|Universe Season 1|
Colonel Everett Young cedes command to Camile Wray after Sgt. Spencer is found dead from a gunshot wound and the gun is recovered from his quarters. Meanwhile, a planet harbors a secret that threatens the Destiny, and Dr. Nicholas Rush gains access to the Ancient interface.
A group around of 80 unprepared soldiers, scientists and civilians evacuate Icarus Base to the Ancient space ship Destiny, located several billion light years from Earth, and are trapped there; the ship doesn't have enough power to dial such distances and access to navigation and propulsion is restricted. To overcome this problem, Dr. Nicholas Rush hopes that a recently discovered Ancient device may hold the key, but access is off limits due to the risks involved. Also, Sgt. Spencer is shown to be more and more unstable, and causes more problems to the rest of the expedition, having stolen several energy bars and has a hostile confrontation with Dr. Jeremy Franklin.
In the Mess hall, Airman Darren Becker presents MSgt. Ronald Greer a dark-red potato-like crop the team picked up on the Jungle planet. With Dr. Adam Brody, Dr. Jeremy Franklin, Eli Wallace and a recording Kino as witnesses, Greer is to taste-test it. Having analyzed the plant, they assume it will be rather unpleasant. Reluctantly, Greer takes a small amount and eats with a smile, calmly comparing it to a sweet potato. This pleases the rest; Greer tells them to dig in. However, as they do, they quickly realize Greer was lying. Greer matter-of-factly points out that it is food all the same, and they need it to stay alive. He orders Becker to boil, mash and serve it.
Becker notes that Sgt. Spencer is late for his shift, so Greer radios him. However, he receives no reply. Frustrated, he goes looking for him. He arrives outside Spencer's quarters and reminds him he is an hour late. After he enters, he turns the light on to see Spencer lifeless on his bed, and a blood splatter on a nearby wall. Meanwhile, Colonel Everett Young and Camile Wray argue about their new scheduling. Greer radios in and informs Young of the situation. He tells him that Spencer has been shot in the head; he's dead.
After putting his body in a bag, Lt. Tamara Johansen determines that Spencer died at around 2:00am, and based on the immediate evidence, it would appear that he committed suicide. Wray, who is aware of Spencer's behavior, is wondering why he was even allowed access to a gun. However, Greer points out that it is not suicide, as his weapon is missing; a dead man obviously could not have disposed of it. This leads them to believe he was murdered. When Dr. Nicholas Rush hears of the news, he wonders if there are any suspects, since he points out that virtually no one liked Spencer, and only a few barely tolerated him, so much of the crew would probably have reason to kill him.
Young has everybody meet in the Gate room, and announces their findings to the crew. Eli, Brody, Lt. Matthew Scott, Dr. Lisa Park and Lt. Vanessa James were playing poker in the Mess hall at the time of the murder, meaning they have an alibi, so they are put in charge of the investigation. Others begin to claim alibis, and Young calms them by assuring that all the evidence will be reviewed as quickly as possible. Young himself was sleeping at the time, and explains that he cannot expect anyone to take his word for it. He enlists Scott to lead the investigation. He wants everybody to stay in the Gate room while each room is searched for Spencer's missing weapon. However, Franklin wants to be present while they search his room. Just about everybody else wants this also, meaning the searching will take a while. While Eli and Scott search Franklin's quarters, Park and Brody search the quarters of Dr. Fisher. After they are cleared, they instruct the two to stay in their rooms until further notice.
While Eli and Scott search Wray's quarters, she suggests to Scott that Greer might have murdered Spencer. However, Scott insists that Greer is one of the few people they can rule out, given how implausible it would be for him to have done it. Rush radios Young, having remained in the Control interface room instead of reporting to the Gate room as ordered. Rush has made an additional discovery about the Destiny interface chair. Young orders Rush to the Gate Room, but Rush ignores him. Scott radios Young, telling him he's next. Unlike Franklin, Young is comfortable with letting them search it unsupervised. Eli and Scott search the room, and Scott quickly decides that the gun isn't in it. However, before he can leave, Eli, being more thorough, notices something in an air vent. After he opens it, he pulls out the handgun they are looking for.
