HMS Atlantis

Inspired by LinziDay’s “Modern Major Scientist”
With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan
Based on both the original libretto of HMS Pinafore and the 1982 version with Peter Marshall
Interpolated lines in italics


It was just a normal day in Atlantis, apart from the impending arrival of both the Daedalus and the Apollo on a larger-than-normal supply run, accompanied by Mr. Coolidge of the IOA, who had some mysterious purpose in Atlantis.  Suddenly, the Gateroom was full of Marines and airmen, singing and dancing merrily to the music pouring over the city’s PA system:

Atlantis Military Personnel

We live on the ocean blue,
And our city ship’s a beauty!
We are sober men and true
And attentive to our duty!
When the Darts scream free
O’er the bright blue sea,
We stand to our guns all day.
When in peacetime we ride
On the Lantean tide,
We’ve plenty of time to play.

Ahoy, ahoy, when the Darts scream free,
Ahoy, ahoy, o’er the bright blue sea,
We stand to our guns, to our guns all day.

We live on the ocean blue,
And our city ship’s a beauty!
We are sober men and true
And attentive to our duty!
Atlantis, she’s a beauty!
We’re attentive to our duty!
We’re sober men and true,
Live on the ocean blue!

[Caldwell and Novak beam down from the Daedalus.  Novak immediately begins to sing.]


Hail, Lanteans all, safeguards of the nations!
Here is an end at last of all privation!
You’ve got your pay; spare all you can afford
 To welcome Little Buttercup on board!

Caldwell:  Um, Novak?


I’m called Little Buttercup, dear Little Buttercup,
Though I could never tell why.
But still I’m called Buttercup, poor little Buttercup,
Sweet Little Buttercup I!

I’ve snuff and tobaccy and excellent jacky,
I’ve scissors and watches and knives.
I’ve ribbons and laces to set off the faces
Of pretty young sweethearts and wives.

Ronon:  Not too many of those around here.

Novak (continues)

I’ve treacle and toffee, I’ve tea and I’ve coffee,
Soft tommy and succulent chops;
I’ve chickens and conies and pretty polonies
And excellent peppermint drops.

So buy of your Buttercup, dear little Buttercup;
Lanteans, do not be shy;
So buy of your Buttercup, dear little Buttercup,
Come , of your Buttercup buy!

[Caldwell spots Ronon standing in the corridor and walks over to him]

Caldwell:  What’s going on around here?

Ronon:  (shrug) Heck if I know.  I think Kavanaugh turned on something he wasn’t supposed to.  McKay said he’d look into it.

Caldwell:  They’re singing Gilbert and Sullivan.

Ronon:  Yeah, that’s what McKay said.  Dunno why.

Caldwell:  So why isn’t everyone affected?

Ronon:  Maybe it doesn’t have a part for everyone.


Caldwell:  You know the Apollo is due in fifteen minutes, don’t you?

Ronon:  Yeah.

Beckett:  Aye, Dr. Novak, and well called!  For you’re the rosiest, the reddest, and the roundest beauty in all Pegasus!

Novak:  Red, am I?  And round, and rosy?  Maybe, for I’ve dissembled well.  But hark ye, my merry friend, hast ever thought that beneath a gay and frivolous exterior there may lurk a canker worm which has slowly but surely eaten its way into one’s very heart?

Beckett:  No, I cannae say I’ve ever thought that.

Kavanaugh:  (suddenly entering the Gateroom and looking like he’s been through one explosion too many) I have thought it, often!

Novak:  Yes, you look like it!  (to Beckett)  What’s the matter with the man?  Isn’t he well?

Beckett:  Don’t mind him.  That’s only poor Dick Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh:  I say, it’s a beast of a name, ain’t it?  Dick Kavanaugh.

Novak:  It’s not a nice name.

Kavanaugh:  And I’m ugly, ain’t I?

Novak:  You are certainly plain.

Kavanaugh:  And I’m three-cornered, too, ain’t I?

Novak:  You are rather triangular.

Kavanaugh:  Haha! That’s it.  I’m ugly, and they hate me for it!  For you all hate me, don’t you?


Soldiers:  We do.

Kavanaugh:  There!

Beckett:  Well, Dick, we wouldna want to hurt any fellow creature’s feelings, but you can hardly expect a laddie with a name like Dick Kavanaugh to be a popular character, now, can you, boys?

Soldiers:  No.

Beckett:  I mean, it’s asking a bit much, isn’t it?

Kavanaugh:  It is.  From such a face and form as mine, the noblest sentiments sound like the black utterances of a depraved imagination.  It’s human nature.  I’m resigned.

[Sheppard walks out to the balcony above the Gateroom, looking forlorn.]


But tell me, who’s the youth whose faltering feet
With difficulty bear him on his course?


That is the smartest man in all Atlantis,
John Sheppard!


John!  Oh, that name!  Remorse, remorse!


The nightingale
Sighed for the moon’s bright ray
And told his tale
In his own melodious way.
He sang, “Ah, well-a-day!”


He sang, “Ah, well-a-day!”


The lowly vale
For the mountain vainly sighed.
To his humble wail
The echoing hills replied.
They sang, “Ah, well-a-day!”


They sang, “Ah, well-a-day!”


I know the value of a kindly chorus,
But choruses yield little consolation
When we have pain and sorrow too before us!
I love, and love, alas, above my station.


He loves, and loves a lass above his station!


Yes, yes, the lass is much above his station!

[Sheppard comes down the stairs into the Gateroom]


A maiden fair to see, the pearl of minstrelsy,
A bud of blushing beauty,
For whom Athosians sigh and with each other vie
To do her menial’s duty.


