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Family

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It was definitely a normal morning. Lister was eating breakfast, curry cereal with curry sauce and a glass of curry sauce on the side, served with a drink of lager. Opposite him, trying to ignore Lister's food, was Rimmer, who was eating a holographic full English breakfast, minus the egg, which hadn't been properly projected. Kryten had claimed that research had proven that having a Full English was good for your heart, which made no sense to Rimmer, as bacon fat was supposed to be bad for your heart, and anyway, he didn't have one and the food wasn't real food. Completely ignoring his own breakfast and partially ignoring Lister's, Rimmer had opted to read a very out-of-date newspaper. And bring up a very personal topic.

'I want a family.' he said, definitely, completely, totally, ignoring the egg successfully. 

Lister nearly choked on his morning lager. 'A what?'

'Family, you know. Parents and kids.'

'Yeah, we already have that. We have Cat.' Lister downed the lager in one gulp. 'Anyway, it's a bit hard for us to get kids, what with you being a hologram and both of us being male.' Lister glanced at the lager. 'Has this got freaky fungi in it or something? Your egg seems to have a life of its own.'

'Don't change the conversation.' said Rimmer, knocking the egg off of the table. It paused before jumping back onto the table and making its presence extremely clear. 'But couldn't we use an artificial womb?'

'Are you volunteering?'

'No...' Rimmer narrowed his eyes. 'I'm suggesting we...' Unable to stop noticing the bouncing egg, he grabbed the egg and threw it hard against the wall. The egg bounced off and hit Rimmer in the nose. 'Ow.'

Lister laughed. 'Holographic eggs seem like a nightmare, I don't see why you bother.'

Rimmer held his nose with one hand. 'Asg Grytuhn. I thingk id brogke by gose. 'Ollhy! Gan hou figs id?'

Holly appeared on the screen. 'What?'

'Figs by gose.'

'I can't understand you, you're not speaking clearly.

'Dust figs by gose'

'Just fix his nose.'

'What happened to his nose?'

'Ahn ehgg brogke id.'

'What?' 

'An egg broke it.'

'I thought being hard light and all he was indestructible'

Rimmer glared at Holly as best as he could with his hand covering his nose. 'Igm dtill 'ere, 'Ollhy, Igm gnod dedtrucded.'

'He says he's still here, Holly, he's not destructed.'

'And that he couldn't come to harm.'

'Dusd figs by dose, I dound dige adn ihdigot.'

'Just fix his nose, he sounds like an idiot.'

Holly sighed. 'Fixing nose.' 

Cat ran into the bunk room hissing and hid under the table, interrupting Lister and Rimmer's conversation.

'Cat, not a good time. We're discussing family.' Lister glanced at the egg, now bouncing about on Lister's bed. 'And breakfast.'

'Dell Grytohd do bore eggs.' said Rimmer. 'Id brogke by dose.'

Cat glanced at Rimmer. 'Is there something wrong with him? Aside from the normal.'

'Bud duz that mean.' said Rimmer, standing up and staring at Holly. 'Holly, did you fix my nose or give me another one? Something feels wrong.'

'Nevermind Cat, now is not a good time. We're having a serious discussion.' Lister gestured to Cat to leave.

'Yeah, about his large nose! Meanwhile, Kryten is having a serious bath discussion!' Cat sat down where Rimmer had been sitting. 'Ooh, food!' he tried to pick up the holographic bacon unsuccessfully. 'Why can't I touch this food!'

'What's wrong with that?' Rimmer asked. 'You take multiple showers a day.' He walked over to the mirror. 'Who's nose is this?

'Look, I'm a cat, we're shower-only people.' Cat explained, gesturing to himself.

'That's your nose, Arnold.' said Holly.

'Are you sure?'

'Why don't you like baths?' Lister enquired.

'Yes, Arnold. It's your nose, Arnold.'

'Well,' Cat began before letting out a squeak and hiding underneath the table as Kryten entered.

