Sleeper Parasite

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Microscopic Sleeper Parasite

Summary

The Sleeper Parasite killed all of the animal population of Vagonbrei and stayed dormant until SG-1 and Red Team arrived on the planet. They infected members of SG-1 and Red Team, but a cure was found before all members of the expedition were lost. (10.02 "Morpheus")

Stargate References

Vagonbrei village
Skeletons found in bed
Village archive

After learning about the weapon the formerly Ascended Merlin had developed to neutralize Ascended Beings in order to combat the Ori, SG-1 began a search, following the records left behind by Merlin in his sanctuary on Camelot and Earth's myths. Daniel tracked down Vagonbrei through one of Merlin's volumes on Sir Gawain which had a Stargate address depicted on an illustration of Gawain's sword.

Vagonbrei was empty of villagers. The condition of the village told of it having been abandoned long ago. Daniel discovered a set of human skeletons in a bed, and Teal'c observed that there were no birds or any other animal life stirring. After conducting research in the village's archives, Daniel discovered that the village had indeed been visited by Gawain and other Knights who were apparently chasing after Morgan Le Fay after she took Merlin's weapon, the Sangreal. Le Fay hid out in a cave and the villagers told the Knights of it. According to the records, the villagers believed that the sleeping sickness which swept through the village was a curse placed on them by Le Fay for revealing her location.

After exploring the cave and finding nothing, SG-1 and Ackerman, a member of the medical "Red Team" who had come to examine the human remains, returned to the village where Daniel was studying in the archives. They decided to go home and return in the morning, but after discovering Ackerman could no longer be awakened, they had to quarantine themselves. Red Team's leader, Dr. Reimer, and Carter set up a lab and began their investigation. Reimer discovered the dormant parasite from the soil samples taken from the cave. As soon as he introduced a drop of blood, the parasite awakened.

Reimer said that Ackerman was "in stage-four level of what they call delta sleep or slow wave sleep." He wasn't in a coma, but responded to pain, sound, and touch. Reimer determined that Ackerman remained asleep because his brain was producing a surprising amount of melatonin, a hormone synthesized from seratonin, a sleep-inducing agent. Reimer also found that the rest of the group was infected based on elevated white cell count and a marked increase in seratonin levels. In order to combat the urge to sleep, Dr. Lam sent the group stimulants, such as dextroamphetamine, caffeine pills, and coffee. Teal'c was the only member of the group not to take any of these drugs, preferring to rely on his tretonin instead.

Enlarged sleeper parasite
Secret cave opening
Vagonbrei lizard

Unfortunately, Ackerman died in his sleep. Reimer and Carter conducted an autopsy and found a parasite which was thousands of times bigger than the microscopic version, but identical otherwise. The parasite engorged itself on melatonin and caused a brain aneurysm near the melatonin-producing pineal gland. All of the group were destined for the same fate unless a cure could be found. Taking more stimulants was out of the question after Reimer died of a heart attack. SG-1 had to rely on each other to stay awake.

Mitchell and Teal'c investigated caverns within Le Fay's cave system which she had hidden using Ancient technology. They discovered a lizard and followed it deeper into the cave, and Teal'c caught it inside of his jacket. He could barely get out of the cave with it because of the overwhelming need to sleep. Fortunately, Gen. Landry sent another medical team, this time in hazmat suits, to retrieve the sleeping teammembers. They also took the lizard with them. The lizard and the research conducted by Reimer and Carter were used by Dr. Lam to develop a cure in the nick of time.

One of the sleep sickness's symptoms reported by the survivors was hallucinations. Carter imagined herself being buried alive when the hazmat team placed her inside an isolation pod. Mitchell thought that Teal'c was still with him, but in fact, Teal'c had left him in the cave to get the lizard back to the village.

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--DeeKayP 19:19, 25 October 2006 (PDT)