To do her menial’s duty.


A suitor, lowly born, with hopeless passion torn,
And poor beyond denying,
Has dared for her to pine at whose exalted shrine
A galaxy is sighing.


A galaxy is sighing.


Unlearnéd he in aught save that which love has taught,
For love has been his tutor:
Oh, pity, pity me--for Woolsey’s daughter she,
And I that lowly suitor!
Oh, pity, pity me--for Woolsey’s daughter she,
And I that lowly suitor!

Beckett:  Ah, my poor laddie, you’ve climbed too high!  Our worthy leader’s child wouldna have anything to say to a poor chappie like yourself, would she, boys?

Men:  No.

Kavanaugh:  No, commanders’ daughters don’t marry Jumper pilots.

Beckett:  Dr. Kavanaugh, them sentiments of yours are a disgrace to our common nature.  I’m shocked!  Shocked!

Sheppard:  But it’s a strange anomaly that the daughter of a man who hails from Harvard may not love another who studied at Stanford.  For a man is but a man, whether he flies in first class or the cockpit.

Kavanaugh:  Ah, it’s a queer world!

Sheppard:  (pushing Kavanaugh out of the Gateroom) Kavanaugh, I have no desire to press hardly on you, but such a revolutionary sentiment is enough to make an honest airman shudder.

[Just then Woolsey comes out of his office into the control room]

Beckett:  Right, lads, our worthy commander has just arrived; let us greet him as so gallant a leader and so brave a man deserves.


My gallant crew, good morning.

Men (saluting)

Sir, good morning!


I hope you're all quite well.


Quite well; and you, sir?


I am in reasonable health, and happy
To meet you all once more.


You do us proud, sir!

[Woolsey makes his way down to the Gateroom]


I am the leader of Atlantis now.


And a good commander, too!


You're very, very good,
And be it understood,
I command a right good crew.


We're very, very good,
And be it understood,
He commands a right good crew.

[The music suddenly skips and fast forwards to the end of the song.  The singers reel for a moment, trying to find their place.  Zelenka joins Caldwell and Ronon, who are watching bemusedly as Novak walks up to Woolsey.]

Zelenka:  What….


Sir, you are sad!  The silent eloquence
Of yonder tear that trembles on your eyelash
Proclaims a sorrow far more deep than common;
Confide in me; fear not, I am a mother!

Zelenka:  Dr. Novak does not have children.

Caldwell:  I know.

Ronon:  Just watch.


Yes, Dr. Novak, I am sad and sorry—
My daughter, Teyla, the fairest flower
That ever blossomed on ancestral timber,
Is sought in marriage now by Mr. Coolidge,
The IOA’s First Lord, but for some reason
She does not seem to tackle kindly to it.


Poor Mr. Coolidge!  Ah, I know too well
The anguish of a heart that loves but vainly!
But see, here comes your most attractive daughter.
I go -- Farewell!

[Novak leaves]

Woolsey (watching her)

A plump and pleasing person!

[goes toward his quarters]

Zelenka:  (worried) This is very, very bad for us.  Kavanaugh nearly blew himself up trying to get the machine to work, and now... this is very bad.  [taps his radio as he hurries away]  Rodney....

[Meanwhile, outside Woolsey’s quarters, Teyla is singing Josephine’s ballad to Torren.  Woolsey arrives from the nearest transporter, oblivious to the small crowd that has gathered to watch and to the fact that Chuck is following him to keep an eye on him.]

Woolsey:  My child, I grieve to see that you are a prey to melancholy.  You should look your best today, for Mr. Coolidge of the IOA will be here this afternoon to claim your promised hand.

Teyla:  Ah, father, your words cut me to the quick.  I can esteem, reverence, venerate Mr. Coolidge, for he is a great and good man; but oh, I cannot love him!  My heart is already given.

Woolsey:  (aside to a highly amused Chuck) It is then as I feared.  (to Teyla)  Given?  And to whom?  Not to some Genii lordling?

Teyla:  No, father, the object of my love is no lordling.  Oh, pity me, for he is but a humble pilot among your own crew!

Woolsey:  Impossible!

Teyla:  Yes, it is true, too true.

Woolsey:  A common pilot?  Oh fie!

Teyla:  I blush for the weakness that allows me to cherish such a passion.  I hate myself when I think of the depth to which I have stooped in permitting myself to think tenderly of one so ignobly born, but I love him!  I love him!  I love him!  (She bursts into tears, and so does Torren.)

Woolsey:  Come, my child, let us talk this over.  In a matter of the heart I would not coerce my daughter; I attach but little value to rank or wealth--but the line must be drawn somewhere.  A man in that station may be brave and worthy, but at every step he would commit solecisms that the military would never pardon.

Teyla:  Oh, I have thought of this night and day.  But fear not, father, I have a heart, and therefore I love; but I am your daughter, and therefore I am proud.  Though I carry my love with me to the tomb, he shall never, never know it.

Woolsey:  You are my daughter after all.

[Their radios chirp.]

Banks:  Mr. Woolsey?  The Apollo has arrived.

Woolsey:  But see, the Apollo now approaches, manned by her trusty crew and accompanied by the admiring crowd of IOA personnel that attend Mr. Coolidge wherever he goes.  Retire, my daughter, to your quarters, and take this, his photograph, with you; it may help to bring you to a more reasonable frame of mind.

Teyla:  (unimpressed) My own thoughtful father!

[Teyla goes to her quarters, and Woolsey heads back to Stargate Ops to find the assembled company, augmented by the new arrivals from the Apollo, just finishing their next dance.]

Banks:  Mr. Coolidge is ready to beam, sir.

