The Master of Deception

BY : Kelral_Orlyana
Category: Stargate: SG-1 > Stargate Universe
Dragon prints: 525
Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate SG1 and I make no profit posting this story. Any unrecognised characters, languages and places belong to author and any connection to existing characters or real life people and places is purely coincidental.

Fróði was a handsome man and quite exotic, which was why Ba’al had chosen him as host. The Goa’uld often chose Egyptian hosts with dark hair and dark eyes but Ba’al had been more selective. When he had found Fróði he had been pleasantly surprised. The human was a leader of sorts, a wise-man despite his youth and a guide for those who sought answers. On the first glance he appeared as most Egyptians appeared, dark haired and tanned skinned from life under the sun but those eyes revealed a much more exotic picture. Fróði’s eyes seemed to be the perfect mix of amber, grey and green, it was incredibly appealing to Ba’al and he knew from the moment he set eyes upon this human that this human was his.

It took many weeks of planning to sneak beyond Ra’s ever watching eyes and Jaffa, Ba’al had had to create a diversion that would distract their current leader long enough to allow Ba’al his opportunity. A human rebellion aided by rebel Jaffa was a perfect diversion and one that took some time to encourage, Ra would not ignore his servants turning against him and thus the plan worked perfectly. Once Ra was distracted Ba’al had jumped hosts and destroyed his previous one, Ra would be upset about missing one slave boy but he’d never suspect that Ba’al had used Ra’s favourite to carry him from his old host to his new one. Little Adi would never return.

Fróði was very receptive of little Adi, which was unsurprising, the unsuspecting human had no way to sense Ba’al or his intentions. When Ba’al had struck Fróði could do little more than cry out in terror and futilely try to stop Ba’al from burrowing. Within mere seconds Ba’al was latched onto the man’s brain, he took control and snapped the child’s neck before destroying the evidence. The human had begged, pleaded and screamed but Ba’al paid no heed and was soon leaving the wise-man’s hut to travel back to Ra’s court. The human’s in the surrounding area knew something was up, some attacked and some tried to approach peacefully but all were rebuffed with ease, no human could compete with the strength of a God.

But it seemed Fróði was not a normal human. The human clung on in the back of his mind and whilst angry it continued to speak to him, sometimes it tried to guide Ba’al’s actions and other times it tried to appeal to Ba’al’s cold heart and mercy. What surprised Ba’al most of all was the cruelty this man was capable of. This loving wise-man had a heart of a killer, when Ba’al killed humans who had harmed others or had insulted Fróði’s country the human had cheered and even given Ba’al fresh ideas. Ba’al could only think this bond with this human had been his best idea to date. In this sense he was stranger than his Goa’uld kin because he enjoyed listening to the hosts he took, sometimes he liked their screams and other times he liked to converse with them simply to understand their primitive minds, Fróði was looking like the latter, a good conversationalist and a fresh insight to primitive humans.

Years passed and Ba’al had finally earned Ra’s respect once again by allowing Ra to play ‘master’ over him. Ba’al mentally snorted at the word ‘master’ for he had no master and Ra did not rule him, yet Ra held all the power and it would be unwise to challenge his authority. Unsurprisingly his host agreed and both observed and watched the Goa’uld and learned all they could. It was during this time that Ra’s Queen began to behave strangely, at least to Ba’al’s eyes. She spent fewer and fewer years around Ra choosing instead to travel to other worlds and she did not seem to be breeding. Ba’al observed this for some time even as he built up a small following of Jaffa. With his power growing without hindrance he had risked following the Queen on one of her excursions and soon discovered that the Queen was choosing to be a human. How distasteful, but how could he use such information for his benefit?

Why use it at all? His host demanded. Why not just accept that she has learned to respect humanity?

Ba’al rarely answered his host at times like these when he needed to appear aloof and God-like, it would be very inconvenient and dangerous if Ra caught his mind wandering. Though Ra’s mind was clearly wandering and it was strangely disturbing to see a child’s face clouded with possessive lust as it watched another much younger child. Ba’al much preferred more mature lo’tar’s though gender was no issue, when he was ready to breed he’d find a Queen but right now he neither wanted to or could breed with a Queen, he was not quite respected enough to earn the rights to a Queen.

