While exploring a new planet, Sheppard, McKay, Teyla and Ronon are ambushed by a group of men armed with Wraith stunners. They awaken to find themselves prisoners in a cave, where they discover the mastermind behind the attack: Lt. Aiden Ford.
Ford was last seen being captured by a Wraith dart after overdosing on a powerful Wraith enzyme. Now, Ford invites his former teammates to enjoy a meal while he tells them how his enzyme-enhanced abilities allowed him to escape. Since that time, he has recruited a group of followers, all of whom are willingly addicted to the drug.
To the team's horror, Ford then announces that Teyla, McKay and Ronon's meals are laced with the enzyme. Determined to prove that the enzyme is both safe and useful, Ford intends Sheppard's team to be his living evidence, and he expects Sheppard, who remains free of the drug, to be his witness.
Sheppard and his team, of course, immediately try to escape, but Ford has removed vital control crystals from the local stargate's dialing device, rendering it useless. Thus, even though McKay, Teyla and Ronon will soon feel the first effects of drug addiction, they see no choice but to play along with Ford's insanity - for now.
To show off the abilities of his men, Ford orders Sheppard and Teyla to accompany a guerrilla team on a raid of a Genii outpost. While Sheppard and Teyla witness the brutish tactics of Ford's men, McKay explores the cave's impressive laboratories. Afterwards, confident that his former teammates are impressed by his accomplishments, Ford reveals that he needs their help with a special mission: the destruction of a Wraith hive ship.
He has captured a Wraith dart that can land his strike force on a passing hive ship, allowing them to plant explosives. First, though, McKay must repair the dart, and then Sheppard - the only pilot - must fly it. Sheppard is sure the audacious plan is too risky to succeed, but, hoping to fly the dart back to Atlantis instead, he and McKay cooperate with Ford.
Unfortunately, Ford anticipates just such an escape attempt: Immediately before the mission, he orders McKay to remain behind as a hostage, to be killed unless Sheppard obeys his orders. Seeing no more alternatives, Sheppard - with Teyla, Ronon, and Ford's strike team on board - embarks on the mission. He's sure it's doomed ... and he's not wrong.