Stargate Horizons


The next morning, a servant knocked on Daniel's door and told him that Egeria had invited him to breakfast in the sitting room.  When he got there, he received a pleasant surprise; it was not Egeria who greeted him, but Arria.

"Egeria said that if she is truly rejecting the ways of the Goa'uld and is considering giving birth to children who will share control with their hosts, then she must not be a hypocrite by insisting on remaining in control," the Etruscan woman explained with a wide smile.  "We talked and agreed that it would be best for her to be in control most of the time when we are around others, at least until I can learn to act more like her," the woman blushed a little, "and can learn not to talk so much."

Daniel smiled slightly.  "Do you think you will succeed on that second thing?"

"I will try my very best."

Apparently, learning not to talk so much didn't apply to when the conversation was with him.  Arria chattered away throughout the meal.  Daniel mostly just listened, knowing how much she needed this.  After hundreds of years of silence, she had finally been given back her voice.

The conversation continued after the meal was finished.  Though he hated to stop it, there was an unfinished matter that needed to be discussed, one that really couldn't be put off any longer.

"Arria, there is something I must talk to Egeria about.  It's important.  I'm sorry."

The woman's smile faltered.  "Oh."  The smile then returned.  "But we will have many other times to talk in the future."

Daniel nodded.  "Yes, we will."  He watched as Egeria resumed control.

"You wish to talk of the matter that we did not finish yesterday," she guessed.

"Yes.  It's about the sarcophagus.  I know what one will do to someone if they use it when they are not sick or injured.  I know that it will corrupt their . . . their souls, gradually leach all the good out of them."

"How do you know this?" Egeria asked, seeing a look of shame and pain in his eyes.

"Because I have experienced it.  Two years ago, I was tricked into using a sarcophagus when I wasn't sick or injured.  It turned me into someone that I didn't even recognize, somebody who almost allowed his friends to die a slow death inside a Naquadah mine while he was treated like a king.  I became completely addicted to it.  All that mattered to me was it, the next time I could use it.  Fortunately, I was . . . saved from it, but the withdrawal from the addiction was the most agonizing thing I have ever gone through."

Egeria laid a hand on Daniel's arm.  "I am so sorry that you suffered through that, Daniel."

"From what I have learned, the sarcophagus affects Goa'uld as well, though they do not become addicted like I did.  My people believe that using the sarcophagus regularly is the other reason why the Goa'uld are so evil."

"Ah.  And you wish to know why I appear to be unaffected."

"The question did cross my mind."

Egeria got to her feet and went to the window, unable to look upon his face as she spoke.  "The first time I used a sarcophagus, I did not notice any change in me.  In fact, it appeared to be quite some time before there was any negative effects, although I believe the truth is that I simply failed to see it until it became too obvious to ignore.  My words to servants became more harsh.  I had less patience with them.  I know that they noticed the difference, but they feared to say anything."  Her eyes closed for a moment.  "And then, one day, something terrible happened.  I am unsure how many times I had used the sarcophagus by then, though I know that it had been many, many times.  A young servant accidentally spilled some wine upon me.  My anger made me physically strike out at her.  I only meant to bruise her, to teach her to be more careful, but she struck her head and died.  As I looked down upon the body of that beautiful young girl who had done no more than accidentally spill some wine, I realized in horror what I was becoming."

Daniel was appalled by the story.  He felt so sorry for Egeria.  Though his teammates had suffered because of what the sarcophagus did to him, he didn't cause the death of anyone.  If he had, he'd never have gotten over the guilt.

"I had the girl taken to the sarcophagus and healed, but it did not change what I had done," Egeria said.  "I had heard about what a sarcophagus would do to a human who was not ill or injured, and I guessed that it was to blame for the changes in me.  I stopped using it for a while and found that the effects gradually faded, which confirmed my suspicion.  This left me with a decision to make.  I could choose to continue not using one and retain my . . . my soul, but then my life span would be a fraction of what it would be if I did use it, and I would have to change hosts frequently because they would age."  Egeria turned to face him.  "In the end, I decided that I could not allow myself to descend into evil."

