Cloverdale

Transcript

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Lieutenant Scott is infected by a plant-like organism while surveying a planet, and suffers severe hallucinations of another life back home on Earth.

EPISODE #205
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 10.26.10
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 10.10.11
WRITTEN BY: Brad Wright
DIRECTED BY: Alex Chapple
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Transcript by Callie Sullivan

EARTH. Wearing desert camo, Matthew Scott is asleep, or at least dozing, his head resting against a bus window as it travels along. After a while he opens his eyes and blinks as if confused for a moment, then he relaxes.

MATT: We're coming into town.

(Sitting next to him, Ronald Greer - wearing similar uniform - looks around at the passing buildings as the bus progresses down the street. He frowns.)

RONALD: How can you tell?

(Grinning, Matt jabs him indignantly with his elbow.)

MATT: Hey! Beats the hell out of digs in Kandahar, don't it?!

(Ronald chuckles.)

RONALD: I wouldn't miss it for the world, brother.

MATT (smiling at him): Well, I appreciate it. I do.

(The bus driver calls out the next stop.)

DRIVER: Cloverdale!

(Matt puts his hands on the back of the seat in front of him and starts to pull himself to his feet. Ronald instantly slams his hands onto the back of the seat in front of him and starts to jump up.)

RONALD: Me first!

(The bus pulls up at the bus stop in the centre of Cloverdale and the door opens. Matt and Ronald pull their kit bags down from the overhead rack and make their way to the front of the bus, Matt bending forward and looking out of the windows on both sides of the vehicle.)

MATT: Damn. I thought my dad might be here.

(They get off the bus, which pulls away. Matt looks around as the bus departs and on the other side of the road he sees Everett and Eli lounging against a parked car grinning at him. Eli is holding a video camera.)

MATT: There they are! Hey, guys!

(Dropping his kit bag, he runs into the street towards them, only to be hit full on by a car driving down the road. As the car brakes fiercely, he slams into the windshield, is tossed into the air and crashes onto the road.)


ALIEN PLANET. On a planet several billion light years away, Lieutenant Matthew Scott crashes to the ground in a forested area, grimacing in pain. Lieutenant Tamara Johansen cries out in warning.

JOHANSEN: He's coming to again.

(Opening his eyes as he rolls on the floor, Scott grabs at a dressing covering his left forearm and rips it away. The entire upper side of his forearm is covered in angry bright blue lumps. Scott screams at the sight of it.)

SCOTT: T.J.! Just cut it off me, please!

(Chloe Armstrong stares down at him in concern.)

ARMSTRONG (to T.J.): Try something else!

JOHANSEN: I've tried everything in my bag. Nothing is working!

(Scott writhes on the floor in panic. Nearby, Master Sergeant Ronald Greer watches the surrounding area carefully. Doctors Nicholas Rush and Dale Volker, together with Eli Wallace, stand near Scott looking at him anxiously.)

RUSH: The best thing for him is to keep moving.

(Scott gazes up at them, breathing rapidly. He hears Everett Young's voice and looks around the group, trying to find him.)


EARTH. CLOVERDALE. Matt's consciousness returns to the small town back home on Earth.

YOUNG: Matthew.

(But he can't find his commanding officer anywhere in the group.)

EVERETT: Matthew!

(And now the sky is clear and there are no trees nearby. Dressed casually, Everett looks down at him in exasperation as Matt lies on his back in the middle of Cloverdale's main street.)

EVERETT: What the hell's the matter with you?

(As Matt stares up at him in confusion, the driver, Adam Brody, jumps out of his car.)

ADAM: Sorry! I'm sorry!

(He runs over to the others.)

ADAM: He just ran out in front of me!

MATT: No, I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine.

(He starts to stand up. Everett, Adam and Ronald help him to his feet.)

EVERETT: Thank God!

RONALD (to Matt): Yeah, lucky for you.

MATT: No-no-no, I was just being stupid.

(He looks around for his cap which fell off. Eli, who has just picked it up, hands it to him. Everett turns to Adam.)

EVERETT: Look, Mr. Brody, don't worry about it. They bounce at this age.

ADAM (relieved): OK. Hey, are we still on for the ...?

EVERETT (hurriedly): Yeah-yeah-yeah. Go! Go! We're takin' up the whole road here, guys.

(He goes over to the kit bags at the side of the road while Adam walks back to his car. Eli turns to Matt.)

ELI: If you wind up with any insurance issues, Matt, I got it all on video.

MATT (chuckling): I kinda wish you didn't, Eli.

(Having picked up the kit bags and slung one over each of his shoulders, Everett comes back and offers a hand to Ronald.)

EVERETT: So, uh, you must be Ronald.

(The two of them shake hands.)

MATT: Oh, Dad, sorry! This is Ron, my best man!

RONALD: Pleasure to meet you, sir.

EVERETT: No, you call me Everett. You're family now.

RONALD: Yes, sir.

MATT: And this is Chloe's brother, Eli.

(Eli and Ronald turn to each other and shake hands.)

RONALD: My brother Elijah.

ELI: Eli, actually ...

(He looks at Ron sternly.)

ELI: ... and I took myself out of the running for best man, 'cause I'm creating a video for my wedding gift.

RONALD: It's lucky for me.

ELI: Yeah!

MATT: Where's Chloe?

ELI: Uh, something about a dress. She's gonna meet you at the house.

MATT: I guess I'm anxious to see her.

EVERETT: I'll say! You nearly got yourself killed the day before your wedding!

MATT: Probably would have ruined the whole weekend, huh?!

EVERETT: Yeah, probably, but I guess since it looks like you're gonna live for another day ...

(He walks towards Matt, opening his arms.)

EVERETT: ... welcome home, son.

(They hug.)


PLANET. On the alien planet we get another look at the growths on Scott's arm. It looks as if a blue fungus has covered his upper forearm. He is now lying still with his eyes closed and T.J., wearing medical gloves, has her fingers pressed to the pulse on his neck.

JOHANSEN: OK, he's out again. Guys, we can move him.

(Standing up, she moves out of the way as the men move towards him. Chloe goes over to T.J.)

ARMSTRONG: You'll be able to help him once we're back on the ship, right?

RUSH: We can't risk taking him on board. It's too dangerous.

ARMSTRONG: What?!

JOHANSEN: Rush is right. You saw how quickly the organism spreads on contact. It could take over the whole ship.

ARMSTRONG: He can't stay here, either!

GREER: Chloe.

(He hands her his rifle and bends down to Scott, then looks at Eli and Volker who are also bent down.)

GREER: Are you ready? One, two, three.

(Between them, they lift Scott's unconscious body, Greer holding his shoulders, Eli his legs and Dale supporting his torso and backside. The girls grab the bags containing T.J.'s medical kit and other equipment.)

GREER: We got you.

(Eli nods.)

GREER: Go.

(Eli turns and begins to stumble in the direction of the Stargate. Volker and Greer follow, Ronald encouraging the younger man to lead them away more quickly.)

GREER: Come on, come on, move your feet, Eli, come on.

WALLACE: OK!

(Rush takes his bag over to the girls for them to carry.)

RUSH: I'll run ahead, contact Destiny, try to get them to send back medical supplies. If I'm fast, I'll get back before you reach the Gate, OK?

JOHANSEN: Yeah-yeah, good, go.

(Rush jogs towards the men carrying Scott.)

RUSH: Eli.

WALLACE: Yeah. Whoa, stop.

(The men stop momentarily so that Rush can catch them up.)

RUSH: Remote.

(He digs in Eli's jacket pocket to get the remote device from it.)

RUSH: OK.

(He chases off as the others start to stumble onwards with their load. Somewhere nearby, something hisses and rattles ominously.)


