Visibly wrestling with himself, or perhaps with Selmak, Jacob sighed. “George. Given the Replicator situation, Garshaw agrees with me that some of the secrets we’ve kept for the Asgard ought to be declassified. But if we tell you, you won’t have plausible deniability with Thor anymore.”
Teal’c arched a brow. “What has the Supreme Commander of the Asgard Fleet to do with the Goa’uld Kanzeon Bosatsu?”
“They’ve got a bargain,” Jacob said flatly.
Oh. Damn. Listening, Hammond tried not to show how desperately he wanted an aspirin. Some days, it just doesn’t pay to come to briefings.
“We don’t know all the details,” the Tok’ra ambassador went on. “The Asgard don’t like to talk about it. But for the past fifteen centuries, she’s had access to certain Asgard technology. Specifically, that used for genetic manipulation.”
Major Carter sat up straight. “She created the youkai?”
“Among other things,” Jacob nodded. “Shock troops, better hosts, because it was fun- who knows why. Other System Lords steer clear of her. Partly because Kanzeon keeps to herself, and she’s polite when she does have to meet them. But mostly, because the Asgard have made it very clear that if anything happens to Kanzeon’s worlds, they’ll take it as an immediate treaty violation.”
“Suddenly and violently and all over the place?” Jack put in.
“You’re getting the idea,” Jacob agreed. “Put that together with the fact that Kanzeon’s deciphered enough of the Ancient library she has to put a lock on her ‘Gates – not even Nirrti’s been able to mess with her.”
“She has one of the Ancients’ libraries?” Daniel said reverently.
“Part of one, we think,” Jacob admitted. “Appears to be related to terraforming and biological manipulation. The Tenchi Kagen scriptures, locals call them – the five scrolls ‘used to create Heaven and Earth’.” He frowned. “One of the five scroll guardians was supposed to be arriving at that lab at the time of the raid. I don’t know what went wrong.”
“Besides everything?” Jack muttered.
“Colonel,” Hammond said mildly. Shouting would only make the headache worse. “Jacob. Let me see if I correctly understand the situation. The Asgard, allies of both the Tok’ra and Earth, appear to have come to an arrangement with Kanzeon. One they value at least as highly as their dealings with us. Possibly more; they removed the Ancient database from Colonel O’Neill’s mind, they certainly didn’t provide us with even a partial copy. And the Tok’ra-” he couldn’t quite suppress the growl “-meant for my people to act as decoys while you stole technological data the Asgard prefer left with its current holder?”
“She’s a Goa’uld, George,” Jacob snorted. “It’s not like the Asgard have ever complained any of the other times.” He paused, setting a holographic projector on the table. “Except for that one mess, nine hundred years ago… we’ve had to keep our distance during surveillance since then, so this image is a little old. Still accurate, though.”
Diaphanous silks draped a long-legged brunette seated casually on a simple throne. Golden anklets showed off perfect bare feet, a sun-disk mirror rested atop the swell of her breasts, and long, glossy brown ringlets were pulled back to display a familiar crimson chakra on her forehead. And behind her throne, to the left and right- Hammond kept his expression neutral.
“This is from about nine centuries ago, but Kanzeon tends to clone bodies her Heavenly Army chooses for hosts,” Jacob went on. He waved toward the gray-haired Goa’uld in far more sober jewelry and robes on her left. “Jiroshin. Her chief aide. Very fussy, stickler for protocol; he’d probably faint dead away if you pointed a zat at him. But he keeps Kanzeon’s palace running smoothly, and he’s got a hell of a nose for spies, worse luck for us.” He reached for the projector-
“Who’s the blond?” Jack casually nodded toward the slim, lavender-robed figure on Kanzeon’s right.
“Konzen Douji?” Jacob rested his hand on the table, surprised. “He’s dead.”