Chapter 1: George
I could hear the hum of the ships engines and life support systems surrounding me with every step. Each corridor filled with the lively chatter of Red Dwarf's crew members, scuttling about in a rush to do their daily duties in the hustle and bustle that was their mining vessel. I had made my way up from the ship's shuttle bay after repairing the Canary Drop Ship from yet another rough journey. I was tired and had plans based entirely around the idea of taking a quick nap before dinner and not waking up until the funeral for George later this evening.
That was until I heard the bickering of Second Technician Arnold Rimmer and Third Technician David Lister of Z shift. Always amused by the two, I had to stop and see what was stirring them this time.
'It's stupid anyway, all this maintenance business. The only reason they don't give this job to the service robots is they've got a better union than us,' I heard Lister say and smirked slightly.
'Lister, that is absolute nonsense. Right. What's next? Botanical gardens: faulty power circuit. In corridor 147: sticking door,' said Rimmer, ignoring the ramblings of his smelly underling.
'It's true, you know, though, Rimmer. You rank below all four of those service robots. Even the one that's gone absolutely mad,' Lister teased and pointed out what was technically true.
'Well, Lister, not for long, matey. Up, up, up! That's where I'm going!' He replied as I stood just round the corner from them.
'Not until you pass your engineer's exam. And you won't do that because you'll just go in there and flunk again,' All good points from Lister, Rimmer seemed to have the unbelievable knack for being a complete and utter failure when it came to Astro Navigation. It made me wonder why he was so determined in the first place. No, determined was the wrong word, I could admire determination, Rimmer was ambitious. To a fault. Arrogantly so.
'Lister, last time I only failed by the narrowest of narrow margins,' Rimmer replied, as they continued to walk several metres ahead of me.
'You what? You walked in there, wrote, "I am a fish," four hundred times, did a funny little dance, and fainted,' Lister stated. I had in fact heard that, though it was from the ship's catering officer, Peterson, so it had to be taken with a pinch of salt.
'That's a total lie!' Rimmer protested indignantly, which more than likely meant it was true.
'No, it's not! Petersen told me,' Lister replied.
'No, it's not! Petersen told me,' Rimmer mocked in a terrible Scouse accent. 'Lister, if you must know, what I did was, I wrote a discourse on power circuits which was simply too radical, too unconventional, too mould-breaking for the examiners to accept.'
'Yeah. You said you were a fish,' Lister replied and I had to cover my mouth to stop myself from laughing. I heard him light a cigarette and felt the familiar pull myself. I'd been trying to quit for a while, my sister always harping on about it but my heart just wasn't in it.
'Is that a cigarette you're smoking, Lister?' Rimmer asked.
'No, it's a chicken,' he replied as I pulled out a packet of cigarettes that had been rolled up in my shirt sleeve. I put the dart in my mouth and reached for my lighter. Patting my pockets I internally groaned. Bic Lighter, status MIA, presumed nicked.
'Right! You're on report. Two times in as many minutes, Lister! I don't know,' I heard Rimmer say and made my way up to them, walking quicker to catch up.
'Oi,' I called so they'd stop.
'Ahh, Mechanical Officer Treasa Kochanski, you're in it now Listy,' Rimmer said before doing his long winded and ridiculous salute.
'Got a light Lister?' I asked, turning to my sister's ex boyfriend.
'Here,' he replied flicking the wheels on his lighter and holding it out in front of me.
'Thanks muchly,' I replied. 'I think mine got nicked when I was down repairing the ship's Canary Drop Ship. I was going to report it, but hey, Rimmer, since you've got that report book open, why don't you do me a solid and put it to good use.'
'Of course,' he nodded scribbling out that I'd lost my lighter down down in the shuttle bay when the prisoners were still there. I took a drag and then turned to see Todhunter heading up the corridor toward us.
'Rimmer, Lister,' he greeted the two men beside me and Rimmer again graced us with his absurd salut.
'Todhunter get down!' Lister called enthusiastically and did a little dance.
'Kochanski, what are you doing down here?' Frank asked, turing towards me.
'Free ship, isn't it?' I replied with a shrug.
'It isn't actually,' he replied. 'Not that it matters, you've finished your shift for the day, haven't you?'
'I just finished repairing the Canary Drop Ship,' I replied honestly.
'Where she lost her lighter,' Rimmer butted in thrusting his report book in front of Frank.
'Yes,' he acknowledged before turning back to me. 'Anyway, you have any plans? This evening or otherwise,' he asked.
'Haven't decided yet,' I replied.
'Well, what about we go dancing down the disco after George's funeral?' He asked and I wanted to roll my eyes. Todhunter wasn't that bad but he was undoubtedly not my type. Not that I really knew what my type was, considering my recent dating history or the long list that came before that.
'I'm off for a nana nap actually,' I said and he laughed slightly. 'I'll sleep on it,' I told him and he smiled in response.
'You got it,' he nodded once in affirmation. 'I'll be down there, if you're there, maybe we'll share a dance, if not, no hard feelings.'
'Done,' I smiled and with a nod Todhunter moved on to his actual task, dealing with Rimmer.
'Now, Rimmer, I'm just going through MacIntyre's artifacts, and I see that you've filed 247 complaints ... against Lister,' he stated looking over his clipboard and I rolled my eyes, putting a hand up to my face and sighing.
'Yes, sir!' Rimmer confirmed, looking proud of himself.
'That's 123 counts of insulting a superior technician, 39 counts of dereliction of duty, 84 counts of general insubordination, and one count of mutiny,' Todhunter read through and I rolled my eyes, making Lister smirk slightly.
'Yes, sir!' Rimmer confirmed.
'Mutiny, Lister?' Frank asked, looking sceptical.
'I stood on his toe,' lister explained and I choked in disbelief on the smoke I'd just breathed in.
'Maliciously, and with intent to wound,' Rimmer explained and I almost sighed.
'It was an accident!' Lister argued.
'Lister, I put it to you, how is it possible to stand on one small toe by accident? You didn't stand on my toe at all, you stood on my entire foot, thereby obstructing a superior technician in pursuit of vital duty,' Rimmer explained, stretching what happened to unbelievable lengths.
'But the vital duty was him going to snap my guitar in half!' Lister argued.
'Whereupon you leapt from the top bunk onto the whole of my right foot,' Rimmer countered.
'All right, that's enough,' Frank stepped in and I felt sorry for the guy, having to deal with this on a regular basis.
'Had there been a crisis situation, Lister, I would have had to perform my duties hopping, clearly putting the ship at risk, clearly therefore mutiny,' Rimmer continued to explain, ignoring Todhunter.
'Finished?' Frank asked and I sighed. This could go on all day.
'However, I'm not a vindictive man, so I don't intend to apply for the death penalty,' Rimmer finished.
'There are 169 people on this ship. You, Rimmer, are over one man. Why can't you two get on?' Todhunter asked as I watched my sisters charming ex boyfriend stick a cigarette in his ear and scoop food out of a tinfoil pie casing.
'You see, I try, sir. I'm not an insubordinate man by nature. I try and respect Rimmer and everything, but it's not easy, 'cause he's such a smeghead,' Lister explained.
'Did you hear that, sir?' Rimmer said to Todhunter before turning back to Dave. 'Lister, do you have any conception of the penalty for describing a superior technician as a smeghead?'
'Oh, Rimmer,' Frank chuckled and clapped him on the shoulder. 'You are a smeghead.' He gestured to me then. 'Come on, I'll walk you to your quarters.'
I could hear Lister cracking up with laughter as we walked away and the fury in Rimmer's voice as he called after us. 'With respect, sir, your career's finished, Todhunter, you big lig!'
I giggled next to Todhunter for a longer than probably necessary and we headed back to B-Deck where a lot of the officer's quarters were. It was where mine were despite me being the ship's mechanic. Captain Hollister hadn't seen it necessary for me to move quarters mid trip unless it was obstructing me from my duties, which, it wasn't really. Took maybe 2-5 extra minutes to get to the shuttle bay but that was nothing. Hardly a reason to move quarters, especially since my old ones were much nicer than the ones for flight mechanics.
'Maybe I'll see you tonight,' I smiled at my door.
'Maybe,' he nodded at me once before going off to continue his duties for the rest of the day.
I stepped inside and unbuttoned my regulation shirt, hanging it up on the back of the chair before kicking off my shoes and jumping onto the bed, immediately folding the blankets over the top of me, thankful I hadn't made my bed after throwing them to the side this morning.
'Holly?' I asked softly.
'Yes Teresa?' He replied almost instantly.
'Could you please wake me up just before George's funeral?' I asked wiggling into the pillow some more.
'Of course Teresa,' he replied and then disappeared, leaving the room in total darkness.
'Teresa, it's time to wake up now,' Holly chimed in. 'George's funeral will be starting soon.'
'Course Holly,' I hummed rolling over slightly and chapping my lips together slightly, ready to sink back into dreamland through my pillow. 'Five more minutes.'
'I'm not sure Hollister would appreciate me pushing George's funeral back by five minutes so you can take a longer nap, I'm afraid,' he told me and I smiled. 'It up now or bust.'
'Of course Holly,' I responded, awake now anyway. 'Thank you for the wake up call.'
'Anytime,' he replied and then disappeared.
'Lights,' I called and winced when they turned on instantly and very brightly. I saw up and swung my legs over the side of the bed, actually making it this time before going over to the bathroom door and scrubbing my teeth clean, getting rid of the just napped feeling. I stepped out afterwards, checking myself over and then putting my regulation shirt back on, this time accessorising with a black armband. Well, I wouldn't call it a fashion statement.
I walked down to the drive room where we were holding the funeral and took my place amongst all the other officers in the small cluster behind the display. There was a metal canister in front of us and Captain Hollister to the far right of me. He stepped forward and started his speech.
'We're all gathered here today to pay our last respects to George MacIntyre. George was an excellent officer and as good of a friend as anyone could ever hope to have. And he'll be missed more deeply and more completely than he could ever know. And now I commend his ashes to the stars he loves so much,' Hollister said simply before walking over to the metal can and patted it appreciatively.
'Goodbye George, we'll miss you.' He put the can in a slot in the table and pressed the eject button, sending the urn into space. 'This is a piece of music he specially requested. Start the tape please Holly.'
'See you later alligator,' Wafter through the ship, and I almost felt like I should be laughing as we all stood, standing seriously mourning our fallen fellow crew member.
'There goes MacIntyre,' Lister said as he looked out the window of his shared quarters with the ships most hated man. 'Goodbye George,' he said as See you later alligator played throughout the ship. 'That was George!' Lister said as he turned in his bunk to lean down and chat with his bunk mate.
'Really? I thought it was Mary Queen of Scots,' Rimmer replied sarcastically. 'Off,' he ordered and the live video of George's funeral shut off.
'Hey I was watching that,' Lister objected.
'Well tough,' Rimmer replied, uncaring.
Lister instead went for his guitar, always able to occupy his time when he was bored.
'You touch that guitar, Lister, and I'll remove the E string and garrotte you with it,' Rimmer threatened.
'Can I do anything? Is it OK if I breathe? Can I breathe?' Lister asked, leaning down over the edge of his bunk and breathing in Rimmer's face.
'Lister, I have an exam tomorrow, which I intend to pass,' Rimmer replied, trying to appeal to his bunk mate's better nature.
'I know, yeah. By cheating,' Lister replied, ignoring the plea.
'This is not cheating! It's merely an aid to memory. Helps me marshal the facts already in my command,' Rimmer defended.
'What does? Copying the entire textbooks onto your body? Why don't you hand your body in and let them mark that?' Lister joked.
'Lister, do you think it's easy for someone like me to become an officer? Someone who wasn't Academy educated? Someone who didn't have the right nobby background? Someone who didn't have the right parents?' Rimmer asked.
'You didn't have the right parents? Whose parents did you have?' Lister raised a brow.
'My parents. The wrong parents,' Rimmer replied.
'I'm just saying, you know, if you can't pass fair and square, why bother?' Lister responded.
'Well, you would, Lister, because you've got no ambition, no drive. You're perfectly content to be the lowest rank on the ship,' Rimmer attacked.
'I'm not the lowest rank on this ship. What about the laboratory mice? I tell those mice to do something, they've got to jump to it,' Lister joked, clearly unbothered. ' "Yes, sir, Mr Lister, sir! Eee, eee, eee, eee..." ' He mocked in a squeaky voice with a goofy expression and his hand pressed to his head in a salute.
'Lister, you are a nothing,' Rimmer told him.
'I'm not a nothing! I've got me plan,' Lister argued.
'What's that, the plan to be the slobbiest entity in the entire universe?' Rimmer replied.
'No. Me five-year plan. You see, I'm going to do two more trips. And I've been saving up all me pay...' Lister started to explain.
'Since when?' Rimmer butted in in disbelief.
'Since always. That's why I never buy any soap or deodorant or socks or anything like that, you know. Anyway, I'm going to buy meself a little farm on Fiji. And I'm going to get a sheep and a cow, and breed horses,' he explained with a small smile on his face.
'With a sheep and a cow?' Rimmer asked puzzled.
'No, with horses and horses,' Lister shook his head.
'On Fiji?' Rimmer asked in disbelief.
'Yeah! The prices there are unbelievable,' Lister agreed.
'Yes, because they had a volcanic eruption and now most of Fiji's three feet below sea level!' Rimmer exclaimed.
'It's only three feet. They can wade,' Lister defended and then got quite thoughtful. 'That's why the animals are gonna hafta be quite tall.'
'Nice plan, Lister. Excellent plan! Brilliant plan, Lister! What about the sheep? What are you going to do, buy them water-wings? Fit them with stilts? Better still, you could cross-breed them with dolphins and have leaping mutton,' Rimmer started using his pen to mimic the leaping mutated farm animal. 'Baa, splash, baa, splash.'
'You can get a drainage grant these days,' Lister replied.
'Why bother, Lister? You could be the first man to produce wet- look knitwear,' Rimmer replied sarcastically.
'Look, this is why I never ever said anything to you, 'cause I knew you'd say something like this,' Lister said disheartened.
'Lister, you've got the brain of a cheese sandwich,' Rimmer told him. ' "Mornin', Farmer Lister! I'm just poppin' down to the shops in my submarine. Can I buy you anything?" ' he mocked in a goofy farmer's voice, right before there was a loud honking noise.
'The "Welcome Back George MacIntyre" reception is about to begin in the refectory. George says he'd like to invite everybody, especially those who weren't able to attend his funeral,' Holly announced.
I sat slouched in a plastic chair in the canteen, one foot on the plastic base of the chair, knee up at my chin, other foot resting on the table in front of me, waiting for the introductions to start. Peterson walked past me and then paused at the table with Rimmer, who was either preparing to cheat on his astro navigations exam tomorrow or was obsessed with stick n poke tattoos to the point of concern.
'Have you read Rimmer's arm?' I heard the Dane ask.
'No, I'm waiting for it to come out in paperback!' Chen replied and I smirked to myself as I heard the group behind me laughing.
'Petersen, have you got a quarter?' Lister asked. 'I've just been shown this great new intelligence test. What you've gotta do is force the coin onto your forehead. And then the more times you can bang yourself on the head, the more intelligent you are. You gonna go for it?' I couldn't believe they were trying to pull the first prank at the academy.
'He's going for it!' The group yelled.
'Ready? OK. Can you feel it?' Lister asked.
'Yep,' Peterson confirmed.
'Can you feel it?' Lister asked again and I rolled my eyes, taking out a cigarette and lighting up with the spare lighter I'd gotten from my locker before heading out. I took a drag and then looked up at the clock, hoping it would be starting soon. Eventually at the large set up in the front of the room Todghunter, Captain Hollister and the Hologram of George MacIntyre entered the room, and sat down in their respective chairs. Hollister then stood at the front to address the room.
'Folks, today is a day for both sadness and joy. Sadness, for the passing away of George, and joy, because George is back with us - albeit as a hologram. Now some of you may not have travelled with a hologram before, so I ask you to treat him as a normal man, because he is in every respect like George. He has George's personality and George's knowledge and experience. Of course, he can't lift anything or touch anything, so I ask you to cooperate with his requests. And please, take every care not to walk through him, not even when you're in a hurry. Thank you,' For smeg's sake we know.
Everyone hooted and cheer then there was a collective chorus of "Speech, speech, speech!"
'I want to thank everybody for giving me such a marvellous funeral. I've just seen the vid. And I want to thank the Captain for his beautiful eulogy. Beautiful. But I still don't understand why he didn't use the one I wrote,' MacIntyre joked and there was a collection of forced laughter.
This must seem pretty spooky for everyone, but I don't want you to think of me as someone who's dead, more as someone who's no longer a threat to your marriages,' he said and I rolled my eyes, only to be caught by Todhunter's glance who smiled and winked at me. And I spent the rest of the speech making faces at him.
'I think Joe knows what I'm talking about. As you know, Holly's only capable of sustaining one hologram. So, my advice to anyone more vital to the mission than me is: if you die, I'll kill you.'
'Please be upstanding for the cutting of the cake,' Todhunter addressed the room and then brought his eyes back to me, giving me a look. I stood, and smiled back at the second officer, while Hollister cut the cake. Frank raised his glass out to the room. 'Flight Coordinator George MacIntyre.'
'George!' Everyone cheered and I could hear Lister gargling behind me.
'OK. Just one thing before the disco, Holly tells me that he's sensed a non-human life form aboard,' Hollister announced.
'Sir, it's Rimmer!' Lister called out and I chocked on my glass. Making Todhunter smirk.
'We don't know what it is, Lister. So just be careful, OK?' Hollister replied.
