A/N: Adria was one of the most complex villains in terms of her relationships with SG-1, so I thought she deserved a bit more time to shine. Or burn, whatever it is she does. Also, special thanks to Anoveldebut for being a wonderful beta reader and to AngelQueen and I. M. Frelling-Wonko for discussing some ideas with me early on!
Disclaimer: I do not own Adria, Tomin, Morgan le Fay, or any of the members of SG-1 I bring into this story, nor the settings, events, or dialogue established in the show. This work is for entertainment purposes only, and no copyright infringement is intended.
"Are you certain she's alone?"
"Yes, Orici," the Prior answered with a slight bow of his head. "There is no sign of the rest of SG-1 on the planet, and their ship has not been detected in orbit or anywhere in the vicinity. Vala Mal Doran is alone."
"What are you doing there, all by yourself, Mother?" Adria murmured quietly. Her desire to convert her mother to Origin overrode her suspicion that it may be a trap. Gifted as she was by the Ori, Adria had no need to fear trickery. And even if Vala remained stubborn and set in her ways, she would at least be a source of information about the plans of the population of unbelievers on Earth.
Of course, given enough time, Adria had no doubt she could eventually sway her mother's opinion over to the correct side.
She flicked her gaze suddenly to the Prior, power and command radiating from her voice. "Inform the fleet that I will be making a brief stop at the nearest gated planet, and set the course immediately."
The Prior, with his milky bluish-white eyes, pasty face, and scarred chin again inclined his head. "Hallowed are the Ori." She was glad that her role as Orici, the one from whom all would learn, did not require such grotesque facial features and scarification. She was quite proud of her beauty, and believed that it gave her an increased aura of dominion and mystique, crucial to both promoting a religion and overseeing an army.
"Hallowed are the Ori," she repeated back to him before watching him walk out of the room. Thanks to the meddling of SG-1 with the Sangraal, the Ori were gone, vanquished, dead. But the Priors and the rest of her army did not need to know that. The Ori's disappearance did nothing to diminish Adria's plans to rule the galaxy. It was her birthright, given to her by supernatural beings as close to being gods as one could get. She was always meant to inherit their legacy.
Adria retired to her quarters to await their arrival, knowing full well this little interlude could cost them as much as a day for her to try to convince Vala to come back with her to her ship. Simply rendering her unconscious with the powers of her mind and taking her would set a negative tone on the whole conversion, and Adria wanted her mother's approval. Vala deserved more than the miserable, lackluster life she received on Earth, and Adria wanted to give her her rightful, exalted place here as Mother of the Orici.
She had just arrived back from their home galaxy through the Supergate with six new warships. When she had entered the Hall of Fire in Celestis, Adria realized the Sangraal had indeed worked, as the flames of the ascended Ori were extinguished. The Doci had approached her asking the meaning of this soon after, and she had assured him that the Ori were as powerful as ever, even if the Flames of Enlightenment had disappeared. She told him that the fires were out because the Ori were dissatisfied with their progress in converting the Milky Way Galaxy. He immediately promised her six new warships within the week, and she told him that even more would need to be done to regain the Ori's favor. She then locked herself away in seclusion to assess her current situation.
At first she grieved for her lost benefactors. Besides Vala, they were the closest thing she had to family, and she trusted their guidance though they never deigned to speak with her personally. She had almost all of their knowledge to guide her, and she knew they were watching. It was then that she realized that they had left her more than a vestige of memories, but a mantle to take up and wear as her own. After she converted all of the Milky Way, she would be free to ascend herself and wield all the power they had held, consolidated for use by one single being and not spread out as it was among them. With it, she could finally destroy the Alterans, and her rule would be absolute. The Ori had not left her alone, but rather given her all the tools she required to achieve her aspirations and more.
Still, there was no one left she could really speak to on the Ori warships. Not the Priors, it would be unfitting. Not Tomin, who was well below her rank in the hierarchy and not even her real father. But if she could convert Vala…to be able to converse with her own flesh and blood would be a blessing fit for Origin. The Priors had admonished her during the brief time she spent as a child that she should not grow attached to her mother, but they did not understand the innate bond that went between them. Adria could not destroy it if she tried.
There was a knock on her door. "Approach," Adria called out, and one of her warriors, a commander, swung the door inward and stepped inside.
He immediately bowed his head in reverence. "Orici, we have entered the orbit of the planet and your transport is ready for you."
"Good. Inform Prior Vesuvius that I shall be in communication with him shortly." She swept past him without another word, heading down the corridor to the nearest ring platform. Heads bowed as she past, and a few even fell to their knees in front of her. She gave them no notice; she owed them no attention. With a flick of her thoughts, Adria activated the ring transporter as soon as her left foot made contact with the stone pedestal. The ship—her ship—disappeared in a flash of light.
