Tangled Web
by Eilidh17
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Daniel shifted the bulky artifact cataloge from one arm to another and pushed his glasses further back on his face.  Biting down his annoyance at being dragged from the base MRI room where he’d been helping to scan the interior of a sealed clay urn SG-12 had recovered, he quickened his pace towards the SGC briefing room and whatever Jack claimed ‘urgently’ needed his attention.  The summons had been brusque, and while his pre-ascension recollection of what passed for Jack’s normal behavior wasn’t quite there yet, he clearly recognized frustration in the man’s tone.
Voices drifted out from the briefing room as the SF at the entrance moved aside to let him pass.
“Thank you for joining us, Doctor Jackson.” General Hammond’s measured tone pulled Daniel into the room, a knot of suspicion in his chest as he quickly took in the faces of the people seated around the table.  Looking to where Sam and Teal’c usually sat, he frowned at their absence before his gaze settled on a Tok’ra operative seated at the far end.
“Thank you, sir,” he offered Hammond as he slid into his seat across the table from a scowling Jack.
“You remember Sina of the Tok’ra?”
“Of course.” Daniel could hardly forget her.  Only weeks earlier she had been instrumental in providing himself and Jonas Quin with the means to move undetected around Anubis’s ship while deciphering its computer codes.  The mission to locate the vessel’s crystal power core and relay the coordinates back to Jack and Sam had been Daniel’s hasty re-orientation back into his life as part of SG-1.  Thinking back, it probably wasn’t the best idea at the time given his memory issues and the huge risk associated with infiltrating the ship.  However, stopping Anubis and destroying the weapon hinged on Daniel’s ability to translate the Ancient text. All doubt had to be cast away.
“Good.  The Tok’ra have some information they felt you should be made aware of.”
“Oh, you’re gonna love this,” Jack grumbled sarcastically, peering at Daniel through a gap in his fingers.  “Really.  Pure Tok’ra gold.”
Daniel opened his mouth to comment but snapped it shut as Sina’s gravely tone filled the air.  “We recently came into possession of an individual of some interest to both the SGC and the alliance,” she stated quickly, her gaze resting on Jack for a brief moment before sliding across to Daniel.
“Okay.” Daniel brows twitched. “When you say possession—”
“The individual in question,” Sina interrupted, lacing her hands together on the table top, “is a Tau’ri child of approximately four of your human years in age.”
“Tau’ri?” Daniel asked uncertainly. “Okay.  Not to sound cruel about the plight of a child here, but the galaxy is populated with the descendants of Earth.  I’m not quite sure how the discovery of one human child would be that much of a surprise.”
“In itself, the child is of little consequence, but it is the identity of the child and the manner in which he was recovered that has caused us great concern.”
“I don’t see—”
“Daniel?” Jack dropped his hands to the table and looked at him with his head cocked, jaw twitching, “Why don’t you let the lady continue.”
Daniel shrugged waved his hand at her to carry on, “Please.”
“Approximately six days ago, one of our operatives recovered some information that led to the discovery of carefully concealed laboratory.  Upon initial investigation, we believed it to be Goa’uld. However, upon breaching the buildings security protocols, at the cost of several Tok’ra lives, we discovered the lab belonged to a race you are somewhat familiar with.  The Azanti.”
“Azanti?”  Daniel pursed his lips and shook his head. “Nope, never heard of them, though that doesn’t mean much at the moment.”
“Four years ago,” Jack offered quietly, tugging at his left ear, a sign Daniel had come to recognize as a show of frustration, “they attacked the SGC and created a foothold situation.  We didn’t know their identity at the time.”
“Foothold.”  Daniel rolled the word around in his mind, running over the myriad of briefing reports he’d read in an effort to re-familiarize himself with past missions.  “The-the,” he stuttered, waggling a finger at his chest, “the mimic device guys?”
“The very ones, Doctor Jackson.”  Sina pushed away from the briefing table and strode over to gaze down on the Stargate.  “The Azanti are a feudal race that roams the galaxy in generational ships.  Very little is known of their social structure but they are xenophobic.  The attack on your world was out of character.”
“Based on what you know of them.”
“Yes.”
Daniel knew his confused expression betrayed an inner calmness he was trying desperately to hold on to. “You’ll have to excuse me,” he said hesitantly.  “My memory is still…”
“Holey?”  Jack offered.
“Thank you, Jack, but I was going to say ‘recovering’.  If I’m recalling events correctly, we approached the Tok’ra after the foothold situation was over and asked them for any information about the aliens, but you had none.”
Sina turned away from the window and fixed her gaze on Daniel, a twitch of a smile on her lips.  “You are correct.  The xenophobic nature of the Azanti kept them on the fringes of our intelligence gathering efforts, so their attack against Earth came as a surprise.  With the information you were able to provide us as part of the Tau’ri/Tok’ra alliance, we assumed we were looking at a new power marking its place in the galaxy.  However, there were no further sightings of the Azanti, and other more urgent matter arose that required our attention.”
“They were swept under the mat.”
“If by swept under the mat, you mean, to have forgotten the matter, then no, we had not, but the Tok’ra suffered much upheaval in the year you were absent, Doctor Jackson—”
“I get it,” he murmured, dismissing the comment with a small wave of his hand.  He didn’t need yet another reminder of what he’d missed in the last year.  “So? Now what?  You suddenly discover an Azanti outpost and… what?”
Sina clasped her hands behind her back and turned away from the table again, looking out over the gate room.  “The Azanti came to our notice several months ago when they attempted to overthrow a mining facility belonging to a minor System Lord called Mot.”
“Know him!” Jack smacked the top of the table and grinned broadly, eyes gloated in victory. “Ding dong!”
“You killed him?”
“Love to take the credit, but it was one of the locals.  Actually,” Jack paused with a finger in the air, “it wasn’t that long ago. You, ah, may not have reached that particular mission report yet.”
“No,” Daniel coolly replied, “obviously not.”
“As I was saying,” Sina interjected, turning away from the window and taking up her seat at the table. “When the Azanti attempted to overthrow the facility, Mot had his Ha’tak in orbit and was able to repel the invasion.”
“And then we killed him.”
“Colonel!” Hammond cautioned with a pointed stare at his 2IC.
“Sorry, sir.  You know me and snake killing.”  Jack crossed his fingers and waved them stiffly at the general. “We’re like that.”
Sina signalled her intent to continue with a soft cough, “An operative placed in Mot’s inner circle was able to provide us with the address the Azanti used to escape from the planet.  Unfortunately, another more pressing matter required our attention, and once again we had to forestall our attempts at tracking them down.”
“I’m sorry.”  Daniel pinched the bridge of his nose, eyes close in thought.  “I seem to have lost the thread of all of this.  You get a lead on these Azanti, and then you call it off?  For a rather clandestine organization you don’t seem to take the whole intelligence gathering objective very seriously.”
“Now, see!” Jack smiled broadly and reclining, laced his fingers behind his head.  “I’ve been saying this for years and finally someone sees my point. It’s a wonder the Tok’ra ever actually finish a mission with the amount of sidestepping that goes on.”
“That’s not quite what I—”
“Aht!  Daniel!”  Jack tutted, eyes wide and brows arched high.  “What have I always said?”
“Not a clue.”
“When you’re right, you’re right.  Trust me on this.”
“The Tok’ra, Colonel, have had more of our missions jeopardized by the reckless actions of the Tau’ri then in the thousands of years we have been fighting the Goa’uld.  Had your race not learned to operate the Chappa’ai, we may well have succeeded in eliminating more of the higher echelon System Lords and freeing their slaves.”
“Oh,” Jack drawled out as he leaned forward in his chair and rested his hands, fingers splayed, on the table.  “That’s right.  Blame the new kids on the block when they succeeded where you didn’t, rather then actually admit you couldn’t get the job done in the first place.”
“I think we’ve gone a little off track here, people,” Hammond suggested, tossing Jack yet another warning stare.  “Perhaps we’d be better served getting to the heart of the problem.”
Lips curled in a smug smile, Jack shuffled back in his seat.  “Yes, the heart of the problem,” he said turning to Sina.  “This should be interesting.”
Not rising to Jack’s comment, Sina continued, “Our operatives were able to gain entry into the Azanti laboratory, but there was little of value remaining.  We assume they knew their location had been discovered and abandoned the facility, taking most of their equipment with them.”
“Except for the kid,” Jack added.
“Yes, Colonel.  The boy was found in a bio chamber.  Had we not removed him, I am unsure as to how long he would have survived.  The chamber’s power supply was independent to that of the laboratory and was already severely depleted.”
“Wait.”  Daniel held up a finger, furrowing his brow questioningly.  “Bio chamber?  Is that something like a stasis chamber, and if the power was nearly depleted wouldn’t mean that he’d been in there for quite some time?”
“The technology the chamber was created from appears to be a mixture of Goa’uld and Azanti.  At first glance we thought the device acted as a stasis chamber but when the identity of the individual was confirmed, we concluded that it was more likely an advanced form of maturation chamber.”
“Right,” Daniel said, trying to make sense of the situation, suddenly aware that the focus of the room had turned in on him.  “I guess this is the part where you tell me that the child in the chamber is a clone of me, right?”
Jack stiffened and sat upright in his chair, brows rising in surprise.  “How did you figure that?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Daniel waved his hands in the air casually and winced slightly at the first stabbings of a tension headache starting up.  “The whole skirting around the subject, the furtive looks you’re all giving me and the fact that I remember that crazy stuff like this happens all the time here.”
“All the time?  I wouldn’t say all the time.”
“Jack.”
“Some of the time would…be…a…” Jack coughed at the pointed stare Hammond gave him.  “I’ll just let our guest continue, shall I?”
“That would be good, Colonel,” Hammond warned with a sternness that betrayed his slightly amused expression.
Sina, a slight smile tugging at her lips, pressed her palms flat on the table top and continued, “You are correct, Doctor Jackson.  We were able to revive the child before the chamber’s power supply failed.  A DNA profile later confirmed his identity.”
“Curious.  The Tok’ra have my DNA profile on record?  I don’t recall that ever being part of any agreement we brokered.  Of course,” Daniel sat forward in his chair and looked at Sina over the top of his glasses, “my memory still has some—”
“Holes.”
“Jack!” Daniel snapped angrily.
“Just helping.”
“Well, don’t.  Where was I?  Yes, since when did the Tok’ra have my DNA on record?”
Sina sat silently, her face impassive as the focus of the room shifted towards her.  “This would be a question that Selmac would be best qualified to answer.”
“There ya go!”  Jack slapped the top of the table and waved a finger in her face. “Passing the buck,” he hissed and thrust his hand in the air. “Come on, hands up who knew the Tok’ra had it in them to fob us off?  Show of hands here folks.”
“Colonel!”  Hammond pushed his chair back and started to rise.  “One more outburst and you’ll be removed from this briefing.”
“Sir,” Jack pleaded with a roll of the eyes, “It’s a valid question and this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve caught the Tok’ra in a lie.”
“I am not lying to you Colonel,” Sina interjected.  “I am simply unaware of how the Tok’ra gained such information.  It is possible we obtained your DNA profiles prior to the formation of our alliance.”
“Sure.  Damn convenient.”
“Err, excuse me,” Daniel turned in his chair to face Sina directly.  “I hate to make this conversation about me, considering that it already is… in a way… I guess, but if you’ve already determined that the child is me, regardless of the source of your information, where is he?  I mean, you can’t have come all this way just to tell me there’s another…” Daniel coughed lightly for effect, “… version of me running around the galaxy.”
“Smaller version, Daniel… smaller.”
“Whatever!” Daniel snapped back.  Any reserves of good-nature he had, had been stripped away by Jack’s constant snarky remarks and a distinct lack of any real information from the Tok’ra.  “Just tell me where the boy is… please.”
“He is being cared for in a remote Tok’ra facility.  His condition precluded us from taking him to our current base until we could fully determine what threat he posed to our population.”
“Okay, hmm,” Daniel hummed softly, “I’ll bite.  How can a clone possibly be a threat?  You’ve already ascertained his identity, so if he’s fully human, which he obviously is, then how can he pose a threat to anyone?”
“He is human, Doctor Jackson, but he is also much more.” Sina shifted uneasily in her seat.  An action which just heightened Daniel’s growing sense of uneasiness.  Flicking his gaze in Jack’s direction, he could tell his friend was similarly alarmed.  “Once he was released from the bio chamber we detected the presence of a symbiote.”
Daniel stiffened, his breath suddenly catching in throat as his stomach flipped sickeningly.  “A-a Goa’uld?  You’re telling me they implanted him with a Goa’uld?”  Across the table, Jack swore, and Daniel could already feel waves of disgust radiating from the General.  “Why?  Why would they do that?”
“I understand your reaction, Doctor Jackson,” Sina offered in a sympathetic tone.
“No.  No, I really don’t think you do.”
“The Tok’ra do not engage in the blending of minors.  Just the idea both disgusts and repulses us, but I can not speak for the Goa’uld themselves.  In a time of crisis it would not be beneath them—”
“Hold up there, just a moment.”  Jack raised a hand in the air for silence. “This isn’t the Goa’uld we’re talking about here.  I thought these Anty guy’s were the ones holding the kid… err, small Daniel.” Jack threw a winced apology at Daniel as the words slipped out.
“The Azanti, yes, Colonel.  The DNA study of the child detected several anomalies that our own scientists were unable to explain.  Added to this, we noted that he was suffering from cellular degradation, probably a result of a less than perfect cloning technique.  We can only assume that if the Azanti were the ones who created this child, they may have believed that introducing a Goa’uld symbiote, even an immature one, would possibly correct the problem.”
“And you didn’t…” Daniel palmed his eyes as the small measure of clinical detachment he’d tried to build up over his emotions slowly fell away.  Reaching up to squeeze the bridge of his nose, he sifted through his memory for an image of himself at the same age, but mental doors seemed to slam all around him with ever effort he made.  “You didn’t detect the presence of the symbiote while he was in the chamber?”
“No.  It wasn’t until we powered down the bio chamber and brought the child out of hibernation that we were able to detect the symbiote.  A subsequent medical scan and tissue biopsy of the infant Goa’uld has determined that it was most likely stolen from the tanks on Pangara.”
“Do we want to know how you conducted this biopsy?”  Jack’s question threw Daniel off balance for a moment, and studying his friend’s expression carefully, he knew that the coldness in his eyes betrayed a simmering anger.
“I don’t believe the details are essential to this briefing,” Sina replied flatly.
Jack spat a reply, “Oh! No! I just bet you don’t.”
“Colonel!” Hammond hissed and once again Jack held Sina’s stare just long enough to let his words sink in.  “Earth isn’t in the habit of harassing its allies!”
“You have to admit—” Jack started but dropped the conversation as Hammond flicked his gaze towards the SF positioned at the door and then back at him.  Catching the move, Jack pursed his lips and then smoothed them out into a smile, acknowledging the warning.  “I think I’ve made my point.”
“Abundantly so, Colonel.”
“As I was saying,” Sina continued, bewildered at the interchange between the two men, “we have been able to determine that the infant symbiote was taken from the Pangaran breeding tanks.”
“Aren’t the Pangaran symbiotes born without the genetic memory passed down by the spawning queen?”  Daniel shuffled in his chair and twisted it around back towards Sina, blinking rapidly in thought. “Ageria right,” he added, tapping a finger in the air absently as he tried to pull the information from his mind.  “The report I read said that the Pangarans were using Ageria to spawn symbiotes which they used to produce Tretonin.”
“You are correct, Doctor Jackson.”
“How can you tell the symbiote came from Pangara? The report SG-1 gave said that anyone infested with one of these symbiotes becomes non-responsive with only enough neural activity to keep the body functioning.  Are you telling me that… this child,” Daniel’s mouth twitched with the smallest of winces, “is basically brain dead?
Considering Daniel’s comment briefly, Sina ducked her head and when she looked back up, the hardened expression she’d worn through the briefing was replaced with a sympathetic smile.  “I am sorry, Doctor Jackson,” she whispered softly in the host voice.
Daniel sat up straight in his chair and regarded her suspiciously.  “You are?”
“I am Leyal.  I sensed your distress over the boy and wanted to convey my sympathy to you.  I apologize for Sina’s lack of compassion in this situation but she…” Leyal’s gaze dropped briefly as she dragged in a deep breath, letting it out with a sigh, “…she is not in the habit of openly displaying her emotion and the treatment of the boy by the Azanti has disturbed her greatly.”
“As it has all of us,” Hammond added.
“Yes, General, but the memories of Sina’s previous hosts, all of whom were parents, has distracted her somewhat.”
Daniel nodded and offered her a wry smile, “and she’s been trying to detach herself emotionally.”
“That is correct.  I realize this must seem most unsympathetic but—”
“Huh!”  Jack harrumphed, “Looked like typical Tok’ra attitude to me.”
“Jack!’  Daniel hissed angrily but Jack waved the comment away with a flick of his wrist as Leyal looked on, a small smile playing on her lips at the interplay between the two men.
“To get back to your question, Doctor Jackson, I can only tell you that the boy is showing the same level of awareness as the sentry on Pangara displayed when he was infiltrated by one of Ageria’s symbiotes.”
“So, nothing at all.”
“It is our hope that if we can remove the symbiote, the boy may be able to be saved, but at this point, the procedure would most likely kill him.”
“Christ!” Jack spat, resting his head in his hands.  “This just doesn’t make sense; how the heck did they get their hands one of those snaky bastards?”
“Are your allies in the habit of keeping you abreast of all their activities, Colonel?”
Whether it was the quick change back from Leyal to Sina, or Sina’s pointed question, Jack blinked slowly, the muscles in his jaw sensing. “We’re best buddies now,” he ground out between clenched teeth. “Didn’t we send you a memo?  No? Nuts!”
“I think what the Colonel means,” Hammond broke into the hotly escalating conversation, “is that given the nature of the Azanti attack on the SGC four years ago, we would have expected the Pangarans to have been overthrown completely.”
“Trade?”  Daniel offered hopefully even though he knew from what he could recall of the encounter that it probably wasn’t likely.
“With the Antsies?” Jack scoffed, his head shooting up signalling his disbelief. “They suicided in the gate room when we blew their operation.  They don’t trade when they can just take.”
“Indeed,” Sina agreed with a curt nod. “It is more likely that the symbiote was obtained by more clandestine methods.  For now, though, it really isn’t a concern as to how the Azanti obtained the symbiote but more as to why they created a clone of Doctor Jackson in the first place.”
“So, why?  Why did the Azanti go to all this trouble to clone me?  And better still, why me?”
“Of that, we are unsure.” Sina steepled her hands, head tilted slightly to one side in thought.  “We can only assume that they wished to find a better way to infiltrate the SGC in the future.  It is our understanding that the Azanti are a very long lived species that rely on the accumulation of vastly superior technologies to enhance their own.  They may have seen something of value on your world when they invaded which gave them reason to pursue cloning over their previous methods of disguise.”
“Brainwashing? You’re implying that they’d brainwash me… him, to just walk into the SGC posing as me?”
“You do not agree?”
“Just seems a little extreme.” Daniel paused, chewing on his lip. “It would take them another 30 years or so before the clone would be mature and by then I’d be much older.  Unless they’ve also got the technology to accelerate his growth.”
The room fell into an uneasy quiet.
“They don’t, do they?”
Breaking the silence after a few beats, Sina conceded, “We are unsure as to their motives, Doctor Jackson.  A thorough search of the complex found no tangible information at all, and certainly nothing that related to the existence and purpose of the child.  It could well be that the Azanti are involved in breeding examples of the races they come across and your clone is simply the first we’ve discovered.  They may well have left it behind because of its biological flaws.”
“It?” Jack asked.
Daniel cringed internally at the thought and moved to push away his emotional connections in favor of dispassion.  “If my mini-me, for lack of calling him something else, was made four years ago, that would mean he was created soon after they tried to infiltrate the SGC?”
“Correct.  Our hypothesis that the chamber was designed for maturation supports your assumption, Doctor Jackson.  We can only assume that during the initial growth period, the Anazti scientists detected the cloning and cellular degradation problems and introduced the symbiote for its healing powers.”
“Did it work? Was the symbiote at least able to repair any of the cellular damage?” Daniel asked.
“Unfortunately, no.  Already, since separating the child from the chamber, we have noticed a sharp rise in the level of cellular degradation in all of his major organs.”
Daniel lowered his head into his hands to hide the show of pain and distress on his face.  “So, what now?” he mumbled through his hands.  “What will happen to him now?”
“That, Doctor Jackson, is for you to decide.”

