The Deepest Cold
Hathor forces me to wait outside the cryogenics room, just far enough away that we cannot be sensed as goa’uld, while Rau’lee attempts to prevent the goa’uld from taking full control of O’Neill. As a tok’ra, she knows how difficult this is. And unlikely. If the goa’uld takes full possession of its new host at any point before full O’Neill is full immersed in cryo-stasis, it will survive. The host will protect it. Rau’lee has a great deal of faith in O’Neill.
On a small device, she monitors the progress of her jaffa. The jaffa are doing much better than I would wish them to. Still, I must wait.
Of all the things that I hate about being host to a goa’uld, this part ranks among the highest. I have watched as my own hands, hateful appendages, have committed atrocities. I have killed children too small to speak with these very hands. I have done horrors so awful that I put them from my mind.
But it is almost (and I stress the almost because I am no longer sure) worse to wait. Hathor may hide her thoughts from me sometimes, if she truly wishes. As the years progressed, I grew more apt at reading her, though little good it did me. Yet, if she is determined, I can not learn of what she plans. It is then that I know I am about to do some other cruelty. It does not matter how great anymore, I think. My hands are so stained that they could not become any dirtier.
Now is one of those times. I wait in the corridor for several more moments and then reenter the cryogenics chamber. The tau’ri are holding their own, much to my serpent’s dismay. I believe she may be altering her plans. Samantha and Daniel were just recovered by their comrades.
O’Neill is being lowered into the cryogenics pit. Rau’lee is watching. I silently approach.
“Jaffa, kree!” Hathor orders her. This has always puzzled me. Hathor must know that Rau’lee is not jaffa. Indeed, Rau’lee must have known that Hathor would spot her as someone who was not jaffa as soon as she passed within five units that I believe the tau’ri call feet. Certainly, it was known to her that this cover story would not work. I have never understood why Rau’lee attempted it in the first place.
It is odd the thoughts that pass through my head when Hathor is in the middle of a fight of some sort or another.
“Kel’noc shree jaffa! I am of the tok’ra. If the tau’ri do not destroy you, know this: we will.”
My hand raises towards her and the ribbon device on it activates. Rau’lee is tossed to the wall like a child’s doll. She was no great spy but I had hoped that she might find a way to effect my death in the event that the tau’ri failed to do so.
Now I fear I may have effected hers. Not yet, of course, but how long will she survive with injuries such as she has now sustained?
I stride quickly to the command room of Hathor’s complex. Trofsky is there, along with most of the other senior jaffa. Status reports are given to Hathor quickly. Her jaffa have killed the jaffa who had guarded the chappa’ai and vacated the area, leaving nothing behind them. The tau’ri inside the complex, however, seem to have disappeared. Hathor fears they may have already exited the complex.
“Send a guard to the Stargate,” Hathor orders. “The tau’ri will undoubtedly try to escape. We must ensure that they do not.”
Trofsky bows and rushes out to do her bidding. I turn to face one of the stations in the room. “Erect the barrier surrounding the chappa’ai. Let us make things as difficult as possible for the tau’ri.”
“Yes, my queen”s issue from various mouths. Now we wait just a little bit more.
A jaffa enters the room. Young. A messenger, I think. He bows. “My queen, Trofsky has arrived at the chappa’ai. He instructed me to tell you that he would report as soon as he was able.”
“Very good,” Hathor replies. “Go to the cryogenics section. If anyone should break in, initiate the alert for that sector.”
“Yes, my queen.” He leaves.
External sensors report weapons’ fire attempting to penetrate the barrier around the Stargate for a few seconds, then nothing. Several moments pass as I wait for more news.
If I had the ability, I would be crying now. My best hope for death lay with the tau’ri. They killed Ra, and did the same to Apophis. Surely one more goa’uld was not too much to hope? Surely it was possible?
Now, as I have so many times, I curse my beauty. My features, my voice, and my quite unusual hair were a curse that I did not recognize. If only I had known what evil they would bring to me, I would have done something to change them. Had I been born ugly, Hathor would have never chosen me as a host.
The communication console blinks and Trofsky’s image fills a screen.
“My queen, the chappa’ai is secure,” he reports.
“And the tau’ri?”
“They have fled into tunnels of tok’ra construction. There must be a spy amongst us,” he tells me.
Rau’lee seems to have fooled all those in the complex but the one person she truly needed to. How ironic.
“The tok’ra spy has been taken care of. Take as many of the humans as you can, alive. They will make an excellent addition to our new army of jaffa,” Hathor orders.
“Yes, my queen.” Trofsky nods his head just before the communication is cut off.
