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#208 : Mutation

La blessure infligée à Sheppard par Elya n'est pas aussi anodine qu'elle y paraît de prime abord. Le corps de Sheppard s'est en fait guéri tout seul. Après analyse, il s'avère que John a été contaminé par le rétrovirus de Beckett. Comportement bizarre, transformation physique, et pire, perte de sa conscience humaine sans espoir de retour, voilà ce qui attend le Lieutenant Colonel. La solution miracle : un antidote à base d'oeufs d'insectes Eratus... Mais comment s'en procurer ? C'est finalement le colonel lui-même qui, dans un dernier éclair de lucidité, récupérera suffisamment d'oeufs pour que Carson puisse inverser la tranformation.

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5 - 2 votes

Titre VO
Conversion

Titre VF
Mutation

Première diffusion
09.09.2005

Plus de détails

Scénariste(s) : Robert C. Cooper et Martin Gero
Réalisateur(s) : Brad Turner

L'épisode reprend à la suite de Instinct. Sheppard, est amené sur un brancard à l'infirmerie. Son bras est en sang. A ses côtés se trouve McKay qui se plaint d'une écharde dans la main.

Le Dr Beckett nettoie la plaie de Sheppard mais à son grand étonnement il n'y a plus aucune trace de blessure. Le docteur Beckett le regarde manifestement inquiet. Sheppard essaye de rassurer le médecin. Le sang n'était peut-être pas le sien après tout, bien qu'il soit sûr qu'Ellia lui avait fait une blessure sur son avant bras. Beckett lui fait une prise de sang et lui dit qu'il peut sortir de l'infirmerie.

Dans les infrastructures de la Cité. Ronon s’entraîne avec Sheppard. Ronon a du mal à suivre le rythme. Sheppard lui demande s'il va bien, car d'habitude c'est lui qui a du mal à suivre et non le inverse. Ronon lui retourne la question et le regarde un peu bizarrement. Sheppard lui propose une revanche, mais Ronon la décline l'invitation. Sheppard repart au pas de course.

A l'infirmerie, une infirmière remet à Carson les résultats des analyses de sang pratiquées sur Sheppard. Ils sont inhabituels, et demande à l'infirmière de les refaire, pour être sûr.

En salle d'entraînement. Teyla et Sheppard sont en train de s'entraîner. Leurs enchaînements sont rapides et cette fois, c'est Sheppard qui mène le combat. Il parvient pratiquement à toucher Teyla. Celle-ci le félicite pour ses progrès mais on sent bien qu'elle n'est pas tout à fait à l'aise.
Sheppard abandonne un de ses bâtons et continue le combat. Il finit la joute, la main derrière son dos, sans grand effort. Teyla a du mal à garder le contrôle du combat, elle tente une feinte mais se retrouve plaquée contre le mur, le bâton de Sheppard juste sous sa gorge. Elle reste calme et digne. Soudain, Sheppard lâche le bâton et saisit son visage avec ses deux mains, il la regarde un instant et l'embrasse avec passion, presque avec violence.
C'est à ce moment là, que le docteur Beckett lui demande de venir à l'infirmerie immédiatement. Il retrouve ses esprits, et demande à Teyla si elle va bien. Celle-ci lui répond par l'affirmative et le presse de se rendre à l'infirmerie. Il s'exécute laissant Teyla seule, visiblement un peu secouée.

A l'infirmerie, Élisabeth est là avec Carson. Beckett ne sait visiblement pas trop comment annoncer la mauvaise nouvelle à Sheppard. Il commence par lui dire qu'aucun processus d'alimentation n'a été entamé. Ellia n'a pas eu le temps de se nourrir. La mauvaise nouvelle s'est qu'elle lui a bel et bien transmis le virus.
Beckett ignore comment l'organisme de Sheppard va réagir. Le Colonel lui dit qu'il se sent bien. Beckett veut qu'il vienne régulièrement à l'infirmerie, toutes les six heures, pour surveiller la progression du virus.
Sheppard est un peu hyperactif ce qui inquiète Weir et Carson.

Bureau d’Élisabeth Weir. Le Colonel Caldwell entre dans le bureau d’Élisabeth. Il a entendu parler de ce qui est arrivé à Sheppard avec la jeune Wraith. Et surtout, il sait que celui-ci a été infecté par le virus. Il lui fait comprendre que si Sheppard n'est plus en mesure d'assumer son commandement sur Atlantis, il peut en assurer l'intérim.
Élisabeth lui rappelle qu'il a déjà un commandement, celui du Dédale. Caldwell lui explique que pour le moment, ce sont les lieutenant Novack et Hermiod qui s'occupent du Dédale. Les nombreux voyage Terre-Atlantis conduisent à examiner le croiseur avant d'envisager un nouveau voyage. Il est donc disponible.
Toute la conversation se déroule dans une atmosphère tendu.

Quartiers de Sheppard. Sheppard enlève sa veste, et s’assoit, lorsqu'il découvre quelque chose d'un peu alarmant. Juste à l'endroit où Ellia l'a attaqué, sur son avant bras, se trouve une large coloration, très proche de celles dont souffrait la jeune Wraith.
Il contacte immédiatement le Dr Beckett.

A l'infirmerie. Élisabeth est là. Sheppard est allongé sur un lit, pour et passe un scanner. Le Dr Beckett annonce à Élisabeth que le virus s'attaque à l'ADN du Colonel et que dans quelques temps, il aura la même apparence de la jeune Wraith. Tout au plus, il dispose de quelques jours avant que la transformation ne soit complète.
Pour tenter de stopper la transformation, Beckett a injecté un inhibiteur viral à Sheppard, mais cela ne fera que retarder l'inévitable, peut-être suffisamment de temps pour qu'il trouve une un remède.
Sheppard leur dit qu'il se sent comme Ford, qu'il ne s'est jamais senti aussi bien, aussi fort. Élisabeth tente de le rassurer, mais les mots sonnent creux et banals.

Salle de conférence. Le Docteur Biro, Beckett et un autre scientifique discutent de ce qui arrive au Colonel Sheppard, Biro et l'autre scientifique échangent quelques mots, puis Beckett les arrête.
Il leur explique que le seul moyen d'arrêter l'évolution c'est non pas d'introduire de l'ADN humain, mais bien l'ADN de l'insecte Iratus. L'ADN humain agirait comme du combustible pour le virus alors qu'au contraire l'ADN de l'insecte aurait l'effet inverse, un peu comme si le virus se retrouvait attaqué de l'intérieur.
Le problème c'est qu'ils ne possèdent plus d'ADN de cet insecte. Une seule solution, aller chercher les œufs.

Bureau du Colonel Caldwell. Élisabeth entre dans le bureau du Colonel. Elle lui annonce que devant la rapide détérioration de l'état de santé de Sheppard, elle accède à sa demande, mais uniquement de manière temporaire. Caldwell acquiesce.

Salle de conférence. Rodney Mckay, le Major Lorne, le Dr Beckett et Elisabeth Weir sont là. McKay a cherché dans la base de donnée des Anciens des références à l'insecte iratus. Il se trouve que celle-ci contient de nombreux éléments sur la bestiole. Notamment des localisations ainsi que des informations sur son mode de vie, il aime les lieux sombres, froid et humides. Élisabeth n'est pas très ravie de devoir envoyer une équipe chercher des œufs. Ces insectes ont déjà démontré qu'ils étaient dangereux. Beckett insiste, sans ADN tiré de ces œufs, le Colonel est perdu. Élisabeth finit par donner son accord.

Élisabeth entre dans son bureau suivit par Sheppard, celui-ci est accompagné d'un garde. Le processus de changement sur John ont commencer, sa main ressemble de plus en plus à celle d'un animal et son cou s'est couvert d'une espèce d'écailles bleues. Il est gêné par le regard d’Élisabeth sur lui et met alors sa main dans sa poche. Élisabeth lui dit qu'il serait sans doute mieux en train de se reposer à l'infirmerie. Il lui répond qu'il souhaite participer à la mission. Élisabeth lui explique que c'est impossible, sa condition change trop vite, il pourrait faire échouer la mission. Sheppard est très perturbé, à la limite de la détresse mais continue à insister. Élisabeth refuse catégoriquement.
Soudain, Sheppard se retourne et frappe violemment la vitre avec sa main en mutation.Le verre explose. Le marine lève son arme vers lui, des gens accourent. Sheppard a l'air un peu choqué par ce qu'il vient de faire, il sort doucement et retourne à l'infirmerie, laissant Élisabeth seule, très inquiète que jamais.

Sur une planète inconnue. Le Major Lorne, le Dr Beckett, Teyla, McKay, Ronon et deux marines marchent dans une forêt. Ils cherchent une grotte ou une cave, ce qui pourrait correspondre aux endroits où l'insecte iratus aime s'installer. Les Marines portent des containers bleus avec eux.

