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Air, Part 1

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Season 2
This episode is part 1 of 3; it is followed by "Air, Part 2" and "Air, Part 3".

"Air, Part 1" is the first episode of the first season of Stargate Universe, and is the first of the series premiere's opening three-parter.

Synopsis

A team of scientists and soldiers from the Icarus Base uncover the mysteries of the ninth chevron of the Stargate. As they are forced to evacuate when the base is under attack from the Lucian Alliance, after activating the ninth chevron, they end up on the Destiny, an Ancient ship, stranded several billion light years from Earth.

Plot

DestinyGateroom

The Tau'ri discover Destiny.

A relatively long and flat spaceship emerges from a hyperspace-like window. As it glides through normal and empty space, the ship's Stargate engages. The first to emerge is young Lt. Matthew Scott, who stumbles through and quickly draws his rifle in a state of alertness. His arrival is followed by several more personnel, mostly carrying equipment. They also stumble through. People continue to pour in at an increasing pace, tripping over each other as they are thrown out of the event horizon. Scott tells everyone to clear a path and radios through the gate for them to slow down, but receives no reply. People continue to stumble through, several of them injured; some from the flying equipment, others from people landing on each other.

Unlike most of the arrivals, who are trying to help the other arrivals, a man in a green top, Dr. Nicholas Rush, immediately investigates the room's consoles, then moves up to a balcony to get a better look over the area. Despite all the panic, Rush smiles. Once the arrivals are through, the Stargate starts to overload, causing the people more concern. A moment later, Colonel Everett Young is shot through at high speed, flying across the room and landing on the hard floor. Shortly after, the Stargate shuts down. As it was the only light source in the room, the sudden darkness sets the arrivals into another yell of panic, as does the steam gushing out of the vents beside the Stargate. Scott goes to check on Young. Young places Scott in charge just before losing consciousness. Scott notices that Young's head is dripping blood, and calls for field medic Lt. Tamara Johansen, who tends to him.

The crew has no idea where they are. Scott approaches Eli Wallace, a student-age young man for an answer on their location, but he has no answers. He yells out for Rush, but he is nowhere to be seen. Just then, they experience the effects of sudden acceleration on the ship; the ship has returned to FTL. Before leaving the room, Scott orders one of the marines, MSgt. Ronald Greer, to do a head-count. He then asks Eli to help search for Rush.

RushO'NeillWallaceAir1

Jack O'Neill and Nicholas Rush confront Eli Wallace.

In a flashback, Eli is playing the online game Prometheus with a friend, where he claims that he was able to beat the seemingly impossible Dakara Weapons puzzle. However, he is disappointed to find that, after solving it, the game simply restarts. The following day, a knock is heard at his door. When he answers it, he is introduced to Lt. General Jack O'Neill and Rush, who proceed to tell him that the Dakara Weapons puzzle was actually created by them as a way to solve an Ancient mathematical proof, which has thus far eluded them. They offer him a prize for his accomplishment: a non-disclosure agreement. O'Neill tells him that if he refuses to sign, he'll be beamed out of his house to their spaceship. Believing this to be a joke, Wallace re-enters his home and is suddenly beamed away in a flash of light while walking up the stairs.

EliHammondBeam

Eli Wallace being beamed aboard the George Hammond.

A shocked, confused, and disoriented Eli is now aboard the George Hammond, a Tau'ri Daedalus-class battlecruiser in Earth orbit, when he is met again by Rush, who explains the situation. They need his help. Eli is informed that, for his help, his mother's medical expenses will be taken care of. Wallace then quickly accepts the offer, and asks for pants since he was beamed out in sweatpants. The Hammond then leaves Earth orbit and enters hyperspace, en route to a planet 21 light years away where a Tau'ri military outpost, Icarus Base, resides. On this several hour-long voyage, Eli is shown an educational video, hosted and narrated by Dr. Daniel Jackson, which explains the history of the Stargate Program and the workings of the Stargate itself. After a short time, Eli calls his mother, who is back on Earth, and tells her that everything is fine and that she will be taken care of by the United States Air Force. Wallace then proceeds to the ship's commissary, where he has a brief conversation with Chloe Armstrong, daughter of California Senator Alan Armstrong.

