The Great Work

The Sliders land on an island, visibly roughed up from their last adventure. Maggie is hurt and barely conscious. Seeking shelter, they find a monastery run by a group of people known as the Keepers. The head of the group, Keeper Abraham, is reluctant to help them, fearing that they may be enemy spies. His son, Seth, however, knows the Sliders cannot survive the elements and welcomes them into their compound. Keeper James, a doctor, tends to Maggie’s health and develops a crush on her. The other Sliders learn that the Keepers are hiding from the Volsang raiders, a vicious race of warriors that have conquered the entire world. By pretending to be a penniless, contemplative order, the Keepers hide their true mission: the recording of civilization’s achievements onto silicate disks. This chronicle, they hope, will some day teach surviving generations how to eventually defeat the Volsangs. Diana suggests they transfer the data from the fragile silicate disks to a more durable quartz crystal. Her offer to help is accepted by Keeper Abraham, but suddenly the compound is under attack from the Volsangs. Bombshells begin to explode as Rembrandt and Mallory grab firearms to join the Keepers in their fight against the enemy. Diana gets busy with her PDL to safeguard the data from the Volsangs. Maggie is with Keeper James, whom she discovers is a traitor. Diana finishes her work in the nick of time and hands the encrypted crystal to Seth, who flees the island. The Volsangs capture the monastery, but are too late to seize the Keepers’ work.

Worlds Visited

Beach World

A world where Maggie had been tied up in some very close and hot waters.

Volsang World

A unified world government collapsed by a ship full of barbaric raiders? You can’t make this stuff up.

Bigger World

Once again, the Sliders visit a world where they’re smaller than the competition.


  • The Sliders slide onto the edge of the northern sea, the island of St. Caroline.
  • The mainland is overrun by the Volsangs.
  • After dinner everyone on the island goes into their quarters for solitary contemplation and for their own safety because of the dangerous people at large.
  • The penalty for spying is death.
  • Everyone earns their food and shelter by doing various chores.
  • Sarah’s job is to input data into the computers.
  • Each disk containing the Great Work holds hundreds of volumes of information. The disks are made of dissolved silicates that they reprocess in the lab.
  • The Volsangs have taken over the isle of Anna Cappa and killed the inhabitants.
  • The leader of the Volsangs is named Vortak.
  • The people on the island of St. Caroline survived through subterfuge by pretending to be a penniless contemporary order.

Character Information

  • Keeper Abraham is the master of the sanctuary.
  • Diana says she knows “a little” about computers.
  • Diana says she worked with silicate derivatives before.
  • Diana says she devised a form of crystal silicate encryption.

Money Matters

All of the needs of the Sliders are met by the Keepers, as long as they perform the tasks set out for them each day.

Notable Quotes

  • “If you’re job requires you to wear a paper hat and somebody hands you a hoe, you’ve made a really bad career choice.” — Mallory, to Seth while on their way to do some digging.
  • “You sure can squeeze one fine damn grape.” — Mallory to Keeper Abraham at the dinner table.


  • At one point in the episode Seth makes sure that Rembrandt promises to return Seth’s help with a favor. He mentions it to Rembrandt again later in the episode but when the end comes it is never shown to the audience what the favor is or if Rembrandt did it for Seth.
  • Explain how an Alliance half the size of the planet can be overthrown by barbarians. No, really.
  • At the end Rembrandt says there is 14 seconds left until the slide. 28 seconds later, they slide.
  • So Diana got all the information encrypted onto the quartz crystal. Great! Did she also give anyone instructions on how to modify a laser to read the information at a later date? What good will it be to save a bunch of data that nobody can read?


  • Rembrandt makes a reference to the fourth season episode Prophets and Loss when he says to Mallory that about a year ago they slid into a very spiritual place that was very religious until they found out that the head preacher was frying the congregation and stealing all their money.

History Lesson

Another war-ravaged world. *Sigh*

After the collapse of the Human Spirit Hemispheric Alliance, a barbarian raider named Vortak banded together a group known as the Volsangs and took control of an anarchist society. Like a plague, Vortak swept down from the Yukon wasteland in Alaska.

There was no central force to stop them nor a government powerful enough to end their rage. They continue to attack every island, city or anywhere else until they have all the power they want.

A group of islanders on St. Caroline have been hiding in secrecy compiling something called the Great Work which holds a record of all that their civilization ever achieved. It is the sum total of their knowledge. The Volsangs would very much like to get the information of the Great Work because they can use it against their enemies.

The Inside Slide

The working title for this episode in pre-production was “Lindisfarne.”

· · ·

This story was initially far different. How so? Well, it didn’t involve a bunch of Vikings taking over the world, for one.

“In [writer] Robert [Massello]’s original concept the monks were an order who were gathering not just the knowledge of their world, but the knowledge from many parallel Earths,” notes Keith Damron. “The monastery was to be a sort of pan-dimensional library at Alexandria. The monks’ mission was to protect this legacy from Kromagg invasion and conquest.

“We didn’t want too many people to posses the sliding technology. We would always strive to make the four Sliders (any four) travelers on a one of a kind journey. When it was vital to a story in development this rule was broken but not very often. In the case of “The Great Work” it hardly impacted the story at all so it was decided to drop the multi-dimensional library in favor of a single Earth venue. We also found we didn’t need the Kromaggs in this episode for that same reason.

· · ·

The story was pitched September 9th, 1998, went through two subsequent drafts by the writer and was delivered September 23rd.

The Great Work began filming on November 10th, 1998.

Guest Stars

  1. Rob Youngblood appeared as Sheriff Burke in Paradise Lost. Since Burke’s name was never revealed, Keeper James my be a double.

In Brief

Written by Robert Masello
Production # E0806
Network # SL-504
Directed by Reza Badiyi
Music by Danny Lux
Edited by Casey Brown



In Review


This is a filler episode in a filler season. We’re just killing time until the theoretical syndication money rolls in.

Read the review »


The Sliders help a monastery safeguard records which chronicle its civilization.