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FLASH BACK: KOCHANSKI'S STORY

My name is Simon Grayson. I'm a 17 year old (at time of writing;1999) boy, who lives in London.
You can contact me via E-mail this address:moose@pavilion.co.uk
This piece of Fan-Fic was written on 14th September 1998. It's much longer than most of my pieces of FanFic, and you need to have seen almost every episode of Red Dwarf to enjoy it. I mean it, this isn't for the minor fansof the show, you need to be a big fan!
Legal bit: Almost everything here is copyright by the BBC. The rest of it is copyright me, Simon Grayson. You can distribute it anywhere you want, including the web, fanzines, etc. but you MUST keep all this info at the top with it. Also, if you put it somewhere where loads of people are going to read it, I'd appreciate it if you could E-mail me to let me know.


"...Followed by a double 4!" droned Rimmer, "You should have seen the look on his face when I crossed the sea, he realised that he was being attacked on 2 frontiers..."

"Will he ever stop going on about Risk?" whispered Kochanski to Lister.

"Yeah," answered Lister, "just keep nodding and looking interesting and he'll shut up at the end of the game".

"What? That'll take ages!"

"It'll take even longer if you interrupt him."

"...Capturing his final pieces." said Rimmer, with a triumphant grin, "It was over, I'd won!"

"Over?" said Lister, "as in you're going to stop talking now?"

Rimmer's grin faded, "you mean you weren't enjoying that?"

"Rimmer, getting my appendix removed was more fun than that!" said Lister.

"Which time?" said Kochanski.

"The time when I was 22." said Lister. "Hang on, how did you know I'd had it removed more than once?"

"In my universe" said Kochanski, "I had my own appendix removed when I was15. After the accident on my Red Dwarf, there was a low amount of radiation on the ship that managed to get into the stasis chambers. I don't know what happened, but my appendix... well, it grew back."

"How did you know the same thing had happened to Listy?" asked Rimmer.

"Holly told me." said Kochanski "I've spent a lot of time talking to him to find out the difference between my universe and yours..."

"A lot of time?" asked Rimmer, "More than you spent listening to my Risk stories?""...though I never quite understood why Rimmer was brought back."

"Why don't you tell us a bit about your universe, Kriss." said Lister, "Why was I brought back as a hologram there?"

"Radiation levels have reached an acceptable point. It is now safe to emerge."

"No matter how many times I do it" said Kochanski, stepping out of the stasis chamber, "it always feels weird. It's as if no time has passed at all!"

Kochanski started to walk towards the Captain's office, where she knew she would have to go to be officially brought back into existence. It was going to be strange to see Hollister again, he would have aged almost 2 years! Everyone would look different. Hang on, she thought, where was everyone? She should have seen lots of them by now!

"Holly, where is everyone?" she asked.

"They're dead, Kriss." he said, with no trace of emotion.

"Who is?""The crew. They're all dead, Kriss."

Kochanski stopped to let this sink in. It didn't.

"What, the whole crew?"

"Yes Kriss. They're all dead, Kriss."

She started running towards the captain's office, clinging to the belief that everything would be better once she got there.

She arrived in the main bridge and looked around her.

"Where are all the crew?" she asked, seeing an empty room.

"They're all dead, Kriss."

"Not the Captain?"

"They're ALL dead, Kriss."

Kochanski sat down in the middle of the drive room. If she had seen a single person die, she would have been weeping, but she hadn't. She was hearing that everyone on the ship had died some time ago. There weren't even any bodies. All there was on the ship was...

"Holly, what's this white powder? It looks like the remains of a Cadmium damaged vegetable."

"That's the Captain, Kriss." said Holly, "There was a Cadmium II radiation leak. It killed the entire crew."

Kochanski looked at the powder. She couldn't believe it. She had seen the effect of Cadmium on plants and even on a rat once, but never on real people.

"Who're those that next to him" she asked, trying to bring some sense of realism to her situation, "Toddy and Maccy?" as soon as she said this, she realised that it couldn't have been George "Maccy", who had died weeks earlier. Well, about 2 years earlier now.

"No, that's the 2 members of Z-shift. They were trying to explain why they hadn't fixed the Cadmium leak."

"Z-shift. Oh my god, Dave!" she said, Jumping to her feet, "Dave Lister was a part of Z-shift!"

"That's right" said Holly, "he's the one you're stepping in."

Kochanski moved her foot and started to weep. It wasn't that she had liked Lister more than all of the others, but hearing about him brought the situation to life. She started to think about him. She knew that he had had a crush on him, and that he had wanted to ask him out, but that he had never done it. The fact that he would now never do it made her realise that this really was happening.

