Dave Lister snoozed quietly in the cockpit of Red Dwarf, next
to him Cat was steering the large ship. Lister had come up to the
cockpit hoping to see something interesting or exciting, but only endless
expanses of space stretched out before them. It had been weeks since
anything of interest had happened and Dave was starting to go stir crazy.
He gave new meaning to the word “cabin fever”.
Suddenly Cat’s panicked cry had him jumping out of his seat in alarm.
“What? Is everything okay?”
Cat was busy dabbing at a brown spot on the lapel of his cream colored suit.
“I spilled soup on my suit!!”
Dave relaxed and sat back down.
“Oh, is that all?”
“Well, that and the simulant ship just ahead.”
Cat went back to dabbing at the stain and Dave looked at the scanners. Cat was right, there was a simulant ship ahead. A white-hot fear raced through his body as he reached for the intercom button.
“Rimmer, Kryten, get your smeggin’ asses up here! Holly give me a reading on that ship, have they seen us yet? Cat, get ready to run if need be.”
Holly’s blonde head appeared on the screen just as Arnold and Kryten entered the cockpit.
“Relax, Dave, it’s just a wreck. No simulants have been on that ship in a long time.”
The crew let out the breath that none of them realized they were holding with a whoosh, Rimmer was the first to regain his voice, his hologramatic heart still pounding.
“Holly, can you detect anything that way may need on board?”
Holly was silent for several moments as she scanned the wreckage of the ship.
“The ship is very unstable and there is nothing of use aboard…”
She trailed off as something caught her attention,
“Now what’s this?” I detect a human life force aboard. It’s very faint which means she’s on her way out.”
Holly now had the crew’s undivided attention.
“She?” asked Dave.
“I think so, I can’t really tell because she’s almost dead. It could very well be a he, or even a mixture of both. I just don’t know. Either way, it’ll be dead soon.”
Rimmer and Listed looked at each other, mirroring the others thoughts. A girl, a smeggin’ woman! It was almost too good to be true. They had better hurry if they wanted to find out if this human was male or female.
“Do you think we can save her, if it is a her?” Dave asked.
“If you’re really careful, you have a chance.”
“How much of a chance?” asked Cat.
Rimmer frowned, “Don’t ask her to calculate the odds, we’ll be here for hours. Kryten and I will board the vessel while you two prepare the medibay for our guest.”
Dave gawked at Rimmer.
“How come you get to go?”
Kryten stepped between the two,
“Mr. Lister, if you don’t mind my saying so, but Mr. Rimmer has a grand idea. It would be safer for us to go as opposed to you. We can’t get hurt if something were to go wrong over there.”
Lister nodded and shuffled out toward the medibay. He knew that Rimmer’s plan had nothing to do with safety; he just wanted to see the girl first. For that split second he hoped that she looked like a Gelf.
In the cockpit cat was steering as close to the wreckage as he dared while Rimmer and Kryten prepared Starbug.
“Do you have the medipack, Kryten?”
Kryten checked their equipment and found the medipack stowed under the passenger seat of Starbug.
“Right here, Sir.”
They climbed into their seats and Rimmer steered the small craft out of Red Dwarf and into deep space. They spotted the wreckage right away.
They pulled up alongside and exited Starbug. Once aboard the ship they looked around unsure of which way to go.
“Kryten, I know that my gut isn’t very reliable but it is telling me that we turn right.”
Kryten knew better than to follow Rimmer, but something told him that he was right on track this time. Rimmer led the way through a labyrinth of corridors for what seemed like hours. Kryten was beginning to regret allowing Rimmer to take the lead when they came across a closed door. His eyes widened in surprise.
“Why this is the brig, Mr. Rimmer.”
Rimmer only nodded and reached out to open the door. Much to his surprise it was unlocked and opened easily. They stepped through the threshold and glanced around.
In the corner was a lump that Kryten had overlooked, but Rimmer spotted it. He crept across the dusty floor quietly and knelt down to inspect the form. It was human as far as he could tell. The hair was so matted and dirty; it was impossible to discern the color. The form was on its knees with iron cuffs wrapped around bloodied and raw wrists. The cuffs were chained to the nearby wall and Rimmer could tell that there had been a great deal of struggling with these bonds.
He reached out to cup the chin in his hand and turned the face up to his.
“Kryten, it’s female! We have to get her out of here!”
Suddenly her eyes fluttered open and Arnold could only stare deep into her sky blue eyes. His heart rattled around in his chest as he took a shaky breath. He had never seen such beautiful eyes.
The eyes fluttered closed again and her body went limp. Kryten knelt down next to them and reached for the cuffs around her tiny wrists. Suddenly, the ship rumbled around them and Rimmer took a calming breath.
“We’ll worry about the cuffs when we get her back to Red Dwarf. Just get her detached from the wall so we can get out of here as fast as possible.”
Kryten nodded, he realized that fooling with the cuffs so as to remove them without hurting her would waste valuable time. It would be much quicker to simply cut through the chains.
Kryten quickly pawed through their supplies and found a small torch, which he used to cut the chains in a matter of moments. He packed up the supplies as Arnold hoisted the small woman into his arms. He marveled at how light she was, he wondered how long it had been since she had eaten.
He looked back at Kryten to see that he had all of the tools together and they started back to Starbug. Once again Rimmer took the lead and they got back to the ship within a matter of minutes.
Kryten climbed into the driver’s seat while Rimmer made their guest comfortable in the rear of Starbug. He worked at careful removing her bonds that he was able to get off after several minutes of picking the lock. When the cuffs fell away from Rimmer was appalled to see that the skin had been rubbed down to the bone. He was in turn sickened and saddened by this sight. He had an impulse to kiss her wrists, but he decided against it since he didn’t think it was really sanitary to kiss a stranger’s bone.