CLOVERDALE. Matt leads the others into the family house. He looks around the kitchen appreciatively as he passes through.

MATT: Wow. Oh, this hasn't changed one bit!

(Grinning, he continues into the sitting room. Eli follows him, camera raised to his shoulder as he films.)

ELI: Matt is clearly moved seeing the old homestead again.

RONALD: What's that?

ELI: A temp track for the voiceover. All good documentaries have one. I'm thinking Kiefer Sutherland, but I am the fallback.

(Ronald stares at him, apparently unsure how to take him. Matt grins and takes his jacket off.)

EVERETT: Ronald, make yourself at home.

(He takes his kit bag from him.)

EVERETT: Let me grab that. You're gonna be up in Matthew's room.

(He points to Matt.)

EVERETT: You're in my room. I'll be fine on the couch in the den. You're the one with the fiancée.

MATT: That's gonna be weird!

(Ronald cackles laughter. Everett heads back into the kitchen.)

ELI (to Matt): Like that'll stop you!

(The boys sit down on on various seats.)

MATT: OK, so, uh, so what's the plan?

(Everett comes back with four bottles of beer.)

EVERETT: I say you get married, you start a family, you grow old and die happy.

(He hands out the beers, clinks his own bottle against Ronald's as he passes him and then sits down.)

MATT: OK, well I thought you guys might, um ...

RONALD: What?

MATT: I dunno, throw a party, maybe?

(Ronald looks awkward.)

RONALD: Was I supposed to do that?

(He looks round guiltily at Everett.)

EVERETT: No, no. Yeah ... no.

(He looks at Matt.)

EVERETT: Uh, Chloe said she wanted you all to herself tonight.

(Matt can't help but look a little disappointed.)

ELI: Yeah, yeah, she said something about wanting to catch the early show at the Clova.

MATT: Really?

ELI: Yeah, that's what I said.

MATT: Well, we can see a movie any night.

EVERETT: What are you doin' right there?! What, you don't wanna see a movie with your fiancée?

CHLOE: He'd better!

(She has just arrived through the kitchen door and now leans against it giggling with delight at the sight of Matt, who grins happily. Ronald turns around on his chair to get a good look at her as Matt stands up and walks out of the sitting room, pointedly grabbing Ron's head and turning it away from the doorway. He hurries into the kitchen as she steps towards him and they wrap their arms around each other and kiss. Ronald stands up and strolls into the kitchen.)

RONALD (over his shoulder): Video boy. Kiefer Sutherland might have something to say over here.

(Taking the hint, Eli grabs his camera and hurries out to the kitchen, activating the camera as he goes. Everett also stands up and he and Ronald smile happily as they watch the newly reunited couple cuddling and kissing. Chloe finally breaks the kiss.)

CHLOE: Oh, I'm so sorry I couldn't be there to meet you. The train was too long after I changed my shoes.

MATT: Uh, OK!

(Chloe looks down with concern as she sees an angry red bruise on Matt's left forearm.)

CHLOE: Matt, what did you do to your arm?

MATT (grinning): Oh, I got hit by a car!

CHLOE: What?!

MATT: I'm fine.

CHLOE: Hit ... Are you sure?

(Matt's smile fades and he starts to look faint.)

CHLOE: Hey, you don't look so good. Matt?

(He topples forward and passes out.)


DESTINY GATEROOM. Colonel Young is standing in front of the open Stargate and talking on the radio.

YOUNG: Time's an issue, I get it. What do you need?

RUSH (from the planet): Lieutenant Johansen's medicinals - one of everything you can get your hands on, but especially the alien venom. Nothing she's tried so far has had any effect.

(Young nods to Lisa Park who is standing at a nearby console. She hurries away towards the Infirmary.)

YOUNG (into radio): OK, what else?

RUSH: I wanna try hydrochloric acid. Need some alcohol from the still, clean bandages ...

(He hesitates for a long moment before continuing.)

RUSH: ... and whatever's appropriate for cutting through bone.

YOUNG: It's as bad as that?

RUSH (quietly): Yeah. Put it on Eli's Kino sled and get it through as quickly as you can.


CLOVERDALE. Matt regains consciousness lying on the sofa. He looks up to see Everett sitting nearby, his head propped in his hand, watching him. Ronald and Eli are a little further away, also both watching him. Matt frowns in confusion.

MATT: What happened?

RONALD: You fainted.

ELI: I got it on video if you want it.

(Everett chuckles.)

MATT: No thanks, Eli.

(He pulls himself up into a sitting position.)

MATT: Why the heck would I faint?

ELI: You did just get hit by a car.

(Chloe comes in from the kitchen with a sandwich on a piece of kitchen towel.)

CHLOE: Ronald said you haven't eaten all day.

(She hands him the sandwich.)

CHLOE: Here.

MATT: I don't think that's it, honey.

EVERETT: Now, you listen to me. You are one day away from being out of here. You're fine, all right? Go to a movie with your girlfriend, you enjoy yourself. We'll ... (he looks round at the others) ... we'll leave the lights on. OK?

(He nods reassuringly to him.)


LATER. Matt and Chloe are walking down the street towards the cinema, the Clova. The advertised film is "Far Afield".

CHLOE: Oh, you're going to hate the cake!

MATT: Oh, would you stop worrying so much about one day?! Let's think about all the days after that!

CHLOE: OK!

MATT: M'kay?

CHLOE: OK!

MATT: M'kay?!


Shortly afterwards, they enter the theatre with a large bucket of popcorn and a carton of drink. Various other couples and individuals are already seated, although it's nowhere near full. The commercials have just finished and the MGM logo comes up on the screen as Chloe and Matt sit down.

MATT: Here.

(He hands her the popcorn.)

MATT: D'you remember the first time we came here?

CHLOE (grinning as she eats a piece of popcorn): Yep.

(Matt looks at her.)

MATT: That's why we came here, isn't it?

(She turns and smiles at him soppily.)

CHLOE: Yep.

(They giggle, then lean towards each other and kiss. On the screen the movie begins. A good looking young couple feature.)

WOMAN: It's so beautiful.

(As if recognising the line, Matt pulls back from Chloe and turns to look at the screen. Smiling in delight, the young woman walks towards the man who is standing at the edge of what appears to be a field of white flowers on an alien looking planet. He is dressed in black military gear, has short hair and looks remarkably like Lieutenant Scott. The woman, coincidentally, bears a strong resemblance to Chloe Armstrong. Matt looks at the scene anxiously.)

MATT: Whoa. This is ...

CHLOE: What?

WOMAN (onscreen): It's like an ocean of flowers.

MATT (nervously): This doesn't look familiar to you?

(Nearby patrons shush him noisily. On the screen, the man and woman smile happily.)

MAN: Goes on forever, doesn't it?

WOMAN: Yeah.

(She squats down to where the flowers are rippling gently, and waves her hand slowly over the top of the nearest ones. Instantly those flowers turn temporarily purple, then green, and the colours ripple out into the next nearest flowers and out across the rest of them before they all turn back to white. Matt stares at the screen in horror while, beside him and unaware of his fear, Chloe chomps on popcorn and watches the movie with interest.)

WOMAN (happily): Did you see that?

MAN: Yeah.

(He squats down beside her.)

MAN: Watch this.

(He touches the nearest flowers and again the bands of colour ripple across the field. The woman laughs in delight as he turns and looks at her, and she returns his gaze. Matt glowers at the screen.)

MATT: Get out of there.

(Chloe looks round at him, puzzled, as the couple stand up and smile at each other romantically.)

WOMAN: Don't you just wanna run through it barefoot?

MAN: Yeah.

WOMAN: It'd be so beautiful.