A frown creased Daniel's forehead.  "I don't understand.  You seem to be implying that you don't use a sarcophagus to stay young, but you've been in Arria for several hundred years.  I know that a human host won't live that long without a sarcophagus, so how do you keep her from aging?"

"Ah, but you see, I do use the sarcophagus for that.  For years, I studied the technology and effects, trying to learn everything I could about why it affected an individual as it did.  There was a Goa'uld who, sadly, was conducting human experiments, subjecting people to repeated exposure to a sarcophagus to see how they were affected.  He tested various things to see if he could alter the side effects, slow or even halt them.  Many of his tests resulted in the death of the test subject or in them descending hopelessly into madness.  I was sickened by what he was doing, but it did eventually have some measure of success."

Daniel was shocked.  Did the Tok'ra know about this?

"He developed a drug that, when injected into someone before using a sarcophagus, would eliminate the negative effects.  But there was a problem.  The drug caused a serious ailment that resulted in severe pain and death, an ailment that the sarcophagus could not be used to cure."

"Ummm . . . yeah, I'd definitely call that a problem."

"There was only one way to prevent death.  It was absolutely vital for the person to spend a certain amount of time out in the sunlight each day, more on overcast days than on sunny ones.  The scientist tried various means to simulate the effects of sunlight, but nothing ever worked as well.  Did you ever wonder why it is that I spend so much time out in the gardens?  It is not merely because I wish to do so.  It is to keep me alive."

Daniel was starting to get the picture.  The Tok'ra spent a huge part of their lives in underground tunnels.  Getting "some rays" every day would be pretty difficult.  He had to wonder if the answer was something as simple as certain vitamins.  He knew that being exposed to sunlight caused the body to produce Vitamin D.  Or it could be that what the sunlight did was affect the way the drug worked inside the body.

"Unfortunately, even with the required dosages of sunlight, there is always a certain measure of pain present," Egeria said.

Daniel was dismayed.  "Egeria, are you saying that you live with unending pain every day of your life?"

"Some.  I am able to ease it significantly through my natural abilities to deaden pain in mine and my host's body.  Without that, the pain would be quite severe."

"I had no idea.  You've never given any clue at all that you were in pain."

"After all these centuries, Daniel, I have grown accustomed to it.  So has Arria, as did my previous host."

"Wait a minute.  Your natural abilities to deaden pain in your host's body and yours?"

"The pain is not just in the body of the host, but in mine as well.  In order for the drug to work fully, it must be injected twice each time, once into the host and once into the symbiote."

Daniel was deeply affected by what Egeria had told him.  Every day of her life, she endured unending pain and lived under the constant threat of death to prevent the corrupting effects of the sarcophagus.

"Is it worth it?" he asked.

"There have been times when I have asked that same question," Egeria admitted.  "But the desire to live is strong.  I am not yet ready to face death."

Daniel knew that a day would come when Egeria would no longer use the sarcophagus.  He wasn't sure when it would happen.  The Tok'ra history didn't say.  It could be after she began spawning the Tok'ra or it could be when she went on the run after her failed attempt to stop humans from being taken from Earth.  He also knew that, if Sam's memories from Jolinar were correct, Egeria's Tok'ra children never used the sarcophagus, not even before they embarked upon the life they presently had.

"So, what do you do about this when you're on a ship?" he asked.

"I have a device that simulates sunlight.  It is enough to sustain me for two days, three at the most, although the pain will increase during that time.  After that, I must have the ship stop at a planet so that I can be out in the sun."  She smiled fleetingly.  "I usually take the opportunity to gather interesting flowers and plants for my gardens."  Her humor faded.  "For this reason, I try to avoid long journeys by ship.  When I decided to go to the first world, I sent my ship ahead of me and rendezvoused with it on a planet as close to my destination as I could reach by Stargate."

"Did you ever see if there was a way that the drug could be perfected?"

