The Separatists had discovered the remnants of an ancient gate network that connected them to another galaxy far from their own and found that said galaxy was rich with resources and human conscripts. Intrigued by the potential within the new galaxy, Darth Sidious approves of Tyranus' idea to explore it for future use of the Sith Empire, but when they send a scout team to gather knowledge of the galaxy's denizens, only the team leader returns alive and tells a tale of gods and warriors in control of a good portion of the galaxy.
Unknown to Tyranus and the Separatists, is the very nature of the Goa'uld and their Jaffa warriors until the one who possessed the surviving scout attempts to take control of the Separatist leader in the hopes of gaining the powers of a Hok'taur and a foothold in a new territory...
The being that appeared as Commander Than Linnis walked the dim corridors of the Separatist dreadnaught, Invisible Hand, his pace was sure and swift but not hasty. He was mostly alone in the corridor but there were a few B-1 battledroids guarding the ship at intervals and once he passed a squad of the abominations as they marched through a four section and turned down an adjacent corridor. He paid no heed to the machines or anyone else he passed in the passages as he headed for the tower of the ship and quarters that the living crew, what little of them there were, called the Wizard's Tower.
Ever since the human had been captured with his machine soldiers, Marutuk had learned a great deal about the being's origins and who and what he served. The human had been easy to break with a few carefully applied touches of a pain stick and thus the Goa'uld commander had been rewarded with a fount of information that could gain him tremendous power amongst the system lords. Possibly, even, take over the entire Empire and rid themselves of the ever annoying tau'ri! Of course, his lord, Anu, would not have allowed him to go back and claim the host body of a hok'taur if he had known about it and the main reason why he had not mentioned it when he gave his report on the interrogation.
For all Anu knew, Marutuk was posing as a spy with the intent of taking control of one of the human's leaders for Anu. Nothing more. He was a loyal servant of his lord, after all.
But he wasn't and he soon would be the god instead.
He would be the one to claim the new host and he would return to his galaxy and slay Anu with his new found powers and army and force the other system lords into submission. But first he had to claim the hok'taur as his new host and from what he had learned from the human's memories, this being was powerful. This Count Dooku was suppose to be considered one of the most powerful of his kind for his generation and although, Marutuk could claim one of the other hok'taurs as a host, he had chosen, and preferred, to have the best of this being's species.
Only the best for a god.
Marutuk came to a halt at the end of the corridor and glanced down an adjacent hall that would lead him to the Wizard's Tower. He knew the hok'taur was presently residing inside his private quarters and hopefully meditating or resting at this hour like he had observed for the past six months whenever the hok'taur had stayed aboard the Invisible Hand. He needed the element of surprise in order to overpower the being. If the hok'taur so much as got one sense of danger, Marutuk's dreams of becoming a system lord and ruler of the Empire would end before they could begin.
Quietly the Goa'uld infested host turned down the corridor and paused again when he spotted two B-2 battledroids guarding the entrance to the Wizard's Tower. Normally having these guards here would have been a problem for him had he tried to take the hok'taur shortly after he had arrived in this galaxy, but after spending six months observing and probing the memories of his current host, he had learned a means to deal with the machines swiftly and quietly.
Before the battledroids could react or figure out what had happened to them, Marutuk approached and slapped two restraining bolts onto their chest plates. The devices adhered and activated too swiftly for the machines and with a simple click of a remote, the Goa'uld watched as the battledroids powered down. Too easy, he mused with an arrogant grin and reached out for the control panel.
With a hiss of hydraulics, the door slid upward to reveal a large suite tastefully furnished with décor and furnishings his host would have recognized as antiques but Marutuk did not. Though he did have to admit that the hok'taur had good tastes and something he probably would happily adopt for himself. He did enjoy some of the uniqueness of the various cultures his people had assimilated into the Goa'uld Empire over the millenia.
He took a quiet breath and shook himself of thoughts of what he would do after he had taken the hok'taur and returned his focus to the matter of actually taking the being. None of it would matter if he couldn't overpower the hok'taur. Marutuk opened his eyes and glanced around the suite, noting that it had one room off to the side that was presently closed. He did not see the hok'taur in the main part of the suite nor meditating in front of the great window and assumed that he was in the other room resting.
