* * * * * *
Hagar relaxed his body, knowing Lucas was monitoring him closely.
Teal'c was still glaring at him, but Hagar realized the Jaffa wasn't going to harm him unless they found out he actually did know what was going on.
Then, they'd probably kill him if he didn't move fast.
Which meant he needed to kill the bacterial infection in their stomach and heal the various bruises in their ankle.
Lucas was getting agitated and Hagar admonished him sharply before focusing his concentration.
The meditative trance was slightly obstructed since they were used to laying prone on a floor or bed while healing, but that didn't seem a likely scenario anytime soon, so Hagar did his best.
He followed the mental map he had of their body, examining anything that didn't match.
He sighed a bit as he worked on their ankle first after completing his survey.
It was pretty badly sprained.
This was going to take a little while.
* * * * * *
Tesaf sat very still in his chair, not wishing to exert more control than was necessary.
Onar was not as silent, waiting for his host to finish her morning meditation before it was time to leave for school.
"Where could Neris be?"
"I have no way of knowing."
Onar bit his lip, knowing his brother had enough to deal with without their mother's whereabouts being brought up once again.
"How is Angela?"
"Doing as well as can be expected."
Tesaf shifted a bit, uncomfortable.
Angela was not supposed to be unconscious.
For that matter, she wasn't supposed to be pregnant.
He subdued his host again...with difficulty...before lashing out at Onar.
"How could this have happened to her?"
"I don't know."
"Well find out."
"I can't...this host is fighting me. I've never taken an un-willing host before. It's terrifying."
"Really? According to Hagar, the Goa'uld do it all the time."
"His mind keeps re-playing the moment I took him. It sickens me each time I see it."
"Is there no way to make him stop?"
"I don't want to risk damaging him. I'm only in him until Angela is back with us and there's no danger."
"It's a miracle Capt. Carter didn't sense that Angela was a former host."
"A miracle we need to explore. Especially since the Tok'ra didn't notice either."
"Maybe there's something different about us?"
"Maybe...when Hagar checks in, we'll ask him whether they were able to sense him or not."
Onar nodded, incredibly grateful he wasn't in an unwilling host...no matter how short a time the joining would be.
He tried not to look at Tesaf.
The sweat beading on his brother's forehead and the pallor of his skin testified to his hardship with this new host.
*It would be taxing. Tesaf may be too weak to rejoin with Angela after spending so much energy fighting this host.*
Onar sighed, slipping back to allow Misheille control now that she'd finally awakened for the day.
*You stubbed our toe again, Mish.*
*So heal it.*
Onar chided her mentally, having gained an entirely new level of understanding now that he had joined with a sixteen year old girl...a clumsy one at that.
*Oh you know you love me.*
Onar suppressed his amusement, knowing she was altogether too observant for his comfort.
He'd never had a host as impulsive or as intuitive as Mish.
"Time for school, peoples. See ya."
Mish gave a wave to Tesaf and was out the door.
It was easier to control the man when Onar and Mish were here to give him support.
The man didn't believe anything he told him.
He was so horrified by the fact that Shifters...Tesaf just couldn't get used to the name Goa'uld...even existed that Tesaf worried for the man's mental state once he'd rejoined Angela.
Nor had he expected the medical downside to joining with this man.
They hadn't known there were three native species to Earth...until now.
And Peri...Peri's failing health worried him greatly.
Her host would not survive the night.
* * * * * *
Teal'c watched the Goa'uld's eyes drift shut, obviously entering a form of Kel no Reem.
His eyes unwittingly flickered to the Airman's ankle, knowing it had turned a bit.
Teal'c allowed a smidgen of guilt to interrupt his anger, knowing he might be over-reacting.
Then, his eyes turned inward as he remembered the tone of O'Neill's voice on the tape and the look in the man's eyes as memories of that prison hit him again and again.
The image of Amber's repeated lapses and the new look in her eyes that hinted of constant pain and a shattered self-image ripped through Teal'c again.
