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Atlantis Season 3
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Season 2 Season 4


Episode Edit

Tao of Rodney

Transcript Edit

Prologue Edit

TEASER

EXT—ATLANTIS, DAY

INT—ATLANTIS CORRIDOR

[A team of scientists, led by McKay and Zelenka, explore a darkened corridor of the base. Water logged furniture and debris are scattered haphazardly through the area.]

MCKAY
  She used to leave the lights on, all over the house. Every room. Drove my father nuts.

ZELENKA
  (chuckling)
  For me, it was my brother. Only we had no lights. He used to leave candles burning everywhere.

MCKAY
  Well, you know what? No one wants to hear any more stories about how poor you were as a child, all right? We already feel as sorry for you as is humanly possible.

ZELENKA
  (aside, to Esposito)
  Uh, he burned the house down, you know?

MCKAY
  My sister was afraid of the dark. Aw, and used to blame me for leaving the lights on. Of course, my father believed her. He never sided with me.

ZELENKA
  We had to live in a tent…in the dead of winter for three months.

MCKAY
  (annoyed)
  You know, at least my stories relate to what we're doing.

ZELENKA
  Well, so do mine!

MCKAY
  We're trekking all over the city, shutting down everything the Ancients activated while they were oh so briefly in control, so we can stop the power from draining from our one precious ZPM. How does that relate to your idiot brother burning the house down?

ZELENKA
  Okay, if we don't succeed…

MCKAY
  We're not going to have to live in a tent in the dead of winter!

ZELENKA
  It's a metaphor.

[Doctor Esposito runs her scanner over one of the closed doors.]

ESPOSITO
  Doctor McKay?

MCKAY
  Hmm? Thank god.

[McKay and Zelenka rush over to her.]

ESPOSITO
  The control panel…it's completely shot.

[McKay brushes close to her as he forces himself past to the control panel.]

MCKAY
  Really? You think so? You know, I don't get these Ancients. They're supposed to be so smart? Then why activate something that you don't need and you're not using, huh?

[He smiles at her.]

ZELENKA
  (shrugging)
  Well, maybe they didn't have time to get to it, you know, before the human form Replicators that you reprogrammed attacked.

[Zelenka smiles flirtatiously at Esposito.]

MCKAY
  (piqued)
  Yes, yes. We all know what happened.

[His expression softens as he nods to Esposito again, who ducks her head.]

INT—ANCIENT LAB

[McKay gets the door open.]

MCKAY
  Ah! Voila.

[He leads the way into the darkened room.]

ZELENKA
  You're just angry that you couldn't figure out how to override the Ancient protocols that kept us from shutting this place down remotely from the control room.

MCKAY
  (petulant)
  Hey, neither could you.

ZELENKA
  Yes, but I didn't bet everyone a month's pay that I could do it.

MCKAY
  (pointing at Zelenka)
  You—
  (to others)
  Okay, you know what? Look around, see if you can figure out how to turn this place off…whatever it is.

[McKay approaches a lighted panel on a one step podium and starts to hook up his laptop.]

ZELENKA
  (nervous)
  Wait, are-are you sure you should be going up there?

MCKAY
  How else am I going to find out what this place does, huh?
  (muttering)
  God forbid there should be anything in the Ancient database.

ZELENKA
  Oh, there probably is, we just don't have the time to—

MCKAY
  Oh, here we go.

[The machine powers up and shows a display.]

ZELENKA
  Ah. Okay, there should be a main power switch—

[He starts to point to something on the control panel, but McKay brushes him off.]

MCKAY
  (impatient)
  Yes, I know that! What do you think I'm doing?

ZELENKA
  All right.

[Zelenka pulls his outstretched arm back and runs it down his head, stepping further back. He fidgets, then gives a scheming grin.]

ZELENKA
  All right, double or nothing.

MCKAY
  (scoffing)
  Oh, you're on.

ZELENKA
  All right.

MCKAY
  All right. It's gonna be around here somewhere.

[He starts studying the panel. Suddenly a panel overhead lights up, shining down on McKay. He looks up as a startled Zelenka and others step back. While they watch a thin beam of light comes down from the overhead panel and entwines itself around McKay. The system overloads and short circuits, sending electrical arcs around the room. Everyone ducks. Finally the machine shuts down, leaving the room in darkness again. Zelenka cautiously approaches.]

ZELENKA
  (worried)
  Rodney? What happened?

[McKay turns to face Zelenka, eyes wide with shock.]

MCKAY
  I'm not sure, but I think I just lost. Big time.

END TEASER

Episode Edit

OPENING CREDITS

INT—ATLANTIS INFIRMARY

[McKay sits on an infirmary bed. Sheppard and Weir stand nearby as Beckett approaches.]

BECKETT
  As far as I can tell, he's fine.

MCKAY
  I was hit by a mysterious energy pulse. How can that possibly be fine?!

BECKETT
  I've run every test I can. Bloodwork, MRIs, X-rays, the lot. I found no anomalies in any of the results.

MCKAY
  Okay, one more time—mysterious energy pulse! From a device created by the Ancients?! I mean, who knows what kind of long-term effects I could be in for. I mean, there's gross mutation, giantism, invisibility…?

SHEPPARD
  That would be cool. I turned into a bug.

[McKay stares at Sheppard, unable to believe his friends' blase reactions.]

BECKETT
  All right, like I said, as far as I can tell, he's as healthy as a horse. I'm clearing you for active duty.

MCKAY
  Are you insane?! Look, I need to be put under guard. Who knows what I could become!

WEIR
  What are the chances it could make him more pleasant?

MCKAY
  (sarcastic)
  Oh, thank you.

SHEPPARD
  I'll keep an eye on him.

WEIR
  (amused)
  Thank you.

[Weir leaves.]

MCKAY
  (worried)
  Can you still see me?

INT—ANCIENT LAB

[Zelenka and McKay work in the lab where McKay was struck by the beam. Sheppard sits nearby, reading a magazine. Everything is powered down.]

MCKAY
  (exasperated sigh)
  What are you saying?

ZELENKA
  Oh, that you were showing off. Heh, heh. Normally if Doctor Esposito weren't around, I doubt you would've been as reckless as you were.

MCKAY
  Are you insane?!

SHEPPARD
  Which one's Esposito?

ZELENKA
  Oh, the-uh, the long dark hair?

SHEPPARD
  Oh, right. The one with the perfect little—

MCKAY
  (annoyed)
  Do you mind? We're trying to work here.

SHEPPARD
  For the record, I was going to say "smile."

MCKAY
  (dubious)
  Yeah, sure you were.
  (to Zelenka)
  What have you got?

ZELENKA
  (disappointed)
  Nothing. Whatever you did fried all the power conduits leading into the room.

MCKAY
  Whatever I did?! Look, up until very recently, this lab was entirely underwater, quite possibly for over ten thousand years. How is that my fault?

ZELENKA
  (grudgingly)
  Well, that part of it isn't.

MCKAY
  Okay, that's it. I'm going for lunch.

INT—ATLANTIS MESS HALL

[McKay sits alone at a table, eating a sandwich and a variety of fruit. He can hear his team's voices behind him.]

TEYLA
  How is he doing?

