For the Alteran artifact, see Ark of Truth.

Template:ATL-3 "The Ark" is the sixteenth episode of the third season of Stargate: Atlantis.


Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's team discovers a Moon Base where the last of a race of humans remain. They soon discover, however, the entire population is in danger when the station is damaged through the suicide of a recently awoken resident.



Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's team investigates a derelict, centuries-old space station on a distant moon. Inside they find the last remnants of a civilization frozen in stasis using reverse-engineered Wraith beaming device. One thousand men, women, and children were put into stasis in an attempt to avoid extinction at the hands of their longtime enemy, the Wraith.

Herick is the first to awaken when Sheppard's team restores power. Placed in stasis in his mid-thirties, Herick is the technician who created the stasis device for his people. Though he expects to find his wife and son there with him, they are missing, along with the shuttle they were meant to arrive on. Angry, Herick awakens their leader, Jamus.

Due to riots following the launch of the first shuttle, Jamus explains, the second shuttle (with Herick's family aboard) was left behind in order to conceal the existence of the sanctuary space station. Herick, distraught, commits suicide rather than live without his loved ones: He activates the shuttle’s engines and destroys the hangar bay doors, allowing the vacuum to suck him into space. This, however, also alters the moon's orbit; it is now falling toward the planet with an exponential acceleration. As the Puddle Jumper has been pulled into space when Herick decompressed the hangar bay, both Sheppard's team and the last remnants of the dying civilization are now trapped on board, doomed to die.

Dr. Elizabeth Weir contacts the team through the Stargate soon, however, and sends a team to help. It seems as though the members of the Atlantis expedition and Jamus have been saved; however, the team cannot possibly save over a thousand people. Jamus, fiercely defiant, states that he will not go without his people — and will make sure that the Atlantis team does not, either. He takes Teyla Emmagan as a hostage, and will only release her if Sheppard gives his people safe passage off the failing station. As way of explaining his refusal to abandon them, he describes to Teyla his people's actions to keep the Wraith away - they used atomic weapons to destroy the incoming Wraith fleet, counting on the radiation from the weapons to sterilize the planet, eliminating the Wraith's desire to feed upon the people any longer - but eliminating the people themselves at the same time. All survivors of the culling were killed by the radiation, making the planet seem useless to the Wraith, and thus ensuring that the survivors aboard the space station would no longer have to deal with the threat of culling.


Teyla and the team cannot guarantee the survival of the people in stasis, so Jamus takes Teyla hostage; he places her in stasis, along with himself, and Dr. Rodney McKay is unable to distinguish her life-signs from the survivors already in the device. He is also unable to devise a way of interfacing the storage system's power needs with a Puddle Jumper's systems in the time remaining, so Sheppard, determined to try to save Teyla's life, develops a plan to pilot the shuttle down to the planet’s surface with the stasis unit aboard. As all of the fuel in the shuttle was used up by Herick in his suicide, Sheppard cannot get the shuttle into orbit; he tries to align the vessel for reentry, but at the critical moment, the shuttle's explosive bolts fail, keeping it attached to the station. Sheppard rides out a great deal of turbulence before the moon breaks up around him; he pilots the ship to a rough but safe landing. Both he and the stasis unit survive; eventually, everyone within it (including Teyla) is safely awakened. Unfortunately, due to his injuries, Jamus does not survive the awakening process. Teyla remarks that Jamus was only doing what he thought was best for his people, and that in his position, Sheppard would have done exactly the same thing - to which he objects.


1967; Apollo program; Artificial gravity; Atlantis infirmary; Barnam; Christmas; Claustrophobia; Cloak; Hadon Fortum; James Bond; Jamus' homeworld; Jamus' people; Life signs detector; Life support; Mac; Moon Base; Moon (The Ark); Nuclear weapon; Pattern storage module; Pinata; Plasma cutter; Puddle Jumper; Shield; Shuttle; Space shuttle; Suicide; Torral; Wraith; Wraith beaming device; Wraith Dart

Notable Quotes

Sheppard: I guarantee your gonna see pretty much the same technology your looking at here. Which I'd call vintage 1967.
McKay: Oh yeah, yeah. You know we hollowed out a lot of moons in the '60s.
Sheppard: Well, if we did, this is what it would look like.
McKay: What about that shuttle, huh? You know, the one we saw when we docked?
Sheppard: It was very 007.
McKay: See, even you were intrigued.
Sheppard: A little bit. Elizabeth gave us the go-ahead to explore this station if, and I underline the "if" there, we find anything we can use against our many and sundry bad guys.

