Transcript by Callie Sullivan
PUDDLE JUMPER. John Sheppard is alone in a Jumper which has just left an Earth-like planet. As he flies into space, he activates the comms.
SHEPPARD: Atlantis, this is Sheppard. I'm on approach to the Gate.
(He bites into an apple. In Atlantis, Rodney McKay is on the balcony of the Control Room overlooking the open Stargate.)
McKAY: Acknowledged. Y'know, since I've been in Pegasus, I have set up, like, what, half a dozen research stations on various planets, and I don't remember you ever volunteering to run a re-supply mission to any of them.
SHEPPARD: I'm a busy man, Rodney. Just happened to have a little free time.
(He bites into the apple again, leaving it in his mouth while he uses both hands to activate controls.)
McKAY: And Doctor Mackenzie just happens to be studying a primitive tribe that lives in a tropical paradise and has, how did he put it, "little or no social inhibitions."
SHEPPARD (smiling appreciatively): Well, they were very friendly.
(Just then the Jumper is hit by a blast of some kind.)
SHEPPARD: What the hell?
McKAY: What is it?
(John calls up the Heads-Up Display.)
SHEPPARD: I think somebody just took a shot at me. I've got a contact. They're closin' fast.
McKAY (anxiously): What is it, Wraith?
SHEPPARD (looking at the H.U.D.): I don't think so, but ...
(The Jumper is hit again. The H.U.D. begins to fritz repeatedly.)
SHEPPARD: Whatever they're shooting me with just shorted my systems. I can't get weapons online.
(The Jumper is hit again a couple of times. The H.U.D. disappears and then all the lights go out. The engine powers down.)
McKAY: Can you make it back to the Gate?
(There's no reply.)
McKAY: Sheppard? Sheppard?
SHEPPARD: Rodney? ... McKay?
(Above the Jumper, a massive spaceship lowers down towards the ship. The doors of its Hangar Bay on the underside are open, and the Jumper drifts into the Bay. A hyperspace window opens in front of the spaceship and it flies into it.)
SHORTLY AFTERWARDS. Men wearing uniforms have taken John from the Jumper, tied his hands behind him and are marching him along the corridors. The ship has a rather dilapidated appearance to it.
SHEPPARD: Nice ship. Little bit of a fixer-upper but I can see the potential.
(The man leading the group opens a door and the two men behind John push him into a small room with nothing in it but a bunk.)
SHEPPARD: I'm not talking about anything drastic, you know. Maybe just a paint job, some throw pillows ...
(One of the men, Silas, seizes John's arms and holds him still while the other man, Nevik, sticks a syringe into John's arm and takes a blood sample. Nevik looks at the syringe to see that he's got enough blood, then pats John's arm and he and the third man leave the room, closing the door behind them. Silas pushes John forward. John turns to face him.)
SHEPPARD: Look, I don't suppose you mind telling me what's going on here?
SILAS: Here's how we're gonna do this: I'm gonna ask you questions and you're gonna give me answers. Is that simple enough for you?
SHEPPARD (shrugging): Sure.
SILAS: Who are you, where are you from, and where'd you get your ship?
SHEPPARD: See, that's a funny coincidence, ‘cause I was gonna ask you the same exact questions.
(Silas punches him hard in the stomach. John groans and crumples to his knees.)
SILAS: The difference is, I'm not the one whose hands are tied behind his back. So, again: who are you, where are you from, and where did you get your ship?
ATLANTIS. Teyla Emmagan and Ronon Dex have joined Rodney in the Gateroom.
TEYLA: What happened?
McKAY: I'm not entirely sure. Looks like Sheppard's Jumper was attacked before he reached the space Gate.
DEX: By who?
McKAY: Well, the people on the planet aren't much past mud huts and blow darts, so I think we can assume they had nothing to do with it. What we do know is that just after we lost contact, there was a short burst of radiation in the vicinity of the Gate consistent with the opening of a hyperspace window.
McKAY: Sheppard didn't seem to think so, and what little sensor data we've been able to pick up from the Jumper seems to confirm it. Look, the energy signature's all wrong. It's inconsistent with Ancient technology as well, which pretty much rules out the Replicators.
TEYLA: We know of no other peoples in this galaxy that possess hyperspace technology.
McKAY: Of course not. No-one reaches anywhere near that level of advancement without being culled.
DEX: So, then, who was it?
(Rodney shakes his head at him, clueless.)
HOLDING CELL. Silas punches John across the face again. He has obviously been doing this for some time, as John's face is battered and bleeding and blood is pouring from his mouth.
SILAS: I could do this all day.
SHEPPARD (weakly): Ah, your knuckles will get sore eventually.
(Silas aims to throw another punch but just then the door opens and a woman walks in. Inevitably, she's gorgeous, and is wearing a top that shows a lot of flesh. She's accompanied by Nevik.)
LARRIN: Has he said anything?
SILAS: Only his name: Reed Richards.
LARRIN: His name is Sheppard. We intercepted part of his last radio transmission.
SHEPPARD (looking up at her appreciatively): I didn't get your name.
(Larrin walks closer to him and takes hold of his chin, tilting it up towards herself.)
LARRIN: You can call me Larrin.
(She turns his head to look at his injuries.)
LARRIN: You really should co-operate. Be a shame to have to do too much damage.
(She pushes his chin away roughly and turns to leave.)
SHEPPARD: I agree.
(Larrin turns back to him.)
SHEPPARD: Maybe if you guys tell me who you are and what you want, we could work out some kind of a deal.
LARRIN: Well, don't get my hopes up and then disappoint me. (She looks at Silas.) Tell him what happened to the last man that disappointed me.
SILAS: We don't know. We never found his body.
NEVIK: We assumed you blew him out into space.
SHEPPARD: I get it.
LARRIN: Good. (To Silas.) Bring him.
(She leaves the room. Silas and Nevik seize John's arms.)
SILAS: Get up.
(They haul him to his feet and march him out of the room.)