Bureau du Colonel Caldwell. Élisabeth entre dans le bureau avec un dossier à la main. Elle accuse Caldwell de profiter de l'absence de Sheppard pour remettre en cause l'organisation qu'il avait instaurée. Elle lui rappelle, gentiment, qu'il n'assure les fonctions de Sheppard que par intérim. Caldwell essaye de se défendre en précisant qu'il veut juste améliorer les protocoles et process mis en place par Sheppard. Élisabeth lui fait comprendre qu'elle n'est pas dupe, qu'il n'aura pas la place de Sheppard.

Sur une planète inconnue. Lorne, Beckett, McKay, Teyla et Ronon et les deux marines sont arrivés devant l'entrée d'une grotte. Ils mettent tous leurs lunettes infrarouges et entrent dans la grotte.
On entend des bruits curieux comme ceux que feraient des crickets. Des milliers de crickets.

Quartiers de Sheppard. Élisabeth se présente devant la porte encadrée par un garde. Elle entre et appelle le Colonel. Celui-ci se trouve presque complètement dans le noir, assis sur son lit. Elle lui demande comment il va. Il lui répond, sarcastiquement, comme quelqu'un qui perd son humanité .
Élisabeth avance dans la pièce et se retrouve près du lit. Elle lui donne des nouvelles de l'équipe envoyée chercher des insectes iratus. Sheppard lui répond à peine, perdu dans ses pensées. Élisabeth ne sait pas trop quoi lui dire. Elle lui demande s'il a besoin qu'elle appelle quelqu'un, un médecin ? Il lui dit qu'il a juste besoin de plus de garde devant sa porte. Au moins deux hommes. Elle essaye de le rassurer, de lui dire que c'est inutile, que l'équipe va bientôt revenir. Sheppard se lève et lui fait face, elle peut voir les effets de la mutation. Il ressemble de en plus en plus à Ellia. Il lui demande de sortir car il sait qu'il perd peu à peu le contrôle qu'il a sur lui-même.
Élisabeth sort, perturbée, et ordonne que soit placé un second garde près de la porte.

Sur une planète inconnue. Des centaines d'insectes se trouvent sur le sol de la caverne. Le Major Lorne, d'énormes sacs, remplis d’œufs sont suspendus au plafond. Se souvenant qu'ils n'aiment pas l'eau salée, Beckett s'est munie d'un container rempli de ce liquide. Il commence à en verser sur les insectes qui se trouvent par terre et se place sous les sacs d’œufs. Bien que les insectes aient reculé, ils sont manifestement conscients de la présence d'intrus près des œufs et l'un d'eux sautent sur l'un des sacs, prêt à attaquer. Ronon a juste le temps de tirer dessus avant qu'il n'attaque le Docteur Beckett. Les deux marines couvrent l'équipe. Malheureusement, on entend des cris et des hurlements puis plus rien. Le Major Lorne sort une grenade puis la lance dans la caverne. Dépitée, toute l'équipe rentre sur Atlantis.

Elisabeth est avec Carson sont le bureau de Weir. Celui-ci lui fait son rapport. Il lui semble impossible de récupérer ces œufs sans risquer la vie d'autres personnes. Élisabeth se charge d'annoncer la bonne nouvelle au Colonel Sheppard.

Quartiers de Sheppard. Élisabeth se présente devant la porte, cette fois encadrée par deux gardes. Ils la préviennent qu'elle ne devrait pas entrer. Elle les rassure et entre. Elle n'aperçoit pas Sheppard, quand soudain elle se rend compte qu'il se trouve derrière elle. Cette fois, la mutation est presque complète. Elle lui explique qu'ils ont échoué. Il lui dit de recommencer ou bien de le tuer. Elle refuse et il l'attaque à elle lui serrant son cou. Puis lorsqu'elle a presque perdu connaissance, il la laisse tomber par terre. Il se débarrasse des gardes et disparaît. Élisabeth donne l'alarme.

Salle de contrôle. McKay a lancé un scan de la Cité. Celui-ci fait apparaître en points blancs les humains et un point rouge, Sheppard. Il bouge à une vitesse étonnante. Le Colonel Caldwell ordonne à ses hommes de l'arrêter en utilisant la force si nécessaire. Le Dr Weir calme ses élans. Ronon et Teyla se joignent à la chasse . Élisabeth ordonne à McKay de bloquer la Porte des étoiles. Au cas ou.
Sheppard se dirige vers un transporteur et l'emprunte. Dans la salle de contrôle, le Colonel Caldwell fait remarquer à McKay que ce dernier avait dit que Sheppard ne pourrait plus utiliser les transporteurs. On voit le point rouge se déplacer d'un étage à un autre. McKay lui répond qu'il a juste dit qu'il ne pensait pas qu'il serait en état de penser rationnellement à le faire. Caldwell lui ordonne de les mettre hors service. McKay lui fait remarquer du coup ses équipes non plus ne pourront plus les utiliser. Cependant, il obéit.

L'équipe de recherche se trouve dans la même salle que Sheppard, après avoir cherché autour d'eux un moment, il finisse par le repérer, il se trouve au plafond, jouant à spiderman. Soudain, il se laisse tomber et assomme les Marines. Teyla se retrouve seule face à lui, elle lève son P90. Elle tire des coups de semonce mais il continue à avancer, Ronon tire à son tour, deux coups de son fusils paralysant et Sheppard finit par s'écrouler.

A l'infirmerie. Sheppard est attaché sur un lit. Le Dr Beckket explique qu'il l'a plongé volontairement dans le coma. Il précise qu'il n'a plus que 24 heures avant que la transformation ne soit complète.

A la cafétéria. McKay et Teyla sont assis à une table, silencieux. Ronon est appuyé contre un des balcons. Ils se sentent impuissant face à ce qui arrive à leur ami. Le Dr Weir les rejoint. Elle comprend leur détresse. Ronon veut retourner sur la planète où se trouve l'insecte iratus. Elle refuse. C'est à ce moment que sa radio se met en marche. C'est Beckett. Il lui donne rendez-vous dans son bureau.

Bureau d’Élisabeth Weir. Beckett expose son idée. Sheppard qui est désormais pratiquement transformé, émet des phéromones très proches de ceux des insectes. Carson pensent que si ces derniers les ont attaqués, c'est parce qu'ils ont senti qu'ils n'étaient pas des leurs. Avec Sheppard se serait différent, ils le reconnaîtraient comme l'un des leurs.

A l'infirmerie. Beckett a administré à Sheppard une dose massive de l'inhibiteur virale. De cette manière, il devrait rester lucide assez longtemps pour récupérer les œufs.
Sheppard accepte.

Salle de la Porte des étoiles. Sheppard habillé d'un long manteau gris rejoint McKay, Teyla, Ronon et Beckett. Ils passent tous la porte.

L'équipe se trouve devant l'entrée de la caverne. Beckett donne une petit container à Sheppard ainsi qu'un bras mécanique pour attraper les œufs. Sheppard n'a pas l'air lui-même, mais il prend le tout. Au moment d'entrer dans la caverne, Teyla lui dit de se presser. Ils ont en effet mis plus de temps que prévu pour arriver jusque là, l'inhibiteur ne fera plus effet très longtemps. Sheppard entre dans la caverne et se dirige droit vers le nid. Les insectes sont visiblement mécontents mais le laissent passer. Il récolte les œufs mais avant qu'il ne puisse sortir, l'inhibiteur cesse de produire ses effets. Il sort en criant de la caverne, renverse Ronon, celui-ci a néanmoins à le temps de tirer sur lui. Sheppard s'écroule. Ronon le met sur son épaule et ils rentrent tous sur Atlantis.

A l'infirmerie. Beckett annonce à toute l'équipe que le processus de transformation s'est inversé. Élisabeth sort suivie de Caldwell. Rodney, Teyla et Ronon restent à l'infirmerie un moment.

Le Colonel Caldwell et Élisabeth marchent l'un à côté de l'autre. Il reconnaît ses tords et lui dit qu'il sera bientôt rentré sur Terre avec le Dédale. Elle lui répond qu'ils essayeront de s'en sortir sans lui. Caldwell lui assure qu'il n'est pas son ennemi, ce à quoi Élisabeth répond que cela vaut mieux pour lui.

Salle d'entraînement, quelques jours plus tard. Teyla est en train d'entraîner une jeune Athosienne. Sheppard, en vêtement civil, entre dans la salle. Teyla l'accueille chaleureusement. Il doit encore rester sous supervision médicale quelque temps, d'ailleurs l'endroit où Ellia l'a blessé est encore un peu bleue.
Ils ont l'air tous les deux un peu mal à l'aise.
Sheppard tente de s'excuser pour son comportement et Teyla lui fait comprendre qu'il n'y a rien à excuser, car il n'était pas lui-même. Teyla pousse un petit soupir de soulagement elle aussi.

[Opening shot is flying through the wormhole, then a view of Sheppard being wheeled into the infirmary on a gurney, Beckett beside him doing all sorts of doctor things.]

SHEPPARD: This really isn't necessary, Doc.

BECKETT: Yes, it is. You've got a serious laceration on your arm and you've lost a good deal of blood.

McKAY: Yeah, enjoy the ride, Colonel. They're makin' me walk.

BECKETT: You have a splinter, Rodney!

McKAY: Yes, a very nasty, painful splinter.

