So during SG-1’s final season, I came up with an outline for a time travel episode.  And not your typical time-travel episode either.  Building on a notion Paul once pitched out, I built a story on the idea of the team triggering an accident with the time-traveling puddle jumper (last scene in Good To Be King) which ends up landing them in three separate timelines: past, present, and future.  As the story progresses,  past events influence the present, shaping the future but both the present and future inevitably shape what has come before as well.  Anyway, I had a lot of fun ideas of how the different timelines could affect each other and, rather than pitch it out verbally and risk confusing everyone, I decided to spell it all out in a color-coded outline…that ended up confusing everyone.  Hell, re-reading the thing today, there are elements that leave me confused.  But, trust me – at the time, it all made perfect sense.

And so, today, I present to you a story idea that didn’t make the cut, in all of its detailed, multi-colored glory.  If nothing else, consider it a fine example of a working outline.  Or, better yet, consider it a fine example of a headache-inducing outline that, in the end, failed to win anyone over.   Complex, yes.  Confusing, you bet.  But colorful like nobody’s business!  

YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW
(OUTLINE)

First timeline
Second timeline
Third timeline

TEASE

{PRESENT}

INT. CARTER’S LAB – SGC – DAY

The team drops in on Carter who is overseeing the analysis of the time device retrieved from the puddle jumper in Good to Be King.  She makes some adjustments for a final calibration when, suddenly, the device reacts and the team undergoes a weird morphing effect as –

The device sparks and dies.  The laptop hooked up to it reads no data.  For all intents and purposes, the device is dead.  Landry walks in, alerted by the noise.  What happened?  Carter isn’t sure.  But it looks like she won’t be joining the team for lunch after all.

{PAST}

INT. CARTER’S LAB – SGC – DAY

The team undergoes a weird morphing effect, that quickly wanes as –

The device sparks and dies.  The laptop hooked up to it reads no data.  For all intents and purposes, the device is dead.  Dr. Lee hurries in, alerted by the noise.  What happened?  Then, on seeing the team, asks them when they got back.  Got back?  Well, so far as he knew, Teal’c had left the Stargate program and gone to Dakara, Daniel was being reassigned, and Carter was doing R&D at Area 51.  As for Mitchell and Vala – he doesn’t know who they are.  Carter covers.  Lee leaves.  The team realizes – they’ve traveled approximately one year into the past.   

{FUTURE}

INT. CARTER’S LAB – SGC – DAY

The team undergoes a weird morphing effect, that quickly wanes as –

The device sparks and dies.  The laptop hooked up to it reads no data.  For all intents and purposes, the device is dead.  Suddenly – armed guards rush into the lab and get the drop on them, demanding to know who they are.  The team tells them.  But the guards aren’t buying it.  They can’t be SG-1.  SG-1 was killed over ten years ago. 

ACT I

NOTE: A chyron will clearly delineate the time period of each scene: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE.

{PRESENT}

INT. CARTER’S LAB – SGC- DAY

After lunch.  The rest of the team drops in with take-out for Carter who has been working on the now dead device.  How’s it coming along?  Well, if her findings are correct, the accident theoretically initiated a “quantum tripling effect”, potentially generating three identical versions of themselves.  One version was sent 14 months into the past, another version 10 years into the future, while another version remained in their present seemingly unaffected.   
 
{PAST}

INT. CARTER’S LAB – SGC – DAY

By accessing the base files, Carter figures out that they have actually traveled fourteen months into the past.  She has to get the device working so they can jump back to the present before they affect the timeline. 

{FUTURE}

INT. OBSERVATION ROOM – SGC – DAY

The team is interrogated by a military officer who is reluctant to believe their story.  Although he refuses to answer their questions, it is clear that things have changed around Stargate Command in the ten years they’ve missed. 

{PRESENT}

INT. CORRIDOR – SGC – DAY

Mitchell is headed down the corridor when Harriman catches up, hands him a letter addressed to him.  A stamp on the front of the letter reads: “HOLD FOR DELIVERY”.  Mitchell opens it up and, as he reads, gets a quizzical look.

{PAST}

INT. CARTER’S LAB – SGC – DAY

As Carter gets to work on the device, Mitchell has to ask: Why NOT screw with history?  If they can avoid alerting the Ori to their presence, then wouldn’t that be a good enough argument for doing it?  The team debates.  If there was ever a good reason to change the timeline, this would be it.

