Transcript by Callie Sullivan
OFFWORLD PLANET. Team Sheppard is running for its life. Teyla Emmagan leads the way, followed by Doctor Rodney McKay.
TEYLA: We must go faster, Rodney!
McKAY: This is pretty much my top gear!
(A little way behind them, Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard and Ronon Dex race to the cover of some trees, then turn to fire back at whoever is pursuing them.)
DEX: If we make a stand here, we can take 'em!
SHEPPARD: Negative! We don't how many we're up against!
(He turns and fires another hail of bullets towards their pursuers, then ducks behind the tree again and calls out to Rodney.)
SHEPPARD: Rodney, dial the damned Gate. Don't wait for us!
(Rodney and Teyla have reached the D.H.D. Rodney starts to dial as Teyla aims her P90 back into the trees.)
McKAY: As if the bullets whizzing past my head weren't encouragement enough!
(John and Ronon continue firing back at their attackers.)
McKAY (pressing buttons on the D.H.D): OK, six, seven. (He presses the central button and the Gate kawhooshes. He activates his headset radio as he and Teyla run towards the Gate.) This is McKay to Atlantis. We're coming in hot!
(John fires one last burst of bullets, then breaks for the Gate. Ronon gives him a moment, fires once more from his blaster and then, with a cry of effort, runs after him. At the edge of the clearing, unseen by the two of them, a man in a long black coat fires a hand-held harpoon-type weapon towards them. The harpoon flies out and impacts with the back of John's black leather jacket [that's another hole in it!]. As John continues to run forward, the rope attached to the harpoon reaches its full length and John is catapulted backwards to the ground. Ronon, unaware of this, charges into the Gate. As the Gate shuts down, John, a little winded, raises his head from the ground as men in Genii uniforms run over and aim their weapons at him. The man in the black coat walks over. John stares up at him in surprise. It's Acastus Kolya, who bends down and smiles at him.)
KOLYA: It's good to see you again, Colonel.
SHEPPARD (not at all happy to see him): Kolya.
ATLANTIS. Doctor Elizabeth Weir stands in the Gateroom as a large strike force returns through the Gate. Teyla, Ronon and Rodney are the last to come through.
TEYLA: There was no sign of Colonel Sheppard or our attackers.
DEX: And they covered their tracks well.
McKAY: There's a good chance he was transported offworld, so I gathered the last fifty or so Gate addresses that were dialled.
WEIR: That should be helpful. But since the transmission which summoned us to the planet was sent using a code we gave to the Genii, that will be our starting point.
McKAY: What are you gonna do -- like, ask the Genii if one of them took Sheppard?
WEIR: Yes, I am.
(The Gate starts to dial in. Everyone looks at it, then Rodney turns back to Elizabeth while pointing at the Gate.)
McKAY: So this ...?
WEIR: Yes, it is.
TECHNICIAN (from the Control Room): Incoming wormhole. (The Gate kawhooshes.) We're receiving the new identification code.
WEIR: Security teams, stand by. Lower the shield.
(The shield is lowered. Moments later, Ladon Radim -- the new leader of the Genii -- comes through, followed by three Genii guards.)
WEIR: Welcome, Ladon.
LADON: I came as soon as I ...
(Ronon storms over to him and glares down at him threateningly.)
DEX: What've you done with Sheppard?
WEIR: Ronon. He is here as our guest.
(Ronon turns and glares at her for a moment, then reluctantly backs away. Ladon throws him a black look, then turns to Elizabeth.)
LADON: How can I help?
ALIEN PLANET (hereafter referred to as Kolya's planet). John is standing at the door to an underground prison cell, his hands on the bars of the door. There appears to be no-one around.
SHEPPARD: Kolya! I didn't kill you last time, remember? (When no-one replies, he kicks the bars of the door angrily, then speaks more quietly.) You promised me points for that. (Yelling) Kolya!
(Still no-one responds.)
SHEPPARD: Ah, dammit. I should have killed him.
(A voice speaks from the adjoining cell. It's the voice of an old man who sounds either very tired or very weak.)
VOICE: You're wasting your breath.
SHEPPARD: Didn't know I had company down here.
(He walks to the wall between the cells. There is a small window in it which has two sets of bars separating John and the other prisoner.)
VOICE: There is no escape.
SHEPPARD: Yeah, well, prisons are like that. Never stopped me before. (He peers through the bars, trying to see his fellow prisoner, but the man is at the back of the cell, hidden in the darkness.) How long you been down here?
VOICE: Many years.
(The prisoner moves slightly and there's a clanking sound which suggests that he is chained.)
SHEPPARD: How many is many? Five? Ten?
VOICE: It no longer matters.
SHEPPARD: That many, huh? What did you do to get here?
VOICE: I merely allowed myself to be captured alive.
SHEPPARD: Same here. (He turns away from the window and looks around his cell.) Look, I've got people looking for me. When they find me, maybe we can both, uh ...
(The door to the prison block opens and three Genii guards walk in. One of them walks to John's cell and unlocks the door while the second one stands holding a large rifle. As the first guard slides the door open, the second guard walks forward and aims his rifle at John.)
GUARD (jerking his head towards the prison block door): Move.
SHEPPARD: Where are we moving to?
(The guard cocks his rifle.)
SHEPPARD: I kinda like it here.
(The guard raises his rifle and fires it. The blast goes just past John's head and hits the wall behind him, punching a hole in it. Cement fragments fly out. John flinches as some of them hit him.)
GUARD: Commander Kolya insists.
SHEPPARD: Oh, he insists? Well, why didn't you just say so?
(He walks out of the cell. As he passes the guard with the rifle, he swings round rapidly and punches him in the face. He grabs hold of the guard's gun but as he is trying to wrestle it off him, another guard runs up behind him and jams a stick into John's back. Electricity surges through the stick and John, groaning, collapses to the floor.)
GUARD: Pick him up.
(The other two guards pick up John from the floor and drag him away. The second guard, shaking his head in anger that he got hit so easily, follows them.)
ATLANTIS. In the Gateroom, Atlantis guards relieve the Genii guards of their weapons.
