Showing posts with label 23. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 23. Show all posts

Monday, 8 July 2019

Cadmium-II





JUSTICE: 
The Hologram known as Rimmer — 
Guilty, of Second-Degree Murder.

One thousand, one hundred and sixty-seven counts.

RIMMER: 
No...There's some mistake, surely...

JUSTICE: 
Each count carries a statuatory penalty of eight years penal servitude.  
In the light of your hologrammatic status, these sentences are to be seved consecutively, making a total sentence of nine thousand, three hundred and twenty-eight years.

RIMMER: 
I've never so much as returned a library book late!

Second-degree murder?  

A thousand people?  

I would have remembered.

JUSTICE: 
Your wilful negligence in failing to reseal a drive plate resulted in the deaths of the entire crew of the Jupiter Mining Corporation vessel the Red Dwarf.

RIMMER: (Pause.) 
Oh, that.

20.17

A red warning light failed to go on in the Drive Room,  beginning a chain of events which would lead, in a further twenty-three minutes, to the total annihilation of the entire crew of Red Dwarf.
 
20.18
Rimmer was released from the medical bay, and told to take twenty-four hours' sick leave. He was halfway along Corridor 5: delta 333, on his way back to his sleeping quarters, when he changed his mind and decided to spend the evening in a stasis booth.
 
The medical orderly had informed him of the Lister situation, and that just about capped a perfect day in the life of Arnold J. Rimmer. On top of everything, Lister was about to gain three years on him. By the time they got back to Earth, Lister would be exactly the same age, while he would he three years older. Even with his illicit stasis-boothing, Rimmer could only hope to snatch three months; four at best. So Lister would gain two-and-three-quarter whole years, and he was already younger than Rimmer to start with. It seemed totally unfair.
 
To cheer himself up, he decided to spend the evening in a state of non-being, and vowed to begin work in the morning on an appeal against Lister's sentence, so he could get him out of the stasis booth and make him start ageing again.
 
20.23
Navigation officer Henri DuBois knocked his black cona coffee with four sugars over his computer console keyboard. 

As he mopped up the coffee, he noticed three red warning blips on his monitor screen, which he wrongly assumed were the result of his spillage. 

20.24

Rimmer got out of the lift on the main stasis floor and made a decision which, in retrospect, he would regret forever.
He decided to comb his hair.
20.31
The Cadmium-II coolant system, located deep in the bowels of the engine corridors, stopped functioning.

20.36
Rimmer stood in the main wash-room on the stasis deck and combed his hair. He combed his hair in the usual way, then decided to see what it would look like if he parted it on the opposite side. It didn't look very good, so he combed it back again. He washed his hands and dried them on a paper towel. 

If he had left at this point and gone directly to a stasis booth, he wouldn't have died. But, instead, he was seized by one of his frequent superstition attacks.
 
He rolled the paper towel into a ball and decided if he could throw it directly into the disposal unit, he would eventually become an officer. He took careful aim, decided on an overarm shot, and tossed his paper ball.
 
It missed by eight feet.
 
He retrieved the paper and decided if he got it in the disposal unit three times on the run it would make up for the miss. 
The miss would then be struck from the superstition record, and not only would he become an officer, but within three weeks he would get to have sex with a beautiful woman.
 
Standing directly above the disposal unit, he dropped and retrieved the paper ball three times. Combing his hair one last time, he left the wash-room, idly wondering just who the beautiful girl might be, and headed for a stasis booth
 
20.40
The Cadmium-II core reached critical mass and unleashed the deadly power of a neutron bomb. 

The ship remained structurally undamaged, but in 0.08 seconds everyone on the Engineering Level was dead.
 
20.40 and 2.7 seconds.
Rimmer placed his hand on the wheel lock of stasis booth 1344. 

He heard what sounded like a nuclear wind roaring down the corridor towards him. 

It was, in fact, a nuclear wind roaring down the corridor towards him.

What now? he thought, rather irritably, and was suddenly hit full in the face by a nuclear explosion.
 
0.57 seconds before he expired, Rimmer released he was going to die. 

His life didn't flash before him. 

He didn't think of his parents, or his brothers or his home. 

He didn't think of the failed exams or the wasted time in the stasis booths. 

He didn't even think about his one, brief love affair with Yvonne McGruder, the ship's female boxing champion.
 
