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Sheppard finds himself on a planet where time passes more rapidly, with no way to contact his team or return to Atlantis.

DVD DISC: Season 2, Disc 3
DIRECTED BY: Neil Fearnley
STORY BY: Brad Wright & Joe Flanigan
TELEPLAY BY: Brad Wright
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Transcript by Callie Sullivan

ALIEN PLANET. Team Sheppard -- Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard, Doctor Rodney McKay, Teyla Emmagan and Ronon Dex -- has arrived at a mountain range which, although we can't see all of it, suggests that it might be circular, surrounding a large crater. The team has walked through a forest or woodland and has reached a cliff wall.

McKAY: Why do you have to park so far away?

SHEPPARD: This ridge was a little further away than it looked. You can't just land a Jumper anywhere, Rodney.

McKAY: Ah, it doesn't matter now, I think we're almost there. (He continues walking, looking down at a hand-held Ancient device as he walks along.)

TEYLA: Rodney, do you even know what it is we are looking for?

McKAY: Yeah, well, whatever it is, it's around here somewhere.

DEX: What's around here?

McKAY: Whatever it was that was causing the energy spike we detected from the Puddle Jumper.

SHEPPARD: D'you have any idea what that looks like?

McKAY: I'll know it when I see it ... (he looks to his left and points) ... and I see it.

(The team walks in the direction he pointed. Rodney pulls back some trailing vines hanging down from the cliff. There's a small cave inside and at the far end is a square archway carved through the wall.)

DEX: Looks like a door.

McKAY (looking back at him): Yes, it is remarkably door-like(!)

(He rolls his eyes and turns towards the cave again. John pulls down some of the vines and the team walks into the cave, John and Teyla aiming their guns cautiously. They approach the doorway. There is another cave on the other side.)

SHEPPARD: Well, looks like the only way through the ridge anyway. It runs for miles. Alright, let's check it out. (He starts to walk forward.)

McKAY (consulting his device): Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa. There's something there.

SHEPPARD (stopping short of the doorway): What?

McKAY: Some kind of an energy barrier around the threshold.

(John looks at the doorway for a moment, then turns and finds a large pebble on the ground. He picks it up and tosses it towards the doorway. As the pebble reaches the doorway, a blue light glows around it as it goes through the energy field and then the pebble vanishes in mid-air.)

TEYLA: It disappeared.

SHEPPARD: Or it went right through a cloak.

McKAY (looking at his device): It has many of the same properties as a cloaking field.

SHEPPARD: Yeah, and the Ancients did tend to hide all the really cool stuff.

McKAY: Yeah -- I would just like to be able to explain these readings better before we step through. (He clicks his fingers several times and turns to Teyla and Ronon.) Get me a branch. (As they walk away, he turns to John.) You got tape? (John squats down and starts to rummage in his backpack.) Because ... (he reaches into his jacket) ... I got a camera! (He pulls the camera out, then looks up in despair as Ronon presents him with the branch he found.) I didn't ask for a log! (He glares at Ronon, who turns and walks away with his log as Teyla comes in with a much thinner branch.) Thank you! OK, so ... (he holds the camera against the end of the branch that Teyla is holding) ... tape it to the stick ... (John unwraps the end of the duct tape he has taken out of his pack and starts to wrap it around the camera and the branch) ... we extend the camera through, record for a few minutes, pull it back, play the recorder.

SHEPPARD: Yeah! M.A.L.P. on a stick!

(Rodney looks at him in exasperation.)

McKAY: Yes, M.A.L.P. on a stick(!) Very clever. Are we done?

(John finishes taping the camera to the branch.)


(Rodney takes the branch from Teyla and carefully feeds the camera end into the field. The part of the field surrounding the branch glows blue as he feeds it through. As it passes through the field, it disappears from view. Teyla walks over to the cave wall near the doorway and looks at writing carved on the wall.)

TEYLA: I am not fluent in Ancient but I do recognise a few words: "welcome" and "ascension".

DEX: Ascension?

McKAY (still holding the branch with the camera end through the doorway): To a higher plane of existence. The race of people who built the Stargates -- they eventually evolved to a point where they ascended to a state of pure energy.

DEX: That'd be great!

McKAY: Yeah, well, sadly it's a matter of, uh, evolution. (He looks up at Ronon, who stares back at him. Rodney looks away again.) Anyway ... I'm sure we've got more than enough now. (He pulls the camera back through the doorway.) There we go. And ... have a look, shall we?

(Everyone gathers around him as he activates the camera. The screen shows the other side of the doorway. It looks exactly the same as they can see through the doorway anyway. Rodney looks up.)

McKAY: OK, then! Any volunteers?

SHEPPARD: I'll go. (He walks towards the doorway.)

McKAY: Just, um, back out if you encounter anything problematic.

(John stops and looks back at him.)

SHEPPARD: Problematic?

McKAY: Yeah, like poisonous atmosphere, acid atmosphere, no atmosphere. Hey, (he points to the camera) it's a M.A.L.P. on a stick; only shows you so much.

(John grimaces at him nervously.)

SHEPPARD: OK. (He takes a deep breath.) Here goes.

(He slowly pushes his P90 into the field. The field glows blue around the gun. He pushes his hands forward and they disappear into the field.)

SHEPPARD: Weird! (He pushes his arms into the field.) Yeah, it's kinda hurting my hands a little.

McKAY: OK, so get outta there.

SHEPPARD (struggling to pull himself out of the field): I'm trying to, but it's pulling me in.

(Ronon grabs the webbing on the back of John's vest with both hands and braces himself.)

DEX: I got you.

(Despite Ronon pulling back, John continues to be pulled into the field. John looks round at the others.)

SHEPPARD: OK, come on, guys, get me outta here.

(Teyla runs forward and grabs hold of more webbing.)

DEX: I'm tryin'.

SHEPPARD: Well, try harder.

McKAY: No-no-no, we proved this -- it shouldn't be happening.

SHEPPARD: Well, it is! It's pulling me in!

(He, Ronon and Teyla continue trying to pull him out to no avail.)

TEYLA: It's too strong!

(John's face reaches the field. He turns his head to the side, trying to force his head back, but it is pulled into the field. Rodney calls out a warning to Teyla and Ronon.)

McKAY: Don't touch the barrier!

(As their hands near the barrier, the two of them let John go and he disappears into the field. The rest of the team stare at each other in shock.)

