I must apologize because I have realized how much of a disservice I have done to you all.
The episode preceding this book is called ‘Misbegotten’ and it’s the second episode in Season 3. It has to do with the Wraith-turned-humans and (even though I’m sure you’ve caught up by now) I never mentioned Michael before this!
Michael Kenmore is one of the best bad guys ever. The reason is that the Expedition literally turns him into this thing and then he gets loose and causes SO many problems for them and the galaxy.
It is a perfect reflection of the Alteran’s and the Wraith.
Now, a little info about this situation we find Atlantis suddenly in.
Dr. Beckett has continued working on the Wraith retrovirus and he finally thinks he has it figured out. Sheppard and his team go to capture a subject and they inject him with the retrovirus which does in fact work and turns him into a human.
Unfortunately, it has to be administered at least once a day or Michael will begin to revert back due to the strength of the Wraith genes being suppressed.
Not a problem right? They simply tell him he’s diabetic and there ya go.
Despite what Weir has done up to this point I didn’t agree with, I simply didn’t like her, but this episode made me despise her. Her characterization is actually on point, it’s just that (and this is solely due to the fantastic job the writers and actors did) making the decision to test the retrovirus is one thing, but when he began to remember they should have stopped right there.
They turn this Wraith into a human, lie to him about every aspect of his life he asks about, Teyla calls herself his friend at one point (I’m pretty sure she either actually says the words or agrees when he says how she’s the only friend he has), and honest to God say that his life is better as a human than it ever was as a Wraith.
It’s Ronon and his hatred of the Wraith that tips Michael off and makes him discover the truth, but it’s Weir and Beckett who decide to continue with the experiments.
(there’s a scene where they’re talking about what to do and if they should come clean about what they’ve done and ya’ll need to keep an eye on Sheppard and Rodney’s faces because it kind of says it all)
They take Michael to an offworld site to continue the experiment and he escapes only to come back a while later having joined up with a Hive (I’m not sure if it was his original Hive or not) that claims to want to use the retrovirus on other Wraith. Giving them an alternate feeding source and thinning the Wraith down at the same time.
Here, we find that Michael is no longer tolerated amongst his own kind. The Hive Queen flat out says the smell of his former humanity clings to him and she doubts it’ll ever fade.
So here he is, by no fault of his own, no longer welcome amongst his own kind and certainly not welcome with the humans.
This right here is the turning point.
Atlantis could have done so many different things to take care of the problem before it became a problem, but they blindly went ahead thinking they had everything under control even as they continued with the genetic experimentations that had already proved to not be successful enough to be safe.
I feel bad for Michael. What they did was reprehensible and cruel. That they did it multiple times makes it all the more awful and you can definitely see where his anger comes from. I’m not saying that what he does later on to others is okay or that he’s justified in his actions, but he is left alone, completely alone in a galaxy full of beings that he shares genetic traits with.
He didn’t ask for it and they certainly could have taken other routes even if it was simply killing him. They chose not to, and he will become one of their worst enemies.
Even worse than Kolya (if you can believe it).
With all of that being said, ‘Misbegotten’ finds over two hundred Wraith-turned-humans being treated the same way as Michael had been so recently. Stranded on a planet with no Stargate, Michael remembers and some of the others begin to as well.
He gets them to band together to call a Hive ship to rescue them (leaving some of the Wraith human as an offering to the Hive) and deactivates the bomb Sheppard had left as a contingency plan.
There is a scene where he says something about them only having to wait for the Hive ship and the other Wraith walk away in small groups.
Leaving him alone once again, and we can see that even though they’ve just been through the same experience, he is still seen as too human to be considered a Wraith.
And now, the book!
Stargate Atlantis: Dead End
SGA # 12
‘Dead End’ is the nickname given to a planet that’s so far on the outer edges of Pegasus that you can only barely consider it part of the galaxy. The Stargate needs additional power routed to it to make the trip too, which is unheard of, though Rodney certainly finds the theory intriguing and possible.
Sheppard is almost squished by a falling ceiling (a la ‘Indiana Jones’ style) when Rodney uncovers another lab with a computer in it. Deciphering doesn’t take long and so Sheppard and a couple Marines take a look around a hidden room before something gets tripped and down goes the ceiling.
The small piece of technology he manages to grab before becoming a pancake has just enough information to be interesting and convince Weir to let them go explore this new world.
Remember the whole ‘needs additional power’ thing?
The Jumper they’re in rematerializes within the wormhole and they barely make it through to the other side.
But they do and it’s even colder than it looked from the MALP video feed.
Turns out the Alteran’s were working on making the planet a sanctuary for the original inhabitants and themselves. It would have been used to outlast the Wraith, get their numbers up and regroup.
To their credit, they did look ahead to how the planet would fair considering its placement in the galaxy and what the nearest star would do in the next couple thousand years. They planned an entire massive underground world for the people to escape too when the surface of the planet was no longer habitable.
Of course, they didn’t leave any instructions and the technology became corrupted, so the people had no clue.
Sheppard, Teyla, Ronon and Rodney are trapped on the planet now because the Jumper is damaged and, true to form, they start asking questions about the world and finds some interesting answers.
They’re able to save the day, lead the people through a vicious snowstorm to the safety of the underground world and barely escape back home.
I enjoyed this book a lot!
It was far more suspenseful than the others and I know that some didn’t enjoy it because of all the trudging in the snow the team did. I liked it for that reason actually. Sometimes the series and books gloss over the absolute horrid conditions the Stargate teams sometimes go through to survive. It’s true that most of the planets are temperate and great places to explore but freezing cold temperatures or boiling hot temperatures are not fun.
I don’t care where you’re from.
This was fun because of the continual reminder that the planet was becoming a frozen wasteland. The very surface of the planet was slowly killing the people and they didn’t even realize it. It was the enemy in this book and I appreciated that nature itself was trying to kill them and not another humanoid being. It was a fantastic change of pace!
I hope you all enjoy it and I’ll see you next time for ‘Casualties of War’.