[note: I know that he *did* ask her out according to Ouroboros, but I'm taking "The End" as a starting point for this bit, where it states that he didn't]

"You're beautiful when you cry" said a voice from behind Kochanski. She spun round to see...

"Dave?" she stammered, "I thought you were... Holly said you were..."

"I am." he said, "Holly brought me back as a hologram. I've been hanging around the ship for the past few weeks, waiting for you to be brought out of stasis."

"The past couple of weeks? You didn't make me spend the full 22 months in Stasis, did you Holly?"

"Uh... Did I mention the lasting radiation?" asked Holly.

"What radiation?"

"Well, it wasn't safe for you to come out of stasis straight away, you had to stay in for a bit extra. 3,000,000 years extra to be exact."

Kochanski thought about this for a few seconds, and then felt the room slipping away, as she fainted.

As she came to, Lister used the skutters to take her back to her quarters. He couldn't stand being soft light, he should have been able to do this himself!

As they reached the door, Kochanski woke up properly, and walked through the door to see... some kind of person in her room. He looked human, but a few of his teeth were the wrong size. She'd seen the patterns before, on a nature program about...

"Good afternoon." said the creature in Kohcanski's quarters, "You must be Kristine, and you must be Dave. My name is Henry, and I've been expecting you for the past few years."

"Expecting us?" asked Kochanski.

"Yes. Holly told me you would be coming soon."

"Hol?" called Lister, "you didn't tell us about this guy!"

"Didn't I?" said Holly, appearing on the monitor on Kochanski's wall. Holly was worried about his memory. He suspected that he was forgetting a lot more than he was happy with. "Do you remember that cat you had?"

"Of course I remember!" said Lister, "it got Kriss put into stasis!"

"Well, the cat survived. It's been reproducing and... well... evolving since then."

"That's right" said Henry, "my ancestors were the children of your pet Frankenstein. Holly calls my species "Felis Sapis", as we've evolved into abi-pedal..."

--

"What?" said Rimmer, interrupting Kochanski's flashback, "Cat was talking like that? He can't even string a sentence together, let alone use long words!"

"That's not true!" said the Cat, "just because I didn't get the same edutacatiment as you, doesn't mean I'm talking no worse than you!"

"That's the difference between my Cat you. He did get an education" Kochanski said the word slowly, hoping that Cat would take it in, "I left a bra in Frankenstein's litter basket. The Cat priests later took that as an indication that they were to build more schools. My Cat is as educated as me!"

"Just think" said Rimmer to Lister, "if you wore a bra all of the time, that creature over there would be able to tell us the capital city of the New African settlement on Mars."

"How come you don't call him Henry?" asked Lister, ignoring Rimmer, "you keep calling him "my Cat"

"My Dave started calling him "Cat" shortly after we met him. He was amazed by Cat, especially after he found out that he was their god!"

"Yeah, that happened here as well" said Holly.

"Shall I carry on?" asked Kochanski.

"Go for it." said Lister, "Actually, hang on a minute. Rimmer, what did you mean "all of the time"?"

---

"Holly, why Lister?" asked Kochanski, pacing the bridge, "Anyone would have been better than Lister"

"I thought he would be the best crew member to keep you sane."

"Keep me sane? He drives me nuts! I can't even get changed without worrying he might come popping through my wall to watch me!"

She carried on pacing the bridge until Cat and Lister walked in.

Cat walked up to one of the food repli-vendors. "Trout a la creme, large, medium-rare, extra cream and a small portion of chips" he said. The faint hiss of food being brought out of it's stasis containers and being super-microwaved lasted for about half a second, and his meal appeared in front of him.

Lister came to sit down next to Kochanski. He went straight through the chair and landed on the floor.

"Being a hologram is really getting on my nerves." he said, from the floor."

---

"You can't be serious!" shouted Kochanski.

"Why not?" asked Lister with a chirpy grin, "They're on the planet asking for our help, you saw that robot. We'd just be going down there to help them, to rescue them, and..."

"I'm not talking about that!" said Kochanski, lowering her voice to a more reasonable level, "I mean you being dressed up like this! We're on a mercy mission, we're not on the pull!"

"I know, I know..." "Then why are you dressed like that? You're wearing your favourite pair of camouflage trousers and your good shirt, the one with only two stains on it. What the hell are those stains, anyway?"

"Curry. It won't come out, trust me."

Kochanski was about to answer when Cat popped his head through the doorway,

"let's go, guys, we've landed" he said.

They followed him out of the back room of Blue Midgit, through the main doors and into the wreck of the Nova 5. There, they were greeted by an android cleaner from the ship.

"Hi there" said Kochanski, "we're from Red Dwarf. We answered your distress call. Where are the crew."

