have no other questions about the happenings yesterday, perhaps we should continue into the possible ways our two realities might be similar.”
Martouf nodded and then said calmly, “Lantash and I will answer anything you wish to ask. We have no reason to keep anything from you. Please ask whatever you wish to know.”
“When did you meet the Tau’ri, Martouf? And how did it happen?” Malek was the first to ask a question. “It could be that the timelines are completely different from the beginning.”
Martouf agreed, saying, “If I remember what Samantha and Daniel told me, about ten years ago they managed to open the Stargate. They first went to Abydos and met with the people there. Daniel gained their trust and they took him and showed him a cave with a history written on the walls. Daniel was able to figure out that Ra had brought them there from earth.”
“The expedition was to assess threat and at that time, there appeared to be none. Ra had not been there for some time. He had, in fact, missed several of the usual pick up cycles of the Naquadah and it was decided that perhaps he had abandoned the planet. Daniel stayed behind and worked on the archaeological findings. About a year later, the gate on earth activated and a Goa’uld came through. It was Ra. He took two women soldiers with him back through the gate, leaving several of your people dead. One of the young women he took was named, I believe Lieutenant Roslyn Meyers. The other was Samantha.”
Martouf reached out, picked up the glass of water in front of him, and took a drink, as he considered his next words, “They were tortured for information about Earth. Neither woman told him anything, and eventually Lieutenant Meyers’ mind gave out. After that there was no point in keeping her alive and Ra did not use the sarcophagus to revive her that last time. He also gave up on getting information from Samantha and after his last session with her, he had her thrown back into her cell without recourse to the sarcophagus first.”
“She told me that she believed she would have been killed but a young boy caught Ra’s attention, and he stopped his games with her for other pleasures. She was badly injured and he assumed she would slowly die.”
Martouf closed his eyes, concentrating on the timeline of occurrences, and then he continued the story. “Samantha had been imprisoned for several months. Although your team and Daniel tried, they had no idea where Ra would have taken them. He liked young men and boys so Samantha was not in danger in that way, but it also meant he did not care if she lived or died, as he had not cared about Lieutenant Meyers. We had an operative amongst Ra’s people and from what our operative was able to find out, he had taken the women thinking they would break easier than the men would. He did not know the Tau’ri women soldiers or he would have known better,” he said, as he smiled grimly.
“Our operative had discovered that one of our people had also been captured and tortured for information. She was dying. Her name,” he looked at Samantha, “was Rosha, and she was our mate. Rosha, Jolinar, and Samantha had become close during their captivity, as they were in the same cell. Rosha and Jolinar had explained to Samantha why Ra rarely put them in the sarcophagus unless they were dead from the torture.”
“That was the first that Samantha had heard of the Tok’Ra. They explained how forcing the symbiote to heal the host weakened her even more, and therefore he hoped it would break her and force her to talk. It would not, of course, anymore than it would Samantha.”
His voice flat and controlled, he continued his story, “Rosha was dying, and Jolinar was going to die with her. Ra had decided that she would never tell him anything so he simply tortured her nearly to death and had her taken back to her cell and left for dead. Samantha did what she could, but there was nothing with which to help her.”
“Samantha asked Rosha if Jolinar was also dying, and Rosha explained to her that Jolinar would die because she had no host to go to not because she was injured. Ra had planned it well. Jolinar would die, not because she was so badly injured, but because her host was too badly injured to live. We do not take unwilling hosts, and he was well aware of that. Besides, the only other possible host was also dying. Or so he thought.”
“I wasn’t as badly hurt as he thought I was, was I?” Sam asked quietly.
“No. No, Samantha, you were not.” He sighed and brushed his hand down his face before continuing, “Rosha asked Samantha to consider taking Jolinar, but Jolinar refused. She felt that Samantha was being coerced to take her by the circumstances, and that it was not truly voluntary. Jolinar did not believe that Samantha truly did not want her to die, or that she considered her as much a companion and friend as Rosha.”
“It was at this point that our operative was able to arrange a rescue for Rosha and Jolinar. Rosha could not make it out alive, but if Samantha’s injuries were not as severe as Ra had thought they were, it was possible Jolinar could save both of them. It was only when Rosha and Samantha pointed out that by refusing to blend with her, she was condemning not only herself and Rosha to death, but Samantha as well, that she agreed to blend with Samantha.” Looking up from where he had been staring at nothing, he smiled slightly and said; “Now you see why I find it so difficult to believe that Jolinar would take a host without permission.”
He shook his head as he saw Jack begin to disagree, “I am not saying you are lying, Colonel, I am explaining what happened in our reality. In our reality, my Jolinar would not take an unwilling host; that is all I am saying.” Taking another drink, he began again, “To continue; when the operative came, she found Rosha dead and Jolinar busy healing a new host. Samantha explained, as quickly as she could, about Rosha and her injuries and how she had agreed to take Jolinar.”
