"So, you guys look forward to getting home?" Sheppard asks, sitting down beside Eschel, and flashing her a smile.
Eschel nods. "We are. It has been a long time."
"You were born in the Milky Way, what about the others?"
"About a quarter of our number was born in the Milky Way - a quarter of those in hosts, I mean."
"Mhm. Must be weird for the others. Are you going to stay?"
"Some of us. From what we have been told, the Tok'ra are now very few. Egeria was found, but could not be saved." Eschel gives him a sad smile. "I would have liked to meet her again."
"Egeria. That's the, uh, original queen of the Tok'ra, right?" Sheppard asks.
"Yes. She is the mother of almost all of the Tok'ra, except for a very few former Goa'uld. She was my mother as well, and the mother of all the Tok'ra that went with me here. Almost 50 in number then, now barely 25 are left of those original ones."
"Bold move, going there so many of you, I mean."
Eschel shook her head. "Not at all. We were on the run from the Goa'uld when we found the Ancient base, and decided it was worth the risk finding a place we could hide, a place where the Goa'uld could not go. Especially since we had a large group of humans with us, half of the inhabitants of a world the Goa'uld had attacked, the other half had gone with another group of Tok'ra, to find a new homeworld. We tried one of the 8-chevron address we had found, and it connected. We took the database with the addresses, so they would not be found, and left through the chaapa'ai. When we got to the... Pegasus Galaxy as you call it, we could not return."
"Humans went with you?" Sheppard looks surprised. "Are any of them still in the Pegasus Galaxy?"
"They live hidden on a world, yes. We contacted them, and asked if they wanted to return with us, but they wanted to wait. I suspect they may wish to stay, just as some of my Tok'ra will wish to return, to stay there." She sighs. "The first many centuries we got hosts solely from the descendants of the humans who fled with us, and that was another reason our numbers had to remain low. Recently we have started to find hosts among the rest of the population of the Pegasus Galaxy, but it is difficult since we have to remain even more hidden than in the Milky Way."
"Makes sense." Sheppard nods. "Do you want to come get something to eat? It's still more than a week before we're back in the Milky Way."
Eschel smiles. "I would love to - and so would my host Shara."
"Great! Now, I can't promise anything fantastic - it's military food, after all. But at least it's not MREs."
"How are Vanska and Tamir?" Lena asks as she walks into the sickbay.
"Getting better," Jarok, one of the Tok'ra healers, says. "Tamir assures me they will make a full recovery by the time we reach the Milky Way."
"That is good. She came to my rescue, I feel guilty," Lena says, relieved.
"It is impressive, these healing skills you symbiotes have."
Jarok and Lena look towards the door to see one of the human doctors enter.
"Doctor Siles, correct?"
He smiles at her. "Yes, and you're Razan, right?"
"No, I am Lena. Razan is my symbiote."
"Ah. Apologies." He smiles at her again, and turns to Jarok. "We did know you can slow down aging, and that humans can live for many centuries as a host, but not that you could reverse aging."
"We can, to some degree, but that is not what is happening here. The Wraith does not truly cause their victims to age, even if the symptoms mimic aging. What happens is a combination of a chemical imbalance in the cells and a drain of nutrients and energy from the body. Both can be corrected by a symbiote, though a healing device is needed as well in more severe cases - to provide energy fast. They also get fairly hungry." He adds, with some humor.
"Wow. I think we need to talk more to you guys about that; see if we can find a way to do what you guys do to someone who isn't a host."
"I am sure something can be arranged, especially if some of the very skilled biochemists the Tok'ra back in the Milky Way have are still alive."
"Eschel? We have been looking for you," Sarran says, throwing a suspicious look at Sheppard.
"What is it?" Eschel smiles at Sarran.
"May I speak with you in private."
"Of course." She nods at Sheppard. "Thank you, it was a pleasant conversation, even if the meal was perhaps somewhat bland, as you warned."
"Anytime." He smiles at her.
Eschel follows Sarran. "You need not be concerned. He is trustworthy."
"You are our queen, and I beg forgiveness for being perhaps overly careful, but there are many dangers - also from those who may claim to be our friends."
She sighs. "All right, I will be careful. What is it you want to discuss."
"First, I can report that the children are doing well, and are safe. Nivek and Sokal are guarding them."
