In Stargate SG-1 when you fire a Zat the discharge increments as the following: 1 hit for stun, 2 is a kill and 3 disintegrates. But how long would you have to wait to hit again and be okay? Are they cumulative? If I was hit once now, in six months time if I was hit again would I be stunned or killed?

  • 6
    Given that SG-1 has been stunned via zats more than once, and none of them died from it (except Daniel, but who cares, he always comes back anyway), there is a reset time, it's just never mentoned afaik. I guess the SGC R&D couldn't find many volunteers to get themselves stunned and killed :P Presumably, if you woke up from beeing stunned, the next hit would stun you again, if you were still out, your nervous system wouldn't have metabolized the shock yet and would collapse from being hit again, and you'd die....
    – BMWurm
    Jul 4 '16 at 11:49
  • @BMWurm: "your nervous system wouldn't have metabolized the shock yet" Everything about this statement is wrong Jul 4 '16 at 15:43
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit I know ;)
    – BMWurm
    Jul 4 '16 at 15:45
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    There's a stargate wiki with separate and exhaustive "Injuries Recieved" sections for each main character. Searching each one of those for "zat" I looked for cases where they mentioned two in the same episode. The closest I can find the same character being zatted twice is Prometheus Unbound, where Daniel shoots Vala twice, the second time just to shut her up, so presumably he wasn't even a little worried it would kill her this time. The time span isn't completely specified, but would seem to be on the orders of hours. Jul 4 '16 at 19:16
  • Also, the very first use Teal'c says "a second shot will kill most subjects", not "always kills." Presumably it's not a hard and fast rule but rather a problem with too much shock to the system, some people recover rather quickly, others don't, and if you're still weak from the first blast, the second one's probably going to be too much. Jul 4 '16 at 19:18

According to p. 349 of the licensed Stargate SG-1 RPG Core Rulebook, the "cooldown time" is 20 minutes:

Further, when a character who has been knocked unconscious by this effect within the last 20 minutes is successfully attacked a second time with a zat, the attack is automatically considered a coup de grace action.

  • 2
    I'm not sure whether things like the RPG Core Rulebook are considered canon. I know that for many topics, like Star Trek, Warcraft, Star Wars and other shows, things like RPG Core Rules are considered to be outside of normal canon, both by the license providers and the people who care about such things. This is usually because you need to make some decisions on stuff that's not adequately explained in the source material, either due to author decision or time constraints, which usually could open up bigger plot holes in the original source material.
    – Nzall
    Jul 4 '16 at 14:17
  • @Nzall Agreed, but for as long as it doesn't contradict anything from the actual show, or any "higher order" source becomes available I think it's good enough, since while it might not be the perfect source, it is at least a somewhat reliable one, that actually provides an answer. [And of course the 20 minutes could very well be an arbitrary choice by the game designers -- and most likely it was one.]
    – BMWurm
    Jul 4 '16 at 14:28
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    Not 38 minutes? Too bad...
    – Micah
    Jul 4 '16 at 16:14
  • @Micah Yeah, they really missed a gag there :P
    – BMWurm
    Jul 4 '16 at 16:18
  • I'd be willing to bet its a d20 game and there was some saving roll rule that said that for every minute that passed it is less likely a second hit killed you or something like that.
    – Durakken
    Jul 4 '16 at 16:19

There is no number I know of in the show, but I did just watch the episode "1969" where Jack Zats 2 cases of stuff that disintegrates and it requires 3 shots. This implies that the requirement is something to do with the energy where the increasing amount of energy is enough to do the stated damage. In other words, it is the energy of the Zat combining to intensify and have the effect of the said level of shot. This then implies that the cause of the first and second shots effects is lower levels of matter being ripped apart. So...

1 shot, is delivering enough energy that the matter being ripped apart is just painful, but healable.
2 shots, is delivering enough energy that the matter is being ripped apart to cause large amount of damage, probably to organs.

There is a difference between having your skin cells, nerves, or even blood being ripped apart, which would be happening with the first shot, and having internal organs and neurons ripped apart.

The third shot then is just an increase of that ripping apart...

So how long after the first shot can you be shot again? The answer to this then is that it should be "safe" to be shot after the energy dissipates which should mean when the electrical stuff stops appearing, but because we see that you can be shot after that disappears it's not really possible to tell. The closest we can come to getting an answer is if you have scene that continues on or we know the time between the scenes and you count the time that passes, between the first and second shot and assume any longer will not result in death.

Also, assuming all this is correct. you wouldn't be "safe" to be hit again even in that time span, because it takes longer for most of the things that would be affected by that first hit to be regenerated, meaning that if you knew the exact amount of time for the energy to dissipate you still wouldn't want to be hit again for a while, because you'd be sustaining damage which would heal at a variable amount per species and person. For example, shooting Jack after the energy disperses could kill him anyways due to him not recovering enough yet, where as Teal'c has stronger regeneration from the Symbiote and thus might be perfectly fine with that second hit of 1 shot.

