AOH :: BATLRED2.TXT|
"Battlestar Red" part 2 of 9
The Boyz Introduce Themselves To Our Heroes...
*Ooooooh. Headache. Ouch,* Starbuck moaned. *Why is
it whenever I go on a mission I get smacked upside the head and
have to suffer a migraine until I get to sickbay? Once, just once,
I'd like to see Apollo get it instead of me.*
He opened his eyes and realized that he was staring at
the landing bay's industrial steel floor. He slowly rolled over only
to see the tall guy with the letter in the middle of his forehead
standing over him in what looked like a hand-to-hand combat
"Don't move or I'll snap your neck like a twig," the letter-
man warned. "Anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm a master
at the martial arts. They don't call me Arnold 'Bruce Lee' Rimmer
for nothing." Suddenly he let out the most unholy screech, which
seemed to go in time with some wild, awkward-looking arm
movements. "YYYYEEEEAHHHH! HOOO! HAAAA!"
"Ohkahy, ohkahy," Starbuck groaned. "Just keeping your
fraking voice down. Headache." Then he moaned again. "Fraking
languatron. When I get my hands on Wilker..."
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Apollo sneaking up
behind the man. *It isn't _fair_!* Starbuck thought. *He can
move without his head falling off while the sound of my hair
"I said don't move!" letter-man ordered. "No twitching, no
moaning, no nothing. Just stay puuuu-YEAOW!" At that very moment
Apollo attempted to tackle Rimmer. What Starbuck saw (and
consequently it was the last thing he remembered before he
blacking out for a few centons) was the shocked look on the
captain's face as he went through the letter-man's midsection.
Naturally, Starbuck provided Apollo with a nice, soft landing spot.
When Starbuck finally came to a few centons later
(with his headached doubled in intensity since Apollo had, in fact,
landed on his head, thus confirming Starbuck's suspicion that the
Lords of Kobol had it in for his poor, abused skull), he was greeted
with the unbelievable view of Apollo and the guy with long braids
bending over him with concerned looks on their faces.
Somewhere in the background, he could hear letter-man
yelling about how the height of rudeness is walking through a
"A holo-wha?" Starbuck asked. The sound of his own
voice echoing between his ears caused him to wince.
"Stop being such a baby," Apollo chided. "It wasn't like I
landed with _all_ my weight on your head. Besides, it's thick
enough that it should be able to withstand the pressure."
The guy with braids looked up, "Kryten! Get the
smegging Tylenol over here!"
"Yarhg! Mercy, please," Starbuck moaned through
clenched teeth as he grabbed for his hollow-feeling head.
"Sorry," the braid man apologized. "I'm Lister. Kryten is
the mechanoid. The smeghead making like Grasshopper in 'Kung Fu'
"We've met," Starbuck interrupted through his grinding
teeth. "Please, could you turn the volume down just a little bit?"
Lister complied with the request as he continued, "And
Cat was holding the other bazookoid. 'Pollo here already told us
who you two are. You, okay man? That flying tackle looked brutal."
"I plan on filing charges against a certain superior
officer when we get back to the Galactica," Starbuck muttered as
he was helped to an upright sitting position in preparation for the
industrial strength Tylenol.
"On what grounds?" Apollo yelped.
"Physical torture of a junior officer and mental
cruelty," Starbuck grumbled.
"Hey, it was an accident," Apollo grinned. "How was I
supposed to know that he wasn't solid? And what's with the
mental cruelty felgercarb?"
"After a two yahren of dragging me all over the
universe to get me into fraking trouble and you have the nerve to
ask 'what mental cruelty'?"
Kryten appeared into view, bearing a _very_ large pill
and a glass of what looked like water. "Take this, sir. It'll help."
Starbuck looked at the multi-colored pill. In his own
eyes, it looked rather huge. "I don't know if I can swallow that.
Besides, how do I know it won't poison me?"
"It won't, sir. Your biology indicates you're human so
this should work," Kryten urged, forcing both pill and water into
the dazed lieutenant's hands.
Rimmer materialized behind Kryten, "Of course, you're
taking the word of a souped-up vacuum cleaner."
Apollo looked up. "Is that a bad thing?"
"No," Lister interrupted before Rimmer could answer.