{FUTURE}

INT. OBSERVATION ROOM – SGC – DAY

The team is paid a visit by the leader of the future new world order.  None other than Baal.

ACT II

{PRESENT}

INT. LANDRY’S OFFICE – SGC – DAY

Carter fills Landry in on her bizarre findings.  She has discovered that the reason the time device “shorted out” was because it had been sabotaged.  And given the means by which it was sabotaged, a virus, it had to have been an inside job.

{PAST}

INT. DANIEL’S LAB – SGC – DAY

RE-USE of a scene from Avalon I: Daniel and Vala discuss the tablet she brought – 

EXT. CORRIDOR – SGC – DAY

Mitchell and Vala wait until the coast is clear and then duck into –

INT. DANIEL’S LAB – SGC – DAY

Sneak in and steal the tablet.  While they are there, Vala spots a familiar jeweled coin. She is amazed by the find.  She misplaced this coin over a year ago when she first came to Stargate Command.  Mitchell remembers it well as Vala spent weeks accusing everyone, from the cleaning staff to the guards on duty, of having pilfered it.  To avoid it inevitably falling into the wrong hands, she furtively pockets the coin. 

{FUTURE}

INT. OBSERVATION ROOM – SGC – DAY

Baal explains how, following the events of Quest I and II, he redirected his focus to Earth.  Even he was surprised by how quickly the planet fell to him.  Carter asks him how he managed it.  Baal is vague but does make mention of a company called Byzantium Tech that was instrumental in helping him secure power.  The team wants to know what happened to the Ori?  But Baal informs them that he has a dinner party to attend.  As for them – well, so long as SG-1 is alive, they’ll always be a threat.  He bids them a fond farewell as armed guards enter the room…

{PRESENT}

INT. DANIEL’S LAB – SGC – DAY

Teal’c finds Mitchell on Daniel’s computer, doing a little research.  Mitchell tells him about the mysterious letter he received, a cryptic tip-off from an unknown source directing him to a company called Byzantium Tech.  He has discovered that they are a government sub-contractor that specializes in military software…

INT. CARTER’S LAB – SGC- DAY

Vala checks in on Carter who is working on the first step toward repairing the time device: a counter-program that will hopefully rid it of the virus. 

{PAST}

INT. CARTER’S LAB – SGC – DAY

Mitchell and Vala return with the tablet.  They hesitate and ultimately decide, there’s no turning back.  They destroy the tablet, hopefully avoiding the Ori threat, changing the timeline and causing…

{PRESENT}

INT. CORRIDOR – SGC – DAY

The present to morph.  One second Carter is walking down the corridor with Vala and, the next, its Carter and Mitchell (in different outfits) suddenly alerted by the base alarm.  What the hell?  They hurry into –

INT. CONTROL ROOM – SGC- DAY

Where Landry informs them: several enemy ships have been detected entering Earth’s orbit.

{FUTURE}

INT. CORRIDOR – SGC – DAY

The team is escorted out of the observation room and down the corridor to their presumed deaths.  Suddenly, everything morphs.  The soldiers disappear and the corridors empty except for our team who is aware of the change.  What the hell just happened?  Carter realizes: someone is fucking with the timeline. 

ACT III

{PRESENT}

INT. CONTROL ROOM – SGC – DAY

Landry enters with the bad news.  The President has refused to surrender.  Earth will go down fighting.   

{PAST}

EXT. SOME TROPICAL ISLAND – DAY (MATTE)

Establish.

INT. MITCHELL’S ISLAND DIGS – DAY

The rest of the team has regrouped after having gone their separate ways.  It’s been months since they screwed with the timeline and things haven’t gone exactly as they’d hoped.  In fact, one could argue they’re worse off.  Mysterious biological attacks have wiped out most of Asia and it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the planet is destroyed as well.  Mitchell: So, what do you suggest?  Carter: We try again. How?   Mitchell points out that the time device was fried. 

But Carter has spent these past months working on it.  She discovered that it was sabotaged by a virus that caused the accident and a “quantum tripling effect” which generated three identical versions of themselves.  One version was sent 14 months into the past, another version 10 years into the future, while another version remained in their present seemingly unaffected.  She managed to create a counter-program that de-bugged the time device of the virus.  Unfortunately, the device itself is still damaged and will not allow them to time jump at will, only capable of operating within two narrow parameters: the two points in time already jumped to.  In other words, they have a shot at a do-over.

