((45 second recap of "Enemy at the Gate" and "Crossroads, Part 1"))
On Earth, Richard Woolsey is in the Atlantis control room going over a star chart of the region of Pegasus that the Daedalus
was dispatched to. Taking off his glasses, he rubs at his eyes and checks his watch, seeing that it's already past midnight. One of the passing gate technicians suggests he get some rest, but Woolsey waves the man off, saying that he still has some paperwork to do anyway. He turns off the monitor he was working at and heads across to his office, shutting the door and sinking heavily into his chair. It's been nearly a month since the ship left for the galactic void, and as much as he hates to admit it, he's worried. With no reinforcements remotely close at hand, if something were to go wrong, Sheppard and his team will be completely on their own...
...just as they are on New Athos, where Sheppard, Ronon, and McKay stand in the debris pile that is all that remains of the Athosian settlement's watchtower. Todd
stands across from them, his cadre of Wraith warriors making sure to keep their stunners trained on the humans, and remarks that he knew it would only be a matter of time before the nosy Atlanteans would send a ship back to this galaxy. He wasn't entirely sure where they'd go first, but he sees now that they were fated to meet up again. They choose the day he returns to finish culling this pathetic planet to visit, and if that isn't proof that destiny is bringing them together, he doesn't know what is.
Keeping his finger on his pistol's trigger, Sheppard replies that he doesn't subscribe to the theory of predestination, and even if he did, the only reason they came here was to bring Todd in anyway. He's only helping them do their job by conveniently showing up like this. McKay adds that the Daedalus
is probably already on its way back, so it would be in Todd's best interest to let them go and get out of here before it shows up and blasts his ships into dust, but the Wraith doesn't buy it. He knows enough about Atlantis's primary offworld team to know when they're bluffing, and this is just another example. The Daedalus
won't be back for days, giving him all the time he needs to remove the people who have been a perpetual thorn in his side. He shoots off a stunner bolt that knocks Sheppard's pistol out of his hand, and prepares to deliver the final blow to his most-persistent adversaries.
Suddenly, however, the sky lights up behind them, and a massive explosion rips through the air. Todd turns to see one of his two cruisers exploding as dozens of newly-arrived darts swarm down through the clouds and begin shooting down his own fighters with frightening accuracy. Sheppard and the others look up, watching a Wraith cruiser obviously not under Todd's control target his second ship and begin ripping into its hull. Watching Todd's mouth hang open in shock, Ronon asks if everything's still going according to plan, grinning happily as more and more darts are blown apart mid-flight.
Unsure as to who this new arrival is but glad they showed up when they did, Sheppard tells Todd he'll see him around and pulls McKay and Ronon behind a pile of wreckage, the Wraith warriors taking notice and firing at them too late to land a hit. Enraged, Todd roars that this isn't over, then steps back with his men and lets a passing dart beam them into its buffer before it pulls out of the dogfighting and makes straight for orbit. Ronon watches it go and mutters that of course the Wraith run like cowards, but John reminds him that this isn't the time to sit around. They spot Teyla across the settlement and rush over, joining the Athosians in fending off the last few remaining darts now that the two rival squadrons have bled each other dry.
In space, meanwhile, Todd's dart emerges from the atmosphere in time to see a massive battle raging, with four hive ships allied with Todd taking heavy fire from two others. Despite the numerical advantage, Todd's faction doesn't seem to be doing very well at all, and their adversaries' weaponry appears to be far superior to their own. Whatever the reason, his dart manages to avoid being destroyed just long enough to slip inside the hanger bay of his least-damaged hive, and it and two of its escorts open a hyperspace window and escape. The fourth vessel, however, is unable to get its hyperdrive online in time, and is utterly obliterated within seconds.
Back on the surface of New Athos, Sheppard and his team watch as the surviving darts suddenly break off their assault, despite their vulnerability to a massed attack, and head for orbit. They dock with their carrier hives and, like Todd's forces, retreat into hyperspace. But watching the sudden withdrawal from the planet itself, McKay can only question why another faction of Wraith would arrive, engage Todd, achieve complete control of the region, and then just pack up and go when there's a whole settlement of humans ripe for culling. Teyla admits it is very suspicious, but she's not going to question their good luck. In any case, the newcomers must have destroyed whatever ship dialed the stargate, since she points to where the portal now sits inactive and suggests they gather the inhabitants of the surrounding villages and evacuate. The planet is clearly no longer a secure place for the Athosians, but there are several other worlds that will take in her people temporarily until they locate a suitable replacement. In agreement, Sheppard agrees to postpone their mission for a few hours, and the group gets to work.