"Kryten 'ere is a marvel. Especially when it comes to space
"Space mumps?" Starbuck asked as he stared at the
pill. He quickly looked up. "No. Don't tell me. I _really_ don't wanna
know." He looked back at the pill. His head was moving into the dull
long-term annoying ache that had become all-too-familiar during
his career in the Colonial Service. He decided he didn't want to
wait to get back to the Galactica only to endure snide comments
from Dr. Salik implying that he got so many headaches because
there was nothing in his skull to act as a cushion. "Well," Starbuck
mustered a painful smile. "Bottoms up."
Apollo was in his glory.
He had just finished radioing back to the Galactica that
he and Starbuck were fine, despite some initial misunderstandings
with the crew. He told Athena that they wanted to find out a bit
more about their hosts before inviting them back to the Galactica
for a chat.
He didn't tell them that part of the reason why they
wanted to stay was that Lister had offered to make them dinner by
way of apology for the 'hanger incident,' as he called it. Home-
cooked food. Not standard military mush. Apollo was in absolute
Kryten was busy fussing over a very grumpy lieutenant
in the ship's sickbay, Lister was busy cooking and Cat had
disappeared Lords of Kobol knew where after declaring the need to
change his clothes since there was a serious color clash problem.
Apollo decided it was best not to ask what Cat meant by his
That left Apollo alone with Holly, the very attractive
blonde woman who was even now giggling cutely on the vid screen
in front of him. "So, tell me Holly. Why haven't I gotten to meet you
in person? Do they keep you chained to your communications
"You are meeting me in person," Holly answered with a
foolish grin, which prompted Apollo to break into a foolish grin
*I don't believe this! A woman is finally hitting on me
instead of Starbuck! Hah! It's about time I got the girl,* Apollo
thought. "No, no. I mean body as well as electronic soul," he said to
the attractive face. He then winced because the line was _so_
corny. *God, I've been watching Starbuck's greatest hits _way_ too
"You are looking at her body." Apollo looked up to see
Rimmer standing behind him. "Holly is our senile ship's computer.
To hear her talk, the entire smegging ship is her body. It explains
it's current beat-up condition, I think."
"'E knows that," Holly protested. "I told him on the way
over. Told him I had an I.Q. of 6,000 and everything."
Rimmer leaned over conspiratorially to the stunned
Apollo and said, "I'd remove three zeroes from that figure before
Apollo looked back at the screen. "You're a computer?"
"That's right," Holly said proudly.
"I've been flirting with a computer." Apollo blinked.
"This just isn't my day."
Rimmer smiled, "Indeedy, matey. If you're done making
goo-goo eyes at our resident dumb blonde.."
"'Ay! Who are you calling a blonde?" Holly interrupted.
"...I'm here to escort you to sickbay so you can prevent
your compatriot from ripping out Kryten's internal circuitry with
his bare hands and strangling that malfunctioning bathroom
attendant with his own wiring," Rimmer finished without missing
"What?" Apollo shot to his feet. Truth to tell, he was
kind of relieved about Rimmer's interruption, in light of having
Holly's status hammered home to him. "And you're sitting here
making small talk? Where's..."
"Just follow me." Rimmer made a smart turn and
headed down the hall, with Apollo gamely trying to keep up with
"Why would Starbuck try to hurt Kryten?" Apollo asked
breathlessly behind him.
"I don't know," Rimmer answered with a smile playing
around the edges of his mouth. "Last I saw, Kryten had just
finished explaining what the swirly thing was and started explaining
what a mechanoid is."
Apollo had managed to calm his lieutentant down,
barely in time to prevent a nasty accident involving Starbuck,
Kryten, Lister and a very dangerous-looking fire axe hurtling its
way across the cramped sickbay.
Lister claimed he was just trying to get Starbuck's
attention when he threw it, but Apollo wasn't sure whether or not
to believe him. "You could've used something else," Apollo said.
"What? And listen to another round of Starbuck 'ere
complaining that his head is not a battering ram? We only just
managed to get rid of his last headache," Lister countered.
Apollo bit back the acerbic comment that using it as a
pin cushion would not have improved Starbuck's mood. Truth to
tell, he couldn't actually blame Starbuck reacting the way he did,
once the whole mechanoid business was explained to him. To
prevent further 'accidents,' Lister asked that the two of them
remain in the medlab and wait for Cat to pick them up for dinner.
Apollo agreed that it might be for the best, all things considered.