LATER. John has been brought to a long narrow room with a long table in the middle with several chairs around it. He has been sat down at one end of the table and his hands have been untied. Larrin is sitting at the other end of the table. A man brings in a tray of food and puts it down in front of John. The food doesn't look very appetising. John looks down at it, then looks at Larrin.
SHEPPARD: Another form of torture?
LARRIN: When you spend as much time in space as we do, you don't get a lot of fresh food.
(John picks up what looks like a large piece of liver.)
SHEPPARD: How much time are we talking about?
(He drops the piece of liver back down onto the tray with an unpleasant splatting noise. Larrin doesn't answer him.)
SHEPPARD: This is a conversation, right? A two-way street?
LARRIN: This is our home.
SHEPPARD: This ship?
LARRIN: And others like it. We're Travelers.
SHEPPARD: You live in space all the time?
LARRIN: We land on planets when we need to for supplies, trade. The rest of the time we keep moving.
SHEPPARD: From the Wraith?
LARRIN: That may have been how it started, but now it's just who we are.
(John has picked up a biscuit from the tray and sniffed it, but now puts that down as well.)
SHEPPARD: Well, no offence, Larrin. Doesn't sound like much of a life.
LARRIN: Being a herd animal isn't much of a life.
(She stands up, walks to a side table and pours some liquid from a jug into a metal cup.)
LARRIN: Besides, the food has all the nutrients required.
SHEPPARD: Well, as tempting as that sounds, my jaw's a little sore right now.
LARRIN (bringing the cup over to him): Things like that are necessary from time to time. Although it's not the most efficient way of getting information, it does help people to understand their situation.
SHEPPARD: My situation being completely at your mercy.
LARRIN: Exactly. Anyway, I know more about you than you think.
LARRIN (sitting down): Mmm-hmm. For instance, I know that you carry the gene required to operate Lantean technology.
SHEPPARD (looking blank): I've got the what?
(Larrin rolls her eyes.)
LARRIN: Look, Sheppard, I know you have your secrets, and if you stay on my good side, I may even let you keep a few of them. However, if you continue to play ignorant with me, I really will jettison you out into space. For some time now, we've been hearing rumours about a new group of humans in the galaxy using the technology of the Ancestors to do battle with the Wraith, so we set up a network of spy satellites around dozens of worlds with space Gates, hoping for an encounter. Eventually we got lucky.
SHEPPARD: And in the first meeting between our people, you attack me and disarm my ship.
LARRIN: Well, you were going through the Gate and I couldn't let that happen. You see, anyone capable of operating Lantean technology is of particular interest to us.
SHEPPARD: That's why you took a sample of my blood.
(He picks up the cup and tastes the liquid tentatively, then grimaces.)
LARRIN: We're working on a control interface adaptor that requires a small amount of necessary genetic material. We needed your blood to test it.
SHEPPARD: I'm gonna guess it didn't go so well.
LARRIN: Why would you say that?
SHEPPARD: Then you wouldn't have any use for me any more.
LARRIN: Don't underestimate yourself. There's all kinds of useful things you could do for me.
VOICE (over comms): Commander, we're approaching coordinates.
LARRIN: Understood. Take us out of hyperspace.
(She stands up and looks at John.)
LARRIN: Of course, you're right. The interface isn't fully operational yet. Come with me.
(A guard walks over to John, who stands up and follows Larrin as she walks through the ship.)
LARRIN: Nevik, my chief science officer, insists that we have a much better chance of perfecting the interface if we reverse-engineer it using Lantean technology that's already been initialised.
SHEPPARD: I don't even know what reverse engineering is.
(Larrin pushes open a door onto the Hangar Bay. The Puddle Jumper is inside.)
SHEPPARD: Oh. You wanna use my ship.
LARRIN: Not exactly.
(She nods to the guard, who roughly pushes John into the Bay. Larrin closes the door, leaving him alone in the Bay.)
(Larrin looks at the guard.)
LARRIN: Activate the force shield.
(The guard presses some buttons on a panel beside the door. Inside the Bay, a shimmer runs across the floor.)
LARRIN (over comms): Sheppard, can you hear me?
SHEPPARD: D'you mind telling me what you're doing?
LARRIN: Offering you a deal. (To the guard) Open the Hangar Bay doors.
(The guard activates more controls and under John's feet, the doors slide open, leaving him standing in mid-air and supported only by the shield.)
SHEPPARD: This is just not right!
LARRIN: Don't worry. You're safe as long as the force shield doesn't malfunction, and that almost never happens.
SHEPPARD: Why are you doing this?
LARRIN: You wanted to know what this is all about. Look beneath you.
(John looks down as the ship moves over the top of another spaceship. It looks very familiar.)
LARRIN: I'm assuming you recognise the technology? It's a Lantean battleship. It's been dormant for thousands of years, and you're gonna help me get it operational again.
LATER. John has been released from the Hangar Bay and he, Larrin, Nevik and Silas have transferred over to the Lantean ship.
SHEPPARD: Has it occurred to you people they might have abandoned this ship for a good reason in the first place?
LARRIN: We know the reason. We were able to access the ship's logs.
NEVIK: They were attacked by the Wraith. They lost communication and the shields were failing. The engines were damaged as well but they managed to escape into hyperspace, then they realised that their main drive was giving off deadly radiation. They were forced to abandon ship.
LARRIN: They intended to return and effect repairs but never got the chance. The ship's been drifting in a two hundred year elliptical orbit around a nearby dwarf star ever since.
SHEPPARD: So it's never been fixed?
SHEPPARD: I hate to point out the obvious, but one of the reasons I agreed to help you was so that you wouldn't kill me. If I'm gonna die of radiation anyway ...
LARRIN: Don't worry. We've set up shield emitters to protect key areas of the ship, and we've all got radiation detectors.
(She lifts her arm to show a small device attached to her sleeve which is flashing a yellow light. John frowns, looking at the sleeves of the two men and then his own sleeve which doesn't have a flashing light attached to it.)
LARRIN: Take him to the Bridge. Start with sub-light propulsion. I'll go check the emitters.