Egeria clearly did not agree for when Ra left to visit one of his other worlds Egeria approached him in his private chambers late at night. Ba’al was very tempted, this he could not deny but he sensed a more ulterior motive for her suggestion. Her host’s green eyes didn’t seem to hold the passion her soft, creamy skinned face was expressing and that little pink blush did not seem quite natural. Her body was well oiled and decorated in sensual red cloth to compliment hair the colour of flames and despite taking in the sight Ba’al knew this was a deliberately attempt at a diversion. Perhaps Ra had begun to suspect her treachery and she wished to pin it on a Goa’uld subordinate who had often disobeyed when he chose to, but Ba’al was no scape-goat.

My Queen, you honour me with such a proposal and normally I would be a fool to turn down such an offer; however we both know you don’t desire such a mating.” Ba’al stated quietly ensuring his voice did not stray beyond the walls of his chambers. “No doubt Ra has done his own investigating and found out about your lover?” Egeria could not hide the widening of her eyes, she was skilled at politics but not skilled enough compared to Ba’al and so many others whom thrived in the treacherous Goa’uld power-plays. Ba’al slowly took a seat trusting his instincts that she would not and could not harm him. “You have used DNA from another human to breed children that you intend to keep secret from Ra.” Ba’al continued. “And I suspect there is a reason for this, you have grown compassionate for humans and wish to live in peace with them. Am I correct so far?” Egeria simply stood and watched him warily; no doubt she wished to hear Ba’al’s conclusions before she tried to conceal the truth from him, Ra and the rest of the Goa’uld court. “Now if these children were Goa’uld they would simply take a host when old enough and return to the Goa’uld court to expose you which means these new children are not usual Goa’ulds. You have changed their inheritance, haven’t you? You’ve made a more sympathetic version of the Goa’uld and Jolinar is clearly covering for you.” Again Egeria looked vaguely guilty. “Yes my Queen I am aware that you are quite close to Jolinar and I also know that Jolinar has been covering for your disappearances and claiming you are on her worlds when you vanish from court. You are playing a dangerous game my Queen.

We all play games, Ba’al.” She finally replied after a few moments of companionable silence. “Just as you distracted Ra long enough to gain your current host and I have noticed you strange silences when you think no one is observing. You speak to your hosts, don’t you? Perhaps not on friendly terms but you still speak to them which does defy Ra’s laws.

Ba’al chuckled. “I suppose it may seem obvious to someone like you who indulges in the whims of your vessel but what I am differs from what you are. You speak to your hosts with respect and peace but I enjoy my host’s screams, denials and pleas. Listening to one’s host is always a good aid in finding ways to torture and play with our toys.

Egeria smirked. “Ra would never agree.

Ba’al gave an answering smirk as he challenged her head on. “I suppose you plan to report me for defying Ra’s laws.” He slowly rose to stand just slightly taller than her and told her how it was. “I hear that the planet Adilet is rather beautiful this time of year, it would be a shame for Ra to discover such an untouched exotic world.” Egeria could not stop the gasp passing her lips as he spilled the location of her brood, she had not known he had followed her and now her and her children’s fate were in Ba’al’s hands. “I will not stop you from playing your games, but neither will I be dragged into them. Find another scape-goat, my Queen, for I will not take the fall for you.

Egeria’s lips trembled with suppressed fury but she knew better than to rile up the one who could easily end her rebellion with a few choice words. Ba’al watched her turn and flee with amusement and perhaps a little bit of sympathy and compassion, she may be competition but like Ba’al she was trying to escape from under Ra’s thumb. Silently he wished her some luck but outwardly her cared little and he soon forgot the confrontation which is why it came as a surprise when Ra had all but stormed into the throne room with a look of pure hatred. Jaffa dragged Egeria before the golden seat and forced her to her knees. The torture had been brutal to watch and harder to hear as the truth came out piece by garbled piece. Still she valiantly hid the location of her brood and not once did she mention Ba’al’s knowledge of her deception. Ra in all his fury had intended to kill her.

