Stargate SG-1 (1997–2007): Season 3, Episode 5 - Learning Curve - full transcript

The planet Orban, with Precolumbian Teotihuacan-culture antecedents and Aztec type pyramids, has made impressive scientific progress, and brings Sam a naquadah reactor to study; when she demands an instructor, Orban official Kalan surprises SG-1 by saying that he does not know what an instructor is, but 11 year-old Merrin stays on base to teach Carter. On Orban, Kalan's son Tomin, another 'urrone' (apprentice) is assigned to exchange knowledge about the Goa'uld with Teal'c and Daniel. SG-1 and Dr. Fraiser are astonished to discover the Orban urrones know neither fun nor school: a mass of useful new information is acquired while they are young and stored in the easily reproducible form of nanites, which are implanted in every Orbanian's brain after the urrone's 'averium', a coming of age ceremony at age 12, which extracts the knowledge from the individual and ends their ability to function mentally, so those children are 'retired' for life and from the active society. The Orbanians are furiously insulted by any suggestion to avoid an averium for the child's sake, yet Jack retains Merrin to let her experience how earth children spend their youth in schooling and play, offering it to her as an alternative to the averium, with a remarkable result...

Thank you.

That's perfect, Zaren. Just like that.

That's OK. It's just
my friends returning.

Hello, children.

Daniel? No child-labour
laws here on Orban?

No, these are Urrone.

They're like apprentices to the
adults. They're... everywhere.

It's just the way they
do things. Look at this.

Chalchiutlicue. The
Aztec goddess of water.

They don't even know what they've got
here. Who knows what we'll uncover!

- That is, if General Hammond said yes.
- He said yes.

Colonel O'Neill. You are most punctual.

Merrin and I are eager to participate
in this exchange between our worlds.

Major Carter is eager as well.
She's really looking forward to it.

So's Teal'c.

I will share my knowledge
of the Goa'uld freely.

Teal'c's eager on the inside.

Then, if you are ready to leave...

Kalan, I thought we were bringing
back one of your naqahdah reactors.

- This is the device.
- That little thing?


Daniel, have fun.

I know you will.

Teal'c... make friends. As always.

Folks, to Earth.

They're a most impressive society.

They've accomplished in decades what it
took humans over a century to achieve.

- Sounds like they'd make good allies.
- I think so.

They're not up to the Goa'uld level of
technology yet, but in a few years...

Thank you for this exchange. I am sure it
will be fruitful for both of our worlds.

Major Carter, please allow Merrin to
present you with this naqahdah reactor.

- You may study it during our exchange.
- Thank you.

I would like to offer a tour of...

The exchange has been made.

- We will return to Orban now.
- You just got here.

You can't leave. Someone needs
to teach me how to use this thing.

Please explain what you mean by this.


Uh, explaining how the reactor functions
- its components, its construction.

I do not have this knowledge.

I will... teach you.

Major Carter will show you the lab.
First, I'd like you to visit our infirmary.

It's nothing to be afraid of.

You must screen newcomers for
potential pathogens. Of course.

So, Merrin, I understand
you're a reactor expert.


- How old are you?
- I'm eleven.

How old are you?

So, Merrin, ...

. . l understand you're a reactor expert.

This is my son Tomin. He is also Urrone.

Teal'c, you will please
tell him of the Goa'uld.

You are most generous to
offer your knowledge, Teal'c.

There was an apprentice here
- Zaren. Do you know where she went?

Zaren is not here.

- It was past the time of her Averium.
- Averium. Is that like a graduation?

That is an approximate definition.

Dr Jackson, you wished to view the city.

It is best to see the
Pyramid of Suns in daylight.

- Yes. Absolutely.
- Teal'c, ...

. . you will please
remain here with Tomin.

- What is your purpose?
- Observing your physical characteristics.

Dr Jackson tells us you were
once a warrior with the Goa'uld.

That is correct.

I think I understand now why
the Goa'uld are so feared.

Hurts a little bit, huh?

You are being very brave.

How's our little rocket scientist doing?

We're almost done, Colonel.

- I am not a rocket scientist.
- Colonel O'Neill means you're very smart.

You find my intelligence level unusual?

No. There are lots of
intelligent people around here.

Just not as young as you.