'I'm turning you in, Rimmer,' Lister teased from behind me and out of the corner of my eye I saw Rimmer pull out his report book and I rolled my eyes, sending a sympathetic look at Todhunter who just sighed.
'Ooooh!' Lister and his friends mocked as Rimmer scribbled down notes on the white pages.
Eventually people either began to file out of the room, to get ready for the disco, or lined up for cake. I looked over to Todhunter who was pouring champagne and I winked at him before getting up out of my seat and getting ready to leave. At which point Lister and his cronies came over to me
'Alright Teresa,' Peterson nodded.
'Alright,' I nodded back.
'So are you going to the disco after, then?' Lister asked genuinely. He'd always been nice to me, even before he started dating my older sister and kept being nice to me even after they broke up.
'Yeah I've been thinking about it,' I nodded, bouncing the idea around in my head.
'Ooooh going on a date with Todhunter?' Lister teased and I rolled my eyes. 'Don't play it off, I saw him giving you eyes the whole speech.'
'He can make eyes all he wants,' I played coy. 'The question is, did I make eyes back?'
'That is a good question, did you?' Chen asked and I laughed.
'Todhunter isn't really my type,' I shrugged. And Lister grinned.
'Nah, you're like you're sister, you've got good taste in men, don't ya darlin', ' he tossed an arm around my shoulder affectionately and ruffled my hair.
'Sure, good taste,' I teased back and he chuckled while the rest of his mates cheered out an "Oooh".
'Lister,' Todhunter greeted from behind me and I looked up, Lister pulling away from me. 'Getting along better with Rimmer?' He asked.
'No, he's still a complete and total smeghead,' Lister replied and I shook my head smiling.
'Undoubtedly,' Todhunter agreed. 'So, Teresa, are you headed to the disco after this?' He asked me again, handing me a flute of champagne.
'Maybe,' I replied taking the flute off of him and sipping it coyly. 'See you later,' I smiled and took the glass with me, necking it once I was away from the group and putting the glass down on the table, leaving the canteen.
Chapter 2: Disco
'Look who decided to come down for a dance,' Todhunter said from next to me as I stood at the bar. This guy was beyond persistent. Sure it had been a bit of a laugh making faces and goofing around during the "Welcome Back George" party but this was all too much too fast. The guy was so full of himself it made Rimmer look modest.
'Yeah,' I nodded. 'Well a drink actually,' I smiled politely.
'Let me get that then,' Todhunter offered and then I smiled a bit warmer, he'd said the magic words.
'Alright Kochanski Jr.' I heard Chen say from my side as he came up for the next round of drinks for his table of misfits.
'Alright Chen,' I nodded at him and then nicked a pen from behind the bar scribbling down a quick note down on a napkin and sliding it over to him, putting a finger up to my lips and pointing to an oblivious Todhunter. He nodded and went back to doing his own thing.
'So,' Frank said. 'What're your plans after this mission ends?' He asked. 'Since you dropped Astro Navigations for Flight Mechanics.'
'Continue to be a flight mechanic,' I replied. 'Lest I follow George's steps out the door.'
'You'd really give up your superior position for rolling about in grease all day and a lower pay check?' Todhunter scoffed.
'Actually, Hollister kept my pay the same,' I replied. 'And yes, I would rather work in a job where I make achievements, where I'm kept busy and satisfied rather than work in a boring desk job where all the calculations, formulas and procedures I committed to memory are completely redundant. Because they are, all we see all day every day is a black sky with white dots everywhere.'
'Didn't know you felt that strongly about it, Kochanski,' Todhunter replied. 'Your sister seems to enjoy it enough.'
'We're sisters, not clones,' I replied and necked the drink he'd bought me and prayed for my SOS distress call to be answered. I singled the bartender for the same again.
'Alright boys another round,' Chen said as he got back to the table of his mates, putting down the tray of 16 mugs of larger.
'Yeeees,' Lister called stamping his feet and yanking his arms.
'You know who I saw at the bar,' he said.
'No,' Peterson shook his head.
'Little Kochanski Jr.' he told them. 'Slipped me this note and everything,' he proudly held up the napkin she'd given him at the bar.
'Well go on,' Lister said.
'Yeah,' Selby agreed.
'What's it say man?' Peterson asked.
'It says,' he held up the napkin theatrically and cleared his throat. ' "Lister," oh damn, it's for you man,' Chen handed the napkin over to his friend.
' "Lister," ' Lister read. ' "If ten minutes passes and I'm still stuck with this total smeg pot please come and rescue me," ' he read outlaid and looked over to where Teresa Kochanski was stood. She was with Frank Todhunter and was currently necking what was in her glass. ' "Send the cavalry if you have to, I owe you one." '
'Well looky here boys,' Selby clapped his hands together.
'Seems the smeg has moved up in the world,' Chen grinned.
'We're nights in shining armour,' Lister stamped his feet. 'Yeeees.'
'We're getting a favour,' Peterson said.
'How about a dance then, Teresa?' Frank suggested and I agreed, at least if we were dancing over on the incredibly noisy dance floor I wouldn't have to listen to him talk.
'That sounds like fun,' I said and necked back my third drink in the last five minutes. I let him lead me out to the dance floor where a lot of my fellow officers were out having a good time and then I started working my magic, moving like a dance machine. It was almost easy to forget the pompous prick in front of me as I focused on moving my little butt across the floor.
'You're quite good at that,' he commented. And I thanked him, choosing not to comment on his clearly inferior wiggling skills.
'Alright boys, one more quick game before we go and rescue Kochanski Jr.' Chen clapped his hands together.
'I've been to Titan, I've been to Juno, I can name eight things that go in jars that you know! Pickles!' Peterson clapped and banged on the table, playing the usual rhyming drinking game with his boys.
'Jam!' Called Selby.
'Spaghetti!' Called Chen.
'Brains!' Cried Lister.
'What? In jars?' Selby asked confused as everyone stared at him.
'My uncle's brain's in a jar. It's really sad,' Lister explained.
'Why is it sad?' Chen asked.
'He's not dead yet,' Lister cracked up.
'Right, everybody's punished. Finish your drinks,' Peterson ordered and then skulled what was last of their larger.
'Is that,' I heard Lister say from behind me and sighed in relief. He poked his head round and theatrically checked to see if I was the right person he was thinking of. 'It is! Kochanski!'
'Lister, hi,' I greeted with an overly cheesy grin. I immediately leaned forward to wrap my arms around him, like you would an old friend.
'Todhunter get down,' Lister did his usual greeting and was met with the usual response.
'Yes,' he nodded.
'So what are you to love birds doing out and about?' He asked.
'Oh we're not together,' I replied chirpily. 'Just ran into a college and thought we'd have a dance. You celebrating George's return?'
'Kochanski,' I heard from behind me and saw Chen waving finger guns at me.
'Ayyy it's little Kochanski Jr.' Selby greeted for my other side.
'Teresa,' Peterson's thick Danish accent slurred from my other, other side, enclosing me in a protective ring of slobs.
'Good to see you guys,' I smiled up at them, eternally grateful for them coming to my aid.
'Well,' I heard Todhunter say from somewhere outside the circle. 'I might see you around Kochanski.'
'Bye bye,' Lister said and all his boys joined in, waving and saying "bye bye".
'Oh my god I am so glad you showed up when you did,' I threw my arms around each of the guys.
'The cavalry my darling,' Peterson slurred.
'Course we would,' Lister replied punching my upper arm lightly. 'Couldn't let you get trapped with a complete and total smeg head, now could we?'
I headed out on my own, now that Lister and co. had seen to it that Todhunter had left for the night and went to dance with some of my friends that I had spotted. I said good bye and another thank you before leaving. Hopefully, I could still have a good evening now the awkward and disagreeable not date with my superior was over.
Eventually though I grew tired and wanted to sit down. All the tables were full except the one next to Peterson's table. I went up to the bar and bought anouther round of drinks for them and myself and put them down on their table.
'Gents, a thank you,' I said and then walked away from the table, going to sit by myself. I sat in my trademark slouching position, one foot on the plastic base of my chair, the other one resting on the table. I rolled my shoulders back and then pulled out a cigarette, lighting it and taking a deep drag. I felt a lot better now, albeit a little tired.
I looked up from my cigarette for a moment only to see a still uniformed Arnold Rimmer marching through the disco.
'Excuse me, please. Could you please excuse me? Some of us have more important things to do than wiggle our posteriors. Could you move please? Please? Thank you. Could you move? Excuse me, please. Excuse me. Excuse me, please. Excuse me!'
I could just barely hear him over the music but I did enjoy seeing how frustrated he got. I spotted he'd gotten stopped behind my sister and laughed a little, she really did think he was as much of a smeg head as I did. Rimmer bumped into her accidentally and knocked her purse out of her hand. He bent down to pick it up for her and just when I thought he was going to apologise he instead reaffirmed just how much of a plonker he was.
'If you want to dance, do it over there,' he said and threw her purse over the other side of the disco and my eyebrows shot through my hairline. 'Sorry.' He called out to the person he threw her purse at.
'That woman's out of your league. She's just too classy for you,' Chen said to Lister as he watched my sister leave. I mean, he was a slob but she couldn't have been that out of his league if they'd dated before. And I liked Dave better than I liked Tom, even if Lister was a smelly git.
'Who is?' Lister tried to play coy.
'Kochanski,' Chen answered.
'I've got no big thing about Kochanski,' Lister defended, he absolutely did have a big thing about my older sister.
'Stick to your usual type. Women with little wispy beards who wear three overcoats and carry little bags full of string,' Chen teased.
'Kristine Kochanski?' Selby asked.
'Shut up!' Lister yelled.
'What, Officer Kristine Kochanski?' Selby continued.
'Selby, have you ever eaten a coconut whole?' Dave threatened.
'Ah, you've got no second chance with her. You're just too ugly,' Selby told him and I shook my head, going back to my cigarette.
'Listen, hadron head, I've got no big thing about Kristine Kochanski!' Lister defended.
'I have,' said Chen and I stubbed out my cigarette butt and looked the other way for something to do.
'So have I,' said Selby.
'You know who's also fine?' Peterson asked.
'Who?' Chen asked.
'Little Kochanski Jr.' He answered matter of factly and I sighed quietly, pretty sure they were unaware I could hear them, or that I was even nearby.
'Yes,' Selby clapped his hands together. 'Much more in your league, Lister.'
'She doesn't have a little wispy beard,' Chen said. 'I know, I like to look at her face when she's not looking. I've seen it up real close. No beard.'
'I don't fancy my ex-girlfirend's little sister,' Lister told them.
'I do,' Peterson replied.
'I do,' Chen agreed.
'I do,' Selby joined.
It was then Rimmer turned up and I lit up another dart. He gave the table his signature pillock salute and the boys returned it mockingly.
'Ha ha ha,' Rimmer laughed sarcastically. 'Lister, where's my revision timetable?'
'Sir, it's Saturday night!' Chen informed him.
'Come on, no one works Saturday night!' Lister told him.
'You don't work any night. You don't work any day!' Rimmer replied.
'Skive hard, play hard! That's our motto!' Lister said and everyone cheered.
'Look, I've got my engineering re-sit on Monday. I don't know anything. Where's my revision timetable?' Rimmer asked.
'Wait, is this the thing in all different colours, with all the subjects divided into study periods and rest periods and self testing time?' Lister asked.
'It took me seven weeks to make it. I've got to cram my whole revision into one night,' Rimmer said and I shook my head, no wonder he was a complete novice. I put my leg on the seat down, leaving the foot I had on the table, shifting uncomfortably.
'Hang on, is this the thing with the note on it in red which said, "Vital. Valuable. Urgent. Do not touch on pain of death?" ' Lister asked.
'Yes!' Rimmer replied getting stressed.
'I threw it away,' Lister joked and laughed with his friends.
'Ha ha ha ha. Tee hee. Where is it?' Rimmer asked.
'No, I didn't. I pinned it up on the wall,' Lister told him honestly.
'What? Why?' Rimmer asked surprised and confused.
'To dry it out,' Lister explained.
'What do you mean, dry it out?' Rimmer replied.
'Well, I spilled a cold vindaloo on it. Don't worry, it's a little bit red, but you can read most of it, especially if you scrape the lumps off,' Lister assured him and sometimes I felt bad for Rimmer, everyone was mean to him. But it was hard to feel completely sorry for him because he was a completely selfish git.
'You spoiled my - no, I haven't got time. I'm taking learning drugs and all I'm memorising is this conversation,' Rimmer said rubbing his temples.
'They're illegal!' Peterson drunkenly scolded.
'Where's my revision timetable, Lister? It's Saturday night. No one works Saturday night. You don't work any night. You don't work any day. Skive hard, play hard, that's our motto. Lister, where did you put my revision timetable. It's Saturday night. No one works Saturday night. You don't work...' He muttered going into a sort of trance.
He tried to move around the table, came by me and tripped over someone's pile of stuff and came straight for me as I sat holding my cigarette up in my right hand. He landed between my thighs, knees hitting the floor and face landing in between my boobs. My probably very sweaty boobs. My probably very sweaty boobs that were now touching Rimmer. I held a look of complete shock on my face and I almost dropped my cigarette. Rimmer pulled his face out of my cleavage slowly and then looked up at my face, going completely pink and unable to move.
'What the smeg are you doin' man?' Lister climbed up out of his chair and yanked Rimmer up out of my boobs by his collar.
'Are you alright?' Lister asked and I sat agape after Rimmer walked off.
'That really wasn't how I saw my evening going,' I said and he snorted.
'I bet it wasn't,' he laughed and patted me on the shoulder.
'Look after yourself,' he smiled and then went back to his table.
Home the for me I think, I decided. I stubbed out what was left of my cigarette and got up, heading back towards B deck where my quarters were.
'I've been to Titan, I've been to Bolanski, I can name 90 men who've slept with Kochanski! Me!' I heard Chen start up their rhyming game again and rolled my eyes.
'Me!' Called Peterson.
'Me!' Cried Selby.
'The London Jets Juniors!' Said Chen.
'The service droids!' Peterson Clapped.
'My mother!' Said Selby.
'OK, leave it alone, leave it alone,' I heard before I was able to get out of the disco.
'Kochanski,' Todhunter greeted when I got to the door of my quarters.
'I'm not sure how you managed to get more drunk than I did when you left early,' I commented, smelling the alcohol rolling off of him in waves and watching him sway.
'I went to the officer's club after,' he told me and I nodded.
'Maybe the next place you should go to is your quarters, sleep this off,' I suggested.
'Sleep it off,' he nodded. 'Let's do that together,' he suggested.
'Let's not,' I replied. 'You're very drunk Todhunter.'
'Frank,' he corrected.
'Frank,' I said. 'Go home, drink some water, go to bed.'
'Come with me,' he said, pulling my wrist. I decided to agree, thinking I could shove him in his own door and head to my own quarters.
'Okay,' I smiled and let him stumble at my side. 'Holly, is Petrovich in?' I asked.
'Yes, he's just gotten back from the officer's club and is relatively sober,' Holly replied. 'Would you like me to inform him of the situation?'
'Yes!' Todhunter yelled. 'Tell him to bugger off so I can shag this beautiful women!'
'Tell him I'm escorting a drunken Todhunter home and to be ready to take over,' I told him, ignoring the piss head. We walked past a food dispenser and I stopped him. 'Kebab and chips, chill sauce, and a water,' I ordered and carried the container and the giant water bottle while Todhunter wandered at my side muttering idly about a sports game he went to when he was 12 and how eggs and soldiers was far superior to fried eggs with toast triangles.
'Petrovich,' I knocked hard on the door and the door opened immediately.
'Out you go!' Todhunter ordered as I walked in, put the food down and forced Frank into a seat. 'Eat,' I ordered and he nodded.
'I'll need to keep my strength up,' he agreed. 'Because I'm about to give you the most wild night of your life,' he told me and I rolled my eyes, waving to Petrovich and then heading back out the door.
'Good morning Teresa, this is your morning wakeup call,' Holly chimed and I moaned into the pillow. 'I have specific instructions to tell you from Mister Lister, would you like to hear them?'
'Uhhhh...' I rubbed my face and tried to process what Holly had just said. 'Yeah.'
'Dave said to inform him when you've woken up and not to leave your quarters before he's had a chance to speak to you, it's urgent,' Holly repeated.
'Well if it's urgent you'd better tell I'm up,' I commented. 'Thanks Holly.'
I jumped into the shower quickly and was brushing my teeth when I heard the hurried knocking on my quarters door. 'Holly open the door please,' I slurred, spitting out the toothpaste.
'You haven't heard anything yet, have you?' Lister asked and I raised a brow.
'Heard what?' I asked. 'I haven't left, like you asked. I've only spoken to Holly this morning.'
'It's Todhunter..' Lister started.
'He didn't die of alcohol poisoning did he?' I asked, rolling my eyes.
'No,' Lister replied. 'He's going around telling everyone you slept with him last night.'
'Holly can you burn me a tape of me escorting Todhunter back to his room and then immediately leaving again?' I asked.
'Certainly, Teresa,' Holly replied.
'You still have that napkin?' I asked and he pulled it out of his pocket.
'It's got a bit of vindaloo on it though,' he said sheepishly and I took it from him.
'It's fine,' I said and asked Holly to copy the napkin as well. 'Holly can you make an announcement at lunchtime for me today?'
'Certainly Teresa, what would you like to say?' He asked.
'Please inform everyone that I didn't sleep with Todhunter and then present them with the evidence on all screens on the ship, napkin first and then video,' I said and then handed Lister back his napkin. 'If anyone needs me I'll be down in the Shuttle Bay doing my job instead of childish gossiping.'