{FUTURE}

INT. VARIOUS CORRIDORS – SGC – DAY

The place is dead, deserted.  The team discovers it’s not just the SGC.  All life on Earth has been wiped out.  Who or what could have done this? 

{PRESENT}

INT. SGC – DAY

Carter and Mitchell stand by Landry as they receive a message from the Aschen.  This is payback for the events of 2001.  North America is targeted by the Aschen’s biological payloads. 

INT. CONTROL ROOM – SGC – DAY

The SGC is wiped out.

{PAST}

INT. CORRIDOR – SGC – DAY

The team sneak back onto the base and –

INT. CARTER’S LAB – DAY

Where Carter initiates the device.  Morph.  Discover – they are back in the same time.  Dr. Lee comes in.  What happened?  Carter covers.  Lee leaves.  Okay, they’re good. 

INT. CORRIDOR – SGC – DAY

They sneak toward the control room.  Along the way, Vala passes Daniel’s lab and spots her jeweled coin sitting there.  She pockets it and hurries to catch up with the rest of the team. 

INT. CONTROL ROOM – DAY

Carter sneaks in and deletes the address to an Aschen-controlled planet from the database, ensuring a future SG team not visit the unexplored world and reawaken the sleeping giant, changing the timeline and causing –

{PRESENT}

INT. VARIOUS CORRIDORS – DAY

Morphs.  The dead SGC personnel disappear to be replaced by our team headed to a meeting.   Again – what the hell?  They walk into –  

INT. BRIEFING ROOM – DAY

A Prior is there to accept Earth’s unconditional surrender.

{FUTURE}

INT. CARTER’S LAB – SGC – DAY

Their surroundings morph yet again.  Hidden from view, they watch the new-look SGC personnel pass in the halls.  The base has been transformed into a command center for the new Ori army.  And Carter realizes – someone has fucked with the timeline yet again.

ACT IV

{FUTURE} 

INT. CARTER’S LAB – SGC – DAY

Carter realizes that the only way to stop the team from the past from screwing with history is to travel back to the past themselves and stop it from happening.  She has discovered some research that the Carter from this timeline completed long ago – a counter-program that will de-bug the time device of the virus.  It will not fix the device completely but, at the very least, will allow them to make a jump back in time.   In other words, they have a shot at a do-over.

Carter initiates the device and they return to –

{PAST}

INT. CARTER’S LAB – SGC – DAY

Lee comes in.  Carter covers.  Lee leaves.  Again, the timeline is changed, causing –

{PRESENT}

INT. CORRIDOR – SGC – DAY

Morph.  One second, Mitchell, Teal’c and Vala are walking down the corridor discussing the fact that Earth has fallen to the Ori and, the next, they’re walking down the corridor, locking and loading.  What the hell?  They learn that they are headed out to check Byzantium Tech, the government sub-contractor, producer of military software.  Things are back on track – and they are completely unaware of the change.

{PAST}

INT. CARTER’S LAB – SGC – DAY

Okay, now what?  Well, now nothing.  They simply won’t change anything  and allow history to unfold as it should.  Only problem is – what about them?  Are they to remain stuck in this timeline?  Mitchell: “Hey, it could be worse.  It’s not like we’re stuck in caveman times or Ancient Egypt.”.  But Carter has a solution.  They can solve their problem, keep any of this time-jumping from happening, by sabotaging the time device and ensuring it never works in the first place.  But in order to do that, they are going to have to get into Area 51…

INT. CORRIDOR – AREA 51 – DAY

The team slips into Area 51 and into –

INT. HANGAR – AREA 51 – DAY  (MATTE) 

Where the puddle jumper from Good to Be King is being stored.

INT. PUDDLE-JUMPER – DAY

Carter hooks her laptop up to the time device.  She has created a virus that will effectively sabotage the time device ensuring it won’t work the next time (14 months in the future) they try to use it.  She uploads the virus.  Beat.  The team exchanges looks.  They’re still there.  Uh, shouldn’t something have happened?  And if not, why not?  Carter realizes…Oh, no.   

{PRESENT}

INT. SGC – DAY

Carter realizes the person who sabotaged the device was her!