Scott radios Young to join him. There, Young learns that the gun was found in his quarters. Eli quickly regrets this, but Young doesn't blame him; he's the one who authorized the search. Scott proposes a cover story, which should hopefully reveal the real killer, since he believes that someone is trying to undermine Young's authority. However, Young agrees with Eli's skepticism that he was framed. Later, Scott wants Eli to search through his Kino footage for anything it might have recorded. With this new evidence against him, Young puts Wray in charge of the investigation and voluntarily has himself sequestered with a guard. Young insists that they need to be open about their investigation in order to keep the military and civilian crew from turning on each other.
As Wray prepares to use the Long-range communication device to contact Earth, Rush stops by to remind her that, despite having the communication stones, they are on their own and should settle their problems internally. Once she contacts Earth, she is given the authority to hold a hearing to determine if Young is guilty. No new evidence has surfaced in his defense. With her Harvard background, Young asks Chloe Armstrong to defend him, knowing that Wray will try her hardest to push for him being guilty. He explains that he chose her both for her political background and because he doesn't want to divide the crew by choosing a military crew member.
Several Expedition members witness a trial, with Wray acting as prosecutor, and Chloe acting as defense. A Kino is also recording the trial. Franklin is the first to be questioned in the stand. He testifies for Young; he never saw him attack anyone. Franklin is defending Young's actions, as Spencer was out of control. Next up is Volker. He admits that he overheard a conversation between Rush and Young about Spencer, and that in the conversation, Young stated that "drastic measures" might be necessary if Spencer continues to be a problem. Rush is brought up next to clarify; though he doesn't remember the exact details, he does remember it was Young who did most of the talking, believing he wanted to let off some steam. Wray tries to maneuver him into admitting that Young might be justified in killing Spencer as a "drastic measure", and though Rush does not play along, he does explain in detail what she's trying to do. Meanwhile, Scott tells Eli what he found so far to clear Young. All Eli does is confirm another few alibis, but continues to work on it.
Finally, TJ is brought to the stand for the medical angle on the case. She laments not having known about his dependence on sleeping pills, for she could have helped if she did. She determines that from what they gathered, all evidence points to suicide. However, Wray points out TJ is not a forensic scientist. TJ counters by pointing out that she's seen gunshot suicides before. At this point, Wray and Chloe become more aggressive in trying to get their questions in, with Chloe eventually taking control. She makes the point that, even with expert investigative knowledge, they cannot really determine what happened, as they have none of the proper forensic equipment, and even the crime scene and the weapon responsible have been contaminated by several personnel.
After that, Wray calls a recess in order to speak with Chloe in private. In the hall, Wray argues with Chloe, insisting that they cannot leave the murder unsolved. Chloe interprets this as trying to find a scapegoat, and states that Wray might as well pick the person she thinks is the guilty party. Young, meanwhile, overhears the crew talking about the possibility of him being guilty, though not necessarily saying Spencer didn't deserve to die.
Later, the entire expedition plan to have a vote as to whether Young is guilty or innocent. Some of the military personnel, Greer in particular, have become fed up with the trial and want to put an end to the situation by force. Scott doesn't think that is a good idea, but Greer is willing to resort to insubordination. Young interrupts to tell them that getting him back in command will no longer be necessary, as he made a deal with Wray; in exchange for dropping the case due to lack of evidence, he has given her command of the ship.
Now that Wray is in command, Rush comes to her, requesting that he be given control of his science team while answering to her. She agrees, having expected something more. His hands untied, Rush immediately sets to work on better understanding the chair. A team, composed of Rush, Franklin, Brody, Park and Eli enter the room. Eli believes those who use it will eventually die, though Rush says they may not, as the first versions aren't as advanced. Eli, however, reminds him that first versions also tend to be the most unstable. The group recalls Lt. General Jack O'Neill's experience with the modern repository, and note that there are no Asgard to save them should the results be similar.
Scott talks to Young in his quarters, and believes he made a mistake. However, Young says that if he forces the issue, they crew will be divided, and he can't risk that. Scott then points out that while he can accept Wray being in charge, as far as he and the rest of the military on board are concerned, Young is still their commander.