Despite his own emotionally driven views on the subject, Daniel bowed down to Tok’ra logic and agreed that bringing the boy to Earth was probably not a good idea.  With the wanning of the NID, a more secretive organization was on the rise which potentially put the child’s safety at risk.
“Are you sure about this?” Sam asked, one hand resting on Daniel’s shoulder as she searched his face for any sign of doubt.  “There might be something Janet could do for him if we brought him back to Earth.”
“I’m sure,” Daniel whispered, patting her hand but not meeting her gaze.  “It’s better this way, for everyone.  Besides, not to belittle Janet’s considerable talents, but if the Tok’ra aren’t confident in their own ability to help him, I really don’t think…”
“She deserves a chance to try, and you know Janet.”
“She doesn’t give up even when it looks hopeless.  Yeah, Sam, I learned that first hand.”
“Sorry,” Sam muttered, withdrawing her hand to reach down and tie up her boot laces. “I wasn’t thinking.  Honestly, I didn’t know if you…” Sam reached up and tapped at her temple.
“Remembered?” Daniel shrugged lightly as he tugged on his Tac vest, a sudden wave of tiredness washing over him.  “I don’t remember the moment I ascended but I get flashes of what happened before hand.  It’s all a bit surreal really.”
“How so?”
“I don’t know… you know?”
Sam looked up from her boots, laces bowed and knotted, and smiled, reaching out to touch the side of his face and then drawing away.  “You need time to make sense of it all.  Digest it, I suppose.  I can’t imagine dying and then coming back to life a year later, but you seem so remarkably adjusted to the whole situation.”
“It’s a ruse,” Daniel scoffed good-naturedly before his mask slid just a fraction to show just the smallest glimmer of self doubt. “Don’t be fooled.”
“I’m not.  It’s just… I worry for you.  I guess I don’t understand how you make sense of all this.  Of what happened, of dying and coming back, re—bonding with us, relearning everything you knew before hand.”
Daniel eased in the tabs on the side of his Tac vest, and flexed his shoulders as it shaped itself to his form.  Sheathing his knife and checking his pockets, he kept himself occupied while mulling over Sam’s words. Dropping his gaze to his feet, Daniel stared at them intently for a few moments, astutely aware of the silence separating him from Sam.  “Have you ever felt overwhelmed?” he whispered. “To the point that you really just want your mind to shut off, go blank, power down, anything to stop the flood of images and emotions you’re being bombarded with?”
Sam’s hand found its way back to his shoulder. “I’m not sure what you mean.”
And Daniel didn’t quite know how to explain it.  “In here,” he said tapping at the side of his head, “it’s all cluttered, and I can’t quite tell the difference between something I’m learning for the first time and something that’s an old memory resurfacing.  At the briefing today, I could remember who the foothold aliens were, what they looked like, but nothing more.  It was like my mind ran up against a wall that crumbled as the meeting wore on.”
“Whenever you learned something new?”
“Yes,” he nodded vigorously, relieved at her apparent understanding, “but was it new or something old?”
“Old.”
Daniel’s eyebrows lifted in surprise.
“It can’t be anything other than and old memory resurfacing, Daniel.”
“You seem pretty sure about that.”
“We were all part of the foothold situation.  There is nothing that has happened since then that you wouldn’t know about, so it has to be an old memory.  Look,” she reached out to him with her smile, “I won’t pretend to know how this all feels for you, and honestly, it would scare me beyond belief, but time is what it’s going to take and no one here is expecting you to just up and remember everything.  I sometimes get the feeling you expect us to expect more of you…” Sam flashed a tiny smile. “… I’m not sure that came out quite right.”
“I get it.
“Good,” she said swooped down to scoop up her pack, “because the only thing I expect from you, is you.  Have I told you it’s good to have you back?”
“Only a dozen times.”
“Well, get used to it,” her smile took on an almost haunted expression.  “Just do all of us a favor, okay?”
“What’s that?”
“Don’t leave us again… I… we, we couldn’t cope a second time.”
Daniel nodded, snagging his own pack and shrugging it on his shoulders, “You know I can’t promise that.”
“Well, just try. Can you do that?’
“I can give it a go.”

