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When the alarm began sounding through the tunnels of the Tok'ra base, Daniel figured that it probably wasn't just a fire drill.  A few moments later, he found out that he was right.  The Tok'ra Ren Au informed them that a fleet of motherships was bearing down on the Tok'ra base.  What was worse was that the Goa'uld had apparently dialed into the Stargate, deliberately blocking any hope of escape through it.

"I'm kind of guessing that I won't be going to that Goa'uld summit after all," the archeologist remarked as SG-1, Jacob and Ren Au strode quickly down a tunnel.

"I'd say that's a safe bet," Jack responded.

Sam glanced at her father.  "Do you have any other ships here that you can evacuate people in besides the one you and Daniel were going to use for the mission?"

"I'm afraid not," Jacob replied.  "All others are presently being used on missions."

Jack frowned.  "You know, I kind of doubt that one little cargo ship is going to fit all of us."

"You are correct," Ren Au said.  "But at least some of us will be spared.  Above all, we must protect the formula for the symbiote poison.  It must not fall into the hands of the Goa'uld."

Jack got on the radio.  "Mansfield, come in,"

The leader of SG-17 replied.  "Mansfield here, sir."

"In case you haven't already heard, things are going to be getting hot here very soon.  We've got a fleet of Goa'uld ships coming our way, and the Stargate is a no-go.  Get your men to the cargo ship and wait for my orders.  You'll probably have a bunch of Tok'ra keeping you company soon."

"What about SG-1, sir?"

"Stand by."  He looked at the Tok'ra.  "What's the plan?"

"Those of us who must remain here will defend this base for as long as we are able," Ren Au replied.

"You call that a plan?"

Aldwin came running up to them.  "We have begun making new tunnels."

"Why?" Daniel asked.

"Spread out the risk of getting hit by an air attack."  Aldwin looked at each of the members of SG-1.  "You could lend us a hand moving life support equipment and supplies to the new tunnels.  We will, of course, understand if you choose instead to go immediately to the cargo ship.  We would not expect any of you to remain behind."

Jack looked at his teammates.  He didn't even have to ask to know what Daniel would say.  The archeologist would want to help the Tok'ra as much as possible.  As for Jack, well, let it not be said that he tucked tail and ran away when an ally was in trouble and needed help.

The colonel keyed his radio again.  "We're going to be sticking around for a while longer, Major,"

"Yes, sir.  Mansfield out."

"Dad, what about you?" Sam asked her father.

"I'm staying as long as I can.  As Jack said, everyone isn't going to fit in that cargo ship.  The biggest threat is that some of the Tok'ra who stay behind will be captured, and the Goa'uld might manage to get information from one or more of them."

"No Tok'ra has ever broken under torture," Ren Au declared, appearing to be rather affronted by Jacob's comment.

He looked at her.  "Then how do you explain the fact that the Goa'uld found this base?  You know as well as I that the only way is if they found out from a Tok'ra."  He turned back to SG-1.  "If worse comes to worse, I'll release the poison.  It'll wipe out any Jaffa who have managed to get into the tunnels."

"But that would kill you and all the other Tok'ra," Sam said.

Jacob nodded.  "That's the whole idea.  I'd only do it as a last resort and not until after the cargo ship leaves."  He noticed the look on the faces of Ren Au and Aldwin.  "You know I'm right.  We have to protect the rest of the Tok'ra.  As it is, we're going to have to warn any Tok'ra who have infiltrated the Goa'uld that their covers may have been blown.  We have no way of knowing how much information the Goa'uld got about us."

Ren Au reluctantly nodded.  "I am afraid that you're right."

They entered the Tok'ra meeting chamber.  Ren Au went over to a console.

"What are you doing?" Sam asked.

"I'm cutting power to the base.  The energy signature would give away our position.  Now, they'll have to resort to random bombardment."

"I suppose there's not much chance that they'll miss hitting us," Daniel said.

"Unfortunately not.  It will only be a matter of time before this base is under attack."

Jack shook his head.  "You know, if you guys had been more prepared for something like this, we'd be in a lot better position for all of us to get out of this alive."