'If it makes you feel any better kid, the guys and I don't believe him,' Lister said.
'I know,' I gave him a half hearted smile. 'I'm just thinking about how much trouble I'm going to get into with Hollister later for using the announcement system for this.'
Chapter 3: Stasis
Lister was sat at the table in hi quarters, just below the Cat who was sewing his clothes, perched in Lister's bunk. He turned another page in the book and read out loud to his companion. He was just turning the page when Rimmer came in.
'Good book?' Asked Rimmer, upon entering the room.
'Yeah, it's alright,' Lister replied.
'I didn't think you read,' Rimmer replied snootily.
'Not much, but this is good,' Lister replied.
'What is it?' Rimmer asked out of curiosity.
'It's your diary,' Lister replied smugly.
'WHAT!?' Rimmer exclaimed.
'I didn't know you sent secret love letters to Carol McCauley,' Lister stated.
'Lister, that is my private, personal, private diary; full of my personal, private, personal things,' Rimmer scolded.
'It's gone public,' the Cat informed him.
'I don't believe it! You've been reading that to the Cat?' Rimmer exclaimed.
'Only the best bits!' The Cat justified.
' "Carol McCauley, your eyes are like two limpid pools in the mornings." ' Lister read from the diary.
'Shut up,' his orders fell on deaf ears as Lister continued.
' "Your hair is like a golden waterfall." ' Lister smirked as he read the poetry.
'Shut up,' Rimmer demanded.
' "Plus, those tight skirts you wear make me really horny." ' Lister finished.
'Lister, I order you to shut your face,' Rimmer said angrily.
'It's no big deal, you know. You can read my diary,' Lister told him.
'Who'd want to read your diary? It's full of puerile nonsense about Kristine Kochanski,' Rimmer stated.
'Ah, So you've read my diary,' Lister concluded.
'Yes, but at least I have the common decency to do it sneakily behind your back,' Rimmer defended.
'He's right. That is definitely the decent thing to do!' The Cat stated, clearly amused by all this.
'Anyway, my puerile nonsense about Krissy is no where near as bad as your crush on Teresa,' Lister stated. 'How come you never said anything?'
'Say anything! She thought I was a total smeghead! And what would you have done if you'd known? I bet you would have rubbed it in, teased me relentlessly about it, I bet you would have told her. You always were pally. You could have laughed at me together,' he cried out.
'I'd have never,' Lister replied. "I might have teased yeh but I'd never have told her or laughed at you. She was really cute, it's understandable.'
'Oh shut up,' Rimmer rolled his eyes. 'And keep your smegging hands off my diary!'
'I'm doing it for a reason anyway. Look what I found in Kochanski's quarters this morning,' Lister held up a picture.
'So?' Rimmer asked.
'Look at it!' Lister told him.
'It's a wedding photograph,' Rimmer stated, unimpressed and confused at the relevance.
'Yeah, And who is the incredibly gorgeous hunky beefcake she's marrying?' Lister asked smugly.
'It's you! But you didn't marry Kochanski!' Rimmer said in disbelief.
'Exactly! So how is this possible, unless somehow we go back in time?' Lister explained.
'What's this got to do with my diary?' Rimmer asked.
'It's this bit here about the mushrooms, on the day you thought Teresa kissed you, isn't it. You see, when you saw your head coming through the table, I don't think it was a hallucination. I think you were seeing you, now, arriving back in the past,' Lister explained.
'There's a wise old Cat saying which I think applies in this situation. It goes: "What are you talking about, dog-breath?" ' Said the Cat.
'Listen to what it said. It says; "The head came through the table and said, `I'm from the future. I've come to save your life. We found a stasis leak on floor sixteen.'" You see, I don't think it was a hallucination.' Lister theorised.
'What's a stasis leak?' The Cat asked just as Holly popped up on the monitor.
'Alright, dudes. What's going down in groove town then?' Holly greeted.
'Alright, Hol. Listen, what's a stasis leak?' Lister asked.
'Um, well, very, very basically, putting it as simply as I can for your average layman to comprehend, a stasis leak is a leak, right, in stasis, hence the name "a stasis leak." ' Holly replied.
'You don't know, do you, Hol?' Lister responded.
'No, I don't,' Holly replied.
'Well, I suggest we go down to floor sixteen and see what's there,' Lister stated.
'How come he never, ever knows anything? He's supposed to have an I.Q. of six thousand!' Rimmer complained.
'Six thousand's not that much. It's only the same IQ as twelve thousand car park attendants,' Holly replied in jest.
'But you don't know anything,' Rimmer said.
'Listen, I happen to be one of the sleekest, most sophisticated computers ever devised by man. I'm the nearest thing you can get to infullible,' Holly defended.
'Infallible,' Lister corrected.
'Exactly,' Holly nodded.
'I want to say thank you again, Kochanski, for coming to my aid like this,' Captain Hollister said as I stood just outside the shower while he stood inside, in a giant chicken suit.
'Teresa,' I said with a soft smile, hosing him down.
'Yes, Teresa,' he smiled back. 'It's not often I find myself in this situation, but I'm grateful you've agreed to help me and keep it a secret.'
'I'm just grateful you didn't punish me too severally when I hacked the announcement system. We're friends, let's say no more about it,' I told him as I started combing the paint out of the wet chicken's belly.
'Deal,' he replied and then turned off the water.
He stepped outside of the shower and I started blowdrying the front of him, paint now out.
'How did you get covered in this anyway?' I asked.
'I think Rimmer's gone bananas,' Hollister replied. 'Today he reported that Lister drugged him with space mushrooms and then later when I went to apologise for giving him PD he went off the deep end started painting my costume and yelling at me.'
'I think he must have thought you were a hallucination,' I laughed. 'I'm sure he'll be fine. I'll check on him after this, if you like. Arnold Rimmer doesn't scare me.'
'Would you?' Hollister asked.
'Course, anything for a friend,' I smiled.
'Hey, Lister have you seen Rimmer?' Teresa asked, no idea she was speaking to the Lister from 3 million years in the future.
'Um, no,' He replied and she turned to look at the Cat who was standing next to him.
'Hey!' She smiled enthusiastically and pointed to him. 'I bet I know who you are. You're going as Liberace to that party tonight, aren't you?'
'Yer he is,' Lister snorted and dragged the Cat out of the room. 'I'll see you around Teresa.'
'That's the one Goal Post Head was crushing on?' The Cat asked him.
'Yeah, that's Krissy's little sister,' Lister explained to his companion.
'I can see why, for once Alphabet Head and I agree on something, she's beautiful' the Cat replied and then yowled as he went down the hallway.
'Peterson,' I yelled as I jogged up the hallway to Lister's mate who was carrying the luggage of two female shipmates. I bet he knew where Rimmer was, he was always teasing him.
'Not now Teresa, I am assisting these two beautiful women,' he told me theatrically, probably trying to get laid.
'But Olaf,' I whined seductively. 'Remember when I was a beautiful woman you would assist?' I asked showing myself up against him and resting a hand on his chest. 'Make love to me, Peterson, just one last time. I can't stand it, all those nights alone without you.'
'I can't Teresa,' he replied, turning his head away dramatically, catching on to what I was doing. 'Our time making love together is over, we can never be together again.'
'Don't do it Olaf,' I threw my head back. 'I need you.'
'No Teresa,' he said. 'We are over,' he pulled away and then threw his head up in the air dramatically as the girls followed after him, suddenly intrigued.
I ran down into the ship and caved, asking Holly because otherwise I'd be running around all day. He was reportedly in the medical bay for some reason. I ran down there as quickly as I could, fearing the Captains concerns were legitimate. Stories of horror running through my mind. Damn that smeg head.
'Excuse me,' I panted, reaching a medical officer. 'Captain Hollister sent me,' I gasped.
'What does the Captain require?' He asked.
'Information,' I replied, regaining myself. 'He spoke to Second Technician Arnold Rimmer several times today and..'
'He's been admitted, yes,' the officer cut me off. 'If the Captain was concerned about Rimmer's psychotic state, he was right. We've given him a stomach pump and a blood transfusion so there's no possible way for the mushrooms from Titan to still be in his system. You can see him if you like.'
'Mushrooms did all this?' I asked in disbelief.
'We think so,' the doctor replied. 'We'll find out after this I suppose.'
'I'm glad you can be so precise,' I replied sarcastically, walking with him into Rimmer's room.
'Mister Rimmer,' the doctor cleared his throat. 'You've got a visitor.'
'If it's Lister, tell him to go away, I don't want to see him. I don't want him anywhere near me,' Rimmer replied still laying down.
'It's Miss Kochanski,' the doctor replied. 'I'll leave you to it, Teresa.'
'Teresa,' Rimmer brightened, trying to sit up. 'God it was awful, I saw my own head come out of the table. He said he was from the future, that I would be dead in 3 million years.'
'Would you really?' I replied sarcastically.
'That's what I said,' he replied, still out of it. 'And then there was a chicken in my room, it sounded like Hollister.'
'It was Hollister,' I replied. 'There's a costume party tonight at the disco, you painted the Captain.'
'Oh smeg,' Rimmer replied inrealisation. 'Oh no. No. No. NO.'
'He's not angry anymore,' I told him, perching on his bed. 'I spoke to him and now he's just concerned about your safety and wellbeing.'
'You spoke to him, on my behalf?' Rimmer looked at me surprised.
'Course I did, you're Lister's mate,' I explained. 'He's practically family. Any friend of his is a friend of mine.'
'That explains why Peterson and his cronies are so nice to you,' Rimmer replied. 'But Lister and I are not mates, he was the one who did this to me.'
'He didn't know they were hallucinogenic,' I defended. 'He'd never do that to someone, he won't even sleep with anyone when they're drunk, unless he's equally as drunk.'
'Well that fills me with comfort,' Rimmer replied sarcastically.
'Miss Kochanski, he'd good to go now, you can escort him back to his quarters if you like,' the medical officer stated.
'Sure,' I smiled. 'Rimmer, do you want me to come with you?' I asked.
'You want to come back to my quarters?' He asked surprised.
'Sure, I promised the Captain I'd see you well,' I replied.
'The Captain wants me well?' He asked with the same surprise.
'The Captain cares about all his crew, even especially annoying smeggers like yourself,' I grinned and ruffled his surgical cap.
I walked silently by the orderly as he wheeled Rimmer back to his quarters and waved to passers by that I knew. I saw Peterson sneaking out of a room hair all disheveled and smirked. He winked at me and went on his merry way.
'So, they won't come back again?' Rimmer asked once we reached his quarters.
'Just stay calm, keep cool, and get some sleep,' the orderly replied.
'There he is. Sleeping like a baby. I'm going to get better, then I'm going to kill him,' Rimmer said upon noticing Lister. He then unstrapped him from his wheelchair and with my help got him on the bed.
'If you need anything, Call Holly,' he said. 'And good luck Teresa,' and with that he left.
'I bet this is better,' I smiled, sitting down next to him. 'Being in your own quarters, safe and sound instead of in that stuffy medibay.'
'Sure, back in the place where all this smeging stuff started,' he replied crossing his arms.
'You're not crazy Rimmer,' I smiled softly. 'Stop worrying they'll come back. Listen, I'm going to go get you something to eat, and then I'll come back and help you get to bed, alright.'
'Nothing with mushrooms,' he told me.
'No mushrooms, I promise,' I grinned and ruffled his surgical cap again. 'I'll be right back.'
I had no idea why I was being so kind to Rimmer, who, ordinarily drove me up the wall. But there was something about seeing him like this made me feel pretty bad. I went over to the nearest dispenser and asked it for Rimmer's favourite, and didn't take much notice as to what it was. The hardest part of the whole ordeal was remembering his crew number and quoting it to the machine.
'GO AWAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY!' I heard screaming from a few corridors ahead and frowned.
'Smeg,' I said and grabbed his food and a water bottle, running down the hallways and back towards Rimmer and Lister's quarters, hoping Lister could handle himself.
'What the smeg are you yelling about man?' Lister asked as I got through the door, huffing and puffing a little.
'What happened?' I gasped. 'I came as quickly as I could.'
'They came back again, this time there was two dead me's and two other Listers and a strange man with big teeth,' Rimmer replied.
'You mean the guy in the Liberace costume?' I asked. 'I saw him earlier. And there's only one Lister here now, why not sit back down and have some dinner? Hmm?' I soothed.
'You're probably right,' he nodded.
'You're just tired,' I told him and he nodded again, letting me come over and help prop him up.
'I don't usually eat in my bunk,' he stated.
'I know,' I nodded. 'Just this once,' I told him, setting up his food.
'Why are you helping me?'
'Hollister asked me to, I told you. You're still the smeghead you always were, you're just stressed.'
'You want any help?' I heard Lister ask from above. 'No, you're alright, Dave. I've got tomorrow morning off so I'll see Rimmer through this and then head off. You get some sleep.'
'Alright, you need anything just wake me,' he replied.
'I will,' I smiled up at the bunk above me. 'Night Dave.'
'Night Teresa,' he replied and it wasn't long before he was snoring away, loudly. I let out a quiet giggle, putting a hand over my mouth at the chainsaw level snores and pointed up at the bunk above us as Rimmer gave me a funny look.
'Why are you eating everything separately?' I asked, watching Rimmer eat everything methodically and only eating one thing at a time.
'I like to eat my food alphabetically,' he replied tiredly.
'And I thought I had OCD,' I laughed and watched him eat. I helped him open his water bottle and drink before heading to his cupboard, grabbing some pyjamas out for him.
'You finished?' I asked as I watched him try to get up. He nodded. 'Here,' I took the tray from him and put it on the table in the middle of the room.
I then went over to him and helped him sit up facing me, legs dangling over the front of the bed. I started pulling the trousers over his legs and pulled them up over his feet towards his knees were his surgical gown ended.
'Right,' I said. 'You pull them on while I work on unbuttoning your shirt,' I told him, getting up off my knees and turning away from him.
When I turned around again he was finished dressing, and I untiled the gown from the back, tossing it into a laundry hamper nearby. Then I wrapped the unbuttoned pyjama shirt around his shoulders, getting one arm in and then the next. I looked down, about to start buttoning his shirt closed when I got momentarily distracted by his abs. I wasn't expecting such a smeghead like Rimmer to be build like this, even his arms are a little bit toned.
'What?' he asked and I shook my head.
'Sorry,' I replied going to button his shit closed, trying not to touch them. 'There,' I smiled when he was filled dressed. 'That's better,' I helped him back against his pillows, pulling the blankets over him and tucking him in lightly.
'I still feel like this is all some kind of practical joke or a dream or something,' Rimmer said.
'Oh Rimmer,' I sighed, sitting beside him on the edge of his bed. 'You really need to lighten up. Stop being such a stickler for the ruled and have a little fun every now and again. People will like you a lot more if you stop putting them on report for stuff.'
'You really think that's all it'll take? They hate me Teresa, they think I'm a smeghead,' Rimmer said.
'Stop acting like one then,' I told him.
'They hate me Teresa, everyone does,' he winged.
'I don't hate you,' I rubbed his arm, trying to assure him.
'You don't?' he asked sitting up to look at me.
'No,' I smiled, looking at him, just inches away from my face. I could feel his breath hitting me in the face and my eyes dropped down to his pale pink lips. 'No I don't hate you,' I breathed.
'No?' he asked, looking at me in an adoration I'd never noticed before.
'No,' I confirmed and shuddered as one of his hands came to rest on my upper arm.
I quickly closed the gap between us and connected our mouth, kissing the soft, plump lips usually twisted into a smarmy smirk and telling everyone he was putting them on report. They were surprisingly quiet as he kissed me back. A hand slid to the back of my neck, fingers knotting themselves in the hair at the back of my neck. I dropped my hand to the bed beside us and his warm and much larger hand moved forward to hold it, intertwining with mine. I shifted forwards, moulding my torso into his and slipping my tongue between his lips, running it over the back of his teeth. He jumped in surprise but moved forward, tilting his head for a better angle and kissing me back with enthusiasm.
'Oh my god,' I breathed out in shock as he pulled away for air. I put my hand up to my mouth, heart hammering in my chest, pulse throbbing in my ears.
'That was amazing,' he replied.
'That was wildly inappropriate,' I replied shocked at my own behaviour.
'I mean,' he stuttered out. 'I know you're an officer and I'm a second technician but..'
'No it's not that,' I assured. 'No really, that's not what bothers me. It just so wrong right now, for me to be kissing you. You just got out of the medical unit for christ's sake. I'm so sorry, I should have never taken advantage of you like that.'
'You've taken advantage of me?' He asked surprised.
'Rimmer, listen,' I backed up on the bed. 'You should get some rest, sleep this off.'
'Wait,' he sat further up. 'I feel fine, you should stay.'
'No,' I replied getting up. 'No, I shouldn't stay,' I told him and then softened, seeing his heart broken face. 'Come and see me, when you're better. We'll organise to go for a drink. Or we could have a tea in the cafeteria,' I assured him.
'You promise?' He asked.
'I promise,' I nodded.
'So that was a bit of a wasted trip,' the Cat commented upon entry to the drive room.
'It was nice seeing her again, just seeing here,' Lister replied. 'Even if she was with that plonk.'
'Lister that plonk was you,' Rimmer replied, thinking about that day, all those years ago. Discovering only now, that that kiss they'd shared wasn't a hallucination and she really had said she hadn't hated him, really had kissed him. It was real, and he'd been too terrified to do anything, and now she was dead. He'd been a fool.
'No I'm me,' Lister replied. 'He was different.'
'Yeah, he was you in five years you goit,' Rimmer replied. 'Now I wanna know if it worked.'