"Whether or not it could be is something that will likely never be known.  The scientist conducting the research was killed long ago.  I obtained the formula from him, but there is no other Goa'uld scientist who has any interest in carrying on his research.  The Goa'uld do not care that the sarcophagus makes them even more evil.  But then, even if such a scientist could be found, I would not want the research to be resumed if more humans had to suffer and die."

So, Egeria was the only person who had the formula.  That meant that it was probably lost when she died.

"Thank you for telling me this, Egeria," he said.  He then paused, wondering if he should go ahead and broach the subject of him becoming a host.  One of the obvious arguments against it would have been the need to use the sarcophagus if she wanted his life span to be more than just a couple of hundred years.  Now that he knew about the drug, that argument would no longer hold much weight.  Her reasoning would be that, if she could manage to do it, so could he.  So, now, he had to come up with another reason to turn down her offer.  Sure, he could simply say that he didn't want to do it, but would she accept that?  He had a feeling that she wouldn't.

He got to his feet.  "I should get to the library.  I have been spending way too much time doing other things lately.  I'm neglecting my work."

"Since I am mostly at fault for that, I forgive you," the Goa'uld queen said with a little sparkle in her eyes.


As Daniel walked to the library, he knew that he was only delaying the talk that would eventually come.  Egeria would not wait forever to get his answer about becoming a host.

One thing Daniel had avoided thinking about was what would happen if he could not get the time travel device to work again,  What if he was stranded in this time for the rest of his life?  There were places that he could probably go where his influence on history would be minimal.  But what if he stayed here?  What kind of impact would it really have on history?  Of course, it would mean that some of the Tok'ra he met two thousand years from now would recognize him, but, if they were smart, they wouldn't let on.  But if he did stay, he knew that Egeria would probably keep trying to convince him to be a host.

Daniel thought about what the ramifications might be if he chose not to worry about altering history and did become a host to a Tok'ra.  There was no doubt that it would give him a greater ability to do things that would really help, especially if he used the sarcophagus to extend his life.  Knowing what Egeria's fate would eventually be, he could do something to prevent her death.  If she did not die, she could continue spawning Tok'ra, building their numbers large enough that they would be a very serious threat to the Goa'uld, far more so than what they were in his time.

But how would that affect Earth's history?  Chances are that Sam would never be taken as a host by Jolinar, and they might, therefore, never meet the Tok'ra.  There would be several bad consequences from that, at least one being very bad indeed.  First of all, Sam's father would not be saved.  There would be no Earth/Tok'ra alliance.  There was also the matter of Seth.  Without the Tok'ra, his presence on Earth would never have been discovered, which might ultimately lead to something pretty bad.  Possibly worst of all, the SGC would receive no aid when the Reetou came through to Earth, which could result in the deaths of thousands of people.

Sure, if he was still alive by then, Daniel could make sure that Earth and the Tok'ra did meet and that all the things that should happen did come to pass, but there was certainly no guarantee that he'd survive the next two thousand years.  What if, after causing radical changes to the timeline, he died before making sure that some of the most important events of Earth's future happened?

No, it would be far too dangerous to meddle with history to that extent.  He could not do anything that might prevent Earth from meeting the Tok'ra and allying with them.  As much good as he might be able to do if he became a host and extended his life span with the sarcophagus, it wouldn't make up for the bad things that could happen.

The garden entryway was complete.  Daniel was surprised when he received word of it.  He hadn't expected it to be finished so soon.  Feeling a measure of excitement, he went to the west garden.  When he got there, he saw that workers were now busily constructing the walls that would come off either side of the arch he designed.  Those walls would curve inward to meet the palace.  After that, the flowers would be planted in the small, separate garden that the half-circle of the walls would form.  Also planted at that time would be the vines that would someday cover the walls with their brilliant blue flowers.

Happy with how well his brainchild had turned out, Daniel cast his gaze upward to the top.  That's when a frown came to his face.  The statue of Egeria as he had imagined it was there, but so was something else.  On either end was the figure of a man on one knee, looking back over his shoulder toward Egeria.  The pose was rather heroic, spine and shoulders straight, broad chest held proudly.  One hand rested on the bent leg, and the other hung at the man's side, clutching what looked like a scroll.  He was wearing a tunic, but it was in the style of the exomie, the Greek chiton when it was worn leaving one shoulder bare.

