AOH :: BATLRED6.TXT|
"Battlestar Red" part 6 of 9
The Boyz from the Dwarf tried to make themselves as
small as possible in the cramped cockpit of the Cylon raider as
Starbuck and Apollo poked around outside to make sure there were
no unpleasant surprises.
"I can't _believe_ you let that captain talk you into
bringing all of us," Rimmer hissed.
"Shut up, you git," Lister hissed back. "It's your fault
their computer went nutso."
"But we fixed that!" Rimmer hissed angrily. "If _you_
felt like being a knight errant, you could've at least had the
decency not to drag the rest of us into it. It's not our fault they
have a bunch of homicidal mechanoids..."
"Simulants," Kryten corrected.
"Cylons," Lister double-corrected. "The fact is, you
smeghead, we need to get back into their good graces after the
stunt you pulled. Otherwise, they just _might_ be tempted to
throw us out of an airlock and blow up Red Dwarf before these
Cylons give it a go."
"They'd probably be doing us a favor. It's got to be a
quicker death than being tortured by creatures that have no word
for 'fluffy,'" Rimmer mumbled.
An uncomfortable silence fell over the group as their
ears strained to hear the warriors returning to give the all-clear
Cat had watched the exchange between Rimmer and
Lister the same way he would watch a mouse before pouncing on
it. He knew better than to get in the middle of the duo's obligatory
bickering, but the break in conversation got to him. "Is it me, or
has the universe gotten mighty crowded all of a sudden?"
"I've decided. Next time we run into aliens, let's make
ourselves scarce. If they can't give me a body and are intent on
getting me killed, I really don't see the point of bothering to
make nice-nice," Rimmer said.
"Sirs, one thing puzzles me," Kryten interrupted.
"What's that, Krytie?" Lister mumbled.
"If this ship is manned by machines, why is there air?"
The other three Boyz exchanged looks. "All of a sudden,
I'm getting a funny feeling about this," Lister said. "Cat? Can you
smell any other humans around?"
Cat glared in answer. "I can't smell anything except
those chilies you had last night. Let me tell you, it's not pretty,
having to smell stale chili breath all the time..."
"Will you four pipe down? I can hear you across the
landing bay," came a hissed voice. The Boyz jumped and turned to
the opening in the raider's floor. All they could see was Starbuck's
angry eyes peering at them. "Well, are you coming or not?"
"Right. Let's do it." Lister nodded as he reached into the
bag and pulled out Talkie Toaster, heavily muffled in some dirty
laundry. He could dimly hear muttering through the cloth and held
the package to his ear for a better listen.
"You can't _do_ this to me," the Toaster pleaded. "What
about all the good times we had together. The sunny breakfast
nooks. The finely tanned toast. The warm muffins..."
"Listen. I'm only gonna say this once. We have no
breakfast nook and there were no good times. You chirp too much in
the morning. This is what you get for bothering me before my first
cupa coffee and cigarette of the day," Lister said. Before the
Toaster could protest further, he tucked it back in the bag slung
over his shoulder and lead the team for the opening.
Lister, Cat and Kryten dropped to the landing bay floor
and followed Starbuck's silent cue to fall into a crouch. Rimmer
poked his head down and whispered, "Maybe I should just stay here
and watch for those metal bastards."
Starbuck looked up. "I suppose you could. Just make
sure to get out before they launch."
"Launch?" Rimmer squeaked.
"Yeah. Didn't I tell you? All these ships look alike and
I've got the beacon," here Starbuck held up the electronic box
before re-attaching it to his belt. "Chances are they're going to
bring this raider down to the launch bays for refueling. You better
hope this is slated to go out on patrol instead of going into battle
when the Galactica decides to launch the attack force.
Rimmer bitterly grimaced. "I see. Well, here goes my
trip to the land of suicide." He dropped to the floor and crouched
"Good man. Knew you'd see it my way." Starbuck flashed
a mischievous grin and skulked over to the central core.
"Well, let's go," Lister ordered and skulked after him,
leaving his three crewmates to awkwardly follow.
Upon reaching Apollo waiting inside the central core
tube, it occurred to Lister to ask a question. "Ummmm, if we can't
use the ship we came in, then how are we gonna get outa here?"
"We're gonna steal another one," Apollo answered.
A grin spread across Lister's face. "Brutal."
"It will be if you keep treating this like a game,"
As Apollo opened the hatch, Rimmer looked down and
saw that the floor below them was swarming with Cylons. "I feel
like I've just entrusted the family jewels to a bunch of piranha."
Starbuck choked back his own nervous laughter. He had
to admit, Rimmer pretty much said what he was thinking.