SHEPPARD
  Same ol' Rodney.

RONON
  Are you sure? He looks a couple pounds heavier to me.

TEYLA
  (scolding)
  Ronon.

RONON
  (innocently)
  What? He eats all the time. It's not like he exercises.

[McKay stops chewing and looks down at his tray self-consciously.]

SHEPPARD
  Feeding his unhappiness.

MCKAY
  Hello, I'm right here. I can—

[He turns around to see the rest of his team are sitting at a table at the far side of the crowded room. They were too far away to hear his response, but glance over when they see him looking at them.]

MCKAY
  (softly, lost in thought)
  I can hear you. Huh.

[He looks pensive and gets up to join the others. He blindly reaches back for his tablet computer as he moves, and thus does not see it slide across the table telekinetically into his hand.]

MCKAY
  (agitated)
  For your information, I am exactly the same weight I've been since I got here. I need to eat regularly, otherwise I become hypoglycemic. And I am generally a very happy person.

TECHNICIAN
  (over intercom)
  Colonel Sheppard, please have your team report to the control room immediately. Colonel Sheppard.

[The team quell their respective amused and bemused expressions to respond to the summons.]

INT—ATLANTIS CONTROL ROOM

[The team join Weir in the control room.]

WEIR
  We received this transmission six minutes ago from Major Lorne's team.

LORNE
  (over radio)
  Atlantis base, repeat, we are under attack and cut off from the 'gate. I counted at least twenty, maybe more. Request backup immediately.

SHEPPARD
  Where are they?

WEIR
  (checking)
  M72-656.

SHEPPARD
  Have a team of marines meet us in the jumper bay.

INT—ATLANTIS GATE ROOM

[Sheppard's jumper lowers into the Gate Room. From the balcony, Weir watches it leave.]

EXT—ATLANTIS, DAY

INT—ANCIENT LAB

[Zelenka still works on the panel. Weir enters.]

ZELENKA
  Doctor Weir? Any word?

WEIR
  Not yet. It has only been an hour. You wanted to see me.

ZELENKA
  Yes. I could use your help. Um, er, I managed to get power to part of the console to access the lab's research logs.

WEIR
  Well, that's good news.

ZELENKA
  Well, I'm not so sure. Uh, I could use a second opinion.

[He pulls up a display showing a lot of Ancient writing. Weir stands next to him at the console to take a closer look.]

WEIR
  It seems much of this refers to different elements of…human physiology.

[She punches a few keys and another display comes up.]

WEIR
  (concerned)
  It mentions the mutation of base genetic coding?

ZELENKA
  I realize that Doctor Beckett said that there were no "evident" effects from Rodney's exposure to the device, but…it seems—

WEIR
  It's meant to manipulate human DNA.

[Zelenka nods.]

TECHNICIAN
  (over radio)
  Doctor Weir to the jumper bay. The rescue team has returned.

WEIR
  Let's go.

INT—JUMPER BAY

[Weir and Zelenka arrive just as Sheppard's jumper door opens.]

MCKAY
  What else could it be?

SHEPPARD
  (scoffing)
  Oh, you're losing your mind.

MCKAY
  I'm telling you it's a bit of a coincidence!

SHEPPARD
  Well then, prove it!

WEIR
  (worried)
  Colonel?

SHEPPARD
  Everyone's present and accounted for.

[Beckett and a medical team arrive with gurneys.]

BECKETT
  How bad is it, and who's been hit?

LORNE
  No one, Doc. We're all fine. Thanks to…McKay.

SHEPPARD
  So he says.

[Both Lorne and Sheppard look skeptical.]

WEIR
  Rodney?

MCKAY
  Well, to be honest, I'm not entirely sure. I wasn't even sure it was me, at first. But, uh, the correlation's impossible to ignore. I saw Lorne's team pinned down, the bad guys closing in, I just thought, uh, wouldn't it be great if all of their weapons jammed…at the same time.

[Teyla studies McKay closely, shaking her head. Sheppard looks amused and openly doubtful.]

MCKAY
  Look, next thing I know, they're all running away, so…

WEIR
  So you think because you wanted it to happen, it just did.

MCKAY
  It was a little more than that.

[Weir looks skeptical as well. McKay fidgets, frustrated.]

MCKAY
  Okay, you know what? Watch this! I'll uh…

[McKay looks around, finally pointing at Beckett, who is lifted off the floor and hangs suspended in mid-air. Everyone watches in shock.]

BECKETT
  Uh, Rodney!

WEIR
  (worried)
  Rodney…?

MCKAY
  Believe me, I find this as disturbing as you do.

BECKETT
  (frightened)
  Like bloody hell you do!

WEIR
  Put him down.

MCKAY
  Right.

[McKay lowers his hand, and Beckett slowly drifts to the floor, sighing in relief.]

BECKETT
  Oh, god.

EXT—ATLANTIS, DAY

INT—ATLANTIS INFIRMARY

[McKay lies in an infirmary bed. Sheppard and Weir stand at his bedside.]

WEIR
  Have there been any other instances of this…power manifesting itself?

MCKAY
  Powers. Plural.

WEIR
  What else can you do besides telekinesis?

MCKAY
  (speaking quickly)
  Well, super-hearing for one, and I'm not sure, but I may actually be getting smarter. It's hard to say for sure, because I was-I was pretty smart to start with, but, um, recently I've been having some ideas that I don't think even I would've thought of before.

[He looks at them with excitement.]

SHEPPARD
  (drily)
  Does superego count as a power?

[McKay spots a staff member bringing him a tray of food.]

MCKAY
  Oh, finally! Look, keep it coming.

[He takes the tray from her and digs into steak, potatoes and Jell-O.]

SHEPPARD
  He could also be dealing with a "super" appetite. Although, it's hard to tell, because he ate so much before.

MCKAY
  Yes, very funny.

[Beckett arrives.]

BECKETT
  My god, he's eating again?

MCKAY
  (mouth full)
  I have a very active metabolism.

BECKETT
  Aye, among other things. The scans show a dramatic increase in synaptic interaction throughout all the sections of Rodney's brain, much higher than normal human levels.

[McKay pauses in his eating, looking momentarily concerned. He takes his next bite more slowly.]

WEIR
  There was an incident at SGC just over a year ago.

BECKETT
  I recall that file—studied the data. Fascinating.

WEIR
  SG-1 discovered a highly evolved human being in stasis. Turned out, he was the result of experimentation by a Goa'uld named Anubis. He was trying to create a means of artificially accelerating the human physiology to the point of ascension.

MCKAY
  Well, that device I found must have been some kind of an accelerator. We know that the Ancients developed all kinds of powers as they evolved. It was just a matter of bad luck that we didn't run into that lab earlier. Seriously, me a superhero. Who would've thought it?

[Pleased, he eats his meal with gusto. The others don't look as sanguine.]

EXT—ATLANTIS, DAY

INT—ANCIENT LAB

[A team works on studying the device. Among them are Weir, translating the logs, and Sheppard, who stands nearby.]

SHEPPARD
  Look, we all agree the Ancients were pretty screwed up.

WEIR
  We do?

SHEPPARD
  All the ones I met were arrogant and condescending, and not for good reason. They made giant mistakes and never fixed them.

