Transcript by Callie Sullivan.
PLANET (M5S-224). The area around the Stargate appears to be devoid of any plant or animal life, although it’s difficult to tell through the thick fog which covers the area. A few stone pillars can be glimpsed. Sheppard, Ford, McKay and Teyla, all wearing Hazmat suits, are walking through the fog, returning to the Stargate.
FORD: I’ve never seen so much nothing.
SHEPPARD: And I’ve never walked so far to see it.
McKAY: How was I to know the only structures on this planet would be in the immediate area around the Stargate?
SHEPPARD: There’s the Gate – dial it up.
McKAY: Wait. The energy readings here are exactly the same as they were a mile away.
McKAY: I really think we should stay for a while.
FORD: I thought you hated wearing these suits.
McKAY: I do – I’m incredibly uncomfortable – but these energy readings are amazing. It’s like it’s coming from all around us.
TEYLA: And yet you cannot explain it.
McKAY: Not yet.
SHEPPARD: You can’t figure out a way we can use it?
McKAY: Not yet!
SHEPPARD: Alright. Then let’s call it a mission.
McKAY: Wait-wait-wait-wait-wait. This thing is pure science – not everything has to be immediately useful.
SHEPPARD: You talked me into coming here because you thought those energy readings indicated the presence of a civilisation. There are no buildings, no people, no nothing – just fog.
McKAY: It’s not technically fog. There’s no actual water vapour in the atmosphere. I mean, you know, for that matter, I don’t think we need to wear the Hazmat gear. (He takes his helmet off. John and Teyla follow suit.)
SHEPPARD: Now you tell me! (To Aidan) Dial the Gate.
(Aidan dials the symbols on the DHD. The chevrons on the Gate light up, then the Gate kawhooshes. Rodney looks at his energy monitor.)
SHEPPARD: Let’s move out.
McKAY: Wait-wait-wait-wait-wait-wait. Hold on. You wanted useful?
SHEPPARD: What are you talkin’ about?
McKAY: When the wormhole connected there was a wild fluctuation in the energy field. If I read these numbers right, it looks like the Gate is actually drawing power from the atmosphere.
McKAY: So? I mean, the best I know, this field goes on for miles. I mean, for all we know it envelops the entire planet. We’re talking about a lot of energy here.
SHEPPARD: How much is a lot?
McKAY: What, in terms of joules or ergs?
SHEPPARD: In terms of ... lots.
McKAY: Well, lots and lots. Enough to open a wormhole back to Earth.
ATLANTIS. CONFERENCE ROOM.
[The beginning of this scene is missing from my copy but I imagine that somebody said something about the Atlantis Gate being the only one in Pegasus which can dial Earth.]
McKAY: It is, but that’s because it’s the only one with an additional control crystal that allows an eighth chevron to lock.
SHEPPARD: It’s probably a security measure.
McKAY: It doesn’t matter. As long as we have the control crystal, I can make the other Gate work.
WEIR: You’re suggesting we remove it from our DHD and bring it to M5S-224?
WEIR: Isn’t that risky?
McKAY: I’ll be fine.
SHEPPARD: I think she means in terms of breaking our own Gate.
McKAY: I know what I’m doing. Besides, the control crystal’s useless without enough power.
FORD: You said you didn’t know where the energy on the other planet is coming from.
McKAY: I believe it is being generated somehow in the atmosphere itself.
TEYLA: The fog.
McKAY (rolling his eyes slightly): Yes.
SHEPPARD: You said it wasn’t fog.
McKAY: Whatever it is.
FORD: Well, how do you know?
McKAY: I don’t yet – but the fog, or the mist, or whatever you wanna call it is the only thing around for miles and the energy readings were constant.
WEIR: OK, even if you can pull this off, we have to assume that the Earth Gate lacks a power source capable of establishing a wormhole back to Pegasus, so whoever went – they’d be taking a risk that it might be a one-way trip.
McKAY: I’m sure someone will volunteer.
McKAY: Believe it or not, I would only go if I knew there was a good chance I could come back. At least we can send a message to Stargate Command letting them know that we’re OK.
SHEPPARD: Well, we’ve gathered a lot of intel – we should send it, if we can, even if it’s over a radio.
(Elizabeth nods in agreement.)
LATER. CONTROL ROOM. Rodney comes up from under the Atlantis DHD panel.
McKAY: There – that’s it. (He’s holding the control crystal.)
SHEPPARD: So how easy will it be to put that thing in the other DHD?
McKAY: The Atlantis DHD is unique – it’s not like there’ll be an empty slot waiting for us to plug it in.
McKAY: Meaning that there may be some disassembly required.
FORD: You wanna take the DHD apart?!
McKAY: I’ll put it back together again.
TEYLA: Do you not run the risk of disabling the other Stargate?
McKAY: Only if I screw up, which is extremely unlikely.
SHEPPARD: Eight hundred and four years.
SHEPPARD: That’s how long it will take us to come get you by Puddlejumper.
McKAY (sarcastically): But you would do that, right?
SHEPPARD (insincerely): Of course we would.
McKAY: Well, it won’t be necessary. However, I may require some assistance.
WEIR (looking at John): Major?
(John immediately looks round to Aidan.)
(Aidan looks concerned.)
FORD (reluctantly): Yes, sir. (He smiles nervously at Rodney.)
M5S-224. Rodney and Aidan have arrived back on the planet, this time without Hazmat suits.
McKAY (into radio): Atlantis, this is McKay.
WEIR: Go ahead.
McKAY: We’re ready to begin work on the DHD.
WEIR: You’re sure about this, Rodney?
McKAY: Positive. Next time you hear from us we’ll be delivering the good news.
WEIR: Good luck.
McKAY: Back in time for supper.
(The Gate disengages. Rodney squats down to the bottom of the DHD.)
