Summary | Transcript

Sheppard and McKay discover that their competitive video game has been controlling a planet of real people, who now stand on the brink of war.

DVD DISC: Season 3, Disc 4
DIRECTED BY: William Waring
STORY BY: Don Whitehead & Holly Henderson
TELEPLAY BY: Carl Binder
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Transcript by Callie Sullivan

ATLANTIS. MESS HALL. Team Sheppard -- Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard, Doctor Rodney McKay, Teyla Emmagan and Ronon Dex -- are sitting at a table eating a meal.

McKAY: Let me ask you a question. Say there's a runaway train. It's hurtling out of control towards ten people standing in the middle of the tracks. The only way to save those people is to flip a switch -- send the train down another set of tracks. The only problem is there is a baby in the middle of those tracks.

TEYLA: Why would anyone leave a baby in harm's way like that?

McKAY: I don't know. That's not the point. Look, it's an ethical dilemma. Look, Katie Brown brought it up over dinner the other night. The question is: is it appropriate to divert the train and kill the one baby to save the ten people?

DEX: Wouldn't the people just see the train coming and move?

McKAY: No. No, they wouldn't see it.

DEX: Why not?

McKAY: Well ... (he sighs) ... Look, I dunno -- say they're blind.

TEYLA: All of them?

McKAY: Yes, all of them.

DEX: Then why don't you just call out and tell them to move out of the way?

McKAY: Well, because they can't hear you.

SHEPPARD: What, they're deaf too?

(Rodney throws him a look.)

SHEPPARD: How fast is the train going?

McKAY: Look, the speed doesn't matter!

SHEPPARD: Well, sure it does. If it's goin' slow enough, you could outrun it and shove everyone to the side.

DEX: Or better yet, go get the baby.

McKAY: For God's sake! I was just trying to ...

(Doctor Elizabeth Weir's voice comes over his radio.)

WEIR: Rodney?

McKAY: Yes. Go ahead.

WEIR: Major Lorne just dialled in from M4D-058. He says he's got something you'll want to see.

McKAY: Hmm. (He stands up and looks at John.) Work it out. (He heads off.)

CONTROL ROOM. Major Lorne is reporting over a video link from M4D-058. He is hunkered down behind a low wall and talking quietly into a camera held by one of his team. In Atlantis' Control Room, Elizabeth, Rodney and John are watching the screen.

LORNE: We came through the space Gate and immediately noticed a bunch of small satellites in geosynchronous orbit above the planet.

WEIR: An advanced civilisation?

LORNE: That's what we thought, then we picked up life signs directly below, so we flew down, saw several villages separated by a large river and decided to check one of them out, and as you can see ... Sergeant? ...

(The person holding the camera stands up cautiously and aims the camera over the top of the wall to show a typically simple group of villagers. One of them is pushing a cart with a sack on it.)

LORNE: ... these people don't exactly look like they're ready to be launching any satellites -- at least not for the next five hundred years or so.

SHEPPARD: The Ancients probably put 'em up there.

McKAY: Mmm.

WEIR (to Rodney): Send a science team to check it out.

(Lorne grins as his sergeant aims the camera back at him as they duck down out of sight again.)

LORNE: Uh, actually, I think Doctor McKay may wanna come check this one out for himself.

McKAY: Why?

LORNE (still grinning): Take a look.

(He and the sergeant look back over the wall. On the opposite side of the village square, a flag is flying. It has a vertical red stripe on each side and a central white area and looks eerily similar to the Canadian national flag. In the middle of the white area is a picture of a man who looks suspiciously familiar. Elizabeth, John and Rodney stare. The sergeant zooms the camera in on the flag. For a moment the image goes out of focus, then the image clears up and everyone's suspicions are confirmed. The face is that of Rodney McKay.)

SHORTLY AFTERWARDS. Elizabeth leads John and Rodney into her office, then turns to face them.

WEIR: How the hell did your face get on that flag?

McKAY: Uh, I don't know. Here's the thing, though: that flag's very similar to the one I designed in our game.

SHEPPARD: It's exactly like the one you designed in our game.

WEIR: What game?

SHEPPARD: The game Rodney and I have been playing.

McKAY (to Elizabeth): We didn't tell you about the game?

SHEPPARD: We've been playing for a while now.

McKAY: Yeah, off and on in our spare time, you know -- at night, between missions, uh ... I could have sworn we told you about it?

WEIR (sternly): What game?

McKAY: Well, it started a while ago ...

(Flashback to John and Rodney and a team searching the city by torchlight.)

McKAY (voiceover): ... a few months after we arrived here. We were exploring the city, checking out some labs on the east pier when we discovered a room. There were several Ancient consoles and screens -- it was quite an impressive layout. As usual, everything sprang to life as soon as we entered.

(In the flashback, the lights and consoles come on as they enter the room.)

McKAY (voiceover): At first we thought it was some kind of a geological facility ...

(As Rodney approaches a console, the screen above it lights up and a map appears on it.)

McKAY (voiceover): There was a screen with a map that we assumed was of the Lantean mainland.

WEIR: Yes, I remember you briefing me about that.

McKAY: Right! There you go! We did tell you!

WEIR: You mentioned nothing about a game, though.

SHEPPARD: Because at first we didn't know what it was ...

(In the flashback, Rodney is now sitting at the console checking it over.)

SHEPPARD (voiceover): ... then Rodney studied it more closely. He realised it wasn't a geological lab at all.

McKAY (voiceover): No, it turns out it was, in fact, a kind of, uh, Ancient game room. The map was of a fictional civilisation as part of a simulated world.

(Rodney has hooked up his laptop to the console and, once it has finished loading, the map appears on the laptop screen.)

McKAY (in the flashback): Sweet!

SHEPPARD (to Elizabeth): Yeah, what you do is, you'd take these countries that are already in the database and you'd assume control of them.

McKAY: Two societies separated by a river straight down the middle. Sheppard took one country; I took the other.

SHEPPARD: First thing Rodney did was started by renaming his country and putting his face all over the flag.

(He laughs, as does Rodney. John shakes his head at Elizabeth as if to say, "Typical!" Elizabeth looks back at them, not amused.)

WEIR: I think you need to check this planet out.

(The boys look embarrassed, nod and hurry out of the room.)

M4D-058. A Puddle Jumper flies through the space Gate, its engine pods deploying as it goes. Team Sheppard is on board.

TEYLA: So the Ancestors created this game?

McKAY: Yes, but this is no ordinary game. I mean, it is incredibly challenging, instructional ... I mean, the sheer number of options built into it? Staggering.

TEYLA: How does one play it?

SHEPPARD: You have to figure out the best way to run your country.

