A variant on the game of tag. First someone is picked to be 'it' (the person to seek) then he/she turns around and counts with their eyes closed at the "base" while the rest of the people hide.

Then "it" says "Ready or Not, Here I Come" and rushes to find everyone. The people try to get to base without getting tagged or else they are "it". If the person who is "It" doesn't get someone in three tries they get to pick someone else to be it.

It’s dark outside. The velvety black swallows and engulfs anyone who dares challenge it. My brother strides away from the danger; strong, brave, defiant. As I watch behind the invisible barrier that is my window, I feel safe. Safe that I’m inside, testing the strength of the night, safe that my brother is home. I don’t seem to notice her at first, pacing cautiously beside my brother.

I remember the first time I met her. Grace. She was shy. She spoke in a soft, quiet voice telling me her name and that she was pleased finally to meet me. I remember her being as small as a mouse. Timid. As if she was scared of me. I remember thinking how odd it was to see a grown-up nervous of a little girl. It wasn’t a nice feeling to see my brother holding someone else’s hand and not mine. It was an evening like this, only colder, darker. More threatening. I remember feeling dizzy.

Outside my head I hear myself shrieking with excitement, running as fast as I can towards the back door. The handle turns and I feel a sudden rush of exhilarating love, like when you swing too high at the playground. It’s almost scary, and yet breathtaking at the same time. Out of the darkness steps my brother, tall and rebellious, smiling silently through his green eyes down at me. I run with open arms and he scoops me up and I’m truly happy. My brother, a true hero.

She tries patting my hair. I don’t understand why, maybe she sees it as a sign of affection. I hide under the table in my den, constructed yesterday afternoon from blue sheets and patchwork blankets. I try to recognise my brother as I watch legs and feet traipse around the kitchen. Legs in black trousers, legs in funny coloured see-through tights, legs that are completely indistinguishable. It’s hard. So instead, I emerge. All I can see now is knees. The people in my kitchen soar above me, beanstalk trees that touch the sky. I wander around the lamp-lit room, attempting to catch the attention of my family. I sigh, loudly, but to no effect. Stamping my feet doesn’t work either, so I give up and stomp into the sitting room. She follows, which infuriates me further. I only want my brother, not someone who has taken him away.

“What’s wrong?” she asks.

Thankfully, he comes through the door and saves me from replying. I don’t want to talk to her; I just want to talk to my brother normally. Again I rush towards him, hugging his legs. They’re talking, but I don’t care. I start to plan all the games we can play before he has to go back to his house in the city. Its lovely when he comes home, its like it used to be, before he moved to his new house with her. I remember once she bought me an ice cream with pink and yellow sprinkleys on it; much more special than the plain ones my brother buys. But I still don’t want my brother to have someone else. Just me.

“Sis,” he says, “want to know a secret?”
“Umm.”
“Grace and I, we’re getting married.”

The horrible realisation creeps up and smothers me.

“I don’t want it.”

I wanted to hide. I ran to my den.

Thinking about what my brother said makes me feel funny. I suppose, I can’t really imagine my brother getting married. I don’t want him to belong to someone else. He’s mine, not Grace’s.

Under the table, I feel protected. No one can take my refuge away. I hide my face in the sheets and count the squares on the patchwork. There seems to be a huge number of them, every one different, each with their own pattern and colour. As I look at them, some appear to merge into each other; others just stay apart, appearing hostile and intimidating.

I stay under the table for a long, long time. It feels like an eternity. And then, Grace comes into sight. Her head pops through the crisp, blue sheets and looks enquiringly at me.

“Want to play?”

For a few moments I ponder this request. Play with Grace and enjoy myself but betray my previous thoughts. Don’t play with her and feel bored, but loyal.

“All right,” I mumble through a quilt.

Grace scrambles in. Grown ups aren’t supposed to scramble. Nevertheless, she clambers into the den without knocking down the material ceiling. It’s a bit of a squeeze and at first I find it thoroughly uncomfortable.

Grace fumbles in her bag for a few minutes and produces a large, square box, which she places ever so gently in front of me. She looks and smiles at me. And then she beings to tell me about what’s inside. “It’s my doll. When I was younger, I used to make houses just like this. Lily and I used to play for hours in them.” Grace tells me all about the games. She talks for so long, describing the secret places she made, what games she played and all the ideas for games she had. Lily, her doll, gazes at me with striking blue eyes that close when Grace lies her down. Lily has silky golden curls that fall down over her shoulders. Her face is made of porcelain and she looks so delicate. Her dress is pale pink with puffed sleeves and lace edging. I want desperately to touch her, but she belongs to Grace. Every time I stretch out my hand, something stops me. It feels like a wall around Lily, not allowing me in.

It was Grace who finally reached out to give her to me. At last I could touch the beautiful doll, gingerly stroking her hair. I touch her dress, amazed at how smooth the fabric is. When I look up, Grace is watching me, with a strange look on her face. I think she was proud but I’m not sure.

“Do you like her?” I don’t know how to answer. The doll is lovely, perfect. “I don’t play with her now. It would be sad for her to be lost, away in a box in a darkened room.” She pauses, as if to draw in breath. “You have her. It would be a shame for you not to.”

My mother’s voice calls for me, and I realise that I must go to bed. But I can’t go; I haven’t seen my brother, not properly. I find it so hard to believe that I must have spent most of the evening playing with Grace, someone that I wasn’t even sure I liked just a few hours ago.