What he did, in fact, think of was a bowl of soup. 
A bowl of gazpacho soup.
 
Then he died.

Then everyone died.
 

TWENTY
Deep in the belly of Red Dwarf, safely sealed in the cargo hold, Frankenstein nibbled happily from a box of fish paste, while four tiny sightless kittens suckled noisily beneath her.
 

Part Two
 
Alone in a Godless universe, 
and out of Shake'n'Vac  


ONE  

The hatch to the stasis booth zuzz-zungged open, and a green 'Exit now' sign flashed on and off above Lister's head.
 
Holly's digitalised faced appeared on the eight-foot-square wall monitor.

'It is now safe for you to emerge from stasis.'

'I only just got in.'
Please proceed to the Drive Room for debriefing.' 

Holly's face melted into the smooth greyness of the blank screen.

‘But I only just got in,' insisted Lister. 

He walked down the empty corridor towards the Xpress lift. 


What was that smell? A musty smell. Like an old attic. He knew that smell. It was just like the smell of his grand- mother's cellar. He'd never noticed it before.
 
And what was that noise? A kind of hissing buzz. The air-conditioning? Why could he hear the air-conditioning? He'd never heard it before. He suddenly realized it wasn't what he was hearing that was odd, it was what he wasn't hearing. 

Apart from the white noise of the air-conditioning, there was no other sound. Just the lonely squeals of his rubber soles on the corridor floor. And there was dust everywhere. Curious mounds of white dust lying in random patterns.
 
'Where is everybody?'


Holly projected his face onto the floor in front of Lister. 

'They're dead, Dave,' he said, solemnly.

‘Who is?' asked Lister, absently.

 
Softly: 'Everybody, Dave.'

 
'What?' Lister smiled.

 
'Everybody's dead, Dave.'

 
'What? Everybody?'

 
'Yes. Everybody's dead, Dave.
'

'What? Petersen?'

 
'Yes. They're all dead. Everybody is dead, Dave.' 

'Burroughs?'
 
Holly sighed. 'Everybody is dead, Dave ' 

'Selby?'

 
'Yes.'

 
'Not Chen?'
 
'Gordon Bennet!' Holly snapped. 'Yes, Chen! Everybody. Everybody's dead, Dave.'
 
'Even the Captain?'


'YES! EVERYBODY.'

 
Lister squeaked along the corridor. A tic in his left cheek pulled his face into staccato smiles. He wanted to laugh. 

Everybody was dead. Why did he want to laugh? No, they couldn't all be dead. Not everybody. Not literally everybody.
 
'What about Rimmer?' 
 
'HE'S DEAD, DAVE. EVERYBODY IS DEAD. EVERYBODY IS DEAD, DAVE. DAVE, EVERYBODY IS DEAD.'
Holly tried all four words in every possible permutation, with every possible inflection, finishing with: 'DEAD, DAVE, EVERYBODY IS, EVERYBODY IS, DAVE, DEAD.'
 
Lister looked blankly in no particular direction, while his face struggled to find an appropriate expression.

'Wait,' he said, after a while. 'Are you telling me everybody's dead?'
 
Holly rolled his eyes, and nodded.
 
The enormous Drive Room echoed with silence. The banks of computers on autopilot whirred about their business. 

'Holly,' Lister's small voice resonated in the giant chamber, 'what are these piles of dust?'
 
The dust lay on the floors, on chairs, everywhere, all arranged in small, neat dunes. Lister dipped his finger in one and tasted it.
 
'That,' said Holly from his huge screen, 'is Console Executive Imran Sanchez.' 

Lister's tongue hung guiltily from his mouth, and he wiped the white particles which had once formed part of Console Executive Imran Sanchez onto his jacket cuff. 

'So, what happened?'
 
Holly told him about the Cadmium-II radiation leak; how the crew had been wiped out within seconds; how he'd headed the ship pell-mell out of the solar system, to avoid spreading nuclear contamination; and how he'd had to keep
Lister in stasis until the radiation had reached a safe background level.
 
'So . . . How long did you keep me in stasis?'
'Three million years,' said Holly, as casually as he could. 

Lister acted as if he hadn't heard. 

Three million years? It had no meaning. 

If it had been thirty years, he would have thought 'What a long time.' 

But three million years. 

Three million years was just . . . stupid.