McKAY: Yeah, you build roads, you establish laws moulded to your own specific ideology ...

(Flashback. John and Rodney are sitting either side of a table in the 'game lab'. Both of them have a large computer screen opposite them and both are typing rapidly on their keyboard.)

McKAY (voiceover): You can control everything: proper sanitation systems with water delivery ...

SHEPPARD (voiceover): ... transportation ...

McKAY (voiceover): ... I mean, every detail can be manipulated -- I mean, right down to the women's hairstyles.

(On Rodney's screen in the flashback, a computer simulation of a woman in a long white shift dress appears on the screen. The image closes in on the woman's head and various hairstyles are offered. Rodney smiles in delight as he flicks through the options: long wavy brown hair; then long, curly and brown; then long, darker brown and straight; then bald except for a tuft of purple hair on the top of her head; then a bright red bob cut; then short and blonde. Rodney instantly selects that style because, of course, it reminds him of Samantha Carter's hairstyle.)

McKAY (smiling at the image in recognition): Hello there!

DEX: So how do you win this game?

SHEPPARD: It's not really about winning.

(In the flashback, John and Rodney peer briefly over the top of their screens at each other, unable to see what the other one is doing with his country.)

McKAY (voiceover): It's more about whose society outshines the other's. I mean, who creates a better infrastructure, who's better at trade.

(In the Jumper, he looks at John. John scowls back at him.)

McKAY: What?

(John continues to scowl at him.)

McKAY: Hey, don't start. I tried to negotiate with you.

SHEPPARD: Making a list of demands and not giving anything in return is not negotiating.

McKAY: I offered you an entire crop of beans.

SHEPPARD: I don't need beans. I need lumber.

McKAY: Oh, right -- to build defensive fortifications for your army, which he doubled in size, by the way. Surprise, surprise.

(Ronon grins approvingly at John.)

SHEPPARD: I only did that after you started cheating.

McKAY: I did not cheat.

(John looks round at Ronon and Teyla.)

SHEPPARD: He's giving his people way too much technology for their level of development. (He points accusingly at Rodney.) I'm not the only one increasing my army, by the way.

McKAY: I had to do something to protect the people of Geldar from you.

DEX: Geldar?

SHEPPARD: The name of Rodney's country. He named it after a girl he stalked in college.

McKAY: I did not stalk her. (Ronon and Teyla grin at each other.) We dated twice. Teresa Geldar -- a very cute blonde. (John grimaces briefly.) I always used to think her name reminded me of some kind of a mythological land. (He smiles.) The Kingdom of Geldar.

(John grins round at the other two. Teyla reaches forward and touches his arm.)

TEYLA: What did you call your country?

SHEPPARD: Well, I just kept the name it already had.

(Rodney gives him a look as if to suggest that he isn't very imaginative. Just then, the heads-up display comes up on the windshield. They look at the display as a square grid of a hundred dots appears.)

SHEPPARD: Well, there are the satellites.

TEYLA: Dozens of them.

McKAY: Positioned directly above the continent. A perfect grid -- ten by ten. Should have a visual on one of them.

(The H.U.D. fades out as the Jumper approaches the closest of the satellites. The team looks out at it.)

DEX: Definitely looks Ancient.

McKAY (agreeing with him): Huh. And active. It's transmitting a tremendous amount of data.

SHEPPARD: Alright -- let's check it out.

(He sends the Jumper down towards the planet.)

VILLAGE. The team walks into the village's main street where the people are going about their everyday lives. Although their dress appears to be that of a typical Pegasus civilisation, what technology can be seen does appear to be a little more advanced than usual. A couple stand in front of what -- to us -- would be an old-fashioned camera on a tripod. The man operating it ignites a magnesium flash as he takes their photograph. Nearby, a woman appears to be demonstrating what looks like an early form of telescope or microscope. Many of the women are wearing dresses similar in style to the one worn by the woman in Rodney's simulation. A lot of the women in the street have short hair, and several of them are blonde.

McKAY: This is amazing!

DEX: If you say so.

(A man rides through the street on a penny-farthing bicycle.)

SHEPPARD: Oh yeah! That's something you see in a medieval village!

McKAY: Yes, well, the Renaissance obviously came early to these folks.

SHEPPARD: A couple of hundred years early?

(The villagers start to notice the newcomers and begin to stare and gather around the team.)

TEYLA: Um, Rodney?

(John, Rodney and Teyla look at the villagers as they stare back at them. Ronon is more interested in a crossbow which he has picked up from a table. Rodney becomes aware that the people are staring at him in particular. What he doesn't know is that high up on the wall behind him is a portrait of himself with a halo-like glow behind his head. As the villagers murmur in excitement, John looks behind Rodney and spots the portrait. He grimaces and turns away in disgust. Just then, a young woman with short blonde hair approaches the team.)

SHEPPARD (whispering to Rodney): Say something.

McKAY: Like what?

SHEPPARD: I don't know!

(The young woman addresses them.)

NOLA: Hello. I am Nola.

McKAY: Yes, well, uh, this is Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard, Teyla Emmagan, Ronon Dex, and I'm McKay. (He smiles at her.) Doctor Rodney McKay.

(Nola walks closer to him and stares at him closely for a few seconds, glancing up at the portrait behind him briefly.)

SHEPPARD: The resemblance is uncanny.

(Rodney turns and sees the portrait for the first time. As he turns back to Nola, she gazes at him in awe.)

NOLA: You are the Oracle.

McKAY: The Oracle?

(Nola backs away several paces respectfully, then bows to him. All the other villagers follow suit. After a few seconds, Nola straightens up again.)

NOLA: Welcome to Geldar.

(John scowls at Rodney as Rodney looks embarrassed.)

SHORTLY AFTERWARDS. Nola is leading the team through the corridors of a building.

NOLA: Please forgive my nervousness. I never thought you'd appear to us in the flesh.

TEYLA: Why do you refer to him as the Oracle?

NOLA: The Oracle is a wise and omnipotent deity.

SHEPPARD (to Ronon): Boy, she's in for a rude awakening.

NOLA: Thousands of years ago he gave our ancestors life. He instructed them how to build their society, how to live their lives. His guidance was revered by all. Then one day without warning, the Oracle ceased all communications.

DEX (to John): War with the Wraith.

NOLA: Our people were puzzled by this but they continued to adhere to his instructions, living their lives according to his teachings which they passed down from generation to generation.

(The team stares at another portrait of Rodney on the wall as they pass it.)

TEYLA: Have you not had any trouble with the Wraith?

(Nola stops by yet another portrait.)