WEIR (to Ladon): I'm sorry this is necessary, but under the circumstances, I'm sure you understand.
LADON: I came here as a friend, Doctor Weir. I hope to leave as one.
WEIR: And we appreciate your concern for Colonel Sheppard.
McKAY: Despite the fact that it was your incompetence that led to his capture.
McKAY (angrily): I'm sorry, but there is no disputing the fact that it was a code we provided the Genii that was used to lure us to that planet where we were ambushed.
LADON (to Elizabeth): Doctor McKay is quite correct. You entrusted us with codes, and I allowed them to be stolen from us. How and by whom is an ongoing investigation, but I must assume it was someone close to me.
TEYLA: Or this is part of your plans.
LADON: Excuse me?
TEYLA: It would not be the first time.
LADON: I say this rhetorically -- since I should think it is obvious -- but if I were involved in this in any way, or if my intentions were anything less than honourable, would I have come to Atlantis?
DEX: With you, who knows? All I know is my friend has been kidnapped and you had something to do with it.
LADON: Which is why I have walked away from significant responsibilities as leader of my people to come here and offer our help. Now, you can either let me do that, or you can continue to berate me for my mistake. The choice is yours.
(Ronon walks closer to him and glares down at him again.)
DEX: Oh, we have more choices than that.
(Ladon turns to Elizabeth.)
LADON: I see no reason to stay here if this is how I am to be treated.
DEX (backing away a little, but still glaring at him): Trust me, you're not goin' anywhere.
WEIR: Ronon, I understand how you feel. Believe me, I do. But we're gonna deal with this my way. (She looks at Ladon.) Let's continue this in my office ...
(She turns as Ladon starts to walk towards the stairs, then glances at Ronon.)
WEIR: ... privately.
KOLYA'S PLANET. A Genii wheels an old-fashioned (by Earth standards) television studio camera on a stand into a room. Nearby, Kolya watches as a guard handcuffs John's hands to the back of the chair that he has been made to sit in. John grunts in pain, then looks up at Kolya as he walks over to face him.
KOLYA: It's been some time.
SHEPPARD: You must have really missed me to go through all this trouble.
SHEPPARD: Nice harpoon, by the way.
KOLYA: To capture an extraordinary soldier takes extraordinary measures.
SHEPPARD: I'll take that as a compliment.
KOLYA: As you should, Colonel -- just as you should understand this is not personal. As soon as my goal is achieved, you'll be returned to Atlantis.
SHEPPARD: That simple, huh? What do you want?
KOLYA: It's not a question of what I want. It's a question of who.
ATLANTIS. ELIZABETH'S OFFICE.
LADON: I entrusted the I.D.C. codes you provided to two men in my government: my second minister, in the event of my death, and my personal assistant, Cassel Massan. I trust both of these men implicitly ... or rather, I did.
WEIR: Are both men now accounted for?
LADON: Yes. In fact, they're in custody. They're being questioned as we speak.
WEIR (a little suspiciously): Really?
LADON: Don't underestimate the importance of this alliance between our two peoples to the Genii, Doctor Weir. In fact, when I heard the news, my first concern was ...
(He is interrupted by the sound of the Gate starting to dial in.)
TECHNICIAN: We have an unscheduled offworld activation.
(Elizabeth hurries out into the Control Room, followed by Ladon. Rodney is sitting at a console looking at his screen.)
WEIR: Identification code?
McKAY: None, but we're receiving an analogue video signal.
WEIR: Bring it up.
(The image of Kolya appears on the wallscreen.)
KOLYA: Doctor Weir, if you're receiving this, please respond.
(Elizabeth stares in surprise. Rodney, equally shocked, stands up and looks at the screen. Ronon, of course, doesn't recognise Kolya, having never seen him before.)
DEX: Who the hell is he?
TEYLA: Acastus Kolya. A Genii military leader who once tried to seize Atlantis. Ladon was a member of his strike team.
KOLYA: I do know you're there, Doctor. The existence of Atlantis is no secret among the Genii. It would be pointless not to answer.
WEIR (over her shoulder to the technician): Open a channel.
(The technician presses a panel on his console, then points back to the screen to indicate that Kolya will now be able to hear her.)
WEIR: This is Doctor Weir.
KOLYA: Oh, good. I wanted to be certain you were there to see this.
(He steps aside and reveals John sitting behind him with a white scarf tied around his mouth as a gag.)
McKAY: What have you done to him?
KOLYA: Nothing whatsoever, Doctor McKay.
McKAY: OK, let me rephrase that: what are you planning to do?
KOLYA: It's quite simple. I'd like to make a trade.
WEIR: Before we continue this conversation another second, I wanna speak with Sheppard.
KOLYA: Be my guest.
(He turns towards John.)
McKAY: We'll rephrase that, too: we would like him to be able to speak to us.
(Kolya turns back to the camera, grinning.)
KOLYA: Very well.
(He nods to a guard, who walks over to John and pulls down his gag.)
SHEPPARD: On my command authority, whatever he asks, don't do it, even ...
(The guard immediately starts to tug the gag back into position. Kolya laughs and turns back to the camera.)
KOLYA: Well, as you can see, he's his usual charming self.
WEIR: Explain your terms, Kolya.
KOLYA: I have heard the familiar voices of yourself and Doctor McKay, but there is one person I know is there who has yet to speak. Ladon Radim is with you, is he not?
WEIR: Why would Ladon be here?
KOLYA: Well, to preserve his precious alliance with you, Doctor, so that the Genii might remain in the favour of Atlantis. My sources have already confirmed this, so there's no point in denying the fact. Turn him over to me, and Colonel Sheppard will be released immediately.
(Ladon looks at Elizabeth. She glances at him, then turns around to look at Rodney for a moment before turning back to the screen.)
WEIR: I'll need time to consider your offer.
KOLYA: Allow me to help expedite your decision.
(He turns away from the camera, which pans across the room to the door as it opens. Two Genii guards drag in a male Wraith. Its hair is long and very unkempt, and it seems to be having difficulty walking, as if it is very weak.)
