217 COUP D’ETAT
Transcript by Callie Sullivan.
ALIEN PLANET (hereafter referred to as 177, as only part of its designation is given during this episode). NIGHT TIME. Team Sheppard is following a scientist from Earth, Doctor Lindsay, as she leads them through a village.
SHEPPARD: How much further?
LINDSAY: Uh, just around this next corner.
TEYLA: When was the last time you had any contact with them?
LINDSAY: Uh, they came under fire about half an hour ago. Uh, the major told me to head to the Gate and radio for back-up. I haven’t heard from him since.
DEX: They were under fire and you didn’t head back to help?
LINDSAY (looking at him nervously): Major Lorne told me to stay by the Gate.
SHEPPARD: You did the right thing.
(They turn the corner and stop, staring in shock at what they see. Lindsay gasps. The house ahead of them is burned out. Smoke is rising from the doorway and windows.)
LINDSAY: Oh, my God.
SHEPPARD: Is that the building they were in?
(Lindsay nods, horrified.)
McKAY: Well, shouldn’t there be villagers? Why aren’t they trying to put out the fire?
DEX: The fire’s out. That’s just steam and smoke.
SHEPPARD: Let’s take a look. (He looks over his shoulder to Rodney.) You stay here with Lindsay.
(He, Teyla and Ronon head towards the house.)
McKAY (in a loud stage whisper to their departing backs): Right, sure(!) Oh, and hey – if you hear gunfire, just know that that’s me holding back our attackers all on my own, huh?!
(The other three walk to the front of the house, looking around cautiously. The house is several storeys high and they are at the first floor level. Behind them, Rodney draws his pistol and cocks it, and he and Lindsay look around nervously. At the closed door of the house, John puts his hands on the wooden door to check whether there’s heat behind it. It appears to be alright, so he pushes the door open and the three of them walk inside. Smoke is still rising from the burned-out room and it’s hard to see. As they walk inside, wooden beams from the ceiling fall to the floor. They progress carefully, shining the lights from their P90s around the room.)
TEYLA: A fire like this would have burned the whole village if someone had not dealt with it.
DEX: Somebody put it out. They just don’t wanna stick around to talk about it.
(Another beam crashes to the floor.)
DEX: Uh, it’s not safe to be up here.
SHEPPARD: Thanks for that!
(He shines his light around the floor and sees something underneath a fallen beam.)
SHEPPARD: Ah, I got somethin’.
(He kicks some of the debris away from what he’s looking at, then lifts the beam and tosses it carefully aside. There is a burned body underneath. He squats down, takes out a small knife and uses the point to lift up something around the body’s neck.)
(Whatever he is lifting clinks metallically.)
(John lifts the metal clear of the body and we see what he has got.)
SHEPPARD: Dog tags. (He holds the knife up so that he can look at the tags in the light of Ronon’s P90.) These are Lorne’s.
ATLANTIS. Bodybags on stretchers are being carried through the Gate. Elizabeth stands in her office looking down into the Gateroom. John approaches her.
WEIR: What the hell happened out there?
SHEPPARD: As you know, Lorne and his team had the weekly detail escorting Doctor Lindsay to 177.
(The Gate closes down.)
WEIR: Yes – the one who was educating the people on more effective agricultural and fishing methods.
SHEPPARD: Yeah, that’s right. Things were going along smoothly until our guys were attacked.
WEIR: Just like that, out of the blue?
SHEPPARD: It seems that way.
WEIR: By who? The villagers?
SHEPPARD: I don’t know. Lindsay’s not a real useful source of information right now. She’s a little shook up. Beckett gave her a sedative. Hopefully she’ll be able to give us more info later.
(The Gate starts to dial in again.)
TECHNICIAN (in the Control Room): Unscheduled offworld activation.
[If you’re playing the Atlantis Drinking Game, take a big slug.]
(The Gate kawhooshes. The technician looks at his screens as John and Elizabeth walk over to him.)
WEIR: What have you got?
TECHNICIAN: No IDC – but we are receiving a pretty weak transmission on the VHF band. Audio and video.
SHEPPARD: Let’s see it.
(A slightly blurry image appears on the large screen behind the technician. The face is familiar. It’s one of the Genii who took over the base in “The Storm” and “The Eye”. He’s the man who tracked John when he was lurking around the base, and who got comprehensively thumped by John when John made it to the Control Room and locked the shield over the Gate when the Genii reinforcements were attempting to come through.)
LADON: Atlantis base, this is Ladon Radim. Are you receiving transmission?
SHEPPARD: It’s one of Kolya’s men.
WEIR: Yeah, I know who he is. We can’t answer this, though. I need the Genii of all people to believe that Atlantis has been destroyed.
SHEPPARD: I know we got the word out.
LADON: My men have witnessed your teams dialling and returning through the Stargate to Atlantis more than once. From that I can deduce that the rumours of your city’s demise are greatly exaggerated.
SHEPPARD: Sneaky – I’ll give ‘em that.
LADON: Your secret is safe as long as you respond to this transmission.
WEIR (to the technician): Open a channel.
(The technician nods and activates his controls.)
LADON: Atlantis base, this is Ladon Radim ...
WEIR: We hear you. This is Weir.
LADON: Doctor Weir. I was beginning to fear the rumours of your destruction were true.
WEIR: What do you want?
LADON: I have something to trade.
WEIR: Don’t think I don’t recognise you, Ladon. You’re a member of Kolya’s strike force. You tried to forcibly take this city from us. Why would we wanna do business with you?
LADON: Because I have defected from the Genii.
WEIR: Well, good luck with that!
(Ladon reaches down and picks up something very interesting, showing it to the camera.)
LADON: And I have a Zero Point Module.
(John and Elizabeth stare at each other in amazement for a moment, then Elizabeth recovers and turns back to the screen.)
WEIR: And I have a tentative truce with the Genii that I’m not very eager to jeopardise.