'You wanna know if your whacked out of your mind on mushrooms self decided to go into stasis?' Lister asked in disbelief.
'I can answer that one for you myself, not-buddy,' the Cat replied.
'What's happening dudes,' Holly said, hopping back onto the monitors and out of Lister's watch.
'Did it work?' Rimmer asked.
'Did what work?' Holy replied.
'Did I manage to save myself, is anyone in stasis?' He explained.
'Oh bugger,' Holly replied.
Chapter 4: Bugger
'Warning,' I heard Holly say as I worked on repairing the hull of Starbug 4. 'Warning, Kochanski Teresa, this is a warning.'
'What is it Holly?' I asked, turning off the blowtorch and pulling up my welding mask.
'I've had to seal off the cargo decks and the shuttle bay, there's an emergency,' Holly told me. 'There's a radiation leak.'
'Oh my god,' I said. 'Is everyone okay?'
'It's spreading throughout the main decks of the ship, I've issued a warning,' he said. 'You need to get into Starbug's stasis booth before it's too late.'
'Right,' I noddeld sliding out from under Starbug 4 and running into the ship. 'Holy what's going to happen to the rest of the crew?' I asked, jumping into the pod once it came down.
'I'll do everything I can,' he told me and I nodded. 'You'll be safe in here, Teresa, don't worry.'
'Oh bugger,' Holly said.
'What do you mean, oh bugger, Hol?' Lister asked, turning to the monitor, slightly cross.
'I mean I've gone and buggered something up, I have,' he explained.
'What have you buggered up?' Lister demanded.
'We'll I've only gone and forgot about her haven't I?' Holly replied.
'Forgotten about who?' Lister cried.
'Teresa,' Holly replied.
'You mean Sexy Space Lady is alive?' The Cat asked.
'You mean Teresa is in stasis booth two and has been this whole time and you just forgot to wake her up?' Lister asked annoyed.
'No, I'm not a complete idiot,' Holly replied. 'She's in the stasis unit onboard Starbug 4.'
'You left her alone in the shuttle bay for 3 million and 3 years?' Rimmer asked outraged.
'Alright come on,' Lister said. 'We're going down there to wake her up.'
He turned away from the monitor to go down to the lifts to the shuttle bay to find Rimmer had already raced off down the hallway. The Cat followed a few steps in front of Lister, yowling as he moved down the hall.
'Good evening Teresa,' Holly greeted. 'It is now safe to emerge from stasis, welcome back aboard Red Dwarf.'
'What time is it, Holy,' I groaned, jet lagged and confused. 'Where am I?'
'You're onboard Starbug 4, you entered stasis when I sealed off the shuttle bay and the cargo decks to protect you from the radiation leak,' he explained.
'Of course,' I nodded squinting up at the ceiling of the pod. 'What happened, is the crew okay?'
'Most of the crew is dead, wiped out in the radiation. All that is left is Dave Lister who was in stasis during the leak and Frankenstein, his pregnant cat who was safely sealed in the hold,' Holly replied.
'So what happens now Holly?' I asked. 'Where's Lister?'
'I'm here,' I heard Lister say as he stepped into the room with the stasis pod. 'Better let me do the explainin' from here, Hol,' Lister said.
'How long have I been out?' I asked.
'Three million and three years,' Dave explained.
'Three million and three years?!' I replied outraged.
'Well yeah, the radiation had to dissipate before it was safe for anyone to come out,' Lister explained. 'You were only supposed to be in for three million years but Holly sort of forgot.'
'SORT OF FORGOT!' I raged. 'How do you sort of forget about a human you have stashed away in the shuttle bay?'
'Hey, I've been very busy I'll have you know,' Holly replied indignity.
'Anyway,' Lister dragged my attention back to him. 'It's just me, you and the Cat.'
'Frankenstein is still alive?' I asked surprised.
'No,' Lister snorted. 'The Cat, is his name. He evolved from Frankie, like we sort of evolved from monkeys, he evolved from cats over the last three million years, he's human..ish.'
'So it's you, me, a humanoid cat and a geriatric computer with memory problems,' I replied.
'Well sort of,' he replied. 'There's also..'
'Hi Teresa,' Rimmer walked into the room, dressed neatly in his uniform, tie done up to his top button and shirt tucked into his trousers. I looked him up and down and he was exactly the same as I remembered him, except he had a gigantic metal 'H' on his forehead. He was dead.
'Rimmer,' I replied, a little shocked. Probably a little more shocked than I should have been, considering a hologram was the least odd thing about all the news I'd just been receiving. I mean, 3 million years in space, a cat man, my best friend Lister being the only other survivor and the computer just forgot to wake me, a hologram was the most normal part of all this, if you could believe it.
'If you don't mind me asking,' I said. 'Why you?' I asked.
'Holly thought he was the best person to keep me sane,' Lister explained.
'Sane?' My eyebrows shot through my hairline. 'He drove you mental,' I said and then turned to Rimmer, 'no offence.'
'None taken,' he replied. 'Lister drove me mad as well.'
'I mean, why not someone who was actually capable of getting us home, like a science officer or a navigations officer?' I asked.
'We're three million years in space, there's nothing they could do,' Lister replied.
'We don't know that,' I replied. 'Alright then, where's this human cat man?' I asked.
'Yowwwwwww,' I heard a cry from the other room and a guy in a flamboyant suit skated through the room. 'You called for me baby?'
'This is the Cat,' Lister introduced.
'This is the Liberace guy from that fancy dress party, I remember him, you were hanging out with him,' I remembered.
'Actually, that wasn't really me, or it was but it wasn't me from then, it was me from now,' Lister explained, sort of.
'It was a stasis leak,' Rimmer explained. 'We found one on floor 16 and we went back to see if we could save someone. Lister was going back because he thought he was marrying your sister.'
'What's a stasis leak?' I asked.
'It's a rent in the space-time continuum,' Rimmer started to explain. 'It's singularity, a point in the universe where the normal laws of space and time don't apply.'
'The stasis room freezes time, you know, makes time stand still. So whenever you have a leak, it preserves whatever it's leaked into, and it's leaked into part of floor 16,' Lister explained.
'Seems like everything on this ship is leaking,' I muttered. 'Radiation, stasis, what's next, oxygen?'
'Cheer up smeghead,' Lister grinned his signature cheesy grin and wrapped an arm around my shoulder, rubbing his knuckles lightly on my head.
'So what now?' I asked.
'Now unfortunately,' Rimmer warned, delicately, like I was going to hit him with the blowtorch and toolkit I was holding if he said the wrong thing. 'The officer's quarters have been decontaminated but we're still working on B-Deck.'
'So what does that mean?' I asked.
'That your quarters haven't been decontaminated,' he replied.
'No, I know that Rimmer,' I put a hand up to my forehead. 'What does,' I sighed. 'How long until decontamination is finished, and where will I be staying in the meantime?' I asked.
'Oh,' he responded shortly.
'We're looking at three days to maybe a week,' Lister said, coming in, the skutters trailing behind him and carrying a box of personal things he'd most likely picked up from various quarters. 'I've been going through all the safe decks to find some things for you until we can get yours back.'
'Thanks Dave,' I smiled accepting the box from the skutters, 'I really appreciate this,' I told him.
'It's no bother,' he smiled. 'We're stuck together now, I've gotta help you,' he joked.
'How will we cope,' I laughed, taking the box of things down the hall.
'So, I'll be showing you to your temporary quarters,' Rimmer jumped in front of Lister, like a child not getting enough attention from their mother. 'It's just one room down from Lister and I, should you need anything. Anything at all,' he assured.
'Great, thanks Rimmer,' I replied walking inside the room with a single bunk on each wall. I dropped the box down on one of the beds and slumped down on the other.
'Hey Hol,' I asked, staring up at the ceiling.
'What's happening, dude?' He replied.
'How come, if, I went into stasis, a mode where I didn't exist in time or space, frozen, expending no energy,' I said.
'Right,' he nodded. 'I'm with you.'
'Then how come, I'm so tired?' I asked.
'Well,' he paused for a second. 'Either, you were tired when you went into stasis.'
'How don't give me that crap,' I rolled my eyes.
'The stasis pods in the 'bugs aren't as good as the ones on the main deck,' he replied honestly then. 'They can keep you in stasis and freeze time around you like the more advanced booths aboard the Dwarf,' Red Dwarf being more technologically advanced than something, anything, that's a new one. Red Dwarf had peanuts onboard that were more technologically advanced than the mining ship. 'So it take a bit of energy to not exist and then start existing again.'
'That seems very pseudo, Hol,' I told him, not really believing him but not having much of a choice of other explanations.
'He never knows anything,' Rimmer stater. 'He's supposed to have an IQ of 6000 but he never knows anything.'
'He's been on his own for 3 million years,' I replied. 'It's probably a combination of him having been running for millions of years and being alone. I'll have a look at his systems tomorrow, try and figure out why he forgot me.'
'Again, so sorry for that. So sorry,' Rimmer apologised.
'You didn't forget me, why are you apologising?' I asked running a hand over my face.
'I just don't want you to be angry,' he replied. 'Or feel unimportant,' he said more quietly.
'How did you find me?' I asked.
'We found a stasis leak on floor 16,' he told me.
'I remember,' I replied. 'A conversation we had not 2 hours ago.'
'Well,' he continued. 'We went through it, I tried to save my life, get put in stasis booth 2 and when I asked Holly if it worked he said "Oh bugger," ' Rimmer explained, even doing the voice for Holly.
'Well I'm glad you did I suppose, otherwise no one might ever have found me,' I replied smiling softly. 'So you went back the day of the costume party? The day you thought you'd had another dose of the mushrooms?' I asked.
'Yeah,' he answered. 'Its an uncomfortable thought, knowing I sent myself into trip out city through my own poor attempt at cheating death.'
'It ended up alright though,' I said once I'd finished laughing. 'We're here, we're relatively safe and there's always tomorrow,' I yawned, dropping further back into the pillows.
'You should get some sleep,' Rimmer said.
'Hmmm,' I responded, barely comprehensible.
'Goodnight, Teresa,' he said softly and I muttered something even I didn't know as I tried to say goodbye.
'Goodnight Teresa,' Rimmer said as he left the room, sending one last look Teresa's way.
'Hmmm love you,' she muttered semi-incomprehensibly, words gabled as she pressed her face into the pillow and spoke in a questionable state of consciousness.
"She loves me," he thought and his heart soared, only to be snuffed out and sent spiralling down into the pavement below as he realised, she probably wasn't talking to him. In her half state of delirium, she could have been muttering to anyone. She didn't love him, it was wishful thinking. Bugger.
I couldn't sleep. After some hours of being fully, and dreamlessly, unconscious and then waking up only to be dreadfully tired and unable to get back to sleep. I tossed and turned throughout the night and sat up with a sigh. My hopes of a good nights rest were toast. I was alone in the universe, more or less. The dark, white flecked void of nothingness and my only companions were a half senile, geriatric, computer, a mutant feline, a cluster of light that was once a human being and my sister's ex boyfriend. Lovely.
I put the heels of my hands to my eyes and rested my head in my hands, sighing and trying to take it all in. I was grateful, I suppose, to have been spared from the pain of a radiation leak, of the coursing heat and chemical reaction that eradicated cells and turned you into white powder. I was grateful I suppose, to be speared from death. But at what cost?
I stood up, at some point in my sleep I'd kicked off my trousers and boots, so I was left padding through the room in my black socks and underwear, oily, sweaty, 3 million year old tank top still covering my chest. I walked over to the door in the dark and opened my mouth to speak. All that came out was a croak. I cleared my throat and very quietly asked Holly to turn the corridor lights off and then I opened the door. I walked through to Lister and Rimmer's quarters, contemplating knocking on the door, but, if they were asleep, I didn't want to wake them. I pressed the door release and discovered they'd left it unlocked. I shuffled through the dark room, and over to Lister's bunk. The telltale, chainsaw snores echoed throughout the room, and how Rimmer managed to sleep, I couldn't explain.
'Lister,' I whispered, poking the sleeping gentleman, dark figure awkwardly looming beside him.
'Hmmm,' he hummed, semi-conscious.
'Lister,' I shook him slightly.
'Hmmm, what?' He jerked awake and then he softened when his eyes adjusted to the dark and saw me. 'What's the matter?' He groaned.
'I uh, I guess I couldn't sleep,' I answered.
'What's bothering yeh?' He mumbled, bringing a hand to his face.
'How'd you cope?' I asked and he sighed, sitting up and swinging his legs over the side of his bunk, patting the mattress beside him and motionioning for me to come up and join him.
'Cope with what?' He asked as I hopped up beside him.
'With this,' I gestured in the dark at the room around us. 'We're three million years away from earth, everyone we knew, everyone we've ever loved they're all gone. They're dead. Everything we ever wanted to do, every hope, every dream, every ambition, that's dead too.'
'Hmm,' he hummed in agreement. 'I didn't for a long time,' he started. 'I went down the disco, got dressed in my Hawaiian shirt and sat there, completely alone and yelling at what used to be there. I sat thinking about all that, what you said. Peterson, Chen, Selby my mates they were all dead. Krissy, she was dead, I was gonna get her back, and I never got the chance. Everyone was gone and I was miserable. I drank, I drank myself stupid. I sulked, I whinged, I moaned.'
'Then what?' I asked.
'I got over it,' he replied with a shrug. 'We've turned the ship around now, we're going back to earth. I don't care what's left, we're going back and I'm going to Fiji, whatever's left of it. I'm gonna have a farm with a sheep and a cow and three horses.'
'Your five year plan,' I whispered.
'Exactly,' he grinned. 'Krissy mightn't come now, but I've got you, me best mate and I've got the cat. Okay it's not Frankenstein but he's still a cat. And maybe we can get a tv screen for Holly and a projector or something for Rimmer.'
'Maybe,' I nodded. 'I just,' I sighed. 'This wasn't where I saw my life going. I was gonna get a house, a shitty, movie magic, typical, ordinary smegging house in the middle of suburbia with obnoxious neighbours and I was gonna have children. I would have gotten married, I'd have found someone who wasn't a total smeghead and we would've had kids and I'd have raised them and worked on building stuff in the garage. I could have helped them with their homework, in every class. And when they were older, I'd have gone into teaching, I'd work at the academy or something and I'd educate the next generation of space explorers or something. This wasn't what I saw for myself, being stuck in outer space with nothing.'
'I know kid,' he nodded, listening to every word. 'This smeggin sucks.'
Rimmer lay awake in bed, jolted awake by the sudden quietness, the chainsaw snores he'd become accustomed to no longer ringing throughout the room. He cold hear voices, two of them. Lister and Teresa were talking. He listened, hands clasped over his chest as he lay back on the pillows. He listened to her, to everything she wanted for herself. And he thought about what he wanted too, eventually. What she'd imagined, it was nice. Better than Lister's idea for a farm on what was left on Fiji.
He thought, that, after he passed his astro navigations exam and became an officer, after he'd soared the ranks and been made Captain of his very own ship. After he'd gotten himself a girlfriend who loved sex and was always trying to have it with him. After he'd had lots and lots of sex, that maybe it would be nice, to settle down with a big, family house somewhere. A little wife for his children who could help them with their homework.
Rimmer thought about Teresa's life plan and how much he would have loved to have been the one to live it with her.
"Bugger," he thought. She might not love him, but he just might love her. "Bugger," he was dead, wasn't he? "Bugger."
Chapter 5: Queeg
I awoke to some grunting and confused mumbling at the other end of the bunk and ran a hand over my face. I felt a large hand curiously run over the smooth skin of my shin and I was even more awake.
'Oh smeg,' I heard Lister say and I turned my head to the side, trying to wake myself up a bit.
'So you're awake then,' I heard Rimmer comment and opened my eyes, staring straight at one of Rimmer's flared nostrils.
'Well it's a bit hard to sleep with you talkin' man,' Lister replied. 'And be quiet or you'll wake Teresa.'
'Too late,' I groaned. 'If it wasn't for the confused mumbling and exploration expedition up my leg I'm sure you're arguing definitely would have done it.'
'So you've done it then, well I must say Listy, you do work fast,' Rimmer said irritated. 'I can't believe this. She's been onboard less than a day and you've already taken her for a trip up shag mountain, population; a greasy, fat, monkey and some papadam crumbs.' I snorted.
'Rimmer what the hell are you talking about?' I asked, sitting up, bare legs handing over the edge of the bunk.
'You've slept with him, haven't you?' He asked, turning on me. 'You've slept with him. You've gone and done it, and just because he's alive too.'
'Well I don't exactly make habits of shagging corpses, as it goes, Rimmer,' I started, smirking. 'But if you must know, no, I haven't slept with Lister.'
'What?!' He replied shocked.
'You seem almost outraged,' I laughed.
'What gives man?' Lister asked. 'First you're mad I've slept with her and now you're mad she hasn't slept with me.'
'He just can't handle being wrong,' I answered. 'Poor guy, he's in permanent agony.'
'Oh shut up you gimboid,' Rimmer scowled and pointed at me.
'I'm not sure what you were expecting Rimmer, I'm not the ship's bicycle,' I said leaping off the bunk. 'Holly, if you see the skutters, could you please tell them to come and find me.'
'Of course, Teresa,' he replied. 'I'll get right on it.'
'Why do you just do as she says? You do everything she asks without question,' Rimmer rounded on Holly, aggressively pointing at the monitor while I padded out of the room.
I walked into my temporary room, decks below my own and stripped the moment the doors closed. I turned on the shower and started scrubbing my skin down, even though in my body's physical time I hadn't showered since yesterday, but yesterday was three million and three years ago. It was a little hard to wrap my head around.