As she stepped off the platform onto the soft grass of the alien world, she noted that, as usual, the Prior had picked an apt spot to drop the rings. The area was slightly secluded by the abundance of greenery, but she could see the beginnings of a village just a few hundred feet away, as well as the Stargate the same distance in the other direction. Normally Adria preferred to come in with more of a…bang…but she was not here on a mission to assimilate these townspeople into the ranks of believers. No, she was here for one reason only. To reunite with her mother.
She did not even need to slow as she approached the Stargate, interfacing her mind with the dialing device as she walked. Her stride was forceful, confident, and she liked to think she filled the villagers, who had noticed her arrival and were now watching her exit, with equal amounts of awe and fear. She did.
Once safely on the other side of the wormhole, it took only a moment to locate Vala with her mind, and she strode purposefully toward the decrepit-looking building in which Vala currently resided, ignoring the looks the villagers gave her for her manner and dress. Likely they had never seen such finery as her collared black cloak, her self-protection amulet, or her low cut dress. She cast the door to the pub open in a resounding crash without touching it, and all eyes fell to her, though their guns remained pointed at her mother. It looked like she had come just in time.
Effortlessly, she stripped the men of their weapons and propelled them to the sides of the room with her thoughts, leaving a clear path between her and Vala. She wore what she supposed was a friendly, non-threatening smile as she gazed at her mother, who greeted her with a simple, "Adria." The Orici could sense her surprise.
"Hello, Mother," Adria answered, still sporting that self-satisfied smile. "It's good to see you. It's been far too long." She omitted the glaring part about that being SG-1's fault, as the last time she had seen them, Prior Daniel knocked her unconscious and sent her and the Sangraal through the Supergate. It wouldn't do for Vala to sense the grudge Adria still held over that. It was retribution to be harvested another day.
"I did not expect to see you again," Vala said, mildly shocked. And perhaps…was that disappointment? Her mother's emotions were hard to read at this moment in time, even with Adria's formidable gifts.
"I had to return, Mother. My work here is unfinished," Adria responded lightly as Vala sat back down in her chair.
"Who is this?" one of the large men interrupted. It took all of Adria's self control not to raise him into the air and choke him right then and there.
"You really don't wanna know," Vala answered him dramatically. Adria tried to keep from tutting. It was hard enough converting an entire galaxy without the Mother of the Orici spreading suspicion about her before she'd even made first contact. Then again, the word of a proven cheater and thief wouldn't count much to these men anyway. No, this was more about Adria's personal feelings. In her opinion, she was a perfectly pleasant companion. As long as you were in her good graces, that was.
The stupid men rushed at her, and instead they smashed into the outer walls of the establishment. As much as she enjoyed bloodshed, Vala did not, and Adria knew that. "Get out. All of you!" Adria commanded, and they hurried out onto the streets in a stampede. She liked that she could instill so much fear. Sometimes it was even better than killing them.
"I don't suppose you're gonna let me just walk out of here," Vala said, glancing around at the now empty pub.
"I'm afraid not. I'm sorry to have to tell you this, Mother, but your attempt to destroy the Ori was unsuccessful," Adria lied, laying down the first piece of her bait. As part of SG-1, this kind of information would pique Vala's curiosity and hopefully keep her there to see what other tidbits of information the Orici would drop.
"Am I supposed to take your word for that?" Vala questioned. She started piling the chips from the table into her pockets, and Adria felt the need to become the focus of her mother's attention once more.
"I've been personally supervising the construction of dozens of ships. Now that our intergalactic gate is operational again, there's nothing to stop them from coming here. We should have the entire galaxy converted in a matter of months." She could not help the hint of pride that colored her voice at that statement. Even if her mother did not agree with her crusade, she must admit that that was impressive. She must.
"Just because you've been building ships doesn't prove anything," Vala said. Apparently not. Time to change the subject, as it was all too obvious that it would take much more time than she had here to convince her mother of anything.
"What are you doing here?" Adria asked. "Where are your friends from Earth?" She had it from the Prior that they were not around—if they were, they would no doubt have come to Vala's "rescue" by now—but it still begged the question why.
"Friends come and go," Vala answered cryptically, but Adria could not have missed the note of sadness in her mother's voice if she tried.
She immediately took a seat on the edge of the table, leaning in closer and adopting a concerned tone. "Have they abandoned you?"
