When the boy had revealed his name, a name, there was no way of knowing if it was his real name. Jack had breathed a sigh of relief. The reply had been slow but peaceful; the answer was not hard fought. Kato was calm and seemed fairly cooperative so Jack ploughed on with his questions. He did not believe in questioning his good luck
"Who are you?" he asked. Aware of the grandiose nature of the question he was curious to see how the boy would respond. Would it be with typical Goa'uld arrogance? Or something else. In a way, Jack viewed this question as a measure of humanity. Having a ready answer would seem other worldly.
Kato looked slightly puzzled, " I don't understand."
"What are you? What race are you? What do your people call themselves? All that kind of thing," Jack slid onto the opposite end of the bench watching Kato carefully.
He was frowning, "I'm Darsen," he said, "That's what we call ourselves," he added quickly as it occurred to him that a two word answer to three questions probably wouldn't go down well.
"Do all of the Darsen have, whatever it is that you have in your body?"
Kato started slightly, face turning pale "You found it? I'm not one of them I promise. I'm not. I'm Darsen, I didn't want it, I needed it," the casual pose vanished as Kato pulled his leg up, hugging both against his chest in a defensive pose, "I'm not one of them. I'm not."
"Not one of who? What is it in you? Who put it there?"
Jack might as well not have spoken, Kato didn't hear him, "Please don't hurt me," he groaned, "Please. I'm still Darsen. I can't help it. I don't know how it works, you can't take it out, it can't help you. Please. Please, just leave it alone."
Jack was confused by the sudden change. From calm, relaxed and his early defiance the teenager had turned into a terrified child. But Jack was not stupid, his initial bafflement was short lived as he realised exactly what the youngster's behaviour implied.
"That's how you got hurt," he muttered, "Look kid, we're not gonna start cutting you open to get at, whatever that is in you. When we took you off that planet it was to help you, not to harvest bits of you. But if I'm gonna help you, you're gonna have to help me and start answering my questions. Now lets try, what is it in you?"
Kato's posture did not relax and for a few moments, Jack thought that all he had achieved was to silence him permanently. He was just about to say something else, though what he was going to say he didn't quite know, when Kato began speaking in a low, slow voice.
"It's a plant. Sort of. It's a mechanical plant and its what's keeping me alive."
"A mechanical plant? Sounds like something Carter would drool over but even I know that that's impossible."
"I said I didn't know how it works," was the snappy response, "It's in me and it's the only reason I'm alive."
Jack raised his hands defensively, "Alright. Who put it there? And why did you get so scared when I mentioned it?"
"Angels?" Jack was relatively sure that there couldn't have been a more surprising answer. His instant reaction was that the boy was utterly insane. Jack was not a religious man and the mere mention of angels instantly made him incredulous. The boy had said that the organism was keeping him alive, Jack presumed that it had been implanted when Kato was near death. Angels sounded like the hysterical religious ramblings brought about by such a close brush with death. Religious ramblings? He heard Daniels voice in his head telling him off for assuming that all planets would have the same belief systems. He sighed, you always know you've been with someone too long when they become an extra internal voice.
Kato looked just as surprised by Jack's incredulous response as Jack was by Kato's answer, "Yes. Angels."
"I'm sorry, you're going to have to help me out here. Angels? Long white robes, fluffy wings and a halo?"
The question was greeted by a short laugh, "No. Are there no angels on this world?"
"I don't think so. Not that I've ever seen," Jack paused, "What are they like?"
Kato didn't really know how to answer. To communicate what an angel was to someone who had never seen one was a challenge, particularly considering the bizarre impression that Jack seemed to have. Words just didn't seem to lend themselves to describing angels, at least not words in English. The Darsen used English as a universal language following age old disputes over whether to use Goa'uld or adopt the language of the Angels. The outcome had been a decision to use neither. Kato had always favoured the Angel's language because it was the least clumsy, it flowed, and three words could say something that needed a paragraph in English. The Angels words would have been very useful here, but Kato didn't even need to try to know that they wouldn't be understood.
"They do have wings," he said lamely.
"Well that tells me a lot," was the sarcastic response.
Kato flushed slightly. Any other situation and he would have been angry at the jibe, but now he just took refuge in silence. Jack sighed, sensing that he had made a wrong move. His early success with the boy had lulled him into feeling secure and letting his guard down. This was why he opted to leave negotiation to others most of the time, he didn't have the patience for it. Throwing caution to the wind seeing as he had already put his foot in it once, he ploughed right on to the question that burned brightest in his mind.
"Have you ever heard of the Goa'uld? Are the Angels the Goa'uld?"
Jack did not expect Kato to react as violently to that question as he did. He flicked his legs forward, planting them on the floor as if preparing to stand up, his hands found the edges of the bed and he dug his fingers in until his knuckles whitened with the effort. He was staring straight into Jacks face with wide eyes that glinted with anger.
"No," he said, with a certainty that didn't allow even Jack to be suspicious, "The Angels fought the Goa'uld and freed us."
"So the Angels are the native race on your planet?"
Sensing history and politics coming, Jack had to stop himself from looking around for Daniel to take over. He was almost thankful when the unmistakable sound of the gate activation siren interrupted his thought process. He frowned as he heard footsteps in the corridor outside. Clearly the activation was not from someone they knew.
"What does that mean?" Kato asked. He'd grown visibly tenser at the sound. Sirens were a universal indication that something wasn't right and that put him on edge. The last siren he'd heard had been as a direct result of his escape attempt, he hoped that this one had nothing to do with him.
