Transcript by Callie Sullivan
ATLANTIS INFIRMARY. Jennifer Keller sits working at a computer. Teyla Emmagan walks in, cradling baby Torren.
TEYLA: Good afternoon, Doctor Keller.
(Jennifer smiles and walks over to her.)
KELLER: How's my newest patient?
(Teyla smiles ruefully, continuing to walk around slowly as she speaks.)
TEYLA: Today he's decided that he will only sleep as long as I hold him and keep moving. I've already walked half the city and back again.
KELLER: My parents used to put me in the car. My dad would have to drive around and around and around the block at three o'clock in the morning!
TEYLA: Hmm. That would be lovely. At least I'd be sitting down!
(She smiles at Jennifer.)
TEYLA: I wanted to thank you.
KELLER: For what?
TEYLA: I saw Kanaan today.
KELLER: How's he doing?
TEYLA: Much better. (She smiles in delight.) He is himself once again in every way. In fact, I'm going to request that he and many of the others be allowed to return to the city -- as soon as Mr. Woolsey arrives on the Daedalus.
KELLER: I still can't believe Sam's not coming back.
TEYLA: It is difficult.
(Jennifer nods and goes back to sit at her computer.)
KELLER: Well, anyway, it wasn't me that cured Kanaan and the other hybrids, it was Doctor Beckett's retrovirus. And you could thank him in person if I could just get my head around all this Wraith medical data.
(Teyla walks around to stand beside her as she looks at the Wraith text on her screen.)
TEYLA: Do you believe the answer's in there somewhere?
KELLER: Well, we know he was giving Carson a serum to keep his internal organs from deteriorating and I think I might have found the formula. I just need to be sure.
TEYLA: At least we know he's safe for the moment.
(She looks down at Torren as he begins to fret quietly.)
KELLER: Technically, yeah. I just hate the thought of him being stuck in that box.
KELLER (smiling): You know, Rodney goes to visit him. Stands in front of the stasis pod and tells him all the latest news.
KELLER: Mmm-hmm. (She grins.) I walked in on him once by accident and he pretended like he was checking the system or something.
(The girls laugh.)
KELLER: He surprises me sometimes.
(She smiles at her screen with a fond expression on her face. Torren begins to cry.)
TEYLA: Well, this is me, once again being recalled to duty.
KELLER: Have a nice walk!
(Teyla starts to walk away, then turns back.)
TEYLA: Don't worry, Jennifer, I'm sure you'll find what you're looking for.
(She leaves the room. Jennifer wipes her eye tiredly and gets back to work.)
CONTROL ROOM. Rodney McKay, Technician Banks and other crew are working at various consoles. John Sheppard walks in. Banks reports to him.
BANKS: Sir, Daedalus just dropped out of hyperspace. We're receiving a signal. He's coming down.
(She stands up. The other technicians do likewise. Rodney frowns around at them until John looks at him pointedly. Sighing in exasperation, Rodney slowly drags himself to his feet just as an Asgard transporter beam deposits Richard Woolsey, wearing an Atlantis command uniform, onto the balcony. John walks forward and shakes hands with him.)
SHEPPARD: Mr. Woolsey. Welcome back.
WOOLSEY: Thank you, Colonel.
(He looks at the crew and clears his throat nervously.)
WOOLSEY (authoritatively): Well, then.
(He hesitates for several seconds, unable to think of anything more to say, then looks at John.)
WOOLSEY: I think I'll start by going over copies of all your latest reports. (To Rodney) Yours as well, Doctor.
McKAY: What, right now?
WOOLSEY: I've been out of touch on the Daedalus for three weeks. I'd like to be brought up to speed as quickly as possible. We can have a full briefing in the morning.
(He starts to leave, addressing Banks as he goes.)
WOOLSEY: Please have the rest of my things sent directly to my quarters.
BANKS: Yes, sir.
(He leaves. John turns to Rodney.)
SHEPPARD: It's a nice speech. Very inspiring.
NIGHT TIME. INFIRMARY. Jennifer has fallen asleep at her desk, her head resting on her arms. She wakes up and looks around in confusion for a moment. Then she looks down in shock as she sees that her right hand is covered with lumps of clear goo. She lifts it off the desk, trailing strands of goo from the underside of her hand, and looks at it in surprise.
(Shortly afterwards, she washes the goo off her hand under a tap. Frowning, she turns off the tap and dries her hands with a paper towel. Behind her, Marie, the head nurse, comes in with a male medic.)
MARIE: All right, let's do one more series; see if we can get the results from [something indistinguishable]
(As the medic walks away, she sees Jennifer.)
MARIE: Doctor, you're still here.
KELLER (keeping her back to her as she continues to dry her hands): Oh, yeah. Fell asleep at my desk.
MARIE: Well, if you don't mind me saying, I think you're pushing yourself a little hard. You should take it easy.
KELLER: I know. I'm gonna turn in now.
MARIE: Are you all right?
KELLER (still keeping her back to her): Yeah, I'm fine.
MARIE: OK. Night.
KELLER (casually): Night.
DAY TIME. CONFERENCE ROOM. Teyla is sitting at a new wooden table in the room. Ronon Dex walks in and looks at the table before sitting down. Rodney and Jennifer are at the side of the room as Jennifer helps herself to some coffee.
McKAY: Did you get any sleep last night?
KELLER: Do I really look that bad?
McKAY (hurriedly): Uh, no, no, of course not. That's not what I meant. (He gestures at his face, indicating her own.) 'Cause, really, it's a lovely ...
(Jennifer smiles at him sarcastically.)
(She goes to the table as John walks in.)
SHEPPARD: Wow! New table, huh?
TEYLA: Woolsey brought it with him. He said he wanted a little piece of home.
SHEPPARD: Twelve-foot long mahogany conference table. Hmm!
DEX: I don't get it. I thought Colonel Carter was doing a good job.
TEYLA: I agree. We defeated the Replicators; we thwarted Michael's plans; and the Wraith are in a state of disarray. All of this happened while she was leader of Atlantis.
SHEPPARD: That's the problem.
TEYLA: I don't understand.
SHEPPARD: Well, she's a victim of her own success. Now that the threat level is down, the I.O.A. is gonna jump at the chance to put a civilian back in command.