SHEPPARD: Don't think I can get one of those too, do you?
(As Larrin walks away, Silas shoves John in a different direction.)
BRIDGE. Nevik leads John to the control panel in front of the Captain's chair.
SHEPPARD: You know this ship is ten thousand years old?
(Nevik looks at him as if to say, "Of course I know!")
SHEPPARD: I'm just saying for the record. If it doesn't work, it's not my fault.
NEVIK: Just get on with it.
(John sits down in the chair and, closing his eyes in concentration, puts his hand on a panel attached to the chair's arm. Instantly all the lights and control panels come on.)
NEVIK: It's amazing. I've been trying for two months to activate these systems. I need to calibrate the interface from your neural input. Why don't you start by moving the ship forward?
SHEPPARD: You sure about that?
NEVIK: That's why we're here. You fly the ship and I record the inputs so I can replicate them.
SHEPPARD: OK, but ...
(He takes a weapon from his belt and points it at John. Hello, that looks familiar. It's the same kind of blaster that Ronon uses.)
SILAS: Fly the damn ship.
(John looks at the blaster for a moment.)
SHEPPARD: Right. ... I just was gonna say, you said, "Start by moving the ship forward," when you should have said, "Start by initialising the inertial dampeners."
NEVIK (realising what John's about to do): Wait!
(But it's too late. John puts his hand on the panel and the ship surges forward. John is slammed back into his seat, and Silas and Nevik are hurled back across the Bridge and crash into the doors. Elsewhere on the ship, Larrin is also hurled against a wall. Deactivating the forward movement, John catches his breath for a moment, then jumps out of the chair, runs across to the other two – who are too winded to react – and grabs Silas' blaster. He walks across to a nearby control panel and starts to activate it.)
SHEPPARD: My friend's got a gun just like this. Always wondered where he'd got it.
SILAS (starting to get up): I'm gonna kill you.
(Without even looking at him, John aims the blaster and fires it, knocking him out. For good measure, he shoots Nevik too, then goes around the Bridge activating other controls.)
(Elsewhere, Larrin hauls herself painfully to her feet and activates her comms.)
LARRIN: Silas, what happened?
(When there's no reply, she starts to walk.)
LARRIN: Nevik, what's going on up there?
(On the Bridge, John pulls Nevik's comms device off his sleeve.)
SHEPPARD: Sorry, your people are unavailable right now.
LARRIN: Sheppard, what are you doing?
SHEPPARD: You said, "Fly the ship." I'm flying the ship.
(Sitting down in the Captain's chair again, he activates the arm panel and the ship leaps into hyperspace. In the corridors, Larrin sees the hyperspace corridor rushing past a nearby window. She turns and starts to walk again.)
LARRIN: We had a deal. I was prepared to let you go in exchange for your help.
SHEPPARD: Sorry. I've never been able to trust anyone who kidnaps me, tortures me and threatens to blow me into space.
OFFWORLD PLANET. A Puddle Jumper flies over the surface. Major Lorne is flying, with Rodney sitting beside him and Teyla and Ronon behind. Rodney looks at the H.U.D.
McKAY: We've got nothing. There's no wreckage, no transponder signal. If he was down there, we would have found him by now.
TEYLA: Then where is he?
McKAY: He's not in orbit and he's not on the planet. The only logical assumption is that whoever attacked him must have brought him on board before they jumped into hyperspace.
DEX: So what's the next step?
McKAY: There is no next step. Look, we have no way of tracing him. He could be anywhere in the galaxy by now. I'm sorry, but sometimes there is just nothing we can do.
LARRIN (over comms to the Bridge): Sheppard? I want you to drop this ship out of hyperspace.
SHEPPARD: I don't think so.
LARRIN: Listen to me. I've shut off the shield emitters protecting your area of the ship. Right now, the Bridge is being flooded with radiation.
SHEPPARD: You're bluffing. You'd never sacrifice your own people.
(A beeping sound comes from behind him. John spins the chair around to look at Silas and Nevik, who he has tied up sitting back to back. Silas' radiation detector is beeping urgently.)
LARRIN: Look, I don't wanna kill you, but if you don't turn over the controls of this ship, I'll have no choice.
(Reluctantly, John activates the arm panel control and the ship comes out into normal space.)
LATER. John has been taken to the ship's Brig. The cell isn't as advanced as the one on Aurora and has metal bars. There's no doorway but there is a forcefield over the gap. He shrugs at Larrin as she comes in.
LARRIN: You surprised me, Sheppard.
SHEPPARD: Well, as long as I didn't disappoint you.
LARRIN: Oh no, I knew you'd make some sort of a move. I just wasn't expecting anything quite so ...
SHEPPARD: Clever? Creative?
LARRIN: Reckless. You could have killed all of us, including yourself.
SHEPPARD: I once pulled eleven gees in an F-16 without passing out. I figured I had a shot.
LARRIN (sarcastically): Why, I underestimated you.
SHEPPARD: Yeah, I feel the same way. I mean, you've got the whole tough-as-nails routine down pat, but exposing your own people to killer radiation? Takes a special kind of lady to do that, doesn't it?
(Nevik comes to the doorway.)
(Larrin walks over to him. He shakes his head at her, frustrated.)
NEVIK: It's not good. He shut down propulsion and navigation systems before he turned over the Bridge.
LARRIN (annoyed): Of course he did!
(She looks over to John, who is strolling over to the bunk in the cell and now slumps down on it.)
LARRIN (to Nevik): Did you collect enough data to finish the control interface?
NEVIK: I don't know. Maybe.
LARRIN: Nevik, if you can't do this, we're stranded.
(Nevik looks across to John.)
NEVIK: What about him?
LARRIN: He's not going anywhere near that Bridge again. He can't be trusted.
NEVIK: Listen, if we can't bring that system back online, he'll die out here like the rest of us.
LARRIN: That's the problem! Does he look like a man who thinks he's going to die?
(They both look at John sprawled on the bunk and drumming his fingers on the blanket as if bored.)