WEIR: Oh my God.
(The guards bring the Wraith across to John, whose eyes widen as he realises what might be about to happen to him.)
McKAY: Sheppard could have left you to rot down in that hole when we last met, Kolya. He does not deserve this.
KOLYA: Let's be clear, Doctor McKay. No-one does.
WEIR: Don't do this.
(The guards unshackle the Wraith's right hand and take off a leather sheath which was strapped around its lower arm.)
WEIR: Don't do it.
KOLYA: The choice is yours, Doctor Weir. Do we have an arrangement?
(A guard pulls John's jacket open. Elizabeth stares at the screen and doesn't answer.)
KOLYA: Very well.
(He turns and nods to the guards, who release the Wraith. It looks down at John and snarls, then slams its hand onto John's chest. John's face contorts in agony.)
WEIR: Stop! Stop!
KOLYA (to his guards): Enough.
(A guard jolts the Wraith with an electrified stick as two others haul it away from John and bundle it out of the room. John, a bloodied wound visible in his chest, gasps for breath, then looks up at Kolya weakly. Kolya stares at him for a moment, then turns back to the camera.)
WEIR: You just crossed a line, Kolya.
KOLYA: We've found that a minimum of three hours between feeding sessions is crucial to ensure the body has sufficient time to recover from the trauma. That's the time you have to decide. Three hours.
(The transmission ends.)
LATER. John is back in his cell and is sitting weakly on the floor, leaning against a wall. His hair is starting to go grey. The voice from the next cell speaks.
VOICE: They called you Sheppard.
SHEPPARD: Yeah. That's my name. Pleased to meet you.
VOICE: You're in pain.
SHEPPARD: Well, I just got fed on by a Wraith, what do you think?
VOICE: I would not know.
SHEPPARD: Hopefully, you'll never have to find out. (He groans as he straightens up a little.) I didn't think anything could hurt that much.
VOICE: You're still alive.
SHEPPARD: Yeah, well ... I don't know how many years the darned thing took off my life, but I'll tell you this: if Kolya's men hadn't have pulled that damned thing off, I'd be dust in a flak jacket.
VOICE: Do you blame the Wraith or the master?
SHEPPARD: I'm gonna go with both.
VOICE: There is a difference. The Wraith must feed in order to live.
VOICE: For Wraith, hunger burns like a fire.
(Still frowning, John hauls himself to his feet. His cellmate walks into view in the window between the cells. Although still in shadow, we see that it has long, unkempt hair.)
VOICE: Tell me, Sheppard, if you found yourself burning alive, would you settle for just one drop of water ...
(John walks across the cell towards the window.)
VOICE: ... or would you take more?
SHEPPARD: Where'd you hear 'em call me Sheppard?
(The figure walks forward so that John can see its face. Unsurprisingly, it's the Wraith.)
WRAITH: Just before I started to feed.
ATLANTIS. Conference Room. Ladon is sitting at the table with Elizabeth, Rodney and Teyla. Ronon is standing behind him.
LADON: Of course, you would see him only as the monster who tried to take your city from you.
WEIR: Kolya also killed several of our people.
TEYLA: He would have killed Doctor Weir as well.
LADON: I won't make excuses for his actions or mine during the failed Atlantis mission. We were soldiers under Cowen's orders. But that failure shattered Kolya's stature among the Genii and forced him from Cowen's inner circle.
WEIR: You managed to stay.
LADON: Cowen had no choice but to keep me. I was his chief scientist.
McKAY: And you just left Kolya out in the cold.
LADON: That was his choice, not mine. I will admit, in what little contact we had before Kolya went underground, he spoke of overthrowing Cowen's corrupt regime. I was admittedly torn.
WEIR: Out of loyalty to Cowen?
LADON: Out of the belief that neither man had what it took to lead the Genii into the future.
McKAY: So, instead, you -- having what it took -- overthrew Cowen yourself.
LADON: Kolya believes that I have taken his rightful place as leader of our people.
DEX: No wonder he's pissed.
WEIR: Well, obviously, he has men loyal to him in your inner circle, hence the codes.
LADON: Those traitors will be found.
DEX: Sounds like you're the traitor to me.
LADON (to Elizabeth): Must he be here?
WEIR: The more I hear, the more I'm glad he is.
LADON: I could have told you anything. I chose to tell you the truth. If you trade my life for Sheppard, you will not only be yielding to blackmail, but you'll be planting the seeds of civil war.
DEX: So what? I say we turn him over and let 'em fight it out.
McKAY: We can't do that.
DEX: Why not?
McKAY: Because. (He thinks about it for a moment.) Well ... can we?
TEYLA: Colonel Sheppard has already ordered us not to.
WEIR: At this point, it's not his decision. There's still time for us to find him and launch a rescue operation. (She turns to Rodney.) Has there been any progress?
McKAY: We have a list of planets where recent Genii activity has been documented, but we'd have a much higher margin of success if Ladon would be willing to point out firm locations of Genii safe houses and shelters -- maybe even hidden Wraith-infested torture chambers.
(Elizabeth looks at Ladon as Ronon pointedly walks closer to him. Ladon glances over his shoulder at him briefly, then turns to Elizabeth and nods in agreement.)
KOLYA'S PLANET. John is pacing angrily back and forth in his cell. The Wraith stands at the window looking in at him.
WRAITH: Your anger will only weaken you.
SHEPPARD: I don't think so.
WRAITH: You realise he is torturing both of us?
SHEPPARD: Oh, yeah? What'd he do to you?
WRAITH: He stopped me.
SHEPPARD: Really? And how is that torture?
WRAITH: Have you ever known starvation, Sheppard? The few years I took from you are barely enough to keep me alive. The strength I gained from you is already fading.
SHEPPARD: I don't really give a damn.
WRAITH: You pace in your cell, cursing that I took years from you. I stand here cursing that I was not allowed them all. Each in our own way, we suffer.
(John storms over to the window, grabbing onto the bars on his side of the cell and glaring in at the Wraith.)