OPENING CREDITS. Resume. John is lying face-down on the ground in the cave on the other side of the barrier.

SHEPPARD (into radio): I don't know if you can hear me over the radio, but I'm finally on the other side. (He looks up.) Looks just like the pictures. (He strains to stand up but can't move.) Hurts pretty bad to move. I don't know if I can ... (He tries again to move but can't. He groans.) Alright, you guys, stay put. (He deactivates his radio.)

OUTSIDE THE BARRIER. Ronon turns to Rodney.

DEX: Why did you tell us to let him go?

McKAY: Because you weren't gonna stop and the last thing we need is both of you to get pulled in with him.

TEYLA: Why would the Ancestors create something that would do this?

McKAY: I don't know.

DEX: Figure it out or you're going in after him!

McKAY: OK, that is not helping! Obviously the portal reacts differently to living matter than it does to inanimate objects. It might even be specific to humans.

INSIDE THE BARRIER. John is on his feet and activates his radio.

SHEPPARD: This is Sheppard -- can you hear me now? (He deactivates the radio and listens but there's no reply. He activates it again.) I've taken a good look around the area. Cave opens up to the other side of the ridge. There's not much there, so, uh, (he squats down) I'm just gonna wait here and give you guys a chance to figure this one out.

OUTSIDE THE BARRIER. Teyla activates her radio.

TEYLA: Colonel Sheppard, this is Teyla. Please respond.

McKAY (consulting his Ancient device): You're wasting your time and it's not gonna work.

TEYLA (ignoring him): Colonel, if you can hear me, please respond.

(Rodney puts the device down and goes over the camera on the branch, looking at the playback again.)

McKAY (looking at the screen): There's absolutely nothing on this tape that could possibly indicate any kind of ... (He trails off, staring at the screen in shock.) Oh, no!

DEX: What?

McKAY (looking up at him): The memory's full. It's recorded almost two hours and ... (he stares down as the camera beeps) and the battery just died! Dammit!

DEX: Why are you wasting time?

McKAY: That is the one thing I am not doing. (He puts the camera down and looks around.) OK, look, I need something living, like a, like a flower, or a blossom. (He spots a bush nearby which has branches covered in yellow blossom.) OK. (He goes over and starts to tug at the branches.)

INSIDE THE BARRIER. John is standing very near the barrier and talking into his radio.

SHEPPARD: Now would not be a good time to throw that rock I asked you to throw a few hours ago. I'd never see it coming -- this side is as black as oil. (He looks at the barrier, then punches it hard. It ripples blue but all John gets is a sore fist. Grunting in frustration, he steps back a little from the barrier, then activates his radio again.) There's one thing I haven't tried, so if you can hear me, uh, stand back. And if you can't ... well, then I guess you can't hear me.

(He draws his pistol and points it at the barrier, then, realising that anyone could be standing right on the other side, he aims at the bottom of the barrier and fires. The bullet bounces off the field and ricochets back, hitting him in the foot. John cries out in pain, hopping on one foot.)

SHEPPARD: Good one, John! Shoot yourself! (He yells into the radio.) This is downright problematic, Rodney!

OUTSIDE THE BARRIER. Rodney pulls a couple of branches off the bush and turns to look at the other two.

McKAY: To test a theory. Work with me here, people. Look, if I'm right, we need to hurry. (He walks into the cave.)

DEX: What are you doin', McKay?

(Rodney stops and turns to him in irritation.)

McKAY: I am trying to determine how much faster time is passing on the other side of the portal than it is here.

TEYLA: Why would time progress faster?

DEX: It doesn't make any sense.

McKAY (shouting): That is what I am trying to prove. Now, just wait.

(He glares at both of them, then feeds the end of the branches into the doorway.)

McKAY (counting off the seconds): One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine ...

DEX: McKay ...

McKAY: ... ten, bear with me, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, and twenty.

(He pulls the branches out of the field. The blossoms that were inside the field are brown, dried out and almost dead. Rodney stares at them.)

McKAY: A whole lot faster!

(Teyla takes the branches and stares at them.)

INSIDE THE BARRIER. John sits down on a rock, then activates his radio.

SHEPPARD: Can you hear me now? (He listens, but there's no reply. He activates it again.) The cave opens up to the other side of the ridge but there's nothing in the immediate area I can survive on. (He deactivates the radio and tosses his pistol across to an area where he has set up camp. After a moment, he stands up and wanders back to the doorway, talking into the radio.) OK, that's day two and I'm out of water. We don't leave our people behind -- right? (He stares at the doorway, then activates the radio again.) How about sending me a signal to show me that you're still there? Doesn't have to be a rock -- you can write a damned note. (He deactivates the radio briefly, then activates it again.) I'm gonna turn off my radio for another six hours to conserve the battery, (he sits down on the ground) and try to get some sleep. Sheppard out.

OUTSIDE THE BARRIER. Teyla is staring at the branches.

TEYLA: The blossoms have aged several hours at least.

McKAY (starting to walk out of the cave): We might be able to pick him up in the Jumper but I need to get back to Atlantis.

DEX (following him): You're not goin' anywhere.

McKAY (turning round to him, angry): It is a time dilation field, which means that time is passing much faster on the other side of the portal than it is here for us. I'm not sure of the exact ratio, but I need to go now.

DEX: Why?

McKAY: I don't have time to explain temporal compression theory to you when every moment we stand here debating this, literally hours could be going by for Colonel Sheppard relative to us. Look, hours equate to days, and days for us could mean years for him. Do you get it now? Teyla -- I need you to follow me back as far as the Puddle Jumper and I'll explain what I need you to do on the way. (He and Teyla start to leave, then Rodney turns and points at Ronon.) And you, stay here.

DEX: And do what?

McKAY: Don't go through, if that's what you're thinking. (He suddenly realises something.) Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa. (He points to Teyla's back.) Give me the knapsack.

INSIDE THE BARRIER. John is on his feet by the doorway, talking into the radio. He has a couple of days' growth of beard.

SHEPPARD: Rodney, Teyla, Ronon? Come in? (There's no reply.) You guys are starting to worry me a little bit here.


McKAY: Empty your pockets -- everything you think he might need to survive.

(Ronon takes various items out of his pockets. Teyla is taking energy bars out of her own pockets and they put everything into her knapsack.)