In the present, Eli and Scott arrive at a large Observation deck and find Rush, the man they were looking for. Through the window, they learn that they are on a spaceship. Rush explains that this is an Ancient ship, launched hundreds of thousands of years ago, and that they are traveling at speeds faster than light yet not through hyperspace. Scott then informs Rush that many people back in the gate room are wounded and that they need to get home. A more immediate problem presents itself when the air vents shut off. Rush quickly concludes that life support is failing, and needs to be fixed.

Young is speaking in his house with his wife about a new military assignment he recently received - his post at Icarus Base. However, Emily does not take the news well, and admits that she can't wait for him any longer. As he continues, he suddenly struggles to stand up. Everything becomes a blur, until he sees Emily's face being replaced by TJ on the ship; it is revealed to be a dream. As he regains consciousness, he starts suffering a seizure. With no proper medical supplies, TJ says there's nothing to do but to let the seizure run its course.

Landonicarus2

The group arrives at Icarus Base

In the flashback, the George Hammond exits hyperspace over the planet that Icarus Base resides on. In the base, Scott and fellow officer Lt. Vanessa James are having sex in a secluded storage area when Young radios Scott. He informs Scott that the Hammond has arrived a few minutes early and he has to report to duty. Scott quickly dresses as he proceeds to run down the halls of Icarus Base to the meeting location. He just barely arrives when Eli, Chloe Armstrong, Alan Armstrong, and Nicholas Rush are beamed down to an external location of the Base, high atop a mountain that the base is constructed into. During the greeting, Young introduces himself and Eli remarks about the impressive armaments the base has, including several large RG/BBT SG military mounted guns. The group then proceeds into the base.

Upon entering the base, Scott and Eli have a brief discussion on the way to the gate room about the planet's core. Scott then jokingly tells Eli that the reason for Icarus Base's subterranean location is that a dinosaur-like creature inhabits the planet. The group is led into the gate room where they are greeted by Icarus Base's senior staff. Meanwhile, Scott explains to Wallace about the planet's unique radioactive core, which provides large amounts of power for Stargate activation. However, this core is very unstable and so the gate has been modified to only allow outgoing wormholes to prevent the core from going critical. After the senior staff are dismissed, including Colonel David Telford, the Stargate's ninth chevron address - which was procured from Atlantis' database - is dialed using the math proof Eli solved. However, the dialing sequence is aborted when the ninth chevron fails to lock and power levels begin to build to critical levels.

DestinyGateroom11

No-one knows where they are or what's happening.

In the present, people are still confused about where they are and what is happening when the power in Destiny's gate room is activated. Scott enters the gate room and explains that they are aboard an Ancient spaceship, have no idea where they are in relation to Earth, and that they are doing everything they can to resolve the situation. Senator Alan Armstrong is infuriated with the lack of information, and demands the gate be dialled immediately. As Scott attempts to placate him, Alan suddenly collapses from breathing difficulties. TJ rushes to his aid as Alan reaches for heart medication. Scott then tells everyone to remain calm and stay in the gateroom while he, Dr. Adam Brody, and Dr. Lisa Park leave to help Rush repair the life support system.

In the flashback, Eli and Rush review Eli's equations in Icarus Base's gate room. Rush is having trouble understanding why he wasn't able to dial the ninth chevron address and blames Eli's solution to the proof as the reason. However, Eli strongly protests this. Just as the two are about to argue, Young arrives and tells Eli that he is invited to a meal in the base's Mess hall. Eli is quick to accept this offer, while Rush insists that Eli stay and help solve their problem. Young wins the short argument, but Rush stays to figure out what went wrong.

IcarusBase...Meal

Eli Wallace enjoying a meal.

In the mess hall, a dinner is held for the visitors, where they discuss such matters as the Stargate's ninth chevron. The overall atmosphere is light and joyful. Telford mentions to Chloe that he is an F-302 fighter-interceptor pilot, and offers to take her up in one sometime (although such an offer may have been in jest). She asks him what it feels like to go through the Stargate. Rush, who has become quite frustrated in his attempts to "fix" Eli's proof, briefly steps into the adjacent kitchen. After looking at the group briefly, Airman Darren Becker offers him his dinner, but after a moment, Rush decides not to take it, and quickly exits without notice from those enjoying the meal.