“The Tok’ra appear to have a fascination with climatically challenged environments,” Teal’c’s voice boomed off the icy walls of the cavern that housed the gate on MT1-499, or as the Tok’ra preferred to call it—Nesra.  “I am uncertain as to why they would choose such a place to conduct research.”
Jack shivered under his polar jacket, beanie and thermal gloves.  Stomping his feet on the icy ground, he tried to blow on his slowly freezing fingers but realized the act was for his own comfort only as his breath bounced off the surface of his gloves.  “Beats me.  Though, if they want help selecting their next oh-so-secret base, I know a great little planet where the volcanos are this big.” Jack held one hand above his head and grinned broadly.
“We blew that up, sir.”  Sam tossed at him casually, holding back a smirk as she watched his grin morph into a sneer.  “You are talking about Netu, aren’t you?”
“Well, yeah.  We blew that one up, you say?”
“Sure did.”
“How could I not remember that?” Jack muttered under his breath, “Surely I’d remember blowing up a moon?”
“Well, sir,” Sam shrugged, “technically we didn’t.  Teal’c did.  We were all drugged at the time.”
“Oh, a good party was it?”
“Our finest hour.”
“Cool.  So long as we had a good time.”
“Greetings, SG-1″
“Whoa!” Jack shuddered in surprise as Sina’s voice echoed down the tunnel leading to the gate just seconds before she walked into the chamber, flanked by several other Tok’ra operatives.  “A little warning next time!”
“We were expecting you, Colonel O’Neill.”
“Yeah, but maybe I wasn’t quite…. Never mind.  So,” Jack clapped his hands together, “where’re we at, kids?”
“We are on the moon, Nesra.” Sina stepped back and turned to the side, gesturing to the tunnel beyond.  “If you’ll follow me, I’ll escort you to our main facility.”
“I knew where we were,” Jack hissed under his breath and blatantly ignored the withering stares and smirks from his teammates.  “Damn Tok’ra always taking everything so literally.”
“Ah, excuse me, Sina?”  Daniel threaded his way past the rest of his team, sliding on the icy floor as he caught up to their Tok’ra host.  “I’m curious about something.”
“Yes?”
“You said that you never recovered anything of any significance from the laboratory.”
“We did not.”
“Which would imply that you did find something.”
One eyebrow arching smoothly, Sina regarded Daniel for a brief moment, the slightest of smiles tugging at her lips.  “I regret not having the pleasure of meeting you before your ascension, Doctor Jackson.”
“Ah,” Daniel murmured, “likewise, I guess.”
“Many amongst the Tok’ra have spoken of your insatiable curiosity and intelligence.  Qualities that I have found to be quite lacking amongst…” she paused to look briefly over her shoulder at Jack, “… others of your species.”
“Oh, Jack has his own redeeming qualities once you get to know him.”
Not missing a beat and clearly deigning to continue on with the thread of the conversation, Sina picked up the pace and ushered the entourage through a series of winding and narrow tunnels.
“As I was saying,” Daniel continued as he matched Sina’s stride, “The Azanti obviously didn’t leave everything behind when the left.  I guess I’m just curious as to what you did find.”
Sina took her time in answering.  “Most of what we recovered appears to be manuals of some kind, various minor pieces of technology, and everyday objects such as pre-wrapped food and such.  Nothing of any great interest, I can assure you.”
“Don’t be so sure of that.”
“Excuse me?”
“You said they left equipment and manuals behind.”
“Yes.”
“And you know what they’re for?  You’ve been able to decipher their language to read the manuals?”
Sina stared straight ahead as the tunnel they were in went from the shocking cold of ice to the familiar and artificially grown crystal tunnels that denoted Tok’ra decor.  With the change in environment came a change in temperature, and within a few dozen feet, Daniel felt the need to unzip his polar jacket.
“You haven’t, have you?” he asked after enduring Sina’s silence for far longer than answering the question required. “Telling us about the child was only half of the story wasn’t it?  You also need our help deciphering the language.”
“How astute of you, Doctor Jackson.”
Daniel couldn’t be sure—his familiarity with this particular Tok’ra only covered the last day—but he heard a certain sting in her tone that immediately put his senses on high alert.  “And you couldn’t just ask?  Surely you knew we’d ask about the contents of the lab at some point.”
“Daniel?”
Daniel looked over his shoulder at Jack, his eyes conveying a look of suspicion that he was sure his friend wouldn’t miss.  “It’s nothing, Jack.  We’re just… clarifying a few points.”
“Uh-huh, anything I should know about?  Deceptions? Plots to blow up suns, that type of thing?”
“You’ll be the first to know.”
“Right,” Jack drawled, tipping his head back and giving Daniel a ‘whatever you say’ nod and matching grin.  “Just be sure you remember that.”
“Yes, Jack.”
“Colonel O’Neill is quite a difficult man.”
Sina’s comment threw Daniel off guard and a quick study of her carefully schooled features left him clueless as to the significance of the statement.  Frowning, he murmured just loud enough for her to hear, “He’s just cautious.  Always looking out for his team, that sort of thing.  I’m sure the Tok’ra are the same?”
“The Tok’ra do not generally operate off world as a unit, Doctor Jackson.  We have no need to maintain strong bonds while in the relative safety of our home base.”
“But you are off world.” Daniel waved at hand to encompass the crystalline tunnel surrounding them.  “This isn’t your home base so surely you have some heightened sense of security here. I don’t see that as any different from the way we operate as a team.”
“Yes, I’m sure you are quite right.”
“And would I also be quite right in assuming that you weren’t able to translate the Azanti writing you discovered?”
“You would.  This research facility is quite small and our resources are limited.  Even our best xeno linguist was unable to glean more than the smallest amount of information from the material we recovered.”
“But they could read some of it.”
“No. What we were able to learn came from studying diagrams that accompanied the text.  Our linguist, Zanir, admitted that the Azanti text was too complicated for her limited skills.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand.” Daniel didn’t bother masking his confusion. “Why not just bring a sample of the writing with you to Earth?  For that matter, why didn’t you bring the boy with you to start with?  You could have easily done that before even telling us he was infected with a Goa’uld.”
“Symbiote.”
“Little difference.”
Sina spun on her heels, raising herself up to his height, her eyes flashing with annoyance.  “There is quite a difference, Doctor, as you are more than aware.  We chose not to bring the child to Earth out of a fear of your acceptance of him for just this very reason.”
“My acceptance was never in question.”
Jack coughed from behind. “Daniel?”
“They’re hiding something,” Daniel admitted coolly, peripherally aware of the Tok’ra escorts closing in around him.  “They’ve been hiding something from the start.”  Not daring to lose eye contact with Sina, Daniel caught a flash of movement as Jack’s grip tensed on his P-90, his finger teasing the trigger guard.
“Anyone wanna tell me what’s going on here?”
“A misunderstanding, Colonel,” Sina’s answer was calm, almost bordering on smug.  “I’m sure Doctor Jackson is probably tired from today’s events.”
“Doctor Jackson,” Daniel returned hotly through clenched teeth, “feels just fine. He just wants an answer to his questions.”
“O-kay,” Jack called out in an obvious attempt to break the tension in the air. “Perhaps we need to take a step back for a moment.  Daniel?  You might want give the lady some room to breath there.”
Holding Sina’s impassive stare, Daniel dared himself to move but Tok’ra’s abrasive manner and evasive answers rang alarm bells in his mind.  Having their own IDC, and under the terms of the Tok’ra/Tau’ri alliance, it would have been a simple exercise for them to bring the boy to Earth.  There had been nothing in Sina’s carefully worded report to conclude that the child was a threat, so why the remote location?  Finally breaking her intense gaze, Daniel took a step back, and planting his hands on his hips, looked across at Jack.  “I know she’s hiding something, Jack.”
“She’s a Tok’ra, Daniel!  Surely you remember what they’re like?  All seriousness, deceit, and not a whole lot of fun?”
“You’re kidding, right?  I’ve just told you she’s hiding something and you pass it off as a joke?”
“Daniel!” Sam called out.
“I never said that.” Jack shot back, his jaw set. “Daniel, the Tok’ra are always hiding something.  It’s in their nature to be deceptive, something we learned a long time ago.”
“And what?  We just let them get away with everything?”
“No, and it pains me to say this, but we’ve got an alliance to uphold.  One that you helped broker.”
Reading Jack’s expression and getting the message loud and clear, Daniel let his shoulders relax a little and eased the moment by scrubbing a hand across his eyes. “I guess I am tired.”
“There ya go,” Jack added quickly, stepping forward to clamp a hand on Daniel’s shoulder and drag him back to his side.  “I’m sure we can find a moment for you to get some shut-eye when we reach our destination.  Wherever that is.”
“We have facilities for you to rest in at our base.” Sina’s cautiously guarded expression never softened even after Daniel had backed away, and turning away from the team, a quick hand signal for her escorts to fall in, she hurried off at a brisk pace down the tunnel.
“Jack…”
“Not a word, Daniel.”
“But—”
“Contrary to popular belief, I wasn’t born yesterday.”  Jack turned to Sam and Teal’c, nodding to them both in turn, and Daniel was sure he’d just issued some unspoken order as both of his teammates stiffened and took off after the quickly disappearing Tok’ra.
“What’s going on?”
Giving Daniel a small shove forward, Jack whispered under his breath, “Just me watching your six.”
The answer was simple but the implication was obvious.  Whatever Jack had said in front of Sina was clearly meant to placate the Tok’ra’s growing unease with Daniel, and his own acknowledgement that the half truths Daniel had picked up on where just part of a bigger lie.

By Daniel’s estimation, the Tok’ra research facility was buried several kilometres inside a mountain, although not knowing the exact location of the Stargate in relation to the said mountain paid farewell to any real idea of where they actually were.  The winding tunnels had finally given way to rooms and chambers, all made using Tok’ra crystals.
“I’ve seen this before.” The words rolled off of his tongue before Daniel recognised how silly they sounded.  “I mean, the layout is familiar. Ravanna, right?”
“That’s right.  All Tok’ra facilities are designed this way, Daniel,” Sam offered casually, waving towards a series of living quarters.  “My father told me that the Tok’ra rarely vary their designs when they change locations as the familiarity allows them to escape quickly in the likelihood of attack.”
“Doesn’t that also put them at greater risk from an enemy that might know this and have access to their tunnel layout?”
“Probably, but it’s a tradition they’ve maintained for centuries according to Selmac, and I guess they see no reason to change it.”
Daniel shrugged.  “Seems a little self sacrificing to me.”
“Greetings, SG-1.”  The team turned in unison as an older male Tok’ra approached him, a warm smile on his face and his hands held wide open.  “I am Tolaris and I bid you welcome to Nesra.  We have prepared quarters for you all in which to rest.  I do hope you don’t mind sharing.  We are quite limited with space at the moment and not used to having visitors.”
“We’ll be fine, thank you Tolaris,” Sam replied in kind.
“Excellent! If you’ll follow me, please.” The Tok’ra held a hand out to indicate a tunnel to his left and stepped into line as the team passed by.  “We are quite isolated here as you can understand but the exploits of SG-1 of the Tau’ri are well talked about.  I have had the pleasure of meeting your father, Major Carter.”
“You have?” Sam slowed her pace a little to allow Tolaris to catch up.
“Indeed.  Selmac and I have been acquainted for many centuries, even venturing out on missions together.  Of course, that was some time ago, and certainly well before he was blended with your father.”
“Really?  I don’t get to see enough of him anymore.”
“I can quite understand that.  The Tok’ra way of life must seem quite alien to you but I assure you that Jacob and Selmac have achieved much together since their joining.  You must be quite proud of him.”
Sam pulled off her cap and ruffled a hand through her hair. “Yes, well, he was never the writing and calling kind so I guess nothing has changed there.”
Tolaris chuckled softly in response.  “They are both solitary people, their joining has greatly benefited them both.”
“Tolaris, what exactly is your role here, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“I’m a geneticist.”
“Really?” Sam’s brows rose in surprise. “And you used to go on missions with Selmac.  I can’t imagine what type of mission would require a geneticist.”
“And unfortunately, as you can probably understand, I can not elaborate.”
Sam gave the man a tight but understanding smile as he led them towards their quarters.
“Ah! Here we are,” he announced guiding the team into a spacious room lined with sleeping platforms and crystal formed tables and chairs.  “I trust you will be comfortable.  We have provided refreshment and nourishment for you,” he said waving towards a table, heavily laden with an assortment of food.  “This should prove more appetizing than your rations.  I have to return to my responsibilities, but should you require anything there is a communications panel next to the entryway.  Sina will be here shortly to take you through to Da’nar.”
“I wanted to ask you about that.”  Daniel raised a hand to get Tolaris’s attention.  “I understood that we’d be seeing him right away.”
Tolaris looked slightly bemused and glanced fleetingly at the entranceway.  “He is unavailable at the moment.  I’m sure when the time is right, Sina will take you through to him.”
“Unavailable?”  Jack asked quizzically.
“Resting most likely.  Please,” Tolaris waved towards the table again, “I’m sure you will not have to wait long.  Avail yourself of the refreshments.”  Turning on his heels he left the room.
“Attending to….  Why would a boy be attending to other business?” Daniel unclipped his pack and let it slide off his back onto the ground.  Pinching the bridge of his nose, he looked across at the offering on the table and then up at his teammates.  “Tell me I’m not the only one that thinks something is a little screwy here?”
Jack didn’t reply and merely looked at the door-less entrance, shrugging his own pack off.  “The walls have ears, Daniel.”
“Oh, right, and Sina doesn’t already know I’m on to her little act?  I hardly think it matters now, Jack.”
“Probably not, but just to be sure… Carter?  Teal’c?”
Wordlessly, the pair moved off to check out the rest of the room as Jack moved in face to face with Daniel.  “This is new.”
“What is?”
“You’ve always been the questioning type of guy.  Ask first, action later.  Not that I don’t like this shift in view, per se, but what’s with taking on the Tok’ra head to head?”
“I-I’m sorry?” Daniel stuttered under the weight of Jack’s accusatory stare.
“Don’t misunderstand, but you’ve never been the type to rush in like a bull at a gate.  I’m the one that usually gets blamed for that and it’s normally you doing the blaming.”
“They’re hiding something, Jack.”
“Yeah,” Jack whispered, leaning in closer to Daniel’s ear, “I got that loud and clear.”
“Actions speak louder than words?”
“Right now, with you they do.”
Daniel palmed his eyes and dragged in a deep breath. “So? What?  You want me to tone it down?”
“Let’s just watch how this plays out for the moment.”
“All clear, sir,” Sam announced as she and Teal’c finished the sweep of the room and made their way back to the table.  “Not that that means a lot.  Who knows what new technology the Tok’ra have got their hands on.”
“It’ll have to be enough, Carter.  Take a break, all of you, and get something to eat.  I’m guessing the Tok’ra aren’t gonna let us near the kid till they’re good and ready.  Daniel, that goes double for you.”
“Huh?”
“Looked in the mirror lately?  You look like crap.”
“Ouch!”
“He’s right, Daniel.”  Sam nudged him playfully on her way to the table. “Food might help.”
“Mother hen.”