In Which We Discover That Capricans _Really_ Don't Like Curry...
Cat, newly decked out in fresh clothes, cheerfully led
Apollo and Starbuck into the crew's sleeping quarters for chow
time. They really didn't want to ask the meaning of his cryptic
song, "I'm gonna get you little dinner..."
But they were hungry. They hadn't eaten since
breakfast and the thought of food, real, home-cooked food, was
enough to set their mouths salivating in a most unattractive way.
That's probably why the stench that greeted them, the
same stench that seemed to be coming from a huge mixing bowl of
what appeared to be sludge set in the middle of a dinner table, was
enough to cause their vision to blur and nearly blow them back out
into the corridor.
"Ahk! Gas..." Apollo choked as his knees began to loose
their strength. Somehow Starbuck was able to grab him under the
armpit before he made a spectacle of himself by falling on his
knees and begging for mercy. He was comforted to hear that
Starbuck had started wheezing through his mouth.
Lister, who was just now starting to portion out the
curry for their guests, sniffed suspiciously under his armpits.
Since nothing seemed amiss there, he checked his feet.
"Get it away! Please!" Starbuck begged, using his one
free hand to wipe the tears streaming down his face. "I'll tell you
"What? Get what away?" Lister asked, genuinely
Apollo vaguely waved at the bowl. "THAT!"
"Oooooo, Listy, Listy, Listy," Rimmer clucked. "You've
just attempted to kill the first aliens we've ever encountered with
your impressive cooking skills. So much for first contact with
intelligent lifeforms. On second thought, if they don't like it, that
probably means they _are_ intelligent after all."
"Well, I still say they look human to me," Lister
grumped as he tossed the bowl in the refrigeration unit.
"Wish we could say the same about you," Starbuck
That's when Apollo slid into unconsciousness. Unable to
keep his companion's dead weight up, Starbuck dropped him with a
most impressive thunk. He was too weak to even see what was
wrong. The room spun as he grabbed for a table. That _smell_! It
was disorientating him. "What? What..." he choked.
"Holly! What's wrong with them?" Lister asked.
"I'm not sure."
"Bet it's the food," Rimmer mumbled.
Lister spun around to face his bunkmate. "What? They
don't like curry?"
"No one likes three inches of curry on their food,"
Rimmer shot back.
"_That's_ food?" Starbuck wheezed. "What are you? You
can't be human..." his voice trailed off into a series of wracking
Kryten kneeled next to Apollo and checked his pulse.
"Sir, he's fading fast."
"Actually," Starbuck mumbled as he lost his grip on the
table and slid to the floor, "You're kinda fading away yourself."
Then he blacked out.
Lister pounded over to the fallen lieutenant's side and
checked his pulse. It seemed normal, if a bit fast. His breathing
was very shallow, though. Not a good sign. "Get them to the medlab.
Kryten, any idea what's..."
"I think they're poisoned, Mr. Lister, sir."
Post Curry Recovery...
Starbuck came to very slowly. As memory returned, he
realized he wasn't really sure he wanted to wake up. He opened his
eyes just a crack to confirm his fears. Yup -- he was back in the
Red Dwarf's sickbay all right. Well, considering that he was still
alive, perhaps the food incident really was an accident. In which
case he never wanted to find out what happened to people the Red
Dwarf crew decided _not_ to be nice to. As he pondered waking up
fully, he began to make out voices behind him.
"Well how was I supposed to know they'd be allergic to
*That must be the one called Lister,* Starbuck
"Perhaps the problem isn't the curry per se, but the
fact that you use enough curry to knock over a rabid water buffalo.
Lister, the only reason _you_ can eat that much curry is that your
taste buds are dead. And no wonder -- I saw what else you put in
that! They're lucky the curry got them first!"
*Rimmer, definitely Rimmer.*
"Sirs, I think they may be coming around. Might I
suggest an apology is in order?"
*Kryten -- the, what-did-they-call-it? Oh yes, the
With that, Starbuck opened his eyes fully and looked
around. The Red Dwarf crew was huddled together on the other side
of the sickbay. Considering the raging headache he had developed,
they were probably doing the right thing. As he slowly sat up,
Kryten made a hesitant move to come forward. The glare Starbuck
shot back stopped him cold.
