Host of Apophis

by Layton Colt

The whispering voice was relentless, a constant presence, undeterred by pain. The host was inexorable. Ever present, threatening retribution, claiming she will overcome. Talking of her love, how he will come to her, how he will rescue her from this prison.

Amonet had had enough. If she wanted this Daniel Jackson so much then fine, she'd give him to her.

And this host will regret having defied her.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"It has to be a setup," Jack said firmly.

"Jack, we believe it's worth the risk."

"Well, I'm sorry Jacob but us simple Tauri don't always agree with Tok'ra priorities."

"Colonel," General Hammond said tightly. "The Tok'ra are asking for our help, for the sake of our alliance the least you can do is hear him out."

Jack sighed and leaned back in his chair, motioning for Jacob to continue.

"Thank you," Jacob said, attempting and failing not to show his irritation. "Apophis has apparently tired of his host, he and his," Jacob cast an apologetic look to Daniel, "Queen will be going to Chulak in search for a new host, During the transfer Apophis will be extremely vulnerable. I believe we will be able to take him out."

"You think he won't be guarded! For crying out loud, Jacob he'll be surrounded by an entire army of Jaffa."

"You've faced an entire army of Jaffa before, Jack."

"So you can imagine why I'm not eager to again."

"Jack," Daniel said calmly. "I think Jacob's right. We might not get another chance like this, and Sha'ure will be there we need to try."

Jack sighed, "Daniel, it's too suspicious I don't like it. Why does Apophis suddenly want a new host?"

"Perhaps his current host isn't appealing to his queen," Teal'c suggested.

"Would that really cause him to go to all of this trouble?" Jack asked.

Teal'c nodded, "He must keep his Queen happy or she could decide to betray him."

"A wonderful race," Jack said under his breath.

"This might not be as impossible as it seems, sir," Captain Carter said getting into the discussion. "If we could disguise ourselves as spectators we may be able to kill Apophis before he can burrow into his new host."

"I still don't like this," Jack said bitterly.

"Colonel," Hammond started. "I will not order you to go on this mission. I can always ask SG-2 but I believe you and your team would be the best chance at a successful mission."

Jack looked at his team mates, Sam looked ready to go, Teal'c looked hungry for retribution and Daniel… well Daniel looked like he'd already left. With a sigh he relented. "3 against 1, fine, we'll do it."

Jacob beamed, "Good, I was hoping that you would come around."

Jack gave a forced smile, "Exactly why is it you need us to go again?"

"It would be too dangerous to send in Tok'ra agents, if their sybiotes were detected it would cause unwanted attention."

Jack nodded, "What about Teal'c? He's on the top of Apophis's most wanted list."

Jacob sighed, "It's my recommendation that Teal'c sit this one out, if he is discovered he could seriously compromise the mission."

Teal'c didn't look happy but he nodded, "This is true O'Neill. I do not wish to be responsible for your capture. I shall stay behind."

Jacob nodded his approval, "I really believe that it's for the best."

"So, when is the transfer supposed to take place?" Daniel asked quickly.

"Tonight," Jacob said cautiously.

"Tonight!" Jack roared. "You've got to be kidding you expect us to be ready by tonight… General…"

"Jack, I know that it is short notice but our contacts have only just informed us, apparently Apophis was trying to keep this under wraps," Jacob said calmly, ignoring Jack's appeal to the General.

"Oh I don't buy that for a second. Apophis will want everyone to know, he'll want to gloat about how he fears no one and he is invincible."

"But he's not invincible, Jack," Daniel cut in. "We always knew that his arrogance put us at an advantage."

"Sir, we don't have to do much to prepare," Sam added. "We just need to dress up like Chulak natives and go to this 'transfer'."

Teal'c nodded, "There will be many coming through the Stargate who wish to see the transfer."

"All the more reason for snakehead to up security," Jack said smartly.

"Jack, I never said this assignment would be easy, but I believe the risks are acceptable."

"They aren't your risks, Jacob."

"Look, enough." The general said firmly. "Either you accept this mission, Colonel or you don't. What will it be, we're running out of time."

Jack sighed again, "We'll go," he said quietly.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The priest looked up as the Stargate sprang to life, admitting three more commoners. More people coming to see the transfer.