NOLA: Yes. They've come periodically -- culled our people, destroyed our villages. Those who survived rebuilt, but only to the level at which the Oracle had instructed before he left. We found ourselves stalled in our development, unwilling to push forward without the Oracle's guidance, hoping one day he would return to us.

(John rolls his eyes. Rodney smiles at him smugly.)

NOLA: And two years ago, he did. The Oracle resumed communicating with us, teaching us many new things.

(She starts to walk again, leading them past another portrait. Rodney points it out to the team.)

NOLA: He challenged us to think -- to push the limit of our scientific endeavours. He changed the name of our country and even revealed his likeness to us.

SHEPPARD: Enough with the pictures!

(Nola leads them onto a balcony overlooking a room below.)

McKAY: Ah. And you communicate through that.

(In the room below is a large table with an illuminated screen on the top of it. The screen shows the same map that John and Rodney have been working with back at Atlantis.)

NOLA: The portal, yes. (She and the team head downstairs.) It's through this that we receive our instructions.

TEYLA: And the Oracle knows when you have carried them out?

NOLA: Yes.

McKAY: It's the satellites. They must be tracking everything that's going on and then relaying it via subspace back to Atlantis. It's remarkable.

DEX: So, not a game after all.

McKAY: No, it's obviously some kind of Ancient experiment -- um, social development, try out different ways to create civilisations.

(John taps the area on the map that he controlled.)

SHEPPARD: This country here.

NOLA: Hallona.

(John smiles smugly.)

NOLA: A persistent thorn in our side.

(John's smile fades. Nola smiles at Rodney.)

NOLA: Now that you've come to us, you can help us remove it.

(Rodney and John look at each other in alarm.)

ATLANTIS. 'GAME' LAB. Doctor Radek Zelenka is showing the console and screen to Elizabeth and Lorne.

WEIR: So this is it?

ZELENKA: Yes, yes. It is an amazing piece of technology. It appears to be a sociological experiment designed by the Ancients to help them as they were seeding various civilisations throughout Pegasus. I've had a chance to look at it further and it's interesting: there are many more civilisations in the game's database.

WEIR: Really? I thought Rodney said there were only two.

ZELENKA (smiling): That's what he thought. The actual countries that he and Colonel Sheppard are controlling are on this specific planet but I've been able to access the codes to unlock additional levels to the game ... (Elizabeth gives him a look) ... I mean, to the experiment. I discovered countries on planets throughout the galaxy. Some have been idle for the past ten thousand years -- I guess awaiting instructions from the Ancients -- but some have managed to develop on their own, even flourish. (He sighs sadly.) Some have been destroyed by war, and others have been completely wiped out.

(Elizabeth, who had turned away lost in thought, now turns back to him, looking concerned. Radek quickly tries to reassure her.)

ZELENKA: Not that Rodney's and Colonel Sheppard's societies are on this path.

(Elizabeth gazes at the wallscreen with a serious look on her face.)

WEIR: So much power at one's fingertips.

(Radek also gazes at the screen, but he is smiling and looking rather wistful.)

ZELENKA: It's amazing the attraction of this ... game.

M4D-058. In Geldar, Rodney and Nola are sitting at a table. Standing beside Nola, a man called Garth unrolls a diagram of a dirigible -- a very old-fashioned (in our terms) airship with a large basket suspended beneath it.

NOLA: We've managed to achieve propulsion through hand-powered propellers, but now we're undertaking tests of steam-powered propulsion.

GARTH: Only this morning I completed a test that proved quite promising.

McKAY: Really? That's great. (He smiles, not entirely convincingly.)

NOLA: You're pleased?

McKAY: Yes, yes. I mean, this is quite an achievement.

(Nola looks up as the rest of Team Sheppard approach. With them is a man in his late thirties. He has a shaved head and has the appearance of a warlord, dressed as he is in a black leather jerkin covered in studs, together with black boots and black gauntlets. Nola stands and looks at John angrily.)

NOLA: What's he doing here?

BADEN: It wasn't my idea.

SHEPPARD: Doctor Rodney McKay, meet Baden.

McKAY: Oh. Your guy.


McKAY: Yeah, it figures.

NOLA (to Baden): I should have you arrested for trespassing.

BADEN: Go ahead and try.

SHEPPARD: Easy now. I brought him here because we need to have a little discussion.

NOLA: I have nothing to say to him.

BADEN (turning to leave): Fine with me.

SHEPPARD: Yeah, maybe not ...

(Ronon casually strolls into Baden's path to stop him walking away.)

SHEPPARD: ... but we definitely have something to say to you.

LATER. Everyone is sitting at the table.

SHEPPARD: So his story's pretty much the same as Nola's. His ancestors received instructions from their Oracle who disappeared for thousands of years, only to suddenly resume communicating a few years ago.

McKAY: Let me guess: he told you to double the size of your army.

SHEPPARD: Yes, he has a capable army. And some nice villages. No people riding bicycles or hot air balloons, because we weren't cheating.

McKAY: I didn't cheat!

NOLA (to Baden): Have you come to agree to our trade proposals?

BADEN: You mean demands? Never.

NOLA (standing up): Then I refuse to sit at the same table ...

McKAY: Look, please, just -- just sit.

(Reluctantly, Nola sits down again.)

McKAY: Thank you.

TEYLA: This hostility between you -- have your people lived like this for thousands of years?

NOLA: No. There was once peace between our lands.

McKAY (looking away in dread): Oh no.

SHEPPARD (awkwardly): So this hostility -- um, did it start a few years ago?

NOLA: Yes -- shortly after the Oracle resumed communicating with us.

(John and Rodney look at each other uncomfortably. Teyla and Ronon look resigned.)

ATLANTIS. 'GAME' LAB. Radek and Lorne are standing looking at the screen. Radek has called up information on another planet in the database.

LORNE: So, what, they're starving?

ZELENKA: Well, not as of yet, but if they don't change their approach to agriculture, it won't be too long before many of their people go hungry. The frustrating thing is that there is a large piece of fertile soil in the south of the country that would be ideal for tuber cultivation, you know?

LORNE: Sorry, tuber?

ZELENKA: Tuber, yeah, tuber. It is indigenous to the planet. It's a ... it's like a potato.

LORNE: So why didn't you say potato?

ZELENKA: Because it's not a potato. It's -- it's -- it's larger. It has the same texture and nutrients as a potato but it's a ... (he struggles for the right words) ... like a cantaloupe.

LORNE: That's a pretty big potato.

ZELENKA: Yeah, it is a big potato.

LORNE: So if they plant this thing there, it'll grow?

ZELENKA: Yeah, oh yes, whole fields of it. I mean, they could sustain an entire village -- but they're oblivious to it.

