Now aboard this dark, damaged ship, they are immediately faced with their first life or death challenge. The ship's ancient life support system is long past it's designed life; it is barely adequate, and failing fast. If they aren't able to solve this dilemma, they will all die. As Rush frantically seeks a solution, he works against time, the unfamiliarity of the ship, the distrust of the crew, and the growing trust the crew have in Eli, who, while bright, has nowhere near Rush's breadth of knowledge about Ancient technology and language.
Although many blame Rush for stranding them, the real blame must be placed upon the Lucian Alliance, a coalition whose desire for the secrets held on the other side of the Ninth Chevron address is an obsession. But how did they know to attack Icarus Base? It is an answer we'll not have until the of season one.
"Air Part 1" introduces us to several the main players:
Dr. Nicholas Rush: In the first episode, we see many sides of Icarus Project's complex lead scientist. He is important, but not well liked. He's a bit of a sycophant, eager to please a politician, Senator Armstrong, whose committee oversees the project. It is clear that Rush has been unsuccessful in dialing the Ninth Chevron, and the senator's patience may be wearing thin with both Rush and the project.
But dig a little deeper, and we see Rush feeling overshadowed by the much younger, less ambitious newcomer Eli Wallace (David Blue), a 20-something who's thrown away an education at a world class university, able solve a problem he'd been unable to conquer. Observing Eli feted at a dinner on the base, Rush retreats to his quarters, despondent. We wonder how he became so isolated from the rest of the base leadership. Hesitantly retrieving a photograph from his beside table, he weeps. Who is the woman in the photo and why is Rush so upset?
But then we see him in the ship, climbing to a mezzanine above the chaos as the evacuation continues. A satisfied grin appears as he realizes his victory; he has conquered the Ninth Chevron and captured his Holy Grail. How can he be so callous in the face of all the injured and dead both back at Icarus and below him on the ship's deck?
But we also see him as a serious scientist and a tireless worker. As intense as Eli is easy-going, and as different as Young is a "regular guy," it is clear why he is not well liked, and why he seems so apart from the rest of the crew.