He was just finishing wrapping her wrists when Kryten came back to announce that they were back at Red Dwarf. He was a bit surprised to find Rimmer sitting on the floor with her head pillowed on his thigh. He glanced up at Kryten.
“I am not too good at this, so you’ll have to fix these bandages later. But they’ll have to do for now.”
Kryten only nodded and helped to pick up the young woman. Rimmer insisted on carrying her to the medibay and adamantly refused any help from Kryten.
Lister and Cat met them outside the medibay, trying to get a good look at their guest. Rimmer turned his back on them and carried her into the room. Kryten followed in after him.
Arnold deposited her gingerly on the nearest bed and turned to Kryten.
“You take over now, you know what to do better than I do.”
With that Rimmer left the room pushing Lister and Cat out with them. He closed the door firmly and Lister glared at him.
“You know, you’re a smeghead! I just wanted a look at her!”
“You can get a look at her after Kryten cleans her up and bandages her wounds. She’s alive but only just barely. I just hope that Kryten has what it takes to save her.”
With that he walked down the hallway toward the sleep quarters. Once he was gone Cat tried to get into the room, Lister grabbed his arm.
“He’s right for a change, let’s wait until she is clean before we see her.”
Up in the ship’s quarters, Rimmer was methodically ransacking the cabins of each of female officers. Finally after an hour of searching he found something suitable, a plain white cotton nightgown.
He had passed over many lacy and satin garments for this one. It wasn’t what he would have normally picked, but he didn’t want to her to be upset if she were to wake up wearing a merry widow. Something sensible is best for a pretty girl in a coma.
Rimmer closed his eyes and remembered those blue eyes staring up at him for a split second before closing again. He only hoped that he would be able to see those eyes again.
Arnold went back down to the medibay and knocked on the door. Kryten opened it after a moment and peeked out.
“How is she?”
“She’s stable, but I don’t know when or if she’ll wake up.”
Rimmer handed him the nightgown.
“Here, I found something clean for her to wear.”
Kryten took the nightgown with a nod,
“Good thinking, Mr. Rimmer. All I could find in here were those ratty hospital gowns with the open backs. I had a feeling she wouldn’t appreciate one of those, if she were awake that is. I am sure this would be much better.”
Rimmer nodded as he tried to peek around Kryten,
“I’ll be back in an hour. Will that be enough time?”
“Oh, certainly. I’ll see you then.”
Kryten closed the door and Rimmer went back to the room that he shared with Lister to wait an entire hour to get a look at her again.
In the cockpit, Lister was consulting Holly.
“Something doesn’t seem right here, Hol. Rimmer’s acting weird…he’s kinda nice now. It all started when we spotted the ship. Any ideas?
Holly gave a slight head jerk that would have been a shrug if she had any shoulders.
“I don’t know, but I noticed it too. And Kryten was telling me a little bit ago that Rimmer knew exactly where to go in the ship. None of this sounds right to me, but I’ll keep an eye on things until I get some answers.”
“Okay, I guess that is all we can do for now. You better keep a very close eye on things. I don’t want that girl to wake up and go homicidal.”
Holly nodded and went back to her game of Pong.
Back in the medibay Kryten was pulling a crisp white sheet up to the shoulders of the young woman. There was a knock at the door and he looked up.
The door swung open and Rimmer strode in. As soon as he laid eyes on her he stopped in his tracks. She looked like a porcelain doll that you just kept in a glass case and didn’t touch. Her skin was a pale ivory and cascades of mahogany hair spilled across the pillow. He walked over to the bed and just stood over it staring down at her.
Kryten moved around the room, putting things away. He didn’t understand what had gotten into Mr. Rimmer, this was all so silly. She was just a female after all, a nearly dead one at that.
Kryten left the room and Rimmer continued to stare at her for several moments before speaking.
“I don’t really know who you are or anything but I suppose I should talk to you. I read somewhere once that people in comas can still hear what is going on around them. Um, I am not really sure what to say to you since I don’t even know you. I guess I should start off with telling who I am. I am Arnold J. Rimmer, BSc SSc and I am a Second Technician. I guess I should tell you know that I’m a hologram, it’s a rather long story and I won’t bore you with it now. But, you are on the Jupiter Mining Corporation’s ship Red Dwarf. The crew consists of me, Dave Lister who is what we thought the last human, but now you are here so he can’t be the last human. That’s gonna be a bum to him, he always kinda liked being the last.”
Rimmer paused as he thought of exactly how he would torment Lister with this new fact. Then he took a deep breath and continued.
“Then there is Cat who is, well he’s just a cat really. He evolved from the housecat; he has the body of a man and the mind of a cat to put it frankly. And then there is Kryten, he’s a Series 4000 Mechanoid. He was the one who was in here cleaning you up and such. I suppose that I am boring you, leave it to me to bore a woman in a coma.”
He laughed to himself lightly, he felt like such a fool. Maybe it would be best if he just stayed away from her. Even unconscious she made him tongue-tied.
Rimmer yawned softly and wondered how long he had been standing there babbling at her. He ran a hand through his hair and thought that he might as well turn in, it had been a long day.
Lister was waiting for him when he got back to their room. Rimmer just walked right past him to his locker and opened it to study the books in there.
“What the smeg is going on, Rimmer?”
Arnold simply ignored him as he chose two books and set them on his desk.
“Rimmer, I am talking to you.”
He finally turned to face Lister.
“What do you want?”
“How come you told me and Cat to stay out of the medibay but you can spend three smeggin’ hours in there?!?”
Rimmer sighed and started to get ready for bed.
“I didn’t say that you couldn’t go in at all, just not while Kryten was cleaning her up. I thought that was only fair to her to give her some amount of privacy.”