LARRIN (to Nevik): Check the sub-space communications array.
NEVIK: Ancients lost the communications in the battle against the Wraith. The system was never repaired.
LARRIN: Check it.
(Nevik leaves the room. Larrin sighs in exasperation.)
ATLANTIS. Rodney is in his lab, typing busily on a laptop. Teyla and Ronon come in.
DEX: What've you got?
McKAY: Ah. Remember how I said sometimes there's nothing we can do? Well, I was right about that – only it turns out this is not one of those times.
TEYLA: You found him.
McKAY: Hmm – more like he found us. Listen to this.
(He types on another laptop and white noise comes from the speakers, punctuated by the occasional random fluctuation in the sound.)
McKAY: That is the sound of sub-space. It's mostly just random noise generated by various forms of radiation; but the Ancients in their infinite wisdom created a programme that can sniff out artificial patterns. It's no doubt a long-range means of detecting advanced life forms – kind of like our S.E.T.I. programme, only much more powerful ‘cause it operates through sub-space.
(Ronon looks bored and fidgety. Teyla tries to look interested.)
McKAY: Anyway, it picked up this.
(He types, and a new sound comes through the speakers: regular fluctuations in the white noise that beat out a pattern – three short bursts, then three longer ones, then three short ones again. The pattern repeats over and over.)
TEYLA: What is it?
McKAY: That's Sheppard. Now I don't know why he didn't just send a regular message but maybe he was dealing with a damaged transmitter, or maybe he was trying to communicate without being detected, but it's definitely him.
DEX: How d'you know it's him?
McKAY: It's Morse code. S.O.S.
LANTEAN SHIP BRIG. John is strolling around the cell, bored. Larrin walks in and deactivates the forcefield over the cell opening.
SHEPPARD: What's happening?
(Larrin punches him hard in the face. He groans and stumbles back, doubled over.)
SHEPPARD: What was that for?!
LARRIN: D'you realise what you've done?
SHEPPARD (straightening up): I didn't do anything.
(Larrin punches him in the face again. He groans and tries to catch his breath.)
SHEPPARD: Stop that!
LARRIN: I'll stop when you stop lying. You adapted the damaged communications array to send out a signal, didn't you?
(John hesitates, but then decides that he's had enough of being punched.)
SHEPPARD: ... Yes.
(Larrin backhands him across the face. The blow spins him around and he drops to his knees.)
SHEPPARD (trying to straighten up): You said you'd stop that!
LARRIN: You were right. (She takes a blaster out of her belt and aims it at him.) Maybe I'll just shoot you.
SHEPPARD (holding his arms wide): All right, don't you think you're over-reacting a little?
LARRIN: You were trying to broadcast our location. Guess what? It worked. There's a ship approaching, only I don't think it's the one you were hoping for.
SHEPPARD: What do you mean?
LARRIN: It's the Wraith!
(As John stares at her, appalled, outside the ship a hyperspace window opens and a Wraith cruiser flies out of it and heads towards the battleship.)
BRIDGE. Nevik types frantically on a small computer pad. He and Silas struggle to keep their feet as the Wraith cruiser fires on them and sparks fly from the consoles. In the Brig, Larrin and John – still on his knees – also totter as the ship jolts.
NEVIK (over comms): The Wraith ship is firing on us.
LARRIN: Do we have shields?
NEVIK: Affirmative – but they're only at twenty percent. We can't take this for very long.
(Another blast from the cruiser jolts the ship. John stands up slowly, looking nervously at the blaster still aimed at him.)
SHEPPARD: If you're gonna get out of this alive, you're gonna need my help.
(He walks slowly towards her.)
SHEPPARD: Now I realise you and I don't exactly trust each other ...
(Slowly he reaches out and gently wraps his hand around the barrel of the blaster.)
SHEPPARD: ... but it's not gonna make much difference if the Wraith blow the ship up, is it?
(He gently pushes the barrel away from himself. Larrin looks at him for a moment, then lowers the blaster.)
LARRIN: What've you got in mind?
SHEPPARD: Well, you could start by shooting back.
LARRIN: ... Right.
SHORTLY AFTERWARDS. John and Larrin run through the corridors. Larrin stops and points.
LARRIN: The Weapons Control Platform is down that corridor. I'm headed back to the Bridge.
SHEPPARD: Keep the shields up as long as you can.
(He races to the Weapons Control Platform, which is the equivalent of Atlantis' Chair Room, jumps into the Chair and reclines it as its lights come on. As he starts to concentrate, the Wraith cruiser sends a continuous salvo of missiles towards the battleship. The shields buckle under the barrage and sparks fly in the Chair Room. The lights on the Chair go out and it lifts into its upright position.)
(He jumps up and runs round to the back of the Chair, opens a panel and looks at all the crystals and wires inside.)
SHEPPARD (unconvincingly): Piece of cake.
(On the Bridge, Nevik continues typing on his computer pad but just then another blast hits the ship.)
NEVIK: Shields are down.
SILAS: Can't you re-route any more power?
NEVIK: There's nothing I can do.
(Outside, the cruiser moves in for the kill, firing a single missile towards the Bridge. It impacts and that section of the ship explodes. Nearby, Larrin stumbles as the ship jolts. She swipes her hand over a door's wall panel but it beeps negatively. She activates her wrist comm.)
LARRIN: Silas, Nevik, what happened?
(There's no response.)
LARRIN: Do you read me?
(Still no response. In the Weapons Control Platform Room, John puts a crystal back into the panel and it lights up. He runs round to the front of the Chair, sits down and activates it, concentrating. A swarm of drones heads out and they impact all areas of the cruiser, blowing it to bits. John sits up in the Chair and deactivates it.)
SHEPPARD: Larrin? It's Sheppard.
LARRIN (frowning): I didn't give you a communicator.
SHEPPARD: I activated the ship's intercom. What happened?
LARRIN: I don't know. The forward section has been sealed off.
SHEPPARD: What about your people?
LARRIN: They're not responding.
