Categories > TV > Red Dwarf > Exit Reality0 Reviews
An AU in which the world seen in Back To Reality is the true reality.
Except for the door buzzer.
The door buzzer was a hideous banshee whine. Sebastian did not like visitors; they were usually fawning sycophants, and he did not like to be interrupted by their ilk. The buzzer was therefore a perfect expression of his feelings on its use. People learned very quickly to treat it with respect, and not come visiting unless it was a matter of life or death. Rarely even then, actually. Sebastian did not like to take his work home with him.
Sebastian's teeth ground together as the buzzer screeched. He tossed his pen on the table, stood up, pulled his suit jacket on over his shirt and vest, and walked to the door, yanking it open with a glower for the cyborg who waited calmly on the other side. "What is it?" he barked, testily.
"It's Jake Bullet, sir," the cyborg replied. Sebastian could not tell cyborgs apart, even though he had befriended one; they all looked abso-fucking-lutely identical to him. He therefore took the badge that Jake held out and examined it. Fortunately, Jake was incapable of taking offense at Sebastian's inability to recognize him, or his insistence on seeing an ID before letting the officer in.
Sebastian greeted the cyborg more courteously as he handed the ID back. "What do yeh need? It's a little late for traffic concerns, innit?" If Jake had interrupted him for anything trivial, Sebastian would need to give him a good talking-to. Perhaps even have him reprogrammed.
"It's... this, sir," Jake replied, stepping into the entryway and pulling on something he had been holding behind him, dragging it until it stood in front of him. It was Sebastian's filthy, smelly, and, at that point, highly inebriated half-brother, and Sebastian put his head in his hand with a sigh. "He was being drunk and disorderly in a People's Public House down by the water. I thought it might be better to avoid a scene and bring him here myself, Mister Doyle, sir."
"You're a good cop, Bullet," Sebastian replied. He made a motion as if to take Billy's scraggly collar in his hand, but recoiled in disgust at the boozy breath that flowed over him as the other man belched. Billy immediately started to snore, and Sebastian stepped back. "Er - would yeh mind dumpin' him on the couch?"
"Certainly, sir," Jake replied, pulling the man into the living room without ceremony.
Sebastian waited in the entryway. Damn that useless pile of human flesh who was his half-brother. The man had no self-control, no talents, no skills. Damn Sebastian, as well, for promising their mother on her deathbed that he would look after the blighter. If only he had taken any interest at all in any kind of work, Sebastian would happily have supported him, but his only interests were drink, poker, and spending with breathtaking speed what money he could wheedle out of Sebastian.
Jake walked back in, straightening his mackintosh. "I have to go back to work, sir."
Sebastian nodded. "All right, mate. Thanks for bringing that one by."
Jake slipped his sunglasses on - utterly pointless, as the cyborg saw by short-wave radiation, but it was one of his quirks. He turned to Sebastian and lowered his voice. "Sir - I should warn you. Some of the boys down in Vice are getting a little tired of hauling this one in. It was pure luck that I was ticketing cars in the vicinity. At some point - he might have an accident, if you know what I'm getting at. The Vice boys aren't cyborgs."
"Thanks, man," Sebastian replied, patting Jake on the back. After locking the door behind Jake, Sebastian rang the bell for the maid, and brooded.
She arrived within a minute and curtsied silently; Sebastian told her to give Billy a bath and pop him in the guest room. Shrieks emerged from the living room shortly after she went off to do so, and Sebastian sent the butler in after her.
Damn the man, Sebastian thought again as he retired to his work room, hanging up his jacket and settling back down to his writing. But his concentration was shot to hell. Jake's caution nagged at him. Half of Sebastian wondered how in hell he was going to keep Billy safe. He would pretty much have to put the man under house arrest in his own home; Billy would be out getting in copious quantities of trouble as soon as he left. But part of Sebastian wondered if it would be such a bad thing if Billy did... meet with an accident. It was no different than his own work, really.
