215 THE TOWER
Transcript by Callie Sullivan.
OFFWORLD. Team Sheppard is at yet another simple village with wooden huts roofed with straw, populated by peasants in simple clothing. Doctor Rodney McKay stands outside a hut with a look of exasperation on his face. He stands aside and gestures for a villager to wheel a cart past him, then shakes his head in irritation and turns to Teyla Emmagan, who is standing nearby, and Ronon Dex who is sitting on a bench outside the hut.
McKAY: If we’re hoping these people have something to trade, we are wasting our time. From the looks of it, they barely have enough food to feed themselves; and their technology – (he picks up a scythe) well, let’s just say that this about sums it up, huh?
TEYLA: Establishing good relations with our neighbours is not just about trade.
McKAY: Right, but do we need to make friends with every primitive agrarian society in the Pegasus galaxy?
(Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard comes out of the hut holding a vegetable that looks like a turnip or a swede.)
SHEPPARD: Alright, that’s enough. They can’t all be planets with cool technology and open-minded women. (He cuts a piece off the vegetable and sniffs it.)
McKAY: I don’t see why not!
(A middle-aged man approaches them.)
ELDRED: Greetings. I am Eldred.
SHEPPARD: I am Sheppard. This is Ronon, Teyla, McKay.
(Ronon and Rodney raise their hands in greeting to Eldred, who walks past them, looking around the village nervously.)
ELDRED: I’m sorry to have kept you waiting, but it’s harvest time and we must prepare our tribute for the Tower.
SHEPPARD: The Tower?
(Eldred turns to face the team.)
ELDRED: You must come from a distant land indeed if you have not heard of the Tower. I don’t know of anyone who is not under its protection.
TEYLA: Protection from what?
ELDRED: The Wraith.
(Rodney rolls his eyes, realising that once again they may have met a race who only appear to be backward.)
SHEPPARD: Is this Tower close by?
ELDRED: I will show you. Come.
(He leads the team away.)
SOME TIME LATER. Eldred is leading the team through a woodland. He stops and looks into the distance.
(The team stops and looks at the Tower in the distance. It is rising up out of the forest and it looks remarkably familiar.)
SHEPPARD: Is it my imagination or does that look a lot like ...
TEYLA: ... the central spire of Atlantis?
VILLAGE. Eldred and the team have returned from the Tower and are walking through the village.
SHEPPARD: How exactly do the people in the Tower protect you from the Wraith?
ELDRED: They have a great weapon capable of annihilating the Wraith ships which descend from the sky.
McKAY: What kind of a weapon?
ELDRED: Thousands of bright lights rise up from the ground beneath the Tower, swarm the ships and destroy them.
(The team stops and stares at him, recognising that he is probably describing drone weapons.)
SHEPPARD: Really? Thousands of bright lights?
TEYLA: And you have seen this?
ELDRED: I have never seen a Wraith ship – they have not come for many generations – but there are times that the Lord Protector sees fit to ... demonstrate this power to his people.
SHEPPARD: We’d really like to meet this, uh, Lord Protector.
ELDRED: That may prove difficult. Only members of the Royal Court are allowed in the Tower.
(Teyla smiles at him, turning on the charm.)
TEYLA: Perhaps they would consider making an exception just this once.
ELDRED: I’ll do what I can.
(He nods to them and walks away.)
SHEPPARD: Thank you.
(The rest of the team turn to John.)
DEX: You know this weapon he’s talking about?
SHEPPARD: We call ‘em drones. We’ve used ‘em to defend Earth and Atlantis, but we could really use some more.
McKAY: And not only that: if these people have working drones, they must also have a ZedPM.
TEYLA: Eldred said the Wraith have not come in a long time. Perhaps this technology is no longer operational.
McKAY: I’ll know more if I can get a little closer, take some readings.
ATLANTIS. CONTROL ROOM. Doctor Elizabeth Weir is talking to John via radio through the open Stargate. He is sitting in the Puddlejumper back on the planet.
WEIR: Do you think this Eldred is telling the truth?
SHEPPARD: There’s no reason for him to lie.
WEIR: And you say the Tower looks a lot like Lantian architecture?
SHEPPARD: It was overgrown by vegetation but otherwise there was definitely something familiar about it!
WEIR: So the people in the Tower could be Ancients.
SHEPPARD: I don’t know. A feudal society doesn’t fit the profile. Why would the Ancients wanna lord over a bunch of simple farmers?
WEIR: I don’t know. Either way, we should talk with them.
WOODLAND. Rodney is walking along with one of the peasant folk, a young man. Later in the episode Rodney will refer to him as “Baldrick”. I suspect that this is Rodney being his most sarcastic and using the name of Blackadder’s lowly sidekick, but as the man is never referred to by his real name, I will also refer to him as Baldrick.
BALDRICK: We’re approaching the base of the Tower. This is as close as I dare bring you.
McKAY: I take it people like you don’t get invited up for barbecues too often.
BALDRICK: The Tower’s for nobles only.
McKAY: Uh-huh. And what makes them noble, hmm? (He takes a scanner out of his pack and activates it.)
McKAY: Right! (He takes another doohickey out of his vest and walks forward, scanning the Tower in the distance.)
VILLAGE. Eldred stands in the village centre, cowering before four men in military uniforms. Unlike the villagers, these men clearly come from a more advanced society. We can’t hear what Eldred is saying to them but he appears to be trying to explain himself to the leader of the men and is clearly terrified. Ronon and Teyla stand nearby, watching with some concern. John joins them.
SHEPPARD: Who are these guys?
DEX: Soldiers from the Tower.
(The leader of the soldiers – the Constable – violently backhands Eldred, knocking him to the ground. John and the other two rush towards them.)
SHEPPARD: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Take it easy.
(The Constable turns to face them.)
CONSTABLE: Who are you?
SHEPPARD: Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard. Who are you?
CONSTABLE: I am a Constable of the Lord Protector’s guard, and this village scum (he looks round at Eldred) dared to defy me. (Eldred, kneeling on the ground, groans.) It’s clear we’re going to have to make an example.
(He takes a whip from off his belt, unravels it and prepares to use it on Eldred. As one, Team Sheppard draw their weapons and aim them at the Constable. The guards put their hands on their own weapons.)
SHEPPARD: I don’t think so.
ELDRED: Please, Colonel. It’s my fault.
SHEPPARD (to the Constable): If you think I’m gonna sit here and let you whip an innocent man, you’re sorely mistaken.
(A new male voice speaks from behind the team.)