"Frak. We can't go this way," Apollo muttered.
"Captain, is it possible there are lifts that will take us
to the floor we want?" Kryten asked.
Apollo and Starbuck looked at each other. A foolish grin
spread across the lieutenant's face. "Would you believe me if I told
you that it never occurred to us that there might be lifts on this
"Now _why_ does that _not_ surprise me?" Rimmer
asked no one in particular. "Once again I have proof that all it
takes are broad shoulders, perfect teeth, a clear complexion and
nice hair to be a military officer instead of brains."
"I'm sure you'd know _lots_ about the need for brains,"
Starbuck shot back.
"Starbuck! Cool it!" Apollo hissed. He looked at Kryten.
Hard. "All right. You're a machine. Would machines use lifts?"
"Well, it would certainly be more efficient than
climbing up and down a ladder in single file," Kryten sniffed.
"Okay, just supposing there _were_ lifts around here,
where would they be?" Starbuck asked.
Kryten scanned the landing bay. He saw an entrance
that looked right. "If I could hazard a guess, sir, I'd say it was
Apollo looked at the location of the potential lifts. After
doing a quick mental calculation, he replied, "Okay, I think you're
right, but that'll put us in a part of the ship I'm not familiar with.
It wouldn't be particularly helpful if we all got lost on this basestar."
Kryten nodded his agreement. "Sir, if I could just interface
with the ship's computer I could not only locate the control room
but I could also determine if there were any guards between it and
us. Maybe I could even determine the best way to infect the
basestar's core computer with the Toaster's programming."
Apollo and Starbuck looked at each other. All of a
sudden, Kryten was beginning to look like a handy person to have
around. It appeared he was capable of being more than a dust mop
on legs. "Maybe there's a port around here," Apollo said slowly.
"Maybe doing it in the landing bay is a _really_ bad
idea," Starbuck said. When the other five men looked at him, he
quickly added, "High traffic area. Maybe we could find a place
that's more, ah, secluded?"
"Right," Apollo nodded. "Let's get to that lift and get it
to take us to the lower decks."
"Excuse me, not meaning to be paranoid or anything, but
what if one of those things decides they want to hop aboard on our
way down?" Rimmer asked.
Starbuck smiled evilly. "We'll shoot them."
How Rimmer Saved the Day...
It was sweat-o-rama in the lift as six figures -- three
human, one hologram, one cat and one semi-human-looking
mechanoid -- crossed their fingers and traversed to the lowest
deck the lift would take them. When it reached the floor they
wanted, everyone crunched themselves against the walls moments
before the doors slid open. Starbuck and Apollo peeked through the
opening and seeing that there was nothing around, gave the silent
all-clear signal and crept into the hall, followed by their four
As the doors slid shut, Apollo whispered, "Okay,
Kryten, this is your show. Go find us a port."
Without a word, Kryten dropped to his hands and knees,
took the lead and followed the featureless wall, carefully keeping
to the shadows. The others did likewise. At several points, he
came across a nook, would peer in, shake his head to say, "This
isn't it," and kept going. Just as it seemed they would be crawling
through the entire basestar, Kryten stopped. "Hmmmm. This looks
promising," he muttered. And with that, he stood up and went into
The others shot to their feet and crowded behind the
mechanoid. Starbuck and Apollo stood on either side of Kryten with
Cat and Lister flanking them. Rimmer stood in the rear, unsure
that he wanted to get too close to the operation. He'd already had
experience with trying to interface foreign technologies and he
had a sneaking suspicion that this attempt would have the same
result. However, he wasn't about to say anything. He kept his
fingers crossed that Kryten knew what he was doing. He prepared
to run just in case.
"Well, sirs, I think this might be just what we'd need,"
Kryten said happily.
"What is it?" Cat asked.
"It's a janitorial unit," Kryten replied.
Starbuck blinked. "A janitorial unit? You're kidding,
right? Cylons need janitors?"
"Well it does make sense," Apollo whispered. "We're
dealing with machines, they're gonna need something that would
keep the basestar reasonably free of particles harmful to their
"But I've seen these guys walk through swamps,"
Starbuck protested as he nervously watched Kryten explore the
"True. But think about it. Even the vipers' circuitry
needs to be cleaned every once- in-awhile. The ships have to
withstand harsh wear and tear in rugged terrain, as well as
traversing between a planet's atmosphere and the vacuum of
space, and the vipers are nowhere near as sophisticated as a fully
functional Cylon," Apollo whispered back.