McKAY: It's not just that. I mean, Sam didn't exactly stick to protocol.
DEX: Neither did Weir.
McKAY: Right, so for four years they've been waiting to get someone in there who'll finally do things their way.
DEX: Yeah, well, I still don't get it.
KELLER (to John): Colonel, when you were in the future and you learned all those things that were gonna happen, wasn't this one of them, Woolsey taking over?
SHEPPARD: Well, the circumstances were different.
KELLER: Still, it is a little unsettling. I mean, maybe it's harder to change the course of events than we thought.
McKAY: Well, I wouldn't worry about it. I mean, the fact that Sheppard's here makes all the difference, right?
SHEPPARD: Woolsey wasn't the weirdest thing about that timeline.
KELLER: What do you mean?
SHEPPARD (glancing between Jennifer and Rodney): ... Never mind.
(Rodney and Jennifer look at each other nervously. Just then, Woolsey walks in.)
WOOLSEY: Well, I see everyone's here. (He drops a folder onto the table as he sits down.) Let's get started.
(The conference room doors begin to close. He looks round at them thoughtfully for a moment.)
(He opens his folder and looks at the first file in it.)
WOOLSEY: First of all, I'd like to congratulate all of you on the success you've had dismantling what's left of Michael's organisation.
DEX: Except one thing: we haven't found him yet.
WOOLSEY: Well, he was on the Cruiser you destroyed in orbit around ... (he looks at his notes) ... M2S-445.
SHEPPARD: There's a chance he may have made it off the ship.
WOOLSEY: Right. You're referring to this statement given by one of Michael's ex-mercenaries claiming to have seen him alive recently.
DEX: That's what he said.
WOOLSEY: This is one unsubstantiated report from a highly unreliable source.
McKAY: Well, someone stole our Jumper off that ship.
WOOLSEY: I thought you needed Ancient D.N.A. to pilot one of those.
McKAY: Not necessarily. We've developed a gene therapy that works ... some of the time.
TEYLA: He is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. If there is even a chance that he is still alive, we must continue the search.
WOOLSEY: I'm sorry, but I can't devote the resources of this base to the never-ending pursuit of a single individual across an entire galaxy. Even if I knew for a fact he were still alive, I still wouldn't authorise it -- unless you have some new, credible evidence as to his whereabouts. (He looks at John.) Do you?
WOOLSEY: Then, for the time being, I shall consider the matter closed.
(He shuts the file and opens another one.)
WOOLSEY: As to these prisoner hybrids, I understand they're being held in a camp on the mainland?
SHEPPARD: That's right.
WOOLSEY (looking at Jennifer): And how is their rehabilitation progressing?
(Jennifer is staring down at her coffee cup, lost in thought.)
(Jennifer looks up, startled.)
KELLER: Um, right. Uh, well, um, we've had some success using a slightly modified version of the original retrovirus that created Michael in the first place. It weeds out the Wraith D.N.A. and allows them to resume their original human form over time.
WOOLSEY: Without any lasting ill effects?
KELLER: None that we've detected so far, no.
TEYLA: Many have already completed the treatment. They're wondering when they might be released.
WOOLSEY: Let's not get ahead of ourselves.
TEYLA: These people are victims, Mr. Woolsey.
WOOLSEY: Maybe so, but until very recently they were also enemy combatants.
McKAY (sarcastically): Fine. Well, then, we'll just keep them there forever.
WOOLSEY: No, we'll keep them there until I'm satisfied that they can be trusted.
(He closes the file and opens the next one. Rodney looks at him, slightly startled that he has been out-snarked for once. John smiles smugly at Teyla.)
WOOLSEY: Now, regarding the situation with our friend in the stasis pod. (He looks at Jennifer.) You seem to have been giving a significant amount of attention to this lately.
KELLER: Well, once we got our hands on Michael's medical research, I thought I should make it a priority to look for a solution.
WOOLSEY: And have you found one?
KELLER: Maybe. We found a serum that -- in lab tests at least -- seems to be capable of stabilising the clone cells.
WOOLSEY: So what's the problem?
KELLER: Carson was near death when we put him in that chamber. I don't wanna take him out until I know for sure. But lab tests can only do so much.
WOOLSEY: But that problem is never going to go away, is it? If you've reached the limit of what your research can tell you, then you need to make a decision: either proceed, or put the matter aside and get back to your regular duty. Right?
(Jennifer nods at him nervously. He nods back, closes the file and opens the next one.)
STASIS CHAMBER. Rodney and Jennifer stand outside Carson Beckett's stasis pod, together with a couple of medics with a gurney.
McKAY: You sure about this?
KELLER: No, but we're never gonna be sure unless we give it a shot. If we don't take a chance now, he could be in there forever.
(They look at each other nervously for a moment.)
McKAY (a little reluctantly): All right, then.
(He types onto his computer tablet and the stasis field surrounding Carson shuts down. Carson blinks and starts to collapse. The medics catch him.)
KELLER: Get him on the gurney.
(The medics lift him up and lay him on the gurney.)
(Looking at Rodney anxiously for a moment, she injects Carson in the neck.)
(The medics wheel Carson away.)
McKAY: Now what?
KELLER: Now we take him to the Infirmary and watch for signs of more cellular degradation. We should know soon enough.
LATER. INFIRMARY. Carson lies in bed with his eyes closed. Rodney, John, Teyla and Ronon are standing around his bedside and a few moment later he opens his eyes.
McKAY: Hey there. How you doing?
BECKETT: Fine. What happened?
McKAY: Well, what do you think?! We thawed you out!
TEYLA (smiling): It's nice to see you again, Carson.
DEX: Yeah. What's up, Doc? It's been a while.
BECKETT: Aye. How long was I in there?
SHEPPARD: Ah, two months, give or take.
BECKETT: Did I miss anything?
SHEPPARD: You know, just the usual.
(Jennifer walks in and hands a computer tablet to Carson.)
KELLER: Well, I've got good news. At the moment, you're showing no signs of cellular degradation.
BECKETT: You were able to recreate the treatment?
KELLER (smiling proudly): That's right. I'll let them tell you about it.
(She starts to walk away. John follows her.)
SHEPPARD: Hey, Doc. Nice work.