"Right this way" said the android, "my name is Kryten by the way."

"Series 4000?" asked Cat, "I read an article about you guys! Could I open you up some time and take a look inside? I'd probably be able to make some improvements, it would be like upgrading you to the 4400 model!"

"That would be nice" said Kryten, "The 4400 has lots of good features. I've always thought it would be useful to have a groinal socket for vacuum cleaning and the such."

The crew walked into a room where they saw the crew of the ship: 3 skeletons.

"Here they are" said Kryten, "girls, this is..."

"This is the crew?" asked Cat.

"Why yes"

"Oh Cloister" Lister smiled when Cat said this, "I read about this as well. There was a bug in the 4000 model. They sometimes didn't notice when people... well... died."

--

Kochanski tried to step through the mess in her quarters. Cat had taken Kryten apart, and there were pieces of him all over the room. At that moment, he was spray painting a new head, as he had found the ones he had seen so far to be unsatisfactory.

Kochanski almost tripped on one of the spare legs that was on the floor as she crossed the room to talk to Lister, who had been almost silent since they had returned to Red Dwarf.

"What's up?" she asked.

"Nothing."

"You've been like this since we got back. What's wrong?"

"It's just..." Lister searched for the words to express his frustration, "It's just so strange, being told that we're millions of years away from Earth, and that I'm dead. It takes some getting used to."

Kochanski felt uncomfortable trying to talk to a hologram about death. She knew that Dave wasn't really there, that he had died millions of years ago, but that this was a computer simulation of him, created by Holly. She had read about the early holograms, which had been designed not to realise that they were dead. They were fully simulated, so it would have been perfectly possible for a ship's computer to actually change the hologramís personality, and making them believe that they weren't dead would have been no trouble at all.

About 4 years previously (Kochanski realised that it was actually 3,000,004years earlier, but tried to ignore this fact), it had been decided that it was immoral to change a person's personality when converting them to a hologram, even in a small way. Some holograms went insane as a result of this, but it was decided that preserving the person's personality was more important than any problems caused by the confusion of telling a hologram that they were dead.

"Death doesn't have to..." said Kochanski eventually "it doesn't have to stop anything"

"Of course it does" said Lister, "things are hardly going to be the same now, are they? Look how many things I can't ever do again. There's no way I can play any sports, I can't eat, I drink. I can't even have sex!"

"There's more to life than food, sport and sex, Lister." said Kochanski,"You can still enjoy opera, you can still enjoy a good book and you can still enjoy conversation."

"Kriss, I don't do any of those things. I never have. There may be more to life than food, sport and sex for you, but not for me. That *is* my life."

--

"It's true" said Nirvanah, "he actually said no! We were there, just the two of us, and he said that he didn't want to. He said that he was in love with the girl on his ship."

"Love?" asked Commander Binks, "You're not serious are you?"

"They are from the 24th Centaury, don't forget" said one of the junoir officers, "I was reading that back then the holograms were mixed in among the living people, and they ended up believing in the idea of love just as much as the others."

"But how could he have been in love?" asked Binks, "he's the only hologram on board his ship. The girl on his ship is alive!"

"He says that that won't stay in the way of true love." laughed Nirvanah, "he said that he'd been in love with her since before his death, and that he's been falling deeper and deeper in love with her for the past 5 years that he's been a hologram!"

"Can you imagine going 5 years without sex?" asked Binks, "he must be in terrible condition!"

"Yeah, but he is a Class 1 hologram" said the junior officer again.

Binks noted that he had clearly been doing a lot of research into old classes of holograms. "The Class 1's didn't have fully realistic bodies. They've got a few features like the aging process, but their physical condition can't change. They can't even eat!"

"I wonder how he's getting along with the girl on his ship" said Nirvanah. This time there was no trace of derision in her voice.

--

Lister looked through the doorway at Kochanski and Kryten. It had been almost 3 years since Kryten had been tampered with by Cat, and he was now a fully functioning 4400 model android.

Lister watched as the two of them set courses into the ship's computers. After their encounter with the encounter with the Enlightenment, they had decided to emulate some of the ship propulsion patterns they had seen, hoping to create a holo-engine for Starbug.

They didn't know that Lister was watching them, nor would they have even suspected that he was. They had seen the Enlightenment leave an hour earlier with Lister aboard it. The ship had had a full crew compliment, but Cat and Kryten had managed to get him added anyway due to a technicality. Once aboard, they assumed that there was no way he would want to turn around and come back to Red Dwarf.

Kochanski was a little upset about this. Over the past year, the two of them had grown much closer. They had been there to comfort each other after discovering the true identity of Camille, a pleasure-GELF who they had both fallen in love with. Lister had seemed really upset about this. He had become depressed about the fact that he could never date again.