Eli arrives at the chair room to see that Rush assigned Franklin the night shift. Franklin tells him that he ran every Ancient diagnostic there is, but couldn't find anything they need. Rush is trying to write a new program, but all evidence points to the chair being intentionally designed to only download information through the neural interface. Eli says that if the chair was safe, Rush would have already used it. Franklin isn't so sure, then asks Eli to get him some of the "potatoes" from the mess hall, as he is hungry.
Moments later, Eli makes a panicked call for help on the radio. Young, TJ, Rush, Wray, and several others converge on the chair room, where they find Franklin strapped into it and convulsing as the chair does its work. Everyone works to free Franklin, and the chair eventually releases him, leaving bloody wounds on either side of his head from where the electrodes connected. Once the convulsions stop, Franklin appears to have gone catatonic. TJ believes that she might be able to revive him with lorazepam, but this won't go without risks. Wray gives the go-ahead. Seeing this, Young takes Rush outside the room and angrily berates for being too much of a coward to try it himself, instead knowing someone else would do it for him. Wray orders them both to stop, as it was her call on letting a science team research the chair. Young storms off, followed shortly by Rush.
Fed up with the new command structure, Scott takes Eli back to the Kino room, insisting that Eli should review the logs to see if he missed anything. Eli protests, having gone over them several times, but Scott is not swayed and believes that they must have caught something, knowing that the Colonel was framed.
The Destiny soon drops out of FTL. Brody radios Wray in her quarters, telling her that the ship dialed the Stargate to a planet, and that the Kino readings suggest the planet is suitable for exploration. As she leaves her quarters, Greer blocks her path, as wants an explanation as to why he and some others have been called off duty. Wray claims it is a temporary adjustment, but Greer knows it's because Wray think he is a suspect. She admits that there is a valid reason, and asks him to get out of her way. Greer complies, but says he will be there when she gets back, implying that this is far from over. Wray arrives in the Gate room and appoints Volker as the team leader, with Dr. Robert Caine, accompanied by James and Airman Rennie to serve as security.
Scott returns to Eli, who found something that he overlooked. The time codes of one entry does not match, meaning that an entry was deleted. Fortunately, Eli has backups on all recordings for his Kino documentary. He restores the backup and they begin to watch it. Scott radios Young; there's something Young needs to see.
Meanwhile, on the planet, Caine is complaining about his shoes, though Volker thinks they are a fine pair. He believes that there is nothing on the Gravel pit planet, and wonders how long they have to stay. James, however, sees something worth coming to the planet for, and tells Caine that he spoke too soon. As the others watch in amazement, Caine stands up and also sees what the others see; an alien spacecraft on top of a small hill. After they inform Destiny, Brody radios Rush, who is very excited about the discovery. With just two hours before the ship is set to jump back to FTL, Rush quickly gets ready to see for himself. En route, Young interrupts him, as wants him to see something; he claims that the alien ship can wait. Rush appears nervous.
The two enter the Kino room with Scott, Eli and Wray. Eli plays the recording he restored from his backups. It shows Spencer. Spencer explains that he ran out of pills a week ago, and has not been able to sleep much since. He then proclaims that everyone is flying in a big, floating coffin, and apologises for not thinking up anything better to say. He then raises his gun to his head, and fires. This confirms that Spencer's death was in fact a suicide all along. Eli says that the recording after that point is corrupted, removing any possibility of discovering who took the gun. He explains that at least a dozen know how to delete the recording. Rush doesn't particularly care; his only interest is the ship. Wray apologises to Young, and believes they should recall the team. However, Young quickly takes command again, agreeing with Rush's belief that the ship is worth investigating. He decides to join the team.
On the planet, the first team has already deduced that the ship is not of Ancient design based on the markings. They can also find no energy emissions of any kind, so the ship is basically dead. There is a hatch, but no obvious release mechanism. Rush wants to keep trying despite their remaining time being rather slim, so Young stays with him while the others head back to the gate, as Rush thinks he can find more on how to enter in a few minutes. Once the rest of the team is gone, Young tells Rush that he knows it was him who took Spencer's gun; Eli lied about the data corruption in the recording. The Kino observed Rush taking the gun.