Ren Au stared at him.  "Colonel, the Tok'ra have never had the military resources of the Goa'uld.  We use disguise and subterfuge to achieve our goals.  Our bases are designed to be hidden.  We are just not equipped to repulse such a large enemy force."

"And, unfortunately, we don't have enough ships at our disposal to keep several at the base just in case we have to evacuate and can't use the gate," Jacob added.  "Come on.  We need to get to the lab and erase the data about the poison."

Just then, they all heard the sound of bombs striking the earth.  The base shook.

Mansfield's voice came over the radio.  "Sir, Al'Kesh have begun bombarding the surface.  We've cloaked the ship, but it's only a matter of time before it gets hit."

"How many have you got onboard?" Jack asked.

"I'm not sure, sir.  It's pretty full.  We won't be able to fit many more."

"All right, move the ship out of the danger zone.  We'll try to make it to you once we get out of here."

"Yes, sir."

At that moment, the base was rocked violently by the bombs exploding above.  Parts of the ceiling collapsed, barely missing the group.  Several other Tok'ra weren't so lucky.  SG-1, Jacob, Ren Au and Aldwin ran to them.  Three of the Tok'ra were dead, two others badly injured.

"Do what you can for them," Ren Au instructed Aldwin.  She looked up at SG-1 and Jacob.  "We must get to the lab."

They hurried through the tunnels, dodging chunks of ceiling as the bombs continued to devastate the base.  As soon as they arrived, Ren Au went to the console.

"I'm transferring the formula for the poison to this crystal before erasing the memory from the computer," she said.  "We must try to preserve the formula, if possible."

"We must determine what is happening on the surface, O'Neill," Teal'c said.

"With the power down, we're cut off from the sensors on the surface," Jacob responded.  "The only option is the secondary ring room."

"Show them," Ren Au said.

Jack, Teal'c and Jacob hurried away.

Ren Au completed the transfer and removed the crystal, slipping it inside her tunic.  She then got busy wiping all the data from the computer.

Daniel studied the raised hexagonal podium that sat in the center of the console.  There appeared to be a compartment inside it.

"What's in there?" he asked.

Ren Au glanced at it.  She entered a command on the console, and a tank rose out of the podium.  Inside, was a symbiote with wires attached to it.

"Lantash," Sam guessed.

"Yes.  As you know, though we kept Martouf's body in stasis for several months in the hope that we could repair the damage, we were unable to save him.  All that is left of Martouf now lives on in Lantash, and, sadly, he, too, will now die."

"You can't take him out of there and put him in some kind of portable unit?" Daniel asked.

"The symbiote's life is being sustained by the chamber.  Even of we had something it could be placed within, there is a good chance that it would die long before another chamber could be set up elsewhere."  She looked down at the console.  "Erasure is complete."  She looked at Sam and Daniel.  "I'll take you to the ring room so that you can get to the ship.  There is no purpose in you remaining here any longer."

Before any of them could take a step toward the exit, the room suddenly shuttered violently.

"Look out!" Daniel yelled as the ceiling caved in.  The warning came too late for Ren Au, the ceiling right over her head falling down on her and the tank.  Daniel and Sam dove for cover.  Agony lanced through Daniel's body as he was struck a crushing blow.  Then something slammed into his head, and he knew no more.

Jack, Teal'c and Jacob cautiously crept up the side of a small crater created by falling bombs.  They laid down and peeked over the edge.  In the valley below were several ships and thousands of Jaffa.

"They appear to be amassing a few troops," Jack remarked mildly, cursing lividly on the inside.

"Once the aerial bombardment exposes the tunnels, they will infiltrate and search them," Teal'c said.

Jack got on his radio.  "Carter, come in."  There was no response.  "Carter, respond."  When there was still no answer, the colonel and Jacob exchanged a worried look.

"Let's get back," Jack said.

As they ran back toward the trees, they all heard the familiar sound of approaching Death Gliders.  They glanced over their shoulder to see two of the ships heading right for them.  They increased their pace and managed to make it to the trees in the nick of time, weapons fire exploding all around them.  The gliders flew off, no doubt to look for other targets.

Just then, an alarm went off on Jacob's belt.

"What's that?" Jack asked.

"It's a warning.  Jaffa have breached the tunnels.  We're almost out of time, Jack."