[Woolsey steps out onto the balcony.]


Now give three cheers, I'll lead the way:
Hurrah! hurrah!


Hurray! hurray! hurray!

[Coolidge beams down onto the balcony, accompanied by Shen Xiaoyi.]


I am as important as can be,
The ruler of the SGC,
Whose praise the IOA loudly chants.


And we are his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts!

[The singers falter as the music skips and stops.  Coolidge recovers first.]

Coolidge:  You've a remarkably fine crew, Richard.

Woolsey:  It is a fine crew, Joseph.

Coolidge:  A Lantean is a splendid fellow.

Woolsey:  A splendid fellow indeed.

Coolidge:  Never forget that they are the bulwarks of Earth's greatness.

Woolsey:  So I have always considered them.

Coolidge:  No bullying, I trust?  No strong language of any kind?

Woolsey:  Oh, never, Joseph.

Coolidge:  What, never?

Woolsey:  Hardly ever.  They are an excellent crew and do their work thoroughly without it.

Coolidge:  Don't patronise them, sir--pray, don’t patronise them.

Woolsey:  Certainly not, Joseph.

Coolidge:  That you are their commander is an accident of birth.  I cannot permit these noble fellows to be patronised because an accident of birth has placed you above them and them below you.

Woolsey:  I am the last person to insult a member of my expedition.

Coolidge:  You are the last person who did.  Desire that splendid fellow to step forward.  [Kavanaugh comes forward]  No, no, the fuzzy one on the end.

Woolsey:  Col. Sheppard, three paces to the front, march!

Coolidge:  If what?

Woolsey:  I beg your pardon? I don't think I understand you.

Coolidge:  If you please.

Woolsey:  Oh, yes, of course.  If you please.

[Sheppard steps forward]

Coolidge:  You're a remarkably fine fellow.

Sheppard:  Yes, sir.

Coolidge:   And a first-rate airman, I'll be bound.

Sheppard:  There’s not a smarter pilot in the Air Force, sir, though I say it who shouldn’t.

Coolidge:  Not at all.  Proper self-respect, no more.  Now tell me--don’t be afraid--how does Mr. Woolsey treat you?

Sheppard:  He’s no Sam Carter, but he’s all right.

Coolidge:  Good.  I like to hear you speak well of your commanding officer, even if he doesn’t deserve it.  Can you sing?

Sheppard:  I can hum a little.

Coolidge:  Then hum this at your leisure.  [Tosses Sheppard a piece of paper that does not actually have music on it]  It is a song that I have composed for the use of the SGC.  It is designed to encourage independence of thought and action in the lower branches of the service and to teach the principle that an SG team member is any man’s equal, excepting mine.  Now, Richard, a word with you in your office, on a tender and sentimental subject.

Woolsey:  Right away, Joseph.  Dr. Beckett, in commemoration of this joyous occasion, see that extra Jell-O is served in the mess hall at dinner tonight.

Beckett:  Beg pardon, Mr. Woolsey.  If what?

Woolsey:  If what?  I don't think I understand you.

Beckett:  If you please.

Woolsey:  What!

Coolidge:  The gentleman is quite right.  If you please.

Woolsey: (quietly annoyed) If you please!

[Woolsey goes into his office]


For I hold that for SGC
The expression “if you please”
A particularly gentlemanly tone implants.


And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts!


And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts!
His sisters and his cousins, whom he reckons up by dozens, and his aunts!

[Coolidge and the IOA reps leave the Gateroom.]

Beckett:  Ah!  Mr. Coolidge is a true gentleman, courteous and considerate to the very humblest.

Sheppard:  True, Carson, but we are not the very humblest.  Mr. Coolidge has explained our true position to us.  As he says, an SG team member is any man’s equal excepting his, and if he says that, is it not our duty to believe him?

Men:  Yeah!

Kavanaugh:  You’re on a wrong tack, and so is he.  He means well, but he don’t know.  When people have to obey other people’s orders, equality’s out of the question.

[General murmuring.]

Beckett:  Kavanaugh, if you infuriate these men too far, I won’t answer for being able to hold ’em in.  It’s a disgrace.

Sheppard:  Messmates, my mind’s made up.  I’ll speak to Miss Emmagan and tell her, like an honest man, of the honest love I have for her.

Men:  Aye, aye!

Sheppard:  Is not my love as good as another’s?  Is not my heart as true as another’s?  Have I not hands and eyes and ears and limbs like another?

Men:  Aye, aye!

Sheppard:  True, I lack birth….

Beckett:  You’ve a berth in this very city.

Sheppard:  Well said; I had forgotten that.  Messmates, what do you say?  Do you approve my determination?

Men:  We do.

Kavanaugh:  I don’t.

Beckett:  What is to be done with this hopeless lad?  Let us sing him the song that Mr. Coolidge has kindly composed for us.  Perhaps it will bring this poor lad to some sense.

[The music starts and skips past at an astonishing speed.  Bewildered, everyone but Sheppard leaves the Gateroom.  Sheppard goes and leans against the Gate to brood.]

Ellis:  (walking up to Caldwell and Ronon) What is this?!

Caldwell:  Comic opera.  (at Ellis’ stare) Your guess is as good as mine.

Ronon:  Hey, here comes Teyla.

[Teyla enters the Gateroom, sighing.]

Teyla:  It is useless.  Mr. Coolidge’s attentions nauseate me.  I know that he is a truly great and good man, for he told me so himself, but to me he seems tedious, fretful, and dictatorial.  Yet his must be a mind of no common order, or he would not dare to teach my dear father to dance a hornpipe on the conference table.  [Sees Sheppard and gasps.]  John Sheppard!