ACT V

{PRESENT}

EXT. BYZANTIUM TECH CORPORATE OFFICES – DAY

Mitchell, Teal’c, and Vala lead an NID raid on the corporate headquarters of Byzatium Tech.  A firefight ensues.  They take down the bad guys.

{PAST}

INT. CORRIDOR – SGC – DAY

The team sneaks back into the SGC.  Hey, where’s Vala?  Vala slips back out of Daniel’s lab, pocketing her jeweled coin, and quickly rejoins the team.

{PRESENT}

INT. BRIEFING ROOM – SGC – DAY

Carter gets everyone up to speed on what she learned from the still-ruined time device and the changes to their reality – which seem to have been undone.  Vala is only half-listening to it all, still amazed as she is by the discovery of her long lost coin.  Mitchell briefs everyone on Byzantium Tech which, it turns out, had connections to the Baal-controlled trust.  It’s too early to tell what they were up to, but they put a stop to things before they could get their operation off the ground.  It’s a good thing they caught them in time.  As for who tipped them off, he guesses they’ll never know…

{PAST}

INT. CARTER’S LAB – SGC – DAY

The team is ready for their next jump.  Hey, where’s Mitchell?

INT. CORRIDOR – SGC – DAY

Mitchell hands Harriman a letter and a note with specific instructions for the postal service to hold it for delivery.  Reveal it is the letter that Mitchell received from that anonymous source.  As Mitchell hurries back and –

INT. CARTER’S LAB – SGC – DAY

Joins the team.  Hopefully, things will work themselves out.  Carter: “Well, who know what the future holds?”  Mitchell: “We will in about twelve seconds”.  Carter initiates the device and the team heads off the to the future, to find out how things worked out.

FADE OUT

101
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herbertsommerfeld
herbertsommerfeld

(This was cut and pasted from yesterday’s blog. I was writing it while you posted todays).

I am glad to hear how things are going with SGU (as per your Mark Wilson/About.com interview). I am tired of TV shows (and even movies these days) that focus more on short term story arcs in favour of character development and meaningful dialogue. When every single statement that is made by the characters deals directly with the plot of one particular episode, it makes for bad storytelling. It is to the point now where there is no mystery. We know that when something is said about one of the characters that it for sure has to do with the resolution of that particular episode’s problem. There are a few shows that try to trick us by leading us in one direction (i.e., the information given to the viewer leads them to believe that character “b” is the villain, but in reality it is character “c”), but after a couple episodes this technique no longer works, and it is insulting. Not giving us information during the episode and then all of a sudden revealing all, is more of a deus ex machina narrative, but in the worst kind of way. There are shows now where all there is is a Rodney McKay type character relaying technical jargon to a Samantha Carter type character thereby dragging–not leading, teasing, or goading us–through the story. Yes this is necessary in many instances so that the audience can fill in some pieces to the overall story, but to have almost entire episodes of this type of narrative is sad. Are we that stupid or are the writers just getting lazy (or some third option I have not considered)?

I am also glad to hear that the tone of SGU will be different than that of Battlestar. My goodness! Talk about overdoing it with the fight or flight tone. Even the music on that show gets my hairs to stand up on end.

And, while I did not land the part of Airman Becker, I have decided to work on the show as a background performer so that I can at least be a part of it. I was hoping I’d get the part so that I would get to be a guest blogger here, but alas, I will just have to wait for the next Stargate spin-off to try out for a part.

Have you heard anything about the show Defying Gravity that is being filmed at Bridge?

Brinzy
Brinzy

Definately an interesting concept. I personally didn’t find it too confusing and I think it would’ve made a fantastic episode. Too bad you couldn’t beat the other writers into submission and make it happen, lol. Oh well, I guess I can always pretend this was an adventure SG-1 had. Thanks for this Joe, just another reason why the Stargate franchise rocks.

Blademos
Blademos

ok does this have to do with SGU? If not all that could have been for SGA when cater was in charge. I think it was a good outlines for some new episodes. Hey Joe do you know anywhere else we can get signitures for our petitons? and do you think the cast knows about them? Srry just had to ask. Hey do you think a network like ABC,NBC,CBS or even FOX would take chance on a show like SGA? And if so would you write the show for them if they said yeah?