KELLER: Well, it's not a permanent solution.
SHEPPARD: It's good enough for now. (He looks at her closely.) Go get some rest.
KELLER: Yeah, I think that might be a good idea.
(She smiles and walks away.)
JENNIFER'S QUARTERS. Having changed into her nightwear, Jennifer goes over to her bedside table and takes some tablets before turning out the lights and getting into bed. She pulls the bedclothes over her and settles down to sleep.
EXTERNAL BALCONY. Carson, now dressed, is standing on the balcony looking at the city. Rodney comes out to join him.
McKAY: There you are.
BECKETT: Gorgeous, isn't it?
McKAY (looking at the view): I ... suppose so.
BECKETT: You know, I really did miss this place.
McKAY (awkwardly): Yeah, well, don't get used to it.
BECKETT (turning to him): What's that supposed to mean?
McKAY (upset): Look, I just found out. They're sending you back to Earth. There's a scheduled dial-out this afternoon.
BECKETT: Oh, well. I suppose it's to be expected. I mean, even with these injections, I imagine it'll still be months before I'm in any sort of decent physical condition.
TEYLA (over radio): Rodney, this is Teyla. Come in, please.
McKAY (activating his headset): Go ahead.
TEYLA: I'm sorry to bother you, but I need your help.
OUTSIDE JENNIFER'S QUARTERS. Rodney and Carson join Teyla at the door. She is holding a computer tablet.
McKAY: What is it?
TEYLA: It's Doctor Keller. She was supposed to join me for breakfast this morning but did not show up.
McKAY: Well? So maybe she's sleeping in.
TEYLA: I assumed as much as well and decided not to disturb her. However, that was four hours ago. She's now late for her shift and she's not responding to radio calls.
McKAY: What do you want me to do about it?
TEYLA (handing him the tablet): Override the door controls.
McKAY: I am not breaking into her room.
BECKETT: Rodney. There might be something wrong.
McKAY (taking the tablet with an exasperated sigh): Fine. But if she's just in there sleeping, or naked or something, you guys are taking the blame.
(He takes the cover off the door panel and pulls out the middle crystal.)
McKAY: All right.
(He starts working on the tablet as Teyla and Carson wait impatiently.)
BECKETT (after a few seconds): Oh, for God's sakes, Rodney, hurry up!
(Glaring at him for a moment, Rodney plugs a connection from the tablet into the crystal socket in the panel and the doors slide open. The room is dark inside.)
TEYLA: Jennifer, are you all right? Jennifer?
(When there's no reply, Carson hurries into the room, followed by the other two.)
BECKETT: She must be unconscious.
(He hurries over to Jennifer's bedside where she is lying on her back with her eyes closed. He kneels down at the side of the bed and peels one of her eyelids open.)
BECKETT: Pupil's dilated.
TEYLA (spotting something): Carson, step away from the bed.
TEYLA (urgently): Step away now.
(Carson stands up and backs away.)
McKAY: What is it?
(Teyla reaches down, takes hold of the top of the bedclothes and pulls them back. The three of them stare in horror.)
BECKETT: Dear lord!
(A huge mass of red tendrils is covering Jennifer's stomach. It has spread to both sides over her arms and some of the tendrils have gone over the sides of the bed.)
TEYLA (into her headset): Colonel Sheppard, this is Teyla.
SHEPPARD (over radio): Go ahead.
TEYLA: John, we have a problem.
SHORTLY AFTERWARDS. John runs into Jennifer's quarters, followed by a guard holding a Wraith stunner pistol.
SHEPPARD: What the hell's going on?
McKAY: We're not sure. This is how we found her.
TEYLA: It must have happened last night.
(John crouches down beside the bed, staring in amazement at the mass on Jennifer's stomach.)
BECKETT: I've seen something like this before.
BECKETT: One of Michael's labs. He was conducting some kind of experiment.
SHEPPARD: We've gotta get it off her.
BECKETT: I'm not so certain that's such a good idea. From what I can tell, the tendrils are attached to her and the bed frame. If we just start ripping them off, we could cause her serious injury.
SHEPPARD: But we can't just leave her like this.
BECKETT: We need to get her into an isolation chamber, and take the whole bed as well. That way, we can run a full examination and see what we're dealing with here.
LATER. John is hurrying along a corridor with Woolsey.
WOOLSEY: These things are actually growing out of her body?
SHEPPARD: That's what it looks like.
WOOLSEY: Is she conscious?
SHEPPARD: Beckett says her brain activity is consistent with somebody in a coma.
WOOLSEY: Doctor Beckett is not on active duty.
SHEPPARD: He was the first one there. He says he's seen something like this before.
WOOLSEY: While he was a prisoner.
SHEPPARD: He was forced to work for Michael for two years. Nobody knows this stuff better than he does.
ISOLATION ROOM. Carson and a medical team are in the room, all wearing Hazmat. Team Sheppard and Woolsey are in the Observation Room, watching the medical team on the cameras.
BECKETT: I'm gonna try to cut some of the thinner strands. Scalpel.
(One of the medics hands him a scalpel.)
BECKETT: Thank you.
(Holding a thin tendril in place with a clamp, he cuts a piece of it free.)
BECKETT: Here we go.
(He puts the tendril into a waiting receptacle held by a medic, and calls out to Marie.)
(Marie checks the monitors.)
MARIE: No change.
BECKETT (to the medic): Get that analysed right away.
(As the medic turns and leaves, Jennifer's heart rate increases and an alarm sounds.)
MARIE: Doctor! Blood pressure's dropping. Pulse as well.
BECKETT: That's what I was afraid of. She's crashing. Administer five milligrams of atropine.
(The alarm continues to sound.)
BECKETT: My God. Come on.
(Marie administers the dose to Jennifer. Moments later the alarm stops and the rhythms on the monitors become more regular.)
BECKETT: There she is.
(He looks into the camera.)
BECKETT: I'm sorry. I don't dare make another incision.
DEX: So much for cutting her loose.
WOOLSEY: Doctor Beckett, I'd like a word.
(Handing the scalpel and clamp to Marie, Carson turns and leaves the room.)
CORRIDOR. Having taken the helmet of his Hazmat suit off, Carson hurries after Woolsey.