[McKay hops up onto an infirmary bed as the nurses/orderlies wheel Sheppard's gurney to a stop.]

BECKETT: Let's have a look at this.

[He strips off the field dressing to reveal an angry red abrasion on the inside of Sheppard's right forearm. Beckett takes a large swab that's been dipped in that yellow-brown stuff that stings like a son- of-a-, um, you know.]

BECKETT: This might hurt a wee bit.

McKAY: [as a nurse extracts his splinter] OW!

SHEPPARD: [watching them] I'm sure it will.

[We see Beckett swabbing the wound.]

BECKETT: This doesn't sting?

SHEPPARD: No.

[Beckett picks up a wipe and starts to clean the wound.]

BECKETT: I know y'have a high threshold for pain, but this ...

SHEPPARD: This is what?

[Beckett freezes mid-wipe and stares at Sheppard's arm. Now that he has wiped off the blood, we see that the anticipated wound underneath just isn't there.]

BECKETT: ... gone.

SHEPPARD: What?

BECKETT. The feeding mark. It's completely healed.

[All three men look alarmed.]

[Opening credits, followed by an exterior daylight shot of Atlantis, then back to the infirmary, where Beckett is taking samples from Sheppard.]

SHEPPARD: Maybe the wound wasn't that bad.

BECKETT: Then where'd all the blood come from?

SHEPPARD: I don't know, maybe it just looked a lot worse than it was.

BECKETT: I don't see evidence of any cut at all.

SHEPPARD: That's weird, because it hurt like hell.

BECKETT: You're sure the skin was broken?

[Beckett is wrapping up his samples.]

SHEPPARD: I'm pretty sure. There was a lot of blood! Maybe it was hers?

BECKETT: It was definitely human.

SHEPPARD: I don't know. Maybe it was a nosebleed.

[Gets off the exam table, puts jacket back on.]

BECKETT: Is that supposed to be a joke, Colonel?

SHEPPARD: Believe me, this isn't funny.

BECKETT: Give me half a day to run your bloodwork and analyze it with the data we already have. We'll figure it out.

SHEPPARD: And until then?

BECKETT: [grins] You're welcome to look over my shoulder.

SHEPPARD: [smirks] That's tempting, but ...

BECKETT: Just go about your day.

[Cut to the sound of fast-running feet in the metallic catwalks last seen in The Eye. Sheppard and Dex are out for a little exercise, Sheppard in the lead. They run toward the viewer for a bit, then come to a halt at the end of the catwalk. Sheppard looks around alertly for the reason Dex stopped, then back to where Dex is draped over the railing, panting for breath.]

SHEPPARD: I thought you said you were a Runner!

DEX: [breathing heavily as he glares over his shoulder] That's funny.

SHEPPARD: I can usually barely keep up. What's with you?

DEX: What's with *you*?

[Sheppard hands him a bottle.]

SHEPPARD: Water?

[Dex takes it and chugs it.]

SHEPPARD: All right, sore loser. I don't act like a jerk when you beat me!

DEX: Yes you do.

SHEPPARD: OK, then we'll go around again.

[He says that exactly as if he expects Dex to get a second wind and beat him. Dex hands back the water bottle and walks away.]

DEX: You go ahead.

SHEPPARD: OK, grumpy. I will.

[Sheppard heads back up the catwalk at a faster run than he came down it.]

[Cut to infirmary]

NURSE: Doctor Beckett? I thought you'd want to see this.

[She hands him a large clip board, presumably with test results on it. They both look alarmed in ways we'd just as soon not see doctors look alarmed.]

BECKETT: Is this from Colonel Sheppard's blood sample?

NURSE: That's right.

BECKETT: And you've run it twice?

NURSE: Of course.

[He jumps up from whatever he was doing and heads briskly out of the room with her in his wake.]

BECKETT: OK, let's run it one more time. I wanna be certain before we tell him.

NURSE: All right.

[Brief shot of the city at either sunrise or sunset, then cut to Teyla in a martial pose with her whacksticks in their workout room.

Camera pulls back to show Sheppard in an equally alert pose with his whacksticks. Judging by the glow, they've been sparring for a bit.]

[They spar some more, moving faster than we've seen them do in the past. Sheppard actually seems to be on the offensive, though Teyla is holding her own. She ducks as he nearly lands a good one and stares hard at him.]

SHEPPARD: Not bad, huh?

TEYLA: Yes, yes. You're doing very well.

[More sparring. It sounds as if they're hitting harder than we've heard in the past, too, though Teyla is blocking everything Sheppard sends. So far.]

TEYLA: You have been practicing.

SHEPPARD: [tossing one whackstick aside] Not really.

[They're now sparring with Sheppard down to one whackstick and Teyla still holding two. It doesn't slow him down a bit, as he spars with one hand literally behind his back, not even breathing hard. Teyla more or less holds her own, grunting with the effort, until Sheppard executes some feint and she finds herself pressed against the wall with Sheppard's stick pressed against her throat, meeting his fierce glare a little nervously.]

TEYLA: [carefully] You are showing ... a considerable leap in ability, Colonel Sheppard.

SHEPPARD: [intently, not releasing her] You can call me John when we're off the clock.

TEYLA: [with an arched eyebrow] Very well ... John.

SHEPPARD: [still intent, hint of a grin] There y'go.

[He keeps staring at her, not releasing her from against the wall.

She's much calmer than one would expect under the circumstances.]

TEYLA: Should we continue, or do you ...

[Her voice trails off uneasily. Sheppard drops his stick on the floor, grabs her face with both hands and lays one *hell* of a kiss on her. I mean, were it consensual, this should be a training film for laying on a kiss. It takes a second or two, but Teyla breaks his hold with a classic self-defense maneuver the unwillingly kissed should make note of. Now they're both breathing hard, but from their expressions, it's pretty clear neither knows what to make of that aberrant behavior.]

SHEPPARD: [normal voice] I'm not really sure just what happened.

TEYLA: [hand at her throat where his whackstick was] Colonel ...

SHEPPARD: [interrupting] That was interesting!

BECKETT: [over the radio] Colonel Sheppard, please report to the infirmary!

[She looks frankly relieved, which seems to put a dent in his obliviousness to her reactions since he pinned her.]

SHEPPARD: You OK?

[Teyla pastes on a reasonable facsimile of her normal serene smile, though the gasping breath rather spoils the effect.]

TEYLA: Doctor Beckett will be expecting you.

SHEPPARD: Yeah.

[Her smile slips fast. He clearly wants to stay and sort this out, but it's equally clear there might be some urgency to that conversation Beckett wants to have, and Sheppard leaves. Teyla remains propped against the wall, letting out a sigh of relief after he's gone, along with any pretense of her aplomb.]

[Quick cut to the infirmary. The camera is focusing through a door on Sheppard sitting on an exam table with Weir standing beside him. We can hear Beckett offscreen.]

BECKETT: The good news is, we can now say with some certainty that Ellia didn't drain away any of your life.

[As he speaks, the camera moves in on the scene and we see Beckett cross to sit in a chair facing the other two and a computer screen.]

SHEPPARD: We already knew that.

BECKETT: I suppose.

SHEPPARD: That's the best good news you could come up with?

[Beckett looks uncomfortable.]

BECKETT: It looks like you've been infected with the iratus bug retrovirus. The one we were working on to turn Ellia into a human.

[Cut to Weir, who gives a slight nod as if to prompt the bit about how they're going to fix this.]

SHEPPARD: You mean the one that *didn't* turn her into a human.

BECKETT: Ellia administered the treatment prematurely. It wasn't ready, it wasn't even supposed to be ...

SHEPPARD: [interrupting] I'm not blaming you, Doc.

BECKETT: But you're right. The transformation was into a creature closer to the iratus bug than to a human, and I know how much you ...

SHEPPARD: [grimacing] ... hate those bugs?

BECKETT: [with a sigh] Yes.

WEIR: But, for one ... Ellia was a Wraith. *And* she took a massive dose of the retrovirus. I mean, do we know how the Colonel's system might respond to the drug?

BECKETT: I have no idea. It was never engineered to be given to a human. It was never intended ...

SHEPPARD: [rising tone] Doc ...

BECKETT: ... to be given to anyone!

SHEPPARD: [half-whisper] Let it go.

BECKETT: The problem is, I have no idea how your body will react! I can't even begin to guess.

[Sheppard briefly looks as if that were way too much non- information.]

SHEPPARD: Well, if how I feel is any indication? I'm fine.

BECKETT: [trying not to sound straw-grasping] It's certainly possible that it's already breakin' down in your system. Ellia's transformation *was* extreme, and immediate.

SHEPPARD: [to Weir, who was looking wigged] See?

BECKETT: [worried] But then again, the wound on your arm healed unnaturally fast!

SHEPPARD: If there *was* a wound.

[Since we saw the wound inflicted last episode and in this episode's "previouslies," we know Sheppard is now diving headlong into denial without a helmet.]

BECKETT: There had to be! Otherwise, I don't see how you got infected in the first place!

SHEPPARD: She was spitting an awful lot!

[Beckett looks both mutinous and worried.]

WEIR: So what, we just monitor it for now?