Keep up the good work

duneknight
duneknight

oh wow thanks

Jumble
Jumble

*Hands out vast quantities of Timeline Aspirin*
*hugs Joe* They just don’t understand you do they Hon? grin

Airelle
Airelle

I think I feel like the fade out at the end, I can see some reason for confusion,lol. I tried reading it with the present, past and future in their respective places, made a little more sense. I like puzzles. I liked seeing how it could have worked out. in all the time lines, and by gosh it is colorful. I don’t have a headache yet, , thanks for the entertaining reading material. grin

Gilder in San Antonio

And you said “Moebius” made producers’ heads explode…

Narelle from Aus

I do miss SG1. Maybe my brain is more dense than usual (could it possibly get more dense?), but I had it in my head this was a Season 6 SGA storyline pitch.

Catching up a bit on back blogs. I also add a voice to the Supernatural watchers. Dean cracks me up.

Narelle from Aus

Chelle DeBoer
Left a message for you on yesterday’s blog. Just hoping those in Healesville are ok.

Bailey
Bailey

I’m dizzy…..

David
David

I thought it was going to be in line with All Good Things… (Startrek TNG)… me of little faith.

I liked the concept a lot – thank you! Esp. the part “someone is fucking with the timeline” if I imagine Carter saying it.

GenericWhiteGuy

If only there was a device which would allow you to travel back in time and apply the correct color coding to the text. Hmmmm. smile

Thornyrose
Thornyrose

Y,T,and T would have worked well with either SG-1 or SGA I think. This would have been an episode that people would have watch multiple times to savor all the nice little twists and anomolies. I hope that posting this means the concept is forever dead and gone. Surely there is a way to make it fit into SGU, or vice versa. Thank you for sharing this with us. Now, back to work with you. We’re awaiting the final product from your secret project, never mind more tidbits on the progress of SGU.

StellaByStargate
StellaByStargate

*gets out time travel aspirin*

Like you said…I’m sure it made sense at the time…

Thanks for sharing, though…it’s always enlightening to see how the creative process works. Kinda glad, though, that time travel device stayed in Area 51. Last time they tried using it, we ended up with fish in Jack’s pond. Who know what might have changed this time….

SBS

Major Davis
Major Davis

Interesting episode,

Wow it’s funny how I always post question too late or on a non mailbag day

Anaways…..

How is life in Canada(and in general) going for you?

majorsal
majorsal

i liked it! grin

i kept expecting, though, that vala pocketing that coin would have some impact.

i miss sg1. i miss sam carter. *sighs with lovely memories*

Barbaro
Barbaro

Wow. That’s enough to make your head explode. I would’ve liked to have seen it on film, though.

Sarah
Sarah

Oh Lord that was a bit confusing, but fun to read.

Question: Why don’t the ships (Earth) carry Stargates with them?

Jenazz
Jenazz

Love it! Didn’t find it confusing at all. (OTOH, I was unfazed by The Matrix, too, so who am I to judge?)

whatatragiccomedy
whatatragiccomedy

Um…I think I got it. Doing a little reading – stop, scroll up – read again and OH, I think I got it a lot but yeah. Awesome concept. It would have been interesting to see how it would come across onscreen.

NZNeep
NZNeep

I was determined to understand it; I did’t want to be the one who found it confusing! And it wasn’t too confusing. I kept up on the first read through, so that’s a good sign, right? Very interesting concept, but I can’t begin to imagine how hard it would be to pull of on TV.

Randomness
Randomness

You should totally pitch that episode concept as a movie and naturally improve upon it as to like not give us blog readers the ending we already know lol

Shawna
Shawna

Hm… I agree, that is a bit confusing. There’s a lot of questions I could ask here to clear it up, but it’s really a moot point, isn’t it? It looks like there’s just too much story there for a single episode. Maybe it would work as a short novel. I did like the Aschen coming back again, and the ancient Egypt reference. Because really, the fact that there’s a mostly-AU SG-1 back there in the timeline of the main universe should be addressed again at some point.

longtimegone
longtimegone

Oooh, thanks for posting that! It was definitely a bit mindbendy, but I enjoy that.

One thing I think the Stargate ‘verse has always done well in my opinion, is the “alternate universe” concepts. I think this would have made a good episode!

quade1
quade1

That totally made sense and would have made for an awesome episode. I think it gets a little confusing because you are following 3 teams in 3 stories so you actually have to follow 9 teams. Still it would have been much more comprehendable on the screen.

BTW did u get the motivational poster??