"This is all very fascinating. Really," Lister cut in. "But
how is a janitorial program gonna help us get the information we
"Well, sirs, I would suspect that it's not a protected
system. I could link up and use the janitorial program as a piggy-
back to sneak into the protected files and retrieve the information
we need," Kryten explained. "Think of it as sneaking in under the
"You know something? This just _might_ work,"
Starbuck said in wonder.
"Ah. I have it," Kryten said happily. And with that, he
removed his cod piece and jammed his groinal socket into the port.
Apollo and Starbuck took an involuntary step back at
this action. They looked at each other. Then, they slapped their
hands over their mouths, since laughing hysterically in the middle
of a basestar is not a recommended course of action when trying
to remain undetected. When he felt he could control himself,
Apollo choked, "What, _exactly_, is he doing?" Starbuck, for his
part, was too busy stuffing both fists into his mouth and shaking
helplessly with unvoiced laughter.
A very serious Lister answered back, "Gettin' that
information you want."
"Yeah. I understand that. But do you have _any_ idea
what this looks like?" After asking the question, Apollo slid to the
floor, grinding his teeth to keep the laughing bray at bay and
started pounding the floor.
"Looks like it's up to us to keep us from getting killed,"
Cat muttered as his eyes scanned the corridor.
"Ah. I think I have it," Kryten said again. "Yes. Yes. Very
fascinating." Suddenly, he started vibrating. Sparks shot out of his
neck. He started making a noise that sounded like: "Bdr-bdr-bdr-
Apollo and Starbuck immediately sprang to attention.
The echoing noise was sure to bring unwelcome company and they
knew they had to get out of the area. Fast. However, when they laid
their hands on Kryten in an effort to tear him away from the port,
they received such a terrific electric charge that they were jolted
across the corridor. Cat and Lister ran to the fallen warriors'
sides, slapping them lightly to get the dazed looks off their faces.
Rimmer headed for the hills.
"We've got to do something!" Lister shouted over the
steadily increasing racket Kryten was making.
Cat looked up and over Lister's shoulder. "Uh, buddy? I
think it might be too late."
Lister turned around and immediately wished he hadn't.
He saw four Cylons bearing down on them with drawn weapons.
They looked as _impressive_ as they did _ugly_. For a moment, he
got caught up in the red light shooting hypnotically back and forth
where their eyes should have been. The delay was enough to allow
the Cylons to reach them.
"Humans," one declared in a flat voice. "I count four,
Lister automatically looked around for Rimmer and
immediately noticed that he was missing. He decided not to call
out for him, but cursed him anyway for being a coward. That's
when it occurred to him that the Cylons thought Kryten was
human, as unbelievable as that mistake seemed to be. Maybe if
they realized Kryten was a mechanoid... "If you're talking about
'im," Lister nodded at Kryten, who was now smoking and spouting
gibberish in binary code, "He's a robot, like you."
"Silence!" the same Cylon ordered.
"Hey, pal, I'm not human. I'm a Cat. I can't _believe_
that you could actually confuse me with a Monkey's Uncle," Cat
"I said silence!" the Cylon said. "You are in the company
of warriors from the Galactica. You will be taken in for
questioning before Baltar. You," it nodded to one of its companions,
"Disengage human-possible from the computer console."
"By your command," one of the Centurions answered.
However, the moment it touched the distressed mechanoid, an
electrical charge surged up its arm and it was enveloped in an
electric blue light. Sparks shot everywhere as the Cylon collapsed
to the ground.
"Switch to electric field dampening mode. Remove
him," the lead Cylon ordered.
The other two Centurions said, in unison, "By your
command." This time, the operation was successful and Kryten was
soon tossed into the heap of organic life forms on the floor just as
two of them, namely Starbuck and Apollo, were becoming more
aware of their surroundings.
"Kryten! Are you all right?" Lister asked.
"Beep!" Kryten declared happily. Then he offlined.
"Oh, smeg," Lister prayed.
"On your feet," the lead Cylon ordered. "Your companion
will be carried. We are going to Baltar. You are prisoners.
Surrender your weapons. Do not try to escape."
"You mean, 'Oh, frak,'" Starbuck said as he shakily got
to his feet and did as the Cylon requested.
Rimmer crunched back in the alcove as he saw two of
the Cylons pick Kryten up and the others get to their feet. He
thought about escaping, but where would he go? He was a hologram
and couldn't touch anything, ergo, he couldn't just get into one of
the raiders and fly to safety, and that's even if he _did_ know how
to fly one of those things.
