Script, which was not followed exactly to the letter for the recording, below:
[Opening theme: Red dwarf series 1]
Holly: This is an SOS distress call from the mining ship "Red Dwarf." The crew are dead...
Cat: hey can I have a go at the recordy thing?
Holly: You want to do the black box recording?
Cat: Sure! I've seen that thing. It ain't Black at all. It's orange! I can totally pull off orange better than you. Better than anybody!
Holly: well.. yeah, all right then, why not?
Cat: Ok, how'm I lookin'? I'm lookin good. How'm I sounding? I'm sounding better than good. I'm sounding sexy! Ok, here goes:
This is an SOS distress call from the mining ship "Red Dwarf." The crew are dead, turned into little piles of dust that make you sneeze if you sniff them. The only survivor was Frankenstein, the Great Mother Cat, who was sealed in the hold. We, her descendents, are the Cat People. Millions of years later, we await the return of our savior, Cloister, who was frozen in time so that the Holy Mother and her baby kittens might live. Someday He shall return and lead us to Fuchal, where those who are worthy shall be allowed to take up the blue
Cat Priest, interrupting: nay, the red
Cat: naw man the blue
Priest: nay the red
Cat: shut up, dogbreath! OK, the coloured Hats of Great Majesty and there shall be sausages and sugary treats for all. If you can smell this message… you might be a cat.
Holly: Additional. Thinking about it, it might help at this point if I attached some stuff so that you know what the blinking hell this is all about.
[Excerpt from the Holy Book of the Cats]
And in the third week, the Holy Mother ventured forth from Supply Pipe 28 in search of the Milk. For lo, Cloister had not returned to her as he had promised, and she was grown hungry and her kittens were meowing piteously. But the Supply Pipe had been sealed and she was driven down to the very depths of the hold.
How the Holy Mother and the First Generation survived we know not, but in the days that followed it was said that they found mice dwelling there. Some say there were ponds full of fish, and other growing things, that the cats of yore did feast upon, so plentiful that some even thought this must be the Fuchal of which Cloister had foretold, though there was no Sheep, no Cow and no Horse.
“So, Cat," Lister said, leaning back in one of the refectory chairs. “Tell me more about this Cat religion.”
“Come on, dude! That’s old fogey stuff. We modern cats have better things to do.” Cat demonstrated by examining his reflection in a window, turning and baring his fangs at himself. “Oooh, I’m looking good!"
“One thing I don't get, how did the story of Fuchal get passed down from Frankenstein?"
“She be the Holy Mother, right?" Cat paused, thinking. "She would have told her kittens, and they told their kittens, and they told their kittens, and it got mixed up somewhere. Probably ‘cuz who’s gonna listen to what their parents got to say?”
“Ah, so it’s like a game of telephone,”
“An old 20th century game," Lister clarified. “A telephone was a thing you spoke into, to talk to someone far away, a bit like the coms. But the game was that you would telephone someone, who would telephone the next, and the next, etc., and in the end the last person phones you and tells you what your message was. It always came out something completely different.”
“That’s one weird game," Cat said. "Why not just ‘telephone' whoever you wanted to get the message?"
“Never mind, it’s not important. Hey, how did you guys celebrate Fuchal Day?"
“Like I told you, I don't remember much, because I wasn't even born when the Arks left. It was just mom and pop and me, and a couple of old priests. We ate hot dogs and we had a slobbiness contest. I wasn't wild for the sausages but I ate a bunch of stale doughnuts and threw up once. I won the prize that year!"
"That's amazing!" Lister said. "Hey, we should record your memories for posterity. Holly, can we do some recordings of the Cat stuff?"
"Posterity? First you gotta find me a woman! Then we'll talk about posterity."
…An apparition of Cloister then appeared to them... He smelleth not, and his body was insubstantial, yet he led them to the Box of Food Giving.
“Milk" sayeth He and the Milk flowed. “Fish” sayeth He and Many Fishes came forth. “Vindaloo," He intoned. And that was the first taste of Curry.
And lo, there was much rejoicing.
"Okay, Cat, Holly’s going to record this, so tell me some more about cat theology," Lister said.
"I dunno, man, I was never that religious. What do you want to know, anyway?"
"Well, what was the big deal about the colour of the hats?"
"That's obvious, isn't it?"
"Obvious isn't the word I'd use, Cat."
"Well, it's like, if you're wearing a red hat, you better not put on a scarlet suit! Or if you're wearing a blue hat, you gotta wear black or yellow shoes. You get me?"