(John spins round to face the newcomer, aiming his pistol at him. Ronon puts his back to John’s, still aiming his blaster at the Constable and his men. Teyla too continues to aim her P-90 at the guards. John looks at the newcomer, who is also dressed much better than the villagers.)
OTHO (to the guards): You may stand down.
(The guards do as they’re told.)
OTHO (to John and his team): You are the strangers who requested an audience, are you not? (He reaches into his pockets and takes out two small devices, holding them up carefully so that John can see that he doesn’t intend to use them as weapons.)
SHEPPARD: That’s us.
OTHO: My name is Otho. (He walks towards the team and holds up the smaller of the two devices towards Teyla, activating it. A light comes out of it and the device beeps. It’s clearly some kind of scanner, the results of which are presumably displayed on the larger of the devices. He aims the scanner at Teyla’s head and then runs it downwards.) I have the honour to be Chamberlain to the Lord Protector. (He looks at the display module, then aims the scanner at Ronon’s head and runs it downwards.) And you would never be allowed in his presence so armed. (He scans John.)
SHEPPARD: Well, I guess we’ll have to be on our way, then.
(Otho looks at the display module with interest as it beeps while he’s scanning John. It hadn’t beeped when it scanned the other two. Otho looks up at John.)
OTHO: I’m afraid it’s too late for that. (He steps back and gestures towards John while addressing the guards.) Take this one.
(Ronon draws his sword from its scabbard on his back and aims it at the guards. Teyla raises her P-90 in readiness.)
ELDRED: Please, Colonel, don’t resist. (One of the guards pulls him roughly to his feet.) The Lord Protector sees all.
OTHO: He does, you know. (John doesn’t move, still aiming his pistol at Otho.) But I suppose you’re going to need a demonstration. (A whooshing sound can be heard in the distance.) And here it comes.
(He turns towards the sound. John and Teyla look in the same direction while Ronon remains facing the guards. The whooshing gets closer and we see a bright light in the sky flying towards the village. We immediately recognise it as a drone. The drone flies down and smashes into the village a short distance away, exploding on impact. It doesn’t hit any of the houses but nevertheless causes a massive explosion. The villagers cry out in terror and fall to their knees. Otho turns to the team.)
OTHO: Now, please, turn over your weapons. Some of the people here may not survive the next strike.
(John looks around at the cowering villagers, many of them crying fearfully.)
ELDRED (pleading): Colonel.
(John reluctantly lowers his pistol. Ronon looks round to him for instruction and John nods his head. Ronon glares at the guards, lowers his sword and allows the Constable to take it from him. John looks grimly at Otho as Ronon hands over a large knife to the Constable.)
WOODLAND. Rodney is continuing his scans. Baldrick watches the area nervously.
BALDRICK: We are not supposed to be here. If the soldiers come ...
McKAY: Relax! I’m almost done.
(Teyla’s voice comes over the radio.)
TEYLA: Rodney, come in.
(Rodney sighs in exasperation and activates his headset.)
McKAY: Go ahead.
(Teyla and Ronon are still in the village.)
TEYLA: We have a problem. They took Colonel Sheppard.
McKAY: What? Who did?
TEYLA: Soldiers from the Tower. They confiscated our weapons.
McKAY: What, and you let them?!
(Teyla rolls her eyes and looks round at Ronon.)
TEYLA: We didn’t exactly have much of a choice.
McKAY (irritated): Alright – I’m on my way back.
(He and Baldrick head off.)
VILLAGE. Rodney is standing at the impact site of the drone, staring down at the damage and the fire that is still burning. Ronon is helping to put out the last of the fire. Teyla walks over to Rodney.
TEYLA: It was definitely a drone.
McKAY: Yeah. It’s pretty good shooting – I mean, if it was their intention to scare people and not actually kill anybody.
(John’s voice comes over the radio.)
SHEPPARD: This is Sheppard. Anyone reading me?
TEYLA: Colonel! Are you alright?
SHEPPARD (over radio): I’m fine. Is McKay with you?
McKAY: I’m here.
SHEPPARD (over radio): Did you find anything with your scans?
McKAY: As a matter of fact, I did. There’s definitely an active ZedPM, but it’s barely registering, so it’s hard to say whether it’s, uh, depleted or just not drawing much power right now.
SHEPPARD (over radio): What else?
McKAY: The really interesting part is that it seems to be coming from underground. Now, when I realised that, I started scanning for subterranean structures. The Tower is just the tip of the iceberg, and there is a massive structure buried beneath it. Now, it’s hard to say without more detailed analysis, but, (he laughs) it could very well be comparable in size to Atlantis itself.
SHEPPARD: Doesn’t really surprise me.
(We see where John is. He is standing in an exact replica of Atlantis’ Gateroom, looking up the stairs that lead up to the Control Room. He turns to look around the rest of the room. It’s all identical to the Gateroom except that the whole place is decorated with drapes, wall hangings, shields, candelabras, plants, some suits of armour and various other decorations – and where the Stargate would be, there’s an Ancient Control Chair on its dais.)
SHEPPARD: I’m in the Tower right now, and, uh, I gotta say ... it does kinda look familiar!
THE TOWER. SHORTLY AFTERWARDS. One of the side doors opens and an elderly man comes in followed by his entourage. They are all elaborately dressed. If they were on Earth, they would probably come from the nobility of the late medieval period, although there’s a touch of Renaissance and baroque in there too. The old man is clearly rather infirm, although he shakes off the person trying to help him into the room and walks in under his own power. Initially ignoring John, he walks over to the Control Chair, flamboyantly wraps his cloak around himself and sits down. The floor of the dais and the back of the Chair immediately light up. John frowns. A young woman sits down in a chair beside the dais, and a young man takes his place standing on the other side of the dais while Otho stands behind the Chair. The old man squints and frowns at John.
LORD PROTECTOR: You there. (He beckons to John.) Approach.
(John walks closer, then stops and nods to the man, smiling.)
SHEPPARD: Lieutenant Colonel John Shep ...
LORD PROTECTOR: I know who you are. I saw you in the village.
SHEPPARD: You did?
LORD PROTECTOR: I see all that I need to see within my domain.
(He places his hands on the control pads on the arms of the Chair, which reclines. A holographic screen appears above his head, showing live footage from the village. John gazes up at the screen but shows little surprise. Otho frowns at John’s lack of shock. John watches as the image zooms in on the rest of his team standing in the middle of the village and talking, though there’s no sound from the screen.)
LORD PROTECTOR: Your friends – they are concerned about you.
SHEPPARD: Well, um, to be perfectly honest, I’m a little concerned about me too. I mean, um, I’m a prisoner, right?
