Vegas

Transcript

Summary | Production | Transcript | Fan Reviews

In the city of Las Vegas, Detective John Sheppard must solve the case on a long string of unusual murders -- perpetrated by a Wraith in hiding.

EPISODE #519
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 01.02.09
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 05.10.10
DVD DISC: Season 5, Disc 5
WRITTEN BY: Robert C. Cooper
DIRECTED BY: Robert C. Cooper
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Transcript by Callie Sullivan

EARTH. MOJAVE DESERT. As the hot sun beats down and birds circle overhead, a crime scene has been cordoned off by police. The cordoned-off area is surrounded by a police car and truck, and a couple of other cars are parked nearby. As crime scene investigators photograph the scene and look at a body concealed under a black covering, a female reporter stands just outside the cordon taking her own photographs of the covering, of markers which have been placed around the scene, and of a tyre track. She turns as she hears a car approaching and watches through her telephoto lens as the car draws nearer. It pulls up and the door opens. The reporter walks towards the car as a man gets out.

REPORTER: Detective Sheppard.

(The man slams the car door closed and walks towards the crime scene. The reporter continues to approach him.)

REPORTER: Detective Sheppard.

(A uniformed police officer steps into her path, stopping her from getting any closer.)

REPORTER: C'mon, John. I'm breaking this with or without you.

(Ignoring her, the detective goes over to another uniformed officer guarding the opening in the cordon. Although we have so far only seen the detective from behind, the reporter's use of his name has already raised our eyebrows, and now as he speaks we recognise his voice.)

SHEPPARD: What's she doin' here?

REPORTER: Is this victim related to the others?

(Still taking no notice of her, the detective walks towards the covered body.)

REPORTER: If we have a serial killer on our hands, people have a right to know.

(A crime scene guy comes to meet the detective and for the first time we see that it really is John Sheppard, but dressed casually and wearing dark sunshades. For the entire episode this version of Sheppard is quieter and less aggressive and confident than our John. Although he does his job as well as he is able, there is a sense of futility and hopelessness about him, as if he knows that he ought to be better than he is.)

CRIME SCENE GUY: The victim was most likely a white male.

(Sheppard looks at him.)

SHEPPARD: "Most likely"?

CRIME SCENE GUY: No clothes, no I.D. Wasn't killed here.

(Sheppard looks down at the covered body as, in "CSI" fashion, there's a brief flashback to the victim, in the passenger seat of a car, struggling with someone who is the driver's seat.)

CRIME SCENE GUY: Got tyre tracks leading from the road.

(The two of them turn to look at the tracks.)

CRIME SCENE GUY: Based on size, tread wear and spread, we're probably talking an older model pick-up.

(Brief flashback to the killer dragging the body out of the car and dumping it onto the sand.)

CRIME SCENE GUY: We've got radiator fluid down here. (He points to a wet patch on the ground.) Looks like the vehicle has a leak.

(Brief flashback to the underside of the car where radiator fluid is dripping from a hole. The car drives away. In the present, Sheppard looks around the ground for a moment, then turns to the body and squats down beside it. The reporter continues photographing him as he pulls back the covering over the body and reveals it. The body is skeletal and the mouth is open as if the man died in horror and/or agony. There's a large gaping wound in his chest with five finger marks above it.)

CRIME SCENE GUY: Pretty much the same as the other seven.

SHEPPARD: Same chest wound.

CRIME SCENE GUY: Yeah.

(Brief flashback to the man struggling with his attacker in the car. The killer pushes him down onto the seat as he continues to struggle and scream. The killer holds him down then slams his hand down onto his chest. The camera zooms inside the victim's chest as his heart beats frantically and then shrivels up as it slows down and then stops. In the present, Sheppard covers the body over again.)

CRIME SCENE GUY: I thought I'd seen everything.

SHEPPARD (standing up): Yeah, me too. One day we'll learn.

(He turns and walks away.)


LAS VEGAS. The shrivelled body has been brought to the police mortuary and is lying on a metal table. A woman who we recognise as Jennifer Keller, wearing a medical gown labelled "County Coroner" and a mask over her nose and mouth, is beginning an autopsy. She looks up as Sheppard enters the room.

SHEPPARD: Thomas Green, reported missing three days ago. Thirty-nine years old.

KELLER: You think this guy was thirty-nine?

SHEPPARD: Checked the dental records. It wasn't natural causes.

KELLER: No. Looks like some sort of rapid cellular breakdown.

SHEPPARD: The other victims had the same chest wound – that same bizarre ageing.

KELLER: I read the other autopsies. The cause was undetermined. All I know is we're not dealing with a contagion.

SHEPPARD: No chemical residue?

KELLER: Detective, you'll get a copy of my report.

(Sheppard nods and turns as if to walk away, then starts talking again.)

SHEPPARD: Previous victims all had radioactive residue around their wounds.

KELLER (pointedly): When I'm done.

SHEPPARD: What did you say your name was again?

(Keller takes her face mask off.)

KELLER: Keller. Jennifer.

SHEPPARD: I've got eight bodies in three months and I don't like it when the lead coroner on my case gets replaced by somebody who doesn't look old enough to be in medical school.

KELLER: Maybe someone feels the need for some fresh eyes on the case.

SHEPPARD (ironically): They should've just replaced me.

(Raising his eyebrows at her briefly, he turns to walk away.)

KELLER: D'you have any leads?

SHEPPARD: Got a bunch of bodies being dumped in the desert and it looks like the life's been sucked out of ‘em.

KELLER: You really think that's possible?

SHEPPARD: I don't know where you're from, but out here anything's possible.

(He opens the door and leaves the room. Keller puts her face mask back on.)