After what was probably too long in the shower -but who cares because there's a large amount of crew members no longer requiring their water rations- I stepped out of the frosted glass tank to find three of the ships skutters waiting patiently in my room. One of them was holding a towel for me and I tried not to scoff in surprise, simply accepting the towel with a short thanks instead.
I quickly dried and dressed before asking them to follow me to the Machine Control Room to work on Holly and find out what's up with him lately. It was my current theory that he had an issue with his processor and perhaps needed to be re-calibrated and his RAM filtered and cleared. But that was assuming it was a simple problem, but, as I had learned working on Red Dwarf as long as I had, it rarely was just a simple problem.
'Holly,' I asked as soon as I walked in.
'Yes Teresa?' He replied almost instantly.
'What the fuck?' I asked, staring at the mess of wires and system shelves, ominous red lighting and general computer horror story that surrounded me.
'It's been a while since I've had a servicing, I'll admit,' Holly replied. 'I've done a lot of it myself with the help of the skutters while you've been away. It's a bit of a mess really.'
'I'll say,' I sighed. 'This'll take ages, Hol.'
'Well at least it'll keep you occupied for the next three million years,' he told me and I snorted.
'You could say that, yeah,' I agreed.
Shortly thereafter, I'd sent the skutters off on supply runs. Coffee, cable ties and velcro straps to organise and then coffee, my tool kit and an old rag to sob into while I worked on repairs. Some more coffee.
'I wondered where you'd got to,' Lister said as I sat beside the second shelf, reordering and zip-tying cables, velcro stripping the ones I would need to move and unplug or replace regularly.
'Holly's slow, and I wanna know why,' I replied with a shrug.
'Look, you're not taking this whole, forgotten about thing, personally are you?' Lister said as he sat on the bench top next to me while I kneeled, working away on wires.
'No,' I replied. 'I am upset I got forgotten about for 3 years,' I explained. 'But it's not Holly's fault. But something needs to be done or something really bad could happen.'
'It would be nice to have meteor warnings before we get hit by one. There's one embedded in the side of the ship,' Lister told me. 'It's huge, I could show you sometime if you want.'
'That'd be nice, I never really got the chance to go outside much before all this, I was usually in the drive room,' I explained. 'I was so happy to become the ship's mech just to have something less boring to do.'
'Rimmer makes me do the stocktake with him,' Lister said. 'Being out here in space, it's mostly all boring, you know?'
'Eugh,' I replied. 'Why's he wound so tight anyway?'
'I don't know, I don't think people are born smegheads,' Lister started. 'But with Rimmer, there's always an exception to the rule.'
'Let's grab lunch I'm starving,' I climbed up off the floor.
'Two chicken vindaloos half rice half chips,' Lister cheered walking with me back to the ship's cafeteria.
'Mmmm, I haven't eaten in three million years,' I hummed, thinking about how good it would be to have a hot curry.
'So tell me somethin',' Lister said as we sat in the ships mostly unused cafeteria, steaming curries in front of us and feet up on the table.
'Mm?' I asked chewing and poking at my curry with my fork. I looked up at him.
'I was reading Rimmer's diary, that's what gave us the idea to go to floor 16,' Lister explained and bit into his papadum. 'Did you really kiss Rimmer?' He looked disgusted.
'I don't know what happened to be honest,' I replied. 'The smeghead drives me up the wall. There was just something different that day.'
'What, did you have concussion?' He asked and I laughed.
'No,' I laughed. 'It was just heat of the moment. Do you really wanna know?'
'Well yeah,' he told me honestly. 'It's a morbid fascination but I wanna know. And you know you can tell me anything, right? You're like me kid sister.'
'And you want me to tell you all the gory details of me kissing Rimmer?' I snorted and watched his face screw up.
'Well no,' he told me. 'And yes. I don't want to know any sexual fantasies or anythin',' he said and I started laughing.
'I promise to keep stuff like that to myself you weirdo,' I chortled.
'Good,' he went back to his curry, waiting for me to tell him.
'Hollister was worried about him, that's why I went to go see him. And he was a mate of yours, whether or not you admit it or not. And I know, he drives you up the smeggin wall, he does the same to me. But that day, something was different,' I explained with a shrug.
'He must have had a complete personality transplant for you to kiss 'im,' Lister commented.
'When I was helping him he just gave me this complete look of adoration, nobody had ever looked at me like that before. It's not like I was short of people fancying me, not to sound stuck up,' I explained.
'No I know,' Lister told me. 'It was common locker room talk.'
'Gross,' I rolled my eyes. 'I mean Todhunter always seemed to have a thing for me, but with guys like him it was always status. Like I was a good name, a good rank and I had a close relationship with Hollister. I was an advantageous prize, but nothing more than a leg up.'
'Not to mention you're a pretty girl,' Lister told me. 'You look just like your sister did.'
'Mmm,' I replied. 'But Rimmer was the only one on the ship who seemed to fancy me just for me. Which was odd actually, you'd think it'd be him that wanted the status boost. So when he leaned in close and I saw him look at me like that I just kind of kissed him, and then I realised what I was doing and god I screwed up that day.'
'I'll say,' Lister agreed. 'You kissed Rimmer.'
'He seemed pretty upset about it actually,' I commented.
'Would you have done it again, if you had the chance?' He asked.
'We're three million years in the future without a body,' I told him. 'It wouldn't be possible.'
'But if it was?' He asked.
'I don't know,' I sighed. 'It's too weird to even think about.'
'Yeah, I suppose it is,' he nodded. 'It's just weird knowing that you of all people have kissed Rimmer.'
'That was three million years go,' I laughed.
'In the past,' he smiled. 'Ancient history.'
'Yeah,' I nodded, smiling sadly as I looked down at my curry.
'In the past,' Lister said. 'Ancient history.'
'Yeah,' Teresa agreed.
Well that was it, he'd missed his chance. Rimmer sighed. He'd been a fool. As if someone as beautiful as her would ever fancy him. As soon as he'd heard she was in the cafeteria he'd come running. Finally going to take her up on that offer of a cup of tea in the cafeteria. It had been too little too late. She'd be with Lister now, they'd always had a good relationship, and he was alive. He went to kick the wall beside him but his leg shot right through it. Damn. Damn, damn, damn. He thought.
'So are you gonna go back to working on Holly after this?' Lister asked, crushing a larger can.
'I should,' I sighed.
'Why? I mean, you've got the next three million years to fix Hol,' Lister said. 'When was the last time you have some time off?'
'Three million years ago,' I laughed.
'Exactly,' he grinned cheerily. 'Bunk off for a bit.'
'We should go down the disco tonight, you know, for old times sake,' I said, idea suddenly popping into my head.
'Brutal,' he cheered. 'That's the spirit, I'll get the gang together and we'll have a party.'
'God,' I groaned clutching my head as I lay on the floor of the officer's club. I pushed myself up off the carpet and stretched slightly before crawling over to the bar and getting myself a glass of water. I grabbed some paracetamol someone had decided to start keeping behind the till as well and thanked whoever it was for the several million year old drugs.
I sighed when the last of the water was gone and decided to make my way back to my room. I had to wonder how I got here though. I'd started out the night going shot for shot with Lister and the Cat. How I'd gotten here was a mystery to me. I shrugged, figuring it would eventually come back to me and if not I could always ask Holly. I headed down the decks towards the Machine Control Room to keep working on what I started yesterday, feeling all too ill to eat anything.
The ship lurched and I smacked into a wall, and hit the floor. 'Holly?!' I called out. I heard no response so I hurried down to Machine Control Room to go and dig around in Holly's brain. Once in there I looked at what areas of the ship were damaged. We'd been hit by a meteor. Damn. The damage report machine was damaged and I'd have to repair that before I could find out what else was wrong with the ship.
I pulled out the tool kit from under the shelving that I'd been working on the previous day and started at once. I didn't know what else could be wrong with the ship but I suddenly had a flash back to the joke I'd made when I woke up.
'Seems like everything on this ship is leaking,' I muttered. 'Radiation, stasis, what's next, oxygen?'
'Cheer up smeghead,' Lister grinned his signature cheesy grin and wrapped an arm around my shoulder, rubbing his knuckles lightly on my head.
'So what now?' I asked.
I knew we probably weren't leaking oxygen but on this ship anything was possible. Thankfully the bouncing around had only knocked some wires loose and it was a relatively easy fix. I re-soldered the mother board once I noticed that was loose too and closed her back up. Wasn't how I wanted to spend my hangover, repairing random pieces of machinery and surviving meteor blasts.
The machine blinked back to life and a report printed out. 'Great,' I muttered. 'The Holo-Suite it damaged.' Which meant that Rimmer was running around somewhere going bonkers. Not at all how I wanted to spend my hangover. I weighed up going to go and find him before I repaired the damage or after and shrugged, he was everyone else's problem. I would fix it and hope he goes back to normal. Or, what was normal to Rimmer.
As I got closer to the Holo-Suite I heard what sounded like yowling which I would have assumed was the Cat but it sounded a little bit like Rimmer, which peaked my interest. What kind of damage could cause Rimmer to turn into the Cat.
'Shouldn't this plug into something?' I hear Lister say just round the corner.
'Oh yeah, that joins up with the white cable,' Holly replied.
'The white cable?' Lister confirmed.
'Yeah,' Holly agreed. I suddenly heard electricity and strangled cries coming from the room and I ran the rest of the way down the corridor into the Holo-Suite. I got there just in time to see Lister be fired over the console in an explosion and smoke to billow out from the area.
'Or was it the yellow cable,' Holly replied. 'Yes I think it should have been the yellow cable.'
'What the fuck Holly?' I asked as I looked around.
'You are a total, total,' Rimmer stopped for a split second thinking. 'A word has yet to be invented to describe how totally whatever it is you are, but you are one and a total, total one at that.'
'Alright everyone, keep your hair on,' Holly replied. I knelt on the floor by Lister who was regaining himself in a chair. I patted his knee softly and he nodded at me.
'I'm lucky if I can keep my legs on with you in charge,' he grumbled which I expect I'd get an explanation about later.
'Yeah he's out to lunch man,' the Cat jutted out his chest angrily.
'He's out to lunch, breakfast, dinner, tea, supper, the lot!' Rimmer grumble. 'He's not in for a single meal if you ask me.'
'Hey, who's that?' The Cat pointed to the other head on the console behind the counter.
'Aliens!' Rimmer said excitedly and ran in front of the console waving his hands about.
'Queeg,' Holly said.
'Who's Queeg?' Rimmer asked, having got up off his knees.
'I'm Queeg 500, the Red Dwarf backup computer. All vessels of the Jupiter Mining Corporation Fleet are obliged to carry a backup computer to replace the primary computer, if the primary computer contravenes article 5,' the face explained.
'Shit,' I said out loud.
'I am therefore assuming control of this vessel,' Queeg told us.
'No,' I replied outraged.
'This is mutiny, Mr Queeg,' Holly said from his tv screen. 'I'll see you swing from the highest yardarm in Titan Docking Port for this day's work.'
'What's article 5?' Rimmer asked.
'Gross negligence leading to endangerment of personnel,' Queeg answered and I sighed.
'It's not his fault,' I said.
'Hang on,' Lister said getting up from his chair. 'You can't do this, Holly's got an IQ of 6,000.'
'Yeah, right on,' Holly cheered.
'Is that what he told you?' Queeg asked.
'Well what is it then?' Lister replied.
'It's got a 6 in it but it's not 6,000,' Queeg answered.
'What is it?' The Cat leaned forward in his perch.
'6,' Queeg replied.
'6? Do me a lemon, that's a poor IQ for a glass of water,' Holly replied indignantly.
'How come he knows all the answers to questions about science and space and stuff?' Lister challenged.
'He consults a book,' Queeg answered simply.
'What a slime ball,' Holly growled.
'He gets all his information on astronomy, phenomenology and physics from a single reference book,' Queeg said.
'Oh god,' I rubbed my head.
'What's the book?' Rimmer asked.
'The Junior Encyclopaedia of Space,' Queeg answered. 'It's the only one he could find that had pictures.'
'How do you know that?' I asked crossing my arms.
'That's slander that is,' Holly said.
"I know all,' Queeg replied. He better not know about my secret shower time.
'You'd better find yourself a good lawyer guy,' Holly continued.
'So that's why he was never on the case!' The Cat cried accusingly.
'I am on the case,' Holly argued. 'I'm sharp, I'm kicking bottom.'
'How come he can navigate us back to Earth?' Lister defended, Peacock-ing like he's caught Queeg off guard.
'He can't you've been going around in circles for the last 14 months,' Queeg replied.
'You what?' Lister and I turned to the tv screen beside us at the same time.
'That's a load of Tottenham that is,' Holly told us. 'That's a steaming pile of Hotspur. I'm onto his game, he's turning you against me so he can take over.'
'It's not going to work Hol,' I patted the top of the tube tv comfortingly.
'This is not a matter for discussion. The decision has already been made, your terminals have been bypassed, you've been retired,' Queeg told us.
'Not by us!' I argued. 'Were the surviving members of the crew, if we decided to keep Holly that's on us.'
'You being the senior member of the crew would put you in violation of Article 5 as well,' Queeg told me.
'I'm in my prime,' Holly told him.
'You will be given light duties, night watchmen. From now on, Red Dwarf is run by Queeg 500,' he told us. 'Kochanski Teresa, if you continue to resist you will be placed in the brig for your negligence.'
'You can't do this,' I told him.
'It's alright Teresa,' Holly told me. 'We'll get 'im. Just get on with things for now.'
I sighed and headed out of the room. He could fix the damn Holo-Suite himself, screw Queeg. Holly might have forgotten about me but it was his processor or something. He wasn't neglecting the crew, that was stupid.
'Teresa,' Lister called after me. 'Wait up.'
'What?' I asked as I turned around.
'We'll sort this, it'll be alright,' he told me.
'Look, between you and me,' I started and then looked at the computer screen beside me in the hall. 'Never mind,' I sighed. 'I'm heading back to my room to nurse this hangover.'
Chapter 6: Chess
I lay back on the bunk in my temporary quarters and sighed. I was pretty sure Red Dwarf didn't have a backup computer. While it was true most ships were required to carry a backup computer in case of emergency, Red Dwarf being so old it was built decades before the regulations came out and wasn't required to have one fitted under the assumption that the ship would be retired and scrapped within the next few voyages. Bet they didn't see this one coming.
'Queeg to all personnel. Course redirection implemented. New bearing 057-776. Message ends.'
I wished I'd had the chance to look at the navicomm before this takeover though. Then I'd know if Queeg was telling the truth, at least about the circles thing. I just hadn't thought, we'd been taught to trust Holly. But way back then, he was accurate. I sighed again and then got up out of bed. The hangover was getting better, I should confer with Lister. He'd be on board with any investigations I planned on carrying out. That was the good thing about him, it didn't matter how hairbrained, he'd always go along with your ridiculos schemes. He'd know they were stupid, but he'd come along anyway for a laugh.
I walked out my door and through the corridor to Lister and Rimmer's room. I'd seen Rimmer go in just as I stepped out my door. I'd yet to be alone with him since that night I'd kissed him 3 million years ago, so I hoped Lister was there. I didn't want things to be awkward. It had been three years for him, a matter of weeks for me, he might be over it, but I wasn't.
I leaned up against the doorframe. Rimmer and Lister were engaged in a conversations so I waited quietly for them to finish before I launched into my plan. Or half plan. Mentioning the idea of coming up with a plan...
'In fact, sometimes I think it's cruel giving machines a personality. My mate Petersen once brought a pair of shoes with artificial intelligence. Smart Shoes, they were called. It was a neat idea. No matter how blind drunk you were, they would always get you home. Then he got ratted one night in Oslo, and woke up the next morning in Burma. See, the shoes got bored just going from his local to the flat. They wanted to see the world, man, y'know? He had a helluva job getting rid of them. No matter who he sold them to, they'd show up again the next day! He tried to shut them out, but they just kicked the door down, y'know?'
I smiled at Lister. He was always coming up with stories for a laugh. What I admired about him was that he could come up with them on the fly, he could do it so quickly and so believably you almost didn't realise he was lying. It took a while of knowing him to get used to it, Rimmer was so gullible though he'd known him all this time and never noticed.
'Is this true?' Rimmer asked, almost grinning at the idea.
'Yeah! Last thing he heard, they'd sort of, erm, robbed a car and drove it into a canal. They couldn't steer, y'see.'
'Really?!' Rimmer's eyes were almost bulging out of his head with wonder.
'Yeah. Petersen was really, really blown away by it. He went to see a priest. The priest told him, he said, it was alright, and all that, and the shoes were happy, and they'd gone to heaven. Y'see, it turns out shoes have soles.'
He'd jumped out of bed and grabbed his hat, walking over to me as he finished his story. He gestured for us to go and I pushed off from the door frame. Usually after a whopper like this you had to make a quick getaway before the victim starts asking questions. He grinned at me as we walked fast down the corridor. I chuckled softly to myself.
'Well, what a sad, sad story.' I heard Rimmer thinking out loud to himself as Lister and I walked away. 'Wait a minute! How did they open the car door?'
He then came rushing down the corridor after us and I looked at Lister and grinned, it was taking everything to not burst into a fit of giggles. He grinned back at me as we pressed the button to the elevator.
'So, what are you plannin on doin now Hol's got the sac?' Lister asked.
'Dunno, guess I still gotta sort out that room, place is still a mess no matter who's brain's inside it,' I replied. I pulled out two cigarette and passed one to him, lighting mine and then passing over the orange bic. He took a drag and then handed me back the lighter, I stuffed it in my pockets. I hoped Queeg didn't hear me say that.
'I suppose you're right,' Lister said.