LADON: The Genii got what they wanted. They want no more from you ... (he holds up the ZPM) ... and this is of no use to me. But I know how important these devices are to your continued survival. Now, we can discuss this in person. Lower your shields and allow me safe passage into the city.
(Elizabeth and John exchange another glance.)
WEIR: We’re not interested, Ladon.
LADON: This is far, far better than the last trade you made with the Genii, Doctor – and you know it. I’m transmitting the Gate address to the planet I’m on. You can send a team to search me if you wish, but I am unarmed and alone. I’ll be here for two hours. If I don’t hear from you within that time, this Zero Point Module will be lost to you forever. (He moves closer to the camera and stares into it.) The choice is yours. (He cuts off the transmission.)
CONFERENCE ROOM. Elizabeth, John, Teyla and Ronon are seated around the table. Rodney walks over to a screen and pulls up a still image of Ladon holding the ZPM.
McKAY: A ZedPM is a ZedPM. Who cares where it comes from?
SHEPPARD: We’ve already got one.
McKAY: Yes, one.
DEX: Two’s better than one.
McKAY: And three is better than two. Look, we all know that eventually the Wraith are gonna discover we’re still here. Having more power means that we have more options. We might even be able to light up the engines and get the city to fly.
(The others stare at him.)
McKAY: ... No. But we still need it.
WEIR: Well, flying city or not, I think we should consider this.
SHEPPARD: Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you the one the Genii threatened to kill on two separate occasions?
WEIR: He says he’s alone and he’s willing to be searched.
SHEPPARD: Wait a minute. We should be dealing with Lorne and his team – find out what happened to them.
WEIR: Teyla and Ronon will continue with that investigation, and you can join them once you finish up with this.
(John sits back in his chair, thinking about it for a moment.)
SHEPPARD: Alright. (He looks at Rodney.) Get a MALP ready with a life signs detector. (He looks at Elizabeth.) I’m not sending my team in there blind.
LATER. In the Control Room, Rodney and the technician watch the screens as a MALP arrives on the planet whose coordinates Ladon gave them. The camera shows Ladon squatting near the DHD. He stands up as the MALP approaches him.
TECHNICIAN: I’m getting telemetry back from the MALP.
(On the screen, Ladon holds his arms wide as he looks at the MALP. Rodney turns to Elizabeth, John and a team who are standing ready.)
McKAY: I’m only reading one life sign.
WEIR: Then so far he’s telling the truth.
SHEPPARD: So far.
(Ladon walks towards the MALP, kneels down in front of it and puts his hands on his head.)
LADON: As I’m sure your machine has already determined, I am unarmed and alone. You can go ahead and send your team to search me.
(John turns to the team standing behind him.)
SHEPPARD: Go ahead.
SECURITY TEAM MEMBER: Yes, sir. (He and his team mates head for the stairs down to the Gateroom.)
INTERVIEW ROOM. Ronon and Teyla are sitting at a table with Doctor Lindsay.
LINDSAY: They’re peaceful people – they really are. I just can’t imagine the villagers doing something like this.
TEYLA: Tell us what happened.
LINDSAY: We were invited into one of the villager’s homes for tea – a welcoming custom we’ve been through a dozen or so times. Deera, one of the villagers, asked for a word with me in private. She took me downstairs ...
DEX (interrupting): You went alone with her?
LINDSAY: They’re farmers and fishermen. I’ve been dealing with them for months. I trusted them.
DEX: Yeah, that was a mistake.
(Ronon looks at her and shrugs as if to say, “Am I wrong?” Teyla looks at Lindsay.)
TEYLA: Go on.
LINDSAY: Um, once I was downstairs I heard the first shots. They sounded like Wraith blasts.
LINDSAY: I-I can’t be sure, but, yes, that’s what it sounded like. Major Lorne radioed me from upstairs and told me to go to the Gate and call for back-up. The rest you know.
DEX: Did this, um, Deera try to stop you?
DEX: Did she look surprised when she heard the shots?
LINDSAY: Uh, I don’t remember.
TEYLA: Can you think of any reason, any reason at all that the people of this village would want to attack Lorne and his men?
GATEROOM. Ladon and the security team come through the Gate.
SECURITY TEAM MEMBER: He’s clean, sir.
(John walks over to them.)
SHEPPARD (to Ladon): What – no ZeePM?
LADON: I sent it to another planet for safe keeping. How stupid do you think I am?
SHEPPARD: From what I remember, I gave you a pretty good crack on the head last time we met, so I was kinda hoping it made you simple.
LADON: No, it didn’t ... but ever since then I’ve been plagued with headaches.
SHEPPARD: You’re just sayin’ that to be nice. (He stops smiling.) What do you want for it?
LADON: I’ll only talk with Weir.
SHEPPARD: Do I make you nervous?
LADON: Not at all, Major. I’m just not interested in talking to the errand boy.
SHEPPARD: That’s Lieutenant Colonel Errand Boy to you.
(He jerks his head to the security team and they start to walk Ladon away.)
INFIRMARY. A nurse, wearing a face mask, is carrying out a post mortem on one of the bodies found in the village. Elizabeth stands looking down at a second body, holding a face mask over her nose and mouth. Carson, who either has no sense of smell or is immune to it and so is wearing no mask, walks over to her.
BECKETT: It’s not them.
WEIR: What do you mean?
BECKETT: These bodies you found are not Lorne and his men.
(He turns and walks away to where Ronon and Teyla are waiting. Elizabeth follows him, lowering her mask.)
WEIR: But they were wearing their dog tags.
BECKETT: I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve run the DNA tests three times now.
DEX: Then Lorne and his men could still be alive.
TEYLA: Doctor Lindsay heard Wraith stunners before the fire broke out.
WEIR: But this wasn’t a Wraith attack, so ...
DEX: ... so whoever it was wanted us to think they were dead.
WEIR: Then who? What could they possibly want with Lorne?
DEX: We need to go back – question the villagers.