Sheppard:  Yes, lady, no other than poor John Sheppard!

Teyla:  (aside) How my heart beats!  [Walks over to Sheppard]  And why poor, John?

Sheppard:  I am poor in the essence of happiness, lady, rich only in never-ending unrest.  In me there meet a combination of antithetical elements which are at eternal war with one another.  Driven hither by objective influences, thither by subjective emotions, wafted one moment into blazing day by mocking hope, plunged the next into the Cimmerian darkness of tangible despair, I am but a living ganglion of irreconcilable antagonisms.  I hope I make myself clear, lady?

Teyla:  Perfectly.  (Aside)  His simple eloquence goes to my heart.  Oh, if I dared--but no, the thought is madness!  (Aloud, ignoring sniggers from Ronon and Caldwell)  Dismiss these foolish fancies, they torture you but needlessly.  Come, make one effort.

Sheppard:  I will--one.  [falls to his knees]  Teyla!

Teyla:  (indignantly) Sir!

Sheppard:  Aye, though Jove's armoury were launched at the head of the audacious mortal whose lips, unhallowed by relationship, dared to breathe that precious word, yet would I breathe it once, and then perchance be silent evermore.  Teyla, in one brief breath I will concentrate the hopes, the doubts, the anxious fears of six weary years.  Teyla Emmagan, I am a Jumper pilot, and I love you!

Teyla:  Sir, this audacity!  (Aside)  Oh, my heart, my beating heart!  (Aloud) This unwarrantable presumption on the part of a common airman!  (Aside)  Common! oh, the irony of the word!  (Aloud)  Oh, sir, you forget the disparity in our ranks.

Sheppard:  I forget nothing, haughty lady.  I love you desperately, my life is in your hand--I lay it at your feet!  Give me hope, and what I lack in education and polite accomplishments, that I will endeavour to acquire.  [He stands.]  Drive me to despair, and in death alone I shall look for consolation.  I am proud and cannot stoop to implore.  I have spoken and I wait your word.

Teyla:  You shall not wait long.  Your proffered love I haughtily reject.  Go, sir, and learn to cast your eyes on some village maiden in your own poor rank; they should be lowered before your commander’s daughter.

[They glare at each other as the music fast forwards.  Teyla walks off in a huff.]


Can I survive this overbearing
Or live a life of mad despairing,
My proffered love despised, rejected?
No, it's not to be expected!

Messmates, ahoy!
Come here!  Come here!

[The chorus members and Shen all run in.]


Aye, aye, my boy,
What cheer, what cheer?
Now tell us, pray,
Without delay,
What does she say—
What cheer, what cheer?

Sheppard (to Shen)

The maiden treats my suit with scorn,
Rejects my humble gift, my lady;
She says I am ignobly born,
And cuts my hopes adrift, my lady.


Oh, cruel one!  Oh, cruel one!


She spurns your suit?  Oho! Oho!
I told you so, I told you so.

[The music skips suddenly, but not very far.]


My friends, my leave of life I'm taking,
For oh, my heart, my heart is breaking;
When I am gone, oh, prithee tell
The maid that, as I died, I loved her well!


Of life, alas! his leave he's taking,
For ah! his faithful heart is breaking;
When he is gone we'll surely tell
The maid that, as he died, he loved her well.

[Ignoring Caldwell’s incredulous stare, Ronon steps into the fray and hands Sheppard his blaster, set to Stun.]

Sheppard (putting the blaster to his head)

Be warned, my messmates all
Who love in rank above you--
For Teyla here I fall!

[Teyla rushes back into the Gateroom.]


Ah!  Stay your hand--I love you!


Ah!  Stay your hand--she loves you!

Sheppard (shocked)

Loves me?


Loves you!

[Ronon snatches the blaster back as Sheppard takes Teyla in his arms and kisses her.]


Yes, yes, ah, yes, she loves you!

Sheppard and Teyla, with Shen

Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen,
For now the sky is all serene;
The god of day, the orb of love,
Has hung his ensign high above,
The sky is all ablaze.

With wooing words and loving song,
We'll chase the lagging hours along,
And if we find the maiden coy,
We'll murmur forth decorous joy
In dreamy roundelays!


He thinks he’s won th’Athosian queen,
But though the sky is now serene,
A frowning thunderbolt above
May end their ill-assorted love
Which now is all ablaze.

Old Woolsey, ere the day is gone,
Will be extremely down upon
The wicked men who art employ
To make his little girl less coy
In many various ways.

Sheppard, Teyla, and Shen (and Kavanaugh)

Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen,
(Old Woolsey soon, unless I’m wrong,) For now the sky is all serene;
(Will be extremely down upon) The god of day, the orb of love,
(The wicked men who art employ,) Has hung his ensign high above,
(Will be extremely down upon the wicked men,) The sky (will be extremely down upon the men) is all ablaze, (in many various ways,)
Is all ablaze, (In many various ways,)
Is all ablaze, (Old Woolsey soon will be)
The sky is all ablaze. (Extremely down upon the wicked men in various ways.)

Teyla, Shen, and Sheppard (alternating lines)

This very night,
With bated breath
And Jumper cloaked,
Without a light,
As still as death,
We’ll dial the Gate.

Teyla, Sheppard, and Beckett (alternating lines)

A clergyman
Shall make us one
On M3X-510
And then we can
Return, for none
Can part them then!


This very night,
With bated breath
And Jumper cloaked
Without a light,
As still as death,
We’ll dial the Gate.
A clergyman
Shall make them one
On M3X-510,
And then we can
Return, for none
Can part them then!

