Categories > TV > Red Dwarf > Cleanup0 Reviews
Lister's idea comes to fruition. Will things work out despite that?
However, Kryten could not be in the vicinity when it was activated, and so Lister prodded the Cat awake once it was on the ground. Together, they pushed it out to the lake, Cat hissing a nonstop stream of complaint about having to work, about sweat stains and dirt stains, about the ignominy of having to leave all of his metal jewelry back at the 'Bug, and, as they neared the crag in front of the lake, he gave up once more, and, straightening, shook his finger in Lister's face with a, "If there were any other cats around here, bud, I'd have to kill you for even suggestin' that I do this!"
Lister was sweaty and tired at that point, and could not help twisting his lip in annoyance. "Don't worry - they'd see what a bloody great help you weren't." He sighed and rested on the magnet, stretching his sore arms. "Maybe we're close enough for it to work, now. Let's give it a shot."
Cat leaned against the crag and started to neaten his hair as he watched Lister. Lister moved around the magnet, checking contacts and wires. He had no idea why the lander had an electromagnet welded into a corner of the docking bay, but he was not about to second-guess its presence; he had unbolted it loose where necessary and cut it loose where necessary (actually, he had probably cut a few bits he was supposed to unbolt). Satisfied that everything was in place, he threw the plastic toggle. The machine hummed, and his belt buckle, which he had forgotten about, snapped off of his belt and landed squarely on the magnetized section of the ceramic chunk. His pants slowly slid to the ground. Cat sniffed. "Are you trying to make me sick, bud?"
Aside from the belt buckle, nothing had been attracted to the magnet. Lister pulled his pants back up and turned off the magnet. "Maybe it needs to be closer to the lake. Let's just shift it a bit, righ'?"
Cat shook his head. "Not just yet, bud. I need to cool off a bit. Look at this!" He pointed at a slightly damp spot under his armpit. "This can't go on!"
Lister shook his head. But he could stand to catch his breath, as well, before browbeating the Cat into helping him again. He shuffled ahead, one hand holding his pants up, and peeked around the crag - where he saw Rimmer, who was sitting by the side of the lake in soft-light red.
"Piece o' smeg magnet," Lister muttered, walking over to Rimmer. The hologram did not acknowledge his presence; as he drew closer, Lister saw that Rimmer had an expression on his face that would have matched being buggered by a tram. "Rimmer?" he asked, cautiously. He extended his free hand, holding it roughly where it would be if the hologram's shoulder were corporeal and Lister's hand were resting on it.
Rimmer turned, his eyes still wide. He stood up, unsteadily, not noting that his body passed through Lister's hand. Lister pulled his hand back; Rimmer normally bitched like a jilted debutante when anyone tried to put anything solid through his projection. But he merely stared at Lister, swaying slightly. He put out a hand as if to steady himself on Lister's chest, but his hand passed through, and he swayed less slightly.
"Er," Lister said, trying to catch Rimmer's eye, "you have a hard-light drive, you know. You OK?"
Rimmer finally seemed to focus on Lister. "Oh... yes... I do, don't I?" He looked down at his hand, frowning at it.
"Yeah." Lister scratched his head, and his pants started to slip down again. He grabbed them quickly. "You want to come back to the 'Bug, man?" Rimmer most definitely did not look like himself, but Lister wanted him out of there before the water beast-thing came back.
Rimmer frowned at his hand more fiercely, and shimmered slightly, shifting to hard-light with a gentle whumpf. Lister grabbed Rimmer's shoulder with his free hand and started to shuffle away from the lake, hauling on an unresisting Rimmer. "Oh, yes - Starbug," Rimmer said, absently.
Cat sighed as the two of them passed. "Damn, you found him, didn't you," he groused, falling in behind the two. "Nice going, curry-stain."
Lister plopped a still-stunned Rimmer at the midsection table with a hot cup of tea in front of him, then called to the cockpit, "Hey, Krytes, let's get out of here, eh? Forget the magnet. They can have it."
"Er, yes..." Kryten trotted into the midsection, rubbing his square fingers together nervously. "Well, I don't think we can do that, sir."
"Why not?" Lister asked, feeling his voice rise in pitch. "We need to get outta here before the liquid beast decides to come back!"
"I could not agree more, yes, but the fact is... the engines are offline. I can't seem to get them to come up."
Lister sighed. Two chicken soup technicians, a sanitation droid, and a self-obsessed Cat; their chances of repairing the engines were not great. But they had to try. "Right, we'll..."
Rimmer interrupted him by taking a noisy slurp of tea. "Yes, they said they wouldn't let us go just yet." He sounded more like himself - which, unfortunately for the situation, meant he sounded significantly more annoying. Lister turned, but Rimmer just stared moodily into his tea.
"Rimmer," Lister asked, "you spoke with them?" Rimmer nodded and took another noisy slurp of tea. "Well?"
"Well what?" Rimmer snapped. He looked up to see Cat, Lister, and Kryten all staring at him impatiently. He looked back at his tea.
Kryten suddenly snapped his plastic fingers. The sound was eerie. "Of course! The trace elements in the water - given intelligent control, they could allow conductance to be precisely controlled. It - whatever it is - could interface directly with your light bee, couldn't it?" Rimmer nodded, mutely.
"So if it's sooo intelligent," Cat asked, leaning against the wall, "why couldn't it talk to us?"
"It's from another dimension," Rimmer told its tea. "It doesn't understand the idea of sound. It can't... hear. But it... said... that it would keep us from launching until we... made up for... taking part of its body."
Kryten nodded. "Only a little of it would have to spill when we brought it onboard. Even a small amount could creep into the engines and cut them off from the main controls."
