Speaker-to-Customers (speakr2customrs) wrote,

Stargate SG1 fic: Andromeda Unchained Pt 1

Last month I wrote a one-off ‘Stargate: SG1’ non-crossover fic in three chapters. I completed it, posted the first two chapters at ‘Twisting the Hellmouth’ and at the Pit of Voles, and was on the point of posting the final chapter when I decided that it didn’t work. I held that chapter back for a rewrite and decided not to post it here until that rewrite was done. It’s finished now and I’ll post the whole thing here over the next 3 days.

‘Andromeda Unchained’ is an episode rewrite of 3.01 ‘Into the Fire’ (with a later episode featuring in the final chapter). Summary: Why would Hathor devote so much effort into making SG-1 think they were in the future, right down to building a replica of the SGC, when she could just stick a symbiote into Jack? What if there was a logical reason for her actions? And what if there was a logical reason behind her habit of always speaking in the plural? Chapter titles are taken from the song ‘Andromeda Unchained’ by Anubis Gate and from the track that follows it on the album of the same name. Chapter One is 7,180 words. Rating R.

Andromeda Unchained

One: You’ve been taken in and restrained

Disclaimer: ‘Stargate: SG1’ was created by Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner and is owned by MGM Television Entertainment and Gekko Productions. Some dialogue is taken directly from the original episode written by Brad Wright. The identity of Hathor’s host is taken from the Stargate SG-1 Roleplaying Game. Chapter titles are taken from the album ‘Andromeda Unchained’ by Anubis Gate.

One: You’ve been taken in and restrained…

Jack and the others had been cryogenically frozen for eighty years, or so they had been told, but they were coming to the conclusion that this was a lie.

Daniel Jackson followed Jack O’Neill and Sam Carter into the deserted embarkation room. Daniel stood at the bottom of the ramp, surveying his surroundings, while Jack and Sam climbed the ramp towards the Stargate. Jack grimaced and kicked the Gate. “It’s a fake,” he announced.

Daniel opened a weapons locker set into the wall. It was empty. “I don’t understand,” he said, shutting the locker. “Who would have spent enough time on the base to be able to reproduce it in this sort of detail?”

Jack and Sam exchanged looks. Jack raised an eyebrow.

Daniel pursed his lips. There were only two names that occurred to him and both were unwelcome. “You don’t think… Apophis…?” he began.

A female voice interrupted him. “Silence!”

The air in front of a section of wall began to ripple and then Daniel saw Hathor appear out of the distortion.

“Oh, I was so hoping never to see you again,” Jack said.

The gate-room doors opened. The man they knew as the future SGC officer Major-General Trofsky came in through one door, accompanied by three Jaffa in the uniforms of Horus Guards and one Serpent Guard, and through the other entered Dr. Sarah Raully and four more armed Jaffa.

Hathor walked up to Daniel. “We have indeed missed you, our beloved,” she said, and stroked his cheek. Daniel flinched away. This was the worst case scenario. He’d rather have faced Apophis.

“Daniel, don’t let her breathe on you,” Sam warned, unnecessarily.

Hathor raised an eyebrow. “Do you think that we would have gone to these lengths if you were not already immune to that poison?” She moved away from Daniel and went to stand behind Trofsky. She rested a hand on the armored shoulder of one of the Jaffa. “Do you like our guards?” she asked. “We managed to lure them from the remote outposts of our enemies.”

No-one replied. Daniel backed away a few steps.

“We are quietly building our forces before the System Lords even know that we are alive,” Hathor continued. “But doing so is difficult when we have limited knowledge of the current state of the Empire.”

“Let me take a guess,” Jack said. “It’s just a wild guess, but… that’s where we come in, right?”

“We know more than you do,” Sam added.

Hathor nodded. “That is correct.” She looked at each SGC member in turn. “We are prepared to offer you a life of luxury as advisors in our Court in exchange for information.” She came out from behind Trofsky and walked up the ramp to stop in front of Jack. “If that is not to your taste then we could find other inducements.”

“Yeah, I can guess, the old pain stick routine,” Jack said, resigning himself to yet another session of Goa’uld torture.

Hathor shook her head. “We do not intend to torture you. We would hardly have bothered with this elaborate charade if mere interrogation would have served our purpose.”

“Then what?” Jack wasn’t sure whether he should feel relieved or worried.

“Negotiation,” said Hathor. “We bear no animosity toward the Tau’ri. We recognize that you acted against us in self-defense and will forgive you.”

“Big of you,” Jack said.

Hathor tilted her head to one side and her brows furrowed. “The idiom is unfamiliar but we believe we can interpret the meaning. Yes, we are being magnanimous. We will continue to show magnanimity. Tell us, how may we make contact with the Asgard that we may offer them an alliance?”

“Try Roswell,” Jack said. “Little place in New Mexico.”