SHEPPARD: The good news is the Wraith ship's been destroyed.
LARRIN: Stay where you are. I'm coming to you.
(She runs off. John doesn't look too pleased about the thought of seeing her again, probably because he knows she's likely to kill him for bringing about the death of her colleagues.)
(A minute or two later, Larrin runs into the Platform Room but John is nowhere to be seen. He is already in another room, activating control panels.)
LARRIN (over comms): Sheppard, where are you?
SHEPPARD: Auxiliary Control Room.
(Larrin starts to run to the doors but they close in front of her. She swipes the wall panel but it beeps negatively at her.)
SHEPPARD (still activating controls): I'm sorry about this.
LARRIN: What are you doing?
SHEPPARD: For the moment, not much. Hyperdrive seems to be offline.
LARRIN: What?! How bad is it?
SHEPPARD: Well, it's not exactly my area of expertise but if I'm reading this thing right, the drive itself is undamaged. Probably just a short in the control system.
LARRIN: Then we can take care of it through a simple bypass. Just let me out and I should be able to fix it.
SHEPPARD: I don't think so.
LARRIN (angrily): We're a floating target out here, Sheppard!
SHEPPARD: All right, take it easy. I've got the transmitter off. My people should have gotten the message by now.
LARRIN: There is no reason to assume that Wraith ship didn't broadcast our position.
SHEPPARD: Well, there's no reason to assume they did.
LARRIN: Listen to me, Sheppard. I've spent my entire life around hyperdrive systems. I know what I'm doing.
SHEPPARD: I never said I didn't believe you. Don't worry – my people will be here.
SPACE STARGATE. A Puddle Jumper flies out of the Gate and joins four others in orbit above a planet. Inside the new arrival, Rodney calls up the H.U.D. which shows the solar system.
McKAY: Sheppard was broadcasting from somewhere in the vicinity of this system.
LORNE: Well, sensors aren't picking up anything.
McKAY: Let me see if I can expand the range a little.
(He works on the console and the image of the solar system moves back to encompass a larger area. On the edge of the image, a dot flashes.)
TEYLA: What is it?
McKAY: It could be a ship. It's still too far off to get any detailed readings but that's gotta be them.
LORNE: How long to get there at maximum sub-light?
McKAY: It's five hours.
LORNE (activating comms): This is Lorne to all Jumpers. I'm sending you some coordinates. Proceed to target at maximum sub-light. (He nods to Rodney.) Go ahead.
LANTEAN SHIP. WEAPONS CONTROL PLATFORM ROOM. Using her knife, Larrin prises off the cover over a panel in the wall, revealing the crystals behind it. She tries to insert her knife into the panel but gets a shock off it. In the Auxiliary Control Room, an alarm beeps. John goes to the control console that beeped and looks at its wallscreen.
SHEPPARD: Larrin, what are you doing?
(Larrin doesn't answer. She has managed to get the tip of her knife into the edge of the panel and is trying to work a cable loose.)
SHEPPARD: Look, once my people get here and get the hyperdrive back online, we'll drop you off at the nearest Gate. You have my word.
LARRIN (smiling ironically): Not good enough.
SHEPPARD: What, my word or my deal?
LARRIN: Yeah, well, both.
SHEPPARD: You're the one who kidnapped me, remember?
LARRIN: Because I need the ship.
(The panel sparks out again. She sighs in frustration. John also sighs and punches a control. The lights in Larrin's panel go out.)
SHEPPARD: There. I did you a favour.
LARRIN: Sheppard, listen to me. Our fleet is old. There was a time when we had the resources to build new ships, but now we don't. When we lose one, it's gone for good, and despite strict population controls there just isn't enough room for all of us any more. We've been forced to abandon some of our own people on the ground.
SHEPPARD: Well, they're no worse off than the rest of the people in this galaxy.
LARRIN (angrily): Fine. We'll do this the hard way.
(She walks over to face the door, takes out her blaster and begins to fire it at the door over and over again. In the Control Room, John hears the blasts.)
SHEPPARD: Larrin, what are you doing?
(After multiple shots, Larrin walks towards the door which she has blasted a hole through. She climbs through the hole and heads off. John activates a control. Larrin rounds a corner and walks into a forcefield across the corridor.)
LARRIN: Sheppard, you are really starting to annoy me!
SHEPPARD: Just sit tight. It'll be over soon enough.
(Sighing angrily, Larrin activates her wrist comms.)
LARRIN: Silas, Nevik, come in?
LARRIN: Silas, do you read me?
SHEPPARD: Give it up. They're gone.
LARRIN: You don't know that.
SHEPPARD: No, but I can find out.
(He goes to another control console and activates it, scanning the ship for life signs.)
SHEPPARD: Looks like there's no-one alive in the forward section. I'm sorry.
(Larrin lowers her head in grief, then starts to head back the way she just came.)
SHEPPARD: Larrin, where are you going?
(He operates the console to home in on her signal.)
SHEPPARD: I can track you anywhere on the ship. You can't hide from me.
(He smiles smugly, then his smile drops as he sees something on the screen. There's a second life sign around the corner of the corridor which Larrin is walking along.)
SHEPPARD: Larrin, stop. I'm picking up another life sign directly in front of you.
(She runs towards the closed door at the end of the corridor.)
SHEPPARD: That's impossible. There's no way he got out of that section alive.
(Larrin reaches the door and swipes the wall panel. The doors open and a Wraith is on the other side. It snarls. Larrin gasps in horror, stumbling back, and draws her blaster but the Wraith rushes forward and swipes it out of her hand, sending it skittering across the floor. As it raises its hand, ready to attack her, Larrin draws her knife and charges at it, plunging the knife through its hand. It roars and crumples to its knees, pulling the knife out, then rises up as Larrin runs at it again and they go hand to hand for a few moments but when Larrin aims a roundhouse kick at it, the Wraith seizes her ankle and flips her to the floor. She tries to scramble backwards but the Wraith draws out a stunner and aims it at her. However, before it can fire, three blaster shots hit it in its back. It drops to the floor on its face and John comes into view, aiming the blaster down at it.)