Sam's eyes slowly blinked open.  She reached a hand up to her head, wincing as her fingers touched a sore spot.

"Daniel, are you okay?" she called out.  The fact that there was no answer scared her.  She slowly sat up and looked around, her heart going into her throat at the sight that met her eyes.  Several yards away, Daniel lay unmoving amidst a pile of rubble.

Sam scrambled to her feet and rushed to his side.  She knelt beside him.  Seeing that he was breathing, she relaxed slightly.  He was alive.  She checked his pulse, finding it to be weak and slow.  She carefully lifted off the rubble that was lying on top of him, searching for evidence of broken bones.  She'd just finished determining that his arms and legs were okay when he stirred.  Her gaze fastened on his face.


The archeologist's eyes opened.  Sam was shocked when she saw them glow.

"Oh my God."  She looked over her shoulder at the chamber where Lantash had been and saw that it was empty.  She turned back to Daniel.  "Lantash?"

"I had no choice," the Tok'ra said.

"How's Daniel?"

"I'm afraid his injuries are severe.  There is serious internal damage.  It's going to take all my strength just to keep him alive.  He will have to speak for both of us."

As Daniel's eyes closed, Sam cupped his face with her hand.

His eyes fluttered open again.  "Sam," he whispered.

She tried to give him an encouraging smile, but knew it was pretty weak.  "It's going to be okay, Daniel.  Lantash is trying to heal you."

"I know.  It feels strange having him inside me."  He met her eyes.  "But then, I guess you already know that."

"Well, my experience was a little different from yours."

"Yeah.  Is Ren Au okay?"

"I don't know.  I'll go check."

Sam went to the Tok'ra and felt for a pulse.  She was dead.  Remembering the crystal with the data for the poison, Sam removed it from the woman's tunic and stuck it in one of her pockets.  She then went back to Daniel.

"She's dead.  I've got the crystal with the data for the poison."

"Jack, Teal'c and Jacob aren't back yet?"

"No, but they should be soon."

Daniel sighed and closed his eyes.  He looked so pale.  Sam was worried sick about him, afraid that the weakened Lantash wouldn't be able to heal him.  But she couldn't give up hope.

"We're going to get out of this, Daniel."

His eyes opened, meeting hers.  "Are we?"

"Yes.  We'll get you to the ship, and, as soon as the colonel, Dad and Teal'c get back, we'll fly to the nearest planet with a gate and get you home."  She ran her eyes over his body.  "Do you think you can walk?"

"Um, no, not really, but I'll give it a try."

By the time Daniel was on his feet, he was drenched in sweat and shaking from the pain.  As they walked down the tunnel, heading toward the ring platform, Sam had to support a great deal of his weight.

They hadn't made it very far when they saw Jacob and the rest of their team running toward them.

"Daniel!" Jack shouted in alarm upon seeing that his friend was injured.

"The ceiling fell on him," Sam said.  "Ren Au is dead."  She met her C.O.'s eyes.  "Sir, Lantash is inside him."


"The tank Lantash was in was broken.  He had no choice but to take a host.  He's keeping Daniel alive, Colonel."  Her eyes told Jack how bad their friend's injuries were.

The colonel turned to the archeologist.  "How you doin', Daniel?"

"Oh, I've been better.  But then, I'm still alive, so I've also been worse."

"That you have.  All right, let's get you to the ship and get out of here.  Jaffa have gotten into the base, so we're going to have to watch out."

Jacob switched places with his daughter, taking over the burden of helping Daniel, his superior strength as a Tok'ra coming in handy.

Cautiously, they made their way toward the rings, eyes and ears alert for the enemy.  They were approaching a left turn when the tunnel's weakened ceiling suddenly collapsed ahead of them.  Teal'c ventured forward, looking down the tunnel.

"The tunnel is blocked," he informed the others.

Sam looked at her father.  "Is there another way to the secondary ring room?"

He shook his head.  "I'm afraid that was it."

"Then indeed we are trapped," Teal'c stated.

"Crystals," Daniel murmured weakly.

Sam stared at him.  "What?"

"The Tok'ra use crystals to make the tunnels."