"Whot's it want?" Lister asked, nervously. "Not parts of our bodies, does it? I like all of my body!"
"You're the only one," Cat muttered. Lister ignored him.
"Sort of," Rimmer told his tea, firmly. "It picked out the idea of DNA from my bee, and it rather likes the thought. It wants some."
"Oh, well," Kryten said, far too quickly, "this is carbon-based life-form talk, I see. If you need me, I'll be..." He pointed at the cockpit, and trotted swiftly into it.
Lister looked after Kryten with confusion, then turned back to Rimmer. "Whut, it wants a blood sample? We can spare a bit, as long as it isn't... well... all of it."
"No, it doesn't like the iron," Rimmer told his tea.
"Then what..." Lister paused. Cat's silence behind him indicated that the feline had gotten to the end of that thought before he had. "Oh, you mean, it wants..." Lister waved his hand vaguely.
"Yes, it wants..." Rimmer waved his hand vaguely.
"Let me get this straight," Lister said, crossing his arms. "We have to wank into the lake. Then it'll let us go."
Rimmer nodded. "So it said. Not in so many words. At least," Rimmer leaned back, lacing his fingers in his lap, "you've had plenty of practice, miladdio." He raised one eyebrow with a sneer. Lister stopped worrying about whether the hologram were all right, and began to debate whether he should work on making the hologram not all right again.
Rimmer and Lister sat on the lander's side of the crag. Cat was on the other side, making his contribution to the cause. Lister had no idea why Rimmer was there, but figured it was to enjoy Lister's discomfiture - which Lister had plenty of, thank you very much. Rimmer had been all too correct about the practice Lister had gotten - hell, if wanking were a sport, he was in Olympic trim - but somehow, doing it in his bunk at night or in the rare shower, when they had enough water, was very different from doing it into a sentient lake. He wondered if the creature would try to make a female water-form for him to do it into - then stopped with that line of thought. If he kept along that line of thinking, he wouldn't be able to get an erection for this. Hell, he might never get an erection again.
"Need any help, miladdio?" Rimmer's nasal voice was not what Lister needed. "I can't say I'm willing to lend a hand, but if there's anything else I can do..." Rimmer was enjoying this far too much, Lister decided.
"You can smeg off. Why aren't you cowering at the 'Bug with Kryten?" Lister muttered.
"Oh, I'm always willing to give moral support to my crew/members/, Listy. I know you're going through a hard time, but if you keep a stiff upper lip..."
Cat rounded the crag, looking thoroughly disgusted. "What a waste of, well, /me/," he sniffed. "Your turn, bud. I'm taking a very long shower." Cat swaggered back to the 'Bug, the dance gone from his step.
Lister stood, wondering if Rimmer was going to needle him all of the way through this. He took the direct route, and put his hand on his trousers. "You here to watch, Rimmer?" he asked, leering.
Rimmer held up one hand and turned his face away. "No, that's quite all right..."
Lister giggled and walked around the crag. He walked up to the blue lake, and stood there for a moment, feeling very self-conscious. The lake was still and serene, but he felt like a million eyes were on him. He closed his eyes and tried to think about the fact that he was the last human alive, and there was nobody else alive for him to feel self-conscious /about/. That did not help at all, and he was discouragingly flaccid. He tried to think about past sexual encounters, which lead him right to the most recent one - the highly drunken one that he could not even remember, only that Rimmer had been somehow involved. A part of his mind pulled out the thought that, if Rimmer had sucked him off, he could just walk into the lake and switch to soft-light in order to make the delivery. Lister pushed that thought out of his mind, and thought, in rapid succession, about Kochanski, Pete Transet's lovely sister, and the weathergirl from Channel 27. That did the job of getting him erect, and he quickly started to rub one off. From among his strange, wandering thoughts, he snatched the one that considered that his semen was, in a way, currency, and he found something very studly about that. It was enough to let him finish off. Unfortunately, the come trickled out in thick glops instead of spurting with any distance behind it, so he had to quickly swipe it up with his hand and fling it into the still blue liquid. He shook as much of it off as he could, then, unable to deal with the thought of rinsing his hand off in the water-beast, he rubbed his hand on the dirt before tucking himself back into his pants and refastening them.
They launched in a pointed and uncomfortable silence. Kryten tried to make a few cheerful comments, but he was roundly ignored, and fell into a bit of a mechano-sulk. They headed towards the cluster, with the unspoken agreement that they would hunt for a planet without a pan-dimensional liquid beast with a penchant for sperm. The cluster was just as beautiful as before, but Lister could not suppress a twinge of discomfiture at the sight.
He did, however, have one thought up his sleeve to take everyone's thoughts off of what had just happened - and dear lord, did they need to! He stood up, clapped his hands together, and walked into the midsection, rubbing them together. "Come on, guys!" he called. Cat stood and followed, Kryten behind him; Rimmer sighed, loudly, but stalked into the midsection after them.
Lister turned, grinning. "Well, I checked the chronometers, and according to them, it's Christmas. And, by good luck, we just came off of a planet that has some truly excellent booze. So what do yeh say we break out with a few bottles of distilled liquid-beast, and celebrate?"
"Well..." Kryten said, slowly.
All of them turned to face the mechanoid. "What?" asked Cat.
"Well," Kryten repeated, "er... there wasn't quite room for both the urine recyc wine and the liquid-beast alcohol. And, considering the experience you had, I thought that you would rather leave the latter behind..." Kryten trailed off as the three other crewmembers stared at him, mutely. "Oh, dear. That was wrong, wasn't it?"
"Ho ho ho," Rimmer snorted, stalking back into the cockpit.
You remember, sir. Christmas day, we were attacked by that pan-dimensional liquid beast from the Mogadon Cluster.
-Out Of Time