Lister frowned, knowing all too well that Rimmer would have been the first one trying to get in there if there were a chance to see a naked woman. None of this added up to Lister and he didn’t like it one bit. Rimmer shut his locker door and turned back to Dave.
“I’ll be back in a few minutes, there is something that I forgot to tell Kryten.”
Rimmer walked out of the room, leaving a very bewildered Lister behind.
“Hey, Hol, what happened in the medibay when Rimmer was in there?”
Holly popped up on the screen and looked and Dave quizzically.
“Do I look like I know? I don’t listen to every conversation on this ship.”
“Holly, you were supposed to be watching things.”
“Well, I’m sorry, I got wrapped up in my game. Now if you’ll excuse me I would like to get back to it.”
But it was too late, her face had disappeared and she was playing Pong again.
In the mess area Rimmer found Kryten cleaning up the remnants of Lister’s supper. He looked up when Rimmer came into the room.
“I thought you had gone to bed, Sir.”
“I’m about to, I have a job for you though.”
“Whatever it is I can’t do it right now, Sir, Mr. Lister made quite a mess with his supper.”
“No, this can wait until morning. There is something that I want you to clean.”
Kryten’s plastic eyes brightened.
“What do you want me to clean, Sir?”
“I want you to make sure that the captain’s quarters are spotless.”
“But why, Sir, are you looking to move out of your room?”
“I was thinking that our guest can sleep there once she comes to, if she comes to that is. I thought that it might be best for her to be separate from the rest of the crew seeing as she is the only female. You can take any liberties in sprucing the place up in a feminine kind of way that you want. I just want it to be clean and look nice. Sound good?”
Kryten grinned and bounced excitedly in his chair.
“Oh, thank you! This is the best job that I have had in awhile. I know exactly what I am going to do!”
With that Kryten ran out of the room to start making plans for the new quarters of whomever that was in the medibay. Rimmer nodded to himself, he knew that the room would be done to perfection.
He wasn’t sure why this was so important to him, but it was. He never worried about the happiness of people he knew, let alone people that he didn’t know. Why was now any different? Something changed in him the moment he stepped onto the simulant ship, he had felt it. He had known exactly where she was, there was no need searching the entire ship. But the question was, how did he know where she was?
All of these questions were starting to fry Rimmer’s brain, so he headed back to his room to get some sleep.
After an hour of trying to get to sleep, he gave up and climbed off his bunk. He grabbed his pillow, a blanket, the books he had picked out earlier and headed back to the medibay.
When he got there he saw that there had be no change in her condition, he was hoping that something would have changed, but no. He pulled of the of chairs that was into the room along side the bed and with a sigh he settled himself into it.
He read one of his books aloud to her for a while, but he became very tired and fell asleep with his head resting against the side of the bed.
He was jerked awake several hours later. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and looks up to see Lister frowning down at him.
“Did you stay down here all night, man?”
Rimmer nodded as he stood up to crack his back. Lister shook his head
“Rimmer, you’re obsessed. You’ve got to let go of it, if she were awake she wouldn’t want you.”
Rimmer felt a red hot rage sear through his body.
“And you think that she’d want you, right?”
For the first time Lister took a long look at her and he felt his breath leave him. Man, what a babe! Someone that good looking would never go for Rimmer, not in a million years! He grinned at Rimmer.
“She could, ya never know.”
It took every ounce of self-control he had not to kill Lister then and there. Rimmer took several calming breaths before speaking.
“Just let me be, Lister. Why don’t you go see if Kryten is making curry for breakfast.”
Lister walked toward the door, “She’d never go for you, Rimmer, just keep that in mind.”
With that said, Lister left leaving Rimmer alone with his thoughts and the beautiful comatose woman. Arnold sat down and picked up the book that he had dropped on the floor the night before. He found that page that he had left off on and started reading aloud once more.
After two hours of reading, Rimmer suddenly had the feeling that he was being watched. He wondered if Lister had come back to mock him or if Cat was going to pounce at him from some corner.
Seeing no one, he glanced back at the bed to see a pair of bright blue eyes. He dropped his book and just stared at her for several moments. She attempted to sit up, but she was so weak she simply fell back onto the bed. He moved to her side.
“Don’t try to move too much, you’re still very weak.”
She didn’t say anything, she just looked at him.
“I suppose that I should introduce myself, I’m Ar….”
“Arnold J. Rimmer, BSc SSc” rang out a melodious voice.
He stared at her and she simply grinned up at him.
“It’s true what they say about people in comas being able to hear and you weren’t boring me at all. I liked hearing about the people who rescued me. You were the one I saw in the ship, aren’t you?”
Rimmer nodded, “Yeah, that was me.”
“Thank you so much for rescuing me.”
Rimmer blushed, “It wasn’t anything really, but I am afraid that we brought you out of the pot and into the fire so to speak.”
Her brow wrinkles in confusion, “What do you mean?”
“Well, before you were alone on an abandoned simulant ship going nowhere and no you are on a mining vessel three million years from earth that once had a full crew that was killed in a radiation leak, myself included, except for Lister and his pet cat. Now here we are on a ship with a senile computer going nowhere. I don’t know how happy you are with your new predicament.”
She grinned up at him, “I don’t care about any of that, I have company now which is more than I had before. And I have food.” She patted her stomach with a grin. “I don’t remember when the last time I ate was.”
Rimmer frowned down at her, “How long were you on the ship?”
“I think it was ten years, but I am not really sure.”
“Ten years!?! Ten smeggin’ years! You poor thing, I would never have survived that. Let me see if I can get you some food.”
Rimmer moved to the intercom and called for Kryten.
“Kryten, our guest is awake and would like some food. Will you bring some?”
A tinny replay resounded through the speaker, “Right away, Sir.”