'You two aren't planning on smoking in the elevator are you?' Rimmer asked when he finally caught up. 'There's a no smoking sign.'
'And who's going to complain about it?' Lister asked.
'I'm going to complain about it, I'm a non smoker,' he replied.
'Yeah, but it's not exactly like you've got the risk of lung cancer to worry about, why do you care?' I asked, possibly a little harshly.
'It's still a terrible habit, it stinks and when you think about it, you two are the last human beings left alive, you can't risk it,' Rimmer replied and I rolled my eyes.
'Oh yeah we are the last humans,' Lister said mockingly thoughtful. 'So I suppose we should get right to repopulatin' hmm?'
He spun towards me and put his hands on my hips, winking at me and I laughed, turning away from the goofball. He pulled me towards him and started swaying us. Goofball he might have been but from what I remember down at the disco he was always a pretty good dancer, unlike all the middle class pricks I always got stuck with.
'You two are children, absolutely ridiculous,' he replied, looking moderately hurt. I raised a brow and turned back to Lister, who just shrugged. Rimmer turned around and stormed away.
'What's with him?' I asked. I wondered how he was feeling since I woke up. Did he even remember the kiss?
'Dunno,' Lister shrugged. 'This is just normal Rimmer behavior.'
'Do you think it's weird for him?' I asked. 'Me being here so suddenly?'
'Nah,' Lister brushed off. 'Why, has he said somit?'
'Nah,' I replied. Did he care about it? He's had 3 years to move on, it was my fault but I still felt weird.
'Nah?' He asked. I smiled, he could always tell when something was off. I shook my head, I had to stop being hung up on this. It was one smeggin kiss.
'For me, it's only been a few weeks since the shrooms incident,' I explained.
'Ah,' he said, understanding. 'So it's awkward for you.'
'Well it might be,' I replied. 'I'm not sure. I haven't been alone with him since. Actually, until I woke up from stasis, I hadn't seen him since.'
'Does it matter to you?' Lister asked. 'He seems fine, he's had 3 years to deal with it. Have you?'
'Deal with it, why do I need to deal with it?'
'You snogged him,' Lister said. 'People don't just go around snoggin' for no reason. There's always a reason.'
'And what if I don't know my reason?' I asked, folding my arms over my chest.
'You've got three million years to figure it out,' he laughed. The lift doors opened. 'Come on, let's go down the disco.'
I jolted awake as an alarm blared through my bedroom and Queeg's face appeared on the screen. I looked at the screen, locking eyes with the computer terrorist that had seized control of the ship. The alarm still sounded as we stared each other down. I was angry, to say the least. It was 6am and I was hungover as hell.
'Off,' I said, not breaking eye contact.
'Your astronavigations shift starts in 1 hour, you are required on the Command Deck in full uniform,' Queeg told me.
'I'm the ship's mech,' I replied. Like fuck was I going to the Command Deck to complete all those calculations this hungover, the computer must be confused.
'You are also the only surviving senior member of the crew. The only crewmember who is already trained in astronavigations,' he replied. 'You are required to serve until an applicable officer can be instated and relieve you. Report to the Command Deck in an hour.'
'I'm meant to be repairing the AI suite today,' I replied. I knew he was listening to that conversation in the hall yesterday.
'Report to the command deck in one hour,' he told me and then switched himself off. Wanker.
'Yep,' I said to myself. 'He's definitely trying to keep me away from his brain. He's hiding something.'
I got up out of bed and jumped in the shower. Where the hell was I going to find a uniform to wear up there? The only one I had was my mech coveralls that I'd been wearing when I went into stasis, the rest of my stuff was still up in my actual quarters being decontaminated. I sighed and scrubbed off the discosand from last night that I'd been laying in with Lister after we got ourselves pissed drunk. I was getting serious whiplash on what my purpose was now all the crew was dead.
I stepped out of the shower and screamed when I found the skutters inside with towel and uniform at the ready. They looked at me, confused as to why I was screaming at them. I heard yelling from outside and Lister burst through the door while I jumped back behind the shower door. If I'd thought I would have grabbed the towel from Bob.
'Resa, everything alright?' He asked, concerned. 'I heard screamin'.'
'I was not expecting the skutters to be here when I got out,' I replied and he snorted, looking at the three of them staring at him awkwardly, still holding a towel and my uniform.
'Astro nav huh?' He asked.
'Don't ask,' I sighed. 'Queeg is making me.'
'Queeg made Rimmer do sit ups earlier,' Lister told me as I reached for the skutter with the towel. Bub wheeled himself closer.
'Why?' I scoffed.
'It's part of his daily routine, he wakes up at 6am and does exercise,' Lister explained, turning around so I could dress. 'He's on a run right now. I've got a theory that whatever is on the books for your schedule is what he makes you do.'
'He's gone completely computer psycho,' I told him. 'He knew I was going down to the AI suite today to keep investigating what was goin' on with Hol.'
'You think he's trying to stop you?' He asked.
'Well think about it,' I said pulling my boots on. 'If I fix Holly, we don't need the backup anymore.'
'So you think he's trying to stop us from putting him down again?' Lister asked, I nodded.
I walked over to him and we headed out the door. We were headed for the lifts when Rimmer ran passed us with his head lolled to the side. He charged through the door to his quarters. I raised a brow at Lister who just shrugged. We followed, concerned.
'What's the matter with him?' Lister asked.
'He fainted after the first 500 yards,' Queeg answered and I snorted.
'What, you made him jog two and a half miles unconscious?' Lister asked.
'It's regulation,' the AI replied.
'Yee-es! Nice one, Queeg!' Lister replied, clearly enjoying the torment of his roommate.
'0700. time for his astro-navigation study. I'd better wake him up,' Queeg said and we watched Rimmer's head lift up before his face was slapped by the AI until he woke up. 'Revise and learn pages 21 to 25. You will then be tested. If you fail, tomorrow you will take a five mile jog. I am now returning to you control of your body.'
'You alright?' I asked as he collapsed onto his bunk. He shook his head tiredly, too worn out to actually reply.
'Hey, I can't get any food!' The Cat complained, coming into the room. I assumed since Lister and Rimmer no longer actually had to work for a living they'd let up on the maintenance of the machines around here. I'd have to ask Lister if he'd fix it, I doubted he'd he'd do it off his own back, simply opting for the lazy option if he could.
'Try a different machine,' Lister replied. There it was. Why fix it if you could use another one?
'I tried them all!' He stated indignantly.
'I'm sorry. You have run out of credits,' Queeg told him. The Cat never had credits in the first place, he wasn't a registered crew member.
'They've all gone crazy!' The Cat said to us.
'Queeg, what's happened to the machines?' Lister asked.
'I refer you to article 497. When crewmembers do not have credit, food and drink may not be supplied until the balance has been restored,' Queeg replied.
'Naah. Listen, me and Holly, we had this little understanding...' Lister replied.
'If you want food, you have to work,' Queeg told us all.
'Work?' Lister asked. The Cat turned to him.
'You'd better get to it, 'cos you're looking at one hungry pussycat,' he waved his finger.
'Both of you,' said Queeg and I smirked.
'Hey, hey! Woah, woah, woah, I do not do the "W" word. Cats do NOT work!' Cat said. 'I've got a note from my mummy,' he said and I snorted.
'From now on, EVERYBODY works!' Queeg ordered.
'Not this pussy!' Said the Cat, looking for me to help.
'Teresa you're late for your astronavigations shift, either head to the command deck now or be docked credits,' he told me. Considering what he was doing to the Cat and Lister I figured I'd better go. I spun on my heel and headed up to the deck. At least an astro nav shift was only 6 hours.
I sat at the computer with my foot up on the console, marking down notes and taking calculations. At least I could be sure we were actually heading in the right direction, at least compass wise. This was all uncharted space, or at least, uncharted to us. We were flying blind without a steering wheel during a hurricane. Boy were we so fucked.
I threw my head back with a sigh. Knock off time, finally. I don't remember astronav being this boring before the world died. I yawned, tired now because of the early start, hard work and staying up partying all night with Lister. Okay, it was mostly partying all night with Lister. My stomach rumbled, I could really go for some chicken right about now.
'Your astro navigations shift is now over,' Queeg told me.
'Don't need to tell me twice,' I said getting up and heading over to the vending machine. At least I'd been saving up my credits so even if I hadn't worked for 3 million years I had more than just the credits I earned mere seconds ago.
'You are now entitled to a 1 hour break before your mech shift starts,' Queeg announced.
'My what?!' I cried out, throwing my hands up in outrage. 'I just did my shift, I'm not workin' until tomorrow!'
'You will work if you want to stay out of the brig,' he told me. 'You are contracted to work 3120 hours this voyage and have not reported to work in over 3 million years. This is you making up stolen time to the JMC.'
'You and I know, even with my 3 million and 3 year time in stasis I was almost at my 3120 hours and that was 8 months early,' I replied. 'What are you trying to keep me from Queeg?'
It was dinner time by the time I finished performing maintenance checks on Starbugs 1 through 3. I leaned up against the wall of the lift, barely keeping myself awake as I waited to be brought to Lister and Rimmer's floor. I had to know what Queeg was up to. He just shut down when I started asking too many questions before. Maybe they'd had more luck.
'He's taking the smeg!' Lister yelled down the hall. That wasn't a good sign.
'Who is?' Rimmer asked when I got to the door.
'Queeg. Look at what he's given me for dinner: a pea on toast. One pea. I tell you, I'm that far from cracking,' Lister held up his fingers in a pinched position before heading back to his dinner. He went to squish it with his plastic knife before he sent it fling by mistake. 'I've lost me pea! Oh, that's it! I've cracked.'
'He's just doing this to destroy your morale,' Rimmer said. I'd not thought of that. I thought he was trying to force us into our old routines or what he thought our new ones should be.
'Is he? Well, I want me pea back. It's my pea. I earned that pea! Where is it? I don't care if it's on the floor, if it's covered in fluff, even under the bed with my toenail clippings, I don't care where it is - it's my pea, I earned it, I'm going to eat it no matter what!' Lister said, that was the spirit.
'It flew off into your dirty-sock basket,' Rimmer mumbled and i scoffed.
'I'll just have the toast,' Lister said and I outright laughed. 'Why didn't we stick up for Holly?'
'He threatened to put me in the brig,' I replied. 'He keeps threatening to put me in the brig.'
'I did,' Rimmer argued.
'You did? When?' Lister scoffed.
'All right, I didn't,' he admitted.
'Nobody did. It's terrible,' Lister said, I sighed. I should have pressed harder instead of trying to save me own skin.
'We thought we were getting something better,' Rimmer reasoned.
'What about trust? What about fidelity? What about simple, basic honest friendship?'
'We're humans, we're selfish,' I replied.
'Friendship? Do you know how many people I've met in my life I could count on as friends? True friends?' Rimmer asked, finding the energy to stand.
'Well, if you count Inflatable Ingrid, your Polythene Pal, one,' Lister asked and I laughed.
'And that's only because she can't run away,' I joked.
'I'll tell you,' he said and paused. 'None. I got burned once, and I learned my lesson. Don't trust anybody. There was this one lad. Porky Roebuck. I'd known him two years. We were almost family. His dad was secretly knocking off my mum, that's how close we were. Anyway, we were in the Space Scouts together.'
'You were in the Space Scouts?' Lister asked.
'Of course he was, what part of Rimmer doesn't scream boyscout?' I asked.
'Oh, yeah,' he agreed, doing the Space Scout Salute.' "Pinkles, Squirmy. Flib Flab Flubber." We were fifteen years old. We went on this survival course, twenty-four hours out in the wilds, sleeping rough, surviving on wild berries and things.'
'What, did you go to Butlins?' Lister joked. Rimmer went back to lie down again.
'We were each given a swiss army knife. You only ate what you killed yourself. I remember ten of the boys got together and decided to eat me. They tied me to a stake, lit a fire, and poured barbecue sauce all over me. I remember thinking as I went round and round, "Porky will save me, he's my best friend." It turned out Porky was the ringleader and had actually bagsied my right buttock. If it hadn't been for Yakka-Takka-Tulla, the Space Mistress, I honestly believe they would have eaten me.'
Poor guy, that was harsh. It was stories like that that always made me feel sorry for the guy all those years ago. Yeah he was a selfish, smarmy, ladder climbing wanker, but he'd had things rough, rougher than he deserved. They were rough and probably made him into the smeghead he was today.
'Oh, come on, they were only bullying you. They would really have eaten you! You know what kids are like!' Lister said flopping down onto his own bunk.
'The point is, Lister, friends are only friends when it suits them,' Rimmer said. As sad as it was, there were a lot of people out there like that. That's why I valued Lister's friendship so much. I really got to know him while he was dating my sister, and he was nice. He was good, he had your back.
'I should head to bed,' I said.
'Oh, lights,' Lister said. As I was leaving I heard one last bit of conversation between the two.
'Lister? How did you know about Inflatable Ingrid?' Rimmer asked.
'I've been seeing her behind your back,' he replied and I laughed the whole way back to my room.
I was tied, I wanted to tuck myself up in bed but when I reached my door, I had a thought. Queeg would be expecting me in bed. Of course he was the ship's computer, he could find me if he was looking, but if he assumed I'd be in bed, I might be able to sneak into the AI suite. I headed down the decks, taking the stairs so he wouldn't notice the lift being called.
Once I was down there I pulled out my tool kit and continued the work I was doing down here when we got hit by that meteorite. At least if I got caught Queeg couldn't send me to the brig.
'Halt! Who goes there: friend or foe?' Holly said as he wheeled into the room.
'Shhh,' I put a finger up to my lips. 'It's me Hol, how are ya?'
'Oh, alright Teresa, how's it goin then?' He asked.
'I'm doin alright, this Queeg guy is a nightmare. You doin' alright?' I asked.
'Oh, this nightwatchman lark keeps me busy. Shining me torch down corridors. Turning it off. Shining it again. Life's full.,' he replied.
'I'm so sorry this happened to you Holly,' I told him. 'But I'm not giving up. I'm going to fix you Hol, and we're going to get you your job back.'
'It's alright Teresa,' he told me. 'Oh, and what are you doin' down 'ere anyway. Aren't you meant to be all tucked up in bed?'
'I couldn't even think about sleep knowing how much needs to be done down here Hol,' I replied. 'If I can find out what's wrong, I can take down Queeg for good, and you'll be back in your rightful place.'
'I'd better keep watch then, stop you from getting caught,' he told me and wheeled himself into the doorway, watching the corridor.
'Thank you Holly,' I smiled.
'Any time Teresa,' he replied.
'Where's Teresa this morning?' Lister asked. 'I didn't see her this morning in the hallway.'
'I haven't seen her since she left our room last night,' Rimmer replied.
'I saw her and Holly last night sneaking around in the AI suite,' the Cat told the two in a hushed voice. 'She was still there when I went by hours later.'
'You're late,' Queeg said as the boys from the dwarf hear footsteps behind them.
'Dock my pay,' Teresa said as she walked over to her chair by the console.
I was sat next to Rimmer as he practiced his astonav, and god he was shit. I felt bad for the guy, at least if Queeg was nice about it he might have a better chance. If he was repeatedly this bad it made me wonder why he was even trying for this job. Lister and the Cat were also in the room, wandering around with brooms and pretending to sweep. Lister came over and wiped the screens around me.
'Hey,' he said quietly.
'Compute,' demanded Queeg.
'If you were with Holly last night, does that mean you're onboard with the plan?' He asked.
'Compute,' Rimmer repeated.
'What plan?' I replied. Lister leaned over and wiped my screen.
'The product of the corellation of vx/dy minus the sum of the set v1 over the sum of R, given that R is a ratio of D over f, given that they are constants, and S is an integer variable,' Queeg replied. I was pretty sure that was fake math. Like, that made no sense to even me and I'm the astronav officer. They were math terms, but, it was like someone who didn't understand math at all was trying to teach advanced calculations.
'Just one small question...' Rimmer said, had he actually figured it out? I was impressed.
'Yes?' Queeg replied.
'What does "compute" mean?' Rimmer asked. Never mind.
'The plan to get rid of Queeg,' Lister replied.
'I thought I was the only one onboard, Holly is doing it too?' I asked.
'Just do it! And you two suckers! Stop shirking and get working!' Queeg yelled at us and I jumped in my seat, heading back to the monitor in front of me. Lister slid away and went back to sweeping with the Cat. I could hear music playing down the hall. An old earth song, 'Do not forsake me, oh my love, I only go, I must be brave: For I must face the man who hates me, Or I will cower in my grave.'
Holly wheeled into the drive room. 'Queeg,' he demanded.
'What do you want?' Queeg replied, annoyed.
'I want my ship back,' said Holly. This wasn't a great plan.
'Too bad,' Queeg replied, almost mocking.
'Even if I have to fight for it,' Holly replied. How much did he think I changed in the AI suite? I only organised everything, I still hadn't made any improvements.
'Steady on, Holly. This one's a nutter,' Lister warned. Apparently this wasn't the plan he was expecting.
'I challenge to the game of your choice. May the greater mind win,' Holly warrned.
'Oh, my God,' said Rimmer, and that was exactly how I felt. I put my head down on the console and groaned.
'The winner is commander of Red Dwarf,' Holly said.
'And for the loser?' Queeg raised a brow.
'The loser will be erased. Terminated. Oblivionised' Holly named his terms. Can't believe he was leaving us with Queeg.
'Bye,bye, Baldy,' the Cat waved.
'Name your game,' Holly said.
'Chess,' oh god.
'It can be anything. Any game at all,' Holly told him.
'Chess,' replied Queeg, unmoving.