'Sirs, have you seen Mr Cat, I'm trying to get him to take a bath to save water.' 

'Don't showers save water?' Said Lister. 

'Are you really? Because you once thought that Kochanski's breast was my chest!'

'That's not Kochanski's nose, Arnold.'

'Mostly, sir. Unfortunately it doesn't work if the showeree takes multiple long showers a day.' Kryten explained. 

'What about when you thought Petersen's arm was my arm?'

'That's not Petersen's nose, Arnold. Nor Chen's, Selby's, Captain Hollister. Nobody. It's nobody's nose, Arnold, except your own, obviously. Nobody's nose.'

'Well, Cat is- ow!' Lister winced as Cat dug his fingernails into his leg. 'Not here. Sorry, Krytes.' Lister shrugged and Kryten glanced under the table. 'But we do have a question for you.'

'Are you saying this is my nose?' Rimmer asked.

'Yes, Arnold. That's your nose, Arnold' Holly sighed and muttered: 'Shouldn't've fixed it in the first place.'

'You do, sir?'

'Yeah.' Lister turned round. 'Rimmer, stop arguing about whether or not that's your nose.' Rimmer turned around and Lister continued. 'If we wanted to have a baby, how would we go about doing that?'

'Well... Firstly, if you're thinking of starting a family, sir, may I suggest that you and Mr Rimmer are more suited to being the family starters.'

'That's exactly what we're saying, Kryten.' said Rimmer, circling around the table. 'We're saying... Just that.'

'So you're not proposing that I have your baby then, Mr Lister?'

Lister shook his head 'No. We're saying me and Rimmer want to have a family, and we want you to remove that egg.' 

'Oh. Well that makes secondly and thirdly moot points.' said Kryten. 'Which egg?'

'The holographic one which keeps bouncing all over the place.'

'What holographic egg?'

'That one, there' said Rimmer, pointing at the floor where the egg was. 'That... has gone.'

At that moment Cat stood up from underneath the table and ran. 'There's an egg attacking me!' he yelled as he was chased out of the room by Rimmer's breakfast. 


Kryten and Rimmer stood in the medibay. Cat would have probably not been there anyway, but he was definitely not there now, as he was more preoccupied by an egg which kept chasing him and which he was oddly unable to catch. It was getting really annoying, Cat would have liked to know why whenever he grabbed it his fingers slipped through it, almost as if it was, in fact, made of light.

That was, in fact, because it was made of light. 

Lister sat up in the bed, wearing a hospital gown. 'So run me through your plan again?'

'What we plan to do, sir, is adapt the method used in cloning, to create a child who is genetically both of yours.'

'That seems like a lot of work.'

'Well, normally human reproduction is done sexually. And whilst in most cases, I would recommend that, for you, there are three minor drawbacks.'

'Three?' said Lister.

'Minor?' said Rimmer.

'Well, firstly there are no women on board. Secondly, the two of you are men, and only Mr Lister has reproductive capabilities. Thirdly, there are no human women in the universe.'

'I'm sorry, you said "minor".'

'Well, they may be a bit major-y, sir, but what we're not doing is less important than what we are doing.'

'Which is?' said Lister.

'Firstly, I'm going to remove the sperm from Mr Lister's testicles.'

'Testicles? Aren't they NPC's from an old video game?' asked Lister.

'No sir, that's testificates. Your testicles are... Your balls.'

'Then?'

'Then I'm going to convert part of Mr Rimmer's genome and convert it from base 2 binary into base 4 ATGC.'

'ATGC? Isn't that an old mobile phone thing?' Lister asked.

'No sir, that's AT&T. ATGC is your DNA.'

'Then?'

'Then I'm going to reprogram the part of Mr Rimmer's genome and turn it into a human egg cell. Then I'll insert the sperm cell into the egg cell, and implant it in an artificial womb.' Kryten grinned. 'Now, I'm just going to scan your-' Kryten broke off as he looked through the medical scanner. 'Uh... Sir?'