McKAY: We might just buy him a little more time there. (He puts some items into the knapsack himself.) Come on.

DEX: Go.

McKAY: Good. (He pulls the drawstrings shut, takes the knapsack to the doorway and tosses it through.)

INSIDE THE BARRIER. John has built himself a small fire and is sitting by it, licking the inside of the wrapper of his last energy bar. He scrunches it up and then looks down at his right hand, flexing his fingers painfully, so it's either very cold in the cave or he is weak from hunger. He tosses the wrapper down onto the floor. At that moment, the cave shakes as if a small earthquake is going off. He ducks, covering his head as small rocks fall from the ceiling. The earthquake subsides. As John looks around cautiously, there's a sound from the doorway and the energy field starts to glow blue. John stands up and runs over to the doorway as a knapsack flies through. John bends down to the knapsack, then stares at the doorway.

SHEPPARD: What the hell took you guys so long?!

(He unties the drawstrings of the knapsack, pulls out a canteen of water and takes a long drink.)

OUTSIDE THE BARRIER. Rodney and Teyla are just arriving at the Puddle Jumper and run inside. As they talk, they rummage around the Jumper collecting all the equipment that Teyla will take back with her.

McKAY: Alright -- emergency rations, medical kit. Anything else?

TEYLA: Extra batteries for the camcorder.

McKAY: Right. You know what to do?

TEYLA: Press Record, extend and hold for three seconds.

McKAY: No more, no less.

TEYLA: And then pull it out again.

McKAY: Right. If he's still there, that should give him plenty of time to record a detailed message. Dammit! Why didn't I send through a note?

TEYLA: What do you mean if he is still there?

McKAY: Look, depending on the compression ratio inside the field, there's a very good chance he may have used up the supplies we've sent through by the time you get back. I know it's hard to get your head around but what it means is we have to ...

TEYLA: It means we must hurry.

McKAY: Right. Go-go-go-go-go-go-go.

(Teyla, laden down with two large bags over her shoulders and carrying a suitcase-sized container of water, heads back for the cave. Rodney closes the door of the Jumper.)

McKAY: Good! (He runs to the cockpit.) Alright! (He gets into the pilot's seat and activates the controls, concentrating on doing everything correctly.) Right!

ATLANTIS. Rodney, Carson and Elizabeth are in a room talking as Rodney and various personnel are preparing the equipment needed to take back to the planet.

BECKETT: What, you have no idea whether he's injured?

McKAY: The excruciating pain he was experiencing was a result of the temporal differential.

BECKETT: And what is that, exactly?

McKAY: OK, the-the-the portal must somehow dampen the extreme tidal forces that would normally occur in the event horizon of a time dilation field, and we were keeping him from passing through it.

BECKETT: So part of his body is experiencing time at a different pace than the other? Who knows what that could do to him?

McKAY (sarcastically): I have no idea, but I suspect he could use a doctor.

WEIR: So you don't know if he's even alive?

McKAY: The most time-efficient approach was to assume that he was alive but stranded.

WEIR: And why not assume that he'll make his own way back through the portal?

McKAY: Because Colonel Sheppard would have already had hours to try to make it back through the portal in the time I wasted explaining the situation to Conan and Xena!

BECKETT: Now, Rodney, that's not very ...

McKAY: No. No, I suppose it isn't. (He activates his headset radio.) This is McKay. Supplies been loaded aboard yet?

VOICE OVER RADIO: Almost there, sir. Just a few more cases.

McKAY: Alright. When you're done with that, make sure you assist Zelenka in securing the descent probe into the launch compartment. (He picks up a large bag and tosses it to Carson.) Let's move. (He leaves the room. Carson, Elizabeth and the others follow him.)

INSIDE THE BARRIER. John is sitting by a small fire. He now has a full beard. He activates his radio.

SHEPPARD: This is Sheppard. I'm pretty sure you can't hear me, but I don't have a volleyball to talk to, so what the hell. I've rationed what little I have for as long as I could but I have enough left for maybe one more day. (He sighs.) I've gotta get myself something to live on while I find my own source of food and water. (Sarcastically) Not that I didn't appreciate the three canteens of water and the whole handful of power bars. (He sighs again.) There's nothing in the immediate area. I'm gonna have to go further out. Um, I'm giving you an indication of where I go, as I go. (He looks frustrated.) Sheppard out. (Angrily, he throws the radio across the cave, then picks up his P90 and starts to kick the fire out. Once it's out, he cocks his gun, switches on the light on top of it and, aiming it cautiously, heads out.)

OUTSIDE THE BARRIER. Teyla arrives back at the cave.

DEX: That was quick.

TEYLA: Not fast enough, I fear. (She tosses one of the bags and the water container through the portal, then turns to Ronon.) Get the camera. (She tosses the second bag through the portal, then takes the battery out of her pocket as Ronon brings the camera over, still taped to the branch.) Doctor McKay would like us to try this again. (She puts the new battery into the camera.)

DEX: To see if Sheppard's still alive?

TEYLA: And to determine the true passage of time on the other side. (She finishes inserting the battery.) Alright. (She switches on the camera.) Alright. (She feeds the camera through the field and counts off the seconds.) One, two, three. (As she says "three", she pans the camera across the cave, then pulls it out.)

DEX: That wasn't long enough to see anything.

(Teyla plays back the footage she has recorded.)

TEYLA: And yet it seems to have recorded several minutes. (She continues watching the footage. She can see the water container and one of the bags she tossed through lying on the ground, together with various other bits of kit that John has left behind, but there is no sign of John. She looks round at Ronon.) He is not there.

INSIDE THE BARRIER. John has left the cave and is walking through a sunlit forest. He stops as he hears the sound of a ferocious roar. It sounds like he's being stalked by a dinosaur. He raises his P90. The roar comes again, this time from another direction. John spins around as the roaring continues.

SHEPPARD: Well, you're either gonna eat me, or I'm gonna eat you.

(Summoning his courage, he walks in the direction the sound last came from.)

ATLANTIS. Rodney, Elizabeth and Carson are heading for the Jumper Bay.

McKAY: We've loaded weeks of supplies and everything I could think of.

BECKETT: What're we not thinking of?

WEIR: Now take a minute, and be certain. If your theory is correct, you won't be able to make many of these trips.

McKAY: I am painfully aware of that.

(Elizabeth stops and turns to face him.)