She covered for you, it’s time you return the favour, or you’ll be indebted to her.

Ba’al’s host was of course correct, in truth her death would make the debt non-existent but she had protected him in her own way and it would be rude to ignore a life debt. As he rose Ra turned and glared fire at him, he was rather thankful the other Goa’uld had left. He bowed low so he was slightly smaller than the child God. “My Lord, do not allow anger to be the soul guide of your actions. If you kill her it will not give you the satisfaction we all desire. She betrayed us my Lord; she betrayed you and she does not deserve a quick death. Make her suffer my Lord, put her into stasis and bring her out when many thousands of years have passed, when she opens her eyes one final time she shall see that her rebellion did nothing and that she was always doomed to fail. Then and only then will you have the true pleasure of breaking her.” Ra’s eyes narrowed as he considered this but it was clear he was rather attracted to Ba’al’s idea and unsurprisingly he eventually agreed to it. Only Ba’al, Ra and his personal Jaffa would know the true fate of Egeria and by the time Egeria’s sentence had come to pass Ra would be dead, Ba’al would make sure of it. Egeria knew Ba’al had saved her and despite her terror she had enough sense to thank him before she vanished from view, Ba’al cared little for her thanks, his plans were now in motion. With Egeria’s spawn against Ra and the Goa’uld beginning to test and tease Ra’s authority it would be very difficult for the system lord to retain control. The balance of power was shifting and Ba’al would ensure it shifted out of Ra’s hands and into his.

With Egeria gone Ra had to find a new Queen, he sought out his daughter Hathor who allied herself with Ra for more power but it was clear Ra was being too arrogant and too controlling. Ra’s demands for Hathor to abandon her favourite world were not met with happiness, in fact Hathor had been infuriated but she was a much better politician then Egeria. She birthed many Goa’uld for Ra and planned deeply for a way to kill Ra but unfortunately for her Ra’s Jaffa were loyal to the one the considered the most powerful God, Ra and soon found out about her treachery. Of course the Jaffa may have been given a little nudge in the right direction but Ba’al was not involved, really. Well okay he may or may not have encouraged Ra to have her locked up in a sarcophagus in the middle of nowhere on the First planet, but who’d really miss her?  

The power shifted quite rapidly and Ba’al knew his time was coming, he gathered his collection of Jaffa under the pretence of checking a few of his worlds but once out there he defected and commanded that all Jaffa obey. Ba’al was not surprised that the Jaffa were hesitant, they considered Ra to be the most powerful and preferred Ra but they would not challenge him because he was a God. Ra had of course been infuriated and an endless war had begun, it soon became clear that Ba’al was not going to win by cunning alone, his Jaffa were too few in number and so he turned to Sokar. It was quite easy to manipulate the other Goa’uld into helping him, the fool believed he was Ba’al’s master and he hated Ra, when he saw Ba’al’s control over Ra’s Jaffa he had been so pleased he had pretty much accepted the alliance from then on. Ba’al knew it would take careful planning but in time he could increase his force and be able to stand alone and in sole control once more.

By this time Fróði was many thousand years old thanks to the sarcophagus and yet the human somehow clung on, the hosts mind was darker and somewhat crueller but at the same time the human clung onto compassion and justice. Ba’al often found himself listening to the host as he resided over court matters; he judged Jaffa and humans alike with a twisted sense of justice but justice none the less. He was gaining a reputation of a cruel but surprisingly fair Goa’uld, it was met with some mockery but Ba’al cared little for their opinion because it had earned him the loyalty of thousands of Jaffa and humans. His power base was growing and he was almost ready to make his move and he owed some of his success to his twisted host, perhaps he would reward the host by taking that blonde human to bed with him this night? Fróði seemed to have taken a particular liking to her.

That one looks fine.