You mean you were not always
as smart as you are now?

No. We spent a long time in
school to get to this point.

Please explain what school is.

Uh... school is a place
where you go to learn.

A teacher gives you information. You
take classes to learn different subjects.

So this is how you and Dr
Fraiser became scientists?


- You aren't a scientist?
- Oh, no.

Then you are not as smart as
Major Carter and Dr Fraiser?

Well, it depends on what you mean by...

OK, no. I'm not.

But while they were stuck in school,
I was out doing other things, ...

. . like... having fun.

You... do know what fun is, don't you?

OK, fun is...

. . what you do to make yourself happy.

Like music, games.

It's whatever you do when you're not
learning to be a rocket scientist.

I'm here to teach Major
Carter about the reactor.

Sounds like fun to me!

- Whatever. Go ahead, knock yourself out.
- Come on, Merrin. I'll show you the lab.

But you found hosts for other Goa'uld
as First Prime to the Goa'uld leader.

I have vowed to battle the
Goa'uld and to free my people.

If I let the symbiote I carry be implanted,
I would be perpetuating all that I oppose.

What happens if you do not
find a host for this Goa'uld?

It will die.

If the Goa'uld dies,
then you will die as well?

That would be unfortunate.

I should have known by the murals, but
the pyramid's construction confirms it!

- Dr Jackson, I do not understand.
- Teotihuacan.

A city in pre-Columbian south
America, even bigger than ancient Rome.

Which wouldn't mean anything
to you, but it is significant.

- But you said we are Aztec.
- No, these people predated the Aztecs.

OK, look. These pictures
form a narrative.

Whatever's under this platform may
tell us how you came to be on Orban.

You will explain this to Tomin.


Teotihuacan flourished for centuries
before suffering an upheaval in 750 AD.

I think you could be the
descendants of that civilisation.

Do you believe the arrival of the
Goa'uld caused Teotihuacan's downfall?


OK, that's the converter, right?

- The heating element.
- What?

W... When did we talk
about the heating element?

In the very beginning, when
I described the fodinaire.

Oh, man. It can't be this hard.

- I will begin again.
- No, wait. Let's try this a different way.

How about we break everything down
into its most basic components?

Let's start with the reactor
casing. What's it made of?

- The fodinaire attaches...
- No. I'm sorry, Merrin. We'll get to that.

Right now, I just need to know what
materials make up the reactor casing.

It'll have to block radiation,
so we'll make it lead-lined.

See? This is easy.

And the casing material
would have to measure...


If you don't mind, I'd like to
see Merrin in the infirmary again.

Just a couple of follow-up tests.



Merrin's blood shows traces of silicon,
trinium and an element I have never seen.

I think it's a mineral, but
it is not found on Earth.

OK, even I know that's bad.

Well, I found out what was responsible.


- A nanite.
- She has nanites in her blood?

Yes. However, it still didn't explain
Merrin's high neuropeptide levels.

So I did a computer-enhanced
MRl. Ready for this one?

There's millions of them.

They've infested that
little girl's brain.

I put the base on alert.

Get blood samples from everyone. I want
to know how far the nanites have spread.

My nanoprocessors are harmless to you.

Merrin, we've run into these little beggars
before. They're anything but harmless.

We encountered a civilisation in which
the Goa'uld used a similar method...

. . to accelerate the age of a population.

- Colonel O'Neill was adversely affected.
- Oy!

These nanites were created by Orbanians
in an Orbanian laboratory 49 years ago.

All my people have them. It is
the way we acquire knowledge.

Wait. You're saying all
Orbanians' brains look like this?

Each citizen receives a
nanite after every Averium.

Urrones are given millions
more nanites at birth...

. . because we are required to learn
vast amounts of information quickly...

. . before neural
pathways are established.

So... these nanites act
as additional synapses?

Yes. But that is all they do. They do
not age us and cannot leave the brain.

But we found a nanite in your blood.

If a nanite malfunctions, it
will disconnect from the brain...

. . and be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Those are inactive and
incapable of harming others.

I'm sorry if I have alarmed you, and
I understand if you wish me to return.

Oh, I don't think that would
be necessary. Do you, General?

If you think it's safe, Major
Carter, you can continue to work.

- But I still want blood samples, Doctor.
- Yes, sir.