WEIR: I remind you only because from what you've told me, rushing is what got Sheppard into trouble in the first place.

McKAY: This was not his fault -- it was mine. I should have looked more closely at the video. The clues were there before he even stepped through. Look, all I can hope to do now is fix this within his lifetime.

BECKETT: His lifetime?

McKAY: If it takes us a week to ten days to fix this, then it won't matter, because he will probably have died of old age.

WEIR: Oh my God.

McKAY: Yeah, hence the rushing. Now, you ready? (As they start to walk again, he looks at Carson.) You don't look ready.

BECKETT: I'm ready.

WEIR: I need to pick up a few of my books to help with the translation.

McKAY: Well, we'll pick ‘em up on the way, and I hope you've got us a real Jumper pilot because I don't trust him (pointing at Carson) and I can't fly the damned thing in a straight line.

INSIDE THE BARRIER. John has left the forest and is now walking across a grassy field. Suddenly a man runs out of the woods nearby.

AVRID: Help! Help! Help me, please!

(Somewhere in the woods, the whatever-it-is roars as Avrid runs to John.)

SHEPPARD: Where is it?

AVRID: It's there. (He points in the direction he has just come from.) In the trees.

(The whatever-it-is roars again.)

SHEPPARD: What is it?

AVRID: The Beast!

SHEPPARD: Alright, is there a safe place for us to go?

AVRID: No, no, the Cloister is too far. (He stares into the woods.) It's upon us!

(As the Beast roars again, John and Avrid crouch down in the grass, John aiming his P90 towards the woods.)

SHEPPARD: Stay down, and stay behind me.

AVRID: You can't fight it!

SHEPPARD: Maybe we can scare it away.

(He fires a hail of bullets into the trees. As the smoke clears, he stands up cautiously. For a moment, there's silence, then the roar comes from his left. He spins to face the sound. The field stretches for some distance in that direction but the sound seemed to come from much closer. He stares, confused. Suddenly a distortion appears just above the ground, flickering into view for a moment, then fading. John lowers his rifle, puzzled, then the distortion appears again, this time forming the shape of a monster. It's hard to see its exact form because it keeps flickering in and out of view but it appears to be about seven feet tall; it is human-shaped and is covered in scales or a tough skin. It has long clawed hands and a horn or ridge on its head. John fires a short blast from his rifle but the creature disappears momentarily, then reappears much closer to John and knocks him flying. He crashes to the ground. As Avrid cowers, the creature, still phasing in and out of existence, turns and heads towards John. John rolls out of its way and then surges up onto his knees, grabbing his pistol out of its holder and firing several bullets at the Beast as it passes. The Beast growls, turns and heads back towards him, again knocking him across the field. He lands on his front and the Beast runs across and slashes its clawed hand across John's back, ripping his vest and shirt to shreds and leaving claw marks across his back. The Beast phases out briefly, then turns and heads towards Avrid. It stands over him as he cowers. John rolls over and grabs a knife out of his jacket before getting up and running to the Beast and jumping onto its back. The Beast screams in anger. John, hanging on for dear life, looks at Avrid.)

SHEPPARD: Get outta here!

(As Avrid gets up and runs, the Beast tosses John off its back. Lying on the ground on his back, John looks up as the Beast stands over him, phasing in and out for a few seconds, then it disappears. John passes out.)

SPACE. The Puddle Jumper flies towards the planet and aims towards the circular mountain range surrounding the crater. Elizabeth is sitting beside the pilot, while Rodney sits behind him, with Carson behind Elizabeth. Elizabeth looks down at the crater.)

WEIR: There it is.

(Rodney is consulting a hand-held device.)

McKAY: Well, according to these readings, it's not there.

BECKETT: Rodney, I can see it with my own eyes -- it's right inside that crater.

McKAY: It's hard to say whether the Ancients actually built it inside the crater or whether the rim formed as a result of the time dilation field.

WEIR: The Jumper sensors aren't picking up anything?

PILOT: Nothing, ma'am.

McKAY: Alright. Position us directly above it and stand by. Prepare to launch the probe on my mark.

WEIR: What is this probe of yours supposed to do?

McKAY: Well, it's supposed to descend slowly into the atmosphere of a gas giant. The ‘chute opens, the probe separates into two components joined by a tether hundreds of metres long.

WEIR: So we should be able to receive telemetry from inside the time dilation field while the other half of the probe is still outside.

McKAY: Right. And depending on the variance, we might be able to fly right into the field and rescue Sheppard.

BECKETT: Very clever, Rodney!

McKAY: Uh, yes, it is. (He looks uncomfortable.) It was actually Zelenka's idea.

INSIDE THE BARRIER. A pair of hands wrings out a cloth in a bowl of water and the owner of the hands starts to mop John's brow. He is either asleep or unconscious in a bed in what appears to be a wooden house. A blanket covers him from the chest down but we can see that he is wearing a white shirt. Various voices can be heard outside the dwelling. It sounds like whoever they belong to are getting on with their everyday lives. John wakes up and we see that the hand mopping his brow belongs to a girl of about twelve years old.


(The girl smiles at him, then turns and calls out loudly.)

HEDDA: He's awake again!

(John flinches at the noise.)

SHEPPARD: I am now!

(As Hedda starts to mop his brow again, a woman outside the dwelling breaks off from the conversation she was having with Avrid and comes inside. She is in her early thirties and is wearing an ankle-length sleeveless shift dress. She walks over to the bed, smiling, and introduces herself.)

TEER: I am Teer.

SHEPPARD: Have we met?

TEER: When Avrid first brought you here. You were terribly injured from fighting the Beast. Avrid carried you almost halfway across the Sanctuary.

HEDDA (smiling proudly): And I healed you.

SHEPPARD (looking at her): You did? You're a little young to be a doctor.

TEER: Hedda is one of the few among us who possesses the healing power.

SHEPPARD: Well, good. Thank you.

TEER: It's we who should thank you for saving our brother from the Beast.

SHEPPARD: It's funny -- I don't remember winning.

(Avrid comes in, carrying a small wooden plate with food on it.)

AVRID: It's good to see you awake and well again.

SHEPPARD: Didn't it come after you?

AVRID: No. Only the Ascended know why.

SHEPPARD: None of them are around, are they?

AVRID (holding out the plate): Are you hungry?

SHEPPARD: Starving.