(They clasp their hands together and then lean towards each other but before they can kiss, one of the plants bursts upwards on a long stem, its flower now red and angry looking. It seems to growl ferociously. Matt jumps in his seat and grabs at Chloe in fear.)

CHLOE: Would you relax?

(On the screen a second flower bursts upwards and turns towards the couple as they back away nervously.)

MAN: Maybe not.

(As more flowers raise up, snarling, the couple turn and start to run but another flower bursts through the ground in front of them, blocking their way. The top of the plant is at least eight feet high. The man grabs at its stem with his left hand and holds it as it flails in front of him. Several seconds later the plant doubles over on itself and its head lashes downwards. A spine at the top of the plant stabs into the man's forearm and he cries out in pain. Matt flinches. The man reaches for a knife in his belt with his right hand and slashes it across the plant, severing its upper half. As the top half falls to the ground, blue sap sprays everywhere, some of it falling on the ground and a drop or two hitting the lower part of the woman's tunic. The man groans in pain and the woman watches in panic as the stab wound in his arm turns blue and a fungus-like growth begins to appear. Matt leaps to his feet, almost hyperventilating. He looks down at Chloe.)

MATT: I'm sorry.

(He turns and hurries to the rear doors and bursts through them, running into the foyer. Behind him, a scream comes from the movie screen followed by gunfire. As he tries to catch his breath, Chloe runs out after him.)

CHLOE: Matthew! What is wrong with you?

MATT (turning to her): You don't remember any of that actually happening?

CHLOE: No! It's a movie!

(Gunfire and screaming continue to come from the theatre. Matt listens to it for a moment, then pulls himself together and forces a laugh.)

MATT: I'm sorry. I-I-I don't know what's wrong with me.

(Chloe looks at him in concern as he continues to force himself to smile at her.)

MATT: Can we just get out of here?

(She nods.)

CHLOE: Hang on. I left my purse.

(She goes back into the theatre and walks down the aisle. Darren Becker, who works at the cinema, has already picked up her bag and hands it to her.)

DARREN (quietly): What was that about?

CHLOE (quietly): I have no idea. Look, I can stall for a while but you'll have to let them know we're gonna be early.

(Darren nods and pats her arm reassuringly. At the doorway Matt has opened the door a little and is peering through at the screen. We can't see what's happening in the movie but the woman's voice can be heard as she calls frantically to her boyfriend.)

WOMAN: Wake up! You've gotta wake up. Wake up! (She sobs.) You've gotta wake up.

(Unable to bear it any longer, Matt turns away.)


PLANET. The team stumbles towards the Stargate and meets up with Rush who has collected the Kino sled and is pushing it towards them. It has a small crate and a bag on top of it.

JOHANSEN: All right, let's unpack those supplies and get him on the sled.

(She, Eli and Chloe clear the sled so that the others can lay Scott onto it.)

JOHANSEN (to Rush): What did you ask for?

RUSH: Everything I could think of. The venom was top of the list.

JOHANSEN: All right, let's try it first.

RUSH: Has it spread beyond the arm?

JOHANSEN: No, not yet.

RUSH: Good.

(Greer turns and looks around suspiciously as he hears a snarling sound. Eli, in the meantime, has found a small battery operated saw in the supplies and is looking at it in horror. Rush sees his look.)

RUSH (softly): I know.


CLOVERDALE. Chloe and Matt are walking along the main street.

CHLOE: Did something happen to you over there that you wanna talk about?

MATT: No-no, that was just some kind of weird déjà-vu. I'm over it now. Hey, you wanna go to Mr. Brody's for a bite?

CHLOE (unhappily): Now?

(Just then, Dale Volker trots over the road and approaches them, smiling.)

DALE: Matthew Scott!

MATT: Hey, Mr. Volker!

DALE: Dale, please! I'm your pharmacist, for God's sakes!

(They shake hands.)

DALE: So, you're back home. No-one ... no-one tells me these things.

CHLOE: Well, we're getting married this weekend.

DALE: Right! Yes! I-I-I did hear something about that. (He laughs awkwardly.) Wow! That must be ...

(He trails off, lost for words. Embarrassed for him, Matt behaves as if he had finished the sentence.)

MATT: It is!

DALE: Yeah, I bet it is! I bet it is. Good. Good. So, um ... What are you up to?

CHLOE: Uh, on our way to Brody's, but I don't think they're open yet, do you?

DALE: Uh, why don't we find out?

(He reaches into his pocket and takes out his cellphone. Matt frowns, bewildered, while Chloe looks uncomfortable and worried.)

DALE: No, it's no problem, no problem.

(He dials, and waits for the other end to pick up.)

DALE: Adam! Hey, guess who I just bumped into. Matthew Scott and ...

(He pauses as Adam apparently says something at the other end, then chuckles.)

DALE: That's right! Hey, listen, they were wondering if you were, uh ...

(He is interrupted again.)

DALE: Just open. Perfect. Well, we'll see you in a few minutes ... (rapidly) ... they will. Them. They'll see you. Good.

(Grinning awkwardly, he hangs up.)

DALE: Well, they're all there ... the staff ... it's all there ... the, uh, waiters and ...

(He grins again.)

DALE: So. Well, you're good to go.

(Still grinning, he walks past them and heads off down the street. Matt frowns as Chloe continues to look uncomfortable. They look over their shoulders as Dale looks back over his and smiles falsely at them before continuing onwards. Still confused, Matt leads Chloe away.)

(Shortly afterwards they walk into Brody's. It's very dimly lit inside and there's nobody else around as Matt walks over to the bar where Adam is standing.)

MATT: Slow night, huh?

ADAM (nonchalantly): Oh, no, the place is packed. Everyone's hiding.

MATT: What?

LOTS OF VOICES: Surprise!!

(Matt jumps and turns around as all his male friends and family appear out of nowhere, shouting and cheering, while the barmaids jump up from behind the bar. Everett hugs him.)

EVERETT: You are a lot of work!

(He kisses his cheek as, beside them, Chloe is hugging Ronald while Eli is filming everything. Ronald and Everett change places to hug the other one of the pair.)

RONALD: You can't sit through one damned movie?!

MATT: Man, I almost blew it, didn't I? And Volker was stalling ... I'm such an idiot!

CHLOE: Yes, you are! But my work is done; I have delivered you to your bachelor party - better early than never!

(She kisses him, then turns to leave.)

EVERETT: Well done!

CHLOE: If he is hungover in the morning ...

EVERETT: No-no-no-no, we're good, we've got it. Everything's ... nothing to worry about.

(He ushers her towards the door as, behind her, Matt, Ronald and Eli are already tossing back their first shots. Everett turns back to Matt as Chloe leaves, and looks at him sternly.)

EVERETT: If you're not hungover, I will be very disappointed.

(Matt laughs.)

EVERETT (raising his own shot glass): Here's a toast to my son, to my boy who's gettin' hitched!

(He whoops loudly. Everyone else joins in. Matt clinks his second shot glass with everyone nearby, then tosses the contents back.)


PLANET. On the planet, Scott coughs convulsively, choking up the fluid that T.J. has just poured down his throat.

WALLACE: What's that supposed to do?

JOHANSEN: Hopefully dull the pain.

(Nearby, the snarling has become much louder.)

RUSH: They're still spreading towards us, probably following the vibrations in our movement.

(He looks down at Scott.)

RUSH: Anything?

JOHANSEN: The venom had no effect.

RUSH: That's disappointing.

JOHANSEN: It didn't even react to the acid. I tried everything you brought back. It's like this thing is indestructible.

RUSH: Well, you know what you have to do.

(He picks up the saw and drops it onto the sled. Chloe shakes her head ferociously.)

ARMSTRONG: No. No.

RUSH: Look, I know it looks extreme.