Wondering why the two statues had been added, Daniel focused his gaze upon the face of one of them.  That's when his jaw metaphorically hit the floor.  Oh, no.  She didn't!

"Are you pleased with your creation now that it is complete?"

Daniel jumped a mile and spun around to see Egeria smiling at him.

"I cannot believe you did that!" he cried.

"Did what, my Daniel?" she asked innocently.

He pointed at one of the male statues.  "That!"

Egeria looked up at it, cocking her head slightly to the side.  "Yes, I think the sculptor did a wonderful job, especially considering how little time he had to do them."

"Egeria, it's me!  Or at least the face is.  The body is definitely not mine, though I wouldn't mind if it was."

The Goa'uld queen ran her gaze over his body.  "From what I can see, the artist only took a few liberties in regards to the musculature."

Daniel didn't care to argue about how much bigger the muscles of the twin statues were compared to his.  It didn't matter.  What did matter was that there were now two statues of him sitting right there for all to see.

"Egeria, as much as I know I should be flattered that you did that, you really shouldn't have done that.  It's . . . it's . . . it's . . . well, among other things, it's embarrassing."

Egeria laughed in delight.  "Oh, my Daniel.  I do believe that you are the only man on this entire planet who would look upon having himself immortalized in stone as embarrassing.  Most men would be bursting with pride and vanity."

"Yeah, well, I'm not them," Daniel muttered.

"I am sure your embarrassment will dissipate," she told him in amusement.

"And what about what everyone is going to think when they see it?  You know that they'll talk."

"If that does not concern me, then it should not concern you.  Put your mind at ease, Daniel.  All will be well."

Daniel fell into dissatisfied silence.  He couldn't tell Egeria the thing that bothered him the most: how this might affect the future.  He knew that the Tok'ra would have lived for at least a while on this world before going out into the galaxy.  This meant that, in the new version of history, they were going to see those statues with his face.  For most of them, it wouldn't matter since they'd never meet him, but what about Tok'ra like Selmak, Per'sus, Garshaw and others he had met?  All he could hope was that in the millennia that would pass between them leaving this world and meeting him, they'd all have forgotten what these statues looked like.

"Answer me one question," he said.  "How did the sculptor know what my face looked like?  I sure didn't pose for anyone."

"I recorded your image during one of our talks in the sitting room."

Daniel stared at her through narrowed eyes.  "I am seeing a whole new side of you, a devious, sneaky side."

Egeria smiled in amusement.  "Deviousness is a character trait of all Goa'uld."

"Yeah, you got that right.  So what happened to all that stuff about rejecting all the ways of the Goa'uld?"

"Ah, but the images of you had already been recorded by then.  And you certainly cannot expect me to be noble and upright all of the time, can you?"

Daniel kept staring at her.  Okay, she was definitely laughing at him now.  She was getting a real kick out of this.  He grumbled silently for a moment.  Aloud, he then said, "Well, now that I've received my quota of personal embarrassment for the day, I'm going to go back to the library, if you don't mind."

Egeria chuckled low in her throat.  "You have my permission to depart."

Decimus could tell that Daniel was not a happy camper when he got there.

"Has something transpired?" the elderly man asked.

"When you get a chance, go to the west garden.  The entryway is finished."

Decimus frowned.  "And this displeases you?"

Daniel lips turned up in a fake smile.  "Egeria took the liberty of making an addition to it.  Look on the top.  You'll know what I'm talking about."

Curiosity got the better of Decimus when he went to get lunch, and he decided to make a detour to the garden.  As soon as he saw what decorated the top of the stone arch, he knew what had Daniel in a foul mood.  He chuckled, shaking his head.

After returning to the library, the man just had to get in some teasing.

"I must say that your pose is quite heroic," he remarked, fighting back a smile.  "I can easily picture a sword in your hand rather than a scroll."