LORNE: Tell 'em. Anonymously. (Radek looks at him doubtfully.) Oh, c'mon, Doc, you can either stand here and let the people die, or you can help 'em out. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

(Radek looks at the screen thoughtfully, then starts to smile.)

M4D-058. GELDAR. The team has brought Nola and Baden to the communications console and Rodney is explaining what he and John have been unwittingly doing.

McKAY: As soon as we input the instructions into our console, they are relayed back to this device by a number of satellites in orbit over your planet. Once you've carried out the instructions, the satellites transmit their real-time results back to us on our homeworld.

NOLA: So you're saying this is a game?

McKAY: Uh, no, no ... I mean, we thought it was a game, but, uh ...

SHEPPARD: We didn't know there were real people on the other end.

(Baden looks at him.)

BADEN: You are the Oracle?

SHEPPARD: I'm your Oracle, yes. (He grimaces.) That doesn't sound right.

TEYLA: I know this is difficult to absorb, but it is all true.

DEX (to Baden): You flew in the Puddle Jumper. You know they have the technology.

BADEN: I'm not listening to this.

SHEPPARD: Just hold on here a sec. We can prove it to you.


SHEPPARD: Let's go for a ride.

ATLANTIS. CONTROL ROOM. Elizabeth turns as Team Sheppard comes down the stairs from the Jumper Bay, bringing Baden and Nola with them.

SHEPPARD: Baden, Nola, this is Doctor Weir, leader of our expedition.

WEIR: Welcome to Atlantis. If these two gentlemen haven't done so already, let me please offer you our sincerest apologies for this intrusion into your lives.

SHEPPARD (indignantly): Intrusion?

McKAY: An imposition, maybe, and a benevolent one at that. I mean, if you could have seen the villages now compared to the way they were when we started ...

WEIR: Rodney.

(Baden and Nola have walked over to the balcony and are gazing into the Gateroom.)

WEIR: Now, why don't you take them to your game room -- show them what you two have been up to?

McKAY: Right. (He gestures to the two offworlders.) Shall we?

(He and John lead the two of them away.)

'GAME' LAB. Rodney has called the 'game' up onto the screen.

McKAY: So, this is Geldar and this is Hallona. (To Nola) Look, two weeks ago I instructed you to start digging a well for the new settlement on the eastern slope and on here ...

(He types and the screen zooms in on an area of the map. A pop-up screen reads, "Action: Building Well." Underneath are statistics: Targeted Depth: 60 ft ; Completed: 74% ; Water Table: 46 ; Aquifer Composition: Sedimentary G4. There is also a diagram of the progress of the well towards the water below it.)

McKAY: There. See? Construction's already begun.

NOLA: Yes. I gave the order myself.

(She stares at the screen for a moment, then looks at Rodney painfully.)

NOLA: Our lives are just a game.

SHEPPARD: Well, now, no. They're not games to you and, in our defence, we were trying to improve your lives.

McKAY: It's like he said: everything we did, every instruction we gave was to better conditions for your people.

SHEPPARD: And if that meant cheating ...

McKAY: OK, you know, enough with that already!

(John grimaces as if to say, "But it's true!")

NIGHTTIME. Rodney has brought Nola to some guest quarters. She is sitting on the side of the bed, looking down at the floor, lost in thought.

McKAY: Is the room OK?

NOLA: It's fine.

McKAY: Well, then, if you need anything at all, don't hesitate to ask, OK? You hungry? 'Cause we could walk across to the Mess Hall. They've got, um, I think it's, uh, Salisbury steak today. It's very good. They have a gravy that they put on the ... on the ... steak part and, uh ...

(He trails off as Nola looks away again, still chewed up by what she has learned.)

NOLA: The Oracle was a god to us. I believed in his teachings, so much so that my people elected me leader because of my passion for scientific advancement.

McKAY: Well, they obviously made the right choice.

NOLA: Now I must resolve myself to the fact that the Oracle is only a man.

McKAY: Yeah. Sorry about that. It's like I said, though -- I did what I did with the best of intentions.

NOLA: To win a game.

McKAY: No. No, no. (He walks over and sits on the bed beside her.) It is not about winning or losing. Look, the information I gave you and your people is very real, very useful. I've set you on a course that will allow you to develop into a modern society. I mean, what were you two years ago? You were a primitive, disparate cluster of villages stalled in development. Now you're making dirigibles. Do you have any idea how momentous that is?

NOLA: The Oracle once said, "Ask not what Geldar can do for you, but what you can do for Geldar." Those were your words.

McKAY: Um, give or take.

NOLA: They are very wise.

McKAY: Yes. Yes, they are. (He looks away, embarrassed.)

MESS HALL. John is sitting with Baden.

SHEPPARD: Well, now that you know the truth, you can go back to living your own lives. We won't bother you any more.

BADEN: No. You must still help us.

SHEPPARD: You don't need our help. You'll be fine.

BADEN: We need more weapons.

(John rolls his eyes.)

BADEN: The flying machine you brought us here in -- you called it a Puddle Jumper. Our army could use it.

SHEPPARD: No. Can't do that.

BADEN: But you encouraged me to increase the military.

SHEPPARD: In response to McKay -- the other Oracle -- doing things that I thought were, uh ...

BADEN: ... aggressive? Arrogant? Demeaning to me and my people?

SHEPPARD: I will give you arrogant and demeaning but ...

BADEN: The people of Geldar have started digging a mine beneath our borders to exploit coal resources on our land.

(John leans forward, interested.)


BADEN: It was only confirmed yesterday. This after several diplomatic attempts to reach a compromise.

SHEPPARD: Yeah, we couldn't come to an agreement but I didn't think he would start digging.

BADEN: I'm curious to know what response you would have to such an incursion. (John stares at him.) I believe your next command would be to launch an attack on the mine, prevent them from digging further.

(John tries to look innocent but fails.)

BADEN: I'm right, aren't I?

CORRIDOR. Elizabeth, John and Rodney are walking along.

WEIR: Did they believe you?

McKAY: Yes. They are fully aware of the situation. Not too thrilled, obviously.

SHEPPARD: We've got a big problem, though.

WEIR: What is it?

SHEPPARD: Game or no game, the fact remains we've started something these people don't seem to wanna stop. They hate each other and may be headed for a very real war.

(Elizabeth stops and stares at the men.)

WEIR: Great(!) Great -- and this is thanks to your "benevolent imposition"?

(She walks away. John and Rodney exchange guilty glances.)

DAYTIME. CONFERENCE ROOM. Elizabeth is seated at the table with Nola and Baden.

