A/N: My life has been quite a bit busier and not truly conductive of writing lately, as I imagine many others has also been over these last few months. The fact that I graduated and have been working full time in an internship has not helped either. I hope to get another chapter done sometime over the next few months but no promise, as I can only write as much as I am able. I tried to at least read all the reviews, but I imagine I missed some in my hectic life, so sorry to those people. Send me a message if you had a pressing question you wanted answered, otherwise I hope to catch you in your next review.
S/N: This chapter was important setup for the coming chapters, and I also had a REALLY good idea (imo) on bridging a gap later on in the story I was struggling to find something compelling to fill the time with. So there is that! I hope the next few chapters will be easier to write, as I expect them to.
C/N: Wow this chapter! I ended up rewriting it three times, which is part of why it took SO LONG to get finished. This chapter just never felt right to me, and honestly I am not super happy with it as it is, but I can't delay it any longer to rewrite more stuff. It did end up being longer than expected at nearly 17k words but still... really sorry about the delay, and I hope you enjoy it regardless!
Thanks to LightHawk68 for doing a quick Beta on this so I could get it out before the start of the next Path of Exile league. Here I go off to waste many hours in a video game!
"My Lord!" Cronus looked over to see his First Prime walking into the throne room. This one had been serving him well for a number of years, but still was quite young and had much to prove if he wanted to stay in the position for much longer!
"Report!" he said, wondering what there was to report now at a time like this. He had not been expecting any reports today, and none of his Goa'uld underlings had mentioned anything out of order either. With him being one of the strongest System Lords, that meant he had many dozen other Goa'uld who worked for him, or in some rare cases ruled planets in his name. It was an intelligent system of them trying to claim more power from him, and him keeping them in line utilizing their ambition to further his own ends. In the end the system worked well enough, but once and a while it would create another powerful Goa'uld to contend with in the galaxy.
"My Lord the last five scouting vessels we have sent into Lord Hariric's domain have failed to communicate back." His First Prime said, causing him to take a second to realize who they were talking about. At first when he had found out that Pelops had changed his name to Hariric, he had doubted it quite a bit. He initially had thought that a younger Goa'uld had managed to remove Pelops and was impersonating him. However, through the few communications they have had since the event, he realized Hariric knew too much to be anyone but Pelops.
The change had come after the Death of Ra, and could mean any number of things, but this new set of news put him on alert. Many things were changing in the Galaxy, and the slow rate of change that had been the status quo for thousands of years was now nonexistent. Things were changing so quickly it was often hard to keep track, thankfully Hariric was not a big priority for him. Pelops had always been one of the few Goa'uld you could trust the word of, and was rarely ever an Aggressor in war.
It had worked out well for him, as the stable non-changing border between them had allowed him to concentrate on his other surrounding enemies and expand to become the most powerful System Lord and the defacto leader of the council. However it seemed like that may be changing, and the fact that his troops were apparently failing to perform their every few year scouting mission of Lord Hariric's domain didn't help. It seemed even those who were happy to stay within their own domains were preparing for what was coming. Not that he expected anything less from Pelops or whatever he was choosing to call himself these days, as he was always ahead of most when it came to developing new technology and ideas.
"Stop sending ships into Hariric's domain, and instead set up a few ships to watch from the edge of our border. Also send out some feelers to trade worlds Hariric's people are known to visit and get some information that way." he curtly ordered his First Prime, who bowed low acknowledging his orders, and left quickly. He was not too worried about his oldest neighbor as he was far less of a risk than some of his other concerns, but he had not gotten to where he was today without some caution. It was always good to be cautious of the older Goa'uld, they had managed to survive to this point not on luck, so to underestimate one was to your own detriment.
George was sitting in his nice brown full back office chair doing a bit of paperwork while he waited on Secretary Simms to finish his morning briefing with the president on the initial agreement they had signed, when he got a call from front gate security on his base phone. That was something that honestly did not happen often, as most incidents they simply handled themselves, so this put him on alert as he picked up the secure phone.
"Report!" he said sternly to the other person on the line.
"Sir! This is corporal Smathers at the front gate. Sir... there seems to be.. ah a number of civilian food delivery trucks here to make a delivery." Smathers said, causing him some confusion. For one, why were they getting food delivered today, when they were to come each Monday morning, and two he had read a few papers that passed over his desk already confirming this week's delivery had already arrived. That, and usually it was simply one large truck, and handled by the military to boot.
"Tell them they have made a mistake and turn them away." he said, getting ready to hang up the phone when the Corporal spoke again.
"Ah Sir, they are addressed to you personally and someone else by the name of Hariric, and the address is level 28 Cheyenne Mountain Complex. Also sir it seems to be that they are delivering McDonalds, Sir." the obviously confused Corporal said. "A lot of McDonalds Sir." Honestly he had no idea what was going on, but he was sure Lord Hariric had something to do with it, with his name being attached to the delivery it was almost a certainty. Obviously another headache in the making.
"Check the deliveries carefully then send them to the mess, I will see what this is all about." he ordered the man over the phone before hanging it up, and rubbing his head in exasperation. How a Goa'uld had organized a delivery, and paid for it was beyond him, or even why of all things he would have McDonalds delivered was not something he could divine easily. It was an act he would get his people to investigate immediately, but he expected to have to wait some time to get a clear answer from computer techs and investigators.
He picked up the phone and hit the page button for his secretary before speaking. "Page Colonel O'Neill to come to my office." he spoke to his secretary before trying to figure out how to deal with this. He would see what they could find out about this… 'situation', and then he was going to have to 'politely' tell his guest he can't have stuff delivered to his base without first clearing it with him.
Harry had been getting politely 'chewed' out by Doctor Jackson for having food delivered to the base without informing anyone, all the while enjoying said food in the mess. Sure he had done that as a bit of a prank, but also because he kinda had been craving for a good old big mac, and wanted to share them with his guards. He had also ordered enough for the entire base to boot, and enough for his soldiers in space around Earth as the chewing out, even if it was done in a super polite way.
It was honestly kind of amusing to watch the phoenix guard that finally removed their helmets in the mess, with two standing watches still fully armoured trying to eat the food. They had been inspecting the odd food packaging, but a few had dug right in after seeing himself eat some. Either way O'Neill had been loving it, enjoying a quarter pounder beside him while probably ignoring Daniel. The mess was also full of soldiers having an early lunch, who also were observing the guests closely, mostly out of clear curiosity and smiles of their faces, burgers or fries in hand.
His guards were quite the assortment of people, three of them being women, with them all coming from a variety of races and even species. He personally didn't really notice it before, but his people were incredibly diverse, with having people from all over Earth's past. When contrasted to the base personal it had become that much more apparent, that he finally really noticed it. It also didn't seem to hurt that clearly three of his guards were also not Jaffa, which seemed to make some of the base personal happy. Or at least to observers they didn't have forehead crests, but he knew that they were not Jaffa.
The armour they wore really made up for any limitations sex, or species gave one, as they simply improved all their wearers strength and speeds quite substantially. As long as one was fit and in good shape then their performance would almost always come down to personal skill rather than their original physical limitations. This also applied to the infirm, or disabled. He had been constantly making improvements to the armour and other things he had been making from time to time. Whenever he gained better understanding in one place or made a discovery, it often propagated back over previous designs in big ways. So he was constantly making tweaks and updates to past equipment.
His overactive mind would simply make improvements naturally to old designs, and there was no reason not to use the neural interface of the armband to simply update those old designs, it only took a few hours each if it was something major. It was one of his favorite ways to relax and reflect on the constant improvement he was making, some ships designs had not even gone into production yet, but had undergone multiple updates. Also it was quite relaxing and allowed him to escape a bit of the pressure that was mounting on his shoulders due to the position he had somehow stupidly gotten himself into. Leading his people was not an easy task, and was a huge amount of responsibility he for some reasons had decided to take on.
Either way, what had interrupted his nice early lunch was him getting a notification from his Armband informing him of an urgent, but non-sensitive message. He allowed his Armband to light up informing those around him that he had gotten a message, before reading it in the Augmented Reality HUD overlay in his vision courtesy of his armband, and his much improved nanites. Nanites that could now actually survive his body for more than a few minutes, of which sadly took him years to get to such a stage. They still needed many improvements, but it was progress.
The look of shock on his face was quite real when reading his message, as it told him that Ana had decided to come personally to the SGC alongside the 'package' he had ordered delivered from Q. He recovered quickly from his shock before deciding to quickly finish the last few bites of his burger, pointedly ignoring the questioning looks from Daniel and Jack.
"Well what has you spooked?" O'Neill asked, showing his impatience that Hari was coming to realize the man was known for.