(The Lord Protector takes his hands off the control pads and puts them in his lap. The Chair rises to an upright position.)
LORD PROTECTOR: A show of force was necessary for the benefit of the villagers. It keeps them from getting ideas. But for the moment I would prefer it if you thought of yourself as a guest.
(The young man speaks to the Lord Protector without taking his eyes off John.)
TAVIUS: Father, I must object. (He looks John up and down derogatively.) This man should be punished. He challenged one of our constables.
LORD PROTECTOR: One of our constables?
(Tavius looks at his father and bows minutely.)
TAVIUS: Forgive me. One of your constables.
LORD PROTECTOR: Lieutenant Colonel, it would be my pleasure that you dine with us this evening.
(John smiles at him nervously.)
VILLAGE. As Teyla and Ronon stand nearby, Rodney is going over the scans he took of the Tower earlier. He is talking on the radio with John.
McKAY: From what I can tell by these readings, the underground structure’s not just roughly the same shape and size as Atlantis, it’s identical.
(Inside the Tower, John is alone in a room, presumably guest quarters of some kind. The walls of the room are covered in lavish scarlet coloured drapes. A large bed or couch is in the middle of the room, covered in different coloured cushions. There are candelabras around the room.)
SHEPPARD: Yeah, it’s pretty much the same on the inside, too – although, it’s been redecorated!
TEYLA: If it is a city like Atlantis, then where are the other spires?
McKAY: Probably fell a long time ago – maybe they were destroyed during a Wraith attack. Look, in the intervening ten thousand years, the whole thing must have been overgrown by the forest.
SHEPPARD: One thing’s for certain, these people are no Ancients.
McKAY: Well, from what you’re saying, the Lord Protector must have the gene required to activate the advanced technology.
SHEPPARD: So it would seem.
McKAY: Are they using any other technology?
SHEPPARD: No, not that I can see. They’ve turned the Control Room into a gallery for royal audiences. There are some systems that seem to be operational but I think they’re just running on automatic.
TEYLA: Are you certain you are in no immediate danger?
SHEPPARD: I don’t think so. They don’t have me under guard and they’ve even given me my own room.
DEX: I don’t like it. I say we call the troops and get you out.
McKAY: I don’t think it would work even if we tried. Look, the combination of the hologram technology and a healthy supply of drones – huh, they’d pick us off pretty easily.
SHEPPARD: For the moment, I don’t want anybody to do anything. Just keep a low profile.
NIGHT TIME. The team, minus John, is sitting around a table in Eldred’s house. Eldred is sitting at one end of the table, with Baldrick and Teyla on one side and Rodney on the other. Ronon sits at the opposite end of the table. Each of them has a bowl of what I imagine is soup or a broth in front of them. Baldrick offers around a bowl containing pieces of bread. As they each take a piece, a young woman comes in with a jug and puts it on the table.
PETRA: We are happy you could share our evening meal.
TEYLA: The pleasure is ours.
(Rodney smiles grimly as Petra sits down next to him. Eldred holds out his hands to Petra and Baldrick and they each take one and hold out their other hands to Teyla and Rodney. The two of them take the offered hands, then Rodney sighs and turns to Ronon, grimacing, and reluctantly holds out his other hand. Ronon takes Teyla’s hand, then looks at Rodney and rolls his eyes, holding out his clenched fist with a look of distaste on his face. Rodney winces and puts his hand over Ronon’s fist. The villagers bow their heads and close their eyes. Teyla follows suit.)
ELDRED: We thank the Ancestors for the great bounty bestowed upon us and we ask that they bless the Lord Protector, (Teyla opens her eyes at this) that he may ever watch over us and keep us safe.
(The prayer ended, they all release each others’ hands.)
PETRA: Please, enjoy.
(Everyone picks up a spoon and begins to eat.)
TEYLA: It is generous of you to remember the Lord Protector in your prayers, especially after what happened this afternoon.
ELDRED: It is unfortunate, but the soldiers serve the Tower, and without the Tower we are vulnerable to the Wraith.
DEX: In exchange, you give them a portion of your crops?
ELDRED: Half of every harvest.
(She looks concerned. The villagers clearly can’t afford to give away so much.)
THE TOWER. The Royal Court are eating dinner. It’s not a pretty sight. Unlike the villagers who have learned table manners, they are all stuffing food into their mouths with their fingers – and there’s an enormous amount of food on the table. The courtiers chat and laugh and drink and eat – all at the same time. John sits at the table looking rather squeamish at their behaviour. Mora, the Lord Protector’s daughter, is sitting beside John and now turns to talk to him flirtatiously.
MORA: I’ve never heard of anyone called Lieutenant Colonel before. What does it mean?
(Opposite her, Tavius breaks off from flirting with the woman sitting next to him to speak derogatively to his sister.)
TAVIUS: It’s not his name, you simpleton. It’s his rank.
(Mora looks embarrassed.)
MORA: My apologies.
SHEPPARD: That’s alright. Don’t usually stand on ceremony anyway. How about you just call me John? (He turns and smiles at her, then jumps as the woman sitting on his other side gooses him. She giggles as he turns to her with a startled look on his face. The woman attempts to look seductively at him. John turns away, appalled.)
MORA: Alright, John.
TAVIUS: It’s obvious to anyone with eyes to see that you’re a military man, which makes me wonder – why is it you question the actions of my father’s soldiers? Do you not agree that discipline is necessary?
SHEPPARD: I guess I just don’t think whipping people is a good motivator.
(Various people laugh at this.)
TAVIUS: The villagers are mindless brutes. They understand nothing else.
SHEPPARD: Maybe ‘cause they’ve never known anything else.
LORD PROTECTOR: I don’t think that any of us would deny that the peasants can be difficult, but how much worse would it be if they fell victim to the Wraith?
SHEPPARD: You protect ‘em with these, uh, lights – like the one that hit the village today?
LORD PROTECTOR: Of course.
SHEPPARD: Where do they come from?
TAVIUS: The Lord Protector calls them forth with his mind.
SHEPPARD: But from where? I mean, they rise up from the ground, but has anybody bothered to go down there and check it out?
MORA: You mean the catacombs?
SHEPPARD: Yeah, whatever you call them.
MORA: They’re dark and filthy – why would anyone want to go down there?
(The Lord Protector grasps his stomach, gasping and groaning. Otho, who was standing nearby, hurries forward to help him as he struggles to his feet. Mora jumps up from the table and runs round to her father.)
OTHO: My Lord!
LORD PROTECTOR (gasping and still clutching his stomach): It’s nothing. Leave me be.
OTHO: Take him to his chambers.