“We heard of Roswell, as we made our way from the site of our imprisonment to the base in which you keep the Chappa’ai,” Hathor said, “and it is our understanding that the belief amongst the Tau’ri populace that alien specimens are kept there is, in fact, misdirection by your authorities; perhaps to preserve the secret of the Chappa’ai. You are being uncooperative.”

“Well, yeah,” Jack said. “It’s what we do. We don’t cooperate with the Goa’uld.”

“We do not ask you to,” Hathor said. “Your suspicion is understandable but we assure you that we have no greater affection for the System Lords than do you. We believe that the System Lords would imprison us and use us merely as breeding stock. Our independence is important to us. We can offer you much if you ally with us, or else provide us with information that would enable us to forge an alliance, on favorable terms, with another party.”

“Excuse me for not believing a word you say,” Jack said, “but I don’t.”

“We acknowledge that our past actions have given you reason for mistrust,” Hathor said. “This is regrettable. We assure you that we no longer have hostile intentions toward you of the Tau’ri and request peace, or at least a truce, between us.”

“Over my dead body,” Jack replied. “Or, better still, over yours.”

Hathor’s eyes flashed. “You are testing our patience,” she said, speaking in her Goa’uld voice for the first time.

“Great Queen,” Trofsky said, “the Tau’ri’s intransigence knows no bounds. I humbly suggest that you should slay them for their insolence and find some other subjects.”

“Your suggestion is noted,” Hathor said, “but rejected.” She turned away from Jack. “Captain Carter,” she said, returning to her human voice, “you who were primarily responsible for defeating us in our earlier confrontation, will you be more reasonable than your commander? Or Daniel, our beloved? Perhaps you could assist us in making contact with the Tok’ra.”

“Forget it,” Sam said. “I won’t lift a finger to help you.”

“The same goes for me,” Daniel said.

“The Tok’ra?” Trofsky stared at Hathor with wide eyes. “You would ally yourself with those treacherous enemies of the Goa’uld?”

“The Tok’ra have no Queen,” Hathor said. “We believe they would be able to offer advantageous terms in return for us accepting that position.”

“The Tok’ra would never take a Goa’uld as their Queen,” Raully put in, “and they would never trust you.”

“Egeria disappeared long before even our imprisonment,” Hathor said. “We are, as we believe the Tau’ri say, ‘the only game in town’. Perhaps they may rethink their position. Worry not, we would make your safety and security a condition of any such deal; we do not cast aside those who have served us faithfully.” She turned away from Raully and fixed her gaze on Daniel Jackson. “Well, Daniel our beloved,” she said, in her most seductive tones, “will you tell us how we may deliver a message unto them?”

“You raped me,” Daniel spat out. “I won’t tell you anything.”

Hathor stepped back a pace. “I did not know,” she said, in her Goa’uld voice, speaking in the first person singular for the first time that Jack could remember. “Andromédē did not warn me that you would think of it that way.”

She reverted to her human voice. “Prosphilôs’ moi e’khe, lis’somai, basilissa mou,” she said.

“Be kindly disposed to me, I entreat you, my Queen,” Daniel muttered, automatically translating. His eyebrows climbed. “Huh?”

Hathor cocked her head to one side and stood absolutely motionless for a few seconds. “We… apologize,” she said, straightening up. “It was our belief that human males consider only the pleasure of the act and care little for the identity of the partner. We have made a grave mistake. We understand, now, the hatred you bear for us.”

“Fake apologies won’t get you anywhere,” Daniel said.

“Who the Hell is ‘Andromeda’?” Jack asked. “You had an accomplice on Earth?”

“I am Andromédē, Princess of Milētos,” Hathor said, “host to the divine Hathor.”

“You’re the host?” Jack didn’t believe it. To the Goa’uld their human hosts were just biological machines, ways for their slimy worm bodies to get their… non-existent… hands on real hands, and voices, and legs. A Goa’uld would never allow a host to speak for herself.

“I am,” Hathor claimed. Her voice had changed slightly, becoming subtly different in tone from the way she spoke when referring to herself in the plural, although Jack couldn’t really pin the difference down. A trace of an accent, perhaps? “My father, Cepheus, rebelled against Hathor and was defeated. He humbled himself before her and offered me to her as tribute. She accepted and spared the city.”

“Milētos,” Daniel mused. “An Ancient Greek colony in what is now Turkey.” He put a hand to his mouth and tapped his lower lip with his fingers. “Cepheus was supposed to have been king of Ethiopia but the Greeks tended to apply that name to a lot of places in Africa and the Middle East. In one version of the myth he was the ruler of Jaffa….”

Hathor’s eyes flashed silver. “He did not rule my Jaffa,” she said, in the voice of a Goa’uld. “He was defeated by them. It amused me to take his daughter as my host.” Her voice reverted to human. “It could have been a lot worse,” she said. “My divine mistress has treated me well and I have lived many times longer than I would have done otherwise. All praise Hathor the great, the merciful, and the kind.”

