vs.   Red Dwarf

by Oliver Mulvey

Note: I feel that a word of explanation may be required for this story. Red Dwarf is a long running British Sci-Fi sitcom, which has a small, but expanding US following. I'm not going to go into details over characters or plots, partly because the story should be self-explanatory.

Fans of the series might want to note that I've set this sometime around the fourth or fifth season (ie. After Kryten came onto the scene, but before the series relocated to Starbug.) Also, while writing this, I pictured Holly as he was while played by Norman Lovett. If you preferred Hattie Hayridge, feel free to make the switch in your mind. I just felt that Norman Lovett was much funnier.

(INT. Red Dwarf Sleeping Quarters. Lister and Rimmer lie in their respective bunks, asleep. Cat and Kryten are nowhere to be seen. Holly's monitor flickers to life.)

Holly: Dave, Arnold, wake up.

(Neither stirs.)

Holly (louder): I said, wake up!

(Still no reaction.)

Holly (yelling): I SAID WAKE UP!

(Lister and Rimmer stir in their bunks. Lister sits up, bleary eyed.)

Lister (Slightly dazed, clutching his head): Oh man, that fourteenth pint of larger must have been bad.

Holly: If you could refrain from being sick for one moment, I have some news that might interest you.

Lister: Give me a moment, man. What time is it?

Holly: Six o'clock.

Lister: What? That's the middle of the night.

Holly: Six o'clock in the evening.

Lister: Oh. Wait a moment, looks like Rimmer's fallen asleep again. I'll just wake him up.

(Lister jumps from his bunk. He bends down, so that his mouth is next to Rimmer's holographic ear. He bends close to the ear, as though about to whisper in it.)

Lister (shouting): Wake up, you filthy piece of smeg.

Rimmer (bleary): Leave me alone, Lister, you cankerous piece of disease ridden pus. I've been up for hours, working out.

Lister: Holly, is that true?

Holly: Nah. He's not been out of bed for the last twenty hours. Even then, he only got up to order me to tell you that he'd been working out.

Rimmer (furious): Well it obviously didn't have much of a smegging effect, did it?

Holly: Don't you want to know why I woke you up?

Lister: Go on, tell us the news.

Holly: No, I don't want to now.

Lister: Come on, Holly.

Holly: No.

Lister: Holly, tell me the news, or I'll have Rimmer show you his telegraph pole photo album again.

Holly: To tell you the truth, I think I've forgotten now. (Pause) Oh, I remember. We've picked up another ship on our sensors.

Rimmer: Another garbage pod, you mean? I'm not falling for that one again.

Holly: No, it's definitely a ship this time. Hold on, I'll do a sensor sweep. (His face takes on an odd expression for a moment.) It's badly damaged and adrift. Power levels fluctuating. Four life signs on board. Human. Female. Appear to be in suspended animation. Also detecting one hologram. Currently powered down.

Lister: You could tell all that from just one sensor sweep?

Holly: Nah. Their computer's just e-mailed me.

Rimmer: Ask it whether it has any ID on the passengers.

Holly (disappears for a moment, then reappears): That's strange. No answer. Just a request that we rescue him.

Lister: Who cares about ID? Four living females! At last.

Rimmer: At last, another hologram, somebody I can touch, somebody I can relate to.

Lister: Rimmer, the only people you've ever touched are people you're related to.

(EXT. Deep Space. Red Dwarf closes on the far smaller derelict. It is recognisable as the ship from the Spice Up Your Life video. A tractor beam reaches out and pulls the derelict into a hangar bay.)

(INT: Hangar bay. All the crew are there, gathered around the derelict. Several scutters are prying the airlock door open. Rimmer has forced Holly to create an Admiral's uniform for him.)

Lister: This is it. Babe city, here we come.

Cat: Man, you can forget it. Those chicks are going to take one look at me and melt with excitement.

Kryten: I don't know why you're all so excited. These ladies might not be particularly young or attractive.

Rimmer: He's right, you know. You're all behaving like a bunch of children.

Lister (sarcastic): Oh yes. Absolutely, Admiral.

(The scutters finally succeed in opening the airlock. The crew enter the derelict. It's immediately obvious that the ship has been in a fight. Rubble lies all around, covering the floor. Four hypersleep chambers, still intact, stand against one wall. Their glass panels have misted up, making it impossible to see their contents. A hologram generation unit sits in the middle of the room, also seemingly intact. Lister goes over to the hypersleep chambers and begins pushing buttons.)

Lister: I'm bringing them 'round.