WEIR: OK. But regular radio contact, please.
(Teyla and Ronon nod their agreement. John radios in.)
SHEPPARD: Doctor Weir. We have Ladon.
WEIR (into her headset): What has he said?
SHEPPARD: Not much. Apparently he doesn’t like me.
WEIR: OK, take him to my office.
SHEPPARD: Your office? Really?
WEIR: Really, Colonel. I’m on my way. (She hands her mask to Carson, then turns to Teyla and Ronon.) You two be careful. (She leaves.)
ELIZABETH’S OFFICE. Ladon is seated in the chair opposite Elizabeth’s desk with the security team standing around him. He looks up as Elizabeth and John walk in.
LADON: Doctor Weir. Thank you for your warm ... (He starts to stand up, but the team leader puts his hand on his shoulder and pushes him back down into the chair again.)
WEIR: What do you want for the ZeePM?
LADON: You people aren’t much for small talk, are you?
WEIR: Not with criminals, no.
LADON: As a member of Kolya’s strike team, I was following orders. I harbour no ill will towards you or your people.
SHEPPARD: That’s nice.
LADON: It’s the truth.
WEIR: What do you want for it?
LADON: I need about a hundred machine guns, a couple of dozen grenades and any C4 that you have to spare.
SHEPPARD: Sounds like you’re havin’ a party.
WEIR: Explain: how is turning you into a threat in our best interest?
LADON: The real threat are the Genii. Their nuclear weapons are fully operational and it is my considered belief that they will soon begin using them as a first-strike offensive weapon – not just against the Wraith but human populations as well. Now, you give me and my men the arms we need – you’ll never have to worry about the Genii again.
WEIR: You’re planning a coup.
LADON: Yes. And you’re going to help me. Cowen has led our people for too long. Yes, it’s true, he has made the Genii a force to be reckoned with, but the Cowen of the past bears little resemblance to the Cowen who’s in power now.
WEIR: How so?
LADON: He’s become obsessed with uniting the galaxy under a single ruler.
SHEPPARD: And that would be him.
LADON: He thinks it’s the only chance we have of defeating the Wraith.
WEIR: Whether the galaxy likes it or not.
LADON: Commander Kolya was the only Genii who could stand up to him, keep him under control. He went missing several months ago. We suspect Cowen had him murdered.
WEIR: But you can’t prove it?
LADON: Not yet.
WEIR: And in Kolya’s absence?
LADON: Our people were looking for leadership. They looked to me.
SHEPPARD: Get to the part where you find the ZeePM.
LADON: Kolya often spoke about the Brotherhood of the Fifteen, the last mission you encountered him, no?
SHEPPARD: The last time he tried to kill me, yes.
LADON: Finding resources for the resistance has been next to impossible. We have a few rifles, limited ammunition, nowhere near enough to stage a rebellion.
WEIR: So you thought if you found a ZeePM, we would give you everything you needed.
LADON: It’s very hard to find trading partners who don’t fear the Genii. Cowen has spies all over the galaxy. I figured you’d be more than willing to help if we could give you something of value.
SHEPPARD: How do we know you’re gonna be any better than Cowen?
LADON: Look, I know you don’t trust me, but if Cowen uses his new atomic weapons to enslave other worlds, then the Genii are no better than the Wraith. Now, you can have your ZeePM, but you must help me stop that from happening.
177. Teyla and Ronon are in the village inn talking with the barkeep as he collects empty drinking vessels and walks back towards the bar.
BARKEEP: Never heard of her.
TEYLA: Are you certain? Deera. She was friends with the men who were killed last night.
BARKEEP: I said I never heard of her. (He hands the empty goblets over the bar to a young woman standing behind it.)
TEYLA: This is a small community, friend – surely you know her? She lived in the house that burned down. We would just like to ask her some questions.
BARKEEP: I just tend to my bar and my family. I mind my business and I suggest you do the same.
(Ronon, standing behind the barkeep, slaps a hand down on his left shoulder, then leans over his right shoulder while draping his arm around the man’s left shoulder. From the perspective of others in the bar, it might look like Ronon is just being friendly.)
DEX (quietly into the man’s ear): We wanna know why our friends were killed.
DEX (quietly): He knows something. Everyone here knows something.
TEYLA: Let him go.
(Ronon takes his arm from around the barkeep’s shoulder but stays close to him and continues to talk quietly to him.)
DEX: Who are you trying to protect?
BARKEEP: If you know what’s best for you, you’ll both go back from where you came. (He walks around to the other side of the bar, then wipes the bar down as he talks quietly to them.) They’re watching us. They’ll kill us all if you’re not careful.
(The barkeep doesn’t answer.)
TEYLA: We can protect you – help you fight them.
BARKEEP: No you can’t. Leave me be.
(He and the girl walk away. Teyla and Ronon glance casually around at the people in the bar, many of whom are looking at them, and try to work out if they’re the bad guys or are just afraid. Eventually they turn and leave.)
ATLANTIS. In Elizabeth’s office, she and John watch as Ladon is escorted down into the Gateroom by the security team.
SHEPPARD: Do you believe him?
WEIR: Well, he has a ZeePM.
SHEPPARD: What about the other stuff? Evil Cowen?
WEIR: He’s lying about something. (John nods his agreement.) When Cowen handed over two of his atomic weapons to us, it was a sort of olive branch, and I would hate to jeopardise what little momentum we have going with them.
SHEPPARD: Stick with the devil we know.
SHEPPARD: So, give ‘em the heads-up, tell the Genii he’s planning something?
WEIR: I think so. I’ll tell Ladon that we need a bit more time and to set up a way to contact him.
SHEPPARD: I left one of our best Special Ops guys on the planet when we searched him. If Ladon goes anywhere, my guy will find him.
WEIR: Good thinking.
SHEPPARD: Could’ve been Mensa!
177. Teyla and Ronon are walking through the village.
DEX: I hope Beckett found some sort of clue, ‘cause this was a giant waste of time.