"Just that apparently Anaitis, my other partner you have yet to meet, and leader of the civilian side of my government, is going to be accompanying a package I have had asked delivered here from Argensis." he said getting a look of confusion from Jack, and one of exasperation from Daniel. The rest of the phoenix guard started finishing up quickly, and getting serious again. Seems they wanted to put on a good image for when Ana arrived, or maybe they were just scared she may think they were neglecting their duties. Ana could be scary to others who she felt were not performing their duties to the best of their abilities.
"Didn't we just get over discussing not getting things delivered here without first getting permission?" Daniel asked quite clearly not actually caring that much himself, but pointing out the obvious.
"I had asked for it to be delivered before the discussion, and it is related to Captain Carter's situation." he said honestly not bothered with the Doctor's concerns. "I am more worried about why Anaitis has decided to come." he said hesitating a bit before continuing. "She does not particularly have the best impressions of Earth's governments and people, and was somewhat opposed to me coming here in the first place." he said deciding it was best to prepare the SGC somewhat in advanced, and because he really didn't feel it mattered too much in the long or short term. How Ana felt was important to him, so he hoped they would put on a good impression.
"If I may ask, why does she not have a good impression of us and Earth?" Daniel asked, showing lots of interest, and it was one of his guards who answered before he had a chance in a stern tone. That actually made him smile at their comfort they clearly feel around him, enough to answer in his stead it seemed.
"Many people of the Star Empire, Lady Anaitis included, feel that those of Earth and some other places, do not show the respect God Emperor Hariric deserves." one of the helmeted guards said quite seriously, almost causing Hari to go red in embarrassment. His title sounded so bad when some of his people said it like that, and he could feel this man was a true believer in his divinity.
Honestly the fact that his people's worship seemed to feed him a tiny amount of power actually made him doubt his own deception at times. It made no sense to him that it would work that way, unless in some way he may have actually gained some form of divinity or something similar. Not that he felt it actually made him a true god or anything, or made a huge impact on his magical growth, but it did make him doubt himself at times, if that made any sense. In fact it was one thing he constantly battled with himself over, that and about telling Ana and Ishta the truth about his origins.
Regardless, the look on Daniel's face at the guard's answer was quite funny, but the look of mild disgust on O'Neill's was just down right hilarious. However most of the room had gone quite to listen to the conversation that was happening.
"Do not worry yourselves too much." he said trying to calm the clearly rising panic in Daniel, and the confused anger O'Neill was giving off. "I am not one to stand on ceremony in the first place, and I come to Earth mainly as a vacation from some of that very same stuff." he said before continuing a bit more seriously. "But do know some of my people do care, and feel personally disrespected when you take that liberty too far." he said honestly, even if he felt it was a bit silly.
"Ah yes, I can understand that position fairly easily." Daniel said quickly, almost stammering over his words. "I had not truly thought of it from that perspective, and can see why some may be upset. I hope you are not offended?" Daniel asked of him, to which he simply waved away the question in negative, before Daniel asked another question. "Do you mind if I ask a few questions to help clarify some things I am confused about?" Daniel asked.
"I see no harm in answering a few questions for a few more minutes, there is still some time before Ana arrives." he answered back wondering just what had the good doctor so intrigued as his body language was oozing his excitement over his questions.
"Well as we have heard you state a few times, and seen in some artwork, that you evolved into something greater when the host and Goa'uld became one. I was wondering what exactly that meant, and if I take that at face value how much of you is the host, and how much is Goa'uld?" Daniel asked clearly, trying to fish for some information, but also just simply personally excited about the topic.
"That is not an easy question to answer, and not something surprisingly anyone has asked me yet to date. I think it is best if I tell the events in general for you to get a better understanding." he said to Daniel with a small smile and a whimsical look before getting into his story mode. He could also see that there was quite the audience as people were listening in, both the other Airman, and even his own guards. "This particular situation starts a number of years ago, when Pelops' guards who were scouting for new planets to conquer found an interesting wanderer who claimed to be a traveler of the universe, and had been studying the ruins of a long dead civilization on that planet." he started his quick sanitized version of his story, embellishing at times, and outright lying at others.
"Doing what Jaffa did best, they decided that this Wanderer would make either a good host or slave for Pelops' domain, so they brought him back through the Stargate with them." he said embellishing things. "What they did not know was that this person was not a normal human, not even close, only being a small step away from being a god, just needing either time or a nudge to make the last leap into godhood." he said dramatically with tons of people listening in, and smiled. "Pelops in his infinite wisdom, decided that this 'human' would make for a wonderful new host for himself, and made the worst decision of his long life.
As you can imagine things did not go over well for Pelops, as the Wanderer's and his consciousness' both started to do battle within the same body. What Pelops' didn't know was that this was not the first time an outside being had tried to gain control over this particular host, nor was Pelops even remotely the most powerful attempt. Ultimately Pelops lost this battle of will and power quickly, and was consumed by the host, adding everything of value to the host. Once everything that made up Pelops was merged with this host, including his Goa'uld body, there were no longer two beings, just one. And while the host was powerful and victorious, it didn't come without cost, as you can imagine how much of an impact of tens of thousands of years of memories can have on someone.
So you can see how such a question is not easy to answer" he said getting to the end of the story. "I would say 55% is the previous host, 15% the unnamed third entity, and 30% Pelops." he said thoughtfully, lying his ass off, as while it was true those memories and Tom's did have some impact on him, it was not nearly that much. His story seemed to have a lot of people around him shocked, while also seeing Daniel was thinking in overdrive.
"So where does the name Hariric come from?" Daniel asked clearly now entirely in inquisitive mode and no longer really trying to milk information, but was simply intrigued.
"It is an old derivative on the Earth Hadrian, that is similar to what this host's original name was, and one Pelops had a liking for." he said lamely, as it was kind of the truth, while not actually telling them he was from Earth.
"Interesting, I had been wondering for sometime about the name." Doctor Jackson almost mumbled out clearly still thinking on some of the things he had just learnt. Probably trying to see how it changed things, or if it even mattered at all. He could also feel Colonel O'Neill's disbelief in much of the story, which either made the man quite perceptive, or simply not trusting in the first place. He figured it was the latter and not the former, either way the older man decided to change the subject with his question.
"What is it you are having delivered?" O'Neill asked seriously, clearly more interested in the object, and the security of the base than the discussion they had been having.
"Oh just something to help Captain Carter be rid of her current 'house' guest." he said with a smile getting the Colonel's full attention, before looking at the time. "It seems the fun times are over, and I must get more serious now that my lover is arriving, and the important stage of the negotiations are about to begin." he said before giving the Colonel an extremely serious look. "I will be quite a bit less tolerant of any power plays by your people that may put Anaitis in danger. Make sure to warn your leaders." he said ominously while being 100% honest and quickly flashing his eyes while dimming the lights in the room with his magic for dramatic effect.
Damen was the only escort for Lady Anaitis, along with the odd floating coffin looking thing. It was clearly important if Lady Anaitis was personally escorting it. Regardless he was still a bit worried as he feared the wrath of his god if anything were to happen to one of his consorts while under his watch. Thankfully he was fully outfitted in his armour and had his rifle at the ready. To add on to the fact that supposedly they were actually going to a planet where his Lord was waiting for them, only reduced the threat level. So all things considered he was not too worried, but still it was his job to be paranoid, and constantly vigilant like one of the instruction manuals he had been given during his training said all too often.
He could also tell that Lady Anaitis was not too pleased to be going where they were going. Not that she seemed mad at Lord Hariric, but simply didn't seem too impressed with these Tau'ri. He personally had no idea what that was all about, being a human and not a Jaffa meant he had learnt little about the past of the Goa'uld, and had no interest in doing so since he had been freed from his bondage. No he preferred living in the here and now, and constantly applied himself to self improvement, it was how he got to be escorting one of the most important people in the Empire. However his training made him speak up, to reassure his Lady against any of her fears.
"My Lady, are you worried about something? Do we need more troops? We can always have some transferred into orbit of Earth to infiltrate before we go through the gate if you would like?." he asked, giving Lady Anaitis a possible solution if his read of the situation was wrong.
"It is not that, I do not fear for my safety when I will be in the presence of our Lord." Lady Anaitis said softly. "I simply do not like the fact that these Tau'ri seem to preoccupy so much of our Lord's time. I feel he gets distracted with them, all the while they show him so little respect when he saves their entire planet. Requiring him to go to an intermediate planet before the start of talks like they had, just shows how little respect they have for him." his Lady said a bit angry at the end there. He didn't know much about that, but he had heard some rumours.
The sounds and slight vibrations of the Stargate starting up quickly, indicating their departure was soon. He was a bit weary of leaving Argensis, as it had been nearly a year since he had left the planet. Mostly he was doing training in a secluded camp on the other side of the planet, or guarding critical areas. The Tau'ri planet would also only be the third planet he had ever been to, and the information he had on their destination told him it was a military base of some sort. He didn't quite understand why someone would bother building a site under a mountain but apparently this 'Stargate Command' was one in such a location.