ARMSTRONG: No, he wouldn't want that!

RUSH: Any rational person would give up a limb if it meant saving their life.

WALLACE: Hey. If we wait too long and it spreads to the rest of his body ...

(Chloe sighs unhappily. Greer and Volker run back towards them, returning from a recce.)

GREER: Those things are still coming this way.

(As if to prove it, there's more snarling.)

VOLKER: The leading edge is on the other side of those trees.

RUSH: OK, that gives us roughly fifteen minutes.

WALLACE: Ten.

(Rush looks at T.J.)

RUSH: Is that enough time?

JOHANSEN: No, we're almost to the Gate. We'll do it there.

(They begin to push the sled towards the Gate as the snarling gets louder.)


CLOVERDALE. Eli is filming Ronald as he drinks from a bottle of beer and dances in the middle of the floor. After a while he swings the camera around to show one of Brody's waitresses, Vanessa, taking a tray of drinks across to a table. Ronald whoops appreciatively as she walks past him smiling. Eli follows her with the camera as she puts a drink down for a customer, smiling at him flirtatiously.

VANESSA (to the customer): Hey.

(Ronald steps across to dance behind her and she grins over her shoulder at him. At the next table, Everett - more than a little drunk - calls out across the room.)

EVERETT: Brody! Brody, Brody, what is ... what is ... what, what's ... what's with this music?

MATT (seated beside him): What's wrong with it?

EVERETT: What's wrong ... what's wrong with it? It sounds like it's an animal dying!

ELI: Best man chooses the music!

(Still bopping around the room, Ronald nods happily.)

RONALD: I am the best man!

EVERETT: Oh, really? Oh, this is ... this is the man here?

(Grinning, he stands up and steps over to Ronald.)

EVERETT: This is your fault?!

(Ronald steps closer and looks down at him.)

RONALD (drunkenly): Sir, I've been called a good man, a strong man ...

MATT: An angry man!

(Ron points at him in agreement.)

RONALD: But I ain't never been called a best man. (He grins across at Matt.) Until now, huh?!

(Cackling with laughter, he walks over to Matt and punches him on the arm.)

RONALD: Now, a groom ...

(He looks around the bar, then back to Matt.)

RONALD: Groom. What is that?

MATT: God, that's me!

(He and Ronald laugh. Vanessa, who has been dishing out drinks nearby, walks over with her tray.)

VANESSA: Last call, guys!

EVERETT (wheedling): Oh, come on, Vaness'! Come on, night's young, come on. That's it - keep 'em coming.

(She smiles at Matt as he lurches to his feet and staggers over to her.)

VANESSA: Nah, I think you are cut off!

MATT: That is not the first time you've told me that, if you catch my drift.

(Drunkenly he lifts the bottom of her shirt and tries to slide his fingers underneath. She seizes his hand and pushes it away angrily.)

VANESSA: Let's not forget who dumped who.

ELI (narrating as he films): An awkward moment with Matt's ex.

VANESSA (to Matt): Are you flirting with me the night before your wedding?

MATT: Hey, I still got a whole nineteen hours of freedom left.

VANESSA: OK. Well then, let's go. Right now. We'll drive somewhere and never come back.

(She leans close to him, gazing up at him intently. He backs away nervously.)

MATT: Whoa, OK, come on, Vanessa, I was ... I was just kidding.

VANESSA: Yeah. That's what I thought.

(She walks away angrily. Matt turns and sees Eli still filming. Irritated, he puts his hand across the lens.)

MATT: Erase that!


LATER. Matt has his arms slung around the shoulders of Everett and Ronald as they slowly make their way along the street. Matt can barely walk and the three of them giggle as they walk along.

VOICE: You honestly weren't planning on driving, were you?

(The men look up and see Sheriff David Telford standing nearby, leaning against the bonnet of his police vehicle and grinning at them. Everett chuckles.)

EVERETT: Well, not now!

DAVID: For God's sakes, Everett, tomorrow's an important day.

(He walks across to him and claps him on the shoulder, then turns to lead them across to his car.)

EVERETT: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, no, it's true, it's true.

(Releasing Matt, he looks at Ronald.)

EVERETT: You got him?

RONALD: Yeah, I got him.

(He supports Matt as they totter towards the rear door which David has just opened.)

MATT: Are we being arrested?

DAVID: Just a friendly ride home. Call it a wedding present.

(He chuckles as they clamber into the back seat.)


Later, the car is on its way. Everett, sitting in the passenger seat, is grinning over his shoulder at Matt.

DAVID: So how was it over there?

MATT: Boring.

RONALD: He just means we didn't see any action.

DAVID: So what's wrong with that?

RONALD: What's wrong with that?! It's a waste of ability.

(He and David chuckle.)

DAVID: You're that good, huh? Oh, don't take this the wrong way, Sergeant, but guys like you usually get themselves killed.

RONALD (dangerously): Guys like me?

EVERETT: No, David, why? Why do you always gotta start a fight?

DAVID (innocently): It's a conversation!

(Matt suddenly lurches up and leans forward between the two men in the front seats.)

MATT: Hey, you guys ever wonder what's real?

(He looks round anxiously at his father.)

MATT: Because ever since I got home, I keep thinking I'm someone ... someone else, like I'm not myself.

DAVID: Alcohol can have that effect.

MATT: No, I don't really drink.

DAVID (laughing): I can see that!

(Matt sinks back in his seat, grimacing.)

MATT: Oh, Chloe's gonna kill me!

EVERETT: She-she'll-she'll get over it. Go to sleep, all right?

DAVID (grinning): Go ahead, close your eyes.

(He pauses for a moment, still smiling but his face becomes more serious as he continues.)

DAVID: But I'm sorry to tell you that when you wake up, you're gonna feel guilty for things you've done or said.

(Matt gazes out of the window, his face anguished.)

DAVID: Some of it you won't even remember. It'll just be a blur and you're gonna wonder if you're ever gonna feel like the person you used to be again.

(He smiles sympathetically as he looks into his rear view mirror. Matt's eyes are closed.)

DAVID: Matthew?


PLANET. On the planet, Scott's eyes are closed. Greer looks at him closely.

GREER: I think he's out.

(T.J. is pouring alcohol over the saw.)

JOHANSEN: I hope so. I don't want him waking up in the middle of this.

(She looks up at Greer.)

JOHANSEN: I need you to hold him still.

ARMSTRONG: Oh God. I can't watch.

(She moves a little way away and turns her back.)

GREER: You don't have to.

(He looks at Eli.)

GREER: Take his feet. (Sternly) Hold tight.

(T.J. looks across to Rush.)

JOHANSEN: Hold his arm?

(Rush looks reluctant to agree, but eventually grabs some plastic wrapping from a nearby bag and moves towards the sled.)

RUSH: Have you done this before?

JOHANSEN: No.

(Rush carefully wraps the plastic around Scott's left arm and tightens it so that he can pull on the arm without touching the infected part. Greer, on the other side of the sled, kneels down and puts his arm across Scott's chest, leaning his weight onto it. Eli is kneeling down at the end of the sled holding Scott's feet with his head turned away. Rush finishes tying off the plastic and kneels down, pulling the arm straight. T.J. pulls in an anxious breath.)

JOHANSEN: Ready?

(Taking a scalpel, she begins a deep cut across the skin just below his elbow. As the blood wells out Volker, standing just behind her, puts his hand on her shoulder.)

VOLKER: Wait-wait, stop, stop.

WALLACE: What?

(T.J. straightens up, sighing in exasperation as she realises what Volker has seen. The blood is deep blue.)

JOHANSEN: Look at the colour.

VOLKER: It's in his bloodstream.

(Rush stands up and steps away.)

RUSH: No point in dismembering him.