(A couple of servants support the old man as he walks away. Mora watches him go, concerned. Everyone else has risen to their feet in a mixture of respect and worry – all apart from Tavius who is still sitting at the table drinking wine as if nothing had happened. John walks over to Otho and they watch the Lord Protector leave the room.)
SHEPPARD: What’s wrong with him?
OTHO: He will be alright. It isn’t the first time this has happened.
(He follows the Lord Protector out of the room. At the table, Tavius smiles and nonchalantly picks his teeth with his fingers, letting out a prolonged and loud belch. John and Mora look round at him as he sucks whatever he picked out of his teeth off his thumb.)
VILLAGE. Their frugal meal finished, Baldrick and Petra are clearing the table. Eldred has already left the table and gone elsewhere. Petra offers some more of the contents of the jug to Ronon but he declines politely. Petra and Baldrick take the crockery out of the room.
McKAY: Well, that was a particularly unsatisfying meal.
TEYLA: We should be honoured that those with so little would wish to share with us.
McKAY: No, I’m honoured. I’m honoured and hungry. Seriously, we should be feeding them. We’ve got better food in our emergency rations.
TEYLA: I’m not sure that they would accept it. They are a proud people.
DEX: Not so proud that they’ll stand up for themselves.
TEYLA: That could change.
McKAY: Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa. Hold on a minute. We need to be careful, right? We have no idea who’s watching, remember? And we are supposed to be keeping a low profile, not starting a revolution.
TEYLA: You cannot seriously believe that this is a just society?
McKAY: It is a society that has not been culled by the Wraith in a long time. That much we know for sure. (Teyla and Ronon look at him for a moment, then settle back in their seats.) Now, where are the emergency rations?
THE TOWER. In his room, John is sitting on his bed and going through the contents of his pack. He looks up as Mora approaches and walks through the drapes that serve as a doorway.
MORA: Am I disturbing you?
SHEPPARD: Mora, no, uh, (he puts his pack down and stands up) how’s your father?
MORA: He is resting. Thank you for your concern.
(John walks over to her.)
SHEPPARD: Uh, look, maybe it’d be best if I just, uh, came back another day.
(Mora looks horrified at the thought and hold up her hand to stop him.)
MORA: No! You can’t leave! Please – there’s a matter of great importance my father wishes to discuss with you. Perhaps in the morning? (John grimaces.) If these chambers are not to your liking ...
SHEPPARD: No, no, they’re fine.
MORA: Well, then, maybe there’s something I can do to make you more comfortable.
SHEPPARD: Uh, I don’t think so, uh ...
MORA: Are you certain?
(She undoes the waist buckle of her gown, slides the gown off her shoulders and drops it to the ground. She’s not wearing anything underneath. John stares in shock.)
SHEPPARD: Oh, wow! I ... I never see this coming!
MORA: You don’t find me pleasing?
SHEPPARD: No, no, it’s not that – it’s just ...
(Mora grabs him and kisses him passionately.)
MORA: What you said at dinner, did you mean it?
(They kiss again.)
SHEPPARD: What did I say again? (He starts kissing her neck.)
MORA: About the villagers. My brother thinks it’s a sign of weakness, but I know that it means you’ll be a great ruler some day.
SHEPPARD: Right! (He grins and kisses her again, then his eyes open and he pulls back.) Ruler?! Wh-wh-what are you talking about?
MORA: My father has promised that if we are married, the succession will fall to me!
(John stares at her, aghast. Mora laughs delightedly and shoves him backwards onto the bed, following him down.)
MORNING. CHAMBERLAIN’S OFFICE. The room is lined with shelves full of papers and scrolls. Otho is seated at a desk studying some papers when John walks up and stops in the doorway.
SHEPPARD: We need to talk.
OTHO (looking up at him): Colonel Sheppard. Yes. Come in, please.
SHEPPARD (walking into the room and looking around): It seems that, uh, certain people around here have somehow, uh, gotten the wrong idea about me.
(Otho looks at him, not understanding.)
SHEPPARD: Uh, Mora came to visit me last night.
OTHO: You must forgive her forward behaviour, Colonel. She doesn’t have much time.
SHEPPARD: What’s that supposed to mean?
OTHO: I have many duties here in the Tower, the most important of which is as royal genealogist. (He stands up and gestures around the room.) These scrolls record the bloodlines of the Lord Protector’s family going back twenty generations. It’s my duty to study them in order to determine the best possible match for every member of the Royal house so that we may maintain the integrity of those bloodlines. This is necessary because only one of the Royal blood can control the Throne Chair which in turn controls the weapon that protects us from the Wraith. But I suspect you know some of this already. Most people when they see the Throne Chair activated for the first time react as though they’ve seen some kind of magic, but you – you didn’t bat an eye. (John looks uncomfortable.) What’s more, you have in your blood the very gene for which our Royal family has been so selectively bred all these generations. (He picks up the scanning device he used on the team the previous day.) I scanned you shortly after we met, remember?
OTHO: Colonel, you must understand how important this is to us. Over the centuries, despite our best efforts, the bloodlines have deteriorated. The ability of each new Lord Protector to control the Throne Chair – it is no longer a certainty.
SHEPPARD: Well, then, maybe it’s about time to start thinking about a new system of government.
OTHO: You have observed the inequalities of our society and you disapprove. I can hardly blame you.
SHEPPARD: Well, you didn’t seem to have much of a problem with that in the village.
OTHO: I must maintain the image of my authority in front of the villagers. It is my duty. But believe me, between the two of us, you are in a better position to change things. The gene in you is stronger than it has been in any recorded member of the Royal family for three hundred years.
SHEPPARD: You sent Mora to my room.
OTHO: I didn’t have to. She understands the situation perfectly well. Right now, Tavius is next in line, but the possibility that his sister might one day bear children with superior genetic make-up to him or his progeny, that will always be a threat.
SHEPPARD: So, if the old man dies ...
OTHO: Precisely. And his condition grows worse every day.
SHEPPARD: I know someone who may be able to help with that.
VILLAGE. Doctor Carson Beckett walks through the village, wearing a large backpack on his back and struggling to carry a large heavy case. Teyla and Rodney come over to meet him.
TEYLA: Doctor Beckett.
BECKETT: Good morning. I understand there’s a patient waiting for me in the Tower.
TEYLA: So Colonel Sheppard informed us over the radio.
(Ronon, who has been standing nearby smiling at the sight of Carson panting under the weight of the case, walks over and takes it off him. Carson sighs with relief.)