Da’nar had quickly grown to hate the quietness of his own mind.  He missed the intimacy of conversation and the sometimes heated debates that ultimately left him as much fulfilled with his choice to be blended as it was Malek’s gratification to share his body.  Losing Malek only centuries into their blending was a tremendous blow, even though he had understood and reluctantly agreed to the parting.
A disease that afflicted Goa’uld and Tok’ra symbiotes alike had caught Malek at a relatively young age, and while its progress was slow, they both recognized the symptoms immediately.  Much to Da’nar’s delight, Malek wasn’t willing to go down without a fight, despite initially trying to persuade him to host another Tok’ra symbiote.  Resigned to a slow death, good fortune found them when SG-1 discovered the symbiote breeding tanks on Pangar along with Tok’ra spawn queen, Egeria.
The symbiotes sparked an idea in Malek so absurd in its originality that Da’nar could hardly believe what he was agreeing to.  After months of careful planning, they were almost ready to set their plan in motion, but then fortune once again fell in their lap in the shape of a recently descended Doctor Daniel Jackson.
The lure of Jackson’s mind was too tempting and the secrets of the Ancients that Malek was sure the Tau’ri possessed, called out to him like a siren.  Da’nar argued that the risk was too high and there was no way they could blend another mind into the mix, but Malek held fast to his reasoning and eventually won out.  The symbiotes that the Pangarans had forced Egeria to spawn would soon become the next generation of Tok’ra, and Malek and Da’nar would the first of their kind.
Malek was a brilliant mind and far more cunning than the Tok’ra High Council realized.  Da’nar was a willing participant in Malek’s enlightened plans, and enjoyed nothing more than to watch from the recesses of his mind as his friend slowly wove himself into a position of great strength within the Tok’ra ranks.  Nesra was Malek’s goal.
The outpost was one of the Tok’ra’s most carefully guarded secrets because it was difficult to defend and buried deep in the heart Goa’uld occupied space.  The region had been fought over for centuries by one System Lord or another and was currently under the control of Ba’al.  To the unknowing, Nesra was a dead piece of rock orbiting one of the outer planets in a red dwarf system.  Cold and utterly lifeless, it warranted no attention, but as front line outpost for the Tok’ra, its location served as a perfect window to monitor the ongoing quest for galactic domination played out by the System Lords.
Nesra held another secret though.  One which the Tok’ra stumbled upon quite accidently when one of their Tel’tak’s crashed on its surface decades earlier during a skirmish with Olokun’s fleet.  Not only did it support a thin atmosphere, but it icy outer shell hid a core that was composed of a metal alloy whose properties effectively disrupted senor readings.  It had taken time and the best scientific minds the Tok’ra could gather, but in a well staged operation, they had managed to establish a base in plain sight of the Goa’uld.  Complete with a fully operational gate, Nesra was now the eyes and ears of the Tok’ra.
Malek coveted Nesra.  Its seclusion was perfect for a plan that only he and Da’nar were privy to.  Crucial to a successful outcome were the accomplices whose loyalties they relied on heavily.  In short order, and without raising the suspicions of the High Council, the staffing of Nesra had been cunningly rotated, and Malek’s plan was ready.
“Da’nar, is he ready?”  Da’nar stiffened at Sina’s intrusion into his thoughts, not failing to recognize the slight clip she put on his name. Malek had warned him against Sina’s brusque attitude and the possibility that her feelings towards him might change once he was unblended.  Despite heeding his friend’s words, Da’nar wasn’t prepared for the abruptness with which the change in Sina had come about.  Malek’s removal had been as painless as his symbiote friend could possibly make it for him, but Sina’s shift in attitude had been severe, and Da’nar once again questioned why he’d gone along with Malek’s plan.
Not bothering to answer her, Da’nar double checked the metal cuffs restraining Doctor Jackson to the lab table.  The Tau’ri scientists, like the rest of his team, was heavily sedated thanks to a sleeping agent Tolaris had placed in their food and drink.  Still, they could take no chances, and the drug that could only be administered once in a short space of time, would wear off in time.
Malek had made it abundantly clear that the procedure they were about to attempt carried with it a high chance of failure, and not just to the symbiote.  Da’nar, of course, knew the risks.  He had been a privileged and willing participant in the planning process and knew every painstaking step in the procedure, having conducted it once already on Malek.
“Da’nar?”
“Yes!” he shot back hotly, keeping his back to her to avoid looking at the small smile of pity she seemed to wear only for him. “He is ready. What of the rest of his team?”
“What about them?” Sina asked in a disinterested tone.
“What do you intend to do with them? The Tau’ri have the address for Nesra and will come looking for them once they are overdue.”
“They will find the base empty and their companions gone,” she confessed casually.
Da’nar straightened quickly and spun to face her, jaw set.  “You plan on killing them?”
Hands clasped neatly in front of her body, Sina cocked her head to one side, top lip twitching into a sneer.  “What would you have me do?”
“What would I…?  Why needlessly complicate the situation and risk the alliance with the Tau’ri by disposing of their premier team when there is a much simpler solution?  We knew once the transferences had taken place that we’d have to leave Nesra and the Tok’ra behind.  The duplicity of our actions assured as that we would no longer have a home with our brethren, but at the same time we were not prepared to do anything that might throw the balance of the alliance into jeopardy.  We all knew and accepted our fate.”
Sina judged him with her eyes, her calmness belying a calculating mind that Da’nar was definitely starting to have doubts about.
“You know as well as I do that the alliance with the Tau’ri has been in doubt for some time.  Their inability to control the events on the Alpha site seriously clouded our faith in them as suitable allies and their support of the Free Jaffa movement drove a wedge in our future operations.  The High Council were fools.  They compromised the identities of our operatives the moment they agreed to the alliance gathering at the Alpha site.  We had no way of knowing who amongst the Jaffa was truly loyal to the concept of the Free Nation and who was just there to infiltrate its ranks and report back to the System Lords.”
“And for this you would have them killed?”  Da’nar returned bitterly.  “We trusted you.  Malek’s fondness for you still runs deep in me but you would betray him as easily as you would your own people.”
“You are a fool, Da’nar,” Sina hissed, her eyes gloating with satisfaction. “Do not misinterpret my actions for those of a traitor.  You know that the Tok’ra have become weaker in the eyes of the System Lords since the Tau’ri opened their Stargate and took a dominant role in their affairs.  The days of passively infiltrating their ranks have long gone and we have now gone defensive, barely to establish one base before being forced to move on to a new location.  This is what the Tau’ri have done.  This is what they have reduced us to.”
Da’nar shook his head sadly at her, a pity sigh escaping his lips.  “Now you would kill these people,” he said waving a hand in Daniel’s direction, “and not only effectively end the alliance but have the Tau’ri and the Tok’ra High Council hunt us down.”
“The Tok’ra will be occupied dismissing the blame the Tau’ri will undoubtedly place on them for the loss of SG-1, and we will be long gone,” Sina scoffed as she crossed the room to stand by the head of Jackson’s bed, peering intently at him as he slept on oblivious to his fate.  “What we achieve here today is far more important than the pettiness that has ruled the High Council for so long.  Once they become aware of what we have created, they will not want to share that knowledge with the Tau’ri and the alliance will end.”
“You hope.”
“I know,” Sina said dismissively, and reaching out, she gently ran a finger down the side of Jackson’s face, pausing briefly at his jaw before making a line to his collar bone.  “With the knowledge that Doctor Jackson holds on the Ancients, the council would be fool’s to keep up this farcical alliance.”
Jackson’s breath hitched under her touch as Sina trailed the leading each of her nail down his bare chest, leaving a red toughed imprint in its wake, and flinching involuntarily, Da’nar turned away to busy himself with the next phase of the procedure.
One half of a set of modified Tok’ra memory recall devices sat snugly in its box, the only flaw in its smooth metal surface was a white wire that jutted out from its edge snaked its way to a piece of machinery next to Jackson’s bed.  Picking up the device, Da’nar sat it on his palm and inspected it closely, trying to push back a wave of nervousness that had settled in his gut as he recalled the last time he’d used it.
Malek’s instructions had been carefully ordered, and they’d both spent long hours pouring over every detail and checking that the modifications made to the device.  There would be no pre-testing done.  How could there be?  To Da’nar’s horror, there would only be one trial before turning the device on Doctor Jackson, and that would be on Malek himself.
The procedure to extract Malek had been short and relatively painless.  The method was one the Tok’ra had perfected over the centuries but rarely had cause to use, but none the less, Da’nar was relieved when he woke up to find Malek swimming sluggishly but very much alive in a tank by his bed.  Blinking slowly at first, the sight of Malek doing likewise from his watery room, Da’nar felt his breath quicken as a wave of grief washed over him with the sudden realization that he was alone with his thoughts.  So used to sharing a consciousness was he, that the echo of silence was deafening.  Holding his head in his hands, Da’nar had tried in vain to close down his thoughts but Malek’s sudden head-butting of his tank drew his attention.  He didn’t need his friend shouting in his mind to understand that Malek was trying to focus him, to remind him of his obligation and the promises he’d made to carry through with their plan.  Nodding his understanding and biting back his fear, Da’nar pressed a palm to the tank and Malek rubbed his long body against it, their bonding still strong.
Given enough time to recover from the physical demands of the extraction process, Sina had pressed Da’nar to move to the next phase.  In Nesra’s small but well equipped science lab sat two tanks both holding a symbiote.  Malek was instantly recognizable to him even though outwardly, there were almost identical.  Coiled in the bottom of his tank, Malek’s head rested on the smooth glass floor, weighed down slightly by the memory recall device attached to his skull.  A thin wire ran from the device, up and out of the tank and plugged into a consol.  From the same console, another wire, red this time, ran out and over to another tank on the opposite side of the room.  Inside this tank, suspended in its life giving waters, and supported by a wire frame ringed with appendages that held it in place, sat another symbiote.  Secured firmly to its head was the matching partner to the device attached to Malek.  One end the transmitter, the other the receiver, the information passed between the two devices could only flow in one direction.
Da’nar tried to control the loathing he felt for the creature that had began when he and Malek had stolen it from the breeding tanks on Pangar.  Acquired while the naïve Pangarans were too taken up with their own problems, and still reeling from the loss of their spawn queen, they had posited the symbiote in a containment vessel and packed it amongst their belongings.  Following the litter bearers carrying Egeria’s body to the gate, Malek quietly assured the Pangarans that the Tok’ra scientists would work quickly towards the prototype antidote for them, and took his leave.  Ushering the small delegation back through the gate to their temporary home base.
The maneuver hadn’t been without its risks though.  While positive the Pangarans weren’t going to miss one symbiote, hiding its presence from other Tok’ra would prove difficult, but as quickly as Malek had devised this plan, Da’nar had provided the answer.  Citing the urgency with which Kelmaa, whose lifeless body Egeria now rested in, would need to be examined, Da’nar had suggested taking her straight to Nesra.  The facility was the only secure location the Tok’ra had left after a sudden Goa’uld attack destroyed their last home base.
Da’nar pushed away the memories, dwelling on them any further would not serve to get the task finished.  Twirling the small device between his thumb and index finger, he looked across at Jackson’s lax features, so calm in his forced sleep.  This was the part of the operation that Da’nar really didn’t see the need for, but which Sina had so eagerly agreed to.  Her involvement in the operation to destroy Anubis’ weapon had given her a front row seat to Doctor Jackson’s recovery of his memory, and the astonishing intelligence that he possessed.
The enigma that he had been to those of the Tok’ra that hadn’t had the opportunity to meet him, had only been compounded by Sina’s slightly guardedly but none-the-less detailed report of his achievements.  Jackson staunchly declared that he had no recollection of his time as an ascended being, a point that most of the SGC seemed to believe and accept without question, but Sina had seen in the man a quality that left her openly questioning his declaration.
If legend was truer than fact, then there was definitely the possibility that Daniel Jackson knew more than what he was willing to reveal.
It was that niggling shred of doubt that drew Malek’s interest in the man.

 