METROPOLITAN POLICE HEADQUARTERS. Sheppard is walking down some stairs, talking into his cellphone.

SHEPPARD: ... anyone treated with symptoms related to radiation poisoning. Go back a month. (He listens to the person on the other end of the phone.) No, it's not gonna come back to you, I promise.


NIGHT TIME. LUCKY ROLLERS MOTEL. In a cabin at the motel, a man called Laurence Foster is kneeling in front of the toilet and vomiting violently into the bowl. Loud rock music is coming through the walls from the cabin next door. Foster finishes throwing up and flushes the toilet. Wiping his mouth on a towel, he drags himself to his feet and stumbles back to the bed where the phone is off the hook. He was apparently in the middle of a call when he started to feel sick, and now he sits down on the side of the bed, picks up the handset and resumes his conversation. He looks terrible – he's covered in sweat, he is shivering, and the skin around his eyes is very red.

FOSTER (into phone): Hi. ... I don't know. ... I told you, they said it was a virus or something, probably food poisoning. You should see the place they've got me at. Not exactly Bellagio. Whole trip's been a useless waste of time too.

(Groaning, he puts his hand to his nose as he realises that there's blood trickling from it.)

FOSTER: Oh. My nose is bleeding again.

(He gets a paper tissue and holds it to his nose.)

FOSTER: I'd better go. ... Yeah, I will. Love you too.

(Hanging up, he moves the phone to the bedside table and lies back on the bed, still shivering and holding the tissue to his nose. The rock music continues to pound out from next door and Foster reaches back and punches the headboard several times, thumping it against the wall.)

FOSTER (loudly): Turn it down, will ya?

(The music continues. Foster drags himself to his feet and stumbles around the bed, heading for the door.)

FOSTER: Son of a bitch.

(He goes outside, walks to the door of the room next door – Room 50 – and pounds loudly on the door several times. As he braces his hands against the door jambs, barely able to stand, we switch to a perspective inside the cabin as the inhabitant – with his back to the camera – goes to the door and opens it, looking out at Foster, who looks at him blearily. From Foster's expression, there's something horrible about the guy inside the cabin, who now lowers his hand to his side so that we can see it. There's a feeding slit in the palm of his hand. He growls softly as Foster continues to stare at him in horror.)


DAY TIME. POLICE HEADQUARTERS. Sheppard is sitting in his office which is fairly spartan apart from a poster of Johnny Cash stuck up on the wall behind him. Sheppard is looking at documents on the table, and he has a cut on his cheekbone just below his left eye which he didn't have last time we saw him. Outside the office, Police Captain Hendricks leads Richard Woolsey, wearing a suit and tie, along the corridor. In his office, Sheppard continues looking at photographs of the various victims of the apparent serial killer. All of them are shrivelled and skeletal. Hendricks reaches Sheppard's open office door, knocks on it and walks in without waiting to be invited in.

HENDRICKS: Sheppard. This is Agent Woolsey, FBI.

WOOLSEY: Nice to meet you.

(He walks towards the desk, holding his hand out for Sheppard to shake. Sheppard ignores it.)

HENDRICKS: What the hell happened to your eye?

SHEPPARD (ignoring his question): This case moved jurisdiction?

HENDRICKS: Not yet.

WOOLSEY: I'm not at liberty to discuss our interests at this time, but I'd appreciate your co-operation.

(Sheppard nods, then puts his photographs down and leans back in his chair.)

SHEPPARD: Well, I've got nothin'.

WOOLSEY: I'm surprised at that, Detective. The victims are turning up much more frequently. This is obviously a progression.

HENDRICKS: First few bodies were buried. We only found them because coyotes dragged one onto the 564.

(As he speaks, Sheppard's Blackberry buzzes and shows that he has a text message. He picks it up to look at it.)

HENDRICKS: Now they're just being dumped out in the open for the vultures.

WOOLSEY: So, is that more careless or more bold?

(Sheppard finishes reading his text message and tosses his phone back down onto the desk.)

SHEPPARD: Somebody wanna tell me why the Coroner's report on the latest victim shows no signs of radioactive ... um ... (he gestures towards Woolsey) ... what do you call it?

WOOLSEY: Isotopes. I assume because there weren't any found.

(Sheppard stands up and takes his jacket from the back of his chair. He walks over to Woolsey and looks at him pointedly.)

SHEPPARD: Well, there were on the first seven.

(He starts to leave the room.)

HENDRICKS: Where are you goin'?

SHEPPARD (without turning back): Gonna go see a nurse.

(He walks away. Hendricks turns back to Woolsey and shrugs.)


HOSPITAL. Sheppard is talking with a nurse who hands him some papers from patients' charts.

NURSE: Well, this guy was seen yesterday.

SHEPPARD: Where is he?

NURSE: Oh, he's an out of towner, at a motel. The chart should say.

SHEPPARD: And you just let him go?

NURSE: He was seen by a doctor. We get people in here with flu-like symptoms all the time.

SHEPPARD: All right. Well, what made it stand out?

NURSE: He's also having nosebleeds. Could have been unrelated; also common because of the dry air, but then you mentioned radiation poisoning ...

SHEPPARD: Thanks.

NURSE: Hey, look, if he really was exposed, it could be serious.

SHEPPARD: I'll track him down.

(He folds the notes to put in his pocket. The nurse smiles at him flirtatiously.)

NURSE: Um, d'you want me to take a look at that eye, John?

SHEPPARD: No, no, I'm fine.

(He walks away.)

NURSE (calling after him): Uh, hey! Uh, are you gonna call me?

SHEPPARD (over his shoulder as he keeps walking): Yeah. Yeah, sure.