WEIR: I've asked you both here this morning so we can have a face to face talk. Now, hopefully, I can help you reach an understanding.

NOLA: Where's Doctor McKay?

WEIR: Well, I've asked that neither he nor Colonel Sheppard participate in this. I think they've already done enough in fostering the current tension between you. Now, I have had some experience brokering peace treaties. I'm sure we can find some common ground.

(Nola and Baden refuse to look at each other.)

WEIR: OK. Why don't we start by going back a few years, to the time when your two peoples lived in peace?

NOLA: We were naïve back then -- ignorant to our potential. Once we began to challenge ourselves intellectually, we began to see how the people of Hallona had been abusing thousands of years of kindness from us.

BADEN: I've done everything I could to achieve peace with you.

NOLA: Really?! Such as?

BADEN: I sent gifts of goodwill.

NOLA: You sent crates of citrus fruit! Citrus! Do you have any idea what an insult that is to my people?!

BADEN: It didn't used to be.

WEIR: OK, see, I think I know where that comes from. Did M... the Oracle tell you that citrus fruit was bad?

NOLA: He made us aware of its toxic properties, yes.

BADEN: Everything is toxic to you! (To Elizabeth) If they're not busy insulting us, they're complaining about contaminated food, improper hygiene. Even the sunlight is dangerous to them!

NOLA: The only insult has been your unwillingness to compromise in any trade negotiation. Instead, you choose to increase the size of your army.

(Elizabeth sits back in her chair, sighing.)

BADEN: You built an army too!

NOLA: Only in response to your aggression.

BADEN: My aggression? You dig a mine beneath our border to steal our coal and you have the nerve to talk about aggression!

NOLA: We're not stealing your coal.

BADEN: You crossed into our land!

NOLA: What do you need it for anyway? It's not like you know the first thing about what to do with it.

BADEN (to Elizabeth): You see how she insults us?

NOLA: By stating a fact.

WEIR: Please. If we can discuss this reasonably, I am sure we can come to some sort of ...

NOLA (interrupting): We've tried. They agree to nothing. And until Doctor McKay is brought into this discussion, I have nothing further to say.

(She stands up and leaves the room. Baden throws up his hands in irritation and also storms out. Elizabeth watches them go and drums her fingernails on the table briefly in frustration.)

WEIR: That went well.

CORRIDOR. Elizabeth is walking with John and Rodney again.

WEIR: Talk to them. Get them back to the table and hammer out a truce. I have run into a roadblock.

McKAY: Really? Nola seemed very agreeable.


McKAY: Yeah, well, more agreeable than Richard the Lionheart.

WEIR: They are both refusing to compromise. You seem to have convinced them that they can't make any decisions without your guidance.

SHEPPARD: That's not true.

WEIR: Tell them that.

MESS HALL. Rodney has introduced Nola to the delights of blue jello.

NOLA: This is delicious!

McKAY: Listen, you need to make peace with the people of Hallona. If tensions keep rising like this, it could lead to war.

NOLA: I'm aware of that.

McKAY: Well, then, you're also aware that people will get hurt.

NOLA: I know the danger to my people. I also know you've taught us things Baden's band of knuckle-draggers won't learn for hundreds of years.

(Rodney can't help but smile at that.)

NOLA: Under your leadership, we hope to remain many steps ahead of any kind of aggression from them.

McKAY: Nola, you and your people need to start thinking for yourselves. Look, I'm not gonna be there for you any more. You need to take control of your own lives, start making your own decisions about your future. And there can be no future without peace.

NOLA: I agree.

McKAY: Good.

NOLA: And as soon as the people of Hallona either concede or get out of our way, peace will be restored. What you told me before -- I do realise how monumental our progress has been, and I refuse to let Baden destroy that. "Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds." Those are the words of the Oracle. Your words.

McKAY: Einstein's, actually, but, um ...

NOLA: If we yield one bit to Hallona, it will be equal to taking a giant step back in our development. I owe it to my people to make sure that does not happen.

(Rodney grimaces, lost as to what to say to persuade her.)

'GAME' LAB. The screen shows the progress of Geldar's mine as it tunnels under the river and into Hallona.

BADEN: They're digging further. Every hour they intrude deeper into our land.

SHEPPARD: To get them to stop, you have to provide an incentive.

BADEN: Like attacking the mine?

SHEPPARD: That'll cause a whole 'nother set of problems.

BADEN: The only problems will be with the people of Geldar.

SHEPPARD: Not necessarily. They can fight back.

BADEN: What are you saying -- we should capitulate, let them do whatever they want?

SHEPPARD: No. You make a deal, trade -- say, you decide to share some of your weaponry and they in turn give you some of their technology.

(Elizabeth's voice comes over his radio.)

WEIR: John?

(John walks a little way away from Baden as he activates his headset.)

SHEPPARD: Go ahead.

WEIR: How's it going?

SHEPPARD: Well, he's being a little, uh ...

WEIR: ... stubborn?

SHEPPARD: I was gonna use a different word.

WEIR: Hmm.

(Behind him, Baden bends down to the console and types onto it. The console beeps to acknowledge receipt. John turns and frowns at the sound, but Baden has already straightened up and is looking at the screen innocently.)

WEIR: I'd like you to come to my office. We need to talk.

ELIZABETH'S OFFICE. Elizabeth, John and Rodney are there.

WEIR: They're not open to any kind of deal?

SHEPPARD: Not yet. Maybe we should stick 'em in a room, force 'em to come to an agreement.

McKAY: Don't worry about it. They'll work it out. Look, we just happened to catch them at a particularly bad time. Sheppard's guy's been doing a lot of aggressive posturing of late.

SHEPPARD: The only aggression is coming from the people of Gelding.

McKAY: Geldar.

SHEPPARD: Whatever. (He looks at Elizabeth.) His people are digging a mine across the border into Hallona.

(Elizabeth looks at Rodney, waiting for an explanation.)

McKAY: The coal resources straddle the border between my country and his.

SHEPPARD: Barely! They go three miles into my country -- which your people are happily tunnelling into.

McKAY: It has been a point of contention between us, OK, but it is just a difference in cartographic interpretation. 'Tomayto.' 'Tomahto.'

SHEPPARD: No, no, it's pretty clear cut. You entered illegally into my country.

WEIR: Gentlemen.

McKAY (to John): You gave me no choice! You refused to negotiate!

SHEPPARD: You mean give in.

McKAY: What do you care anyway? It's not like your people were gonna use the coal!

SHEPPARD: Oh, yeah, that's right. You need it to power your medieval steam engines.

