Categories > TV > Red Dwarf

Gone

by Roadstergal 0 Reviews

An AU ending to Out Of Time.

Category: Red Dwarf - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst - Characters:  - Warnings: [!!!] [?] [X] - Published: 2006/09/06 - Updated: 2006/09/07 - 963 words - Complete

Rimmer made the mistake of checking Starbug's chronometer. Two thousand sixty-three years, three months, twelve days, eight hours, and twenty-eight minutes. He knew it had been a long time since their encounter with their future selves, but before he checked, he only knew it had been an amorphous Long Time.

Over two thousand years.


He wonders if he's said two thousand words since then.


There is little enough to talk about. What does one say to a mechanoid that is already guilt-ridden to the point of computer senility? "Looks like Cat and Dave are still dead, eh?"

The one brave thing he's ever done in his life, and he did it too late. With the time-drive melted into slag, he staggered back up the smoky, debris-littered corridor, coughing the dust from his simulated lungs, only to find the cockpit exactly as he left it.

It made no sense. He had destroyed their destiny line; their future selves no longer existed, and as Dave and Cat had been killed by their future selves, they should now be re-alive. He had checked his logic over and over. It was impeccable. He was right, he knows it. But no matter how loudly he screamed this marvelous bit of reasoning at the universe, it stubbornly refused to pay attention. Lister and Cat stayed dead.

Kryten's damage was minimal, and even someone of Rimmer's sketchy engineering skills had no problem bringing him back to working order. Rimmer needed someone to help remove the bodies, after all. He had to reboot the mechanoid five times to get him to even look at them; Kryten's guilt chip did not deal well with the loss of the only two living beings in his care. The two undead crewmembers had a funeral service for the two truly dead ones; it consisted of several minutes of awkward silence, as neither wanted to be the one to admit that there was absolutely nothing to say. They eventually ejected the bodies into deep space.


And now, they follow Red Dwarf's vapor trail. Rimmer is no longer sure if there are living beings piloting the enormous red trash can, or if the thieves lived their lives out on it and have left it barreling through space on autopilot. He wonders if Holly is currently contemplating another three million years alone.


Rimmer does not even know why they are still following Red Dwarf. They do not need its supplies, and any advantage from its bigger engines is surely being wasted in the detour of the pursuit. What is in it for the two of them? But Lister had been adamant that they catch Red Dwarf, and the two of them have no initiative to do anything else; no farm on Fiji, no Kochanski. Like a computer program set in motion by a long-dead hacker, they follow Red Dwarf.

The two front seats in the cockpit are coated with sticky filth and dust. The joystick controls are more sensitive than the computer-operated nav controls, but the simple plunge through deep space can be accomplished from the two back seats, and Rimmer and Kryten stay there. There was only one time since the disaster - smeg only knows how long ago - when Rimmer had to use the joystick. They were being pursued by a rogue GELF trading ship, and Kryten informed Rimmer with a resigned look that the back nav console would not be sufficient for evasive action. Rimmer might nevertheless have stayed put if a too-close shot had not shaken the ship and caused his console to spark and sputter. Rimmer had gingerly slid into the seat in front of him; it creaked unhappily from long disuse, and when he grabbed the stick, brownish stains came off as dust in his hands. Their escape into a dust cloud was probably due to his shaking hands making their movements utterly unpredictable. When Rimmer let go of the joystick, he had to grab himself around his own waist to stop the spasms of tremor that wracked his body. He staggered back to the living quarters, and there Kryten found him a half-hour later, huddled naked in the corner of a freezing cold shower and scrubbing madly at his hands. He can only vaguely remember that he was wailing, and it must have been about Lister, because the dully gleaming mechanoid stared at him, wide-eyed, as if his guilt chip was about to initiate another shutdown. Comforting a half-mad hologram is likely not in his behavior protocols, Rimmer has thought as he looks back on that event. It must have been an urge to do something productive that caused Kryten to awkwardly kiss and finger Rimmer as he lay on the floor of the shower, and although Rimmer can no longer say for certain that this is or is not something that he would have wanted from the long-gone Dave, the mechanoid's jelly-rubber lips and square, stubby fingers were so unlike anything human that Rimmer found himself laughing and sobbing with equal hysteria. His climax came with a vivid hallucination of a white-hot noose of light tightening around his neck as he choked on the stream from the shower head.


With no other living beings around against whom to judge the passage of time, Rimmer's hologram no longer ages, and a casual observer might say that he looks the same as he did the day he died. But when he catches a glimpse of his reflection in the plexi cover of the midsection table, he can see every one of his two thousand years etched in the photons that compose his face. He wonders how long he will stay sane. He wonders if he is sane even now.

He wonders if it matters.


And Starbug tears across the broad gaps between galaxies.
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