Voices teased the edge of Daniel’s consciousness just loudly enough that ignoring them wasn’t worth the effort of trying, and prying one eye open, he quickly snapped it shut as the room’s bright glare sent a stabbing protest to his brain.
Dragging in a shuddering breath to clear his mind, Daniel tried again, this time opening his eyes slowly, giving them time to grow accustomed to the sever light.  Above him, an unfamiliar face came slowly into focus.
“Good.  You are awake.  We can commence with the procedure.”
“What?”  Daniel tensed and tried to sit up, only to find that he was secured at his wrists, waist, and ankles by manacles.  “What’s going on?” he asked, testing his bonds.
“Relax, Doctor Jackson.  You will only injure yourself if you fight against the restraints.”
“Who are you and where is the rest of my team?  What the hell is happening here?”
“All in good—”
“Don’t give me that ‘all in good time’ crap.  The Tok’ra aren’t usually in the habit of strapping their allies to a bed.”
“It is for your own protection.”
“Against what?  Who are you?”
The man stepped away from the bed to regard Daniel from a distance, his arms crossed.  “My name is Da’nar.  I am a Tok’ra host.”
“Wait. A host? Since when have the Tok’ra needed to differentiate between the hosted and un-hosted?”
“They haven’t.  Until very recently I was host to Malek.”
“Malek,” Daniel rolled the name around in his mouth, brows pinched in concentration as he searched his memories.  “I’ve heard the name but I can’t place your face.”
“Which is not surprising, Doctor Jackson.  The only interaction Malek and I have had with the SGC occurred while you were ascended.  Unfortunately we did not have the privilege of meeting you earlier.”
“The Alpha site, right?  You were the Tok’ra representative in the alliance talks with the rebel Jaffa.”
“Correct.”
“And Malek?  What happened to him? From what I can remember, the Tok’ra only surrenders a host if it is dying.  You look pretty healthy to me.”
“Malek was ill.  That is all you need to know.”
“Ill?” Daniel shifted against his bonds again, wincing as the metal restraints bit into his ankles.  “Which doesn’t tell me what I’m doing here and where my team is.”
“Your friends are safe.”
“And me?”
“You, Doctor Jackson, are a commodity we intend to exploit.”  Sina’s even tone broke into the conversation from across the room.  Twisting his head in her direction, Daniel could just see her standing at the edge of his limited vision.
“Sina?”
“I regret the ruse we employed to get you here, but it will only be a matter of time before the High Council becomes aware of our actions and moves against Nesra.”
“What?  A ruse? You mean the boy.”
“A fabrication,” Sina confessed without remorse. “A means of enticement.”
“Shoulda’ known.”
“It was most fortunate for us that you did not.”
“Of course,” Daniel sang with a sigh, and, rocking in his restraints, asked, “When do we get to the part where you tell me what’s going on?”
Da’nar moved a way out of sight to be replaced moments later by Sina, the operative shuffling a piece of equipment closer to his bed.  Although standing at an angle to his bed, Daniel could see just enough of the device to recognize it from a previous encounter.  “Memory recall?” Panic caught in his throat as the implications of his predicament became clear.  “You plan on accessing my ascended memories?” Daniel fought against the restraints, flexing his wrists and twisting his ankles, the bed shifting with his every movement.  “You can’t do this.  The Tok’ra had access to my medical file; you know there’s nothing there.  The Ancients took it all before they descended me.”
“You will forgive us if we are not quite convinced, Doctor Jackson.”
“Don’t do this,” Daniel pleaded as Da’nar stepped up to the bed and held out the memory device before pressing it into his temple.
“Argh!”
“The pain will subside momentarily,” Da’nar offered sympathetically.
Sina moved away to give Da’nar more space.  Reaching over to the console, he picked up a thin white wire and attached it to the memory device.
“What is that?” Daniel snapped, twisting his head to the side to block the device from Da’nar.
“A simple monitoring device, nothing more.  It can’t harm you.”
“No.  You’re doing that all by yourself.”
Noise.  The sound of casters rolling across the floor caused Daniel to suddenly look to his right as Sina rolled in a circular fluid filled tank, a symbiote floating motionless in its briny water.
“No!” he cried, attempting to twist his whole body now.  “Please.  Don’t do this.”
Two hands clamped onto his shoulder, forcing him back against the bed.  “Stop,” Da’nar shot at him hotly, “the symbiote is mine!”
“What?”  Daniel slumped back against the bed, wrenching his gaze away from the dormant symbiote to look up at Da’nar. “Yours?”
“Mine.”
“Tell him,” Sina ordered with a tolerant sigh.
Da’nar’s mouth tightened and, nodding curtly, he moved around the end of the bed and stood in front of the tank, resting a hand on the outer casing.  “This,” he said, one finger tapping the side, “is Malek.  The new Malek.”
“I-I don’t understand,” Daniel stammered.  “New?’
“The Malek I knew, the symbiote I hosted for many centuries, is dead.  There is a disease common amongst both the Tok’ra and the Goa’uld, and while it is most prevalent in older symbiotes, it is not always the case.  It is not a topic actively discussed among our people.”  A flutter of movement at the bottom of the tank caught Da’nar’s attention.  The symbiote lifted its head, a ripple of movements shuddering down its body, and Da’nar smiled appreciatively as though he recognized the action. The symbiote coiling its long body up and resting its head back on the bottom of the tank.  Standing, Da’nar looked back across at Daniel.  “Before Malek died we were able to use the modified memory device to effectively transfer his memories to another symbiote.”
“That’s impossible,” Daniel argued, gaze switching between Malek and Da’nar, brows hitched in surprise. “We already know that all symbiotes are born with the genetic memory of the spawn queen.  Transferring the consciousness of one symbiote to another would be no better than a human hosting a Goa’uld, possibly even worse.  The meshing of memories would be devastating if both symbiotes came from different queens.” Daniel paused, his frown deepening as he gazed back over at the symbiote.  “Unless…”
“Unless you had access to a symbiote that was born without the genetic memory of the spawn queen,” Da’nar finished for him.
“The Pangarans.”
Da’nar’s lips twitched with the briefest of smiles before he schooled his expression.  “I see you have heard of them.”
“They found the Tok’ra Queen Egeria in a stasis jar and forced her to spawn symbiotes for them which they then used to create Tretonin.”  Chewing on his lip, Daniel met Da’nar’s expressionless eyes.  “The Tok’ra synthesized the drug and offered it to the Jaffa, freeing them from the need to carry a symbiote.  I read the report.”
“And did the report mention that it was Malek who returned Egeria to the Tok’ra?”
Closing his eyes briefly, Daniel tried to mentally dig up the details from the mission report.  “She died after another Tok’ra offered herself up as a host.”
“For a few brief moments we were able to talk to our Queen again.”
“This is all fascinating but what does it—”
“The symbiotes she spawned were all born without the genetic memory of the Goa’uld.  Egeria sabotaged her own children so that the Pangarans would have no further need for her.  I believe you would call these symbiotes ‘blank slates’.”
Daniel twisted to look back down at the symbiote, still sitting lifelessly at the bottom of its tank.  “And this is now Malek?”
“Malek revealed his condition only days before the mission to Pangar, and discovering these symbiotes gave us an opportunity that we wouldn’t have otherwise had.  Obtaining a symbiote without the Pangarans knowledge proved more difficult, but not impossible. Once we had secured the symbiote and taken control of this facility without alerting the High Council, it was only a matter of modifying the memory recall device to allow for the transfer of memories from one subject to another.”
“From Malek to the Pangaran symbiote.”
“Correct.  Unfortunately, the procedure called for Malek to be extracted first.”
Face scrunched in thought, Daniel closed his eyes briefly, taking a moment to sort his thoughts.  “Why not just do the transfer while you were still hosting him?”
“Impossible.  The memory a symbiote holds—Tok’ra or Goa’uld—is vast, especially so in the case of an older symbiote who may have taken many hosts.  While the Goa’uld do not blend with their hosts—choosing only to share what they deem necessary to keep the host subdued—the Tok’ra do.  Even in blending, it is impossible in most cases for the symbiote to share all of its knowledge.  A Tok’ra symbiote like Selmak, who is many thousands of years old, may have had multiple hosts so sharing a lifetime worth of its own memories and that of all its previous hosts would be too much for the human mind to accept.”  Da’nar stopped for a moment, turning his attention back to the tank and lifting the lid.
Despite Da’nar’s assurances that the symbiote was not for him, Daniel couldn’t help but tense up as the lid popped off.  Twisting his wrists to and fro within the restraints, attention fixed on Da’nar, he searched for any weakness in the metal.
“The only way to be sure that we were transferring all of the memory from Malek was to do it via a direct interface.” Da’nar picked up the matching half of the device Daniel wore on his temple, and reaching into the tank, he carefully cradled Malek in his hands and lifted him to the surface.  “When Malek was removed,” Da’nar continued as he pressed the device into the head of the symbiote and released it to settle back at the bottom of the tank, “it was up to me to oversee the rest of his plan.”
“Which was?”
“Which was where you come in, Doctor Jackson.”

George Hammond strode through the blast doors into the embarkation room just as Jacob Carter strode down the gate ramp, a welcome smile on his face.
“George,” Jacob called out good naturedly, pulling his friend’s hand into a firm shake.  “How have you been?”
“Good.” George turned and waved a hand towards the door. “Business or pleasure, Jacob?”
“Purely social.” Jacob’s smile darkened briefly. “Selmac and I took a few hits during our last mission and the High Council thought I might appreciate some downtime with the family.”
George turned to assess Jacob as they strode from the gateroom.  “Rather generous of them.”
“Very,” Jacob agreed. “When have you ever known the High Council to force a vacation on someone?”
“Like I said.”
“Well,” he sucked in a long breath and shrugged, “I’m taking what I can get.  Sam in her lab?  I’m kind of hoping she can be spared a day to visit Mark and the kids.”
“She’s not here, Jacob.”
“Off world?”
“I assumed you knew.”
Jacob pulled George up short, stepping to one side to let an airman pass.  “Knew what?”
“The High Council didn’t tell you?”
“George?”
“Not here,” George added, opening the door to the stairwell leading up to the briefing room.  Crossing the vast room, he led Jacob into his office and gestured to a chair on the other side of the desk.
“A little over a day ago,” he started, slipping into his chair and leaning back with his hands laced over his stomach, “a Tok’ra operative came to us with news of a child that had been recovered in an Azanti stronghold.”
“Azanti?” Jacob raised his brows questioningly.  “Are you sure about that?”
“Positive.”
“George, I’ve never heard of them.”
George shrugged. “According to Sina, both the lab and the boy were only discovered only a few days ago.  How long have you been back?”
“This morning, but I debriefed with the council right away and there was no mention of a child or the Azanti.  And you said it was Sina that told you this?”
“Yes.”
Jacob frowned. “That can’t be.  Sina was sent undercover on one of Amaterasu’s motherships straight after the confrontation with Anubis.  According to the council, her fleet is currently moving between systems on the outer edge of the galaxy.”
“I’m telling you, Jacob.  She was here only yesterday.  I can pull the security footage if you’d like.”
“No,” Jacob waved away the offer.  “I believe you. So, what about the child and who are the Azanti?”
“The child is a clone—”
“Clone?” Jacob echoed in mock disbelief.
“Of Doctor Jackson, yes.  According to the information we were given, he was found in a bio chamber inside an Azanti lab by Tok’ra operatives and taken to a secluded base.”
Jacob frowned briefly and dipped his head before looking up at George like he was peering over the rim of a pair of glasses.  “General Hammond,” he announced in the gravely tones of Selmac, his symbiote.
“Selmac.”
“I fear you have been deceived.”
“In what way?”
“Jacob was quite correct when he said Sina had been sent on a mission to infiltrate Amaterasu’s fleet.  It is impossible for her to have been anywhere else.”
“What are you saying? You think she’s gone rogue?”
“I think considering the High Council believes she is elsewhere, it is certainly a possibility.”
George shifted uncomfortably in his chair, hands sliding down to the armrests, one finger tapping the leather impatiently. “What about the Azanti?”
Selmac shifted in his chair.  “I am unfamiliar with them.”
“According to Sina, the Azanti were the race that infiltrated the SGC four years ago using the mimic devices we have secured at Area 51.”
“I recall that the SGC later approached us for information on these aliens.”
“And you hadn’t heard of them back then either,” Hammond concluded.
“No.  A point which has not changed.”
“Are you telling me this was all a set up of some kind?”
“I firmly believe it to be possible, yes.” Rising from his chair, Selmac stood at the threshold of George’s office and looked down into the vacant gateroom, the ‘gate standing tall and silent.  “You have the address of the planet, SG-1 left for?” he asked after a moment’s interlude.
“We have the gate address that Sina gave us, yes, but if what you’re saying is true, it may well not have been their final destination.”

Jack’s face was wet and his tastebuds were confusing him with a variety of flavors that definitely didn’t seem to coming from the same source.  Realizing his legs were bent and his butt supported on something cold and mighty unforgiving, he quickly figured he was sitting down, though he had no idea how he got there.
“Carter,” mumbling, Jack tried to open his eyes only to discover he was sitting down with his face firmly planted in a platter of fruit, most of which was either wedged in his mouth or stuck to his face.  “Gah!”
“Sir?”
Jack gripped the edge of the table and pushed himself upright, his vision greying out slightly before settling on Carter draped across a sleeping mat, blinking at him like he was an apparition.
Making a face, Jack reached up and haphazardly batted away some fruit stuck to his cheek and forehead, grimacing as his wayward hand connected with his nose.  “Ow,” he groaned.  “Carter, why was I sleeping in a fruit bowl?”
Sam pressed her palms to her temple as she struggled to sit upright.  “Had to be softer than the landing I had,” she grumbled under her breath, eyes squeezed shut.
“We have been drugged, O’Neill.”
Teal’c’s voice carried through the air from behind Jack and, twisting in his seat, he caught the big man slouched against a far wall, his normally dark complexion now waxen.
“You look horrible,” Jack stated rather obviously as Teal’c found enough energy to raise one eyebrow in opposition.
“It makes sense, sir.” Carter cut in. “You would never allow us to all sleep at the same time on a mission—”
“Aht!” Holding a finger in the air, Jack slid out of his chair and rose on shaky legs, flexing his knees.  Stretching his back, he rose to full height and looked to his right, then left, before turning in a complete circle.  “Anyone seen Daniel?”
Teal’c scrambled to his feet using the wall for support as he quickly scanned the room, face set in a deep scowl.  Sam did likewise.  Shuffling off the sleeping mat, she levered herself up, holding tightly to the table.
“Is it possible Daniel Jackson awoke and left the room?”
Jack wasn’t so sure anymore.  In the team’s early years, he would have said “most definitely”, but this new Daniel was more edgy, more military minded and aware of the role he played in the team.  More military minded? Definitely not a term he ever thought he’d be labelling Daniel with, but the truth was in the beholding and even the rest of his team had noticed the difference.
Despite his misgivings, Jack was reluctant to dismiss the idea of Daniel having simply walked off, and wandering over to the door, he found the way blocked by a force field.  As his boot connected with the barrier, it sent a brilliant blue contact spark arcing across the entrance to the room, lighting up the doorway for the briefest of moments.  “Son of a…” Jack hissed, his whole body jolting with the charge of an electrical shock that worked its way through him from the tip of his boot.  “Carter!”
Approaching the barrier, Sam held her hand up close, feeling the hum of the static charge vibrating against her palm.  “We know the Tok’ra do use force fields, sir.”
“Tanith?”
“Exactly.”
“So,” Jack waved absently at the doorway, “can you get us out of here or not?”
“Probably not,” she conceded with a wince, anticipating his reaction.
“Probably not?  Since when did you give up so easily?”
“I haven’t, sir.  Just facing facts.  Despite their secretive existence, the Tok’ra are brilliant scientists.  Their force field technology has been integrated into the crystalline structure of their walls.  Accessing the activation device isn’t difficult except that it’s on the other side of the field we’re trying to deactivate.”
“So, you’re saying we’re stuck here?”
“Unless another option presents itself, yes.”
“Plan B?”