BECKETT: Aye. [to Sheppard] You'll need to check in every six hours.

SHEPPARD: [nods reluctantly] I can do that.

WEIR: And you should probably ...

SHEPPARD: ... suspend my off-world activities until we know more?

WEIR: [with a gracious nod] Thank you.

[Sheppard hops off the exam table, the picture of good health.]

SHEPPARD: [to Beckett] See ya in six hours!

[Beckett nods as Sheppard bolts out of the infirmary, slapping the doctor on the back as he goes. Beckett and Weir stare after him, looking worried.]

[Dissolve to an exterior night shot of Atlantis, then to a shot of Colonel Caldwell entering Weir's office.]

CALDWELL: You're working late.

[Weir looks up, startled. With a rueful grin, she hoists her tablet computer to show a Solitaire game in progress. There is excruciating toy envy in certain quarters of the viewership.]

WEIR: No, not really.

[Caldwell has a seat in front of her desk and leans back, crossing his legs casually.]

CALDWELL: Yeah. We keep trying to remove that from the terminals on the Daedalus, but somehow the crew keeps finding a way of putting it back.

[She grins cheekily and puts her tablet toy down on the desk.]

WEIR: Never get between a genius ... and a computer game.

[He grins back, dripping a bit of charm on the floor. They're apparently past whatever tension there was in "Trinity."]

WEIR: [curiously] Aren't you scheduled to fly out?

CALDWELL: I was supposed to, yes. [softly] Until I heard about Sheppard.

[All grins disappear.]

WEIR: He's under Beckett's supervision.

CALDWELL: [matter-of-factly] If the Lieutenant Colonel finds himself unable to perform his duties, that's ...

[He trails off as her expression changes.]

WEIR: You have a ship to command, Colonel. I wouldn't want to spread you too thin!

[She has leaned back in her chair, crossed her arms over her chest, cocked one eyebrow and generally set her body language to "Nice try.

Still *my* command."]

CALDWELL: Novak and Hermiod are running a full diagnostic on our FTL drive. They're worried about the constant use jumping between galaxies.

[Weir is still looking skeptical of his motives.]

CALDWELL: Which is to say ... if I need to, I have some time.

[Long pause for a shared look.]

WEIR: OK, let me think about it.

[Yet another charming smile from Caldwell.]

CALDWELL: [softly] Thank you. [normal voice, points to tablet toy.]

You got chess on there?

WEIR: [leaning forward] As a matter of fact, I do.

CALDWELL: [leaning forward, too] Well, I have to warn you that I'm a career military strategist.

WEIR: Well, I'll have to take my chances.

[She reaches toward the tablet computer.]

[Quick-cut to a shot of Sheppard abruptly stripping off his uniform jacket as he enters his living quarters over creepy, hissy music. He sits down on the bed, reaching back with his left arm to remove his T- shirt and freezes, staring at the inside of his right forearm where it's resting in his lap.]

[There's a pale, scaly patch of skin surrounded by the same bruise coloration we saw on Ellia last episode, located in the same place her transformed claw-hand pierced his skin. Apparently, it isn't at all painful since he hasn't noticed it `til now. Sheppard prods at it hesitantly, then reaches for his radio earpiece.]

[Radio chirps static]

SHEPPARD: Hey, Doc? This is Sheppard.

BECKETT: [over radio] Yes, Colonel?

SHEPPARD: We may have to bump up our first check-in.

[Dissolve to Sheppard lying in the infirmary, being scanned. Beckett in a lab coat and another guy in an Atlantis science uniform are watching and looking concerned. Beckett turns and walks toward Weir, who is gnawing a thumbnail over by the wall. She stops as the doctor approaches and tries to look prepared to hear anything. Their whole conversation takes place in fairly low voices.]

BECKETT: [very softly] The retrovirus isn't breaking down in his system like we hoped it would.

WEIR: You're positive?

BECKETT: Yes. In fact, it's beginning to alter his DNA. If this is allowed to continue, he'll devolve into a creature similar to what Ellia became.

[Beckett moves to sit at his desk as Weir lets out a worried breath, then turns to him.]

WEIR: How long do we have?

BECKETT: I'm not sure exactly.

WEIR: [sharply, but still in a low voice] Ballpark! Months, weeks?

BECKETT: [even more softly] Days. We have days.

[Weir leans over his desk, looking intent.]

WEIR: OK, what's the plan?

BECKETT: I've injected him with a viral inhibitor. It should slow down the retrovirus as far as his cognitive abilities are concerned, but I'm afraid that's it so far. We're exploring various treatments that may or may not be effective, so ...

WEIR: [shaking her head vehemently] No, Carson, we don't have any time to explore. [gestures toward his computer] C'mon, there's *gotta* be something in the Ancient database that can help you find a treatment!

BECKETT: I know, Elizabeth. We're doin' our best!

[She stands up, looking away uncomfortably.]

WEIR: I'm sorry, I know. Of course you are.

[Cut to a shot of the infirmary with Sheppard on the exam bed, alert in the foreground, Beckett and Weir in the background. Sheppard is staring rather fixedly at the ceiling, looking grim. Cut back to Beckett and Weir.]

BECKETT: You should talk to `im. He's hiding it very well, but if I was him? I'd be scared to death.

[There's a pause, as if Weir would love to put this back on the doctor. Sheppard's profile pops into the shot as he sits up on the bed and looks toward them with bird-like speed.]

SHEPPARD: How'm I doin'?

[Weir exchanges a somewhat desperate-to-get-out-of-this glance with Beckett, who nods at her. She goes over to Sheppard's exam bed.

Sheppard looks her up and down, then frowns, but sounds like himself for this conversation.]

SHEPPARD: Anything that has you speechless has me concerned.

WEIR: [with a not-quite-smile] You're gonna be fine.

SHEPPARD: Wow. That's dead man talk.

WEIR: No, it isn't.

[Sheppard turns up his right arm, showing that the scaly patch has grown a bit and changed to an ickily shiny, carbuncle-looking thing.

Thankfully, the shot cuts quickly back to their faces.]

SHEPPARD: Have you *seen* this?

WEIR: Beckett is gonna figure this one out.

SHEPPARD: I think I already have. You know who I'm starting to feel like? [pause for emphasis] *Ford*.

WEIR: [too quickly] Now, what happened to you is *completely*

different.

SHEPPARD: I know, I know. Still, I can feel it. I mean, I can feel it changing me inside ... like he did.

WEIR: I don't think that's even possible. Look, you're very worried ...

SHEPPARD: No, no. No, it's ... .uh ... [he pauses to find a comparison] One of the best weeks of my life was when I got my wisdom teeth out. I was on codeine for a full seven days. This is kinda the same. I know I should be in *pain*, or at the very least freaked out by this, but hey! I'm not ... and that freaks me out more than anything.

WEIR: [shifting on her feet] We're gonna beat this.

SHEPPARD: `We're gonna beat this'? `Beckett'll figure this *out*'? `You're gonna be *fine*'? You really suck at the whole bedside manner thing.

WEIR: [looking away in embarrassment] I know, I'm sorry.

SHEPPARD: But I appreciate the effort.

[Dissolve to the Atlantis conference room, where many people in lab coats and science uniforms are sitting in front of their laptops around the room, with more standing in front of whiteboards behind them. It's more like a medical symposium, based on the sheer number of bodies present. What appear to be tinker-toy models of the DNA molecule are sitting in front of a few of them. Beckett is standing at the front of the room, leaning over his laptop, wearing, incidentally, a science uniform. *Real* microbiologists and geneticists may want to leave the room for this particular barrage of medico-babble.]

MALE SCIENTIST: *No!* No, that would only work if the retrovirus was doing what we had originally intended it to do.

DOCTOR BIRO [last seen in "Hot Zone"]: I disagree. You are *not*

taking into account what's happening to his somatic cells.

MALE SCIENTIST: The only thing I have to take into account is how *off* you are, and I don't think I'm the only one who sees that, so let's move *on*.

[Beckett seemed to be ignoring them in favor of whatever's on his laptop, but holds up a restraining hand at this point.]

BECKETT: Wait, wait, wait! [He makes an exasperated sound.] We're lookin' at this all wrong. The best idea we've had so far is to try to repair his system on the genetic level by administering a massive, cloned embryonic stem cell treatment.

BIRO: I still think it's our best bet.

MALE SCIENTIST: Introducing more human genetic material into his body is only going to give the retrovirus more fuel. I don't know how much simpler I can *say* that.

BECKETT: [cutting off Doctor Biro before she starts speaking again]

Yes, yes! I agree. That's why we have to use the iratus bug stem cells.

[Ringing silence ensues. They're all staring.]

MALE SCIENTIST: Uh, sorry?

BECKETT: The iratus bug stem cell programmed with human RNA wouldn't get rejected by his system and would be practically ignored by the current strain of retrovirus.

BIRO: We attack it from the inside?

BECKETT: Exactly. It would be like our own magic bullet that could navigate the retrovirus and start to repair his mutated cells.

BIRO: The only bug cultures we have are from a sample that died a year ago.