"It's not my pose.  I didn't pose for anything!  That was probably Egeria's idea.  I knew she had a sense of humor, but I never saw the sadistic side of it before.  I am just waiting for the jokes and not so amusing comments to start making their way through the palace.  It's going to be weeks before I hear the end of this."

Just then, Titus came running in.  "Daniel!  There are mighty statues of you on the new arch in the west garden!"

With a groan, Daniel lowered his head into his hands, wondering if he could figure out a way to take a very long leave of absence on the opposite side of the planet.

Daniel's dread about the reaction to the statues proved to be unfounded.  Once everyone learned that it was Egeria who commissioned the work, they were wise enough to keep their mouths shut, not wanting to anger their queen.  There was, no doubt, plenty of talk in private, but Daniel never heard any of it.

For the archeologist, that was a good thing.  An even better thing was that he'd been successfully managing to avoid the issue of him becoming a host a lot longer than he'd have thought he would.  He knew it couldn't last forever, but at least this was giving him plenty of time to decide what he was going to tell her and how he would say it.  It had also enabled him to think up some arguments to persuade her to create more than just a handful of Tok'ra.

The issue ended up being resurfaced eight days after the completion of the entryway.  While translating a scroll in the north garden, he was joined by Egeria.

"I see that you are hard at work," she said.

"Yes, I'm trying to keep my attention focused on the work I'm supposed to be doing here.  If I was getting paid for this, I'd probably have been fired by now, what with all the time I've missed."

Egeria smiled.  "Ah, but as your employer, dear Daniel, I would never dream of firing you."

"Yes, but you're biased."  He smiled to let her know that he was teasing.

Egeria's expression became serious.  "I have been thinking about the matter of spawning symbiotes without the Goa'uld knowledge.  After some small struggle, I was able to lower my brainwaves to a level that I believe is sufficient to prevent the knowledge from being passed on."

"That's good news."  Daniel set aside the scroll.  "Have you thought about what I said, about spawning large numbers of those symbiotes?"

"I have, Daniel, but I am sorry; I cannot do such a thing.  There would be too many risks.  Large numbers could not be hidden from the Goa'uld.  They would find out and seek to put a stop to it."

Daniel was afraid that would be her answer.

"Egeria, you've told me that you are rejecting all the ways of the Goa'uld," he said.  "That is a great thing.  I can't tell you how important it is that you've taken that step.  But I'd like you to think about something."

"What is that?"

"Every day, the Goa'uld are killing and enslaving humans, destroying whole civilizations.  I know you think about that, and I know it bothers you."

"Yes, it bothers me.  I despise what the Goa'uld do."

"So, why not do something about it?  Egeria, you have the power to create symbiotes that can fight against the Goa'uld, that can work to bring them down.  Maybe five or six symbiotes inside the right hosts could do a little bit of good out there in the galaxy, but think about what five or six thousand could do, the things they could accomplish."

Egeria frowned.  "Daniel, you are asking me to wage war against my own species, to sacrifice all that I have here.  That is too much to ask.  If it was your world, your people that you would be risking, could you do it?"

Looking into her eyes, Daniel realized that all the arguments he'd formulated were not going to work, not as long as Egeria was more focused on the welfare of her own domain than the good of the galaxy as a whole.

So what now?  He could back off and let this resolve itself, let Egeria eventually make the decision on her own to create the Tok'ra race.  The problem was that there was no longer any guarantee that it would happen.  By guiding Egeria toward making all these decisions earlier in history than she would have without his interference, there was no telling how he'd affected future events.  It was possible that whatever it was that made Egeria decide to fight against the Goa'uld would never happen or that, if it did happen, her reaction would be different and she'd decide, instead, to play it safe.  There was no way to know for sure.

To make sure that the Tok'ra race came to be, he had to finish this.  He had to go all the way.  Nothing could be left up to chance.  The problem was that there was only one thing he could think of that would have a prayer of changing Egeria's mind – something that would be extremely risky.

Hoping that he wasn't making a terrible mistake, Daniel said.  "My world is at risk, Egeria.  We are doing what I'm asking you to do."

"Daniel, what are you saying?"

