“They left us, Colonel.” Gojyo’s hand swept the air as if he’d slash the memories away. “Hakkai was in Ni’s private hell for years, and no one came for Gonou. Three other guys besides me and the doc lived through that ambush, and no one came for us. Two of them died in that lab – but by the time they did, they didn’t know who, or what, they were anymore. The third-” He looked away.
“We had to kill him, months later,” Sanzo stated. “He was youkai, he was insane, and he was eating people.” The priest paused. “If the general really wants to know, we can tell him who we think it was. But he wasn’t really… recognizable.” Fingers clenched, almost drawing blood before Sanzo recalled his hands weren’t armored. “Put him down as killed in action. By the time we got to him… the man died in Ni’s dungeon. Let it end there.”
And people think you’re soulless as a demon, Hakkai thought wistfully, tapping Goku’s arm when the teen started fidgeting. At least the younger youkai knew to keep quiet when Sanzo was in scary negotiating mode. I wish I could show them how wrong they are. Granted, Sanzo’s style of compassion wasn’t kind. It wasn’t nice. It cut, like surgeon’s steel, slicing away what couldn’t be saved.
Kanzeon treasured it. He wondered if the SGC would be as wise.
Gojyo and Sanzo were part of it. They should be good people.
Yet if they were, why were they still allied with the Tok’ra?
And here we are, outnumbered, separated from most of our supplies, with who knows how many armed people between us and the Stargate. People Gojyo would hesitate to strike against. No wonder Sanzo’s worried.
“I’ll let the general know,” the colonel stated. “But I’m still not hearing an answer.”
“Probably because the Tok’ra would never consider lending a GDO to a group of locals,” Dr. Jackson observed. “Which is what you let them think you were, isn’t it?”
“What else could we be?” Sanzo smirked. “No gear, no dog-tags, no nothing. All that’s left that proves who we are is in our heads. And that is not an option.”
Teal’c inclined his head, apparently having come to some troubling conclusion. “What is it you believe the Tok’ra would not wish us to know?”
Sanzo straightened, ready for a fight. “They’ve been on Shangri-La at least three times this past year. That we know about. They come by shuttle, hide it near a ‘Gate, and while some of them try to break Kanzeon’s lock on the DHD, the rest sneak into town, claiming to be Kanzeon healers with a cure to the ‘madness of the youkai’.”
“Which, far as we can tell, is really zatarc programming,” Gojyo stuck in. “Did I mention Gyokumen Koushu is a real bitch?”
“Such a promise makes it easy to recruit the sane youkai, who want to help their relatives,” Hakkai said softly. “And many brave humans who wish to save their neighbors’ lives and sanity.”
“We can’t tell you what happened the other two times, because we only got there after people were counting the bodies,” Sanzo said grimly. “This time, we got to the village elders first. They headed off the local hotheads, and let the demon-slayers take the lead. So when the Tok’ra grabbed the youkai zatarcs they were interested in, and took off….”
“Leaving us in the middle of, oh, about thirty insane youkai assassins,” Gojyo stuck in.
“But nobody else got hurt!” Goku bounced over to Sanzo, unable to stand it any longer. “The plan worked, and the villagers stayed out of it, and we’re all okay!” He clutched Sanzo’s hand, gold eyes wide. “We’re okay.”
Violet narrowed. The priest huffed, tension faintly easing in his shoulders. “Damn it, duck next time!”