"So... it's a fashion thing?"
"Yeah, bud. I mean, I'm so good-looking, there isn't a colour that doesn't look fantastic on me! But some of those other cats, you put a blue hat on one of them and they'd just look bad."
"But I thought the cat priests were all about not having vanity? Sounds like they were pretty vain, they just didn't want to admit to it."
"Hey, if everyone was dressed like a clown, it'd be a circus!"
"Right, you wouldn't want that," Lister said. "Okay, tell me more about me -- I mean, about Cloister."
"Did I tell you about how he led our people to the Magical Food Giver?"
"No, what happened?"
"The story goes that he came down and led our people up from the darkness and there was a giant silver box. And he was like 'yo, give me some fish' and some fish came out. Pretty cool, huh?"
"But I was in the stasis pod. How could I have been leading anyone anywhere?"
"Ah," Holly said, "I think I might, er. I might have had something to do with that."
"What d'you mean, Hol?" Lister queried.
"Well, I couldn't just let the kitties starve, could I? You were in stasis, Dave, so I activated your hologram. It did take about a week before you understood what I was trying to tell you--"
"Are you saying I'm stupid?"
"Of course not. I'm saying you're really incredibly stupid."
"But if you sent the vision of Cloister," Cat interrupted. "How come he only came once?"
"To be honest, he spent most of his time moping around and watching old crew vids. It was creeping me out so I turned him off."
"I always thought it was weird that Cloister only appeared once," Cat said. "But the old cat daddies saw the other one a bunch of times."
"Wait, what other one? Your people had another god?" Lister asked.
"Not exactly a god - more of an evil spirit. The old cats didn't like to mention him, and if you said his name you had to do a thing like this --" The Cat circled his wrist in the air and then tapped himself on the forehead in near-perfect mimicry of a Rimmer salute.
"Oh my God, Cat. You're not telling that Rimmer--"
"What, Goalpost Head? Of course not! The spirit's name was," Cat looked around, then lowered his voice, "Primper."
"Primper," Lister echoed.
"Your people had an evil spirit called Primper?" Lister asked, still skeptical.
"Shhh! Now you gotta do the hand thing!"
"Holly, are you getting this?" Lister asked, swiveling in his chair. Behind him, Cat was frantically saluting.
Holly appeared on screen. A red dot in the corner indicated that he was still recording. "Got it. The gesture was probably a ritual to avert the bad luck incurred by speaking the name of the spirit. It's common for primitive cultures to have such superstitions."
"But did you see what he did? Cat, what did this demon-spirit-thing look like?" Lister asked.
"I don't know, man, I never saw it!"
"Well, what did he do? Why was he so evil?"
"He was the opposite of Cloister," Cat said. "The anti-Cloister. He was real uptight. The embodiment of everything unholy: cleanliness, ambition, and Hammond Organ music."
"It is Rimmer!"
Rimmer came around the corner just then. "Lister, what are you shouting my name for?"
Now increasingly did our ancestors seek into all the nooks and crannies of their home. And lo, they came across a Storage Room full of Boxes. Here did they find the Box of Cloister, full of magazines with pictures of Monkeys with no clothes on, broken guitar strings, and a Giant Yellow Inflatable Thing, which puzzled them greatly until one scholar identified it as the Official Fruit of Fuchal.
Thence it was known that all food in the world to come would be Extremely Large: Giant Hot Dogs, Giant Doughnuts, Giant Poppadoms, and so on until the end of days.
Cat walked into the cinema. Lister was sitting in the back row with his arm around someone. He moved away when he noticed the beam of light from the open door.
"Hey, oww! Who's your date?" Cat asked.
Without turning, Lister said: "This is Ingrid. Look, we were having a moment, so--"
"Sure, no prob, I'll be going -- by the way, does she happen to have a sister?"
"No, she doesn't."
"Are you sure? Because she is lookin' fine."
"If you really want to know, she's not -- she's not really real when it comes down to it."
"Oh, she's one of those Alphabet Heads? Hey, I thought Holly could only let you have one at a time."
"No, she's not a hologram. She's a polythene pal. Made out of plastic."
"Plastic?! Wait a minute--" Cat came around to look at Ingrid's face in the flickering light. "That's no pal, pal! I've seen her before. Everyone had her back in the day -- she was like a toy for cats. We all had a turn with her."