"I'd rather not talk about it," Vala murmured, a catch in her throat distorting the words slightly. She reached again for the chips on the table, but Adria was tired of being ignored. She shoved her back into the chair without lifting a finger.
"I really must know, Mother," Adria said, eyes steely.
"You do realize, in a traditional mother-daughter relationship, I'm supposed to be the bossy one?" Vala replied in an annoyed tone before relenting. "Oh, whatever. It makes no difference now anyway." The hurt was even more evident in Vala Mal Doran's voice now than before. "I had a dream that showed me how to find infinite treasure through the Clava Thessara Infinitas, which Daniel actually believed to be a storehouse of Ancient weapons technology. You see, it was this circular stone tablet with gate symbols written all over it. But in my dream, I realized that the Earth infinity symbol could be placed across the tablet to produce one working gate address. I told them about it, but Muscles seemed to think it could be trap, that you had sent me that dream to lure us somewhere. Colonel Carter pointed out that it was possible that the dream came from a latent memory left by Qetesh, the Goa'uld that once controlled me. I convinced them that this must be the case, and they sent a team to that address."
"I didn't send you that information!" Adria pressured, urging her to continue. The location of Alteran technology—especially weapons—definitely interested her, and, despite what anyone thought, she genuinely did care for her mother's feelings in all this.
"That's what I tried to tell them, but they didn't believe me, especially when the reconnaissance team returned," Vala answered defeatedly. "They reported it as an ambush; your warriors were onto them as soon as they stepped through the gate. Two of their men were killed, and a few more injured. But I was so certain that I was right, I couldn't leave well enough alone. And the very next night, I had the same dream except the symbol was vertical this time. I told them about it in the morning, but they refused to listen. They were adamant that you were using me, and their leaders locked me up."
Adria frowned slightly. It was an…odd…story, to say the least. But she sensed no deception in her mother's mind.
Vala noticed her scrutiny. "You don't believe me, either."
"You can't lie to me, Mother," Adria admonished. "I can read the truth in your mind. I'm just surprised."
"So was I," Vala muttered.
"How did you convince them to let you go?" From what she knew of the people of Earth, they were not stupid. And this was a blatant error in tactics, one from which the Orici was more than happy to benefit.
"I didn't. That's the funny thing," Vala explained. "I guess they thought a locked door could hold me. Or they never imagined I'd make it off the base. Once free from my cell, I stole the Sodan cloaking device, and the rest was a walk in the park. I was invisible, so I just followed another team through the gate and used the DHD on the other side to come here."
Adria leaned in a little closer, honestly concerned with her mother's well-being. "What do you plan to do now?"
"Well, I had just won myself a cargo ship when you dropped by and broke up the game, so…" Vala muttered angrily.
"Is that really what you want?" Adria pressed softly. "A life alone, always on the run? That life no longer suits you, Mother—you belong with me. Return with me to my ship and take up your rightful place as Mother of the Orici!" Vala stood from her chair, and for a moment Adria thought her impassioned plea had done the trick. She could not have been more wrong.
"Adria, stop it!" Vala exclaimed. Adria did not cover the look of surprise and hurt fast enough. "I am not your mother. I may have given birth to you, but we are not family. So, stop pretending."
It was a strain for her to keep smiling. She stood as well, taking a half step forward to approach her mother, perhaps place a comforting hand on her shoulder. "You just need time to think about it. We'll talk further, on our way." She utilized her most persuasive voice, and she could feel the indecision in her mother's mind.
"Where are we going?" Vala asked warily, but with a certain intonation of defeat.
"To find the Clava Thessara Infinitas." Her mother needed someone to believe in her right then, and Adria needed to find that store of weapons. It was a win for both of them, and maybe an opportunity for further bonding, one that would take place away from her duties as the Orici for a few hours.
"You think it's real?"
"I think that Colonel Carter was right," Adria answered truthfully. The subliminal message had not come from her, and with the Alterans' policy of non-interference it was the only explanation. "This might be knowledge from your time as a Goa'uld being dredged up through your subconscious."
"Well, you're too late," Vala sighed. "Despite the fact that they didn't trust me, they thought that they should check out the second gate address, anyway, just to be safe. I overheard them planning the mission as I was leaving."
"Yes, but there's something you're not telling me," Adria said shrewdly. There had been a flicker of something not wholly veracious about her statement.
"I don't know what you're talking about." The falsehood seeped off her like a stench.
Adria's demeanor changed in an instant. "Don't play games with me, Mother!" she demanded sternly. "If I have to force this information out of you, it will be quite unpleasant." She was not afraid to make threats, even to her own mother. Nor was she afraid to follow through.