“No!  Please!” Rising tides of panic swelled in Daniel’s chest, eroding his ability to reason and argue clearly as his pleas fell on deaf ears.  The struggle against his bonds had turned into a physical extension of his fears rather than an attempt to break free, and with every stab of pain the memory device elicited, the restraints bit further into his abused flesh.  Pain ate away at his being, radiating out from the point where the memory device dug into his temple, and reflexively, Daniel tossed his head to the side in an attempt to dislodge it.
A hand gripped his chin roughly, forcing his face to the front while a voice hissed in his ear, “You cannot remove it, do not bother trying.”
“Stop,” Daniel begged between clenched teeth, eyes scrunched tightly closed as his back arched up off the bed as another wave of pain seized his body.  “Sam… Jack… Teal’c?”
“How touching,” Sina purred as she released his chin, a small smile tugging at her lips, “He calls for his comrades.”
“You are enjoying this far too much.”
Ignoring the comment, Sina stood over the bed.  Daniel was quiet for the moment, his head flopping back to one side, eyes glazed and half closed like he was starting to doze off. “Strange really,” she commented, reaching out to trace a finger around the memory device, “I don’t recall Malek suffering in this manner.”
“Their physiology is quite different.  There was no way, with out proper testing, to determine what affect the device would have on different species.  Had we had more time, we might have been able to refine the process and make the transfer more pleasant.”
“Pleasant?”
“You appear to find pleasure in his suffering.”
“I find the transfer is taking far longer than it did with Malek.”
Da’nar turned to the monitoring console and checked the transfer rate, fingers dancing across the display.  “The rate of transfer is much slower than expected.  I have been unable to compensate for his discomfort which may go some way to explaining the slow progress.”
“He is fighting the transfer.”
Da’nar didn’t agree.  “There is no way for him to consciously block the transfer.  The original un-enhanced device was designed to access specific memories by way of a prompt, the level of receptivity manually controlled to augment the wearer’s ability to recall specific events.  A more modern approach to the traditional forms of regression therapy.  This new device has only one setting and is not selective.  Malek theorized that attempting to gain access to Dr. Jackson’s ascended memory would be impossible. The Ancients would have put in sophisticated blocks to ensure the information in his mind could not be accessed by anyone, not even himself.  Taking a complete copy of his mind would at least guarantee that we had lifted his ascended memory along with everything else his mind contains.”
Sina’s eyebrows lifted in surprise before furrowing in thought.  “I agree the methodology is more in-depth but there is no way to be sure that Malek can access those memories any more than Dr. Jackson could.”
“True.  I’m sure Malek will be able to quickly ascertain whether the procedure was successful or not.  However, I think you will find it worth the attempt.  Dr. Jackson’s ascended memory was not the only thing of interest.  The dream planted in his mind by the Harcesis child was another reason, among many, for making the transference.”  Reaching past Sina, Da’nar adjusted the wire on Daniel’s device before turning his attention back to the screen.  Tapping out a sequence on the touch screen interface, he slid two fingers along a particular panel, smiling in satisfaction as Daniel was instantly awakened from his rest.  “There,” he said quietly, “I have found a way to increase the receptivity of the device.”
“I thought it had no level?”
“It didn’t.  Malek and I introduced several false safes to guard against overloading the giver’s mind and passing that overload to the receiver.  I merely took away one of the restrictions while keeping Malek’s mind protected from any possible overflow.”
Malek was settled quietly in his tank while Daniel was bucking off the bed, only the restraints holding him in place, a silent scream caught in his throat.

Just outside the entrance to the lab, and out of Sina and Da’nar’s line of sight, Tolaris watched the proceedings in horror.  The Tok’ra geneticist had regarded Malek’s plan as inspirational.  The opportunity to participate in the birth of a new generation of resistance fighter to the Goa’uld was an opportunity that few Tok’ra would ever have.  The Pangaran symbiotes were an oddity.  No queen had ever willingly spawned such beasts and when he’d first discovered that the spawn queen was their own beloved Egeria, Tolaris’ natural curiosity had led him straight to Malek.
Unable to rely on access to the symbiote tanks on Pangar, they knew a new spawn queen would be needed, but just as Egeria had been the mother of the Tok’ra, all the existing queens were the progenitors of the Goa’uld.  Convincing another queen to sabotage her young in the way Egeria had would be virtually impossible, but Tolaris had sited that his research into symbiote genetics might just give them the answer they needed.
Unfortunately for Tolaris, he wasn’t privy to all of Malek’s plans, and the introduction of SG-1 and Dr. Jackson into the equation was unexpected.  Buoyed by the success of Malek’s memory transfer into the Pangaran symbiote, and the vast potential this new technology offered to the survival of the Tok’ra race, Tolaris had expected his colleagues to present the High Council with their findings and set about negotiating for the use of the surviving Pangaran symbiotes.  The refined Tretonin took away their reliance on the symbiotes and offered them a better quality of life.  Taking the symbiotes as a symbolic payment for the cure seemed only natural.  Quickly though, Tolaris had discovered that his loyalty was misplaced and Malek’s plan was more than he’d been led to believe.
A strangled cried broke into his revelry, and Tolaris turned away from the scene as the young scientist’s body twisted against the restraints, blood from the torn flesh at his wrists dappling onto the lab’s floor.
‘You cannot leave, Tolaris!’
From the deep recess of his mind, his host’s plea bit into his own growing frustration.  Pushing off the wall, leaving the grisly scene behind him, Tolaris quietly made his way into the central tunnel complex towards the living quarters.
‘Coward. You lack the strength to take action against them because they are your friends. They do not deserve your respect.’
‘The research—’
‘Is nothing, Tolaris!  They clearly do not intend to inform the council of the work they have done here, no more than they told you of their plans.  You have been nothing more than a puppet to their actions.  We both have.’
‘Malek assured me the research he was conducting here had been sanctioned by High Councillor Per’sus.’
‘He clearly lied.  They wanted you for nothing more than the skills you could provide. The scene in the lab was not for our eyes, which is why they conducted it during our rest period.’
Tolaris heaved a mental sigh. ‘Malek commands the attention of the High Council. His position was elevated after his participation in the alliance talks between the Tok’ra, Earth, and the Rebel Jaffa.  Bringing Egeria back to her people only cemented his loyalty in the eyes of those serving on the council.’
‘For once, Tolaris, you need to place the needs of the non-blended above the Tok’ra.  Do you not think that once SG-1′s disappearance is discovered by the Tau’ri, that Nesra won’t be the first place they look, right after they have taken our duplicity straight to the High Council?  Once the council confirms that Sina wasn’t even supposed to be on Nesra, we will have sealed our fate along with the others.  The only difference here is that Sina, Malek, and Da’nar are all aware of what they are doing.’
‘I have been blind.’
‘We have been blind.  I no more suspected what was happening here than you did.  We are a partnership, are we not?’
‘Always, my friend.’
‘There,’ Ralan radiated his faith to Tolaris, ‘we know what we must do.’
Picking up his pace, Tolaris headed towards the quarters he’d earlier assigned to SG-1.
“I haven’t, sir.  Just facing facts.  Despite their secretive existence, the Tok’ra are brilliant scientists.  Their force field technology has been integrated into the crystalline structure of their walls.  Accessing the activation device isn’t difficult except that it’s on the other side of the field we’re trying to deactivate.”
“So, you’re saying we’re stuck here?”
“Unless another option presents itself, yes.”
“Plan B?”
“You will not require a ‘plan B’, Colonel,” Tolaris broke into their conversation as he rounded the corner and stood in front of the entrance to their quarters, his keen eye picking up the slight shimmer in the air that denoted the presence of a force field.

Reynolds took pride in the small band of marines under his command.  All the training the US Military could provide you with counted for nothing in this line of work if you couldn’t maneuver like a well oiled machine, and SG-3 was rather well lubricated.  As the wormhole snapped closed, his team moved out and established a perimeter, not one worded needed from their marine commander to get the job done.
A brief series of hand signals to let him know their position was secure, and Reynolds relaxed the grip on his M5—slightly.
“Looks like they weren’t expecting company,” he said over his shoulder to Jacob Carter who was checking out the DHD.
“Nesra get’s very few visitors, Colonel.  We like to keep it that way just in case any Goa’uld in the area manage to detect the Stargate.”
“I thought you said in the mission briefing there was some property in the moon’s core that disrupted sensors.”
Jacob nodded as he closed the front panel to the DHD, pocketing its control crystal in a pouch at his hip.  “It does, but the Goa’uld are scavengers and it’s only a matter of time till they procure some technology that might defeat the disruptions.  Nesra wouldn’t stand a chance.”
Reynolds jutted his chin in the direction of Jacob’s pouch, “What was that?”
“The control crystal.  Anyone can dial in but no one can dial out.  If Sina has gone rogue then I don’t want her slipping through our fingers before I can bring her in front of the High Council.”
“Could be a bit risky.”
“Nesra isn’t an unmanned facility, Colonel.  If Sina has brought SG-1 here under the guise of a ruse, then you can be assured that she’s not working alone.” Looking around Reynolds, Jacob stabbed a finger in the air above his head, brows raised.  “The tunnel to the facility is that way.”
Reynolds spun on his heels away from Jacob and peered towards the darkened tunnel, tightening the grip on his weapon before giving the order, “SG-3, move out.”

“What have you done with him?” Jack stood toe to toe with Tolaris, the force field the only object standing in the way of him wringing the man’s neck. “So help me if you’ve—”
“I have done nothing.  Ralan and I were not privy to Malek’s plans for Doctor Jackson.”
“Malek?” Sam blinked her surprise at Tolaris.  “Malek is here?”
Tolaris nodded slowly and whispered, “Yes.  Malek conspired with Sina to have all of you brought to Nesra.  As I said, I was not aware of their plans for Doctor Jackson until I saw for my own eyes.  I assumed Sina had you visit our facility as part of the treaty agreement between our two peoples, and had I true intent, well…”
“Where is he?” Jack snapped.
“Sina and Da’nar have him in the main research lab.  They are attempting to transfer his memory into Malek as we speak.”
“They wanna do what?”
“Malek has made a modification to the Tok’ra memory device that allows him to transfer the entire memory of one person into another, much like the blending process between a Tok’ra symbiote and its host.  Once the transfer is complete, Malek will have all of Doctor Jackson’s memories.”
Sam’s eyes lit up with understanding. “Including his ascended memories!”
“Correct.  Malek believes that he will be able to access those memories and others for the greater good of the Tok’ra.”
Jack balled his fists, eyes flashing with anger.  “Get us out of here, now!”
Tolaris nodded quickly and held his hand out over the wall sensor to deactivate the force field.  Looking up at Jack, he paused, hand suspended in the air.  “Malek and Sina have lost their way.  It was Malek’s desire to live that forced him down this path.”
Jack flicked his gaze between Tolaris’s face and hand, and back again.  “The only desire I have is the one to get us the hell out of here.  I’m not making you any promises beyond that.”
Giving Jack a single shouldered shrug and a wry smile, Tolaris slid his hand across the sensor and the force field flared brightly for an instant before vanishing.
“Smartest thing you’ve done all day.”  Jack shouldered his way past the Tok’ra, pushing him towards the wall as the rest of SG-1 filed out behind him.  “I assume you know what they’ve done with our gear and weapons?”
Tolaris nodded.  “This way.”

Da’nar smiled in satisfaction as the monitor interface registered the completion of the transfer to Malek, who was now swimming vigorously in his tank despite the heavy weight of the memory device still attached to his skull.
Pushing the bulky equipment away, its usefulness no longer needed, he looked down at Daniel, the smile on his face wavering for the briefest of moments as he took in the man’s pallor and lax features.  The transfer had been painful, that much was evident, and while Da’nar hadn’t wavered in his responsibility to Malek, he did regret the punishing treatment he’d put the Tau’ri scientist through.
“We have company!”  Sina ran into the room holding a flashing sensor probe in her hand, its red pulsating light reflecting of her face.  “I had the guards set a string of motion sensors along the main access tunnel from the gate just in case the Tau’ri came looking for their people ahead of their twenty four hour check-in.”
“Are you sure it is the Tau’ri?”
“Who else can it be?  The council would have sent through a verification transmission before arriving.”
Da’nar dismissed her concerns with a disinterested wave of his hand.  “It doesn’t matter now, the procedure has been done.  Send the guards to intercept whoever is in the tunnels and lock them up with the rest of SG-1.  We need Tolaris to take Doctor Jackson,” he waved another hand at Daniel, “back to his companions.  As soon as Malek has been safely transferred back to me, we can leave the humans for the council to find.”
“Killing them is the only way—”
“It will achieve nothing more than bringing the wrath of both the Tok’ra and the Tau’ri down on us, not forgetting Earth’s other allies.  What we’ve done here today is enough without compounding the problem.  Wake Tolaris and have him and Zanir proceed through the emergency tunnel to the Tel’tak.  We will follow when Malek is fit enough to travel.”

“Dammit,” Jacob cursed as Reynolds used the butt of his rifle to smash the tiny sensor device into pieces.  “I didn’t think.”
“Too late now,” Reynolds offered in mock apology.  “If they didn’t know we were coming…”
“They do now.”  Jacob picked up a piece of the broken sensor and turned it over in his hands.  “This is a portable sensor device no longer used by the Tok’ra.  I didn’t think to look for it here.”
“Well,” Reynolds mused, “Kinda makes sense to me having something like this in place if you’ve got a base sitting right in the middle of Goa’uld territory.”
“No.  These devices emit a strong electrical field which acts like a beacon to our enemies and is the primary reason we don’t use them anymore. What I don’t get is why they are being used here of all places.  Nesra is the frontline for all our technology development.  This,” he said, tossing the shard back onto the floor, “is very outdated.”
“Well,” Reynolds waved a hand over his shoulder for his team to move forward again, “if someone was monitoring the sensor, and we can assume they were, then they know we’re on our way.”
Jacob shrugged. “Let’s not keep them waiting.”