Rimmer: Before you do so, let me remind you of Space Corps directive 33162.

Kryten: 33162. "No officer below the rank of Captain may completely remove his pubic hairs without seeking permission." I'm sorry, sir, but I just don't see how that's relevant.

Rimmer: Alright, you pedantic git. Regulation 33163: "Under no circumstances should sleep chambers without identification be deactivated."

Lister: It's too late now. I've already started the cycle.

Rimmer: But, Lister, we don't know who these people are. They could be mass-murderers, sex-offenders. They could even be the Spice Girls.

(The hypersleep chambers open up. Sporty, Scary, Baby and Posh step out.)

Kryten: You see sir. It's just as I thought. They're neither particularly young, nor are they att...

(Lister gestures for him to shut up. He then steps forward.)

Lister: Hi, I'm Dave Lister. This is Red Dwarf. Welcome aboard.

Posh: What the hell?

Scary: Whoah. I really need to cut back on my intake.

Sporty: Shit, I can't see any women.

Baby: Duh.

(Suddenly, an overhead monitor flickers to life. Holly's face appears.)

Holly: Wotcha, dudes. Internal communications restored. By the way, I've just done a scan, and it looks like the cargo hold's intact. Let's see, I'm picking up several large stacks of banknotes.

Posh: Just a little loose change.

Holly: A large stash of narcotics.

Scary: Herbal remedies!

Holly: Several hundred copies of Razzle magazine.

Sporty: Art magazines, honest.

Holly: And assorted shiny objects.

Baby: Tee Hee.

(Throughout this conversation, Rimmer has been standing aghast. He finally comes around.)

Rimmer: My God, it is the Spice Girls. But I thought there were supposed to be five of them.

Scary: Ginger's not with us now.

Posh (grinning): I don't think that we need to worry about that bitch any more.

Rimmer: What's up? Was she too talented for you?

Posh: You little shit...

Lister: Ok, calm down. Let's get out of this dump.

(Lister and the Cat exit the derelict, taking the Spice Girls with them. Kryten and Rimmer remain.)

Rimmer: My God, what happened to this ship?

Kryten: I've no idea, sir. Just looking around now I can see phaser marks, photon torpedo fragments, turbolaser scars and acid burns. It's almost as if everybody in the galaxy had tried to destroy this ship.

Rimmer: I wouldn't blame them. But why are the Spice Girls here now? I thought that they should have been dead for about three million years.

Kryten: If you cast your mind back to your history lessons, sir, I'm sure that you'll remember that the people of Britain had a last minute change of heart and decided to celebrate the millennium not by building some stupid dome, but rather by disposing of their talentless pop icons in inventive ways. All Saints were torn limb from limb by wild dogs. B*Witched were denied food until they could spell their own names and all starved. Boyzone were forced to listen to their own songs until their tiny minds imploded. The Spice Girls, on the other hand, were fired off into space. Ahh, great days.

Rimmer: Anyway, enough about them. Let's see if we can bring this hologram back online.

(Kryten starts to work on the hologram matrix. After a while, he steps back.)

Kryten: It should be ready now, sir.

(As he speaks, a hologram of Ginger appears, bearing the H logo upon her head.)

Ginger: Who the hell are you?

Rimmer: I am Grand Admiral Arnold Rimmer, of the Jupiter Mini ...

Kryten (interrupting): Actually, ma'am, Mr. Rimmer holds the rank of second technician. Among the crew, it is considered proper to address him as smeeeeeeee heeeeeee.

Ginger: What?

Kryten (stuttering): Smeeeee Heeeeee

Ginger: Still can't understand you.

Kryten: Ah, I know. Engage insult mode. (Pause) Mr. Rimmer is a complete and utter smeg head.

Rimmer: Thank you, novelty eraser features. (To Ginger) So, how come you're a hologram? What happened to you?

Ginger: It was that bitch Posh's fault. She claims that the double headed throwing axe just slipped out of her hand by accident, flew across the room, and hit me.

Rimmer (to Kryten): So close and yet so far. We've been looking for intelligent life for years, but we only manage to find the Spice Girls.

(INT: Sleeping quarters. Lister, Cat and the four living girls are present.)

Cat (to Lister): I want the blonde one, she looks smart.

Baby: Duh.

Cat: Wow, she IS smart.

Posh: There wouldn't happen to be any, err, batteries on this ship, would there?

Lister: Don't think so. Everything runs off the power supply.

Posh: Any small, vibrating objects?

Lister: You could ask Kryten about his groinal attachments.