VOLKER: Not if it's spreading internally.

JOHANSEN: Dammit!

ARMSTRONG: So what do we do now?

GREER: We've got three hours before the ship goes into F.T.L.

RUSH: Sergeant ...

GREER (sternly): Let's keep at it.

RUSH: There's no ...

GREER: We can still win this.

RUSH: This is an enemy you can't fight.

GREER: Watch me. Three hours - that's the clock.

RUSH: Not really.

VOLKER: He means we're gonna be overrun by the organism in less than an hour, Greer.

RUSH (to Eli): Is there any planets in range?

WALLACE: One, but it's locked out. I guess it's more dangerous than this place.

GREER: Dial the ship.

RUSH: We can't take him back to Destiny. We've already been through this.

GREER: I know that. I need some things.


CLOVERDALE.

CHLOE: Matt?

(Matt is asleep face down on his bed. Chloe, sitting on the side of the bed, shakes him a couple of times to wake him up.)

CHLOE: Why did you drink so much?

(Matt grimaces without opening his eyes. His voice when he speaks sounds like his tongue is too big for his mouth.)

MATT: Isn't that what you're supposed to do at a bachelor party?

CHLOE: So that's why you do things? Because you're supposed to?

MATT: Sometimes.

CHLOE: Is that why you're getting married?

(Matt frowns and turns over to face her.)

MATT: What? No! Why would you say that?

(He sits up and shuffles closer to her as she looks back at him hopefully.)

CHLOE: So you're not just coming back from war to marry your high school sweetheart because you're supposed to; because you think it's the right thing to do?

(Matt stares at her for a moment, then frowns as if it's all too much for his alcohol-befuddled brain to take in. He puts his hand over his eyes and lowers his head.)

MATT: Uh ...

(Chloe makes a disappointed sound.)

CHLOE: Wow. You really should know the answer faster than that, Matt.

MATT (lowering his hand): Chloe, this isn't fair. My brain isn't working!

CHLOE: Well, it better start working. This is your wedding day. You have to talk to the Justice of the Peace at ten about our vows.

MATT: I know. I know.

CHLOE: You have to pick up your tuxedos!

MATT: I know. Chloe ...

(He stares intently into her face.)

MATT: ... I really, really have to pee.

(Chloe sighs, then chuckles. He laughs briefly and she puts her hands on his chest and shoves him back onto the bed in exasperation before standing up and leaving the room. Behind her, Matt raises his hands in a "what was all that about?" type gesture.)


DESTINY. Young is walking along a corridor with Lisa.

YOUNG: So we're ruling out quarantine?

PARK: Well, it's not up to me to rule out anything, but we have to consider the possibility that Lieutenant Scott's infection is how this organism reproduces. It's already spread to his blood.

YOUNG: Well, still, there must be precautions.

PARK: Against what? We have no idea what the next stage of infection entails. Even if we were to manage to move him from the Gateroom into quarantine, it's just a matter of time before the infected area would burst open and release microscopic spores into the ship's air. All we would have to do is breathe it in and the same thing that's happening to Scott could happen to all of us from the inside out.

YOUNG: Yeah, but you can't say that for sure.

PARK: But we have to assume that this thing has infected Scott in order to spread. One way or another, it's what virulent aggressive organisms do. We can't invite it aboard.

YOUNG (unhappily): OK.

(He starts to walk away but Lisa takes his arm.)

PARK: Look, um, please don't put this all on me.

YOUNG: I'm not.

PARK: Because he's one of the nicest people on the ship, and I just would hate to be responsible for ...

YOUNG: Lisa. It's my decision.


PLANET. On the planet, reinforcements have arrived from Destiny and Greer is organising them as they dig a trench around the Stargate area. Boxes and crates - presumably unneeded empty ones - are being brought through the Gate from the ship to be used as a wall. Greer prowls around the area encouraging the troops as they work.

GREER: As deep a ditch as you can dig! Then the barricade. It doesn't have to be pretty, just quick! Anything outside of that is the kill zone. We've gotta hold the Gate for three hours.

(In the Gateroom, Young is sitting on the stairs looking at the open Gate. He activates his radio.)

YOUNG: Sergeant, we're sending a Kino, see if we can get you some intel on this thing.

(Nearby, Brody types on a remote and a Kino flies into the event horizon.)


CLOVERDALE. On the main street, Matt stands outside a door which indicates that it is the office of Nicholas Rush, Justice of the Peace. He presses the entry button.

NICHOLAS (over intercom): Hello?

MATT: Hi, I'm Matt Scott. You're marrying me tonight. ... I mean, me and my girlfriend.

NICHOLAS: I wasn't confused. Come in.

(The door buzzes and Matt walks into Nicholas' office and sits down on the other side of his desk.)

MATT: So, I guess we just wanna go with the usual.

NICHOLAS: The usual.

MATT: Wedding vows. You know, uh, "dearly beloved ..."

NICHOLAS (smiling): I know what wedding vows are.

(He and Matt look at each other for a moment, then both of them laugh.)

MATT: I'm sorry. I'm not all here today.

NICHOLAS: So, to what do we owe this, um, partial presence? Are you having doubts about what you're entering into?

MATT: What, you-you-you mean about marrying Chloe? No, no, I love her. I'm just a little hungover.

NICHOLAS: Like father, like son.

(Matt gazes back at him flatly.)

MATT: My dad is a great man.

(Nicholas' expression doesn't change.)

MATT: Anyway, we talked about it, me and Chloe, and we decided to go with the regular vows. They're all good.

NICHOLAS (shrugging): Traditional vows it is.

(Leaning back in his chair, he pointedly puts his feet up on the desk as if to indicate that the interview is over. Matt stands and walks to the office door, then turns back.)

MATT: Um, is there anything else we need to talk about?

NICHOLAS: I don't know. Is there?

(Matt bites his lip.)

MATT: I've been having this feeling. I don't know how to describe it.

NICHOLAS: Something's not quite right.

(Matt hurries over to the desk and leans on it.)

MATT: Yes, yes, something's definitely wrong here, and I'm ... to tell you the truth, I think I'm ... I think I'm losing it.

(He stares at the other man anxiously. Nicholas puts his pencil into his notebook thoughtfully.)

NICHOLAS: Have you spoken to your father?

MATT: Every time I try to say something, he tells me everything's great; I should just be happy.

NICHOLAS: Ah. The sage advice of great men.

MATT: But I can see it in his eyes.

(He bites his lip again, looking down as he thinks about his situation. Finally he raises his eyes again.)

MATT: Oh, I am scared.

(He draws in a terrified breath.)

NICHOLAS: Well, you know, I'm not a great man, Matthew, but I can tell you that fear - well, it's just one of those things in this world that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that you're truly alive. And I can tell you that you're alive ... until you're dead.

(He looks at Matt intently.)

NICHOLAS: You are gonna die, Matthew. We all will ... eventually.

MATT (lost in thought): Uh. Yeah.

NICHOLAS (slamming his notebook down on the desk): So, seven o'clock, then.

(Matt looks up at him.)

NICHOLAS: The "dearly beloved" business.

MATT: I'll be there.

NICHOLAS (grinning): Your whole self, please.


DESTINY. Brody, Young and Lisa are watching the footage from the Kino which has flown high above the ground and is filming the area below as it is returning to the Stargate. Night has fallen but there appears to be a bright moon because the footage is clear: there are plants rising out of the ground everywhere around the area. Although they are spread far apart, there is a lot of them and they hiss and snarl as the Kino zooms over their heads. Lisa pauses the footage.

PARK: What we can see above ground must only be a fraction of the whole organism. The bulk of it has to be like an enormous root system that extends outward from the flora, dormant until its prey gets close enough to get stung and survive just long enough to spread spores. I don't even wanna think about what it could do aboard ship.

