Categories > TV > Red Dwarf > Forwards0 Reviews
Something is wrong with Red Dwarf's engines.
"That muon storm must've cocked up the engines, somehow," she replied, typically laconic. "My monitors from Deck 1807 on down packed up, too, so I can't tell what's goin' on down there."
Rimmer steepled his forefingers and rested his chin on them. "Thank you, Holly. You're as useful as an American football commentator."
Lister sighed, with a pointed excess of volume. He dropped his feet from off of the console, and let his chair thump back down onto all four legs. "Think you can do better, eh? Go prove it."
Rimmer turned to him, one eyebrow raised. "I beg your pardon?"
Cat grinned a toothy grin. "Yeah, electron-brain, he's right. Why don't you go tell us what's wrong?" He adjusted his cuffs with a smug expression on his face.
Rimmer sighed. Honestly, those teenagers could be so smegging dense sometimes. "Because it isn't my job, maties. It's the job of some stupid swut in maintenance."
"Well, seeing as all the stupid swuts in maintenance are dead, and you're the only dead stupid swut who can move, I think it's your job now. Besides," Lister lapsed into an exaggeratedly pompous version of Rimmer's voice, "you're my superior technician! You're better equipped to handle a situation of this magnitude..."
Ire at Lister slowly morphed into a rather more productive set of thoughts as this speech came to an end. Yes, why not go down there? True, he knew sod-all about engines, but Holly would be in contact, and would tell him what to do. Head down there, find out what's wrong, fix it, show Listy up - and if anything went wrong, he could blame it on Holly's directions. Not a bad thought, Arn! He jumped to his feet with his favorite vulture grin, enjoying the way Lister's own grin slipped from his face in the face of Rimmer's unexpected enthusiasm. "Terrific thought, that! I'll just pay a little visit to the bog-cleaning tin can, and put the Listy plan in action. Capital!" Cat cocked his head bemusedly as he and Lister watched Rimmer's sprightly exit.
"What is that?" Rimmer asked, taking it in two fingers. It was too heavy to be held that way, so he was forced to grab it underneath with his other hand.
"A bazookoid, sir," Kryten replied, brightly. "It's for blasting holes in rock to set charges, but it makes a fair weapon, I think."
"It looks like Pamela Anderson's favorite dildo," Rimmer said, doubtfully. "Didn't the officers have sidearms?"
"Yes, sir, but Holly said that we do not have the security clearance to access them."
"Did she, now?" Rimmer snarled, looking in the direction of the control room.
Kryten coughed politely. "Ah, as much as you may wish to settle this dispute with her, may I suggest that the engine problem should probably be resolved in a time frame shorter than that of any previous argument you've had with her? Besides," Kryten continued, stepping back, "the bazookoid makes you look rather... manly."
Rimmer slung it over his shoulder and looked down at himself. "Really?"
"Oh, yes," Kryten replied, with utter sincerity etched on every angle of his face.
Rimmer paused at deck 15 and took in the view. It was exactly the same view as the floor above, and the floor one thousand floors above. Holly had dropped him off ten floors away from the engine bay, mumbling something about wanting to ensure his safety that he did not believe for a moment. Rimmer sighed. Whole cities on Io were smaller than the Red Dwarf floors, so perhaps it had made sense that the designers had run out of ideas. Exposed piping, exposed gantries, and exposed wiring gave the ship a we-cut-a-few-corners-in-the-end-but-they'll-never-notice-before-it's-too-late look. Rimmer plodded his way down the central corridor to the escalator at the far end of the floor. The emergency escalators had been installed by a company that normally put them in shopping centres, and had not been told that getting from floor to floor rapidly should be a priority for this particular job, not requiring people to traverse the entirety of the floor to get one floor lower.
The skutters had set up a bit of a civilization on deck 14, and Rimmer was accosted at the base of the escalator by two skutters dressed in feathers and chains, holding two of those sidearms that Holly had not allowed him access to. He told them he was just passing through, so kindly sod off. They consulted, then presented him with a Skutter City Day Pass, which was made out of what looked disturbingly like a human pelvic bone.