Still, it was a tempting thought. He could just stay on
the basestar and hitch a ride on a ship large enough to hide him and
escape that way. It wasn't like they could _actually_ hurt him,
unless they fired those guns and hit his light bee, a one in a
million chance since it was so small and literally "buzzed" around
the interior of his form. But one in a million was one chance too
many, Rimmer decided. Besides, even _if_ he stowed away on
another ship, there was no way to get back to the Red Dwarf that
he could see, ergo, there was no telling where he'd wind up.
And then there was Lister, Cat and Kryten. He couldn't
just actually leave them here, now could he? If he had to spend
eternity with himself, he'd go absolutely stark raving mad. And if,
by some miracle, he _did_ actually make it back to Red Dwarf, it
would be just him and Holly. That _would_ be a fate worse than
death. A cowardly hologram and a crazy computer. They'd be dead
in a week.
Thus, Rimmer convinced himself that he wasn't
actually doing anything brave. If he thought that, he would freeze
up in terror. Instead, he convinced himself that his crazy idea was
just an exercise in enlightened self-interest. He readied himself.
"Well, A.J. 'Bonehead' Rimmer will now make his move. Let's see if
you goits can stand the heat," he muttered by way of prayer. He
took a deep hologrammatic breath, launched himself down the
corridor with an unholy scream and ran through the mixed group.
"Rimmer!" Lister shouted in surprise.
"C'mon you metal homicidal smegheads! Catch me if you
can!" Rimmer shouted by way of answer as he streaked down the
corridor, followed by a volley of laser fire.
*What is that idiot doing?!* Starbuck thought to
himself. *Doesn't he realize that all these guys have to do is give a
loud shout and the entire basestar will be after us?*
"You, contact Baltar and inform him that there is a
loose human on the ship. I will follow the sixth human," the lead
Cylon said. With that, he lumbered after Rimmer, who seemed to be
anxiously waiting for it at the far end of the corridor. When
Rimmer saw he had one of the Centurion's full attention, he
suddenly streaked off around a corner.
The Cylons bearing Kryten dropped the mechanoid to
the floor. One reached for his gun to cover the captives while the
other went for an alcove.
Neither one got very far.
"NOW!" Lister shouted. He and Cat tackled the Cylon
fiddling with the gun while Starbuck and Apollo tackled the Cylon
heading for the intercom. In the ensuing struggle, which was
admittedly unfair, the humans managed to relieve the Cylons of
their laser rifles and shoot them squarely in their metal heads.
"Frak. Now all we've got are these awkward things,"
Starbuck remarked. "Our laser pistols are with the Cylon that went
"Forget about that," Lister said, hefting his liberated
laser rifle. "We've got to save that smeghead from gettin' himself
A shout from behind them solved the problem of having
to search the basestar for the fleeting hologram. "ONE SMEGHEAD
COMING THROUGH! SHOOT HIM! NOW! SHOOT! SHOOT HIM SHOOT HIM
SHOOT HIM SHOOT HIM..."
The quartet spun around to see Rimmer heading right
for them. He was running so fast that his arms and legs were
almost a blur. Right behind him was one _very_ frustrated Cylon.
The poor thing had been shooting at Rimmer's fleeing back,
apparently hitting him dead on target, but the human had just kept
going as if it didn't even notice it was being shot at in a fatal
Starbuck brought up the laser rifle and said,
"Hmmmmm, I dunno..."
"DAMN IT! IF HE HITS MY LIGHT BEE AND KILLS ME AND I
DIE AGAIN I'LL HAUNT YOU FOR THE REST OF YOUR MISERABLE
EXISTENCE!" Rimmer shouted as he dove through the quartet,
disappearing behind Cat.
Starbuck almost casually shot the Cylon, who had
skidded to a halt upon seeing that its former captives were now
armed and it was out-gunned two to one. Apollo wandered over to
the fallen Cylon's side and kicked it. "Yup. It's dead," he announced.
He then removed the laser pistols. "Starbuck, give Cat your laser
rifle. It appears we have our guns back."
"Thank the Lords of Kobol," Starbuck said, handing the
rifle over to Cat's waiting hands. "I was afraid we'd be stuck with
these things for the rest of the trip."
"Listen, much as I hate to interrupt your macho chest-
beating, might I suggest we get the smeg out of here?" Rimmer
asked, poking his head up from behind Cat's left shoulder. "All that
"I might say Mr. Rimmer has an excellent point."
All eyes fixed to the ground. Kryten, who had
interrupted Rimmer mid-rant, had snapped himself into a sitting
"Kryten! Cheers, man. Are you all right?"
"I'm fine Mr. Lister, sir. I just needed to..."