SHEPPARD (to Larrin): You all right?
LARRIN (getting to her feet): I'm fine. It just caught me off guard.
SHEPPARD: They must have escaped in the Darts before their ship was destroyed. We left the Hangar Bay pressurised, they flew right in.
SHEPPARD: Yeah, there's three more. (He holds up a life signs detector.) We can track ‘em with this.
LARRIN: Where'd you get that?
SHEPPARD: Auxiliary Control Room. Gotta know where to look. Come on.
(He runs off. Larrin starts to follow him but then stops.)
LARRIN (to herself): Get his weapon.
(She runs back to the Wraith, intending to take its stunner. The Wraith, still face down on the floor, seizes her ankle. She screams. John comes back around the corner and fires three more blasts into it.)
SHEPPARD: Tenacious little bastards, aren't they?
(He looks at the power cell on his blaster, realising that it is either very low on energy or empty.)
SHEPPARD: Don't suppose you have any more of these?
LARRIN: I'm afraid not.
(She looks at the Wraith stunner. The blaster shots have half-destroyed it.)
LARRIN: And I don't think this is gonna be much good either.
(She tosses it to the floor. John spins his blaster in a fair impersonation of Ronon, then shoves it into the back of his trousers and the two of them head off. They run along a few corridors, then John skids to a halt and holds up his hand, looking at his life signs detector.)
SHEPPARD: Hold on! Got one coming this way.
(He backs up to a nearby door and swipes it open. They go inside, only to realise that it's a small storeroom.)
LARRIN: What now?
(John looks at his detector, which must also conveniently be acting as a scanner and walks to the back wall. He runs his hand over part of the wall and a panel slides back to reveal a narrow space behind it. He turns and jerks his head at Larrin. She stares at the tiny space.)
LARRIN: Wait, no, Sheppard ...
(John grabs her jacket and hauls her inside the space.)
LARRIN: What? What are you doing?
(The panel closes, leaving them squeezed into the tiny space and facing each other only inches apart.)
LARRIN: What? Oh, I can't believe you're playing this ...
(John puts his hand over her mouth to shut her up. She promptly pulls her top lip clear and bites into his hand.)
(To silence him, Larrin slaps her own hand over his mouth. Outside the room, the Wraith swipes its hand over the wall panel and walks in. In the hidden space, John and Larrin stare at each other, still with their hands over each other's mouths. The Wraith looks around the room for a moment, then closes the door again and moves on. John and Larrin release each other and John frowns down at his life signs detector as he sees two more signals heading towards that of the Wraith that just left.)
SHEPPARD (whispering): There's the other two. What, are they having a board meeting?
SPACE. The five Puddle Jumpers are heading towards the signal.
McKAY: It's no use. I've done everything I can think of to boost the sensors. It's still too far out.
LORNE: So we have no idea what we're dealing with?
TEYLA: Why would they be so far out on the edge of the solar system?
McKAY: I don't think it's a coincidence that this system has a space Gate. They were probably headed for it when they dropped out of hyperspace too early.
LORNE: Well, why would they do that?
McKAY: How should I know?! We don't even know who "they" are, remember?
DEX: Does it make a difference? Even if it was a fleet of hive ships, would it stop us from trying to get him back?
LANTEAN SHIP. STOREROOM HIDDEN SPACE.
LARRIN (whispering): You know, none of this would have ever happened if you would have just co-operated. You'd be home by now and I'd be headed back to my people with a ship that could house a thousand men, women and children.
SHEPPARD: Well, if you had asked for my help in the first place instead of attacking me ...
LARRIN: We couldn't risk it.
SHEPPARD: Risk what?
LARRIN: You might have said no.
(John gazes at her for a moment, then looks at his life signs detector.)
SHEPPARD: They're leaving.
(He swipes his hand over the wall panel and it slides open. They walk to the door, but John holds up his hand as he looks at the detector again.)
SHEPPARD: Hold up. We've got a problem. They're between us and the Control Room.
LARRIN: We should be able to find a way around.
SHEPPARD: There isn't enough time. We can't risk them finding it first.
LARRIN: What does it matter? It's not like they can fly the ship.
(John grimaces, not looking at her.)
LARRIN: Sheppard? (She closes her eyes in disbelief.) You did shut down the controls, right?
(John still won't look at her.)
LARRIN (indignantly): Sheppard!
SHEPPARD (glaring at her): There wasn't enough time!
LARRIN: If they find that Control Room before we do, they'll not only be able to fly this ship but they're gonna be able to track us using the internal sensors.
SHEPPARD: Believe me, I know. And by the way, I was busy saving your life at the time.
LARRIN: The only reason my life was in danger in the first place is because you decided to broadcast our position to half the galaxy.
(John points at her furiously, wanting to make another point, but is unable to think of one.)
SHEPPARD: Do you wanna argue about this or do you wanna do something about it?
LARRIN: Fine. What are the options?
SHEPPARD: Well, we're cut off from the Control Room and we have no weapons.
LARRIN: That's not true. We have the Chair.
SHEPPARD: I don't think drones are gonna do any good with a bunch of Wraith in the middle of the ship.
LARRIN: What if they weren't in the middle?
SHEPPARD: Get serious.
LARRIN: You got a better idea?
(John sighs. Clearly he hasn't.)
LATER. John climbs through the hole in the door of the Weapons Control Platform Room and runs to the Chair.
SHEPPARD: All right. I'm in position.
(Larrin is walking down a corridor consulting the life signs detector. [Which is clever of her, seeing as she doesn't have the Ancient gene.])
LARRIN: Wait for my signal.
SHEPPARD: Sure you wanna go through with this? If you don't make it, I'll feel responsible and, well, I really don't need the guilt.
LARRIN: I'll be fine as long as you don't shoot too early. (She smirks.) I'm sure that's not the first time you've heard that from a woman.
SHEPPARD: On the other hand, I might be able to live with it.