WEIR
  They were still human.

SHEPPARD
  Then there were all those crazy rules.

WEIR
  Those only came after they ascended.

SHEPPARD
  Whatever. I—maybe this thing doesn't work on everyone, who knows? But we do know it works on McKay.

WEIR
  (admonishing)
  It has only been a day.

SHEPPARD
  Assuming it's safe. Well, to be honest, even if it's not. If we can get a significant advantage over the Wraith and Replicators—

WEIR
  John, I agree. This device may have great potential…

SHEPPARD
  And with great potential comes great responsibility. I know.

WEIR
  Like a lot of other things we have found in this city, it is a very advanced piece of technology. For all we know, it could also be very dangerous.

SHEPPARD
  I'm just saying…

WEIR
  (exasperated)
  Yes, you can be next.

SHEPPARD
  (brightening)
  Thank you.

WEIR
  Hmm.

[Sheppard leaves. Zelenka is nearby and has overheard the conversation.]

ZELENKA
  You know, if you're compiling a list…I-I'd…

WEIR
  (annoyed)
  Could we stay focused, please?

ZELENKA
  Right.

INT—ATLANTIS INFIRMARY

[McKay hangs around the infirmary. Guards are at the entrance.]

MCKAY
  Come on, you can't keep me cooped up in here forever.

BECKETT
  You might not be sick, Rodney, but I think we can both agree what's happening here is far from normal.

MCKAY
  Exactly, so let me go out and start using my powers to do some good. Ooh, are you, uh, going to finish…that?

[McKay points his hand at a donut on Beckett's desk. It starts to float in mid-air and slowly move towards McKay before Beckett notices and snatches it.]

BECKETT
  (angry)
  I'm serious! We have no idea of the extent of your genetic mutation.

MCKAY
  (smugly)
  Please, mutation has such negative connotations. Advancement is more like it.

BECKETT
  Until we know exactly what's going on here…

MCKAY
  Carson, I'm still me. Anyway, it's not like you or, uh, these guys could stop me from leaving anyways.

[He gestures to the guards at the door, who look on warily.]

RONON
  No, but I could.

[Ronon arrives with quick strides from the other side of the infirmary.]

MCKAY
  (with bravado)
  Oh, you care to put that to a test?

RONON
  (grinning)
  Do you?

[They stand toe-to-toe. McKay deflates.]

MCKAY
  Well…no. Not really.

BECKETT
  Anyways, as I was saying, I think you're fine to go about your daily duties, as long as you have someone with you. And you—

MCKAY
  Check in every couple of hours. Yes, yes. Ba-bye!

[McKay starts walking out with a casual slide. He twists his wrist to the side as he passes Beckett's desk and the donut flies into his hand. McKay takes a bite as Beckett splutters.]

MCKAY
  (mouth full)
  You know, we could be a team. You could be my sidekick.

RONON
  Sidekick?

MCKAY
  Yeah, it'll be like Batman and Ronon. Has a nice ring to it.

RONON
  Yeah, you keep eating like that, it's gonna be more like "Fatman."

INT—ATLANTIS CORRIDOR

[McKay and Ronon continue down a crowded corridor.]

MCKAY
  I'm warning you, you will probably be bored out of your mind. Unless you find incredibly advanced physics to be—

[As they pass Esposito, McKay stops short.]

MCKAY
  Really?

ESPOSITO
  What?

MCKAY
  What, do you think so? Huh. Hey, she thinks I'm hot.

ESPOSITO
  (embarrassed)
  I-I didn't say anything.

MCKAY
  Oh, no-no-no. I'm sure that you…uh… Oh, of course, no, I should've known.
  (to Ronon)
  She meant you.

ESPOSITO
  (gasping)
  I don't know what you're talking about.

[Mortified, she hurries away.]

RONON
  McKay, she didn't say a word.

MCKAY
  Oh my god, I can read minds. Oh, this is cool!

[He hurries back the other direction, excited. Ronon looks unamused.]

RONON
  No, it isn't.

INT—WEIR'S OFFICE

[Weir is working when McKay enters, Ronon following. Weir looks around, about to speak.]

MCKAY
  Oh, I'm fine…No…Yes…And, it doesn't.

WEIR
  What?

MCKAY
  I can read your mind. Uh, everyone's actually. Thought it was very cool for the first, like, ten seconds, there, but uh…now, I'm finding it a little disturbing, so I'm trying to tune it out as much as I possibly can.
  (glancing at Ronon)
  Well, um, sort of. Anyways, Look, I, uh, wanted to get your permission to access the control chair. I've, uh, got some, um, pretty interesting ideas for maximizing our ZPM by, uh, reconfiguring the city's power systems. It's too complicated to explain, but, uh, trust me when I say that you are going to be incredibly happy with the results.

[Weir takes a breath, about to speak.]

MCKAY
  Look, Elizabeth, I-I know you have every right not to trust me, but, uh, I promise you, I'm going to make things much-much better. Okay?

[McKay pauses for the merest second.]

MCKAY
  Good.
  (to Ronon)
  She wants you to shoot me, if, uh, you think for even one second I might be trying to take over the city for my own evil purposes.
[Weir and Ronon exchange bewildered looks.]

MCKAY
  I'm kidding. That was a joke. Heh, it's uh… Is your weapon set to…uh…stun? Wait, never mind, did it myself.

[Ronon hears his weapon change from where it sits in his holster. He looks down in surprise. McKay starts heading quickly out of the room.]

MCKAY
  To the chair room, Ronon!

[McKay leaves. Weir sighs.]

RONON
  (low to Weir)
  Can I shoot him now?

MCKAY
  (calling out from control room)
  I can hear you! Look, she just wants you to keep a close eye on me. Come on, let's go. Chop-chop. Much to do.

[He starts walking again. Ronon turns to Weir.]

WEIR
  I will send a science team down to supervise.

INT—ANCIENT LAB

[Zelenka works alone in the room. Suddenly the power goes out, leaving only an emergency light]

ZELENKA
  Curses in Czech.

INT—CHAIR ROOM

[A bewildered science team watches as McKay pulls up diagrams of the city and Ancient information very quickly, making alterations almost too fast to keep track. Zelenka enters.]

ZELENKA
  What-what the hell is he doing?

RONON
  Don't ask me.

ZELENKA
  Actually, I wasn't.

COLEMAN
  I have no idea.

ZELENKA
  Rodney, you are affecting power all over the city.

MCKAY
  I know. Awesome, isn't it?

ZELENKA
  No. I can't work.

MCKAY
  It's just temporary.

ZELENKA
  Rodney, I'm trying to determine if that device did any permanent damage to you. Quite frankly, given your usually…rampant hypochondria, I'm surprised you don't seem to care.

MCKAY
  (realizing)
  You're jealous.

ZELENKA
  That is ridiculous. You should be working with me trying to figure out what is happening to you. Instead, you're here, burying your head in the sand.

MCKAY
  That is not true. My head…which happens to be housing my ever-evolving brain, is actually being better utilized here, doing important things that will affect everybody.

[Zelenka turns to Ronon, who shrugs. Zelenka throws his hands up in the air and walks off, muttering in Czech.]