BECKETT: Don't worry, I'll get her out. Once I get back to the lab, I ...
(Woolsey stops, turns back to him and talks over him.)
WOOLSEY: Doctor, I appreciate what you're trying to do, but our Earth dial-out is in one hour.
BECKETT: I'll take a pass on this one, if you don't mind. If it wasn't for Doctor Keller, I'd still be locked in that stasis chamber, possibly forever.
WOOLSEY: Doctor Keller's own report is abundantly clear: while your condition is stabilised, you've still suffered severe damage to your internal organs. You need to be in a hospital bed yourself, not running a medical investigation.
BECKETT: I'll be fine. The first sign of trouble, I'll step aside, I promise.
WOOLSEY: You're convinced this has something to do with Michael?
BECKETT: Well, it's not a case of the hives, is it?
OBSERVATION ROOM. Carson and Woolsey come back in. Carson goes over to Marie.
BECKETT: How's she doing?
MARIE: Vitals have stabilised. Still showing minimal brain function. We did manage to get blood and tissue samples.
BECKETT: All right. Then we've got some work to do.
(He and Marie head off. Woolsey walks over to Team Sheppard.)
SHEPPARD: You're not sending him back, huh?
WOOLSEY: Well, he is the closest thing to an expert we have.
SHEPPARD (pointedly): It's not exactly by the book.
WOOLSEY: Don't get used to it.
NIGHT TIME. INFIRMARY. Carson is working on a computer. Rodney comes in.
McKAY: How's it coming?
BECKETT: Slowly. But I did find something in Jennifer's blood sample.
McKAY (anxiously): Oh? What?
BECKETT (gently): Easy. (He calls up the image on the screen.) It's some kind of alien pathogen, so far unidentified. I'm checking it against the database.
McKAY: Is it possible she's turning into a hybrid?
BECKETT: No, I don't think so. I've seen several variations of the conversion process, but never anything like this.
McKAY: Well, it's gotta be something to do with Michael. I mean, she hasn't been offworld since she helped rescue us from that lab.
BECKETT: That's what I was thinking. Of course, if that's where she came in contact with the pathogen ...
McKAY (grimacing): Oh, you think the rest of us may have been exposed as well.
BECKETT: Well, aye, it's a possibility. I'm gonna need blood samples from everyone who was on that planet, including you, Rodney.
McKAY (groaning plaintively): Oh, great.
(Marie comes in.)
BECKETT and McKAY (simultaneously): Yes?
(Carson glances at Rodney for a moment, then turns back to Marie.)
MARIE: She's awake.
BECKETT: Thank you. Right.
ISOLATION ROOM. Rodney, wearing Hazmat, opens the door and stares in amazement at what he sees.
McKAY: Oh my God.
(Slowly he walks inside. The entire bed is now covered with tendrils. The mass is much thicker than before and covers Jennifer's entire body. Only her head is free, although tendrils cover the rest of the pillow. Other strands drape down all sides of the bed. Many smaller tendrils have grown out and covered all the equipment around the bed, and several large ones have spread out in various directions across the floor to the walls. Jennifer stares at him in terror as he comes closer.)
KELLER: Rodney, what's happening to me?
McKAY: We're not entirely sure. It looks like some kind of a cocoon. Does it hurt?
KELLER: I can't feel anything. I can't move.
McKAY: OK, look. (Nervously, he steps closer.) Don't you worry, OK? We're gonna get you out.
(Jennifer looks around suspiciously.)
KELLER: Who else is here?
McKAY: What do you mean? There's, there's no-one.
KELLER: I don't wanna go to sleep. I'm afraid I won't wake up.
(She isn't looking at Rodney as she speaks.)
KELLER: It's not my fault!
McKAY: Of course it's not! It's an alien organism.
(She looks at him briefly, then her eyes drift away again.)
McKAY: Carson found it in your blood sample. He's gonna -- he's gonna figure out what it is and then, then, we're gonna figure out how to kill it.
KELLER (finally meeting his gaze): My hand.
McKAY: What about it?
KELLER: That's where it started. I saw it, a few nights ago.
McKAY: So why didn't you say anything?
KELLER: I was gonna run a scan. I don't ... I don't know.
McKAY: It doesn't matter, OK? We're gonna fix this. I promise.
(In the Observation Room, Carson and Woolsey are watching the footage from the Isolation Room.)
WOOLSEY: It appears to be affecting her mind.
BECKETT: Aye. She claims to be hearing voices, like there's someone else in the room with her.
WOOLSEY: How fast is it growing?
BECKETT: Currently it's doubling its mass every couple of hours.
(A medic brings him a computer tablet.)
BECKETT: Thank you.
WOOLSEY: This isn't just about Doctor Keller any more. I need to know if this thing's gonna be a threat to the base.
BECKETT (looking up from the tablet): I'd say that's a definite yes.
WOOLSEY: What do you mean?
BECKETT: Colonel Sheppard, Ronon, Rodney -- everyone who was on M2S-445. They all tested positive. Whatever this is, they've all got it.
JOHN'S QUARTERS. John is sitting on the side of the bed as Woolsey stands in front of him.
WOOLSEY: Right now, we're working under the assumption that this alien pathogen was present somewhere in that lab, possibly as part of one of Michael's experiments. When the building was destroyed, it was released.
SHEPPARD: We've been back for a month now! If it was gonna spread to the general population, it would have already happened.
WOOLSEY: I know. Doctor Beckett is now fairly confident that it's not contagious.
SHEPPARD: Right. Then why confine us to our quarters?
WOOLSEY: You've seen what's happening to Doctor Keller.
SHEPPARD (angrily): Yeah, but it's not happening to me!
WOOLSEY: Not yet. There could be any number of random physiological reasons why it started with Doctor Keller but that's no guarantee that it's not going to happen to the rest of you. It could be a matter of days; it could be a matter of hours. Even Colonel Carter's been quarantined back at Stargate Command. Look, I know it's hard for you to stay on the sidelines, Colonel, but it's the right call.
(He turns to leave. John stands up and follows him towards the door.)
SHEPPARD: In the meantime, what are we gonna do about Keller?
(Woolsey turns back to him.)
WOOLSEY: We're still assessing the situation.