I wish to undergo the
Averium immediately.

Tomin, it is six months
until you turn 1 2.

I am concerned by what Teal'c
has told me of these Goa'uld.

If they learn of our
existence, they will destroy us.

The studies I have made about defence
technologies must be put to use, ...

. . so that Orban can begin preparations.

I will notify the elders.

You have learned well,
my son. I am proud.

You study botany as well, Major?

Oh, no. Those are just decoration.

That does not look like
a naqahdah reactor core.

Yeah. Well, I improvised, since we're only
using a microscopic amount of naqahdah.

How about you sketch it for me?

- What?
- Draw me your reactor core.

Give me an idea of what it looks like.

I don't draw.

You don't draw? Everyone draws.

No. It is not something I am required
to do. I've never had to draw before.


Well, ...

. . it's, uh... it's pretty easy.



- What is that?
- It's a picture of me.

Well, I know it doesn't exactly look like
me, but it's just a basic representation.

See, that's all I need from you
- just a basic representation of the reactor's core.

All right.

But this paper is not large enough.


- How's this?
- That will do.

Kel mel, Daniel Jackson.

Look at this. This proves the Goa'uld
were here in the last few hundred years.

Now we just need to
figure out why they left.

Dr Jackson, I brought the tools.

Teal'c, you will please tell
Solen methods to fight the Goa'uld:

. . which weapons and strategies
have been effective, ...

. . also, anything in your experience
as First Prime to Apophis.

It is an honour to accept
your knowledge, Teal'c.

Perhaps it would be
better for Tomin to return.

H-he is unavailable.
Solen will learn now.

- Tomin is familiar with the subject.
- He has given us his knowledge.

- Please, you will talk to Solen.
- But if they've established a rapport...

It is impossible for Tomin to be
here. He has gone through the Averium.

Please, Teal'c. Begin.

I would like to see Tomin immediately.


What are you doing?! Get down.

Colonel O'Neill, I need 1 5 sheets
of paper at least 48cm by 23cm.

Well, that's fine. Why
don't you just ask...

Excuse me.

Major. Carter!


Oh. Uh... Merrin, I am so sorry.



I cannot represent the
reactor core on a 3-D plane, ...

. . so I depicted several layers
of the reactor's interior.

- With additional supplies, I can finish it.
- Cross sections. Of course!

If I scan these into the computer, I can get
a 3-D picture of the reactor's interior...

All right! Will you
two... give it a rest?

Both of you.

You've been at this for
24 hours. You need rest.

I do not need to. Urrone
children require little sleep.

OK, now I am jealous.

All right, Carter, you sleep.

Young lady, if not sleep... fun.

No! I need 1 5 sheets of
paper at least 43cm by 28cm.

1 5?

Colonel O'Neill?

I require some of these pencils as well.

Do you not recognise me?

It is Teal'c.


Explain this Averium.

In the ceremony, an Urrone's nanites
are removed, then distributed.

Each adult and each non-Urrone child
then receives an injection of one nanite.

It becomes part of their synaptic network,
adding to nanites received previously.

So when you say he gave you his
knowledge, you meant it literally?

It was a beautiful ceremony.

Now you have seen. We must
resume our work, Dr Jackson.

What will become of Tomin?

- He stays here with the other past Urrone.
- That's it? You... you...

- Don't you play with him?
- What is play?

- Interacting, teaching him new things.
- These children cannot be taught.

- Have you ever tried?
- Yes, but they can't receive new nanites.

The brain rejects them.

Have you ever tried teaching
them without nanites?

What do you mean?

There is no need for concern.
These children are well cared for.

Kalan, ...

. . this is your son.

My son is here now.

Kalan says that Tomin
is not brain-damaged, ...

. . but clearly he was not himself.

If the nanites have taken
over the learning process...

. . and prevented normal
brain development, ...

. . then there's a chance their removal
would make these children infant-like.

What's the difference if
they keep 'em locked up?

So once Merrin returns, she will have this
Averium and her nanites will be removed?


Then maybe she won't return to Orban.

- Colonel...
- General, she'll get her brain sucked out!

And I dare anybody to
phrase it more delicately.

Sir, I agree with you.

- But we can't just keep Merrin here.
- Why not?

We'd be saving her life.