I climb out from the tent, clutching Lily close to me, just in case Grace changes her mind. When I turn to see her behind me, I notice how small and suffocating the den is. I want to tear it down, to break it, to crush it.

Once it’s gone, I feel free, open to possibility. In my mind I see the playground, it’s a blank, open space. I look to my brother but he just watches me. It’s Grace who smiles.


The moon was in a mood last night
Playing hide and go seek with patchy clouds
Jumping behind them
As if they were billowing sheets on a backyard clothesline
In and out
But never really hidden as
her light was much too bright.

I think she wanted to get caught

Hide and Seek is the third episode of the franchisee show Stargate Atlantis1. It first aired in July 2004.

Spoilers? Yes.

Synopsis: An energy-feeding shadow is freed and a shield stone is found. They get rid of the shadow and can’t use the stone any more. Fin.


DVD Commentary

Instructions: (1) Print off this commentary. (2) Hire a voice actor - someone with a deep voice and who is well versed in the way of sardonicism. (3) Insert DVD and hand commentary script to actor. Sit back drinking local, mass-produced beer. Corn chips should already be handy.

A few of the major scenes I've inserted notes for - bold, small, bracketed - to make it slightly easier to work out what's what. The best alternative to hiring an ameatur street performer into your living room is to watch the episode and then read this.

(First scene - Rodney getting a shot)

For some strange reason they start this episode with an inappropriate joke by McKay about getting with the people they just saved from an alien species responsible for holocausts all over the galaxy. My problem isn’t with the joke, but with the fact that it’s supposed to be cute.

Scene sets up the first plot, as Rodney gets a retrovirus containing some special Ancient gene. Which is cool. But that’s all we’re told about it. I like science, and unfortunately there isn’t too much on this show. To paraphrase Clarke, a sufficiently advanced technology might as well be shown as being magic.

Then we switch to Weir who’s being told that everything about the city is awesome and it can meet all their needs – also there are some kids who run into her. Hmm, I wonder if the kids could get into any trouble?

A couple of slapstick jokes later and we find out that Rodney's got a magic stone that gives him an impermeable shield which he put on because apparently the premise told him to. Midas’ curse kicks in, and we’re left wondering, how oh how will he get it off? We spend some time alternatively laughing and freaking out about the whole thing, which is how this will be treated until the end of the episode.

The set-up of the next scene, a meeting between Teyla and Earthians, is a nice, albeit not very subtly handled running plot for this and the next few episodes. The Athosians are new and there’s no reason why they should become BFF’s immediately. The only reason I bring this up is because there’s a paucity of running plots, aside of-course from teh scary aliens one. Which is a criticism, even if it is an unfair one. SGA sticks to the tried and true formula of monster of the week.

In case it’s not clear how the monster will be introduced, we’re warned again that the kids shouldn’t touch anything because it could be super-bad. So it’s OK, they can still run around, "but don’t press the red button".

Going back to the Midas plot: Weir has an idea, which-is-just-an-idea-but-it-could-be-the-one-thing-that-is-right, maybe, just maybe, Rodney’s shield ex machina will stay on until he doesn’t want it. Or until the plot no longer needs him to.

Some minor scenes: wondering whether the Athosians can be trusted, but Sheppard insists that he trusts Teyla, how can he not? She’s his corresponding POAA. This fact is the corner-stone of their relationship, which in turn is derived and substantiated by sexual tension.

(Scenes showing kids going missing, and then being looked for)

Oh. My. God. Some of the kids are being naughty and playing when they should be asleep. I hope nothing bad happens.

We get some filler: father saying that he wants to look for his missing son because apparently he loves him; a premise says that they can’t use the pre-established sensors because they can’t, but also there’s something strange on the sensors – it might be related. Some strange shit is happening with the lights. Again, could be related to the missing kid. Still too soon to say. Someone’s seen a strange shadow, hmm. Give me a second and I’ll connect the dots. There, got it. There’s something there!

More filler: wondering whether the shadow is scary, people being worried about the missing kid, reminding us that Rodney is wearing a green stone, more lights flickering. FYI, we’re half-way through.

We find out that the shadow of death eats energy. They could probably use that to win the day. But how? How god damn it?!

The kid’s still missing but now it’s OK because he can tell them where they are so they go get him. And believe it or not, the restless kids pressed the red button letting out the shadow thingamajig.

More flickering lights and the shadow reminds us that it’s dangerous.

The shadow was being studied by the Ancients in studying ascension, which is cool. Ascension is one of those concepts SG-1 just took as plot device. It’s an incredible idea, even if not an original one, but one which SGA chooses, aside from a couple of moments like this one, not to wonder about. It’s only in SGU that they properly decide to have people fascinated by the concept.

(Preparing, and then trying to get the shadow back into its box)

Plan A is to capture it the way the Ancients did. Hopefully they have a plan B in case it doesn’t work.

Rodney can’t use his magic shield of protection (defense +12) because he can’t. I hope he can use it if they really need it...

Plan A: doesn’t work. Oh-oh. But wait, now they have a plan B: send a big battery through the eponymous gate. Sounds good, but wait... it doesn’t quite work. They need someone to push the battery through the stargate. But who? It’s too dangerous. Wait. Doesn’t Rodney have a shield which can protect him? Yes, yes he does, and it does. Huzzah, the day is saved.

And so everything’s back to normal, back to the way things were, ready for another adventure.




  1. Apparently in the Stargate universe, Atlantis is an actual ancient myth, and not an allegory made up by some old bugger.

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