Alan Armstrong then proposes a toast, during which he addresses the Icarus project, the billions of dollars he spent on it, and his daughter Chloe, who he is quite proud of. However, Chloe, angered and annoyed by the toast, begins drinking several glasses of white wine. While this is happening, a frustrated Rush briefly retreats to his quarters, where he plays classical music and takes out a picture of him with his wife. There, he starts to cry. Back in the mess hall, Alan is still giving his toast when Chloe interrupts and continues it for him, so to speak. However, while she is speaking, several loud booming noises are heard in concert with several tremors. Icarus Base is under attack. Young orders all non-essential personnel to their designated areas and all military personnel to their battle stations.

In the present, Eli and Rush get into an argument over how to repair the life support system. After Scott and Greer arrive, Eli explains that Rush's solution might actually cause the ship to explode. Greer raises his weapon to keep Rush from acting, despite orders to lower it from Scott.

Geoge HammondBattleRaging

The George Hammond defends Icarus Base from attack.

In the flashback, several people are running through the halls of Icarus Base, including Young. He makes his way to the brig and releases Greer, informing him that all charges are dropped. He hands him a weapon and sends him out to fight. In space, three Ha'tak motherships have opened fire on the planet and are launching several squadrons of Death Gliders. A large portion of this fire and several of the fighter craft are being intercepted by the George Hammond, commanded by Colonel Samantha Carter, which is also in orbit. Young radios Carter, who proceeds to inform him that the ships (suspected to be of Lucian Alliance origin) began firing the moment they emerged from hyperspace, and that several squadrons of gliders and a troop transport are headed his way, towards the heavily fortified Icarus Base. Young then radios Telford, who has manned an F-302 and is ready to lead a defensive against the incoming enemy ships. Back at Icarus Base, military personnel are assuming defensive positions.

In the present, Eli and Rush still argue over Rush's supposed solution, which Greer is adamant about keeping him from implementing lest he land the crew in yet another dangerous situation. However, after Scott is able to convince Greer to lower his weapon, Rush finally presses the button. Nothing happens, and Rush angrily states that he shouldn't have expected it to be that easy. TJ is then contacted by Scott, who is in the gate room tending to the injured Young, and is told to "hang on" for just a little while longer as the life support issue is still unresolved. TJ then thinks back to a conversation she had with International Oversight Advisory representative Camile Wray, in part about her receiving a scholarship and choosing to leave Icarus Base. However, Wray suspects that it is actually about a relationship she has and that she's hiding something to protect someone. When this sequence ends, both Wray and TJ exchange glances.

Attack2

F-302 fighter-interceptors and Death Gliders in battle.

In the flashback, the gliders and troop transport descend upon Icarus Base against a moon-lit night sky. SG personnel open fire on the approaching ships using machine guns, railguns, and missile launchers, managing to destroy several gliders in their opening salvo. Meanwhile, most of the civilians, including Eli, have gathered inside the base's gate room. Rush discovers that power levels in the core are becoming unstable. Because of this, Rush asks for Eli's help in determining how to dial the Stargate's ninth chevron as, due to the orbital bombardment, the planet's core might go critical, causing it to explode. If that were to occur, it could end their chances of achieving a ninth chevron lock forever. Eli suggests that, if his math does indeed work, the problem could be with the address' point of origin.

Meanwhile, the battle rages on outside the base as Telford leads a squadron of F-302s against the attacking gliders. However, Telford and his men are outnumbered and so the order to fall back is given as Young orders Sgt. Hunter Riley to dial the Stargate to Earth. Young, carrying an injured SG member back into the base, just barely avoids a damaged fighter that slams into the platform they were defending just moments prior, causing it to go up in a massive explosion. While Riley does as ordered, Eli suggests to Rush that, since all symbols on the Stargate are constellations as seen from Earth, Earth may be the only valid point of origin, like a code, to enable the ninth chevron to lock. Deciding to test Eli's hypothesis, Rush pushes Riley out of the way, halts the dialing sequence to Earth, and begins to dial the ninth chevron address.

IcarusEvacuation

The evacuation of the base is underway.

