Tok'ra

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The Tok'ra are an alien species from Stargate SG-1. They first appear in the season 2 episode "In the Line of Duty".

Canon background

The Tok'ra are an offshoot of the Goa'uld. The vast majority of them were spawned by Queen Egeria, except for a few who are former Goa'uld - most notably Egeria herself. This resistance movement of symbiotes (and their hosts), oppose the way of the Goa'uld. Their name is derived from the Goa'uld word "tok", meaning "against" and "Ra", the name of the Supreme System Lord.

Biology

While biologically the same species as the Goa'uld, the Tok'ra are very different from them philosophically. The Tok'ra only use willing hosts, and do not supress these. Indeed, the relationship between host and symbiote are one of equals and is fully symbiotic. Strong emotions, like love and grief, are shared between host and symbiote. As Samantha Carter was informed by the Tok'ra Martouf, the Tok'ra love as one.

The Tok'ra refuse to be called "Goa'uld" and will often become very offended if referred to as that. Another difference between the Tok'ra and the Goa'uld are that the Tok'ra enter the host through the mouth instead of the neck, as the hosts find the scar unpleasant. The Goa'uld does not wish to enter through the mouth, as it does not wish to be reminded of the horror on the hosts face every time it looks in a mirror. Since the Tok'ra take only willing hosts, this is not an issue for them.

History

The Tok'ra was founded more than 2,000 years ago by a (then) Goa'uld queen, Egeria. She had realized the evil of the Goa'uld and decided to turn against and openly fight Ra and the other System Lords, in the hope of changing the way the Goa'uld live. Since Tok'ra (like Goa'uld) have genetic memory, she created a resistance by spawning young who inherited her ideals and also wished to fight the Goa'uld.

Despite the many differences between the Tok'ra and the Goa'uld, the Tok'ra are often somewhat arrogant and have a tendency to find the Tau'ri primitive.

The Tok'ra resistance has been hunted mercilessly by the System Lords since their formation and have become masters at concealing their tracks. They have multiple bases to avoid being caught all at once and change the location of these bases regularly. Choosing uninhabited, inhospitable looking planets, they live in underground tunnels grown from special crystals. These crystals can be manipulated to grow corridors, rooms, even furniture.

One of these bases are generally larger than the others, functioning as a sort of temporary homeworld and home to the Tok'ra government, the High Council. The following Tok'ra are known to be (past or current) members of the High Council: Delek, Garshaw, Per'sus, Ren'al, Selmak, and Thoran, with Per'sus being the Supreme High Councilor and Garshaw being a Grand Councilor.

The Tok'ra mostly fight the Goa'uld through infiltration. Operatives are sent on missions to infiltrate and subvert the plans of the System Lords, playing the Goa'uld against each other and keeping any one from growing strong. In this way they avoid one of the Goa'uld rising to dominant power, until one day when they hope to be able to topple them all at once. The Tok'ra have many spies hidden among the Goa'uld across the galaxy, sending back information to the bases for coordination.

The Tok'ra have suffered many casualties over the years, especially after the Tau'ri began to fight the Goa'uld. However, the Tok'ra is as determined as ever to wipe out the Goa'uld and any other oppressors that may appear in our Galaxy. The development of the symbiote poison means the Tok'ra now have hopes of one day exterminating the Goa'uld completely.

The Tok'ra meet the Tau'ri when SG-1 finds one of their bases after Samantha Carter had been a short-term host to the Tok'ra Jolinar. The Tok'ra at first think the humans want to become hosts since they did not think there could be any other way they could cooperate. The Tok'ra later re-evaluates this decision after Jack O'Neill discovers a spy and Samantha Carter's dying father (Jacob Carter) volunteers to becomes host to Selmak. The Tok'ra and the Tau'ri agree to cooperate and eventually sign a treaty, becoming allies.

Known Tok'ra planets

  • P34-353J - desert planet. Where SG-1 first met the Tok'ra.
  • Vorash - desert planet
  • Revanna - forested world. Location of the Tok'ra main base, which was wiped out by an attack by Zipacna.
  • Tok'ra Homeworld - desert world. Mostly top-side crystal-based city built by the Tok'ra after most of their enemies are wiped out. Place of the extraction ceremony for the (presumed) last System Lord, Ba'al.

Tok'ra characters

The list is alphabetized by the symbiote's name, when known.