(repeated twice)


Forbear, nor carry out the scheme you've planned;
She is a lady--you a poor airman!
Remember, she is Mr. Woolsey’s daughter,
And you the meanest slave that crawls the water!


Back, vermin, back,
Nor mock us!
Back, vermin, back,
You shock us!

[Kavanaugh leaves]

Let's give three cheers for the pilot's bride
Who casts all thought of rank aside--
Who gives up home and fortune too
For the honest love of a pilot true!

Let's give three cheers for the pilot's bride
Who casts all thought of rank aside--
Who gives up home and fortune too
For the honest love of a pilot true!


For a Lantean is a soaring soul
As free as a mountain bird!
His energetic fist should be ready to resist
A dictatorial word!
His eyes should flash with an inborn fire,
His brow with scorn be wrung,
He never should bow down to a domineering frown
Or the tang of a tyrant’s tongue!


His nose should pant and his lip should curl,
His cheeks should flame and his brow should furl,
His bosom should heave and his heart should glow,
And his fist be ever ready for a knock-down blow.


His foot should stamp and his throat should growl,
His hair should twirl and his face should scowl,
His eyes should flash and his breast protrude,
And this should be his customary attitude.

[The music suddenly fast forwards through the general dance to:]


“Sounded like they were describing you,” Ellis remarked to Ronon as everyone filed dazedly out of the Gateroom.

Ronon snorted in amusement.

“What was the idea of giving Sheppard your gun?” Caldwell asked.

Ronon frowned.  “I’ve been standing here the whole time.”

Taken aback at Ronon’s apparent failure to remember having moved at all, Caldwell keyed his radio mike.  “McKay, how are those repairs coming?”

“Not well,” McKay replied.  “I can occasionally fast forward the disc that’s in there, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to get it out until the opera’s over.  Zelenka’s trying to find this thing in the database.”

Ellis sighed.  “So we’re definitely in for Act II.”

“Yeah, I’d say so.”  McKay paused.  “Sheppard’s got a surprisingly good voice.”

That startled Caldwell even more.  “You can hear?!”

“Unfortunately.  It’s on citywide.”

Caldwell, Ellis, and Ronon exchanged a look.  Kavanaugh had a lot to answer for, and he would never live it down....


The respite (or should that be intermission?) was a short one.  Less than a minute later, Woolsey perched himself on the balcony with what looked like a mandolin--where he got it, Caldwell couldn’t begin to guess--and started to sing again:


Fair moon, to thee I sing,
Bright regent of the heavens,
Say, why is everything
Either at sixes or at sevens?
I have lived hitherto
Free from breath of slander,
Beloved by all my crew--
A really popular commander.
But now my kindly crew rebel,
Teyla to a pilot is partial,
Coolidge storms, and, sad to tell,
He threatens a court martial!
Fair moon, to thee I sing,
Bright regent of the heavens,
Say, why is everything
Either at sixes or at sevens?
Fair moon, to thee I sing,
Bright regent of the heavens!

[Novak appears on the other side of the balcony, looking lovestruck.]

Novak:  How sweetly he carols forth his melody to the unconscious moon!  Of whom is he thinking?  Of some high-born beauty?  It may be!  Who is poor Little Buttercup that she should expect his glance to fall on one so lowly!  And yet if he knew... if he only knew!

Caldwell:  Where is this Buttercup thing coming from?

Keller:  (coming up behind him) It’s HMS Pinafore.  Didn’t you know?

Caldwell:  Recognized the style, didn’t know the opera.  So Novak is playing....

Keller:  The bumboat woman, who goes by Buttercup.

Ellis:  Crazy.

Keller:  Yeah.

Woolsey:  (crossing to Novak) Ah!  Dr. Novak, still here?  That is not quite right, little one.  It would have been more respectable to have gone back to the Daedalus at dusk.

Novak:  True, Mr. Woolsey, but the recollection of your sad pale face seemed to chain me to the Gateroom.  I would fain see you smile before I go.

Woolsey:  Ah!  Little Buttercup, I fear it will be long before I recover my accustomed cheerfulness, for misfortunes crowd upon me, and all my old friends seem to have turned against me!

Novak:  Oh no, dear Richard, not all.  That were unjust to one, at least.

Woolsey:  True, for you are staunch to me.  (Aside)  If ever I gave my heart again, methinks it would be to such a one as this!  (Aloud, ignoring Chuck’s howl of laughter)  I am touched to the heart by your innocent regard for me, and were we differently situated, I think I could have returned it.  But as it is, I fear I can never be more to you than a friend.

Novak:  I understand!  You hold aloof from me because you are rich and lofty and I poor and lowly.  But take care!  The poor engineer has Ancient blood in her veins, and she can read destinies.

Woolsey:  Destinies?

Novak:  There is a change in store for you!

Woolsey:  A change?

Novak:  Aye, be prepared!

[The music zips past, and Novak exits.]

Woolsey:  Incomprehensible as her utterances are, I nevertheless feel that they are dictated by a sincere regard for me.  But to what new misery is she referring?  Time alone can tell!

[Coolidge comes out of Woolsey’s office.]

Coolidge:  Richard, I am much disappointed with your daughter.  In fact, I don’t think she will do.

Woolsey:  She won’t do, Joseph!

Coolidge:  I'm afraid not.  Although I have urged my suit with as much eloquence as is consistent with an official utterance, I have done so hitherto without success.  How do you account for this?

Woolsey:  Really, I hardly know.  Teyla is of course sensible of your condescension.

Coolidge:  She naturally would be.

Woolsey:  But perhaps your exalted rank dazzles her.

Coolidge:  You think it does?