Posh: Thanks, but no thanks. Maybe I'll just have a word with one of those scutters.

Lister: Eh. Sure, whatever. (to Cat) I think the hypersleep's smegged up their minds.

Cat (enthusiastic): Oh, man, do you think so? That'd be cool.

(INT: Derelict ship. The ship is empty now. An empty pizza box lies among the debris on the floor. Slowly, the lid opens. A rat crawls out. It starts to scurry across the floor, but before it is halfway, it flickers and changes into a spider.)

(INT: Corridor. Ginger, Rimmer and Kryten walk along the corridor. Ginger is spouting her usual rubbish.)

Ginger (in full flow): ... So I went up to her and said, "You can't mess with me, because I've got GIRL POWER." Then she said ...

Kryten (to Rimmer): Do you know, sir, that until today I had believed you to be the most boring person in the entire universe? However, I am now being forced to revise my opinion.

Rimmer (hissing to Kryten): Don't revise anything. Just get rid of her.

Kryten: But, sir, you've been pining for a holographic companion for so long. Besides, you seem so well suited. You could tell her about your diesel engine scrapbook and she could tell you about girl power, whatever that is. I'm sure you'd get on wonderfully.

(INT: Sleeping Quarters. Rimmer, Kryten and Ginger enter. The others are already present.)

Posh: Hey, Ginge, did they actually decide to turn you back on?

Ginger: What's that supposed to mean?

Posh: Nothing. Just that you're a complete slut.

Ginger: You utter cow!

(Ginger charges at Posh. However, since Ginger is a hologram, she passes straight through Posh, loses her balance, and flies across the room. She comes to a stop with her holographic body partly inside Sporty.)

Sporty: Cool. I can see everything.

(The Red Dwarf crew look horrified at this. Ginger backs up and takes another charge at Posh. Again she passes through her, but this time, she slams headlong into Rimmer, who, being a hologram, receives the full force of the blow. He doubles up in pain.)

Lister: Oh, man, you have no idea how long I have wanted to do that.

Rimmer (in great pain): Its ... not ... funny ... Lister ... I'm ... putting ... you ... on ... report.

Lister: Oh, I'm so scared. (to Ginger) Would you mind doing that again?

(Holly's monitor comes to life.)

Holly: Sorry to interrupt. I just caught this on the hangar bay camera.

(Holly's monitor changes to display the hangar bay. A spider scuttles across the floor. It changes into a rolling ball, then into a cat.)

Lister: Oh smeg.

Rimmer: Another polymorph.

Posh: Another what?

Scary: Let me guess. A polymorph would be something that kills people in gruesomely inventive ways, wouldn't it?

Rimmer: What makes you think that?

Scary: Oh, we always run into things like that.

Kryten: Actually, ma'am, a polymorph won't kill you.

Scary: Good.

Kryten: It just eats your emotions.

Scary: What?

Kryten: Oh yes. If you have any distinctive character traits, then this beastie will gobble them up faster than a music fan leaves one of your concerts.

Sporty: So, what do we do?

Lister: Don't worry. We've beaten one of these things before.

Kryten: For once, Mr. Lister is actually correct. Polymorphs are fast and cunning, but they are still vulnerable to bazookoid fire.

Rimmer: Let's split up and track it down.

Lister: Rimmer, you've got to be joking. That's what we always do and we always regret it.

Rimmer: Yes, but we always do it anyway. Here's my plan. Lister, you take Kryten, Cat and the girls. You go out into the ship and track down the beast. I stay in here, lock the door and maintain a secure command HQ.

Lister (to Ginger): Hit him again.

(INT: Cargo deck. Rimmer, Ginger and Baby walk down a long, dark corridor. Crates are stacked high on either side. Baby holds a bazookoid. The two holograms occasionally stop to tell her where to point it. Rimmer is telling Ginger about his career aspirations.)

Rimmer (to Ginger): Of course, I'm not planning on being a second technician for long. Oh no. It's promotion for me. Up the ziggurat, lickety spit.

Ginger: But I thought that most of the crew were dead.

Rimmer: Just because they want to lie around dead, having no ambition, it doesn't mean that I have to.

(Suddenly, Baby stops dead.)

Rimmer (panicking): What's she doing? What's she doing? Why has she stopped? Can she sense danger?

Ginger: I doubt it. She's probably seen something shiny.

(Sure enough, a paperclip lies on the floor a short distance ahead. Baby rushes towards it. As she does so, the paperclip moves away from her of its own accord.)