[Beckett looks frustrated]

BIRO: I have no doubt we could program the cells if we had them, but we do not have the time to artificially produce a gene therapy of that kind of volume.

BECKETT: Which means, ladies and gentlemen, we need to go ... on an egg hunt.

[Quick cut to Caldwell's office, lit with sunlight streaming through blinds on the windows. He's tapping away at a laptop, *not*, we see, at Solitaire. He looks up as the door hisses open to admit an irritated Weir, and he pushes back the chair to stand.]

WEIR: [waves him back] It's OK, sit, please!

[Caldwell would clearly rather not be sitting while a lady is standing, but does so.]

CALDWELL: How's the Colonel?

WEIR: Not very well.

CALDWELL: I'm sorry to hear that.

WEIR: Yes, so am I. I think it would be best if you *do* assume Colonel Sheppard's duties until ...

CALDWELL: Consider it done.

[Weir's eyes narrow as she turns to leave.]

WEIR: Just until he's back on his feet.

CALDWELL: You two are pretty close, aren't you?

[Weir stops and turns back around, arms crossed.]

WEIR: Well, we've been through a lot together. Yes.

CALDWELL: You've got the best team in two galaxies working on a way to get him back to normal. My money's on success. [She looks a little surprised, but reassured.] And if you need someone to talk to ...

WEIR: [coolly] If you could assume those duties effective immediately?

CALDWELL: I can do that.

WEIR: [turning again to leave] Thank you.

[Exterior shot of Atlantis in full daylight, then cut to McKay in the now-empty conference room, walking around a desk.]

McKAY: The Ancient database has quite a lot of information about the iratus bug. We know what planet it's on, we know that it likes cool damp dark places to lay its eggs.

[Cut to a camera angle showing Weir, Beckett and Lorne leaning against other desks in the conference room as Rodney comes to a halt, facing them and leaning on one of his own.]

LORNE: It shouldn't be that hard to locate.

WEIR: Wait a minute! The last time we ran into even *one* of these things, we almost lost Sheppard. How do you expect to just walk right in to one of their nests?

[Quick cut to McKay, who clearly isn't looking forward to that.]

BECKETT: I don't see that we have any choice. We need the iratus stem cells ... the best stem cells come from embryos! With them, we actually have a chance of saving Colonel Sheppard. Without them, he'll die!

WEIR: And this is the only option we have?

BECKETT: And time's an issue as well.

WEIR: You've no idea what will happen.

BECKETT: There's only one certainty: what will happen if we do nothing.

LORNE: We all understand the risks, Doctor Weir, and I believe that Colonel Sheppard would do the same for any one of us.

[McKay still looks hesitant over the bug part, but definitely seems to agree with the no alternative to saving Sheppard part. Weir looks down for a moment, then nods her head.]

WEIR: Permission granted.

[The men all spring to their feet and head out, Beckett giving Lorne a pat on the arm.]

BECKETT: I need an hour to get my things together.

LORNE: [nodding] OK, gear up! One hour.

[All exit, leaving Weir alone in the room, still looking after them thoughtfully.]

[Brief exterior daylight shot of Atlantis, then cut to a door opening for Weir, who enters her office, engrossed in an open file folder.

Sheppard enters through another door, followed by an armed Marine.

Sheppard's neck is a lot bluer than we last saw him.]

SHEPPARD: Look! [points to the Marine with a fake grin] I made a new friend!

[Weir looks up, hesitates at the sight of his face, then puts her file folder down with no other visible reaction to his altered appearance.]

WEIR: It's only protocol.

SHEPPARD: That's your answer for everything.

WEIR: You look well.

[She and the camera look down, where we see that Sheppard's right hand has gone crinkly and claw-like, though not as much as our last sight of Ellia's, but there are definitely evil hand issues.

Sheppard puts it in his pocket.]

WEIR: Should you be out of bed?

SHEPPARD: I was goin' a little crazy down there, so they said I could walk around for a bit.

WEIR: [softly] That's good.

[They stare at each other for a moment, Weir clearly wishing he were back under medical supervision, or at least not being unnervingly blue and mutated in her office. Sheppard steps forward toward her desk, and she manages not to flinch.]

SHEPPARD: Look, what I'm trying to say is that I want to go on this mission.

WEIR: [approaches him from around her desk] Hey, you said it yourself. You are not fit for any offworld activity.

SHEPPARD: [ducks his head, then looks up] The inhibitor that Beckett's got me on, the one that's keeping me lucid? They keep having to up the dose.

WEIR: I know. They told me.

SHEPPARD: [clenching his teeth] I don't know how much *time* I have, but the last thing I wanna do is sit on my ... [raising right hand from his pocket, and his voice] ... mutating *hands*, while my team puts their lives on the line trying to find me a cure.

[Pause while Weir drops her gaze to follow his hand back down, then looks him in the eye again.]

SHEPPARD: I should be with them!

WEIR: No. I'm sorry.

SHEPPARD: [takes a step back] What's the worst that can happen?

I, I ... die?

WEIR: You could compromise the mission. They have enough things to worry about ...

SHEPPARD: [shaking his head and gesturing with his evil hand] Oh, no no ... so, what? Suddenly I'm a liability?

WEIR: [firmly] Your condition can change rapidly.

SHEPPARD: [raising voice] I *know*, and I know I can do this!

WEIR: I'm glad ... you feel that way. But it would be irresponsible of me ...

SHEPPARD: This is *my* life we're talking about.

WEIR: I know that.

[Another staredown.]

SHEPPARD: I'm going on that mission.

WEIR: [voice rising a bit] No, John! You're *not*.

SHEPPARD: *DAMMIT!*

[His face twists in rage as he turns and smashes his evil fist through the plate glass wall of her office. Before the glass has even shattered completely, the Marine has his sidearm out and aimed steadily at Sheppard. People come running from the control room, other weapons being drawn. Weir charges over, a restraining hand up to the Marine.]

WEIR: It's OK! Put it down.

[The Marine lowers his sidearm, and the others from the control room reluctantly go about their business. Weir turns back to Sheppard, who looks chagrined.]

SHEPPARD: [softly] I'm betting that didn't sell you?

WEIR: [arches an eyebrow] No. No, not really.

SHEPPARD: [softly] I should go back to the infirmary.

WEIR: [firm nod, in a whisper] Yes.

[Sheppard goes quietly. Weir stares after him in alarm.]

[Dissolve to a forest scene not unlike the ones on Ellia's planet.

Probably this is the same planet where Sheppard picked up his bug in "Thirty Eight Minutes". Dex takes point on a team consisting of Teyla, McKay, Lorne, Beckett and two other Marines, most likely in red shirts under their uniforms, as we've never seen them before.]

LORNE: [ducking under a branch Dex brushed out of his way] So, what are we lookin' for?

McKAY: According to the Ancient database, probably a cave ... cool, damp and dark, which I translate: scary, awful, bad.

DEX: They wouldn't want their nests out in the open. Cave keeps the eggs away from the predators.

McKAY: [curious] I always figured they were the predators.

DEX: I guarantee there's something out here worse.

McKAY: [not so curious as nervous] Really?

DEX: They've gotta feed on somethin'.

McKAY: [rattled] Thank you! Thank you for that!

DEX: You're welcome.

[Teyla rolls her eyes, then looks down to hide a grin as Lorne passes her to approach Dex.]

LORNE: [to Beckett] We're headin' for a mountain range that starts about a mile up this way. That's probably our best bet for a cave.

BECKETT: Agreed.

LORNE: OK, let's pick up the pace!

[As the party passes the camera, we see that the Marines are carrying long tubes and a big blue tank.]

[Quick cut to exterior daylight shot of Atlantis, then Weir passing through a door to Caldwell's office, where he and a soldier in a red beret were talking, but stop as she enters.]

WEIR: What do you think you're doing?

CALDWELL: Sergeant, you wanna give us a minute, please?

[The soldier leaves.]

CALDWELL: What's the problem?

[Weir holds up a filefolder, possibly the same one she was reading so intently in the last scene.]

WEIR: This! This is the problem. "Memo to all Atlantis personnel regarding new security protocols"?

CALDWELL: Is there a part there that you disagree with in particular?

WEIR: You are just keeping Sheppard's chair warm, Colonel, don't lose sight of that.

[Caldwell scoffs gently.]

CALDWELL: Look, he's done a good job here, there's just some rookie mistakes that I thought needed fixing.

WEIR: So you went ahead and changed them without talking to me.

[Weir is doing eloquent "don't mess with me, mister" body language again.]

CALDWELL: I don't need to check with you about how I run the military operations on this base, ma'am.

[Caldwell turns back to his desk and stands behind it in a fairly clear attempt at gaining a position of power in this discussion.]

WEIR: They tell me you're also thinking of re-arranging the offworld teams.

CALDWELL: Again, Sheppard had things a little backward. I figure while I'm here ...

[Weir steps quickly up to the other side of his desk to glare directly at him.]

WEIR: Well, you figured wrong.

CALDWELL: There's no telling when Sheppard's going to be better.

[Weir drops her gaze.] None of the estimates I've heard is soon.

On the contrary, I think I may be doing a little more than keeping the Colonel's chair warm, ma'am.