"That is good. I will visit them later today." She looks at him closely. "What is the problem. Something is concerning you greatly. Do not deny it."
Sarran bows his head, and Nenesh takes over. "Do you not find it suspicious that the commander of this ship insists on avoiding us?"
"He is probably a busy man."
"We were promised he would talk with us, to answer some concerns about the secrecy of our return. There may be few Goa'uld left, but from what we were told Ba'al has grown strong and his minions have a presence on the world of the Tau'ri. The world of our allies!"
"Is suspected to still have a presence, but you are correct. He must not know that the Tok'ra has a queen."
"Then we are in agreement, my queen. What should we do? I talked to Lena, and..."
"Lena is overly rash, even more so than you, Nenesh." She puts a hand on his shoulder to calm him, as he bristles. "I will make another plea for an audience with the human commander of this ship."
"A queen should not have to beg."
"We are guests, Nenesh."
He bows his head, and Sarran takes over. "We know. Eschel, when you go to see the commander of this ship, Colonel Caldwell, we would prefer you are not alone."
"You will be there with me, Sarran. I promise."
Almost the entire journey had passed, with Caldwell still being unavailable, eventually causing Eschel to be suspicious also, after not just Nenesh, but also Lena had voices their suspicion.
Of course, Lena was suspicious of everyone, but added to the words of the much more rational Nenesh, Eschel felt there was something suspicious about Caldwell. She decided to take it to Sheppard.
"Colonel Sheppard, may I have a word?"
He turns to her and smiles, noting suddenly that she reminds him of Elizabeth Weir. Strange, but she did say that humans had come with them from the Milky Way, so perhaps there was some distant relationship there. "Of course, Eschel, always. What's on your mind? And please call me John."
She smiles. "John. I was promised a meeting with Colonel Caldwell, but he has been unable to meet with me. We will soon arrive on your world, and I have several questions about security before we do so."
"Don't worry, we'll protect you - and the Colonel has probably just been busy," Sheppard says, looking a bit concerned.
"Probably, but it has been three weeks, almost. I feel we have been patient. After all, there are Goa'uld infiltration on your homeworld, and should they learn of me - a Tok'ra queen - they would stop at nothing to get their hands on me. It would be a risk for your people as well."
"I'm well aware of that, and I'm sure the proper precautions have been taken," Sheppard assures her.
"Regardless, I would like to talk to the Colonel, if at all possible."
Sheppard nods. "I am going there now, so why don't you just join me? We'll see what he says."
"Thank you." Eschel hesitates. "I promised to inform Sarran before going there. He is, kind of in charge of security."
"Surely you don't need him just to talk to Colonel Caldwell? No one on the ship would harm you!"
"I know that of course. Nonetheless. For, well, for peace of mind, and to avoid a tedious long discussion with my people, I would like to call for him."
Sheppard bows his head in acquiescence. "Sure, let's get him." He smiles. "Sure he isn't a bit jealous of all the time I spend with you? I thought maybe he's more than just chief of security?"
"Perhaps sometimes, but if so he would know not to be jealous." She smiles at Sheppard. "Queens often take several lovers."
"Really?" He raises an eyebrow.
"Absolutely." She grins. "In any case, you have nothing to worry from Sarran. We have no romantic attachment."
"All right." Sheppards grins at her. "Good to know."
They had met with Sarran/Nenesh, and he joined them. Lena/Razan came as well, insisting on the extra security. Sheppard clearly found them paranoid, but didn't say anything.
"You will wait outside, Lena. Understood?" Eschel says. "We do not need a diplomatic incident."
She rolls her eyes. "I can be diplomatic."
"Sure you can," Sarran observes, in a low voice, though it is high enough that Lena sends him an offended glance.
Eschel shakes her head at them.
"Ready?" Sheppard asks.
"Yes." Sarran touches his sidearm - a zat'nik'tel he has been provided with by the Tau'ri, something which made him very happy.
They walk up to the door to the bridge, when all the Tok'ra suddenly freeze.
"What?" Sheppard asks, as he reaches for the door.
"Wait. There is a Goa'uld on the bridge." Nenesh says, after getting control.
"Let me kill him!" Lena insists.