He looked straight into her eyes.  "What I'm going to tell you is something that will put not just my life, but also the lives of every human being on my planet in your hands."

"I would never betray you, my Daniel.  Never," the Goa'uld queen told him with intense conviction.

"I know you wouldn't."  He took a deep breath.  "I am part of an effort to destroy the Goa'uld and end their enslavement of humanity."

Egeria was shocked by the announcement.  This kind and gentle man sitting before her was actually a warrior in a fight against the race that she had rejected.

"We have had some successes and made a few allies among members of other races," he said, "but there is still a very long way to go."  Daniel paused.  "It must be made in secret, and I know that it will not be completed in my lifetime, nor, very likely, in the lifetime of any children I may have."

That last bit had been said out of necessity.  Egeria had to believe that this thing Daniel was part of was an underground effort, something very long-term, like the plans of the Tok'ra were.  In that way, she would never wonder why it was that she saw no evidence of it.

"I cannot express the level of my surprise," Egeria said.  She looked at him with new eyes.  "You are, in truth, far more than you appeared to be when I first laid eyes upon you.  I saw, even then, a glimpse of your courage and strength, but I could not have imagined that you were a warrior in such a battle.  Now, so many things about you make sense to me, the knowledge you have, things you can do."  She smiled.  "I feel great pride in you, my Daniel."

Daniel looked away from her for a moment.  "Thank you, although I'm only one small part of the fight, a lone individual who has little importance."

Though Egeria said nothing, she suspected that Daniel's words were not true, that he was far more important than he believed himself to be.

The archeologist returned his gaze to her.  "Egeria, this fight we're waging is against an enemy that is so much more powerful than we are.  Many of us have already died, and we've barely begun this . . . this war.  A lot of people would say that it's hopeless, that we can't hope to win.  But we can't give up.  Too much is at stake.  If we lose, my whole planet will pay the price.  More than that, all of humanity will pay.  So please understand that, when you say that you can't risk your domain, I think about what my people risk every day."

Daniel's words made Egeria feel ashamed.  She worried about risking her kingdom, yet he and his people were bravely doing so with their entire civilization, risking everything in an effort to free their fellow humans from slavery.

"When I asked you to create thousands of symbiotes that could work against the Goa'uld, I wasn't asking you to launch a full-scale war, Egeria," Daniel told her.  "That would be foolhardy.  But there are other ways that they could fight.  They could work covertly, through infiltration and deception, learning Goa'uld secrets and other things that could be used against them.  It would not be quick; it would probably take centuries, but, in time, if done correctly, it could severely weaken the power of the Goa'uld."

Egeria thought about what Daniel was suggesting and found herself growing excited.  This might actually be possible.  It would not be easy.  Many of them would probably lose their lives.  But a day might come when her children would succeed in helping to bring about the downfall of the Goa'uld.

"We could be allies," she said, "your people and my children."

"Maybe someday, if things worked out that way.  But, Egeria, you have to promise me that you will never say a word about my people to anyone, including the children you create for your own fight against the Goa'uld.  If through you or them the Goa'uld learned about us, it would be the end of us.  When the time is right, we will come to you."

Egeria recognized the wisdom in his words.  "I swear that I will never tell a soul what you have revealed to me, Daniel."

"Thank you."

At that moment, a couple of servants, a man and woman, strolled out into the garden.  Seeing the queen, they apologized and made a move to go back inside.

"No," she said.  "Please do not let my presence prevent you from what you were doing."

The pair paused for a moment, then continued to the small, oak-like tree and sat beneath it.

Egeria smiled slightly.  "I believe that they are lovers.  I have seen the signs for a few weeks now.  One of these days, I must speak with them and tell them that they do not have to hide their relationship from me."  She turned back to her companion.  "Thank you for trusting me with this secret, Daniel.  Your trust is very precious to me."  She rose from the bench.  "I will allow you to return to your work now.  I must go into the east garden for some sunlight."

Daniel's gaze sharpened.  "Are you feeling all right?" he asked in a low voice.

"Yes, I am well.  We will talk again another time."