"Look, can DW-40 Breath explain this later? Like, after
we're off the ship?" Cat interrupted.
"Excellent idea," Apollo said with a mischievous grin.
"Kryten, can you take us to where we need to go?"
"I think I can, captain," Kryten said as he climbed to his
"Good. Lead the way."
The group fell into formation behind Kryten. Lister
noticed Rimmer hanging at the back of the company and slowed his
pace to allow the hologram to catch up to him. "Nice job there,
Rimmer. I'd say you were actually brave," he whispered.
Rimmer looked at his bunkmate in surprise at the
unexpected compliment. For a moment, Lister thought sure he saw
a grin play around Rimmer's eyes before the hologram shrugged and
said, "I thought I saw another Cylon heading for my hiding place."
Lister didn't believe it for a second. "Yeah. Right. Sure.
I understand." After a beat, he added affectionately, "Sometimes
you can really be such a smeghead."
Operation: Toaster, Part II...
Apollo was not happy. Everything had been going so
well up to this point, that is if you didn't count the one little
incident involving Kryten, the Cylons and a fleeing hologram. Now
the group huddled around the doorway that Kryten assured them
lead into the room where the central control computer was kept. A
little to one side was the central core tube, similar to the one
that he and Starbuck had used to reach the central control
computer room on the last basestar they were on. At the bottom of
the ladder was a now very defunct Cylon. Everything was where it
After peeking though the door, however, Apollo saw
that the room on the other side was very different from the last
Cylon computer room he toured. Instead of being a relatively small
corridor with computers on both sides and totally devoid of
Cylons, it was a fairly large circular room with computer consoles
all over the place, each manned by a busily working Centurion.
Obviously, not all basestars were designed alike as everyone,
including Baltar, had assumed.
Apollo had to admit to himself that this design made a
bit more sense, but it also mad it more difficult for would-be
saboteurs. He looked at the chronometer on his wrist. The
squadrons, lead by Boomer and Sheba, would be here in twenty-five
centons and they still had to get into that room, connect the
Toaster to the central computer system and get out.
And here they were stuck at the door.
"Maybe if some of us sneak over to the other entrance
and attract their attention, the rest of us could blast those
bleeders to bits," suggested Lister.
"Yeah, but who's gonna volunteer to do that?" asked
Starbuck. "For one thing, we're not even sure _how_ to get to the
other side and, for another, there's no guarantee that whoever is
going the attention-getting will survive the fire fight."
"Well, that's that. Guess it's time to go home. Can't say
we didn't try," said Rimmer.
"Hmph. So much for Sage Brush Hair's bravery. Knew it
couldn't last," remarked Cat.
"Listen, Milk Breath, maybe we should send you over to
attract their attention. They'll be so blinded by that tacky outfit,
they'll never hit you. I bet lasers would bounce right off that
surface," Rimmer replied nastily.
"Hey! I'm _not_ going to take fashion criticism from a
guy who wears nylon underwear," Cat shot back.
Apollo turned to the pair to silence their bickering, but
instead of hushing them, he began to stare thoughtfully at Rimmer.
A smile began to creep into his face, the kind of smile that made
the Boyz, especially Rimmer, very nervous. It was the kind of
facial expression that would have made Starbuck, if he'd been an
amazingly similar character in a fictional military organization on
Earth, quite sure that his leader was "on the Jazz." Being who he
was, however, he just began to get cold chills down his spine. But
that feeling was mixed with a bit of optimism as well. No matter
how crazy Apollo's plans appeared to be, they almost always
worked, though sometimes they scared the pogies out of you in the
process. With that expression on Apollo's face, it was no surprise
to anyone when he uttered the words, "I have a plan."
Rimmer peeked tentatively into the control room. Just
as Apollo had said, there were about ten or so Cylons at various
stations around the room. Suddenly the plan, which had seemed so
reasonable and sane when Apollo had explained it to him, revealed
itself for the totally ludicrous and insane idea that it really was.
Still, it was the only plan they had. If they did not succeed,
Rimmer would have no way to get out alive. Oh, and the others
would probably die as well. In fact, the whole Fleet could very
well snuff it. *Well, that will add just another couple of thousand
lives to my running tab,* Rimmer thought dejectedly.
Doubts aside, Rimmer thought Apollo did have a point.
He, Rimmer, was, in fact, a hologram. The chance of the Cylons
actually being able to hit his light be buzzing around invisibly
inside him was infinitesimal. Thus, it would be very hard for them
to actually hurt him. Funny, he'd never really thought about it that
way before. Made all his previous cowering and hiding and
generally being afraid rather silly.