WEIR (standing up angrily): Stop it. These are not your lands. This 'game' is over, so you'd better set aside your differences, because if the two of you can't figure out how to forge a truce, how the hell are these people going to?

(John and Rodney look suitably chastised. Just then, Radek's voice comes over the radio.)

ZELENKA: Rodney?

McKAY: What?

ZELENKA: You'd better come to the Game Room.

'GAME' LAB. Rodney, John and Elizabeth walk in. Radek is sitting at one of the consoles.

WEIR: What happened?

ZELENKA: We've just received a data stream from the planet.

(He relinquishes his seat to John. The screen shows the area around the river and the mine entrance. A number of red dots depicting Geldar troops is near the mine, with two more groups approaching from the south and west. A number of blue dots depicting Hallona troops has crossed the river to the north and is approaching the mine. John zooms in on the mine. The greater detail shows that the Hallona troops vastly outnumber the Geldar troops protecting the mine and are moving to attack from the north, east and west.)

ZELENKA: Colonel Sheppard's army has launched an attack.

(Rodney straightens up from the other console and glares at John accusingly.)

SHEPPARD: Don't look at me. I didn't order it.

(Rodney looks down at his own screen again. The pop-up information read "Geldar troops in retreat." The screen shows the red dots moving southwards away from the mine. The blue dots move to surround the mine entrance.)

McKAY: They're going after the mine!

WEIR: Well, looks like your war just started.

SHORTLY AFTERWARDS. Nola and Baden have been brought to the room.

SHEPPARD: Who ordered this?

BADEN: I did.

McKAY: He entered the command on your game console.

BADEN: I only did it because I know it's something you would have told me to do.

SHEPPARD: I wanted you to make peace with these people!

NOLA: This attack will not go unpunished.

WEIR: No one is doing any punishing. There'll be no further escalation to this conflict.

McKAY: There's no casualties reported. Looks like the mine was surrendered without a fight. (He can't help but look at Nola rather accusingly.)

BADEN: I told my army to minimise collateral damage.

(Elizabeth looks at John and Rodney.)

WEIR: You need to get back there. Take Ronon and Teyla with you. Go to your respective countries and make sure this does not get any further out of hand. (She looks at Nola and Baden.) No one has been hurt yet. Let's keep it that way.


M4D-058. In Geldar, Nola hurries down the stairs into the console room, followed by Rodney and Ronon. A young man turns to greet her.

HELKIN: You're back. We were beginning to worry.

NOLA: What's the status?

HELKIN: I've ordered three army units to re-take the mine. They're on their way.

McKAY: Oh no. No-no-no. You need to put a stop to that.

NOLA: Why?

McKAY: Look, we just need to step back and re-assess the situation here, OK? We should be thinking about easing tensions, not inflaming them.

NOLA (looking at the screen): Oh no.

(The screen shows the blue dots moving away from the mine and heading in a north-westerly direction towards a smaller group of red dots. A second group of red dots approaches from the south-west.)

NOLA: They're continuing to advance.

McKAY: What?!

NOLA (to Helkin): Divert the units away from the mine. Have them gather in the village, prepare to defend it.

DEX (to Rodney): Isn't this what she's supposed to be stopping?

McKAY: Yes. (To Nola) Look, listen to me. You cannot engage them.

NOLA: We must protect our people.

McKAY: Look, I agree, but you've gotta give Sheppard some time. He'll call off the army.

NOLA: Will he?

(Rodney turns away to activate his headset radio. In Hallona, John is standing at the door to their console room watching people hurrying about outside. Rodney's voice comes over his radio.)

McKAY: Sheppard. Come in.

SHEPPARD: Go ahead.

McKAY: Are you watching what's going on here?

SHEPPARD: We just got here.

(He walks inside the room to join Teyla. The room looks similar to the Geldar console room, but is only lit by candles.)

SHEPPARD: Pretty much the same set-up as yours. We don't have electricity, but I'm not gonna get into that right now.

McKAY: Your army is still on the march.


(He walks over to the console where Baden and a female aide are watching the screen.)

McKAY: They're headed for one of my villages. You need to call them off before they ...

TEYLA: The attack has begun.

(The screen zooms in on the blue dots approaching the Geldar village. It is poorly defended by half a dozen very small groups of red dots. The red dots retreat before the approach of the Hallona army.)

GELDAR. Rodney, Ronon and Nola watch the screen which shows the village surrounded by blue dots. The red dots have moved to the west of the village and are now moving away westwards. A second group of red dots south of the village is moving to join them.

DEX: Looks like you guys are giving up.

McKAY: What? No-no-no-no, that can't be right.

SHEPPARD (over the radio from Hallona): That was fast, Rodney.

McKAY: They retreated without any kind of a fight. What kind of an army is that?

DEX: Well, at least there's no casualties.

NOLA: It's alright. I have another plan.

(She walks away from the table. Rodney looks nervously at Ronon.)

McKAY: What other plan?

DEX: Why are you asking me?

(Rodney turns and hurries after Nola. He catches up to her in the corridor upstairs where she has met with Garth, the man who earlier showed Rodney the drawing of the dirigible.)

McKAY: Uh, what are you doing?

NOLA: Preparing our counter-attack.

McKAY: What counter-attack?

GARTH: From information you gave us about high-temperature and energetic materials technology, I have constructed a tactical explosive device.

McKAY: A bomb? You actually built a bomb?

NOLA: I told you we'd always be several steps ahead of Baden.

McKAY: How come I didn't know about this?

NOLA: We have yet to test it, so it still appears to not exist.

GARTH: We will target one of Hallona's outlying villages.

McKAY: How are you even gonna deliver it? I mean, the catapult couldn't possibly reach that far.

GARTH: I will deliver it.

NOLA: Using one of the airships you taught us to build. (To Garth) Go.

(Garth hurries away.)

McKAY: Oh, no. No-no-no-no-no. Come back!

(Garth takes no notice.)

HALLONA. John and Teyla walk out of the console room as John gets the news from Rodney. He whispers angrily into his radio.

SHEPPARD: You taught them how to build a bomb?!

McKAY: No! Well, not specifically. Look, OK, maybe I provided them with a list of ingredients but ...

SHEPPARD (furiously): I don't believe this!

TEYLA: How much damage can it cause?

McKAY: Enough to take out an entire village.

TEYLA: Well, then, you must tell them to stop.

McKAY: I tried that, but it's already on the way!

SHEPPARD: How are they delivering it?

(Rodney hesitates for a moment, unwilling to admit what he has taught his people, but he has no choice but to confess.)

McKAY: Dirigible.

SHEPPARD: You just had to cheat, didn't you?