McKAY: Right – let’s get started.
ATLANTIS. JOHN’S QUARTERS. John is sitting and reading “War and Peace”. There’s a knock on the door.
SHEPPARD: C’me in.
(The door slides open and Elizabeth walks in.)
WEIR: Hi. D’you have a moment?
SHEPPARD: Yeah, sure. (He sits up and puts the book down. Elizabeth looks at the cover.)
WEIR: “War and Peace”? (She picks it up.) Wow, that’s some heavy reading.
SHEPPARD: Yeah, well, back on Earth when I was getting ready for this mission, I realised there was a good chance that I might be here for a while, so I figured why not bring along a book that takes a while to read?
WEIR (turning to the page that he has bookmarked): Page seventeen.
SHEPPARD: I’m right on schedule.
WEIR: Hmm. (She closes the book.) It’s kinda what I wanted to talk to you about. Home. Going home.
WEIR (pacing nervously): McKay’s right. If this works and we are able to establish a wormhole back to Earth ...
SHEPPARD: Y’know, if this conversation is going where I think it’s headed, you can put your mind at rest. I’m not going anywhere. I haven’t read my book.
(Elizabeth laughs nervously, then pulls up a chair and sits down.)
WEIR: Look, all I’m saying is that you are the person who is best qualified to brief General Hammond and the other powers-that-be about the Wraith threat.
SHEPPARD: Well, maybe so, but I think I’m needed here.
SHEPPARD: But if you wanna go, I understand that too.
WEIR: What, are you saying I’m not needed here?
SHEPPARD: I said I’d understand.
WEIR: Well, thank you, but I made a commitment.
SHEPPARD: Of course, in all fairness, life-sucking aliens weren’t part of the brochure.
WEIR: Regardless, I’m staying.
SHEPPARD: Good. Wouldn’t be the same without you.
M5S-224. Rodney is lying on the ground working on the DHD. Aidan is squatting nearby helping to illuminate the DHD with a torch.
FORD: So if this works, would you wanna go back?
McKAY: I don’t think it matters what I would want.
FORD: Why not?
McKAY: Because Atlantis can’t afford to lose me. (Unseen by Rodney, Aidan grins.) I’m their foremost expert in Gate theory, wormhole physics and a myriad of other sciences too numerous to mention, yet too important to ignore.
FORD: I’d love to see my grandma. She thinks I’m somewhere in Afghanistan or something ...
McKAY (interrupting): On the other hand, if someone’s going, it should be someone that commands the respect of the SGC and yet has the patience, knowledge and determination to bring them up to speed and find a way to bring the cavalry back here.
FORD: So what you’re saying is you’re invaluable everywhere.
McKAY: Granted, it would create a void if I were to go (Aidan giggles quietly to himself), but you can all take comfort in the knowledge that I’ll be on the other side spearheading the effort to return with reinforcements, fresh supplies and Big Macs for all.
FORD: I – I feel better already.
McKAY (oblivious to Aidan’s sarcasm): Yeah, good.
ATLANTIS. GATEROOM. Teyla comes over to John.
TEYLA: Major Sheppard, have we heard back from Doctor McKay?
SHEPPARD: Not yet.
TEYLA: Word of the discovery has already spread throughout the base.
SHEPPARD: I’ve noticed.
TEYLA: It is to be expected, of course – faced with the prospect of being reunited with loved ones, returning to familiar ground ...
SHEPPARD: Yeah. I’d love to go back.
TEYLA: You would consider leaving Atlantis?
SHEPPARD: I just wish I knew I could gate back here, then I’d go in a heartbeat.
TEYLA: It would be wonderful to see your world.
SHEPPARD: You could help me with the briefing.
TEYLA: I would like that.
SHEPPARD: Hey, you know more about the Pegasus galaxy than anyone. And then there’s all of those cool Earth things I talked about – football, Ferris wheels ... Oh! D’you remember the last of the popcorn we ate? We could get more!
(Teyla doesn’t look too pleased at that thought.)
TEYLA: If we knew we could return.
TECHNICIAN (from the Control Room): Unscheduled activation.
(The Gate starts to dial in.)
CONTROL ROOM. Elizabeth trots down the stairs from her office. The Gate is now open.
TECHNICIAN: It’s a radio transmission from Doctor McKay.
WEIR (into radio): Rodney?
McKAY (over radio): Elizabeth. I’m done. The crystal’s installed in the DHD and as you can see ...
WEIR: Well done. Uh, sorry – what about the energy readings?
McKAY: Same as before. All indications are that the Gate’s drawing power from the atmosphere and there’s enough for an eighth chevron mark.
WEIR: OK, you stay put. We’re on our way.
M5S-224. Elizabeth, John and Teyla have joined Rodney and Aidan, and all are standing near the DHD and facing the Gate.
McKAY (behind the DHD): So – are we, uh, ready?
SHEPPARD: What’s there to be ready for?
McKAY: Well, it’s a big moment and I thought, we haven’t been in contact for some time ...
SHEPPARD (sarcastically): Hooray.
WEIR: Go ahead.
(Rodney dials the DHD. The chevrons on the Stargate begin to activate.)
McKAY: Please work.
(He pushes the central button on the DHD – the Gate kawhooshes. Rodney stares in awe.)
WEIR (speaking into her radio mouthpiece): Stargate Command, this is Doctor Elizabeth Weir of the Atlantis expedition. Do you read? (There’s no reply.) I repeat – this is Doctor Weir, come in please.
HARRIMAN (over radio): This is Sergeant Harriman of Stargate Command. Whoever you are, this better not be a joke.
WEIR (smiling delightedly): No joke, Sergeant. I’m sending my personal IDC for confirmation. (She types her code into her GDO.)