Kryten said carefully, "Sir, you really shouldn't be
moving around too much. According to the medical computer, you
have suffered a mild concussion."
Of course! The perfect climax to an otherwise
wonderful day! Dr. Salik and Cassiopea both would get a chuckle
out of this. "A concussion? Because of this stuff you call curry?"
"Well, no. Because of the table that you hit when you
passed out," replied Kryten.
"Lovely. How's he?" Starbuck nodded in Apollo's
"He should be waking up any time now. Except for a
possible feeling of disorientation and perhaps a mild headache,
your friend should be fine," Kryten soothed.
"Good. Because when he wakes up I'm gonna wring his
Apollo came to a short time later. The headache he had
was a first. So was the slight feeling of nausea and dizziness that
came with it. *So much for that home-cooked meal. I wonder what
happened to Starbuck?* He opened his eyes and looked up. Looming
above him was the lieutenant in question looking more than a
"How do you feel?" asked Starbuck.
"Ugh. My stomach and I aren't speaking right now. You?"
"Oh, _me_? What could _possibly_ be wrong with
_me_? Oh, sure, a little concussion, a few bruises here and there.
Nothing out of the ordinary after a day on a mission with my
bestest buddy," Starbuck sounded more than just a bit sarcastic.
"This is the _last_ time. That's it. I'm _through_! I'm getting a
transfer to kinder, gentler squadron. Or maybe get one of my own.
At the very least, I should get a raise for hazardous duty!" Now he
sounded downright angry.
"Don't talk to me. I have a headache. Again!" With that,
Starbuck huffed back over to the other couch and laid back down,
with his arm over his eyes.
"Does he really have a concussion?" he asked the Red
"A little one. We could fix it up right here..." began
"NO! Under _no_ circumstances am I letting anyone of
you do anything to me with this equipment. I'll wait until we get
back to the Galactica. And the sooner the better, " Starbuck glared
back at Apollo. "This place is too dangerous."
Apollo considered the subject. Seriously. Things were
not going as well as he'd expected here. He doubted the Red Dwarf
crew meant any harm, though. And they might have information
that Adama wanted. Perhaps it would be safer dealing with them
on the Galactica. "Gentlemen, I think Starbuck is right. We should
go back to the Galactica. On behalf of Commander Adama, my
father, I would like to invite you to come with us," Apollo said.
"Back to your ship? The one that looks like a giant
skiing bug? How do we know this isn't a trap?" asked Rimmer.
"What are you worried about, Alphabet Head? You're a
hologram. What could they do to you? Now I, on the other hand,
have a more important question. What color is the inside of your
ship?" asked Cat.
"What?" Apollo was taken aback by that question, "Ah,
silver I think."
"Great! Silver goes with just about anything! Hmm...let
me pack two or three dozen outfits and I'll be all set."
"Just a smegging minute. How do we know it's safe?"
"Look, we're human, you're human..."
"Maybe..." muttered Starbuck to himself.
Apollo shot him a 'Be quiet' look and continued, "...And
maybe we can help each other out. Maybe we can help you get back
to where you came from and get this ship fixed..."
"And what's wrong with the ship?" asked Holly, "I
mean, you travel in space for three million years and sure, you get
a bit rusty..."
"Okay, okay. We'll come with you. If you are human, then
there might be some other interesting people to meet. It's getting
a bit dull with just these blokes to talk to all the time," said
"Well, you're no Mr. Life of the Party, yourself..." began
"Great, great! We'll get started right away. As soon as I
warn...I mean, notify the Galactica that we're coming. I assume one
or both of those ships we saw in the landing bay is operational?
I'm afraid Starbuck won't be able to fly back himself," Apollo said.
"Wait a micron, here. You want me to get in one of
_those_ ships? If I sneeze, they'll fall apart!" Starbuck protested.
"You're the one who wanted to get back to the Galactica
in a hurry. You could just wait until I go back, get a shuttle ready,
and return for you..."
"You'd leave me alone with these guys, wouldn't you?
All right, all right. You win. Kryten, could I get you to get me
another one of those tielenol things...."
Omega couldn't believe what he was seeing on the
scanner. The ship Capt. Apollo was leading toward the Galactica
was just too decrepit and beat up-looking to possibly fly. He had
to credit Lt. Starbuck with being an extremely brave man to get in
that thing. Or crazy. But he was more willing to bet both factors
were in play. "Capt. Apollo returning with the alien...shuttlecraft,
sir" he informed Commander Adama.
