Categories > TV > Red Dwarf > Cleanup

Cleanup, 2

by Roadstergal 2 reviews


Category: Red Dwarf - Rating: PG - Genres: Action/Adventure, Humor - Warnings: [!!!] [X] - Published: 2006-09-06 - Updated: 2006-09-07 - 2769 words

"Erm... we're not Simulants," Lister replied to the polite, cheerful, angular head on the comm-screen. "I'm human, and he's a Cat."

It chuckled genially. "Ah, don't be silly. We all know that the human race is now extinct, along with all of their domestic pets. The cockroaches made sure that no humans remained. Prepare to be boarded."

"No, no, really! I'm human, see?" Lister pulled his jacket and long johns apart to show his chest.

"Stunning plan, Lister - make them too ill to fight," Rimmer muttered.

Lister grabbed the seat and just barely missed being pitched headlong onto the floor as Starbug rocked from side to side. Rimmer and Cat batted at sparks that spat out of the consoles. "We will not warn you again," the mechanoid said. "We will maneuver into docking range. If you prepare any resistance, we will destroy you. Meet us at the door with no weapons, or we will kill you once we dock. All four of you, and the fifth life-form that is currently in the sleeping quarters." The mechanoid nodded, then added, sweetly, "Have a good day!" The image flickered out.

Lister frowned at Kryten. "Fifth life-form?"

"I think he means your sock basket, bud," Cat interjected, batting out the last of the small electrical fires and shaking his cuffs back into place. Kryten nodded in agreement.

Lister sighed. "All righ', we have a pack of killer mechanoids ready to board us and take everything we have - which isn't much, but we need our fuel! Any ideas?" Lister was expecting Rimmer to suggest surrender immediately, but the hologram folded his arms and bit his lip.

"Blast 'em!" Cat cried. "Both barrels, as soon as they walk in. Boom-boom-boom!"

Kryten leaned into the aisle. "A fine suggestion, sir, except that we will only be able to take down, realistically, one or two, before the rest pull back and blast us out of the sky. If I may, sir - I am a mechanoid. Perhaps they will listen to me, if I explain that our intentions are benign, and we have little of value."

Rimmer snorted. "And perhaps they won't, and we'll be completely and utterly smegged. As I see it, the only way out of this is to convince them that Lister is a human, since mechanoids are incapable of harming a human. The only problem with that is that someone is going to have to convince me that he is, first."

Lister slumped back in his chair with a sigh. Whistling in the dark it might be, but it was fecking annoying. Couldn't the guy hold his sarcastic tongue for ten smegging minutes? "Look, forget all of that. I have an idea. Kryten, do you remember when I shorted out your circuits this morning with my A chord?"

"Is that what that was? I thought it was the death cry of an anally raped hyena."

"Shut it, Rimmer. Krytes?"

"Yes, I think I see where you are going, Mister Lister. Of course, I have been repaired by you many times in the past, so it's possible that my response is not an accurate predictor of how the other mechanoids will react. But unless we can think of a better plan in five minutes..."

"Have Lister serenade the pirates to death?" Rimmer said, his voice shooting into high-pitched disbelief. "Yes, I have a better idea! When they come in, let's shoot some foul language at them! Take Kryten's dusters and tickle them until they surrender!"

"I'll take that as a no," Lister said, standing. He headed for the midsection. "Kryten, open up the airlock when they dock." He picked up his guitar and sat on the midsection table. Come on, baby, he thought, stroking it. /Get us out of this/.

Cat walked over, cocking the bazookoid he had picked up. "You know I'd rather wear jelly sandals then agree with theater marquee head," he muttered into Lister's ear, "but this is the nuttiest plan I've heard all week."

"It'll work, I promise," Lister hissed back. Well, if it did, he'd be right, and if it didn't, Cat would have no opportunity to say 'I told you so.'

Rimmer sat on the table on the other side and, surprisingly, sneered. Rather, it was not surprising that he sneered, but that he sat on the table. A clang reverberated through the midsection. "Eh, shouldn't you be under that?" Lister asked. "They're comin'."

"The colanders are all in the wash," Rimmer muttered. He did shift backwards, putting Lister ahead of himself in the line of fire. Ah, all is still right with the world, Lister thought.

The airlock hissed open. A mechanoid stepped through. It had Kryten's angular shape, but its plastisteel body was hung with bright red scarves. A hole had been punched through a shoulder plate, and a yellowish titanium hoop hung through it. A stuffed parrot sat on its shoulder. Another mechanoid followed, that one draped in blue.

"Ar," said the first one, in a smooth, cultured accent. "Prepare to be boarded, sirs. Good evening!" It looked around the midsection. "Where is the mechanoid? And the fifth life-form?"