In fact, his emotion had seemed so strong at the time that Kochanski had started to believe that he was a real person.

"Hi guys" said Lister weakly. Kryten and Kochanski turned around to face him.

"What are you doing here, sir? The Enlightenment left 57 minutes ago.

"I know. I didn't want to leave."

"Why not?" asked Kochanski.

"I didn't want to leave you guys. I'd have... I'd have missed you."

---

An hour later, Kochanski was making her way towards Lister's quarters. He had asked her to see him that evening, while Cat and Kryten were going out mapping the area in Starbug.

The door hissed open as she approached. She looked inside the dimly lit room to see a table covered with romantic food and soft candles.

Her first thought was to be suspicious of Lister's motives, but she remembered that he was a hologram, and that as such he couldn't be hoping for any more than her company.

"Hi Kriss" Lister said, stepping through the door from the room he had converted into a kitchen, "I'm glad you could make it."

"How did you do all this, Dave?" she asked, pointing at the table.

"I got the skutters to help." he said, "they can be really helpful once you understand how to handle them. I had Holly's help for the hologrammatic stuff."

The two of them sat and spent about 2 hours talking and eating. Kochanski was surprised by how sophisticated the things Lister was talking about were. She realised that he was finally taking the advise she had given him years ago, and was trying to improve himself.

There was a pause in the conversation as Kochanski's gaze met Lister's.

"What made you stay?" she asked.

"You did, Kriss." he said "I..." he looked away.

"You what?"

"I love you, Kriss." he said looking into her eyes.

Kochanski was shocked. Lister had told her a number of times over the past few years that he fancied her, that he wished he could have gone out with her, that he wanted to sleep with her, but he had never said that he was in love with her.

Could he really have changed? Kochanski asked herself. Could he really have become a more rounded, more caring person? A man who could actually show his emotions?

Before she realised what she was doing, she leant forewords to kiss him. She closed her eyes and leant towards him, feeling his lips against hers mentally before they had met...

Lister lay on the ground, having fallen straight through Kochanski, mentally cursing everything in existence.

---

"I've changed" said Lister, "I used to be uneducated scum, but I've changed. I've fallen in love. It's not just my normal thing, I don't just want to go to bed with her, I'm in love with her."

"That's not enough and you know it."

"I've... I've learnt to like opera." Lister said, panicking, "I've learnt to enjoy the fine arts. Since being a hologram, I've tried to enjoy everything non-physical. Kriss and I have been listening to opera and watching her videos of Jane Austin. I'm a changed man, I've been able to improve myself as a person, to improve my understanding of life... to improve everything."

"Hmm... maybe that is enough. You have been deemed worthy to have existed."said the Inquisitor.

"Next!"

Cat appeared in Lister's place.

"Justify yourself!" said the Inquisitor.

"I've gained an understanding of the ancient works of Earth." said Cat, "I can recite most of Shakespeare in the way that the 16th Centaury actors would have, and I have a full understanding of most of the texts. I've been studying Dickens, and I've written numerous essays on my opinions of his representation of Class. I've been studying the 20th centuary as well, I've been able to follow the plot of neighbours!"

The Inquisitor, taking the form of Cat, raised his eyebrows at the last point.

"Anything else?"

"I've gained a full knowledge of the internal workings of both of the ships I regularly use. I have learnt a great deal about theology and religious beliefs. I have discovered a new medical technique for solving a holo-virus that I managed to put into practise after we met Dr. Landstrome. I've also saved the lives of my crew a number of times."

"You have been deemed worthy to have existed." said the Inquisitor,

"Next!"

Kryten appeared.

"Justify yourself!"

"I have broken my programming" said Kryten, "and chosen to continue my work among the crew of Red Dwarf. I still do their laundry and clean their ship. I still help them with their personal problems by using my counselling skills, and it always helps them. Well, except for the time I hypnotised Cat and then accidentally convinced him of Hitler's teachings... but anyone could have made that mistake."

"You have been deemed worthy to have lived."

--

For the 15th time in a month, Lister tried to kiss Kochanski on the lips, and was frustrated to be reminded that he could not.

"I wish you weren't a hologram" said Kochanski, looking into his eyes.

"I thought you said there's more to life than physical happiness" said Lister with a smile.

"Yes, there's more to life than that, but it's still nice." said Kochanski, "The rest needs to come first. I just wish you could have learnt about the finer side of life without having to die first."

"So do I." said Lister. His smile turned into sadness as he added "but it just wouldn't have been possible. Given the choice between sex and love, I would never have chosen love."

