The situation at Atlantis is desperate. With three Wraith hive ships less than two weeks away, and with no way as yet to power up the city's force field, Dr. Weir, Dr. McKay, Maj. Sheppard, Lt. Ford and Teyla discuss their options.
McKay is proud to announce that he might have one viable plan: While they don't have enough power to send a person home from the Pegasus galaxy, McKay figures that if they patch in all of Atlantis' power-generation capability, they might be able to establish a wormhole long enough to send a message. He can get them 1.3 seconds - enough time for him to send a high-compression data burst that could carry mission reports from all the senior staff, plus invaluable data about Atlantis and the Pegasus galaxy. Weir approves the plan: They must warn Earth about the Wraith.
Meanwhile, Dr. Zelenka tracks the Wraith hive ships. They seem to go in and out of hyperspace periodically, to the point where he can approximate when and where they will do so again. Sheppard proposes that he take a puddle jumper to a stargate on their route, cloak, and wait for them to pass by so he can do a recon. Teyla selects a world on the route that is inhabited by a people with whom she is familiar and that has a jumper-accessible stargate.
With Weir's permission, Sheppard and Teyla fly to the planet. They are welcomed by Orin, who was a close friend of Teyla's father. She warns him that the Wraith might be heading this way and, if they do come, that he should take his family to the far tree-line, where the jumper will be waiting to take them to Atlantis. Unfortunately, Sheppard can't fulfill Teyla's promise. Finally, he agrees to take Orin and his family, but only if there's time.
On Atlantis, Weir discovers that there is enough room in the transmission to include private messages from team members to their loved ones. She puts Lt. Ford in charge of videotaping the messages. Aside from her own personal message, Weir records her condolences to the families of the brave team-members who have lost their lives during this mission.
Above the planet, Sheppard and Teyla watch in awe as an enormous armada - consisting of the three Wraith hive ships, a compliment of cruisers and hundreds of darts - comes out of hyperspace. There is no time to rescue Orin and his family. Sheppard must get this intel back to Atlantis before the message to Earth is sent. They fly down to the planet, toward the stargate.
Suddenly, the gate is blocked by an incoming wormhole. The Wraith have dialed in to the gate to prevent their prey from escaping while they cull this planet. Sheppard has no choice but to put down and keep the jumper cloaked until the gate deactivates. He takes the jumper to the location at which Teyla told Orin to meet them.
Sheppard and Teyla watch helplessly as the Wraith cull this world. Then a powerful beam of light emanates from the ground towards the sky. Sheppard goes out to investigate. While he's gone, Teyla sees villagers fleeing toward her. She takes them into the cloaked jumper. Sheppard returns, having witnessed more devastation by the Wraith than he has ever seen before.
The stargate shuts down - now is their chance to return to Atlantis. But Orin and his family have not yet arrived and Teyla would rather stay alone on the planet than leave them. Sheppard gives Orin a little more time. Finally, Orin and his family appear and are taken into the jumper, which by now is full of refugees, and they return to Atlantis through the stargate.
On Earth, in the Cheyenne Mountain facility that is Stargate Command, there is an unscheduled off-world activation. Lt. Col. Samantha Carter sees that it is a message ... from Atlantis.