"We need him alive, to discover what he has learned about us, and what, if anything has been communicated to the Goa'uld!" Nenesh says with finality. He steps up to the door and rips it open.
Inside, Caldwell has moved to the far end of the room. "Capture them! They have been compromised!" he orders at the others on the bridge.
"Do not listen to him, he is a Goa'uld!" Nenesh orders, flashing his eyes.
The humans on the bridge gasp, and the Asgard just blinks his eyes slowly.
Caldwell grabs the sidearm of one of the humans and aims it at Nenesh, but before he can fire, he is hit by a shot from the Tok'ra's zat'nik'tel. Lena rushes forward as well, but is stopped by a human soldier who shows a weapon against her. "Stop!"
The other soldiers are on their feet and aiming at Nenesh and the other Tok'ra, but Sheppard steps forward. "Stop! Stand down before this goes to hell!"
Nenesh is standing protectively before Eschel. The soldiers on the bridge lower their weapons, and Lena walks up to Caldwell who is lying on the floor, stunned. Sheppard runs to them.
"You're sure he's a Goa'uld?"
"Yes," Lena says, staring angrily at Caldwell.
"Well, if that's true, I guess it explains why he didn't want to meet you guys." Sheppard sighs. "Let's get him to sickbay so we can check it out - see that there really is a Goa'uld in him."
"Caldwell - or rather the Goa'uld in him - is in a cell. We're grateful to you guys for spotitng him for us," Sheppards says. "Hermiod says he thinks he can beam out the Goa'uld, with careful calibrations."
"We would like to talk to him first, and determine if he has sent any information along to his master, Ba'al. You did say you thought it would be him who had placed him here." Eschel looks very determined.
"Hm, yeah, I see where you're coming from, and we would probably like to get some information too. Not sure if I can let you torture him, though. It is Caldwell in there too," Sheppard points out.
"We know. We would be careful. We have ways of doing so without harming the host," Eschel says.
"I will talk to Stargate Command. We're arriving within the hour, by the way, so you should get your people ready."
Eschel, Nivek, Sarran, Lena, and Vanska were all beamed down to Stargate Command, together with Sheppard. They would be the representatives of the Pegasus Tok'ra for now. Soon the others would transport down, and so would the little ones, in their tanks.
"Hello, and welcome to Stargate Command - and the Milky Way," Sam says, stepping forward to greet them."I am Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter."
"Thank you. I am Eschel, and my host is Shara." She - and the other Tok'ra - makes the same greeting the Milky Way Tok'ra did, holding their hands to their chests and half-bowing. "We are honored to be here."
Sam smiles, a little sadly, their behavior suddenly reminding her of someone long dead, and always missed - even if the clothing of these Tok'ra were quite different. "General Landry is currently unavailable, but he'll be back soon. We have contacted the Tok'ra here, and they will be arriving soon."
"Hi, I'm Daniel Jackson," Daniel says. "I'm an archaeologist, and I must admit I find the story of you going to Pegasus and stranding there fascinating. I really look forward to hearing more about it, and the planet you left from. I very much hope you will share the information."
"I am sure something can be arranged," Eschel says.
"I am Nivek, host to Thanis." The Tok'ra woman greets.
"I am Sarran, host to Nenesh," Sarran says, smiling.
"Tamir. My host is Vanska," Tamir says, somewhat guarded.
"I am Lena," Lena says, then looks at Daniel and gets a slightly predatory smile. "Razan says hello, she is my symbiote.
At that moment Teal'c and Mitchell walks into the room, and Lena and Sarran both draw their weapons and turn on the Jaffa immediately.
"He is Jaffa!" Lena exclaims.
"Apophis Sect," Sarran adds, angrily, aiming his weapon.
Teal'c just watches in amused detachment. "I am no longer in the service of Apophis."
"Who then are you in service of?" Sarran asks, then getting a confused look. "He does not have a symbiote."
"That's Teal'c!" Sam says hurriedly. "He's a friend! And... it's a long story." She shakes the head at the absurd similarity of the situation, compared to what happened when they first met the Tok'ra. Not made less weird by the fact that one of them actually resembled Martouf. She shook her head again.
"A lot of things have happened." Daniel says. "Including the Jaffa no longer being dependent on symbiotes to live."
Lena and Sarran lowers their weapons, but they still eye Teal'c suspiciously.