Jack tested the weight of his P-90 in his hands and cocked an eyebrow at Teal’c, the Jaffa discarding his pack in favor of filling his tac vest with spare clips and extra C4.
“Got enough?”
“The supplies in Daniel Jackson’s pack will augment my own should they become necessary.”
Jack pursed his lips and nodded, looking over at Sam.  “Carter?”
“Ready, sir,” she replied, tossing her own pack aside.  “If this layout is identical to the Tok’ra bases we’ve seen in the past, then the main science lab is to the north of the gate tunnel past their medical facility.” Sam turned to Tolaris, the older man hovering nearby, sending furtive glances into the corridor beyond. “How many people on Nesra?”
“Four Tok’ra, including myself, as well as two guards.”
“Not many for a facility this size.”
“The primary tunnelling crystals are set to a pre-programmed structure that is, as you have noted, common to the Tok’ra.  Nesra is designed to accommodate more personnel but the steady decline of our numbers and the base’s extreme location has limited the amount of people we can safely house at any one time.”
“Or Malek loaded the bases,” Jack gruffed.
Tolaris looked confused.  “Loaded?”
“What the colonel means,” Sam interjected, “is that Malek saw to it that the base only held the personnel he wanted around him.”
“The guy is a sleaze bag, Carter.  I said that the first time I met him.”
“You did, sir?”
“Well,” Jack groused, “maybe I thought it.”
“Come,” Tolaris ushered, leading them out of the small storage room into the vacant corridor, “the lab isn’t far and the transfer would be nearly complete.  Da’nar will likely want Malek back in his body before they attempt to leave the base.”
“Da’nar is Malek’s old host?” Sam asked, bringing up her P-90 to shoulder height as she scanned the way.
“Malek left Da’nar before his condition made it impossible for him to do so.  Your discovery of the Pangaran symbiotes was most timely and provided Malek with a means of saving himself.”
“Pangaran?”  Jack caught up to Tolaris while Teal’c brought up the rear, the close formation dangerous but necessary in such a confined space.  “What the heck does this all have to do with the Pangarans?  I thought we were here for some boy the Tok’ra found.  A clone?  Ring any bells?”
Tolaris’s face went totally blank. “A boy?  I have no idea what you are talking about.  As I said, there are only the four Tok’ra and two guards plus yourselves on Nesra.  I know nothing of a boy.”
“You don’t?” Sam asked, “Are you sure?  Daniel mentioned him before when you showed us to our room and you said he was attending to other business.”
“I assumed you were talking about Da’nar.”
“Oh, wait up here.”  Jack swung his weapon in Tolaris’ direction, eyes slighted in mistrust. “So you’re saying the kid was a ruse to get us here?”
“I cannot answer to that which I do not know.  There is no child on Nesra, and given our location, there is not ever likely to be.”
“It was all a lie,” Jack stated accusingly.  “Why is it the Tok’ra feel they have to lie to get our cooperation all the time?”
“As to why they lied,” Tolaris shook his head and shrugged, “I cannot say, but the Tok’ra are used to leading a very secretive and clandestine life; it is hard for us to break with old habits.”
“Sir,” Carter whispered loud enough to be heard, her fist in the air calling for a stop.  Stepping up to an intersection in the corridor, she poked the muzzle of her weapon around the bend, taking in the view from her scope.  Fist still raised in the air, she flicked out two fingers quickly before falling back.
“Weapons, Carter?”  Jack whispered back.
Sam shook her head.
“The main lab is through there.  It will most likely be Sina and Da’nar.”
“Carter, get back here.  You,” Jack pointed to Tolaris, “Stay with her.  She’s got permission to shoot-to-kill if you so much as twitch a muscle.”
“You wouldn’t,” Tolaris warned.
Sam fell back and grabbed Tolaris by the arm on her way past, muttering just loud enough to be heard, “I would.”
“Where are the guards?”
“Sina has one at the end of the tunnel leading from the Stargate and the other at the emergency exit, guarding the Tel’tak.”
“You have a ship?” Jack snipped hotly.
“Sitting cloaked on the surface.”
“And I suppose that’s normal Tok’ra tactics?”
“Actually,” Carter bit into the debate, “it is, sir.  We’ve seen that at a few of their bases now.  Either cloaked on the surface or in orbit.  Back-up for when they can’t access the gate.”
“Oh, right, well, I knew that.” Waving Carter and Tolaris further back from the entrance, Jack shouldered his P-90, sliding his gaze over to Teal’c.  “On three.  One, two….”

Jacob watched as the body of the Tok’ra guard slid bonelessly down the wall to lie in a heap on the ground.  They’d heard the man rather than seen him.  His pacing as he patrolled the tunnel had been a dead give away to a highly trained marine, and Jacob couldn’t quite understand the man’s lax responsibility to his job.  The destruction of the sensor should have immediately alerted anyone watching to their presence and yet they had caught the guard seemingly unawares.
“Too easy,” Jacob murmured under his breath, standing back as two of Reynolds’ marines dragged the guard further back in the tunnel towards the Stargate.
“You were expecting more?”  Reynolds asked, perplexed at the man’s response.
“The ‘gate is unguarded, the sensor alarm appears to have been ignored and we’ve caught a guard with his pants down.”
Reynolds frown deepened.  “I thought the Tok’ra took security seriously?”
“They do, and Selmac agrees.  We’re either walking into a carefully orchestrated plot, or…”
“Or?”
Jacob bowed his head and his next words came from his symbiote, the harmonic tones bouncing off the crystalline walls.  “While it is true that Nesra is very much on the fringes of Tok’ra protocols in regards to base operations, what we are seeing here is a total dismissal of even our most basic of defenses.  We should not be able to walk into this facility in the manner in which we have.”
One hand resting on the top of his rifle, Reynolds tossed the other out, palm upwards.  “Meaning?”
“I do not know.”
“Not very helpful.”
“No, but at the very least, I am now assured that there is something wrong here which the Tok’ra High Council has no knowledge of.”
“Sir!”  Lieutenant Mooney called over his shoulder from his position at the intersection to the next tunnel.  “Daylight. The corridor ends abruptly and opens out into what looks like a meeting hall.”
“Looks like we’ve reached the end of our ride, folks.”
“Beyond the reception hall there should be a series of living quarters before we come to the main research facility. Most of Nesra’s rooms structurally imitate other Tok’ra bases, but, in this case, the rooms are being utilized for other purposes.  From memory, most of this facility is devoted to pure science.”
Reynolds looked across at Jacob and back to Mooney, the Lieutenant still waiting for orders.  “Mooney, Cross, take point.  Major Carrolan, take our six.  Close quarters formation and snip the chatter.”
Bringing his weapon up to bear, Cross raised an eyebrow at the Colonel, “Contact orders, sir?”
“Hostages only, Cross.  At least till we find out what the hell is going on here, or we find SG-1.”

There shouldn’t be any difference, Da’nar mused as Malek—the new Malek—wound himself around Da’nar’s arm on a slow crawl up towards his mouth.  Fear and trepidation were pushed aside in favor of natural curiosity as this being that was not Malek, but then again was in all the ways that mattered to Da’nar, instinctively sought out its true home—inside him.  He knew this was Malek, could see the recognition and understanding in the symbiotes eyes as he drew ever closer, but there was something else in there as well now.  A new personality had been blended into the mix, adding a layer of mystique to the oddity of symbiotic life.
Da’nar was almost inviting trouble, expecting some internal battle of the minds between the two personalities residing within the one being.  Suddenly, as the realization of what he was about to become host to hit him, Da’nar froze, eyes transfixed on the looming beast as it nudged almost playfully at his lips, attempting to tease them open.  The pain of symbiote penetration was something he remembered from all those centuries earlier, but he didn’t let the fear own him, after all, the Tok’ra were benevolent, so the pain would be brief.  This was something new, a double hosting if it was possible.  Their internal struggles were about to become his.  What if the Tau’ri mind was stronger than they had anticipated?  Overbearing, dominating?  Or worse still… unforgiving.
“Da’nar,” Sina called to him and, looking up, he could see her eyes boring accusingly into him as though he was about to deny Malak back his life.  “Is something wrong?”
Malek’s insistent attempts to gain entry into his mouth became more passionate now, bordering on desperation, and looking down at the circling beast, Da’nar knew that failing to let him in could mean a forced penetration.  Opening wide, barely keeping his lips from trembling, Da’nar took in a large lungful of air, drawing Malek in deep along with it, the symbiotes scales cutting sharply into his tongue and cheeks.  His retching reflex was strong and it was a battle to control his nerves as Malek wriggled faster and in one swift stabbing motion, thrust his head through the back of Da’nar’s throat, the impact almost knocking him off his feet.
Catching the side of Jackson’s bed, Da’nar lowered himself to the ground as the muscles, sinew, and eventually the bones in his neck, all felt like they were being torn apart.  Malek was busy making himself at home and Da’nar, a flash of memory tearing through his mind, remembered the bliss that awaited him as the symbiote released a numbing agent into his blood stream to start the healing process.  His eyelids grew heavy, body feeling like it was on a heavy gravity planet, and Da’nar’s last memory was that of Malek thanking him for his life…
… But there was something else stirring in his mind in those last moments of consciousness.
“Let me out of here, you bastard!”