"That means someone is trying to get through the gate," Jack turned to the door, "I'll be right back."
"What's going on?"
"Hello Sir," Carter was standing by the control panel, looking down at the gate room as it rapidly filled with troops, "Seems our guest lied to us about knowing about the stargate. Someone on that planet it trying to get through to us."
"Do we let them?" Jack wondered out loud. It wasn't his place to give the order and he knew that the General would arrive and make the final decision momentarily. With the iris still closed, he hoped that the people on the other side wouldn't try and gate through too quickly. He never had asked whether or not bodies impacting on the iris left a mess that someone had to clean up.
"Open the iris," came the Generals unmistakable voice from the door to his office. "I want to know who that boy is and if he is a threat and I think that we will get a better answer from whoever has decided to come this far to look for him."
"Yes Sir," Jack just about heard the operations officers answer as he followed in the wake of Hammond striding from the room. Teal'c and Daniel met them in the corridor on the way down to the gate room and it was SG-1s full compliment that arrived in the gate room just as shapes appeared through the event horizon.
Four men. They were all tall, stately with very pale skin that gave them an artificial look. Especially in contrast to the long dark robes they wore over loose dark green trousers tucked into calf high boots and long tunic style tops tied at the waist with black belts. They were unmistakably military, but also unmistakably political. The clothes made them look military, their bearing and haughty expressions made them look like politicians. And not the kind that anyone in SG1 liked dealing with.
After a moment that was almost a stand off one of the men smiled, "I assure you," he said dryly, grandly waving a hand at the troops that filled the room "We do not warrant such a welcome."
"Our visitors aren't normally friendly," said Jack, before General Hammond had a chance to speak and earning himself a deadly glare for his trouble.
"My name is General Hammond. I'm afraid we have to take these precautions, as Colonel O'Neil pointed out, we aren't used to friendly visitors."
"That's quite alright. My name is Captain Veran, I understand the need to protect ones planet from attack," he paused, "Especially as we share this universe with the Goa'uld."
Immediately the atmosphere in the room became more serious. The sentence was delivered deliberately and the implication of what that meant Kato was was very clear.
"Perhaps we should talk about this somewhere else," said Hammond, gesturing to the door.
The conference room had played host to many negotiations. It was no stranger to the face off between SG1 and various visiting dignitaries. The large table created a real gulf between the two parties and there was always an unpleasant pause to see who would speak first once everyone was seated and ready. Captain Veran broke the silence on this occassion.
"Allow me to introduce myself properly. I am Captain Veran, I am a member of the central council of the Darsen government, responsible for security. These," he gestured to his companions, "Are my personal ministers. Now, if I may ask, who exactly are you?"
"My name is General Hammond. I am a General in the US Air Force and the head of the Stargate Programme here on planet Earth. This is Stargate Command from which we operate our Stargate. I assume, you are here about the young man we took from your planet?"
"Yes," Veran smiled, quite a nasty smile, "Why did you do that?"
"He asked for our help," said Jack, "We didn't know the situation on your world, we saw a possible threat and got the hell out of there."
"Unfortunately, rather than escaping a threat you brought the threat with you."
"What do you mean by that?" Hammond asked.
"The person you are holding here is a very dangerous creature who our authorities have been hunting for quite some time."
"Dangerous how?" said Daniel, hoping that his fears would not be realised.
"He is a Goa'uld creation. An experiment, an attempt to corrupt our people and return us to the slavery we fought so hard to escape. Do not be fooled by his innocent appearance, under his skin he hides modifications that could provide him with unimaginable powers," as he spoke Veran lost his composure. His voice rose, his pale cheeks tinged with colour and his blank eyes became dark.
Sam could not resist this potential insight into the new technology she had had so little time to study, "You know how the organism functions?"
Veran looked slightly surprised, "You know of it?"
"It showed up on our scans. He told us that he doesn't know what it is but that it keeps him alive. Is that true?"
"Certainly he would die without it. The exact details of how it works I do not know. Essentially, it takes a Darsen body and assimilates it, transforming it slowly into another being…"
"An Angel?" Jack interrupted.
"Yes. That is what they call themselves. Many thousands of years ago we were slaves on our planet. Ruled over by Goa'uld masters, engaged in hard labour and building structures to glorify the false Gods. The Angels were their foot soldiers. Hugely powerful beings who held the power of the Goa'uld within their very flesh. Over time, the Goa'uld took all they wanted and needed from the planet and retreated, leaving us in the hands of the Angels. Eventually we managed to overthrow them, without their masters they were disorganised and weakened. We have spent several hundreds of years, our entire history, attempting to retain our independence from them."
"And you think that Kato is another attempt by the Angels to enslave you?" Daniel said, sounding slightly incredulous.
"Kato was the son of one of our peoples greatest scientists. A hugely important man, at the very centre of our government. Just think. Had we not detected the deception the Angel's would have had an agent ideally placed to help them launch a new offensive against us."
"So is that why you tortured him?" asked Jack, casually.
"He didn't beat himself up. He was hurt when we found him, how did he get like that?"
Veran frowned, "There is a lot of hostility towards the Angels on our planet. Our agents may have been over zealous when detaining him."
"Over zealous? He was half dead!"
"Colonel," Hammond snapped, "That is enough. I apologise Captain, for the Colonels rudeness."
"That's quite alright General," said Veran, with a gracious nod, "Now, allow me to be blunt. I must ask that you hand Kato over to us." He paused, as there was no immediate response, "immediately."