Arnold Rimmer rubbed his hands in glee. It was going to be great, he couldn't believe he didn't do this much earlier. After more than a year of getting used to his hologramic existence he had decided: he was taking his life back. Away with the depression and restrictions, he was going to rehabilitate himself and start living like a normal person again. Over the past few weeks he had talked things over with Holly and it was explained that: yes, the Skutters were there for him and had to help him with whatever he wanted. They couldn't refuse his orders the way they kept doing – much to the chagrin of the little metal creatures. This was a big win for Rimmer: If the Skutters had to obey him it meant that he could finally take charge in a way - do the things he wanted to do. He could make a fresh start and finally come to terms with his new existence.
Buoyed by the new confidence he felt surging through his algorithms he decided he'd take on a challenge: he'd cook a meal for Lister.
Rimmer had always loved cooking, even though his father mocked him for it, as he thought it was for girls. Doing something he loved that his father disliked felt like a pleasant way to start his new life. It would be good for Lister too, the Scouser seemed to perpetually live on junk food and curry. He needed popper home-cooked meals if he were to survive long enough to reach earth.
As he requested a chefs uniform from Holly and waited for the Skutters he felt overtaken by a smidgen of joy; things would be different from now on. This meal would cement the bond between him and Lister. As the Scouser ate, Rimmer would talk. He would finally reveal everything he had been wanting to tell him for so long. Good food, champagne, candlelight, mood music and old Rimsy pouring his heart out. It would be a big night, the second most important night of his life. Lister would see that, despite being a Hologram, he could do things for him, be there for him. It had to be perfect.
It was a disaster. How could he have been so stupid: did things ever go right for him? The Skutters had ruined every aspect of his perfect, painstakingly researched recipes. Everything was over-baked, underdone or soggy. Looking at the mess in the kitchen and the hideous meal on a table that looked like it had been laid out by determined waiters on the Titanic while it sank, Rimmer knew that his special night was over before it had even begun. He saw it as a sign to keep quiet. This feeling was doubled when Lister turned up with the Cat in tow whom promptly decided he would join them for dinner. Well, it wasn't as if the night could get any worse. Maybe he would be better off not pinning his hopes and dreams on dinners from now on. He'd better apologise and ask Holly to make the dispensers give Lister and the Cat something that was actually edible.
Rimmer was surprised when Lister said he'd try some of his meal anyhow, and even more surprised that he ate rather a lot of it – as did the Cat, for some insane reason. Seeing Lister wolf down the vilest meal he'd ever seen just for him he felt a warm feeling course through his projection. Could it be that the Scouser - and even that silly Feline - understood how much this evening meant to him? Rimmer sat back and stared at the two men bravely keeping down their food and shook his head. Then, for the first time since he died he smiled, truly smiled. Maybe the evening wasn't a complete disaster after all.