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Rite of Passage

05.06 Episode 94 (#4953)
Airdate: August 3, 2001

Cassandra was 12 years old when she became the only survivor of her home planet of Hanka, and was adopted by Dr. Fraiser. Now turning 16, she suddenly begins experiencing seizures and a high fever, and generating a low-level electromagnetic field resulting in telekinesis. The symptoms are similar to those experienced by other children her age on Hanka, and her condition is attributed to a retrovirus which remains dormant for years before manifesting itself. Children on Hanka would go into the forest and return cured, and SG-1 travels to Hanka in an attempt to find a cure for her condition.

On Hanka, SG-1 finds Nirrti's underground lab. Here the sick children had been drawn as part of her experiment, to be cured in a kind of initiation rite. Her experiments were designed to engineer a new host for herself by altering the DNA of successive generations of children, thus manipulating the evolution of an advanced human, known as "hok'tar". She had destroyed the population of Hanka to hide her scheme, but now she has returned to follow through on her experiment. As SG-1 explores the evidence within Nirrti's lab, the mysterious activation of the transporter rings suggests an invisible presence.

At the SGC, Cassandra's condition continues to deteriorate. Her fever and telekinesis cannot be controlled, and she is slipping out of consciousness. Using her invisibility device, Nirrti has been able to return undetected through the stargate with SG-1, but her presence is discovered as she tries to approach Cassandra. In a search of the base, Nirrti is apprehended, but SG-1 must face the moral dilemma of negotiating for Cassandra's life. Nirrti agrees to perform the rite to cure Cassandra, and in return she is granted her freedom to leave through the gate, where she will continue her experiments once again.

Written by: Heather E. Ash
Directed by: Peter DeLuise

Guest Starring: Colleen Rennison as Cassandra, Jacqueline Samuda as Nirrti, Teryl Rothery as Dr. Fraiser, Richard de Klerk as Dominic, Karen van Blankenstein as Nurse

Reference: Cassandra, Janet Fraiser, Hanka, Healing Device, Hok'tar, Invisibility, Nirrti, Nurse, SF Guard, Tablet and PTD, TER


Destinations & Inhabitants

Nirrti's Lab on Hanka

Destinations & Inhabitants



  • Hok'tar comes from "Hok" meaning "advanced" and "Tar" a slang term for Tauri or "human". Nirrti's experiments were designed to advance the "Evolution of Hok'tar" to create a new advanced human host for herself. She infected the children of Hanka with a retrovirus that caused symptoms of telekinesis, then cured them so that the altered DNA would be passed on to the next generation, each generation becoming closer to an advanced human host.
  • The retrovirus can exist in the body for years before symptoms appear. During puberty the virus appears and begins to rewrite the individual's DNA in order to replicate. It causes a high fever, seizures, increased brain activity, and cells generate an electromagnetic field resulting in telekinesis.
  • SG-7 had lived on P8X-987 for three months before the population was destroyed, and witnessed instances of the virus which the Hankans called "mind fire" and considered as a sign of being touched by the gods. Affected teenagers went alone into the forest and returned cured.
  • Nirrti had poisoned P8X-987 to hide evidence of her experiments. The toxin was non-persistent and the air was clean four years later.
  • Nirrti was sent to unknown coordinates and will connect to another destination to begin her experiments again.
  • Every other Saturday when Carter is on Earth, she plays chess with Cassandra.


  • Jack calls them horses. He always pretends he's not as smart as he really is. [Cassandra]
  • I figure you fought her off the first time. I'm safer here with you. [O'Neill]


  • Peter DeLuise cameo: airman who takes Daniel's report during the briefing