"What?" Lister pushed Ingrid away. She stared at him, open-mouthed. "How could you do this to me, Ingrid? It was supposed to be just you and me -- well, and Rimmer -- but now I hear you've been having it off with a whole other species? I thought we had something special."
"She's not too bright, is she?" Cat said.
"And you!" Lister turned on Cat. "How come you never told me about this before? What would cats even want with a blow-up doll?"
"Well I came here to show you some parts of the Holy Book anyway. Here, let me find the part about Ingrid."
Cat took a long sniff of the text and then read:
The smell of Cloister also lingered around another storage unit, this one containing the possessions of Primper, the Enemy of Cloister. Here was found a trunk full of loathsome Inflatable Plastic Naked Monkeys, each identical to the next. These were the foul playthings of Primper, deflated and stored carefully away. The cat explorers would have left the trunk, their tails held high, but that the Priests of Cloister bade them to take them and blow them up, to dress them in the starched and pressed uniforms of Primper, and then to toss them from cat to cat, as a symbol that they should not fear Primper, for he was nothing but a Stuffed Shirt.
"You've got to be making this up," Lister said. He came over and sniffed at the book. "It's too complicated for me to read."
The brave set out to investigate and follow where their feet would lead them, for as Cats they had Investigating Feet. The virtuous among them wished to make pilgrimage to the Sacred Room of Cloister, but they were driven back by the powerful smell of the Dirty Sock Pile. Time and again, they tried and failed, until one who was blind went forth, feeling her way. (Translation note: it is probable that blind in this context means "lacking the sense of smell.")
Alone she wandered into Cloister's Room, unescorted and unwary of the dangers lurking there. For the fiend, the terrible nemesis of Cloister, at whose stomp we tremble, had left traps throughout that sacrosanct chamber. Worst were the instruments of Grooming: the tail trimmer, the eyebrow brush, and the exfoliating paste. The blind one fell to temptation and came out in a leather jacket, with an up-do, reeking of perfume. Whoo-ee, she was one gorgeous lady-- (Text is degraded beyond recognition at this point.)
The Blind Cat did not know how lucky she was. Emboldened by her success, and wishing to emulate her sexiness, other cats braved the Room of Cloister. And within they found something so terrible that the full squamous horror cannot be conveyed in without tempting insanity for the reader. Its foul stench was unbelievable, and the extreme strength of its tentacles was a miracle to behold! It crept and oozed from its den until it filled the whole Room with its overpowering reek, so that all but two of the brave warrior cats were struck down and did not rise again.
And lo, those two did return and tell of its dread power, striking fear into the hearts of cats. The Beast was declared a punishment for all those cats who had transgressed and lain with Inflatable Ingrid. Then were the Arks made ready to flee the Punishment of Cloister. Those who were most fearful took the first Ark and followed the directions left by Cloister himself to the Holy Mother. But their sins were upon them and they survived not.
It came to pass at that time that a prophet arose, and the prophet said "hear this: the punishment of Cloister shall not be atoned for by any instrument of cool, but by using the powers of darkness. Primper is the only one who can save us!". And the prophet was declared a heretic and stoned to death with stale doughnuts.
In an empty set of sleeping quarters, Rimmer was pulling off his shirt.
“Holly? Holly!" Rimmer shouted. “It’s four o’clock, where are you?"
“I’m not comfortable with this, Arnold," Holly’s voice answered reluctantly. The screen remained blank.
“Yes, well, neither am I, but I don’t fancy looking like an orangutan."
“You’re a hologram. Your hair doesn’t actually grow," Holly said.
“Explain why I feel itchy then,” Rimmer complained.
“I’m sure I wouldn’t know," Holly muttered.
“It’s perfectly normal, me old chum," Rimmer said heartily. “Barbers have done this for men from time immemorial."
“Yes, I’m sure the Greeks were partial to it. You realise you’re asking a computer with an intelligence of 6000 to perform a bit of intimate grooming? If that’s not workplace harassment, I don’t know what is."
“Come on, Hols. I’ll hook you up to the old Sinclair ZX81 later," Rimmer wheedled.
Holly sighed dramatically, but his face finally appeared on screen.
“Fine. But you’ll have to rip it off yourself."
“Okay, I’m ready. Just make sure the wax isn’t--"
[sound of liquid sloshing]
“Ahh! Too hot! No, that’s good, keep going!"
A loud thump behind him made Rimmer jump and squeal, attempting to cover his bare chest with his hands. “What are you doing here, you stupid cat?”