Woolsey:  I can hardly say; but she is a modest girl, and her social position is far below your own.  It may be that she feels she is not worthy of you.

Coolidge:  That is really a very sensible suggestion, and displays more knowledge of human nature than I had given you credit for.

Woolsey:  See, she comes.  If you would kindly reason with her and assure her officially that it is a standing rule of the IOA that love levels all ranks, her respect for an official utterance might induce her to look upon your offer in its proper light.

Coolidge:  It is not unlikely.  I will adopt your suggestion.  But soft, she is here.  Let us withdraw, and watch our opportunity.

[Teyla enters the Gateroom, but once again the music zips past the majority of the scena.  Woolsey and Coolidge creep down from the control room as the music picks up again.]


A simple pilot, lowly born,
Unlettered and unknown,
Who fights the Wraith from early morn
Till half the night has flown!
No golden rank can he impart,
No wealth of house or land,
No fortune save his trusty heart
And honest brown right hand,
His trusty heart and brown right hand!
And yet he is so wondrous fair
That love for one so passing rare,
So peerless in his manly beauty,
Were little else than solemn duty!
Oh, god of love, and god of reason, say,
Which of you twain shall my poor heart obey!

[McKay apparently gets the fast forward button working again at this point, as the music skips and ends.  Coolidge and Woolsey enter the Gateroom.]

Coolidge:  Madam, it has been represented to me that you are appalled by my exalted rank.  I desire to convey to you officially my assurance, that if your hesitation is attributable to that circumstance, it is uncalled for.

Teyla:  Oh! Then you are of opinion that married happiness is not inconsistent with discrepancy in rank?

Coolidge:  I am officially of that opinion.

Teyla:  That the high and the lowly may be truly happy together, provided that they truly love one another?

Coolidge:  Madam, I desire to convey to you officially my opinion that love is a platform upon which all ranks meet.

Teyla:  I thank you, Mr. Coolidge.  I did hesitate, but I will hesitate no longer.  (Aside)  He little thinks how eloquently he has pleaded his rival's cause!

[The music fast forwards again--McKay is clearly tired of these goings-on--and Teyla leaves.]

Woolsey:  Joseph, I cannot express to you my delight at the happy result of your eloquence.  Your argument was unanswerable.

Coolidge:  Mister Woolsey, it is one of the happiest characteristics of the Stargate program that official utterances are invariably regarded as unanswerable.

[He leaves to general laughter--since when has anyone considered IOA directives unanswerable?  But Kavanaugh enters early and skips Woolsey’s next line.]

Kavanaugh:  Mr. Woolsey.

Woolsey:  Kavanaugh!  Shouldn’t you be in the infirmary?

Kavanaugh:  Ah, don't shrink from me, Mr. Woolsey.  I'm unpleasant to look at, and my name’s against me, but I ain’t as bad as I seem.

Woolsey:  What do you want?

Kavanaugh:  (mysteriously) I’ve come to give you warning.

Woolsey:  (hopefully) You’re going back to Earth?


Mr. Woolsey, I've important information,
Sing hey, the kind commander that you are,
About a certain intimate relation,
Sing hey, the merry maiden and the tar.

Woolsey and Kavanaugh

The merry, merry maiden,
The merry, merry maiden,
Sing hey, the merry maiden and the tar.


Good fellow, in conundrums you are speaking,
Sing hey, the crazy physicist you are;
The answer to them vainly I am seeking;
Sing hey, the merry maiden and the tar.

Woolsey and Kavanaugh

The merry, merry maiden,
The merry, merry maiden,
Sing hey, the merry maiden and the tar.


Mr. Woolsey, your young lady is a-sighing,
Sing hey, the foolish bureaucrat you are,
This very night with Sheppard to be flying;
Sing hey, the merry maiden and the tar.

Woolsey and Kavanaugh

The merry, merry maiden,
The merry, merry maiden,
The much too merry maiden and the tar.


Good fellow, you have given timely warning,
Sing hey, the thoughtful physicist you are,
I'll talk to Col. Sheppard in the morning:
Sing hey, the cat-o’-nine-tails and the tar.

Woolsey and Kavanaugh

The merry cat-o’-nine-tails,
The merry cat-o’-nine-tails,
Sing hey, the cat-o’-nine-tails and the tar.

Woolsey:  Dr. Kavanaugh, I thank you for your warning.  I will at once take means to arrest their flight.  [Neither a boat cloak nor a cat-o’-nine-tails being forthcoming, he ad-libs shakily.]  Let’s, um... hide in my office. [starts up the stairs]

Kavanaugh:  Ha, ha!  They are foiled!  Foiled!!  FOILED!!! [runs out, cackling madly]

[Sheppard, Teyla, Novak, Beckett, and the military chorus come sneaking into the Gateroom and the control room.]


Carefully on tiptoe stealing,
Breathing gently as we may,
Every step with caution feeling,
We will softly steal away.

[Woolsey bangs on his desk.]

All (startled)

Goodness me--
Why, what was that?


Silent be,
It was the cat!

All (relieved)

It was -- it was the cat!


Yeah, right, it was the cat!

Men (moving toward the dialing panel)

Dial the Gate, in fashion steady,
Hymen will defray the fare,
For a clergyman is ready
To unite the happy pair!

[Woolsey bangs on his desk again.]


Goodness me,
Why, what was that?


Silent be,
Again the cat!


It was again that cat!


Yeah, right, it was the cat!

Sheppard and Teyla (moving down to the Gate)

Every step with caution feeling,
We will softly steal away.
Every step with caution feeling,
We will steal away.

[Before anyone can start dialing the Gate, Woolsey bursts out of his office.]