"Excellent. Inform Capt. Apollo that I will meet him and
his guests in the landing bay upon his arrival," Adama replied.
"Sir, he is also requesting that a medical team meet
him in the bay. It appears that Lt. Starbuck has managed to injure
himself. Again. A concussion, I believe."
"Now why doesn't that surprise me," muttered Tigh.
"Please, Tigh. Omega, inform Dr. Salik that his services
are required." With that, Adama turned and left the bridge.
Adama Considers Changing Course...
Apollo and Adama waited patiently for their guests to
come out of decon. Meanwhile, Dr. Salik examined the grumpy
Starbuck. "Tell me, how did you manage to do this to yourself?"
asked the doctor, a note of humor in his voice.
Starbuck glared first at the doctor, then at Apollo. "It
was a culinary accident. Too much spice in the food."
"You got a concussion from spice?!"
"Doctor, please. Just fix it. I really don't wanna talk
Dr. Salik sighed, and turned to Adama. "Will you
gentlemen excuse us, please. I need to take the lieutenant to the
Life Center. Maybe Cassiopea can get the story out of him."
As the medtechs hoisted the stretcher in which
Starbuck was laying, the lieutenant called out, "Apollo..."
"Yeah, buddy, what is it?"
"When I recover from this, you and I have an
appointment on the triad courts for a little one on one."
Apollo winced. Somehow he doubted he'd win that
particular match. As Salik and his patient left the landing bay,
Adama turned to his son and asked, "What was that all about?"
"Starbuck thinks I'm on a mission to get both of us
killed. I think he blames his injuries on me. I..."
Just then the doors from the decon chamber opened,
and their guests walked out. Cat, Rimmer and Kryten looked pretty
much the same as they had on the Dwarf, which was enough to
make Adama's eyes widen in shock. Lister, however, was wearing a
standard issue Colonial jumpsuit...in blue...and actually looked,
"They burned my clothes! That machine actually burned
my clothes! That was my best outfit -- the t-shirt with only three
curry stains on it, my favorite pants and my underwear that
almost bent!" Lister exclaimed indignantly.
"Of course they burned your smegging clothes. They
don't want to contaminate the whole ship. And they jettisoned the
ashes for good measure. My, my, Listy. For the first time in your
life, you're actually clean," replied Rimmer smugly. "Yep, entire
colonies of disease-causing microorganisms have bit the dust. If
it hadn't been for you, we would've been out of that a long time
"At least they gave you a more tasteful outfit than
what those other guys were wearing. Basic blue may be boring, but
at least it doesn't clash with my red and blue suit!" remarked the
Cat. He looked around the bay. "Ooh. I can see these people
definitely need my decorating expertise."
"Sirs, I believe that important looking gentleman over
there standing next to Capt. Apollo is the man in charge. May I
suggest that we introduce ourselves to him?" asked Kryten.
"Of course. After me." With that, Rimmer began walking
confidently toward Adama and Apollo.
"Hey, why does he get to go first?" grumbled the Cat.
"Oh, come on then. We better save them from that
annoying git before they decide to toss us all out the airlock,"
Adama experienced a sinking feeling of dread as he saw
the Motley Crew approach him. "Gentle...men," he paused, not sure
if that would be the correct term to use as an address to this
bunch. Always the diplomat, though, he continued, "Welcome to the
Galactica. I am Commander Adama. I hope your stay will be
pleasant. And perhaps we could be of mutual assistance to each
other. Is there anything...."
"Hey, are there any, you know, females on this bug?"
Taken aback by this interruption, Adama blurted, "Why,
"YEEEAAAOOOWWWW! All right! In that case, you don't
have to worry about my stay being pleasant at all!" Cat exclaimed,
as he and Lister hi-fived.
Not knowing what to make of this exchange, though he
had an unpleasant suspicion, Adama continued, "Perhaps you could
help us with our quest. You..._appear_ to be human. Mostly. Perhaps
you can tell us something about what we seek. In exchange, we
would be willing to give you any aid in returning through the...um..."
"The swirly thing?" prompted Lister.
"I believe the term 'time hole' would be a more
accurate description, Mr. Lister, sir," interjected Kryten.