(Avrid smiles and puts the plate down on the bed beside John's legs. John props himself up on his elbows, looks down at the shirt he's wearing, then lifts the blanket to see what else he is wearing.)

SHEPPARD: Which one of you got me out of my clothes and into these?

TEER: I did. (John looks at her.) Is that alright?

SHEPPARD: Yeah. I just usually like to meet a woman before she sees me naked. (Teer smiles. John looks down at the plate and pulls it towards him.) What do we have here?

SOME TIME LATER. John comes out of the house. He is wearing a white shirt, a sleeveless light beige waistcoat, dark trousers and long beige suede-looking boots. He still has the beard. The house is in a small village with houses and barns made of wood. It's another simple Pegasus society. Avrid comes over to greet him.

AVRID: I'm glad you're feeling better. (He gestures around the village.) Welcome to your new home.

SHEPPARD: Avrid, uh, I'm happy to visit and I'm grateful for the food and the whole healing thing, but, uh, do you know the way out of here? (He starts to walk across the centre of the village.)

AVRID: There is no way to leave, John, other than to ascend.

SHEPPARD (stopping): What exactly do you mean by "there's no way"?

AVRID: That is the sole purpose of this place -- to meditate upon ascension and one day join those who created the Sanctuary.

SHEPPARD: The thing is, I've got other plans. (He starts to walk again.)

AVRID (following him): Then why did you enter the portal?

SHEPPARD: Well, call it a mistake. I tried to stop it but the damned thing sucked me in.

(They have reached the centre of the village where there's a large stone reservoir, about knee-high, filled with water. John stops and looks at it.)

AVRID: Those that came before us made certain that there could be no indecision. Once you set foot within the Sanctuary, your path was chosen.

SHEPPARD: Not by me!

AVRID: Once you cross the threshold, you are committed to be here for the remainder of your days.

(He smiles. John turns and stares at him. Avrid's smile fades. John looks away, and Avrid turns and leaves. John stares down at his reflection in the water.)

PUDDLE JUMPER. The Jumper is flying down over the crater.

McKAY: Alright. Launch the probe on my mark. Three, two, one, mark.

(The pilot deploys the probe, which drops out from underneath the Jumper and falls groundwards, its parachute trailing out above it.)

McKAY: The probe's about to pass through the field. Stand by. (He looks at his hand-held device.) Dammit!

BECKETT: What happened?

McKAY: Exactly what I was afraid would happen. The probe was ripped apart by tidal forces at the event horizon almost instantly.

BECKETT: So we can't fly through it and rescue Colonel Sheppard?

McKAY: Not unless we wanna be ripped apart too!

WEIR: Did you receive any telemetry before the probe failed?

(Rodney looks at his device again.)

McKAY: Hmm. Actually quite a lot. Looks like mostly gibberish, though. This is gonna take me the better part of an hour to go through.

INSIDE THE BARRIER. John and Teer are walking across a flowery meadow. Teer has gathered some flowers and is carrying them, while John is chewing on a long grass stalk.

TEER: I'm glad I finally got you outside. You've been alone in your room for so long.

SHEPPARD: I'm being depressed.

TEER: Is it so terrible here?

SHEPPARD: No, you folks have been great. It's just, I've got responsibilities back home -- people I care about, and who care about me. At least I thought they did.

(Teer bends and picks another flower.)

SHEPPARD: Why'd you come here?

TEER: Well, I was born here.

SHEPPARD: No, I mean your people.

TEER: Well, they came generations ago. I'm from a race of people who revered those who came before us, those who created this place.

SHEPPARD: We call them Ancients.

TEER: To follow in their footsteps, to ascend, was the greatest goal among our forefathers. Many centuries ago, some of our people sensed it was within them to do so. It took them many years to discover the location of this world and once they found it, they came to this world as a pilgrimage. We are their descendants.

SHEPPARD: Not many of you left.

TEER: No. We are the last.

SHEPPARD: So what's holdin' you back?

TEER: Journeys such as ours can take a lifetime.

SHEPPARD: You afraid it might not happen?

(Teer smiles.)

TEER: I'm not afraid of anything.

SHEPPARD: Well, I'd be pretty afraid of that Beast thing.

TEER: As long as we stay in the Cloister, we're safe.

SHEPPARD: And what kind of life is that?

TEER: Well, life here is not entirely without its pleasures. (She turns and smiles at John before walking on. John frowns, then raises his eyebrows thoughtfully before following her.)

PUDDLE JUMPER. Rodney has his back to the others, studying a panel. He raises a finger.

McKAY: Ha! (He turns to face the others.) The telemetry was not entirely gibberish. (To the pilot) Bring up the H.U.D.

(The pilot brings up the heads-up display on the windshield. The display shows the planet. Rodney points.)

McKAY: I've been able to determine the location of the power source inside the field, here.

BECKETT: What good is that?

McKAY: Once we know where the generator is, one way or another, (he points to himself) I should be able to turn it off. (He smiles smugly, then turns to the panel again.)

THE CLOISTER. A montage of scenes follows, indicating a passage of time for John.

(A long table has been set out in the middle of the village. John and the villagers are sitting around it, eating a meal.)

(In what is presumably their version of a monastery, several of the villagers are either seated crossed-legged or are kneeling on the floor, their eyes closed as they mediate. John sits amongst them, his eyes open and a bored _expression on his face.)

(John wanders through the village. He glances at Teer as she stands talking with a friend. As he walks away, she watches him go.)

(Hedda runs to join John as he walks across the village carrying two buckets of water. She takes one off him and they walk along together, Hedda smiling up at him happily.)

(A man and a woman walk across the village, looking curiously at John as he does some stretching exercises to warm up his legs before jogging off out of the village.)

(The villagers are back in the monastery meditating. John's eyes are closed, but he looks more like he's dozing than meditating.)

JOHN'S HOUSE. Teer brings a plate of food to the open door, knocking as she comes in. John has just finished putting his boots on and stands up to walk across to the wall and take down a belt which he fastens around his waist.

SHEPPARD: You know, you don't have to do this for me every morning.

TEER: You saved my brother's life.

SHEPPARD: Then shouldn't he be the one bringing me breakfast?!

TEER: He is meditating with the others.

SHEPPARD: He's always meditating. Everyone's always meditating.

(Teer puts the plate down on the table and turns to leave.)

SHEPPARD: No -- at least share it with me.