"Yes!  Good idea, Danny," Jacob said.  He turned to the others.  "We can use crystals to make new tunnels."

"Okay, so where are they?" Jack asked.

"In the lab."

"All right, Carter, you wait here with Daniel.  Teal'c and Jacob, with me."

Jacob took Daniel over to a spot where his back would be supported and gently lowered him to the floor.  He then went with Jack and Teal'c back the way they came.

"See if you can find one of the Tok'ra communicators," Sam called after them.  "We may need it."  She turned to Daniel and knelt beside him.  He looked awful, even paler than he had before.

"Would you like some water?" she asked, trying to hide her concern.  She received a nod from Daniel and gave him a small sip from her canteen.  "I don't want to give you too much in case it'll aggravate your internal injuries."  She looked into his eyes.  He'd lost his glasses in the collapse, so she could see the blue orbs clearly.  They were filled with pain.  "How are you doing?"

"You want the truth?"

Sam nodded.

"Not so good.  I can sense Lantash trying to repair the damage, but he's pretty weak.  It's strange.  All of a sudden, I have all these memories that aren't mine, both Lantash's and . . . and Martouf's."  Sam's eyes slid away from his for a moment.  "Was it like that for you when you were Jolinar's host?"

"Not really.  Jolinar blocked most of her memories from me, I guess because of the circumstances.  After all, she wasn't really sure how much she could trust any of us."

Daniel closed his eyes.  "I can hear him thinking sometimes."  He didn't add that some of those thoughts were the doubts Lantash had that he'd be able to keep Daniel alive long enough for them to get medical attention.  Daniel knew that the odds of him getting out of this alive were slim.

Sam stroked his hair.  "You should rest."

Instead of taking her advice, Daniel opened his eyes and gazed into hers.  "He loves you, Sam."

Sam's breath caught sharply at the statement.

"He loves you, not just the memory of Jolinar that's inside you.  Martouf loved you, too."

Sam's eyes filled with tears.

"It's the main reason he's been fighting to live," Daniel told her.  "He wanted you to know how he felt.  He's so sorry about Martouf.  I can feel his grief."

A tear spilled down Sam's cheek, and she dashed it away.

"Sam, he doesn't want you to feel responsible for what happened.  You did what you needed to.  It's what Martouf wanted you to do."

Sam closed her eyes against the pain.  "I know," she whispered.  It had been in Martouf's eyes, a plea for her to kill him before he could activate the self-destruct device that would have blown him and everyone nearby to pieces.

Sam felt something touch her hand.  She looked down to see Daniel's hand covering hers.  In his eyes was concern for her.  He was lying there, desperately injured, yet he was still worrying about her.

Sam wiped away the tears that had fallen and gave his hand a squeeze.  "Tell Lantash thank you."

Daniel nodded, smiling slightly.  The smile abruptly turned into a grimace, and he began to cough.  Sam supported him as the coughs racked his body, making the pain almost unbearable.  He was utterly spent by the time they ceased.  He looked down at the spot on the floor he'd been slouched over.  Sam gasped when she saw that it was spattered with blood.

Fear clawing at her insides, she eased Daniel back into a semi-reclining position and wiped the blood from his mouth with her handkerchief.

"Sam," Daniel murmured, a look in his eyes that made her chest hurt.

"No!  Don't you say it.  You're going to be all right, Daniel.  You just have to keep fighting.  Don't you give up."

Daniel's eyes closed.  "I haven't given up yet."

"Good.  Just see that you keep it that way."

A couple of silent minutes passed.  The sound of Daniel's voice broke it.

"Shouldn't Jack, Teal'c and Jacob be back by now?"

Sam glanced at her watch, seeing how much time had passed.  "I'm sure they're okay, Daniel.  They'll be back soon.  They might have run into some Jaffa.  You know how troublesome those Jaffa can be."

Sam was trying to stay positive, but it was getting progressively harder to do.  Even if they did manage to get to the ship, would Daniel live long enough for them to get him back to Earth?  She didn't know how far they were to the nearest planet with a gate.

Crashing and booming sounds drew Sam's gaze to the ceiling.  The Al'Kesh had apparently resumed bombing.

"They're coming back," Daniel murmured.