Pretty daughter of mine,
I insist upon knowing
Where you may be going
With these men of the line,
For my excellent crew,
Though foes they could thump any,
Are scarcely fit company,
My daughter, for you.


Now, hark at that, do!
Though foes we could thump any,
We are scarcely fit company
For a lady like you!


Mister Woolsey, that haughty lip uncurl!
Vain man, suppress that supercilious sneer,
For I have dared to love your matchless girl,
A fact well known to all my messmates here!


Oh, horror!

Sheppard and Teyla

I/He humble, poor, and lowly born,
With record marked by bad decision,
The butt of epauletted scorn,
The mark of IOA derision,
Have/Has dared to raise my/his wormy eyes
Above the dust to which you’d mould me/him,
In manhood’s glorious pride to rise,
I am/He is a Lantean--behold me/him!


He is a Lantean!


He is a Lantean!
For he himself has said it,
And it's greatly to his credit,
That he is a Lantean!


That he is a Lantean!


For he might have been Athosian,
Or Genii with nuke explosion,
Or perhaps a Sa-te-dan!


Or perhaps a Sa-te-dan!


But in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations,
He remains a Lantean,
He remains a Lantean!


For in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations,
He remains a Lantean,
He remains a Lantean!

[Shen and the IOA women begin filing in.]

Woolsey (simmering)

In uttering a reprobation
To all before my bar,
I try to speak with moderation,
But you have gone too far.
I’m very sorry to disparage
A humble flying lad,
But to seek my only child in marriage,
Why damme, it's too bad!

All (shocked)



Yes, damme, it's too bad!



Woolsey and Kavanaugh

Yes, damme, it’s too bad.

[Coolidge enters, horrified.]


Did you hear him?  Did you hear him?
Oh, the monster overbearing!
Don't go near him, don't go near him--
He is swearing, he is swearing!


My pain and my distress,
I find it is not easy to express;
My amazement--my surprise--
You may learn from the expression of my eyes!


But Joe, one word, the facts are not before you!
The word was injudicious, I allow,
But hear my explanation, I implore you,
And you will be indignant too, I vow!


I will hear of no defence,
Attempt none if you're sensible.
That word of evil sense
Is wholly indefensible.
Go, ribald, get you hence
To your quarters with celerity.
This is the consequence
Of ill-advised asperity!

[Woolsey exits, hanging his head.]


This is the consequence,
Of ill-advised asperity!


For I’ll teach you all, ere long,
To refrain from language strong
For I haven't any sympathy for ill-bred taunts!


No more have his sisters, nor his cousins, nor his aunts.


No more have his sisters, nor his cousins, nor his aunts,
His sisters and his cousins, whom he reckons up by dozens, or his aunts!
For he is a Stargate man,
For he himself has said it,
And it’s greatly to his credit
That he is a Stargate man,
That he is a Stargate man.

Coolidge:  Now, tell me, my fine fellow — for you are a fine fellow—

Sheppard:  Yes, sir.

Coolidge:  How came your commander so far to forget himself?  I am quite sure you had given him no cause for annoyance.

Sheppard:  Well, sir, it was like this.  You see, I'm only an airman -- a mere Jumper pilot--

Coolidge:  Don't be ashamed of that.  Your position as a pilot is a very exalted one.

Sheppard:  Well, love burns as brightly in the Jumper bay as it does in the commander’s office, and Teyla is the fairest bud that ever blossomed upon the tree of a poor fellow’s wildest hopes.

Teyla:  (throws herself into Sheppard’s arms, to Coolidge’s horror) Darling!

Sheppard:  She is the HUD of my Jumper of life, the bright beacon that guides me into my bay of happiness, the rarest, the purest gem that ever sparkled on a poor but worthy fellow’s trusting brow!

All:  Pretty, very pretty!

Coolidge:  You... you insolent... flyboy!  You shall repent this outrage.  Seize him!

[Lorne and Teldy grab Sheppard.]

Teyla:  Oh, Mr. Coolidge, spare him, for I love him tenderly.

Coolidge:  Pray, don’t.  I will teach this presumptuous airman to discipline his affections.  Have you such a thing as a brig in this city?

Kavanaugh:  They have!

Coolidge:  Then load him with chains and take him there at once!

[The music fast forwards again as Lorne and Teldy wrestle Sheppard out of the Gateroom.]


Hold!  Ere upon your loss
You lay much stress,
A long-concealed crime
I would confess.
[she hiccups]

Caldwell:  Why do I get the feeling this is about to get even weirder?

Ellis:  Is that even possible?

Keller:  Oh, yeah.


A many years ago,
When I was young and charming,
As some of you may know,
I practised baby-farming.

Ronon:  (to Keller) You weren’t kidding.


Now this is most alarming!
When she was young and charming,
She practised baby-farming,
A many years ago.


Two tender babes I nursed:
One was of low condition,
The other, upper crust,
A regular patrician.
[she hiccups]


Now, this is the position:
One was of low condition,
The other a patrician,
A many years ago.


Oh, bitter is my cup!
However could I do it?
I mixed those children up,
And not a creature knew it!
[she hiccups all through the next chorus]


However could you do it?
Some day, no doubt, you'll rue it,
Although no creature knew it,
So many years ago.


In time each little son
Forsook his foster-mother, (hic)
The well born babe was John,
Dick Woolsey was the other!!!

[Ronon and Caldwell guffaw, and everyone else giggles, knowing the age differences between the three of them.]

All (over Novak’s hiccups)

They left their foster-mother,
The one was John, our brother,
And Woolsey was the other,
A many years ago.