(He turns and leaves. A guard outside the door swipes the wall panel and the door closes, sealing John inside.)
CONTROL ROOM. Carson and Radek Zelenka are talking with Woolsey.
BECKETT: We still don't know how the pathogen causes the physiological changes, but we've managed to complete our analysis of the sample extracted.
(He pulls up an image on a wall screen.)
BECKETT: Essentially, it's a biopolymer, similar to a polysaccharide but with organo-metallic compounds mixed in.
WOOLSEY: For the uninitiated, please, Doctor?
BECKETT: It's like the material an insect or a crustacean uses to form its shell. At first, it's soft and pliable and then it becomes tough and leathery, and eventually it hardens into an incredible density, resistant to heat, pressure and even radiation.
ZELENKA: Yes. It's like the hull of a ship.
WOOLSEY: What are you saying?
ZELENKA: Well, we always knew that Wraith ships were organic in design, right? They were essentially grown instead of constructed. We've just never witnessed it before.
WOOLSEY: Are you telling me that a Hive ship is growing inside that Isolation Room?
ZELENKA: Actually, it's no longer just inside the Isolation Room. It doesn't register on our life signs detector but once we knew what we were looking for, we calibrated our internal sensors and we were able to pick it up.
(He pulls up an image of the Isolation Room and surrounding area on the screen.)
ZELENKA: It has penetrated the walls and the floors, consuming and converting the material as it goes.
WOOLSEY: How far has it spread?
ZELENKA (expanding the area shown on the image): Well, it's gone down three levels already and it has attached itself to the electrical system, siphoning off power as it goes. This seems to have accelerated its growth significantly.
WOOLSEY: How do we stop it?
BECKETT: Well, that's the part we're still trying to figure out.
ZELENKA: We could cut off the power. That should slow it down quite a bit.
ISOLATION ROOM. Many more tendrils than before have now snaked out from the bed, across the floor and up the walls. Jennifer, alone in the room, looks around as some of the lights go out in the room.
KELLER: What's happening? Marie, what's going on?
(Marie answers her from the Observation Room.)
MARIE: Doctor, we've been ordered to evacuate the building. I'm sorry.
(As Jennifer stares around in terror, the screens and lights in the Observation Room go out. In the Isolation Room, the last of the lights go out, leaving only faint daylight coming in through the windows. She bites her lip, trying not to cry.)
RODNEY'S QUARTERS. Teyla has come to tell Rodney what's happening.
McKAY: And they just left her there?!
TEYLA: I don't think they had much of a choice. Carson is searching Michael's database to see if there is anything that can help us.
McKAY: I suppose it was Zelenka's idea to shut off the power?
TEYLA: I don't know. Why?
McKAY (sighing in exasperation): OK, this is ridiculous. They've got us stuck in our quarters while the new guy takes advice from the B-team!
TEYLA: What is it, Rodney?
McKAY: They are assuming that it tapped into the electric grid by randomly spreading out through the walls and the floor. What if it actually grows towards electromagnetic fields, like a plant growing towards the sun? It's gonna head directly for the next available power source.
CONTROL ROOM. Teyla points to an area on a screen showing the power distribution database.
TEYLA: There. One of the city's main power conduits runs beneath the building.
WOOLSEY: So, shut the power down in that section as well.
ZELENKA: No, no, we already did, right? This conduit runs directly into the ZeeP.M. It's like an express lane. Uh, we've already shut off the rest of traffic but this one keeps moving along.
TEYLA: The only way to stop it would be to pull the ZeeP.M. and shut off power to the entire city.
WOOLSEY: I had no idea you were so familiar with the power distribution grid.
TEYLA: I'm not. I spoke to Rodney.
(The men exchange glances. Teyla frowns.)
TEYLA: Is there a problem?
BECKETT: The pathogen seems to have a psychological effect on the host.
WOOLSEY: At the very least, we know it can affect their judgement, possibly well before any physical symptoms appear.
ZELENKA: Yes, but he's not wrong about this. If it reaches the conduit, it will have access to virtually unlimited power.
WOOLSEY: And what would happen?
BECKETT: The growth would increase exponentially.
ZELENKA: And since we've shut this section down, we have no sensors in the area, so the only way to know how far it's penetrated is to do a visual inspection.
WOOLSEY: All right. Assemble a team.
(Radek and Teyla leave. Woolsey turns to Carson.)
WOOLSEY: I need some answers, Doctor. How do we kill this thing?
BECKETT: Well, we're working on a genetically engineered virus that might be capable of destroying the pathogen that's infecting Doctor Keller, but that wouldn't eliminate the biopolymer itself.
WOOLSEY: What would?
BECKETT: At this time, Mr. Woolsey, I have no idea.
CORRIDOR. Teyla, Radek and several soldiers make their way along the dark corridor, lighting their way with torches.
ZELENKA: So the main conduit runs behind this wall here. Here, we can access it through this panel.
(He and Teyla open the panel to reveal a long metal-walled corridor. Teyla turns to the soldiers.)
TEYLA: Sergeant, take your men, split up and search the surrounding corridors. Look for anything that seems unusual.
(As the men head off, Radek unfolds a small ladder from the conduit that will allow him and Teyla to get inside. Teyla looks at him.)
TEYLA: All right?
(They climb inside the conduit and immediately reach a T-junction. Radek looks to the left.)
ZELENKA: Right, I'll go this way.
TEYLA: Stay in radio contact.
(They head off in opposite directions. Radek turns a few corners, shining his torch ahead of him, then stops startled and activates his headset.)
ZELENKA: I think I have something.
(He walks forward. Tendrils are growing out of the wall ahead of him.)
ZELENKA: Looks like Rodney was right.
(He turns another corner and sees what's there.)
ZELENKA: Oh, my.
(The dead-end ahead of him is smothered in a huge mass of tendrils.)
TEYLA (over radio): What is it?
ZELENKA: Looks like it's attached itself to the power conduit.
TEYLA: I'm coming to you.
(Radek walks closer to the mass.)
ZELENKA: I'm going to see if I can determine how much power it's draining.