McKay: Okay, time for the How Screwed We Are report.
Sheppard: All right, go ahead.
McKay: There's no way to seal the compartments between us from here. You know, there's too many hatches left open. Herick was obviously trying to vent the station to space. Look, I'm going to need to suit up, see what I can do.
Sheppard: Doesn't sound too screwed.
McKay: Ho, ho, ho, but I'm not finished yet. Because the shuttle was attached and exhausted all of its fuel during the burn, and moon has been knocked out of its orbit.
Sheppard: How much time do we have?
McKay: Before we burn up, or before we suffocate? Because the reactors scrammed and shut down during all this, so we're down to emergency power, most of which is being channeled into the people storage device.
Sheppard: Well, I don't know. Pick one.
McKay: Not done yet. Cause there's still the fact that the Jumper was blasted out of the docking port, so there is no way off this rock in either case.

McKay: (Object hits the window but nothing happens) I'm alive!  (Window starts cracking) I'm dead.  I'm SO dead!

Ronon: I'm not good at this.
Sheppard: What?
Ronon: Waiting to die.
Sheppard: Don't think about it.
Ronon: I don't like small spaces.
Sheppard: Could be worse.
Ronon: Personally, I'd rather die fighting.
Sheppard: I'd rather not die.
Ronon: I'm just saying...
Sheppard: Look, if this rock burns up in the atmosphere, I'll fight you to the death myself. Deal?
Ronon: You're on.

Beckett: Tell them we'll be there in a jiff.
Sheppard: You guys hear that?
McKay: (over the radio) Yay! Faint hope!

Lorne: I think he's crazy. The thing's how many hundred years old? And it's out of fuel.
Ronon: He said he could fly it.
Beckett: You do realize you're out of your bloody mind, right?
Sheppard: Yeah, probably.

McKay: Just... Can I say one more thing?
(The moonbase shakes again)
Sheppard: As long as you say it as fast as you can.
McKay: Don't do this. It's impossible.
Sheppard: Willing to bet a week's wages on that?
McKay: Yeah, how're you gonna pay up if I win, huh?
Sheppard: Thanks for caring!
McKay: Yeah.


Stargate Wiki has 10 images related to The Ark.
  • Just after Herick awoke in the Puddle Jumper and the team were telling him what had happened and that he should have immediately been brought out of stasis after the Wraith left, Dr. Rodney McKay commented that the computers froze. He said: "Unfortunately the computer froze. It was completely locked up. Probably should have used a Mac".
  • The premise of a failing lifeboat carrying the last of a people was also seen in the Stargate SG-1 season 7 episode "Lifeboat". It is also quite similar to the Doctor Who serial "The Ark in Space".
  • When Lt. Colonel John Sheppard sits down at the controls of the Shuttle and there is an external view of the shuttle, the symbols on the tail are clearly Greek letters.
  • Footage of Major Evan Lorne's Puddle Jumper exiting the Stargate is a re-use from the previous episode, "The Game".
  • Starting with this episode, Sheppard's uniform changes to the black uniform that he will wear for the rest of the series.
  • Even though this episode aired first, it was actually filmed after the episode "Sunday" making this Paul McGillion's final episode of the season.


  • When Herick sits at the controls of the Shuttle, a Snickers bar is clearly seen on the dashboard, as well as a bottle of water and an package of some sort can be seen next to the chair.
  • When the station suffers decompression, they all expend great effort pushing the doors shut against rushing air. The pressure of the air rushing out would push the door closed, making them easier, not harder, to close.  The air was flowing through from the outside of the door so yes it would make it harder to close.  Sheppard then closed the other hatch sealing the compartment.
  • Jamus and Herick both wear badges with the same symbol on their right breasts, but on one of them (presumably Jamus as his badge is circular), the symbol is upside-down.  Maybe that is the way it is supposed to be.
  • When Lt. Colonel John Sheppard visits Teyla Emmagan in the Atlantis infirmary, his Atlantis and American flag patches have swapped shoulders.

External links