BECKETT: Oh! Thank you, Ronon. (Teyla and Rodney lead him through the village as Ronon follows behind.) Do you have any idea what I’m walking into?
McKAY: Not really, no.
TEYLA: According to the Colonel, your safety has been guaranteed by the Chamberlain of the Tower.
BECKETT: And we can trust him?
McKAY: Uh, not really, no. But I have a back-up plan. Look, uh, Baldrick, my trusty local guide, says he knows a way into the underground city. He’s not exactly thrilled about going under there but, uh, I think I can talk him into it.
BECKETT: And what good does that do us?
McKAY: Well, if I can find the ZedPM, then we can shut these people down whenever we want. Without the Drone Chair, they’re just a bunch of primitive thugs with axes and knives.
BECKETT: Axes and knives can cause damage, Rodney!
McKAY: You know what I mean!
BECKETT: Great! (He sighs again.) Alright.
THE TOWER. CHAMBERLAIN’S OFFICE. Otho is alone in his office, taking a scroll from one of the shelves. Unknown to him, Tavius is standing in the doorway watching him.
TAVIUS: Busy as usual, I see. Always making plans, plotting little strategies, all for the benefit of the Royal House, of course(!)
OTHO: Of course.
TAVIUS (sarcastically): Of course! I understand you’ve recruited someone new into your little schemes – this Lieutenant Colonel Sheppard. Something about medical assistance for the Lord Protector?
OTHO: He offered. What was I supposed to say?
TAVIUS: Just be careful, Chamberlain. Remember your place – and remember our arrangement.
OTHO: What about the Colonel?
(Tavius smiles unpleasantly.)
TAVIUS: I’ll deal with him when the time comes.
WOODLAND. Rodney and Baldrick lift a heavy stone cover from the ground, revealing a stone-lined shaft underneath.
BALDRICK: This is it.
McKAY: Alright. Let’s do it. (He picks up a rope he has brought with him.)
BALDRICK: I-I-I’m not so sure this is wise.
McKAY: OK, I’m not interested in your primitive taboos, OK? It’s a dark and scary place, but it’s not cursed or haunted or anything like that. It’s perfectly safe. (He drops one end of the rope down the shaft.)
BALDRICK: Actually, the catacombs are prone to earthquakes.
(Rodney looks concerned.)
McKAY: Oh, they are?
BALDRICK: Three village children died in a cave-in just last year.
(Rodney backs away from the shaft nervously.)
McKAY: I thought it was a superstition thing.
BALDRICK: Oh no. The danger’s quite real.
McKAY: Oh, now he tells me!
THE TOWER. LORD PROTECTOR’S BEDROOM. The Lord Protector is lying in bed as Carson stands at his side and finishes his examination. He turns and walks over to John and Otho who are standing nearby.
BECKETT: He’s anaemic, and both his liver and kidneys seem to be malfunctioning, but he’s not running a temperature, so I don’t think it’s an infection. I’ll need to run some more tests.
SHEPPARD: I wanna talk to him.
BECKETT: Right now, he needs to rest.
BECKETT: He’s not lucid at all.
OTHO: Thank you, Doctor.
(He turns back to his patient as Otho walks closer to John.)
OTHO: Colonel, I am authorised by the Lord Protector to speak with you on his behalf. Please come this way.
(He leaves the room. John follows him.)
SHORTLY AFTERWARDS. Otho has brought John to another very familiar-looking room. It’s a Jumper Bay containing at least four, possibly more, Puddlejumpers. A couple of them are covered with sheeting but others are not, and they are covered instead with cobwebs and dust. The whole Bay obviously hasn’t been used for many years. John and Otho walk alongside one of the Jumpers.
OTHO: Do you know what this is?
SHEPPARD (evasively): You tell me.
OTHO: It’s a flying machine – or at least it used to be. We ran out of power a long time ago. I know you have some understanding of these things, even though you try not to show it. I also know that this place was once home to a much more advanced civilisation. Unfortunately, aside from a few trinkets and useless relics, all we have left is the Throne Chair, and if the bloodline continues to deteriorate, soon that will be taken from us as well.
SHEPPARD: What if I told you there was a way around that? A way to protect the planet without worrying about all these royal bloodlines or any of that crap?
OTHO: That’s impossible.
SHEPPARD: What if it wasn’t?
OTHO: Such talk is dangerous.
SHEPPARD: He can’t watch everyone all the time. Look, I know you serve these people, but if you’re right, and eventually they lose their ability to control the Chair, well at that point what good are they?
OTHO: What are you suggesting?
SHEPPARD: A drug. Gene therapy. You give it to the people in the village, half of them will be able to control the Throne Chair, no problem.
OTHO: You’re talking about revolution!
SHEPPARD: I’m talking about survival. What’s gonna happen when the Royal family can’t protect this planet any more?
OTHO: And in exchange for this drug? What do you want in return?
CATACOMBS. Rodney has descended the rope and Baldrick is just lowering himself down. Rodney is shining a torch around when John’s voice comes over the radio. It is so distorted that it barely makes sense.
SHEPPARD: Rodney, come in.
(Rodney activates his headset.)
McKAY: Go ahead.
SHEPPARD: Rodney ...
(The rest of what he says is lost in static and distortion. Rodney turns and walks back to stand underneath the opening to the catacombs.)
McKAY: Say again? I’m not getting very good reception down here.
SHEPPARD (a little more clearly): I said, have you found anything yet?
McKAY: We’ve only just made our way into the city.
SHEPPARD: Look, I may be able to swing a little deal here. Drones in exchange for gene therapy. I just need to know how many they have left.
McKAY: Alright, I’m on it. (To Baldrick) Let’s go!
(They start to walk into the city but almost immediately the ground shakes for a few moments.)
McKAY: What was that?
BALDRICK: I-I told you – the catacombs are unstable.
McKAY: Alright, let’s just keep moving.
(They head deeper into the city.)
THRONE ROOM. The Court are going about their everyday business, milling around and chatting and generally having a good time. John stands on the balcony of what would be the Control Room in Atlantis, looking down at them. Carson walks over and speaks quietly to him.
BECKETT: Colonel Sheppard. I’ve completed my examination of the Lord Protector, and I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do for him. He’s dying.
SHEPPARD (equally quietly): How much time does he have?
BECKETT: It could happen any day now. But there’s something else. The reason he’s dying is because he’s been poisoned.
(John stares at him in shock.)
BECKETT: Aye. My guess is it’s been done slowly over the last couple of months, probably in his food. Any idea who’d like to see him dead?
SHEPPARD: Yeah. I have a theory.
(He turns his head and looks down at Tavius some distance away in the Throne Room, who gazes back up at him for a moment, then turns away.)