Though Young expects Rush to lie his way out of the situation, Rush instead calmly explains his motives. He knew framing Young would never actually work, but doubt alone would be enough to remove him from command, thereby giving Rush the freedom to do as he pleases. As he sees it, Young is unwilling to make the hard choices that are necessary for this type of mission, making him a liability. Without warning, Young punches Rush in the face. This is followed by two more punches. Rush tries to retaliate by hitting Young with a rock, but Young quickly gains the upper hand. Young asks if they are done, but Rush defiantly states that they never will be. Young headbutts Rush, which knocks him unconscious.
In the Gate Room, time is almost up and neither Rush nor Young have made it back. Seconds before the gate closes, Young comes through alone, covered in the dirt from the fight. With the countdown expired, the ship jumps back to FTL, leaving Rush behind. In the infirmary, Young claims that a rock slide caught Rush while only grazing him. Young is put back in command, though TJ orders him to rest for a day first. As everyone leaves, Young stops Eli, asking if anyone else saw the footage of Rush. Eli confirms that only they have seen it. Young hands him a flash drive, telling him to copy the file then delete the original. Eli seems to have something else to say, but just leaves after hesitating.
Night falls on the Gravel pit planet. Rush slowly regains consciousness, and realises that, to his horror, Destiny has left without him, stranding him on the planet alone with the spaceship.
Alien spacecraft; Alien sweet potato; Ancient; Asgard; Blood; Catatonic shock; Control interface room; Destiny Gate room; Destiny infirmary; Destiny interface chair; Forensics; Gravel pit planet; Greaster; Harvard; Hydroponics lab; Icarus Base; International Oversight Advisory; Jump countdown; Jungle planet; Kino; Kino room; Laptop; Lincoln; Long-range communication device; Long-range communication stone; Lorazepam; M9 pistol; Mess hall; Lt. General Jack O'Neill; Poker; Repository of knowledge; Suicide; Sweet potato; Trial
(Spencer's suicide video)
Spencer: It's been about a week since I ran out of pills. Haven't slept much since. I can't think. Everything's...I don't know. (sighs) These people don't even realize, they're inside a big floating coffin. I wish I could come up with something better to say...I'm sorry.
Wray: Do you agree that Sgt. Spencer was a disruptive force? That his attitude was damaging to moral and was only getting worse.
Wray: Then would you say that his removal from the situation been a net benefit or detriment.
Rush: I know what your trying to do. You want me to suggest that we’re better off without him. Therefore imply that Colonel Young may have drawn the same conclusion but as commander he may have believed he had no choice.
Rush: Well that would be pure speculation and I’m having none of it.
Eli: (watching on the Kino) It didn’t stop him from saying it out loud did it.
Wray: (to Volker) Lt. James and Airman Rennie will be providing security but you're in charge.
Wray: We should recall the team from the planet.
Rush: No no, we can't do that. In over a dozen planets, we haven't had a single indication of advanced technology up until now...This mess isn't going anywhere.
Young: He's right. This ship could be important. I'm going too.
Wray: If you think it's really-
Young: I'm not asking permission. I'm telling you.
Young: Are we done?
Rush: We'll never be done.
- The episode was originally supposed to be entitled "Judgement", or "Judgment".
- This episode marks the death of Sgt. Spencer, the fifth loss of the Destiny expedition, after Senator Alan Armstrong, Sgt. Curtis, Andrea Palmer and Cpl. Gorman.
- Eli Wallace mentions iMovie as his movie editing software of choice but is clearly shown as having an Asus laptop. It is unknown if the laptop actually has it installed, a violation of the software's EULA, or if it's merely a tongue in cheek reference to his use of Apple products.
- It is mentioned that Colonel Jack O'Neill used the Repository of knowledge during the events of "The Fifth Race", and that he was saved by the Asgard. However, they neglected to mention his second use of the device in "Lost City, Part 1", where he was saved under similar circumstances. They also neglected to mention that Dr. Daniel Jackson used another repository in "The Quest, Part 2", though this version was rather different in its application.
- This episode takes place one week after the events of "Life".
- This is the last of nineteen episodes of Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate Universe written by Alan McCullough.
- Ming-Na has been upgraded to a series regular since this episode. She was also credited a regular in "Air, Part 1" and "Air, Part 2", but reduced to a guest star until this episode. She was also credited as a regular on the next episode.