Title: Modern Major Scientist
Rating: K-plus (some swearing)
Genre: Humor. Insanity. One of those.
Disclaimer: I am neither Gilbert nor Sullivan. I am none of the several people/corporations that own SGA. (And also? If you get this song stuck in your head, it's not my fault! Or maybe it is. Still, I take no responsibility.)
A/N: The first chapter of this story was originally posted at sgaflashfic as part of the animal, vegetable or mineral challenge. As for chapter 2 . . . imbecamiel begged for a sequel showing John caught singing by Lorne or Ronon. (Actually, her exact words were "Ha, now I really, really want to read about Ronon and Lorne being called to intervene with Shep singing... Man, someone should write that.") And I, eventually, got loopy enough to agree.
Sheppard was a good hundred yards from the lab when he caught the first rapid-fire notes.
"I am the very model of a modern major general. I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral —"
Radek had called him twenty minutes ago, concerned about Rodney's lack of sleep, his extreme caffeine consumption . . . his sudden fondness for a particular Gilbert and Sullivan tune.
"I cannot get him to leave. I cannot get him to stop. And please, Colonel, for the love of god, he must stop," Radek had begged over the radio.
Sheppard thought Czech scientist was pulling his leg, an April Fool's Day prank two months too late and too many hours past midnight to be funny. He'd just gotten to bed himself and he really wasn't up for the scientists' version of a practical joke, but Radek's imploring tone nagged at him. He got up, tugged on the t-shirt and the BDUs he just taken off and padded barefoot down to McKay's lab.
" — I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical, from Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical — "
Apparently Radek hadn't been kidding.
Sheppard paused at the doorway. Rodney was standing at his worktable, gleefully typing at his laptop and singing at the top of his lungs.
"—I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical. I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical — "
He wasn't sure whether Rodney was timing the song to his typing or timing his typing to the song, but each tap-tap-tap punctuated the beat perfectly.
"— About binomial theorems I'm teeming with a lot o' news. With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse!"
Sheppard leaned against the doorway and crossed his arms. He figured what the hell and announced his presence with just a touch of lilt. "With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse. With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse. With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotepotenuse."
Rodney's head jerked up. Sheppard expected him to turn red with embarrassment, to sputter about privacy and rant about nosey lieutenant colonels who should mind their own goddamn business.
Instead he broke into a grin.
"I'm very good at integral and differential calculus. I know the scientific names of beings animalculous." Rodney sang. "In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral. I am the very model of a modern major general."
He looked at Sheppard.
"In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral, he is the very model of a modern major general," Sheppard responded.
Rodney crowed with delight and continued singing
"In fact, when I know what is meant by mamelon and ravelin. . . ."
Sheppard strolled nonchalantly to Rodney's workstation, bumping up the lab's lights as he went. Closer, in better light, he could clearly see how pale Rodney was, how his hands trembled, how his eyes were wide and wild and seemed to sink into the dark hollows of his face. All classic signs that he was exhausted beyond all reason.
The singing was new, though.
He was actually pretty good.
"In short, when I've a smattering of elemental strategy, you'll say a better major general had never sat a-gee!"
"You'll say a better major general had never sat a-gee," Sheppard recited automatically, nudging a stool behind Rodney and pulling up one of his own. "You'll say a better major general had never sat a-gee. You'll say a better major general had never sat a sat a-gee."
"Ha!" Rodney exclaimed and ignored the stool in favor of a jaunty shuffle-step dance around the table. "For my military knowledge, though I'm plucky and adventury, has only been brought down to the beginning of the century. But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral, I am the very model of a modern major general."
"But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral — " Sheppard responded, only to have Rodney join him in unison, "He is the very model of a modern major general!"
Rodney tossed him a mock salute.
Then promptly collapsed.
"Crap! Rodney — " Sheppard dove around the table to find Rodney flat on his back, arms flung wide as if he'd just fallen into bed. "Are you all right?"
Rodney chuckled, then sighed somberly. "I really like that song."
"I can tell." Sheppard offered him a hand up. When Rodney looked perplexed and made no motion to get up, Sheppard grabbed his arms and hauled him to his feet. "I think it's time you got some sleep."
"Nah," Rodney said and wavered on his feet. Sheppard grabbed his elbow to keep him steady. "I don't need to sleep."
"You don't, huh?" Sheppard steered him toward the door.
"Nope," Rodney said matter-of-factly, making the p pop.
"Really?" Sheppard guided him down the hall. "So what's with the Pirates of Penzance routine?"
"Radek said I was so tired I couldn't even remember Newton's generalized binomial theorem. So I started singing."
Sheppard blinked. He didn't follow the logic, but. . . "Okay." Into the transporter.
"The song," Rodney said, obviously irritated that Sheppard didn't get it. "'About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o' news.'"
"Oh. Yeah." Out of the transporter.
Rodney suddenly looked inordinately pleased with himself. "You know, I'm very well acquainted with matters mathematical."
"Yes, yes you are," Sheppard agreed. Down the corridor, toward the residential wing.
Rodney furrowed his brow. "Someone probably needs me. Someone always needs me." He wrenched his arm away from Sheppard and turned back toward the transporter. "I should go back to the lab."
"Oh, no, no, no." Sheppard made a grab for him and hustled him the last dozen steps to his quarters. "Lab later. Sleep now."
The door to Rodney's room slid open and Sheppard moved Rodney to the bed, maneuvering him until the backs of his legs hit the edge of the mattress and he sat down. While Rodney hummed "I am the very model of a modern major general," Sheppard knelt to untie his shoes.
"Hey, buddy, you didn't get zapped by any Ancient gadgets, by any chance, did you? Drink any of Radek's secret stash? Hit your head recently?"
Rodney snorted, derisive. "Genius here. I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical — "
"So I take that as a no."
"No. Yes. Yes, it's a no."
"Okay." Sheppard tossed the shoes under the bed. "And when was the last time you slept?"
"Um." Rodney tilted his head to the ceiling and seemed to consider the question with grave concentration. "When was the planet with all the mud?"
"MX1-124? Three days ago. Jesus, Rodney, you haven't slept in three days?"
Rodney ticked off the emergencies on his fingers. "Contagion protocols, shield modifications, call from the kid planet." He yawned. "Sewer backup in the east wing, grounding station one went down, grounding station two went down, grounding station three. . . . "
Sheppard pushed him back on the bed. Rodney was asleep before the covers settled over him.
With a sigh, Sheppard made sure Rodney's alarm was off. He turned down the lights and left for his own quarters. He'd slept since the mud planet, but not much. If he didn't crash soon, he'd be as loopy as Rodney.
Halfway down the hall, Sheppard started singing under his breath. "For my military knowledge, though I'm plucky and adventury. . . ."