OK, why don't we just try asking
Kalan not to harvest Merrin's nanites?

I do not believe the Orbanians will
understand the reason for your request.

- They do not see this as wrong.
- We need to make them understand.

Teal'c, return to Orban.

Before we risk an interplanetary incident,
I'd like to try the diplomatic route first.

- How can you make this demand?
- Kalan, no one is demanding anything.

The Averium is not in
Merrin's best interests.

It most certainly is
- for her and for her people!

OK. You see, we don't believe in
doing anything that harms a child.

We do not harm our children, Dr Jackson.
You saw how well Tomin is cared for!

We can work this out. We just
need to discuss alternatives.

There are no alternatives!
Merrin must undergo the Averium.

You will return her immediately!

- The Averium is a great honour.
- That's what the adults told you.

But when they take out
these... nanite things, ...

. . they also take out everything
that makes you... you.

- But my people will have my knowledge.
- But you won't!

I do not understand why
you are so concerned.

Merrin, we don't think you realise what
you give up by going through an Averium.

- It is a great honour to be chosen.
- Will you please... stop saying that?

Colonel? A word, please?


Kalan refused our request. Dr Jackson
is attempting to alter his position.

Good. That gives us a chance
to make Merrin understand.

She's already refused amnesty, Colonel.

General, it's obvious the
little girl has been brainwashed.

We can't send her back
without at least trying.

Teal'c, do you foresee any danger
to Dr Jackson if he stays on Orban?

I do not believe he will be harmed.

I'll give it 48 hours.

Merrin, looks like you'll be
spending a little more time with us.

Please return me to Orban.

You do understand we're trying to help?

I don't need your help.

Kalan, you can't do this.

If you will not return Merrin to
us, I will retrieve her myself.

If you don't transmit a special code,
they will close the iris. You will die.

Please explain this iris.

I will explain it, but only to you.

- If you won't explain it, transmit the code.
- I'm sorry.

You claim to love knowledge, yet now
you demand we change to please you!

No, it is not to please me!

You are an advanced society. Can't you
find a better way to educate your people?

- There is no better way.
- Even if it means giving up your son?

It was the happiest day of my life
when Tomin was selected to be Urrone.

I knew even before he was born that he
would make a contribution to our society.

- You never once thought otherwise?
- Not once. And neither did Tomin.

And what if Merrin does?

Merrin is one of only
a few Urrone children, ...

. . and the only one to have spent ten
years learning the naqahdah technology.

Without her Averium, those awaiting
her knowledge for their research...

. . will have to wait 1 2 years
for another Urrone to learn.

Well, I didn't know that.

Merrin does.

She does not question her duty.

It is you, Dr Jackson, who are misguided
to think you can convince her otherwise.

Come on! Why, why,
why aren't you working?

- She insisted on seeing you, Major.
- It's all right. Thanks.


Major Carter? I need your assistance.

You must tell General Hammond
to let me return to Orban.

I thought, as a scientist,
you would understand.

Merrin, you're only 1 1.

Half the interesting things in my
life didn't happen till I turned 1 5.

- What kind of interesting things?
- Oh... just, uh...

. . stuff.

If it were possible, ...

. . l would give you one of my nanites, ...

. . and then you would
know that it's all right.

Thank you, but I don't think
that would make a difference.

You are finished?


Once I ran a computer simulation of your
sketches, I thought I'd adapt the design.

But the current is being diverted
before it reaches the core.

I think the shielding
might be diverting power.

- Major Carter...
- Unless... Hey, hey, hey!

. . the trinium is absorbing the current.

- Correct. All you...
- Wait! Sorry, let me.

OK. By reversing the polarity...

That's it! We're in business!

Why wouldn't you let me
give you the solution?

What would have been the fun in that?


Yeah. Figuring something out on my own,
especially if it's been eluding me a while.

It's far more satisfying than
having the answer given to me.

But not as efficient.

Come in.


- You wanted to see me, sir?
- Kalan has come to escort Merrin back.

Before you say anything, know
that I have granted his request.

I don't like it either, but you don't know
the effect this is having on the Orbanians.

What about the effect
it's having on Merrin?

Dr Jackson has come to realise
Merrin's importance to her people.

Her importance as a vegetable?