Recurring characters

  • Aldwin is the host; we only hear the symbiote speak once. He is a loyal Tok'ra, who is friendly towards the Tau'ri.
  • Anise/Freya is a scientist and historian. Anise is the symbiote and Freya is her host.
  • Garshaw of Belote/Yosuuf. Garshaw is a Grand Councillor of the Tok'ra, and known as the 'most hunted Goa'uld of all time'. Yosuuf is her host.
  • Jolinar of Malkshur. Jolinar was an important and influential member of the Tok'ra resistance movement. Rosha was one of her hosts, as was Samantha Carter (leading to the Tau'ri and the Tok'ra meeting).
  • Lantash/Martouf. Lantash is believed to be a relatively influential Tok'ra. Lantash was the mate of Jolinar and Rosha for almost one hundred years. His host during most of the show is Martouf.
  • Malek is a base commander of the Tok'ra outpost in the Risa system, and an influential member of the Tok'ra resistance movement.
  • Selmak is a member of the Tok'ra High Council, and known as one of their oldest and wisest leaders. Her host during most of the show is Jacob Carter, father of Samantha Carter of SG-1.

Minor Tok'ra characters

  • Delek is a member of the Tok'ra High Council and thus one of the leaders of the Tok'ra.
  • Egeria was originally a Goa'uld queen, who realized the wrongs she and others of her kind were doing. She turned against the Goa'uld and started the Tok'ra.
  • Jalen has had several dealings with SGC, and has responded to SG-1's distress call. She is generally friendly and helpful.
  • Kanan He was a good frend of the Tok'ra Thoran. He infiltrated Ba'al's secret base, and while doing so, he fell in love with Ba'al's lo'tar, Shallan. He later blended with Jack O'Neill.
  • Kelmaa Very little is known about Kelmaa and her host. She appears to have been a scientist, working with Malek. She sacrificed herself so that Egeria could use her host.
  • 'Lord Khonsu of Amon Shek' is the name this Tok'ra uses while undercover as a Goa'uld.
  • Korra posed as a minor Goa'uld loyal to Sokar using the alias Kel'tar. Sokar discovered he was not loyal to him, and sent a bounty hunter (Aris Boch) after him.
  • Marnon accompanied Anise/Freya when she went to ask the SGC for volunteers to test the Atanik armbands.
  • Ocker was a Tok'ra Security Chief for Malek, who fled to the Alpha Site after their base was attacked.
  • Per'sus is the Supreme High Councilor of the Tok'ra. He was interested in solidifying the alliance with the Tau'ri.
  • 'Dr. Raully' is her undercover name, her real name is unknown. She is a Tok'ra operative who infiltrated Hathor's ranks, pretending to be a Goa'uld.
  • Ren'al is a Tok'ra operative and member of the Tok'ra High Council. She is the ambassador to Earth when Jacob/Selmak is not available.
  • Sina. Not much is know about this Tok'ra. She has provided the SGC with valuable intelligence regarding Ba'al. The name of her host is not known.
  • Ta'seem was the chief surgeon responsible for extracting Ba'al from the Orici, Adria. Nothing else is know about him or his host.
  • Thellas informes the SGC that the entire Stargate network is down following the deployment of Dr. Jay Felger's "Avenger" computer virus. We have not heard his hosts name.
  • Thoran is a loyal member of the Tok'ra resistance movement, who has had a few tense dealings with Earth.
  • Zarin is a Tok'ra operative that often works undercover. She once posed as a minor Goa'uld serving Ba'al on P3S-114.
  • Zanuf was the Tok'ra symbiote who was willing to be implanted into Adria, the Orici, so that he could gain access to her mind and command her army to leave the galaxy. The implantation was meant to replace a Ba'al symbiote, but did not take place as planned after Ba'al released a deadly toxin into Adria's nervous system. Zanuf's condition was not revealed, but his fellow Tok'ra and surgeon Ta'seem said that he could not survive outside of a host for very long.

Tok'ra fandom

The Tok'ra fandom is relatively small, probably because we have seen very little about them in more recent seasons of SG-1, and because they do not figure at all in SGA and SGU (yet, at least). There are at least one relatively active mailing-list (tokra-resistance) for the Tok'ra in general, and one for the ship Sam/Martouf (SamandMartouf). There is no zine presence that I know of. There is a small amount of LiveJournal based fandom (tokrafans), as well as some on Dreamwidth (Tok'ra Tunnels).

There is a relatively active cosplay group, Tok'ra Resistance, who have also made a fanfilm, Lost Colony.

Tok'ra fanfiction are mainly archived at Symbiotica, but there is also some on Heliopolis, Fanfiction.net, and various private webpages. (See links further down on page).