LUCKY ROLLERS MOTEL. OFFICE. Sheppard walks into the office and goes over to the manager's desk. He puts the hospital admission form down onto the desk and lays his police badge on top of it.

SHEPPARD: Do you know that guy?

(The manager looks at the form which has a photocopy of Laurence Foster's driving licence and photograph on it.)

MANAGER: He checked out yesterday. That a medical report?

SHEPPARD (picking up the report and folding it): No.

MANAGER: If he had something, I've gotta know – have that room cleaned up properly, wash the sheets, you know?

SHEPPARD: Yeah, wash those sheets. In the meantime, let me look at your register.

(The manager hands over the register and Sheppard starts to look through it.)


NIGHT TIME. LUCKY ROLLERS MOTEL, ROOM 50. As Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" plays loudly on the stereo, a tall thin man stands at the mirror. He has long white hair. As the camera moves closer, we see that the man is – as we suspected – a Wraith. It takes a make-up brush and paints white make-up around the slits on either side of its nose to pad out the skin around them and obscure them, then picks up a latex face mask and applies it over its forehead. It adds a false latex nose and ears, then paints its hands so that they're flesh coloured. It puts in false teeth to cover its own, then puts on a T-shirt to cover the tattoos on its back and its very prominent backbone. It puts human looking contact lenses into its eyes, adds a studded leather bracelet and black fingerless gloves, then puts on a long black coat before adding the finishing touch – a pair of dark sunshades. Its disguise complete, the Goth-looking Wraith heads for the door, walking past the shrivelled body of Laurence Foster lying on the floor. It leaves the room and strolls off across the car park, walking past a pick-up truck and a silver metal motorhome, completely oblivious to the fact that John Sheppard is sitting in his car and watching it.


VEGAS. Despite its rather unorthodox appearance, the Wraith strolls down the crowded streets attracting little attention from the other people. It goes into a hotel casino and makes its way through the public area, then goes upstairs to a private room at the end of a long corridor to join a poker game. Six other players are sitting around the table, together with the dealer. As the game begins, two of the players are talking. Fans of "The Sopranos" will recognise them as Frank Vincent and Steve Schirripa. As their conversation progresses, the other players do their best to pretend they're not listening, even though they're obviously agog – apart from the Wraith which has now removed its sunglasses and stares ahead of itself all the time and seems to be in a world of its own.

STEVE: They were fighting; she tried to break it up. You know, it was an accident.

FRANK: You couldn't find the finger?

STEVE: We were up all night looking for it.

FRANK: Yeah, but you found it?

STEVE: Out on the lawn when the sun came up. We've got it in the fridge.

FRANK: And where's the housekeeper?

STEVE: She's at the hospital. She lost a ton of blood.

FRANK: Really? Don't they need the finger?

STEVE: Naah, it was too late to reattach it. She'll be all right.

(The game continues as they talk.)

FRANK: What finger was it?

STEVE (raising his right hand and wiggling his little finger): Pinkie.

FRANK (throwing in his cards): And you've still got it?

STEVE: What are you supposed to do with a finger? Besides, I thought maybe she'd still want it, you know?

(The Wraith puts some more chips down. Another player throws his cards in.)

FRANK: And what about the dogs?

STEVE: Well, what about ‘em?

FRANK: You've gotta get rid of ‘em, no?

STEVE: What do you mean? I love those dogs!

(The dealer gestures to him.)

STEVE: I know. I'll see him.

(He picks up four pink chips and lays them down. The Wraith turns over its cards. Irritated, Steve throws in his own cards.)

STEVE: Nice hand, huh? Got me again. It's almost like you can read minds, huh?

FRANK: Only yours.

(Steve gestures to the Wraith which is still staring ahead.)

STEVE: Look at this guy. He won't even look at me! You've been taking my money all night; you won't even look at me?

FRANK: Whoa, whoa, leave it alone. He's a freakin' whacko.

(At the entrance to the room at the end of the corridor, John Sheppard has gained admission and is being patted down by a security guard. Having been cleared by the guard, he walks into the room. Steve and Frank look up at him, apparently recognising him.)

STEVE: Aren't you a little out of your league here?

(Sheppard takes a seat at the table opposite the Wraith.)

SHEPPARD (to Steve): What are you, my mother?

(A waitress brings him some chips. He looks at the dealer.)

SHEPPARD: Go ahead. I'll ante.

(The dealer deals out the next hand of cards. Sheppard looks at the Wraith, which stares back at him emotionlessly. The game continues. Many hands are played, and the Wraith keeps winning. Every now and then it and Sheppard stare across the table at each other.)

(Much much later Sheppard picks up his latest hand. He has the six of hearts and six of diamonds. The Wraith throws in some chips and Sheppard does likewise. The dealer lays down the six of spades, the seven of spades and the seven of hearts. Now, your humble transcriber knows absolutely nothing about poker but assumes that this is a very good hand for Sheppard. As he tries not to show anything on his face, the Wraith puts in a large number of chips, then sits back in its chair and waits. Steve looks expectantly at Sheppard, who throws in some chips himself. The dealer lays down the seven of diamonds. I'm assuming that this still looks good for Sheppard. As he looks at his cards thoughtfully, the Wraith puts in another large stack of chips.)

DEALER: Twenty-two thousand to call.

(Sheppard and the Wraith stare at each other. Steve shakes his head and looks at Sheppard.)

STEVE (referring to the Wraith): He doesn't have it.

FRANK: Shut up.

(Sheppard looks at the Wraith again, then tosses in his cards face down. The Wraith reaches forward and starts collecting its chips. Steve shakes his head again, still looking at Sheppard.)

STEVE: He didn't have it. No way.

(The Wraith briefly nods its head in acknowledgement to Sheppard, then stands up.)