(The girl who was serving behind the bar calls out to them.)
YOUNG BARKEEP: Excuse me? (They turn to face her as she walks over and holds out a bag to them.) You-you left this behind.
DEX: It’s not ours.
(The girl smiles nervously at them.)
YOUNG BARKEEP: Yes it is.
TEYLA: Of course. How foolish of me. (She takes the bag.) Thank you.
(The girl smiles at them again, then hurries away.)
DEX: What’s inside?
(Teyla glances around at the villagers.)
TEYLA: Not here. (She leads him away.)
GENII HOMEWORLD. John and Rodney are walking down a narrow tunnel in the underground complex followed by two Genii guards.
McKAY (to John): You know, I’m not sure that you’ve sufficiently trained me in actual combat. I-I-I don’t know how much use I’d be in a fight-our-way-out kind of scenario.
SHEPPARD: Well, I look at it this way: the Genii have tried to kidnap you on numerous occasions to mine that big old brain of yours.
SHEPPARD: Well, if we get into trouble, I’ll just trade your life for mine.
McKAY: Oh, funny.
SHEPPARD: Don’t worry – if you survive, I’ll mount some sort of rescue mission ... eventually.
(They round a corner to find Cowen approaching them.)
COWEN: Doctor McKay! Oh, and it’s Lieutenant Colonel Sheppard now, I hear. (He holds out his hand to John and they shake hands.)
SHEPPARD: Somebody’s been paying attention.
(Cowen offers his hand to Rodney, who looks at it nervously but then shakes it.)
COWEN: Uh, I’m afraid I don’t have much time, but, uh, please tell me, what can I do for you?
SHEPPARD: Well, we’re just checkin’ in, sayin’ hi, since we really haven’t been in contact since the last culling.
COWEN: We barely survived the last culling. I can’t help but think how close to extinction we came as a people. Our former ambitions have been tempered by the real world, I’m afraid. We’ve been busy trying to fulfil our people’s most basic needs.
McKAY: Y’know, we could help with that.
SHEPPARD: Yeah, with supplies – even manpower.
COWEN: And why would you do that?
SHEPPARD: Well, we probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the nukes you gave us, so, uh, we owe you one.
COWEN: We are a proud people, Sheppard, but we do know how to accept help when we need it.
SHEPPARD: And on that note, we’ve been contacted by a Genii named Ladon.
COWEN: Ah! (He laughs.) At last the real reason why you’re here. What has he been saying?
McKAY: Oh, something about, uh, uh ...
SHEPPARD: ... conquests of other worlds using your atomic weapons.
COWEN: He’s been telling the Manarians that I’ve been slaughtering our own people for food. (Rodney laughs nervously.) Ladon blames me for Kolya’s disappearance – and while, yes, it’s true I neither respected nor liked the man, I had nothing to do with his presumed demise. Anything he tells you is a lie.
SHEPPARD: He’s trying to mount a rebellion.
COWEN: Let him try. He commands a couple of dozen men and has no weapons to speak of. Believe me, the city’s plumbing is of more concern to me right now. But still, you didn’t have to tell me. Apprising me of Ladon’s plans was the act of a friend.
SHEPPARD: Well, if you, uh, wanna contact us, we have a new number.
COWEN: I’ve known for some time that Atlantis survived the Wraith attack, Colonel Sheppard. I hope you’ll accept it as an act of good faith that your secret is safe with the Genii.
(He offers his hand to John again, who shakes it, then Cowen and Rodney shake hands.)
COWEN: My men will see you to the Gate. (He walks away.)
McKAY: Well, that was refreshing! He didn’t try to kill us even once!
(He and John turn and head back the way they came, still escorted by the two guards.)
ATLANTIS. Elizabeth is walking with John, Rodney and a couple of security guys to the Control Room.
SHEPPARD: The Special Ops guy’s followed Ladon to M6R-867. Looks like he’s occupied a warehouse in a bombed-out abandoned city.
McKAY: It was most likely destroyed by the Wraith and never re-inhabited.
SHEPPARD: He did a quick fly-over in a cloaked Jumper and sure enough there are about twenty life signs in the building.
McKAY: Well, twenty life signs on the whole planet, actually.
WEIR: So Cowen’s intel was accurate?
McKAY: Yeah. It appears that way, yes.
SHEPPARD: Even if these men are highly trained and armed to the teeth ...
McKAY: ... which most probably they are not ...
SHEPPARD: ... they’re no match for our guys.
(Elizabeth looks at John in surprise for a moment.)
WEIR: A raid?
SHEPPARD: Oh, yes, a raid! If this is their main base of operations, I’m willing to bet the ZeePM is there.
WEIR: And, what, just steal it?
McKAY: Well, the Brotherhood stole it from us, Ladon stole it from the Brotherhood – it’s not really stealing, it’s, um ...
SHEPPARD: ... recovery! Look, we tell Ladon we’re ready to do business; he needs to send a dozen guys here to carry back supplies ...
McKAY: ... along with the ZedPM.
SHEPPARD: He won’t do that but, sure, we can ask. When they get here, we detain them, leaving eight men in the building for two small strike teams to deal with.
WEIR: OK. It’s worth the risk. Go get us a ZeePM!
(John, Rodney and the marines head down into the Gateroom.)
177. Teyla and Ronon make their way to a quiet alley in the village where they won’t be overlooked. Teyla puts the bag down onto a box and opens it.
DEX: What is it?
TEYLA: I do not know. (She takes out some of the contents and looks at them. They are black and white photographs of men in Earth uniforms, and they each have writing in several different languages on them.) These are pictures of some of the Atlantis offworld team members.
(She gives them to Ronon, who flicks through them, then shows the bottom photograph to Teyla.)
TEYLA (staring at the photograph): Major Lorne! Why would the villagers have these?
DEX: The writing on the side here is in a bunch of different languages, offering a great reward for their capture. I bet they’ve been circulated to dozens of planets.
