Yep, another crossover. This one’s been sitting in my Ideas Bucket for awhile now, a few paragraphs long with no completion for the foreseeable future. Until now.
One of my many post-”Last Knight” ideas was born from a curiosity over what, exactly, would happen if an exiled System Lord and his Queen used Nick and Natalie as their host bodies. Irkalla and Nergal, consequently, emerged from my musings fully formed—like the birth of Athena from Zeus’ head… minus the headache that makes one want to take an axe to their own skull.
The long and short of it is that I actually really love Irkalla and Nergal. Yes, they’re Goa’uld but, hopefully, you’ll appreciate the significant differences between them and the other System Lords. Even if you, as a rule, love to hate the Goa’uld.
And the names of Irkalla and Nergal are taken from Sumerian mythology. Because why the hell not?
Confused about everything I just said? Don’t worry, you’ll find out more about the myths behind them later. It’ll make more sense in a bit, I promise.
Day 10—2/3/16: “Write a story about a bad or unpleasant person. Make this person likable to your reader…”
LaCroix eyed the body of his son and the mortal woman carefully. “Are you certain this is wise?”
“It is all that can save them now,” the Elder replied. “He is too far gone to heal on his own, and the human’s death will be certain otherwise.”
LaCroix slowly nodded. However, for the first time in his long life, he was experiencing true regret. He will no longer be my son because of this, he thought. Oh, Nicholas, how can you be so obstinant as to think death is the only way? Why did you not heed my warning? However, “do it”, was all he said.
The Elder removed an item from a safe place it had been hidden. It was a canopic jar. When the lid was unsealed, a slippery snake-like creature with multi-pronged mandables peered out. It fixed its beady little eyes on the vampire Nicholas’ unconscious form, then jumped into his body through his mouth.
LaCroix cringed visibly at the albeit brief sight of the creature. And slowly backed away from Nicholas when his eyes snapped open and briefly flashed white.
“How do you feel, my lord?” the Elder asked.
The voice that issued from Nicholas was not the soft baritone that was his natural tone, but a deep and almost demonic sounding voice. Obviously, it was the creature now speaking through him. “Well,” it said curtly. Then it elaborated. “This body is an excellent choice. Now I will no longer require the sarcophagus to maintain the host.”
He sat up then slid off the stone slab into a standing position. “Bring me the other jar.”
Another vampire Elder rushed to do as he was bid, and presented the jar to Nicholas… or, rather, whatever it was that was controlling him now. The creature unsealed the jar and another creature similar in appearance peered out. He moved over to the slab where the mortal woman Natalie Lambert lay. “Does she please you, my love?” he asked the creature. At the eerie chittering sound it made, he chuckled. “Then she is all yours.”
The other creature entered Natalie’s body in the same way the first one had entered Nicholas. Natalie’s eyes snapped open, and again the symbiote spoke rather than the host. The voice was distorted in a similar manner, but still was distinctly feminine. “This one is weak. It will take all my strength to heal her.”
“Perhaps a rest in the sarcophagus will be better?” The Nicholas-symbiote proposed.
“No,” she insisted. “The effects…”
“I’m afraid you do not have much choice, my Queen. The both of you will die if you do not sleep within the sarcophagus for at least a little while.”
“Very well. Take me to it, my love.”
After several hours in the healing sarcophagus, Natalie arose, the symbiote retaining firm command of her body. Irkalla, the symbiote, could only hope that she would not require much healing from the sarcophagus. It kept the host bodies she took on young and strong, yes, but its recuperative powers were as addictive as any strong steroid. She had been right to be concerned.
But the sarcophagus had melted away the sickly pallor of the host’s skin, the bloated appearance from years of unchecked stress and the dark circles under the eyes from lack of sleep. Her hair was also infused with life, given a shiny and soft appearance. It was nothing less than a total makeover for the beleagered host. She was once again beautiful, her waist thin and breasts pert in such a way that hadn’t been since Natalie’s early twenties… if at all.
She was drop-dead gorgeous. And her lover certainly noticed when he entered the room, as she was wearing nothing. The eyes of his host — startlingly blue — took one look at her, and her lord was filled with a powerful desire that was quite visible on the face he wore.