Rimmer turned to look at her again and he realized something.
“What a second here, you never told me your name.”
“I’m Elisabeth Bonaparte.”
Rimmer grinned, “That’s a beautiful name. Are you French?”
“My ancestors are, I’ve never set foot there myself.
“It’s funny that your last name is Bonaparte, Napoleon is one of my heroes.”
She cocked her head at him,
“It’s even funnier that you would say that because I am a descendent of his.”
Arnold gawked at her for a moment, she couldn’t possibly be kidding. But could she? He wasn’t sure what to think, this was just too strange for him.
“This is an unbelievable coincidence.”
Elisabeth just smiled and shook her head.
“I don’t believe in coincidences, so it must be something else.”
She shrugged, “Well, how about fate?”
Rimmer was so shocked by this turn of events that is hard light bee momentarily malfunctioned and he fell through the chair that he was sitting in. Elisabeth peered down at him with a soft smile.
“Are you okay?”
Rimmer nodded as he stood up and his hard light bee snapped back on. He wobbled for a moment before he sat back down in the chair.
Just as he sat down, Kryten came into the room with a tray of food. He smiled at Elisabeth as he set the tray down on a nearby table. As he was rolling the table over to the bed Rimmer spoke up.
“Kryten, I would like you to meet Ms. Elisabeth Bonaparte. It is Ms, isn’t it?” Rimmer asked hopefully.
She nodded with a smile, “Yes it is Ms.” She held her hand out to Kryten. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Mr. Rimmer here has been telling me that you were the one taking care of me and I thank you for your kindness.”
Kryten stuttered and blushed as he readied Elisabeth’s plate.
“It was really nothing, Ma’am, anyone else would have done the same thing.”
Rimmer caught himself staring at Elisabeth and forced himself to look at Kryten.
“I suppose that the others are on their way, Kryten?”
“Oh yes, Mr. Rimmer, they were not to far behind me.”
Just as he finished saying that the door burst open and Lister and Cat rushed into the room. Elisabeth jumped and reached for Rimmer’s hand. She was starting to get a little scared and nervous about meeting all of these new people at once.
Arnold glanced down at their joined hands, her hand fit so perfectly in his it startled him. Electricity was running up his arm and he felt very calm. He looked up at her to see if she felt the same thing. But she was staring at Cat and Lister chewing nervously on her lip.
Lister and Cat looked at each other in confusion and then they looked down at themselves. They knew that they didn’t appear that threatening so it baffled them as to why she would be so afraid. Rimmer cleared his throat and squeezed Elisabeth’s hand.
“Elisabeth, this is Dave Lister and Cat.”
Elisabeth looked down at Arnold and blushed.
“I feel incredibly silly for being frightened. It’s just that I am starting to feel a tad crowded.”
Kryten nodded knowingly as he set the tray up in front of her.
“That is to be expected Ms. Bonaparte, you have been alone for so long. This must seem very overwhelming to you. Why don’t you eat and we will leave you alone for a while.”
Elisabeth nodded as Rimmer herded Lister and Cat out of the room. Kryten stayed behind to check out Elisabeth’s vitals. A few minutes later he joined them outside the door.
“She’s fine, just weak. There seems to be no lasting damage.”
Rimmer nodded, “Good, good. How long will she have to stay in the medibay?”
“Actually, I would say just today and we can move her to her new quarters tomorrow.”
Lister broke in, “What new quarters?”
“Oh, didn’t Mr. Rimmer tell you? I cleaned and redecorated Captain Hollister’s cabin for Ms. Bonaparte.”
“How come I wasn’t told about this?”
“There was simply no need, Lister, she needed a place to stay and I decided where it should be.”
“But you gave her the best room on the ship! Maybe I would have liked to move there!”
“You could have moved there years ago, Lister, but you didn’t. It’s the best place for her and I refuse to argue with you about it any longer.”
Rimmer turned and walked away leaving three rather astonished shipmates. Cat shook his head,
“When did he grow a backbone?”
Lister stamped his foot, “None of this makes any smeggin’ sense!”
“Did Holly have anything to say about this?” asked Kryten.
“Of course not. She says that there is nothing in her data banks on this.”
Kryten pondered this for a moment before speaking up.
“Do you suppose that is because Holly doesn’t have much along the lines of human emotions in her databanks?”
Lister scratched his head then he studied his fingernail to see what he had gotten off his scalp.
“I don’t really know, Kryten, I guess all we can do now is just observe. But first thing’s first, I have a woman to impress.”
Before Kryten could say anything Lister was skipping off toward his cabin to get as cleaned up as he could. While Rimmer was off doing his daily duties, which her never shirked, he would head to the medibay and woo this Ms. Bonaparte for himself.
In the Drive Room, Rimmer was checking over a few things when Holly appeared on the screen.
“Arn, can we have a talk?”
Rimmer looked up and smiled at Holly.
“Sure, Holly. What’s on your mind?”
Holly was taken aback by his smile and his willingness to talk to her. She momentarily forgot what she was going to say, she stuttered a moment before remembering.
“I wanted to ask you about Ms. Bonaparte and your intentions.”
“My intentions? I really hadn’t thought about it, I don’t really have any intentions.”
“None at all, Arn?”
“No, not really. I haven’t put too much thought into it, I don’t even know what I am going to do past tomorrow. The only plan I have is that once she is well I am going to take her on a tour of the engines.”
Holly stared at him for a moment before speaking again.
“Okay then go about your duties, I have to go.”
“Bye, Holly, have a nice day.”
Holly’s eyes widened and she vanished. What was the world coming to when Rimmer wished her a nice day?
A now cleaned up Lister was making his way back to the medibay whistling a happy tune. He was feeling pretty good in his special shirt that only had one curry stain on it. When he reached the door, he run a hand through his hair and pushed the door open slightly.