HARRIMAN: Sorry about that, Doctor Weir. We’re just a little surprised to be hearing from you.
HARRIMAN: The iris is open – you’re clear to come through.
WEIR: Thanks, but we’re not ready to risk a one-way trip.
HARRIMAN: You don’t understand, Doctor – things have changed around here. The Asgard are in the process of fitting Prometheus with engines capable of reaching other galaxies. We were mapping a mission to find out what happened to you.
FORD: Is he serious?
WEIR (into radio): Are you serious?
HARRIMAN: Yes, ma’am. Come through now and you could be back in Pegasus inside of a month.
(There’s a pause as everyone takes in the news.)
McKAY: Well, (he clears his throat) who’s going?
STARGATE COMMAND (SGC). GATEROOM. At the bottom of the ramp, General George Hammond is waiting.
HAMMOND: Welcome back to Earth.
(We see who came through the Gate. We can’t see all of the ramp but it appears that only Elizabeth is standing there.)
LATER. SGC BRIEFING ROOM. Elizabeth is speaking with General Hammond. As she speaks, the camera pans across and we see that Rodney is sitting next to her.
WEIR: ... and while the Pegasus galaxy does hold many dangers, I feel its potential rewards justify the risk of maintaining a continued presence on the Atlantis base.
HAMMOND: Unfortunately, Doctor, your preliminary report has given the Pentagon cause for concern. If the Wraith are as powerful as you say, that would make them an enemy even more dangerous than the Goa’uld. There are those who believe it would be prudent to cut our losses and abandon the Pegasus galaxy altogether.
(Rodney makes a sound of disappointment.)
WEIR: General, you can’t ...
HAMMOND: We’re talking about a race that defeated the Ancients.
WEIR: Over its years in operation, Stargate Command has encountered a number of threats that could well have brought about the destruction of this world. Now, that never stopped you from continuing to send teams through the Gate, General.
HAMMOND: By the time SG-1 had returned from their first mission, the damage had already been done. We’d alerted the Goa’uld to our presence, and shutting down operations wouldn’t have changed that. In the case of the Wraith, however, we have a choice.
McKAY: So we’re just going to turn tail and run?
HAMMOND: The Pentagon would prefer to call it a strategic withdrawal.
WEIR: But how can we be sure they won’t come after us?
McKAY: She’s right. General, they feed on human lifeforms. Now they know there’s a smorgasbord waiting for them here.
WEIR: I don’t think we have a choice. We need to continue to explore the opportunities for technological advancement Pegasus galaxy has to offer – not to mention our responsibility to the other humans who live there.
WEIR: We did wake up the Wraith – and while, yes, that would have happened eventually without our interference, our access to Ancient technology puts us in a unique position to help those people. We can’t just walk away.
(There’s a long pause as Hammond thinks about it.)
HAMMOND: Rest assured your recommendation will be given consideration at the highest level.
(Elizabeth nods her thanks.)
LATER. Hammond is walking along a corridor. John comes around a corner and spots him heading towards the elevator.
SHEPPARD: Uh, General, sir! (He runs towards him as Hammond gets into the elevator and holds it for him.) Thank you, sir. (He gets into the elevator.)
HAMMOND: Major Sheppard.
SHEPPARD: I’m surprised the briefing went as quickly as it did.
HAMMOND: You were very thorough, Major.
SHEPPARD: Thank you, sir.
HAMMOND: In fact, by now, I’d have thought you’d have been enjoying some well-deserved R&R.
SHEPPARD: I was just going to arrange some transportation, sir.
HAMMOND: Well, consider it taken care of, Major, anywhere you’d like.
SHEPPARD: Well, that’s ... very generous.
HAMMOND: You’ve done your country a great service, son. You deserve it.
SHEPPARD: Thank you, sir. (He looks a bit puzzled by the effusive praise he’s receiving.)
SGC INFIRMARY. Teyla is sitting on the side of a bed strapping her wrist watch back on. John comes into the room and goes over to the doctors.
SHEPPARD: Well, how’s our patient doing?
DOCTOR: We’re all done, Major. She’s free to go.
(John walks over to Teyla.)
TEYLA: I was afraid you had abandoned me.
SHEPPARD: Just setting up our ride.
(Teyla stands up and turns to face John, smiling.)
TEYLA: So – where are we going?
SHEPPARD: We should start by getting you a new outfit.
A STREET. Elizabeth drives an open-topped sports car up the drive of a house. At the top of the drive, another car is parked with its bonnet up. Simon – Elizabeth’s boyfriend, last seen in “Rising” – comes up from underneath the bonnet and stares in shock when he sees her. She gets out of the car. Simon grabs a rag from his car and starts to clean his hands, still staring at her. Hesitantly, Elizabeth walks towards him, unsure of whether she is welcome or not.
WEIR: Hello, Simon.
SIMON: My God. When did you ...? (He trails off, gazing at her, and neither of them move for a moment. Then he smiles, reaches out and takes her head in his hands before pulling her into a hug. Elizabeth wraps her arms around him and hugs him back.)
WEIR: I missed you.
APARTMENT. Rodney opens the door to his apartment and walks in. He goes to his answering machine and pushes a button.
ANSWERING MACHINE: You have no new messages.
McKAY: Huh! Must have been a power failure or something. Anyways ... (He goes to the sofa, picks up the TV remote control and turns on the TV as he sits down. As the programme starts, he finds a half-eaten bag of crisps [potato chips] down the back of the cushion. He puts his feet up on the sofa and tries one of the crisps. It seems to be alright, so he eats another one.)
VOICE ON TV: There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling the transmissions. (Somebody knocks on Rodney’s door.) If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume ... (Rodney goes and answers the door. A pretty young woman is there. She’s the woman he left his cat with in “Rising”.)