(He holds up a small Ancient gizmo and activates it, holding it close to the mass. As the device begins to beep, a large tendril near the floor extends and makes its way towards him. It wraps itself around his right calf and yanks back, sending him crashing backwards to the floor. His head hits the floor hard and he loses consciousness. More tendrils move in and start to wrap themselves around him. After a few seconds Radek revives and looks in horror as the tendrils continue slithering over him, but just then a burst of automatic gunfire from Teyla sprays bullets all around the walls, severing many of the larger tendrils. The small ones withdraw from Radek's body. Teyla runs forward and hauls him to his feet.)
TEYLA: Let's go, let's go. Come on!
(Clutching the back of his head, Radek stumbles away. Teyla runs after him, checking behind her frequently. They reach the original junction and stop.)
TEYLA: Are you all right?
(Radek takes his hand away from his head. It's covered with blood.)
ZELENKA: I think so.
(Grimacing, he pulls a small piece of tendril out of the neck of his jacket. Making a sound of disgust, he throws it to the floor.)
ZELENKA: I had no idea it could move like that.
TEYLA: Nor did I. This is much worse than we thought.
INFIRMARY. Radek sits on the side of a bed holding a pad to the back of his head as Carson shines a penlight into his eyes.
BECKETT: Looks like it's just a minor concussion. He should be fine.
WOOLSEY: So it wasn't bad enough that this thing was slowly taking over the base. Now it's attacking people? We need to put a stop to this, now.
ZELENKA: It won't be easy. It's already siphoned off a massive amount of power.
TEYLA: We should pull the ZeeP.M.
WOOLSEY: That might not be enough. We could sit here in the dark for weeks while it just keeps on growing.
BECKETT: We need to get Jennifer out of there.
WOOLSEY: I wanna save Doctor Keller as much as anyone else, but we have additional concerns now.
BECKETT: Why did it attack Radek? Because it perceived him as a threat and took action. That indicates intelligence but as far as we know, it has no brain of its own.
ZELENKA: So you're saying it's using her?
BECKETT: I'm saying it needs her -- to plan, to coordinate, to identify threats and deal with them.
ZELENKA: That could explain why she was hearing voices. The organism takes over a portion of the brain and sets up a separate consciousness, like -- like multiple personalities.
BECKETT: Aye. Otherwise, why have a human host at all?
TEYLA: So if we separate her from the main body ...
BECKETT: ... I'll wager the rest of it becomes as lifeless as a dead tree trunk.
(He goes to a cabinet and takes out a phial.)
BECKETT: Now, this is the virus I was telling you about. It's called a phage and it should -- at least theoretically -- be able to attack and eliminate the pathogen that's inside Jennifer's bloodstream. And if I'm right about this, it should sever the connection.
WOOLSEY: What's the catch?
BECKETT: Well, it's never been tested.
JOHN'S QUARTERS. Woolsey has brought Rodney and Ronon with him.
WOOLSEY: We turned the power back on briefly to get a look inside the building.
(He hands a computer tablet to John.)
WOOLSEY: This is the ground floor, five floors below the Isolation Room.
(The boys look at the image. The walls and floor are covered with tendrils.)
WOOLSEY: As you can see, access is almost completely choked off, but for this to work, I need someone to step right up to Doctor Keller's bed and inject her.
McKAY: Well, we can use the transporter to get them close, but ...
WOOLSEY: ... but you'd still have to run a gauntlet of over fifty metres, and after what happened to Doctor Zelenka ... (he looks at John) ... well, you understand my dilemma.
WOOLSEY: If Doctor Keller really is the key to this thing, there is an easier way.
(Rodney shakes his head uncomprehendingly.)
WOOLSEY: We'd only need a couple of well-aimed shots at the Isolation Room.
McKAY: Wait a second. What, you're talking about drones? What, you're gonna fire drones at one of our own people?!
WOOLSEY: I didn't come to Atlantis with the intention of killing one of my senior staff inside of a week, but my only other option is to risk someone else's life on a solution that hasn't even been tested yet. (He looks at John again.) Not exactly by the book.
(John shakes his head.)
DEX: So, test it. I've got the same bug. I'll take a shot right now.
SHEPPARD: No. No, no. (He looks at Woolsey.) I'll do it.
INFIRMARY. John lies on a bed as Ronon and a technician strap his arms and legs tightly to the bed.
SHEPPARD: Restraints, huh?
BECKETT: Aye. I'm sorry, but I'm anticipating a severe reaction.
SHEPPARD: Oh, great(!)
BECKETT: Now, you're absolutely sure about this?
BECKETT: Remember, the formula comes from Michael, so as far as we know, it could ...
SHEPPARD: ... turn me into a bug? Been there, done that.
BECKETT: No, actually, I was going to say it could kill you.
SHEPPARD (tetchily): Just ... give me the shot.
(He injects John in the neck.)
BECKETT: Now, it should take a few minutes to kick in, so just try to relax.
(He pats his shoulder.)
SHEPPARD (sarcastically): Oh, OK, I'll, I'll just, I'll relax.
(As Carson walks away, Rodney goes with him.)
McKAY: Carson, is it true that Lorne and some of the others are beginning to show symptoms?
BECKETT: Aye, I'm afraid so.
McKAY (plaintively): Oh, God.
BECKETT: Why? Have you noticed something yourself?
McKAY (nervously): My palms are very sweaty and-and my mouth is really dry. I'm having heart palpitations.
BECKETT (calmly): OK, so nothing out of the ordinary, then.
(Ronon walks closer to John's bed.)
DEX: How do you feel?
SHEPPARD: I don't feel anything. I don't even think that ...
(He grimaces and starts to convulse gently.)
DEX: Sheppard. (He turns to Carson.) Hey, Doc.
(Carson and Rodney hurry over.)
SHEPPARD: Oh, I think these restraints were a good idea.
(His convulsions become stronger.)
BECKETT: It's working.
(They watch helplessly as John writhes in agony.)
WOOLSEY: What's our status?
ZELENKA: Well, the Infirmary and a few other essential systems have been switched to emergency generators. We're ready.
WOOLSEY: All right. Pull the plug.
(Radek types and all the lights go out in the Control Room. Around the city, lights start going out and gradually the entire city is plunged into darkness.)
INFIRMARY. John is still convulsing on the bed as Ronon holds him down.
McKAY: For God's sake, Carson, how long is this gonna go on for?
BECKETT: I'm sorry, Rodney. I have no idea.