“Three!”
Jack broke left, Teal’c to the right, and sprinting into the lab, Jack could see Daniel strapped to some table like a science experiment.  More pressing through was the image of Sina, the Tok’ra operative’s face lit up in pure surprise as she pushed away from the bed and turned towards an exit at the opposite end of the room.
Teal’c was quick though, and racing ahead of Jack, he lined the operative up and fired off a well aimed round into the back of her thigh.  Stumbling, Sina cried out, arms flailing as she went down on one knee, blood blossoming from the perfectly centred hole in her leg.
“Carter!” Jack shouted out over his shoulder.  Pulling up alongside Daniel’s bed he caught Malek rising from the floor, his head twisted towards him, a laconic sneer on his blood tainted lips.  “Whoa!” Jack lifted his P-90 up to his shoulder and teased the trigger, Malek’s forehead centred in the crosshairs of his scope.  “Not a move.  Hands up where I can see them and slide away from the bed, nice and slow.”
“Your friend is merely asleep, Colonel.”
“And I’m supposed to take your word on that?” he said, jaw tensing as he spied the empty symbiote tank sitting beside Daniel’s bed.
“We never intended to—”
“Carter! Check on Daniel but don’t release him.” Jack waved the muzzle of his P-90 at the tank.  “Make sure he hasn’t got any… uninvited guests.”
Already in the room, with a quietly subdued Tolaris in tow, Sam crossed to Daniel’s bed.  She let her weapon swing loose on its harness as she felt for the pulse point in his neck before placing her hand on his forehead, eyes closed in concentration.  Moments later, lips curving upwards in a small smile, she reported, “He’s clean, sir. Pulse is a little quick and thready.”
“Good job.” Jack let out a long held breath and lifting his brows, flicked his eyes towards the monitoring console. “What is that thing?”
Sam looked over the apparatus, and turning back to Daniel, ran a finger across the memory recall device still imbedded in his temple.  “Looks like a monitoring station, sir.  They’ve got him connected to a Tok’ra memory recall device, but there’s something different about it.”
“Like?”
“I don’t know, sir.” Sam gently picked up the wire connected to the device and traced it all the way back to the console, squinting as she tried to understand the various command functions on the interface.  “These devices are remotely operated for the most part, although we have seen them directly interfaced with a heads up display that allows us to view the user’s memories, but I don’t see a screen.”
“That is because there isn’t one, Major,” Tolaris offered.  “This device was modified by Malek.  Instead of having the ability to access and recount a person’s memory, this device is able to transfer a memory from one user to another.”
“Transfer?”
“Yes, and not just one memory.  The device was initially altered to enable all of Malek’s memories to be passed to a new symbiote.”
“So this is how the Pangarans are involved!  Somehow you managed to gain access to one of their symbiotes and transfer Malek’s consciousness to it.”
“Which explains that,” Jack said looking back over at the empty tank.  “But where’s the snake?”
Da’nar’s eyes flashed.  “In me, of course.”
“Whoa,” Jack exclaimed as he took a reflexive jump back and retrained his sights on the Tok’ra.  “Since when do the Tok’ra do that ‘eye flashing’ thing?”
Smiling at the fear he appeared to illicit in Jack, Malek brought his knees to his chest and pushed off the floor with his hands.
“Aht,” Jack warned and over-exaggeratedly tapped the trigger guard as he followed Malek’s slow decent back down to the ground.
“You won’t shoot me, Colonel.”
“I wouldn’t go betting your mother’s house on that.”
“No,” Malek chuckled lightly.  “You see, if you kill me, then you also kill Dr. Jackson, and I really don’t think you want to do that.”
“What?”
“Sir,” Sam interjected, “I think they’ve completed the transfer of Daniel’s consciousness into Malek!”
“You smarmy son-of-a—”
“You are wrong.”
Jack turned to Tolaris, “What?”
“He is lying, Colonel.” Turning to the consol, Tolaris ran a hand across its interactive screen and toggling the display, brought the device online.  “Major, I need you to remove the memory recall device from Dr. Jackson.”
“Sir?”  Carter looked across at Jack for permission.
“Do it, Carter.”
Wincing, Sam turned Daniel’s head away from her and teased a nail under the curved edge of the memory device, applying gentle but firm pressure until it came away and fell into her hand.  Tossing the device aside, she looked questioning across at Tolaris, “Now what?”
“Malek is correct.  The transfer has been completed, but…”  A bright stream of text flowed across the glowing screen and nodding, Tolaris shut the device down and stepped away, a satisfied smile on his face.  “It is as I suspected.  The memory recall device as been programmed to essentially make a copy of the person’s memory and transfer that on to a new host.”
“Tolaris!”  Malek snapped.
“No,” Tolaris returned hotly.  “What you have created here is an abomination.  I respected your research into the viability of using the modified device on the Pangaran symbiote and even admired your bravery for being the first to test it, but you went too far.”
“I took it to its natural conclusion, Tolaris!  The Tok’ra as a species are dying. To have the ability to copy the memories of our people and reanimate them in the children our queen created… she deserved nothing less.  We deserved nothing less.  It was the only way we could guarantee our survival in the battle against the Goa’uld.”
“But you wanted more!”
“I saw a great opportunity and took it.  It surprised me that the Tok’ra council did not insist on using the memory recall devices to assist Doctor Jackson in recovering his lost memory in the first instance.  We were well within our rights under the terms of the Tok’ra/Tau’ri alliance to request such action.  Was not the sharing of intelligence not part of the agreement?  I merely dared to do what they could not.”
“You took, Malek.  You did not ask.”
Malek’s face flashed his growing anger.  “I used the modified device to make a copy of his memories.  Imagine what we can learn from his time as an ascended being, Tolaris?”
“Wait,” Jack crowed, “You’ve been able to access those memories already?”
“No,” Malek conceded with a disgruntled sigh, “I had only just taken Da’nar back as a host shortly before you captured us and the blending process is not complete.”
“Wouldn’t that only impede your ability to access Da’nar’s memories?” Sam asked. “Daniel’s memories were transferred to you directly; you should be able to read his thoughts straight away.”
“You are quite correct, Major Carter.  However, I am busy repairing the damage done to Da’nar through re-taking him as a host and have not had time to access Doctor Jackson’s memories, although I can feel his presence in my mind.”
“I bet he’s being nothing but a pain in the ass as well,” Jack sneered.
“He was quite vocal, yes,” Malek snipped, “I have been forced to suppress his personality so I can focus on more important matters.”
“And what will you do with that information, Malek?” Tolaris stepped away from the console and spread his arms wide to encompass the room. “Use it for the betterment of the Tok’ra?  Share it with our allies?  Hardly likely now, considering the action you have taken.  You have jeopardized our alliance with Tau’ri through your reckless behavior.”
“No, Malek, don’t answer him!” Sina called out from the far corner of the room where Teal’c had her on the ground, one hand under her thigh, blood oozing between her fingers.  “We have no need to explain motives.”
“Then try explaining it to me!”  Selmac’s voice boomed out from beyond the laboratory.
“Crap!” Jack swore as he swung his weapon towards the entrance, pursing his lips, brows rising in surprise as he spotted Selmac.  “Way to sneak up on us.”
“You should have been paying more attention, Colonel,” Selmac teased as he strode into the lab, SG-3 hot on his six.
“And I see you brought reinforcements!”
“Colonel,” Reynolds offered in salutation with a sharp nod, the rest of his team filing into the lab and taking up various points around the room.  Lieutenant Mooney relieving Teal’c, who thanked him with a tilt of the head before moving across to Daniel.
“Colonel.  Good to see you.”
“Likewise, sir.  Jacob and Selmac thought you might be in some trouble so the General ordered us along to help you out.”
Looking down at Malek sitting on the floor, Jack hastily agreed, “Yes. The general is a wise man.”
A soft low groan from the bed turned all eyes in Daniel’s direction.  Brow pinched, Daniel turned his head back to the side and started rubbing it against the bed.  “No… off,” he murmured, limbs moving restlessly against the restraints still holding him down.
“Reynolds, take over for me here,” Jack said waving the muzzle of his weapon at Malek before moving to Daniel’s side and pointing at his wrists.  “Carter, how do we…?”
Tolaris reached in front of Sam and depressed a button under the lip of the bed that instantly retracted the restraints.  Reaching out and picking up Daniel’s arm, Sam inspected his wrist.  The skin was raw and abused, dark ugly bruises already starting to form around the contact points.
“Daniel,” Jack whispered, learning into Daniel’s face.  “Wakey, wakey.  You’re going to be late.”
“Fer what,” Daniel mumbled, still rubbing the side of his face against the bed, not realizing the memory device had been removed.
“We gotta go, buddy.”
Daniel’s eyes flew wide open, his breathing suddenly coming in short agonizing breaths and he looked wildly about the room, not really seeing anything at all.  “No,” he screamed and twisting towards Sam, pressed a hand to his temple, scratching furiously at the spot the memory device had been embedded.
Catching Daniel’s hand and pulling it away, Sam place a hand on his shoulder and rubbed it soothingly.  “It’s gone, Daniel.  I took it off.”
“No.”  Daniel’s breath hitched, and jerking his hand out of Sam’s grip, he slapped it against his temple.  “Don’t do it!”
“Dammit, Daniel!” Jack yelled and pulled him over onto his back, dragging the errant hand away and holding it firm by his side.  “Snap out of it!”
Daniel dragged in a ragged breath, and blinking owlishly, turned his head towards Jack.  “Jack?”
“That’d be me.”
“The Tok’ra, they’re—”
“We know.”
Raising a shaky hand, Daniel held it in front of his face, turning it back and forth.  “I’m still me?”
“They made a copy of your memories, Daniel,” Sam offered in re-assurance.  “You’re still you, it’s just that…”
“Malek.”
“Yeah,” Sam returned with a shrug.
“Jack?”
“Right here.”
Struggling to keep awake, Daniel peered out at him through heavily lidded eyes, and whispered, “He knows everything.”
“We’ll figure it out.  Get some rest.”
Daniel nodded once and let his eyes drift shut.  When Jack was sure he was asleep, he turned to Selmac.  “Exactly how do we figure this out?”
“The High Council of the Tok’ra will have to decide what action is to be taken against Malek and the other operatives involved.”
“And what about us? Malek has illegally obtained information in his possession that could compromise Earth’s defenses.”
Selmac bowed his head and when he looked up, Jack was hit with a pained smile from Jacob Carter.
“Honestly, Jack.  I have no idea what the council will decide here.  Selmac is at a loss as well.”
Jack jutted his chin towards the monitoring console.  “What about that thing?  Can’t we just hook Malek back up to it and transfer his memory into another symbiote.  Separate him from Daniel?”
“Fools!” Malek spat. “You don’t know what you’re dealing with here! It is impossible to separate two minds once they are blended in this manner.  Our memories are mixed now.  Everything that is me, the personality that is Doctor Jackson can now access.  Nothing is held back.” Closing his eyes, Malek smiled, his brows twitching and pinching. “Yes,” he purred throatily, “I can already see much in his mind that would interest the Tok’ra.”
“Won’t interest them if they can’t get it!”  Jack shouldered his P-90 and aimed it straight at Malek’s forehead, finger caressing the trigger.  “I find lead between the eyes pretty much puts to rest most problems.”
“Jack!” Jacob warned, pushing the barrel of the weapon away, earning him a dangerous glare from Jack.  “It’s not worth it.  Let the High Council deal with him.”
“Like they’ve dealt so successfully with problems in the past?”
“Your solution isn’t much better, and besides, perhaps there is some merit in being able to access Daniel’s ascended memories.”
“Oh,” Jack baulked, “here we go!  I knew the Tok’ra would take advantage of this situation at the first opportunity.  Not to put a finer point on things, Jacob, but this is akin to mental rape or had that fact not passed your mind?”
“I get it, Jack,” Jacob looked back over at Daniel, curled up asleep on the bed, “and I’m sorry, but handing this whole mess over to the council is the only solution I can come up with this moment.”
Jack scrubbed a hand across his stubbled chin, and giving Daniel one last long assessing look, pursed his lips and cocked his head towards Reynolds.  “Take your team and help Jacob get this lot,” he waved his hand at Malek, “back to the Tok’ra.  I’ll let Hammond know where you are.  Report back as soon as possible.”
“Yes, sir,” Reynolds nodded tightly and moved off to organize his team.
Jack took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I’m trusting you on this one, Jacob.  Don’t let me down.  Don’t let Daniel down.”

“You gonna eat that?” Jack surveyed the contents of Daniel’s breakfast tray like a vulture to a free roadside meal, zeroing in on the bacon.  “‘Cause if you’re not—”
“Take it, Jack,” Daniel waved in the general direction of the tray, not bothering to open his eyes.  “I’m finished.”
“You didn’t eat anything.”
Daniel pinched the bridge of his nose and with a tolerant sigh, turned onto his side and buried his head in the pillow.
“How’s the headache,” Jack asked as he stuffed the bacon in his mouth, chasing it down with a slice of toast.  “Want me to get Fraiser?”
Daniel didn’t reply.  He knew Jack could fill in the spaces between the lines of his silence quite nicely, and wasn’t surprised when his call button sounded followed shortly by the crisp click of Fraiser’s heels on the infirmary floor.
No words were exchanged between the two, but Daniel felt her fingers against the pulse point on his wrist while the fingers of her other hand carded through his hair.
“I’ll be back in a moment,” Fraiser said scarcely above a whisper as Daniel let himself drift off to sleep to the sound of Jack finishing off his breakfast.

Daniel drifted in an out for most of the day, the drugs Fraiser had given him were just enough to take the edge off his headache and let him catch snippets of sleep.  Voices woke him this time and for a brief moment, he forgot where he was, almost startling himself awake.
“Sorry, Doctor Jackson.  I didn’t mean to wake you.”
Daniel opened one eye and found Colonel Reynolds standing at the foot of his bed, the rest of SG-1 scattered about the small cubical on chairs, or in Teal’c’s case, standing guard over his IV stand.
“No,” Daniel mumbled, rubbing the sleep from his eyes, “you didn’t.  Jack was snoring.”
“Was not,” Jack bit back, blinking his protest.  “I’ve been awake the whole time you were dozing.”
“Someone was snoring.”
“I believe that was you, Daniel Jackson,” Teal’c offered.
“I don’t snore.”
Sam coughed. “If you say so, Daniel.”
Daniel fixed Sam with a look of mild disbelief as he eased himself upright.  “I take it SG-3 is back.  Any word on what they plan to do with Malek?”
“They aren’t going to do anything, Doctor Jackson.”  Reynolds response was flat, almost uninterested, and Daniel gave Jack a questioning sideways glance.
“Nothing?”
Jack leaned forward in his chair, resting his elbows on his knees and his chin in one hand.  “Nothing, Nadda.  Not a thing, Daniel.  Malek is dead.”
“Dead?  What?  How?  Not that I’m not relieved in a way.  The stuff in my mind can be quite—”
“Scary?” Jack offered.
“I was going for complicated, but scary works just as well.”
“To answer your question, Daniel,” Jack continued, “He tried to escape while SG-3 were escorting him to the ‘gate on Nesra.  Took down Major Carrolan and got hold of his weapon.  Jacob and Selmac had little choice.”
“Jacob and….” Daniel shook his head in disbelief.  “Killing him was the only option?”
“He had Carrolan’s weapon, Daniel.  It was self defense.”
“What about Sina and Tolaris?”
Reynolds spoke up.  “Sina is going to be extracted from her host and executed for her part in your kidnap and torture, as well as treason, and any other crimes the Tok’ra see fit to charge her with.”
“And Tolaris?”
“Jacob and Selmac put in a good word for him and he’s being re-assigned.  His part in the incident was more a case of guilt by association and the council decided that his own guilt over what happened to you was probably punishment enough.”
“So, it’s finished?”  Daniel relaxed back into his pillow and palmed his eyes, letting out a low moan.  “There’s no one running around out there with my memories in their mind?  No threat to existence type of scenario?”
“Nope,” Jack said with a self satisfied smile, “and we made sure it couldn’t happen again.”
“How was that?”
“The colonel destroyed the modified memory device and the monitoring console.  Just in case the information from the transfer—”
“Copy,” Daniel corrected.
“I was gonna say copy/paste, myself,” Jack added sarcastically.
Sam rolled her eyes in mock frustration.  “Just in case a copy of the transfer had been stored by the monitoring equipment or in the devices themselves.”
“Oh,” Daniel grimaced, “I bet the Tok’ra weren’t happy about that.”
“That would be putting it mildly.”
Relief washed over Daniel and, closing his eyes, he listened to the casual banter of his team mates as they regaled Jack’s discussion with Jacob over the destruction of ‘Tok’ra property’.  Allowing himself to drift away with their words, he was suddenly pulled back into the conversation when he was hit by a flash of memory.
“Teal’c?”
“Yes, Daniel Jackson.”
Daniel shuffled onto his left side, dragging a pillow forward and punching it into a comfortable shape with his hand.  “Where are Master Bra’tac and Ry’ac?  I haven’t heard you talk about them since I… came back.”
“They are recruiting new members for the Rebel cause as part of our move towards a free Jaffa nation.”
“Oh,” Daniel chewed over the words for a few seconds, “okay, thanks.”
“Why do you ask?”
“No reason.  I was just… curious, I guess.”
Teal’c tipped his head to one side, a small smile tugging at his lips, “It is good to have you back among us, Daniel Jackson.”

The End

 

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