"And now?"

"Now I don't have the choice" said Lister.

"If you did have the choice? If you were alive again."

"I'd choose love." said Lister, "with love comes... other things" he leant forward to kiss her again, again getting lost about 2 inches into her face. Would he ever remember not to do that?

----

"How the smeg could you lose it?" asked Cat, "it's bigger than an average moon!"

"Sorry" said Lister, "I just forgot where we parked it. I was sure it was right here just behind this planetoid!"

"Picking something up on the sensors" said Kochanski, "THAT'S IT! I can see Red Dwarf on the scanners! It's... it's moving."

"Moving?" asked Cat.

"Yeah. Something's piloting it. They're on 3/4 thrusters. If they carry on like this, we won't be able to catch them!"

"Won't be able to catch them?" said Cat.

"Can you stop repeating everything she says and follow them!" screamed Lister.

----

"You will have a bazookoid within 1 meter of yourself at all times." Said Security Officer Cat. Since the Psirens had been discovered in the area, and the crew had heard about the threat from GELFs and simulants nearby, they had decided that they would need increased security on the ship. They hadn't actually met any GELFs or Simulants yet, but the word of their arrival in the sector had been spread, and their enemies were well known for hunting down humans.

"You will take a training course in bazookoid firing this week, and are fresher course every month." Cat had decided that he was best suited to controlling the operation, as his natural hunting and defending instincts were the strongest. "You will read the documentation that Kryten has made about the threat from the Psirens." he passed a book to Lister and Kochanski. "Finally, you will NEVER land Starbug anywhere without first letting everyone know. Any questions?"

The all agreed that there was nothing, so Cat started a sleep cycle, 8hours sleep, which would be followed by 16 hours of piloting and other duties. He hadn't liked the idea of doing all of his sleep at once, he liked to have naps during the day, but had managed to get used to the human way of sleeping.

Kryten moved off towards the kitchen, leaving Lister and Kochanski to pilot the ship. Kochanski sat in the front, able to change the course of the ship, and Lister sat in the seat behind her, using the holo-controls fitted in all 4-seater Starbugs. He was very glad of the holo-controls, it meant that he could actually do something useful to help the others fly the ship.

Lister sat there, looking at Kochanski. He cursed himself yet again for not trying to ask her out before his death. For the past year (well, 601 years if you include the time in deep sleep chasing after Red Dwarf) that had been the main thing on his mind. Every day that he spent with Kochanski made him happy to be with her, but at the same time unhappy that he couldn't touch her or kiss her.

He looked down at his controls and adjusted some settings. He thought about the holo-controls, which changed settings when they could detect part of his hologram coming close (or through) them. Why couldn't he find any technology that would help him feel properly? He already had a system for feeling imaginary objects, such as a hologram of a cup made by Holly, orther holo-controls. True, he couldn't actually touch them, but his program could make him believe that he was touching them.

"PLEASE!" he said, mentally, "PLEASE, SOMEONE, LET ME FEEL AGAIN. LET ME INTERACT PHYSICALLY WITH REAL THINGS AROUND ME!"

"I'm picking something up on the scanners." said Kochanski, "some kind of Space Station.

"Good afternoon" said Kryten, about 10 minutes later, having boarded the Space Station, "Is anyone home?"

"It looks like it's deserted" said Lister, "we could take some supplies, it doesn't look like anyone's going to miss them."

"No" said Kochanski, "let's make sure there's no-one on board first, we don't want to steal from anyone."

After a few minutes of looking through the ship's computers, a door opened and a woman walked out. She was taller than any of the Starbug crew, and had a mask over her face.

"Hello" said the woman, "you must be weary. Please, let me entertain you for the day."

"Thanks for the offer" said Kochanski, "but we must be going soon. We came here hoping for some supplies. I'm Kriss by the way, this is Dave, Kryten and Cat. We're from the Jupiter Mining..."

"I know who you are" said the woman, walking up to Kochanski, "you need an operation."

"What?"

"You need an operation." The woman took an electric scalpel, moved away part of Kochanski's top and opened her up. The other's looked on in horror, and Cat tried to do his duty as security officer by lifting a bazookoid towards the woman.

The woman put her hand inside Kochanski and took out a small organ. "Your apendix" she said, "it was giving you trouble."

"I don't have an apendix!" she said, "I had it removed as a 15 year old!"

"Yes, but you have suffered from exposure to Cadmium radiation." the woman said, "Another one grew in it's place." "Call me Legion" said the woman, "for we are many." Legion moved onto Lister. "Ah, a class 1 hologram!" she stuck her hand inside Lister, taking his light bee and making him disappear. She toyed with it for a moment, and then threw it back, letting him re-appear (indifferent clothes, noted Kryten).