MCKAY
  He tries to hide it, but deep down, I'm the wind beneath his wings. Hmm.

INT—WEIR'S OFFICE

[Sheppard enters and looks over Weir's shoulder as she works on her computer.]

SHEPPARD
  Well, how's it coming?

WEIR
  Actually, I think I'm just getting to the good bit.

SHEPPARD
  Don't you hate it when people interrupt right when things are getting good?

[Weir sighs and rolls her eyes before settling back. The power flickers.]

SHEPPARD
  I know McKay is some super-genius now, but… I find the flickering lights incredibly unnerving.

[He goes and sits in the chair across from her desk.]

WEIR
  Uh, Doctor Coleman has, however reluctantly, admitted it does seem as if Rodney's significantly improving the city's power system.

SHEPPARD
  (scoffing)
  Tsch, whatever. Anyway, you were saying?

WEIR
  (sighing)
  Well, we know the Ancients evolved physiologically to a certain point where they…could transform into a state of pure energy.

SHEPPARD
  Ancient History 101.

WEIR
  Yes, we also know that not all of them managed to get there.

SHEPPARD
  You're saying some of them needed a kick in the pants.

WEIR
  So to speak. I think this machine was not meant to help them fight the war against the Wraith, but rather to help them escape it.

SHEPPARD
  An ascension machine?

WEIR
  Like the one the Goa'uld tried to create in the Milky Way.

SHEPPARD
  Are you saying McKay's going to ascend?

WEIR
  (equivocating)
  No, unfortunately there's a whole lot more to ascension than just being physically evolved.

SHEPPARD
  Believe me, after spending six months with a bunch of pansy wannabes, I know. But what does this mean for McKay?

WEIR
  Like I said, just getting to the good bit.

SHEPPARD
  I'll leave you to it.

[He gets up and starts to leave. Weir, still reading, holds up her hand.]

WEIR
  John, wait! We need to talk to Rodney right away.

[She starts out of her chair, and the power shuts down again. Sighing, she jogs to catch up to Sheppard.]

INT—CHAIR ROOM

[McKay still works in the chair as Weir and Sheppard enter.]

MCKAY
  (smugly)
  You can all relax. I'll have us back online in…two minutes.

WEIR
  We need to talk to you.

[McKay looks stricken and powers down the chair.]

MCKAY
  (panicked)
  What do you mean, I'm going to die? I'm not even sick! I feel great! Never better!

[He stands.]

SHEPPARD
  That Ancient device—

MCKAY
  Has accelerated my evolution.
  (turning to Weir)
  Eventually, I'll reach a point where I'm physically capable of ascension, but ascension takes more than that. There's a-there's a mental component. I need to know how to make it happen. Which I don't…
  (spinning to Ronon, annoyed)
  Yet! I'm getting smarter by the minute. It's a pretty good assumption I'll be able to, uh, figure it out on the way?

[Weir opens her mouth to speak.]

MCKAY
  Okay, so it's not as easy as that. Yeah, well, even if I don't…so, I'll stay a highly-evolved human. I mean, I don't have to ascend. It's a choice, right?

[Sheppard winces, but before he can speak…]

MCKAY
  No? What do you mean, no? Aw, that stupid Ancient device doesn't work properly, does it?

[Sheppard and Weir exchange nonplussed looks.]

MCKAY
  (with disbelief)
  It's set in motion a series of genetic mutations that will result in my death if I don't ascend?!

SHEPPARD
  (low, to Weir)
  There is something easier about this.

MCKAY
  (upset)
  That's why the Ancients didn't put it into common use. It's just one more in a long line of abysmal, overambitious failures! Oh god, I'm a dead man!

[Coleman studies her monitors.]

COLEMAN
  Doctor McKay…

MCKAY
  Yes, yes. I just—it's because I stopped in the middle. I will fix it. Just give me a second here.

INT—ANCIENT LAB

[The power shuts down in the middle of Zelenka's work.]

ZELENKA
  (furious)
  That's it!
  Curses loudly in Czech Idiot!

INT—CHAIR ROOM

MCKAY
  Okay, so, there's still time left, right? So, maybe there's a way to reverse the process. Zelenka. Where's Zelenka? What the hell has he been doing?

COLEMAN
  We have massive power surges throughout the grid. Shutdown protocols are not responding!

MCKAY
  Damn it!

[McKay gets back into the chair and powers it up.]

INT—ATLANTIS CORRIDOR

[Zelenka heads down a corridor. Electrical arcs start to spike around the area, and Zelenka runs to avoid them. He is struck by a surge and falls to the floor.]

INT—ATLANTIS INFIRMARY

[Beckett and a team rush Zelenka in on a gurney. Beckett is giving Zelenka oxygen. There is a massive electrical burn on his chest.]

BECKETT
  Come on, Radek! Come on!
  (to team)
  He's not breathing! We need to intubate! Start an I.V., wide open. Get that monitor set up. All right, on my count, one…two…three.

[They shift Zelenka over to a bed. McKay, Sheppard, and Weir rush in.]

MCKAY
  Radek!

BECKETT
  (ignoring them)
  Get the leads hooked up, please. He's in V-Tach. Prepare to defib.

[Beckett grabs the paddles and rubs them together as the machine powers up.]

BECKETT
  Clear!

[McKay steps forward.]

MCKAY
  Move!

BECKETT
  Rodney, the man is dying!

MCKAY
  No! Just give me a second. I know.

[McKay closes his eyes and holds his hands over Zelenka's chest. As everyone watches, the burn disappears, fully healed. Zelenka gasps a deep breath. McKay steps back, stunned by what he has done. Everyone else looks equally shocked. Beckett starts checking Zelenka's vital signs.]

BECKETT
  Heart rate's good. Breathing's steady. Pulse is good.

[Beckett helps a bewildered Zelenka sit up.]

WEIR
  Radek, you okay?

ZELENKA
  What happened?

[An overwhelmed McKay gasps and runs out of the infirmary.]

EXT—ATLANTIS, NIGHT

INT—MCKAY'S OFFICE

[Weir enters to find several white boards scattered around the office, filled with formulas. McKay bounces from one to the other, editing his work.]

WEIR
  Rodney?

MCKAY
  Hold on…!

[He moves to his computer and types rapidly.]

WEIR
  I see you've been busy.

MCKAY
  Eh, I invented a new math.

WEIR
  (blinking)
  Really?

MCKAY
  Um, it's going to change the human understanding of the universe as we know it. How is, uh, Zelenka?

WEIR
  Uh, you need to ask?

MCKAY
  Um, I'm blocking out people's thoughts. It was, uh, becoming too overwhelming. I was, uh, I wasn't able to think.

WEIR
  (nodding)
  Rodney…

MCKAY
  I know what you're going to say.

[Weir looks at him, nonplussed. McKay hastens to correct himself.]

MCKAY
  Oh…no. Uh…just intuition, I swear. I just—I tried to fix the Ancient device, but it wasn't meant to reverse the process. And once the mutation has started, it cannot be stopped.

WEIR
  Actually…I was going to say, if you want any help in understanding ascension…

MCKAY
  (surprised)
  Oh. Uh…well, I've already reread everything I could in the database.