That line of thought started to bring on a whanging headache. Sebastian had very strong feelings about his work. Everybody who was altered in his bureau had crossed a very clear line of right and wrong. They were all investigated scrupulously. He was no casual killer; what he did, he did to make far more people safe than were harmed by the doings of his department. What Jake was referring to would be tantamount to just plain murder, wouldn't it?
Sebastian put his pen down again, leaned back, and sighed. He had pondered this problem, night after night, for most of his adult life. Tonight would not give him any more of an epiphany than any previous night he had spent pondering at his desk while his half-brother snored off another drunken fit in his guest bedroom. Screw it all, he decided. He needed his sleep for the presentation tomorrow.
He walked to his room, carefully removed his clothing, put it into the hamper, cleaned his teeth, took a Tranquilizer of the People, and slipped into his spacious bed. He fell asleep to Billy's noisy snores, which drifted in under his door from the bedroom down the hall.
"A conclave of scientists were attempting to overturn Official Established Truths. This was, of course, unacceptable; the belief in Established Truths is all that keeps society functioning correctly, as we know. They were actually attempting to contradict," Sebastian shook his head, "the Law of Gravity. Two of the scientists were amenable to rehabilitation; the remaining twelve had to be altered." Sebastian clicked over to the next slide. Presentations to the heads of parallel departments were an important part of his work, and one that he actually found himself looking forward to. They were a proof to the world that what he was doing was right and good, for the betterment of all. He knew that some in his department enjoyed their work quite a lot on its own merits, and Sebastian tried to curb that enthusiasm where he could. Enthusiasm was good - but not in all things.
"Twenty-eight writers. Three were poets, ten were playwrights. The rest appeared to be merely distributors of leaflets, but they all had in common that they wished to sow disorder and create chaos that would undermine the civilization in which we live, the very thing that keeps them safe from the evil of other men. None of them have been amenable to rehabilitation. Alteration will be performed on them all within the week."
Sebastian touched the switch that raised the lights, and was treated to a smattering of applause from the men in suits gathered around the table. It was an Official Established Truth that women were unfit for command. A portly man with a sprinkling of white hair above his ears stood and cleared his throat. Sebastian unbuttoned his suit jacket and sat.
"Thank you for your update, Voter-Colonel Doyle," the man said in a reedy voice. "Your efforts on behalf of the State are most appreciated. The Department of Morality will give our own full report at the next session. Until then, I have a brief announcement. We have seen an alarming upswing in deviant sexual practices. We are therefore announcing new door prizes for those who bring masturbators, readers of pornography, and homosexuals to the mercy of the State. We have also gained approval to sentence harborers of such perverts to alteration. For the Glory of the State."
The ceremonial blessing was echoed by all others at the table. They stood and started to collect their papers, the room filling with the murmurs of individual conversations. The white-haired head of Morality trotted over to Sebastian and shook his hand enthusiastically. "A true servant of the State, Doyle. Your example inspires us all."
"Eh, it's nuthin'," Sebastian replied. "Just doin' what I can. Yeh know how it is, Swindon, doncha?"
"I do!" Instead of releasing his hand, Morality Minister Swindon tugged it, bringing Sebastian closer. "Have your boys keep an eye on Intelligence Chief Langley, my friend. I've heard rumors that he's a gratuitous fornicator and," he glanced back and forth, conspiratorially, "a masturbator."
Sebastian snorted. "If I can keep me own masturbation under control, it's no excuse for him!" He was cursed with an enormous libido. He sometimes wondered if it were a test from some higher power, but part of him rebelled against that. Why the hell should he be tested any more than Langley? And if there were some pressing need to test him, wasn't Billy test enough?
Swindon laughed and clapped him on the shoulder. "Hell of a chap you are, Doyle. Hell of a chap." He winked at Sebastian as he walked out, tossing a nod to Langley. The skinny, jittery head of Intelligence turned his thin-lipped frown from Swindon to Sebastian, then tried to turn his lips upwards to make the frown a smile. The resulting rictus made shivers run down Sebastian's back, and he knew that the smile he returned did not touch his eyes.