SHEPPARD: This might come as a surprise to you, but I'm not really in the mood for conversation. So why don't you just do me a favour and SHUT THE HELL UP!
(The Wraith slams its hand through the bars, trying to reach him, but the wall between the two cells is too thick.)
WRAITH: These are your last hours, Sheppard. If you wish to spend them in silence, then so be it.
SHEPPARD: No. I'm getting out of here. (He walks away from the window.) I've got a life to go back to and I'm damned well going back to it.
WRAITH: You're sure of that?
SHEPPARD (leaning weakly against the opposite wall): Yeah. I've got friends. (Groaning, he sits down on the floor.) And they're gonna come for me.
WRAITH: I hope you continue to believe that the next time I feed.
ATLANTIS. CONTROL ROOM. Elizabeth is talking with Doctor Carson Beckett.
BECKETT: Elizabeth, I'm just saying, if you decide in favour of trading for Colonel Sheppard, it would be best if you did so before the next feeding. I honestly don't know how many sessions a man can take, even someone as strong as Colonel Sheppard.
WEIR: Is it possible he can recover from this?
BECKETT: We still know so little about the feeding process. All I can tell you is that each time he's fed upon, his chances of survival diminish severely.
(Elizabeth nods. Just then, Rodney runs up the stairs, followed by Ladon.)
McKAY: Doctor Weir! We've got a match! We went through the database. Between our list and Ladon's, there's only one potential location that makes any sense.
(He and Carson hurry off. Ladon looks at Elizabeth and nods.)
SHORTLY AFTERWARDS. A team of marines is geared up and checking their weapons in the Gateroom. Rodney paces along the line.
McKAY: Alright, people, let's do this one by the numbers. We get in, we get our man, we get out. Stay sharp and stay alive.
(Standing behind the marines, Carson, Teyla and Ronon look at Rodney in disbelief.)
BECKETT: What are you on about?
McKAY: Oh, just things that Sheppard would say, so I thought I would, um ...
TEYLA: Well said, Rodney.
DEX: Just stay behind me.
(Ronon leads Teyla, Carson and the marines into the Gate.)
(He looks up to the Control Room balcony where Elizabeth is standing and looking down at him.)
WEIR: Just bring him back.
(Rodney gives her a thumbs-up, then follows everyone else into the Gate.)
KOLYA'S PLANET. John has been removed from his cell and is handcuffed back in the chair facing Kolya.
SHEPPARD: I thought you said this wasn't personal.
KOLYA: The truth is, I would've settled for Doctor McKay, but I don't imagine I would enjoy his constant wailing.
SHEPPARD: They're never gonna make the trade, Kolya. Why don't you just finish this?
KOLYA: I think you underestimate the sympathetic nature of Doctor Weir.
SHEPPARD: Well, then, you underestimate Elizabeth.
KOLYA: You'd prefer I storm Atlantis and take Ladon by force?
(John chuckles, shaking his head.)
SHEPPARD: What've you got -- half a dozen men and a starving Wraith? Yeah, you go right ahead.
KOLYA: One way or the other, Ladon is mine. Protecting him is a waste of my time and your life.
SHEPPARD: What'd he do to you?
KOLYA: I was the one planning to overthrow Cowen. Ladon disclosed those plans, forcing me underground, then staged a coup of his own. He took what was rightfully mine. (He looks up to his guards.) Bring in the Wraith.
(John can't help but grimace in dread.)
WAREHOUSE. Outside a warehouse door, the Atlantis strike team has lined up against the wall. Ronon, standing on the other side of the door, pulls out the pin from a stun grenade, smashes a pane of glass in the door and tosses the grenade inside before ducking back out of the way. The grenade explodes. Instantly Ronon snatches out his blaster, spins it to charge it, then kicks the door open and races inside, followed by the others. Two marines stay outside to keep guard. As the smoke dissipates, the team moves through the warehouse with their weapons aimed, weaving in and out of the many boxes and crates stacked around the place. One of the marines holds up a fist as someone is seen running at the far end of the building. Ronon takes off after him, the others following. The man -- wearing a Genii uniform -- runs along a walkway. Ronon rounds the corner behind him and shoots him in the back. The man crashes to the floor. Ronon runs over to him, aiming his blaster at him, and kicks him over onto his back. Teyla and some of the others run over. Ronon looks round to them.
DEX: Just the caretaker.
(He bends down to disarm the man.)
(Nearby, Rodney is walking along another walkway. He hears a noise coming from the top of a crate nearby and spins, immediately opening fire with his P90. Ronon and the others hear the noise and run off in its direction. Three marines reach Rodney's position and aim their weapons cautiously. Rodney, who was looking down at what he shot, looks over at them.)
McKAY: Oh, uh ... (He gives them a thumbs-up.)
(Carson runs over, aiming his pistol nervously in Rodney's direction as Teyla and Ronon also run up.)
McKAY (nervously): I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I just, uh, I ... you know, I reacted.
TEYLA: What is it?
McKAY: It's, um ... a mouse. Really big one, though. More of a rat, really. Possibly rabid.
BECKETT (to Teyla): This isn't the place, is it?
TEYLA: I do not believe so.
DEX: No. Sheppard wasn't here.
McKAY (looking at his watch): And we've just wasted two and a half hours.
DEX (to the marines): Let's move out!
McKAY: ... and a mouse.
ATLANTIS. ELIZABETH'S OFFICE. Elizabeth is talking with Ladon.
WEIR: Your intel was wrong.
LADON: Well, then, the only way for me to help is to return to my homeworld and mobilise the resources of my military.
WEIR: You can contact them from here.
LADON: Do you think I don't know the real reason you're keeping me here?
WEIR: You are a head of state. It was John Sheppard's last order that we do not submit to Kolya's demands, and it is my own country's policy to never yield to terrorists. Those are the reasons you're still here, Mr Radim. Because believe me, if it was simply my choice ...
LADON: I understand.
LADON: How ...?
WEIR (interrupting): Now, we don't have much time. I want you to look over our list of planets again -- see if there's anything you could have ...
(She is interrupted by the sound of the Gate dialling in.)