(John's heart rate increases dramatically, then the monitors flatline and John stops moving.)
(Carson runs over and checks John's neck pulse.)
BECKETT: His heart's stopped. Bag him! Get a crash cart in here! Prepare to intubate!
(Marie starts to pump air into John's lungs as Carson begins to pump his chest.)
BECKETT (counting off chest compressions in time with Marie's air pump): One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three. Come on. One, two, three. One, two, three.
(Finally the monitors stutter and then start to show a pulse. Carson checks John's neck again as Marie takes the air pump away.)
BECKETT: He's back.
(John takes a breath on his own and turns his head weakly.)
SHEPPARD: How'd I do?
(Sighing with relief, Carson pats his shoulder.)
WOOLSEY: Are you sure it worked?
BECKETT: Well, the blood screen came up negative. As far as I can tell, the alien pathogen has been eliminated.
WOOLSEY: Well done.
WOOLSEY: Now we just need someone to go into the Isolation Room.
BECKETT: I'll do it.
DEX (almost simultaneously): I'll do it.
McKAY (more reluctantly): I'll ... do it.
(Ronon stands up and frowns down at Rodney as if to say, "Yeah, right(!)")
WOOLSEY: I assume no special medical skill is required to administer the drug?
BECKETT: Well, no, not really. It's just a simple injection.
WOOLSEY: Well, then, given your condition, I wouldn't make you my first choice.
DEX: That's why I said I'd do it.
McKAY: He doesn't trust us, 'cause we're still infected.
BECKETT: Actually, that might not be a bad thing. When Colonel Sheppard was infected with the iratus bug D.N.A., he was able to walk right into that nest without being attacked.
WOOLSEY: You think someone infected with the pathogen would be more likely to get through?
BECKETT: Well, it's possible.
(Woolsey turns and looks at Ronon, who promptly turns away and heads off to get ready.)
LATER. Transporter doors open and Ronon, armed with his blaster and wearing his sword on his back, looks around cautiously.
DEX: All right. I'm in.
(In the Control Room, Woolsey looks at Radek.)
WOOLSEY: Cut power to the transporter.
(As Ronon steps out of the transporter, the lights go out and the doors close behind him.)
WOOLSEY: How does it look?
DEX: Not so good.
(He walks towards a narrow corridor in front of him. Tendrils cover the walls and floor and hang from the ceiling, almost completely blocking the corridor.)
DEX: That stuff's everywhere.
WOOLSEY: Is it reacting to your presence in any way?
DEX: No, not really.
WOOLSEY: All right. Just ... be careful.
(Ronon walks to the edge of the mass of tendrils and shrugs off the sheath holding his sword.)
INFIRMARY. As Rodney paces nervously, John wakes up on the bed.
SHEPPARD: What happened?
McKAY: It worked. They just sent Ronon to give her the shot.
(John gets off the bed.)
McKAY: He just got there. Look, I'm tapped into the comm.
(He hands an earpiece to John, who puts it on just as Woolsey speaks.)
WOOLSEY: Ronon, what's your status?
(In the corridor, Ronon is struggling to get through all the dangling tendrils.)
DEX: Well, it's getting harder to move. There's too much of it.
WOOLSEY: Just try not to make any sudden moves or threatening gestures.
DEX (dryly): Yeah, I'll keep that in mind.
(He continues pushing his way through the tendrils, then reaches the end of the corridor. A thick membrane covers the way ahead.)
DEX: All right. That's it. Can't go any farther. The corridor's completely blocked. All right, so what d'you want me to do?
(In the Control Room, Woolsey looks around at Radek and Carson but no-one has any ideas. In the Infirmary, John and Rodney are equally clueless.)
DEX: Screw it, I'm gonna make a hole.
(He draws his blaster and charges it.)
BECKETT: Ronon, wait! The only reason you made it this far is because it senses the pathogen in your bloodstream. It thinks you're a friend. If you start shooting ...
DEX (interrupting): Does anyone have any better ideas?
(No-one can answer him, but in the Infirmary, John picks up the syringe at the side of his bed and prepares another shot.)
McKAY: What are you doing?
SHEPPARD: If I'm right, this is about to go very, very wrong.
McKAY: You -- you can't! We're quarantined!
SHEPPARD: Cured, remember?
(Putting the syringe in his jacket pocket, he heads off.)
CORRIDOR. Ronon is still waiting for advice.
DEX: There's no other way through.
WOOLSEY: Once you start shooting, you'll have to move quickly.
DEX: Thanks for the advice(!)
(He fires several shots into the membrane and steps quickly through the hole. Holstering his blaster he unsheathes his sword. On the other side, tendrils start to move towards him. He hacks at them with his sword and for a few moments progresses forward but then as he lashes out at a tendril, another wraps itself around his wrist and pulls his arm out to its full length. As he struggles to pull it free, another tendril whips around his other wrist and he is pulled back against the wall. Two thick strands wrap themselves around his neck. He screams.)
WOOLSEY: Ronon? Ronon, what's your status? Ronon, come in?
(There's no reply.)
BECKETT: Oh my God.
(Woolsey closes his eyes in horror. In the corridor, Ronon grimaces and groans as the tendrils tighten around his neck.)
LATER. Shortly afterwards, John runs up the stairs into the Control Room.
SHEPPARD: What's happening?
ZELENKA: Uh, we've lost contact.
SHEPPARD: Well, turn the power back on. Open up a channel to the Isolation Room.
ZELENKA: What? Why?
SHEPPARD: Just do it!
(Radek glances nervously at Woolsey, who nods to him. He types.)
ZELENKA: All right, you have a channel.
(John activates his headset.)
SHEPPARD: Doctor Keller, this is Colonel Sheppard. Do you read?
(The voice that comes over the comms is clearly Jennifer's voice, but it is deeper and alien-sounding.)
ALIEN VOICE: I hear you, Colonel, but I'm not Doctor Keller any more.
SHEPPARD: Well, who are you?
ALIEN VOICE: I have no designation yet. I'll be given one when I'm complete.
SHEPPARD: What about Ronon?
ALIEN VOICE: You mean the intruder? He's alive, for the moment. He's been neutralised.
(In the corridor, Ronon groans as the tendrils constrict around his throat.)