Ba’al absentmindedly glanced up from the Jaffa kneeling before him to see a host being escorted in; he could see why Fróði liked this one. The male had a handsome face which retained some youthful characteristics, like the glittering eyes, curved chin and lips that were clearly meant to smile but rarely did. Brown eyes were filled with passion and the hair appeared silky, indeed this particular specimen of humanity was quite attractive and Fróði had been well-behaved, it would be no harm to indulge. Glancing back down he ended the case with ease, though he had forgotten what the two idiots were arguing about, a woman most probably as that was normally all human men thought about.

The host bowed without being asked but he did not bow as low as the humans or Jaffa which was unsurprising as no Goa’uld was truly subservient to another. “Greetings Lord Ba’al I am Kerim.” The Goa’uld introduced himself. “I am here on behalf of Lord Yu.” Ba’al raised an eyebrow but made no comment, Lord Yu was a tentative ally, one who never bother Ba’al or interfered with Ba’al’s plans and it was not unusual for Goa’uld allies to send ‘gifts’ to ensure a continued alliance for a short while. “I have been advised that you may be in want of an advisor and I am one of the best in Lord Yu’s court. I would be honoured to serve you, my Lord.

Let him.

Ba’al smirked as he scanned the host, his instincts told him there was more to this then he could see and his instincts have never been wrong. Still an advisor would be preferable to sitting around and dealing with these pesky humans all day every day. He would play along with this visitor’s game and keep watch, eventually the truth would be revealed and Ba’al would pass judgement. With this decision made he leaned back against the back of his throne and rested his head on crossed fingers. “You have been correctly informed, Lord Kerim, I am indeed in need of an advisor yet I had not yet begun the search, it was quite a coincidence that Lord Yu had anticipated my needs. I will have to thank him in the future for his thoughtfulness.” Ba’al stated as he watched for any signs of deception, the Goa’uld met his eyes and neither flinched or blinked, impressive. “I shall have you as my advisor and you will begin your duties tomorrow, I have no desire to spend my days listening to the whining of the peasants of this planet.

Kerim bowed slightly again. “It would be my honour, my Lord.

I’m sure.” Ba’al purred. “Jaffa take my new advisor to his new quarters.

Annoyingly the advisor seemed to being staying out of sight, he was there for important meetings but sought privacy when he was not needed. Kerim didn’t even indulge in the slaves male or female and he never touched drugs until Ba’al started showing signs of distrust and wariness. It soon became clear that Kerim was spying and reporting back to someone else, but so far no names had been discovered and Ba’al was growing tired of his Jaffa’s silly excuses. In fact it was a human, a bloody human that gave him the answers he sought. The serving girl had visited Kerim’s rooms to deliver supper and had overheard several words, most were useless without hearing the full sentence and thus it seemed to be pointless listening to her until she had mentioned that name, Egeria. He knew without a doubt that this was no Goa’uld, because no Goa’uld this day in age mentioned her name. No this ‘Kerim’ was her spawn, a child of the rebellion Egeria had hoped to start.

I do not want him dead, I like him.

But this creature was a threat, it challenged his rule. Ba’al would happily set Egeria’s spawn on the other system lords but he had no intentions of dealing with them. Why had they noted him and sought him out? He was not the strongest by far, admittedly he was a system lord and quite well respected but still he had yet to bring attention to himself. Why was Kerim here and what was his intentions?

Knowledge, he wants to learn more so he can either make a place for himself amongst the Goa’uld or aid his petty little rebellion.

Fróði had a point but without a Queen their efforts would be useless, the moment the other Goa’uld knew Egeria has spawned rebellious symbiotes they would be gunning for them. This was a highly volatile situation that needed to be handled carefully or Ba’al could end up with many angry Goa’uld’s targeting him believing that he aided these strange and dangerous creatures. If he punished Kerim or killed him he’d have to explain his actions enough so as not to raise questions amongst his Jaffa, but the act of killing ones underling was noticed by other Goa’uld and marked how reliable a Goa’uld was. It would be unwise to risk alienation for one creature so killing and torture was not an option. The only alternative was to sit and wait, if this game was played right Ba’al could turn the symbiotes on the other Goa’uld and not bring attention upon himself. It would of course take careful planning; he would need to supply enough information to Egeria’s child without teaching it too much or teaching it how to defeat him.