TECHNICIAN: Unscheduled offworld activation!
(Elizabeth walks out into the Control Room, Ladon following.)
TECHNICIAN: Looks to be another video feed.
WEIR: Patch it through and open a channel.
(She walks over to the wall screen as Kolya's image appears on it.)
KOLYA: Doctor Weir. As promised.
WEIR: Where's Sheppard?
KOLYA: I'm pleased to see you're wasting no time. So neither will I.
(He walks across the room, the camera following him, until John comes into view, sitting bound and gagged in the chair behind him. The Wraith stands beside John. One of the guards unties the sheath around the Wraith's arm. John turns his head in dread as the Wraith shakes the sheath off its arm and flexes its fingers, snarling in anticipation. Elizabeth gazes at the screen in dismay as Kolya turns to the camera.)
KOLYA: Will you turn Ladon Radim over to me in exchange for Colonel Sheppard?
(Elizabeth doesn't answer immediately. Behind Kolya, John shakes his head minutely.)
KOLYA: Doctor Weir?
(John nods approvingly.)
KOLYA: I can only conclude you doubt my sincerity.
(He turns to his guards and nods his head. They release the Wraith. It turns and holds its hand over John's chest, hesitating for a moment as John looks up at it, then slams its hand down. John's face contorts as the Wraith roars in delight as it feeds. Elizabeth and Ladon stare at the screen as the Wraith blocks their view of John. Kolya allows the Wraith to feed for about eight seconds, then nods to his men again.)
(The guards drag the Wraith away from John. He gasps for breath through his gag. His hair is now almost completely grey and his face is sunken and older. He looks like a man in his mid-fifties. Kolya looks at him for a moment, then turns to the camera.)
KOLYA: Three hours.
(The transmission ends. Elizabeth gazes at the screen, tears in her eyes.)
CELL. Two guards drag John into his cell and drop him to his hands and knees on the floor before walking out and locking the door. John wearily drags himself across to the wall with the window in it and slumps down. The Wraith looks through the window. As it speaks, its voice sounds stronger than it has before.
WRAITH: Where are your friends?
SHEPPARD (weakly): They'll be here.
WRAITH: You still believe that.
SHEPPARD: Yeah, I do. They just need more time.
WRAITH: No-one has ever left this place alive.
SHEPPARD: Yeah, well, I'm going to.
WRAITH: Kolya will kill you before your friends have a chance to reach these cells.
(John looks thoughtful.)
SHEPPARD: How well do you know the layout of this place?
WRAITH: Well enough to know what they would be up against.
(Painfully, John drags himself to his feet and turns to look through the window at the Wraith.)
SHEPPARD: What about us? Do you know enough about this place to get us out?
WRAITH: You and me?
SHEPPARD (sarcastically): What, are they gonna let you go after I'm dead?
SHEPPARD: Then what've you got to lose?
WRAITH: My life.
SHEPPARD: Oh, yeah, you've got a great one down here.
(The Wraith snarls at him.)
SHEPPARD: Listen, it makes sense. We have a common goal.
WRAITH: As I said before, there is no escape.
(It turns away from him.)
THREE HOURS LATER. A guard opens the door to John's cell, drawing his electrical stunner while a second guard stands ready with a rifle.
(Slowly, John walks out of the cell and turns to look as the Wraith is released from the adjoining cell. They exchange a glance for a moment before John looks away. He turns his head to look at the Wraith again but the guard with the rifle punches him across the face, then shoves him towards the door of the cell block. The Wraith and its guards follow.)
(Shortly afterwards, Kolya once again talks into the camera. In the Atlantis Control Room, everyone has gathered.)
KOLYA: He still has years ahead of him, Doctor Weir. My offer stands.
WEIR: So does my answer.
KOLYA: Then you're effectively ending his life.
(Elizabeth shakes her head.)
WEIR: I'm not gonna go there.
KOLYA: Is Ladon there?
LADON: I am.
KOLYA: I can't help but wonder what you've told them so they'd choose you over one of their own.
LADON: That I betrayed you. That I took for myself what you believed to be yours.
KOLYA: The truth? I must say I'm surprised.
LADON: If you release him, you may return to our people with my promise of amnesty.
KOLYA (smiling): Please, Ladon, I trained you better than that. There are things that cannot be undone.
WEIR: That's not true. You can end this.
KOLYA: Strange, Doctor, I was just about to say the same thing.
(Elizabeth looks down as the Wraith is brought into position beside John's chair. Kolya turns to it.)
KOLYA: Take your fill.
(Instantly the Wraith slams its hand down onto John's chest. His head rolls back in agony. In the Control Room, Elizabeth looks down in anguish. Teyla can't bear to look at all. Beside her, Ronon's face contorts in a mixture of fury and helplessness. Finally he can take no more and, with a cry of rage, storms away. Nearby, Rodney gazes at the screen in grief. Carson, on the other hand, glares at the screen as if he's ready to commit murder. Ladon watches with his face wracked with guilt. The Wraith feeds for nearly fifteen seconds, then suddenly it withdraws its hand.)
KOLYA: Who told you to stop?
(The Wraith looks up at him.)
WRAITH: He is near death. Shall I finish him?
(Kolya looks at it for a moment, then down at John, whose face is now very wrinkled. He looks about seventy years old.)
KOLYA (to his guards): Get it out of here.
(The guards drag the Wraith away as John slumps in his chair. Kolya turns to the camera.)
KOLYA: Now it's two hours.
(The transmission ends and the Gate shuts down.)
BECKETT: If he's fed upon again, he's as good as dead.
McKAY: We don't know that.
BECKETT: Aye, Rodney, we do. He may already be past the point of no return. We know that a large percentage of those that survive a partial feeding die anyway due to complications as a result of strain on the system. What appears as physical ageing is actually a by-product of a complex process we barely understand. I can't imagine him surviving another session, whether it's two hours or ten hours from now.
(Ronon furiously turns to Ladon.)
DEX: If you were half the man Sheppard is, you'd volunteer to make the trade yourself.
