The Attero Device was created by the Ancients during the Ancient-Wraith War 10,000 years ago to destroy Wraith ships whenever they engaged their hyperdrives. After three days of testing, use of the Device was abandoned when Stargates across the galaxy exploded when activated. Rather than destroy the technology, the Ancients chose to separate the key from the controls. (Stargate Atlantis: 5.10 "First Contact Part 1", 5.11 "The Lost Tribe Part 2")
During the 100-year Ancient-Wraith War in the Pegasus Galaxy, the Ancients were trying all kinds of technology to fight against the Wraith. One such invention was developed by the brilliant scientist Janus, who built a sophisticated device that would isolate the subspace frequency used by the Wraith's hyperdrives and cause the ships to vaporize when the drives were engaged. The device consisted of three main parts: a key, a set of control consoles, and a subspace antenna that required a massive amount of generated power to emit its static.
The key to the Attero Device measured slightly larger than the average attaché case and had a red light that lit when activated. The Ancients were careful about who could operate weapons such as this, so they encoded the key to only react to the presence of someone with the Ancient gene (also known as the Ancient Technology Activation, or ATA, gene). When Dr. Rodney McKay and Dr. Daniel Jackson discovered Janus' secret lab in Atlantis, McKay's ATA gene was recognized and he unwittingly activated the key. The key brought the console on the planet designated as M6H-987 back to life. As it turned out, a group from the Lost Tribe of the Asgard were monitoring the console and quickly devised a plan to get the Device back online. They traced the source of the signal and captured McKay and Daniel as they worked in the lab, taking the key with them.
The Asgard took the two to the device's control room where several consoles stood ready for them to use. McKay started the procedure to bring the device back online, but discovered that after testing it for three days, Janus had abandoned the technology due to some kind of unforeseen side effect. While still trying to discover what this side effect was, the Asgard threatened to kill Daniel if McKay didn't reactive the device, so McKay acquiesced. It wasn't until after being allowed to study the device further that McKay finally discovered what the adverse side effect was: it caused Stargates to overload and explode when activated.
The main antenna to the device was kept in a shielded room because it emitted harmful radiation and threw off energy bolts like lightning while active. It was what emitted the static that interfered with the subspace frequency used by the Wraith's hyperdrives.
Daniel was permitted an audience with the Asgard leader who explained that they planned to wipe out the Wraith so that they could move about freely in the galaxy, not caring how many Stargates exploded because they didn't use them. These Asgard wished to continue experimenting on humans to solve their cloning problem and had taken refuge in Pegasus during the Ancient-Wraith War so that they could hide from their brethren who didn't sanction such research. Once in the galaxy, however, the Asgard themselves were victims of Wraith attacks, so they retreated to a planet with a toxic atmosphere. After 10,000 years, they couldn't build suits safe enough to continue living on the planet, so they brought their people in three starships to M6H-987, the planet that they knew housed the Attero Device, but had an inhospitably cold climate.
After Daniel and McKay activated the device, at least two Stargates in the galaxy were known to explode: the Stargate in Atlantis and the one on a planet that had a Travelers' settlement. Dr. Radek Zelenka was able to keep the explosion of the Atlantis Stargate at bay with the city's shield, but the Travelers weren't as fortunate. It was the first colony that they had built on the surface of a planet in a hundred generations, and it was leveled in an instant. The explosion could be seen from space, killed three thousand people, and destroyed two ships, including their Ancient Aurora-class starship that they had salvaged about a year before.
In addition to the two Stargates that exploded, two of Wraith ally Todd's ships disintegrated when they activated their hyperdrives. Todd had seen the effects of the Attero Device firsthand when he was a participant in the Ancient-Wraith War 10,000 years ago, so he immediately knew that the device had to be deactivated at once before more of his people and Stargates were destroyed. The problem was that Todd was aboard the Daedalus when he witnessed the loss of his two ships, and he thought that the Lantians had betrayed him. He forcefully took control of the ship and set a course for Atlantis to find out what was going on. He learned from Sheppard where the Device was located and set a course right away for the planet. His taking control of the ship, however, was fought by its crew, and ultimately, the ship was disabled. As a last resort, Todd set the ship on a collision course with the facility and abandoned ship.
Sheppard, who had joined the crew of a Travelers' starship, got to the planet and engaged the Asgard ships that were guarding the base. Two of their three ships were destroyed before the surviving one left through hyperspace, taking the Attero Device's key with them. This action didn't stop Daniel and McKay, for they came across a pair of the Asgard's protective armor and entered the antenna's chamber to disable the weapon from there. McKay found the correct crystal at the same time that Daniel was struck by one of the energy bolts, and then both of them were beamed out by the Daedalus. Sheppard had saved the ship from colliding into the planet when he took it through a quick burst into hyperspace along with the Travelers' ship. They then turned their weapons on the base and destroyed the facility, ensuring that the Device could not be reactivated again, even when without its key and control crystal.
- Ancient Gene
- Aurora-Class Ships
- Lost Tribe of the Asgard
--DeeKayP 03:11, 18 August 2009 (UTC)