WEIR
  Yeah, it's not exactly a clear-cut set of instructions, is it?

MCKAY
  No. And to be honest, you know, I've never been all that big on the whole idea of ascending in the first place. There's too many rules, you know? I-I mean, to me, life is-is about working towards achievement, you know? Discovering things…

WEIR
  Getting credit for it?

MCKAY
  Exactly! I mean, once you know it all, what do you do then?

WEIR
  I don't know. I don't think that ascension necessarily means the end.

MCKAY
  See, I've never been big on leaps of faith either. I mean, sure, there was a part of me that from the beginning knew that this was too good to be true. Nothing this great could ever happen to me without really, really bad consequences. Anyways, now I have…come to terms with that, and-and I just want to get as much done in the time I have left, and not waste my time on a bunch of mumbo-jumbo I'm not going to understand anyways. Oh, I've, uh, come up with a way for increasing the Daedalus's shield power. Tell Hermiod to, uh, give me a call if he needs any help understanding the base code.

[McKay hands Weir a flash drive and then gets back to work. She looks overwhelmed.]

WEIR
  Huh. I'm sure Colonel Caldwell will be thrilled. Look…Rodney, I'm not going to try to convince you that ascension is right for you, or even possible for that matter. I don't know. But…I-I wonder if you have considered the fact that…if you did somehow manage to ascend, you can always theoretically retake human form.

[McKay stops his work and looks at Weir in shock.]

MCKAY
  Why didn't I think of that?

INT—ATLANTIS INFIRMARY

[Beckett helps McKay wheel in Anubis's brain scanning device from P3X-584.]

BECKETT
  I don't think it's going to work.

MCKAY
  (excited)
  I had this shipped from the SGC.

BECKETT
  Aye. I know. The Ancient device used to measure a person's synaptic activity.

MCKAY
  Ah, more than that, the brain's evolutionary level. But it's basically, an "ascendometer."

[He starts hooking up the pieces of machinery.]

BECKETT
  I really don't think we're going about this the right way.

MCKAY
  If you're a highly evolved super-genius, put up your hand. Oh!

[He raises his own hand. Beckett tamps down his annoyance.]

BECKETT
  From everything I read about the subject area—

MCKAY
  Look, when you get down to it, even mental states are actually only physical states, are they not? I mean, the brain is just a-a chemical supercomputer.

BECKETT
  Well, I suppose an incredibly complex one—

MCKAY
  "Yes" is all you need to say, my friend. Look, the universe may seem mystical to…those without understanding.
  (gestures to Beckett, who shakes his head, annoyed)
  When in truth, anything and everything can be quantified. Look, all that hocus-pocus stuff is just a way of getting the brain into the, uh, proper electro-chemical state to allow the final physical evolution. At which point, the matter that makes up this body will turn into pure energy. Oh, what, uh, "mere mortals" would refer to as the "mystery of ascension", is actually just a-a scientific process. Just protons and electrons. Protons and electrons.

BECKETT
  (sighing)
  If you say so.

MCKAY
  Now, if you don't mind, can we, uh…

[He points to his forehead and hops on the infirmary bed. Beckett begins hooking McKay up to the machine.]

MCKAY
  Yeah. Ah. Now, based upon what I've extrapolated from the, uh, Ancient research, I've been able to set measurable parameters for achieving the, uh, proper mental state. Once I reach ninety-six percent synaptic connection as measured by this device, all I need to is maintain an EEG frequency of 0.1 to 0.9 hertz and presto…
  (snaps fingers)
  I arise to a higher plane of existence.

[Beckett turns on the machine.]

BECKETT
  Okay, let's assume for one completely insane moment that you are right. Those frequencies are associated with near-comatose patients. No one who's actually awake can just…will themselves anywhere close to that, no matter how bloody "relaxed" they are.

MCKAY
  (smugly)
  No un-evolved person.

BECKETT
  (rolling his eyes)
  Give it a rest, Rodney.

MCKAY
  Just turn it on!

[Beckett turns on the monitor. It shows 29 hertz and sixty-two percent synaptic activity.]

BECKETT
  Your synaptic activity's abnormally high. Over sixty percent.

MCKAY
  Yes! I don't have much time left. As I said, by my calculations, when I reach ninety-six percent, I either ascend or die. Now, what's my EEG?

BECKETT
  Twenty-nine hertz, which is…about average for someone in an extremely heightened, wakeful state.

MCKAY
  Okay, so I just need to, uh, clear my mind and…uh…relax.

[He sighs loudly and settles further onto the bed. After a few seconds, the monitor beeps with a new reading. McKay immediately opens his eyes.]

MCKAY
  What's it at now?

BECKETT
  Thirty.

MCKAY
  What?! Aw, come on, that's impossible! You must have me hooked up wrong!

BECKETT
  (irked)
  No, I didn't. Thank you very much. We're getting a clear reading.

[McKay sighs, frustrated.]

BECKETT
  Rodney, the Ancients that eventually learned to ascend, dedicated their entire lives preparing for this moment.

MCKAY
  Trust me, this will work. I just need some more time. Now, stop talking so much. You're-you're rippling my pond. Hmm. Um-mm-mm-mm.

INT—ATLANTIS MESS HALL

[Weir and Sheppard take trays over to an empty table and sit.]

WEIR
  I think he's having a hard time accepting this can't be solved with science, no matter how "brilliant" he is.

SHEPPARD
  You know what he needs?

[Weir shakes her head.]

SHEPPARD
  He needs to "release his burden."

[He makes air quotes with his fingers.]

WEIR
  Yeah, well you know McKay.

SHEPPARD
  Maybe, uh, Doctor Heightmeyer can help.

[He takes a bite of his sandwich.]

WEIR
  Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of you.

SHEPPARD
  (surprised)
  Me?

WEIR
  (nodding)
  Mm-hmm. You lived with the Ancients for six months on the brink of ascension. You helped them face their fears and finally ascend.

SHEPPARD
  I fought a scary monster. That's what I do best.

WEIR
  And for Rodney, I'm sure this seems like a pretty scary monster.

[Sheppard considers this.]

INT—SHEPPARD'S QUARTERS

[There are lighted candles all around the room, and the lighting is turned down. McKay sits cross-legged on the floor. The device is strapped around his head. Sheppard sits on his bureau, looking at a laptop monitor hooked to the machine.]

SHEPPARD
  I don't think is going to work with you hooked up to the machine.

MCKAY
  (piqued)
  How else am I going to know if it's working at all? Look, you're teaching me how to meditate—not exactly good odds there to start with.

SHEPPARD
  I realize that! Truth is…I was never really very good at this myself.

MCKAY
  So why am I here?

SHEPPARD
  Elizabeth made me.

MCKAY
  Oh. Yeah, me too.

SHEPPARD
  I was with those Ancients for six months. Maybe I picked up something that might be able to help you. Now…first thing I think you need to come to terms with is, um, this is not a means to an end.

MCKAY
  What? Wha-no-of course it is!

SHEPPARD
  No-no-no. You can't do that! You can't think that you're just going to ascend and then retake human form and be done with it all.

MCKAY
  That is exactly what I'm trying to do! Look, from what I understand, I mean, dishonesty is not going to help the process.