(Teer turns and smiles, coming back into the house and closing the door. She sits down on a chair. John goes to another chair and is just lifting it to bring it across to the table when outside, the Beast roars. Hedda can be heard screaming in terror. Teer jumps up and she and John run out of the house as Hedda screams again. All the villagers are looking around in terror. John runs across the centre of the village to Hedda, who holds out her arms to him in panic. He hugs her as she wraps her arms around him. Teer runs to join them.)

SHEPPARD (to Hedda): It's OK.

(The Beast roars again.)

TEER: It is very close.

(At the edge of the village, the Beast phases briefly into existence before fading out again.)

SHEPPARD: It's here.

TEER: It's never come inside the Cloister.

HEDDA: John, I'm scared.

(John pushes Hedda into Teer's arms.)

SHEPPARD: Take her inside.

TEER: John ...


TEER (to Hedda): Go. (The two of them turn and run for the nearest house. The other villagers all run for the nearest doorways, running inside and closing the doors and the window shutters. John is left standing in the village centre alone, holding only a small knife. He looks around the village.)

SHEPPARD: OK, people, I'm starting to develop some serious abandonment issues here!

(The Beast roars again. John looks in the direction the sound came from.)

SHEPPARD: OK, but I'm warning you -- I've got a knife!

(Teer runs out of the house she was in, despite the cries of "No!" and "Come back, come back!" from the others inside. She runs to stand at John's side.)

SHEPPARD (towards the direction the Beast last roared from): Now there's two of us!

(He nods firmly towards it, then looks at Teer nervously.)

OUTSIDE THE BARRIER. Teyla is watching the video she took through the barrier. This time she is watching the footage it took as the camera panned across the cave during the last second. It shows the campfire with John's abandoned equipment, but to the left of the fire is a number of stones laid out on the floor in the shape of an arrow.

TEYLA: Ronon! (Ronon wanders over to join her.) He left a sign for us to see. (She shows him the footage.)

DEX: He must have gone to look for another way out.

TEYLA: At least we know he may still be alive.

McKAY (over the radio): Teyla, Ronon. We're coming down in the Jumper and should touch down in a few minutes. Meet us at the landing site.

TEYLA: Understood. (She shuts down the camera and she and Ronon head off.)

THE CLOISTER. JOHN'S HOUSE. John is lying unconscious in bed. He has a long slash across the left side of his neck and a smaller scratch on his left cheek. Hedda is sitting on Teer's lap beside his bed. She reaches out, her eyes closed in concentration, and passes her right hand across the wound on his neck. As she withdraws her hand, the wound heals completely and John opens his eyes. Avrid is sitting nearby.

AVRID: We thought we'd lost you again.

SHEPPARD: What happened?

AVRID: I've never seen such bravery. Were it not for you, all may have been lost.

SHEPPARD: I don't remember winning this time either.

(Hedda stands up and leans forward, looking at him.)

HEDDA: He's not fully healed.

(She reaches out for the cut on John's cheek, but he catches her hand and pushes it away gently.)

SHEPPARD: I'm fine.

TEER: You've done enough, Hedda. Come on. Let's get you some rest.

(She takes Hedda out of the room. John sits up on the side of the bed. There's a lot of blood on his shirt. He sighs.)

SHEPPARD: What the hell's the matter with you people?

AVRID: I don't understand.

SHEPPARD: I'm talking about letting her stand out there alone against that thing.

AVRID: Violence is not the path to ascension.

SHEPPARD: There's a difference between violence and self-defence.

AVRID: We are very close to ascension, John -- all of us. If we leave the path, it may be lost to us forever.

SHEPPARD: Everything may be lost to you forever unless you stand up to that damned thing.

(Avrid looks at him for a moment.)

AVRID: I must join the others in meditation.

(He leaves. John stares after him, then lies back down on the bed again.)

OUTSIDE THE BARRIER. The Jumper has landed and everyone is arriving back at the cave.

McKAY: You sure it was three seconds?


McKAY: And there's twelve minutes of video.


McKAY: Alright, so it's a ratio of about, uh ...

TEYLA: Two hundred and fifty to one. (Rodney stares at her. She picks up a branch and hands it to him.) I sent my watch through, (Rodney looks at the branch, which has a watch taped to it) along with a letter to Colonel Sheppard telling him we are doing our best to rescue him. (Rodney is still staring at the branch, probably staggered that "Xena" came up with such a bright idea.) If you would like to check again, then ...

McKAY: No, that's good, that's good, that's good, uh, good thinking.

BECKETT: Just out of curiosity, what does that mean for Colonel Sheppard in terms of, uh, days?

McKAY: We're already talking months.

THE CLOISTER. NIGHT TIME. John opens the door to his house and walks in, stopping at the sight of Teer sitting on the floor waiting for him. He looks around nervously as she smiles up at him.

SHEPPARD (walking in and closing the door): You don't have to wait up for me.

TEER: You've been gone over a day.

SHEPPARD: Yeah, well, after I found my weapons, I decided to take a run all the way back to the portal, and look what I found. (He brings a knapsack across to Teer.) I don't know what took ‘em so long, but my friends finally sent some supplies through. (He opens the knapsack and investigates what's inside.)

TEER: There are people here who care for you.

SHEPPARD: Sorry, I should've told somebody. (He takes the knapsack across to the table and starts taking items out of it.)

TEER: I knew. (John looks at her.) I was following your journey in my mind. I was with you since you left the Cloister.

SHEPPARD: Is that some special power of yours you haven't told me about?

TEER: Yes.


TEER: I've been with you each time you've searched for a means to leave us. As Hedda has the power to heal, I am able to see images in my mind. It's not uncommon for those on the path to ascension to gain such abilities.

SHEPPARD: I wish you woulda told me -- I could've used you out there. It took me forever to find this stuff! (He continues taking items out of the knapsack.)

(Teer smiles.)

TEER: Before my mother ascended, she could move things with her mind. You can imagine how wondrous that would be for a child. Sit with me.

(John looks at the items he's taking out of the knapsack, then drops them on the table and walks across to sit on the floor with Teer.)

TEER: I was the one who sent Avrid to find you.

SHEPPARD: You did?

TEER: Because I knew you were coming that night, and I knew where you would be in the field; and I have known since I was a child that you would sit here with me as you do now. (John looks shocked.) I've been able to close my eyes and see your face my entire life, John. You are the one.