She was a unique person; one he hadn't connected with at first, but she was more than anything an innocent victim.
If this Goa'uld was responsible for that or any part of that, Teal'c would kill him.
If the parasite was fortunate.
* * * * * *
George gently placed the wrapped gift back into his cabinet.
Cassandra could have it when she got back.
He wasn't going to try to send it to them...not that he could even if he wanted to.
Oh he knew he could track them down if he needed them, but Jack was silently asking him not to.
They really did need this time away.
It was times like this, though, that really impressed on George the need for his top personnel.
He just hoped Capt. Carter could forgive him the decision he'd made.
SG-1 would just have to be assigned a replacement member.
Dr. Fraiser and Capt. Carter were needed too much on base to send both women with SG-1.
George stifled a sigh, knowing SG-1 would have a difficult time accepting that decision.
"Sir, the iris has worked perfectly the last three hours. If you're ready to send people through, we're confident we've removed the problem."
George smiled a bit at Simmons, finally receiving good news.
"Very well. I want to brief SG-13 immediately."
* * * * * *
Amber smiled grimly at Cassie as she produced one photo after another.
She'd taken off her sunglasses, knowing the back windows were tinted enough that it was doubtful anyone could see her glittering eyes from a passing car.
Cassandra kept glancing at her eyes and so Amber was pretty sure they weren't changing back yet.
Jonathan's concern for her was evident in the way he tried to keep from commenting on her thoughts.
His automatic reactions still leaked through, but they were getting better about controlling the link.
Well, he was, anyway.
Amber fought down the residual bitterness that ran like small veins through her thoughts and emotions.
No matter what good things happened, the fact that she had no control and didn't understand the rules of this game she was playing in or being played in frightened her.
Jonathan had given up trying not to remember anything since that just made the perverse part of his brain seek out really annoying memories.
She now knew how Charlie had been potty-trained, what the cravings of alcohol did to you, and every now and then, she'd relive part of their time in prison.
That was the worst.
She had her own memories of it now and the parts that flashed through Jonathan's mind in normal conversation reinforced her own memories...marking them in a mental bold print.
It killed him every time she went back there and that, in turn, made it even worse for her.
A vicious cycle that seemed to never end and she could feel herself boiling up again.
Amber focused on Cassandra, knowing that so far, her unexpected connection to the girl was what had helped her look outside herself and continue to touch the real world, not just the realm of memories.
Jonathan's strength had helped, too, but those memories shook that strength and it wasn't helpful at all when she wasn't mentally present, but displaced in a memory, unable to be aware of anyone or anything actually around her.
They were so real and so very disconcerting.
At least her cramps seemed to be subsiding a bit.
She wasn't sure what all was in the chemical soup Janet had given her, but it was definitely helping.
* * * * * *
Sam chuckled at the lively descriptions that Cassandra was giving the Colonel.
Janet's ears perked up each time Cassandra called her Mom and Sam didn't know if Janet even realized how obviously happy she looked each time.
Daniel threw her a wry glance at one of the Colonel's remarks and Sam smiled in response.
She was reveling in her freedom and she hoped Janet never found out how a small piece of her was starting to dread the moment her best friend would take over again.
It wasn't logical or even scientific.
It was emotional.
Janet would never deliberately hurt her, but the thought of being tucked away like a pair of socks and then forgotten in a drawer somewhere was an analogy her mind had come up with and it just wouldn't let it rest.
She was scared and Daniel knew...she could see it in his eyes each time he glanced over at her.
Another argument between the Colonel and Cassie brought Sam back to her surroundings and she smiled again at Daniel, trying to ease the concern from his blue eyes.
She chuckled as he resumed teasing her about how she'd have died from a chocolate overdose if she'd stayed joined with Jolinar.
* * * * * *
P3A-992...a fairytale planet according to the MALP reports.
Small sparkling flowers of all colors littered the rolling, golden hills around the Gate.
Greg surveyed the grassy landscape around them, automatically watching for hostile natives or enemies during the first few moments of disorientation his team felt.