SHEPPARD
  (grudgingly)
  Good point.

MCKAY
  You know, while we're at it, my knees are killing me. How does anyone relax like this?

SHEPPARD
  Find a position that works.

MCKAY
  Right. Okay.

[He lies flat on his back on the floor. Sheppard walks over and sits on the bed.]

SHEPPARD
  (soothingly)
  Fine. Now…I want you to become aware of your breaths…going in…and out of your body.

MCKAY
  (breathing deeply)
  In…and out.

SHEPPARD
  (in normal voice)
  Do it without talking.

MCKAY
  Oh, right.

[He closes his eyes and breathes silently. Sheppard starts leafing quietly through a golf magazine.]

SHEPPARD
  (soothingly)
  Now…I want you to think about the things that you worry about the most.

MCKAY
  (opening his eyes)
  You mean like death?

SHEPPARD
  There's no talking! Think of anything that makes you anxious.

[McKay partly sits up.]

MCKAY
  Oh god, there's so many things. Not talking happens to be one of them, by the way.

SHEPPARD
  (sharply)
  Deal with it!

[McKay lies back down and closes his eyes.]

SHEPPARD
  Now…imagine yourself…sitting on a Ferris wheel.

MCKAY
  What?!

SHEPPARD
  Look, I-I told you, I didn't pay much attention to what the Ancients were teaching me. I like Ferris wheels, so that's what I thought about…and the fact that the woman teaching me how to meditate was…very attractive.

MCKAY
  Why am I not surprised you didn't ascend, huh?!
  (sitting up)
  Okay, look, I'm a busy man. You're a busy man. We're both busy men.

SHEPPARD
  Just relax, all right? I'm gonna try to remember what the woman taught me.

MCKAY
  Right.

[He lies back down.]

SHEPPARD
  (soothingly)
  Now, there's a dark storm swirling around your head…

MCKAY
  How is that comforting?

SHEPPARD
  I'm getting there!

[McKay partly sits up.]

MCKAY
  I just thought of a brilliant adjunct to the chaos theory! Look, I should write this down!

SHEPPARD
  (sharply)
  McKay!

MCKAY
  (regretfully)
  Uh…Letting it go!…Letting it go.

[McKay settles back.]

SHEPPARD
  (soothingly)
  Now…the sky is clearing. All of your troubles are fading away.

MCKAY
  Bright blue sky…I am there.

[McKay sighs. The monitor beeps as the EEG drops to twenty-three hertz. McKay immediately opens his eyes after the beep.]

MCKAY
  (whispering)
  How am I doing?

SHEPPARD
  (admonishing)
  Don't think that way!

[McKay sits up.]

MCKAY
  Aw, forget it. Look this is never going to work.

SHEPPARD
  What's wrong now?

MCKAY
  I just realized why light behaves as both particles and waves.

SHEPPARD
  Rodney, if you don't try to do this—

[McKay tosses off the headband and gets up.]

MCKAY
  (interrupting)
  I know! I don't have much time left.

[He leaves.]

INT—MCKAY'S OFFICE

[McKay simultaneously types on two different laptops. Weir enters.]

WEIR
  Hey.

MCKAY
  Hmm. Just a second.

[He holds up a finger as he grabs his tablet computer and walks over to three other computers, where he proceeds to type some more, this time without using his fingers, but instead, telekinetically. Fruit cups, bar wrappers, and other debris are scattered across all the work tables.]

WEIR
  (nonplussed)
  What are you doing?

MCKAY
  There are, like, fifty simulations I'd like to be running right now, but the computers can't keep up with me. The irony being that I've actually figured out how to make them run ten times faster, but I haven't had time to actually stop and do it. Oh, I've, uh, uploaded the, uh, virtual prototype for a hyperspace generator for the puddle jumpers into the database.

WEIR
  Well, that sounds great…

[McKay nods, then starts back to work.]

WEIR
  (hesitantly)
  Are you sure that…this is how you want to…

MCKAY
  Spend my last couple of days alive? Don't have much choice, do I?

WEIR
  Rodney, I think it's very decent and noble of you to want to leave a scientific contribution behind. But I still believe there's a chance you can ascend if you put your mind to it.

MCKAY
  We both know that that is a waste of time. Maybe you could do it, but—

WEIR
  (interrupting)
  I don't know if I could, but you are certainly selling yourself short by not even trying.

MCKAY
  To be honest, I don't have the first clue where to start.

WEIR
  Stop thinking.

MCKAY
  See, now, I don't understand that!

WEIR
  One of the biggest thing that holds people back is…that somewhere deep down…they believe they're not deserving. You have to…"release your burden."

MCKAY
  (dismissively)
  Oh, please.

WEIR
  I know, spirituality to you is a load of mumbo-jumbo, but it does help people find peace with themselves.

MCKAY
  But you have to believe—

WEIR
  I'm not talking about religion! I'm talking about shedding yourself of guilt, of anger, of ill-feeling, of anything that makes you feel shame. And then you can focus all of your energy on ascending.

MCKAY
  So what you're telling me is that I don't think I'm worthy?

WEIR
  (shrugging)
  Rodney, I don't know what you truly believe about yourself. For all I know, you…use your intelligence to compensate, to make yourself feel better, for…other things you think you may lack.

MCKAY
  (defensively)
  Like what?

WEIR
  That I can't tell you…but maybe you could start reading your own mind?

[She leaves him to think about things.]

INT—ANCIENT LAB

[Zelenka resets a control, and the panel lights up. Pleased, Zelenka moves over to his computer to study the input, looking perplexed at the results. McKay enters, and Zelenka immediately spots him. McKay has dark circles under his eyes.]

ZELENKA
  Rodney, I don't care what you're going to say, I'm going to keep working on this, okay?

MCKAY
  (quietly)
  Ah, well…I appreciate that.

ZELENKA
  I mean, you saved my life, so…the least I can do is try to save yours, you know?

MCKAY
  Radek…I think it's safe to say that, uh, I am at times a, uh, petty, vindictive, even a…jealous man. I supplement my own…anxieties or feelings of inadequacy by creating a…bubble of hostility around myself. I know you, probably more than anyone else, have had to bear the brunt of that hostility.

ZELENKA
  (uncomfortable)
  Rodney, you-you don't have to…

MCKAY
  Actually, I do. Here's the thing…you're a brilliant scientist, and a-and a decent human being. And you should not have had to endure the kind of…abuse that you've taken from me in the past few years. I hope you can find a way to forgive me for all the things I've said and done to you. You deserve…much better than that. So-so I wanted you to know that.

[Zelenka stares at him in shock, mouth agape.]

MCKAY
  Yes.

[McKay leaves.]

INT—TEYLA'S QUARTERS

[Teyla sits on her bed, looking at her tablet computer. The door chimes. Teyla goes to answer it. McKay stands outside with an elaborate tea set on a tray.]

TEYLA
  Rodney…?

MCKAY
  Hmm. Mind if I come in?

[McKay barges in without waiting for a response.]

TEYLA
  Sh-shouldn't you be…?

MCKAY
  (talking over her)
  Hope you don't mind.

[He walks to the far end of the room, Teyla following. The door closes.]