He certainly knew a mountain would not be enough protection from any sort of extended attack, but perhaps it served these Tau'ri in some other way. Regardless they were heading to a controlled military location, somewhere their Lord was currently at, along with other members of the Phoenix Guard, so he was not expecting too much danger. With his Ladies' concerns addressed and the gate finally dialed, he walked through the Stargate ahead of his charge.
From his perspective the trip was instantaneous and he arrived on the other side to his HUD filling up with bountiful amounts of information. Part of their training was actually learning how to handle large influxes of info from their HUD and neural interfaces. So with his helpful training he noticed immediately the various figures in the small but tall room he had arrived in. A rich purple highlight surrounded his lord while yellow ones surrounded those who seemed to be armed guards, with light blue surrounding the other people in the room that were unarmed.
With barely a thought an outline of the two main weapons the guards on this side seemed to be carrying on them appeared in his helmet display. It quickly pointed out that they were still not set into a fire mode, which was most likely why they were highlighted yellow rather than orange in his HUD. The scans of the weapons also put him at ease as they were marked as mostly a non-threat to himself, or his Lady with her shield. Other scans and information came in giving him a lowdown of the area, and even a partial blueprint from his scanners of the building. The place they had arrived was quite spartan, and lacked many technologies he would have expected, it seemed almost outdated to him.
All of that information intake only took seconds, and so he moved forward slowly down the ramp to allow his Lady room to come in and saw her quickly follow after him. He knew an automated all clear had already been sent to her, so it was no surprise to see her following just after him. However, what surprised him next was his Lord doing something he had never seen Lord Hari do before all the while approaching Lady Anaitis.
Harry was standing in the Stargate room, waiting on Ana, along with most members of SG1 except for Captain Carter who was still under guard in nice quarters, General Hammond, and even Secretary Simms. Looking around the room, his brain immediately started pointing out things that were wrong with it. It being too small, offering limited ability to defend from attacks that come through the gate and other such concerns. No ability to easily move larger craft through the gate, not even something like a car could be easily done. Hence why he expected they used those small machines they referred to as MALPs in their reports instead of something more robust. There were many other issues but he was distracted by an unexpected feeling in his magic.
It was shocking to him that he could easily feel the moment that Ana stepped off of Argensis and outside the blood bound protections he had over the planet. What was so surprising to him though was how much of a gut punch it was to him in regards to the unreasonable amount of concern it caused in him. Ana unlike Ishta was not really trained in combat, and was a lot more vulnerable than Ishta ever was. It made him worry more than he expected about her, and quite frankly to an admittedly unreasonable amount. On Argensis she was under powerful protections he had created, and he could always feel her presence, safe and sound. However, off planet she was far more vulnerable to being attacked and him not being able to do anything in time to prevent serious injury was a constant worry he seemed to now realize he will have. He still had not worked out any reasonable way to give his lovers any form of immortality.
Sure they wore their armbands, and those did remove a lot of worries he had, but even then they were still quite limited. There were a lot of things that could defeat the protections that an armband provided, and it didn't truly take something advanced, just persistence. He had only really started building up a family again and he didn't really want to lose it again so soon. When the sole Phoenix guard escorting Ana walked through the gate quickly followed by Ana and the package she was delivering, he instinctively moved forward without even realizing he was already moving. It was then that he decided to do something he had not done before, and that was creating something with magic entirely by will and instinct.
Daniel watched on as the guard, and a quite striking woman came through the gate, followed by a silver metal floating coffin looking thing before the gate shut down. The guard was nearly identical to that of the others he had seen so far, except this one was carrying what was obviously a rifle of some sort. It looked like something out of a sci-fi film and clearly was dangerous. Lady Anaitis was wearing an almost flowing light cream colored dress, and had this imposing air about her. She, like Ishta, was quite beautiful and young looking, but his attention was quickly dragged away from her and the floating coffin to Lord Hari.
Daniel could only stand still and observe as Hari moved towards the arriving guests, seemingly almost like he was in a trance, and where he of all things, started to glow. It was only a tiny amount at first, but each step that man took, the stronger the glow became that it almost became unbearable to look at, but Daniel was not going to miss this, whatever 'this' was. The 'god' moved his hands together, and the glow increased, while almost pulsing, like it was flowing from all around through the man's body and towards his hands. As Hari approached closer to Lady Anaitis he also seemed to be giving off waves of what look almost like energy or something, but clearly not tangible as it dissipated once it was far enough away from the man. However, the most incredible thing was that Hari looked like he was getting bigger by the second.
Daniel was fairly sure that the 'god' was not actually growing, but it gave of the illusion that the man was massive compared to everyone else in the room as he continued to glow and 'tower' over others. Whatever the man was doing clearly had alarmed the airmen in the room as they raised their weapons and pointed them at the glowing man, and the new arrivals. That was when the next major surprise occurred, and it happened to him of all people. He was just watching the events unfold, when he heard a noise and was showered in a bit of snow, and something not terribly light landed on his shoulder.
Looking up to his right he saw oddly enough the most beautiful owl he had ever laid eyes on simply sitting there on his shoulder. At first he thought it was a Snow Owl, but it certainly was a bit bigger, and had some differences, but he was no expert. It looked incredibly regal, and just sat there on his shoulder towering over his head. He really didn't know what to do, and the large claws latched onto his shoulder caused him to freeze up a bit at their sight. One of the airmen had moved his aim to cover this new arrival as well, but the only thought that he had in his head was where had this Owl had come from, as the gate had already disengaged.
"Hoot, Hoot!" The owl verbalized clearly upset and loudly while looking at the airmen pointing a weapon at it. The amazing thing was that after the last hoot, the weapon the Airmen, and the other Airmen had that they were pointing at Hari and Anaitis had simply disappeared. As if the Owl had been offended by them and then caused them to simply poof, almost like the Nox did. Each Airman was looking at their hands and the fact they were no longer holding weapons. Some even went for their sidearms, only to realize that those too were gone. It was causing a bit of unrest amongst those enlisted individuals, and Daniel had no idea what to do about the big bird.
As he was thinking that whatever Hari was doing seemed to have come to a conclusion as the glow slowly started to die down and the man came more into focus. Hari seemed to be now holding something in his hands, and was obviously going to present it to their recently arrived guest. This didn't help with all the airmen being in a tizzy, however when general Hammond gave a signal of some kind they all seemed to quiet down a bit. He did notice a small group run off out of the room, probably to get weapon replacements for those still waiting in the room.
Hari, seemingly having forgotten that others were in the room, had simply moved onto personally attaching the necklace that he had somehow gotten in that light show around Anaitis' neck. Daniel could not make out much, but he did see some flashes of a silver like metal from here. When the necklace, no, it was more like a small amulet, was finally clasped it was like a signal that the impromptu event was now over, and the climax had been lacking. Nothing truly amazing happened, and as far as he could tell the amulet was nothing more than something pretty to look at. However, his gut told him otherwise, and that this was more than simply a show of power by Hari before they got into some more serious negotiations.
When Hari turned around and took in the disgruntled state of the Airmen, and others he almost looked apologetic, but was entirely surprised when he saw the owl. Not quite as surprised as Daniel had been when the thing had landed on his shoulder without warning. It was only then that he himself realized that the Phoenix guards who had been originally in the room escorting Hari were bowing down in his direction for quite some time before standing tall again. It took him almost their entire bow to realize they were not bowing to him however to the owl who had unceremoniously taken over his shoulder as a perch.
"Hedwig, when did you get here?" Hari asked, clearly surprised, as he escorted his partner down the gangplank from the Stargate. Speaking of Anaitis and Ishta, he would have to get a clarification of what exactly they were to Hari, and if the man truly practiced polygamy. Were they his fleeting bed mates, or something more serious as he expected, like being wives. Or was it less formal than that, it was something he had been dying to ask the 'god'. Even with their conversation earlier the way Hari acted often made it hard to remember that the man was truly seen to some people as their 'God Emperor', and at least to many millions others, the Emperor of a number of planets.
"Hoot! Hoot, hoot." the owl seemingly responded to Hari who was now standing in front of the greeting party. Though he nor anyone else didn't miss when Hari waved his hand at the silver 'coffin' causing it to fly to his hand while also shrinking down to the size just smaller than a lighter. It was quite the show of power, and the way he did it so absent mindedly was most likely an unintended message to those in the room.
"Wait, you can do that now?" Hari asked, still obviously surprised, but not as surprised as some when the owl clearly answered back.
"Hoot, Hoot. Hoot!" The owl he now knew was called Hedwig replied back.