He was always the first to recover, even if he was the last one through the Gate.
They'd been warned of the slight drop from the Gate entrance by the way the MALP had fallen about a foot to the ground.
Even so, the drop was jarring and increased the initial confusion brought on by Gate travel.
Mason fell to one knee as she came through and Greg helped her up before continuing his survey.
A strong smell, sweet and tangy, drenched the air.
Greg opened his mouth to taste the breeze.
Frome was beside him a moment later, holding her M9 at the ready as she stumbled slightly.
"Now this is a planet."
"No trees, either."
Greg grinned and turned to see the wry grin his commanding officer had to be wearing only to feel his own jaw drop at the silent sight coming toward them.
Terry watched Harris' mouth fall open and swiveled to see what had inspired the awe in the man's eyes.
Terry froze as an image straight out of a storybook gracefully soared, it's massive wings parting the air as it oriented on the Gate, skimming the tip closely before lifting away.
Still without a sound...not even that of moving air.
The team turned as one, following the dragon-like creature with their eyes as two and then three more of the flyers met in the air, appearing over the edge of the farthest field.
They danced in the sky, their movements seamless and poetic...intertwining flight paths keeping the teams' collective breath prisoner with each almost-collision.
Finally Syla broke the silence.
"You're right, Nora. This is a planet."
Terry more than shared their awe.
"Let's follow them, but keep your eyes open. Harris, keep an eye on how far we go. We stop so we can be sure to get back to the Gate before nightfall and report. If anything happens, I want the SGC to have a clue before they come out here."
Quiet "Yes, sirs" were voiced as the team stepped away from the Gate, taking a moment to examine the clear gel holding the Gate in place above the ground as well as the sparkles the flowers were shooting into the air.
* * * * * *
Jack argued with Cassie over another trivial piece of tourist trivia about Maui, trying to keep his eyes from glancing at Amber.
Every time he looked at Amber, Cassie looked at Amber and then Amber would smile at Cassie and Cassie wouldn't buy it.
So he concentrated on Cassie, trying to keep from thinking too much.
It just didn't work and his eyes...or Amber's eyes...not sure which...were itching a bit.
His hand automatically reached up and scratched the glaze and Cassie shrieked.
"Jack! You're scratching your eyeball! Stop it! Mom!"
Janet was awake in one instant and in charge the next.
Unbuckled and moving, she pushed past Teal'c to the back where she examined the Colonel.
Janet turned to Amber.
"They're not itching, they're burning. So's my forehead. I assumed Jonathan's was too."
"Nope, just the crusty eye itch."
Janet bit her lip.
She had no idea what was happening to them.
"Where on your forehead?"
Amber finger rested just above the point where her eyebrows separated and Janet probed the area gently, easing up even more when Amber gasped.
Jack looked at her sharply.
**That didn't hurt me at all.**
**Where was my implant?**
**Umm...good question. All we know is that they're in our heads...were in our heads.**
"Doc, push on my head too and see if it hurts me."
Janet complied and Jack winced at a pinchy pain, but nothing that he couldn't deal with.
"So that's where the implant is?"
Teal'c, watching, turned and shook Hagar, to draw him out of his trance.
"You must watch this and explain."
Daniel glanced back at everyone and after a glance at the gage, pulled into the Amoco to get gas.
* * * * * *
Hagar had moved further down Lucas' brainstem, trying to finish quickly even though his connection with Lucas was weakened during this phase of the healing.
Just as he was almost finished, he felt and saw Lucas' body move around him and knew it was being shaken too rapidly for safety.
He barely felt Lucas' panic as the link ripped apart and then Hagar couldn't feel Lucas' mind at all.
He sighed, trying to link back up so he could take over the body knowing he had to find Lucas again or Lucas would be gone for good.
He began reconnecting to the body trembling a bit at the unexpected electricity slinging through it.
He felt himself begin to heat up and lowered the body's temperature to compensate, but felt no relief.