Relieved to have a more scientific-sounding name for
the swirly thing, Adama continued, "Yes, the time hole. Am I to
presume, then, from that description that you have come from
"Certainly a more fashionable time. Brown on tan?
Silver on blue? If this is the height of fashion around here, I can
see that you could sorely use my services!" answered Cat.
"Actually, we appear to have come from...well...the
future. And let me introduce myself and my <ahem> companions. I
am Capt. A. J. Rimmer," with that, Rimmer straightened and
saluted Adama with a bizarre series of arm motions that Adama
wasn't quite able to catch. He glanced at Apollo, who rolled his
eyes. The captain's look said, 'Unh-oh.'
Rimmer continued unfazed with his introductions,
"This mechanoid is Kryten, that," pointing to Cat, "is Cat,
and this," nodding to Lister, "is Dave Lister. Now, you were saying
something about a quest?"
Adama nodded in acknowledgment of the introductions
and replied, "Yes, as a matter of fact. You see, we are looking for a
planet known as Earth."
"Why?" asked Lister. "I mean, it's a nice planet and all,
and I'd give anything to go back. But you blokes don't really look
like you'd fit in. I mean, you can't even stand curry!"
Adama was stunned. They knew about Earth! At last,
the answer to his prayers and the prayers of the fleet! "You know
"Yeah! Sure I do. I was born there, after all. But why do
you want to go there?"
Hoping Lister was not a typical example of the
denizens of Earth, Adama continued, "We need to find help in
battling the enemy that pursues us. You see, our home planets were
destroyed by our enemies, the Cylons, and our last hope is to turn
to our sister world for aid. That world is Earth. Can you help us?"
"Wait just a smegging minute. Did you say something
about an enemy? Pursuing you? And you want us to lead you and
that enemy back to earth? Do you think I've gone spare? I mean, I
wanted to be famous and all, but as a musician, not as the git who
led some nasty aliens to earth and got it destroyed," replied
"Mr. David, sir, if I may interrupt. We don't know how
far back in time the time hole has put us. It's possible that at this
time point, earth has the technology to defend itself against
whatever these enemy beings are. Of course, it's also possible that
we're in the Middle Ages," Kryten said.
"Oh, great. Then we can launch a smegging Crusade
against 'em, eh?" Lister asked sarcastically.
Unfazed, Kryten continued, "The point is, we don't know
what time point in earth's history is the present one. Until Holly
figures that out, we won't know whether it's safe to lead these
people to earth."
"I think you're both forgetting one eensy-weensy little
detail," Rimmer interrupted. "We don't know where the smeg we
are! Holly couldn't find earth again if there were bright orange
neon road signs from here to London!"
Praying They're Not of This Earth...
"This is mine. This is mine. Ooooh. I like that one.
That's mine, too. This is mine. That's mine...." On and on and on as
Cat danced down the corridors spraying everything in sight with
two hastily-produced pump bottles.
"Can't you make him stop?" Apollo pleaded to Lister,
the only seemingly sane one of the crew. And that wasn't saying
Lister looked at Cat before looking back at Apollo and
said, in all seriousness, "Ever tried to make a cat do anything
Apollo had to admit to himself that he hadn't, mostly
because he didn't know what a cat was. Instead, he steeled himself
like the hero he was, tried his best to ignore Cat's antics since
they seemed to be pretty harmless and prayed that the whole
experience was some terrible dream.
The captain had been roped into escorting their guests
to the Life Center. His father's official excuse was that he wanted
to make sure they were healthy, but Apollo suspected that his
father was actually hoping that the medical scans would prove
that the crew was not human. Of course, Kryten and Rimmer were
obviously not human by any standards, but Cat and Lister...Apollo
shuddered to finish the thought.
He remembered the hastily whispered conference in the
landing bay after Lister's stunning, almost casual revelation that
he was from Earth. While the quartet drank in their busy
surroundings, the commander actually dragged his son over to a far
corner of the landing bay and ordered him to escort the Red Dwarf
crew over to Life Center.
"Why me? can't you get someone else to..."
"You and Starbuck invited them aboard, you and
Starbuck get to watch them and make sure they don't do something
to put us all in danger," Adama ordered. He sighed, "How do you two
manage to get into so much trouble?" And with that, Apollo and
company were sent on their way.
