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Week 20: Those Women

Rating: Gen - PG
Character/Pairing: John Sheppard, Rodney McKay
Word count: 844
Disclaimer: I do not own them, I would have treated them better.
Summary: Rodney learns that he doesn't know everything.
Prompt: Week 20: Ada Lovelace Quote

This week is going to be crazy, so I had some time this evening, and wrote this. It's a bit of fluff, but hope it does honor not only to Ada Lovelace, but also to Admiral Grace Hopper that black_raven135 mentioned in her comment to the prompt thread.


By stella_pegasi

John Sheppard wanted some peace and quiet to finish the monthly reports. Woolsey had gently suggested that the military reports were overdue, and he expected them to be completed and in his hands by 1800 hours, today.

He retreated to his new office, still uncomfortable in the large chamber with its wide windows overlooking Atlantis. He preferred his old cubbyhole of an office where no one could find him, and if they did, there wasn't much room to sit. He kept finding his eyes drifting toward the horizon. It was a beautiful day, sunny, the water sparkling and his thoughts kept turning toward that little cove on the mainland where the water broke just right and made for some seriously good surfing. However, spinning his new 'executive' chair back toward the desk, he couldn't ignore the computer monitor any longer. He sighed; those reports were not going to fill out themselves.

Three hours later, he was over halfway through, silently cursing his decision approving Lorne's leave. The major didn't know it, but he might not ever let Lorne take leave again. He was flipping through the armament inventory, determining how much ammunition was used during the month when Dr. Rodney McKay barged in, without regard to Sheppard's closed, and he thought, locked door. McKay crossed the room and sat down in one of the comfortable chairs that sat in front of the large windows.

"Hello to you, Rodney." His only answer was a harrumph, and a frown.

"What, did someone take your last cup of coffee again?"

McKay was tapping on the arms of his chair. "No, I escaped my lab because those women are driving me crazy."


"Yes, women, those women scientists, all day they have been making demand, after demand, after demand."

"Rodney, there are women on this base demanding something from you?" Sheppard was perplexed and amused.

"I don't know who they think they are, but we can't stop the work we're doing here for every little whim they have."

Sheppard chuckled, "Rodney, if I didn't know any better, I'd think you were being a misogynist. I really don't think that's somewhere you want to go."

"I am not a misogynist; I think women are more than capable of being scientists. I just don't like it when they gang up on me."

"Gang up on you? What the hell have you done to the women in the science department?"

"Nothing, I have done nothing. I just don't see the need for taking a day off to celebrate some woman they say invented the internet."

"What are you talking about?"

"Oh, they want to celebrate some woman who they think was the first computer programmer."

"Oh. Ada Lovelace."

Rodney's head snapped toward Sheppard, "How do you know that?

"Everyone knows who Ada Lovelace was."

"Well, enlighten me, flyboy," Rodney smirked and sat back in the chair, crossing his arms smugly.

"I'll give you the Cole's Notes version," silently laughing at McKay's reaction to his use of Cole's notes as a reference. "Ada Lovelace, the Countess of Lovelace actually, was called the "Enchantress of Numbers," a name given her by Charles Babbage. She was also the daughter of Lord Byron but never knew him. She lived in the 1800s and was fascinated by mathematics. She studied the sciences when women weren't supposed to do those things. Babbage invented what he called an "Analytical Engine," but his sponsors were withholding funding. An Italian mathematician, Louis Menebrea wrote a paper in support of it, and Babbage asked Lovelace to translate the paper. She did and added her own notes, which is what she became famous for, she wrote the first computer language in a sense. Babbage looked at his machine as a tabulating machine, but she thought there were broader applications. It wasn't until this century that her notes became reality."

"Seriously, that's who they're talking about?"

"Seriously, Rodney, there is an Ada Lovelace Day to celebrate women in science. You would be well served to make that happen here."

"I never knew that."

"See, you don't know everything. Ever heard of a woman by the name of Grace Hopper?"

"No, who's she?"

"Well, she was a Navy Rear Admiral and a computer programmer. She was instrumental in the development of COBOL language. You use the term "debugging?'" Rodney nodded, and Shepard continued, "She's credited with coming up with that term. One of my Profs said she was often called 'Amazing Grace.'"

"Seriously?" Rodney looked a bit shell-shocked.

"Yes, seriously; I have a feeling that Admiral Hopper could have whipped your butt and written circles around you when it came to computer programming."

"I had no idea."