“That’s not exactly an unbiased recommendation,” said Jack. “It’s like me saying ‘All hail Jack O’Neill, the resourceful, the brave, and the wise-cracking.”

Hathor nodded. “We understand,” she said, her human voice changing again and the hint of accent disappearing, “but as we do not seek your obeisance it is of no importance. We desire only information at this time. Be assured that we do not seek the conquest of your planet. That would be neither feasible nor desirable. We aim only to preserve our lives, and our freedom, and to establish a domain with sufficient resources to be defensible. In the pursuit of that objective we are willing to make whatever alliances are necessary. Even with the Tau’ri or the Tok’ra.”

“Alliances that you’d break in a New York minute if you thought you could get a better deal elsewhere,” Jack said.

“A New York minute?” Hathor’s brow furrowed. “Why would one of the major cities of your continent use a different measure of time from other cities? Would that not cause confusion and perhaps even jeopardize lives?”

“It’s an idiom,” Daniel explained, “derived from the reputation New Yorkers have for being impatient and always in a hurry.” Jack couldn’t help but smile. Daniel was a born educator. If he was about to be hanged, and the hangman asked him to explain the difference between the Assyrians and the Hittites, Daniel would be delivering an informative lecture even as the noose was being adjusted around his neck.

“Ah.” Hathor nodded. “We see. No, we would not break an alliance once it had been entered into,” she claimed. “That would be counter-productive, even if it obtained a short-term gain, for it would make prospective future allies mistrustful. As our ill-judged attempt to seize your base has made you distrustful of us now.”

“Yeah, it has,” Jack said, “and that’s putting it mildly.”

“Regrettable,” said Hathor, “but it is impossible to change our past actions. We can only state that we will act in a different fashion in the future. We will make no further attempts to take over your planet. With your numbers, and level of technological development, such an attempt would be foredoomed to failure and therefore is pointless. Either an alliance or a truce would be more logical.”

“For you, maybe,” said Jack, “but not for us.”

“We could give you some insights into Goa’uld technology,” Hathor offered. “It will be out of date, of course, as there will have been advancements during our time in stasis of which we are unaware, but we do not doubt that it will still be of value to you. Or,” she said, a smile playing on her lips and her gaze focusing on Daniel, “we could give you much information about the past of your world in exchange for further information about the current state of the galaxy.”

Daniel raised a hand to his face and touched his lower lip with his fingers. He shook his head. “No,” he said, sounding as if the words were being dragged out of him. “I’m not going to tell you anything that might help you get more power. Or help any other Goa’uld get more power.”

“Yeah, what Daniel said,” Jack agreed. “We’re not going to tell you a thing.”

“You are basing your decision on emotion rather than logic,” Hathor said, “but we sense that you will not soon change your minds. Disappointing but understandable. Perhaps, then, you will put us in touch with the Tok’ra?”

Trofsky glowered at SG-1 and it seemed to Jack that the phony SGC officer was including Hathor in his disapproving expression. Dr. Raully, in contrast, had a worried frown on her face.

“The Tok’ra would never allow their location to be divulged to a Goa’uld,” Raully said. “I recommend that you treat any Gate address these men give you with extreme suspicion. It may be false and designed to lead you into a trap.”

“We appreciate your concern, Raully,” Hathor said, “but we would not put ourselves at risk by traveling to a Tok’ra base without having received satisfactory guarantees of our safety. No, we propose to extend an invitation to the Tok’ra, by way of SG-1, for them to send an emissary to us to conduct negotiations.”

“You’re going to let them go?” Raully’s eyebrows climbed high.

“We are,” Hathor confirmed. “We have little choice. To do otherwise would eliminate all possibility of a future alliance. To keep them here is pointless. Better to make a gesture of good faith and release them with a request that they pass on our message to the Tok’ra. Remove the memory reading devices from them. Exercise due care during the procedure so that they do not come to harm.” She turned back toward SG-1. “Once that is done you are free to depart.”

“My Lady, I protest!” Trofsky objected. “They are our enemies! The information should be ripped from them through rigorous interrogation and torture.”

“If they are our enemies it is as a result of our own actions,” Hathor replied, “and we see no need to make an unfortunate situation worse. The whole point of this deception was to obtain information without doing further harm and thus causing the Tau’ri’s enmity to increase. It has failed. Let that be an end to it. Perhaps their commander, Hammond of Texas, will be willing to send us information on the disposition and alliances prevailing amongst the System Lords. Perhaps the Tok’ra will be agreeable to an alliance or to accepting us as their Queen. Neither will happen if we inflict torture upon these redoubtable warriors. We have spoken.”

