“How many times do I have to remind Mr. Lister to log off a workstation properly when he’s through with it? I swear, that man will be the termination of my diodes.” Grumbling to himself, Kryten went over to shut down the terminal so he could continue cleaning the sleeping quarters. He froze, rubbery hand paused in mid-descent, as he read what was displayed on the monitor.
GuitarGOD: where r u?
DukeRimmer: In the Drive Room - why? Also, it’s “are you,” you semiliterate gimboid.
GuitarGOD: whatever..... I want you right now. xxxxxxx
DukeRimmer: Do you, now? How so, Listy? Hmm?
GuitarGOD: In Starbug’s cockpit in your seat. or should that be COCKpit???!?! ;-)
DukeRimmer: Go on...
GuitarGOD: sexy lightman with long, lushus ladylegs, I want your hardlight hardon in me ....!!!!!!!!
DukeRimmer: Sorry, Listy, but I’m afraid you’ll have to be a bit clearer expressing your - ahem - desires. I wouldn’t want to be unsure, after all.
GuitarGOD: Smegging come fuck me inStarbug NOW you smeghead!!!!!
DukeRimmer: I’ll meet you there in twelve minutes, sugarplum.
Kryten was simultaneously appalled, intrigued, and amused by the exchange he had just read. Curiosity mode fully engaged, he scrolled back through the extensive message history for several minutes, muttering to himself in amazement. “Really, sirs - you’re both mature adults - I cannot believe some of this juvenile filth - you actually call him ‘honey-bunny?’ - you want him to put what where? - cherry-flavored whipped cream? - I’ll have to use a spare head so I can bleach this one to get THAT image out of my memory files!”
“Hey, Bud! What’s up? How’s that new mop of yours?” Startled, Kryten guiltily whirled around to face the Cat, who had danced into the sleeping quarters to raid the fridge for milk. “No hello? I got your tongue? That’s a joke, you know. It’s ‘cat got your tongue,’ and I’m a Cat, so...”
“Yes, Mr. Cat, I’m well aware of the expression,” Kryten snapped, cutting him off. As Cat looked at him in surprise at his tone, he hung his head and added, “I’m sorry, Sir - you spooked me, and I overreacted. Shame mode.”
“Never mind that, bud of mine! What are you reading? Is it good?” Cat moseyed over to Kryten and peered over his shoulder at the monitor. “Who’s GuitarGOD? Lister? Is DukeRimmer Goalpost Head? Dude, what is this?”
“It’s the Red Dwarf internal messaging system. They’ve been using it for salacious purposes!”
“Sailing what? How? We don’t have a boat.”
“No, Sir, salacious means - never mind. They’ve been using it to arrange assignations.”
“They’re assigning each other homework?”
Kryten sighed. “No - well, yes, I suppose they are, if you consider what they’re doing as studying gross anatomy.”
“They’re gross, all right. Let me see it!” Cat budged Kryten aside, and began reading. Within minutes, the felinoid was staring at the mech in disgust. “This is awful! Is there more?”
Smirking, Kryten demonstrated the scroll function. Cat promptly ordered the door to lock, and, pulling up seats, the two of them avidly resumed their snooping.
“Nasty,” Cat remarked when they’d finally finished reading. “All those pet names and monkey sex talk - I think I’ve lost my appetite. That’s enough to make me want only three plates of fish instead of five.” He thought for a moment. “Say, Bud, do you think there’s a way to use this to mess with those idiots?”
Kryten smiled slyly. “Indeed I do, Mr. Cat.”
That evening, as Kryten dished up dinner, he casually asked Rimmer and Lister, “So, Sirs, did you do anything interesting today?”
“Nah, man,” Lister answered as he tucked into his lamb vindaloo. “Just helped Rimmer out with some repairs on Starbug.”
Kryten replied, “Repairs? I wasn’t aware that she needed any. Holly never mentioned it.”
“They weren’t tremendously important,” said Rimmer. Exchanging an ardent glance with Lister, he added, “The springs in my navigator’s seat needed to be... adjusted, and the adjustments needed testing.”
“Yeah, testing,” Lister agreed, patting the hologram’s arm. “Wouldn’t want Rimmer’s arse getting uncomfortable, after all.”
“Everything worked out to be tickety-boo,” Rimmer continued, placing his hand briefly over Lister’s and giving him a light squeeze. “Perfect repair, and very springy.”
Kryten walked behind Cat and surreptitiously nudged him with his elbow. “Very good, sirs. I’ve been teaching Mr. Cat to cook so that he won’t set himself on fire again. Sir, did you find any good recipes on RedNet earlier?”
“I did, bud of mine! There was one for honey-glazed roasted rabbit I want to try. They called it Honey Bunny, and it sounds good!”
Lister’s fork clattered to the table as Rimmer choked on his sip of wine.
Kryten chirped enthusiastically, “Honey Bunny - what a clever name!”
Faces flaming, Rimmer and Lister stared at one another, then at Kryten and Cat.
Innocently, Kryten inquired, “Sirs, what’s wrong? You both seem perturbed. Do you object to rabbit? We could always discuss sweets instead.” As Lister protested that he liked rabbit, and Rimmer denied having any problems, Kryten continued, “Mr. Cat, Christmas is coming soon. I’m thinking of making sugarplums...”
Lister did a spit-take with his lager.
“...and I’d like your help finding a suitable recipe,” the mech finished. “I’ll also be enlisting your help on a shopping trip to the supply decks. Butler is visiting Saturday night, and I’d like to serve a delightful dessert I found. It’s a rich vanilla poundcake topped with flavored whipped cream. I thought cherry-flavored cream would be lovely, but I’ll need your assistance gathering supplies.”
Rimmer started to twitch, and his nose began to scrunch up. “Kryten...!”
Kryten ignored the hologram’s growl, instead focusing his attention back on Lister. “Mr. Lister, sir, were you on the computer system earlier?”
Lister looked at him in confusion. “Er... why?”
“I found the workstation still set up and logged on this afternoon when I came in to tidy up.”
Lister’s jaw dropped, and he gaped open-mouthed at Kryten as the implications of the mech’s words slowly dawned on him. “Logged... on?”, he stammered. “To what?”
“The messaging system, Sir.”
“Oh. You didn’t happen to notice anything, did you, Krytes?”
“Well, Sir, I may have, yes.”
Red-faced, Rimmer rounded on Lister and snarled, “You left the messaging system open? How many times have I said to be sure to log the smeg off?”
Grinning, Cat crowed, “He did leave it on, Goalpost Head! I saw it, too! Man, you monkeys are freaks!”
Rimmer hid his face in his hands, groaning, “This cannot be bloody happening! Exactly what did you see, you idiotic animal?”
“Way more than I wanted to, Non-Bud. I almost barfed at some of it. You guys are lucky I didn’t, as I would have had to send you my dry cleaning bill! This suit is real silk!”
“Oh, smegging hell,” Lister moaned, as Rimmer slammed his hands on the table and glared daggers at him. “I think I’m gonna go eat in the broom cupboard or the airlock or Blue Midget. It’s getting a little bit uncomfortable in here.”
As Lister rose, Rimmer stood and blocked his escape. “Like hell you are, miladdo! Cat and Kryten are going to leave the quarters now, and you and I are going to have a little chat about cybersecurity!”
“Come on, Kryten. We know when we’re not wanted,” Cat sniffed haughtily. He picked up his plate and elegantly strolled out of the sleeping quarters, followed closely by the mechanoid. As the door locked behind them, Kryten quipped, “I guess honey-bunny is off the menu.”
Rimmer and Lister could hear them laughing all the way down the corridor.