"They were worried about an ambush, so they're taking a ship," Vala admitted. This rang with truth. Finally.
"We can beat them if we travel by Stargate. Let's go. Now!" Adria commanded, and strode out of the pub. For a moment she wondered if Vala would follow her—and what she would be forced to do if she didn't—but the woman appeared shortly thereafter. Her sleeves looked especially stuffed. Adria resisted the urge to roll her eyes at her mother's antics. They had work to do.
"What was the address?" Adria asked as Vala joined her in front of the dialing device just outside the village. Her mother took a step closer and Adria moved out of the way, watching carefully while allowing Vala to scrutinize the device. It wouldn't do to be sent to the wrong planet because she had asked for a hasty answer.
While she waited for Vala to identify the correct symbols, Adria sent a quick psychic message to the Prior aboard her ship, informing him that he should continue to wait there, at his current location, for her. Vala pressed in the seven symbols and together mother and daughter approached the watery center of the Stargate, stopping directly in front of it. Adria looked at Vala.
"What?" her mother demanded.
"You're sure this is the correct address?" Adria asked.
"Well, no, of course not!" Vala answered. "It was the most awful dream, a nightmare really, and for the second night in a row! I wasn't going to stay in it for longer than I had to! You see, there was this television show I was in where you had to dance with these so-called celebrities and there were judges, and—" Adria grabbed her mother's forearm and stepped them both through the gate.
The universe spun around her in a vortex that was both endless and only lasted for an instant. Adria briefly wondered as the forested planet appeared in front of her if that was how everyone experienced a trip through the Stargate—or whether that was yet another effect of being the Orici. With a vast percentage of the knowledge of those that came before her, she understood the workings of the Stargate implicitly, more than any mortal ever could.
Her feet suddenly felt the weight of her body on the stone steps from the gate, and the wormhole dissipated behind them. She scarcely registered her surroundings before the men in uniforms pointing Earth guns at them caught her attention, and she smiled slightly. They thought to stop her with tiny pellets of metal? Hand still on her mother's arm, they descended the steps together towards the lead man. Cameron Mitchell.
"Howdy!" he greeted them, and next to him stood the rest of SG-1, their mouths set in grim, determined lines. Adria felt an immediate surge of dislike, some of which she knew stemmed from their treatment of her mother. Then again, perhaps she owed them a certain debt of gratitude…thanks to their actions, Vala and the Orici had been reunited, as it was always meant to be.
Adria kept walking with that same self-assured smile, only pausing at the edge of the dias to lift one hand. To put them all out of their misery and rid the galaxy of some more nettlesome unbelievers.
Except nothing happened. There was no swirl of power that only she could see in the air around her, no fire in her veins. The men remained standing, and only then did Adria realize her mistake.
"You didn't really think we'd invite you to a party and not disable your funky powers, did ya?" Mitchell asked cockily. As much as she would have liked to smite him down where he stood, Adria ignored him, turning with a hint of anger to Vala.
"I have no idea what's going on," her mother told her. She couldn't determine the veracity of Vala's statement without her powers, but the concern in her mother's eyes seemed evident.
"Don't worry, Vala, it's all part of the plan," former-Prior Daniel Jackson stated. It occurred to Adria that he was most responsible for the death of the Ori, and she vowed to extinguish his life someday, much as he had extinguished theirs. Except with much, much more pain. And perhaps an audience.
"Don't you ever speak to me, ever again!" Vala burst out, and Adria was once again assured her mother had no part in this. How dare the humans meddle. They would pay. All of them. She would show them what happens to those who stood against Origin.
Blinding light filled the clearing, and more humans beamed in. No, not humans—Jaffa, holding staff weapons. They outnumbered the humans three to one, and then no one was pointing a gun at her, but rather at each other. "Lower your weapons!" one of the Jaffa in thick metal armor commanded.
"Buddy, I think you got the wrong planet," Mitchell told him, adjusting his grip on his P-90.
The Jaffa was unamused. "Lower your weapons, or we will all perish. My master, Lord Ba'al, has targeted this location from orbit." Adria glanced at the sky. No ship was visible, but the Jaffa had to have come from somewhere. Apparently Mitchell came to the same conclusion as he lowered his gun and signaled for his men to do the same. Before Adria could make her move—her options were severely limited with the frailty of her mother's human body to be accounted for—one of the Jaffa approached her and attached a black band to her arm.
"What are you doing?" Mitchell asked.
"Carrying out my orders." There was a strange sensation of shooting upward, and suddenly she wasn't on the planet anymore. Most disturbing of all, Vala was no longer by her side.
Thanks for reading! I would love to hear any feedback you guys have for this story.