"What did you just do?" asked Lister.

"Oh nothing" smiled the woman, "nothing except granting your greatest desire."

Lister and Kochanski shared a puzzled look. "Now come this way" said Legion, you are tired and you must rest. Cat, these are your quarters,Kryten, those are yours. You two, you're in there.

"Lister and Kochanski followed Legion's pointing to reach a large room, the door closing behind them as the walked in.

"What do you think?" asked Kochanski.

"This place is brilliant!" said Lister, exited, "look, it's got everything! A complete set of Italian Operas on video and... oh my god, look, a classical Violin, detuned to create a perfect playing of Mozart's symphonies." he walked past the fridge, which swung open, "There's even a spare tray of classical cheeses in the fridge. I just hope they're hologrammatic!" Kochanski decided to try it, and jumped onto it herself. Expecting to passthrough part of Lister's body, she had the second biggest shock of her life (after the time Lister had appeared out of a wall while she had been in the shower) when she landed on his leg, and could feel it.

Lister and Kochanski stared at each other, amazed.

"Uh... could you get off my leg please" said Lister, trying to think of something to say, "you're crushing it."

"You're... you're..." Kochanski's shocked expression turned to a smile, "oh my god!"

"My greatest desire, Legion said. My greatest desire would have been to..."Lister didn't finish his sentance, Kochanksi kissed him before he had the chance.

---

"I trust you slept well" said Legion the next morning.

"Sleep?" said Kochanski, smiling at Lister, "I knew we'd forgotten something!"

"Ah, so that was why I couldn't sleep" said Legion quietly, looking at the two of them. The only one to notice this was Kryten. He was suspicious for a moment, and then decided that he must have been talking about the noise made by the two of them. He had learnt all about these noises while Lister had been trying to give him lessons in "being human" shortly after Cat had upgraded him.

"Now then, ms. Legion, Ma'am" said Kryten, "it was very good of you to put us up for the night, but we must be going now, we are following a ship and it's vital that we don't lose any time."

"I'm afraid you'll have to stay a little longer" said Legion, "I've detected problems with your ship, I'll sort out the repair robots on it if you want, but there's no way Starbug will be leaving any time soon."

"Well," said Lister "that gives us time to... uh... spend some time in our quarters. Coming Kriss?"

Kochanski took hold of Lister's hand and left the room with him.

"Did you see that, Mr. Cat?" said Kryten.

"See what?"

"She was holding his hand."

"How could she have been? Dave's... you know..." asked Cat, who had been too busy examining some sculptures on the side of the room to notice.

"He's in hard light mode now." said Legion.

"Hard light mode?" asked Cat.

"Yes, he can touch and feel things." said Legion.

"You'll have to show me how that works..."

---

"I'm telling you," Cat paused as a load crashing sound was heard from the back room of Starbug, "there's nothing wrong with" the sound was heard again, "the ship. I don't know what why Legion said" crash, "we had to stayhere" crash "WHAT THE SMEG IS THAT NOISE?"

"Mr. Lister is dropping a variety of kitchen equipment onto himself in an effort to cause himself pain." answered Kryten over more noise, "I think he's trying to enjoy his new hard-light form."

"Enjoy it? By causing himself pain?" Cat pulled a face.

Kochanski emerged from another room and stepped into the cockpit in herdressing gown, yawning. "Morning, guys" she said. She heard another crash in the back room and smiled, realising that it hadn't been a dream."Morning Dave" she shouted. "Please sir, ma'am," said Kryten, blocking their way, "there'll be time for... that... later. Right now there's a bigger problem. Mr. Cat says there's nothing wrong with Starbug."

"Why's that a problem Kryten?" asked Kochanski, "isn't that a good thing?"

"Weren't you listening to Ms. Legion?"

Kochanski and Lister shook their heads, "She said that there was something wrong. We're only staying because of that.

"That's right," confirmed Cat, "Legion is either trying to keep us here, or she knows nothing about the engines."

"I'm sure I've heard that name somewhere before as well" said Kochanski, "wasn't there some kind of scientific project with that name? Kryten, could you check the Space Corps data-banks?"

"Just accessing" said Kryten, who had recently gained the ability to access remote files that were on Starbug while he was off the ship, "Legion. I've found it. Oh dear."

"What is it, Kryters?" asked Lister.

"I've called up the files." said Kryten, "Legion is a gesult entity. She isn't one being, but a scientific experiment designed to combine the intelligence of many people, compounded and multiplied."

"Who is she, then?" asked Cat.

"She's made up of us 4"

"Why's this such a bad thing?" Kochanski asked.