(John stares at her rather wide-eyed.)

SHEPPARD: The one what?

TEER: The one who will lead us to ascension.

SHEPPARD: Oh! (He frowns.)

TEER: What is it?

SHEPPARD: Nothin'. I just was hoping you were going in a different direction with that.

(He grins, embarrassed. Teer smiles.)

TEER: I've seen that as well. (John stares at her.) That's why I waited for you.

(John raises his eyebrows.)


TEER: Tonight.

SHEPPARD: Tonight?! (He grins.) I ... I wish you woulda told me -- I wouldn't have gone on a ten-hour run.

TEER: And in the coming days, once you have defeated the Beast, we will ascend together -- all of us.

SHEPPARD: You mean all of you.

TEER: I haven't given up on you just yet.

SHEPPARD: I don't know how that's gonna happen, Teer. I really don't. Look, I've been up against that thing twice. I don't see how a third time's gonna turn out any different.

(Teer smiles at him.)

TEER: You don't have to know how. You just have to trust that it will.

(She leans forward and kisses him. He takes her head in his hands and the kiss continues.)


WEIR: OK, I think I've got it. (She turns away from the inscribed wall that she has been studying.) I am interpreting a bit, but it seems the field was designed as a sanctuary from the Wraith, but a place the last of the Ancients could travel to and hopefully ascend without fear of attack.

McKAY: Oh, of course. They could potentially spend entire lifetimes inside the field before the Wraith even discovered the place.

BECKETT: And if they ever attacked, their ships would get torn apart just as the probe did.

TEYLA: And so it has remained for ten thousand years.

WEIR (turning back to the wall): This writing here -- this serves as a sort of welcome, as well as a warning for any of the humans under their protection looking for sanctuary; but I think it was left there for anyone who wanted to seek the path to ascension on their own.

DEX: And what's the warning?

WEIR: That once you cross the threshold, there's no return.

McKAY (smugly): That is, unless you have the exact location of the power source and the expertise to turn it off.

(Everyone turns and starts to gather what they'll be taking through with them. Rodney looks at Ronon.)

McKAY: Hey, we may even get a ZedP.M. out of this. (He points a finger at him and clicks his tongue a couple of times.)

DEX: Now you're talkin'.

WEIR (into radio): Lieutenant, this is Weir. If you haven't heard from us in ... Rodney?

McKAY: Well, an hour would give us months in there, but, Elizabeth, of all the people who should stay, it would be you.

(Carson raises his hand.)

WEIR: There may be writing by the power source that needs translating.

McKAY: OK, there is a slight chance that when we go through ...

WEIR (interrupting): Rodney, I'm going. (She activates her radio again.) Lieutenant, one hour, then head back to Atlantis and see if Zelenka can think of anything.

PILOT (over radio): Understood.

(Carson is still sitting on a rock with his hand raised.)

BECKETT (nervously, as he lowers his hand): Well, he may need medical treatment and I'm the only doctor here, so I should probably just ...

McKAY: Carson, it probably won't hurt so much if you just go through quickly.

WEIR: Alright -- let's do this.

LATER. Rodney has gone through the barrier and is sitting on the floor of the cave a few yards away from the doorway, studying his Ancient doohickey. A small earthquake starts but Rodney takes no notice. The energy field glows blue and Elizabeth walks through. Rodney looks up at her.

WEIR (unconvincingly): That wasn't so bad!

McKAY: Hmm.

(Elizabeth looks at him sitting on the floor, bewildered by the fact that he only walked through the barrier a couple of seconds ago but has had time to get into that position.)

WEIR: You were just ...

McKAY: Mmm. That's weird, huh? Well, we may as well relax. The others are gonna be at least five minutes. (He looks at his doohickey.) Judging by the location of the power source, we've got a long walk ahead of us, so, uh ...

(He pats the ground beside him and gets back to looking at his device again. Instead of accepting his invitation to sit beside him, Elizabeth sits down on a case some distance away. Rodney looks round at her.)

McKAY: Oh!

THE CLOISTER. Everyone is sitting at the long table in the village square having a meal.

SHEPPARD: Haven't any of you seen thunderstorms?

AVRID: The Sanctuary provides rain for the orchards.

SHEPPARD: I'm talkin' about thunder and lightning. Giant bolts of electricity shooting down from the sky.

HEDDA: Sounds scary.

SHEPPARD: Well, it is scary, but it's also very cool. (Hedda smiles and nods.) It's OK to be scared, it's part of life. You know, when I was a kid, we used to have storms that shook the house. Scared me half to death.

TEER: When we are ascended, we will experience such things.

SHEPPARD: Hell, if you're ascended, you can make thunderstorms! I'm talking about actually experiencing life.

AVRID: We contemplate on the experience that is life each day.

SHEPPARD: I'm talking about living it. (He looks round at everyone.) Haven't any of you got things you wanna do as flesh and blood human beings first? I mean, you-you talk about moving on to a plane of existence beyond your own mortality, but you haven't even really lived.

TEER: Our lives are full.

SHEPPARD: Well, I've spent a long time with you folks, and I don't think "full" means what you think it means.

AVRID: To ascend, one must meditate.

SHEPPARD: You're not meditating, you're hiding.

AVRID: From what?

SHEPPARD: You know the answer to that.

(Avrid looks at him, not understanding. Teer, however, realises what he's talking about.)

TEER: He means the Beast.

SHEPPARD: Yes, I do. Now I don't know how any of you expect me to feel like I belong here, but every time that thing comes around, I'm out there alone.

(The villagers are silent for a while, then Teer speaks, her gaze distant.)

TEER: You're not alone.

SHEPPARD: I know -- you were out there too.

TEER: No -- I mean your friends have come. (John stares at her.) They number five. (She looks at him.) They've come for you.

SHEPPARD: They have? Are-are you sure? (He jumps to his feet.) That's the best news I've ...

TEER (interrupting): No, John -- I sense something more. (She gazes into space.) The Beast is nearly upon them.

(John races off.)

FIELD. Elizabeth and the others are walking across the field where John first encountered the Beast.

McKAY: You know, I was just thinking: this entire field -- I mean, not the field, I mean the field field -- must generate its own day and night cycle, not to mention its own artificial climate. I mean, it's incredible! When you think ...

DEX (interrupting): You wanna pick up the pace, McKay?