Elisabeth was sitting where she had been early just staring off into space. When she heard the door open, she looked over hopefully. But when she saw Lister, he smile drooped a watt or two. But she held her smile in place and Lister didn’t even notice that she was disappointed in seeing him. He waltzed into the room as smoothly as he could. Elisabeth bit her lip to keep from laughing, it hadn’t taken her long to discern that she was indeed the only female on the ship and that meant she would be getting a lot of attention. Another thing she had realized she should go with Lister seeing that they are the only human’s left. But her heart saddened at that thought, Lister seemed nice enough and all. But she just couldn’t give him her heart and her body, she just couldn’t. And he wanted both, that is why he was here now.
“You’re Dave, right?”
He grinned, she remembered his name. That had to be a good sign.
“Yeah, that’s me. I thought that since we will be sharing close quarters we should learn something about each other. Where are you from originally? Earth?”
“No, I’m from Callisto.”
“One of Jupiter’s moons? No way! Rimmer is from Io.”
She cocked her head at him, “Really? That’s interesting. Well I grew up on Callisto, my father was king.”
“King? King of what?”
“King of Callisto.”
Lister balked at her, he couldn’t believe it. He was sitting there talking to the princess of Callisto! Just then a new thought hit him, he studied Elisabeth carefully.
“Oh smeg! I saw a picture of you once! It was you and your parents, but that picture was taken before I joined the space corps!”
“You have only been in the corps for ten years then?”
Lister shook his head, he couldn’t believe it. He didn’t know how to tell her.
“When I joined the corps Callisto was having some sort of civil war.”
Elisabeth nodded sadly, “Yes, my parents were sending me to join the space corps to get me away from Callisto. They had secured a spot aboard a mining vessel where no one would think to look for me. But while I was enroute to join the vessel we were attacked by simulants and I was taken hostage. Ten years, seems just like yesterday I was saying goodbye to my father. I wonder if he is okay. Though since Arnold told me that we are the last humans I suppose he isn’t. What happened in the last ten years?”
Lister could only stare at her, he really hated being the one to tell her this. He thought that maybe he had better get some reinforcements.
He depressed an intercom, “Hey, Rimmer, can you join me in the medibay?”
“Yeah, sure. I’ll be right there.”
A few minutes later Rimmer came through the door. Elisabeth lit up like Paris at night when she saw him. Lister nodded to him.
“Tell Rimmer what you just told me.”
She went into her whole story again, Rimmer’s expression went from amused to shocked and then finally to saddened. He looked up at Lister.
“Can I talk to you for a minute. Excuse us, Elisabeth.”
Rimmer grabbed Lister’s arm and led him out of the room.
“You smeggin’ chicken! You called me up here just because you are too scared to tell her yourself!”
Lister shrugged away from him, “It wasn’t that, man. She’s comfortable from you, I thought it should come from you.”
Rimmer nodded sadly, “Okay, I’ll tell her. Just have Kryten standing by in case she gets hysterical.”
Lister went off to find Kryten and Rimmer went back into the medibay. He pulled a chair alongside the bed and took Elisabeth’s hand.
“There’s something you should know and after discussing it with Lister it was decided that I should tell you. Elisabeth, ten years have not passed since the last time you saw your father. Over three million years have passed, I am positive about this because Lister joined the corps three million years ago and I died three million years ago. I know that this is very upsetting and if you want I will leave you alone for awhile.”
Rimmer hadn’t noticed that during his speech her face had gone as while as newly fallen snow. He looked up into her glassy eyes and sighed sadly. He felt like a git for having to tell her, but someone had to. He wrapped his arms around her as the initial shock wore off and she started to cry.
He held her close as the sobs wracked her body. Kryten came into the room and stopped in his tracks at this touching scene and Dave crashed into him.
“Kryten, warn me when you’re gonna stop like that…”
Then he peeked around Kryten and saw what he was staring at. His mouth fell open and he shook his head. He never thought that he would see Rimmer comfort someone, especially a woman. He moved into the room with Kryten tagging behind him.
“How is she?”
“Shaken and upset, but I think that she’ll be okay. Will you, Lis?”
She looked up at him and nodded, “I just don’t know what could have happened. How come I only thought ten years had passed?”
“Must have been a trick of the simulants, Miss, I suppose you were kept in stasis just as Mr. Lister was.”
Suddenly it all dawned on Rimmer, he remembered something he had overheard Captain Hollister talking about all those years ago.
“Oh, smeg! Elisabeth, you were supposed to come here! I remember now, it was supposed to be top secret but I was cleaning the chicken soup machine when Hollister walked by. We were supposed to take care of you, but you never arrived and shortly after that we all died! If you had been here you would have died too!”
Just then Holly flicked onto the screen with a huge grin on her face.
“I’ve got it, I know that you’ve already got it but I have something to add. Hollister had chosen Rimmer to watch over the princess because he felt that Rimmer wouldn’t try anything on her like some of the other male officers would. He thought watching over one girl would be an easy job for Rimmer. But he never told you because she never showed up.”
Rimmer and Elisabeth stared at each other in shock. They should have been together three million years ago, but because of the simulants they weren’t. But if they had found each other then they would have died together. So the simulants were simply a blessing in disguise. Elisabeth rubbed her eyes and sighed softly.
“If it is okay with everyone I would like to go to my room and be alone. I want to start getting used to my new room.”
Rimmer looked at Kryten, “It’s up to you.”
Kryten thought about it and nodded, “I don’t see why you can’t, as long as you promise to stay in bed.”
She nodded, “I promise.” Rimmer reached over to lift her out of the bed, but she pushed his hands away. “If it’s okay with you, I would like to do this myself.”