Kerim wants to learn more and we need to learn more about him, find a way to encourage him to spend time with us and we can get what we want.

Even now Kerim watched him from afar; the symbiote was skilled at stealth and subterfuge but not skilled enough. Ba’al nodded politely when they met each other’s eyes, he would let the child get closer and learn what it needed to know and in return he would watch and learn more about his Queen’s spawn.

Getting Kerim in bed was the hardest challenged Ba’al had ever attempted. The symbiote may be young but he had good tactical knowledge and seemed to instinctually know getting too close to the enemy was a bad thing. Ba’al worked hard, trying to persuade the youth that he was trustworthy and safe until eventually Kerim succumbed to his persuasion. He seemed a little upset by his surrender but then child had to learn that sometimes it was better to submit then to ignore or fight against a stronger power. Ba’al had learnt this long ago and Kerim would learn now. Despite his cruelty Ba’al was a gentle lover, powerful, demanding but gentle, Kerim would not come to harm in his arms that was not Ba’al’s end game.

Over time Ba’al’s spies and his time with Kerim taught him much. A rogue group of symbiotes known as the Tok’Ra were targeted the Goa’uld, particularly the system lords and trying to keep the system lords killing each other. Ba’als kin were so dumb that they all pretty much fell for it whilst he simply played along. Kerim used his new status as Ba’al’s favourite underling to try and manipulate Ba’al into doing what the Tok’Ra wanted; Ba’al skilfully used the Tok’Ra’s plans to benefit himself by arguing against silly plans and agreeing with good ideas. He kept his true wealth and power silent from even Kerim so the Tok’Ra could not find out his true strength for the moment.

And then the day came that Ba’al had to hurt his underling, the Jaffa finally pulled their heads out of their asses and noted the secret messages heading off-world and the suspicious activity of Ba’al’s underling. Ba’al regretted hurting his little one but he could not have his Jaffa questioning his power and he could not let rumour spread that he was willingly harbouring a rebel. Kerim would be missed but his missing fleet and power would be a greater loss.

Ba’al did not have much time to grieve for his pet Tok’Ra as the war with Ra had begun to heat up and Ba’al had been forced to contact Sokar once more. Sokar had of course disliked Ba’al but both quickly realised they needed a truce to defeat Ra who would easily pulverise them if they stood alone and so they reluctantly worked together until Ra was killed. It was still a mystery about who finally succeeded but neither Goa’uld questioned it with Ra gone there was no need to keep the truce and so war broke out between them, the fight got worse when Ba’al claimed prime planets and space from Ra’s territory. The war lasted until Ba’al began sending suicide Ha’tak’s at Sokar’s fleet until Sokar lost so many soldiers that he simply couldn’t afford to keep fighting Ba’al. Ba’al’s methods whilst unorthodox did get Ba’al wanted he wanted; freedom, control and ownership of his chosen planets and space. Other Goa’uld steered clear for the most part since they were so busy fighting amongst themselves and so Ba’al merely had to keep the overconfident and new Goa’uld hosts from taking what belonged to him.

Then rumour came about a third player in the game, humans playing the Gods game, ridiculous but surprisingly true. Apophis was supposedly having the most trouble though none truly knew why; they could only assume the gate addresses the humans had were mostly planets in Apophis’s domain. Ba’al did as he usually did, watched and waited whilst skilfully keeping his position of power. And then ‘he’ arrived and everything about him screamed ‘Kerim’, had his favourite survived? He felt his host’s mind heat up with desire, eagerness and an odd feeling Ba’al had rarely experienced, could it have been love?

My Lord I am Surak.” Ba’al was amused at the attempted diversion; it seemed his little one still had much to learn. Ba’al never forgot body language, faces, speech patterns and the way they moved, this was Kerim, he could tell from those swaying hips, dark demanding eyes and confident expression.