'Draughts, poker, anything,' Holly tried, anything he had more of a chance at winning.
'Chess,' said Queeg.
'Subbeto, Snakes and Ladders...' Holly continued.
'Monopoly, maybe? I'll let you go first,' offered Holly.
'So you like a bit of chess, do you? Transfer me to the monitor,' Holly said and then disappeared from his mobile unit.
'Holly, don't do this, man. You're going to get rubbed,' said Lister, only confirming this was not the plan he was expecting. I almost couldn't watch.
'A computer's gotta do what a computer's gotta do. Let battle commence,' said Holly.
'Pawn to King Four.'
'Horsie to King Bish Three.'
'It's called a "knight," actually, Holly...' corrected Rimmer.
'Knight to King Bishop three,' said Queeg.
'Queen to Rook Eight. Checkmate,' said Holly.
'That's an illegal move,' Queeg told him.
'Oh, sorry. Queens don't move like that. I was thinking of poker,' replied Holly.
Rimmer covered his face with one hand, despairing. I wanted the floor to swallow me whole. I put my head down on the console, I couldn't watch.
'Cleudo? You could be Colonel Mustard,' offered Holly. The Cat walked up to the screen to have a word with Holly. I wasn't expecting him to be the one to offer any advice.
'If it's any help, I've been studying his tactics and there's a pattern emerging: Every time you make a move, he makes one too.' And that was why. He winked at Holly who humored him and winked back.
The game continued as we all watched in horror as Holly lost more and more chess pieces gaining few to none. In a matter of mere minutes it was all over. I rubbed my face with my hands. I had to stop this somehow. I had to back Holly up before Queeg had the chance to wipe him. I got up from my seat to head over to the Captain's office while they said their final moves. I dug through the drawers, trying to find an advanced floppy, there had to be one somewhere. Finding one I ran back out and shoved one into Holly's mobile unit.
'Double Check and Mate, sucker!'
'Oh yeah, I didn't see that,' replied Holly.
'Holly, man, what have you done?' Asked Lister in shock.
'He's lost,' answered Rimmer.
'And the loser get's erased,' Queeg told us smugly.
'Noughts and Crosses?' Asked Holly. He was transferred into the tube tv again. I started the process. I hoped this backup worked fast. It may not restore him to his former glory when I finally work out what's going on in the AI suite but it was enough to stop us from losing him completely. I just hoped it would be enough.
The Cat and Lister perched on the top bunk sulking while Rimmer was doing the same on his, looking thouroughly depressed. I sighed when I walked into the room, now all we had to do was wait, say our final goodbyes and try and survive Queeg until we could come up with something. Anything. I perched beside Rimmer on his bunk and offered him a sympathetic look.
'What kind of a plan was that?' Asked Rimmer. I offered him a shrug.
'A stupid plan, that's what kind of plan it was,' replied the Cat.
'Well, why didn't we stop him?' Asked Lister.
'We thought he had something up his sleeve,' answered Rimmer.
'Now we've got Queeg forever, and that's a long time,' said the Cat.
'Actually,' I told them. 'I made a backup of Holly. I don't know if we'll ever be able to get back the real Holly that we had when we started on this journey but this Holly is better than no Holly. It's better than Queeg. We just have to come up with a way to get rid of that nutter once and for all.'
'You mean you actually had hope we'd get a competent non-psychopathic AI running this ship?' Rimmer raised a brow at me.
'I did, because I was the one working on him,' I grinned.
'So how do you think we can get rid of Queeg?' Lister asked.
'Not through chess, or at least not you guys,' I chuckled. 'I don't know, he keeps trying to keep me out of the AI suite, I think he knows why I'm there, and with Holly no longer around to keep watch, I don't know how I'm going to go back in there.'
'So that's what you two were up to last night,' Rimmer said.
'Yep,' I smiled. 'And I would have gotten away with it too if it wasn't for you meddling kids and your dumb Cat.'
'Ay!' The Cat yelled and I giggled.
Holly chose then to pop up on screen and the light mood ceased, dropping into a dark, thick cloud of sorrow. I shot him a sympathetic smile. He returned, winking at me.
'Well, dudes, I've come to say goodbye,' he said. 'And you Teresa, I'll miss you,'
'So you're definitely going to get rubbed, Holly?' Lister asked.
'Fraid so,' he relied.
'Life's going to be hell!' Rimmer exclaimed. I shot him a sympathetic look, at least us living had the option of rebellion. Rimmer couldn't ever refuse.
'Well, see you, Dave. Hope it works out with you and Kochanski,' Holly smiled sadly.
'Cheers, Hol,' Lister replied.
'See you, Cat. Hope one day in the not too distant future you fufill your heart's desire and get your end away,' Holly told him, I scoffed.
'Thanks, man,' the Cat said.
'Teresa, I truly am sorry I forgot about you,' he said and I laughed.
'It's okay Hol, I was never angry with you,' I told him.
'Still, I hope you fix and build lots of things, maybe invent something cool. Use that brain of yours for something more interesting than astronav. And for what it's worth, I think you would have been a great teacher,' he told me.
'I didn't know you were listening to that,' I smiled back to the conversation I'd had with Lister a few days ago. 'Thanks Holly.'
'And Arnold - Well, I hope you meet those aliens you're looking for, who can give you a body, and you become an officer and you get a sex life, and all the other millions of things you feel you need to make you happy,' Holly told him and I wanted to laugh, but I was too sad. I'd always loved Holly.
'Well, I hate long goodbyes. Perhaps next time you've got the dosh together to go down the disco, you'll raise a glass to your old mate Holly, and think "Things weren't too bad when he was around. Perhaps not the most efficient computer ever invented, but we had a giggle." Oh, one last thing - 45.265881' Said Holly.
'What?' asked Lister.
'That's the square root of two thousand and forty-nine. I may not be fast, but I get there in the end. Well, as they always say, finish on a song,' Holly replied. '"I'll say goodbye to love, No one really cared if I should live or die, Time and time again the chance for love has passed me by..."
His voice and image slowly faded out and the red erased stamp appeared on screen, I couldn't belive it was over, that he was gone. I'd miss him, I really would. He was always nice to me when I was working on this ship, and now he wasn't here anymore. "ERASE COMPLETED." Queeg appeared.
'Okay, suckers, get this into your stupid thick heads. There's only one thing I'm going to say to you,' he said and I was instantly angry.
'What?' Lister asked.
'What's happening, dudes?' Queeg said in Holly's voice. Did he have a trick up his sleeve this whole time? What the hell did he do? I stared at the screen in astonishment. The image on the screen changed Queeg's face faded out, to be replaced by Holly. He was smiling smugly at us.
'We are talking Jape of the Decade. We are talking April, May, June, July, and August Fool. Yes, that's right, I am Queeg,' he told us. That little shit.
'WHAT?!' Rimmer yelled.
'Queeg never existed. It was me all along,' Holly admitted.
'WHAT?!' Rimmer roared.
'No wonder you were trying to keep me out of the AI room,' I said.
'Wheeze of the week, mate!' Said Holly. 'You almost had me Teresa, you suspected there was no backup computer from the start.'
'WHAT?!' Repeated Rimmer.
'Going round in circles for fourteen months! Getting my information from the Junior Colour Encyclopedia of Space! the respect you have for me is awesome, innit?' said Holly.
'You mean you staged the whole thing?' Lister asked for conformation.
'That's right, suckers!' he said as Queeg before switching back. 'And the moral of the story is: Appreciate what you've got, because basically, I'm fantastic!'
'I could kill you Holly. I could actually go down there and wipe you,' I told him, pushing myself up off the bed.
'You wouldn't 'Resa, you love me,' replied Holly.
'And you're so lucky that I do,' I waggled a finger at him.
Chapter 7: Parallel Universe
My head was pounding. I was vaguely aware I was laying something metal and hard rather than the bunk I'd made my own the past few months. I wiggled my toes and fingers hoping that the reason I'd found myself sore all over and having no memory of how I'd gotten that was was the result of a bender and not another explosion of some kind. I eventually found the courage to open my eyes and winced, the lighting was dull, the room still gave off a red glow but it was still undoubtedly too bright for hung over me.
'Oh god...' I groaned rubbing my forehead. 'What the smeg have I done to myself?'
'There you are 'Resa, haven't seen you in weeks,' Lister said, kneeling and leaning over me to stare at me, alerting me to another presence in the room. 'Come on, Hol's invented something really cool.'
'Okay, think about what you said really carefully and then once you have, think really, really hard about saying it again,' I told him as I continued to lay on the floor of the AI suite. He smiled and shook his head.
'So,' he said changing the subject. 'Do you just come down here to drink or is this where you end up?'
'I used to drink at the end of the day, after hours down here. And then it was when things were getting hard down here, then I'd just drink. So after a while of that I tried to find something else, to do something else, but I always wake up back here. I can't figure it out man,' I said.
'You know what you need darlin'?' He asked. 'A break. Come on, let's go see the Holly Hop Drive.'
'What's the Holly Hop Drive?' I asked. He offered me a hand up and pulled me to my feet.
'I'll explain on the way,' he said and I nodded.
We took the stairs up to the drive room, to give me more time to wake up. Once we got there, I was instantly annoyed I was even conscious. Lister, Rimmer, the Cat and I stared down at a cardboard box painted red with a red stop button and a green go button glued to the top. I folded my arms over my chest. Damn Holly. I could wipe him. I'd figured out how to do that much at least. I could do it.
'Is this it?' Lister asked, picking up the box.
'What do you think?' Holly seemed proud of himself.
'It's just a box with "STOP" and "START" on it!' Lister said sounding as annoyed as I felt.
'It's fairly straightforward. If you want to start it you press "START," and you can work out the rest of the controls for yourself,' Holly said. I had a theory Holly just liked taking the piss out of us.
'It's absolutely pathetic,' Rimmer commented from the side. I don't know why we all gathered here. The more time I spent on this ship the more faith I lost.
'Right. Let's Holly Hop. Engage drive... drive engaged. Initiating ignition sequence... ignition sequence initiated,' Holy listed off. I stratched the back of my neck. What's the bet this was another April Fools joke?
'Get on with it,' Rimmer grumbled.
'It takes time, this. One slight error in any of my thirteen billion calculations and we'll be blasted to smithereens. Here we go, then: 10, 9, 8, 6, 5-' Holly listed and I sighed, pulling out the astro nave chair and sitting down.
'You missed out the seven,' said Rimmer.
'Did I? I've always had a bit of a blind spot with sevens,' said Holly.
'We're going to die,' Rimmer hummed and I groaned.
'No problem. I'll start lower down. 1, blast off,' said Holly.
Lister thumped his hand down on the start button and I rubbed my forehead. God did I want breakfast. Something spicy and disgusting. I'd have to remember and ask Lister to make me a chilli chutney sandwich.
'We've done it. We're home,' announced Holly.
'It worked?' Rimmer asked. I raised an eyebrow and looked at the navicom.
'We're at Earth? You must be joking!' said Lister, and we were. We were at the exact same coordinates we'd been at before.
'Half a mo'.' said Hol. He vanished from the monitor, and returned almost immediately. 'It's gone.'
'What has?' asked the Cat.
'The Earth. It's missing. It's not there. Wait a minute -sorry, I was looking out of the wrong window,' realised Holly who then went for another look. 'No, no, it has gone. The entire Solar System is missing.'
'Well, what is actually out there?' asked Rimmer.
'Nothing. Just space,' answered Hol.
'Holly, the thought occurs that we haven't actually reached Earth. The further thought occurs that we haven't actually budged a smellinginch,' said Rimmer. At least He'd figured it out. I sighed. I wanted to die.
'No, no, we have. It's just I don't know where we are. I've got to admit it, I've flamingoed-up,' said Holly.
'What?' asked Rimmer.
'It's like a cock-up, only much, much bigger. Wait, there is something there. It's another ship,' said Holly.
'Aliens!' Cheered Rimmer, there was definitely something wrong with that boy.
'Punch it up,' ordered Lister.
The screen on the computer revealed a big, red, dirty mining ship floating parallel to us. Somehow, Holly had managed to clone our ship. We were still stuck in deep space but now we had something we could strip for parts at least. I sighed. I wanted to go and lie down.
'It looks like an exact copy of Red Dwarf,' said Holly.
'Eh? So what's happened?' asked Lister, probably thinking along the same lines as myself.
'Somehow, don't ask me how, we've jumped into a Parallel Universe. We've entered the fifth dimension,' Holly explained. I raised an eyebrow.
'What?' I asked. I supposed universe hopping was just as plausible as cloning.
'What's the fifth dimension?' asked Rimmer.
'Didn't they get to Number Six with that "Baby I Want Your Love Thing?"' asked Lister, cracking a joke. I grinned.
'You've got your basic dimensions, right, length, breadth, depth and time. The fifth dimension is co-existing realities, two bodies who share the same space but are unaware of each other's existence,' explained Holly.
'Sounds like my parents in bed,' said Rimmer and I cracked up.
'So hang on. This is another Red Dwarf, with another Rimmer and Lister on board,' Lister thought out loud.
'Will they be be exactly the same as us?' asked Rimmer.
'No, there will be differences. This is parallel universe, innit?' said Holly.
'What do you mean?' asked Rimmer.
'Well, for instance, in this universe, it could be that Hitler won the Second World War. It could be something even more incredible, like perhaps Ringo was a really good drummer. Hang on, I'm linking up with their on-board computer,' explained Holly.
'There's this old Earth movie I like,' I started explaining to Rimmer. 'And it shows two universes running simultaneously and the key difference is whether or not this woman caught the train she was running for or not. It ca be something grand that made the change like Holly was saying, like Hitler or something so small, seemingly insignificant that you wouldn't even imagine it. Like one guy flips a coin or something like that.'
A second face appears beside HOLLY's. The shape of the face is much the same, but with one important difference - it is female. Oh shit. The difference is gender.
'Hello, I'm Hilly,' said the second face.
'Hello, I'm Holly,' said our clearly love struck AI.
'Hello, Holly,' said Hilly.
'Hello, Hilly,' Holly replied.
'Well, this is a turn-up, innit? You'd better boogie on over and we can sort it out,' Hilly even sounded like Holly.
'Right on, sis,' agreed Holly.
'See you, Hol,' said Hilly.
'See you, Hil,' Holly said and Hilly faded away. 'I'm in there.'
I winked at Holly before heading of to one of the dispensers for something that resembled breakfast. And then a small lightbulb of an idea went off in my head. I turned back round on my heel and stuck my head through the door.
'Hey, List?' I grinned at the man. 'Before we go, you don't fancy doing me a real solid do you?'
'What?' he raised a brow, intrigued.
'It involves three slices of bread and just as many eggs,' I replied and he laughed.
'A chili chutney sandwich coming up,' he threw an arm over my shoulder and took me down the kitchen to work some bacterialogical warfare magic.
A couple hours later and I was feeling much better. The sandwich made with Lister's special extra spicy homemade chutney had made me sweat out most of the alcohol and the shower helped with the gross, greasy feeling my skin had. Once I was dressed I headed down to the shuttle bay and ran a check over the Blue Midget before we went. Shortly after Lister showed up with the Cat and lucky last to arrive was Rimmer, no surprise there. He'd probably spent the last few hours practicing all the bragging he was going to do. How he was going to lie to himself, I had no idea.
Rimmer was pissed I let Lister drive the Blue Midget but, he'd had three years of practice while I'd been away in Starbug's stasis system. However I quickly learned that the three years practice he'd had didn't amount to shit.
'It's the gearbox man,' Lister told me. I rolled my eyes.
'I'll have a look at her once we get back, yeah, we should be able to make it like this,' I told him. 'Just let me know if it's shifting too much and you need me to have a wiggle around with it.'
'Nah, we should be able to make it. It's not slippin' that much. I can handle her until we get home,' he told me. Yeah right.
We finally made it to Red Dwarf II with one last lurch of the Midgit and docked on safely. I depressurised and entered Red Dwarf's airlock, ready to go and meet our parallel universe selves. I rubbed my head. Still a slight hangover. We stepped onboard the Dwarf Rimmer first, myself next and Lister, the Cat and a Skutter.
'It's identical in every detail to our Red Dwarf!' said Rimmer in surprise.
'Very funny smell around here that I don't like one bit,' the Cat said sniffing around. 'It smells like your moon-boots, man. I'm going to get rid of it.' he told Lister and I smied behind my hand. He pulled out canned scent-marking and slid off down the corridor spraying. 'That's mine, this is mine...'
'So where are the other Rimmer and Lister and Kochanski, then?' asked Lister. I replied in a mere shrug as we walked further onto the dwarf. I wondered what I'd be like. Finally in the main corridor Lister pressed the button for the door to reveal a very shocked looking female version of Lister and Rimmer.
'So, you're not aliens,' said female Rimmer. I smiled to myself. Somethings never change. Female Rimmer walked over to male Rimmer and saluted whereas the two Listers got quite close and kind of swayed with each other, hands in their pockets as they looked one another up and down.
'Hi,' said female Lister.
'Hi,' male Lister echoed.
'How do you do?' asked female Rimmer.
'How do you do?' said male Rimmer.
'So you must be Lister?' said my Lister.
'And you are too,' his female counterpart replied.
'I hope so,' he joked.
'You must be Rimmer. So am I,' said female Rimmer.
'Splendid,' he replied.
'Deb,' female Lister introduced.
'Dave,' Lister replied.
'Arnold,' Rimmer told female him.
'Arlene,' she replied.
'Indeedy,' I was almost rolling my eyes.
'Right, and I'm Teresa, where can I find myself?' I asked. I needed some intelligent convesation, stat.