WOMAN (flirtatiously): Hi.
McKAY (a little surprised): Hi.
AIR FORCE CAR. John is sitting in the back seat. He looks bored, as if he has been waiting for quite some time. The door opens and Teyla climbs in beside him, holding a small flowery handbag and wearing a very short denim skirt and a white and pale blue low-cut sleeveless top. She smiles at the car’s driver as he closes the door for her, then turns to John.
TEYLA: Thank you, Major! (She reaches for a shopping bag already in the car.)
SHEPPARD: You’re welcome.
TEYLA: I have traded in many market places on many worlds ...
SHEPPARD (raising a finger in warning as the driver gets into the front seat): Countries ... countries.
TEYLA: Yes, of course – countries. But here there are so many different items to choose from!
SHEPPARD: Yeah, you seemed like you were having fun ... hours and hours of fun. But you have picked out a nice outfit.
TEYLA: Thank you. (She looks out of the window as the car drives along.) I wonder, if we had never suffered the Wraith, would my people have created a civilization such as this?
SHEPPARD: I’m starting to wonder about a few things myself.
SHEPPARD: Nothing feels wrong to you? I-I don’t mean one thing, I mean everything.
TEYLA: I do not understand.
SHEPPARD (to the driver): ‘Scuse me. Uh, could you take us to the Green Moss Park area?
DRIVER: Sure thing.
SHEPPARD: Thank you. (To Teyla) I think I’ll have a better idea of what’s bothering me once we get there.
SIMON’S HOUSE. Elizabeth walks out into the back garden to be greeted by Simon’s dog.
WEIR: Hey, Sam! (She sits down on the steps to stroke him.) Did you miss me? Did you miss me, huh?
SIMON (standing nearby watching her): More than you could imagine.
(Elizabeth smiles ruefully and gets up to sit on one of the walls either side of the steps. Simon comes over and sits on the opposite wall facing her.)
SIMON: I don’t know how many times I watched that damned tape you left me.
WEIR: I wanted to tell you in person.
SIMON: No, you didn’t. You were afraid I’d talk you out of it.
WEIR: I was afraid you’d try.
SIMON: When you told me you were going away but couldn’t say where, my first guess was Korea. My second guess was Israel. To be honest, the Pegasus galaxy didn’t make my list.
WEIR: I am sorry.
SIMON: I know. (They gaze at each other for a while.) I imagine my security clearance doesn’t let you tell me what you’ve been doing while you were there.
WEIR (looking away): No.
SIMON: Or when you’ll be leaving again?
WEIR (meeting his eyes): No.
SIMON: Well, at the very least you could promise me that, um, (he reaches into the back pocket of his jeans) you’ll take this with you. (He hands her a flat velvet jewellery box.)
WEIR (smiling as she takes the box): Simon. (Simon moves to sit next to her as she opens the box. Inside is a necklace.) It’s beautiful.
(Simon takes the necklace from her and attaches it round her neck, then leans back to look at it in situ.)
SIMON: That’s nice.
WEIR: Thank you. (She kisses him briefly, then they kiss more deeply. After only a few seconds, however, Elizabeth’s eyes open and she pulls back, looking puzzled.)
SIMON: Something wrong?
WEIR: No, I’m sorry, it’s just when you kissed me ... (she trails off)
SIMON: What are you talking about, Elizabeth?
(Elizabeth looks at him, still puzzled, but is then distracted by the sound of her cellphone ringing. She stands up and walks away from Simon to answer it.)
WEIR: Hello? ... General, wh...? ... Yes, I understand. ... Thank you. (She hangs up.)
RODNEY’S APARTMENT. Rodney is asleep on his sofa. Some of the clothes he was wearing earlier are now strewn on the floor. He is wearing shorts, and a T-shirt with “I’M WITH GENIUS” printed on it. Above the words is an arrow pointing upwards. Someone knocks on the door. Rodney wakes up.
McKAY: Hang on. (He stumbles to the door and opens it. Elizabeth is there. At Simon’s she was wearing a pink top and jeans but now she is wearing a dark trouser suit with a white shirt.) Oh, hey. I was just in the middle of a, uh, power nap and, I’m not really ... dressed. (He retrieves his trousers and starts turning them right side out as Elizabeth comes in and shuts the front door.) I didn’t even think you knew where I lived.
WEIR: Air Force.
McKAY (starting to put his trousers on): Ah, right. Look, I can’t, really, um ... (he looks at his watch) I have a date with the girl in 302. She’s been taking care of the cat for the whole time I was away and apparently she, uh, misses me. (He grins.)
WEIR: Rodney ...
McKAY: I know – I try to palm my cat off with a neighbour and I end up with, uh ... (he trails off as he recognises the seriousness of Elizabeth’s expression). What?
WEIR: I just got a call from General Hammond. There was an accident on Prometheus. We can’t go back to Atlantis.
SGC. McKay is walking along a corridor with Hammond.
McKAY: I started working on a solution, but an hour ago, it hit me like Archimedes in the bathtub – eureka! Except I wasn’t in the bathtub, I was on the couch watching a very strange “Outer Limits” episode.
HAMMOND: Doctor McKay ...
McKAY: Forget Prometheus. I have figured out how to establish a wormhole connection back to the Pegasus galaxy, but I’m gonna need the ZedPM.
HAMMOND: The ZeePM’s been depleted – it’s of no use.
McKAY: Actually, that’s not entirely true. See, the last time we used it, the ZedPM had to establish and maintain a wormhole back to Atlantis. This time round, all we need for it to do is to have enough energy to establish the briefest of connections – by my calculations, approximately, what, three point five microseconds.
HAMMOND: That hardly seems like enough time to establish a connection ...