“I obey, my Lady,” Trofsky assented, although both his tone and his posture indicated that he was acutely unhappy with the idea. He stood in silence, his brows lowered in a frown, as Raully applied a salve that seemed to function as a local anesthetic to the temples of the SG-1 members and then carefully removed the implanted devices.

“Conduct them to the Chappa’ai, Trofsky,” Hathor ordered, once Raully had finished and had applied dressings to the places from which the devices had been removed, “and allow them to depart. Then return to me.”

“My Queen,” Dr. Raully put in, in a much more respectful manner than Trofsky had shown, “it is my understanding that the Tau’ri keep the codes to disarm their barricade a closely guarded secret. They will not transmit those codes if they may be observed.”

Hathor nodded. “Indeed so,” she said. “We thank you, Raully, for reminding us of that factor. Very well, Trofsky, leave the Tau’ri at the Chappa’ai and then withdraw so that they may preserve their secrecy as they depart.” She turned to face SG-1. “Farewell,” she said. “Here is the Gate address of this planet. If you do not use it yourselves then pass it on to the Tok’ra. But advise them, and your General if he should decide to take advantage of our offer, that our defensive installations are formidable.”

Jack noticed Dr. Raully’s eyes widen fractionally as Hathor made that declaration. Raully seemed to be trying to keep her expression neutral, and Jack doubted if Hathor or Trofsky had noticed, but Jack was pretty sure that something about what Hathor had said had alarmed her. The only explanation that came to mind was that Raully hadn’t known about the defenses and had plans of her own which the defenses jeopardized. And that implied Raully was an agent for some other group; almost certainly, taking into consideration some of the things she had said, the Tok’ra. If so then Jack could leave the question of whether or not to inform the Tok’ra of Hathor’s offer to Raully.

“An unannounced arrival by an armed party of more than four emissaries may be treated as an invasion and repelled violently,” Hathor continued. “Those who arrive peacefully, in small numbers, will be met with courtesy.” She handed Jack a plastic rectangle printed with Gate symbols.

Jack’s first inclination was to refuse to take it but he decided that accepting the card would be the safer option. He still couldn’t believe Hathor’s apparent change of heart was genuine but, if she was faking it, rejecting her gesture might cause her to lose her temper and revert to the standard Goa’uld torture techniques. Better to play along.

“We’ll need our gear back,” he said.

Hathor nodded. “Of course,” she said, “although your weapons will not be returned to you until you have left this complex. Trofsky, see to it.”

“As you command,” Trofsky answered. His frown was by now so pronounced that the groove between his eyebrows resembled the gorge from the final scene of ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’. “Follow me… Tau’ri.” He didn’t go quite as far as to finish the sentence with ‘scum’ but it was implied in his tone.

“Lead on, Macduff,” Jack said.

“Actually it’s ‘Lay on, Macduff,” Daniel corrected him.

“I know, Daniel,” Jack said. “And damned be him who first cries ‘Hold! Enough!’ What, are you trying to win the Nobel Prize for pedantry?”

“Actually they don’t have a Nobel Prize for pedantry,” Sam said, with a smile, “but, if they had, I’d have just won it.”

Trofsky fumed. Raully’s lips formed into a smile. And, much to Jack’s surprise, Hathor actually uttered a small chuckle.

Terthreia,” Hathor said, only just audibly, and Jack saw Daniel’s eyebrows shoot up. Jack had no idea what Hathor had said, except that it wasn’t in Goa’uld, but he guessed it was Ancient Greek. Was Hathor translating for the benefit of the host, Andromeda? Surely not. A Goa’uld wouldn’t do that. But if not that, then what?

Trofsky looked as if he was about to explode and Jack decided not to push his luck any further. He took a couple of steps in the direction the man – or, more likely, the Jaffa or perhaps minor Goa’uld – was indicating. He’d rather have been escorted by Raully, in light of his deductions, but making a request to that effect was unlikely to achieve anything other than to put the presumed Tok’ra agent under suspicion. But there was one more question that he had to ask.

“Hey, Hathor! What happened to Teal’c?”

“Fear not, the Shol’va has come to no harm,” Hathor replied. “He was of no use to us for this scheme, as his ability to sense the prim’ta within our Jaffa would not be blocked by sedatives, and so he was merely rendered unconscious and left behind. Slaying your comrade would have ensured that your enmity remained implacable and so we commanded that he be spared.”

“He’ll be looking for us,” Jack said.

“No doubt,” Hathor agreed, “and therefore you should delay no further in returning to your planet. Go now.” She turned her back on Jack. “Raully, prepare a report on what you managed to gather from their memories. Pay particular attention to anything that would show how to make contact with the Tok’ra.”

“I obey, my Queen,” Raully said. She turned and exited the replica embarkation room, at a fast walk, presumably headed for her laboratory.