"Well we did know there was a chance for more benefits from the ritual, and I am guessing you have been starting to feel those." Hari said continuing his conversation with the owl as he and Anaitis walked to be in front of the welcoming party, but Hari was clearly giving most of his attention to the owl, but still held onto his Lady's hand. It was really awkward for Daniel, as the owl was still on his shoulder this entire time, making him also the centre of attention for nearly everyone in a room while all he wanted to do was listen closely to the conversation to see what he could learn.
"Sorry to interrupt your conversation, but WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?" Jack, obviously having gotten to the limit of his ability to maintain his quiet, yelled his question to the room. To Daniel it looked like Hari was not at all caught off guard by Jack's outburst, and had simply looked to the man and smiled. Probably causing Jack to get even more annoyed. Hari seemed to just know how to push Jack's buttons, and he would be lying if Hari sometimes didn't bring a small smile to his face while pushing Jack's buttons. Though it did seem Hari had finally noticed that everyone else was a little tense, and that even his own two guards who had come with him and the guard that had just arrived, had weapons out and at the ready, but not pointing at anyone. Honestly the military types can be way too jumpy at times.
"Ah I must apologize for taking such quick action without informing anyone beforehand." Hari said while rubbing his hair with the hand not holding Lady Anaitis' hand, but otherwise seemingly unapologetic. "However, when my Consort and leader of the Imperial Civilian Government, Lady Anaitis left the safety Argensis, I was suddenly struck with an unreasonable amount of worry over her safety. My fears compelled me to do something about it, so I apologize for the bright light show, at least you all got to witness the birth of a powerful magical artifact." Hari said with a smile and caused Daniel to look closer at the amulet Lady Anaitis was now wearing that Hari had put on her.
"Well what about the weapons then? hmmm?" Jack asked, clearly not happy with the answer so far, and Daniel would be lying if he said he was not also interested in the answer about what happened to the weapons. However, what was most shocking was the clear confusion on Hari's face for a brief moment before it was well hidden.
"Hoot." Hedwig from his shoulder making herself known again, causing Hari to look at her in surprise once again.
"I see you have gained even more abilities without telling me. You've been holding out on me girl." Hari said with a laugh and a clearly genuine happy smile on his face, that was also replicated on Lady Anaitis face which transformed her from the no nonsense high government official, into the beautiful young lady she was. Both seemed utterly ignorant of the atmosphere of the soldiers in the room. Though it seemed the laugh had diffused tensions quite a bit as everyone seemed to have relaxed a bit. "Can you perhaps return their weapons?" Hari asked the owl.
"Hoot, Hoot!" Hedwig said whatever it was she said, while causing the weapons to appear in an unceremonious pile right in front of Daniel. The appearance of the weapons just like that caused everyone from Earth to pause for a moment, and he could swear he heard a few breaths from some of the airmen being let out, and even a few whispered swears.
"Well now that you have your weapons back," Hari said to Jack and the others before continuing, "I can introduce Lady Anaitis, my Consort and leader of our civilian government, and the one you will most likely deal the most with most of the time with regards to trade deals." Hari said while introducing Anaitis to the group. Secretary Simms stepped forwards to introduce himself, but the General beat him to it.
"Welcome to Earth, and Stargate Command, I am General Hammond, commander of this base." General Hammond said while holding his hand out to shake, which Anaitis did without missing a beat, and then Secretary Simms finally got his chance.
"I am Secretary Simms, representative for the United State Government, and the President. Welcome to Earth." Simms said happily, also shaking hands with Anaitis. "I hear you are bringing something to help Major Carter with her current situation?" Simms asked the questions that he himself had been wanting an answer to.
"Thank you for your warm welcome, and I just happen to be accompanying whatever it is my Lord has thought up to help Major Carter with her current predicament." Anaitis said, and as she turned and spoke to the owl, Hedwig, decided it was time to change perches, much to his relief, flew over to Lady Anaitis' shoulder. "Lady Hedwig, I was unaware you wished to come as well, I would have invited you to journey with us through the Stargate had I known." Anaitis said to the owl who had just landed on her shoulder. Hedwig didn't seem to have minded and clearly enjoyed Anaitis presence, if the affectionate attitude of the owl was displaying was anything to go by.
"Hoot." the owl supposedly replied, and it seemed that Anaitis understood whatever the animal was saying because she smiled happily at the animal.
"Alright am I the only one around here that is wondering what is with the Owl, and if anyone can actually understand it?" Jack whispered to him not so quietly, clearly exasperated, while also getting a warning look from the General and a stern angry look from the owl perched on Anaitis' shoulder. Which only brought a smile to Daniel's face at the situation his friend's mouth always got him into.
"You need not worry Colonel," Hari said, getting the attention back to him, "Hedwig is my familiar and will only cause you issues if you do something untoward towards myself or any one of my people." Hari said with a smile and pausing before continuing. "Or piss her off." the so called god said with a wince clearly from experience, if what Daniel heard in his voice was true.
"Hoot! Hoot!" Hedwig barked loudly before shifting herself on Anaitis' shoulder, turning her body away from Hari, obviously upset with the 'god's' last bit of his description.
"Regardless I think we have left Major Carter waiting long enough, and once finished we can continue negotiations?" Hari said leaving the question open to anyone to put their input in. Regardless it didn't seem anyone had anything to add so they all moved off toward the area that had been setup for Jolinar's extraction. If Daniel was being honest with himself he was super excited to witness this, as it gave him more hope about the future for his wife.
Jolinar was waiting quietly in a corner of Samantha Carter's mind, trying to keep her own thoughts separate from her current hosts. There were reasons why blending usually occurs shortly after merging with a new host, as the effort to keep one's mind separate from the host was quite difficult and required constant effort and upkeep. Thankfully they had been informed that whatever if it was that Lord Hariric needed to help her get a new host had finally arrived. Though she was still a tiny bit worried she was still too weak to transfer to a new host so soon.
They were currently in a medium sized observation room, and Major Carter was talking with the base's Doctor, Janet Fraiser. They were discussing innocuous things, and it was not hard for her to realize they were doing it on purpose due to her presence in the Major. She was still trying to sort out all that she had learnt since arriving, and surprisingly it had mostly to do with Lord Hariric. Though finding out there was amicable contact between the Star Empire and the Tau'ri was quite the discovery and something the High Council will want to know about.
The state of the Tau'ri was also something that may interest the High Council, and could even, if things turned out well, be a new source for hosts. Though she felt there would be some difficulty there with how much the idea had repulsed Major Carter, and anyone else who she had brought the concept up too. As she was thinking this the large blast door finally opened and in walked the rest of SG-1, Lord Hariric, and unsurprisingly Lady Anaitis, as she had been informed the young woman was also coming to the planet for some reason she was not briefed on. She also recognized the owl on Anaitis' shoulder, but felt a sense of surprise from her host. Thankfully only the loudest thoughts, or strong emotions bled through the separation they were keeping between their minds.
'That is Lord Hariric's familiar. Her name is Hedwig, don't underestimate her intelligence or her quickness to anger.' she said internally to Samantha who quickly asked a question back. They had been getting on quite a bit more since the attack from the Ashrak, and that meant quite a bit more communicating amicably.
'Do you know a lot about the Star Empire or Lord Hariric?' Major Carter asked her quickly, obviously trying to not get distracted as their new guests entered the room while 'pumping' her for more information. Thankfully communicating mentally was not the same as holding a normal conversation, and allowed them to communicate far quicker than speech did. That fact that they had not melded did slow them down some.
'I do know some, and the Tok'ra more. I was there undercover monitoring Pelops the day he decided to transition from Pelops to Hariric.' she said honestly to her host trying to up play how much information she actually had, but it was certainly more than her host. 'It came as a surprise to everyone, his subjects included. Frankly I am still not convinced it is the same Goa'uld, except for the fact that Hariric seems to have all the same information that Pelops had.' she would know as she had tested the man during the few spare moments that she could steal to ask questions during their few walks to various areas. Before their conversation could continue however the world outside their mind interrupted them.
"Major Carter, Jolinar, Doctor Fraiser, it is wonderful to see you all again. And to be able to meet so many beautiful women all at once." Lord Hariric said as he entered the room with a smile indicating them and Anaitis that had followed him in. The fact that a small smile formed on Anaitis' face did not stop her from giving lord Hariric a quick elbow which caused Jolinar more surprise than one would expect. The fact that Hariric took that elbow in stride and even smiled a bit at the young woman following by his side said more about his character than a lot of the words the man had said since his appearance on the galactic stage.
She 'looked' at Lord Hariric's host with close appreciation, or was it his body. Regardless he was extremely attractive, almost inhumanly so. His hair was always kept neat and helped accent his sharp jawline and handsome face. He also clearly took care of his body, as it was well defined with muscles. The fact that lord Hariric, or Hari as Samantha preferred to refer to him as, didn't act obnoxiously arrogant like so many Goa'uld did made him even more attractive to her, and if she was reading her hosts feelings right, Samantha felt similar feelings of attraction. She found Samantha's obvious, to her at least, attraction to Hari amusing, as the Major also tried to deny said feelings to herself, and kept reminding herself that Hari was a Goa'uld whenever she would check out his butt during his visit.