/Here we go, baby/, Lister thought. He carefully arranged his fingers, and strummed the guitar with a firm hand. The note rang through the midsection. Cat and Rimmer winced, and the mechanoids turned to Lister, wearing equally angular expressions of puzzlement. "Excuse me, sir, are you all right?" asked the second one, in a voice nearly identical to the first.

Smeg! Lister thought. His heart sank as he drummed his fingers helplessly on the guitar, trying to think of something, anything else.

"That wasn't A," Rimmer muttered to the back of Lister's neck.

Oh, of course! Lister hurriedly changed his finger positions and gave another firm strum. Cat spat out a pitiful mew of discomfort, and the mechanoids stopped in their tracks.

"That wasn't A, either," Rimmer said, peeking around Lister, "but it did seem to work."

Kryten hurried out of the cockpit and trotted over to the mechanoids. He pushed some kind of release on the ears of the frozen pirates, swung the tops of their heads open, and pulled something out. "Good work, Mister Lister! Perhaps we should secure their ship?"

Cat and Rimmer slouched into chairs with a sigh as Lister and Kryten boarded the pirate ship. "We are never going to get that thing away from him again," Cat groused, not very quietly at all.

Half an hour later, the ship was secure. Kryten and Lister had found and disabled two more pirates, which seemed to be the ship's entire complement. Rimmer and Cat had been in favor of taking over the pirate ship and leaving the disabled mechanoids on the lesser Starbug to rot. Kryten and Lister, however, thought it better to rig up a delayed-revival for the mechanoids and leave them back on their looted ship, with only enough fuel to reach the watery planet.

"It's the considerate thing, yeh? Karma, and tha'," Lister said.

"It's the ludicrous thing, yeah. Stupidity, and that," Rimmer groused. But when he tried to call it a violation of Space Corps directive 8943/c, and Kryten asked where they would get a nostril hair trimmer in deep space, he stomped off in a huff and told them to do whatever the smeg they wanted - just as long as they left him out of it.

The ship had little enough of use. Cat was delighted to have some colorful fabric to spice up his wardrobe a bit. The mechanoids had no food or drink, but enough cleaning supplies to give Kryten a thrill. He insisted on offloading all of it. "Just what I need to spruce this place up a bit!" Lister found a small box of electronics in the living quarters. With that on board, the fuel siphoned, and the delayed revival (against vocal protests from Cat and Rimmer) set up, they left the pirate ship and headed towards the nearest cluster of solar systems.

It was only natural to celebrate. They had a little cheese, which Lister wished Rimmer would not speculate had come from between toes, as it looked just like it had. They also had wine, which surprised everyone but Kryten. "Oh, yes, I've just been brewing this from urine recyc!" he said, proudly. "It's good, truly it is. A good year, a good bite."

Lister sampled it while digging through the box of electronics. It was tart. Hell, it was bitter, and had the flavor of rotting fruit. But it was alcoholic, and that was just what Lister wanted. Cat sniffed at it, sampled it dubiously, and ran off somewhere to be sick. Rimmer pushed his glass away, untouched, and slouched back in his chair, picking at the cheese with disinterest. Kryten sniffed and headed back into the cockpit, looking vaguely offended.

Lister grinned and shook his head, then swallowed down half a glass of the wine as quickly as he could. It actually got better the more of it he had, he decided. He started to pick through the box of electronics. He tossed aside psi-scans and odd knobby weapon-like things, which Rimmer looked at with interest as soon as they hit the table. At the bottom of the box, Lister found a flat, covered tray; when he opened it, he saw that it contained an array of very small circuit boards. He pulled the tray close as he sucked down the last of his glass of wine. The boards were set in small labeled niches, which said in painstakingly neat, machine-like writing, things like "Nip," "Strong drink," "Shy of a bender," "Thrashed."

"Oi!" Lister yelled into the cockpit. "What are these, Krytes?" He waved the tray of boards.

Kryten poked his blocky head into the midsection. "Those are hologrammatic scrambler cards, Mister Lister." He still sounded rather petulant. Maybe he needed a drink. Lister giggled. "They are to simulate an inebriated state without the drawbacks of alcohol."

Before he could pull his head back out, Rimmer waved one of the knobby things. "And what, pray tell, is this?"

"It's a Mimian sexual aid." Kryten nodded, then withdrew. Rimmer dropped the object like it had suddenly caught afire.

Lister giggled again and refilled his glass. "Hey, good news for you, eh? Celebration in a chip!" He pulled out the "Strong drink" chip, waving it at Rimmer.

Rimmer crossed his arms. "No smegging way. Who knows what that might do to me?"