[Weir looks him in the eye again.]

CALDWELL: I mean, look at his scheduling! Labor distribution ...

WEIR: I don't need to.

CALDWELL: Well, somebody needed to!

WEIR: D'you think I don't know what you're doing?

CALDWELL: I'm trying to improve things.

WEIR: Look, I'm not saying that you're wrong or even that I object to all of these changes!

CALDWELL: Excuse me? Because I thought that was *exactly* ...

WEIR: You could've waited a week! Or even a day.

[Caldwell looks away this time.]

WEIR: You making sweeping changes to the way John Sheppard runs things just *hours* after being assigned to this position just sends only one message ... that he's not coming back.

[She turns and leaves, with Caldwell staring after her at a loss.]

[Cut to team offworld, facing a cave mouth and putting on their night vision goggles. Dex is kneeling closest to the cave mouth, examining the dirt there.]

LORNE: [to Beckett] You think this is it?

BECKETT: It certainly smells like there's somethin' livin' in there.

McKAY: Yeah, or *dying*.

TEYLA: [squinting] I cannot see that far into the cave.

[Dex brings some very bright orange dirt to his nose.]

McKAY: Oh, now that is disgusting.

DEX: They're in there.

McKAY: And you had to pick it up and *smell* it to figure that out?

[Dex turns and gives McKay a look.]

DEX: To know it's *recent*.

McKAY: Well, how recent?

LORNE: [Glares McKay into silence] So, what's the plan?

[He's asking Beckett, who appears to be holding a butterfly net.

It may actually be an egg-collecting apparatus.]

BECKETT: Well, we go in there, we get some eggs, and then we come out.

LORNE: OK. Ronon, Teyla ... you're on point with me. Walker, Stevens, you take our six. Docs? Just stay in the middle and try not to get bit, OK?

McKAY: Well, maybe someone should ... [points to where he's standing]

stay out here.

DEX: So that you're all alone when a dozen of them come stampeding out here?

McKAY: I'm in the middle.

[Dex turns back to the cave and pulls his night-vision goggles down.]

DEX: Let's do it.

[The scene goes to an eerie black and night-vision green, intercut with very dim shots in "real" light over creepy music as the team makes its way deeper into the cave, weapons at the ready. A rustling, chittering, hissing noise rises.]

DEX: Hear that?

TEYLA: [strong exhale] Yes.

LORNE: Looks like we got the right address.

[McKay pulls his jacket up higher to cover his neck.]

BECKETT: Y'don't seriously think that's going to help, do ya?

McKAY: Yeah, when they see your neck before mine? You won't think it's stupid.

TEYLA: [whispering] Where are these eggs supposed to be?

BECKETT: The database says they have a central nest. I'm hoping we'll know it when we see it.

[Quick cut to an armed guard standing in front of a door, sidearm out. He nods as Weir approaches and steps aside. She opens the door and pauses in the doorway, looking around the dim area on the other side.]

WEIR: John?

[She turns to the guard, who nods toward the wall. Weir reaches for a lightswitch.]

SHEPPARD: Leave `em off.

[Quick cut to a shot of John sitting on his bed, his back to the door.]

WEIR: What?

SHEPPARD: [voice harsh] The lights. Leave the lights off.

[The light dims even more as the door shuts behind Weir.]

WEIR: [clasping her hands together hesitantly] OK.

[Silence]

WEIR: [chirpily] I thought I should come by and practice my bedside manner.

[Silence]

WEIR: [softly] How are you?

[She paces slowly toward him.]

SHEPPARD: [levelly] My body's mutating into a *bug*. How are you?

WEIR: Would you like an update on your team's progress?

[Silence. She continues pacing slowly around the bed. As she comes round to where she'd normally see him in profile, he turns his face away.]

WEIR: They found an iratus cave and they've headed in.

SHEPPARD: [very softly] Good.

WEIR: They should locate some eggs and be back here in no time.

[Sheppard has looked so far away from her, we expect to hear his neck crack.]

SHEPPARD: No time?

WEIR: Yes.

SHEPPARD: Then what?

WEIR: Honestly? I don't know.

[Long silence, as he conspicuously doesn't look in her direction.]

WEIR: Hey? Are you all right?

[Silence.]

WEIR: Would you like me to call someone?

SHEPPARD: [cutting her off] Who would you call?

WEIR: If you need to see a doctor ...

SHEPPARD: I need a bigger security detail.

WEIR: Excuse me?

[She walks right up to stand within touching distance. He keeps his face firmly averted. We can see the whole left side of his face, which looks perfectly normal.]

SHEPPARD: At least two men, stationed at my door, sooner rather than later.

WEIR:[looking very worried] Now, what are you talking about?

SHEPPARD: [still rigidly faced away] Just trust me, Elizabeth.

You're going to need it.

WEIR: Listen, John ... if ...

[He turns sharply full face to show that his right eye has gone all slit-pupiled and yellow-gold. The blue bruise color on his neck shows a blackened ridge crawling up from his collarline. He looks very worried, too. Weir shifts uneasily, but stands her ground.]

WEIR: Oh, my God.

SHEPPARD: They need to hurry.

WEIR: You should be in the infirmary.

SHEPPARD: The infirmary isn't secure. The inhibitor's only keeping me lucid, it's not slowing the retrovirus.

WEIR: [firmly] Still ...

[Sheppard leaps to his feet and gets right in her face. She doesn't flinch… much.]

SHEPPARD: DON'T ARGUE WITH ME! I'm not safe to be around anymore.

[There's more light on the right side of his face, now. The blue bruise color has gone Wraith-gray and quite ridgy, nearly up to his cheekbone.]

SHEPPARD: Get some more men at my door and get the hell out of here.

WEIR: OK. OK.

[She leaves the room and speaks to the guard.]

WEIR: Double the detail.

[The guard activates his radio.]

GUARD: Code 1-6.

[Behind him, Sheppard sits back down on the bed. The guard closes the door and stands with his back to it.]

[Cut to the bug planet. The team reaches a cavern and pauses, staring in horror at the sight of thousands of iratus bugs swarming all over the floor, making that rustling chirping sound that the bug in "Thirty Eight Minutes" made.]

LORNE: Doc?

BECKETT: Good God! I think this is it.

[Through his night vision goggles, he can see several enormous egg sacs hanging from the ceiling. They're deep enough into the cave that it will be impossible to reach them without walking through the swarm on the floor.]

LORNE: So how do we wanna play this?

DEX: They'll defend their young.

McKAY: Maybe we should make a diversion.

[The others look round at him.]

LORNE: Are you volunteering?

McKAY: I'll shut up.

TEYLA: I do not believe we can get close enough to retrieve the eggs without these creatures attacking.

[Beckett holds up one of the long tubes. It has a long handle with a tear-shaped object at the top which presumably is designed to stick into the egg sac and harvest the eggs.]

BECKETT: I have this ... but I need to get under that [gesturing at the nearest egg sac]. Hand me that water canister. [McKay hands the blue tank to him.] If there's one thing we know about these little buggers, it's that they hate salt water.

LORNE: How's that gonna help us?

BECKETT: Just watch.

[Cautiously he begins to walk forward, splashing salt water from the tank as he goes. The bugs scamper out of the way of the spray.

Having cleared a path to the nearest egg sac, he brings the tank back and puts it down. Before heading back into the cavern, he zips up his jacket and pulls it higher up his neck.]

McKAY: See? *Not* so stupid!

BECKETT: Ah, shut up!

[He takes the egg-collecting stick from one of the Marines and heads back into the cavern, stepping carefully along the path that he cleared. Although the bugs are still staying away from that area, they're starting to sound a bit angry about it.]

LORNE: [warningly] Doc?

[Beckett looks back at the rest of the team.]

BECKETT: [nervously] I've come this far.

[As he turns toward the egg sac, Dex sees a bug lowering itself on a strand from the ceiling just behind Beckett's head.]

DEX: Heads up!

[He fires his blaster at the bug, which drops to the floor. The other bugs react, moving towards Beckett and their downed chum.]

BECKETT: Oh God!

TEYLA: Carson ... run!

[The team begins laying down covering fire for Beckett. When he reaches them, they start to race back out of the cavern, Lorne following the others while the two redshirts ... I mean Marines cover their retreat.]

LORNE: Let's go! Come on! Get outta here! Don't look back!

Don't look back! Come on!

[He stops as the others get clear of the cavern.]

LORNE: Walker! Stevens! Get the hell out of there!

[Screaming can be heard from the cavern.]

LORNE: Walker! Stevens! Do you copy?

[Getting no response, he reluctantly pulls the pin out of a grenade.]

LORNE: Fire in the hole! [He hurls the grenade in the direction of the cavern, then runs for the exit with the others.] Let's go!

[They race out of the cave. The grenade explodes just as they reach the exit and they all dive to the ground to avoid the blast. As the smoke clears, Dex sits up, pointing his blaster towards the cave entrance, but nothing comes out.]

DEX: I think that stopped them.

LORNE: We're not stickin' around to find out. I'm pulling the plug on this mission. Let's get back to the Gate.

BECKETT: We can't give up.