The remainder of the two days it took him to reach the engine room passed in a blessedly uneventful fashion, however, and he arrived at the massive doors to the massive engine room. They were large enough to admit an entire engine, climbing their grease-streaked way into darkness above, which Rimmer found asinine, as the corridors on his side of said doors were nowhere near large enough to admit a fraction of an engine. The low thrumming of the engines had gotten louder as he approached; they had done so subtly that he had barely noticed, but now, stopped outside of the engine room, the noise shook the floor.
"Whot?" Holly's voice asked from his bee. It felt like someone in his stomach was trying to talk out of his throat. He shifted uncomfortably.
"The engines are very clearly /on/."
"Good sign, that, but I'm not gettin' power from one of 'em. There's some drain. You'll have to boogie on in there and check it out."
Rimmer sighed, looking at the gargantuan doors. "How do I open the engine room doors?"
"Welll..." Holly drawled, "I can open them from up here. It'll take them a week to get open to the point where you can walk in. But migh' I suggest the maintenance hatches?" she asked, tartly.
Rimmer thought unkind things about Holly's smarter-than-thou attitude as he walked closer to the door's left side, peering closely as he slowly moved right. With his nose practically up against it, he was finally able to see a grimy outline of a door-size hatch. He felt around the edges until his hand brushed a grotty handle, and he turned it and pulled.
The space inside was not so much a hatch as a tunnel. The only light was what small amount of dim ship's light seeped through from the open end. Rimmer crawled through it with unease, eventually banging his head against the door on the far side. He felt around until his hand grasped a handle. He twisted and pushed, and the door did not move. He pushed harder, and the door rattled and clanged, but stayed stubbornly shut. His pummeling did, however, dislodge the hatch at the far end, and it swung shut, leaving him in total darkness. In a panic, he threw himself at the door, hitting it over and over again with his shoulder. On the fifth pummel, the door gave way, and he found himself heading for the ground with all of the energy he had been flinging at the hatchway. The bazookoid tangled in his legs as he fell, and his crotch landed directly on it. He curled up for a moment, grabbing his painful testes with both hands and whimpering.
"What have we here?" said a voice that sounded like it dined on broken glass and washed it down with acid. Rimmer dithered with the equally unattractive options of trying to ignore whatever it was and actually looking at whatever it was. The choice was taken away when what felt like a steel bear trap grabbed his hair and pulled him up to his feet with it. Rimmer found himself staring into a pair of too-wide eyes set in a too-leathery face, one that was crisscrossed with strangely thin scars. Rimmer kept his hands folded protectively over his testicles.
"A human!" The creature - there was no way, Rimmer thought, that this /thing/, with its leathery skin pulled too tightly over its too-sharp bones, was human - grinned manically, like he had just found a naked woman in his box of cornflakes.
"Er, I'm a hologram," Rimmer squeaked.
"Argh!" the... thing spat, as if the naked woman had turned out to be a transvestite. He stuck the pinky and ring finger of his free hand into Rimmer's nostrils, let go of Rimmer's hair, and pulled the hologram up to his tiptoes nasally. "You'll do." He stuck his freakish eyes close to Rimmer's. "My name is Batriz N'ncloodid." It had the singsong quality of a ritual statement. "I am going to make you scream." He pulled a knife the size of a man's forearm out of his greenish vinyl jumpsuit, and lifted his arm back.
"Wait!" Rimmer yelped. "You want humans? There are humans here. Well, one. Well, he's mostly human. Really. And a cat." Words were tripping over each other in their hurry to exit his mouth. His nose felt like it was going to be pulled off of his face.
Batriz paused. "Really?" Rimmer tried to nod, and failed. Batriz seemed to get the idea, though. "If you're playing with me, scum, I'm going to give you a slow, painful death. Nothing quick and merciful like having your intestines pulled out through your ear and force-fed to you while you're buggered with a small cactus, savvy?" He pulled his fingers out of Rimmer's nostrils, which Rimmer felt must be of a size to admit one of Starbug's engines after that experience, and Rimmer fell back to the floor. Batriz kicked him in the stomach and picked up his ankle. "Where?"
"Through that hatch... ooof!" Rimmer yelped as his head bumped its way along the floor. He talked Batriz across the floor, then up the stair that bonked his head with every step.