CATACOMBS. Rodney has found a partially closed door.
McKAY: This is it.
(Rodney groans as he starts to force the doors open.)
McKAY: Drone storage. (With Baldrick’s help he gets the doors open and they walk inside. The room is completely dark.)
BALDRICK (referring to what Rodney just said): I don’t understand.
McKAY: OK, those brilliant lights that magically rise up into the sky and destroy the Wraith ships? They’re not magic – they’re, uh, real, physical objects. They’re-they’re projectile weapons. Incredibly powerful projectile weapons. (He reaches a wall panel and puts his torch down.) The only question is, have they used them all up?
(He takes the cover off the panel and reaches inside as Baldrick walks deeper into the room, trying to see further with the light of his lantern.)
BALDRICK: I can’t see anything.
McKAY: OK, hold on. There’s a working ZedPM in here, so it should just be a matter of ... (he switches some components around inside the panel) this.
(He attaches the last component and the lights come on in the room. Rodney turns around to be greeted by the sight of scores, maybe hundreds, of drones in storage racks. He gazes in amazement.)
McKAY: OK! There are still a few left.
(As he smiles in delight, the catacombs begin to shake again.)
BALDRICK: Maybe turning on the power wasn’t such a good idea.
McKAY: I think you might be right about that. (He runs back and grabs his torch from the floor.) Let’s get outta here.
(The two of them run back the way they came as the catacombs continue to shake. Out in the corridor, debris begins to fall from the ceiling. A few yards later, the ceiling collapses just in front of them. They duck down as tons of concrete and earth plummet to the floor in front of them. The rumbling and shaking stops. Coughing from all the dust in the air, Rodney stands up to see the way ahead of them completely blocked. Baldrick stands and shines his torch on the blockage.)
BALDRICK: Is there another way out?
McKAY: Technically, no. That’s the only way out of this section. There’s no need to panic – I’ll radio for help. (He turns away from the blockage and activates his headset.) Colonel Sheppard, it’s McKay, come in please. (There’s no reply.) Ronon. Teyla. Please respond. (Again, no reply.) Anybody? (After a moment, he turns back and stares at the blockage.) OK, we may need to panic a little.
VILLAGE. The Constable and his colleagues have returned and are examining the contents of a cart laden with food ready to take to the Tower. Teyla and Ronon stand nearby watching. The Constable picks up one of the vegetables, looks at it and tosses it back onto the cart. He turns to Petra.
CONSTABLE: You call this a harvest? I bring this pathetic tribute to the Lord Protector and I’ll be whipped for my insolence.
PETRA: This is all we could spare.
CONSTABLE: Well, then, maybe there’s something besides food that you can offer.
(Leering at her, he seizes her wrist. She tries to pull free, terrified.)
(As she continues to struggle, Ronon walks towards her and the Constable.)
(The Constable releases Petra abruptly, causing her to fall to the ground, and turns to face Ronon.)
CONSTABLE: You again.
DEX: Let’s see how you do against someone who can defend himself. (He glances round, noting that one of the other guards has circled around behind him.)
CONSTABLE: You have an impudent tongue. I think I’ll remove it.
(He draws a long knife from his belt. The other guards have done similarly. Ronon swings round quickly and punches the guard behind him to the ground. A second guard runs at him. Ronon punches him in the stomach and grabs his arm while kicking a third guard in the stomach. He throws the second guard away from him and grapples with the third guard, punching him to the ground and taking his knife from him. He turns to face the Constable, who runs at him with his own knife. With a roar of rage, Ronon easily sidesteps the knife and slashes the Constable brutally across the throat. As the Constable collapses, Ronon walks away without looking back. The villagers look on in horror. Teyla walks over to Ronon, her face full of concern at what he has done. She activates her headset.)
TEYLA: Colonel Sheppard?
SHEPPARD (over radio): Go ahead.
TEYLA: We have a problem in the village. There has been an ... altercation.
CATACOMBS. Rodney and Baldrick enter a dark room.
BALDRICK: Where are we?
McKAY: This should be Auxiliary Control. (He sees a console in the middle of the room.) Yes. (He walks over to the console, pushes a few buttons and the lights come on. Rodney looks around the room.) That’s amazing! The layout of this place is almost identical.
BALDRICK: Identical to what?
McKAY: Never mind. (He walks over to a wall panel.) OK, we need to access the city’s internal communication systems, so ... (He starts to work on the panel.)
BALDRICK: Remember what happened last time you started turning things on?
McKAY: At this point, I don’t think we have much choice. (He continues working.)
CHAMBERLAIN’S OFFICE. Otho is there with John and Carson.
OTHO: This is terrible. I knew Tavius was cruel and vindictive, but to want to murder his own father?
SHEPPARD: Raising children can be very dangerous. The key is, we don’t let him succeed to the throne. We need to talk to the Lord Protector.
OTHO: I’m afraid it’s already too late. I received word a few moments ago. He is dead. You must leave, now. (John frowns.) Tavius will arrest Mora and anyone he considers was conspiring with her, and that includes you.
BECKETT: What about the villagers?
OTHO: He’ll kill them all – burn the place to the ground to make an example of them.
SHEPPARD: They had nothing to do with what happened.
OTHO: It doesn’t matter. Any defiance must be crushed without mercy to keep it from spreading to the other villages.
(Carson takes a capsule out of his vest.)
BECKETT: Look, this is the gene therapy we’re talking about. You can take it to the people and tell them what it means. (He hands the capsule to Otho.)
SHEPPARD: You don’t have to be slaves to this Royal bloodline any more.
OTHO: Well, this may be too late. Tavius will consider this to be treason. He’ll fight it. And if the soldiers support him ...
(He stops as a bell starts to toll somewhere in the Tower.)
SHEPPARD: What’s that mean?
OTHO: It means news of the Lord Protector’s death is already spreading. The Court has been called to assemble in the Throne Room. Go now, before it’s too late.
(Carson nervously clutches John’s arm and tries to tug him out of the room.)
(John looks at Otho for a moment, then he and Carson turn and hurry out of the room. Otho looks down at the capsule that Carson gave him.)
CATACOMBS. AUXILIARY CONTROL. Rodney has hooked up a computer tablet to a control panel.
McKAY: This is interesting. Looks like the ZedPM’s almost depleted.
McKAY: The ZedPM – it’s, uh, um ... (He sighs.) Look, you know what?
BALDRICK: I know – never mind.
McKAY: More importantly, I can’t bring internal communications online.
BALDRICK: What, so we can’t send a message?
