Empress in the shadows.
Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate.
Summary: The story of a Goa'uld who lacked the insanity of her race, her rise to power and the birth of an empire.
The story starts many centuries ago.
Note: I have revised this a bit - made some minor changes.
'text' is a mental/silent conversation.
"text" is spoken conversation.
Two figures were sneaking in the corridors of a Goa'uld mothership. Suddenly, one of them grabbed his comrade, dragging him on a side passage. They hid for a few seconds. The second man wanted to ask the first if he really heard something. He of course did not; it would be dangerous to talk.
A Goa'uld passed quickly without looking sideways.
Breathing a sigh of relief, the two continued on their mission. They entered a room to see a large basin of water.
One of the men drew a small vial with a black liquid. "Are you sure about this? It somehow seems ... wrong."
The other shook his head in exasperation. "They are Goa'uld."
"But if this works out, they won't be. They may become like us. If that happens ... they could be discovered. They'll be killed. You know how they hunt anything related to the Tok'ra."
"Yes, but you know as well as I do that many of them will be killed due to the ... treatment. Those that survive ... the chance of this working is very small - one in ten thousand."
"I know. I just don't like this."
"We have no choice. We can not experiment on Tok'ra symbiots, only on Goa'uld. This is all we can do. We can not take a few hundred Goa'uld larvae, experiment and put them into human hosts and hope they are not ... evil Goa'uld. Even if they behaved like Tok'ra, we could not trust them; they could be faking it. The only way to find out if this works is to let them here, in the lion's den and hope for the best. If they are what we hope they are, we may find out in the future."
The other man nodded and poured the liquid from the vial in the water and left.
Sadly, they would never find out if their mission bore fruit, for they died a few hours later. They died with the hope that someday, one of the larvae would be worth the sacrifice of their lives.
Maya was excited. Today ... now, she would become the avatar of a goddess. She was raised from birth for this duty. Finally, the time came. She was escorted by two Jaffa to the ritual chamber.
The room had a small basin in the center, with a god looking inside. She could not see what he was looking at, but judging from his wondering eyes, he was looking at something ... something that was inside the basin ... swimming.
As soon as he glanced at her, she kneeled in front of the god, on a small pillow, without looking in His glowing eyes. She bowed her head and closed her eyes as the ritual required. She heard a hiss or scream. The god moved her hair from her neck. She felt something touch her, and then pain; so much pain. She never experienced anything even close to it. She wanted it to stop. She did not care how. Even death was better than this torture.
I felt the haze of mist that enveloped my consciousness start to dim. I am swimming in the water in anticipation. Something is going to happen, but what? I think that I should know. What is going to happen? I suddenly realize it. I am going to receive my host! A host, what is a host? The answer comes back faster. A host is a vessel; it will become my new body. It can be many races, but the best match is the humans. If the vessel is a human, then what am I? I am Goa'uld. More and more information comes to my mind. It is like a torrent. Memories upon memories come. They are the genetic memories of my race; the memories of my progenitors. And something else ... there is something that is not normal. Something is missing, I wonder what. I know instinctively that I am missing something, but what?
What am I missing? I delve into my memories, experiencing them fully. I stop at one. This one seems particularly ... wrong. In this memory my progenitor is torturing someone. It is an enemy. A rival Goa'uld. What is wrong? Is it the torture? I analyze my reactions. No, I do not care about the torture; it is not what disturbs me. I replay the memory over and over. What is wrong? I see myself - in the guise of my progenitor, torturing the enemy. He is laughing. I am laughing.
I suddenly realize what is wrong. He is laughing. In the memory he feels ... pleasure that my enemy is finally in my grasp. I know on an intellectual level what he feels, but I feel nothing. I should feel the same things my progenitor is feeling, but I do not feel the pleasure; the satisfaction...
I quickly go through more memories. It is the same. I should experience them fully. I should feel the emotions of my progenitors. I should feel the hate, the pleasure, the pain, the satisfaction, the fear, the rage, the happiness and rarely, the affection. I stop for a moment. So many memories, so many feelings and most of them are ... negative emotions. It is strange. I am suddenly glad I don't feel them. I would not want to relive them. Somehow, I prefer this. I search for the reason for it. I have the memories of my race, but I do not have the "emotional baggage". Yes, this is a fresh start. If I had those emotions, I would be different. I would hate what my progenitors hate and I would like what they like. All the emotions they had, all the opinions, I would have them. I have many progenitors. They thought and felt many things. However, those are not my burdens. I am ... my own person, I may have their knowledge, but I am not a slave to their whims.
