The Tok’ra are a group of symbiotes who object to the ways of the Goa’uld and more specifically, the System Lords, deriving their name from the Goa’uld words “tok”, meaning “against” and the name of the Supreme System Lord Ra, who was killed by Colonel Jack O’Neill and Dr. Daniel Jackson on Abydos in 1995. Unlike the Goa’uld, the symbiotes only take volunteer hosts, often those who are sick or injured, and do not suppress their minds, allowing both entities full consciousness and control over the same body.
The Tok’ra were first spawned by Egeria, a Goa’uld Queen and former mate of Ra. She had come to conclude that the Goa’uld Empire was too morally objectionable to continue, and mothered the Tok’ra with her mental imprint of compassion, and a belief that they should only take willing hosts. She would mother several broods of her children to take the fight against the Goa’uld. In a final act of spite, the group was named the “Tok’ra” which meant “against Ra”.
Ra would later contract the Ashrak with hunting the rogue queen down which they managed to accomplish. They would remove the symbiote from her host and ensured that the Tok’ras numbers would never increase to such magnitudes again. This would be a traumatic time to the movement whose loss of their queen would impede on their organization. Dozens of Tok’ra symbiotes would be captured and killed by the Goa’uld and almost spelt the end of their kind. Luckily, the eldest brood of Egeria led their kind into hiding where they managed to survive.
After taking stock over their situation, the Tok’ra realized they were unable to acquire military forces sufficient to counter the System Lords and thus they adopted strategies of subterfuge.
The Tok’ra are similar to the Goa’uld and are in fact the same species. However, where the Goa’uld forcibly take over hosts and lord over their subjects as gods, the Tok’ra pridefully state that they do not take hosts. Instead, their hosts willingly chose to be with a proper symbiosis maintained between both symbiote and host. They strongly believed that the host had the right over control over their bodies and find those of their kind that attempt to forcibly take control over them disgusting. While this is true usually it’s the symbiote personalty that is the dominate one in the symbiote-host relationship. When speaking, the Tok’ra make use of their symbiote voice to show that the symbiote itself was speaking while the normal voice indicated the host was talking.
When the symbiote takes on a new host body, the process is done only with the host’s consent and done so through the mouth as Tok’ra find the entry mark to be unsightly.
The Tok’ra consists of hundreds of symbiotes who were all devoted to the fall of the Goa’uld Empire. However, among them, there were several different generations of Goa’uld broods. The eldest of which are few in number after succumbing to old age and natural deaths. These older symbiotes, such as Selmak, were respected, loved, admired and revered by the younger Tok’ra.
Furthermore, the lack of a queen sympathetic to their cause means that the Tok’ra suffer from zero to negative population growth and the loss of any one of their number is a staggering blow. There were the rare few occasions where defecting Goa’uld would be accepted into their ranks who would be the most infamous of the movement. These rebel Goa’uld would gain a title based on the battle where they revealed their betrayal.
The Tok’ra believed that their greatest weapon against the Goa’uld was their secrecy. At the time, they believed that anything that was not beneficial to them did not warrant a breach in their security procedures. The only thing beneficial to them in forms of an alliance were either hosts or advanced technology. This made them quite practical in their way of thinking, if somewhat callous.
any of the Tok’ra had a degree of hostility towards the Jaffa whether they were free or loyal to their masters. This was because every Tok’ra symbiote that died at the hands of the Goa’uld had a Jaffa being responsible for the task. This meant that there were no Jaffa within the ranks of the Tok’ra. They also viewed the Tau’ri as a potentially dangerous element due to their independence and seemingly reckless attacks on the Goa’uld, as well as pursuit of technologies believed to be beyond their understanding. This attitude was encouraged by the sharp increase in Tok’ra fatalities following the entrance of the Tau’ri into the conflict. Selmak was eventually viewed with mistrust for taking a Tau’ri host, as the rest of the Tok’ra High Council felt that Jacob had dominated their relationship and thus held more loyalty to the Tau’ri.
The greatest level of hatred was reserved for the Goa’uld themselves and the Tok’ra show little sympathy over the exploitation of their symbiotes as they believe that the Goa’uld have done much worse to humans over the centuries.
A noted ritual among their kind was the burial of their dead which involved them being placed in a pyre raised to the level of a Stargate. Once there, they say the relevant words about the recently deceased after which the Stargate was activated, causing an unstable vortex, which destroys the remains to prevent their capture and revival by the Goa’uld.
One of the key aspects of the Tok’ra culture are the Extraction Ceremonies in which a Goa’uld System Lord is captured and faces the extraction of the symbiote itself. This starts with the captured Goa’uld in a stasis pod while the Tok’ra leaders recite (in their own language) a list of crimes the accused had committed. Depending on the Goa’uld in question, this ceremony can last up to three hours. Once complete, the Goa’uld is released from stasis and allowed their final words, after which they are placed in the symbiote extractor. The symbiote is then removed from the host body and placed in a cylinder where upon a leader of the Tok’ra shatters it on the floor as everyone watches the Goa’uld wither and die without a host. The host may survive the extraction.
The race is governed by the Tok’ra High Council with their leader holding the position of Supreme High Councilor. Its membership is unknown but its decisions are binding on the rest of their people.