STEVE: Wait. Where you goin'? You can't leave now! (To the others) Look at this guy!

(He stands up.)

STEVE: Hey!

(He reaches out and takes its wrist. Instantly the Wraith spins towards him, slaps his hand away and, growling ferociously, hurls him backwards across the room where he crashes down onto a glass coffee table, shattering it. As Sheppard leaps to his feet, the Wraith jumps onto the table, runs across it and, shoving Sheppard to the floor, runs for the corridor leading out of the room. A security guard steps into its way but it punches him and throws him aside before running down the corridor. The guard who frisked Sheppard earlier is standing at the door. He pulls out a pistol and shoots the Wraith three times as it runs towards him but it is unaffected and continues to run forward, grabbing the guard and shoving him out of the way. As it yanks the door open and runs off, Sheppard gets to his feet and runs down the corridor, stopping to pick up the pistol which the guard dropped before chasing off after the Wraith.)

(The Wraith runs down the hotel corridor, reaches a stairwell and starts to run down the stairs, often jumping down an entire flight at a time. Sheppard chases down after it. Several floors down, the Wraith leaves the stairwell and charges down a service corridor, shoving people out of its way as Sheppard continues running after it. Seeing a trolley full of crockery, it grabs it and shoves it over to try and slow Sheppard down before running off again. Sheppard hesitates briefly, then skids around the debris and continues the chase. The Wraith reaches a door leading to a rooftop and runs off with Sheppard still in hot pursuit. It jumps over a high wall and drops over twenty feet to the other side, landing without a stumble and continuing onwards. Sheppard finds an easier route and pursues it, but then stops as he sees that it's heading for the edge of the roof. He waits, assuming that it'll have to stop but it pounds relentlessly onwards and leaps straight over the edge, plunging downwards hundreds of feet before landing with a sickly thud on the ground. Sheppard runs forward to the edge of the roof and looks over at the motionless figure lying face down below him. Some seconds later the Wraith lifts its head and, groaning, slowly begins to push itself to its feet. Sheppard stares down, frowning in disbelief as the Wraith, leaving a large smear of blood on the ground, slowly straightens up with blood trickling from its nose. It turns and looks up at Sheppard, who still can't believe what he's seeing. The Wraith gazes up at him for a long moment, then slowly begins to stumble away. A few yards later the stumble turns into a trot and by the time the Wraith reaches the end of the road, it's running at full pelt again. As it disappears into the darkness, Sheppard turns away from the roof's edge, his face full of bewilderment.)


LUCKY ROLLERS MOTEL. The manager opens the door to Room 50 and stares in horror at the sight which greets him.

MANAGER: Oh, jeez.

(He steps aside as Sheppard walks in, shining a flashlight down at the body of Laurence Foster lying on the floor. He squats down and looks at the wound in his chest and his shrivelled body.)

MANAGER: You don't think that's contagious, do you?

SHEPPARD: You said the guy next door checked out yesterday?

MANAGER: I never saw him. He used the TV.

(He reaches for the light switch.)

SHEPPARD: Don't touch anything.

MANAGER (taking his hand away from the switch): Sure.

(Sheppard stands up and shines his flashlight around the room, looking at all the make-up and other items on the dressing table. Taking a look into the bathroom, he turns back to the bed on which is a holdall. Putting the end of his flashlight into his mouth, he unzips the holdall and opens it. It's full of banknotes.)

MANAGER (still standing in the doorway): What is it?

SHEPPARD (taking the flashlight out of his mouth): It's a crime scene. Get lost.

(The manager walks away. Shortly afterwards, Sheppard puts the bag into the boot of his car and closes the lid. He notices a small puddle on the ground of the parking bay next to his and frowns, remembering the similar wet patch in the desert and the image of the radiator fluid leaking from the underside of the car.)

(Just then three black SUVs drive into the car park and Richard Woolsey gets out of one of them and walks over to Sheppard.)

WOOLSEY: Detective.

(Sheppard nods to him and gestures towards Room 50.)

SHEPPARD: Got another body here. I was just about to call it in.

WOOLSEY: I heard about what happened at the casino.

(Sheppard frowns.)

SHEPPARD: You followin' me?

WOOLSEY: There's a satellite locator on your car. If you don't mind, we'd like you to come for a little drive.

SHEPPARD: Do I have a choice?

(Woolsey doesn't answer, but his face tells Sheppard all that he needs to know. He nods.)

SHEPPARD: Right.

(Reluctantly he walks to Woolsey's car and gets in.)


DAY TIME. The three SUVs drive towards a facility out in the desert.


LATER. Woolsey stands outside a closed door and looks through the window in the door at Sheppard standing inside. He turns as he hears footsteps and sees Rodney McKay, wearing a suit and tie, approaching him.

WOOLSEY: He won't sign it.

McKAY: Well, we should tell him anyway.

WOOLSEY: We can't trust him.

McKAY: He might be able to help us. Let me at least try.

(Woolsey nods a little reluctantly and McKay opens the door to the room and walks in, closing the door behind him. Woolsey stays outside, watching through the window.)

McKAY: Detective. I'm Doctor Rodney McKay.

(He walks over to a table in the middle of the room and puts a computer tablet down on it.)

McKAY: I realise you have no way of grasping what's going on here. There's really only one thing you need to understand: if you fail to co-operate, I have the power to ruin your life.

SHEPPARD: Well, then, you don't realise how little I have to lose.

McKAY: I know everything about you. You've never been married. The only thing you own is a car. You have two thousand, three hundred and sixty-three dollars in the bank and are thirteen thousand dollars in debt, not counting off-the-books gambling losses to a guy named Mikey. What else? You finally passed your detective exam after four years and two failed attempts and now barely scrape by on quarterly performance reviews.