Hari certainly still did have his own form of arrogance though, you could see it in the way he walked into a room like he owned the place, as if everything was within his control. Something she didn't like to truly admit it to herself, was that the overabundance of arrogance that was present in Goa'uld was also something that many Tok'ra still had in spades. It was one of the reasons she found Lantash so desirable, as he often displayed humility and deference to others. Her tangential thoughts were quickly snapped back to what was important, as Hari once again gave them a demonstration of his powers.
The Goa'uld took a small silver looking box out of his pocket before tossing it toward one of the tables, the box enlarged itself while floating carefully to land perfectly on the empty examination table. Samantha's curiosity obviously had gotten the best of her as they moved over to see what exactly had been delivered, and it was not too hard to make a determination, at least it wasn't when they looked through the small panel of transparent material. Sam actually gave a small gasp, but what was within was a late twenties, early thirties woman. Blond hair similar to both Sam and her former host Rosha, and she would almost have sworn that the body before her looked a little bit like Rosha in facial structure too. However where this was leading was disconcerting to her, as she did not want to take over a host that clearly had no say in the matter, especially if they needed to be transported here in stasis.
"What is the meaning of this?" she asked, momentary requesting control of the body from Samantha, which she concede to ask her question. Lord Hariric actually looked at her momentarily in surprise before coming to some understanding and smiling.
"Hopefully a solution to your problem." Hari said infuriatingly, by answering nothing. "I decided rather than trying to find you a new host, that I would simply create you one." he said excitedly as if he was almost showing off something he had worked hard on. However, she was not paying attention to that, no, she had quickly turned back around to inspect the body. The fact that Hari could create something like this so quickly was incredible to say the least, though it would still need to stand the test of time. Most organic creations of the Goa'uld tended to have quite short expiration dates. What was an expiration date? She quickly asked herself, before realizing that something of Samantha must be leaking over, making it more important than ever to either meld, find a new host, or face possible mental instabilities.
"Explain." she said, losing her patience with this whole ordeal. Having to spend months in hiding after losing Rosha, and then to be chased by an Ashrak to Earth was just the cherry on top of having to deal with Cronus for months previously.
"Well really I took some technology I was working on and used it to create a fully developed body from a randomized DNA string I had created from a few sources." Hari said as he moved over the coffin looking device, and pressed a few buttons on the panel on the side causing the top to retract into itself folding up almost like a Jaffa helmet. With the lid removed a small amount of smoke or gas wafted out from inside to fully reveal the quite attractive woman who simply lay there unmoving, with her eyes closed. "A fully developed body with no consciousness to speak of, an almost perfect host no?" Hari asked of her, but she was still reeling from the possibilities of something like this. And if it was true and a stable creation, then it could change the future of the Tok'ra forever. The Tok'ra needed to get this technology, whatever the cost.
"You created this from scratch?" Doctor Fraiser asked as she moved over to inspect the 'body' that simply laid there.
"Well mostly, I in fact used the DNA from a number of women, including Jolinar's former host Rosha." Hari said surprising her, and making her realize why the 'body' looked so familiar. "The process creates a body from a digital template mapped from the DNA provided, therefore creating a body at maturity without a consciousness. I was actually inspired to develop this method after hearing rumours of the Asgard, and from my own magical method of recreating a body after this one has been destroyed." Hari indicated his body, and got almost everyone's attention in the room including the single Phoenix Guard that had entered with everyone else, and seemed to be keeping a constant watch on Lady Anaitis.
"Wait, you create your own body?" Colonel O'Neill asked from the side, who had not spoken yet since entering, and had been keeping a close watch one her specifically. She could tell the idea of her being there bothered the man, and quite frankly she could not truly blame him. However, she certainly didn't miss the feeling of reassurance Major Carter had felt when her team had entered the room, nor her complicated feelings towards her team leader.
"Of course, how else would I have a body to use then?" Hari asked, almost confused before continuing. "Whenever my body is destroyed, depending on how much of my reserves I tapped into before my death, it will simply take me a few hours to a week or so to create a new body using my magic." he said matter of factly, not realizing he had completely shook up the people in the room, and Jolinar didn't need to hear some of Samantha's louder thoughts to know the woman was also shocked by the mere idea.
"So if you were killed right now, it would be like a few hours to a week or so before you popped right back up here?" Jack asked both clearly interested from whatever perspective that man was taking this from, but also confused.
"Yes and no. Right now after creating that artifact for my Lady, I tapped into my reserves quite substantially, so I expect it would take me a day or two before recovering enough to recreate a body for myself. I also would most likely not reappear at the location of my last body's destruction." Hari said while going about extracting the 'body' from the transport 'coffin' onto the second observation bed table. The woman was nearly naked, only wearing a small pair of underwear, and nothing else, so it allowed her to see that the body was clearly in pristine physical shape. "I imagine that my plan is quite obvious now?" Hari asked, having changed the topic quite abruptly for those who had been contemplating the fact that Hari might be more immoral than they had been willing to believe. Removing him if he became a threat may be harder than she had first thought, and she had not been thinking it was going to be easy in the first place. Hopefully it wouldn't come to that.
"I assume you wish me to take this host for myself." she said taking control for a moment, briefly catching the dull flash of the amulet around Samantha's neck changing colours.
"Yes. I can't think of any reasons this should not be a viable solution, and you should be strong enough after that elixir from yesterday to take another host, even if it is so soon." Hari said clearly knowing how effective whatever he had given them was. The Tau'ri doctor had been in stitches over how it had even healed some minor injuries that Samantha had been sporting from past missions on top of nearly all the damage done by the Ashrak and their escape from the planet. Whatever it was had been beyond that of the technology of the Goa'uld which is why her inclination that this man standing in front of her was not Pelops was becoming stronger the longer she spent with him, regardless of what memories he seemed to possess or what her instincts where saying about the presence of a Goa'uld nearby.
"How do we know this is not some poor victim you have wiped the mind of or something worse? You know besides taking you at your word?" O'Neill asked, clearly not wanting to be part of something as disgusting as that, and quite frankly neither did she, so she looked carefully at the Goa'uld in front of her for his answer. As the Colonel said, they only really had his word to go on.
"Well for one, the new host does not have natural bones because why not put something a bit more robust in if you are going to make a body from scratch?" Hari asked everyone getting them thinking, and she wondered what he could have put instead of standard bones. "Should be quite easy to verify, as well as the DNA as it will have certain markers indicating lack of normal aging. I imagine Doctor Fraiser would have other methods as well, but I am unfortunately not a doctor." Hari said before looking around the room and smiling. "Shall we proceed?"
She looked down at her possible new host with a bit of trepidation, and excitement. It was quite interesting to see what was in store for her, and she was also extremely uncomfortable being in a host with such a limited freedom to operate, and one that did not fully welcome her to boot. Honestly, it was shocking how much she had changed over the long years that such a state had become so uncomfortable, even repulsive to her, and she had only taken such actions in desperation. Regardless she knew what she was going to do.
Every time Anaitis had seen a Goa'uld Symbiote take a new host she had been a little disgusted by it, even if she had at the time been thought she had been witnessing a 'god' go about his business, it still looked wrong. Not that she had many of those experiences, thankfully. Though having now watched Jolinar take over her new host, bringing a lifeless body to, well life, was a far more rewarding experience to have. However, now she was sitting in the SGC's nice conference room sitting patiently with Hedwig now on Hari's shoulder, as they waited for Major Carter to pass a quick physical, as apparently her input in negotiations was important to the Tau'ri. Her lover and god was also sitting beside her in a chair but she could tell that he was working either in his mind, or on his armband, as he had this distracted air about him. Regardless she did enjoy simply looking at him, and just spending a quiet moment together, so she was not upset by the delay at all.
It gave her time to work up the courage to do what she felt was right, what she felt was the correct decision for both Hari, and for the empire. That could wait till everyone had arrived, in fact, it should wait as it would send a better message, and be easier to explain that way. Unfortunately for her quiet time with her lover, people started filing back into the room. Her and Hari got up as they entered the room, as otherwise it would simply be rude to not do so in someone else's house. It seemed that SG-1, Secretary Simms, and General Hammond would be joining from the SGC side, and just her and Hari on theirs. She decided to break the ice before everyone was even settled in and spoke to Major Carter.