LADON: The truth is, I'm not sure whether or not I would have made the trade if our roles were reversed. (He turns to Elizabeth.) So I ask you, allow what you have done for me to be worth something. There's nothing more I can do here, but I can get you the information you need to find Sheppard if you allow me to return and interrogate the men who stole the codes from me.
(Uncertain, Elizabeth looks round at her team. They gaze back at her, equally unsure what to do for the best.)
KOLYA'S PLANET. CELL. John, lying on the floor, regains consciousness. Weakly, he pushes himself up onto his elbows and sees the Wraith looking through the window at him.
SHEPPARD (weakly): You know, I could've sworn I was gonna wake up dead today.
WRAITH: You are strong. Stronger than any human I have ever fed upon.
SHEPPARD: You stopped yourself.
WRAITH: Because the longer I feed, the weaker you become ... and we will need what strength you have left to escape.
SHEPPARD: Oh, now he wants to escape!
ATLANTIS GATEROOM. Ladon's guards are being given their weapons back. Ladon walks down the stairs with Elizabeth, Teyla, Ronon and Rodney.
LADON: I lack the words to thank you, Doctor Weir.
WEIR: I didn't do this for you.
LADON: Well, nevertheless, I'll be in touch the moment I have the information that you need.
WEIR: Thank you.
(Ladon nods to her, then turns and leads his guards into the Gate. Rodney steps up beside Elizabeth.)
McKAY: Why do I have this sinking feeling we've just made a terrible mistake?
DEX: Because we have. (He turns and walks away.)
TEYLA: I'm not so sure, Ronon.
(Elizabeth watches as the Genii disappear through the Gate and it shuts down.)
KOLYA'S PLANET. John is lying on the floor of his cell, asleep or resting. The Wraith stands in the middle of its cell. The door to the cell block opens and four guards come in. Two go to John's cell and two to the Wraith's. One of the men unlocks John's cell and he and his colleague go inside and drag John to his feet and help him walk towards the door. The other two walk the Wraith from its cell. As John and his escort get outside the cell, John summons all his strength and hurls himself and the guards backwards, slamming them against the bars of the cell. While they're still winded, he hurls one of the men to the floor. At the same time, the Wraith grabs one of its guards and hurls him across the floor, then wraps its chains around the neck of the second guard and starts to strangle him. Holding onto the chains with one hand, it slams its right arm against the wall repeatedly until the sheath breaks and drops off. Instantly, it slams that hand onto the chest of the guard and starts to feed.
(Over at the other cell, John turns to his second guard and elbows him ferociously several times in the throat. The other guard jumps up from the floor and tries to grab him from behind but John swings around, seizes him and slams his head into the bars of the cell.)
(Back at the Wraith, the guard which it threw to the floor gets up onto one knee and fires his pistol into the Wraith's back. The Wraith roars in pain as he fires six bullets into it. John pulls a knife out of the belt of the guard he is holding against the cell bars and flips it across the room, where it embeds itself into the shooting guard's chest. He drops to the floor. The Wraith roars and continues to feed. John looks at the face of the guard he is holding -- he looks pretty out of it but just for safe measure John punches him in the face and drops him. He looks across to the Wraith, which is still feeding. Leaving it to it, he bends down to one of the unconscious guards and takes a pistol from him.)
(The Wraith, finally finished with its prey, stands up and walks towards John. John stands up and looks at it nervously. The Wraith stops and waits. John, realising that it's not going to attack him -- at least for the time being -- tosses a set of keys to it. It starts to unlock its wrist shackles and then those around its ankles while John bends down to the guards and takes a radio and another pistol. Its shackles now undone, the Wraith stands up again and looks at John, who looks into its eyes for a moment, then steps towards it and offers it one of the pistols. The Wraith takes it.)
SHEPPARD: Which way?
WRAITH: This way.
(It leads the way out of the cell block. Shortly afterwards, they take cover behind a pillar while John looks out cautiously at three guards blocking the exit. The Wraith seems more interested in the pistol that it has been given. It holds it up, running its hand along the barrel. John turns back to see that the Wraith has inadvertently pointed the gun directly at his head. He slaps it down and glares at the Wraith. He holds up the radio he took and activates it. One of the guards, his back to the pillar, looks down at his own radio as it begins to emit static. Instantly John runs out from the pillar, grabs him around the neck from behind and stabs him in the chest. The Wraith grabs the other guard and snaps his neck. The third guard fires his rifle at the Wraith, hitting it several times in the side. It snarls but doesn't fall. The guard turns towards John, who quickly spins around, putting the man he is holding between himself and the rifle so that, as the guard opens fire, the bullets impact his colleague. John sticks his own pistol underneath the man's arm and fires twice at the guard holding the rifle, killing him. John pulls the knife out of the man he's holding and drops him. The Wraith walks over, inspecting its wounds. It looks at John.)
WRAITH: It will heal. This way.
(It heads off. John ejects the cartridge from his pistol, walks over to the guard he just shot and takes his rifle before following the Wraith. They run up some stairs and through a long room.)
(Downstairs, guards are checking their fallen colleagues. Kolya walks in.)
KOLYA: They did this together.
GUARD: They've taken weapons.
KOLYA: I want ten armed men at the Stargate. The rest of you, hunt them down.
LATER. The Wraith pushes open the cover of a raised metal hatch and finds itself in the open in the middle of a forest. It's night time. It climbs out. Behind it, John hauls himself wearily out.
SHEPPARD: How far is the Stargate?
WRAITH: It will be guarded.
SHEPPARD: We've got guns.
WRAITH: They will be waiting for us.
SHEPPARD: Don't be so negative.
(The Wraith sinks down wearily to sit on the edge of the hatch, groaning in pain.)
SHEPPARD: You think you're gonna make it?
WRAITH: If I feed.
SHEPPARD: Well, don't look at me!
(Tiredly, the Wraith hauls itself to its feet again and turns to face him. John backs away a step, aiming his rifle at it. The Wraith raises its own pistol and aims it at John.)
SHEPPARD: We make it to the Stargate, we both go our separate ways. Until then, we're gonna need each other. Deal?
