FADE IN: EXT: ORTUS MALLUM REGION, MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO, DAY
[In subtitles, the words "Millions of years ago, in a distant galaxy..." appears.]
[Movie opening. We see the majestic mountains of an alien world, snowcapped peaks stretching on into the horizon. As the camera rounds one of them, a string of peaks covered in cityscapes can be seen. Zooming in farther, we see rock-like (but clearly, purposefully built) structures make up the majority of these settlements, indicative of early ALTERAN styling (such as the Temple at DAKARA). People walk about these streets in Middle Ages-esque clothing, obviously trying to hide their technological achievements.]
CUT TO: INT: CELESTIS - UNDERGROUND CAVERN, DAY
[A group of ALTERANS waits in a cavern deep underground, discussing their impending evacuation of CELESTIS to a place where they might escape the coming armies of their enemies, the ORI. Numerous pieces of technology can be seen around the room.]
So this is how it must be? We must flee our homeworld in shame while the Ori overrun the last bastion of our people?
(Shaking his head)
We have no other options. Their armies far outnumber our own, and even our most powerful weapons are no match for their numbers. They would throw themselves blindly into the fray until we were no more, and they would, inevitably, triumph.
Either way, we cannot hide our ways any longer.
Nor should we. The Ori have amassed armies and move to destroy us. Everything we believe, all we are, is an affront to them. They will stop at nothing to destroy every last shred of evidence that opposes their fanaticism.
[The ALTERANS mutter to themselves for a moment, then one of them steps forward.]
And what of the Ark?
[The group is silenced. Whatever it is, this ARK holds great meaning to them. After a beat:]
You know the opinion of this council; the Ark must never be used, regardless of the gravity of the situation. To deprive a people of their right to believe... it violates the very core of what we are.
[AMELIUS shakes his head in frustration. He is obviously invested in the ARK.]
The Ark can change everything. I did not devise such a machine because I believed it the right way to challenge the Ori, or even the righteous way, but because it is the only
(To OTHER ALTERANS)
We no longer have the luxury of morality! Not when our very existence is at stake!
We believe in the systematic understanding of the physical world through observation and experimentation, through argument and debate, but, most of all, freedom of will. I will not compromise the fundamental tenants of my devotion in order to preserve it!
This council has spoken, Amelius. I'm sorry if you feel robbed of a chance of victory... but this is the way it must be, now and forever.
We acknowledge the incredible potential of the technology of the Ark.
ALTERAN WOMAN TWO:
And the danger such power presents.
It will not be used as a weapon against the Ori. The debate on the issue is closed.
[Disappointed, AMELIUS turns to the ARK and closes the lid.]
The Ark of Truth
FADE IN: EXT: DAKARA - TEMPLE RUINS, DAY
[DANIEL JACKSON is digging in the dirt, then suddenly unveils a chest of some sort. Around him is the ruins of the Jaffa Nation capital world, DAKARA, destroyed by the ORI the year before. The TEMPLE itself lies shattered in the distance, and only ruinous buildings remain.]
(Turning his head toward TEAL'C, behind him)
Gimme a hand?
EXT: DAKARA RUINS, DAY
[TEAL'C looks around then goes to assist. A bored VALA remains lying on a fallen slab, absently playing with something in her hand. TEAL'C and DANIEL carry the heavy chest out into the open.]
Really think this is it?
[DANIEL dusts off more of the cover of the chest with a brush.]
Well, it's covered in Ancient writing. These symbols here are part of the oldest dialect I'm aware of. It says: "Safely kept is the...something of old."
[VALA sits up.]
What's the "something", Daniel?
Well, if I knew for sure, I wouldn't have said "the something..."
(Turns to TEAL'C)
Why am I answering her?
Stop your yammering and open it.
We can't just open it.
Well, if this is what I think it is, it's a powerful piece of Ancient technology capable of making anyone who looks into it believe that the Ori...
DANIEL AND VALA:
...are not gods.
As far as we know.
Well, we already believe that. No harm done. Open it.
I said "as far as we know." There may be other things it's capable of making you believe.
Maybe... we're supposed to believe those other things too.
You know what? That's beside the point. There's another reason we can't just open it.
Look at my hands, all right? They are raw and bleeding. I've broken every nail. We've been out here in the scorching heat for days. I haven't showered!
None of us have.