*Okay, better get on with it,* he thought. With that,
Rimmer began to creep, well, crawl actually, since his tall frame
had to hunch down so low as to avoid any possible detection,
around the edge of the room. Being a hologram, he made no noise,
therefore, none of the Cylons looked up from whatever they were
doing. When Rimmer was approximately a third of the way around
the edge of the room, he looked back toward the entrance through
which he came. He could see Apollo's head, which nodded the signal
Rimmer took a deep breath and straightened to his full
height. He then thought of the most obnoxious attention-getting
phrase he could. "How-doodly-doodly-do! Could I interest any of
you gentlemen in a few grilled bread products?" he asked loudly in
an almost letter-perfect imitation of the Toaster's annoying voice.
Every Cylon in the room stopped what it was doing and
looked directly at him in an obviously menacing, albeit puzzled,
manner. One of them began to draw its weapon as it unnecessarily
announced, "There is a human in the room. We must destroy it."
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," warned Rimmer a bit
nervously. He consciously prevented his eyes from staring at the
forms of Starbuck, Apollo, Lister and Cat as they emerged silently
from the door and began to take aim at the distracted Cylons.
"Why not?" asked the Cylon, in a toneless mechanical
"Who'd clean up the mess?" Rimmer asked. Then he
winced and flinched as the Cylon fired, even though the laser bolt
passed quite harmlessly through him. As the confused Centurion
paused to consider why the human before him had uttered failed to
collapse and die as it should have, Apollo shouted, "NOW!" Rimmer
dove for the floor as Apollo, Starbuck, Lister and Cat opened fire
on the Cylons. It took only a fraction of a micron...er...a
second...er...an instant for all the Centurions to be destroyed.
"I hope all this noise didn't attract too much unwanted
attention," Starbuck remarked as he motioned to Kryten that it
was all clear and safe to enter.
Kryten looked around at the assorted computer
consoles, trying to determine the best place to make the
connection. He identified a likely spot and set the bundled Toaster
down next to the chosen console. As he studied the set-up, Apollo
asked, "How quickly do you think you can get things set up?"
Well, captain, I believe I can get everything connected
in about ten minutes, which is more or less ten of your centons."
"Good. Boomer and Sheba will be leading the attack on
the basestar in nineteen centons, so I hope your estimation is
correct," Apollo said. Then he turned to Starbuck, Lister and Cat.
"Okay, we have to make sure Kryten is undisturbed so he can get
the job done as quickly as possible. Starbuck, you guard the far
door. Lister, Cat, you two patrol the corridor outside and let us
know the instant you see any movement in this direction."
"Brutal!" Lister answered enthusiastically. He then
called across the room, "Rimmer, you can stop hiding in the corner.
The shooting's stopped and it's safe to come on out. By the way,
good job. I didn't know you had it in you."
Rimmer peered out from behind the computer console
he'd used as cover. Lister shot him a thumbs up sign, though that
smirk implied that he knew Rimmer was still a coward at heart.
Rimmer straightened and brushed off his uniform. "Actually, Listy,
I was checking to make sure all the computers were wired up and
ready to go. Everything seems to be in order here."
Lister shook his head, laughing to himself as he and Cat
went out to patrol the hallway. Apollo took up position by the
entrance to the hall while Starbuck walked over to guard the door
on the opposite side of the room. As he passed Rimmer, he smiled
and said, "I have to admit, Rimmer, you did pretty good there."
Rimmer, somewhat taken aback by the compliment, a
second one in as many minutes, no less, was at a loss for a reply,
mostly because he didn't hear them all that often. Instead, he
responded by standing at attention and giving Starbuck the full
Rimmer salute. Starbuck rolled his eyes and moved to take up his
guard position. Rimmer turned and looked around at the myriad of
computers in the control room. It looked fairly impressive. He
wondered if the technology existed on this ship to give him a new
body. Of course, it the Cylons _did_ give him a new body, they'd
only go and do lots of unpleasant things to it, so he gave up on that
train of thought.
Everything seemed to be going well. Too well, in fact.
It couldn't last.
As Rimmer wandered over to the wall near Starbuck to
wait while Kryten hooked up the Toaster, a previously undetected
door suddenly swung open right next to him and very rudely
smacked through Rimmer's hologram self. A very haughty-
looking man, armed with a laser pistol, stepped through the
newly-revealed opening. Simultaneously, a part of the wall not far
from Apollo slid open to reveal several Cylons.
Starbuck and Apollo uselessly spun around, keeping
their guns drawn, but held their fire. They knew they were dead if
they tried. Somewhere in the panic, it registered with both men.