(Teyla takes two more photographs out of the bag.)
TEYLA: I hope you are wrong.
(She shows him the first photograph. It’s a picture of Rodney. She lowers that one to show the photograph underneath. That one is of John.)
ATLANTIS GATEROOM. The Gate starts to dial in.
TECHNICIAN: Offworld activation!
(Marines take up positions near the Gate, aiming their rifles. Elizabeth calls out to them from the Control Room balcony.)
WEIR: Everybody relax – we don’t wanna tip ‘em before they’re all in position.
(The marines lower their weapons as the Gate kawhooshes. Three men and three women in Genii uniforms walk through the Gate and stare around the Gateroom. Elizabeth trots down the stairs to meet them. One of the women looks at her. Behind her, six more Genii come through the Gate.)
DAHLIA: Doctor Weir.
WEIR: That’s right.
DAHLIA: I am Dahlia Radim. (She offers her hand to Elizabeth, who shakes it. Dahlia looks very tired or weak.)
DAHLIA: Yes. I am Ladon’s sister. Where are our supplies?
WEIR: Where is our ZeePM?
DAHLIA (tiredly): Ladon will send it through once we have returned to our world safely.
WEIR: I thought you might say that.
(She nods to the marines, who cock their rifles and aim them at the Genii, who look around, startled.)
DAHLIA: What’s going on?
WEIR: I’m sorry, but you’re being temporarily detained. (She activates her headset radio.) Colonel?
(John, Rodney and five marines are already on M6R-867, crouched down behind some steps near the warehouse, waiting for orders.)
SHEPPARD: Go ahead.
WEIR (over radio): You have a go.
SHEPPARD: Understood. (He looks around at his men.) Alright – use non-lethal force wherever possible, so men with stunners take the point. That being said, if they engage us, do what you need to do. (He pats the shoulder of the man in front of him and the team heads out.)
WAREHOUSE. Some Genii guards are either seated at a table or are patrolling around inside the warehouse. A flash-bang is thrown through a window and crashes to the floor. The guards jump up and turn to look at it and it explodes, filling the room with bright light. As they cover their eyes, the door to the warehouse blows in. The guards duck for cover and the Atlantis team races in. Those with stunners fire at the guards and take them all down quickly, then start retrieving their weapons. John, Rodney and two of the marines walk forward carefully. A Genii guard runs at them from cover. John and Rodney turn and fire their stunners almost simultaneously at him – John’s blast hits him while Rodney’s goes a little wide. As the man drops, John looks around the room.
SHEPPARD: Clear! Start doing a room sweep. (To Rodney and the two marines with him.) You three with me. We’re finding Ladon.
(They start to walk.)
McKAY: See how I almost stunned that guy?
SHEPPARD: I must have missed it.
McKAY: Yeah, but if he was, like, a step to the right, I would’ve stunned him for sure.
SHEPPARD: Good for you!
(Rodney looks at his life signs detector.)
McKAY: It’s, uh, this way.
(They head off.)
ATLANTIS GATEROOM. The Genii are sitting on the steps near the Gate, which is open. Teyla and Ronon walk through the Gate. Elizabeth comes over to them.
WEIR: How did it go?
DEX (looking around the Gateroom): What did we miss?
WEIR: We have some guests.
DEX: Yeah, I can see that.
TEYLA: Doctor Weir, there is something you need to see.
WEIR: Let’s go to my office.
ELIZABETH’S OFFICE. Ronon is laying out the photographs on Elizabeth’s desk.
WEIR: What’s all this?
DEX: It’s a wanted list. We figure it’s on as many worlds as there are languages on the photos.
WEIR: Who would do that?
TEYLA: We are not sure, but the planet where Lorne’s team disappeared is quite poor. It is conceivable they gave up Lorne and his men for some sort of reward.
WEIR: To who?
DEX: And why aren’t we on it?
WEIR: Excuse me?
DEX (showing her the relevant photographs): Sheppard’s on the list; McKay is on the list. Why aren’t Teyla and me?
WEIR: What, you’re feeling left out?!
DEX: I just wanna know who thinks I’m not a threat and give ‘em a chance to change their mind.
(Elizabeth looks at the photographs.)
WEIR: The gene. They all have the gene.
TEYLA: The gene of the Ancestors?
WEIR: Yes. Naturally or not, all these men possess the ATA gene.
TEYLA: But why would someone want people simply because they possess a certain kind of gene?
WEIR: Maybe they think it will hurt our ability to operate the city. But Ronon, that’s why you’re not here. See? Most of Edison’s team is on the list – except Toreil. He’s the only one on that team that doesn’t have the gene.
DEX: Still doesn’t make any sense.
TEYLA (to Elizabeth): I suggest you call these men back if they are offworld.
WEIR: Yes. And most of these guys are on an operation with Sheppard right now. We are raiding Ladon’s warehouse and stealing back the ZeePM. We detained most of his team when they came here to pick up the weapons we offered them. Once Sheppard and the team get back, I will suspend all their offworld activity until we can get to the bottom of this.
(Carson contacts Elizabeth over the radio.)
BECKETT: Doctor Weir, please report to the Infirmary.
WEIR: On my way, Carson. (To Teyla and Ronon) This is probably about the bodies. You two should come along.
M6R-867. John and his group, joined by a third marine, progress onwards. Rodney, consulting the life signs detector, taps John’s shoulder to get his attention, then points the way they need to go. They leave the warehouse and take up positions outside another building. Rodney looks at John and extends the index finger on his left hand, pointing it skywards, then draws a circle around it with the index finger of his other hand.
McKAY (whispering): One tango, middle of the room. (John stares at him blankly. Rodney looks upset.) What, isn’t that right?
(John raises an eyebrow at him, then grimaces before gesturing to two of the marines who creep further along the wall outside the building. John looks round to check that the other marine and Rodney are ready for action. Rodney stares back at him nervously, but ready.)
