Ishta was a Jaffa high priestess, who once served the Goa'uld System Lord Moloc, until she formed and led the Hak'tyl Resistance (Hak'tyl being Goa'uld for "liberation"), a group of female Jaffa who saved adolescent female Jaffa from being slaughtered by Moloc. Before forming an alliance with the Tau'ri, she heard of Teal'c's backstory, about how he became a shol'va and defected from Apophis. After the first meeting with the Tau'ri, she developed an intimate relationship with Teal'c. Ishta was also among those who switched from using symbiotes to Tretonin.
Ishta was once a Jaffa high priestess who served under the System Lord Moloc. She had a husband who was a warrior in Moloc's Imperial Guard, but was killed in action fighting the forces of a rival Goa'uld. About three decades before first contact with the Tau'ri, Moloc decreed that only male children born in his domain would be allowed to live in the hopes of strengthening his armies and leading him to victory in war with the other System Lords. As the Jaffa lifespan was longer than humans, every young female was to be "sacrificed" to the Ceremony of Fire, a ritual in which all young Jaffa females were burned alive.
As a high priestess, Ishta kept a record of all births and presided over the ceremony itself. She decided that she could not sit back and watch her sisters be murdered and do nothing, so she, along with her seconds, Mala and Neith formed a resistance movement, called the Hak'tyl Resistance. Since they were allowed relatively free access to the planet's Stargate of the worlds under Moloc's rule, they could rescue as many young girls as possible and seek refuge on another planet, which the resistance would call Hak'tyl. She and her followers would seek out symbiotes from fallen warriors, which could be used to save the children before reaching prata (Jaffa puberty). (SG1: "Birthright")
She sent some of her followers to a planet where SG-1 of the Tau'ri, and Teal'c were to form an alliance with some of the Jaffa among Moloc's ranks, who wish to be free, including Ryk'l. However, there was an ambush, and Ryk'l was killed. The Hak'tyl members were able to save them and Ryk'l's symbiote, and escorted SG-1 to Ishta, where she intended on starting an alliance with them. She explained the history of her group to Major Samantha Carter, since she was a female member of SG-1. She wanted an alliance, so her group can be given more symbiotes, as well as food and supplies, which have become scarce. Carter offered Ishta an alternative to symbiotes, Tretonin. At first, she objected, but after spending time sparring with Teal'c, she agreed to send some of her sisters to become test subjects, since at that period, only two Jaffa were given Tretonin.
She spent more of her time with Teal'c, where she learned of Drey'auc, his wife who died when her symbiote matured. She told him that since she too has lost someone, there was no sin in taking comfort in another lonely soul, and the two spent the night together. The next morning, Neith felt that Ishta was no longer fit to lead after her time with Teal'c, and challenged her to Joma secu. After accepting the challenge, the two chose not to, as Neith's sister, Nesa was in need of a symbiote, and she heard from Dr. Daniel Jackson that Mala died due to complications in the Tretonin. Despite Teal'c urging her not to, she led a raid to acquire a symbiote.
She and some of her sisters arrived at a battlefield and saw several slain Jaffa warriors. When she was about to take the symbiote of a dying Jaffa, she heard him say the words "Shel kek nem ron", wishing to become free. Ishta grew disturbed at the thought on the number of Jaffa she took the symbiotes from, who would wanted to be free from Goa'uld rule. Neith was wounded by an enemy Jaffa, but Teal'c convinced Ishta not to take the dying Jaffa's symbiote, reminding her of the Tretonin. Neith was sent to Stargate Command on Earth, and was offered Tretonin, and after listening to Nesa, who also chose to take Tretonin, she accepted it. After the Tretonin tests were mostly a success, Ishta and the rest of her resistance also took it. Before she left, she kissed Teal'c farewell, and hoped that Teal'c would not take long to return for her. (SG1: "Birthright")
Her resistance would later became a part of the Jaffa Rebellion. In 2004, while Major Samantha Carter and Teal'c journey to Othala by a hyperdrive modified Tel'tak to get the Asgard to rescue Colonel Jack O'Neill from stasis after all the Ancient knowledge downloaded in his brain from the Repository of knowledge, Teal'c mentioned that he kept in touch with Ishta, despite later having a relationship with Krista James before the Tau'ri's next encounter with her. (SG1: "New Order, Part 1", "Affinity")
After Moloc learned of the existence and location of Hak'tyl, Ishta wanted her people to move to another settlement, and planned to stay in Stargate Command before Moloc sent his armies, and until the Tau'ri would find a suitable planet for them. Meanwhile, she believed her resistance has grown enough, and felt ready to take down Moloc, despite Teal'c's thoughts that she was rushing it. However, she ignored him and started a summit anyway, to defeat Moloc. However, the summit resulted in the deaths of all but three Jaffa; Teal'c, Ishta and Aron, after being under attack from Moloc's forces on the planet.
They were able to escape, but she noticed her Tretonin was lost. During the night, feeling weak from the lack of Tretonin, she left while Teal'c was sleeping, but was captured by Moloc, where she tortured her with a Kara kesh, in order to "repent" her "sins". While Teal'c went searching for her, Moloc noticed her Tretonin, and while he left his First Prime Cha'ra to continue torturing her, she took the Tretonin. Teal'c was able to find Cha'ra holding her hostage. Aron was able to kill Moloc by pointing a laser at him, so a missile could reach him and his Jaffa.
However, Cha'ra was unconvinced that his master was killed, and told Teal'c that if he shot him with a Zat'nik'tel even once, due to Ishta's weakened state, she would die, not knowing she took the Tretonin. Teal'c stunned him anyway, and comforted her with Ishta telling him that she had already taken her tretonin and asking if Moloc was really dead, hardly able to believe it. Though Teal'c suggested they go see for themselves, Ishta was too weak to go right away and had Teal'c hold her until she could regain enough strength to look. They were able to return to Earth and found a new settlement. Though she and her followers celebrated the death of Moloc, Ba'al took advantage of the situation, and took over from Moloc, which was anticipated. (SG1: "Sacrifices")
Behind the scenesEdit
- Ishta was played by Jolene Blalock, who was best known for her role as T'Pol in Star Trek: Enterprise, which was produced the same time seasons seven and eight of SG-1 was.
- Both episodes Ishta appeared in were written by Christopher Judge, who first wrote "Birthright" with Blalock in mind.