With the hok'taur asleep, it would make it all the more easy.
Quietly he slipped a kara kesh onto his right hand before making his way over to the side room. Flexing the fingers encased in the hand device in anticipation, he reached out with his other hand and opened the door. It slid upward with an audible hiss that made Marutuk wince at the loudness and hold his breath to painfully listen for any movement or sign of the hok'taur being alerted. But there was no sound nor movement from within the darkened chamber and so the Goa'uld stepped inside.
He cast his eyes about the room in search of his future host and frowned deeply and in confusion at the emptiness of the chamber. The only things inside were simply what one would expect in a sleeping chamber. There was no hok'taur! Where is he? Had he miscalculated when the man would be in here resting or meditating? Marutuk stepped further in and narrowed his eyes. He knew he had not erred. He had watched for six months and knew of the hok'taur's habits. So why wasn't he here?
The snap-hiss of the hok'taur's weapon from behind gave him the answer he had been searching for. Somehow he had been alerted to his presence and apparently had been laying in wait to ambush Marutuk.
"I do not know who you are or why you have foolishly chosen to breach my chambers," started the familiar baritone voice of the hok'taur as the Goa'uld slowly turned to face him. "But I assure you it will be the last thing you will ever do, my friend."
"No," Marutuk returned in a deepened voice, his eyes flashing brightly with an unnatural white glow in the crimson stained darkness. "Threatening your god will be for you, hok'taur."
There was a flicker of confusion on the hok'taur's face before his dark eyes narrowed dangerously. "I sense two beings within you...," he breathed and gave a disgusted look at Marutuk as understanding flashed briefly in his gaze. "A parasite, is all that you are."
"And a host is all you will ever be." Marutuk raised his armed hand just as the hok'taur struck with the crimson energy blade. Before the weapon could make contact, and Marutuk was amazed at how fast Dooku could strike, a blast of kinetic energy sent the new host sprawling into the main suite. The hok'taur seemed to absorb the impact against the sofa to roll over the back and onto his feet again.
"Impressive," the hok'taur complimented. "But not impressive enough."
Marutuk held the ribbon device at chest level and pressed a control on the back of his hand just as the hok'taur crossed the distance between them with an enhanced leap, his crimson energy blade coming down with deadly intent. The Goa'uld smiled sinisterly as shock crossed the hok'taur's face the moment his weapon impacted against a golden energy shield that surrounded him.
"Most impressive." Dooku praised as he stepped back to assess the Goa'uld. "A personal shield, but it won't protect you from the Force!" To prove his point, he raised his left hand and blue forks of energy leapt from his fingertips to engulf Marutuk or at least the power tried to. The hok'taur stopped when he realized that the shield was protecting the parasite even against his powers. "Impossible!"
"Now I have to say that was a very impressive display of power," Marutuk taunted and moved from his place by the sleeping chamber's door. He circled the hok'taur as the being turned to keep him in his sight. "My turn?" He raised the kara kesh and smirked as Dooku braced himself for another kinetic blast. But it did not come. Instead the red gem at the center of his palm glowed before erupting forth as a ribbon of energy, connecting with the hok'taur.
The Goa'uld watched as Dooku gasped and stumbled for balance, his weapon dropping to his side while with his other hand he gripped the side of his head. Marutuk advanced on the host, increasing the intensity of his assault with the hopes of driving the hok'taur into unconsciousness or temporary paralysis, long enough for him to leave his current host and take over the hok'taur. He had to give the being credit, though. Dooku was proving to be resilient in his attempt to resist the kara kesh's power. All it did was reinforce Marutuk's decision to take this hok'taur as his host rather than any of the others.
Certainly he would have preferred a younger host but once he overthrew Anu, he could simply use the sarcophagus to rejuvenate the host's body and extend the lifespan for thousands of years. Besides the age would give him the added bonus of being underestimated.
"Stop..." the hok'taur forced through gritted teeth. He was on a single knee, his weapon deactivated at his feet and his face contorted in agonizing pain. But Marutuk was not going to stop. He was a god, would truly become a god, and he obeyed no one, not even this old man.
"The pain will cease as soon as you surrender to your god," Marutuk demanded but did not expect the being to comply. He was not disappointed and taken by surprise by his response.