McKAY (interrupting): General, when we first set foot on M5S-224, before the wormhole shut down, I picked up fluctuations in the energy field. Now, at the time, I just assumed that that was an effect of the Gate’s residual energy signature. Now, having given it some thought, I realised that can’t account for such sizeable variances, which leaves only one possible explanation. The Gate must have been energised on our arrival, meaning it doesn’t just draw power on outgoing wormholes, but on incoming wormholes as well. All we have to do is make a connection. Three point five microseconds, that’s the minimum amount of time it requires to confirm a lock before the Gate automatically kicks in, drawing power from the atmosphere to maintain the wormhole.
HAMMOND: You’ll forgive me, Doctor – this all seems a little far-fetched.
McKAY: Well, think of it like making a long-distance call to someone you know is gonna accept the charges. All you have to do is dial.
HAMMOND: I’m sorry, Doctor.
McKAY: Well, you’re not gonna lose anything by letting me try, are you? All I wanna do is run a couple of tests.
(Hammond stops and gives it some thought.)
HAMMOND: Alright. I’ll have the ZeePM delivered to the lab. (He walks away.)
McKAY: Thank you. (He claps his hands together and walks off in the opposite direction.)
SGC CORRIDOR. Elizabeth, now back in her pink top and jeans, makes her way to the Briefing Room. General Hammond is sitting at the table and stands as she comes in.
HAMMOND: Doctor Weir. I wasn’t expecting to see you. (He gestures for her to sit down.)
WEIR: I’ve been thinking about what happened. (In response to his gesture) Thank you. (She sits.) I know it’s a bit of a set-back, but I don’t think we should give up just yet. If we can get the Prometheus repaired ...
HAMMOND: The Prometheus was severely damaged. We lost twenty crewmembers. She won’t be flying again any time soon.
WEIR: So we ask the Asgard for one of their ships.
HAMMOND: I’m sure that when the Asgard are in a position to help, they will.
WEIR: General, I only came to Earth because I was assured I’d be able to get back. Now, I am not about to abandon my expedition team.
HAMMOND: I’ll see what I can do, but I’m not making any promises.
SGC CORRIDOR. Aidan is holding a piece of paper and talking with Sergeant Harriman.
FORD: Wait a minute – you’ve gotta talk to somebody about this for me.
HARRIMAN: Look, I’m sorry. If those are the orders you received, it’s outta my hands. (He walks away, just as Rodney, wearing a white lab coat, comes around the corner behind Aidan accompanied by another scientist. Several more scientists trail along behind them.)
McKAY (to the scientist beside him): If there’s one thing I can’t abide, it’s sloppy work. If your people won’t double-check their results, then there’s no point in keeping them on the team.
FORD: Doctor McKay.
McKAY: Yes, Lieutenant.
FORD: I’m being transferred.
FORD: No, you don’t understand. I was seeing my parents, just having a good time, and some sergeant shows up with new orders for me. I wanna go back to Atlantis, and they wanna ship me back to Antarctica?
(They reach a set of stairs. Rodney jerks his thumb in the direction of the stairs and the scientists head up them. Rodney stays at the bottom with Aidan.)
McKAY: Lieutenant – do you know something that I don’t? Because the last time I checked, the Prometheus was critically damaged and the only ZedPM in our possession didn’t have the power to run a car stereo.
FORD: I just thought you’d be tryin’ to find another way.
McKAY: There is no other way, Lieutenant. You’re just gonna have to deal with it. (He goes up the steps. Aidan stares at his new orders again, then walks away.)
SIMON’S HOUSE. Elizabeth, wearing her pink top, is sitting at a table in the garden. Simon brings two mugs out and hands one to her before sitting down.
WEIR: Thank you.
SIMON: Would it be so bad if you had to stay?
WEIR: I’m sorry, Simon. I know none of this is fair to you.
SIMON: It is tough to compete with the greatest adventure in human history. (Elizabeth doesn’t answer.) I don’t blame you for going.
WEIR: Thank you. But I still feel guilty. And now I feel guilty about being back.
SIMON: Because of the people you left behind?
WEIR: No. I should have stayed at Atlantis. Major Sheppard should’ve been the one to go.
HOUSE. John opens the door to a house and walks in. Teyla follows him.
SHEPPARD: Oh yeah! Just like I left it!
TEYLA: So much space for just one person.
SHEPPARD: Well, a guy’s gotta have a lotta space. (As he and Teyla move deeper into the house, we see that it is very expensive-looking.) I bet there’s still a ... (He goes to a small glass-fronted refrigerator in the kitchen, opens the door, looks inside, then looks up at Teyla and smiles.) Perfect! (He reaches in, takes out two bottles of beer and shuts the door before taking the bottles over to a worktop and removing their caps. He hands one bottle to Teyla.) Nice and cold.
TEYLA: And this is ...?
SHEPPARD: It’s called beer.
(He flicks one of the caps across the room. Teyla takes an experimental swig from the bottle, then immediately takes a much longer drink. John nods approvingly. Teyla walks across to a table in the living room and looks at some of the bits and pieces scattered around.)
TEYLA: Is all this for recreation?
SHEPPARD: Yeah – I got pretty much everything you could imagine, don’t I? (He looks thoughtful.)
TEYLA: What is it?
SHEPPARD: I was just thinkin’ again – about Doctor Weir and everyone else on Atlantis.
TEYLA: Of course. I am sure she is fine – as I am sure they are all fine.
(She has moved over to a magnificent picture window looking out over forests, while we get a glimpse of a swimming pool and hot tub just below John’s house. John walks over to join Teyla at the window.)
SHEPPARD: Yeah, I’m sure.
(Teyla takes another long swig of beer. John looks around the house, not looking happy.)
SGC. LAB. Rodney, now wearing a grey shirt and no lab coat, walks in. There are several scientists in the lab, and the ZPM, glowing, is on a table.