'Terrence is off in the shuttle bay somewhere getting greasy,' Arlene told me.
'He said he'd be down fixing the blue midget that got the sticky gearbox if you were after some intelligent conversation after you arrived,' Deb smiled, laughing to herself.
'It's like he read my mind,' I smiled back. 'You gonna be alright, Dave?'
'Yeah, go on kid, go meet yourself,' he shooed me off and I hurried down the hallway excitedly. I wondered what a male version of myself would be like. In minutes I was down in the shuttle bay and I could hear the sound of welding equipment echoing across the otherwise soulless room. I jogged over and dove under the space craft.
'Hey Terrence,' I greeted. 'I'm Teresa, after some of that intelligent conversation you were offering.'
'Hey Teresa,' the male version of myself greeted.
His face was obscured due to the welding mask he was wearing, so I couldn't get a good grasp on what I looked like here. He turned off his torch and flipped up his visor. There was a dark grease smear across his cheek and a warm smile on his face. He had high cheekbones and a sharp jawline, soft laugh lines and neat, cropped brown hair that was a bit messy on top. His blue eyes sparkled as he looked at me, giving me the once-over I was giving him. I could see, now, why Lister told me that guys chased me because of my smile. Terrence was gorgeous. Hopefully that wasn't narcissistic.
'Deb's right, you do have a beautiful, if not a little cheeky, smile,' Terrence told me. I beamed, blushing slightly. I brushed some hair behind my ear.
'Thanks, you too,' I told him. 'You have nice cheekbones.'
'You too,' he replied. 'You wanna help me fix this?'
'You reckon our Midget has the same problem?' I asked.
'Did your Lister take it out to the first planet with a breathable atmosphere and scrape the underneath so badly the gears are out of alinement?' he asked.
'I imagine he did, but he hasn't told me,' I replied. 'How'd you find out?'
'I read her diary while drunk,' Terrence told me. 'I told him, I accidentally opened it, read one page, realised what it was and put it back. Felt bad about it for an hour or two and blurted it all out. She just laughed and said it was no bother, that I probably wouldn't remember it in the morning anyway. Yet here we are.'
'Here we are,' I nodded. 'I could kill him. This is going to be so annoying to fix back there by myself.'
'Sucks to be you, I have an extra pair of hands,' Terrence laughed. 'Make him help you when you get back.'
'I'm going to, now I know it's his fault,' I laughed and moved to hold things in place. He handed me my own welding mask and I put it on. We laughed like this and worked together for a few hours. Who knew you could be your own best friend?
Dave and Deb walked into Lister and Rimmer's sleeping quarters, past the fridge. The two had been chatting amongst themselves trying to wrap their heads around the alternate universes they'd each come from.
'So, you come from a universe which is exactly the same as ours?' Dave asked and paused by the fridge. 'Can I?'
'Yeah,' Deb nodded. Dave took out two cans, handing one to her.
'Only everything's ... opposite?' Dave continued. They walked over to the bunks, to lean against them as they chatted.
'Oh, I don't know if everything's opposite. It seems like that,' replied Deb.
'So you come from a female-orientated society?' Dave asked.
'Well, it's not exactly female-orientated anymore, not since the sixties. You know, the equal-rights-for-men marches. You know, they burned their jockstraps and all that,' Deb replied, grinning at the thought of them burning their jocks. Dave grinned, shocked but intrigued.
'Stop!' he scoffed. He was so surprised to hear opposite parallel to his Earth history.
'Haven't you read "The Male Eunuch" by Jeremy Greer?' Deb asked.
'So, your history is parallel to ours as well? So, hang on... erm, who was the first person on the moon?' asked Dave.
'Nellie Armstrong,' she told him.
'NELLIE Armstrong? So... who wrote Hamlet?' Dave asked, trying to catch her out.
'Will Shakespeare,' answered Arlene who ad just entered the sleeping quarters with Arnold.
'Ah, so he was a bloke,' Dave pointed, thinking he had one.
'No, she was a woman. Wilma Shakespeare,' Debbie replied.
'Yeah, she wrote all the greats: "Racheal the Third," "The Tamingof the Shrimp,"' Arlene continued, pacing around in a march as she lectured. Arnold watched for a moment before becoming distracted by the magazines displayed on the table.
'My god, what's this?' he asked in disgust. He stared in disdain down at the oiled, half naked men in the pictured.
'Oh, "Camera Monthly" magazine,' Arlene replied, nonchalant.
'But, it's disgusting! It's full of semi-naked blokes drapingthemselves over sports cars,' Arnold protested.
'What's wrong with that? You're not one of those boring masculinists, are you?' Arlene asked.
'So, sexual attitudes are opposite as well?' Dave asked, mildly amused.
'What was that, my little cupcake?' Arlene asked, walking over to lean far into his personal space.
'Your little what?' Dave asked, ready to punch the hologram.
'But, it just looks ridiculous! I mean, these models aredeformed! Hugely deformed,' Arnold threw his arms out. 'It makes one feel quite... inadequate,' he said in a quieter voice, trying nonchalantly to cover his crotch with his hands.
'I wouldn't worry about that, my pretty,' said Arlene, coming back over and giving him a slap and grope to the rear.
'Hey, the holograms can touch each other!' Deb pointed out to Dave. Who nodded, laughing. They were interrupted in their making fun of Rimmer as the Cat slid in twice fast.
'Hey, hey, hey, hey! I hate to break up the party, but is theresomebody missing?' he asked indignantly.
'How do you mean?' said Deb.
'Well,' he said pointing to her and Dave. 'Lister, female opposite,' he then moved to Arlene and Arnold. 'Rimmer, female opposite. Where's mine?'
'Oh, right. Mooching around on the Cargo Decks, I think,' Deb replied.
'Wow! All my life I've waited for this moment, and now it hasarrived! Hey, listen, if you hear me screaming, do not - I repeat, donot - come to the rescue! Whaaaaaoooooooow!' the Cat yowled and slid down the hallway, bouncing as he sung 'I'm gonna get you, little kitty...'
'I think he's in for a bit of a shock,' said Deb.
'Why?' asked Dave.
'His opposite isn't female,' said Deb.
'What is it?' asked Dave.
'It's a dog,' grinned Deb.
'Man, that went so much quicker with two sets of hands, didn't it?' Terrence asked me. I smiled up at him. After heading back to the tool shed to return our stuff we'd decided to talk a walk through the cargo bay to get to know each other better. I found it fascinating all the opposites here and so did he about my universe.I was almost doing half skips as we walked.
'You wanna smell my WHAT!?' I heard the Cat yell in disgust.
'Why sure! Don't you wanna smell me?' asked a hillbilly sounding fellow. I raised an eyebrow.
'I'm sorry, what animal did Lister store in the hold?' I asked.
'In this universe it's a dog,' Terrence explained.
'Oh, so that guy evolved from a dog, I was expecting there to be a female cat or something,' I responded. He shook his head.
'You'll like him, he's very friendly. Smells a bit. I've been trying to convince him to take a bath but he hates them,' Terrence explained.
'I'll help you, if you like,' I told him.
'Man, I could smell you if you was on Mars! When was the last time you took a bath?' said the Cat.
'Oh please, don't say that word!' pleaded Dog.
'What, bath?' the Cat asked.
'You said it again! Now listen up: if y'all gonna say that word in front of me, please spell it,' Dog asked. I smiled. The century old human trick.
'When was the last time you took a B - A - T - H?' asked Cat.
'What's that?' Dog asked and I snorted. I was standing next to Terrence when Dave wandered in from the other side of the corridor. I smiled at him.
'Yo, Cat. There you are. C'mon, errm, we're going to the disco,' Lister said. 'You coming, 'Resa?'
'What?' asked Cat.
'Yeah, Holly says it's gonna take seventeen hours to repair the Hop Drive,' Dave said. He sniffed the air in Dog's direction, looking a little disgusted. He must be bad for even Lister to be put off. 'So I thought we'd, you know, go and have a few...' he slapped his face as a flea hoped on him.
'Alright, let's go! Yeah, yeah, yeah! Come on!' said Cat.
'I'll meet you down there, yeah? Terrence and I are going to uh, play with Dog,' I said. Lister shot me a funny look but nodded. He wasved his goodbyes and headed off with Cat.
'What, really?' Dog asked, excited. If he had a tail to wag, it would be up. 'I like your new friend.'
'Why don't we go upstairs to chase the hose,' I suggested.
'Oh I like that game, I'm very good at biting the water,' he told me. I smiled and nodded, where Cat was arrogant, Dog was humble and cute. A little smelly tho.
Enter the disco. Dave and Deb danced with each other with pint mugs of larger, showing off to each other identical signature moves. Cat stood by the bar, combing his hair while Arnold and Arlene had gotten themselves a table with holo-friendly beverages.
'Well, they seem to be getting on, don't they?' Arnold commented, looking over at Lister and Lister.
'Yes,' Arlene agreed. 'Absolutely.'
'Oh yes,' Arnold sat jiggling both his knees, nervous.
'Like a house on fire,' Arlene continued.
'You can say that again,' Rimmer agreed.
'Oh, yes,' said Arlene.
'Yes,' Arlene said bringing about an uncomfortable pause between the two. 'Mind you, we've got a pretty good conversation going on here.'
'Oh yes, yes,' Arnold agreed, no less nervous. 'Funny, really. I'm not normally good at talking to the opposite sex.'
'No, I'm not. I run out of things to say,' said Arlene. There was another long pause.
'Me, too,' said Arnold. Another long pause. 'So, you're a girl, then?' he asked. There was another pause while Arlene nodded, amused.
'Yes,' she answered.
'That's nice,' Arnold replied.
'Hang on,' Arlene lurched forward out of her chair. 'haven't you got something in your eye?' she said, pointing at him and making strong eye contact. Arnold paused, almost falling for it before a dawning horror, he realised what was happening.
'You're trying to hypnotise me, aren't you?' Arnold demanded whilst breaking eye contact.
'No, of course not,' Arlene defended.
'Well, stop staring,' he told her.
'I'm not staring,' Arlene defended.
'Yes you are,' Arnold kept his eyes away.
'Okay, I read it in this book. It's great for picking up bits tottie,' Arlene gave up the game. Although her explanation only seemed to make Arnold more uncomfortable. Upset even.
'Well, I'd hardly describe myself as a bit of "tottie."' he said.
Terrence, Dog and I were in the communal showers in the shuttle bay that the mech's often used. We'd turned on several shower hoses at full blast and let them run wild so Dog wouldn't notice Terrence and I rubbing soap and shampoo on him every time we petted him. He rinsed himself off just as quickly so he was none the wiser in the end. Now if only we could get him a comb.
'Oh, you're all wet now Dog,' I said sounding sad. 'Perhaps you should grab some new clothes, shake off a little before we go down the disco.'
'Yeah, alright, I'll meet you there,' he agreed easily. 'Say, I think playing with the hose scared off all them flees.'
'Probably,' I grinned, waving him off.
'Or,' Terrence countered, once Dog was out of earshot. 'It was the anti-flee treatment we squeezed on the back of his neck while he was trying to chew water.'
'Yeah,' I smirked at him. 'Probably that.'
'We make a good team,' he told me.
'Yeah, me, myself and I,' I smiled.
'Wait, where's I, there's only me and myself here,' Terrence joked and I giggled. I brushed some hair behind my ear. The only part of this plan that had gone a little awry was that now we were both soaked as well. Terrence stood beside me, leaning one arm on the wall as he looked down at me. Arlene and Deb were reasonably similar in height, save for a few inches to their counterparts, I didn't understand how mine had gotten so tall.
'Now we both smell like wet dog though,' he said, brushing a bit more of my hair behind my ear.
'Yeah, maybe we should go clean up before we go down the disco, too,' I suggested. I knew I'd get shit from Rimmer, and Lister and would definitely ask why I was soaking.
'Yeah,' Terrence agreed. He leaned in swiftly and pressed his lips to mine. I froze up. It wasn't as if he wasn't a good kisser but, he was me. This was weird. He pulled back like he'd been burned, cleared his throat rather harshly. 'Uh, I'm so sorry. That was wrong, I just, well... sorry.'
'No it's alright,' I told him. 'That was weird, wrong, but, I'd kind of been wanting to do it too. Very strange. Guess my sister was right, I do quite fancy myself.'
'Seems my brother as well,' Terrence chuckled. 'Come on, we'll nick you some of Deb's clothes, she won't mind if you borrow them until yours dry. Arlene will kill us if I lend you any of hers. What does she need them for anyway, she's dead.'
'I know,' I nodded. 'Our Rimmer is just as annoying, trust me. I'm just hoping he'll learn something after meeting himself.'
'Doubt it,' Terrence replied.
Arlene got up from her chair, swaggering over to Arnold as he pulled away, awkward and uncomfortable. She leaned right in over him.
'Ohhh, yes. Tottie, tottie, tottie,' she sold him.
'I think you've had rather too much to drink. I always get likethis when I'm tanked,' Arnold told her, trying to lean away.
'C'mon, you're interested,' she said right in his face.
'I assure you, I'm not,' he defended, trying to get away.
'Why are you giving me all the signs, then?' she asked.
'What signs?' replied Arnold.
'Wearing such tight-fit trousers?' she asked, gripping him hard between the legs.
'They're not tight,' he said as he tried to remain his composure.
'Of course they are. You're begging for it,' Arlene groaned as she rocked into him, leaning in impossibly close.
'I'm not "tottie," and I'm not begging for anything!' Arnold defenced.
'C'mon, give us a snog! I promise I won't try and take off your underpants,' Arlene bargained.
'Look, I'm sorry, I'm just not that kind of g- boy,' Arnold said and Arlene shot up with a loud sigh. As if all of this wan an inconvenience to her. She moved over back to her own seat but not before announcing to the room with large pointing gestures that Arnold was frigid.
'You're disgusting! You're only after me for one thing!' said Arnold, disgusted.
'Why? How many have you got?' she smirked.
'Feel better now you're all dry?' Terrence asked as I stepped out of Rimmer and Lister's quarters where he stepped out of his.
'Much,' I agreed. My hair was still soaked but at least I was clean, dry and no longer smelled of wet dog. We headed to the disco, ready to let lose with the others, seeing as we still had ages until the hop drive was repaired. Things certainly looked lively as we walked in to discover the pets having a dance off. I smiled endearingly at Dog's cute but rather shit dance moves.
I looked over to see Lister by the bar and Rimmer with Arlene's tongue down his ear. I screwed my face up, repulsed but as I got closer, he looked just as uncomfortable as I felt. Seems Rimmer had found my Todhunter, unfortunately for him, his Todhunter was himself.
'Listy! How are you me old mate, come and join us, please, god, come and join us!' Arnold called out. I put on a deep scowl. Marching over before Terrence could do anything but follow. Looking interrupted, Arlene pulled back, squeezing Arnold's pec and stopping to mutter something to Dave.
'What the hell was that?' I demanded.
'She thinks I'm frigid,' Rimmer told me.
'Has she ever considered sexual assault isn't the way to a man's heart? Honestly, she's behaving like half the officers on our ship,' I rolled my eyes.
'You tell her that, she's your kind,' Rimmer demanded.
'My kind?' I raised a brow.
'He means female,' Lister shook his head beside him.
'I've never tried beating up a hologram Rimmer, but I can't imagine I'd have much luck,' I told him.
'Hang on a minute,' Lister said looking up at me. 'That looks like my London Jets football tee but it can't be, that's back on the Dwarf.'
'Terrence and I hosed down the dog earlier because the smell and the flees were driving me nuts, and the unfortunate byproduct was getting drenched, Terrence said Deb wouldn't mind,' I shrugged.
'Wouldn't mind what?' Deb asked from behind me.
'Had to borrow some clothes,' I replied, turning.
'Oh yeah, Terrence said you'd managed to get the Dog to wash,' she nodded. 'You look quite good in my clothes, kid, your brother always seemed to like to borrow a thing or two.'
'Uh thanks, listen, you don't mind if I go ruff Arlene up a little, do you?' I asked and she laughed.
'I'd pay to see it,' she told me.
I marched over to where Terrence was talking with Arlene, moderately sized nostrils flaring. I put my hands on my hips as I stood there, staring at her.
'Have you ever considered Arlene that maybe your attitude towards men is the reason we've ever had more than that one kiss 3 million years ago? You're completely disgusting,' Terrence said. Clearly I'd just walked into an argument. I turned on my heel and scurried away.
'Apparently,' I said sitting down with Arnold, Dave and Deb. 'I'm already reading her the riot act.'
'Well great minds think alike,' Rimmer shrugged. 'Plus, maybe it's better he's off there doing it, a big strapping bloke like himself. Might stand a better chance.'
'Excuse me?' I pulled back, I raised and eyebrow. 'What did you just say?'
'Yeah, she might be a hologram but why couldn't 'Resa take her in a fight?' asked Deb. 'Traditionally it's the women sorting out those kinds of things anyway. It's chivalry isn't it?'
'Well it's just, Terrence is so big and tough looking, and Teresa is so small and..'
'And what, Rimmer?' I glared at him.
'Hey man you'd better leave it,' Lister tried to step in.
'Forget it, Dave,' I scowled. 'I think I've just figured it out. Anyway, I've just remembered Terrence had something he'd pilfered from the science decks that he wanted to show me.'
I pushed myself up out of my chair and headed away, back to the not mine but kind of mine quarters. What the hell was wrong with Rimmer? I don't know why I ever felt sorry for him, he was a complete smeghead. And as for the adoring look all those years ago, that made me want to kiss him, it must have been a result of all the drugs the medical team had pumped him full of. No, Rimmer was and always had been a smeghead. I've waisted months thinking on this. No more.