Greetings Surak.” Ba’al replied with a smirk. “It seems I get many gifts from system lords these days, I have already received four slave girls from Apophis in his weak attempts to earn my aid against his enemies. Tell me Surak, which system lord sent you? Are you an Ashrak sent by Lord Cronus? Or are you a menial worker sent by Apophis? Or perhaps Lord Yu sends me another advisor? I am in no need of any but I must confess the last advisor I received had been quite useful until he turned out to be a Tok’Ra spy.

‘Surak’ showed no reaction other than the twitch of his eyes. “My Lord I have been sent by Lord Apophis as a messenger to ask for your aid against Apophis’s enemies. I am here to determine whether you’d accept the gifts Apophis has sent.

Ba’al chuckled and leaned back. “Why am I not surprised?” He asked out loud. “Your Lord is very presumptuous. I have no need to be involved in his wars nor do I want to be involved. A few human slave girls would not change my mind. I suggest you return to your master and inform him that my answer will be no.

Surak took a step forward, a direct challenge to Ba’al’s word and all Jaffa held their breaths. “And what would persuade you to aid him?

Ba’al chuckled. “You are very overconfident.” He commented. “You should be careful with such an attitude or you’d find yourself in trouble. Clearly Apophis has no control of his underlings. I am not surprised; he does like to do things half way. Tell Apophis this, if he agrees to hand you over I will agree to aid him in his fight should his fleet be pursued to the borders of my territory but also tell him that if he deliberately leads his enemy to my territory I will open fire on both sides.” It was a bold move, a dangerous move but Ba’al suspected that Surak had not been sent by the Goa’uld at all, it was far more likely that a Tok’Ra spy was within Apophis’s court manipulating circumstances to favour the Tok’Ra.

I will report to Apophis.

Ba’al raised an eyebrow. “Indeed.” Ba’al commented. “Jaffa escort my new underling to the gate and allow him to contact his master but do not allow him off-world.” ‘Kerim’/’Surak’ nodded with respect and the Jaffa bowed before leaving Ba’al to his thoughts. He knew he did not know his pets true name, it was very obvious ‘Kerim’ and ‘Surak’ were cover names but he knew enough to know it was his pet. The fact that ‘Surak’ was here raised another question, what had Ba’al done to earn the Tok’Ra’s attention? The most likely answer was that he was not the main, intended target; the Tok’Ra had a bigger goal in sight. Perhaps they wished to affect the whole Goa’uld hierarchy but to do so they would need a hand in all pockets so to speak; they needed to be aware of all Goa’uld’s and their plans. Perhaps it was simply coincidence that bought his pet home but Ba’al did not care, this time he would not let his little one go.

His little one was soon settling into his home just like old times. Weeks passed and the little Tok’Ra was already sitting beside Ba’al and residing over court. In the next few months Ba’al had even managed to get the little Tok’Ra drunk and drugged but he carefully did not take advantage, when he finally took his little one there would be no escape. The most important thing Ba’al had to do was to keep Surak busy, if Ba’al didn’t give Surak what he needed the Tok’Ra would abort Surak’s mission. It was hard sending his pet to some of his worlds to ensure they were still under his control and it was even harder leaving the Tok’Ra unattended so he could wander into some conveniently unguarded rooms that contained ‘vital’ information but it fulfilled its purpose and Surak still stood beside him when he ruled over his domain.

…you believe me to be a fool…” Ba’al watched amused as Surak ruled with a firm hand, Surak had no idea that Ba’al was watching him from his fortress as Surak commanded Ba’al’s Jaffa. Surak always had a way with words, a talent Ba’al shared with his little pet. Surak encouraged trust with just enough kindness and obedience with just enough cruelty; it was pleasing to see that the Tok’Ra were capable of behaving ‘normally’. But Surak still had much to learn, sometimes his emotions showed upon his face just as they did now as a person was dragged in by the Jaffa. Clearly Surak knew this being because he tried to intervene and pull rank so the Jaffa would not take the man to Ba’al but Ba’al’s hold over his Jaffa was absolute and they would not defy him for his pet.