- Colonel!
- If you would try to understand...

No! I won't.

The way you treat your children
is absurd. You don't deserve them.

- Colonel O'Neill!
- Request permission to be excused, sir!

OK, clear.

We did it!

Let me record these readings.

- What the heck was that?
- The reactor worked.


Yes, sir. We're fine.
It was just the reactor.

No, sir, just an initial energy
pulse. There's no threat to the base.

It's all right, airman, I've got it.

You are taking me to the surface?


Look, you came here to learn, right?

There's something I have to show you, but
I have to take you off the base for it.

You do not have permission.

Do you?

No. I don't.

In the future, Major, before
you activate any reactor, ...

- . . l'd appreciate it ifyou'd notify me.
- It won't happen again.


- I'd like to see Merrin in my office.
- Colonel O'Neill just left with her.

Thank you, Major.

This is Hammond. If Colonel O'Neill
attempts to leave, you're ordered to...

How long ago?

I see.

- This is a school?
- It's part of it.

We call this the playground.

What is it for?

Well, just watch.


Pizzeria! Mamma mia!

- Colonel Jack, what're you doing here?
- Playing hooky.

Kids, I want you to
meet my friend Merrin.

Think you can show her around
while I talk to Mrs Struble?

Colonel O'Neill!

The kids have been asking when
you're coming back to see us.

- How's Cassandra enjoying junior high?
- She's doing fine. She loves it.

Listen, do you have room for
another student this afternoon?

She's... visiting...

. . from out of town.

- We have art scheduled after recess.
- That's perfect.

Your assignment is to
paint something you love.

Now, it could be a
person or... an object.

Just... use your imaginations.

- I look fat.
- Colonel O'Neill?

This brush is too wide to
accurately render the wires.

OK, let's try this again.

Something you love.

Something that's not a machine, OK?

Remember the flowers in Major
Carter's lab? The ones on the desk?

Paint one of those. Go ahead.



There is no purple.

Use red.

If I could have another cup, ...

- . . l could mix the blue with the red...
- Make the flower red.

But those flowers were purple!

You ask me to draw, but you
do not give me the means...

Merrin... Iisten to me.

It doesn't have to be exact.

Paint me a flower.

I don't care what it looks like. Here.

Use this. And don't stop with
one. Paint the whole garden.

- But...
- Ah!



- Who's that?
- It's a representation of Major Carter.

Of course it is.

Is it right?

Oh, yeah. It's way more than right.

Thank you, Colonel O'Neill,
for teaching this to me.

You're welcome.


All you have to do is ask. I'll
find a way to make it happen.

I have a duty to my people. My
knowledge is important to them.

You did promise.

Unfortunately, the test used up the last
of our naqahdah, but we'll find more.

At least we've got a working prototype.


- I'm not here to cause trouble, sir.
- Colonel O'Neill?

I have something for you.

They're beautiful. Thank you.

- You are mad at me for not staying.
- No. No, I'm not.

Then you understand?

Major Carter, please take Merrin to
the gate room. I'll be there soon.

Yes, sir.

You've already given me more than
enough reason for a court martial.

General, ...

. . for a few hours today I got to
show that little girl how to be a kid.

If you want to punish me, ...

. . go ahead.

On behalf of the citizens of Orban, ...

. . l'd like to thank you for the experience
you have given me and to my people.

- I have learned much in my time here.
- So have we.

We received a transmission from Orban.
Kalan asked for all of you to go there.

- Is something wrong?
- You'll find out when you get there.

Thank you for coming!

- What's wrong?
- Oh, nothing is wrong! I will show you!



Isn't it wonderful?

Solen... Solen.

Colonel O'Neill, this is my
son Tomin. I am teaching him.

All of the past Urrone
children will now learn...

. . in the "old-fashioned
way", as you might say.

He will know all that
you have done for Orban.

Oh, l... I drew this for you.

To express my gratitude.

- Isn't that...
- Me!

- Kalan, when did all this start?
- Last night, after Merrin's Averium.

She must have known this would happen.

This... is what she learned.


Hi, Merrin.


I guess we'll just have to get to
know one another all over again.

You're right. What was I thinking?

Have you ever seen a dog?

Dogs are my favourite people.

Some have tails, some don't.

There are a lot of purple dogs...