(Sheppard smiles ruefully.)

McKAY: Am I getting this right?

(Sheppard smiles at him sarcastically.)

SHEPPARD: I also like spearmint gum.

(McKay takes a packet of gum out of his pocket and tosses it onto the table.)

McKAY: Have some.

SHEPPARD: I was joking.

McKAY: No you weren't.

(He walks around the table and goes over to Sheppard.)

McKAY: Let's go back further, shall we? You were a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan but were dishonourably discharged for disobeying orders and trying to rescue a field medic trapped behind enemy lines. You were shot down – obviously survived, but unfortunately the crash killed four American soldiers along with eight civilians.

(Sheppard looks uncomfortable.)

McKAY: You avoided jail time; the record was sealed for various political reasons. (He smiles bitterly.) These things happen, right?

(He turns away and walks around to the other side of the table again.)

McKAY: Somehow you've managed to live with yourself since then – but I'm not sure other people would if they knew the truth.

SHEPPARD: I don't really care.

McKAY: Yeah. That's too bad.

(He picks up his computer tablet and heads for the door. Behind him, Sheppard walks to the table and sits down at it. McKay stops at the door as Sheppard takes out a piece of gum from the packet. McKay turns around to face him.)

McKAY: You know, I once met another version of you.

(Sheppard looks at him uncomprehendingly.)

McKAY: He was very different.

SHEPPARD: What?

McKAY (coming closer to the table): Nothing is what you think it is.

SHEPPARD: It really doesn't come as a surprise to me.

McKAY: Look ... (He puts his tablet onto the table again and sits down.) We're not bad guys. We just wanna keep the planet safe.

SHEPPARD: I doubt that very much.

McKAY: I don't expect you'll believe me at first. I'm about to tell you some incredible things: wormhole travel through a device called a Stargate; ancient races of humans on other planets; other dimensions in space and time; even infinite variations of our own known reality where alternate versions of you and I play out events in ways you can't possibly imagine.

SHEPPARD (sarcastically): Space aliens?

(He grins sardonically. McKay tilts his chin down and just looks at him silently. Sheppard's eyes begin to widen.)


MOTORHOME. Sitting on a sofa with the blinds lowered and closed, the Wraith has its head buried in its hands as it recalls how it ended up in this situation: it was in a battle above Earth between Wraith Darts and F-302s. A massive volley of Ancient drones heads up from the planet and, above the fire fight, the drones impact a Hive ship which explodes. In its Dart, the Wraith watches the destruction of its only means out of there, then turns its concentration to its own vessel which – presumably damaged – begins to plunge downwards into the atmosphere. Grimacing, the Wraith tries to keep control of the Dart as the nose and then the whole ship begins to burn. In the motorhome, the Wraith lowers its hands, its face contorted with the memory as it recalls its struggle to live.


AREA 51 (which is where we must assume that Sheppard is). Sheppard is standing in a room staring at an Ancient Control Chair.

McKAY: It was found under a mile of ice in Antarctica five years ago and later moved here. It runs on a power source that extracts energy from vacuum space. We call it a ZedPM ... well, ZeePM, sorry. I'm Canadian. If you have the right genetic code, it allows you to control some pretty cool weaponry remotely with your mind. It's how we were able to defeat the Wraith Hive ship that attacked Earth three months ago.

SHEPPARD: Are there more?

McKAY: What, chairs?

SHEPPARD: No, aliens.

McKAY: Oh yeah – lots more. Fortunately they're in another galaxy and, for now, don't know where Earth is.

(He walks towards the door, then turns back to Sheppard who is still staring at the Chair.)

McKAY: Detective?

(Sheppard drags himself away and follows McKay who takes him to another area.)

McKAY: They're called Darts – small, fast, single pilot attack ships. We're lucky we took out the Hive as quickly as we did. Each one can carry hundreds of these things.

(We see where they are. They're on a gantry above a huge hangar which contains the wrecks of at least six badly damaged Darts.)

SHEPPARD: And the guy dumping bodies in the desert?

McKAY: He's an alien – a Wraith. A genetic hybrid between human beings and something called an iratus bug. It feeds on human energy – literally saps the life out of people using a sucker on their hands. Suppose it all sounds like science fiction to you.

SHEPPARD: I'm not really a fan.

(Later Sheppard and McKay are walking along a corridor.)

McKAY: My team and I usually operate out of Atlantis in the Pegasus galaxy but we were called back to Earth to deal with this situation because of our expertise with the Wraith. Now, the one that you've encountered has obviously been doing a fairly good job of blending in.

SHEPPARD: By disguising himself as a human.

McKAY: Based on your description and the video surveillance from the casino.

SHEPPARD: What do they normally look like?

(McKay stops at a doorway and puts his thumb on a reader. The door slides open and Sheppard stares at the sight that greets him inside.)

McKAY: Normally they look like that.

(Inside the room is a large glass cage with a bed and a chair in it. Sitting on the bed, a Wraith stands as it sees its visitors. Dressed in dark overalls, its hair is unkempt and it looks ill. Sheppard gazes at it in shock. He of course has never seen an undisguised Wraith before but we recognise it immediately. It's none other than our favourite evil guy, Todd.)


SHORTLY AFTERWARDS. McKay and Sheppard have walked closer to the cage and are looking in at the Wraith.

SHEPPARD (to McKay): Why do they do it?

McKAY: What, feed on humans? It's just what they are. We're just cattle to them.

TODD: Fish in a pond, busy busy, lots to do, here and there.

McKAY: This one fancies himself a bit of a poet. Not good.

TODD: Dry as a desert outside, no place to go.

(It looks around the room vaguely.)