Sitting on his throne not moments later Ba’al watched as the man was dragged forth with the Jaffa, Surak was skilled enough not to follow and give away his true allegiance by staying where he was and finishing his speech to the gathered Jaffa. Ba’al took the opportunity to observe this newcomer as he waited for his little one. He had the Jaffa secure the newcomer before sending one to collect Surak. The newcomer was clearly another Tok’Ra, but this one was not as attractive as his little one. The eyes were like blue gems, the brown hair was ruffled like bed hair and the skin was perfectly tanned and yet none of the colours on this man could compete with Surak’s.

My lord forgive my delay.” Surak begged. Ba’al raised a hand quickly silencing his pet and allowing the Tok’Ra to take his place at Ba’al’s side. Ba’al waved off his Jaffa and continued to silently observe the new Tok’Ra until Surak ran out of patience. “My Lord.

Ba’al leaned back. “I suppose my Jaffa have injured you greatly.” He stated. “Though the fact you’ve allowed them to harm you indicates you are not what you appear.” Surak shifted slightly beside him but said and did nothing as the newcomer glared at Ba’al. “I have heard several interesting rumours these past few years though I confess I did not believe them true. You are Tok’Ra are you not? Egeria’s spawn. It is rather ironic that she named her children ‘Against Ra’ for it was her very rebellion that led to her punishment.” This time neither Tok’Ra could hide the discomfort and hate they had for him. “I was there you know, when Egeria’s punishment was decided, it was such a shame that such a beautiful Goa’uld would choose to defy the most powerful, but alas that is what she chose to do.

You know nothing.” The newcomer spat.

Ba’al chuckled. “I know more than you’d ever understand, little one. I was one of the few who knew your mother’s human mate and I was one of the few who knew your birthing world. Your continued survival is thanks to me holding my tongue all those years ago. I did not approve of Egeria’s actions but neither did I condemn her and her brood as such I think I deserve a little respect, don’t you?

The bound Tok’Ra glared before sighing. “What do you want?

Ba’al smirked and leant back. “You believe you are smart and wise but you are nothing more than children playing an adult’s game. I have known about your plans for some time, I need only inform the other system lords that there is a leak and they would reform their entire counsels and eliminate potential threats.” Both Tok’Ra audibly swallowed. “However your attempts at subterfuge have amused me endlessly and I must confess that I thoroughly enjoyed having Kerim by my side, I was rather disappointed that I had to kill him to save face, he was very useful.” The bound Tok’Ra’s eyes wandered to Surak proving that Surak was once Kerim. “I will say this very simply little Tok’Ra, you and your kin will stay away from my domain, you will not interfere with my schemes and I will not interfere with yours.

What’s the deal you wish to make?

Ba’al laughed cruelly. “This is not a deal, I know more then you imagine and it will only take a few words to have your race and your final plan destroyed. I owe you nothing, I am a God and I am your master. However you have something I desire and so I am giving you a chance, but only one chance.

What is it?” The bound Tok’Ra asked nervously clearly trying to avoid looking at Surak and yet his eyes still wandered to his comrade who no doubt was warily watching Ba’al.

Ba’al rested his head upon a hand. “I have no loyalty to the other Goa’uld and I would not miss them if they were gone.” He began. “I will allow one Tok’Ra and only one Tok’Ra to remain at my court; this agent of your people will have to work undercover as I will not be able to protect him if he was to be discovered. I will allow your kinsman to observe Goa’uld courts and to relay information back to your leaders but with a few conditions, no information about me and my domain should be given and if the Goa’uld suspect my allegiance I will turn on you, so don’t get caught.

You would do this?” The bound Tok’Ra asked warily.