The priest looked up to greet them, "You're here to see the transfer I assume."

One of the two men stepped forward keeping his head bowed, "Yes, we wish to see the new face of our God."

The priest nodded, "Continue on your way."

The three spectators nodded and started down the road.

"Did that seem too easy to either of you?" Jack asked quietly.

"They can't very well interrogate every person coming through the gate if as many come as Teal'c said," Daniel put in.

"That's true," Sam agreed. "They'll probably have Apophis surrounded by Jaffa though to ensure his safety."

"And Amonet's," Daniel said quietly.

Jack nodded, "I think we'll be able to get a shot at him, it's what we're going to do afterwards that has me concerned."

Daniel nodded, "Yes, I'm worried that if will kill Apophis that either Amonet or his first Prime will order all of the spectators killed."

"Do you really think they'd do that?" Sam asked.

It was Jack who answered, "Yes."

They nodded and all three fell into silence as they went on their way.

"Well kids, thought of a plan yet? You two are the geniuses," Jack asked smartly.

"I can't think of a plan that includes us getting off this planet alive," Daniel mused. "But I have a couple that include us going out in a blaze of glory."

Jack gave a sideways glance at Daniel, "Blaze of glory, huh? Let's leave that for another day and keep trying to think of a way to live, alright?"

Sam nodded, "I think the best we can do is just kill Apophis and run for the Stargate."

Jack stopped walking and turned to look at her. "That's not a plan."

"It's the best I can come up with on short notice."

Daniel shook his head, "No we can't just kill him and leave all of these innocent people to pay the price."

"Then what do you suggest? Jacob didn't give us a whole lot of time. Face it guys, we're on a suicide mission."

"Exactly," Daniel said. "So there's no point to try and make it to the Stargate."

Jack narrowed his eyes, "Have you lost your mind?"

"No," Daniel said impatiently. "I say we kill Apophis and then surrender."

"He has lost his mind," Sam said softly.

"No, I haven't. Look we've got a better chance of escape if we become his prisoners first."

"He may have a point," Sam said, "If we take the blame and then try a secretive escape then we won't have a massacre on our hands."

"Right," Daniel agreed, "They won't kill us right away. We might be able to escape, thought I'll admit that the chances are slim."

Jack nodded, "Well it's the best chance we've got. Okay, so kill Apophis and surrender. Piece of cake."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"That's strange," Daniel said softly.

"What is?" Jack hissed.

The three were hidden a mob of people all fighting to see the transfer.

Daniel pointed towards the lard clearing, "You see that stone slab," at Jack and Sam's nods he continued. "That's where the host should be. They should have brought him out already."

Jack snorted, "Maybe he wants it to be a surprise."

Daniel shook his head, "From what I've learned from the Tok'ra about transfers the new host is to be placed here three hours early so the spectators can look at him."

Jack frowned, "Who knows why he's not here. Maybe he's having second thoughts about who to chose."

Daniel shook his head, "No, something's defiantly not right here. I've got a bad feeling about this."

Jack nodded. He had a *really* bad feeling about this.

The three turned back to the ceremonial grounds as Apophis walked out of the temple. He was surrounded by a protective circle of Jaffa and Jack couldn't get a shot at him.

"Behold your god, hail Apophis," one of the Jaffa cried out, he looked to be Apophis's new first prime.

Apophis smiled and said something to one of his Jaffa, moments later a group of small children were brought into the center of the arena.

"Jack," Daniel said warningly. "I think we've been misinformed. This is no transfer ceremony."

Jack cursed under his breath. It was a set up. Damn he hated it when he was right.

"The three Tauri who are hiding in the crowds," Apophis voice roared. "You will show yourselves or you will watch these children die. One by one, knowing you have the power to stop this."

"Shit," Jack said under his breath.

"We have to surrender, Jack," Daniel said quietly. "We can't let him kill those children."

"He's right, sir," Sam said quietly.

"Yea, I know," Jack said quietly.

Together the three pushed their way into the clearing. "We're here," Jack said angrily.

He couldn't believe this. The guy had known they were here all along, there was no transfer ceremony. When would he learn to stop accepting missions from the Tok'ra?

Apophis smiled when he saw them and motioned to his guards. All three were forced to their knees.

"Foolish Tauri. I knew you would come. Just as I knew the one in which I seek would be among you."