(He reclines the Chair. Larrin looks at the detector again.)
LARRIN: I got ‘em. Here we go.
(Nearby, the three Wraith are walking along holding their stunners. Larrin whistles from behind them to attract their attention. They turn and see her, and she races off, narrowly avoiding their stunner blasts as they chase after her. The Wraith at the rear of the pack stops and heads off in a different direction. Larrin pelts around a corner and runs for a door at the end of the corridor.)
LARRIN: Sheppard, now!
(She reaches the end of the corridor and swipes her hand over the wall panel. John concentrates and a drone flies out from the ship, then swings around and heads back inwards again. Larrin runs through the doors and swipes the panel on the other side. The doors close on the two approaching Wraith. The drone plunges into the side of the ship. The wall behind the Wraith explodes and they are blown out into space.)
(Larrin looks at the door and sighs with relief. She turns and comes face to face with the third Wraith, its hand already raised. It plunges its hand onto her chest and starts to feed. She groans and starts to crumple to the floor as her life energy is sucked out of her.)
(In the Chair Room, John deactivates the Chair and frowns.)
SHEPPARD: Larrin? Come in. Larrin?
(In the corridor, the Wraith is kneeling over Larrin. It finishes feeding, lifts its hand clear and looks down at her. She isn't dead but she is very elderly.)
WRAITH: And now, before I take the rest of your life, you will answer my questions. How many more of your people are on this ship?
(John has arrived and glances quickly around the corner behind the Wraith before ducking back out of sight. He checks the power cell on his blaster. It's definitely empty, but he puts it back into the blaster.)
WRAITH (to Larrin): I do not have to kill you, nor do I have to leave you like this. It would be better if you co-operated. This is your last chance. Tell me ... (it raises its hand threateningly) ... how many more of you are on board?
(John has crept up behind it and now jams his blaster into the back of its neck.)
SHEPPARD: Only takes one. I see that you've just fed, which means that your regeneration powers are at their highest, but I seriously doubt you can grow a new head.
WRAITH: What do you want?
SHEPPARD: First, you're gonna hand me the stunner – slowly.
(The Wraith reaches to its belt and carefully takes out its stunner, handing it to John with an angry hiss.)
SHEPPARD: Next, you're gonna give back what you took. Then you're gonna leave.
SHEPPARD: You came in a Dart, right?
WRAITH: The Bay was unguarded. We landed our Darts and entered unchallenged.
SHEPPARD: Well then, you're gonna leave the same way you came. There's a space Gate orbiting the second planet in the system. It may take you a while, but you'll get there.
WRAITH: If I restore her, there's nothing to stop you from going back on your word and killing me anyway.
SHEPPARD: That's true. I'd say there's a fifty:fifty chance I'll do it out of pure spite. But ... (he jams the blaster harder into its neck) ... if you don't, I will kill you.
(Reluctantly, the Wraith begins to reach towards Larrin. John shoves his blaster into its neck again to remind it to behave. It gently puts its hand onto Larrin's chest and she gasps as it begins to give her life back. John stares in amazement as she begins to regenerate. [Unfortunately the budget doesn't run to allowing us to see it!] Finally the Wraith lifts its hand and Larrin is back to her normal gorgeous self. The Wraith slumps, exhausted. John jams his blaster into its neck one last time.)
SHEPPARD: Get up.
(The Wraith stands.)
SHEPPARD: Turn around.
(It turns, John turning with it so that his blaster is still in its neck. Once it's facing down the corridor, John gives it a shove with the blaster to get it moving and it walks away. Once it has gone around the corner, John squats down to Larrin as she sits up.)
SHEPPARD: Are you all right?
LARRIN: I don't know. That was so strange, to have your whole life fading away and then to suddenly have it back again. (She smiles at him.) It actually felt kinda good.
SHEPPARD: Mmm, I know. Happened to me once, too. Long story. Think you can get up?
(John puts the stunner into the back of his trousers, reaches down and helps her to her feet. She clings to his shoulders as her knees buckle under her briefly.)
LARRIN: I'm OK. Oh, my. (She gazes into his eyes.) You saved my life ... again.
SHEPPARD: If you hadn't come up with a plan, we'd both be dead.
LARRIN: So you're saying we make a good team?
SHEPPARD: Well, don't go crazy.
LARRIN: Right. But in the interests of interstellar relations, I think we should at least just try to get along, right?
(She leans in and kisses him. As John responds, she reaches around him, pulls the stunner from his trousers and presses it into his side. As he breaks the kiss, she smiles at him smugly.)
SHEPPARD: You've gotta be kidding me!
(She shoots him and he crumples to the floor.)
LATER. Larrin walks into the Auxiliary Control Room and starts activating consoles. In the corridor, John groans as he regains consciousness and sits up wearily.
LARRIN: Sorry about this, Sheppard – and I really am grateful you saved my life.
SHEPPARD: Well, you've got a funny way of showing it.
LARRIN: Don't play hurt with me. It's easy to be generous when you think you have the upper hand.
SHEPPARD (hauling himself to his feet): What are you talking about?
LARRIN: We both know the only reason you didn't stun me and lock me up the first opportunity you got was because you thought your ships were gonna get here first. You were wrong about that, by the way.
(A hyperspace window opens nearby and three Traveller ships come out of it and take up position around the battleship. In the Auxiliary Control Room, the comms console activates and a man's face appears on the screen.)
TRAVELLER: Larrin. Good to see you again.
LARRIN: Believe me, I feel the same way. How did you find us?
TRAVELLER: Well, we were monitoring communications before you jumped into hyperspace.
LARRIN: You knew he took the ship?
TRAVELLER: It seemed fairly obvious. We guessed his priority would be to contact his people, so we sent probes to all the space Gates in the vicinity of our previous position. Eventually we detected your energy signature.
LARRIN: Well done. Now I want you to send over a couple of technicians to help me get the hyperdrive back online. Oh, and a security team as well.
TRAVELLER: Right away.