It took a great deal of persistence, but that was one thing Lister had no shortage of, especially when he was well on his way to Nicely Drunk. He managed to get Rimmer to shift so soft-light to try out the "Nip" chip. What Lister found particularly brilliant was that this, in turn, made it easier to convince Rimmer to try out the Strong Drink, which made Lister have to tell him to take it easy and just try the "Shy of a bender" instead of going straight to "Thrashed."

It was almost companionable - Lister drinking the recyc, which almost tasted good at that point, and Rimmer sitting unsteadily in his chair, back to hard-light, feeling the effects of the "Shy of a bender" chip. They rehashed old stories, somehow enjoying each others' pranks more than they had at the time they had been subjected to them. Rimmer segued to telling horribly dull stories of his childhood, ones that he obviously felt were terribly tragic. Lister stopped listening and just sat back and listened to the nasal drone, watching the man's facial muscles nervously fidget from one expression to another. He made up a conversation in his head to match the movements, and snickered when the expressions matched his imaginary conversation particularly well. The man was quite fun, sometimes, when he didn't mean to be. He was... he was asking something.

"You don't... shink... that's normal, is it? Listy?" Rimmer reached forward and grabbed Lister's arm, with nervous earnestness.

"I... what?"

"You know - for a bloke to... like another bloke, like that. That's what my brothers... said."

Lister laughed and patted the hand on his arm. Rimmer wasn't normally a touch-person, and it pleased Lister to see the man unwind somewhat. "Nah, that's jusht a loada crap that insecure blokes foist off, ya know. It's all good." He finished off... what number of glass was it? It didn't matter. It was a long time since he had moved passed Nicely Drunk and gotten to the state of inebriation that had landed him on Red Dwarf in the first place. Some part of his brain still firmly believed that he would, someday, get drunk enough to end up back on Earth again, three million years and change gone like a bad dream.

Part of him was startled when Rimmer leaned forward and pressed a nervous kiss to his lips, but part of him found it to be just a natural resolution of all the goddam tension they had experienced since they had become stuck on the lander. The latter part giggled as Rimmer pulled back, and poured himself another glass. "Yeh taste like toothpaste," he tittered.

"I haven't been dh... rinking," Rimmer muttered, swaying back.

"Ah," Kryten said, hurriedly, as he stepped out of the cockpit. "It looks like you've had a bit much, Mister Lister. I should help you back to your room." Rimmer stared at the mechanoid as if he had materialized out of thin air.

"Naaaaah!" Lister said, rising to his feet and grabbing the nearest full bottle of wine. "Rimmeh will help me on his way back, won't you, Rimsy? Krytes, keep an eye on the cockpit, wouldja?"

Rimmer swayed to his feet, a startled look on his face. Lister grabbed his arm and took a swig from the bottle, balancing against the hologram as they staggered out of the midsection - Kryten looking on with a worried look on his face.

Lister woke in his bed with one of the worst hangovers of his life - and he had experienced some doozies. The gentle thrum of Starbug's engines sounded a monotone tom-tom of pain in his head. He groaned and rolled over on his back, hoping that getting his left ear off of the bed would ease the reverberation. He noted a few things, at that point. He noted that his jacket and long johns were pulled open and half-off of his shoulders, leaving his chest bare to the navel. The crotch of his long johns was uncomfortably warm and sticky, as if he had ejaculated with them still on. His left boot was on his foot, while his right one was nowhere in sight. Finally, he could not remember a bit of what had happened after he left the midsection.

Lister groaned in earnest. Smeg, smeg, smeg! Well, at least he hadn't wound up somewhere worse than Starbug. His pounding, aching head would not allow for any more analysis than that, though. Lister struggled out of bed with another heartfelt groan. Maybe Kryten would have something that would help his horrid headache. He staggered to his feet, glancing at the small mirror over the sink on his way out of the door. It was a bad idea. He looked exactly as smeggy he felt. His hair was sticking out in strange tufts, his mouth was drooping, and huge dark circles hung underneath his eyes. He had a strange yellow mustache, too, one that did not go away when he rubbed his lip with his sleeve. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered more than the smegging blasted headache that he had to smegging get rid of.

When he reached the midsection and loudly demanded relief, Kryten gave him two little red pills and a worried look. The pills took his headache down to a reasonable level, once he figured out the proper orifice for them. He then turned to the task of trying to get the mustache off.

Lister had settled down at the midsection table with a bottle of turpentine when Rimmer walked in. The last man alive dabbed at his lip with a thinner-soaked rag and winced, then raised his eyebrows at Rimmer. The hologram did not meet his eyes; he dropped a boot on the floor, walked over to the box of electronics, put it in the waste disposal unit with unnecessary noise, and ejected it into space. Rimmer then turned and walked back out towards the personal quarters, his back as stiff as the erection Lister had sprung when the hologram had walked into the room.

Lister sighed and turned back to the bottle of turps. At least it had gotten the mustache off.
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