Categories > TV > Red Dwarf0 Reviews
A gapfiller for Nanarchy. Another use for nanobots.
And so he had Kryten pull up an old course, and program it in.
The mechanoid had frowned at him. "Er, why, Mister Lister, sir?"
"Sentimen'al reasons," Lister had told him, grinning. "Just... do me a favor, would ya? For me. And," he leaned closer, "don't tell Kris. She wouldn't understand."
With the dual prodding of concern for Lister and hatred of Kochanski motivating him, Kryten set to work reprogramming the course with a near-religious fervor. Lister felt a little guilty - but only for a moment. He had to do this. It was, in some ways, atonement - but also something he needed for himself, he had come to realize. After time without the smegger, and this new Kris reflecting back all he had thought he wanted, and now the dreams - well, he was not a man to ignore what his own subconscious was trying to tell himself.
It must have just been Lister's imagination that made the ring of red around the garish pink planet look a bit broader and brighter than it had before. It would take billions of dead Rimmers to make it larger, and they hadn't been off that long, had they? Oh, smeg, he hadn't checked the chronometers when they got out of deep sleep. How long had it been?
No matter. He knew what to do.
When Kryten popped out of the ops room to fix dinner, Lister stole the precious glass jar of nanobots. He told them what he wanted. He opened the jar and chucked it out of the Waste Disposal Unit. He walked to the cockpit and waited.
The nanobots worked faster than he thought was physically possible - but they were hyper-advanced technology, weren't they? As he watched, the flashing red lights faded to nothing in a broad strip that swept around the ring, leaving in its wake a smaller, but still mind-bendingly vast, rectangular brassy structure. As it was made of the same material as the coffins, it reflected the light of the distant red sun in a ruddy yellow glow along one side, disappearing into blackness in the shadow of the planet.
It could not have been much more than an hour before the pulsing red ring was gone. The metal hall that had taken its place curved into a ring around the planet; the hall would be full of... Lister did not let himself think. He'd jinx it, he was sure. Instead, he rushed to the exit hatch, wondering how the smeg he would get his suit on with one smegging arm.
Despite some awkwardness, he soon found himself floating outside of the hall, nervously holding onto the line that stretched between it and Red Dwarf. "Erm... fellahs?" he asked, wondering why on Earth he expected the nanobots to be hanging about in his suit rather than off somewhere enjoying their newfound freedom. But they apparently wanted to see this through - or wanted their work admired - because a door formed in the side of the brownish-yellow wall, dilating open to let him in and dilating closed again as soon as he was through.
His gauges read Earth-normal air. Better than Earth-normal air, actually, which had not been all that good when Lister left. Lister awkwardly unscrewed his helmet and dropped it, eagerly sucking in a breath of air that was clean and sweet, not laden with Starbug's miasma of grease and smoke and sweat. About the only thing that was not perfect about the air was a lingering trace of cheap aftershave, and that detail made Lister turn and pound towards the more conventional-looking door that stood at the end of the small room he was in.
He turned the handle and pelted through - but came to a screeching halt on the other side. He was on an elevated platform, barely five feet on a side, and it was elevated above a room of - Rimmers. Ace Rimmers as far as the eye could see, all subtle variations on the same cookie-cutter theme of broad shoulders under glimmering flightsuit; a billion shades of sandy-blond, wavy hair perched atop a sea of bemused nostrils. The room stretched impossibly far, its curvature barely visible as it dwindled to a pinpoint in the distance.
It was a sight that would make the most hard-core lesbian on Mimas base wet.
Lister pulled his jaw shut with his remaining hand and reminded himself of why he was there. His Rimmer. Holy smegging crap, though - how was he supposed to find the bastard? The Rimmers were so bafflingly alike in appearance. But even from where he stood, Lister began to see differences in their attitudes. Some pressed against the wall, wide-eyed. Some clapped each other heartily on each other's shoulders, laughing and recounting what appeared to be tales of derring-do. Some folded their arms and sniped condescendingly at each other. Some of the more self-obsessed were snogging, and Lister could see motions that indicated that a subset of those were taking it a bit farther than that. No, Lister could find his Rimmer. He knew it. He just had to look.
Lister climbed down the ladder that the nanobots thoughtfully created when he asked nicely, wishing he had asked for stairs instead as he made a painful three-limbed descent. Hands helped him as he neared the bottom, some of which seemed a little too eager. Two of those grabbed his armpits as soon as they were within reach, and pulled Lister close to a crinkly-jacketed chest.
"Scooter!" a hearty voice said in Lister's ear, and he was turned to face a genially grinning Rimmer variant. This one had very green eyes and a hard-planed, unscarred face.
The Rimmer did not let go once Lister's feet were on the floor, and Lister tried to step back. He bumped into the pack of Rimmers behind him, and stopped. "Erm - I'm not Scooter. I'm another Lister," he said, nervously.