McKAY: He's also delirious from starvation.

TODD: Eat up, get stronger, think and hope, think and hope.

(It wanders around its cage, then turns and glares at the men outside.)

TODD: Don't look now! Oh, keep dreaming.

(It steps closer to the glass, staring at Sheppard.)

TODD: There must be some other reason for your existence.

SHEPPARD (to McKay): Did you get anything from him?

McKAY: Nothing. Believe me, we tried ... everything.

TODD: Defiance tastes like life itself. (It looks down at the floor.) No river. No water. Dry as a desert. Dirt is all around. The harvest moon is rising.

(It turns back to Sheppard.)

TODD: Wraith are never-ending.

(It steps closer to the glass again, looking into Sheppard's eyes.)

TODD: I know the future.

(It beckons to him, smiling.)

TODD: Come inside.

(It lays its hand against the glass.)

TODD: I'll show you your destiny ... John Sheppard.

(Sheppard stares at it, frowning. McKay turns and speak to him calmly.)

McKAY: They can get in your head.

(Sheppard closes his eyes and shakes his head briefly, freeing himself from Todd's influence. McKay turns and leaves the room, Sheppard following him. Todd watches them go, then takes its hand from the glass and turns away, snorting.)


CORRIDOR. Sheppard leans against a wall, pulling himself together.

McKAY: Are you OK?

(Shakily, Sheppard nods.)

SHEPPARD: Are people ever gonna know the truth?

McKAY: Not my decision. Personally, I think people choose to live in their own happy little delusions. They don't really wanna know the truth.

(A woman walks along the corridor and passes them by. She smiles at McKay as she walks past him.)

McKAY: Jennifer.

KELLER: Rodney.

(He watches her walk away. Sheppard frowns as he remembers where he's seen her before. As McKay walks off in the opposite direction, Sheppard follows, still staring back at Keller in confusion.)

SHEPPARD: Uh, the other victims had radioactive residue on them.

McKAY: They all did. Once we got wind of it and our suspicions were confirmed, the whole thing was ultimately gonna be covered up, but you tracked down the target before that could happen.

SHEPPARD: Well, in serial cases you're supposed to look for any victims who got away.

McKAY: Which is how you found the motel and the man who reported radiation sickness. He was most likely exposed ‘cause he was in the room next door to the Wraith. See, we didn't think to look for bystanders that could have been accidentally exposed to the proximity.

SHEPPARD: To the alien?

McKAY: No, no. However, we do believe that the radioactive material in this case is being transferred from the target to the victims, but the source ... well, it's being shielded from our scanning capabilities.

SHEPPARD: What is it?

McKAY: Look, we know that the Wraith don't need to feed as often as the target does. I mean, they feed for pleasure but not in this case – not if it means leaving a trail behind.

SHEPPARD: Some other reason?

McKAY: If they're sick or injured, they can regenerate but it requires energy. We believe that the target is unavoidably exposing himself to high doses of radiation and is having to eat to counteract the effects.

SHEPPARD: What's the source?

McKAY: He's building a device. We're not sure of its intended function, but we know that he was able to salvage certain parts from his crashed Dart before we could get to it.

SHEPPARD: Well, what about the rest?

McKAY: Well, the Wraith are smart. Wouldn't take him long to learn the ins and outs of the way things work around here. We have reason to believe that he has already acquired some of the necessary materials, but he needs more. He also needs untraceable currency or we would have found him by now.

SHEPPARD: So he makes money playing poker. There's gotta be a better way than that.

McKAY: I guess he could rob a bank, but it's risky and it draws a lot of attention. No, the Wraith love games – and with their mental abilities they are very good at them.

(They have walked into a room where a group of people – some military and some in plain clothes – is sitting around a table. The man currently addressing the gathering is Radek Zelenka, wearing a suit and tie.)

ZELENKA: The following is a worst case scenario should the device be detonated.

McKAY (to Sheppard): Excuse me. Wait here.

ZELENKA: Now, based on the material that we suspect has already gone into the core, there's a very strong likelihood ...

McKAY (interrupting as he walks into the meeting): It's not a bomb.

ZELENKA (ignoring him): We need to be prepared for every possibility.

McKAY: What would be the point of overcooking half the United States?

ZELENKA: Revenge.

McKAY: Not his first choice. He wants to send up a flare signalling the location of Earth to the rest of the Wraith.

ZELENKA (to the others): ‘Scuse me.

(He walks over to McKay.)

ZELENKA (quietly): Rodney, he would not need that kind of power to activate a Wraith communicator.

McKAY (quietly): He does if he wants to send a message to Pegasus and be rescued in his lifetime.

ZELENKA: Well, that would require a massive boost.

McKAY: Yes, it would require more energy than he has now.

ZELENKA: Not even a ZedPM would ...

McKAY (interrupting): I know.

ZELENKA: That kind of burst is uncontrollable ...

McKAY: I never said it wasn't dangerous. It could open up any number of anomalies ...

ZELENKA: Like the inter-dimensional rift?

McKAY: Will you stop bringing that up?! Why d'you have to constantly remind me, especially in front of other people?

ZELENKA: You are such a child!

McKAY: And yet I am still smarter than you!

(He turns and walks back towards Sheppard, leaving Zelenka open mouthed with indignation behind him.)

McKAY: Don't worry. Everything's under control.

(He beckons him through a doorway as Zelenka goes back to the rest of the group.)


LATER. The two men have gone outside and are standing near a car which is waiting to take Sheppard away.

McKAY: Thank you for your co-operation, Detective. If you think of anything else ... (he hands him a card) ... call me at this number.

SHEPPARD: If he's not finished yet, why'd he stop hiding the bodies?