McKAY: I did not cheat. Look, nowhere in the rules did it specifically outlaw the development of flying machines -- only the degree and speed of technological advancement.

SHEPPARD (furiously): Well, they advanced pretty damned fast, didn't they?

TEYLA: Do we still have time to shoot it down?

McKAY: Yes. Yes, I think so.

TEYLA (to John): Then we'd better get moving.

(They hurry off.)

ATLANTIS. 'GAME' LAB. Elizabeth opens the doors and hears Radek and Lorne arguing inside. They are unaware of her arrival.

ZELENKA: Absurd!

LORNE: What are you talking about? It's a perfectly reasonable request!

ZELENKA: Oh yeah. Perfectly reasonable(!) I give you all of my food and my people starve.

(Elizabeth walks deeper into the room and sees the two of them on either side of the 'games' console. Radek is already on his feet and now Lorne stands up to shout at him over the top of the screens.)

LORNE: I am not asking you for all of your food! Plus I did say that we would make a deal.

ZELENKA: A deal. Oh yeah. Baskets.

LORNE: Big baskets! Two dozen of 'em, hand-woven and very nice.

ZELENKA: Oh, very nice. What am I gonna put in them, huh? Certainly not food!

(Elizabeth, still unnoticed by the two men, folds her arms and looks at them angrily.)

LORNE: You know what? I think you're holding out on me. I think you have plenty of food.

ZELENKA: Are you calling me a liar?!

LORNE: No, I think you're trying to squeeze me for a better deal, that's what I think.

ZELENKA: I have got nothing to hide! Now, if you're ...

LORNE: OK, OK, so maybe I'll send some of my army troops down and we'll have a look!

WEIR: What the hell are you two doing?

(The men look at her, then look down, embarrassed.)

WEIR: I thought I gave specific orders to stay away from this device.

ZELENKA (quietly, ashamed): Yes, yes, you did.

LORNE: We just saw that there were some people in trouble and we thought that maybe that we could ... um ... help.

WEIR: No! No more help. Clearly we are not qualified. Now turn this thing off, disconnect the power and seal the room.

ZELENKA: But, OK, we ...

WEIR (firmly): Now.

ZELENKA: Mmm. Yes.

(He and Lorne start to shut the equipment down. Elizabeth turns and leaves the room.)

M4D-058. GELDAR. Rodney, Ronon, Nola and Helkin are watching the screen. Nola turns to Rodney.

NOLA: I hoped you would be proud of our accomplishments.

McKAY: I am, really. I just ... I wish it didn't lead to this.

PUDDLE JUMPER. The Jumper flies low over the planet's surface.

GELDAR. The screen shows the dirigible which has crossed the river and is approaching a village in Hallona. Helkin points as a new blip appears on the screen heading towards the dirigible.

HELKIN: What's that?

(Nola looks at Rodney accusingly.)

PUDDLE JUMPER. John and Teyla look through the windshield.

SHEPPARD: There it is.

(They can see the dirigible up ahead.)

TEYLA: Good. Now all you have to do is puncture the balloon.

SHEPPARD: Already on it.

(A drone deploys from the Jumper and heads towards the dirigible.)

GELDAR. The screen has zoomed in on the dirigible and the Jumper. It shows the drone flying out from the Jumper and impacting the dirigible. The latter's image blinks and disappears.

NOLA: Colonel Sheppard! He shot down our airship with the Puddle Jumper!

DEX: Well, don't worry. No one was hurt.

McKAY: He just ... he punctured it. It sank harmlessly to the ground.

(Nola gazes at the screen for a moment, then turns to Helkin.)

NOLA: Prepare the other bombs for delivery.

(Helkin heads off.)

DEX: Other bombs?

McKAY: What, you have more?!

(Nola looks at him without speaking, then turns her head away.)

DEX: Great(!)

HALLONA. John and Teyla walk back into the console room. Baden nods to them approvingly.

BADEN: Thank you for your help. You saved the lives of everyone in that village.

SHEPPARD: We won't be doing that again.

BADEN: I had no idea they were capable of delivering such a device.

SHEPPARD: Tell me about it!

BADEN: I've issued orders to make certain they don't try again.

SHEPPARD: What kind of orders?

BADEN: A full-scale attack has been launched. It's time to finish this war.

(The screen shows many groups of blue dots heading across the river into Geldar. John and Teyla stare at it in horror.)

GELDAR. As Nola discusses tactics down in the console room, Rodney and Ronon talk on the upper balcony.

DEX: I've seen this before. If two sides are dead set on fighting, nothing's gonna stop them.

McKAY: So I've gotta get Nola to call off the attack.

DEX: You couldn't do it before. What makes you think you can now?

McKAY: How about a little encouragement, huh? You know, "Go get 'em, Rodney. I have faith in you"?

(Ronon looks at him.)

McKAY: OK, whatever. Look, I am not giving up on these people, which means until we get them to call this war off, then we are staying put right here.

(Before he can even finish his sentence, an Asgard transporter beam envelops the pair of them and whisks them away.)

DAEDALUS. The ship is in orbit above the planet. As Rodney and Ronon are beamed in, John and Teyla walk over to join them.

SHEPPARD: We could use your help. Come on.

(As he walks away, Ronon and Teyla follow him but Rodney doesn't move.)

McKAY: Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa, what's going on?

(John turns to face him.)

SHEPPARD: Elizabeth diverted the Daedalus on its way back to Earth to check up on us.

TEYLA: Colonel Caldwell believed that the situation had deteriorated. He feared that we would become casualties of war and so beamed us out.

SHEPPARD: Yeah, but I talked him into beaming us back, but we've gotta do something first, so come on.

(He walks back towards Rodney, grabs his vest and pulls him into motion.)

McKAY: Do what?

SHEPPARD: I've got a plan.

McKAY: Oh, what plan?

SHEPPARD: Oh, come on, already.

TEYLA (to Ronon, as they follow the other two): How's the situation on your end?

DEX: All-out war. You?

GELDAR. The console screen shows several more dirigibles heading into Hallona. Rodney and Ronon walk down the stairs to meet Nola.

NOLA: Where did you go? What happened?

McKAY: Uh, nowhere, nowhere. We were just upstairs.

NOLA: Someone said you vanished into thin air.

McKAY: What?! No, that's ridiculous. How could we vanish?

HELKIN: The airships have passed the southern forest. They're nearing their targets.

NOLA: Let's hope we strike first before Baden's army reaches our villages. We'll destroy their will to fight.

McKAY: OK. (He takes Nola by the shoulders and turns her towards him.) Listen to me. For two years now I have been the Oracle to your people. I have given you much wisdom and guidance and bestowed much of my knowledge. Look, it's like you said: I was a god.