There was no more reason for Jack to stall and so he went along with Trofsky. Daniel and Sam followed behind with four Jaffa guards bringing up the rear. They left the fake SGC area and went into the zone that was decorated in typical Goa’uld style, although the gold on the walls was paint rather than the actual metal; Hathor must be too short of resources, after putting so much into creating the replica of Stargate Command, to have much remaining for mere decoration. After traversing a couple of corridors Trofsky opened a door and revealed a store-room, lined with shelves, containing their BDUS, packs, and weapons.

“Take your primitive devices,” Trofsky growled. He gestured with his zat to indicate that they should enter the room.

Jack was surprised by this; Hathor had instructed that their weapons wouldn’t be returned until they had been escorted out of the complex. Perhaps Trofsky had decided that carrying them, only to hand them over later, was pointless and was interpreting Hathor’s instructions loosely to save him the bother of carrying the weapons around. Jack went into the store-room, as did Daniel and Sam, and was just reaching for the nearest back-pack when Trofsky, without warning, suddenly zatted him.

- - - - - -

Jack groaned and stirred. He found he was lying on the floor of that same store-room. Daniel lay still beside him; Sam, a couple of feet further away, was sitting up and shaking her head. Jack began to clamber to his feet and as he rose he realized that a fourth body lay in the room; a Jaffa, lying motionless on his back, eyes wide open and staring at the ceiling.

“What the hell just happened?” Jack muttered. He looked around and, to his astonishment, saw that their equipment – including their MP5A3s – still lay on the shelves. He bent over Daniel, saw that his friend was breathing and was beginning to stir, and turned to grab one of the submachine guns. He quickly checked it and found that it was fully loaded and didn’t appear to have been tampered with in any way.

“Trofsky knocked us out,” Sam said. She was engaged in helping Daniel to his feet and Jack wasn’t sure to which of them she was talking. “Why would he do that? It’s not what Hathor told him to do.”

“He has to be working some angle of his own,” Jack said, “and, whatever it is, it can’t mean anything good.” He looked down at the dead Jaffa, noticing the serpent tattoo that showed the bearer to have been in the service of Apophis originally, and deducing from the lack of visible wounds that the Jaffa had been killed by being zatted twice. “I’m guessing this guy didn’t want to go along with it.”

“But why leave us with access to our weapons?” Sam wondered. She followed Jack’s example and checked the other MP5. “It seems counter-productive.”

Jack opened the room door and looked out to see an empty corridor. “I don’t get it,” he admitted. “He didn’t even lock us in – although it would only have taken us thirty seconds to get out if he had locked the door.”

“He’s even left us our C-4 and detonators,” Sam commented. “Maybe he just couldn’t be bothered to take us to the Stargate and is leaving us to find our own way out. Except that doesn’t make sense because he could have just told us that. It’s not like we’d have objected.”

“More likely he wants us to wander around until we get shot by Jaffa who haven’t been told Hathor released us and think we’re breaking out,” Jack said. “Better be ready for a firefight.”

Terthreia,” Daniel said, presumably thinking aloud. “Ancient Greek for ‘pedantry’. Why was Hathor translating for Andromédē unless she really does treat her host as a person? Could she actually be sincere?”

“Ponder that some other time, Daniel,” Jack said. “Grab your sidearm and let’s move.”

Daniel looked at the BDUs folded up on the shelves, looked down at the pajamas that he still wore, and pursed his lips. No doubt he was considering changing into more practical clothing but, for the moment, he contented himself with picking up a Beretta and holster that lay atop the clothes. He passed the weapon to Sam and took a second for himself. Then he paused and frowned. “That’s odd,” he said. “There’s one pistol missing. The holster’s there, but no gun.”

“Maybe we dropped it when we were captured,” Sam said.

“That’s possible,” Daniel said, “but they picked up everything else we were carrying. I think it was here and Trofsky took it. But why?”

- - - - - -

Hathor broke off from touching up her lip rouge and stood up as Trofsky entered. She fixed him with a cold glare. “Why have you entered our chamber uninvited?” she snapped. “And there has not been time for you to have completed your assigned task. Why have you returned prematurely?”

“Shol’va!” Trofsky growled. “You betray the Goa’uld.” He brought his right hand out from behind his back. He was holding a Beretta M9. Hathor tried to raise her kara kesh hand device, to put up a defensive shield, but Trofsky pulled the trigger before she could complete the move. The range was point-blank, even for someone unaccustomed to Earth weapons, and Hathor cried out and doubled up clutching at her stomach. “Die, Tok’ra scum!” Trofsky growled. He fired again and she collapsed to the floor.

Trofsky tossed the pistol into a corner and turned to the three Jaffa who stood in the doorway behind him. “Spread the word that the Tau’ri have escaped and have slain Hathor,” he said. “They are to be killed on sight.”

- - - - - -

Colonel Makepeace led the men of three SG teams into Hathor’s pyramid. So far they had encountered no opposition but they were on high alert. It was too good to last. Then the sound of gunfire reached their ears; not the staff weapons and zats of Jaffa guards but the distinctive chatter of H&K MP5s.

