Eschel kneels beside the pool and dips her hand into it. A group of symbiotes immediately swims to her and rubs against her hand, making affectionate sounds.
She smiles at them and pets them lovingly. "Do not worry, my little ones. I know you are mature now, and need hosts. I talked to the Tau'ri at Stargate Command, and they have promised me to find some hosts."
The symbiote larvae squeals excitedly, and she stays with them a little longer before going to the pools with the younger larvae, and then those with the newborn.
After some time, during which she has greeted all the symbiotes and assured them she loves them, she leaves the room with the pools. She nods at Malek who is standing outside.
"My queen," Malek says. "May I have a word with you?"
"Of course, Malek." She smiles warmly at him.
He accompanies her as she walks. "I could not avoid hearing you talk to the youngsters. I must admit I am somewhat skeptical of the Tau'ri promise."
"Why? Do you not believe they will be able to get us hosts? Their population is large, larger than any I have met before - and they are our allies."
"Indeed, my queen, but they have not been forthcoming with hosts in the past. We were originally promised they would look for hosts, back when we first met them, but with one - two, perhaps - exceptions, they have delivered no hosts to us."
Eschel frowns. "Do you know why this is so? Have you not fulfilled your end of the agreement?"
"I believe we have, though I shall admit the alliance has not been strong in recent years, not since the deaths of first Martouf and Lantash, then Aldwin and his symbiote, and then Jacob and Selmak. They were strongly in favor of the alliance, but Selmak's supporters had grown few even while she lived. There were errors on both sides, but I do not believe the Tau'ri ever truly accepted us as not Goa'uld."
"I see. This is troublesome news. As your queen, I will do my best to strengthen the alliance. It is an important one, and together the Tok'ra and the Tau'ri has fought the Goa'uld to a point where few are left, and only Ba'al is a true danger. We should be friends."
"I shall travel to the Tau'ri tomorrow, and talk to them. Not just about hosts, but about the alliance itself," Eschel decides.
"A good idea. Perhaps you should bring mainly Tok'ra that has returned with you from the Pegasus Galaxy. It may mean less preconceived notions. From either side."
"Welcome to Stargate Command, and Earth, queen Eschel," Landry says.
"Thank you, General Landry," Eschel tells him, making the Tok'ra half-bow as a greeting. She indicates the four Tok'ra with her. "These are my guards, Silo and Verok. You already know Sarran/Nenesh and Lena/Razan."
Landry nods. "What is the reason for your visit? Is there anything we can help with?"
"Perhaps. I wanted to talk to you about our alliance - and the agreements we have made to help each other in various ways."
"You're thinking of hosts," Landry says. "We haven't been able to find anyone yet, but we are still looking."
"Forgive me, but I find that hard to believe, given the size of your population. However, that was not the only subject I wished to discuss."
Landry sighs and looks towards the members of SG-1 who has just hurried into the gateroom. "I have an important meeting that I cannot postpone. I leave you in the capable hands of SG-1."
"Welcome, queen Eschel," Sam says, smiling at her.
"Welcome," Daniel and Cam repeats.
Teal'c bows his head and smiles.
"Thank you." Eschel smiles back at them.
"What is the purpose with your visit?" Teal'c asks.
"Two-fold. I shall admit part of it is selfish. My children are maturing, and are in need of hosts very soon. That is foremost on my mind. It leads to the second part, though, which is our alliance in general. I understand it has become weakened over time, and I would very much like to change that. Our two people should be friends, and with the Ori threat we cannot afford minor differences to keep us apart."
"Uh, that, that sounds..." Daniel begins, frowning. "I mean, yes, the alliance is important."
"What did you have in mind? I mean, do you have any ideas how to strengthen the alliance?" Sam asks.
"This is pointless!" Lena suddenly exclaims. "They will never give us hosts!"
"Calm down, Lena!" Eschel warns. "We do not know that yet." She looks to Sam. "Our allies may yet come through for us."
Sam sighs. "Let's talk about your ideas for strengthening the alliance first. It's not just hosts, is it?"
"It is not," Sarran says.
"All right. Come with us," Sam says.
They sit down in a meeting room, around a large, oblong table.
"Okay, let's hear your suggestions," Cam says.
"I can't believe it's a coincidence that three of you are Tok'ra from Pegasus," Daniel says.
"Actually, while all our hosts are born there, all we symbiotes were born here, before we left," Eschel tells them. "Though I will admit that I talked to Malek about this, and he suggested I should bring mainly Tok'ra returned from the Pegasus Galaxy."
"To avoid any 'bad blood' that the groups here may feel for each other. Not a bad idea," Sam says, smiling wryly.
"Exactly," Sarran says. "To return to our ideas, we believe many of the problems stems from our people not knowing each other well enough."
"That's probably not wrong," Cam admits.
"Thus, we thought a kind of 'exchange program' might be a good idea," Sarran suggests.
"Exchange program! Where did you get that idea?" Daniel asks.
"From your own Atlantis program. Humans from different worlds, I mean countries, working together," Sarran says.
Sam nods. "It's not a bad idea, actually."
"It's a great idea," Cam says.
"Provided we can find someone who want to participate," Daniel adds, cautiously.
"Yes... well, I'm sure there are some who'd like it. I mean it doesn't even have to be from SG teams," Sam suggests.
"Agreed," Eschel says. "We thought maybe a small group first - four or five?"
"I think we can find that," Sam promises.
"Very good. We will return to this." Eschel smiles.
"We have another idea," Nenesh says.