ALIEN VOICE: I can feel his pulse. It's weak. It would only take the slightest squeeze.
SHEPPARD: Yeah, but you don't wanna do that because he's -- he's one of you, remember?
(He deactivates his headset and points at Carson.)
SHEPPARD: Keep her talking.
(He starts to hurry away.)
WOOLSEY: Where are you going?
SHEPPARD: I'm gonna go finish this.
(He runs up the stairs towards the Jumper Bay. Carson activates his headset.)
BECKETT: Jennifer, this is Carson.
ALIEN VOICE: Doctor Beckett, I already told you. I am not Jennifer Keller any more.
BECKETT: You're the voice she was hearing -- the part of her mind that was taken over.
ALIEN VOICE: You can't stop me. I will become as I was meant to be.
(Up in the Jumper Bay, John runs into a Puddle Jumper and jumps into the pilot's seat. In the Control Room, Banks reports.)
BANKS: Colonel Sheppard is powering up a Jumper.
WOOLSEY: Get me a secure channel.
(Banks does so.)
WOOLSEY: Sheppard, what are you doing?
SHEPPARD: I'm takin' a little shortcut. Sorry I didn't have time to fill out the paperwork.
(He flies the Jumper out of the roof and swings around towards the tower containing the Isolation Room.)
SHEPPARD: OK. I see it now.
(The tower has a huge mass of tendrils on its outside wall.)
SHEPPARD: That stuff is growing all over the place.
(He braces himself.)
SHEPPARD: This may hurt.
(He sends the Jumper towards the tower. The Jumper shakes violently as it smashes straight through the wall and skids to a halt inside.)
WOOLSEY: Colonel Sheppard, report.
(There's no reply.)
WOOLSEY: Colonel Sheppard?
(In the Jumper, John blinks woozily, then gets out of his seat and goes to a weapons case behind him. Opening it, he takes out a pistol and a clip. Loading the pistol, he takes the syringe out of his jacket pocket, then goes to the rear of the ship and swipes the panel to open the rear hatch. The hatch lowers and he looks out. There's a circular hole in the wall behind the Jumper and severed tendrils dangle from the ceiling. Some of them are still moving. He heads out.)
(Shortly afterwards, he walks cautiously into the Isolation Room. The bed is a mass of tendrils, and strands are moving all around the room. He walks closer to the bed and looks down at Jennifer, whose eyes are closed, her face covered in small vines. He reaches out and injects her in the neck. For a moment she doesn't react, then her eyes snap open and she stares upwards in agony. All around the room, the tendrils writhe in anguish. In the corridor, the strands around Ronon's neck tighten. In the Isolation Room, a large tendril lashes out and stabs straight into John's stomach. He crumples to his knees as Jennifer continues to stare upwards, wide-eyed and grimacing in pain. Clutching his stomach, John raises his pistol and aims it up at her head, but then her eyes close and she slumps into unconsciousness. All around the room, the tendrils sag and stop moving. In the corridor, the vines holding Ronon release him as they die and, wheezing for breath, he falls to the floor.)
(In the Control Room, Woolsey is pacing anxiously.)
WOOLSEY: Colonel Sheppard, what's your status?
(In the Isolation Room, John is still on his knees, staring upwards and panting in pain.)
WOOLSEY (over radio): Colonel Sheppard?
SHEPPARD: Wha'? I've been better.
WOOLSEY: What happened?
SHEPPARD (weakly): You'd better come get us.
INFIRMARY. John -- presumably post-surgery -- is sitting up in bed. Woolsey stands at his bedside.
SHEPPARD: How's Ronon?
WOOLSEY: He has a bruised larynx. Apparently he won't be able to speak for several days.
SHEPPARD: Wonder if anyone will notice the difference?
(Carson walks over, followed by Jennifer who is back to her normal self.)
BECKETT: Colonel Sheppard. Look who's finally out of isolation.
SHEPPARD: Oh, it's good to see you, Doc.
KELLER: How're you feeling?
SHEPPARD: It only hurts when I breathe.
KELLER: You're really bad. It looks like my recovery's gonna be a lot easier than yours.
SHEPPARD: Well, it's all right. I've got two doctors looking after me now.
BECKETT: Well, no, I'm afraid not. I'm scheduled to leave this afternoon. That is, unless of course there's a major crisis in the next hour or so.
(Woolsey and Jennifer smile.)
SHEPPARD: Wouldn't surprise me.
(Carson offer him his hand.)
BECKETT: Listen, you keep yourself out of trouble.
(They shake hands.)
BECKETT: And I'll see you real soon.
SHEPPARD: Good luck, Carson.
BECKETT: Thanks, John.
(He and Jennifer start to leave.)
WOOLSEY: Welcome back, Doctor Keller.
(She smiles. Woolsey stops Carson.)
WOOLSEY: Doctor Beckett. (He shakes his hand.) Thank you.
BECKETT: My pleasure, Mr. Woolsey.
(He follows Jen. Woolsey turns back to John.)
WOOLSEY: Before I came down here, I was on a call with my superiors back on Earth. They were going over my preliminary report.
SHEPPARD: What'd you tell 'em?
WOOLSEY: The truth: that in my first three days as commander I violated at least half a dozen basic security protocols.
SHEPPARD: That many, huh?!
WOOLSEY: I let Beckett run the investigation, in spite of his condition and the fact that he's technically no longer a member of this expedition.
WOOLSEY: I sent Ronon to deliver the antidote, even though he was infected.
WOOLSEY: I compromised the safety of this base to rescue someone who may well have been beyond our help anyway.
SHEPPARD: But she wasn't, and we got her out, and if you had played by the rules, she'd be dead right now.
(Woolsey nods, but doesn't look particularly comforted.)
WOOLSEY: The I.O.A. would seem to agree with you. Apparently they're willing to let the matter drop.
SHEPPARD: So what's the problem?
(Woolsey looks at him painfully.)
WOOLSEY: The rules are there for a reason, Colonel. If I can't trust them, then I'm not sure I can do this job.
(John looks at his anguished expression for a moment, then nods and smiles. He offers him his hand. Woolsey takes it and they shake hands.)
SHEPPARD: Welcome to the Pegasus Galaxy.