I am stopped from my musings. Something grabs me. I am taken from the water. I struggle because I do not like the air. I am safer in the water, there I can move swiftly. I sense a Goa'uld. Since I am but a new-born, he is more powerful than me. He takes me toward a kneeling figure. Excitement courses through me. This is my new body; I am so close. I am released and I enter. I delve inside the body and start connecting to it. I never felt this much pain. I can sense the human. It is trying to resist me. The pain I feel is nothing compared to what she feels. I know what I should do, what every Goa'uld before me did. They used this pain to dominate the host. They would imprison it for eternity. Some would even mentally hurt and torture it on a regular basis. This was one of the reasons Goa'uld hated Tok'ra. The rebels have an equal relation with the host. Such a thing was abhorrent to a Goa'uld. Tok'ra are insane and deviant from a Goa'uld point of view. The notion of letting their hosts equal power over their body's, of putting themselves at their mercy was unconceivable. But that is not me. I am not them. I see no sense in hurting the other conscience. However, I can not do as the Tok'ra. I know that I can not trust my host with my safety. At least, not now; in the future, who knows. For the moment, I will send her to sleep. No reason to concern myself with her now. I can do that in the future when I am safe.
My eyes glow as I rise and look forward, where a mirror is suitably placed. I look at my new body. I see a medium height young girl. She is Caucasian with snowy white skin in contrast with the jet black eyes and long hair - probably a legacy of the Asian blood that one of my host's ancestors had. The breasts are not yet fully developed. After all this body is barely fourteen. The face is angelic, practically screaming innocence and the skin smooth and unblemished. She is beautiful. I am beautiful.
I suddenly remember I am in the presence of a powerful Goa'uld; I bow my head at him. For the moment, I am completely in his power.
"I am Lilith, my Lord," I said.
"Lilith and Maya; It is strangely fitting. I approve."
As soon as I arrive in my quarters, I sit in a meditation position and wake my host - Maya.
'What happened?' she tried to say. However, she could not move her body and her question was not spoken aloud.
I however, did not need to hear. 'Try to relax, Maya,' I replied to the distraught mind. 'You remember the ritual, do you not?'
'Am I dead?'
'Then what happened? Why can't I move my body?'
'You can not move it because of me. I am controlling your body.'
'So ... you are the goddess?'
'Goddess? Hardly. Though some of my kind are insane enough to consider themselves gods, I am not among them.'
'But ... I thought ...'
'Relax. I will show you.' For the next hours, I explained to my host about the Goa'uld.
'So you're nothing but parasites,' Maya finally said bitterly.
I sympathize with the girl. After all, her whole life turned upside down. 'Not all are parasites. Some of my kind choose to be simbiots.'
'You said you are not Tok'ra.'
'I am not, but I am also not your typical Goa'uld. I am not like most of my kind.'
'Does that mean you are going to let me go?' Maya asked hopefully.
'It does not. But I will not treat you the way Goa'uld treat their hosts. I gain no pleasure in torture. I am also not like a Tok'ra, but I am willing to make a compromise. I can not give you equal rights to our bodies in the near future if only because you are unable to ensure our existence.'
'What to you mean?'
'I mean that if any Goa'uld find out that we have an understanding, our life would be forfeit. I will not risk discovery. In time, you will learn how to behave like a Goa'uld. When that happens, I will let you out more often. Until then, I can not take that chance except in private.'
'So you're not going to ...'
'Of course not. I told you. I get no pleasure in inflicting pain.'
'Thank you, but why are you doing this? I understand that you don't want to cause me pain, but you could just send me to sleep again ... so why?'
'First, this was your body. It is the way of my kind to take hosts. This however, does not mean I can't share. It would be the honorable thing to do. There is another reason, a more pragmatic one. Usually the Goa'uld and their hosts are in a constant battle for control. If we are weakened, the hosts can sometimes take control. All this effort that goes into battling the mind of the host is unwise. If we two manage to work together, the way the Tok'ra do, it would be to our advantage. Two minds working together are much better than a mind distracted with fighting itself.'
'Two minds? I don't think I could help you with anything. You know so many things and I am just an ignorant human that thought you were a Goddess.'
