Dr. Daniel Jackson hurried to meet up with the others. General Hammond had summoned SG1 to the Stargate immediately. As he entered the room which housed the gate, he could see that the others were already there—Colonel Jack O’Neill, Major Samantha Carter, and Teal’c.
General Hammond walked over to him. “Sorry to cut your leave short, Dr. Jackson, but we received a message from the Tok’ra. Jacob is coming through the gate with important news that the Tok’ra were unwilling to talk about through regular communications.” He turned to speak to someone behind him. “Tell them we’re ready.”
Within minutes, the gate whooshed as a column of bright, water-like energy burst from it then retracted. A figure emerged from the circle of wavy light. He walked towards the team, but his eyes were on one person. “Sam. It’s good to see.”
“You, too, Dad. You’re looking good.”
“Selmak does wonders for my constitution.” He hugged her quickly then turned to the General. He extended a hand to his friend. “George.”
“Jacob. Welcome back.”
Jack interrupted. “It’s usually good to see you, but somehow I don’t think this is one of those occasions. Whatever bee got up the Tok’ra’s bonnet has to be a big one for them to contact us like this.”
“You’re right. We should get down to business.”
They all went to the main meeting room. Hammond started immediately. “So why are you here, Jacob? And why all the secrecy?”
“Perhaps I should let Selmak explain.” He lowered his head. When he raised his face again, his demeanor had changed slightly. “We are sorry for the clandestine nature of this conversation, but we were unsure of how secure our transmissions would be. The Tok’ra always monitor stray signals, broadcasts, anything we can that will give us an edge over the Goa’uld. This past week we picked up a strange transmission that our people have not seen in a long time. It was traced back to earth.”
Jack shook his head. “I think I know where this conversation is headed. Please don’t tell me there’s another Goa’uld on earth.”
Daniel nodded his head. “Setesh was quite enough, thank you.”
Selmak was silent for a moment.
Samantha leaned forward. “Is this true? Is there another Goa’uld on earth?”
Jack was exasperated. “Could you be a little more exact then?”
“He’s not Goa’uld…at least he wasn’t. We don’t know what he has become, but he was once Tok’ra.”
Teal’c raised an eyebrow at this. “Forgive me, Selmak. But if this transmission is from a Tok’ra, why is there such concern?”
“He may be as dangerous as any Goa’uld. We cannot be sure. Let me start at the beginning. Long ago, Rames was one of our best inside agents. He and his mate, Naufri, provided us with information that was instrumental in our defenses against the Goa’uld. The Goa’uld they served called himself Sebok.”
Recognition lit in Daniel’s eyes. “The ferocious Beast of the Nile who took the crocodile as his symbol.”
“The same. Sebok’s slaves had unearthed a strange artifact on Baroun. Those who saw it said it resembled a full-length mirror. From what we were able to piece together, it was some type of portable transportation device similar to a gate—one that needs no connecting mechanism at the destination point. It transports itself when it is used.”
Samantha’s eyes widened. “With a portable gate, Sebok could become the most powerful System Lord.”
Jack didn’t quite get the implication yet. “Why would having his own gate technology make him any more powerful than all the other System Lords that use Stargates?”
“Think about it, Sir. With a portable gate that doesn’t need a connecting one on the other end, he could, for example, transport soldiers directly onto an enemy’s ship, or inside an enemy’s stronghold. Granted, with the size of this device, it would be a small force, but think of the potential for quick assassinations. He would be able to suddenly strike anywhere—even in another System Lord’s private chambers.”
“Ah. Well, that would be a selling point.”
Selmak continued. “Our agents were determined to steal the gate and bring it back to us. But Sebok was watching them. They were caught. If you believe that Ra and Apophys were cruel tyrants, you have never met Sebok. He was a master torturer who delighted in finding new ways to inflict pain on his enemies. Our people were ruthlessly and brutally tortured for several months before Naufri died. Rames was very much in love with her. The strain of torture and her death destroyed something inside him and he became like a shell. Sebok took the broken Tok’ra to his ship to show him off as a warning to all who dared oppose him. But that was a mistake on his part. He thought Rames’s mind was completely gone. We do not know exactly what happened, but almost a week later Sebok was found dead—skewered with a sharp object. Rames and the gate were gone. One of our agents on Sebok’s ship said there was a message written on the wall in Sebok’s own blood. ‘From Chaos, Kuk, the god of Darkness is born! Death and Devastation shall be my companions! And they shall be my gifts to you all. Beware my kingdom’.”
Jack grimaced. “Great. A guy who calls himself, “Kook”. That’s not a good sign.”
Daniel sighed. “It’s pronounced, ‘Kuk’, Jack. It’s the name of one of the Egyptian Creation Myth deities—the Ogdoad. They personified the essence of the primordial chaos before creation, always in male-female duos. Nun and Naunet represented primordial waters, Huh and Hauhet were infinite space, Amun and Amaunet were the hidden powers of the universe, and Kuk and Kauket represented the endless darkness.”
“Kuk. Kook. In this case, there may not be much difference. What’s he been up to since then?”
Selmak answered. “He was never heard from again until we picked up this transmission. It was his personal, coded signal. It originated on earth and was directed at Esmus, a planetoid once under Ra’s dominion. Ra eventually found more fertile planets in more advantageous locations and abandoned Esmus.
It has been so long since Rames’s signal was used that we almost didn’t recognize it. Either he does not believe the System Lords will be able to recognize his old codes, or he does not care.”
Teal’c looked thoughtful. “Why would Kuk desire such a place as Esmus?”
“We are not sure. Perhaps there’s a limit to the distance his gate device will work. He may be trying to quietly build up forces closer to the Goa’uld and is planning to use Esmus as a jumping point. We are sure of his hatred for them. Beyond that, we don’t know what his goals are except for what he wrote in Sebok’s blood.”
General Hammond’s voice betrayed none of the worry he felt. “The tenor of that message does nothing to allay my concerns. So, what you’re saying is that we have a mentally unbalanced Tok’ra on our hands who could possibly be a danger to us as well as the Goa’uld?”
“Yes. We can provide you with information on his location, but we won’t be able to assist you further.” Selmak lowered his head. When he looked up, Jacob Carter was back in control. “The Goa’uld are on the brink of discovering our base. We’ll be incommunicado for a while until we get set up somewhere else.”
“Understood. Can you tell us where exactly this signal came from?” Hammond spread a map in front of Jacob.
Jacob figured the coordinates on the map. Cascade, Washington.
The General turned to Jack. “Colonel…”
“On our way, Sir.” They all got up from the table. “Ready for a roadtrip, kids?”
Teal’c looked confused. “It was my understanding, Colonel O’Neill, that the place called Washington was some distance from this base. Would not a plane be a swifter means of transport?”
Jack shook his head. “I’ll explain it on the way, Big Guy.”
Samantha and Daniel smiled behind Jack’s back as they headed out.