Baltar was here.
Baltar was having a bad day. It hadn't started out as a
bad day. It started out as a mediocre day. Then, for one brief,
shining moment it had looked like the day might turn into a
glorious one. But instead things had gone right down the
So far, he'd gone through a rather substantial quantity
of chalk and it didn't look like he'd be slowing down his
consumption of it anytime soon. The Cylons in charge of making
the stuff were on overdrive.
Then that report came in from the main control deck. A
rather bizarre report. One of the Cylons had reported seeing
another Cylon chasing a human down one of the corridors. The odd
thing was that although the pursuing Cylon had managed to shoot
the fleeing human in what should have been a permanently fatal
manner for the human, and had, in fact, managed this feat
innumerable times, the human just kept running.
Baltar decided that the latter part of this report was
due to some malfunction on the part of the reporting Centurion and
ordered it to undergo a full diagnostic scan. But the presence of
humans on board, well, he found that bit interesting. And not
entirely unexpected, given what happened the last time the
Galactica encountered a lone basestar.
Well, they hadn't counted on Baltar's being here, which
wasn't surprising. He was prepared. He'd taken _measures_.
He thought about whether or not he should capture the
humans or just have them all killed. Hmmm -- if he could capture
them, they might provide valuable information. Not willingly, of
course, but that was irrelevant. And if it was, as he suspected
strongly, Apollo and Starbuck on his ship, well, those two would
have all sorts of interesting things to tell him, starting with the
mysterious ship at the edge of the so-called 'swirly thing,' and
he'd enjoy getting it out of them. Such a feat would go a long way
towards maybe ensuring him some level of recognition and
possibly security in the Cylon Empire. Of course, if it was those
two, he'd have to be extra careful. They had a way of slipping out
With that thought in mind, he assembled an elite squad
of his best Centurions and made his way toward central computer
control. Little did the would-be heroes know that he had ordered a
few design modifications made in the form of hidden entrances. He
ordered the lead Centurion to take up position with his squad
behind the sliding wall, while he made his way over to the secret
door. He then put his ear up against the wall in order to hear what
was going on in central control. Utter silence.
*Fools!* Baltar thought with grim gleefulness. *Cylons
at work in a normal situation would make a small but detectable
level of background noise. The silence is a dead giveaway.*
Using his communicator, he signalled the leader of the
elite squadron, then he burst into the room.
Apollo and Starbuck were there, just as he'd suspected.
They were both completely taken by surprise, just as he'd hoped.
Probably planning to blow up the central computer control or
otherwise sabotage the basestar.
So intent was Baltar on gloating over the captured duo
that he completely failed to hear the small yelp of protest from
behind and slightly to the side as he entered the room.
Nor did he notice the busily working mechanoid hunched
at one of the terminals with what looked like a small pile of dirty
laundry in front of him, or what _would_ have looked like a small
pile of dirty laundry if Baltar had, in fact, looked at it, which he
didn't. It turned out to be a very costly mistake that would, in
time, make the earlier bad parts of this day seem like paradise.
But that was in the future. Since Baltar didn't know
about it, he gloated. "Why...Capt. Apollo, Lt. Starbuck! How nice to
see both of you again! And to what do I owe the pleasure of your
"Baltar!" Apollo gasped as Starbuck muttered, "Oh,
frak," under his breath.
Apollo demanded an answer to the mystery. "What are
you doing here? You were left stranded..."
"Yes! I _was_ left stranded -- but my Cylon friends
very kindly rescued me." Okay, perhaps 'kindly' wasn't the best
description of how the Cylons had 'rescued' him, but what Apollo
didn't know wouldn't hurt Baltar. "So here I am. Now, please, lower
"Just a smegging minute! It isn't enough that I've been
chased and shot at from the moment I stepped foot on this poor
excuse for a garbage scow? Now you have to go slam doors through
me?! I'll have you know that Arnold Judas Rimmer doesn't take that
from anyone, miladdo!"
Baltar thought the indignant voice sounded like it came
from behind him, which was impossible. "What is this? Some kind
of trick?" he asked, waving his weapon menacingly at Starbuck,
who was too busy looking rather surprised as he stared at
something apparently behind Baltar to really notice the pistol.
"Not him. Me. Behind you. See?" To Baltar's horror, an
arm suddenly thrust through his chest so that the hand attached to
it was able to wave in front of his face. Baltar gaped and began to
wheel around, but before he could totally face whatever it was
that lurked behind him, there was a shout from behind the Cylon
squad that sounded like: "BOYZ FROM DA DWARF!!"