"I... have no god!" Dooku snarled and with a great effort, forced himself up into a lunge at the Goa'uld, his hand wrapping around the kara kesh and squeezing. Marutuk grimaced in pain as the device deactivated from being crushed along with his hand. He grabbed the hok'taur with his free hand and using his foot, hooked it around the hok'taur's ankle. The two men grappled as they both went down, Dooku still dazed and unable to focus on calling his power against the Goa'uld so the struggle was evenly matched for the moment.
Marutuk knew without the kara kesh he would not be able to overpower the hok'taur and it would be only a matter of time before Dooku regained his senses and crushed the life out of him. He only had one chance and it was now. He would take it and he would become a god at last. A flash of glowing eyes that quickly faded, Marutuk left his current host and through his own eyes he watched as the hok'taur reacted to his presence. The old man tried to jerk back with a horrified look before the Goa'uld could strike, but he was too slow.
With a hiss and a ruffling of his frills, Marutuk leapt at his future.
He was Count Yan Dooku.
He was Marutuk.
Dooku. Marutuk. Dookumarutuk. Dookumarutukdookumarutuk.
He didn't know who he was.
He remembered little of who he was.
A voice was screaming. It was his, he realized. A sharp pain had throbbed at the back of his neck and had worked it's way around his spine swiftly before sinking it's proverbial dagger into the base of his skull. Darkness had clouded his vision and that was when he recalled he could not remember who he was. Something had happened to him. Something evil, far more evil than his master.
Master? Who was that? Another hok'taur? What was a hok'taur?
He was a hok'taur.
No. He was Jedi. Sith. A god!
Dooku. The name was familiar. A flash of white roses on a vine trellis, climbing a wall of some structure. His home. A child's laughter rang out in the air. His own. A woman called a name proudly.
It was his.
No! He was Marutuk! Ancient when his host was still young. Conqueror of many worlds! Slayer of his rival, Mystra, and servant to Anu! A god, ruler of thousands of Jaffa warriors! He would not submit, he shall not submit!
The blending... The blending should have taken already! Why hadn't it?
You underestimate my will, parasite! growled a thought. His thought.
He was Dooku.
Dooku. Marutuk. Dookumarutuk. Dookumarutukdookumarutuk.
Another memory of the host flashed quickly by. This time it was of a great Temple. A small, green and wizened being stood before him, smiling proudly at him, calling to him as he held a severed braid to him.
A beautiful woman was pleading before him, tears streaked her fear stricken face as she groveled and begged for his mercy. His hand reached out and the kara kesh glowed. She screamed in terror and pain and he relished it. Someone yelled at him.
I. Will. Not. Surrender! the voice, his voice decreed defiantly. It sounded weaker. He was winning.
He was Dooku. A Jedi. A Sith.
No, he was Marutuk and he was a god!
He gasped for air, his brown eyes flashing white angrily as the blending finally succeeded. He was in control and the mind of the host was gone. The once baritone voice was distorted with a raspy deepness when he spoke, "I am Marutuk!"
No, he sounded tired but persistently stubborn. He scowled and sat up. Beside him was the unconscious body of his former host. The human had to die. He could not let the hok'taur's people learn the truth.
What would a god fear from peons and droids? came a sneer. Although weakened, the voice remained despite his efforts to suppress him. He snarled in reply and reached out for the hok'taur's energy blade, no, lightsaber, that is what it was called. It flew to his hand and Marutuk was filled with ecstasy at what he had been able to do.
He stood and towered over the fallen human. Thumbing the crimson blade to life, he raised it over his head to strike but hesitated. Why was he hesitating? Was he not in control of this host? Marutuk growled his frustration and exerted all of his will over the will of his host. He was a god, he will not be exorcised! The crimson blade came down and missed the human by mere inches.
He threw the weapon aside in anger after that. "I am in control, nothing remains of the host!" His eyes flashed and he closed them, his head bowing as he staggered back against the sofa.
"You are mistaken, parasite," Count Dooku snarled, his eyes snapping open. "I very much remain and I will take back my body!" A bead of sweat perspired at his temple as he spoke. It was taking everything to keep the demon at bay. He was unsure if he had the strength. The parasite's mind was strong, it's will powerful.