Fanfiction

Tok'ra fanfiction is mainly gen and het. As far as I have been able to find out, Tok'ra fanfic started with Sam/Martouf shippers, and then slowly spread to more general Tok'ra fic. The gen writers are generally more interested in writing fics that flesh out the universe and the Tok'ra, than the ship writers, though there is overlap. There is very little slash in Tok'ra fic, but a fair amount of stories about moresomes - not really surprising since any Tok'ra pairing necessarily will include at least three beings.

Tok'ra fic also has a few body-swap stories - further complicated by the symbiote being present as well, leading to a larger range of possible permutations.

Gen fic are often focused on writing in-depth about the Tok'ra culture, the characters background, and how the Tok'ra came to be. Many Tok'ra fans and fanfic writers find it a great loss that the show stopped showing both personalities, as it was one of the things that most clearly sets the Tok'ra apart from the Goa'uld, while also giving rise to many interesting scenarious and stories. There is much more focus on the dual personalities in fandom than there was on the show (at least in the later seasons) and we often meet both host and symbiote in the stories. A peculiarity of this fanfiction is that the writers often invent their own ways of indicating host/symbiote internal communication in the stories.

Since there has been relatively little about the Tok'ra explored in the series, and we often know very little about the characters, especially the host, the writers have been very free to speculate. There are, however, several common ideas; Jolinar and often Garshaw are generally considered to have originally been Goa'uld who changed their allegiance to the Tok'ra; Selmak is often (though not always) considered female, even after taking Jacob as host; Lantash is considered to be passionate (yes, in that area too...); the Tok'ra (often) are thought to have a more tolerant, relaxed view on sex.

Ship fic have several specific pairings, though there is often a tendency to multi-ship and many stories mention several ships. The pairing which have traditionally have the most followers in this area is Sam/Martouf, but there is now also a fair amount of Sam/Malek fics. Other ships with some following is Daniel/Anise (Freya), Jack/Anise (Freya), and Jacob/Selmak/Janet. It is also very common to ship the Tok'ra with an OC. Strangely enough there is little written for Rosha/Jolinar/Martouf/Lantash, despite it being a long-lasting canon ship.

Earlier Tok'ra fic (almost always Sam/Martouf) tended to only feature the host, or only mentioned the symbiote as an after-thought. This is not so much the case anymore, with the symbiote being given much more focus in newer fics.

Themes

There are three types of fanfic which has long been very popular among people writing Tok'ra fanfic.

1) Getting the Tok'ra a queen. This started not long after the episode "Cure" where the Tok'ra queen Egeria died, effectively making the Tok'ra a dying species. This was not popular among people who like the Tok'ra, and many fanfic writers have written about ways to save Egeria or somehow get the Tok'ra another queen.

2) Bringing Martouf and Lantash back. This category appeared not long after the episode "Divide and Conquer", and was very popular among Sam/Martouf shippers for several years. There are still fics written about this, from time to time. There is even a term for the people who refuse to accept the events in "Divide and Conquer". They are called "D&C deniers".

3) AU fics where the Tok'ra have not suffered as many casualties; where the alliance with Earth is stronger; and where specific Tok'ra have not been killed. There have recently popped up many stories about Jolinar surviving and Samantha Carter staying her host.

Fanfic: pairings

Sam/Martouf/Lantash: This was the first Tok'ra ship, and stories were written about it before much else was written about the Tok'ra. The early fics focused almost entirely on Sam and Martouf, with Lantash barely being acknowledged. This has changed, and most fanfics in this category now have Lantash as a much more active participant. Recurring themes of these fics are Sam's confused feelings - are they her own or Jolinar's? As well as stories were she has to choose if she want to stay on Earth or join the Tok'ra, perhaps even become a host. There are also many "bring-back-Martouf/Lantash fics", as well as fics that ignore the episode "Divide and Conquer" completely, or rewrite the ending. There have started to be more Sam/Martouf fics that have Sam stay host to Jolinar - the whole Tok'ra "we love as one", of course usually then inevitably leads to ship.

Sam/Malek: This is a newer ship, but has gained some following. Here there are no need to first resurrect someone before the ship can happen. Since we have never met Malek's host, the writers usually give the host a name and include him in the story. All Sam/Malek fic I have seen take place after Martouf has died, perhaps because he could otherwise be assumed to be Sam's first choice for a Tok'ra mate?