Coolidge:  Then I am to understand that Richard Woolsey and John Sheppard were exchanged in childhood’s happy hour — that John is really the leader of Atlantis, and Richard is the pilot?

Novak:  (hiccupping horribly) That is the idea I intended to convey, officially!

Coolidge:  And very well you have conveyed it.  Dear me!  Let them appear before me, at once!

[Sheppard enters in Woolsey’s command-red jacket, Woolsey in Sheppard’s black BDU shirt.  Teyla runs to Woolsey.]

Teyla:  My father, a common pilot!

Woolsey:  I know.  I suppose I’ll be... transferring to the Daedalus.

Coolidge:  This is a very singular occurrence; I congratulate you both.  (To Sheppard)  Desire that remarkably fine airman to step forward.

Sheppard:  Woolsey.  Three paces to the front--march!

Woolsey:  If what?

Sheppard:  If what?  I don't think I understand you.

Woolsey:  If you please.

Coolidge:  The gentleman is quite right.  If you please.

Sheppard:  Oh!  If you please.  [Woolsey steps forward.]

Coolidge:  So it seems that you were John, and John was you.

Woolsey:  So it seems, Mr. Coolidge.

Coolidge:  Well, I need not tell you that after this change in your condition, a marriage with Teyla will be out of the question.

Woolsey:  Don't say that, Joseph.  Love levels all ranks.

Coolidge:  It does to a considerable extent, but it does not level them as much as that.  [Guides Teyla to Sheppard]  Take her, sir, and treat her kindly.

Sheppard and Teyla:  (embracing) Oh bliss, oh rapture!

[Novak runs to Woolsey’s arms]

Woolsey and Novak:  Oh rapture, oh bliss!

Coolidge:  Sad my lot and sorry.  What shall I do?  I cannot live alone!

Shen:  (actually glomps Coolidge, to his distress and myriad catcalls from the audience) Fear nothing!  While I live I’ll not desert you.  I’ll soothe and comfort your declining days.

Coolidge:  I... I... Oh, very well. Tomorrow morn our vows shall all be plighted,
Three loving pairs on the same day united!

Sheppard and Teyla

Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen,
The clouded sky is now serene,
The god of day, the orb of love,
Has hung his ensign high above,
The sky is all ablaze.

With wooing words and loving song,
We'll chase the lagging hours along,
And if he finds/I find the maiden coy,
We'll murmur forth decorous joy,
In dreamy roundelay.


For he’s commander of Atlantis now.


And a good commander too!


And though before my fall
I was far above you all,
I’ll go fly F-302s.


Although before his fall
He was far above us all,
He’ll go fly F-302s.

Caldwell:  Not on my ship.


I shall marry with a wife
In my humble rank of life!
(to Novak) And you, my own, are she!
We must wander to and fro;
But wherever I may go,
I shall never be too far from thee!


What, never?


No, never!


What, never!


Hardly ever!


Hardly ever be too far from thee.
Then give three cheers and a send-off fuss,
For Woolsey’s leaving on the Daedalus.
Then give three cheers and a send-off fuss,
For Woolsey’s to the Daedalus!


For he loves Little Buttercup, dear Little Buttercup,
Though I could never tell why;
But still he loves Buttercup, poor Little Buttercup,
Sweet Little Buttercup, aye!


For he loves Little Buttercup, dear Little Buttercup,
Though I could never tell why;
But still he loves Buttercup, dear Little Buttercup,
Sweet Little Buttercup, aye!


I’m the lord of SGC,
And when I wed Shen Xiaoyi,
I’ll be true to the devotion that my love implants,


Then good-bye to his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts,
Especially his cousins, whom he reckons up by dozens,


Then good-bye to his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts,
Especially his cousins, whom he reckons up by dozens, and his aunts!

For he is a Stargate man,
And he himself hath said it,
And it's greatly to his credit
That he is a Stargate man,
That he is a Stargate man!

The opera over, the participants suddenly blinked and looked around, bewildered.  Before they had quite figured out why they were there, why Woolsey was holding Novak and Coolidge was arm in arm with Shen, and why everyone in or near Stargate Ops was cheering and applauding, McKay stormed into the Gateroom and grabbed Kavanaugh by the collar.

“That machine you almost blew up?  Is NOT a CD player,” he yelled, thrusting a Gilbert and Sullivan CD into Kavanaugh’s mangled hand.  “It’s part of an abandoned mind control experiment the Ancients tried to use to control the Replicators.”  He shoved Kavanaugh toward a waiting Keller.  “Don’t be too nice to him, Jennifer.”

“That’s a promise,” Keller replied, grabbing Kavanaugh by the ear and dragging him off yelping to the infirmary.

With everyone else looking at and hooting after Kavanaugh, Sheppard snuck one final kiss for good measure.  Teyla chuckled and hugged him back.


A/N:  Okay, so “the fuzzy one on the end” is from The Monkees.  I couldn’t not use it in this context.  And in the production I have on DVD, the boatswain was played by a Scot, so it made more sense to me to have Carson in that role rather than Lorne.  There were some songs that just wouldn’t work and some that needed too few changes and added too little to the story, which is why I skipped them.  Alas, I wasn’t able to find a workable Air Force substitute for “tar” in “The Merry Maiden and the Tar,” but I didn’t think I could skip it; but then, I was already pushing the nonsense levels a bit having Novak (who is neither round nor rosy) as Buttercup.  M3X-510 is my invention, since I couldn’t find a named planet that rhymed.

I hadn’t planned to parody the entire opera, but there just wasn’t a good place to stop once I got started... and Ronon and Caldwell made such a great peanut gallery....

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