No toe stepping or copyright infringements intended, just the wish to let everyone see/read how good Red Dwarf and its associated Books are.

 

'DESCRIBE, USING DIAGRAMS WHERE APPROPRIATE, THE EXACT CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING TO YOUR DEATH.'

 

Saunders had been dead for almost two weeks now and, so far, he hadn't enjoyed a minute of it. What he wasn't enjoying at this particular moment was having to wade through the morass of forms and legal papers he'd been sent to complete by the Department of Death and Deceaseds' Rights.

It was all very well receiving a five-page booklet entitled:

Your Own Death and How To cope With It. It was all very well attending counselling sessions with the ship's metaphysical psychiatrist, and being told about the nature of Being and Non-Being, and some other gunk about this guy who was in a

cave, but didn't know it was a cave until he left. The thing was, Saunders was an engineer, not a philosopher and the way he saw it, you were either dead or you were alive. And if you were dead, you shouldn't be forced to fill in endless incomprehensible forms, and other related nonsensica.

You shouldn't have to return your birth certificate, to have it invalidated. You shouldn't have to send off your completed death certificate, accompanied by a passport-size photograph of your corpse, signed on the back by your coroner.

When you're dead, you should be dead. The bastards should leave you alone.

If Saunders could have picked something up and hurled it across the grey metal room. But he couldn't Saunders was a hologram. He was just a generated simulation of his former self; he couldn't actually touch anything, except for his own hologramatic body.

He was a phantom made of light. A software ghost. Quite honestly, he'd had enough.

Saunders got up, walked silently across the metal-grilled floor of his sleeping quarter and stared out of the viewport window.

Far away to his right was the bright multi-coloured baIl of Saturn, captured by its rainbow rings like a prise in a gigantic stellar hoop-la game. Twelve miles below him, under the plexiglass dome of the terraformed colony of Mimas, half the ship's crew were on planet leave.

No planet leave for Saunders.

No R&R for the dead.

He caressed his eyelids with the rough balls of his fingers. then glanced back at the pile: the mind-bogglingly complicated Hologramatic Status application form; accident claims; pension funds; bank transfers; house deeds. They all had to be completed so his wife, Carole no, his widow, Carole could start a new life without him.

When he'd first signed up, they both understood he would be away from Earth for months on end, and, obviously, things could happen; mining in space was dangerous.

That was why the money was so good. If anything happens to me,' he'd always said, 'I don't want you to sit around, mourning.' Protests. 'I want you to meet someone else someone terrific, and start a new life without me.'

What a stupid, fat, dumb thing to say! The kind of stupid, fat, dumb thing only a living person would ever dream of saying.

Because that's what ,be was going to do now.

 

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