(Inside the building, Ladon sits on a chair in the middle of the room as Rodney indicated. He seems relaxed and is cutting into what looks like an apple with a small knife. As he cuts a slice off and puts it in his mouth, the two advance marines slide one door open and run inside while the other marine slides open a second door and John and Rodney walk in, all aiming their weapons at Ladon. He looks round at them, unperturbed.)
LADON (calmly): Colonel Sheppard. What a surprise.
(He swings his chair around to face John and puts a foot up on a small box on the floor in front of him. John walks towards him, gesturing with his stunner.)
SHEPPARD: Drop it.
(Ladon looks at the small knife he is holding.)
LADON: Alright. (He puts the knife on the ground.) Feel safer?
SHEPPARD: A little bit. (He looks at the box.) Is that it?
LADON: It is.
SHEPPARD: Slide it over.
(Ladon shoves the box across the floor with his foot. John walks over to it and bends down with the intention of opening it.)
McKAY: Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa! (John straightens up again.) It could be booby trapped and blow up in your face.
LADON: Relax, Sheppard. I have no interest in killing you.
(John squats down, looks nervously at the box for a few moments, then quickly opens the lid. As Rodney stares anxiously, too far away to see what’s inside, John reaches into the box and takes out the ZPM.)
LADON: It’s all yours. One ZeePM.
(John puts it back in the box and closes the lid, then slides the box across the floor towards Rodney without looking away from Ladon. Rodney looks down at the box, obviously dying to get the ZPM out and look at it himself, but then resolutely looks away and continues to aim his weapon at Ladon.)
LADON: One that’s probably been out of power for a thousand years.
(Before anyone can react to that statement, there’s a hissing sound and both of the doors slide shut. The marines on the other side of the room gasp and collapse. Rodney crumples to his knees and falls flat on his face on the floor. John, being the heroic type, stays on his feet for a couple more seconds but then falls to his knees. Ladon sits watching him, unaffected.)
LADON: Oh, that’s gas.
(John falls backwards and passes out.)
LADON: Don’t worry. It’s not gonna kill you either.
ATLANTIS INFIRMARY. As a medic zips up the bodybag over one of the burned corpses, Carson leads Elizabeth, Ronon and Teyla into the room.
BECKETT: I think I know who’s behind this.
BECKETT: Whoever these bodies belonged to, they didn’t die in that fire.
TEYLA: They died before they burned?
BECKETT: Aye, mostly from internal bleeding and a breakdown of the bone marrow.
DEX: What does that mean?
BECKETT: It means they probably died of severe radiation poisoning. Now, from what I know, there’s only one race of people that could possibly be exposed to the amount of radiation that would cause this kind of damage.
WEIR: The Genii.
BECKETT: Aye, exactly.
TEYLA: If the Genii are behind this ...
DEX: ... we need to call back Sheppard’s team.
M6R-867. John, still unconscious, has been sat in the chair that Ladon was occupying. Ladon stick a needle into John’s neck, then withdraws it. John starts to rouse as Ladon walks over to a table and puts the needle down before turning around.
LADON: How’d you feel?
SHEPPARD (drowsily): Like I’ve been gassed. How come it didn’t affect you?
LADON: I was injected with what I just gave you.
(John, his hands tied behind the chair, looks around the room but can’t see anyone else there.)
SHEPPARD: Where are my men?
LADON: Oh, they’ll wake up in an hour or so with a pretty big headache, but they’re fine. Just like you.
SHEPPARD: I’m a lot of things right now – fine isn’t one of them.
LADON: We stumbled across the dead ZeePM in our archives. One of our operatives found it hundreds of years ago, didn’t know what it was, filed it away. I’m sure he had no idea how valuable it would eventually be.
SHEPPARD: That was your plan: lure us here, take our weapons, trade us for some more, arm your rebellion. Is that about it?
(Ladon shakes his head.)
LADON: Couldn’t be more wrong.
COWEN: There is no rebellion, Colonel Sheppard. (John stares as Cowen walks into the room.) Ladon here has only the best interests of the Genii at heart.
ATLANTIS GATEROOM. The Gate starts to dial in.
TECHNICIAN: Unscheduled offworld activation!
(The Gate kawhooshes and the shield comes on. Elizabeth walks into the Control Room.)
WEIR: What have we got?
TECHNICIAN: Not sure yet, ma’am. I’m not reading an IDC.
SHEPPARD: What the hell is going on here?
(Cowen holds up an Earth radio which he presumably took off one of the team.)
COWEN: I want to talk with Doctor Weir.
SHEPPARD: The Gate has to be active.
COWEN: It already is.
SHEPPARD: Oh, well ...
(Cowen holds out the radio to Ladon, who activates the button to make it work. In the Atlantis Control Room, Cowen’s voice comes over comms.)
COWEN: Doctor Weir, this is Commander Cowen, leader of the Genii.
WEIR: Where is Colonel Sheppard?
COWEN: He’s right here with me, along with the men you sent to storm this complex. Some would view that as an act of war.
WEIR: We were just trying to quell your rebellion before it started.
COWEN: I think we both know what your intentions were, Doctor. And now it’s time you became aware of mine. I will release your men, but I expect something in return.
WEIR: We have twelve of your own: how about a straight trade?
COWEN: The Genii you’ve imagined as your potential hostages are terminally ill. They volunteered for the mission. They knew they were never coming back from the moment they heard of my plan.
(Elizabeth leans on the balcony railing in despair.)
WEIR: Why are you doing this?
COWEN: The Genii people need the Lantean ships you call Jumpers. I believe you have ten of them. You have one hour to bring them all here.
WEIR: And if I don’t?
COWEN: We will kill one of your team every fifteen minutes until our demands are met. Oh, and we will be starting with Colonel Sheppard.
ATLANTIS. INFIRMARY. Several of the Genii are sitting on beds. Carson is examining Dahlia.