LORNE: We just lost two men in there, Doc, so unless you can find another way to get those eggs out of there, we're done, understand?

Let's go.

[He heads off. The others stare back into the cave for a moment, then follow him.]

[Cut to Atlantis at night. Beckett is reporting to Weir in her office.]

BECKETT: The nest is incredibly well protected. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of them. I just don't think it's possible.

WEIR: So where does that leave us?

BECKETT: Without the stem cells, our plan is not promising.

[Weir looks devastated.]

WEIR: OK. I'll tell him.

[Cut to the corridor outside Sheppard's quarters. Weir approaches and speaks to one of the two guards.]

WEIR: How is he?

GUARD: I wouldn't go in there, ma'am.

[Weir looks round at the other guard, who is holding a Wraith stunner.]

WEIR: I'll be fine.

[She opens the door and goes inside. It's still dark inside.

There's no immediate sign of Sheppard anywhere.]

WEIR: John?

[She looks around for a while, then turns and nods to the guard, who closes the door behind her. Although she still can't see Sheppard anywhere, she talks to him anyway.]

WEIR: So this is when I usually ask you a stupid question, like `How are you feeling?' [She walks deeper into the room, looking for him.] John? John? Our team got back from the mission.

[There's a thump behind her. She turns, and Sheppard is standing right behind her. She gasps at the sight of him. The blue/gray ridging has now travelled up into both of his cheeks and ears and has wrapped around his forehead, although the area around his eyes and nose is still clear. Both of his eyes have now got slit pupils. His neck has ridges on it and there are small tentacles (for want of a better word) growing out of it.]

WEIR: The nest was too well protected. We were unable to retrieve the eggs. They tried their best ...

SHEPPARD: Best?

WEIR: The bugs attacked ...

SHEPPARD: Try again.

WEIR: Can't do that.

SHEPPARD: Why?

WEIR: John ...

SHEPPARD: No.

WEIR: I understand ...

SHEPPARD: If you won't, then kill me now.

WEIR: John.

SHEPPARD: It's better for the both of us.

WEIR: I can't do that.

[Sheppard steps closer to her.]

SHEPPARD: Then try again.

[Weir stares at him in anguish, then her face becomes more resolute and she shakes her head minutely. Sheppard suddenly surges forward, grabbing her by the throat with his right hand, pushing her backward and pinning her against the wall. His hand is blue/gray and ridged.

Weir seizes his wrist with both hands, trying to hold him off.]

WEIR: We lost Walker and Stevens. I won't send another team!

[She gasps for breath.] I won't risk more lives!

[As she continues to struggle for breath, Sheppard glares at her for a moment, then releases her, dropping her to the floor. He walks away and as he approaches the door, it automatically opens. As Weir lies on the floor coughing, she hears the guards cry out, grunt and drop to the floor as Sheppard apparently knocks the living daylights out of them. Weir scrambles to her feet, activating her radio as she heads for the door.]

WEIR: This is Weir. We have a security breach! Colonel Sheppard's quarters!

[She reaches the unconscious guards and checks the first one to make sure he's alright.]

[Cut to Control Room where a screen shows the message "Biometric sensor activated". The message disappears and an image of the city can be seen, showing many white dots and one red one.]

McKAY: OK. We've got a lock on him.

[We see McKay, Caldwell, Dex, Weir and Teyla, together with some Marines, watching the screen. The red dot moves across the screen.]

CALDWELL: That can't be him – it's moving too fast.

DEX: That's him.

CALDWELL: Alright. [He turns to the Marines.] Four teams. Surround him and close in. I want him stopped. And gentlemen – use whatever level force you deem necessary. Move out.

[As the Marines start to head out, Weir turns to face them.]

WEIR: You will only use such force as a last resort.

CALDWELL: That's not Sheppard any more, ma'am.

WEIR: [to the Marines] You heard me.

[The Marines nod in acknowledgement and head out. Dex starts to walk away but turns to Teyla.]

DEX: You coming?

[Teyla looks at Weir for a moment, then turns to Dex.]

TEYLA: Yes. [She follows him.]

[Weir turns back to McKay.]

WEIR: Lock down the Stargate.

McKAY: Right.

[Cut to corridor. Sheppard walks towards a transporter. As the door opens, a scientist in a white coat is inside. Sheppard grabs him and throws him out of the transporter, then goes inside. Back in the Control Room, Caldwell and McKay watch as the red signal jumps from one part of the base to another.]

CALDWELL: I thought you said that he couldn't use the transporters.

McKAY: I said I doubted he was lucid enough.

CALDWELL: Shut `em down. He's not doing it again.

McKAY: Thus stranding your search teams.

[Nevertheless, he does as he's been told.]

[Cut to Teyla, Dex and a group of Marines searching the city.]

CALDWELL: [over comms] Bravo Team, you're on deck. Tango is right below you.

MARINE: You heard the man. Down the stairs.

[Dex suddenly breaks off and heads in a different direction.]

TEYLA: Ronon, where are you going?

MARINE: Let him go.

[The team heads off down the stairs. Back in the Control Room, McKay watches as their signals get very close to Sheppard's.]

McKAY: Bravo Team and Sheppard are in the same room.

CALDWELL: [into comms] Stay sharp. He should be right in there with you.

[The team looks around cautiously. It's a very high-ceilinged room with a glass wall on one side. Somewhere nearby, Dex wanders around with a look on his face that suggests that his spidey-sense is tingling. He moves along the corridor and takes cover around a corner. Back in the room, the team continues to search.]

MARINE: Anyone have a visual?

[Over Teyla's shoulder we see the tall glass wall. Sheppard is doing his best-ever Spiderman impersonation and is climbing up the wall.

Teyla turns and spots him, shining the light from her rifle onto him.]

TEYLA: Above us!

[Sheppard moves at lightning speed up the wall and disappears from view. As the team looks around for him, he suddenly drops from the ceiling and lands in the middle of the group. Before they can react, he slams his arms out and backhands the two nearest Marines to the ground. The other two Marines both fire their Wraith stunners at him, hitting him smack in the chest, but the blasts have no effect.

With a single, super-human bound, Sheppard throws himself towards them and smashes them to the floor. As he heads for the stairs, Teyla runs up behind him, aiming her P90 at him.]

TEYLA: Colonel!

[Sheppard stops, turns and starts to walk back down the stairs towards her. She holds her rifle on him, pleading with him.]

TEYLA: Please – do *not* make me do this.

[Sheppard continues to walk menacingly towards her. Her face full of anguish, she fires a single shot at his feet but he doesn't stop.

She switches to rapid fire and sends a hail of bullets into the ground by his feet. He turns and races up the stairs. As he reaches the top and runs along the corridor, he is hit in the back by two rapid shots from Dex's blaster. These at last have the desired effect and he crashes to the floor. Teyla runs into view.]

DEX: Get the doctor down here. I have him.

[Cut to the Infirmary. Sheppard is lying on a bed. Close-up on Sheppard's left hand, which is withered and ridged and very Wraith- like. The hand is held in restraints.]

BECKETT: I put him in a medically-induced coma for now. I was afraid he might break through the restraints.

CALDWELL: That's a good call, Doctor.

WEIR: So what now?

BECKETT: The retrovirus has wreaked havoc on his system and it's taking over.

WEIR: What does that *mean*?

BECKETT: It means if we don't find a way to stop the retrovirus in the next twenty-four hours, what's left of the John Sheppard we know will be gone.

[Weir leans on the bed next to Sheppard's and stares across at him.]

[Cut to the commissary. McKay and Teyla are sitting at a table while Dex leans on a balcony just next to the table. Weir comes in and goes over to them.]

WEIR: You guys are up late.

McKAY: Can't you sleep either?

TEYLA: Any progress?

WEIR: No. He's still in a coma. At least he isn't in any pain.

DEX: Maybe if I went alone, maybe ...

WEIR: It's not open for discussion.

DEX: I'm not good at sittin' still.

WEIR: I understand. Believe me, I appreciate how you feel. [She looks at him for a moment, then addresses the whole team.] Look, we have closed down that section of the Infirmary but if you feel the need to ... [She pauses for a long time. Teyla and McKay, both realising what she means, look down.] What I mean to say is, if you would like ... to have a private goodbye, you should probably do it soon.

McKAY: Are we really there?

WEIR: I think we might be.

BECKETT: [over comms] Doctor Weir, I need to speak to you immediately.

WEIR: What is it?

BECKETT: Meet me in your office. I think I have an idea.

[Weir looks at the team hopefully, then heads off. The other three follow her.]

[Cut to Control Room as Beckett heads towards Weir's office. He meets Weir and the team as they come up the stairs and they talk as they head into the office.]

BECKETT: I'm sorry, it just came to me. The fact that his mutation has progressed as far as it has may be his salvation.

WEIR: Explain that.

BECKETT: His sweat glands are actually producing trace amounts of their signature pheromone.

WEIR: And?

BECKETT: When we were in the cave, those bugs knew we didn't belong there, so they didn't really fancy us getting close to their nest.

McKAY: Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa. I see where you're going with this. If we can artificially create the pheromone, it might be able to confuse them enough to leave us alone.