DEX (warningly): Easy.

McKAY (raising a finger in acknowledgement to him as he continues to talk to Nola): And yes, yes, I may just be a man, but that wisdom still remains. And now, more than ever, you need to heed my guidance and call back those ships.

NOLA: You told me it was time to start thinking on my own.

McKAY (nervously): Right.

NOLA: So now I am. My people are looking to me. This is my decision -- and we will be victorious.

HALLONA. The console screen shows six dirigibles heading towards villages in Hallona. On the Geldar side of the river, several groups of blue dots are heading towards villages. Baden looks up at John and Teyla.

BADEN: Why won't you help us?

SHEPPARD: I'm not shooting down any more ships. We're done helping you wage this war.

BADEN: Then we'll shoot them down ourselves.


(Baden turns to his aide and nods. She walks away.)

BADEN: Our weapons are not as primitive as Nola believes.

TEYLA: Many people will die on both sides.

BADEN: If you want to leave, then leave. We'll continue this fight even if you've lost the will.

SHEPPARD: You're making a big mistake.

BADEN: The only mistake was not doing this sooner. You'll see. This is the right path for my people.


NOLA: They've reached our villages.

HELKIN: Two have already fallen.

NOLA: The airships are almost in position. We should ...

(She trails off as one of the dots depicting a dirigible beeps and disappears.)

NOLA: What happened?

McKAY: They shot down one of your ships.

(Nola glances at him.)

McKAY: It wasn't the Puddle Jumper.

DEX: Maybe one of the catapults hit it.

NOLA: No, impossible!

(On the screen, another dirigible disappears. The screen zooms across to one of the Geldar villages and shows it surrounded by troops from Hallona.)

HELKIN: Two more villages have fallen. It appears many are dead.

(Rodney activates his headset.)

McKAY: Sheppard. ... Come in. ... Sheppard! The radio's dead.

(A huge explosion can be heard not far away. The building shakes.)

NOLA: They're coming here.

(Everyone runs outside. The daylight sky is very dark. All around, the villagers run for safety. Another explosion goes off outside the village and a dust cloud rises into view.)

McKAY: What, they have bombs too?!

DEX (to Nola): We need to get your people out of here now.

McKAY: Help them.

(Ronon runs off to help the villagers while Rodney and Nola race back to the console room. The screen shows the villages surrounded by blue dots, and explosions going off everywhere.)

HELKIN: Their army has surrounded us.

(Ronon runs in.)

DEX: The road out of the village is blocked. People are being slaughtered as they try to leave.

McKAY: We're trapped.

(Another explosion goes off nearby. The console screen fritzes and goes blank. Helkin looks at Nola and Rodney.)

HELKIN: What shall we do?

(Nola gazes at the blank screen in despair.)

NOLA: It's over.

HALLONA. The console room is rocked as a huge explosion goes off nearby. The screen shows a huge number of dirigibles approaching villages all around the country, and explosions going off underneath them. John activates his headset.

SHEPPARD: Rodney, where the hell are you?

(There's no response. Another explosion goes off nearby.)

BADEN: They've dropped another bomb. Hundreds are dying! How can you stand by and let this happen?

(Teyla runs in.)

TEYLA: Nola's army has surrounded the village.

SHEPPARD: We'll get to the Jumper.

TEYLA: They just destroyed it.

(More explosions go off. Baden stares at the screen, which shows the dirigibles approaching the villages, and a huge army of red dots following. More explosions are depicted on the screen.)

BADEN: We're being overwhelmed.

TEYLA: What should we do?

(A bomb explodes very close by and the console screen goes blank. Baden stares at it in despair. He turns and looks out towards his village for a while, then turns back towards John. John stares at him pointedly.)

SHEPPARD: Game over.

GELDAR. The explosions have stopped. John's voice comes over Rodney's headset.

SHEPPARD: Rodney, you there?

(Rodney activates his headset.)

McKAY: Yeah. We hear you. We'll give you a call when we're ready to be picked up.

SHEPPARD: Got it. (He deactivates the comms.)

NOLA: I don't understand. What's going on?

(In Hallona, John puts his rifle down on the dead console and faces Baden.)

SHEPPARD: What you just witnessed is what I would call another level to the game.

McKAY (in Geldar, to Nola and Helkin): See, we were beamed up earlier to our ship, the Daedalus, in orbit over your planet.

SHEPPARD (in Hallona, to Baden): While we were there, I had Doctor McKay hack into the two devices, upload doomsday scenarios for each of your countries into the game.

TEYLA: Everything you saw just now was transmitted from the Daedalus.

BADEN: You mean none of this was real?

McKAY (in Geldar, to Nola): No one was hurt. No one was killed. All just part of the simulation.

DEX: In reality, your two armies are standing down, awaiting further instructions.

NOLA: But we heard explosions. We felt them.

SHEPPARD (in Hallona, to Baden): Thanks to some pinpoint shots from our friends in the Daedalus. It really added to the realism, didn't it?

(In Geldar, Rodney sighs.)

McKAY: I'm sorry that we had to do that, but you needed to see how this could end.

DEX: Feel what a real war is like.

(Nola lowers her head, finally understanding. In Hallona, Baden lowers his head.)

SHEPPARD: You still think it was the right path for your people?

(Baden looks at John. His answer is obvious.)

ATLANTIS. Elizabeth walks into the Mess Hall, goes over to the food table and picks up a bottle of water. She spots John and Rodney sitting either side of a table nearby.

WEIR: Gentlemen.

SHEPPARD: How's it going?

(Elizabeth walks over to their table. They are in the middle of a game of chess.)

WEIR: Ah, it's still going. We're just taking a break. There's a lot of animosity to be unravelled but I think they are finally willing to at least try to make it work.

McKAY: Well, it's about time.

WEIR: Yeah. And you two? Called a truce yet?

SHEPPARD: Yeah, sure. We're good.

McKAY: Yeah, don't worry. We're gonna stick to chess from now on.

SHEPPARD (making a move on the board): As long as Rodney doesn't cheat.

McKAY: Oh, please, like I need to cheat playing you?

WEIR: OK, I'll leave you to it, then.

(She walks away. Rodney makes a move on the board.)

McKAY: Ha!

(John makes a move and takes one of Rodney's pieces.)

SHEPPARD: Ha. Checkmate.

McKAY: What?!

(He looks at the board. John shrugs.)

McKAY: Oh, no-no-no-no-no. What happened there?

SHEPPARD: What happened there is I just kicked your ass.

McKAY: No, no, I was distracted. She was, uh ... OK, we're going again. Best of ten.

(He starts to set up the board again.)