Daniel/Anise/Freya: This ship has existed at least since 2005, maybe longer. It does not have a large number of fanfic, as sole fic of the story, but it is relatively often a minor ship in stories. The background for the ship is of from the episode "Divide and Conquer" where Freya tells Jack O'Neill she is attracted to him, but that Anise prefers Daniel. The stories either describe how Anise and Freya eventually synchronize their feelings as the emotion grows deeper, or write them as an established relationship and foregoes the issue.

Jack/Anise/Freya: This ship gets its background from the same episode as the Daniel/Anise/Freya one. Since Jack O'Neill is known to not like the Tok'ra much (to put it mildly), there are some obstacles to overcome. A few fics simply assume these have been handled and write from that, but some look at how Jack O'Neill realizes he likes Freya (and Anise) and often he also becomes more accepting of the Tok'ra. There are some stories in this category which have Jack O'Neill remaining blended with Kanan, and then pursuing Anise/Freya.

Jacob/Selmak/Janet: This ship is probably the third or forth most popular Tok'ra ship. While it is also written as a secondary ship in stories with another main ship, there is a fair number of fics focusing only or mostly on this pairing. Interestingly, the majority of fics about Jacob/Selmak/Janet has Selmak being female, and often the one pushing Jacob to admit his (their) feelings for Janet and initiate a relationship.

Versions of all of these ships also exist, where the Tau'ri in the pairing agree to blend with a symbiote and becomes Tok'ra.

Threesomes and moresomes are all represented in the Tok'ra fandom. This both includes the inevitable (all Tok'ra ships are at least threesomes), and several truly moresomes (more than two Tok'ra or a Tok'ra and more than one Tau'ri, etc.) since the Tok'ra in many stories are considered to have a more relaxed outlook on such things than many Tau'ri.

It should be noted that since most Tok'ra are siblings, most ships with more than one Tok'ra will strictly speaking be incestuos, but it has been shown often enough on the show that the symbiotes couldn't care less. The fanfic writers generally completely ignore the issue.

Notable Tok'ra-focused fanfic

Gen

  • The Compromised Trilogy by MerryK. Mostly Gen AU fic about Jolinar surviving.
  • Tok'ra Allegiance by Lizardbeth Johnson. The episode 'Allegiance' seen from the Tok'ra (Malek and his host's) POV.
  • Brothers in Arms by BuckeyeBelle. Jack and Malek have been imprisoned by Osiris and must help each other escape.
  • Birth of a Rebellion by Kenshul. Thousands of years ago the Goa'uld were much like they are today, save for one. That Goa'uld would travel down a path that would shake the balance of power among the System Lords and ultimately lead to a rebellion from within...
  • My Heart Shall Pass Unto Yours by Pagan Twylight. Malek's host is dying. He doesn't want Malek to die with him but to find a new host. They come across a young man chained in a room. Will he accept a symbiote?
  • Together to the End by Minion Of Sekhmet. Remember Khonsu, the Tok’ra SG1 is supposedly captured by in the Season Six episode “The Other Guys?” What was he thinking when he was killed by Herak, his First Prime? What was his host thinking? This fic attempts to give the him a little more depth.
  • Take With You My Love - the Blending of Lantash&Martouf by Pagan Twylight. This story takes place one hundred plus years in the past. Lantash and Justin, his host, meet Martouf, and as events unfold we learn how Lantash and Martouf became a blended pair.
  • Symbiosis by Yvi. An AU of "In the Line of Duty" in which Jolinar was only hurt, not killed and Sam and Jolinar flee the base to not get into the hands of the NID. Mild Jolinar/Sam/Martouf/Lantash subtext.
  • Red Queen The Tok'ra enlist SG1's help to stop Baal taking humans with special powers, hok'taur, for his new queen. But what they find could mean the destruction of the goa'uld and the salvation of the Tok'ra. Chars Malek, Jacob, Anise, Delek, SG1, OFC, Bratac PG-13.

Stargate Atlantis
SG-1 spinoff series Stargate Atlantis has also generated some Tok'ra fanfic, although (unlike the Goa'uld) actual Tok'ra characters never appeared in the series. Example fics:

However, in SGA fandom, stories in which one of the members of the expedition (besides Steven Caldwell, who was snaked in canon) are possessed by a Goa'uld are much more common than those where they are host to a Tok'ra.

Vids

There have been some, but not many vids done for the Tok'ra. The majority are about a specific character or ship, often Sam/Martouf. There are, however, also a few about the Tok'ra in general. Vids about the Tok'ra can be found at Kawoosh! and on YouTube.

Here are links to a few examples:

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