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7. Mission to the Palace

"Where does this tunnel exit?" O'Neill asked, when they had walked for maybe a mile through the dark passage lighted only by their torches.

"In palace lowest floor... basement," Wrolla answered.

"What's there?"

"We mostly there before new lord. Only once after." Wrolla was silent as she thought about it. "There many corridors. Many rooms. Some with sticks... bars. Some with strange machinery. It humming when Lord there."

"Holding cells," O'Neill realized. "What about the humming machinery? Teal'c? Marty?"

"It could be many things," Teal'c said. "Perhaps it generates a force field."

"That is possible," Martouf said. "However, most likely it is simply power generation."

"Sounds great. We should blow it up. Are there any guards?" O'Neill asked.

"Won't Zorn be able to sense us as soon as we get close enough to the palace? I mean, we don't know what his range is," Daniel pointed out.

"No." Wrolla said. "I think not. I be there once after new Lord came. No one discovered. Could sense people, no one sensed me."

"He probably doesn't have much range - we do know that he needs more of the drug to be able to read minds further away. He also probably only takes it when he knows he needs it. If it only works for a short time, I mean," Sam suggested.

"That stuff has to be in short demand," O'Neill agreed, nodding slowly. "All right, let's continue."

"We are under palace now," Wrolla told them. "Exit near."

"Wait a moment. Before we go out there, I have one more question. Why do you help us again?" O'Neill asked.

"I told before. My male sibling was harmed."

"Yes, but you can't be the only one in that situation. It looks like there's lots of the grey ones, and getting more of them all the time. So, why do you want to help when the others won't?"

Wrolla hesitated before answering, "I did something. Something that scares us. I mind touched male sibling. After he harmed."

"Like when they calmed the one at the inn, probably," Daniel said. "They put their hands on it."

"No... Not mind touch. Only calm send," Wrolla said with conviction. "I touch mind brother."

"They're not telepathic any longer, so how does that work?" O'Neill asked.

"Like we touch your mind. I touch his." She had a disturbed look in the semi-darkness.

"Your people doesn't think it's wrong to read the minds of someone who was never telepathic, but they won't read the minds of someone who lost that ability?" O'Neill asked. "How does that make sense?"

"Some thinks..." she hesitated again. "That they will lose touch."

"That it's contagious?" Sam wondered.

"But it's the Goa'uld doing it! It's not a disease!" O'Neill exclaimed.

"Yes. We know. Still. We scared. Some say Lord drains ability - and drains you if mind touch harmed."

"But you still did it," Daniel said.

"Yes," Wrolla said. "My male sibling... my brother. He desperate. So alone. I did. He better. A little. I not harmed."

"Okay." O'Neill sighed. "Do you know if there's something we can use as weapons when we get to the basement?"

"Weapons?" Wrolla looked at him, horrified. "No. No weapons. Forbidden."

"I get that you're pacifists, but you should be able to see that there's situations where you have to be able to at least defend yourself. Otherwise guys like Zorn will take advantage of you and harm many of you," O'Neill said.

"We cannot. Not even then." Wrolla shook her head frantically.

"Why not?" O'Neill asked.

"Jack..." Daniel warned. "Just accept that it is their way."

Wrolla made an unhappy sound. "I tell. Then no mention again."

"Sure, let's hear it," O'Neill said.

Wrolla hesitated, then spoke slowly, "Once, we harmed... each other. And others. Used claws. Teeth. Mind touch. Weapons. All devastated. Again and again. Then wise. We no longer harm. No one. City grew. Many people. Peace. Always. To return to past." She shook her head. "No one can think so. No on dare. Never. Worse than new Lord. Worse than all else. We danger. To us. To other."

"So you're afraid what will happen if you stop being pacifists," Daniel said.

"Yes," Wrolla said.

"That's ridiculous! Can't you just kill the damn Goa'uld who does this to you and then go back to being pacifists?" O'Neill said.

"No. We fear we not want. That killing will be too..." she searched for the word. "Attractive."

O'Neill shook his head and sighed. "Let's just get going."

"We under palace. Exit there." Wrolla pointed.

"Carter - check it out," O'Neill ordered.

Sam went up to the section of the tunnel where a faint outline indicated there might be a door. She felt along the edges and it swung open noiselessly. She listened for a moment, then continued ahead, stepping out into the silent, dark room.

O'Neill stepped out after her, holding up the torch to allow them to check out the place.

"We in old storage room," Wrolla told them. "No worry. No one here ever. No use."

O'Neill nodded. "Okay, then." He frowned at the various crates and boxes standing around. "Let's do a quick sweep of the room, then continue."

When the last of them stepped out of the tunnel, the door immediately shut after them. There was no sign it had ever been there.

"Whoa! That's not good!" Daniel exclaimed.

"You can say that again! Wrolla! Please say you can open that door again!" O'Neill demanded.

"Of course!" Wrolla looked miffed - a strange expression on her hyena-like face.

"Good," O'Neill said, relieved. "Check out this place - and see if you can find something that can be used as weapons."

They made sure there was no danger in the room, and while doing so they found various old tools and even some wooden sticks standing in a corner. After arming themselves with those, they moved out into the corridor. It was not as dark as in the room, and light was coming from somewhere ahead.

"I can hear a humming here," Martouf said.

"Yes, that what I told before," Wrolla said.

Martouf nodded and listened for a moment. "I believe it is actually a force field."

"Holding cells?" O'Neill asked.

Martouf shook his head. "They don't usually have force shields, at least not as strong as this one sounds like it is."

"I concur," Teal'c said.

"Okay, let's continue ahead, but carefully," O'Neill decided.

They walked along the corridor until they exited into another, wider one. Here there were lights at regular intervals and the floor had been sweeped recently. It was obviously in use. They could go either right or left.

"What now?" Daniel wondered.

"The humming comes from the right, so let's go check that out first," O'Neill said.

It was not long before they stood before a door which was protected by a humming forcefield.

Daniel touched the force shield carefully and pulled his hand back with a small yelp. "That's as far as we get in this direction, I guess. No way to know what's behind that door."

"Carter, Marty - either of you think you can get it open?" O'Neill asked.

"Yes, probably, but it is unlikely to go unnoticed for long," Martouf said.

Sam nodded. "I agree - someone's bound to notice. There's probably an alarm too."

"Okay, let's not do that right now, then. Time to check out what's in the other direction."

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