You cannot fight me forever, hok'taur, warned the Goa'uld. I will win in the end.
"I would sooner die!" the Sith declared and his brown gaze flickered to the discarded lightsaber. His hand reached out for it and summoned the weapon to him. Just as the cool metal slapped against his palm, his focus wavered and his eyes flashed white again.
"Old fool. You cannot contend with a god!"
You underestimate me.
I underestimate no one!
He collapsed to a knee, grasping his head with both hands in agony, the lightsaber falling to the floor again and rolling up against the unconscious commander. He had to maintain control if his plans were to succeed. He had to regain control if he were to be free.
He was Count Yan Dooku.
He was Marutuk.
Dooku. Marutuk. Dookumarutuk. Dookumarutukdookumarutuk.
He was Marutuk!
"No! I. Am. Dooku!" he snarled angrily in his voice and fell forward on to his hands, panting. Force help me, he pleaded as he felt the slithering snake tighten its grip on his mind even more. His eyes flashed again and the host fell back into the pit that was the darkest and coldest corner of his mind. He could not lose this battle, everything depended on him winning. He was going to become a system lord, the ruler of the Goa'uld.
He was a Sith Lord. He would rule beside his master and train the new generation of Jedi and restore peace to the galaxy!
I will win, hok'taur!
He collapsed to the floor and rolled onto his back, his eyes closed tightly as the inner turmoil raged on. The parasite tightened around the spine, torturing the host to submit, the body thrashing lightly in pain. Submit and the pain will stop, he commanded. Several seconds passed. A minute. Two. Three. Finally he sensed the host retreating deeper into the recesses of the mind, to escape the pain and recoup. Marutuk knew that Dooku was not ready to give up but he took advantage of the hok'taur's retreat and grasped onto the mind firmly.
He would not be toppled. He could not be toppled. He was Marutuk and he was a god.
Brown eyes opened and stared up at the ceiling of the suite before he commanded the body to sit up. Sweat poured down his body and drenched the tunic he wore and his silver hair. Never before had a blending been so taxing on the host and the Goa'uld. The last host had not been exaggerating the power of the hok'taur. Dooku was indeed powerful, both in rawness and in the mind.
Marutuk knew that he would not be able to exert his will on this being forever. The hok'taur would fight until he won or killed them both and that he could not have. He hated to admit it, but perhaps a compromise was necessary. He needed a host and he was no fool into thinking he could leave the hok'taur and survive. Dooku would slay him before he could get into a new body.
What do you purpose? Inquired the hok'taur tiredly. Marutuk wondered if he had been considering the same.
As much as I loathe the idea, began the Goa'uld, we share. I need a host to survive.
That does not sound beneficial for me, retorted Dooku.
I am ancient. I have knowledge that you do not possess. Knowledge that can win you your war.
Knowledge. The hok'taur sounded like he was contemplating the idea. I have no need for your knowledge.
Already had that with the Force.
Longevity. Centuries added to your natural lifespan.
There! The hok'taur remained silent for several long seconds. Marutuk could sense the host trying to probe his memories to discern the truth and he let him. He let him see how a symbiote could be beneficial to the host and he let him see the technology that could extend those centuries into several millenia.
And who remains in control?
Who indeed? What he had thus far proposed was Tok'ra hearsay. He was a god and gods do not share. Yet if he did not allow the hok'taur to have control, the man would fight him until he did have control again.
He loathed what he was doing.
Impossible to do.
I will allow you control for the majority of the time while we are here in your galaxy, Marutuk explained reluctantly. However you will relent control to me when I wish it. When we return to my galaxy, I will be in control until I have taken over the Empire. I am your god and you will obey.
There was a flash of anger from the hok'taur but he did not try to exert his will over the Goa'uld and Marutuk grinned sinisterly. Perhaps, with time, he could make this hok'taur submit to him entirely.
Brown eyes closed as the two beings became one.
Brown eyes reopened to stare up in fear and meet the fiery gaze of anger and hatred of the young Jedi Knight he had erroneously taunted too far. Crimson and azure blades held him in place in a scissor like prose and the raspy voice of the master commanded nearby. "Do it!"
No! Let me have control you fool, pleaded Marutuk desperately.
He was Marutuk.
He is Count Yan Dooku.