'Don't worry Maya. It is true that you lack knowledge, but I am a Goa'uld and you are my host. You can access my memories at any time. Unfortunately, you can not incorporate all the skills and knowledge I have so easy. You may know things, but you need to understand them. To do that, we'll meditate every night. In this time, you will learn everything I know. In a few years, you will know and understand everything I know, even how to construct a Goa'uld mothership.'
The Goa'uld are a feudal society. At the top of the food chain we have the System Lords. Below them are their mates, their lieutenants and the independent powerful Goa'uld. All of them have large domains, ruling over many worlds and command large fleets and armies.
Next, we have the Goa'uld that rule smaller domains or act as commanders.
And then there is the class I belong. It is of course the most numerous. Here the weaker Goa'uld belong: the administrators, assistants, low-ranked officers, mercenaries, scientists and all others.
As a newly born Goa'uld, I must be careful. Goa'uld have the need to dominate. The strong rule over the weak, the weak plot to take their place. Failure usually means death, torture or both. I too feel this need to rule, though I am sure I have more control than most of my kind. I am once again glad for the accident of fate that granted me a free life. I watch my fellow Goa'uld and I realize that the memories of our race haunts them every moment. I am most of all glad that I lack the arrogance that kills so many of my kind. However, I may be mistaken. Is it not arrogant to think I am above such pettiness? Only time will tell.
I am however sure that the conduct of my Lady Bastet will one day short her life considerably since our kind is unrivaled at holding grudges. From what I learned, she is not very honest in her dealings. She also treats everyone with contempt, be they Goa'uld, Jaffa or humans. True, it is a behavior common to most Goa'uld, but even we have standards.
Since I was ... "born," I was assigned to one of Bastet's lieutenants - Marduk. I am his assistant and do odd jobs for him. It usually entails taking care of his flagship. As he is a very powerful Goa'uld, he has many responsibilities and I make myself useful to him since he can destroy or reward me with but a word.
All Goa'uld are extremely intelligent and knowledgeable. It is probably because of our genetic memory. Since the day we are born, we are adults and have the knowledge of many generations. However, there is a difference between true memories and genetic memories. Some just rely on past knowledge and fail to see that we never stop learning. We can always learn new things.
Goa'uld science and technology is based on what we stole from other species. We usually find a new technology and if it is useful, we incorporate it. We may tweak it here and there, but in general, we rarely innovate. The Goa'uld as a race are more inclined to using what is already there. The first race we managed to possess - the Unas, were too primitive and not suited for anything else than brute force. The next races we managed to possess were smarter, but still not well suited to the Goa'uld. Because of that, we could not use them to full capacity. The humans however, are the perfect match. Unfortunately, we still use them simply as shells. The human mind is quite interesting. I was surprised to discover that though humans are not as genetically advanced as some races, they have enormous potential. There are indications that point towards humans being the second evolution of their form. The first being the ancient gate builders.
I tried to use the human mind, with their own special gifts, in my pursuit of knowledge and I found that I am much more competent than most of my race.
Because of my talent with technology and ability to keep the mothership in perfect condition, I am privy to most research data. I am far more competent than I let myself appear. I do this because competent researchers are rare. Were I to show the extent of my abilities, I would never be able to progress on the Goa'uld social ladder and would be kept as Lady Bastet's creature with little hope to advance. After all, my best option on obtaining a domain and keeping it is through combat. Were I seen as a brilliant researcher, I would be considered as either too weak or too dangerous. This is why I decided to spend my time learning everything about any piece of technology, but keep it hidden. I occasionally reveal some of my discoveries, but not enough to reveal the true extent of my knowledge. I have many ideas that I would like to implement, but I do not wish for others to receive the fruits of my work, especially the System Lord I serve. I do not find her worthy of my service.
For now, I do all that is required from me. My ship is one of the most powerful motherships in the fleet. It has better shields, better weapons and higher speed. It is of course not something too major, but in a one on one battle with another mothership, I am confident that we would be victorious. For this, I am allowed a lot of freedom.
This is of course not my only duty. I am privy to almost any information Marduk is. And he, as one of Bastet lieutenants, is privy to almost everything she is. This means I receive a great deal of intelligence on the other Goa'uld, their domains and resources. One day I will be able to take advantage of it and quickly carve my own private empire.
Author Notes: This is kind of an experiment, so please review; any input would be appreciated.
Published: November 26 2008.
Edited: December 10 2008.