YOUNG: What do you think it is: plant, animal?

PARK: Maybe properties of both, like coral, except its growth rates max right up against the laws of thermodynamics. It spreads upon contact and it resisted every chemical T.J.'s exposed to it.

YOUNG: Well, let's hope it burns.


PLANET. On the planet, the barricades are in place. On the other side, the plants which I'm now going to refer to as triffids (because they behave very like triffids have in any TV adaptation of the novel) have arrived and several of them are rearing above the defences. They are being held back by Greer and two other marines, each of them armed with the flamethrowers which Ron cobbled together some time ago. While the plants aren't bursting into flame as the fire hits them, they definitely don't like it and are screaming and rearing back.

GREER: Short bursts, gentlemen. Short bursts.

(The marines continue to hold the triffids back. All through the rest of the episode the plants continue to scream, growl and roar as they try to get closer to the humans. Deeper inside the defences, the others watch anxiously. On Destiny, Young lifts his radio.)

YOUNG: T.J., go to two.

(Beside the Gate ramp where she is caring for Scott, T.J. stands up and adjusts the channel setting on her radio.)

JOHANSEN (into radio): Yes, sir?

YOUNG: Are you sure Lieutenant Scott is the only one who's been infected?

JOHANSEN: Yeah, I'm pretty sure.

YOUNG: Well, I need you to be damned sure. I'm gonna need you to send non-combatants back to the ship. The last thing we need is a mad dash at the last minute.

JOHANSEN: Understood, sir.

YOUNG: T.J., that means you, too.

JOHANSEN: Uh, sir, I'd like to keep trying.

YOUNG: Don't make me come down there and get you. I'm not willing to lose both of you. Young out.

(Biting her lip, T.J. tucks her radio back into her vest and kneels down to Scott again. Chloe, sitting close to him, looks across to her.)

ARMSTRONG: He's dying, isn't he?

(T.J. looks away, unwilling to answer.)

ARMSTRONG: How long?

JOHANSEN: I don't know. He's strong, so probably longer than we can stay.

ARMSTRONG: No, I'm not leaving him.

(T.J. stand and turns to face her.)

JOHANSEN: Chloe, I just got orders to send everybody but Greer's team back to the ship, and that includes you.

ARMSTRONG (standing up): Tamara, I have a right to stay.

JOHANSEN: No, you don't!

ARMSTRONG: I'm not leaving!

(Light briefly flickers from the Stargate as the event horizon fluctuates and T.J. notices something for the first time. She stares at the other woman in shock.)

JOHANSEN: Chloe.

(Following her gaze, Chloe looks down and then pulls the bottom of her tunic away from her body for a better look. About four inches above the hem is a small round blue patch.)

ARMSTRONG: Oh my God.


LATER. Shortly afterwards, as Greer's team continues to hold the triffids back, T.J. is holding the blue patch on Chloe's tunic with a pair of tweezers and is cutting around it with scissors to remove that piece of material. As she lifts it away Chloe raises her top a little so that T.J. can look underneath.

JOHANSEN: It doesn't look like it touched your skin.

ARMSTRONG: How did it get there?

JOHANSEN: Maybe when Matt first cut the thing. It could have been a microscopic droplet for all we know. It grew right through the material. It's a miracle you weren't infected.

(She turns and calls out.)

JOHANSEN: Greer! Over here.

(She drops the tweezers and the piece of material onto the ground in the middle of the defence zone. Greer drops down from the box he has been standing on, walks over to what T.J. just dropped and fires a two second blast of flame down at it. As he stops firing everyone looks down at the material which ought to be incinerated. Instead, it is barely touched and is merely smoking a little. Greer looks up at T.J.)

GREER: You've gotta be kiddin' me.

(He fires a longer burst of flame downwards. This time when he stops the material is burning and well on the way to being destroyed. Nodding to T.J. he goes back to the blockade while she goes up the Stargate's ramp a little and then turns and calls out to everyone.)

JOHANSEN: OK, listen up! Everyone not on Sergeant Greer's fire team is going back through the Stargate. Each of you needs to be checked for traces of the organism on your person before you go. Eyes only, use the buddy system, OK?

(Unnoticed by anyone, Chloe turns and moves quietly away from the rest of the group, heading into a spot to the left of the Gate where one of the crates is only about waist high. She raises her eyes and waits. Back at the Gate, Eli walks over to where Scott is lying and kneels down beside him. T.J. goes over to join him.)

JOHANSEN: Eli, that means you.

WALLACE: I ... I've been checking myself every thirty seconds. Just ... give me a minute, OK?

(Hearing the distress in his voice, T.J. moves away. Eli looks down at his stricken friend tearfully.)

(At the barriers, a triffid is towering over the crates, lowering its head towards Chloe. As if unafraid, she holds up the open palm of her left hand and extends it towards the plant.)


CLOVERDALE. Matt, Ronald and Eli are in the tailor's dressed in their wedding tuxedos. As Matt stares into the mirror in front of him, Eli - jacketless - admires the footage he is taking of himself and his friends.

ELI: Damn, we look good!

RONALD: Is that you or Kiefer talking?

ELI: Oh, I think Mr. Sutherland would agree.

MATT (flatly): All right, they fit.

RONALD: It's like the enthusiasm just explodes out of your face.

MATT: Yeah, well, you did this to me. Go change!

(Ronald walks away to the changing areas. Eli looks at how Matt is simply staring at himself in the mirror as the tailor comes over to check his measurements.)

ELI: Listen, Matt, I can't help but notice that something's bothering you beyond the blood alcohol level.

MATT: I'm fine.

ELI: I'm just saying ... we've known each other a long time and I can pretty much tell when something is ...

MATT (interrupting): What, you think you know me?

ELI (shrugging): You're not that deep.

(He grins, but his smile quickly fades as Matt stares at him blankly.)

ELI: Look, nobody who knows you at all thinks of you as a one-girl guy. It's ... it's not a criticism. Hey, it's just who you are. If you're having cold feet, I think that ...

(Matt spins around to face him.)

MATT: No, listen, listen. I'm going to marry Chloe, we're gonna have a half dozen kids, buy a house on my dad's street, we're gonna renovate it together, play catch with the kids in the front yard, and go to Brody's every Friday night. You can videotape the whole danged thing.

(Eli looks down for a moment, then raises his eyes to Matt's again.)

ELI: Well (a) that's a lot of tape ...

(He looks closely at Matt.)

ELI: ... and (b) I don't think you believe that yourself.

(Matt pauses for a moment, then looks down angrily at the tailor who is on his knees measuring.)

MATT: Are we done?

(Silently but indignantly, the tailor stands up and steps away. Matt takes a few steps forward, put his hands briefly to his face, then topples and crashes to the floor in a faint.)


PLANET. On the planet, as the triffids continue to snarl and hiss, Eli tearfully looks down at his friend.

WALLACE: If-if you can hear me, I just want you to know that nobody's giving up on you.

(He looks across to the barricades as Greer calls out to his men.)

GREER: Sweep! Sweep!

(He jumps off his box and runs closer to the crates as the plants make more effort to penetrate the constant bursts of flame aimed at them. The marines sweep their flamethrowers from side to side along the top of the crates, Greer whooping triumphantly as he works himself into a frenzy. Eli laughs as he describes the scene to Scott.)

WALLACE: I mean, you should see Greer's face. He's taking no prisoners!

(He looks down at Scott seriously.)

WALLACE: You'd better keep fighting too, OK?

JOHANSEN: Eli!

(She looks all around the area.)

JOHANSEN: Eli.

WALLACE (angrily, through gritted teeth): I asked for one lousy minute!

JOHANSEN: Where's Chloe?