McKAY: You people have those test results for me yet?
SCIENTIST: We need more time.
McKAY: What are you talking about? Let me see what you’ve got. (The scientist hands him a sheaf of papers. He looks at the top sheet.) Wait a minute, what is this, some kind of a joke?
SCIENTIST: I told you, we need more time.
McKAY: These don’t even make any sense.
SCIENTIST: We don’t think the ZeePM has enough power to open the wormhole.
McKAY: Well, you wouldn’t know that from this, would you? (He brandishes the sheaf of papers.) This might as well say, “Bing tiddle tiddle bong.” It’s complete gibberish! Look, get outta here – I’ll do it. Go! (The scientists start to leave the lab.) You’ve got to be kidding me.
BRIEFING ROOM. Hammond is with Doctor Weir. She is still in her pink top and wearing the necklace that Simon gave her.
HAMMOND: Thank you for coming in again, Doctor.
WEIR: Has there been a response to my request?
HAMMOND: Actually, we won’t be needing any help from the Asgard. It turns out Doctor McKay has found out the solution that will enable us to open a wormhole back to Pegasus.
WEIR: He has? (She smiles with delight, then her smile fades.) Why wasn’t I informed?
HAMMOND: Doctor – the Atlantis mission has been re-assessed.
WEIR: What does that mean?
HAMMOND: In light of the intelligence you’ve brought us concerning the Wraith, it’s been decided that the Atlantis presence should be military.
WEIR: Our allies have agreed to this?
HAMMOND: They did. As soon as Doctor McKay can establish a wormhole, we intend to send reinforcements, along with a new commanding officer. I’m sorry, Doctor, but you’ve been relieved of your duties.
WEIR: OK, wait a minute. (She stands.) I am not saying that there shouldn’t be an increased military presence, but the mission must remain the same – and I’m sure if Major Sheppard were here, he’d tell you ...
HAMMOND: We’ve spoken to Major Sheppard. He dialled in about an hour ago to check on your progress. We informed him of the situation and he agrees with our assessment.
WEIR: He wouldn’t do that, General. (She sits down again.) I know John Sheppard.
HAMMOND: Apparently you don’t know him as well as you thought, Doctor. Major Sheppard stated categorically it’s the only way to ensure the security of the project.
SHEPPARD: Let’s get out of here.
SHEPPARD: You wanna see Earth, right? It’s out there. (He gestures towards the front door.)
TEYLA: I thought you would want to spend time in your home, visit with friends.
SHEPPARD (pointing at her): There is an idea. (He nods. Immediately, the doorbell rings.)
(John opens the door as Teyla stands by his side. Two men, about the same age as John, are standing there grinning.)
MITCH: Hey! (He and the other man laugh.)
SHEPPARD: Mitch! Dex!
DEX: You didn’t really think you could pass through town without seeing us, did you, Shep?
(John is staring at the two of them.)
MITCH: So, you gonna invite us in or what?
(John continues to stare, then smiles a little.)
SHEPPARD: Uh, yeah, sure, what the hell?
DEX: Alright! (He and Mitch walk in. Dex smiles at Teyla.) Hi, I’m Dex.
(Teyla smiles at him and at Mitch as they pass by. John closes the door, a smug smile on his face.)
SGC. CORRIDOR. Elizabeth, in her pink top, is walking along the corridor.
LAB. Rodney, wearing his grey shirt, is sitting at a desk with the ZPM still glowing nearby. He is staring incredulously at a laptop.
McKAY: What is this?!
(Elizabeth – wearing her trouser suit and white shirt – walks in.)
WEIR: Is there a problem?
McKAY (looking up at her): Elizabeth.
(The camera pans across to Elizabeth – she’s back in her pink top.)
WEIR: Rodney, I need to talk to you.
McKAY (now wearing his lab coat): Can it wait?
WEIR: No. Something’s very wrong here.
McKAY (in his grey shirt): I ran a diagnostic on the ZedPM. These are the results I keep getting back.
WEIR (in her trouser suit): I’m not a scientist, Rodney.
McKAY: Well, neither is anyone else around here, apparently, or else they would have noticed that the laws of physics seem to have flown out the window.
WEIR: Maybe there’s a problem with your equipment.
McKAY: I checked. It’s fine.
WEIR: Look, if your solution doesn’t work, it’s not your fault. We’ll just have to accept the fact that we can’t go back.
JOHN’S HOUSE. A girl in an orange bikini jumps into the pool outside the window. Music is playing inside the house, which is now full of people. John turns away from the window and looks at Mitch and Dex who, rather drunk, are telling a tale of the old days.
DEX: Our boys were pinned down, so Hot Shot here takes his chopper right over this bridge ...
MITCH: ... and we’re supposed to follow him.
DEX: Well, there’s no way I’m flying a Black Hawk over a bridge with enemy tanks on it.
MITCH: Wait – with what on it?
MITCH: You’re welcome.
(They both laugh uproariously. Others join in.)
DEX: I still love that, huh!
(Teyla, sitting nearby, looks a little lost.)
SHEPPARD: Yeah, that was, uh, priceless. (He smiles.)
DEX: But, uh, we got that Special Ops team outta there, didn’t we, Shep?
SHEPPARD: Yes, we did.
MITCH: Tell you what, that was some flight, Shep. (He raises his beer bottle to John.)
(The doorbell rings. One of John’s guests opens the door and Aidan, casually dressed, walks in holding a large pile of pizza boxes.)
SHEPPARD (walking over to him): Well, look who’s in the pizza delivery business.
FORD (laughing): No, sir, I just caught the guy on the way up.
SHEPPARD: I was just thinking about you. Why don’t you come in? (A girl takes a pizza box from the top of the pile.) Looks like we ... are having ... a party.