The firefight was taking place only a short distance along a corridor. The three members of SG-1 were caught between two parties of Jaffa; one group of four blocking their path to the exit and a larger band coming up from behind. Using the recesses at the corridor sides as cover Jack and Daniel were holding off the pursuers while Sam tried to eliminate the smaller force and clear the way for their escape.

Two bullet-ridden Jaffa corpses on the floor gave mute witness to the superiority of the handy and accurate Earth firearms over the unwieldy staff weapons and inaccurate zat’nik’tels of the Jaffa. However, as Clausewitz said, quantity has a quality of its own and the superior numbers of the opposition had SG-1 at a distinct disadvantage. The arrival of Makepeace and his men quickly tipped the scales. Their firepower dropped several of the Jaffa and sent the remainder into retreat.

Makepeace raised his eyebrows as Jack stepped out into the corridor. “You’re out of uniform, Jack,” he remarked.

Jack glanced down at the white pants and collarless jacket, taken from one of the fake base’s ‘medical personnel’, that he and Sam were wearing. “Kinda stylish, don’t you think?” he said. “Makes us look like the good guys in a Kung Fu movie.” He slotted a new magazine home into his MP-5. “Getting the hell out of Dodge was more urgent than putting on our BDUs. Speaking of which, let’s get moving before those guys come back with friends.”

“So, you escaped again,” Makepeace said, as they made their way back to the exit. “I should have known. We could have stayed home.”

“Actually Hathor let us go,” Daniel said.

“Funny, I could have sworn a dozen Jaffa were trying to stop you getting away,” Makepeace said. “It sure looked that way to me.”

“Hathor’s chief stooge is playing some game of his own,” Jack explained. “Hathor told him to take us to the Stargate and then give us back our gear. Instead he zatted us and dumped us in the closet where our stuff was stashed. I think he was setting us up to get shot while escaping. Hathor didn’t exactly make a public announcement that she was setting us free.”

“I don’t get why he left us all our weapons,” Sam put in. “I would have expected him to take them away or, at best, leave us just a pistol or two. We came pretty close to fighting our way out even without the rescue party. He can’t have wanted that.”

“He didn’t leave us all the weapons,” Daniel reminded her. “One pistol was missing.” He bit on his bottom lip briefly. “Maybe he wanted to shoot someone and blame us. Doctor Raully, I’d guess, to get rid of a rival for the chief henchman slot.”

“I think you’ve hit the nail on the head,” Jack said. “I hope he doesn’t shoot Raully. I think she’s a Tok’ra.”

Makepeace nodded. “The Tok’ra told us where to find you and gave us intel on the layout,” he said. “They have an agent in place and, if you think it’s this Raully, you’re probably correct.” By this time they had made it out of the pyramid and he looked over his shoulder. “We’ll have to leave her to deal with that Trofsky character herself,” Makepeace said. “If we go back in and try to interfere we’ll blow her cover.”

“Did you have any problems getting here?” Jack asked.

“No, we didn’t encounter any resistance at all until we met up with you guys,” Makepeace answered. “The Tok’ra said the place was lightly defended and it looks like they were right.”

“Hathor said she had strong defenses,” Jack said, “and it was the way Raully reacted that made me think she was a Tok’ra agent. Funny you didn’t have any problems. Maybe Hathor was bluffing, but I don’t think so. Unless it’s an automated system and she switched it off so it didn’t blast us on the way out.”

“In which case we’d better watch out in case Trofsky’s switched it back on,” Sam said.

“Good thinking,” said Jack. “Hey, where’s Teal’c? I would have thought he’d be here.”

“Teal’c was badly injured and he’s only just gotten out of sickbay,” Makepeace informed him. “He wasn’t going to be allowed to come on this mission so he quit and went home to do his own thing.”

“Teal’c quit? Crap,” Jack groaned. “Still, maybe he’ll return when he finds out we’re back and okay.”

“Injured?” Sam’s forehead creased. “Hathor said he’d just been knocked out and left beside the Stargate. And the funny thing is I don’t think she was lying.”

“Trofsky again,” Jack said, “getting creative with his interpretation of orders and his after-mission reports. Between him, and Raully being a Tok’ra agent, it looks like Hathor was nil for two in her choice of loyal lieutenants.”

- - - - - -

Raully held a levelled zat as she entered Hathor’s chamber. Hathor tried to get to her feet, grabbing at the bed for support, but succeeded only in dragging the bedclothes to the floor and collapsing again. Her red and gold silken robe was almost entirely red from the waist down and a pool of blood on the floor began soaking into the fallen bedding.

“My Queen!” Raully exclaimed. She collapsed the zat, and slipped it into her pocket, then rushed to Hathor’s side. “What happened?” Her hand came out of her pocket holding a Goa’uld healing device. “Trofsky said that the Tau’ri had slain you.”