McKAY: No, and my radio won’t work because we’re too far underground. Oh – that leaves us only one option.
(He runs out of the room. Baldrick follows him.)
THE TOWER. John and Carson are hurrying through the corridors when John suddenly stops, thinking.
SHEPPARD: Head back to the village. There’s one more thing I need to do.
(They hurry off in different directions.)
VILLAGE. The villagers have laid the Constable’s body on a wooden stretcher and are carrying him away. The other guards are being hustled away by other villagers. Eldred turns to Ronon in panic.
ELDRED: You should not have killed the Constable.
DEX: Somebody had to do something.
ELDRED: Now more soldiers will come.
TEYLA: Then stand up to them. Gather your people together and fight.
ELDRED: And if the Lord Protector uses the Throne Chair?
DEX: We’ll deal with that.
PETRA: It’s too late to argue, Eldred. What’s done is done. The Lord Protector will take his revenge on all of us. And if we’re going to die, I would rather die fighting.
THE TOWER. As John hurries along a corridor, he sees Mora approaching.
MORA: John! What are you still doing here?
SHEPPARD: I’ve been looking all over for you.
MORA: You have to leave, now.
SHEPPARD: I know. I-I want you to come with me. We both know what’s gonna happen if you stay here. I can find a safe place for you to go.
MORA (touched by his offer): John.
SHEPPARD: None of this is your fault.
(Mora steps closer to him and puts her hand on his cheek.)
MORA: You really would take me with you, wouldn’t you?
(John smiles at her.)
SHEPPARD: Of course.
OTHO: That won’t be necessary. (John turns to see Otho standing behind him.) Mora is perfectly safe now. Tavius has been arrested for the murder of the Lord Protector.
SHEPPARD: That’s good news.
(Otho puts his hand on John’s shoulder, smiling initially but his smile fades as he speaks.)
OTHO: You really should have got out while you had the chance.
(He lowers his hand and backs away from John. Behind him, a guard hustles Carson into the corridor, holding a knife to his throat. Otho stares threateningly at John as two more guards approach from behind Mora.)
SHEPPARD: What the hell is this?
(Mora backs away from him, looking upset.)
MORA: I’m sorry, John.
OTHO: I was prepared to let you walk away, but your colleagues in the village forced my hand. They’re inciting an uprising – and as the new Lord Protector, that is something that I just can’t have.
CELL ROOM. The guards approach a room with a heavy set of wooden doors, open them and shove Carson and John into the room. Carson crashes to the floor. John manages to keep his feet, but only just. This room presumably isn’t usually used as a cell, as it is still ornately decorated with drapes, candelabras and comfortable furniture. As Otho walks into the room, we see that Tavius is already in the room, lying sprawled on a sofa with his arms behind his head and acting nothing like a prisoner.
OTHO (to the guards): Wait outside.
TAVIUS (nonchalantly): I’ll have your head for this, Chamberlain.
OTHO: You are in no position to make threats.
TAVIUS: Is it really necessary to insult me further by imprisoning me with these people?
BECKETT: We’re not the ones who committed murder.
(Tavius sits up.)
TAVIUS: True. (He stands.) There is only one murderer in this room. Isn’t that right, Otho? (Otho smiles. Tavius turns to the others.) Oh, let me guess. He told you I did it. Do I look like the sort of person who knows anything about poisons and chemicals? Otho, on the other hand, is always making elaborate studies of things – topics you and I might find boring, but which sometimes can turn out to be quite useful.
BECKETT: You’re saying that he’s the one that poisoned the Lord Protector?
OTHO: I had no choice. I offered to guarantee him [Tavius] the succession. In return, he would spare Mora’s life.
TAVIUS: Ah, but you’re leaving out the best part. Once I assumed the throne, Mora was to be given to Otho as his wife. All she had to do was bat her eyes at him a couple of times, and the fool was hooked.
(Otho slaps him around the face.)
OTHO: Guards! (To John and Carson) It’s true we were to be married, and so we will. (He turns to leave, then turns back.) Only now she won’t be marrying a lowly servant, but the Lord Protector himself.
(He leaves and the guards lock the doors.)
BECKETT (plaintively): I really need to stop making house calls.
CATACOMBS. AUXILIARY CONTROL. Rodney has retrieved a drone from the storage room and has set it up on a stand facing towards the doorway. Baldrick walks over to him as he tinkers with the drone.
BALDRICK: You said these weapons have great destructive power?
BALDRICK: What do you intend to do with it?
McKAY: Blow a hole straight up to the surface – assuming I can get it to fly in a straight line. I’ve never actually done anything like this before.
BALDRICK: What’ll happen if you succeed?
McKAY: Well, two possibilities. Either we create a nice sturdy shaft that will give us some much-needed air and provide a big enough gap for the radio signal to get through, or it will bring the already unsteady ceiling down on us, burying us both alive. (He starts to work on the computer tablet.)
BALDRICK (backing away from the drone nervously): I prefer to imagine the first possibility.
McKAY: Yes, yes, the power of positive thinking. Very good. While you do that, I will rely on my experience and expertise.
BALDRICK: You said you’d never done this before.
McKAY: General expertise. Will you be quiet while I do this?!
McKAY: Alright. (He activates something on the tablet and the drone makes a whooshing sound and lights up. Rodney winces away from the drone as it glows, then rapidly shoots out of the doorway before curving upwards and disappearing from sight as it punches into the ceiling in the corridor outside. A spray of cement dust rains down into the corridor. As it dissipates, Rodney puts down the tablet and he and Baldrick run into the corridor and stare upwards. The drone has punched a small circular hole right up to the surface.)
BALDRICK: I can’t believe that worked!
McKAY: What happened to positive thinking?
BALDRICK: I lied.
(Rodney activates his headset.)
McKAY: This is McKay. Is anyone reading?
(Teyla answers from the village.)
TEYLA: Rodney, where have you been?
McKAY: Where have I been? I have been trapped underground by an earthquake that blocked off our one exit from this section of the city, that’s where I’ve been!
TEYLA: Do you have access to the ZeePM?
McKAY: No, I don’t have access to the ZedPM, but thank you for your concern, by the way!
TEYLA: Rodney ...
McKAY: No-no-no-no-no-no. No, it’s fine. Your beloved friend has nearly died and while he has had to face the imminent threat of death, your first concern is for the ZedPM? It’s only natural!
TEYLA: I am sorry, Rodney, but we have a few problems of our own. Colonel Sheppard and Doctor Beckett are no longer responding to our radio calls. As well, there is a good possibility that the Lord Protector is about to launch a drone attack on this village. If that happens, everyone here will die.