"If you are smart, you will make Ada Lovelace Day as big as Pi Day. If you know what's good for you. Now, get out of here; I have reports to finish."

McKay got up and as he was exiting Sheppard's office, he asked, "How the hell do you know all that?"

Sheppard's answer reached him as he stepped into the hallway, "Could've been Mensa."

The end…

Notes: What amazing women, both Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper were; extremely impressive and, a century apart. Thanks for a fantastic prompt this week. Also, thanks to black_raven135 for the info about Admiral Hopper. She was a fascinating woman.

The info I gathered about these remarkable women came from Wikipedia and the information on sga_saturday.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 9th, 2011 03:27 am (UTC)
yay Ada and Hopper! <3 <3 <3 and I love seeing the women kicking scientific booty on my TV screen: Carter and Simpson and Biro and Jennifer and Lam and Frasier, et alia, the women who put the science in the SciFi of Stargate. \o/
Oct. 9th, 2011 03:46 am (UTC)
I started my career as a scientist, although I do HR work now...so I hear you. Love seeing women become interested in science. The more the merrier!

Love the prompt quote, wish I had more time this week to ponder her words and do something a bit deeper, but no time.
Oct. 9th, 2011 05:35 am (UTC)
Yay for women in general and Ada Lovelace (her name makes her sound very un-sciencey!!) and 'Amazing Grace' Hopper in particular.
I won't climb on my soapbox here but I will just thank you for this story which tells the etory of two very strong, intelligent women....and shows that Sheppard can also show his intelligence which never ceases to surprise Rodney. Intelligence which he tries to keep hidden so often....but then again, he could've been Mensa!!
Oct. 9th, 2011 06:03 am (UTC)
Loved the prompt...and I immediately thought of Sheppard having to explain to Rodney why he needed to have a Ada Loveless day. Yeah, nice for Sheppard to teach Rodney something. I agree, good to see the women scientists get their due.

Great prompt...

Oct. 9th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
Hahaha this is awesome! I love John's quip at the end... And Rodney being so baffled that John knows this stuff. Heh, maybe Nancy educated him on this stuff while they were married. :-)

Thanks for this!!!!
Oct. 10th, 2011 02:59 am (UTC)
So glad you liked! This was a fantastic prompt. Funny, I never thought about Nancy, but then I never do...John could have certainly heard this from her...I think he heard in his math classes...

Thanks so much for your comment, I appreciate it!
Oct. 9th, 2011 09:45 pm (UTC)
Lovely! Lovely, lovely, lovely as ever! And Amazing Grace! Thank you so much for bringing her into this. I totally agree with John, Rodney would have gone to cry quietly in a corner after two minutes with Grace Hopper. Thanks for writing this :)
Oct. 10th, 2011 03:03 am (UTC)
You're welcome, and thanks for reading and commenting. I am so thankful that black_raven135 reminded us of Admiral Hopper. I knew about Hopper but she did not come to mind when I read this prompt. black_raven135 served at the Pentagon when the Admiral was still there. That had to be very exciting!

Glad you enjoyed! Love your icon!!!

Oct. 10th, 2011 05:47 pm (UTC)

The writing and these magnificent women
Great job..........

BTW, I believe
"Amazing Grace"
would put a smile on the lips of Admiral Hopper.

Oct. 10th, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC)
So glad you liked!!! Thank you for reminding us about Admiral Hopper...such a wonderful blend with this great prompt! I saw a lot of pictures of her when I was selecting one for the banner, and she had such a sparkle in her eye, like she knew something no one else knew. I have a feeling she did!

Thanks, appreciate the comment!
Oct. 10th, 2011 10:53 pm (UTC)
see additional reply via email
Oct. 11th, 2011 02:29 am (UTC)
Thanks...got it!
Oct. 10th, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC)
Well done. Especially on the heels of the 3 women honored for the Noble Prize.
Oct. 10th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
It was so good to see the Nobel committee makes those selections. This was such wonderful prompt, the quote from Ada Lovelace is so amazing.

Glad you enjoyed! Thank you for commenting, I appreciate it.
Oct. 10th, 2011 11:27 pm (UTC)
Great fun and nice that John 'knows' stuff too! I hope Rodney makes peace with the women scientists!
Oct. 11th, 2011 02:29 am (UTC)
Poor Rodney, John knew something he didn't...and I agree, hope Rodney heeds John's advice and goes along with the celebration.

Glad you enjoyed,thanks so much!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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