ACT II

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:

Woolsey

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.]

Teyla

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 the 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?

Kavanaugh

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.

Woolsey

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.

Kavanaugh

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.

Woolsey

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.]

Men

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?

Kavanaugh

Silent be,
It was the cat!

All (relieved)

It was -- it was the cat!

Woolsey

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.]

All

Goodness me,
Why, what was that?

Kavanaugh

Silent be,
Again the cat!

All

It was again that cat!

Woolsey

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.]

Woolsey

Hold!
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.

Men

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

Sheppard

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!

Woolsey

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!

All

He is a Lantean!

Beckett

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

All

That he is a Lantean!

Beckett

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

All

Or perhaps a Sa-te-dan!

Beckett

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

All

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)

Oh!

Woolsey

Yes, damme, it's too bad!

All

Oh!

Woolsey and Kavanaugh

Yes, damme, it's too bad.

[Coolidge enters, horrified.]

Shen

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!

Coolidge

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!

Woolsey

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!

Coolidge

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.]

All

This is the consequence,
Of ill-advised asperity!

Coolidge

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

Shen

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

All

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.]

Novak

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.

Novak

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.

All

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

Novak

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

All

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

Novak

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]

All

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

Novak

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.

Woolsey

For he's commander of Atlantis now.

All

And a good commander too!

Woolsey

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

All

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

Caldwell: Not on my ship.

Woolsey

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!

All

What, never?

Woolsey

No, never!

All

What, never!

Woolsey

Hardly ever!

All

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!

Novak

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!

All

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!

Coolidge

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

Shen

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

All

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.

CURTAIN


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....