Hathor’s lips moved as she tried to speak but she could utter only incoherent gasps and moans. Raully hesitated, as if debating with herself, and then activated the healing device and began to heal Hathor’s wounds.

“Not… the… Tau’ri,” Hathor gasped out. “Trofsky. He shot… us.”

Raully gave a slight nod but made no other answer. She was concentrating on her healing task. After a minute she stopped, lowered the device, and bent to examine Hathor’s abdomen. “Can you roll over?” Raully asked.

Hathor’s attempt resulted in her becoming entangled in the blood-sodden bedding and Raully had to help her to get free and to turn over. She examined Hathor’s back and then used the healing device again. “One of the bullets is still inside,” Raully observed. “You will not heal fully until it can be removed.”

“That… must wait,” Hathor said. “Trofsky’s treachery must be punished. And he may have slain the Tau’ri. That would mean war with the SGC and the end of our hopes for an alliance. If the Tau’ri yet live we must save them.”

Raully took hold of Hathor’s arm and helped her to her feet. “Do not exert yourself,” she cautioned. “The bullet within you may cause further damage. It could rupture a major blood vessel and you might bleed to death faster than you could heal yourself.”

Hathor said something in a language incomprehensible to Raully. Her eyes flashed and she spoke again, in the same language, but this time in the metallic tones of a Goa’uld.

“I don’t understand,” Raully said.

“Andromédē was concerned,” Hathor said, still using her Goa’uld voice. “I reassured her that I shall take no foolish chances and will do my best to heal further damage as fast as it occurs.”

Raully smiled. “I am proud to serve you, my Queen,” she said. “I shall remove the bullet as soon as Trofsky has been neutralized.” Her smile faded. “Although performing such an operation, without endangering your life, will test my skills to the limit,” she admitted. “I am accustomed to using the healing device but unpracticed at surgery. The doctors of the Tau’ri would be best qualified to operate… but they may not be willing.”

“We shall, as the Tau’ri say, cross that bridge when we come to it,” Hathor said, reverting to her human voice. She took a couple of wobbly steps. Raully supported her with an arm and Hathor made it to the corner of the room where the discarded pistol lay. “Can you use Tau’ri firearms?” Hathor asked.

“I have never done so,” Raully said, “although the principles behind them seem simple enough.”

“We saw them fired when we were on Earth,” Hathor said. “Pass it to us. We deem that using it to execute Trofsky would be just. The pain is greater than that from a zat’nik’tel and a staff weapon would slay him too quickly and mercifully. And we do not, at present, feel strong enough to use a kara kesh.”

Raully picked up the pistol and handed it to Hathor. She held it for a moment, feeling its weight, and then tucked it muzzle-first through one of the leather straps that linked her brassiere and her bloodstained panties. She avoided the area where the bullets had struck and selected a strap on the opposite side of her stomach. It did not occur to her that the safety lever of the pistol was in the off position and the hammer was cocked back. A touch on the trigger would be enough to fire the gun and send another bullet into her lower abdomen.

Hathor slipped off her robe and cast it aside. “The blood-sodden cloth hampers our movements,” she said. “Pass a fresh garment to us. Then we must go.”

Raully opened a closet, grabbed the first robe that came to hand, and passed it to Hathor. It was bright turquoise, and did not go at all well with the red and gold of the bra and pants, but Hathor contented herself with wrinkling her nose and donned the garment nonetheless.

“Raully,” she said, as she slipped on the robe, “we thank you for your aid and your loyalty. We shall show our gratitude when there is more time. For now, know that it means a lot to us; all the more because, as a female, you are impervious to our charms.”

“You have won my respect through your actions,” Raully said, with a silent mental aside of ‘Mainly due to the consideration you have shown for your host Andromeda. I believe you could be a worthy Queen of the Tok’ra.’ She continued “And I am glad to acknowledge you as my Queen.”

“We thank you,” Hathor said again, and then she cocked her head and listened. “That is strange,” she said. “We hear the sound of the shield generator. We did not command that it should be activated. Trofsky must have done so.”

“Perhaps to prevent the Tau’ri from reaching the Chappa’ai and departing,” Raully suggested. “Should we deactivate the shield?”

“Not yet,” Hathor said. “It may be that there is an attacking force coming through. If it is another group of Tau’ri, searching for SG-1, then it may be best to keep them outside the shield until we can explain Trofsky’s treachery and avert further conflict. We must learn the true situation before we can act.”

“That would be wise,” Raully agreed. She walked close alongside Hathor as they left the bedchamber, ready to support the wounded Queen if she had difficulty, and she drew her zat again ready for action.

- - - - - -

“Fall back!” Colonel Makepeace yelled. “Make for the tree-line!”

