Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.
Summary: B:tVS, SG-1. Daniel would never have guessed the man to be a Goa'uld host; he did not look anything like the type of human the parasitic aliens typically looked for in their human vessels. 1200 words.
Spoilers: B:tVS post-"Chosen". Stargate SG-1 post-"Origin" (9.3)
Notes: Fifth in the "Smoke and Flame" series. Closely tied to "A New Host".
"What is a god, but a being that is worshiped by those beneath?"
--The Doci, "Origin" (SG-1, 9.3)
"What's going on?" Daniel Jackson asked, puzzled, as he was ushered hurriedly into one of the SGC's conference rooms by an anonymous airman.
Vala, the problem of the Ori, and the text that had been recovered from the Avalon expedition had been occupying nearly all of his time since awakening from his out-of-body experience on the Alterrans' original homeworld. He'd been able to vent some of his concerns regarding that event to Jack when his old friend and team leader had stopped by for a visit, but otherwise, there was no one here he could truly confide in since Sam and Teal'c had left the SGC for other opportunities. He'd distracted himself from the loneliness, disappointment, and frustration that assailed him by immersing himself fully in his work, and General Landry had seemed inclined to let him. So what had changed?
"A Goa'uld we didn't know about turned up at Area 51 this morning," the General replied grimly, waving Daniel to a seat. "It turns out they'd been holding his host for other reasons for several years, completely unaware that the man was harboring a... guest."
"That's... unusual behavior for a Goa'uld," Daniel replied, puzzled. The last Goa'uld they'd known of who had been trapped, awake, on Earth during the last few thousand years was Set, or Seth, who had exemplified his species' typical power-hungry behavior repeatedly over the years, forming cults over which he exercised the power and life and death. Daniel couldn't imagine a Goa'uld choosing to merely sit back and let his host have control any significant length of time, especially in a confined setting like an NID prison.
"And that's the least of it," Colonel Mitchell spoke up. He was seated across the table from Daniel, holding a remote control in his hand, gazing at a monitor displaying a scene in an interrogation room. "Watch this," he continued, and rolled the footage backward.
"Yes, I knew Egeria," the lean, brown-hared figure shown on the screen said, as Mitchell set the footage to play forward again. If not for the echoing overtones in his voice, Daniel would never have guessed the man to be a Goa'uld host; he did not look anything like the type of human the parasitic aliens typically looked for in their human vessels. Almost every Goa'uld host Daniel had ever seen was physically imposing, unusually beautiful, or stood out from the general populace in some other way.
"I did not agree with many of her political standings," the Goa'uld continued on screen, "but neither did I believe, as many of my brethren did, that humans were fit only to serve as our cattle. When she came to your planet before the time of the Roman Empire to stop other Goa'uld from continuing to take the Tau'ri as slaves, I accompanied her, as did some few others. I took the name Janus, and immersed myself in your culture. When Egeria left again, taking her children with her to form the backbone of the movement you know as the Tok'ra, I stayed behind."
"If you stayed behind," the interrogator asked suspiciously, "then how do you know we've met them?"
The Goa'uld smiled, a sharklike expression full of smug mischief that raised Daniel's hackles. "You can't imagine that Anubis was the only Goa'uld to ever achieve enlightenment?" he asked. "I take a host because it suits my purposes, and his, to do so; I do not require one."
"Enlightenment?" Daniel muttered to himself, wondering at that use of the word, which he had so recently learned was preferred by the Ori for the energy state they had evolved to, rather than the typical Alterran-Ancient reference to 'ascension'.
On screen, the interrogation continued. "If that's the case, then let us speak to your host."
"He is still exhausted from the events of the day," Janus said, still smiling disquietingly at the NID officer, "but I can see that you will give my statements little credence until I do so. Very well."
He lowered his head-- much as a Tok'ra would have done-- then raised it again, and some of the amusement and arrogance left his features. But only some. "Well," he said. "This has certainly been an interesting experience so far. I don't suppose you're ready to stop wasting our time and send us on to Cheyenne Mountain?"
"And why would we do that?" the interrogator asked. "You're a Goa'uld. What could you possibly say to convince us to let you anywhere near the Stargate?"
"I'm carrying a Goa'uld, dear boy, I'm not one myself," the host said. "Ethan Rayne, devoted servant of Chaos, at your service. And I suspect your superiors will be interested to know what Janus knows about the Ori, for starters."
"Why don't you tell us? We'll be sure to pass the information along."
"No, I rather think we'll wait," Ethan continued, and the sharklike smile returned-- a manifestation of the host, then, and not the Goa'uld itself. That, if nothing else, convinced Daniel that what Janus had said was true: he had chosen a willing host. A very interesting development, especially if he truly was partially ascended.
Colonel Mitchell paused the video again, and he and the general both turned toward Daniel.
"Well?" Landry asked. "What do you think, Doctor Jackson?"
Daniel frowned, cupping his hands around the mug of coffee that one of the airmen had brought him, and delved into his knowledge of Roman mythology "When Mr. Rayne said he was a devoted servant of Chaos, he was speaking literally; Janus is known as a god of chaos in some recent references. More traditionally, however, Janus was known for being a god of doors, of gates, of endings and beginnings, and of other transitions; he was also one of the culture heroes of the Romans, supposedly responsible for intervening when the Sabines attacked Rome to retrieve their kidnapped daughters. He is usually depicted in artwork as having two faces, one of them bearded and the other sometimes clean-shaven, with a key in his right hand."
"And that applies to this situation, in what way?" the general prompted, eyebrows raised.
Daniel took a deep breath. "According to some versions of his mythology, Janus was originally a human king, and responsible for a Golden Age among his people, before he was deified as the protector of Rome. It would be a stretch to suggest that he might be benevolent, but I think it possible that he might actually be willing to cooperate with us, as he says. And frankly, any information that he might be willing to give us about the Ori would be invaluable."
"You think he'd tell us the truth?" Mitchell asked, doubtfully.
"I doubt he wants the Ori to take over this galaxy any more than we do," Daniel replied, reasonably. "And if he's partially ascended, as he claims, he may know a great deal about their capabilities and weaknesses."
Landry sighed and nodded. "Very well," he said. "I'll recommend he be brought here."
Daniel sighed, remembering the intensity and determined fervor of the Ori's spokesman, the Doci, and hoped he wouldn't be proven wrong. The Tau'ri could use all the help they could get in this new struggle.