Ginger: Follow it. That must be the polymorph.

(Rather than running in pursuit, Rimmer turns and runs in the opposite direction. Ginger catches up with him.)

Ginger: You coward! We could corner it and kill it! Baby won't have a chance on her own.

Rimmer: No. You've got to let her go. War's a tough business. We need to find the others.

Ginger: I don't understand why you're so scared. We're holograms, it can't hurt us.

Rimmer: That's not entirely true.

(A tentacle shoots out from the wall and fixes itself to Ginger's forehead. There is a loud sucking sound. Rimmer scarpers.)

(INT: Another part of the cargo deck. Posh and Cat patrol the corridors, bazookoids held ready.)

Cat: You know, you might actually be quite good looking. You just need to get some new clothes.

Posh: What?

Cat: Yeah, those ones you're wearing make you look like a hooker.

Posh (rather angry): I'll have you know that these clothes cost more than enough to repay the entire third world debt!

Cat: Hmm. I suppose I'd pay ten dollars if I saw you on a street corner. But, seriously, you want to take some lessons in style from me.

(Posh is about to retort, but she suddenly freezes, dumbstruck.)

(A crate has broken open and its contents have scattered themselves over the deck. It appears that the crate was full of precious metals.)

Cat: Woah. There's a lot of glittery things in that crate.

Posh: Back off, Cat. This stuff's mine.

Cat: No way. I don't see your name on this stuff. This is my territory. Believe me, you don't want to make me mark it.

(Posh brings her bazookoid to bear on Cat.)

Cat: Ok, you know what? I'm going to give you this stuff. It's mine, but I'm giving it to you.

(As soon as he finishes speaking, the crate and its contents transform into the polymorph [It looks like the creature from alien, but with a lot more tentacles.] Posh struggles with the creature.)

Posh: Cat, help me. Shoot it.

Cat: Shoot it? But that would ruin my suit.

(The Cat turns and walks away. Loud sucking sounds are heard.)

(INT: Yet another area of the cargo deck. Lister and Sporty carry their bazookoids ready. Lister is talking about his old girlfriends.)

Lister: Then there was Kris Kochanski. Oh man, what a body.

(Sporty is dribbling.)

Lister: Are you alright?

Sporty: Huh. Oh, yeah. Sorry, I was just thinking about my old girlfriends ... shit ... I mean boyfriends.

Lister: Really, who were they, your boyfriends?

Sporty: Well, there was ... erm ... there was ... ah ... Carol.

Lister: Carol? Funny name for a bloke.

Sporty: Did I say Carol? I meant Charles.

Lister (confused): Huh?

Sporty: Never mind. Anyway, this thing we're hunting, the polymorph, what gender is it?

Lister: You mean is it a bloke or a bird? I dunno. It can change its shape, so I suppose it could be either. It usually takes its shape from your greatest desire.

Sporty: Really?

(They round a corner. They stop.)

Lister: Oh my God ...

Sporty: ... it's Pamela Anderson. Naked.

Lister: That's strange. I thought my greatest desire was a king prawn vindaloo.

(Lister realises that he's looking at the Polymorph. He raises his gun and pulls the trigger. It clicks empty.)

Lister: Oh smeg. Stay away from it.

Sporty: Can't ... resist ... Must ... go ... to ... Pamela.

(Against her will, Sporty is compelled by her desires to approach the polymorph. Lister turns and runs. The sucking sound returns.)

(INT: Deep in the cargo deck. The last surviving team, Kryten and Scary, edge between the crates.)

Scary: What happened the last time that one of these things got on board? What did it do to you?

Kryten: Oh, it was simply frightful. The accursed creature stole my sense of guilt. My behaviour became quite unacceptable.

Scary: Really? What did you do?

Kryten: Allow me to give you an example. Let us say that the polymorph was standing over there.

(He points in a random direction. By chance, he points directly at the polymorph, which is standing there, watching them.

Kryten: Then, in order to allow myself to escape, I would have grabbed you.

(He does so.)

Kryten: And thrown you to it.

(Again he does so. She sprawls right into the grasp of the polymorph.)

Kryten (realising what he has done): Oh dear.

(Kryten runs away.)

(INT: Sleeping quarters. The Red Dwarf crew enter, leading the girls behind them. The girls' postures are all slightly odd.)

Kryten: Oh, Mister Lister, Mister Rimmer, Mister Cat, are you alright?

Lister: We're fine. (He gestures at the girls.) It's them you should be worried about.

Scary: What should we do now? I'm open to suggestions. After all, I'm sure that I've not got anything worth saying.