'Oh no, there's a problem with my sperm isn't there.'

'No sir. It's another problem.'

'What problem?'

'Now, I know this is a bit of a personal question, and I would like to inform you that I'm only asking this for medical reasons, and if you'd like I can delete the information afterwards.'

'What's wrong.'

'Sir, You know your chromosomes?'

'Isn't that where you separate dye using water?'

'No sir, that's chromatography. Chromosomes are what stores your genes.'

'What about them? Do I have any?'

'Sir, if you didn't, you wouldn't be here.'

'So I have chromosomes?'

'Of course sir. It's just... You know the last chromosome pair?'

'What? Like have I met them? "Hello Chromosome Y, hello Chromosome X"?'

'And is that what they are, sir?'

'What?'

'X and Y.'

'Oh, those chromosomes!' Lister grinned. 'Yeah. X and Y.'

'Huh. Then this would mean you are a medical anomaly.'

'Why? What is it?'

'Now if you'd have said it was XX or XXY, I could have understood this.'

'What is it, Kryten?'

'Sir, you appear to be a... a...'

'A woman?' interjected Rimmer.

'Not exactly sir. Mr Lister has both fully working male and female reproductive organs.'

'Wait.' Lister held up a hand. 'I what?'

'Technically, sir, you're intersex. Well, actually, it's more like you're a hermaphrodite, as most intersex people don't-'

'I have- What?'

'Sir, you have a fully functional uterus, with everything. Including eggs-'

Cat ran in. 'It's chasing me! It's chasing me!' he yelled. 

'What is, sir?'

'The egg!' 

Kryten felt a warm flush spread over his diodes as he engaged embarrassment mode. 'Oh, sir, I must have forgotten to remove the holographic egg. I'll make it my top priority.'

'But what about me!' said Lister. 'I've just learnt I've got a uterus!' 

Kryten glanced between Cat, who was running in circles away from a holographic egg, and Lister, who had just learnt that he had twice the number of sexual organs than most men, and then to Rimmer, who was staring at the medicomp and slowly raising his fist to his mouth. 

'Jim and Bexley.' said Rimmer, before biting down on his fist. 

'Sorry.'

'Jhmm nn Ghm-mn.' repeated Rimmer through his fist, before removing it from his mouth. 'Jim and Bexley. The twin boys you gave birth to.'

'You don't think-' Lister broke off. 'Oh my God.'

'Sir, I- I- How did I not- But- I- How-' Kryten stuttered as his RAM began to fill up as he recalled everything about Lister's pregnancy.

'Krytes! Good to see you online again.' 

'You've put on weight.'

'I'm pregnant. They're my children.'

'I should hope so, sir!'

Who greets someone with 'you've put on weight' Kryten thought and his diodes heated up again with more embarrassment. 

'Cat can't do the surgery, I can't do the surgery, Holly can't do the surgery, and we don't trust the skutters.'

'But sir! I'm not a qualified surgeon! Can't the medibot do it?'

'Destroyed by Lister's confidence. The medicomp's up on A deck, which hasn't been decontaminated.'

Was it something to do with me not being a qualified surgeon? Kryten felt growing horror, there was a cold chill going down his spinal column. 

'Welcome back online, sir!'

'Kryten, I'm a human, we don't come "Back online".'

'You've given birth to two healthy babies, who are now 6 months old.'

'WHAT! But it's been two hours.'

Kryten decided that going through his memory banks was not, in fact, helping him locate what went wrong with Lister's pregnancy to leave him with a healthy set of female sexual organs. 'I think we're going to do this another way.' he said, before his RAM overloaded, deciding to move the part of his programming that kept him upright to his virtual memory, resulting in him collapsing, hitting his head, hard against the floor.

Ow he thought, before the force of the floor switched him off. 

'Did Kryten just faint?' Lister asked no-one in particular.