- "Atlantis is all that remains of the greatest race to inhabit the stars."
Atlantis, also called the Lost City of the Ancients and the City of the Ancestors, Atlantus in Ancient, is a city-ship built by the Ancients several million years ago, and has approximately the same internal space as found in Manhattan. The Ancients left our galaxy several million years ago for the Pegasus galaxy, taking Atlantis with them, and settled on a planet they named Lantea.
Millions of years later, after the Lanteans—the name the Ancients came to be known by—submerged the city to protect it from their enemies, the Wraith, and returned to Earth through the Stargate. Their story, over time, inspired the Tau'ri myth of Atlantis.
As of 2009, Atlantis has returned to Earth. It is currently hardbound in the San Francisco bay with its cloak active to hide it from the public. The area is placed under navel quarantine to prevent ships from passing through the cloaking field.
- "We know the Ancients on Earth were suffering from a plague. Uh, maybe some of them were trying to start over, seeding life in a new galaxy."
- ―Daniel Jackson
Atlantis was originally located on Earth on the continent of Antarctica, which at the time was situated much closer to the planet's equator. When a Plague similar to the one created by the Ori spread through the Milky Way galaxy, Atlantis was launched from its home, bound for the Pegasus Galaxy. A small outpost and a few Ancient individuals were left behind on Earth. Atlantis was relocated to the planet Lantea. Once there the Ancients seeded the galaxy with life, just like they had once done in the Milky-Way. Soon life began to flourish where once there was none. (SG1: "Lost City, Part 2") (SGA: "Rising")
Sometime later, during the war with the Wraith, several Wraith hive-ships destroyed all Ancient colonies until Atlantis was all that is left. Hive-ships went to Atlantis and started the First siege of Atlantis. The Ancients managed to defeat the Wraith ships every time they came, but were impossibly outnumbered, so the Ancient Council decided to sink the city underwater for protection from weapons fire. Atlantis was attached to the ocean floor with a series of intricate clamps, the city shield holding back the ocean. Towards the end of the war with the Wraith, the Ancient Janus rescued Elizabeth Weir from a Puddle Jumper which had been shot down by the Wraith. This Jumper was a time machine, designed by Janus himself. It had accidentally transported Dr. Weir back in time. During this time it was decided, by the Council, to abandon the city and return to Earth via the Stargate. (SGA: "The Defiant One", "Before I Sleep")
Unknown to the council however, Dr. Weir secretly stayed behind in stasis as part of a plan devised by Janus. She rotated the city's ZPMs every 3300 years so that when her expedition team rediscovered Atlantis in 10 000 years’ time, the shield would hopefully have enough power to continue to hold back the ocean so they wouldn't drown like they did in her timeline. Janus also programmed a failsafe into the city so that if power reached a critical level the clamps holding the city to the ocean floor would release, and Atlantis would rise to the surface once more. Melia, a member of the Council, left this message for anybody who might rediscover Atlantis in the future:
- "...in the hope of spreading new life in a galaxy where their appeared to be none. Soon the new life grew, prospered. Here we built a system of Stargates starting a network of civilizations which travel between the stars, exchange knowledge and friendship. In time, a thousand worlds bore the fruit of life in this form. Then one day our people stepped foot on a dark world where a terrible enemy slept. Never before had we encountered beings with powers that rivaled our own. In our overconfidence, we were unprepared and outnumbered. The enemy fed upon defenseless human worlds like a great scourge, until finally only Atlantis remained. This city's great shield was powerful enough to withstand their terrible weapons, but here we were besieged for many years. In an effort to save the last of our kind, we submerged our great city into the ocean. The Atlantis Stargate was the one and only link back to Earth from this galaxy, and those who remained used it to return to that world that was once home. There the last survivors of Atlantis lived out the remainder of their lives. This city was left to slumber, in the hope that our kind would one day return."
Under the Expedition
- "What we're looking for may be further away than we ever imagined, but it's not out of reach."