"There was just one problem, Legion didn't want to... die." said Kryten,"as the scientists who made him up grew old and died one by one, he started to get angry. He used their combined intelligence to find out how to add new people to himself, and managed to lure more people to a space station he built."

"This one?" asked Kochanski.

"So it would seem." confirmed Kryten, "once they were on the station, he tried to keep them on with bribes of luxuries, but eventually they wanted to leave, so he turned the space station into a prison. Once they finally managed to escape, effectively killing Legion in the process, the government of Earth decided that it was too dangerous to keep. They were going to destroy it, but they didn't want to send a ship close to it in case it made Legion "wake up". Instead, they used the remote sensor controllers to make it accelerate away from the solar system."

"Until we found it" concluded Cat.

"Precisely."

----

The next morning, Kryten and Cat were sitting in he dining room, ready to put the escape plans into action.

"Where are they?" asked Cat, "they should have been here 15 minutes ago!"

"Mr. Lister, sir? Ms. Kochan..." shouted Kryten.

"Shhh! Legion will here you!" interrupted Lister walking in from the side of the room.

"It doesn't matter if she does" said Kryten, more quietly, "she won't know what we're planning."

"Won't she?" asked Legion, stepping in behind Lister and Kochanski, "you forget, Kryten, I'm made up of all 4 of you. I know what you'd plan in this situation."

"Then you'll know I'm going to do this" said Cat, pressing a button in Kryten's back to turn him off.

Legion fell to the ground as Cat did this, and started to change her form.

Lister held up a chair to hit Kochanski, but hesitated "DO IT!" shouted Ca tas Legion started to get up.

"Sorry Kriss" said Lister, bringing the chair down onto her head. As soon as he did so, Legion's features started to change once again. This time, he slowly morphed into a cross between Cat and Lister, changing from female to male as (s)he did so. Lister quickly moved over to Cat, knocking him to the ground.

"Did you see that one coming?" asked Lister to Legion, who had now taken on all of his features.

"What will you do now? We're both equal, you haven't won yet!"

---

"You still haven't told us what happened after you knocked us out!" said Kochanski, impatiently 2 days later.

"And I'm not planning to" said Lister, turning the page in Kochanski's copy of "Sense and Sensibility". He had read it already, but he was enjoying the sensation of reading a real copy. It was all well and good reading a perfect holographic simulation of the book, but the perfect simulation wasn't really right, the pages were never dog-eared in a certain point where a few pages had been read over and over again or any tear stains in the sad parts (or "other" stains in Rimmer's copy if there were any erotic parts).

"How did you convince Ms. Legion to release us?" asked Kryten.

"Look, it doesn't matter, okay" snapped Lister, prompting Kryten and Cat to leave him alone, deciding that he was suffering from the trauma of what ever had happened.

Kochanski hadn't seen him lose his temper for months. "What happened there?" she asked insistently.

"I... he..." Lister stammered. He put his book down on the table. "After I knocked you all out, I told Legion that if he was really me, he wouldn't be able to help himself, and he'd make sure that you were safe. He tried to argue, but I was right, and he helped you back to the ship. Once he'd done this, he realised that there was no point in fighting me, and he helped Cat and Kryten back to the ship as well".

"That's so romantic" said Kochanski leaning forwards to kiss Lister. As she did so, she immediately realised her mistake, that she would pass right through Lister's hologram. For the 20th time that day, she thanked Legion for the gift of hard-light as she made contact with Lister.

---

"Any luck?" said Lister.

"No, it's blue" said Kochanski, looking at the pregnancy kit from the medicle kit.

"Maybe I just... can't" said Lister.

"But you were so... lifelike!" said Kochanski with a smile.

"I'm still only a computer simulation." said Lister, sadly, "Obviously I still can't ever have children."

--

"A real time machine?" asked Cat, "just think what we could do with that!"

"We can't!" said Lister, "we can't break the laws of time and physics! Time travel is wrong, it creates paradoxes that screw around with time."

"Yeah, but think how much fun we could have with it" said Kochanski mischievously, "how many couples do you know of who've had sex in Julius Ceasar's palace?"

"Ma'am, we wouldn't be able to go to Earth, even with a time machine." pointed out Kryten, "it would still take us 3,000,000 years, and that's just if we can get Red Dwarf back."

"But we can get Red Dwarf back" said Kochanski, "we're 3 weeks behind them, right?"

"That's right, ma'am" Kryten confirmed.

"Well, set the time machine to take us back 3 weeks, Kryten!" said Lister, having guessed Kochanski's point.

"Yes sir, keying it in..."