Rimmer nodded and backed away. With great effort she lifted herself out of the bed and started for the door. Her progress was slow and Rimmer was following closely behind her to make sure she didn’t fall. She turned to face him.
“Please, Arn, let me do this myself. I know you don’t want me to get hurt, but I know you have things to do. I need to do this myself.”
“But you don’t even know where you are going.”
“Holly will guide me, I just can’t have you following along behind me.”
Rimmer nodded, “Okay, but I will be up in an hour to check on you. Sound fair?”
Elisabeth smiled, “Yes, that sounds fair.”
It took Elisabeth half an hour to get to her new quarters. It was rather slow going, but Holly kept her occupied with stories of life on the Dwarf. But finally she was standing outside the door. It opened with a whoosh and she peaked in warily.
She was pleasantly surprised to see that Kryten had decorated the room with deep rose and soft lavender. The colors mixed together well and she found it to be very homey.
She padded across the room to the bed, which was made with soft cotton sheets and a plush comforter. She wondered where they had gotten all of this stuff, it seemed impossible that any of this would be found three million years into deep space.
There were four plump pillows on the bed and something was nestled between them, she couldn’t quite make out what it was. She leaned over and picked it up to study it.
She giggled when she realized that it was a plush Pepe Le Pew doll. She smiled and hugged it tightly. Having something to hug was what she really needed.
She yawned softly, exhaustion overwhelming her and she fell across the bed into a deep sleep.
A short time later there was a soft knock at the door. When there was no answer the door opened slightly and Rimmer peeked his head in. He smiled when he saw her sprawled across the bed.
He crossed the room to the side of the bed, he stood there a moment just watching her sleep. Then he carefully helped her to slip under the covers. He grinned when he noticed that Pepe was pressed close to her chest. The doll had been his idea, he had found it a few months ago in the hold. He was just going to throw it out, but he had been compelled not to and now he was glad he had saved it.
Once Elisabeth was tucked snuggly under the covers he leaned over to place a small kiss on her temple. She stirred slightly but did not wake up, he smiled and left the room just as quietly as he had entered.
When she awakened several hours later, she sat up in bed and looked around. It took her a moment before she remembered where she was. She smiled to herself, it certainly wasn’t Callisto but at least she had company.
She got up and walked across the room to the large closet. She opened it and was surprised to find women’s clothes inside. It was mostly the uniforms of various female officers, but it didn’t matter to her. It was better than nothing at all.
Elisabeth quickly dressed and made her way down to the mess area. She was surprised that she knew how to get there and when she reached the door she heard raised voices coming from inside.
“Lister, I mean it. Leave her alone!”
“Rimmer, you seem to think you own her. She has a mind of her own and I wouldn’t be surprised if she came to me on her own. You just want her for yourself.”
“I am not thinking of myself here, I am thinking of her. I am sure that she won’t appreciate us fighting over her like a pair of horny schoolboys. If she likes you that’s fine, but let her come to that decision on her own. Don’t try any of your silly tricks or anything. Just let her be. That’s all I am saying.”
As much as Lister hated to admit it, he had a point. He decided that he was just going to treat her as he would treat anyone else, no matter how much he wanted her in his bed.
Out in the hallway Elisabeth wondered how she could make an entrance without them knowing that she had heard part of her conversation. She walked about ten feet down the hall and started walking toward the room again humming loudly.
Rimmer looked at Lister, “Here she comes, and remember no funny business.”
Lister nodded and leaned back in his chair as Elisabeth entered the room. His breath caught in his throat. She was even prettier than he remembered, she looked gorgeous in one of Kris’ old uniforms and a lot of the color had returned to her face. She smiled at him and then smiled at Rimmer before sitting down at the table. Rimmer smiled at her.
“I trust you slept well?”
Elisabeth nodded, “Oh, yes. That bed is incredibly comfortable, I could stay there forever.”
She smiled warmly at Arnold as she reached for some bread that was in the center of the table. Kryten came into the room and started bustling around preparing breakfast. He brought a plate of curry over to the table and set it down in the middle. Elisabeth stared at it, unsure of what it was. She looked to Rimmer for assistance.
“It’s curry, an Indian food.”
She nodded and picked up her fork and started to eat. To her surprise she actually liked it. She ate it all within a few minutes.
“Wow, that was really great. My compliments to the chef.”
Kryten blushed as best he could and muttered thank yous as he cleared away the dishes.
Arnold pushed back his chair and stood up and then he helped Elisabeth out of her own chair.
“Today I am going to give you a tour of the engines of Red Dwarf.” He beamed at her.
Lister rolled his eyes and groaned audibly. “Why don’t you just kill her now and save the time of boring her to death?”
Rimmer ignored this comment and offered his hand to Elisabeth. She looked at Lister who was shaking his head at her.
“I’d love to see the engines, Arnold. I’ll see you later, Dave.” She smiled at him as she left the room with Rimmer, leaving a drooling Lister behind.
Rimmer spent the day leading Elisabeth from one engine to the next. Lister had been right, it was quite boring. But hearing Arnold talk about each one with such enthusiasm really kept it enjoyable for her. She liked hearing about his hobbies.
It was getting close to dinnertime when they finally turned around to come back to the main part of the ship.
“Arnold, I can’t believe that you had never seen Love Story! It’s only a classic film!”
Arnold just sort of shrugged. “There are a lot of classic movies that I have never seen, Lis. I am not really a film buff.”
“I wish we could watch it so you can see what a great movie it is.”
“Well, when we get back you can look in the vidvault to see if we have it. You say that it’s a classic so it very well might be there.”
Elisabeth nodded and Rimmer led her to the film vault. You find it in there and then you can get freshened up before we head to the theatre. I am gonna to get cleaned up myself. I’ll be at your room in an hour and a half. Is that enough time?”