"That's all right," that Rimmer said, brightly, "you look just like him." He bent in eagerly for a kiss.
Lister pushed back firmly with one hand on the Rimmer's chest. "No go, mate. Sorry, you'll just have to go find yer own."
That Rimmer pushed out his lower lip and looked down, disconsolate. Lister was grabbed by another pair of hands from behind. "He doesn't want you, you twat. He wants /me/. And it's not Scooter, it's Spanky!"
Lister wrenched him out of those hands and spun around, facing a trio of far-too-eager Rimmers. None of them quite right. "Look!" he said, waving his arm for emphasis. "I'm not Scooter, I'm not Spanky, I'm not Spanners. I'm looking for my Rimmer, righ'? Now leave me alone!"
The Rimmer's bemused glances between themselves did not matter to Lister one bit. He ran into the thick of the nearest pack of Rimmers, looking eagerly at each one before running onto the next. "'Scuse me," he muttered, yanking on a chunk of sandy-blond hair. It stayed put, and the owner yelped. "Sorry!" he said, running to the next pair that were swapping stories, and checking their faces for scars. He dashed towards the next group, apologizing briefly to two Rimmers who were shagging on the floor when he tromped on them. He grabbed two that were snogging, pulled them apart, then pushed them back together. Not his Rimmer, either of them. He ran through the crowd, pushing, yanking, staring, questioning, slapping away hands that tried to grope him, sending dismissive "Yeah, yeah"s after gratuitous insults. He ran until his legs were trembling with exhaustion, and his voice was hoarse. So many Rimmers! Billions of sniping, posing, snogging, groping, sniping, shagging, smug, smegging Rimmers, but /where was his/?
A pair of muddy hazel eyes met his briefly as he pushed out of another group of wrong-Rimmers, then jerked away as the owner turned and found something very interesting in the ceiling to look at. Lister's heart leapt. He forced his bone-weary legs to pull him towards that Rimmer, reached up, grabbed the hair, and yanked. It came off in his hand.
"Hey!" yelped the Rimmer, turning and grabbing for the wig. His nostrils were flared as if they wanted to Hoover it back up. Hazel eyes met Lister's, and the Rimmer had a small scar on his jawline. Lister grinned. He had seen far too many Rimmers that looked just like that, but something about this one's mannerisms...
"Yer my Rimmer, aren't you?" he panted, his voice scraping.
"I am my own Rimmer, thank you very much, and what happened to your arm?"
Lister felt like his grin would split his face. "Rimmer! It's you, thank god... oh, me arm. Long story. But - hey, you're alive again!" Lister realized he had not the faintest idea what to say. "Erm. Come back, wontcha? I missed you."
Rimmer's mouth opened and shut for a moment. He finally appeared to regain control of it. "You did?"
"Yeah!" Lister found he was waving the wig for emphasis like a cheerleader's pompom, and forced his arm to sit still at his side. "There's plenty of Aces now, what?"
Rimmer glanced from side to side at the Rimmers, quite a number of whom had walked over and formed a rough circle around the two, appreciating the entertainment. He looked back at Lister. "It certainly appears so..."
Oh, smeg it, Lister decided. He dropped the wig, grabbed the back of Rimmer's head with his hand, twining his fingers in the curls, and pulled downwards. Rimmer's head dropped, and Lister pressed his lips to the hologram's, running his tongue along the man's lips.
"Lister," Rimmer muttered, his voice mixing surprise and a growing excitement.
Lister took the opportunity to slip his tongue into the hologram's mouth, and played around in there for a while as Rimmer's hands crept to the small of Lister's back. The back of his mind noted that the other Rimmers were commenting. "Lucky bastard," one muttered. "Which one?" asked another, to the sniggering of a few more. "Dis-gusting!" opined yet another, from somewhere else in the ring, and some muttered agreement came from that side of the ring. "I'm completely off of my lunch," one of them added. Lister did not care. They did not matter.
"Mister Lister," Rimmer breathed as he kneaded Lister's back, his voice a mocking imitation of Kryten's.
Lister giggled, their lips still touching. "My name is Dave, you know," he said, then plunged his head into Rimmer's neck, pushing aside the turtleneck with his tongue to nip and suck, which muffled his "Arnold" into near-incomprehensibility.
"Mister Lister, sir," Rimmer moaned. "They're finished."
That seemed like an odd thing for even Rimmer to say in the heat of passion, but it was also odd for the hands at the small of his back to be expanding like that, and turning so hard and cold. All in all, Lister did a rather fine job of denying that he was regaining consciousness on a surgery table.
"Oooh, I can't bear to look," Kryten sighed. "I'll just nip to the cockpit and grab the others, shall I?"
Lister kept his eyes closed as the hiss of the door indicated that Kryten had left. He made a mental note to nick those little bugs, just as soon as he could.
While he was thinking about it, he would also have them turn the urine recyc into whiskey. There was no way he was going to face that load of Rimmers sober.