An impenetrable energy barrier blocked their path toward the Stargate and two staff cannons, mounted on towers that had risen from previously empty ground, were firing on the SG teams. Trofsky, now clad in Jaffa armor, lurked beyond the shield with a small guard of Jaffa and more Jaffa were approaching along the track from the pyramid complex.

Two SG troopers were hit by fire from the sentry guns and fell dead. Daniel was knocked over by a near miss but got up immediately and appeared to be unhurt.

Suddenly Makepeace disappeared from sight. He popped up again, an instant later, and shouted “This way! This way! Tunnels!”

Jack and Sam were right behind him and jumped down into an open space that they recognized, from what they had seen on their visit to the Tok’ra base, as a tunnel created by Tok’ra crystal technology. They moved quickly away from the exit to allow the remainder of Makepeace’s men, and Daniel, to jump down to join them.

“Tok’ra tunnels,” Sam said. “This must be how the agent – Raully – gets in and out of the complex to send messages back to base.”

Makepeace was speaking into his radio. “No answer from the men I left to secure the Gate,” he told Jack. “They must be dead or captives.”

“If they’re on the other side of the energy barrier we’ll have to get through it before we can do anything to help them,” Jack said. “It’s a pretty good defense. Hathor wasn’t bluffing. Hey, maybe we can go under it through these tunnels.”

“Good idea, sir,” Sam agreed. “Daniel, are you okay? I saw you go down.”

“I’m fine,” Daniel said. “My left arm’s a little scratched up but that’s all. It’s not going to slow me down.”

They moved through the tunnel in the direction of the Gate but hit the energy barrier again and were brought to a halt.

“So much for that idea,” said Jack. “We’ll have to deactivate the shield or else find the ring transporters the Jaffa are using.”

“This shield must require a lot of power,” Sam said. “The generator most likely is inside the complex. The same with the ring transporters.”

“So we’ll have to go back in,” Jack said. “Right now, let’s get back to the entrance hole. If the Jaffa find it, and come in after us, they’ll have us trapped in a dead end.”

Makepeace was on his radio again. “Jack, the SGC is calling,” he said. “General Hammond wants to speak to you.”

“O’Neill here, sir,” Jack said, taking the radio. He would have liked to ask about Teal’c but shelved that thought; this wasn’t the time. “Colonel Makepeace has given you a sitrep, right?”

“You’re cut off from the Gate by an energy barrier, and under attack from Jaffa,” Hammond confirmed. “How did you escape from Hathor?”

“She let us go, General,” Jack reported. “She claims she doesn’t want to fight us. The trouble is her First Prime has other ideas. We don’t know if he’s going behind her back or if he’s organized an open revolt. If it’s the first we may be able to resolve things without a full-scale battle. If it’s the second… things could get messy. Hathor’s defenses are pretty formidable even not counting the energy barrier.”

“The Tok’ra said the exterior was unguarded,” Hammond said. Jack could tell, even over the radio, that the General was frowning.

“The Tok’ra agent didn’t know about the defenses,” Jack said. “I could see the surprise on her face when Hathor pulled that rabbit out of her hat.”

“You’ve identified the Tok’ra agent?”

“Yes, sir, I’m pretty sure I have,” Jack confirmed. “Which is handy, as we can make sure we don’t shoot her by mistake. We’re going to penetrate the complex to try to shut down the energy shield.”

“I’ll act on the assumption you’re not going to be able to resolve things peacefully,” Hammond said, “and organize reinforcements to arrive in… six hours from now. Advise me if the situation changes.”

“Roger that, sir,” Jack said. He glanced at his watch, which he had retrieved earlier, and made a note of the time. Over the radio he could just make out Hammond’s voice speaking in an aside to someone in the SGC.

“Rotate the MALP’s cameras to give a full picture of the area,” Hammond ordered. A few seconds later the connection went dead.

“I’m guessing the Jaffa have just blasted the MALP,” Jack said. “No more phoning home until we can get to the Gate.”

“So how do you want to play this, Jack?” Makepeace asked. “Do we hit the complex in force?”

Jack shook his head. “That would blow any chance of stopping the shooting war,” he said. “I’ll take just Carter and Jackson. If we bump into Hathor we should be able to talk our way out. If we don’t… we’ll locate the generator and blow it to bits.”

Makepeace nodded. “Okay. I’ll have a try at taking out the gun towers. With them gone we’ll have a tactical advantage.”

“First I’ll get rid of this white jacket,” Jack said. Carter had already ditched hers. “It makes me stand out like an African-American guy at a NASCAR race.” He took off the jacket, cast it aside, and donned the top part of his BDUs. “Okay, Carter, Daniel, time to go right back where we started from. Hopefully this time Hathor won’t put us into cold storage.”


Disclaimer: ‘Stargate: SG1’ was created by Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner and is owned by MGM Television Entertainment and Gekko Productions.

Tags: fic, stargate sg1
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