THE TOWER. CELL ROOM. A couple of guards approach and one of them unlocks the doors. Mora walks in, then turns to the guards.
MORA (imperiously): Leave us.
(The guards look at each other for a moment, then leave the room, pushing the doors almost closed. Mora turns to John.)
MORA: I’m really sorry, John.
TAVIUS: Oh, please! Don’t play the sweet little innocent here.
MORA (to John): I never meant for you to get hurt.
SHEPPARD: Then help us get out of here.
MORA: I can’t – but I may be able to convince Otho to spare your lives.
SHEPPARD: That would be a good start!
(Mora glances round at the guards to make sure they aren’t looking before turning back to John.)
MORA: In the meantime, I did bring you this. (She hands him his radio.) You must tell your friends to leave before it’s too late. For his first act as Lord Protector, Otho intends to destroy the entire village using the Throne Chair so that no other villagers will ever rise up against him again.
CATACOMBS. AUXILIARY CONTROL. John’s voice comes over Rodney’s headset.
SHEPPARD: Rodney, come in.
McKAY: Sheppard, are you alright?
SHEPPARD: I’m fine. Listen, I need you to pull the ZeePM and cut the power right away or Ronon and Teyla are dead.
McKAY: I already know all that. Look, unfortunately I am cut off from the ZedPM.
SHEPPARD: There’s gotta be something you can do.
McKAY: Yeah, I’m workin’ on it!
SHEPPARD: Well, work faster!
THRONE ROOM. As the Court watches, Otho walks towards the Control Chair and sits down. The Chair lights up. He places his hands on the control pads and the Chair reclines.
OTHO: Those fools. They actually think they can stand against me.
AUXILIARY CONTROL. Rodney is studying his computer tablet while talking to John on the radio.
McKAY: Alright, I think I’ve got something. According to my readings, the ZedPM is nearly depleted. If we can activate enough systems simultaneously, it might drain power completely, thus rendering the drones inert.
SHEPPARD: So do it!
McKAY: No, I can’t. I don’t have access to enough systems to draw that kind of power. I need something really big.
(In the Cell Room, John grimaces as he thinks. He looks at Carson for inspiration but Carson looks back at him blankly. Then John has an idea.)
SHEPPARD (into radio): How about the star drive? The city’s just like Atlantis, right, a city that was designed to fly?
McKAY: You want me to fly the city right up out of the ground?!
SHEPPARD: No! You don’t have to go anywhere. Just charge the engines. That should be the greatest single drain of power you can create.
McKAY: You’re right – that could work. Yeah, but there’s only one problem.
McKAY: This place is pretty unstable. If I fire up the engines, the vibrations alone could cause the whole thing to come down on us.
SHEPPARD: That’s a risk we’re gonna have to take.
THRONE ROOM. Otho closes his eyes, concentrating. Power can be heard rising. Outside the Tower, scores of drones rise up out of the ground and circle around the Tower.
McKAY (with a look of dread on his face): Firing up main engines.
(He activates the controls on a console. The room begins to shake.)
THRONE ROOM. The Court looks concerned as the room begins to shake. Otho lies in the Control Chair, his eyes closed in concentration. Outside, the drones stop circling the Tower and head away towards the village.
CELL ROOM. As the room shakes, Mora stares up at the ceiling in bewilderment as the guards come running.
MORA: What’s going on?
(John punches one of the guards, elbows the other one in the stomach, then punches the first one to the ground before throwing the second one down.)
SHEPPARD: Let’s go.
(Carson and Mora hurry towards the doors. Carson glances back at Tavius.)
BECKETT: What about him?
SHEPPARD: Forget about him.
(As he and Mora hurry away, Carson steps outside the doors, then turns and closes them on an approaching Tavius.)
BECKETT: Sorry, wee man. (He runs off after the others, leaving Tavius clutching the bars of the doors hopelessly.)
VILLAGE. A villager is sharpening an axe on a grindstone. He looks around at a whooshing sound approaching from a distance. All the other villagers, together with Teyla and Ronon, walk into the centre of the village and gaze up into the sky at the sight of the drones flying towards them.
AUXILIARY CONTROL. Rodney clings on to the console in an attempt to stay on his feet as the room continues to shake. Cement dust falls from the ceiling and the lights flicker on and off. After a few seconds, all the lights go out. In the Throne Room, the Control Chair shuts down and rises to an upright position. Otho opens his eyes and stares in shock.
VILLAGE. The villagers stare upwards in dread as the drones continue to approach. Suddenly all their lights go out and the drones stop in midair and drop to the ground some distance from the village.
AUXILIARY CONTROL. Rodney and Baldrick are standing in the dark.
McKAY (sarcastically): Well, this is better! I guess.
(He switches on his torch and looks at the console.)
THRONE ROOM. Otho sits in the Chair looking bewildered as John, Carson and Mora walk in. Otho stands to face John.
OTHO: You. This is your doing. (To the guards) Seize them!
(John holds out a pacifying hand to the guards and steps forward towards Otho.)
SHEPPARD: You’re only Lord Protector if you can control the Chair. You said it yourself.
(Otho stares at him in dread.)
SHEPPARD: It’s over. (He turns around to look at the members of the Court.) You don’t have to bow down to this man, or Tavius, or anyone else.
(Behind him, Otho pulls a knife out of his belt. Mora sees what he’s doing and screams a warning.)
(As Otho runs towards him with the knife extended, John turns and ducks out of his way. Otho turns and slashes at him again but John jumps backwards to avoid the blow. Otho tries again. John grabs his wrist with one hand and rips the knife out of his hand, slashing Otho across the palm as he does so. Otho cries out in pain. As John stands with the knife held towards him, Otho looks down at his bleeding palm, then looks up at John and smiles.)
OTHO: Tavius was right about one thing. I do have a fair knowledge of poisons.
(His knees buckle and he collapses to the floor, dead.)
ATLANTIS. GATEROOM EXTERNAL BALCONY. Elizabeth is standing gazing out over the ocean. John comes out to join her.
SHEPPARD: We got the drones, we got a few Jumpers; I even got the girl.
WEIR: You got the girl?!
SHEPPARD: Well, I mean I could have got the girl. I turned her down.
WEIR: What did you offer them in return for the drones and the Jumpers?
SHEPPARD: A supply of medicines and an IDC if they need to reach us. We also offered to help ‘em come up with a new way of running things when the time comes.
WEIR: They didn’t offer you King?!
(John looks at her.)
SHEPPARD: I turned that down too!
(Elizabeth smiles at him for a moment, then they both look out over the ocean.)