"Major Carter, I hope this whole ordeal has not left you unable to participate?" she asked nicely, and once again looked over this woman. She knew that Hari found her attractive, and she and Ishta had already discussed the woman, as Ishta was pushing to have Hari spend more time with the woman to bring someone else into their relationship that could truly keep up with their lords mind when it came to science and technology. It was something that neither her nor Ishta could truly share with Hari, because as skilled as both of them were with technology compared to the average user, it was nothing compared to their lord or even to some of the individuals on the forefront of technology on Argensis.
"I have mostly recovered from the ordeal." Major Carter said before looking towards Hari with a small smile. "I want to thank you again for your assistance and the medicine that you provided." she said to Hari who smiled back at the young blond woman. Personally Ana thought the only two who didn't see the small budding mutual attraction between Hari and Major Carter were the two in question. "I also have to return these to you." she said while removing an amulet from around her neck and looking over the armband to see how it was removed without much luck.
"You simply need to make a mental request to the armband to disengage from your arm." Hari said before quickly continuing. "However, those are both your too keep, the Amulet especially as it will not work for anyone else, so it would be a waste for you not to keep it." Hari said to both Major Carter's shock and quite frankly everyone else's, her's included. She was not sure why he decided to allow Major Carter to keep the armband, but any worries she had were allayed by his next sentence. "However there are a few features on the armband that are disabled, and I would not try to take a peek inside, as it will cause a fail-safe to activate to permanently destroy its internal components to prevent any reverse engineering." Hari said to the group with a large smile on his face, obviously happy with that feature he had added to the Armband. "There's also an anti-tampering spell on it, as it is the first Armband to leave the confines of the Empire."
"What features have been disabled?" Major Carter asked after a moment, having re-attached the armband she had quickly disengaged from her arm obviously testing out the removal feature. To her observations the Major was clearly excited about the technology and had forgotten where they were if her excited tone was anything to go by. That brought a smile to Ana's face as she could totally see the parallels between Major Carter and Hari when they both got a new exciting piece of technology in their hands. It seemed Major Carter had caught herself as she blushed before continuing. "Oh ah thank you, the scanning feature has already come in handy when taking a look at Jolinar's new body." Major Carter said, clearly embarrassed while giving a small smile.
"You are welcome. No critical features have been disabled, and nearly all of the local operations are still active. Mostly just things like not being able to remotely operate Imperial technology, no open connection to Imperial networks, and other minor things like that. Its ability to contact the Empire will also most likely come in handy sometime down the line, but you will need to toggle that on and off manually." Hari said, still smiling, clearly happy about sharing something he created with someone else new, and who would truly appreciate some of his designs. A lot of Imperial subjects took quite a few of the advances Hari made, not for granted, but more along the lines of something they almost expected being within the means of their leader, and for many their god.
"Are you sure about allowing Major Carter to keep these items?" General Hammond asked, clearly wanting confirmation. "My understanding is that these Armbands are quite powerful pieces of technology, and while I can understand why you allow Major Carter to keep the amulet, I am failing to understand why you would allow her to keep the Armband." General Hammond asked, obviously suspicious of the gifts being offered by her Lord, and that made her hackles rise slightly, but her small amount of anger was doused by Hari heartwarming laugh.
"That suspicion of yours will serve you well leading these people through the Stargate General." Hari said with a smile. "However, you have nothing to fear, as Major Carter can query her Armband operating system to see what hardware modules are active and what is not, and using some of your own devices you could easily test to see if it was sending signals without permission. In fact I think there would be things that Major Carter can learn from the Armband without taking it apart, and that is why I also recommend that she uses external scanners on it. Though the main reason I am allowing her to keep the Armband is giving your people a way to contact me, and because it will allow her to learn quite a bit from scanning the Stargate. I am very interested in discussing the Stargate with Major Carter in the future, as it is a rare opportunity to come across someone who is already as knowledgeable as she is about the gate, let alone her clear intelligence that makes her an ideal conversation companion and research partner."
That had obviously caught most off guard, as she just knew that no one was expecting Hari to share like that, but that was because they didn't know him. He only kept what he felt was very important to himself, and didn't seem to care about sharing information that was deemed non-critical to him. She also felt it had to do with the fact that Hari was a great teacher, and loved to share knowledge and ideas. Their government had even adopted some of these principles into its operating mentality to reflect how Hari acts and proceeds with his own interactions between peoples. It often came off as them being trusting, but at the same time, they gave up little of importance to gain a lot. It was something she still wondered, was this a conscious decision by Hari to make people trust in him, or was it simply a part of his personality. She honestly felt it was a combination, but more the latter than the former.
"Ah thank you." Major Carter said with a bit of pink dusting her cheeks, which made Ana smile.
"Speaking of being able to contact us." Hari said changing the conversation a bit while pulling a small round grey metal puck looking device before sliding it across the table to General Hammond. "That is a communicator for you to use if you also wished to contact us General. Now with Major Carter's Armband, that device, and our gate address you should not have any issues contacting us in the future. It works simply by hitting the top button and telling Jarvis, an integrated VI, who you wished to contact."
"The ability to easily contact you and your people will come in handy as we become closer through our ongoing trade agreements Lord Hariric." Secretary Simms said, showcasing his political nature right away. "I also have to thank you for allowing Major Carter to keep these devices. It shows you are serious about this arrangement, and that puts me more at ease." the man said with a smile that seemed genuine to her.
"I am glad you are respective to my gifts, Mr. Secretary." Hari said happily.
"What types of technologies does the Armband control?" Doctor Jackson who had been quite till now asked clearly also interested in the tech, but she felt it was for other reasons. She also did not think there was any need to keep it secret so she did not send a mental message to her lover to stop speaking, as it was working quite well to break the ice. The discussion had entirely removed the awkward atmosphere that often precluded the start of any negotiations.
"The Armband technology is used for remote or secondary control of many Imperial technologies now." she answered before Hari got a chance, because if she allowed him to answer, he would be at this all day explaining the many minute features, and Major Carter looked like she would be more than happy to be an engaged member in such a conversation. "Everything from commanding war machines into battle, to having your parcel that just arrived at a local distribution centre ringed to your location."
"You use transportation rings as a postal service?" Doctor Jackson asked, quite surprised.
"Yes we use them to transport goods and people." she answered honestly, as she didn't feel there was any need to keep such things from the Tau'ri. "Some of the more affluent even have smaller ring platforms to receive parcels directly to their homes." she said, explaining her own favorite feature, as it was nice to have her deliveries arrive right in her office or home. Food delivery via the rings was also quite popular, not that she needed to worry about that with the Elves. It also did not seem like the two leaders of the Tau'ri were going to put the conversation back on track, as they were obviously more than happy to learn more about the Empire, but she was busy and already expected these discussions to take time so she decided to take action.
"My Lord Hariric," she said seriously to Hari which got her his undivided attention as she rarely spoke to him like that, "I think you should leave the remainder of these negotiations to myself and my department, and remove yourself to the ongoing campaign that could use your leadership." she said with a bit of trepidation as she hardly, if ever, had made such a suggestion like so, and in public too. "I suggest this, as I believe that your affections for this planet and some of its people, are too strong for you to truly hold them to measure and get the fairest agreement for the Imperium." she finished while still looking at her lover, friend, emperor, and god in a small bit of worry.
She was afraid she had overstepped, but Hari kept telling them he wanted them to speak their minds to him whenever they felt the need, and she felt strongly about this. However, all her fears were removed when a bright smile appeared on Hari's face while he was looking back at her closely. That smile seemed to have also diffused any tension that had seemingly been climbing in the room as others caught onto her tension.
"If you don't mind me asking, why would Lord Hari have such affections for Earth and some of its people, so much so that he should remove himself and what Campaign?" Doctor Jackson asked inquisitively leaning a bit closer over the table. However, it was her lord that answered the question before she herself could, as she was not sure if that was something she should share. She did know that Hari wanted closer relations with Earth, and that was why she felt alright bringing up the conversation in the first place. In fact it may have hurt negotiations not to have done so, or at least slowed the warming of relations between their two people.
"Daniel I have spent more of my life on this planet than any other single planet in the Galaxy." Hari said, actually surprising her, as she had not known that he had spent that much time here. Lots yes, but not that much. "My extended visits to the British Isles even gave me a bit of an accent, though it has waned with time and exposure to others." Hari said to them, allowing his otherwise subtle accent come through in spades, that gave her a bit of a shiver down her spine, as she loved the sound of it. That accent often snuck through during their moments of passion while making love, so it was not a surprise to her, just invoked a few feelings associated with those times in her when hearing it. She knew the accent had to have been from the host whoever he had been, as the false god Pelops had no such accent that she knew of.
"As to the Campaign." her lord continued before looking around the room as if making a decision, but she knew he had already done so. If there was one thing she was sure of, and that was that Hari's mind worked faster than nearly all others, and a second could be an eternity for him if he so chose it to be so. "Recently one of the Empire's mining planets came under attack suddenly from Goa'uld vessels and via the Stargate. It was over quickly, and the attack repelled, but the message and damage was clear. Since then we have been planning a major counter offensive against the party responsible for that act." Hari said while looking at the room, seeing he had everyone's attention he finished. "The attacker is someone I believe you are tangentially acquainted to… Nirrti." Hari said and most likely got the response he wanted, as she watched those around the table carefully.
