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The Cowards Way Out

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It's not gonna hold much longer sir, we'd better make this the last batch.

It was as if he heard their voices come to him from underwater. Why did he let them bring him here? He would die, either from that aneurysm, an attack or the roof collapsing on him. Please, he just wanted out of there.

One more trip Kryten, let me get one more crate of that red hot West Indian red pepper sauce.

Every part of Arnold Rimmer's body seemed to be buzzing with tension. A tension aggravated by paralyzing fear. He was holding a bazookoid, he'd never shot a bazookoid before, well, not for real. He'd trained a little with Lister recently, but the target had not moved. No matter how much he begged, for some reason Kryten never let them practice on him.

He had been anxiously hyperventilating from the moment they left Starbug, he couldn't take much more … he couldn't …
What was that? Where did she come from?

Well, if it isn't my old friends, the human vermin, the scab of slime, the pus-sucking, puke-laden walking cesspits of unspeakableness.

Flee, leave, find a way out of here. This was the end, for all of them. What could he do? What use was he? A shaking, hyperventilating no good useless failure?
What? How the smeg did he end up here, behind her? All he'd been looking for was a table to tremble under and await death!

We didn't start any of this, and I think that maybe NOW is a good time to sit down and parlez.

He knew, he knew what Lister meant. He wanted to shoot but … he couldn't! He was shaking, he had no aim, he was hopeless, a loser! If he'd take that shot he'd be the one who killed Lister, not her, he was certain. Or else he'd just drop the ceiling on all of them and end up imprisoned with their corpses. What would be worse, losing Lister because he failed or losing Lister because he was a coward?

Let's not hang around, just get on with it.

Paralyzing tension headaches and sudden tremors hit him. He should have told him he sh ...

What was that …? Suddenly he saw the words light up to him from the dark: “Escape Pod”. That … that reminded him!!

You scarpered in that escape pod, you slimy, triple-faced, back-stabbing Judas.

This had to be that moment, he was there standing near an escape pod. The others were far away. It all added up. He could save all of them! He didn't know how or why it would work, but … they were all safe in the future. That was what mattered, wasn't it? He had to because it was what he'd already done!Just jump in and leave, that was all it would take!
But Lister was angry with him … thought he'd deserted them, wanted him to shoot, be a hero.
But he couldn't, he couldn't! He would save Lister, yes, but in the cowards way, the only way he knew!

You can't be serious.

“Don't to worry Listy,” Rimmer thought. “I'll explain soon enough.”

I don't believe you're being serious.

He was serious, and it would be long, so very long, before he could explain to Lister why he did what he did. But on that day Lister held him, the first person in so many years to touch his broken body with kindness. Lister held him and called him; “The stupidest man in the universe”. Then he kissed him tenderly and slowly 600 years of pain were forgotten as he knew this pain had saved the man he loved.
Maybe he hadn't chosen the cowards way out after all ...