- ―Daniel Jackson
When the Atlantis Expedition arrived, they started to explore the city until Rodney McKay discovered that the city's Zero Point Modules were nearly depleted and that Atlantis' shield would fail, causing a massive flood. After searching Athos for safe refuge due to the inevitable shield failure, the search team eventually brought the Athosians back after a Wraith culling occurred. When the team and refugees returned, Janus's Failsafe-mechanism activated and Atlantis rose to the surface just as the shield finally ran out of power and failed. With Atlantis safe from the risk of flooding, the Expedition continued to settle down and set up home for both themselves and the Athosian refugees. (SGA: "Rising")
Having learned of the existence of Earth, the Wraith sent three hive-ships to attack Atlantis. The Atlantis Expedition was able to destroy the three ships, but the Wraith sent another twelve. Seeing no way of destroying them, the Expedition used a cloak adapted from a gateship, and a timed nuclear warhead to make it appear that the city had been destroyed. The Wraith fell for the ruse, causing them to fall into Civil War. The secret of Atlantis is now a top priority for the Expedition members. (SGA: "The Siege, Part 1", "The Siege, Part 2", "The Siege, Part 3")
In 2006, SG-1—except for Teal'c—arrived in Atlantis on the Odyssey as a step in their war against the Ori. Samantha Carter and Cameron Mitchell took McKay on a mission to connect a Stargate to the Supergate back in the Milky Way, preventing its further use by the Ori. Meanwhile, Daniel Jackson and Vala Mal Doran accessed the Atlantis database in the hope of discovering the location of the Sangraal, a weapon against the Ori designed by Merlin. However, the ascended Lantean Morgan Le Fay, who masqueraded as the database's holographic interface, was stopped by the Others before she could reveal it. (SG1: "The Pegasus Project")
Later in the same year, living Lanteans were discovered in the void between Pegasus and the Milky Way, who subsequently reclaimed the city and forced the expedition out. Shortly afterward, the Asurans attacked the city, killing the Lanteans and taking Jack O'Neill and Richard Woolsey hostage. John Sheppard, Elizabeth Weir, Rodney McKay, Carson Beckett, Teyla Emmagan, and Ronon Dex launched a daring rescue mission, using the city's shield generators to emit a massive Replicator disruptor wave. The Expedition was then able to reclaim Atlantis, keeping one of the ZPMs installed by the Asurans and sending the other two back to Earth to help with the battle against the Ori. (SGA: "The Return", "Echoes")
Some time later, after a massive pre-emptive strike on Asuras by Earth's new battlecruiser, the Apollo, the Asurans launched a retaliatory attack on Atlantis. They sent a satellite housing a Stargate to Lantea, and after dialing in from Asuras, directed a powerful energy beam at Atlantis. Unable to evacuate by Stargate, and unable to fully dissipate the beam after submerging the city, the Expedition used the stardrive to leave Lantea. The recently discovered geothermal drilling platform, located on the ocean floor gave Atlantis the power boost it needed to lift off, as the expedition only had one ZPM instead of the 3 which the city was designed to use. The shield had to be lowered so that more power could be diverted to the Stardrive for the crucial first few moments of flight. As the shield was being raised after this initial phase however the Asurans beam grazed the side of the main tower, causing serious damage to the main power conduits. Because of this Atlantis dropped out of hyperspace prematurely and far from the new intended homeworld, with the city's single Zero Point Module nearly depleted, having only twenty four hours of energy left. With the aid of a replacement ZPM, stolen in a daring raid on the Asuran homeworld, the city eventually settled on M35-117. (SGA: "First Strike", "Lifeline")
The hybrid Michael later used a gateship, in conjunction with a stolen IDC and a number of hybrids to infiltrate Atlantis. He combined Wraith and Ancient technology, and managed to create a force field with similar results as a Wraith stunner, disabling anyone who attempted to access the control tower. His goal was to capture Teyla's son, Torren John. Ronon eventually escaped from his original capture, as he was in the gate room when the stun field was established. However Michael was able to overpower and render Ronon unconscious. This distraction allowed Teyla to escape. Michael activated Atlantis' self destruct in an attempt to draw Teyla out, but was unsuccessful. He then attempted to retreat with the DNA of Teyla's son that he had already taken vowing to clone him. In the meantime, McKay and Sheppard planned to use a jumper from the underwater jumper bay, dial the DHD and to use the Unstable vortex to destroy Michael's jumper, thus rendering the stun field inactive and restoring Atlantis to its natural power. The plan succeeded and Michael was forced to flee with Sheppard in chase. As they battled on the outside of one of Atlantis' towers, Michael was about to throw Sheppard over the side, but Teyla intervened and pushed Michael over the edge. His grip failing, Teyla kicked his hand from the ledge, finally killing him in the fall. (SGA: "The Prodigal")
Return to Earth
- "Walter, you'd better get me the President. It looks like Atlantis is coming home."