The reactions around the room were fairly uniform in showing anger, but she could have sworn she had almost heard Major Carter growl at the mention of Nirrti. The Jaffa Teal'c had smiled at the mention of a campaign against a false god, and said smile grew by a small fraction when Nirrti was mentioned. Jack actually swore, and General Hammond didn't even reprimand him for it. It seemed Secretary Simms was the only one who did not react or know of who Nirrti is.
"We cannot permit her to unilaterally attack another Imperial planet again, or continue with her experiments, some of which we have caught wind of that were unsettling to say the least." Hari continued while looking around the room. "However, I believe my consort, and at times my better half, is correct, in that I need to excuse myself from these continued negotiations as they move into the more detail oriented phase." Hari said, giving her a smile, before looking back to the rest of the room. "Are there any last questions before I depart for war?" Hari said almost jokingly with a smile and clear humour in his voice before getting up from his seat with Hedwig still on his shoulder and moving to stand behind her. However no one seemed to have an important question to ask so Hari continued.
"Then I think it is time for me to depart, but first." Hari said before looking to the two Phoenix guards in the room. "You and you brethren shall remain and protect Lady Anaitis while she is here. Dobby." Hari said causing the small Elf to appear standing just to the side.
"Yes Master Hari?" Dobby asked while standing there in an almost butler looking suit. She had not seen Dobby in this suit before, and it was quite cute on him. Some people thought the Elves were a bit ugly, but she had always felt they were quite adorable.
"I want you and a team of Elves to watch over Lady Anaitis needs and safety after I leave. I imagine these final negotiations will take more than a day." Hari said, before the room almost got this ominous feeling. She knew it was Hari's doing but, sometimes it surprised her how he had such instinctual control over his surroundings, as she expected he was not even consciously causing the effect. "And ensure that any who tries to endanger or attack Ana are unmade." Hari said, causing Colonel O'Neill to wince, and she didn't blame him as she knew the Elves could be a bit... over zealous in following Hari's orders at the best of times.
"Can we be cleaning this place too?" Dobby asked, while looking around the room clearly not impressed with its level of cleanliness. She couldn't see Hari with him standing right behind her, but she could just imagine his face after that question. Leave it to Dobby to defuse the atmosphere in the room, as now everyone who had been holding their breath had been able to take a breath, and a few around the table even gawked at Dobby.
"Only the rooms she is present in, unless you get permission from General Hammond." Hari said, causing Dobby to snap his fingers immediately, cleaning what little dirt that had been in the conference room to start with. She had even seen the flags getting a fluffing momentary and smiled at the looks of surprise from those around them. General Hammond also had a quizzical eyebrow raised. "Elves enjoy cleaning their surroundings and dislike being anywhere dirty that they are not allowed to clean, not that this place is really dirty. You would be able to earn some brownie points with the Elves if you gave them permission to clean other areas of the base, even if you had them escorted to do so." Hari said, causing a look of confusion and interest passing the General's face. She was not sure what Brownie points were, but she felt she got the gist of the idea. Elves loved cleaning and serving those around them, and this base was quite large, so could make a number of Elves happy.
"I will consider it if Dobby would be able to explain how he and his people clean the rooms." the General said with a curt smile.
"That should not be a problem, and now I believe it is time for me to depart. Everyone, don't get into trouble while I am gone, and I hope to hear that the talks have progressed smoothly." Hari said squeezing her shoulders with his hands, and before anyone could get up she felt him turn away from her causing her to look over her shoulder at her lover. To her shock she saw him slowly wave his hand over the wall behind her. The otherwise empty grey wall started to gain large glowing glyphs that seemed to burn themselves into the wall, and she even heard a gasp from someone at the table but she was not paying attention to them. Her entire attention was on this divine act in front of her.
The symbols formed an archway that was about 2m tall and 1.5m wide and once fully completed they glowed a final time before all things some sort of portal formed inside them. She could tell because rather than looking at what was once the wall of the SGC briefing room, she now could see one of the personal rooms aboard Hari's new flagship. It was easy to tell due to the special banner she could see on the wall. She could even see the two guards on the other side start for a moment before recognizing the Emperor and going back to being at attention near the door of the room through the portal. She tore her eyes from her lover's new act of magic and looked to the others around the table and smiled at their reactions. It seemed her lord's show of power didn't go for naught, maybe now these Tauri will start to take him more seriously, even when he chose not to be.
"Is that a wormhole?" Major Carter asked clearly, letting her curiosity get the better of her, but the gobsmacked look on the Major's face made her smile even broader.
"No." Hari said looking over to Major Carter and then back at the gateway he had created on the wall. "No it is not, for one it is true instantaneous travel, and for another it allows two way travel between sites. With that tidbit to get ideas in your mind rolling, I leave you all in good health." Hari said before unceremoniously stepping through the portal. On the other side Hari waved to them before the portal snapped closed and the glyphs on the wall seemed to almost rewind in time as they undid themselves, just backwards in order leaving a once again pristine wall.
"What.. was that?" Doctor Jackson asked, obviously both impressed and confused at what exactly had happened. Everyone seemed to look at Major Carter for answers which from the Major's look of being in deep thought only made Ana smile even more.
"Don't look at me, I have no idea." Samantha said clearly out of her wits to explain the new power her lord had demonstrated. It seemed with Major Carter not having an answer however, had everyone looking to Ana now. With a small sigh she decided to answer.
"That was both a demonstration Lord Hariric's power, and a small prank, if I am to understand his intentions." she said honestly, not entirely sure, but from the few stories he had told of his childhood, and the rare stories about his parents, she knew that Hari loved to pull fun little pranks on people around him. She and Ishta certainly knew this from experience, as he often pulled small fun pranks of them. She secretly loved them, as she felt they showed how comfortable Hari was around her and Ishta. "It could also have been an unintentional warning to treat his true godhood with a bit more respect." she said happily with a smile adding that last bit. Hari really did not seem concerned whether or not others believed in his divinity, but it was hard to deny what was constantly in front of her and everyone else.
"What do you mean?" General Hammond asked, clearly not liking the way she phrased that.
"Well the few Imperial citizens that the Stargate program, and SG-1 in particular have encountered are the extremely well trained and disciplined personal guards of Lord Hariric." she said trying to explain what was admittedly a sore spot for her own department, but clearly had everyone's attention. "I have mentioned it before, but some of our people see your lack of respect for Lord Hariric as an insult, even if it is not intended to be, and some of the more traditionally minded Jaffa would even say blasphemous. Those same traditional Jaffa and even some of the devout former slaves, may take personal offence and action into their own hands." she said seeing clear understanding and a bit of worry in those around the table. "Not that such action would ever be condoned or allowed by the Empire, but it takes time for some of these people to lose some of their more stringent beliefs. I think we only need to ask your resident Jaffa how mule headed some Jaffa can be, and I am sure you have your own examples from humans to pull from." she said looking towards Teal'c who had been looking at her seriously and the rest around the table.
"Indeed." Teal'c said, giving a short nod of his head.
"I hope you take this not as a threat, but more of a warning and an admission that the Imperial Government is aware of some of our shortcomings and are still working on them." she said seriously looking around the table, paying particular attention to both Secretary Simms, and General Hammond.
"I still think he was just showing off." Colonel O'Neill said almost snidely to the room, getting a look of reprimand from General Hammond.
"Well I think he is just lonely." Doctor Jackson said getting everyone's attention on him, including her own. His statement surprised everyone, including the Doctor himself, as he didn't seem to realize he had been thinking out loud. Doctor Jackson did notice everyone's attention on him quickly after speaking and sat a bit straighter before continuing. "Just think about it. If we take Hari's stated godhood at face value, and his own admission that the Goa'uld are false gods, then he would have no peers to speak of. Nor anyone who is on a similar level of social standing, and I don't think being the Emperor helps him in this regard, unless there are some other gods walking around that we don't know about. I think this is part of why he clicks so well with Sam, in that he has found someone he can at least relate to on a certain level if what little I could understand from a few of their chats is true."
Doctor Jackson's opinion was not something that had not crossed her or Ishta's mind before. And it was somewhat obvious to anyone who truly observed her lover, and that he craved relationships with people on a much closer level than he usually is allowed or able to form with most of the people in the Empire. That was why Ishta had so quickly zeroed in on the idea of Samantha Carter joining them in a relationship with Hari.
"I know of no other true gods." she said in reply calmly. "However I do think the Emperor's personal feelings are what is important to this discussion at this time. I believe we should commence with the discussion and negotiations that have brought us all here." she said with a smile while looking towards Secretary Simms.