Before Jack even had time to register his words, Daniel was pulled up and held firmly between two Jaffa. Jack tried to get up to help his friend but was forced back to his knees.

"Take him into the temple and prepare him for the ceremony," Apophis ordered.

Sam paled, he couldn't mean…

"Ceremony," Jack echoed. His blood ran cold when he realized the implications. "No way in hell," he yelled as he again tried to rise from his knees.

Daniel was quickly pulled in to the temple, Jack saw him struggling but he was no match for two Jaffa.

"You son of a bitch," Jack spat as he made eye contact with Apophis.

Apophis raised one of his eyebrows, "You dislike my choice for a new host? My queen seems to find him rather appealing."

This can't be happening, this can't be happening. Jack couldn't think straight, his best friends nightmare was about to come true.

"Do you wish to witness the transfer before you die?" Apophis asked the two humans.

"Go to hell," Jack spat.

Apophis's eyes flashed angrily, "You will show your god respect."

"Why would I do that?"

Apophis was smiling now. Jack preferred it when he was angry, "If you displease me I will make you suffer more than one death."

Oh, that was pretty good incentive to behave.

"Let go of me!"

Jack's head shot up at the shout, Daniel was being pulled out of the temple. He was dressed in white robes and adorned with gold makeup, his eyes lined with brown.

The two Jaffa holding him looked his arms behind his back as Apophis approached.

"Amonet!" Apophis called.

Daniel went pale as Sha'ure exited the temple, the cold eyes not the same as his wife's but the beautiful face so familiar.

Amonet smiled upon seeing Daniel, she approached and put her hand on his cheek. Daniel turned his head from her and her eyes flashed dangerously. "He is the one," she said. "So handsome, you shall make a perfect host."

"I'll be no one's host," Daniel spat.

Amonet smirked, "Your wife said the same thing at first. But I've long since broken her. You too will be broke."

Daniel was dragged to the center of the clearing and again forced to his knees. When he raised his head he could see Jack and Sam across from him, watching the scene in horror.

Apophis came to stand behind Daniel, "You will not make this difficult Tauri or I will force your friends to suffer many deaths, by your hands. If you submit easily I may even spare them."

"Don't listen to him, Danny!" Jack yelled. "Fight the son of a bitch no matter what! Don't worry about what *he* does to us."

Daniel didn't answer, he didn't trust himself to speak. He'd never been this scared before. He'd faced death countless times, so many it became routine but this was different… this was becoming the living dead. Forced to spend eternity living out someone else's life. Just like Sha'ure…

Sam couldn't believe this was happening, why did have to be Daniel? He looked ridiculously young to her at this moment. His exposed skin was shining with gold paint and his blue eyes were glistening beneath the dark brown shadow.

Jack saw Apophis come up behind Daniel. The realization that the next time he looked into his friends blue eyes he would see a stranger was almost too much to bare. He couldn't let this happen. Not to Daniel. He didn't deserve to become this mans slave.

Daniel felt Apophis's breath on his back, so this was it. He wouldn't run, he couldn't risk Apophis hurting Jack or Sam. But he wouldn't stop fighting, he'd fight from the inside, as Kendra had. He saw the look in Jack's eyes and silently prayed he wouldn't try anything. Jack needed to stay unharmed so he could get himself and Sam home. It was too late for him. He saw Jack once again try to rise from his knees, he was about to call out to him that it was all right when he felt a pressure on his neck. Then all he felt was pain.

Daniels screams cut through to Jack's very core. Apophis's former host lay dead in the sand discarded and forgotten. And Daniel just screamed.

It took all Jack had not to turn away. He could see something moving beneath the flesh. Finally he could look no more, Jack turned away towards Sam. She had tears streaming down her face and her gaze seemed transfixed on Daniel.

No, not Daniel. Apophis.

Daniel was gone.

Just like Sha'ure, like Skarra and who knew how many others.

The screams had stopped and Jack turned back to look at Daniel. He was on his hands and knees now, the sun reflecting off his golden skin as he struggled to rise. He finally succeeded in raising his head. His eyes were blank for a moment then they glowed ominously.

Daniels now cold eyes stared right at him, "Kill them," he ordered, using a voice that was no longer his.

End Part One