His voice still steady, he said, “The rescue went well, with no problems, and we met the woman who was to become our whole world. We loved Rosha and Jolinar deeply, but our love for Samantha was swiftly born and the more we knew of her the more we loved her. The love we had for Samantha and Jolinar became deeper than any other love we have ever known. The bond that Samantha and Jolinar formed was also very strong. They truly cared deeply for one another.”
“Are you saying Sam stayed with the Tok’Ra?” Selmak came forward and asked quietly.
Martouf nodded, adding, “Yes, for a while. They were both very weak, and it took quite some time for both of them to heal completely. By that time, we had fallen in love and become mated. When they were finally strong enough to resume duties, Samantha contacted the SGC and arranged a meeting between our two races.”
“Colonel O’Neill did not like the idea of anyone with a symbiote, and he never really trusted us, but we did have a certain amount of respect for one another that grew up over time. He was not happy that a member of his team was a Tok’Ra, nor was he happy to have me on the team, but we worked it out. Samantha and I split our time between the Tok’Ra and the Tau’ri.” Again, he sighed, as he relived a past that held both joy and pain.
“We had a loose alliance, and it was through Samantha that you came to us, Jacob. She told you about the Tok’Ra and the Stargate when you were diagnosed with cancer. Selmak needed a new host and you needed to be healed. The blending was good for both of you and even though you knew little of one another before the blending, it proved to be a very compatible one. Until the day you both died, you cared deeply for one another.”
Shaking off the obviously melancholy thoughts, he continued, “We sometimes went on joint missions with the Tau’ri, but mostly we shared intelligence. Later, Daniel, also, joined the Tok’Ra in my reality. We were very close to him and his mate. It was a great blow, when they were lost to us.”
“I did?” Daniel asked, surprised.
As he looked at Daniel, it was obvious that he had a soft spot for the other man, and he said softly, “Yes. You did, and you enjoyed it very much. Your symbiote was a perfect match for you. He loved history, was an expert in languages, and enjoyed archaeology, which is probably why he was mated to Anise. The four of you were very much attuned to one another and interested in the same things. It was, as I said, a complete success as a blending.”
Daniel looked shocked, but fascinated. As the rest of his sentence soaked in, he looked at Anise, only to find her smiling faintly at him. Daniel blushed. Anise’s smile became brighter.
Selmak brought the subject back to something he considered more important. “So you and Samantha became mates, before she returned to the Tau’ri? And her becoming Tok'Ra is what helped to form your alliance with the Tau’ri.” Selmak said.
“Yes, and it lasted several years, until,” Martouf paused, looking at Selmak, “Until we were forced to kill them. There was to be a treaty summit. Samantha was a za’tarc. She was about to kill the President and we,” once again he paused, as he looked at Sam, “we had to kill her. It was the hardest thing we have ever had to do,” he whispered, his voice low and harsh.
“Well, as you can see, Samantha is alive in this reality, Martouf, but you are not mates. You were just getting to know each other when she had to-,” Selmak stopped there, suddenly realizing how exactly opposite the incident had been. The only point that was the same was the fact that both realities had summits.
“She had to what, Selmak? What happened?”
“I forgot to check you for Goa’uld programming before the treaty summit. In this reality, it was you who tried to kill the President,” Anise said firmly. “Samantha had to kill you to stop you from killing several others and yourself. It was a very difficult thing for her to do, and she has never forgiven me for not checking you. Nor does she believe me, when I tell her I could not save Martouf. Lantash survived for some time, but later died in an attack on Revanna, so we lost him also. We mourned the deaths of both of you deeply,” she said, obvious sincerity in her voice.
“I see,” Martouf said. “In our reality, it was just the opposite. We killed her, because she was the za’tarc.” Martouf’s head dropped forward and Lantash came forward to say, “I am sorry. Martouf and I have had a very hard time dealing with the loss of Samantha, and even though it has been several years, it is still difficult for us to talk about what occurred. To find out that she lives here, but is not our mate,” his voice trailed off, before he took a deep breath, and continued, “It is…quite difficult, for both of us,” he said, his voice strained with suppressed anguish, as he turned and once again looked at her.
“Now that you have all told them what you believe to be true,” Sam said firmly, as she returned his gaze, “I will tell them the truth from my point of view. We were never formally mated; we never even got to the point of declaring ourselves to one another. But, I loved you both, and in my heart, I considered you my mates. I was afraid that I loved you because of the feelings Jolinar left in me when she died. After I killed you, I knew it wasn’t true. I loved you myself, and not a day has gone by that I haven’t bitterly regretted not telling you. If I find I love you, as I did my Martouf and Lantash, I will not fail to tell you so, that I will promise you. I wish very much to be with you, to spend time with you, and to get to know you.”
