"My Lord Bastet." Jolinar bows deeply. "My name is Lord Rijka, and I have come to offer my services - and to offer these small gifts as a token of appreciation for your greatness." She waves Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c forward with the gifts, which are placed in front of Bastet, but at a distance of maybe 10 feet. Unknown persons are not allowed to approach closer to a Goa'uld lord.
"Hm." Bastet looks at the gifts with a bored expression. She make a small gesture with her right hand, and a couple of the slaves sitting by her feet runs to the boxes and opens them, taking out the presents and showing them to Bastet.
"Silk scarves from Sarumka, drifta spices from Tavaln, chocolates from Azku, a number of figurines carved on Seskanta - and a number of other small trinkets, which I hope will meet your acceptance." Jolinar says and bows again.
Bastet gets a pleased expression. "You know my tastes well. Unusually well."
"I make it my most important duty to know what my future master wants."
Bastet nods. "Very good. Perhaps there is a small position for you and your servants at my court. Come to the dinner I host tonight - there will be some entertainment, and some of my allies and vassals will be there. Tomorrow we can discuss a possible position - dependent on your skills, of course."
"Of course. I thank you, great Lord." Jolinar bows again. "The stories are true. You are as wise as you are beautiful."
Bastet smiles vainly. "Rilek. Have quarters of third class prepared for Lord Rijka! Find a place for her servants as well!"
"Yes, my Lord Bastet," Rilek, Bastet's first Prime says, bowing deeply. He turns to Jolinar. "This way, my Lord."
"Not bad," Jack says, leaning back in a soft chair in Jolinar's new chambers. "I could get used to this."
"Do not forget that you are my servant," Jolinar says, amused. "You are supposed to work, not relax."
Jack rolls his eyes. "Please, what's there for me to do right now? You said we were not allowed to walk around freely in this place."
"No, not yet. We shall have to wait until Bastet has decided to grant me a position."
"Well, then I will take a nap. Wake me up when lunch is served," Jack says and closes his eyes, yawning as he stretches out in the soft chair.
The dinner with Bastet and her allies in the evening went well, and so did the talk Jolinar had with Bastet the next day. She managed to convince the Goa'uld lord that it would be to her advantage to hire her, and Bastet did just that.
"I have a position as one of Bastet's underlings. A rather unimportant position in charge of purchases and procurements of everything needed at her court."
"That sounds like you're going to be a clerk! Is that really something a Goa'uld would do?" Jack asks, smiling a little.
"It is not something anyone but a Goa'uld would be trusted with. Normally. It is not just food and supplies I am in charge of - indeed, those would usually be handled by someone of lower rank, a human or a Jaffa, though a Goa'uld is in charge of them. No, this is mainly slaves, wine, clothing, musicians, artists, artworks... anything that makes life... interesting, I guess." Jolinar makes a wry grin.
"So, what now? Can we search the place and see if Bastet has any prisoners hidden?" Daniel wonders.
"You will be assigned some work, though mostly you will be free to 'serve' me, so you should be able to walk around a little - not too much. We don't ant to appear to be sneaking around, and it should look like you work most of time. However, you should be able to get away with searching the prison cells and such, and you should keep your ears open for any rumours among the servants," Jolinar says. "I will try to discreetly look if she has any prisoners or maybe even someone in stasis somewhere."
A couple weeks passed, and none of them found anything. Even Jolinar was starting to be distressed and worry that if Bastet had ever caught Martouf|Lantash, then she had long since killed him or sent him elsewhere. Perhaps he had been sold to another Goa'uld, or placed on a slave world?
She had been trying to make friends with some of the other Goa'uld underlings, in the hope of learning something from them. It had not been easy, as most of them was arrogant and hated each other, including her. However, there was a Goa'uld scientist whom Jolinar got along with better. She was using Sam's knowledge to pretend to 'dabble in science' as she called it, and the Goa'uld scientist had started to chat with her now and then, about the problems she had with her research.
Then, one day, the scientist - Driniok - came to Jolinar and asked for her help. She was trying to create a better force shield for Bastet's ships, but for some reason it would not remain stable.
For the first time, Jolinar was allowed into the laboratory. It was a actually many rooms, connected by corridors, and in addition several storage rooms.
"Impressive," Jolinar oberves.
"It is acceptable. I just wish I could get rid of some of the research projects left over from the previous scientist."
"Does Bastet still have interest in them?"
"Unfortunately, yes. I asked her if I could throw out some of the old stasis units at least, along with the specimens, but she said that she may still have use for them." Driniok shakes her head. "I do not understand why they have to be stored in my section! She could just move them to one of the many storage areas she has!"
"Unfortunate. So, where is this force shield you wish me to take a look at?"
Jolinar, working with Sam, managed to help Driniok with the force shield and managed to get it to stabilize. Driniok was so happy that Jolinar decided to risk asking about the stasis units and the 'specimens'. It was something that she had wanted to ask about for a long time.
"If you do not mind, I would like to ask about those stasis units you mentioned being stored here. What are they used for?" Jolinar asks.
"They contain originals from some sort of copying and brainwashing experiment. I do not know why Bastet wishes them kept. You cannot send new clones as assassins or spies without causing suspicion, and what else can they be used for?" Driniok sighs.
"They were captured, copied, and then the copies were brainwashed?" Jolinar asks.
"But why? Why not merely brainwash the originals? Would it not be faster and easier?"
"If they were humans, yes, but these are Tok'ra," Driniok spits the word. "The presence of the symbiote prevents the brainwashing under normal circumstances, of course. Even in degenerates as the Tok'ra."
"So they had to copy the symbiote and make one that is brainwashed before its memory is awakened. Or else it would sense it and repair it. I see. But why copy the host?"
"The original symbiote would have to be removed. That would have caused massive damage, as Tok'ra fight for their hosts too." Driniok snorts. "The host would have had to be healed in a sarcophagus, and the remaining extra energy in the cells would take days to dissipate fully - preventing the brainwashing procedure that Bastet's scientist used. The copied symbiote would notice as well, of course."
"So all those stored specimens are Tok'ra?"
"Yes. The humans captured were merely brainwashed and sent back."
Jolinar nods, feeling her hope rise. "Why are they kept here, then? The Tok'ra, I mean."
"What do I know? I believe Bastet considered if she could find a way to turn them to her side, as she would like nothing better than former Tok'ra serving her loyally. She hates the Tok'ra more than most of us, as you probably know."
"Yes. Was a way to turn them found?" Jolinar asks, nervously.
"No. Bastet's previous scientist attempted his theory on one of them, and the symbiote did suppress the host, but it also went mad and had to be put down - but not before he had gone on a rampage and killed several of Bastet's favourite sex slaves." Driniok smiles. "That is why her previous scientist is previous. He should be happy he was allowed to live!"
Jolinar nods, faking a grin despite her worry for who it was that was killed. "How many specimens are left?"
~How many Tok'ra zatarcs were there?~
Sam calculates quickly. ~Six, I believe. I read Anise's report.~