He is sitting at the conference table, staring at his folded hands and trying to pretend he isn't utterly humiliated. In his opinion, Elizabeth's discretion leaves a lot to be desired. Radek is sitting next to him and Carson is glad for the moral support. He is less pleased to be facing Kate Heightmeyer and John Sheppard. Kate's presence he can understand, even tolerate, but the colonel's inclusion is insulting and, as far as he's concerned, highly inappropriate.

They are discussing his options, which are pitifully few. He could go back to Earth on the Daedelus and spend the next eighteen days drying out under Colonel Caldwell's tender mercies. He declines that generous offer. Nor can he rehab in Atlantis, not without everyone in the city finding out about his weakness. He won't risk losing his patients' confidence. From the guilty look on Sheppard's face, he's already lost ground in that area.

In the end it's decided he'll spend three weeks on the mainland. As far as the Atlanteans are concerned, he'll be helping with an outbreak of the Athosian version of measles. Now Teyla is brought into this circle of shame, and her pitying look makes his humiliation complete.

Sheppard flies him to the Athosian village. Halling is waiting for him with sympathetic eyes, and Carson feels his face burn.

He spends the first three days in his assigned hut, sweating and aching, ignoring the concerns of the Athosians. By the fourth day he's restless and jittery, and Halling puts him to work cultivating a vegetable patch. It's mindless drudgery that he can accomplish even with shaking hands. The sun feels good on his shoulders and he's left mostly alone, though one or two people are always on the periphery keeping a careful eye on them. He wonders what Teyla has told them, how a society that has struggled so fiercely to survive views a condition born of weakness and vice. Somehow he doubts they see it as a disease. He's not really sure he does, either.

At the end of the first week, Kate Heightmeyer arrives to check his progress. The physical symptoms have all but abated, so they tackle his feelings of shame and failure and his fears that his patients will find out and turn from him.

By the second week, he has a new fear to confess to her. The Athosians are undemanding and friendly, the work is hard but relatively stress-free and best of all, there is no alcohol in sight. Here, far from pressure and temptation, there's no chance he'll succumb to weakness again. He's beginning to think of staying.