“I was takin' a nap, until some monkey barged in and woke me up," Cat said. He slunk around Rimmer to peer at the mirror, smoothing his pompadour. “Man, you really are the vainest guy I know. What's wrong with a little fur, anyway? Which reminds me. I gotta perm my leg hair. See you later monkey boy..."
Rimmer watched the cat leave, thumbing his nose in lieu of anything witty to say.
On the screen, Holly was covering his eyes. “I can’t look. Tell me when it’s over."
And lo, a few hardy souls did go to fight the Beast, while those that remained knew not what to do and hid under the bed. But when no brave warrior returned, and the squelchings of the Beast grew ever closer, those that were able took the second Ark from the aft or Red Dwarf and journeyed forth in search of Fuchal.
The last of the Cat Priests has written these words as a record of the Cat Race's final days on Red Dwarf. Only myself and the boy remain now. May we find Fuchal, if not now, then in one of the next eight lives.
"Right then Cat, fill her up," Lister said, tilting Ingrid so that her inflation point faced upward. "She's got to be absolutely bursting before we do it."
Cat was pouring liquid into the opening. "What if we miss? What if the rubber breaks?" he asked.
"Then we'll just have to do it by hand. But I really hope it doesn't come to that."
"What are you idiots doing in here?" Rimmer asked, opening the door to the communal bathroom. Cat and Lister, holding Ingrid between them, tried to shield her from Rimmer's eyes.
"Nothing, Rimmer. Just making sure it's clean in here," Lister stuttered, while Cat quickly pulled Ingrid into a cubicle.
Rimmer was suspicious. "You look like you've got more soap on yourselves than the floor. Do you really think I would believe that you, of all people, would volunteer to do cleaning?"
"Holly's making me do it. He says he won't let me order any more goat vindaloo till I clean all the wash rooms."
"Is that right?" Rimmer puffed out his chest. "Well done, Holly!"
"Someone has to do it, otherwise nothing gets done around this place," Holly said heavily.
"Make sure to do the toilet bowls as well. Leave no inch unshined, me laddo!" Rimmer added with a glint in his eye.
Lister made an obscene gesture to his back, but Rimmer turned round again and Lister had to pretend he was just scratching his head.
"For a second, I thought you were teaching Cat how to take a proper bath," Rimmer laughed. "Like a normal person."
"Are you saying I smell, Haggis-Head?" Cat scowled.
"That's a new one," Rimmer said blandly. "All I'm saying is that you carry a distinct odor of eau de poisson."
With that rejoinder, Rimmer strode away, letting the door swing.
"What did he say?" Cat asked.
"Never mind him, Cat," Lister said. "He can't smell anything anyway."
"Yeah, well, little does he know -- I only use the eau de colon!"
"You mean eau de Cologne," Holly corrected.
"No, I mean--"
"I don't want to know, Cat," Lister interrupted.
"Come on, lads," Holly said. "Let's get this show on the road."
Cat, Lister and Ingrid got into the nearest turbolift and instructed it to take them to the aft part of the hold. As they descended Holly said "I won't be able to hear you when you're down there. Be careful. If you don't make it, the skutters might not find your bodies for weeks."
"Well Hol, comforting as that thought is, you don't need to sugar-coat stuff for me." Lister said.
Cat began scratching at the walls as they went lower and the smell became worse.
"Okay," Lister said, "We'd better put the masks on before the doors open." The cheesy smell was now developing a vinegary tinge so strong that it was starting to burn in Lister's throat. He pulled his own mask over his head before coming over to assist Cat, and he got clawed for his trouble.
"Hssssss I'm not putting that on!" Cat protested. "It'll ruin my look."
"It's just for a little while. No one's going to see you."
"I'll see me! These things are for dorks. I'd rather die."
"If you don't put it on, you just might." Lister said, losing patience.
"Anyway, as soon as you get out, I'm going back up," Cat pointed out.
"Oh no, you aren't," Lister grunted. "You're the only one who can read the Holy Book! And that's all we've got to go on here."
"Fine, I'll hold my breath." Cat said, crossing his arms. He turned his head haughtily.
Lister sighed, seeing that Cat was not going to be convinced. "It's your funeral, buddy."
"…If it was my funeral, the box I'd be in would be a hell of a lot more stylish than this."
The doors to the aft hold compartment opened. The smell was so strong that Cat started hallucinating. The tentacles coming out of the walls made him almost regret refusing the mask. Almost. He kept trying to pounce on skittering things that weren't there.
