This is going to be a good one so buckle up buttercups!
In Season 2, Episode 16 ‘The Long Goodbye’, we find Sheppard and Weir having a ‘Duet’ moment.
After finding two life pods in orbit around a planet, they bring them back to see if they can help. Unfortunately, the occupants have been in the pods for too long and die almost immediately after the pods are opened.
Not to fear though because the pods are equipped with devices that can download the occupants consciousness into another person.
Which is how Weir is taken at first and Sheppard agrees too because the woman who’s taken over Weir’s body claims the man in the other pod is her husband and she’d desperately like to say goodbye to him one last time.
They are, in fact, enemy soldiers whose planets had been at war for generations and they were the last of their kind. Instead of calling a halt to the whole thing, this news just makes the two want to be the last one standing even more.
They go after each other in Weir and Sheppard’s bodies and are a serious problem because they have all the memories available to them about how Atlantis works and uses it ruthlessly. Thankfully, however, they don’t take it out on personnel and the one controlling Sheppard actually calls a medical team after Ronon is shot during a firefight instead of letting him die.
At least they have some kind of honor.
In the end the imprinting wears off before either kills the other and Weir and Sheppard are left with the uncomfortable fact that they had kissed and almost killed each other.
As for the book…
What’s not to love?
‘The Long Goodbye’ sets this book up perfectly and we first find ourselves in a scene from ten thousand years ago as a Jumper with an Alteran couple try to get back to Atlantis to evacuate to Earth.
Unfortunately, the shield frequency has been changed and they are stuck on the wrong side. With stasis pods inside, they sleep at the base of an anchor (obviously that’s keeping Atlantis from just floating around the ocean) until discovered by the Expedition.
It never fails to make me sigh in frustration and annoyance at how eager Weir is to believe that the Alterans are somehow perfect beings to be held above all others. Seriously, it’s not even funny considering all of the things discovered concerning what they did. The sheer magnitude of their screwups should have made Weir cautious when it came to meeting them, but she’s always gung-ho.
In this book it almost leads to their deaths.
Two Alterans are still alive, but not for much longer. While trying to bring one up to the surface to be treated, he dies and the woman probably won’t fair any better, but dang if they aren’t going to try.
When the pod slips and opens, Dr. Beckett is caught in the same type of imprinting Weir and Sheppard just went through and is taken over by the Alteran woman who’s husband just died in their care (doesn’t matter that there was literally nothing they could have done).
She decides that, since the Expedition people aren’t Alteran, they aren’t worthy to have possession of Atlantis and sets off to keep them from keeping it.
Leaving several people to die in the cold water.
Thankfully, Sheppard is awesome and gets to them in time, but that meant letting the Alteran go.
She heads for the mainland and launches a terraforming device that has nanites in it. Because the planet is already livable, the device will change it into something else that’s still livable, just different.
In the process everything will be destroyed.
The Athosians on the mainland need to be rescued before it’s too late (hellish storms are cropping up in the first wave of the devices programming), but in an uncharacteristic moment, Weir decides that it isn’t safe and says no to Jumper’s going. Since the Daedalus is grounded due to repairs, Teyla is heartbroken.
While this is happening more information is being found about the Alteran’s in the pods and Dr. Beckett is recovering from the woman ‘dying’ and leaving him healed but feeling guilty because he almost killed some people and is about to kill more.
Turns out the Alteran couple was working on making the terraforming process faster, but they didn’t have permission from the council because the technology was too experimental and they had the Wraith to deal with so resources were needed elsewhere.
Not liking that their work was being set aside they did it anyways which is why they were on the last transport ship that was destroyed by the Wraith before full evacuation of Atlantis happened.
The planet they messed with however is in a precarious state because it was already being terraformed and the new device messed something up.
Rodney, Ronon and Sheppard go to the planet and find a civilization there that’s quite knowledgeable about their history (which is rare because of the Wraith culling’s). The people are happy to answer questions especially when Rodney says he can fix the original program to finish the terraforming.
Rodney is (as the people claim) caught in a deadly sandstorm, that has an acid like granule in it that can strip the flesh from humans, and dies from his injuries. All they can find is a disc he was carrying. Neither Sheppard, Ronon or Zelenka (who joined them on their return trip) believe it because the disc survived but not a shred of evidence that Rodney had been there.
They are finally convinced to spill when Sheppard pulls the plug on getting the machine to work and heads back to Atlantis. Apparently, there is a Wraith Hive on the planet and occasionally the Wraith come and steal children and defile women before hiding again.
A villager saw Rodney being taken by a Dart.
Rodney, waking up blind, spends several days being taken care of by a woman, Turpi (Rodney gets very emotionally attached to her), who says her father, Nabu, went out and saved him. Apparently, it was something her father did often because the people of the planet tended to throw children away when they were born with defects.
While the others continue trying to get the machine to work (which requires unplugging 12 ZPM’s spaced around the planet that shield massive amounts of water being stored for the terraforming) Rodney finds out a little bit more about the people who saved and healed him.
Including the fact that they are telepathic.
Piecing things together, Rodney suspects they are, in fact, Wraith, and has a bad reaction. Nabu is able to talk him around and explains how the terraforming caused changes in the humans of the planet as well which left many hideously deformed and/or with extraordinary abilities. This is why the people leave deformed children to the mercy of the deadly sandstorms and why Nabu (and many others now) can take Dart’s out to save the kids.
The day, Atlantis, Nabu’s people and his planet are saved in the end!
To say that this book was one of my favorites would be understating by a ton.
Nabu actually looks more Wraith than human which is where the Wraith stealing kids rumors come from. Turpi’s ability to heal is the strongest ever and they’ve seen a remarkable stabilization in the latest generations that bodes well for them as a people. The deformities are becoming rarer and the abilities greater.
It’s interesting that the Alteran’s intentionally meant for a Human Wraith to come from the experiment. Their reasoning being that the mental capacities could be used to fight the Wraith and eventually kill them off. That they continue to not see they’re the orchestrators of their own demise is cringe worthy, but completely on par with who they were as a people.
Okay, this post has gone on long enough and might be the longest yet.
Sorry again, but I’ll pull the plug here because I could go on for quite some time on this book, but you probably want to get to the next episode then the next review with me.
I too want to get to the next episodes because we are up to Season 3 now, and Todd makes his debut in this season! (feel free to scream with me when he shows up!)
Till next week.