Lantash smiled down at her and the love he had always had for his own Samantha rushed forward. “If you are not her, I do not know what the differences could possibly be. I believe we will find that we are very much the same people we were all those years ago. I, too, wish to be with you, to become acquainted with you all over again. I want that very much, my Samantha.”
“She’s not your Samantha. She’s our Sam,” Jack broke in harshly.
“Colonel, this really is not for you to decide. I am your Major Carter. I am Martouf and Lantash’s Samantha. You, and your attitude, were two of the things that kept me from admitting my love for Lantash and Martouf before. I will never allow that to happen again. If I am to have a second chance given to me, then I am going to grab at it with both hands, eagerly, even greedily, and nothing you or anyone else says, will stop me.”
“Well, we’ll see if the President agrees with you, Major.”
“Don’t do it, Colonel. All you’ll force me to do is leave with the Tok’Ra today, instead of trying to work something out,” Major Carter said, her voice vehement, in her sincerity.
“Colonel, Major, that’s enough,” General Hammond spoke up. “What Major Carter does with her personal life is not your concern, Colonel, please remember that.”
“Thank you, General,” Sam said quietly. “Perhaps we should get back to the subject at hand. Even though it sounds as if the timelines and events are completely different in the two realities, we still need to know what happened, in case there is a point at which they converge again. My guess is that the realities were different even before the trip to Abydos.”
“We will probably never know what decision or decisions were made that caused the trip to be so drastically different than the first trip when you all went … but I did not. Obviously, nothing about that trip was the same as ours, so at some point, there was a divergence. From then on, it sounds as if our realities have developed along very different lines for the most part, perhaps touching in places, only to diverge again. I don’t believe we will find that they do converge again, but we should check to see if there are any other similarities like the summit.”
“That is very true, Major, so, if you would continue, please,” General Hammond turned to the Tok’Ra and indicated he should continue with his story. Having his emotions once again under control, after Samantha’s declaration of intent, Lantash continued telling their history.
“Apophis and Ra were battling for supremacy. We were often there to cause trouble between them. It kept them both busy, trying to figure out which of the system lords was really the one that was nipping at their heels. And, there were several. Samantha was on an undercover mission with a minor Goa’uld when Apophis saw her. As odd as it sounds, I believe he fell in love with her. She, of course, already had a symbiote, but it made no difference to him. He wanted her, and he would have removed Jolinar and implanted my Samantha with his queen, but she was warned and managed to escape.”
“Later, he found out that she was Tok’Ra, so she could no longer go undercover without great risk of being recognized. The minor Goa’uld Hek’tar’set, by name, that Samantha had infiltrated, had never forgiven her for being Tok’Ra and escaping. As I said, Apophis wanted, and I believe loved, Samantha. She soon became an obsession with him. The fact that Hek’tar’set had allowed her to escape enraged him. Apophis was not easy on him and you can imagine what he did to him. He was lucky to escape with his life.”
“Somehow, Hek’tar’set did escape from Apophis. I do not know how he did it, for we never found out, but we are sure he is the one that programmed my Samantha to be a za’tarc. We believe he sent spies to find her and to bring her to him at a place close to us. We never knew she had gone anywhere other than on her mission, and she would not have known because of the false memories.”
“He, of course, did not harm her in any way, he simply wanted to have her be killed by her own people, and therefore, take the chance of Apophis ever finding her, completely out of his reach and turn him so savagely against the Tok’Ra that we would all be destroyed. Moreover, he succeeded in his objective. He also succeeded in making a completely implacable enemy of Apophis. Since he was already enraged by him, it was no surprise that there was a hefty price put on Hek’tar’set’s life.”
“Apophis was wild when he found out that Samantha was dead. He never forgave that minor Goa’uld. I understand Hek’tar’set took a new host and is hiding on some planet on the fringes of Lord Yu’s worlds. Apophis swore to kill all Tok’Ra because, in his twisted mind, it was because of us, that he lost her, even though he never truly had her.”
“It was the beginning of the end in every way. Our alliance with the Tau’ri fell apart. The Tau’ri blamed us for not testing Samantha and we blamed them. The truth is that both of us should have tested her and neither side did. Apophis found out she was Tau’ri, as well as Tok’Ra. He also discovered that they were causing many of his failures. He sent a fleet against earth. We had intelligence enough in advance that we had time to evacuate a great many people, but many more perished or became slaves.”