CORRIDOR. John walks to a door and swipes his hand over the wall panel. It beeps negatively. He tries again but gets the same result.
SHEPPARD (trying for a third time): Oh, come on!
(The doors slide open and three Travellers are standing on the other side with their weapons aimed at him. John raises his hands.)
McKAY: All right. We're close enough to do a full sensor sweep. (He calls up the H.U.D.) Looks like we've got four ships, one of them Lantean design, Aurora class.
LORNE: What about the other three?
McKAY: I don't recognise the configurations.
DEX: What about Sheppard?
McKAY: Well, the logical assumption is that he's on board the ship that transmitted the signal.
LORNE: And which one is that?
McKAY: Well, I have no idea.
LORNE: We're about to enter weapons range, Doc. Which ships do I target?
TEYLA: Perhaps we should attempt to communicate before we attack. We know nothing about these people.
LORNE: That's true, but right now about the only thing we've got working for us is the fact that we're cloaked. If we send a signal, we give up our position.
McKAY: He's right. They could target us, or, for that matter, they could just jump back into hyperspace and we'd be right back at square one.
DEX: We didn't come all this way for nothing, right?
McKAY: All right, all right. I'll see if I can figure out a way to disable them.
LANTEAN SHIP. BRIG. John is back in the cell and sitting on the bunk but stands as Larrin walks in and the forcefield deactivates. She smiles at a guard standing nearby and walks into the cell.
LARRIN: I thought you'd be glad to know the hyperdrive repairs are almost complete.
SHEPPARD: Well, congratulations. You got what you wanted.
LARRIN: Yes, it's true I can fly the ship and navigate, but there are still dozens of systems I don't have access to – and if any of the controls went down, it would be a problem.
SHEPPARD: So finish the adaptor. You said you can reverse-engineer the systems I've already initialised.
LARRIN: Well, yes, we can eventually, but it would go a lot faster if I keep you onboard.
SHEPPARD (angrily): You are a piece of work, you know that?
LARRIN: Look, I know you don't agree with my tactics, but I wasn't lying about why I need this ship. I'm doing this for my people.
(She turns and leaves the cell. John tries to follow her but the forcefield comes back on.)
SHEPPARD: Look, I know you think you're helping your people but you're wrong.
(Larrin walks closer to the cell.)
LARRIN: Excuse me?
SHEPPARD: You've been running and hiding for thousands of years. You've survived – good for you – but now you're starting to see diminishing returns. One more ship – well, it'll buy you a little more time, but ultimately it's not gonna change anything. Your people are headed for a slow death.
LARRIN: What other choice do we have?
SHEPPARD: In case you haven't heard – you will soon enough – but the Wraith are under attack.
LARRIN: From who?
SHEPPARD: It's a long story, but the point is, they're taking heavy damage and if they don't get wiped out, they're gonna be vulnerable. Now, you people have hyperdrives and advanced weapons and God knows what else. When the time is right, that kind of technology can tip the balance.
LARRIN: Are you suggesting an alliance?
SHEPPARD: Well, I'm not asking you to dinner, but yeah, something like that.
LARRIN: After all I've put you through?
SHEPPARD: Well, like you said, you did it for your people.
LARRIN: I may have misjudged you after all.
LORNE: All right, Doc, they're in weapons range. What have you got for me?
McKAY: We can target the Lantean ship's engines.
TEYLA: What about the others?
McKAY: I've been going over the sensor data but there's still too many unknowns. I mean, if we hit ‘em in the wrong spot, we could blow ‘em out of the sky or the drones could just bounce harmlessly off the shields. There's no way to know.
LORNE: All right, well, it's still our best option. We can't risk them getting away.
(Just then, the ships start to move. Hyperspace windows open and they fly into them.)
McKAY: They're gone!
(They all stare at each other in shock. After a few seconds, the console beeps.)
McKAY: I'm getting a contact. (He smiles in delight.) It's a Jumper! One life sign.
LORNE (into comms): Colonel Sheppard, this is Major Lorne. Is that you?
SHEPPARD: That's affirmative, Major. It's good to hear from you.
(Everyone smiles with relief.)
LORNE: Likewise, sir! Seemed like we came pretty close to losing you there.
(John smiles, then shakes his head ruefully.)
SHEPPARD: You don't know the half of it.
ATLANTIS. Team Sheppard is sitting at a table in the Mess Hall eating a meal. John is tucking into his meal particularly enthusiastically. Rodney, sitting opposite him, has his arms folded and is looking at John suspiciously.
SHEPPARD: Mmm! That's good!
SHEPPARD: Mmm. Spend enough time with a bunch of space nomads, you really begin to appreciate what you have.
TEYLA: It's difficult to imagine spending one's entire life on board a ship.
DEX (waving a fork with a large piece of meat on it around to emphasise his point): If that was me, I'd go crazy.
(Rodney looks at Ronon and his forkful of food in distaste. Ronon looks back at him as if to say, "What?")
SHEPPARD: They're not exactly the most even-keeled people. I'm still not exactly sure why they let me go.
TEYLA: Well, you did offer them an alliance. That has to be worth something.
DEX: Or they figured out you'd be more trouble than you're worth.
SHEPPARD: That is a possibility.
McKAY: No, there's something you're not telling us.
(John looks down guiltily.)
McKAY: She was hot, wasn't she?
SHEPPARD (deliberately concentrating on cutting up the food on his plate): I don't know what you're talking about.
McKAY: Oh! I knew it! That is so typical!
SHEPPARD: She had me beat, Rodney.
(Rodney sighs in exasperation.)
SHEPPARD: She threatened to kill me several times. It wasn't like we were hanging out in the spa together.
McKAY: Whatever! All I know is that every time I get taken captive, it's the Wraith. Just once, I would like to be taken prisoner by the sexy alien.
SHEPPARD: Well, you may still get a chance.
DEX: Yeah? What do you mean?
SHEPPARD: She's still out there.
(He gives Rodney a significant look. Rodney looks faintly hopeful. Teyla looks at his expression and rolls her eyes.)