"Stop it, Cat! We have to focus! It could be close," Lister said, leaning on the stick he'd brought with him to poke into dark corners.
"Hey mister, I am being stealthy here. See -- this is my prowl stance." Cat crouched and made a snarl.
Lister snuck along the corridor, with Cat following erratically behind him. Even with the mask filtering his air, Lister could practically taste the horrible fetid stink.
"This shirt is silk," Cat moaned behind him. "It's never going to be the same. You can't wash silk in strong detergent."
"Okay," Lister said, his voice garbled through the mask. "Wait here. If I don't come back in… ten minutes, uh, I don't know. Get Rimmer, I guess. And the skutters."
"Roger that," Cat said hoarsely. He was clutching the wall, his head hanging as he breathed shallowly.
Lister rounded the corner. The smell was like a physical force. He blinked. There was a miasma of greenish ooze. Reddish floaters vibrated in his vision. Was this finally it? The lair of... the Sock Beast?
"Ey, hang on! Is that myf avorite pair of Hawaiian shirt socks?"
Sure enough, the socks with big, boldly coloured flowers that Gran had given Lister for Easter one year -- one of them was hanging off a horn-like protruberance on an enormous, greyish, oozing mass. An enormous greyish oozing mass that looked strangely alive. It pulsated slowly, greasily. Lister crept towards it.
He turned his head to suck in a breath of relatively fresh air before advancing toward the monster. Were those -- tentacles? Antennae? Whatever they were, they waved in the air, before pulling back suddenly as his movement displaced air currents. It knew he was there.
"Yeah, I'm coming for you, you big ugly blob!" Lister yelled, thrusting his stick towards it. The stick stuck, then was pulled out of Lister's hand, sucked slowly into the beast with a disgusting slurping noise, and disappeared. A second later there was an almighty burp and a smell that set off all the warning lights on Lister's mask. He had to get this done fast.
The Sock Beast gurgled menacingly and belched out another cloud of fetor.
"You're nothing but a bit of crud that grew from my old socks. I made you and I can un-make you!" Lister whooped, adrenalin coursing through him as he intentionally goaded the Beast. The monster reached out and prodded Lister. As the tentacle made contact, it hissed and fizzed and the fabric of his overalls melted, leaving a large hole. Lister jumped and shrieked.
"Oh ey, there's no need for that!" Lister said, his bravado suddenly shaken. He stood his ground, though. "Look, you must be lonely down here. Hiding out in the ventilation ducts, that's no kind of life for an impressive monster like you. Hows about you come with me and I'll -- I'll find you some nice stinky old shoes to keep you company?"
The beast shuddered, its mass quivering like a blancmange.
"How about a couple of manky pairs of pants? You'll get along great, I know it."
The beast started to move towards him, whether in anger or out of a desire for company Lister didn't know -- but it was working! He just had to keep going.
"That's it, that's a good little sock beastie! Come on. We'll go find you your friends." As he backed up, the beast began moving faster and Lister had to pick up the pace to stay ahead. Finally he turned and started to jog down the corridor, glancing back every couple of seconds. It was gaining on him.
The beast slithered with terrifying speed and Lister dashed around another corner and tripped over Cat, who was lying slumped against the wall. Lister grabbed onto Cat's shoulders and pulled him upright. Cat's head was hanging loose, his eyes rolled up.
Lister slapped his cheeks. "Wake up, Cat! Come on, get up, it's coming! We have to get to the smegging doll!"
"Stripey trousers with paisley polyester shirts! Mauve with yellow polka dots!"
"Smeg! He's delirious!"
Lister half-supported, half-dragged the semi-comatose Cat through the corridors to the doorway they'd prepared. Bob the skutter was waiting there holding a long pole with a scalpel from the medibay sellotaped to the end of it. Supporting the Cat was slowing him down, and Lister only just made it to the door when the Sock Beast caught him. He could feel the clothes on his back dissolving.
"Now! Do it now!" he screamed at Bob. Bob thrust the scalpel upwards, and into the soapy-water filled Ingrid, who burst immediately. A cascade of suds drenched the Sock Beast.
[FX: wailing, melting monster]
Lister turned to the Cat, who was starting to come round now the stench was dissipating.
"Boys from the Dwarf!" whooped Lister. The Cat grinned weakly. "Next time you monkeys can do your own laundry!"