McKAY: I don't know. Over-confidence that he can't be caught?

(Sheppard looks at the card for a moment, then decides to tell McKay the whole story.)

SHEPPARD: He left money behind.

McKAY: How much?

SHEPPARD: A few thousand.

McKAY: Not enough to worry about, I guess.

SHEPPARD: That's it? You're just gonna let me go?

McKAY: That field medic – the one you defied orders to go back and try and rescue. You knew her personally. You were ... involved.

SHEPPARD: Yeah, you know everything.

McKAY (sympathetically): It was a hard choice. Certainly you didn't intend things to go as badly as they did. Things just don't always go the way we plan. We know where to find you.

(Sheppard turns and starts to walk towards the car.)

McKAY: Detective.

(Sheppard stops and turns back as McKay approaches him again.)

McKAY: Remember when I told you I once met another version of you?

SHEPPARD: Yeah.

McKAY: I know you'll probably think this sounds ridiculous, but a little while ago we accidentally opened a rift in space/time – went through to an alternate version of reality. It was very similar to ours in many ways. We met a team much like the one I work with, only you were the leader. You were a hero, saved the world several times over.

SHEPPARD (smiling bitterly): Doesn't sound much like me.

McKAY: I don't think there's much difference between you and that other John Sheppard I met. It's amazing how one incident can entirely alter the course of your life. Still, I like to believe you have the same strength of character. That's why I told you the truth.

(He turns and starts to walk away. Sheppard calls after him.)

SHEPPARD: What do you want me to say?

McKAY (over his shoulder): For now, nothing.


POLICE HEADQUARTERS. Sheppard has a box on the table of his office and is packing his personal effects into it. After removing everything he wants from his desk, he unsticks the Johnny Cash poster from the wall, rolls it up and puts it into the box. Captain Hendricks comes to the door.

HENDRICKS: What's going on?

(Sheppard picks up the box, leaving his police badge and pistol lying on the table. He walks over to Hendricks and hands him the box. He pauses for a moment, then picks up the rolled-up poster from the box and, taking it with him while leaving all his other possessions with Hendricks, leaves the office without saying a word.)


Later, he is driving away from the city and out into the desert. A Johnny Cash song, "Solitary Man", is playing on the car stereo. On the passenger seat beside him is the holdall containing the Wraith's cash. He looks across to it and smiles in satisfaction.

(Later still, as he is still driving along, Sheppard thinks back to recent events.)

McKAY (flashback): They feed on human energy – literally sap the life out of people using a sucker on their hands.

TODD (flashback): Dry as a desert outside.

(Flashback to Sheppard pulling back the covering over the last Wraith victim in the desert.)

TODD (flashback): No place to go.

(Flashback to the Wraith falling down the side of the hotel.)

McKAY (flashback): He wants to send up a flare signalling the location of Earth to the rest of the Wraith.

TODD (flashback): Wraith are never-ending. I know the future.

ZELENKA (flashback): But that would require a massive boost.

McKAY (flashback): Yes, he needs more power than he has.

TODD (flashback): I'll show you your destiny, John Sheppard.

(Flashback to the skeletal corpse in the desert.)

(Flashback to the tyre tracks near the corpse in the desert.)

(Flashback to the puddle of radiator fluid in the desert.)

(Flashback to Sheppard opening the holdall full of money at the motel.)

(Flashback to Sheppard putting the money into the boot of his car, then seeing the puddle of radiator fluid on the ground nearby.)

(Flashback to the image of the radiator fluid dripping from the underside of the vehicle.)

(Flashback to the Wraith leaving the motel while Sheppard watches it from his car. The Wraith walks past a pick-up truck, then past a silver motorhome.)

(In the present, Sheppard slams on the brakes and throws the car into a handbrake U-turn. He shoves the gearstick into Drive and starts to race back the way he just came.)


AREA 51. McKay is talking with Woolsey as they stand near a screen showing large red patches on a map. Zelenka is sitting nearby working on a computer.

McKAY: Recalibrating the scanners to look for similar isotopes at maximum sensitivity just shows us huge patches of radioactive desert.

WOOLSEY: From forty year old nuclear testing.

ZELENKA: Yeah, we're talking hundreds of square miles.

McKAY: It's like a needle in a haystack.

ZELENKA (standing up and walkin over to the other two): Or he could have abandoned whatever resources he had and just gone into hiding.

McKAY (sarcastically): Oh yes, he probably got a job as a Klingon at Star Trek: The Experience.

WOOLSEY (sadly): That shut down.

ZELENKA (shocked): Really? Damn, I wanted to see that.

(Walter Harriman walks over to the group.)

HARRIMAN: Doctor McKay, there's a call for you. John Sheppard.

(McKay goes over to the nearby phone and picks it up.)

McKAY: Hello.

SHEPPARD: I found him.

(McKay turns and calls out to the others.)

McKAY: He thinks he's found him. (Into phone) How?

(Sheppard is talking on his cellphone in his car, parked near the silver motorhome trailer which is now out in the desert.)

SHEPPARD: I remembered the trailer from the motel. It's one of those old silver bullets. It's just a hunch – you said he needed more power so I drove along some of the more remote power lines into the city.

(McKay turns and clicks his fingers at Harriman.)

McKAY: Harriman. He's gonna tap into the grid.

(Harriman sits down at a computer and starts to type. Woolsey hurries over to him.)

WOOLSEY: We should have John Sheppard's co-ordinates.

(Inside the motorhome, the Wraith has built a large device at one end of the trailer and is typing on a small console nearby. It reaches across to another device and pulls a handle down a few clicks. Power begins to pulse through the equipment.)

(At Area 51, McKay continues his phone conversation.)