The cockpit faded around Kochanski's eyes, and refocussed itself. The others, sitting down, weren't effected by it, but Kochanski felt light headed, as if drunk, and fell to the ground, hitting her head against Kryten's computer terminal and tearing something (she hoped it was only her clothes) against Kryten's knee.

"Kris!" shouted Lister, jumping to his feet, grabbing onto his chair as he too felt unstable for a moment, "are you okay?"

"Fine" said Kochanksi, getting up slowly, "I'll be just fine." "What's happened to the back half of the ship" said Cat, "has another moon crashed into it?"

"I'm not actually sure" said Kryten, "from this distance the scanners seem to think that it's *turning into* some kind of moon! I'll take us in closer."

Lister was still helping Kochanski get into the back section of Starbug when his controls started to flash, signifying that 3 small red objects shot towards Red Dwarf. It wasn't until Kryten could see them out of the window that the crew realised that they were there.

"Red Alert!" shouted Kryten, "we're under attack!"

Lister and Kochanski ran into the cockpit, delaying their first-aid plans.

"What are they?" asked Cat.

"Paradox bombs" said Lister, looking at his read-outs, "we can't outrun them!"

As they made contact with Starbug, everything seemed to change again, making Kochianski thankful she was sitting down this time.

"What are paradox bombs" asked Cat, "or is it too late to ask?"

"They're small bombs which are designed to attack any ship with a time machine." said Lister, "I read about them, Holly told me that Red Dwarf had a full compliment, and that they've never been used."

"We've never encountered anything with a time machine before" confirmed Kochanski.

"They create a small time paradox" continued Lister, "it usually concludes with the ship being attacked being sent into a parallel universe."

"So now what?" asked Kochanski.

"Now we see to that head-wound" said Lister, taking her into the back section by the hand.

--

15 minutes later, Kochanski was sitting in Starbug's medi-bay with a healed head and no visible effects of her accident except for a torn shirt.

"All beter" said Lister with a smile and kissed Kochanski.

"You guys" said Cat, appearing in the doorway, "there's something onlong-range sensors!"

"What is it?" asked Lister.

"I'm not sure." said Cat, "It's either a swiro-dexi-kagi-proton or it's a wibblo-para-dimensional tear, but I dont' want to commit myself at this early stage and make myself look silly."

The three raced back onto the bridge.

"It's some kind of gateway into another universe!" said Kryten, looking up from his read-outs, "it's something brought on by the paradox bombs and the time machine!"

"What kind of other universe?" asked Kochasnki.

"Well, it's probably similar to ours up to a certain point in the past. I'll just see if I can get a reading." Kryten paused to look at more read-outs, "ah, this is it. Ma'am, do you remember being caught with an illegal cat on Red Dwarf?"

"How could I forget?"

"Well, it seems that in this universe, you weren't. You were, Mr. Lister, sir."

"So what happened? Did I survive in that universe?" asked Lister.

"We have no way of knowing." said Kryten, "but it's a possibility."

"What are we waiting for?" asked Cat, "lets head right for it and meet them!"

---

"There's a portal opening in the back room" said Kryten, 20 minutes later,"we'll be able to step into it into non-space. There's another portal fromt his other universe into the same region of non-space."

"Hold on!" said Kochanski pointing to her torn shirt, "I need to get changed before going in!"

"We'll wait for you" said Lister.

"No, we don't want to waste any time." said Kochanski "You guys go first,and I'll follow you."

As the other 3 stepped through the portal, Kochanski searched through her medi-kit for her real reason for wanting to go behind the others, an invitro tube that she had started to prepare 20 minutes earlier. She hadn't wanted to get Dave's hopes up but if there was another Lister in the universe they visited, he might just be able to grant them their second greatest wish (Legion had already granted them the first).

She changed her top and took a deep breath as she stepped through the portal.

----

"And from there on, you know what happened" said Kochanski, finishing telling the story to Lister, Kryten, Rimmer and Cat.

She had been staring at her feet for most of the story, suffering from alack of confidence, worried about what reaction she'd get from her new crew.

She looked up for the first time to see that Cat was sitting *on* the table, fast asleep. She looked over to Rimmer, who was playing a game of solitare. Kryten wasn't even in the room.

"Well, at least you're still listening to me" said Kochanski, smiling at Lister.

"You see" said Lister, "I can be just as sensitive as your Dave."

Kochanski's smile broadened as she gave Lister a hug.

"So" said Lister after a few seconds, "does this mean you'll have sex with me as well?"

Kochanski slapped Lister, pushed Cat off the table, making him wake up with a hiss, knocked Rimmer's solitaire table over, and left the room, in search of Kryten.

THE END.


CYBER BATíS MESSAGE
Serves him jolly well right!!!
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