DAHLIA (wearily): It’s no use. The doctors on our world have tried to cure all of us.
BECKETT: I don’t mean to speak ill of your doctors, but our medicines are a lot more advanced than theirs.
DAHLIA: I know what you’re trying to do.
BECKETT: There’s really nothing sinister about it, love.
DAHLIA: They won’t give your men back. Even if you cure us, Cowen will never relent.
BECKETT: I’m afraid that’s not my department. Now, are you experiencing any pain at all?
DAHLIA: Why? Why would you help us?
BECKETT: Because I’m a doctor. That’s what I do. Why would you do this – allow yourself to be used like this?
DAHLIA: I’m dead anyway – what does it matter?
BECKETT: Not yet, last time I checked your pulse. Besides, even if there was no hope, I’d prefer to die surrounded by my friends and family in my own home.
DAHLIA: Well, I am doing this to ensure that my friends and family have a home. Can’t you understand that? This is the one thing that I can do, and I am glad to do it.
M6R-867. One of the Genii guards is untying John’s hands as Cowen and Ladon stand nearby.
SHEPPARD: What do you want with the Jumpers?
COWEN: What do I want with invisible spaceships that could fly to other worlds and even deliver our atomic weapons?! (He chuckles again.)
SHEPPARD: Well, since you put it that way ... They’re never gonna deal. You’re gonna have to kill us.
COWEN: Mmm-hmm. I fully expect to have to kill you.
SHEPPARD: Lookin’ forward to it that much, huh? Why didn’t you just take us hostage when we came to visit?
COWEN: Why take two hostages if you can have a dozen? (To Ladon) Take him to his cell.
(Ladon pulls John out of the chair and marches him away.)
SHORTLY AFTERWARDS. John is preceding Ladon through the complex, Ladon holding a Genii pistol on him.
SHEPPARD: Even if we give you the Jumpers, none of the Genii’ll be able to fly ‘em.
LADON: Oh no? Why’s that?
SHEPPARD: You know why.
LADON: Well, if you’re referring to the Ancient gene, I’m working on a treatment that can artificially produce it. In fact, we’ve been collecting samples for some time.
SHEPPARD: From where?
(They reach the cell. Inside, Rodney and the marines from the strike force are lying unconscious on the floor. They’re not alone. Three other men are sitting inside, and they stand as Ladon unlocks the door.)
LADON: Starting to put it all together?
SHEPPARD: I’m getting’ there.
(He walks into the cell and Ladon locks the door again.)
SHEPPARD: Major. (He looks at the other men.) Boys.
(Ladon walks away.)
SHEPPARD (to Lorne): Way to be alive.
LORNE: Thanks, sir! So, uh, have you come to rescue us?
SHEPPARD: Well, until about a moment ago I thought were dead, but now that I see you speaking and breathing, yeah, I’m thinkin’ about it.
LORNE: Well, good! Let me know if there’s anything we can do to help, huh?
ATLANTIS. ELIZABETH’S OFFICE.
TEYLA: Lieutenant Miller performed a cloaked scan of the planet. It looks like the Genii have moved in a massive amount of troops over the past fifteen minutes. I’m afraid they have us greatly outnumbered. Any attempt to extract our men would result in many casualties on both sides.
DEX: Let me get in there and see what I can do.
WEIR: No. The last thing I need is for more of us to fall into their hands. (She looks at Carson.) How are our Genii guests doing?
BECKETT: Well, they have a number of different symptoms and ailments, but they all trace back to one thing: radiation poisoning.
WEIR: Well, McKay warned them that the shielding for their fission experiments was dangerously insufficient. I guess they didn’t listen.
WEIR: Can you cure them?
BECKETT: There are some experimental treatment protocols I’ve been able to get my hands on, although some of them are just too far gone to do anything but pain management, but I do believe I can save at least eight of them.
WEIR: Alright. Let’s hope they will trade their people for ours.
DEX: Do we have a back-up plan?
WEIR: We’re not handing ten of our Jumpers over to the Genii. Let’s just hope this works.
M6R-867. Elizabeth speaks over to the radio to Cowen as Ladon sits beside him.
WEIR: I don’t think you understand. Most of your people can be cured, including Ladon’s sister.
(Cowen looks at Ladon for his reaction, but Ladon shows nothing on his face.)
COWEN (into radio): Oh, I understand. What you need to understand is, I don’t care.
COWEN: I think you’re playing for time, Doctor Weir.
WEIR: Your people can be cured. Now let me return them to you and let them live out the rest of their lives with their families on their homeworld.
COWEN: The Genii need those Jumpers. Until you are prepared to part with them, this conversation is over.
WEIR: You kill one of my people and we are in a state of war.
COWEN (chuckling): Oh, yes, yes! (Sarcastically) I – well, I don’t quite know how I’ll live with myself(!) (More seriously) I will contact you again in fifteen minutes, so you can decide whether you would like Doctor McKay to live. In the meantime, you have forfeited the life of Colonel Sheppard. (He switches the radio off.)
WEIR: Cowen, wait!
(When he doesn’t reply, she turns to the technician, who shakes his head.)
(On M6R-867, Cowen turns to Ladon.)
COWEN: Kill him.
LADON (smiling): Yes, sir. (He stands up and leaves the room.)
CELL. The gassed marines are reviving. Lorne and his team help them. John goes over to Rodney as he wakes up.
McKAY: What the hell happened?
SHEPPARD: We got gassed.
McKAY: Are we in some sort of trouble?
SHEPPARD: Was it the gas or the prison cell that was your first clue?
(A Genii guard unlocks the door as Ladon approaches. He stands in the doorway and points his pistol at John.)
LADON: Time’s up.
ATLANTIS. The Gate is open. Elizabeth paces around the Control Room.
TECHNICIAN: We’re still connected, but he’s turned the radio off. I’m not getting any signal.
BECKETT: Dammit! Elizabeth, what if we offered them one Jumper in exchange for Colonel Sheppard?