McKAY: Listen to me. I know what I said, but do not engage, do you hear me?

(The phone line becomes full of static. He takes the phone away from his ear and stares at it in horror. In the desert, Sheppard takes his own phone away from his ear and looks at the screen, which reads, "NO SERVICE".)

SHEPPARD (irritated): Oh crap.

(He looks across to the motorhome. Inside, unseen by Sheppard, the Wraith pulls down the handle a few more clicks. The energy levels rise on the equipment.)

(In the skies, two fighter jets have launched and are heading out into the desert. At Area 51, Harriman checks his screen.)

HARRIMAN: E.T.A. to target, three minutes.

(In the motorhome, the Wraith pulls the handle down a few more clicks. Again the energy levels rise.)

(Outside, Sheppard drives slowly towards the motorhome and sees a thick cable leading from the trailer to a nearby electricity pylon. The Wraith looks up as it hears the car's engine. It goes to the window, looks through the dirty glass and sees the car coming to a halt about a hundred yards away. Snarling, it goes to a large cupboard and opens the door, revealing a small arsenal of weapons inside. Sheppard turns the car engine off, reaches over the glove box and opens it, taking out a pistol. He inserts a clip into it, then gets out of the car and starts to walk cautiously towards the motorhome. As he gets closer, the Wraith fires a single shot through one of the windows. Sheppard stops and looks down at himself. There is a bullet hole in his chest just above his heart. He stares down at it for a moment, then turns and races back towards the car. He hurls himself over the bonnet and onto the ground on the other side as the Wraith opens fire with repeated bursts of automatic gunfire. Sheppard pops up from beside the car and fires into the motorhome until his clip is empty. The Wraith continues firing back at him. Sheppard crawls to the driver's door as the Wraith kicks open the motorhome door and fires more automatic gunfire at the car, the bullets punching through the vehicle. Sheppard lies across the seats as he scrabbles in the glove compartment for another clip. The Wraith strolls out of the motorhome, a rifle in each hand, firing one towards the car as Sheppard finally gets another clip and reloads his pistol as bullets fly all around him and smashed glass and fragments of metal rain down on him. He wriggles back out of the car and jumps up, firing nine bullets straight into the Wraith's chest. The bullets have no effect and Sheppard ducks down again as the Wraith opens fire once more. The bullet wound in Sheppard's chest and his other injuries start to take effect and he sits down beside the car, gasping in pain. The Wraith strolls around the car and looks down at Sheppard who is trying in vain to aim his pistol at it. Blood is now pouring from his chest wound. He manages to lift the pistol and pulls the trigger but it doesn't fire – the clip is empty. Wearily he lowers the pistol to his lap. The Wraith, realising that he is no longer a threat, drops its rifles to the ground and flexes the fingers on its right hand, readying it to feed.)

(Sheppard takes off his sunshades and looks up at the Wraith, knowing that all is lost. But just then the Wraith turns and looks up into the sky as it hears approaching engines. The two fighter jets begin to swoop down towards the area. The Wraith turns and races back into the motorhome, runs inside and grabs the handle and pulls it all the way down. The device at the end of the trailer begins to glow brightly, and an energy pulse surges out from the motorhome and swoops away in all directions.)


AREA 51.

HARRIMAN: We have widespread power outages being reported across the state.

ZELENKA: Daedalus is transmitting new sensor data.

McKAY: I've got it. Massive sub-space event; ten times the power of an active Stargate and getting stronger. The scope increases the longer it stays active.

WOOLSEY: What is it?

McKAY: It's a transmission, coded in Wraith. I'm working on it.

HARRIMAN: Target has been acquired, sir.

WOOLSEY: Take it out.


In the desert, Sheppard sits at the side of the car and watches helplessly as the jets swoop down. The Wraith inside the motorhome turns and snarls as it hears the approaching engines. One of the jets opens fire with a machine gun, its bullets getting closer to the motorhome as it approaches. The Wraith roars defiantly and moments later the bullets impact the motorhome and it explodes. The jets soar overhead and Sheppard cowers down behind the car which protects him from the fireball on the other side. The jets turn and swoop over again to confirm the kill.


AREA 51.

HARRIMAN: We have a direct hit. Target has been neutralised.

(Woolsey, McKay and Zelenka sigh with relief.)

ZELENKA: Transmission has ceased.

(Woolsey turns and nods appreciatively to the other personnel in the room. McKay looks at his screen and his expression becomes serious again.)

McKAY: It contained the location of Earth.

WOOLSEY: Is there a chance it reached Pegasus?

McKAY: No.

(His face does not look relieved, however, and Zelenka turns to him with an equally unhappy expression.)

ZELENKA: Rodney, I've seen this energy signature before.

McKAY: I know. It looks like the device tore a small hole in the space/time continuum.

WOOLSEY: Do you think that was intended?

McKAY: No, couldn't be. Most of the energy meant to carry the Wraith transmission went through the rift.

WOOLSEY: To where?

ZELENKA: Well, there's no way to know for sure.

McKAY: Other realities.

WOOLSEY: I'm sorry, but I only care about us right now.

McKAY: If John Sheppard hadn't found that Wraith when he did, that transmission definitely would have made it through to Pegasus. He saved our asses.

ZELENKA: Yes. But that transmission would have been stronger in any other reality exposed to the rift.

McKAY: They could be in a lot of trouble right now.


DESERT. As the soundtrack to Johnny Cash's "Solitary Man" plays, the debris of the motorhome is burning fiercely. On the far side of the car, John Sheppard drags himself to his feet and tries to stumble away. He manages only a few steps before he falls again. He rolls onto his back, his face contorted with pain, and gazes up into the sky. Slowly the camera pulls away, leaving him to his fate.