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16.

"Hello," Lantash said, stepping inside and closing the door after him.

"Martouf... Lantash. Is everything all right? What about my Dad?" Sam asked.

"I believe all is well. Bastet was... displeased and suspicious, but I think I managed to assuage her fears. Jacob has been healed in a sarcophagus, much to his and Selmak's displeasure."

"I'm just glad to hear they're okay," Sam said, relieved. "Nice clothes, by the way."

"A bit flashy, if you ask me," O'Neill added, grinning.

Lantash raised an eyebrow, an amused expression on his face. "I acturally agree. It is not a style I would have chosen, however, as Bastet's newest underling I am hardly in a position to complain."

"Say what?" O'Neill exclaimed.

"I managed to convince Bastet that the reason we were in her domain was that we were hoping to be allowed to serve her. I also suggested that her neighbor - and rival, it fortunately turned out - was the one to destroy our vessel." He smiled. "It is fortunate that most Goa'uld have a rather inflated sense of their own worth, so it was not so hard to convince her of our wish to become her underlings."

O'Neill snorted. "All right, I can see how this would be to our advantage."

"She didn't suspect you of being Tok'ra?" Sam asked.

Lantash shook his head. "She did not accuse me of that, no, but it is not generally something that would - as Jacob puts it - be mentioned in polite society. Suggestion someone is a Tok'ra is a grave insult indeed, and if I was not Tok'ra, I would be expected to become angry and deeply insulted."

"So, what about us?" Daniel asked.

"You will have to pretend to be my slaves." He frowned, looking at Teal'c. "We must find some way to conceal or modify your hesit - your forehead symbol. Apophis is not popular here, and you cannot wear a piece of cloth bound around your head all the time."

O'Neill looked at Teal'c, getting a worried expression. "No, you're right. I guess we can pretend he was badly injured and so let him stay in here, for now. We need to come up with something soon, though."

Lantash considered it. "Agreed, for now. I will find something to conceal the symbol with."

"Did you find out anything about the timeline? The planet belongs to Ra, or what?" Daniel wondered.

"Yes, it does. He doesn't live here most of the time, but he has assigned four vassals to look after it. Bastet and three others. It would seem they are fairly antagonistic towards each other, which may be the intention. They will not decide to work together against Ra."

"Who are the other three? Anyone we've met?" O'Neill asked.

"I do not know. I couldn't exactly ask her. This would definitely be common knowledge, particularly since I had claimed to have come here to serve her," Lantash explained.

"Right." O'Neill looked into the pot their food had been brought in, then leaned back, sighing, when he saw it was empty. "So, what are we supposed to do? As your 'servants'."

"Slaves is probably a more correct description," Lantash said, an amused look on his face.

O'Neill rolled his eyes. "Very funny."

"I'm guessing we serve food, make sure your clothes are clean and ready, and so on," Sam said.

Lantash nodded. "Yes, but for now, you will do nothing but relax here in these quarters. I am a merciful master and wish you all to rest until you have healed." He sighed. "Meanwhile, I shall see what I can learn about this timeline." He left the room.


"I believe that should be an acceptable solution, as long as no one examines it very closely," Lantash said, putting a finishing layer on top of the new mark on Teal'c's forehead. "The protective layer on top should preserve both the material I used to hide your real symbol, and the paint I made the fake one with. As long as you don't rub it too hard."

Sam held a mirror up before Teal'c, who studied himself in it. "That is acceptable. Thank you."

"Who uses that?" O'Neill asked. "The symbol I mean. Which Goa'uld uses it?"

"I do. I made it up." He made a crooked grin. "It's a combination of Egeria's symbol and Jolinar's. I have convinced Bastet I'm young 'upstart', as Jacob says. I said I had tried to gain a domain and my own Jaffa for a couple years, eventually allying with another minor Goa'uld - Selmak. We told her that we had recently decided that it was not working and that we were in need of a stronger ally, like her. Bastet believed us."

"Heh, that's great." O'Neill grinned.

They all froze when someone suddenly knocked on the door.

"Enter," Lantash said, carefully putting his face in a neutral, but arrogant, expression.

The door opened and Jacob|Selmak came in.

"Dad!" Sam smiled. "Are you okay?"

Selmak shut the door and dipped her head, giving Jacob control.

He went to Sam and embraced her warmly. "I'm fine - despite the damn sarcophagus. Selmak hates it, and I agree with her. Your body feels... wrong, somehow." He shook his head. "Strong, powerful - and wrong. Fortunately it goes away after a while."

Daniel smiled, embarrassed. "I know exactly what you mean. It gets addictive really fast - and then the power feels good."

"I am not going to take that risk," Jacob said. He smiled at Sam. "I better let Selmak get back in control while we're here with Bastet." He bowed his head and transferred control.

"Where are we? I looked out the window, and my guess is southern Europe or maybe North Africa?" O'Neill suggested.

"I was thinking the same. It's very green around here, but dusty further out," Daniel said.

"We're in Egypt," Lantash said. "From what I can tell, Ra's four vassals each have part of Egypt in their domain, and they have their capital there. In addition, they rule one quarter of the world each."

"Bastet has her bases in North America, I'm guessing?" O'Neill said.

"North and South America. She has a couple palaces and also some laboratories there - as we have found out," Selmak explained. "We are currently in her capital, which is located somewhat to the East of Bubastis."

"Bastet's main place of worship in ancient Egypt," Daniel observed. "Makes sense."

Lantash nodded. "The other three vassals are Atum, Moloc, and Ba'al. All are fairly minor System Lords in our timeline, and Ba'al has not always been Ra's ally."

"Well, Ba'al has started to become more powerful in our timeline - after you were killed," Selmak explained. She grimaced. "I do not like thinking of your death."

"I assure you, neither do I, but fortunately Martouf and I are fine," Lantash said.

"Do you have a plan how to escape?" O'Neill asked. "Or are we just going for charging the device and changing the hell out of this timeline?"

Lantash smiled. "Yes, we will get hold of a weapon and then recharge the device. It may not be as easy as procuring a weapon as you would think. It will be awhile before Bastet trusts us, so we must be stealthy."

"Yeah, well, that's your thing, isn't it? Being stealthy, I mean." O'Neill smiled.

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