* * * * * *
The wall had ceased to be cool, having absorbed his body heat and Martouf pushed off it with slight annoyance.
Lantash's temper had only gotten worse the longer they waited.
*She is not coming.*
*She is simply unable to join us at this time. We will wait.*
*No, we will not.*
Martouf sighed, allowing Lantash to take control.
*You are over-reacting.*
*I do not believe so.*
Martouf settled in for the ride, letting himself think about other things while Lantash stalked down the corridor, undoubtedly wanting to drag his leader to the meeting spot himself.
*Jolinar has picked up many strange expressions from her new host. You do not need to collect them as well.*
*I like that one.*
*You also like sitting, doing nothing, in Dr. Jackson's office. I no longer hold any respect for your mental capacity.*
*His office hold some...pleasant memories.*
*You may sit in their briefing room and relive these memories. There is no need to stare at skulls.*
*Jolinar's hands were most gentle on those skulls.*
*That was not Jolinar, that was her host. I do not feel the need to pretend it was one over the other.*
*I have only a few memories of her since her death, Lantash. Allow me my delusion.*
Lantash turned to his sister, rolling his eyes.
The thoroughly adult expression on her face belied the innocence her host exuded.
There could be no mistake who was in control with this Tok'ra.
"Qesir, Martouf is unavailable."
"I would think you are hiding him from me."
Qesir's eyebrow raised only slightly before she smiled.
"Do not worry. I will do nothing more than look at each and every opportunity."
"I see. Was there a reason you sought my host so...vocally?"
"Yes. Garshaw has just informed me that she has agreed for a Tok'ra liaison to remain behind when we leave here."
"She is not...happy. The Tau'ri wishes one of us to stay with them the way Selmac's host has stayed with us."
"I see. There is a simple way to accomplish this."
*I do not believe they will accept such a proposal.*
*We should put it forward anyway.*
"If one of their people were to become ill, as Selmac did, we could graciously allow that person to blend with a symbiote, thus they gain a liaison in someone they trust."
"I have not been here long, but I know that look. You do not believe they will like this possibility."
"They have been resistant to hosting us because of how cruelly their loved ones were violated by the Goa'uld. They have not separated us from the Goa'uld and until they do, I do not fully trust them not to use us and then terminate us when they have become advanced in their own right."
"Your words could be those spoken by Garshaw."
"She believes the same."
"I think you do them a disservice. I approve highly of my host. She is young, but courageous."
"You were not there, nor was your host, when they met us for the first time. They came, wanting technology. If we had not held them, untrusting, we would have lost Selmac. Even now, they would let us die if they had another choice."
Qesir stared at Lantash, not liking the bitterness in his voice.
"You blame them for Jolinar's death."
"She is not dead."
"She is not alive, either."
Lantash glared at her, biting his lip to control his tongue.
Without another word, he spun on his heel and barely kept from running away, blocking her and her words.
Qesir winced, knowing she'd been harsh.
*Why were you so mean to him? You knew you were gonna hurt him even before you said it. Why?*
*He needed to hear it and I'd rather it be me he's angry with. It won't be the first time and it won't be the last.*
*I think it was just stupid.*
*Perhaps. We are joined together, but we are not one person. You may disagree with me openly. I would rather you not apologize for me like many hosts do since that, in my opinion, demeans me and my right to be different, but by all means...let others know when you do not agree with me. It would not be a true joining of two individuals if none could tell us apart by our beliefs.*
Qesir let Amy mull that over, looking around and trying to decide what to do.
A shadow on the wall caught her eye and she cocked her head, walking over to take a look.
*What is it?*
*I do not know. It may be nothing.*
Her eyes then widened abruptly when she saw a very bloody man, wildness in his eyes, staring back at her.
She'd never seen a creature such as him and she turned, running as fast as her host's body and restrictive clothing allowed.
Amy had been shocked when Qesir shared her favorite memories of running, nude, along the grassy circles of her mother's native world.
At the time, she'd been in a short, bald man and no one that had seen her had appreciated the sight, but she still loved the freedom.
Now, she felt every pounding recoil in her host's feet as she ran.
*Were those fangs?*
Qesir didn't waste a minute listening to her host, moving as fast as she could.
Not another moment passed before her brother was there, beside her, staring into the eyes of the creature pursuing her.
"What is this?"
"You are standing there simply to ask me this?"
The creature lunged and Lantash dropped into a diagonal roundhouse, catching the creature's head with his foot.
He released extra pockets of adrenaline, using the temporary strength and speed to his advantage.
The creature's quick reflexes surprised him, but what surprised him more was that he was now sensing a symbiote inside it.
Goa'uld...had infiltrated the SGC.
Martouf, fully aware now, looked and recognized the nurse from the hallway outside the infirmary.
How many others had been compromised and why hadn't he been able to sense them?
Martouf quieted his thoughts, channeling his focus on the fight itself.
The Goa'uld was easily as fast as Lantash, but not as skilled.
That seemed to be the only edge they had and even that one was waning as their opponent's superior strength came into play.
Qesir yelled, piling angry ancient cursings on the Goa'uld even as his arm slammed Lantash into the wall.
Amy was in shock, torn between watching the fight in front of her and reliving the fights running through Qesir's mind.
She kept trying to get Qesir's attention, but her symbiote was completely riveted on those in front of her.
*How could you not see that one coming. He uses the same fist each time.*
*Unless you wish to take control, be silent.*
Lantash ducked, using his arms to prop him as he shot his bent legs straight, propelling the Goa'uld into the other wall.
*We might get the upper hand*
*I am listening.*
*Have Qesir distract him.*
*Do you see his teeth? They are confusing me.*
*I know of none like him.*
Lantash looked over in confusion, then quickly reoriented as the same fist connected with his solar plexus.
He looked again, this time with a glare as he tackle-pounced the creature, forcing him to the floor.
One moment he was on top, the next on the bottom.
Suddenly, all went black.
Qesir realized she'd waited too long and hit the wrong one so quickly kicked the vampire's head, too.
*You killed Martouf?*
*No, silly girl, though he will be quite sore with me when he awakens.*
*He'll be sore, period.*
*Quite possibly, though I am more concerned with Lantash's wrath. He once hunted me across four worlds through the Chaapa'ai to repay my tossing all of his host's clothing into the window of an old widow who felt about his host then as I feel about Martouf. Only she was not as subtle, or as restrained.*
*So you deserve anything he gives you.*
*More, though, I would appreciate you not enlightening him.*
*Don't worry. Not unless you get a new body. I don't need him hurting me.*
*Ah yes...self-preservation always was my best friend.*
*I can't believe it's real.*
*It is. We will drag the creature and leave my brother here. I would rather face it, should it awaken, than Lantash with a throbbing head.*
*I don't agree.*
*Good. When next you are in control of our body, you may say so to all who will listen.*
* * * * * *
Nora watched Syla nuzzle the dragon, torn between being jealous because Syla was alive and laughing because of how ridiculous she looked.
She was small anyway, but next to the dragon she was positively tiny.
All she needed was one of those "You must be this tall to ride" signs and the picture would be complete.
Nora started walking toward Syla, wondering if she could choose whom she was attached to.
The ground suddenly fell away from her feet and she found herself twisting in mid-air, flying up at a rather breakneck pace.
Thoroughly confused, she tried to figure out what was happening.
She flew through rocks, dragons, rocks, dragons, rocks...more rocks...then air.
She spun, out of control, wincing when she didn't impact the various objects, even though she felt them.
She couldn't even vaguely pretend she was alive right now.
Annoyance and fear at the situation battled as she saw the ground getting further and further away.
* * * * * *