Regardless, 3 shots would disintegrate anything though so long as the energy hasn't been dispersed and nothing is holding it together beyond that... like say, you can't use it on a planet or star because it's already mostly just matter that is clumped together in one place and held together via gravity. Disintegrating such things would just result in them remaining the same as they were previously... Though you could do it to any surface thing, or ship...

  • 1
    Your last sentence is the reason the writers of the show themselves stated later on that it basically was a stupid idea in the first place (across numerous audio commentaries and interviews and afaik also in the 100th episode). The desintegration part appeared only that one time [it was the 60s, maybe that's why ;-) --- or the zat got altered during the temporal displacement.]
    – BMWurm
    Jul 4 '16 at 13:05
  • @BMWurm Funny not about that is Jack hits a staircase twice in the final scenes. It'd have been interesting to see it disappear on the third or if he were to have accidentally disintegrated the building. With the way it works now it's a good reason why they don't use it on the StarGate as portable energy devices. A good argument for why it wouldn't work on larger scales is that there might be some scaling energy requirement where anything larger than humanoid would take massive enrgy to get the same effect.
    – Durakken
    Jul 4 '16 at 13:20
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    @BMWurm IIRC in the episode where Ryak was brainwashed by Apophis, one of the times when Jack sneaks into Apophis' palace, he triple-zats a guard to vaporize the body. That would disprove the disintegration being an effect of time travel. (There's also the fact that when the team first encounters zats, Teal'c knows about the disintegration effect.)
    – David Z
    Jul 4 '16 at 15:55
  • @BMWurm - Jack also used the Zat gun to disintegrate Teal'c's former best friend who married his wife in "Family" (S2E8). I'm pretty sure I've seen the Zat disintegrate a couple other times too.
    – iMerchant
    Jul 4 '16 at 16:04
  • @DavidZ Well.. there you go, so not only that one time... it's been a while since I saw them all
    – BMWurm
    Jul 4 '16 at 16:05

The best way to get reference for this is in the episode Sam brings the cadet to the possible alpha site and everyone is attacked by the (for lack of better name) energy sprites and they shot jack to disrupt his natural electrical energy. I can't remember but I believe Sam said it would be about 7 minutes before the energy returned to normal. If that is so then we can assume that when the body's electrical charge returns to normal you can probably be shot again and it will only stun.

  • Good thought, but I checked the transcript for the episode, "Prodigy" and you appear to be misremembering. They do mention that it disrupts his natural electrical field, but don't give a time frame for it to return to normal, and they only refer to that as a time for the bugs to start attacking. The protection only lasts a matter of a couple minutes at most (however long it takes to get to the gate, but considering they expected the gate activating would drive the bugs away so they could escape, it couldn't be that far). Jul 4 '16 at 18:54
  • This episode was aired recently in the UK on terrestrial and I managed to catch it, hence the question. It is interesting as Jack does manage to take this hit without loosing consciousness and get up and run to draw the enemies away. Controversially when the effect begins to wear off (as seen by the surrounding energy based life forms begin to attack Jack) he narrowly misses or receives a partial hit again from Teal'c when discharges at a DHD.
    – DubMan
    Jul 5 '16 at 7:51
  • Which does also bring into question does a Zat have a "range" factor and will it fry or 'charge' energy based items such as a DHD since it worked perfectly after. But thats a different question!!
    – DubMan
    Jul 5 '16 at 7:51

The time varies. I was going to write something very similar to what I ended up finding on a SG Wiki:

The effect of the weapon on the subject varies considerably. In some cases he is left unconscious for a considerable length of time, for example when the disguised alien Tyler zatted Daniel at very close range and Daniel had to be awakened by Carter sometime later (5.04 "The Fifth Man"). In other cases the person is disabled for only a few moments, for example when Anubis used Carter's body to zat Daniel in an SGC corridor. He was in pain but appeared never to lose consciousness, and he was able to stand a short time later (8.03 "Lockdown").

Also unknown is the maximum length of time that can pass between shots for the second shot to be fatal or the third shot to disintegrate the subject. Clearly if the second shot is within a few seconds, a typical human subject dies. If the subject has recovered from the first shot, it is assumed that the second shot is not fatal. Humans in extraordinary circumstances may survive a rapid second shot, as Carter did when she was possessed by an alien consciousness and O'Neill was forced to zat her twice (4.20 "Entity").

Throughout the show, we don't see a conscious, recently Zat'd individual ever just die. Whatever disrupts people's energy that leads to unconsciousness seems to dissipate when the regain consciousness.

Since we see throughout the series different individuals being affected by the first blast longer or shorter depending on the character and plot need, it's probably safe to say that there's no standard timeframe for when the second blast doesn't kill. Instead, if they're up and going after the first blast, their counter is probably reset.

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