Lt. Colonel Fleischman and his team decide to investigate the city of Coalhearth, where Baal rules as king and defends his people from marauding Asgard, but first they must decide whether to leave SG-15’s Goa’uld infested second-in-command in the hands of the paranoid General Wycliffe.
General Wycliffe gave the go-ahead for SG-15 to investigate Coalhearth, but first he invited Red Jade onto the base to grill him for information (and subject him to a medical examination). During the checkup, Dr. Bradshaw brought to the General’s attention some anomalies in the DNA of the Goa’uld possessing Major Asahara – possibly a birth defect.
Heartened, SG-15 visited their friend again, to persuade Valesh to release her. Faced with a choice between one prison or another, Valesh reluctantly complied. Major Asahara, now undoubtedly acting under her own power, confirmed Valesh’s story – that she wished to join the Tok’ra and wanted only to help. In addition, she revealed that Valesh possessed neither the Goa’uld genetic memory nor that of the Tok’ra – she was a clean slate until she first took a host.
Asahara was cleared for active duty. During the pre-mission briefing, she surprised everyone by insisting that if Baal were indeed ruler of Coalhearth, Valesh would be a key source of intelligence in the mission to come. With a vote of confidence from Lt. Colonel Fleischman, the General acquiesced.
Once the briefing was over, the team met by the Stargate and started gathering their equipment. The General, after having a talk with Major Asahara and the doctor, joined them in the embarkation room and presented SG-15 with new badges and a new team designation – Alpha One.
Also joining Alpha One was a Jaffa named Lamara. A former servant of Bastet, she was chosen to represent the rebel Jaffa residing on the base when the Alpha Site was stranded. Together, they set out through the Gate with a perplexed Red Jade as their guide.
The trip to Coalhearth was uneventful, except for a brief stop to find appropriate disguises for the team. They spent the night at Red Jade’s lighthouse and made their way into the city, doing their best to gather information about Baal.
While there, the air raid sirens went off. Seeking shelter, Alpha One was ushered into the city library by Red Jade’s former neighbor, [[:Laughing Thunderbolt]]. The frail and eccentric librarian showed them quite a sight – a holographic Al’kesh flying right through the library’s upper floor.
Thunderbolt had quite a bit of evidence (and fervent speculation) of Baal’s deception of the people of Coalhearth. He also had a map of the palace, including a secret passageway. Alpha One refused his request to take him with them, and set off to investigate a little closer.
The way in was not unguarded. Two heavily armored Jaffa were guarding the hidden entrance. A brief firefight seemed to go unnoticed by passersby, and though Asahara was badly injured, she and Valesh insisted that the team continue into the palace while nobody suspected their presence.