“Apophis defeated Heru'Ur, Sokar, and finally Ra. His own Queen, Amaunet, was killed. He defeated and then forced Hathor to become his Queen after his queen’s death, and in lieu of Samantha. So now, he has a strong queen, an empire and the death of the Tok'Ra.”
“He may next try to overcome Baal or Lord Yu, but I believe they will band together to stop him. It matters little to me now. I can do nothing for the people of my worlds, but I can perhaps help here. That is what I wish to do. Your worlds are still a viable place with a chance to survive. I am sure that there are many other things that are different and, in time, we will sort all of that out.”
“I have many regrets, but not being able to turn Hek’tar’set over to Apophis is one of the most bitter. He caused me to lose everything I care about. My people, my mate, my Queen. Everything.”
“I am sorry, Lantash,” Selmak said, his sadness showing in his voice. “But at least the loss of your Queen was not recent. She at least has been gone for a long time, and your feelings of failure to her should not be so harsh. You and your brethren did try and that is all she would have asked. We know, for our Queen was found not long ago, and she was very proud of what we had become. She said that just knowing we were truly symbiotic beings who resisted and rejected the ways of the System Lords was enough to let her die feeling she had accomplished much.”
“So Ra’s death was recent here, also? And you found Egeria? Why was she ill? She should not have been old. She would have aged very slowly for she has been in stasis since Ra captured her,” Lantash said.
“Actually, we found her. She was being used to breed symbiotes for a vaccine to keep people healthy on a world called Pangara. It was on a planet that Ra had abandoned long ago and he left her entombed there in a stasis jar. They found her and used her for that purpose for many years. She was dying by the time we found out about her,” Daniel started talking rapidly, trying to fill Martouf and Lantash in on a part of this reality’s timeline quickly.
“Ra has been dead here for 10 years. We went to Abydos, too, but Ra was there. We defeated him there and a year later, Apophis came through our gate at the SGC, but he only took one woman soldier; Sam wasn’t here then. I had stayed on Abydos, but I married a native woman named Sha’uri. Apophis took her and made her his queen. Three years later, as she tried to kill me, Teal’c shot and killed her. Anyway, Sam and I can fill you in on our time line here. What made you think that Ra’s death was recent and that Egeria would not be old? Did you find her on Pangara, in your reality too?” Daniel asked.
“No. No, I assumed that Ra’s death was recent and that you had found Egeria there, but she was ill. In my reality, we found out that Egeria is still alive. She is known to be in stasis in one of Ra’s pleasure palaces, on one of his lesser-known worlds. It was not until Apophis killed Ra, that an informant was able to get word to us about her. Selmak, Malek, and I were trying to get to her to free her, so that she could once again breed a generation of Tok’Ra.”
“Are you telling us that in your reality, Egeria is a viable Queen? And that is why Apophis was so set on catching you?” Malek asked.
Lantash shook his head, before answering, “As far as we know, Apophis knows nothing about her. My only hope is that there is no way for him to find out. We were getting ready to leave the planet we were on, when Apophis arrived. He caught us trying to leave. He was trying to find out why we would try to leave, knowing he was there and would probably leave without ever realizing we were there. It was a large planet and we could have hidden. Hindsight says we should have, but we were afraid he would somehow learn of her, and go after her, before we could get to her. In the end,” he finished bitterly, “we failed. All I can hope is that he never discovers her, and she remains in stasis forever or until someone releases her that will treat her well.”
Malek and Anise looked at one another and then turned back to Lantash, “Are you absolutely positive about her viability, Lantash?”
“Yes, as much as I can be from our information. Our informant is loyal to the Tok’Ra, although he is not Tok’Ra himself. We helped free his planet from the Goa’uld once. It did not last, but he did not forget. He sent us information, whenever he could, and it was always extremely accurate. He was a member of Ra’s court, being young and handsome. He hated Ra with a passion and returning the Tok’Ra Queen to her people, would have been a perfect revenge for him. If she has been in stasis for all these years, and we have no reason to doubt that information, then she should be fine once awakened from her sleep. We were counting on that being true.”
Malek leaned forward in his chair, his posture tense. “Selmak, we should consider this,” he said, his voice intense.
“I agree, Selmak. This could be very important,” Anise, agreed, her voice, her posture, everything stating that this was indeed something not to be taken lightly.
“We will take it up with the council and see. We cannot decide something like this on our own,” Selmak replied, obviously wanting time to think.
“I see no reason why we should. They would not need to know, until it was done, Selmak. This is important,” Malek urged, stressing his belief, by being willing to avoid the council.
“We will think about it,” Selmak agreed, but gave no indication he was willing to forgo talking to the council.
Lantash frowned. “Think about what?” he wanted to know.
“We will think about where destiny leads,” Selmak replied wryly.