- ―Samantha Carter
Early in 2009 the Wraith Todd contacted Atlantis and told them that his second in command, "Kenny", had mutinied and managed to use several Zero Point Modules, acquired during the destruction of Asuras, to create a much more powerful hive-ship. He urged the Expedition to attack it before it becomes a major threat to them. The Tau'ri sent the Daedalus to confront the hive-ship, but the ZPM-powered vessel proved itself an impressive opponent, crippling the Daedalus before making a sudden and inexplicable jump into hyperspace. The Expedition later found out that the hive-ship was on its way to Earth. (SGA: "Enemy at the Gate")
Both the Apollo and the new Tau'ri spaceship, the Sun Tzu, failed to destroy the vessel before it reached Earth. Sheppard interrogated Todd for the location of more ZPMs, which Lorne and his team were able to locate; Atlantis, now with her full complement of three ZPMs, was sent to its original home in a last-ditch effort to defend it. Carson Beckett flew the city until the city's hyperdrive failed at the edge of the Milky Way. Zelenka proposed activating a highly experimental and potentially dangerous drive based on the same wormhole technology as the Stargate. With it, they could potentially reach Earth in seconds. (SGA: "Enemy at the Gate")
When Atlantis arrived, it placed itself between the hive-ship and Earth in order to buy the SGC more time. Atlantis took the brunt of the hive-ship's assault and launched a barrage of drones in retaliation. The sheer force of the hive-ship's weapons fire pushed the city-ship into Earth's atmosphere, placing severe strain on the shield. Quickly loosing power, the only options were to either adjust Atlantis' course or keep firing at the enemy ship; Woolsey chose to keep firing. The SGC eventually succeeded in destroying the hive-ship, but Atlantis was now forced to land on Earth, risking burning up during re-entry. (SGA: "Enemy at the Gate")
Everyone at Stargate Command waited for news with bated breath, but erupted into celebration when Atlantis lands successfully over water. The city was able to cloak just before their approach, and the area in which they landed is currently under naval quarantine. For now at least, Earth's population is still in the dark. (SGA: "Enemy at the Gate")
Back on Earth
After its return to Earth early in 2009, the one and only nine chevron address in the ancient database was discovered, and the Icarus Base was set up to research into dialing it. This later mounted, with the help of Eli Wallace in the successful dialing of the Destiny in late 2009. (SGU: "Air, Part 1")
Atlantis's main energy supply are ZPMs, which are stored in a special room. To gain access to all of the technology and features of Atlantis, three are needed, however in cases of emergency, one can perform the most important tasks. The city also possesses several solar-powered generators, however they don't provide much energy in proportion to the massive amounts required to operate any useful technology in the city. In one extreme instance, lightning strikes from a massive storm were used to briefly power the shield in order to save it from a Tsunami. A more effective method of alternatively powering Atlantis comes in the form of a geological drilling station located on the sea floor of Lantea. This station was built by the Ancients and utilized by the Atlantis expedition when they left Lantea.