Lister: Smeggin' hell. It's taken her arrogance.

Ginger: Whatever we do, can we please ensure that it involves no gratuitous nudity?

Rimmer: Looks like it got her promiscuity.

Posh: I've been thinking, I don't really need all those clothes, do I? And, girls, I'd like to apologise for being such a bitch.

Kryten: Hmm, it appears to have taken her greed.

Sporty: I've also been thinking. I may prefer the company of women, but there's no need for me to be so single-mindedly obsessive about it.

Cat: Lecherousness?

Baby: Ladies. These topics of converse are not relevant to the matter at hand. We now need to devise a firm plan of action.

Rimmer: Stupidity as well. My, my, the polymorph's certainly had rich pickings today.

(The Dwarfers step away from the girls, who are now debating whether they should break up their band, give up their money and devote their lives to worthy causes.)

Rimmer: What the hell do we do now?

Lister: We still need to kill that thing. It'll be coming for us soon.

Rimmer: I know that, smeg-for-brains. The problem is that if we kill it, the girls will revert to their usual selves.

Cat: Oh man, I couldn't take that.

Lister: What's worse? Emotional oblivion or the Spice Girls?

Cat: Hey, what's the difference?

Kryten: I believe that I may have a solution.

(Kryten explains his solution.)

Lister: That'll never work. This thing's not stupid.

Kryten: On the contrary, sir. The polymorph has just dined on the psyches of the Spice Girls. On the stupidity scale, this thing ranks in at Beth Kendzejeski.

Rimmer: Who?

Kryten: Never mind.

(INT: Empty Room. There are only two doors. One leads to an airlock and the other leads back into the ship. All the characters are present, but only the girls are armed.)

Lister: Ok, girls, here's the plan. We stand here and act as bait. You hide in the airlock. The moment the polymorph steps through that door and comes for us, you blast seven shades of smeg out of it.

Scary: I think I understand, but I'm probably too stupid.

Baby: A simplistic, yet elegant plan.

Lister: Great, now get ready. It'll be here any moment.

(Sure enough, the polymorph throws the door off its hinges and enters. It doesn't bother with any disguise. On cue, the girls open fire on it with bazookoids. While the polymorph dies a fast and messy death, the girls convulse as their stolen characteristics return.)

Posh: Must ... extort ... money ...

Ginger: Must ... have ... sex ...

Sporty: Must ... have ... sex ... too ...

Ginger: Forget ... it ...

Scary: Need ... a ... fix ...

Baby: Tee ... Hee ... Duh ...

Rimmer (urgently): Lister, quick. Move before it's too late.

(Lister darts across the room. He slams his hand on a control panel, sealing the girls in the airlock. He presses another button and shoots them out into space. Four bodies explode messily as they are exposed to the ravages of the void.)

Kryten: Oh, thank goodness for that.

(However, his joy is short lived. Ginger steps through the airlock door, back into the room.)

Ginger: You can't get rid of ME that easily.

Lister: Oh smeg. What now?

Rimmer: Nil desperandum. Holly!

(Holly's face appears on a monitor.)

Holly: Yes, Arnold?

Rimmer: Holly, would you be so good as to show me the hangar bay?

(Holly complies. As he does so, Ginger, realising what Rimmer is doing, attacks him violently.)

Lister: Wait, Holly, I see what he's trying to do: push the derelict out into space.

(On the screen, a tractor beam picks up the derelict and pushes it back into space.)

Lister: Now destroy it.

(A laser beam lances out and destroys the ship and the holo matrix on board it. As soon as this happens, Ginger fades and disappears. A badly beaten Rimmer picks himself up.)

Lister: At last!

Holly: You know, I've been working on a way of improving the quality of the music in our archives.

Lister: Yeah? What's that?

Holly: If I delete all the songs by the Spice Girls, then the average quality of the music rises by a small, but significant amount.

Lister: Do it, Holly. Do it now.


For this story, I am heavily indebted to the Red Dwarf episode "Polymorph.

Comments? Constructive criticism? E-Mail me at om209@cam.ac.uk

Be warned, any flames you send to this address will be ignored and deleted immediately. If you want to flame me and get a reply, do so via the Cheers and Jeers board. If you flame me in that way, then don't be surprised if I flame you back.

Oh yeah, if anybody knows whether it's possible to get some Spice Girls skins/models for Quake/Quake 2/Unreal/Half-Life, could they let me know. I'd really like to introduce those bitches to my rocket launcher.

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