FORD: Yes, sir!
(Other people come across to take pizza boxes from Aidan.)
MAN: I got pizza! Alright!
(John looks around at all his friends, looking anything but happy.)
WEIR (in pink): I’ve been relieved of my command.
McKAY (lab coat): Oh. I’m sorry to hear that.
WEIR: They’re gonna militarize Atlantis!
McKAY: Interesting. Well, it was gonna happen sooner or later.
WEIR: What, so you’re just OK with this?
McKAY: Elizabeth, how did you expect them to react when you told them about the Wraith?
WEIR: At the very least, I thought I’d be kept in the loop.
McKAY: Oh, now you’re just being paranoid. Why don’t you go home, spend some time with Simon?
McKAY (smiling): Yes. He’s important to you, isn’t he?
WEIR: Yes. I just don’t remember ever telling you that.
(Rodney’s smile fades and he looks a little nervous.)
McKAY: Well, how else would I have known?
(Elizabeth looks at Rodney, puzzled.)
DEX: We didn’t know what to think. I mean, this guy was supposedly one of the most ruthless warlords in Afghanistan and suddenly he just sits down at our table.
(John has been wandering around looking at people and now walks over to Aidan, who’s listening to Dex’s story.)
FORD: Sir, you gotta hear this.
SHEPPARD: Yeah, I was there, Lieutenant.
DEX: Oh yeah, you remember. Turns out he just wants to practise his English on us. Shep spent half the night talking to Skippy!
SHEPPARD: Yeah, that was funny.
MITCH: He wouldn’t even let you get up to go to the bathroom, remember?! (He and Dex laugh. Aidan joins in.)
SHEPPARD: Then, uh, three days later, you guys were killed outside Khabour.
McKAY (grey shirt): Let me see if I can make you understand, OK? These results don’t just say the ZedPM won’t work – they say this reality isn’t governed by any natural laws. It’s like looking through a microscope at a cell culture and seeing a thousand dancing hamsters! It’s impossible!
WEIR (trouser suit): Rodney, you need to calm down.
McKAY: No, no, what I need to do now is to get very agitated because what I’m realising is all this is a lie! This (he slams the lid of the laptop down), and this (he brandishes the sheaf of papers and then throws it to the floor), and this. (He grabs the ZPM and throws it to the floor, where it smashes.)
TEYLA: What are you saying?
SHEPPARD: Their chopper took an RPG when it touched down for med-evac. There was barely enough left to bring back for a military funeral.
SHEPPARD: You guys have been dead for years. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s really nice seeing you. (He points to a middle-aged woman.) You too, Miss Watson.
FORD: Sir ...
SHEPPARD: She was my sixth grade teacher. (He points to a blonde young woman.) And I don’t even remember your name, but I remember you wouldn’t even date me!
MITCH: Shep, I think we should take you to see a doctor.
SHEPPARD: Oh, really?!
DEX: Yeah, you’re acting pretty strange.
SHEPPARD: Oh, I’m acting strange, huh? (He reaches down and pulls out a pistol, aiming it into the room. Everyone looks nervous. He calmly aims at Dex and shoots him in the shoulder. Dex falls to the floor as a woman screams.)
TEYLA (jumping to her feet): Major!
(Dex, clutching his shoulder in pain, rolls onto his knees and starts to stand up.)
SGC. LAB. Rodney, in his grey shirt, reaches down and picks up some pieces of the shattered ZPM and brandishes them.
McKAY: Now, see what I mean?!
WEIR (in the pink top): OK, the Rodney McKay I know would never accept the militarization of Atlantis without putting up a fight. And I don’t think Major Sheppard would agree to it either, at least not without speaking to me about it first.
McKAY (in the lab coat): Elizabeth, you shouldn’t take it personally. I mean, think of it like a blessing. You have a life – you can get back to it now.
WEIR: OK, no – I’m not buying this any more. Who are you really?
McKAY (laughing): Who am I – what do you mean?
JOHN’S HOUSE. Dex gets to his feet, still clutching his shoulder.
DEX (angrily): You shot me!
SHEPPARD (still pointing the pistol): You’re already dead!
FORD (standing up): Sir, gimme ... (He stops as John swings the pistol round and points it at Aidan’s chest. Aidan backs up a few steps.)
SHEPPARD: I’m beginning to have my doubts about you too, Lieutenant. I wouldn’t put them to a test. (Still pointing the pistol into the room, he takes a swig from his beer bottle.) Now somebody explain to me what the hell is goin’ on here!
SGC. LAB. Rodney, in his lab coat, is grinning fixedly as Elizabeth stares at him.
HAMMOND: Doctor Weir?
(Elizabeth, in the pink top, turns around to see General Hammond standing behind her.)
WEIR: OK, no more lies. What is this? What’s happening to me?
HAMMOND: There’s no point in deluding you any longer. (He morphs into a misty figure, human shaped, for a few seconds, then assumes the form of General Hammond again.) Now you know.
(Elizabeth turns to look around the lab. The ZPM, intact, is glowing on the table but there’s no sign of Rodney. She turns back to ‘Hammond’.)
WEIR: Where’s Rodney?
‘HAMMOND’: The real Doctor McKay and the rest of his team reside in their own illusory worlds.
WEIR: I wanna see them. Please.
SGC. GATEROOM. On the ramp to the Gate, John is standing just as he had been a few moments before in the house, except that his right hand is now empty of a gun and there’s no beer bottle in his left hand. He looks down as he realises that he is now in the Gateroom. Behind him on the ramp, Teyla, Rodney and Aidan also look around the Gateroom as their fake worlds dissolve. At the bottom of the ramp, ‘Hammond’ and Elizabeth appear out of nowhere, as if they’ve been teleported into the room.
SHEPPARD: What happened?