She nodded, “Oh, sure. That will be plenty of time”
Rimmer walked away and Elisabeth started going through all of the vids. She could a great many movies that she loved and she put them aside for other nights. Bang the Drum Slowly, The Natural, Superman, and a great many other screen gems. She finally found Love Story hidden under a pile of boxes. She laughed to herself, it didn’t surprise her that on a ship of only men that a chick flick was buried so deep in the closet.
She took the vid and started walking to her room. She ran into Kryten along the way. She smiled at him.
“Hello, Ms Bonaparte, what have you got there?”
“Oh, it’s a movie that Arnold and I are going to watch tonight. Maybe you could help me. I am not sure how to work the projector in the theatre. Could you take this and get it set up while I go get changed?”
Kryten nodded and took the vid from her, “It would be my pleasure. You go hurry along and get cleaned up. I’ll take care of this.”
Elisabeth smiled at him and hurried off. Kryten started walking toward the theatre when he passed Lister.
“Where are you off to, Kryten?”
“I am going to the theatre to set up this movie for Ms Bonaparte and Mr. Rimmer.”
Lister took the vid out of his hand, “Love Story? They are watching Love Story? No way is that going to happen without me there!”
A short time later Elisabeth was putting the finishing touches on her outfit when there was a knock at her door. She giggled to herself, feeling very much like a schoolgirl on her first date.
The door opened and Rimmer stepped inside, he gazed around the room and found her standing next to the closet. He felt his breath leave him as he studied her, she was so gorgeous. She was wearing a blood red tank dress that barely came to her knees, the dress have black embroidery running all over it. When he had found the dress in Kristine Kochanski’s closet he thought that she would look nice in it, he didn’t realize that she would look this good. He licked his parched lips and took a shaky breath.
“You ready to go?”
“Yup, I am all set.” She grinned as she walked over to his side. He offered her his arm and they left the room.
The walk down to the theatre was a quiet one as each was lost in their own thoughts. When they entered the dark theatre Elisabeth waved to Kryten who was manning the projector. Kryten smiled and waved back.
Just then a voice called out from the front of the theatre.
“It’s about time you two got here, I was wondering if you’d show up at all.”
Rimmer sighed sadly, he should have known that Lister would crash his only date in three million years. He noticed that Cat was sitting next to Lister in the front row with a tub of popcorn. Rimmer rolled his eyes and muttered
“Hail, hail the gang’s all here.”
Elisabeth looked at him, “Did you say something?”
“No, just thinking aloud. Why don’t we sit back here? We don’t want to strain our eyes by sitting too close to the screen.”
Elisabeth looked from Rimmer to where Lister and Cat were sitting in the front row. She nodded,
“Sure, back here is just fine.”
Lister noticed that they were heading for seats in the rear of the theatre, he couldn’t let that happen. He knew what went on in the last row of a darkened movie theatre, he been to enough screenings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show to know that the best place to fuck was the back row.
“Hey, we saved you guys some seats up here! Come sit with us!”
Rimmer sighed and looked at her, “It’s up to you, Lis.”
Elisabeth frowned, she didn’t want any hurt feelings. She knew that Rimmer wanted to be alone with her and she knew that Lister wanted to score some points with her.
“Well, we could go sit up there with them. Dave does seem to be counting on it. We can be alone tomorrow when you show me more of the ship.”
She smiled up at him and Rimmer nodded. “Okay, we’ll sit with them.”
They turned and walked down to the front of the theatre. Dave smiled triumphantly as he tried to think up a way to keep Elisabeth from sitting next to Rimmer. But before he could think of one, Elisabeth was settling herself alongside of him with Rimmer on the other side of her. He sighed softly, he’d have to settle for this, maybe he could get her to lean towards him once the film started.
Kryten started the film and all eyes turned toward the screen. Lister fidgeted in his seat as the beginning credits rolled, he wasn’t sure if he was going to enjoy the movie. But he was willing to put up with it for Elisabeth’s sake.
Soon all four of them were staring at the screen enchanted by what was unfolding before them. Elisabeth had to bit her lip to keep from smiling at Lister and Cat who were blubbering noisily. She glanced up at Arnold to see that he too had tears streaming down his cheeks. She quietly pushed the arm of the chair up and she snuggled up against him. He was so engrossed in the film that he barely noticed Elisabeth’s proximity, she smiled and laid her head on his shoulder.
Lister glanced over at them and frowned to see Elisabeth so close to Rimmer. He reached over to lift the arm of his own chair only to discover that it would not budge. He sighed as he remembered that not all of the seats in the theatre were couple seats.
Arnold didn’t even notice that she was so close to him until she reached up to wipe a stray tear off his cheek. He glanced down at her and she smiled as he reached up to grasp her hand in his.
They stared into each other’s eyes, the film long forgotten. Rimmer leaned down and her eyes fluttered closed. Moments before their lips met a loud belch broke the silence. Rimmer sighed angrily as Elisabeth giggled and turned her attention back to the screen.
As soon as the movie was over Elisabeth looked up at Arnold expectantly as the lights came up. He looked down at her and smiled.
“Okay, okay so I liked it.”
She grinned and turned to Lister and Cat.
“What about you two?”
Still trying to catch his breath from all the crying he did, Cat only nodded. Lister grinned and nodded.
“That movie rocked, let’s watch it again right now.”
Elisabeth grinned at his stall tactic and only feigned a yawn.
“Not now, Lister, maybe some other time. I am getting tired, we can watch another movie some other time.”
Rimmer stands up and offers her his hand, “Then allow me to escort you back to your quarters.”
Lister jumped out of his seat, “Yeah, I’ll walk you too.”