Irkalla felt from the consciousness of her host a curious mixture of love and fear. Oh yes, that’s because her mate’s host was a vampire, who the woman loved deeply. He had lost control of his passions and drained her to the point of death before turning his passion into self-loathing, ultimately begging his vampire master to destroy him.
Irkalla experienced an unexpected wave of sympathy for both hosts, and reassured her host that no harm would come to either personality within the female body, so long as the Goa’uld and human remained joined. And, as long as the vampire and his symbiote remained together, they would both work together to help temper each other’s weaknesses. At least, that was something she hoped herself.
“Do I please you, my lord?” she queried seductively.
“That you do,” he replied, as he swept her up off her feet and into a mound of soft pillows that lay conveniently nearby. “But you always have.”
“I require the life-code, my lord,” she said suddenly. “And I should like to… procure it… from your host.”
“And so you shall,” he replied with a chuckle. “And we shall enjoy the task, will we not?”
“It is always an enjoyable task with you, my lord,” was her answer. “In fact, it is hardly a ‘task’ at all.” Again, she could feel her host’s apprehension rising, but gently muzzled her. This was not a time for cold feet.
His cool hands slid along her body with the intent to know her new host body as intimately as he had the others she’d taken before. In return, she peeled off the strange Tau’ri clothing that concealed his flesh from her sight. Strange, because she was unaccustomed to modern Earth wardrobe, though her host’s memories quickly apprised her of the matter of releasing the catches and seals on such garments.
Natalie’s hands—her hands—slid over her lover’s cool flesh as his lips met her throat. She uttered a soft groan as her own clothing fell from her new body.
The next day was one of discovery. Her lover’s host feared the sunlight, but the symbiote’s presence prevented the pain that would have occurred otherwise at exposure to the unforgiving rays of light.
Her own host’s mind was less likely to quarrel with her now, finally understanding what both creatures were capable of giving their hosts in exchange for the protection their flesh provided.
Irkalla was pleased with her new body; the fair complexion, the fiery mane of hair and the small but strong digits—fingers, her host reminded her—that adapted well to whatever she wished to grasp or touch.
Touch was a remarkable sensation that the Tau’ri possessed, but then summarily took for granted. The pads of their fingers could detect the most subtle changes in temperature, consistency and weight with the slightest glance or press of the pads upon an object.
Touch was highly pleasurable, in more ways than Irkalla had anticipated.
She touched rocks, plant leaves, fabrics and—yes—her lover’s skin and hair eagerly, never tiring of the knowledge of the world brought by feeling.
But they could not stay here, the very place they had awoken. The memories of their old kingdom called too strongly for them to dally for much longer. They had to find the nearest chappa’ai and return to their home.
The chappa’ai was located inside a Tau’ri facility, its structure concealed within the bowels of a mountain. Her lord had located his weapon in their sanctuary, before they traveled in the direction of the chappa’ai. Getting to the room that held it was easy—stunning unconscious the few Tau’riwho met them—but attempting to operate and cross through the chappa’ai was another matter entirely.
Her lover shielded her from the armed humans, his ribbon device raised and at the ready as he gently shifted her behind him. The chappa’ai‘s opening rumbled, a quake lying unseen beneath vast oceans.
“We do not wish to cause you any further difficulties,” he told the Tau’ri‘s leader, a man who called himself General Hammond. “We only wish to return to our home through the chappa’ai. If you wish to prevent us, I will use force, if necessary.”
“Sorry, but we can’t do that,” General Hammond replied. “The Goa’uld have made a pretty nasty mess for us already. We’re not willing to add two more of you to the Rogue’s Gallery.”
Irkalla snorted. “Our very existence troubles you, then? Tell me, is Ra still in power? Or is there a new Lord above the System Lords?”
“Ra’s dead,” a fellow who’d introduced himself as Jack O’Neill replied. “Went kaboom a couple years back. Apophis is the head honcho now.”
Her lover growled. “Ra and Apophis are no friends of ours.”
“Oh well, that makes everything hunky-dory then,” O’Neill muttered sarcastically.
Hammond quickly got things back on track. “If you want to go anywhere, you’ll have to cooperate with us. We’ll give you a place to stay for the time being. It won’t be a palace, but you’ll get room and board.”
“For how long?” Irkalla asked.
“Until we decide what to do with you.”
Her lord, who had lowered his arm, raised it again and the ribbon device flared with a renewed threat.