Daniel watched her leave.  He had found himself worrying about her ever since she revealed her physical condition to him.  Yes, she had been handling this on her own for some two thousand years now, but he still wished that there was something he could do to help.

Knowing that wasn't possible, Daniel sighed and got back to work.

Egeria turned her face to the sky and closed her eyes, letting the life-giving rays of the sun soak into her skin.  As she basked in the warmth, a warmth that had been cooling more each day as this year's long summer finally gave way to fall, Egeria thought about what Daniel had revealed to her.  It was no wonder that he was so filled with fear to answer her question about how he knew the secrets of the sarcophagus.  He was protecting his whole world.

Knowing what she did now, the trust that Daniel had gradually come to feel in her was even more extraordinary.  When they met, she was the enemy, a member of the race against which he was in a secret war.  And yet he had become her friend.  How many would do the same?

'Each time that I think I could not have more admiration and respect for him, I find that I was mistaken,' she said to Arria.

'He is, indeed, unlike anyone else we could ever meet.  He would be worthy of ruling Estrania at your side.'

'Yes, he would, but it is clear that he has a far more important calling than that.'

'Then you are not going to ask again that he consider being a host?'

'No, I will still ask, but it will be because I think that being a host would be of great benefit to the efforts of his people.  Whether or not he remains here with us is not what is important now.  I must stop thinking first of what I want, of what is beneficial to me.  There are more important things to consider.'

Arria felt a hint of trepidation.  'Are you thinking of releasing him from slavery and letting him leave?'

Egeria felt a little jolt of pain go through her heart.

'I . . . I do not know.  Just the thought of it gives me great pain.  And, now, I think about the danger he will be in once he leaves.  As long as he is here, he is safe.  If I can convince him to be a host, it will help protect his life since the symbiote inside him will be able to heal injuries that might otherwise prove fatal.'

'But do Goa'uld larvae not need years to mature?'

'Yes.  There would be a period of time when Daniel would continue without that protection.  That could not be avoided.'

There was a brief moment of silence.  'I have an idea.'

Egeria smiled.  'And what is this idea of yours?'

'The children you create will need to be taught many things, to be good and honorable, to put the welfare of others above their own.  What better teacher for such things could there be than Daniel?'

'You are right.  No better teacher for that could there be than him.'

'And he could also teach them languages and other things he has learned.  Between your teachings and his, they would have all they need to become fine and great warriors against the Goa'uld.'

'All these things are true, Arria, and, once I taught them the Goa'uld language so that they could understand his words, it would be possible, but Daniel has made it clear that my children must not be told about what his people are doing.'

'He would not need to tell them.  They would not have to know.'

Egeria frowned internally.  'You are suggesting that I ask him not to return to the fight, to stay here instead and help train my children for their own fight.'

'No, not all the time.  He could spend just part of his time here.'

The queen thought about what she was suggesting.  The idea was definitely appealing.  It would mean that she would not have to say goodbye to him forever.  And the arrangement would be mutually beneficial for Daniel's people and her children.

'I will talk to him about it.  That is all I can do.'

There was a much longer moment of silence.  This time, it was Egeria who broke it.

'I am thinking of the spawning.  These ones to which I will give birth, they will be special.  It feels wrong that it will be some man I do not know who will give the code of life.  It should be someone worthy of that honor.'  She paused.  'It should be Daniel.'

'Yes, it should.  But I am unsure if he would agree.  His heart still belongs to his wife.'

Though the thing Egeria wanted more than anything was for Daniel to love her and for them to make love while sharing that emotion, she had to accept that such a thing might never be possible.  Again, she needed to put her own desires in second place.  If Daniel agreed to be the one to give the code of life, it would be more important than just the transitory pleasure of making love with him.  He would be helping to create something that could change the fate of the galaxy.

Though she knew that it did not work that way, Egeria could not help but feel that, if it was Daniel's code of life that was used, something of his strength, courage, intelligence and goodness would be transferred into her children.

The queen shared her thoughts with her host.

'You must ask him, Egeria,' Arria insisted.

'Yes.  I will ask him tonight.'

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