Elisabeth stood up and faced Dave, “It isn’t necessarily for you both to walk with me, Dave. I’ll just see you tomorrow.”
Then she stood up on her toes and brushes a soft kiss on Lister’s cheek. Dave blushed while Arnold boiled. Elisabeth turned around to linked her arm through Rimmer’s.
“You ready to go?”
With her arm through his Arnold forgot all about the kiss and he patted her hand.
“Sure, let’s go.”
The walked out of the theatre and Lister smiled at Cat.
“I think I have won a battle, man! She kissed me!”
Cat looked up at him, wondering if he could be that stupid.
“And after she kissed you she is going back to her cabin with its bed with Goal-post Head.”
This dawned on Lister and he sat down again.
“He’ll probably kiss her goodnight and that will be the end of it. She did say she was tired.”
Cat shook his head and simply walked out of the room.
Back at Elisabeth’s quarters she is leaning against the doorjamb smiling up at Rimmer.
“Well, I guess this is the part where I say that I had a nice time.”
Rimmer smiled and nodded, “I just wanted to apologize for Lister’s behavior tonight.”
Elisabeth shook her head and placed her fingers over his lips.
“Do you remember what Oliver said in the movie? He said love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
He paused for a moment, wondering if she was simply quoting the film or was there meaning in her words. She leaned up and brushed her lips against his softly before wrapping her arms around his neck. She whispers against his mouth.
“Why don’t you come in for a little while?”
Rimmer smiled and they backed into the room still entwined.
Lister lay in his bunk wondering where the smeg Rimmer had gone to. He tossed and turned as various situations played over and over again in his cluttered mind. There was one scenario that he couldn’t bear even thinking about, the thought of beautiful Lis in the arms of Rimmer. He shook the thought away, he couldn’t be. After two hours he couldn’t take it anymore.
Holly peeked onto the screen and once she saw Dave’s stormy face she ducked out of the screen again.
She came back sheepishly, she knew exactly what he was going to ask and she didn’t want to answer the question.
“Holly, where is Rimmer?”
Her frazzled brain frantically searched for something to tell him, she had to change the subject.
“Well, er, um, Dave, uh, would you like some toast?”
He looked at Holly in astonishment, he couldn’t believe that she had just asked him that.
“Or how about watching some Flintstones?”
“Holly, are you refusing to answer my question?”
Holly nodded slowly.
“Is he still in her room?”
Holly nodded again.
“What are they doing?”
“I didn’t look! You think I want to see Rimmer naked?!”
Dave moaned softly, it was his worst nightmare come true. The first gorgeous girl he had seen in years was onboard screwing Rimmer’s brains out. It wasn’t fair, it just wasn’t smeggin’ fair! With a final grunt Lister rolled over and attempted to get some sleep.
The next morning Elisabeth awoke in Rimmer’s arms and she purred happily. She snuggled up against him and traced patterns on his chest with her fingertips until he woke up. He smiled down at her and cupped her cheek in his hand.
“Good morning, did you sleep well?”
“Better than I have slept in a very long time, Arn. I’m so happy.”
“I am happy too, I never thought that I would love like this.”
“So when are you going to tell Dave that you’re moving up here?”
Rimmer sighed, that was going to be hard indeed. He knew that Lister was not going to like the fact that he had slept with Elisabeth let alone was moving in with her.
“Sometime today, I guess. He’s going to be mad, but I don’t care. I love you and that’s all that matters.”
He reached over and pulled his cadet school ring off his finger and slipped it onto her’s.
“I know there really is no point in getting married or even having a real courtship because there is no one to officiate anything other than Holly and I wouldn’t be surprised if she accidentally married me and Lister. But I’ll say this now, you are mine and I am yours and this ring will seal the deal. Okay?”
Elisabeth nodded and leaned over him.
“Til death or whatever do us part.”
Just then Holly flipped onto the screen.
“Are you two done?
Rimmer smiled, “Yes, we’re done. Hol, I’d like you to meet my wife.”
“Wife? Aren’t you two moving kind of fast?”
Elisabeth shook her head, “This match has been three million years in the making. You said so yourself that Arn and I should have been together already.”
“I guess, none of this is in my databanks.”
Arnold smiled, “Holly, I don’t think fate was ever in your databanks.”
Holly just nodded, “You two better get dressed or something because Lister, Cat, and Kryten are all on their way up.”
They nodded and got out of bed. Elisabeth put on a robe that she found in the closet and Arnold put on his pants. Just as he was zipping them up the door burst open. Lister stared at him seething.
“You are a bona fide smeghead!”
He lunged at Arnold but both Kryten and Cat grabbed him to hold him back. Elisabeth placed herself between Arnold and Dave.
“Dave, don’t be angry at Arnold. This was written in the stars and there wasn’t anything you could have done to make this end differently. Arn and I love each other and that is simply the way it is. I like you, I like all of you. But I love Arnold. The decision wasn’t even entirely up to me either, I just knew that when I looked at him for the first time I knew that I was finally where I belonged.”
Lister sighed softly, he couldn’t argue with her. He just didn’t have the energy anymore. Besides, she seemed so sincere, so in love. He nodded and took a deep breath.
“It’s okay, I think I understand now. I’m sorry.”
Rimmer clapped Lister on the back cheerfully,
“That’s the spirit, now would you two mind leaving my wife and I alone?”
Cat scratched his head and stared at Rimmer and Elisabeth.
“She may not be my wife legally, but she is my wife by our words.”
The trio seemed to get it as they backed out of the room. It still seemed odd that Rimmer was getting his chance at happily ever after while Lister was still alone. It was odd but it also seemed very right at the same time. There comes a day when the world just stops shitting on you and gives you something wonderful and Rimmer’s day had come. And Rimmer and Elisabeth lived happily ever after…for now anyway.