Police Detective John Sheppard drives out to the desert where a CSI team is going over a crime scene. A reporter wants Sheppard to answer if the newest victim is a victim of a serial killer who has killed seven other men. Sheppard ignores her and talks to the head technician. The murder victim was abandoned in the desert by someone driving an older-model pickup with a leaky radiator. The corpse is significantly aged and has a single large wound on its chest.
Later, Sheppard goes to the morgue to meet with Dr. Jennifer Keller, the new coroner assigned to the case. She confirms there's no chemical residue and a disease wasn't responsible. Sheppard notes that the previous victims had radiation traces and Keller tells him he'll have to wait for her report. Sheppard goes back to his office and tells the hospitals to report anyone with radiation symptoms.
In a motel, a guy is vomiting into the toilet and sweating badly, and his nose starts bleeding as he calls his wife to tell him what's happening. There's loud music playing in the room next door. The guy pounds on the wall without success, then goes to the next room and knocks on the door. A Wraith opens the door.
The next day, FBI Agent Woolsey visits Sheppard at the station. Sheppard is curious to know why the Feds are getting involved but Woolsey refuses to discuss the matter. He does note that the killer is becoming overconfident, and that the newest victim displayed no signs of radiation. Sheppard gets a call from a nurse he was involve with, who lets him know that the man from the hospital stopped in for treatment. He was displaying radiation symptoms. Sheppard goes to the motel and the clerk informs him that the sick guy checked out the previous day.
That night, the Wraith is making himself up to pass as human then leaves, stepping over the sick guy's corpse. Sheppard has been watching the motel and follows the Wraith. The Wraith goes to a casino and enters a high-stakes poker game where it's clear he's been playing before. He wins big and one of the players comment it's like he can read their minds. Sheppard comes in and enters the game, and ends up playing a hand against the Wraith. Sheppard folds with four of a kind and the Wraith collects his winnings and prepares to leave. When one of the players tries to stop him, the Wraith shoves him aside with superhuman strength, pushes past Sheppard, and takes out the security guards. Sheppard follows and after a chase through the building, they end up on the roof. The Wraith pauses and then jumps several stories to the ground below. Sheppard watches in amazement as the Wraith gets up and runs off into the night.
Sheppard goes back to the hotel room and finds a bag full of cash, make-up, and the corpse. Woolsey arrives and asks Sheppard to come with him. He takes Sheppard to Area 51 in the desert and introduces him to Dr. Rodney McKay. Woolsey wants Sheppard to sign a non-disclosure statement but Sheppard refuses. McKay decides to talk to him anyway. He goes over Sheppard's career, including the fact he was a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan and got people killed going back to rescue a medic. Sheppard is unimpressed. Finally, McKay tells him that he once met a different Sheppard, and that his particular government department deals with aliens, wormholes, and alternate realities.
The Wraith is in a camper-trailer checking some equipment. As he works, he remembers being in a space battle aboard a Dart.
McKay explains that they found an Ancient command chair and a ZPM in Antarctica and used it to defeat a Wraith Hive ship that attacked Earth two years ago. He shows Sheppard the Wraith Dart that they recovered and explains that the serial killer is a Wraith that crashed to Earth during the battle and escaped. McKay then shows Sheppard their prisoner: Todd the Wraith. Todd is delirious from hunger and claims to know Sheppard's destiny. McKay explains that Sheppard managed to find the Wraith before the government could capture him. They're aware that Wraiths can heal but need to feed afterward. Since the first seven victims have traces of radiation, they figure the Wraith is working with something radioactive and then feeding afterwards to heal the resulting damage. The Wraith has been playing high-stakes poker to finance his work, whatever it is.
As McKay shows Sheppard around the base, they run into Dr. Zelenka, who is giving a briefing and claiming the Wraith is building a bomb. McKay interrupts, saying the Wraith must be building a signal device to tell the Wraith in the Pegasus galaxy where Earth is. Zelenka disagrees, saying it would require enormous power. Once McKay's done arguing, he thanks Sheppard for his help and finally explains that he once met a team of soldiers with a similar assignment and their leader was a John Sheppard, a hero. Sheppard is skeptical and McKay says that sometimes one incident is all it takes to change a person's destiny.
Sheppard goes back to the station and resigns, then drives out into the desert with the Wraith's money. However, he thinks back and remembers spotting a truck with a leaky radiator outside the motel... and it was attached to a camper-trailer.
At Area 51, McKay is arguing with Woolsey and Zelenka about what the Wraith is doing when Sheppard calls. The detective figured the Wraith would be accessing power lines, so he drove around until he found the camper-trailer nearby. McKay tells him to get away and they'll call in an air strike, but Sheppard loses the phone signal. He approaches the trailer but the Wraith opens fire. Sheppard takes cover but the Wraith comes after him, ignoring the bullet wounds. He shoots Sheppard in the chest and prepares to finish him off, but sees the approaching airplane. He runs inside and activates the device, and energy ripples out from the camper-trailer. The fighters destroy the camper-trailer and the Wraith.
McKay analyzes the coded transmission and realizes it's the coordinates for Earth. Worse, the Wraith's device opened a dimensional portal spanning multiple realities. They figure the signal wasn't strong enough to notify the Wraith in their universe. However, it would be stronger in the other alternate realities.
In the desert, Sheppard staggers away from the destruction but falls to the ground, dead.
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