BECKETT: Aye, that would work.

McKAY: Well, that's an excellent plan, Carson!

BECKETT: Aye, I wish it was.

DEX: You can't do that in time.

BECKETT: No, it'd take days.

WEIR: But you said Sheppard only had twenty-four hours before the damage the retrovirus was causing him would be irreparable.

BECKETT: Exactly.

McKAY: Well, then, that's a *terrible* plan, Carson!

BECKETT: There's only one person on this base that wouldn't need the artificial pheromone.

[The team look at each other.]

WEIR: Sheppard?!

BECKETT: He could walk right in that cave and the bugs wouldn't pay him any mind.

McKAY: I'm not sure if you've noticed or not, but Colonel Sheppard's not feeling very well.

BECKETT: He stopped taking the inhibitor we were administering. It was able to keep him lucid.

WEIR: I thought its effectiveness had worn off.

BECKETT: True. But I believe if we give him another massive dose, he may be clear-headed enough to complete the mission before we lose him completely.

McKAY: Yeah, but won't giving him that much inhibitor, like ...

BECKETT: Kill him? Yes, it's a definite possibility. Even if I knew it was for certain, I'd be tempted to offer him one last hour of lucidity.

WEIR: Do it. [She turns to the team.] Gear up, take him as far as the cave.

[Cut to Infirmary. Sheppard awakes with a start. As his eyes snap open, he looks horrified that he's still alive. As he stares around in shock, Weir approaches his side.]

WEIR: John? John. [He looks at her.] Hey. You're in the Infirmary.

BECKETT: Sorry about the headache. It's a side effect of the inhibitor.

SHEPPARD: Did I hurt anyone?

WEIR: No, not seriously.

SHEPPARD: Did Ronon shoot me?

WEIR: [smiling slightly] You had it coming! Look, we don't have a lot of time. This dose of the inhibitor drug will only last about an hour. How would you like to go on a mission?

[Cut to Gateroom. The Gate is open. Teyla, McKay and Dex come up the stairs into the room geared up. McKay turns to Dex.]

McKAY: Now, you realise that you may have to, uh ...?

DEX: It's already set to stun.

[As they walk towards the Gate, they turn and stare as Weir comes in from another doorway. With her are a Marine and Sheppard, who apparently misheard Weir's question and thought she was asking him if he'd like to go a fancy dress party. Not having much in the way of costumes on Atlantis, he decided to go as Emperor Palpatine and so is wearing a floor length gray cloak with the hood pulled up around his face. Weir diplomatically is not mentioning his error.]

WEIR: He's ready.

McKAY: Ah! Good to see you up and, uh ... about.

[Sheppard ignores him and heads for the Gate.]

BECKETT: Alright, come on, we don't have a lot of time.

[He follows Sheppard to the Gate. McKay shares a concerned glance with Weir, then follows them through the Gate. Weir watches them go.]

WEIR: [quietly] Good luck.

[Wormhole travel.]

[Offworld. The team has reached the mouth of the cave. Sheppard stops and stares into the cave. He has pulled his hood back.

Beckett hands him one of the egg-collecting sticks and a large plastic bottle with a lid on the top.]

BECKETT: Use this and collect as many as you can. [Sheppard stares at him blankly.] Oh boy! At least a container full, d'you understand?

[Sheppard looks at him briefly, then takes the stick and the bottle and starts to head into the cave. Teyla stops him.]

TEYLA: Colonel Sheppard? You know that we cannot go in there with you, but you need to hurry. It took us a little longer to get here than we would have liked.

[Sheppard pushes past her and enters the cave. The others watch him go, looking concerned.]

[Inside, Sheppard walks to the cavern where the bugs are. He stops and looks at them for a moment, then takes his cloak off. He is wearing his normal offworld gear underneath. He pulls out a flare, ignites it and throws it into the cavern. The bugs chitter angrily but don't attack him. He walks carefully into the cavern and approaches the nearest egg sac and looks up at it. He takes the plastic bottle, twists the top off it and puts the top inside his jacket, then squats before jumping an enormous distance into the air, landing on the sac. Hanging on with one hand, he plunges the other hand, still holding the bottle, into the sac.]

[Outside the cave, Beckett's watch beeps.]

McKAY: What is that?

BECKETT: That's how long I estimated the inhibitor would work.

DEX: So that means he's ...

BECKETT: There's no way to know for certain.

[Inside the cavern, Sheppard pulls the bottle out of the sac and drops to the floor. He looks down to the bottle, which is full to the brim with eggs, and carefully puts the top back onto it. Just as he finishes, the inhibitor wears off and he falls to the ground, grunting and writhing in pain.]

[Outside]

DEX: We should go in.

McKAY: And do *what*?

TEYLA: If the inhibitor has worn off ...

BECKETT: ... then he's beyond our help.

[Dex turns towards the cave, drawing his blaster.]

DEX: I hear something.

[Teyla and McKay raise their rifles and aim them at the cave entrance as they hear the sound of running feet. Sheppard comes into view.]

TEYLA: Colonel!

[Roaring, Sheppard shoves Dex to the ground and continues to run, but Dex twists on the ground and fires his blaster into Sheppard's back.

Sheppard drops, unconscious. Beckett runs over and grabs the bottle, twisting the top off to look inside.]

TEYLA: Do you have enough?

BECKETT: Aye, I think so.

[He races off. Dex hauls Sheppard up and slings him over his shoulder and the team heads off for the Gate.]

[Cut to Atlantis. In the Infirmary, Beckett comes out from a screened-off area. Weir, Caldwell and Sheppard's team are waiting anxiously for him.]

BECKETT: It's not gonna happen overnight – you can bet on that – but the transformation has begun to reverse itself.

CALDWELL: So eventually he'll be back in uniform?

BECKETT: Eventually.

McKAY: Well done, Carson, for once again elevating medicine to actual science.

BECKETT: Well, thank you, Rodney[!]

WEIR: We'll all finally be able to get some sleep. [to Beckett]

Keep me posted.

BECKETT: Aye.

[Weir leaves the room and Caldwell follows her. The team don't budge.]

DEX: We might, uh ...

TEYLA: ... stay a while.

McKAY: Well, if that's alright.

BECKETT: Of course.

[He walks away. The team looks through the gap in the screens at Sheppard lying unconscious in bed.]

[Cut to corridor where Weir and Caldwell are walking along.]

CALDWELL: If and when Colonel Sheppard resumes his duties, I hope he'll consider some of the changes that I've made.

WEIR: *When* he does, that'll be up to him.

CALDWELL: Of course. Daedalus will head back to Earth in less than a week. I'll be out of your hair in no time.

WEIR: [heading in the general direction of away] We'll try to manage without you until you get back.

[She starts to head up the stairs but Caldwell speaks again, so she turns to face him.]

CALDWELL: Despite what you might think of my intentions, Doctor Weir, I'm not your enemy.

[Weir smiles at him rather unpleasantly.]

WEIR: Believe me, Colonel, you don't wanna be.

[She turns and walks away. Caldwell watches her go for a moment, then turns and heads off in a different direction.]

[Some days later. In the gym, Teyla is training a young Athosian woman in hand to hand combat.]

TEYLA: Good. Lift, lock, serpentine, lock, and hold. [By this time, she has got the girl's arm gently twisted behind her back and has her arm around the girl's neck from behind.] Understood?

[As the girl nods, the door to the gym opens and Sheppard, dressed casually, walks in.]

TEYLA: Colonel!

[She releases the girl, walks round to the front of her, puts her hands on her shoulders and they touch their heads together. The girl leaves and Teyla turns to Sheppard.]

TEYLA: Should you be up and about?

SHEPPARD: Well, I've been cooped up in that damned Infirmary for a couple of weeks. Give me a break.

[He walks over and picks up a couple of fighting sticks and twirls them.]

TEYLA: You are looking well. Are you feeling more like yourself?

SHEPPARD: Well, according to my DNA, I'm a hundred percent John Sheppard again ... although, I gotta say, I'm looking forward to getting rid of this thing one day.

[The camera pans down to his right arm which he is holding out towards Teyla. The area where he was clawed by Ellia is still a pale blue and the skin looks tough.]

SHEPPARD: Doc says it'll clear up eventually. [He looks at Teyla for a moment, looking awkward.] Ah, so listen. While I've been laying there the past few weeks, I've been remembering things. [Teyla smiles uncomfortably.] Some things I might have done that you could call out of character.

TEYLA: [deliberately misunderstanding him] You mean when you attacked the security detail.

[Sheppard smiles.]

SHEPPARD: Yeah, that was one of them.

TEYLA: [smiling] Yes.

SHEPPARD: [unable to meet her eyes] There's another thing I should probably apologise for.

TEYLA: Give it no further thought.

[Sheppard looks at her.]

SHEPPARD: Good! I won't.

TEYLA: Nice to have you back ... [she turns away from him, then grins and turns back to look at him again] ... John.

[Sheppard nods at her, and she turns and walks away, blowing out a relieved sigh.]

Kikavu ?

Au total, 68 membres ont visionné cet épisode ! Ci-dessous les derniers à l'avoir vu...

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