‘HAMMOND’: I drew you together from your fractured realities.
SHEPPARD (looking down at his left hand): I’m talking about the beer I had.
‘HAMMOND’: Major Sheppard discovered the truth some time ago.
McKAY: He did?
SHEPPARD: Well, home for the last eleven months has been a research base in Antarctica ... although I did dream about a bachelor pad like that.
‘HAMMOND’: Major Sheppard seemed uniquely capable of manipulating his own fabricated reality.
SHEPPARD: When I think about the scenarios I could have thought up, I’d kick myself.
‘HAMMOND’: The realities you experienced were fabrications of your own minds. (To Teyla) Since you had no memories of Earth to draw from, you shared in Major Sheppard’s illusion.
SHEPPARD (to Teyla): I thought that was you. (He looks down at her outfit.)
‘HAMMOND’: It is unfortunate that you all became aware so quickly. However, you may now create a fabricated reality of your own choosing in which to live out the remainder of your lives.
SHEPPARD: That’s not gonna work for us.
‘HAMMOND’: I’m afraid the matter is beyond your control.
SHEPPARD: Well, we’ll find a way to fight you.
‘HAMMOND’: That would be quite impossible, Major. Even now you are simply experiencing a shared fabrication. It will be best if you try to make a life for yourselves.
SHEPPARD: This isn’t life. What do you want us to do – just pretend?
‘HAMMOND’: I’m sorry – that’s all I can offer you. (He turns and starts to walk away.)
WEIR: Wait. (‘Hammond’ turns and stops.) Why would you do this?
‘HAMMOND’: To protect ourselves.
WEIR: From us?
TEYLA: We did not intend to harm anyone.
‘HAMMOND’: Unlike you, we exist in a non-corporeal form susceptible to the destructive effects of the Stargate on our homeworld.
WEIR: What destructive effects?
McKAY: So the energy readings we picked up – they were lifesigns. You were in the mist.
‘HAMMOND’: We are the mist, and every time the Gate is activated, lives are lost. Over time, explorers have come and gone, completely unaware of our existence. Sacrifices are made to ensure our secrecy, but when you came back we grew concerned. To learn your intentions, we had no choice but to enter your minds. When we discovered what you were about to do, we were forced to take preventive measures.
WEIR: But you just said you let others come and go. Why not allow us to do the same?
‘HAMMOND’: Your desire to return to your homeworld was too strong. The amount of energy required to gate to another galaxy would have killed millions of our kind.
FORD: So we ... dialled the Gate?
‘HAMMOND’: You never dialled the Gate – you just imagined you did. You’re unconscious even now on the planet’s surface.
McKAY: So none of this is real? (He finally realises the truth.) The cute brunette, of course, I should have known! How do you go from, “You’re a pig, but I like your cat,” to, “I missed you”?
‘HAMMOND’: We lacked a sophisticated understanding of your world. As a result, the illusions we created from your thoughts were ultimately flawed.
SHEPPARD: The dead people were a dead giveaway.
McKAY: Dead people? What were you doing?!
WEIR (to ‘Hammond’): If you’d just told us, maybe we could ...
McKAY: Woah, wait. I just realised something. (To ‘Hammond’) You’re saying that our unconscious bodies are still on the planet.
McKAY: Yeah, well, so, we need food, we need water, I mean, we need food.
SHEPPARD: What he’s saying is we won’t live long in this state.
‘HAMMOND’: Then I suggest you make the most of the time you have left.
WEIR: You’re killing us in order to save yourselves.
‘HAMMOND’: In order to save millions of our kind. I believe you would do the same.
TEYLA: If we do not go back, our friends will come looking for us.
‘HAMMOND’: Others of your kind?
SHEPPARD: They’ll show up. What are you gonna do – kill them too?
(‘Hammond’ looks at them, considering the situation.)
FORD: More will come.
SHEPPARD: Sooner or later they’ll figure out how to access the Gate; then millions of your kind will die. (‘Hammond’ looks at him, concerned.) We don’t leave people behind. If you were really General Hammond, you’d know that.
WEIR: But if you allow us to leave here, we promise we will never return – ever. You will not have to fear us ever again – I give you my word.
‘HAMMOND’: How can you make such a promise when you so desire to return home?
SHEPPARD: Sure, we’d like to go home. We’re not willing to kill millions of your kind to do it. Now, you’ve been in our heads – you’re-you’re in our heads right now. You should know we mean that.
(‘Hammond’ looks at them all for a long time, presumably reading their thoughts in an attempt to gauge whether or not they’re telling the truth. Finally he nods.)
‘HAMMOND’: I understand.
(The fantasy world of the Gateroom dissolves.)
M5S-224. The team are all lying unconscious on the ground near the DHD. They wake up at the same time and start to get to their feet.
McKAY: I don’t mean to sound negative because that would be, you know, so not me, but, uh, how do we know this isn’t a double fake-out? I mean, how do we know that this is, uh ...
(The voice of ‘Hammond’ can be heard.)
‘HAMMOND’: This is the reality. You have my word.
McKAY: I’m starving. Gotta be right.
SHEPPARD: Wonder how long we’ve been out?
McKAY: I need to get the control crystal out of the DHD. Shouldn’t be more than a few minutes. (He walks over to the DHD and squats down to the base.)
FORD: I’ll give you a hand.
(Elizabeth looks up into the air.)
WEIR: Thank you – for trusting us. (She turns to Rodney.) Rodney, be careful with that. I wanna make sure we can get back home.
McKAY: Uh, you mean Atlantis.
SHEPPARD: I think that’s what she meant.
McKAY: How do I know she wasn’t suggesting we pull a double fake-out of our own and dial Earth?
SHEPPARD: Forget the double fake-out – get the damned crystal!
(They carry on bickering as the scene fades out.)