Hathor sits back and again, we wait. Soon, the tau’ri will discover that they will be unsucessful in thwarting the barrier from underground just as they were above it.
Yet, the fact that they are still free is comforting. Perhaps hope is not so lost as I feared. If the tau’ri have remained uncaptured for so long, then there may be a chance, however remote, that they will at least escape this planet. They are a resourceful people.
Hathor’s displeasure at the hopeful turn my thoughts have taken manifests itself in pain that shoots across me yet again. She never does seem to tire of hurting me. It is like a joke told to young children. Long after the joke has truly ceased to be funny, they continue to laugh uproariously every time it is told. Her glee at hurting me has never diminished, no matter that she causes me a great deal of pain every day.
Trofsky is calling again. My hands turn on the communication channel.
“My queen, the tau’ri called us here from their Stargate. I believe they were communicating with their warriors here. We have disabled their communications device and are continuing the search, however we have had no success thus far.”
“We will not tolerate failure,” Hathor growls. “You will continue to keep us appraised of what seems to pass with you for progress.” My hand cuts of the transmission angrily. Hathor stands and begins pacing across the room.
“All of you!” she orders the other jaffa in the room, “get out. We will maintain our own defenses better when not surrounded by fools and idiots!”
The jaffa cannot leave fast enough.
I can hear her thoughts this time. She is genuinely worried. The tau’ri are loose and she does not know what they are doing. Her jaffa have captured the Stargate, but they have yet to report back on any sort of changes in the situation. This means they have not yet captured the tau’ri or they are unable to report. In either case, that means the gate may yet be lost. If the gate is lost and the tau’ri escape, this complex will need to be evacuated or else she may loose all that she has built up.
I am cheering. I shall not die this day, but Hathor may suffer a great setback. At the very least, she will suffer an embarrassment beyond that which she has suffered for a very long time.
Ah yes, this familiar and gut-wrenching pain stops my cheering, but suddenly it fails, and for the first time since I have been possessed, Hathor is so distracted that for a split second, my body is my own.
I drag in a great, shuddering gasp, collapsing to my knees. And now the moment is over. Again the pain comes, but this time it is not so great. Hathor is distracted and now I know why. There is an intruder alert in the cryogenics sector. Sadly, it seems Hathor yet has one jaffa capable of doing her bidding.
Back firmly under Hathor’s control. I rush out of the command center, double-checking the ribbon device, which I still wear. As I approach the room, I hear Rau’lee’s voice. Never have I ever been so glad to hear the voice of that inept spy!
“The goa’uld within is gone. The cryogenic process destroyed it, before it had a chance to meld with the host. He will revive automatically,” Rau’lee informs…someone.
I hear sounds of a cryo-tank being removed from that icy pit. I am much closer now. Silently, I enter the room to see Samantha, may she be blessed with a thousand blessings, freeing O’Neill from his restraints.
“Colonel? I don’t feel its presence. You’re going to be all right.”
O’Neill fought the possession? Joyful, wonderful, happy, happy day!
My celebration does not last long. Samantha turns to see me, and my hand shoots up, ribbon device activated, centering the device’s energy right on the center of her forehead.
Much as I was moments ago, she is forced to her knees in pain. I fear that Hathor will kill her this time for what she has done. Samantha, who defeated her once. Samantha, that brave woman. For the first time since I killed my best friend, I struggle for control of my own body. My symbiote is distracted, there may yet be a chance.
I do not gain control, but her attention is now divided and she has forgotten what I still remember. O’Neill is no longer restrained, and he is himself. If he is at all able, he will kill me, and her as well.
“We had hopes for you,” Hathor informs Samantha. Nothing on my face betrays the fight I am conducting with her inside.
Seized! Hathor suddenly realizes why I distracted her, but it is too late. O’Neill has us. One arm pins my hand with the ribbon device behind my back. The other holds me flush to him. I cannot move, though Hathor forces me to struggle.
“We will destroy you for this!” Hathor shouts. It is an empty threat, though, because this time, I am sure. There is something about the angry way O’Neill holds me, how purposefully his cold hands are placed that leaves me no doubt. The means is before us. The cryogenics pit is not covered and waits eagerly for me.
“We would just like you to go away!” O’Neill returns. We rush forward and he catapults me over the railing of the cryogenics pit. Hathor forces me to scream, but I could not go more willingly. In a split second, a delightful, blissful cold covers me, freezing me right down to my bones, killing the serpent.
Then there is darkness.
Author's Note: Well, that's it. There isn't anymore. Tell me what you think. Good, bad, awful?