"Right. First order of business we wished to discuss, and something that kept stymieing our possible plans, was gauging the demand for various goods from the Empire to make it viable for us to plan purchases of some of what we want." Secretary Simms said nicely while opening a folder in front of himself. "While your government and people may be quite advanced and powerful, you operate at a scale much smaller than our own." the secretary continued but was causing some confusion for her so she decided to clear some things up.
"I am sorry, I do not understand. I would assume we would create significant demands with there being just under 9 billion residents within the Empire." she said which caused a few people around the table gasp, and the secretary's eyes widened.
"I am sorry. We were under the impression there were only approximately 30 million citizens of the Empire?" Doctor Jackson said interrupting, but nicely coming to the aid of the Secretary who seemed a bit flummoxed. Though the Doctors question did clear up her confusion.
"I see where things have gotten confused. Yes there are only approximately 30 million citizens of the empire, but more than 9 billion reside within the borders and many are being integrated into the Empire right now." she said happily before continuing about one of the largest ongoing projects she was in control of. "A significant portion of the resources of my government is devoted to integrating residents fully into the empire. As you can image ensuring that the process is done correctly, while also preserving cultural and historical records of the people for future generations is paramount." she said happily while also looking at Doctor Jackson. "The residents of the Empire are wide ranging in both species, but also technology development, and so each needs to be approached carefully and with a program designed specifically for them. It is a large part of the civilian governments duties."
"If you don't mind me asking, how many new citizens are added to your empire each day, and what does integration entail?" Secretary Simms asked, grabbing his pen and clearly planned to take some notes.
"About 10-20 thousand a day, depending on the current stage of integration that various societies are at." she said honestly, not believing there was any real reason to hide this fact. However her answer had them looking at her in shock, but she decided to continue anyway, as sometimes these people's reactions simply baffled her. "Integration is the process of moving people from their current homes into one of the cities of the Empire while ensuring they are adjusted culturally. This process can take some weeks for each person as they slowly get introduced to new ideas, technology, and the laws they must follow while living in the Empire. This means setting them up with initial support groups, and mechanisms, while also providing them with housing. The Empire provides a basic level of a support for every person to meet their most basic needs, so it is only a matter of extending those programs, and including facets to help new arrivals from outside the Empire." she said happily, enjoying the chance to talk about her endeavors to people who didn't already know what she did.
"Incredible! To be able to manage such expansion with such a small initial population must not be easy." Secretary Simms said, but from what Ana could observe he also seemed much happier. It seemed that having a larger population, and therefore larger market, made the man excited. Her lord seemed to know these people quite well, and the way to interact with them seemed to clearly be through their wallet.
"While there are some struggles, most are helped along greatly by the many different technologies that Lord Hariric is constantly introducing and making to ensure the process continues smoothly, and people's lives are kept to a certain standard of living." she said with excitement, as she honestly loved to brag about Hari and his accomplishments, because quite frankly her lover seemed to be forever down playing his contributions. "The largest issue we continue to have is education, but that has taken a turn for the better recently after our fruitful negotiations with another advanced civilization as they are now providing many teachers for our people." she continued, internally quite happy with how well the growing relationship with the Rena people had been going. "I hope this alleviates any issues you may have had Secretary?" she asked the man across from the table from her.
"Yes, certainly." Simms answered while giving her a smile. To be honest these negotiations seemed far less stressful and heated than those with Rena had been reported to be. Her lord's pranks may have had more of an effect than she had thought, but it may just have been the fact that they had just saved this planet not long ago; but then one would ask why Rena would be different, seeing they had saved that planet too. Honestly she just chalked it up to the unique attitude and culture of the Tau'ri. She may be hard on them at times, but that didn't actually reflect her otherwise positive impression of them as a whole, and Major Carter didn't hurt their image either.
"There was something I meant to ask earlier, but forgot to." Doctor Jackson started, and looked around the table to get the go ahead to continue before doing so. "I was wondering if it would be possible to purchase the addresses of some of the Goa'uld homeworlds." he said getting an odd look from those around the table. "At the least with the information we will know where to avoid, and have possible intel to work off for future missions if we still choose to go to those planets." Daniel said seriously.
"That's the way to think Danny boy. I am surprised I didn't think of it first." Colonel O'Neill said, slapping Doctor Jackson on the back. They seemed to have the oddest of friendship, but from what she could discern it seemed to be quite genuine. However, her thoughts were on the unexpected question, and the fact she had no idea how to answer it. She even knew that the addresses of certain locations were known only to the Empire's higher ups but was not publicly available for security reasons. They really didn't need one of their people, as Hari would say, dicking around and going to another Goa'uld's homeworld and causing problems.
"I am unsure of the answer to your question Doctor Jackson, as gate addresses are not something available publicly. However, I do not feel there is a reason that a deal could not be worked out for them in the future, though I am unsure if it will simply be a straight purchase with credits. We can discuss this further tomorrow during negotiations after I have spoken with my people if that is something you would like to pursue getting General Hammond, Secretary Simms?" she asked, while also getting into the zone, as this was going to a long series of negotiations as there were over 2000 items on the consumer goods list alone. With a deep breath she sat a bit straighter and prepared to do her duty, as tedious as it may be, for her people, and her god. At least it started off ok.
"We were wondering if you could clarify a few items on the list? Like what is a Language Lozenge, and why is it worth so many credits?" Doctor Jackson asked with a smile and clear intrigue. She responded in kind and got down the grind of fleshing out a trade treaty. She wanted this to work out well for her Lord, and she could see that Major Carter was still thinking on things discussed earlier.
On the other side of the portal, Hari felt his automatic trigger activate and the connection drop as he calmly walked away. He nodded to the two guards and moved from the special receiving room, towards the internal transporters. Moving into the small almost elevator-like room just ten seconds from the receiving area, he looked at the side panel which displayed a map, and tapped a location just outside his private office, and much closer to the center of his flagship. The Poseidon class was a large ship and so it had many of these teleporting booths that allowed people to go from one side of the ship to another, or to simply go from one level to another where there was a booth.
Point to Point teleportation inside the ships with the teleporters he had based on Rena technology was not used unless it was required due to an emergency, so everyone needed to use these booths, even him. Though he could have Apparated himself to his office, he chose not to for a very good reason. As soon as he entered his office and the door had closed his whole body just sagged in exhaustion that he had been hiding from everyone since Ana's arrival at the SGC. That 'small' act of him using his magic to create the protection Amulet for Ana had taken FAR more out of him than he had let on. Using magic in that way with such little direction was incredibly draining. The fact that he had created something that would last to the end of the universe if something or someone didn't actively and robustly attempt to destroy it, was not lost on him either. It was a reasonable price for something so spectacular.
He moved to his office chair and sat down exhausted. He had been running on his reserves and it showed. Of course he had to show off and play a prank one last time when departing, leaving him even more drained than had he simply taken the Stargate. Ana's suggestion to take over negotiations had both come as a relief and a surprise. He had honestly not seen how his wanting to socialize with some people on Earth had been negatively affecting his efforts on behalf of his own people. Ana had been right, he was far too close to Earth, and should have excused himself long before. However, at the same time, he had enjoyed his two day visit, and the chats he had been able to have with both Doctor Jackson, and Captain Carter were some of the highlights.
Now however, he had to put those things out of his mind, as he had an important campaign to manage. It was the first major one since the inception of the Empire, and he wanted it to be more than simply a success. Nirrti being who she was, and due to the way she organized her domain and assets, it would make this war of extermination against her a substantial test of his people and technology. It was going to be both exciting, but he expected it also was going to be frustrations, and at times boring. Thankfully he was only ever a Stargate trip away from his family and friends. That was his last thought as his exhaustion finally took him over causing him to fall asleep right on his desk. He was already deep asleep by the time an Elf appeared and draped a blanket around his body and transfigured part of his desk into a pillow.
A/N: So I hope people enjoyed the chapter, and once again I apologize for how long this chapter took to get out, between working on other things, to getting delayed when actually trying to work on this, it was slow going. I hope the chapter was at least alright, but it may just be I am being too hard on myself after having working on this same series of scenes for almost 6 months... The next chapter has a lot more action in it, obviously, but will also pick back up the pace of time a bit.
I had wanted to post some edits (spelling + grammar) to the past chapters, and had even been working on them for nearly a year to update with this chapter, but they got lost due to timeout for the doc manager on this site (such a stupid idea, text files take almost zero storage space...). So I will try to get those done for past chapters when the next chapter comes out, but I wanted to say thanks to few people who have taken quite a bit of time to send me the lines and errors to me over the last year or so for all the chapters!
Finally review and comment as they help motivate me to get the next chapter out, but mostly I just enjoy hearing from my readers!