That is painfully obvious. Now, according to you, this crusty old chest is our salvation from oppression at the hands of the Ori army. Our best--and maybe only--remaining chance that we have. We've dug how
many holes in the ground? Help me out here, Muscles.
[Exasperated, DANIEL tosses his excavation brush aside.]
Now, all the years the Jaffa were here, they knew that Dakara was the first landing place of the Alterans in this galaxy. You mean to tell me they never looked for Ancient artifacts?
There were a few artifacts that were excavated and catalogued when the city was being rebuilt. But with the constant change of leadership, little time, or manpower--
(Talking over him)
Yes, yes, yes and blah, blah, blah. But here we are. Finally, we may have found it. The ultimate weapon. So could someone please explain to me why we can't confirm our blessed fortune by simply opening it?!
Because it's sealed shut! It literally won't
[DANIEL demonstrates. The chest remains closed.]
Why didn't you say so?
Well, I was trying to, but you wouldn't stop your yammering!
[TEAL'C looks up at the sky, alert at some noise. VALA goes over the equipment and grabs a pickaxe, heading back towards the chest. DANIEL stands and hurries over, wrestling with her over the tool.]
Wait! No, no, no, no, no! You can't do that! I told you, this is a piece of technology. You could damage it!
It's been buried for millions of years, Daniel!
DANIEL AND VALA:
[There's a beat of silence... then DANIEL's radio crackles.]
Hey, kids, guess what?
[Some gunfire can be heard over MITCHELL's transmission. The three look up to see Ori fighters soar over their heads.]
We are under fire.
EXT--SKY OVER DAKARA, DAY
[Several ORI FIGHTERS soar over the ruins, some dropping bombs below.]
EXT--DAKARA RUINS, DAY
[In another area of the ruins, LT. COL. MITCHELL and COL. CARTER exchange fire with ORI SOLDIERS. Both reload their clips.]
I do not
remember sending out invitations to this party.
[They continue shooting. More SOLDIERS continue to arrive.]
We have to fall back!
[MITCHELL nods. Covering each other, the pair make a controlled retreat.]
(to other SOLDIERS)
[The ORI TROOPS advance, taking cover where MITCHELL and CARTER just were. The two colonels go through some large metal doors and rejoin their teammates. TEAL'C and DANIEL are already taking firing positions: JACKSON stands by the chest, TEAL'C by a standing pillar. VALA hurries over to where MITCHELL crouches by a large stone block.]
What are you doing? We have to go there!
There's too many of them.
There's no other way out of here.
(through gritted teeth)
(to Daniel, gesturing at chest)
How about now?
(after a beat)
Yeah, now works for me.
[DANIEL puts down his P-90 and grabs a hammer and chisel. He starts working at the chest.]
[Daniel's chiseling can be heard from the other side of the doors where the Ori stand ready. The COMMANDER arrives.]
Commander, we have them trapped.
[The commander takes off his helmet and tosses it to the soldier. He's revealed to be TOMIN, VALA's husband from the Ori Galaxy.]
(yelling to the doorway)
Vala, it's Tomin. Throw down your weapons and surrender, and I promise you will all be spared.
[VALA looks bemused.]
I was just about to say the same thing!
[VALA turns back to DANIEL, making a "hurry up" gesture". Daniel continues to work at the chest.]
Vala, you have to trust me. Your position has been targeted from space. Comply now, or you will be destroyed.
I think we have to trust him.
[Daniel grunts with the efforts to pry open the lid and shakes his head. The chest isn't budging.]
What if we got them to open it?
[CARTER and MITCHELL exchange thoughtful looks. DANIEL, breathing hard from the exertion, also seems to consider it.]
Well, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, would it?
All right. Invite him in.
[Grim faced, MITCHELL sets down his rifle and steps back.]
(yelling to TOMIN)
Um, you can come in!
[The gates part and TOMIN and his SOLDIERS step forward, weapons at the ready. CARTER and TEAL'C set down their guns. DANIEL drops his hammer and chisel and stands up. VALA sets down her rifle and fluffs her hair with a pout.]
I look like crap.
[TOMIN's men enter and surround SG-1. Their staffs are poised to fire. DANIEL sighs heavily.]
(hopeful, to TOMIN)
Hi... how are you?... What's new?
[TOMIN steps closer. Finally he gives a small smile.]
What are you doing here?
Wow, we really are on the same page. Took the words right out of my mouth.
[Frowning, TOMIN steps up to MITCHELL. VALA quickly gets between the two.]
How did you know we were here?