Quite a few thousand light-years away, the Daedalus
is cruising through hyperspace approaching its next pit-stop. Sitting in his command chair, Colonel Steven Caldwell
is leafing through technical readouts of scans they took of three previous locations, all having once been hangouts for the Wraith but apparently now abandoned. Something has definitely changed the landscape of Pegasus while Earth's attention was focused elsewhere, and he doesn't like it. Their next destination is the Hoffan system, where, after decimating the Hoffans themselves ("Poisoning the Well"), the Wraith set up a command outpost to act as a rear guard on their march to siege Atlantis five years ago ("The Siege"). Its fate after the outbreak of the Wraith Civil War is unknown, but Caldwell wants to investigate anyway, seeing how it had such a pivotal role to play in supplying the armada that attacked Lantea half a decade before.
Checking his instruments, the sensor technician reports that they're coming up on the star system now, and Caldwell asks for all weapons and shields primed the second they exit hyperspace. Nodding at Major Marks
, he gives the order to drop out, and prepares to see what's left of the Hoffans and their world. The ship barely gets out of its subspace window, however, before blue bursts of plasma begin flying at them from all directions, and the shields flicker up just in time to catch the barrage. Shouting to target everything in sight and fire, Caldwell stands and goes over to the forward window, realizing after a moment that they emerged directly in the middle of a massive Wraith shipyard
teeming with orbital cannons they've never seen before. This place was built for defense, and the Daedalus
barrel-rolls under an in-construction hive ship close enough for a quick scan of the superstructure.
A hive ship sitting just a little ways away from the shipyard opens fire the second they're in the open, and the craft rocks noticeably. Marks reports that they're taking far more damage than normal Wraith weaponry would deal, thought the shields aren't anywhere near danger of collapse yet. That said, he's cutting their estimated time until they need to pull out against a single hive from the usual few minutes to one at max to be safe. Caldwell confirms the change and orders the hyperdrive primed for when they need to and directs the gunners to target the still-exposed reactor of the closest vessel being built. It erupts into a fireball an instant later, and the crew cheers in success.
Watching his Asgard beam weapons tear through a pair of cruisers in drydock, Caldwell decides he's had enough of this. He knows that one ship can't take down all the defenses alone, and so he gets one more flyby to scan the turrets themselves and then orders a jump back into hyperspace, headed for their predetermined rendezvous. Once back in the safety of faster-than-light travel, the Colonel asks to see what they got from their probing. The sensors officer brings up the results on his terminal and motions for Caldwell to take a look; interestingly, the ships being built don't appear entirely organic, which would explain why they're constructed in drydock instead of grown on the ground. In fact, these models have naquadah
being infused throughout the hull, possibly to speed power along to vital systems, a trick introduced by the Goa'uld and followed up on by the later ships of the Asgard and eventually by Earth.
But as fascinating as that is, considering the Wraith have never employed naquadah in their ships before, that isn't the most-striking thing gleaned by the scan. A closer look at the orbital turrets they encountered reveals that they have an incredible similarity to the turrets that make up the Asgard defense grid
orbiting Earth, right down to the basic shape. The weaponry inside them is still distinctly Wraith in origin, but the design of the casing is unmistakable. Somehow, whatever faction controls that shipyard has access to at least a visual log of Earth's defenses, and that may be the most-frightening thing of all.
Across the galactic void, Woolsey is going over the list of United Nations personnel at work within Atlantis when someone knocks at his office door. Glancing up, he sees Dr. Radek Zelenka
standing there, a duffel bag in hand, having been requested by Woolsey to return from his assignment helping to repair the Ancient outpost in Antarctica. Zelenka thanks him for getting him out of there, as trying to put the place back together after the Wraith caved the complex in during their attack ("Enemy at the Gate") was both tedious and dull. But the work is almost complete anyway, and the weapons platform should be ready for use again within the month.
That's not why Woolsey had him transferred back, however; with Dr. McKay indisposed in the Pegasus Galaxy, Samantha Carter leading SG-1, and Dr. Nicholas Rush missing in action (SGU
: "Air, Part 1"), the three arguably greatest minds Earth has are all incapable of getting Atlantis back in order, and so that leaves Radek. Somewhat insulted, Zelenka begins to argue that he was instrumental in the city's survival thus far, but Woolsey cuts in to explain that he meant no offense, but was simply speaking plainly. He mutters that he guesses he still has some insensitive bureaucrat tendencies to get rid of, but that's for another time. The city's been shackled by the UN's scientific team, and he wants Zelenka to see who among them is worth being kept on. He's decided that Elizabeth Weir put together her Expedition team the way she did for a reason, and if he's going to supervise Atlantis, regardless of what galaxy it's in, those are the people he wants working under him.