Meanwhile, Starbuck had just finished
undergoing the last of his treatments. His headache was gone, his
mood was remarkably improved and he was starting to believe that
maybe he'd bee just a little too hard on Apollo.
It also helped that Cassiopea was showering him with
attention, probably in an effort to get him to talk about how he
managed to injure himself _this_ time. But he wasn't talking. Unh-
unh. No way. It was too embarrassing.
"Well, all set," she said, putting the last of the medical
instruments away. "Free to go. And Starbuck? Try avoiding getting
yet _another_ concussion on a mission? I'm starting to think you
do this to yourself on purpose just to have an excuse to see me
while I'm on duty."
Starbuck was about to answer when the Red Dwarf
crew made their grand entrance with Apollo in tow. On seeing his
buddy up and around, he fled to the lieutenant's side and
whispered, "Thank the Lords of Kobol you haven't left yet. We have
to babysit these guys."
"What? No. Absolutely not. I refuse..."
"No choice. My father's orders," Apollo said. He looked
at Cat, who was now spraying half the Life Center with the bottles
declaring it to be his, all his, before adding, "I have one nerve left.
I think it's about to snap."
Cat suddenly appeared out of nowhere, spraying and
saying, "This is mine. This is mine. This one is mine..." upon
reaching Starbuck and Apollo, he stopped. "Except you two. I don't
want you two. They can keep you." He looked around, spotted a
stunned Cassiopea and said, "YEAOOOW! That one can be mine!"
Before Starbuck could protest the statement, he took off for the
He was soon joined by his mates.
The Boyz had, let's face it, not seen a living human
woman in years. In the case of Rimmer and Lister, three million
years, give or take a few years. In Cat's case, never. In Kryten's
case, it wasn't that he _wanted_ a woman, it's just that he had a
scientific interest in how the genders would interact. At least,
that's what he told himself.
The simple fact of the matter is, Cassiopea could've
been 1,000 years-old, had hair growing out of her ears, a wart at
the tip of her nose and no teeth and they probably would've reacted
pretty much the same way. Pent-up hormones will do that to you.
Granted, the response to her presence might not've been, well, so
enthusiastic if she _wasn't_ a pretty blonde, but the fact is, she
was. That just made the greetings a little bit more intense.
Of course, Cat almost blew their chances at getting to
know this vision. As if they had a blizzard's chance in hell to start
with. "A potato sack? They put you in a potato sack? What did you
do? Commit murder?"
Overwhelmed by the sudden appearance of the
strangest-looking humans she ever laid eyes on, Cassiopea issued
a thoughtful, "What?"
"That thing you're wearing!" Cat turned to the two
warriors, who decided the better part of valor was to cower on the
other side of the bed. "Get this woman some clothes! If we're going
to get to know each other better, she's gonna need duds almost as
fine as mine! YEAOOOW!"
"'Ang on a minute, 'ang on a minute!" Lister interrupted.
"For someone who's never actually seen a woman before, you're
pretty sure that she'd want to get to know you better." He leaned
over and said sweetly. "Pay no attention to him. Cat's harmless."
"Harmless! I'm dangerous, dude. I'm so dangerous that I
should be locked up and the key thrown away." Cat protested before
turning back to Cassiopea. "So tell me, do you have an opening in
your schedule, say, in 15 seconds?"
"Seconds?" Cassiopea asked. She decided Cat probably
_was_ dangerous, at least, the fangs looked dangerous.
"No style. No style," Rimmer interrupted. He addressed
Cassiopea. "Mademoiselle, tell me, s'il vous plait, how do you feel
about an evening of l'amore, moonlight..."
"That's it! Enough! Hands off!" Starbuck finally decided
that he really didn't _need_ to see these creatures slobbering all
over Cassiopea. In his hesitation to get to her side to protect her,
he walked through Rimmer.
"Cut that out!" Rimmer yelped. " I told you it's not
polite to walk through a hologram!"
"Stuff it Rimmer." Starbuck glared at the lot of them
before issuing his final threat. "Back off! Now! Or I'll repay you for
"Oh, smeg," Lister remarked cheerfully. "Better do what
he says, guys."
The Boyz took a few steps back from the fuming
Starbuck and the amused woman, but not so far back as to lose
sight of her.
"Hologram?" Cassiopea asked. She studied the letter in
the middle of Rimmer's forehead a few moments before adding,
"That must be what that symbol means."