Two men leaped out into the corridor behind the squad
of baffled Cylons. The Cylons were only baffled for a moment,
though, because the next moment they were all dead as the man
behind them and Apollo, who still had his weapon raised since he
was not in the habit of taking orders from Baltar, simultaneously
opened fire on them.
Caught completely by surprise, Baltar was still in mid-
turn when Starbuck's fist connected with his face. Hard. He caught
a glimpse of a bizarre grinning visage with a symbol on its
forehead as he spun, hit the wall and collapsed.
Starbuck shook his fist in pain as he watched Baltar
slowly sink to the floor.
"Why didn't you just shoot him?" Rimmer asked.
"Because it was more satisfying to punch him out. You
have _no_ idea how long I've wanted to do that. Too bad it only
took one punch." Starbuck looked appraisingly at Rimmer. "You
know, that was a pretty brave thing you did, letting him know you
were there. You and your mates saved the day. Again."
"Well, actually, I was just so angry. You've _no_ idea
how hard it is to be a hologram and have every Tom, Dick and Harry
walk through you whenever they feel like it." Suddenly, what
happened sank in. "Wait. Did you just say, 'Saved the day?'" He
straightened. "Well, after all, I am A.J. Rimmer, space adventurer."
Starbuck shook his head in amusement. "Don't get
carried away, hunh? C'mon. Let's see if Kryten's finished yet."
Starbuck and Rimmer then joined Apollo, Lister and Cat around
"Did you see those guys? Silver on black with a dash of
red? They deserve anything this Toaster does to them," remarked
Cat. "When are you going to be finished Mr. Potato Head? This
metal motif is starting to lose its charm."
"Just a few more connections and...ah, there we are. All
finished, sirs. May I suggest that we depart with due haste?
Fortunately, I was able to work uninterrupted while you dealt with
the intrusion, but I'm afraid our presence here has been broadcast
throughout the basestar."
"How long before..." Apollo began.
Kryten shrugged. "It will take a few seconds for the
Toaster to have an effect. Normally, I'd say it'd take a few
minutes, since this ship is so big, but the Toaster is such an
immediately annoying entity that the Cylons should be
incapacitated rather quickly."
"Then let's get out of here. Let me just grab me clothes
and we can make tracks," said Lister.
"You _want_ those clothes? Why? They're disgusting!"
"What? This is my third best outfit and they're
partially clean. I can wear them at least five more times before I
get them washed," replied Lister as he grabbed the bundle and
stripped the clothing off the Toaster.
The Toaster wasted no time in pleading his case.
"What?! You're leaving me here? On a ship full of machines?
Machines don't eat toast!"
"Well, Baltar might," Starbuck soothed. "Come to think
of it, shouldn't we take him along?"
"We can't. There's no room in the raider. Even if there
was, we don't have the time to carry his dead weight all the way
back to the launch bay. Besides, he deserves whatever happens to
him," Apollo said.
As the group filed out of the room, Lister spared a few
moments to console Talkie. "Cheer up, Toaster. Maybe you can get
the Cylons 'ere to help you feed Baltar all the toasted bread
products he can eat. Think of it as your chance to explain the joys
of crumpets and tea cakes to a whole new civilization."
As he raced to catch up with the others, Lister could
swear he heard the Toaster exclaim, "Hey! That's right! I've got a
whole new civilization at my disposal! I better get on it!" If the
basestar wasn't going to be destroyed in the upcoming battle,
Lister could almost feel sorry for the Cylon Empire. Almost, but
The group cautiously made their way down the corridor.
Surprisingly, they met no resistance. Perhaps, they all hoped, the
Toaster was already having an affect. They made it all the way to
the launch bay with no problems and hopped on the nearest raider.
Not daring to wait for the rest of the raiders to launch, if they
ever launched, Starbuck and Apollo held their breaths and flew off
the basestar as quickly as possibly.
No one pursued them and the basestar didn't fire on
them. In fact, it looked almost derelict the way it was sitting
there. It appeared that the mission was success. Apollo looked at
his chronometer. They made it with two centons to spare. Both he
and Starbuck let out their breaths, looked at each other and let out
a victorious whoop.
It was echoed by the Boyz.
Up ahead, Starbuck and Apollo could see a wall of
vipers emerging from the direction of the Fleet. It was the attack
squadrons, sent to finish off the apparently defunct basestar. As
agreed before the mission, Apollo and Starbuck started waggling
the raider to inform the oncoming vipers that they were not
To be brutally honest, it was an unnecessary aerial
display, since _this_ time they didn't lose their identification
beacon in all the excitement.
END Part 6
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