McKAY: Hey, he's waited for months. Another half hour isn't gonna kill him.

WEIR: We don't know how long it's gonna take to find him.

BECKETT: Aye, and besides that, I have a date planned with Lieutenant Cadman for tomorrow night.

McKAY: Oh, no, so we've only got twelve years in here!

(Teyla, who was leading the group, drops the case she's carrying and raises her fist above her head. The others stop.)

McKAY: What? What is it?

(The Beast roars in the distance. As Teyla aims her P90 into the woods where the sound is coming from, Rodney checks his Ancient device.)

McKAY: I'm not detecting anything.

DEX: Doesn't mean it isn't there. (To Teyla) Can you see anything?

TEYLA: No. But I sense something is close.

WEIR: Maybe we should try another way.

(The Beast roars again. The sound is much closer. Rodney gets his pistol out of its holder. Ronon activates his blaster.)

DEX: Won't make any difference. It's stalking us.

(The roar comes from a different direction.)

BECKETT: Sounds like it's more than one.

McKAY: Yeah, more than one what?

(He aims his pistol towards the woods. Teyla gazes skywards, trying to sense what's out there.)

TEYLA: I do not know.

(The Beast half-materialises right in front of Ronon. He fires his blaster at it but it has no effect and the Beast knocks him flying. Teyla backs away, firing a hail of bullets into the Beast as it roars. Rodney and Carson fire their pistols at it. Teyla looks round at Ronon, who gets to his feet and draws his sword from the scabbard on his back. The Beast roars at him as he approaches and the others stop firing. Ronon slashes at the Beast several times but each time it phases out of existence and the sword has no effect, then it phases back in and sends him flying across the field again. Teyla pulls out a knife and runs at it, crying out ferociously, but it strikes out and knocks her across the field. It roars and turns towards the other three. Rodney and Carson step in front of Elizabeth, aiming their pistols at it. Just then, John comes racing out of the woods and hurls himself onto the Beast's back. The Beast phases out and John crashes to the ground. Elizabeth runs to him as Carson runs to check out Ronon and Rodney checks Teyla. Carson picks up Ronon's sword and stabs it point down into the ground [for no good reason that I can think of other than that it says so in the script and it'll look good in a minute's time], then helps Ronon to his feet.)

SHEPPARD (getting to his feet): What the hell took you so long?!

WEIR: Believe it or not, you were only gone a couple of hours.

SHEPPARD: Try six months!

McKAY: You don't understand -- you've been trapped in a time dilation field.


BECKETT: What was that bloody thing?

SHEPPARD (to Carson): I don't know. (To Rodney) What's a time dilation field?

(Rodney lifts his hands to start explaining but Elizabeth interrupts.)

WEIR: Can we talk about this somewhere else?

(Teyla gazes skywards.)

TEYLA: No -- it is still close.

(To prove her point, the Beast roars. Everyone looks around the field nervously. For a moment there's nothing, then the Beast phases into existence -- but now it's about 70 feet tall. The team turns and stares up at it. John walks cautiously forward, holding his knife out in front of him. Ronon pulls his sword out of the ground and joins him.)

DEX: You've fought this thing before?


DEX: How did you beat it?

SHEPPARD: Still haven't figured that out.

DEX: Now'd be a good time.

SHEPPARD: Yeah, well, what'd you say we just fight it and see what happens?

WEIR: John? (We see that all the villagers have arrived out of the woods.) Friends of yours?

(The villagers walk forward, their faces determined. Avrid glares up at the Beast as it growls ferociously.)

AVRID (to John): We've come to stand with you, whatever happens.

TEER (looking across to him): No -- we've come to fight. (She looks up at the Beast.) And we are not afraid of you. (The Beast roars.) The Beast is of our own creation, and it is long past time we sent it away.

(She glances across at her brother again, then all the villagers walk forward and encircle the Beast. It continues to growl and roar. As they complete the circle and stare up at it, the Beast raises its hands above its head, then screams and disappears. Teer turns to face John. He walks towards her. Avrid and Hedda join her, standing either side of her.)

SHEPPARD: That's it?! That's all it took?!

TEER: You were right, John. We were afraid. The Beast was the final burden we had to shed, manifest from our own fears. You gave us the courage to face it. (She holds out her hand towards him.) Come with us.

(Behind her, a white glow begins to envelop each of the other villagers. Avrid and Hedda also start to glow.)

SHEPPARD: I'm not ready for that yet. I'm not sure I'll ever be.

(Behind Teer, the villagers are slowly fading into the light.)

TEER: One day, perhaps?

SHEPPARD (unconvincingly): Yeah, one day.

TEER: I'll look forward to it. There'll be no need to destroy the Sanctuary, Doctor McKay. (She turns her head to look at Rodney.)

McKAY: What? No-no-no-no-no, I wasn't thinking that, I was ...

(Behind Teer, the villagers have all but disappeared and only glowing light remains which begins slowly to ascend into the sky.)

TEER: We will keep the portal open for you until you are gone.

McKAY: At which point the ZedP.M. which undoubtedly powers this beautiful place will be ...

TEER (sternly): Sanctuary was left by those who came before us, for those who may seek it out and follow the path. And it will continue to remain after you are gone.

McKAY: Yeah, but ... (He turns to Elizabeth, appealing to her for help, but she nods at him, then turns to look at Teer again. Rodney turns away, frustrated.) Absolutely.

(Teer turns to John as her ascended friends continue to rise skywards. Either side of her, Avrid and Hedda begin to ascend. Teer herself is glowing, although for the moment she retains her human form. Moments later, she and the last of the villagers leave the ground and ascend into the sky. Ronon stares skywards, his eyes looking quite teary. Once the ascended have gone, Rodney walks over to John and points at the place where the villagers were.)

McKAY: What is it with you and ascended women?!

(John shrugs as the others come over to join him. Elizabeth looks at him.)

WEIR: Well -- the beard is interesting!

SHEPPARD: First thing to go when we get home. (Elizabeth smiles and nods.) Never thought I'd see any of you again. Kind of even ... missed you a little.

DEX: Yeah, well, it was only a couple of hours for us, so ...

TEYLA (sternly): Ronon. (She turns to John.) We were all quite worried about you.

BECKETT: Of course we were.

WEIR: We're just sorry we didn't get here sooner.

(John looks round at all of them.)

SHEPPARD: Let's get outta here!