(The Wraith nods reluctantly and lowers its pistol. John lowers his rifle and the Wraith leads them away.)
ATLANTIS. Elizabeth stands on the balcony of the Control Room, gazing down at the Gate and tapping her hand impatiently on the railing. The technician walks over to her.
TECHNICIAN: Doctor Weir?
(Elizabeth turns to look at him.)
WEIR: How long has it been?
TECHNICIAN (looking at his watch): It's coming up on two hours. We should receive the next transmission any minute now.
WEIR: Yes, I'll be there in a moment.
(The technician nods and walks away. Elizabeth turns back to look down at the Gate.)
KOLYA'S PLANET. John and the Wraith are making their way through the forest.
SHEPPARD: I was blindfolded all the way to the bunker. It wasn't this far.
WRAITH: If I could just move faster ...
(Trying to speed up, it groans and falls to its hands and knees in exhaustion.)
SHEPPARD: We'll rest here a few minutes.
WRAITH: You should go on without me.
SHEPPARD: No. The Gate's guarded. Got a better chance to take down the guards in a crossfire. I still need you.
WRAITH: Very well.
SHEPPARD: That is, even if we're going in the right direction. (He turns to face the Wraith.) You have no idea where the Stargate is, do you?
(The Wraith, still on its knees, slumps down.)
WRAITH: It was many years ago.
SHEPPARD (angrily): Way to go, John! Listening to a Wraith!
WRAITH: It was not my intention to deceive you, Sheppard.
(John glares at it, then is distracted as the radio he is holding activates.)
GUARD (over radio): Our reinforcements have arrived at the Stargate, Commander.
KOLYA (over radio): Kill the Wraith on sight, but I want Sheppard alive.
(John turns to the Wraith.)
SHEPPARD: Well, we learned two things: one, he likes me better than you ...
(The Wraith, having finally struggled to its feet, chuckles weakly.)
SHEPPARD: ... two, we probably would've never made it to the Stargate anyway.
WRAITH (sinking down to the ground again): Then it is over.
SHEPPARD: No. Our people don't leave each other behind. That's three things you've learned.
WRAITH: You still believe that?
(John walks closer and squats down to it.)
SHEPPARD: Kolya doesn't know where we are. He's wasting manpower that could be used searching for us guarding the Gate. The odds of my people finding us are going up and up.
WRAITH: You are more like Wraith than you know.
SHEPPARD: I'm not sure I like the sound of that.
WRAITH: There is much about Wraith that you do not know, Sheppard.
ATLANTIS. ELIZABETH'S OFFICE. Elizabeth, Carson and the rest of Team Sheppard are there.
McKAY: Kolya's late.
TEYLA: That is not like him.
McKAY: We haven't heard anything from Ladon either.
WEIR: We will.
TEYLA: Is it possible they were in on this from the beginning?
WEIR: No, I don't think so. Why would Ladon come here in the first place?
DEX: Throw us off the scent.
McKAY: What kind of a plan would that be?
TEYLA: Either way, there must be a reason why Kolya has not contacted us.
BECKETT: Perhaps he knew it would take Colonel Sheppard more time to recover.
McKAY: None of us are saying what we're all thinking here.
WEIR: No, Rodney, we're not.
KOLYA'S PLANET. John listens as a guard reports over the radio.
GUARD (over radio): Tell Kolya there's nobody around the Gate.
SHEPPARD: Sounds like they're concentrating their search around the Gate. (He looks down at the Wraith, which is lying on the ground on its back.) They must think we knew where we were going.
(The Wraith chuckles, then gazes up into the sky which has three half-moons in it.)
WRAITH: Oh, it was worth it, if only to see the sky again.
SHEPPARD: I got slightly higher expectations.
WRAITH: My wound is deep. (It props itself up on one elbow and looks at John.) If I do not feed soon, I will die.
SHEPPARD: Buck up. We got a deal, remember? We both go home alive.
WRAITH: And if we were to meet again in the future, what then?
SHEPPARD: All bets are off.
(The Wraith chuckles again.)
WRAITH: Then let us hope we do not meet again.
SHEPPARD: Try to get some sleep. I'll take the first watch.
(Groaning, he stands up and hobbles off.)
ATLANTIS. CONTROL ROOM. The technician reports as Elizabeth and the others hurry in from her office. The Gate is active.
TECHNICIAN: I'm receiving the new Genii I.D.C. along with a video feed.
WEIR: Put it on the screen.
(They hurry over to the wall screen as Ladon's image appears.)
LADON: Are you receiving me?
WEIR: We were starting to get worried.
LADON: Yes, I'm sure you had doubts. The truth is, the interrogation took longer than I hoped. We've secured the location of Kolya's base. I'm forwarding you the dialling coordinates right now.
WEIR: Are you certain?
LADON: Certain enough to send a full brigade through the Gate. It will take us an hour to marshal our forces. I thought you might want that time.
WEIR: What will we be up against?
LADON: Nothing one of your cloaked Jumpers and my good friend Ronon couldn't handle. I ask only that you leave Kolya for my own forces to find.
(Elizabeth looks round at the others, then turns back to the screen.)
WEIR: No promises.
LADON: I understand.
(The transmission ends. Elizabeth turns to the others.)
WEIR: Alright, get a cloaked Jumper and a team of marines.
BECKETT: I'd like to reserve one of those seats for a member of my medical team.
WEIR: Done. (She looks at Ronon.) And if you do find Kolya ...
DEX (smiling unpleasantly): No promises.
KOLYA'S PLANET. DAY TIME. John is sitting asleep with his back against a tree. The Wraith lies on the ground flat on its back nearby. A short distance away, Genii guards make their way through the trees, searching for them. The Wraith's eyes snap open. It sits up, looking around, then gets to its feet, looking around as it hears the guards' feet snapping through the undergrowth. Clutching its injured side, it walks over to John and squats down beside him. John opens his eyes and looks at it.
WRAITH: They're coming.
(Instantly, it slams its hand onto John's chest and begins to feed. John, too weak even to groan, closes his eyes and his face begins to age. The Wraith snarls as it takes his life force.)