"Hi, guys!" Mitchell smiles. "Looks like there's a lot to tell."
"It would seem so," Eschell says, smiling.
"Yeah, I'm sorry. We haven't really updated them a lot on things here. I'm probably not the best for it." Sheppard grins.
Sam nods. "Please come with us to the briefing room."
They had not spoken long, when the alarm sounded for an offworld activation.
"It is the Tok'ra," Siler says, popping his head into the briefing room.
"Right, I guess you guys would like to meet with your, well, brethren, so I guess this meeting is post-poned," Mitchell says.
"Thank you, we have been looking forward to that for a long time," Eschel says.
They go to the gateroom, and just as they enter, several Tok'ra appear from the event horizon.
"Welcome," Sam says. "I guess I know most of you - these are some of your Pegasus Galaxy relatives."
The two groups of Tok'ra greet.
"I am Eschel, born of Egeria in her third-to-last clutch. These are Nenesh, Razan, Thanis, and Tamir. Nenesh, Razan, and Tamir were all born here, while Thanis is my child." She smiled fondly at the other Tok'ra.
"I am Anise," she says, looking more emotional than before. "It is really you, Eschel? And Nenesh, Razan, Tamir?"
"It is really us." Eschel assures them and turns to Sam and the other Tau'ri. "Anise is my clutchmate."
Anise walks up to Eschel and they take each others hands, and briefly lean their heads to each other.
"I am Jalen, another clutchmate." She walks up to Eschel, and repeats the small ritual Anise just did.
"And I am Malek," Malek says, clearly very touched. "From the clutch just before Eschel. I remember you - the hope for the Tok'ra. The queen."
"I am back with you, and I will not be leaving you." Eschel promises.
"It is wonderful to have you back. We have hope again. The Tok'ra are no longer a dying race!" Malek says, suspiciously moist eyes.
"Shian - from Egeria's last clutch." The young man smiles at Nenesh, Razan, and Tamir. "My siblings from the same brood." They all greet each other fondly.
"As am I. Ravok," a dark haired woman says, stepping forward.
"Okay, kids! Why don't you go sit in the briefing room, or somewhere and get re-acquinted? We'll order some pizza and then we can eat together and figure things out?" Mitchell suggests.
It takes a moment before the Tok'ra - a bit embarrassed turns to the humans, seemingly having forgotten their presence.
"It is a good idea," Sarran says, control his again. He smiles at Anise. "So, what is the name of your beautiful host?"
"Freya." She smiles a little at him, not at all impervious to his charm. She does throw a surreptitious glance towards Daniel who is standing along the wall, by the door, but he does not look at her. She turns back to Sarran, and gives him a wider smile.
"Be careful, brother," Malek whispers a moment later, while Anise is talking to Eschel. "She has a, ah, great appetite."
"I will be careful," Sarran says, grinning.
"We are told most of the Goa'uld are gone, is that really true?" Eschel asks Malek as they all start walking out of the gateroom and towards the briefing room.
"They are," Malek confirms. "So are unfortunately a great many of the Tok'ra, but if it means the Galaxy will be free, it is worth it. Now we just have to succeed against Ba'al - and a new, terrible enemy called the Ori."
"There are terrible enemies always, everywhere. Together we will succeed."
He nods. "We will. Now we have hope again." He smiles, as they walk into the briefing room, following his queen.
SG-1 remains outside, allowing the Tok'ra some time alone, to get each other up to speed. There will be time enough to talk to them later, and get any important information.
For now it is enough to know that their ally has suddenly become stronger, and will likely be a force to be reckoned with in the future, now when they have a queen.
A/N: This is the end for now. This story didn't really turn out as I had expected, and ended up focusing mostly on the trip back to the Milky Way. I do intend for this to become the first part in a series, so we'll see!
I really love that the Tok'ra are getting a queen in the fanfilm, and if any of you guys who made it read this, then this is a shout out to you that you are awesome and that I really really hope you're going to make many more sequels! Please release part two soon!
Oh, and sorry for borrowing some sentences from Tok'ra I, but it was just too tempting to have a new group of Tok'ra behave the same way as the first who met SG-1. I mean, how would they react to suddenly seeing what they think is one of Apophis' Jaffa in their midst? And in a place they thought they were safe!