WEIR: Carson, we have less than fifteen minutes before they kill McKay.
DEX: You can deliver all the Jumpers you want. They’re gonna kill everyone. We need to attack them now.
M6R-867. John sits in the cell staring at Ladon as he continues to point his pistol at him.
LADON: Weir says your Doctor Beckett can cure the people I sent through the Gate. Is that true?
SHEPPARD: Beckett’s the best doctor in two galaxies. If there’s a cure, he’s got it.
(Ladon looks round to the guards standing behind him.)
LADON: We’re letting them go.
(He lowers his pistol and steps back. John and the others stand up and walk cautiously out of the cell. Ladon leads them away.)
LADON: Hidden away at the bottom of this building is a nuclear device.
SHEPPARD: How’d you get your hands on that?
LADON: You forget I’m the chief scientist. I made it.
McKAY: You’re gonna start your coup!
LADON: I needed Cowen and his elite guard together in one place. I knew the chance at some Puddle Jumpers would get him here.
SHEPPARD: Good one!
LADON: Most of my men are waiting for me on our homeworld. Tonight, the leadership of our people changes hands.
SHEPPARD: You were just gonna leave us here to be vaporised with the others?
LADON: Yes, I was. Things have changed. Let’s go.
In the room where John and the others were gassed, Cowen sits in the chair with a box in front of him. He has a plate of food on the box and is eating as a couple of his guards stand nearby. He looks up and addresses the guards.
COWEN: Go see what’s keeping him.
(The guards bow and leave the room.)
In the cell complex, Ladon and his men are leading John and the others towards the exit. Cowen’s guards walk through the door and raise their weapons.
LADON: It’s alright. We’re just escorting these prisoners.
(The guards lower their weapons. Two of Ladon’s men promptly raise their own pistols and shoot them. Two other men run to the door and check to see that the coast is clear, then nod to Ladon.)
LADON (to John): There’s a hidden passage this way. We shouldn’t run into any more resistance.
(They head off.)
In Cowen’s room, one of his guards radios in.
MAN (over radio): Commander Cowen. Someone has freed the Atlanteans.
COWEN: What?! (He stands up and activates his wrist radio.) Ladon – come in.
ATLANTIS CONTROL ROOM.
TECHNICIAN: Receiving Doctor McKay’s IDC.
WEIR (calling down into the Gateroom): Defence teams, stand by! (To the technician) Lower the shield.
(She runs for the stairs down into the Gateroom. As the shield lowers, the group of marines and Genii walk through the Gate. The Genii immediately hold up their weapons in surrender and the marines take them off them. Rodney waves to Elizabeth as he comes through.)
McKAY: It’s Ladon. He’s letting us go in exchange for his people.
WEIR: Ladon’s in charge?!
McKAY: Yeah, he’s about to be.
WEIR: He really was planning a coup.
McKAY: Apparently we’re a part of the plan.
COWEN: Ladon, come in!
LADON (over radio): This is Ladon.
COWEN: What’s going on?
(Ladon is in the Atlantis Gateroom where he and John have just come through the Gate and are standing just in front of it.)
LADON (into his wrist radio): I’m sorry it had to come to this, Cowen. You have served our people well.
(In Cowen’s room, he walks to the window and stares out of it.)
COWEN: What have you done?
(The air fills with white light as the nuclear device detonates.)
(In the Atlantis Gateroom)
SHEPPARD: Shield up.
(The shield raises. John and Ladon walk forward, then stop and turn to the Gate as the nuclear blast impacts the shield and shakes the Gateroom. The Gate shuts down. Ladon turns and walks over to Elizabeth.)
LADON: Now, please, I would like to see my sister.
INFIRMARY. Elizabeth and Ladon are standing in an observation room looking down into an operating room where doctors are operating on Dahlia. Carson, wearing scrubs, walks into the observation room. Ladon turns to him.
LADON: What are you doing?
BECKETT: We found a malignant tumour in your sister’s left lung. We had to remove it as soon as possible. (Ladon closes his eyes.) Not to worry – it was a complete success. She did great.
LADON: And then she’ll be cured?
BECKETT: She’s not out of the woods entirely, but if she keeps up with her treatments ...
(Ladon turns to Elizabeth.)
LADON: Many Genii suffer from similar afflictions.
WEIR: We’d be more than happy to cure as many of your people as we can – the ones who survive your coup, that is.
LADON: I don’t anticipate any more casualties.
WEIR: Good. Let’s make that a condition.
(Ladon nods to her, then draws in a deep breath.)
LADON: My day is far from over. I must return to my planet.
BECKETT: We’ll take good care of her, I promise.
LADON: Thank you, Doctor.
(He and Elizabeth leave the room. Carson walks over to the window and looks down into the operating room.)
ELIZABETH’S OFFICE. Elizabeth is sitting at her desk working on her computer as John walks in.
SHEPPARD: The coup was successful. Ladon Radim is the new leader of the Genii. (He sits on the edge of her desk.)
WEIR: Wow, that was fast.
SHEPPARD: Well, once people found out Cowen and his elite guard were out of the picture, his loyalists laid down their weapons. They’re billing it as a bloodless coup ‘cause no-one died on their home soil.
WEIR: So a nuclear explosion and the lives of an entire battalion of men don’t count?
SHEPPARD: Yeah, it’s all spin. What d’you think the fallout’s gonna be?
WEIR: Well, historically, most coups end up with the new government being about as bad as the old one.
SHEPPARD: I don’t know. He seemed pretty grateful we saved his sister.
WEIR: There’s that.
SHEPPARD: He did save me and my team.
WEIR: There’s that too.
SHEPPARD: So I say we call it a win.
WEIR: Who’s spinning now?!
SHEPPARD: Alright. Then I say we call it a night. (He gets off the table and starts to leave.)
WEIR: That we can do!
(John nods and leaves the room. Elizabeth smiles, thinks about the situation for a moment, then gets back to work.)