MCKAY
  I was talking with Halling, and he happened to mention that it was the anniversary of the death of your father next week.

TEYLA
  (bewildered)
  He did?

MCKAY
  Okay, I might have asked a few, uh, pointed questions. But, um, I just thought it would be nice if…uh…What I mean is…I would be honored if you let me share the memorial tea ceremony with you. I don't know if it's wrong to do it early or anything, but, um, I may not be around next week. Anyway, I understand it's something you're not supposed to do alone.

[Teyla smiles, clearly touched by the gesture.]

TEYLA
  Thank you, Rodney.

[She reaches out to take the tray. McKay shifts it out of her reach.]

MCKAY
  No-no-no-no-no. I know exactly what to do. You are the one who's lost a loved one. I will serve you.

[Teyla is overwhelmed.]

INT—ATLANTIS CORRIDOR

[Ronon walks down a corridor. McKay jogs to catch up to him.]

MCKAY
  (out of breath)
  Hey, buddy! Pal! I've been looking all over for you! Checked the, uh, gym, the mess…

RONON
  I wasn't there.

MCKAY
  No, you're weren't. It's usually one of those is a…good bet. So, where you off to? Shooting range? A little, uh, target practice?

RONON
  I don't need practice.

MCKAY
  Oh, no. No, no, no. Of course you don't.

[McKay jogs to step in front of Ronon, making him halt.]

MCKAY
  Look, I don't know how much time I have left, so I'm just going to…cut to the chase here. Ask you a rather, uh, personal question. Hopefully, you won't just hit me in the face.

[He chuckles half-heartedly. Ronon's eyebrows raise expectantly and he smiles, looking like punching McKay in the face is an intriguing idea.]

MCKAY
  Asking away. Those…scars on your back, from…your encounters with the Wraith? You know, with the, uh,…tracking device, that…?

[Ronon nods.]

MCKAY
  Are those like a…a badge of honor…for you? Or are they just a…constant reminder of something you'd rather forget?

[Ronon looks disturbed at the subject, but not angry.]

MCKAY
  I mean, I know it's none of my business. I just…

RONON
  (sad)
  I try not to let things I can't change bother me.

MCKAY
  (surprised)
  That's very healthy.

[Ronon shrugs. McKay looks around, seeing they're alone. He wraps his arms around the surprised Ronon in a bear hug. Uncomfortable, Ronon winces, slapping McKay on the back in a half-comforting, half-get-off-me manner. After several seconds, McKay releases him and steps back.]

MCKAY
  Hope you don't mind. I just healed them.

[McKay walks away. A nonplussed Ronon reaches back to feel for the now non-existent scars.]

INT—WEIR'S OFFICE

[McKay enters Weir's office. She is standing at a computer station, working.]

MCKAY
  You're not still trying to find a way out of this for me, are you?

[Weir spins around.]

WEIR
  You think I'm going to give up?

MCKAY
  Huh. Look, all the Ancients that experimented with that device—they either ascended or died, most of them the latter, which is why it did not get put into common use.

WEIR
  Like you said, there were exceptions.

MCKAY
  Ah. Yes. Well…this will all be over soon, and you can get back to some real work.

WEIR
  (upset)
  Rodney…don't.

MCKAY
  No, no, no. I'm not…I'm not fishing for sympathy. I just, uh…Hey, I just wanted to give you that.

[He hands her a flash drive.]

WEIR
  (amused)
  What have you invented now?

MCKAY
  Oh, nothing. That's a-that's a book.

WEIR
  About what?

MCKAY
  You. Well, you've taken a lot of crap as the, uh, leader of this expedition, and I just thought someone should, uh, leave a record of all the good things you've done. Everything you've done…right.

WEIR
  Huh. Everything I do is on "record" for review.

[She goes to sit at her desk.]

MCKAY
  Well, yes, I know. I know. I just -I just thought that, um, I would have, uh, somewhat of a…unique perspective that other people might benefit from. You know, I, uh, actually took the liberty of, uh, doing some research into your past and, uh, included that as well. I'm sorry if I'm not a very good writer. It, uh, might be a bit, uh, overly maudlin in places?

[Weir shifts, embarrassed, while McKay discusses his research, but plugs the drive into her computer and pulls up the file. She stares at it in shock.]

WEIR
  Rodney, this is five hundred pages long! When did you…?

MCKAY
  Anyway, that's all. Right.

[Self-consciously, McKay leaves the office. Weir stares after him.]

INT—SHEPPARD'S QUARTERS

[McKay is again lying on the floor, lit candles around him. The device is attached to his head. Sheppard sits cross-legged against his bed, watching the laptop monitor. It beeps.]

MCKAY
  What's it down to?

SHEPPARD
  That's not important.

MCKAY
  What? Look, of course it is. It's got to—

[He rolls over to look for himself.]

MCKAY
  What, seventeen hertz?! That's not even close!

SHEPPARD
  That's closer than you've ever been!

[McKay pulls off the headband.]

MCKAY
  Aw, forget it.

SHEPPARD
  Look, if you have to keep asking, you're obviously not getting it. This is about letting go!

MCKAY
  I don't know how to do that, okay? I'm me! I don't know how not to be me! Look, thank you for all of your help. I think, in the-in the grand scheme of things, we're-we're good, aren't we?

[A range of emotions pass over Sheppard's face.]

SHEPPARD
  Of course!

MCKAY
  (quietly)
  Good. Well, then, if it's not too much trouble, I'd like you to read my eulogy.

[Sheppard sits up on his bed, angry.]

SHEPPARD
  I refuse to discuss that!

[McKay stands.]

MCKAY
  Just keep it simple. Um, make up a few…nice things, er…I'd like my little sister to be there. And, um, oh! You should know that I told Beckett that he should most definitely do a full autopsy. He can use my body for any kind of, uh, experimentation, that might prove helpful, and, uh, oh, then I'd like to be cremated. I'd like my-my ashes to be, uh, thrown out into space from the jumper. So, uh…

[Sheppard stands.]

SHEPPARD
  (gently)
  Rodney…

[McKay doubles over in pain, clutching his head.]

MCKAY
  Gah!

SHEPPARD
  Rodney!

[As McKay collapses, Sheppard catches him enough to let him fall onto the bed. McKay grunts in pain once more, then passes out. Sheppard checks his pulse.]

SHEPPARD
  (into radio)
  Medical team to my quarters.

INT—ATLANTIS INFIRMARY

[McKay lies conscious on a bed, looking ill and weak. Beckett stands by the monitors. The rest of McKay's team and Weir stand around McKay's bedside.]

BECKETT
  The synaptic activity in your brain has reached over ninety percent. I don't know why, but it seems the more pervasive evolved state of the cortex is causing lapses in the lower brain function. It's almost as if your body's losing its natural ability to keep itself alive.

WEIR
  When ascension occurs naturally, the physical body's no longer necessary in the final stages.

BECKETT
  Rodney, I don't know how much more you can take.

MCKAY
  (weakly)
  About six percent?

SHEPPARD
  There must be something we can do.

MCKAY
  (weakly)
  It's okay. You know, I'm actually feeling a sense of…peace…interspersed with moments of sheer terror, of course.