Ba’al glanced to an equally startled Surak. “Indeed. I have grown fond of the one you called Kerim and Surak; if he remains in my court permanently I will overlook his true allegiances and shelter him for as long as he remains undiscovered.” Surak’s eyes widened as he realised that his cover had been blown for a long time. “If you decline this deal I will simply take what I want and I will not be so polite. So I suggest you bring me an answer very soon for I will not wait forever.

And how am I supposed to contact my superiors?

This evening there will be a malfunction in the power module that keeps the cells closed, the Jaffa are conveniently not going to be guarding the forest paths since I have had to deal with a messy little human rebellion. Should you escape through the gate in time no-one will realise you’re gone until much later. We will of course apprehend you on one of my worlds later that week and you will be bought before me to answer to your God.

And me?” Surak asked. “What’s to stop me leaving?

Ba’al gave the Tok’Ra a cruel smirk. “If you try to make an attempt on my life or you leave I will have no reason to keep my silence. Your kin’s continued safety relies on your loyalty to me, little Tok’Ra. Until I have my answer you are to remain here under guard, you will preside over court but you will not be allowed to be in close proximity to me unguarded until your kinsmen agree to our little bargain.

More like threat.

Ba’al smirked. “You have much to learn little one, to a Goa’uld a threat is a bargain or a deal. There is no kindness without deception and there is no reason to cruelty. Perhaps one day you will understand enough to thrive but right now you’re achieving very little, I will not be the only Goa’uld who will suspect your agents and discover the truth but I shall be the only Goa’uld who will do you no harm as long as none suspect I am helping you. Should Surak be discovered as a Tok’Ra I will not kill him as I was forced to do with Kerim, instead I will take his freedom and keep him but the safety of his kinsmen will not be my priority any more. Do you understand? Your skill at subterfuge and your agents obedience to me will keep my silence if either should fail I will not be kind.

I will inform my superiors.

With his ultimatum declared he stood back and waited. Surak of course was suffering from terror and denial but also knew his obedience was important for his kins survival and thus obeyed. The unknown Tok’Ra managed to escape but had stupidly alerted some of the Jaffa guards. Ba’al played his part well and blame the Jaffa for not noticing the faulty equipment and escaping Tok’Ra. Surak still remained close to Ba’al and under careful watch of the Jaffa, but it was clear he was uncomfortable in close proximity to an enemy who knew his true allegiance.

The worst day Surak was when the Tok’Ra agent returned, when they were finally left alone he spoke the words Ba’al longed to hear.

We accept, we’ll allow you to keep Surak in return for your continued silence.

It was logical that the Tok’Ra would agree and it was what Ba’al wanted but the moment Surak and he were alone Surak could not hide his overwhelming depression. Despite the choice being logical Surak viewed the decision as a treacherous action by his kin, they had abandoned him to suit themselves. Ba’al had desired this result but a part of him was furious on Surak’s behalf, but like any Goa’uld he would use his pet’s depression for his benefit. Surak would learn to trust Ba’al and eventually Surak would abandon his kin to remain at Ba’al’s side, until that day Ba’al would play the game keeping his pet and his estranged family safe.

Come Surak, it is late and you should not be alone after such a life-changing decision. You may stay with me and I will ask nothing of you.” Ba’al knew he was taking a risk but he did not think his pet would take advantage because trying to hurt Ba’al meant condemning the Tok’Ra. “It is time for bed Surak, we’ll have some supper before turning in.” The pet mumbled something and Ba’al frowned. “Pardon?

My name is not Surak, its Malek.

Malek, hmm quite a nice name actually and it seemed to suit him better then Kerim or Surak. Yes Malek was a perfect name and a name Ba’al would enjoy saying when he finally held a willing Malek in his arms. Until the day arrived he would allow Malek to think he controlled Ba’al, Ba’al hated waited thousands of years for power; he could wait a little while longer to have power over his pet. Besides the wait made winning much more exhilarating and Ba’al was looking forward to his prize.

Malek, it suits you.” Ba’al commented and Malek bowed his head, blushing a little which in Ba’al’s eyes was a great success. Soon Malek would be his; all he had to do was wait.

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