(Eli looks around, calling out.)

WALLACE: Chloe!

JOHANSEN: Chloe!

(Eli stands up, looking around worriedly.)

WALLACE: Chloe!

(He smiles briefly as she walks into view from behind the Stargate. She walks towards the group looking unhappy and holding her left hand cradled in her right.)

JOHANSEN: What happened?

(With her face full of guilt, Chloe raises her left hand to show the palm. There's a large blue plant bite on it.)

ARMSTRONG: Now I have to stay.

RUSH: Oh, you didn't, did you?

ARMSTRONG: It wasn't that hard. It doesn't even hurt that much.

WALLACE: Chloe, why would you do that?

ARMSTRONG: They weren't going to let me stay. Now they have no choice.

WALLACE: And now you can't come back!

RUSH: She's already made up her mind.

ARMSTRONG: I'm sorry, Eli, but I had to do this.

(Eli stares at her, his sense of betrayal obvious. T.J. puts a hand on his arm.)

JOHANSEN: Go have someone check you out.

(Eli continues to stare at Chloe for a long moment, then he blinks and turns away, his face anguished. T.J. glowers at Chloe before turning her attention back to Scott, while Eli walks to the foot of the ramp and then locks his gaze onto Chloe again, but now his feeling of betrayal is turning to hurt anger. Chloe can't face that look for long and lowers her head. On the ground, T.J. pulls one of Scott's eyes open and shines a penlight into it.)


CLOVERDALE. Tamara pulls one of Matt's eyes open and shines a penlight into it. Drawing in a breath, he opens both of his eyes as she pulls her hands away. He is lying on his back on the floor of the tailor's. Tamara smiles down at him.

TAMARA: Hey. I'm Tamara, I'm a paramedic. Your friends called nine one one.

MATT: Why?

RONALD: You were on the floor, Matt.

MATT: Why?

TAMARA: A lot of things can cause a syncope episode, but you don't have a fever.

ELI: He was hit by a car yesterday.

MATT: No, don't listen to him. That was nothing. I just had a little too much to drink last night.

TAMARA: You could be low on electrolytes.

MATT: Awesome - let's go with that.

(Tamara straightens up and looks round at Eli and Ronald.)

TAMARA: OK. Well, just to be safe, I'm gonna take him to the hospital ...

MATT: No, no-no-no-no-no.

(He scrambles to his feet.)

MATT: I'm getting married tonight and I'm gonna be there if they have to prop me up with a stick.

TAMARA: Lucky girl!

MATT: I just mean I'll be fine.

TAMARA: Up to you. Just do me a favour and have some chicken soup or something, OK?

MATT: Mmm!

TAMARA: OK!

(She and her colleague collect their bags and prepare to leave.)


PLANET. The team has dialled the Stargate open again. Either thirty-eight minutes had passed and the Gate had closed down, or it had been an incoming wormhole before and they had closed the Gate to re-open it from this end. As the Gate kawhooshes, the triffids rising above the barricade flinch back. Greer notices this with interest.

GREER: Woah. They don't like that.

(He walks towards the barrier, yelling out at the plants.)

GREER: Come on! How 'bout this, huh?! You want some of this, huh?!

(He smacks his knuckles against his vest.)

GREER: How 'bout some of this?!

(As one of the marines beside him sends another spray of fire over the top of the crates, Rush looks at Greer with concern, knowing that he's well into the zone and might lose it entirely before long. However, unable to do anything about it, he picks up a nearby bag and heads towards the Gate where Scott has now been laid on the side of the ramp with Chloe crouched next to him stroking his upper arm. The civilians and unneeded military crew make their way through the event horizon. Eli walks to the top of the ramp, then stops just in front of the Gate and turns back to look at her one last time. She raises her eyes and meets his gaze, her eyes apologetic. He looks back at her, his face cold, yet still full of pain.)

WALLACE (shortly): Bye.

(He turns and walks through the Gate. Rush moves to stand near her.)

RUSH: Chloe. Before I go, please tell me you didn't do this to keep a dying boy company.

(Chloe looks down at her palm.)

ARMSTRONG: The organism got on my clothes. I know it touched my skin - it had to. I should have been infected but I wasn't.

RUSH: So you decided to test if you were immune.

(She nods.)

RUSH: And?

ARMSTRONG: It doesn't hurt. Matt was in agony by now.

(Rush frowns, trying to take it all in. He turns to T.J.)

RUSH: Lieutenant Johansen.


CLOVERDALE. At the venue for the wedding, Everett is waiting at the rear of the room, wearing a smart suit and tie. He grins and holds his arms out to the newly arrived guest.

EVERETT: David!

(The two men hug. Nearby, Eli films them.)

EVERETT: Hey, thank you for coming.

DAVID: Wouldn't have missed it. How's your boy doing?

EVERETT: Oh, he's fantastic. You know, white as the plastic man on the cake but that's just nerves!

(David claps him on the shoulder.)

DAVID: Congratulations.

EVERETT: Thank you.

(A short distance away, Adam, Dale and Darren are standing in line. David comes over and shakes Darren's hand as Adam leans towards Dale.)

ADAM: It's true: I nearly killed him yesterday. Ran right over him.

(He looks around and sees that Eli is filming him. He smiles at the camera nervously.)

(Later, Eli has taken the camera to the kitchen. He films a close-up of the plastic couple on top of the cake before swinging around to film Ronald as he walks past. Ron turns and points at him a little angrily.)

RONALD: Back up. I told you to keep that thing out of my face.

(Eli swings the camera down to where Matt is sitting at the kitchen table listlessly drawing a spoon through a bowl of soup.)

ELI (in his narrating voice): Before the ceremony, Matt enjoys a hot bowl of soup and the camaraderie of his closest friends.

MATT: Has my dad shown up yet?

ELI (normal voice): He's mingling.

MATT: Good. Just make sure you get a shot of Chloe coming in.

ELI: Ooh, right.

(He turns and hurries away. Matt sits back in his chair, his face scrunched up as if he's fighting off nausea. Ronald looks down at him with concern.)

RONALD: Hey. We can do this another day.

(Everett walks in, grinning.)

EVERETT: There he is. How's my boy? You ready?

MATT: No.

(Ronald backs away from him as he leans his hands on the table, looking like he's close to death.)

EVERETT (laughing): What do you mean, no?

MATT: I mean I don't know if I can do this. What if it doesn't work out? What if it's wrong? What ...

(He looks up at his father.)

MATT: What if I hurt her?

EVERETT: Well, you would never do that.

MATT: We're so different from each other.

(Everett turns to Ronald.)

EVERETT: Can you give us a second?

(Ronald leaves the room, and Everett walks closer to his boy, looking down at him sternly.)

EVERETT: Hey.

(Matt squints up at him, looking exhausted and bleary-eyed.)

EVERETT: What do you want from me?

MATT: Just tell me the right thing to do.

EVERETT: Oh, you think ... you think I know?

MATT: I'm asking you, please, Dad ...

EVERETT: Wake up.

(Matt stares up at him as Everett points at him sternly.)

EVERETT: Wake up.

(He turns and leaves the room. Matt lowers his head.)


PLANET. We get a triffid's-eye view as it cowers back from a flamethrower blast. It tries to move to the left but another marine is firing at it from there. Meanwhile, over by the Gate, T.J. takes a blood sample from Chloe's arm and looks at it.

JOHANSEN: Blood looks normal to me.

ARMSTRONG: No, but it's not normal. They changed it.

JOHANSEN (to Rush): You said the Chair undid all that.

RUSH: Well, obviously she relapsed. The point is, whatever they did to her, it's given her immunity to this organism.

ARMSTRONG: Look, look. I'm already healing.