Irkalla placed her hand against his firm bicep. “No, my lord. There has been enough violence for one day.”
He turned to look at her, and his expression softened. “As you wish, my Queen.” He lowered his weapon, then told the Tau’ri soldiers, “We will cooperate, provided you do not separate us.”
Hammond nodded. “I think we can manage that.”
“So, who are these snake-heads anyway?” O’Neill insisted.
Dr. Jackson looked up from his books. “As far as I can tell, based on the markings on his ribbon device, he’s Nergal. Which would make her Irkalla. His Queen.”
“Ok,” O’Neill allowed. “But who are they?”
Jackson raised an eyebrow, then consulted his books. “Irkalla, also known as Erishkegal, was the goddess of the underworld Aralu… and she’s a sister of Ishtar.”
“…Wait a damn minute, now!” O’Neill cried, his eyes widened. “Wasn’t Ishtar one of Hathor’s names?” At Daniel’s nod, Jack added, “So she’s Hathor’s sister?”
“It would seem so,” Dr. Jackson replied slowly.
“Oh, I don’t like the sound of that at all,” Sam Carter finally put in.
“What about Nergal? How’s he fit in the scheme of things?” Jack then said.
“He’s the god of war and disease, and he rules the underworld by Irkalla’s side.”
“They sound like a lovely couple,” Jack remarked. “The guy who’s all Four Horsemen in one got hitched to Hathor’s sib. I wonder what the bachelor party was like?”
Hammond finally spoke, having listened to the back-and-forth between his most valued team. “There seems to be no love lost between Nergal and Ra, but the real question is… Is Irkalla still loyal to her sister?”
O’Neill sighed. “Only one way to find out…”
An hour later, Jack strode from the cell the two Goa’uld were being kept in. “Well, that answers that.”
Sam Carter raised an eyebrow. “What did they say?”
“Apparently, Goa’uld take sibling rivalry to a whole new level. Irkalla hates her sister—I mean, really hates her. She’s never forgiven Hathor for getting hitched to Ra and trying to conquer… well, everything. Irkalla called her a power-hungry, self-obsessed strumpet.” He chuckled quietly. “I don’t have a clue what ‘strumpet’ means, but I can figure out based on everything else she said.”
“What about Nergal?”
“Oh, him? He said he and Irkalla were in exile from the Goa’uld systems. He also told me I was upsetting Irkalla with my line of questioning, and she needed to lie down. Like she’d get the vapors or somethin’. He also kept insisting they need to go home.”
“Maybe we should have Janet check in on them.”
“I was about to head off to Infirmary next.” Off Carter’s look, he insisted, “Really! I’m not that heartless!”
Janet found out that Irkalla was ill. The sarcophagus she had rested in prior to their appearance at the SGC had malfunctioned during Irkalla’s dormancy. The sarcophagus’ healing factor had been temporary, at best, and the host body was now reverting to the damage that had been inflicted on it before implantation.
Irkalla and her host were, simply put, dying.
Neither Goa’uld were speaking to the humans around them, and Nergal refused to leave his Queen’s side. Hammond, as a result, conceded that the former System Lord could sit in the Infirmary with his Queen… under armed guard.
Nergal did not complain, wanting only to be with his Queen.
“We don’t have a choice,” Hammond said. “We have to let them go.”
“What?!” Jack shouted, and Sam frantically signaled that he should quiet down or risk Nergal overhearing. The System Lord’s range of perception was a lot wider than they’d initially thought.
“If we keep them here and she dies, he’ll take that very personally,” Hammond replied. “He’s proud enough that he’ll declare war on us if she kicks the bucket.”
“But if we let him go, he could come back with an army and slaughter us anyway!”
“But he definitely will if we don’t release them,” Hammond insisted. He turned to the computer techs in control of the Gate. “Fire it up. We’ll have the coordinates soon.”
Nergal stood before the chappa’ai, his Queen lying weak in his arms. “Thank you, General Hammond. I will not forget the mercy you have bestowed upon my Queen this day.”
“Good luck, Nergal,” Hammond said. “And keep your nose clean.”
Nergal nodded. “I shall. You are welcome to visit at any time you require shelter from the remaining System Lords.”
Hammond gave a slight, strained smile. “I’ll keep that in mind.”