Bates is currently an agent for the International Oversight Advisory. He originally held the rank of Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, having been assigned to the Atlantis expedition under the command of Colonel Marshall Sumner and later Major John Sheppard until he had a near fatal encounter with a Wraith in 2005 which ultimately resulted in him receiving an honorable discharge and later joining the IOA as a Special Agent.
During the first off-world mission to Athos, Bates, Sumner and several other Athosians were taken by the greatest threat in the Pegasus Galaxy; the Wraith. Bates and most of the Athosians were rescued by a Marine team led by Major John Sheppard, though Sumner was killed. (SGA: "Rising")
In the months following, Bates was pointed Internal Head-of-Security for the base, under Sheppard's command (who had become ranking officer in the wake of Sumner's death). Whatever chances of a friendship between Bates and Sheppard were seriously weakened when, during a time where the Wraith somehow gleaned intelligence on the Expedition's off-world missions, Bates suggested harsh new security measures to Sheppard and the Expedition Commander; Dr. Elizabeth Weir. Bates' requests were partially approved, badly straining the relationship between the Atlanteans and Athosians, and eventually drove them to settle on the mainland. The situation between Bates and Sheppard worsened when Bates centered his investigation on Teyla Emmagan, and exposed her as the unintentional spy. (SGA: "Suspicion")
When an Ancient nanovirus was released from the Nanite lab, he and Dr. Elizabeth Weir instituted a quarantine. He was then ordered by Major John Sheppard to open the doors of the gym. He followed the order despite Weir's own orders not to. (SGA: "Hot Zone")
When a Wraith Dart was detected heading toward Atlantis, he and Dr. Carson Beckett piloted a Puddle Jumper to take it down, but it self-destructed before Carson was able to get a clear shot. (SGA: "The Brotherhood")
On a personal level, Bates had a younger brother who he was close to, and fondly recalled their time together seeing the L.A. Lakers Basketball team when he had the opportunity to send a video message back to Earth. Bates resisted saying goodbye, feeling that he would never see his brother again and it would just make it harder. He did however choose to say goodbye in the end. (SGA: "Letters from Pegasus")
Bates took part in a briefing about the Wraith hive ships that were on the way and worked to set up the Pegasus Alpha Site. After the Alpha Site came under attack, Bates managed to make it back with all of his men and was confused by the fact that the Wraith attacked an uninhabited planet. After learning of the discovery of the true extent of Teyla's abilities, along with the fact that Teyla had been possessed by a Wraith, Bates' suspicions of Teyla were further exacerbated, especially after Teyla wanted to connect to the Wraith again. When Teyla lost control and was possessed by the Wraith for a second time, Bates took her down with two shots from a Wraith stunner rifle, having stayed on hand in case something happened once again. (SGA: "The Gift")
Hours before the Wraith arrived, things came to a head between Teyla Emmagan and Bates. They argued, which culminated in Bates accusing her of being in service to the Wraith, which is a serious insult among the Athosians. Bates says that is his point, after which Teyla punches him. Later, when a Wraith fleet approached the mostly undefended city, Bates was badly injured in an encounter with a Wraith infiltrator named "Bob", while attempting to stop him from sabotaging the city's naquadah generators. Bates suffered several fractured ribs, a broken collarbone and a severe concussion that caused brain swelling. As a result, Beckett was forced to put him into a medically induced coma until the swelling could be dealt with which prevented Bates from explaining what had happened to anyone. However, Wraith DNA on his clothes ultimately revealed the truth. Bates was then sent back to Earth upon delivery of a Zero Point Module by the crew of the Daedalus along with other injured expedition members. (SGA: "The Siege, Part 1")
Due to the injuries that he sustained, and likely his incompetence while a security chief in Atlantis, Bates was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps, but shortly afterwards was contacted by the International Oversight Advisory and offered a job as a Special Agent in the IOA Field Operations Division, dealing with alien threats on Earth.
Bates accepted and, in the course of his duties, aided Lt. Colonel John Sheppard and Ronon Dex in tracking the renegade Replicator. When the replicator was cornered, he was paired up with Dr. Richard Poole. Poole struck him on the head with a board to knock him out. After the Replicator was destroyed by Sheppard and the Apollo, Bates discussed what to do with the Ava Dixon Replicator with Sheppard and Doctor Bill Lee. (SGA: "Outcast")
Bates was dedicated to his job as security chief for Atlantis, almost fanatically so. He also displayed extreme paranoia about threats and possibly xenophobia in his belief in the Athosians being responsible for a security breach in Atlantis. His paranoia was so extreme that he automatically suspected Teyla was responsible for a threat before it was established that it was the Wraith that had attacked. Bates showed no hesitation about being insubordinate when he felt he was right and even when forced to back down, was willing to go behind his superiors back. When Bates defied orders, he at times seemed smug about it such as smirking at Weir when he followed Sheppard's order to open the gym door rather than hers to stand down. When Bates was proven to be right about a situation, he also displayed a smugness about it, something noted by several members of the expedition who displayed hesitance to share facts with him as a result, such as Bates being right in a way about Teyla giving away Atlantis teams' positions. As a result of his personality, Bates was not well-liked amongst the expedition.
Despite Bates' rather abrasive personality, he was shown to have a softer side as seen when recording a message to his little brother who he clearly cared deeply about. When recording the message, Bates had a hard time saying goodbye as he felt he would never see his brother again with the approaching threat and felt it would just make it harder saying goodbye. (SGA: "Letters from Pegasus")
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