Sam was about to assure him that they'd be okay when the chamber shook, pieces falling from the ceiling.  She tensed, preparing to cover Daniel's body with her own.  The sound of the bombardment faded away, and she relaxed.  She gave Daniel another small sip of water, then told him to rest, mentally urging her father and her other two teammates to hurry.

In the distance, Sam could hear the sound of tunnel collapses.  She had to wonder if any of the Tok'ra inside the base were still alive.  Though the method the Tok'ra used for building their tunnels was ingenious, the crystalline structure was not strong enough to withstand this kind of stress.  It was breaking apart.  If the Al'Kesh didn't stop bombing soon, the entire cave system could collapse.

No sooner had that thought entered Sam's mind when a horrendous crash rocked the room, a big chunk of the ceiling collapsing.  Sam sprang forward, draping her body over Daniel's to shield him.

As the crashing sounds ceased, she lifted her head to see that the only way out was now completely blocked by tons of rubble.  Her eyes went to Daniel's, seeing there the knowledge of how bad their situation had just gotten.

"I need to try to dig us out," she said.

She went to the pile of rubble and slowly began moving pieces near the bottom of the pile.

"Start at the top," Daniel murmured.

She turned to him.  "What?"

"You need to start higher, as close to the ceiling as you can.  The pile isn't as thick there, and you won't have to worry about stuff from higher in the pile falling down on you."

Sam looked at the pile.  Of course.  She should have figured that out for herself.  Digging near the bottom of the pile would waste time and be more dangerous.

"Sorry.  I should have been able to figure that out for myself," she said.

"It's okay.  I sort of have a little experience with this kind of situation."

Sam carefully ascended the pile of rubble to a spot near the ceiling.  "Oh?  Was it some kind of collapse when you were on a dig?"

"Yeah.  We were in an underground chamber when the only way out caved in.  Fortunately, people on the outside knew where we were, so, between them digging from the outside and us digging from the inside, it only took a couple hours to get out."

Sam didn't say that she desperately hoped it wouldn't take even that long this time.

Jack, Teal'c and Jacob hurried down the tunnel.  They'd run into trouble getting the crystals.  Jaffa showed up, and a battle ensued.  It took a while before the three of them could get out of the lab.  Then they'd run into still more Jaffa on the way back.

"Mansfield to Colonel O'Neill.  Come in."

Jack and the others slowed to a fast walk.

"Report, Major," the colonel said into his radio.

"Sir, things are getting bad up here.  There are Jaffa crawling all over the place.  If we don't get out of here soon, they're going to find the ship.  The Tok'ra have been making noises for the past fifteen minutes that we need to go.  We've, uh, sort of commandeered the cockpit."

Jack exchanged a look with his companions.  Even if he told Mansfield to take the ship farther out, beyond the area that the attack was being focused on, the ship would have to reenter the danger zone to fetch SG-1 and Jacob, putting at risk all the lives onboard.

Jack knew what he had to do.  He got back on his radio.  "Get going, Major.  Get that ship out of here."

"But, sir, what about you and your team?"

"It's not worth risking your lives and the lives of all those Tok'ra just for us.  Get back to Earth.  That's an order."

There was a long pause.  "Yes, sir."

"Head to the nearest planet with a gate.  Tell Hammond to dial this gate and try to make contact with us.  We'll find someplace to hide.  Maybe he can come up with a way to get us out of here.  Personally, I wouldn't say no to him firing a few missiles through the gate and blasting those Jaffa down there to hell."

"I'll pass on the message, Colonel.  Good luck, sir."

Jack turned to the others and saw the look on Jacob's face.

"Jack—" the Tok'ra began.

"Aht!  Don't say it, Jacob.  If you use that poison, not only will you kill yourself and any Tok'ra left alive here, you'll kill Daniel and Teal'c, too."

"I'd wait until you guys were on the surface."

"Then stay down here and press the button?  What do you think that would do to your daughter?  If any Tok'ra down here have survived the attack, they've probably already been taken out of the tunnels, which means that you using that poison would be for nothing."

After a moment, Jacob nodded, knowing that Jack was right.

"Come on," Jack said.  "Let's get back to Carter and Daniel."

Next Chapter

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