"Nope. Means smeghead," Lister volunteered.
"They're here for medical scans. Just Lister and Cat.
Kryten is a mechanoid and Rimmer is a hologram, so there's no
need for them," Apollo announced in an effort to bring things under
control. "Think you can perform the tests?"
"Sure. No problem." Cassiopea flashed her best
flirtatious smile. "This way, ummmmm, gentlemen."
As Lister and Cat followed Cassiopea into an adjoining
room, Apollo dragged a distracted Starbuck to a corner.
"I don't _believe_ this. You'd think they'd never seen a
woman before," Starbuck muttered. "I don't like the fact that
Cassie's doing the tests. Maybe..."
"Will you forget about that?" Apollo didn't need this. He
needed to rely on his lieutenant to keep the quartet under control.
"But, nothing. Cassiopea's perfectly capable of taking
care of herself. She's dating you, isn't she? We've got other things
to worry about."
_That_ got Starbuck's attention, even though he knew
he was going to regret it. "And those things are?"
"Keeping them out of trouble."
Starbuck looked over to Rimmer and Kryten, who
seemed to be bickering over a piece of medical equipment in an
effort to figure out what it was. The bickering was well on its
way to a full-grown row, complete with personal insults and
vague suggestions about Rimmer's parentage, or rather, the lack
thereof. "Impossible," the lieutenant observed.
"Then take them to the Officers Club. Get them talking.
You might be able to find out more from them in an informal chat
than they might be willing to tell in a full-blown interrogation,"
"Me?! What about you? Where are you gonna be?"
Apollo hated himself for hiding behind his son, but he
needed to get away from the lunatics visiting the ship. His nerves
were very frayed and he needed a break. Besides, it was Starbuck's
turn to watch them. "I need to spend some time with Boxey."
"Since when what?"
Starbuck took his shot. "Since when do you cut out on a
mission just to spend time with Boxey. _You're_ the one who's
always exhorting me to pay attention to my duties. Now you're just
gonna cut out on me?"
"We're not on a mission."
"Oh, yes we are! We've got to babysit these guys until
your father makes other arrangements. You are not leaving me
"Look, I haven't seen Boxey in days because we've been
so tied up with patrols and then the swirly thing..."
"Time hole," Starbuck corrected.
"Whatever. And now this. I'm beginning to forget what
he looks like," Apollo pleaded.
Starbuck looked at Apollo. He mumbled something under
his breath, probably a curse. He looked to heaven for guidance. The
answer was never _really_ in doubt. "Fine. Just so long as you stay
where _I_ can find you if I need you at a micron's notice. I'll take
these guys to the Officers Club and see what I can..."
The pair were interrupted by the sudden appearance of
Rimmer. The hologram looked slightly uncomfortable. "Captain,
lieutenant. I, ummmm, I, ahhhhh..."
"Out with it," Apollo ordered wearily.
"I need to get my light bee recharged on Starbug."
Rimmer's words came out all in a rush.
"So?" Starbuck asked.
"If I don't recharge, I'll fade out. Cease to exist. It'll
only take about a few hours or so," Rimmer explained.
"Fine, fine," Apollo said. "I'll get someone to..."
"That won't be necessary," Rimmer said hastily. "I can
remember how to get to Starbug and when I'm done, I'll just come
"We won't be here. We'll probably..." Starbuck began.
"Well if you aren't, I'll get that nice nurse to take me."
"Good idea!" Apollo said before Starbuck could protest.
"But I still think I should send someone to go with you."
"I'd really rather you not," Rimmer said.
"Why?" Starbuck didn't know why, but he was
suspicious. He smelled a con, but he really couldn't fathom what it
was or why Rimmer was trying to con them.
"Well, you see, it's, ummm, rather embarrassing and
_very_ personal," Rimmer explained. He leaned in and whispered,
"The charge cable has to be attached to a _very_ sensitive and
personal part of my anatomy. Being men, I think you understand."
Apollo and Starbuck took a step back out of
embarrassment and grimaced in sympathy.
"Go! Go!" Apollo practically shouted. "Just finish up as
quick as you can. I'll walk you as far as the landing bay since I
have, ummm, other business to attend to." Apollo turned to
Starbuck and added, "Inform me when my father wants to speak to
us. I'll be in my quarters."
End part 2
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