(Shortly afterwards, the Genii guards arrive to find John lying on his back on the ground with his eyes closed. [Question: why did the Wraith take time to move him away from where he was sitting against the tree a few moments before?] Ignoring him, they look around the area. The Wraith suddenly drops down from a tree and, its strength fully restored, slams its hand into the chest of one of the guards, sending him flying into the trees. It cuffs a second guard to the ground. Two more guards turn and rapidly fire their rifles into it but the Wraith runs forward, seizes their guns and rips them out of their hands before dropping them, then grabs both of them around the throat and slams them down to the ground. Holding them both down, it shifts its right hand to the guard's chest and begins to feed. The man screams. The Wraith roars with delight. The guard held down by the Wraith's left hand looks across to his colleague in terror and sees that he is ageing rapidly.)
(At the planet's Stargate, seven or so Genii guards aim their weapons at the open Gate. A Puddle Jumper flies through, cloaks instantly and flies off as the guards fire at it. Inside the Jumper, Rodney is in the pilot's seat. Nobody is looking nervous, so he must have been declared a qualified pilot after his skilled flying through the narrow streets of Sateda recently. Teyla, Ronon and Carson are in the front compartment while a team of marines is in the back. Teyla looks at the heads-up display.)
TEYLA: The facility is straight ahead.
McKAY: We're detecting life signs on the surface, miles from the bunker.
DEX: How many?
McKAY: When it first came up, it was eight, then four. I don't get it -- now it's just the two.
BECKETT: What's going on down there?
McKAY: Well, one of them is definitely Sheppard. His subcutaneous transmitter's still broadcasting.
TEYLA: Could the other one be Kolya?
DEX: Let's hope so. Land a hundred metres to the south of their position.
On the planet's surface, the Wraith walks over to John and looks down at him. John is elderly, his hair white and thin and his face sunken. He looks like Colonel Sumner did just before his death in “Rising.” The Wraith kneels down and looks into John's face. John raises his head and stares up at it.
SHEPPARD: Finish it.
WRAITH: As I told you, John Sheppard, there are many things about Wraith that you do not know.
(It reaches out its right hand and places it down onto his chest.)
(Nearby, the rest of Team Sheppard and the marines are making their way cautiously through the forest. Dex, on point, raises a clenched fist, stops and squats down. The others come up quietly behind him. Some distance away, John screams. Ronon jumps up and races towards the sound, the others following. They race through the trees and come across the Wraith squatting over John. Ronon charges forward, grabs it and hurls it away from him, charging his blaster and pointing it at the Wraith.)
SHEPPARD (from the ground): Wait!
(As the Wraith scrambles to its feet, John also stands up. He's as young and as pretty as he ever was.)
SHEPPARD: Leave him.
(The others run up, all aiming their weapons at the Wraith.)
SHEPPARD: That's an order!
BECKETT: I don't understand. We all saw what he did to you.
SHEPPARD (walking towards the Wraith): He just undid it. Lower your weapons.
TEYLA: How is this possible?
SHEPPARD: Don't ask me.
(The Wraith, which has been looking round at everyone surrounding it, turns to John.)
WRAITH: The gift of life is reserved only for our most devout worshippers ... and our brothers.
SHEPPARD: Well, I guess there's a lot about the Wraith we don't know.
(The Wraith addresses the others, although its eyes never leave John's.)
WRAITH: Sheppard gave me back my life. I merely repaid the debt.
McKAY (high-pitched in disbelief): What debt? Are you kidding?! I mean, he looks younger than he did before!
DEX: What about Kolya?
(John, who had obviously completely forgotten about Kolya with all the other things happening to him, pats his jacket for the radio, then curses, turns and runs to where it's lying on the ground nearby. He snatches it up and activates it.)
SHEPPARD: Kolya, this is Sheppard.
(Kolya is standing in front of the open Stargate. He lifts his radio to listen to it.)
SHEPPARD: Kolya? I figured you'd run. Next time, I kill you on sight, you hear me?
(Kolya turns and walks into the Gate. Frustrated at the lack of reply, John lowers his radio and looks at Ronon.)
SHEPPARD: Let's get off this rock.
(Ronon turns and looks at the Wraith.)
DEX: What about him?
(John looks at the Wraith.)
SHEPPARD: We had a deal, right?
WRAITH: I did not truly expect you to honour it.
(It chuckles. John licks his lips, thinking about it, then looks at Ronon. Ronon, with his back to the Wraith, offers his blaster to John. John looks at it for a moment, then takes it, walks past him and fires the blaster at the Wraith, hitting it in the chest. The Wraith drops to the ground. Ronon takes the blaster off John and looks at the setting.)
DEX: You didn't kill him.
SHEPPARD: No, I didn't. Get him in the Jumper. We're gonna drop him off somewhere.
(The marines bend down and pick up the Wraith. John walks over to the rest of his team.)
SHEPPARD (sarcastically): Thanks for showing up!
(Rodney makes faint protesting noises as John walks away.)
NIGHT TIME. The Wraith regains consciousness lying on the ground. It sits up, roaring, then calms down as it sees John standing nearby. John raises his rifle cautiously. Some yards away is an active Stargate [which I hope is an incoming wormhole, otherwise the D.H.D. is showing Atlantis' dialling code!]
WRAITH: Ah, Sheppard. (It puts its hand to its chest where it was shot by Ronon's blaster.) I thought you ...
SHEPPARD: There's a lot you don't know about humans.
(The Wraith gets to its feet and looks around, realising that it's on a different planet.)
WRAITH: Ah, I see. (It looks at John.) Next time we meet ...
SHEPPARD: All bets are off.
(The familiar sound of Wraith Darts can be heard in the distance. Both John and the Wraith look up towards the sound. As a Dart flies overhead and the Wraith turns to watch it, John backs away and disappears from view. He has obviously stepped inside the cloak of a Jumper parked on the ground. The Wraith turns and looks surprised that John is no longer there. It gazes up into the sky and waits to be picked up by the Dart.)