(She shows her palm to the others. The blue wound is much smaller than it was previously.)

RUSH: A transfusion of Chloe's blood could help save his life.

JOHANSEN: And pass whatever the aliens did to her on to him.

RUSH: Well, I think that's a bargain he'd be willing to make, don't you?


CLOVERDALE CHURCH.

NICHOLAS: Dearly beloved ...

(As the Justice of the Peace begins the ceremony in Cloverdale, Chloe lies alongside Scott on the Gate ramp as T.J. sets up a transfusion.)

NICHOLAS: ... we are gathered here in the face of this company ...

(Rush pumps a small valve with his hand to get the blood flowing from Chloe's vein into Scott's.)

NICHOLAS: ... to join this man and this woman in matrimony.

(In the wedding chapel, Matt stands nervously in front of Nicholas while Everett and Ronald stand near him. Chloe enters the rear of the room and begins to walk forward, and everybody stands.)

NICHOLAS: It is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly ...

(Matt raises his head to the skies and pulls in a long anxious breath, then turns to watch his bride approach. Eli has joined her in the role of father of the bride and is smiling proudly as he walks his sister down the aisle.)

NICHOLAS: ... but reverently, discreetly, advisedly and solemnly.

(His face covered with sweat, Matt buttons his jacket, his face full of dread as he watches his bride draw nearer.)

NICHOLAS: Marriage is the union of husband and wife in heart, body and mind ...

(On the Gate ramp, the backs of Chloe's and Scott's hands touch. Her face full of worry, Chloe looks across to her boyfriend as Rush continues to pump her blood into him.)

NICHOLAS: It is intended for their mutual joy ...

(Chloe has now reached Matt's side and stands smiling proudly. Matt takes another breath and his expression begins to lift and become happier as he begins to feel better.)

NICHOLAS: ... and for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity.

(Near the barricades, the marines continue to fire at the triffids. Greer looks at the soldier to his left and jerks his thumb towards the Gate, yelling, "Go! Go!" and the man turn and races for the event horizon.)

NICHOLAS: Through this union, Matthew and Chloe make a commitment to embrace their dreams ...

(In the Gateroom, Lisa and Brody look at each other in concern and watch the countdown on the wall clock.)

NICHOLAS: ... realise their hopes, and to accept each other's failings.

(On Greer's right, the marine's flamethrower runs out of fuel. Greer points him to the Gate and the man turns and races up the ramp.)

NICHOLAS: We are here today to witness this occasion ...

(All around the wedding chapel the guests smile happily.)

NICHOLAS: ... that marks the celebration of love and commitment with which this man and this woman begin their life together.

(On the ramp, T.J. presses her fingers to Scott's neck to check his pulse. Chloe continues to gaze at him as Rush keeps pumping her blood into him.)

NICHOLAS: If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together ...

(In the Gateroom, someone is peeling Eli's jacket from him so that he can be checked more thoroughly for infection. He glares back at the Gate, which has now shut down.)

NICHOLAS: ... let them speak now, or forever hold their peace.

(Eli glowers at the Gate, then lowers his head, his heart broken.)


PLANET. On the planet, Greer storms over to T.J. and the others. The Gate is open again.

GREER: Damned things don't wanna burn. I'm running out of fuel.

JOHANSEN: His pulse is getting stronger. I just need a little more time.

GREER (angrily): I can't give it to you!

(Just behind him, and on this side of the barriers, a triffid bursts up through the ground. The disturbance knocks Greer to the ground, but he scrambles up and fires his flamethrower at it, engulfing it in fire. It wails.)

ARMSTRONG: Please! I know it's working!

RUSH: Sergeant. Last time we dialled the Gate, did you see how it reacted?

GREER: We've just gotta keep dialling it over and over.

RUSH: It may buy us the time we need.

GREER: Not "we". Just me. This ramp is about to get crowded. I need you two to get out of here.

JOHANSEN: Sergeant ...

GREER: Go. Go!

(Rush hands him the remote. Greer points at them.)

GREER: Get! Go.

(T.J. and Rush turn and go through the Gate. As they enter the Gateroom, Young walks towards them, frowning.)

(On the planet, Greer's flamethrower runs out of fuel. He tosses it to the ground. Chloe, propped up on one elbow, looks anxiously at Scott.)

(In the Gateroom, Young and Rush both look at the wall clock worriedly.)

NICHOLAS: Do you, Matthew, take Chloe to be your wife?

(Greer dials on the remote as he lies on the ramp just above the other two. He cowers down as the Gate kawhooshes inches above his body. The triffid inside the barricade collapses downwards ... and beside it a new one bursts out of the ground. Chloe turns her head and looks at her unconscious boyfriend in anguish.)

NICHOLAS: Will you love her, comfort her, honour and keep her ...

(Standing beside Chloe, Matt's smile is widening with every second.)

NICHOLAS: ... in sickness and in health ...

(On the ramp, everyone ducks down as the Gate kawhooshes again.)

NICHOLAS: ... for richer, for poorer ...

(Another new triffid rears up.)

NICHOLAS: ... for better, for worse ...

(The triffid lashes down towards the team on the ramp. Chloe cowers, holding her hands up uselessly in front of her ... and the Gate kawhooshes again, enveloping the entire top half of the plant in its vortex and obliterating it. The rest of the plant collapses to the ground.)

NICHOLAS: ... in sadness and in joy ...

(Matt's smile is now radiant, matching that of his bride beside him.)

NICHOLAS: ... and forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her for as long as you both shall live?

(Smiling blissfully, Matt turns to look at Chloe's profile. She slowly turns her head to look at him ... and reveals that the entire left side of her face is pale blue, distorted and alien-looking.)

(On the ramp, Scott's eyes snap open. Chloe turns to look up at Greer.)

ARMSTRONG: He's conscious!

(Scott jerks upwards into a sitting position.)

SCOTT: What the hell's going on?

GREER: Stay down!

(He grabs Scott's shoulder and hauls him down again as the Gate kawhooshes behind them. Scott's left arm flies out and strikes the edge of the ramp, and the blue growths shatter as if they are made of glass. They scatter everywhere.)

ARMSTRONG: Oh my God! His arm!

GREER: You're OK!

SCOTT: Hell, yeah, I am, but ...

(He scrabbles at his arm, dusting off the last of the shattered growths. Greer leaps to his feet and grabs his rifle while Chloe pulls at Scott.)

ARMSTRONG: Come on!

(She and Greer help him scramble to his feet. Greer tucks himself under Scott's arm.)

GREER: Let's go.

(Grabbing at Chloe with his other hand, Scott staggers forward and the three of them hurry into the event horizon. As they arrive in the Gateroom, a couple of volunteer medics run forward wearing gloves and masks but Chloe waves them back.)

ARMSTRONG: Whoa! We're OK, we're OK.

(The Gate closes down behind them and steam bursts up from either side for a few seconds. Young walks towards the new arrivals, looking at Scott in particular.)

YOUNG: Welcome home, son.

SCOTT: Thank you, sir. I, uh, I don't know how they did it, but ...

YOUNG: Unfortunately I do know. The three of you will undergo decontamination right away.

(He looks pointedly at Greer.)

GREER: Yes, sir.

(He walks away. Young focuses his attention on the others.)

YOUNG: As for the two of you, you'll be placed in quarantine indefinitely, until I decide what to do with you.

SCOTT: Sir?

YOUNG: I'll let Miss Armstrong explain.

(Giving her an angry glance, he turns and walks away. Chloe reaches out and takes Matt's hand, lacing her fingers through his. He closes his fingers around hers but looks across at her with dread, wondering what she has done. She gives him an unhappy smile. He gazes at her, his eyes becoming tearful as he begins to realise that she has done something pretty drastic.)