Hagar began panicking, knowing he was in a unique situation and he wasn't sure what to do.
He tried again to connect and look through his host's eyes, but instead was caught mentally...half way between his host's body and his own body.
He was unable to connect with either and his fear overrode his mind as he tried over and over to take back control.
He hadn't known this scenario was even possible and he desperately tried to get back to his own physical body.
Fear that he would be like Lucas, disconnected, caused him to falter dangerously...unable to concentrate enough on the task at hand long enough to make any progress either direction.
* * * * * *
"Sir, this gel is being secreted by the flowers."
"Are you certain?"
Syla motioned the Major over so he could take a closer look at the grouping of flowers she had leant down to examine.
"Here and here...those little pockets on the stems send out more of the gel every minute or so."
"Do all the flowers do that or just these?"
"I couldn't say for certain, but all the flowers I've looked at here have the pockets. I've broken off some of the solidified gel as well as taken samples of freshly secreted gel for analysis."
"What about these sparkles?"
"They're shot from a gland in the center of the flower. They're also responsible for the scent in the air. Nothing I've found so far indicates any risk, but I don't have any promises for you yet since this is an alien planet."
Terry nodded, well aware of the level of risk every new planet held for them.
"Okay. Keep an eye on the flowers and be careful when you take any more samples. Try not to pull a Frome on this mission."
Syla smiled a bit at the reminder of Nora's close call on another planet when she took some samples for Syla.
A carnivorous animal camouflaged in the foliage around her had almost eaten her.
Syla glanced over to see if Nora had heard the Major's reminder, but the Captain was busy watching the dragons.
She didn't blame her.
The way the sun glinted off their scales caused rainbow lights to reflect off the sparkles in the air...nothing short of absolutely stunning.
* * * * * *
Janet checked Hagar's body to see if there had been any change, glancing out the window to make sure no one was watching them.
*No...it's like he's gone. Brain-dead.*
"Sir, we have to take him to a hospital."
"Doc, we can't...the last thing we can do is let some civilian doctor examine him and then find out about the goolds."
"Colonel, with all due respect..."
"Dr. Fraiser, he is awakening."
He opened his eyes, but couldn't seem to focus them.
Parts of his body began jerking in a seemingly random pattern.
His mouth opened and shut, but no sound came out and the lack of intelligence behind his eyes made everyone queasy.
Janet reached for him, taking his vitals as best she could while Teal'c held him still.
"I don't know what's wrong."
Jack nodded at her anticipation of his question and looked up as Daniel got back into the Voyager.
The disgust on Daniel's face when he looked back at the airman surprised Jack.
When Daniel didn't immediately answer, Jack realized it was Jolinar in charge.
This time, Jolinar looked back.
"He has lost control."
"His host is not taking over the body as he should and he is not controlling it so random pulses will cause it to move until one or the other takes over."
"I thought when no one was in charge, the body goes into a stand-by mode."
"Normally that would be the case, but because his host is mentally dysfunctional and unable to support him in any way, the body is not properly attuned and cannot reach the relaxation level necessary for the...stand-by mode."
Her amusement at his name for it was obvious, but it didn't overshadow her derision for the airman's condition and that confused Jack a bit.
"Care to explain why that's so bad?"
Jolinar sighed and Jack bristled, but for Amber's sake and his own mounting headache, reined in his retort.
Jack smiled a bit and then motioned for Jolinar to explain.
"If the host is disabled, the symbiote must be in charge and keep control or else risk losing both the host and symbiote's consciousness between both bodies. When this happens, it shows the weakness of the symbiote and its unworthiness to have a host."
"Well that sounds kinda harsh."
Jolinar glared at him.
"I am more knowledgeable in this than you are, Tau'ri."
Jack started to say something else, but Jolinar turned around and started the vehicle.
"I am driving now while Dr. Fraiser is occupied with her...patient. I am well taught by Daniel. You will see."
Jack shared a look with Janet and they found their seats, quickly getting buckled.
* * * * * *