SHEPPARD
  Rodney, uh, as far as this ascension thing…I know you didn't have much success, but at this point…what do you got to lose?

MCKAY
  May as well go out fighting, eh?

SHEPPARD
  Absolutely.

MCKAY
  Hook me up.

[Beckett nods and readies the device.]

MCKAY
  Carson…thank you. Thank you for everything.

BECKETT
  (sadly)
  I only wish I could've done more, my friend.

[They hook McKay up to the monitor.]

MCKAY
  (voice growing even weaker)
  Clear blue skies. All my troubles…just drifting away. Okay, stop talking now.

[Sheppard has tears in his eyes as he watches.]

WEIR
  (tears in her eyes)
  Rodney, you're a good person. Know that we love you.

MCKAY
  (rallying slightly)
  You love me? Really? All of you?

SHEPPARD
  In the way a friend…feels about another friend.

MCKAY
  (weaker)
  You're just saying that because I'm going to die. Oh god. I can't believe I'm going to die!

[Weir and Sheppard exchange worried looks.]

SHEPPARD
  (quickly)
  All right, just back to the blue skies. Let your thoughts to. Concentrate on your breathing.

[Beckett watches as the monitor drops from three hertz, to two hertz, to one…]

BECKETT
  Oh my god.

[McKay suddenly reaches out and grabs Beckett by the lapels, staring at him intently. Beckett stares back, mouth agape. The monitors go wild before completely flatlining as McKay collapses.]

BECKETT
  He's not breathing! Quick! Bag him! We need to get him on a ventilator!

WEIR
  Carson, he gave us strict orders—

BECKETT
  You don't understand! He just told me how to save him!

INT—ATLANTIS CORRIDOR

[Beckett, Sheppard, Ronon, and a medical team rush McKay down a hallway. He is hooked to life-support machines.]

BECKETT
  (into radio)
  We're en route. His pulse is very weak. Are you ready?

INT—ANCIENT LAB

[Weir and Teyla are with Zelenka, who is frantically readying equipment.]

WEIR
  (into radio)
  We will be.

ZELENKA
  Almost.

INT—ATLANTIS CORRIDOR

[The team reaches the entrance to the lab.]

BECKETT
  Right.

[Ronon picks up McKay and carries him into the lab.]

BECKETT
  Hurry. He can't breathe on his own.

[Ronon lays McKay down on the podium.]

ZELENKA
  Okay, stand back!

[Ronon and Sheppard back away. The machine activates, the beam of light entwining around him again. It shuts down, and McKay immediately awakens.]

BECKETT
  Rodney…?

[Ronon, Sheppard, and Beckett rush over.]

MCKAY
  It worked!

BECKETT
  Did it?

MCKAY
  (petulantly)
  Well, I'm alive, aren't I?

SHEPPARD
  Sounds like him.

[McKay looks around.]

MCKAY
  Yes, yes. I can't hear one of your thoughts.

[He points his hand at Beckett and shakes with concentration.]

MCKAY
  Telekinesis is gone.

[He stands.]

MCKAY
  I'm still smart…I think.
  (pausing)
  Yes…yes, I'm me! I'm my old self!

BECKETT
  (concerned)
  Are you certain?

MCKAY
  (elated)
  Yeah! I-I'm alive! I feel great! I feel, uh, um…hungry?

[Everyone breaks out into relieved smiles.]

SHEPPARD
  He's fine.

WEIR
  (smugly)
  And you're said it was impossible.

MCKAY
  The answer just…came to me. I was-I was-I was floating in this big black emptiness, and then-and then the answer came out of nowhere! Look, the device was designed to manipulate your DNA. It couldn't "reverse" the evolutionary advancement process because everyone's DNA is different. It makes certain changes that causes the DNA to evolve in-in ways specific to your own unique physiology.

ZELENKA
  Yeah, in order to manipulate the DNA back to a previous state, the program required a precise reference point…

BECKETT
  Fortunately, I keep blood samples from all the Atlantis team members for baseline comparisons.

RONON
  I don't understand what any of you are talking about.

[He reaches over and grabs a startled McKay by the collar.]

MCKAY
  What-what?

RONON
  It's good to have you back, buddy!

[He pulls McKay into a tight bear hug.]

MCKAY
  (nonplussed)
  Yes, well…it's good to be back.

[Ronon releases McKay, slapping him a few times on the back good-naturedly as he grins.]

RONON
  Yeah!

[Ronon walks away. McKay exchanges confused looks with Beckett.]

EXT—ATLANTIS, DAY

INT—MCKAY'S LAB

[Weir enters the lab, carrying at tablet computer. McKay is there, staring confused at a computer screen.]

WEIR
  Hey, how are you feeling?

MCKAY
  Ach, terrible!

WEIR
  (worried)
  Should I get Carson?

MCKAY
  Oh, no-no-no-no. Physically, I am fine, but-but this doesn't make any sense! I can't figure out any of these-of these equations. I mean, the algorithms are complete gibberish. I mean, this is torture! I can clearly remember exactly how important this all is, but I cannot figure out why or-or-or how…

WEIR
  Well, I just dropped by to show you this. Your EEG readings from your last meditation.

[She shows him the tablet. He looks at it in shock.]

MCKAY
  Oh my god! It's 0.03 hertz! I mean, I did it! I was in the zone; I could've actually ascended!

WEIR
  You said you were floating in a big empty space…when the idea of how to save yourself came to you?

MCKAY
  I may have momentarily thought about how hard it was to rid oneself of ego, I mean, and-and that existence without the individuality of consciousness would be pointless, but…Ooh! Now that I say that, that's probably what gave me the idea of how to reprogram the device with my old DNA.

WEIR
  Yeah, I thought so.

MCKAY
  Yeah, well, you know what? I don't care if you don't think I was capable of ascension. I never wanted to do it anyways. In fact, I am very happy with who I am…and you love me.

WEIR
  What?! I never—

MCKAY
  You so did! Yeah, I may not be able to understand this new math I created, but I distinctly remember that you said you love me.

WEIR
  Actually, I said "we" love you, and it—

MCKAY
  And what? What, you just said that because you thought I was dying?

WEIR
  No, I said it because—

MCKAY
  See, you love me. It's true! You've said it; now I know. I always suspected it. In fact, you know what, I've always noticed that there's been a, um, indefinable yet magical chemistry between us that I think I covered in chapter ten.

WEIR
  Hmm. Rodney…

MCKAY
  You had lunch yet?

WEIR
  Yes.

MCKAY
  Mid-afternoon snack, then?

WEIR
  (conceding)
  I will keep you company.

[McKay stands and they start to leave the lab.]

MCKAY
  Ah. Now, is Sheppard still, uh, bugging you to let him use the ascension device to turn himself into some kind of a superhero?

WEIR
  Oh yes.

MCKAY
  Huh. Despite the fact that the Ancient database states that its effects on people are wildly unpredictable, and that I'm just lucky I wasn't, uh, instantly melted down into a pool of protoplasm.

WEIR
  Yes.

MCKAY
  Hmm. Well, maybe you should let him.

WEIR
  I think not.

FADE OUT

END CREDITS

ChronologyEdit

AttributionEdit

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