The others look, surprised, not having noticed the two had switched control.
"Uh, yes?" Sam says.
"Shared missions, perhaps at some point as part of the exchange program also, if you will agree to a Tok'ra on your some of your teams. At first just minor missions. Surveillance and intelligence gathering, perhaps."
"We'll have to talk to General Landry, particularly about putting a Tok'ra on a team, but it's possible," Sam says.
"You know, why don't we start by something like a party? I mean, I know Ba'al is still out there, and the Ori and everything, but we've got some victories. Anubis and such, and we've never really celebrated. Why not do that?" Cam suddenly suggests.
Lena smiles at him. "I like that idea."
"So do I," Eschel says. "It is a good opportunity for meeting under more relaxed circumstances, and may well help our people grow more friendly." She looks to Teal'c. "Perhaps the Free Jaffa would like to participate?"
"I do not believe that would be wise," Teal'c says, carefully.
"You're afraid they'll get drunk and butt heads?"Cam asks.
Teal'c shook his head. "Too much bad blood between them, as we have learned before. The Jaffa do not drink alcohol, as you know."
"Right," Cam says.
"But it's the Goa'uld who caused that - neither the Jaffa or the Tok'ra are really guilty," Daniel points out.
"Maybe so, but the time has not yet come for the Free Jaffa to accept that," Teal'c says.
"In truth, many Tok'ra would have a difficult time as well. Not only have they been tortured by the Goa'uld, but their hosts have met death and devastation from the Jaffa from millennia," Nenesh says.
"You remember it from before you went to Pegasus?" Daniel asks.
"Some, though I was quite young when we left," Nenesh says. "My host is a descendant of the humans that went with us to the Pegasus Galaxy, and even after all this time, the fear of the Jaffa lives among them, in stories."
"Can't say I blame them, I guess," Daniel says.
"I would like to return to the topic of hosts," Eschel says.
"Sure," Sam says. "I apologize that we haven't found any for you yet." She shakes her head. "I guess we haven't been good at that - ever."
"The problem is that Stargate Command and the whole project - everything offworld, really - is secret. We can't just go out and ask the general population if they'd agree to be a host. Unfortunately," Daniel says.
"I understand, but I may have an idea," Eschel says. "I was thinking that the people working here at Stargate Command could all be asked. Maybe a list could be made of those who would like to be host."
"Or who would agree to it under certain circumstances, like when they were wounded. That's not a bad idea!" Sam exclaims. "And I can't believe we haven't thought of that before! It would be like an organ donor register, kind of, just for matching hosts and symbiotes!"
"I... guess that could work," Cam says.
"It's worth suggesting," Daniel agrees.
Someone knocks on the door and opens it, and Landry enters. "So, how is it going?"
"Quite well," Eschell tells him.
"In fact, we've got some things we'd like to discuss with you, General," Sam says.
"Okay, what?" Landry says, sitting down.
"It's like this-" Sam begins, then proceeds to give a resume of what they have discussed. The others add comments here and there.
About a month later, Eschel, Nenesh, and several other Tok'ra oversee how some of the young symbiotes get their first host - the first to have found hosts after returning to the Milky Way.
"You are certain, Lieutenant Joneson?" Sarran asks the young woman who has laid down on one of the benches.
She nods. "I am. My heart problem will not kill me, but it prevents me from going offworld to fight, and that's just not acceptable. As a Tok'ra, I will be healthy - and even still be on a Stargate team."
Sarran smiles. "Yes, it was most fortunate that your leaders agreed to allow Tok'ra on a few of your teams. We look forward to how that will work out."
"Great. I hope." She smiles, a little nervously. "What do I do now?"
"Nothing else. Just relax. I will bring the symbiote, and you will roll over on your side. When I put her on the bench beside you, open your mouth. She will do the rest," Sarran says.
Joneson nods. "What's her name?"
"Tri'ela. It means 'Faithful' in Goa'uld," Sarran tells her.
"All right. I guess that's a good name," Joneson agrees.
Sarran leaves and shortly after returns with a symbiote wrapped around his arm. Eschel walks behind him. They stop beside the bench, and Eschel caresses the symbiote before Sarran lets her slide down on the bench.
"This is Tri'ela," he introduces. "Tri'ela, meet Lieutenant Joneson."
"Call me Leila. I guess formal doesn't work in a situation like this." She laughs nervously again.
Tri'ela squeals and slithers up closer to Joneson. Joneson swallows, then nods. "I, ah, volunteer." She opens her mouth.
Tri'ela slides in quickly, and Joneson's eyes flash. Moments later, Tri'ela speaks. "I have connected fully. I would like to spend time talking to my host, and blending with her, my queen."
"Please do so. We will look forward to talking more with you," Eschel says, sliding her hand warmly over Tri'ela's cheek.
Tri'ela and Joneson settles down to blend and talk, while Eschel goes to check on one of the other newly blended, and Sarran goes to prepare another of the hosts for blending. Five Tau'ri have volunteered, two in critical condition and already blended, Joneson, and two others, who decided to be hosts shortly after going to the Tok'ra on exchange.
The alliance was already well on its way to becoming stronger, and with shared missions it would be more so. All a great advantage to everyone who fought evil in the Galaxy.
The end - of this part of the story at any rate. As I said in the notes in the header, this didn't work out as I had intended, and I may want to write more about the young symbiotes, and their new hosts. Maybe also make some of the canon characters from SG-1 and Atlantis hosts :) Read my story "New Friends" for how Teyla became host!