The shield of Atlantis is a massive dome that completely encompassed the city when activated. It protects the city from anything ranging from orbital bombardment, to the weight of an entire ocean, to a tsunami, to coronal mass ejections, to falling space debris. The shield can cover the city like a skin to prevent the ocean from crashing inside when the city is submerged, or to prevent air evacuation when traveling through space. Also, the shield can be expanded when necessary to protect nearly an entire planet, or contracted to save power. After some modifications made by Rodney McKay, the shield can also be used to cloak the city.
The stardrive on Atlantis enables the city to travel to distant planets, or even galaxies, in only a few days and is incredibly powerful. It is designed to operate with 3 ZPMs, but can be powered by 1 if the situation calls for it, and if other power sources are used as well, the geological drilling platform for example. The most power is used in getting Atlantis off the surface, after this a single ZPM is able to power the city and open a hyperspace window.
Atlantis' Stargate transports people and objects to other worlds. It also features a force field that prevents even subatomic particles from rematerializing, similar in function to the iris protecting Earth's Stargate only much more effective. Also, unlike every other Stargate in the Pegasus Galaxy the Atlantis Gate is able to dial another galaxy due to a special crystal in its DHD. Atlantis' original Stargate was recently destroyed due to the use of the Attero device, which had the side-effect of destroying active Stargates. The destroyed gate was later replaced with a Stargate from the former intergalactic gate bridge network and retains both the ability to dial an intergalactic address and the ability to activate its shield, as they are not functions of the Stargate itself. (SGA: "Rising", "Home", "First Contact", "The Prodigal")
- Main article: Wormhole drive
The wormhole drive is an experimental drive that was designed by the Ancients but was abandoned due to how dangerous and unstable it was as well as the immense power requirements. The Atlantis Expedition used this drive to reach Earth in mere seconds after its hyperdrive failed at the edge of the Milky Way.(SGA: "Enemy at the Gate")
- Ascension lab
- Auxiliary control center
- Bio lab
- Cargo hold
- Chair room
- Commander's office
- Conference room
- Drone weapon storage room
- Drone weapon deployment room
- Grounding stations 1-4
- HAZMAT storage
- Holo room
- Janus' lab
- Jumper bay
- Living quarters
- Main power room
- Mess hall
- Nanite lab
- Power distribution center
- Society research lab
- Stargate Operations
- ZPM room
- Grounding stations
- Lockout device
- Long range sensors
- Wormhole drive
- Moros (Unknown-8,000 B.C.)
- Elizabeth Weir (2004-2007)
- Steven Caldwell (briefly) (2006)
- Helia (2007)
- Elizabeth Weir (2007)
- Samantha Carter (2007-2008)
- John Sheppard (briefly) (2008)
- Richard Woolsey (2008-present)
- In episode Before I Sleep, Atlantis had no failsafe device and all ZPMs were running simultaneously, so the city would sink if flooded. Weir, Sheppard and Zelenka get into a time-traveling Puddle Jumper, going back ten thousand years. After being attacked by two Wraith darts, the Jumper crashed, and Weir was the only survivor. The Ancients back then refused to let her go back to her future, since it would corrupt the timeline. Luckily, the time-machine's inventor, Janus, helped her by creating a failsafe and making sure the ZPMs ran the city one at a time to save some extra power.
- In The Last Man, forty-eight thousand years into the future, M35-117 is a desert planet and its sun is getting hotter. Atlantis was abandoned by humans all together. Colonel John Sheppard, accidentally there, wants to go back to his time. Guided by a hologram of Rodney McKay, he tries to get to the stasis chamber to wait for a solar flare that would not happen before seven hundred more years. But due to the aging sun, in five hundred years the planet will have become uninhabitable. So Sheppard used the city's solar panels to power the shield to protect the atmosphere. It's probably obvious, that since Atlantis was still on M35-117, then Sheppard leaping into the future created an alternate timeline.
References and notes
- GateWorld's article on
- Stargate SG-1 Solutions' article on
- Atlantis on Wikipedia
- The mythological Atlantis on Wikipedia
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