As the evacuation of Icarus Base continues, people are running frantically through the halls of the base to reach the gate room. In one section, the hall collapses, trapping about a dozen people, including Alan Armstrong. Elsewhere on the base, Young tells Greer that the George Hammond is unable to beam people directly out of the base due to its bunker shielding technology. The two then come across TJ, who is trying desperately to save Dr. Simms, who is bleeding out through a significant neck wound. She continues to do so until Young tells her that there's nothing more she can do for him. In the gate room, Rush successfully establishes a connection with the ninth chevron. However, power levels are reaching critical levels in the planet's core. This buildup is also detected by Major Kevin Marks aboard the George Hammond, who informs Carter. Carter then orders that all fighters be recalled before the heavily damaged ship retreats into hyperspace. Back in Icarus Base, Young enters the gate room to find that the evacuation through the Stargate hasn't commenced. Rush then explains that it was too dangerous to dial Earth as any explosion could transmit through an open wormhole. Young is infuriated with this and orders the Stargate be shut down. However, the gate will not disengage.

Flightpath

A small part of Destiny's 50 million-year journey.

In the present, Rush, in the company of Scott, Greer, Eli, and several others, activates a holographic log of the ship's journey. This map shows the ship's original departure from Earth and its passage through numerous galaxies, placing them currently several billions of light years from home.

In the flashback, Young arrives at the collapsed hallway where Alan Armstrong is trapped. He instructs Scott to begin the evacuation, and to have everyone take as much of the expedition supplies as possible. When he arrives in the gate room, Scott steps through the gate and is followed by Icarus Base's personnel, who enter the gate in three-second intervals. Back in the hallway, Young blasts a passage through the collapsed section of wall using C-4. Everyone is able to walk. While the group heads back toward the gate room, the evacuation is in full swing as the base literally is falling apart around them. After several minutes everyone has made it through the gate, except for Young, who is gathering some last-minute supplies. After doing so, Young starts in an all-out sprint towards the gate as a massive explosion closely follows behind him, eventually lifting him up and quickly propelling him through the gate. Just moments after he makes it though the entire planet goes up in a massive explosion, completely destroying the attacking enemy force in orbit.

IcarusBaseExplodes

The entire planet explodes.

In Washington D.C., O'Neill is at The Pentagon when he is contacted by Carter aboard the George Hammond. Carter reports that they were barely able to escape before the planet's core went critical and that all enemies are assumed to have been destroyed in the explosion. She also informs him about the number of casualties and the eighty-plus people still unaccounted for who evacuated through the Stargate, which was detected to be active for six minutes. However, the personnel of Icarus Base didn't return to Earth, leaving Carter to ponder, "Then where did they go?"

References

Ancient; Ancient language; Ancient shuttle; Asgard transporter; AT4; Atlantis; Atlantis database; Battle of Icarus Base; C-4; California; Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Cell phone; Chevron; Control interface room; Dakara Weapons puzzle; Death Glider; Destiny; Destiny expedition; Destiny Gate room; Dialing computer; Earth; Educational Stargate video; F-302 fighter-interceptor; Faster-Than-Light engine; French fries; G36K; George Hammond; Glyph; Hamburger; Harvard University; Ha'tak; HIV; Homeworld Command; Hyperspace; Icarus Base; Icarus project; Life support; Long-range communication device; Long-range communication stone; Lucian Alliance; M2 Browning; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Mess hall; Milky Way; Naquadria; Non-disclosure agreement; Observation deck; P4X-351; Pegasus; The Pentagon; Point of origin; Prometheus; Railgun; RG/BBT SG military mounted gun; Scholarship; Sex; Shield; Troop transport; UMP .45; Washington D.C.; White House; Wine

Notable Quotes

Eli: Whatever you guys think that I did, I swear you've got the wrong guy.
O'Neill: Do I look like someone who'd be standing here if I didn't already know everything there is to know about you?
Eli: No, not really.

Armstrong: I would like to propose a toast.
Eli: (Presuming it is about him, as was lots of other things) Oh, that's really not necessary.
Armstrong: Not to you.
Eli: Oh.

Eli: So... what if we're not on the planet you're supposed to be dialing from?
Rush: This is where we are!
Eli: OK, what if we are not supposed to be here?

Young: I need to get these people out of here.
Rush: We have a way out.
Young: We don't know what's on the other side. Dammit, Rush!
Eli: It can't be worse than here, can it?

Scott: Rush. Where the hell are we?
Rush: Several billion light years from home.

Carter: How many people made it through the Gate to Earth?
O'Neill: None.
Carter: None? Our sensors indicated that the Stargate was active for a full six minutes before the core went critical.
O'Neill: Well, they didn't come through here.
Carter: Then where did they go?

Notes

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