2022 NAR Rally 15 – Onboard MS Red Dwarf
Welcome onboard the Mining Ship Red Dwarf, in the Earth year 3,002,022 AD. After perfecting the time travel machine (from the Out Of Time Episode), you are now able to visit!
Radiation levels are now back to normal so it is safe for you to walk around, however I would stay clear of the cargo decks as unusual life forms are growing there. What they eat is unknown, better safe than sorry!
The Cat will be in charge of entry, only snazzy dressers are allowed, so dress appropriately. Kryten will be serving food in the Galley, supplies are short, so the food will be rat based, or recycled waste, unless you bring your own supplies.
Unfortunately Holly is not his usual self, in fact he was, for a time, a woman with a life span of 3 minutes. Luckily he got fixed, but still has digital dementia. But then, 3 million years is quite a long time for any computer.
Rimmer will be around, just ignore him, and Lister will be your official host. He will join you once he has finished his curry and trimming his toe nails with his teeth.
The scuttles will take care of your bikes and luggage, although I would check that everything is complete when you return, they have a habit of removing parts to see how they work.
Later this century, the Jupiter Mining Corporation Mining Ship Red Dwarf will suffer a catastrophic radiation leak, probably caused by Arnold Rimmer, which will kill all the crew except for one.
Having been held in a form of suspended animation known as stasis at the time of the radiation leak he was shielded from its fatal effects whilst all of his colleagues were turned into piles of dust. Lister will not be alone though.
Now, some 3 million years later with background radiation at a safe level, the ship’s computer Holly has revived him in readiness for the long journey home. However, Dave’s not quite alone: his arch-nemesis and workmate, Rimmer, survives as a Hologram; as does a descendant of Lister’s own pet cat, called Cat; and Kryten, an emotionless android.
All Dave Lister ever wanted to do was live in Fiji, on his own farm. And raise cows, horses and sheep. Sure, the island was half-submerged due to a volcanic eruption, and he’d had to have put the sheep on stilts, but still: Fiji. Preferably with the lovely Kristine Kochanski by his side. That’s ALL he ever wanted. What he didn’t want was to be adrift in deep space, millions of years after the probable extinction of humanity, with only a squealing cat-creature, a neurotic mechanoid and an utter arse of a hologram for company. Yep, it’s fair to his life has turned out to be quite the massive ball of smeg.
It all started going wrong when he was a vending machine nozzle-cleaner on Red Dwarf. When his contraband cat was discovered by the captain, Lister was sentenced to a shortish spell in stasis. While he was locked away, a radiation leak wiped out the entire crew and left the Dwarf more toxic than a pair of his Y-fronts. Three million years later, Lister emerged into a brave new world.
On a ship where the crew are deader than A-line flares with pockets in their knees, what’s a cat to do? Well, in the case of Lister’s pet Frankenstein, you give birth. And that was the landmark moment in the history of the Cat people’s… history. Frankenstein’s kittens then bred with each other (incest being perfectly acceptable in post-apocalyptic sci-fi settings), which in turn led to the creation of a vast civilisation.
Over three million years, the cats evolved to become a race of incredibly cool humanoids, and flew off to explore the cosmos. They left behind the idiotic and the infirm, and eventually only one was left: a cat renamed by Lister, in a moment of breathtakingly creative thinking, “Cat”. (With that kind of talent for branding, Lister would absolutely kill it on The Apprentice.)
Where to begin with Arnold Judas Rimmer? Presented with this man-shaped bundle of self-doubt, bitterness and neurotic ambition, Sigmund Freud himself would have chucked in his notebook and waved a white flag. But we’re made of sterner stuff, so let’s roll up our sleeves and dissect the life of Red Dwarf’s foremost vending machine repairman.
All Arnold wanted to be was an officer. He cared, he really did. Why, he even went to the effort of scribbling the answers to an important exam all over his legs and arms, and if that’s not dedication we don’t know what is. Sadly, before he could confound his father, his brothers and everyone who’d ever mocked or doubted him (ie, every single person he’d ever met), Rimmer was horribly killed in the radiation disaster on Red Dwarf. Thus the tragic and sorry saga of Rimmer was brought to a sudden end, only for it to start all over again when he was brought back as a hologram to keep Lister company on the almost deserted Dwarf.
Kryten was once a servant on the marooned vessel Nova 5, tirelessly tending to the three dead crewmates, each one of whom bore an uncanny resemblance to Norman Bates’s mum. You’d think anything after that would have been a step up, but sadly he happened to be rescued by the Dwarfers, consigning him to a new life in which his one and only role model – his master and hero, his very reason to exist – is a man whose idea of good eating is a sugar puff sandwich.
Still, at least Lister did help break Kryten’s programming and make him far more than just another prissy mechanoid servant. Well, we say that – he’s still very much a prissy mechanoid servant with a worrying fixation on Lister’s laundry, but he also happens to be a veritable oracle of wisdom, knowing everything there is to know about everything, from shapeshifting GELFs to white holes to parallel universes.
It’s all too easy to forget Holly. He keeps to himself, he does, always somewhere behind the action, a mere floating head on a screen. And yet… Holly gave us what is quite possibly the best bit in Red Dwarf history. Seriously, think right back. No, further than that. Right back to series one, episode one. Lister’s just been released from stasis, after a three million year nap. At which point he’s told, by Holly, that everybody’s dead. By which he means… everybody. Everybody, Dave. They’re all dead, everybody’s dead, everybody is dead Dave.
Everything about Holly is summed up in that moment: his deadpan nature, his long-suffering reaction to everybody’s idiocy, and his baffling inability to understand when things are looking very, very grim indeed. But then, as the man himself says, you’ve got to laugh. Especially when you’re a ship’s computer who once had an IQ of 6,000 but have now been rendered senile and generally peculiar by eons adrift in space.
So, have good time, if you like it there, you can stay as long as you wish, the scutters will assist you when you decide to leave.